Archive from December, 2017
Dec 29, 2017 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Fun With More

Fun With More

I wasn’t actually planning on reviewing Jordan Stratford’s The Case of the Missing Moonstone; I checked it out for my mystery-loving oldest and just wanted to skim through it on the treadmill for kicks.  (How could you not be curious about the first book in a series called “The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency”?!)  It drew me in so immediately, however, that it definitely turned into far more of a read than a skim.  Ada is a hoot (oh, the Peebs cannon!), and yet her portrayal as definitely ‘spectrum-y’ gives the entire story an interesting depth.  The entire cast of characters is a hoot, really, and the style is fabulous.  If you like mysteries, the tv show “Numbers”, 19th century British settings, or literary jokes, this is a series for you.  (And maybe if you like reading about the early, early years of modern science.  I’d heard of all of the literary characters–I did major in English, after all–but not Ada, while my hubby, the information systems major, knew exactly who she was.)

Briefly, the series imagines Ada Byron, Mary Godwin, and Percy Bysshe Shelley as far closer in age than they actually were; the girls form a clandestine detective agency (their word, mind you), and Percy gets drawn into the adventure.  I’d hate to tell you much more, because you really deserve the joy of discovering it for  yourself.  In the meantime, I’ll just say that while messing with history is not usually my thing, Jordan Stratford rocked it–and I can’t wait for my oldest to read it so that I can check the next one out for both of us.

Dec 27, 2017 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on He’s Back, And He’s Better Than Ever

He’s Back, And He’s Better Than Ever

Okay, that was a totally cheesy title, but I’ve been waiting for months for Nathan Hale’s newest hazardous tale, and I’m really terribly glad that it lived up to my expectations.  (And then some, actually.)  Raid of No Return is about the Doolittle raid, about which I knew next to nothing; indeed, when I first heard the topic, I spent a few months thinking it was about the atomic bomb and the Enola Gay before realizing that it was something else entirely.  Once I got THAT straight in my head, I vaguely recalled something–a book?  a movie?–called “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo” (only I thought it was sixty seconds.  Whoops.).  Beyond that, I had nothing.

Thankfully, Nathan Hale rectified that situation.  I now know what (precisely) the Doolittle raid was, what was involved in training for it, and what happened to the men involved, and I have to say–it’s all fascinating.  It’s also well told with Hale’s trademark mix of humor and research, making for a worthy seventh installment to a series that I hope continues indefinitely.  History buffs, grab this one and prepare to enjoy!

Dec 25, 2017 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on What I’m Grateful For

What I’m Grateful For

My children.  There were a few bumps today, but they did amazingly well for having been up past bedtime on Christmas Eve.

My husband.  Because when good dads get duct tape ties from their 11-year-olds on Christmas Eve, they wear them to church.

My niece and nephew.  They spent Christmas Eve and morning with us, despite my incredible hostessing skills that included moments like “um, your clean sheets are in the dryer…”

My family.  Because I love them, even though I didn’t see them today.

My in-laws.  Because I love them, and I love being with them, and the magnitude of that blessing overwhelms me.

Friends.  Because I have some amazing ones.

Snow.  Because who doesn’t love a white Christmas?

The birth of Christ.  Because He lives and loves me–and He makes it possible for me to repent and try again–and again.  (And again.)

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Dec 23, 2017 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Sort Of Christmas Eve

Sort Of Christmas Eve

Okay, maybe not for everyone, but for me?  I don’t shop or get gas on Sundays (barring an emergency), so I had to make sure I was ready today (assuming I am), and this year that’s been a struggle!  That being the case, you get a short review of a short book, because hey, it’s sort of Christmas Eve, in a ‘Christmas Eve is two days long’ this year kind of a way.

I picked up The Journey That Saved Curious George:  The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H. A. Rey because Louise Borden writes excellent historical fiction and non-fiction, often about WWII–AND because hey, Curious George.  (We’re big George fans at our house.)  I was also thrilled at the prospect of my third grader being able to use it for her general non-fiction genre report, which is now done (Hallelujah!).  All that aside, however, it’s just plain interesting.  Although essentially an easy chapter book, there’s an impressive amount of information in this one.  Who knew that H.A. and Margret Rey were German Jews turned Brazilian citizens living in Paris when Germany invaded France?  I’m sure plenty of people did, but I didn’t.  Borden writes simply enough that my 8-year-old wasn’t bothered by the language, and Allan Drummond’s illustrations only add to the appeal.  If you are George fans, or non-fiction fans, or simply like an interesting-and-true-story, try this one.

