Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wondrous Words Wednesday


Wondrous Words Wednesday is the quintessential meme for logophiles and lexicologists.  It's also a lot of fun!  This week, I didn't list my words in alphabetical order because I wanted to feature a word from an actual book first. :)  I was determined to find a word from the book I'm currently reading, Blue Jeans and Coffee Beans by Joanne DeMaio.  I did find one, although many of you probably already know what it means.  I thought I did, too, but when I looked it up, I realized I was mistaken. 

1. insouciance: indifference; lack of care or concern; a lighthearted attitude

"Later we went to the beach, and I don't know; it just happened she'd continued, her breathing ragged, her face wet, her insouciance drowned out by a clear reality now."
~Blue Jeans and Coffee Beans, Joanne DeMaio

I thought it meant having a kind of saucy or impudent attitude.


The next word's from my lovely 365 New Words-a-Year calendar. :)



2. fanfaronade: empty boasting; bluster

Tired of all the fanfaronade at the frat house, Tyler decided to move back to the dorm.  

This word derives from fanfarrón, a Spanish word for a braggart or boaster, and may be related to the word 'fanfare' as well. 


My last word was featured yesterday as the word of the day on Dictionary.com.  (For those interested, I took a screen shot with my phone, then cropped it in iPhoto.)




3. zakuska: an hors d'oeuvre or appetizer; Russian tasting plate

Zakuski, courtesy of Wikipedia

The Russian Tea Room Cookbook includes a bounty of zakuska recipes.

Zakuska means "little bite" in Russian, and is often served before a meal at a party or special occasion, accompanied by champagne or vodka.  Examples of zakuska would be caviar with buttered bread, pickled herring, or marinated vegetables.  The plural form of the word is zakuski.


Each week Kathy from BermudaOnion's Weblog hosts Wondrous Words Wednesday.  What new words have you discovered recently?


Monday, February 25, 2013

Lost in Romance: Much Ado About Loving

I'm learning 'bout love, 
got the book by my side.   
I got the moon and the stars 
there to be my guide.    
~Brenda Lee, I'm Learning About Love

Please stop by my short review of Much Ado About Loving by Jack Murnighan and Maura Kelly at Lost in Fiction's special feature, Lost in Romance.

Thanks to Erin from Simon & Schuster for sending me a copy of Much Ado About Loving.  As always, your comments are appreciated.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Tim Rowland's Creature Features

Animal, vegetable, or mineral?  In this case, it's animal, animal, and animal.

Tim Rowland has written for magazines and news syndicates nationwide, and is an award-winning columnist at the Herald-Mail Media in Hagerstown, Maryland, a newspaper that serves cities in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Tim Rowland's Creature Features is a collection of over 75 of his animal essays dated from 2008 through 2012, originally published in the newspaper.  Dedicated to the very animals he writes about, these essays focus on a variety of animals, pets owned by Tim and his wife, Beth, and the many farm animals the couple add to their menagerie.  We meet numerous animals, many with ridiculously cute names, such as the belted cows Cleopatra and Heifertiti, goats Hillary and Horsefly, Chuckles the rooster, Juliet the Siamese cat, Beth's beloved bulldog, Hannah, Opie the Bouvier des Flandres, and other creatures including donkeys, pigs, horses, chickens, geese, and turkeys (who assault Clorox Bleach bottles).


Ha, ha, ha....

No, I'm not laughing at my own jokes, I'm thinking about the hilarious writing in this book.  I could just tell you this book is funny, that I laughed out loud countless times while reading Creature Features.  While I don't live in "The Show Me State" (Missouri, for those of you who are interested), showing you what I mean is probably a better idea, so I've chosen some examples to share with you.  I've only included a few "funny lines" (because I don't want to get in trouble), but these will give you a taste of the humor prevalent in these animal stories.  Without further ado, here are some "funny lines" from the book:

Essence of bovinity something to chew on
April 27, 2009 

"I happen to have two cows at the moment, Cleopatra and Heifertiti, whose genetic makeup would likely show that they evolved from the Marx Brothers."


Pants on the trees keep water in the trough
August 3, 2009

"Cappy did her best to wave it off, but the moment was clearly awkward.  When a horse feels embarrassed for you, something's seriously amiss."


Pigs have to be hogtied for photo session
May 4, 2011

"I don't know how many marriages break up over swine photography, but if a couple can make it through a session of pig picture-taking, as required by national registries, they are on solid footing indeed."


What do you think?  These are darn funny, if you ask me. They cracked me up.  The humor starts with the names of the stories (previously columns), and continues throughout them.  Like Tim and Beth, I like animals a great deal, but their antics can be quite funny, especially when recounted by a talented storyteller.  In one of the stories, Tim mentions a word he heard used by a judge to describe a dairy goat at an agricultural fair, 'overconditioned', a euphemism for the word 'fat'.  This story immediately brought to mind a photo I took of a cow in jeans by artist Jean Wells Hamerslag, from my cow blog (yes, I have a cow blog), La Vache Intéressante, to which I added a caption.


Do these pants make me look overconditioned?

