Welcome to my new blog series, Five Things To Tell You... In addition to my Currently Loving posts, I wanted another way to share random info and updates, so if this is your thing too, you’re welcome! 😉
One: The Little Things
While many things have changed, some have stayed the same, including the beginning of Vermont’s creemee season. Like many small businesses, local creemee stands have pivoted to make sure that they can offer their products in a safe way and we have been making the rounds. We were there for Cookie Love’s opening day, which is an annual tradition for our family.
I know some people are just naturally organized but I am not. I get systems in place but then I either forget to use them or it feels super inconvenient…and then it is just worse!
In theory, I would like to have a place for everything but what I have realized is when everything is put away all the time, it actually becomes more of a hassle. Over time what I have realized is that we just need to have organization habits that work for our family…
For instance, we have two large bins, one for each of our boys in my office. I keep them out because I add their artwork and school projects to it multiple times a week. I tried keeping the boxes put away but then it became more of a pain every single time I wanted to add to the box, so we keep them out, and things stay tidier this way. It might not be ideal for everyone but it works for us. I don’t mind that our house looks like we live here, I just like when things are a little more contained, while also being practical.
So this a long way of saying, I don’t mind having my books around the house. I love seeing the things that make us happy in our everyday life. We have bookshelves in almost every room and they are wonderful but the books on our shelves are typically ones that I have read and loved.
What I was struggled with was the “in between” books. The books that are on my TBR list, the books I am planning on lending to a friend, the books I am still needing to review, you get the idea.
My books started to take over a bit. For a while, I thought I could keep my TBR list books in a cute little fabric box to keep everything contained. But then I was always taking them out and putting them back in and it ended up just being a mess.
Then there were books all over our table where my laptop is. It was convenient in the sense that I had easy access to them, but it was kind of making the rest of the table unusable…
I have been part of the Bookstagram community so I had seen these utility carts all over the place but I wasn’t sure if it was for me. I finally took the plunge a few weeks ago and now I can’t figure out why I waited so long!
How I use my book cart…
I have seen beautifully organized carts on Pinterest and on Bookstagram and the options on how to use these are just endless! What I was looking for most was a way to have easy access to my books and also being able to put them away easily if needed. Because the cart is on wheels, I can easily move it around (or put it away in my office) but I also love the way it looks so I have been keeping it in the corner of our dining room. I am tempted to get another one for the boy’s playroom to organize their art supplies.
(image from homeofmalones.com)
The top two shelves I have been using for book storage and the bottom shelf I am using for things like publisher paperwork, extra bookmarks, giveaway supplies, and other book blogging related items. I love knowing I have extra room if I eventually need it and it is nice having everything reading related in one place.
Where do buy this cart?!
I purchased my cart through Target for $30 and I have been so impressed! You can see it HERE. I used the pick up at the store option and it was so easy to run and grab it and then be on my way. You see, Vermont only got our first Target last fall, so we are still in the honeymoon phase over here! I have also read they have a great one at a similar price at IKEA.
So that is how I have been utilizing my new book cart
Do you have a utility cart? Do you use it to organize your books or something else? I would love to hear! <3
Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, it helps support this blog. Thank you!
Are any of these books on your summer reading list? I am reading The Summer of ’69 right now and I am so enjoying Elin Hilderbrand’s first historical fiction novel, set in, you guessed it…1969! And how gorgeous is this cover?!
If you are looking for an engrossing beach read that delves into some important issues of the late 60s…
“Welcome to the most tumultuous summer of the twentieth century. It’s 1969, and for the Levin family, the times they are a-changing. Every year the children have looked forward to spending the summer at their grandmother’s historic home in downtown Nantucket. But like so much else in America, nothing is the same: Blair, the oldest sister, is marooned in Boston, pregnant with twins and unable to travel. Middle sister Kirby, caught up in the thrilling vortex of civil rights protests and determined to be independent, takes a summer job on Martha’s Vineyard. Only-son Tiger is an infantry soldier, recently deployed to Vietnam. Thirteen-year-old Jessie suddenly feels like an only child, marooned in the house with her out-of-touch grandmother and her worried mother, each of them hiding a troubling secret. As the summer heats up, Ted Kennedy sinks a car in Chappaquiddick, man flies to the moon, and Jessie and her family experience their own dramatic upheavals along with the rest of the country.
