Stacie Gorkow holding Books

This is my monthly roundup of books that I added to my shelves in the last month. Some of the books came directly from authors or publishers, others were a purchase or a gift. You’ll find books from all kinds of genres including adult and children’s books. I’ll even share a few things from our family’s life in the last month as well.

Family and Life Update

My two closest cousins and I

We had our first family Christmas of the year in November. My mom’s sisters and their kids and grandkids that can come get together at a lodge and stay for the weekend. It is one of my favorite weekends of the whole year. This was the first year without my Aunt Cynthia as she died unexpectedly just after our Christmas last year. It sure was different not hearing her laughter or talking books with her. But being with family from near and far is the best part.

I didn’t take a single picture at our Thanksgiving, but it was nice to have all 6 of us together for a few hours. Plus having Reagan home for a whole week was a treat. I’m so looking forward to Christmas break with her.

Pat and I celebrated our small town’s Christmas kick-off and the lighting of the decorations on Main Street. We took this quick photo at one of the shops downtown. I just love our little town.

Now on to the books! 

In November, I read 8 books! Three books were on audio, four of the books were physical copies and I read one eBook. I’m still watching the newest season of The Great British Baking Show as well as Lessons in Chemistry. Survivor is getting close to the finale and I’m loving every minute of it. I have my favorites and I hope one of them wins.


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.

November 2023 Adult Fiction and Non-Fiction

Adult Non-Fiction and Fiction

A YELLOW HOUSE IN THE MOUNTAINS

A Story of Love and Refinement

By: Glenn Hileman

Published: February 23, 2024

Publisher: Glh2 Holdings LLC 

Non-Fiction/Memoir

Format: Paperback for review

I’m drawn to stories from the wildfires since my cousin’s husband travels all over to fight them. I can’t imagine watching a fire coming toward your home and there is nothing you can do to stop it.

Lyle is a struggling teenager with low self-esteem. His poor decisions reinforce his reputation as a troublemaker. Marylin arrives at a new high school and navigates the challenge of fitting in. When Lyle sets his eyes on the new girl at school, he is smitten. He is determined to win Marylin’s affection. Eventually, Lyle convinces Marylin to give him a shot, and a relationship follows. Their story together is filled with obstacles, but their commitment to one another provides the foundation for a lifetime of happiness. Together, they dream of a family and a destination to gather friends and loved ones. Against all odds, they secure both. A Yellow House In The Mountains is a story of overcoming adversity. Lyle and Marylin lean on each other to build a legacy never to be forgotten. Challenges come early and often, yet, their determination and faith push them forward in pursuing their dreams. The events of October 21, 2020, were historical and costly. By the end of the day, more than 193,000 acres and more than 400 homes were consumed in the East Troublesome Fire , Colorado’s fastest-moving fire in history. Lyle and Marylin understood living in their mountain paradise had risks. How would they prepare? What actions could they take? Did their preparations make a difference when the fire arrived on their doorstep? Their approach to the oncoming fire was consistent with their approach to other challenges in their lives…they faced it together.

FOOD BABE KITCHEN

More than 100 Delicious Real Food Recipes to Change Your Body and Your Life

By: Vani Hari

Published: October 20, 2020 (Paperback March 14, 2023)

Publisher: Hay House, Inc

Non-Fiction/Cookbook

Format: eBook through Amazon

This went on Kindle Deal and I ended up getting it for free with my digital credits. My sister-in-law recommended her books to me so I’m anxious to check out her recipes. I use a lot of her Truvani products already.

New York Times best-selling author and revolutionary food activist Vani Hari offers an array of quick, easy, REAL food recipes that make cooking fun, healthy, and delicious. This book will inspire you to take control of your health and ditch processed foods for good.

Get ready to ditch processed foods for good, and eat the cleanest, healthiest food on the planet!
With more than 100 mouthwatering recipes-from Biscuits with Whipped Honey Butter to Baja Fish Tacos, Grapefruit Goddess Salad, Luscious Lemon Bars, and even Homemade Doritos-the Food Babe Kitchen will show readers how delicious and simple it is to eat healthy, easy, real food.

Food Babe Kitchen shows you how to shop for the healthiest ingredients by breaking down every aisle in the grocery store with expert label-reading tips and simple swaps, plus a handy meal-planning guide and pantry list to stock your kitchen for success.

Eat healthfully, close to the earth, with the best ingredients that you choose, so when you sit down to enjoy a delicious meal you know what you are eating, and you haven’t spent all day in the kitchen!

