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

March was a bit calmer. I started the month sick with strep throat, which was horrible. But I was better by the time spring break arrived. Even though we didn’t go somewhere warm like our son Bennett did with his college friends, we had some great family time.

We surprised my parents with a visit including the newlyweds. Mom loves to play games so they were able to get in a few rounds of Racko, a classic family game we love.

We spent a day going thrifting which was super fun even though Patrick was the only one that found any goodies.

I finished this Puzzle Twist puzzle of Midwest Indie Bookstores which was kind of hard, but super fun. Now I want to visit all of these bookstores.

Reagan had her last solo/ensemble and Bennett was even able to come and watch. She received Division I ratings on both of her ensembles with her friends.

Pat and I celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary. We had an amazing dinner at the Iowa River Power Co in Coralville including my favorite dessert of crème brûlée. The pelicans on their migration south had made a stop in the Iowa River and we had fun watching them at dinner.

Now on to the books! 

In March I read 10 books, including 4 audiobooks, 3 eBooks, and 3 physical books with one of them, THE FAMILY, being my first and so far only 5-star book this year. I was thrilled to remove 3 of those books from my shelves. I finished Season 11 of Call the Midwife. It truly is one of my favorite shows. 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 watching American Idol and Survivor and loving both!

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


A Play in Three Acts

By: Thornton Wilder

Published: December 1, 1975

Publisher: Avon Books


Format: Paperback

I’ve always wanted to read this book and found it at a reasonable price on Thrift Books. I haven’t read a play since reading THE CRUCIBLE while teaching.

Our Town was first produced and published in 1938 to wide acclaim. This Pulitzer Prize-winning drama of life in the small village of Grover’s Corners, an allegorical representation of all life, has become a classic. It is Thornton Wilder’s most renowned and most frequently performed play.


By: Laird Hunt

Published: February 9, 2021

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

Historical Fiction

Format: Paperback

This one has also been on my radar and I added it to my Thrift Books order. It’s a short novel at around 160 pages.

“It was Indiana, it was the dirt she had bloomed up out of, it was who she was, what she felt, how she thought, what she knew.”

As a girl, Zorrie Underwood’s modest and hardscrabble home county was the only constant in her young life. After losing both her parents, Zorrie moved in with her aunt, whose own death orphaned Zorrie all over again, casting her off into the perilous realities and sublime landscapes of rural, Depression-era Indiana. Drifting west, Zorrie survived on odd jobs, sleeping in barns and under the stars, before finding a position at a radium processing plant. At the end of each day, the girls at her factory glowed from the radioactive material.

But when Indiana calls Zorrie home, she finally finds the love and community that have eluded her in and around the small town of Hillisburg. And yet, even as she tries to build a new life, Zorrie discovers that her trials have only begun.

Spanning an entire lifetime, a life convulsed and transformed by the events of the 20th century, Laird Hunt’s extraordinary novel offers a profound and intimate portrait of the dreams that propel one tenacious woman onward and the losses that she cannot outrun. Set against a harsh, gorgeous, quintessentially American landscape, this is a deeply empathetic and poetic novel that belongs on a shelf with the classics of Willa Cather, Marilynne Robinson, and Elizabeth Strout.


By: Elizabeth Castellano

Published: June 27, 2023

Publisher: Anchor


Format: eBook through Netgalley

When Kathleen Deane’s husband, Tom, tells her he’s no longer happy with his life and their marriage, Kathleen is confused. They live in Kansas. They’ve been married thirty years. Who said anything about being happy? But with Tom off finding himself, Kathleen starts to think about what she wants. And her thoughts lead her to a small beach community on the east coast, a town called Whitbey that has always looked lovely in the Christmas letters her childhood friend Josie sends every year.

It turns out, though, that life in Whitbey is nothing like Josie’s letters. Kathleen’s new neighbor, Rosemary, is cantankerous, and the town’s supervisor won’t return Kathleen’s emails, but worst of all is the Sugar Cube, the monstrosity masquerading as a holiday home that Kathleen’s absentee neighbors are building next door to her quaint (read: tiny) cottage. As Kathleen gets more and more involved in the fight against the Sugar Cube and town politics overall, she realizes that Whitbey may not be a fairytale, but it just might be exactly what she needed.

