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reading ahead

July 25, 2017

fiction on the beach

I am sharing a few soon-to-be released fiction titles I have read this summer that should make it to your reading list!

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

I was hesitant to read Celeste Ng’s second novel, wondering how I could possibly enjoy it as much as her first!  (Click here for more on her first.)  But, I had gotten the chance to meet her and she gave me a signed, advance copy of Little Fires Everywhere.  That was more than enough encouragement to give the second novel a shot!  And, you know what?  I may have enjoyed Ms. Ng’s second book even more than her first!  This one explores the weight of secrets and the dynamics of motherhood as well as examining the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.  A fabulous read and a fabulous book group selection!  Release date:  September 12, 2017

Little Fires Everywhere pleasure in simple things read

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

A new, smart thriller already in development as a major film.  The story of an agoraphobic woman in New York City who believes she witnessed a crime in a neighboring house.  Hearing the story told from inside one (rather colorful) woman’s mind, as she spies on her neighbors, gives this suspenseful novel a unique perspective.  Release date:  January 23, 2018

Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo

A first novel, written by a Nigerian author and set in Nigeria, the story gives a voice to both a husband and a wife as they tell the story of their marriage.  After meeting and falling in love in college, Yejde and Akin marry and agree polygamy is not for them, though the practice is accepted in their culture.  But, four years into their marriage, circumstances change.  A great emotional read that examines how much we can sacrifice for the sake of family.  This book makes for a great book group selection!  Release date:  August 22, 2017.

Note:  An advance copy of this book will be the giveaway for August – leave a comment on the August giveaway post coming on July 28th to be entered to win it!

Stay with me

The Misfortune of Marion Palm by Emily Culliton

A debut novel that tells the story of Marion, a Brooklyn Heights woman, who has embezzled from her children’s private school and makes a run for it when she is close to becoming discovered.  Told from the points of view of Marion’s husband, her two children, and Marion herself, this witty and engaging story makes for a quick read.  Release date:  August 8, 2017

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

A previous giveaway selection, this story examines the special relationships and dynamics of siblings in a unique way.  Read more about this selection by clicking here.  Release date:  January 9, 2018

great reading on the beach

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

A smart, psychological thriller from the Connecticut author who gave us All is Not Forgotten, this title is a previous giveaway selection.  Read more about it by clicking here.  Release date:  August 8, 2017

Happy Reading!  Thanks for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things…like, reading a good book on the beach!  xo Jackie

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july book giveaway!

June 30, 2017

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

This month’s giveaway is an advance copy of a wonderful new novel  The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin.  This is a super summer read – a ‘can’t put it down’ beach day read!

“If you were told the date of your death, how would it shape your present?  It’s 1969, and holed up in a grimy tenement building in New York’s Lower East Side is a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the date they will die. Four siblings, too young for what they are about to hear, sneak out to hear their fortunes.

july book giveaway pleasure in simple things blog

We then follow the intertwined paths the siblings take over the course of five decades and, in particular, how they choose to live with the supposed knowledge the fortune-teller gave them that day.

This is a story about life, mortality and the choices we make: is it better to live a long and cautious life, or to burn brightly, but for the shortest time?”

This book makes for a great book club selection!  Read it first, then do your friends a favor and lend it out, because once it is released, there will be a long list of holds at the local library for The Immortalists!

sprinkles please

Leave a comment on this post (or a social media post for the giveaway) and you will be entered into the random drawing to win the July giveaway book!

Thank you to everyone who entered to win the June book selection Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker.  Congratulations to Lisa in Pennsylvania, the winner of the giveaway.  I am so excited about the book’s upcoming release and I know you will enjoy being one of the first to read this new novel!  Click here to read more about the book.


For those of you who use Instagram, read on!  This month, let’s share photos of the summer!  Anything that says summer to you is fair game!  I am starting us off with one of my favorite signs of summer – eating a soft serve overlooking the water!  Use hashtag #pleasuregram to share the things that say summer to you!

july instagram challenge pleasure in simple things blog

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things – like reading a great new book!  xo Jackie


june book giveaway!

