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The Week in Review: 11.02.2018

November 2, 2018


Between the Covers

Finished last week:

Jodi Picoult has never been one to shy away from controversial topics and things are no different in her latest novel, A SPARK OF LIGHT.  The book opens after a shooting and hostage taking at an abortion clinic in Mississippi and goes backward in time from there.  It was rather confusing at first but I caught on after a while but the book still fell flat for me.   I didn’t feel any connection with the characters and wanted more tension from the story.  I listened to this one on audio and I thought Bahni Turpin’s narration was fine but wonder if the book would flow better in print.  I did feel Picoult tried to share both sides of the abortion debate in the novel but she makes it abundantly clear which side she’s on in her author’s note at the end.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)


THE ALMOST SISTERS by Joshilyn Jackson is the story of graphic novelist Leia Birch Brigg.  At the same time Leia realizes she’s pregnant from a one night stand, she learns her sister’s marriage is falling apart, and she’s called to Alabama where her beloved grandmother, Birchie is suffering from dementia.  Birchie’s best friend lives with and cares for her and Leia discovers the two have been keeping a decades old secret that could have some serious repercussions.

I’ve long been a fan of Jackson’s so I don’t know why it took me so long to pick this book up but I’m so glad I did.  Jackson has a way with characters and dialogue that sucked me into the book from the very beginning.  I adored Leia and her family, quirks, dementia, and all.  There was enough tension to keep me turning the pages quickly and enough twists to keep me guessing.  In case you can’t tell, I thought this book was terrific.  The story had a mystery, some humor, and touched on a few issues so would make a great book for book club discussions.  If you haven’t read THE ALMOST SISTERS, you’ll want to pick it up soon.  (Review copy provided by Harper Collins.)


HENRY IS KIND: A STORY OF MINDFULNESS by Linda Ryden is a sweet story for early readers.  Henry’s teacher has his class practice “Heartfulness,” to learn to be kinder to themselves and others.  The class starts a Kindness Project and each student is supposed to do something kind and draw a picture of it.  When it’s time to share their pictures, Henry doesn’t have one because he can’t think of any kind things he’s done.  His classmates come to the rescue, though, and remind him of kind acts he’s done toward them.  I thought this book was thoughtful and loved the spirit of caring it encourages.  It’s a wonderful book to share with youngsters, especially in a classroom setting.  Shearry Malone‘s illustrations are nice and include diverse characters.  (Review copy provided by Media Masters Publicity.)


Currently reading:

On the Screen

I enjoyed the Halloween episode of Dancing with the Stars and thought most of the dances were clever.  I especially enjoyed the dances by Milo and Witney and Evanna and Keo.  I’ll admit I’m still partial to DeMarcus and Lindsay and can’t figure out why Joe is still hanging around.

Off the blog

  • We got a little bit of weather from the remnants of Hurricane Willa and didn’t get to walk last Friday.  I walked at least three miles every other day and averaged almost 15,750 Fitbit steps a day.
  • Fall is finally here!  We’re enjoying the cool nights and warm days.

  • Carl and I had so much fun taking my aunt out to lunch.  She’s 90 and sweet and sharp as a tack.
  • We had a great turnout on Halloween.  We had so many trick-or-treaters, I had to turn our lights out early and I’d bought extra candy!


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

25 Comments leave one →
  1. Beth F permalink
    November 2, 2018 7:01 am

    I like Jackson too, but haven’t read this one yet. Too bad the Picoult fell flat. As you know I LOVE that photo …

  2. Sarah's Book Shelves permalink
    November 2, 2018 7:28 am

    I haven’t read Picoult in a long time, but used to love her books. I’ve been thinking about dipping my toe back in.

  3. November 2, 2018 7:55 am

    I love Joshilyn Jackson too. Great photo! Thanks for sharing it!

  4. November 2, 2018 9:16 am

    Great photo of you and your aunt! I enjoyed Jodi Picoult’s early work, but gave up on her several years ago…

  5. November 2, 2018 10:54 am

    I am enjoying A Spark of Light, but I’m reading it…so maybe that helps. It took me a while to get into the rhythm of the backward telling of the story, but now I’m coasting along..

    I don’t mind reading a book in which the author is clearly on one side…as long as it’s the same side I’m on. LOL.

    I enjoyed The Almost Sisters a couple of years ago.

    I love the picture of you with your aunt.

    Enjoy your weekend!

