Summer What To Read Next

Summer What To Read Next

What books do you read during the summer? I usually go through books so fast it seems I’m always on the lookout for what to read next. So here’s to my summer what to read next edition.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small percentage if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

My summer booklist

How’s your summer going? We’ve been crazy busy and someone’s always in need of Mom. Therefore, it’s been quite awhile since I’ve posted book recommendations in my what to read next series. For a while, I went through a period of books that didn’t necessarily click with me. I never put a book on my blog I wouldn’t recommend to someone else or give at least four out of five stars. Why is this you may wonder, why don’t you warn us not to pick up these other books!? Quite simply, I know what goes into writing a book and the blood, sweat, and tears involved! Just because I’m not a fan doesn’t mean someone else won’t like it. That’s just my optimistic personality.

Enough of all that! Get to the goods! This summer, since I did have a spell of disappointing book choices I’ve stuck to a few tried and true series. I threw in some great historical fiction, a Jane Austen classic, and an account of the making of my favorite movie ever, written by its very own Dread Pirate Roberts (or Westley, depending on your mood).

Summer what to read next pin with books and Monet mug

Summer what to read next

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society begins when a native of Guernsey writes a letter to our main character, Juliet Ashton, in England. Guernsey is a British island that was under Nazi control during World War II. The author of the letter owns a book Juliet once owned, and he sends her a request. She’s looking for a subject for her next book, and they begin a correspondence which brings her into the Guernsey world.

This wonderful book lover’s book is a few years old, and I can’t believe I missed it at the time! I thoroughly enjoyed it, it’s characters, informative historical setting, and depth of story. I strongly recommend it for history and book lovers or for just anyone who loves a good story.

Where is Guernsey?

Have you even ever heard of Guernsey? I had but didn’t know much about it before reading this book. Dependent on the Crown of England, Guernsey is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey with several other small islands located in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy. Our book takes place as the area is dealing with coming out of WWII, the memories, experiences, and dilemmas of what to do next. It’s well-written, moving, and made me smile. Read it!!

Summer what to read next rating: ***** Five out of five stars.

Beneath A Scarlet Sky

by Mark Sullivan

 I’m a little behind the crowd on this one, but I definitely wanted to include Beneath A Scarlet Sky on this booklist. I’m in complete agreement with all the other stellar reviews out there. Several people recommended it to me, and I was not disappointed!

The story is fascinating because it’s based on a true story. Also, it’s not at all from a perspective of WWII I’d seen or thought a lot about in the past. We’re in World War II Italy under the Germans, and Pino Lela is a jazz-loving 16-year-old kid. His parents force him to enlist in order to protect him, although they hate the Germans and the occupation of their country. He leads Jews to safety over the mountains into Switzerland. He becomes a spy as a driver for the German leadership representative in Italy. In addition, he translates for Mussolini, the list goes on. This is an action and intrigue packed book perfect for anyone interested in the Italian occupied viewpoint of World War II.

Summer what to read next rating: ***** Five out of five stars.

The Atomic City Girls

by Janet Beard

 The Atomic City Girls is a story of everyday life inside the Manhattan Project. I thought it was a good choice to have the book start out with June’s grandfather. He’s forced off his land for this government project. Is it a project, a city, a base? Whatever it is, they’re all unsure. Eventually, June, looking for work, moves back to almost the same location of her grandfather’s farm to work the giant machines with the other girls. What exactly do they do? None of the girls know, and anything they do know is not to be talked about outside the city. It’s not supposed to exist, until one day someone slips up, and the truth opens up to June.

When you know the truth and what it will do, where do loyalties lie? To yourself, your country, what is this war anyway? This is an interesting read from several viewpoints with a good bit of drama thrown in about those working in the city.

Summer what to read next rating: **** Four out of five stars.

As You Wish

by Cary Elwes

As You Wish is a fabulous summer what to read next for anyone who obsessed on or is still in love with that fabulous movie, The Princess Bride. The swordfight scene between the man in black and Inigo Montoya is and will most likely ALWAYS be my favorite scene from any movie. The cast of characters was put together brilliantly, there’s an amazing script crossing genres, and it’s become a true classic.

Movie quotes

Have fun stormin’ the castle!

As you wish.

Inconceivable!!

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. 

Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

No more rhymes now I mean it! Anybody want a peanut?

