New Books

This is my monthly roundup of books that came my way in the last month. I also share an update with you on other things going on in my and my family’s life.

Starting off June with a one-week trip and then needing a week to recover (LOL!) made June fly by even faster than normal. I feel like I have had so much I wanted to do this summer and it is July already! Do you feel the same way? June was a great month and I have a lot to share with you!

Family and Life Update

The month began with our Band/Choir trip to Washington DC and New York City. What a great trip but exhausting. My feet needed a full week to recover from all the miles we walked! But, Reagan and I made so many memories.

Some highlights from Washington DC were visiting the National Cathedral and standing in the front row at Arlington Cemetery to watch the changing of the guard. Tip: Get there right when it opens and hike up (it’s a jaunt, uphill) before the lines really get started, and then tour the rest of the cemetery at your own speed. We even had family join us at Mt. Vernon where the band performed to watch and it was so nice to be able to catch up with far-away family in person, even if for just a little bit.

Our first stop in NYC was Ellen’s Stardust Diner. We had free time our first night and I’ve been wanting to go here for years! We arrived on a Thursday night and only had to wait about 20 minutes. We spent time chatting with a lovely couple from Scotland while we waited. Don’t you love New York? The experience at Ellen’s was everything we hoped for. Chachi, our waiter, was a delight and all the staff were so talented.

The other great part of the trip was also going on the trip with some of my favorite mom friends. We were blessed to see Hamilton on Broadway (other choices were Wicked and Lion King which I have already seen on a previous NYC trip) and then our whole group saw Dear Evan Hansen. Such a great experience for the kids to see shows like that on Broadway! I could gush about our trip for hours! So much fun!

The weekend after we returned, we had a work day at my parents’ farm, sprucing it up. It was such a fun day and many hands (even little ones) made the work go by fast. My mom was just so happy to have all of us there. My dad even sat outside for a bit to watch all the action.

All of us were together for Father’s Day which was such a blessing. The next time this happens will likely be at Patrick and Bekah’s wedding in August!

As you can see, June was a full month and I expect July to be the same! I hope your summer is full of smiles like these, laughter, and lots of memories made.

This month I also shared a review of a great online coffee company. Be sure to check it out, HERE.

Now on to the books! 

In June, I read 4 books, 2 of them being for review. Two of these books were on audio. one on Kindle, and the other was a physical copy. I expected to read a lot more on the trip, but I ended up chatting more and trying to sleep. I hope you find something that interests you in the books I’m sharing below.

Summer Read-to-Learn

I also read 8 children’s books last month and shared about them HERE. I’ve started my Summer Read-to-Learn series as well this summer. It’s so important to keep your kids reading all summer long and the best way to keep them interested is to find books that fit their interests. I’ll be sharing books all summer that I think will be great to keep kids interested in reading and learning, HERE.

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


What Going to Space taught Me about Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything

By: Col. Chris Hadfield

Published: October 29, 2013

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company


Format: Paperback

This is my Literati choice for July as part of Richard Branson’s Book Club. I have enjoyed other space memoirs and was intrigued by this book. Chris Hadfield is one of the most seasoned astronauts in the world and served as the Commander of the ISS.

Colonel Chris Hadfield has spent decades training as an astronaut and has logged nearly 4000 hours in space. During this time he has broken into a Space Station with a Swiss army knife, disposed of a live snake while piloting a plane, and been temporarily blinded while clinging to the exterior of an orbiting spacecraft. The secret to Col. Hadfield’s success-and survival-is an unconventional philosophy he learned at NASA: prepare for the worst-and enjoy every moment of it.

In An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, Col. Hadfield takes readers deep into his years of training and space exploration to show how to make the impossible possible. Through eye-opening, entertaining stories filled with the adrenaline of launch, the mesmerizing wonder of spacewalks, and the measured, calm responses mandated by crises, he explains how conventional wisdom can get in the way of achievement-and happiness. His own extraordinary education in space has taught him some counterintuitive lessons: don’t visualize success, do care what others think, and always sweat the small stuff.

