Books that Came My Way in July 2019

New Books

This is my monthly roundup of books that were added to my shelves in the last month. I also share an update with you on other things going on in my life.

I have been LOVING summer. Many days spent on the porch and hanging out with the kids as they come and go from their jobs and activities. We had a blissful week in Daytona Beach. I know that we have limited time where all 5 of us can spend a week together so this trip was cherished.

I loved my morning and evening walks on the beach. I didn’t get to read as much as I thought I would because I was enjoying the company of our kids. Every night we played cards and our days were spent exploring or having fun on the beach. We toured Daytona Speedway (truly an amazing place) and Kennedy Space Center (fascinating). We also drove along the coast and stopped in Cocoa Beach to see the famous Ron Jon Surf Shop and headed north to St. Augustine. Nearly every afternoon or evening had a competitive round of mini-golf and of course lots of great food. It was a great vacation.

Bennett won his first 5K last month and turned 18. Pat and I saw Diamond Rio (90’s throwback) and Chris Janson in concert. Reagan is busy with the marching band. She plays snare in the drumline and we are looking forward to the show this season.

Now that we are home, we are back to preparing to send our two oldest to college. Our dining room is being taken over by piles of dorm room items. Our house is getting quieter as the kids are off making summer memories with their friends. In less than a month, the boys will be off on their own adventure and Reagan will be starting 9th grade. I’m savoring all these moments.

I have so many wonderful books to tell you about this month. If you have missed any of my recent book reviews, you can see all of them by clicking, HERE.  Or you can stay up to date with my monthly Quick Lit Roundup.

If you choose to make a purchase through any of the links I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase.


LIONS OF THE SKY

By: Paco Chierici

Published: April 12, 2019

Publisher: Braveship Books

Fiction

Format: Paperback

This is probably not a book for me, but I could see my husband enjoying it. With the release of the new “Top Gun” movie trailer, this might be a good read to get excited about the upcoming movie.

In the world of fighter pilots, the most alpha of the alpha, competition is everything and the stakes are impossibly high. A Top Gun for the new millennium, LIONS OF THE SKY propels us into a realm in which friendship, loyalty, and skill are tested, battles won and lost in an instant, and lives irrevocably changed in the time it takes to plug in your afterburners.

Sam Richardson is a fighter pilot’s pilot, a reluctant legend with a gut-eating secret. He is in the last span of his tour as an instructor, yearning to get back to the real action of the Fleet, when he is ordered to take on one last class—a class that will force him to confront his carefully quarantined demons.

Brash, carefree, and naturally gifted, Keely Silvers is the embodiment of all that grates on him. After years of single-minded dedication, she and her classmates can see the finish line. They are months away from achieving their life-long dream, flying Navy F/A-18 fighters. They are smart and hard-working, but they’re just kids with expensive new toys. They’re eager to rush through training and escape to the freedom of the world beyond, a world they view as a playground full of fast jets and exotic locales.

But Sam knows there is a darker side to the profession he loves. There is trouble brewing in the East with global implications. If they make it past him they will be cast into a dangerous world where enemy planes cruise the skies over the South China Sea like sharks, loaded with real weapons and hidden intentions.



LAW AND ADDICTION

A Legal Thriller

By: Mike Papantonio

Published: May 7, 2019

Publisher: Waterside Productions

Fiction

Format: Hardcover

The opioid addiction crisis in this country is scary. This fictional account has been getting rave reviews and was even featured in Publishers Weekly.

One week before Jake Rutledge is scheduled to graduate from law school, he receives the devastating news of the death of his fraternal twin, Blake. What makes this death even more terrible for Jake is that his brother died of a drug overdose. Until hearing of his death, Jake had no idea his brother was even using drugs.

When Jake returns home to Oakley, West Virginia, he takes a hard look at the circumstances of his brother’s death. In the five years Jake has been away for his schooling, his hometown has drastically changed. Because of the opioid epidemic, and the blight it has brought, many now call Oakley Zombieland. Jake can see how his town’s demise parallels his brother’s.

