Favourite reads of 2019

Wow, looking at my little desk calendar today and it is day 361 of the year. In some ways this year has seemed very very long. And in other ways it has flown by. I was able to read a lot of books this year, more then previous years and I think that is because I procrastinated on the things I should have been working on and read instead. So in 2020 I need to find a balance but that is for 2020 to figure out.

Today I wanted to share some of the books that I really enjoyed reading this year. So in no particular order here we go!

A Bitter Feast- Deborah Crombie- this is like 16th in a series but it reminded me of how much I love Duncan and Gemma (British Mystery series)

Dear Girls- Ali Wong- I laughed SO hard at parts of this book I was crying. I’m not anyone mother’s and I still found it to be very relatable.

Still Life- Louise Penny- I finally started the Inspector Gamache series in September of this year and I don’t know how it took me this long. So atmospheric.

Veronica Mars- Rob Thomas- I re-read the two novels that were released after the movie in 2014, still enjoyable, especially as I was getting ready for the new tv series (I am still not ready to talk about the last episode).

Delicious!- Ruth Reichl- a fictional novel by the former New York Times restaurant reviewer. I really loved this one. It was like a nicer Devil Wears Prada- but only because it takes place at a magazine, but it is quickly shut down and it is a food magazine. So not like Prada at all.

Save me the Plums- Ruth Reichl’s nonfiction about her last days running Gourmet magazine. I am not an adventurous eater at all, but this book had me wanting to eat some of the meals that Ruth described.

Veronica Speedwell series by Deanna Raybourn- I don’t even know how to describe this series. Veronica lives in the late 1800’s but has very modern ways of thinking. She solves mysteries with Raker and there is some romance and will they/ won’t they and it’s delightful.

The Proposal- Jasmine Gulliroy I have really enjoyed the whole world that she has created with her characters and her books, this year I read a lot more romance then I have before and I think that Jamine’s books were the gateway.

The Paris Spy- Susan Elia MacNeal- The Maggie Hope series was another new discovery for me this year. I liked this one because it takes place in Paris during the Occupation, I always like books that tell the story of what women were doing during major historical events and this one has the added bonus of spies.

The Huntress- Kate Quinn. I didn’t want this one to end, but I also had to keep reading to find out what was going to happen. Before reading this book I didn’t know anything about the Night Witches.

Next Year in Havana- Chanel Cleeton. I really enjoyed this book and it’s sequel this year. I didn’t really know anything about Cuba or what happened when Castro came into power and I feel like I learned so much from this book.

I’ll Be Your Blue Sky- Marisa de los Santos- so this is the third book of a trilogy but I read them out of order and started with this one. And I really loved it.

It’s been a while…

But I’m back!

As this year, and decade (I can’t believe THAT fact) is coming to a close I have been thinking more and more about my reading life. What I want to get out of it, how I want to share it and how I’m going to do that. So I have decided that in 2020 I am going to make a HUGE effort to read more from my unread shelves.

There is an bookstagram account on Instagram that called @theunreadshelf that inspired me. I can’t wait to see the prompts for 2020 and hopefully I can incorporate some of them into my own unread shelf project!

I think I am going to try to read almost exclusively from them and I am going on a bit of a book buying ban. I own a lot of great books and it is silly that I push them aside to read a book that is popping up all over Bookstagram to only read it and be disappointed. A book buying ban just makes sense when I own a lot of great paper and ebooks already. I am not saying no to books as gifts, just me buying books for a while. I’m sure it won’t last all year, but I am going to make an effort to only buy really special books.

I’m also going to try to read less library books as well because I put off reading books that I own because there is a chance to get a new book RIGHT now. Does anyone else have a fear of missing out when it comes to books or is it just me?

One of the biggest changes that I am looking forward to starting before 2020 starts is to slowly start changing over my @essentiallymeagan Instagram account. I made it to share my love of essential oils, and while I still love them, I find that I am wanting to share a lot more things that I find essential on that account. Books, oils and natural products, cool local spots in my community, pictures that made me smile during the day, craft projects, these are all things that I find are essential to a happy life and I’m looking forward to sharing them in a specific spot.

