what I’m reading: the next always by nora roberts.

The Montgomery brothers and their mother have their hearts set on restoring the historic hotel in Boonsboro. Beckett is the architect of the family and between designing and remodeling the inn, he sets his sights on romancing Clare, the woman he’s had a crush on since high school. Clare Brewster, a widow, is focused on raising her three sons and running her bookstore and falling for Beckett is the last thing she expected.

The Next Always is the first book in the Inn BoonsBoro trilogy. The trilogy follows three brothers – Beckett, Owen, and Ryder – as they restore the Inn Boonsboro and, of course, fall in love.

This book has a lot of talk about remodeling and renovation. If you like reading about picking out hardware, paint colors, tiling floors, and taking down walls, then this is the book for you. I am not a handyman of any sort so I’m not sure how much I believed that three brothers could restore a hotel but apparently, all three brothers are in different parts of the construction business so I guess it is the perfect project for them.

What I liked about this book was that it is very low on angst. There’s no big secret between Beckett and Clare, and there are no misunderstandings. The only issue that could be possibly be considered worrisome is that Clare has a bit of a stalker whose actions escalate over the course of the book. But that’s it. I was never on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen and honestly, I didn’t have a lot of anxiety over the stalker. This is really just a sweet story about Beckett and Clare falling in love.

I enjoyed reading about the concept of the inn. Each room in the inn is named after a famous couple in history. Fun fact – the inn and the town of Boonsboro are real places located in Maryland and yes, Nora Roberts owns the inn and you can actually stay and eat at all the places talked about in the book. I had a lot of fun on the inn’s website and looking at pictures of everything, although I have to confess, from the descriptions in the book I definitely thought the inn would be a lot more decadent than the pictures show.

This book has a great cast of characters and I can’t wait to see what they get up to in the next books. Clare has three sons and let me tell you, those kids are a riot. Beckett, Owen, and Ryder’s mother, Justine, is a whirlwind of energy. I am fairly certain that we’ve already met the love interests for Owen and Ryder. And the inn seems to be haunted by an entity named Elizabeth.

I am intrigued to see where this trilogy goes.

To check out other reviews, find this book on goodreads or amazon. Please note, all links are affiliate which gives a small portion of profit to Rainy Days and Clichés. Thank you so much for your continuous kindness!

all the flower pictures in my phone camera roll.

It’s been a dreary winter in Seattle. I heard on the news that it rained 28 out of 31 days in January. And we had snow in January. February is looking a little bit better, considering the sun had been out the past weekend, but I don’t expect it to last.

When I’m out walking around, one of the things I love doing is taking pictures of flowers. Flowers always catch my eye no matter where I am and I usually find myself whipping out my phone to take some pics. I just love looking at all the colorful flora.

Spring and all its beautiful flowers are a little over a month away. So, in order to help bring some cheer, here are all the flowers in my phone camera roll:


Q: What is your favorite flower?

what I’m reading: is everyone hanging out without me? by mindy kaling.

When I saw this book sitting on my bookshelf, I thought it would be perfect to go along with my Office binge-watching. It’s been sitting on my shelf for a number of years now and I’m not sure why I never read it until now.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? is a memoir written by Mindy Kaling. Mindy Kaling is probably best known for being a writer and actor on The Office. She also starred on her own show, The Mindy Project. This book was published in 2011, prior to The Mindy Project airing and before The Office went off the air. Reading it in 2020, it did have some dated references, mostly to BlackBerries and celebrities, but other than that it holds up great. (I had a BlackBerry in 2011 and I thought it was the coolest thing ever so I can totally relate.)

This book is fairly short, I think it is less than 250 pages. It was super easy and quick to read. The chapters range in length and some of them are only 1 or 2 pages.

I enjoyed spending time with this book. Mindy seems so down to earth and funny, like the kind of person you could imagine being friends with. Her tone throughout the book is very conversational and I could imagine her saying everything in my head. I didn’t find a lot of parts in the book that were laugh out loud funny but I did find myself chuckling and relating to a lot of her words.

