Reading/Life Balance…. Oh Yes and Work too!

For almost two years now I have been slowly building this blog to hopefully showcase some of the amazing authors I have had to pleasure of reading and in some cases getting to know. Being a book blogger, Bookstagramer, reviewer as well as maintaining a full-time workload (I am a store manager for a women’s retailer and absolutely love my job) can be challenging. There are plenty of times when I get home at the end of a long day (especially during the holidays) and all I want to do is shower, throw on sweat pants and crawl into bed. I think we all feel like this at some points during out week/and our lives, but the one thing I have realized over the past few years is that we must continue to push thru and do what we love. The outcomes are always worth the effort we put in.

I decided for my first post this year (let’s face it I have been a little MIA the past 5-6 months) should be answering some of the questions I commonly get about how I balance it all. Which is always a work in progress and evolving. I know this will be completely different for everyone, and I will include some of the tricks I use to keep myself on track and continually pushing towards my goals.


How on earth do you read so many books?

Let’s start off with I do have my moments. There are times when I will take a week or more to finish a book due to that thing called life. If it’s a busy work week and I am exhausted, making time for the gym/yoga, events with friends, etc. then I may not have as much time to physically pick up the book and read.  If I pick up a book that I enjoy and can’t put down, then I can finish it in 1-2 days.

Also, second part of this answer is I read fast. I have always had the odd ability to fly thru reading material and retain it. I don’t know how, where or when this developed, but over time I have realized it’s such an amazing gift for me to have. (especially since reading is a huge passion)

 How do you balance a fulltime job with reading and reviews?

I actually got this question from a relative during the holidays and it really hit me hard. The way the question was presented it was made to sound more like an insult then a curious question. So of course, I got defensive. (Holidays bring out the best in us, right?)

I relate this to anything people are passionate about. You enjoy going to the gym for hours a day? How do you do that with work? You go before or after work, you go in the middle of the night.

You are someone who enjoys going to concerts? How do you manage with a full time job?  You adjust your schedule or take time off.

How do I make time to read so much? I wake up earlier, stay up a bit later or just take a half hour to step away from everything and just read. I turn my phone to silent and enjoy my peace. Sometimes on my day off I will say no to plans so I can take time for myself.

The last one is always hard for me to do, but over the past few years I have become very aware of my tendency to take on everything and leave little or no time for myself. I am now getting to a point that I understand that saying no is not a bad thing, but a necessary one.

As with anything in life, you make time for things that bring you joy and happiness. Balance.

How do you afford to buy so many books?

This one makes me laugh. Similar to the prior question we save or spend money on things we like and enjoy. Also, as a book blogger and reviewer I receive a good number of books from the publishers and public relations agencies for free to give honest reviews. I also have many authors I love who I pre order anytime they have a new release.

If you love something you buy it!

**Side note:  I do lend my books to friends, family and coworkers. This way many people are able to enjoy these incredible works. I also a few times a year clean my shelves and donate books to the local public library or local women’s shelters in the area.

Where do you keep all these books?

Another question that always makes me laugh a bit. Where do I keep them? Well on shelves, I have two book carts where I keep my ARC’s (advance reader copies) so they don’t get lost in the shuffle of other books. I even have a few books on my nightstand, one always in my car (have to have backups) and my kindle is always fully charged as well.

How do you keep track of reviews and book tours?

I love this question! Organization is a huge part of my life and always has been. I am a planner by nature and knowing what is coming down the line gives me peace of mind. In perfect planner fashion, I have a physical date book that I write in any ARC when I receive them. I write in onto the publication date while including the publisher, where I received the copy from (PR agency, Author, or publisher), and keep all book tour dates and posts scheduled out in advance.

As with anything in life it is always a work in progress that will evolve as we learn and grow. When you find something, you love and want to dedicate time and effort to then there will be no stopping you.

I would love to hear from all of you how you balance your passions and life?

Best Day Ever

best day eer


From the outside looking in Mia and Paul seem to be a perfect family. They have two young sons, Paul has a great career that allows Mia to stay home and raise their children. They have a summer home that was part of their dream. Yet if Mia is suffering internally at the emotional manipulation and abuse of her husband.