Undeterred, the newly minted lawyer takes on the entrenched powers by filing two lawsuits. Jake quickly learns what happens when you upset a hornet’s nest. The young attorney might be wet behind the ears, but is sure there is no lawyer that could help him more than Nick Deke Deketomis and his law firm of Bergman/Deketomis. Deke is a legendary lawyer. When he was Jake’s age he was making his name fighting Big Tobacco. Against all odds, Jake gets Nick and his firm to sign on to his case before it’s too late. 

WITCHES PROTECTION PROGRAM

By: Michael Okon

Published: May 30, 2019

Publisher: Wordfire Press

Fiction

Format: Paperback

Wes Rockville, a disgraced law-enforcement agent, gets one last chance to prove himself and save his career when he’s reassigned to a 232-year-old secret government organization.

The Witches Protection Program.

His first assignment: uncover a billion-dollar cosmetics company’s diabolical plan to use witchcraft for global domination, while protecting its heiress Morgan Pendragon from her aunt’s evil deeds. Reluctantly paired with veteran witch protector, Alastair Verne, Wes must learn to believe in witches…and believe in himself.

Filled with adventure and suspense, Michael Okon creates a rousing, tongue-in-cheek alternate reality where witches cast spells and wreak havoc in modern-day New York City. 

I AM, I AM, I AM

Seventeen Brushes with Death

By: Maggie O’Farrell

Published: February 6, 2018 (Paperback March 26, 2019)

Publisher: Knopf

Non-Fiction/Memoir

Format: Hardcover

I found this one at Half-Price books. It intrigued me after hearing about it on the WHAT SHOULD I READ NEXT? podcast.

We are never closer to life than when we brush up against the possibility of death.

I Am, I Am, I Am is Maggie O’Farrell’s astonishing memoir of the near-death experiences that have punctuated and defined her life. The childhood illness that left her bedridden for a year, which she was not expected to survive. A teenage yearning to escape that nearly ended in disaster. An encounter with a disturbed man on a remote path. And, most terrifying of all, an ongoing, daily struggle to protect her daughter–for whom this book was written–from a condition that leaves her unimaginably vulnerable to life’s myriad dangers.

Seventeen discrete encounters with Maggie at different ages, in different locations, reveal a whole life in a series of tense, visceral snapshots. In taut prose that vibrates with electricity and restrained emotion, O’Farrell captures the perils running just beneath the surface, and illuminates the preciousness, beauty, and mysteries of life itself. 

THE LAST LEONARDO

The Secret Lives of the World’s Most Expensive Painting

By: Ben Lewis

Published: June 25, 2019

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Non-Fiction

I had a hard time deciding if this is non-fiction or fiction. It reminds me a bit of The DaVinci Code which was fiction, but there is an extensive bibliography and index in the book which makes me think it is non-fiction. I’m not very knowledgeable in art history and didn’t know about this big sale, so it might be an interesting read.

An epic quest exposes hidden truths about Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, the recently discovered masterpiece that sold for $450 million—and might not be the real thing.

For two centuries, art dealers and historians searched in vain for the Holy Grail of art history: a portrait of Christ as the Salvator Mundi (“Savior of the World”) by Leonardo da Vinci. At last, in 2005 a compelling candidate was discovered by a small-time Old Masters dealer at a second-rate auction house in New Orleans. After a six-year restoration, an exhibition at the National Gallery in London, and the help of canny Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier, the painting was sold to the news-making Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev. After the very-public fallout between Rybolovlev and Bouvier, the painting went on to make headlines again in 2017 as the most expensive painting ever sold when a proxy of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman won the masterwork at a Christie’s auction for $450 million. 

But controversy still surrounds the artwork: Did the auction house—and the art dealers, curators, and art historians behind this find–actually have the right painting, or is there another? Did Leonardo even paint a Salvator Mundi? Some scholars argue he was only occasionally painting at the time the work is dated. Was the painting restored to such an extent that it became a Leonardo, though it was in fact the work of his apprentices? In short: Is it the genuine artifact, the result of a frenzied marketing genius—or perhaps a little of both?

