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Review: The Weight of Blood

December 18, 2014

The Weight of Blood

Lucy Dane has always missed her mother and can’t understand why she left when Lucy was an infant.  Now Lucy’s friend Cheri has been found murdered and, with the help of a young man, Lucy is determined to figure out what happened.  They discover a horrible secret hidden in hills of their small town – a secret that has ruined many lives through the years.

The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh is a gem of a debut novel.  It’s dark, gritty, and full of tension.  It’s set in Henbane, a small town in the Ozarks that is simmering with corruption and evil.  I found the book compelling and horrifying at the same time and enjoyed it very much.  I look forward to reading more of McHugh’s work in the future.

Lucy is such a sympathetic character.  She doesn’t remember her mother but longs to know her.  She’s shunned by the community because of her resemblance to her mother – instead of making her bitter, it makes her stronger.  When her friend Cheri (who’s an outcast as well) is murdered, Lucy seems to be the only one who’s concerned with what happened.

The story is told from several different points of view and I have to admit that there were times that I struggled to figure out who was telling the story.  That may have been because I experienced The Weight of Blood on audio, though.  The audio is narrated very well by Dorothy Dillingham Blue, Shannon McManus, and Sofia Willingham but I couldn’t always remember which voice went with each character.  It all came together, though, and I ended liking this book a whole lot!

Listen to a sample:

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

Wondrous Words Wednesday

December 17, 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!

This was another slow reading week for me so I had to turn to my Word-a-Day calendar.

1. sinecure – “The king was in the habit of rewarding his loyal supporters with sinecures .”

A sinecure is an office or position that requires little or no work and that usually provides an income.  I want a sinecure!

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2. calumny – “The pundit declared that it was a calumny to say that Congress has not acted on the behalf of the people.”

A calumny is a false and malicious accusation.

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3. esculent – “Morel mushrooms have esculent properties and are delicious, but be warned that there are also false morels, which are poisonous.”

Esculent means edible.

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What words do you want to celebrate today?

Review: Maus

December 16, 2014

Maus

Art Spiegelman had a strained relationship with his father so he didn’t visit him all that often.  He decided he wanted to get to know his father better so he started asking him about his past – about his life with Art’s mother and what they had to go through to survive World War II.  Spiegelman shares his relationship with his father and his parent’s story in his brilliant graphic novel, Maus I: A Survivior’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History.

Spiegelman portrays the Nazis as cats and the Jews as mice as he tells what his parents did to survive as the Nazis began their reign of terror.  The concentration camps were well known and Spiegelman’s parents did what they could to avoid them, all the while living on the edge of danger.  I can’t imagine how it felt to live that way but Spiegelman gives readers an idea of the anxiety they felt –  terrified and alone, not knowing who they could trust.

It’s hard for me to express just how much I loved this book.  It tells such an important story in a unique way.  It’s terrifying, heartbreaking, and compelling.  This is a must read for teens on up!

Maus I is just the first part of the story, though – it’s continued in Maus II: A Survivior’s Tale: And Here My Troubles Began, a book I’m anxious to pick up.

I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

Mailbox Monday

December 15, 2014

Mailbox Monday Dec 15

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued, and now hosted on its own blog.   It was a slow week in books but that’s just fine by me because it’s such a busy time of year.  We did get going on Christmas last week – our tree is up – but we have a lot more to do!  Needless to say, not much reading got done around here.   I found these books in my mailbox last week:

Monday

Thursday

What did you find in your mailbox last week?

Review – Jedi Academy: Return of the Padawan!

December 13, 2014

Jedi Academy

It’s time for Roan to return to Jedi Academy for his second year of Jedi training. He’s really excited about it because he’ll learn to pilot starfighters this year.  Since last year ended on a high note, Roan is sure this year will be a breeze.  Things didn’t start out that way – in his classes or with his friends – but Roan learns a lot along the way, especially

A friend isn’t just someone you can count on . . . it’s someone who can count on you!

Jedi Academy: Return of the Padawan! by Jeffrey Brown is the perfect graphic novel for young Star Wars fans.  I didn’t realize this when I read it but it’s actually the second book in the series.  I thought it stood alone just fine, though, and enjoyed it very much.

Middle grade readers will enjoy the Star Wars references and familiar characters (like Yoda) and learn something along the way as Roan navigates the world of school and friendship.  I thought the story and its lessons were terrific and very much enjoyed the illustrations as well.  Be sure to check out this series if you’re looking for a gift for a young Star Wars fans – they won’t be disappointed!

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 Scholastic. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

Review: Blue Christmas

December 12, 2014

Blue Christmas

Weezie Foley is determined to win Savannah’s Historic District’s decorating contest but it seems like the guys across the street are too.  She buys a box of junk at an auction and finds an old, blue Christmas tree pin that inspires her creative juices.  It also inspires a thief but, somehow, Weezie knows her thief is not malicious.  She suspects a homeless woman and starts leaving gifts for her.

Weezie’s boyfriend, Daniel, is in quite a mood.  He’s busy with his restaurant, but that’s not the whole reason for his mood – he hates the holidays because his childhood Christmases weren’t too happy.  Weezie loves Christmas but knows to give him his space.  Their lives (and Daniel’s attitude) change when they make a startling discovery.

Blue Christmas, by Mary Kay Andrews, is light, breezy, and just a little bit predictable and it was exactly what I needed to read!  It’s a quick read full of great characters and a fun story that is sure to put a smile on your face and the Christmas spirit in your heart and I thought it was terrific.

Weezie and her best friend BeBe have lots of fans for good reason – they’re wonderful characters full of heart and charm.  Fans of the characters are sure to love this story that oozes with love, friendship, and Christmas spirit.  Weezie has a heart of gold and believes in the goodness of people.  Reading about her just might inspire readers to help others this holiday spirit.

Andrews has included recipes, fun holiday tips, and a holiday playlist in the back of this charming book.  I thoroughly enjoyed Blue Christmas and recommend it to anyone searching for the Christmas spirit.

My friend Julie sent me this book.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

 

Review: The Lost Book of Mormon

December 11, 2014

The Lost Book of Mormon

Seemingly to avoid doing any actual work, Avi Steinberg decided to travel the journey laid out in The Book of Mormon, starting in Jerusalem and ending in Missouri.

I just happened to be on Twitter one night when several people were discussing The Lost Book of Mormon: A Journey Through the Mythic Lands of Nephi, Zarahemla, and Kansas City, Missouri by Avi Steinberg.  They were raving about the book and said they felt the need to discuss it with someone.  All their chatter made me want to read the book so I immediately requested it from Netgalley and, boy, was I disappointed.

Several people I know and respect loved this book but it wasn’t for me.  I didn’t find Steinberg’s journey all that interesting and I wasn’t sure what the point of the story was.  I felt he was disrespectful toward Mormonism and his snarkiness wore thin after a while.

Steingberg can tell a story, though, and his writing was solid, but I didn’t appreciate what he was trying to do.

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