Stacie Gorkow holding Books

This is my monthly roundup of books that I added to my shelves in April 2024. 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

In April we went to Pella to worship with Patrick and Bekah at their church, celebrate Patrick’s birthday, and see the gorgeous tulips. Due to warm weather in March and April, the tulips were blooming a bit ahead of schedule.

The tulips were so beautiful. So many varieties and colors. If you ever have a chance to visit Pella in the Spring, make sure you go! It is just the loveliest of towns…really, any time of year.

I’ve just recently returned from a ten-day trip with my mom, cousin, and aunt. We meet in Minneapolis every spring and this year my mom was able to join us after missing the last few years. After several days in the cities, we moved on to Northern Minnesota to stay at their homes for a few more days. It’s one of my favorite trips every year. I’m so thankful to be able to take some time away and go on these trips with my mom.

Now on to the books! 

I read a total of about 10 minutes on my trip so my April reading is pretty low. I finished 3 books this month. I’m also watching “Survivor” and “American Idol” and my husband and I started watching The Chosen which is excellent.

My current reads are THE BACKYARD BIRD CHRONICLES and STILTSVILLE. I’ve also been reading THE SWEET BLUE DISTANCE but I had to set it aside for a bit. It’s daunting at 800 pages and it was taking up too much of my reading time. I’m also listening to HOW TO WALK INTO A ROOM.

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 purchase through any of the links, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase.

April 2024 Books

Adult Fiction and Non-Fiction

Darling Girls


By: Sally Hepworth

Published: April 23, 2024

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press


Format: Hardcover

I chose this in my Book of the Month box. I liked these other Sally Hepworth novels, THE FAMILY NEXT DOOR and THE MOTHER-IN-LAW. Plus, you know I love a good sister story.

For as long as they can remember, Jessica, Norah, and Alicia have been told how lucky they are. As young girls they were rescued from family tragedies and raised by a loving foster mother, Miss Fairchild, on an idyllic farming estate and given an elusive second chance at a happy family life.

But their childhood wasn’t the fairy tale everyone thinks it was. Miss Fairchild had rules. Miss Fairchild could be unpredictable. And Miss Fairchild was never, ever to be crossed. In a moment of desperation, the three broke away from Miss Fairchild and thought they were free. Even though they never saw her again, she was always somewhere in the shadows of their minds. When a body is discovered under the home they grew up in, the foster sisters find themselves thrust into the spotlight as key witnesses. Or are they prime suspects?

The Great Divide


By: Cristina Henríquez

Published: March 5, 2024

Publisher: Ecco

Historical Fiction

Format: Hardcover

This was another choice in my Book of the Month box. My friend Tammy was reading it at the time and I thought it also sounded interesting.

An epic novel of the construction of the Panama Canal, casting light on the unsung people who lived, loved, and labored there.

It is said that the canal will be the greatest feat of engineering in history. But first, it must be built. For Francisco, a local fisherman who resents the foreign powers clamoring for a slice of his country, nothing is more upsetting than the decision of his son, Omar, to work as a digger in the excavation zone. But for Omar, whose upbringing was quiet and lonely, this job offers a chance to finally find connection.

Ada Bunting is a bold sixteen-year-old from Barbados who arrives in Panama as a stowaway alongside thousands of other West Indians seeking work. Alone and with no resources, she is determined to find a job that will earn enough money for her ailing sister’s surgery. When she sees a young man—Omar—who has collapsed after a grueling shift, she is the only one who rushes to his aid.

John Oswald has dedicated his life to scientific research and has journeyed to Panama in single-minded pursuit of one goal: eliminating malaria. But now, his wife, Marian, has fallen ill herself, and when he witnesses Ada’s bravery and compassion, he hires her on the spot as a caregiver. This fateful decision sets in motion a sweeping tale of ambition, loyalty, and sacrifice.

The Wishing Game


By: Meg Shaffer

Published: May 30, 2023

Publisher: Ballantine Books


Format: Hardcover


I’ve seen this one making the rounds so I added it to my Book of the Month box. Since then I’ve noticed that some people love it and others do not like it as much, so we will see.

