Summer is officially over and I hate to admit that I didn’t read nearly as many books as I had hoped to. I rarely had time to myself and when I did have some free time, I seemed to spend it playing catch-up around the house. I also took a blogging break and that put me a bit behind as well. I’m still trying to catch up on all the great books I’ve received lately. Now that activities have started for our kids, maybe I can get some reading done during our long drives to football games and cross country meets. I wasn’t expecting to receive so many books in August, so I really need to get busy reading!
As always, if I am choosing to read a book, then you can be sure that I truly think it is worthy of my time. Of course, some books just find their way to my mailbox without my previous knowledge. I am only going to spend time reading and reviewing books that I enjoy. If I’m not feeling it, I’m going to put it aside. I can’t get to all these great books that come my way, but at least I can tell you about them here and I hope to review them just as soon as I can!
SAVE MY PLACE
By: Olivia deBelle Byrd
Published: September 1, 2014
Publisher: Mercer University Press
The synopsis grabbed me and I’m anxious to read this one.
Blessed with an innate optimism and a magical childhood, Elisabeth Belle Sterling discovers that the path to happily-ever-after love is not as easily obtained as she had always imagined. The Camelot-like love she longs for seems like only a dream until she meets the handsome Kincaid Patterson, a West Point graduate who carries a dark secret from his past. Theirs is a passionate and unconditional love that has to confront a painful past, heart-searing separation, and the greatest of all tragedies. But the biggest obstacle is the loss of faith that threatens to undermine all that they have. Set in the South during the 1960s and 70s against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, Save My Place is a beautifully written love story of two people who search deep within their souls to save each other.
WOMEN HEROES OF WWI
By: Kathryn J Atwood
Published: June 1, 2014
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
I love stories set during WWI and WWII. Even better are books written about real people and situations during that time period. I know I’m going to love this one. It’s also written for middle/high school levels.
A commemoration of brave yet largely forgotten women who served in the First World War
In time for the 2014 centennial of the start of the Great War, this book brings to life the brave and often surprising exploits of 16 fascinating women from around the world who served their countries at a time when most of them didn’t even have the right to vote.
Readers meet 17-year-old Frenchwoman Emilienne Moreau, who assisted the Allies as a guide and set up a first-aid post in her home to attend to the wounded; Russian peasant Maria Bochkareva, who joined the Imperial Russian Army by securing the personal permission of Tsar Nicholas II, was twice wounded in battle and decorated for bravery, and created and led the all-women combat unit the “Women’s Battalion of Death” on the Eastern Front; and American journalist Madeleine Zabriskie Doty, who risked her life to travel twice to Germany during the war in order to report back the truth, whatever the cost. These and other suspense-filled stories of brave girls and women are told through the use of engaging narrative, dialogue, direct quotes, and document and diary excerpts to lend authenticity and immediacy.
Introductory material opens each section to provide solid historical context, and each profile includes informative sidebars and “Learn More” lists of relevant books and websites, making this a fabulous resource for students, teachers, parents, libraries, and homeschoolers.
By: Michael Phillip Cash
Published: July 15, 2015
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Not sure this is something I’ll enjoy, but I’ll give it a look. Fun to get the swag along with the book, including playing cards and a keychain.
Sometimes life, as well as death, is about second chances. Luckless Telly Martin doesn’t have a clue. An awful gambler trying to scrape by as a professional poker player, he becomes the protégé of world famous poker champion Clutch Henderson. The only catch…Clutch is a ghost.
Telly and Clutch must navigate the seedy gambling underbelly of Las Vegas learning to trust each other in order to win the elusive International Series of Poker, repair their shattered personal relationships and find redemption in this life and the hereafter.
FIND YOUR BALANCE POINT
Clarify Your Priorities, Simplify Your Life, and Achieve More
By: Brian Tracy and Christina Stein
Published: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers
My husband works in the financial industry and has read Brian Tracy’s books and listened to many of his tapes. He is a go-to guy for sales, marketing, and other professionals looking to better themselves personally or professionally. The title of this book stood out to me because I’ve been working very hard on “balancing” my life this year. With the glowing review of Tracy’s books from my husband, I knew I needed to check this one out.
Everyone today has too much to do and too little time—that’s not going to change. The only way to make our lives less stressful is to make sure we spend more time doing the things that matter most and less time doing the things that matter less. When we’re not clear on what is really important, we make thoughtless and impulsive choices and end up feeling exhausted and unfulfilled.
Bestselling author Brian Tracy teams up with therapist Christina Stein to show how to find true balance—when all your actions and choices are guided by a profound knowledge of your deepest personal values, vision, purpose, and goals. Not only will you feel less stressed, but you’ll accomplish more, and more efficiently, than you ever thought possible.