In a thriller-like pursuit of the truth, Ben Lewis examines the five-hundred-year Cinderella-story of this painting and, astonishingly, turns up the smoking guns, including the burnt initials of ownership by an English king on a different Salvator Mundi and the identity of the American family who owned the painting for some of its missing decades. Through this journey, we come to see how the global art market evolved to what it is today, and we are left to ask ourselves what art means to humanity, both past and present.
 

COZY MINIMALIST HOME

More Style, Less Stuff

By: Myquillyn Smith

Published: October 23, 2018

Publisher: Zondervan

Non-Fiction

Format: eBook

Smith is the sister of Emily Freeman. Freeman wrote the book THE NEXT RIGHT THING and I’ve been wanting to read this book too. It went on Kindle deal and I got it free with some Kindle credits.

More Style, Less Stuff

Cozy Minimalism isn’t about going without or achieving a particular new, modern style. Nope. It’s simply a mindset that helps you get whatever style YOU LOVE with the fewest possible items.

You want a warm, cozy, inviting home, without using more resources, money, and stuff than needed. Why use more if you don’t have to?

In Cozy Minimalist Home, accidental stylist and bestselling author Myquillyn Smith guides you step by step on making purposeful design decisions for your home. You’ll have the tools to transform your home starting with what you already have, and using just enough of the right furniture and decor to create a home you’re proud of in a way that honors your personal priorities, budget, and style. No more fretting when it comes to decorating your house! 

In Cozy Minimalist Home, Myquillyn Smith helps you


Realize your role as the curator of your home who makes smart, style-impacting design choices
Finally know what to focus on, and what not to worry about when it comes to your home
Discover the real secret to finding your unique style—it has nothing to do with those style quizzes
Understand how to find a sofa you won’t hate tomorrow
Deconstruct each room and then re-create it step by step with a fail proof process
Create a pretty home with more style and less stuff—resulting in backwards decluttering!
Finish your home and have it looking the way you’ve always hoped so you can use it the way you’ve always dreamed 
After reading Myquillyn’s first book, The Nesting Place, women everywhere were convinced that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful and they found real contentment in their homes. But how does a content imperfectionist make actual design decisions?

Cozy Minimalist Home is the answer to that question. Written for the hands-on woman who’d rather move her own furniture than hire a designer, this is the guidance she needs to finish every room of her house. With people, priorities and purpose in mind, anyone can create a beautiful home that transcends the trends.

A pretty home is nice, but a Cozy Minimalist home goes beyond pretty and sets the stage for connection, relationship, and rest.

I’LL HAVE WHAT SHE’S HAVING

How Nora Ephron’s Three Iconic Films Saved the Romantic Comedy

By: Erin Carlson

Published: August 29, 2017

Publisher: Hachette Books

Non-Fiction

Format: eBook

I’ve been wanting to read this book since it came out. It finally went on a Kindle Deal and I snagged it right away. I had some Kindle credits from not using prime shipping, so it actually ended up being free!

A backstage look at the making of Nora Ephron’s revered trilogy–When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail, and Sleepless in Seattle–which brought romantic comedies back to the fore, and an intimate portrait of the beloved writer/director who inspired a generation of Hollywood women, from Mindy Kaling to Lena Dunham.

In I’ll Have What She’s Having entertainment journalist Erin Carlson tells the story of the real Nora Ephron and how she reinvented the romcom through her trio of instant classics. With a cast of famous faces including Rob Reiner, Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, and Billy Crystal, Carlson takes readers on a rollicking, revelatory trip to Ephron’s New York City, where reality took a backseat to romance and Ephron–who always knew what she wanted and how she wanted it–ruled the set with an attention to detail that made her actors feel safe but sometimes exasperated crew members. 

