The Travelers by Chris Pavone {Book Review}

4.26.2016

The Travelers by Chris Pavone is a globe-trotting spy thriller that will keep you turning pages to solve the riddles!

{Many thanks to NetGalley for sending me an eARC of The Travelers in exchange for an honest review. If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

Set aside a good chunk of time before you crack the cover on The Travelers by Chris Pavone. Holy page turner, Batman! Did you read The Expats? This new novel from Pavone has the same crazy, non-stop action, globetrotting, spy story feel to it.

The basic idea here is that Will Rhodes, a travel magazine writer with a passport full of stamps from all over the world, gets thrown a curve ball after an encounter with a mysterious woman. On the side is a story of another unidentified woman who, with the help of undercover tactics and spy gear, murders in cold blood. And then there's the magazine's editor - what on earth is he up to?

There are so many threads weaving through this novel, but Pavone finds a way to end each character's installment with a cliffhanger that keeps driving you forward. Each chapter feels like a puzzle, with a piece filled in here and there.

Let's just say that when my kid fell asleep in the car on the way to the grocery store, I may or may not have sat in the car and read this book under the auspices of letting him sleep. No, this is probably not the most realistic or believable novel you will ever read, but man, is it ever a fun read that will transport you all over the world and into the underground world of spies.

Recipes for Your Meal Plan {Menu Plan Monday}

4.25.2016

This week's recipes for your meal plan includes a lovely pork and butternut squash stew, a super quick slow cooker recipe (yes, contradictory, but true), and steak tacos with a corn salsa. The family will loves these dinners!
Here are a few recipes we've tried lately that were big hits. Find more recipes for your meal plan over at Menu Plan Monday!

Garlic-Marinated Steak Tacos with Corn Salsa {Every Day with Rachael Ray}

This week's recipes for your meal plan includes a lovely pork and butternut squash stew, a super quick slow cooker recipe (yes, contradictory, but true), and steak tacos with a corn salsa. The family will loves these dinners!
I was so excited to go outside and heat up the grill, but April Showers ruined all my plans. George Foreman came to the rescue and ta da! An outstanding taco nigh resulted. I also sauteed the corn on the stove to brown it a little bit and the results were awesome.

Slow Cooker Italian Chicken {Beyer Beware}

This week's recipes for your meal plan includes a lovely pork and butternut squash stew, a super quick slow cooker recipe (yes, contradictory, but true), and steak tacos with a corn salsa. The family will loves these dinners!
I am not entirely sure how something so yummy could be created with so little work. This was a perfect recipe for a night full of practice when we come home starving! We used the leftover chicken all week.

Spicy Pork and Butternut Squash Stew {Every Day with Rachael Ray}

This week's recipes for your meal plan includes a lovely pork and butternut squash stew, a super quick slow cooker recipe (yes, contradictory, but true), and steak tacos with a corn salsa. The family will loves these dinners!
This is almost like eating pork and butternut squash in a broth that leans heavily toward salsa. It sounded a little strange, but wow, was it ever good. The recipe also includes handy instructions for freezing the stew for later.

Behave by Andromeda Romano-Lax {Book Review}

4.22.2016

Renowned behaviorist John Watson had a wife and children and this is their story. If you have any interest in the field of psychology or child-rearing, this is a good pick for you.
{Many thanks to NetGalley for sending me an eARC of Behave in exchange for an honest review.  If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

So much of how you experience a book is what you bring to it, right? I wasn't a psychology major, nor do I take any particular interest in the field of psychology. What I do have is an intense interest in different philosophies for child-rearing. This topic is scrutinized in Behave by Andromeda Romano-Lax through the eyes of Rosalie Rayner, who worked with, and later married, renowned behaviorist John Watson.

I'm the mom who thinks that a very young child can't be spoiled, so I was intrigued by the idea of what would happen when Watson's theories were applied to his own children and how his wife, and mother of those children, would figure that out in practice. Yes, it's all imagined, but I don't let details like that get in my way.

