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Review: Troublemaker

January 28, 2016


After Leah Remini‘s parents divorced, her mother became involved with a man who was a Scientologist.  He brought Remini’s mother into the church and she started working there.  Leah and her sister would come by to see their mother after school and they, too, became indoctrinated.  Remini tells the story of growing up in, and later breaking ties with, the church in her memoir, Troublemaker.

Since I have a fascination with memoirs and with the Church of Scientology this book was right up my alley and it did not disappoint.  Remini comes across as open and honest and her success seems to have come in spite of, not because of, the church, which she portrays in a very poor light.

Remini also shares some Hollywood gossip which I found fascinating as well.  Before I read Troublemaker, I wasn’t a huge fan of Remini’s – I found her too abrasive – but since reading it, I find I have a new appreciation of where she’s coming from.

I listened to the audio version of the book which is narrated by Remini herself.  I thought she did a fantastic job of bringing her story to life.   If you enjoy celebrity memoirs, be sure to check this book out.

I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

Wondrous Words Wednesday

January 27, 2016

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 Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam.

1. abrogate – “You have abrogated that responsibility.”

Abrogate means to repeal or do away with.


2. nonce – “We shall be on the enemy in a nonce.”

Nonce means (of a word or expression) coined for or used on one occasion.


What words do you want to celebrate today?

Review: Chickens in the Road

January 26, 2016

Chcikens in the Road


After her divorce, romance writer Suzanne McMinn realized she could live wherever she pleased for the first time in her life.  She decided to return to a place she’d visited often as a child – rural West Virginia.  At first she lived in the house of a family member and found she loved it there.  That sparked a dream to have a small farm of her own.

She and her boyfriend built a house and started to acquire animals.  McMinn loved everything about her life – the animals, the cooking, and creating items like soap – but quickly realized that she didn’t love her boyfriend.  She wasn’t sure how she could run a farm without him, though, and found herself facing a tough dilemma.

Chickens in the Road: An Adventure in Ordinary Splendor is Suzanne McMinn‘s story of embracing a rural lifestyle.  After her divorce, she moved to West Virginia with her three children and found the country lifestyle very fulfilling.  She loved the land and wanted desperately to make a life there but wasn’t sure how she could make it work.  I love memoirs so I expected to love this book, especially since my mom did, but for me, it was good but not great.  I admit that I found the parts about the life on the farm much more interesting than the parts about McMinn’s floundering relationship with her boyfriend.

McMinn learned to make the most of what the farm had to offer and embraced cooking and making things.  The back of the book is filled with recipes, like Corncob Jelly and Fried Squash Blossoms, as well as directions for crafts like hot process soap and beeswax lip balm.

I’d recommend Chickens in the Road for those who like memoirs and/or a rural lifestyle.

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 Harper Collins.   I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

Mailbox Monday

January 25, 2016

Mailbox Monday January 25

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia and now hosted on its own blog.   I won’t be around this week because I’m at my mom’s celebrating her 89th birthday!!  I found these goodies in my mailbox last week:




What did you find in your mailbox last week?

Review: El Deafo

January 22, 2016


El Deafo

The youngest of three children, Cece Bell was born with normal hearing but was left profoundly deaf after contracting meningitis at the age of four.  She was fitted with hearing aids for daily wear and with a Phonic Ear for school days.  She attended kindergarten with other hearing impaired students and learned some lip reading skills.

Cece’s family moved over the summer and she always felt left out.  She imagined she was a superhero but realizes

Superheroes might be awesome, but they are also different.  And being different feels a lot like being alone.

Cece didn’t like it when people treated her differently and yearned to find a true friend who will accept her the way she is.


I love graphic memoirs so when I saw Louise from A Strong Belief in Wicker review El Deafo by Cece Bell, I knew I had to read it, and I’m so glad I did.  This prize winning book is a gem.  Cece feels like everyone else and just wants to fit in.  Her big, bulky Phonic Ear makes her feel like she stands out, though, and not in a good way.  No one was deliberately mean to Cece but she doesn’t appreciate being referred to as “my deaf friend.”  She wants a true friend who will treat her like everyone else.

Oh, how I loved this book!  The story is terrific and so are the full color illustrations.  El Deafo gave me a new appreciation of what it’s like to feel different because of a disability.  It also made me realize how isolated a hearing impairment can make someone feel.   There’s a note from the author in the back of the book that’s not to be missed.  This book is aimed at younger readers but I recommend it to everyone ages 8 and up.

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.

I am an Indiebound Affiliate.


At the movies: Inside Out

January 21, 2016

Inisde Out

Riley is a happy child who enjoys school, friends, family, and hockey.  Things are different, though, when her family moves to San Francisco for her dad’s job.  Riley is unsure of herself and has trouble fitting in.

Riley, and her emotions (who live in Headquarters), work to help her settle in her new environment but it’s not easy.  Joy, her primary emotion, has her hands full trying to keep things in balance.  Things aren’t going well, but Joy believes in Riley and sacrifices everything to help her adjust.

Inside Out is an animated film about emotions that will tug at your heart strings.  It’s a movie children will enjoy and adults will appreciate.  I’ve heard others say the movie made them cry but I remained dry eyed throughout.  I enjoyed the movie and thought it was funny and sweet but I’m glad I waited to watch it at home.

Wondrous Words Wednesday

January 20, 2016

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 a couple words in Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam.

1. imprecation – “Before Malcolm could reply, if he had a reply, the strikers stumbled to a halt, their cries winding down to mumbled imprecations.”

An imprecation is a spoken curse.


2. manjack – “Every manjack one of them went off to get drunk.”

A manjack is an individual man.


What words do you want to celebrate today?


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