Easy-to-follow directions, eye-catching photography, and simple substitutions to accommodate vegan, dairy-free, grain-free, and other diets, make this the ultimate guide to getting back into the kitchen to create healthful meals for yourself and those you love.

Getting off processed food has never been easier-or more delicious.

THE RAGAMUFFIN GOSPEL

By: Brennan Manning

Published: June 28, 2005

Publisher: Multnomah

Christian Non-Fiction

Format: Paperback

At our family Christmas we have a book swap. I’m usually the one who brings a lot of the books, but I actually brought two home this year, including this one that I’ve heard a lot about over the years.

Many believers feel stunted in their Christian growth. We beat ourselves up over our failures and, in the process, pull away from God because we subconsciously believe He tallies our defects and hangs His head in disappointment. In this newly repackaged edition–now with full appendix, study questions, and the author’s own epilogue, “”Ragamuffin” Ten Years Later,” Brennan Manning reminds us that nothing could be further from the truth. The Father beckons us to Himself with a “furious love” that burns brightly and constantly. Only when we truly embrace God’s grace can we bask in the joy of a gospel that enfolds the most needy of His flock–the “ragamuffins.”

Are you bedraggled, beat-up, burnt-out?

Most of us believe in God’s grace–in theory. But somehow we can’t seem to apply it in our daily lives. We continue to see Him as a small-minded bookkeeper, tallying our failures and successes on a score sheet.

Yet God gives us His grace, willingly, no matter what we’ve done. We come to Him as ragamuffins–dirty, bedraggled, and beat-up. And when we sit at His feet, He smiles upon us, the chosen objects of His “furious love.”

Brennan Manning ‘s now-classic meditation on grace and what it takes to access it–simple honesty–has changed thousands of lives. Now with a Ragamuffin’s thirty-day spiritual journey guide, it will change yours, too.

LITTLE HEATHENS

Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression

By: Mildred Armstrong Kalish

Published: May 29, 2007

Publisher: Bantam

Non-Fiction/Memoir

Format: Hardcover

I read this years ago since I live just a few miles from the farm Mildred lived on. This is the second book I brought home from the book swap. Even though I’d already read it, I didn’t have my copy anymore and wanted to be able to read it again and access some of the recipes she included in it.

I tell of a time, a place, and a way of life long gone. For many years I have had the urge to describe that treasure trove, lest it vanish forever. So, partly in response to the basic human instinct to share feelings and experiences, and partly for the sheer joy and excitement of it all, I report on my early life. It was quite a romp.

So begins Mildred Kalish’s story of growing up on her grandparents’ Iowa farm during the depths of the Great Depression. With her father banished from the household for mysterious transgressions, five-year-old Mildred and her family could easily have been overwhelmed by the challenge of simply trying to survive. This, however, is not a tale of suffering.

Kalish counts herself among the lucky of that era. She had caring grandparents who possessed—and valiantly tried to impose—all the pioneer virtues of their forebears, teachers who inspired and befriended her, and a barnyard full of animals ready to be tamed and loved. She and her siblings and their cousins from the farm across the way played as hard as they worked, running barefoot through the fields, as free and wild as they dared.

Filled with recipes and how-tos for everything from catching and skinning a rabbit to preparing homemade skin and hair beautifiers, apple cream pie, and the world’s best head cheese (start by scrubbing the head of the pig until it is pink and clean), Little Heathens portrays a world of hardship and hard work tempered by simple rewards. There was the unsurpassed flavor of tender new dandelion greens harvested as soon as the snow melted; the taste of crystal clear marble-sized balls of honey robbed from a bumblebee nest; the sweet smell from the body of a lamb sleeping on sun-warmed grass; and the magical quality of oat shocking under the light of a full harvest moon.

Little Heathens offers a loving but realistic portrait of a “hearty-handshake Methodist” family that gave its members a remarkable legacy of kinship, kindness, and remembered pleasures. Recounted in a luminous narrative filled with tenderness and humor, Kalish’s memoir of her childhood shows how the right stuff can make even the bleakest of times seem like “quite a romp.”

DOLLY PARTON: BEHIND THE SEAMS

My Life in Rhinestones

By: Dolly Parton

Published: October 17, 2023

Publisher: Ten Speed Press

Non-Fiction/Memoir

Format: Hardcover

I’m a huge Dolly Parton fan and have been since childhood. I also have her book, DOLLY PARTON, STORYTELLER: MY LIFE IN LYRICS, and have loved reading through that one this one is also oversized and full of photos which I love. I used a Buy 2 Get 1 Free Deal to get this one.

