New Books

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.

Family and Life Updates

Our November was kind of strange. The month started with Reagan performing in a one-act play, “12 Incompetent Men (and Women)”. They wore masks, but surprisingly we were able to hear them ok and enjoyed the show, thrilled that they could perform.

But, then our school moved to online learning and Reagan was no longer able to attend Iowa’s State Dance competition. They were able to send in videos of their routines, but were not able to attend or compete in person. All that work for months and not be able to experience it was certainly frustrating.

Then our oldest son tested positive for COVID so he was not able to come home for Thanksgiving. Thankfully his symptoms were almost non-existent and he was in the isolation dorm with his friends so he wasn’t alone.

The good thing is that I have been working on redoing Bennett’s room into my reading room. All I need now is my couch that is supposed to arrive sometime in January. But, I’m loving it so far and using Reagan’s bedroom chair in the meantime.

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.

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.


A Koa Kane Hawaiian Mystery #3

By: Robert McCaw

Published: January 5, 2021

Publisher: Oceanview Publishing


Format: Hardcover

The third in the series set in Hawaii will help you have warm thoughts during this long, cold winter!

A horrific murder in the land of aloha sends Detective Koa Kāne on a harrowing journey through ancient rituals, cultural conflict, and a web of dangerous secrets.

On an island of lava flows and black sand beaches, the Hilo cops get a mysterious 911 tip. Someone’s found a body at Pōhakuloa, the army’s live-fire training area. Inside a cave and mutilated beyond recognition—bearing all the hallmarks of ancient ritual sacrifice—the murder is the grisliest crime of Detective Koa Kāne’s career.

While investigating the murder scene, Koa comes face-to-face with his native heritage when he uncovers ancient royal burial crypts and a long-hidden underground workshop last used by sixteenth-century stonecutters. Shocked to find these long-hidden archaeological treasures looted, he wonders whether the murder victim stumbled upon the grave robbers and suffer the consequences.

The mystery deepens when the wayward son of a longtime police informant turns up injured by an old military shell at an illegal dig on a neighboring island. As Koa investigates these seemingly unrelated antiquities thefts, he encounters a host of obstacles—an incompetent small-town medical examiner, a prickly archaeologist, the mysterious descendant of great Hawaiian royalty, hostility from both haoles (Westerners) and sovereignty advocates, and a myriad of lies. Nothing is what it seems, and Koa must rely on instinct and cunning to zero in on the truth.

When the murder victim is finally identified, Koa probes his past only to confront a rich roster of suspects—grave robbers, native activists, thieves, and stargazers. These characters reveal themselves to be a contentious lot with strong personalities, deep rivalries, and odd foibles. They have a few alibis and many possible motives. Suspects abound, but the facts don’t seem to fit quite right. . . until it all comes together when it may be too late to prevent a second murder.

Will Hilo’s most respected native detective catch this sadistic fiend in time, or will the Pōhakuloa killer strike again—with even deadlier consequences? 


Daily Devotions

365 Inspirations to Encourage Your Soul Every Day of the Year

By: Tama Fortner

Published: November 17, 2020

Publisher: Howard Books


Format: Hardcover

This is a beautiful daily devotional. I can’t wait to start it in January.

A gorgeously wrought year-long daily devotional for anyone who wishes to carve out a few minutes a day to reflect on the grace of God.

It is by grace you have been saved, through faith. —Ephesians 2:8 NIV

With uplifting quotes from the Bible, guided reflections, and more, Five Minutes of Grace allows you to bring God and His grace into your life a little more each and every day. 


Discover How to Move on, Make Peace with Painful Memories, and Create a Life That’s Beautiful Again

By: Lysa Terkeurst

Published: November 17, 2020

Publisher: Thomas Nelson


Format: Hardcover

I’ve always been a fan of TerKeurst’s books. When I heard her speak on Crystal Paine’s podcast, I knew I had to get this book. Her conversation about the book on the podcast resonated so deeply with me.

Have you ever felt stuck in a cycle of unresolved pain, playing offenses over and over in your mind? You know you can’t go on like this, but you don’t know what to do next. Lysa TerKeurst has wrestled through this journey. But in surprising ways, she’s discovered how to let go of bound-up resentment and overcome the resistance to forgiving people who aren’t willing to make things right.