Along the way, Carlson examines how Ephron explored in the cinema answers to the questions that plagued her own romantic life and how she regained faith in love after one broken engagement and two failed marriages. Carlson also explores countless other questions Ephron’s fans have wondered about: What sparked Reiner to snap out of his bachelor blues during the making of When Harry Met Sally? Why was Ryan, a gifted comedian trapped in the body of a fairytale princess, not the first choice for the role? After she and Hanks each separatel balked at playing Mail’s Kathleen Kelly and Sleepless’ Sam Baldwin, what changed their minds? And perhaps most importantly: What was Dave Chappelle doing … in a turtleneck? An intimate portrait of a one of America’s most iconic filmmakers and a look behind the scenes of her crowning achievements, I’ll Have What She’s Having is a vivid account of the days and nights when Ephron, along with assorted cynical collaborators, learned to show her heart on the screen.

LITTLE BROKEN THINGS

By: Nicole Baart

Published: November 21, 2017

Publisher: Atria Books

Fiction

Format: eBook

Nicole Baart is an Iowa author and I have yet to read any of her books. When this one went on a Kindle Deal, I snagged it.

An engrossing and suspenseful novel for fans of Liane Moriarty and Amy Hatvany about an affluent suburban family whose carefully constructed facade starts to come apart with the unexpected arrival of an endangered young girl.

I have something for you. When Quinn Cruz receives that cryptic text message from her older sister Nora, she doesn’t think much of it. They haven’t seen each other in nearly a year and thanks to Nora’s fierce aloofness, their relationship consists mostly of infrequent phone calls and an occasional email or text. But when a haunted Nora shows up at the lake near Quinn’s house just hours later, a chain reaction is set into motion that will change both of their lives forever.

Nora’s “something” is more shocking than Quinn could have ever imagined: a little girl, cowering, wide-eyed, and tight-lipped. Nora hands her over to Quinn with instructions to keep her safe, and not to utter a word about the child to anyone, especially not their buttoned-up mother who seems determined to pretend everything is perfect. But before Quinn can ask even one of the million questions swirling around her head, Nora disappears, and Quinn finds herself the unlikely caretaker of a girl introduced simply as Lucy.

While Quinn struggles to honor her sister’s desperate request and care for the lost, scared Lucy, she fears that Nora may have gotten involved in something way over her head—something that will threaten them all. But Quinn’s worries are nothing compared to the firestorm that Nora is facing. It’s a matter of life and death, of family and freedom, and ultimately, about the lengths a woman will go to protect the ones she loves.

THE MODERN CAST IRON COOKBOOK

By: Tiffany La Forge

Published: May 21, 2019

Publisher: Rockridge Press

Non-Fiction/Cookbook

Format: eBook

I used to have a cast iron skillet but never knew how to properly use it, so I got rid of it. But, I now have one on order and I’m anxious to start using one again and trying different recipes with it.

This isn’t your grandmother’s cast iron cookbook. For the next generation of home cooks, The Modern Cast Iron Cookbook serves up fresh and healthy recipes that reinvent the possibilities of cast iron cooking.
Spring Green Shakshuka, Falafel Burgers with Mint Yogurt, Turmeric Seafood Paella, and more―these original recipes show you what you can do with classic cast iron cookware. Plus, with handy labels for 5-ingredient, 30-minute, and 1 hour (or less) recipes, you’ll discover how deliciously convenient cast iron cooking can be.


A TIGER LIKE ME

By: Michael Engler

Illustrated by: Joelle Tourlonias

Translated by: Laura Watkinson

Published: August 1, 2019

Publisher: Amazon Crossing Kids

Fiction

This one looks super cute. It would be a great bedtime story for an active, young boy.

Life is more fun when you’re a tiger like me!
A little boy—um, no, a tiger!—tells us all about what he gets up to on an ordinary day: how he wakes up in his tiger den, what he eats for breakfast at his feeding spot, and how little tigers feel when they are wide awake, hungry, thirsty, or in the mood for adventures. But at night, even the wildest of tigers is happy to curl up in bed with Tiger-Mom and Tiger-Dad and become a cuddly little tiger cub.
With warm illustrations and playful text, this delightful story first published in Germany shows just how sweet life can be for a little tiger!

