2020 Beach Reads |New & Upcoming Book Releases!

Beach Books

Summer Reading

One of my favorite things about this time of this year is thinking about all the summer reading I have planned. While this summer will look much different than years past, the great things about books are that you can read them wherever you are, even if you are “vacationing” in your very own backyard.

Beach Books…

Beach reading means something different for everyone, but for me, it consists of books that are totally engaging but also have enough depth to not be total fluff. I also like to have a mix of genres and topics…a little mystery and intrigue, some drama and maybe a little bit of romance thrown in. While I am totally in for an escapist reading ride now and then, I also like a few that make me think, connect, and learn.

Continue reading “2020 Beach Reads |New & Upcoming Book Releases!”

Spring 2020 Book Releases! {Book Recommendations}

Spring 2020 Book Releases

Reading During The Covid19 Pandemic…

While there is a lot of unknown for many of us about what this spring will look like, I am happy to report that a lot of great new fiction books are on the way! During the last two weeks, I finally got back into a better reading groove!

During the first couple of weeks of being at home, I had a harder time concentrating on reading which I think has been the case for a lot of regular book lovers. Did this happen for you too?

I have found that reading a couple of books at a time has helped and my audiobooks have been my self-care time when I need a break. The genre I have been drawn to the most has been contemporary fiction so I thought it would be fun to compile a list of the upcoming new releases I am excited about.

Spring Book Publications!

2020 book releases

These books will all be published within the next few months, starting with quite a number of them releasing tomorrow, the 14th! I have included publication dates in the details below and I hope this post helps inspire your spring reading list. Enjoy!

Spring 2020 Book Releases…

2020 books

Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner

Publishing May 5th, 2020

Amazon Link |LibroFM Bookstore Link

My Thoughts:

This novel is the perfect twist of contemporary fiction and some domestic suspense, mixed with Weiner’s timeless body-positive messaging. This was a super enjoyable reading ride!

*My full review of Big Summer can be found HERE.

Book Summary:

Six years after the fight that ended their friendship, Daphne Berg is shocked when Drue Cavanaugh walks back into her life, looking as lovely and successful as ever, with a massive favor to ask. Daphne hasn’t spoken one word to Drue in all this time—she doesn’t even hate-follow her ex-best friend on social media—so when Drue asks if she will be her maid-of-honor at the society wedding of the summer, Daphne is rightfully speechless.

Drue was always the one who had everything—except the ability to hold onto friends. Meanwhile, Daphne’s no longer the same self-effacing sidekick she was back in high school. She’s built a life that she loves, including a growing career as a plus-size Instagram influencer. Letting glamorous, seductive Drue back into her life is risky, but it comes with an invitation to spend a weekend in a waterfront Cape Cod mansion. When Drue begs and pleads and dangles the prospect of cute single guys, Daphne finds herself powerless as ever to resist her friend’s siren song.

A sparkling novel about the complexities of female relationships, the pitfalls of living out loud and online, and the resilience of the human heart, Big Summer is a witty, moving story about family, friendship, and figuring out what matters most.

Emily Gould

Perfect Tunes by Emily Gould

Publishing April 14th, 2020

Amazon Link | LibroFM Bookstore Link

My Thoughts:

This book threw me for a loop in the best possible way. While it starts with a story about a young musician with lots of hope and dreams, tragedy hits. It takes on a raw and powerful look at motherhood and the sacrifices women make for their children. While I am not a huge music person, I connected with both these characters and the storyline and really enjoyed this one.

Book Summary:

Have you ever wondered what your mother was like before she became your mother, and what she gave up in order to have you?

It’s the early days of the new millennium, and Laura has arrived in New York City’s East Village in the hopes of recording her first album. A songwriter with a one-of-a-kind talent, she’s just beginning to book gigs with her beautiful best friend when she falls hard for a troubled but magnetic musician whose star is on the rise. Their time together is stormy and short-lived—but will reverberate for the rest of Laura’s life.

Fifteen years later, Laura’s teenage daughter, Marie, is asking questions about her father, questions that Laura does not want to answer. Laura has built a stable life in Brooklyn that bears little resemblance to the one she envisioned when she left Ohio all those years ago, and she’s taken pains to close the door on what was and what might have been. But neither her best friend, now a famous musician who relies on Laura’s songwriting skills, nor her depressed and searching daughter will let her give up on her dreams.

Funny, wise, and tenderhearted, Perfect Tunes explores the fault lines in our most important relationships and asks whether dreams deferred can ever be reclaimed. It is a delightful and poignant tale of music and motherhood, ambition and com­promise—of life, in all its dissonance and harmony.

Kelly Rimmer

Truths I Never Told You By Kelly Rimmer

Publishing April 14th, 2020

Amazon Link | LibroFM Bookstore Link

My Thoughts:

I was super impressed with Rimmer’s ability to write about the struggles of new motherhood when dealing with some of the mental health issues and general ambivalence that can arise and are often not talked about. This is something that is starting to be more common in nonfiction writing about motherhood but not in such a readable fiction format.

*My full review of Truths I Never Told You can be found HERE.

Book Summary:

From the bestselling author of The Things We Cannot Say comes a poignant post-WWII novel that explores the expectations society places on women set within an engrossing family mystery that may unravel everything once believed to be true.

With her father recently moved to a care facility, Beth Walsh volunteers to clear out the family home and is surprised to discover the door to her childhood playroom padlocked. She’s even more shocked at what’s behind it—a hoarder’s mess of her father’s paintings, mounds of discarded papers and miscellaneous junk in the otherwise fastidiously tidy house.

As she picks through the clutter, she finds a loose journal entry in what appears to be her late mother’s handwriting. Beth and her siblings grew up believing their mother died in a car accident when they were little more than toddlers, but this note suggests something much darker.

Beth soon pieces together a disturbing portrait of a woman suffering from postpartum depression and a husband who bears little resemblance to the loving father Beth and her siblings know. With a newborn of her own and struggling with motherhood, Beth finds there may be more tying her and her mother together than she ever suspected.

Abby Jimenez

The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez

Publishing April 14th, 2020

Amazon Link |LibroFM Bookstore Link

My Thoughts:

I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this contemporary romance novel. I loved the multi-faceted characters and the unpredictable storyline.Grief, loss, friendship and family are all important parts of this novel. I totally missed out on Abby Jimenez’ 2019 release The Friend Zone so I am now catching up on that!

Book Summary:

Two years after losing her fiancé, Sloan Monroe still can’t seem to get her life back on track. But one trouble-making pup with a “take me home” look in his eyes is about to change everything. With her new pet by her side, Sloan finally starts to feel more like herself. Then, after weeks of unanswered texts, Tucker’s owner reaches out. He’s a musician on tour in Australia. And bottom line: He wants Tucker back.