Do you have any plans for 2020 and your reading life?

The love of re-reading

I am a re-reader. I love revisiting my favourite characters and stories, there is something comforting in the familiar. I just started a re-read and that got me thinking about why I decided to do that. I have a LOT of books in my “to read” pile, both physical copies that I own, and ebooks that I have purchased or are waiting patiently on my bookshelf in the Overdrive app. But none of them appealed to me. I didn’t want to be in a reading slump, I like always having something to read.

I am also trying to limit my screen time before bed, I am a terrible sleeper and for the past couple of months I have been a REALLY terrible sleeper. Maybe all of those articles about the blue right were right?


My current re-read is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I read it for the first time many summers ago, half of it aloud with a group of friends and then finished it on my own (after NEEDING to own my own copy). I think I have read it a total of two times and each time I laughed and cried as I was sucked into the little world created on a Channel Island. A friend reminded me of the fact that there was supposed to be a movie version of the book, and we both have wondered what happened to those plans. I am torn about a movie version. On the one hand yay! One of my favourite stories will be brought to life on the big screen, and on the other hand, no one of my favourite movies will be brought to life on the big screen. There is always something left out in movie versions, or something that doesn’t look like it did in your head when you were reading.

Sometimes it is just nice knowing what to expect of your reading choice.

Ways to Use Lemon Oil Around the House



I think lemon oil is the oil that I use the most, and have purchased the most in the couple years that I have been using essential oils. Not only does it smell fantastic I find that I have used it in many different ways.

  1. Paint remover- I did a little painting in the summer and managed to splatter a couple of drops of paint on my foot. Because it was an oil based paint I would have normally had to use paint remover (gross) to get rid of it. Instead I used a few drops of lemon oil on a rag, scrubbed it for a few minutes and volia! The paint was gone!
  2. In the dish washer- earlier this year I bought Honest Company dish washer detergent tablets, they didn’t work in my dish washer. A white film was left on everything and when I contacted the Honest Company the response was to run my dish washer on hot for 6 or 7 loads to get rid of hard water build up. Well that seemed like a crazy waste of water not to mention hydro. Instead I added white vinegar and 3 drops of lemon oil to the pre-rinse dispenser. The white residue was gone after one use! I have since found a better detergent but I still use white vinegar and lemon oil every few loads to get rid of any hard water build up that might be happening.
  3. Sticker residue- Have you ever bought a cute picture frame from Winners only to get it home to realize that you can’t the get price sticker residue off the glass ?(because the sticker is always on the glass!) Enter Lemon Oil, a couple of drops on a rag and that residue disappears.
  4. Sap remover- my Mom sat in some tree sap when she was gardening at the cottage, she used some Lemon oil on it and she was able to remove the sap and save her clothes.
  5. Fruit and Veggie wash- I find that I use this most often with berries, I fill a bowl up with water, add 2 drops of Lemon oil, plop the berries in and let them soak for a few minutes (probably up to a 1/2 hour or so, I am easily distracted!). Then I just rinse the berries off, dry them and I have delicious, clean berries that are clean! This is also a great way to clean grapes to get rid of that weird coating that is sprayed on them.
  6. In my diffuser- I love to diffuse Lemon oil any time that my kitchen needs a little air purifying. I find that I tend to diffuse lemon when something that has a lingering smell has been cooked- fish, garlic and onion smells. I also diffuse it when things have gotten burnt- crusty bread in the toaster that was left for too long! (if it isn’t too cold outside I also open a window to get a good breeze going) but I find that the lemon neutralizes any lingering scents.

These are just a few of my favourite ways to use Lemon oil around the house in my daily life! If you are interested in using Lemon oil yourself,  you can click here to find out how to get some for yourself.


Hello 2017 Books

Oh my, I have neglected this blog for a LONG time. Well it is a new year, so time for new posts!