MY NAME IS WAKAWAKALOCH!

By: Chana Stiefel

Illustrated by: Mary Sullivan

Published: August 27, 2019

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Fiction

Kids will love the title of this book and trying to say it. I’m sure it will produce a lot of giggles while sending a great message.

In this lighthearted picture book, the intrepid, determined, and savvy Wakawakaloch learns to embrace what makes her special while lifting up her neanderthal community. Perfect for fans of Vera Brosgol and Emily Hughes. 

No one can pronounce Wakawakaloch’s name. Why couldn’t she be called something simple . . . like Gloop? That’s a name you can find on a T-shirt! But after a visit with her tribe’s elder, Wakawakaloch discovers what her name means, and how powerful names can be. Gloop may be easy to say, but the girl who helps her friends embrace differences and wear their names proudly? Her name is Wakawakaloch!

WHAT IF EVERYBODY THOUGHT THAT?

By: Ellen Javernick

Illustrated by: Colleen Madden

Published: August 27, 2019

Publisher: Two Lions

I loved Javernick’s book WHAT IF EVERYBODY SAID THAT? and this one will be another great book for talking about our personal judgments towards others.

What if everybody were more thoughtful before they judged someone?
If you see someone in a wheelchair, you might think he or she couldn’t compete in a race. But…you might be wrong. What if you see a child with no hair? Do you think she is embarrassed all the time? How about a kid who has a really hard time reading? Do you think that means he’s not smart? You might think so. But…you might be wrong.
With clear prose and lighthearted artwork, this companion book to the bestseller What If Everybody Did That? explores the preconceived notions we have about the world and encourages kids to be more thoughtful.

HISTORY’S WEIRDEST DEATHS

By: James Proud

Published: June 11, 2019

Publisher: Portable Press

Non-Fiction

From 210 BC to the present, there are some fascinating ways that people have died. If you have older elementary kids that are interested in morbid facts, they would like this book.

Death comes in many forms—sometimes peaceful, sometimes tragic, sometimes dramatic . . . and at other times just plain weird. In History’s Weirdest Deaths, you’ll read the true stories of more than a hundred people who met their end in a bizarre fashion. Each cautionary tale is unique. Meet the victims of stunts that went horribly wrong, ordinary people who made boneheaded blunders, and famous figures who realized too late that celebrity isn’t a cure for stupidity. 

HASBRO LOST KITTIES: COLLECTOR’S GUIDE

By: Maggie Fischer

Published: May 7, 2019

Publisher: SFI Readerlink Dist

Activity Book/Collector’s Guide

This is a catalog of all the Hasbro Lost Kitties including photos and bios. The author Maggie Fischer is also part of the team that writes the WILD BIOS series.

Get to know the fur-larious, sassy, utterly paw-some Lost Kitties!

Meet the mischievous, meowing, cat-tastic Lost Kitties in this amazing collector’s guide! With over 100 kitties to collect, there’s endless fun to discover. Snack on tacos with Chomp, shiver in secret with Peekerz, and play pranks with Pants in this hilarious guide. With 112 pages of pawsome trivia, this book is simply purr-fect for Lost Kitties fans everywhere.
 

HASBRO LOST KITTIES: #ADORBS

Level 3 Squad Goals

By: Maggie Fischer

Published: May 21, 2019

Publisher: SFI Readerlink Dist

Fiction

The Lost Kitties is a line of toys from Hasbro. These books feature stories with the various Lost Kitties characters. I am not familiar with these toys, but I’m sure kids that are will love this series.

Get ready for a too-cute kitty-tastrophe with the #ADORBS squad in this Lost Kitties leveled reader!

It’s a too-cute kitty-tastrophe in the #ADORBS squad! Bonbon’s been baking all day, but hungry Tummy Tum still isn’t full, Nap-kin keeps getting woken up by the garbage truck, and Memez’ dance moves are far from paw-fect! Purr along with this fur-larious squad and their adorable antics in this leveled reader, perfect for Lost Kitties fans!

