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The Week in Review: 09.29.2017

September 29, 2017
tags:

the-week-in-review

Between the Covers

Finished last week:

I readily admit that I don’t cook much these days – partly because of time and partly because both Carl and I are rarely here at dinnertime so I was excited to get QUICK-FIX DINNERS; 100+ SIMPLE RECIPES READY IN 10, 20 OR 30 MINUTES by the Editors of Southern Living.  The beginning of the cookbook shows 25 different ways you can combine recipes from it to create a meal and then dishes are divided by Comfort Food Classics, Picky Eaters, On the Side, Pantry & Convenience, Weeknight Company and Dessert in a Dash.  I was happy to see that a full color photograph is included with each recipe but was a little disappointed to see that a lot of the recipes rely on using pre-cooked or deli meats and items like ready to serve rice, coleslaw mix, or refrigerated breadsticks.  I still found several recipes to try, including this Bow Tie Pasta Toss, which was declared a winner:

There are a few more recipes I want to try, like Blistered Brussels Sprouts with Mint and Roasted Broccoli with Orange-Chipotle Butter,  but I don’t think I’ll be using this cookbook a lot.  That’s not to say it doesn’t have value – I think a beginning cook or a college student would get a lot of use out of it.  (Review copy provided by Amazon Vine.)

After her mother passes away, Lemonade Liberty Witt has to leave her San Francisco home to live with her grandfather (who she’s never met) in Willow Creek.  Willow Creek is known at “the Bigfoot capital of the world” and Lem meets Tobin, a boy her age who owns Bigfoot Detectives, Inc.  The two become friends and Lem joins Tobin in his pursuit of the the elusive creature.  They may not find one but they both find what they need in LEMONS by Melissa Savage, a book I adored.  This book has a fun, quirky storyline and is filled with wonderful characters who I rooted for right from the start.  I laughed and shed a tear or two as I read this sweet story of a young girl looking for her place in the world.  This book is geared toward 8 to 12 year olds but I think many older children will relate to Lem as well.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)

THE WEEKENDERS by Mary Kay Andrews is the story of Riley Griggs.  Things aren’t going well in her marriage and she and her husband have plans to tell Maggy, their teen daughter, they’re getting a divorce when they all gather at their beach house.  Riley’s not too surprised when Wendell isn’t on the ferry but she’s shocked when she and Maggy get to their house and find it’s being foreclosed on.  She’s even more shocked when Wendell’s body is found in the water the next day.  Now, Riley must figure out how to put a life together for herself and her daughter.  As I picked up this book, I felt like I’d read it before but I hadn’t.  The story felt very familiar and was pretty predictable.  I felt like Andrews might have tried to cram too many issues into the book – a diabetic daughter, a cheating husband, a gay brother, alcoholism, etc.  The solution to the mystery came out the blue, at least to me.  In the end, I liked this book but didn’t love it – I thought it was missing Andrews lighthearted, humorous touch.  (Review copy provided by Tandem Literary.)

 

Currently reading:

On the Screen

I thought two nights of Dancing with the Stars might be too much but ended up enjoying Tuesday’s Latin night more than Monday’s Ballroom Night.  I still don’t have a favorite but thought Barbara was the right one to go home on Monday.  I wanted to see more of Debbie Gibson so I was a little disappointed to see her leave on Tuesday.

Off the blog

  • I finally finished my 1500 piece puzzle.  I had a lot going on, so it took a while.
  • Carl and I went to Charlotte to shop on Monday.  We came home on some back roads and passed through the little town where my paternal grandparents are buried.  We made a detour and went by the cemetery but couldn’t locate their graves.  I’ve been in contact with a cousin since then and have a map of the cemetery so we’ll be able to find them next time.
  • It still feels like summer here but we’re supposed to get some relief pretty soon.  I’ll miss the warm temperatures but not the humidity.
  • We walked at least three miles every morning and I averaged just over 18,500 Fitbit steps a day.

