Monday, September 19, 2016

Meet Erin! [Guest Post by Love, Fun and Football]

Hello friend's of Kaity's! I am honored to be filling in for her today as I have read her blog for quite some time now. I've also stalked a lot of her archives more than she probably realizes in the past 9 months or so. I recently had my first baby in May and lots of Kaity's posts have given me insight, wisdom and laughs about all things pregnancy and babies.

It's easy to forget who you are the second you become a mom, so I thought I could introduce myself to you all today in hopes that it will help me remember. When your days are just bottles and diapers and naps its easy to lose sight of who you've been previously.

I'm married to Jared, we met in college in a ridiculous way and got marred in 2011. Together we love traveling, be it near or far. Our favorite spots are Hilton Head, SC and we have a very special place in our hearts for DisneyWorld. We've been twice together and are already dreaming about when our little man will be old enough for his first visit!

My blog is called Love, Fun & Football and football truly surrounds our whole story. We got engaged on our favorite team's football field and also announced our pregnancy in the same spot! I worked for an NFL team for the past 7 years and just gave it up to stay at home with my son. It was a hard decision, since I am so passionate about my Cincinnati Bengals but I'm looking forward to watching the games from my couch instead of working them this year :)

Other things I like? Puppies- even though I don't have one. Mexican food- even though I'm still getting over my pregnancy aversion to it. Cooking- when I have time, which isn't a lot lately. Boad games- specifically a good round of Monopoly. And just having a good time with family and friends. I don't need much in life- just my people.

And as a brand new first-time momma, I have already realized the importance of finding other moms to connect with. It can feel so isolating and scary, being at home with a brand new baby that you love to pieces but are definitely still figuring out how in the world to take care of them. So if you're a mom I'd love to "meet" you in the blog world! And if you're not, please say hi anyway ;)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Crosby's Birth Story

Disclaimer: Intimate details concerning my lady bits lie ahead. 
Proceed with caution.

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On Friday, September 2, I posted a lighthearted Facebook status that read, 
Genuinely hoping that this baby comes before Monday. I just don't think I can emotionally handle the onslaught of "Labor Day" jokes.

I'm fairly certain it was this status update that sealed my fate because as fortune would have it, three days later, shortly after 1:00am on Labor Day, I woke up to a barely noticeable little gush of fluid and knew instantly that my water had broken. I had just gone to bed around 11:00pm and with Charlie's 24 hour labor in mind, my instant reaction was to go back to sleep and wait for my contractions to begin. A quick call to midwife confirmed this and she encouraged me to get some rest and come in when my contractions were close to 5 minutes apart. 

After I padded up and returned to bed, I let Chuck know what was going on and that I was going to try and get some sleep and would keep him posted when I wanted to start getting ready to go. My attempt at sleep lasted all of 30 minutes or so. I applaud any woman who can seriously snooze with the prospect of labor hanging over her head. It was all for the best, though, because it didn't take long at all for my contractions to start and pick up to 5 minutes apart. I went to the bathroom, did my makeup, straightened my hair, and told Chuck we would be leaving for the birth center sooner than we thought. I called the midwife back, told her we were on our way and after stopping for some gas and snacks, we made it to the hospital in record time- checking in around 3:45am. 

When we arrived at the hospital, Missy, the midwife I'd spoken to on the phone came and greeted us, checked my cervix and told us we should try to get some rest if we could and if not, they would give me a breast pump to get my contractions kicked up a notch. When she told me I was dilated to 3cm, I steeled myself for what I was sure would be a long road to the final 10. Chuck and I laid down on the queen-sized bed and tried to catch some shut eye. I think Chuck fell asleep for a short cat nap, but just as I thought I might be able to catch some zZ's, my contractions got strong enough that sleep was no longer an option. I got out of bed and started silently pacing around the room hoping that I could labor on quietly and allow Chuck to get a little more rest.

Shortly after, our nurse, Danielle came in to check on me and I was at the point where I was crying because I had somehow forgotten just how freaking badly contractions hurt. Her shift was about to end at 7:00am, but before she left she encouraged us to walk the halls to continue moving my contractions closer together and said that she would be back at 7:00pm that night and was looking forward to meeting our baby.

We did laps around the hospital hallway for about a half hour and by the end my contractions were coming closer and closer together, about 3 minutes apart. We would walk about half a lap and as each contraction would begin, I would grab the railing that ran along the wall and Chuck would push on my lower back, providing counter pressure as I moaned through the increasingly painful back labor.

