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 Update

Our daughter went to prom with her boyfriend. She looked lovely and had a wonderful evening. She is growing up so fast!
We’ve been to Pella nearly every weekend for a concert for Patrick.
I couldn’t resist walking around and taking photos of all the beautiful tulips around town.
Our son Patrick turned 21!
He shared a drink with his girlfriend, Bekah.
I took a much-needed trip to the Twin Cities with my cousin for 5 wonderful days of relaxation, shopping, and catching up.
I closed out the month by watching our great-nephew for three days.
Boy was that a lot of fun!

This is only a portion of everything that went on in April. It seems Spring is a busy time in our household. I’m just so thankful that things are returning to a more normal routine. I’m so looking forward to Summer! How about you?

Speaking of Summer, I have some great reading ahead. This month’s stack includes several children’s books as well as adult fiction and non-fiction. Out of all of these books, I only purchased one…so I had some restraint this month! Be sure to check out all the books below! Let me know what ones you are interested in reading or hearing more about!

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 Doc Brady Mystery – Book 4

By: John Bishop MD

Published: June 15, 2021

Publisher: Mantid Press


Format: Paperback

The very first in this series, ACT OF MURDER was published just over a year ago in March 2020. If you are someone who likes to dive into a series, having four books already published is the perfect bookish scenario. This book offers a nursing home being investigated for dementia deaths that aren’t what they should be. I am a little sensitive to these types of books, so I’ve been passing them on to friends who have been loving them.

Something unusual is going on with the dementia patients at Pleasant View Nursing Home.

Dr. Jim Bob Brady, Houston orthopedic surgeon, and amateur sleuth finds himself in the midst of a different type of medical mystery. His friend and colleague, Dr. James Morgenstern, refers him to a series of dementia patients with orthopedic problems from Pleasant View Nursing Home. Each patient dies, irrespective of the treatment, a situation that Doc Brady is unaccustomed to.

Each death prompts an autopsy, performed by another Brady colleague, Dr. Jeff Clarke, who discovers unusual brain pathology in each patient. Some of the tissue samples show nerve regeneration, a finding unheard of in dementia patients.

Doc Brady, enraged by the loss of his patients and obsessively curious about the pathologic findings, begins to investigate the nursing home, as well as its owner and CEO, Dr. Theodore Frazier. This leads Brady and Clarke on an adventure to discover the happenings at Pleasant View—an adventure that sees them running for their lives.


By: Victoria Hume

Published: June 8, 2021

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press


Format: Paperback

I love stories that span several generations.

1944: Maren Larsen is a blonde beauty from a small Minnesota farming town, determined to do her part to help the war effort––and to see the world beyond her family’s cornfields. As a cadet nurse at Walter Reed Medical Center, she’s swept off her feet by Dr. Oliver Demarest, a handsome Boston Brahmin whose family spends summers in an insular community on the rocky coast of Maine.

1970: As the nation grapples with the ongoing conflict in Vietnam, Oliver and Maren are grappling with their fiercely independent seventeen-year-old daughter, Annie, who has fallen for a young man they don’t approve of. Before the summer is over a terrible tragedy will strike the Demarests––and in the aftermath, Annie vows never to return to Haven Point.

2008: Annie’s daughter, Skye, has arrived in Maine to help scatter her mother’s ashes. Maren knows that her granddaughter inherited Annie’s view of Haven Point: despite the wild beauty and quaint customs, the regattas, and clambakes and sing-alongs, she finds the place––and the people––snobbish and petty. But Maren also knows that Annie never told Skye the whole truth about what happened during that fateful summer.

Over seven decades of a changing America, through wars and storms, betrayals and reconciliations, Virginia Hume’s Haven Point explores what it means to belong to a place, and to a family, which holds as tightly to its traditions as it does its secrets.


By: Hilary Hauck

Published: April 14, 2021

Publisher: Milford House Press

Fiction/Historical Fiction

Format: Paperback

An interesting and inspiring immigration story.

Italy, 1911. Pietro’s life on the family vineyard is idyllic. He has at last captured the melody of the grape harvest on his clarinet and can’t wait to share his composition with his grandfather, but before he can play, news arrives of a deadly disease sweeping the countryside. They have no choice but to burn the vineyard to stop its spread. The loss is too much for Pietro’s grandfather, and by morning Pietro has lost two of the most precious things in his life-his grandfather and the vineyard. All he has left is his music, but a disastrous performance at his grandfather’s funeral suggests that music, too, is now beyond his reach.


