Monday, July 29, 2019

70. Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

listened on Audible
read by Brittany Pressley and Kirby Heybourne
Unabridged audio (10:16)
2017, Bloomsbury
391 pgs.
Contemporary YA Fiction
Finished 7/29/2019
Goodreads rating: 4.36 - 15,403 ratings
My rating: 5
Setting: Contemporary America

First line/s:   "I need to stop staring at this letter."

My comments: This was a pretty intense story about the relationship between two high school seniors who poured out their hearts to each other via anonymous letters and then emails.  Both had baggage.  Lots of baggage.  And very weird home lives, sad for one, debilitating for the other.  Their correspondence was better than therapy, and it was fun to watch as they discovered each others' real identity.  Definitely more intense than lighthearted, an interesting thought-provoking read.

Goodreads synopsis:  Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother's death, she leaves letters at her grave. It's the only way Juliet can cope.
          Declan Murphy isn't the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he's trying to escape the demons of his past.
          When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can't resist writing back. Soon, he's opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they're not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

Recipe - Baked Parmesan Chicken Tenders

Found this recipe, by "celebrity chef" Ayesha Curry, in People magazine while I was waiting for my car to be inspected at Midas today.

Ayesha Curry's Baked Parmesan Chicken Tenders

1 c. Panko
2 oz. grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1 T. Dijon mustard
1 1/2 t. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 t. kosher salt
1 t. black pepper
1/4 t. smoked paprika
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. onion powder
cooking spray
1 lb. (about 8) boneless skinless chicken tenders

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Stir together panko and parmesan.  In another dish, stir together mayo, mustard, parsley, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic and onion powders.

Insert a rack in a large rimmed baking sheet; spray with cooking spray.  Coat chicken tenders in mayo mixture; then gently roll in panko mixture, pressing to adhere.  Place coated tenders on rack.  Spray with cooking spray.

Bake for 15 minutes, until cooked through and golden.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Poetry PICTURE BOOK - Sweet Dreamers by Isabelle Simler

Translated by Sarah Ardizzone
Illustrated by the author
Published originally in France in 2017
America, 2019 by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
HC $19.00
72 (thick) pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.26 - 135 ratings
My rating:  5 - for the artwork alone, but the translated poems are great, too
Endpapers:  Moon over mountains and water, two different views
ARTWORK:  Digital!  Scratched picture.  Incredible.


My comments:Wow.  Just wow.

Goodreads:  A gorgeous bedtime book from an award-winning creator
          From the celebrated creator of Plume and The Blue Hour comes another enchanting animal book. Countless cozy animals are settling in for the night, but they all sleep in different ways. A bat dreams upside down, a hedgehog snuggles into a pile of leaves, and a humpback whale spins in its sleep like a ballerina.
          With its poetic language and lush illustrations, Sweet Dreamers will dazzle young readers as they drift off to sleep themselves.

    Slung like a hammock,
        the sloth dreams
  of spring-loaded sprinters,
      of rockets blasting off,
of pump-action spinning tops,.
  When the stopwatch starts,
          our dreaming racer
              doesn't move
                  an inch.

   The horse dreams standing up,
           in the middle of the herd.
       She never loses her footing,
    although her thoughts break free.

          Puffing up her feathers
              in a quilted hollow,
  the grouse dreams under the snow.
         She spends the night in secret
       beneath that great white sheet.

Poetry Picture Book - Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman

Illustrated by Rick Allen
2014 Houghton Mifflin Harcoart
HC $17.99
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.24 -  1179 ratings
My rating:  5
Endpapers: Solid purplish-gray

My comments:  There are twelve lovely poems in this collection, and each of them has a qualifying, informative explanation in prose (example follows).   Very nice for the winter-hater and poetry-lover in me!

Goodreads:  In this outstanding picture book collection of poems by Newbery Honor-winning poet, Joyce Sidman (Song of the Water Boatman,Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night)discover how animals stay alive in the wintertime and learn about their secret lives happening under the snow. Paired with stunning linoleum print illustrations by Rick Allen, that celebrate nature's beauty and power.

What Do the Trees Know?

What do the trees know?
          To bend when all the wild winds blow.
          Roots are deep and time is slow.
          All we grasp we must let go.
What do the trees know?
          Buds can weather ice and snow.
          Dark gives way to sunlight's glow.
          Strength and stillness help us grow.