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

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Wondrous Words Wednesday

September 27, 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!

I found a word in a middle grade book, WORD OF MOUSE by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein.

1. tenebrous – “For instance, tenebrous.”

Tenebrous means dark, shadowy, or obscure.

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What words do you want to celebrate today?

Mailbox Monday

September 25, 2017

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

Wednesday

Friday

What did you find in your mailbox?

The Week in Review: 09.22.2017

September 22, 2017
tags: ,

the-week-in-review

Between the Covers

Finished last week:

BRAVE RED, SMART FROG: A NEW BOOK OF OLD TALES by Emily Jenkins is a collection of seven familiar fairy tales – like Snow White and Red Riding Hood – written in modern language while holding true to their roots.  (In her Author’s Note, Jenkins says she’s telling the stories “largely faithfully.”)  Since I was mostly familiar with these stories through movies and animated cartoons, I enjoyed learning what they were originally like and was surprised at how dark most of them were.  At the beginning of each story, there’s a lovely illustration by Rohan Daniel Eason.  This book is targeted to the 8 to 12 year old audience but anyone who enjoys fairy tales will love it.  (Review copy provided by Candlewick Press.)

DROP DEAD HEALTHY: ONE MAN’S HUMBLE QUEST FOR BODILY PERFECTION chronicles author A. J. Jacobs‘ two year attempt at adapting a healthier lifestyle.  He does research and speaks with experts and tries everything from acupuncture to a juice cleanse.  In the end he says,

Most health advice can be summer up in five words; Eat less, move more, relax.

I found Jacobs’ writing style to be entertaining and engaging but, in the end, I thought the book was good but not great.  I didn’t think there was a lot of new information in the book and didn’t think Jacobs’ stuck with stuff long enough to see if it really worked.  For instance, he had a sleep study done and was told he had sleep apnea and needed a CPAP machine but never followed up with it.  He does include appendices in the back, detailing the tips he thought worked best.

Now that school is back in full swing, you’ll want to grab a copy of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS UNITED STATES ATLAS for the middle schoolers in your life.  This large, full-color atlas starts out with keys to using the book and many maps of the whole country, including natural environment and population maps.  Then the country is divided into regions.  At the beginning of each region is a political map and a few pages about the unique aspects of each area.  Each state is given a two page spread with basic facts, a map, photographs and a brief history of the state.  The back of the book has some fun facts, a glossary, and a detailed index.  The material is presented in an appealing way that will draw kids in instead of turning them off.  I bet they’ll flip through this book just for fun!  (Review copy provided by Media Masters Publicity.)

I’ve been a fan of Sue Grafton‘s Kinsey Millhone series for years so I was excited to pick up Y IS FOR YESTERDAY, the latest book in the series and I’m happy to say I wasn’t disappointed!  In 1979, four privileged boys sexually assault a young woman and capture it on video.  When one of the perpetrators is released from prison, a copy of the tape is delivered to his parents with a demand for money and they hire Kinsey to find out who the blackmailer is.  At the same time, Kinsey suspects someone from her past is after her.  This book was a little darker and more graphic than other books in the series but I was glued to it nonetheless.  The audio version is narrated by Judy Kaye who did an okay job.  I thought her voice sounded a little old for 39 year old Kinsey.  I didn’t think she was great with voices for other characters either, but I did adjust to her voice fairly quickly.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)

 

Currently reading:

 

On the Screen

Dancing With the Stars started back this week.  It takes me a few weeks to “get to know” the stars and really get into the show but I thought Monday night’s show was pretty good for the first show of the season – most of the dancers were actually pretty good.  Obviously, Jordan Fisher and Lindsey Stirling were the best dancers but, to me,  it almost seemed unfair to have Fisher on the show.  I thought Derek Fisher’s dance was entertaining but I’m not sure he has what it takes to win the competition.

