Friday, April 20, 2018

Children's Book Review: Bet You Didn't Know! From National Geographic Kids

Fascinating, Far-out, Fun-tastic Facts

Published: August 8, 2017

Publisher: National Geographic Children's Books


I've been subbing in the elementary classrooms long enough now that the students know I usually have a few fun books to share in my teaching bag. I recently taught remedial readers in fourth and fifth grades and their treat for getting their reading done was to look through this book. Each of the kids was allowed to read one fact off of the page I chose and they LOVED THIS BOOK and didn't want to go back to their regular classrooms.

BET YOU DIDN"T KNOW is full of fun, interesting (to kids AND adults) facts from various topics. Kids might learn about space, sea creatures, snow, bees, money, caves, the brain, and many other cool things. Of course, every page is full of fantastic photography that National Geographic does best and then numbered facts to give kids just enough information to stay interested. There is truly a page of facts for everyone!

The book is a larger size and at nearly 200 pages, it's hefty. But, that's because it is so jam-packed with knowledge. Some of my favorite facts from the book included:

Some cats are allergic to people.

A mummy was once found with its tongue sticking out.

In your lifetime, you will eat an amount of hamburger meat equal to the weight of a family car.

In Japanese, the word tsundoku refers to buying books that you don't actually read. 

There are so many more facts in this book that it will keep kids interested for days. If you are looking for end-of-the-year teacher gifts, this would make an awesome addition to an elementary classroom. It would also be a good book to keep your child reading over the summer. 

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.

To purchase a copy of Bet You Didn't Know! click the photo below:

Other posts you may like:

Just Joking Jumbo

National Geographic Kids United States Atlas

Science Encyclopedia

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 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Quick Lit: Mini Review of Some Recent Reads - April 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.

Our family took a Spring Break trip, driving to Dallas, Texas, and back. So I had plenty of time for reading and I read the bottom four books in this post while on our trip. The rest I fit in sporadically around other review books. My reading time is slowing down again now as track season is ramping up (just when I think Mother Nature has realized it is Spring and NOT winter she drops more snow on us) and planning for graduation is in full swing. My spare time is spent working on organizing pictures and other things for graduation party preparation. I'm looking forward to a much more relaxed summer schedule that will include catching up on reading! But, for now, I'm embracing these last moments of our son's high school experience.  

By: Kevin Hazzard 
Published: January 5, 2016
Publisher: Scribner
Format: eBook

I really enjoy medical memoirs and this one, from an EMT/Paramedic's perspective gave me a different look into the medical field. After a career in journalism, Hazzard wanted a have a job that was exciting but also gave him the opportunity to help others and make an impact in someone's life. After hours of studying, classes, ride-a-longs and being thrown into life and death situations, he started his career at Grady, Atlanta's toughest neighborhood. He was quickly thrown into the darkest and most difficult moments in people's lives.  His stories of life and death were horrifying and graphic. The conditions that the paramedics had to work in were beyond horrible and it's a wonder they were able to save anyone's life. 

Because of his journalistic background, Hazzard writes to keep the reader interested white using metaphors to give us a voyeuristic view into the days and nights of an ambulance crew. Hazzard doesn't hold back in his story-sharing and his vivid descriptions of scenes whether accidents or family drama or murders made me cringe. 

My favorite quote from the book is tragic, but sadly seemingly true:

"Medicine's great magic trick is how it convinces us we're here saving lives
 when more often what we're doing is witnessing death." 

