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 nine books in February including three adult fiction, five children’s non-fiction, and a children’s fiction book. I am currently reading three books that I’ve been reading for a couple months. All three are non-fiction and I just read a chapter or two when I have a few minutes. One of them is on audio book so I listen when I am cleaning the house or driving. Since I just finished a fiction novel, as soon as I write the review then I can start a new fiction. To always see what I am currently reading, check out my Goodreads sidebar to the right.
I’m so ready for Spring. We had a week of unseasonably warm weather and I think everyone in town was outside walking and the parks were full of kids. It was wonderful, but I know that we have a bit more cold weather to get through before Spring is officially here to stay. We even had thunderstorms and tornado warnings. We haven’t had a snow day off from school all winter. I don’t know if that has ever happened.
I am super anxious to read several books in my stack and I’ve done pretty well at reading lately. But, since we are now in the 30ish days til Prom, my schedule is going to get messy. I’m excited to pull everything together for the prom-goers, but I am so ready for all this to be done!
We are doing our first college visits with Patrick this month. YIKES! It’s hard to even say those words. I am not ready to send him off. I’m cherishing each of these 400+ days until graduation.
On that note, happy reading. 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 BRIDGE ACROSS THE OCEAN
By: Susan Meissner
Published: March 14, 2017
I would choose this for the cover alone. It’s so gorgeous. But, the author is also drawing me in. Her book, A FALL OF MARIGOLDS was a favorite of mine from 2014.
February 1946. World War Two is over, but the recovery from the most intimate of its horrors has only just begun for Annaliese Lange, a German ballerina desperate to escape her past, and Simone Deveraux, the wronged daughter of a French Resistance spy.
Now the two women are joining hundreds of other European war brides aboard the renowned RMS Queen Mary to cross the Atlantic and be reunited with their American husbands. Their new lives in the United States brightly beckon until their tightly-held secrets are laid bare in their shared stateroom. When the voyage ends at New York Harbor, only one of them will disembark…
Present day. Facing a crossroads in her own life, Brette Caslake visits the famously haunted Queen Mary at the request of an old friend. What she finds will set her on a course to solve a seventy-year-old tragedy that will draw her into the heartaches and triumphs of the courageous war brides and will ultimately lead her to reconsider what she has to sacrifice to achieve her own deepest longings.
I really liked Mackintosh’s debut novel I LET YOU GO. She is extremely talented at keeping you guessing and I’m anxious to see if her sophomore novel is just as shocking.
You do the same thing every day.
You know exactly where you’re going.
You’re not alone.
When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. There’s no explanation: just a website, a grainy image, and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it’s just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.
Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make?
MY LAST LAMENT
By: James William Brown
Published: April 4, 2017
I’ve read numerous stories about WWII, but never one about a Greek woman.
A poignant and evocative novel of one Greek woman’s story of her own and her nation’s epic struggle in the aftermath of World War II.
Aliki is one of the last of her kind, a lamenter who mourns and celebrates the passing of life. She is part of an evolving Greece, one moving steadily away from its rural traditions. To capture the fading folk art of lamenting, an American researcher asks Aliki to record her laments, but in response, Aliki sings her own story…
It begins in a village in northeast Greece, where Aliki witnesses the occupying Nazi soldiers execute her father for stealing squash. Taken in by her friend Takis’s mother, Aliki is joined by a Jewish refugee and her son, Stelios. When the village is torched and its people massacred, Aliki, Takis and Stelios are able to escape just as the war is ending.
Fleeing across the chaotic landscape of a post-war Greece, the three become a makeshift family. They are bound by friendship and grief but torn apart by betrayal, madness, and heartbreak.
Through Aliki’s powerful voice, an unforgettable one that blends light and dark with wry humor, My Last Lament delivers a fitting eulogy to a way of life and provides a vivid portrait of a timeless Greek woman, whose story of love and loss is an eternal one.
This came in my Quarterly Literary Box. I’ve never heard of the author or the book. Reading it makes me wonder if I will like it. Sounds a little too twisted to me.
Tall, trusted Tandy Caide, CPA, is a long-time patron of the arts in her town, which is why you will find her sitting in the front row of the high school’s annual musical production. This year is an Annie year—and it would be no different than other years were it not for the high school’s hiring of a new vocational agriculture (Vo-Ag) teacher. With his beguiling ponytail and decorative beaded belt, Kenny catches Tandy’s eye immediately. Ignoring the fact of her slovenly husband—who takes most of his meals in their hot tub—Tandy decides to entertain Kenny’s advances.
