October has been a month full of blessings for me and our family. Both my husband and I celebrated our birthdays with family and friends this month. Our son Patrick finished his high school cross country career at the State of Iowa Cross Country Meet. He medaled, finishing 13th in 3A and with his personal best time ever of 16:34. We are very proud!

As you can imagine, I am not getting much outside reading done. I have been keeping up with my weekly children’s book reviews and I read a bit when I have time and listen to an audiobook while I get ready in the morning. But, I’m mostly reading papers and the books that I am teaching from right now. Our nights will free for a couple weeks until basketball starts. But, I am anxious for December 22 to arrive to get some of my free time back. Teaching is going well and I’m really loving the conversations and “book talking” that is done in every class. So, I will miss that, but I won’t miss all the grading!

Currently Reading: OEDIPUS REX (with students), OF MICE AND MEN (with students), BENEATH A SCARLET SKY and JULIUS CAESAR (with students)
Currently Listening: FOR THE LOVE
Up Next: I can’t even say because these are going to take me awhile to get through now.

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.

Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff
By: Chip Gaines
Published: October 17, 2017
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Format: Hardcover
We are fans of Chip and Joanna in our house, so I purchased this book for my husband’s birthday. 
The funny and talented Chip Gaines is well known to millions of people as a TV star, renovation expert, bestselling author, husband to Joanna, and father of 4 in Waco, Texas. But long before the world took notice, Chip was a serial entrepreneur who was always ready for the next challenge, even if it didn’t quite work out as planned. Whether it was buying a neighborhood laundromat or talking a bank into a loan for some equipment to start a lawn-mowing service, Chip always knew that the most important thing was to take that first step.

In Capital Gaines, we walk alongside him as he relives some of his craziest antics and the lessons learned along the way. His mentors taught him to never give up and his family showed him what it meant to always have a positive attitude despite your circumstances. Throw in a natural daredevil personality and a willingness to do (or eat!) just about anything, and you have the life and daily activity of Chip Gaines.
A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors
By: George W. Bush
Published: February 28, 2017
Publisher: Crown
Format: Hardcover
I also purchased this book for my husband’s birthday gift. 
A vibrant collection of oil paintings and stories by President George W. Bush honoring the sacrifice and courage of America’s military veterans. With forewords written and read by former First Lady Laura Bush and General Peter Pace, 16th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Growing out of President Bush’s own outreach and the ongoing work of the George W. Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative, Portraits of Courage brings together sixty-six full-color portraits and a four-panel mural painted by President Bush of members of the United States military who have served our nation with honor since 9/11–and whom he has come to know personally.

Our men and women in uniform have faced down enemies, liberated millions, and in doing so showed the true compassion of our nation. Often, they return home with injuries–both visible and invisible–that intensify the challenges of transitioning into civilian life. In addition to these burdens, research shows a civilian-military divide. Seventy-one percent of Americans say they have little understanding of the issues facing veterans, and veterans agree: Eighty-four percent say that the public has “little awareness” of the issues facing them and their families.

Each painting in this meticulously produced hardcover volume is accompanied by the inspiring story of the veteran depicted, written by the President. Readers can see the faces of those who answered the nation’s call and learn from their bravery on the battlefield, their journeys to recovery, and the continued leadership and contributions they are making as civilians. It is President Bush’s desire that these stories of courage and resilience will honor our men and women in uniform, highlight their family and caregivers who bear the burden of their sacrifice and help Americans understand how we can support our veterans and empower them to succeed.
136 Recipes that Saved My Life
By: Ruth Reichl
Published: September 29, 2015
Publisher: Random House
Format: Kindle
I kept seeing this book pop up on various blogs and when it came up for a Kindle Deal, I decided to snag it. I usually prefer cookbooks as physical books but decided to get this on my Kindle first and I can always purchase the book if I really like it. 
In the fall of 2009, the food world was rocked when Gourmetmagazine was abruptly shuttered by its parent company. No one was more stunned by this unexpected turn of events than its beloved editor in chief, Ruth Reichl, who suddenly faced an uncertain professional future. As she struggled to process what had seemed unthinkable, Reichl turned to the one place that had always provided sanctuary. “I did what I always do when I’m confused, lonely, or frightened,” she writes. “I disappeared into the kitchen.”