Paul has a very dark side within a world he has created within his head. He can be classified as a psychopath. He has created an elaborate, well thought out plan to create the best day ever for his darling wife. They are having their first weekend away without the kids at their lake house. He has every intention of ending his marriage. Well not really ending his marriage but ending his wife.

In an incredibly shocking turn of events Mia has a plan of her own, and her plan is much more thought out then his. She is always one and sometimes two steps ahead of Paul.


This was such a captivating and thrilling unexpected story. I started out thinking, “ok the husband is crazy, something is going to happen,” but I never saw the change of events and change of course coming in any way.



Best Day Ever

By: Kaira Rouda

Graydon House Books

Free copy VIA Get Red PR

Publication August 21, 2018

she was the quiet one

she was the quiet one

She was the Quiet one by Michele Campbell


High school can be some of the hardest years for some. You are growing into who you are and discovering the person you want to become, but for Rose and Bel Enright life has never been easy and their paths are taking a new turn. Their mother has recently passed away and they are entrusted into the only living relative, their fathers mother. A woman who is wealthy and lives in New England. She is able to get them into a prestigious boarding school, Odell Academy where their lives take a deadly turn.

Rose finds her place in the school quickly. She feels that she can express herself in classes and be who she always dreamed of. She is appreciated for her scholastic achievements. She has a great advisor, Sarah, who is a former Odell alumnus as well as married to Heath who is determined to become the headmaster someday.

Bell finds it easy to fit in with the upper class, mean girls who seem to rule the school.  She continues to get herself into bad situations and is not successful academically. She finds herself drawn physically to her advisor Heath who is finding himself attracted to her as well. When she is caught in a situation that may lead to her expulsion he helps her devise a plan to get her off.

In a violent turn of events Rose finds her sister murdered in the woods after receiving a message from her to meet out there. As the prime suspect in her sisters murder she must work hard to discover the truth. Sarah also begins to suspect that Heath may have been involved. She is torn between her gut feelings and her want to trust her husband.

Michele Campbell has created a captivating story of how our actions have sometimes unforeseeable consequences. I would recommend also picking up her debut novel It’s Always the Husband available now.

Happy Reading!

She Was the Quiet One 

By: Michele Campbell

St. Martins Press 

Girls’ Night Out



There are so many great books coming out this year it has been so hard to decide what to read first. When I was sent a copy of Girls’ Night Out by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke I instantly set aside what I was reading.


Three best friends travel to Mexico trying to salvage their friendships that are on the edge of breaking. Each woman carrying their own bundle of secrets.  Natalie and Ashley own a business together with an offer from Revlon to buy their technology. Natalie is all in to sell, due to financial issues her husband has kept buried them with, Ashley wants nothing to do with selling. She wants to remain distracted by work as her marriage is deteriorating before her eyes. Lauren holds a grudge with Ashley and blames her for her husband’s death about a year prior.

As they attempt to mend these fences Ashley befriends a local Marco who acts as their tour guide during their vacation. He has also developed an infatuation with Ashley. On the final night of their vacation everything erupts and the next morning Ashely is missing, and Natalie has no memory of much of the previous night.

Will they be able to find out what happened to Ashley? Did she leave with Marco who is also mysteriously gone, or has something awful happened?

A great read perfect to share with friends and book clubs or just while lying on the beach!


Happy Reading!

Girls’ Night Out 

By: Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke 

Lake Union Publishing

The Book Of Essie

book of essei


We live in a world filled with reality television that pushes unrealistic expectations into our everyday lives. I dare you to ask someone even just the name of a reality show they have heard of and I would be willing to put money on it that they would be able to name at least three with minimal thinking. So, I ask, can you?

Recently I picked up a new book, by a new debut author whom I late discovered is also local to me as well, Meghan Maclean Weir. She has created a novel that dives into the lives of the Hicks family with a focus on the youngest daughter Essie. She was raised in a family with a father who is an Evangelistic preacher and a mother who is the mastermind behind the families hit reality TV show Six for Hicks.

Essie is seventeen, intelligent and seems to be an obedient well-mannered teenage girl. Although, Essie has one big secret. She is pregnant. She devises a way to let her mother know without having to outright say it to her, they have a very different relationship then many mothers and daughters. Her mother and their PR team decide that she only has a few options. An abortion, if it were to get out would devastate the show and viewers. It goes against all the family has preached throughout their long running series. They determine that a marriage would be the best solution to the situation.

