Summer Reading Challenge: First Comes Love by Emily Giffin (spotlight)

facebook-src (2)

First Comes LoveFirst Comes Love
written by Emily Giffin
published by Ballantine Books, 2016

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble (Nook) (print), Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

** I’m really enjoying this read from Ms. Giffin. I’ve loved all of her books. I can’t wait to see how this one ends. **

About the book – from Goodreads: 
In this dazzling new novel, Emily Giffin, the #1 New York Timesbestselling author of Something Borrowed, Where We Belong, andThe One & Only introduces a pair of sisters who find themselves at a crossroads.

Growing up, Josie and Meredith Garland shared a loving, if sometimes contentious relationship. Josie was impulsive, spirited, and outgoing; Meredith hardworking, thoughtful, and reserved. When tragedy strikes their family, their different responses to the event splinter their delicate bond.

Fifteen years later, Josie and Meredith are in their late thirties, following very different paths. Josie, a first grade teacher, is single—and this close to swearing off dating for good. What she wants more than the right guy, however, is to become a mother—a feeling that is heightened when her ex-boyfriend’s daughter ends up in her class. Determined to have the future she’s always wanted, Josie decides to take matters into her own hands.

On the outside, Meredith is the model daughter with the perfect life. A successful attorney, she’s married to a wonderful man, and together they’re raising a beautiful four-year-old daughter. Yet lately, Meredith feels dissatisfied and restless, secretly wondering if she chose the life that was expected of her rather than the one she truly desired.

As the anniversary of their tragedy looms and painful secrets from the past begin to surface, Josie and Meredith must not only confront the issues that divide them, but also come to terms with their own choices. In their journey toward understanding and forgiveness, both sisters discover they need each other more than they knew . . . and that in the recipe for true happiness, love always comes first.

Emotionally honest and utterly enthralling, First Comes Love is a story about family, friendship, and the courage to follow your own heart—wherever that may lead.

may-Love (1) 



Melissa’s Review: Within Reach by Jessica Stevens

Within Reach: A Novel

Within Reach
written by Jessica Stevens
published by Spark Press, 2016

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble (Nook) (print), Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
I tore through it in a day. It’s a little bit cheesy and a little bit predictable, but it’s a nice read. I wish there would have been a bit more explanation about the whole soul-mates/magic thing, but as I wasn’t looking to read anything too mind-bending, I wasn’t overly disappointed. This would be a good book to take to the pool or the beach–it’s light and has a happy ending.



“When has anything worth having been easy?”


Would I recommend it: If you’re in the mood for a love story, go for it!


About the book – from Goodreads: 
Dying wasn’t on seventeen-year-old Xander Hemlock’s summer to-do-list. Finding ways to spend more time with his girlfriend, Lila, was the most critical thinking he planned on doing. But that was before he found himself trapped in a realm of only darkness with thirty days to convince Lila he’s not actually dead—well, not completely, anyway.

As Xan tries to show Lila she isn’t alone, she struggles to comprehend how her life has changed so completely. Six months ago her life was perfect: she was on her way to becoming a professional dancer, her parents were still married, and her boyfriend was alive. But now, with her anorexic tendencies stronger than ever, she must decide which is the lesser of two evils: letting go to be with a boy she doesn’t love, or holding on to the unreasonable, yet overpowering, feeling that Xan is still within reach…and trying to show her something.

Improbable and endearing, Within Reach is a story of two soulmates discovering that sometimes it takes more than one lifetime to get it right.



Heather’s Review: Gamer Girl by Glynis Astie

Gamer GirlGamer Girl
written by Glynis Astie
published by Tikinou Publishing, LLC, 2016

find it here: (affiliate links) Amazon, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

** This review first appeared on Heather’s blog. **

Did I enjoy this book: 
Glynis Astie is one of my new favorite authors, and I’ll tell you why: She is versatile, she is funny, and her writing just gets better with each book. I read her debut trilogy (French Twist, French Toast, and French Fry), which was loosely based on her own life, and enjoyed the books immensely. I was looking forward to reading Gamer Girl, her fourth novel, and was thrilled (a.k.a. stupid excited!!) when she sent me an ARC. I promised to read it and review it (honestly!) and so here we are.

This was a new twist on the Chick Lit genre and I had fun reading it. I liked the glimpses into the MMORPG gaming world (and as a fan and player of World of Warcraft, I could relate!), and I really enjoyed the differences between Meri’s online gaming persona and her real life persona. It was neat to see her become more like her online persona as the book continued.

Meri’s grandmother was a hoot–if you like an eccentric grandmother, with a fondness for pinching the hot boyfriend’s bum, she’s for you. I laughed almost every time she was on the pages–she’s the type of character you wish you could meet in real life.

