Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Update on My Reading Challenges for 2017

In January I wrote about the two Reading Challenges I was going to work on in 2017. Both to help me read books off my shelf and to challenge me in my reading a bit. One is hosted by our local library and the other is hosted by MODERN MRS. DARCY.

I thought I'd give an update on which books I have read to fit the challenges so far.

Van Horne Library Reading Challenge
Read a book....
1. With a color in the title 
2. That has a war as a setting - THE ORPHAN'S TALE
3. A biography or autobiography - A MOTHER'S RECKONING
4. That is a classic or National Book Award winner - 
5. That was written by an Iowan 
6. You haven't read since you were in school - ANNE OF GREEN GABLES
7. Set somewhere you'd like to visit 
8. Under 150 pages - SHACKLES FROM THE DEEP
9.That was made into a movie
10. About a culture you are unfamiliar with
11. Published in 2017 - A BRIDGE ACROSS THE OCEAN
12. About books

Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge
Reading for Fun
1. a book you chose for the cover - THE GARDEN OF SMALL BEGINNINGS
2. a book with a reputation for being un-put-down-able 
3. a book set somewhere you've never been but would like to visit 
4. a book you've already read - ANNE OF GREEN GABLES
5. a juicy memoir - 
6. a book about books or reading
7. a book in a genre you usually avoid - ONE MINUTE MENTORING (business)
8. a book you don't want to admit you're dying to read - THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP
9. a book in the backlist of a new favorite author
10. a book recommended by someone with great taste
11. a book you were excited to buy or borrow but haven't read yet
12. a book about a topic or subject you already love - I WILL ALWAYS WRITE BACK (letter writing)

So, I've got 10 categories knocked off the list of 24. Not too bad. I'm hoping to cross off a lot more this summer! Are you doing any reading challenges this year? How is your challenge going?

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

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Summer Brings Joy and Sadness

Today begins the glorious days of summer for our family. This year we have a bountiful 88 days of summer. Now, of course, a good number of those days include drumline practice, cross country runs, and other various camps. But, for the most part, we have a pretty low-key summer ahead of us. I can't wait. I miss reading for hours and lounging on the back porch. I miss listening to the birds chirping and smelling the flowers. I miss cool summer evenings with friends and nights around the bonfire.  I can't wait to experience all the joys of summer with my family.

Unfortunately, the joy is surrounded with sadness. This week, I was shattered by the news that my dear friend, Patrice had died suddenly. She was one of the first people I met when we moved to this small town 13+ years ago and we became fast friends. She was also our town librarian, so, of course, we had lots to talk about. Last night at her wake, my husband and I waited in line for two hours to greet the family and pay our respects. There were just as many people waiting when we left as when we arrived. The love for this beautiful friend of mine was wide and true. She will be deeply missed.

I used to give storytime at our library with Patrice and this photo is from one of our Halloween storytimes. It reminds me that she was always up for anything and had a deep love for children. My heart literally aches knowing I won't see her smiling face down the street or sitting at the library desk when I walk in. As a member of the library board, we are slowly trying to acclimate ourselves to the running of the library. This has changed my summer a bit as I am helping with the day to day operations of the library until a new director can be hired. It has been difficult to be in the library, but I know she would want us to keep the ship running smoothly. That's what we'll do!

Yesterday was the last day of school. Next year, for the first time, all three of our kids will be in the same building. I'll have a 7th, 11th, and 12th grader. Oh, my! With graduation looming ahead, I hope to knock out some projects related to graduation this summer. The kids and I leave June 5 for DC/NYC with the high school band and choir. Long days and many miles will be exhilarating and exhausting. I haven't been to DC since I was a child and to NYC for several years. I'm excited to experience it with my fellow band/choir moms and our kids.

Of course, I am also super excited about my summer reading list. Stop by next week to see what's ahead for my summer reading!