Well, Sloan’s not about to give up her dog without a fight. But what if this Jason guy really loves Tucker? As their flirty texts turn into long calls, Sloan can’t deny a connection. Jason is hot and nice and funny. There’s no telling what could happen when they meet in person. The question is: With his music career on the rise, how long will Jason really stick around? And is it possible for Sloan to survive another heartbreak?

On Ocean Boulevard

On Ocean Boulevard by Mary Alice Monroe

Publishing May 19th, 2020

Amazon Link| LibroFM Bookstore Link

My Thoughts:

The Beach House series is one of my favorites and On Ocean Boulevard is the 6th book in this collection. I have loved getting to “know” the Rutledge family and their cohorts over the years. These novels are filled with love, loss, grief, and new beginnings and I love the connection with the natural world, especially the loggerhead sea turtles.

Book Summary:

It’s been sixteen years since Caretta “Cara” Rutledge has returned home to the beautiful shores of Charleston, South Carolina. Over those years, she has weathered the tides of deaths and births, struggles and joys. And now, as Cara prepares for her second wedding, her life is about to change yet again.

Meanwhile, the rest of the storied Rutledge family is also in flux. Cara’s niece Linnea returns to Sullivan’s Island to begin a new career and an unexpected relationship. Linnea’s parents, having survived bankruptcy, pin their hopes and futures on the construction of a new home on Ocean Boulevard. But as excitement over the house and wedding builds, a devastating illness strikes the family and brings plans to a screeching halt. It is under these trying circumstances that the Rutledge family must come together yet again to discover the enduring strength in love, tradition, and legacy from mother to daughter to granddaughter.

Like the sea turtles that come ashore annually on these windswept islands, three generations of the Rutledge family experience a season of return, rebirth, and growth. “Authentic, generous, and heartfelt” (Mary Kay Andrews, New York Times bestselling author), On Ocean Boulevard is Mary Alice Monroe at her very best.

Hazel Prior

How The Penguins Saved Veronica by Hazel Prior

Publishing June 16th, 2020

Amazon Link | LibroFM Bookstore Link

My Thoughts:

Are you looking for a charming feel-good story right now too? Reviews on Goodreads are sharing that this a moving and also hopeful read and the elements of adorable penguins mixed a surprisingly delightful plot and there are SO many 5-star ratings so far. I can’t wait to curl up with this one for some much needed weekend reading.

Book Summary:

A curmudgeonly but charming old woman, her estranged grandson, and a colony of penguins proves it’s never too late to be the person you want to be in this rich, heartwarming story from the acclaimed author of Ellie and the Harpmaker.

Eighty-five-year-old Veronica McCreedy is estranged from her family and wants to find a worthwhile cause to leave her fortune to. When she sees a documentary about penguins being studied in Antarctica, she tells the scientists she’s coming to visit—and won’t take no for an answer. Shortly after arriving, she convinces the reluctant team to rescue an orphaned baby penguin. He becomes part of life at the base, and Veronica’s closed heart starts to open. 

Her grandson, Patrick, comes to Antarctica to make one last attempt to get to know his grandmother. Together, Veronica, Patrick, and even the scientists learn what family, love, and connection are all about.

Emily Henry

Beach Read by Emily Henry

Publishing May 19th, 2020

Amazon Link | LibroFM Bookstore Link

My Thoughts:

This is high on my spring reading list, especially after seeing it as one of the April Selections on Book of the Month. I have heard great things from some of my reading buddies, and how perfect is this book cover?

Book Summary:

A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.

Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.

They’re polar opposites.

In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.

Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.

Kristy Woodson Harvey

Feels Like Falling by Kristy Woodson Harvey

Publishing April 28th, 2020

Amazon Link | LibroFM Bookstore Link

My Thoughts:

Feels like Falling was my first book by Kristy Woodson Harvey and it was the perfect balance of being easy and engaging without being too fluffy. It was the kind of book that I had a hard time putting down but I also didn’t want it to end because I wanted to follow along with these main characters even more.

I enjoyed getting to know the characters and the idea that sometimes “family” is the one we create ourselves. Harvey’s writing is emotional, engaging and has a perfect touch of humor. I loved the topic of friendship and supporting one another through tough situations and choices.

My full review of Feels Like Falling can be seen HERE.

Book Summary:

It’s summertime on the North Carolina coast and the livin’ is easy.

Unless that is, you’ve just lost your mother to cancer, your sister to her evangelical husband, and your husband to his executive assistant. Meet Gray Howard. Right when Gray could use a serious infusion of good karma in her life, she inadvertently gets a stranger fired from her job at the local pharmacy.

Diana Harrington’s summer isn’t off to the greatest start either: Hours before losing her job, she broke up with her boyfriend and moved out of their shared house with only a busted Impala for a bed. Lucky for her, Gray has an empty guest house and a very guilty conscience.

With Gray’s kindness, Diana’s tide begins to turn, but when the one that got away comes back, every secret from her past seems to resurface all at once. And, as Gray begins to blaze a new trail, she discovers, with Diana’s help, that what she envisioned as her perfect life may not be what she wants at all.

In her warmest, wittiest, and wisest novel yet, Kristy Woodson Harvey delivers a discerning portrait of modern womanhood through two vastly different lenses. Feels Like Falling is a beach bag essential for Harvey fans—and for a new generation of readers.

Brit Bennett

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Publishing June 16th, 2020

Amazon Link | LibroFM Bookstore Link

My Thoughts:

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett was a highly anticipated 2020 book for me. Bennett’s debut novel The Mothers was one of my favorite books of 2016 and I was blown away by her gorgeous and compelling writing style.

The Vanishing Half has a completely unique storyline that is composed of so many thought-provoking and timely themes. The plot spans decades and shares the perspectives of twin sisters and their two daughters whose lives eventually intersect. They all take very different paths in life and struggle in their own unique ways.

You can read my full review HERE.

Book Summary:

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities.

Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?

Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.

As with her New York Times-bestselling debut The Mothers, Brit Bennett offers an engrossing page-turner about family and relationships that is immersive and provocative, compassionate and wise.

Meg Mitchell Moore

Two Truths and a Lie by Meg Mitchell Moore

Publishing May 26th, 2020

Amazon Link | LibroFM Bookstore Link

My Thoughts:

Meg Mitchell Moore’s book The Islanders topped my list for 2019 summer reading and I couldn’t wait to dive into another one of hers. This one is a beach book with a little mystery tied in which made for a great mix. And it made me so happy to have little glimpses of The Islanders tied in (like the Dinner by Dad blog!)