I was getting to the point where I was in enough pain that I much preferred crying, moaning, and groaning in the privacy of my own room. We retreated to our birthing suite, and I quickly texted my friend who not only was due just 5 days after me and lives 5 doors down, but was in labor at the same birthing center at that very moment. As soon as I sent that text, shit started to get real. I labored on the bed, laying on my side between each contraction and then as I felt the wave starting to come over me, I would hop up on my hands and knees and rock back and forth while Chuck continued to provide counter pressure to my hips and back. 

After about an hour or so of this, our new nurse, Megan politely suggested that I could tell her at any point when I wanted her to fill up the birthing tub to which I (stupidly) replied that I was holding out to use the tub as a last resort when I just couldn't handle the pain anymore. She sweetly replied, "Okay..." as a huge contraction hit and I rocked my way through one of the worst ones yet. At its conclusion, I decided, "Well, maybe I'll try the tub after all." Megan responded, "I think that's a good idea." (I think now would be an appropriate time to mention how sweet and wonderful our nurses were. Seriously, they should be first in line at the pearly gates.)

We waited for the water to warm up and I stepped into the tub. The warm water was heavenly and my entire body relaxed and although my contractions continued to pick up in intensity, the water somehow made them more spaced apart so that I was able to have some reprieve from the pain. Once in the water, I immediately began to transition. I went from moaning and groaning and for the most part, owning my contractions, to full-on screaming, crying, and shouting "F**KKKKKKKKK!!!!" at the top of my lungs. You know the stereotypical laboring woman in every single movie? Yeah, that was me. Not peaceful, not ethereal- screaming my head off like a banshee. I knew I wasn't doing myself any favors, but the pain was so overwhelming I couldn't get it under control until my midwife started coaching me to "go low" and replace my high-pitched yells with "Hooooo's". With her help, I got my shit together enough to make it through a few more and then the mother of all contractions hit- I "Hooooo"d at the top of my lungs and then had the overwhelming urge to push. I bore down and could feel Crosby's body stretching me to the point that I thought surely I would split in half. When the contraction ended I did my best to regain my strength and mentally prepare for the next one. For some reason my "pushing" contractions only came about every third contraction so at one point after I'd given a few attempts at getting this baby out, I pathetically cried out "Why do I only want to push sometimes?" This seemed like a logical question to ask at the time and my midwife encouraged me just to trust that my body was in control and knew what it was doing.

Shortly after this question, the midwife mentioned that there was quite a bit of blood in the tub and she wanted to get me out of the water as she wasn't sure of the source of it. A team of nurses helped me to my feet and aided me in stepping out over the rim of the tub. Just as both feet were planted on the bathroom floor, I had the overwhelming urge to push again and four different nurses all helped in supporting me while I bore down. It didn't last long and I was quickly helped to the bed and got up on my hands and knees. Chuck leaned over the bed across from me and held my hands while I pushed through about two more contractions. I felt I was nearing the end and as the next overpowering contraction reared its head, I pushed with every ounce of strength I had and out popped Crosby's head. I pushed through the entirety of the contraction just to get his head out, so by its end, I just didn't have enough "oomph" left to push out the rest of his body. I tightly gripped Chuck's hands and after a few seconds of rest, I said, "Okay, on the count of three." Chuck and I counted together, "1...2...3..." and- NOTHING. I could not mentally will myself to push again. The desire was there, but my body was like "Nuh uh. We're waiting until the next contraction, lady." We both started laughing at the stall and as soon as I felt the next wave start to come on, I gave one last push and Crosby's body slid out the rest of the way. 

My nurses helped me flip onto my back and as they handed him over to me, I began hysterically sobbing. Partly because I was so overjoyed to finally meet him, but mostly, the relief at being done with pushing just completely overtook me and I wept like a baby. With Chuck and my nurses' help, my sports bra was removed so Crosby wouldn't catch a chill since it was still wet from the tub. Chuck sat up behind me and I leaned against him and cradled Crosby as the midwife helped me to deliver the placenta. As weird as it sounds, I never got to see my placenta when I birthed Charlie and was super disappointed. This time, I immediately asked Missy if I could see it and she sweetly took the time to show Chuck and I the different sides and asked Chuck if he wanted to touch it. I was honestly surprised that he was so willing. Not that he is squeamish by any means, but he was just as curious about this amazing, life-giving organ as I was and eagerly took Missy up on her offer. His takeaway? It felt like "squishy cabbage." Okay, then. Whatever that means...ha!