May 30, 2017

wendy walker emma in the night

Wow!  This week June begins!  That means for today’s post I will announce the giveaway for June.

What I love about June and the beautiful weather days it brings with it, is the ability to spend more time outdoors.  Eating a meal, reading or book, or just plain sitting, is so much more enjoyable when enjoyed outdoors on a beautiful day!

So, for the June giveaway I am giving away a great read that would be perfect to read outdoors.  It is the new Wendy Walker book Emma In The Night.  Wendy’s first thriller, All Is Not Forgotten, has become an international bestseller with movie rights sold to Reese Witherspoon and Warner Brothers.  Another smart, psychological thriller, Emma in The Night delves into the mind of a true pathological narcissist through the eyes other daughter, who has just returned after a three-year disappearance.  The older sister, Emma, is still missing and the search to find her uncovers a dark family history that only forensic psychologist, Dr. Abby Winter, is able to see.  Of course – there is a huge twist at the end!

Wendy Walker collage

Be one of the first to read this new novel by an author from my home state of Connecticut.  This book is an advance readers edition – the book will not be released until August.  Just leave a comment and you will be entered to win.  I will pick a name randomly at the end of the month from the comments received and send the book right out to the winner!  This is a great read to share with your book group!

Congratulations to Marsha, the winner of the May giveaway – a Palm Beach inspired prize basket.  Marsha – even though you asked me not to share your comments, I did include your name in the random drawing and it came out the winner!  Enjoy!

Instagram users, read on!  In the spirit of spending time outdoors, let’s share flowers for this month’s Instagram challenge.  It can be a photo of flowers from your garden, flowers from an event you are attending, or something great you found at a nursery…all flowers are fair game!  Just use hashtag #pleasuregram to share your flower photo with others!

june instagram challenge

Thank you so much for stopping by!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things…like admiring some flowers on a beautiful day!  xo Jackie

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april book giveaway!

March 31, 2017

fire pit cooking give away

Spring has sprung!  And, even though here in Connecticut we still have plenty of snow on the ground, everyone is starting to think about spending more time outdoors.

This month’s giveaway book, Fire Pit Cooking by Vanessa Bante, embraces this outdoor time by providing plenty of family-fun recipes to make over an outdoor fire pit or campground fire.

Bante demonstrates that cooking over a fire is not just for s’mores!  With one or a few fun-to-use tools―pie irons, foil, or simply a dowel―you can make family-friendly dishes over your backyard fire pit. With 75 scrumptious recipes like Apple & Cheese Quesadillas, Spaghetti Pie Iron Sandwiches, Maple Chicken with Sweet Potatoes in foil, Pretzel Sticks with Beer Cheese Sauce, Blueberry and Chocolate Iron Sandwich, and Lemon Mousse in Phyllo Cups, every appetite can by satisfied!

giveaway book april 2017

Just leave a comment on this post to be entered to win Fire Pit Cooking!  Congrats go out to Donna, winner of last month’s giveaway Jar Salads by Alexander Hart.  Click here to read more about the selection.  Donna, enjoy this great recipe book!  Thank you to everyone who participated.

Instagram users, please read on for the April challenge!  In keeping with the theme of our giveaway book, let’s share all food cooked outdoors!  Did you create a cool meal on your fire pit?  A new variety of s’more?  Please share photos on Instagram this month using hashtag #pleasuregram.  (If you need some s’more ideas, click here.)

april 2017 instagram challenge

Thank you for stopping by!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie


march book giveaway!

February 28, 2017

mar bookgiveaway jar salads pleasure in simple things

I am kind of obsessed with food in mason jars.  Mainly because I am trying so hard not to use plastic for storing and serving foods!  It is part of my commitment to eating healthier!

When I starting flipping through the recipe book Jar Salads by Alexander Hart recently, while shopping at Terrain, I knew it needed to be the March giveaway selection for the blog!