  6. November 2, 2018 11:55 am

    We have not had a single trick or treater in over 30 years. Our neighborhood is too dark and has no sidewalks. Very sad.

  7. November 2, 2018 12:30 pm

    I am not much of a Picoult fan although I can’t really tell you why.

    You aunt looks like a fun lady. Also, you look fab. All those steps must be agreeing with you.

    We had tons of trick or treaters, as usual, but this time I had enough candy even though my son was handing out way too much that first hour.

    School was cancelled for my daughter today due to a major power outage. We have her volleyball banquet at the school later so I am not sure if that will be affected or not. It’s much later today. Crossing fingers that it’s a go because it was the only date that worked for her.

  8. Melissa S permalink
    November 2, 2018 1:49 pm

    I’m getting Spark of Light today and Almost Sisters is on my TBR list. We didn’t get as many kids this year, which was odd since we live in a neighborhood with lots of kids and there’s an elementary school right up the road. The weather was pretty good too: no rain or snow and it wasn’t so cold that the kids had to be all bundled up.

  9. November 2, 2018 2:16 pm

    I used to watch Dancing with the Stars every season, but I lost interest last year and haven’t gotten back into it. Nice pic with your aunt. She looks sweet! 🙂

  10. November 2, 2018 2:47 pm

    I’ll check out Almost Sisters. I think it’s great that you spend time with your mom, sister, and aunt! We’ve lived in out home for 20 years and have never had a trick or treater, other than my two youngest grandkids.

  11. November 2, 2018 3:37 pm

    Running out of candy! Eeek

  12. November 2, 2018 5:51 pm

    The Almost Sisters sounds very worth reading.
    The photo of you and your aunt is great!
    We never get any trick-or-treaters!
    Have a terrific weekend, Kathy!

  13. Diane D permalink
    November 2, 2018 6:42 pm

    Such a nice pic Kathy; you both look great! I started A Spark of Light, intending to go back, but read a few others instead. I may try again, but the backward telling wasn’t going well at the 10% mark of my kindle. We don’t get trick or treaters where we live.

  14. November 3, 2018 1:29 am

    There are 22 people ahead of me for the Jodi Picoult book at the library. I guess I shouldn’t be in a big hurry for it to arrive. I like Joshilyn Jackson too and want to read this one. I love that picture of you and your aunt. You both look very good. Have a great weekend Kathy.

  15. November 3, 2018 8:01 am

    Jodi Picoult has never appealed to me — you didn’t make me want to change my mind here. Nice family snapshot!

    best… mae at

  16. November 3, 2018 2:12 pm

    What a fun week! I loved the almost sisters, too…so much! You and your aunt look as though you belong together!

  17. November 3, 2018 5:26 pm

    I’m a big fan of Picoult and am waiting for my copy. I hope I don’t agree with you! I will be reading print. So we’ll see if it’s better in that format.
    Have never read Jackson.

  18. Literary Feline permalink
    November 3, 2018 6:03 pm

    I am glad you had a good turn out for Halloween. We didn’t give out candy this year, but we did take Maggie trick-or-treating. Almost Sisters sounds like something I would enjoy. I am sorry the Picoult book was not better in audio. I’ve listened to Turpin before and enjoyed her narration, but haven’t heard that particular book. I hope you have a great week, Kathy!

  19. November 4, 2018 4:34 pm

    I thought Spark of Light was a very thought-provoking book, one of Picoult’s best. And I love the photo of you and your aunt, she looks amazing.

  20. November 4, 2018 6:34 pm

    I’ve enjoyed a couple of Jackson’s novels and will keep The Almost Sisters in mind to try. Love the pic of you and your aunt!

  21. The Cue Card permalink
    November 4, 2018 6:52 pm

    Great photo of you with your aunt. We gave about 3 1/2 bags of candy out on Halloween so that seemed quite a bit. Enjoy the fall weather!

  22. November 7, 2018 1:15 pm

    What a great picture of you and your aunt.

  23. November 7, 2018 9:08 pm

    I loved The Almost Sisters too. How are you finding Marilla? I imagine it’s a scary undertaking to reimagine such a beloved character.

  24. November 8, 2018 9:41 am

    What a sweet photo of you and your aunt!

  25. bookingmama permalink
    November 15, 2018 11:01 am

    I haven’t decided if I’m going to read A SPARK OF LIGHT yet. I have a feeling that I’ll agree with you but I almost feel as if I have to read her books now that I’ve read so many of them.

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