Atomic Habits Five Star Review and Cocktail

Atomic Habits by James Clear is the first book I’ve ever read twice in the same year! 

I first read this book in February and it was like fireworks going off in my brain. There were logical pieces of advice and applicable examples on every page. I was just in awe of the breakdown of thinking about your goals and working to accomplish them. 

You can follow along with all the books I read on my Instagram, Facebook, and Goodreads pages!

The idea is to become 1% better at something each day. 1% doesn’t sound particularly noteworthy, but this small, incremental progress is compounding. It will continue to build until you have no choice but to acknowledge that you have, in fact, grown at a skill or habit.

You don’t have to go for the all or nothing approach! This was an instrumental read for me, as I charted out goals for this year.

I read it again in September *WITH MY HUSBAND* – big deal! He’s not a reader. Podcasts? Loves them. Online articles? All about it.

Until this moment he had absolutely no interest in books – physical or audio. 


I had wanted to listen to the book again, just to refresh my mind on these ideas and keep a clear process. I couldn’t help but notice the audiobook length was about the same time it takes to drive to Abilene, TX (his hometown) and back. We took a weekend trip and *gasp* he was open to the idea of listening to the book together in the car.

He was enthralled! I could tell because, while he usually has a heavy foot, he slowed down the drive. 

The conversations that followed were great! We set some goals to work on together and some personal goals we’re taking on.

All of that to say, if you haven’t read this book yet, buy it now! I’m typically not a big fan of self-help books, but I highly recommend this one.

It would be the perfect book to read around the time you’re setting goals for the new year. I like to start brainstorming goals in November and December, so I can hit the ground running in January!

This celebratory book deserves a celebratory moment, so I chose to pair it with the classic French 75!

It’s sparkly and strong and clean and fresh – just like Atomic Habits!

Other Five Star Cocktail Recipes can be found here:

The Strawberry Basil Margarita

The Slow Burn

Other Five Star Recommendations can be found here:

Five Books To Read This Fall

Five Summer Romance Reads

The Classic French 75

You’re going to need a cocktail shaker and champagne flutes for this recipe. You can check out bar tools and other party essentials at my Amazon Storefront!


  • 1.5 oz gin
  • ½ oz simple syrup
  • 1 oz freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 oz chilled dry champagne
  • Lemon twist for garnish


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add gin, simple syrup, and lemon juice
  2. Shake vigorously for at least 20 seconds. You want these ingredients evenly blended!
  3. Strain into a champagne flute
  4. Top with prosecco
  5. Garnish with a lemon twist and enjoy!

This boozy take on the traditional champagne toast is the perfect pairing for celebrating the new year and setting new goals. 

Read it, make a drink, and send me a cheers! I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of the above!

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11 Books I Read in October and the Ones You Should Know About

I read eleven books this month and here’s what you should know about them!

With Instagram glitching ~yet again~ this week, this was a great reminder that we don’t own our Instagram platforms. Anything could happen and not only would our content, memories, and means of conversation be taken, but for many of us, our businesses too.

Please take a minute to subscribe to this blog. By doing so, you’ll be sure to receive content like this reading wrap-up directly to your inbox- no social media required.

I’ve outlined my thoughts on all of my October reads. Some will have you clicking “add to cart.” Others, I read it so you don’t have to! Either way, here to support those TBRs! Be sure to let me know if you pick up any of these books!

Solito by Javier Zamora, published September 2022

The premise of this memoir sold me as soon as I read the synopsis. A nine-year-old Javier embarks on the dangerous migration from El Salvador to California, where his parents are already there waiting. He traveled with strangers, led by multiple coyotes in different regions. This emotionally gripping memoir has added depth, as it’s told from a child’s perspective. It reflects on the scary journey, moments of personal growth, and the tender moments experienced with strangers who looked out for him. Absolutely recommend this book for those looking to broaden their perspective. 

⅘ stars

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The Love of My Life by Rosie Walsh, published March 2022

This genre-bending book took me by surprise! Admittedly, I didn’t read the synopsis before diving in, but the title and cover led me to think it was going to be a summer love-esque/ second chance romance type of plot… I was wrong! It packed a punch right from the beginning with the main character having cancer and suffering from infertility (not spoilers). As the story went on, it melted between romance, family drama, and suspense/mystery. Some may think that feels all over the place, but I thought it added depth to the story. This was the Bookcase Beauty Book Club pick for October and we had such great conversations that stemmed from topics in this book. Pick it up if you’re looking for something that will keep your mind swirling. 