In her first historical novel, rich with the details of an era that shaped both a nation and an island thirty miles out to sea, Elin Hilderbrand once again earns her title as queen of the summer novel.”
In addition to Summer of ’69, here are some other new releases today…
If you are looking for a family drama to dive into:
“Roya is a dreamy, idealistic teenager living in 1953 Tehran who, amidst the political upheaval of the time, finds a literary oasis in kindly Mr. Fakhri’s neighborhood book and stationery shop. She always feels safe in his dusty store, overflowing with fountain pens, shiny ink bottles, and thick pads of soft writing paper.
When Mr. Fakhri, with a keen instinct for a budding romance, introduces Roya to his other favorite customer—handsome Bahman, who has a burning passion for justice and a love for Rumi’s poetry—she loses her heart at once. And, as their romance blossoms, the modest little stationery shop remains their favorite place in all of Tehran.
A few short months later, on the eve of their marriage, Roya agrees to meet Bahman at the town square, but suddenly, violence erupts—a result of the coup d’etat that forever changes their country’s future. In the chaos, Bahman never shows. For weeks, Roya tries desperately to contact him, but her efforts are fruitless. With a sorrowful heart, she resigns herself to never seeing him again.
Until, more than sixty years later, an accident of fate leads her back to Bahman and offers her a chance to ask him the questions that have haunted her for more than half a century: Why did he leave? Where did he go? How was he able to forget her?
The Stationery Shop is a beautiful and timely exploration of devastating loss, unbreakable family bonds, and the overwhelming power of love.”
If you are looking for a fast-paced domestic thriller…
“She befriended the one woman she was never supposed to meet. Now she’s the key suspect in her disappearance. For fans of The Perfect Mother and The Wife Between Us comes a gripping psychological suspense debut about two strangers, one incredible connection, and the steep price of obsession.
Lana Stone has never considered herself a stalker–until the night she impulsively follows a familiar face through the streets of New York’s Upper West Side. Her target? The “anonymous” egg donor she’d selected through an agency, the one who’s making motherhood possible for her. Hungry to learn more about her, Lana plans only to watch her from a distance. But when circumstances bring them face-to-face, an unexpected friendship is born.
Katya, a student at Columbia, is the yin to Lana’s yang, an impulsive free spirit who lives life at the edge. And for pragmatic Lana, she’s a breath of fresh air and a welcome distraction from her painful breakup with her baby’s father. Then, just as suddenly as Katya entered Lana’s life, she disappears–and Lana might have been the last person to see her before she went missing. Determined to find out what became of the woman to whom she owes so much, Lana digs into Katya’s past, even as the police grow suspicious of her motives. But she’s unprepared for the secrets she unearths, and their power to change everything she thought she knew about those she loves best…”
If you are looking for a suspenseful read set in the idyllic summer vacationland…
“Littleport, Maine, has always felt like two separate towns: an ideal vacation enclave for the wealthy, whose summer homes line the coastline; and a simple harbor community for the year-round residents whose livelihoods rely on service to the visitors.
Typically, fierce friendships never develop between a local and a summer girl—but that’s just what happens with visitor Sadie Loman and Littleport resident Avery Greer. Each summer for almost a decade, the girls are inseparable—until Sadie is found dead. While the police rule the death a suicide, Avery can’t help but feel there are those in the community, including a local detective and Sadie’s brother, Parker, who blame her. Someone knows more than they’re saying, and Avery is intent on clearing her name before the facts get twisted against her.
Another thrilling novel from the bestselling author of All the Missing Girls and The Perfect Stranger, Megan Miranda’s The Last House Guest is a smart, twisty read with a strong female protagonist determined to make her own way in the world.”
Hello! How is your week going? I can’t believe it is Thursday already! Holiday weeks always throw me off and they also tend to be more hectic with 5 days of work fitting into 4 days. This is my busy work season now that it is nice out (Vermont photography season is in full swing) and I am trying to fit in as much as possible before school gets out in mid-June when our childcare will be pretty limited.
