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The Week in Review: 09.22.2017

September 22, 2017
tags: ,

the-week-in-review

Between the Covers

Finished last week:

BRAVE RED, SMART FROG: A NEW BOOK OF OLD TALES by Emily Jenkins is a collection of seven familiar fairy tales – like Snow White and Red Riding Hood – written in modern language while holding true to their roots.  (In her Author’s Note, Jenkins says she’s telling the stories “largely faithfully.”)  Since I was mostly familiar with these stories through movies and animated cartoons, I enjoyed learning what they were originally like and was surprised at how dark most of them were.  At the beginning of each story, there’s a lovely illustration by Rohan Daniel Eason.  This book is targeted to the 8 to 12 year old audience but anyone who enjoys fairy tales will love it.  (Review copy provided by Candlewick Press.)

DROP DEAD HEALTHY: ONE MAN’S HUMBLE QUEST FOR BODILY PERFECTION chronicles author A. J. Jacobs‘ two year attempt at adapting a healthier lifestyle.  He does research and speaks with experts and tries everything from acupuncture to a juice cleanse.  In the end he says,

Most health advice can be summer up in five words; Eat less, move more, relax.

I found Jacobs’ writing style to be entertaining and engaging but, in the end, I thought the book was good but not great.  I didn’t think there was a lot of new information in the book and didn’t think Jacobs’ stuck with stuff long enough to see if it really worked.  For instance, he had a sleep study done and was told he had sleep apnea and needed a CPAP machine but never followed up with it.  He does include appendices in the back, detailing the tips he thought worked best.

Now that school is back in full swing, you’ll want to grab a copy of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS UNITED STATES ATLAS for the middle schoolers in your life.  This large, full-color atlas starts out with keys to using the book and many maps of the whole country, including natural environment and population maps.  Then the country is divided into regions.  At the beginning of each region is a political map and a few pages about the unique aspects of each area.  Each state is given a two page spread with basic facts, a map, photographs and a brief history of the state.  The back of the book has some fun facts, a glossary, and a detailed index.  The material is presented in an appealing way that will draw kids in instead of turning them off.  I bet they’ll flip through this book just for fun!  (Review copy provided by Media Masters Publicity.)

I’ve been a fan of Sue Grafton‘s Kinsey Millhone series for years so I was excited to pick up Y IS FOR YESTERDAY, the latest book in the series and I’m happy to say I wasn’t disappointed!  In 1979, four privileged boys sexually assault a young woman and capture it on video.  When one of the perpetrators is released from prison, a copy of the tape is delivered to his parents with a demand for money and they hire Kinsey to find out who the blackmailer is.  At the same time, Kinsey suspects someone from her past is after her.  This book was a little darker and more graphic than other books in the series but I was glued to it nonetheless.  The audio version is narrated by Judy Kaye who did an okay job.  I thought her voice sounded a little old for 39 year old Kinsey.  I didn’t think she was great with voices for other characters either, but I did adjust to her voice fairly quickly.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)

 

Currently reading:

 

On the Screen

Dancing With the Stars started back this week.  It takes me a few weeks to “get to know” the stars and really get into the show but I thought Monday night’s show was pretty good for the first show of the season – most of the dancers were actually pretty good.  Obviously, Jordan Fisher and Lindsey Stirling were the best dancers but, to me,  it almost seemed unfair to have Fisher on the show.  I thought Derek Fisher’s dance was entertaining but I’m not sure he has what it takes to win the competition.

 

Off the blog

  • I’ve been a bad book club member lately but did manage to make it to the meeting this week.  We discussed THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE by Melanie Benjamin.  Everyone enjoyed the book and had a lot to say about it.  We all decided that we don’t envy the lifestyle they lived.
  • It feels like summer is back – we’ve had hot weather with high humidity.  I don’t mind the high temperatures but can do without the humidity.
  • We walked at least three miles every morning and I averaged over just over 17,800 Fitbit steps a day.

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

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Wondrous Words Wednesday

September 20, 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 found two new-to-me words in DROP DEAD HEALTHY by A. J. Jacobs.

1. logy – “Less logy, more energetic.”

This is one of those words I feel like I should have known but couldn’t define accurately.  Logy means dull and heavy in motion or thought; sluggish.

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2. steatopygic – “She says she feels like Mrs. DeLauria, her sixth-grade teacher, who was famous for her steatopygic figure.”

Steatopygic means extreme accumulation of fat on and about the buttocks, especially of women.

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What words do you want to celebrate today?

Mailbox Monday

September 18, 2017

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia and now hosted on its own blog.  It was a slow week for my mailbox but that meant I made a small dent in my TBR pile, so it’s all good.  I found these goodies in my mailbox last week:

Monday

Wednesday

What did you find in your mailbox?

The Week in Review: 09.15.2017

September 15, 2017
tags:

the-week-in-review

Between the Covers

Finished last week:

I decided to stretch myself and read outside my normal genres so I picked up THE BLINDS by Adam Sternbergh.  It’s a speculative mystery about a town populated with people who’ve had memories erased – because they’ve committed or witnessed a horrific crime.  The town’s been around for a while and things are going well until a murder is committed and some people from outside the town come to investigate.   I appreciated the writing and the storyline of this fast-paced book and am glad I read it but will readily admit it won’t make my list of favorites for the year.  That doesn’t mean it’s not good – I think readers who enjoy speculative fiction will love it – but it’s not a genre I gravitate to.  (Review copy provided by Ecco Books.)