Save What’s Left can best be described as the “un-beach read.” It pulls back the curtain on life in a beach town, revealing the true cost of a pretty view. Told from the candid and irreverent perspective of a newcomer turned local, this is a story of forgiveness, fortitude, and second chances.


By: Adele Griffin

Published: June 13, 2023

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark


Format: eBook through Netgalley

At I’ll Have Seconds, a high-end fairytale vintage dress shop in Manhattan, Nora Hammond loves nothing better than pairing a rare find with the perfect client.

At home, Nora grapples with the bleaker reality of enormous debt, a tiny apartment, and ever-dwindling hope that she and her husband Jacob will have a family of their own.

When socialite Evelyn Elliot charges into Nora’s life, the women spark an immediate connection, and Nora is jettisoned into the heady whirl of New York’s moneyed elite. As Evelyn’s stylist and confidante, Nora needs to learn all new rules of engagement for the uber-wealthy. But it isn’t until Evelyn decides her next cause is to carry a baby for Nora, that these rules― and this unlikely friendship―are tested.


By: Ellen Marie Wiseman

Published: July 25, 2017

Publisher: Kensington

Historical Fiction

Format: eBook purchase through Amazon

A friend flew through this one and highly recommended it. I love circus stories and used was thrilled that it was free on Prime Reading. I really enjoyed her book THE ORPHAN COLLECTOR so I am sure I will love this one too.

On a summer evening in 1931, Lilly Blackwood glimpses circus lights from the grimy window of her attic bedroom. Lilly isn’t allowed to explore the meadows around Blackwood Manor. She’s never even ventured beyond her narrow room. Momma insists it’s for Lilly’s own protection, that people would be afraid if they saw her. But on this unforgettable night, Lilly is taken outside for the first time–and sold to the circus sideshow.

More than two decades later, nineteen-year-old Julia Blackwood has inherited her parents’ estate and horse farm. For Julia, home was an unhappy place full of strict rules and forbidden rooms, and she hopes that returning might erase those painful memories. Instead, she becomes immersed in a mystery involving a hidden attic room and photos of circus scenes featuring a striking young girl.

At first, The Barlow Brothers’ Circus is just another prison for Lilly. But in this rag-tag, sometimes brutal world, Lilly discovers strength, friendship, and a rare affinity for animals. Soon, thanks to elephants Pepper and JoJo and their handler, Cole, Lilly is no longer a sideshow spectacle but the circus’s biggest attraction. . .until tragedy and cruelty collide. It will fall to Julia to learn the truth about Lilly’s fate and her family’s shocking betrayal, and find a way to make Blackwood Manor into a place of healing at last.

Moving between Julia and Lilly’s stories, Ellen Marie Wiseman portrays two extraordinary, very different women in a novel that, while tender and heartbreaking, offers moments of joy and indomitable hope.


The 45-Day Program for Women to Lose Stubborn Weight, Improve Hormonal Health, and Slow Aging

By: Cynthia Thurlow

Published: March 15, 2022

Publisher: Avery


Format: eBook purchase through Amazon

I got this for free with eBook credits. I have been curious about adding intermittent fasting to my regular routine and wanted more information about how to do it properly. I have already read the book and have been implementing some of the tips from the book into my daily routine/diet.

Designed specifically for women, this individualized six-week intermittent fasting program is the sustainable solution to help you feel and look your absolute best. Based on the scientifically proven 16:8 fasting model, what makes this program unique is that it is geared toward your hormonal needs at every stage in life-whether you are cycling or in perimenopause, menopause, or beyond. Intermittent Fasting Transformation will help you:

 lose weight steadily and burn fat without hunger, cravings, or plateaus-and keep it off
 balance your hormones for better metabolic health and wellness, while easing symptoms associated with perimenopause and menopause
 experience a huge boost in physical and mental energy all day long
 learn what foods best support weight loss, detoxification, and overall health
 lift brain fog and help you sleep better
 put aging in reverse . . . and so much more.

