New Books

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

It’s Halloween and I’m anxious to see all the fun costumes on the kids that arrive at our door. I’m always amazed by the creativity of some parents and the wide variety of costumes available. As always, I’m excited to share this great stack of books with you this month. Be sure to check out both the children’s and adult books as they will make great Christmas gifts.

Family and Life Update

As I mentioned last month, we traveled to New Smyrna Beach, Florida for my 50th Birthday at the beginning of the month and we have closed out the month celebrating my husband’s birthday. I am truly blessed by family and friends who went out of their way to send good wishes and even celebrate with us. If the next 50 years are half as good as my first, I have a great future to look forward to. As Gretchen Rubin says, “The days are long but the years are short.” We also celebrated my husband’s birthday at the end of the month in a much quiet fashion, which he prefers!

Marching band season is officially over. We celebrated our last home performance and competition this month. This year will be full of lasts, but I’m looking forward to watching our girl excel in all her favorite things. Next up is the fall musical, Freaky Friday where she will be performing as the character, Ellie, the daughter who turns into the mom. If you are curious about the musical because you know the movie version with Lindsey Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis, be sure to check it out. Both are available on Disney+ and I highly recommend the musical.

Now on to the books! 

In October I read 7 books including 5 for review and 2 for my own enjoyment. One of them was the newest Jodi Picoult book, MAD HONEY. Two of the books were on audio. I was recently looking at the number of books I’ve read in a year over the last few years and I noticed that in 2016 when I started listening to audiobooks, the number of books read increased by at least twenty books a year.

If anything, I hope this shows that you can always make time for reading, no matter how busy you think you are. I hope you find something that interests you in the books I’m sharing below.

I also read 14 children’s books last month and shared about them HERE. Now that November is here, I’ll be sharing all kinds of books in celebration of Non-Fiction November. See all the posts, 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

JACQUELINE IN PARIS

By: Ann Mah

Published: September 27, 2022

Publisher: Mariner Books

Historical Fiction

Format: Hardcover

This was my Book of the Month choice.

In August 1949 Jacqueline Bouvier arrives in postwar Paris to begin her junior year abroad. She’s twenty years old, socially poised but financially precarious, and all too aware of her mother’s expectations that she make a brilliant match. Before relenting to family pressure, she has one year to herself far away from sleepy Vassar College and the rigid social circles of New York, a year to explore and absorb the luminous beauty of the City of Light. Jacqueline is immediately catapulted into an intoxicating new world of champagne and châteaux, art and avant-garde theater, cafés and jazz clubs. She strikes up a romance with a talented young writer who shares her love of literature and passion for culture – even though her mother would think him most unsuitable.

But beneath the glitter and rush, France is a fragile place still haunted by the Occupation. Jacqueline lives in a rambling apartment with a widowed countess and her daughters, all of whom suffered as part of the French Resistance just a few years before. In the aftermath of World War II, Paris has become a nest of spies, and suspicion, deception, and betrayal lurk around every corner. Jacqueline is stunned to watch the rise of communism – anathema in America, but an active movement in France – never guessing she is witnessing the beginning of the political environment that will shape the rest of her life—and that of her future husband.

ONLY THE BEAUTIFUL

By: Susan Meissner

Published: April 18, 2023

Publisher: Berkley

Historical Fiction

Format: eBook through Netgalley

Susan Meissner is a MUST-READ author for me. I just finished her collaborative novel, WHEN WE HAD WINGS, which I loved. If you love historical fiction, preorder this one!

California, 1938—When she loses her parents in an accident, sixteen-year-old Rosanne is taken in by the owners of the vineyard where she has lived her whole life as the vinedresser’s daughter. She moves into Celine and Truman Calvert’s spacious house with a secret, however—Rosie sees colors when she hears sound. She promised her mother she’d never reveal her little-understood ability to anyone, but the weight of her isolation and grief prove too much for her. Driven by her loneliness she not only breaks the vow to her mother, but in a desperate moment lets down her guard and ends up pregnant. Banished by the Calverts, Rosanne believes she is bound for a home for unwed mothers, and having lost her family she treasures her pregnancy as the chance for a future one. But she soon finds out she is not going to a home of any kind, but to a place far worse than anything she could have imagined.

Austria, 1947—After witnessing firsthand Adolf Hitler’s brutal pursuit of hereditary purity—especially with regard to “different children”—Helen Calvert, Truman’s sister, is ready to return to America for good. But when she arrives at her brother’s peaceful vineyard after decades working abroad, she is shocked to learn what really happened nine years earlier to the vinedresser’s daughter, a girl whom Helen had long ago befriended. In her determination to find Rosanne, Helen discovers that while the war had been won in Europe, there are still terrifying battles to be fought at home.

