Well, I made it! It took 4 days and over 2,000 miles but with a lot of help from my friend Amanda, I’m now in San Antonio. Amanda arrived to Boston from Austin on Sunday night (only a couple hours after I got back from Elisa’s bachelorette party on Nantucket) and my mom spoiled us with a lobster dinner before we were waved off the next morning. Our first stop was for a late lunch in Pennsylvania at Two Rivers Brewing Company before we picked up a passenger. Amanda’s husband had hunted Garth in Pennsylvania and so we allowed him to hitchhike back to Texas with us. A few hours after dinner in historic Harrisonburg, Virginia at Jimmy Madison’s where we saw nothing historic, we hit a wall and pulled off the highway to stop for the night. The motel was about as bad as can be expected in the middle of nowhere Virginia but after 15 hours on the road we’d gotten to the point where driving anymore would have us beat the rest of the trip. We did leave our bags in the car and did an in-depth bed bug check before falling asleep. The next morning, we got up bright and early, checked again that we had no bed bugs and got back on the road with about 6 hours to Nashville, our destination for the night. We stopped in Knoxville at Blue Slip Winery to break up the day and with a couple bottles added to our luggage, continued on our way. While en route to Nashville, we checked out AirBnB to see what was available for the night. We came across a tour bus that a bluegrass band rented out when they weren’t on the road and figured when in Nashville… We had already spent some time downtown while we were waiting for our home for the night to be ready, hitting up Merchant’s for an early dinner and Tin Roof for some live music and drinks. Once we got to the bus, we got ready and headed right back out to the Grand Ole Opry where we saw Martina MacBride, Chris Janson and several other acts before going back downtown to Tootsies to spend the rest of the night. When we woke up the next morning, we closed up the tour bus and headed on to Chattanooga for breakfast at one of Amanda’s favorite spots, Aretha Frankenstein’s, before going on to New Orleans. We decided to upgrade to a decent hotel for our last night and booked Old No. 77 Hotel through the Hotel Tonight app. It felt like such a luxury to be able to take long showers after the 9 hour journey of the day (not to mention the previous not so luxurious accommodations). We had lucked out and gotten reservations at Commander’s Palace for dinner, apparently a New Orleans must. The food there was amazing, including the turtle soup which actually is made from turtles (try not to think about it). We were “those tourists” and had the server take our photo with our desserts which resulted in being photobombed by John Goodman who happened to be walking behind our table at the exact moment she took the picture. After our classy dinner, we headed to Bourbon Street where we hit the other extreme, unless getting job offers to be a stripper counts as classy now. But we had fun, found a couple bars and a jazz lounge and made the most of our one night in the Big Easy. The next morning, we let ourselves sleep in and then walked around the French Quarter a bit. We had some beignets from Cafe du Monde for sustenance before before beginning the last 8 hour leg to San Antonio. We stopped in Baton Rouge at a spot called Chelsea’s Cafe for some crawfish cakes and gumbo for a true Louisiana lunch and then didn’t stop again until we hit the Texas line. Once in Texas, it took another 5 hours to get to San Antonio where we blew up the air mattress and crashed for the night (figuratively, the car made it sans accidents). So, there you have it- 4 days, over 2,000 miles, one very amazing friend and lots of fun. I think next time I’ll fly though.
It’s hard to believe today is the first day after Labor Day weekend which around here means the unofficial end of summer. Personally, it means my road trip to Texas begins next week, a week from yesterday to be specific. Yikes! You can follow along with me on Instagram and Twitter (where I finally got back on the bandwagon).
I was a little overwhelmed when I looked at the books I’d read this month. Between banging out a couple on a roundtrip train to NYC and almost a month of sleepless nights where I needed to be distracted by other people’s stories, I’ve been on quite the reading streak.
Fortunately for me, most of them were winners. Unfortunately for you, that doesn’t narrow things down too much as far as suggestions go.