Now this is the part where most people wrap up and blow past the gory parts. (I will leave out the disturbing details so as not to traumatize any expectant Mamas who may be reading this, but I'm an open book and would be happy to share the nitty gritty should anyone want to know). It turned out that the reason for the blood in the tub and the reason it took me quite a bit of effort to get Crosby's head out was because his chin had gotten stuck. Because of that, I did require some "repair." My OB was called in because one of my tears was a little atypical and my midwife wanted to make sure that it I was sutured up well. Crosby was handed over to his Daddy while I lay on my back with my legs propped up on the bed, eyes closed, shaking, and held onto my nurse's hand for dear life. I can honestly say, that half hour was by far the worst of the entire experience.

Thankfully, my team of nurses, midwife and OB were all wonderful and I can't say enough good things about each of them. When I was finished being repaired, Chuck and I got to lay in bed together snuggling our sweet baby boy while the nurses left us alone to bond, only intermittently interrupting us to make sure that my uterus was contracting and I wasn't losing any more blood.

I won't pretend to be some Mother Earth, or super human shero, because I'm not. Labor sucked and there are probably a million and one women who could handle it better than I did, but I would still choose natural birth again in an instant. This probably makes zero sense to anyone who just read the above and wonders why any sane person would do that to themselves. But there is something almost otherworldly and spiritual about bringing your baby into the world simply by trusting in your body and its abilities. Not to mention, the feeling of accomplishment afterward is completely incomparable. So yeah, labor hurt like a bitch. But once all was said and done, I couldn't help but remark to Chuck how quickly it all seemed to go.

Crosby was born at 10:12am, just about 9 hours after my water had broken and compared to the 24 hours I labored with Charlie, nine felt like a breeze! Chuck was an absolutely amazing support and knowing what to expect this time around allowed him to be the calm, grounded force I needed. Going through such an intense experience together and then watching him bond with our new little one was almost more than my heart could bear. I am so thankful I was able to have an intervention-free delivery and that I've been blessed to safely delivery two happy, healthy, precious boys into the world. But there's not a doubt in my mind that I was able to do it because I had the most loving, wonderful partner by my side.

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To read Charlie's birth story, go here
If you'd like to know more about my reasons for choosing natural birth, go here.

As always, if you'd like to know more about my experience with natural birth, please feel free to email me. I'm a weirdo and love talking all things natural birthing, so ask away friends!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Easing Your Toddler Into the Older Sibling Role [Guest Post by All the Joys]

Take every class.  Eat the right foods.  Drink a lot of water.  Decorate the nursery and clean the clothes.  This is what life is like while waiting for the first baby to arrive.  It's a bit different waiting for the second.  I was constantly worried about how my then three year old would adjust, and how I could possibly parent two children with enough love for both!

Luckily, I came up with a few ideas that helped ease my toddler in to her new role of "big sister".  As Kaity adjusts to life with two, I thought I'd share a few of these things in hopes of making each day a little easier for mom, baby, and siblings.

  1. Make a snack station.  Fill a container with easy to grab ready to go snacks.  Some ideas include applesauce pouches, fruit snacks, etc.  You can even pre-fill snack sized baggies with pretzels, Goldfish, popcorn and other dry items.  Keep this in an area that your older sibling can help themselves too.
  2. In addition to the snack station, pre-fill some sippy cups (or whatever your child uses) with their drink of choice and keep them in arms reach in the fridge.  With a new baby, you won't always have both hands available, so this way you can just open the door and they can grab their drink.
  3. Have a "Big Sister/Big Brother" box that includes quiet, busy toys that you can take out while feeding or rocking the baby to sleep.  Include new crayons and coloring books, sticker sheets, figurines of their favorite characters, whatever you know they'll love.  It's important for them to know that these are special toys that they get when you need them to entertain themselves.
  4. Make sure you do something every day that is only with the older sibling.  Besides cuddle time at night, my older daughter and I would go for a walk when Daddy got home from work.  I think the one on one time with me really helped with her transition!
  5. Let him/her help!  Have them get a new diaper for you, or hold the bottle.  Give them a special task like finding a paci for the baby - anything to help them feel included.
  6. This next one is important.  When people come to meet the baby, be sure to have them focus on the older sibling first.  The baby will never know that they weren't swooned over right away, but older brother/sister will definitely remember feeling like second best.  I would always start the visit with "Tell "so and so" about what you did this morning!" to make the focus on her first.