If you haven’t guessed it yet I love reading. I am always adding book titles that sound interesting to a never ending note on my phone called “books to read” and I sometimes get to cross them off my list.

This year I have decided to give a couple of reading challenges a go- I have been doing the GoodReads Challenge and the #50BookPledge for a couple of years now and I enjoy them (you can set your reading goal to anything for GoodReads if the 50 books in the 50 book pledge seems like a lot of books).  I also recently discovered a couple of other challenges that give prompts for books. Now I know I read a lot, but even I know that I can’t read ALL the books for all these challenges. I am however using the Read Harder, Pop Sugar, Modern Mrs. Darcy Challenge and the Litsy challenge as prompts to get me ideas on what to read next (I found myself in a reading slump at the end of 2016), as well as a guide when choosing books. I know already that I will be picking and choosing prompts from all of the lists that seem interesting to me, I doubt that I will one whole list this year. I’m sure I will end up reading a lot of books that don’t have a spot on any of these lists! But I like the idea of a reading list at the beginning of the year it seems very exciting to me (and a little beginning of the semester or school year vibe).

Let me know what your reading goals are this year, and if you will be joining me in any of these challenges!

*I ran out of ink for my printer ages ago so I hand wrote out all of the lists in a notebook to keep track, but many of the above challenges come with printer versions with bookmarks and checklists!*


Dexter is conserving his energy for 2017 Reading

Crocodile on the Sandbanks- Elizabeth Peters

IMG_0010I just discovered this series thanks to a post on Litsy (if you haven’t heard of it it is an app that is best described as if Goodreads and Instagram had a baby. Follow me if you have it, I’m ReadingMeagan). And I loved this book. I am pretty excited that there are 19 or so books in the series, now if only all of them were available on Overdrive from my library!

I was a little unsure of this book when I first started reading; it is a mystery set in the late 1800’s in Egypt and the main character is a female aspiring archaeologist. I feared that it would be really dry, and rather dated (because it was written in the 1980’s) but I was happily proven wrong!

The main character is named Amelia Peabody, she is in her early thirties and has her own (inherited) wealth so she is able to travel and learn about Ancient Egypt on her own. Because this is the first book a few characters are introduced that I am assuming will be sticking around in the series. Evelyn starts out as a companion for Amelia (she can’t travel without one).I liked that Amelia has a friend in Evelyn, and that complement each other in both temperaments as well as words. I don’t want to give too much away, but there is a romance angle, for both characters (which I am always a sucker for), and I will say that Emerson was really giving me a Mr. Darcy vibe for the whole book.

While I was reading the book I was thinking of Essential Oils (I am really always thinking of oils and how I can use them and diffuse them, even if it is a quiet thought in the background of my other thoughts). Two oils kept popping into my head: Frankincense and Cedar wood. I was thinking of oils that would have been familiar to Ancient Egyptians.

Frankincense is known as the oil of truth, it reveals deceptions and false truths (I found this to be rather funny, this is a mystery book and if you read the book you will see why it is such a fitting oil). Frankincense invites individuals to let go of lies, deceptions and negativity.

Cedar wood is the oil of community. It brings people together to experience the strength and value of community.

I’m excited to read more of this series, and to see if I can pick more oils that go perfectly with the books!

Thanks for reading,

Eligible- Curtis Sittenfield

Oh how I loved this book! I guess I should first tell you that I love Jane Austen, and that Pride&Prejudice is my favourite book of hers.  I will watch and read modern retellings anytime (except for that one play adaptation of Sense and Sensibility that my Mom dragged me to. I have seen children in elementary school plays act better. Seriously, it was terrible).