⅘ stars

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Daisy Darker by Alice Feeny, published August 2022

I’m a sucker for a trapped thriller! Stuck in a house? A basement? An island? And people keep dying?! I’m all in! This was a very Agatha Christie-inspired book! The Darker family has traveled to their grandmother’s coastal home for her 80th birthday, but then Nana is found dead! So begins ongoing murders and the inability to escape. The Darker family is forced to reckon with their own secrets, while trying to stay together and alive until the tide goes out. This was a fast read! The story keeps the pages turning almost automatically. Pick this one up if you want to get lost in thrilling book!

⅘ stars

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Perish by LaToya Watkins, published August 2022

This was another powerful read! Although some moments were difficult to read, this story is immersive and shines light on generational trauma. If you have reading sensitivities, I would suggest looking up the content warnings on Goodreads. This book follows the Turner family over four decades and is told from four perspectives of family members. Set in a tiny town in east Texas, the Turner family has a dark and twisted path. A family reunion brings up long-held secrets that force each family member to evaluate who is worthy of forgiveness and who is worthy of blame.

⅘ stars

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Seattle’s Great Fire by Jordan Kidd

This narrative non-fiction book was fascinating! Set in the mid-1800s, it centers on local pioneer “Doc” and Chief Si’ahl (Seattle) of the native Duwamish tribe, as they try to bring together a clash of cultures. The real partnership in this story comes from young Mila and Catori, one an orphan being raised by Doc and the other a boy in the Duwamish tribe. This pair comes together to try and stop a planned attack on the new settlement by the Duwamish tribe. I loved reading about the relationships, good and bad, that grew between cultures. 

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Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras, published July 2018

I had marveled at this cover for over a year, yet left it unread because I wouldn’t prioritized it over the new releases. I finally read this for my Backlist Book Club’s October focus, Cover Love. I’m so glad I did!! The synopsis hooked me right away, hence why I bought it on Pangobooks, but the story was so immersive. It had everything I needed for a fall historical fiction read! It’s set in Columbia during the Pablo Escobar era and contrasts high society and working class. Told between alternating perspectives of Chula, a seven-year-old girl and Patrona, a young live-in maid, this story gives a history lesson of Columbia during this fearful time. It was eye-opening and heart wrenching at times, but a powerful read worth your time! 

⅘ stars

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Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver, published October 2022


I recently gushed about my love for Barbara Kingsolver and Demon Copperhead on Instagram. Please go check out this post for more of my thoughts, the algorithm was not too kind to it. She wrote one of the pivotal books that formed my passion for reading, The Poisonwood Bible. She has such a power about her. Her writing feels classic in the modern era, something so rare! It’s absolutely one of my favorites of the year and I won’t be surprised if I pick this one up again one day. 

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The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna, published August 2022

This was a cute, not-so-spooky read for spooky season! It reminded me of The House in the Cerulean Sea, with characters feeling like misfits and unlikely bonds between children and caretakers. This was a great representation that family doesn’t always mean shared blood. Don’t let the title fool you, this book may be about witches but it’s not a Halloween book. Think Sabrina, the Teenage Witch vibes. It can be read year-round without holiday ties! 

⅗ stars

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East Winds by Rachel Rueckert, publishes November 2022

East Winds initially grasped my attention with its book trailer. You can watch it here: 

I loved the examination of marriage and commitment across cultures! Rueckert did a fantastic job making parallels to her own religion and culture. Beyond the scope of cultural diversity and unique travel experiences, East Winds gives a great depiction of the first year of marriage- learning the nuances about your partner, building communication, and inevitably repairing and learning from negative experiences. Definitely recommend this perspective-broadening book! 

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The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simon St. James, originally published 2012, reprinted October 2022

St. James can tell a ghost story! Although this book is a decade old, the reprinting of this cover made me finally pick it up! I also read this book for the Bookcase Beauty Backlist Club’s Cover Love focus. It’s a mystery how Maddy came to be at the Clare’s home all those years ago, but they took her in and raised her. After her suicide, Maddy still haunts the barn on the Clare’s property. The story is told from the perspective of Sarah, who’s temp agency has sent her to assist the ghost hunter, Alistair. The hope is that they can finally send Maddy to rest in peace, but Maddy is MAD and she wants vengeance. If you’ve never read any of Simone St. James’ books, this is a great place to start! 

