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Wondrous Words Wednesday

November 26, 2014

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!

My first word this week came from Blue Christmas by Mary Kay Andrews.

1. kugel – “Some had flocked swirls or stripes, and a few were kugel and teardrop shaped.”

I think of kugel as a potato dish and I knew that didn’t fit here so I did a little digging.  According to Wiktionary, kugel means:

  • n. A baked pudding of rice, pasta, or potatoes with vegetables or raisins and spices; a traditional Jewish dish.
  • n. A traditional house ornament made of glass.
  • n. An overly materialistic and excessively groomed young woman.

Since the book was referring to Christmas ornaments, the author obviously means a traditional house ornament made of glass.


My second word came from Rhapsody in Books‘ review of The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider.

2. vitiate – “She was trying to establish that Ezra was actually smart; I don’t think it would have vitiated that aim if she had provided proper attribution.”

Vitiate means to make faulty or defective: impair.


What words do you want to celebrate today?

Review: The Mouse-Proof Kitchen

November 25, 2014

The Mouse Proof Kitchen

Anna and Tobias plan to move to France once their daughter is born.  When she’s born with severe disabilities they wonder if it’s the right thing to do.  Tobias finally convinces Anna and they, along with their daughter, Freya, move to a house in Provence.

The house is not what they dreamed of, though – it needs a lot of work and mice run rampant through the kitchen.  Still, they try to make things work but Freya’s increasing medical emergencies seem to be pulling them apart.

The Mouse-Proof Kitchen by Saira Shah is loosely based on the author’s own life.  Written with raw honesty, I found it heartbreaking, uplifting, charming, and compelling.

Caring for a child in Freya’s condition isn’t easy and Shah doesn’t sugarcoat things.  Anna and Tobias are honest in their emotions – they love their daughter but wonder how long they can care for her.  It puts a strain on their marriage as they question what they should do.

This book is well written, has a great storyline, and is full of wonderful characters.  I felt for Anna and Tobias and was completely charmed by their neighbors in France.  The Mouse-Proof Kitchen is full of heart and emotion and I thoroughly enjoyed it – be sure to have a few tissues handy when you read it.

Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster.   I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

Mailbox Monday

November 24, 2014

Mailbox Monday Nov 24

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued, and now hosted on its own blog.   Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American friends!   My mom is visiting for the holiday so I won’t be around much this week.  I found these books in my mailbox last week:




What did you find in your mailbox last week?

Review: I’m My Own Dog

November 22, 2014

I'm My Own Dog

I’m My Own Dog by David Ezra Stone is narrated by a dog who can take care of himself – he works and plays by himself.  He even gives himself a good scratch every morning but there’s a spot on his back he can’t reach.  He lets someone scratch it for him one day and,

The little guy followed me home.  I felt so sorry for him.

The dog takes the man in and trains him.  Taking care of the man is a lot of work for the dog, but it’s worth it because he’s gotten attached to him.

I absolutely adored I’m My Own Dog!  When Vance was young, I used to tell him that our dog owned him and not the other way around and this book illustrates that perfectly!  It shows youngsters that there is work in owning a dog but it’s worth it.  The illustrations are adorable and will help keep little ones engaged in the story.  Everyone will want a dog to own them after they read this wonderful book.  It’s a must read for all young animal lovers!

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 tomorrow.

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

Giveaway: David Baldacci for the Whole Family

November 21, 2014


Baldacci giveawayHave I got a giveaway for you today – a package that include four of David Baldacci’s books!  Between his newest thriller, The Escape, and his new youth fantasy, The Finisher, there’s something for everyone in the family to enjoy this holiday season.  Thanks to Scholastic and Grand Central Publishing, one lucky winner will receive:

·         The John Puller Series including The Forgotten, Zero Day, and The Escape

·         David Baldacci’s new teen fantasy, The Finisher (ages 10+)

About The Escape:

The EscapeA prison unlike any other. Military discipline rules. Its security systems are unmatched. None of its prisoners dream of escaping. They know it’s impossible . . . until now.

