As summer is ending, I’m looking back on my last three months and can’t believe what a whirlwind it was. What I had planned to be a relaxing summer full of reading and family time turned into an overwhelming summer with the loss of my dear friend and librarian. After spending many days working at the library, I am finally able to turn that over to our new director who started just a couple weeks ago. I am still finishing up training but should be able to finish that up this week. It will be sad to not be at the library every day as I came to enjoy being surrounded by books and seeing all the patrons. But, I am ready to let it go.

You will notice that the book list this month is shorter than usual. I will be starting a long-term sub job any time now teaching freshman and sophomore English until Christmas Break. So, since I will be swamped with reading the material I will be teaching and grading, I have not accepted many books for review. I really have no idea how much free time I will have since our evenings are also consumed with traveling to cross country meets, middle school football games to watch our cheerleader, and marching band competitions on weekends. It’s a busy time for our family and I have to prioritize right now.

I still plan to feature a children’s book every Friday for Booking Mama’s Kid Konnection. I am also hoping to feature Quick Lit in the middle of the months to share a bit of what I’ve been reading and of course, this monthly round up of books that I received. But, beyond that reviews will be few and far between I am afraid.

Currently Listening: BEARTOWN

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 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.

By: Janice Dean “The Weather Machine”
Illustrated by: Russ Cox
Published: August 21, 2017
Publisher: Regnery Kids
Format: Hardcover Picture Book

Freddy the Frogcaster and his friends are hoping for rain. Their town of Lilypad is dry, and plants and trees are brown because of a terrible drought. Freddy gets excited as he sees a storm coming that could bring water to thirsty trees and grass. He leaps into action to warn everyone to “be prepared!” Suddenly there’s a change in the forecast that could affect everyone’s plans―and make Freddy wonder if he’s meant to be a frogcaster. Sometimes valuable life lessons can be learned from making mistakes. 

Once again, award-winning meteorologist Janice Dean introduces young readers to different weather conditions and gives valuable information to help them understand and avoid dangerous weather situations. The fifth title in this series, Freddy the Frogcaster and the Flash Flood, explains droughts, storms, floods, and flash floods, and encourages kids of all ages to be weather ready, just like our friend Freddy!

We are quite familiar with Janice Dean, a meteorologist from Fox News, but I had no idea she was also a children’s author. I was thrilled to get the opportunity to check out her newest book in the Freddy the Frogcaster series. To see all the books in the Freddy the Frogcaster series, click HERE.

By: Sue Lowell Gallion
Illustrated by: Joyce Wan
Published: July 25, 2017
Publisher: Beach Lane Books
Format: Hardcover Picture Book

Pug and Pig are back for a heartwarming Halloween adventure in this adorable picture book that’s perfect for pet lovers of all ages.

Halloween night has come to Pug and Pig’s house, and the darling duo is sporting matching costumes. The costumes are cozy. They glow in the dark. And they have masks! There’s only one problem—Pug hates wearing his. So he decides to rip it up and stay home. But Halloween just isn’t any fun for Pig without Pug! Can Pug find a way to be a good friend and get back into the Halloween spirit? 

I loved buying Halloween books when our kids were little. Pug and Pig look adorable and can’t wait to feature this book next month!

How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything
By: Anne Bogel
Published: September 19, 2017
Publisher: Baker Books
Format: Paperback

If the viral Buzzfeed-style personality quizzes are any indication, we are collectively obsessed with the idea of defining and knowing ourselves and our unique place in the world. But what we’re finding is this: knowing which Harry Potter character you are is easy, but actually knowing yourself isn’t as simple as just checking a few boxes on an online quiz.

For readers who long to dig deeper into what makes them uniquely them (and why that matters), popular blogger Anne Bogel has done the hard part–collecting, exploring, and explaining the most popular personality frameworks, such as Myers-Briggs, StrengthsFinder, Enneagram, and others. She explains to readers the life-changing insights that can be gained from each and shares specific, practical real-life applications across all facets of life, including love and marriage, productivity, parenting, the workplace, and spiritual life. In her friendly, relatable style, Bogel shares engaging personal stories that show firsthand how understanding personality can revolutionize the way we live, love, work, and pray.

I mentioned this in last month’s roundup, but I received the physical copy this month. I’m about half-way through and I will be featuring it in a couple weeks.

By: John Boyne
Published: August 22, 2017
Publisher: Hogarth
Format: Hardcover

From the beloved New York Times bestselling author of THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS, a sweeping, heartfelt saga about the course of one man’s life, beginning and ending in post-war Ireland

Cyril Avery is not a real Avery — or at least, that’s what his adoptive parents tell him. And he never will be. But if he isn’t a real Avery, then who is he?

Born out of wedlock to a teenage girl cast out from her rural Irish community and adopted by a well-to-do if eccentric Dublin couple via the intervention of a hunchbacked Redemptorist nun, Cyril is adrift in the world, anchored only tenuously by his heartfelt friendship with the infinitely more glamorous and dangerous Julian Woodbead. At the mercy of fortune and coincidence, he will spend a lifetime coming to know himself and where he came from and over his many years will struggle to discover an identity, a home, a country, and much more.