⅘ stars

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Happiness for Beginners but Katherine Center, originally published in 2015, republished in 2020, soon to be a Netflix movie!

I managed to squeeze in one last Cover Love book for the Bookcase Beauty Backlist Club! If you’re thinking, “geez, that club seems excessive.” It’s not, we only plan to read one book a month from our TBRs, I’m just an overachiever. 🙂 Happiness for Beginners has been on my TBR for so long. I’m a huge Katherine Center fan. If you’ve been around the blog or followed me on Instagram for very long, you know that to be true. Here’s an embroidery I made of her newest book, The Bodyguard. 

She’s the master of sweet. This sweet romance has the fun little brother’s best friend trope. There’s something about the friends to lovers and siblings friend to lovers tropes that always get me. Maybe because there’s already a trusting relationship there. I feel like the relationship build is so much more believable. Absolutely recommend picking this one up when you need a dose of sweetness in your life. There are a few heavy topics woven in, but Center does so with such love and grace. 

⅘ stars

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Overall, here are my top three favorites of the month:

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver

Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras

Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center

If you pick any of these tiles up, I’d love to know your thoughts! Let’s keep the conversation going by leaving a comment below!

If you want to stay up to date on my ratings, follow me on Goodreads and Instagram. I also have a Substack Newsletter, where I update you on all things books and life. 

Have you read any of these? Do we have any similar or differing opinions? Put any of these on your TBR?

Leave me a comment!

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Five Books Your Book Club Should Read This Winter

Picking the next book for your book club can be stressful! Depending on how your club operates, you may submit books and vote on one or you may rotate and allow different members to choose a book for the group each month.

However your group likes to roll, these are some great book picks for your club this winter!

I’ve included purchase links for all of these anticipated titles! By using my link, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you!

You can go shopping through my other highly rated books right here. As always these titles and much more can be found in my Amazon storefront.

Be sure to connect with me on Goodreads to get real time ratings on my latest reads!

1. Demon Copperhead by Barbarba Kingsolver

If you’re fans of Barbarba Kingsolver (like me!), Demon Copperhead should definitely be your next read. Be warned, it is not one you’ll be able to skim through. This book is rich with content, but most of the dialogue is presented in the paragraph without quotation marks. On top of that, it’s nearly 600 pages. This will take some dedication, but you won’t be disappointed. The conversations that could stem from this book are endless.


Set in the mountains of southern Appalachia, this is the story of a boy born to a teenaged single mother in a single-wide trailer, with no assets beyond his dead father’s good looks and copper-colored hair, a caustic wit, and a fierce talent for survival. In a plot that never pauses for breath, relayed in his own unsparing voice, he braves the modern perils of foster care, child labor, derelict schools, athletic success, addiction, disastrous loves, and crushing losses. Through all of it, he reckons with his own invisibility in a popular culture where even the superheroes have abandoned rural people in favor of cities.

Many generations ago, Charles Dickens wrote David Copperfield from his experience as a survivor of institutional poverty and its damages to children in his society. Those problems have yet to be solved in ours. Dickens is not a prerequisite for readers of this novel, but he provided its inspiration. In transposing a Victorian epic novel to the contemporary American South, Barbara Kingsolver enlists Dickens’ anger and compassion, and above all, his faith in the transformative powers of a good story. Demon Copperhead speaks for a new generation of lost boys, and all those born into beautiful, cursed places they can’t imagine leaving behind.

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In addition, if you haven’t read The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, please do it!! This is a rare book that I’ve read twice. It’s also dense and rich, in true Kingsolver fashion. It would make for incredible discussion and is one that will stay with you for years.


The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it — from garden seeds to Scripture — is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.

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2. Solito by Javier Zamora

If your club is looking for a memoir, consider Solito by Javier Zamora. Solito is the retelling of Javier’s experience embarking on a three thousand mile journey, fleeing from El Salvador, through Guatemala and Mexico, and across the U.S. border at just nine years old. This book is filled with hardship, but is also a reflection of kindness and love in unexpected places. It would make for fantastic discussion!