By: Amy Thielen
Published: May 16, 2017
Publisher: Clarkson Potter
Format: Audiobook

I was interested in Thielen's book because my cousin knows her and has helped with a few of her book signing events. I have skimmed her cookbook, THE NEW MIDWESTERN TABLE and salivated over her recipes. I also watched her show on the Food Network so I was already familiar with her story a bit. I listened to her memoir on audio, which she reads herself. Her story of working as an NYC chef was fascinating even though a lot of the food she was creating I had never heard of. The long hours and minimal pay were a surprise to me as I assumed chefs were paid well. How she and her husband, Aaron, would just jump in the car and start a new adventure gave me anxiety. Staying with strangers until their car was fixed, trusting that all would work out or living in an old building with strangers in NYC just floored me. It was definitely a different time, but still they were extremely trusting of others. Once they returned to Minnesota and began living off the land, I was fascinated by her willingness to live with so little. I was excited along with her when they got running water for the first time in their cabin. Thielen's story is more than a food memoir, it is an awakening of what her life purpose truly is. 

Celebrate the Dreamer in You
By: Dolly Parton
Published: November 27, 2012
Publisher: Putnam
Format: Audiobook

This book is similar to MAKE YOUR BED that I wrote about last month in the sense that the book was written based on a graduation speech. I listened to both on audio and by far, Dolly's is more fun to listen to! You can't help being happy while listening to Dolly share her stories. She is always full of joy and spunk. 

Her laughter, her generosity, and her love of children are what make her the Dolly we all love. To paraphrase her quote from the book, "I don't want to be remembered for my looks, but for my books." Her foundation Imagination Library makes it possible for children everywhere to have a book. To find out what that is what she is most proud of in her life, you have to read her book. At just a 1 1/2 hour listen, you can finish it in no time. Well worth your time and make sure you choose the audio version to get the full Dolly experience! I just wish she would have gone even deeper in some of her stories. 

A True Story of Rape in America
By: T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong
Published: February 6, 2018
Publisher: Crown
Format: Hardcover

I'm not sure that I can really say much more than what the synopsis has already told you, except for you to be prepared. It's graphic, heartbreaking, and horrifying. The evil depicted in this book is so much more so because you know every horrific detail of it happened to the women brave enough to tell their story again and again.

My first job out of college was as a Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Counselor. I can handle a certain amount of graphic details as it used to be part of my job, but I will admit, I had to put this book aside several times and take a breather. It's been a long time since I worked with victims every day, attached to a pager knowing every time it went off, someone had been hurt. It was hard to keep turning the pages knowing the victims weren't being believed, knowing the rapist was going to strike again, and knowing all these things truly happened was a lot to take.

The reporting in this book is important and should be required reading off all police detectives and counselors who work with victims. The take away for me was the reminder that false reports are rare and each victim's response to rape can't be compared to another victim. It's our job to believe until proven otherwise, listen, and support in whatever capacity possible. 

By: Judith Fertig
Published: June 2, 2015
Publisher: Berkley
Format: Paperback

Who wouldn't want to read a book with a rainbow cake on the cover?

Fertig created the plot of this story while at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival where many other great books began. Claire, or "Neely" as her friends call her, returns to her hometown in Ohio after living a lavish life in NYC married to an NFL star and being well-known for her baking. Her marriage is over as far as she is concerned and it is time to start over.

Neely opens up her bakery right across from her friend's bridal shop hoping to make their community a destination for wedding planning. Success comes fast and her skill at baking for people's moods and feelings keeps customers coming to their small town.

Neely has the magical ability to sense people's emotions and bakes with certain flavors that match up with their feelings drawing stories and emotions out of her customers.

Along with Neely's story, we are also immersed in a story from the past that has a connection to Neely and her customers. At first, this didn't make sense to the rest of the story and I was confused, but as I continued along, I realized there was a connection that would tie everything together, which it did.

Readers should know there are some storylines that can be triggers for some people. Overall, I enjoyed the friendships created, the mystery behind the flavors and creating special desserts, and the endless mouth-watering descriptions of cakes.