SIGNAL FIRES

By: Dani Shapiro

Published: October 18, 2022

Publisher: Knopf

Fiction

This was my Literati Book Club choice for the month. Check out the Literati Book Club, HERE.

SIGNAL FIRES opens on a summer night in 1985. Three teenagers have been drinking. One of them gets behind the wheel of a car, and, in an instant, everything on Division Street changes. Each of their lives, and that of Ben Wilf, a young doctor who arrives on the scene, is shattered. For the Wilf family, the circumstances of that fatal accident will become the deepest kind of secret, one so dangerous it can never be spoken.

On Division Street, time has moved on. When the Shenkmans arrive—a young couple expecting a baby boy—it is as if the accident never happened. But when Waldo, the Shenkmans’ brilliant, lonely son who marvels at the beauty of the world and has a native ability to find connections in everything, befriends Dr. Wilf, now retired and struggling with his wife’s decline, past events come hurtling back in ways no one could ever have foreseen.

GOLD

By: Chris Cleave

Published: July 3, 2012

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Fiction

Format: eBook

Because I am a newsletter subscriber with Simon & Schuster, I receive a free eBook for my birthday from a collection of books. You can sign up too and you even get a free eBook when you sign up for their newsletter, HERE. This is the book I chose.

Gold is the story of Zoe and Kate, world-class athletes who have been friends and rivals since their first day of Elite training. They’ve loved, fought, betrayed, forgiven, consoled, gloried, and grown up together. Now on the eve of London 2012, their last Olympics, both women will be tested to their physical and emotional limits. They must confront each other and their own mortality to decide, when lives are at stake: What would you sacrifice for the people you love, if it meant giving up the thing that was most important to you in the world? 

THE BOOKSTORE SISTERS

By: Alice Hoffman

Published: November 1, 2022

Publisher: Amazon Original Stories

Fiction Short Story

Format: eBook purchase

This was a free Kindle eBook during October since I am a Prime member. It’s a short story and can be read in less than a couple of hours.

Isabel Gibson has all but perfected the art of forgetting. She’s a New Yorker now, with nothing left to tie her to Brinkley’s Island, Maine. Her parents are gone, the family bookstore is all but bankrupt, and her sister, Sophie, will probably never speak to her again.

But when a mysterious letter arrives in her mailbox, Isabel feels herself drawn to the past. After years of fighting for her independence, she dreads the thought of going back to the island. What she finds there may forever alter her path—and change everything she thought she knew about her family, her home, and herself.

WHEN WE HAD WINGS

By: Ariel Lawhon, Kristina McMorris, and Susan Meissner

Published: October 18, 2022

Publisher: Harper Muse

Historical Fiction

Format: Audiobook through Netgalley

I’ve already read this one. See my review, HERE.

100 THINGS TO DO IN IOWA BEFORE YOU DIE

By: Sara Broers

Published: May 15, 2022

Publisher: Reedy Press

Non-Fiction/Travel

Format: Paperback

I’ve followed this Iowa author for years. She is coming to talk about her book at our small-town library, but our daughter has a concert that night so I can’t attend, which is such a bummer. I love learning about fascinating places to visit in our own state.

Iowa is home to rolling hills, beautiful state parks, lush cornfields, and architecture that is unique to the state. With Iowa’s dozen-plus scenic highways and byways, and with 100 Things to Do in Iowa Before You Die as your guide, your next road trip will be an epic one for the record books. Did you know that you can stay in the last-known hotel in the world designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, in Mason City? Hop on the Historic Hills Scenic Byway in southeast Iowa and enjoy glassblowing at Bloom & Bark, LLC. Visit Effigy Mounds National Monument and view more than 200 prehistoric mounds built by Native Americans. Check out Pella, home to all things Dutch, including a windmill, museums, and unique shops. A visit to northeast Iowa would not be complete without a stop in Horsfall’s, a variety store that attracts visitors from hundreds of miles around; or in Decorah, home to Nordic Fest and all things Scandinavian. Join author and Iowa native Sara Broers and experience Iowa in a day, week, month, a lifetime. You will be greeted by friendly people and will find a new experience around every corner.

TRANQUILITY BY TUESDAY

9 Ways to Calm the Chaos and Make Time for What Matters

By: Laura Vanderkam

Published: October 11, 2022

Publisher: Portfolio

Non-Fiction/Time Management

Format: Hardcover

I highly respect Laura Vanderkam and her time management advice. I was thrilled to hear about her new book and hit purchase right away!

