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.

Family and Life Update

The dance team had their senior night. All these lasts seem to be happening so fast all of a sudden.

I love this one of Reagan and Pat.

Our show choir season has officially ended as well. It was so fun to have Bennett there for her last performance. They perform a couple more times at school concerts, but the season of weekends with friends at competitions is over for us after eleven straight years. A year from now, I’m wondering what I will do with all our free weekends….maybe read???

Now on to the books! 

In February I read 8 books, a hardcover, and two eBooks, and I listened to five audiobooks. Only one of the books was one I was able to remove from my shelves. I haven’t watched TV very much lately, but I did watch a couple of episodes of Harry and Meghan on Netflix. I also went to the theater and saw A Silent Night in Algona. I love promoting things about Iowa and the real-life story this movie is based on is quite amazing, but unfortunately, I can’t recommend this movie. It was not the story I was hoping for and sadly was about 2 hours too long. We have also been watching the Iowa Hawkeye Women’s and Men’s basketball games on TV. The Iowa women are ON FIRE and so much fun to watch! I’m also excited for the American Idol season and the new season of Survivor starting March 1!

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


In Search of the World’s Largest Freshwater Fish

By: Zeb Hogan and Stefan Lovgren

Published: April 25, 2023

Publisher: University of Nevada Press


Format: Paperback

The hosts of National Geographic’s Monster Fish share the adventure of a lifetime. I’ve never seen the show Monster Fish, but this sounds like an epic fishing story.

Join Zeb Hogan, host of the National Geographic television show Monster Fish, on the science adventure of a lifetime.

On May 1, 2005, a Thai fisherman caught a truly monstrous Mekong giant catfish. At 646 pounds, it captured the world’s attention, and with awe and wonder, it was deemed the largest freshwater fish on record. There was no denying its size, but when biologist and research associate professor Hogan saw a photo of the fish, he wondered if it really was the biggest in the world. To his surprise, no one had systematically sought to answer the question: Which of the giant freshwater species really was the largest?

Seeking to answer that question has brought Hogan face to face with massive arapaima and piranha in the Amazon, alligator gar in Texas, pigeon-eating wels catfish in France, stingrays in Cambodia, and the gnarled-toothed sawfish in Australia. Part of his scientific adventure has been captured on Monster Fish, and Hogan now tells the full story of his 25-year quest to understand the mysteries of some of the oldest, largest, most bizarre creatures on Earth.

The fate of these giant fish motivates Hogan to understand the various species he studies. The megafish’s numbers are dwindling, and the majority of them face extinction. In this book, he teams up with award-winning journalist Stefan Lovgren to tell, for the first time, the remarkable and troubling story of the world’s largest freshwater fish. It is a story that stretches across the globe, chronicling a race against the clock to find and protect these ancient leviathans before they disappear forever.


A Novel

By: Elizabeth Weiss

Published: November 30, 2021

Publisher: The Dial Press

Historical Fiction

Format: Hardcover

This is our book club choice for the month.

All Harriet Szász has ever known is life onstage with her sister, Josie. As “The Sisters Sweet,” they pose as conjoined twins in a vaudeville act conceived of by their ambitious parents, who were themselves once theatrical stars. But after Josie exposes the family’s fraud and runs away to Hollywood, Harriet must learn to live out of the spotlight—and out of her sister’s shadow. As Josie’s star rises in California, the Szászes fall on hard times. Striving to keep her struggling family afloat, Harriet molds herself into the perfect daughter. She also tentatively forms her first relationships outside her family and begins to imagine a life for herself beyond the role of dutiful daughter. Finally, Harriet must decide whether to honor her mother, her father, or the self she’s only beginning to get to know.


By: Sabaa Tahir

Published: March 1, 2022

Publisher: Razorbill Books

Young Adult Fiction

Format: Hardcover

A friend recommended this to me and then I received it as a gift from my Bookstagram Galentine this month.

Lahore, Pakistan. Then.
Misbah is a dreamer and storyteller, newly married to Toufiq in an arranged match. After their young life is shaken by tragedy, they come to the United States and open the Cloud’s Rest Inn Motel, hoping for a new start.