For those mamas of two or more, what tips and tricks do you have for the rest of us? Adjusting to life with two or more children can be chaotic, but it should be such a joyful experience for everyone involved!

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Want to see more of Meagan's thoughts on parenting? Visit her at All the Joys!

Thursday, September 8, 2016


Our newest hashtag is here!

#CrosbyLoren joined our family on September 5, 2016 (Labor Day!) at 10:12am after 9 hours of labor. I'm hoping to get his birth story posted sooner rather than later, but this two kid thing is no joke.

In the meantime, be sure to follow along on Instagram to see more of this little guy's cute face!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

AUGUST | Summer Book Challenge Check-In

August was baby month, so I traded in the time I would normally spend reading, in favor of prepping freezer meals, packing my hospital bags, and soaking up my remaining days using my big, fat belly as my excuse to lay on the couch and do absolutely nothing. I am still in the midst of trying to finish my second consecutive book challenge, however, so I made a modest effort to continue to chip away at my categories for Erin's Book Challenge 5.0

Here are the books I did manage to check off my list!

20 points: Read a book from this list of books being made into movies. | Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple (330 pages, ★★★★)
Unique and unlike anything I've ever read. The characters were well-developed, albeit all slightly insane and the mystery surrounding Bernadette's disappearance somehow managed to be light-hearted and fun, while keeping you on the edge of your seat, trying to figure out what happened.

20 points: Read a book with twins as characters. | Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (870 pages, ★★★★★)
I mean, it's Harry Potter- does this really require much more of a review?


Extra credit reads:

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty (487 pages, ★★★)
I liked the premise of the book and I do find Moriarty's writing to be pretty easy-peasy when I'm in need of a less weighty read, but I don't really see what all the fuss is about her books. I also thought the ending was kind of cliche and predictable.
Falling by Jane Green (384 pages, ★★)
Meh. Not impressed. The plot seemed tired and cliché, I never felt any kind of attachment to the characters so I wasn't very affected by the plot twist at the end. I wanted a mindless read, which I got, but it wasn't very enjoyable.
The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer (323 pages,  ★★★★★)
Amy Schumer performs the ultimate beautiful balancing act of tackling serious issues like sexual assault, domestic abuse, gun violence and her Dad's debilitating medical condition with laugh-out-loud hilarious sexcapades and experiences as a stand-up comic. She is candid, honest, heartfelt and her book is so full of girl power, self-love and positivity that I wanted to burst with love and admiration for her.  
She is a sweet, hilarious, and fantastic human being and every man, woman, and child needs to read this immediately. 

Obviously, I didn't make my remaining three book challenge categories much of a priority this month and opted to spend some time with lighter reads. But I'm hoping that taking this little mental break will re-energize me enough to cross three more books off my list and finish Erin's Book Challenge in September.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

3 Freezer Hacks [Guest Post by The Lady Okie]

A few years ago, I started using my freezer for more than just storing ice cubes, and not to sound dramatic or anything, but it has changed my life. Did you know that you can freeze almost anything and it thaws out just a good as it was originally? Maybe you knew that, but I didn’t, and I’m slightly obsessed with freezing things now.

Here are 3 freezer hacks I have discovered over the past few years that make all the difference in my meal planning. Since Kaity is about to have another newborn on her hands, I thought this might be useful to her and to her readers!

1. Cook and freeze ground beef in batches
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I want to make a quick skillet meal or casserole, and the first step is to brown and drain a pound of ground beef. The recipe itself might not take very long, but this step alone takes 15-20 minutes when all is said and done. What’s a cook to do? Here’s my trick: brown and drain 5-6 pounds of ground beef at once and freeze the cooked meat in 1-quart freezer bags in 1- or 2-pound portions. When you are ready to cook and need a pound of cooked ground beef, just run the bag of frozen meat until hot water to loosen, dump it into a hot skillet, and heat it up! Yes, it is annoying to spend an hour cooking 6 pounds of ground beef, but it is so worth it for later when you have it handy in your freezer.

2. Cook and freeze chicken in batches
The same principal applies here as with the ground beef. I have a few recipes that call for one or two cups of chopped, cooked chicken—pot pie, skillet chicken and rice, even as part of a salad or adding to pasta. But messing with raw chicken is no fun and takes a long time. Here’s what I do: I cook 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the CrockPot for 4-6 hours on low with some chicken broth and spices. When it’s done, shred the chicken and freeze it in 2-cup portions in 1-quart freezer bags. The next time you need chopped, cooked chicken, just pull a bag out of your freezer! So easy!

