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Mailbox Monday

December 26, 2016


Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia and now hosted on its own blog.   The week flew by and ended with a wonderful, relaxing Christmas day spent with Vance and our nephew.  I hope everyone else had a holiday as terrific as ours.  I found these goodies in my mailbox last week:




What did you find in your mailbox?

Review: Frazzled

December 23, 2016


Abbie Wu is a middle child entering middle school and she worries about everything She says:

I worry more than anyone I know and maybe more than anyone in the HISTORY OF THE WORLD.  Now that I’m going into the Middles, how can I not?

She’s following in the footsteps of Peter, her practically perfect brother, and hopes no one will compare the two.  Choosing an elective makes her nervous and she worries about her social life.  Lunch isn’t as good as she thought it would be so she comes up with a plan to make things better.  It turns out to be wildly popular, until the principal gets wind of it.

FRAZZLED: EVERYDAY DISASTERS AND IMPENDING DOOM by Booki Vivat is an adorable graphic novel about a somewhat neurotic young girl.  Poor Abbie worries about everything so she dreads starting middle school.  Things don’t always go smoothly but Abbie has some good friends who help her through and she comes out stronger.

This book felt honest and true to me.  It has it all – an engaging and original story, great characters, and great illustrations.  I know a lot of kids Abbie’s age will be able to relate to her insecurities and anxieties and this book is sure to be a hit with them.   You’ll want to grab a copy of FRAZZLED for the middle grade readers in your life – especially those with a cautious personality.



Ikid konnection new 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 Harper Collins.   I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

Review: All the Ugly and Wonderful Things

December 22, 2016


Things aren’t easy for Wavy and her younger brother Donal – their father is a drug dealer who lives with someone else most of the time and their mother is mentally ill.  Wavy is damaged and fragile – she keeps her own counsel – and does all she can to take care of Donal.  When Kellen, an associate of Wavy’s father, is in a motorcycle accident outside her home, Wavy runs to help him and the two begin a relationship that will eventually become love.

When Wavy’s family falls apart, she’s sent to live with her aunt and her family.  The relationship Wavy thinks is so wonderful doesn’t look so good to her aunt who does everything she can to keep Wavy and Kellen apart.

It’s best not to know too much about ALL THE UGLY AND WONDERFUL THINGS by Bryn Greenwood before you read it.  It’s a sad story with sweet moments that I found very compelling.  It’s gritty and disturbing and probably all too realistic.  The story is told from multiple points of view, including Wavy’s, Kellen’s, Wavy’s cousin, and Wavy’s college roommate, giving readers a complete picture of Wavy’s situation.  Greenwood’s writing is so good, she convinces readers this relationship that feels so inappropriate might not be so bad.  I went back and forth as I read the book and wanted to talk about all that was going on so I think this book would make an outstanding book club selection.  I’m not sure that I loved the book but I’ve thought about it a lot since I read it and I think Wavy will stick with me for quite a while.  Pick this up when you’re in the mood for a thought provoking story.

The audio version of ALL THE UGLY AND WONDERFUL THINGS is narrated by Jorjeana Marie who has quickly become one of my favorites.  As I expected, she did a terrific job!

I am an Indiebound Affliate.

Wondrous Words Wednesday – The Holiday Edition

December 21, 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!

Today, I decided to explore some often used, but not always understood, holiday words.

1. Waissaling – “Here we come a’waissaling, among the leaves so green.”

Waissaling is the practice of going door-to-door singing and offering a drink from the waissal bowl in exchange for gifts.  Waissal is a kind of Christmas punch.


2. Shamash– “For the first night, we will need a shamash and one candle.”

The shamash is the extra candle on the menorah that is used to light the other eight candles.


3. Kinara– “A new candle is lit on the kinara each day.”

A kinara is a candleholder for seven candles used in celebrating Kwanzaa.


What words do you want to celebrate today?

Review: The Book of Speculation

December 20, 2016


Someone sends librarian Simon Watson an old book that turns out to be the journal of a traveling circus from the 1700s.  Simon is fascinated by the book, especially when he discovers old family member’s names in it.  When he starts to see a pattern of female members of his family drowning, he begins to worry about his sister who just happens to show up on a break from her job as a circus mermaid.

I read THE BOOK OF SPECULATION by Erika Swyler for my book club in November.  The point of view shifts back and forth from Simon in the present day and the journal in the past and, while I didn’t love either thread,  I did find the present day story more appealing.  I had some trouble following parts of the journal so the story dragged for me.  I thought Swyler’s writing was fine and I did enjoy some of the characters – particularly Simon’s sister and her boyfriend – but, overall, the book wasn’t for me.

My book club managed to have a pretty good discussion even though only one person enjoyed the book.  Several people gave up on it, but most felt the way I did.

Review copy provided by St. Martin’s Press.   I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

Mailbox Monday

December 19, 2016


Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia and now hosted on its own blog.   Another week has flown by.  I’ve been busy with the store and Christmas prep so have gotten very little reading done. I have done some listening, though – thank heavens for audio books!  I found these goodies in my mailbox:




What did you find in your mailbox last week?

Picture books for Christmas

December 16, 2016

If you have any little ones in your life, here are some great picture books to share with them this Christmas.

THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS illustrated by Britta Teckentrup

the-twelve-days-of-christmasBritta Teckentrup puts a unique twist on the classic Christmas carol in this cute picture book.  The last page in the book shows all the gifts “my true love gave to me” and all the previous pages feature a cut out revealing that day’s (and the previous days) gifts.  Kids will enjoy seeing what the cute little elves are up to on each page and can have fun counting all the gifts.  Even the cover of THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS is visually appealing with it’s glossy finish and foil details.  Families will enjoy pulling this book out year after year.



the-lost-giftFour little woodland animals see Santa drop a present as he flies by on Christmas Eve.  They hunt it down and notice the tag on the gift identifies it as a gift for the New Baby on the Farm.  They work together to deliver the gift to the baby who’s thrilled with her surprise.  When the animals return home, they find a surprise of their own.

What a special book THE LOST GIFT is! Each of the four animals has their own personality in this story about the Spirit of Christmas and doing the right thing.  None of the animals could have delivered the gift on their own but, by working together, they save the holiday for someone else and learn that giving of themselves makes them happy.  The story is wonderful and Stephanie Graegin‘s illustrations are adorable in this terrific picture book.  Be sure to check it out!


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 Penguin Random House.  I am an Indiebound Affliate.