Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Quick Lit: Mini Reviews of Some Recent Reads - August Edition



I'm trying to read more books that I choose for my own reading enjoyment. Not for review, but because I've been wanting to read them or they caught my attention. Most of them have been talked about ad nauseam or have been on my to-read list for a long time so they don't really need a full review. But, I'd still like to give them some space here on the blog.

I'll be linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy and her monthly Quick Lit link up. Be sure to head over to see others link up their Quick Lit posts. 

Right now audio books are a great way for me to read the books I've been wanting to read. I either get them through the Bridges account through my library or I purchase them on Audible. It's a great way to always have a book on hand!


By: Kelly Corrigan
Published: January 8, 2008
Publisher: Hachette Books
Format: Audio Book

I listened to this book on audio and it held my attention all the way through. The author doesn't read it, but I felt like she was. The narrator was sincere and easy to listen to. 

Corrigan shares stories of growing up as her dad's "Lovey". She is the quintessential "Daddy's Girl" even as an adult woman who lives all the way across the country. After becoming a mom to two delightful girls, the author finds out she has breast cancer. Even though this is a big part of the book, it doesn't overshadow the love she shares as a wife, mother, and especially a daughter. When her father is diagnosed, the third time, with cancer while she is going through her own cancer treatment, her view of life changes. But again, it is a lovely memoir of a daughter, wife, and mother going through the stages of life and all those lessons that appear more vivid as we look back on them. She's a great writer who is honest, witty, and real. Just when I was thinking, "I can't believe she said that!", the author would say, "I know I can't believe I said that either." Lots of Aha moments and life-altering events to identify with. 


By: Hope Jahren
Published: April 5, 2016
Publisher: Knopf
Format: Audio Book

This book kept popping up on my radar through book podcasts or on blogs that I regularly read. This told me I would probably like it. So, after purchasing a subscription to Audible due to a great deal, this book was my first purchase. 

I love nature and plants, even though I don't have the greenest thumb like my mom does. I still enjoy caring for my plants, trees, and flowers. I actually cried last summer when we had to cut down our beloved tree of 13 years. Thankfully, we have since planted a new one to replace it. Trees, plants, and flowers have always been a part of my life and I was hoping this book would stir up my love of plants and it did. Hope Jahren narrates her own book, sometimes with so much emotion, that I cried along with her. She went to college for literature, but her father was a scientist and had his own lab at the college. She was meant to have her own lab and through many toils and troubles and heartache, she did finally get her own lab. 

Her story is depressing at times and she admittedly has some issues with mental illness. But, her stories of becoming a mother and her research into a tiny seed and what she learned from it were emotional and fascinating. She is a slower narrator, so I listened at a faster speed which seemed to help me in the beginning. Pick this up if you love nature or personal stories of someone working hard to reach their goals. 


By: Faye Porter
Published: April 15, 2013
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Format: Hardcover

I purchased this book right when it came out and have skimmed it a few times since then. But this week I decided to actually dig in and read it and try out a recipe. I was attracted to this book because of the cover and the illusion of good ol' family recipes....handed down from generations. Our family has many such recipes, but I grew up watching my mom make these recipes, not my grandma as she passed away before I was born. This book made me wish I had known her.

Porter first wrote AT MY GRANDMOTHER'S KNEE and I'm thinking I have to check this one out too. Just reading through the recipes and stories take me back in time and make me want to just cook for my family all day long. I decided to try making Mammy's Southern Fried Chicken and Cream Gravy.  It took me 1 1/2 hours and I made it ahead in the afternoon and just kept the chicken warm in the crock pot til supper. It was more time and effort than I normally put into cooking a meal, but I enjoyed the process and of course, eating it. It was delicious and the best part was my husband said it tasted like his mom's. 

Other recipes that are tempting me include Babe's Sunday Morning Flapjacks, Banana Butterscotch Bread, Nana's Ham and Cheesies, Baked Beans A La Mimi, and Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie to name a few. There were also several recipes that are part of our family favorites as well and we aren't "Southern" but reminded me how much I love those simple family recipes. These Southern recipes are for anyone that loves home cooking no matter what part of the country you live in. Even though not every recipe includes a photo, I did love all the photos of Grandmas and their grandchildren as well as their stories.