May your summer be full of flowers, books, birds, and laughter. Don't forget that life is short and friendships fill your heart. Take a moment today to text or call your friends and let them know you love them!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Children's Book Review: The Back to Front World of Azzie Artbuckle By Beth Montgomery


By: Beth Montgomery

Published: January 31, 2017

Publisher: Your Stories Matter


Azzie Artbuckle is quite a talented artist and loves to create things. But, what she doesn't love is reading. Every Sunday, Azzie dreads having to go back to school because she just doesn't like reading and spelling words. It seems to be so much more difficult for her compared to her friends.

Azzie expresses her frustration through the pages of this book and as someone who works in the school system, her feelings are very common. Her friends tire of waiting for her to read out loud and it takes her hours to do her homework when it takes her friends 20 minutes. Finally, Azzie's mom takes her to the doctor and a diagnosis changes Azzie's life forever.

Since Azzie is an artist, the pages of this book are full of creative, multi-media images that make Azzie's mixed up letters pop off the page. The author makes the child feel like they are truly reading and seeing Azzie's story.  Even though Azzie is British and calls her mom, "Mum" and talks about having tea, children anywhere will identify with her frustrations and struggles with school. This book is written for younger elementary-aged kids. All of the books from this imprint should definitely be in counseling offices and reading recovery rooms in schools across the country. I'll be donating my copy to our elementary school counselor.

The new imprint, Your Stories Matter, is publishing children's book to help kids realize that whatever they are struggling with, they are not alone. Whether their diagnosis is Asperger's, ADD, Dyslexia, or Autism, these books are giving them a voice. The books shown above are also part of the Your Stories Matter imprint and are written for younger elementary. For more about all these stories, check out the website, HERE.

Beth Montgomery - source

Beth Montgomery wasn't diagnosed with dyslexia until she was 37 years old. That did not stop her from adding a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University and a Nursing degree from the University of Nottingham.
After stints as a teacher and a shoe designer, she became a qualified nurse and now looks after patients with Alzheimer’s disease in a Nottingham care home. Beth Montgomery wrote and illustrated THE BACK TO FRONT WORLD OF AZZIE ARTBUCKLE

To purchase a copy of THE BACK TO FRONT WORLD OF AZZIE ARTBUCKLE, 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 publisher for sending a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to purchase the 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. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Book Review: One Minute Mentoring By Ken Blanchard and Claire Diaz-Ortiz

How to Find and Work with a Mentor - and Why You'll Benefit from Being One

By: Ken Blanchard and Claire Diaz-Ortiz

Published: May 2, 2017

Publisher: William Morrow


I have never worked in the business world, instead, I worked in human service and education. I never had a mentor in that form of the word, but I did have people I could go to for advice, like fellow counselors in my office and people that worked in similar agencies as myself. But, I was never assigned a mentor or sought one out during my work as a social worker. As a substitute teacher, I am kind of an outsider. I just come in once in awhile and fill-in. But, within our district and in the state of Iowa, there is a teacher leadership program that uses teacher leaders and mentors within the district and through their education agency to offer mentoring to new and seasoned teachers. I've seen the changes in our own district over the last few years from that program and believe it has offered numerous benefits to staff and students.

In ONE MINUTE MENTORING, the authors take a fictional scenario and make it a realistic example of a mentor/mentee relationship. Blanchard, a management expert and well-known author, and Diaz-Ortiz, named on of the 100 Most Influential People in Business by Fast Company, join together to share the importance of being a mentor and being mentored. By offering the example of an overworked and stressed executive and a underachieving sales associate, many of us can identify with their struggles. This book shares how the two of them could help each other find a new passion in their careers and maybe offer some insight to inspire each of us to reach our highest potential.