A beautiful celebration of Dolly Parton’s iconic sense of style through entertaining personal stories and 450 full-color photographs, including exclusive images from her private costume archive

In Behind the My Life in Rhinestones, global superstar Dolly Parton shares, for the first time, the full story behind her lifelong passion for fashion, including how she developed her own, distinctly Dolly style, which has defied convention and endeared her to fans around the world.

Featuring behind-the-scenes stories from Dolly Parton’s life and career, and the largest reveal of her private costume archive, this gorgeously photographed book spotlights her most unforgettable looks from the 1960s to now. The sky-high heels, famous wigs, bold makeup, eye-catching stage clothes—she shares them all. Along the way, Parton discusses memorable outfits from her past, from the clothes her mother would sew out of feed sacks (including her “Coat of Many Colors”) and the bold dresses and hairdos that shook up Nashville, to the bunny suit on the cover of Playboy, evening wear at Studio 54, costumes from her most famous film and TV roles, and the daring styles that continue to entertain and inspire today. 

Filled with candor, humor, and lots and lots of rhinestones, Behind the My Life in Rhinestones is a shining tribute to one of the most beloved musicians in history, a treasured keepsake for anyone who loves Dolly Parton, and an indispensable guide to forging your own path to beauty and confidence.

THE PIONEER WOMAN COOKS – DINNER’S READY!

112 Fast and Fabulous Recipes for Slightly Impatient Home Cooks

By: Ree Drummond

Published: October 24, 2023

Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks

Non-Fiction/Cookbook

Format: Hardcover

I think I now have the whole collection of The Pioneer Woman’s cookbooks. I love her style of cooking and can’t wait to read through this one. I bought it as part of the Buy 2 Get 1 Free Deal.

The #1 New York Times bestselling author and Food Network favorite The Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond returns with an exciting new cookbook filled with no-fuss family recipes for dinners, desserts, and more. Cook smarter, not harder! After seventeen years of sharing recipes in my cookbooks, on my website, and on my cooking show, I still absolutely love cooking! That said, while I enjoy making a slow-cooked meat sauce or long-braised pork roast, life is just too busy these days to devote that much time to getting dinner on the table day after day. Heck, even if I have the time to whip up a complicated recipe, for some reason I just don’t seem to have the patience. If you find yourself in the same dinner boat, here’s a collection of flavorful and fast recipes to breathe speedy new scrumptiousness into your cooking.

In  The Pioneer Woman Cooks—Dinner’s Ready!  you’ll find lots of new dishes to fit your schedule, whether you’re in a hurry to get supper made or simply want to get out of the kitchen quicker to spend time doing other things you enjoy (even if that’s curling up in front of the TV for the night)! Every occasion is covered, from hosting company, with my mom’s Seafood Casserole from the ’70s and Pork Marsala with Mushrooms, to pizza night, with my classic Cast-Iron Hamburger Pizza and gorgeous Rainbow Pizza, to teenager-friendly fun food like Pretzel Dogs and Pickle Chicken Bites. You’ll also enjoy tasty new pasta dishes, chicken dinners, and fuss-free sides like Crispy Parmesan Potatoes and Pimento Cheese Grits, as well as delicious desserts like Blackberry Lime Whip and Chuckwagon Brownies. As a delicious bonus, there’s a whole chapter of easy-to-make Fridge Grabs—from Refrigerator Pickles to Garlic Confit—that are great to have on hand for adding even more flavor and zip to the recipes! These low-stress, fuss-free, big-on-flavor recipes are sure to be new family faves. You’ll be able to holler “Dinner’s ready!” faster than ever.

BAKING YESTERYEAR

The Best Recipes for the 1900s to the 1980s

By: B. Dylan Hollis

Published: July 25, 2023

Publisher: DK Publishing

Non-Fiction/Cookbook

Format: Hardcover

I love old-fashioned recipes and knew I wanted to own this cookbook. I snagged it as part of a Buy 2 Get One Free Deal.

A decade-by-decade cookbook that highlights the best (and a few of the worst) baking recipes from the 20th century

Friends of baking, are you sick and tired of making the same recipes again and again? Then look no further than this baking blast from the past, as B. Dylan Hollis highlights the most unique tasty treats of yesteryear.

Travel back in time on a delicious decade-by-decade jaunt as Dylan shows you how to bake vintage forgotten greats. With a big pinch of fun and a full cup of humor, you’ll be baking everything from Chocolate Potato Cake from the 1910s to Avocado Pie from the 1960s.