   


These reviews are my honest opinion. If you choose to purchase a book through the above links, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting SincerelyStacie.com. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Children's Book Review: Two Books to Get Your Child Ready for School

KISSES FOR KINDERGARTEN

By: Livingstone Crouse

Illustrated by: Macky Pamintuan

Published: June 13, 2017

Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books

Fiction/Picture Book

Stella Isabella Harden has decided she doesn't need to go to school. She can get everything that she would learn at Kindergarten by staying home and playing school with her dog Buster. Stella and Buster are the best of friends and do everything together. Until the end of the day when Stella wants to read a story to Buster but doesn't know how. Maybe going to Kindergarten wouldn't be so bad.

Stella and her dog, Buster, are adorable and their joy seeps off the pages. The words are written in a rhyming scheme and the kids will be able to notice them which is good for early literacy. In fact, some of them are quite clever.

"When snack time came, a little later
Stella thought her educator
would fancy sipping cups of tea.
Yet that was simply not to be."

The artist's illustrations are precise, vibrant, and show all the emotions whether it is coming from Stella or Buster. A non-reader would be able to understand the story just by looking at the pictures that fill the whole page. There is no doubt Stella is a happy child and has a lovable dog as a pet. 



The theme of the book is also perfect for calming a child's fear about the first day of Kindergarten. The best part of Stella's day are the kisses she gets from Buster when she gets home!


Silver Dolphin Books is offering a KISSES FOR KINDERGARTEN prize pack complete with a signed copy of the book, a plush golden retriever, and a playtime wand. 

To enter, you'll need to (1) like our Instagram account and (2) tag a friend. All entries must be submitted by August 16th, midnight PST. The prize pack winner will be announced on August 17th. AND as an added bonus, we'll select 5 additional winners to receive a signed copy of the book! One entry per person. US residents only.

Livingstone Crouse has spent the last 20 years either selling, editing, or writing books for children. He's even done all three at once! So recently he decided he'd focus entirely on writing the kinds of books he likes to read, books in verse that are filled with heart, word-play, and lots of laughs. Books like this one. Livingstone lives in a large, 200-year old farmhouse in New York's Hudson Valley with his husband and a dog named Kat. (And you can be fairly certain that Livingstone Crouse is not his real name. But don't tell anyone!)

Macky Pamintuan was born and raised in Davao, a city in the southern Philippines. As a young child, drawing was his favorite pastime and an activity that brought him delight and satisfaction. Early on, his parents discovered that giving him paper and pencil was a sure way to keep him busy, quiet, and out of trouble. He still remembers the day when he successfully drew Mickey Mouse and Superman, a huge breakthrough and a sweet triumph. He moved to San Francisco at age 21 and in 1998 enrolled at the Academy of Art College to pursue illustration. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in December 2003. When not illustrating, Macky enjoys playing basketball, his other true passion.
To purchase a copy of KISSES FOR KINDERGARTEN, click the photo below:
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS
WEIRD BUT TRUE DAILY PLANNER
365 Days to Fill with School, Sports, Friends, and Fun
Published: June 13, 2017
Publisher: National Geographic Kids
Non-Fiction/Planner

I am a planner geek! I love planners, making lists, and keeping track of my schedule. If I was 10 again, I would be ALL OVER THIS BOOK!
First of all, this planner is covered in a heavy cardboard, but the inside is spiral bound so it will lay flat and hold up to your child taking it in and out of his locker or school bag. Your child can fill in their class schedule in the beginning pages. Then at the start of each month, there is a space for planning out goals. In our school, students have to set goals with their teacher, whether it involves reading or math or behavior. This is a great spot to work on goals for home or school. Each page holds two days with plenty of space for your child to write down their assignments, practices, and reminders. 

