February 2024 Book Report

Two people in an independent bookstoreSo much has happened this month that has affected almost every part of my world. Too dramatic? Sorry. I don’t know how to start this post when I haven’t written here in almost a month. Let me catch you up.

What I’ve Been Doing

For starters, I officially launched my freelance communications business two weeks ago called Red Pen Resources. I’m providing creative content solutions to nonprofits and small businesses who need a fresh pair of eyes or an extra pair of hands regarding their messaging and storytelling. Feel free to check out my website!

There is a lot that goes into starting a business. I’ve been focused on networking, reaching out to potential clients, and setting up my services, pricing, and website. I already have four clients, which is fantastic! I’m excited to be at this stage in my career where I can go out on my own, work directly with people, and help them succeed. Now, I just have to figure out the work/life balance again.

I also celebrated another birthday a few weeks ago. My children came home for the weekend, which was wonderful. Jenna took me to two indie bookstores and bought me books and a candle. The name of the scent on the candle is Birthday Bookshop. How perfect is that?

Andrew bought me an Apple Gift Card to fuel my addiction to a new game I downloaded called Supermarket Village. My gaming started innocently enough. I was bored sitting in a waiting room at the doctor’s office. I left my book in the car, so I tried out this free game. My small starter supermarket came with a fresh fruit area, a dairy section, a bakery, and a meat cooler. Now, I have a much larger store with a warehouse, a frozen food section, and a fish market. And I really want to put in a salad station soon.

I know I will have to delete the game eventually, but only once I use up all the gems I bought. Hence, the gift card that my son gave me. Those shiny objects are coveted items. If I run out of them, I can’t upgrade my factories, speed up food production, or install more grocery aisles. What will I do then?!

I’m starting to understand how young people can get into these games so quickly. And their games are much more advanced than my grocery store. Something about it draws us in. It’s a guilty pleasure where I’m not anything except that I’m just as susceptible to video game obsession as my nephews. But here I am. Instead of reading my library book, folding laundry, or doing anything remotely productive, I’m secretly stocking virtual shelves and waiting on cartoonish customers.

What I’m Reading

If You Would Have Told Me by John Stamos

Cover of John Stamos' memoir called If You Would Have Told Me. What better way to start the month of February than with a memoir about a heartthrob? I’ve always thought John Stamos a talented actor and drummer. I would have loved to see him on Broadway. He has such charisma, and I admit Full House was much easier to watch (and easier on the eyes) when Uncle Jesse was on screen. Have Mercy!

However, as a writer, he should probably not quit his day job. I can sum up his book in two words: toxic masculinity. I’m not really sure why he wrote this book, except to get more money and attention. He told a few good stories, but most of them were about how horny and handsome he is and who he slept with.

The only part I was hoping to read about was his friendship/bromance with Bob Saget. He rushed through that part in my opinion. He could have shared a ton more anecdotes, but he held back. He held back so much that in one chapter they meet and don’t get along, and then they become friends. The next chapter they marry beautiful women and Saget dies. There is a big scene toward the end of the book about how, where, and when he received the news, which felt like it was written from a movie script. I finished the book incredibly disappointed.

This book was a fast read, and I’d recommend it for the behind-the-scenes General Hospital and Full House stories. The Beach Boys also play a big part in his life story, and because I’m a fan of their music, I found those sections enjoyable. But that’s about it. There wasn’t a lot of lessons learned, closure, or self-awareness, which I find endearing in other celebrity memoirs I’ve read.

I’m so glad I borrowed this book from the library and didn’t pay for it. Two stars tops.

The Most Fun I Ever Had by Claire Lombardo

Book Cover for the book "The Most Fun We Ever Had"Before I get into this review, let me say that I don’t typically choose books that are over 400 pages. 350-375 pages tops, but above that, I tend to lose interest. This book was recommended to me by a few people. I also listened to a podcast that compared it to the TV show, Parenthood, which I loved. So, I decided to give it a try, all 562 pages!

It’s true the set up is very much like that of Parenthood. Marilyn and David have four daughters- Wendy, Violet, Liza, and Grace. The book is a deep dive into this family dynamic. Each daughter has a different personality, and their lifestyles are just as varied. One is wealthy and widowed. One is married with two kids and a secret child she had as a teenager that comes back into her life. One is married, pregnant, and yet lonely. And one is living a lie.

I loved so many things about this book. First of all, I loved that the author didn’t focus solely on the daughters, their husbands, and grandchildren. The parents have a backstory, a fully-fleshed out marriage and a relationship just as interesting as the daughters. The author delves into how they handle all the twists and turns that life brings, and I wish more authors had such well thought out middle age characters in their books. The daughters lives were just as interesting and the characters’ lives were described in such a detailed way that I imagined I knew them in real life. This is one of those books that if it were made into a movie, I’d have fun figuring out who I’d cast in each part. For starters, Kurt Russell as the Dad. If anyone has read this book and wants to play along, let me know!

Of course, the book could have been about a 100 pages shorter and maybe it would have been a five-star book for me. There is also a character who is severely depressed, and I feel the author missed out on an opportunity to show how that can affects a relationship. Especially, if that particular daughter took on a more supportive role instead of an annoyed one. I also wish the chapters were titled with which woman they were talking about. Too often, I got confused as to whose story I was reading about now. The book jumps around between all the family members and between present day and flashbacks. There were several times that I thought I was reading about one daughter, and I was wrong.

I’d give this book four stars because it has to be a really interesting story for me to stick with a book for nearly 600 pages. I read the print version and probably could have gotten through it faster if I had listened on Audible. If I want to read longer books in the future, I will remember that I can adjust the speed in an audio version and take it with me in the car or listen while I’m folding laundry. I think I would have had time to fit in one more book this month if I had read it that way.

Oh well. Live and learn!

March Books

For the month of March, I am digging into my “to be read” list and only picking what is on my shelves. I have one book on hold at the library that could come in soon and throw a wrench into my plans. But that book is only 340 pages, so it shouldn’t be too bad.

I’m in the middle of two craft books about writing that I’d like to finish. I also have a few fiction titles that have been on my bookshelf for way too long. At this point, they are collecting a lot of dust. I need to either read them or donate them to make room for more books. I think I’ll read them. 🙂

What did you read last month? Let me know in the comments.



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