The book inspires me to create some new jar salad combinations, and I am sure it will do the same for you!  I love putting together healthful combinations of fresh ingredients to take on the go and this book is a great guide to creating fresh and transportable salads to eat throughout the day!

mar 2017 giveaway book pleasure in simple things blog

The recipes in the book are divided into four categories:  vegetarian, seafood, poultry, and meat.  There are fifty-two inventive salads – literally, a new one for every week in the year!  From a Mexican-inspired vegetarian taco salad to Vietnamese pork and vermicelli noodle salad, there are plenty of taste combinations to try!  Just add a bunch of fresh ingredients to a screw-top mason jar and you are good to go!

mar book 2017 pleasure in simple things

Leave a comment on this post to be entered to win the March giveaway!  Best of luck!

Thanks to everyone that entered to win last month’s giveaway drawing!  Congratulations to Cynthia from Connecticut, the winner of the February giveaway, Sweeter off the Vine:  Fruit Desserts for Every Season by Yossy Arefi.  I know you will enjoy creating fruit desserts using this wonderful book Cynthia!

Instagram users, read on!  For March, let’s share photos of ‘all things in jars.’  It can be an inventive salad, some homemade soup, or a layered dessert…whatever you are eating from a jar, use hashtag #pleasuregram to share a photo!

march instagram challenge 2017

Thank you for stopping by!  Wishing you a great start to March…can’t wait to change those clocks!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie


pippi longstocking house

February 17, 2017

Amelia Island shells pleasure in simple things blog

You heard my recent trip to Amelia Island left little leisure time.  But, I did get to see 3 items of particular interest while I was there.  The first was the oldest lighthouse in Florida.  Granted, I saw it from a distance, but I DID see it!  I wish I had the opportunity to visit it, but tours were not offered on a daily basis and, even if I had the free time, the tour wasn’t available on the day I spotted the lighthouse from afar.

The 2nd item of interest was the oldest bar in Florida.  I can’t say I went inside, but I did see it!  I heard the Bloody Mary’s were quite a spectacle – adorned with a skewer that included a shrimp and a hush puppy!

Amelia Island oldest bar in Fl

Lastly, and the most interesting to me, the third item of interest was the Pippi Longstocking house.   In 1988, the original Pippi story by children’s author Astrid Lindgren, was made into a movie, “The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking” which was filmed entirely on Amelia Island, Florida.

Pippi Longstocking house pleasure in simple things blog

Most of the movie was filmed on Centre Street, in the quaint historic downtown Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island’s only city.  The ice cream shop in the movie was actually the oldest saloon in Florida that I mentioned above!

Pippi bookThe setting of much of the book and the movie was in Pippi’s dilapidated fictional house, the ‘Villa Villekulla.’  Though in the movie the house looked unkempt, disheveled, and badly in need of a fresh coat of white paint, the present state of the movie house looked a little different.  You can see that the weathered white clapboards so prominently featured in the film are currently an olive green siding!

Even if you hadn’t been a Pippi fan, the 146 year old house was something to see – known for having a wider variety of gingerbread motifs, such as sunbursts, fish scales, clovers, brackets, globes, scallops, circles, diamonds, and Maltese crosses than any other in Fernandina Beach, according to a historic museum tour guide.

If you have an interest in the Amelia Island or in the book Pippi Longstocking, you may want to watch the 1988 film “The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking” described as a fantasy musical with a cast that included Eileen Brennan, Dick Van Patten and John Schuck.

Thanks for stopping by Friday field trip to Villa Villekulla!

Have a wonderful weekend and remember to take pleasure in simple things…like reading a favorite children’s story!   Jackie xo

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february book giveaway!

January 31, 2017

giveaway for feb 2017pleasure in simple things blog

This month’s book giveaway selection is Sweeter off the Vine:  Fruit Desserts for Every Season by Yossy Arefi. 

I love cookbooks that organize recipes by the season!  And, this cozy collection fills that order by providing heirloom-quality recipes for sweet treats that truly cherish fruit; season by season.  Yossy Arefi’s recipes showcase what’s fresh and vibrant any time of year by enhancing the sweetness of fruits with bold flavors inspired by her heritage.

pleasure in simple things blog feb giveaway

Accompanied by gorgeous photography – a requirement for all cookbooks in my library – Sweeter off the Vine is a must-have for bakers of all abilities.

