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Review – The Top Secret Diary of Celie Valentine: Friendship Over

October 11, 2014

Friendship Over

For her tenth birthday, Celie’s dad gives her a punching bag and a journal hoping they’ll help her whenever she’s struggling with her emotions.  Little did he know how soon she’d need that journal.  Celia’s best friend, Lula, was supposed to help her celebrate her birthday by watching movies and eating popcorn and sundaes but, at the last minute, Lula cancels out and Celia can’t figure out why.   Lula seems to have moved on but Celie is lost without her best friend.  When they’re referred to “Friendship Forward,” Celia dreads it but also hopes it will help.

At the same time, Celie’s grandmother is not doing well.  She’s become forgetful and is behaving oddly.  Celie’s mom goes to check on her.  Celie loves her grandmother and is worried about what will happen to her.

Celie shares her fears, loneliness, and frustrations in her new journal and finds a way to cope with all the changes going on around her.

The Top-Secret Diary of Celie Valentine: Friendship Over, by Julie Sternberg is a delightful book that middle grade readers (especially girls) are sure to love the way I did.  They’ll be able to relate to Celie and her problems and will enjoy the journal format the book is written in.  Besides Celie’s entries, it includes notes and cute drawings by Johanna Wright, making it a quick, fun read.

Celie’s parents are present but her mom is busy dealing with her own issues and her dad is busy with work, leaving Celie to mostly cope with her problems on her own.  She finds her journal and working through her feelings really helps.  Since this is for young readers, things turn out well in the end.

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 Blue Slip Media.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

Review: Tomboy

October 10, 2014

Tomboy

Liz Prince has always hated dresses and took a stand against them at the age of 4.  Her parents respected her opinion and allowed her to dress as she pleased – her favorite thing to wear was an old blazer handed down to her from her friend Ben.  When she started school and was expected to “follow the rules of gender,” she realized she’s a tomboy, which is defined as “a girl of boyish behavior.”  Liz says,

Obviously, this subject makes a lot of assumptions about gender, both male and female, and trying to define what makes a girl or what makes a boy is what got me so confused in the first place.

Throughout her adolescence, Prince was mistaken as a boy or as being gay but she found a few friends who accepted her the way she was and stayed true to herself.  She never really felt like she fit in, though, until she discovered The Tutorial School, a school that allows parents and students to set their own curriculum.

I really enjoyed Tomboy, Liz Prince‘s graphic memoir.  Prince does a great job showing what it’s like to be different as a kid.  I loved that her parents respected her wishes and she remained true to herself even when she was teased.  I really like the way this book explores gender identity – it’s sure to spark some great discussions.  This book will appeal to teenagers – both boys and girls – on up and should provide comfort to many.

Prince does a great job telling her story in a compact manner and her terrific illustrations enhance the story.  I loved Tomboy and recommend it to others.

Tomboy interior

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 Zest Books.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

Book versus movie: The Hundred-Foot Journey

October 9, 2014

When the Haji family immigrates from Mumbai, India to Lumière, France they open an Indian restaurant right across the street from Madame Malloy’s well known gourmet restaurant.  At first she’s miffed but when she comes to realize young Hassan has true culinary talent she takes him under her wing, starting him on the journey to becoming a well known chef.

The Book

The Hundred-Foot Journey

I really enjoyed The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais but I wouldn’t go so far to say that I loved it.  I do love a good immigrant story and I found the rambunctious Haji family rather fascinating but I never felt emotionally invested in them.  Morais’ writes well but I thought his journalism background came through and the book lacked sentiment.

I did find the peek into the politics and hierarchy of French restaurants fascinating and was amazed at just how hard it is to earn the prestigious Michelin stars. Foodies will appreciate the descriptions of food and food preparation.

The Movie

 

 The Hundred-Foot Journey movieThe movie follows the basic plot of the book but several things were changed, including the Haji’s last name.  The changes made the movie lighter and a tad romantic.  The food and kitchen scenes are drool worthy.

The casting of The Hundred-Foot Journey was perfect and the acting was terrific.   Since the movie was mostly filmed in France, the scenery is gorgeous as well.

The Verdict

This is one of the rare instances where the movie surpassed the book for me.  I enjoyed them both but thought the movie made the story come to life.

weekend cookingI will be linking 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.

I won this book from Jo-Jo Loves to Read!!!  I am an Indiebound Affliate.

Wondrous Words Wednesday

October 8, 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 week’s words came from The Mouse-Proof Kitchen by Saira Shah.

1. dolmen – “”Downstairs,’ says Julien, ushering us back down to the dolmen.”

A dolmen is a prehistoric monument of two or more upright stones supporting a horizontal stone slab found especially in Britain and France and thought to be a tomb.

dolmen

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2. tractable – “But Yvonne, usually so tractable, is entirely unmovable on this issue.”

Tractable is an adjective that means capable of being easily led, taught, or controlled: docile.

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 What words do you want to celebrate today?

At the movies: Get On Up

October 7, 2014

Get On Up

Get On Up tells singer James Brown’s life story from his poor, dysfunctional childhood to his huge success in the music industry.  Brown’s early life was tragic – his parents didn’t get along and fought all the time, quite often physically.   His mother couldn’t take it any longer, so she left – on her own – leaving James alone with his father.

James lands in prison and becomes fascinated with a singing group there.  One of it’s members, Bobby Byrd, welcomes James into his home once they’re out of prison and James joins his gospel group.  With James pushing them, the group achieves some success.  When James is offered a contract, he doesn’t hesitate to leave his friends behind.  The rest, as they, say is history.

James Brown certainly has a fascinating rags to riches story, but I found the way the movie was constructed confusing at times.  Told through flashbacks, the story didn’t flow well for me so the movie was just okay.   However, Chadwick Boseman’s performance is outstanding and I think the movie is worth seeing just to witness it – you may want to wait to rent it though.

Mailbox Monday

October 6, 2014

Mailbox Monday October 6

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued, and now hosted on its own blog.   I’m at the beach with my mom and sister this week.  I’ll be offline and probably won’t be reading but that’s okay because we always have a lot of fun.  Here are the books that showed up in my mailbox:

Monday

Tuesday

Thursday

What did you find in your mailbox last week?

Review: The Bunny Rabbit Show!

October 3, 2014

The Bunny Rabbit Show

The Bunny Rabbit Show! by Sandra Boynton is an adorable board book to share with little ones.  Told in rhyming verse, it’s the story of ten terrific rabbits who like to dance, sing, and perform.  You don’t have to be a rabbit to join in their fun, though,

But if you’re NOT a rabbit, don’t worry. It’s okay. Just find yourself some bunny ears and you’ll be on your way.  HEY . . .

Filled with Boynton’s delightful illustration, this book will be a treat for the eyes and ears of toddlers.  They’ll love the cute story and parents will appreciate the welcoming nature of the rabbits.  With easy to flip, heavy duty pages, The Bunny Rabbit Show! is sure to be a hit!

Listen to the song:


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 Workman Publishing.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
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