Book Summary:

Truth: Sherri Griffin and her daughter, Katie, have recently moved to the idyllic beach town of Newburyport, Massachusetts. Rebecca Coleman, a widely acknowledged former leader of the Newburyport Mom Squad (having taken a step back since her husband’s shocking and tragic death eighteen months ago), has made a surprising effort to include these newcomers in typically closed-group activities. Rebecca’s teenage daughter Alexa has even been spotted babysitting Katie.

Truth: Alexa has time on her hands because of a recent falling-out with her longtime best friends for reasons no one knows—but everyone suspects have to do with Alexa’s highly popular and increasingly successful YouTube channel. Katie Griffin, who at age 11 probably doesn’t need a babysitter anymore, can’t be left alone because she has terrifying nightmares that don’t seem to jibe with the vague story Sherri has floated about the “bad divorce” she left behind in Ohio. Rebecca Coleman has been spending a lot of time with Sherri, it’s true, but she’s also been spending time with someone else she doesn’t want the Mom Squad to know about just yet.

Lie: Rebecca Coleman doesn’t have a new man in her life, and definitely not someone connected to the Mom Squad. Alexa is not seeing anyone new herself and is planning on shutting down her YouTube channel in advance of attending college in the fall. Sherri Griffin’s real name is Sherri Griffin, and a bad divorce is all she’s running from.

A blend of propulsive thriller and gorgeous summer read, Two Truths and a Lie reminds us that happiness isn’t always a day at the beach, some secrets aren’t meant to be shared, and the most precious things are the people we love.

Anna Hope

Expectation by Anna Hope

Publishing April 14th, 2020

Amazon Link | LibroFM Bookstore Link

My Thoughts:

Motherhood and female friendship?! Sign me up!

Book Summary:

In this sharply observed novel set in and around London, three college friends, now in their thirties, must come to terms with the gap between the lives they imagined for themselves and reality in the face of marriage, fertility struggles, and loss.

In her first year of motherhood after an unplanned pregnancy, Cate is constantly exhausted, spiraling into self-doubt and postpartum anxiety. Her husband Sam seems oblivious, but maybe she’d prefer he remain in the dark. How can she admit the unthinkable—that she misses her freedom?

In contrast, Hannah continues to endure round after round of unsuccessful IVF treatments. The process is taking its toll on her physically and emotionally—and, she worries, creating distance between her and her husband Nathan. She is godmother to Cate’s son, but every time they get together, it’s a trigger.

Beautiful and unattached, Lissa is re-evaluating what it means to be an actress in her thirties. While she fiercely resists convention, she’s also lonely. A chance encounter in the British Library with Nathan has her wondering if she missed her best chance at love when she introduced him to Hannah.

As each woman longs for what the others seemingly possess, will their bonds of friendship sustain them in this liminal phase of their lives—or will their envy and desire tear them apart?

Jamie Brenner

Summer Longing by Jamie Brenner

Publishing May 5th, 2020

Amazon Link | LibroFM Bookstore Link

My Thoughts:

Brenner’s books are some of my favorite summer vacation reading and I look forward to her new releases every spring!

Book Summary:

When a baby is left on the doorstep of a Cape Cod beach house, an unlikely group of women risks all they hold dear to harbor and protect her in this “touching, nuanced summer yarn” (Publisher’s Weekly).

Ruth Cooperman arrives in beautiful beachside Provincetown for her retirement, renting the perfect waterfront cottage while she searches for her forever home. After years of hard work and making peace with life’s compromises, Ruth is looking forward to a carefree summer of solitude. But when she finds a baby girl abandoned on her doorstep, Ruth turns to her new neighbors for help and is drawn into the drama of the close-knit community.

The appearance of the mystery baby has an emotional ripple effect through the women in town, including Amelia Cabral, the matriarch who lost her own child decades earlier; Elise Douglas, owner of the tea shop who gave up her dream of becoming a mother; and teenage local Jaci Barros who feels trapped by her parents’ expectations. Ruth, caring for a baby for the first time in thirty years, even reaches out to her own estranged daughter, Olivia, summoning her to Provincetown in hopes of a reconciliation.

As summer unfolds and friends and family care for the infant, alliances are made, relationships are tested, and secrets are uncovered. But the unconditional love for a child in need just might bring Ruth and the women of Provincetown exactly what they have been longing for themselves.

With heartfelt storytelling, Summer Longing is Jamie Brenner’s eagerly anticipated return to Provincetown; another unforgettable tale about motherhood, friendship, and finding your way home.

Rodham Curtis Sittenfeld

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

Publishing May 19th, 2020

Amazon Link| *LibroFM Bookstore Link is not available at this time

My Thoughts:

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld was one of my most anticipated 2020 reads! After loving American Wife SO much I have HIGH hopes for this one. Sittenfeld presents a compelling (and sometimes quite steamy) look at what might have been if Hilary Rodham Clinton had NOT married Bill Clinton…I always love books that look at the path not taken and this was such a nuanced look at female ambition, marriage, and compromises women have and still have to make.

Book Summary:

In 1971, Hillary Rodham is a young woman full of promise: Life magazine has covered her Wellesley commencement speech, she’s attending Yale Law School, and she’s on the forefront of student activism and the women’s rights movement. And then she meets Bill Clinton. A handsome, charismatic southerner and fellow law student, Bill is already planning his political career. In each other, the two find a profound intellectual, emotional, and physical connection that neither has previously experienced.

In the real world, Hillary followed Bill back to Arkansas, and he proposed several times; although she said no more than once, as we all know, she eventually accepted and became Hillary Clinton.

But in Curtis Sittenfeld’s powerfully imagined tour-de-force of fiction, Hillary takes a different road. Feeling doubt about the prospective marriage, she endures their devastating breakup and leaves Arkansas. Over the next four decades, she blazes her own trail—one that unfolds in public as well as in private, that involves crossing paths again (and again) with Bill Clinton, that raises questions about the tradeoffs all of us must make in building a life.

Brilliantly weaving a riveting fictional tale into actual historical events, Curtis Sittenfeld delivers an uncannily astute and witty story for our times. In exploring the loneliness, moral ambivalence, and iron determination that characterize the quest for political power, as well as both the exhilaration and painful compromises demanded of female ambition in a world still run mostly by men, Rodham is a singular and unforgettable novel.

Kristan Higgins

Always the Last to Know by Kristan Higgins

Publishing June 9th, 2020

Amazon Link | LibroFM Bookstore Link

My Thoughts:

Kristan Higgins is one of my very favorite comfort reading authors. She has the ability to write books that are compelling yet always laced with nuanced looks at family, relationships, with ourselves and with the people around us.

