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The Week in Review: 11.17.2017

November 17, 2017

the-week-in-review

Between the Covers

Finished last week:

ME AND MARVIN GARDENS by Amy Sarig King is a fabulous coming of age story for middle grade readers.  Obe is a science loving middle school boy who is upset about the development of land that used to belong to his family.  His best friend has abandoned him for some of the cool kids who’ve moved into the new homes that have been built.  Obe spends his spare time going to the creek and picking up trash there.  He discovers a new creature that eats plastic and he wonders if Marvin Gardens (as he’s named him) could be the solution to our pollution problem.  He wants to share the news of Marvin and keep him safe as well and has to figure out how to do that.  I found this book to be very engaging – it has wonderful characters, a great storyline, and a fabulous message.  I adored Obe and Marvin and won’t be forgetting them any time soon.  (Review copy provided by Amazon Vine.)

Vance has been a fan of hockey every since he attended a minor league game when he was in elementary school.  I wish Sports Illustrated Kids HOCKEY: THEN TO WOW! had been out then because I’m sure he would have loved it.  Who am I fooling?  I showed him part of the book as I read it and he grabbed it from me so he could read it too.  This fabulous book shows the evolution of ice hockey in every way from rules, to uniforms, to pucks and more.  It even mentions women’s hockey and shares the stars of the sport.  It highlights great players from the past and present and even mentions hockey games and trading cards.  HOCKEY: THEN TO WOW! is aimed at 8 to 12 year olds but it’s sure please hockey fans of all ages.  It would make a great gift for the hockey lover on your list.  (Review copy provided by Blue Slip Media.)

SOUR HEART by Jenny Zhang is a series of interconnected short stories about young daughters of Chinese parents who’ve immigrated to the US.  I found the look into the girls’ lives and their relationships with their parents, friends, and families fascinating and I really liked the way Zhang had characters reappear in many of the stories but I felt like the language was unnecessarily crude much of the time.  I listened to the audio version which is very aptly narrated by Greta Jung, Jenny Zhang and others – using multiple narrators works very well for a short story collection, in my opinion – and can’t help but wonder if the language would have bothered me as much in print.  I think the book is still worth reading unless raw language offends you.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)

Currently reading:

 

On the Screen

I watched Dancing with the Stars with my mother and sister.  We were all surprised to see Victoria and Val go home.  (We thought it should have been Drew and Emma.)  We were rooting for Frankie and were glad to see him make it to the finals but we all think Jordan or Lindsey will take home the mirror ball trophy.

Off the blog

  • Today’s my birthday!

  • I went to Atlanta last weekend to visit our nephew.  We went to the Virginia Tech – Georgia Tech football game.  We sat in a sea of Hokies and most of us in the section weren’t happy with Virginia Tech’s coach.  Adam was the rare exception.  After the game, we shopped a little and ate out.  All in all it was a great weekend.
  • From Atlanta, I went to see my mom.  She’s doing great and I’m happy to report that my sister is recovering nicely.

  • I finished my puzzle and need to get a new one to work on.
  • While I’m with my mom, I let her set the pace and don’t go on my daily walks.  I averaged just over 11,800 Fitbit steps a day.

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

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Wondrous Words Wednesday

November 15, 2017

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 word came from WHAT MADE MADDY RUN by Kate Fagan.

1. tangential – “Most high school coaches are also full-time teachers; sports are tangential.”

When I saw this word, I felt like I should know it’s meaning but I couldn’t put my finger on it.  Tangential means touching lightly: incidental, peripheral.

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What words do you want to celebrate today?

Mailbox Monday

November 13, 2017

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia and now hosted on its own blog.  I found these goodies in my mailbox last week:

Thursday

What did you find in your mailbox?

The Week in Review: 11.10.2017

November 10, 2017
tags:

the-week-in-review

Between the Covers

Finished last week:

MERRY AND BRIGHT by Debbie Macomber is a light, quick holiday read that can be enjoyed any time of the year.  Merry Knight works hard and is devoted to her parents and special needs brother and she rarely has time for fun.  She’s not happy when her mom and brother sign her up for an online dating website but goes along with it because her brother is so excited about it.  Before she knows it, she’s using the site to chat with a pleasant man.  They arrange to meet but Merry is taken aback when she realizes who she’s been chatting with.  I thought this book was sweet and VERY predictable but I still enjoyed it. The audio is narrated by Em Eldridge and she does a fine job.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)

PEEP AND EGG: I’M NOT TAKING A BATH by Laura Gehl is an adorable picture about a little chick named Egg who does not want to take a bath.  He finds all kinds of excuses to stay out of the tub but when Peep heads to the tub with an armful of toys, he decides he wants in on the fun after all and, once he gets in, he doesn’t want to get out.  The storyline reminded me so much of Vance when he was young so I’m sure lots of kids will relate to Egg.  Joyce Wan‘s cute, colorful illustrations enhance this fun book that’s sure to make little ones giggle.  (Review copy provided by Blue Slip Media.)

WHAT MADE MADDY RUN: THE SECRET STRUGGLE AND TRAGIC DEATH OF AN ALL-AMERICAN TEEN by Kate Fagan is the heartbreaking story of Madison Holleran, a young woman who took her own life when she was a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania.  Maddy was high achieving and seemed to have it all –  a loving family, great friends, good looks, top grades, and many athletic achievements.  She accepted an offer to run track at UPenn and, once there, struggled with her mental health.  When she could no longer cope, she committed suicide leaving her family and friends heartbroken.  Fagan digs into Maddy’s past to try to discover what would make someone like her resort to suicide.