The planner pages also have fun facts throughout the whole planner with many coinciding with the particular holiday or weird "national day". Many of these "weird but true" facts will give your child something to talk to his friends about at school. Did you know it's considered good luck to wear yellow underwear on New Year's Day? In England, black cats are considered good luck. Not bad luck like they are here in the US.


The planner runs August-July but can be adapted for any year since your child just circles the days of the week on the pages. So, this book can work through the summer to keep track of practices and camps and family vacation schedules too. At the end of the book, there are numerous pages considered "homework help". You'll find maps, tips on writing a report, and reminders on how to remember animal classifications. There are also charts for the metric system and multiplication.


Most upper elementary and middle school kids will benefit from the use of a daily planner. Our school requires each student to have one as it is a great way to communicate with parents about what your child has for homework or what papers need to be signed. The only flaw is that this planner doesn't have any pockets for bringing home those papers. But, it's a very minor detail and the rest of the planner is so great I can ignore that.
This would make a great gift for a child starting school. I'll be gifting my copy to a child that will love it!

To purchase a copy of WEIRD BUT TRUE DAILY PLANNER, click the photo below:


I will be linking up this review on Booking Mama's regular Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. This is a place for bloggers to share posts related to children's and YA books. You will find spotlights, reviews, and sometimes even giveaways by clicking HERE, every Saturday.



Thanks to the publishers for sending these books for the purpose of these reviews. These reviews are my honest opinion. If you choose to purchase the books through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting SincerelyStacie.com.  

Monday, August 7, 2017

Book Review: Seven Threads By Jason Atkinson

SEVEN THREADS
A Book of Short Stories

By: Jason Atkinson

Published: July 4, 2017

Publisher: Mascot Books

Fiction/Short Story



Iowa City based author, Jason Atkinson, hasn't always been a reader. Hoping to identify both with those who love novels and those who maybe like reading shorter books, Atkinson has written a collection of seven short stories. Each of these stories involves someone dealing with a troubling situation and human compassion offered to give hope. Since these are short stories, you can read one in a less than an hour. The stories aren't connected so you can read one story at a time without worry of forgetting characters or situations. But, there is a recurring theme of not giving up and there can be a way out for those who are struggling.

These seven stories include a man accused of murdering his friend, a man who was once respected in his community has found himself homeless, a lonely man whose life is changed by a chance meeting in a coffee shop, a scientist who gets involved in a government conspiracy, and a brother who says his final goodbye. But my favorite two stories involved a runaway teenager on a train and a checkout clerk who brings joy to a family at Christmas. Both of these stories left me wanting to know more and elicited emotions from me while reading. Maybe it has to do with my own personal interests or maybe because these two stories felt real to me and the author was spot on in his descriptions.

Since these are all short stories, they are without the details I'm used to in reading longer novels. In these stories, the author gets right to the point without adding any extra information or time between situations. But, the stories still include depth and description to offer the reader emotion and visuals into the character's situation. Since most of these stories offer sadness, the author has to convey these emotions without being too wordy and he does so succinctly. The only story that I felt too rushed and contrived was the scientist story. It didn't seem to go with the rest of the collection and was a bit too unrealistic for me.

Overall, I enjoyed this short story collection because in each story there was a glimmer of hope that the character would recover from their situation. The encouragement and compassion in these stories reminded me to look for those situations in which I can offer empathy to another as I go about my day. 

Jason Atkinson
Jason Atkinson is 32 with a wife of over 10 years and one son, Ian of 17 months. Jason recently published his third book while living in Iowa City, Iowa where he has recently relocated. Originally, Jason was born and raised in the U.K. where he lived until he was 16 and then moved to the United States. 

Jason has written books to help others in their pursuit to become better individuals, both personally and professionally, and also wrote a workbook to help couples achieve a more enjoyable and well-rounded life together. His recent book, however, was written for those that love to read for fun. The book of short stories is full of twists and turns with a sense of inspirational awareness towards other human beings. 

You can always see more and contact Jason directly by going to his website. www.alifeofheart.com 

To purchase a copy of SEVEN THREADS, click the photo below:


Check out this short video of Jason Atkinson talking about his book:




Thanks to the author for sending a copy of his book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to purchase this book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting SincerelyStacie.com. 