Cynthia Thurlow, a nurse practitioner and an internationally known women’s health expert whose viral TEDx Talk has received more than 10 million views, developed this breakthrough plan after entering perimenopause in her forties. Intermittent fasting didn’t just help her lose weight; she had more energy, fewer cravings, and lower blood glucose levels. Thurlow has now worked with thousands of women in her private practice to make her unique program of intermittent fasting work for them, too.

With meal plans and 50 recipes, along with advice for supercharging your fast, this plan will transform your life, slow down the aging process, and help you reclaim your health and well-being.


Burn Fat, Heal Your Metabolism, and Live Longer

By: William W. Li, MD

Published: March 21, 2023

Publisher: Balance


Format: Hardcover

I loved Li’s book EAT TO BEAT DISEASE and refer to it often so I pre-ordered his newest book.

In his first groundbreaking book, Dr. William Li explored the world of food as medicine. By eating foods that you already enjoy, like tomatoes, blueberries, sourdough bread, and dark chocolate your body activates its five health defense systems to fight cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular, neurodegenerative autoimmune diseases, and other debilitating conditions.

Now in Eat to Beat Your Diet, Dr. Li introduces the surprising new science of weight loss, revealing healthy body fat can help you lose weight; your metabolism at 60 can be the same as when you were 20; yo-yo dieting can be good for your health; 8-hour fasting windows can be as effective as 12-hour fasting windows; and losing just a little bit of weight can have big impacts on your health. Eat to Beat Your Diet shows readers how adding the right foods to your diet can heal your metabolism, reduce unhealthy body fat, and result in the kind of weight loss that can increase your lifespan and help you thrive.


Working Through Profound Loss with Hope and Purpose

By: Colin Campbell

Published: March 14, 2023

Publisher: TarcherPerigee


Format: Hardcover

If you know someone who has suffered an unimaginable loss, this might a book that you could offer them to work through their grief.

When Colin Campbell’s two teenage children were killed by a drunk driver, Campbell was thrown headlong into a grief so deep he felt he might lose his mind. He found much of the common wisdom about coping with loss–including the ideas that grieving is a private and mysterious process and that the pain is so great that “there are no words”–to be unhelpful. Drawing on what he learned from his own journey, Campbell offers an alternative path for processing pain that is active and vocal and truly honors loved ones lost.
Full of practical advice on how to survive in the aftermath of loss, Finding the Words teaches readers how to actively reach out to their community, perform mourning rituals, and find ways to express their grief, so they can live more fully while also holding their loved ones close. Campbell shines a light on a path forward through the darkness of grief.

Children’s Fiction and Non-Fiction


How a Boat Made from Flip-Flops is Helping to Save the Ocean

By: Linda Ravin Lodding and Dipesh Pabari

Illustrated by: Michael Machira Mwangi

Published: March 14, 2023

Publisher: Beaming Books


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

A great book to read in looking ahead to Earth Day.

Juma is excited to go fishing with his grandfather, Babu Ali. But when they get to the beach, they find the sand covered in plastic pollution–flip-flops, plastic straws, toothbrushes, bottles, and shopping bags. One of the flip-flops floating in on a wave looks like a boat. That gives Juma and Babu Ali an idea.

Based on the true story of the Kenyan dhow boat Flipflopi, this inspirational tale demonstrates how innovation, art, and determination can transform plastic pollution into something useful. In 2017, 30,000 flip-flops and other plastic waste items, all collected from the Kenyan coast, were melted, shaped, and carved into the dhow named Flipflopi. Weighing in at 7 tons, this boat is a testament to what can happen when awareness is turned into action.


By: Jackie Azúa Kramer and Jonah Kramer

Illustrated by: Zach Manbeck

Published: April 18, 2023

Publisher: Cameron Kids


For the unicorn dreamer in your house.

To Manolo, the world is a magical place, a place where he searches for the most magical creature of unicorns. Manolo loves unicorns. When the Wild Animal Parade is announced at school, and Manolo declares that he will come as his favorite animal, his classmates say there is no such thing as unicorns, making the world feel ordinary. That is, until Manolo meets a real unicorn—wild and graceful—and discovers that the world is truly extraordinary.