Favorite Quote:
"Orange wakes you up, but cinnamon makes you remember. 
I guess you can't have a future without a past. "

A Science-Based Plan to Lose Weight, Revitalize Your Skin, and Invigorate Your Life
By: Naomi Whittel
Published: March 6, 2018
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format: eBook

I saw an ad for this book in a magazine while on our Spring Break trip. After reading a couple sample chapters, I bought the Kindle version. I am really intrigued by the philosophy of autophagy and have done parts of the plan since I read it. Again, it takes planning and prep work which I can't fit in right now, but I liked the recipes in the book as well as the schedule of high and low protein days. The exercise plan in the book also seems doable.

By: Sherman Alexie
Published: September 12, 2007
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Format: Paperback

This book came highly recommended to me by my nephew who is a high-school English teacher on a Native American reservation school. Our sons read it a couple years ago and I finally decided our Spring Break trip would be a good time to read it since I knew it would a quick read. I have always been curious as to why it was a banned book and yet so many rave about it. 

The only part that maybe would be of a concern for parents is that the book has strong themes yet looks to appeal to a younger audience because of the length of the book and the character (think Diary of a Wimpy Kid) drawings throughout the book. But, it is definitely written for mature middle-school to high-school-aged children. 

Even though it is a quick read, I did find it extremely depressing and had to put it down a few times just to take a step away from the story. Arnold was born to alcoholic parents so he has had some brain complications and lives in the cycle of alcoholism, poverty, and poor choices that seem to be too common on reservations. Even with his brain issues, he is extremely bright and takes a chance by leaving the reservation school to attend the local high school that is 20 miles away. Many days he has to walk himself to or from school. Other times he catches a ride by hitch-hiking. But, still, Arnold succeeds....even when things are chaotic all around him and it would be so much easier to give up.I had to believe that there would be happiness ahead to keep myself reading and there was, but there was a lot of tragedy too. So, choose carefully if recommending this to young readers. 

Other posts you may enjoy:

Friday, April 13, 2018

Children's Book Review: The Boo-Boos that Changed the World By Barry Wittenstein

A True Story About An Accidental Invention (Really!)

By: Barry Wittenstein

Illustrated by: Chris Hsu

Published: February 13, 2018

Publisher: Charlesbridge


Who knew the story of how band-aids were invented would be so interesting! Wittenstein has a way of telling a story from history but injecting enough humor to keep kids interested in finding out what happened next. Earle Dickson came up with the idea for a band-aid because his wife was often cutting herself while making his dinner. He felt bad and worried about her wounds getting infected. One night, he had a bright idea and went to his boss, James Johnson, to tell him his idea. But, the band-aids didn't immediately become a best-selling item and there were a few bumps along the way.

I think this is a great story for kids to learn about because even though Earle Dickson had a great idea and worked for the right company to make the idea happen, he still had rejection and frustration. After getting the idea to actually work, then he had to figure out a way for customers to buy into it. It took trial and error and perseverance to keep working on selling his item. By deciding to give band-aids away to just the right group of people, his idea finally took off.

The end of the book includes an author's note with a bit more detailed history on Earle Dickson and a timeline of events in Earle's life. There is also a timeline of other medical-related inventions from the 1920's and 1930's and a list of websites that kids can go to to find more information and watch videos about band-aids. Wittenstein took a little liberty with the story of Earle Dickson and his invention, but the important piece for kids to learn is to not give up and keep finding a solution to the problem all while having a bit of humor.

Barry Wittenstein - source
Barry Wittenstein has always been involved with writing, from contributing to his high school and college newspapers, to writing and performing poetry on stage in San Francisco, songwriting, sports writing, and now picture books.

He has worked at CBS Records, CBS News, and was a web editor and writer for Major League Baseball. He is now an elementary-school substitute teacher and children's author.

Barry particularly likes nonfiction, and profiling mostly unknown people and events whose stories have never been told in children's literature. He is the author of Waiting for Pumpsie and The Boo-Boos That Changed the World. He lives in New York City. To learn more, visit his website, HERE, or on Twitter: @bwittbooks.  

You can also listen to Barry talk about the book on the Charlesbridge podcast, HERE.

