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Wondrous Words Wednesday

September 2, 2015

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love.  Feel free to get creative!   If you want to play along, grab the button, write a post and come back and add your link to Mr. Linky!

I found one word in The Daughter by Jane Shemilt.

1. curdy – “As I wrapped the cuff around his curdy white upper arm, his thick fingers tapped the table; they looked like shiny pink sausages, the cheap kind with thin skins that split open with one touch of the knife.”

Curdy means just what it sounds like – like curd; coagulated.  His upper arm must look a lot like mine.


This word came from Anchor and Flares by Kate Braestrup.

2. philoprogenitive – “The philoprogenitive should refrain from introducing their young ‘un’s little palates to exotic foods, however beneficial the stimulation might be for little brains.”

Philoprogenitive means tending to produce offspring: prolific.


What words do you want to celebrate today?

Review: Kitchens of the Great Midwest

September 1, 2015


Kitchens of the Great Midwest

It’s hard to say too much about the plot of Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal without spoilers but the novel tells the story of Eva Thorvald, a young woman who overcomes a tragic childhood to become a creative, inventive, and well-known chef.  I know that doesn’t sound all that exciting but I adored this book – it’s sure to make my list of favorites for the year.

Kitchens of the Great Midwest is told in such a unique way.  Each chapter is almost like a short story and captures a particular time in Eva’s life.  Most of those times are centered around food and/or an important person in Eva’s life.  At times, it seems that the stories aren’t about Eva at all but patience pays off and readers are rewarded with a connection to her.  Stradal’s writing is straightforward and I was completely charmed by it and Eva.  She’s a rare person with a very discerning palate that serves her well.  She’s hard working, unpretentious, and loyal and I was totally captivated by her story.

In case you can’t tell, I loved this book and highly recommend it to everyone, especially foodies!  It’s a great book for book clubs who can find some great resources, including recipes and wine recommendations, in this handy book club kit.  Be sure to check this book out!

weekend cookingI will link this up to Weekend Cooking which is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend.

Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.  I am an Indiebound Affliate.

Mailbox Monday

August 31, 2015

Mailbox Monday August 31

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued, and now hosted on its own blog.   I’m back from my mom’s.  We had a great visit but it was all too short.  I didn’t do any reading while I was there –  we visited and worked jigsaw puzzles instead.  I found these books in my mailbox last week:

Monday – Thursday, while I was at my mom’s:


What did you find in your mailbox last week?

Review: I (Don’t) Like Snakes

August 28, 2015

I (Don't) Like Snakes

Everyone in a young girl’s family loves snakes, except her.  When she says, “I really, really, REALLY don’t like snakes!,” the rest of her family asks her why.  She tells them all the reasons, they explain things to her and, as she learns more about snakes, she discovers she “really, really, REEEEEALLLLY” likes them.

I have to admit that I was drawn to I Don’t Like Snakes by Nicola Davies because, well, I don’t like snakes.  To be truthful, I’m scared to death of them.  I can’t say that I love them after reading this book but I can say that I loved this fantastic book and wonder if I would like snakes more if it had been around when I was young.

I (Don't) Like Snakes interior

The story in this book is a lot of fun and is a great way to teach children about snakes.  Davies covers everything from the way snakes move to how they use their tongues, to what they eat.  She also explains the way they hunt and kill their prey, how they shed, and how they’re born.  Luciano Lozano’s colorful illustrations are the perfect complement to this fact filled book.  I’m way past the target age but I learned a lot from this book and cannot recommend it enough to young readers who want a fun story or are curious about animals.

kid konnection newI will link this up to Booking Mama’s Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, leave a comment as well as a link on her site.

Review copy provided by Candlewick Press. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.


Review: Finding Jake

August 27, 2015

Finding Jake

Simon Connolly is the stay at home dad of two high school kids, Jake and Laney.  He’s always been a little uncomfortable in this nontraditional role but has stuck with it for the sake of his family.  Jake’s a lot like Simon, a little socially awkward who enjoys being alone while Laney is more like her social butterfly mother.

When there’s a shooting at the high school, Simon rushes to the designated spot with all the other parents.  After the other parents are reunited with their children or given horrible news, Simon is told that his son Jake is missing and a suspect in this horrific crime.  At first, Simon is angry and indignant but, as time passes, he starts to question his parenting and wonder if he really knows his son.

Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon is thought-provoking, disturbing, and hard to put down.  Simon finds himself in the middle of a parent’s worse nightmare and, at first, he’s sure of Jake’s innocence and demands the police find him.  As evidence starts to mount, Simon begins to have doubts and questions everything he knows.

This is one fast paced book rife with tension.  It started out with a bang for me and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.  It did fizzle out just a little before the end but I still liked this book a great deal.  Elements of the book were disturbing so I was a little uncomfortable at times as I read it but it also made me think so I think this book would be great for book club discussions.   Pick this one up if you enjoy thought provoking suspense.

Review copy provided by Harper Collins.   I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

Wondrous Words Wednesday

August 26, 2015

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love.  Feel free to get creative!   If you want to play along, grab the button, write a post and come back and add your link to Mr. Linky!

I found three words in Radioactive by Lauren Redniss.

1. imprimatur – “Now, Spiritualists embraced photography to lend scientific imprimatur to their beliefs, aiming, like Röntgen and Becquerel, to capture in an image what could not be seen with the naked eye.”

Imprimatur has several meanings but, in this sentence, I think it means a mark or approval of distinction.


2. ephemeral – “Polonium was revealing itself to be extremely radioactive and, with a half-life of only 138 days compared to radium’s 1602 years, highly ephemeral.”

Ephemeral means lasting a very short time.


3. ensorcel – “Marie was cast as the conniving tramp who had ensorcelled a married man.”

Ensorcel means to bewitch or enchant.


What words do you want to celebrate today?

Review: Circling the Sun

August 25, 2015

Circling the Sun

Beryl Markham’s family moved from Britain to Kenya when she was four years old.  Her mother didn’t adjust to life in Africa so quickly returned to Britain, taking Beryl’s brother but leaving Beryl behind to be raised by her father.  Beryl had a carefree childhood learning about her new country and playing with local children.

Beryl was an avid horsewoman and became a racehorse trainer.  She became friends with the “Happy Valley” set of expats and married three times.  She took up flying and was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic from east to west.

Even with all of her accomplishments, her mother’s abandonment always haunted her and Beryl was unable to forgive her when the two reconnected as adults.

Circling the Sun, Paula McLain‘s fictionalized version of Beryl Markham’s life is getting great reviews so I decided to pick it up.   I was captivated by McLain’s beautiful prose from the very start and fascinated by Beryl Markham and her life.   I’m afraid there wasn’t enough story for me, though, and the book dragged in the middle.  Things did pick up by the end so I liked this book but didn’t love it the way most people have.  Still, I’d recommend it to those who like historical fiction or are interested in Markham’s life.

Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.  I am an Indiebound Affliate.

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