A Guided Journey to Forgiving What You Can’t Forget

By: Lysa Terkeurst

Published: November 17, 2020

Publisher: Thomas Nelson Books


Format: Hardcover

The companion journal to her book and it is beautiful. I’m anxious to dive in.

Over the last few years, Lysa TerKeurst has experienced seasons of total devastation that left her wondering, Will I ever recover from this? But in the face of hurt that felt impossible to move past, Lysa has found journaling to be a life-giving way to help let go of bitterness, process resentments, and live in the freedom of forgiving others. Now she is passionate about coming alongside readers on our own journeys of forgiveness, whether the deepest pain comes from years ago or is still happening today.


By: Susannah Cahalan

Published: November 5, 2019

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing


Format: Hardcover

I was riveted by Cahalan’s personal story of an autoimmune disease that attacked her brain. I didn’t even know that she had a new book until I saw this on Thrift Books. It’s a great place to get used books at a low price. This one sounds so fascinating! I love medical stories.

For centuries, doctors have struggled to define mental illness-how do you diagnose it, how do you treat it, how do you even know what it is? In search of an answer, in the 1970s a Stanford psychologist named David Rosenhan and seven other people — sane, normal, well-adjusted members of society — went undercover into asylums around America to test the legitimacy of psychiatry’s labels. Forced to remain inside until they’d “proven” themselves sane, all eight emerged with alarming diagnoses and even more troubling stories of their treatment. Rosenhan’s watershed study broke open the field of psychiatry, closing down institutions and changing mental health diagnosis forever.

But, as Cahalan’s explosive new research shows, very little in this saga is exactly as it seems. What really happened behind those closed asylum doors, and what does it mean for our understanding of mental illness today? 


A Hunger Games Novel

By: Suzanne Collins

Published: May 19, 2020

Publisher: Scholastic Press


Format: Hardcover

I wasn’t sure I wanted to read this, even though I loved the Hunger Games series. Then one of my students did a book talk on this book and convinced me to read it. I had to purchase it at our Scholastic Book Fair this fall!

It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capital, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.

The odds are against him. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined — every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute… and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes. 


60+ Recipes to Bake for the Holidays

By: Carroll Pellegrnelli

Published: November 3, 2020

Publisher: Rockridge Press


Format: Paperback

I’m looking forward to choosing some new cookies to add to our baking list this year. I previously reviewed her Starter Sourdough Cookbook, HERE.

Tis the season to pull out those cookie cutters and get ready to whip up an array of magical, mouthwatering Christmas cookies! From Gingerbread People to Candy Cane Cookies, this standout among Christmas cookbooks is packed with foolproof baking guidance, tons of festive decorating tips, and dozens of super easy recipes for tasty treats―perfect for gifting and simple enough to sweeten any occasion.

This guide is everything Christmas cookbooks should be, starting with the best practices of holiday baking. Find hands-on guidance for decorating techniques like piping icing and adding flair with sprinkles and sugar. Then, bake up some Christmas cheer with simple step-by-step recipes for more than 60 delightful cookies, brownies, bars, and even special treats not found in other Christmas cookbooks.


By: Addie Boswell

Illustrated by: Mercè López

Published: December 1, 2020

Publisher: Two Lions


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

Check out my review of this lovely book, HERE.

Young dancer Sofia wakes up to a quiet, white world—it’s a snow day! She makes her way outside to the neighborhood park, where a field awaits her, white and shining and open. It isn’t long before the rest of the neighborhood wakes its sleepy head—and the other kids make their way to the park, scattering all of Sofia’s beautiful silence. But with the help of a new young friend, Sofia is ready to show everyone what a snow dancer can do on a perfect day like this. With lyrical language and gorgeous art, this book sparkles with all the joy and beauty of a snow day.


The Unstoppable Reindeer

By: Jim Benton

Published: September 15, 2020

Publisher: Two Lions


Format: Hardcover/ Picture Book

A fun Christmas book to add to your read-aloud stack this month!