Trusted community pillar that she is, Tandy’s affair has instant repercussions. People are talking and her husband’s subsequent breakdown and check-in to a mental institution don’t help. At her regular meeting with the Order of the Pessimists—comprised of her deceased father’s disgruntled and drunken best friends—she is asked to step down as treasurer. Not only that, but her old lover is keeping a secret somehow connected to the Vo-Ag teacher. And meth labs—fueled by the abundance of fertilizer present in the region—keep blowing up. Somehow, it is all connected to Tandy’s ex-best friend’s daughter—the star of this year’s Annie. As Tandy pieces together the puzzle that has become her life, it becomes clear she must embark on a journey of self-discovery that might even include leaving town for good.
This came in my Quarterly Literary Box. I’ve never heard of this one either even those Amazon considers it a best-seller. The synopsis tells me it is not something I usually read and may just pass on this one.
Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts is a genre-bending memoir, a work of “autotheory” offering fresh, fierce, and timely thinking about desire, identity, and the limitations and possibilities of love and language. At its center is a romance: the story of the author’s relationship with the artist Harry Dodge. This story, which includes Nelson’s account of falling in love with Dodge, who is fluidly gendered, as well as her journey to and through a pregnancy, offers a firsthand account of the complexities and joys of (queer) family-making.
Writing in the spirit of public intellectuals such as Susan Sontag and Roland Barthes, Nelson binds her personal experience to a rigorous exploration of what iconic theorists have said about sexuality, gender, and the vexed institutions of marriage and child-rearing. Nelson’s insistence on radical individual freedom and the value of caretaking becomes the rallying cry of this thoughtful, unabashed, uncompromising book.
This came in my Quarterly Literary Box. I have heard of this one and was curious about it. So far it has received good reviews.
She was the first person to see me as I had always wanted to be seen. It was enough to indebt me to her forever.
At a private East Coast college, two young women meet in art class. Sharon Kisses, quietly ambitious but self-doubting, arrives from rural Kentucky. Mel Vaught, brash, unapologetic, wildly gifted, brings her own brand of hellfire from the backwaters of Florida. Both outsiders, Sharon and Mel become fervent friends, bonding over underground comics and dysfunctional families. Working, absorbing, drinking. Drawing: Mel, to understand her own tumultuous past, and Sharon, to lose herself altogether.
A decade later, Sharon and Mel are an award-winning animation duo, and with the release of their first full-length feature, a fearless look at Mel’s childhood, they stand at the cusp of success. But while on tour to promote the film, cracks in their relationship start to form: Sharon begins to feel like a tag-along and suspects that raucous Mel is the real artist. When unexpected tragedy strikes, long-buried resentments rise to the surface, threatening their partnership—and hastening a reckoning no one sees coming.
I don’t remember where I first heard about this one, but maybe THE FRONT PORCH PODCAST. Anyway, I immediately looked it up and asked for a copy. It doesn’t publish for a bit yet, but I’m anxious to read it. Isn’t the cover eye-catching?
Not since Good Grief has a book about a young widow been so poignant, funny, original, and utterly believable. A compelling debut novel about loss.
Give grief a chance . . .
Lilian Girvan has been a single mother for three years—ever since her husband died in a car accident. One mental breakdown and some random suicidal thoughts later, she’s just starting to get the hang of this widow thing. She can now get her two girls to school, show up to work, and watch TV like a pro. The only problem is she’s becoming overwhelmed with being underwhelmed.
At least her textbook illustrating job has some perks—like actually being called upon to draw whale genitalia. Oh, and there’s that vegetable-gardening class her boss signed her up for. Apparently being the chosen illustrator for a series of boutique vegetable guides means getting your hands dirty, literally. Wallowing around in compost on a Saturday morning can’t be much worse than wallowing around in pajamas and self-pity.
After recruiting her kids and insanely supportive sister to join her, Lilian shows up at the Los Angeles Botanical Garden feeling out of her element. But what she’ll soon discover—with the help of a patient instructor and a quirky group of gardeners—is that into every life a little sun must shine, whether you want it to or not.
This was part of a Kindle deal and since it compared it to Jodi Picoult and Atul Gawande, I had to get it.
With the compassion of Jodi Picoult and the medical realism of Atul Gawande, Oxygen is a riveting new novel by a real-life anesthesiologist, an intimate story of relationships and family that collides with a high-stakes medical drama.