Eligible is a modern version of Pride and Prejudice, set in Ohio instead of Regency England.   The fact that it is a modern retelling may turn Austen purists off, but I was game to try it. For a Pride and Prejudice retelling to be spot on I always think that Mrs. Bennet needs to be totally crazy, and so utterly awful that you just cringe anytime that she is speaking. Bridget’s Mom in Bridget Jones’ Diary does this SO well (book version, the movie version is so tame). Mrs. Bennet is AWFUL in this version of the story, I don’t want to give any of the plot away, but she isn’t politically correct in the way she thinks or speaks, and her need to “keep up with the jones'” really makes her an unlikable character. Mr. Bennet is kind of a weak character in Eligible, he has kind of washed his hands of everything and just lets Lizzie take care of things.

Curtis Sittenfield has done a great job of making the characters relatable, Lizzie is stuck in a relationship that is less then ideal, and her parents are getting older and have health and financial issues. The twist of Mr. Bingley having been on a reality tv show is hilarious, Mr. Darcy is standoffish as he should be (spoiler alert, Eligible unlike Austen has sex scenes, they are great but Austen purists might not be impressed).

The oil that I suggest to diffuse while reading Eligible would be the encouraging blend. This blend contains a combination of mint and citrus oils that can help motivate and inspire an individual to have the courage to move forward with confidence and strength. Now if that isn’t an oil blend to help Lizzie with everything that she needs to do then I don’t know what is!


DIY Dry Shampoo

DIY Dry Shampoo Recipe:
• 1/4 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch
• 4 drops lavender
• 4 drops rosemary
• 4 drops peppermint

Add all ingredients together and mix well (you can also pulse them together in a food processor). Apply with a old (clean) makeup brush. Wait 5 minutes or so and then rub in with hands or use a natural bristle brush!



Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

I LOVE Harry Potter. Ever summer I try to reread the whole series, it always reminds me of having to wait until the summer for the newest book to come out. Last summer was a slightly weird one for me, I didn’t end up re-reading the series, I ended up starting my re-read in the Fall, and have read a lot of books in between continuing with Harry’s adventures. It has taken me a while, but I am almost done the series, and it is summer again. I recently finished Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, the 6th and 2nd last book of the series. For anyone who hasn’t read the book or seen the movie, look away SPOILERS may be happening.

This book always makes me rather sad, for the obvious reason of what happens at the top of the tallest Astronomy tower, but also because I know that the series is coming to an end. In a lot of ways this book signals an end to the series, Harry and his friends really grow up in this book, Voldemort is a viable threat to their families, friends, school, and their lives. There are a lot of emotions happening for me (and I would guess other fans and readers as well).

The blend that I decided to diffuse for this book (especially the last few chapters) is 5 drops of the Comforting Blend, and 3 drops of Bergamot. The Comforting Blend uses floral and tree essential oils to promote feelings of comfort.It soothes emotional pain after a stressful or traumatic event. Bergamot relieves feelings of despair, and invites individuals to see life with more optimism. They both smell really great together, Bergamot is a great citrus smell, while the Comforting Blend using really lovely florals and wood oils that pair really well the citrus scent.


Favourite books and favourite smells


One of my all time favourite books is Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy. I first read it over a long weekend at my childhood family cottage. I had seen the movie version and enjoyed it, having no idea that the book was SO much better. It is a book that I reread about once a year or so because I love going back to Knockglen and reading about the trails and tribulations that make up Benny’s life. Benny is such a great character, I wish that she learned to love herself, just as she is, far earlier in the book. Maybe she just needs this diffuser blend of grapefruit and spearmint? Grapefruit is an oil that promotes body acceptance and spearmint promotes confident speech, as well as it encourages individuals to take a public stand on behalf of their values and opinions.

Start off with 3 drops of each in your diffuser. If you don’t have a diffuser yet,  you can place the oil drops on a clean cloth and place it near a fan or your heating or cooling vent. You can also use cotton balls clipped to your vents with a clothes peg.

Am I the only one who will forever associate Alan Cumming with Creepy Sean Walsh? And thank goodness Colin Firth has his roles as Mr. Darcy and Mark Darcy, because Simon Westward is the worst (in both the book and film).

Happy diffusing and reading,