You might not find Behave to be fast moving and you might not find it to be a page turner, but it is an intricate portrait of a woman who can't seem to stop herself from being manipulated by those around her. Her regret while looking back on her life during the narration is palpable.

An unlikable protagonist who I can't identify with is not an obstacle for me as long as the writing is good and I can understand (even if I disagree with) her decisions. Such is the case here, where you will want to shake the double hockey sticks out of dear Rosalie, but are carried along in her story by Romano-Lax's clear and straightforward prose.

The Honest Company Essentials Bundle {Subscription Box Review and Coupon Codes}

4.21.2016

The Honest Company's Essentials Bundle is a subscription box that will deliver essentials for cleaning your home and taking care of your body directly to your door!
I had a realization today as I dragged yet another box in from the porch - I have never posted about my Honest Company subscription box before! If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.

The Box:

The Honest Company Essentials Bundle

The Cost:

Diapers and Wipes Bundle - $9.95/month
Essentials Bundle - $35.95/month
Organic Baby Formula Bundle - $119/month
Health and Wellness Bundle - $35.95/month

Coupon Codes:

Honest is currently having a Buy More, Save More event. Between now and 4/24, get up to $40 off plus free shipping on all qualifying orders.

Spend $50, get $20 off with code EARTH20
Spend $75, get $30 off with code EARTH30
Spend $100+, get $40 off with code EARTH40

Review of The Honest Company Essentials Bundle:

The Honest Company's Essentials Bundle is a subscription box that will deliver essentials for cleaning your home and taking care of your body directly to your door!

I used to subscribe to the Diapers and Wipes bundle back in the day, but now I only receive the Essentials Bundle. I can't say enough about how much I appreciate the quality and convenience of the subscription box.

Each month, you get to choose the exact items for your Essentials Bundle, so this box is completely customized. For this delivery, I selected Shampoo and Body Wash, Conditioner, Oxy Boost, Dryer Cloths, and Spray Sunscreen. Other products I regularly get are the Laundry Packs, Multi-Purpose Cleaner, Window Cleaner, Spot Remover, Foaming Hand Wash, Bubble Bath, and Air Freshener. I have been using these products for what feels like years!

The only product I used and did not love was the dish soap, which was just too thick for my liking.

The Honest Company's Essentials Bundle is a subscription box that will deliver essentials for cleaning your home and taking care of your body directly to your door!


The Essentials Bundle is also delivered on your schedule. You can set it to arrive every 3, 4, 5, or 6 weeks and can extend it out even further using their calendar function.

Yes, you do have to monitor your delivery dates to make sure you are receiving products you want, but I think the convenience makes it worth the effort. Honest send reminder emails as your delivery date approaches.

The Honest Company's Essentials Bundle is a subscription box that will deliver essentials for cleaning your home and taking care of your body directly to your door!

One last important facet of The Honest Company's subscription box is the Honest Free Guarantee. I'll let you read it in detail at your leisure, but the basic idea is: "You can rest easy knowing The Honest Company’s products are made without health-compromising chemicals or compounds."

I am also happy to see that Honest is always coming out with new products, great promo codes, fun free gifts like totes, and other great promotions. Have you ever given Honest a try?

Subscription Box Directory Update {April 2016}

4.18.2016

New subscription boxes for men, women, and kids are always launching. Here are the ones I added to the Subscription Box Directory this month.
The new subscription boxes just keep coming, people! Here are the ones I added to the Subscription Box Directory this month. There are a few here that I find tempting, especially

This page contains affiliate links and any purchase you make through those links supports this site.