"Trees, the giants of the plant world, survive winter in two very different ways.  Coniferous (evergreen) trees have thin, was-covered needles that tolerate freezing temperatures and remain on the tree all year round.  Deciduous (leafy) trees, on the other hand, sprout large, flat leaves every spring that are perfect for gathering sunlight to produce energy.  Deciduous trees grow like mad while the weather is warm, but in winter they essentially shut down.   They shed their luxuriant leaves, which would freeze anyway and suck much-needed water from the tree.  The tiny buds, which will hold next year's leaves, develop a tough, scaly coating to protect them all winter.  As the temperatures drop, the living tissue in the tree's trunk undergoes a process called hardening, in which cells lose water and become more resistant to freezing.  An early cold snap - before a tree has hardened - will damage its branches.  But after hardening, the tree will spend the winter months dry, cold, and protected - waiting for spring to swell those hardy buds."

Saturday, July 27, 2019

69. Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

listened on Audio, borrowed from CCLS
read by Phoebe Strole (beautifully!)
Unabridged audio (8:47)
2018 Listening Library, (Delacorte Press)
328 pgs.
YA Mystery/Fantasy
Finished 7/27/2019
Goodreads rating: 3.79 - 9103 ratings
My rating: 4.5
Setting: Contemporary Rhode Island

First line/s:  "I hadn't spoken to Whitley Lansing -- or any of them -- in over a year."

My comments:  Just when I thought it was getting a bit too repetitious (a huge part of the story, actually), Pessl would change it up.  So many surprises that I didn't see coming!  Superlative storytelling with an interesting cast of characters, none of whom are particularly likable....  Strong setting in Rhode Island, at a rich mansion and a snazzy private school, everything works together really well and leaves you with all sorts of delicious questions, questions that you have to come to terms with within yourself.  Really cool read!

Goodreads synopsis:  Once upon a time, back at Darrow-Harker School, Beatrice Hartley and her five best friends were the cool kids, the beautiful ones. Then the shocking death of Jim - their creative genius and Beatrice's boyfriend - changed everything.
          One year after graduation, Beatrice is returning to Wincroft - the seaside estate where they spent so many nights sharing secrets, crushes, plans to change the world - hoping she'll get to the bottom of the dark questions gnawing at her about Jim's death.
          But as the night plays out in a haze of stilted jokes and unfathomable silence, Beatrice senses she's never going to know what really happened. 
          Then a mysterious man knocks on the door. Blithely, he announces the impossible: time for them has become stuck, snagged on a splinter that can only be removed if the former friends make the harshest of decisions. 
          Now Beatrice has one last shot at answers... and at life.

Friday, July 26, 2019

68. Shamed by Linda Castillo

# 11 Kate Burkholder, Chief of Police in Painter's Mill (Amish Country), Ohio
listened on Audible
read by Kathleen McInerney
Unabridged audio (9:14)
2019 Minotaur Books
304 pgs.
Adult Mystery
Finished 7/26/2019
Goodreads rating: 4.36 - 1699 ratings
My rating: 3
Setting: Contemporary Amish Country, Ohio

First line/s: "No one went to the old Shattenbaum place anymore."

My comments: It took me about 30 pages to figure out what was going to happen.  So formulaic.  So disappointing.  I still keep reading them because I love the setting and Kate Burkholder, but there's nothing new, no character growth, she even keeps saying the same things, book after book....

Goodreads synopsis:  An Amish grandmother is murdered on an abandoned farm, her seven year old granddaughter abducted. Chief of Police Kate Burkholder plunges headlong into a case that quickly becomes a race against the clock. She knows the longer the girl is missing, the more likely a tragic outcome. The family of the missing girl is well thought of—a pillar of the Amish community. Their pain is palpable and they cooperate in every way, but Kate soon learns they’re keeping secrets...
          The investigation takes Kate to an isolated Old Order Amish settlement along the river in southern Ohio. At first, the community seems upstanding and helpful. But when Kate starts asking questions, they stonewall her—and the situation soon becomes dangerous. What are they hiding and why?
          After an attempt on her life, Kate unearths a haunting and tragic secret that changes everything she thought she knew about the family for whom she is fighting, the Amish community as a whole—and everything she thought she knew about herself. Will she reach the girl in time to save her life?

