Amazon First Reads For October (Get 2 Free Books)

October 3rd, 2022
Amazon First Reads for October (Get 2 Free Books)

Prime members shouldn’t miss access to this FREE Amazon First Reads program. Learn about this Kindle reading program and get two free books this month. 

Let’s choose our October Kindle First Reads selections together! This month we get access to TWO selections, and we have some wonderfully tried-and-true authors on the list (like a short story collection from Alice Hoffman) and some well-established Kindle book authors to choose from.

These books are available to you at no extra charge if you have Prime.

What is Amazon First Reads?

If you aren’t familiar with how this program works, head to this post that shares everything you wanted to know about the Amazon First Reads program (formerly the Kindle First program). This is my beginner’s guide to navigating these freebies.

Everything You Wanted to Know About Amazon First Reads

Please note, when you add it to your cart it should display the purchase as captured above (BUY IT NOW FOR FREE). If it does not, you are not signed into your family’s Prime account.

If you have a moment, leave a comment and let me know what you picked or if you have read any of these!

This month, Amazon is offering TWO books for free with your Prime membership. Don’t miss this deal!

Here is what you need to know for this month and what I chose (if you need help making decisions). To help you find this info easier, I’ve included the blurbs, GoodReads ratings (so far), and any critical reviews that might help guide your decisions.

Amazon First Reads For October (Get 2 Free Books)

PICK TWO HERE OR ON THE LANDING PAGE

The Quarry Girls by Jess Lourey (THRILLER)

Killers hiding in plain sight. Small-town secrets. A girl who knows too much. From the Amazon Charts bestselling author of Unspeakable Things and Bloodline comes a nerve-twisting novel inspired by a shocking true crime.

GoodReads Rating (So Far): 4.28 stars with 160 ratings.

One seasoned reader of her books stated that this was her favorite by the author so far.

Reviewers praised it as atmospheric, claustrophobic, and a great pick for fans of serial killer stories set in small towns.

The Stroke of Winter by Wendy Webb (GOTHIC FICTION)

She’s restoring the old family home on the hill. And unearthing something evil.

In the tourist town of Wharton, on the coast of Lake Superior, Tess Bell is renovating her old family home into a bed-and-breakfast during the icy dead of winter…

What evil has been locked away for so many years? The ominous brushstrokes, scratching at the door, and moving shadows begin to pull Tess further and further into the darkness in this blood-chilling novel of suspense by the #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author of The Keepers of Metsan Valo.

GoodReads Rating (So Far): 4.07 stars with 29 ratings.

Reviewers shared it is a solid pick for Halloween and called it a great atmospheric ghost story.

If you are looking for a book for spooky season, this looks like a great pick.

Well Behaved Wives by Amy Sue Nathan (HISTORICAL FICTION)

Perfect wives, imperfect lives, and upending the rules of behavior in 1960s America.

Law school graduate and newlywed Ruth Appelbaum is acclimating to life and marriage in a posh Philadelphia neighborhood. She’ll do almost anything to endear herself to her mother-in-law, who’s already signed up Ruth for etiquette lessons conducted by the impeccably accessorized tutor Lillian Diamond. But Ruth brings something fresh to the small circle of housewives—sharp wit, honesty, and an independent streak that won’t be compromised.

Right away Ruth develops a friendship with the shy Carrie Blum. When Carrie divulges a dark and disturbing secret lurking beneath her seemingly perfect life, Ruth invites Lillian and the Diamond Girls of the etiquette school to finally question the status quo.

GoodReads Rating (So Far): 4.45 stars with 22 reviews.

Reviewers went into this one expecting a light-hearted story, but discovered it to be a challenging read.

Her editor shares this intriguing blurb, ” As the women of this powerful book continue to change and grow, they come together to save one of their own from hidden abuse. I hope you’ll feel as inspired as I did watching these women stretch beyond their comfort zones and challenge expectations for women in 1962, with some lessons for us even today.”

The Break by Katie Sise (DOMESTIC SUSPENSE)

Can she trust the people she loves? Can she trust herself? A new mother is pushed to the edge in a provocative thriller by the Amazon Charts bestselling author of Open House.

After the traumatic birth of her daughter at a New York City hospital, Rowan O’Sullivan returns home to her apartment with her perfect newborn, Lila. At her side are her husband, Gabe, and June, a part-time babysitter hired to help Rowan in any way she can.

But in this time of joy, Rowan can’t shake the feeling that something isn’t right. She feels dread. She’s breaking.

Rowan’s growing instability leads her to accuse June of unspeakable things. And when June disappears just days later, Rowan becomes a suspect.

GoodReads Rating (So Far): 4.24 stars with 21 ratings.

This selection is coming in with some rave reviews already and recommended for fans of The Push.

This domestic suspense novel is a Zibby’s Book Club pick for November and was featured in Publishers Weekly.

In the PW, they shared this review, “With this white-knuckle journey, Sise shows her mastery of suspense.”

The Bookstore Sisters BY Alice Hoffman (SHORT STORY)

VERDICT: WHAT I PICKED

From New York Times bestselling author Alice Hoffman comes a heartfelt short story about family, independence, and finding your place in the world.

Isabel Gibson has all but perfected the art of forgetting. She’s a New Yorker now, with nothing left to tie her to Brinkley’s Island, Maine. Her parents are gone, the family bookstore is all but bankrupt, and her sister, Sophie, will probably never speak to her again.

But when a mysterious letter arrives in her mailbox, Isabel feels herself drawn to the past. After years of fighting for her independence, she dreads the thought of going back to the island. What she finds there may forever alter her path—and change everything she thought she knew about her family, her home, and herself.

GoodReads Rating (So Far): 4.39 stars with 274 reviews.

If you are looking for a sweet read for your book stack, this is the selection for you.

It’s no surprise that this is the book with the most feedback since Alice Hoffman is such a seasoned writer.

Reviewers have called this short story endearing, delightful, and sweet.

Her editor shares this charming observation on this story, “Alice Hoffman’s writing transported me as I read Isabel’s story, conjuring the dusty back room of the Once upon a Time Bookshop, the heirloom flowers that climb the walls of Red Rose Cottage, and the lupines that turn the whole island blue in summer. In my short visit to Brinkley’s Island, I found a second home.”

Keeper of Enchanted Rooms by Charlie N. Holmberg (HISTORICAL FANTASY)

A house of haunted history and ill temper. Make yourself at home in this beguiling novel of love, magic, and danger by Amazon Charts and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Charlie N. Holmberg.

Rhode Island, 1846. Estranged from his family, writer Merritt Fernsby is surprised when he inherits a remote estate in the Narragansett Bay. Though the property has been uninhabited for more than a century, Merritt is ready to call it home—until he realizes he has no choice. With its doors slamming shut and locking behind him, Whimbrel House is not about to let Merritt leave. Ever.

GoodReads Rating (So Far): 4.56 stars with 48 reviews.

This author is a well-known fantasy writer that wrote The Paper Magician, The Fifth Doll, and The Will & The Wilds.

This book is already receiving some critical acclaim. Publishers Weekly shares, “Filled with delightful period details and artfully shaded characters, this whimsical, thoughtful look at magic and its price is the perfect read for a cold fall night.”

Reviewers are praising it as an enjoyable historical fiction fantasy read and say that Holmberg is one of the most versatile writers.

Excuse Me While I Disappear by Laurie Notaro (MEMOIR)

A laugh-out-loud spin on the realities, perks, opportunities, and inevitable courses of midlife.

Laurie Notaro has proved everyone wrong: she didn’t end up in rehab, prison, or cremated at a tender age. She just went gray. At past fifty, every hair’s root is a symbol of knowledge (she knows how to use a landline), experience (she rode in a car with no seat belts), and superpowers (a gray-haired lady can get away with anything).

Though navigating midlife is initially upsetting—the cracking noises coming from her new old body, receiving regular junk mail from mortuaries—Laurie accepts it. And then some. With unintentional abandon, she shoplifts a bag of russet potatoes. Heckles a rude driver from her beat-up Prius. And engages in epic trolling on Nextdoor.com. That, says Laurie, is the brilliance of growing older. With each passing day, you lose an equivalent amount of fear.

GoodReads Rating (So Far): 4.45 stars with 33 ratings.

This has a starred review from Kirkus Reviews this month.

They described it as “Witty and full of sarcastic energy, the author fearlessly tackles what it means to get old…Unplugged, refreshingly off the hook, and consistently entertaining.”

Reviewers loved this writers hilarity on going gray, menopause, and settling into middle age. This looks like a winner if you need a laugh this month.

Over Her Dead Body by Susan Walter (SUSPENSE)

Ashley Brooks’s life isn’t working out as planned. After years of struggling to make it in Hollywood, she’s still waiting for her big break. When fate leads her to the doorstep of legendary casting director Louisa Lake George, Ashley thinks her luck is about to change: the prickly old pro knows about a role she’s perfect for. The aspiring actress never gets to thank her, though, because the day after the audition, Louisa is dead. The bigger shock—she left all her money to Ashley.

Louisa’s grown children arrive stunned and ready to fight. Her nephew tries to play peacemaker, while Ashley grapples with why Louisa would leave her fortune to a stranger—and whether she should keep it. But Ashley quickly discovers everyone, including the dead woman, is hiding something, and it’s a race to get to the truth before someone else winds up dead.

GoodReads Rating (So Far): Ratings: 4.50 stars with 44 ratings.

Readers shared that this is the kind of book you can read in a day with short chapters, multiple POVs, and a great ending.

One author review shares these details about the author, “Susan Walter is a master storyteller with an insider’s view of the film business, and her novel glints with danger and brilliant insight into the hopes and dreams of an aspiring actress. I read it in one sitting, guessing the whole way through, stunned by the conclusion.”

Pesos by Pietro La Greca Jr. (TRUE CRIME)

Pietro La Greca Sr. was an intimidating Napolitano con man dubbed “Mexico’s real-life Don Corleone.” He ran Mexico’s biggest money-laundering scheme during the worst economic period in the country’s history. His was a world of fast cars, mansions on the water, and VIP treatment at Las Vegas casinos. His exploitation of Mexico’s financial free fall made him a wealthy man. But while he was running his criminal empire, his son, Pietro Jr., a.k.a. Picho, was learning his father’s tricks—if only to bring the man down.

An epic tale of greed, high-finance scams, drug cartels, and brazen corruption by the rich and powerful on both sides of the border, Pesos is as personal as it is lavish and fantastical.

GodReads Rating (So Far): 3.80 stars with 5 ratings.

Reviewers praise this as mesmerizing, intriguing, and challenging. There is a lot of language in this one that has received some negative feedback for those that prefer cleaner dialogue.

Publishers Weekly shared this review, “La Greca proves a snappy raconteur of this turbulent tale. Fans of true crime and epic family sagas will not want to miss this one.”

June, Reimagined by Rebekah Crane

June Merriweather is on the run—from her own life. Her brother is dead, her parents are liars, and her college major is a joke. Apart from her best friend, Matt, June is desperate for reinvention. And a one-way ticket out of Cincinnati to the Scottish Highlands is a good place to start.

With a backpack, an urn, and a secret, June begins again. She snags a job at a café and finds lodging at a quaint inn with a quirky cast of housemates. The only problem: the inn’s infuriatingly perceptive (and sexy) owner, Lennox. He’s suspicious of June. After all, no one comes to Scotland in the winter unless they’re running from something. From rocky start to sizzling temptation, June’s new world is exhilarating…and one detour away from disaster.

GoodReads Rating (So Far): Ratings: 4.08 stars with 40 ratings.

Readers called this a heartwarming page turner that you can read in a day.

Kirkus Reviews shares, “The real love story here is between the protagonist and her authentic life…A sincere story about navigating life and love.”

VERDICT: WHAT I PICKED

I’m so glad we get two selections this month!

Honestly, I can’t picture the Alice Hoffman not being available for free in the Prime catalog because that is where their original stories are living. I am taking a gamble and spending my credits on two other books.

I decided to grab Well Behaved Wives– the Stepford Wives scenarios sound intriguing especially after seeing Don’t Worry Darling (and loving it).

I also got The Break because of its comparisons to The Push and selection by Zibby’s Book Club. If it is good enough for that book club discussion, I feel like I need to give it a try!

SOUND OFF: Have you read any of this month’s selections? Tell me what you plan to pick this month!

READ BETTER THIS YEAR WITH THESE ARTICLES

My Favorite Things (So Far) This Year

June 21st, 2022

The best books, tv, movies, podcasts and products I’ve purchased in 2022!

Hello, my friends! I hope that you’re having a wonderful summer! I thought it might be fun to talk about my favorite things (so far) this year.

Personally, I get bogged down with those end-of-year recaps so I thought a mid-year surprise might be a lovely escape for summer.

Please consider today’s list as INTERACTIVE! Please leave a comment and tell me what’s topped YOUR list this year! It can be anything- books, podcasts, apps, recipes, clothing, organizers- WHATEVER. I love and miss the interactions we share in these spaces.

My Favorite Things (So Far) This Year from MomAdvice.com

My Favorite Things (So Far) This Year

Please keep in mind, these are new-to-me discoveries and may not have been released this year.

The Best Apps of the Year (So Far)

Two apps changed my mental health journey this year and I’m forever grateful.

Loona App

Loóna

I have been struggling with nighttime anxiety and this app came recommended to me by my therapist to help with my sleep anxiety and insomnia.

Friends, it has helped me more than ANYTHING we have tried.

In particular, it has helped so much with my racing thoughts and inability to shutdown.

Throw on a pair of headphones and immerse yourself in these gorgeous interactive sleep stories.

The narrator acts as a guide, giving you directions for coloring in images and you tap the screen to fill in the colors.

As you tap, it has ASMR sounds that are beautifully pleasant as an added reinforcement. Sounds like tapping floor boards, paper shuffling, rocking a chair, or spinning a metal toy- that kind of thing.

The music and narration are just beautiful and will transport you somewhere else.

I don’t use this app only for bed though.

In fact, I’m listening to the work/study music while I type this post.

Other musical options include lullabies, sleep songs, music to wake up to, and calming tunes.

We share an account as a family and every family member has tried (and loved) this app too.

Sunnyside App (formerly Cutback Coach)

Sunnyside App (formerly known as the Cutback Coach App)

Last summer I decided I wanted to reign in my evening drinking habit and I used this app to help reinforce my commitment to myself.

Can some people do it without an app?

Sure!

Did I ever honor a commitment that I didn’t invest into and get spelled out to me in black-and-white?

No, I didn’t.

Each week I would make a commitment to the amount I would drink that week and it would coach me every evening to remind me of that commitment I made to myself. It sent me charts on saved money, sleep hours reclaimed, and calories saved.

Gradually, I went from two drinks in the evening (or more) to being a girl who has a glass of wine on special occasions.

Admittedly, the holidays were weird this year and I now notice how I used alcohol to brave social situations.

It was the hardest and best gift I could have ever given myself to feel so aware of my actions.

Alcohol no longer plays a role in my life really at all and it was because of this app.

The Best Podcasts of the Year (So Far)

You know I have to mention the launch of the Book Gang Podcast (subscribe wherever you get podcasts!). The challenge with podcasting has been making shows AND listening to other people’s shows. That said, these are two that I loved this year.

Maintenance Phase Podcast

Maintenance Phase

When people talk about podcast hosts feeling like friends, I never really got that. I have always been pretty grounded in the separation in these feelings…that is until this podcast came along.

Fun fact that might change how you feel about me- I deeply despise harmful wellness culture and dieting fads.

These hosts, it turns out, do too, and they debunk and explore the myths around these topics in their show. They tackle everything from fad diets that we perceive as healthy to the problematic Dr. Oz and don’t mind exposing a few wellness influencers and their dramatic demises.

I have belly-laughed through so many of these episodes and appreciate the extensive lengths to their research they go to on why this culture and how fat-shaming is so harmful.

Sidedoor Podcast

Smithsonian Sidedoor

This podcast is going on its eighth season and I’ve enjoyed every single episode.

This takes you through the side door to learn the stories behind the exhibits from the experts themselves.

Each episode is different and utilizes the help of biologists, artists, historians, archaeologists, zookeepers, and astrophysicists to tell the story behind the story.

I promise, you’ll fall in love with this one too. It’s also (relatively) family-friendly, but you can go through episode-by-episode if you have smaller children to pick topics they might enjoy.

I always learn something new and have fun trivia for any dinner party.

The Best Books of the Year (So Far)

If you thought I could narrow it down to just one, I can’t.

These two books that I’m sharing today transported me to a different time and place that I never wanted to end.

They both are coming out this summer so get those pre-orders in.

Carrie Soto is Back

Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Masterful storyteller Taylor Jenkins Reid serves her readers a healthy dose of love and drama on and off the courts in Carrie Soto is Back

Carie fights for all of her tennis titles but refuses to be a media darling.

If she’s tough (shrug), that is on you.

She can’t be friendly and kick your ass at the same time.

Her nickname, Battle Axe, was won through her ruthless game.

After winning every title (and facing an injury), a girl should just enjoy retiring.

Right?

Well, Carrie refuses to take take the easy road.

She jumps back into training and challenges her body beyond its capabilities to try to win Wimbledon again.

She also discovers that it is okay to be loved and needed by others along the way.

This is CINEMATIC in nature and pure book club catnip.

Sweet, but never saccharine. Bitingly feminist-forward. 

It asks us to examine how we think about women in sports.

Why must we be likable?

Why are men held to different standards?

What does it mean to age out?

How can we find joy in the later years?

I held my breath through tennis matches when I care nothing about sports.

I snickered through trash-talk.

I ugly-cried through the ending and then cried again that this was over.

I am trying to be measured with praise and I can’t.

Reid has written another fully fleshed character that makes this book feel like a memoir.

Was Carrie real? Is there a Wikipedia page on her?

Since her debut, I have followed this author and have read her entire backlist in real-time.

I did my homework, and I’m telling you, this is going to be your favorite book too.

This book hits store on shelves on August 30th. Thank you to the publishing house for this sneak peek.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

Gabrielle Zevin is a tried-and-true storyteller, but no one could have prepared me for the epic and sweeping journey she crafted for these characters in her latest book Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow.

For three decades, we follow two unlikely friends who find each other in a children’s hospital.

Sadie’s sister is receiving treatment for cancer, and Sam is recovering from a series of surgeries after a tragic car accident.

They bond over their shared love of video games in the gaming room of the hospital.

However, when Sam discovers that Sadie has been tallying her visits to fulfill her bat mitzvah service, he feels like her charity project instead of a friend.

It ends the fast friendship abruptly, but they find one another again in college when Sadie shares another computer game she has been developing.

The two decide to develop a game together, which follows their success in the gaming industry with their first game.

It also follows the consequences of virtual world-building when they build a world where all are welcome that ends in violence and the dissolution of their formed partnership.

Sam’s chronic pain from his foot injury are written so beautifully and help us understand the daily challenges of chronic pain and learning to find peace with our disabilities when we face them.

This experience is unlike any other that a reader could imagine because Zevin writes each of the games for this company in beautiful and intricate ways that each feels fully fleshed from idea to execution.

I shared these scenes with my software developer husband, who was equally astounded by this remarkable execution.

One world she built, in particular, left me in a puddle on the ground.

It is a journey within a journey within a journey.

Publishers Weekly put it best when they said this book is a “one-of-a-kind achievement.”

Again, I assure you that this will be your favorite book too.

This book hits store on shelves on July 5th. Thank you to the publishing house for this sneak peek.

Best Movies of the Year (So Far)

I try to see a movie every week (both in theatre and/or streaming).

If you need some inspiration for dating yourself, here is an action shot of me on my weekly solo movie date and you could also try this fun new streaming tradition I’m going to do every year for the awards season.

This is another challenging category to narrow down so I’m going to share three that packed a punch this year.

Everything Everywhere All At Once

Everything Everywhere All At Once (watch the trailer)

I can’t recall the last time that a movie has transported me MORE than Everything Everywhere All At Once. We went into this one knowing very little and I am really glad we did.

This is the official blurb for the film- “An aging Chinese immigrant is swept up in an insane adventure, where she alone can save the world by exploring other universes connecting with the lives she could have led.”

It pretty much tells you NOTHING.

Keep it that way.

This is one of the most beautiful stories I’ve seen on the challenges of mothering our daughters. It made me laugh and cry- sometimes at the same time.

The film was astonishing and visually spectacular.

It was so visually stunning, in fact, that we felt guilty that we didn’t pay for a live theater ticket to see it.

It also is spectacularly strange as she goes through the different universes.

I loved every minute of it and the statements it made about what it means to be family and to fight for those you love.

Captive Audience

Captive Audience (on Hulu- watch the trailer)

I’ve been obsessed with true crime this year, and this series was one of the best I’ve seen.

Honestly, I’ve been surprised that I haven’t heard more people talk about it.

This documentary follows the life of Steven Stayner and his family, diving into the family’s 50-year journey to unravel the tale of two brothers, one deemed a villain and the other a hero.

Don’t Google anything if you are unfamiliar with the case- allow yourself to be immersed in this family’s story (told by their mother).

What made this one so compelling isn’t just the true crime case itself but the unique use of narration they used to tell this story.

The documentarians brought back the made-for-tv cast to read the scenes from the movie that was made about this case.

It sounds cheesy, but these readings were phenomenal, and they also reminisced on their own experience acting in these roles in a really beautiful reflective exercise about how they felt for their own characters.

If you are highly sensitive, the storytelling is compassionate and beautifully told.

The Best TV of the Year (So Far)

I am REALLY having a hard time today with this category because television has been so exceptional this year.

I’m narrowing it down to the best in ensemble casts and outstanding women’s lead performances today.

I do want to give two honorable mentions to The Righteous Gemstones & Physical this year.

The Thing About Pam

The Thing About Pam (on Peacock- watch the trailer)

This true crime tv series is based on the 2011 murder of Betsy Faria that resulted in her husband, Russ’ conviction. All along, Russ swore his innocence, but who else could have done it?

Well, it turns out this brutal crime was committed by her weird friend, Pam Hupp, who has felt MORE than entitled to a few of the finer things in life.

Again, narration wins for this one as it utilizes Keith Morrison, the journalist who first covered the mystery in a 2016 episode of Dateline as the narrator for this saga.

This dark comedy of errors could not be illustrated better and Zellweger deserves every award she receives for playing this role.

Abbott Elementary

Abbott Elementary (on Hulu- watch the trailer)

My friend Kelly recommended this show as one of her favorites, and we devoured this first season.

This adorable mockumentary series follows a group of teachers as they navigate the financial challenges of one public school.

This has so much heart and humor to it.

