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Wondrous Words Wednesday

August 17, 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!

I had to go back to my Word-a-Day calendar this week since I didn’t find any new words in my reading.  I chose these words because I can’t imagine myself using any of them.

1. conurbation – “The conurbation is served by a sophisticated system of trains and subways.”

A conurbation is an aggregation or continuous network of urban communities.

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2. schwarmerei – “One of the reasons that Ken likes jazz is that it isn’t loaded with the schwarmerei that seems to infect most contemporary pop songs.”

Schwarmerei is an excessive or unwholesome sentiment.

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3. persiflage – “When the cooking segment ran short, Greta and her cohost turned to persiflage to fill up the time left until the commercial break.”

Persiflage is frivolous bantering talk: light raillery.

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What words do you want to celebrate today?

Review: Behave

August 16, 2016

Behave

Rosalie Rayner graduated from Vassar in 1919 and then enrolled in Johns Hopkins University to further her education.  It was there she encountered John Watson, the founder of Behaviorist psychology.  Rosalie became his graduate assistant and helped him with his well-known “Little Albert” experiments.  The two later became lovers and eventually married but their life was far from easy.

Behave by Andromeda Roman-Lax is the historical fiction story of Rosalie Rayner.  Rosalie was an unusual woman with her education and ambition.  When John Watson singled her out for attention and chose her to be his graduate assistant, it seemed her life and career were on track.  She assisted Watson with many studies, including those where they fear conditioned an infant named Albert.  The study was groundbreaking at the time but later came under criticism.  When Rosalie became involved with the married Watson, it created quite a scandal, and they both lost their jobs.  He obtained a divorce and the two married but their life together was always tumultuous.

I’d never heard of Rosalie Rayner, John Watson, or behaviorist psychology and I found this book oh so fascinating!  Rosalie seemed poised for a great career until she met Watson and all of her plans were derailed.  The two had a passionate but stormy relationship that didn’t seem well suited for the domestic life they tried to settle into.

It’s obvious Romano-Lax thoroughly researched her subject before writing Behave.   I thought the book was well written and  provided just enough back story to fill readers in.  I want to know more now and have Googled Rayner and Watson several times since reading this great book.  Pick this one up if you enjoy historical fiction, psychology, and/or relationship stories.

Review copy provided by Soho Press.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

Mailbox Monday

August 15, 2016

Mailbox Monday August 15 3

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia and now hosted on its own blog.  The days are getting shorter but summer’s heat is still with us Thankfully, we got some much needed rain last week.  Summer is ending for the kids near us and I am thankful I don’t have to deal with school days anymore.  I found these goodies in my mailbox last week:

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Friday

What did you find in your mailbox last week?

Review – Jedi Academy: A New Class

August 12, 2016

A New Class

Victor is beside himself with excitement because he’ll be leaving his old school for Jedi Academy halfway through the school year.  His sister Christina is already a student there and Victor is sure he’ll do even better than she does.  Zach, an older student at Jedi Academy pays him some attention and Victor is thrilled to have such a cool friend, even though Christina warns him to be careful.  Victor learns who his true friends are the hard way.

A New Class (Star Wars Jedi Academy #4) by Jarrett J. Krosoczka is (obviously) the fourth book in a fun series for middle grade readers.  The first three books in the series were written by Jeffrey Brown and I’ve only read one of the three.   This book stands on its own just fine and, based on the one book I’ve read, I think it complements the series well.

Young readers will enjoy the Star Wars theme in setting and characters and reluctant readers will be drawn to the the graphic novel format and the great illustrations.  They’ll also enjoy Victor – he’s more confident than he should be but learns he needs to work to get what he wants, academically and socially.

My only quibble with the book is that the issues it explores felt very similar to the those in Return of the Padawan, the one book I’ve read.  I’m not sure young readers will pick up on that though, and they’re issues kids face so it doesn’t hurt to reinforce them.  I think A New Class will hold broad appeal to the 8 to 12 year old set.

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.

Review copy provided by Scholastic. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

Review: The Choices We Make

August 11, 2016

The Choices We Make

Hannah and Kate have been best friends since elementary school.  Both are happily married.  Kate and her husband have two adorable girls while Hannah and her husband struggle with infertility.  In the ultimate act of friendship, Kate offers to be a surrogate for Hannah and Ben.  None of them can imagine how accepting Kate’s generous offer will change all of their lives forever.

I can’t say too much more about the plot of The Choices We Make by Karma Brown without spoiling things but I can say I was hooked on this book from the very start.  The point of view alternates between the two friends and Brown writes so well I could feel Hannah and Ben’s pain and I hurt along with them, even though I’ve never struggled with the same issues.  I also felt Kate’s love when she offered to help her friends achieve their goal.

Hannah and Kate and their struggles felt very real to me so I know this book will resonate with so many readers.  It made me cry several times and made me smile as well.  It gave me a lot to think about so I think it would make an excellent book club selection.

The audio version of The Choices We Make is narrated by Cassandra Campbell and Jorjeana Marie and they both did an outstanding job.  Having the two narrators made it easy to keep track of the characters and enhanced the story.  I’ve already recommended the audio version of this book to several friends.  You don’t want to miss The Choices We Make!

I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

Wondrous Words Wednesday

August 10, 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!

I found a word in Jill of Rhapsody in Books review of Jonathan Unleashed by Meg Rosoff.

1. weltschmerz – “Claiming they must be suffering from some sort of weltschmerz, he and the dogs become “regulars” at a nearby veterinarian’s office.”

Weltschmerz is a noun that means a feeling of melancholy and world-weariness.

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I found a second word in Behave by Andromeda Romano-Lax.

2. jingoism – “Without open debate, ideas — including the superstitious or jingoistic ones — just became common currency, unquestioned.”

Jingoism is also a noun that means extreme patriotism, especially in the form of aggressive or warlike foreign policy.

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What words do you want to celebrate today?

Review: Another Brooklyn

August 9, 2016

Another Brooklyn

Seeing an old friend on the subway makes August recall when they were growing up in Brooklyn in the 1970s.  Her father moved August and her brother from Tennessee to Brooklyn when August was eight years old.  It took them a little while to fit into the rhythm of the city but, once they did, August found a group of friends to call her own.  While she was with her friends anything and everything felt possible and the world felt like a safe place but there was another Brooklyn out there with sexual predators and thieves.

I absolutely loved Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson!  She is truly an artist with the written word.  Her prose is sparse but each word is so well chosen, August’s story is told in a beautiful, lyrical fashion.  Woodson expertly captures the innocence and charm of youth as well as the dark, foreboding parts of the world that can lurk around the corner.

I was so caught up with Another Brooklyn from the very start and couldn’t put it down.  It’s a story that has stuck with me and I’ve thought about it a lot since I read it.  I think it would make a terrific book club pick because there’s a lot to discuss in this powerful book.  Believe me when I say, this is a book you don’t want to miss!

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

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