Book Summary:

The Frosts are a typical American family. Barb and John, married almost fifty years, are testy and bored with each other…who could blame them after all this time? At least they have their daughters– Barb’s favorite, the perfect, brilliant Juliet; and John’s darling, the free-spirited Sadie. The girls themselves couldn’t be more different, but at least they got along, more or less. It was fine. It was enough.

Until the day John had a stroke, and their house of cards came tumbling down.

Now Sadie has to put her career as a teacher and struggling artist in New York on hold to come back and care for her beloved dad–and face the love of her life, whose heart she broke, and who broke hers. Now Juliet has to wonder if people will notice that despite her perfect career as a successful architect, her perfect marriage to a charming Brit, and her two perfect daughters, she’s spending an increasing amount of time in the closet having panic attacks.

And now Barb and John will finally have to face what’s been going on in their marriage all along.

From the author of Good Luck with That and Life and Other Inconveniences comes a new novel of heartbreaking truths and hilarious honesty about what family really means.

Abbi Waxman

I Was Told It Would Get Easier by Abbi Waxman

Publishing June 16th, 2020

Amazon Link | *LibroFM Bookstore Link is not available at this time. 

My Thoughts:

I have always loved Abbi Waxman’s relatable writing style and this one incorporates a timely #metoo plotline. Her plotlines are always relatable and accessible and she is quickly becoming one of my very favorite contemporary fiction authors.

Book Summary:

Jessica and Emily Burnstein have very different ideas of how this college tour should go.

For Emily, it’s a preview of freedom, exploring the possibility of her new and more exciting future. Not that she’s sure she even wants to go to college, but let’s ignore that for now. And maybe the other kids on the tour will like her more than the ones at school. . . . They have to, right?

For Jessica, it’s a chance to bond with the daughter she seems to have lost. They used to be so close, but then Goldfish crackers and Play-Doh were no longer enough of a draw. She isn’t even sure if Emily likes her anymore. To be honest, Jessica isn’t sure she likes herself.

Together with a dozen strangers–and two familiar enemies–Jessica and Emily travel the East Coast, meeting up with family and old friends along the way. Surprises and secrets threaten their relationship and, in the end, change it forever.

Kerry Kletter

East Coast Girls by Kerry Kletter

Publishing May 26th, 2020

Amazon Link | LibroFM Bookstore Link

My Thoughts:

This story, while not as light as I expected, held my attention throughout. I love stories that go back and forth between present and past, uncovering details as it goes. This book was about a group of four close-knit friends who after a tragic night in high school, part ways for many years. Their attempt to rekindle their friendship is full of challenge, hardship, and honesty, while ultimately proving how strong true friendships can be.

Book Summary:

Childhood friends Hannah, Maya, Blue and Renee share a bond that feels more like family. Growing up, they had difficult home lives, and the summers they spent together in Montauk were the happiest memories they ever made. Then, the summer after graduation, one terrible night changed everything.

Twelve years have passed since that fateful incident, and their sisterhood has drifted apart, each woman haunted by her own lost innocence. But just as they reunite in Montauk for one last summer, hoping to find happiness once more, tragedy strikes again. This time it’ll test them like never before, forcing them to confront decisions they’ve each had to live with and old secrets that refuse to stay buried.


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. In addition, whenever possible, I will be including the LibroFM bookstore link alongside any other referral links. This allows you to purchase the book from your choice of independent bookstores. 

 

November 2019 Book Recap & Ratings {Gen The Bookworm Monthly Reading Wrap-Up}

Gen The Bookworm Monthly Book Recap

Happy December!

I can’t believe that we are in the last month of 2019. I think because Thanksgiving was so late this year, it seems like the holiday season came out of nowhere! We have three weeks of school (including this one) until Christmas Break for the kids and there is a lot packed in there beforehand.

I also have ALL THESE ideas for the end of the year posts and recaps, but then normal things end up going by the wayside, like regular book reviews posts… I normally like to link to the reviews of the books I am including in these monthly recap posts, but there aren’t too many yet…I will be adding them over the next few weeks so I can be caught up by 2020. 🙂

November Reading at a Glance

November ending up being a great month of reading with a lot of 4 & 5-star reads and just a couple that were a bit of a disappointment. While I wasn’t planning on it, I did read a fair amount of non-fiction which fit in with Nonfiction November which is a popular reading challenge in the Bookstagram world.

I also read some of my very favorite books of the year this past month. I shared my Best of 2019 (so far!) favorites back in July and I am looking forward to seeing how everything stacked up at the official end of 2019 in just a few weeks!

November Highlights

2019-12-03_0001.jpg

My top four books of last month were The Giver of Stars, American Dirt, Be Mighty, and Such a Fun Age. They were all very powerful reads that I won’t forget anytime soon.

November Lows

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I had a lot of anticipation about both of these titles as both Elizabeth Berg and Malcolm Gladwell are authors I have just loved in the past. Unfortunately, both The Confession Club and Talking to Strangers just did not work for me. I have a hard time connecting with either book and found Talking to Strangers quite concerning at some parts. I discuss this one more below and will be sharing my full reviews for both of these books soon.

Camille Pagan

This Won’t End Well by Camille Pagan

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Pagan’s writing is relatable, funny and whip-smart. Her 2019 book I’m Fine and Neither Are You is one of my favorites of the past year.  This Won’t End Well will be published in February and you can pre-order it now with a kindle deal HERE. This book made me laugh out loud and I just find Pagan’s writing to be so approachable and enjoyable to read.

Elizabeth Berg

The Confession Club by Elizabeth Berg

⭐️⭐️⭐️

Elizabeth Berg was one of the first authors I really got into as an adult reader. I love how she can create simple scenes and environments with complex and multifaceted characters. Unfortunately, this one just didn’t hit the high mark she has set for me in the past, but her backlist is fantastic!

Lisa Jewell

Lisa Jewell The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

The Family Upstairs was one of my most highly anticipated Fall 2019 reads. I often struggle with the thriller genre and am frequently left feeling disappointed, either because they were way too far fetched and the ending comes out of nowhere or they feel cliched and totally predictable.

There are a few I have just loved but far more that felt like a letdown…and I get it, I am rather picky about them. I like the perfect balance of detailed characters, suspense, mystery and a satisfying, yet semi-realistic ending.

The one author that has yet to let me down is Lisa Jewell, and so this made my expectations even higher for this one. I am happy to report that she has done it again! The Family Upstairs was the perfect book to cozy up with on the couch and read the afternoon away.

You can read my full review HERE.

