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The Week in Review: 10.25.2019

October 25, 2019


Between the Covers

Finished last week:

THE SECRETS WE KEPT by Lara Prescott is set during the Cold War and tells the story of two women who are typists for the CIA and and asked to go on a secret mission to smuggle the novel DOCTOR ZHIVAGO into the Soviet Union.  The book has been banned there but published in Italy.   The CIA has printed some copies in Russian for the women to distribute at the World’s Fair.

Of course, the plot is more complicated than I’ve made it sound and I found it fascinating.  It got a lot of buzz at Book Expo and I can see why.  It’s based on a true story and is filled with fascinating characters, a terrific plot, and a peek into an interesting period of history.  It’s told from multiple perspectives, including Boris Pasternak’s lover.  I found the ending to be a little anti-climatic but that didn’t keep me from thoroughly enjoying this terrific novel. It’s made me want to read DOCTOR ZHIVAGO, or at least see the movie.  I listened to the audio version which is expertly narrated by a full cast including Mozhan Marnò, Carlotta Brentan, and Cynthia Farrell.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)


I AM LOVE: A BOOK OF COMPASSION by Susan Verde is a small picture book with a big message.  This sweet book shows how we can use love to help others as well as ourselves.  It teaches ways we can show love to others who are having a hard time, sometimes just by being present.  The beautiful illustrations by Peter H. Reynolds show love and compassion and feature a diverse group of characters.  Verde is a kids’ yoga and mindfulness teacher and includes yoga poses that allow us “to lead with our hearts” and instructions on heart meditation.  This is the perfect book to spark a discussion of emotions, love, and caring with your little ones.  It’s a lesson more and more people seem to need these days.  (Review copy provided by Abrams.)


Sunny is back, learning the ropes of middle school.  Things are confusing because her best friend, Deb, is into clothes and boys and just wants to be cool.  Sunny doesn’t get it but she tries to play along, making herself feel very uncool.  She’s happiest and feels the most like herself when she plays Dungeons & Dragons with some new friends she’s made.

SUNNY ROLLS THE DICE by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm has a great message about being true to yourself that will resonate with most middle grade readers.  As they enter middle school, Sunny and her best friend are drifting apart.  Sunny doesn’t want to lose her friend but also wants to stay true to herself which is a situation many young people find themselves in.  I loved the 70’s pop references included in the book but have to admit that this was my least favorite of the Sunny graphic novel series.  It’s definitely worth reading but it had too many D & D references (a game the authors loved when they were young) for my taste.  (Review copy provided by Scholastic.)

Currently reading:

On the Screen

I watched most of Dancing with the Stars.  I still don’t have a favorite but thought most of the dancing was good.  Sean Spicer is obviously the weakest dancer so I was disappointed he was safe.

Off the blog

  • I finished the puzzle my sister gave me.  It was a fun one!
  • We got a little bit of weather from the remnants of Tropical Storm Nestor – mostly rain.  Even though it made Saturday cold and dreary, we’ve been under drought conditions and were happy for the rain.  I think we experienced every single season before the week ended.
  • I bought my first Christmas gift of the year this week.
  • I walked at least three miles every day and averaged just under 16,500 Fitbit steps a day.

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

28 Comments leave one →
  1. Beth F permalink
    October 25, 2019 6:32 am

    Christmas gifts??? ARGH. We haven’t even bought our Halloween candy yet. LOL. I loved the movie Doctor Zhivago, so I bet The Secrets We Kept would interest me. Sounds like audio may be the way to go.

  2. October 25, 2019 7:03 am

    I read Doctor Zhivago in college (required for a Russian History course) – a great read. I think I’ll add the audioTSWK to my wish list. I love the puzzle!

  3. October 25, 2019 8:09 am

    I generally love full cast audio productions, but this one doesn’t seem to be calling me. Maybe it would if I reread Dr. Zhivago…

  4. October 25, 2019 8:27 am

    Let it snow sounds like a great book to read during winter! Great pick! Is it any good?

  5. October 25, 2019 9:00 am

    The Secrets We Kept sounds really tempting…and so does Kid Gloves. Thanks for sharing, and enjoy.

    Kudos on buying your first Christmas gift!

    Have a great weekend.

  6. October 25, 2019 9:14 am

    I went for a book fair and bought books for the grand sons! Eldest grand daughter doesnt like books and I am disappointed. Other grand daughter far too little! but at least its a start on the gifts.

  7. Lloyd Russell permalink
    October 25, 2019 9:30 am

    I’m glad to see your review of Prescott’s book. I have been intrigued by it for quite a while. The Goodreads rating is not stellar, but I do want to read it. We agree with you about DWTS. Except for Spicer, they are all pretty good. Our favorites are James Van Der Beek and Hannah Brown.