It’s the night before Christmas, and Comet is ready…until he’s injured in an unexpected elf incident and replaced by a rookie named Freddy.

Comet can’t believe his bad luck. Then he realizes something even worse—in all the confusion, Santa has left the toys behind and isn’t answering his phone. Injury and all, Comet sets out to deliver the presents, crisscrossing the globe from Japan and Egypt to France and Cleveland. After a run-in with a goose, a near-miss with a minivan, and too many chimney crash landings to count, can Comet hobble his way into pulling off a Christmas miracle? 


Seriously Sweet Facts to Satisfy Your Curiosity

By: Kelly Hargrave

Published: October 6, 2020

Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books


Format: Paperback

I enjoyed the first BRAIN CANDY and am sure this will be a hit with kids in the elementary classrooms too!

So you know that the speed of light is fast: 229,792,458 miles per second. But what does that really mean? It means that at the speed of light, you could reach the moon in 1.3 seconds. How long to travel to the sun? Just 8 minutes. And in 4.6 hours, you could reach Pluto at 4.6 billion miles away! If you like seeing far-out facts in a new light, the second book in the colorful Brain Candy series takes a deep (and delicious) dive into numbers, fun facts, and cool trivia on all kinds of topics. It’s a novel approach to feeding kids smart snackable bites about the world and is sure to be an addictive addition to the bookshelves of Weird But True! and Just Joking fans.


A Little Book of Nerdy Stuff

By: T.J. Resler

Published: September 15, 2020

Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books


Format: Paperback

Kids who love animals and fun facts will find this book super interesting. I’ve reviewed another of Resler’s books, HOW THINGS WORK, HERE.

Sometimes big nerdiness comes in a small package–and this little book is an animal nerd’s dream! Meet animals of all kinds–from sharks and moles to orangutans and okapis– in this quirky, jam-packed original from National Geographic Kids. If you thought you were brainy, take a look at the incredible critters in this book. Inside, you’ll find a spider that spends its whole life in a bubble and birds that build nests so big, they’re like avian apartment complexes! (And we’re just getting started!) In this little animal “Nerdlet” you’ll learn about the weirdest, coolest, most amazing creatures in the animal kingdom–and what makes them so complex. Plus, you’ll have some of your most burning animal questions answered, such as What’s the deal with crocodile tears? And you’ll meet people who get to be around animals for a living and travel to animal destinations around the world. You’ll also find personality quizzes, fun facts, animal superheroes, and even a Star Wars reference … or two. 


A tour of Our Solar System and Beyond

By: David A. Aguilar and Patricia Daniels

Published: November 3, 2020

Publisher: National Geographic Kids


Format: Hardcover

If your child is super excited about the ISS or the SpaceX launches lately, this book is perfect for answering all their questions about space.

The updated and expanded edition of the hit Space Encyclopedia presents the most up-to-date findings on space exploration and research and breathtaking views of the universe, as captured by the latest and greatest technology, including the recent first-ever image of a black hole. This complete reference contains everything kids need to know about our sun and planets including the new dwarf planets, the formation of the universe, space travel, the possibility of life beyond Earth, and more. Authored by David A. Aguilar, an internationally recognized astronomer and former Director of Science Information and Public Outreach at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, it is an authoritative and beautifully illustrated must-have for every family, providing both accessible information for school reports and compelling reading on the mysteries beyond our planet.


A Closer Look at the Weird, Wild, and Wonderful

Published: November 3, 2020

Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books


Format: Hardcover

A great gift book for the fact-loving kid!

Did you know that dogs can shake off a pound of water in less than a second? That some sand dunes whistle and sing? That the U.S. dollar bill is full of hidden symbols related to the number 13? Our world is filled with strange, bizarre, and weird happenings. But what do they mean? WHY are they important? And what secrets are behind them?

These secrets and MORE are revealed through cool stories, action-packed photos, fantastic infographics, and exciting Q&As with in-the-field experts. Discover the secrets of sharkskin, the mysteries behind incredible island animals, the power behind lightning, how a rare gemstone changes color, and more. Kids will be captivated by this fresh way of looking at our amazing planet.

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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