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

Well, it happened! Our girl graduated! This whole school year has been leading up to this moment and even though I shed a lot of tears, it was such a proud moment for us. Empty nesting will be very different for Pat and I but I’m also a little excited about it. Give me all your Empty Nest Tips!

Her party was so much fun and we were blessed by all the friends and family that came from near and far to celebrate her.

I will continue to ask for prayers for my mom. She ended up being hospitalized and unable to attend Reagan’s graduation. She will be having surgery on June 6 and I pray that she can stay well until then, that the doctors will be able to fix the issues she is having, and that her recovery is fast and smooth.

Even with all the CrAZiNess of May, I found time to get some flowers planted. Every time I walk into our front door or pull into our driveway, I smile because these flowers bring me so much joy! Our front porch looks so blah over the winter and so when Spring finally arrives, I look forward to making it look pretty again.

Now on to the books! 

In May I read four books, including three audiobooks and one eBook. I removed one physical book from my to-read shelves that I listened to on audio instead. I’ve been watching a little TV including American Idol (I was thrilled with the final 3 and loved that Iam Tongi won!) and Survivor (Wow! I think that was the best final episode ever! So excited for Yam-Yam!) The two series that I’ve been watching, The Last Thing He Told Me and Dear Edward, have been put on hold a bit while we have been getting ready for graduation.


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

STUFF I’D ONLY TELL GOD

A Guided Journal of Courageous Honesty, Obsessive Truth-Telling, and Beautifully Ruthless Self-Discovery

By: Jennifer Dukes Lee

Published: May 2, 2023

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Christian Non-Fiction Journal

Format: Paperback

I’m a huge fan of Jennifer Dukes Lee and her writing. I joined the launch team for this book and purchased my own copy because I was so excited about this book. In fact, our daughter even got a copy for graduation from her aunt. I’m saving this journal for Fall when I will need something to look forward to every morning once our daughter has moved out.

Welcome to your own little confession booth.

What would you say if you were completely honest with yourself and with God? It’s time to find out.

With daring questions, provocative lists, and quirky charts and illustrations, this journal is a place to record all the stuff you’d only tell ideas, beliefs, secrets, memories, wonderings, and wishes–things that might seem outlandish or outrageous to anyone else but are what make you you . You’ll find the space, the courage, and the help you need to unearth the real you, the you that is sometimes buried deep beneath a layer of self-protection.

Where to begin? With your beautifully ruthless honesty.

YOURS TRULY

By: Abby Jimenez

Published: April 11, 2023

Publisher: Forever

Romance

Format: Hardcover

I don’t usually choose a romance title in my Book of the Month picks, but I loved Jimenez’s book, PART OF YOUR WORLD so much that I wanted to read this one too.

Dr. Briana Ortiz’s life is seriously flatlining. Her divorce is just about finalized, her brother’s running out of time to find a kidney donor, and that promotion she wants? Oh, that’s probably going to the new man-doctor who’s already registering eighty-friggin’-seven on Briana’s “pain in my ass” scale. But just when all systems are set to hate, Dr. Jacob Maddox completely flips the game . . . by sending Briana a letter.

And it’s a really good letter. Like the kind that proves that Jacob isn’t actually Satan. Worse, he might be this fantastically funny and subversively likeable guy who’s terrible at first impressions. Because suddenly he and Bri are exchanging letters, sharing lunch dates in her “sob closet,” and discussing the merits of freakishly tiny horses. But when Jacob decides to give Briana the best gift imaginable—a kidney for her brother—she wonders just how she can resist this quietly sexy new doctor . . . especially when he calls in a favor she can’t refuse.

THE HALF MOON

By: Mary Beth Keane

Published: May 2, 2023

Publisher: Scribner

Fiction

Format: Hardcover

I also chose this in my Book of the Month box. I love a good small-town story and the author’s previous book, ASK AGAIN, YES is also sitting on my shelf waiting to be read.