Friday, August 4, 2017

Children's Book Review: Time for Kids Big Book of Why Activity Book

THE BIG BOOK OF WHY ACTIVITY BOOK 

Published: July 18, 2017

Publisher: Time for Kids

Non-Fiction

Do your kids need more brain activity during the summer? In our area, we are down to three weeks until school starts. Getting them back in the mode of regular reading and brain work is important and your kids' teachers will thank you.

This activity book will be so fun, your kids won't even feel like it's brain work. They will find fun facts to talk about and then want to complete the puzzles on the pages to learn even more. For example, on one page they will learn about hair follicles and how many we might have on our heads and then on the next page, they will be challenged to draw a head of hair without ever lifting their pencil.

Are you fitting in one more road trip or plane ride this summer? Tuck this Activity book in their bag and know that your child will be kept busy for hours. Plus it is under $7 right now on Amazon! Your kids will learn about humans, space, earth, technology, science, and history and then can complete drawings, mazes, crosswords, unscramble words, do word puzzles, connect the dots, color, and so much more. All while doing these fun puzzles, they are soaking in facts that kids love learning about.

If I haven't convinced you yet, check out these downloadable pages to give you a good preview of the activities and facts packed into this book. Click this LINK. Also, don't worry if your kids (or you) get stumped on a puzzle, the answers are included in the back of the book.



I will be linking up this review on Booking Mama's regular Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. This is a place for bloggers to share posts related to children's and YA books. You will find spotlights, reviews, and sometimes even giveaways by clicking HERE, every Saturday.



Thanks to the publisher for sending this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to purchase the book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting SincerelyStacie.com.  

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Books that Arrived in July 2017



Boy, where did July go? It certainly flew by for me and I'm betting for a lot of you too. I took our daughter school shopping this week and I can't even believe we are starting school in less than three weeks. I WANT MORE SUMMER!!!

I've been really busy at the library this last month finalizing year-end reports and preparing to hire a new director. It's still unreal that we are going through this because my dear friend is gone. It just still isn't real to me. Another friend is moving this weekend and yet another has been diagnosed with breast cancer. It's almost too overwhelming to comprehend. I'm trying to be strong and keep a handle on everything but some days I just want to escape to my porch and avoid all the responsibilities.

No surprise that I didn't get much read last month. I kept up with my children's book reviews every week and read a couple other books, but that's about it. I really want August to slow down because September is when all the activities ramp up again and I'll be starting a long-term sub job. Let's hope I can get some serious reading time in this month!

Currently Reading: READING PEOPLE, GRACE NOT PERFECTION, ORGANIZE YOUR WAY
STILL Reading: SUNSHINE SISTERS, SEVEN THREADS
Currently Listening: LAB GIRL
Up Next:  HOW TO CHANGE A LIFE, LILAC GIRLS (I'm determined to read this book this summer)

If you would like to purchase any of the books below, clicking the photo of the book will take you directly to Amazon. If you choose to purchase the book I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting me.







HOW TO CHANGE A LIFE
By: Stacey Ballis
Published: August 15, 2017
Publisher: Berkley
Format: Paperback

This is the quintessential beach read and sounds fun! 

Eloise is happy with her life as a successful private chef. She has her clients, her corgi, and a recipe for the world's most perfect chocolate cream pie. What more could she need? But when her long-lost trio of high school friends reunites, Eloise realizes how lonely she really is.

Eloise, Lynne, and Teresa revamp their senior-class assignment and dare one another to create a list of things to accomplish by the time they each turn forty in a few months. Control freak Lynne has to get a dog, Teresa has to spice up her marriage, and Eloise has to start dating again.

Enter Shawn, a hunky ex-athlete and the first man Eloise could see herself falling for. Suddenly forty doesn't seem so lonely--until a chance encounter threatens the budding romance and reveals the true colors of her friends. Will the bucket listers make it to forty still speaking to one another? Or do some friendships come with an expiration date?