D.J. Palmer

The New Husband by D.J. Palmer

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I was in the mood for a thriller to get sucked into and some of my book reviewing friends had really enjoyed The New Husband. It ended up being very engaging and a total page-turner. You can read my full review HERE.

Emily Belden

Husband Material Emily Belden

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Husband Material is a contemporary fiction novel that had a great balance of humor and relatability. I really appreciated how the author Emily Belden built detailed characters that have a level of depth that doesn’t always happen in this genre of writing. Because of this, I was really able to connect with the storyline and follow these characters on their path of grief and the process of moving forward.

I appreciated the discussion of death and loss, especially for younger characters who are still on the path of finding themselves while at the same time dealing with this huge loss. I am so glad I didn’t judge this one by the cover alone because while the cutesy cover might let you think this is just another “rom-com” I really found this to be so much more.

 

Jeanine Cummins

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thanks to an amazing book friend, I was able to get my hands on an ARC of American Dirt. As soon as it arrived I picked it up. I had heard ALL the hype and I often get wary of overhyped books but let me tell you, THE HYPE IS REAL! I cannot wait for this one to be released in January (you can pre-order HERE) because I know this one is going to be discussed everywhere!

Kiley Reid

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Speaking of upcoming 2020 books, Such a Fun Age is another super winter release! This is one of those books that is written in a light and engaging manner but is deceptively heavy-hitting. It a compelling contemporary fiction novel that dives into racial issues from two very different standpoints as well as how we identify with ourselves and with one another. You can read my full review HERE.

Jondi Kantor & Megan Twohey

She Said by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters who broke the news of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment and abuse for the New York Times, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, the thrilling untold story of their investigation and its consequences for the #MeToo movement. 

She Said is an incredibly powerful and enlightening read, not only about the sexual harassment scandal but also what goes into reporting a story of this magnitude. Kantor and Twohey pulled back the layers of both their work and the stories of the women that were a part of sharing what eventually became a movement for millions.

The Giver of Stars

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I was very interested to read a book by Jojo Moyes in the historical fiction genre but I didn’t get super motivated to pick it up until I started hearing a lot of my book reviewing friends just raving about it!

I absolutely loved learning about the history of the traveling library and also how it also gave women the ability to discover their own identities in a time and place when this wasn’t the social norm. This book ended up blowing me away with its multifaceted characters and layered storytelling and I will be sharing my full review soon! 

Be Mighty by Jill Stoddard

Be Mighty by Jill Stoddard

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Author Jill Stoddard shares that there isn’t a human that hasn’t deal with some kind of struggle or pain. These struggles can get us down or they can also speak to us and help us understand what we need in our lives to be healthier and happier. Instead of working to avoid discomfort, when we let ourselves really feel, we can then really bloom as whole and imperfect people. Allowing ourselves to feel “all the things” can help guide us on our paths instead of just trying to avoid things that “hurt”.

I could go on and on about this one because I really got so much out of it but I will just say that while books about stress and anxiety are nothing new, I loved this fresh and approachable take on the subject and I highly recommend it! You can read my full review HERE.

Susannah Cahalan

The Great Pretender by Susannah Cahalan

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Cahalan’s first book, Brain on Fire, was a personal look at her own experiences and I loved that this book was a wonderful follow up to this important and timely topic as a whole. While we have come so far, we still have a way to go when dealing with mental health stigmas and treatment.

Non-fiction books like this are such a powerful and important conversation starter. While this novel was insightful and thought-provoking it wasn’t an easy read at times. With that said, sometimes discomfort is what can fuel the fire for change and I am so glad I gave this once a chance.

Malcolm Gladwell

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

⭐️⭐️⭐️

I am a big fan of Malcolm Gladwell’s books, but I just had a hard time connecting with this one. Not only was the title a little misleading with what the book was actually about, but it just didn’t sound like his regular voice or style which I have really related to in the past. I especially struggled with some of the stories he chose to dive into and his responses regarding sexual assault were quite astounding.

I would like to give him the benefit of the doubt but after reading Know My Name by Chanel Miller last month, I felt quite appalled when I read his discussion about Brock Turner. While I do think alcohol can cloud judgment (and consent) it does not take away from the fact that Brock Turner CHOSE to assault Chanel Miller and whether she was under the influence of alcohol or not, it is not the issue. Victim blaming is scary and real and it is disappointing that someone of this power and influence chose to blur the lines on this one.

Quiet

Quiet by Susan Cain

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Quiet has been recommended me to me for a couple of years and I finally got around to reading it. While some of it was a little dry, there were so many fascinating sections that really made me feel so understood. As someone who is social but also can be completely overstimulated by noise and crowds, this book made me feel so understood. I am planning on sharing my full review soon!

Neil Pasricha

You Are Awesome by Neil Pasricha

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Everyone can relate to failure but how we react to it can change our paths entirely and keep us moving forward. Every “misstep” is a chance to assess, learn and then move up and onward. I love the balance of personal stories, accessible writing, and strategies that are approachable for everyone.

Pasricha writes with compassion and proactivity and reminds us that we are all works in progress. Sometimes self-help books can help you feel heard but not really have a plan, or make you feel like you are being talked down to and make you just feel worse.  You Are Awesome contains straightforward steps that make you feel less alone but also help you move FORWARD. You can read my full review HERE.


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. 

The New Husband by D.J. Palmer | St. Martin’s Press {Gen The Bookworm Book Review}

domestic thriller

The New Husband by D.J. Palmer

Book Summary:

The New Husband is a riveting thriller about the lies we tell ourselves from D. J. Palmer, the author of Saving Meghan.

Just because you love someone doesn’t mean you know them.

Nina Garrity learned that the hard way after discovering that her missing husband, Glen, had been leading a double life with another woman. But Glen’s gone—presumably drowned while fishing on his boat—so she can’t confront him about the affair or any of his other misdeeds. A year and a half after the accident, Nina considers herself a widow, even though the police never found a body. Following a chance encounter with Simon Fitch, a teacher from her daughter Maggie’s middle school, Nina finds love again and has hopes of putting her shattered life back together.

Simon, a widower still grieving the suicide of his first wife, has found his dream girl in Nina. His charm and affections help break through to a heart hardened by betrayal. Nina’s teenage son, Connor, embraces Simon as the father he wishes his dad could have been, but Maggie sees a far darker side to this new man in their lives. Even Nina’s good friends wonder if Simon is supremely devoted—or dangerously possessive.

But Nina is committed, not only to her soon-to-be new husband but also to resuming her former career as a social worker. Before she can move forward, however, Nina must first clear her conscience that she’s not making another terrible choice in a man. In doing so, she will uncover the shocking truth: the greatest danger to her, and her children, are the lies people tell themselves.