Because of Tim's dog, Opie, I became interested in the dog breed Bouvier des Flandres.  I found this adorable picture and a good description on--where else?--Wikipedia.  Ronald Reagan's dog, Lucky, was a Bouvier des Flandres. And although Tim says that Opie is a bit too happy and spirited, this breed sounds wonderful to me; they are described as gentle yet protective dogs on Wikipedia.


Bouvier des Flandres, courtesy of Wikipedia

As mentioned before, I like animals, but I worried that it might get monotonous to read story after story about them.  To my amazement, though, I didn't get tired of reading all of these stories about them, because the various animals came to life, and their personalities and antics kept me entertained.  I read one story after the next over the course of a couple of days, and was sorry when the book ended.  In case you couldn't tell (or just skipped to this part of my review), I enjoyed Tim Rowland's Creature Features very much.  Infused with humor, it's a pleasure to read about the animals at the "Little Farm by the Creek".  I'd like to also read Tim Rowland's earlier book, All Pets are Off, as well as his newspaper columns.



Thanks to Teddy from Premier Virtual Authors Book Tours for sending me a complimentary copy of Tim Rowland's Creature Features.  For other reviews of this book, and a few giveaways for it, please visit the other stops on this book tour.

Your comments are welcomed.

Update, March 12:  All Pets are Off is now available for the Kindle. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Really Random Tuesday #60: Fleeting Memory Winner and Amaryllis Revisited

Seems I am a rhyming fool today!  

This Really Random Tuesday post is short and sweet.  Please help me congratulate petite.

Petite has won my giveaway for a mystery caper book, Fleeting Memory, the first book in the Enescu Fleet series by Sherban Young. Congratulations, petite!  My other readers might be interested in the assortment of book giveaways listed on the right side of my blog.



********************

Many Tuesdays ago, I posted a picture of an amaryllis that wasn't really an amaryllis.  It was a hippeastrum, apparently, according to my favorite online encyclopedia, Wikipedia.  Now here's a photo of my new "amaryllis" plant in bloom.  I'm not certain that this is an actual amaryllis either, even though it was labelled as an amaryllis in the floral department of Major Market (a very nice supermarket in town).  Amaryllis is amaryllis is amaryllis--or maybe not. 



********************



Appearing on random Tuesdays, Really Random Tuesday is a way to post odds and ends--announcements, musings, quotes, photos--any blogging and book-related things you can think of.  I often announce my book giveaway winners in these posts.  If you have miscellaneous book news to gather up and are inspired by this idea, "grab" the button for use on your own blog, and add your link to the "master" Mister Linky on the Really Random Tuesday page

As always, your comments are appreciated. :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wondrous Words Wednesday: 4, 5, 6

Today's words are brought to you by--you guessed it--my trusty 365 New Words-a-Year calendar. Usually I list my words in alphabetical order, but today they're in numerical order.


1. malinger: to pretend or exaggerate sickness or injury, in order to avoid duty or work

Whenever there was work to be done, Sally's tendency to malinger became more pronounced, much to our dismay.

This is an excellent word that describes the action of someone who feigns or exaggerates illness when work needs to be done. The verb "malinger" comes from the French word malingre, which means sickly.  In the 19th century, malinger often referred to a soldier or sailor who pretended to be sick or insane to shirk duty.  This word was later adopted by psychologists as a clinical term to describe the feigning of illness to avoid work, or for personal gain.  Today, malinger is used in just about any context in which sickness or injury is feigned in order to avoid some sort of work.


Waterloo CD, courtesy of Wikipedia
2. waterloo: a final defeat; setback

The Republican candidate feared that his lack of support from labor unions would turn out to be his waterloo.

As I encountered this word, I heard the hit song Waterloo by the Swedish pop band, ABBA, in my head.  I also thought of the Battle of Waterloo, which is the source of this word as meaning final defeat.  The Battle of Waterloo occurred on June 18, 1815, ending Napoleon's military career, as well as 23 years of recurrent conflict between France and the rest of Europe.


3. swivet: a state of extreme agitation

Before the show, the actor was in quite a swivet, but once the play started, he turned his nervous energy into a brilliant performance.

This word appeared in print by the 1890s, in a collection of "Peculiar Words and Usages" of Kentucky published by the American Dialect Society.  Although its origin is not known, the use of the word spread, and by the 1950s "swivet" appeared regularly in magazines such as Time and The New Yorker.  


Hosted by Kathy from BermudaOnion's Weblog, Wondrous Words Wednesday is a wonderful meme for those who enjoy delving into the world of words.  What new words have you discovered recently as a result of your reading, or from your own word-a-day calendar?


Monday, February 4, 2013

Mailbox Monday, Etc.

Nothing beats getting packages in the mail! The sight of boxes and padded envelopes in my mailbox or at my doorstep always makes me smile.  Pictured are the new books that were recently delivered to my "mailbox".


Tim Rowland's Creature Features arrived for an upcoming book tour with Premier Virtual Authors Book ToursThe Gunners of Shenyang by Jihui Yu traveled all the way from Signal 8 Press in Hong Kong to my home.  I also received Blue Jeans and Coffee Beans, the new book by Joanne DeMaio, for an upcoming book tour, as well as The Paradise Guest House by Ellen Sussman, for a TLC book tour.  I'm looking forward to reading each of these, and to participating in the book tours over the next few months.

