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Wondrous Words Wednesday

June 24, 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!

This week’s words are from The Betrayers by David Bezmozgis.

1. shtetl – “A life of shtetl dimensions.”

A shtetl is a small Jewish town or village found in Eastern Europe before the Holocaust.


2. imbroglio – “And for much of the day now he and Leora had been traveling, beginning with the surreptitious early-morning flight from Tel Aviv to Kiev, another from Kiev to Simferopol, the bus from there to Yalta, and then the imbroglio with the hotel.”

An imbroglio is an intricate or complicated situation.


3. refusenik – “Kotler came to know them in Israel at the periodic gatherings of former refuseniks.”

I could figure this one out but I was curious to see if it’s actually a word so I looked it up.  Refusenik is in my dictionary and it is a Soviet citizen, especially a Jew, who is refused permission to emigrate.


What words do you want to celebrate today?

Review: Cut Me Loose

June 23, 2015

Cut Me Loose

Leah Vincent was born into a Yeshivish family – her father is a rabbi in this orthodox sect that is committed to study halls for men to study ancient religious texts.  Vincent grew up devout and longed to fulfill her role as a Yeshivish woman as a wife and mother.  Her family felt she was being unfavorably influenced by her classmates so, at fifteen, they sent her to Manchester, England to live with her aunt and uncle and attend one more year of high school before Seminary.  When her aunt discovered she was exchanging notes with a boy, Vincent’s family disowned her and sent her to New York to make it on her own.

At sixteen, Vincent was totally unprepared for life on her own, especially in a city as large as New York.  Exposed to many things for the first time, she made some poor choices and her life quickly spiraled out of control.  As she reached rock bottom, she wondered if she’d have the strength to work her way out of her misery.

Cut Me Loose: Sin and Salvation After My Ultra-Orthodox Girlhood is Leah Vincent‘s story of despair and triumph and I found it fascinating.  Born into a religion that suppresses women and avoids modern ways, she was ill-equipped for the world when she was forced into it.  Confusing sex with love she ended up in some bad relationships and turned to self-destructive behavior.  She wanted more out of life, though, and clawed her way out of despair.  My heart ached for this young girl from such a sheltered background trying to make it on her own.  I cringed at her poor choices, even though I could understand why she was making them, and I marveled at her triumphs.

Vincent’s story is well written and compelling but be forewarned it’s not always easy to read.  She’s open and honest about her behavior so the book is gritty and unnerving at times.  Her story is an important one, though, and it’s one that shouldn’t be ignored.  If you enjoy memoirs or stories about strong women, you won’t want to miss Cut Me Loose.

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

Mailbox Monday

June 22, 2015

Mailbox Monday June 22

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued, and now hosted on its own blog.   Last week was busy!  Vance was on vacation so I spent a lot of time at the store.  Unfortunately, that didn’t translate to much reading time.  I found these books in my mailbox last week:



What did you find in your mailbox last week?

Review – Hilo: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth

June 20, 2015


When D. J. sees something fall from the sky, he goes running and discovers a boy about his age wearing nothing but silver underwear.  The boy doesn’t seem to know where’s he from or why he’s on Earth.  D. J. takes him in and does what he can to help him.  But there could be a problem, it seems that Hilo isn’t the only thing that crashed to Earth.

Hilo: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick is an entertaining graphic novel for the middle grade set.  Full of humor, this adventurous tale of friendship will appeal to even the most reluctant reader.  The fantastic full color illustrations and diverse characters make this book even more captivating.  It’s the first in the series and ends with a cliff hanger that left me wanting more so I’ll be watching for the next book in the series.  Be sure to check this book out for the middle grade reader in your life!

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 Amazon Vine. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.


Review: Find Momo Coast to Coast

June 19, 2015

Find Momo Coast to Coast

Momo is a border collie who loves to hide and his owner, Andrew Knapp, loves to take pictures of him.  Knapp’s instagram account, featuring photos of Momo became an instant sensation and led to a book Find Momo.  In the follow up book, Find Momo Coast to Coast, Knapp features photos of Momo hiding in gorgeous spots all across the United States and Canada.  Knapp says:

But the ideal travel companion was always Momo.  He stays close when it’s cold, keeps watch while it’s warm, and is completely at peace with a wrong turn or a breakdown.

The book is divided into sections by regions and there is an introductory paragraph at the beginning of each section.  There’s an answer key in the back just in case you can’t find Momo.

Find Momo Coast to Coast is so much fun!  Who can resist a book with an adorable dog and gorgeous photos?  Not me, that’s for sure!  I just loved flipping through this book, hunting for the talented Momo and have picked it up time and time again.  You’ll want to grab this book and share it with your whole family.

