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

The beginning of the month starts with my birthday and the month ends with Pat’s birthday. October is already a busy month for us and this just makes it even more full. We spent the month going out with some of our favorite people to celebrate our birthdays and I rarely cooked at all this month! 🙂 The best gift I got for my birthday was having all three kids at home together! We had a great day!

October was full of marching band competitions for Reagan (first in the photo). They had a great season, especially with over 40% of our marching band never having marched before in any way due to COVID.

Picture by our friend, Mags

Since the Derecho last August of 2020, our town is missing a lot of trees. The Trees Forever group in our town received a grant to plant 80 new trees around town. Pat helped deliver the trees around town and it is so great to see trees in our neighbors’ yards again.

Since our school’s football team made the playoffs and we were the hosts, we got to see one more performance on the field this season.

Patrick has been part of a Barbershop Chorus for several months and we were thrilled to go watch them perform in a 128-year-old small-town opera house. Porter Wagoner and the Glenn Miller Orchestra also graced this stage back in the 1960s and 1970s.

We had a quick dinner with Bennett for Pat’s birthday. Since our boys live opposite directions from us, it can be hard to get us all together. We saw Patrick the night before and on Halloween Sunday at his church.

I am still subbing a lot as well, I’m hoping we get some December graduates that are available to sub to alleviate our load! I’m really proud to say that I posted every single weekday in October. I’m not sure I have ever done that. It was a lot of work, but I have so many amazing books right now, I am trying to tell you about them all.

November has some really exciting activities ahead for us including our local election (my husband is running for mayor of our small town), the fall musical, Cinderella (Reagan is a step-sister), a family Christmas, and a super fun trip for me! Before we know it, Thanksgiving will be here and then the holiday season is in full swing!

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.

Adult Fiction and Non-Fiction Books


Artist: Holly Maguire

Published: October 5, 2021

Publisher: Workman Publishing

I purchased this bookish puzzle for myself and it came right around my birthday. I also have Maguire’s BOOK NERD book. The two together would make a great gift for a book nerd on your shopping list!


A Daily Advent Devotional

By: Susie Larson

Published: September 14, 2021

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Christian Devotional

Format: Hardcover

I love reading Advent Devotionals through the month of December. One year I read a chapter in the Book of Luke every day, another I read a Max Lucado devotional. This one was given to me by my sister-in-law for my birthday along with some gorgeous verse cards to display as well.

Christmas should be a time of joy and celebration. But in the hurriedness of December, sometimes we find ourselves sacrificing a sacred pace for hustle, leaving us feeling more stressed than blessed.

What if you approached this Advent more open to the things of God? What if you decided to be expectant that God would move in your midst? What if you made room for the true joy found in the coming of our King?

Prepare Him Room invites you to give God sacred space in your holiday season as you ponder the miracle of Christ within you and respond to His work in your life. As you begin your Christmas preparations this year, journey through Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth, life, death, and ultimate resurrection. God invites you to be still and let Jesus radically transform you this holy season. Let earth receive her King! 


Discover Insider Tips, Must-See Stops, Nearby Attractions & More

Published: October 19, 2021

Publisher: Reader’s Digest


Format: Paperback

I reviewed the Scenic Drives version of this book back in August, HERE. We’ve been to a few National Parks and have a lot more on our bucket list yet. I’m anxious to check this one out.

National parks are America’s most-beloved treasures. The editors of Reader’s Digest magazine reveal first-person accounts and gorgeous landscape photos paired with practical information and tips to help travelers make the most of their journeys through these unique areas.

Included you’ll find information on more than 40 national parks and incredible images from readers. Plus:

• A historical introduction along with a national park timeline.
• An illustrated map of each state for each national park story, pointing out the location of the park within the state with a marker.

• Inspirational and gorgeous photos in gallery sections for each region to make this a terrific coffee table book or gift for travelers.

• Then and now comparison photos of national parks.

• Helpful added information, including possible rest stops, can’t-miss area hot spots, fun facts, handy advice for planning ahead, possible side trips and nearby attractions.

Whether you’re an armchair traveler or ready to pack and roll, Great American Road Trips: National Parks has everything that you are looking for.


A Novel

By: Ocean Vuong

Published: June 4, 2019

Publisher: Penguin Press


Format: Hardcover

This book came as part of my Literati subscription. I’ll be sharing about that subscription book club soon in a future post.