As someone who hasn't worked in the business world, I was afraid I couldn't relate to the stories shared in this "parable of two employees". But, I did and found it offered me a new way to see my role as a member of the school staff, a member of the numerous boards I am on, and as a member of my community. Realizing that mentors don't have to be in the same field as the person they are mentoring was eye-opening. I assumed teachers have to mentor teachers, but not necessarily. Thinking about our own children and the paths that lie ahead of them as they approach college and careers, I hope they can find someone to offer insights and advice. Someone they can call, have lunch with, email, or check in with that will support them in a different way than a parent, co-worker, or boss would.

This book offered a simple approach to the idea of mentoring and was a very quick read, reading it in just a couple hours. If I was an employer, I would be handing this over to every new employee and making it their first assignment. Then helping them make connections to find a mentor in their life.

Ken Blanchard, Ph.D. - source
Ken Blanchard is the chief Spiritual Officer of the Ken Blanchard Companies, and a highly sought-after author, speaker, and business consultant. He is the author of over fifty books. For more, check out his website, HERE.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz - source
One of the first employees of Twitter, author, speaker, and businesswoman. For more check out her website, HERE.

To purchase a copy of ONE MINUTE MENTORING, click the photo below:

Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this 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. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Life Here in Our Corner of the World

Patrick in Lane 1

Thanks to those of you who wished us luck and offered good wishes for Patrick's trip to the Iowa State Track Meet. It was quite the experience and one I'm sure he will never forget. Even though he didn't run his best race ever, he ran on that famous blue oval and had a blast.

He finished 21st in 3A in 10:10.45 which is a great time. I have no doubt his Cross Country and Track season next year will be full of success.

This week closes out the 2016/2017 school year for us. After this week, our focus will shift towards preparing for graduation and college for Patrick. We have numerous college visits to fit in this summer. We need to start looking at scholarship applications. I have a HUGE project list of items to work on in preparation for Patrick's graduation party. I am sure many of you are thinking...um...that is a year away. But, if I am anywhere as close as busy next school year as I was this year, I have to do as much as I can this summer. Thankfully, I have a pretty light summer. I will be joining the band/choir students on their trip to DC/NYC in early June and then after that, I'm free to run my own schedule pretty much. After last summer of the major house remodel taking over our lives, I am frankly, quite thrilled to have a peaceful, relaxing summer.

Yesterday, we watched many special students graduate. So many of these students feel like part of our family and I will miss seeing them in the halls and having them in our home. Kelsey is very special to our family and we look forward to seeing all that her future holds! Congrats Kelsey!

Next week I'll be sharing the books that arrived in May and what I am excited to read this summer. I'll also give an update on the two reading challenges I'm in and what I have left to read to complete them. I can't wait to get back to reading and reviewing books. I've missed it, but when life is full, something has to drop to fit in what is important at the time. I also have a couple product reviews to share with you and they are both items you might want to have this summer!

As always, thanks for waiting for me to bring you more books and letting me share a bit about our life here.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Traveling to the Blue Oval

Image Credit - Traci Nolan

Last week our son ran his toughest race ever and finished second in the 3200 meter at the State Qualifying Meet. He finished with a personal record best time of 10:02.70.

Photo credit - The Gazette

Today our family heads to Des Moines to watch Patrick along with several other teammates run their hearts out on the famous "Blue Oval" at Drake University.

It will be a fun weekend and I can't wait to see how everyone finishes. Patrick is going in ranked 7th in 3A and several other teammates are ranked in the Top Ten as well. I'm looking forward to hanging with all the other track parents and watching some close races!

If you'd like to watch, there is a live feed - http://ihssnlivestream.com/. Patrick runs at 4:05 today.

So, it's been a crazy week with my maternity leave subbing, meetings at night, and getting ready to leave for state track. I'm sorry that the blog is quiet, but I'll be back soon with more bookish posts and reviews.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Children's Book Review: Animal Ark By Kwame Alexander

Celebrating Our Wild World in Poetry and Pictures

By: Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess and Deanna Kikaido

Photography by: Joel Sartore

Published: February 14, 2017

Publisher: National Geographic Kids


This amazing book shares the importance of taking care of our world for the animals that live in it. It gives our youngest children an introduction the idea that our actions matter and how the amazing creatures that live among us can disappear unless we do something to make sure they can live in a world that protects them.

