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The Week in Review: 04.12.2019

April 12, 2019


Between the Covers

Finished last week:

MIDDLE SCHOOL MISADVENTURES by Jason Platt is a fun graphic novel for, you guessed it, the middle school set.  If Newell messes up at school one more time, he’ll have to go to summer school, and he certainly doesn’t want to do that.  He oversleeps one day and, with the help of his best friend, tries to sneak into school unnoticed.  Of course he’s caught and can feel summer school looming.  The principal says he can get out of summer school if he participates in the upcoming school talent show.  There are just two problems: Newell’s nemesis signed him up, saying he’d perform as a penguin in a tutu and Newell has no talent.  He has to come up with a plan and fast.

Some people will be familiar with Newell since he’s from Platt’s webcomic, Mister & Me.  I thought Platt captured middle school attitude just right in this entertaining book.  The drawings are terrific and parts of the book are laugh out loud funny.  I think this will be a hit with middle grade readers and I hope it’s the beginning of a new series.  (Review copy provided by Amazon Vine.)


When I saw FINDING DOROTHY by Elizabeth Letts described as bringing to life “the unlikely friendship between a young Judy Garland and Maud Gage Baum, the widow of L. Frank Baum,” I thought it sounded like a book I’d enjoy and I was right, even though I think that description doesn’t do the book justice.

To me, FINDING DOROTHY was Maud Baum’s story and what a fascinating life she had!  Her mother was a suffragist and abolitionist and her father owned a store.  She grew up knowing strong women like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.  She dropped out of college to marry theater man L. Frank Baum and the two made a life together.  When his iconic book was made into a movie nineteen years after his death, Maud went to the studio to protect the story.  Her relationship with Judy Garland was a very minor part of the story.  In her Afterword, Letts tells her inspiration for the story and just how much of it is based on fact.  The audio version is narrated by Ann Marie Lee and I thought she did an okay job.  The voice she used was intended to sound like an older Maud but I found it monotonous after a while.  Fans of THE WIZARD OF OZ will love this book!  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)


I’ve been seeing rave reviews for DAISY JONES AND THE SIX by Taylor Jenkins Reid everywhere and it’s also a Reese Witherspoon Hello Sunshine Book Club selection so I was excited to have an audio version of the book to listen to.  It’s the story of a rock band (think Fleetwood Mac) who had a huge best-selling album before falling apart.  The story is told via an interview with the members of the band and some of their family, crew, etc.

First of all, I thought the audio production of this book was fantastic – it’s narrated by a full cast that includes Jennifer Beals and Benjamin Bratt and every single one of them brings their character to life.  I appreciated the unique way the story was told but, to be honest, I found it rather dull.  I hate to be THAT person who doesn’t love the book everyone else does but this character driven novel didn’t have enough plot for me.  There was a little twist at the end but it wasn’t enough to save the book for me.  I liked this book okay, mostly because of the quality of the audio book, but didn’t love it the way most people have.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)

Currently reading:

On the Screen

I watched Notre Dame and Baylor in the NCAA Women’s National Championship game on Sunday and what an exciting game it was!  Baylor had a large lead for most of the game but Notre Dame made a push towards the end.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough.  It was a great game, even if it didn’t go the way I wanted it to.

The Best of Enemies is set in Durham, NC in 1971 and based on the true story of a black activist and a KKK leader who meet when they’re on opposing sides of the school integration issue.  When a black elementary school catches on fire, students there are forced to attend school half a day.  Activist Ann Atwater thinks the students should attend a local white school but KKK leader C. P. Ellis has other ideas.  A local judge calls Bill Riddick in to help the community find a solution.  Atwater and Ellis find common ground as they seek a solution.  I enjoyed this film but it’s not without flaws.  I felt it didn’t focus on the children enough and, in the end, everything seemed a little too convenient, for lack of a better word.  The end of the movie showed footage of the real people involved and I enjoyed that a lot.  I think the movie is worth seeing but you’d be safe to wait to find it streaming.

Off the blog

  • I worked a little extra so Carl could go out of town for our niece’s wedding.
  • I had a re-check on my eye and everything looks good.  I’ll stay on a low dose of anti-viral medication and, as long as things remain stable, don’t have to go back for a year!
  • I walked three miles all but one morning, when it was raining too hard to get out, and averaged almost 17,000 Fitbit steps a day.

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

27 Comments leave one →
  1. Diane permalink
    April 12, 2019 6:28 am

    For whatever reason the Daisy Jones book hasn’t called my name but, I may try audio at some point as I have the downloaded version. I did love Fleetwood Mac’s music.

    We were planning on seeing Best of Enemies but, maybe I’ll wait for tv.

    Have a nice weekend Kathy.

  2. Beth F permalink
    April 12, 2019 7:27 am

    Good news on your eye. I too haven’t been called to Daisy Jones though I’m glad to hear that the audiobook was well done. This is definitely the time for basketball lovers!

  3. April 12, 2019 8:00 am

    I have the Daisy book on my kindle, but it just doesn’t seem to grab my attention (even though every one is raving about it). Oh well. Glad your eye news was better this time 🙂 Hope you have a great weekend!!

  4. Lloyd Russell permalink
    April 12, 2019 9:49 am

    I pretty much agree with you about Daisy Jones. I saw her on book tour about a month ago. So I was excited about reading it. And I liked it. But, like you said, not as much as most people. I still gave it a 3.25/4. I liked The Best of Enemies more than you did. That was a 3.75/4. Have you seen (or even heard of) The Public? Emilio Estevez wrote, directed, and stars in it. That was a 4/4 for me.