A few years ago, I read, and loved, SUNNY SIDE UP by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm so I was really excited to pick up SWING IT, SUNNY.  Sunny returns in this graphic novel about family and friendship –  her parents have sent her brother Dale to military school to try to straighten him out and Sunny misses him something awful.  When she does get to see him, he’s full of anger, which confuses her.  I found this book to be entertaining but I didn’t think it held quite the same magic as the first book.  Having said that, I think it will strike a chord with some readers and l think the middle grade target audience will enjoy it quite a bit.  While it’s not necessary to read SUNNY SIDE UP first, readers will enjoy SWING IT, SUNNY more if they do.  (Review copy provided by Scholastic.)

TO BE WHERE YOU ARE by Jan Karon is the latest book in her Mitford series that revolves around the residents of the small North Carolina town of Mitford.  The focus has shifted from Father Tim and Cynthia to Dooley and Lace but it’s the same type of story fans of the series are used to – imperfect characters trying to lead the best life they know how.  In this book, Lace and Dooley are focusing on the adoption of their son, Jack, and trying to figure out how they’re going to pay for costly repairs to Dooley’s vet practice.  The story is sweet and has a Christian element to it and, as all the other Mitford books have, it made me feel good.  I thought it was light and entertaining and I always dream of living in a town like Mitford as I read these gentle books.  TO BE WHERE YOU ARE can stand alone but readers who’ve read the rest of the series will enjoy it more than others.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)

Currently reading:

On the Screen

I caught a little bit of the Auburn – Clemson football game but not much of anything else.

Off the blog

  • We had a quiet celebration for Carl’s birthday on Sunday.  He was happy with the new computer her received.
  • We got some weather from Irma, but nothing compared to Florida.  We had some wind and got 2.37 inches of rain.  Vance lost power but ours never even flickered.
  • I walked at least 3 miles every morning and averaged just over 18,250 Fitbit steps a day.

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

Wondrous Words Wednesday

September 13, 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 found two words in an uncorrected proof of TO BE WHERE YOU ARE by Jan Karon.

1. lych-gates – “Following the reception, congregants passed through the lych-gates into the luminous October afternoon and the splendor of Acer fubrum come fully into its highest calling.”

A lych-gate is a roofed gateway to a churchyard.

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2. derp – “No, the derp vet who had no vested interest in any of this — he would run after the blasted cow.”

Derp means foolishness or stupidity.

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What words do you want to celebrate today?

Mailbox Monday

September 11, 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:

Tuesday

Friday

What did you find in your mailbox?

The Week in Review: 09.08.2017

September 8, 2017
tags:

the-week-in-review

Between the Covers

Finished last week:

I listened to A STRANGER IN THE HOUSE by Shari Lapena on the way home from my mom’s and thought it was terrific!  Tom comes home from work one day to find the door unlocked, his wife Karen gone but her purse and phone at home.  He calls the police but when they come, they inform him his wife has been involved in an accident and is in the hospital.  They take Tom to the hospital where he learns his wife doesn’t remember anything about the evening.  Things get complicated when their neighbor Brigid gets involved.  There are lots of secrets and several twists and turns and I totally guessed the ending wrong.  Since I liked this book so much, I was surprised to see very mixed reactions to it.  I think those who enjoy domestic thrillers will like this as much as I did, especially on audio – Tavia Gilbert does a great job narrating it.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN’S WISE WORDS: HOW TO WORK SMART, PLAY WELL, AND MAKE FRIENDS by K. M. Kostyal takes some quotes from Franklin, like “A slip of the foot you may soon recover: but a slip of the tongue you may never get over” and puts a modern spin on them for early middle grade readers.  As well as modernizing Franklin’s message, Kostyal gives a little of his background with each quote, giving kids a history lesson along with the sage advice.  Each page spread has an illustration one on side and a quote and explanation on the other so young readers can dip in and out of the book.  I think reluctant readers will find the layout appealing and I really liked the message of this book even though I think the author made Franklin sound too good to be true.  Fred Harper‘s illustrations are terrific but, at times, I thought they were a little too lighthearted for the book.  Overall, though, this one’s a winner.  (Review copy provided by Media Masters Publicity.)

 

Currently reading:

On the Screen

College football is back and I’m both excited and nervous.  The Hokies have a new, redshirt freshman quarterback and I’m not sure what to expect from him.  He did well in their opener against West Virginia, which was an ugly win, but I’ll take it!  I watched parts of other games as well but my focus was on the Virginia Tech game.

Off the blog

  • As of Tuesday, all of Carl’s Apple and iCloud issues have been resolved!
  • We’re keeping an eye on Hurricane Irma because it looks like it might impact our area.
  • Our weather has cooled off a little bit – I won’t miss the fierce humidity but I’m not sure I’m ready for fall.
  • We walked at least three miles every morning and I averaged just under 15,200 Fitbit steps a day.

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