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Mailbox Monday

May 4, 2020

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia and now hosted on its own blog.   Here’s a peek into my mailbox:

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

 

What was in your mailbox?

The Week in Review: 05.01.2020

May 1, 2020
tags:

the-week-in-review

Between the Covers

Finished last week:

STEPPING STONES by Lucy Knisley is a graphic novel for the middle grade set inspired by Knisley’s own childhood.  In the book, Jen’s parents are divorced and her mother has moved from the city to a farm.  Jen is expected to do chores and help at the farmer’s market.  Her mother’s boyfriend is overbearing and annoying and his daughters (who come up for the weekend) are just as bad.  Jen hates the country and longs for the city.  The girls make their peace, though, and learn to become “part-time sisters.”

I love Knisley’s work – she does a fabulous job of telling a story and showing emotion with a few words and her wonderful illustrations – and this book was no exception.  In her note to her readers she includes photos from her childhood and says:

One of the worst things about being a kid is finding yourself in these situations where you have no control over the decisions the adults are making that affect you.  But sometimes it’s also one of the best things — to find yourself in a situation you couldn’t possibly have chosen for yourself, totally at sea.  It can sometimes bring unexpected beauty, and introduce strangers that become family.

I think it’s a sentiment many kids can relate to and hopefully this gem of a book will help them see the silver lining in their clouds.  (Review copy provided by RH Graphic.)

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I’ve always been curious about the events surrounding her death so I picked up NATALIE WOOD: THE COMPLETE BIOGRAPHY by Suzanne Finstad.  It recounts Wood’s life from birth to her tragic death in a well researched, detailed manner.  Born Natasha Zakharenko to Russian immigrant parents, Wood’s mother was the ultimate stage mother – she would do anything to make Wood a star.  Intelligent and eager to please, the pliable Wood did as she was asked and her career soared.  Her personal life was another matter, though.

Wood married Robert Wagner and divorced him several years later when she caught him in a compromising position.  She couldn’t get him out of her system, though, and remarried him in 1972, leading to her death, made all the more tragic because of her deep fear of “dark water.”  Her drowning and the bungling of its investigation has made the headlines several times throughout the years.  Finstad has researched it extensively and believes she knows what happened and shares her thoughts in this book.  I found it plausible and think she is likely correct.

I found this book to be well written, compelling and sad.  I listened to the audio version and thought Rose McGowan did a good job with the narration.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)

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Jack Harris’s wife was killed in a mass shooting leaving him to raise his daughter alone.  Several years later, when the father of the shooter is murdered, Jack is the prime suspect.  When he’s arrested, Jack’s daughter contacts Olivia, his ex-fiancé, to defend him.  Olivia didn’t treat Jack that well so she feels like this could be her chance to redeem herself.

THE EX by Alafair Burke was just the book I needed to distract me from the news.  I thought the plot was well done and the characters were better developed than usual in this type of book.  There were several twists along the way and I only figured out the big one right before it was revealed.  This was my first book by Burke and I’m wondering why I waited so long.  I’ll definitely be reading more of her work in the future.  (Review copy provided by Harper Collins.)

Currently reading:

On the Screen

At Ti‘s recommendation, we’ve started watching The Stranger.  In it, a stranger comes to town and turns lives upside down by revealing secrets to families and friends.  We’re not sure yet how all the stories tie together and are curious enough to keep watching to find out.

Off the blog

  • On Sunday, a tornado touched down very close to Vance’s house.  Luckily, no one was injured and his property didn’t sustain any damage.

  • I finished my puzzle and will start a new one soon.
  • We walked at least three miles every morning and I averaged just over 16,250 Fitbit steps a day.

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

Wondrous Words Wednesday

April 29, 2020

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!

No new words in my reading so these are from my Word-a-Day calendar.

1. poikilotherm – “The researcher studied the habits of frogs and other poikilotherms on both sunny and rainy days.”

I’m sure I’ll never have a reason to use this noun.  Poikilotherm means an organism with a variable body temperature that tends to fluctuate with and is similar to or slightly higher than the temperature of its environment.

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2. debouch – “We pulled our kayaks out of the river several miles before the point where it debouches into the ocean.”

Debouch is a verb that, in this case, means to march out into open ground: emerge, issue.

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Mailbox Monday

April 27, 2020

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia and now hosted on its own blog.   Here’s a peek into my mailbox:

Tuesday

Friday

What was in your mailbox?

The Week in Review: 04.24.2020

April 24, 2020
tags:

the-week-in-review

Between the Covers

Finished last week:

When Iris and Ivy’s parents divorce the twins are separated – Ivy lives with their dad while Iris stays with their mom.  They see each on the occasional weekend and holiday and for a few weeks in the summer.  When their mother dies, Iris comes to live with Ivy and their dad.  Ivy thinks Iris is trying to take over her life and turning her friends against her but no one else sees it.  Is she right or is she paranoid?

I listened to THE TWIN by Natasha Preston and liked it a lot.  Things are different for Ivy when her twin sister comes to live with her and her dad but readers aren’t quite sure if Iris is after her or if Ivy is jealous or paranoid.  Since it’s aimed at the YA audience the book isn’t graphic.  I liked the way Preston kicked up the tension and was shocked by the big twist at the end.  Emma Galvin does a great job with the audio.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)

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ONE FOX: A COUNTING BOOK THRILLER by Kate Read is a unique counting picture book.  It counts from one to ten starting with one very hungry fox.  The tension ramps up when it discovers three hens but the author is sure to note

No hens or foxes were harmed in the making of this book.

The illustrations in this book are gorgeous – even the endpapers are beautiful.  I love this picture book and think little ones will delight in the story and the surprise ending and will enjoy the pictures as well.  (Review copy provided by Peachtree Publishers.)