Monday, July 22, 2019

66. Don't Even Breathe by Keith Houghton

listened on Audible
read by Karen Peakes
Unabridged audio (8:29)
2019 Thomas & Mercer
304 pgs.
Adult mystery
Finished 7/22/2019
Goodreads rating: 3.99 - 1561 ratings
My rating: 3 (or less)
Setting: Contemporary Orlando, FL

First line/s: "Long before she'd agreed to go on a date with him, Tyler had known he would kill Lindy Munson."

My comments: An entertaining, quick read, but nothing new.  Contemporary Orlando, Florida was given a fairly decent portrayal.  The protagonist, Maggie, was an excellent cop....and she knew it.  She was keeping secrets from the reader, which was very apparent, and I hate that.  I think it's called an "unreliable narrator."  And from her bosses she kept a few secrets about how her past and her current case were related.  Unethical much?  Her relationship with her boyfriend was sketchy, though her relationship with her partner was pretty decent.  The story was supposed to be one twist and surprise after another, but there was enough foreshadowing that you could figure most everything out before they were revealed.

Goodreads synopsis:  From the bestselling author of Crash comes a riveting thriller rife with murder, misdirection, and ghosts from the past.
          Florida homicide detective Maggie Novak has seen hundreds of brutal murder cases, but when she is called out to investigate the charred remains of a young woman, in what appears to be a Halloween prank gone wrong, she is confronted with a twenty-year-old secret. The body is formally identified as that of school counselor Dana Cullen, but a distinguishing mark makes Maggie look again. She believes it is the body of her school friend Rita, who perished in a fire twenty years ago.
          Maggie’s hunt for the truth behind the murder takes her back to a cruel high school trick she’s desperate to forget. And when another body turns up, Maggie realizes she too may be the target of a sinister plot creeping toward its final act.
          Maggie needs emotional distance to do her job, but she’s so close to this case that she can’t even breathe. Will Maggie be able to uncover the truth of who wanted Rita dead? Or will her past mistakes catch up with her first?

Sunday, July 21, 2019

67. The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett

read on my iPhone (eBook)
2015, Feiwel & Friends
304 pgs.
YA Romance
Finished 7/21/2019
Goodreads rating:  3.93 - 13,480 ratings
My rating:5
Setting:  Contemporary San Francisco

First line/s:  "The last train wasn't coming."

My comments:  Ignore the reviews that put this book in the "so-so" category.  Those reviewers have read huge amount of ya literature and are probably quite a distance away from being young adults themselves.  This is a modern romance that includes a little bit of everything and treats teenage sex with healthy respect.  I've gotten to know San Francisco a bit in the last ten years, and it was really fun to follow Bex and Jack around the city.  Both are artists who come from very different families and income brackets, and both are suffering from a backload of family "stuff."  Who isn't, so almost any ya can relate!  The two themes that I truly appreciated in this book were those of honesty and schizophrenia.  Both were handled really well, though so were single parenting, being gay, and sexuality.  Really good book.

Goodreads synopsis: Beatrix Adams knows exactly how she’s spending the summer before her senior year. Determined to follow in Da Vinci’s footsteps, she’s ready to tackle the one thing that will give her an advantage in a museum-sponsored scholarship contest: drawing actual cadavers. But when she tries to sneak her way into the hospital’s Willed Body program and misses the last metro train home, she meets a boy who turns her summer plans upside down.
           Jack is charming, wildly attractive, and possibly one of San Francisco’s most notorious graffiti artists. On midnight buses and city rooftops, Beatrix begins to see who Jack really is—and tries to uncover what he’s hiding that leaves him so wounded. But will these secrets come back to haunt him? Or will the skeletons in her family’s closet tear them apart?

Saturday, July 20, 2019

65. The Simple Wild by K. A. Tucker

listened on Audible borrowed from CCLS
read by Rebekkah Ross
Unabridged audio (12:34)
2018 Atria Books
388 pgs.
Adult CRF
Finished  7/20/2019
Goodreads rating:  4.46 - 11,857 ratings
My rating: 4.5
Setting: Contemporary Bethel (Bangor), Alaska

First line/s: (from Chapter One, not the prologue)  "That calculator's not mine."

My comments:  The narrator, Rebekkah Ross, read this beautifully.  The setting, in the tundra near Bethel, Alaska (But called Banger) was as well done as the large handful of well-drawn characters.  I do appreciate a character driven story, which this was -- a contemporary, well-crafted sotry with just enough romance, full of humor and heartbreak.  I didn't think that I really cared very much about the protagonist at first, because i was judging the inner Calla by merely looking at the outer Calla, but that didn't last more than about a quarter of the book.  I guess you can say I ended up loving it, through the laughter and the tears.