You might never be able to build a robot, pilot a spacecraft, make a music video or perform basic surgery in zero gravity like Col. Hadfield. But his vivid and refreshing insights will teach you how to think like an astronaut, and will change, completely, the way you view life on Earth-especially your own.


By: Kim Michele Richardson

Published: November 28, 2017

Publisher: Kensington Publishing Company


Format: eBook

I absolutely loved the book THE BOOK WOMAN OF TROUBLESOME CREEK and can’t wait to read her follow-up, THE BOOK WOMAN’S DAUGHTER. I saw this backlist of hers and thought it sounded like one I would love so I used some Kindle credits to purchase it.

Glass Ferry, Kentucky, is bourbon country. Whiskey has been a way of life for generations, enabling families to provide and survive even in the darkest times. Flannery Butler’s daddy, Beauregard “Honey Bee” Butler, was known for making some of the best whiskey in the state, aged in barrels he’d take by boat up and down the Kentucky River until the rocking waters turned the spirits smooth and golden. Flannery is the only person Honey Bee ever entrusted with his recipes before he passed on, swearing her to secrecy as he did so.

But Flannery is harboring other secrets too, about her twin sister Patsy, older by eight minutes and pretty in a way Flannery knows she’ll never be.

Then comes the prom night when Patsy–wearing a yellow chiffon dress and the family pearls–disappears along with her date. Every succeeding year on the twins’ birthday, Flannery’s mother bakes a strawberry cake, convinced that this is the day Patsy will finally come home. But it will be two tumultuous decades until the muddy river yields a clue about what happened that night, compelling Flannery to confront the truth about her sleepy town, her family’s past, and the choices she and those closest to her have made in the name of love and retribution.


by: J.B. Morrison

Published: June 5, 2014

Publisher: Pan MacMillan


Format: Audiobook

I love a good curmudgeon story. I got this on an audiobook deal with Chirp Books.

Frank Derrick is eighty-one. And he’s just been run over by a milk float. It was tough enough to fill the hours of the day when he was active. But now he’s broken his arm and fractured his foot, it looks set to be a very long few weeks ahead. Frank lives with his cat Bill (which made more sense before Ben died) in the typically British town of Fullwind-on-Sea. The Villages in Bloom competition is the topic of conversation amongst his neighbours but Frank has no interest in that. He watches DVDs, spends his money frivolously at the local charity shop and desperately tries to avoid the cold callers continuously knocking on his door. Emailing his daughter in America on the library computer and visiting his friend Smelly John used to be the highlights of his week. Now he can’t even do that. Then a breath of fresh air comes into his life in the form of Kelly Christmas, home help. With her little blue car and appalling parking, her cheerful resilience and ability to laugh at his jokes, Kelly changes Frank’s life. She reminds him that there is a big wide-world beyond the four walls of his flat and that adventures, however small, come to people of all ages. Frank and Kelly’s story is sad and funny, moving, familiar, uplifting. It is a small and perfect look at a life neither remarkable nor disastrous, but completely extraordinary nonetheless. For fans of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry this is a quirky, life affirming story that has enormous appeal. And it’s guaranteed to make you laugh.


By: Ellie Midwood

Published: February 4, 2022

Publisher: Bookouture

Historical Fiction

Format: Paperback

This is our book club choice for July. It is based on a true WWII story and has rave reviews! Should be a good read and discussion. It’s also fairly short (250 pages) so if your book club is looking for a quick read, this would be a good choice.

1943, Germany: “I won’t be able to live if anything happens to you,” she whispered into his ear as they said goodbye, not knowing if they would ever see each other again. The White Rose Network brings to life the incredible true story of Sophie Scholl––one of history’s bravest women, who risked everything to lead a revolution against darkness.

Sophie was born to be a rebel, raised by parents who challenged the brutal Nazi regime. Determined to follow in their footsteps, she leaves for university, defying Hitler’s command for women to stay at home.

On her first day in Munich, Sophie’s brother Hans introduces her to his dear friend. When she meets Alexander, with his raven-black hair and brooding eyes, she knows instantly that she isn’t alone. There are more courageous souls like her, who will fight against evil.