Currently listening to…
With the increase in photo editing, it means I have officially entered “audiobook” season! I am lucky to have a job that is in the creative field, which enables to listen to things while I edit photos. For weddings, I tend to choose audio books since they often are about the same amount of time it takes to edit a whole wedding…and regular sessions I tend to listen to a podcast episode or two.
I haven’t made it that far yet but I am just loving The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates. It is so powerful and she is a wonderful orator. The news had been hard lately and as important as I think it is to know what is going on around us, I also love something that motivates to be more proactive and supportive of others in our own daily lives.
I know I mentioned the docu-drama Chernobyl last week, but this week I learned that there is also a podcast that goes along with of the episodes. I talk about this more on my IG stories earlier today but it is amazing to hear the thoughts behind the making of the series and the choices that went into doing a show about this real event that affected thousands and thousands of people. If you haven’t checked it out I highly recommend it!
There is NOTHING better than book mail! This week I was excited to receive packages from Berkley Publishing and St. Martin’s Press. Kristan Higgins is one of my favorite summer authors and Life and Other Inconveniences was just amazing! I have included it on my summer reading lists and think it would be a great one to toss in your beach bag. Higgin’s writing is funny and relatable but her characters are also relatable and multidimensional. Have you read any of her books before?
Friends who read together stay together:
Speaking of Kristan Higgins, I happened to show up to work on Tuesday with the same book as Kristy and we were wearing the same color sweatshirt. We obviously had to take a selfie to document this.
In addition to being my co-worker, Kristy is also my wonderful friend and reading buddy. We love discussing our current books at lunchtime but we normally aren’t reading the same one at the same time because we share most of our hard copy books…so this was really exciting! Do you have friends that you share books with? It’s the best!
If You Only Knew came highly recommended from my Bookstagram friends and Kristy already finished it and I am almost done and am loving it. It’s the perfect book for this more hectic time of year. <3
Back to book mail & a Diane Chamberlain update!!
St. Martin’s Press was kind enough to send me the paperback release of Dream Daughter which is being published next week on 6/4! If you haven’t read this yet, this will be the perfect summer book to add to your reading list. Dream Daughter was in my top 10 books of 2018 and it might be my favorites Diane book ever and I have read A LOT of them.
I will have to do a whole post about my favorite Diane Chamberlain books but she rarely lets me down and her books are always unique and super engrossing, while also being total page-turners. I have read a lot of them while on vacation and they are the perfect books to just get lost in.
AND the most amazing exciting news of all, they announced that Diane will have another novel published in early 2020 (January 24th to be exact!) Big Lies In A Small Town!
While I would like to say that I have parted ways with antiperspirant deodorant, I have tried and I just can’t do it. I think it has come from a lifetime of having that feeling of “dry” armpits but I just can’t get used to that “sweaty feeling”, especially while I work out.
I am all about compromise, so I have decided to use my “regular” Tom of Maine antiperspirant in the mornings and then putting on a more “natural” one, specifically Lavanila, when I get dressed for the day after class.
I don’t like to recommend things until I have really given them a fair shot but this stuff is pretty amazing! I have very sensitive skin and in addition to not cutting the sweat(deodorant just masks the smell of sweat but it doesn’t stop it like antiperspirant), it would make my underarms break out in a painful rash.
A lot of “natural” deodorants have baking soda in them which I think was the culprit. Lavanila is super gentle, smells amazing and really keeps you smelling quite fresh! And it lasts a long time. I first ordered it last May and each stick lasts 3+ months for me of daily use.
Have you made the deodorant switch?! Or are you meeting in the middle like me? 😉
Alright, that is all for this morning! I hope you have a wonderful rest of your Thursday. <3
Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, it helps support this blog. Thank you!
“Emma London never thought she had anything in common with her grandmother Genevieve London. The regal old woman came from wealthy and bluest-blood New England stock, but that didn’t protect her from life’s cruelest blows: the disappearance of Genevieve’s young son, followed by the premature death of her husband. But Genevieve rose from those ashes of grief and built a fashion empire that was respected the world over, even when it meant neglecting her other son.