You can really tell that Quinta Brunson has been a powerful observer in her own mother’s teaching career.

It mimics, I’m sure, the challenges that so many of today’s teachers face. It also showcases brilliantly creative ways teachers work around budget constraints in the show’s thoughtful details.

The Dropout

The Dropout (on Hulu- watch the trailer)

Our fascination with con artists knew no bounds this year, did it?

I think I’ve watched every single con documentary and film that has come out this year. This is the one that I enjoyed the most though.

This limited tv series, chronicles Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes’ attempt to revolutionize the healthcare industry after dropping out of college and starting a technology company.

Thanks to all of this coverage on the case, I felt like I knew this story inside out.

Still, nothing prepared me for the performances of these actors or the way that they would tell this story.

It is such a binge-worthy series that you will have a hard time stopping once you start it. The writing of this story is so thoughtful and there are jaw-dropping performances in this cast too.

Amanda Seyfried could not have been more perfectly cast as Elizabeth Holmes.

The Best Purchases of the Year (So Far)

We continue to embrace minimalism. The purchases that I make and share about will always be authentically chosen. These are the things that have made my life better this year.

Conway AirMega Air Purifier

Conway AirMega Air Purifier

For the record, I’ve never owned an air purifier, but since I bought this I cannot imagine a day without it.

This gadget came highly rated by NYT and has done a phenomenal job not only reducing the odors in our home, but it also has reduced our difficulties with allergies.

The biggest glow-up from this device is when I am cooking. It has an eco-friendly setting that kicks on to clean out detected odors quickly. While I’m cooking, it efficiently cleans up smells before we have even sat down to dinner.

It also does a stellar job with pets, teenagers, sweaty workout smells, and trash.

Thirdlove Classic Uplift Plunge Bra

Thirdlove Classic Uplift Plunge Bra

I had been dealing with unbearable shoulder pain this year and never thought a poorly fitted bra could have contributed so much to this pain.

I had one bra, in particular, that was my go-to, but they went through some pandemic manufacturing changes that really affected the quality (and my body, it turns out!).

This company boasts half-sizing on bras and smart inclusions like a soft-back detail that doesn’t hurt and ways to adjust pads if you have two different cup sizes.

I can’t believe how much better I feel and imagine there might be a few others out there who haven’t seen a bra update since the pandemic that might benefit from a switch too.

Florence Cream Blush

Florence Cream Blush

I’m not sure why it is so hard to find a cream blush with staying power, but my quest ended when I discovered this product this year.

Do you recognize this brand owner? (I had no clue until my daughter told me this fun fact today)

The hue (Glowing G) adds a natural flush that lasts all day. Although it is a little bit pricier than my usual drugstore options, the tiniest bit goes a long way without any need for a second application.

Home Edit Organizers

The Home Edit Organizers Sets (from Walmart)

Our home has been so disorganized since the pandemic and part of the problem is that so many of our organizing systems have been failing us.

I implemented some of these organizing systems in our poorly functioning bathroom closet, pantry, and laundry area with REAL success.

Particularly, we had been stockpiling a lot of canned food during these past couple of years and these stacked tiers have stopped me from buying repeat purchases.

Dishwasher Sign

The Dishwasher Sign

It’s all about communication-free communication at our house. This magnetic dishwasher sign lets everyone know if things are clean or dirty, reducing the stacked dishes with people claiming they couldn’t figure it out.

If you need one more communication-free communication strategy, here’s my final hot tip.

Tell me, what have been your favorite things (so far) this year? Are you going to try anything from today’s list? If you love this list, be sure to sign up for my newsletter for a weekly dose of this fun!

this post contains affiliate links

other things we are loving this year:

The Best Beach Reads For Your Summer Stack from MomAdvice.com
11 beach reads that I loved for your summer
join my book club for a great read year of reading

How to Use Scribd for Your Reading Life

June 13th, 2022
How to Use Scribd for Your Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

Scribd offers unlimited books at an affordable price. Learn why I’ve been listening to audiobooks through the Scribd app since 2013. Here are the pros and cons of this monthly subscription service from a REAL user.

In 2013, I got the opportunity to work with a new eBook and audiobook membership service called Scribd.

What I didn’t expect was that I would convert into one of their most loyal customers who has been a paid member ever since.

A Scribd subscription is BY FAR one of the best book and audiobook subscriptions for your money and is my most used subscription. However, there is a reason I continue to stay with them, and it isn’t just because they have great books (even though that is the most significant part).

Today I want to talk about why I think this is TRULY the best audiobook service for readers and how I make the most of my membership EVERY MONTH.

I want to explore your biggest burning questions like if authors get paid, what the significant differences are between this kind of access versus Kindle Unlimited membership and some particular things that *I* use this membership for (that might be helpful to you too).  

Even if you have been a subscriber for years, today’s tutorial will also offer some hidden benefits to membership.

Let’s get every dollar out of your experience with today’s tutorial.

How to Use Scribd for Your Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

How to Use Scribd for Your Reading Life 

Scribd (it sounds like RIBBED) is, basically, the Netflix membership for book lovers. 

For one monthly fee (currently $11.99 per month), you can have access to their entire catalog of eBooks, audiobooks, sheet music, and uploaded documents.

I want to clarify that this is a digital lending library, much like our experience with online tv streaming services. 

You do not own the materials.

You own membership to stream the books you want to read or listen to in their membership catalog. 

As long as you are a member, you can stream these materials.

At this time, Scribd offers these notable items (plus rotating perks)-

  • Over TWO MILLION audiobooks and ebooks in one app (they work with 5 of the biggest publishing houses).
  • Unlimited sheet music and documents (They have over 70,000+ pieces of sheet music available. This catalog includes the classics and contemporary artists). 
  • Unlimited access to podcasts, magazines, and news (including Time Magazine, The Atlantic, Cook’s Illustrated, & Newsweek).
  • Rotating Membership Perks (more details below on some of my past favorite bonuses).

The monthly subscription includes fiction, nonfiction books (like cookbooks), young adult books, and children’s books.

So your entire family can benefit from this service, all with the cost of just one membership.

How to Find and Add Books to Your Library

Well, the BEST place to check would be the Book Gang Podcast (stream wherever you get podcasts) since it celebrates under-the-radar books, debuts, and backlist selections.

Scribd makes it easier too by offering recommendations based on other books you are reading or have on your library list, much like your experience with other online book purchases. 

You can add books by searching the specific title or browse the incredibly curated selections from Scribd’s editors.

These editors’ picks are where I start when I need a little guidance on book selection.

Bookmark the books that you want to save in your library.

Once you decide what you might like to add to your library, you open up the book and read or listen to it. 

That’s it!

Now let’s talk about those hidden features on the app and some of those faqs.

How to Use Scribd for Your Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

The Best Hidden Scribd Features and Frequently Asked Questions

What Device Can I Read My Scribd Books Through?

These books are available across many ebook reading devices, including iPhone, iPad, Kindle Fire tablet, Android & the Barnes & Noble Nook tablet.

At this time, the Kindle Paperwhite is not a supported device. 

Is it Unlimited? Sort of! 

Regarding reading, there’s no limit on the number of books or audiobooks you can read or listen to each month. 

You may sometimes notice that a title you have saved indicates it will be “Available Soon.” 

Once your subscription renews for the next month, your library will refresh, and you’ll be able to select from the entire library.

The reason for this is because they can “adjust availability” of books based on contracts with these publishing houses.

In their defense, they claim it is to pay authors fairly based on the contract distribution terms.

It can be frustrating so if there is a book you are, particularly excited to read that month, prioritize it just in case it becomes unavailable until the next month.

I would say that this is my only issue with this platform.

How Do I Download Content When I’m Traveling?

To store content on your device for offline reading, tap on the cover of the book you wish to save, and you’ll be dropped into the book’s summary page.

To download the book, tap the “Download” button on the summary page.

Again, it is up to each publisher what they want to make available to its users. Some publishers disable downloading for specific titles, and the ‘Download’ option won’t be shown for those titles.

You’ll still be able to enjoy them on Scribd, but they won’t be directly downloadable.

Do Authors Get Paid When You Read on Scribd?

As I hinted earilier, Scribd does pay authors for their work.

I am quoting them directly when I share this statement, “Scribd has deals with our authors and publishing partners concerning payment for all membership content.

Basically, every time you read a premium title or listen to an audiobook, we pay the author the full price of their work!

Revenue that Scribd earns from monthly membership fees is paid to the original publishers or authors every time you read their work on Scribd.”

What is the Difference Between Scribd and Kindle Unlimited?

Scribd is a better value and they offer a completely different catalog.

Kindle Unlimited is a library of (primarily) self-published authors.

On the other hand, Scribd works with five big publishing houses- Simon and Schuster, Penguin Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins, & Macmillan. 

The catalog is updated so well that I can often secure my new release books the week they come out. 

I find with Scribd that their audiobook selection is more robust though than their book selection. 

What is the Difference Between Scribd and Audible?

The most significant difference between these two is the pricing.

Scribd is an unlimited service, while Audible offers a single credit for $14.95 a month. 

Audible may offer a more extensive selection but comes at a higher price.

You can read about their different plan offerings for more specific pricing.

How to Use Scribd for Your Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

What Are Some of My Favorite Hidden Features on Scribd?

Although I wouldn’t consider this first element to be “hidden,” I want to remind you that access to ebooks means you have access to cookbooks and books on health. 

If you are on a specific diet or diagnosed with a health condition, this resource is INVALUABLE for your family.

When my daughter played guitar, we used the catalog of sheet music for her lessons. 

My kids also have benefitted from my membership when assigned summer literature. (Be sure to read how to enable parental controls if you share your account as a family).

I also want to discuss two lesser-known features you might have missed with your membership. 

Let’s start with your Member Perks! 

Scribd keeps a rotating catalog of member bonuses through various partnerships that, in the past, have included NYT subscriber bundles and Pandora Premium memberships. 

Check this page for the included perks for this month

Another fun feature is that Scribd offers a sleep timer on audiobooks. So if you want to listen to a book to fall asleep, try using this feature! 

Just click the icon in the upper left-hand corner, and you can select any chapter immediately!

Select the moon icon on the lower right side of the audio page to use the Sleep Timer. The menu will appear, and select the length of time you wish for the book to play. The playback will automatically turn off once the timer counts down to zero.

Try Scribd for FREE for 60 Days with my Referral Code

This referral code doesn’t give you a 30-day trial- it provides you SIXTY days of reading to try the platform. Activate it HERE

Sound off: What has been your experience with Scribd? Do you have any other questions about this platform?

Looking for more great reading resources? Don’t miss these posts!

How to Use Storygraph For a Better Reading Life
How to Use the Storygraph App for a Better Reading Life
How to Check Out Library Books for Free On Your Kindle
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The Best Beach Reads For Your Summer Stack

May 18th, 2022

Beach reads are required reading in the warmer months. These summer books deliver on page-turners filled with family drama, steamy love stories, and small-town feelings. Bookmark this summer reading list for your next library day.

The Best Beach Reads For Your Summer Stack from MomAdvice.com

Beach books have been a hot top request in our book club and today I wanted to share a few of my top recommendations for this summer’s reading.

After all, summers should be filled with good books, fun drinks, and fictional escapes. I also have one REALLY compelling memoir that reads as fast as fiction.

Escape real life with a few of my favorite reads this year.

The Best Beach Reads For Your Summer

The View Was Exhausting by Mikaella Clements & Onjuli Datta

Vogue described this as “a perfect summer read,” and I have to co-sign this comment. This book is now my go-to summer recommendation for a sophisticated romance with enough dimension for a thoughtful book club discussion.


The fake dating trope rarely works for me, but this debut examines the media and public’s obsession with Hollywood figures.

Whitman (“Win) Tagore is a well-known actress making headlines with a jet-setting playboy named Leo Milanowski.

The two have made headlines for a decade with their on-again, off-again romance. The public doesn’t know that the entire relationship is staged.


The two manipulate the press for necessary coverage and to gain favor and attention when necessary. All these situations are carefully orchestrated events between two friends.


As you might guess, this gets complicated but in all the best ways. Rather than leaning into the stereotypical plotlines, this goes into smart places like examining what it is like to be a woman of color in Hollywood.


This wife writing duo truly crafted one of my new favorite romances. I can’t wait to see what they write together next! (P.S.- Stay tuned for a summer interview with this fantastic writing duo on the Book Gang Podcast)

Cover Story

Cover Story by Susan Rigetti

This buzzy novel has been making its rounds on bookstagram, and that’s how it landed in my stack. Described as Inventing Anna meets Catch Me If You Can, get ready to meet the next prominent con artist. 

While the novel clocks in at 362 pages, the page count is quite deceptive and can easily be read in a day. Told in diary entries, emails, and text messages, the reader can observe a naive aspiring writer get conned in real-time. 

Lora can’t believe she has landed a summer internship at ELLE Magazine, where she meets Cat Wolff, a contributing editor and heir to a clean-energy mogul. The two begin a side project crafting a short story for a potential magazine submission.

Cat has story ideas, but they aren’t fleshed out well. Lora is a great writer but struggling to make rent. Why not solve both issues at once? 

Cat’s brilliant plan is that Lora can move into the Plaza Hotel with her, and the two can work on the story together.  Lora’s name won’t be on the work, but she can earn a salary and get her start as a ghostwriter. 

Lora grapples with this decision but loves the lifestyle that Cat provides and the ability to do what she loves. It becomes more difficult as she awaits those precious paychecks and as her work begins to gain notoriety. Lora doesn’t know that Cat is being investigated by the FBI, and she may be the next victim.

What makes this story the perfect reading slump buster is that it moves SO FAST by including these different documents and diary entries.

I have been immersed in both Inventing Anna and the memoir that it helped to inspire (My Friend Anna). If you are familiar with this story, it borrows most of its plot from that experience. 

It wasn’t until the 58% mark that the plot switches. 

What makes it the reason you want to finish it is that the last fifteen pages will give you the best plot twist whiplash that you will, FOR SURE, never see coming.

The book is worth the read for the ending alone.

Lessons in Chemistry

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

It is the early 1960s, and Elizabeth Zott wants to do her job and get credit for it. As a chemist, her work environment is less than desirable, with a boy’s club mentality among her coworkers at the Hastings Research Institute.

One man, though, treats Elizabeth with the respect she’s always desired, and their relationship evolves into a mutually beneficial exchange that brings them both unexpected joy. 

In a pivotal plot point, Elizabeth has unexpectedly become a single mother and an incredible television star on a cooking show called Supper at Six.

What makes the show such a success is Elizabeth’s refusal to see women as just housewives and to see them as aspiring chemists too. 

The leading lady isn’t the only notable character because Garmus has made an entire beloved cast of characters for the reader to adore, including an adorable dog that the reader will fall in love with. 

This novel is quirky, heartwarming, and feminist-forward in all the right ways.

This will be on my best books of the year list and would be the perfect selection for any book club. Read this before the TV series on Apple+.

Deconstructed

Deconstructed by Liz Talley

Finlay Donovan fans will devour this fun Southern story that blends heart and humor into a perfectly satisfying story.  

An antique-shop owner overhears a gossipy conversation about her husband that draws into question whether her husband has been unfaithful to her or not.

If her husband has been cheating, she will not let him get away with it, and she decides to hire a private investigator to look into this affair and what else he could be hiding. 

What she doesn’t expect is that her new assistant is the perfect accomplice to help her uncover his hidden secrets.

Not only is Ruby a wildly talented seamstress, turning her store’s trash into treasures, but she also knows all the right people to get any job done in town. 

These two women become unlikely friends, and there are some lovely layers to this story with checkered pasts and town secrets. 

What the Fireflies Knew

What the Fireflies Knew by Kai Harris

It is no secret that I am a sucker for coming-of-age stories, and this debut delivered on so much beauty. If you enjoyed our book club book, The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones, this novel would hit all the sweet spots. 

Almost-eleven-year-old Kenyatta Bernice (KB) has undergone some challenging changes in her life.

Not only has her father died, but her mother also has left.

She and Nia (her sister) are dropped off at her estranged grandfather’s home for an indefinite amount of time with no explained reasons. 

Told through KB’s eyes, this story is beautifully told as she learns more about what tore her mother and grandfather apart.

It’s a big summer of discovery for many reasons.

Still, one of the most powerful is the transition between the two sisters as Nia begins to separate herself from her sister and move away from the things of her youth to embark on the big girlhood journey of self-discovery (and boys).

I have never read this stage so beautifully captured- it reminded me a lot of the transition between my sister and me at that stage.

If you want a book that you want to hug when you finish, this is the book to add to your stack.

Harris writes vividly and beautifully with turns of phrases that are a delight to read.

It also layers in more significant themes like mental illness, race, and identity that add depth to this sweet summer adventure story.  

Described as an ode to “black girlhood and adolescence,” this was one of my favorite library discoveries.

Cleopatra and Frankenstein

Cleopatra and Frankenstein by Coco Mellors

The book opens with a young painter (Cleo) meeting an older successful businessman (Frank). They could not be more opposite but immediately are drawn to one another’s company.

They find a deep appreciation for one another and also acquire their nicknames, Cleopatra and Frankenstein, yielding the book’s unique title. 

Cleo requires a Green Card, and Frank offers her both the steadiness that her artistic life lacks and a permanent residence in the states. 

We follow the two as their marriage goes through the highs of new love to the monotony in the middle and then what it feels like to fall out of love. 

Each chapter is a month, and the observations of family and friends round out the story as they too observe this relationship and try to forge their own in different ways. 

There is so much humor throughout these pages, even in heartbreaking moments in their marriage.

Their brief stint as parents of a sugar glider (go ahead and look that up on Tik Tok and tell me you aren’t intrigued) may be some of the most memorable chapters I’ve read in a long time.  

Mellors writing draws Salley Rooney comparisons. Comparatively, I thought this delivered on Katherine Heiney writing joy.

It’s not just the unlikely love story though, for me. It is the dry humor where this one shined and made it such a wildly memorable debut. 

If you are looking for really readable literary fiction, this is it.

Book Lovers

Book Lovers Emily Henry

Beach Read was my favorite book by this author until this latest contemporary romance dropped.

When a New York City literary agent goes on a small-town getaway with her sister, the two work through a checklist of adventures that you would appreciate in any Hallmark movie. 

Expecting to find romance with a hunky local in Sunshine Falls, North Carolina, is just what Nora believe is destined to happen. 

She couldn’t expect that a difficult editor she worked with from the city just might be living there too. 

In Henry’s signature writing style, this has heart, humor, and loads of bookish moments.

This love story also loves to poke a little fun at the romance tropes while leaning into a few of them in its own story.

Fans of Elin Hilderbrand or Jennifer Weiner should definitely get acquainted with Emily Henry’s backlist selections as well as this fantastic new release.

This Will Be Funny Later

This Will Be Funny Later by Jenny Pentland

This fascinating memoir of Jenny Pentland’s childhood is the book that you won’t be able to put down.

Imagine your real-life becomes episodes for a sitcom. Most of us can’t fathom this existence, but the life of Jenny (and her siblings) became the show we know as “Roseanne. “

Jenny’s mom, Roseanne Arnold, is more of a compassionate side note, while the meat of this story focuses on Jenny’s anxieties from paparazzi encounters and struggles with obesity.

In response to these trials, she goes through various programs, including those infamous wilderness camps and fat camps. 

A couple of truth bombs about Pentland’s journey (both in these programs and with the paparazzi) may have yielded an audible gasp. I was also unfamiliar with Roseanne’s backstory, so the captured moments are pretty surprising.

Through even these sad and challenging moments, Pentland embraces the funny.

I, indeed, will count this among my favorite memoirs.   (P.S.- Stay tuned for a summer interview with Jenny on my podcast)

The Kaiju Preservation Society

The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi

Craving a summer blockbuster film in a book? This lighthearted science fiction book is just what your beach bag needs.

The timing for this is just as the pandemic is descending on the world, but there is no need to stick around to see the devastation when you get to go to another world.

THANK GOD!

Jamie is a driver for an Uber Eats competitor although he never expected his corporate job to take such a turn.

Stuck in the rat race of trying to make ends meet, he ends up making a life-changing series of food deliveries to someone that promises him a job that can get him away from what’s happening in the world.

AND pay him far better too.

Jamie joins a team of scientists in an alternate world intent on the preservation of Kaijus (giant dinosaur monsters).

This book is filled with laughs and “boy humor” that I couldn’t wait to pass on to my husband, from laugh-out-loud mating rituals to heart-pounding danger.

I love that Scalzi never takes things too seriously and isn’t afraid to poke a little fun at some of the more predictable themes.

Stick around for the author’s note on this one- it includes a tale of a double-saved manuscript that was lost and how this book came to be.

Fool Me Once

Fool Me Once by Ashley Winstead

I fell in love with Ashley Winstead’s thrilling debut and was so surprised to see that her next book was a romance.

This gigantic genre leap shouldn’t have worked so well, but Winstead delivered on a laugh-out-loud plot that has made me a believer that she can write anything.

Lee works as a communications director at a women-run electric car company.

While serious and successful at work, Lee definitely leans into the “work hard play hard” mindset. She’s not afraid to throw back a few or call a guy for a one night stand. 

Her carefree attitude isn’t because she’s so easygoing.

There have been many heartbreaks in her life (both in her childhood and as she is older), which is why she keeps so many at a distance.

This jumping to conclusions and mistrust is exactly what ends an important relationship in her life with some of her signature sabotage.

It is also why, five years later, she is stunned to discover that she must reunite with this old boyfriend when the two are both working towards getting a clean energy bill rolling. 

With a political backdrop that doesn’t lean into the negativity, lots of chemistry between old flames, and loads of LOLs, this is destined to be a favorite in this summer’s book stack.

The Truth About Ben And June

The Truth About Ben and June by Alex Kiester

Thank you to the publishing house for the complimentary copy. 

The story opens with the disappearance of a young mother, and Kiester builds a beautifully believable mystery layered with big book club themes. 

Ben never expected to be at a police station inquiring about the procedure for filing a missing person case, but that is precisely where he has found himself.

The juggle of work and family without his wife takes its toll quickly and he would do anything to have June back.

Ben discovers that he doesn’t really know his wife at all and, frankly, neither do her friends.

Kiester takes the reader on a journey to understand June’s motives and a rarely explored topic in literature. To tell you what this is, though, would rob you of the beauty in this read. 

CW: suicide ideation

The Best Psychological Thriller Books to Read

Looking for a few thrillers to add to this stack? Be sure to check out this list of the best psychological thriller books to check out!

What beach reads would you add to today’s stack? Let me know what I’m missing in the comments below!