New subscription boxes for men, women, and kids are always launching. Here are the ones I added to the Subscription Box Directory this month.
Bathmatical (artisan bath products)


New subscription boxes for men, women, and kids are always launching. Here are the ones I added to the Subscription Box Directory this month.
Beauty Heroes (non-toxic full-size skin, body, sun and hair care 'Hero' products)


New subscription boxes for men, women, and kids are always launching. Here are the ones I added to the Subscription Box Directory this month.
The Book Hookup (books and literary goodies curated by Strand Bookstore)


New subscription boxes for men, women, and kids are always launching. Here are the ones I added to the Subscription Box Directory this month.
Bojerky (artisan beef jerky)


New subscription boxes for men, women, and kids are always launching. Here are the ones I added to the Subscription Box Directory this month.
Brotein Box (high-protein snacks)


New subscription boxes for men, women, and kids are always launching. Here are the ones I added to the Subscription Box Directory this month.
Bumby Box (Eco-Friendly toys, books, & open ended play activities)


New subscription boxes for men, women, and kids are always launching. Here are the ones I added to the Subscription Box Directory this month.

Covet Crate (lifestyle box for stylish, professional women)

New subscription boxes for men, women, and kids are always launching. Here are the ones I added to the Subscription Box Directory this month.
Duobox (items to help foster your relationship with your significant other)


New subscription boxes for men, women, and kids are always launching. Here are the ones I added to the Subscription Box Directory this month.
Enjoy Leggings (leggings)


New subscription boxes for men, women, and kids are always launching. Here are the ones I added to the Subscription Box Directory this month.
Eternally in Amber (artisan-crafted hair accessories, limited edition travel size hair combs)


New subscription boxes for men, women, and kids are always launching. Here are the ones I added to the Subscription Box Directory this month.
The Fan Empire (4-6 magically geeky items)



New subscription boxes for men, women, and kids are always launching. Here are the ones I added to the Subscription Box Directory this month.
Hooray Mail (personalized mail and activity for kids, with 30 percent off through this link)


New subscription boxes for men, women, and kids are always launching. Here are the ones I added to the Subscription Box Directory this month.
Illumicrate (books and bookish items shipped from the UK)


New subscription boxes for men, women, and kids are always launching. Here are the ones I added to the Subscription Box Directory this month.
Lost Blvd (lifestyle products for women)


New subscription boxes for men, women, and kids are always launching. Here are the ones I added to the Subscription Box Directory this month.
Mac & Mia (kids clothing ages newborn to six)


New subscription boxes for men, women, and kids are always launching. Here are the ones I added to the Subscription Box Directory this month.
Magickal Folk (products for guided ritual and meditation)


New subscription boxes for men, women, and kids are always launching. Here are the ones I added to the Subscription Box Directory this month.
Meat Healthy Shares (all natural meals from small farms)


New subscription boxes for men, women, and kids are always launching. Here are the ones I added to the Subscription Box Directory this month.

Moustache Stationary (unique stationary from around the world)


New subscription boxes for men, women, and kids are always launching. Here are the ones I added to the Subscription Box Directory this month.
My Lemon Crate (DIY essential oil kits)


New subscription boxes for men, women, and kids are always launching. Here are the ones I added to the Subscription Box Directory this month.
Peace of Mind Box (jewelry and accessories from Peace of Mind)


New subscription boxes for men, women, and kids are always launching. Here are the ones I added to the Subscription Box Directory this month.
Planner Packs (planner supplies)


New subscription boxes for men, women, and kids are always launching. Here are the ones I added to the Subscription Box Directory this month.
Rain City Box (the hippest, most buzzworthy products from Seattle)

New subscription boxes for men, women, and kids are always launching. Here are the ones I added to the Subscription Box Directory this month.
The Ramen Box (carefully curated ramen and a special present)


New subscription boxes for men, women, and kids are always launching. Here are the ones I added to the Subscription Box Directory this month.
Retro Game Treasure (retro video games)


New subscription boxes for men, women, and kids are always launching. Here are the ones I added to the Subscription Box Directory this month.
Single Cup Club (small batch roast coffees with the simple convenience of K-Cup Brewing)


New subscription boxes for men, women, and kids are always launching. Here are the ones I added to the Subscription Box Directory this month.
Southern Scholar (simple, subtle, and sophisticated dress socks for men)
New subscription boxes for men, women, and kids are always launching. Here are the ones I added to the Subscription Box Directory this month.