Poet Ocean Vuong’s debut novel is a shattering portrait of a family, a first love, and the redemptive power of storytelling On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born — a history whose epicenter is rooted in Vietnam — and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity. Asking questions central to our American moment, immersed as we are in addiction, violence, and trauma, but undergirded by compassion and tenderness, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is as much about the power of telling one’s own story as it is about the obliterating silence of not being heard. With stunning urgency and grace, Ocean Vuong writes of people caught between disparate worlds, and asks how we heal and rescue one another without forsaking who we are. The question of how to survive, and how to make of it a kind of joy, powers the most important debut novel of many years.


By: Emily Henry

Published: May 11, 2021

Publisher: Berkley


Format: Hardcover

I chose this as my free birthday book from Book of the Month. How cool is it that they give you a free book for your birthday, just for being a member?!?! My daughter has been wanting to read this one too.

Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.

Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since.

Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.

Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?


By: Amor Towles

Published: October 5, 2021

Publisher: Viking

Historical Fiction

Format: Hardcover

I chose this as my Book of the Month choice for October. It’s been on my list since I first heard about it. I have yet to read anything by Amor Towles (don’t hate me), but I will. I have two of his books on my library holds list. I really want to read this one because it is set on the Lincoln Highway, which I live just 3 miles off of. The Lincoln Highway is also Highway 30 in our state and I drive it several times a week as it is the main highway to take almost anywhere from our home. I am anxious to read a book set in the Midwest and by an author that many readers rave about.

In June 1954, eighteen-year-old Emmett Watson is driven home to Nebraska by the warden of the work farm where he has just served a year for involuntary manslaughter. His mother long gone, his father recently deceased, and the family farm foreclosed upon by the bank, Emmett’s intention is to pick up his eight-year-old brother and head west where they can start their lives anew. But when the warden drives away, Emmett discovers that two friends from the work farm have hidden themselves in the trunk of the warden’s car. Together, they have hatched an altogether different plan for Emmett’s future.

Spanning just ten days and told from multiple points of view, Towles’s third novel will satisfy fans of his multi-layered literary styling while providing them an array of new and richly imagined settings, characters, and themes. 


By: Ellen Marie Wiseman

Published: August 4, 2020

Publisher: Kensington Books

Historical Fiction

Format: Paperback

This is our book club choice for November. It’s about the 1918 influenza pandemic and I think it will be a great read that elicits lots of discussions.

In the fall of 1918, thirteen-year-old German immigrant Pia Lange longs to be far from Philadelphia’s overcrowded slums and the anti-immigrant sentiment that compelled her father to enlist in the U.S. Army. But as her city celebrates the end of war, an even more urgent threat arrives: the Spanish flu. Funeral crepe and quarantine signs appear on doors as victims drop dead in the streets and desperate survivors wear white masks to ward off illness. When food runs out in the cramped tenement she calls home, Pia must venture alone into the quarantined city in search of supplies, leaving her baby brothers behind.

Bernice Groves has become lost in grief and bitterness since her baby died from the Spanish flu. Watching Pia leave her brothers alone, Bernice makes a shocking, life-altering decision. It becomes her sinister mission to tear families apart when they’re at their most vulnerable, planning to transform the city’s orphans and immigrant children into what she feels are “true Americans.”

Waking in a makeshift hospital days after collapsing in the street, Pia is frantic to return home. Instead, she is taken to St. Vincent’s Orphan Asylum – the first step in a long and arduous journey. As Bernice plots to keep the truth hidden at any cost in the months and years that follow, Pia must confront her own shame and fear, risking everything to see justice – and love – triumph at last. Powerful, harrowing, and ultimately exultant, The Orphan Collector is a story of love, resilience, and the lengths we will go to protect those who need us most. 


A Koa Kane Hawaiian Mystery

By: Robert McCaw

Published: January 4, 2022

Publisher: Oceanview Publishing


Format: Paperback

If you like a good mystery series, this is one to check out. Plus it is set in Hawaii, so while you are freezing this winter, you can feel warm by reading this thriller set in a much warmer location. This is the fourth in the series and can be read in any order. But the publication order is Death of a Messenger, Off the Grid, Fire and Vengeance, Treachery Times Two.

On Hawaii Island, a volcanic earthquake disrupts an abandoned cemetery—unearthing the body of a woman mutilated by her killer to conceal her identity.

The search for her identity leads Hilo Hawaii’s Chief Detective Koa Kane to a mysterious defense contractor with a politically connected board of directors. Defying his chief of police, Koa pursues the killer, only to become entangled in an FBI espionage investigation of Deimos, a powerful secret military weapon. Is the FBI telling all it knows—or does it, too, have a duplicitous agenda?