Enter to win this month’s selection by leaving a comment on this post, or on Instagram or Facebook.  A winner will be chosen at random at the end of the month.  Good luck!

recipe book giveaway pleasure in simple things blog

Congrats to Barb, the winner of last month’s giveaway selection The Blender Girl Smoothies by Tess Masters (click here for more on the book).  I know you will enjoy trying all the delicious and healthful smoothie recipes in this collection Barb!

Instagram users, please read on for this month’s challenge!  In keeping with our ‘fruity’ theme, let’s share photos of fruit this month!  Whether it be a bright display in the grocery store or a creation from your kitchen; show us your fruit using hashtag #pleasuregram!

Feb2017 Insta challenge pleasure in simple things blog

Thank you for stopping by!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie


january book giveaway!

December 30, 2016

smoothies pleasure in simple things blog

My go-to eating strategy after the holidays is always to have a day or two of consuming strictly juices and/or smoothies.  This strategy always works to get me right back on the healthy eating track!

With this in mind, I decided to feature The Blender Girl Smoothies by Tess Masters as the January giveaway book selection.

This book is a wonderful collection of 100 recipes for (vegan) smoothies designed to fit every need and taste!  Each recipe features a beautiful photograph with suggestions for 3 optimal flavor boosters and nutritional add-ons.

smoothie book giveaway pleasure in simple things blog

The Blender Girl Smoothies is a fabulous resource whenever you need to try a new flavor or healthful ingredient combination smoothie!

Even if you don’t use my post-holiday eating strategy, a delicious and healthful smoothie is a go-to in any eating plan!  Leave a comment on this post to be entered to win this great title!  A winner will be chosen at random at the end of January.

Congratulations to  Betsy, winner of last month’s giveaway – a 2017 calendar by Anna Rifle!  I know you will enjoy this lovely calendar!  (For more on the calendar, click here.)

Instagram users, please read on!  In the spirit of this month’s giveaway, let’s share our smoothies!  I would love to see your favorite flavor combinations!  Use #pleasuregram to share photos of your creations!

Instagram challenge jan 2017

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Have a safe weekend and remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie


holiday reading

November 18, 2016


It’s been a crazy week – next week will be even more hectic!  I barely had time to turn on the computer today, but you know I could never miss a Friday post!

So, for today, Friday field trip is a throwback from a couple of years ago.  I shared a DIY project that deserves repeating!  I thought I would remind you about the cool ‘book a day” idea so you can prepare to put one together for yourself before December starts!

Click here for the full DIY!

Have fun with it!

Thanks for stopping by!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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november book giveaway!

November 1, 2016


When something sparks my interest, I get caught up in exploring it.  Most recently, this is happening with salt.  I started investigating different types of salts, created a DIY salt cellar, and I have plans to visit a salt-themed restaurant.

The November book giveaway highlights this current interest of mine.  More specifically, the book is about using salt in desserts.  Sea Salt Sweet:  The Art of Using Salts for the Ultimate Dessert Experience  by Heather Baird demonstrates the tasty relationship between sweets and salt.   With the holiday season almost upon us, this selection is perfect for creating a delicious and unique dessert for your celebrations!


More than just a recipe book, master baker, Heather Baird teaches how to use fine artisan salt to make mouthwatering desserts for any occasion.  Leave a comment to be entered to win this wonderful book.  A winner will be chosen at random from the comments received.


Congratulations to Deborah, winner of The 52 Lists Project by Moorea Seal, last month’s giveaway selection.  Enjoy!  (Click here to read more about the book.)

Instagram users, please read on!  In keeping with the salt theme, let’s share photos “all things salt.”  Your cool salt cellar, a photo of your latest artisan salt find, or a great culinary creation using salt are all great subjects!  Use hashtag #pleasuregram to share!


Thank you for stopping by!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

P.S.  Click here if you missed the salt cellar DIY.

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