Do you ever get lost in bliss when browsing up and down the aisles in a book store? It’s my favorite place to lose track of time! Whether it’s Barnes and Nobles, used book stores (my favorite), or even just the book section at Target, I live for finding new books. I gave the kindle a go a while back, but there is just something about the look, feel, and smell of a book. I may need to start building that bookshelf wall that I’ve been dreaming of in my mind for the past decade. Just for fun, here are a few of my favorite Pinterest inspirations. You can follow me on Pinterest HERE. Photo sources here and here.

Anywho, unless my husband wakes up and decides there is nothing he’d rather do than break his back for a few weeks to get me the bookshelf of my dreams, it’s not gonna happen. So I’ll continue overflowing my humble bookshelf until it can’t hold anymore. I was lurking around Target this weekend and loaded up my cart with all new reads for this month. I’ve really been tending towards thrillers and mysteries, they’re so good! I’m not sure why we as human beings love being held in a state of suspense for days while reading, but I love it. I’ve included all of the excerpts from Good Reads that I read before buying each of these. If you’re on Good Reads, add me! I would love to see what you’re reading.

  1. Into the Water by Paula Hawkins: When I read The Girl on the Train I literally couldn’t put it down. I’m pretty sure that I read it in about 6 hours of non-stop page turning. I have high hopes that this book will be the same, twists, suspense, and mystery! Synopsis – A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged. Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return.
  1. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr: When I see that a book has won the Pulitzer Prize, it is an instant “well obviously I need to read that as soon as possible”. Once I read that it’s set in Paris and centers around World War II, I had to get it! Synopsis – Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.  In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.
  1. Paper Towns by John Green: Have you read The Fault in Our Stars? I cried like a baby when I read it…like ugly cried. It was so good and I can’t wait to read Paper Towns, especially since it’s set in my city! I’m guessing Lake Eola will come up a few times. Synopsis – Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew.
  1. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware: This is another book that I grabbed based on my love for an earlier book by an author. I read In a Dark, Dark Wood a few years ago while traveling for work and I really enjoyed it. I recommend it if you’re in the mood for a relatively quick read and a suspenseful tale! Synopsis – In this tightly wound story, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…
  1. All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda: Little known fact; I wanted to be an FBI Profiler when I was in high school. I read every true crime novel I could get my hands on. Ann Rule and John Douglas were my heroes, and I devoured their books every week. This novel seems to be along those lines and I can’t wait to dig in. Synopsis – It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched. The decade-old investigation focused on Nic, her brother Daniel, boyfriend Tyler, and Corinne’s boyfriend Jackson. Since then, only Nic has left Cooley Ridge. Daniel and his wife, Laura, are expecting a baby; Jackson works at the town bar; and Tyler is dating Annaleise Carter, Nic’s younger neighbor and the group’s alibi the night Corinne disappeared. Then, within days of Nic’s return, Annaleise goes missing. Told backwards—Day 15 to Day 1—from the time Annaleise goes missing, Nic works to unravel the truth about her younger neighbor’s disappearance, revealing shocking truths about her friends, her family, and what really happened to Corinne that night ten years ago.

 

 

Occasionally I’ll take on book recommendations…who am I kidding. Gimme allllll of the book recs, I love to read new books! If you’re following on Instagram (@laceyellehill) you may have seen my post about my new favorite candle company Frostbeard Studios. Well, a reader commented on that post that she loved this book by Emily Carpenter and I hop-skip-jumped over to Amazon to get it! The rest is history.

Burying the Honeysuckle Girls is about 29-year-old Althea Bell, who is fresh out of rehab and still heartbroken over the years-ago death of her mother. She returns to Alabama to reconnect with her estranged father, but is met with family hostility. Her history with drugs and lying have made her unwelcome, even to her brother and his wife. In the midst of this all, her father fills her in on a grim family secret: her mother, her grandmother, and her great-grandmother all died mysteriously at the age of 30, and he is worried that she is next.