For anyone who’s sick of letting to-do lists dictate their time, Laura Vanderkam, the bestselling author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, shares nine strategies for reclaiming your hours

Do you find yourself hoping that someday, life will be less hectic? One day, you say, you’ll finally have time for the activities that you love – writing that book, completing that triathlon, traveling with friends. But if the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that life is unpredictable. If we’re not careful, dull, unfulfilling tasks can quickly occupy our precious hours, derail our best-laid plans, and make life feel like a slog.

In Tranquility by Tuesday, Laura Vanderkam explains that if you want something to happen, you need to design your life to make it happen. Work crises, childcare emergencies, and home repairs are inevitable, and the mundane tasks of life – cooking, cleaning, laundry – aren’t going anywhere. To make time for what matters, you need a resilient schedule, not a perfect schedule. Based on a time diary study of over 150 people, Vanderkam shares nine strategies for building opportunities for joy, nourishment, and fulfillment into your week.

FAIR PLAY

A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much to Do (and More Life to Live)

By: Eve Rodsky

Published: October 1, 2019

Publisher: G. P. Putnam & Sons

Non-Fiction

This was my free birthday add-on with Book of the Month. Another great time-management book.

A revolutionary, real-world solution to the problem of unpaid, invisible work that women have shouldered for too long.

It started with the Sh*t I Do List. Tired of being the “shefault” parent responsible for all aspects of her busy household, Eve Rodsky counted up all the unpaid, invisible work she was doing for her family — and then sent that list to her husband, asking for things to change. His response was… underwhelming. Rodsky realized that simply identifying the issue of unequal labor on the home front wasn’t enough: She needed a solution to this universal problem. Her sanity, identity, career, and marriage depended on it.

The result is Fair Play: a time- and anxiety-saving system that offers couples a completely new way to divvy up domestic responsibilities. Rodsky interviewed more than five hundred men and women from all walks of life to figure out what the invisible work in a family actually entails and how to get it all done efficiently. With four easy-to-follow rules, 100 household tasks, and a figurative card game you play with your partner, Fair Play helps you prioritize what’s important to your family and who should take the lead on every chore from laundry to homework to dinner.

EXCUSE ME WHILE I DISAPPEAR

Trials of Midlife Mayhem

By: Laurie Notaro

Published: November 1, 2022

Publisher: Little A

Non-Fiction/Memoir

Format: eBook purchase

This was a free Kindle eBook during October since I’m a Prime member. I love Notaro’s hilarious and truthful writing and couldn’t miss out on her new book.

Laurie Notaro has proved everyone wrong: she didn’t end up in rehab, prison, or cremated at a tender age. She just went gray. At past fifty, every hair’s root is a symbol of knowledge (she knows how to use a landline), experience (she rode in a car with no seat belts), and superpowers (a gray-haired lady can get away with anything).

Though navigating midlife is initially upsetting—the cracking noises coming from her new old body, receiving regular junk mail from mortuaries—Laurie accepts it. And then some. With unintentional abandon, she shoplifts a bag of russet potatoes. Heckles a rude driver from her beat-up Prius. And engages in epic trolling on Nextdoor.com. That, says Laurie, is the brilliance of growing older. With each passing day, you lose an equivalent amount of fear.

And the #1 New York Times bestselling author has never been so fearlessly funny as she is in this empowering, candid, and enlightening memoir about living life on the other side of fifty.

THE HEALING POWERS OF HONEY

Healing Powers Series

By: Cal Orey

Published: October 1, 2011

Publisher: Kensington

Non-Fiction

Format: eBook purchase

After reading MAD HONEY, I was reminded of how much I love honey. Beekeepers even have space on my parent’s land for their beehives, which results in all the honey we can consume every year. This was a Kindle Deal so with my Kindle credits, I got it for free.

Drawing on the latest in scientific evidence and interviews with medical doctors, beekeepers, and researchers, this enlightening book reveals how honey can help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, reduce body fat–and increase longevity!

Including information on 30 healing honey varieties with dozens of recipes, learn how to incorporate honey into Mediterranean-style, heart-healthy foods, and make more than 50 home remedies to combat everything from digestive issues to skin woes. You’ll also enjoy Cleopatra’s milk-and-honey beauty treatments and eco-friendly beeswax household uses–all made with the amazing honey bee’s gifts!

Pure, raw, unprocessed honey is a healthier sweetener than table sugar and high fructose corn syrup. It’s chock-full of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins–and only has 21 calories per teaspoon.

Super “bee foods” (including nutrient-rich bee pollen, propolis, and royal jelly) are used and touted for their healing powers by beekeepers and medical experts in the present-day. Honey can also relieve a variety of ailments, including allergies, coughs, fatigue, pain, and stress, as well as boost libido.

