Stacie Gorkow holding Books

This is my monthly roundup of books that I added to my shelves in June 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 updates from our family’s life in the last month as well.

Family and Life Update

I’ve been loving my front porch this summer. I enjoy going out in the mornings with a cup of coffee and greeting the sun on my face. Plus, all my flowers bring me so much joy.

We spent Father’s Day going to church with our son and his family and then hanging out at our other son’s apartment pool after lunch. It was the perfect family day.

I spent 4+ days with my cousins. My grandpa was one of 13 children and their descendants get together every three years for a reunion in NE Iowa. This year 87 people were in attendance and survived brutal heat and humidity and the most annoying gnats. But, we still had a blast. My cousin turned 50 and we surprised her with a shirt to match ours from our 50th year.

Now on to the books! 

I finished 9 books in June. Six of them were fiction, 3 nonfiction, and 4 of them were audiobooks. I’ll say it again and again, audiobooks help me read so many more books than I would ever get a chance to read. My audiobook listening is almost exclusively through Libby (FREE!) and it’s books that have been on my reading list for a while. I just take whatever comes in on my holds list and give it a whirl. If it isn’t working for me, I’ll just move on to my next hold and I’m only out a few hours of my time. I love listening to audiobooks while I’m doing household chores, driving, walking, or doing a puzzle. I also listen while I get ready every morning so that guarantees me around 30 minutes of reading time every day.

My current reads are THE MAGIC OF SEA GLASS for book club, LOVE IS MY FAVORITE FLAVOR for review and I’m listening to THE HOUSE IN THE CERULEAN SEA because my cousin’s wife highly recommended it when we talked about books at our family reunion.

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.

Clicking the photos of each book will take you to a link to purchase. 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.


The Forgotten Names cover

By: Mario Escobar
Published: June 11, 2024
Publisher: Harper Muse
Historical Fiction
Format: eBook for Review

I somehow missed this one in last month’s roundup. It’s hard for me to pass up a WWII book and this one intrigued me.

Based on the true story of one ordinary woman who risked everything to reunite Jewish children with the true names they hadn’t even realized they’d lost.

France, 1992. Law student Valérie Portheret is in the middle of researching her thesis on the Klaus Barbie trials when she stumbles across an unexplained list of 108 names. Curious, she investigates further and discovers that the list contains the names of Jewish children who were smuggled out from under the Nazi regime during WWII by receiving new names, new lives, and hiding in plain sight by “boarding” in homes like the Chateau de Peyrins. While visiting the Chateau, the son-in-law of the original owner shows Valérie the meticulous hidden records of the children who found safety behind the castle’s walls. She finds it difficult to distinguish between the names of the legitimate French children who boarded and the changed names of the Jewish children, but Valérie resolves to locate each of the original children–who are now adults–in order to hear their stories and shed light on their true origins.

Facing escalating opposition from people who would prefer to forget the Holocaust ever happened or even deny it outright, Valérie embarks on a twenty-five-year quest to right the extreme wrongs of history and reunite individuals with their birthright heritages.

The Forgotten Names reminds the world of the impact that one person can have in the face of overwhelming odds.

Six Weeks in Reno cover

By: Lucy H. Hedrick
Published: March 4, 2025
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Historical Fiction
Format: eBook for Review

I was intrigued by the premise of this one. Women in the 1930s who travel to a ranch near Reno to get a divorce.

September 27, 1931. Today my new life begins.

After twenty years in a loveless marriage, Evelyn Henderson will do anything to escape her stifling suburban life. She boards a train for Reno, Nevada, a former frontier town that’s booming thanks to “six-weekers”: women from all walks of life who take up residence there just long enough to secure an uncontested divorce—a right they don’t yet have in their home states.

Evelyn settles into the Flying N Ranch and soon bonds with her housemates, most of whom have never ventured this far from home—or from societal conventions. The Biggest Little City in the World offers a heady taste of freedom for the horseback riding in denim and fringe by day and being courted by dance-hall cowboys by night. But underneath the glamour are the grim realities of Depression-era America, as well as the devastating consequences of escape.

As Evelyn is drawn out of her shell by a Hollywood-handsome wrangler and challenged by her new friends to reengage with the world in all its heartbreaking complexity, one thing becomes six weeks will change her life forever.