A Smarter Way to Cook on a Smaller Scale

By: America’s Test Kitchen

Published: December 22, 2020

Publisher: America’s Test Kitchen


Format: eBook

I was able to get this ebook for Free when it was on Kindle Deal and combine it with eBook credits that I received for delaying my deliveries. We have THIS TOASTER OVEN and use it all the time. With just 2 or 3 of us at home (mostly just 2 of us) for meals, using the toaster oven is so much easier and quicker. With summer coming, starting the toaster oven doesn’t heat up your house like starting an oven does. So, I want to be sure I’m using it as much as I can be. Plus, there are no chefs and bakers that I trust more than America’s Test Kitchen. I used to watch them on PBS all the time.

A toaster oven can do much more than make toast! Essentially a countertop oven, it can bake, roast, and broil (some have convection and air fryer features)–plus it heats up faster than a regular oven, uses less energy, and takes up less space, making it an efficient way to cook and bake in small batches. In Toaster Oven Perfection we show the many ways to put this workhorse to work, from baking mini meatloaves, pizza, and chicken parts to roasting vegetables, and offer recipes tested across a range of models to be sure it will work in yours.


The Path of Purposeful Aging

By: Richard J. Leider, David A. Shapiro

Published: July 13, 2021

Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers


Format: Paperback

Um, does the publisher know I am getting old or what? I’m creeping close to fifty and I’m starting to get the feeling that I haven’t done enough yet in my life and these first fifty years have by. I want to maximize my days and make sure I am enjoying every moment of growing old.

Our later years need not be a time of loss. This book helps readers embrace the positive possibilities of aging and provides guidance on doing so purposefully, with courage, compassion, and curiosity.

None of us know for sure what will happen as we age. What Richard J. Leider and David A. Shapiro do know, however, is that a purposeful mindset is a fundamental component of a life well-lived. What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Old? invites readers into the experience of two lifelong friends taking on the courageous conversation of aging well with honesty and purpose. In the first half of the book, readers are introduced to a framework for looking back over their lives and examining how they’ve arrived at the place they have. In the second half, readers are invited to look forward to purposeful aging with courage, compassion, and curiosity.

In their bestseller Repacking Your Bags, Leider and Shapiro defined the good life as “living in the place you belong, with people you love, doing the right work, on purpose.” This book argues that aging well can be similarly defined as “aging in the place you belong, with people you love, doing the right ‘work,’ on purpose.”


What it is, How it Works, and Why it’s Not Taking Over Our Country

By: Sumbul Ali-Karamali

Published: August 11, 2020

Publisher: Beacon Press


Format: Hardcover

I’m very unfamiliar with the Muslim religion, but this book appears to be accessible to all levels of those who are hoping to understand Islamic law and principles.

Through scare tactics and deliberate misinformation campaigns, anti-Muslim propagandists insist wrongly that shariah is a draconian and oppressive Islamic law that all Muslims must abide by. They circulate horror stories, encouraging Americans to fear the “takeover of shariah” law in America and even mounting “anti-shariah protests” . . . . with zero evidence that shariah has taken over any part of our country. (That’s because it hasn’t.) It would be almost funny if it weren’t so terrifyingly wrong–as puzzling as if Americans suddenly began protesting the Martian occupation of Earth.

Demystifying Shariah explains that shariah is not one set of punitive rules or even law the way we think of law–rigid and enforceable–but religious rules and recommendations that provide Muslims with guidance in various aspects of life. Sumbul Ali-Karamali draws on scholarship and her degree in Islamic law to explain shariah in an accessible, engaging narrative style–its various meanings, how it developed, and how the shariah-based legal system operated for over a thousand years. She explains what shariah means not only in the abstract but in the daily lives of Muslims. She discusses modern calls for shariah, what they mean, and whether shariah is the law of the land anywhere in the world. She also describes the key lies and misunderstandings about shariah circulating in our public discourse, and why so many of them are nonsensical.

This engaging guide is intended to introduce you to the basic principles, goals, and general development of shariah and to answer questions like: How do Muslims engage with shariah? What does shariah have to do with our Constitution? What does shariah have to do with the way the world looks today? And why do we all–Muslims or not–need to care?