Before her mother died, she whispered to Althea “Wait for her. For the honeysuckle girl. She’ll find you, I think, but if she doesn’t, you find her”.

Since the death of her mother, Althea has dealt with her own mental issues, which were fueled by her use of her mother’s leftover bottle of prescription medication that she used to help curb what was deemed to be “schizophrenic tendencies”. Althea set out with her childhood flame to uncover the secret of the Honeysuckle Girl, and the deaths of her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She was met with opposition, intrigue, obstacles, secrets and family angst; all of the hallmarks of a great page turning mystery! When the secret of the Honeysuckle Girl was uncovered in the end, I was floored.

The book switches throughout between Althea’s point of view and that of her great-grandmother in the 1930’s and I loved that! To understand our future, we must look to the past; it was a beautifully done dynamic characterization. There is something in this book that just about anyone can relate to, whether it’s mental illness, family secrets, or feeling alienated and different. This was a very satisfying mystery to read!

Have you ever toured a house and loved the physical layout, but hated the fixtures or coloring?

When we bought our house three years ago, I knew that I had to put in some major work to make it a home that I loved. The wall paint was pretty easy, albeit time consuming. I’m honestly such a control freak that I couldn’t give that task to anyone else, so I spent about a solid 2 weeks painting bedrooms, our living room, dining room, and the hallways.

But the KITCHEN. That kitchen was the bane of my existence. I hated everything about it, the yellow cabinets, the orange tile, the awful white appliances. And that dark brick colored paint, I hated most of all. The problem was, I couldn’t find a single color that I thought would at least compliment the other strong earth tones in the kitchen! Did I mention that I loathe earth toned paint? I’m a cool pallet gal all the way. Flash forward to January 2016 (and our tax returns) and we had finally had it. We knew from the start that we wanted to redo the kitchen, and I put together an idea board wayyy back in January 2014. I knew that I wanted white cabinets and counters, dark wood floors, and a grey pallet for the color scheme. We purchased our tile back splash thinking that we would be redoing the kitchen much sooner, and all of the tiles sat in our garage for 2 years while we waited for our opportunity.

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The first thing I did was order our flooring. Since the tile was basically stuck in there for life, it was more cost effective to do an overlay of flooring on top of the tile. We contracted this part out, and chose a luxury vinyl plank tile. It’s more durable than wood floors, because in wet areas the wood always has the potential to swell. Because we had already purchased the back splash, we really had to design everything around them. I wish that I hadn’t done this because I’ve always lusted after white subway tile, and I’ve seen some gorgeous white kitchens lately. White subway tile is super trendy right now, and I keep telling myself that my kitchen is at least a little more unique. I’m still sad about it though!

I think that the hardest part BY FAR was choosing a durable cabinet paint, and then actually painting the cabinets. This took FOR-EV-ER. In reality it was about 2 months, but it really dragged on for us! Between two full time jobs, two kids, and all kinds of life happenings, painting our kitchen cabinets really sucked my soul out of my body. I’ll never do it again. We used General Finishes Milk Paint and Top Coat, and while it’s a bit pricey, the durability is definitely worth it. We have some chips in the paint that we have to touch up, but this is due to child locks that had scrapped the doors for the past 6 months. And because kids. But I would most definitely recommend this paint to anyone looking to paint their cabinets!

We also replaced all of the hardware, the fixtures, and the appliances. Y’all…it was so much work. But I am so happy with how it turned out! I waited for two years to have this kitchen, and I really am proud of all the work we put into it. Gone are the dark walls, the yellow cabinets, the awful flooring. I finally have the airy kitchen I’ve always wanted, and it’s even sweeter that Michael and I did it together. Kidding, we were ready to rip each other’s heads off at the end of the two month process. Like our personalities, our work style definitely is OPPOSITE. Michael is a power-througher with little attention to detail. I am a detail-freak who takes way too long to finish projects because I hone in too much. But now that we’re done I can look back and laugh about it. In the moment I definitely had thoughts of throat-punching him. But hey-that’s normal, right?