Goodreads synopsis: Calla Fletcher wasn't even two when her mother took her and fled the Alaskan wild, unable to handle the isolation of the extreme, rural lifestyle, leaving behind Calla’s father, Wren Fletcher, in the process. Calla never looked back, and at twenty-six, a busy life in Toronto is all she knows. But when Calla learns that Wren’s days may be numbered, she knows that it’s time to make the long trip back to the remote frontier town where she was born.
          She braves the roaming wildlife, the odd daylight hours, the exorbitant prices, and even the occasional—dear God—outhouse, all for the chance to connect with her father: a man who, despite his many faults, she can’t help but care for. While she struggles to adjust to this rugged environment, Jonah—the unkempt, obnoxious, and proud Alaskan pilot who helps keep her father’s charter plane company operational—can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. And he’s clearly waiting with one hand on the throttle to fly this city girl back to where she belongs, convinced that she’s too pampered to handle the wild.
          Jonah is probably right, but Calla is determined to prove him wrong. Soon, she finds herself forming an unexpected bond with the burly pilot. As his undercurrent of disapproval dwindles, it’s replaced by friendship—or perhaps something deeper? But Calla is not in Alaska to stay and Jonah will never leave. It would be foolish of her to kindle a romance, to take the same path her parents tried—and failed at—years ago. It’s a simple truth that turns out to be not so simple after all.

Friday, July 19, 2019

64. Where Is Area 51? by Paula K. Manzanero

In the WHOHQ series for kids
read the book - Bosler - J. 358.417
2018 Penguin Random House
108 pgs.
Middle Grades Nonfiction
Finished 7/19/19
Goodreads rating:  4.04 - 100 ratings
My rating: 4

From the Back Cover:
--It's a Nevada air force base that keeps the public far, far away
--CIA agents do supersecret work there
--Some people believe aliens and their spaceships are stored there

First line/s: "On June 14, 1947, a ranch worker named William Brazel found a pile of strange items smack in the middle of an open field near Roswell, New Mexico."

My comments: Before these "Where Is" books came out, this series began with Who Is/Was.  I used these in my 4th grade classroom for a biography study, finding them to be much more interesting and readable than most other available biographies for middle schoolers.  I no longer teach 4th graders, but was completely caught up in Where Is Area 51?  It seems really well researched, and eye-opening ... I learned a lot!  I read this as an adult for enjoyment because I do NOT LIKE nonfiction, can't get through it, and this fascinating book kept my attention for all 108 pages!  Can't wait to read the next one.

Goodreads synopsis:  You'll find it on a map--but you'll never get anywhere near this top secret military base. What exactly is going on there? 
          Is Area 51 a top secret military base that lies in the middle of the barren Nevada desert? Or could it actually be a facility for examining aliens and their spaceships? People can't drive anywhere close to it; the US government rarely acknowledges its existence; and until recently, the airspace overhead was restricted! Conspiracy theories abound about what goes on at Area 51, especially since 1947 when strange objects were found in the middle of a field in Roswell, New Mexico. Author Paula K. Manzanero explains why Area 51 was established and reveals the mystery behind those unidentified flying objects in the sky. Check out this book and decide what you believe.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

63. The Line Tender by Kate Allen

listened to on Audible, borrowed from the libraryread BEAUTIFULLY by Jenna Larnia
Unabridged audio (7:20)
2019 Dutton
384 pgs.
Middle grade CRF
Finished 7/16/19
Goodreads rating:  4.29 - 541 ratings
My rating: 4.5
Setting: Not-quite-contemporary Rockport, Massachusetts

First line/s:  "The morning the great white came to Rockport, my best friend and I were sticking our fingers into the coin returns of every pay phone in town."

My comments:  This is my 2019 version of Bridge to Terabithia...at least that's how I feel during and after reading this.  I love the setting: Rockport, Massachusetts, which becomes almost like a character in the book.  I love the multi-generational  cast of characters, and the forays to Boston, the coast of Maine, and Cape Cod.  I don't know how Lucy handled everything that was thrown at her this summer before 8th grade, but she is one strong female character and I adore her.