By: Barbara Dee

Published: September 28, 2021

Publisher: Aladdin

Fiction/Middle-Grade Fiction

Format: Paperback

An important story about addiction and a young girl who is managing her dreams with her mom’s illness.

Twelve-year-old Wren loves makeup—special effect makeup, to be exact. When she is experimenting with new looks, Wren can create a different version of herself. A girl who isn’t in a sort-of-best friendship with someone who seems like she hates her. A girl whose parents aren’t divorced and doesn’t have to learn to like her new stepmom.

So, when Wren and her mom move to a new town for a fresh start, she is cautiously optimistic. And things seem to fall into place when Wren meets potential friends and gets selected as the makeup artist for her school’s upcoming production of Wicked.

Only, Wren’s mom isn’t doing so well. She’s taking a lot of naps, starts snapping at Wren for no reason, and always seems to be sick. And what’s worse, Wren keeps getting hints that things aren’t going well at her new job at the hospital, where her mom is a nurse. And after an opening-night disaster leads to a heartbreaking discovery, Wren realizes that her mother has a serious problem—a problem that can’t be wiped away or covered up.

After all the progress she’s made, can Wren start over again with her devastating new normal? And will she ever be able to heal the broken trust with her mom?


By: Anna Kang

Illustrated by: Christopher Weyant

Published: May 1, 2021

Publisher: Two Lions


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

I’ve already reviewed this fun story about a friendship between a cat and a dog, HERE.

Hudson and Tallulah may be neighbors, but the fence between their yards isn’t the only thing that divides them. They can’t see eye to eye on anything. One day they venture out, and after nonstop disagreement, they realize something surprising: they don’t always have to agree to be on each other’s side. 


By: Ian Lendler

Illustrated by: Mark Pett

Published: June 1, 2021

Publisher: Chronicle Books


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

A girl who fights to save her library and the books! I’m in!

This picture book tells the story of one girl who reminds an entire town of the joy of books.

When the town’s old library is destroyed by a tornado, the people are left wondering: What should they do with the space where the library used to be?

The characters in Nia and the New Free Library all want different things: the builder wants there to be a new skyscraper, the grocer wants a new parking lot, but Nia just wants a new library . . . but how can one person build a whole library?

• Explores the power of community and what a group can accomplish
• Teaches the importance of working together toward a common goal
• Reminds readers of the important role libraries play in the community, and how they work

Sometimes the biggest things can start with almost nothing at all.


The Exciting Life of the Peace Symbol

By: Michael G. Long

Illustrated by: Carlos Vélez

Published: August 31, 2021

Publisher: Flyaway Books


Format: Paperback Picture Book

I’m anxious to learn about the history of the peace symbol myself!

Three Lines in a Circle tells the history of the peace symbol and how it became a powerful icon used in marches and movements around the world. One line straight down. One line to the right. One line to the left, then a circle. That was all—just three lines in a circle.

This bold picture book tells the story of the peace symbol—designed in 1958 by a London activist protesting nuclear weapons—and how it inspired people all over the world. Depicting the symbol’s travels from peace marches and liberation movements to the end of apartheid and the fall of the Berlin Wall, Three Lines in a Circle offers a message of inspiration to today’s children and adults who are working to create social change. An author’s note provides historical background and a timeline of late twentieth-century peace movements.


By: Michael W. Waters

Illustrated by: Nicole Tadgell

Published: October 12, 2021

Publisher: Flyaway Books


Format: Paperback Picture Book

An important story for children and an opportunity to have such important conversations with your kids.

Based on a real-life trip, Liberty and her friend Abdullah visit significant places from the civil rights movement, inspiring them to come together with others to create a better world.

Time to board the bus! Liberty and her friend Abdullah, with their families and a diverse group of passengers, head off to their first stop: Jackson, Mississippi. Next on their map are Glendora, Memphis, Birmingham, Montgomery, and finally Selma, for a march across the iconic Edmund Pettus Bridge.

As told through the innocent view of a child, Liberty’s Civil Rights Road Trip serves as an early introduction to places, people, and events that transformed history. The story is inspired by an actual journey led by author Michael W. Waters, bringing together a multigenerational group to witness key locations from the civil rights movement. An author’s note and more information about each stop on Liberty’s trip offer ways for adults to expand the conversation with young readers.


