Category Archives: At Home

Ultimate Coffee Chat: April Edition

ultimate coffeeGood morning friends!

I miss you. You know who you are! I woke up at 3 a.m. not able to sleep (what is THAT about?!) and remembered that I had to write up all the things for this morning’s Ultimate Coffee! So without further ado, let’s chat!

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

If we were having coffee I’d tell you that I am on DONE with the Advocare 24-Day Challenge!

It was super easy and super fast…but WHY, when I followed it to a T and my husband, sort of, kind of followed it, did he lose all the weight?! Men I think, can lose weight way more easily than women. Not that I was solely tried to lose weight, but I wouldn’t have complained (wink)!24-Day Challenge

If we were having coffee I’d tell you that I am all signed up and ready to run the Shape Women’s 1/2 Marathon in NYC this month!

I can’t quite believe it, and I am not ready at all- I have barely been running, but I had the opportunity to actually run a race with a friend, and that has been high on my list of things that I’ve wanted to do! I have never been to Central Park- at least that I remember- so I am looking forward to it. I also love the idea that this is women’s only and they are using the race to coordinate with The Walk in Her Shoes (read about it here) project with CARE, whose mission it is ” to fight poverty and empower women and girls around the world.” Awesome- I hope they raise a lot of money.run a half marathon

If we were having coffee I’d tell you that last month, my boys had a birthday & so did my husband~

It was party, party, party around here. Actually not really! For the first time ever, I didn’t have a party for the boys (like the last Minion’s Themed one). They just had a couple of their besties over for a night of bowling and pizza (or pasta) and cake. Can I just tell you how much I enjoy NOT having, planning, or paying for a huge kids’ party. They just take the fun right out of it for me sometimes! This year, we didn’t have a bizillion presents or cake for days or broken bank accounts. I highly recommend NOT doing a party if you can get away with it!boys birthday

If we were having coffee I’d tell you that it is still snowing here. It is like the ultimate-April fool’s joke~

Well, at least it didn’t stick around too long, and I didn’t have to pull out the snow-pants, so it just may be here, my friends! Spring just may be finally here. Sigh. Yes!


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

Thanks for coming by to chat~

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


Did you see these recent posts?

Citrus Kale Salad with Toasted Almonds & Avocado

citrus kale salad

The Last Chance Matinee: Book Review

lcm book review

What’s On Your Nightstand? H.A.G.’s March Reads

What's on your nightstand - March Edition Reads

Cookbook Review: Simple Green Suppers

The Last Chance Matinee: Book Review

Guess what? I have your newest fun series to read about women, friendships, small towns, and love matches. Not romance. Not chick-lit. This is women’s fiction which was inspired by a true story (see below) making it that much more compelling. It was a great read and the good news is that it was the first in the Hudson Sisters series, by Mariah Stewart.

I was happy to receive a copy of this book from NetGalley in order to review it, but my opinions are 100% honest 100% of the time! This post contains affiliate links.

THE LAST CHANCE MATINEEMariah Stewart
Publication Date: March 21, 2017
Publisher: Gallery Books
$16.00 Trade Paperback Original
ISBN: 9781501144905
Fiction, Book 1 in the Hudson Sisters series
Look for Book 2 in 2018 and Book 3 in 2019!

About the Book:

When celebrated and respected Fritz Hudson passes away suddenly, he leaves a trail of Hollywood glory in his wake—and two separate families who never knew the other existed. Specifically, two daughters with one wife and one daughter with the other.

Now Fritz is gone, and the three sisters (Cara, Des, and Allie) are brought together under strange circumstances: there’s a large inheritance to be had, but only if the sisters come together to achieve their given tasks spelled out in the will. Self discovery, open hearts, forgiveness, love, and fairness are themes.

My Take:

Mariah Stewart sets up this first book so nicely by giving us just a taste of all the characters in such a well thought out and realistic way. Three sisters (the Hudsons) who didn’t even know each other are forced into a situation where they live together and must find out why their father never told any of them he was leading a double life.

While you sort of know what is going to happen, it is fun to read about these interesting women and complex emotional lives. I also like the setting, which is a small rural town, with quirky characters and places, and lots of history that relates to the sisters. The book ends on a high note, which I like, as it feels resolved a bit, given that it doesn’t actually come to a conclusion.