I found this book a while back and had just never gotten around to it. I knew it was written by Cary Elwes about his experiences with the part of Westley, the filming, the antics and interactions with the other actors. So, of course it sounded like something I’d enjoy. Recently, I discovered the audio version. I was thrilled to find it read by none other than Cary Elwes, Rob Reiner, and many of the other actors giving their own quotes. It was perfect!

Yes, I’m the person who’s always wanted Buttercup’s red riding dress and cap to wear at Halloween. Truly, I’ll most likely sew my own one day. Of course, I’ll force my husband to be the man in black, but back to the book. The Princess Bride is a true favorite of mine and As You Wish is a fun, nostalgic look back on how it all came about, with a great deal of humor. It was an excellent summer read (or listen!), and I highly recommend it!

Summer what to read next rating: ***** Five out of five stars.

In This Grave Hour

by Jacqueline Winspear

In This Grave Hour is the latest in the Maisie Dobbs mystery series by Jacqueline Winspear. I’ve read this entire series as each one comes out. I find them a good mix of interesting characters, historical fiction, and mystery.

Maisie Dobbs is a psychologist and investigator, and we follow her story from childhood, as a nurse in World War I, the aftermath of the Great War, and into World War II. In this 13th book in the series, Britain just declared war on Germany, and there are those who once again need Maisie’s help.

This is a comforting series for me, and one I know I can always go to for a good mystery story in a historical setting. Maisie sometimes does drive me crazy, but we’re good friends now and no good friend does EXACTLY what you want them to all the time, do they? I love how this author finishes each book and ties up all possible loose ends in the mystery for a very satisfactory ending.

Summer what to read next rating: ***** Four and a half out of five stars.

Persuasion

by Jane Austen

Ah, yes, Persuasion. Each summer I try to read a book by Jane Austen and enter the world of her heroine. This summer I decided to pass by my summer usuals (Pride and Prejudice and Sanditon) and go for one I read less often but love just the same!

Persuasion is set in England in 1806, and in this book, our heroine, Miss Anne Elliott, is a young woman of twenty and seven years. Of course, there is some urgency to see her married and settled, although some have given her up for a spinster. The family tries to lower expenses and has to rent out their large home. By chance, the renter’s brother, dear Captain Wentworth, comes back from being in the English wars at sea.

He and Anne were engaged previously and parted seven years ago. In typical Austen fashion, you can imagine what comes next. I love the language and flow of Jane Austen, and any of her books are always a great read.

Summer what to read next rating: ***** Five out of five stars

Edgedancer

by Brandon Sanderson

 Edgedancer is a lighter-hearted fantasy novella in Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive series. It takes place between book 2, Words of Radiance, and book 3, Oathbringer. In this book, he focuses on one specific character, Lift, who we’ve met but have yet to see much from.

Lift is a street urchin with power. She’s not what she seems and is herself a Knight Radiant. I found her to be a fun and caring character to get to know.  So indeed, I’m glad I read Edgedancer before beginning the epic Oathbringer.

If I’m to be completely honest, I’d planned to include Oathbringer in this post.  However, with its massive size and all the books within the book, I get distracted and read other books in between! Definitely read Edgedancer, and once I’m completely through Oathbringer I’ll let you know how that goes too. 😉

Summer what to read next rating: ***** Five out of five stars

Proof of Guilt

by Charles Todd

Proof of Guilt is the latest in the Inspector Ian Rutledge mystery series by Charles Todd. Inspector Rutledge started his career at Scotland Yard before the Great War and returned to his duties after. The war gave him scars he deals with every day and a Scotsman in his head who died on the battlefield. The series is not only a good cozy British murder mystery but an interesting look at the aftermath of the war and mental health.

In this installment, an unidentified man is found run down by a car, and it’s up to Inspector Rutledge to find out who he is an why. He’s carrying the watch of a man he resembles and has disappeared. Unfortunately, there are few other clues. When the watch owner’s cousin goes missing also we have a classic who done it with a twist. Was it the neglected sister? The business clerk? The scorned fiancee?

I always enjoy the Ian Rutledge mysteries and have come to rely on them when I need a quick, engaging read. With the series, I already know the characters and their histories. If you haven’t read any or Charles Todd’s Inspector Rutledge or Bess Crawford books, pick the first one up today!

Summer what to read next rating: ***** Four and a half out of five stars

Need more book suggestions?

Check these out!

What to read next for history fans, pin

What’s your summer what to read next list?

