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Pam's Favorite Things: Holiday Edition

I am excited to share the things that bring me a little bit of joy, peace, and comfort all year long.

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These books are just what you need to get out of your head and immerse yourself with stories, characters, and ideas that will transport you! I have read each one of these books and NONE of them disappoint! If you are looking for a positive way to invest in personal enrichment and self-care, finding great fiction stories to immerse yourself in can be the lick! If I had to pick a few to start with I would choose either The Last One, The Seven Husband’s of Evelyn Hugo, The Grace Year, or The Housemaid. They all get going pretty quickly and will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the story. Before buying, check out your local library for these titles and any other books and media you like!

Happy reading! 

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett: 

Content Warning: The Grace Year depicts religious abuse, torture, dismemberment, sexual assault, and graphic violence.

This novel follows the story of 16-year-old Tierney James as she and the other girls of Garner County are sent to live out their “grace year”: a special time in a young woman’s life where she is banished to the woods to burn through her evil magic so she can be purified and turned into a suitable bride.

Pam’s Take: If you like classics like The Handmaid’s Tale and The Crucible, you will appreciate the themes and plot of this story. It is classified as a YA (young adult) read, but the themes, plot and ideas make for a full on adult read. This book starts a little slow for me and did feel more like a YA book in the beginning but once it gets going it will keep you on the edge of your seat until the end and leave you in tears by the end. Thanks Brie’s BookTok for the recommendation!

11.22.63 by Stephen King:

In this novel, Jake Epping struggles with the knowledge that he can change the world by stopping the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, but any change to time will have consequences that will resonate in dark, violent ways. This is a gripping time-travel novel that takes you back to the events leading up to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It's a thrilling blend of historical fiction and science fiction. 

Pam’s Take: You do not need to be into history to enjoy this book. It’s an interesting take on the idea of “what would you do if you could go back in time and change things??”

Content Warning: Please note that the text includes potentially triggering scenarios including death, suicide, and detailed gory descriptions.

When Caz steps onboard the exclusive cruise liner RMS Atlantica, it’s the start of a vacation of a lifetime with her new love, Pete. On their first night they explore the ship, eat, dance, make friends, but when Caz wakes the next morning, Pete is missing. And when she walks out into the corridor, all the cabin doors are open. To her horror, she soon realizes that the ship is completely empty. No passengers, no crew, nobody but her. The Atlantica is steaming into the mid-Atlantic and Caz is the only person on board. But that’s just the beginning of the terrifying journey she finds herself trapped on in this white-knuckled mystery

Pam’s Take: This book was WILD!!! I will just say if you like your stories to have a nice, tidy, and proper ending. This book is NOT for you. This book will leave you guessing all the way through and nothing will properly be answered for you even at the end. It had me online searching for other readers' reviews to see if there was something I missed or if there was a sequel!!

The Seven Husband's of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid:

This novel explores the glamorous and complex life of a Hollywood icon, Evelyn Hugo, as she recounts her seven marriages. It's a story of love, ambition, and secrets. 

Pam’s Take: Seven husbands!!! I do not know how she did it! But as the main character’s story unfolds you find out why Evelyn ends up having, or should I say needing 7 seven husbands.

Schwab:This story chronicles the story of Addie LaRue, an 18th-century Frenchwoman who gains eternal life through a bargain with a demonic entity. However, the deal comes at a great cost: Everybody who meets Addie immediately forgets her.

Pam’s Take: Imagine the cons (and a few pros) that come with being instantly forgettable, such as not being able to have any real relationships. You are pretty much damned right there. Watching Addie cope is painful. But she ends up finding a loophole in her deal with the devil…find out what it is and what it costs her. 

The Housemaid by Freida McFadden:

A psychological thriller that delves into the eerie and mysterious events surrounding a housemaid's employment in a wealthy family's home. It's a tale of suspense and dark secrets. 

Pam’s Take: The twist in this book will have your mouth on the floor. You will not see it coming! That’s all I will say!

The Housemaid's Secret by Frieda McFadden:

This novel centers on Millie Calloway, a convicted felon who works for wealthy clients in Manhattan. After saving a friend from a potential rapist, Millie helps many other women escape their abusive partners. When she begins working for Douglas and Wendy Garrick, she recognizes the signs of abuse in Wendy and does what she can to help. However, things take a strange twist when Millie is accused of murder.

Pam’s Take: Honestly, I liked The Housemaid a little bit more than this novel. BUT, this one still does not disappoint. If anything its a good reminder that you cannot help everyone…and to trust no one. Period.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig:

Content Warning:Please note that the text includes potentially triggering scenarios including depression and suicide.

The Midnight Library tells the story of Nora, a depressed woman in her 30s, who, on the day she decides to die, finds herself in a library full of lives she could have lived, where she discovers there's a lot more to life, even her current one, than she had ever imagined.

Pam’s Take: This is another book that asks if you knew what the outcome of your life choices would be, do you know what you would do? Would you make the same choices? Would the knowledge of your future and the consequences create a better life?

Self Care:

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) light: Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you're like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. These symptoms often resolve during the spring and summer months. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer and resolves during the fall or winter months. SAD has been linked to a biochemical imbalance in the brain prompted by shorter daylight hours and less sunlight in winter. As seasons change, people experience a shift in their biological internal clock or circadian rhythm that can cause them to be out of step with their daily schedule. I use the Verilux Happy Light at my desk to help me get enough light to stabilize my circadian rhythm and fight off sluggishness that can come with shorter days and grayer skies.

Aromatherapy diffuser: I have had this in my office for years and I use it every day that I am there. Often when people visit me at the office they want to know where that wonderful scent is coming from. It's my diffuser 🙂 It’s one small thing that gives me a lot of comfort. Scents can make a difference in mood and if that doesn’t work for you, it creates a hell of a vibe!

Woolzies essential oils: These are the oils that I use in the diffuser I mentioned above. The blends from this brand are the absolute best. They often can create a relaxing scent for the entire floor that my office is located on.

Steam eye masks: I look at screens a lot during the day and these just offer a nice way to relax my eyes and force me to not focus on anything (there are no eye holes). They come in a variety of scents, even non-scented and help relieve tired, dry eyes. They are also great for travel!


Clear sticky notes: These are the BEST! I love a good sticky note and these make it where I can still see the writing or text underneath. I just like office supplies like that though :)

Ambience channels on YouTube: I love the Autumn Cozy Channel for a good ambience. But there are so many to choose from. Whatever your mood there is an ambience for it. I often turn on an ambience channel to sleep, work, and/or focus.

Last but certainly never least, my people!

From my daughter, husband, sister, BIL, DIL, bonus son, bestie Dee, mom, Beau, to my thera-friends, thera-sisters, Uncommon and MHPNA communities, and all of the beautiful people I have the opportunity to serve each day. You ALL are my very favorite beings in the world!

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