Category Archives: At Home

What’s On Your Nightstand? H.A.G. Reads for June…er July!

books I am reading this summerA little late to the party, eh?

Well, let’s just say island-time will do that to a person! I have been on va-ca-tion! {atleast mentally!} So I want to lay out my reads for you that I did in June and July. I can do that see, since I haven’t been reading a ton. You’d think that an underemployed librarian would read more, but then, it’s summer vacation and my kids are home. So there is laundry everywhere, crafts taking over my tables, puzzles laying around and general chaos, but not much time to read. This is the reality of my “relaxing” summer!

I want to lay out my 3 books for these months- yes, just three, but they were SO fun!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive compensation. It does not affect your price at all. For more information, see my full disclosure page.

Into the Water, by Paula Hawkins

I read this because I loved Girl on the Train- super suspenseful and quick reading. I needed a book that I knew I would get through, and quickly! And I wasn’t disappointed with that part. It is a quick-read and draws you in and through with constant peeling of the layers surrounding a town that mysteriously has a history of women who kill themselves at the water’s edge. Not a coincidence, you think? Me either. That is the story that unfolds. The people involved and their history together. Small towns are funny like that. There are always stories behind the present day I think, and this mysterious book uses that fact to build suspense and intrigue very well. Recommend but not an absolute must-read.

The Women in the Castle, by Jessica Shattuck

I find that there is no shortage of WWII novels every year, and several are bestsellers and super popular. This year, Lilac Girls and Nightingale were on my list to read, but my TBB bookclub, June-partner, picked Women in the Castle as a suggested book. I am so glad that this was on the list. I just loved the perspective of three very different German women in the war. It has always been so hard for me to understand how if you lived in Germany during the war, you actually didn’t see how bad things were for people around you. How could this happen? How come they just swept in under the rug when it was over, like it didn’t happen? This book was a little window into explaining some of this, and it was told so beautifully and had a wonderful example of the fragility and beauty of women-friendships. Recommend highly for those who enjoy historical fiction.

The Brutal Telling, by Louise Penny

This is #5 of the Inspector  Armand Gamache novels that take place in the fictional, Three Pines, Quebec.  I love the town, the people, the fact that no crime happens in this small town except murder…too funny! This one features an unknown (to the town) person who is murdered inside their beloved cafe. But is he really unknown? Bits are revealed to tell us and I am midstream in finding out who and how the victim is intertwined with these lives. The characters are so fun and continue in the series, so you feel that you get to know them all a little bit. You must read these in order for the best telling of the story, so I would recommend that. I am working my way through slowly but surely and they are consistently good.

What are you reading? I’d love to know- Lemme’ know in the comments!!

Check out these nightstands at : 5 Minutes for MomBookDate, &  Booknificient along with the Blended Blog Virtual Book Club!


Just so you know: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive compensation. It does not affect your price at all. For more information, see my full disclosure page.

Ultimate Coffee Chat: July

ultimate coffee

Original photo by Michael Ramey @unsplash

Ack! Did you miss the Ultimate Coffee Chat for June?! I did! I made it a point to join up this week, though to be honest, I may or may not be on a beach today, and let technology post this for me {wink!}.

If you are as relieved that June is over as I am, can I get a “Heeeey!”?

*This post may contain affiliate links- see my full disclosure page.

I really had a hard June. It was healthy and happy but lots of change. For someone like me who loves change and is borderline ADHD, that is saying a lot. I will post on the topic of losing one’s job (ugh) later, but for now, let’s just say, delving into unemployment and looking for a new job is not ideal for one’s self esteem! I am not a person who shouts my strengths from the rooftop, so cover letters and all that jazz can be hard: “I have 8 years of experience…..being awesome!” is sort of how I feel I need to be when selling myself in an interview, but in reality, I sort of am just like, “please, please, please give me a job“! But I know we all have been there, so I am trying to keep a positive outlook and in general it’s working!

If we were having coffee I’d tell you I did the Advocare 10-Day Challenge in June.

spark and advocareFull disclosure is that I sell the stuff. Advocare, I mean. But honestly, I sell it so I get the awesome discount! I absolutely love how I feel when I am doing a challenge and also how it motivates me to drink more water, take my vitamins, and generally take care of myself, which can sometimes go by the wayside (you hear me moms?!). I decided to re-group before summer so I can sort of stop my eating off the kids’ plates and start eating salads and chicken and all that…which brings me to this:

If we were having coffee I’d tell you that my Dr. says I have plaque in my arteries! Say whaaaa?

Seriously?! I am 43 y’all! He wants me to go on a statin- which I have heard good and bad about. He said, on paper I am a study in great health: run regularly, eat really healthy, cholesterol is great…but my family history is awful! Darn that DNA! I have just a bit of plaque, but honestly, it scared me off my egg yolks and butter! Lots of diets (paleo) say lard and eggs and butter are the bomb, but for me it just wouldn’t work- it would literally be a bomb to my body! I have to dial back on the beef and up the egg-whites and chicken my friends! End to baking with butter and the start of some new healthy recipes! Do any  of you have experience with a statin? I would love to know in the comments!