WITHOUT FEAR OR FAVOR
By: Robert K. Tannebaum
Published: August 15, 2017
Publisher: Gallery Books
Format: Paperback

This book came unsolicited. It really isn't my type of book. I'm not sure if I will give this a shot or not.

In the twenty-ninth novel in the New York Times best-selling Karp-Ciampi series featuring the best fictional prosecuting attorney in literature (Mark Lane, #1 New York Times bestselling author), Butch Karp and his wife Marlene Ciampi must stop a radical organization of armed militants bent on the cold-blooded murder of uniformed on-duty police officers. 

When a cop shoots down the son of a respected inner-city Baptist preacher, the community rises up in anger and demands to have the officer prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But there s something more than a call for justice at work here: a plot to bring down the city s police force through a conspiracy so vast and malicious only Butch Karp and his band of truth-seekers can untangle it. 






READING PEOPLE
How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything
By: Anne Bogel
Published: September 19, 2017
Publisher: Baker Books
Format: eBook

I am thrilled to be a part of the Launch Team for this book. I've started reading it and it has caused me to pause and really think about my own personality. I took the Myers-Brigg quiz and it resoundingly stated I am an ESFJ. So, I've been looking into what that means more and more and I'm blown away by how accurate the information is. Just that information alone has been eye-opening, affirming, and validating to me in so many ways. I think this book is going to be an incredible read. 

If the viral Buzzfeed-style personality quizzes are any indication, we are collectively obsessed with the idea of defining and knowing ourselves and our unique place in the world. But what we're finding is this: knowing which Harry Potter character you are is easy, but actually knowing yourself isn't as simple as just checking a few boxes on an online quiz.

For readers who long to dig deeper into what makes them uniquely them (and why that matters), popular blogger Anne Bogel has done the hard part--collecting, exploring, and explaining the most popular personality frameworks, such as Myers-Briggs, StrengthsFinder, Enneagram, and others. She explains to readers the life-changing insights that can be gained from each and shares specific, practical real-life applications across all facets of life, including love and marriage, productivity, parenting, the workplace, and spiritual life. In her friendly, relatable style, Bogel shares engaging personal stories that show firsthand how understanding personality can revolutionize the way we live, love, work, and pray.





WHAT SHE ATE
Six Remarkable Women & the Food that Tells Their Stories
By: Laura Shapiro
Published: July 25, 2017
Publisher: Viking
Format: Hardcover

I love this idea for a book. I couldn't turn it down! 

Everyone eats, and food touches on every aspect of our lives—social and cultural, personal and political. Yet most biographers pay little attention to people’s attitudes toward food as if the great and notable never bothered to think about what was on the plate in front of them. Once we ask how somebody relates to food, we find a whole world of different and provocative ways to understand her. Food stories can be as intimate and revealing as stories of love, work, or coming-of-age. Each of the six women in this entertaining group portrait was famous in her time, and most are still famous in ours; but until now, nobody has told their lives from the point of view of the kitchen and the table.

It’s a lively and unpredictable array of women; what they have in common with one another (and us) is a powerful relationship with food. They include Dorothy Wordsworth, whose food story transforms our picture of the life she shared with her famous poet brother; Rosa Lewis, the Edwardian-era Cockney caterer who cooked her way up the social ladder; Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady and rigorous protector of the worst cook in White House history; Eva Braun, Hitler’s mistress, who challenges our warm associations of food, family, and table; Barbara Pym, whose witty books upend a host of stereotypes about postwar British cuisine; and Helen Gurley Brown, the editor of Cosmopolitan, whose commitment to “having it all” meant having almost nothing on the plate except a supersized portion of diet gelatin.
 





IT'S NOT YET DARK
A Memoir
By: Simon Fitzmaurice
Published: August 1, 2017
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format: Paperback

I thought about this one for awhile before I accepted it. But, ultimately, I knew I had to read it. One of my all-time favorite books is THE LAST LECTURE by Randy Pausch and it reminds me a bit of that but so much more. 