Lucy Hart knows better than anyone what it’s like to grow up without parents who loved her. In a childhood marked by neglect and loneliness, Lucy found her solace in books, namely the Clock Island series by Jack Masterson. Now a twenty-six-year-old teacher’s aide, she is able to share her love of reading with bright, young students, especially seven-year-old Christopher Lamb, who was left orphaned after the tragic death of his parents. Lucy would give anything to adopt Christopher, but even the idea of becoming a family seems like an impossible dream without proper funds and stability.

But be careful what you wish for. . . .

Just when Lucy is about to give up, Jack Masterson announces he’s finally written a new book. Even better, he’s holding a contest at his home on the real Clock Island, and Lucy is one of the four lucky contestants chosen to compete to win the one and only copy.

For Lucy, the chance of winning the most sought-after book in the world means everything to her and Christopher. But first she must contend with ruthless book collectors, wily opponents, and the distractingly handsome (and grumpy) Hugo Reese, the illustrator of the Clock Island books. Meanwhile, Jack “the Mastermind” Masterson is plotting the ultimate twist ending that could change all their lives forever.

. . . You might just get it.



By: Susanna Daniel

Published: August 3, 2010

Publisher: Harper


Format: eBook purchase

This is our book club read for the month. I have never even heard of this one and I love finding new authors and books because of book club. So, far I am enjoying the story.

When Frances accepts an invitation to visit Stiltsville, a community of houses built on pilings in Biscayne Bay, she has no idea that her simple “yes” to a new friend will determine the course of her life for the next two dozen years. Set in Miami from the late ’60s to the 1990s, Stiltsville is a sweeping journey seen through the eyes of one woman as she experiences love, motherhood, friendship, hurricanes, racial tension, and finally, a tragic death in slow motion.

The Beantown Girls


By: Jane Healey

Published: February 5, 2019

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Historical Fiction

Format: eBook through Amazon

There were a few books on Kindle deal this month that interested me and along with my digital credits, I was able to get all of them for free. This was one of them.

1944: Fiona Denning has her entire future planned out. She’ll work in city hall, marry her fiancé when he returns from the war, and settle down in the Boston suburbs. But when her fiancé is reported missing after being shot down in Germany, Fiona’s long-held plans are shattered.

Determined to learn her fiancé’s fate, Fiona leaves Boston to volunteer overseas as a Red Cross Clubmobile girl, recruiting her two best friends to come along. There’s the outspoken Viviana, who is more than happy to quit her secretarial job for a taste of adventure. Then there’s Dottie, a shy music teacher whose melodious talents are sure to bring heart and hope to the boys on the front lines.

Chosen for their inner strength and outer charm, the trio isn’t prepared for the daunting challenges of war. But through it all come new friendships and romances, unforeseen dangers, and unexpected dreams. As the three friends begin to understand the real reasons they all came to the front, their courage and camaraderie will see them through some of the best and worst times of their lives.

Lillian Boxfish Takes A Walk


By: Kathleen Rooney

Published: January 17, 2017

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press


Format: eBook through Amazon

There were a few books on Kindle deal this month that interested me and along with my digital credits, I was able to get all of them for free. This was one of them.

t’s the last day of 1984, and 85-year-old Lillian Boxfish is about to take a walk.

As she traverses a grittier Manhattan, a city anxious after an attack by a still-at-large subway vigilante, she encounters bartenders, bodega clerks, chauffeurs, security guards, bohemians, criminals, children, parents, and parents-to-be—in surprising moments of generosity and grace. While she strolls, Lillian recalls a long and eventful life that included a brief reign as the highest-paid advertising woman in America—a career cut short by marriage, motherhood, divorce, and a breakdown.

A love letter to city life—however shiny or sleazy—Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney paints a portrait of a remarkable woman across the canvas of a changing America: from the Jazz Age to the onset of the AIDS epidemic; the Great Depression to the birth of hip-hop.

An American Marriage


By: Tayari Jones

Published: February 6, 2018

Publisher: Algonquin Books


Format: eBook through Amazon

There were a few books on Kindle deal this month that interested me and along with my digital credits, I was able to get all of them for free. This was one of them.

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward—with hope and pain—into the future.