Together, and with others who also refuse to back down, they form the White Rose Network. In an underground vault, Sophie and Alexander conspire in whispers, falling in love as they plot against Hitler. Promising her heart to Alexander is the most dangerous act of all––with each risk they take, they get closer to capture.

As snowflakes fall on a frosty February morning, Sophie and her brother scatter Munich University with leaflets calling for resistance: “We will not be silent; we will not leave you in peace!”

But their lives hang in the balance, with the secret police offering a reward to anyone with information on the White Rose Network. It is only a matter of time before the Gestapo closes in… And when Sophie is imprisoned in an interrogation room, staring a Nazi officer in the eye, will she take their secrets to her grave? Will she sacrifice her freedom for love?


By: Sarah Blake

Published: May 7, 2019

Publisher: Flat Iron

Historical Fiction

Format: Paperback

This was the Jen Hatmaker Book Club choice for June. I read Sarah Blake’s THE POSTMISTRESS several years ago and really loved it. This is a chunkster at nearly 500 pages, but it also has rave reviews.

The Guest Book follows three generations of a powerful American family, a family that “used to run the world”.

And when the novel begins in 1935, they still do. Kitty and Ogden Milton appear to have everything—perfect children, good looks, a love everyone envies. But after a tragedy befalls them, Ogden tries to bring Kitty back to life by purchasing an island in Maine. That island, and its house, come to define and burnish the Milton family, year after year after year. And it is there that Kitty issues a refusal that will haunt her till the day she dies.

In 1959 a young Jewish man, Len Levy, will get a job in Ogden’s bank and earn the admiration of Ogden and one of his daughters, but the scorn of everyone else. Len’s best friend Reg Pauling has always been the only black man in the room—at Harvard, at work, and finally at the Miltons’ island in Maine.

An island that, at the dawn of the 21st century, this last generation doesn’t have the money to keep. When Kitty’s granddaughter hears that she and her cousins might be forced to sell it, and when her husband brings back disturbing evidence about her grandfather’s past, she realizes she is on the verge of finally understanding the silences that seemed to hover just below the surface of her family all her life.


A Novel of Ellis Island

By: Heather Webb

Published: February 22, 2022

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

Historical Fiction

Format: Paperback

My friend, Tammy, sent me this book after she read it and loved it. We have similar tastes and I love Ellis Island stories. I also enjoyed Heather Webb’s THE LAST CHRISTMAS IN PARIS.

Ellis Island, 1902. Francesca arrives on the shores of America, her sights set on a better life than the one she left in Italy. That same day, aspiring linguist Alma reports to her first day of work at the immigrant processing center. Ellis, though, is not the refuge it first appears thanks to President Roosevelt’s attempts to deter crime. Francesca and Alma will have to rely on each other to escape its corruption and claim the American dreams they were promised.

A thoughtful historical inspired by true events, this novel probes America’s history of prejudice and exclusion—when entry at Ellis Island promised a better life but often delivered something drastically different, immigrants needed strength, resilience, and friendship to fight for their futures.


BY; Georgia Hunter

Published: February 14, 2017

Publisher: Viking

Historical Fiction

Format: Paperback

When I ordered the book for book club, this popped up and since it had been on my list I purchased it as the paperback was very reasonable. Everyone I know that has read this book has absolutely loved it.

It is the spring of 1939 and three generations of the Kurc family are doing their best to live normal lives, even as the shadow of war grows closer. The talk around the family Seder table is of new babies and budding romance, not of the increasing hardships threatening Jews in their hometown of Radom, Poland. But soon the horrors overtaking Europe will become inescapable and the Kurcs will be flung to the far corners of the world, each desperately trying to navigate his or her own path to safety.

As one sibling is forced into exile, another attempts to flee the continent, while others struggle to escape certain death, either by working grueling hours on empty stomachs in the factories of the ghetto or by hiding as gentiles in plain sight. Driven by an unwavering will to survive and by the fear that they may never see one another again, the Kurcs must rely on hope, ingenuity, and inner strength to persevere.