. . . Madison worried that she could never find validation for her struggle, because how could someone so beautiful, so seemingly put together, be unhappy?

Fagan explores the effect of social media on our youth and was sensitive in her analysis of the pressures today’s young people face.  The book was very eye opening for me even as my heart broke for Maddy and her family.   It left me feeling sad and unsettled but I think those with children in high school and college would be well served to read it.

Currently reading:

On the Screen

  • I watched the Virginia Tech – Miami football game last Saturday and, once again, Tech looked sloppy and ill-prepared.  I really wasn’t expecting Tech to win but I did expect them to look better than they did.

  • I enjoyed Dancing with the Stars more this week than the last few weeks.  I really enjoyed the trio dances and was amazed at how well former contestants could still dance.  I still think Jordan and Lindsey are the best dancers – I predict one of them will win – but I have a soft spot for Frankie.

Off the blog

  • It’s cooled off again and we had a couple of wet days that felt downright cold.
  • I did a little shopping to buy clothes for the cooler weather.  I sure hate putting my sandals away for the winter.
  • I feel like I’ve adjusted to the time change sleep wise but I’m still not used to it getting dark earlier.
  • I walked at least three miles every morning and averaged almost 18,425 Fitbit steps a day.

 

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

Wondrous Words Wednesday

November 8, 2017

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’ve had a lot going on this week so haven’t done much reading and had to turn to my Word-a-Day calendar to discover some new words.

1. banausic – “At the far end was a wooden board on which were hung saws, chisels, knives and other banausic instruments of the trade.” — Sebastian Faulk, HUMAN TRACES

Banausic is an adjective that means relating to or concerned with earning a living – used perjoratively; also: utilitarian, practical.

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2. pleonasm – “The composition instructor is particularly critical of such pleonasms as ‘past history’ and ‘personal friend.'”

Pleonasm means the use of more words than those necessary to denote mere sense: redundancy.

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3. contumacious – “She sat still, looking a little contumacious, and very much indisposed to stir.” — Charlotte Bronte, SHIRLEY

Contumacious is an adjective that means stubbornly disobedient: rebellious.

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What words do you want to celebrate today?

Mailbox Monday

November 6, 2017

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia and now hosted on its own blog.  I found these goodies in my mailbox last week:

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

What did you find in your mailbox?

The Week in Review: 11.03.2017

November 3, 2017

the-week-in-review

Between the Covers

Finished last week:

MIS(H)ADRA by Iasmin Omar Ata is a graphic novel about Isaac, a college student dealing with epilepsy.  He’s having trouble controlling his seizures, which come quite often, and doesn’t know what to tell people.  He misses a lot of classes and becomes more and more isolated.  When Jo tries to befriend him, he pushes her away because it’s easier than trying to explain things, but she’s not taking no for an answer. This story is based on the author’s experience with epilepsy and I found the illustrations of what a seizure feels like to be very eye-opening.  The story reminded me of how people are often quick to judge when they don’t have all the facts.  I hope books like MIS(H)ADRA will help remind us to practice more compassion in our daily lives.  The four color illustrations in this graphic novel are great and the book is printed on nice glossy paper.   (Review copy provided by Gallery 13.)

UNRAVELING OLIVER by Liz Nugent opens with Oliver savagely beating his wife and certainly grabs readers with its opening line – “I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her.”  The rest of the book shows readers how he got to that point through multiple points of view, revealing a deeply flawed character who spent his whole life carefully constructing an acceptable facade.  I loved the way the story was told and found the book very compelling.  I was always anxious to pick it back up to learn more about what made Oliver tick.  This book has everything I look for in a psychological thriller – a well constructed plot, great character development, and enough twists and turns to keep me coming back for more.  If enjoy like thrillers, you won’t want to miss this one!  (Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster.)

THE CONFUSION OF LANGUAGES by Siobhan Fallon is the story of two American women living in Jordan because their husbands are stationed there.  Cassie has been there for a while and takes newcomer Margaret under her wing but Margaret doesn’t want to conform to the standards of her host country – she dresses immodestly and is too friendly with the opposite sex.  Margaret is involved in a minor accident and Cassie agrees to watch her son while she goes to the police station to settle things.  When Margaret doesn’t return like she should, Cassie starts to panic and wonders if she’s somehow at fault.  The point of view alternates between Cassie and Margaret giving readers insight into both women and their marriages.  Even though it was somewhat sad, I just loved this book!  Fallon’s writing is superb, the characters are fantastic, and the setting is fascinating.  This book is sure to be on my list of favorites for the year.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)

 

Currently reading:

 

On the Screen

I don’t know if I’m getting tired of the show or if I was really distracted Monday night, but I didn’t love the Halloween episode of Dancing with the Stars.  I still think Jordan and Lindsey are the best dancers but Frankie’s dance was my favorite of the evening.  I have to wonder if Lindsey’s injury is going to hamper her going forward.  Vanessa was never my favorite but I thought she was a good dancer, so I was surprised to see her go home.

Off the blog

  • How can it possibly be November?  The holidays will be upon us before we know it.
  • We had winter-like weather on Sunday (the high was in the 50s and the low was in the 30s) so we broke down and cut the heat on.  Of course, it’s already warmed back up.
  • Carl and I drove up to the mountains to see the leaves.  They were beautiful but not quite at their peak.

  • I helped a friend with her “haunted porch” on Halloween.  She goes all out and the kids around here look forward to it.  Working it and seeing the kids’ reactions was so much fun!
  • We walked at least three miles every morning and I averaged almost 17,500 Fitbit steps a day.

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