When Emma’s own mother died, her father abandoned her on his mother’s doorstep. Genevieve took Emma in and reluctantly raised her–until Emma got pregnant her senior year of high school. Genevieve kicked her out with nothing but the clothes on her back…but Emma took with her the most important London possession: the strength not just to survive but to thrive. And indeed, Emma has built a wonderful life for herself and her teenage daughter, Riley.
So what is Emma to do when Genevieve does the one thing Emma never expected of her and, after not speaking to her for nearly two decades, calls and asks for help?”
Kristan Higgins is one of my very favorite summer reading authors and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read an advanced reader copy of her August 2019 book release. Life and Other Inconveniences is a heartwarming story that is filled with family dynamics, love, heartache, and hope.
Life and Other Inconveniences involves four generations of a family, the ties that bind and the complexities of past choices and how they affect relationships today. Higgin’s offers multidimensional characters, diverse relationships and the ability to weave real-life issues into her plotlines.
While this is a fun and engaging read, Higgins is also able to provide a level of depth that makes her writing thought-provoking and satisfying. Higgin’s ability to share these stories from multiple different perspectives allows you as the reader to see where these characters are coming from, even if you don’t always agree with their choices.
In order to move forward, we must often look back at the choices and decisions we have made and Higgins excels at presenting this story in such a powerful and multilayered way. The ending of this book is bittersweet and real, which I find much more satisfying than a “happily ever after” scenario.
Thank you to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission that helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!
“THE WIFE: For Alice, life has never been better. With her second husband, she has a successful business, two children, and a beautiful house.
HER HUSBAND: Alice knows that life could have been different if her first husband had lived, but Nathan’s arrival into her life gave her back the happiness she craved.
HER BEST FRIEND: Through the ups and downs of life, from celebratory nights out to comforting each other through loss, Alice knows that with her best friend Beth by her side, they can survive anything together. So when Nathan starts acting strangely, Alice turns to Beth for help. But soon, Alice begins to wonder whether her trust has been misplaced . . .
The first mistake could be her last.”
The First Mistake by Sandie Jones was a highly anticipated book for me. I love her writing style and she is skilled at writing captivating and engaging domestic thrillers. I was drawn into this story but was left with a lot of unanswered questions and an ending that didn’t entirely work for me because it was all wrapped up so quickly.
I am one who likes a little more substance and depth and I understand that with this type of book you don’t always get that, but this just left me wanting more.
The First Mistake was very engaging but I felt like I needed more of the backstory to feel connected to Alice, Beth, and Nathan. I found myself feeling quite frustrated with the characters not being able to react reasonably when time and time again there were major issues that were either being ignored or not taken seriously…
All in all, this was a fast-paced book that definitely is entertaining, I just don’t think it was the perfect fit for me.
Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Today it’s another edition of Coffee Talk Wednesday! How is your week going? It has been a busy one work wise and I can’t believe we only have one week left of school before April break. After that, the rest of the school year flies right by…it snowed last night so it doesn’t feel like spring here in Vermont but I know warmer weather will be here eventually…
Our local library!! I had a great meeting this morning with Susanna at the Charlotte Library and I am excited about the project we are working on together to teach more people about the Libby App. I am talking about the Libby app in my next column for the Charlotte News and we are also planning a Libby Q&A in May.
I am so grateful to our town library for making reading so accessible for our family. We may live in a small town but the library love is strong here and so many people use it and appreciate it which makes me so happy.
It is also pretty amazing how much libraries have grown with the times to accommodate the ever-changing ways we consume content and media. Hard copy books aren’t going anywhere but the Libby app is such a wonderful way to read ebooks and listen to audiobooks, for FREE! One of the things I love about reading is that is really is accessible for almost anyone, and there are so many amazing people and resources that make this possible.
There is nothing that makes me feel like more of a parent than when I prepare an afterschool snack for a group of hungry kids. I wouldn’t call myself super domestic, but I can make a mean bowl of popcorn. 😉
I love our Nordicware popcorn popper and it makes it so easy! I pop this thing in our microwave and 3 minutes later we have perfect popcorn that just needs a little salt! I like making it with oil and it reminds me of the popcorn maker we had in our high school lobby…so many memories!