To purchase a copy of THE BOO-BOOS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD, 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.

You may also like these posts:




Friday, April 6, 2018

Children's Book Review: The World of the Bible By Jill Rubalcaba

Biblical Stories and The Archaeology Behind Them

By: Jill Rubalcaba

Published: November 7, 2017

Publisher: National Geographic Children's Books


Are your children intimidated by reading the Bible, yet you still want them to know the stories and lessons from it? This book tells the important stories from the Bible like Noah and the Flood, Joseph's Robe, Jesus Walking on Water, and The Good Samaritan in a condensed version based on the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible. Vivid and detailed illustrations and classical portraits fill the page along with the story to hold your child's attention. There are also "Did You Know" bubbles on the pages to share other historical facts that go along with the story. The pages also reflect which Book of the Bible and chapter/verse this story came from in case you want to dig deeper into the story.

These brief versions of the stories offer the main points and the lesson God was trying to teach in Jonah's story (above) after disobeying God, his fellow sailors threw Jonah overboard to his death to stop the raging storm that God had created. Jonah was then swallowed by a whale just before he drowned. After three days, he was spat out onto dry land. The next time God asked Jonah to do something, he complied. This story from the book of Jonah can be found in Chapters 1-4. The "Did You Know" bubble offers factual information on Nineveh and the Hanging Gardens.

The other parts of the book share historical and archaeological finds related to stories from the Bible. Archaeologists in Israel found ancient beehives that uphold the truth of God commanding Moses to lead the Israelites to "the land of milk and honey". Honey was in high demand in ancient times because it was used for medicine and as a sweetener. I had no idea jars of honey were also placed in tombs as part of a ritual to feed the dead in the afterlife. Many of the other archaeological finds shared in this book are just as fascinating.

As a mom who frequently read her children stories from the Bible and also taught Sunday School, this book would have been a wonderful resource to add more layers to the story. All of the information in this book has been reviewed by biblical scholars to make sure all the facts and details are up-to-date and accurate. This book is a bit larger than normal and the pages are heavyweight paper. It is well-written and full of details, much like any other National Geographic quality book would be. It would make a great addition to a church or homeschool library.

To purchase a copy of THE WORLD OF THE BIBLE, 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.

You may also like these posts:

Questions and Answers for Kids

The Great Carp Escape

National Geographic Kids Almanac 2018

National Geographic Kids Ultimate Dinopedia

Thanks to the publisher for providing copies 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 link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Book Review: The French Girl By Lexie Elliott

A Novel 

By: Lexie Elliott

Published: February 20, 2018

Publisher: Berkley Books


Debut novelist, Lexie Elliott always wanted to be a writer. Thinking back on a summer vacation with her friends to a farmhouse in France, the idea for this novel was formed. Kate Channing, along with her boyfriend Seb, and three other friends spend a week at their friend Theo's farmhouse in France. It's the perfect reward for surviving Oxford University. The six of them are the best of friends with Seb and Tom, cousins, Lara and Kate being best friends, Caro a childhood friend of Seb and Tom and Theo. Then the beautiful French girl, Severine, who lives next door, shows up. She changes the dynamics of their friendships and the day the friends are all set to return to London, Severine disappears.

Fast forward ten years later. Kate is living in London starting her own headhunter business. Seb is someone else and is moving back to London. Tom and Lara are still Kate's best friends and Caro is ending up being a new potential client of Kate's. But, Severine has come back to haunt them. Her body has just been found at the bottom of the well at Theo's farmhouse. Theo can't be questioned because he was killed in Afghanistan. The five are now thrown back into what happened that week at the farmhouse and realizing someone isn't telling the truth.

I chose this novel because I love stories of friendships and secrets. When Severine's body is found and the timing points to one of the six likely committing the murder, the questions start to circulate in everyone's minds. Who isn't being truthful, what really happened that last night in France, and who is going to ultimately be the murderer? The story starts to unravel as Elliott takes you back to the week in France and into the minds of the five friends that are left to answer the detective's unending questions.