When you operate from your true balance point, you feel clear and focused, and everything in your life feels like it is in perfect harmony. You go through your day with courage, confidence, and purpose because everything you do is in alignment with who you are. Through questions that guide you to reflect and focus, as well as concrete action steps and exercises, Tracy and Stein help you discover your personal balance point and show how you can use it to set priorities and manage your time in a way that both energizes you and simplifies every aspect of your life. The result is a new, active approach to integrating life balance, work achievement, and time management.
ELLIE GOES BACK TO SCHOOL
By: Marci Fair, Elle Fair
Published: May 21, 2015
Publisher: Pacochel Press
If your little one is nervous about starting or going back to school, this book will ease their worries. I’ve reviewed this book already. See my review, HERE.
The third installment of an award-winning children’s series, The Amazing Adventures of Ellie the Elephant: Ellie Goes to School follows the charming plush toy and her best friend, Pudgy the Penguin, as they brave their latest exploratory journey—elementary school.
Having recently moved, Ellie is worried about her first day at a new school. But, encouraged by the presence of her trusted penguin sidekick, the little elephant decides to view the next few hours as just another buddy adventure packed with exciting surprises.
KITCHENS OF THE GREAT MIDWEST
By: J. Ryan Stradal
Published: July 28, 2015
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
The first time I read about this book, I sent a text to my cousin because I thought her Minnesota book club would love it since they read books related to food. This book being set in Minnesota and Iowa and being about food and family also makes it one I want to read. I can tell you that I have started it and am LOVING it so far! I have a feeling it’ll be a favorite of 2015 for me!
KITCHENS OF THE GREAT MIDWEST, about a young woman with a once-in-a-generation palate who becomes the iconic chef behind the country’s most coveted dinner reservation, is the summer’s most hotly-anticipated debut.
When Lars Thorvald’s wife, Cynthia, falls in love with wine—and a dashing sommelier—he’s left to raise their baby, Eva, on his own. He’s determined to pass on his love of food to his daughter—starting with puréed pork shoulder. As Eva grows, she finds her solace and salvation in the flavors of her native Minnesota. From Scandinavian lutefisk to hydroponic chocolate habaneros, each ingredient represents one part of Eva’s journey as she becomes the star chef behind a legendary and secretive pop-up supper club, culminating in an opulent and emotional feast that’s a testament to her spirit and resilience.
Each chapter in J. Ryan Stradal’s startlingly original debut tells the story of a single dish and character, at once capturing the zeitgeist of the Midwest, the rise of foodie culture, and delving into the ways food creates community and a sense of identity. By turns quirky, hilarious, and vividly sensory, Kitchens of the Great Midwest is an unexpected mother-daughter story about the bittersweet nature of life—its missed opportunities and its joyful surprises. It marks the entry of a brilliant new talent.
WE NEVER ASKED FOR WINGS
By: Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Published: August 18, 2015
Publisher: Ballantine Books
I LOVED LOVED LOVED Diffenbaugh’s first book THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS (see my review, HERE) and have been
patiently waiting for her next book.
For fourteen years, Letty Espinosa has worked three jobs around San Francisco to make ends meet while her mother raised her children—Alex, now fifteen, and Luna, six—in their tiny apartment on a forgotten spit of wetlands near the bay. But now Letty’s parents are returning to Mexico, and Letty must step up and become a mother for the first time in her life.
Navigating this new terrain is challenging for Letty, especially as Luna desperately misses her grandparents and Alex, who is falling in love with a classmate, is unwilling to give his mother a chance. Letty comes up with a plan to help the family escape the dangerous neighborhood and heartbreaking injustice that have marked their lives, but one wrong move could jeopardize everything she’s worked for and her family’s fragile hopes for the future.
WHITE COLLAR GIRL
By: Renee Rosen
To Be Published: November 3, 2015
I haven’t read any of Renee Rosen’s books, but from what I hear, I’ve been missing out. I love the 50’s era and think this one will be a hit!
Every second of every day, something is happening. There’s a story out there buried in the muck, and Jordan Walsh, coming from a family of esteemed reporters, wants to be the one to dig it up. But it’s 1955, and the men who dominate the city room of the Chicago Tribune have no interest in making room for a female cub reporter. Instead Jordan is relegated to society news, reporting on Marilyn Monroe sightings at the Pump Room and interviewing secretaries for the White Collar Girl column.
Even with her journalistic legacy and connections to luminaries like Mike Royko, Nelson Algren, and Ernest Hemingway, Jordan struggles to be taken seriously. Of course, that all changes the moment she establishes a secret source inside Mayor Daley’s office and gets her hands on some confidential information. Now careers and lives are hanging on Jordan’s every word. But if she succeeds in landing her stories on the front page, there’s no guarantee she’ll remain above the fold.
