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. Adult fiction and nonfiction as well as middle-grade fiction, and picture books are included in the books that came my way in September 2023.

Family and Life Update

ISU vs UNI tailgating

Life is a lot different now without any kids at home. We have started to do some things we never had the time to do due to our kids’ various activities including attending the Iowa State vs. University of Northern Iowa football game. It was a HOT day and I even ended up with a touch of heat stroke, but it was a fun day.

family photo

We had all the kids together for about 6 hours while we attended a dear friend’s wedding. It will only get more difficult to have all of us together so I cherish every moment.

UNI tailgating

We enjoyed cheering on the UNI Panthers again this time for Family Weekend. Tailgating with friends, solid family time with two of our kids, and a Panther win made for a fun weekend!

Iowa sunset

I noticed as I relived the last month, I didn’t take nearly as many photos as I used to. I guess I have to start taking more sunset photos and maybe more photos of our cat! We are blessed to see amazing sunsets out our back windows and this one was a winner!

Now on to the books! 

In September, I read 5 books! I imagined an empty nest life to be full of quiet evenings on the couch with a book. But, I haven’t even had really one evening like that. I feel like our empty nest life is just as busy as our life with kids in activities. Sill I’m happy with 5 books read. Two of the books were audiobooks and I also read three physical books. I also finished Dear Edward on Apple TV. I really enjoyed it and was a sobbing mess during the final episode. I’ve added the audiobook to my Libby holds because I’m curious how closely it followed the book, especially since one of the books I read this month is Napalitano’s book, HELLO BEAUTIFUL. Stay tuned to my Quick Lit post on Monday the 16th for my thoughts on that book.


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

Adult fiction books

THE RIVER WE REMEMBER

By: William Kent Krueger

Published: September 5, 2023

Publisher: Atria Books

Historical Fiction

Format: Hardcover

This was my Book of the Month choice. I have loved all of Krueger’s stand-alone books. I can’t wait to sink into this new one.

On Memorial Day, as the people of Jewel, Minnesota gather to remember and honor the sacrifice of so many sons in the wars of the past, the half-clothed body of wealthy landowner Jimmy Quinn is found floating in the Alabaster River, dead from a shotgun blast. Investigation of the murder falls to Sheriff Brody Dern, a highly decorated war hero who still carries the physical and emotional scars from his military service. Even before Dern has the results of the autopsy, vicious rumors begin to circulate that the killer must be Noah Bluestone, a Native American WWII veteran who has recently returned to Jewel with a Japanese wife. As suspicions and accusations mount and the town teeters on the edge of more violence, Dern struggles not only to find the truth of Quinn’s murder but also put to rest the demons from his own past.

Caught up in the torrent of anger that sweeps through Jewel are a war widow and her adolescent son, the intrepid publisher of the local newspaper, an aging deputy, and a crusading female lawyer, all of whom struggle with their own tragic histories and harbor secrets that Quinn’s death threatens to expose.

Both a complex, spellbinding mystery and a masterful portrait of midcentury American life, The River We Remember is an unflinching look at the wounds left by the wars we fight abroad and at home, a moving exploration of the ways in which we seek to heal, and a testament to the enduring power of the stories we tell about the places we call home.

THE HAPPIEST MAN ON EARTH

The Beautiful Life of an Auschwitz Survivor

By: Eddie Jaku

Published: May 4, 2021

Publisher: Harper

Memoir

Format: eBook purchase through Amazon

I chose this with some Kindle Credits so I was able to get it for free. It’s been on my to-read list and hope to read it soon.

Eddie Jaku always considered himself a German first, a Jew second. He was proud of his country. But all of that changed in November 1938, when he was beaten, arrested and taken to a concentration camp.

Over the next seven years, Eddie faced unimaginable horrors every day, first in Buchenwald, then in Auschwitz, then on a Nazi death march. He lost family, friends, his country.

Because he survived, Eddie made the vow to smile every day. He pays tribute to those who were lost by telling his story, sharing his wisdom and living his best possible life. He now believes he is the ‘happiest man on earth’.

Published as Eddie turns 100, this is a powerful, heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful memoir of how happiness can be found even in the darkest of times.