Elliott immediately starts to put you in the mode of questioning every character's motive. Why is Caro suddenly back in Kate's life? Why is Seb moving back with his new wife? Since Theo can't be questioned, can he be trusted? Elliott throws you into the lives of these thirty-something professionals who thought they could put that week in France behind them and now their lives and careers are hanging in balance as the investigation gets more and more intense and the French are pushing to make an arrest.

The interesting part of the story that really intrigued me was the introduction of Severine's ghost that only Kate could see. Severine loomed in Kate's periphery joining her at home, at work, after work at the bar, at dinner with friends, and while she was being questioned. At first, Kate can only see her bones or her skull, but then as the investigation moves forward, Severine becomes a crucial character in the story of her murder. She hovers around Kate, insistent that she isn't forgotten.

Even though I guessed the murderer and the story has a common second attempt at murder that I see in many novels as the murderer gets desperate, I was still surprised by the conclusion of the investigation. I thought it might leave me feeling angry, but it actually left me feeling like it was a bit more realistic than some other conclusions. Is this a fast-paced thriller with a shocking twist? No. It's more of a slow mystery that builds as you get to know the characters and their motives for keeping the secrets that have been inside them for ten years. I think Elliott has talent and creativity. Since she used bits of her own idyllic trip to France back in college for this story, I am hoping she has other recollections that she can fall back on for more twisted mysteries.

Lexie Elliott - source
Lexie Elliott has been writing for as long as she can remember, but she began to focus on it more seriously after she lost her banking job in 2009 due to the Global Financial Crisis. After some success in short story competitions, she began planning a novel. With two kids and a (new) job, it took some time for that novel to move from her head to the page, but the result was THE FRENCH GIRL.

When she's not writing, Lexie can be found running, swimming or cycling whilst thinking about writing. In 2007 she swam the English Channel solo. She won't be doing that again. In 2015 she ran 100km, raising money for Alzheimer Scotland. She won't be doing that again either. But the odd triathlon or marathon isn't out of the question. For more, check out her website, HERE

To purchase a copy of THE FRENCH GIRL, click the photo below:

Other posts you might like:





Thanks to the publisher for providing copies 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 link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Books that Came in March 2018

Our family took a somewhat spontaneous Spring Break trip to Oklahoma and Texas.We stopped in Oklahoma City and toured the Bombing Memorial (heartbreaking, peaceful, and humbling), a car show, went to an Oklahoma Thunder NBA game, and the Myriad Botanical Gardens. Then on to Dallas to see the George W Bush Presidential Library, The 6th Floor Museum/JFK Memorial, and AT&T Stadium (even though we aren't Cowboys fans, it is an impressive stadium). Then stopped in Bentonville, Arkansas to tour the Walmart Museum (actually pretty interesting) on our way home. It was a quick trip with lots of miles but even better, lots of quality family time.

Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial

Oklahoma City Car Show

AT&T Stadium

We also finished show choir for the season. It's one of our family's favorite things and it was such a fun show this year. We will really miss it.

I should update you that our son has chosen his college. We are very proud that he will be part of the Central College family. He will be running Cross Country and Track and has chosen music education as his major. We are thrilled to have this decision behind us and we can focus on his next step. He also turns 18 this month...more EMBRACING ahead for this mama.

 I have quite a few books to share with you this month, some purchased, some from the library, and others for review. Even though Mother Nature has been a bit difficult to understand lately, it is really Spring. April is here and in less than two months our oldest will graduate. The seasons are changing and I'm EMBRACING all the new experiences.

I read 16 books this month with 7 of them being children's books, 1 young adult, and 8 adult fiction/nonfiction. Two of them were audiobooks.