Juniper, California. Now.
Salahudin and Noor are more than best friends; they are family. Growing up as outcasts in the small desert town of Juniper, California, they understand each other the way no one else does. Until The Fight, which destroys their bond with the swift fury of a star exploding.

Now, Sal scrambles to run the family motel as his mother Misbah’s health fails and his grieving father loses himself to alcoholism. Noor, meanwhile, walks a harrowing tightrope: working at her wrathful uncle’s liquor store while hiding the fact that she’s applying to college so she can escape him—and Juniper—forever.

When Sal’s attempts to save the motel spiral out of control, he and Noor must ask themselves what friendship is worth—and what it takes to defeat the monsters in their pasts and the ones in their midst.

From one of today’s most cherished and bestselling young adult authors comes a breathtaking novel of young love, old regrets, and forgiveness—one that’s both tragic and poignant in its tender ferocity.


A Novel

By: Jessica George

Published: January 31, 2023

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Women’s Fiction

Format: Hardcover

This was my Book of the Month choice for February and it is already getting rave reviews as well as a recommendation from Jenna Hager.

Maame (ma-meh) has many meanings in Twi but in my case, it means woman.

It’s fair to say that Maddie’s life in London is far from rewarding. With a mother who spends most of her time in Ghana (yet still somehow manages to be overbearing), Maddie is the primary caretaker for her father, who suffers from advanced stage Parkinson’s. At work, her boss is a nightmare and Maddie is tired of always being the only Black person in every meeting.

When her mum returns from her latest trip to Ghana, Maddie leaps at the chance to get out of the family home and finally start living. A self-acknowledged late bloomer, she’s ready to experience some important “firsts”: She finds a flat share, says yes to after-work drinks, pushes for more recognition in her career, and throws herself into the bewildering world of internet dating. But it’s not long before tragedy strikes, forcing Maddie to face the true nature of her unconventional family, and the perils—and rewards—of putting her heart on the line.

Smart, funny, and deeply affecting, Jessica George’s Maame deals with the themes of our time with humor and poignancy: from familial duty and racism, to female pleasure, the complexity of love, and the life-saving power of friendship. Most important, it explores what it feels like to be torn between two homes and cultures―and it celebrates finally being able to find where you belong.


By: Sadeqa Johnson

Narrated by: Ariel Blake and Nicole Lewis

Published: February 7, 2023

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Historical Fiction

Format: Audiobook through Audible

I used an Audible credit for this one that I’ve been hearing great things about.

1950s Philadelphia: fifteen-year-old Ruby Pearsall is on track to becoming the first in her family to attend college, in spite of having a mother more interested in keeping a man than raising a daughter. But a taboo love affair threatens to pull her back down into the poverty and desperation that has been passed on to her like a birthright.

Eleanor Quarles arrives in Washington, DC, with ambition and secrets. When she meets the handsome William Pride at Howard University, they fall madly in love. But William hails from one of DC’s elite wealthy Black families, and his par­ents don’t let just anyone into their fold. Eleanor hopes that a baby will make her finally feel at home in William’s family and grant her the life she’s been searching for. But having a baby—and fitting in—is easier said than done.

With their stories colliding in the most unexpected of ways, Ruby and Eleanor will both make decisions that shape the trajectory of their lives.

Children’s Books


By: Terry Pierce

Illustrated by: Nadja Sarell

Published: April 11, 2023

Publisher: Yosemite Conservancy


Format: Board Books

I love Terry Pierce’s books. EAT UP, BEAR! is also from the Yosemite Conservancy.

Grassy, flower-filled meadows are really pretty! It’s oh-so tempting to hike and skip right through them. But meadows are actually fragile, and human footsteps and picnics can cause them harm—and then they cannot do their important work of providing habitat for creatures and plants, filtering water, and even storing carbon.


When Storms Howl

By: Christine M.B. Smith

Illustrated by: Nidhom

Published: January 10, 2023

Publisher: Mascot Books


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

This is the second book in the Lucy the Cow-Dog series.

Where is home? Lucy hopes that by taking care of the farmer’s gopher problem, her new home will be with her canine companion, Sam. But plans go awry when her troublesome wiggles lead her to an animal shelter instead. Joined by her new friend Maple, Lucy finds herself at the shelter’s adoption fair where she must decide which path ultimately leads home. The second book in the Lucy the Cow-Dog series, When Storms Howl highlights the importance of finding perspective and patience when the going gets rough.