The Best Beach Reads For Your Summer Stack from MomAdvice.com

The Best Psychological Thriller Books To Read

April 18th, 2022
The Best Psychological Thriller Books to Read from MomAdvice.com

Looking for great psychological thriller books? This list offers mystery, unreliable narrators, and creepy serial killers. 5-star thrillers guaranteed!

I’ll lead with an unpopular book opinion- The Woman in the Window & The Silent Patient are not my favorite thrillers.

Embracing the unreliable narrator trope requires more than replicating the next Gillian Flynn Gone Girl experience. It must come with a good backstory and the writing chops to lead me down the wrong path.

Do these books exist? 

You bet they do! 

Today I’m sharing 12 thrillers to get your book stack started. 

The Best Psychological Thriller Books To Read

Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica

Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica

Mary Kubica is a MomAdvice favorite and for a good reason. She writes some of the best psychological thrillers, and I’ve been sharing about her work since her debut (read my exclusive interview on that one). 

In fact, I am such a fan that Mary graciously agreed to co-host the podcast with me to share about HER favorite psychological thrillers, so definitely give this episode a listen to learn more about her writing process and the books she loves. 

LISTEN HERE:

Did you know that Local Woman Missing won the Audie Award? If you are looking for an audiobook to devour, I would recommend adding this to your listening stack.

Kubica builds a great twisty story that has the just right amount of suspense and whodunit fun that had me flipping the pages as fast as I could.

It is unusual for more than one person to go missing in a neighborhood, but that’s what happens in this story leaving one to wonder if these cases could be related. Not only do two women disappear, but a six-year-old little girl has also vanished.

Eleven years later, though, the child is found, and everyone wants to know where she could have been and how this is connected to the other disappearances.

This book is fast-paced, has inventive twists, and reads like a suspenseful film.  I, truly, had zero idea where this was going and that made it a pleasure to read from start to finish. 

The Push by Ashley Audrain

The Push by Ashley Audrain

Meaty enough to be a book club pick, shocking enough to have you holding your breath, and twisty enough to keep you guessing until the final pages. What more could a girl want in a thriller?

Motherhood doesn’t come naturally to everyone and Audrain shows how this can make connections with our children difficult, especially if we don’t have any example of what that looks like.

This is the case for Blythe who ends up having a child that is unusually difficult and where she struggles to find connection.

Is it because she hasn’t had the right example or is it because there really is something disturbing about her child?

The book shares Blythe’s story, but also shares the story of generations of women before her that have all had disturbing relationships with their children.

When a tragedy happens, the reader is left wondering if this is really brought on by the child or if Blythe’s past is just catching up to her.

White Smoke by Tiffany Jackson

White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson

Marigold struggles with anxiety after a bedbug situation in her home caused significant stress, among other difficult situations she has had to face.

Her newly blended family is embarking on a new journey, though it is just the change they all need. Her mom has accepted a new job, and one of these fun perks is rent-free living. 

When they pull up to their newly renovated home, they realize that the neighborhood is unexpectedly creepy. All the houses are rundown, and the neighbors are less than welcoming.

But that isn’t the only thing that’s unwelcoming.

The house has a vibe to it that is deeply unsettling. 

Jackson’s love for the Goosebumps series inspired this fast-paced YA psychological thriller. If you need a further endorsement, R.L. Stine said: “The creeps come on slowly, then start to build. I wanted to scream, but I was too busy to turn pages. I had to know.”

Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier

Marin seems to be leading the perfect life- a fantastic husband, a beautiful son, and a successful career. 

Her life comes to a crashing halt when she is out shopping and her son is taken.  In this split second of her looking away, her son goes missing, and her entire world is shattered.

One year later, Marin’s marriage is struggling, they still have been unable to find her son, and she is in a spiraling depression. 

She hires a private investigator to reexamine the case as a last-ditch attempt. 

What she digs up, though, isn’t information about Sebastian but surprising information about her husband that changes everything. 

The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

This thriller doesn’t lean into the intoxicated woman trope or a therapist who suddenly has become the love interest in the couple’s story. For that, we are thankful. 

Marissa and Matthew Bishop are the title’s “golden couple” who surprisingly found their perfect marriage in trouble. Who better get their marriage on track than Avery Chambers, whose controversial therapy methods have gotten her kicked out of traditional therapy settings and featured in headline news. 

Her program guarantees results even if it explores beyond the boundaries of the traditional settings. As each viewpoint is revealed, the reader is led on a wild goose hunt on who offers the most reliable view since they ALL harbor a few secrets. 

This writing duo delivers again on a fast-paced thriller with solid twists. 

I love that they wrote in a few red herrings that had me fixating that I knew the endings or twists, but I was wrong.

We Are Watching Eliza Bright by A.E. Osworth

We Are Watching Eliza Bright by A.E. Osworth

Eliza is one of only two women who are hired as a programmer at a gaming company. Unfortunately, her presence isn’t welcomed, particularly in the programming department, where Eliza becomes a source of ridicule and is harassed.

When the incident is reported, her boss doesn’t take the necessary next steps and goes along with the “boys will be boys” toxic dialogue instead of addressing the issue correctly. 

When Eliza takes the incident to a journalist, all hell breaks loose as people begin to demonize, target, and dangerously harass her. One user, in particular, has made it his mission to destroy Eliza for her actions.

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Need a thriller you can finish in a single day? This novel from Lisa Jewell is just the ticket!

I am, admittedly, fascinated by cults and the power of charismatic leaders to manipulate people to do unthinkable things. I’m reading another cult thriller RIGHT NOW.

In this story, Libby returns home from work to find a letter written to her on her 25th birthday. 

It is the letter that she has been waiting for all her life.

Within the note, she learns the identity of her birth parents and that she is the sole inheritor of an abandoned mansion in one of London’s most fashionable neighborhoods that are worth millions.

This house has a dark history that makes it less desirable than one might expect. 

Twenty-five years ago, the police were called to this house because there were reports of a baby crying. 

This baby, healthy and happy, was found in her crib- safe and sound.

Downstairs though, were three dead bodies, all dressed in black, and the other four children had mysteriously disappeared.

Get the surprising backstory in this twisty thriller.

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing

Told from the husband’s perspective, we are quickly enveloped in how much he adores his wife. They seem like the perfect couple, and she does all the things any good wife would do. She’s beautiful, she keeps track of everyone’s activities, she makes incredible dinners, and they have a great romantic life. 

It’s just that their new favorite hobby is working as a team to seduce and murder 

This web of lies affects everyone in their house, like their poor unsuspecting children, and it becomes more and more difficult to keep anyone from finding out, especially when people turn up dead.

This added and believable suspense is what I loved about this story and kept me engaged until those final pages.

Too Good To Be True by Carola Lovering

Too Good to Be True by Carola Lovering

While Skye is over the moon to find her soulmate, her family and friends remain skeptical about Burke because she knows so little about him. 

It doesn’t help that Burke doesn’t have a lot of friends or family to back up the story of his past.

Burke’s real story is deeply twisted with another woman, and Skye is about to find out why she has become the target of Burke’s affection and how deep his lies go.

This is one of those books that you should read as little as possible about and enjoy one of those crazy 24-hour stay-up-way-too-late thriller vibes.

Pretty Things by Janelle Brown

Pretty Things by Janelle Brown

Nina’s mom is a con artist who does her best to keep Nina in a good school and has given her the best childhood she can, despite her profession.

When Nina finds friendship with a wealthy boy at school, they find comfort in being outcasts together. 

As their friendship blossoms into something more, they get busted by his father, and Nina is removed from the school and taken away from him.

Now Nina works as a high-end con artist herself; she scopes social media accounts for the fabulously wealthy, drugs them up, and then takes all she can from their home.

When she hits a rough financial patch, she remembers the boy she fell in love with…oh, and the passcode to the family safe that holds millions.

The Mother-In-Law by Sally Hepworth

The Mother-In-Law by Sally Hepworth

Lucy knows that she is not the wife that Diana has envisioned for her son.  Lucy struggles with the distance Diana seems to create within them, despite her charitable spirit and working tirelessly for others as an advocate for female refugees.

When Diana unexpectedly dies of suicide, her family is surprised and realizes that her cancer diagnosis may have just been too much for her.

The problem?

The autopsy shows that she never had cancer, but the body does show traces of poison and evidence of suffocation.

Diana’s complex relationships come into play as you try to piece together what has happened. Told in alternating points of view, through past and present, you realize just how many people had a motive in Diana’s death and how many layers she did have to her own story.

False Witness by Karin Slaughter

False Witness by Karin Slaughter

Trigger warnings galore- proceed with caution.

Leigh has been running from her past for twenty years, and the only one who knows the truth is her estranged sister. Callie hasn’t been a part of Leigh’s life as she battles a lifetime of addiction. Yet, the sisters must come together because time is running out, and life as they both know it could end.

I would suggest reading the letter to the reader BEFORE reading this one, which you will find tucked in at the back of this book. 

Slaughter chose to set this story during pandemic times, and it is laced with all the daily dilemmas we are finding ourselves in with our current pandemic and why she felt it was important for this story.

This book is so gripping and has so many layers to it. The dynamics between how these two sisters weather the pandemic and the big moral dilemmas these two face make this an incredibly captivating read.

Looking for more thriller fun?

19 thrillers to keep you up all night
19 more thrillers to keep you up all night
read my exclusive interview with Ruth Ware

QUESTION: What’s the latest thriller you read that kept you up past your bedtime? Comment below!

MomAdvice 2020 Book Club Selections

December 16th, 2019

MomAdvice 2020 Book Club Selections

Have you been looking for a free book club to join? Check out the 2020 MomAdvice Book Club Selections and join our FREE book club today! These 12 selections have all been read and loved, by me.  I look forward to our free book club chats, interactive book club crafts, and our interviews with this year’s chosen authors.

This is one of my favorite days of the year. I am so excited to reveal our MomAdvice Book Club selections with you today. 

I have read each of these selections and couldn’t be prouder of the gathering this year. Not only do I love them, but I think that they will lend themselves well to a great book club discussion.

Why?

Well, each of these books have challenged my viewpoint, in some way. I really believe that this is one of the BEST side effects to being a reader. It expands your world in a new way and reminds us that we all have the capacity to grow.

After reading each of these, I contacted each of the authors (with the exception of Betty Smith, of course) to let them know that their book had been officially selected as our official monthly selection.

I admit, I am no Reese, Jenna, or Oprah, but I do believe that I have gotten many to read books that they never would have picked up.

I consider this one of my superpowers.

I am hoping there will be a few on this year’s list that will be new to you and that they will top your list of favorites too.

If one of your goals this year is to join a book club or read more, I’d love to introduce you to our FREE book club you can join. This is  an AMAZING Virtual Book Club group filled with almost 3,000 (!!!) readers where we all share in a monthly discussion together.

MomAdvice Free Online Book Club

What Will Be Different in the MomAdvice Book Club This Year?

This all has been a big learning process, for me, on how to expand and make the book club even more beneficial to you.

In the past, I selected novels based on awards, authors that consistently delivered great reads, or anticipated buzz books for the year. 

This strategy ended up working a lot, but there were books that I wasn’t as crazy about that ended up on our list.

This year I made it a goal to read all the 12 selections to (hopefully) deliver consistently great books that you will, truly, love. 

I also  contacted the authors to let them know that their book had been officially selected as our official monthly selection.

With their help, we will be having interactive discussions, reviving the author interview series, and we will have a copy of each book to giveaway to a reader.

In addition to our chats, this year, I am partnering with MJ, at pars caeli, to craft a project around each read. 

MomAdvice Book Club Chats

How Does the MomAdvice Facebook Book Club Work?  

Scroll down to see my list of the twelve books that we will be discussing.

The Book Club Chat is held on the last Friday (of the month)  and an Event invite is sent out to members at the beginning of each month.

Once you RSVP to an event, Facebook does its thing and sends out reminders to you.

Discussion questions are posted throughout the event and you are able to hop on at anytime during the day (or when you finish that book) to answer the questions at a time that is convenient for you.

This year, we will have many authors also participating in our chats.

How fun is that?

Feel free to join us and let your friends know about the group too.

The more the merrier!

How Much Does it Cost?

Nada.

Well, What Do YOU Get Out Of It?

I want this to be fun and free for you. I post the daily Kindle book deals (sign up for our daily deals newsletter to receive these directly to your inbox)  and I share our book club picks through something called an affiliate link.

What is an affiliate link? 

Great question!

Basically, this link gives me a few pennies on each of your purchases that help pay for the web hosting on our website.

The web hosting currently costs me approximately $200 monthly and your purchases from this group basically help to offset that cost for our family at no cost to you. This year, I will also have the additional expense of mailing giveaway books and the cost to hire a designer for our crafts.

Thank you for helping me make this book club great with your purchases.

I promise that I try to only share the good stuff and good books.

I know I can’t appeal to everyone’s taste, but I do try to pick books that I think you will enjoy.

I also would like to think I made a lot of great bookworm friends too in this group. It’s been fun to have a place to obsess about books, to share what we are reading each week, and just hang out with other people who just get you.

I have tried to cultivate a positive environment and the group is filled with those kinds of drama-free people that you want to have filling your Facebook feed.

MomAdvice Reading Retreat

How Do I Meet People from the MomAdvice Book Club?

Did you know that we hosted our first MomAdvice Reading Retreat this year?

I can’t begin to tell you how magical it all was and how thankful I was to meet these incredible women.

You have to be an active member in our club to participate in our face-to-face weekend retreats so be sure to join!

Enough waiting! I’m thrilled to share these twelve 2020 book club selections with you today! I can’t wait to hear what you think about this year’s list.

MomAdvice 2020 Book Club Selections

MomAdvice 2020 Book Club Selections

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett January- The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

The Stationary Shop by Marjan Kamali February- The Stationary Shop by Marjan Kamali

The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica March- The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica

When All Is Said by Anne Giffin April- When All Is Said by Anne Giffin

Dominicana by Angie Cruz May- Dominicana by Angie Cruz

Formation by Ryan Leigh Dostie June- Formation by Ryan Leigh Dostie

The Warehouse by Rob Hart July- The Warehouse by Rob Hart

We Came Here to Forget by Andrea Dunlop August- We Came Here to Forget by Andrea Dunlop

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson September- Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake

October- The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake

November Road by Lou Berney November- November Road by Lou Berney

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith December- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (my favorite classic!)

MomAdvice 2020 Book Club Selections

 

Join in on the MomAdvice Book Club HERE! Looking for book ideas? Check out our entire Book section of the site!

Don’t forget to friend me on GoodReads

You can also sign up for the MomAdvice Daily Book Deals Newsletter with the latest book news!

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

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8 TV Shows with Hilarious Halloween Episodes

October 28th, 2019

8 TV Shows with Hilarious Halloween Episodes from MomAdvice.com

 

Here’s a list of everything you need to stream on television for Halloween! These 8 tv shows, with hilarious Halloween episodes, prove that Halloween can be funny (and not spooky). Be sure to pin this post so you can remember this list of Halloween episodes, for your family,  every year.

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

When I was little I started having nightmares. My mom eventually realized they were caused by something she’d allowed me to watch on television. The terrifying show? Scooby Doo.

I’m no longer scared by a silly cartoon, but I’ll admit I could only watch one season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer before I got too scared. (Yes, I know it’s so fake! Yes, I agree it’s super campy! I know!)

I don’t see horror movies in the theater, I don’t read Stephen King novels, and when our local amusement park starts playing its “fright night” commercials every year I lose my mind because HOW DARE THEY.

Suffice it to say, I’m not really here for the scary parts of Halloween. But the candy and costumes?

Oh yeah, that’s my jam.

I love dressing up my kids and seeing other kids’ clever and cute costumes. Sometimes I even dress up with them.

And, obviously, I’m in it for the candy.

And the pumpkins.

And don’t forget It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

The Peanuts gang waiting for the Great Pumpkin is, by far, our family favorite for Halloween entertainment.

(A close second for me is the “Monster Mash” song, which — for some reason — never fails to make me laugh.

And sing along.

Much to my kids’ dismay.)

But luckily for scaredy cat couch potatoes like me, that’s not the only Halloween fun to be found on TV.

To hear Mary and Amy talk about Halloween in pop culture, listen to season 2, episode 17 of The Couch with Mary Carver.

In case you’re like me and looking for something to watch that’s more silly than spooky, I’ve got some recommendations.

8 TV Shows with Hilarious Halloween Episodes

 

These shows have aired several Halloween episodes, so you have plenty to choose from!

Brooklyn 9-9 Halloween Episodes List

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Each year’s Halloween Heist is crazier and funnier than the last, but season 5 takes the cake (and our hearts). Stream on Hulu.

  • Halloween – Season 1, Episode 6
  • Halloween 2 – Season 2, Episode 4
  • Halloween, Part III – Season 3, Episode 5
  • Halloween IV – Season 4, Episode 5
  • HalloVeen – Season 5, Episode 4

Modern Family Halloween Episodes List

Modern Family

If ever there was a family that goes all out for Halloween, the Pritchetts and Dunphys are it! Stream on Hulu.

  • Halloween – Season 2, Episode 6
  • Open House of Horrors – Season 4, Episode 5
  • Halloween 3: AwesomeLand – Season 6, Episode 6
  • Halloween IV: Revenge of Rod Skyhook – Season 8, Episode 5
  • It’s the Great Pumpkin, Phil Dunphy – Season 9, Episode 5
  • Good Grief – Season 10, Episode 5

Parks & Rec Halloween Episode List

Parks and Recreation

Of course the show that introduced us to new holidays including Galentine’s Day and Treat Yourself Day would have fun Halloween episodes! (My favorite is the one where Ben just about breaks Leslie’s heart and ours, but then totally redeems himself. It’s the best kind of Halloween surprise!) Stream on Netflix.

  • Greg Pikitis – Season 2, Episode 7
  • Meet N Greet – Season 4, Episode 5
  • Halloween Surprise – Season 5, Episode 5

New Girl Halloween Episodes

New Girl

The New Girl gang threw a lot of parties in their loft, including on Halloween. But I think I love the one at the haunted house, where the relationship drama is scarier than the special effects, even more. Stream on Netflix.

  • Halloween – Season 2, Episode 6
  • Keaton – Season 3, Episode 6

How I Met Your Mother Halloween Episodes List

How I Met Your Mother

Who commits to a bit better than this gang? Nobody, I tell you! Ted’s search for “the slutty pumpkin” (not to mention their costumes through the years) never fails to make me laugh! Stream on Hulu.

  • The Slutty Pumpkin – Season 1, Episode 6
  • Canning Randy – Season 6, Episode 7
  • The Slutty Pumpkin Returns – Season 7, Episode 8

Community Halloween Episodes List

Community

The later seasons of Community were so disappointing, but those early seasons were must-see TV for me. And their Halloween episodes? Well, they brought us Britta’s squirrel costume, Jeff Winger in eyeliner, and Abed as Batman. Who can argue with that? Stream on Hulu.

  • Introduction to Statistics – Season 1, Episode 7
  • Epidemiology – Season 2, Episode 6
  • Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps – Season 3, Episode 5

The Office Halloween Episodes List

The Office

When a regular day at this office is so crazy, you know Halloween is going to be totally bonkers! Stream on Netflix.

  • Halloween – Season 2, Episode 5
  • Diwali – Season 3, Episode 6
  • Employee Transfer – Season 5, Episode 6
  • Murder – Season 6, Episode 10
  • Costume Contest – Season 7, Episode 6
  • Spooked – Season 8, Episode 5
  • Here Comes Treble – Season 9, Episode 5

Frasier Halloween Episodes List

Frasier

Of course our favorite stuffy Seattle-ites would throw a fancy Halloween costume ball. And of course misunderstandings and laughter are aplenty! Stream on Netflix.

  • Halloween – Season 5, Episode 3
  • Room Full of Heroes – Season 9, Episode 6
  • Tales from the Crypt – Season 10, Episode 5

Mary Carver is a writer, speaker, and recovering perfectionist. She lives for good books, spicy queso, and television marathons, but she lives because of God’s grace. Mary writes with humor and honesty about giving up on perfect and finding truth in unexpected places on her blog,MaryCarver.com. She is the author of Fast Talk & Faith: A 22-Day Devotional Inspired by Gilmore Girls and co-author of Choose Joy: Finding Hope & Purpose When Life Hurts. She is also a regular contributor to incourage.me and MothersofDaughters.com. Mary and her husband live in Kansas City with their two daughters.

What are your favorite Halloween TV episodes?

To hear Mary and Amy talk about Halloween in pop culture, listen to season 2, episode 17 of The Couch with Mary Carver.

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Love this post? Here are 4 other Halloween projects you might appreciate!

How to Make a Minecraft Steve Costume from MomAdvice.com diy a minecraft costume for halloween

Doughnut Hole Ghost Cake doughnut hole ghost cake (no baking required!)

how to make glow in the dark jell-o how to make glow-in-the-dark jell-o

19 thrillers to keep you up all night

Happy Halloween!!

The Best Halloween Episodes to Stream on Television from MomAdvice.com

 

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How to Make a Pumpkin Spice Latte

October 28th, 2019

How to Make a Pumpkin Spice Latte from MomAdvice.com

It is so easy to make your pumpkin spice lattes at home. Today’s coffee drink is made with real pumpkin purée, your favorite milk, with a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice, and coffee. You won’t believe how easy it is to diy this expensive treat at home. Check out this pumpkin spice latte recipe today and SO many more diy Starbucks drink recipes.

Fall, for me, is Pumpkin Spice Latte season and that’s why I love sharing my favorite DIY Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe with you. Not only do you get to have full control over the sugar and fat content, you also get to save a few dollars in your pocket too.

Have you ever thought about what might actually be going into your pumpkin spice latte? Here is what I discovered, when researching for this recipe…

For a long time, Starbucks did not have pumpkin in their pumpkin spice lattes!

Say what?

Don’t worry, you get your pumpkin spice latte full of real pumpkin now, but it was one of those interesting facts that I stumbled on while preparing today’s post.

How Does Starbucks Get the Pumpkin Flavor In Your Lattes?

Did you know that up until about 2015, the PSL didn’t have any actual pumpkin in it?

Originally, they relied upon an artificial caramel coloring and a mix of spices to create these drinks. 

That’s why it was such a big deal when Starbucks announced that they were getting rid of the caramel syrup and relying on a little pumpkin instead.

It is good to know that when you order this treat that you can look forward to these delicious real ingredients in your cup.

How to Make a Pumpkin Spice Latte from MomAdvice.com

Why Should I Make a Starbucks Drink at Home if It Doesn’t Contain Artificial Ingredients Anymore?

