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Wondrous Words Wednesday

February 11, 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 two new words in Fire Shut Up in My Bones by Charles M. Blow.

1. physiognomy – “Neither of us spoke, but physiognomic judgements passed between us, embedded in glares of disapproval.”

Physiognomy is the art of discovering temperament and character from outward appearance.


2. fluctuant – “Whatever I might feel about guys was subordinate and fluctuant, and I wanted to forever keep it bottled up tight, like the cork in a whiskey jug.”

Fluctuant has a couple different meanings.  In this case, I think the author meant variable or unstable.


What words do you want to celebrate today?

Review: The Girl Who Came Home

February 10, 2015

The Girl Who Came Home

Maggie Murphy is immigrating to America at the insistence of her aunt even though her heart is in Ireland with Séamus.  They’ll sail on the Titanic’s maiden voyage and head to Chicago where her aunt has made a name for herself.  Maggie survives the Titanic’s disaster but decides to never speak about it.

Seventy years later, Maggie’s granddaughter, Grace needs to find a purpose in her life after the death of her father.  She has the opportunity for an internship at a newspaper but doesn’t know what to write about.  Maggie decides  the time has finally come to tell her story.

My book club was lucky enough to receive copies of The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor from Book Club Girl and we met to discuss it in January.  I have to admit that I’m not the biggest historical fiction fan so I wasn’t all that excited to read this book but was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say I loved it but I did like it very much.  I became attached to the characters and was moved by the plight of the Titanic’s survivors.

Everyone in my book club enjoyed The Girl Who Came Home.  We started talking about the book as everyone was arriving.  I cut up the discussion questions and had everyone draw one and lead the discussion for their question and we found we had a lot to say about this book.  Everyone admitted that they’d never thought about the trauma and guilt the survivors went through after the ship sank.  I came to appreciate the book more after our discussion.

The Girl Who Came Home was a hit with my book club so I can recommend it to others with confidence.  If you like the Titanic and/or historical fiction you won’t want to miss this book!

Review copy provided by Harper Collins.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

Mailbox Monday

February 9, 2015

Mailbox Monday February 9

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued, and now hosted on its own blog.   My mailbox was embarrassingly full last week but, in my defense, a couple of these books were wins and several were unsolicited.  The weather here has been grand and it looks like it will be that way most of this week – this is my kind of winter.  I found these books in my mailbox last week:







What did you find in your mailbox last week?

Review: Seeds of Freedom

February 6, 2015

Seeds of Freedom

Alabama was a hotbed of resistance during the Civil Rights Movement and often made headlines for its defiant attitude.  In Seeds of Freedom, Hester Bass shows how Huntsville managed to desegregate peacefully.

African Americans protested by buying five dollar blue jeans instead of expensive Easter outfits, holding sit-ins, and releasing balloons into the air.  Civic leaders – both black and white – convinced downtown merchants to integrate and Fifth Avenue School was the first school in the state to enroll an African American student.

I really liked the fact that Seeds of Freedom shows that it is possible to solve issues in nonviolent ways but I don’t think things were settled as easily as the book portrays.  As a matter of fact, in the author’s note, Bass notes that some schools still “serve mostly white children and others mostly black children,” and says “the struggle continues.”

The book is presented in a picture book format with stunning illustrations by E. B. Lewis but I have to wonder who the target audience is.  I’m not sure young readers have enough background to understand the story and feel older readers could be turned off by the format.

Overall, I thought this gorgeous book was pretty good and could be used to spark some great discussions.

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 Candlewick Press. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

Author event and giveaway: Colleen Oakley

February 5, 2015

Colleen Oakley

Colleen Oakley grew up in the upstate and recently held a launch party for her first novel, Before I Go at Fiction Addiction.   I was thrilled to see a large turnout and happy to see many of Colleen’s high school friends in attendance.  Colleen’s mother was in attendance as well – she’s accompanying Colleen on her book tour since she’s pregnant with twins.

In her role as a journalist, Colleen has written for publications including Ladies Home Journal, Fitness, and The New York Times.   Her first novel, Before I Go, was published in January to great reviews.  A few people at the launch had already read the book – they loved it and said it made them cry.  I asked Colleen if she cried when she wrote it and she said that one scene did make her cry, so be sure to have tissues handy when you read this book.

Colleen lives in Atlanta with her husband and children and is currently working on her second novel.

About the book:

Before I Go

A heart-wrenching debut novel in the bestselling tradition of P.S. I Love You about a young woman with breast cancer who undertakes a mission to find a new wife for her husband before she passes away.Twenty-seven-year-old Daisy already beat breast cancer three years ago. How can this be happening to her again?

On the eve of what was supposed to be a triumphant “Cancerversary” with her husband Jack to celebrate three years of being cancer-free, Daisy suffers a devastating blow: her doctor tells her that the cancer is back, but this time it’s an aggressive stage four diagnosis. She may have as few as four months left to live. Death is a frightening prospect—but not because she’s afraid for herself. She’s terrified of what will happen to her brilliant but otherwise charmingly helpless husband when she’s no longer there to take care of him. It’s this fear that keeps her up at night, until she stumbles on the solution: she has to find him another wife.

I got Colleen to autograph a copy of Before I Go for one lucky reader.  To enter to win an autographed copy of BEFORE I GO, simply fill out the entry form.  Contest is open worldwide – one entry per person, please.  I will use to determine the winner.  Contest ends at midnight EDT Thursday, February 12, 2015.    Comments are welcome (and appreciated) but will not get you an entry in the contest.

Wondrous Words Wednesday

February 4, 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!

101 Two Letter Words

I read 101 Two-Letter Words by Stephin Merritt last week, thinking it would give me all kinds of words to use for this meme but, sadly, it did not.  The book is cute and wonderfully illustrated by Roz Chast but most of the words, and their meanings, will be familiar to anyone who plays Scrabble or Words with Friends.  I did discover a few new ones, though.

1. ai – An ai is a type of three-toed sloth.



2. ki – Sometimes spelled qi, ki is the energy believed to circulate around the body in currents.


3. xu – The xu is a coin that was minted in Vietnam.


What words do you want to celebrate today?

At the movies: Wild

February 3, 2015
tags: ,

Wild movie

When Wild, by Cheryl Strayed, was first out, I wasn’t interested in it, even though several of my friends loved it.  I’m not very outdoorsy and couldn’t see the appeal in reading about someone hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.  I do like Reese Witherspoon, though, and decided to give the movie version a chance and, boy, am I glad I did!

Strayed was raised by a cheerful, optimistic single mother and was devastated when her mother died at 45.  In her grief she made some poor decisions and her life was a mess.  When a friend questioned her choices and told her she was worried about her, Strayed decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail.  She had no hiking experience and had a rough start but learned a lot along the way.  The hike was very therapeutic for her and helped her release her demons.

Reese Witherspoon plays Strayed in the movie version of Wild.  Her performance was outstanding and has earned her an Academy Award nomination.  I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and understood Strayed’s need to hike.  I bought the book after seeing the movie and hope to read it soon – I hope it’s as good as the movie!


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