And now, on to Christmas!

Dec 21, 2017 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on I Just Can’t Help Myself

I Just Can’t Help Myself

Okay, folks.  I was totally going to review a book tonight, but between laundry and cookie dough making and a little extra off-the-treadmill reading, I find myself unable to form enough coherent thoughts to make that work.  Instead, I’ll just pass on to you this year’s winner for the holiday-recipe-I-can’t-stop-eating.

Three words, people.  Potato Chip Fudge.

You may now return to your regularly scheduled holiday doings.

Dec 19, 2017 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on For Poetry Lovers

For Poetry Lovers

My friend Britt (at Confessions of a Book Habitue) passed Pamela Laskin’s Ronit & Jamil along to me when she finished it, and it’s been kicking around my room ever since.  Neither one of us cherishes “Romeo and Juliet” as a favorite play, but a retelling set in Israel/Palestine?  You’ve got to admit–it’s inspired.  I can’t honestly think of a better setting to make the story seem relevant today (although to be fair, I’ve had a few too many late nights, so there’s quite a lot that I can’t think of at any given time this month!).  The voices of the two teens are intentionally very similar, which requires a decently close reading but possibly makes for even more depth to the concept.  There’s a lot of physical longing–okay, maybe lusting–in the first half, but I do actually remember being a teenager.  (It’s certainly not inaccurate.)  The ending is perhaps abrupt, but again, I can’t think of a better way to marry her vision for the story with Shakespeare’s.

My biggest issue with Laskin’s retelling is really a personal preference; I’d rather my verse novels tip the scale on the novel side of things, and Laskin strikes me as a poet first.  She uses some specific forms of poetry that I learned about at one point but can’t remember the names of–college was a long time ago,  you know?–and pays specific homage to middle eastern poetry, which is as it should be.  Ultimately, for a poetic verse novel retelling of R&J, this is probably excellent.  For me as a reader, the premise rocked, the execution was less my thing, but the author’s note at the end made me happy.

You’ll have to tell me what you think.

Ronit & Jamil

New From: $4.29 USD In Stock

Dec 17, 2017 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on A Lateral Choice

A Lateral Choice

I would never have checked Friendship Over (The Top-Secret Diary of Celie Valentine, #1) out of the library if I hadn’t enjoyed Julie Sternberg’s “Eleanor” series so much.  (That would be the series that starts with Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie, in case you’re wondering.)  Her writing is simple and succinct and packed with feeling; it’s also laugh-out-loud funny when it wants to be.  When I saw she had another series, I thought–why not?

I wasn’t disappointed.  Friendship Over deals with real issues that kids face, and it does it without being saccharine or cliched.  What’s not to love?  If you’ve got a mid-elementary school girl who likes contemporary fiction, and you prefer her to read books with some actual substance rather than drivel, this series ought to be a good compromise.  (I actually ordered this one for my 8-year-old for Christmas.)  It’s a shorter, easier read, but it’s a thought-provoking one.  Let me know what YOU think!

Dec 15, 2017 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Foolish of Me…

Foolish of Me…

…to think that I’d actually have the time or brain power to review the book I finished yesterday.  No, between dishes and exercising and making treats for the girls’ piano recital and shopping online for Christmas stuff, I’m poopered and it’s late.  On the other hand, my hubby and I did get to see “Star Wars:  The Last Jedi” today, so here’s my review of that.

Go see it.

Seriously, it was good.  It kept me guessing, too, and I didn’t see the ending coming.  I did spend the last third of it wondering when it was going to end–it’s a fairly long movie–but not because I wasn’t enjoying it; I just kept wanting to know which cliff we were going to be left hanging off of.  Possibly that happens with any middle movie of a trilogy?  (At least, if it’s not based on a book you’ve already read.  I wanted to throw Peter Jackson off of a cliff for a good two-thirds of “The Two Towers,” but that’s something else entirely.)

Yeah, just go see it.  I’m too tired to try and say more without risking spoilers, so I’m off to bed!

Dec 13, 2017 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Update #3

Update #3

Okay.  The cards are maybe half done, and more things have been ordered.  Piano recital Saturday, followed by a family Christmas party.  And I have ideas for more people.  That’s something, right?

How are YOU guys doing with your Christmas prep?

Dec 9, 2017 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Christmas Update, Part II

Christmas Update, Part II

All Christmas letters are printed AND signed.  Cards have been acquired, and the list has been found.  The dance recital is successfully concluded.

Someday I shall return to actual blog posts…