Honestly, for the cost-savings.  As we all know, the cost to buy drinks from Starbucks REALLY adds up.

Have you heard of the latte factor?

This outlines PERFECTLY how these tiny expenses multiply over time.

Let’s look at the cost on a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte!

Price will vary by location, but hovers in the $4.45- $5.45 range for a tall.

Even if you only buy a tall latte once a week (as a treat yo’self day!!), this will cost you $17.80 a month or $213.60 a year.

This also doesn’t factor in the tip for the barista, which is SUPER important (just ask my brother who worked there!) or if you need to use an alternative milk, like coconut or almond.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather put $213 to work by investing it in women-owned businesses and saving it up for my retirement fund.

In addition to the cost factor, there is also the huge difference in  fat and sugar in each of these of these delicious beverages.

A grande is 380 calories (120 of these are fat calories) and an unbelievable 50 grams of sugar.

This is why it is so great to make this treat at home. When you make these Starbucks copycat drinks at home, you have more control over the sugar, the milk mixture used, and the strength of the espresso or coffee. 

Heck, who even said that these need to be caffeinated? Try a decaffeinated pumpkin spice latte so you can enjoy it later in the day because YOU CAN AFFORD IT NOW.

This is why I developed my own recipe to share with you today. 

This Pumpkin Spice Latte relies on strongly brewed coffee, canned pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, milk (I love almond!), vanilla, and a fraction of the sugar.

What Type of Pumpkin Do I Use For My Pumpkin Spice Latte- I Get Confused at the Grocery Store?

One of the biggest mistakes I made, when first starting to cook with pumpkin, is picking up the wrong type of pumpkin at the grocery store. If you see a can that says, “Pumpkin Pie Mix,” (it looks like this), you do not want this type of pumpkin for your pumpkin spice latte.

Pumpkin Pie Mix is intended to just be mixed with milk and eggs to create pumpkin pies really fast. Lucky for you, you don’t need anything like that because you have this recipe in your back pocket.

Instead, you are looking for canned pumpkin (that will look like this) because it is ONLY pumpkin and allows you to add in your own sugar and spices to create your dishes. 

As you can see, the labels are almost identical and this can really throw people off when they are shopping for their recipes. 

How to Make a Pumpkin Spice Latte from MomAdvice.com

What Supplies Do I Need to Make a Pumpkin Spice Latte at Home?

The tools I would recommend are an immersion blender (or small individual blender for drinks or a simple whisk), a saucepan, and a french press or espresso pot (depending on how strong you like to make it).


I like to use a French Press for my lattes, but I also embrace my little stovetop espresso maker when I need that extra bit of caffeine.

How Can I Make a Pumpkin Spice Latte At Home if I Have a Keurig?

I don’t, personally, have a Keurig, but two of my amazing readers shared their tricks to get that coffee shop taste at home with your Keurig.

Lora said, “Try one of the dark, strong coffee K-Cups they offer! Jet fuel is one. They do make some nice strong ones you just have to look!”

What a great idea! Take a peek at some of the k-cup options for a diy latte at home.

Another reader, Kim, shared this super smart idea to brew coffee with a completely different type of k-cup.

Kim said, “If you buy the iced coffee blends for Keurig (I have Nantucket Iced Coffee) and just brew it like a normal cup (not over ice) – it is super strong and works great for these type recipes!”

Another fantastic suggestion! You can shop for iced coffee k-cup options here.

Do You Have Any Pumpkin Spice Latte Topping Suggestions?

I try to skip these (because of the sugar and calories), but I would HIGHLY recommend this fun spiced whipped cream as a finisher and an extra dusting of cinnamon.

How to Make a Pumpkin Spice Latte

What Other Ways Can I Spice Up My Latte Routine?

Here are the best suggestions from our reader comments!

“Something that I have been doing for the past week that creates a DELICIOUS cinnamon flavor is to make cinnamon water to brew your coffee with. Take a large jar or container. Fill it with filtered water and throw in a cinnamon stick or 2 (depending on size). Let it sit for a whole day. The next morning use that water to make your coffee and it is to die for! Would be a great addition to this drink, especially those who have texture issues! Cheers!”- Liz

“I’ve made this at least a half dozen times now…YUM!! Thanks for sharing. I reduced the sugar and with the last two I’ve made, I’ve cut the cinnamon stick in half to make ’em stretch a little, but those are the only changes I’ve made. Thanks again! LOVE the recipe and all the money I’m saving”- Sara

I love hearing how much you enjoy these homemade Starbucks treats! I also REALLY love that this is a great way to put a partial can of pumpkin to work!

A batch of this simmering away on your stove will bring the scent of the Fall season right into the room.

This milky coffee treat tastes just like a little pumpkin pie with a hint of warm spices throughout. Top it with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon to round out these beautiful flavors.

By making this at home, it is one homemade treat you can enjoy guilt-free as often as you like!

Be sure to scroll down after the recipe to get even more warm drink ideas and good old Starbucks Knock-Off Recipes.

Remember, this is just a base recipe that can be played with to your own tastes and preferences. It is meant to be personalized depending on how you like your latte!

Thank you all for trying and sharing this recipe!

The response has been overwhelming on this one and I love it.

I can’t wait to hear what you think of today’s recipe!

How to Make a Pumpkin Spice Latte

How to Make a Pumpkin Spice Latte
 
Recipe Type: Drinks
Author: MomAdvice.com
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2 servings
It is so easy to make your pumpkin spice lattes at home. Today’s coffee drink is made with real pumpkin purée, your favorite milk, with a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice, and coffee. You won’t believe how easy it is to diy this expensive treat at home. Check out this pumpkin spice latte recipe today!
Ingredients
  • 2 cups milk of your choice (almond, rice, coconut, whole, skim, 2%)
  • 1 cup very strong coffee (4 tablespoons coffee grounds to 1 cup of hot water)
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon spice
  • 2 heaping spoonfuls of pumpkin
Instructions
  1. Pour the milk, pumpkin puree, sugar, strong coffee, vanilla extract, and spiced pumpkin seasonings into a saucepan.
  2. Heat saucepan over medium heat until the coffee is steaming hot, whisking with a wire whisk until the ingredients are incorporated and a little frothy. If you have an immersion blender or single-serve blender, you would just blend these until your homemade pumpkin spice latte is frothy.
  3. Pour into mugs and top with fresh whipped cream & cinnamon. Enjoy!
  4. Note- If you are not a fan of the cinnamon texture, add a cinnamon stick to the coffee mixture while heating instead. This way you get all of the cinnamon taste, but none of the grit! Visit our reader suggestions for more great ideas!
 

 

Love this recipe? Here are a few more that I think you should check out!

How to Make a Salted Caramel Latte from MomAdvie.com how to make a salted caramel latte

How to Make a Peppermint Mocha from MomAdvice.com how to make a peppermint mocha

DIY Your Own Chai Tea Mix from MomAdvice.com homemade vanilla chai mix recipe (an easy diy for the pantry!)

How to Make a Gingerbread Latte from MomAdvice.com how to make a gingerbread latte

How to Cold Brew Coffee from MomAdvice.com how to cold brew coffee at home

Amy's Famous Cocoa Mix Amy’s Famous Hot Cocoa Mix

Peppermint Cocoa Recipe from MomAdvice.com peppermint cocoa recipe

Homemade Peppermint Marshmallows from MomAdvice.com homemade peppermint marshmallows

Chocolate Coffee Spoons from MomAdvice.com chocolate coffee spoons

Do you have any suggestions to improve on this DIY Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe? Be sure to leave them in the comments below!

This post contains affiliate links

How to Make a Pumpkin Spice Latte from MomAdvice.com Pin It

How To: Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles

October 3rd, 2019

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles from MomAdvice.com

Learn how to make your own DIY candles in your crockpot or slow cooker. Did you know you can make pumpkin spice scented candles at home with just wax, a wick, and essential oils? This easy tutorial will have you make large batches of candles in no time.

DIY Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles from MomAdvice.com

Gift-giving season is upon us and I am always looking for great gifts that don’t cost a lot, can be made in bulk, and will actually be used!

Do you remember when we made Citronella Candles in our slow cooker for thoughtful hostess gifts for the cookout season?

We are going to replicate that same idea, but with one of my FAVORITE fall scents…Pumpkin Spice!

Can you believe you can make candles in your crockpot?

The first time I tried making candles in my slow cooker, I knew that I was hooked on a new favorite craft.

I am so excited to show you, yet again, how to make candles in your slow cooker and this time we are making easy Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles.

As a Pumpkin Spice everything addict, these are full of my favorite holiday scent and can be made with just a few inexpensive purchases.

These candles can also be added to a tabletop with some winter squash and some jack-o-lanterns for a festive Fall display.

FYI- I just want to warn you how good your house is going to smell so GET READY!

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles from MomAdvice.com

This is an easy DIY for homemade pumpkin spice scented candles perfect for Autumn.

Use your slow cooker to make your own pumpkin pie candles to give as gifts or to make your house smell like all the best things of Fall.

Supplies Needed

8 Pint-Sized Mason Jars

5 Pounds Candle Wax Flakes

6” Natural Candle Wicks

2 Jars of Pumpkin Spice Fragrance Oil

8 Bamboo Skewers (or you can use pencils!)

Slow Cooker or even your pressure cooker on the slow cooking setting

Food Scale or Postal Scale

Decorative Accents to finish your candles – I used twine and tags, but other lovely ideas would be ribbon, burlap, stencils, or even glitter!

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles from MomAdvice.com

 

Directions for Making Slow Cooker Pumpkin Candles

1. Measure and weigh out 7 ounces of soy wax flakes for each mason jar in a glass measuring cup (be sure to tare your scale).

It should fill jar to the top, and we will be adding more flakes after the first round melts down and creates more space inside the jar.

Repeat the measuring with all of the other candles you plan to prepare.

 

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles from MomAdvice.com

 

2. Add an inch or two of water to your slow cooker to create a water bath for your candles. Nestle the mason jars inside the slow cooker, place a lid on top, and turn it on HIGH for two hours.

As the wax melts down, feel free to add more wax flakes into the jars to the desired height. These will melt down to about half the size of your jar, so approximately 7 more ounces of soy flakes can be added to get a full candle like my pictures.

3. Once the “cooking time” of two hours has passed, open the lid and add 10-20 drops of Pumpkin Spice fragrance to each candle (approximately 1 ml of oil).

Using a bamboo skewer, stir each candle after adding the oil. Turn your slow cooker off, then add your candle wick in the center of each candle.

Take a bamboo skewer or pencil and wrap the top of the wick to the middle of it and allow it to help stand the wick up in the center of the candle. 

Leave the candles in the slow cooker until the wax begins to harden. Remove them and then dry the jars well with a dish towel. 

Allow the candles to fully harden on your countertop.

4. The next day, trim your wicks and attach a little jute twine and thank you note for your favorite hostess.

 

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles from MomAdvice.com

 

 

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles from MomAdvice.com

 

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles from MomAdvice.com

 

The best part about making these is how incredible your house is going to smell all day long as these cook and then cool.

My kids thought I had baked pies all day when they got home from school.

What sad trickery I played on them with a slow cooker full of candles for our friends (#worstmomever).

I hope you have fun making this easy Fall craft for those you love!

 

DIY Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles from MomAdvice.com

 

diy slow cooker pumpkin spice candles momadvice.com

This post contains affiliate links! Thank you for supporting the site with your purchases!

 

Don’t miss these other great ideas from MomAdvice.com:

 

Easy Homemade Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread

Easy Homemade Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread

 

 

DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins from MomAdvice.com

DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins

 

 

 

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

 

 

 

http://www.momadvice.com/post/easy-burlap-wreath-tutorial

Autumn Burlap Wreath

 

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DIY Decorative Thumbtack Pumpkins

September 19th, 2019

DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins from MomAdvice.com

These gold pumpkins are the perfect craft for autumn, even if you aren’t crafty. You will love these DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins for your home!

I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for new ways to decorate the holiday table that are festive while staying easy on the budget. The gold trend has really been catching my eye this year so I wanted to create something beautiful and gold that anyone can do, no matter what your craft level.

Today’s tutorial is for a decorative thumbtack pumpkin that requires just two items for a fun and festive touch to your table.

DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins Tutorial

Decorative Thumbtack Pumpkin Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed

700 (or more!) gold or silver thumbtacks– these can be purchased in a package of 300 at your local dollar store

Small Faux Styrofoam Pumpkin (look for one with a fun stem detail like the glittered stem on this one)

 

DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins from MomAdvice.com

Directions

  1. Going along one of the ridges of the pumpkin, begin inserting thumbtacks, starting at the very top and working your way down. You will want to make sure that they overlap just a bit to create a feathered effect on your pumpkin. You do not need to go to the very bottom, just enough to cover it so that if the pumpkin is placed on a pedestal or candlestick holder that you can’t see the plastic bottom. This row helps to anchor your ridge as you place the thumbtacks in.
  2. Right next to that row, again overlapping from the side and down the row, begin placing thumbtacks in the same way, repeating this process until you have covered the entire ridge. Once the ridge is filled, just check and make sure there aren’t any holes in any places and fill, as necessary, with additional thumbtacks.
  3. Begin in the next ridge, just as you did with the first, giving just a little room between those ridges so you can still see that pumpkin shape. Now repeat this process again and again, until you have filled the entire pumpkin. This small pumpkin took 700 thumbtacks, but you may need more or less depending on how tightly you are overlapping your thumbtacks.

DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins from MomAdvice.com

DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins from MomAdvice.com

DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins from MomAdvice.com

DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins from MomAdvice.com

Isn’t this absolutely beautiful? Who would ever have guessed that it costs around $5 to make! I made two of them and wanted to show you a fun way to dress up your holiday table with these.

I spray painted two other faux pumpkins and then roughed them up with a little sandpaper. I filled a glass bottle with branches from our backyard to center these and then purchased these faux logs from my local craft store in two different heights to place my gold pumpkins on. I love all the variations on height and the different textures in this budget-friendly centerpiece.

I hope you find this idea easy and inspiring! Use your own creativity to create a few beautiful pumpkins of your own.

Speaking of autumn crafts…here are a few tutorials you might enjoy!

how to make a blanket scarf how to make a blanket scarf

Painted Pumpkins painted pumpkins tutorial

woodland art download FREE autumn printables

cabled earwarmer pattern cabled ear warmers (free pattern)

easy burlap wreath easy burlap wreath tutorial

Fall Burlap Wreath fall burlap wreath tutorial

how to paint laminate painted laminate fireplace to cozy up by

she shed make a she shed (best investment EVER!)

doughnut-hole-ghost-cake doughnut hole ghost cake

DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins from MomAdvice.com

This post contains affiliate links!

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Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints

September 12th, 2019

How to Paint Pumpkins With Acrylic Paint from MomAdvice.com

Have you ever decorated for fall with acrylic paint pumpkins? This tutorial shows you what kind of paint to paint pumpkins with and how to paint those faux pumpkins to match your home decor.  You’ll love these creative ways to paint a pumpkin.

This post was created in partnership with Waverly Inspirations. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

Who could use a pumpkin decorating craft for fall?

I decided to decorate fake pumpkins this year and am showing how you can do the same thing with supplies from your local craft store or even dollar store.

This was my first time painting our pumpkins this way and it could not be easier. I wanted to create a pumpkin display that would be perfect for the entire fall season and wanted to show you a cute way to display your pumpkins this year!

I am not big on decorating for Halloween and would prefer to skip right over that part of the fall decorating.

This month’s challenge was to create a Halloween decorations so I wanted to create a minimalistic display that would give a nod to the season, but complement our decor until it is time to deck the halls.

The best part is that these pumpkins can be used year after year and the painting is a lot less messy than carving pumpkins or using spray paint.

How to Paint Pumpkins With Acrylic Paint

Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints with MomAdvice.com


How to Paint Pumpkins With Acrylic Paint from MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed (all of these supplies can be found at Walmart!)

Any size you like of their faux pumpkins- the small ones are just $.98!! (you could also do real pumpkins!)- try Etsy for supplies.

Waverly Inspirations Acrylic Paints in Elephant, Plaster, Pool, & White

Waverly Inspirations 4-piece wide brush set

Cup with water, paper towels, and something to cover the surface while painting

Wooden Crate 

How to Paint Pumpkins With Acrylic Paint from MomAdvice.com

Remove the labels from the pumpkins and protect your surface with cardboard while painting.

With a clean wide brush, begin painting your pumpkins, using the stalk of the pumpkin as a handle to work around the surface.

If you find the area around the stem to be difficult to decorate, you can pull the stems off carefully and use hot glue to reattach after they dry.

Paint the entire pumpkin and then set it aside to dry. Don’t feel limited by painting them all one color though. Feel free to add designs on your pumpkin for Halloween too or decorate your pumpkins with an autumn-theme. The possibilities are endless on the pumpkins you can create. Personally, I love polka dots and think that would be fun AND easy.

 Drying time can take anywhere between 15 minutes to one hour, depending on how thickly you applied the paint.

Repeat this process as many times as you like to achieve the hue you are going for.

I found the gray pumpkins only required a single coat, while the white pumpkins required two coats.

Once dry, sprinkle these pumpkins throughout your house or create a crate display like I have done.

I love how these pumpkins spill out onto some of my favorite childhood reads.

The chalkboard side on this crate gives me the chance to make this display feel a little more Halloween and then can be replaced with a different label later in the fall.  I added my knitted leaf centerpiece to the side of the table- I can’t believe how well these branches have held up over the years!

For a corner in our home that used to have nothing, this has quickly become my favorite focal point in our living room.

 

How to Paint Pumpkins With Acrylic Paint from MomAdvice.com

How to Paint Pumpkins With Acrylic Paint from MomAdvice.com

How to Paint Pumpkins With Acrylic Paint from MomAdvice.com

How to Paint Pumpkins With Acrylic Paint from MomAdvice.com

 

I love how these pumpkins spill out onto some of my favorite childhood reads.

The chalkboard side on this crate gives me the chance to make this display feel a little more Halloween and then can be replaced with a different label later in the fall.  I added my knitted leaf centerpiece to the side of the table- I can’t believe how well these branches have held up over the years!

For a corner in our home that used to have nothing, this has quickly become my favorite focal point in our living room.

Do you prefer to paint your pumpkins with chalk paint? I think you will get a kick out of the pumpkins we created for the season when our kids were small.  We really have some of the best pumpkin painting ideas on here so please stick around!

What is the Best Way To Clean Up After Painting With Acrylic Paints?

Acrylic paint crafts can get pretty messy, especially if you are involving your kids in on the fun. I use a simple formula for removing paint from little hands that you should definitely try.

Whether you are dying eggs for the Easter season or painting pumpkins for Halloween, this formula is a great one to keep in your back pocket.

The best way to remove acrylic paint from your hands is to squirt a small amount of whitening toothpaste, add a squirt of facial exfoliant (or body exfoliant), and a squirt of baby oil.  Just rub this combination on your hands until you have removed all the paint. 

The best part is that you will have baby soft hands after you are done! 

This post contains affiliate links. I receive a commission if you make a purchase through our links.

Love this project? Check out these additional craft projects!

dollar store thumbtack pumpkins

autumn burlap wreath

slow cooker pumpkin spice candles

diy game day bar cart

no-sew blanket scarves

Do you want more craft inspiration from Waverly? Try these!

DIY No-Sew Reversible Chair Cushions

Fabric Wreath & Matching Garland

Fabric Bulletin Board Tutorial

This post was created in partnership with Waverly Inspirations and contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting the companies that support our site! 

How to Paint Pumpkins With Acrylic Paint from MomAdvice.com

 

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The 2019 MomAdvice Summer Reads Guide

June 1st, 2019

For many years, I have wanted to do a reading guide for you all, but each year the days would slip away and I would think, “Maybe next year!”

Well, not today, Satan!

I am thrilled to share my first Summer Reading Guide with you! This has been a true labor of love and I’m incredibly proud how this turned out.

Within this 15 page guide you will find:

  • A huge list of great books to read over the summer. I have included some new (and upcoming) novels, but I also weaved in some older favorites that might be easier to snag at your local library.
  • Tips for reading more this summer including a few of my own tried-and-true formulas for reading.
  • A bookworm gift guide filled with fun finds from Etsy sellers.
  • 10 of my all-time favorite books
  • 5 summer selections curated by the Currently Reading Podcast.

All you need to do to access the free guide is be an email subscriber! Upon signing up for our mailing list, you will receive a link to the reading guide.

If you decide to read any of these selections, I’d be honored if you used the #momadvicesummerreading hashtag and tag me on Instagram!

Happy reading, bookworms! xo

Sign up for the MomAdvice Newsletter and receive your FREE Summer Reading Guide!

MomAdvice 2019 Book Club Selections

November 26th, 2018

Check out the 2019 MomAdvice Book Club Selections and join our FREE book club today!

Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter for more great reads for your stack!

Can you believe that I am picking our 2019 MomAdvice Book Club selections this week? This year has flown by and I have SO enjoyed sharing books and discussions with you.

If one of your goals this year is to join a book club or read more, I’d love to introduce you to our FREE book club you can join. This is  an AMAZING Virtual Book Club group filled with almost 2,000 (!!!) readers where we all share in a monthly discussion together.

The best part?

There is no commitment to participate in chats (although I love it when you do!). This is a place to get opinions about books, find out what everyone is reading, and start chats of your own about books you would just love to talk about.

I wanted to get this list up a little early so you have loads of time to make requests to your local library or read ahead on any of these selections.

How Does the MomAdvice Facebook Book Club Work?

Scroll through the book list below to see what we have in store for you in 2019.  The discussion is held on the last Friday and an Event invite is sent out at the beginning of the month to join a virtual chat. Once you RSVP, Facebook does its thing and sends out reminders to you.

Discussion questions are posted throughout the event and you are able to hop on at anytime during the day (or when you finish that book) to answer the questions at a time that is convenient for you.

How fun is that?

Feel free to join us and let your friends know about the group too.

The more the merrier!

How Much Does it Cost?

Nada.

Well, What Do YOU Get Out Of It?

I want this to be fun and free for you. I post the daily Kindle book deals and I share our book club picks though through something called an affiliate link. Basically, this link gives me a few pennies on each of your purchases that help pay for the web hosting on our website.

The web hosting currently costs me about $200 monthly and your purchases from this group basically help to offset that cost for our family at no cost to you.

I promise that I try to only share the good stuff and good books.

I know I can’t appeal to everyone’s taste, but I am really trying!! 

I also would like to think I made a lot of great bookworm friends too in this group. It’s been fun to have a place to obsess about books, to share what we are reading each week, and just hang out with other people who just get you.

