Skip to content

The Week in Review: 01.04.2019

January 4, 2019

the-week-in-review

Between the Covers

Finished last week:

THE POETRY OF US: MORE THAN 200 POEMS THAT CELEBRATE THE PEOPLE, PLACES, AND PASSIONS OF THE UNITED STATES edited by J. Patrick Lewis (former U. S. Children’s Poet Laureate) is a fabulous way to introduce youngsters to poetry and the uniqueness and the diversity of the United States.  The book and its poems are divided into geographic regions.  There are poems by Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, Jane Yolen, and so many more.  There are also gorgeous, full color photographs throughout the book.  I loved that Lewis included so many different styles of poems and didn’t shy away from difficult subjects.  There were quite a few poems that moved me, but this one from the Midwest has stayed in my heart:

The book lady at the Salvation
Army read us a book that says
a book is a house. She liked it.
I could tell. She’s got a house,
I bet, with lots of books in it.

Under the by-pass bridge where
we lived before we got here
and where we’ll likely live again
when Daddy comes back because
this shelter is “women and children

only” and Daddy says our motto
is “together, no matter what,”
I don’t think we could have
moved into a book. Still, when
the lady said we could take any
book we wanted, that’s what I took

-George Ella Lyon

Pick this fabulous book up for you or a young reader in your life – you won’t be disappointed.  (Review copy provided by Media Masters Publicity.)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I was drawn to STRONGER, FASTER, AND MORE BEAUTIFUL by Arwen Elys Dayton because of it’s cover and really should have read more about it before I started reading it.  It’s a series of inter-connected stories about a future where humans are improved upon – sometimes through genetic manipulation and sometimes by replacing body parts.  Some people oppose it and ethical questions are explored.  It’s an interesting concept and was thought provoking but I didn’t always get how the stories were connected.  This book was an okay read for me but I don’t think I can be a fair judge because it’s out of my comfort zone.  The audio version is read by a cast of narrators and is very well done.  This book is getting some great reviews, so those who like science fiction and/or dystopia should give it a try.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

WATCHING YOU by Lisa Jewell follows several people in a little neighborhood in Bristol, England.  It seems that everyone is watching someone else.  The story is centered around Tom Fitzwilliam, the new headmaster at the local school.  Mr. Fitzwilliam has a reputation for saving schools but the mother of one of his students thinks he should have a reputation for something else – after all, she’s convinced he’s stalking her.  Tom’s son, Freddie, watches several people, including Joey, who’s watching his father.  As I write that description, it all sounds rather complicated but the plot wasn’t difficult to follow.  As usual, with a Jewell book, I was drawn in right away.  Readers know someone died at the beginning and tension is ramped up slowly as the story is revealed.  I liked the way Jewell told the story, including police interviews along the way and it all kept me turning the pages as fast as I could.  I thought this book was terrific and recommend it to those who like thrillers.  (Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster)

Currently reading:

On the Screen

We watched a few more episodes of 11.22.63.  I still like the acting but the series is deviating from the book more and more and that’s beginning to bother me.  I can’t decide if I want to finish watching it or not.

Off the blog

  • I had my post surgery check-up and all is well.
  • Our youngest niece and her fiancé came by for a quick visit.  It was so good to see her again and to meet him.  I predict years of happiness for them.

  • I finally started the puzzle Vance gave me for my birthday.
  • I walked at least three miles every morning and averaged almost 17,850 Fitbit steps a day.

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

Wondrous Words Wednesday

January 2, 2019

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!

I found one more word in WATCHING YOU by Lisa Jewell :

1. yob – “People might think he was a yob, he thought, they might think he was about to mug them, or start a fight with them.”

Yob is British slang that means a loutish, uncultured person.

_____________________________________________________

What words do you want to celebrate today?

Mailbox Monday

December 31, 2018

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia and now hosted on its own blog.   I found these books in my mailbox last week:

Thursday

What did you find in your mailbox?

The Week in Review: 12.28.2018

December 28, 2018
tags:

the-week-in-review

Between the Covers

Finished last week:

I followed up DOPESICK by Beth Macy with IF YOU LOVE ME: A MOTHER’S JOURNEY THROUGH HER DAUGHTER’S OPIOID ADDICTION by Maureen Cavanagh to see what this horrible epidemic felt like from the inside.  When Cavanagh’s daughter became addicted to opioids and heroin, she did everything she could to help her.  She started by educating herself and others and eventually started support groups to help other families.  She helped countless young people struggling with addiction even as her own daughter struggled with relapse after relapse.  Cavanagh became so obsessed with it, it started to affect her relationships with her family and boyfriend and she came to realize she couldn’t help her daughter until she wanted help.

It’s hard to say you loved a book like this but I thought IF YOU LOVE ME was raw and gritty.  It’s heartbreaking and heartfelt, scary and encouraging.  I admire Cavanagh’s openness and honesty – she put it all out there – and her strong desire to help others survive this crisis and I’m very glad I read this book.  It made me realize how lucky we’ve been that our family hasn’t had to face this issue and it gave me empathy for those who have. (Review copy provided by Henry Holt.)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I think most people are familiar with THE MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK and ANOTHER MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK by Jon Stone since they’re favorites of many children.  I’m happy to tell you, there’s a new addition out – ANOTHER MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK: AN INTERACTIVE ADVENTURE is perfect for little ones who have trouble sitting still through a book.  Grover doesn’t want to open the book because he knows there’s a monster at the end but Elmo loves monsters so he is anxious to get going.  In this interactive version, little ones help reach the end but lifting flaps, pulling tabs, peeking through holes to reach the pop-up ending that is so much fun.  It’s constructed of heavy duty pages and even includes some velcro and a textured page that is sure to keep youngsters engaged.  Pick this up for the smallest readers in your life.  (Review copy provided by Media Masters Publicity.)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