Currently Reading: THE GREAT ALONE
Currently Listening: ENDURANCE

If you would like to purchase any of the books in this post, clicking the photo or title of the book will take you directly to the product on 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. 

By: Nicola Edwards
Illustrated by: Natalie Marshall
Published: February 1, 2018
Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books
Format: Board Book

This is a really sweet board book sharing the love you have for your child through adorable illustrations of various bugs. I reviewed this book already HERE

Celebrate your little cuddle bug with this sweet and colorful rhyming board book! 

Celebrate your little cuddle bug with this sweet and colorful rhyming board book! With chunky pages for little hands and die-cut cuddle bugs to add depth and interest, children will love the interactive features alongside the story.

By: Charlotte Pence
Illustrated by: Karen Pence
Published: March 19, 2018
Publisher: Regnery Kids
Format: Picture Book

I had no idea the Pence family has a pet bunny. This book is a neat way for kids to learn the role of the Vice President through a family pet who gets to hang out with Vice President Pence. I already reviewed this book HERE

From the moment he hopped into the home of America's "Second Family," black-and-white bunny rabbit Marlon Bundo captured the hearts of Vice President Mike Pence, his wife Karen, and his children Michael, Charlotte, and Audrey. But little Marlon Bundo isn't just a family pet: like Peter Rabbit and Bugs Bunny before him, Marlon—or BOTUS (Bunny of the United States)—is a national celebrity! With his appearances at official White House events, his rides on Air Force 2, and his popular Instagram account, Marlon Bundo has become a beloved member of the Trump-Pence administration.

So how does a bunny experience a day in the life of the Vice President? Now young readers can follow Marlon Bundo along as he hops after "Grampa" (Vice President Mike Pence) in this delightful story penned by Charlotte Pence and illustrated faithfully with watercolors from the "Second Lady" herself, Karen Pence.

By: Seth Casteel
Published: March 20, 2018
Publisher: National Geographic Kids
Format: Picture Book

The photos are absolutely adorable and it should come with a warning that reading this book will make you rush out and adopt a puppy! I already reviewed this book HERE

Have you ever wanted to know what goes on in the life of one of nature's most beloved animals--the puppy? Follow along in this picture book featuring the photography of Seth Casteel.

Follow several puppies as they play, go for walks, eat, sleep, and romp about.

By: Geraldine Elschner
Illustrated by: Florence Koenig
Published: April 10, 2018
Publisher: Prestel Junior
Format: Picture Book

This is a gorgeous book and tells the story of a delightful friendship. I can't wait to look at it more.

Although one is the daughter of a wealthy Dutch family and the other a household servant, Anna and Johanna become friends. Born on the same day, they celebrate their joint birthdays by making gifts for each other. But then a letter arrives that changes their lives forever. Told against the backdrop of the 17th-century Dutch city of Delft and its thriving commercial and artistic culture, this story of an unlikely friendship echoes the themes of Vermeer's luminous depiction of domestic life. Florence Koenig's brightly colored illustrations evoke Vermeer's style through the city's multifaceted landscapes, from misty mornings by the canals to busy households preparing for a special day. Young readers will be fascinated by this uplifting story of friendship inspired by Jan Vermeer.

By: Brit Lunden
Published: January 8, 2018
Publisher: Chelshire
Format: Paperback

Brit Lunden is also the name of best-selling children's book author Carole P. Roman. I don't typically read paranormal stories, but this one is short and since I am a fan of Roman's I'll give it try.

Clay Finnes is the sheriff of a small town in Georgia called Bulwark. Recently separated from his wife, all he can think about is what went wrong, and will Jenna ever come back to him. He's troubled by a bothersome reporter trying to build a story from what he thinks is a normal day in his life. Clay has to admit that the fantastical stories, told by an accident victim as well as unusual sightings of wolves, things are getting a bit strange. A visit to the ominous Gingerbread House makes him realize that his life as he knows it will never be the same.