SUMMER AT HIDEAWAY KEY
By: Barbara Davis
Published: August 4, 2015
Secrets. Beach cottage. Romance. Sounds like a good book to me!
Pragmatic, independent Lily St. Claire has never been a beachgoer. But when her late father leaves her a small house on Hideaway Key—one neither her mother nor she knew he owned—she’s determined to visit the sleepy spit of land along Florida’s Gulf Coast. Expecting a quaint cottage, Lily instead finds a bungalow with peeling shutters and mountains of memorabilia. She also catches a glimpse of the architect who lives down the beach….
But it’s the carton of old journals in the front room that she finds most intriguing. The journals were written by her mother’s sister, an infamous beauty whose name has long been banned from the St. Claire home. The journals tell a family tale Lily has never heard, of her mother and her aunt as young girls in Tennessee and the secrets that followed them into adulthood. As she reads, Lily gains a new understanding: about her family and about herself. And she begins to open her heart—to this place, these people, and the man next door. But can she ever truly learn to trust, to believe that love is not a trap but a harbor? And is it true that hearts, even broken ones, can be forged anew?
A PLACE WE KNEW WELL
By: Susan Carol McCarthy
To Be Published: September 29, 2015
More historical fiction, which you know is my favorite. I’ve never read anything set during this part in our history so I’m very intrigued.
For 13 days in October 1962, the world held its breath—seemingly on the brink of nuclear war. Set against the backdrop of Cold War panic and politics, this enthralling novel tells the intimate and human story of a family whose own hearts are at war.
For the Avery family, the dark days of the Cuban Missile Crisis mark a turning point in their lives which will shape and forever change them. McCarthy captures pitch-perfectly the panic, tension, insanity and innocence of the time. The Avery family forms the emotional center of the novel, as their world starts to unravel during the heart-stopping buildup to the Cuban Missile Crisis.
By WM Paul Young
To Be Published: September 15, 2015
Publisher: Howard Books
I found THE SHACK to be a fascinating story and one that will make you think. Do I believe Young’s view of Jesus? No, but you don’t have to, to appreciate the story. I can’t wait to read his take on Adam and Eve!
When a shipping container washes ashore on an island between our world and the next, John the Collector finds a young woman inside–broken, frozen, and barely alive. With the aid of Healers and Scholars, John oversees her recovery and soon discovers her genetic code connects her to every known human race. She is a girl of prophecy and no one can guess what her survival will mean…
No one but Eve, Mother of the Living, who calls her daughter and invites her to witness the truth about her story–indeed, the truth about us all.
Eve is a bold, unprecedented exploration of the Creation narrative, true to the original texts and centuries of scholarship, yet with breathtaking discoveries that challenge traditional misconceptions about who we are and how we’re made. As The Shack awakened readers to a personal, non-religious understanding of God, Eve will free us from faulty interpretations that have corrupted human relationships since the Garden of Eden.
Eve opens a refreshing conversation about the equality of men and women within the context of our beginnings, helping us see each other as our Creator does–complete, unique, and not constrained to cultural rules or limitations.
Thoroughly researched and exquisitely written, Eve is a masterpiece that will inspire readers for generations to come.
TOO BLESSED TO BE STRESSED COOKBOOK
By: Debora Coty
To Be Published: November 1, 2015
Publisher: Barbour Books
I enjoy Debora Coty’s writing and when I saw this book, I was anxious to read it, which I already have. I’ll be reviewing it soon along with a couple of the recipes. Just like the description says, they are all simple, quick, and easy to prepare.
Feeling overwhelmed by life’s daily demands? Could you use some encouragement and inspiration in the kitchen? The Too Blessed to Be Stressed Cookbook to the rescue! Each of the 100-plus recipes can be prepared in 20 minutes or less, plus you’ll encounter some fabulous tips and suggestions as well as funny foodie quotes, scripture selections, humorous stories of cooking misadventures, and more, along the way. Recipes are arranged into 4 categories–Heart-Healthy, Soul-Fed, Time-Wise, and Company-Happy–and are accompanied by appealing full-color photographs. You’ll cheer as you soak up the joy Debora M. Coty brings into your life and home!
100 Ingenious Recipes that Make the Whole Famliy Happy, Including You
By: Katie Workman
Published: August 18, 2015
Publisher: Workman Publishing
Format: Paperback, Signed Copy
I was part of an early test group that received a few recipes from the book before the publishing date. We were asked to try them and of course, share about them on social media. I tried her One Skillet Chicken Alfredo and the whole family loved it. It was quick, easy, and delicious. So, I was thrilled to find out I was going to receive a signed copy of the cookbook. Look for me to share my review on it soon!
