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The Week in Review: 09.13.2019

September 13, 2019
tags:

the-week-in-review

Between the Covers

Finished last week:

It’s always a good day when there’s a new Jacqueline Woodson book to read.  RED AT THE BONE, her latest, is the story of Melody, a girl born to unwed teen parents.  With beautiful, poetic language, Woodson shows how the unexpected affected everyone, including Melody’s grandparents, parents, and even Melody herself.  The book opens with them preparing for Melody’s 16th birthday celebration.  They’re getting her dress ready – the dress that was made for her mother’s own 16th birthday party that never happened because of her unplanned pregnancy.  The party and the dress make them all reflect on their lives.

I just loved Melody and her family.  The story alternates between the past and the present giving readers the full picture of this family struggling to do the right thing, like so many other families.  I found it touching and somewhat poignant.  As usual, Woodson’s writing is spare and spot on and I found myself lost in her words and this family.  Woodson has another winner on her hands with RED AT THE BONE – be sure to pick it up!  (Review copy provided by Riverhead Books.)

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THE DEARLY BELOVED by Cara Wall is the story of two couples, James and Nan and Charles and Lily, whose lives become entwined when the men are appointed co-ministers of a Presbyterian Church in New York City.  The couples couldn’t be more different – Charles is deeply religious while Lily is not; James isn’t particulary religious but became a minister to help people and Nan has a strong faith in God – but they find a way to co-exist and work together.

Oh, how I loved this character driven story!  Wall’s writing is fabulous.  I came to care deeply about these wonderfully flawed characters and hated when real life interrupted my reading time.  The story is quiet but consuming – I thought about it all the time as I read the book and am still thinking about it – and left me in tears at the end.  THE DEARLY BELOVED is sure to be on my list of favorites for 2019 because I loved this book.  Be sure to pick it up!  (Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster.)

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DOGGY DEFENDERS: TIGER THE POLICE DOG by Lisa M. Gerry with photos by Lori Epstein shows early readers what a day in the life of a police dog and its trainer is like.  Tiger and his partner, Aida Rodriguez serve in Washington, D. C. and live and work together.  They report to work and get different assignments every day.  They can be found in schools or the Metro or just walking down the street.  At the end of the day, they like to play and every month or so, they retrain.

This National Geographic Kids book is fairly simple because it’s aimed at early readers.  I think they’ll love Tiger and his partner and seeing them in action will help them feel safe.  The full color photographs are fantastic and make readers feel like they are there with Tiger and Officer Rodriguez.  There’s a short question and answer and safety tips from Tiger in the back that can help lead to further discussion.  This book is perfect for 4 to 8 year olds who love animals and/or are interested in policework.  (Review copy provided by Media Masters Publicity.)

Currently reading:

On the Screen

College football!  I watched Virginia Tech beat Old Dominion.  The game was much closer than it should have been.  As I’ve said before, it’s going to be a long season.

Off the blog

  • Carl and I went on a little day trip and, once again, found ourselves at a brewery.

  • Carl picked up our new wills on Monday.  It’s nice to have that over and done with!

  • We celebrated Carl’s birthday with a little get together at the store Tuesday night.

  • My sister arrived yesterday and will be going to SIBA with me starting today.
  • I walked at least three miles every morning and averaged just over 17,000 Fitbit steps a day.

What’s going on in your corner of the world?

Wondrous Words Wednesday

September 11, 2019

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 one phrase in an uncorrected proof of RED AT THE BONE by Jacqueline Woodson.

1. dookie chain – “The OG blinked down at her, then lowered his voice as he recounted the way the back of Slip’s head was left dripping from the baby swings in Knickerbocker Park, his dookie chain snatched, his eyes blinked opened forever.”

A dookie chain is a thick necklace that looks like a braided chain.  You can read more about them here.

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What words do you want to celebrate today?

Mailbox Monday

September 9, 2019

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia and now hosted on its own blog.  It’s still feast or famine around here.  For the first time since I’ve been doing this meme, I didn’t get any physical books in my mailbox.  However, I did download a few ebooks.