One of my favorite stories revolved around Mindy and her friends in high school. I loved this quote:

“One friend with whom you have a lot in common is better than three with whom you struggle to find things to talk about.”

I do think that as with most memoirs, you have to know a little something about the author before you start reading. If you’ve never heard of Mindy Kaling or never seen The Office, you won’t get a lot of the references and jokes. That being said, I liked this book a lot.

To check out other reviews, find this book on goodreads or amazon. Please note, all links are affiliate which gives a small portion of profit to Rainy Days and Clichés. Thank you so much for your continuous kindness!

isabel allende at town hall seattle.

I had the opportunity to see and listen to a conversation with Isabel Allende last week. Presented by Elliot Bay Book Company, the conversation took place at Town Hall Seattle in the First Hill neighborhood.

Isabel Allende is the author of twenty-four best selling novels and has sold more than 74 million books. She was born in Peru and lived in Chile until 1973 when she was forced to flee the country after the government was overthrown in a coup. She lived in exile in Venezuela where she wrote her first book. She has received numerous honorary doctorates and awards including Chile’s National Literature Prize in 2010 and the 2014 Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded by President Obama.

I found Isabel Allende to be funny and engaging and just all around charming. She spoke at length about what it is like to not really have a place to call home and to be exiled. She talked about her life and her family and answered some audience questions. There was a small discussion about her new book, A Long Petal of the Sea, but Allende was hesitant to talk about it as she didn’t want to give too much away.

As part of the ticket, all of the audience members were given a signed copy of A Long Petal of the Sea.

If you have not been to Town Hall Seattle, what are you waiting for? The Great Hall has been recently renovated and it has beautiful stained glass windows and curved wooden benches. A variety of arts and cultures and science events are offered – the website advertises it has 450+ events per year.

There are plenty of authors, lecturers, and music events to choose from. Many events are only $5 (and some are free) so it’s super easy to just click and buy a bunch of tickets.

I always find interesting things to see at Town Hall and I enjoy visiting whenever I have the chance.

Q: What author talks have you been to?

january wrap up: comfort food and the office.

I can’t believe January is finally over. It really is the longest month, right? Here is my monthly wrap up of some of the things I’ve watched, eaten or drank, or just loved for the month of January.

What I’m watching:
I recently started listening to The Office Ladies podcast. If you’re not familiar with The Office Ladies podcast, the hosts are Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey, who co-starred on The Office together. Each week they breakdown and recap an episode of The Office and share tidbits and behind the scenes stories. I find it hilarious.

Well, because I started listening to this podcast, I decided that I also wanted to rewatch the show so I could follow along. I hadn’t watched The Office in years and I’m not even sure I watched the final season. But luckily the show is on Netflix so I could get all caught up. I’m not ashamed to tell you that I’ve already watched the entire series once and am now on a second rewatch. It is quickly becoming a show that I put on when there is nothing else to watch.

What I’m eating:
It’s been cold this January in Seattle – we had some snowfall earlier this month. I don’t know what it is about the cold weather but all I want to eat is comfort food, especially pasta. I have been craving pasta recently. It’s all I want to eat when I go out to eat and it’s all I want to make at home.

Just thinking of cheesy pasta goodness or spaghetti and meatballs or even a pasta with olive oil and garlic makes me smile.

What I’m loving:
It’s the start of the year and I have a lot of goals and plans for this year. I’ve been thinking about all the stuff I want to do and I’m getting ready. I got a new planner which is super exciting. I love making goals and scheduling and writing stuff down in my calendar. If it’s in my calendar, then I can’t miss it! I love starting fresh with a clean and new planner and just filling up all the pages.

See you next month!

what I’m reading: before the fall by noah hawley.