Using a form of Haiku poetry (which I was reminded how much I loved and missed reading) the author describes the amazing qualities of animals next to detailed and vivid photography of that animal. With a photographic glossary of all the animals in the book, parents can teach their child the names and learn along with their child. From well-loved animals like pandas, tigers, and butterflies to those lesser known ones that are also near extinction like the Quokka, Common Yabby, and the St. Andrew Beach Mouse. Talking with your child about the location of these animals and why they might be vulnerable to extinction will help them understand the role they can plan in our ecosystem.

By describing animals through the creativeness of a Haiku gives each of the pages a unique twist. Some of them are silly, while others will make you pause to soak in the amazing characteristics of these animals. Children and adults won't be able to turn their eyes away from the pages of full-color, stunning photos of animals. This really is a powerful story for toddlers and preschoolers. This book is an excellent way to introduce lyrical prose to young children as well as have a conversation about being kind to our planet and the animals that live in it.

Kwame Alexander - source
Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, and New York Times Bestselling author of 21 books, including THE CROSSOVER, which received the 2015 John Newbery Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to American literature for Children, the Coretta Scott King Author Award Honor, The NCTE Charlotte Huck Honor, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, and the Passaic Poetry Prize. Kwame writes for children of all ages. His other works include SURF'S UP, a picture book; BOOKED, a middle-grade novel; and He Said She Said, a YA novel.

Kwame believes that poetry can change the world, and he uses it to inspire and empower young people through his PAGE TO STAGE Writing and Publishing Program released by Scholastic. A regular speaker at colleges and conferences in the U.S., he also travels the world planting seeds of literary love (Singapore, Brazil, Italy, France, Shanghai, etc.). Recently, Alexander led a delegation of 20 writers and activists to Ghana, where they delivered books, built a library, and provided literacy professional development to 300 teachers, as a part of LEAP for Ghana, an International literacy program he co-founded.

ANIMAL ARK was inspired by the National Geographic Photo Ark, a multiyear effort with Joel Sartore and the National Geographic Society to document every species in captivity.

To purchase a copy of ANIMAL ARK, click the photo below:

To purchase the companion adult book THE PHOTO ARK: One Man's Quest to Document the World's Animals, 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 publisher for sending a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to purchase the 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. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Cookbook Review: Gumbo Love By Lucy Buffett

Recipes for Gulf Coast Cooking, Entertaining, and Savoring the Good Life

By: Lucy Buffett

Published: May 9, 2017

Publisher: Grand Central Life & Style


If you need any reason to check out Lucy Buffett's new cookbook, then National Shrimp Day would be it! Fans of Gulf Coast specialties, fruity libations, and flavor-rich dishes won't want to miss out on the recipes featured in Lucy Buffett's newest cookbook, GUMBO LOVE. From starters and snacks to deep friend southern favorites to desserts and cocktails you'll be able to pretend you are on the Gulf Coast no matter where you live.

I shared recipes from Buffett's previous cookbook LULU'S KITCHEN last summer and am just as excited for this one. This cookbook is thicker than her previous one and the photos shared throughout the pages make me want to jump in the car and revisit our favorite Gulf Coast spots. Any photo that has Lucy Buffett in it shows the happiness oozing out of her. There is no doubt that life is good in the Gulf. What I love about Buffett's cookbooks is she shares her heart along with her recipes. In each chapter, she shares stories or traditions to give you a bit of background on the recipes she offers. I love that she begins the cookbook with dessert. Buffet states that she is a "lifetime rule breaker...and chooses her rebellions more wisely - like having dessert first." That is my kind of philosophy on life! There are so many recipes I can't wait to try, I'll be working my way through this cookbook all summer. Some of the recipes I can't wait to try include:

  • Lazy V Chocolate Fudge Cake (her mother's recipe)
  • Easy-Peasy Chocolate Sauce (Will it be as good as MY mom's recipe?)
  • Bad Girl Buffalo wings
  • Black Bean & Corn Salad Dip
  • Trout Amandine
  • Daddy's Fried Chicken
  • Watermelon and Feta Cheese Salad
  • Hurricane Cocktail
  • Plus all of her favorite sauces, seasonings, dressings, and tips for cooking or frying seafood

This cookbook is making a permanent place on my cookbook shelf as it is just full of amazing dishes and stories that will make me laugh. I'm thrilled to share one of her recipes with you. Since it's National Shrimp Day, this shrimp recipe is perfect for celebrating shrimp day or really any special day in your house!

Image Credit: Angie Mosier



2 pounds poached wild-caught Gulf shrimp (recipe follows)
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
½ cup finely chopped celery
1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
¾ cup peeled, seeded, and chopped cucumber
1 teaspoon finely chopped seeded jalapeño
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus ¼ cup for serving, if desired
Juice of 5 limes (about 1 cup)
Juice of 2 lemons (about ½ cup)
Juice of 1 orange (about ½ cup)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
½ teaspoon sugar
1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced (optional)
2 limes, quartered (optional)

1. Chop the shrimp into thirds or bite-size pieces, or leave them whole if you prefer, and place in a large bowl.
2. Add the red onion, celery, tomatoes, cucumber, jalapeño, garlic, ginger, cilantro,
lime juice, lemon juice, orange juice, olive oil, salt, white pepper, and sugar and stir well.
3. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate overnight. While the mixture marinates, occasionally turn the container to evenly coat the shrimp in the liquid.
4. Transfer the shrimp and liquid to a glass bowl to serve or divide among eight martini glasses. If desired, garnish with avocado, cilantro, and lime.



I USE THIS method to cook shrimp that have been peeled. It takes only a few
minutes, so be careful not to overcook the shrimp. Poaching lets them absorb the
flavors from the poaching liquid, which is called court bouillon in fancy French
cooking and typically uses wine. Staying in step with my beloved Gulf Coastal
Caribbean and Mexican influences, I use tequila or rum!

2¼ pounds large wild-caught headless Gulf shrimp in the shell
8 cups water
½ cup tequila or rum
1 lemon, sliced into rounds
½ white onion, coarsely chopped
6 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
4 fresh cilantro sprigs

1. Peel and devein the shrimp. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
2. Place the water in a large heavy skillet or saucepan. Add the tequila, lemon, onion, garlic, salt, peppercorns, and cilantro. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat.
Boil for 5 minutes.
3. Reduce the heat until the liquid is simmering. Add the shrimp, cover, and cook for
3 minutes only! Pour the shrimp into a strainer and immediately cover with ice.When the shrimp are cool, remove and discard the lemon rounds, garlic, and cilantro. Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use.

Excerpted from the book GUMBO LOVE by Lucy Buffett. Copyright © 2017 by Lucy Buffett. Reprinted with permission of Grand Central Life & Style. All rights reserved.  

Lucy Buffett - Image Credit: Chandler Williams of Modus Photography
Lucy Buffett is a restaurateur of the award-winning, fun-loving LuLu’s which serves more than one million guests a year at two locations, one in Gulf Shores, Alabama and the other in Destin, Florida. Lucy has also been recognized for her tireless work on behalf of sustainability and the environment. However, the greatest passion of this self-proclaimed gypsy rebel and reluctant entrepreneur is cooking good food for the people she loves. You can find more information on Lucy at www.LucyBuffett.com.

To purchase a copy of GUMBO LOVE, click the photo below:

I will be linking up with other bloggers on Beth Fish Reads Weekend Cooking linkup. Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. Click HERE, to see all Weekend Cooking posts. 

Thanks to the publisher for sending an eBook 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. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

New Books from April 2017

Every month I share a post about all the new books that came my way during the past month. You can be sure to see these posts at the beginning of every month.