In 2008, Simon Fitzmaurice was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. He was given four years to live. In 2010, in a state of lung-function collapse, Simon knew with crystal clarity that now was not his time to die. Against all prevailing medical opinion, he chose to ventilate in order to stay alive.
 
In It’s Not Yet Dark, the young filmmaker, a husband, and father of five small children draws us deeply into his inner world. Told in simply expressed and beautifully stark prose, it is an astonishing journey into a life that, though brutally compromised, is lived more fully than most, revealing at its core the potent power love has to carry us through the days.
 
Written using an eye-gaze computer, It's Not Yet Dark is an unforgettable book about relationships and family, about what connects and separates us as people, and, ultimately, about what it means to be alive.



YOUR NO FEAR CAREER
By: Robin Fisher Roffer
Published: May 2, 2017
Publisher: Big Fish Marketing
Format: Paperback

This sounds like it would make a great gift for recent college graduates or anyone starting the workforce.


Business can be alluring, but like the jellyfish, it can also sting. There are demanding clients, bosses who bully, conniving competitors, and people who like to play politics. It seems that fear, mistrust, anxiety, and feeling overwhelmed run through the veins of business leaders at every level.

In her third book, Robin Fisher Roffer reveals the secret to navigating your career fearlessly. With lessons learned from inside the walls of the world's largest media companies, Robin inspires rising executives, business owners and those just starting out to courageously move forward and move up in the face of uncertainty.





SAVING CHARLOTTE
A Mother and the Power of Intuition
By: Pia de Jong
Published: July 11, 2017
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Format: Hardcover

I purchased this with the Amazon Prime Day book coupon. I don't remember where I heard about it, but it is definitely the kind of book I love to read. I truly believe in a Mother's Intuition or Gut Instinct and this mom had it.  

When her newborn daughter Charlotte is diagnosed with a rare and deadly leukemia, Pia and her husband Robbert make a momentous decision: they reject potentially devastating chemotherapy and instead choose to “wait for what will come.” As the following year unfolds, Pia enters a disorienting world of doctors, medical procedures, and a colorful cast of neighbors and protectors in her native Amsterdam. Her seventeenth-century canal house becomes her inner sanctum, a private “cocoon” where she sweeps away distractions in order to give Charlotte the unfiltered love and strength she needs. Pia’s instinctive decision, now known as “watchful waiting,” has become the standard medical protocol for Charlotte’s type of leukemia.

This deeply felt memoir reveals the galvanizing impact one child can have on a family, a neighborhood, and a worldwide medical community. Vivid and immersive, Saving Charlotte is also a portrait of one woman’s brave voyage of love, of hope, and, in its inspiring climax, of self-discovery.






THE SILENT SISTER
By: Diane Chamberlain
Published: October 7, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Format: eBook

This was a Kindle Daily Deal and you can't pass up a Diane Chamberlain book on a Daily Deal!

In The Silent Sister, Riley MacPherson has spent her entire life believing that her older sister Lisa committed suicide as a teenager. Now, over twenty years later, her father has passed away and she's in New Bern, North Carolina cleaning out his house when she finds evidence to the contrary. Lisa is alive. Alive and living under a new identity. But why exactly was she on the run all those years ago, and what secrets are being kept now? As Riley works to uncover the truth, her discoveries will put into question everything she thought she knew about her family. Riley must decide what the past means for her present, and what she will do with her newfound reality.




WHERE THE LIGHT FALLS
A Novel of the French Revolution
By: Allison Pataki and Owen Pataki
Published: July 11, 2017
Publisher: The Dial Press
Format: Hardcover

This came in my Page Habit monthly subscription. I chose Historical Fiction for my category and have gotten two books that I've never heard of and both sound extremely interesting. The best part is that the books have the author's notes all the way through them. THIS is the book I received last month. 