You’ll notice my summer reads are still in my favorite genres, mystery, historical fiction, and fantasy. Now, if you are like me you always wish you had more time to read, but we do what we can! Would you like to make my life easier and recommend some fabulous books from each of these genres? I LOVE getting book recommendations so please, PLEASE, puh-lease put your favorites in the comments.

Happy Reading!

Family Camping Checklist And Must Haves

Family Camping Checklist And Must Haves

Now is the perfect time to be talking about family camping preparations because hey it’s just decided to start SNOWING! Do you know what? I’ll let you in on a little secret. Go ahead and go through your family camping checklist. There’s never a bad time to plan for a camping trip, and I’m in Colorado so since it’s 25 degrees Farenheit right now, tomorrow it should be 74 again, right? Because that’s what happens here!

This post contains affiliate links which means I make a very small percentage if you click through and purchase something. All opinions are strictly my own!

Family camping checklist, campfire pin

Let me first tell you what can happen on a badly planned family camping trip. Last summer we decided on a whim to grab that camping site that had just been released on the website in Rocky Mountain National Park at the Moraine Park Campground. What luck! That place is crazy busy in the summer and we hadn’t booked ours months in advance. We threw the tent, some food, and the kids in the car and set off to enjoy the mountains.

The BAD Camping Experience

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my Rocky Mountains, but what ensued was NOT a pleasurable experience. I did NOT use a family camping checklist. Our campsite was in the middle of a group of sites in the large campground, although at first, we didn’t think it was too close to others. We got our tent up and sent the kids to look for pinecones and bugs. Unfortunately, there’s not a river or lake or a lot to do at that campsite, and we were sort of pinned in. We’d forgotten our normal card games and had to drive out of the campground to do much hiking or other activity.

That night the ground was hard, the hole in our camping mattress painfully evident. Not that we could sleep anyway because it was so cold one of the people at the next campsite turned their car on and ran the heater ALL NIGHT. YES!! All night the hum of the car and the burr of it when the heater came back on caused none of us to get much sleep. By morning we were so tired, grouchy, and picking at one another that we picked up things and went home. It was not like a bear attacked our food and destroyed our campsite, it was just NOT the ideal family camping trip in nature.

SO what did that teach us? PLAN, PLAN, PLAN!! With kids, my sanity revolves around checklists and planning and preparing for every eventuality. Of course, so many people’s personalities are different, but even a little planning can’t hurt!

Prep the kids and test your gear with a trial run

Rocky Mountain National Park tree view

What do you mean by a trial run you may be thinking!? I mean exactly that. If you haven’t used your camping gear for a while, pull it all out and build up a grand event for the kids to CAMP IN THE BACKYARD!! Ooh! Try out some of your favorite or new camping recipes modified for your kitchen, but take it outdoors to eat in camping chairs by the tent. Test out your headlamps, flashlights, even the camp stove if you use one. Also, I like to shake out the tent and sleeping bags to air them a bit and make sure they’ve all been cleaned since the downpour and mud slosh of the last trip!

Another thing that I love about a backyard campout is that it’s a great trial run for the kids! If you have young ones who’ve never camped before it can be scary. In the backyard, it still can be but with easy access to the house. Once the tent and set up is more familiar to a child, they will be more comfortable with it in a foreign setting, your desired campground. Baby steps, right?

Family camping checklist picture, campsite

Reserve your campsite in advance

If you are headed to a national park or a popular campground, be sure to book your campsite online in ADVANCE. The Rocky Mountain National Park campgrounds open up reservations six months in advance, and if you’re planning to go there I suggest you book it as soon as you can.

First, choose your campground. What activities are there around for the kids to do? Do you want to be by a good fishing spot, a lake or a river? Do you want to be close to accessible hikes or areas for wildlife viewing? Or do you just want a space to hang out, play cards, talk, and hang out around a campfire? Some campgrounds even have games like horseshoes, putt-putt, and other things children like to do. Do you need electricity and a bathroom? Decide, what is it you want out of the campsite area?

Second, study the campground map and look at the campsite pictures if there are any. Are you a family that likes to be in the middle of things among a lot of people at a party or more separated with space and a good view? Book your campsite accordingly! If you’ve never been there, consult someone who has or Google reviews for the specific campground. Another thing, be sure the review is recent so you know there hasn’t been a fire or attack of pine beetles or something to drastically change the area!

Third, book your campsite on-line! Find the website for the campground you’ve chosen and get your reservation booked!!

