New Books This Month

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.

Bennett and Reagan performed in their last band concert together. So many lasts will be happening in the next two months for Bennett.

Patrick was home for Spring Break the same week that my mom turned 80. We celebrated as our whole family on Sunday, the day before her birthday. Then on Monday, her actual birthday, Patrick and I met her for ice cream in the afternoon.

Bennett’s final track season has begun. We have had two meets already and they actually weren’t too cold. Hoping it warms up soon so I’m not packing winter clothes and blankets for these meets.

Pat and I celebrated our 20th Anniversary this month as well. We celebrated by upgrading my phone…finally…(I got the iPhone XR) and then went out to dinner to our favorite supper club, Ced Rel. Hard to believe 20 years have gone by since we said “I do” and 21 years since we first met. Fun Fact: We got married exactly one year after meeting each other!

Spring is slowly starting to show herself and I am truly happy. We still have a bit of snow in our yard due to ridiculous drifts, but they won’t last much longer. I’m looking forward to a day warm enough to sit on my front porch swing with a cup of coffee or relax on our back porch and watch the sunset at the end of the day.

I have so many wonderful books to tell you about this month. 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.


Currently Listening: Playing catching up on my favorite podcasts Currently Reading, What Should I Read Next, Criminal, He Read She Read, and Before Breakfast


If you would like to purchase any of the books in this post, click on the photo or title of the book to be directly taken 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. All book bios are taken from

March books


365 Ways to Improve Your Life, Career, and Relationships

By: Dean Del Sesto

Published: March 5, 2019

Publisher: Revell


Format: Paperback

I love these types of books that offer you tips that you can put into place that day. This book reminds me of a page-a-day calendar in book format. Each two-page spread has 4 shifts with a paragraph description of each one. The book is smaller than a typical paperback and would be easy to keep on your desk at work or your nightstand and read “A Shift a Day.

Regardless of where you are in life, change is always an opportunity. The most immediate path to lasting positive change will always be found in how we think about things. We either frame the various areas of our lives to regress, remain stagnant, or accelerate forward, and a single shift in our thought patterns can change everything for us.

That’s what A Shift a Day for Your Best Year Yet is all about. Small shifts that add up to dynamic new directions. With these 365 original quotes, readers will find themselves well on their way down the path to greater success in their work, relationships, and lives. Short, memorable, and to-the-point, each thought-provoking page is designed to interrupt thinking that doesn’t work and replace it with thinking that does.

The perfect spontaneous gift for a friend or impulse buy for oneself.


Stand Up, Speak Out, and Find the Courage to Lead

Cecile Richards

Published: April 3, 2018 – Paperback March 26, 2019

Publisher: Gallery


Format: Paperback

This book came unsolicited in my mailbox. I may just give this one a skim as I have different views than the author as well as those who have praised the book. Her story of her mom’s sacrifices and the efforts she and her mom put forth to become career women and their work ethic are inspiring. This may be just the book to inspire you.

From Cecile Richards—the president of Planned Parenthood, daughter of the late Governor Ann Richards, featured speaker at the Women’s March on Washington, and “the heroine of the resistance” (Vogue)—comes a story about learning to lead and make change, based on a lifetime of fighting for women’s rights and social justice.

Cecile Richards has been an activist since she was taken to the principal’s office in seventh grade for wearing an armband in protest of the Vietnam War. Richards had an extraordinary girlhood in ultra-conservative Texas, where her hell-raising parents—her civil rights attorney father and political activist mother—taught their kids to be troublemakers. In the Richards household, the “dinner table was never for eating—it was for sorting precinct lists.”

She watched her mother, Ann, transform herself from a housewife to a force in American politics who made a name for herself as the straight-talking, truth-telling governor of Texas. But Richards also witnessed the pitfalls of public life that are unique to women, and the constant struggle to protect and expand equal rights—both exemplified by her marathon congressional testimony, where she held her own against hostile questions for five hours.

As a young woman, Richards worked as a labor organizer alongside women earning a minimum wage, and learned that those in power don’t give it up without a fight. Now, after years of advocacy, resistance, and progressive leadership, she shares her story for the first time—from the joy and heartbreak of activism to the challenges of raising kids, having a life, and making change, all at the same time. She shines a light on the people and lessons that have gotten her through good times and bad, and encourages readers to take risks, make mistakes, and make trouble along the way. Richards has dedicated her life to taking on injustice, and her memoir will inspire readers to hope and action. 


A Little Story About the Power of Priorities

By: Laura Vanderkam

Published: March 12, 2019

Publisher: Portfolio


Format: Hardcover

The funny thing about this book is that both my husband and I pre-ordered it. So, on March 12, two packages were delivered from Amazon, both with this book in them. When my husband saw it sitting on the counter, he gave me the second copy. At least good minds think alike. Both of us are fans of Vanderkam and I enjoyed this little novella about time-management and priorities.

A charming, life-changing fable that will help you rethink your whole approach to time, priorities, and possibilities.

Riley Jenkins is in trouble. An ambitious, hardworking consultant in her late twenties, she’s used to a lifetime of nearly perfect evaluations – until she gets a terrible performance review from her boss. How is that possible when Riley does everything her clients want – including answering emails 24/7 – faster than they expect it?

That’s precisely the problem: she’s spread too thin. Despite her insane hours and attention to detail, Riley can’t produce the thoughtful work her clients expect. Now she’s been given thirty days to close a major deal, or she’s out. Meanwhile, her personal life is also on the edge of disaster, with her boyfriend and close friends losing patience with her chronic unavailability.

The last thing Riley wants, at a stressful time like this, is to attend a women’s leadership retreat with some of her colleagues. But she can’t get out of her commitment: a weekend in New Jersey at some silly-sounding place called Juliet’s School of Possibilities.

Yet before long, Riley is surprised to find herself intrigued by Juliet, the lifestyle maven who hosts the conference. How does a single mother of two run a successful business while acting as if she has all the time in the world? The answer may lie in one of Juliet’s Zen-like comments: “Expectations are infinite. Time is finite. You are always choosing. Choose well.”

By the end of this story, you’ll join Riley in rethinking the balance between your present and your future, between the things you have to do and the things you want to do. Like Riley, you can free yourself from feeling overwhelmed and pursue your highest possibilities.


Declutter and Organize to Make More Room for Happiness

By: Gretchen Rubin

Published: March 5, 2019

Publisher: Harmony


Format: Hardcover

My husband gave me this book for our anniversary since Vanderkam’s book didn’t work out so well for him. I’m also a fan of Gretchen Rubin and have been interested in getting her newest book. This will also be a quick read as it gives quick tips in small one-page amounts.

Bestselling author of The Four Tendencies and The Happiness Project Gretchen Rubin illuminates one of her key realizations about happiness: For most of us, outer order contributes to inner calm. In a new book packed with more than one hundred concrete ideas, she helps us create the order and organization that can make our lives happier, healthier, more productive, and more creative. 

In the context of a happy life, a messy desk or crowded coat closet is a trivial problem–yet Gretchen Rubin has found that getting control of the stuff of life makes us feel more in control of our lives generally. By getting rid of things we don’t use, don’t need, or don’t love, as well as things that don’t work, don’t fit, or don’t suit, we free our mind (and our shelves) for what we truly value. 

In this trim book filled with insights, strategies, and sometimes surprising tips, Gretchen tackles the key challenges of creating outer order, by explaining how to “Make Choices,” “Create Order,” “Know Yourself–and Others,” “Cultivate Helpful Habits,” and, of course, “Add Beauty.” 

When we get our possessions under control, we feel both calmer and more energetic. With a sense of humor, and also a clear sense of what’s realistic for most people, Gretchen suggests dozens of manageable steps for creating a more serene, orderly environment–one that helps us to create the lives we yearn for.


My Recipe Playlist for Real Life

By: Martina McBride

Published: October 30, 2018

Publisher: Oxmoor House


Format: Hardcover

We are huge Martina McBride fans around here and I was totally interested in her cookbook, so I entered to win a copy on SweetSavoryEats on Instagram and WON! Ally is a fellow Iowan and one of my favorite Instagrammers to follow.

At home or on the road, Martina McBride is a consummate entertainer who feeds souls through her music, nurturing spirit, and delicious home cooking.

When she’s not on stage or in the studio, country music icon Martina McBride is most likely in the kitchen cooking with family and friends. Growing up on a farm in Kansas, Martina began helping in the kitchen at an early age, preparing fresh-from-the-field ingredients at her mother’s side. Meals and stories were shared daily around the table. It’s a tradition she continues with her own family as often as she can because real life is what’s worth celebrating. In this gorgeously photographed cookbook, readers will find more than 100 simple and satisfying recipes that entice with fresh, seasonal ingredients and downhome flavor. Whip up her family favorites like her mother-in-law Flavia’s Deviled Eggs, husband John’s Bacon-Wrapped Olives, or her go-to Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Chipotle Sauce and Slaw. Mix things up in your own kitchen by following Martina’s inspired ideas to feed a handful or a houseful. 


A Novel

By: Michelle Schlicher

Published: March 14 ,2019

Publisher: Michelle Schlicher


Format: Paperback

Schlicher is an Iowa author and I’ve read a couple of her other books. I love the premise of this one. As someone who works in a school and have seen many kids struggling with home issues as well as other schools struggling to stay open, this one will be easy to identify with.

Luca Marin is a third grader and the son of an addict. He doesn’t have much. There’s no one he relies on. Until he meets Xander Davis. Xander is a fourth grader at Easton Elementary and soon earns Luca’s trust to become his friend. As Luca’s mother, Leslie, deals with her addiction, Luca and Xander’s school community is struggling with a hard truth—that Easton is in danger of closing.

Thomas Marshall and Sophia Snow must navigate the halls of Easton along with their fellow teachers as best as they can in the wake of this possibility. While others connected to Easton also become affected by the potential loss, they each face unique challenges of their own.

For many, Easton will become a symbol of hope. For others, it will represent a great loss.

The Way of Lessons reaches into the heart of a community and shows the power of small moments that can make all the difference in a complicated time. 


A Novel

By: Mitch Albom

Published: October 9, 2018

Publisher: Harper


Format: Hardcover

This is the sequel to one of my favorite books by Albom, THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN. There was also a movie based on this book that was well done. Our son won a gift certificate at the school book fair and he let me use it. So, this was one of the books I purchased.

In this enchanting sequel to the number one bestseller The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom tells the story of Eddie’s heavenly reunion with Annie—the little girl he saved on earth—in an unforgettable novel of how our lives and losses intersect.

Fifteen years ago, in Mitch Albom’s beloved novel, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, the world fell in love with Eddie, a grizzled war veteran- turned-amusement park mechanic who died saving the life of a young girl named Annie. Eddie’s journey to heaven, taught him that every life matters. Now, in this magical sequel, Mitch Albom reveals Annie’s story.
The accident that killed Eddie left an indelible mark on Annie. It took her left hand, which needed to be surgically reattached. Injured, scarred, and unable to remember
why Annie’s life is forever changed by a guilt-ravaged mother who whisks her away from the world she knew. Bullied by her peers and haunted by something she cannot recall, Annie struggles to find acceptance as she grows. When, as a young woman, she reconnects with Paulo, her childhood love, she believes she has finally found happiness.

As the novel opens, Annie is marrying Paulo. But when her wedding night day ends in an unimaginable accident, Annie finds herself on her own heavenly journey—and an inevitable reunion with Eddie, one of the five people who will show her how her life mattered in ways she could not have fathomed.

Poignant and beautiful, filled with unexpected twists, The Next Person You Meet in Heaven reminds us that not only does every life matter, but that every ending is also a beginning—we only need to open our eyes to see it.


By: Maria Semple

Published: August 14, 2012 – Mass Market Movie Tie-In January 29, 2019

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company


Format: Paperback

Somehow I never read this one when it came out, but so many people who’s recommendations I respect have said I should read it. It was at the school book fair, so I snagged a copy. The movie version is slated to come out this August, so I’ll try to read it before then!

Bernadette Fox has vanished.

When her daughter Bee claims a family trip to Antarctica as a reward for perfect grades, Bernadette, a fiercely intelligent shut-in, throws herself into preparations for the trip. But worn down by years of trying to live the Seattle life she never wanted, Ms. Fox is on the brink of a meltdown. And after a school fundraiser goes disastrously awry at her hands, she disappears, leaving her family to pick up the pieces–which is exactly what Bee does, weaving together an elaborate web of emails, invoices, and school memos that reveals a secret past Bernadette has been hiding for decades. Where’d You Go Bernadette is an ingenious and unabashedly entertaining novel about a family coming to terms with who they are and the power of a daughter’s love for her mother. 


By: Delia Owens

Published: August 14, 2018

Publisher: G. P. Putnam’s Sons


Format: Hardcover

I haven’t heard a bad thing about this book yet. I’ve listened to podcasters rave about it and even listened to an interview with the author. So, when my friend chose it for book club this month, I was thrilled. I can’t wait to read it and see if it lives up to all the praise.

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.


Winning Your Never-Ending Battle With Stuff

By : Dana K. White

Published: February 27, 2018

Publisher: Thomas Nelson


Format: eBook

I’m already a fan of White’s blog A Slob Comes Clean and read her first book, HOW TO MANAGE YOUR HOME WITHOUT LOSING YOUR MIND. Her book is free right now with Prime Reading so if you have an Amazon Prime account, you can get the ebook version for free. Just click the image of the book above.

You don’t have to live overwhelmed by stuff–you can get rid of clutter for good!

While the world seems to be in love with the idea of tiny houses and minimalism, many of us simply can’t purge it all and start from nothing. Yet a home with too much stuff is a home that is difficult to maintain, so where do we begin? Add in paralyzing emotional attachments and constant life challenges, and it can feel almost impossible to make real decluttering progress.

In Decluttering at the Speed of Life, decluttering expert and author Dana White identifies the mind-sets and emotional challenges that make it difficult to declutter. Then, in her signature humorous approach, she provides workable solutions to break through these struggles and get clutter out–for good!

But more than simply offering strategies, Dana dives deep into how to implement them, no matter the reader’s clutter level or emotional resistance to decluttering. She helps identify procrasticlutter–the stuff that will get done eventually so it doesn’t seem urgent–as well as how to make progress when there’s no time to declutter.


The Dance of Walking through Suffering Together

By: Kara Tippetts and Jill Lynn Buteyn

Published: October 1, 2015

Publisher: David C. Cook


Format: eBook

This was a $.99 Kindle Deal and it sounded like something I would appreciate reading.

Kara Tippetts’s story was not a story of disease, although she lost her battle with terminal cancer. It was not a story of saying goodbye, although she was intentional in her time with her husband and four children. Kara’s story was one of seeing God in the hard and in the good. It was one of finding grace in the everyday. And it was one of knowing “God with us” through fierce and beautiful friendship.

In Just Show Up, Kara and her close friend, Jill Lynn Buteyn, write about what friendship looks like in the midst of changing life seasons, loads of laundry, and even cancer. Whether you are eager to be present to someone going through a difficult time or simply want inspiration for pursuing friends in a new way, this eloquent and practical book explores the gift of silence, the art of receiving, and what it means to just show up. 


Road Trip

By: Ann Ingalls and Sue Lowell Gallion

Illustrated by: Andre Ceolin

Published: March 15, 2019

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Fiction/Early Reader

Format: Hardcover

This early reader perfect for Kindergarten and up, and is the beginning of what is sure to be a great series. I’ve already reviewed it, HERE.

Meet Tip and Tucker! These hamsters are best friends and like to stick together. But while little Tip is sometimes nervous about new situations, Tucker likes to explore and see new things. Everything changes when Mr. Lopez purchases them from the pet store. As Tip and Tucker take a road trip, they wonder what their new home will be like. Mr. Lopez says it will be noisy and fun. What is school? In playful, simple stories written especially for the K-1 audience, Tip and Tucker will help beginning readers explore new feelings and learn to navigate classroom dynamics and relationships. 


By: Courtney Acampora and Maggie Fischer

Illustrated by: Benedetta Capriotti

Published: April 9, 2019

Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books

Non-Fiction/Board Book

Format: Hardcover Board Book

I reviewed the first in the Wild Bios series, FRIDA CATLO, HERE. I think this is such a great series for little ones and can’t wait to share this one with you.

William Sheepspeare’s plays were shear genius!

Meet one of history’s greatest figures in this adorable board book with an animal twist! Dive into the life of the eloquent Baa-rd of Avon and the plays that shaped our language today. William Sheepspeare’s human themes have resonated with every generation. With hilarious puns and colorful illustrations, this book brings his legacy to life for babies and parents alike!


By: Yayo Kawamura

Published: April 16, 2019

Publisher: Prestel Publishing

Fiction/Board Book

Format: Hardcover Board Book

I don’t know anything about this author, but I have loved every book that comes from Prestel Publishing so I have no doubt this is a great book. The lesson in this one is a good reminder for all of us.

This enchanting board book follows Little Wolf as he searches for someone to play with and carries a simple yet profound message about prejudice and preconceived notions.

Little Wolf is bored, and so he asks some other animals to play. But no one wants to join him–not the squirrel, nor the bunny, nor the fox. Their parents have told them not to play with wolves. But when Little Wolf meets a bee, she is brave enough to play and the two have a great time. The other animals see there’s nothing to be afraid of and decide to join in. With bold colors and appealing characters this book packs a powerful lesson about overcoming prejudices and not judging someone before you know them.


By: Tara Luebbe and Becky Cattie

Illustrated by: Joanne Lew-Vriethoff

Published: April 1, 2019

Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

This is the second book by these sister authors. The first, I AM FAMOUS was such a hit and now this followup is just as wonderful. I’ve already reviewed it, HERE. This is perfect for any new big sisters.

Kiely’s been famous her entire life, but when a baby sister appears on the scene, she feels like a has-been. Now Kiely has to figure out how to gain back the attention of her adoring fans (her family), even if it means sharing the spotlight.


A Dexter T. Rexter Book

By: Lindsay Ward

Published: April 16, 2019

Publisher: Two Lions


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

I’ve already reviewed another Dexter T Rexter book, IT’S SHOW AND TELL, DEXTER, HERE. The kids at school loved it and I’m sure this one will be a hit too!

Dexter T. Rexter is on a plane—for the very first time.

Dexter can’t wait to go on vacation with his best friend, Jack. Supercool orange sunglasses? Check. Nifty travel hat? Check. Plane tickets? Uh, what? Dexter may be the toughest, coolest dinosaur around, but everyone knows T. rexes don’t fly! If anyone could do it, he could. It’s just that he’s suddenly feeling a little hot. And maybe a little nervous. But just as he starts to melt down, he notices Jack looks upset. Dexter realizes he has to be brave enough for both of them. And maybe, just maybe, he’ll start to have a bit of fun in the air.

Both nervous and funny, Dexter tells the readers what he’s feeling and even asks their advice as he comes to understand that being brave with a friend makes everything a little better. And hey, those cookies during the flight don’t hurt, either! 


By: Clemence Dupont

Published: April 9, 2019

Publisher: Prestel Publishing


Format: Hardcover

This is a truly beautiful picture book. With foldout pages each era is featured as you travel through time in life on earth. The pages are folded accordian style and form a timeline of sorts that is 26 feet long.

The story of life on earth unfolds in dramatic fashion in this amazing picture book that takes readers from 4.6 billion years ago to the present day.

It’s difficult to grasp the enormous changes life on Earth has undergone since it first came into existence, but this marvelously illustrated book makes learning about our planet’s fascinating history easy and entertaining. In an accordion style, the series of pages take readers through every major geological period, with bright artwork and detailed drawings. Opening on lava-filled oceans and smoking volcanoes, the book unfolds, era by era, to show how life evolved from tiny protozoa and crustaceans to dinosaurs and mammals. Fully expanded to 8 meters (26 feet), this spectacular visual timeline is a very impressive panorama that reveals evolution in all its glory. Each page is brimming with illustrations that readers will turn to again and again. A celebration of life, this extraordinary and beautiful book illuminates the history of Earth for young readers in an unforgettable and delightful way.


Earth’s Amazing Habitats

By: Mia Cassany

Illustrated by: Marco Navarro

Published: April 16, 2019

Publisher: Prestel Publishing


Format: Hardcover

I reviewed another of Mia Cassany’s books, AN ATLAS OF IMAGINARY PLACES, HERE. This book is huge, over 14″ tall. The illustrations are amazing and it’s great for little kids to look at the pictures and older kids to learn about the various habitats on earth.

This brilliantly illustrated book takes young readers to the planet’s wild regions, including forests, jungles, tundras, and deserts to discover the animals that call it home.

This captivating book brings the natural world into sharp focus. Beautifully colored and intricately detailed illustrations depict places as exotic and wide-ranging as Senegal’s Niokolo-Koba National Park, Russia’s Sikhote-Alin mountain range, the Sinharaja Forest Reserve in Sri Lanka, Daintree National Park in Australia, the Mexican desert, and China’s bamboo forests. The animals that live in these remote places, cleverly hidden in the trees, plants, and flowers, create a marvelous challenge for young readers to find and identify. Each spread contains more than twenty different species including birds, snakes, frogs, iguanas, leopards, tigers, gorillas, pandas, and wolves.
The back of the book is filled with additional information about the animals and their habitats. Young readers will find much to discover, explore, and learn in this absorbing celebration of our planet and the amazing creatures we share it with. 


How Imagination Built a World of Magic

By: Lowey Bundy Sichol

Illustrated by: C.S. Jennings

Published: February 12, 2019

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers


Format: Paperback/Middle Grade

I love the idea of these books. I think they are great for middle-grade readers to learn about well-known businesses and the creative process behind them. Coming this summer are books about Google and Lego.

From an Idea to Disney is a behind-the-movie-screen look into the history, business, and brand of the world’s largest entertainment empire. With humorous black & white illustrations throughout, learn about the company behind the world’s favorite mouse, Mickey!


How Marketing Made Nike a Global Success

By: Lowey Bundy Sichol

Illustrated by: C.S. Jennings

Published: February 12, 2019

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers


Format: Paperback/Middle-Grade

From an Idea to Nike is a fully-illustrated look into how Nike stepped up its sneaker game to become the most popular athletic brand in the world. Humorous black & white illustrations throughout.

Ever wonder how Nike became the athletics empire it is today? From an Idea to Nike digs into the marketing campaigns and strategy that turned this running-shoe company into the outfitter for many athletes as well as the iconic American brand. With infographics and engaging visuals throughout, this behind-the-scenes look into the historical and business side of Nike will be an invaluable resource for kids interested in what makes this business run.
Find out where the name Nike came from and how the famous swoosh became the signature logo.
Learn about the company’s first marketing campaign with a star athlete. (Hint: It wasn’t Michael Jordan!) 
Explore the ways Nike expanded marketing from running to basketball, soccer, golf, and beyond!

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

So many books, so little time!

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