Books that Came My Way in January 2020

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.

Life is getting back into a regular routine around here. I’m back to subbing once in a while. Nights are spent reading or doing puzzles or supporting Reagan at one of her many activities. It feels good to have things back to our normal schedule.

Our sweet girl turned 15 last month. We were supposed to be spending the day at a show choir competition, but it was canceled due to snow and ice. It seems to be the theme for her birthdays. She was born in an ice storm and many of her birthday parties have been in amongst snow and ice. So, even though we were bummed that we didn’t have show choir to go to, we had an entire day to spend together including her brothers who left the next day to go back to college. It was great to have them home for three weeks and I miss them already.

She’s been playing in the pep band at the basketball games which is fun to watch. She also will be performing at State Speech Contest with her Chorale Reading group which I’m excited about. She is definitely staying active during her freshman year! The first semester is over and it is hard to believe we have less than half the school year to go. As Gretchen Rubin says, “The days are long, but the years are short.”

I was so thrilled to see the musical “Come From Away”. I’ve been wanting to see it as soon as I heard it was being performed on Broadway. When I saw it was coming to Des Moines, I encouraged some friends to go along. We all loved it. If you don’t know anything about this musical it is based on the events that happened on 9/11 when planes were required to land in Gander, Newfoundland and several thousand passengers were stranded there for days. It is also based on the events written about in the book THE DAY THE WORLD CAME TO TOWN which I read and loved. The musical is very well done with cast members playing multiple characters. There is no intermission and the stage stays the same except for the movement of chairs and the changing of a sweater or hat for the cast. If it comes near you, go see it!

I also went to see the movie “Little Women” and I LOVED IT!!!. I finally started watching “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” which I am also loving. I save it for my treadmill show. Then I have something to look forward to while I’m doing Gretchen Rubin’s #Walk20in20. I’m walking 20 minutes every day in 2020. Now, I know that sounds like a HUGE goal, which it is, but so far, I’ve just had one day where I didn’t walk for a set 20 minutes, but I met my step goal through walking during the day, so I figured that was just as good.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram, HERE to see snippets of what I’m reading or what’s going on in my daily life.

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.

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MR. NOBODY

By: Catherine Steadman

Published: January 7, 2020

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Fiction

Format: Paperback

I have Steadman’s SOMETHING IN THE WATER on my shelf but I wasn’t sure I could handle reading it. But, my niece reassured me that I could and that is was a great read and not too intense. Then her newest book showed up in my mailbox and so I guess I need to check both of her books out.

Who is Mr. Nobody?

When a man is found on a British beach, drifting in and out of consciousness, with no identification and unable to speak, interest in him is sparked immediately. From the hospital staff who find themselves inexplicably drawn to him, to international medical experts who are baffled by him, to the national press who call him Mr. Nobody, everyone wants answers. Who is this man? And what happened to him?

Some memories are best forgotten.

Neuropsychiatrist Dr. Emma Lewis is asked to assess the patient in a small town deep in the English countryside. This is her field of expertise, this is the chance she’s been waiting for, and this case could make her name known across the world. But therein lies the danger. Emma left this same town fourteen years ago and has taken great pains to cover all traces of her past since then.

THE ANTIDOTE FOR EVERYTHING

By: Kimmery Martin

Published: February 18, 2020

Publisher: Berkley

Fiction

Format: Hardcover

I’m super excited about this one. I read THE QUEEN OF HEARTS and thought it was smart and fun. This one sounds a bit heavier and very timely, but I’m anxious to read it.

Georgia Brown’s profession as a urologist requires her to interact with plenty of naked men, but her romantic prospects have fizzled. The most important person in her life is her friend Jonah Tsukada, a funny, empathetic family medicine doctor who works at the same hospital in Charleston, South Carolina and who has become as close as family to her.

Just after Georgia leaves the country for a medical conference, Jonah shares startling news. The hospital is instructing doctors to stop providing medical care for transgender patients. Jonah, a gay man, is the first to be fired when he refuses to abandon his patients. Stunned by the predicament of her closest friend, Georgia’s natural instinct is to fight alongside him. But when her attempts to address the situation result in incalculable harm, both Georgia and Jonah find themselves facing the loss of much more than their careers. 

THE GIRL IN WHITE GLOVES

A Novel of Gracy Kelly

By: Kerri Maher

Published: February 25, 2020

Publisher: Berkley

Fiction/Historical Fiction

Format: Hardcover

I don’t know very much about Grace Kelly except that she was elegant and someone women tried to emulate. But, I also know that what the public saw was not the real Grace Kelly. I’m interested to see what her story is all about.