I have tried to cultivate a positive environment and the group is filled with those kinds of drama-free people that you want to have filling your Facebook feed.

Escape the political nastiness and join a feel good kind of space.

I’m thrilled to share these 12 selections with you from a pool of talented writers. As always, I try to keep a good mix of fiction, nonfiction, YA, memoirs, and mysteries.

MomAdvice 2019 Book Club Selections

January- A Ladder to the Sky

February- My Sister the Serial Killer

March- The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

April- Little

May- The Friend

June- The Editor

July- In Sight of Stars

August- There Will Be No Miracles Here

September- No One Can Pronounce My Name

October- The Lying Woods

November- The Library Book

December- Virgil Wander

Join in on the MomAdvice Book Club HERE! Looking for book ideas? Check out our entire Book section of the site! Don’t forget to friend me on GoodReads! xo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though.

MomAdvice 2018 Book Club Selections

January 1st, 2018

"MomAdvice

Is one of your goals to join a book club this year? I’m thrilled to share that we have an AMAZING Virtual Book Club group that I’d love for you to join. I’m so excited to share with you our MomAdvice 2018 Book Club selections.

Our book club now has over 1,200 bookworms (!!!) and we would love to have you join in on the fun discussions this year. I loved last year’s selections so much that they even found their way on my Best Books of 2017 list.

How Does the MomAdvice Facebook Book Club Work?

I will be your book club hostess this year and have selected the entire year of books for 2018 to round out your book stacks.  The discussion is held on the last week of the month and posted in the group with a thread for each question.

To make finding these discussions easier (and so you can hop in at anytime!!) we have moved our discussions into the Events tab. You will receive an invitation to each discussion and can find the entire discussion in the Events, instead of searching through our VERY active page.

You can jump in to answer questions at any time throughout that week, interacting with loads of other fellow bookworms.

How fun is that?

Feel free to join us and let your friends know about the group too.

The more the merrier!

How Much Does it Cost?

Nada.

Well, What Do You Get Out Of It?

I want this to be fun and free for you. I post the daily Kindle book deals and I share our book club picks though through something called an affiliate link. Basically, this link gives me a few pennies on each of your purchases that help pay for the web hosting on our website. The web hosting currently costs me about $200 monthly and your purchases from this group basically help to offset that cost for our family at no cost to you.

I try to only share the good stuff and good books.

In fact, I have been reading our book club picks before we get to them to make sure that not a moment of your time or penny is wasted.

I know I can’t appeal to everyone’s taste, but I am really trying!! 

I also would like to think I made a lot of great bookworm friends too in this group. It’s been fun to have a place to obsess about books, to share what we are reading each week, and just hang out with other people who just get you.

I have tried to cultivate a positive environment and the group is filled with those kinds of drama-free people that you want to have filling your Facebook feed. Escape the political nastiness and join a feel good kind of space.

Here are the books we will be talking about this year!

MomAdvice 2018 Book Club

MomAdvice 2018 Book Club Selections

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood January- Alias Grace

Lucky Boy February- Lucky Boy

American Fire March- American Fire

Lilli De Jong April- Lilli De Jong

The Music Shop May- The Music Shop

Everything Here is Beautiful June- Everything Here is Beautiful

Salt Houses July- Salt Houses

Little Broken Things August- Little Broken Things

Far From the Tree September- Far From the Tree

The Hunger by Alma Katsu October- The Hunger

Steal the Stars by Nat Cassidy November- Steal the Stars

Girls Burn Brighter December-Girls Burn Brighter

MomAdvice 2018 Book Club

Join in on the MomAdvice Book Club HERE! Looking for book ideas? Check out our entire Book section of the site! Don’t forget to friend me on GoodReads! xo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though.

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The Galentine’s Day Entertainment Recommendations You Need Now (podcast)

January 20th, 2023

Don’t miss these movies, tv, and books celebrating fictional female friendship. Celebrate Galentine’s Day because ladies celebrating ladies is ALWAYS good.

Mary Carver, from The Couch podcast, joins us to share her favorite movie & tv friendships while I bring my stack of fictional female friendships that will inspire your next holiday.

What is Galentine’s Day?

This holiday was inspired by Amy Poehler’s fictional celebration highlighted in Season 2, Episode 16. Parks and Recreation.

As the ladies toast to this occasion, she shares these sentiments, “Every February 13, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast style,” she explains. “Ladies celebrating ladies.”

Following this advice, we encourage you to celebrate this joyous occasion on February 13th with a few fun ideas we have gathered today.

How Do I Host Galentine’s Day?

For Galentine’s Day, gifts are NOT NECESSARY because that is not the goal of this holiday. This is about celebrating those bonds in simple ways that get us off social media and back to connecting in person.

Try these four celebration ideas:

Host a book club brunch:

Invite your friends for a delicious brunch and pair it with a great friendship story!

The Galentine's Day Books to Not Miss (13 Friendship Stories You'll Love)

This post shares 13 books about friendship you’ll love for Galentine’s Day that include historical fiction, contemporary fiction, and nonfiction reads all around the bonds of female empowerment and weathering the happy & hard seasons together. I believe they are the best picks for a dynamic book club discussion.

 If you are looking for some great brunch recipes for a crowd, this sausage and vegetable frittata, a side of these roasted potatoes,  and my homemade granola with yogurt would be a really easy menu to execute. If you want to try it Leslie Knope-style, these overnight yeast waffles couldn’t be easier or fluffier.

Host a manicure date: Offer the nail polish and tools (or have friends bring their own) and make it a point to catch up on each other’s lives. Olive & June is our family’s go-to favorite for pretty manicures at home & you can use this link for twenty percent off your kits & polishes.  

If you provide polish, keep things budget-friendly with coffee, tea, and some treats from a favorite bakery. 

Host a Jigsaw Puzzle Date: Embrace the TV and movie suggestions from today’s podcast and pair them with a jigsaw puzzle for a fun way to gather.

If you need a fresh jigsaw puzzle recommendation, these are our top picks for unique jigsaw puzzles for adults. Better yet, use this gathering as an opportunity to start a puzzle swap so you have “new” puzzles all year long.

Volunteer together: If you haven’t volunteered with your friends, you are missing out on the most wonderful Galentine’s experience of them all.

Not only do you have the joy of being together, but it is combined with the high of doing something so good for your community.

The Galentine’s Day Entertainment Recommendations You Need Now (podcast)

Looking for other ways to celebrate? We have many fun ideas for celebrating through books, movies, and tv on our podcast this week.  Mary Carver is a regular contributor on MomAdvice and the host of The Couch With Mary Carver. Her podcast is for you if you love TV, movies, music, and books.

Mary Carver joined the Book Gang podcast to discuss her favorite fictional friendship stories in our celebration episode. 

Listen to the full episode below and subscribe to the Book Gang podcast for more episodes like this one. Today’s show notes are below.

This episode offers tips and tricks for celebrating, as well as some insight into how to love your friends well ALL YEAR LONG .

On the Blog:

Don’t miss today’s SPECIAL BONUS ARTICLE with 13 Friendship Stories You’ll Love for Galentine’s Day!  This extends today’s book selections with a fantastic idea for a nonfiction pick as well as  a collection of classic friendship stories that would be great to revive for a backlist book club. 

Mary also catches us up on New Family Movies from 2022 to Watch Now! Don’t miss this bonus with ideas for streaming this weekend. 

Mentioned in this episode:

SUPPORT MY WORK through Patreon!

This Boy We Made by Taylor Harris

The Boy We Made Book Chat

Get the Most Out of the Libby App

Parks and Recreation Valentine’s Episode

Enneagram Test

Poms

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells

Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna Landvik

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar

Drop Dead Gorgeous

The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan

Miranda

Call the Midwife 

BritBox

Spare by Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex

The Gown by Jennifer Robson

Playing House

The Best Libby App Tips and Tricks

Access Kanopy through Libby

Hey Ladies! by Michelle Markowitz and Caroline Moss

Gee Thanks I Just Bought It Podcast

This Book Spoofs All Those Group Emails With Your Girlfriend & It’s Painfully Relatable on Bustle

Never Have I Ever

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

Firefly Lane

We All Want Impossible Things by Catherine Newman

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin

Something Like Happy by Eva Woods

Interview with Author Eva Woods on Something Like Happy on HuffPost

Shop the above (Amazon) links or shop through my Book Gang Bookshop Page!! They pay a 10% commission on every sale and give a matching 10% to independent bookstores.

Connect With Us:

Connect with Mary on MaryCarver.com or The Couch Podcast or Mary’s Instagram

Connect with Amy on Instagram or on MomAdvice.com

Join the MomAdvice Book Club

Shop Our Bookish Shirts to support the show

Join the Book Gang Patreon (for our exclusive FULLY BOOKED  book review show & more!

The Galentine’s Day Books To Not Miss (13 Friendship Stories You’ll Love)

January 20th, 2023
The Galentine's Day Books To Not Miss (13 Friendship Stories You'll Love) from MomAdvice.com

Celebrate Galentine’s Day with these 13 books with friendship stories in fiction and nonfiction for book club.

Looking for a friendship story for your next book club selection? What could be a more perfect excuse than a fictional holiday that will give you an excuse to brunch AND discuss a great book about friendship.

What is Galentine’s Day?

I think of Galentine’s Day as an official holiday, but its origin story might surprise you. This catchy holiday wasn’t created by Hallmark.

Instead, Galentine’s Day was created by the fictional Leslie Knope in an episode of Parks and Recreation.

Aptly titled the same name as the holiday (Season 2, Episode 16), Leslie gathers a group of her closest gal pals for brunch full of waffles and love. 

In this memorable scene, Amy Poehler delivers these lines, “Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast style,” she explains in the episode. “Ladies celebrating ladies.”

When is Galentine’s Day?

On February 13th, the day before Valentine’s Day, you can devote a day to celebrating your friendship with your best gal pals. We encourage our readers to embrace a book club selection together and have gathered 9 friendship stories you’ll love to celebrate. 

That’s not all though, if you are looking for great movie or tv recommendations, we have you covered with today’s podcast with Mary Carver.  Mary  is a regular contributor on MomAdvice and the host of The Couch With Mary Carver. Her podcast celebrates TV, movies, music, and books all year-long.

Head here to read these show notes and get a list of fun ideas to celebrate this holiday with your favorite gal pals.

Listen to this episode in the embedded player or subscribe to the Book Gang wherever you get your podcasts.

Let’s celebrate this fictional holiday with some of the best fictional (and nonfiction) friendship stories!

The Galentine's Day Books To Not Miss (11 Friendship Stories You'll Love)

These nine books celebrate female friendship stories that are PERFECT for your next book club gathering.

Other Backlist Favorites that Celebrate Female Friendships

If you have been with your gal pals as long as I have, I did want to offer some great backlist friendship stories that you might want to host a “reunion” book club together. These are three modern day classics that you might have read in your earlier years of friendship that could be revived for your next gathering.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

This friendship classic novel tells the story of four best friends who share a pair of magical jeans that fit each of them perfectly. Despite being separated for the summer, the friends maintain a strong bond through letters and the jeans that bind them together.

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

The Red Tent is very loosely based upon the Biblical story of Dinah and a familiar classic passed on in many book clubs. The red tent is the gathering place where the women would commune during their cycles, to give birth, and where they went when they were ill. This little tent is a sorority of sorts where the women sit to share their stories and sing songs.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

This dystopian novel contains a beautiful blossoming friendship between our main protagonist, Katniss, and her friend Gale. The two garner each other support as they work to survive the game and the inevitable rebellion that comes after.

The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells

This backlist series follows the friendship of four Louisiana women, known as the Ya-Yas, over the course of several decades. The story explores the ups and downs of their friendship and how they support and rely on each other throughout their lives.

What friendship stories would you add to this list?

Looking for more great books? Check out these lists!

Join the 2023 MomAdvice Book Club

How to Use Storygraph For a Better Reading Life

Learn how to use The StoryGraph App to Track Your Reading

Learn How to Use the Libby App (WITH LIBBY) In This Tutorial

How to Use Scribd for Your Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

Discover my Favorite Audiobook Resource: Scribd

This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

New Family Movies From 2022 To Watch Now

January 12th, 2023

These family films include our top recommendations from movies we loved in 2022. While you wait the release dates of new films you can escape real life with this fun family movie streaming list!

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

My family has always loved watching movies together, but since 2020, we’ve become a little obsessed with Family Movie Nights.

I am constantly on the lookout for family friendly movies new and old that might be, at the very least, acceptable to both my kids and my husband. 

(Obviously, I’m aiming for something they’ll love. But if you live with more than one person, I’m sure you understand the necessity of compromise and settling for “fine, I will sit here with you and watch this thing someone else picked but I’m gonna roll my eyes but maybe I also kind of like it but I’ll never say so and you can’t make me.”)

With a six-year age gap between my girls—one being a teenager and one a tween, both being quite opinionated—that’s no small task. It falls somewhere on the difficulty scale between fixing a meal that nobody complains about and making them both laugh at the same “dad joke.”

But I’m determined to make Family Movie Nights happen at least once every several weeks, so I persevere.

Fortunately for me—and for you—we are in a golden age of entertainment where we do not lack for options. In fact, we almost have too many options sometimes.

And with so many movies premiering or quickly appearing on streaming services, deciding what to watch has become even more complicated.

Well, you can scratch this whole issue off your list of things to worry about or be frustrated by, friends.

I’m here to help!

I have 12 movies that came out last year, along with reviews and where you can stream them.

Just like that, you’re halfway to one Family Movie Night a month!

Now you just need to pick a date and pop the popcorn!

New Family Movies From 2022 To Watch Now

New Family Movies 2022

The Adam Project (Netflix) – Are you sarcastic? Do you like action movies, buddy comedies, or time travel? If so, this Ryan Reynolds movie is for you! A time-traveling fighter pilot has to team up with his 12-year-old self to save the world, and it’s a blast. (watch the trailer)

New Family Movies 2022

The Bad Guys (Netflix) – Based on a series of children’s graphic novels, this animated caper follows a group of notorious criminal animals (e.g. shark, snake, spider, wolf) who pretend to be “good” to avoid prison. I watched it with my girls and we loved it so much we watched it again with my husband so he could enjoy it, too! (watch the trailer)

New Family Movies 2022

Better Nate than Ever (Disney+) – A 13-year-old and his best friend travel alone to NYC so he can audition for a Broadway play. This live action musical is based on a book, and it is the most beautiful, heartwarming movie I watched last year. (watch the trailer)

New Family Movies 2022

Cheaper by the Dozen (Disney+) – This is a modern-day remake of the 2003 movie starring Zach Braff and Gabrielle Union as an interracial couple with a blended family navigating complicated home life, a family business, and a new neighborhood that isn’t exactly welcoming. (watch the trailer)

New Family Movies 2022

Chip & Dale: Rescue Rangers (Disney+) – If you like your kids movies to come chock-full of references and jokes only the adults will get, you’re gonna like this return of our favorite crime-solving chipmunks. The jokes are nonstop and lean heavily on nostalgia, but both my youngest daughter and I had fun watching it. Voices include Andy Samberg and John Mulaney! (watch the trailer)

New Family Movies 2022

DC League of Super-Pets (HBO Max) – What if the fate of the world was up to Superman’s dog and a motley crew of other pets? Enter Krypto, the Super-Dog, here to save the day! This animated movie was cute (and not dark like most DC movies). (watch the trailer)

New Family Movies 2022

Enola Holmes 2 (Netflix) – Sherlock’s little sister is back, solving mysteries and breaking the fourth wall and (oh yeah) maybe falling in love. This period piece based on a series of middle-grade novels is sweet, funny, and actually tells a solid mystery. I hope we get many more Enola Holmes movies! (watch the trailer)

New Family Movies 2022

Luck (Apple TV+) – Ever wonder if luck is real and, if so, where it comes from? In this animated adventure, an unlucky young girl who’s just aged out of the foster system stumbles into the worlds of good luck and bad luck. Determined to improve her luck, she is pulled into the battle between good and bad luck, making friends and her own luck along the way. (watch the trailer)

New Family Movies 2022

Minions: The Rise of Gru (Peacock) – If you’ve wondered how Gru became Gru, this is your movie. If that’s never crossed your mind, it’s also your movie if you were born in the 70s or just love those crazy minions. (Banana!) This prequel to the Despicable Me movies is Gru’s origin story, and it’s both hysterical and heartwarming. (watch the trailer)

New Family Movies 2022

Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank (Paramount+) – Only cats are ninjas, but Hank the dog really wants to become one anyway. He seeks out the ninja who once saved him but is now washed up and possibly high on catnip (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson). Reluctantly, the old ninja trains a new one and together (again, reluctantly) they save the cat ninja world. Full of jokes for grown-ups, this one made all of us laugh a lot. (watch the trailer)

New Family Movies 2022

Secret Headquarters (Paramount+) – A middle school boy and his friends discover his distant dad’s secret underground lair. Because his dad is the most powerful superhero in the world! Hijinks ensue when the bad guys come after the kids and they have to save the day. If your family likes The Adam Project, this will be a hit as well, as it stars the same kid (Walker Scobell) and another lovable, sarcastic adult (Owen Wilson). (watch the trailer)

New Family Movies 2022

Turning Red (Disney+) – A 13-year-old girl enters adolescence and turns into a giant red panda. Like you do, apparently, when you’re a female in her family. She has to learn how to handle her inner panda, as well as a tricky relationship with her mom, along with the help of her friends. (watch the trailer)

A Note for Parents

Some of these movies are totally appropriate for little kids; some of them are better for older kids. Refer to Common Sense Media for parent reviews and guidance that can help you make decisions for your family.

Another note: I haven’t watched Lyle, Lyle Crocodile or Disenchanted yet. Based on reviews I’ve read and what I know of my family, we’re going to love that singing crocodile and his bonkers movie, but I don’t know for sure yet.

What’s the last movie you watched with your family?

Looking for more of the best family movies? Try these posts!

17 Movies From the 90’s You Must Share With Your Kids

22 Fall Movies & TV Shows to Cozy Up With Right Now

Best Books of 2022 to Read Now

January 6th, 2023

Celebrate the best books of 2022 & my favorite books of the year with these new selections including contemporary fiction, young adult, romance, and thrillers.

Best Books of 2022 to Read Now from MomAdvice.com

If you love to read books, today’s post is FOR YOU.

I know I love a good end of the year reading recap, but it took me some time to sort through all my feelings on the 109 books I read over 2022. For those curious about my reading life, I would love to share what I discovered from charting my reading year through the Storygraph this year.

The Storygraph Stats

My 2022 Reading Challenge Wrap-Up

As you can see from my Storygraph chart (learn how to use The Storygraph for tracking your reading year), my reading mood this year was emotional, reflective, dark, and mysterious.

For me, this was not unusual at all- I love a dark escape in my literature and have renewed my affection for those kinds of books that I had began to escape from when things were particularly challenging in 2020.

This year 41 of my books fell into the contemporary fiction category, and the rest of the best were literary, thriller, romance, mystery, historical fiction, young adult, and then memoir.

I loved seeing a renewed return to my love for contemporary and literary fiction this year, but I feel challenged to add more science fiction and horror novels back into my reading life.

When I compare this to 2022 though, my top category was contemporary, but my next two were thriller then romance and then mystery. I mention this because I was really in the thick of my health problems then and I could not focus and a large chunk of my reading matched my concentration levels.

While I would love to read more science fiction, fantasy, short stories, and spooky books, I think it is important to recognize that our circumstances can be a powerful part of what we lean into and that it is okay to adjust based on where we are at right now.

Listen to Book Gang Podcast

Many of these books have been included in today’s Book Gang episode. You can listen to the this wherever you get podcasts or stream it in the embedded player below. The show notes for this show (that include Larry’s reads ) are over here.

We have also made our top 25 selections into printables as a bonus perk for patrons. Joining the MomAdvice Book Club Patreon community is just $5 a month and gives you instant access to these digital downloads.

JOIN The MOMADVICE BOOK CLUB

Best Books of 2022 to Read Now

Let’s kick things off with my most well-read category this month!

Best Literary Fiction & Contemporary Fiction of 2022

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt- Best Books of 2022 to Read Now

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt 

The title originates from this charming line, “Humans. For the most part, you are dull and blundering. But occasionally, you can be remarkably bright creatures.” 

The audiobook narration may have added to my charm with this experience, and I highly recommend it if you need a soothing escape. Performed by two narrators, Marin Ireland & Michael Urie, it was a standout performance that brought me immense joy. 

I can’t say that I’ve read novels with the unique eye of an octopus, but this adds to this debut’s uniqueness and charm.  The story explores the unlikely friendship between a giant Pacific octopus, Marcellus, and a 70-year-old woman, Tova.

Marcellus, nearing the end of his expected lifespan, is held in captivity at the aquarium where Tova works as a cleaner.

As she struggles with the loss of her husband and her son’s disappearance, Tova forms a special bond with Marcellus, who may hold the key to solving the mystery of her son’s disappearance. 

This literary fiction novel is a magnificent debut that is both charming and compulsively readable.

The book’s thematic of friendship, redemption and hope resonated with me. I also love the exploration that sometimes we must confront our past to move forward.

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus- Best Books of 2022 to Read Now

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Lessons in Chemistry is no stranger to the best books of the year lists, but I still have to co-sign my adoration for the fictional journey of Elizabeth Zott.  Plus, this book will surely win you over with an endearing cast of supporting characters and an adorable dog.

Don’t miss out on this one-of-a-kind read because it is a soon-to-be upcoming TV series on Apple+ starring Brie Larson.

It is the early 1960s, and our main character, Elizabeth Zott wants to do her job and get credit for it. Unfortunately, as a chemist, her work environment is less than desirable, with a boy’s club mentality among her coworker at the Hastings Research Institute.

As you can imagine, young women did not get the respect they deserved.

One man, though, treats Elizabeth the way she’s always desired, and their relationship evolves into a mutually beneficial exchange that brings them both unexpected joy. 

In a pivotal plot point, Elizabeth has unexpectedly become a single mother and an incredible television star on a cooking show called Supper at Six.

What makes the show such a success is Elizabeth’s refusal to see women as just housewives and to see them as aspiring chemists too. 

The leading lady isn’t the only notable character because Garmus has made an entire beloved cast of characters to adore, including an adorable dog (named Six-Thirty)  that has imprinted on my heart since I finished the final pages of this quirky and delightful story.

Notes On An Execution- Best Books of 2022 to Read Now

Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka

With breathtaking suspense and astonishing empathy, this atmospheric thriller offers a thought-provoking exploration of womanhood, the justice system, and the search for meaning in the actions of violent men.