Currently listening to…
I am still working my way through To Have and To Hold by Molly Millwood on Audible and I am just loving it. It is so relatable and she has the perfect balance of her professional experience mixed with her own life as a parent. I am excited to share my full review soon!
No this isn’t a late April fools joke…I have been trying and loving Lipstick Queen Lipstick in Frog Prince. Now before you think I have gone way out of my comfort zone, this isn’t actually a green lipstick…but it adapts according to your PH and skin tone to create the perfect rosebud pink shade!
I love tinted lip balm and lipsticks that are moisturizing and this is another one I am adding to my lipstick arsenal. Its the perfect color and I love that it feels like a balm with the perfect amount of color.
I hope you have a great rest of your Wednesday! xo
“Maya and Rebecca Ward are both accomplished physicians, but that’s where the sisters’ similarities end. As teenagers, they witnessed their parents’ murder, but it was Rebecca who saved Maya from becoming another of the gunman’s victims. The tragedy left Maya cautious and timid, settling for a sedate medical practice with her husband, Adam, while Rebecca became the risk taker.
After a devastating hurricane hits the coast of North Carolina, Rebecca and Adam urge Maya to join them in the relief effort. To please her husband, Maya finally agrees. She loses herself in the care and transport of victims, but when her helicopter crashes into raging floodwaters, there appear to be no survivors.
Forced to accept Maya is gone, Rebecca and Adam turn to one another—first for comfort, then in passion—unaware that, miles from civilization, Maya is injured and trapped with strangers she’s not certain she can trust. Away from the sister who has always been there to save her, now Maya must find the courage to save herself—unaware that the life she knew has changed forever.”
I am a huge Diane Chamberlain fan. I actually thought I had read every single one of her books from the last decade already but I guess not. I grabbed The Lies We Told when it was a Kindle Book Deal a few months ago. It had become lost in my sea of Kindle books until recently when a friend asked me if I had read it because she wanted to discuss it, and was irritated by it!
There is nothing I like more than discussing a book with a friend, especially when they have some strong feelings about it! 😉 And after reading it this past week, I can see why!! This book was engaging and I NEEDED to know what was going to happen…
Chamberlain is a gifted storyteller that is able to create unique and enthralling storylines that always pull me right in. I loved the first 75% of this book but the ending, oh the ending!!! One of Chamberlain’s gifts is the ability to write believable storylines and this one was just totally out of her norm. The main characters had a total change of heart and the ending was just way too unbelievable for me as the reader. There were so many interesting parts of this book but the ending had me like “NOOOOOOO!!!!” and it just totally fell short…at least for me!
You can’t win them all and I am still a die-hard Diane Chamberlain fan, but I wouldn’t call this one a favorite considering how amazing so many of her other books are. She is my go-to author suggestion when someone is looking to get back into reading or get out of a book rut. If you are looking for ones I would suggest, check out the following…
I love that there is always a wide array of genres to choose from and it is a great way to be exposed to new authors! I choose The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms and I can’t wait to check it out!
“Overworked and underappreciated, single mom Amy Byler needs a break. So when the guilt-ridden husband who abandoned her shows up and offers to take care of their kids for the summer, she accepts his offer and escapes rural Pennsylvania for New York City.
Usually grounded and mild-mannered, Amy finally lets her hair down in the city that never sleeps. She discovers a life filled with culture, sophistication, and—with a little encouragement from her friends—a few blind dates. When one man, in particular, makes quick work of Amy’s heart, she risks losing herself completely in the unexpected escape, and as the summer comes to an end, Amy realizes too late that she must make an impossible decision: stay in this exciting new chapter of her life, or return to the life she left behind.
But before she can choose, a crisis forces the two worlds together, and Amy must stare down a future where she could lose both sides of herself, and every dream she’s ever nurtured, in the beat of a heart.”
What book did you choose?
Are you an Amazon First Reads member? What book did you choose this month?!
There are so many great Kindle Book Deals today! And if you haven’t read The Dream Daughter, you must! It was one of my very favorite books of 2018. Diane Chamberlain is an amazing storyteller and this one was so unique and engaging!
How to Walk Away and The Dinner List are perfect weekend reading books and I have heard great things about Milkman.