    Lloyd (408) 348-4849

    On Fri, Oct 25, 2019 at 1:04 AM Bermudaonion’s Weblog wrote:

    > BermudaOnion posted: ” Between the Covers Finished last week: THE SECRETS > WE KEPT by Lara Prescott is set during the Cold War and tells the story of > two women who are typists for the CIA and and asked to go on a secret > mission to smuggle the novel DOCTOR ZHIVAGO into the ” >

  8. Helen Murdoch permalink
    October 25, 2019 11:33 am

    I can’t imagine having rain right now and boy would it be welcome; we’ve had temperatures in the 90s this week. And now fires have broken out, though all are a couple hours away our air quality is still affected.

    The Secrets We Kept sounds really interesting.

  9. Monika @ Lovely Bookshelf permalink
    October 25, 2019 12:38 pm

    I’m thinking Sunny Rolls the Dice might be perfect for my tween. Thanks for the review of it!

  10. October 25, 2019 1:51 pm

    I have the audio’s of Let It Snow. I Am In Love sounds like a book all young children should read. I like that puzzle! We had a few days of rain and dreariness last week too. I’ve always waited until the last minute to buy Christmas presents. My mom and oldest sister were always done by June.

  11. October 25, 2019 2:10 pm

    That puzzle is amazing! I enjoyed reading your mini reviews. I need to begin my Christmas shopping soon. Have a good weekend!

  12. October 25, 2019 5:04 pm

    I really enjoyed The Secrets We Kept too, and now I want to read Dr. Zhivago.

  13. October 25, 2019 5:47 pm

    I never read Dr. Zhivago even though I saw the movie I bet six or seven times! :–)

  14. October 25, 2019 9:01 pm

    I’ve read Dr. Zhivago and I’ve seen the movie. Personally, I would recommend going with the book!

    Awesome puzzle, but it looks pretty difficult. I’ll start getting back into puzzles once we get home from our road trip. Guess I should start thinking about Christmas cards and gifts, too. Eeek!

  15. October 26, 2019 1:46 am

    First xmas gift! Well, I should get on that too 😀

  16. Felicity Grace terry permalink
    October 26, 2019 1:13 pm

    Thank you for sharing three very different books.

    Did I see mention of the C word though? Surely not.

    Wet and miserable here in the NE of England … and the clocks going back an hour tonight our day light hours are set to lessen even more {sigh}

  17. October 26, 2019 3:37 pm

    I’ve been curious about The Secrets We Kept since it is getting so much buzz. But, I’ve never read or watched Doctor Zhivago so I was worried I wouldn’t be able to follow the story. Since my husband’s birthday is Oct 25, it’s always my reminder that I have two months until Christmas. We actually have our first Christmas in 3 weeks, so I need to get shopping!

  18. October 27, 2019 7:49 am

    The Secrets We Kept sounds mesmerizing. I’m glad you agree that the buzz was deserved. Thanks for telling us a little more about it.

    I’m frustrated that tropical storms keep appearing at this time of the year. I hope the cool front that moved down from up north will put a stop to these soon.

    I’m very interested in Kid Gloves. I’ve followed Lucy’s story for a long time, and I’m curious how she is doing now.

    Have a lovely week!

  19. October 27, 2019 8:34 am

    We’re getting a lot of rain here too today. I can hear our sump pump running. I didn’t realize it was another tropical storm. I just can’t keep up lately.

  20. October 27, 2019 10:30 am

    Both The Secrets We Keep, and Fentanyl inc are books of interest to me.
    No rain here, our drought continues and right now we are ringed by fires.

    Wishing you a great reading week

  21. October 27, 2019 3:41 pm

    I have my eye on The Secrets We Kept. Glad you loved it. I’m noticing more and more kid books based on mindfulness. With so many distractions in kids’ lives these days, these kind of books are important.

  22. The Cue Card permalink
    October 27, 2019 6:23 pm

    Yeah I want to read The Secrets We Kept … so I’m glad you liked it. Sounds like the audio is good too. The movie Doctor Zhivago is a winner …. it hits the heart strings …

  23. Sarah Sammis permalink
    October 27, 2019 11:25 pm

    I have Sunny Rolls the Dice on my TBR. My weekly update

  24. bookingmama permalink
    October 28, 2019 7:54 pm

    I started THE SECRETS WE KEPT and was enjoying it, but a two library books came. I need to get back to it. And I just love SUNNY!

  25. October 29, 2019 9:17 pm

    I’ll have to tell my kids about Sunny Rolls the Dice. They are very into D&D right now!

  26. November 1, 2019 2:40 pm

    The Secrets We Kept sounds perfect! I would love to read that.

  27. November 5, 2019 12:51 pm

    What is that a puzzle of?

    I bought the first official Christmas gift this week too. I am not going all out just little things here and there.

  28. November 7, 2019 4:59 pm

    Love the puzzle! Our book group just discussed The Secrets We Kept last night and it really led to interesting discussion. Can you imagine if our government was still treating literature as life changing?

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