Publication Date:

April 14, 2020

Genre:

Domestic Thriller

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

My Review:

domestic thriller

The New Husband (you can pre-order HERE)

I was looking for a domestic thriller to get lost in over the Thanksgiving holiday and some of my book reviewing friends highly recommended The New Husband. I had never read a D.J. Palmer book before but the description was intriguing. I was immediately sucked into the suspenseful storyline and loved the premise of “never knowing who you really can trust”.

While it was somewhat predictable, it was also a page-turner and highly entertaining which was what I set out to find! There were definitely some unanswered questions and some of it was a little unbelievable, but at the same time, it kept me guessing and wanting to read more. As someone who struggles to ever feel super satisfied with this genre, this is high praise from me! This would make a great vacation read as it was very engrossing from start to finish!

I look forward to reading more of D.J. Palmer’s writing in the future.

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advanced copy.

 

Feels Like Falling by Kristy Woodson Harvey | Gallery Books {Book Review}

Kristy Woodson Harvey

Feels Like Falling by Kristy Woodson Harvey

Book Summary:

It’s summertime on the North Carolina coast and the livin’ is easy.

Unless that is, you’ve just lost your mother to cancer, your sister to her evangelical husband, and your husband to his executive assistant. Meet Gray Howard. Right when Gray could use a serious infusion of good karma in her life, she inadvertently gets a stranger fired from her job at the local pharmacy.

Diana Harrington’s summer isn’t off to the greatest start either: Hours before losing her job, she broke up with her boyfriend and moved out of their shared house with only a busted Impala for a bed. Lucky for her, Gray has an empty guest house and a very guilty conscience.

With Gray’s kindness, Diana’s tide begins to turn, but when the one that got away comes back, every secret from her past seems to resurface all at once. And, as Gray begins to blaze a new trail, she discovers, with Diana’s help, that what she envisioned as her perfect life may not be what she wants at all.

In her warmest, wittiest, and wisest novel yet, Kristy Woodson Harvey delivers a discerning portrait of modern womanhood through two vastly different lenses. Feels Like Falling is a beach bag essential for Harvey fans—and for a new generation of readers.

Publication Date:

April 28th, 2019

Genre:

Southern/Family Life Fiction

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

My Review:

Gen The Bookworm

Feels like Falling was my first book by Kristy Woodson Harvey. I read it while traveling home from vacation and it was the perfect balance of being easy and engaging without being too fluffy. It was the kind of book that I had a hard time putting down but I also didn’t want it to end because I wanted to follow along with these main characters even more.

I enjoyed getting to know the characters and the idea that sometimes “family” is the one we create ourselves. Harvey’s writing is emotional, engaging and has a perfect touch of humor. I loved the topic of friendship and supporting one another through tough situations and choices.

Feels Like Falling perfectly captured how sometimes the right people come into our lives when we least expect it and the amazing power of connection. The romance element was light and easy and helped round out this powerful story of friendship. I hope this becomes a series like her Peachtree Bluff trilogy!

The Peachtree Bluff Series

Book #1: Slightly South of Simple

Book #2: The Secret to Southern Charm

Book #3: The Southern Side of Paradise 

Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery Books for an advanced copy. All opinions are my own.


Disclosure: Some of the links above are Amazon affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, it helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!

 

Family Vacation in Ogunquit, Maine | Vacation Photos & Recap | August 2019 {Family Life}

Family Vacation in Ogunquit, Maine

Gen The Bookworm

I figured I should finally post these photos from our summer trip to Maine before I share our photos from our trip this past week. Going on trips together as a family is a big priority for us and near the end of August, we went for our annual “end of summer” vacation to Maine. It certainly isn’t always relaxing or stressfree, but we always make great memories and it is such a special place for the four of us.

Ogunquit, Maine hotel

We love that we have made this a tradition as a family and our first visit was when our older son was two and I was pregnant with our second son. Our life has changed a lot since then but it is still such a magical place to visit.

One Morning in Maine

Maine was somewhere that both Lucas and I visited as children. As New Englanders, Maine is easy to get to by car and has a low key pace similar to Vermont but with the ocean! It has been so special to carry on this tradition in our own family. This was my One Morning in Maine book from when I was a young child and the boys love it so much too.

How We Chose Ogunquit

There are so many amazing places to visit in Maine that the possibilities are nearly endless. When I was young, my paternal grandparents lived way up on Deer Isle (it was a long 8-9 hour drive!) and my cousins lived in the Kennebunkport area. Ogunquit is at the very beginning of Maine (close to Kennebunk) so it is much easier to get to, which also means it can be a lot busier than some other areas. Oguqnit was a place that Lucas visited as a child and when we loved our first trip together so much, we decided it was perfect for our family.

More about Ogunquit

Ogunquit Beach

It all depends on what you are looking for but we think it is a great vacation town that is family-friendly and provides endless outside activities and things to do with kids. While it can be busy, it never feels overwhelming. What helps is that we walk everywhere(driving can get pretty backed up) and tend to eat early (both breakfast and dinner) so we never need to wait for a table. We do book our accommodations a year before, which is pretty common for summer beach vacations. We found that four nights was the magic number for us and it seems like a great length for this type of trip.

Since our trip I have had a few questions about our itinerary, where we stay, dine, etc. so I am hoping this post covers all of that! I am not affiliated or connected with any of the places I am sharing here but I did want to provide links if you are curious.

Anchorage By the Sea on the Marginal Way

Ogunquit

The Anchorage By the Sea is right on The Marginal Way and is walkable to everything. I can’t speak to any other hotels because we have only stayed here but it is wonderful. We love the accessibility to the ocean and that you can easily get to most everywhere we wanted to go from there.

It is immaculate, very welcoming to families and everyone is so lovely that works there. The top photo is the view from the Marginal Way in front of the Anchorage by The Sea looking out to Ogunquit Beach. Depending on the tides, you can walk there a couple of different ways…either coming from the Marginal Way (this does involve some climbing on rocks and walking through shallow water) or walking through town and taking the main entrance over the bridge.

Ogunquit Beach

Ogunquit MaineOgunquit Beach

Our first night we walked through town after dinner to the beach, and then at low tide, we were able to cross back over to the Marginal Way and our hotel. It was a gorgeous summer night and the kids had so much fun exploring and looking for crabs. I love that they are at the age that this is still very exciting to them…

kids at beachMaine

Dining in Ogunquit

Ogunquit MaineOne of the highlights of vacation for us is always the FOOD! Ogunquit (and the surrounding area) have some awesome dining options, especially if you are a seafood lover. We have one adventurous eater and one pretty picky eater, and there was (almost) always something that would please everyone’s tastes.