In the end, she leaves you waiting for the next book, to see what happens next…and I want to! Like now- but I have to wait. Book 2 comes out next year (2018), and then Book 3 the year after that 2019). Looks like I will have to wait, but I will wait. It was a fun trade paperback women’s fiction/contemporary romance.

I have just loved this book, and Mariah Stewart has written so many books, that now I have to go back and read her other books! In the Hudson Sisters series she has set up the characters so well in this book- Cara sort of was the primary character in this first book, so I wonder if she will feature each sister more in the other books that will follow. Either way, I am excited to find this series, and I hope you will look into reading this first title.

The Real Story That Inspired the Book, from the Preface:

Everyone is familiar with the adage “write what you know”; it’s a saying that has dictated much of my decades-long career in publishing. But this time, it was what I (or rather, my mother) didn’t know that formed the basis for this first book in my new Hudson Sisters series.

When my mother was in her mid-forties, she received a letter from a woman named Alice, the wife of her recently deceased cousin Bill. Alice thanked my mother for the sympathy card she’d sent her, and finished her note by saying, “You do know that Bill was your half brother, right?”

Ah, no. She did not.

Of course, I was fascinated. My grandfather died when I was four or five years old, and I have very little memory of him other than his deep, hearty laugh. I’ve been thinking for years that this foundation of a love child and secret siblings would make a great story; but not knowing all the facts, I was free to fill in the blanks—and so I did. Years passed before I felt I had the right story in my head. This is that story. I hope you enjoy my version of what could happen under such circumstances.

—Mariah Stewart

About Mariah Stewart & the Real Story Inspiring the Book:

image: Goodreads

Mariah Stewart is an award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of numerous novels as well as several novellas and short stories. She lives with her husband and two rambunctious rescue dogs amid the rolling hills of Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she savors county life and tends her gardens while she works on her next novel.
*Mariah Stewart’s separate series, the bestselling Chesapeake Diaries, has been a favorite with readers since 2010. The eleventh installment, The Chesapeake Bride, will publish August 29, 2017.

Visit her at mariahstewart.com and follow her on Facebook.com/AuthorMariahStewart and on Instagram @mariah_stewart_books.

Upcoming Author Tours:

Wednesday, April 5th, 6:30 pm
The Doylestown Bookshop
16 S. Main Street
Doylestown, Pa 1890

Tuesday, April 11th, 7:00 pm
Towne Book Centre
220 Plaza Drive – Ste B3
Collegeville, PA 19426

Blog Tours Past:

USA Today Happy Ever After – Down & Dirty Q&A
Happy Mom Blogger
Up ‘Til Dawn Book Blog
Devilishly Delicious
Collectors of Book Boyfriends
Tome Tender Book Blog
Uniquec’s Book Blog
The Book Nympho
Books and Bindings
Rockin’ and Reviewing
Lovey Dovey Books
Bubble Bath Books
Sour Puss Reviews
The Blonde Bookworm
Bookfan
I Wish I Lived in a Library
PNW Bookworm
Mesha’s Corner
The Librarian (Authors on the Air Global Radio Network) – Interview 7:00 pm EST
Kritters Ramblings
My Novelesque Life
Reviews by Crystal
Novelgossip
Romance Junkies
Abigail Books Addiction
Rainy Day Reviews
Books According to Abby
Once Upon A Page
That Book Lady Blog
Suzy Approved Book Reviews
The Written Word(s)

Blog Feature Dates Upcoming:

March 29th
Hardly A Goddess

March 30th
Lit Living Mom

March 31st
Tiff Scribes

April 1st
Bigreadersite’s Blog

April 3rd
Staircase Wit

April 3rd- HAG’s giveaway for the book!
Visit @xoxoafterdark for Monday Matinee Giveaway! #MondayMatinee

April 7th
Svetlana’s Reads and Views

April 10th
Visit @xoxoafterdark for Monday Matinee Giveaway! #MondayMatinee

April 14th
Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

April 17th
Visit @xoxoafterdark for Monday Matinee Giveaway! #MondayMatinee

April 21st
Community Bookstop

April 24th
Visit @xoxoafterdark for Monday Matinee Giveaway! #MondayMatinee

May 25th
First for Women
Review in First for Women magazine’s June 19th print issue, on stands May 25th!


REVIEWS from others:

“The combination of a quirky small-town setting, a family mystery, a gentle romance, and three estranged sisters is catnip for women’s-fiction fans, and the backdrop of the faded movie palace adds a fascinating element to the story. Stewart’s lively, warmhearted series starter [The Last Chance Matinee] will have readers eagerly awaiting the second installment.”

