The Dutch House

Ann Patchett’s The Dutch House takes place post WWII. Two siblings, Danny & Maeve Conroy face life together through thick & thin, poverty & wealth. Their father, Cyril Conroy, becomes wealthy through real estate and buys the Dutch House, a lavish estate outside of Philadelphia. 

Difficulty arises when Elva Conroy, Danny & Maeve’s mother, doesn’t like the old house and leaves. Her husband and children are left behind. We don’t know where she went. Divorce papers are served to Cyril, and following that he meets and marries Andrea, a woman who could be likened to an evil stepmother. 

There are twists and turns that occur throughout the book, and to tell you more would risk spoiling this amazing story for you. I listened to the audiobook with Tom Hanks as the narrator. His performance, undoubtedly, was superb. The way he conveys the love Danny & Maeve had for each other is heart-warming. 


Love your family now, and don’t take one day of your life for granted.

How do you prep for Thanksgiving?

This morning I’m thinking about Thanksgiving week. We’ll have quite a bit of dear family with us. While they do help with meal prep and cleanup, it requires advance planning on my part or the week will be rough! What will be on the menu, how may people will we have, where will they all sleep?

My kids in their pilgrim costumes MANY years ago, resting on some of my favorite books!

I’m wondering…do you have any secrets for a happy family holiday? Are there any activities or games you can suggest?

The Grace Year

Can you believe I read three thrillers in October? Thrillers are a relatively new thing for scaredy-cat Carey! For me The Grace Year was right at the top in my newfound thriller relationship. 

Perfect with some pumpkin chai and dove dark chocolate!

I know you’ve probably heard that The Grace Year can be compared to The Handmaid’s Tale. Yes, it is dystopian, but there are differences, and this book should definitely stand on its own. For me it was an easier read than The Handmaid’s Tale. There were two nights where I couldn’t put it down, thus making it a fast read for me. 

In the county, girls are believed to hold power over men. They attract them with their magic. The community banishes sixteen year old girls to a camp where they’ll lose their magic so they can come back after their “Grace Year” ready to be good, weak, submissive little wives who serve their dominant husbands. Sadly, instead of girls “laying down their magic” they use it on each other causing horrifying bullying among themselves. Many girls can’t survive in the camp and leave. Outside there are poachers who consider the girls prey, and they sell them on the black market. 

In this book you’ll meet the Grace Year girls, wives, mothers, husbands, fathers, guards, and poachers. There’s only two men in the book who are somewhat worthy of respect. I loved Tierney, a bad ass sixteen year old who strives to make friends with the other girls as well as make the camp a better place in which they can survive the year. I abhorred Kiersten, the wicked bully who rose to the top and used her powers to make the other girls sick, confused, and mentally incapacitated. 

Liggett’s writing is stunningly beautiful, and will be enjoyed by women who consider themselves to be equal with men, and men who believe women should not be subject in any way to a patriarchal society.   


Be a woman who strives to be kind to other women, befriend them, support them, and love them. We’re all in this female circle together.  

Bullet Journal 101

The Bullet Journal Method goes on a Blue Ridge Parkway hike!

We bought a few books while in Asheville last week, which is rare since we don’t like the weight in our suitcases; however, I’ve started carrying an extra smaller suitcase for books, shoes, things we buy, and incidentals that’d make my suitcase over the 50 lb. limit! 

The Bullet Journal Method is one of the books my husband bought at Malaprop’s Books. He’s recently been bitten by the bullet journal bug! I’ve been bullet journaling for a few years now. The beauty of bullet journaling is you can personalize it to fit your life. Ryder Carrol, creator and author of the Bullet Journal Method, says “it will help you go from passenger to pilot of your own life.” It works, and I love it! Oh, another thing…it provides a place for me to get creative with my wide variety of colored pens that I seem to be constantly buying! 

