The Rumor – Elin Hilderbrand


Source: Goodreads


Summer on Nantucket is never complete without a good rumor, but no one ever expected that the rumor mill would drag in the island’s most envied couples. Novelist Madeline King is struggling to meet her deadlines, while Grace and Eddie Pancik’s relationship is reportedly on the rocks. To make everything worse, Madeline’s son and Grace’s daughter’s budding romance could implode at any moment. The whole island is soon watching the Kings and the Panciks. Can the two families put the rumors to rest and survive the summer?


I finally managed to get a library card up here in Boston, and decided it was time for some summer reads. I’ve heard a lot about Elin Hilderbrand, and the majority of it has been good, so I thought I would give The Rumor a shot.

The story takes place on Nantucket, an island just off the coast of Massachusetts. The reader follows two couples as well as their children, giving us about seven different prospectives to view the situation from. Madeline is a struggling writer who is married to a local airline pilot, and her best friend Grace was raised in a well-to-do family and married a high-end real estate agent. Grace has twin daughters, Allegra and Hope, while Madeline has a son, Brick, and desperately wishes for more children.

The ‘rumor’ itself starts out as a simple misunderstanding, but before the characters realize it they have been swept up into one big mess that sits teetering over their lives. Money, love, and livelihoods hang in the balance.

The entire time I was reading this, I wasn’t entirely sure if I liked it or not. It’s nearly un-put-downable because it jumps perspectives rather than having chapter breaks, but the story is not the kind of thing I usually enjoy reading. It had that whole slowly-falling-into-horrible-danger thing going for it like The Great Gatsby or just about anything by Hemingway, with a dash of A Streetcar Named Desire thrown in for good measure. All stories that fascinated me, but weren’t particularly enjoyable to read.

The plot, while fairly predictable, played out well, and the characters were superbly well developed. I really enjoyed getting to know each character individually, and Hilderbrand did a wonderful job of differentiating between people so I could figure out who’s perspective I was reading from fairly easily whenever I picked up the book.

If you enjoy a good, mildly steamy, summer beach read, this is the book for you. While not as light-hearted as I had initially expected, it definitely made my time spent reading it interesting.


HHC Rating: 3.75 Stars

August Update – 2016 Goals Check-in

August Update

Hello Everyone!

I’m going to keep this short and sweet today. 🙂
My life has been a little crazy this summer, and it’s only getting crazier. I’m in two weddings at the end of the month/beginning of next on back-to-back weekends, and everything is catching up to me.

TOTY 24 Goals:
Write Every Day – not happening so far. Between work, family events, and getting everything ready for the weddings, I’m lucky if I have a few hours to sit and read, much less have an hour to sit down and write my reviews for Curio Street Reads. I was already late on my review for this week, and while my review for next week should go up on Tuesday, it probably won’t go up until afternoon instead of the normal 10am posting time. Unless by some miracle I gain an hour of quality time in which to write the review before then. Posting here should resume a more normal schedule in September, and I should be able to dive back into my novel around then as well.

Apply to Full Time Jobs – Also on hold until after the weddings. Having never been in a wedding before, I clearly did not realize how much work goes into them. It’s a little insane over here.

Apply to Grad School – I’m supposed to be studying for the GRE. But as I have zero time, I’ll have to pick this back up in September. Hopefully, I can take the test in October/November so I can get my application(s) in on time to be considered for a scholarship or fellowship or something that would help me pay for this degree.


Basically, everything is on hold until these weddings are over. I’m super excited for them! I love my friends and I am so happy they asked me to be a part of their special days. It makes my heart smile that they’ve found their people and are making it official.

At the same time, I can’t wait to get back to the grind and write some awesome stuff for you guys! Writing makes me crazy happy and fulfilled, and I miss doing it. See you in September!

Until Next Time,

TOTY – 24: Me Doing Me

Here we are again, the beginning of summer. This July I’ll turn 24, and we’ll mark the 2nd anniversary since I began writing here. I’m so proud of all the writing I’ve done here on Highlights and Hot Chocolate, and elsewhere on the internet.