A Keepsake Gift Created by Baby’s Family & Friends

Published: April 11, 2023

Publisher: Chronicle Kids


Format: Box of Cardboard Flashcards

What a fun idea for a baby shower or gender reveal party.

  • GREAT GIFT: This personalized set of first-word flash cards is ideal for new parents and hosts of baby showers! Once completed, these baby flash cards make for a memorable heirloom newborn gift.
  • PERFECT FOR PARTIES: Gather friends and loved ones to draw their own sweet or silly flash cards just for baby. Each set is guaranteed to be totally unique!
  • DISPLAY WITH PRIDE: With a gorgeous decorative box and cheerful patterns on each card, this set of first words flash cards is a special keepsake that will brighten any nursery shelf―or hang the cards on the wall for a touch of personalized decor!

LET’S GO TO COLOR CAMP: Beginning Baby

By: Nicola Slater

Published: June 22, 2023

Publisher: Chronicle Kids


Format: Board Book

I am a big fan of the Beginning Baby series.

Baby’s first books of colors! Part of the irresistible Beginning Baby line of perfect gifts or self-purchase for just the right moments in a baby and parent’s life.

Welcome to Beginning Baby, a line of novelty board books and gifts designed to give little ones a bright start! Vetted by early childhood experts and thoughtfully created with input from parents and caregivers, each Beginning Baby book explores educational concepts tied to early learning milestones, building a foundation for a strong beginning.


By: Carter Higgens

Published: May 2, 2023

Publisher: Chronicle Kids


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

I loved CIRCLE UNDER BERRY and this one is just as fun for a toddler.

From the creative mind behind Circle Under Berry comes this deceptively simple concept book that explores sorting, classification, and patterns as it teases the brain in unusual ways. With an elegant and simple approach, this thought-provoking book shows young readers that even the most familiar things can be seen from infinite perspectives. As with the best classic children’s books, you read it once, read it ten times—and see something new every time.


By: Maria Carluccio

Published: July 11, 2023

Publisher: Chronicle Kids


Format: Interactive Board Book

Do you have a toddler about to start preschool in the fall? Preorder this one to read ahead and prepare them for a day at school.

Welcome to Preschool! At preschool, there are songs to sing, toys to share, and new things to learn!

In this interactive, toylike board book, readers move one character on each scene as they engage with classic preschool activities, from story time and artmaking to playing and stretching. Young readers will feel a confidence boost with each action as they, too, become empowered to move within this new space called preschool. With six moveable characters throughout, there are plenty of new friends to meet and new activities to learn!


By: Derick Wilder

Illustrated by: K-Fai Steele

Published: May 16, 2023

Publisher: Chronicle Kids


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

Derick Wilder can write serious books like THE LONGEST LETSGOBOY, but he also writes hilarious ones like this one.

What’s a kid to do when given a day-of-the-week underwear set—wear Monday’s undies on Monday, Tuesday’s undies on Tuesday like a rule-following robot?
No sirree bob! He’ll cut and craft, snip and sew until every single one of his friends—from an octopus to a piggy bank to, yes, a line of ants—has their own pair of underwear, whether they want them or not. . . .
One boy’s valiant attempts to create a pair of underpants for each of his buddies, no matter how imaginary, is a laugh-out-loud testament to the devotion of friendship, the creative muse, and the power of underwear to unite even the least likely of allies—especially on the days you don’t want to wear them.


By: Dianna Hutts Aston

Illustrated by: Sylvia Long

Published: April 5, 2016 – Paperback May 9, 2023

Publisher: Chronicle Kids


Format: Paperback Picture Book

I love this Nature Books series from Dianna Hutts Aston.

The award-winning duo of Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long team up again, this time creating a gorgeous look at the fascinating world of beetles. From flea beetles to bombardier beetles, an incredible variety of these beloved bugs are showcased here in all their splendor. Poetic in voice and elegant in design, this carefully researched and visually striking book is perfect for sparking children’s imaginations in both classroom reading circles and home libraries.