Malcolm Gephardt, handsome and gregarious longtime bartender at the Half Moon, has always dreamed of owning a bar. When his boss finally retires, Malcolm stretches to buy the place. He sees unquantifiable magic and potential in the Half Moon and hopes to transform it into a bigger success, but struggles to stay afloat.

His smart and confident wife, Jess, has devoted herself to her law career. After years of trying for a baby, she is facing the idea that motherhood may not be in the cards for her. Like Malcolm, she feels her youth beginning to slip away and wonders how to reshape her future.

Award-winning author Mary Beth Keane’s new novel takes place over the course of one week when Malcolm learns shocking news about Jess, a patron of the bar goes missing, and a blizzard hits the town of Gillam, trapping everyone in place. With a deft eye and generous spirit, Keane explores the disappointments and unexpected consolations of midlife, the many forms forgiveness can take, the complicated intimacy of small-town living, and what it means to be a family.

THE COLLECTED REGRETS OF CLOVER

By: Mikki Brammer

Published: May 9, 2023

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Fiction

Format: Hardcover

My final choice from my Book of the Month box really intrigued me.

From the day she watched her kindergarten teacher drop dead during a dramatic telling of Peter Rabbit, Clover Brooks has felt a stronger connection with the dying than she has with the living. After the beloved grandfather who raised her dies alone while she is traveling, Clover becomes a death doula in New York City, dedicating her life to ushering people peacefully through their end-of-life process.

Clover spends so much time with the dying that she has no life of her own, until the final wishes of a feisty old woman send Clover on a trip across the country to uncover a forgotten love story––and perhaps, her own happy ending. As she finds herself struggling to navigate the uncharted roads of romance and friendship, Clover is forced to examine what she really wants, and whether she’ll have the courage to go after it.

GOLDEN HILLS

A Short Story

By: Jennifer Weiner

Published: June 1, 2023

Publisher: Amazon Original Stories

Fiction

Format: eBook through Amazon

This was part of the FREE Amazon Prime books in May. I love a good short story and at just 53 pages, you could read this one in an evening. Plus, it’s written by the popular Jennifer Weiner.

Senatorial favorite Ida Berkowitz is headed for a win. Raised by a hardworking widowed mother, she’s authentic, relatable, and down-to-earth. Voters love her. Polls promise victory. Then her campaign manager utters four awful words: Who is Marissa Schuyler? She had almost managed to forget. Ida’s bunkmate at Camp Golden Hills when they were girls, Marissa was confident, sophisticated, and wealthy. Everything Ida wasn’t. Now the polished wife of a major conservative donor, Marissa’s announced a press conference. About Ida.

Just like that, Ida’s old insecurities come rushing in. So do new feelings of dread. After all these years, she knows what’s on Marissa’s mind. It could undermine everything Ida’s worked for. Because it isn’t very pretty.

IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL

My Story

By: Reverend Barbara Rose Furman

Published: April 29, 2023

Publisher: Xulon Press

Christian Memoir

Format: eBook through Amazon

I purchased this eBook because I know the author personally. She is a close friend of the family and I was interested in reading her story. I knew some of her struggles with her faith and how she became a minister, but I didn’t know everything. This is a quick read if you are looking for an inspirational story.

A Story of God’s Unconditional Love With joy and confidence taken from her at a young age, she wondered if Jesus loved her. Hurt became her closest friend. Convinced she was an outcast and wouldn’t amount to anything, she quit trying to fit in– and lost all hope of having a fulfilling life.

As a teenager, she rebelled against authority and societal norms. She struggled with low self-esteem, alcohol abuse, and fear of speaking. At age eighteen, Furman married her husband Jim. Within their first three years, they had three children. Life became overwhelming. A horrific accident and two failed marriages deepened her sense of confusion and unworthiness. She divorced Jim twice, but he felt called to pray for her and wait for her to come home. As a result, he committed to love her the way Jesus loves her–unconditionally.