A private jet leaves Martha’s Vineyard, bound for New York. On board are a three-person crew, a media mogul and his family, a Wall Street tycoon and his wife, and a down on his luck painter. Sixteen minutes later, the plane crashes into the ocean killing everyone but the painter – Scott Burroughs, and JJ – the four-year-old son of the media mogul.

This was an interesting mystery/thriller that delves into the puzzle of the plane crash. The book alternates between the crash as it occurs from Scott’s perspective and the resulting investigation, to flashbacks of each passenger’s and crew member’s life leading up to and including the day of the crash.

A lot of theories emerge about the crash and its cause. Was it pilot error? Was it one of the media mogul’s many enemies looking for revenge? Could it have something to do with the news of the Wall Street tycoon’s impending arrest due to money laundering? And who is Scott and how did a previously unsuccessful painter integrate himself with these people?

Noah Hawley writes some intriguing characters. Each POV from the different characters led to more questions. Just when you think you knew what happened, a new character perspective would emerge that would make me rethink everything.

Scott is an antihero. Sometimes I liked him and sometimes I didn’t. Yes, he did the right thing in saving JJ after the crash, but that’s kind of it. His motivations are not clear and sometimes it seemed like he was only doing things because it was what was expected of him. He and JJ are definitely suffering from PTSD and most likely survivor’s guilt. Still, I felt like everyone was trying to make the best of out a horrible situation.

Additionally, there was one character that I absolutely hated. I thought he was super slimy and I would just have this feeling of dread when he appeared on the page. I thought he was a horrible person with zero redeeming qualities.

There were a couple of other parts in this book that I didn’t really like. At times the author would go on for pages about some random thing or idea that didn’t really add anything to the story and I found myself skimming some parts. I also didn’t like the end of the book. As soon as we find out the cause of the crash and why it happened, the book just ends. I wanted to know what happens to Scott and what happens to JJ and just what happened next.

To check out other reviews, find this book on goodreads or amazon. Please note, all links are affiliate which gives a small portion of profit to Rainy Days and Clichés. Thank you so much for your continuous kindness!

2020 goals.

I’m a little late to the game this year with my goals. But I’ve spent the past few weeks thinking about what I want to accomplish in 2020 and how I’m going to make it happen. 

But seriously, I can’t believe that it’s only January 27. It seems like Christmas and the new year were soooooo long ago. But nope, they were just a little over 4 weeks ago. Why is January such a long month?

So here we go with my 2020 goals:

  1. Read 1 book I own for every book I borrow from the library.
  2. If I’m not into a book by page 75, stop reading (except if it is a book club book).
  3. Post a book review for every book I read.
  4. Post 100 blog posts this year.
  5. Pay off the rest of my credit card debt.
  6. Increase my emergency fund.
  7. Max out my 401k contribution.
  8. Run 15 5ks.
  9. Try to average 70,000 steps per week.
  10. Take a fitness class, like barre or yoga or pilates
  11. Work on my sleep by averaging 7 hours of sleep a night.
  12. Adopt a skin-care routine.

Some thought on my goals:

I really want to focus on my wellbeing and health this year. I want to focus on my physical health and my mental health. I think all of the activities I have planned out, including steps and sleeping, will really help me improve my fitness. I’m not getting any younger here. That being said, I really need to adopt some sort of skin-care routine that goes beyond washing my face every once in a while.

My other goals will really help improve my mental health – getting my finances to a place where I can relax and not worry about them will take a lot off my mind. Reading always relaxes me and I want to read more for pleasure this year and not worry about finishing books that are doing nothing for me. I’m also into decluttering and just keeping spaces neat so reading books from my bookshelf will help with that.

Final thoughts:

I feel like I am being quite ambitious this year, but I think I can do it. Every goal that I’ve listed is something that has popped into my head at one point or another that I thought I should be doing so nothing is completely new. 

We’ll see how it goes!

Q: What are your goals for this year?