Children’s Fiction and Non-Fiction

RUNNING FOR SHELTER

A True Story

By: Suzette Sheft

Published: November 9, 2022

Publisher: Amsterdam Publications

Young Adult/Historical Non-Fiction

Format: Paperback

This is part of a series of Holocaust books for young readers. I can’t wait to read this true story written by a teen about her grandma.

Vienna, late 1930s. Curious, red-headed Inge Eisenger leads a privileged life with her glamorous, distant mother. When forced to flee from Nazi-occupied Austria to Switzerland, Inge sees her young life turned upside down. She hopes to finally connect with her mother during their escape, but her mother soon abandons her. Vulnerable and alone, Inge makes her way to Paris before reuniting with her grandmother in Central France. But even there, Inge endures one hardship after another-all while her grandmother keeps a family secret that, if revealed, could result in their whole family’s demise.

Running for Shelter is written by Inge’s 15-year-old granddaughter, Suzette Sheft. The gripping, true story offers a window through which young adult readers can witness the challenges of growing up during the Holocaust. As this important chapter of history fades from living memory, Inge’s tale offers hope to a new generation who must also cultivate courage and determination in the face of personal and political challenges.

WHAT ABOUT THE UNIVERSE

An Illustrated Q&A Book for Kids

By: Bertrand Fichou

Illustrated by: Pascal LeMaître

Published: November 8, 2022

Publisher: Twirl

Non-Fiction

Format: Hardcover

I’ve also shared the WHAT ABOUT SCIENCE book as part of this series. It’s such a fun way to learn.

What is the universe? Can you travel in time? Will humans ever live on other planets? Curious kids want to know, and they will get the answers to these questions and many more in this exceptional illustrated Q&A book. Questions about astronomy are answered in a fun, kid-friendly way and accompanied by quirky cartoon illustrations that will entertain readers and help them remember important facts.

DO YOU KNOW? JOBS AND THE WORK PEOPLE DO

By: Émilie Gorostis

Illustrated by: Pierre Caillou, Héléne Convert, Jean-Sébastien Deheeger, Christian Guibbaud

Published: October 18, 2022

Publisher: Twirl

Non-Fiction

Format: Hardcover

New additions to the DO YOU KNOW? series.

What jobs are there at a museum? Who creates books? Where do cooks work? The Do You Know?series provides in-depth looks at a wide range of popular subjects. Appealing to children who want to know everything.

DO YOU KNOW? TRAINS AND RAIL TRANSPORT

By: Cécile Benoist

Illustrated by: Didier Balicevic, Yating Hung, Patrick Morize, Cristian Turdera

Published: October 18, 2022

Publisher: Twirl

Non-Fiction

Format: Hardcover

New additions to the DO YOU KNOW? series.

How do trains work? What types of trains are there? Where do they take you? The Do You Know? TM series provides in-depth looks at a wide range of popular subjects. Appealing to children who want to know everything.

THE TILTERSMITH

By: Amy Herrick

Published: April 5, 2022

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Middle-Grade/Fiction

Format: Hardcover

I can’t imagine winter never ending and this middle-grade fantasy could have the Lady in power keep winter here forever.

Spring has arrived in Brooklyn, New York, but winter refuses to let go. Sleet, snow, and even a tornado batter the city. Mr. Ross, the science teacher, believes climate change is the cause, but classmates Edward, Feenix, Danton, and Brigit suspect older, magical forces are at work. When a peculiar character calling himself Superintendent Tiltersmith appears with a keen interest in the foursome, their suspicions are confirmed, and they’re swept up in a battle of wits and courage.

The friends must protect a set of mysterious tools belonging to the Lady of Spring. If they can free her from her underground prison, winter will end. But if the Tiltersmith steals the tools, he will keep the Lady in his power and upset the balance of nature forever.

MY GRANDMOM

By: Gee-eun Lee

Published: November 15, 2022

Publisher: Amazon Crossing Kids

Fiction

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

A perfect gift for your children’s grandma.

Gee-eun is a little girl whose parents work a lot. So she spends her days with her beloved grandmother. Grandma comforts Gee-eun when she’s sad to see her parents leaving and shares in all of Gee-eun’s daily joys and problems. She even fills in for Gee-eun’s mom at the family sports day, though things don’t quite go as planned…But one thing is for sure: Grandma and Gee-eun always have an unforgettable time until the end of the day, when the whole family can come together for a meal made by Grandma. Based on the author’s relationship with her own grandmother, this is a heart-warming celebration of a most unique and precious guardian: the GrandMom. 