THE PRINCESS

Royal Outsiders #3

By: Wendy Holden

Published: August 1, 2023

Publisher: Berkley

Historical Fiction

Format: eBook through Netgalley

If you like to read a whole series, THE ROYAL GOVERNESS and THE DUCHESS are the books that round out the Royal Outsiders series. I actually was reminded I have THE ROYAL GOVERNESS on my Kindle as well. I love anything about Princess Diana so I was excited to see this one coming out in August.

Britain, 1961: A bouncing blond baby is born to Viscount Althorp, heir to the Spencer earldom, and his wife Frances. Diana grows up amid the fallout of her parents’ messy divorce. She struggles at school. Moving to London, she takes menial jobs as a cleaner and nanny. Her refuge throughout is romantic novels. She dreams of falling in love and being rescued by a handsome prince.

In royal circles, there is concern about the Prince of Wales. Nearly 30, Charles remains unmarried; the right girl needs to be found, and fast. She must be young, aristocratic and come to the royal family without any past liaisons.

The eighteen-year-old Diana Spencer is just about the only candidate. Her desperation to be loved dovetails perfectly with royal desperation for a bride. But as the ruthless Palace machine starts up, there are challenges for Diana to face plus mysteries she can’t fathom, from the strangeness of life within the palace walls to a certain Mrs. Parker Bowles. Can her romantic dream survive the forces that shape her into a global icon?

CHILDREN’S FICTION AND NON-FICTION

SKY ROPES

By: Sondra Soderborg

Published: July 11, 2023

Publisher: Chronicle Kids

Middle-Grade Fiction

Format: Hardcover

This was compared to THE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE which I loved.

Breanna is certain of a few things: She is strong, tough, and the greatest prankster in her entire district. She doesn’t need to meet new people, not when she already has amazing friends like Pascale and Niraj.

And she WILL NOT be ascending Sky Ropes—the highest ropes course in the state—at her school’s required teambuilding camp. No, she’s not afraid of heights!

Breanna is determined to get through the week of camp as quickly as possible, while planning the most epic prank and avoiding even thinking of the Sky Ropes. And as the week progresses, Breanna can’t help loving her time in nature, fostering a rivalry with the other competitive softball pitcher, and bonding with the other kids. But as much as she likes to pretend that she isn’t afraid of anything, Breanna knows that, come Friday, she will have to face the Sky Ropes—and with it, the fear deeply tied to memories of her father’s abuse that she has been fighting to push away.

Emotionally rich and tumultuously paced, Sondra Soderborg’s debut novel is a story about opening yourself up to new possibilities, understanding what it means to be a true friend, encountering the most difficult truths about your own self, and finding self-acceptance within darkness.

DON’T TRUST THE CAT

By: Kristen Tracy

Published: July 25, 2023

Publisher: Chronicle Kids

Middle-Grade Fiction

Format: Hardcover

Since our daughter was in Freaky Friday the musical, this grabbed my attention. Plus, I’m always up for a good cat story. Kristen Tracy also wrote the board books, A CUB STORY and A KIT STORY which I loved.

WHAT IF YOU SWITCHED PLACES WITH YOUR CAT? Mean Girls meets Freaky Friday in this laugh-out-loud story about self-acceptance, learning who your friends are, and coming of age . . . as a cat.

Fifth-grader Poppy McBean likes rules and order. She’s a follower, and she’s totally okay with that. And if you judge her for that, she’s okay with that too! But after falling prey to her friends’ bullying one too many times, Poppy makes a wish to be happy—and it comes true in a very unexpected She wakes up in the body of her cat, Mitten Man.

Mayhem ensues as Poppy-the-girl attempts to navigate the wilds of the wilderness as a cat . . . and her free-thinking, groundbreaking kitty has had it with his owner’s timidity. He’s out to put the purr in perfectionist and take over middle school—as Poppy.