HASBRO LOST KITTIES: #NOMZ

Level 3 Squad Goals

By: Maggie Fischer

Published: May 21, 2019

Publisher: SFI Readerlink Dist

Fiction

The #NOMZ squad is hungry for mischief in this fur-larious leveled reader!

The #NOMZ squad is hungry for mischief! Chomp is testing out the hottest pepper in the world to spice up her spec-taco-lar hot sauce, Chunks is training for the Grand Hairball Hacking Competition, and Loafy’s at a loss when his toaster breaks! Purr along with this fur-larious squad and their snack-tastic antics in this leveled reader, perfect for Lost Kitties fans!

STRANGE HOLLYWOOD

Amazing and Intriguing Stories from Tinseltown and Beyond

By: Editors of Portable Press

Published: May 7, 2019

Publisher: Portable Press

Non-Fiction

If your kids are fascinated with Hollywood or that people that star in their favorite shows and movies, then this book of facts is for them. It gives all kinds of weird and fascinating behind-the-scenes info about popular past and present celebrities and the movies and shows they were in.

Strange things happen behind the scenes in Hollywood.

Hollywood stars may be accustomed to the limelight, but there are some things they may wish had never seen the light of day. Scandals, stunts gone wrong, off-camera feuds, eccentric lifestyles—it’s all here in Strange Hollywood. Dozens of entertaining articles about the world of showbiz will amuse you and make you realize that being a celebrity isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. This easily portable paperback book is ideal for readers on the go. 

AWESOME ACHIEVERS IN TECHNOLOGY

Super and Strange Facts about 12 Almost Famous History Makers

By: Alan Katz

Illustrated by: Chris Judge

Published: August 6, 2019

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Non-Fiction

This new series is sure to inspire kids towards a desire for learning in the STEM fields.

Part of a super fun middle grade series, Awesome Achievers in Technology puts the spotlight on lesser-known heroes and their contributions in tech.


Everyone has heard the name Steve Jobs, but what about Nolan Bushnell–Jobs’s boss before the invention of Apple, and the founder of the first major video game, Pong? Many of the most relevant figures in tech history have remained in the shadows, but not any longer! From Alan Katz’s new Awesome Achievers series, Awesome Achievers in Technology gives kids a look behind the scenes at 12 lesser-known inventors whose contributions to tech are personally relevant to their lives today. Each figure is given a traditional biography but is also subject to Katz’s unique brand of silliness, with humorous elements such as imagined poems, song lyrics, and diary entries by and about the not-so-famous figure accompanying each bio. 

Spot illustrations throughout add to the lighthearted and appreciative humor each figure receives. Reluctant readers and budding tech enthusiasts alike will delight in this imaginative and engaging introduction to a new series of laugh out loud biographies

AWESOME ACHIEVERS IN SCIENCE

Super and Strange Facts about 12 Almost Famous History Makers

By: Alan Katz

Illustrated by: Chris Judge

Published: August 6, 2019

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Non-Fiction

Part of a super fun middle grade series, Awesome Achievers in Science puts the spotlight on lesser-known heroes and their contributions in major scientific fields.


Everyone has heard the names Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, but what about Michael Collins–the third brave Apollo 11 astronaut who didn’t get to walk on the moon? Many of the most relevant figures in scientific history have remained in the shadows, but not any longer! From Alan Katz’s new Awesome Achievers series, Awesome Achievers in Science gives kids a look behind the scenes at 12 lesser-known scientists whose contributions are personally relevant to their lives today. Each figure is given a traditional biography but is also subject to Katz’s unique brand of silliness, with humorous elements such as imagined poems, song lyrics, and diary entries by or about the not-so-famous figure accompanying each bio. 

Spot illustrations throughout add to the lighthearted and appreciative humor each figure receives. Reluctant readers and budding scientists alike will delight in this imaginative and engaging continuation of a new series of laugh-out-loud biographies.

To see all the posts featuring new books on my shelves, click HERE.

So many books, so little time!

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