From the courtrooms to the battlefields to the alleyways of Paris, with cameos from infamous figures in French history, the Patakis have crafted an epic, action-packed novel of the French Revolution as it has never been seen before. Three years after the storming of the Bastille, Paris is enlivened with the ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity. The monarchy has been dismantled and a new nation, for the people, is rising up in its place. Jean-Luc, a young optimistic lawyer, moves his wife, Marie, and their son to Paris, inspired by a sense of duty to contribute to the new order. André, the son of a former nobleman, flees his privileged past to fight in the unified French Army with his roguish brother. Sophie, a beautiful young aristocratic widow, and niece of a powerful, vindictive uncle, embarks on her own fight for independence.

Underneath the glimmer of hope and freedom, chaos threatens to undo all the progress of the revolution and the lives of these compatriots become inextricably linked. As the demand for justice breeds instability, creates enemies out of compatriots, and fuels a constant thirst for blood in the streets, Jean-Luc, Andre, and Sophie are forced to question the sacrifices made for the revolution. Liberty proves a fragile, fleeting ideal, and survival seems less and less likely—both for these unforgettable individuals and indeed for the new nation itself.








OUR STORY BEGINS
Your Favorite Authors and Illustrators Share Fun, Inspiring, and Occasionally Ridiculous Things They Wrote and Drew as Kids
Edited by: Elissa Brent Weissman
Published: July 4, 2017
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover

This may be my favorite book in the stack this month. I can't wait to read this one!

From award-winning author Elissa Brent Weissman comes a collection of quirky, smart, and vulnerable childhood works by some of today’s foremost children’s authors and illustrators—revealing young talent, the storytellers they would one day become, and the creativity they inspire today.

Everyone’s story begins somewhere…

For Linda Sue Park, it was a trip to the ocean, a brand-new typewriter, and a little creative license.
For Jarrett J. Krosoczka, it was a third-grade writing assignment that ignited a creative fire in a kid who liked to draw.
For Kwame Alexander, it was a loving poem composed for Mother’s Day—and perfected through draft after discarded draft.
For others, it was a teacher, a parent, a beloved book, a word of encouragement. It was trying and failing, and trying again. It was a love of words, and pictures, and stories.

Your story is beginning, too. Where will it go?
 






OH SUSANNAH: Things That Go Bump
By: Carole P. Roman
Illustrated by: Mateya Arkova
Published: July 11, 2017
Publisher: Chelshire, Inc
Format: Paperback

I'm a huge fan of Roman's books and this new chapter book series looks awesome!

Susannah Maya Logan is not having a good day. She doesn't want to go to her best friend, Lola's sleepover. Susannah thinks the house is big and spooky, not to mention the ghost that is said to live there. Lola's big brother, Kai, loves to tease Susannah with scary stories. 

Throughout her day, she sees people deal with things that scare them. Her sight-impaired friend, Macy, is terrified of unicorns, of all things. She sees a boy at a party who's frightened of clowns. Her teacher is afraid of getting a cold. Susannah realizes everybody is scared of something. She wishes she was more like Lola, who is not afraid of anything, or so it seems. 

Susannah discovers people have different ideas of what is scary and what is not, and only they can determine the difference. 

Join Susannah as she learns to confront her fears and not let her imagination prevent her from having fun.






OH SUSANNAH: It's in the Bag
By: Carole P. Roman
Illustrated by: Mateya Arkova
Published: April 24, 2017
Publisher: Chelshire, Inc
Format: Paperback

From award-winning author, Carole P. Roman comes a new chapter book featuring Susannah Logan, a young student having a very bad day. 

It all begins with homework trouble and an invitation to a sleepover that she doesn’t want to go to. Would you want to go to a sleepover in a creepy house? Rather than dealing with her problems, Susannah stuffs them into her backpack. But how much can a backpack take? Will she be able to confront her worries before the backpack bursts? Or will she just continue to hide them away? 
Join Susannah and her friends in this story sure to charm busy young readers everywhere.






IF YOU WERE ME AND LIVED IN...CUBA
By: Carole P. Roman
Illustrated by: Kelsea Wierenga
Published: June 6, 2017
Publisher: Chelshire, Inc
Format: Paperback

One of my favorite read-to-learn series for kids! I always learn something while reading these books!