Expanding on one of the most popular features of the first cookbook, her ingenious “Fork in the Road” recipe solution, which makes it so easy to turn one dish into two or more, Katie shows you how Asian Spareribs can start mild and sweet for less adventurous eaters—and then, in no time, become a zesty second version for spice lovers. She shakes up the usual chicken for dinner with Chicken Tikka Masala-ish—and feeds vegetarians, too, by offering a fork where cauliflower is used in place of the chicken. Fettuccine with Shrimp and Asparagus is a blueprint for seven other easy mix-and-match pasta dinner combinations. Crostini for breakfast—truly an aha! idea—can go sweet or savory, pleasing both types of morning eaters. Have all the ingredients on hand? Make the insanely delicious Chocolate Carrot Cake. Missing chocolate? Don’t run out to the store—the basic Carrot Cake is just as satisfying.
Katie’s voice is funny and wry, and completely reassuring. Stunning full-color photographs show every dish. The result: no more cranky eaters, no more dinner table strife, no more unsure or stressed-out cook.
15 VERSES TO PRAY FOR YOUR HUSBAND
By: Elizabeth George
Published: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
I’m trying to increase my prayer life and this book jumped out at me.
Your prayers for your husband are a priceless gift, a special show of support that lets him know you care about him, desire God’s best for him, and love him deeply.
In 15 Verses to Pray for Your Husband you’ll discover key Bible passages you can use as a springboard for lifting your husband up to God. Praying the Scriptures is especially powerful because you are actually praying what God desires for your spouse. Praying in this way will…bring deeper unity to your marriage relationship, sharpen your awareness of God’s work in your husband’s life, and give your husband a confident assurance you’re on his side.
As you draw closer to God, you’ll draw closer to your husband as well. You’ll both be spiritually enriched and encouraged as you make it a habit to ask for God’s guidance in your partner’s life.
A Year of Inspiration for the Mind, Body, and Spirit
By: Dani DiPirro
Published: August 18, 2015
Publisher: Watkins Publishing
Format: Spiral Bound Book
I have been using this same calendar designed by Dani DiPirro of PositivelyPresent.com. I had no hesitation to order her next one for 2016. I love all her quotes and themes for each month. To see my review of last year’s calendar, click HERE.
By: Andy Weir
Published: February 11, 2014
Publisher: Broadway Books
This is book is being raved about all over social medias and blogs. The movie, starring Matt Damon, comes out October 2, 2015, so if you want to read the book before you see the movie, get it now! I snagged it for just $1.99 on Kindle. This isn’t my typical type of read, but I’m trusting all my book bloggers friends and expecting to love it.
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him & forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded & completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—& even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—& a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?
THE MILL RIVER RECLUSE
By: Darcie Chan
Published: May 18, 2011
This has been on my to-read list and it is just $2.99 (for now) on Kindle. So, I snagged it. I love the random-act-of-kindness piece to this story.
Disfigured by the blow of an abusive husband, and suffering her entire life with severe social anxiety disorder, the widow Mary McAllister spends almost sixty years secluded in a white marble mansion overlooking the town of Mill River, Vermont.
Her links to the outside world are few: the mail, the media, an elderly priest with a guilty habit of pilfering spoons, and a bedroom window with a view of the town below.
Most longtime residents of Mill River consider the marble house and its occupant peculiar, though insignificant, fixtures. An arsonist, a covetous nurse, and the endearing village idiot are among the few who have ever seen Mary.
Newcomers to Mill River — a police officer and his daughter and a new fourth grade teacher — are also curious about the reclusive old woman. But only Father Michael O’Brien knows Mary and the secret she keeps — one that, once revealed, will change all of their lives forever.
THE FUNERAL DRESS
By: Susan Gregg Gilmore
Published: September 3, 2013
Publisher: Broadway Books
I know many readers love Gilmore’s books. This is one I already had on my to-read list and for just $1.99 on Kindle, I decided to snag it.
Emmalee Bullard and her new baby are on their own. Or so she thinks, until Leona Lane, the older seamstress who sat by her side at the local shirt factory where both women worked as collar makers, insists Emmalee come and live with her. Just as Emmalee prepares to escape her hardscrabble life in Red Chert holler, Leona dies tragically. Grief-stricken, Emmalee decides she’ll make Leona’s burying dress, but there are plenty of people who don’t think the unmarried Emmalee should design a dress for a Christian woman – or care for a child on her own. But with every stitch, Emmalee struggles to do what is right for her daughter and to honor Leona the best way she can, finding unlikely support among an indomitable group of seamstresses and the town’s funeral director. In a moving tale exploring Southern spirit and camaraderie among working women, a young mother will compel a town to become a community.
DAVE THE BRAVE SAWFISH
I obviously have a lot of reading ahead of me! Be sure to let me know if you read any of these great books or if you have heard about a book that you think I would love!