By: Jennifer Ryan

Published: May 31, 2022

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Historical Fiction

Format: Hardcover

This was my Book of the Month choice for June. I have a couple of Jennifer Ryan’s other books on my to-read list and this one sounded excellent.

After renowned fashion designer Cressida Westcott loses both her home and her design house in the London Blitz, she has nowhere to go but the family manor house she fled decades ago. Praying that her niece and nephew will be more hospitable than her brother had been, she arrives with nothing but the clothes she stands in, at a loss as to how to rebuild her business while staying in a quaint country village.

Her niece, Violet Westcott, is thrilled that her famous aunt is coming to stay—the village has been interminably dull with all the men off fighting. But just as Cressida arrives, so does Violet’s conscription letter. It couldn’t have come at a worse time; how will she ever find a suitably aristocratic husband if she has to spend her days wearing a frumpy uniform and doing war work?

Meanwhile, the local vicar’s daughter, Grace Carlisle, is trying in vain to repair her mother’s gown, her only chance of a white wedding. When Cressida Westcott appears at the local Sewing Circle meeting, Grace asks for her help—but Cressida has much more to teach the ladies than just simple sewing skills.

Before long, Cressida’s spirit and ambition galvanizes the village group into action, and they find themselves mending wedding dresses not only for local brides, but for brides across the country. And as the women dedicate themselves to helping others celebrate love, they might even manage to find it for themselves. 

Children’s Fiction and Non-Fiction


Where They Live, What They Eat, How They Move, and More

By: Helen Scales

Illustrated by: Sonia Pulido

Published: June 15, 2022

Publisher: Phaidon Press


Format: Large Hardcover Picture Book

The children’s books from Phaidon Press are always so impressive. This one is packed with information and really great illustrations and is perfect for reading before your beach vacation.

Award-winning marine biologist Helen Scales introduces children to the wonders of shells (from seashells to land snails) through the art of observation. Using a friendly question-and-answer format, she explores, through a richly sensory experience, the incredible diversity of shells around the world and showcases the environments molluscs inhabit. From what a shell’s shape, color, or texture can reveal about its inhabitant, to where shells are found (from the deepest seas to jungly treetops), with this book, readers can get up close with nature to observe its wonders.


The Life & Work of Norman Borlaug

By: Peggy Thomas

Illustrated by: Sam Kalda

Published: September 1, 2022

Publisher: Feeding Minds Press


Format: Paperback

I’ve always been impressed by the books published by Feeding Minds Press that joins agriculture with children’s books to help kids understand where their food comes from and how it is grown. As an Iowa girl, I couldn’t pass up the chance to share this famous Iowan’s story with you.

A moving and informative biography of the 20th-century American agriculture scientist whose innovations in crop varieties founded the Green Revolution and fed hundreds of millions of people around the world – with full-color chapter illustrations and STEM – and history-themed text features throughout.

Can a quiet Iowa farm boy grow up to change the world? Norman Ernest Borlaug did.

Born in 1914, raised on a small farm, and educated in a one-room schoolhouse, Norman Borlaug learned to work hard and excelled in sports, and later studied forestry in college, eventually becoming a plant scientist.

Readers will discover how even from a young age Norman Borlaug dedicated his life’s work to ending world hunger. Working in obscurity in the wheat fields of Mexico in the 50s and 60s, Norm and his team developed disease-resistant plants, and when widespread famine threatened India and Pakistan, Norm worked alongside poor farmers, battled bureaucracy, and fearlessly stood up to heads of state to save millions of lives from mass starvation.

Often called the “Father of the Green Revolution,” Norm helped lay the groundwork for agricultural technological advances that alleviated world hunger, and he went on to win the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1970. He was a true hero for the hungry.


BY: Hans Wilhelm

Illustrated by: Wednesday Kirwan

Published: October 18, 2022

Publisher: Chronicle Kids


Format: Interactive Board Book

The follow-up to the adorable LITTLE ANIMAL HUGS now combines new wild animal hug combinations.

Little wild animal pals like to hug! And when you mix and match their hugs, there’s more to love!