Children’s Fiction and Non-Fiction

Children's Books

DEATH & SPARKLES AND THE SACRED GOLDEN CUPCAKE

Book 2

By: Rob Justus

Published: November 28, 2023

Publisher: Chronicle Kids

Middle-Grade Graphic Novel

Format: Paperback

I have read Book 1 and have been waiting for Book 2 to arrive to share my thoughts on this silly graphic novel series for middle-grade readers about an unlikely friendship.

Death and Sparkles never imagined they would become besties for life . . . or rather, death. And they didn’t expect to get pulled into another wild adventure so soon. But when Sparkles’s horn begins to glow mysteriously and the pair discovers a message left by his unicorn parents, Death reluctantly follows Sparkles on a search to find out what it all means.

Sparkles is 100 percent sure the answer will be revealed through some hard-hitting, epic dance moves. Death wants to make sure there is minimal collateral damage. With nothing but golden cupcake bling as their compass, they embark on a journey into the depths of the sewers.

Wacky chaos ensues once again for the BFFs in this continuation to the Death & Sparkles book series as a unicorn, a grim reaper, and a group of vengeance-driven mole men hoping to steal Sparkles’s golden cupcake face off!

THE LIGHT WITHIN YOU

By: Namita Moolani Mehra

Illustrated by: Kamala Nair

Published: September 26, 2023

Publisher: Two Lions

Fiction

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

I have already shared this review, HERE.

Diya is excited to be going to India for Diwali, the Festival of Lights. That means she’ll get to spend time with Nani, her beloved grandma, who she hasn’t seen since her family moved from India. Now India is 7,850 miles away…

Once Diya arrives in India, she immediately feels at home with Nani. Together they go shopping at the bazaar and prepare for the festival. As Diya and Nani celebrate Diwali together, Diya’s heart soars. But all too soon, her trip will come to an end. Is there a way for Diya to take some of the light and magic of Diwali with her when she leaves?

IS THIS LOVE?

A Family Story Based on the Song by Bob Marley

By: Cedella Marley

Illustrated by: Alea Marley

Published: November 21, 2023

Publisher: Chronicle Kids

Fiction

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

This is the second book I’ve received written by Bob Marley’s daughter and based on one of his songs. I also shared GET UP, STAND UP with you in March.

Is this love?
Is this love that I’m feeling?

Bob Marley’s music has captured the hearts and souls of families around the world. This sweet adaptation of one of his best loved songs is a heartwarming tale of an older child’s love for a younger sibling.

From the moment she sees her baby sister, big sister knows just what she’s going to love her and treat her right, every day and every night. Playing together, watching over her, standing by her through thick and thin . . . big sister does it all, because yes, this is love that she’s feeling.
Adapted by Cedella Marley, Bob Marley’s eldest child, and exuberantly illustrated by Alea Marley, Is This Love is a joyful ode to the unshakeable love shared by all those who call one another family.

JHUPLI’S HONEY BEE BOX

By: Achintyarup Ray

Illustrated by: Shivam Choudhary

Published: October 24, 2023

Publisher: Amazon Crossing Kids

Fiction

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

This is such a beautiful story of another culture, of the joy of gathering honey, and the love between a father and daughter.

A girl’s love for her dad shines in this exquisitely illustrated story about the honey gatherers of the Sundarbans. Where is Baba? Why isn’t he back yet? Jhupli is restless as evening sets in. Her father, Baba, has gone into the dense jungle to gather honey, and she’s worried. There are tigers in there―and sometimes people go into the jungle and don’t come back out. Jhupli wonders, Why must Baba be in danger every day? Then Jhupli has an idea, one that might help keep her father and other honey gatherers honey bee boxes! In this striking picture book first published in India, gorgeous artwork brings to life the magnificent Sundarbans region, a place as menacing as it is beautiful, and highlights the love between a resourceful young girl and her dad.

WILLOW AND BUNNY

By: Anitra Rowe Schulte

Illustrated by: Christopher Denise

Published: October 10, 2023

Publisher: Two Lions

Fiction

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

I previously shared this book by Anitra Rowe Schulte about a girl with Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome who wants to dance with her daddy. In this book, the author tackles another tough topic.