Studio Calico Kits (four kits to choose from: scrapbook, documenter, planner and stationary)


New subscription boxes for men, women, and kids are always launching. Here are the ones I added to the Subscription Box Directory this month.
Vellabox (artisan candles)


New subscription boxes for men, women, and kids are always launching. Here are the ones I added to the Subscription Box Directory this month.
The Willie Wags (lifestyle products from small business owned by women)


And more:

Barbella Box (women's crossfit clothing and products)
Christian T-shirt Club (new, high-quality, Christian-themed t-shirt)
Chroma Club (adult coloring books)
Clean Gun Box (gun cleaning supplies and tactical gear)
Club Sock (socks)
Doki Doki Crate (kawaii items from Japan Crate)
Gamer Girl Monthly (jewelry and accessories for gamer girls)
My Best Box (products for a healthy lifestyle)
Outfit in a Box (head to toe outfit, ships from the UK)
Period Club (pads and tampons)
Play! by Sephora (deluxe beauty samples)
QBox (cleaning products from Squix)
XOMandySue (women's clothing)

Do any of these tempt you?

In Real Life by Jessica Love {Book Review}

4.16.2016

In Real Life by Jessica Love is a young adult novel that considers what happens when you meet someone online and think you know them, but real life is different.
Many thanks to NetGalley for sending me an eARC of In Real Life in exchange for an honest review. If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.

There's nothing about In Real Life by Jessica Love that is going to blow your mind, but that is part of its appeal. In this young adult novel, we follow the story of Hannah, whose entire relationship with her best friend Nick is conducted via phone, text, and video chat. In the first chapter, Hannah decides to remedy this situation by surprising Nick, but things don't go exactly as she planned.

When reading this novel, I had to remember the all encompassing emotions that a teenager can feel in the presence of a boy she likes. And I had to remember that teenagers (and adults) often have trouble following their hearts and making tough decisions. In Real Life considers these facets of teen life with realism.

The novel covers only a few days in the lives of Hannah and Nick, with flashbacks to how their relationship progressed over the years. My enjoyment of this novel was tempered by the feeling that if certain sections were pared down, it would make an outstanding short story. In any case, it was a fun read that hearkened back to that time of possibility between high school and college.

What I'm Reading {Quick Lit April 2016}

4.15.2016

A dystopian YA novel, a mystery involving the Bronte family, and a time travel novel were just a few of the books I read this month!

It's that time again - time for Modern Mrs. Darcy's Quick Lit linkup. Here's what I read this month.

{Many thanks to NetGalley and Tomoson  for sending me eARCs of many of these books. If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

A dystopian YA novel, a mystery involving the Bronte family, and a time travel novel were just a few of the books I read this month!

  • The Stone Bearers by Jacque Stevens - The first half of this fantasy novel about a girl who fights a prophesy about her future really had me roped in. I was thinking I'd love to read more in a series about this world, magic system, and characters. The second half though, just fell flat for me.
  • Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard - I feel like I'm the last one to the Red Queen party! This book lived up to the hype, living right in my wheelhouse of dystopian fantasy YA novels. Ahh, it was like coming home. I will definitely read the remainder of this series.
  • Bad Magic by Pseudonymous Bosch - This was the first book by Bosch that I have read and I thoroughly enjoyed it, though I cursed myself for not having paid more attention to the class discussion of The Tempest in high school English. Shakespeare fans would eat this one up.
  • Every Anxious Wave by Mo Daviau - As I mentioned in my full review of this novel, I don't think I was the right reader for this book. It was very well written, with a novel time travel concept, but it wasn't a good fit for me.

A dystopian YA novel, a mystery involving the Bronte family, and a time travel novel were just a few of the books I read this month!

  • The Mark of the Dragonfly (World of Solace, #1) by Jaleigh Johnson - People call this novel Steampunk Fantasy for middle graders. I didn't get much steampunk, but there was a whole lot of fantasy, a unique system of magic, and a plot that moved quickly. There's only a little bit of a crush described (mostly around the edges), so this book would be perfect for a middle grader. You can count me in for the second in this series.

What did you read this month?