Ice Cream Every Day!

ice cream cone

I am also a big believer in daily ice cream on vacation and Sweet Pea’s is our favorite here. The oreo ice cream is amazing! They have so many flavors to choose from and it is right in the middle of Shore Road so it is very easy to get to (and very hard to walk by!)

Ogunquit Breakfast Spots

Perkins Cove Ogunquit MaineWe had great breakfasts at Amore and The Cove Cafe in Perkin’s Cove. Like everywhere here, they are very family-friendly. We walked to both of these but you could drive if you wanted to. The Cove Cafe is about a 15-minute walk down Marginal Way and Amore and just down the main road. coffee mug And how genius are these crayons that can’t roll off the table?! I had seafood at just about every meal, so it is no surprise I had the lobster eggs benedict at Amore, and they were delicious!

breakfast in Ogunquit

We also love Bread & Roses Bakery for a quick (and delicious) breakfast on the go (or out their outside patio) Their blueberry muffins are to die for and they also have a great selection of breakfast sandwiches and burritos. They also have great coffee and lattes!

Dinner Spots

Ogunquit Maine

We had some amazing meals on our trip. Our favorites were The Crooked Pine (just opened this past summer where Gypsy Sweethearts used to be) and Brix & Brine.

Perkins CoveFor no-frills seafood, we love The Lobster Shack at Perkin’s Cove. They do have grilled cheese or hot dogs if you have a pickier eater like we do!

Vacationing With Kids

vacation with kids

Of course, it isn’t all fun and games. Vacationing with kids is more like “parenting in a different location”. As they have gotten older this has improved in many ways, but dining out every day can take a toll.

We had a great Italian dinner at Angelina’s (and their blueberry gelato is amazing!!) but it was a rough one with the kids. It was towards the end of our trip and everyone was ready for a bit of a break from sitting through 2 hour-ish dinners at restaurants. This picture of Lucas makes me smile because it brings me right back to that eventful night, ha.

Pool & Beach on Repeat

Maine vacation

So what did we do our trip? We swam, both in the ocean and in the pools. The boys also loved the “kid-friendly” hot tub, there is also an adult-only one although we never visited it. 😉poolside readingWe also did a lot of reading by the pool which is the best! There are always a bunch of other families at this resort so there is no lack of other kids to play with which makes vacation SO much easier. Ogunquit MaineWhen the tide was lower the boys had so much fun exploring. Because it was August the water wasn’t that chilly so we all did a lot of swimming too.

readingAnchorage by the Sea

After dinner, they usually did a night swim and we loved sitting next to the fire pits.

Meeting Up With Friends!

crabs

One of the highlights of our trip was when we met up with our Vermont friends who were at Ogunquit Beach for the day. With five boys total, they had a blast racing around and catching crabs. Jess even got in on the action!

vacation with kids

Perkin’s Cove

Ogunquit Maine

The best part of Ogunquit is how walkable it is. We only used our car once when we well to Wells(more on that soon). We loved walking down the Marginal Way to Perkin’s Cove (and it also saves you on the pricey parking spaces!) and there couldn’t be a more gorgeous walk.

Perkins Cove

Not only is Perkin’s Cove super picturesque but it is a great way to see the boats coming in and out and sometimes even getting to see the drawbridge in action! We stopped at  Java and had a delicious iced latte! There are also easily accessible and super clean public restrooms at Perkin’s Cove. This may seem like a small thing until you drink a huge coffee and then have to walk a mile back to your hotel, not that I know from experience or anything…

kids at a candy store

One of the highlights for the kids is the candy store! Perkins Cove Candies has almost every candy you could think of, and you get to put all of your selections into a sand pail while you shop which is quite the cute touch.

When It Rains…

Wells MaineWe usually have one rainy day when we go and it is the perfect opportunity to take a break from the ocean and pool and head over to Wells. Here you can find the Boardwalk Arcade which is a great way to entertain the kids for a bit when the weather isn’t ideal. I also always love seeing all the other parents who have a similar look of exasperation and disbelief that this is now what they do on “vacation”.

Fishermans Catch

We also never miss an annual visit to Fisherman’s Catch. Our youngest isn’t a big seafood eater, but he loves the fried clams and I do too! It is rustic, so delicious and has paper towels that hang from a red lobster from the ceiling, which come in handy because we always make quite the mess.

Souvenirs

Maine

Just like any vacation town, there are lots of places to find souvenirs to take home with you. We try to keep it to a minimum with the knick-knacks(we have enough clutter at our house already…) and so we try to get something we will actually get some use out of and these sweatshirts have been worn SO many times since our trip. We also love finding a book related to the place we are visiting.

children's picture book

On our very first visit, we found I Met A Moose In Maine One Day and it is still one of our favorite picture books now.

Ogunquit Maine

I hope you enjoyed this recap of our 2019 summer family vacation to Ogunquit, Maine! If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment below and I will do my best to answer!


Disclosure: Some of the links above are Amazon affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, it helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you! 

Regretting You by Colleen Hoover | Montlake Romance {Book Review}

Colleen Hoover book review

Regretting You by Colleen Hoover

Book Summary:

“Morgan Grant and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Clara, would like nothing more than to be nothing alike.

Morgan is determined to prevent her daughter from making the same mistakes she did. By getting pregnant and married way too young, Morgan put her own dreams on hold. Clara doesn’t want to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Her predictable mother doesn’t have a spontaneous bone in her body.

With warring personalities and conflicting goals, Morgan and Clara find it increasingly difficult to coexist. The only person who can bring peace to the household is Chris—Morgan’s husband, Clara’s father, and the family anchor. But that peace is shattered when Chris is involved in a tragic and questionable accident. The heartbreaking and long-lasting consequences will reach far beyond just Morgan and Clara.

While struggling to rebuild everything that crashed around them, Morgan finds comfort in the last person she expects to, and Clara turns to the one boy she’s been forbidden to see. With each passing day, new secrets, resentment, and misunderstandings make mother and daughter fall further apart. So far apart, it might be impossible for them to ever fall back together.”

Publication Date:

December 10th, 2019

Genre:

Family Fiction, Contemporary Romance

My Rating:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

My Review:

Colleen Hoover book review

I know it is probably hard to believe but Regretting You is my first Colleen Hoover book EVER!! Her books have been recommended to me for years but I just didn’t know where to start. When I saw an advanced copy of Regretting You on NetGalley I knew I had to see what all the fuss was about. I was immediately drawn into the storyline and found it to be a totally engrossing read.

Regretting You ended up being a very engaging book that I loved reading while on vacation. This book was told partly from a teenager POV and although I wasn’t sure at first, I found that I was able to relate to both of the main characters even though I am around the age of the mother in this female relationship.