With Valentine's Day is just around the corner, why not treat someone special--maybe yourself--to a wonderful gift from GoneReading?  My readers will now get 20% off any purchases made from GoneReading; simply use the coupon code SUKOS20 during checkout.  GoneReading has some glorious gifts "just for her".  And GoneReading donates 100% of after-tax profits to fund libraries and reading programs around the world--another great reason to shop at GoneReadingI may need to buy myself a little something.  I especially love their cute T-shirts (wearing them grants you extra "permission" to read),  pretty book journals, and lovely note cards featuring paintings of women reading.





Mailbox Monday is a fabulous way to showcase new books and reading-related items.  Created by Marcia, who has set up various book blogs as well as a Mailbox Monday blog, this meme has been "on tour" for the past few years. Audra from Unabridged Chick is hosting Mailbox Monday for the month of February. What new goodies did you find in your mailbox recently?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Fleeting Memory: Review and Giveaway

My mother was an avid reader of mysteries, and I'd often wish I could emulate her in this regard.  I think she would have written an incredible mystery novel herself, had she ever attempted to write one.  (If there's a community of mystery writers in the great beyond, my mom may be at a book signing table right now.)  Although I long to be more acquainted with the work of Agatha Christie and other mystery writers, I must admit that I've not read many mysteries myself, although I loved the Encyclopedia Brown series as a child, and adore The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, more recently.  After encountering the term 'cozy mystery' on many book blogs, I became interested in this genre.  I envisioned myself reading them, "cozily" wrapped in my Snuggie on a cool evening, hot mug of tea at my side (a bit cliché, perhaps, but still a pleasant image for me).  For those of you who aren't familiar with the term, cozy mysteries or "cozies", according to one of my favorite online "dictionaries", Wikipedia, are a sub-genre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are downplayed or treated in a humorous way.

 ******************* 

Talk about an identity crisis!  Published in 2011, Fleeting Memory, the first book in the Enescu Fleet series by Sherban Young, is the story of a young man who loses his memory.  I've just finished reading this book, which is a cozy mystery or a "mystery caper".  The protagonist in this story has a major problem.  He doesn't know who he is, or even remember what his name is.  All he knows is that he has a penchant for mysterious blondes, and that he thinks he's seen a dead body at the rustic cabin where he's staying.  He's not sure what's going on, but he keeps hoping to run into the blond girl with the stirring green eyes again, who also appears to be lost in the woods (literally).  Luckily, the young man encounters a helpful older man with twinkling blue eyes, Enescu Fleet, who just happens to be a retired detective.

The definition of cozy mystery fits this book perfectly.  Although fighting and dead bodies appear in Fleeting Memory, the book is filled with much humor and is quite clever, and I relished the antics and the author's witty words.

"Careful not to add my fingerprints to the evidence--I wasn't a complete moron--I poked the glasses into place with my trusty pen and slid the scarf down.  His face was mustached, ruddy in complexion and quite rough, like burgundy sandpaper.  I liked mine better.  I didn't recognize him (no shocker there) and for a minute I sat back on my heels, wondering who could have killed him and why.  He seemed like a decent type, for a corpse."
~Fleeting Memory, Sherban Young

Toward the end of Fleeting Memory, the word 'eponymous' is used, which seems to be a good adjective to keep in mind while reading this book.  Names and identity are important in this story, starting with the title, Fleeting Memory, which refers to both the main character's actual memory loss and to the name of the detective, Enescu Fleet.  I won't reveal more here, but there are numerous "little name things" and clues to note, scattered throughout the book.  For as long as I can remember (pun intended), I've been a "name person"; I notice names, so this aspect of the book resonated with me.

Instead of reading this book inside, wearing my silly Snuggie, I read much of the book outside, soaking up a bit of winter sun (don't hate me because I live in Southern California).  It was quite enjoyable to pass the time in this way.  Like the main character in the story, at times I didn't really know what was going on, or what was going to happen next, and there are numerous twists and turns which made the book even more amusing.  I loved the main characters in this mystery and want to spend more time with them--especially now that I know their names and identities. The next book in the series is Fleeting Glance, which I look forward to reading.  Hopefully, as is always the case when I do read mysteries, I'll hone my own detective skills a bit in the process.

Special thanks to author Sherban Young, who sent me complimentary copies of Fleeting Memory and Fleeting Glance--and many matching bookmarks.  He also gave me an extra copy of Fleeting Memory, to give away to one lucky reader (U.S./Canada only).
  
  • To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment.
  • For another chance at winning, become a follower of this blog, or let me know that you're already a follower.
  • For an additional chance, post about this giveaway on your blog, Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter.
  • For one extra chance, name a cozy mystery you've enjoyed reading.

Enter by 5 PM PST on Monday, February 11.  One winner will be selected randomly and announced on Tuesday, February 12.  Good luck!

BLOG ARCHIVE










Some of the books reviewed here have been provided
to me free of charge by authors, publishers, and agents,
in exchange for my honest reviews.