Join Carole P. Roman when she visits the exciting island of Cuba in the newest book of her informative series. Learn about the varied customs and cultures. Travel to the Caribbean to discover what you would eat and do for fun. See the country through the eyes of a youngster like you and understand what life is like in this exciting place. 





KISSES FOR KINDERGARTEN
By: Livingstone Crouse
Illustrated by: Macky Pamintuan
Published: June 1, 2017
Publisher: Silver Dolphin
Format: Hardcover Picture Book

This is the perfect book to quell those First Day of School jitters.

Stella Isabella Harden
contemplating kindergarten
declared she didn't have to go,
because her puppy told her so.


School is about to begin, and Stella Isabella Harden decides that kindergarten just isn't for her. Instead, she decides to spend the day learning from her puppy named Buster. Together these two adventurers plan a day full of playtime, tea time, naptime, and story time. After every "lesson," Stella gets the best reward: a kiss from her best friend and favorite puppy. But will she change her mind about kindergarten before the first day of school? Join Stella and Buster in this lyrical read-aloud and heartwarming story about growing up.






DUCK AND HIPPO: Lost and Found
By: Jonathan London
Illustrated by: Andrew Joyner
Published: August 15, 2017
Publisher: Two Lions
Format: Hardcover Picture Book

I reviewed the first in the DUCK AND HIPPO series a few months ago. From the author of the FROGGY books, this one looks just as fun!

Duck and Hippo have a picnic and a new adventure!

Duck and Hippo invite their friends Turtle, Elephant, and Pig to a picnic at their favorite pond. Yippee! It’s time to dance and sing, swim and eat. Everyone brings goodies to share…except Hippo. He didn’t bring ANYTHING. So Hippo sets off into the forest to find some berries. But he is gone a long time, and Duck begins to worry that Hippo is lost. What should his friends do to find him? Join Duck and Hippo on another fun adventure!
 






NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS WEIRD BUT TRUE! DAILY PLANNER
365 Days to fill with School, Sports, Friends, and Fun
Published: June 13, 2017
Publisher: National Geographic Kids
Format: Spiral Bound Paperback

Oh my gosh, my planner-loving-self thinks I would have loved this planner as a kid. I think I'll be gifting it to my niece for her birthday this month!

Prepare to be amazed each day with weird-but-true facts that will impress your friends and stump your parents. Turn the page and record your school work, keep track of activities, and plan your social life, all while learning wild and wacky things about the world around you!

Fun prompts invite you to celebrate weirdness. Plus there are homework help sections and tons of space to write or doodle your daily schedule any way you wish. With beautiful full-color artwork and engaging information and activities, this is the must-have planner. It's a great way to stand out from the crowd!






NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS UNITED STATES ATLAS
Fifth Edition
Published: July 11, 2017
Publisher: National Geographic Kids
Format: Paperback

This atlas is something every household should have. Yes, you can "google" countries and see maps, but having one in your hands along with interesting facts is great for all those upcoming school projects or when you child hears a country on the news and wants to know where it is. Just tell them to check the atlas!

Kids will have fun learning about every U.S. state in this amazing atlas, packed with maps, stats, facts, and pictures. National Geographic's world-renowned cartographers have paired up with education experts to create maps of the 50 states, U.S. territories, and Washington, D.C., that pinpoint the physical features, capitals, and towns and cities of each state. Discover the latest data and trends along with colorful photography of each state and the people who live there.

Key points reflect the latest information about land and water, people, and places. Lively essays cover each region of the country. Eight specially themed maps on nature, population, energy, climate, and more, delve deeper into key issues. State birds and state flags add to the high visual interest. This is a great reference for home and school with all the basics kids need to know to succeed in middle school, high school, and beyond.



There are some really awesome books that I am super excited about in this list. I am really hoping I can find time to read. The good thing is I have a trip to Colorado at the end of the month. Twelve hours each way should give me plenty of reading time....if I don't fall asleep!

As always, be sure to let me know what you are reading or what has piqued your interest from my list!



I'm linking up with THE DELIBERATE READER for her monthly feature NEW ON THE STACK. To see other bloggers new books from July, click HERE.