A Novel
By: Elaine Neil Orr
Published: April 3, 2018
Publisher: Berkley
Format: Paperback

A Southern coming of age story, hidden letters, and converging stories. Sounds likes a great read to me! 

The lives of one young woman and two young men collide in a small neighborhood in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Kate, a recent college graduate, is still reeling from the deaths of her beloved parents when the discovery of hidden letters forces her to re-examine everything she knew about her family. Tacker, a young engineering student and all-around boy-hero, has returned from a West African odyssey where he fell in love with the local culture but was sent home in shame. Kate's and Tacker's stories come together when, on the same day and in different moments, they encounter a young African-American man named Gaines. The relationship that develops between the three is complicated, as each one searches for love, freedom, and new beginnings.

A Novel
By: Olivia Kiernan
Published: April 3, 2018
Publisher: Dutton
Format: Hardcover

This sounds like a page-turner!


Polished. Professional. Perfect. Dead. Respected scientist Dr. Eleanor Costello is found hanging in her immaculate home: the scene the very picture of a suicide.


DCS Frankie Sheehan is handed the case, and almost immediately spots foul play. Sheehan, a trained profiler, is seeking a murderer with a talent for death.


As Frankie strives to paint a picture of the killer, and their victim, she starts to sense they are part of a larger, darker canvas, on which the lines between the two blur.

A Novel
By: Melissa Albert
Published: January 30, 2018
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Format: Hardcover

This is the Target Book of the Month choice. 

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother's stories are set. Alice's only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother's tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

Women Living Well
3-Month Habit Tracker
Published: February 12, 2018
Publisher: Women Living Well
Format: Paperback

This tracker includes pages for tracking prayer lists, Bible reading, note taking, health tracking, sleep tracking, meal planning, and gratitude. I haven't used it yet, but I like the layout and ease of use.  I'm a huge fan of the Women Living Well blog and have gotten studies and books from Courtney before. 

150 Simply Delicious Everyday Recipes for Your Whole30
By: Melissa Hartwig
Published: December 5, 2017
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format: Hardcover

I did Whole30 back in November of 2016. See my post HERE.  I liked it but it was really hard and took likes of time, planning, and food prep. I'd like to go back on it this summer and could use a few more recipes to work through.

Millions of people have transformed their lives with Whole30, yet co-creator Melissa Hartwig wants to make it even easier to achieve Whole30 success—with delicious, compliant, fast, and easy recipes. This follow-up to the best-selling The Whole30 Cookbook is packed recipes designed to get you out of the kitchen fast so you can enjoy all the benefits of your Whole30-inspired lifestyle.

The Whole30 Fast and Easy Cookbook features:
- Recipes perfect for weeknight cooking, lunches in a hurry, and hearty breakfasts that still get you out the door on time

- Nearly effortless skillet meals, stir-fries, sheet-pan suppers, and slow-cook and no-cook meals, most of which can be made in 30 minutes or less
- Creative, delicious meals using widely-available ingredients found in any supermarket
- Melissa's favorite kitchen hacks, designed to save time and money while maximizing flavor 

Whether you’re doing your first Whole30 or your fifth, or just looking for some healthy, fast, and easy recipes to try, this collection is a must-have for any kitchen.

A Science-Based Plant to Lose Weight, Revitalize Skin, and Invigorate Your Life
By: Naomi Whittel
Published: March 6, 2018
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format: eBook

I saw an ad for this book in a magazine while on our Spring Break trip. After reading couple sample chapters, I bought the Kindle version. I am really intrigued by the philosophy of autophagy and have done parts of the plan since I read it. Again, it takes planning and prep work which I can't fit in right now, but I liked the recipes in the book as well as the schedule of high and low protein days. The exercise plan in the book also seems doable. 

Have you put on weight in recent years that you can’t lose? Do you crave more energy and stamina in your day? Is your skin drier than it used to be? Has your hair started to feel dry and look limp?