A life in snapshots…

Grace knows what people see. She’s the Cinderella story. An icon of glamor and elegance frozen in dazzling Technicolor. The picture of perfection. The girl in white gloves.

A woman in living color…

But behind the lens, beyond the panoramic views of glistening Mediterranean azure, she knows the truth. The sacrifices it takes for an unappreciated girl from Philadelphia to defy her family and become the reigning queen of the screen. The heartbreaking reasons she trades Hollywood for a crown. The loneliness of being a princess in a fairy tale kingdom that is all too real.


Hardest of all for her adoring fans and loyal subjects to comprehend is the harsh reality that to be the most envied woman in the world does not mean she is the happiest. Starved for affection and purpose, facing a labyrinth of romantic and social expectations with more twists and turns than Monaco’s infamous winding roads, Grace must find her own way to fulfillment. But what she risks–her art, her family, her marriage—she may never get back.

WHERE THE SUN WILL RISE TOMORROW

By: Rashi Rohatgi

Published: March 8, 2020

Publisher: Galaxy Galloper Press

Fiction

Format: Paperback

In reading the synopsis, I thought maybe this was a YA novel since the main character is a sixteen-year-old. But, it doesn’t appear to be labeled that way. The book is small (but the print isn’t) and it is just 266 pages. So, it would be a fairly quick read.

It’s 1905, and the Japanese victory over the Russians has shocked the British and their imperial subjects. Sixteen-year-old Leela and her younger sister, Maya, are spurred on to wear homespun to show the British that the Indians won’t be oppressed for much longer, either, but when Leela’s betrothed, Nash, asks her to circulate a petition amongst her classmates to desegregate the girls’ school in Chadrapur, she’s wary. She needs to remind Maya that the old ways are not all bad, for soon Maya will have to join her own betrothed and his family in their quiet village. When she discovers that Maya has embarked on a forbidden romance, Leela’s response shocks her family, her town, and her country firmly into the new century.

THERE THERE

By: Tommy Orange

Published: June 5, 2018 – paperback May 7, 2019

Publisher: Knopf – Vintage

Fiction

Format: Paperback

I purchased this one because it is our book club choice for this month. It’s been on my list and I’m anxious to read it.

We all came to the powwow for different reasons. The messy, dangling threads of our lives got pulled into a braid–tied to the back of everything we’d been doing all along to get us here. There will be death and playing dead, there will be screams and unbearable silences, forever-silences, and a kind of time-travel, at the moment the gunshots start, when we look around and see ourselves as we are, in our regalia, and something in our blood will recoil then boil hot enough to burn through time and place and memory. We’ll go back to where we came from, when we were people running from bullets at the end of that old world. The tragedy of it all will be unspeakable, that we’ve been fighting for decades to be recognized as a present-tense people, modern and relevant, only to die in the grass wearing feathers.

THE GIRL HE USED TO KNOW

By: Tracey Garvis Graves

Published: April 2, 2019 – paperback January 7, 2020

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press – Griffen

Fiction

Format: Paperback

This was the Target Book Club choice for the month. It was one that was already on my to-read list, so I was excited this was the choice.

Annika Rose likes being alone.
She feels lost in social situations, saying the wrong thing or acting the wrong way. She just can’t read people. She prefers the quiet solitude of books or playing chess to being around others. Apart from Jonathan. She liked being around him, but she hasn’t seen him for ten years. Until now that is. And she’s not sure he’ll want to see her again after what happened all those years ago.

Annika Rose likes being alone.
Except that, actually, she doesn’t like being alone at all
.

THE ORPHAN SISTERS

By: Shirley Dickson

Published: January 7, 2020

Publisher: Forever/Hachette

Fiction/Historical Fiction

Format: Paperback

I’m a sucker for sister novels and I heard about this one recently. When I saw it at Sam’s Club for a great price, I had to snag it. The synopsis just sounds so good.

1929: Four-year-old Etty and eight-year-old Dorothy are abandoned at Blakely Hall orphanage by their mother, never to see her again. With no other family to speak of, the sisters worship their beloved mam – confused and heartbroken to be deserted by her when they need her the most.

1940: Etty and Dorothy are finally released from the confines of Blakely Hall – but their freedom comes when the country is in the grip of World War Two and its terrors. Amidst a devastating backdrop of screaming air-raid sirens and cold nights huddled in shelters, the sisters are desperate to put their broken childhoods behind them.

But trouble lies ahead. Dorothy must bid goodbye to her beloved husband when he’s sent to war and Etty must nurse a broken heart as she falls in love with the one man she can never be with.