Bunny needs a new home. After a long journey, he meets Willow and knows he will be safe beneath her branches. Every day is theirs to share. Just Bunny and Willow, Willow and Bunny. Then, one evening, an angry spiral whips through the wood. Every creature in the forest runs to Willow for shelter. As the storm rages, Willow shields and protects them with all her might. But when the calm returns, Willow’s beautiful branches are tattered, twisted, and forever changed. Bunny and the other creatures know it is their turn to help. This beautifully told tale by a Christopher Award–winning author and a Caldecott Honor artist offers messages of friendship, community, and hope after a difficult experience.

BEULAH HAS A HUNCH!

Inside the Colorful Mind of Master Inventor Beulah Louise Henry

By: Katie Mazeika

Published: October 17, 2023

Publisher: Beach Lane Books

Biography

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

I have been loving these biography picture books about people from our history that even I really knew nothing about. Plus, they are such an inspiration for kids who might want to be like them. Mazeika also shared Annette Kellerman’s story in this book.

Growing up in the 1890s, when Beulah Louise Henry spotted a problem, she had to find a solution, turning it around and around in her mind until…aha! She had a hunch—what she called the inventions she came up with to solve the puzzles she saw all around her.

Beulah’s brain worked differently. She had hyperphantasia, which meant she saw things in extreme detail in her mind, as well as synesthesia, which caused words and numbers and even music notes to show up as different colors in her brain. Beulah’s unique way of seeing the world helped her think up vivid solutions to problems—her hunches came to her fully formed with gears whirring and wheels spinning. She invented everything from a new and improved parasol to cuddly stuffed animals and from ice cream makers to factory machinery. Beulah’s inventions improved daily life in lots of ways, earning her the nickname “Lady Edison,” and she became one of the most prolific inventors in American history.

TINY JUMPER

How Tiny Broadwick Created the Parachute Rip Cord

By: Candy Dahl

Illustrated by: Maithili Joshi

Published: October 10, 2023

Publisher: little bee books

Biography

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

Another great biography about an important woman in our history.

This thrilling biography tells the story of Tiny Broadwick, the first woman to ever parachute from a plane and the inventor of the parachute rip cord, and how her determination, courage, adventurousness, and joy in doing what she loved lifted her up to stand as tall as a pioneer in flight.

The crack of a pistol shattered the silence-
Tiny’s signal to jump.
Her hands trembled as she cut her parachute away from the balloon.

Tiny Broadwick, a teeny, uneducated mill girl, had big dreams of soaring above the earth, out of poverty, and above expectations. She became the first woman to parachute from an airplane, and her idea for the rip cord paved the way for pilots to safely escape in-flight emergencies.

This thrilling biography shows how Tiny’s determination, courage, adventurousness, and joy lifted her up to stand tall as a pioneer in flight.

THE STORY OF PASTA AND HOW TO COOK IT!

By: Steven Guarnaccia

Published: October 5, 2023

Publisher: Phaidon

Non-Fiction

Format: Hardcover Cook Book

A fun cookbook for kids!

A playful, fact-filled exploration of the fascinating history of 35 famous pasta shapes with a delicious, child-friendly recipe perfectly suited to each shape In this ultimate book of pasta for children ages 7–11, 35 pasta shapes are brought to life through clever illustrations and fascinating facts to feed children’s imaginations – and their bellies! From farfalle, which means ‘butterflies’ in Italian, to linguine, meaning ‘little tongues,’ different types of pasta have wonderfully playful shapes, names, and origin stories! Each pasta is accompanied by a simple recipe specially suited to its shape. The result is an entertaining, engaging, fact-filled, scrumptious offering for every child interested in cooking and eating – a fresh and joyful introduction to pasta, that is a fun-filled cookery book … and more!

SUPERPOWERED ANIMALS

Meet the World’s Strongest, Smartest, and Swiftest Creatures

By: Soledad Romero Mariño

Illustrated by: Sonia Pulido

Published: October 5, 2023

Publisher: Phaidon

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

Oh my gosh, kids are going to love this one about some of the coolest animals on the planet. Sonia Pulido was also the amazing illustrator of this book.

Inspired by books of world records, children are invited to learn fascinating facts about 22 of the most incredible animals on Earth Over thousands of years of evolution, certain animals have become masters of survival. They are capable of exceptional abilities, from perceiving sounds and smells that humans can’t detect, to creating powerful chemical formulas

Which one (or two or three) of these books that came my way in September 2023 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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