A monkey and a seal make a CHITTER-CHATTER, SPLISH-SPLASH HUG!

A penguin and a kangaroo make a CLACK-CLACK, JUMP-JUMP HUG!

Featuring die-cut pages that may be read in any order, this playful book for the youngest of readers offers endless hugging possibilities and is sure to become a favorite of toddlers and parents alike. Just right for reading aloud, making laugh-out-loud animal sounds, and celebrating the sweetness of hugs together!


A Halloween Lift-the-Flap Book

By: Sherri Duskey Rinker

Illustrated by: AG Ford

Published: August 30, 2022

Publisher: Chronicle Kids


Format: Interactive Board Book

A fun Halloween addition to this board book series by the talented Sherri Duskey Rinker.

On a dark and windy Halloween night, the trucks are ready for bedtime. But with tricks and treats on their minds, the familiar construction site starts to seem a little eerie! Lift the flaps to turn spooky scares into silly surprises, as the trucks find out that they are all safe and sound—and learn that laughing with friends is the best way to turn fright into fun!

Sherri Duskey Rinker’s rollicking, rhyming text pairs perfectly with heartwarming illustrations by AG Ford to deliver an interactive Halloween tale that will delight little readers and their families.


A Valentine’s Lift-the-Flap Book

By: Sherri Duskey Rinker

Illustrated by: AG Ford

Published: December 20. 2022

Publisher: Chronicle Kids


Format: Interactive Board Book

You know I love these Construction Site Books and now there will be a Valentine’s edition.

It’s Valentine’s Day at the construction site, and every truck finds a special note just for them—but who is the mystery writer? Lift the flaps to reveal sweet and silly messages and celebrate the kindness of true friends.

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

From bestselling author Annie Barrows and Pura Belpré Honor award recipient Leo Espinosa, this funny yet thought-provoking picture book offers a sequence of outlandishly fun compare-and-contrasts that show how humans are much more like each other than we are different.


By: Annie Barrows

Illustrated by: Leo Espinosa

Published: September 20, 2022

Publisher: Chronicle Kids


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

Annie Barrows is well-known for her chapter book series, IVY & Bean. I also read her adult fiction, THE TRUTH ACCORDING TO US.

From bestselling author Annie Barrows and Pura Belpré Honor award recipient Leo Espinosa, this funny yet thought-provoking picture book offers a sequence of outlandishly fun compare-and-contrasts that show how humans are much more like each other than we are different.


A World War I Story

By: Shana Keller

Illustrated by: Margeaux Lucas

Published: April 15, 2022

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Historical Fiction

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

I really appreciate children’s picture books that teach kids important parts of our history.

When Polly’s father goes overseas to fight in World War I, her whole world changes. Though the war is in Europe, its effects are felt on American soil. There are food, fuel, and other supply shortages everywhere. Even something as simple and enjoyable as a family Sunday car ride isn’t possible anymore. Everyone must do their part to help the war effort. Victory gardens are planted and scrap metal is collected. “It’s the biggest event in our history. And it involves every single adult, every single boy, and every single girl,” says Polly’s teacher. As Polly struggles to make sense of the war, she wonders how she can contribute. When the government puts out a notice requesting peach pits to be used in gas mask filters, Polly knows how she can help.


By: Kenda Henthorn

Illustrated by: Lauren Gallegos

Published: May 15, 2022

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

You know I love a good sheep story!

As a trio of tired tots settles into bed for the night, the sheep who should be helping them count down to slumber kick up their hooves instead in an energetic dance performance. Starting with one little lamb and counting up to 10, these “sleep” sheep tap, waltz, tango, and even boogie as they get their nighttime groove on. But finally, after their energy is danced out, nap sheep lull everyone to sleep. 


By: Shenas Patel

Illustrated by: Emmanuelle Tchoukriel

Translated by: Edwige-Renée Dro

Published: August 16, 2022

Publisher: Amazon Crossing


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

I love children’s books that encourage a love of nature and birds.

Sara has a thing for birds. They remind her of her grandfather, who loved birds, and the wonderful show the creatures would put on in his yard each day—like a cloud of colorful flowers carried by the wind.

