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Wondrous Words Wednesday

January 4, 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!

These words are from THE BOOK OF SPECULATION by Erika Swyler.

1. pelisse – “He sized a pelisse against Evangeline’s increasing girth.”

A pelisse is a woman’s cloak with armholes or sleeves that reaches to the ankles.

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2. parturient – “Accommodating to ladies of parturient condition.”

Parturient means about to give birth or in labor.

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What words do you want to celebrate today?

2016 Favorites

January 3, 2017
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I managed to read 132 books in 2016.  If anyone asks me what genres I prefer I never mention historical fiction so imagine my surprise when I set to work on coming up with a list of favorites of the year that it would be so heavy on that genre.  I tried to make a list of my top ten books but couldn’t whittle it past twelve.  Without further ado, here are my favorites in no particular order (with links to my reviews):

Historical Fiction

2016-favorites-historical-fiction

Nonfiction

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Thrillers/Mysteries

2016-favorites-thriller

Classics

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A book I’m not sure how to categorize but everyone should read

Another Brooklyn

Have you read any of these books?  What did you think?

Mailbox Monday

January 2, 2017

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Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia and now hosted on its own blog.   Happy New Year!  I can’t say I’m sorry to see 2016 go – I hope 2017 is better to all of us.   I found these goodies in my mailbox:

Tuesday

Thursday

Saturday

What did you find in your mailbox last week?

Review – Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down

December 30, 2016

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It’s getting close to Halloween and, as usual, Greg Heffley is scheming.  This time he’s trying to figure out how to get candy before Halloween and trying to get an invitation to Mariana Mendoza’s party.  His plans aren’t always well thought out, though, so his escapades are laugh out loud funny.

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney, so I was at my local bookstore the day the latest installment, DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: DOUBLE DOWN, came out and I was not disappointed.  To me, this was one of the stronger books in the series.

As usual, there’s a lot going on in the book and Greg is all about Greg, but somehow, Kinney makes it all work.  The illustrations are a little crude but they fit the books well.  I love the humor in these books.  If they’re honest, most people will see a little of themselves in Greg and maybe that will make them stop and think.  Since the books are written in a diary format with illustrations, they appeal to reluctant readers as well as avid ones.  Every middle grade reader (and some adult ones) you know will want a copy of DOUBLE DOWN!

kid konnection newI will link this up to Booking Mama’s Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, leave a comment as well as a link on her site.

I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

Review: With Love from the Inside

December 29, 2016

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Grace Bradshaw was convicted of killing her young son via Munchausen by Proxy and sentenced to death.  She, along with her husband and young daughter Sophie, maintain her innocence.  Her husband dies when Sophie is a senior in high school and, with her father gone, Sophie becomes convinced her mother is guilty and breaks off contact with her.

Sophie goes off to college and makes a life of her own.  She lies to everyone about her past and marries a successful plastic surgeon.  When her mother’s attorney tries to contact her, Sophie’s not sure she wants to hear what he has to say.  Desperate to keep her past hidden from her husband, she agrees to meet with him and the two discover new evidence in her mother’s case.  Will this new evidence help her mother or destroy Sophie’s current life?

WITH LOVE FROM THE INSIDE by Angela Pisel is a gut wrenching story of family and love told from a unique perspective.  The point of view alternates between Grace and Sophie so readers feel how their tragic past impacted these two women.  Grace has settled into a routine in prison, trying to make the best of her life there while Sophie has moved on with a new life.  Keeping her past secret is important to Sophie and it proves to be a lot of work.  When Grace’s attorney contacts Sophie, she’s not sure she wants to reconnect with her mother because she believes her horrific act impacted her life in awful ways.  Still, Grace is her mother, so she feels a need to at least put the past behind her.  New evidence makes her think she’s been wrong all these years.

I was hooked on WITH LOVE FROM THE INSIDE from the very start, wondering how Sophie could keep her past a secret and if Grace was really guilty.  I found both women’s stories fascinating and there was enough tension in the story to make me eager to get back to it.  I was jarred by the ending but, as I reflected on the book, I found it fitting. There’s a lot to think about in the book so I think it would make a great book club selection.  Pick this book up if you enjoy books about mother-daughter relationships.

The audio version of WITH LOVE FROM THE INSIDE is read by Carol Mond and Andi Arndt and they both did a good job.  However, given that the book is set in South Carolina, I do wish they would have used a narrator with a southern accent.

Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.  I am an Indiebound Affliate.

Wondrous Words Wednesday

December 28, 2016

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!

There hasn’t been a lot of reading going on around here so I’m thankful for my Word-a-Day calendar.

1. inspissate – “There was sauce on everything, all inspissated with butter, flour, crème fraîche.” — Jonathan Reynolds, THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE, August 2000

Inspissate is a verb that means to make thick or thicker.

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2. legerity – “With legerity, the prefect noted that the suspect inadvertently referred to an aspect of the crime that had never been made public.”

Legerity means alert, facile quickness of mind or body.

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3. ecotone – “Cowbirds lay their eggs in the nests of other birds — in particular, those located in the ecotones along the edges of a mature forest.”

An ecotone is a transition area between tow adjacent ecological communities.

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What words do you want to celebrate today?

Review: How to Eat a Cupcake

December 27, 2016

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Annie and Julia are childhood friends who had a falling out in high school.  They reconnect as young adults and decide to open a cupcake shop together.

With it’s cute cover and title, I thought HOW TO EAT A CUPCAKE by Meg Donohue would be light and fluffy – in other words, chick lit – but it has more substance than I expected so I think I’d classify it as women’s fiction.

Julia is the much loved daughter of the wealthy St. Clair family and Annie is the daughter of their housekeeper/cook.  Since Annie and her mother lived in the St. Clair’s carriage house, the two grew up like family and were extremely close until an incident in high school.  Since then, they’ve gone their separate ways – Julia moved to New York for her high powered job while Annie stayed in the Bay Area and worked for a bakery.

When Julia returns home to plan her wedding she discovers Annie’s talent with cupcakes and suggests the two open a cupcake shop.  At first Annie refuses but later realizes it’s the opportunity of a lifetime and the two get to work.  It seems someone doesn’t like their shop so they have to deal with sabotage plus some personal issues each of them face.  Parts of the story were predictable but there was a little mystery to propel the story along.

I thought HOW TO EAT A CUPCAKE was a wonderful story of love and friendship and I enjoyed my time with Annie and Julia.  I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys stories of women’s friendships.

Review copy provided by Harper Collins.   I am an Indiebound Affiliate.