—Booklist

“A good read, with a nice blend of mystery, family drama, and romance. Readers will look forward to the next installment.”

—Library Journal


*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’s On Your Nightstand? H.A.G.’s March Reads

What's on your nightstand - March Edition Reads

Let’s talk about BOOKS! It’s the last Tuesday of the month, and I actually got a lot done as far as reading goes this March…nothing else maybe, but I was reading!

Actually, I have been loving my “The Blended Blog (TBB)” Virtual Book Club picks. They are all fun reading all the time, and honestly for me, if it isn’t fun to read, then I am out- Even though I am a librarian, and reading IS work, it really shouldn’t be- there are enough un-fun things that I have to do every day, and reading should be my respite from that chaos and drudgery, don’t you think?


*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!*

So, for the TBB reads, here’s what I read for March:

The Alchemist, by Paul Coelho

This was a re-read for me. It follows a young sheppard, Santiago, through a mystical adventure searching for his dreams, and encountering struggles, lack of language with other cultures, and people who he isn’t sure he can trust or understand. Those who know me, know I love a good self-help book- so I liked the narrative of a spiritual and physical journey and what it can tell us here in this very quick and short book- which I always appreciate. Reflections of following your dreams, deferring a dream, universal languages of love and hate, mis-read first impressions, suffering making us appreciate the value of the gifts run throughout this short story. It’s a nice little nugget of a book that I think, will continue to teach me something every time I read it. Which I will again.

Behind Closed Doors, by B.A. Paris

I feel like I already told you all about this book. Without spoiling it for you, the premise of the book is how things are never what they seem “Behind Closed Doors.” This one was a bit far fetched at points, where I was thinking it took place in the 1950’s the way the female main character gave all of herself (money, power, trust) to her fiance without question and in a short period of time. I could totally get how this could happen, when love first starts, and things are all roses and sunshine- a girl can get lost in the romance of it all, especially if she needs a way out and up from her current life. The book just plays on this to the extreme level, taking the reader through a gripping story. It was riveting, in the same ways as All the Missing Girls was- disturbing like that too. I have decided to lay off the dark-themes for a bit after this one!

The April picks are in right now over on the TBB site, so you can sneak a peak at what I’ll be reading next month. 

Reviewing:

The Last Chance Matinee, by Mariah Stewart (full review on March 29th!)
Let’s just say, I loved this. Full review tomorrow and  GIVEAWAY for a hardcover copy of the book, April 3rd!! So stay tuned!

Simple Green Suppers, by Susie Middleton
Okay, so I am buying this for all my people for Holidays 2017! I loved it- and if you love vegetables but are always looking for creative, but easy ways to best make them, then read my full review from last week. Beautiful book!

On my own, just for FUN (yes!):

Paper Girls, Vol. 2, by Brian K. Vaughn
You may remember, that I read volume 1 trying to fill in my Read Harder Challenge picks, and it was dark, and fun, and truly a graphic novel for children of the 80’s and 90’s! In two lunch-breaks, I finished and loved it. Highly recommend a fun graphic novel to change the way you read- the pace and visual-aspect really slow you down in a good way. Worth trying one, and this one was fun.

Listened to:

Nora Webster, by Colm Tóibín 

Such a great read. Aside from the awesome Irish accent by the narrator, I just loved this book. I haven’t read Colm Tóibín before, but he wrote Brooklyn which is a recent box office hit, as it was made into a movie. In Nora Webster, the characters, the setting, and the deep tone of the book just felt so beautifully done. It is about a woman, recently widowed with 4 kids. Her husband was a beloved member of the town where they live in Ireland, and the story begins with her struggles in grief, through trying to live again, and having to raise children who are grieving themselves, while creating a new life of her own. A beautiful struggle, full of humanity and honestly, and I loved every word.

Next on my list of his work!

Currently still reading:

…as I had to put it off to finish the others! 4th in the series by Louise Penny, A Rule Against Murder. Love this series…to death (harhar! …it’s a murder series, get it! I crack myself UP!)

Lined up for April:

Listen: Before the Fall, by Noah Hawley

Read: The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah & Small Great Things, by Jodi Piccoult

Remember: Full review tomorrow and  GIVEAWAY for a hardcover copy of the book, April 3rd!! So stay tuned!

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!

What are you reading and loving right now?

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