Woodland Friends, 4

By: Laura Renauld

Illustrated by: Jennie Poh

Published: March 7, 2023

Publisher: Beaming Books


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

Jennie Poh also illustrated LULU THE ONE AND ONLY which I reviewed back in June 2020.

The beloved Woodland Friends are back! Join Doe and company in this optimistic springtime story about finding value in all things–even pesky dandelions. Every year, Doe grows daffodils for the Spring Petal Parade, but despite all her diligent weeding, dandelions have taken over her garden! She travels through the woods to warn her friends, but to Doe’s surprise, Porcupine eats dandelion leaves, Squirrel thinks the blooms make a beautiful bouquet, and Bear cultivates a wishing garden. Perhaps dandelions are much more than weeds after all? The lovable gang from the Woodland Friends series returns in a colorful celebration of springtime, teaching Doe that all things–even dandelions–have worth. A final spread features instructions and inspiration for readers to plan their very own Petal Parade.


By: Marie Boyd

Published: March 14, 2023

Publisher: Greenwillow Books/Harper Collins


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

For anyone that has ever felt like they were “just” something.

Upset at being called “just a worm,” worm sets out around the garden to find out what the other insects do, and discover his own role in keeping the garden healthy.


By: Caroline Nastro

Illustrated by: Anea Sandu Budisan

Published: March 28, 2023

Publisher: Two Lions


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

I can’t wait to share this one with you later this month!

Amelia is a shy little girl with a big imagination. After an injury, she finds solace in stories—fairy tales about faraway lands and magical creatures. When two children move in next door, Amelia wonders: Can she play with them? Can she be as brave as the heroines in the stories she reads? With the help of a little bird outside her window, Amelia finds the courage she needs to embark on a journey in her new wheelchair…where she discovers that there is magic to be found just outside her window.

With lyrical text and lovely watercolor illustrations, Outside Amelia’s Window is a heartfelt story about friendship, new beginnings, and embracing the beauty of the world around us.


By: Dianna Hutts Aston

Illustrated by: Sylvia Long

Published: May 9, 2023

Publisher: Chronicle Kids

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

This is part of a series of books that I have read and loved, AN EGG IS QUIET, A BUTTERFLY IS PATIENT, and A ROCK IS LIVELY.

The newest entry in the bestselling Nature Books series by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long, A Shell Is Cozy takes a gorgeous look at the fascinating world of shells. From land snails to sea scallops, giant clams to tiny dwarf shells, an incredible array of shells are showcased in all their splendor.

Poetic in voice and elegant in design, this carefully researched book is sure to inspire lively questions and spark the imaginations of young readers. This beautiful volume will be equally at home being read to a child on a parent’s lap as it is in a classroom reading circle.  

EVERYONE LOVES SHELLS!: The perfect book for amateur naturalists, vacation-goers, and armchair travelers for whom beaches, and their shells, hold a special place in the heart.


Life in the Doghouse – Book 4

By: Danny Robertshaw

Illustrated by: Ron Danta

Published: February 7, 2023

Publisher: Aladdin/Simon & Schuster

Middle-Grade Fiction

Format: Hardcover Chapter Book

This is the 4th book in the Life in the Doghouse chapter book series based on a real dog from Danny and Ron’s Rescue.

Finn, a Redbone hound with three legs, is excited to join the Figueroa family, who are also expecting a new baby to arrive any day now! The house is full of new toys and fun places to explore, but for Finn, who is still adapting to his missing back leg, the stairs are too daunting to manage.

But Finn’s new home holds one big surprise—a new cat sibling, Rusty, who has three legs just like him! Finn is determined to become best friends, but Rusty has other plans. And when the two start fighting over the family’s attention, it turns into a battle to be the favorite pet.

Will Finn and Rusty learn to get along before their new human arrives? Or is the dog-cat divide too large to cross?


Book 2

By: Darin Shuler

Published: May 23, 2023

Publisher: Chronicle Kids

Graphic Novel Middle-Grade Fiction

Format: Hardcover

This is the second in the Dog & Hat series perfect for early graphic novel readers.