These are some of the things I plan with it: 

Daily activities and appointments

Meal planning


Travel plans

Packing list

Dreams and Goals

Quotes I like 

TBR list

Movies/TV shows I’d like to watch

Medical section on my husband, myself, and my mother (I take her to her doctor appointments)

Daily Gratitude section

QOTD: Do you use a bullet journal? Do you have any additional things you plan with it that I may need to add to mine?

The Prophetess

The Prophetess, the debut book by Evonne Marzouk, features the Jewish faith, mysticism, and fantasy. 

Rachel traveled with me to Sedona!

Rachel, a young Jewish girl lives in Baltimore. After her orthodox grandfather dies, she is suddenly drawn to Yonatan, a wise older man in their synagogue. She gains a wealth of information about the Jewish faith, prayer, and meditation from him. When Rachel begins to have visions involving people in danger, she seeks ways to help them. During the story, she learns about herself, her gifts and callings, and the direction she chooses for her life. 

The book is written with footnotes that explain the Hebrew terms Evonne uses throughout the book. I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about their faith. 

While The Prophetess is about people of the Jewish religion, the lessons woven throughout are relatable to people of all faiths. The further I got into the book, the stronger I was drawn into the story. 

My awesome husband carried the book on our hike!

Learn/know your gifts & ways to use them to make the world a better place for you and the people you know. 

Thank you Bancroft Press, Evonne Marzouk, and Suzy Approved Book Tours for this ARC in exchange for my review.

To learn more check out these websites:

When anxiety interferes with joy…

We had a wonderful time in Asheville last week! The colors were not quite as vibrant as we’d hoped they’d be, but it was still gorgeous, and it was wonderful to get out of Florida and experience the cooler temperatures. 

This morning as I was scrolling through what seems like hundreds of pictures, I began reflecting upon our hot air balloon ride. The ride was first scheduled for Wednesday morning, but due to weather, it was rescheduled for Friday morning. Early Thursday morning, I began experiencing anxiety about the flight. I’ve also had a respiratory issue that I’ve been worried about as well. I only slept 3 hours on Thursday. 

Early morning in Candler, NC

My fear was causing me to only focus on what could happen if something went awry. What if the pilot became incapacitated, the balloon had a whole in it, we ran out of gas, we hit a power line, or an angry shotgun totin’ farmer who doesn’t want us to land in his pasture shoots at us! All of this, and I’m not even afraid of heights! In addition, I was fearful about being able to breathe once we were in the air. 

I now realize I had a major case of tunnel vision. I was only focused on the balloon ride and what could go wrong. When we finally made it to the launch site, and I saw that the pilot appeared physically and mentally competent, and the flight staff looked like they had it under control, I gained hope that all would be ok. Once in the air, it was calm and peaceful, and there was no room for fear! We could see the beautiful country side and the colors of the trees as far as our eyes could see. The colors were more dynamic from the sky. Our world is such a beautiful place! My fears were relieved, and I was able to enjoy the ride. I’m grateful we didn’t back out due to the anxiety I felt! How sad that would have been. Hopefully, the next time I can only focus on what could go wrong with a situation I’m facing, I’ll look back and remember my balloon ride. 

The view from “down under”
Absolutely gorgeous! How grateful I am, my anxiety didn’t stop us!

QOTD: Do you struggle with this type of tunnel vision or anxiety? If so, how do you break through and see the big picture?

Roomies: a fun rom com!

I love me some CLo! This book was a fun, fast read! This review will be just as breezy! 

I’m working my way through all of Christina Lauren’s books! #yearofCLo

Holland watches Calvin from afar while he plays his guitar in the subway station. She develops a major crush on him. He’s sexy and musically gifted. The two of them meet, and the story takes off. Ultimately, they help each other grow in their personal lives, not just with each other. 

Holland learns how to stand up to mean people and begins to find her niche in the world. Calvin receives what he needs in order to be recognized for the exceptional musician he is. 

Even romance offers something we can take away from the book for our lives. So….


Don’t let your fear of taking a risk keep you from finding your passion! This is a major lesson for me!