I read four books in April including two memoirs and two fiction novels. I also read twelve children's fiction books. I survived Prom and am now trying to wrap up all the loose ends and get everything in order for the next group to take over. Subbing is getting busy now again for the end of the year as I'm filling in for a teacher on maternity leave. I also took two trips in the last two weeks so that has made things a little hectic at home. Track season is coming to a close and we are hoping to make a trip to State this year in the 3200m. Keep your fingers crossed for us.  I'm currently reading one fiction that just came out and loving and two non-fictions that I have been reading for a few months. I just read a chapter or two at a time and then may not get back to them for awhile. To always see what I am currently reading, check out my Goodreads sidebar to the right.


Last week I celebrated Children's Book Week by featuring a book every day. To see all of them, click HERE. If you are looking for awesome children's book, I feature them on the blog every Friday as part of Booking Mama's Kid Konnection Saturday morning link up. 

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.

A Novel
By: Gail Godwin
Published: June 6, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Format: Paperback

I don't remember how this book came my way, but it certainly has me intrigued. I think I'll have to be in the right mood to read it though as it sounds a bit sad and haunting.

After his mother's death, eleven-year-old Marcus is sent to live on a small South Carolina island with his great aunt, a reclusive painter with a haunted past. Aunt Charlotte, otherwise a woman of few words, points out a ruined cottage, telling Marcus she had visited it regularly after she'd moved there thirty years ago because it matched the ruin of her own life. Eventually, she was inspired to take up painting so she could capture its utter desolation.

The islanders call it -Grief Cottage, - because a boy and his parents disappeared from it during a hurricane fifty years before. Their bodies were never found and the cottage has stood empty ever since. During his lonely hours, while Aunt Charlotte is in her studio painting and keeping her demons at bay, Marcus visits the cottage daily, building up his courage by coming ever closer, even after the ghost of the boy who died seems to reveal himself. Full of curiosity and open to the unfamiliar and uncanny given the recent upending of his life, he courts the ghost boy, never certain whether the ghost is friendly or follows some sinister agenda.

Grief Cottage is the best sort of ghost story, but it is far more than that--an investigation of grief, remorse, and the memories that haunt us. The power and beauty of this artful novel wash over the reader like the waves on a South Carolina beach.

By: Ruth Freeman
Published: March 21, 2017
Publisher: Holiday House
Format: Paperback

I've been anxious for this middle-grade novel to arrive. I think it is very timely and one I will enjoy.

It's hard to start at a new school . . . especially if you're in a new country. Back home, Anais was the best English student in her class. Here in Crazy America, she feels like she doesn't know English at all. Nothing makes sense (chicken FINGERS?), and the kids at school have some very strange ideas about Africa. Anais misses her family--Papa and grandmother Oma and big brother Olivier--because here in Crazy America there's only little Jean-Claude and Mama. So she writes letters to Oma--lots of them. She tells her she misses her and hopes the war is over soon. She tells her about Halloween, snow, mac 'n' cheese dinners and princess sleepovers. She tells her about the weird things Crazy Americans do, and how she just might be turning into a Crazy American herself.

By: Jane Green
Published: June 6, 2017
Publisher: Berkley
Format: eBook

I previously read and reviewed Jane Green's book FALLING and enjoyed it. I also read her cookbook GOOD TASTE. This sounds like a perfect summer drama to read on the porch!

Ronni Sunshine left London for Hollywood to become a beautiful, charismatic star of the silver screen. But at home, she was a narcissistic, disinterested mother who alienated her three daughters. 

As soon as possible, tomboy Nell fled her mother's overbearing presence to work on a farm and find her own way in the world as a single mother. The target of her mother's criticism, Meredith never felt good enough, thin enough, pretty enough. Her life took her to London and into the arms of a man whom she may not even love. And Lizzy, the youngest, more like Ronni than any of them, seemed to have it easy, using her drive and ambition to build a culinary career to rival her mother's fame, while her marriage crumbled around her. 