Hilarious and unexpected, Don’t Trust the Cat is a coming-of-age adventure that will keep readers cringing, cracking up, and reconsidering what it means to be a good person.

A DIVE INTO THE BLUE

By: Ellie Huynh

Illustrated by: Bao Luu

Published: May 23, 2023

Publisher: Beaming Books

Fiction

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

A perfect summer read if your child is scared of the diving board at the pool.

As a small girl stands at the edge of a diving board, she fears the drain at the bottom of the pool will swallow her up. Determined to learn how to dive, she musters up her courage by imagining other possibilities of what she might find under the surface, like mermaid mazes and lantern fish.

Through lyrical text and enchanting illustrations, A Dive into the Blue explores a child’s imagination as she learns to overcome her fears. Believing in herself, and not the shadows in the water, might be just what she needs to take the leap.

BOOP!

By: Bea Birdsong

Illustrated by: Linzie Hunter

Published: June 20, 2023

Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books

Fiction

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

This is such a fun, interactive read-aloud!

This is a snoot. Snoots need boops. A boop is a pat. A gentle tap. Get your finger ready and . . . BOOP! There are so many snoots to boop! Snoots attached to big dogs and little dogs and dogs with beards and those without. Are you ready to boop ALL the snoots? With interactive illustrations by Linzie Hunter ( What If, Pig? ), this charming, playful, fun, and interactive picture book from Bea Birdsong invites kids to boop all the snoots they see. Perfect for dog lovers of all ages and fans of  Press Here  and  Tap the Magic Tree.

MARKER

By: Anna Kang

Illustrated by: Christopher Weyant

Published: June 20, 2023

Publisher: Two Lions

Fiction

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

I loved ERASER by Kang/Weyant. Grab a box of new markers and this book and gift it to your child’s teacher this fall!

Set in the world of the award-winning Eraser, a story about finding your courage and learning that it’s OK to fail when you try your best. Marker is one of the teacher’s go-to school supplies. Her work is tip-top, and she always makes a lasting impression. That is, until Pinking Shears, a.k.a. Pink, arrives and dazzles everyone with her sharp creations. No longer the star of the desk, Marker begins to make mistakes. The trouble is, they can’t just be erased; her work is permanent, and she’s not allowed to fail. Or so she thinks…until a realization helps her rediscover her Marker magic.

DANCING HANDS

A Story of Friendship in Filipino Sign Language

By: Joanna Que and Charina Marquez

Illustrated by: Fran Alvarez

Translated by: Karen Llagas

Published: July 18, 2023

Publisher: Chronicle Kids

Fiction

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

Originally published in the Phillippines, this beautiful story shares a friendship between two girls who learn to communicate with each other.

Sam’s new neighbors’ hands make graceful movements she doesn’t recognize, and she wonders what they are saying. Soon she meets her new neighbor, Mai, who teaches Sam some Filipino Sign Language. Along the way, they both discover the joys of making a new friend, a best friend.

INVISIBLE THINGS

By: Andy J. Pizza and Sophie Miller

Published: July 18, 2023

Publisher: Chronicle Kids

Non-Fiction

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

I love books that help kids describe their feelings or emotions. This is a neat one!

If we could put on a pair of magical invisible glasses and see all the feelings, ideas, and other invisible things that populate our world, what would they look like? Could you see an itch? Could you describe hope? From the sound of a dog barking to the rainbow-MAGIC taste of a lollipop, from gratitude to grit, this book will help you meet the many interesting sensations that follow you every day, even if you can’t see them.

Explore the way a sad song can sometimes make you happy and discover that laughs—even fake ones—can multiply faster than you’d imagine. As readers give these unknown forces a name, they’ll also find a gentle invitation to pause, take a deep breath, and reflect on the invisible things at work in their own lives. 

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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1 Comment

  1. Sondra Soderborg on October 13, 2023 at 8:23 pm

    Thanks for including Sky Ropes in your blog. It’s a wonderful thing to do for a debut novel!

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