The Night We Lost Him cover

By: Laura Dave
Published: September 17, 2024
Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Marysue Rucci Books
Format: eBook for Review

I loved THE LAST THING HE TOLD ME as well as the Apple TV series based on the book. When I saw Dave had a new book coming out I was thrilled to get a copy.

When the patriarch of a famed hotel empire dies under suspicious circumstances, his daughter and her estranged brother join forces to find out what happened, unraveling a larger mystery about who their father really was.

Liam Noone was many things to many people. To the public, he was an exacting, self-
made hotel magnate fleeing his past. To his three ex-wives, he was a loving albeit distant family man who kept his finances flush and his families carefully separated. To Nora, he was a father who often loved her from afar – notably a cliffside cottage perched on the California coast from which he fell to his death.   

The authorities rule the death accidental, but Nora and her estranged brother Sam have other ideas. As Nora and Sam form an uneasy alliance to unravel the mystery, they start putting together the pieces of their father’s past—and uncover a family secret that changes everything.

With Laura Dave’s trademark combination of soulful suspense and evocative family drama, The Night We Lost Him is a riveting page-turner with a heartbreaking final twist you’ll never see coming.

The Wedding People cover

By: Alison Espach
Published: July 30, 2024
Publisher: Henry Holt & Company
Women’s Fiction
Format: eBook for Review

I think this one sounds like such a great summer read. This one is already getting a lot of buzz.

It’s a beautiful day in Newport, Rhode Island, when Phoebe Stone arrives at the grand Cornwall Inn wearing a green dress and gold heels, not a bag in sight, alone. She’s immediately mistaken by everyone in the lobby for one of the wedding people, but she’s actually the only guest at the Cornwall who isn’t here for the big event. Phoebe is here because she’s dreamt of coming for years―she hoped to shuck oysters and take sunset sails with her husband, only now she’s here without him. Meanwhile, the bride has accounted for every detail and every possible disaster the weekend might yield except for, well, Phoebe―which makes it that much more surprising when the women can’t stop confiding in each other.

In turns uproariously, absurdly funny and devastatingly tender, Alison Espach’s The Wedding People is a look at the winding paths we can take to places we never imagined―and the chance encounters it sometimes takes to reroute us.

Dear Eliza cover

By: Andrea J. Stein
Published: October 8, 2024
Publisher: Flashpoint
Women’s Fiction
Format: Paperback for Review

I received the eBook for review last month but this month I also received the paperback copy which I prefer.

Ten years after her mother’s death, Eliza Levinger never imagined she’d hear from her again. But then The Letter arrived.

Eliza’s world broke apart when she was sixteen and her mom died of cancer. Now, years later, she has rebuilt her life to include a director-of-development job at a nonprofit, a Manhattan apartment, and an easy-on-the-eyes bedroom buddy—just the kind of no-strings relationship she wants, even if it’s less than her best friend, Mo, thinks she deserves. But when Eliza’s dad dies unexpectedly, her beloved aunt Claude arrives at the shiva with a letter from her mom—to be opened only after her father’s death. Inside the letter? A bombshell.

Suddenly, all of Eliza’s relationships are upended. Her brother is angry, her stepmother is threatening to disinherit her, and Mo—who has always been her rock—doesn’t seem to understand what she’s going through. But as Eliza struggles to cope with the shocking news, she finds an unexpected ally—her brother’s best friend, Josh—her high school crush, whom she’s tried hard to forget. It’s not in Eliza’s nature to trust . . . but maybe it’s time for that to change. Perfect for fans of Emily Giffin, Katherine Center, and Jennifer Weiner, Dear Eliza explores the meaning of family, the complexities of grief, and the beauty in finding your way again.

A Season for That cover

Lost and Found in the Other Southern France
By: Steve Hoffman
Published: July 9, 2024
Publisher: Crown
Format: Hardcover for Review

What would it be like to retire, pack up your family, and move to a rural area of France? Well, I want to know!

Steve Hoffman is a perfectly comfortable middle-aged Minnesotan man who has always been desperately, pretentiously in love with France, more specifically with the idea of France. To follow that love, he and his family move, nearly at random, to a small, rural, scratchy-hot village in the south of the country, and he immediately thinks he’s made a terrible mistake. Life here is not holding your cigarette chest-high while walking to the cafe and pulling off the trick of pretending to be French, it’s getting into fights with your wife because you won’t break character and introduce your very American family to the locals, who can smell you and your perfect city-French from a mile away.