3. Cook and freeze muffins and breads for breakfast
As a full-time working mom, it’s always a rush to get out the door in the morning after packing my breakfast to eat at work and packing a breakfast for my daughter to eat at daycare. But I have found a brilliant solution: spend an evening making a few batches of muffins or bread and freeze it! Here are two great recipes I have found that are kid friendly and taste great: carrot oatmeal greek yogurt muffins and sweet potato muffins. Freeze the muffins in a gallon-sized freezer bag, and then all you need to do is pull one out of the freezer in the morning and go! By the time you are ready to eat, the muffin will have thawed nicely (you could also take it out of the freezer the night before if you wanted, but I don't always think that far ahead). I have also made healthy banana or zucchini bread (I find recipes without a lot of sugar!). Wait for the bread to cool, then cut it into thick slices and freeze. Then you can just grab a slice of bread and be on your way.

Isn’t that awesome? Making things ahead of time isn’t always fun, but it saves the day when I am in a pinch and need something delicious to eat. I hope this has been helpful for you! Feel free to visit my blog and search my recipe tab to see my favorite meals.

Thanks to Kaity for having me guest post. Feel free to come over and say hi! I blog at: or you can find me on Twitter @theladyokie.

What is your favorite thing to freeze? Do you have a great kid-friendly muffin recipe I should try? Please share!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

It's Labor Day Weekend, and I'm Not in Labor


As I type, it's currently 2:30am. I woke up at 1am for Round 1 of my several nightly bathroom trips and as per usual, could not fall back to sleep. It is Sunday, September 4- the Sunday before Labor Day, and I am officially a week overdue. And guys, I am feeling all the feels.

I have done all the things. Since taking my maternity leave two weeks ago, I have walked miles just about every day. I've eaten Indian, Mexican, and even added extra red pepper flakes to my spaghetti to check off  "spicy foods" from my list. I have had some good, but mostly what I assume to be, hideously unattractive bloated whale sex with my dear, sweet husband. I have had my membranes stripped and I have lost my mucus plug.

And still, the bassinet beside my bed lies empty.

I am angry at every person who told me that second babies come sooner. (Charlie was six days late- but still, at this point in his pregnancy, he was already born!)

I am annoyed with every person who asks me "when are you going to have that baby?!" As if it's a personal choice of mine to keep this baby in my womb because I'm selfish and enjoy wasting everyone's time.

I am frustrated with the fact that I am burning away days of precious leave from work that could have been spent snuggling my infant son and I'm upset that my Mom's 5-day stay with us to help out may result in her not even meeting her second grandchild.

I hate how melodramatic I sound, and I hate that I feel like I shouldn't be allowed to complain because you know, "babies are a blessing" and all that jazz.

My one saving grace in all of this is my amazing, loving support system. My Mom, who took Charlie camping overnight so that Chuck and I could have an unplanned anniversary date. My mother-in-law, who has literally been waiting "on-call" for weeks for the moment when we need her. My sweet husband, who has rubbed my feet, retrieved countless glasses of water, and been my rock every step of this journey. And a dear friend and neighbor whose due date happened to fall just 5 days after mine. We text daily, mostly to bitch and complain, but also to support each other and daydream about our babies growing up together. Those little text messages are so cathartic to me, and I am so thankful to have her in my life.

Pregnancy is no joke, friends. And although I know that the instant I hold that darling bundle of joy for the first time, all this angst and frustration will become a distant memory, today- it really sucks.

Friday, September 2, 2016


4. The number of days overdue I was last night when this picture was taken.

4. The number of bedrooms in our first home.

4. Our birthday month.

4. The number of siblings you brought to our crazy family.

4. The number of people we thought we'd have in our family by now. (C'mon, baby!)

4. The number of married years we've shared together.

Happy 4th Anniversary, my love. Each year with you is better than the last.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

10 Ways to Get Kids Involved in Hunger Action Month

September is Hunger Action Month!

Every year, Feeding America and its member food banks ask Americans to advocate in the fight against hunger in their communities. In Ohio, 1 in 4 children experiences food insecurity. These children are our colleagues' families, our kids' classmates, and even our own neighbors. One of the best things we can do for them is to get our kids involved in making sure that no child goes hungry!

Visit me today over on Dayton Moms Blog to see 10 ways to get your family involved in Hunger Action Month!