The story was unique, and I thought Meri’s struggle with trusting and letting go were genuine and well done. Morgan, the hot boyfriend, had his own struggles and I wish there had been more about him throughout the book. I felt like I knew Meri’s best friend, Declan, a lot better than Morgan. The supporting cast was as unique as the story (both the real life story and the gaming story) and here’s another book where I think the characters will stay with me for a little while.


Would I recommend it: Yes! It’s a unique twist on the Chick Lit genre and a fun summer beach read. Very enjoyable!


About the book – from Goodreads: Struck by tragedy at an early age, Meri Palmer escaped into the only world she understood. Within the virtual realm of online gaming, she lived a life filled with mythical creatures and thrilling adventures, where she was strong, powerful, clever, and beautiful—everything she believed she wasn’t in real life. As the years went by, her desire to cling to her cherished fantasyland only grew stronger.

But when Meri meets Morgan, equal parts gorgeous and goofball, she begins to wonder if the time has finally come to rejoin the so-called real world. Channeling the bravery of her fairy warrior alter ego, Meri slowly lets Morgan beyond the protective walls she’s built around her heart. Just as she finds a comfortable groove in an uncertain world, Morgan succumbs to insecurities of his own, leaving her lost and confused. Through her battle to regain her equilibrium, Meri will discover that even in reality, things aren’t always what they seem.

Will Meri win the battle raging in her heart and summon the will to rescue her knight in shining armor? Or will she give in to the fear and find her game over?


In the Kitchen: Home Chef: Lox with Blini


Hi, Everyone!

In an effort to spend less time meal planning and more time reading, I decided to give Home Chef a try. It costs less than taking the whole family to a restaurant, and it seemed like a fun way to add some new recipes to my repertoire.

Tonight: Lox with Blini, Shaved Cucumber Salad, and Scrambled Eggs


Breakfast for dinner? OK, sure!


Home Chef said I was supposed to make this recipe for breakfast. Listen. Breakfast at my house involves me gulping half-cold coffee while tossing toast at my kids. I’m not a breakfast at breakfast kind of gal . . . I’m lucky if I get myself together for a decent lunch. Anyway. Breakfast for dinner it is!












OK, so here’s the thing, Home Chef. You really need to stop telling me to make salads without tomatoes. I Just. Can’t. Do it.





So. Once I’d sufficiently Melissa-fied the salad, it was on to the Blini.

GUYS. Did you know that ‘Blini’ is code for TINY PANCAKES?!?  I know, right?  YUM.


I kind of wish I had a bunny to share these with . . .

The recipe told me I was supposed to make an even dozen and then toss the rest of the batter.


No again, Home Chef. We don’t waste tiny pancake batter! We LURV tiny pancakes!

Yeah. I went there. Know your Meme, people!

Anyway. I tossed in a few extra eggs so there would be enough to feed the kidlets, made my tiny lox roses, and, after using less than half the amount of sour cream the recipe called for (Seriously. Who needs that much sour cream?), I ended up with a big fat plate of yum:

IMG_0632 IMG_0630


If I make it again:

Husband is the pancake master around here, so if anyone’s going to make blini again, it’s him. I mean, sure, I’ll do it for a blog recipe, but honestly, I’m a freezer pancake kind of gal. Plus, I’ll be honest, I like my lox on something a bit crispier, like a bagel or a crostini. Pancake lox was fun to try, but it won’t be a regular occurrence at our house.

Did my kids eat it:

They ate the tiny pancakes. With syrup. We didn’t share the lox.



Paul’s Review: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul by Jeff Kinney

Hi, Everyone! I’d like to introduce my son, Paul, to you! He is a new reviewer for EFC. He is almost 8 years old and a certified bookworm. He and I talked about this book, and I typed his review based on our chat and the questions he answered.


The Long HaulThe Long Haul (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #9)
written by Jeff Kinney
published by Harry N. Abrams, 2014

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble (Nook) (print), Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book: Yes, I really enjoyed it.

In The Long Haul, Greg and his family were going on a road trip to Disney World. But they didn’t get to go because the trip was a total disaster. And they got to go where Greg wanted to go . . . Soak Central!

It is really funny. The writing is good. I like the pictures, too. They are really cool and add to the story.  I like Greg because he has a funny imagination. My favorite scene was when their pet pig tried to escape the car. I was laughing out loud. I had to show my mom and brother that part. The seagull part made me laugh, too.



Would I recommend it: Yes, I would tell my friends to read The Long Haul.


About the book – from Goodreads: 
A family road trip is supposed to be a lot of fun . . . unless, of course, you’re the Heffleys. The journey starts off full of promise, then quickly takes several wrong turns. Gas station bathrooms, crazed seagulls, a fender bender, and a runaway pig—not exactly Greg Heffley’s idea of a good time. But even the worst road trip can turn into an adventure—and this is one the Heffleys won’t soon forget.




%d bloggers like this: