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.

We traveled to my parents on Father’s Day weekend and I took a quick gator ride down to the river behind my parents’ house. They have had an eagle’s nest there for the last several years. These are two of the three “baby” eagles just resting on a log. So cool!
It’s pretty rare to get all 5 of us together. We celebrated Father’s Day in Pella where Patrick is living and enjoyed a delicious dinner at our favorite, El Charro.
Reagan finished Driver’s ed and we are glad to have that over with. She will be 16 in January and can’t wait to be able to drive to school!
I took off for a few days to visit family and for the FIRST TIME, checked out all of the famous covered bridges in Madison County. We had a blast visiting the bridges and then, of course, stopping by all the wineries and shopping in Winterset, Iowa. This is the Holliwell Bridge, which is just down the road from my cousin’s home. We were able to walk here on a beautiful morning.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram, HERE to see snippets of what I’m reading or what’s going on in my daily life.

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.

Last month was also Audiobook Month and I shared 20 of my Favorite Audiobooks. Be sure to check out that post, HERE.

If you choose to make a purchase through any of the links I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase.

This month is a mix of physical books and eBooks. Some publishers are sending physical books if they have them, but some are still just sending eBooks.


How Nonviolent Activism Changes the World

By: Todd Hasak-Lowy

Published: April 7, 2020

Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers

Non-Fiction/YA Non-Fiction

Format: Hardcover

Even though this book is written for teens, I think it is something all of us can take lessons from. This book came out at the perfect time. If your teen or your whole family is looking for a way to get involved in activism, this book offers ideas for getting started.

We Are Power brings to light the incredible individuals who have used nonviolent activism to change the world. The book explores questions such as what is nonviolent resistance and how does it work? In an age when armies are stronger than ever before when guns seem to be everywhere, how can people confront their adversaries without resorting to violence themselves? Through key international movements as well as people such as Gandhi, Alice Paul, Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez, and Václav Havel, this book discusses the components of nonviolent resistance. It answers the question “Why nonviolence?” by showing how nonviolent movements have succeeded again and again in a variety of ways, in all sorts of places, and always in the face of overwhelming odds. The book includes endnotes, a bibliography, and an index.


Love Elevated

A Dynamic Experience of Consciousness, Transformation, and Enlightenment

By: Darlene Green

Published: April 15, 2020

Publisher: Waterside Productions


Format: Paperback

IN SERVICE TO LOVE Book One covered days 1-122. Book two continues with Days 123-244. I featured Book One, HERE. Each day covers 1-3 pages of reading with a daily theme.

In Service to Love offers a pathway for shifting your awareness from the de-stabilizing chaos of the external world to access the rich inner realm that is your authentic nature. When it is time for you to discover your own purpose and truth, In Service to Love offers a multidimensional body of work that elevates your conscious awareness, catalyzing transformation, and enlightenment, opening the door to create your best life possible. 

Enlightenment, once viewed as unattainable for most, is presented as a natural evolutionary step available now for those who seek to live a life where human nature is integrated with the wisdom and innovative capacity of divine nature. With Darlene Green as a modern-day scribe, the contemporary guidance of Masters that comprise the Council of Light is relayed through high-frequency messages, principles, exercises, and palpable presence of Love.


By: C.S. Lewis

Published: February 14, 2017

Publisher: HarperOne


Format: eBook

Please don’t throw books at me, but I have never read a C.S. Lewis book. When I saw this daily devotional book, I thought it would be a good introduction to his writing for me.

C. S. Lewis, the author of Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce, The Chronicles of Narnia, and many other beloved classics, considers humankind’s spiritual journey in this collection of wise, meditative excerpts and writings.

In these daily reflections, the great British writer, scholar, lay theologian, broadcaster, and Christian apologist, explores a range of connected themes, including “the serious business of heaven,” “Nearness to God,” “Heaven and Sexuality,” and “Two Kinds of Good and Bad.”


A 21-Day Plan for Weight Loss and Good Health

By: Laura Burak RD MS CDN

Published: June 30, 2020

Publisher: Rockridge Press


Format: eBook

I’ve made a few smoothies from the recipes in this book and I’ve loved them. I’m anxious to try more. My favorite so far is the Pink Paradise Smoothie which has dragon fruit as the main ingredient.

Slim Down with Smoothies starts you off right with easy-to-follow plans and recipes for dozens of fun and great-tasting smoothies―perfect for supplementing your daily meals. Not only will Laura’s straightforward and supportive approach to healthy eating help you reach your weight loss goals, but it’ll also make you smile as you enjoy smoothies like the LBN Slims Vanilla Latte or Pink Paradise. 


A 6-Week Program to Build Muscle and Agility

By: Alana Collins

Published: June 30, 2020

Publisher: Rockridge Press


Format: eBook

This is a well-explained book that offers a manageable plan for working in strength and agility training for beginners or those looking for more advanced exercises. The images and instructions are clear and easy to follow.

Muscle mass and strength are key to maintaining mobility, metabolism, and hormone balance as you get older. Whether you’re looking to jump back into a strength training routine, or this is your first time trying it out, Strength Training Over 40 makes it easy and safe to do at any age.

Start the next stage of your life strong with a comprehensive 6-week strength training program that guides you through building and maintaining total-body strength, so you can keep doing the things you love to do for years to come. You’ll find illustrated exercises and stretches, complete with step-by-step instructions and weekly home and gym workout routines that put all the moves together.


By: Ruta Sepetys

Published: October 1, 2019

Publisher: Philomel Books

Fiction/Historical Fiction/YA Historical Fiction

Format: Hardcover

I haven’t read any of Septys’ books, but I am eager too. This one was a win from The Book Club Cookbook.

Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming promise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of an oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother’s birth through the lens of his camera. Photography–and fate–introduce him to Ana, whose family’s interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War–as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel’s photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of difficult decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.


By: Sarah Z. Sleeper

Published: August 1, 2020

Publisher: Running Wild Press


Format: Paperback

A little romance, a mystery, and experiencing a different culture makes this an interesting read.

The Japanese word gaijin means “unwelcome foreigner.” It’s not profanity but is sometimes a slur directed at non-Japanese people in Japan. My novel is called Gaijin…

Lucy is a budding journalist at Northwestern University and she’s obsessed with an exotic new student, Owen Ota, who becomes her lover and her sensei. When he disappears without explanation, she’s devastated and sets out to find him. On her three-month quest across Japan, she finds only snippets of the elegant culture Owen had described. Instead, she faces anti-U.S. protests, menacing street thugs and sexist treatment, and she winds up at the base of Mt. Fuji, in the terrifying Suicide Forest. Will she ever find Owen? Will she be driven back to the U.S.? Gaijin is a coming-of-age story about a woman who solves a heartbreaking mystery that alters the trajectory of her life.


By: Thomas O’Callaghan

Published: May 9, 2020

Publisher: WildBlue Press


Format: Paperback

This fast-paced thriller will have you reading one more chapter easily because they chapters are short, the print is larger and you’ll feel like you are breezing through this thrilling murder mystery.

NYPD’s top cop, Homicide Commander Lieutenant John Driscoll, believes there is. Someone who calls himself “Tilden” and claims to have been sexually abused as a child by his mother’s john. But what could have triggered Tilden’s rage that has him on a mission to eradicate all the women of the night in The Big Apple?

More importantly, will Driscoll put an end to the madness? He soon discovers Tilden’s not the run-of-the-mill sociopath. After all, would a common murderer have taken the time to embalm his victims, which the New York City chief medical examiner determined was the cause of their deaths?

Driscoll, a man haunted by the events of an unstable childhood himself, must put aside any sympathy he may have for Tilden and put a stop to his murderous rampage. Teamed up with Sergeant Margaret Aligante and Detective Cedric Thomlinson, who have their own issues, the commander sets out to stop the killings and bring Tilden to justice before he kills again.


By: Brian Nelson

Published: October 16, 2018 (Paperback October 15, 2019)

Publisher: Blackstone Publishing


Format: Paperback

If you are looking to get your pandemic fix in your reading lift, this might be the book for you. But rather than a disease that is spreading there is a type of technological warfare.

In the high mountains of Tibet, rumors are spreading. People whisper of an outbreak, of thousands of dead, of bodies pushed into mass graves. It is some strange new disease a disease, they say, that can kill in minutes.

The Chinese government says the rumors aren’t true, but no one is allowed in or out of Tibet.

At the Pentagon, Admiral James Curtiss is called to an emergency meeting. Satellite images prove that a massive genocide is underway, and an American spy has made a startling discovery. This is no disease. It’s a weapons test. Chinese scientists have developed a way to kill based on a person’s genetic traits. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. The success of their new weapon proves that the Chinese are nearing “”Replication””–a revolutionary breakthrough that will tip the global balance of power and change the way wars are waged.

Now the US must scramble to catch up before it is too late. Admiral Curtiss gathers the nation’s top scientists, including a promising young graduate student named Eric Hill who just might hold the missing piece to the replication puzzle. Soon Hill and his colleague Jane Hunter are caught up in a deadly game of sabotage as the two nations strive to be the first to reach the coveted goal. But in their headlong race, they create something unexpected something the world has never seen and something more powerful than they had ever imagined.


A Doc Brady Mystery

By: John Bishop MD

Published: June 10, 2020

Publisher: Mantid Press


Format: Paperback

This is the second in the Doc Brady Mystery. I featured the first in the series, ACT OF MURDER, HERE.

Is it medical malpractice, or is the attorney just another ambulance chaser?

It’s 1995, and Houston orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jim Bob Brady has been sued for medical malpractice; a mysterious infection caused a knee replacement to end up as an amputation. Donovan Shaw, a ruthless plaintiff’s attorney, has taken the case and doesn’t seem bothered by the fact that he and Brady share a number of friends. “It’s not personal!” Shaw says. But it feels personal–especially when Shaw threatens, “I will do anything, and I mean anything, to win the case, even if I have to destroy you and that pretty wife of yours. I will stop at nothing. You remember that!”

And Brady isn’t the only one in his practice being sued. How is Shaw getting his inside information? Can the patients afford to say no to filing lawsuits, even if the claims aren’t valid? Through a series of twists and turns, and with the support of his wife Mary Louise and their professional investigator son J. J, Brady once again doggedly goes into “sleuth mode” to get to the truth of the matter–even after his life is put in jeopardy. Will he survive, only to find himself at the mercy of the wild and wooly Houston court system? Is this whole mess his fault? Or is there an act of deception involved?


By: Brit Bennett

Published: June 2, 2020

Publisher: Riverhead Books


Format: Hardcover

There is so much buzz for this book and all of it is full of praise. I can’t wait to read it.

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?

Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing.


By: Saumya Dave

Published: July 14, 2020

Publisher: Berkley


Format: eBook

I think I enjoy reading Indian culture so much because, for women, it is so vastly different than the way we live here.

Simran Mehta has always felt harshly judged by her mother, Nandini, especially when it comes to her little “writing hobby.” But when a charismatic and highly respected journalist careens into Simran’s life, she begins to question not only her future as a psychologist but her engagement to her high school sweetheart.

Nandini Mehta has strived to create an easy life for her children in America. From dealing with her husband’s demanding family to the casual racism of her patients, everything Nandini has endured has been for her children’s sake. It isn’t until an old colleague makes her a life-changing offer that Nandini realizes she’s spent so much time focusing on being the Perfect Indian Woman, she’s let herself slip away.

Mimi Kadakia failed her daughter, Nandini, in ways she’ll never be able to fix—or forget. But with her granddaughter, she has the chance to be supportive and offer help when it’s needed. As life begins to pull Nandini and Simran apart, Mimi is determined to be the bridge that keeps them connected, even as she carries her own secret burden.


Delightfully Disgusting Animal Dinners, Dwellings, and Defenses

By: Melissa Stewart

Published: June 23, 2020

Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books


Format: Paperback

These types of books are always the first ones chosen from my book blag at school Kids love all things gross and the best part is they are learning while reading.

From award-winning author Melissa Stewart comes the grossest journey through the animal world you’ll ever take. From ants to zebras, get ready to discover some seriously strange animal behaviors. Slurp up soupy insides with houseflies, spit sticky saliva to build nests with birds, and fend off predators with poop-flinging caterpillars and farting snakes. And that’s just the tip of the dung pile! These yucky habits may seem surprising to us, but they’re totally normal for these animals. In fact, their survival depends on them.

Snappy text, incredible photography, and more cool features add to the learning fun. Ready to chew some fingernails with cockroaches? Dive into the disgusting world of animals!


By: Katie Cottle

Published: June 9, 2020

Publisher: Pavilion Children’s Books


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

Introduce your child to the issue of pollution and caring for our oceans with this cute picture book.

Coral and her mom are enjoying a break at the seaside. Until a creature emerges from the waves! It’s a giant. A blue giant. It is made of water, fish, and sea plants and has a stirring plea to help clean up the ocean.

Coral and her mom agree to help, donning their scuba-diving outfits and setting off to sea. But they can’t do it alone…can they?

This stunning follow-up to Katie Cottle’s debut picture book The Green Giant is another entertaining and beautiful eco-tale from the 2017 winner of the Batsford Prize. It introduces children to the issues of pollution, waste management, and the oceans, with suggestions of lifestyle changes to help clean up our seas.


By: Emma Lazell

Published: April 24, 2020

Publisher: Pavilion Children’s Books


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

This looks like a hilarious read-aloud with all kinds of opportunities for loud voices and silly antics. Plus the pages are full of bright-colored illustrations.

There’s a team of dognappers on the loose! They’ve stolen lots of pooches, but this time they’re up against a very clever dog.

The cunning Penelope Dognapper is very keen to get her hands on the latest rare breed, the lesser-spotted woofer. Her big mistake is sending Patrick, her accomplice, to do the job. He has great difficulty identifying the right dog–that dog–and in a house that also contains a snake, a tortoise, and a characterful cat, you can imagine the chaos that ensues as he tries to steal the dog.

And that dog is a very smart woofer. He’s a bit of a detective in his spare time, and he might just have worked out who’s behind the dastardly crimes. Will he avoid getting caught himself and rescue his fellow creatures?


By: Kathleen Long Bostrom

Illustrated by: Jo de Ruiter

Published: July 7, 2020

Publisher: WorthyKids


Format: eBook

A great book for children preparing to go back to school, especially MONTHS after seeing their friends.

Making friends is something all children do, but sometimes it can feel scary. They might worry that no one will like them or that they are too different to find a friend. In this sweet board book, the narrator lists all the ways children can be different from a prospective friend: “I wake early. You sleep late. My hair’s curly. Yours is straight. I say, ‘Now!’ You say, ‘Wait?’ Will you be friends with me?” Instead of worrying that these differences will make friendship impossible, the narrator decides that: “We’re all different. That’s okay! Life is much more fun that way.” Perfect for children heading to school or any child in a new situation trying to make friends, this encouraging book reassures readers that diversity is what makes friendship–and life–so interesting.

Which one (or two or three) of these books will you be adding to your list?

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

So many books, so little time!

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