If you said yes to one or more of these questions, then Glow15 is your answer. Based on the breakthrough Nobel Prize-winning science of autophagy—the process by which cells remove toxins, recycle parts, and repair their own damage—Glow15 is a lifestyle plan that will make you look and feel younger. 

Celebrate the Dreamer in You
By: Dolly Parton
Published: November 27, 2012
Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons
Format: Audiobook

I heard about this book in two different places in the same week and both raved about the book, especially on audio. It was available through our library overdrive, so I downloaded it immediately and loved it! It is an expansion of a college graduation speech she gave and it is so down-to-earth and inspiring and fun that I whole-heartedly recommend it. Listening to Dolly read it is just the best and puts you in the happiest mood.

A True Story of Rape in America
By: T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong
Published: February 6, 2018
Publisher: Crown
Format: Hardcover

This book was a fascinating but tough read. I checked it out from our library.

On August 11, 2008, eighteen-year-old Marie truthfully reported that a masked man broke into her apartment near Seattle, Washington, and raped her, but within days police and even those closest to Marie became suspicious of her story. The police swiftly pivoted and began investigating her. Confronted with inconsistencies in her story and the doubts of others, Marie broke down and said her story was a lie. Police charged her with false reporting. One of her best friends created a web page branding her a liar.

More than two years later, Colorado detective Stacy Galbraith was assigned to investigate a case of sexual assault. Describing the crime to her husband that night--the attacker's calm and practiced demeanor, which led the victim to surmise "he's done this before"--Galbraith learned that the case bore an eerie resemblance to a rape that had taken place months earlier in a nearby town. She joined forces with the detective on that case, Edna Hendershot, and the two soon realized they were dealing with a serial rapist: a man who photographed his victims, threatening to release the images online, and whose calculated steps to erase all physical evidence suggested he might be a soldier or a cop. Through meticulous police work, the detectives would eventually connect the rapist to other attacks in Colorado--and beyond.

A Paramedics Wild Ride to the Edge and Back
By: Kevin Hazzard
Published: September 20, 2016
Publisher: Scribner
Format: eBook

I don't remember where I heard about this book but possibly through the comments on the WHAT SHOULD I READ NEXT PODCAST post. I love medical memoirs. It was available on my library's overdrive system so I downloaded it. It's definitely eye-opening and entertaining and offers a different perspective on the medical process. 

A former paramedic’s visceral, poignant, and mordantly funny account of a decade spent on Atlanta’s mean streets saving lives and connecting with the drama and occasional beauty that lies inside a catastrophe.

In the aftermath of 9/11, Kevin Hazzard felt that something was missing from his life—his days were too safe, too routine. A failed salesman turned local reporter, he wanted to test himself, see how he might respond to pressure and danger. He signed up for emergency medical training and became, at age twenty-six, a newly minted EMT running calls in the worst sections of Atlanta. His life entered a different realm—one of blood, violence, and amazing grace.

Thoroughly intimidated at first and frequently terrified, he experienced on a nightly basis the adrenaline rush of walking into chaos. But in his downtime, Kevin reflected on how people’s facades drop away when catastrophe strikes. As his hours on the job piled up, he realized he was beginning to see into the truth of things. There is no pretense five beats into a chest compression, or in an alley next to a crack den, or on a dimly lit highway where cars have collided. Eventually, what had at first seemed impossible happened: Kevin acquired mastery. And in the process, he was able to discern the professional differences between his freewheeling peers, what marked each—as he termed them—as “a tourist,” “true believer,” or “killer.”

Combining indelible scenes that remind us of life’s fragile beauty with laugh-out-loud moments that keep us smiling through the worst, A Thousand Naked Strangers is an absorbing read about one man’s journey of self-discovery—a trip that also teaches us about ourselves.

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

As always, be sure to let me know if you read any of these. 

You may also be interested in these posts:

Books that Came in February 2018

Books that Came in January 2018

Books that Came in December 2017