A Historical Guessing Game for Food Lovers

By: Rachel Levin

Illustrated by: Natalia Rojas Castro

Published: April 5, 2023

Publisher: Phaidon Press


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

I love food history and this one looks like lots of fun for kids.

In this first book of culinary history for children, readers will discover the fascinating dishes eaten by 10 high-interest historical peoples – from prehistoric humans to children of the future. Whether munching on mud-baked hedgehogs like the ancient Egyptians, or nibbling tacos topped with chillis grown in space like the astronauts of today, readers will be immersed in the diverse, tasty, weird, and wonderful food history of the world.

Packed with guess-what challenges, unbelievable facts, and interactive guessing game, 4 real recipes from different eras, and delicious reveals, this fact-filled read-aloud encourages an interest in food (and perhaps a bit of subtle encouragement to taste something new!), and is perfect for history-lovers and food-enthusiasts alike.


By: Laurence Muguet

Published: April 18, 2023

Publisher: Twirl


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

This Do You Know? series that I’ve shared HERE and HERE appeals to kids who like to learn about their favorite topics.

What types of boats are there? How do big ships float? Who works on boats and ships? The Do You Know?™ series provides in-depth looks at a wide range of popular subjects. Appealing to children who want to know everything, each thought-provoking book features: • 96 pages of engaging and educational answers to many popular questions • Hundreds of labeled full-color illustrations • An index to key terms Fans of this book will also enjoy others in the same series, including Jobs, Trains, Dinosaurs, Oceans, Space, Vehicles, Earth, and Animals. • Great family and classroom read-aloud book • Educational books for kids 5 to 8 • Nonfiction books for kids An indispensable resource for any child’s library!


A Guide for Mindful Kids

By: Jennifer Grant

Illustrated by: Erin Brown

Published: March 21, 2023

Publisher: Beaming Books


Format: Hardcover Book

Encouraging kids to go outside and be in nature as well as helping them have an awareness of their surroundings is always a great idea.

“Let nature be your teacher when your feelings are tangled up in knots.”

One way to feel better when we are hurting is to spend time outside. Being in nature is good for both our bodies and our minds.

Each chapter of this practical guide explores a different element of nature and connects it with a mindfulness prompt designed to help kids manage their feelings. From dandelions to spider webs, children will uncover the lessons nature teaches about embracing a growth mindset, the benefits of living in community, and the transformative power of noticing the beauty around them. Breathing exercises, stretching, practicing mindfulness, and keeping a nature notebook are just some of the tools introduced to kids to equip them to navigate their feelings as they spend time outdoors.


By: Emmanuelle Figueras

Illustrated by: Alexander Vidal

Published: April 4, 2023

Publisher: Twirl

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

This book is gorgeous. The laser-cut images are fascinating.

An amazing close-up look at the world of insects. Bees, spiders, butterflies, ants and more are meticulously illustrated in this informative compendium of little critters that’s written for young animal fans. With laser-cut pages throughout, the familiar insects come alive to showcase the beauty of each creature.
• Educative, kid-friendly introduction to insects
• Detailed illustrations reveal the fascinating characteristic of the creatures
• Intricate laser-cuts emphasize the “wow” factor of the illustrations


An Illustrated Q&A Book for Kids

By: Gwénaëlle Boulet and Anne-Sophie Chilard

Illustrated by: Pascal Lemaître

Published: May 9, 2023

Publisher: Twirl


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

This What About series is great for explaining topics to curious learners.

What is money for? Why are there wars? Should we always be nice? Curious kids have lots of questions about the world they live in and the feelings they have. They will explore answers to these questions and many more in this exceptional illustrated Q&A book. Questions about how to think about freedom, jealousy, and going to school, among others, are answered in a fun, kid-friendly way and accompanied by quirky cartoon illustrations that engage them in talking about big life questions.
• 80 pages of real-life questions and answers for kids ages 7 and up
• Fun illustrations that engage readers
• Content reviewed by philosophy advisers and sensitivity reader

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!

Posted in

Leave a Comment

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.