By: Jane Kurtz

Illustrated by: John Joseph

Published: May 11, 2021

Publisher: West Margin Press


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

A silly book about chickens that live in the city in a backyard.

Chickens don’t just live on farms–they’re in the city too! In the store, on the street, they bring mayhem and excitement to all the surprised people. See where these mischievous chickens go in this brightly illustrated picture book told in verse. Also included at the back are fun facts and tips for the urban chicken farmer.


By: JD Wise

Illustrated by: Rachel Novel

Published: June 1, 2021

Publisher: Mascot Books


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

A children’s book with an excellent message!

This first book in the Kindness is for Everyone series is about YOU! You can show respect to others by treating them with love and understanding. Celebrating what makes people unique is the true expression of love the world needs!


A True Story of Seven Elephants, Two People, and One Extraordinary Friendship

By: Kim Tomsic

Illustrated by: Hadley Hooper

Published: May 18, 2021

Publisher: Chronicle Books


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

An amazing story, written for children, of a herd of elephants that were saved and brought home.

One day in 1999, Lawrence Anthony and Françoise Malby hear that a herd of wild African elephants needs a new home. They welcome the elephants to their wildlife sanctuary—Thula Thula—with open arms. But the elephants are much less sure they want to stay. How will Lawrence prove to them that they are safe and loved? What follows is a gorgeously illustrated real-life story of a friendship . . . and the story of the miraculous way that love given freely will return—greater and more wonderful than it began.


A Meditation Story

By: Julia Alvarez

Illustrated by: Raúl Colón

Published: June 16, 2021

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

This is a gorgeous picture book that tells the story of a butterfly that needs to find some time to breathe. Moms will appreciate reading it to their kids.

With so much to do in so little time, Mari is constantly on the move, flitting from flower to flower, practicing her camouflage poses, and planning for migration. She’s the busiest butterfly around. But does being productive mean she is happy? Mari couldn’t say. The only way she feels like a butterfly is by acting like one. Little does Mari know, the secret to feeling like herself is simply to focus her breath, find her quiet place, and follow her instincts. With the guidance of a thoughtful flower bud, Mari soon learns to meditate and appreciate that she was a butterfly all along.


A Yorkie Dog Rescue Adoption Story

By: Harry Higinbotham

Illustrated by: Richa Kinra

Published: December 3, 2020

Publisher: Harry Higinbotham


Format: eBook

I think yorkie dogs are adorable and this rescue story is a joy!

What happens when an abandoned Yorkie finds her forever home? And just what is a “Pooker” anyway? Find out in this engaging tale (tail?) of a little Yorkie who went from being left out in a forest to being rescued and then adopted by a loving couple who helps her overcome her fear of everything to become a happy, well-adjusted dog.


Spies, Codes, Capers, Gadgets, and Classified Cases Revealed

By: Crispin Boyer and Suzanne Zimbler

Published: April 6, 2021

Publisher: National Geographic Kids


Format: Hardcover

Kids love these spy books and National Geographic has made learning about all these secrets wildly fun! Crispin Boyer also wrote the WHY NOT? book which I also loved.

Oh, didn’t realize you were leaving behind a trail of evidence? You will after you read this book! In fact, you’ll know all the tricks of the spy trade, get the scoop behind sleuthing, and discover all kinds of skills, like how ninjas walked on water. You’ll read about cold cases and hidden places, cool disguises and wicked surprises, menacing mysteries, undiscovered histories, and so much more!

From the world’s most elite spy agencies to the coolest spy gadgets of today and the most spine-tingling conspiracies and covert cover-ups ever, this book is jam-packed with everything that’s allowed to be revealed. You’ll get to take a crack at codes that leave even the world’s most elite code breakers totally stumped, get behind-the-scenes access to how movie magic really happens, take a sneak peek at the world’s most covert recipes, unravel the tricks magicians use to astonish their audiences, and get up close with the world’s most mysterious places. With tongue-in-cheek “How to Be a Spy” activities, you and your friends will get to put your budding spy skills to the test. And when you’re all done … don’t forget to wipe this book for prints and store it safely with your secret stash. After all, you don’t want it falling into the wrong hands!

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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