But through cooking what the local grocer tells him to cook, he feels more of this place. A neighbor leads him into the world of winemaking, where he learns not as a pedantic oenophile, but bodily, as a grape picker and winemaker’s apprentice. Along the way, he lets go of the abstract ideas he’d held about France, discovering instead the beauty of a culture that is one with its landscape, and of becoming one with that culture.

It’s a story told in transporting writing, humor, and delicious detail.

The Magic of Sea Glass cover

By: Jenny Hale
Published: May 3, 2023
Publisher: Harpeth Road Press
Women’s Fiction
Format: eBook purchase

This is our book club read for the next month. This one seems like the perfect summery beach read and it has great reviews on Goodreads. I love it already!

After the loss of her fiancé a year ago, event planner Lauren Sutton can’t seem to go on with her choice of career or the life she’d built with her fiancé any longer. Floundering emotionally, she makes a snap decision to sell her half of the business and spend the summer among the sand dunes and changing tides of the Outer Banks, taking care of an old inn in Rodanthe, North Carolina with its elderly owner Mary Everett.

Perhaps the salty breezes of the Atlantic and the warmth of summer sun on her face will help her find her direction. What she doesn’t expect to find is a story hidden away in a string of sea glass that will change her life forever.

And complicating things is local fisherman Brody Harrison. All she’d wanted was to sink her toes in the sand and let the coastal breeze calm her aching heart. But Brody shakes up her plan in ways she’d never imagined.

The Upstairs Delicatessen cover

On Eating, Reading, Reading about Eating, & Eating While Reading
By: Dwight Garner
Published: October 24, 2023
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux
Format: Hardcover for purchase

I’m not sure where I first heard about this one, but it’s been on my list for a while. I decided to purchase it when I saw the price had dropped dramatically.

Garner gathers a literary chorus to capture the joys of reading and eating in this comic, personal classic.

Reading and eating, like Krazy and Ignatz, Sturm und Drang, prosciutto and melon, Simon and Schuster, and radishes and butter, have always, for me, simply gone together. The book you’re holding is a product of these combined gluttonies.

Dwight Garner, the beloved New York Times critic and the author of Garner’s Quotations , serves up the intertwined pleasures of books and food. The product of a lifetime of obsessively reading, eating, and every combination therein, The Upstairs On Eating, Reading, Reading About Eating, and Eating While Reading is a charming, emotional memoir, one that only Garner could write. In it, he records the voices of great writers and the stories from his life that fill his mind as he moves through the sections of the day and of this breakfast, lunch, shopping, the occasional nap, drinking, and dinner.

Through his lifelong infatuation with these twin joys, we meet the man behind the pages and the plates, and a portrait of Garner, eager and insatiable, emerges. He writes with tenderness and humor about his mayonnaise-laden childhood in West Virginia and Naples, Florida (and about his father’s famous peanut butter and pickle sandwich), his mind-opening marriage to a chef from a foodie family (“Cree grew up taking leftover frog legs to school in her lunch box”), and the words and dishes closest to his heart. This is a book to be savored, though it may just whet your appetite for more.

100 Things to Do in Nashville Before You Die cover

By: Tom Adkinson
Published: March 15, 2023
Publisher: Reedy Press
Format: Paperback for purchase

Our family is heading to Nashville next week. Even though I have been to Nashville several times, the last time we went as a family, our kids were little. So, we will want to do completely different things this time. I don’t want to miss the chance to see/do/eat something cool. I previously shared these other books in the series, 100 THINGS TO DO IN IOWA BEFORE YOU DIE and 100 THINGS TO DO IN CEDAR RAPIDS BEFORE YOU DIE which I found helpful for finding unique places to visit in my own state.