Goodreads synopsis: The Line Tender is the story of Lucy, the daughter of a marine biologist and a rescue diver, and the summer that changes her life. If she ever wants to lift the cloud of grief over her family and community, she must complete the research her late mother began. She must follow the sharks.
           Wherever the sharks led, Lucy Everhart’s marine-biologist mother was sure to follow. In fact, she was on a boat far off the coast of Massachusetts, preparing to swim with a Great White, when she died suddenly. Lucy was eight. Since then Lucy and her father have done OK—thanks in large part to her best friend, Fred, and a few close friends and neighbors. But June of her twelfth summer brings more than the end of school and a heat wave to sleepy Rockport. On one steamy day, the tide brings a Great White—and then another tragedy, cutting short a friendship everyone insists was “meaningful” but no one can tell Lucy what it all meant. To survive the fresh wave of grief, Lucy must grab the line that connects her depressed father, a stubborn fisherman, and a curious old widower to her mother’s unfinished research. If Lucy can find a way to help this unlikely quartet follow the sharks her mother loved, she’ll finally be able to look beyond what she’s lost and toward what’s left to be discovered.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

PICTURE BOOK BIOGRAPHY - Papa is a Poet: A Story About Robert Frost by Natalie S. Bober

Illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon
2013 Henry Holt & Company
OP/ only available in Kindle
40 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.21 - 313 ratings
My rating:  4
Endpapers:  deep solid orange

My comments:  Text rich biography of Frost, perfect for middle elementary grades, especially as a read aloud to include with the study of some of Frost's poetry. The story, told by Frost's daughter as a child, give some wonderful insight into Robert Frost as a boy and father, not just as the older poet we see in photos.  The story is followed by two pages of Author's Notes, which give a little more information, as well as eleven of Frost's poems in their entirety:  The Road Not Taken, The Las Word of a Bluebird, Flower Gathering, The Pasture, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, A Hillside Thaw, Dust of Snow, Nothing Gold Can Stay, Birches, October, The Runaway, and Mending Wall.

Goodreads:  When Robert Frost was a child, his family thought he would grow up to be a baseball player. Instead, he became a poet. His life on a farm in New Hampshire inspired him to write “poetry that talked,” and today he is famous for his vivid descriptions of the rural life he loved so much. There was a time, though, when Frost had to struggle to get his poetry published. Told from the point of view of Lesley, Robert Frost’s oldest daughter, this is the story of how a lover of language found his voice.

Friday, July 12, 2019

62. 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne

read the book from the library
2019 William Morrow paperback
368 pgs. (349 in the actual story, plust later, a 10-page epilogue)
Adult romance (Sizzle factor:  (1.5/4)
Finished 7/12/19
Goodreads rating: 3.50 - 19,540 ratings
My rating:  3
Setting: contemporary anywhere (probably Australia, since the author is from there)

First line/s:  "Nobody taught me this when I first started as a bartender, but luckily I was a quick learner:  When a group of men are walking in, you should work out which one is the alpha."

My comments:  Meh.  I didn't read Thorne's first book, which got rave reviews.  I hope it made more sense than this one did.  The relationship between the two protagonists is ... stupid?  impossible to understand?  And Darcy's personality is all over the place.  Some parts I liked, and I read until the end because I wanted to see how the electricity between the two would finally zap. Then I wanted to see what would happen when Jamie finally appeared, and what would bring him running. Certainly nothing noteworthy.  But definitely fun in places, so not a total waste of time...

Goodreads synopsis: Crush: a strong and often short-lived infatuation, particularly for someone beyond your reach…
          Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him forever as his best friend. Despite Darcy’s best efforts, Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty—ever since, she’s had to learn to settle for good enough.
          When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom’s arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade.
          Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for grey and chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that's inspiring her to pick up her camera again. Soon sparks are flying—and it’s not the faulty wiring. It turns out one percent of Tom’s heart might not be enough for Darcy anymore. This time around, she’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

PICTURE BOOK BIOGRAPHY - Her Fearless Run by Kim Chaffee

Kathrine Switzer''s Historic Boston Marathon
Illustrated by Ellen Rooney
2019, Page Street Kids, Salem, MA
HC $17/99
40 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.57 - 130 ratings
My rating:  5
Endpapers:  Eggplant
1st line/s:   ""Pat, pat, pat.  The summer sun beat down on twelve-year-old Kathrine.  She held out her piece of chalk and marked the tree as she ran past again.  Two laps to go."

My comments:  Another picture book biography winner!  As a young woman in 1967, Kathrine Switzer was the first female to run the Boston Marathon. Not only is this an inspiring book for girls of today, but eye-opening for adults that it wasn't so long ago that women were being denied such basic opportunities.

