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Review: The Winter People

July 3, 2014

The Winter People

When young Gertie dies in 1908, her mother, Sara, cannot get over the loss and decides to try a magic spell to bring her daughter back.  It doesn’t work, of course, and results in further tragedy.

In the modern day, Alice lives in the same town Sara did with her daughters Ruth and Fawn.  When Alice turns up missing, Ruth hunt for clues as to where she could be and discovers Sara’s diary.  As she reads it, she finds herself getting lost in Sara’s story.

I’ve heard a lot about The Winter People, by Jennifer McMahon, so I was excited to read the book.  I didn’t love it like I’d hoped to, but did end up liking it.  I generally don’t read supernatural stories, though, so it’s probably just me.  I’m somewhat skeptical when it comes to ghosts and the supernatural so I have trouble suspending disbelief.

The storyline of The Winter People alternates between Sara’s story in the past, told through her diary, and Ruth’s in the present.  Their stories come together in a surprising way for an exciting conclusion.  The story was suspenseful and had some exciting moments but it wasn’t terribly compelling for me.  I have a feeling that people who enjoy supernatural twists will like this more than I did.

The audio version of the book is narrated by Cassandra Campbell and Käthe Mazur.  They both do a terrific job and the dual narration made it easy to tell who’s part of the story was being told.  The audio is on 9 CDs and lasts approximately 10 and a half hours.

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

Wondrous Words Wednesday

July 2, 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!

My first word came from a children’s book, The Yeti Files: Meet the Bigfeet by Kevin Sherry.  The book goes on to explain the word but I thought I would include it since it was new to me.

1. cryptid – “I’m a yeti and that’s a cryptid.”

According to the book, “a cryptid is a hidden animal whose existence has never been proven.”

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My second word came from Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews.

2. scintilla – “It was also much bigger than her apartment on Jones Street, but with not a scintilla of appeal.”

Scintilla sounded familiar to me and I could pretty much discern it’s meaning from the context but decided to look it up anyway.  Scintilla means spark or trace.

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What words do you want to celebrate today?

Review: Save the Date

July 1, 2014

Save the Date

Cara Kryzik’s flower shop is in trouble – several things need to be fixed and her dad is demanding she pay back the money she owes him.  She’s not sure how she’ll stay afloat until she gets the contract for a very expensive wedding.

Cara meets a really nice guy and things seem to be going well for them until he tries to help her out.  For some reason, that infuriates Cara and she breaks things off with him.

When the bride of the wedding that will save Cara’s shop gets cold feet, Cara decides it’s her job to convince her to go through with the wedding.  Talking to the bride makes Cara understand what she wants out of life.

Save the Date was exactly what I expect when I read a novel by Mary Kay Andrews – it’s light, fun, a little bit romantic and has a happy ending.  Andrews’ breezy writing style makes it a quick read even though it’s almost 450 pages.  The book is predictable – I knew how things were going to end very early in the book – so the middle dragged for me a little but, but I still thought it was lots of fun and smiled as I closed it for the final time.

Cara’s strong and determined to make it on her own after her first marriage falls apart.  It seems that the odds are against her, though.  Still, she manages to maintain a great attitude until the one person who truly cares about her tries to help.  He really did mean well but didn’t go about things in the right way.  Cara decides she’s better off without him and comes up with a plan of her own.  Cara is such a likeable character and she was easy to relate to, so I hoped things would turn out well for her.

Save the Date is perfect for those times when you need a lighter read.  It’s an ideal book for your summer beach bag!

Review copy provided by Tandem Literary.  I am an Indiebound Affliate.

Mailbox Monday

June 30, 2014

Mailbox Monday June 30

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued, and now hosted on its own blog.  I’m back from my mom’s and hope to stay home for at least a couple weeks.  Our nephew is coming on Wednesday so it’ll be a busy and fun week!  Here are the books that showed up in my mailbox last week:

Monday

Wednesday

Thursday

 

Did you find any goodies in your mailbox last week?