While it’s increasingly rare to find a native son or daughter in Nashville, Tennessee, visitors and new residents are hungry for all the rich experiences Music City has to offer. And with 100 Things to Do in Nashville Before You Die as your guide, you’ll find all the satisfying Nashville treasures you might expect along with some new places even locals might not have discovered. Comb through carefully selected itineraries to make the most of the Grand Ole Opry, the Athenian Parthenon, or even a tucked-away spot in the ornate Hermitage Hotel that’s earned a spot in the Restrooms Hall of Fame. No visit is complete without the full musical experience like honky tonks on Lower Broadway, the Bluebird Cafe’s songwriters’ show, or The Time Jumpers at 3rd & Lindsley. The culinary scene in Nashville is unparalleled, and you’ll find recommendations for barbecue at Peg Leg Porker’s where the “Limpin’ Ain’t Easy”; milkshakes at Elliston Place Soda Shop; breezy rooftop hotel bars with the best city panoramas; and special occasion venues like the Standard. Whether you’re looking for outdoor activities or a Tennessee shopping spree, travel writer Tom Adkinson, who grew up in the city, will help you find just the place. His love of bragging on his city shines through in this atypical guide full of unexpected but unmissable things to do in Nashville.


The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook for Kids cover

By: David Borgenicht and Justin Heimberg
Illustrated by: Wenke Kramp
Published: September 17, 2024
Publisher: Quirk Books
Middle-Grade Non-Fiction
Format: eBook for Review

For those middle-grade kids that love adventure or want to know what to do in case of “What if?”.

The best-selling (and wildly hilarious) Worst-Case Scenario series is back with 40 extreme survival tips for kids ages 8-12, great for adventurous fans of the I Survived books.Erupting volcanoes. Ravenous sharks. Pooping in the woods. The great outdoors is a weird, wonderful, and scare-your-pants-off terrifying place. Whether you’re freezing in the Arctic, escaping quicksand in the jungle, or befriending tarantulas in the desert, this guide has you covered. (Figuratively, not literally. We didn’t have the budget for a blanket-sized book.) Bust this guide open and discover step-by-step instructions for surviving the most extreme situations that Planet Earth can throw at you. Learn how  Dodge a charging rhinocerosRide out a sandstormNavigate by the starsBuild a snow caveCross piranha-infested waters…and much more. Yeah, the outdoors can be scary, but big deal. You’ve got this indispensable, laugh-out-loud survival guide. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get out there.

Imagine Counting All the Stars

By: Raewyn Caisley
Illustrated by: Gabriel Evans
Published: June 4, 2024
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Format: Hardcover Picture Book

For the kid who loves counting or math!

Maddie takes comfort in counting daisy petals and the parallel lines of moonlight pouring through her bedroom blinds. She finds joy in the black-and-white keys on a piano, the tessellations in a brick pathway. Dad understands and encourages her love of math, but Maddie longs for a friend who marvels with the same enthusiasm she does. The other girls prefer dolls to building with shapes at playtime, and when they bake together, Maddie likes to measure, while the others decorate. Always the odd girl out, Maddie finally meets her match when Dad invites new classmate Priya and her mom along on a stargazing expedition to the observatory. The unfathomable number of stars takes Maddie’s breath away—and Priya’s. Perhaps one of them will discover a way to count all those stars one day! Heartfelt text and timeless illustrations tell a relatable story of finding the right friend at the right time and counting yourself lucky indeed.

Something about the Sky cover

By: Rachel Carson
Illustrated by: Nikki McClure
Published: March 12, 2024
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Format: Hardcover Picture Book

Who knew an ode to clouds could be so interesting and beautiful?

Rachel Carson once wrote, “It is not half so important to know as to feel.” What do we know about clouds? There are three basic stratus, cumulus, and cirrus. Some are fleecy and fair-weathered while others portend storms. But clouds are more than pretty or ominous backdrops. They’re the vehicle of water between sea and land, land and sea, in a cycle without end or beginning. They are the writing of the wind on the sky, a language all their own. An illustrator note explains the origins of Rachel Carson’s shimmering essay—previously unpublished in its entirety—and the process of adapting it to picture book format, as well as how the author of Silent Spring forever changed the way we think about science and progress. Bringing the soft edges of clouds and the natural world to vivid life with a new, more fluid approach to her signature cut-paper technique, Nikki McClure inspires true emotional engagement with the world we all share. An antidote to “get your head out of the clouds,” this art-meets-science tribute to curiosity and wonder is a gift for daydreamers and nature lovers of all ages.

Found cover

Nature Quartet Book 4
By: Sam Usher
Published: May 28, 2024
Publisher: Templar Books
Format: Hardcover Picture Book

What a great grandparent/grandchild adventure!

A boy and his grandad pack up their provisions and head out for the beach. But their day takes a different turn when they go for a swim and find a baby seal caught in a net. The rescue leads them out to sea on a thrilling underwater adventure!