Dylan has baked hundreds of recipes from countless antique cookbooks and selected only the best for this bakebook, sharing the shining stars from each decade. And because some of the recipes Dylan shares on his wildly popular social media channels are spectacular failures, he’s thrown in a few of the most disastrously strange recipes for you to try if you dare.

CELEBRATE WITH BABS

Holiday Recipes & Family Traditions

By: Barbara Costello

Published: April 12, 2022

Publisher: DK Publishing

Non-Fiction/Cookbook

Format: Hardcover

If you are on social media, you have likely seen a video of Babs offering advice about hosting a holiday dinner, how to get a stain out, or how to have fun with your grandkids. She is a delight on the screen and I was thrilled to purchase her cookbook on a Buy 2 get 1 Free Deal.

It only takes two years to start a tradition! From New Year’s Day to Christmas and every holiday in between, your adopted grandmother Babs shares all of the holiday recipes and motherly advice you need to make every celebration special.

With menus for festive moments throughout the whole year, you’ll always know what to serve. Babs bestows upon you 100 of her family-favorite recipes—passed down from family and friends through the generations, recorded on tattered and torn recipe cards, and all stored in her old wooden recipe box. She also shares the holiday traditions her family has grown to love so you can pass them down to your family, too, and elevate all of life’s gatherings into memorable occasions.

From little party hacks and entertaining tips, hosting the holidays will become less stressful and more meaningful. Celebrate with Babs will insert itself at the center of all of your gatherings for generations.

A WILD AND HEAVENLY PLACE

By: Robin Oliveira

Published: February 13, 2024

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s & Sons

Historical Fiction

Format: eBook for review

I just thought this sounded like a beautiful story.

How far would you go? How much would you risk?

Hailey MacIntyre seems conjured from the depths of Samuel Fiddes’s loneliness. Caring for his young sister in the tenements of Glasgow, Scotland, Samuel has known only hunger, while Hailey has never known want. Yet, when Samuel saves Hailey’s brother from a runaway carriage, their connection is undeniable.

Through secret meetings and stolen moments, their improbable love grows. But then the City of Glasgow Bank fails, and Hailey’s bankrupt father impulsively moves their family across the globe to Seattle, a city rumored to have coal in its hills and easy money for anyone willing to work for it.

Samuel is haunted by Hailey’s parting Remember, Washington Territory. Armed only with his wits, he determines to follow her, leaving behind everything he has ever known in search of Hailey and the chance of a better life for his sister. But the fledgling town barely cut out of the wilderness holds its own secrets and will test them all in ways unimaginable.

Poignant and lyrical, A Wild and Heavenly Place is an ode to the Pacific Northwest, to those courageous enough to chase the American Dream, and to a love so powerful it endures beyond distance, beyond hope.

THE YELLOW WIFE

by: Sadequa Johnson

Published: January 12, 2021

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Historical Fiction

Format: eBook through Amazon

When two people in a matter of weeks tell me to stop what I’m doing and read this book, then I purchase it. This book was already on my radar and I have her sophomore novel THE HOUSE OF EVE on audio. I’d love to read/listen to both of them yet this year!

Born on a plantation in Charles City, Virginia, Pheby Delores Brown has lived a relatively sheltered life. Shielded by her mother’s position as the estate’s medicine woman and cherished by the Master’s sister, she is set apart from the others on the plantation, belonging to neither world.

She’d been promised freedom on her 18th birthday, but instead of the idyllic life she imagined with her true love, Essex Henry, Pheby is forced to leave the only home she has ever known. She unexpectedly finds herself thrust into the bowels of slavery at the infamous Devil’s Half Acre, a jail in Richmond, Virginia, where the enslaved are broken, tortured, and sold every day. There, Pheby is exposed not just to her jailer’s cruelty, but also to his contradictions. To survive, Pheby will have to outwit him, and she soon faces the ultimate sacrifice.

November 2023 Children's Books

Children’s Fiction and Non-Fiction

THE PUPPETS OF SPELHORST

By: Kate DiCamillo

Published: October 10, 2023

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Middle-Grade Fiction

Format: Hardcover Chapter Book

How could I say no to a Kate DiCamillo book? This is the first in a new Norendy Tales series.