DEAR WILD CHILD

You Carry Your Home Inside You

By: Wallace J. Nichols and Wallace Grayce Nichols

Illustrated by: Drew Beckmeyer

Published: August 9, 2022

Publisher: Harry N Abrams

Fiction

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

Based on a father’s real letter to his daughter about the home they lost. I absolutely can’t wait to share it with you.

A story inspired by a letter from a father to his daughter about wildfire, loss, and learning that we carry our homes inside us wherever we go. In the shade of ancient redwood trees, by a creek, not far from the ocean, a father builds a house for his newborn daughter, where she grows up wild and strong in their coastal canyon home. When a wildfire takes back their beloved house, he writes his now-grown daughter a letter telling her it’s gone. Inspired by the real letter the author wrote his daughter, this poignant story—written together by father and daughter—joyfully declares that a home is more than just wood and stone; it is made of love and can never be taken away. You carry home with you wherever you go.

STILL MINE

By: Jayne PIllemer

Illustrated by: Sheryl Murray

Published: January 18, 2022

Publisher: HarperCollins

Fiction

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

It’s hard to find good picture books about grief. Be sure to look for this one featured in November.

What will I do if I don’t have you?

Are you still mine?

Our hands around a cup of hot chocolate, sweet and warm. Our boots splashing in puddles. The song you sing to me when the sun comes up. This is how we say “I love you” every day.

But what happens when the person you love is gone? Your heart hurts and you miss them, but even though your eyes can’t see them anymore and your arms can’t hug them, they are still there, still yours to love . . . just in a different way.

Jayne Pillemer’s lyrical story and Sheryl Murray’s sweet illustrations offer gentle comfort and reassurance to anyone who has experienced loss that you still carry those you love with you in the smallest things–and in your heart–forever.

BRAVE LIKE MOM

By: Monica Acker

Illustrated by: Paran Kim

Published: November 1, 2022

Publisher: Beaming Books

Fiction

Format: Hardcover Picture Books

It’s even harder to find picture books that talk about chronic illness. I can already give this one a huge recommendation.

As one girl watches her mom battle illness, she sees Mom being strong, brave, and fierce on both good days and bad ones. Mom is fierce as she catches and wrestles a fish and brave as she endures needles from the doctor. The girl wants to be brave like Mom! As she worries about her mom’s health, the girl realizes that bravery comes in many forms and that she can be brave too.

A poignant and sensitive story about a loved one living with a chronic illness, and an important lesson about how being brave doesn’t mean you aren’t scared.

THE DESERT UNICORN

By: Bonnie Grubman and Kerry Olitzky

Illustrated by: Amberin Huq

Published: March 1, 2022

Publisher: Apples & Honey Press

Fiction

Format: eBook from author

I’ve shared Rabbi Kerry Olitzky’s books HERE before. I think it is so important to share books to help kids learn about other cultures or about their own. Check out the other two below.

As the Israelites journey to the Promised Land a unicorn brings joy and inspiration to the children. This story draws from the rabbinic understanding of tachash a mysterious creature named in the Book of Exodus.

A WHALE OF A TALE

A Sabbath Summer Soltice Story

By: Kerry Olitzky

Illustrated by: Krystyna A Nowak

Published: August 1, 2022

Publisher: Relevant Publishers LLC

Fiction

Format: eBook from author

A Whale of a Tale: A Sabbath Summer Solstice Story is a picture book created to help children learn how to determine Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath, in countries where the summer sun remains high in the sky. Tova travels with her mother to Alaska during the summer solstice. In the Land of the Midnight Sun, she is uncertain how to tell time, because the sun never rises or sets. Tova wonders how she will know when Sabbath begins or ends. Eventually, she talks to a wise orca. The whale shares her secret to understanding time with a circular sun and reminds Tova of the magic of Shabbat.

STRANGERS IN JERUSALEM

By: Kerry Olitzky and Inas Younis

Illustrated by: Maryana Kachmar-Flyah

Published: August 3, 2022

Publisher: Brandylane Publishers, Inc

Fiction

Format: eBook from author

After many years, Leila is back in her birthplace, Jerusalem, and she’s on a mission. Before she left for the Holy Land, Leila promised that she’d say a healing prayer for her best friend back home, even though Leila is Muslim and has never prayed in a Christian church. While making her way through the crooked streets in the Old City of Jerusalem, Leila meets Asma and Rachel, two girls also trying to find holy sites of religions that are different from their own. Together, they’ll discover that Jerusalem is perhaps the most special and welcoming place in the world.


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!

Posted in

Leave a Comment