Love to go hiking with your kids?

Check out these awesome Estes Park, Colorado hikes for kids and family!

Estes Park hikes for kids, mountain with golden aspens

Camping Gear

When you’re looking at gear for a camping trip a lot of it depends on the length of time you’re going to be camping and what exactly you’re wanting to do. I’ve admitted I’m no longer a hardcore, a week at a time camper with kids, but I do like a two-night trip. When you do your trial run fun backyard campout you can determine what gear you still may need to get. I would really LOVE to have this entire awesome new tent setup from Cinch!, with solar charging hookups and super easy setup and takedown. However, for our short-term camping, our old tent will probably do just fine! What kind of tent’s on your family camping checklist?

Cinch!

I highly recommend downloading my family camping checklist. You can write all over it, add things, and cross things off as you need. As a mom going in a million directions I know I need something written down clearly defining the next step. Truly, I’ve learned because I’ve had too many experiences where I’ve said oh, I’ll remember that! And then, of course, I don’t, and it gets left in the storage area in the basement.


Sign up for Explorer Momma’s newsletter and as a bonus download this amazing family camping checklist today!

Family camping checklist preview

Family Camping Food

Food! There are so many fun camping recipes on Pinterest I encourage you to find a few new ones to please the family. As a kid, I still remember how much fun it was to wrap my packet of food up in foil and throw it in the fire to cook. How in the world did the adults let me do that?! As a strict rule follower, it was a great release and rebellion for me without really rebelling. Of course, there’s always a traditional s’more to be had as well!

If you are wanting to cook with a campfire or just sit around one, always check for fire restrictions or bans at your campsite before you go!

With food, plan out your days. What will you eat for each meal? What are your snacks? Will it spoil or need to be kept iced? There are a lot of things to think about with food, and my preferred short trips make it a lot easier than a couple week campout, although that is totally doable also.

Another thing to think about is how you can keep your food away from the wildlife in the area. Can you contain it at night so the bears don’t sniff out your camp? (Often there’s a locked “bear box” assigned to campsites to keep food if that’s a problem in the area). Maybe you can tie all the food in a bag up in a tree or in your car? Although, I’ve heard of bears getting into cars as well! Talk to the ranger or campsite director about best practices in regard to food storage.

PLEASE! When you plan out your food, remember you also have to cart out all your trash or find an appropriate receptacle for it!! Leave nature and your campsite as it was when you found it!

Tent camping in the Rocky Mountains

Things to do while camping

I mentioned this briefly before, but think about what things you want to do with the kids or friends while you’re there. Find out what’s available and what will work for you all to do. Add the necessary items to your family camping checklist.

  1. Where are the best nearest hikes?
  2. Can you fish in the area? Who all needs a fishing license?
  3. Can you boat or kayak?
  4. Bring card games to play during a downpour in your tent!
  5. Frisbee, baseball, soccer, or other sports
  6. Plan a nature scavenger hunt for the kids.
  7. Give the kids an old camera and tell them to take pictures of as many different: leaves, pine cones, bugs, birds, animals, or whatever’s around, they can. My son LOVES this and can do it for hours.
  8. Create a nature journal. This is more my daughter’s style. She loves to draw and write about the things she sees. I don’t like to give it too many rules so she can be creative, but you can give suggestions. Why don’t you draw all the flowers, butterflies, or animals you find? Can you imagine a story about that tree and write it out?

Family camping trip, kids hiking

What’s left on your family camping checklist?

Family camping and camping on your own or with friends are two ENTIRELY different animals. I used to love to pack in all my gear and tent on my back 5 miles or more to the backcountry campsite where there wouldn’t be anyone else around. Peaceful. Quiet. Serene.

Add young kids to that equation, and you are headed for a disaster of high magnitude!! Now, as a family, our ideal camping experience is 2 nights at a campground site. In addition, this site is close enough to walk back to the car, but separated enough from the other campsites so you still feel the peace of the great outdoors.

You can have an amazing experience, but it does take some patience and planning. And flexibility, which is what I always have to work on!! I hope you printed your family camping checklist and will use it this summer!

Get your family outside and run! Soak in the sun and stare at the stars. Give it a chance, and planned properly with a family camping checklist, you will LOVE your time and memories made.

Now here’s a question for you! Where are some of your favorite family camping spots all over the world?

 Family camping checklist preview1

Pin It on Pinterest

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close