This gripping work of literary suspense that tells the story of a serial killer on death row through the perspectives of the women in his life. 

Ansel Packer is scheduled to die in twelve hours.

He’s awaiting his execution, the consequences of what he did to girls years ago. Yet, Kukafka paints a portrait of Ansel that is far from one-dimensional as we learn about his troubling childhood and what begins to trigger Ansel to commit acts of violence. 

We grow to learn about him through his own mother, a sister, and a homicide detective.

With each paint stroke, we discover a beautifully fleshed-out character that yields motivation and is ripe with intent to build a story that has you flipping those pages quickly.

Will you find sympathy in this character? 

One quote that really stood out to me that I think explains what made this such a compulsive read is this one- “She had known from a young age that everyone had darkness inside-some just controlled it better than others. Very few people believed that they were bad, and this was the scariest part. Human nature could be so hideous, but it persisted in this ugliness by insisting it was good.”

As the reader is drawn into this complex character’s backstory, we are forced to consider our feelings about his actions.

This novel would be an excellent choice for a book club. However, it should be noted that the book contains trigger warnings for violence against humans and animals and may not be suitable for highly sensitive readers. 

If you like this one, you will fall in love with The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld. It’s one of those rare books that tackle similar themes but that I don’t hear as many people talking about.

One's Company by Ashley Hutson- Best Books of 2022 to Read Now

One’s Company by Ashley Hutson

This fearless debut won for the most inventive storyline as it explores a world of obsessive imagination. 

Bonnie Lincoln just wants to be left alone and watch her favorite TV show, Three’s Company, in peace. But when she wins the lottery, she decides to broaden this idea: escape her old life and move to a mountain retreat where she can recreate the apartment set from Three’s Company and live out the lives of its main characters.

There is, of course, a deeper-rooted reason for Bonnie’s escape that lies within her pain and trauma.

But when reality starts to intrude, Bonnie’s carefully constructed world is threatened. 

I appreciated this book’s immersive and unique experience Bonnie constructed that mimicked many storytelling elements of Wandavision

Bonnie is an unlikable character; her minimal evolution might turn some readers off. But if you’re willing to go on this weird and strange journey with her, you might find it worth it. 

If there ever was a book to buddy-read with a friend, it is this one. I can’t wait to discuss it next month in our Patreon community. 

Cleopatra and Frankenstein- Best Books of 2022 to Read Now

Cleopatra and Frankenstein by Coco Mellors

Are you looking for a hilarious and poignant novel that will have you laughing and crying all at once?

You can look no further than this debut gem that grabbed me from its first page. 

This love story chronicles a relationship between Cleo, a young British painter, and Frank, a self-made man twenty years her senior, as they navigate their impulsive marriage and the challenges it brings.

As the story unfolds, Cleo and Frank’s relationship’s highs and lows begin to impact the people around them. This book covers everything from the beginning of their unlikely love affair to the monotony of married life and the struggles of mental illness. And with plenty of humor to lighten the load, you won’t be able to put it down.

This great read has been polarizing with readers. Some reviewers (like me) found it a quirky and poignant love story, while others dismissed it as shallow and pretentious. 

While this book may not be for everyone, I loved it from start to finish and can see why it draws comparisons to Sally Rooney’s writing. The dry humor and memorable characters make it a standout and an alluring debut that I had difficulty putting down.

It’s a great addition to the millennial fiction genre and a perfect pick for anyone who loves relatable characters with compulsively readable chapters.

We All Want Impossible Things- Best Books of 2022 to Read Now

We All Want Impossible Things by Catherine Newman

“A Funny Book About Dying,” was not on my Reading BINGO card this year, but that’s exactly the kind of book that you will get in this book had me laughing and crying simultaneously. 

This short and compelling novel ticked every box. It was an incredibly memorable audiobook experience if you are on the hunt for your next outstanding audio performance. 

This tear-jerker of a line says it all:  “Everyone dies, and yet it’s unendurable. There is so much love inside of us. How do we become worthy of it? And, then, where does it go? A worldwide crescendo of grief, sustained day after day, and only one tiny note of it is mine.”

Edith and Ashley have been best friends for over forty-two years and shared many of life’s joys and challenges. When Edi is diagnosed with ovarian cancer and begins living in a hospice, Ash is there by her side, struggling to be the best friend, wife, and parent she can be. 

With a rotating cast of hospice characters and “Fiddler on the Roof” as their soundtrack,  Edi and Ash spend these last days together, reminiscing with hilarity over all their years of friendship. The scenes are painted so vividly as they create their own shenanigans to pass the time and find inventive ways to keep the pain at bay while they near their last day together. 

Described as both “devastatingly humorous and humorously devastating” (by one of my favorite authors, Katherine Heiny), this book celebrates the beauty of enduring relationships. It is a must-read for anyone seeking hope and healing in the face of loss. 

In just 217 short pages, Newman achieves what few could do in several hundred, writing a story of friendship that I will remember forever. 

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot- Best Books of 2022 to Read Now

The One Hundred Years of Lenni & Margot by Marianne Crouch

Sometimes, our Reader’s Choice book club selections end up making my Best Books of the Year lists and this story was the surprise hit of my reading year. 

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot is a charming, funny, and heartwarming debut novel about an extraordinary friendship between Lenni, a seventeen-year-old girl living in the Terminal Ward at a hospital in Glasgow, and Margot, an 83-year-old rebel who is also staying there. 

Despite being told that she is dying, Lenni joins the hospital’s arts and crafts class and meets Margot, who transforms her life unexpectedly. 

The two decide to take advantage of the arts and crafts room and begin a unique project together when they discover their combined age is one hundred years.

They will create one hundred paintings that tell the story of their lives and find joy and comfort in sharing the stories they have never spoken aloud. With the help of a nurse and a chaplain, they share tales of love, loss, courage, kindness, and joy. 

Though their time is running out, Lenni and Margot are determined to leave a lasting legacy and enjoy their remaining days to the fullest. The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot is a poignant reminder of the power of friendship, the beauty of life, and the importance of positively impacting others.

Margot’s story, in particular, is so beautiful as she reveals these deeply hidden truths that truly, brought tears to my eyes. Yet, Lenni’s storyline shines as she questions faith and strikes another unlikely friendship with the hospital’s patient chaplain. 

This book is a perfect book club selection and reminds me how vital these reader’s choice selections are for our group. This story is life-affirming and uplifting, even in its sad moments. This book is cinematic in nature and yielded one of my favorite discussions in 2022. 

Carrie Soto is Back- Best Books of 2022 to Read Now

Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

In this thrilling novel, Taylor Jenkins Reid tells the story of Carrie Soto, a fierce and determined tennis player who is considered past her prime when she decides to make a comeback. This is a captivating and unforgettable tale of one athlete’s epic journey to prove herself once again.

At thirty-seven, Carrie retires from the sport after becoming the best player the world has ever seen, with twenty Slam titles under her belt.  Her nickname, Battle Axe, was hardwon through her years playing a ruthless game. 

Six years later, she finds herself watching from the stands as a young British player takes her record. Determined to reclaim her record, Carrie comes out of retirement and is coached by her father for one final year.

This training challenges her body beyond its capabilities, but that is not the only challenge. She also discovers that it is okay to be loved and needed by others along the way.

As Carrie faces her own limitations, she must overcome the doubts of the sports media and work with Bowe Huntley, a man she almost opened her heart to once before.

The cinematic nature that this story is written left me breathless, particularly, the way that Reid captures these tennis matches. 

Reid has written another fully fleshed character that makes this book feel like a memoir. Was Carie real? Is there a Wikipedia page on her?

Since her debut, I have followed her career and have read her entire backlist in real-time. You can even find an interview with the author on our site, a moment that I’m thankful for as she has found such success in her writing career. 

Bitingly feminist-forward, it is equal parts an escape and a social commentary on women athletes. Why must we be likable? Why are men held to different standards? What does it mean to age out? How can we find joy in the later years? 

This concludes Taylor’s writing journey with famous historical fiction women, and she ended it on a strong note. I can’t wait to see what she writes for us next and loved this final love letter to tennis.

Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour- Best Books of 2022 to Read Now

Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour

This adult debut novel from Nina LaCour is a gentle and quiet Sapphic romance that I adored. While this had many romantic elements, it firmly sat in the literary fiction space for me, as a reader.

When Sara Foster runs away from home as a teenager, she leaves behind her ability to trust and to be truly loved.  Now a successful bartender in Los Angeles, she is known for her cocktails and the air of mystery that surrounds her. Across the city, 

Emilie Dubois struggles to find her place in the world, longing for the sense of community and beauty that her Creole grandparents cultivated. When she takes a job arranging flowers at a luxurious restaurant named Yerba Buena, she begins an affair with the married owner. 

When Sara and Emilie meet at the restaurant for the first time, they feel an instant connection, but their pasts and choices keep pulling them apart.  LaCour takes us on a beautiful journey as the two must find themselves before they can find each other. 

This novel has evocative storytelling that made me hungry and craving a well-made drink as it descriptively shares the meals and beverages made in this restaurant setting. 

The attention to detail and the overall moodiness of the writing transported me as a reader. It encompassed all my senses and described loneliness and longing in ways I rarely see written so clearly in black and white. 

I loved how these two characters must decide if their love is strong enough to overcome their pasts and how to create a home together with one another. 

The Memoirs of Stockholm Sven by Nathaniel Ian Miller- Best Books of 2022 to Read Now

The Memoirs of Stockholm Sven by Nathaniel Ian Miller 

The top pick for my favorite book of the year goes to this memorable read that I can’t wait to discuss with our book club this year. 

Hailed as “briskly entertaining” by the New York Times Book Review and “transporting and wholly original” by People Magazine, this sweeping historical fiction story follows the story of a man who retreats to a solitary life in the Arctic Circle. He finds he is never alone as he finds unexpected companionship in good friends, a loyal dog, and a visit that upends his world. 

In this poignant debut, a mining accident leaves Sven Ormson disfigured, and he retreats to an uninhabited fjord in the Arctic circle to escape society’s reactions. 

He struggles to survive in the brutal conditions with the help of a Finnish trapper and a Scottish geologist. As the years pass, the arrival of a relative force Sven to confront the possibility of a different kind of life.

If you love introverted, bookish, and surprisingly funny characters, this book will be for you. Sven is richly imagined and described beautifully, and I found myself highlighting my entire book. The bond between Sven and his dog is one of this story’s most magical elements.

What more could a reader want? 

Miller’s turn of phrases and descriptive language made an already uniquely written plot even more unique. It is just the book you want to share with a friend. 

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow- Best Books of 2022 to Read Now

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

This book was my favorite of the year until The Memoirs of Stockholm Sven knocked it out of position. Zevin does not need my stamp of approval as this novel has received enormous commercial success. 

In Gabrielle Zevin’s latest novel “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow,” readers are taken on an epic journey through the lives of two friends, Sam and Sadie, who meet in a children’s hospital and bond over their shared love of video games.

Their friendship is short-lived, however, when Sam feels used by Sadie. 

Later in life though, they reconnect in college and decide to develop a game together, leading to enormous success in the gaming industry. However, their success also causes tension between them as one partner is given more credit and resentment grows.

Marx, a friend, and colleague, becomes both a crucial part of their newly formed company and their lives, acting as a mediator and helping to keep their business together. Unfortunately, a tragic turn of events from their virtual world-building leads to unexpected violence and the end of their partnership. 

The book chronicles Sam and Sadie’s journey over three decades and the intricacies of the games they create. Zevin’s writing is beautiful, and the portrayal of Sam’s chronic pain is particularly poignant. 

I think you may need to have a small passion for gaming or coding to appreciate all of the intricacies of this one. As someone who lives with a family of gamers, this book not only brought a new appreciation for my family members’ gaming pastime, it encouraged me to pick up a virtual life of my own in Stardew Valley

Best Thriller Book of 2022

These Silent Woods by Kimi Cunningham Grant- Best Books of 2022 to Read Now

These Silent Woods by Kimi Cunningham

“These Silent Woods” by Kimi Cunningham Grant is a must-read for anyone who loves a captivating and suspenseful story. I know this book will not be new to our listeners as it has appeared on our best audiobook podcast episode with Meg Tietz (from Sorta Awesome).

This atmospheric novel is set in the remote Appalachian mountains and follows the tale of Cooper and his daughter Finch, who have been living in isolation for eight years. 

The turning point for Finch and Cooper’s existence is in what doesn’t happen that particular winter; the delivery of their food and supplies needed. Each year this annual delivery of supplies comes from an old friend named Jake. When Jake doesn’t arrive, the two are forced to go out and get these supplies themselves, risking being discovered and opened the door on an old case. 

As it turns out, it also opens the doors for an unexpected visitor, reminding Cooper of the beauty of companionship and what he has been missing for many years. 

Grant’s writing is beautifully crafted, weaving in themes of forgiveness and trust that will leave you deeply moved. This memorable read has been one of my top recommendations since I read it this year. 

 If you have the opportunity, the audiobook narrator is Bronson Pinchot (from Perfect Strangers), and came highly recommended by Meg. 

Not only will Pinchot’s narration add to the atmospheric and suspenseful tone of the story, but it’s an excellent opportunity to discover a beloved narrator. 

 Grant’s writing is beautifully crafted and will leave you enthralled from beginning to end. This book was haunting, suspenseful, and thoroughly engrossing.

Best Horror Book of 2022

Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica- Best Books of 2022 to Read Now

Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica

The novel was originally published in Spanish in 2017 and became available in English translation in 2020 ended up packing a powerful dystopian punch.

This disturbing story explores the complex relationship between humans and their food sources. 

Set in a dystopian world where a virus has made animals unsafe for consumption, the government introduces a program called “Transition,” in which human meat becomes the new source of meat. 

Marcos works at a plant that processes this human meat, known as “special meat,” in a world where an infectious virus has made animal meat poisonous to humans. His personal life is in turmoil, with his wife leaving him and his father, who has dementia, and he tries not to think too deeply about his job. 

However, when he is given a “specimen” as a gift, he begins a intimate relationship that could have dangerous consequences. Despite the dangers of developing personal relationships with the specimens, Marcos finds solace in this relationship as he grapples with the loss of humanity in the world.

The story also touches on themes of disassociation from food production and the role of social class in access to food. Based on real-life factory conditions, the processing scenes are disturbing to read about when humans are the food source. 

However, the author does not shy away from these difficult themes; the result is a thought-provoking and impactful novel. Instead, she uses gore and violence to make a point rather than for gratuitous shock value. 

The twist at the end of the story was surprising and stayed with me long after reading the book. 

This short dystopian novel is now being used in schools, similar to classics like The Handmaid’s Tale and Fahrenheit 451!

Best Romance Books of 2022

Before I Let Go- Best Books of 2022 to Read Now

Before I Let Go (Skyland #1) by Kennedy Ryan

This grown-up romance novel did not shy away from complex themes and explored them with such maturity that  I found myself highlighting passage after passage in this evocatively moving second-chance romance.

When Yasmen and Josiah’s marriage falls apart, they struggle to navigate their new dynamic as co-parents and business partners at their family-owned restaurant.

The dissolution of their marriage partnership is rooted in a deep loss of not only a close family member but in the loss of their child. 

Despite their best efforts to move on, their attraction to one another remains strong. As they begin to rekindle their romance, they must confront the wounds of the past and decide if they are truly ready to love each other for a lifetime. 

What I appreciated the most about this book was the dialogue as they navigated this with their children and also how they navigated discussions around sex 

Also, what could be more steamy than a MAN GOING TO THERAPY to deepen his relationship with his kids and former partner? 

As this rekindled affair must be done with some secrecy, in the beginning, it multiplied the steamy factor for this reader. 

Please note this does explore pregnancy loss, and I would read through content warnings before engaging with this selection. 

Although this was my first book by the author, it won’t be my last.

This book was also notably selected as a Book of the Month Club selection, NPR Best Book of 2022, Washington Post’s 10 Best Romances of the Year, Women’s Health’s Best Books of the Year, and as one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Romance Books of 2022.

Seven Days in June- Best Books of 2022 to Read Now

Seven Days in June by Tia Williams

“Seven days to fall in love, fifteen years to forget, and seven days to get it all back again…”

This book made my Best Books of the Year list, and this second-chance romance has also made my ALL-TIME favorite romance list.

Eva Mercy is a single mom and bestselling erotica writer living in Brooklyn, and Shane Hall is a reclusive and award-winning author. 

When the two authors meet at a literary event, their chemistry is undeniable, but they pretend not to know each other.

What the reader discovers is these two childhood friends had a steamy love affair as teens and have been secretly writing to each other in their books ever since. 

As they reconnect for a week in the middle of a hot Brooklyn summer, Eva has to decide whether she can trust Shane after his track record of breaking her heart. 

A Reese Witherspoon book club selection rarely ticks the right boxes for me, but this storyline did.

There is so much to unbox with this captivating story, with surprising depth from difficult childhoods to their more grown-up challenges as Black authors.

I love that you feel like you get a peek behind the curtain at both the writing process and the creative challenges of creation. 

As someone with chronic pain, I welcome storylines with personal experiences like mine. As so many books focus on opioid addiction and the crisis surrounding that, it is refreshing to see conversation around the daily realities of pain management.

This book tackles Eva’s journey with debilitating migraines and chronic pain, and I loved that this character was still so sexy and confident while battling these health issues.

The Dead Romantics- Best Books of 2022 to Read Now

The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston

In Ashley Poston’s sparkling adult debut, a disillusioned millennial ghostwriter must confront her own ghosts when she returns home for the first time in a decade was, by far, one of my favorite romances this year. 

Florence Day writes for one of the most successful romance authors in the industry, but a recent breakup has left her believing in love’s demise. When her editor refuses to grant her an extension on a book deadline, Florence faces the end of her career. 

However, a call from home forces her to confront the past she’s been running from for a decade, returning to her eccentric family and their funeral parlor in the Southern town where she grew up.

There, she discovers a ghost standing at the front door, just as broad and handsome as her editor, who is also deceased.

As she navigates the unfinished business of her new editor, Florence begins to question everything she thought she knew about love stories. 

As most of you know, magical realism is one element that I adore in my fiction. Poston writes this beautifully with some sweet plot twists that make this so beautifully moving without slipping into sappy waters. 

Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books of 2022

Legends & Lattes- Best Books of 2022 to Read Now

Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree

Be warned; this cozy book brought my blood pressure to dangerous levels.

Legends & Lattes was the book I didn’t know I needed, and I couldn’t be more thankful to have discovered it. The book is high fantasy with low stakes, and what one GoodReads reviewer  billed it as, “Dungeons & Dragons if it had a baby with Animal Crossing.” 

In our story, we have Viv, an orc that has spent decades as a swordfighter but has decided to start a new chapter for herself. More than anything, she wants to open a coffee shop in the City of Thune. 

The thing is that this is the first time anyone has experienced coffee, and it is going to take a village to get people on board with this new feature. 

Viv finds an unexpected partner in her quest to establish the coffeehouse. Tandri is a succubus who has come to work at the cafe and helps Viv as she makes the necessary changes to lure in customers and turn her space into a community hub. 

That isn’t the only side character to love, though- the town is FILLED WITH THEM. Of course, some low-stakes bad guys threaten to shut down the establishment, but it will all be okay. 

This cozy town is written in a way that envelopes all of your senses. I loved the descriptions of their baked goods, the aromatic nature of coffee descriptors, and the way we feel transported to these cobbled streets. This book was immersive in every way. 

As each discovery about coffee habits is made, the coffee shop’s chalkboard is changed to reflect the new decisions. This menu board ended up adding a satisfying rhythm to my chapter reading. 

If you are unfamiliar with Baldree’s publishing story, he is a Booktok self-published sensation who later acquired a deal with Macmillan. I’m thrilled to see that the second book in this series, Bookshops & Bonedust (a prequel or sequel of sorts), will be available on November 7, 2023! 

The House by the Cerulean Sea fans will adore this relaxing fantasy escape that embraces the found family trope with heart and humor. 

Best Memoirs of 2022

Glorious Rock Bottom- Best Books of 2022 to Read Now

Glorious Rock Bottom by Bryony Gordon

This profoundly moving memoir inspired me so much that it changed my relationship with alcohol, an admittedly easier journey than the one the author endured. 

 Bryony Gordon’s powerful and inspiring memoir explores her journey to recovery from a twenty-year addiction to drugs and alcohol. 

As a respected journalist and bestselling author, Gordon’s struggles with addiction were unknown to many, but her recovery story is one of the best I have ever read. Bryony was a journalist at The Telegraph, a bestselling author, and launched an award-winning mental health campaign.

She’s so well-known that when I found her podcast, I discovered her first episode on mental health was with Prince Harry. 

This memorable one expanded beyond the rehabilitation process and followed her journey after leaving the treatment facility- much longer than most.  We discover what it was like to navigate sober holidays and the dangers of replacing one addiction with another, even ones that may seem healthy. Her addiction to running, for example, reeled her into unhealthy waters as she took her addictive nature into less extreme waters, but with damaging results. 

This expanded look at recovery makes the book compelling and challenging to put down. I highly recommend this memoir to anyone seeking inspiration or a greater understanding of recovery. Its beautiful transformation makes it a must-read for anyone looking to transform their relationship with alcohol or for more empathy towards others on this journey.

I cannot say what clicked with my brain, but I knew I wanted more of the “after” part of Bryony’s journey for my own life.

This Will Be Funny Later - Best Books of 2022 to Read Now

This Will Be Funny Later by Jenny Pentland

It was a joy to interview Jenny Pentland this year on the Book Gang podcast, and it might have further solidified my deep love for her storytelling to learn her story behind this magnificent laugh-out-loud debut. 

The clever cover immediately caught my attention, but the fascinating tale of Jenny Pentland’s childhood truly won me over.

Imagine if your real life became the storylines for a sitcom – that was the reality for Pentland and her siblings, as their experiences were used as inspiration for the hit show “Roseanne.”

Pentland’s mother, Roseanne Arnold, is a compassionate side note in her journey. Still, the focus is mainly on Pentland’s struggles with anxiety and obesity and her journey through various programs like wilderness camps and fat camps in an attempt to address these challenges. 

Pentland’s story has some surprisingly heart-wrenching moments, but even sad and difficult moments are infused with signature humor that makes this a book you can’t put down. 

Pentland, who is now happily married and raising five sons on a farm, has dedicated herself to building the stable family she always wanted and finding peace with her longstanding anxiety.

This deeply moving and entertaining memoir is now one of my all-time favorite memoirs. 