John Puller’s older brother, Robert, was convicted of treason. His inexplicable escape from the country’s most-secure prison makes him the most wanted criminal in the country. Some in the government believe that John Puller represents their best chance of capturing Robert alive, and so Puller is ordered to bring in his brother to face justice.

But Puller quickly discovers that his brother is pursued by others who don’t want him to survive. At the same time, Puller is pushed into an uneasy, fraught partnership with Veronica Knox, an agent who may have an agenda of her own.

They dig more deeply into the case together, and Puller finds that not only are Knox’s allegiances unclear, but there are troubling details about his brother’s conviction. It becomes clear that someone out there doesn’t want the truth to ever come to light. As the nationwide manhunt for Robert grows more urgent, Puller’s masterful skills as an investigator and strengths as a fighter may not be enough to save his brother—or himself.

About The Finisher:

The FinisherVega Jane was always told no one could leave the town of Wormwood. She was told there was nothing outside but a forest filled with danger and death. And she always believed it – until the night she saw Quentin Herms run away.

Vega knows Quentin didn’t just leave, he was chased. And he left behind a trail of clues that point to a dark conspiracy at the heart of Wormwood. To follow the clues will attract the attention of influential people willing to kill to keep their secrets. To stay safe, Vega just needs to keep her head down and her mouth shut. There’s only one problem – Vega Jane is not the kind of girl who walks away from a fight.

Master storyteller David Baldacci introduces an unforgettable heroine who must think fast, hit hard, and defy all odds to uncover the truth.

About the author:

David BalcacciDavid Baldacci is a global #1 bestselling author. His books are published in over 45 languages and in more than 80 countries, with over 110 million copies in print; several have been adapted for both feature film and television. David Baldacci is also the cofounder, along with his wife, of the Wish You Well Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting literacy efforts across America. Still a resident of his native Virginia, he invites you to visit him at and his foundation at


Learn more:

Visit David Baldacci’s website

Find David Baldacci on Facebook

To enter to win this great David Baldacci prize pack, simply fill out the entry form.  Contest is open to those with a US mailing address only– one entry per person, please.  I will use to determine the winner.  Contest ends at midnight EST Thursday, December 4, 2014.    Comments are welcome (and appreciated) but will not get you an entry in the contest.

Review: The Undertaker’s Daughter

November 20, 2014

The Undertaker's Daughter

When she was a young girl, Kate Mayfield’s family moved to Jubilee, Kentucky where her father opened a funeral home.  Being the funeral director in a small town gives a unique perspective to life there, and Mayfield’s family saw it all.  Her father handled it all with dignity and respect even while their family faced their own struggles.

Kate Mayfield shares her story of growing up in a funeral home – the family actually lived upstairs until she was a teen – in her memoir, The Undertaker’s Daughter.  She saw and heard much of what was going on in Jubilee but it took her a while to see what was going on in her own family.

I love to read memoirs and went into this book with very high expectations.   There is a lot to like in this book – the great writing and the setting to name a few – and I did like it a great deal but I didn’t love it the way I thought I would.  I’m not sure why, but it may have been because Mayfield’s childhood was interesting but, except for the fact that she grew up in a funeral home, it wasn’t all that unique.  Still, The Undertaker’s Daughter is well worth reading, especially if you enjoy memoirs or books set in the South.

Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster.   I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

Wondrous Words Wednesday

November 19, 2014

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 two more words in Shadows in the Vineyard by Maximillian Potter.

1. plonk – “Onto bottles filled with this plonk the négociants slapped the typical labels with négociant brand, but also, often with the name of a specific vineyard.”

I love the sound of plonk but not its meaning.  Plonk is cheap or inferior wine.


2. courtesan – “In the words of Marcelle Tinayre, a neighbor and close friend of the Poissons, Madame Poisson gave her daughter the ‘education of a superior courtesan.'”

I had a vague idea of what a courtesan was but I wasn’t sure so I thought I’d look it up.  I suspect people who read a lot of historical fiction will know this but I was rather surprised to discover a courtesan is a prostitute with a courtly, wealthy, or upper class clientele.


What words do you want to celebrate today?


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