Fall 2020 New Releases I can't wait to read

Monday, August 31, 2020

I am WAY out of the loop when it comes to new releases, but these are still some of my favorite posts to put together. Obviously there are dozens (hundreds?) of new releases coming out this fall, but these are a few new releases from authors I've already read and loved. *Also I'm counting September 1 as fall.

I'll spare everyone rewriting the synopsis, the links will take you right to Bookshop.org, where you can pre-order anything & help support independent bookstores-- I also earn a commission from any purchases at no added cost to you.

The Cousins | I've enjoyed everything I've read by Karen McManus-- this is another stand alone YA thriller. December 1, 2020

Anxious People | I will likely forever read anything he writes and this sounds so, so good. Eight strangers stuck together during a hostage situation at an open house. September 8, 2020

Punching the Air  | I really liked American Street when I read it a few years ago and this sounds like an important and powerful read told in verse form. September 1, 2020

Class Act | New Kid has been one of my favorite books of the year & I've been anxiously waiting for this to come out since then.  October 6, 2020

The Cold Millions | I really liked Beautiful Ruins, and even though this one seems totally different (historical fiction about two brothers). October 27, 2020

Transcendent Kingdom
 | If I had to choose one I'm the most excited about it would probably be this one. Even if I hadn't read, and loved, Homegoing this sounds amazing, though likely not easy to read.  September 1, 2020

Jabari Tries | Mason currently walks around our house putting his toes on the edge of the stairs or steps, pretending to be Jabari jumping off the diving board, so we are very excited about a new book about Jabari. September 8, 2020

And as a bonus two earlyish  2021 books I am SO EXCITED ABOUT: The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah (February) and How Beautiful We Were By Imbolo Mbue (March).

Do you have your eye on any new releases in the next few months?

A Little 2020 Update

Monday, August 24, 2020
Well August is wrapping up and I totally meant to do monthly updates during this whole time of COVID/quarantine, but I think I only made it two months. It's hard to believe we're coming up on six months, it's easy to remember because our last "normal" day was Mason's 2-year well visit and Theo's 4-month, and basically the doctor's office is the only place either of them have gone this entire time. The days have been a lot of the same, but never the same-- though I think that's because of kids, not necessarily COVID.

feeling: honestly, overwhelmed most of the time. I think the end of summer (aka the last two months) of crazy heat & humidity have had a real impact on my mood because we've been stuck inside so much-- I have a good feeling about fall though!

eating: Still dairy, soy, egg, and nut free for me. Lots of coconut milk everything. Frozen cocowhip with strawberries has been a favorite snack. Smashed potatoes-- so good & easy as long as you don't mind heating up your oven in the summertime. I've made this Italian chopped salad & this Mediterranean orzo salad multiple times, and I'm not a salad person at all.

drinking: i've been attempting to make my own cold brew, but haven't quite been able to figure it out. It seemed so easy, but even after tweaking things 3 or 4 times it still comes out pretty weak-- not at all like a concentrate. So I'm still working on it, but might end up caving and just ordering the new Nespresso iced coffee capsules.

reading: My reading has definitely ebbed and flowed, but for the most part I have truly loved everything I've read so far this year. I'm also really enjoying this devotional, Fresh Start for Moms* though I definitely am not doing it daily because a morning routine, or anytime, is just not possible right now.

loving: Mason is talking and it has been so much fun and often offers much needed comic relief and Theo is silly as ever and never stops moving. Theo has been loving the indestructible books* (seriously, I was so naive to how difficult it was to have a teething baby who wants to chew on everything). Mason got these bristle blocks for his birthday but has finally got the hang of them and has been playing with them almost daily. And these stacking buckets. Every single day. He's also been playing with this matching games, which we call "the tiles" almost every single day too.

making: I'm not the most creative person, but I do really enjoy crafts and making activities for Mason-- I just wish I had a little more time. We've been having a lot of fun with sensory bins and we just did a few fun pirate themed activities.

wishing: to start working out again. I had a few good weeks when I mentioned it way back here, but then I missed a day and then just completely stopped.

working: I have a couple of Usborne Books & More parties coming up & it has been a lot of fun putting them together. If you're interested in hosting a virtual party (+ earning free & discounted books to build your library) fill out this form.

excited: I'm definitely already mourning fall a little bit, but I'm still looking forward to a few things-- mainly the weather change and being able to go on walks again and be outdoors without worrying about everyone overheating in two minutes.