But now the Sunshine Girls are together again, called home by Ronni, who has learned that she has a serious disease and needs her daughters to fulfill her final wishes. And though Nell, Meredith, and Lizzy are all going through crises of their own, their mother's illness draws them together to confront old jealousies and secret fears and they discover that blood might be thicker than water after all.

By: Martin Ganda and Caitlin Alifrenka
Published: April 14, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Format: eBook

I have already read and reviewed this one HERE. I loved it and think it should be required reading for all middle-schoolers.

It started as an assignment. Everyone in Caitlin's class wrote to an unknown student somewhere in a distant place. All the other kids picked countries like France or Germany, but when Caitlin saw Zimbabwe written on the board, it sounded like the most exotic place she had ever heard of--so she chose it.
Martin was lucky to even receive a pen pal letter. There were only ten letters and forty kids in his class. But he was the top student, so he got the first one.

That letter was the beginning of a correspondence that spanned six years and changed two lives.

In this compelling dual memoir, Caitlin and Martin recount how they became best friends --and better people--through letters. Their story will inspire readers to look beyond their own lives and wonder about the world at large and their place in it.

Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy
By: Sue Klebold
Published: February 15, 2016
Publisher: Crown
Format: eBook

I checked this out from our library. I can't stress enough how important this book is. I read this as the 18th anniversary of the event was happening. It was incredibly humbling, convicting, and eye-opening. If you are a parent of a teen or work in a school system, it is a must-read. Review to come.

On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Over the course of minutes, they would kill twelve students and a teacher and wound twenty-four others before taking their own lives.
For the last sixteen years, Sue Klebold, Dylan's mother, has lived with the indescribable grief and shame of that day. How could her child, the promising young man she had loved and raised, be responsible for such horror? And how, as his mother, had she not known something was wrong? Were there subtle signs she had missed? What, if anything, could she have done differently?
These are questions that Klebold has grappled with every day since the Columbine tragedy. In A Mother's Reckoning, she chronicles with unflinching honesty her journey as a mother trying to come to terms with the incomprehensible. In the hope that the insights and understanding she has gained may help other families recognize when a child is in distress, she tells her story in full, drawing upon her personal journals, the videos and writings that Dylan left behind, and on countless interviews with mental health experts.

Your Complete Guide to a Delicious Life
By: Gabi Moskowitz and Diana Snyder
Published: April 11, 2017
Publisher: Freeform
Format: Paperback

This book would make an awesome gift for a high school or college graduate. It's super fun and targeted towards single gals just starting out. Recipes look simple and easy and are realistic for a young woman to make. I can't wait to check out the recipes in here.

Gabi is a food blogger and cookbook author and was the inspiration for the Freeform hit comedy. Diana is a writer for the show. Young & Hungry: Your Complete Guide to a Delicious Life features recipes along with advice about dating, friendships, entertaining, and health. This book is a girls' guide to being young, single, short on cash, and passionate about food. 

True Stories of Kindness and Companionship with Kitties
By: Aline Alexander Newman
Published: April 11, 2017
Publisher: National Geographic Children's Books
Format: Hardcover

We love our cat, Stormy, and she looks like the cat on this cover. I love animal stories and this one has plenty along with facts and information about cats. I'm sure our daughter will love this one too.

We, humans, love our cats and these surprising true stories will prove our cats love us back! This collection of tales of playfulness, friendship, heroism, and inspiration is sure to touch the soul, tickle the funny bone, and inspire animal lovers everywhere to be the best kitty caretakers and companions they can be. There's Bambi, whose owners taught her to respond to commands in American Sign Language; Millie, who loves exploring the outdoors and goes rock climbing with her owner; Leo, a rescued lion who changed the life of one South African family forever, and more.

