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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:




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.

Review: Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good

October 2, 2014

Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good

I’ve long been a fan of Jan Karon’s Mitford series.  It’s a charming, character-driven series set in an idyllic town in the North Carolina mountains and it never fails to make me feel good.  After a long hiatus, Karon is back with Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good, the tenth book in the series.

Retired priest Father Tim and his wife Cynthia have returned to Mitford after several years.  Father Tim is restless and grumpy and he’s not sure why.  He needs to find a way to connect to people but turns down the opportunity to fill a vacancy at the local church.  As usual, he steps in to help when and where he sees the need in his community.

There are a lot of secondary characters and subplots in this book but, as usual, Karon does a wonderful job of weaving them together.  I was thrilled to revisit these old characters – they’re far from perfect and feel very human so they’re like old friends.  I found this book (and the rest of the series) quiet and comforting.

I thought Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good was delightful.  I loved being back with the people of Mitford – it’s pastoral and endearing and makes me long for simpler times.  This book can stand alone but I think those familiar with Mitford and its characters will enjoy it more.  In fact, if you’ve enjoyed this series in the past, this is a must read!

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

Wondrous Words Wednesday

October 1, 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 Her by Harriet Lane.

1. matelot – “‘Her matelot top.”

Matelot means sailor.  Once again, I’m showing just how little fashion know-how I have – I actually own a matelot top.

matelot top


My second word came from The Undertaker’s Daughter by Kate Mayfield.

2. bibulous – “He never appeared as a bibulous sort of drunk.”

This is one of those words I feel like I should know but can’t quite define.  Bibulous can mean highly absorbent or, as in this case, fond of alcoholic beverages.


My third word came from The Mouse-Proof Kitchen by Saira Shah

3. sybaritic – “I feel too that this baby shares with him a sybaritic love of physical sensation.”

Sybaritic means fond of sensuous luxury or pleasure.


 What words do you want to celebrate today?

Review: Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands

September 30, 2014

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands

Both of Emily’s parents are killed when the nuclear power plant they work at has a catastrophic accident.  Everyone assumes it was her father’s fault since he was in charge so Emily runs away to avoid their wrath.  Emily’s a bright girl and is passionate about the work of Emily Dickinson but she’s led a privileged life so it’s hard to imagine her on her own.

Emily’s tough, though, and manages to survive even though she misses her parents and dog.  She uses her wits but still finds herself in some bad situations.  When she comes across a young boy who’s in worse shape than she is, she does everything she can to protect him.

I’ve read, and enjoyed a couple of Chris Bohjalian‘s books in the past so I was really excited to read Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands.  I liked this book a lot but I didn’t quite love it and I’m not totally sure why.  I thought Bohjalian nailed the voice of a teen-aged girl and I loved the way he incorporated her love of poetry into the book but, somehow, I never felt fully immersed in the story.  I think the book lacked the emotion I was looking for but I definitely think it’s worth reading.

The audio version of Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands is narrated by Bohjalian’s daughter, Grace Blewer.  It took me a while to get used to her narration but, once I did, I thought she did an okay job.  The audio book is on 7 CDs and lasts approximately 8 and a half hours.

Listen to a sample:

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

Mailbox Monday

September 29, 2014

Mailbox Monday September 29

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued, and now hosted on its own blog.   Things were back to normal last week.  I’m done with the doctor – for a few months anyway.  As far as books go, I actually broke even – I finished four books and got four new ones.  Here are the books that showed up in my mailbox:





What did you find in your mailbox last week?


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