Dr. Marie Heaton is an anesthesiologist at the height of her profession. She has worked, lived and breathed her career since medical school, and she now practices at a top Seattle hospital. Marie has carefully constructed and constricted her life according to empirical truths, to the science and art of medicine. But when her tried-and-true formula suddenly deserts her during a routine surgery, she must explain the nightmarish operating room disaster and face the resulting malpractice suit.
Marie’s best friend, colleague, and former lover, Dr. Joe Hillary, becomes her closest confidante as she twists through depositions, accusations and a remorseful preoccupation with the mother of the patient in question. As she struggles to salvage her career and reputation, Marie must face hard truths about the path she’s chosen, the bridges she’s burned and the colleagues and superiors she’s mistaken for friends.
A quieter crisis is simultaneously unfolding within Marie’s family. Her aging father is losing his sight and approaching an awkward dependency on Marie and her sister, Lori. But Lori has taken a more traditional path than Marie and is busy raising a family. Although Marie has been estranged from her Texas roots for decades, the ultimate responsibility for their father’s care is falling on her.
As her carefully structured life begins to collapse, Marie confronts questions of love and betrayal, family bonds and the price of her own choices. Set against the natural splendor of Seattle, and inside the closed vaults of hospital operating rooms, Oxygen climaxes in a final twist that is as heartrending as it is redeeming.
This has been on my radar for a long time. Since it was part of a Kindle deal, I snagged it.
On the last night of 1937, twenty-five-year-old Katey Kontent is in a second-rate Greenwich Village jazz bar with her boardinghouse roommate stretching three dollars as far as it will go when Tinker Grey, a handsome banker with royal blue eyes and a tempered smile, happens to sit at the neighboring table. This chance encounter and its startling consequences propel Katey on a yearlong journey from a Wall Street secretarial pool toward the upper echelons of New York society and the executive suites of Condé Nast–rarefied environs where she will have little to rely upon other than a bracing wit and her own brand of cool nerve.
Wooed in turn by a shy, principled multi-millionaire and an irrepressible Upper East Side ne’er-do-well, befriended by a single-minded widow who is ahead of her time, and challenged by an imperious mentor, Katey experiences firsthand the poise secured by wealth and station and the failed aspirations that reside just below the surface. Even as she waits for circumstances to bring Tinker back into her life, she begins to realize how our most promising choices inevitably lay the groundwork for our regrets.
This was an Audible deal and I’ve been wanting to check it out. I’m sure that some of her tactics will be over-the-top for me, but I want to give it a listen.
Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles?
With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international best seller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home – and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.
This is the newest in the series and I’ve already reviewed it. You can see my thoughts, HERE.
Ellie the Elephant and Pudgy the Penguin have captivated readers in five previous books. The newest addition to the Amazing Adventures of Ellie the Elephant series follows the friends as they go camping and explore nature.
Ellie and Pudgy have fun planning their camping trip in the mountains and solving problems once they get there. They set up a tent, go for a hike, play games, make s’mores, and look at the stars. During their trip, Ellie and Pudgy talk about the importance of having new experiences and being mindful of their surroundings.
Marci and Elle Fair have written a charming story for every child with a cherished stuffed animal. Thirteen-year-old Elle knows what children like to read in a story and has helped create an unforgettable new journey for Ellie and Pudgy.
Included in the back of the book is a guide to help parents teach their young readers about the importance of appreciating and conserving the environment. Eco-conscious families will appreciate gentle suggestions about reducing their environmental impact and enjoying nature.
Just flipping through these two new Animal Planet books I can tell they are going to be a great new series for elementary readers. Fiction mixed with Fact is always a hit with me.
Siblings Maddie and Atticus love living by the sea. Their dad traps lobsters off the coast of Maine. They love helping with the family business and volunteering at the local aquarium. The summer is shaping up to be a super one, for sure. Then one day they spy a pod of dolphins in the cove looking distressed. How will the kids use their knowledge of animals and their awesome problem-solving skills to help the dolphin family get safely back to sea? Perfect for reluctant, challenged, and newly fluent readers, the Animal Planet Adventures chapter book series combines fun animal mysteries with cool nonfiction sidebars that relate directly to the stories, bringing the best of the animal world to young readers.
During summer vacations, cousins Luke and Sarah help out at their grandparents’ petting zoo. But what happens when the animals get loose overnight? Can Luke and Sarah use their knowledge of animals and their awesome problem-solving skills to get the animals back to safety?Perfect for reluctant, challenged, and newly fluent readers, the Animal Planet Adventures chapter book series combines fun animal mysteries with cool nonfiction sidebars that relate directly to the stories, bringing the best of the animal world to young readers. With full-color illustrations and photographs throughout.