Why We Read


On Bookworms, Libraries, and Just One More Page Before Lights Out

By: Shannon Reed

Published: February 6, 2024

Publisher: Hanover Square Press


Format: Hardcover purchase at Next Page Books (My Favorite Bookstore)

I visited my favorite local bookstore and saw this sitting on the table. The title alone says that I had to have it!

A hilarious and incisive exploration of the joys of reading from a teacher, bibliophile and Thurber Prize finalist

We read to escape, to learn, to find love, to feel seen. We read to encounter new worlds, to discover new recipes, to find connection across difference, or simply to pass a rainy afternoon. No matter the reason, books have the power to keep us safe, to challenge us, and perhaps most importantly, to make us more fully human.

Shannon Reed, a longtime teacher, lifelong reader, and New Yorker contributor, gets it. With one simple goal in mind, she makes the case that we should read for pleasure above all else. In this whip-smart, laugh-out-loud-funny collection, Reed shares surprising stories from her life as a reader and the poignant ways in which books have impacted her students. From the varied novels she cherishes ( Gone Girl , Their Eyes Were Watching God ) to the ones she didn’t ( Tess of the d’Urbervilles ), Reed takes us on a rollicking tour through the comforting world of literature, celebrating the books we love, the readers who love them, and the surprising ways in which literature can transform us for the better.

On the Road


A Texas Groupie’s Memoir

By: Linda Chadwick

Published: January 23, 2024

Publisher: Palmetto Publishing


Format: Paperback for Review

This intrigued me as I’ve always been curious about those who work behind the scenes at concerts, what really goes on during the long bus rides, do the groupies really get to hang out with the band, etc. Plus, it is about 80s bands!

In an era defined by neon lights, cassette tapes, and the birth of grunge, the music scene of the 80’s was more than just a trend-it was a revolution. This book whisks readers away to a time when music pulsed through the streets, clubs echoed with electric rhythms, and every song told a story. Journey across the State of Texas under the spell of groundbreaking artists and their iconic hits.

Meet passionate fans, ambitious musicians, and unforgettable groupies, all brought together by a shared love for rock ‘n’ roll. Experience the highs of sold-out concerts, the lows of band breakups, and the exhilaration of that first chord. As you delve deeper, discover how music was not only a form of entertainment but a way of life, a rebellion, a movement that shaped a generation.

Blending vivid storytelling with nostalgic anecdotes, this book is more than a mere recollection-it’s a tribute to a time when melodies held memories, lyrics voiced dreams, and every beat was a heartbeat of an era. Whether you’re a seasoned rocker or a new-age music enthusiast, embark on a journey that will reignite your passion for music and remind you of its timeless power to connect and inspire.

April 2024 Children's Books

Children’s Fiction and Non-Fiction

Love, the Earth


By: Frances Stickley

Illustrated by: Tim Hopgood

Published: March 12, 2024

Publisher: Candlewick Press


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

A love letter to the reader from Earth and a plea to take care of it.

Told from the perspective of the Earth, this moving picture book—part love letter, part rallying cry—tours the epic and ordinary wonders of the natural world and entreats us to do our bit to help the planet in turn. Combining Frances Stickley’s welcoming, rhyming text and spectacular artwork by best-selling illustrator Tim Hopgood, this enchanting celebration is essential reading to connect young minds with the beauty of nature.

Everyone Starts Small


By: Liz Garton Scanlon

Illustrated by: Dominque Ramsey

Published: March 26, 2024

Publisher: Candlewick Press


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

Teach your kids how everything is connected in our beautiful world.

Spring rains change Water from a tumbling creek to a roaring river and bring Tree nutrients it needs to stretch toward the sky. As Sun’s rays intensify, the sprouts and fruits and insects of the forest grow and bloom and develop, all working together in harmony. Even Fire, whose work causes Tree to ache from the inside, brings opportunity for the next generation of flora and fauna. Paired with the vivid, organic imagery of Dominique Ramsey, Liz Garton Scanlon’s poetic tribute to our planet’s resilience is a resonant story of life, death, and regeneration.

The Ever Changing Earth


By: Grahame Baker-Smith

Published: April 23, 2024

Publisher: Templar


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

A story of making connections over thousands of years on Earth.