Goodreads:  Kathrine Switzer changed the world of running. This narrative biography follows Kathrine from running laps as a girl in her backyard to becoming the first woman to run the Boston Marathon with official race numbers in 1967.

Poetry Picture Book - Clackety Track: Poems about Trains by Skila Brown

Illustrated by James Cristoph
2019 Candlewick Press
HC $16.99
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  3.98 - 44 ratings
My rating:  4
Endpapers:  freight train silhouettes, blue on blue



Steam Engine
Biggest beast you've ever seen
Gobbling up a coal cuisine.
One hundred tons of steel machine.
Belching out a steam smoke screen.

My comments: A book for train enthusiasts, this collections includes 13 poems and two pages of interesting train facts - all notated on a different freight car (clever)!  Gentle, easily accessible poems with a really great word thrown in here and there....delightful!

Goodreads:  Queue up for a whistle-stop tour of trains of all kinds, narrated in lively verse and featuring dynamic retro artwork.

Rows of grooves, cables, and bars.
Graffiti rockin' out the cars.
A badge of rust. A proud oil stain.
There's nothin' plain about a train.

Trains of all shapes and sizes are coming down the track -- bullet train, sleeper train, underground train, zoo train, and more. All aboard! Skila Brown's first-class poems, as varied as the trains themselves, reflect the excitement of train travel, while Jamey Christoph's vintage-style illustrations provide a wealth of authentic detail to pore over

PICTURE BOOK - We've Got the Whole World in Our Hands by Rafael Lopez

The words are from a traditional spiritual, pronouns changed
Illustrated by Rafeal Lopez
2018, Orchard Books, NY
HC $17.99
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.05  - 274 ratings
My rating:  5, the illustrations!!!
Endpapers: front:  white, daytime, rolling yarn
back:  black, nightime, rolling yarn continues on to the stars....
1st line/s:  "We've go the whole world in our hands"

My comments:  "Nay-sayers" don't even make me roll my eyes anymore, they just make me laugh.  How can you not love this book?  It's joyful, its message is beautiful - we're all connected and in many ways - no matter our ethnicity, our humanity, or our place in the world.  Its roots in the original spiritual are still there, so changing the pronouns includes everyone, doesn't omit a soul.  You can believe in god, any god; or you don't have to.  Rolled-out multi-colored yarn connects everyone and everything.   Just believe in the simple idea that we're all connected and depend upon each other.  The illustrations are just gorgeous.  What a wonderful book to look at, to share, and to SING!

Goodreads:  Award-winning illustrator Rafael L√≥pez brings new life with his adaptation of "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands," saluting the lives of all young people. The rhythmic verse and repetitive emphasis on "we" and "our" encourages inclusive communities and the celebration of unity and diverse friendships all around the world.
i"We've got you and you got me in our hands.
We have the whole world in our hands."/i
Come and read along and sing along as we celebrate the magic of unity. From the rivers to the mountains to the oceans and to the sea -- we've got the whole world in our hands. 
As an added bonus the sheet music is included in the back of the book for piano, guitar, and recorder for classroom, library, and home sing-alongs.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Movie - Yesterday

PG-13 (1:52)
Wide release 6/28/19
Viewed 7/9/19 with Ella at Gettysburg RC Theater - first time here.  Great theater!
IMBd: 7.0
RT Critic:  63  Audience:  89
Critic's Consensus:  Yesterday may fall short of fab, but the end result is still a sweetly charming fantasy with an intriguing -- albeit somewhat under-explored -- premise.
Cag:  5/Loved it
Directed by Danny Boyle
Universal Pictures

My comments:  This was a fun movie with excellent actors and great music.  The story of a young man who, after an earthquake, awakens to find no one in the world remembers the Beatles or any of their music --- except him.  Lots of other little surprises along the way.  Super fun!  One that I'd watch again.  The lead guy sings all the songs himself.  Impressive.
     Ed Sheeran was in it and played himself.  VERY fun.

RT/ IMDb Summary:  Jack Malik (Himesh Patel, BBC's Eastenders) is a struggling singer-songwriter in a tiny English seaside town whose dreams of fame are rapidly fading, despite the fierce devotion and support of his childhood best friend, Ellie (Lily James, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again). Then, after a freak bus accident during a mysterious global blackout, Jack wakes up to discover that The Beatles have never existed... and he finds himself with a very complicated problem, indeed.