IF YOU WERE ME AND LIVED IN…THE ANCIENT MALI EMPIRE
By: Carole P. Roman
Illustrated by: Mateya Arkova
Published: December 13, 2016
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
You know I love Roman’s books. Looking at this one, I’m guaranteed to learn something as I know nothing about the Mali Empire.
Join Carole P. Roman as she travels back in time to visit the exciting Ancient Empire of Mali in Africa during the 1300s. Learn about the varied customs and cultures. Travel to the past to discover what you would eat and do for fun. See the land and its rich history through the eyes of a youngster like you. Don’t forget to look at the other books in the series so that you can be an armchair time traveler.
Join Carole P. Roman when she blasts off to colonize the planet Mars, in the newest book of her informative series. Learn about how life would be living on the Red Planet. Travel to Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in the solar system. Look into the sky and watch Phobos and Deimos, Mars’ two moons. Discover what you would wear, and how the seasons change. See Mars through the eyes of an adventurous youngster like you and understand what life is like on a trip of a lifetime. Don’t forget to look at the other books in the series so that you can be an armchair traveler.
I had no idea women had such a pivotal role in the early car business. I can’t wait to find out more and share this book with all of you.
Come along for a joy ride in this enthralling tribute to the daring women – Motor Girls, as they were called at the turn of the century – who got behind the wheel of the first cars and paved the way for change. The automobile has always symbolized freedom, and in this book, we meet the first generation of female motorists who drove cars for fun, profit, and to make a statement about the evolving role of women. From the advent of the auto in the 1890s to the 1920s when the breaking down of barriers for women was in full swing, readers will be delighted to see historical photos, art, and artifacts and to discover the many ways these progressive females influenced fashion, the economy, politics, and the world around them.
Our kids (and me too) loved the Froggy books and so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to check out this new series. I love the colors and illustrations. The second in the series is already scheduled to come out in August. I’ll be sharing about this one soon!
Duck and Hippo may be completely different, but they are best friends. When playful Duck invites careful Hippo to go for a walk in the rain, they have trouble sharing Duck’s umbrella. But Duck and Hippo won’t let that stop them. Soon they are puddle-jumping and sailing down the river! Until…WHOOOSH! A terrible wind sends the umbrella flying up, up, up into the air, with one friend holding on. What will Duck and Hippo do now? Jonathan London’s charming text and Andrew Joyner’s delightful art bring to life two lovable friends in this fun new series.
I’m a sucker for farm books and this author loaded me up with her series. Can’t wait to check them out.
Millie the Mille Fleur hen can’t have chicks of her own, but she is a loving foster mother. She accepts any orphaned baby chicken.
Then one day Farmer Cate rescues a turkey poult (baby turkey) who’s being pecked by the other turkeys. With no turkey foster mothers around, Farmer Cate has no choice but to try Millie. Will she accept such a different baby?
She puts the two of them together, holds her breath, and watches as Millie makes up her mind.
Based on a true story, Millie’s tale is for any child who has ever felt lonely or uncertain and wished for people to love them best of all.
Millie the little hen and her big foster chick, Turkey Baby, are back. This time they are in big trouble. A hungry hawk nearly puts an end to their happy foster family. That’s when Turkey Baby discovers she has far more courage than she knew. Her big-hearted love saves the day.
Based on a true story, the sequel to Millie’s Feathered Foster Family is a celebration of family, belonging and the power of love to overcome obstacles.
Turkey Baby still feels small and weak, but she cannot resist seeking adventure beyond the farm. She faces a cat, a rooster, and a dog. Children surround her and frighten her. But she discovers her Magic, the kind that comes from within and casts a shield of courage.
This is Book 3 in Millie’s Farm Family, a series about foster families, courage, and love – and, of course, chickens and turkeys. In Millie’s Feathered Foster Family, Millie, a bantam hen, adopts a turkey chick. In Turkey Baby and the Hungry Hawk, Millie and her foster turkey, Turkey Baby, face down a hawk determined to turn them into dinner.
All three books focus on accepting The Other. They encourage reaching out with love and finding the courage to reach beyond comfort zones. Families are not all alike. This series offers a starting point for discussions with young children.
Here’s wishing you warm Spring weather and great books with plenty of reading time. Be sure to let me know if you choose any of these to read!