Etty and Dorothy survived the orphanage with the help of one another and neither sister can forget the awful betrayal of their mother, which has haunted them their whole lives. But when a shocking secret about their painful childhood comes to light, will the sisters ever be the same again?

THESE GOT ME PUNCHED

A Book of 50 Kisses

By: Nicholas J. Stevens

Published: January 7, 2020

Publisher: Mascot Books

Non-Fiction/Essays

Format: Paperback

I thought this sounded like a fun read, especially for the month of February, the month of LOVE.

This is a book about kisses. Actually, it’s about learning and growing and adapting and submitting, but the unifying feature is a kiss. Initially, it contained 49 stories, some accounts of the kiss, some where the kiss is an ancillary detail to a bigger story, some comprised of dialog, a poem, a song, some haikus, and even a single piece of fiction. Nicholas posed a challenge to his co-workers during one of their daily mundane tasks: remember the names of everyone they had ever kissed on the mouth. His co-workers were stumped, but Nicholas remembered them all. Good, bad, or other, they all meant something, and potential, intimacy, and the potential for intimacy created lasting impressions on an incurable (and hormonal) young romantic. Nicholas wrote the first 49 chapters as a homage to the 50th (and presumably last) woman he would ever kiss: his wife. 

THE BIBLE IN 52 WEEKS

A Yearlong Bible Study for Women

By: Dr. Kimberly D. Moore

Published: February 11, 2020

Publisher: Rockridge Press

Non-Fiction/Christian/Bible Study

Format: Paperback

I thought this sounded like such a great way to study the whole Bible. In just 15 minutes a day, you can get personal, strengthen your relationship, and learn more about His Word. It is also set up for Sundays to have a day of rest from the study. I’m anxious to check it out.

An interactive journey through the entire Bible—for women.

When it comes to lifting spirits and finding peace in hard times, there is one place Christian women have always turned for help and advice—the Bible. The Bible in 52 Weeks is an inspiring bible study for women that breaks up the scriptures into manageable daily readings.

Whether you use this interactive bible study for women alone or in a group setting, the weekly commentary, discussion questions, and space to record your thoughts will help you gain new insights, strengthen your relationship with Christ, and spend time in the Word with new meaning and purpose.

Powerful and practical—In just 15 to 20 minutes a day, you’ll tackle the whole Bible in 12 months. Get personal—Each week of bible study for women includes questions, as well as a prayer, a highlighted verse, or actions you can take to help deepen your faith or overcome difficulties you’re facing. And on the 7th day—After 6 days of short suggested readings from the Bible, this bible study for women encourages you to take a day of rest and reflect or catch up on anything that you may have missed during the week.

Bring this practical, yearlong bible study for women into your life and get closer to God.

DEATH IS BUT A DREAM

Finding Hope and Meaning at Life’s End

By: Christopher Kerr, MD, PhD with Carrie Mardorossian, PhD

Published: February 11, 2020

Publisher: Avery

Non-Fiction

Format: Paperback

I have some pretty amazing stories from my time working in Hospice as well. This book sounds like it would bring comfort to many who are grieving.

Christopher Kerr is a hospice doctor. All of his patients die. Yet he has cared for thousands of patients who, in the face of death, speak of love and grace. Beyond the physical realities of dying are unseen processes that are remarkably life-affirming. These include dreams that are unlike any regular dream. Described as “more real than real,” these end-of-life experiences resurrect past relationships, meaningful events and themes of love and forgiveness; they restore life’s meaning and mark the transition from distress to comfort and acceptance.

Drawing on interviews with over 1,400 patients and more than a decade of quantified data, Dr. Kerr reveals that pre-death dreams and visions are extraordinary occurrences that humanize the dying process. He shares how his patients’ stories point to death as not solely about the end of life, but as the final chapter of humanity’s transcendence. Kerr’s book also illuminates the benefits of these phenomena for the bereaved, who find solace in seeing their loved ones pass with a sense of calm closure.

Beautifully written, with astonishing real-life characters and stories, this book is at its heart a celebration of our power to reclaim the dying process as a deeply meaningful one. Death Is But a Dream is an important contribution to our understanding of medicine’s and humanity’s greatest mystery.

THE KING AND THE QUIRKY

A Memoir of Love, Marriage, Domesticity, Feminism, and Self

By: Heather Siegel

Published: April 29, 2020

Publisher: Regal House Publishing

Non-Fiction/Memoir

Format: Paperback

I reviewed Siegel’s first book, OUT FROM THE UNDERWORLD back in 2015. In her first book, she shares her personal stories growing up without a mom, a father who is “checked out” and then jumping from foster homes to adulthood. It was inspiring. She contacted me to check out her newest book and I’m happy to do that.