As Sara walks to school in her island town, she longs for the freedom of those birds. Then she spots a new birdhouse full of parakeets in someone’s yard. Sara feels drawn to them and unable to forget them. So what happens the next time, when she finds the door to the birdhouse unlocked?

With poetic language and beautiful art, this story set on the African island of Mauritius brings to life a little girl’s deep love of nature, her brash but well-meaning choice, and ultimately, her redemption and dream for a better world.


By: Edward Hemingway

Published: June 21, 2022

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano Books


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

Edward Hemingway’s children’s book TOUGH COOKIE was a delight and I’m anxious to check this one out too.

In an abandoned city lot, Cat lives alone in a cardboard box. He leaves only to find food. One day, Cat discovers an unbroken egg too beautiful to eat. Soon, out pecks Pigeon, and they become fast friends. Cat is happy to share his box with Pigeon. But when Pigeon flies far away from where they live, Cat must brave the city in order to rescue his friend. This journey will forever transform his understanding of home.

This heartwarming story explores unlikely friendships, the creative spark within us, and how to give comfort and kindness in small, impactful gestures. It is also a celebration of urban community.  


Book 6

By: Laurel Snyder

Illustrated by: Emily Hughes

Published: August 30, 2022

Publisher: Chronicle Kids


Format: Hardcover Picture Books

I previously shared CHARLIE & MOUSE LOST AND FOUND, an excellent early chapter book series.

The two brothers are mixing up a magical potion—with sweet and surprising results. In Charlie & Mouse Are Magic the brothers also dance in the rain, bring some animals to dinner, and make wishes come true!


Maybe Marisol 2

By: Erin Entrada Kelly

Published: August 9, 2022

Publisher: Greenwillow Books


Format: Paperback Chapter Book

A fun, early chapter book with illustrations.

Marisol Rainey’s two least-favorite things are radishes and gym class. She avoids radishes with very little trouble, but gym is another story–especially when Coach Decker announces that they will be learning to play kickball.

There are so many things that can go wrong in kickball. What if Marisol tries to kick the ball . . . but falls down? What if she tries to catch the ball and gets smacked in the nose? What if she’s the worst kickballer in the history of kickball? Marisol and her best friend Jada decide to get help from the most unlikely–and most annoying–athlete in the world: Marisol’s big brother, Oz.


Pippa Park Book 2

By: Erin Yun

Published: September 13, 2022

Publisher: Fabled Films Press


Format: Paperback Chapter Book

Middle-grade kids will love this new addition to the Pippa Park series.

Pippa Park picks up right where she left off . . . trying to balance basketball, school, friends, working at the struggling family laundromat, and fitting in. Eliot, her math tutor—and the cutest boy at school—is finally paying attention to her. And Marvel—her childhood friend—is making her required volunteering much more interesting. But things with the Royals, her new friends and teammates who rule the school, still feel a bit rocky. Especially because Caroline, a head Royal, would like nothing more than to see Pippa fail.

So when Pippa is faced with hosting the annual Christmas Eve party that could make or break her social life, how can she say no? Will Pippa make enough money to cover the costs while juggling crushes and everything else? With courage and determination, Pippa sets out to host the party, find the perfect dress, pick the right boy, and stay true to her real self.


Lucky Luke’s Hunting Adventures #10

By: Kevin Lovegreen

Illustrated by: Margarita Sikorskaia

Published: November 26, 2018

Publisher: Lucky Luke, LLC


Format: Paperback Chapter Book

Kevin Lovegreen is a Minnesota author who loves to write books for outdoor-loving kids.

Join Luke and the gang on another amazing Lucky Luke’s Hunting Adventure—the series kids can’t get enough of. This time, the stage is set in northern Minnesota for a thrilling bear hunt. After working hard to prepare for the hunt, the team eagerly counts down to a nail-biting opening weekend. In a twist of luck, Luke ends up in the hot seat, ready and waiting for the bear of his dreams to arrive at the stand. See how his practice, patience, and determination reward him on this unforgettable weekend.

June 2022 New Books

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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