Shut up in a trunk by a taciturn old sea captain with a secret, five friends—a king, a wolf, a girl, a boy, and an owl—bicker, boast, and comfort one another in the dark. Individually, they dream of song and light, freedom and flight, purpose and glory, but they all agree they are part of a larger story, bound each to each by chance, bonded by the heart’s mysteries. When at last their shared fate arrives, landing them on a mantel in a blue room in the home of two little girls, the truth is more astonishing than any of them could have imagined. A beloved author of modern classics draws on her most moving themes with humor, heart, and wisdom in the first of the Norendy Tales, a projected trio of novellas linked by place and mood, each illustrated in black and white by a different virtuoso illustrator. A magical and beautifully packaged gift volume designed to be read aloud and shared, The Puppets of Spelhorst is a tale that soothes and strengthens us on our journey, leading us through whatever dark forest we find ourselves in.

HOW DOES SANTA GO DOWN THE CHIMNEY?

By: Mac Barnett

Illustrated by: Jan Klassen

Published: September 12, 2023

Publisher: Candlewick

Fiction

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

The age-old question is answered with a bit of humor and ridiculousness. I’ve also shared Mac Barnett’s book WHAT IS LOVE? here on the blog.

When Santa arrives at a child’s house on Christmas Eve, does he go down the chimney feetfirst or headfirst? What if he gets stuck? What if there’s no chimney? Maybe he slides under the door, as thin as a piece of paper? Or is it possible he pours himself through the faucet? What happens once he’s inside? Whether it’s shape-shifting or impromptu laundry use, Mac Barnett’s iconic talent for earnest deadpan humor and Jon Klassen’s irresistibly funny art honor the timeless question with answers both ridiculous and plausible, mounting in hilarity as the night continues. Channeling a child’s fanciful explanations (and begging for further speculation), this latest collaboration by a New York Times best-selling team will find a secure spot among family holiday traditions.

THE TREE AND THE RIVER

By: Aaron Becker

Published: March 14, 2023

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Fiction

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

This is a wordless picture book and reminds me a bit of the classic, THE LITTLE HOUSE.

In an alternate past—or possible future—a mighty tree stands on the banks of a winding river, bearing silent witness to the flow of time and change. A family farms the fertile valley. Soon, a village sprouts, and not long after, a town. Residents learn to harness the water, the wind, and the animals in order to survive and thrive. The growing population becomes ever more industrious and clever, bending nature itself to their will and their ambition: redirecting rivers, harvesting lumber, reshaping the land, even extending daylight itself. . . .

HOW DO YOU SPELL UNFAIR?

MacNolia Cox and the National Spelling Bee

By: Carole Boston Weatherford

Illustrated by: Frank Morrison

Published: April 11, 2023

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Non-Fiction/Biography

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

Another great picture book biography of teen who made history.

MacNolia Cox was no ordinary kid.
Her idea of fun was reading the dictionary.

In 1936, eighth grader MacNolia Cox became the first African American to win the Akron, Ohio, spelling bee. And with that win, she was asked to compete at the prestigious National Spelling Bee in Washington, DC, where she and a girl from New Jersey were the first African Americans invited since its founding. She left her home state a celebrity—right up there with Ohio’s own Joe Louis and Jesse Owens—with a military band and a crowd of thousands to see her off at the station. But celebration turned to chill when the train crossed the state line into Maryland, where segregation was the law of the land. Prejudice and discrimination ruled—on the train, in the hotel, and, sadly, at the spelling bee itself. With a brief epilogue recounting MacNolia’s further history, How Do You Spell Unfair? is the story of her groundbreaking achievement magnificently told by award-winning creators and frequent picture-book collaborators Carole Boston Weatherford and Frank Morrison.

THE BONE WARS

The True Story of an Epic Battle

By: Jane Kurtz

Illustrated by: Alexander Vidal

Published: November 21, 2023

Publisher: Beach Lane Books

Non-Fiction

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

I’ve shared books by Jane Kurtz and Alexander Vidal here on the blog. This true story is great for the dinosaur fans in your house.

Did you know that many of the dinosaur skeletons you see in museums are rooted in a scientific battle between two paleontologists? O. C. Marsh and Edward Cope met in 1863 and bonded over their shared love of fossils, becoming the best of friends…until the day Marsh discovered an error in Cope’s work, and the Bone Wars began!

Marsh and Cope stopped collaborating and started competing, excavating fossils as fast as they could, and trying to find the most important never-before-seen discoveries. They each wanted the biggest, best dinosaur bones. And fast! They used code names and disguises, they snooped and tricked, and did everything possible to keep their finds secret. The race was messy and there were many mistakes along the way, but in the end, Marsh and Cope discovered all kinds of new dinosaur skeletons to share with the world—fossils we still get to see today!

November 2023 All Books

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