Monday, July 8, 2019

RECIPE - Tuna Rice Casserole

One can cream of anything soup
Half can of milk
Can of tuna
1 c. frozen peas.
Cooked rice - enough for 4-6 servings
salt, pepper

Mix liquids with tuna and seasonings, put into a casserole dish.  Cover with the cup of frozen peas  Next, top with the rice.  Cover the top with crushed potato chips or cracker or bread crumbs.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

RECIPE - Chow Mein Tuna Bake

This sounds pretty easy and good:

6 oz. Chinese noodles
1 or 2 cans tuna, drained and flaked
1/4 cup water
One can cream soup
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 cup sliced celery
dash of pepper

Mix until all noodles are wet.  Place into a small casserole or loaf pan.
Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

Serve with a veggie (or add canned green beans directly to the casserole?)

Sunday, July 7, 2019

61. Knife Creek by Paul Doiron

#8 Mike Bowditch, Maine Game Warden
listened on Audible, borrowed from TPPL
read by Henry Leyva
Unabridged audio (9:45)
2017, Minotaur Books
352 pgs.
Adult murder mystery
Finished 7/7/2019
Goodreads rating:  4.20 - 1763 ratings
My rating:  5
Setting:  Int the woods near and around Fryburg and the Saco River in Maine, contemporary

First line/s:  "The pigs were coming.  I could hear the sows and the piglets squealing as they moved toward us in the underbrush."

My comments:  Every one of these Mike Bowditch mysteries are just as good as the last.  The very best part, for me, is to be out and about  in the state of Maine, looking at wildlife and nature through the eyes of someone who loves it.  Mike Bowditch is an incredibly likable, smart guy.  I do not understand his taste in women, though, and I am looking forward to the ending's possibilities to come.  As far as the plot goes, there are a lot of bad people in this one -- you just have to remember that there are loads more good people than  bad!

Goodreads synopsis:  When Maine game warden Mike Bowditch is tasked with shooting wild boars that are tearing up the forest and farms in his district, he makes a horrific discovery—the body of a baby buried in a shallow grave. Even more disturbing: DNA tests link the infant to a young woman who has been missing and presumed dead after she disappeared from a group rafting trip four years earlier.
          As he assists the reopened investigation, Bowditch begins to suspect that some of his neighbors aren’t who they seem to be. When violence strikes close to home, he realizes that his unknown enemies will stop at nothing to keep their terrible secrets. Mike Bowditch has bucked the odds his whole career, but this time the intrepid warden may have finally followed his hunches one step too far

Saturday, July 6, 2019

60. Ellie Dwyer's Great Escape by Diane Winger

read on my iPhone
2019 KDP
250 pgs.
Adult CRF
Finished 7/6/19 at camp
Goodreads rating:  4.19 - 175 ratings
My rating:  3
Setting:  Driving all around the US; lots of Colorado and Arizona, contemporary

First line/s:  "If bad luck really does come in threes, I've finally reached my quota."

My comments:  A 61-year-old woman, on her own for the first time in 40 years, tries to figure out what to do with the rest of her life after her husband has purposely "disappeared."  Becoming mobile - hitting the road - rediscovering herself - hiking and camping and trying to become more outgoing.  She also is a bit klutzy and her comedy of errors - one after another (reminding me of myself!) are really quite comical and fun.  The one totally unreal coincidence takes this down a point....

Goodreads synopsis: You're never too old to run away from home
          Ellie Dwyer, 61, is convinced bad luck comes in threes, and not just garden-variety, oh-well bad luck. How many people have to flee not one, but two natural disasters? And in between the wildfire and the hurricane, her husband of nearly forty years suddenly up and left her for no reason she could fathom, disappearing from her life without a clue to his whereabouts.
          Determined to reinvent her life, Ellie sets out on a journey across the country – her own “great escape.” Along the way to nowhere in particular, she buys a camper, becomes friends with a remarkable older woman, and starts to believe that good luck might also come in threes.
          Or does it? That depends on how she defines good luck.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

59. Fallen Mountains by Kimi Cunningham Grant

read on my iPhone
2019 Amberjack Publishing
256 pgs.
Adult mystery
Finished 7/3/2019
Goodreads rating:  4.13 - 240 ratings
My rating:3
Setting:  Flashing back between current times and a decade earlier in rural Pennsylvania

First line/s:  "The summer heat arrived in Fallen Mountains like a winged thing, swift and startling:  the pansies drooped, the lettuce bolted, the trees shook off their buds."