Dream Submarine cover

By: Charlotte Gunnufson
Illustrated by: Cleonique Hilsaca
Published: June 11, 2024
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Format: Hardcover Picture Book

A fun new bedtime story!

Glide through the ocean with a young child in her cozy little submarine. See how marine animals brush their teeth, put on pajamas (by shifting colors to better blend in), and tuck themselves into sponge beds. Dive between towers of slumbering whales and see bioluminescent creatures paint galaxies in the abyss, then make a wish upon a sea star and let the Dream Submarine whisk you away. Author Charlotte Gunnufson gently guides readers to sleep as she introduces them to a host of mesmerizing sea creatures, while Cleonique Hilsaca’s colorful illustrations transform underwater environs into an imaginative dreamscape. Back matter features a map of the Dream Submarine’s journey, a deeper dive into the ocean’s zones and animals, and resources for further exploration.

Aqua Boy cover

By: Ken Wilson-Max
Published: May 21, 2024
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Format: Hardcover Picture Book

I’m fascinated by octopuses right now and this story involves a boy coming upon a stranded octopus. Great for teaching about the environment and saving our oceans.

Aaron lives by the ocean with his sister, Angel, and his mom and dad, who are Ocean Guardians. He loves the smell of the air, the colors of the water, the sound of the waves, and the feel of sand between his toes. But unlike his sister, who dives into the waves all day long, Aaron shies away from putting his head in the water. How can he ever fulfill his dream of swimming with dolphins and whales? One day, as his family does beach cleanup after a storm, they come upon a stranded octopus. As Aaron helps his father with the rescue, he finds himself following the octopus underwater to watch it swim away. He did it! With warm illustrations and a gentle text, Ken Wilson-Max shows how environmental stewardship and empathy for the world’s animals can infuse us with unexpected bravery.

Mermaid Lullaby cover

Lullaby Book 2
By: Kenneth Kraegel
Published: April 19, 2024
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Format: Hardcover Picture Book

Another great new bedtime story!

Today is a good day.
A good day for exploring.
A good day for exploring the colors of this world.

Enter the colorful realm of three mermaid friends and follow them through their enchanting day. Wake to the surprise of a red sunrise, explore a verdant underwater garden, and dive through waves of startling blue. In this delightfully dazzling story, one-of-a-kind creator Kenneth Kraegel nurtures young children’s minds and imaginations by merging a fresh color-concepts story with a soothing lullaby, gently ushering little listeners toward sleep and sweet dreams.

By: Emma Yarlett
Published: July 16, 2024
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Format: Hardcover Picture Book

Emma Yarlett is the author of ORION AND THE DARK which I shared in February. The book was also made into a Netflix movie. This new one is already getting great reviews.

King Lion wants a friend. But the only way he knows to communicate is to ROAR! Waving his paw, flashing a smile, and even cracking a joke don’t help. How can he let the townsfolk know that he just wants some company? Wild with loneliness, the king climbs to the top of a tower and roars his fierce sadness day and night, until one day, a little girl hears him and thinks that perhaps she understands. With charming illustrations, Emma Yarlett’s gently humorous take on how to make friends shows a little empathy goes a long way.

Animal Albums from A to Z

By: Cece Bell
Published: March 26, 2024
Publisher: Walker Books US
Format: Hardcover Picture Books

This one is so much fun!

Cece Bell loves music and collecting old record albums, her introduction explains, especially albums featuring animal artists. The bouncing harmonies of the Barbershop Beagles, the elegant crooning of the elephant Ella Fontaine, the hilarious rhymes of the Hip-Hop Hedgehogs—all are represented in this quirky ABC book that draws on the creator’s personal collection of albums, memorabilia, and lyrics dating between 1944 and 1984, the heyday of album design. With wry, witty text, silly and sumptuous sound play, and biographical end matter on all twenty-six musical acts, the book commands and stands up to repeated readings. Bright, zany art—all painted and lettered by hand—a stellar design, and an album-size trim make it a collector’s item in its own right, sure to grace the coffee tables of vinyl- and design-loving adults even as it tickles young funny bones. A hootenanny hosted by the creator of the Newbery Honor Book and Eisner Award winner El Deafo, Alphabet Albums also quietly reminds us just how much music can mean to everyone.

June 2024 All 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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