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Review: The One & Only

August 14, 2014

The Only & Only

Thirty-three year old Shea Rigsby grew up in Walker, Texas, best friends with Lucy, the daughter of the college’s beloved football coach.   Shea works in the school’s athletic department and is passionate about Walker football.   When Lucy’s mother dies, Shea realizes she has feelings for Lucy’s father.  She doesn’t know if he feels the same way, though, so she doesn’t act on them.

Shea tries to move on with her life, accepting a new job as a sportswriter and dating the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys.  Life is good but Shea realizes her heart is in Walker and she’s not sure what to do about it.

I’ve heard a lot about Emily Giffin‘s books so I was excited to read The One & Only.  The book started out strong for me – I loved and could relate to all the football references – but in the end, I thought it was just okay.  Since I’ve finished it, I’ve heard others say it wasn’t Giffin’s best book so I will definitely try more of her work.

I think my biggest issue with the book was the relationship between Shea and Coach Carter.  Shea grew up with his daughter so he should have been like a father figure to her.  After the death of the coach’s wife, they only had casual contact a few times, so I couldn’t figure out where her feelings for him came from.  As a matter of fact, they felt kind of icky to me.

I did enjoy Giffin’s light, breezy storytelling and thought her dialogue was terrific.  If you’ve read her work, what book would you suggest I try next?

The audio version of The One & Only is narrated by Sofia Willingham.  She started off on the wrong foot by pronouncing the author’s last name as Griffin.  Things did improve after that even though she went in and out of a mild Southern accent.  The audio is on 12 CDs and lasts approximately 13 hours.

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

Wondrous Words Wednesday

August 13, 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!

There were no new words in my reading last week so I had to revert to my old Word-a-Day calendar.

1. haplology – “The speech therapist reassured the child’s parents that ‘the tendency toward haplology will likely correct itself with age.'”

Haplology is a contraction of a word by omission of one or more similar sounds or syllables.  A great example is library since many people drop the first r when they pronounce it.

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2. syllabub – “On special occasions, Grandma would serve syllabub for dessert.”

Syllabub is milk or cream that is curdled with an acid beverage (as wine or cider) and often sweetened.

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3. vibrissa – “The manatee’s prehensile lips are studded with vibrissae that it uses to discriminate between food plants and to manipulate those plants.”

A vibrissa is one of the stiff hairs that are located about the nostrils in many mammals.  It’s also one of the bristly feathers near the mouth of many birds.

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 What words do you want to celebrate today?

Review: The Hiltons

August 12, 2014

The Hiltons

Conrad Hilton was born in New Mexico in 1887.  His childhood was pretty typical for the time.  Things weren’t always easy but he was able to attend college.  He was determined to succeed and tried several business ventures before settling on the hotel business where he was a huge success.  He had a keen business sense and was an innovative pioneer in the field.

Unfortunately, Hilton’s personal life wasn’t the success his business life was.  Contrary to the teachings of his beloved Catholic church, Hilton’s first marriage ended in divorce.  He raised two of the sons from that marriage and left the other with his ex-wife.  After his divorce he became smitten with Zsa Zsa Gabor – their marriage was doomed from the start.  Gabor had a daughter and said Hilton was the father but he always had his doubts.

Hilton’s sons grew up and went into the family business with him.  His older son Nicky married Elizabeth Taylor in a media frenzy and it, too, was a marriage doomed from the start.  He later married happily but always struggled with personal demons and suffered from company in-fighting.  Hilton’s middle son, Barron, married happily and fit well in the business.  He was as ambitious as his father and didn’t hesitate to maneuver to make things go his way.

Conrad and his sons didn’t believe in passing their wealth down – instead they made charities the beneficiaries of their estates causing hard feelings within the family.  It seems that each generation has one person with drive and ambition and Paris looks to be the one in the current generation.

The Hiltons: The True Story of an American Dynasty by J. Randy Taraborrelli is just what is sounds like – the history of a celebrated American family.  I thought Taraborrelli did a great job researching his subjects and presenting a balanced view of the family and its patriarch – he presented both praise and criticism.  I listened to the audio version of the book and I found it fascinating.  I didn’t know much about the family going into the book so most of what was presented was new to me.  Robert Petkoff does an outstanding job narrating the 19 and a half hour book.  Photos are included on the last CD.  If you like biographies and/or true family sagas, you won’t want to miss this book!