Tuesday

Friday

What was in your mailbox?

The Week in Review: 09.06.2019

September 6, 2019
tags: ,

the-week-in-review

Between the Covers

Finished last week:

Everyone in my family loves to grocery shop, except me – somehow I missed that gene – so I thought GROCERY; THE BUYING AND SELLING OF FOOD IN AMERICA by Michael Ruhlman might help me understand why.  Ruhlman is a well known food writer and he says right up front that he doesn’t hide his opinion.  The book started out strong for me – I enjoyed the interesting facts Ruhlman shared and shared them with others – but I thought it lost steam about half way through for a couple of reasons.  For one, he concentrated on Heinen’s, a small Ohio chain, and, as far as I know, there are no stores similar to them in our area.  (Reading about Heinen’s made me wish for a store like it nearby, though.)  He also wrote a lot about nutrition; so much so it started to feel like a lecture to me.  I did appreciate his passion for food and grocery stores and will pass GROCERY on to my mother because I think she will enjoy it immensely.  (Review copy provided by Abrams.)

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THE NICKEL BOYS by Colson Whitehead is the story of two young men – Elwood and Turner – sentenced to time in Nickel Academy, a reform school that claims to rehabilitate their charges and make them into honorable men.  The young men are from very different backgrounds and have different outlooks on life.  Elwood was raised by a grandmother who believed in him and he had plans to go to college; Turner thinks the world is dishonest and out to get him and does his best to avoid trouble.  Together, they do whatever it takes to survive the horrors of the ghastly school they find themselves in.

Nickel Academy is based on a real place in the panhandle of Florida that was open for over a hundred years and ruined the lives of thousands of young men.  THE NICKEL BOYS is an important book that is difficult to stomach yet hard to put down.  I fell in love with Elwood and needed to know how he would fare the brutal place he found himself.  I listened to the audio version which is narrated by JD Jackson who has a marvelous voice but I found his delivery somewhat monotonous.  Older teens on up need to read this book!  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)

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MY LIFE AS AN ICE CREAM SANDWICH by Ibi Zoboi is the story of young Ebony-Grace Norfleet.  Ebony-Grace has been sent from her Huntsville, Alabama home to live with her father in Harlem while her mother deals with some issues Ebony-Grace’s grandfather is having.  He’s an engineer at NASA and has always encouraged Ebony-Grace’s love of science fiction and fantasy.  The two of them created their own imaginary world and Ebony-Grace escapes to it to cope with the changes in her life.

I loved Ebony-Grace and her big imagination.  Her world has been turned upside down and she’s not really sure what’s going on and uses her fantasy world to cope.  I think a lot of middle grade readers will relate to her and the situation she’s in and will understand her need to escape.  I enjoyed Ebony-Grace’s story in the real world but have to admit I got tired of her fantasy world after a while – that’s proably just me, though, since I’m not a fan of science fiction.  In the end, I liked the book but didn’t love it.  The author narrates the audio version and does a great job with it.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)

Currently reading:

On the Screen

College football!  My three favorite teams – Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, and whoever plays Virginia – played this weekend and, sadly, they all lost.  I think it’s going to be a loooong season for Hokies.

 

I went to see The Art of Racing in the Rain with a friend and I think we started crying almost from the beginning of the movie – it was a good cry, though.  For those who don’t know, The Art of Racing in the Rain is the story of a family, told from the point of view of their dog, Enzo, as his life is coming to an end.  It’s been over ten years since I read the book but I felt the movie was faithful to its spirit.  There were some minor changes but they didn’t bother me.  I just loved this movie – I thought the casting, the acting, and the story were all wonderful.  You don’t want to miss it, but be sure to have tissues handy.

Off the blog

  • I started a new puzzle – it’s hard to tell from the picture but it’s of an angel holding a dove.
  • We walked at least three miles every morning and I averaged almost 16,500 Fitbit steps a day.

What’s going on in your corner of the world?

Wondrous Words Wednesday

September 4, 2019

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 word is from 1,001 FACTS ABOUT ANCIENT EGYPT by Nancy Honovich.