Javier’s adventure is a three-thousand-mile journey from his small town in El Salvador, through Guatemala and Mexico, and across the U.S. border. He will leave behind his beloved aunt and grandparents to reunite with a mother who left four years ago and a father he barely remembers. Traveling alone except for a group of strangers and a coyote hired to lead them to safety, Javier’s trip is supposed to last two short weeks.

At nine years old, all Javier can imagine is rushing into his parents’ arms, snuggling in bed between them, living under the same roof again. He does not see the perilous boat trips, relentless desert treks, pointed guns, arrests and deceptions that await him; nor can he know that those two weeks will expand into two life-altering months alongside a group of strangers who will come to encircle him like an unexpected family.

A memoir by an acclaimed poet that reads like a novel, Solito not only provides an immediate and intimate account of a treacherous and near-impossible journey, but also the miraculous kindness and love delivered at the most unexpected moments. Solito is Javier’s story, but it’s also the story of millions of others who had no choice but to leave home.

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3. Daisy Darker by Alice Feeny

Maybe your club is in need of a fast-paced thrill? Let me introduce you to Daisy Darker by Alice Feeny! I’m a complete sucker for trapped thrillers! You know the ones where they’re all locked in a house or on a deserted island? THOSE. This one is very Agatha Christie-esque with a dark moody feel, perfect for the winter months.


After years of avoiding each other, Daisy Darker’s entire family is assembling for Nana’s 80th birthday party in Nana’s crumbling gothic house on a tiny tidal island. Finally back together one last time, when the tide comes in, they will be cut off from the rest of the world for eight hours.

The family arrives, each of them harboring secrets. Then at the stroke of midnight, as a storm rages, Nana is found dead. And an hour later, the next family member follows…

Trapped on an island where someone is killing them one by one, the Darkers must reckon with their present mystery as well as their past secrets, before the tide comes in and all is revealed.

With a wicked wink to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were NoneDaisy Darker’s unforgettable twists will leave readers reeling.

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4. Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen

There’s something about winter that makes me especially keen on magical realism. Call it holiday spirit or the sparkle of a new year, but something about this time always persuades me to pick up a book with the element and I always love it!! Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen is the one I’ll be turning to this season. Estranged relatives, quirky and secretive neighbors, and ghosts? Count me in!


Between the real and the imaginary, there are stories that take flight in the most extraordinary ways.

Right off the coast of South Carolina, on Mallow Island, The Dellawisp sits—a stunning old cobblestone building shaped like a horseshoe, and named after the tiny turquoise birds who, alongside its human tenants, inhabit an air of magical secrecy.

When Zoey comes to claim her deceased mother’s apartment at the Dellawisp she meets her quirky and secretive neighbors, including a young woman with a past, two estranged middle-aged sisters, and a lonely chef, and three ghosts. The sudden death of one of Zoey’s new neighbors sets off a search that leads to the island’s famous author and to a long-estranged relative of the sisters.
Each of them has a story, and each story has an ending which hasn’t yet been written.

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5. Once Upon a December by Amy E. Reichert

Maybe you’re looking for a sugar cookie of a book to finish out the year, one you can really just float through and enjoy because you know the happily ever after will be waiting for you at the end. I’d suggest Once Upon a December by Amy E. Reichert. This book is filled with holiday magic, swoon-worthy dates, and cozy sweet spirit! This one could inspire an entire book club snack menu!


With a name like Astra Noel Snow, holiday spirit isn’t just a seasonal specialty–it’s a way of life. But after a stinging divorce, Astra’s yearly trip to the Milwaukee Christmas market takes on a whole new meaning. She’s ready to eat, drink, and be merry, especially with the handsome stranger who saves the best kringle for her at his family bakery.

For Jack Clausen, the Julemarked with its snowy lights and charming shops stays the same, while the world outside the joyful street changes, magically leaping from one December to the next every four weeks. He’s never minded living this charmed existence until Astra shows him the life he’s been missing outside of the festive red brick alley.

After a swoon-worthy series of dates, some Yuletide magic, and the unexpected glow of new love, Astra and Jack must decide whether this relationship can weather all seasons, or if what they’re feeling is as ephemeral as marshmallows in a mug of hot cocoa.

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Let me know if your club chooses any of these books! I’d love to hear your thoughts! 

What genre of books do you pull toward in the winter months?