This is the decision Essie would want. She then is able to gently manipulate the situation, so she is able to marry a specific boy she attends school with. Roarke is a year older, also graduating that coming year, but Essie knows of his family’s financial troubles. She uses this as a way to allow her mother to negotiate the potential marriage. A deal to get Roarke’s family out of their financial slump, but is it seems to be out of the blue to all around them.

With secrets that are brewing while Essie and Roarke begin to ban together in their mission to escape both their families this book has an ending that I never saw coming.

A beautifully written debut novel by Weir, The Book Of Essie brings to light the inside look at how secrets and lies can be glossed over with the lights and cameras of reality television.

The Book of Essie

By: Meghan Maclean Weir

Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House 2018

Book of the Month June 2018

How to Walk Away

how to walk away


You can have it all, the perfect boyfriend (soon to be fiancé), the perfect possible job and family. Yet, it can all be gone just as quickly. For Margaret Jacobson that is exactly what happened.  Living most of her life with an incredible fear of planes she has managed to avoid them at almost every turn. Her boyfriend/fiancé Chip, who is well aware of this fact, is adamant she must overcome her fears as he is finishing up getting his pilot’s license. For their Valentine’s Day plans he surprises her with a flight, flown by him where he finally proposes.

Once up in the air every fear of Maggie’s is reached. Wind blows the plane in a bad direction and down they go. This crash is everything she has feared all her life. She wakes up in the hospital not sure of how bad her injuries are. She is paralyzed from the waist down, and has to begin her physical therapy, where she is assigned to the strict, unrelenting therapist Ian, a dashingly handsome Scottish man with an incredibly strong accent.

As she struggles with her new reality, Maggie feels as though she is losing everything, but is she really being set on a path to something better? They do say when one door closes another one opens, and the doors that Maggie is presented with are more fulfilling and beautiful then even she could ever have hoped for.

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center, is a beautifully written novel of life, loss and becoming who we are meant to be. A beauty that sometimes comes out of the darkest times in our lives.


How to Walk Away

By: Katherine Center

St. Martins Press, 2018

Book Of the Month May 2018

The Last Time I Lied

last time i lied

Riley Sager is an author who I had just discovered last year reading the debut novel Final Girlsabout a group of women who were all the lone survivors in brutal massacres throughout the years. I have always been a fan of a good thriller and this one did not disappoint. Then this past April I was sent an ARC from @NetGallery with Sager’s newest novel The Last Time I Lied.

Things in life especially early on tend to shape and have an impact on how we live our lives. For Emma the troubles from her teenage years are always surrounding her haunting her at every turn. When she thinks back on her one partial summer spent at Camp Nightingale she can’t help but feel that there are so many unanswered questions.

Her three bunkmates Natalie, Allison and Vivian, the ringleader, all mysteriously disappeared one morning from camp never to be heard from again. Emma still thinks of them often and over the years as she has jumped into her art the three girls somehow manage to sneak into all of her work. She first draws them Vivian, Natalie and Allison, in that order, then creates her works over their bodies.

When Emma is approached many years later about joining the old team for the reopening of Camp Nightingale as the art teacher she gives in and returns to where all her troubles started. She is assigned as the bunk leader of the same cabin she had resided during that summer.

As the weeks progress she feels as though something is throwing her off. She sets out with little clues from Vivian to discover what had happened and how the girls disappeared without a trace.

A story filled with twists, turns and suspense. One you will not want to miss.


The Last time I Lied

By: Riley Sager

Dutton Books 2018

all we ever wanted

All we ever wanted

Many of us know the struggles of being a teenager, in high school struggling to find their place. Asking questions of ourselves every day. Where do I fit in? Over analyzing every move and decision we make as if it will shape the rest of our lives. Some of these decisions do affect us and help to shape who we become and how we handle situations in life.

All we ever wantedby Emily Giffin gives a glimpse into the high school lives of Lyla and Finch who are from very opposite sides of the neighborhood. Lyla is being raised by her father, Tom a hardworking carpenter who is doing all he can to be a great father to Lyla and give her all her can.

Finch is from a wealthy family with his mother Nina who has some demons of her own she is constantly battling. Her husband is condescending, manipulative and is constantly lying to her. She believes he is a harmful influence on their son.