In my first year of writing here, I experienced everything I could. I traveled to Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon. Both were incredibly amazing. I also held a number of executive positions in the organizations I was a part of in college. I was the Program Director of my campus radio station, President of the newly revamped television production club, and Vice President of Public Relations in our chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America. The icing on the cake, though, was graduating Magna Cum Laude last May after 5 years of higher education. I felt happy and fulfilled, ready for anything that was thrown my way.

In my second year, my plan was to step back a little and focus on myself. I had planned to get fit and work on my physical well-being. I did start seeing a dermatologist and addressing my acne problems, but otherwise, I could not have been more wrong about how the year would go. I had assumed I would get a grown-up job and the grown-up apartment and life that came with it. Instead, I am working part-time and living with one of my friends. I haven’t run over 6 times this year, and my posture is still terrible. Yet in not fulfilling the goals I set, I have discovered SO MUCH about myself.

I said that this year wasn’t going to be focused on self-discovery, but in a sense it was. I went out on a limb to apply for a job in retail that I really had no experience doing, and I got it. Now I’m working in a bridal shop with some of the loveliest people. Other highlights of the year included my parents and my aunt and uncle buying a lake house together in Maine, and that same aunt and uncle welcoming my newest baby cousin, 2 months old at the end of last month. I am in the midst of helping two of my closest friends prepare for their nuptials, and I am beyond proud to get to stand up with them on their special days. In the last month alone, I got my ears pierced for the first time and my first tattoo. Sure, I had some sad and frustrating moments over the course of the year, but I feel a sense of self now that I didn’t have before. I had the outward confidence and leadership skills, but I lacked the self-awareness and understanding to believe in myself and to have the courage to stand up for my dreams, however unattainable they seem to everyone else.

In my third year, I will surely continue applying to full-time jobs, but I will do so with a significantly larger amount of assuredness that I know what I’m getting myself into and that I am prepared for it. I will reach farther, for jobs that interest me and will challenge me. I will apply to something I know I can do even if I don’t have all of the outlined qualifications because I believe in myself and in my ability to learn.

In my third year, I want to focus on writing. I am going to write every day. Even if it is for 15 minutes in my diary, I am going to write. I am going to write posts and book reviews for Highlights and Hot Chocolate. I am going to write all of the books and worlds that are in my head, I am going to write about anything and everything that is affecting my life or just making a brief appearance in it. And I am going to attempt to publish at least some of those writings somewhere people will see them. Not just here on HHC, but out there in the expanse of space that is the internet and even print media.

In my third year, I am going to apply to graduate school. I want to get my master’s degree in publishing and writing. It’s something I’ve always felt I wanted to do, but I didn’t know how to put it into words or go about it. I have my bachelor’s in communications, but the more I learn about society and how we communicate, the more I yearn for the simple days when long-form writing was the main form of communication. The more I read on the internet, the more I want to contribute to it. I don’t want to simply be a consumer. I want to be a part of the product. I am no longer happy as a bystander. I need to be a participant.

I have no way of knowing what the next year holds, but these are the things I think I need to do to be an even better version of myself. Never stop growing, never stop learning, never stop creating. This next year is about ME, doing ME. I am digging deep and letting my crazy writer flag fly for the world to see. Because only by doing so can I grow into the woman I know I am destined to become.

Here’s to year 24,


Past Theme Of The Year (TOTY) posts:
TOTY – 23: Wellness and Becoming my Best Self
TOTY – 22: Why Soul Searching is Not my Theme of the Year

More TOTYs:
TOTY – 25: Responsibility
TOTY – 26: Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise
TOTY – 27: Aiming for the Stars
TOTY – 28: Further Reading Required