 

Off the blog

  • I’ve been a bad book club member lately but did manage to make it to the meeting this week.  We discussed THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE by Melanie Benjamin.  Everyone enjoyed the book and had a lot to say about it.  We all decided that we don’t envy the lifestyle they lived.
  • It feels like summer is back – we’ve had hot weather with high humidity.  I don’t mind the high temperatures but can do without the humidity.
  • We walked at least three miles every morning and I averaged over just over 17,800 Fitbit steps a day.

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

Wondrous Words Wednesday

September 20, 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!

I found two new-to-me words in DROP DEAD HEALTHY by A. J. Jacobs.

1. logy – “Less logy, more energetic.”

This is one of those words I feel like I should have known but couldn’t define accurately.  Logy means dull and heavy in motion or thought; sluggish.

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2. steatopygic – “She says she feels like Mrs. DeLauria, her sixth-grade teacher, who was famous for her steatopygic figure.”

Steatopygic means extreme accumulation of fat on and about the buttocks, especially of women.

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What words do you want to celebrate today?

Mailbox Monday

September 18, 2017

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia and now hosted on its own blog.  It was a slow week for my mailbox but that meant I made a small dent in my TBR pile, so it’s all good.  I found these goodies in my mailbox last week:

Monday

Wednesday

What did you find in your mailbox?

The Week in Review: 09.15.2017

September 15, 2017
tags:

the-week-in-review

Between the Covers

Finished last week:

I decided to stretch myself and read outside my normal genres so I picked up THE BLINDS by Adam Sternbergh.  It’s a speculative mystery about a town populated with people who’ve had memories erased – because they’ve committed or witnessed a horrific crime.  The town’s been around for a while and things are going well until a murder is committed and some people from outside the town come to investigate.   I appreciated the writing and the storyline of this fast-paced book and am glad I read it but will readily admit it won’t make my list of favorites for the year.  That doesn’t mean it’s not good – I think readers who enjoy speculative fiction will love it – but it’s not a genre I gravitate to.  (Review copy provided by Ecco Books.)

A few years ago, I read, and loved, SUNNY SIDE UP by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm so I was really excited to pick up SWING IT, SUNNY.  Sunny returns in this graphic novel about family and friendship –  her parents have sent her brother Dale to military school to try to straighten him out and Sunny misses him something awful.  When she does get to see him, he’s full of anger, which confuses her.  I found this book to be entertaining but I didn’t think it held quite the same magic as the first book.  Having said that, I think it will strike a chord with some readers and l think the middle grade target audience will enjoy it quite a bit.  While it’s not necessary to read SUNNY SIDE UP first, readers will enjoy SWING IT, SUNNY more if they do.  (Review copy provided by Scholastic.)

TO BE WHERE YOU ARE by Jan Karon is the latest book in her Mitford series that revolves around the residents of the small North Carolina town of Mitford.  The focus has shifted from Father Tim and Cynthia to Dooley and Lace but it’s the same type of story fans of the series are used to – imperfect characters trying to lead the best life they know how.  In this book, Lace and Dooley are focusing on the adoption of their son, Jack, and trying to figure out how they’re going to pay for costly repairs to Dooley’s vet practice.  The story is sweet and has a Christian element to it and, as all the other Mitford books have, it made me feel good.  I thought it was light and entertaining and I always dream of living in a town like Mitford as I read these gentle books.  TO BE WHERE YOU ARE can stand alone but readers who’ve read the rest of the series will enjoy it more than others.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)

Currently reading:

On the Screen

I caught a little bit of the Auburn – Clemson football game but not much of anything else.

Off the blog

  • We had a quiet celebration for Carl’s birthday on Sunday.  He was happy with the new computer her received.
  • We got some weather from Irma, but nothing compared to Florida.  We had some wind and got 2.37 inches of rain.  Vance lost power but ours never even flickered.
  • I walked at least 3 miles every morning and averaged just over 18,250 Fitbit steps a day.

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