Best Young Adult Books of 2022

Better Than the Movies- Best Books of 2022 to Read Now

Better Than the Movies by Lynn Painter

I thought I had discovered an under-the-radar book gem this year…that is, until I discovered that this adorable YA read had over 84K reviews on GoodReads and is a New York Times bestseller.

If you are looking for a read to share with your teen daughter, I can think of no better book club night than to read and discuss this book that takes our deep affection for rom-com movies to this adorable love story. 

Liz Buxbaum has always known that her next-door neighbor, Wes Bennett, is not the type of guy she should be interested in. Wes has been a pain in the butt, causing trouble since they were kids.

However, when Liz’s senior year of high school arrives and her crush, Michael, returns to town and starts hitting it off with Wes, Liz realizes that she needs Wes’s help if she wants to finally get noticed by Michael and possibly be her prom date.

As these two work together to make Liz’s prom dreams come true, she realizes that she actually enjoys being around Wes and begins questioning everything she thought she knew about love and what a happy ending should look like. 

This had Tell Me Three Things Things charm with an equally heartwarming story between Liz and her stepmom. It explores the meaningful loss of Liz’s mother and how she navigates these milestones with the bittersweetness and beauty required.

Each chapter has a quote from a familiar rom-com, and it also embraces music moments that you can find on a Spotify playlist that Painter has created.

It inspired my daughter to jot down all the titles and kick off the movie marathon of my dreams with my girl. 

We both agreed that this storyline was predictable, and we loved that about it.

In an unbelievable twist for my reading life, it turns out that this story brings me immeasurable joy this year.

This is now one of my top gift ideas to share with your teen!

 Big Buzzy Books I Can’t Wait Read In the New Year

I know that I missed many buzzy books this year and these are just a few that I’m excited to read in 2023.

Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

Fairy Tale by Stephen King (I am halfway through and loving it)

Candy House by Jennifer Egan ( a sequel to Goon Squad that is also on my list this year)

Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng (another that I’m just at the halfway point)

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver

The Heartstopper Graphic Novels Series

Jessie Klein’s Short Story Collections

Invisible Kingdom

 Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival & Hope in an American City, by Andrea Elliott (a Pulitzer Prize-Winning novel this year)

What were your favorite books this year? Do we share any favorites this year? I’d love to hear about them!

Love this post? Be sure to check out these other great lists!

Best Books of 2021
Best Books of 2020
Best Books of 2019
Best Books of 2018
Best Books of 2017
My Top Ten Books of 2016
My Top Ten Books of 2015
My Top Ten Books of 2014
My Top Ten Books of 2013
The Best Books Read in 2012
My Top Ten Books in 2011

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Best Books To Read From 2022 (Podcast)

January 6th, 2023

The BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR is here! We read a combined 481 books and tell you our top book recommendations! Listen to today’s podcast to discover what books we loved in 2022. 

We are so lucky to have Larry Hoffer (@getbookedwithlarry) back because he read 372 books this year and share his favorites today.

Combined, we have read a total of 481 books that include all of your favorite categories- historical fiction, young adult, science fiction, literary fiction, contemporary fiction, and ONE outstanding thriller. If you are on the hunt for your next debut novel, this stack is filled with them because there is nothing better than celebrating new authors.

As readers that love to make discoveries, we were surprised by how many many big blockbuster books ended up making our top ten lists. I guess the New York Times bestseller list wasn’t so bad this year.

The best part is that Larry and I share many a top pick for the first time. We made some space to reflect on our end of the year reading and how we plan to better shape our goals for a happier and healthier new year of reading in 2023. I also appreciate the personal experiences that we bring to this years book and I think you will too.

If these new books for your stack aren’t enough, we are offering a part two of this episode in the Patreon community. Along with this bonus episode is a 20-page reading guide AND printable checklists with our top 25 books so you can take these to your next library day.

We can’t wait to hear if a few of your favorite books of the year made the cut.

Best Books To Read From 2022 (Podcast)

Listen below or listen on your favorite podcast listening platform!

Mentioned in this episode:

SUPPORT MY WORK through Patreon (download our top 25 lists AND unlock 189 bookish bonuses INSTANTLY)

Helpful Articles Mentioned Today:

Best Books of 2022 To Read Now (BLOG POST- Full list & Reviews)

Tutorial on How to Use the Storygraph App

Tutorial on How to Use the Scribd App

Books & Authors Mentioned:

In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner

The One Hundred Years of Lenni & Margot by Marianne Cronin

The People We Keep by Allison Larkin

Fire Keeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano by Donna Freitas

The Lady’s Handbook for Her Mysterious Illness by Sarah Ramey

A Cosmology of Monsters by Shaun Hamill

A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers

This Boy We Made by Taylor Harris

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston

The Kindred Spirits Supper Club

Seven Days in June by Tia Williams

Before I Let Go by Kennedy Ryan

When You Call My Name by Tucker Shaw

The Prettiest Star by Carter Sickels

Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour

You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour with David Levithan

Beautiful Little Fools by Jillian Cantor

Better Than the Movies by Lynn Painter

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Mr. Wrong Number by Lynn Painter

The Do-Over by Lynn Painter

Self-Made Boys by Anna-Marie McLemore

We All Want Impossible Things by Catherine Newman

Look Closer by David Ellis

Connect With Us:

Amy’s Website- MomAdvice.com

Amy is @momadvice on Instagram

Larry is @getbookedwithlarry on Instagram

Book Gang T-Shirts and Merchandise

Join the Book Gang Patreon

This post contains affiliate links.

Shop the above (Amazon) links or shop through my new MomAdvice Book Gang Bookshop Page!! They pay a 10% commission on every sale and give a matching 10% to independent bookstores

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent (A Picture Tutorial)

December 29th, 2022
How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent (A Picture Tutorial) Header

This homemade laundry detergent recipe can save your family lots of money at the grocery store. Try this powdered laundry detergent made with Borax, washing soda, & a laundry soap bar. Try this recipe

A homemade laundry detergent recipe can save your family lots of money. Try this DIY powdered detergent made with Borax, washing soda, & a castile soap bar.

As we look to reduce our spending this year, I wanted to revive a few of our most popular DIY projects and this is one my FAVORITE DIY projects we have done for our family. 

This homemade laundry soap has been one of our tried-and-true projects for both savings AND for getting our clothes clean even with our most sensitive skin problems. 

I made this tutorial WAY back in 2013 and have adjusted the prices to the current pricing to ensure that this is as accurate as possible. 

As you can imagine, materials pricing went up, but not as much as I had expected. 

This is still much more economical than buying store-bought detergent. To add to the cost savings, I’ve included some ways that you can make it even more economical. 

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent Money-Saving Infographic

What are the Benefits to Making Your Own Detergent?

The top question I get asked is if these homemade detergents work and if it is worth the effort. Not only does it work AMAZING,  but the cost savings (detailed below) is also worth it as we combat these rising grocery prices. 

Not only does making your own laundry detergent save you money, but it can also reduce your environmental impact. 

For example, homemade detergents have a smaller carbon footprint than store-bought detergents, simply from a plastic packaging perspective alone.  

On top of that, you can control the ingredients that go into your laundry detergent.

What Ingredients Do I Need to Make My Own Laundry Detergent?

Homemade laundry detergent is a simple and cost-effective way to clean your clothes. It can be made with just three ingredients: Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar Soap, washing soda, and borax.

The Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar Soap is a powerful stain remover that can help to lift dirt and grime from your clothes. It is a staple ingredient in many homemade laundry detergents and can be found at most grocery stores or online.

Alternatively, you can also use Zote, Ivory Bar Soap, or Dr. Bonner’s Castile Bar Soap as a substitute.

Washing soda, also known as sodium carbonate, is a powerful cleaning agent that can help to remove stains and brighten whites.

Borax, also known as sodium borate, is a natural mineral used for cleaning and laundry for centuries. It is a powerful stain remover and can help to brighten whites and remove odors.

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent- Supplies

How Much Does It Cost to Make a Homemade Batch of Laundry Detergent? (pricing updated for 2023) 

The current pricing on these three ingredients is:

Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar– $2.59 per bar (currently unavailable online at a reasonable price through Walmart- check on your store shelves)

Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (55 ounce box)- $4.59

20 Mule Team Borax (65-ounce box)- $5.97

One batch of laundry detergent takes one cup of the borax, one cup of the washing soda, and one bar of soap.

Using these current prices, if the total cost of the ingredients is $2.59 for the laundry bar + $4.59 for the washing soda + $5.97 for the borax, the total cost is $13.15.  Dividing this by the number of batches you can make,  it gives us a cost of about $0.83 per batch! 

If you use one tablespoon of detergent per load, it will cost you just $0.06 per load! 

If you have a particularly dirty load, you can use two tablespoons, then it would cost  just $0.11 per load.

It is possible that buying these items locally will yield even more savings versus buying the ingredients online.

Where Do I Buy the Ingredients for My DIY Laundry Detergent?

Walmart can be a great option (only purchase IN STORE to avoid those third-party online prices). These supplies are all right in a row at your local store and are located on the opposite side of the laundry detergents, over by the stain remover. 

If you don’t have success at your store, another unexpectedly frugal spot to shop is your local hardware store. 

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent (A Picture Tutorial)

How Do you Grate the Laundry Soap Bar?

You can definitely use an old-fashioned cheese grater, but the soap can clump up and not completely dissolve in your load unless you grate it extremely fine. 

I allow my food processor to do the work for me because it is much easier to do and allows you to also double or triple your batches of laundry detergent in no time flat.

What Can I Use if I Prefer to Use a More Natural Homemade Laundry Detergent? 

One update to this recipe we will try this year is substituting our Fels-Naptha with Dr. Bronner’s Bar Soap

Although we have never had any sensitivities to the current recipe, castile soap is made from plant-based oils (olive oil, coconut oil, and hemp oil), and I think it will be a smart switch for a greener formula. 

In case you didn’t know, castile soap is known for its more gentle and moisturizing properties, as well as its versatility in a range of cleaning applications. 

It is why it is often used as a base for homemade cleaning products, such as laundry detergent, dish soap, and all-purpose cleaner.

Because it is made from plant-based oils, Castile soap is biodegradable and environmentally friendly. It is also typically free of synthetic fragrances, dyes, and preservatives, making it suitable for people with sensitive skin or allergies.

Keep in mind, making this switch will add to your cost per  load of laundry. Right now the pricing is roughly $4.50 per bar.  Even with the higher cost of this bar, it is still much cheaper than conventional laundry detergent prices. 

To save on this item, shop through the Rakuten app to get money back on your grocery purchases (including Instacart!). I’ve also written a full tutorial on how to get cash back on lots of common items you buy for your household.  

Is Homemade Detergent Safe to Use With High-Efficiency (HE) Washers?

The true beauty of using this homemade detergent is that it doesn’t have a lot of suds. You can’t use laundry detergents not made for high-efficiency washing machines because of the suds factor in many store-bought detergents. 

Thanks to the small amount of suds and the minimal amount of soap you need to wash your loads, it is the perfect detergent to use with your HE washer! You can use this homemade laundry detergent with confidence!

Is This Homemade Laundry Detergent Septic Friendly?

The ingredients in this soap contain zero phosphates and zero fillers (like montmorillonite clay) that cause commercial powder detergents to clog lines. 

I am sure other items you have lurking in your home are less septic friendly than this one, so this is a perfectly safe product to make and use.

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent (A Picture Tutorial)

How Do I Store Homemade Laundry Detergent? 

I love to store my detergent in a glass jar, but you could also store this in a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. 

How Can I Prevent Static When Drying My Clothes? 

You can use vinegar as a natural fabric softener by adding it to your fabric softener compartment in your washing machine. To use vinegar as a fabric softener, you can add 1/2 to 1 cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle of your laundry.

Keep in mind, vinegar can be harsh on certain types of fabrics, such as wool and silk, so it’s best to test a small, inconspicuous area before using it on your entire load.

Personally, I have become a big fan of these wool dryer balls and love to add a few drops of essential oils to my dryer balls to add a fresh scent to my loads. This one natural homemade laundry routine that our whole family has gotten behind. 

Now that you know all about it, let’s get started on our project!

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent (A Picture Tutorial)

Supplies Needed

1 box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda

1 Bar of Fels-Naptha Soap or Dr. Bonners Castile Bar Soap (or more if you plan to double, triple, or quadruple your batch) 

1 box 20 Mule Team Borax

Food Processor

Large Mixing Bowl

Measuring cups

Jar for Storage (found in the kitchen supplies)

Coffee Scoop (found in the kitchen supplies aisle, optional, but is great for perfect measuring of your detergent)

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent- Fels-Naptha Soap Cut in Half

Cut your bars of soap in half lengthwise so that you can feed them through the shoot of your processor. 

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent- Feeding the Soap in a Food Processor

Assemble the processor with your cheese grater attachment and feed your soap in slowly and gently through the top shoot. 

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent-Grating Soap in Food Processor
How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent-Grated Fels-Naptha Soap

Once all the soap has been grated, dump it into a bowl and remove the cheese grater attachment. 

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent- Switching Food Processor Blades
How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent- Laundry Soap After Second Processing

Reassemble the processor with the basic blade and then put the grated soap back in. Spin it again until the soap resembles fine small pellets. Your soap is now ready to be incorporated into your laundry detergent!

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent (A Picture Tutorial)- Pouring Soap Into Bowl
How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent (A Picture Tutorial)- Pouring Borax
How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent (A Picture Tutorial)- Pouring Washing Soda

In a large mixing bowl, combine the grated soap, borax, and washing soda. Mix well until the ingredients are well incorporated.

Transfer the mixture to a glass jar or well-sealed plastic container. Be sure to label the container with the ingredients and the date, so you know what’s inside.

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent (A Picture Tutorial)- Mixing Homemade Laundry Soap
How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent (A Picture Tutorial)- Jar of Homemade Laundry Soap
How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent (A Picture Tutorial)- Jar of Homemade Laundry Soap

To use the detergent, add one tablespoon of the mixture to a load of laundry (or two tablespoons for heavily soiled loads). You can adjust the amount as needed depending on the size of the load and the soil level.

Store the detergent in a cool, dry place. It should last for several months if kept sealed and dry.

You now have a simple and effective homemade laundry detergent that can save you money and customize your laundry routine. Enjoy the savings and the satisfaction of making your own cleaning products!


Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe

Prep time: 15 mins
Total time: 15 mins
Homemade laundry detergent can be made with just three ingredients! Try this simple recipe and enjoy the savings!


Ingredients:
1 bar (or 4.5 ounces) of shaved bar soap (Ivory, ZOTE, Fels-Naptha, or Dr. Bonners Castile Bar Soap)
1 cup of borax
1 cup of washing soda

Instructions:
Shred your bars of soap as shown in the tutorial above.
Mix one cup of borax, one cup of washing soda and the grated soap in a large bowl until incorporated
Store in a glass jar or well-sealed plastic container.

Love this tutorial? Don’t miss these other money-saving ideas!

Grocery Tips for Shopping at ALDI Supermarket

THE ALDI SECRETS YOU NEED TO KNOW

Earn Money Investing In Women With Ellevest

HOW TO INVEST THAT SAVED MONEY FOR YOUR FAMILY

The Best Libby Tips & Tricks for Using the Library App

LEARN HOW TO USE THE LIBBY APP TO SAVE ON BOOKS

Do you make your own laundry detergent? What is your winning recipe for the perfect homemade laundry detergent? Feel free to share your tips!

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent Infographic
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The Best Libby App Tips And Tricks

December 16th, 2022

Whether you are a super user or brand new, this Libby tutorial will enhance your reading life. Learn how this free ebook and audiobook reading option at your local library works. Libby invites you to the join the conversation as they build this new community.

Sometimes I create content for you, and sometimes I create content for me. This tutorial and podcast episode offered the information I needed to make the switch from the Overdrive platform to Libby.

It is no secret that the topics for our podcast and website often find a way of infiltrating my daily life. For example, one of my favorite podcast episodes we’ve ever done so far was teaching people how to the Storygraph app for those interested in leaving the GoodReads platform.

Hearing from the company’s CEO motivated me to switch from the GoodReads app over to their platform. The transcription from our Storygraph became a written tutorial for new users. The truth is, since that encounter, HUNDREDS of people every month come to the site to use this as a guide for their transition to Storygraph.

My goal is to do this AGAIN, but with a free tool from your local library!

Cue the Jazz Hands!

Today the Libby team is here to help us transition from Overdrive to Libby, learn what makes this public library tool so great, and learn how to borrow and enjoy those eBooks and audiobooks with your library card.

So if you’re struggling to switch from Overdrive to Libby like me, or if you’re looking for fun new ways to use their features, today’s post and podcast are for you.

What is the Libby App?

Libby is a free app where you can borrow ebooks, digital audiobooks, and magazines from your public library. You can stream titles with Wi-Fi or mobile data, or download them for offline use and read anytime, anywhere. All you need to get started is a library card.

How to Get Started With the Libby App

If you are just getting started with the Libby App, I wanted to provide the quick instructions on how to get started.

If you are already a user, scroll down for the Super User information that Libby has so kindly provided for our show and site.

  1. Download the Libby app on your device from the app store.
  2. Open the app and find your library. You can search for it by name or zip code.
  3. Sign in to your library account using your library card number and PIN.
  4. Browse the available books, audiobooks, and other materials. You can search by title, author, or subject.
  5. Select the item you want to borrow and tap the “Borrow” button.
  6. The item will be added to your library account and will be available for a certain loan period (usually two weeks). You can view your borrowed items in the “Loans” section of the app.
  7. To start reading or listening to the borrowed item, tap on the item in the “Loans” section and then tap the “Read” or “Listen” button.
  8. When you’re finished with the item, you can return it early by tapping the “Return” button in the “Loans” section. This will make the item available for other users to borrow.

The Best Libby App Tips And Tricks

These questions were answered by the Libby Team- what an incredible honor to share space with their team! Listen to the full episode below or check out the excerpt from today’s transcription below. I encourage you to subscribe to the Book Gang podcast to listen to more episodes like this one. Today’s show notes are located here.

If you find this episode to be helpful, your written reviews are INCREDIBLY HELPFUL to help me grow my new show.

Get to Know the Libby Experts that Answered Today’s Questions:

These three voices also run the podcast Professional Book Nerds, with new episodes that come out every Monday and Thursday.

Joe Skelley is one of the co-hosts of the Professional Book Nerds podcast and has been at Overdrive for five years. He is part of the digital book mobile team which is a truck that goes across the US and Canada that does free stops at libraries and schools and helps people get started with their library.

Emma Dwyer is also one of the co-hosts of OverDrive’s Professional Book Nerds podcast and an avid user of the Libby app. She has been at Overdrive for eight years now in varying roles, and is currently as a product trainer on the Overdrive training team, training our library partners and their staff on how to use Libby and other Overdrive products and services. 

Jill Grunenwald is the creator and the third co-host of the Professional Book Nerds podcast. She works on OverDrive’s marketing team as a Marketing and Communications Specialist for the North American public library. Her role is to communicate with  library partners to let them know about all the fun new services and features that Libby has to offer. 

This is an excerpt from today’s show. Where necessary, this transcription has been modified for clarity for written context. To reduce visual clutter, we have combined their three voices into one to make this tutorial easier to navigate today.

What is Libby and why are we replacing the Overdrive app?

“I just wanted to start by mentioning that Libby is made with love from us here at Overdrive.

It’s the same wonderful collection you’re already used to and built by the same people who have been taking care of you for a decade now on the Overdrive app.

We decided to build a new app after taking all of the feedback from users so it could be a fresh space.

Libby has all of the same amazing content that you can access in Overdrive, and actually some libraries offer even more types of content in Libby that you can’t access in Overdrive. But now we are working towards the sunset of that flagship app.

Libby is growing and evolving as new readers join and as existing readers make that switch. So still the same company you love, but with a cleaner and hopefully less confusing approach for everyone. “

Regarding changes that we would like to see happen, what is the most effective way to let you know if there’s something that we’d like to implement in the Libby app?

“The first thing is, what’s really cool about Libby that doesn’t exist in Overdrive is you can contact our tech support team directly anytime, anywhere.

And in the same place, you can find help and support; we also have our Suggestion Box. So in the menu, under the help and support section, there’s a button that says Get Some Help. And then, under the Common Solutions section, there is a big button that says Suggestion Box

And you can type through and say, I want to recommend titles to my library. I like this kind of feature added. Or, I find this confusing. You can send all of that feedback through. 

If you think it needs to be done, we recommend submitting that suggestion because if you’re thinking it, someone else is thinking it. And that helps our developers see what they need to prioritize.

Are the catalogs currently identical in Libby and Overdrive with our library systems? 

“Yes, the collections your libraries offer and your digital libraries in Overdrive are the same in the Libby app. 

There are those exceptions. 

You can access more content in some cases using Libby. 

There’s that extra content available, like Kanopy, which is a platform for movies and television shows. There are things like Craftsy, which is hobbies, DIY and other things, and Universal Class, which is continuing education.”

Will my current holds and loans be moving to Libby when I switch? 

“Yes, which is awesome for those of us who keep very long wait lists.

When you log into Libby and sign in with your library card, your hold will be waiting for you on the shelf in Libby, so they’ll be right there for you to okay.”

What about those Overdrive wishlists that we have? How can we transfer them?

“So happy to say that, yes, Libby will prompt you to actually move over your wishlists from Overdrive directly using one of our smart tags.

The first time you get signed in and set up, you’ll get comfortable that first day or so.

And then Libby will send a little notification in the menu that says it looks like you were an Overdrive user. Do you want to bring over your wishlist?

I mean, how easy is that?”

Can I access my Libby app from my computer or laptop? 

“Yes. You can access Libby from a browser on your laptop.

You can go to Libbyapp.com and do all the same things in the app except downloading or reading offline on your computer.

Everything you’re doing on libbyapp.com will sync to the Libby app on your phone or tablet.” 

Can I access Libby on my Android devices? 

“Yes, absolutely.

Libby is available for Apple and Android devices through the App store and Google Play Store.

You can also side-load the app onto a Kindle Fire tablet. (editor’s note: scroll down for more information on this feature)

Additionally, you can listen to your audiobooks via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Download the Libby app on those devices.

We also have direct integration with Sono speakers. So you can listen in your kitchen while making dinner or anywhere in your house with a speaker if you have one of those.

The app experience is exactly the same if you’re on Apple, or Android, or even if you’re using libby app.com, there’s only a few differences, like downloading.

The Apple version is the same as the Android version.”