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I’m a big fan of memoirs and I’d heard good things about WILD GAME: MY MOTHER, HER LOVER, AND ME by Adrienne Brodeur so I was excited to pick it up.  When Brodeur was a young teen, her mother decided to take her into her confidence about an extra-marital affair she was having.  Not only did her mother tell her some deeply personal things, she enlisted her to help cover up the affair.  Brodeur didn’t realize the oddity of her situation until she was older and making some poor relationship decisions of her own.

I liked this book quite a bit but didn’t love it the way others have.  The writing was great and the story was unsettling but there just wasn’t enough meat to the story, if that makes sense.  Of course, the timing of my reading the book could have impacted my enjoyment as well – it can be hard to focus right now!  If you like memoirs and/or family stories, give this one a try.  (Review copy provided by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.)

Currently reading:

On the Screen

Nothing.

Off the blog

  • The highlight of our week was when our Instacart shopper scored toilet paper for us at Costco.
  • I played games with some friends virtually this week, using a chat app.  It wasn’t perfect but it was fun and it sure was good to laugh with everyone again!
  • I walked at least three miles every morning and averaged just under 16,850 Fitbit steps a day.

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

Wondrous Words Wednesday

April 22, 2020

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 MINI SHOPAHOLIC by Sophie Kinsella.

1. tup – “I gave him a tup.”

Tup is chiefly British and means a ram.

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What words do you want to celebrate today?

Mailbox Monday

April 20, 2020

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

Monday

Tuesday

What was in your mailbox?

The Week in Review: 04.17.2020

April 17, 2020
tags:

the-week-in-review

Between the Covers

Finished last week:

THE BEST OF IGGY by Annie Barrows is a middle school book about a boy named Iggy.  He’s nine years old and in the fourth grade.  Iggy’s not bad but he has been known to be impulsive so some of the things he does don’t turn out quite the way he planned.  Iggy and his teacher get along great until one day when Iggy, Owen, and Arch do something that seemed like a great idea when they thought of it but turned out horribly wrong.  Iggy’s instantly sorry but there’s nothing he can do now, or is there?

What a fun book this is!  Many kids will relate to Iggy and the situation he finds himself in.  The book is hilarious and has humor both kids and adults will enjoy – I laughed out loud several times as I read it.  Sam Ricks‘ illustrations are terrific and enhance the story.  I’m excited to see there will be a second Iggy book next year!  (Review copy provided by Putnam.)

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I hadn’t read a James Patterson book in a while and needed a fast read to distract myself so I picked up SWIMSUIT, which he co-wrote with Maxine Paetro.  Kim McDaniels is in Hawaii for a swimsuit photo shoot and goes missing.  Her parents get an ominous phone call and head to Hawaii to search for their daughter.  Former cop and current LA Times reporter Ben Hawkins is assigned to cover the story and what he uncovers is horrifying.

This book had the short chapters and fast pace I remember from Patterson’s previous work but it was more gruesome than others I’ve read – as a matter of fact, I almost set it aside at one point.  The focus was on plot rather than on characters and it’s a grisly story.  This quick read was just okay for me.  (I won this in a contest on Bookin’ with Bingo.)

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Catherine’s War by Julia Billet and Claire Fauvel with translation by Ivanka Hahnenberger is a graphic novel about a young Jewish girl in World War II Paris with a passion for photography.  She attends the progressive Sevres school but when the Nazis draw near she and other Jewish children are forced to hide.  Her camera helps her remember her story.

This middle grade graphic novel is inspired by true people, places, and events and I thought it was terrific.  The children in this story faced events and hardships we can’t even imagine – being moved from place to place and living with people they don’t know – and did the best they could with the situations they were put into.  I loved the story and thought the full color illustrations were wonderful too.  Pick this book up to inspire young readers in your life.  (Review copy provided by Harper Alley.)

Currently reading:

On the Screen

Carl humored me and watched Splash with me one evening.  This thirty six year old romantic comedy is about a young man (Tom Hanks) who unknowingly falls in love with a mermaid (Daryl Hannah).  I loved it when I saw it in the theater all those years ago and enjoyed it almost a much this time.  Even though it’s not highly rated, I thought it held up well.

Off the blog

  • We had bad storms come through early Monday morning and three tornadoes touched down in our area.  We kept power all through the storm but lost it several hours later.  Thankfully, it wasn’t out too long.  We really can’t complain, though, because it’s only the second time it’s gone out in the almost 13 years we’ve lived here.
  • Carl’s hair was bugging him so he bought some clippers and I cut his hair.  I was nervous but it turned out okay and he’s happy with it.

  • I ran the Virtual Run in Remembrance in honor of the 32 people who were killed at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007.
  • I walked at least three miles every morning and averaged just over 16,750 Fitbit steps a day.

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

Wondrous Words Wednesday

April 15, 2020

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!

IN THE COMPANY OF OTHERS by Jan Karon was the source for a few more new-to-me words.

1. trug – “Anna came in from the entrance hall with a trug of purple iris.”

A trug is a shallow oblong basket made of strips of wood, traditionally used for carrying garden flowers and produce.

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2. parge – “The hut was a small, parged building with a couple of stone steps to the door and a single room.”

Parge is a verb that means cover with plaster or mortar.

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3. plenish – “The tears he had witnessed in his life as a priest might plenish a river.”

I’m familiar with replenish so I was able to figure this one out but have never heard it used before.  Plenish means to fill up; stock; furnish.

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What words do you want to celebrate today?

Mailbox Monday

April 13, 2020

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

Monday

What was in your mailbox?