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I’m Glad My Mom Died Five Star Cocktail Recipe

I recently read I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy and it was a grand slam five-star read! It will be one that’s added to the stack of Five Star Reads of 2022!

I read this memoir in August, along with 12 others. You can check out this post to see the ratings on the other books I read and connect with me on Goodreads to stay up to date on what I’m reading!

A title like this took me by surprise! As a self-proclaimed “Nickelodeon kid,” I was first excited to hear Jennette had a memoir about her years as a childhood actor. The excitement quickly drained when I realized it wasn’t good.

Then, my need to read it really hit. Like, what was going on in your life?! You seemed so happy and fun to young me. Goes to show that just because it looks beautiful and glossy doesn’t mean it is.

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.

The audio narration is a must for this book, although I immediately bought a physical copy because I just needed it. I know you’ll understand. Especially with the babysitters club vibe like this, a must.

Jennette narrated her own book and my earbuds were glued to my head. I couldn’t take in her story fast enough. It was shocking and sad and infuriating- and, I hope, cathartic that she finally chose to share.

A must read for any millennial who grew up watching Nickelodeon, fans of memoirs, and those interested in learning more about the dark sides of Hollywood and acting.

Check out my review on Instagram for more!

You can purchase I’m Glad My Mom Died on Amazon,, and!

You can also browse all of my favorite books in my Amazon Storefront.

It took me a while to identify a cocktail that accurately suited this dynamic memoir. I finally settled on The Slow Burn. This is a recreation of one of my favorite drinks from a new bar here in Fort Worth, Birdie’s Social Club.

It’s sweet and full, but packs a spicy punch. It satiates the need for a strong drink and compliments both happy times and melancholy ones. Perfectly made for the complexities of this book.

Did you think I could get that deep on a margarita recipe?!


You’ll need:

  • 1 part tequila
  • 2 parts pineapple juice
  • 1/2 part ginger juice
  • Juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 part agave
  • Jalapeno slices
  • Pineapple slice
  • Tajin

Here’s how to make it:

  1. Rim glass with pineapple juice, followed by tajin and fill with ice
  2. Shake pineapple juice, jalapeno slices, ginger juice, lime juice, tequila, and agave in ice and strain into glass
  3. Garnish with pineapple and jalapenos as desired! I like to press a pineapple slice into tajin for added flair!

Tip: You’re going to want more than one of these and they make fantastic drinks when hosting, so prepare the pineapple juice + jalapenos ahead of time! Use a large mason jar and fill with pineapple juice and jalapeno slices. Pour from this when preparing cocktails. The jalapenos will spice up the juice and you won’t be stuck cutting up jalapenos every time you want this drink!

Have you read I’m Glad My Mom Died? Leave me a comment below and let me know your thoughts!

I’d love to know if you make The Slow Burn!

Amazon Prime Early Access Sale!

Amazon is hosting its first ever Prime Early Access Sale October 11-12! This two-day sale gives early access to Black Friday deals exclusively to Prime members.

A blogger friend of mine said that Amazon Sales can feel like trying to drink from a firehose. There’s so much coming at you all at once! I’ve rounded up my favorites, best-sellers at big discounts, and items too good to pass up! I hope these lists help narrow down what’s really out there and help you find the biggest savings!

I’m thinking of this as an early start on holiday shopping. I always like to get a head start on gifts. It allows me to be more intentional with spending while enjoying the season.

I’ll be adding to these Amazon lists throughout the day, so keep checking back for new items! I’ll also be sharing a few lightening deals on Instagram stories, so be sure we’re connected there!

It takes a lot of effort to scout and round up the best deals. It means the world when you use my links to complete purchases. Amazon will reward me with a small commission at no additional cost to you! 

Want to start by exploring deals on your own? You can access the Prime Early Access Sale HERE! Go find the best deals! 

You can access my Amazon Storefront here to find all the items I’ve shared and love. You’ll also see all of my Prime Sale lists at the top of the page! 

Don’t forget to share and tag me on Instagram so I can see what you scored! 

Tech Deals

Home Deals

Kitchen Deals

Beauty Deals

Book Deals

Children’s Book Deals

This will be a live blog post over the next two days, so keep checking back for added deals! 
Go get started on the Amazon Prime Early Access Sale! I can’t wait to see what you find!

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