At the same time, Koa—a cop who thirty years earlier killed his father’s nemesis and covered up the murder—faces exposure by the dead man’s grandson. Koa is forced to investigate his own homicide, and step by step, his cover-up unravels until another man is falsely accused.

Can Koa stand by and let an innocent man pay for his crime?


4 Days in Germany 1933

By: Cathy A. Lewis

Published: February 15, 2022

Publisher: Cathy A. Lewis

Historical Fiction

Format: Paperback

I love stories based on family histories and this WWII one definitely piques my interest.

In 1933, before World War II, and the Holocaust, the world was unaware of Hitler’s plans to exterminate millions.

Author Cathy A. Lewis discovered a tattered leather suitcase containing her deceased father’s journal documenting his six-week trek through Europe in 1933 while on his way to the 4th Boy Scout World Jamboree.

Inspired by her father’s historical recount, The Road We Took is the four-day epic tale of a desperate group of Jewish citizens attempting to escape Nazi-occupied Germany.

Fascinating characters come together in a narrative of extreme courage, budding adolescent love, and their fight for survival.

Life in Germany will never be the same as Hitler and the Nazis advance their propaganda campaign, to systematically murder the Jewish population.

And this was only the beginning.



By: Colleen Hubbard

Published: April 19, 2021

Publisher: Berkley


Format: eBook

I love a good family drama!

Del has never had a good relationship with her family. After her parents’ divorce, and with the town rumor mill in full swing, Del’s uncle and the rest of the family shunned her and her mother. For years, there was nothing she could do about this.

Now, with both of her parents gone, a chance has arrived.

Her uncle wants the one thing Del inherited: the family home.

Instead of handing the place over and giving her uncle what he wants, and with no other resources at her disposal, Del decides she will tear the place apart herself, by hand – piece by piece.

But as she’ll soon discover, the task stirs up more than just old memories for Del as family members–each in their own state of unraveling–come knocking on her door.

This spare, strange, magical book is both a story of the powerlessness and hurt that runs through a family but also about the moments when brokenness can offer us the rare chance to start again.


By: Kerri Maher

Published: January 11, 2022

Publisher: Berkley

Historical Fiction

Format: eBook

I really enjoyed Maher’s story of Grace Kelly, THE GIRL IN WHITE GLOVES, so was thrilled to see she has a new book coming early in the new year.

When bookish young American Sylvia Beach opens Shakespeare and Company on a quiet street in Paris in 1919, she has no idea that she and her new bookstore will change the course of literature itself.

Shakespeare and Company is more than a bookstore and lending library: Many of the prominent writers of the Lost Generation, like Ernest Hemingway, consider it a second home. It’s where some of the most important literary friendships of the twentieth century are forged–none more so than the one between Irish writer James Joyce and Sylvia herself. When Joyce’s controversial novel Ulysses is banned, Beach takes a massive risk and publishes it under the auspices of Shakespeare and Company.

But the success and notoriety of publishing the most infamous and influential book of the century comes with steep costs. The future of her beloved store itself is threatened when Ulysses’ success brings other publishers to woo Joyce away. Her most cherished relationships are put to the test as Paris is plunged deeper into the Depression and many expatriate friends return to America. As she faces painful personal and financial crises, Sylvia–a woman who has made it her mission to honor the life-changing impact of books–must decide what Shakespeare and Company truly means to her.


By: Jennifer E. Smith

Published: March 1, 2022

Publisher: Ballantine Books


Format: eBook

This one intrigued me. I know Smith is a popular author, but I have yet to read anything by her.

An indie musician reeling from tragedy reconnects with her estranged father on a week-long cruise in this tale of grief, fame, and love from bestselling author Jennifer E. Smith.

Greta James’s meteoric rise to indie stardom was hard-won. Before she graced magazine covers and sold-out venues, she spent her girlhood strumming her guitar in the family garage. Her first fan was her mother, Helen, whose face shone bright in the dusty downtown bars where she got her start. But not everyone encouraged Greta to follow her dreams. While many daydream about a crowd chanting their name, her father, Conrad, sees only a precarious life ahead for his daughter.

Greta has spent her life trying to prove him wrong. But three months after Helen’s sudden death, and weeks before the launch of her high-stakes sophomore album, Greta has an onstage meltdown that goes viral. Attempting to outrun the humiliation and heartbreak, she reluctantly agrees to accompany her father on a week-long Alaskan cruise, the very one that her parents had booked to celebrate their fortieth anniversary.