Thirty-four-year-old Heather Siegel is eccentric, artsy, and independent, and she doesn’t believe in romantic fairy-tales. At least not until she meets her opposite in Jon, a man of science, logic, and kingly ego. Not only does she fall for the idea of love and “soulmates,” she goes one step further—she moves to the suburbs of Long Island and invests wholeheartedly in marriage and motherhood. Naturally, it doesn’t take long before she finds herself lost and adrift. To regain a shred of her old self, she embarks upon a series of quirky and painfully humorous entrepreneurial and health adventures. Can you be a stay-at-home mother and still be a feminist? Should we believe in the “true love” narrative? These are questions posed within this high drama of the mundane, in which (spoiler alert) no murder happens, no affair unfolds, and no death, illness, or trauma is suffered.

THE 7 SECRETS OF RESPONSIVE LEADERSHIP

Drive Change, Manage Transitions, and Help Any Organization Turn Around

By: Jackie Jenkins-Scott

Published: February 1, 2020

Publisher: Career Press

Non-Fiction

Format: Paperback

As a leader of a number of boards and organizations, this book could be helpful in how those groups are motivated and the members are encouraged. I’ve always felt it was important to have a good team working toward the same goals and I’ve been very fortunate to be part of solid, hard-working organizations. But, I’m curious about some of the suggestions in this book.

Being a responsive leader means playing to win. Responsive leadership can thrive anywhere, unlike systematic leadership. The latter imposes methods and laws; principles govern action. In contrast, responsive leadership is a living, changing set of traits and skills that adapts to new people and environments. You may have an impressive grasp of how to influence, inspire, and build teams, but you must know how to adapt your abilities to each new organization, or to changes within the organization—new board members, new staff members, new shareholders.

The 7 Secrets of Responsive Leadership spotlights how to build the skills to be a leader in any environment. Richly illustrated with stories from the author’s decades of experience as a CEO, the book explores how to:

Take advantage of opportunity
Turn around an organization
Compete well by leading with heart
Keep your bags packed
Echo one message at a time
Look for opposition
Value the interconnectedness of people
Recover quickly


At its core, this book is about the intimate relationship between leadership and opportunity. The author lived that relationship in transforming a major urban health care center and a college from struggling and failing organizations to thriving, international leaders in their field.

THE COMPLETE BOOK OF HOME ORGANIZATION

By: Toni Hammersley

Published: June 19, 2018

Publisher: Weldon Owen

Non-Fiction

Format: Paperback

I purchased this one for myself. I really enjoy Toni’s posts from her blog A Bowl Full of Lemons and her Instagram account. I like her approach and her systems so I thought I would appreciate some of her suggestions in her book.

Have you ever wished you had the time and tools to organize your house in a clutter-free, design-conscious, Pinterest-worthy way? From storage solutions and cleaning tips to secret space-saving methods and expert strategies, The Total Home Organization Manual is packed with the tips and shortcuts you need to effectively organize your home.

From small spaces and apartment solutions to how to tackle a big, messy home with a 14-week total home organization challenge, this book covers it all. The Total Home Organization Manual spells out everything you need to de-clutter your house, store your belongings, and keep your home—and life—in tip-top shape.

Organize the 30 main spaces of your home, including the living and dining spaces, bedrooms and bathrooms, guest areas, baby and kids’ rooms, utility spaces and garages, entryways and offices, patios and decks, closets and pet areas! Keep track of your pantry, holiday and craft supplies, weekly menu planning, keepsakes, and schedules. From the basement to the attic, this book covers every nook and cranny.

With step-by-step instructions, detailed illustrations, and handy checklists, say goodbye to a messy home and wasted storage space! 

DREAM BIG, LITTLE SCIENTISTS

A Bedtime Book

By: Michelle Schaub

Illustrated by: Alice Potter

Published: February 18, 2020

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Fiction

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

I love children’s books that encourage a love of science or all things STEM. I can’t wait to share this one with you.

Twelve kids. A dozen bedtimes. Endless sweet ways to say goodnight with science!

Spark curiosity and exploration with this innovative bedtime story for budding scientists that introduces eleven branches of science. From astronomy to physics to chemistry to geology, this STEM picture book will help kids get excited to explore. Includes further information about each branch of science. 


Which one of these books will you be adding to your list?

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

So many books, so little time!

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