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The Week in Review: 06.16.2017

June 16, 2017


Between the Covers

Finished last week:

Jessica Abel explores the world of narrative nonfiction radio programs in her documentary comic OUT ON THE WIRE: THE STORYTELLING SECRETS OF THE NEW MASTERS OF RADIO.  The book evolved from a comic she created for a pledge drive for This American Life and features shows like it.  Abel covers topics like brainstorming, voice, story structure, and sound.  I don’t listen to the radio often but do enjoy shows like this so I found the book interesting.  It’s obviously well researched and the drawings are great but I’m not sure the book will hold wide appeal so I’d only recommend it to radio and podcast fans.  (I won this book from Read It Forward.)

ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE by Gail Honeyman is the story of a damaged young woman who uses structure and routine to maintain her equilibrium.  Eleanor’s social skills aren’t great so she stays to herself most of the time.  When she and Raymond, a co-worker of hers, help a man who fell and is unconscious, they become friends and Raymond helps her confront her past.  Even though I saw the ending coming, I thought this book was delightful!  The characters are quirky and there’s enough tension in the story to keep readers invested.  This book made me chuckle even while it made me think.  I loved Eleanor and Raymond and would love to read more of their story.  I talked about this book with someone else who’s read it and, we had so much to say, we decided it would make a great book club selection.   (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)

If you know any young readers who like creepy crawly things, you’ll want to grab a copy of BUGS! by James Buckley, Jr for them.  This is the third book in the Amazing Animal Facts series from Animal Planet Chapter Books and it is chock full of fun facts and fabulous photos.  I learned quite a few things as I read this 4th grade level book, such as insects walk by moving three legs at a time in what is known as a tripod gait and dragonflies haven’t changed much in over 300 million years.  The back of this great book includes resources, a list of insect orders, and an index.  I think budding young scientist, especially boys, will love this book!  (Review copy provided by Blue Slip Media.)

Currently reading:

On the Screen

Not much of anything.

Off the blog

  • I celebrated my 9th blogiversary this week – I started this blog on June 12, 2008 and never would have guessed the things I would learn, the places I would visit, or the friends I would make along the way.
  • Carl spent some time at his dad’s and came home sick so I worked more this week.

  • I started a new puzzle but didn’t have much time to work on it so I didn’t get very far.  Yes, it’s a Christmas puzzle – I found it marked down.
  • I walked at least three miles every morning and averaged just over 20, 150 Fitbit steps a day.


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

Wondrous Words Wednesday

June 14, 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 one more word in my advanced copy of KISS CARLO by Adriana Trigiani.

1. carabiniere – “The new road from the village down the mountain to the main highway was traveled with such frequency that Carlo ordered traffic signs made and requested that a carabiniere be assigned to deal with the traffic as it flowed into and out of the village.”

A carabiniere is a member of the Italian paramilitary police.


The next two words came from ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE by Gaily Honeyman

2. jerkin – “I pushed open the door, the chill of the aircon making me shudder, even though I was wearing my jerkin.”

A jerkin is a a close-fitting jacket or short coat, usually sleeveless, as one of leather worn in the 16th and 17th centuries.


3. rebarbative – “‘It’s financially rebarbative, too,’ I said.”

Rebarbative means unattractive and objectionable.


What words do you want to celebrate today?

BookExpo/NY 2017 Day 3

June 13, 2017

Julie (Booking Mama) and I got up early Thursday morning and grabbed a quick breakfast at Pret A Manger before heading over to the Javits Center.  I was so excited to see this poster outside the show floor:

Photo credit: Diane LaRue of BookChickDi

We knew we didn’t have much time on the show floor, so we stood in line to get in.  We walked around for a few hours talking to publicists, picking up books, and meeting authors who autographed books.   Some of the books I’m really excited about are:


  • SWING IT, SUNNY by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm (Scholastic, 9/12/17) is the follow up to SUNNY SIDE UP.  Sunny’s returned home and is starting middle school.
  • THE PEOPLE WE HATE AT THE WEDDING (Flatiron Books, 6/6/17) by Grant Ginder brings the wedding of Eloise, a member of an estranged family, to life.
  • THE EXACT NATURE OF OUR WRONGS by Janet Perry (St. Martin’s Press, 9/19/17) – Hattie Campbell invites her adult children to a birthday party for their father; when one of them falls asleep in his cake, the family must deal with his addiction.
  • SLIDER by Pete Hautman (Candlewick Press, 9/12/17) is the humorous story of David, who’s training to be a competitive eater.
  • LOVE AND OTHER CONSOLATION PRIZES by Jamie Ford (Ballantine Books, 9/12/17) is based on the true story of a child who was raffled off at the 1909 Seattle World’s Fair.
  • THE DEEP DARK DESCENDING by Allen Eskens (Seventh Street Books, 10/3/17) – Detective Max Rupert discovers that his wife’s death in a hit and run accident was not an accident after all so he decides to track down the killer.
  • THE DARK LAKE by Sarah Bailey (Grand Central Publishing, 10/3/17) – When an old high school classmate is found strangled, Detective Gemma Woodstock has many puzzles to unravel.

I had to ship my books so Julie and I could head to Marseille and lunch with B. A. Paris, the best selling author of BEHIND CLOSED DOORS!  The food and the restaurant were wonderful and Bernadette was charming, personable, and fascinating.  She was so easy to talk to and had as many questions for the bloggers in attendance as we did for her.  She said she got the idea for her upcoming book, THE BREAKDOWN, from something that happened to her.  She also told us she just finished her next book – it should be out in the US next year.

After our fabulous lunch, I had to head back to the Javits to grab my luggage and head to the airport for my trip home.  My trip wasn’t long enough but I enjoyed every minute of it and appreciate Julie for putting up with me.

Mailbox Monday

June 12, 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:



  • my box from Book Expo arrived:


What did you find in your mailbox?

The Week in Review: 06.09.2017

June 9, 2017


Between the Covers

Finished last week:

Adriana Trigiani has gone back to her roots with her latest book, KISS CARLO.  It’s the story of a large Italian American family that’s set in Philadelphia in the 1950s.  When brothers Dom and Mike have a falling out, they form rival cab companies and go their separate ways but they’re always aware of what the other is doing.  I admit to being somewhat biased when it comes to Trigiani’s books but I think this one may be her best one yet.  I was charmed and captivated by this well-crafted family saga of love, drama, and loyalty all tied together with a Shakespearean theme.  (It’s not necessary to know anything about Shakespeare to love this book.)  As I’ve come to expect from Trigiani’s work, the characters are fabulous, the setting is well researched, and the dialogue is top notch.  You don’t want to miss KISS CARLO! (Review copy provided by Harper Collins.)

SECRETS OF THE CIRCUS by Kate Klise is the adorable conclusion of the Three-Ring Rascals series.  Each book in this series stands alone but they’re so darn cute, early readers are going to want to read them all.  When the members of Sir Sidney’s Circus talk about their secrets, Gert reveals that she’s pen pals with Pablo the Pig who was coming to visit right at that moment.  In order to save his farm, Farmer Farley is going to have to sell him to Prinkle’s Pork Chops and Pablo doesn’t want that.  Other members of the circus are a little jealous of Pablo and Gert’s relationship and decide they want pen pals too.  Everyone tries to figure out a way to save Pablo and Farmer Farley’s farm.  M. Sarah Klise‘s adorable illustrations are a fine addition to this book that explores friendship and acceptance.  If you have young readers in your life, you can’t go wrong with this book. (I won this book from Algonquin Books.)


Currently reading:


On the Screen

After seeing the play on Broadway, I talked Carl into watching the movie version of Chicago with me.  For those not familiar with it, it’s the story of attractive women who are in jail for murder in 1920’s Chicago and the lawyer who represents them.  I enjoyed the movie and thought it was well cast and was true to the spirit of the play but much preferred the live performance.

Off the blog

  • I’ve been making an effort to give people sincere compliments when I notice something I like.  I hope it makes them feel as good as it makes me feel.

  • I finally finished the puzzle I started weeks ago.

