Our family took a somewhat spontaneous Spring Break trip to Oklahoma and Texas.We stopped in Oklahoma City and toured the Bombing Memorial (heartbreaking, peaceful, and humbling), a car show, went to an Oklahoma Thunder NBA game, and the Myriad Botanical Gardens. Then on to Dallas to see the George W Bush Presidential Library, The 6th Floor Museum/JFK Memorial, and AT&T Stadium (even though we aren’t Cowboys fans, it is an impressive stadium). Then stopped in Bentonville, Arkansas to tour the Walmart Museum (actually pretty interesting) on our way home. It was a quick trip with lots of miles but even better, lots of quality family time.

Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial

Oklahoma City Car Show
AT&T Stadium

We also finished show choir for the season. It’s one of our family’s favorite things and it was such a fun show this year. We will really miss it.

I should update you that our son has chosen his college. We are very proud that he will be part of the Central College family. He will be running Cross Country and Track and has chosen music education as his major. We are thrilled to have this decision behind us and we can focus on his next step. He also turns 18 this month…more EMBRACING ahead for this mama.

 I have quite a few books to share with you this month, some purchased, some from the library, and others for review. Even though Mother Nature has been a bit difficult to understand lately, it is really Spring. April is here and in less than two months our oldest will graduate. The seasons are changing and I’m EMBRACING all the new experiences.

I read 16 books this month with 7 of them being children’s books, 1 young adult, and 8 adult fiction/nonfiction. Two of them were audiobooks.

Currently Reading: THE GREAT ALONE
Currently Listening: ENDURANCE

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 the product on 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. 

By: Nicola Edwards
Illustrated by: Natalie Marshall
Published: February 1, 2018
Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books
Format: Board Book

This is a really sweet board book sharing the love you have for your child through adorable illustrations of various bugs. I reviewed this book already HERE

Celebrate your little cuddle bug with this sweet and colorful rhyming board book! 

Celebrate your little cuddle bug with this sweet and colorful rhyming board book! With chunky pages for little hands and die-cut cuddle bugs to add depth and interest, children will love the interactive features alongside the story.

By: Charlotte Pence
Illustrated by: Karen Pence
Published: March 19, 2018
Publisher: Regnery Kids
Format: Picture Book

I had no idea the Pence family has a pet bunny. This book is a neat way for kids to learn the role of the Vice President through a family pet who gets to hang out with Vice President Pence. I already reviewed this book HERE

From the moment he hopped into the home of America’s “Second Family,” black-and-white bunny rabbit Marlon Bundo captured the hearts of Vice President Mike Pence, his wife Karen, and his children Michael, Charlotte, and Audrey. But little Marlon Bundo isn’t just a family pet: like Peter Rabbit and Bugs Bunny before him, Marlon—or BOTUS (Bunny of the United States)—is a national celebrity! With his appearances at official White House events, his rides on Air Force 2, and his popular Instagram account, Marlon Bundo has become a beloved member of the Trump-Pence administration.

So how does a bunny experience a day in the life of the Vice President? Now young readers can follow Marlon Bundo along as he hops after “Grampa” (Vice President Mike Pence) in this delightful story penned by Charlotte Pence and illustrated faithfully with watercolors from the “Second Lady” herself, Karen Pence. 

By: Seth Casteel
Published: March 20, 2018
Publisher: National Geographic Kids
Format: Picture Book

The photos are absolutely adorable and it should come with a warning that reading this book will make you rush out and adopt a puppy! I already reviewed this book HERE

Have you ever wanted to know what goes on in the life of one of nature’s most beloved animals–the puppy? Follow along in this picture book featuring the photography of Seth Casteel.

Follow several puppies as they play, go for walks, eat, sleep, and romp about.

By: Geraldine Elschner
Illustrated by: Florence Koenig
Published: April 10, 2018
Publisher: Prestel Junior
Format: Picture Book

This is a gorgeous book and tells the story of a delightful friendship. I can’t wait to look at it more.

Although one is the daughter of a wealthy Dutch family and the other a household servant, Anna and Johanna become friends. Born on the same day, they celebrate their joint birthdays by making gifts for each other. But then a letter arrives that changes their lives forever. Told against the backdrop of the 17th-century Dutch city of Delft and its thriving commercial and artistic culture, this story of an unlikely friendship echoes the themes of Vermeer’s luminous depiction of domestic life. Florence Koenig’s brightly colored illustrations evoke Vermeer’s style through the city’s multifaceted landscapes, from misty mornings by the canals to busy households preparing for a special day. Young readers will be fascinated by this uplifting story of friendship inspired by Jan Vermeer.

By: Brit Lunden
Published: January 8, 2018
Publisher: Chelshire
Format: Paperback

Brit Lunden is also the name of best-selling children’s book author Carole P. Roman. I don’t typically read paranormal stories, but this one is short and since I am a fan of Roman’s I’ll give it try.

Clay Finnes is the sheriff of a small town in Georgia called Bulwark. Recently separated from his wife, all he can think about is what went wrong, and will Jenna ever come back to him. He’s troubled by a bothersome reporter trying to build a story from what he thinks is a normal day in his life. Clay has to admit that the fantastical stories, told by an accident victim as well as unusual sightings of wolves, things are getting a bit strange. A visit to the ominous Gingerbread House makes him realize that his life as he knows it will never be the same.

A Novel
By: Elaine Neil Orr
Published: April 3, 2018
Publisher: Berkley
Format: Paperback

A Southern coming of age story, hidden letters, and converging stories. Sounds likes a great read to me! 

The lives of one young woman and two young men collide in a small neighborhood in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Kate, a recent college graduate, is still reeling from the deaths of her beloved parents when the discovery of hidden letters forces her to re-examine everything she knew about her family. Tacker, a young engineering student and all-around boy-hero, has returned from a West African odyssey where he fell in love with the local culture but was sent home in shame. Kate’s and Tacker’s stories come together when, on the same day and in different moments, they encounter a young African-American man named Gaines. The relationship that develops between the three is complicated, as each one searches for love, freedom, and new beginnings. 

A Novel
By: Olivia Kiernan
Published: April 3, 2018
Publisher: Dutton
Format: Hardcover

This sounds like a page-turner!


Polished. Professional. Perfect. Dead. Respected scientist Dr. Eleanor Costello is found hanging in her immaculate home: the scene the very picture of a suicide.


DCS Frankie Sheehan is handed the case, and almost immediately spots foul play. Sheehan, a trained profiler, is seeking a murderer with a talent for death.


As Frankie strives to paint a picture of the killer, and their victim, she starts to sense they are part of a larger, darker canvas, on which the lines between the two blur.

A Novel
By: Melissa Albert
Published: January 30, 2018
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Format: Hardcover

This is the Target Book of the Month choice. 

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

Women Living Well
3-Month Habit Tracker
Published: February 12, 2018
Publisher: Women Living Well
Format: Paperback

This tracker includes pages for tracking prayer lists, Bible reading, note taking, health tracking, sleep tracking, meal planning, and gratitude. I haven’t used it yet, but I like the layout and ease of use.  I’m a huge fan of the Women Living Well blog and have gotten studies and books from Courtney before. 

150 Simply Delicious Everyday Recipes for Your Whole30
By: Melissa Hartwig
Published: December 5, 2017
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format: Hardcover

I did Whole30 back in November of 2016. See my post HERE.  I liked it but it was really hard and took likes of time, planning, and food prep. I’d like to go back on it this summer and could use a few more recipes to work through.

Millions of people have transformed their lives with Whole30, yet co-creator Melissa Hartwig wants to make it even easier to achieve Whole30 success—with delicious, compliant, fast, and easy recipes. This follow-up to the best-selling The Whole30 Cookbook is packed recipes designed to get you out of the kitchen fast so you can enjoy all the benefits of your Whole30-inspired lifestyle.

The Whole30 Fast and Easy Cookbook features:
– Recipes perfect for weeknight cooking, lunches in a hurry, and hearty breakfasts that still get you out the door on time

– Nearly effortless skillet meals, stir-fries, sheet-pan suppers, and slow-cook and no-cook meals, most of which can be made in 30 minutes or less
– Creative, delicious meals using widely-available ingredients found in any supermarket
– Melissa’s favorite kitchen hacks, designed to save time and money while maximizing flavor 

Whether you’re doing your first Whole30 or your fifth, or just looking for some healthy, fast, and easy recipes to try, this collection is a must-have for any kitchen.

A Science-Based Plant to Lose Weight, Revitalize Skin, and Invigorate Your Life
By: Naomi Whittel
Published: March 6, 2018
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format: eBook

I saw an ad for this book in a magazine while on our Spring Break trip. After reading couple sample chapters, I bought the Kindle version. I am really intrigued by the philosophy of autophagy and have done parts of the plan since I read it. Again, it takes planning and prep work which I can’t fit in right now, but I liked the recipes in the book as well as the schedule of high and low protein days. The exercise plan in the book also seems doable. 

Have you put on weight in recent years that you can’t lose? Do you crave more energy and stamina in your day? Is your skin drier than it used to be? Has your hair started to feel dry and look limp?

If you said yes to one or more of these questions, then Glow15 is your answer. Based on the breakthrough Nobel Prize-winning science of autophagy—the process by which cells remove toxins, recycle parts, and repair their own damage—Glow15 is a lifestyle plan that will make you look and feel younger. 

Celebrate the Dreamer in You
By: Dolly Parton
Published: November 27, 2012
Publisher: G. P. Putnam’s Sons
Format: Audiobook

I heard about this book in two different places in the same week and both raved about the book, especially on audio. It was available through our library overdrive, so I downloaded it immediately and loved it! It is an expansion of a college graduation speech she gave and it is so down-to-earth and inspiring and fun that I whole-heartedly recommend it. Listening to Dolly read it is just the best and puts you in the happiest mood.

A True Story of Rape in America
By: T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong
Published: February 6, 2018
Publisher: Crown
Format: Hardcover

This book was a fascinating but tough read. I checked it out from our library.

On August 11, 2008, eighteen-year-old Marie truthfully reported that a masked man broke into her apartment near Seattle, Washington, and raped her, but within days police and even those closest to Marie became suspicious of her story. The police swiftly pivoted and began investigating her. Confronted with inconsistencies in her story and the doubts of others, Marie broke down and said her story was a lie. Police charged her with false reporting. One of her best friends created a web page branding her a liar.

More than two years later, Colorado detective Stacy Galbraith was assigned to investigate a case of sexual assault. Describing the crime to her husband that night–the attacker’s calm and practiced demeanor, which led the victim to surmise “he’s done this before”–Galbraith learned that the case bore an eerie resemblance to a rape that had taken place months earlier in a nearby town. She joined forces with the detective on that case, Edna Hendershot, and the two soon realized they were dealing with a serial rapist: a man who photographed his victims, threatening to release the images online, and whose calculated steps to erase all physical evidence suggested he might be a soldier or a cop. Through meticulous police work, the detectives would eventually connect the rapist to other attacks in Colorado–and beyond.

A Paramedics Wild Ride to the Edge and Back
By: Kevin Hazzard
Published: September 20, 2016
Publisher: Scribner
Format: eBook

I don’t remember where I heard about this book but possibly through the comments on the WHAT SHOULD I READ NEXT PODCAST post. I love medical memoirs. It was available on my library’s overdrive system so I downloaded it. It’s definitely eye-opening and entertaining and offers a different perspective on the medical process. 

A former paramedic’s visceral, poignant, and mordantly funny account of a decade spent on Atlanta’s mean streets saving lives and connecting with the drama and occasional beauty that lies inside a catastrophe.

In the aftermath of 9/11, Kevin Hazzard felt that something was missing from his life—his days were too safe, too routine. A failed salesman turned local reporter, he wanted to test himself, see how he might respond to pressure and danger. He signed up for emergency medical training and became, at age twenty-six, a newly minted EMT running calls in the worst sections of Atlanta. His life entered a different realm—one of blood, violence, and amazing grace.

Thoroughly intimidated at first and frequently terrified, he experienced on a nightly basis the adrenaline rush of walking into chaos. But in his downtime, Kevin reflected on how people’s facades drop away when catastrophe strikes. As his hours on the job piled up, he realized he was beginning to see into the truth of things. There is no pretense five beats into a chest compression, or in an alley next to a crack den, or on a dimly lit highway where cars have collided. Eventually, what had at first seemed impossible happened: Kevin acquired mastery. And in the process, he was able to discern the professional differences between his freewheeling peers, what marked each—as he termed them—as “a tourist,” “true believer,” or “killer.”

Combining indelible scenes that remind us of life’s fragile beauty with laugh-out-loud moments that keep us smiling through the worst, A Thousand Naked Strangers is an absorbing read about one man’s journey of self-discovery—a trip that also teaches us about ourselves.

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

As always, be sure to let me know if you read any of these. 

You may also be interested in these posts:

Books that Came in February 2018

Books that Came in January 2018

Books that Came in December 2017

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  1. Musicmicetro on April 7, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    So many of these books look/sound fascinating! Although to be honest, "Cuddle Bug" is the one I want to pick up the most right now. 🙂

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