Kûn likes to imagine life on Earth millions of years ago when the sky boomed with the wild beat of pterosaur wings. Thousands of miles away, Solveig gazes at the sky as she admires the beauty of the northern lights. Learn how these children are connected in this spellbinding journey through the evolution of Earth’s surface from water world to ice age to the familiar landscape we know today.Follow the poetic account of Earth’s lifespan by Kate Greenaway Award–winning illustrator Grahame Baker-Smith.

Merfolk Village


3 Books in One

By: Sabrina Makhsimova

Illustrated by: Dinara Mirtalipova

Published: May 7, 2024

Publisher: Chronicle Kids


Format: Board Books

This three-book set of shaped board books fits inside a foldable booklet. The three books include Mermaid’s Cove, Mercat’s Reef, and Diver’s Bay. These small books are perfect for tucking in a diaper bag or leaving in the car for reading.

A charmingly magical underwater world . . . made of books! Merfolk Village features a trifold case that opens up to reveal three cleverly disguised books nestled in wave-like pockets just waiting to be explored. Visit a cove where a mermaid tends kelp gardens, explore a coral reef where a mischievous mercat plays, and tour the bay where one diver encounters an unexpected new friend.

Created by a talented mother-daughter duo, each gorgeously illustrated board book contains a fun-to-read rhyming story, while the pocket-book sleeve can act as a captivating backdrop for play when open or snap shut into a satisfyingly compact, easy-to-shelve package. Read each, then display them together.



The Story of Plant Life on our Planet

By: Nicola Davies

Illustrated by: Emily Sutton

Published: March 12, 2024

Publisher: Candlewick Press


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

This oversized picture book makes learning about the plants of the world fun with illustrations to draw kids in.

On land and in the seas, green plants make the oxygen and food that many living things—including us—need to survive. Covering the evolution of the first plants billions of years ago, the secret, microscopic workings of trees and leaves today, and the role of plants in both creating fossil fuels and combating climate change, this book is a lush and fascinating introduction to the science of plants that goes well beyond photosynthesis. Nicola Davies and Emily Sutton, the acclaimed team behind Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes, Many: The Diversity of Life on Earth, and Grow: Secrets of Our DNA, have crafted a hopeful exploration of green life that will encourage readers to treasure the flora of Earth’s many ecosystems.


By: Helen Frost

Photographs by: Rick Lieder

Published: March 26, 2024

Publisher: Candlewick Press


Format: Hardcover Picture Book

Poems combine with amazing close-up photography for kids to learn about pollination.

Have you noticed, on a summer’s day, the fine powder at the heart of a flower or floating on a breeze? What is pollen, and why does it matter? Almost invisible, pollen waits for the one thing it needs: a ride on the wind—or on wings, fur, or feathers. That’s where pollinators come in, small and mighty, holding the world together with their work. Soft, shimmering photographs saturated with color evoke the busy world of bees, butterflies, bats, and moths—and many lesser-known species—at arrestingly close range. Playful poems encourage the reader to look closely, to marvel, and most of all, to care, while concise back matter underscores the vital role these creatures play in the ecosystem and the ways we can help pollinators help us. A seventh seamless blend of poetry, nonfiction, and captivating photography from the dynamic duo behind Step Gently OutThe Mighty Pollinators belongs in every classroom—and in the hands of any curious child eager to understand nature and its wonders.

Books Make Good Friends Activity Book


By: Jane Mount

Published: June 18, 2024

Publisher: Chronicle Kids

Format: Paperback Journal

Coming soon, a book journal/activity book for young readers that pairs with the picture book, BOOKS MAKE GOOD FRIENDS.

An irresistible treat for young bookworms and bibliophiles everywhere! Bursting with dozens of crafts, games, stickers, and other goodies, this is the perfect birthday gift, travel companion, and boredom buster for kids who have already read every book on their shelf (twice!) and still hunger for more. From drawing prompts and coloring pages to 3D paper crafts, Jane Mount has devised a treasure trove of book-themed activities sure to keep young readers gleefully occupied until their next trip to the library—all while igniting their creativity and continuing to foster a lifelong love of reading.

April 2024 New Books

Which books are you adding to your reading list?

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

So many books, so little time!

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