My Kitchen Year follows the change of seasons—and Reichl’s emotions—as she slowly heals through the simple pleasures of cooking. While working 24/7, Reichl would “throw quick meals together” for her family and friends. Now she has the time to rediscover what cooking meant to her. Imagine kale, leaves dark and inviting, sautéed with chiles and garlic; summer peaches baked into a simple cobbler; fresh oysters chilling in a box of snow; plump chickens and earthy mushrooms, fricasseed with cream. Over the course of this challenging year, each dish Reichl prepares becomes a kind of stepping stone to finding joy again in ordinary things. 
Updated and Expanded Edition
When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control Your Life
By: Henry Cloud, John Townsend
Published: October 3, 2017
Publisher: Zondervan
Format: Kindle
I have read a few snippets from this book lately and I have found much of it reaffirming and comforting. 
Having clear boundaries is essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. In other words, boundaries define who we are and who we are not. Boundaries impact all areas of our lives: Physical boundaries help us determine who may touch us and under what circumstances — Mental boundaries give us the freedom to have our own thoughts and opinions — Emotional boundaries help us to deal with our own emotions and disengage from the harmful, manipulative emotions of others — Spiritual boundaries help us to distinguish God’s will from our own and give us renewed awe for our Creator — Often, Christians focus so much on being loving and unselfish that they forget their own limits and limitations. When confronted with their lack of boundaries, they ask: – Can I set limits and still be a loving person? – What are legitimate boundaries? – What if someone is upset or hurt by my boundaries? – How do I answer someone who wants my time, love, energy, or money? – Aren’t boundaries selfish? – Why do I feel guilty or afraid when I consider setting boundaries? Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend offer biblically-based answers to these and other tough questions, showing us how to set healthy boundaries with our parents, spouses, children, friends, co-workers, and even ourselves.

By: Wiley Cash
Published: October 3, 2017
Publisher: William Morrow
Format: Hardcover

This was the book in my Page Habit Historical Fiction shipment. I’ve been wanting to read a Wiley Cash novel for awhile but haven’t had the chance. This one sounds right up my alley. Unfortunately, I’m a bit disappointed in my Page Habit shipments so I may be canceling. I love the book choices and the personal author annotations throughout the book, but the extras seem a bit cheap for the price. 

The author of the celebrated bestseller A Land More Kind Than Home returns with this eagerly awaited new novel, set in the Appalachian foothills of North Carolina in 1929 and inspired by actual events, that chronicles an ordinary woman’s struggle for dignity and her rights in a textile mill, a moving tale of courage in the face of oppression and injustice, with the emotional power of Ron Rash’s Serena, Dennis Lehane’s The Given Day, and the unforgettable films Norma Rae and Silkwood

Twelve times a week, twenty-eight-year-old Ella May Wiggins makes the two-mile trek to and from her job on the night shift at American Mill No. 2 in Bessemer City, North Carolina. The insular community considers the mill’s owners—the newly arrived Goldberg brothers—white but not American and expects them to pay Ella May and others workers less because they toil alongside African Americans like Violet, Ella May’s best friend. While the dirty, hazardous job at the mill earns Ella May a paltry nine dollars for seventy-two hours of work each week, it’s the only opportunity she has. Her no-good husband John has run off again, and she must keep her four young children alive with whatever she can find. 

When the union leaflets first come through the mill, Ella May has a taste of hope, a yearning for the better life the organizers promise. But the mill owners, backed by other nefarious forces, claim the union is nothing but a front for the Bolshevik menace sweeping across Europe. To maintain their control, the owners will use every means in their power, including lies, threats, and bloodshed, to prevent workers from banding together. On the night of the county’s biggest rally, Ella May, weighing the costs of her choice, makes up her mind to join the movement—a decision that will have lasting consequences for her children, her friends, her town—indeed all that she loves.

Seventy-five years later, Ella May’s daughter Lilly, now an elderly woman, tells her nephew about his grandmother and the events that transformed their family. Illuminating the most painful corners of their history, she reveals, for the first time, the whole story of what happened to Ella May after that fateful union meeting in 1929. 

By: Virginia Lee Burton
Published: April 26, 1978
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Format: Board Book

This was part of an Amazon deal and I got this book for just a bit over $2.00. It’s one of my favorite children’s books and so I snagged a copy to give as a gift. I always give books as a new baby gift so this will go in my gift stash. 

A poignant story of a cute country cottage that becomes engulfed by the city that grows up around it. The house has an expressive face of windows and doors, and even the feelings of a person, so she’s sad when she’s surrounded by the dirty, noisy city’s hustle and bustle: “She missed the field of daisies / and the apple trees dancing in the moonlight.” Fortunately, there’s a happy ending, as the house is taken back to the country where she belongs.

By: Stephen F. Cunha
Published: August 15, 2017
Publisher: National Geographic Kids
Format: Paperback

This official study guide is full of awesome info from previous finalists, past questions, and vital statistics for various countries. Even if you aren’t studying for the National Bee, it is still a fun read. Make it a family trivia night!

The National Geographic Bee is a local, state, and national academic contest for students in grades four through eight. The competition culminates in a finals face-off, broadcast live on National Geographic Television. This is the ultimate guide for gearing up for the events.

Like the Bee, the guide has expanded its range of material to include social studies, earth and space science, the environment, and culture. Of course, geography is at its core, and the guide features the latest country and geographic statistics; selected new question rounds; updated resources; new tips from past winners; and a brand new country index full of vital stats. It’s the perfect resource to help millions of school kids prepare to compete in the Bee. It’s also a fun and helpful resource for trivia buffs, challenge seekers, and college-bound test-takers.

By: Laura Gehl
Illustrated by: Joyce Wan
Published: October 24, 2017
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Format: Hardcover

I’m super excited to share this fun series in an upcoming Kid Konnection post. These books are adorable!

In this lively addition to the funny Peep and Egg picture book series for toddlers, a reluctant chick named Egg overcomes her aversion to taking a bath.

Peep thinks Egg needs to take a bath after playing in the mud. But Egg is not taking a bath. Not in the river, not in the duck pond, and definitely not in the dog’s water bowl–too slobbery! Does Peep have any tricks up her feathers to help a chick change her mind? Laura Gehl and Joyce Wan are back with another fun, colorful story that takes the “not” out of “I’m not taking a bath!”

By: Laura Gehl
Illustrated by: Joyce Wan
Published: August 9, 2016
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Format: Hardcover

Peep is so excited to go trick-or-treating with her friend Egg. She wants to visit the duck pond and the cow pasture to get treats. But Egg thinks Halloween is too scary, with frightening monsters possibly lurking everywhere! Peep tells her jokes because laughing helps you feel less scared. Egg is still not cracking. But soon Egg learns that maybe trick-or-treating is not so scary after all when you have a friend to hold on to. 

By: Laura Gehl
Illustrated by: Joyce Wan
Published: February 9, 2016
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Format: Hardcover

Egg is not hatching.

No way. No how.

It is too scary out there.

Peep wants Egg to hatch so they can do fun things together, like watch the sunrise, splash in puddles, and play hide-and-seek.
But Egg is not cracking… 
Joyce Wan’s bright and bold illustrations will have young chickies giggling at Laura Gehl’s reassuring tale that takes the not out of I’m not.

By: Katy S. Duffield
Illustrated by: K.G. Campbell
Published: November 7, 2017
Publisher: Candlewick
Format: Hardcover

I thought this sounded like an adorable book and one to keep on hand for when your little one gets sick. 

Little Alien is sick. And sick is extra-terrestrial bad when you have two scratchy throats, five ears that hurt, and three runny noses. Splatch! Sputter! Spurt! Luckily Mama and Daddy Alien have an arsenal of lunar decongestants and meteor showers on hand to make him feel a little better (not to mention a Milky Way milkshake to help the medicine go down). Even so, the family’s alien pooch, Mars Rover, can’t stand to see his little buddy feeling out of sorts. Can a loyal pup’s funny tricks finally coax a smile?

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

If you have read any of these books or read them after seeing them listed here, be sure to let me know your thoughts! Happy November reading!

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1 Comment

  1. Arwen McGilvra on November 14, 2017 at 2:24 am

    Boundaries is such a good book. I think everyone should read it. Peep and Egg also sounds like a fun series we'll keep a look out for it.

    My pick ups if you'd like to take a look. http://books.thetechchef.net/october-2017-book-pick-ups/

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