Dog & Hat search for some dreamy moon magic!

When Ant sets out to visit her cousins on moon, Dog and Hat join the journey, hoping to arrive in time to have a picnic during a very special moon occasion—a lunar eclipse. Can the trio overcome the many obstacles to get there in time?

Dreams, jokes, and curiosities abound in this wonderfully strange and funny adventure where Dog and Hat (and Ant!) discover that big dreams are possible when friends provide help along the way.

Can you imagine anything more magical?


Episode One: Exploding Experiment

By: M. M. Downing and S.J. Waugh

Published: March 21, 2023

Publisher: Fitzroy Books

Middle-Grade Fiction

Format: Paperback

The first book in a planned trilogy for middle-grade historical fiction/mystery readers.

That brief, blinding dazzle? The blue smudge and lingering stink? The Flash Gang has struck again! They are the most notorious thieves in Pittsburgh, food-stealing crooks the police and newspapers say are highly trained and very dangerous. But eleven-year-old Lewis Carter isn’t a thief, he’s just homeless and hungry. The Flash is a recipe he invented from bits of his missing father’s scientific research. He uses it to pinch his dinners. It’s been going pretty well, until now…Now his recipe is stolen, and he is in the clutches of some rather nasty people. Enter tutu-wearing, starry-eyed, and all around extraordinary (she will tell you) Pearl Alice Clavell. She is on a mission to uncover a Nefarious Deed she’s convinced involves the Flash Gang. Rescuing Lewis is right up her alley. Truth is, a Nefarious Deed is afoot, one that threatens the entire country. It will take Lewis and Pearl joining forces to save the recipe and themselves against an enemy who will stop at nothing, including kidnapping, and, very possibly, murder.

LOL 101

A Kid’s Guide to Writing Jokes

By: David Roth and Rinee Shah

Illustrated by: Rinee Shah

Published: May 2, 2023

Publisher: Chronicle Kids


Format: Hardcover

Encourage creativity and writing with this fun guide!

Packed with fun-filled illustrations, easy-to-follow exercises, and sample jokes, this humorous how-to joke book for kids proves that with a little elbow grease, anyone can write jokes that really make people LOL. Covering everything from surprise to wordplay to visual jokes―plus tips on how to perform a joke so it lands―LOL 101 is the approachable and (of course) funny guide for any kid ready to channel their inner comedian. 


By: Meredith & Sophie Jacobs

Published: April 11, 2023

Publisher: Chronicle Kids


Format: Hardcover Journal

We have the original edition of this journal and I enjoyed writing back and forth with Reagan. A great item to tuck in your daughter’s Easter basket.

First published more than ten years ago, Just Between Us: Mother & Daughter is the original bestselling mother-daughter journal. This is the same groundbreaking guided journal you know and love—now with a new cover!

A bestselling gift book that has touched the lives of thousands of women and girls, Just Between Us: Mother & Daughter features advice and perspectives from both generations, two lovely ribbon bookmarks (one each for mother and daughter), and appealing illustrations in a deluxe hardcover journal that is a treasure to give or receive.

Whether you have a great or “could be better” relationship with your mother or daughter, communication and bonding can be hard. This journal can change that.


By: Jonathan & Sophie Jacobs with Meredith Jacobs

Published: April 25, 2023

Publisher: Chronicle Kids


Format: Hardcover Journal

Our daughter would have loved doing this journal with her dad as well. Such a great way to build their relationship or even if Father and Daughter live in separate homes, this is a way for them to stay connected and mail back and forth to each other.

Co-written by a real-life father-daughter team! In this journal co-author of the original Just Between Us: Mother & Daughter, Sofie Jacobs, partners with her father, Jonathan Jacobs, to offer advice and prompts for fathers and daughters to express anything and everything. With sensitivity and thoughtfulness, this interactive keepsake journal provides the space and encouragement for father-daughter conversations, packed with all the essentials to cultivate shared respect and deep understanding in one of life’s most important relationships.

Perfect for dads and daughters who are already close, it is also a shared resource for any father-daughter pair looking to deepen their relationship!

Which one (or two or three) of these books will you be adding to your list?

Click HERE to see all the posts featuring new books on my shelves.

So many books, so little time!

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