    Lloyd (408) 348-4849

    On Fri, Apr 12, 2019 at 1:01 AM Bermudaonion’s Weblog wrote:

    > BermudaOnion posted: ” Between the Covers Finished last week: MIDDLE > SCHOOL MISADVENTURES by Jason Platt is a fun graphic novel for, you guessed > it, the middle school set. If Newell messes up at school one more time, > he’ll have to go to summer school, and he certainly do” >

  5. April 12, 2019 10:03 am

    I’ve been wanting to read Finding Dorothy, and while I enjoyed Daisy Jones and the Six (once I settled into the awkward writing style, which was not my favorite way to tell a story), I now wonder if audio would have been better.

    Dreamland looks good.

    Thanks for sharing.

  6. April 12, 2019 10:29 am

    I’ve decided to skip the Daisy Jones book. It never really sparked my interest and there are so many others I’d like to try… but I know that feeling of not liking a book everyone is raving about. Glad your eye is doing better!

  7. April 12, 2019 10:49 am

    I am so glad to hear your eye is doing better! That must be such a relief. I definitely wanted to see Best Enemies, but I’ll wait to stream it. Thanks for the heads up!

  8. April 12, 2019 10:57 am

    We are in the midst of terrible heat and actually pray for rain. Situation is dire. Just for this week as its the New Year no power cuts, otherwise four hours per day. It is when the water cut starts that real problems emerge.
    Reading is steady though I never seem able to get books out for review on time.

  9. April 12, 2019 11:29 am

    Middle School Misadventures sounds good. My last name is Newell and I’ve never heard of it being a first name. I like that the author used it as I was going to listen to Finding Dorothy but decided not to but after reading your review I think I’ll find a copy. Glad I passed on Daisy Jones. Glad your eye re-check went well! Good job on your steps!

  10. April 12, 2019 11:40 am

    Daisy hasn’t called to me either. 🙂

    Good news about your eye.

    Enjoy your weekend.

  11. Susan permalink
    April 12, 2019 12:02 pm

    I liked Daisy Jones and the Six but I wasn’t crazy about it. I was generous and gave it 4 stars but it easily could of been a 3 star book.

  12. April 12, 2019 12:42 pm

    I am reading Daisy now. It is slated to be a TV show soon. I am kind of into it but I can see what you mean about it being a little lackluster in the plot department.

  13. April 12, 2019 1:08 pm

    So happy to hear about your eye!

  14. April 12, 2019 2:55 pm

    Good to hear about the eye!

  15. April 12, 2019 5:55 pm

    Kathy, thanks for your honest book reviews. I’m glad that your eye is doing well. Have a terrific weekend.

  16. April 13, 2019 8:43 am

    I have not wanted to read Daisy and I probably won’t…something about books about bands doesn’t appeal to me. So glad about your eye! Peace for a year! We watch American Idol but always with a Kindle there…I just need background noise! Take care!

  17. April 13, 2019 9:08 am

    Have you seen BlackKkKlansman? It does better what it sounds like The Best of Enemies tries to do, and it’s funny.

  18. April 14, 2019 6:23 am

    I thank you so much for sharing your honest opinions about your reads. I probably would not have sought Daisy out, as I’m not interested in bands, but I’m glad to see your thoughts about Dorothy since I’m always fascinated with strong women.

  19. April 14, 2019 10:35 am

    Finding Dorothy sounds fantastic. That’s good your eye is better, enjoy your week!

  20. April 14, 2019 2:52 pm

    I’m going to look for Finding Dorothy. Glad to hear your eye is better!

  21. April 14, 2019 7:57 pm

    I’m not going to lie that I have ZERO interest in the Daisy Jones book. Not because it’s popular and everyone’s talking about, but because I’m just not interested. I looked at it at our library, a small town library where it still sits on the “New Books Shelf” because our patrons prefer mysteries and thrillers. I didn’t like the play format either.

    I tried Dreamland and even though I live in northcentral Pennsylvania where the opiod epidemic is going full force, I couldn’t get into it. Maybe it was because he was preaching to the choir? And he seemed to repeat a lot of what he already had said earlier in the book. Just my take on it.

    I agree with Jeanne that you should try BlackKkKlansman. It was very, very good.

  22. Literary Feline permalink
    April 14, 2019 11:03 pm

    I have a print copy of Finding Dorothy and hope to read that one of these days. It feels like forever since I last went to the movies. But I suppose that isn’t quite true. We did manage to see Captain Marvel. I am glad your eye is doing well, and hopefully will continue to get better. I hope you have a great week!

  23. April 17, 2019 10:53 pm

    I’m glad that your eye is healing. I’ve been curious about that movie, the trailer looked good. Who knows when we’ll actually get to a theater again. I might have to take myself someday soon 🙂

  24. April 18, 2019 10:59 pm

    I had no interest in the Daisy Jones book, but then heard that the audio was very good, so I added it to my list. Now I think I’ll skip it. Too many other books calling to me! Thanks for sharing your honest opinion, Kathy!

  25. April 19, 2019 11:46 am

    Every one is reading Daisy Jones. I’m glad that your eye is getting better.

  26. The Cue Card permalink
    April 19, 2019 6:08 pm

    I really liked the audiobook of Daisy Jones b/c of all the different narrators & characters which I really thought they brought to life. In fact I listened to the whole thing twice. It seemed to capture a rock band in the 70s so there was enough for me in the book & I liked the dialogue that played off one another’s throughout. I didn’t realize Jennifer Beals was one of the readers …. thanks for letting me know. The cast was pretty great.

  27. May 15, 2019 6:35 pm

    FINDING DOROTHY looks like a book you’d love. It actually does sound pretty good to me too!

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