Summer Playlist 2015

(Not sponsored. I just love the website) If you spend enough time with me, you’ll realize that I’m addicted to 8tracks. Its a website that lets people create playlists of music, and its gloriously FREE! I’ve been using it for the last year and half to discover new music and it’s fantastic. You select emotions or actions or artists or genres of music and it recommends playlists. Best of all, everytime a song comes on it provides links to buy the song on Amazon, iTunes, or view on Soundcloud or YouTube. Below are some of the songs I’m obsessed with at the moment, none of which I would have discovered without this flipping amazing site:
Most of the songs are Indie/Alternative/Chill, but theres a couple dancier songs as well.
Desperate Measures / Marianas Trench
Madness / Muse
Falling In Love In A Coffee Shop / Landon Pigg
Mine / The Aquadolls
Put On A Light / Generationals
Gold Rays / Vinyl Pinups
Beware The Dog / The Griswolds
Geronimo / Sheppard
Set Sail / Charleston
Bloom / Pogo  (I have to stop and talk about this one for a second. Its like a DJs compilation of the all the disney songs to create something entirely new. The Sound of Music, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White and a bunch of others. ITS AMAZING, and you can YouTube it HERE.)
Reflections / Misterwives
Run River Run / Run River North
Orange Sky / Alexi Murdoch
The Mother We Share / CHVRCHES
Just Another Girl / The Killers
Thunder Clatter / Wild Cub
Pumpin Blood / NoNoNo
Of Space And Time / City And Colour
In The Air Tonight / Fleet Foxes cover (Originally Phil Collins. BUT THIS GIVES ME CHILLS and Ic an only find in on Soundcloud (via Tumblr here)
New York State Of Mind / Joanna Wang cover (Originally Billy Joel. AGAIN WITH THE CHILLS. YouTube It HERE)
Sons and Daughters / Allman Brown and Liz Laurence
Home / Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Shine / Elmo
High / Young Rising Sons
Get Out / Cassey Abrams
I’m Good / The Mowgli’s
Lether Jacket / Arkells
Sun Shy / Dresses
Paris / Magic Man
Shadow / Bleachers
Silhouettes / Colony House
Flashed Junk Mind / Milky Chance
Electric Loves / BORNS
Shut Up And Dance With Me / Walk The Moon (I’ve been a WTM fan for about a year now, so this isn’t new, but check out this video for some smiles.)
That’s all for the moment!
Until Next Time,

Travel: Another Day in Paradise

     My Independence Day Weekend was spent out on Martha’s Vineyard Island off the coast of Massachusetts. I absolutely love it up there with the sea breezes and sunshine. My favorite part though, is getting to spend time with one of my best friends in the world, Shannon (The blond one). The pictures above are us in 2009, my first time on the island, and this past weekend, 5 years later (sea breezes = perpetually messy hair). Shannon and I went to high school together and usually going up to the Vineyard is the only chance I get to see her during the summer. This year was great because Shannon had a couple days off, and despite the tropical storm that came through Friday evening we had a blast. Besides the requisite beach bumming, we wandered around Oak Bluffs and Edgartown (two of the towns on the island) and chatted, stopping for coffee or smoothies and taking in the sunshine. At night we went out to dinner with her family and wandered around some more. Because of the storm, everything was postponed until Saturday, but we still made it to the Parade and the Fireworks, even taking in a Vineyard Sound concert in between.
     Because Martha’s Vineyard is hours and hours away from New Jersey and I was driving up after work on Wednesday, I needed to take a breather in the middle. Luckily for me, my mom’s side of the family relocated to Connecticut, so I was able to stay over with my Grandmother. My aunt, uncle, and cousins came over for dinenr and we a grand old time. Since she moved up there roughly two years ago, I don’t get to see my Grandma all that much, and I think this was possibly the first time I’ve ever gone to visit her by myself. I loved it. You probably won’t believe it, but she and I stayed up until 1am watching old black and white movies and chatting about life. It was just lovely. The next morning we got up and had a nice breakfast before I had to get on the road again to make my ferry. I didn’t have a chance to stop by on my way back down because I had to be back in New Jersey for work on Monday morning, but I’m glad I had the time when I did. The whole weekend was relaxing and energizing.
     Keep scrolling for some great pictures from my trip, courtesy of moi and Shannon.

Photo: The Gazebo in Oak Bluffs, courtesy of Shannon

Photo: Ready for the Beach. Already hooked on my new book: The Boys in The Boat.

Photo: Gorgeous State Beach, courtesy of Shannon.

Photo: Balancing Rocks on the way from Oak Bluffs to Edgartown

Photo: Patriotic Porch Lights. I want these!

Photo: Vineyard Vines Whale Hats at the Independence Day Parade. Haha I love it. And I may or may not have followed the girl in front of me as she chased down the person handing them out in order to get one.

Photo: Independence Day Fireworks over Edgartown, courtesy of Shannon.

Photo: Blue Skies across the island from South Beach as I headed back to Shannon’s to pack up and head home.

Until next time,