  • Remember the stein I made with a few friends a couple months ago?  They were ready while I was at the beach and one of my friends picked them up for all of us.  She held an official “stein unveiling” this week and we tested them out.  I’m happy to report none of them leaked!
  • I played trivia with a few friends and we came in third.
  • I walked at least three miles every day and averaged over 16, 700 Fitbit steps a day.

How was your week?

BookExpo/NY 2017 Day 2

June 8, 2017

On our second day in New York, Julie (Booking Mama) and I took the train downtown so we could have breakfast with Miriam Parker, Associate Publisher at Ecco Books, at Augustine at the Beekman Hotel.  We had no trouble navigating the subway system but walked around in circles for a little while after we got off the train before we found the restaurant.  It was worth it, though – it was lovely with excellent service and we highly recommend the bacon!  Miriam’s book, THE SHORTEST WAY HOME, will be published by Dutton next year and we had lots of questions about it.  We also learned about these exciting new titles coming from Ecco:

After hearing Miriam talk about them, I want to read them all but must admit to being particularly excited about Amy Tan’s memoir, WHERE THE PAST BEGINS.

After breakfast, Julie and I walked through the Oculus to get to the 9/11 Memorial.  It was my first time there and I thought it was a beautifully moving tribute to the lives lost.

We rode the train back to midtown and bought tickets for a play before heading to the Javits Center to pick up our badges.  We got our badges and scoped things out a little bit before heading to the Editors’ Buzz Panel where we heard about:

  • UNRAVELING OLIVER by Liz Nugent (Scout Press, 8/22/17) According to Jackie Cantor, Senior Editor at Scout Press, Oliver is the ultimate con man and “readers will care about this deeply troubled protagonist.”  UNRAVELING OLIVER was number 1 on the Irish Times bestseller list.
  • STAY WITH ME by Ayobami Adebayo (Alfred A. Knopf, 8/22/17) Senior Editor Jennifer Jackson said this is a story of a woman whose fertility becomes the most important thing in her life.  It was published in the UK last month.
  • MY ABSOLUTE DARLING by Gabriel Tallent (Riverhead Books, 8/29/17) Sarah McGrath, Editor in Chief at Riverhead Books said this book is both literary and commercial with breakneck suspense and page turning qualities.  She said the protagonist, Turtle, “will be held in the hearts of readers for generations.”
  • THE WORLD OF TOMORROW by Brendan Mathews (Little Brown and Co, 9/5/17) Little Brown’s Senior Editor, Ben George, said this book takes place over the course of a week in 1939 New York City with the World’s Fair as the backdrop.
  • THE IMMORTALISTS by Chloe Benjamin (Putnam, 1/9/18) Vice President and Editorial Director Sally Kim said this is an adult sibling story set in 1969 that asks, “if you knew the day you will die, how will you live your life?”
  • THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW by A. J. Finn (William Morrow, 1/23/18) Jennifer Brehl, Senior Vice President, Executive Editor, and Director of Editorial Development said this book features an agoraphobic narrator who is separated from her husband and child.  She spends her day drinking, taking drugs, and watching neighbors through the window.  A screenplay of the book is currently being written.

Once the panel was over, chaos ensued as attendees scrambled to get books.  The people in the front were wedged in and started passing books back.  They were trying to be helpful, but it made things worse as people grabbed for the books.  The man behind me almost knocked me down.  Later, Julie and I saw him arranging his books – he’d gotten 4 copies of each one.  Hopefully, this event will be better organized next year.

After a quick refresh in our room, Julie and I headed to John’s Pizza for dinner.  It’s one of our traditions and has always been a favorite but, this year, our pizza was overcooked and burnt along the crust.

After dinner, it was time to see Waitress with Sara Bareilles (who wrote all the music) and it was fantastic!  The tickets were a little pricey but they were well worth it!  The play made me laugh and cry.  We called it a day after that and, thankfully, our new neighbors were quiet.

Wondrous Words Wednesday

June 7, 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’ve found one word in an advanced copy of KISS CARLO by Adriana Trigiani.

1. kyrie – “There would be no comfort in the Latin, the kyries, the prayers and the hymns.”

A kyrie is a short repeated invocation used in many Christian liturgies, especially at the beginning of the Eucharist or as a response in a litany.


What words do you want to celebrate today?