This could be the James family’s last chance to heal old wounds and will prove to be a voyage of discovery for them, as well as for Ben Wilder, a historian also struggling with a major upheaval in his life. Ben is on board to lecture about Jack London’s The Call of the Wild, the adventure story Greta’s mother adored, and he captures Greta’s attention after her streak of dating hanger-ons. As Greta works to build up her confidence and heal, and Ben confronts his uncertain future, they must rely on one another to make sense of life’s difficult choices. In the end, Greta must make the most challenging decision of all: to listen to the song within her or make peace with those who love her.


Hundreds of Stories on the Pandemic

By: Six-Word Memoirs

Published: October 15, 2021

Publisher: Six-Word Memoirs


Format: eBook

Stories from students, teachers, and parents fill this tenth book in the Six-Word Memoir series. As someone who taught during the pandemic, I know what a tough year it was for teachers and students.

The tenth book in the Six-Word Memoir series tells the story of a world we never expected to be in and can’t stop talking about. Told through the lens of students, teachers, and parents around the world, A Terrible, Horrible, No Good Year offers hundreds of inspirational, playful, and profound takes on life during the pandemic. For some, this book will be a window. For others, a mirror of their own experience. For all of us, A Terrible, Horrible, No Good Year is a time capsule to be read, shared, and discussed and is certain to prompt friends, family, and neighbors to ask each other: “What’s your six-word pandemic story?”

Children’s Books


By: Colleen Madden

Published: November 2, 2021

Publisher: Two Lions


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

I can’t wait to read this one! Can you relate to Kerry’s feelings about celebrating Christmas?

Kerry’s family goes completely berserk with Christmas every year. Starting the day after Thanksgiving, her home becomes a whirlwind of lights, music, and elves, elves, elves!

Sometimes it gets a little overwhelming.

This year, Kerry is desperate for some peace and quiet. Heading outdoors, she realizes a lot of her neighbors are having a Christmas too big. But not Mrs. Flores. She’s having a much quieter Christmas, complete with decorations and music from the country where she used to live. It sparks an idea: maybe there’s a way for Kerry to create her own Christmas traditions.

But will anyone in her crazy Christmas house understand? Join Kerry as she finds her voice in this delightful holiday tale. 


By: Emily Dove

Published: November 2, 2021

Publisher: Chronicle Books


Format: Board Book

A cute Christmas edition to this popular series!

Newborns will love celebrating with Christmas Mouse! In this very merry finger puppet book, a festive little mouse enjoys a day of presents, sledding, caroling, and snuggling up in bed on Christmas Eve. Featuring an adorable plush finger puppet that peeks into each lovingly illustrated page, this entry in the bestselling finger puppet series offers parents and children a fun, interactive way to celebrate the Christmas season as they build a love of books that will last all through the year.


Based on the Netflix Holiday Special

By: Dan Ojari and Mikey Please

Illustrated by: Briony May Smith

Published: November 2, 2021

Publisher: Red Comet Press


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

The Netflix special that this book is based on airs November 24. Click HERE to see the trailer.

A chirpy young robin is adopted by a family of mice in the joyful retelling of the new animation holiday musical special from Netflix and Aardman Animation.

When her egg fortuitously rolls into a garbage dump, Robin is raised by a loving family of mice. As she grows up, her differences become more apparent. Robin sets off on the heist to end all heists to prove to her family that she can be a really good mouse – but ends up discovering who she really is.


By: Anitra Rowe Schulte

Illustrated by: Ziyue Chen

Published: December 1, 2021

Publisher: Two Lions


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

I love it when authors choose to feature diverse characters in race, ethnicity, and in this case, ability. A young girl who dreams of dancing with her daddy sounds like the sweetest story.

Elsie can’t wait to go to her first father-daughter dance. She picked out the perfect dress and has been practicing swirling and swaying in her wheelchair. Elsie’s heart pirouettes as she prepares for her special night. With gestures, smiles, and words from a book filled with pictures, she shares her excitement with her family. But when a winter storm comes, she wonders if she’ll get the chance to spin and dance her way to a dream come true.


By: Claudia Rueda

Published: November 2, 2021

Publisher: Chronicle Books


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

Little Red Riding Hood and the Three Bears in one story! So fun!

KNOCK! KNOCK! When the Three Bears answer the door, it’s not Goldilocks they meet, but a stranger from a different story. It’s Little Red Riding Hood—and the Big Bad Wolf is close behind her! Still, much unfolds as expected: porridge is eaten, a chair is broken, and there is a girl asleep in Baby Bear’s bed. Does Little Red fit in this book after all? Perhaps it’s the Wolf who will surprise us. With a bit of courage and much compassion, the Bears and Little Red learn that characters, just like the stories we tell, can change over time.