When I’m in my car and I’m using your audiobook feature, am I able to download from Libby if I don’t have the internet?

“Absolutely. A lot of people do a lot of traveling with their audiobooks, and that is one thing that is really important to people when they’re doing audiobooks.

Libby’s default is to download all titles specifically when you’re connected to wifi.

So Libby, by default, won’t use your data.

That’s a feature you can turn off.

You can have Libby download pretty much anytime you’re connected to wifi or cellular data.

Still, you can turn off the unit, like you can go into airplane mode, be up in a plane, be in the car on that long road trip, and that book is downloaded onto your device now.

This is why Libby is amazing and the superior experience.

In the Overdrive app, I’m sure many of you who love audiobooks know you could occasionally lose a chunk of your audiobook because it was broken up into multiple files.

With Libby, it’s all one clean, neatly packaged file, so you’ll never lose a part of your audiobook.”

Are you taking up more storage on your device by using Libby? 

“Libby doesn’t take up more storage than the Overdrive app, and Libby has several different settings that you can adjust depending on your download preferences.

The default for Libby is to download all titles when you’re connected to a wifi connection to conserve any cellular data you might be using; if you don’t want to do that, you can again adjust this under settings and you can specify what gets downloaded.

You can say everything, no matter what will be downloaded, you can specify for titles under 20 megabytes, or you can have it download nothing.

You can go in and select what you want, and then specify to download things on wifi only.

That is the default, but you can ensure that that’s enabled, which is a setting I use pretty often.

Easy enough to download when I’ve got a connection and then have it for listening to audiobooks.”

Am I able to rate my books on the Libby app?

“Currently, there is no way to rate titles in Libby, but as we discussed at the beginning of this, our team and I take suggestions and love user feedback.

So go under the Menu, Help, Support, Get Some Help, and then there’s a Suggestion Box, and you can let them know you want to be able to rate books in Libby.”

How do tags work and have you guys witnessed any really cool tagging systems?

“I love tags, and I recognize that they can be a little daunting at first because, coming from Overdrive, you are used to having your history and your wishlist, and that’s it. 

What I’m about to say could be amazing and, also, scary for folks, but I always like to say that the limit to tags is your imagination. 

You can create a tag for, truly, anything. 

I create lists based on interest, so I always like to suggest tags for genres you love. 

If you are a mood reader, having that mystery, that historical fiction or thriller tag is helpful. 

You can truly create whatever you’d like. 

I also like to make ones for narrators I don’t love. So if I see their name again, I’ll likely read this one instead of listening to it. 

One of our teammates actually has a tag for gift-giving. 

Her father-in-law is tough to buy gifts for, but he’ll always read a book. 

So she picks things and pops them in his tag. 

So when shopping season comes around, it takes her five minutes, and she’s like, it’s mainly selfish because then she can spend more time shopping herself. 

Personally, I have a tag for my niece and I pull anything that I think she might like to make my sister’s day a little easier. 

I have a tag specifically for Reagan, and then I text it over to my sister every once in a while and just kind of keep it updated. 

I also have one for cookbooks. 

So I always have that handy if I’m in a recipe slump.”

How do I add my tag when I am wanting to tag a book? 

“Tags are super cool. You can create them either when you’re scrolling through the experience or if you’re in a curated list and you see something and think, “I don’t have a tag for this yet.”

It says Borrow, Play Sample (if it’s an audiobook), and Tag. If you tap on Tag, you see your existing tags or the option to make a new one. Also, the tags all live on your Shelf, so you can also make them from your Shelf.”

Editor’s Note: Don’t forget to tag your “MomAdvice Book Club Books,” if you are reading with me this year.

I did notice that you guys also have some suggestions for tags when you’re first starting. Even something like tagging Young Adult if you’re just getting right into categories and you get more inventive over time as you begin to get more comfortable with utilizing tags?

“Yes, a tag tip for people that are maybe Libby super users or just people that are really into books – you can use a tag to keep better track of things that you want to make a note to come back to or add to your TBR list.

This advice is for super users that are working, their library’s wait lists and are borrowing things all the time. I do that as well, and that can get overwhelming at times, especially if all my holds come in at once or I just have tons of books to read, which is always a good problem!

But something I’ve been relying on recently instead of borrowing something just because I do happen upon it. If it’s available for placing a hold or if I know that’s going to overwhelm me later, I’ve been using a tag to keep better track of things that I want to make a note to come back to, but I’m not ready to take any big action with.

So I tend to get like “tap happy” in Libby, placing lots of holds or borrowing things because they’re all at my fingertips, but I’ve been relying on tags a lot more so that I can not overwhelm myself with things in Libby.”

If I want to see all the tags together, where am I able to view them? 

“You’ll see all of your tags on your shelf in Libby.

That will show your Loans, Holds, and Tags all on your shelf, but you also have the option to click into your tags and sort through your tags on that shelf page.”

What are some unique accessibility features with Libby? 

“We’re always trying to improve and refine accessibility in Libby, and we’ve made some big improvements over the last couple of years. We do quite a bit of user testing on that accessibility to get feedback from real users with those accessibility needs. 

Libby supports screen readers, keyboard navigation, voice control, and other assistive technologies. Libby Read From Here is an ebook reading mode tailored to screen readers. Voiceover or Talk-Back Mode reads the text of the books aloud. 

You can use the keyboard to tap around Libby’s interface; we have keyboard shortcuts for the e-reader and audio player to make accessing each feature and button easier. 

We also have configurable appearance settings for ebook pages, including tech scale, background page, color, and book design. 

The custom book design lets you choose a font line spacing and other settings to really personalize your reading experience. 

For those who want to personalize their audiobook experience, there are playback speed controls for audiobook speed ranging from half the Normal Speed of the audiobook to three times the Normal Speed. 

And then Dark Mode supports operating systems or browsers that provide that option. It can be based on your phone settings as well. 

If you have your phone set to Dark Mode, Libby will automatically update to be in Dark Mode as well.”

You have a dial at the bottom of your audiobook. Is that something special about Libby and what does this style do for us? 

“I think there is an accessibility element to it. In your audiobook player, up at the top, you have your overall progress, and then at the bottom, of course, you’ve got those Play and Pause buttons. And then that, that bar underneath that has those little ticks will allow you to skip around. So there are dark, bold marks for each chapter or at a major page break.

It will also show you, at the bottom, where your notes and highlights are if you’ve made notes and highlights in the audiobook. So it is overall a slider.”

When are we going to be able to recommend our books to Libby? 

“That’s the top question that we receive. Truly, we are developing a fresh solution for this feature in Libby, and we look forward to sharing more soon.

I can’t give you a solid answer, but it is coming in 2023.

We want to ensure we’ve got all those major features that everyone is looking for before the Overdrive app is sunset.

It will involve the tagging system, so it will act a little differently than what you’re used to in Overdrive, but it will have the same end product.

But for now, you can use Libby for your reading happiness and use the Overdrive app to recommend those titles while it still exists.

Or you can go to your library’s Overdrive website. Hopefully, we’ll have that new solution up and running for all of you soon.”

When are we going to be evicted from Overdrive?

“That’s funny!

The plan is to discontinue the Overdrive app in 2023. But don’t panic – we want to ensure that everyone has lots of time to prepare.

That’s why we’ve been talking about it a lot in 2022, giving people time to use both and get comfortable.

And then, certainly, knowing that we’re not going to discontinue that Overdrive app until some of those key features we’ve talked about are offered in Libby or there’s a solution to them in Libby.

It’s not just going to vanish without any notice, so keep an eye out on Overdrive social media.”

If we want to get some additional training or support on using the app, where would we access that? 

“I am so excited to help encourage and facilitate folks making the switch. 

I host monthly getting started sessions for new and transitioning users. It’s about an hour, and we will take you through the basics. 

We point out what’s different from Overdrive to Libby, and we’ll be doing that through 2023. 

I do them with my teammate Marissa, and she is, TRULY, the Libby extraordinaire. 

She’ll take you through everything you need to know, and we’ll answer your questions live. 

We’ve got a lot of amazing people. 

You’ll get a chance to have your questions answered, get support and see what Libby’s all about. 

I would also shout out our help site. We have a specific tab called Switching from the Overdrive app. It’s right up at the top of the page. You can’t miss it!

It will cover everything we cover, anything you’re looking for. 

All of our monthly sessions are recorded. So even if you can’t attend live, we still encourage you to register to receive that recording in your inbox. The help site can be found HERE.

Questions from the MomAdvice Book Club Members

Thank you to our readers for these wonderful questions that were asked for our podcast today. These will be helpful to so many!

What’s the best way to manage multiple library cards on Libby?

All your library cards live in your Menu right in the center under your Libraries. 

You can tap and see all the library cards you have; tapping on the name will also switch your active libraries. 

So it’s easy to switch back and forth between all the libraries and cards you have; even with multiple library cards, all of your loans and holds live on one shared shelf. 

No matter where you check a book out, they’ll all be on the same shelf. 

And when you run a Search, you can also tap the name of the library under the Search Field and after you tap the name of your library, you’ll see all of your libraries and can easily switch between them that way. 

When you search for a book and look at the titles details list, if you tap on the little library icon next to the titles, it will show you availability at all of your libraries.

How do you put Libby on a Kindle Fire and a Kid’s Fire Tablet?

We do have some step-by-step instructions to add Libby to Kindle Fire tablets. It is a side-load because we are still waiting for Libby to be added to the Kindle Fire app store.

That’s entirely on Amazon’s approval.

It’s a super simple step-by-step process that walks you through downloading the APK files and adding them, following the steps to your tablet.

And then Libby will function the same way on an Android device. You can find the tutorial HERE.”

How do I put Libby audiobooks on my Apple Watch to listen to without my phone nearby? 

“This is a really wonderful question.

Currently, there is not a way to play audiobooks through your Apple Watch. Still, we have heard this request, especially as the popularity of Apple watches has exploded over recent years.

And so this is a request that our Libby development team is aware of and has received. So certainly keep an eye out for future developments on the Apple Watch.

Is there a way to sync my Goodreads account to my Wishlist on Libby? 

You can export your tags from Libby into Goodreads, but there is no way to bring Goodreads into Libby.

So that is an excellent suggestion and opportunity to use our Suggestion Box and give feedback if that’s something you want to see.”

How do you guys feel about the loophole of putting your Kindle in airplane mode to keep library books from returning?

“Kindle fulfillment is tricky. When you borrow a book from your library and use the, “Send to Kindle,” feature which I have to say is the US only, Amazon fulfills it.

So that’s where it breaks from Libby or Overdrive and switches to Amazon’s fulfillment.

On our end in Libby, the app has internal timers to keep everyone honest and on or offline; it doesn’t matter if you put your device into airplane mode or change the date, Libby knows. And it keeps us honest, on or offline, with copyright policies.

What Amazon does is totally up to them, but we’re respecting those publisher agreements and copyrights, in general.”

Thank you to the Libby team for their generosity with our community! To see the show notes for this podcast today, head HERE!

To help fund the work at MomAdvice, consider joining our Patreon Book Club for our exclusive buzzy books podcast (FULLY BOOKED), author interviews, and music playlists to enhance your reading experiences. To learn head to the Patreon Book Gang! The funding helps us to create quality shows and tutorials like the one you have read today.

Looking for more ways to enhance your reading life? Check out these articles!

Join the 2023 MomAdvice Book Club (and read all year with me!)

How to Use Scribd for Your Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

Learn how to use the Scribd App (when the library holds get too long)

Learn how to get a free book every dang month

Get the Most Out of the Libby App (Podcast)

December 16th, 2022
Get the Most Out of the Libby App Podcast from MomAdvice.com

The Libby team is HERE to help us transition from Overdrive to Libby. Learn what makes this public library app so great and how to borrow and enjoy ebooks and audiobooks with your library card.

Are you struggling to make the switch from Overdrive to Libby? As many of you know our time with Overdrive will come to an end in 2023. As I make the switch myself, I thought it would be fun to bring you along on this journey.

Today I am honored to share an episode with the Libby team on our show.

The Professional Book Nerds (Joe, Emma, and Jill) are this week’s tour guide You may recognize their from their own podcast where work as staff librarians and offer book recommendations.

They love discussing books with their listeners and sharing what you can check out from your local public libraries and school systems, AND they love talking about what makes the Libby app so unique.

Today’s episode walks you through navigating this reading app, the best way to transition our reading history from Overdrive, and what updates are in progress.

Today’s episode includes listener questions that were submitted before taping.

Libby answers these questions (and more) in today’s episode:

  • How to use their new tagging system and some clever tagging categories you might not have explored.
  • Learn the new features for listening to audiobooks and how to download them (without taking up all your phone storage)
  • Discover the accessibility features they offer for ebook readers to make reading easier for ALL readers.

Meet our Libby Guests:

Joe Skelley is one of the co-hosts of the Professional Book Nerds podcast and has been at Overdrive for five years. He is part of the digital book mobile team which is a truck that goes across the US and Canada that does free stops at libraries and schools and helps people get started with their library.

Emma Dwyer is also one of the co-hosts of OverDrive’s Professional Book Nerds podcast and an avid user of the Libby app. She has been at Overdrive for eight years now in varying roles, and is currently as a product trainer on the Overdrive training team, training our library partners and their staff on how to use Libby and other Overdrive products and services. 

Jill Grunenwald is the creator and the third co-host of the Professional Book Nerds podcast. She works on OverDrive’s marketing team as a Marketing and Communications Specialist for the North American public library. Her role is to communicate with  library partners to let them know about all the fun new services and features that Libby has to offer. 

Get the Most Out of the Libby App (Podcast)

Listen below or listen on your favorite podcast listening platform!

Mentioned in this episode:

Check out Today’s Guide to Libby- Don’t Miss This Tool With Transcription

How to Use the Storygraph Tutorial (Written Guide)

A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers

2023 MomAdvice Book Club Announcement Podcast Episode

Check Out the 2023 MomAdvice Book Club List

This Boy We Made by Taylor Harris

Winter Atmospheric Reads- My Guest Spot on the Professional Book Nerds Podcast

Professional Book Nerds Libby Podcast Episode

You can find Libby Help directly in the app or visit this help link.

You can register for the monthly Getting Started sessions

You can find steps for sideloading Libby on your Kindle Fire

A Crown of Ivy and Glass by Claire LaGrand

The Secret History by Donna Tart

Wicked Little Things by Justin Arnold

Connect With Us:

Amy’s Website- MomAdvice.com

Amy is @momadvice on Instagram

The Professional Book Nerds Website

Professional Book Nerds on Instagram

Book Gang T-Shirts and Merchandise

Join the Book Gang Patreon

This post contains affiliate links.

Shop the above (Amazon) links or shop through my new MomAdvice Book Gang Bookshop Page!! They pay a 10% commission on every sale and give a matching 10% to independent bookstores

Amazon First Reads for December (Get Your FREE Book)

December 6th, 2022
Amazon First Reads for December (Get Your FREE Book) from MomAdvice.com

Prime members shouldn’t miss access to this FREE Amazon First Reads program. Learn how to cash in on your free book selection for December.

Can you believe it is already time to select our next book? I had the BEST time gathering the reviews for this month’s offerings.

Amazon First Reads: The Prime Reading Perk I Love For My Reading Life

For my new readers, each month you have access to a free Kindle book just for being a Prime member.

If you aren’t familiar with how this program works, head to this post that shares everything you wanted to know about the Amazon First Reads program (formerly the Kindle First program).

Each month I put together this post that is intended to make selection easierThese posts share the names of each selection, a small blurb, critical reviews, reader feedback, and the ratings (so far) on the GoodReads app.

I will also tell you which book I chose so don’t forget to scroll to the end on this month’s post!

Everything You Wanted to Know About Amazon First Reads

Make sure that when you add these to your cart, it shows the BUY IT NOW FOR FREE!

If it does not, you are not signed into your family’s Prime account.

PICK ONE HERE OR ON THE LANDING PAGE

Amazon First Reads for December (Get Your FREE Book)

Select one FREE Amazon First Reads book for December. Follow today's post's instructions to ensure your free book is activated.

VERDICT: WHAT I PICKED

This month was REALLY tough. It was a toss up between Five Winters & The Blue Bar!

After reading the phenomenal feed back on The Blue Bar, it sounded like the perfect option to armchair travel. I can’t recall a book set in Mumbai that I’ve read recently.

As I’m in the mood for something fast-paced to meet my reading goals, this sounds like the perfect pick for me.

SOUND OFF: Have you read any of this month’s selections? Tell me what you plan to pick this month!

READ BETTER THIS YEAR WITH THESE ARTICLES. DON’T FORGET TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE BOOK GANG PODCAST FOR MORE AMAZING BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS.

The 2023 MomAdvice Book Club Selections Are Announced

December 1st, 2022
The Best 2023 Book Club Book Selections Are Announced on MomAdvice.com

Discover the 2023 MomAdvice Book Club Books I have curated for our reading year. These fifteen selections will yield dynamic discussions for any group.

It is finally time to turn this stack around! Today I get to reveal our 2023 book club selections for our best reading year ever.

I have learned so much from leading this club over the years, and this year, I believe, is our best one yet. While we still have a few books with challenging themes, this year’s stack offers more life-affirming and heartwarming stories than any other year.

We have joyful traditions, meaningful coming-of-age stories, found families, and found loves.

We also have some dynamic discussions in store around challenging topics like the disparities in our medical system, reproductive rights, body autonomy, and disability awareness.

As I’ve learned so much through this selection process, I am confident that you will also walk away with a new understanding of the world.

What is the MomAdvice Book Club?

The MomAdvice Book Club is a carefully curated book club year designed with busy budget-minded readers in mind.

Each year I select twelve book club books for discussion, so you can make necessary library hold requests for materials early or to take advantage of our partnered bookshop savings.

Why Should You Join This Book Club?

The goal of my book club is to sample a wide variety of books that I feel will offer dynamic discussions, give us a new viewpoint on the world (and the people in it), and introduce you to your new favorite author (that you may have never heard of before).

This year’s stack includes literary fiction, memoir, historical fiction, contemporary fiction, women’s fiction mystery, and young adult.

Where Do Book Club Chats Happen?

First, request to join the MomAdvice Book Club on Facebook.

The Book Club Chat is held on the last Friday (of the month) at 8 PM EST. All events for the year will be posted by January 1st.

Once you RSVP to an event, Facebook will send you the reminders.

As so many readers have Zoom fatigue, we do a typed chat. I provide the typical book club discussion with questions about the book, but I also supply 5-7 quotable news articles and facts to round out that chat.

Discussion questions are posted throughout the event and you can hop on at any time during the evening (or when you finish that book) to answer the questions at a time that is convenient for you.

All events (starting by January 1st) will be listed under the Events tab of our group. Click to RSVP on any (or all) events.

What New Book Club Features Can I Access in the MomAdvice Patreon?

Joining the Patreon group is just FIVE DOLLARS A MONTH or you can pre-pay for a year for a ten percent savings.. Your membership includes MORE perks than EVER. Most of all, your dollars fund our book club so we can continue to expand your reader perks and help this small business grow.

Without our patrons, this group would not be possible. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Let’s discuss the new benefits offered for 2023!

The Best 2023 Book Club Book Selections Are Announced on MomAdvice.com

Monthly in-depth video interviews with each of our chosen authors– We have a commitment from 11 authors this years to participate in our EXCLUSIVE Author Interview Series. I spend an hour recording an interview with each of our authors discussing their books from start to finish.

This will GREATLY enhance your connection to each of these books, and they have become a patron favorite. These are posted on the fifteenth of every month, so you have two weeks to watch them before our discussion.

These conversations are recorded in video AND audio format so you can access whichever format works best with your reading month.

Exclusive Book Club Playlists- Each month you receive a curated music playlist around each of our book’s themes.

I take the books chapter-by-chapter to tell their story through music. It has become one of our patron’s most special perks and an excellent way to use my background in music to immerse us further in these selections.

Exclusive Bookstore Coupon Discounts- Our Fables Bookstore partnership will give Patreon members 15% off ALL the book club selections for our year. This can be applied to paperback and hardback selections from our 2023 year.

Take advantage of this discount savings to make your holiday shopping easy AND affordable. You will find the coupon code loaded in your account today.

Three Bonus Selections- This year we will offer three bonus selections (perks listed below) with exclusive interactive live discussions around the book’s themes. I hope to form deeper friendships and a stronger sense of community around these fun reads that beg to be read with a buddy.

The FULLY BOOKED Podcast & Newsletter– Each month we offer a 37-page reading guide with reviews on all the buzziest books, book adaptation news, and what upcoming releases will hit store shelves.

This is co-hosted with my well-read co-host (Larry), who reads hundreds of books and shares his top recommendations.

Print or screenshot the monthly written guide for your library day AND listen to a podcast with our uncensored opinions on the books coming out.

The Best Book Shirts for a Book Club

Don’t Forget to Grab Your Grown-Up “Book-It Pin” Shirts

This cult-classic merchandise is what I call our “Grown-Up Book-It Pin.”

Not only do our readers love it, but our writers love it too.

These buttery soft shirts, durable totes, and generously shaped coffee mugs are bought over and over again by repeat customers.

Sizing is true to size and these do not shrink. We stand behind the quality of our supplier and the durability of these designs.

These fundraiser shirts help offset the numerous expenses of running a book club of this size. All funds raised will go towards our administrative expenses, software, and equipment.

Products Available This Year:

Coffee Mug With All Fifteen Books

Coffee Mug With The Classic Dozen Books

Library Tote With Fifteen Books

Library Tote With The Classic Dozen Books

Book Shirts (All Styles Available) With Fifteen Books

Book Shirts (All Styles Available) With Twelve Books

Shop the whole rest of the collection HERE

Listen to Today’s Announcement on the Book Gang Podcast

You can listen to today’s Book Gang episode below to get the behind-the-scenes scoop on what I’m offering for your stack this year. If you are planning to join in on the fun, this episode is essential to understand how our club works and why I have chosen these books, in particular, for you.

Thank you to my dear friend AND excellent host, Meagan Francis. Be sure to check out The Mother of Reinvention, a beautifully cultivated community and podcast for women in a new season of rediscovery.

Listen to the Book Gang Podcast Below or Stream Wherever You Get Your Shows:

The 2023 MomAdvice Book Club Books

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Check out our past book club books:

Check out our 2022 selections

2021 MomAdvice Book Club Selections

Check out our 2021 Selections

Join in on the MomAdvice Book Club HERE! Looking for book ideas? Check out our entire Book section of the site!

You can also sign up for the MomAdvice Daily Book Deals Newsletter with the latest book news!

The Best 2023 Book Club Book Selections Are Announced