1. natron – “To purify himself for the gods, a priest shaved his head and body and chewed balls of salt called natron to clean his mouth.”

I looked this up to see what makes natron different from ordinary salt and discovered natron is a naturally occurring mixture of sodium carbonate decahydrate, sodium bicarbonate, sodium chloride, and sodium sulfate.  You can read more about it here.  

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What words do you want to celebrate today?

Mailbox Monday

September 2, 2019

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia and now hosted on its own blog.  I hope everyone in the US is has a safe, relaxing Labor Day.  Last week was famine and this week was feast – my mailbox exploded.

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

What was in your mailbox?

The Week in Review: 08.30.2019

August 30, 2019
tags:

the-week-in-review

Between the Covers

Finished last week:

I’m a huge fan of Joshilyn Jackson and was excited to pick up her latest novel, NEVER HAVE I EVER.  It’s the story of Amy, who’s made a nice life for herself with her professor husband, teenaged stepdaughter, and baby son.  Her best friend, Charlotte, lives across the street and the two spend a lot of time together.  When Roux appears in Amy’s life, she threatens to reveal a secret from Amy’s past if Amy doesn’t turn over the money in her trust to her.  Amy is torn – should she pay Roux or allow her to share her secret and see what happens?

This was quite a departure for Jackson and her usual southern fiction and, boy, was it good!  I loved everything about it – the story, the characters, and the suspense.  I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough and stayed up way too late to finish this book.  I think it would make a fabulous movie and would love to see it on the big screen.  If you enjoy suspense, you don’t want to miss this book – I have a feeling it will be on my list of favorites for the year.  (Review copy provided by Harper Collins.)

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I’m not a particularly big fan of Ben Folds but I do enjoy memoirs so I decided to listen to A DREAM ABOUT LIGHTNING BUGS: A LIFE OF MUSIC AND CHEAP LESSONS.  It’s the story of Folds from childhood to the present day – in fact the title comes from a dream he had as a child.  Folds doesn’t always come out looking great so I felt he was open and honest.  His quirky sense of humor shines throughout the book.  Folds narrates the audio book and does a great job – the production is a lot of fun with some sound effects and musical riffs throughout.  I enjoyed this book and recommend it to fans of Ben Folds and Ben Folds Five and those who enjoy memoirs.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)

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1,000 FACTS ABOUT ANCIENT EGYPT by Nancy Honovich might be published by National Geographic Kids for middle grade readers but I just loved it.  The thousand facts are presented in such a fun way.  They’re divided into chapters like Daily Life, Female Rulers, Food, and Crime and Punishment and each chapter takes up a two-page spread.  There are full color photos and illustrations spread throughout and a glossary, a map of a royal tomb, a timeline, and an index are included in the back of the book.  The book is printed on heavy duty, glossy paper and is nicely bound so it will endure lots of handling.

I’ve always been fascinated by Ancient Egypt and learned so much as I read this book, like

Scientists have found no cavities in Tutankhamun’s teeth.

There was no formal marriage ceremony.  The bride simply moved into her husband’s home with her possessions.

Headaches were treated by rubbing the head with a fried catfish.

I think young readers will enjoy this book as much as I did and will flip through it over and over again.  It’s a great resource that belongs in all school and classroom libraries.    (Review copy provided by Media Masters Publicity.)

Currently reading:

On the Screen

I watched the Clemson – Georgia Tech football game.  It was hard to know who to root for.  Clemson is our “local” college team but our nephew is a graduate of Georgia Tech.  The game ended up the way I thought it would and, frankly, I thought it was kind of boring.

Off the blog

  • We had a few days of cooler temperatures and even went to a bonfire Saturday night!
  • I registered for SIBA in September!

  • It took me a while but I finally finished my puzzle.  There was an extra piece that I suspect might be from an earlier puzzle.
  • I walked at least three miles every morning (and got caught in a downpour Tuesday) and averaged almost 17,500 Fitbit steps a day.

What’s going on in your corner of the world?