The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham – Book Review – #UltimateReadingChallenge March

The Secrets She Keeps

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Summary:

In the bestselling tradition of The Girl on the Train and In a Dark, Dark Wood, from the internationally bestselling author whom Stephen King called “an absolute master” of the psychological thriller, comes a riveting suspense novel about the unlikely friendship between two pregnant women that asks: how far would you go to create the perfect family?

Agatha is pregnant and works part-time stocking shelves at a grocery store in a ritzy London suburb, counting down the days until her baby is due. As the hours of her shifts creep by in increasing discomfort, the one thing she looks forward to at work is catching a glimpse of Meghan, the effortlessly chic customer whose elegant lifestyle dazzles her. Meghan has it all: two perfect children, a handsome husband, a happy marriage, a stylish group of friends, and she writes perfectly droll confessional posts on her popular parenting blog—posts that Agatha reads with devotion each night as she waits for her absent boyfriend, the father of her baby, to maybe return her calls.

When Agatha learns that Meghan is pregnant again, and that their due dates fall within the same month, she finally musters up the courage to speak to her, thrilled that they now have the ordeal of childbearing in common. Little does Meghan know that the mundane exchange she has with a grocery store employee during a hurried afternoon shopping trip is about to change the course of her not-so-perfect life forever…

With its brilliant rendering of the secrets some women hold close and a shocking act that cannot be undone, The Secrets She Keeps delivers a dark and twisted page-turner that is absolutely impossible to put down.

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Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Pumpkin Pie Smoothie – Happily by Chauncey Rogers – The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham

Hello, friends! How’s your week going? Today I have a new smoothie for you that I believe will knock your socks off! I also have two new books to share. Let’s get going!

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When I think of fairy tales, I think of pumpkins and that’s why this recipe was slightly inspired by Happily, a book by Chauncey Rogers that I’m starting this week. You can learn about this book below.  Continue reading “Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Pumpkin Pie Smoothie – Happily by Chauncey Rogers – The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham”

The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman – Audible Review

The Deal of a Lifetime

by Fredrik Backman

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Blurb:

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove and Beartown delivers an insightful and poignant holiday novella about a man who sacrificed his family in the single-minded pursuit of success and the courageous little girl fighting for her life who crosses his path.

It all begins with a father telling a story to his son on Christmas Eve. But this isn’t your typical Christmas story. The father admits to his son that he’s taken a life but he won’t say whose—not yet.

One week earlier, in a hospital late at night, the man met a five-year-old girl with cancer. She’s a smart kid—smart enough to know that she won’t beat cancer by drawing with crayons all day, but it seems to make the adults happy, so she keeps doing it.

As the man tells his son about this plucky little girl, he slowly reveals more about himself: while he may be a successful businessman, idolized by the media and his peers, he knows he failed as a parent. Overwhelmed by the responsibility of fatherhood, he took the easy way out and left his wife and little boy twenty years ago to pursue professional success. Now he is left wondering if it’s too late to forge a relationship with his son, who seems to be his opposite in every way—prizing happiness over money, surrounded by loving friends in a cozy town where he feels right at home.

Face to face with the idea that something is missing, the man is given the unexpected chance to do something selfless that could change the destiny of the little girl in the hospital bed. But before he can make the deal of a lifetime, he needs to find out what his own life has actually been worth in the eyes of his son. And so, he seeks him out and tells him this story…

Written with Fredrik Backman’s signature humor, compassion, and “knack for weaving tales that are believable and fanciful” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch), The Deal of a Lifetime reminds us that life is a fleeting gift, and our only legacy is how we share that gift with those we love. –Goodreads

My Thoughts:

I read two books by Fredrik Backman this year and enjoyed them both. When I saw The Deal of a Lifetime floating around on Goodreads, the cover and author sent me right into an impulse buy and I used an Audible credit to purchase it. I didn’t even read the blurb and assumed I was purchasing a Christmas read. It turned out to be very different from what I expected and my review below might contain something you consider a spoiler if you want to go in completely blind. Although, I don’t feel that I reveal anything more than the blurb does.

The story begins with a father telling his son a story on Christmas Eve about how he killed someone. He’s not disclosing details and you won’t find out until the end of the story what really happens, but basically, he knows he hasn’t been an exceptional father. He explains that he’s been obsessed with his legacy and has chosen what ‘he’ considers success over being a good parent to his son. That’s what’s been most important to him–leaving behind a legacy full of everything he thinks is important–wealth and security. Then he meets someone who’s dying of cancer and he begins to question the decisions he’s made. He begins to question how important life is. Do other people’s lives matter? How important is someone else’s life to you if you don’t know them?

When I first started listening to this I began to feel that I wasn’t going to be pleased with it. I appreciated that the places described in the story were real, taking place in the author’s hometown, but when I started to contemplate that there might be a death, I was thinking for sure that I would hate it. By the time I got to the end, it hit me. Had my husband not been in the vehicle with me for the hour drive, I may have used an entire box of Kleenex and bawled my eyes out for another hour. The story is short and it’s quite expensive to buy, but It’s truly thought-provoking and what a powerful and meaningful message it sends. For that I’m giving this 5*****.

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Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Rice Pudding Smoothie – The Child Finder – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Happy Wednesday everyone! I’m back this week with a new recipe and two books that I’m reading. I hope you enjoy!

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Rice Pudding Smoothie

Ingredients:

1/2 cup almond milk

1 Frozen banana (substitute ice for the banana if you’d like)

1 TB Vanilla

1 heaping tsp of raw honey

1 stevia packet

1/2 cup white rice (cooked and cooled)

1/4 to a 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Pinch of nutmeg

Directions:

Add everything into the blender in the order specified omitting the rice. Blend it smooth, then add in the rice and pulse a few times for 5 seconds or so. If you blend the smoothie too much, it will get very thick and hard to drink.

Here are some of the spice brands I like to use. I buy all of these from Costco.

 

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Ground cinnamon

 

 

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Pure Vanilla

 

 

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Sweetener made from stevia

 

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I buy whole nutmeg locally and store it in a jar.

 

I like to use a microplane to grind down my nutmeg and other whole spices. It’s so easy and fresh spices really make a difference.

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I ended up doubling the recipe to make a few servings. The key is to stick with the exact amount of ingredients. If you add to much rice, it will ruin the smoothie. Stick to the ratio in the recipe above and it’ll be perfect.

 

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I think it’s best with a little less cinnamon! I went with the full half tsp. Start with 1/4 tsp and then add more to taste.

 

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