Title: The Overdue Life of Amy Byler
Author: Kelly Harms
Rating: 5/5 stars
Summary: Single mom of two adolescents, Amy Byler takes off to New York for a librarian conference just as her ex-husband, John, returns from Hong Kong to spend time with the kids. Amy eventually spends the summer in New York rather than her Pennsylvania home and her adventures (“Momspringa!”) are catalogued for us readers.
Best: I loved the way every chapter started with an entry from Cori’s (Ann’s daughter) summer reading journal. I appreciated the alternative insight, as well as the wise-beyond-her-years insight of an adolescent. It was truly my favorite part of the novel to listen to (when I was on audio) or read (when I was on my Kindle).
Worst: I don’t really think there was a worst part to this novel. I felt like the story was well-developed and flowed easily. The only “complaint” I have is that I didn’t feel like every character was well-developed. Although they all appeared throughout the novel (with the exception of the blind dates), it felt like something was missing. For example, at no point before the last 5% or so of the book, the race of the female characters was revealed. It seemed out of place and somewhat unnecessary that late in the game.
Favorite Quote: “Amish rumspringa ends with a big decision. Go home or never turn back. I’m not sure how your momspringa is any different.” This quote resonated with me because I feel like the novel was written in such a way (perhaps intentionally) that it didn’t seem like a big decision was really coming. Amy was just out having fun and was going to go back to her children and her job when it was time and that would be that. At this point in the novel, Amy finally realized how unrealistic that was and sprang into a frenzied, illogical form of action.
Being pregnant certainly puts a damper in all things drinking, so I’ve recently spent some time investigating the mocktail scene to keep live interesting. The best part is that it’s currently Dryuary (Dry January, No Alcohol January…) so that means recipes are easy to find right now! Mind you, this is never the attitude I took before. It’s my birthday, and as such Dry January has never appealed to me.
My favorite is this margarita recipe, I have yet to remember to salt the rim of my glass, which I’m sure will only enhance the experience!
- 1/2 cup limeade
- 1/4 cup sparkling water- lemon flavored
- 1/4 cup sparkling water- lime flavored
- 1/4 cup orange juice
My second-favorite was 1 part cranberry juice, 2 parts orange juice, and 1 part ginger ale. The fizzy aspect is something I definitely find key to the experience! Also, we garnished this with an orange slice which makes it feel just a little more sophisticated :). After drinking quite a bit of these, we realized that really you could use any ratio of the three ingredients to your liking. I love it when things are versatile!
Do you have any non-alcoholic drink recipes that you swear by? Let me know in the comments!
I have never regretted sitting down to re-read a book. The bonus is that I almost always read it faster the second time than I did the first time, i.e. I could read it in a weekend. Granted, I don’t read many books over 400 pages and almost none over 500 pages, so there is that inherent constraint. The bottom line is, regardless of how long it might take you, re-reading your favorite book is certain to bring you joy.
You can re-read your favorite book when you’re in either a good or a bad mood. It’s sure to make a good mood better and to turn a bad mood around. Plus, with the availability of ebooks and audiobooks, particularly via your local library or Amazon, you can have this book at your fingertips everywhere you go to maximize your reading time.
One of the books I’ve re-read a few times is Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There. I think the first time I read the book was around fourth grade, and I actually read it before Alice in Wonderland. Perhaps because I read it first, or perhaps because it is better, I’ve always loved it. Re-reading it takes me back to the simpler time of childhood which is completely unmatched. In fact, many (but certainly not all) of my favorite books are favorites because of the place I was in when I first read them, more-so than the book. Yet another reason re-reading books can bring you happiness.
Drop a comment of your favorite book- whether a recent one or your earliest memory. I’d love to hear them!
(Featured Image: Janet Evanovich, Stephanie Plum Series #11, Eleven On Top)
Many of us fall victim to getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and adulthood that we forget to take the time to get in touch with ourselves. There are so many “10 minute moments” in a day, but we very rarely use them to their fullest. Think about the number of times you take a quick break from life to scroll through social media, or to just sit and be alone. There’s nothing wrong with either of these things, but would something else make you even happier?
I personally am so quick to grab my phone and check Instagram whenever I have a minute or two of downtime. Then that minute or two turns into many more minutes. But when I really think about it, I’d feel better if I took the time to stretch and mediate instead. These can even be done in as little as five minutes and leave me with a much greater sense of satisfaction than any Instagram binge can. You could also go for a walk, read or write a blog post, pick up a craft, clean the bathroom, phone a friend, anything that makes you legitimately feel better.
I’m interested to hear how you would choose to fill a pocket of time. Let me know in the comments!
It’s not a secret that I’m a little less than happy with my current job. I try really hard to only communicate highlights with people that I don’t really know, and also to just focus on the things that make it good in conversation. I recognize the power of positive thinking, and the influence of our thinking on our memories. Although my day to day may be really challenging, I also want to look back on this year and think “WOW”. So how do I work towards WOW?
Every day I walk into work thinking “today can be different.” I used to use the word “will”, but honestly the disappointment and frustration that that led to was more harmful than good. I try to start each work day with a positive attitude. I also make a to-do list of both long-term (rolling) and short-term (daily-ish) goals that will help me to leave feeling satisfied. Put simply, rather than focusing on the things I cannot control, I focus on what I can control.
Even though other people still make the day challenging, and even though I feel like I’m simultaneously doing too much and not enough, when I look back on the past few months I really am happy with what I’ve chosen to do. The things that make me smile are a wide variety of moments, but they’re so worth it.
I’ve recently gotten back into Podcasts, specifically ones that are composed of short (under 20 minutes) episodes that come out more than once a week. It really got me thinking about working in “bite sized pieces” with my writing. This past year has been challenging in many ways. I’ve gotten my PhD, moved to a new state, gotten pregnant, among many other things. It has made writing and/or editing far less enjoyable for me than it used to be. Somehow, it was never unenjoyable enough to just walk away and forget about it. So here we are. Starting a new year, and a new decade, with a new plan. I’m starting out with a week’s worth of short posts that you can read quickly and easily that will hopefully also provide you with some motivation for your day.