These first three were probably the ‘heavier’ of the bunch that I read although Black Eyed Susans is one that would come to mind first if someone asked me for a recommendation today. Just be warned, Julia Heaberlin’s book about the sole survivor of a serial killer needs to be followed up with something light if you’re easily creeped out like I am.
Those Girls is a thriller by Chevy Stevens which (like her other books) makes you want to keep reading the author over and over again. This one is about three sisters who find themselves in a horrific situation only to escape it and have it come back and haunt them twenty years later.
Alice Hoffman’s The Marriage of Opposites was a bit harder to get hooked on than the other books and I’m okay saying to skip it. It’s ultimately about the mother of the Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro but to me was more about a myriad of other people on the island of St. Thomas when it was first established in the 1800s.
Competing with Black Eyed Susans for the book I’d most likely recommend for this month is Elisabeth Egan’s A Window Opens. For once, this was a book that wasn’t about an affair triggering a life change. It’s about a woman who tries to have it all when she is forced to go back to work full-time after having three kids.
If You Only Knew by Kristan Higgins was one of those books you keep reading until you finish because you like the characters so much you want them to end up happy. It’s about a wedding dress designer still hanging on a bit to her remarried ex-husband and her always ‘together’ sister who finds out her husband is cheating.
I don’t know what it is about Marian Keyes’ books, but I haven’t come across one yet that I did not like. The Woman Who Stole My Life is no exception. It’s about a woman who wrote a self-help book but now can’t seem to help herself write a second as her life is falling down around her.
Catherine Ryan Hyde’s Don’t Let Me Go is another definite, you’ve got to read this recommendation. It’s from the perspective of a man who hasn’t left his apartment in years until the community he lives in needs to band together to help a little girl who has a neglectful addict for a mother.
There is a reason all of Jennifer Weiner’s books are hits. Who Do You Love is a love story starting with a sick little girl and down on his luck little boy in a hospital emergency room. It follows them over three decades and drastically different lives.
Her Sister’s Shoes by Ashley Farley is the story about sisters who seem to have everything go wrong that can go wrong to at least one of them while they also deal with their mother’s declining health.
Elin Hilderbrand is another author who always churns out the hits. I love her books because they usually take place on familiar territory for me, this one on Nantucket where I’ll be heading next weekend. The Rumor is about best friends who definitely have some rumor-inducing behavior going on throughout their summer.
The Best of Enemies by Jen Lancaster is about two women who have always had issues who have to come together when their mutual best friend needs them.
Kat French’s The Piano Man Project was definitely the easiest and lightest read of the month (which was full of easy and light reads). It was a silly but entertaining story about a woman whose friends want to help her find a man who is good with his fingers… so, never mind. I’m embarrassed I read and enjoyed this.
There you have the books of August. What have you read lately?
I just flew back from California and boy are my arms tired…
Sorry about that. Apparently, the red eye made my brain a little tired even if my arms are perfectly okay aside from avoiding contact with the man next to me who kept trying to make conversation at 3am. No thanks.
So, since my last post, I’ve had two round trip cross country flights and some beach days which means plenty of reading to share. Great timing to link up with Jana Says and Life According to Steph for Show us Your Books.
This time of year I love reading chick lit and my usual favorite beach read authors did not disappoint.
Jane Green’s books are always go-to beach reads for me and the two I recently read ranked highest for me this month. Tempting Fate and Summer Secrets should both be checked out. Jill Mansell is another author who seems to always write chick lit that appeals to me. Her book, The Unexpected Consequences of Love, is no exception.
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Rivald was a strange book (in my all-knowing opinion) but still a good read. Since Judy Blume’s Summer Sisters is one of my all-time favorite novels, I had high hopes for In the Unlikely Event. While it was a decent story, it had too many perspectives from different characters and I admit I got confused at times about the storylines. The Hurricane Sisters by Dorothea Benton Frank is another one that tells a story from different perspectives although this book was less confusing.
Bottom line? Definitely read the first three. The second three are worth a look but you’re not missing anything if you skip them.
Do you tend to stick to certain types of books depending on the season?