After watching the movie Dumplin’, I decided to pick up the book and I’m so glad I did.  Willowdean (her mom calls her Dumplin’) feels like she’s never quite lived up to her former beauty queen mother’s standards.  She had been really close to her Aunt Lucy and is grieving her loss.  Willowdean discovers a pageant entry form in Lucy’s things and decides to enter in her memory/as a protest and gets a few others to join her.  At the same time, she’s dealing with a couple boys, she and her best friend are on the outs, and she changes jobs.  I was in Willowdean’s world from the beginning and almost hated to leave it at the end.  I adored DUMPLIN’ by Julie Murphy – it’s got fabulous characters, a great (and relevant) storyline, and is very engaging.    This will be one of my favorites of the year and I look forward to reading more of Murphy’s work.  (I won this book from The Reading Date.)

Currently reading:

On the Screen

We started watching the mini-series 11.22.63.  It’s based on the Stephen King book of the same name and tells the story of Jake Epping, a teacher who goes back in time to try to stop the assassination of JFK.  It’s been a while since I read the book but I’ve noticed a few differences – they haven’t been enough to bother me, though.  We’ve all been enjoying it so far and I think James Franco nailed the part of Epping.

Off the blog

  • My new Fitbit came on Saturday so I’m back in the game.  I walked at least three miles every morning, except Christmas, and averaged just over 13,400 Fitbit steps a day.
  • Our nephew arrived Saturday so he could spend Christmas with us.  Vance always stays with us while he’s here and we love having “the boys” under our roof.  Our Christmas was quiet, which was just what we wanted.

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

Wondrous Words Wednesday

December 26, 2018

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!

I found this word in WATCHING YOU by Lisa Jewell.

1. shambolic – “The whole thing had been shambolic and embarrassing and humiliating and that was why he’d needed to stop for a moment before he could face the normality of walking through his front door.”

Shambolic is an adjective that means chaotic, disorganized, or mismanaged.

_____________________________________________________

What words do you want to celebrate today?

Mailbox Monday

December 24, 2018

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia and now hosted on its own blog.   I found these books in my mailbox last week:

Friday

What did you find in your mailbox?

The Week in Review: 12.21.2018

December 21, 2018
tags:

the-week-in-review

Between the Covers

Finished last week:

SWING by Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess is the story of two high school juniors – Walt and Noah – who’ve been good friends forever.  Walt is obsessed with baseball and has asked to be called Swing – he’s sure this will be the year he makes the baseball team.  Noah is obsessed with Sam but she already has a boyfriend.  The pair work hard to make their dreams come true and things seem to be going pretty well until they witness an event that rocks their world.  I’m a big fan of Alexander and love novels in verse so it will come as no surprise that I loved this book even though the ending broke my heart.  The characters are fantastic, the story line is great (and very realistic) and it explores a social issue.  It’s written for a YA audience that will relate to the characters but older readers will enjoy it too.  (Review copy provided by Amazon Vine.)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I have so many thoughts going through my mind after finishing DOPESICK: DEALERS, DOCTORS, AND THE DRUG COMPANY THAT ADDICTED AMERICA by Beth Macy.  Meticulously researched and well written, this book is riveting, eye-opening, heart breaking, and scary.  Macy tells the story of America’s opioid addiction in one of the places it first began, Appalachia.  What began as  prescription pain killer use, heavily promoted by Purdue Pharma, it’s manufacturer, quickly escalated into a drug abuse epidemic.  I’ll admit that I judged some users because I didn’t truly understand the problem until I read this book.  Macy gives a full picture of the problem by sharing the stories of doctors, advocates, users, and their loved ones and it is harrowing.  She recounts some success stories as well as many failures.  I talked about this book all the time as I read it and think it would be an excellent choice for book clubs who enjoy nonfiction and discussions about social issues.  I cannot recommend this book enough – It should be a wake up call for everyone in this country.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I generally shy away from fantasy because I struggle with imaginary worlds but decided to give INKLING by Kenneth Oppel a try and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.  After the death of his mother, Ethan’s family is struggling.  Things aren’t going right for Ethan at school, his sister Sarah longs for a dog, and their artist dad can’t seem to produce any material.  When the ink from several of his drawings run together and form a blob, Inkling jumps off the page.  Ethan is the first to find him when he starts “eating” the ink off the pages of some of his books.  The two bond and Inkling begins to help Ethan and then the rest of his family.

I think this story worked for me because Inkling was an imaginary creature in a real world.  I loved Ethan and rooted for him and his family and was pleased when Inkling helped him.  There are some exciting twists and turns with a lot of adventure that made this book a lot of fun.  The audio version is read by Robbie Daymond and he does a terrific job.  I think middle grade readers will love this book even more than I did.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)

Currently reading:

On the Screen

Not much of anything.

Off the blog

  • I finished my latest jigsaw puzzle.  This will probably be my last one until after the holidays.
  • My book club met Tuesday night.  We don’t read a book for our December meeting.  We just eat, drink, socialize, and have a Dirty Santa book swap.  I was excited to get THE TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ by Heather Morris.
  • I lost my Fitbit on Wednesday but got in a lot of steps because I walked three miles twice – the second time to look for it.  I couldn’t find it and have a ordered a new one.

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