In this, Boyne’s most transcendent work to date, we are shown the story of Ireland from the 1940s to today through the eyes of one ordinary man. The Heart’s Invisible Furies is a novel to make you laugh and cry while reminding us all of the redemptive power of the human spirit. 

I received this book as part of my Page Habit subscription. As you can see in the photo above I also received a short story collection, some awesome socks and magnetic bookmarks, and a cool bookmark.

I read THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS several years ago and it still has an impact on me. I have seen this book pop up frequently and think it will be one I will enjoy reading.

Adventures of the Alimentary Canal
By: Mary Roach
Published: April 1, 2013
Publisher: W. W. Norton and Company
Format: eBook

The irresistible, ever-curious, and always best-selling Mary Roach returns with a new adventure to the invisible realm we carry around inside.

“America’s funniest science writer” (Washington Post) takes us down the hatch on an unforgettable tour of our insides. The alimentary canal is classic Mary Roach terrain: the questions inspired by our insides are as taboo, in their way, as the cadavers in Stiff and every bit as surreal as the universe of zero gravity explored in Packing for Mars. Why is crunchy food so appealing? Why is it so hard to find names for flavors and smells? Why doesn’t the stomach digest itself? How much can you eat before your stomach bursts? Can constipation kill you? Did it kill Elvis? We meet scientists who tackle the questions no one else thinks—or has the courage—to ask. And we go on location to a pet-food taste-test lab, a bacteria transplant, and into a live stomach to observe the fate of a meal.

Like all of Roach’s books, Gulp is as much about human beings as it is about human bodies. 

I really enjoy Roach’s writing. This was part of Prime Reading so it was free since I am an Amazon Prime member. 

A Novel
By: Mark Sullivan
Published: May 1, 2017
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Format: eBook

Based on the true story of a forgotten hero, Beneath a Scarlet Sky is the triumphant, epic tale of one young man’s incredible courage and resilience during one of history’s darkest hours.

Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. He’s a normal Italian teenager—obsessed with music, food, and girls—but his days of innocence are numbered. When his family home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps, and falls for Anna, a beautiful widow six years his senior.

In an attempt to protect him, Pino’s parents force him to enlist as a German soldier—a move they think will keep him out of combat. But after Pino is injured, he is recruited at the tender age of eighteen to become the personal driver for Adolf Hitler’s left hand in Italy, General Hans Leyers, one of the Third Reich’s most mysterious and powerful commanders.

Now, with the opportunity to spy for the Allies inside the German High Command, Pino endures the horrors of the war and the Nazi occupation by fighting in secret, his courage bolstered by his love for Anna and for the life he dreams they will one day share.

I purchased this as part of a Kindle Deal. It came to me highly recommended by a friend of mine. Since it is based on a true story, it makes it even more powerful. I also bought a physical copy of this book as a birthday gift for my cousin. I’m hoping we will read it together because I am sure there will be a lot to discuss.

A Thriller
By: Heather Gudenkauf
Published: May 30, 2017
Publisher: Park Row Books
Format: eBook

When a tragic accident leaves nurse Amelia Winn deaf, she spirals into a depression that ultimately causes her to lose everything that matters–her job, her husband, David, and her stepdaughter, Nora. Now, two years later and with the help of her hearing dog, Stitch, she is finally getting back on her feet. But when she discovers the body of a fellow nurse in the dense bush by the river, deep in the woods near her cabin, she is plunged into a disturbing mystery that could shatter the carefully reconstructed pieces of her life all over again.

As clues begin to surface, Amelia finds herself swept into an investigation that hits all too close to home. But how much is she willing to risk in order to uncover the truth and bring a killer to justice?

I’m a fan of best-selling Iowa author Heather Gudenkauf, so when her newest book was part of a Kindle Daily Deal, I snagged it.

By: Dana K. White
Published: November 8, 2016
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Format: eBook

“The dirty little secret about most organizing advice is that it’s written by organized people,” says blogger, speaker, and decluttering expert Dana K. White. “But that’s not how my brain works. I’m lost on page three.” Dana blogs at A Slob Comes Clean, chronicling her successes and failures with her self-described “deslobification process.” In the beginning, she used the name “Nony” (short for aNONYmous), because she was sharing her deep, dark, slob secret. Now she has truly come clean—with not only her real name but the strategies she has developed, tested, and proved in her own home. She has learned what it takes to bring a home out of Disaster Status, which habits make the biggest and most lasting impact, and how to keep clutter under control.

In How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind, Dana explains that cleaning your house is not a one-time project but a series of ongoing pre-made decisions. Her reality-based cleaning and organizing techniques debunk the biggest housekeeping fantasies and help readers learn what really works. 

I’ve followed the blog A SLOB COMES CLEAN for quite some time and was anxious to check out her book when it came out. It went on a Kindle Daily Deal, so I snagged it. I’ve started it and it is definitely relatable, real, and funny. 

Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards
By: Jen Hatmaker
Narrated by Jen Hatmaker
Published: August 18, 2015
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Format: Audiobook

The popular writer, blogger, and television personality reveals with humor and style how Jesus’ extravagant grace is the key to dealing with life’s biggest challenge: people.

The majority of our joys, struggles, thrills, and heartbreaks relate to people, beginning first with ourselves and then the people we came from, married, birthed, live by, live for, go to church with, don’t like, don’t understand, fear, struggle with, compare ourselves to, and judge. People are the best and worst thing about the human life.

Jen Hatmaker knows this all too well, and so she reveals how to practice kindness, grace, truthfulness, vision, and love to ourselves and those around us. By doing this, For the Love leads our generation to re-imagine Jesus’ grace as a way of life, and it does it in a funny yet profound manner that Christian readers will love. Along the way, Hatmaker shows readers how to reclaim their prophetic voices and become Good News again to a hurting, polarized world. 

This is one of those books that pops up a lot and I’ve wanted to read it. As part of an audible deal of buying one book and getting one free, I chose this one.

The Curious Science of Humans at War
By: Mary Roach
Narrated by: Abby Elvidge
Published: June 6, 2017
Publisher: W. W. Norton and Company
Format: Audiobook

GRUNT tackles the science behind some of a soldier’s most challenging adversaries—panic, exhaustion, heat, noise—and introduces us to the scientists who seek to conquer them. Mary Roach dodges hostile fire with the U.S. Marine Corps Paintball Team as part of a study on hearing loss and survivability in combat. She visits the fashion design studio of U.S. Army Natick Labs and learns why a zipper is a problem for a sniper. She visits a repurposed movie studio where amputee actors help prepare Marine Corps medics for the shock and gore of combat wounds. At Camp Lemmonier, Djibouti, in east Africa, we learn how diarrhea can be a threat to national security. Roach samples caffeinated meat, sniffs an archival sample of a World War II stink bomb, and stays up all night with the crew tending the missiles on the nuclear submarine USS Tennessee. She answers questions not found in any other book on the military: Why is DARPA interested in ducks? How is a wedding gown like a bomb suit? Why are shrimp more dangerous to sailors than sharks? Take a tour of duty with Roach, and you’ll never see our nation’s defenders in the same way again.

This was the other book I chose as part of the audible deal. I really love her writing and thought this one would be an interesting listen.

By: Fredrik Backman
Narrated by: Marin Ireland
Published: April 25, 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: Audiobook

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the semifinals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.

This is my first Bachman novel and I am LOVING it. My turn finally came up for the audiobook through our library Bridges account. I am afraid I won’t get it finished before it expires, so I may have to finish reading the physical copy which thankfully, our library has a copy of. It is really quite the story and even though I am only halfway through it, I am pretty sure I would recommend it!

Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy
By: Sheryl Sandberg
Narrated by: Elsa Donovan
Published: April 24, 2017
Publisher: W H Allen
Format: Audiobook

After the sudden death of her husband, Sheryl Sandberg felt certain that she and her children would never feel pure joy again. “I was in ‘the void,’” she writes, “a vast emptiness that fills your heart and lungs and restricts your ability to think or even breathe.” Her friend Adam Grant, a psychologist at Wharton, told her there are concrete steps people can take to recover and rebound from life-shattering experiences. We are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. It is a muscle that everyone can build.

Option B combines Sheryl’s personal insights with Adam’s eye-opening research on finding strength in the face of adversity. Beginning with the gut-wrenching moment when she finds her husband, Dave Goldberg, collapsed on a gym floor, Sheryl opens up her heart—and her journal—to describe the acute grief and isolation she felt in the wake of his death. But Option B goes beyond Sheryl’s loss to explore how a broad range of people have overcome hardships including illness, job loss, sexual assault, natural disasters, and the violence of war. Their stories reveal the capacity of the human spirit to persevere . . . and to rediscover joy.

Resilience comes from deep within us and from support outside us. Even after the most devastating events, it is possible to grow by finding deeper meaning and gaining greater appreciation in our lives. Option B illuminates how to help others in crisis, develop compassion for ourselves, raise strong children, and create resilient families, communities, and workplaces. Many of these lessons can be applied to everyday struggles, allowing us to brave whatever lies ahead. Two weeks after losing her husband, Sheryl was preparing for a father-child activity. “I want Dave,” she cried. Her friend replied, “Option A is not available,” and then promised to help her make the most of Option B.

We all live some form of Option B. This book will help us all make the most of it.

I have read many reviews and heard a lot of buzz about this book. It also came recommended to me from a friend. These books always offer insight and reflection and something to learn. I have it on my library Bridges account on audio and hopefully, I can finish it before it expires. It is a short listen at under seven hours so that helps.

This is a great assortment of books and ones I am looking forward to reading. As always, if you choose to read any of these books, be sure to let me know!

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

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