Monday, August 29, 2016

I've Read One, I Need to Read More [Guest Post by TexErin-in-Sydneyland]

Hello!  No, I'm not Kaity.  She's busy being mommy to baby #2...and to, I'm honored to help out by talking about a topic that Kaity and I bond over - books!  I'm Erin, a bookworm/booknerd/booklover, and I'm a self-professed book challenge junkie.  ( is Kaity.)  I blog at TexErin-in-SydneyLand and host a book challenge that Kaity participates in at Book Challenge by Erin.  Stop by and visit me.

Today, I'm going to tell you about some authors ... specifically, the fact that I've read one (and only one) book by each of these authors, but that one reading adventure convinced me that I need to read more from them.  A variety of genres are represented - YA, contemporary fiction, historical fiction, mystery/thrillers, and international settings.  These are "my top ten authors that I've read one book, and I need to read more".

1.  Jodi Picoult - That's right.  I've only read one Jodi Picoult book.  I don't know why I never took the time to pick up one of her books.  I think I'd envisioned that she was more fluff and less substance.  Well, the one book I read proved me wrong.  Here's what I had to say about Nineteen Minutes

"Whoa. Centered around a high school shooting, you know it's going to be a provocative topic to read. All the different perspectives are examined of what leads to this event, the aftermath of it, and the views of those involved. As I was reading, I felt angry, sad, and horrified; I felt empty in some passages, and full of emotion in others. A great read."
I have 6 Jodi Picoult books added to my "to read" list already.  Next up (I think) will be The Pact.

2.  Colleen Hoover - This (primarily) YA author seems to receive praise for almost every book she writes from almost every reader that I know.  I read Slammed, really enjoyed it, rated it 5 stars.  But, for some reason, I didn't care to read the two other books in this particular trilogy.  I didn't think the story needed more.  I keep intending to pick up another book of hers...Hopeless and Maybe Someday are the two on my radar.  Maybe, someday, I'll actually grab one and read it.  See what I did there?  Yep, I'm a dork. 

3.  Dean Bakopoulos - One of my fellow booklovin' bloggers is a huge fangirl of this author.  You can hear what she and her partner-in-book-crime have to say about him in this podcast of theirs: The Armchair Librarians.  I read (and was enamored with) Please Don't Come Back from the Moon, so I will definitely read more from Mr. Bakopoulos. 

4.  Jojo Moyes - I confess: I hesitated reading Me Before You.  It was receiving so many rave reviews that I worried that there was no possible way that it could live up to the hype.  Thank goodness I read it.  I'm so glad I didn't miss out on the story of Will and Louise.  I have four other books from this author on my "to read" list.  I don't plan to wait around for years (again) before I finally read more of her stories.

5.  Chevy Stevens - Through the world of blogging and book lovin' bloggers, I discovered this author and picked up her thriller Still Missing.  It was a solid read that I thoroughly enjoyed and convinced me to read more. 

6.  Wally Lamb - I described I Know This Much Is True as "an emotional journey" with "some gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, cringe-causing moments."  The writing skill of Wally Lamb (in the book I read) is remarkable.  I hope his other books reinforce this sentiment. 

7.  Laurie Halse Anderson - After reading Speak, I thought quite a bit about the dangers of teenagers, and the problems that they face.  I questioned why, as a society, aren't we better equipped with preventing some of those dangerous acts?  Or giving assistance when dangers are met?  Just read this book that was originally published in 1999.  You'll understand what troubles me.  Next up, Wintergirls.

8.  Nadia Hashimi - Since reading The Pearl That Broke Its Shell, I've been singing its praises.  It was a informative, heart-breaking, and powerful book.  If you have read and enjoyed Khaled Hosseini's books, then this is a must read.  I plan to read When the Moon is Low sometime soon.

9.  Tana French - I recently read In the Woods which is the first in a series called the "Dublin Murder Squad".  I enjoyed it enough to commit myself to continuing the series.  I've had feedback from a couple of other mystery/thriller readers that as the series continues it gets better and better.

10.  Kristin Hannah - As a fan of historical fiction, when I started reading reviews about The Nightingale, I knew I wanted to read it.  This book ripped my heart out, wadded it up in a ball, stomped on it, and kicked it to the curb...but in a good way...if that's possible.  As I looked through her previous books, three or four others quickly grabbed my attention.  Next: Firefly Lane

Have you read any of these authors?  Do you have book recommendations that are "must reads" from their collection of books?  Are there any authors that you've only read one book, but know you want to read more?