Staying healthy as I age

If we were having coffee I’d tell you that I am really looking forward to the 4th:

We are headed to family and fireworks! I love how excited the kids get and a vacation of sorts is just what we need! I always feel like it’s the start of summer after the 4th of July, so that means I can officially go to the beach now!fishing at the beach

That’s really all I have for now- lots of sports for the kids: field hockey, summer basketball leagues, baseball, and pick-up soccer! We are full of summer things to do! If you visited here looking for actual coffee, since this IS the “Ultimate Coffee” chat, I will add a couple of fun iced-versions! Have a great week!

iced mocha

Almond Joy Iced Coffee

iced mocha healthy

That’s it-  I hope you have a wonderful rest of your Saturday and great Sunday tomorrow! Happy July! I am linking up with my other bloggers this morning over at

Thanks for coming by to chat~

This post includes affiliate links, which does not mean you pay a penny more when purchasing through my link. It means that in helping you easily find some of my favorite products, I receive a small commission if you purchase. Thank you so much for supporting Hardly A Goddess! *P.S. I only share products I truly love! For more information, see my full disclosure page.

What’s on Your Nightstand? H.A.G. Reads for May

nightstand may

Ack! What am I reading?!

I am SO behind in my To-Be-Read (TBR) pile(s)!

My friend, Julie lent me books 5, 6, 7, & 8 of the Louise Penny series (13 total), so I can try to binge-catch up on those wonderful reads, but to be honest, I am slacking…as in way behind and mid-way through about 5 books! Here’s a recap at both, what I finished and am still in the middle of~

*This post contains affiliate links, where if you click on them and make a purchase, I make a small percentage. I include them so that you can find what I am referencing and loving!*

What I listened to:

Finished:

Thunderstruck by Erik Larson
This was the one of four choices that I could read for my “The Blended Book Club” reads. I thought it might be sort of boring, so I opted to listen to audio and I was unfortunately right. Several of us in the group found the story quite jumpy in places and the characters a bit under developed. I did learn a lot about Marconi the inventor (or not) of the telegraph, being the first way to send a message over long distances and the ocean. Interesting since Marconi Beach on Cape Cod is somewhere that I have been and never knew the history of…so that was the positive. If you love  literal non-fiction, there is a good book here, but fiction readers might not love the dry narrative-non-fiction take that Larson presents. I found his other book, The Devil in the White City similar in this way, so if you like that one, you may enjoy this.

Still listening:

Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
This has been such a good listen! It is all about witches, vampires, and demons…and humans too! So not what I usually read, but fun and so compelling with the storyline of a reluctant witch and taboo-love between a reluctant witch and a hunky vampire…sounds super cheesy, I know, but I have to say it  isn’t written that way and it’s sort of nerd-brainy with all the literary references and academic setting. I am liking this a ton and good news! It’s a series of 3 books so I can keep loving this for two more stories!

Reviewing:

Under Her Skin by Adriana Anders
Loving this but just did not finish- I really can’t read books on my kindle or iPad as fast at all- I just don’t want to read off a screen after being on one all day for work! Paper has my heart!

Reading Now:

Mindset by Carol Dweck
This is sort of a professional development and parenting book for me. I love the concept of a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset set forth in this book- the idea that a person isn’t inherently good at something, but works to be better at it…is just such a great lesson for kids and for the similar concept of “grit” in learning. Thinking that people are just born being the next great athlete or master piano player, and don’t have to work at it is just crazy and limiting…the book is pretty much occupying most of my brain space- I find that I relate everything to it. Very highly recommend!

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
Who is Robert Galbraith? The Pen name for J.K. Rowling of course! You know…the woman who wrote Harry Potter!? You probably know that by now, but some people don’t, and no wonder since this 3rd book of the Cormoran Strike series is a far cry from youth and magic- these books are quite grizzly and for crime fans, super reads. I love the characters in these books: a nice and put-upon young twenty something secretary, and her boss, an ex-military, son of a groupie who is the star dectective- our unlikely hero.  I love the setting of London and the weirdness of all the crimes, but they can be a lot of graphic crime…I have to be in a good place before I read one of these and then I always need a break afterwards to read something more uplifting! I am having fun with this one right now though, and since it’s an older book (2013) you can find it easily in the library!

You know that I am reading 5 other books still, but I will have to catch you up later. This is just getting out of hand, and I have to finish some of these up soon! Happy Reading & Doing whatever it is that you ENJOY!

What are you reading? I’d love to know- Lemme’ know in the comments!!

Check out these nightstands at : 5 Minutes for MomBookDate, &  Booknificient along with the Blended Blog Virtual Book Club on Thursday!


This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive compensation. It does not affect your price at all. For more information, see my full disclosure page.