My comments:  I picked this up to read because it's set in contemporary Pennsylvania and I wanted to add some books set in my new home state to my repertoire.  It flips back-and-forth from "before" and "after," and it references 11 years ago, 17 years ago...and even before that, so that I never really knew what was taking place when.  It worked out okay though, still being pretty easy to follow, but in the end leaving a few unanswered questions in my head that I don't think I missed.  There was definitely vernacular that I've only heard in PA, and it made me laugh because it's one of my worst pet peeves - omitting the infinite "to be."  Her's an example from the book:  "when them cows needed milked, they needed milked."

Goodreads synopsis: “An intense and engaging portrait of characters driven by—and bound by—the secrets of their pasts . . . an absorbing mystery as well as a gracefully layered story of death and loss in a small town.” —Allen Eskens, USA Today bestselling author of The Life We Bury and The Shadows We Hide
          When Transom Shultz goes missing shortly after returning to his sleepy hometown of Fallen Mountains, Pennsylvania, his secrets are not the only ones that threaten to emerge. Red, the sheriff, is haunted by the possibility that a crime Transom was involved in seventeen years earlier—a crime Red secretly helped cover up—may somehow be linked to his disappearance. Possum, the victim of that crime, wants revenge. Laney will do anything to keep Transom quiet about the careless mistake they made that could jeopardize her budding relationship. And Chase, once a close friend, reels from Transom’s betrayal of buying his family’s farm under false pretenses and ruthlessly logging it and leasing the mineral rights to Marcellus shale frackers. As the search for Transom Shultz heats up and the inhabitants’ dark and tangled histories unfold, each one must decide whether to live under the brutal weight of the past or try to move beyond it.

Picture Book - When Lightning Comes in a Jar by Patricia Polacco

Illustrated by the author
2002 Philomel Books
40 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.34 - 6.25 ratings
My rating:  
Endpapers:  Deep pale orange

1st line/s:  "Today is my family reunion!  I can hardly wait."

My comments: A young Patricia Polacco recalls their annual family reunion that includes jello salads and meatloaves, baseball games and croquet matches, photo albums and picture taking, stories told by the elders, catching fireflies, and spending special time with cousins, aunts, and uncles.  Then we see how those same family traditions continue as an older Patricia Polacco becomes one of the elder storytellers.  Lovely story: as usual with tots of text.

Goodreads:  It's family reunion time! Trisha and her cousins can hardly wait to see one another again. They can't decide what they like best: the great feast (with zillions of meatloafs and gazillions of Jell-O salads), the softball game, the storytelling . . . the yearly rituals go on and on. But this year, Gramma has a new surprise in store: She promises to teach the grandchildren to catch lightning in a jar. Lightning in a jar! Trisha can't wait to find out what she means. It's a secret she will pass down to her own grandchildren one day, along with the family stories handed down with love through all the generations.

Monday, July 1, 2019

58. Recursion by Blake Crouch

read on Audible
read by Jon Lindstrom and Abby Craden
Unabridged audio (10:47)
2019 Random House
336 pgs.
Adult Fantasy/Sci Fi/Time Travel
Finished  7/1/2019
Goodreads rating:  4.28 - 10,195 ratings
My rating:   4.5
Setting: More-or-less contemporary NYC, Maine, Tucson, and various other places in the world....

First line/s:  "Barry Sutton pulls over into the fire lane at the main entrance of the Poe Building."

My comments:  Whew.  This was one helluva ride. 
What is memory?  How does memory and time and the brain work? Physics?  Biology?  Science fiction?  Blake Crouch has created a story that goes from point A to Point B by traveling through D and L and X and F - all over the place.  Time travel and science and two complex and interesting personalities come together over and over ... and over ... again..  Read it!

Goodreads synopsis: Memory makes reality.
          That’s what New York City cop Barry Sutton is learning as he investigates the devastating phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome—a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived.
          Neuroscientist Helena Smith already understands the power of memory. It’s why she’s dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious moments of our pasts. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent. 
          As Barry searches for the truth, he comes face-to-face with an opponent more terrifying than any disease—a force that attacks not just our minds but the very fabric of the past. And as its effects begin to unmake the world as we know it, only he and Helena, working together, will stand a chance at defeating it.
          But how can they make a stand when reality itself is shifting and crumbling all around them?