How are you doing? Sending goodness to wherever you are!

Sensory Bins & Construction Trucks Fun

Monday, August 17, 2020
Sensory bins are all the rage on social media but I had always been hesitant to try them with Mason because they often weren't taste safe or free of choking hazards. Cloud dough seemed like an easy enough option to try with just two ingredients-- flour & oil (we used baby oil that was leftover from another project). 4 cups flour to 1/2 cup baby oil and it was more than enough for him to play with. I also splurged on these $6 mini construction vehicles I had seen Suzy @ Busy Toddler use over and over again. One did break almost immediately, but I think they're meant to be decorative so I really can't complain & so far the other four are going strong.

I will be honest, it made a pretty big mess, but when Mason was done playing with it we quickly took him (& the bin) outside and turned it into water play, which was the perfect way to get him washed off  (& extend the playtime-- yay!) as I quickly vacuumed inside.

Of all the construction vehicles cranes seem to be Mason's current favorite so I was super excited to see this very specific crane sticker book, Little Stickers Cranes & Diggers. There are over 200 stickers that are so detailed and like all things Usborne, the illustrations are incredibly cute and detailed.

They are reusable, but once he sticks them on a page it's not super easy for him to peel them off again without tearing them. But, you can stick them on windows without them leaving residue behind. So they kind of fall somewhere between a regular sticker and the Melissa and Doug reusable stickers that are more of an elastic-y feel on my very-official-sticker-rating-chart, lol.

For now the cloud dough is more of a weekend activity, when my husband is around to help contain the mess, so I've switched over to using dry pasta and it has also been a lot of fun. I'd love to add some outdoor elements-- like little sticks, or rocks.

What sensory bin activities are your favorite?

Reading Roundup 6 | 2020

Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Unlike how I felt last month, it feels like I just shared my monthly roundup of what I've been reading. It was a good bookish month! links are affiliate links through bookshop.org

These Ghosts are Family | This book! I loved it, then I was confused, then I loved it again, then I was confused again. It's a multigenerational story set in Jamaica, starting in the colonial times, up to present day New York City. Somewhat similar to the style of Homegoing, each chapter tells the story of a different person. Aside from maybe one chapter, I found all of the stories engaging and interesting and the characters memorable and full of depth, but it often felt more like a short story collection. I know there was a reason for the order of the stories, but I think (backwards) chronological order, may have made it feel less scattered for me. The last chapter did totally throw me, I was just expecting something else. Overall, the amazing writing and characters easily outshine some of it being difficult for me to follow.

Things You Save in a Fire  | I read What You Wish For earlier this year and really liked it, but the entire time I was reading this I kept thinking that I liked this so much more. I know I shouldn't compare, but I guess I didn't expect to like this as much as I did? I think it was just what I needed to read at the right time. There was a little bit of everything- romance, family drama-- the firefighting element was interesting and I enjoyed the Northeastern setting, and her dialogue is just so, so good. *thank you netgalley from providing this book in exchange for an honest review
The Vanishing Half
 | The first 25% or so of this book took me a few weeks to read, I even stopped and read the above two books before picking it up again, and I still almost wasn't able to get into it. Somewhere into part 2 I realized I couldn't read it fast enough and I finished it in two days. I literally cried when it was finished because I wanted to keep reading about the characters. Bennet's writing really allows them to jump off the page and each of the different storylines-- down to the setting and minor characters felt so real.

Happy end of summer reading everyone! Linking up with Steph & Jana.

Mason's Bedtime Reading Stack

Monday, July 27, 2020
I'm finally working my way back through a bunch of photos/posts I started towards the beginning of the summer, but never finished. I was doing a quick tidy of Mason's room and took a photo of some of the books we've been reading before bed. As much as I try to rotate his books every so often, he usually ends up back to a few favorites. *bookshop.org links are affilate links

Dinosnores | We are big fans of all of the Sandra Boynton's books we have and this is such a fun bedtime book. The honk-shooooos are his favorite. A good quick read!

Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site | We've read this one so many times I think I can recite the entire thing without even looking at the pages. As the name suggests, it's a fun book about all of the construction vehicles going to sleep for the night, complete with a crane truck and his teddy bear.

goodnight, goodnight, construction site

Steam Train, Dream Train | Animals and dinosaurs ride along a train to dreamland. It's by the same author as Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site, and follows the same sweet rhyming, making it fun to read along with the fun and detailed illustrations.

Where Do Steam Trains Sleep at Night? | I had never heard of these books before but my husband picked out the Christmas version for him and he loved it. That book has the other books on the back cover and every day he would ask for the train one and it became another quick favorite. Definitely recommend if you're a fan of the above two and want something a little bit different.

Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too | I mentioned this book in this post, and it is definitely one of his most loved books. It has been fun watching him start to read back some of the story to us. I am going to be on the (virtual) lookout for something similiar for him for Christmas.

Harold and the Purple Crayon | This is a classic story I remember from when I was little, and the huge board book version makes it that much more fun!

Favorite toddler bedtime book?

Reading Roundup 5 | 2020

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Is it just me or does it feel like it has been forever since the last linkup? Time has such a weird way of going fast and slow at the same time. Sharing two books this month-- one wasn't my thing, but the other one I really enjoyed. I've also been reading The Vanishing Half but only read a few pages at a time before getting distracted or falling asleep, but hopefully I can finish it sometime soon. I recently joined UBAM as an independent consultant and had so much fun putting my launch party together. I am so grateful to everyone who took the time to hop over to it, and a huge thank you to everyone who made a purchase! I have loved seeing how much everyone is loving their new books. If you have a little book lover in your life I would love to put together a wish list or host a party for you! On to this month's books....

Reading Roundup 4 | 2020

Tuesday, June 9, 2020
Another month passes by in 2020. Before getting into the books I've read over the past few weeks, I wanted to mention that June is Caribbean Heritage month, and known as Read Caribbean month in the book communityIt's a month all about celebrating authors from the Caribbean or books set in the Caribbean. Patsy and Queenie are two books I put on my TBR last year, and hope to still read one day, but for this month I'm hoping to read a  2020 new release, These Ghosts Are Family. Cindy at Book of Cinz has a ton of great recommendations and is highlighting books & authors on Instagram & her blog. In case you're not already following Kay, she's another Caribbean blogger who always has some of my favorite book reviews, and great content in general.
I am an affiliate with Bookshop.org, a great website that supports independent bookstores online, purchases through my links earn a small commission.

The Rest of the Story
 |  I really enjoyed the first half of this book but the second half really was a whole mess. There were some really great characters and components of the story, and I even found myself missing the lake setting once I had finished the book. I kept waiting for more of the romance/relationship between Emma/Saylor and Roo, but other than two or maybe three cute moments it felt like a jumble of too much going on, including a very unnecessary event at the very end that really left me wondering what happened to the second half of the book.

One of Us is Next | This was definitely one of those books where I couldn't turn the page fast enough, and I had been waiting since February to get it back from the library so I could finish it/restart it again. I don't think you need to read the first book to enjoy this one, but I kept wishing I remembered it better at first. Eventually I got so wrapped up in this story that I didn't care anymore. There were two sentences early on that made me pretty sure about part of the ending, to the point where I thought it was too obvious, but it was twisty and there were parts I didn't see coming at all.

Beach Read | This was a great read to escape from reality for a little bit and the Michigan beach setting was one of my favorite parts of the book. I felt a little bit proud when I got to the author's bio and realized that I had guessed the right town it was based on-- or at least thats my guess based on her attending Hope College. Anyway, I enjoyed Gus and January and their playful banter-- the dialogue was fun and felt genuine, but I just couldn't suspend my disbelief for a few plot related things.

Anna K | This was another book I started and then had to wait months to get from the library. I wish I would have been able to read it all the first go around because I think I lost some of my momentum with it, but it was still another great escape from reality. It's a YA retelling of Anna Karenina featuring a Korean American character-- admittedly I was not at all familiar with the plot so the ending caught me by total surprise-- though it looks like there's a second book coming out. It was very Gossip Girl with super rich teenagers in NYC-- definitely not relatable, but very readable.

What have you read recently? Any favorites by Caribbean authors? Linking up with Steph & Jana
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