From Pound to Palace: Homeless Pets Made Happy
By: National Geographic Kids
Published: April 25, 2017
Publisher: National Geographic Children's Books
Format: Paperback

I couldn't resist this one either. I'm amazed at my friends who rescue dogs and take them into their homes until they can be delivered to a forever, loving home. The dog on the cover is so adorable.

This is a collection of hilarious and heartwarming stories of dogs, cats, and all types of pets given a second chance, and the human animal lovers who rescued them. 

From the dog who saved her owner from a fire to the cat that plays the piano, to the cow that thinks it's a dog, discover incredible stories of animals in need who went on to become beloved pets. 

These uplifting tales are paired with amazing photos and loads of animal facts. Kids learn all about how to be kind to our animals friends and the importance of being a responsible pet owner. There's tons of furry, fluffy, feathery fun on every page, including tips on how to help save animals in need! 

By: Lisa M. Gerry
Published: March 14, 2017
Publisher: National Geographic Children's Books
Format: Paperback

What an awesome little book. No job is left out in this information-packed book! From cranberry farmer, party planner, and orchestra musician there is something for every child to aspire to be!

Who says adults can't have fun? This book explores 100 of the coolest, wackiest, and most amazing jobs and careers out there, from astronaut to zookeeper, ice cream taster to game maker. 
Jam-packed with inspiration, hands-on projects, advice from National Geographic explorers, interviews with experts, weird-but-true facts, and more, this new book in the popular -100 Things- series is a great way to get kids thinking creatively about career paths and excited about their futures!

Explore, Discover, and Create Your Own Adventures with Real National Geographic Explorers as Your Guides
By: Nancy Honovich
Published: March 14, 2017
Publisher: National Geographic Children's Books
Format: Paperback

Such a great book full of information about exploring our world. There are also science experiments included.

National Geographic has inspired generations of explorers. Now it's your turn! Learn what it takes to be a real-life explorer in this fun and action-packed guide to discovering the world around us. Unearth ancient mummies and lost treasures, encounter wild animals and learn how to protect their habitats, and shoot for the stars with the latest technologies in space travel. Amazing stories, fantastic photos, and hands-on-activities inspire curious kids to start discovering on land, air, and sea. Profiles feature National Geographic explorers of all kinds: paleontologists, biologists, photographers, artists, writers, activists, conservationists, and more. Kids are inspired to follow their passions into careers and introduced to the first steps to take to achieve their dream. 

Discovering Dinosaurs with Dr. Scott
By; Scott D. Sampson, Ph.D.
Published: April 4, 2017
Publisher: National Geographic Children's Books
Format: Hardcover

Ever wondered how to find a dinosaur? Paleontologist Dr. Scott Sampson, the host of Dinosaur Train on PBS Kids, tells kids how! How do paleontologists find dinosaur bones? How do they know what dinosaurs ate or looked like? And what is paleontology, anyway? Dr. Scott tackles all these questions and more while inspiring kids to go out and make the next big dino discovery!

By: Beth Montgomery
Published: January 30, 2017
Publisher: Your Stories Matter
Format: Paperback

Such a great idea for a book.

This book has been written from the point of view of a child who feels misunderstood. She finds it very difficult to read, which makes school life a struggle. She feels stupid, even though she is clever and creative. She gets told off for messing around when the truth is she can't do what is asked of her because she has a specific learning difficulty.

This illustrated book helps parents, teachers, and other adults who support children, have a non-threatening discussion about dyslexia with children of primary school age. Children find it easier to relate to, and discuss, the character in the story rather than have all the attention focused on them.

Using the book as a catalyst for discussion, adults can use the illustrated story at home or in school with children who have dyslexia or exhibit dyslexic tendencies. Teachers can use the book to help classmates better understand their peers who may struggle reading. Similarly, parents can use the book to help children better understand family members.

This book was written and illustrated by someone who has traits of dyslexia and dyspraxia and is based on her own life. She wanted to do something to help children who, years later, are still facing the same lack of understanding in school.

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