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The Week in Review: 02.01.2019

February 1, 2019


Between the Covers

Finished last week:

Even with the emphasis on STEM in education these days, kids aren’t always sure how science and math classes can help them.  Enter SOLVE THIS!: WILD AND WACKY CHALLENGES FOR THE GENIUS ENGINEER IN YOU by Joan Marie Galat.  This book is published by National Geographic Kids so you know it’s printed on quality paper and features fabulous full color illustrations but all that doesn’t matter if the content isn’t good.  In this case, it’s better than good – it’s fantastic!  Galat starts by introducing six simple machines that we see every day, then explains what different kinds of engineers do.  She goes on to explain how engineers solve problems, encouraging young readers not to judge ideas because “even crazy suggestions can take you in a useful direction.”  From there, she presents some problems and gives solutions that several experts came up with.  I love the way SOLVE THIS! encourages creative problem solving and think this book will inspire many middle grade readers.  Be sure to pick up a copy for the budding engineer in your life.  (Review copy provided by Media Masters Publicity.)


When I think of MY ABSOLUTE DARLING by Gabriel Tallent, the first word that comes to mind is brutal.  This book tells the story of fourteen year old Turtle who is being raised by her widowed father.  They live somewhat off the grid in a sort of survivalist mode.  Turtle’s daddy is mentally ill and abuses her in more than one way.  When Turtle meets Jacob she realizes not everyone lives the ways she does and she begins to think her life could be different.

MY ABSOLUTE DARLING was an Editor’s Buzz pick at Book Expo in 2017 but for some reason I didn’t read it right away.  I finally listened to it and I’m sorry to say I didn’t love it.  I felt for Turtle and wanted her to succeed but found it difficult to listen to her story.  The writing was fine but I did find the narrative overly descriptive at times.  The audio is narrated by Alex McKenna and I thought she did an okay job.  Having said that, I wondered how she managed to read parts of it.  I think I may have enjoyed this more if I’d read it in print but the audio was a bit much for me to handle.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)


I’ve been wanting to read MAID: HARD WORK, LOW PAY, AND A MOTHER’S WILL TO SURVIVE by Stephanie Land ever since I heard about it at the Editor’s Buzz panel at Book Expo last year.  It’s a memoir about a single mom who struggles to make ends meet by cleaning houses and relying on public assistance.  Land wanted more out of life, though, and was determined to get it.

MAID is just the kind of book I love to read and I really wanted to love it, but didn’t.  For me, Land gave far too many details about the houses she cleaned and the people she cleaned them for and not enough about all she did to get by on a limited income.  Still, I admired Land and her tenacity and rooted for her life to improve.  I’d like to see what she writes next but this book won’t be a favorite.  (Review copy provided by Hachette.)

Currently reading:

On the Screen

Not much of anything

Off the blog

  • I spent most of the week visiting my mom and celebrating her 92nd birthday!
  • I didn’t walk while I was at my mom’s – we mostly visited and worked on jigsaw puzzles – so I only averaged just under 8,000 Fitbit steps a day.

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

25 Comments leave one →
  1. Diane permalink
    February 1, 2019 6:00 am

    Busy week Kathy. I love the picture of you, your mom and ??sister. You are so lucky to still have your mom. My Absolute Darling was a tough one, I can imagine how difficult the audio must have been.

  2. Beth F permalink
    February 1, 2019 6:38 am

    Happy birthday to your mom! She (and you) look great! Bummer that The Maid wasn’t better. The National Geo book sounds great — but I’m a fan of their books.

  3. February 1, 2019 6:42 am

    The Nat. Geo. books you feature are always wonderful. Sorry the other books missed the mark. How great to celebrate your mom’s birthday! Great pic.

  4. February 1, 2019 7:37 am

    Happy Birthday to your Mom – 92, that’s awesome!! Sounds like you had a great week 🙂 I’ve heard mixed things about Maid, so I think I’ll just give it a pass – oh well.

  5. February 1, 2019 9:08 am

    That is so great that you got to celebrate together! I am just trying to stay warm. It’s too cold to go anywhere but we are going to try for dinner out tomorrow. The books you read and listen to are always interesting to me!

  6. February 1, 2019 9:38 am

    Happy Birthday to your mom! What a great picture of the three of you!

  7. February 1, 2019 11:01 am

    Happy Birthday to your mom, she looks great for 92!

  8. February 1, 2019 12:02 pm

    How lovely that you could spend time with your mom, and help her celebrate her birthday.

    I am curious about Maid…and want to read the Kamala Harris book. Enjoy them all.

    My Absolute Darling was not a pleasant read for me, although I couldn’t stop turning the pages. It did remind me of my 30-year-career in social work.

    Enjoy your weekend.

  9. February 1, 2019 12:35 pm

    Wonderful photograph of you with your mom and sister. Your mom certainly doesn’t look 92! So great you could celebrate with her.

  10. February 1, 2019 2:35 pm

    Happy Birthday to your mum!

  11. February 1, 2019 2:46 pm

    What a nice picture of all of you! Happy Birthday to your mother! Glad you got to spend time with her.

  12. February 1, 2019 2:46 pm

    Great picture of you three there. I guess I’m glad I avoided the Gabriel Talent novel. It likely would be way too much for me. Thanks for the warning too.

  13. February 1, 2019 3:34 pm

    Too bad both of those books that had such promise didn’t turn out so well. I am in the middle of a reading stretch of books that are fine. But just fine. I am desperate to read something that I LOVE.

  14. February 1, 2019 11:38 pm

    I’d find the Turtle book hard reading.

  15. February 2, 2019 11:19 am

    After I finished Solve This! I passed it on to my elementary-aged nieces and they’ve been doing all kinds of fun things with the book! I have Maid in my to-read pile and am anxious to check it out and but have heard mixed reviews similar to yours. Your mom looks great! My mom will be 80 in March and I feel like she is spunkier than me sometimes! Enjoy your weekend!

  16. February 2, 2019 8:02 pm

    Happy birthday to you mom! I haven’t read any of the books you mention. Thanks for sharing some of the highlights of your week.

  17. February 3, 2019 12:05 pm

    Happy birthday to your mom! And happy reading this week 🙂

  18. February 3, 2019 9:13 pm

    Happy, happy birthday to you mom!

  19. Literary Feline permalink
    February 3, 2019 10:31 pm

    My Absoluate Darling does sound brutal. I’m sorry the audio wasn’t better for you. I am not sure I will read it–but not because of your thoughts. I think it might be too much for me. I hope you are enjoying The Truth We Hold. I hadn’t realized Harris had written a book. I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts on it. Happy Birthday to your mom! I am glad you were able to celebrate with her. 🙂 Have a wonderful week, Kathy!

  20. February 4, 2019 2:09 am

    Wow, you had an excellent reading week! I also like the books you’re reading next. The family picture is just lovely.

  21. February 4, 2019 9:25 am

    Sounds like a busy week. My daughter would probably enjoy Solve This! She loves those Nat Geo Kids books. Have a great week.

  22. February 5, 2019 1:00 pm

    My Absolute Darling made me physically ill. That endearment even as the title. Knowing what it means in the book. Ugh. It’s not a book you can love. I appreciated the visceral reaction I had to the writing because it speaks to just how skilled the author was at crafting such a difficult tale to tell.

  23. February 6, 2019 2:08 pm

    I need to get Solve This for Gage. He’s finally interested in just engineering (not the train kind :))

  24. bookingmama permalink
    February 11, 2019 5:04 pm

    I love that picture of you, your sister and your mom! I enjoyed MY ABSOLUTE DARLING but I thought the descriptions were a bit much.

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