Review copy provided by Quirk Books. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

BEA/NY 2015: The Books

June 18, 2015


No trip to BEA would be complete without discovering new books!  If you scroll down to the bottom of this post and see what I brought home, you probably won’t believe me when I say I tried very hard to be selective about the books I took.  I left many books behind and only took those that really appealed to me.  Of course, some really stand out and I want to highlight those today.  (Please note, I only included books that received copies of.  I heard about many books that weren’t available, such as All the Stars in Heaven by Adriana Trigiani, I’m excited about as well.)

Middle Grade and Young Adult Books

BEA kids books

GOODBYE STRANGER by Rebecca Stead is “a captivating new novel about the bonds – and limits – of friendship” by a Newbery Medal winning author.  It will be published by Penguin Random House in August.

THE NEST written by Kenneth Oppel and illustrated by Jon Klassen is the story of a young boy who wants to save his sickly baby brother and thinks he may have found the answer when a wasp comes to him in a dream.  Simon & Schuster will publish this in October.

HELLO, GOODBYE, AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN by Jennifer E. Smith tells the story of a young couple who are trying to decide if they should stay together as they head off to college. “It explores the difficult choices that must be made when life and love lead in different directions.”  It will be published by Hachette in September.

I CRAWL THROUGH IT by A. S. King – need I say more?  It’s the story of four teens on “the verge of exploding,” and what they do to try to alleviate the pressure.   This one will be published by Hachette in September

Adult Books

BEA adult books

BEING MORTAL by Atul Gawande has been described as life changing.  Gawande is a surgeon and he writes about medicine’s “ultimate limitations and failures . . . as life draws to a close.”  Henry Holt published this book in 2014.

SAINT MAZIE by Jami Attenberg is the story of a movie theater owner who opens its doors to those in need during the Depression.  Much of the book is told in diary format.   Hachette published this in June.

THE ART OF MEMOIR by Mary Karr tells about Karr’s experiences  writing her memoir and teaching the craft.  It will be published by Harper Collins in September.

THE SHORT AND TRAGIC LIFE OF ROBERT PEACE by Jeff Hobbs is the story of a young man from the ghetto whose mother was determined to get him out of it.  He earned a degree from Yale University yet could never fully escape the streets.  Hobbs was his college roommate and is sure to tell his story with compassion.  Scribner published this one in 2014.

A WINDOW OPENS by Elisabeth Egan is the story of Alice, a woman who lands a job with a company that “promises to revolutionize the twenty-first century reading experience.”  Of course, there are complications.  Coming out in August, this book will be published by Simon & Schuster.

ORPHAN NUMBER EIGHT by Kim van Alkemade was inspired by a true story.  It’s the story of a young girl who is sent to an orphanage when she’s four.  They conduct cruel medical experiments on her that leave her disfigured.  Years later, she finds herself caring for the doctor who conducted the experiments.  Harper Collins will publish this in July.

EVERYBODY RISE by Stephanie Clifford is the story of an outsider who aspires to a higher social standing.  St. Martin’s Press will publish this book in August.

THE READERS OF BROKEN WHEEL RECOMMEND by Katarina Bivald tells the story of a young Swedish woman who travels to Iowa to meet her pen pal only to discover she’s just passed away.  Since they often wrote about books, she decides to open a bookstore to honor her friend.  This will be published by Sourcebooks in January of 2016.

EARLY ONE MORNING by Virginia Baily is the story of an Italian woman fleeing the Nazis in Rome.  When she sees a young mother and her son being loaded onto a truck she claims the boy as her own.  Hachette will publish this in September.

Since I like to look at photos of the books others get at BEA, I decided to include this photo of all of my books.  (Click on the photo to enlarge it.)  What upcoming books are you excited about?

BEA 15 books

Wondrous Words Wednesday

June 17, 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 3 more words in The Betrayers by David Bezmozgis.

1. sabra – “He looked like certain other sabras of his generation – who cultivated the air of retired colonels and regarded the world with the relaxed leer of the habituated military man.”

A sabra is a native-born Israeli.


2. samizdat – “He’d read a samizdat translation of Leon Uris’s Exodus.”

I was rather surprised to find this word in my dictionary.  Samizdat is a system in the U.S.S.R. and countries within its orbit by which government surpressed literature was clandestinely printed and distributed.  Also: such literature.


3. abjure – “She became like an older sister to Dafna and went shopping with her for clothes that Miriam, in her piousness, abjured.”

Abjure means to reject solemnly.


What words do you want to celebrate today?


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