By: Laura Gehl

Illustrated by: Patricia Metola

Published: February 8, 2022

Publisher: Flyaway Books


Format: Paperback Picture Book

This is like the children’s version of THE NATURE OF TREES but in a fictional story. Can’t wait to share it with you.

The bond between two trees, Apple and Magnolia, takes center stage in this picture book that explores the power of unlikely friendships. Includes an author’s note that further explores how trees communicate.

Britta visits her two favorite trees, Apple and Magnolia, every day. Though she can’t explain it, she’s sure they are best friends! Then one day, Magnolia’s branches start to droop. Is there anything Britta-or Apple-can do to help? After all, unusual friendships can be the most powerful of all.


By: Barroux

Published: March 22, 2022

Publisher: Flyaway Books


Format: Paperback Picture Book

I love children’s books that teach kids to care about our planet.

An introductory tale about the impact plastic waste has on the ocean is told through a lighthouse keeper’s friendship with a whale named Blue.

Aren’t the blue waters beautiful? But when a storm hits, the waves roar and rage. Mayday! Mayday! Can anyone help?

One rescue leads to another in this charming story of friendship, revealing that care for the ocean and its inhabitants can lead to the well-being of all. With joyful simplicity, I Love You, Blue introduces the impact of plastic waste in the oceans and includes an author’s note with facts about how whales and their habitat can be protected.


By: Nicole Magistro

Illustrated by: Alice Feagan

Published: October 1, 2021

Publisher: Read Island, LLC


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

An island made of books? I’m in!

Join a very brave girl and her furry friends on an adventure to Read Island! Through the power of imagination and the pleasure of reading, this curious trio set sail for a magical island made of books. On their way they discover a joyful collection of animals converging by sea and land, just in time for an unforgettable story hour.

A rhyming celebration of nature, books and the importance of stories, Read Island invites you to experience the diversity and wonder of a hidden and wild place. In the company of sea wolves, humpback whales and spirit bears, readers will discover simple meditations that summon a magical destination – one filled with beloved friends, safe spaces and stories to be revisited again and again.


By: Sherri Duskey Rinker

Illustrated by: AG Ford

Published: October 12, 2021

Publisher: Chronicle Books


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

The latest in the enormously popular series is here. I know a little boy who will love this one!

The construction team is taking on their biggest challenge yet—building a brand-new superhighway! With the help of new rough-and-tough road-building machines, the crew gears up for an action-packed day of rolling, building, paving, painting, and all the jobs that go into making a strong new road that will get everyone home safe in time for bed! Playful rhyming text from the bestselling team behind Construction Site on Christmas Night, Three Cheers for Kid McGear!, and Construction Site Mission: Demolition! make this thrilling tale of teamwork a must-have read-aloud for construction fans everywhere.


By: Sherri Duskey Rinker

Illustrated by: AG Ford

Published: November 2, 2021

Publisher: Chronicle Books


Format: Board Book

A popular series in an interactive board book format to celebrate Christmas!

When Christmas Eve arrives, there’s just one job left for the big trucks to do—get their construction site ready for a festive night of fun! Lift the flaps on every sturdy page to reveal what each truck is bringing to the celebration, while discovering that the best Christmas present of all is the gift of being together.

With bestselling author Sherri Duskey Rinker’s lovable rhyming text, and heartwarming illustrations by AG Ford, this interactive Christmas tale will bring smiles to big truck fans and their families all season long.


300 Bizarre Facts about the Big Apple

Published: September 14, 2021

Publisher: National Geographic Kids


Format: Paperback

I love the WEIRD BUT TRUE! series as much as the kids in the classrooms do. My daughter and I are traveling to New York City next summer so I’m hoping to learn some history, fun facts, and tips myself.

Think you know the Big Apple? Think again!
Did you know that 25 species of shark swim off NYC’s coastline?

Or that astronauts can see the lights of Times Square from space?

And get this: In New York, Sesame Street is a real place AND there’s a library where you can visit the actual stuffed animals that inspired the characters in Winnie the Pooh!

Explore 300 wacky facts and pictures from the five boroughs. You’ll get a look at the city’s storied past, learn about weird stuff in New York today, and even meet a couple of goats that held up traffic on the subway. The city that never sleeps truly has something for everyone–from giant pillow fights to epic Broadway musicals to pizza-loving rats.

Whether you’re an NYC native, an adventure-loving tourist, an armchair traveler, or a trivia buff, this fact-packed, fun-filled book is for you!


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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