At a party one-night Finch captures a photo of Lyla passed out on a bed, with her shirt pulled up and revealing one of her breasts. He sends this image to some of his friends and eventually the image makes its way back to Lyla, whose father discovers it. Tom brings this to the attention of their headmaster at school and demands the schools honor board take this seriously to discipline the boy.

Nina, Finch’s mother also agrees that he needs to be punished. She knows what its like to be taken advantage of and she is ashamed that her son was involved in the situation. Finch confides in Lyla that his ex-girlfriend Polly actually took the photo from his phone and sent it out because she discovered that Finch had a crush on her. Lyla must now figure out who to trust, who is lying to her and how she can turn the situation around.

As always Emily Giffin has a way of creating a world you feel drawn into and is extremely relatable to the reader. Thank you to Net Gallery for the ARC and my opportunity to enjoy this amazing novel before it was released.


I hope you go pick up a copy to add to the summer reading list!

All we ever wanted

By: Emily Giffin

Ballantine Books an imprint of Random House publishing 2018




The Way of Beauty

way of beauty

Every month I am lucky enough to be a part of an incredible community of readers primarily thru my Instagram handle @amylynnlifestyle   One of the first online book groups I joined last year was @SaltwaterReads  a fabulous community of readers run by two fabulous ladies. Each month they select a new book for us all to enjoy together. Whimcial, romantic, thrillers and all there is no genre off limits. With each passing month the selections are top notch.

It has expanded my reading range and brought some new amazing authors onto my shelves.

For the month of June, the selection is The Way of Beauty by Camille Di Maio. A beautifully written historical fiction novel. It was the first novel I have read by Di Maio and I am positive to say it will certainly not be my last.



A story of life and love. Vera at a young age falls in love with her close friend Angelo. Yet, Angelo has always seen Vera as a younger sister. Vera struggle to keep her feelings to herself, while becoming the caretaker to William, the son of Angelo’s new wife Pearl.

Pearl is a strong woman fighting for the rights of women, this ends up costing her life while she has left William in the custody and care of his aunt Vera. The Pinkington family, Pearl’s grandmother and parents, set out to regain custody of Will with their money and connections this is no hard feat.

Vera and Angelo after all the time has passed and Angelo has returned from the war, with an injury that left him minus one leg, but finally Angelo and Vera are together. Their life is one filled with love and honesty and the addition of their daughter Alice brings such joy!

Alice is a hardworking woman who is passionate about art and the beauty of New York. Her heart is torn between two very different loves. Emit is an indescribable pull of passion and excitement, but also filled with mystery and secrets. William (yes, the William) is steady, loving, with a heart of gold. He wants to give Alice and her parents, who he has always considered family, every comfort he himself has.

This is an amazing story of love, growth, and a coming of age story that gives you a nostalgic feeling of the simpler times. The beauty of development and the tragedy of what was lost fighting the good fight.


I hope you enjoy this beautiful story.

The Way Of Beauty

By: Camille Di Maio

Lake Union publishing 2018

The Secret to Southern Charm


southern charm

With signs of spring in the air (minus the New England snow that won’t go away) I was finally able to get my hands on an ARC from an incredible author who you have heard me talk about last year. Kristy Woodson Harvey the author of Slightly South of Simple has a new novel the sequel publishing today, The Secret to Southern Charm.



This second book continues to follow Ansley, the mother of three grown daughters as she navigates having them all living back with her. She is also handling the health decline of her own mother, her childhood love jack has purchased the house next door, Jack also happens to be the father of Ansley’s two eldest children whom are unaware.

Carolyn is working thru her marriage problems as her husband purchased the house down the road, so she would be able to stay close to her family as they help Sloane to handle the news that her husband is MIA overseas. And to make matters worse Emerson the youngest is putting off doctors’ appointments to determine what is going on with her health.

Together they find themselves dependent on their mother and their mother dependent upon her girls to get thru some of the hardest times of their lives.



If you are a fan of stories about sisters, family and staying strong together then this is a story for you. Be prepared to be captivated by Ansley and the love she has for her girls.


Happy Reading!

The Secret To Southern Charm

By: Kristy Woodson Harvey

Gallery Books

Pub: April 3, 2018