Review: If You Give a Mouse an iPhone

June 27, 2014

If you give a mouse an iPhone

While a young boy is making a sandwich, his pet mouse, Applesauce, keeps asking for things.  In order to distract Applesauce, he gives him his phone, saying,

I’ll tell you what — If you leave me alone for ten minutes, I’ll let you play on my phone.

Applesauce is excited to have the phone to play with but, when the ten minutes are up, he doesn’t give it up.  He’s so distracted by the phone, he misses out on all the fun things going on around him.  He doesn’t watch where he’s going and ends up on a deserted island when the battery runs out.  Since there’s no place to charge the phone, he forgets about it and finally has some real fun.

If You Give a Mouse an iPhone by Ann Droyd (a pseudonym of David Milgrim) is a great twist on an old classic.  It’s got a terrific message for kids and adults.  It’s told with humor so kids just might take the hint and put down their electronics for a little while.   Adults will see why it’s not always the best idea to distract kids with gadgets.

The illustrations in this book are adorable and enhance the story.  They help draw readers in and will engage youngsters.  If You Give a Mouse an iPhone doesn’t come out until October, but it’s well worth the wait!

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 Penguin Books.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

Review: Blood Will Out

June 26, 2014

Blood Will Out

Walter Kirn volunteered to transport a dog from his home in Montana to New York so the dog could be adopted by Clark Rockefeller.  Kirn was impressed by the Rockefeller name and was happy to get to know a member of the family.  Of course, Clark wasn’t really a Rockefeller, he was con artist Christian Gerhartsreiter.  When Gerhartsreiter went to trial for murdering a former landlord, Kirn covered the trial.  Blood Will Out: The True Story of a Murder, a Mystery, and a Masquerade is the story of their relationship.

True crime is one of my guilty pleasures so I had high hopes for this book but, I’m sad to say, it didn’t meet my expectations.  I  was hoping to learn more about Clark Rockefeller and the murder that eventually brought him down, but found the book to be more about Kirn.

Even though there were many red flags, Kirn chose to believe Gerhartsreiter was indeed a Rockefeller because it made him feel important to know someone from that wealthy family.  The book is as much an examination of Kirn’s feelings about being duped by such a practiced con artist as it is about Rockefeller.  Kirn also writes of other aspects of his life, such as his failed marriage and, in the end, it wasn’t all that interesting to me.

The audio version of Blood Will Out is narrated by Stephen Bel Davies and he does an excellent job.  His narration was the highlight of the book for me.  The audio version lasts approximately 7 hours and 15 minutes.

Review copy provided by Lisa Weinert Consulting.

Wondrous Words Wednesday

June 25, 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 Let the Tornado Come by Rita Zoey Chin.

1. excoriate – “But by then my stepmother had left my father — after three years of marriage, my father finally snapped and beat her until she clawed her way out of the house and ran barefoot in her nightgown in the February snow — and my sister had gone back to live with our mother, and my father walked around bereft and excoriated and mean, and most days I felt like I was living inside a sarcophagus.”

I think the author is using this word figuratively to mean abraded.

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2. grist – “I had needed her for years, needed her with the grist of my being, with the stake of my feet on the earth.”

I found several definitions for grist and none of them matched what I thought the author was trying to say.  These are the definitions I found on Merriam-Webster.  Which one do you think fits the sentence?

1 a :  grain or a batch of grain for grinding
   b :  the product obtained from a grist of grain including the flour or meal and the grain offals
2 :  a required or usual amount
3 :  matter of interest or value forming the basis of a story or analysis
4:  something turned to advantage or use —used especially in the phrase grist for one’s mill

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1. piaffe; passage – “And though we weren’t piaffing and passaging around the arena, I rode him on my own, and we did okay.”

Piaffe means a horse is in a collected and cadenced trot; in place or nearly in place.

Passage is a highly elevated and powerful and trot.

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What words do you want to celebrate today?

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