I was pleasantly surprised that Hoover took on some deeper and thought-provoking topics. My favorite part of this book was how it dealt with grief and loss and I loved seeing this from multiple perspectives. There is a YA romance that was enjoyable enough but also a little predictable but the other parts really shined through this for me.

Colleen Hoover’s Backlist:

Verity and It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

I am definitely going to dive into Colleen Hoover’s backlist list now! I asked one of my Hoover loving friends, Kailey at @kmc_reads, and she suggested It Ends With Us so that will be coming up soon for me. I have heard great things about Verity but it might be a bit too creepy for me although the reviews I have read just raved about it. If you have read her books I would love to know your favorite to add to my reading list!

Thank you to NetGalley and Montlake Romance for an advanced copy.


Disclosure: Some of the links above are Amazon affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, it helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you! 

10 Year Wedding Anniversary! {Wedding & Honeymoon Memories & 24-Hours Away in Stowe!}

9.19.09 Wedding Memories…

Daria Bishop Photographers(Wedding Photos by Daria Bishop Photographers)

Last Thursday we celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary!  It was a regular work and school day for us so we went to a 4:45pm pizza dinner with the kids followed by ice cream at the Scoop and then called it a day.

 

dinner with kids

Anniversary photo by our 9-year-old! We did manage to get away though…

On Friday we headed away for a 24-hour escape!

Stowe, Vermont weekend

We got married in Stowe so we have always liked celebrating up there every year. We have managed to make it there 9/10 years so that is pretty good! It is close by but feels like a whole different world and has so many special memories for us. We, of course, had to stop at Cold Hollow Cider Mill on our way! I love cider donuts but I don’t like the ones with sugar sprinkled all over them so these ones are my very favorite!

2019-09-22_0008

We got married at Stowe Mountain Lodge, which is now The Lodge at Spruce Peak. Our wedding was one of their very first ones because they had just opened in 2009 so it has grown and changed so much since then!

Stowe, Vermont weekend

I like to act like I am a tourist when I am in Stowe (actually all of the time really…) and so I totally made Lucas pull over so I could take the iconic Stowe shot. We also took lots of selfies at our wedding ceremony location.

The Lodge at Spruce PeakWe didn’t have big plans which was exactly what we were looking for! These days, our lives feel like go, go, go, all the time. I know this is just part of the stage of life we were in with our kids, but downtime is a special thing right now!

We had lunch on the patio and then read by the pool with our Kindles. It was amazing! Our kids had school on Friday which is why we decided to go up then because it allowed us to need a little less childcare help and a weekday is always a little quieter up there so that was nice!

The Lodge at Spruce Peak

We had dinner and then read our Kindles by the fireplace, Facetimed with the kids and were asleep by 9:30! Regular routines are hard to break but it was lovely to have zero demands from anybody!

latte art

The next morning we were up by 6:30 so we found some coffee & maple lattes and had a relaxing morning.

Stowe wedding

After breakfast, we said “goodbye and see you next year!” to our special spot and headed off to meet our boys at their fall soccer jamboree. Our friends watched the kids for us so we could go away which we are so grateful for!

And just for fun, here is what we were doing 10 years ago right now…

St. John

We were on our honeymoon in St. John USVI. We rented a villa and a jeep for the week and it was just the best. Maybe for our 15th anniversary, we will go back there! I am also very proud of these honeymoon “selfies” because I took them with my little Canon digital camera! We definitely did not have iPhones back then…

St. John USVI

We had the best time exploring, snorkeling, eating lots of delicious food and reading(in the shade!) See, some things never change, ha!

honeymoon in St. John

Thanks for letting me reminisce a little! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. <3

 

August 2019 Book Recap & Ratings {Monthly Book Wrap-Up)

August 2019 Book Wrap-Up

August Recap:

Who else can believe that it is already almost September?! August is always a funny month because part of it is full-on summer and then the end is getting back into our regular routine of school. I read a lot of great books this past month, my favorite being The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo. I also did some vacation reading and really enjoyed The Forever Summer and The Islanders.

August Book Recaps, Ratings & Links to Reviews:

5 star book review for The Most Fun We Ever Had

The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo

(This one is currently on sale HERE and if you haven’t grabbed it already you should, it’s one of my favorite books ever and is only $12 right now for the hardcover!

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

You can read my full (raving!) review HERE. This just might be my favorite book I have ever read!

Book Review of The Islanders

The Islanders by Meg Mitchell Moore

My Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

*Full review coming soon. A great beach read that is enjoyable but not super fluffy! I loved connecting with these characters and especially loved Lu, her story just got me.

Diane Chamberlain Book Review

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

My Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫⁣

You can read my full review HERE. This one doesn’t come out until January but this review also lists some of my favorite Diane Chamberlain books you can read before then!

Book Review of Domincana a Book of the Month selection

Domincana by Angie Cruz

My Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫⁣

You can read my full review HERE. Dominicana was my August Book of The Month selection(*referral link) that is being released next week. It is a coming of age book that reminded me a lot of A Woman is No Man and the writing is just beautiful!

book review of On Being Human

On Being Human by Jennifer Pastiloff

My Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫⁣

You can read my full review HERE. I am a huge fan of memoirs and this one was one of those books that I wasn’t quite sure about while reading a lot of it, but then ended up being a very powerful read that I kept thinking about once I was finished.

book review of The Whisper Man, a book of the month selection

The Whisper Man by Alex North

My Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

You can read my full view HERE. I  am pretty hard on the thriller genre but this one was well-received by me and many of my book reviewing friends.

book review of The Arrangement

The Arrangement by Robyn Harding

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

You can read my full review HERE. This book was suspenseful and total brain candy but I found it quite enjoyable!

The Forever Summer by Jamie Brenner

The Forever Summer by  Jamie Brenner

My Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

*Full review coming soon. This was my first Jamie Brenner book and it was the perfect summer read! I loved the characters, the storyline and just found it super engaging with a satisfying ending.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

My Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

*Full review coming soon. I decided I needed to read this before Cilka’s Journey is released this fall! I listened ot it on audiobook and it was heartbreaking and powerful.

Permission to Feel by Marc Brackett

Permission to Feel by Marc Brackett, Ph.D.

My Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫⁣

You can read my full review HERE.

book review of Drawing Home by Jamie Brenner

Drawing Home by Jamie Brenner

My Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️

You can read my full review HERE. This was my second Jamie Brenner book and I just had a hard time connecting with any of these characters.

parenting book book review

Being at Your Best When Your Kids Are at Their Worst

by Kim John Payne

My Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫⁣

You can read my full review HERE.


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