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

 

Mailbox Monday

August 11, 2014

Mailbox Monday August 11

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued, and now hosted on its own blog.  I wasn’t too busy last week so I got quite a bit of reading done – now I need to get some writing done. Here are the books that showed up in my mailbox:

Monday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

What did you find in your mailbox last week?

Review: Awkwardly Ever After

August 8, 2014

Awkwardly Ever After

 

The upcoming prom has the students at Smith High School buzzing.

Mackenzie is trying to fix her best friend, Melanie, up with hockey star Spencer but Melanie’s not interested because she has feelings for Mackenzie’s little brother.  She doesn’t want to act on them, though, because she’s not sure how Mackenzie will react.

Spencer doesn’t want to become Prom King so he strikes a deal with geeky Isobel to pretend like they’re a couple.  She agrees but there’s a catch – he has to be completely honest with her.

Corey’s finding out just how difficult it is to date a rock star, especially when that rock star’s band is playing at the prom.

Awkwardly Ever After, by Marni Bates, is really three stories, with many of the same characters, all connected by the high school prom.  The stories are told from the points of view Melanie, Isobel, and Corey so readers get the feel for the hierarchy of Smith High School.

I’ve been a fan of Bates’ work for a while – her books are smart, fun and very readable – so was excited when I saw Jill review this one.  Jill said “this book is a little more serious” than Bates’ other titles.  I found that to be true but it didn’t bother me.  What did bother me was the fact that Melanie’s and Isobel’s stories felt incomplete.

I still enjoyed Awkwardly Ever After, though, because Bates’ really gets the issues high school kids face and writes about them with wit and humor.  The dialogue is snappy and the pacing is fast so I found the book to be a quick, fun read.  I have a feeling it’ll give comfort to more than one high school student.

There’s a fun “High School Survival Playlist” in the back of the book that lists songs and words of encouragement like:

Kate Nash: “Do-Wah-Doo”

When confronted with someone unpleasant, reading a book is always a viable option!

 

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 Kensington Books. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

Author event and giveaway: Mary Alice Monroe

August 7, 2014

Mary Alice Monroe

I was lucky enough to see the ever delightful Mary Alice Monroe during her tour for her latest book, The Summer Wind, the second book in her Lowcountry Summer trilogy.

Mary Alice has been writing for a while but really found her niche when she started writing “green fiction.”  As a turtle lady, Mary Alice is passionate about the environment and wanted to make readers aware of issues without preaching to them.  She has written about turtles, sweetgrass, butterflies and, with her current trilogy, dolphins.  She said her research always surprises her because she can’t make up stories better than the ones she encounters.

In her research on dolphins, Mary Alice learned:

  • Dolphins excel in communication.  Calves are given signature whistles at birth.
  • Dolphins have strong communities and family bonds.  “Aunties” help raise babies.
  • Dolphins taught her to enjoy the moment and remember to laugh.

In her research for The Summer Wind, Mary Alice worked with Wounded Warriors.  As she was writing the book she struggled with one of the characters.  The character wasn’t easy to write because she’s not likable.  Once Mary Alice figured the character out, she found she was fun to write.

The third book in the trilogy, The Summer’s End, will be out in 2015.

Lowcountry Summer trilogy

I got Mary Alice to autograph copies of the first two books in the Lowcountry Summer trilogy for one lucky reader.  To enter to win autographed copies of THE SUMMER GIRLS and THE SUMMER WIND, simply fill out the entry form.  Contest is open worldwide – one entry per person, please.  I will use random.org to determine the winner.  Contest ends at midnight EDT Sunday, August 17, 2014.    Comments are welcome (and appreciated) but will not get you an entry in the contest.

Wondrous Words Wednesday

August 6, 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!

All of this week’s words came from Pioneer Girl by Bich Minh Nguyen.

1. volute – “Sam leaned against the staircase, resting his arm where the staircase railing ended, curling into itself in a shape that I remembered was called volute.”

I thought the sentence did a good job of explaining this word but I looked it up anyway.  Volute means a spiral or scroll-shaped form.

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2. lacuna – “What was wrong with me, that I didn’t register his absence, the permanent lacuna, which should have marked each day?”

Lacuna means blank space or missing part: gap.

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3. liminal – “‘Liminal, academics call it'”

In this case, liminal means of, relating to, or being an intermediate state, phase, or condition: in-between, transitional.

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 What words do you want to celebrate today?

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