Monday, February 28, 2011

Book Review: The Sky is Everywhere, by Jandy Nelson

The Sky is Everywhere is just a beautiful book. Jandy Nelson has an MFA in poetry, and it shows. The story is good, and the writing is great. I can’t remember ever reading a book that had me tearing up on page 20. I started tagging quotes that I might want to mention in this review, but I have so many tags, I guess you just need to read it or else I’d be copying the whole book!

Lennie has lost her 19-year-old sister, Bailey, to a fatal heart arrhythmia. Lennie lives with her Gram and her Uncle Big. Bailey and Lennie’s mom disappeared 17 years ago, when Lennie was only one year old. So, you can see, there’s a lot of loss, and this is a story of recovery – Lennie and her family must learn to go on living without Bailey. It is a very difficult and heartwarming road to recovery.

Joe Fontaine has just moved here, and never knew Bailey.  He’s instantly attracted to Lennie, but Lennie doesn’t feel right being happy in a relationship because she’s supposed to be miserable without her sister. Toby is Bailey’s boyfriend, and he seems to be the only one that can help Lennie through this dark, brooding, miserable period of her life.

So those are the main characters—each one complete and individual. They all are struggling in one way or another, and don’t seem to realize that they all need each other to get through this. Nelson tells this story as if she’s lived through it, with such compassion and understanding. One way Lennie has of working through her sadness is to write poems on scraps of paper and then leave them in random places around town. Each one of these poems is a work or art itself.

I’m not usually a “quoter” but I have to mention a few:

Lennie on why she can’t talk about what she’s going through: “I can’t. I need a new alphabet, one made of falling, of tectonic plates shifting, of the deep devouring dark.” (p. 12)

Lennie talking about Joe: “I’m impressed at how quickly he’s caught on that there is nothing to do but grab a wing when Gram’s aflight with fancy.” (p. 88)

“There are families all over the world staring at beds that are no longer slept in, shoes that are no longer worn. Families that no longer have to buy a particular cereal, a kind of shampoo. There are people everywhere standing in line at the movies, buying curtains, walking dogs, while inside, their hearts are ripping to shreds. For years. For their whole lives. I don’t believe that time heals. I don’t want it to. If I heal, doesn’t that mean I’ve accepted the world without her?” (p. 168) 

Wow! This book is full of these beautiful thoughts. I lost my brother 36 years ago, and that last quote really hit home. It changes you for your whole life. And I’ve also fallen head over heels in love (which also changes your whole life) and Nelson gets that right too.

Read this. It’s special. It’s lyrical. It’s romantic. Recommended to . . . everyone.

Published by Dial Books, 2010
Copy obtained from the Library
275 pages

Rating: 5/5

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

In My Mailbox - A Big Surprise from Simon & Schuster!

I think I got my first unsolicited ARC book this week. I have tried to figure out why I got this, but all I remember is seeing this on the Simon & Schuster website -- and thinking that it looked like a really good book. So, the only thing I can think, is that someone at S&S is telepathically connected to me!  So, thanks! (Now, I just wish they'd get my message about Wither...)

Blood Red Road, by Moira Young

From LibraryThing and Candlewick:

Eli the Good, by Silas House

Won ebook from Kathy at I am a Reader, Not a Writer:

Into the Shadows, by Karly Kirkpatrick

From the Library:

Virals, by Kathy Reichs

So, I'd call that a pretty good week? How about you? Make sure you go check out Kristi, at The Story Siren, because she's the one that hosts this party every week. Happy Reading!

Back to Annette's Book Spot Homepage Copyright © 2011 Annette's Book Spot. All Rights Reserved

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Book Review: The Limping Man, by Maurice Gee

The Limping Man is perhaps my favorite of The Salt Trilogy. This book was the most tense and exciting of the three, and I also really liked the main characters, Ben and Hana. I felt more connected to them, and more fearful for their safety, than any of the other characters.

Hana has escaped from Blood Burrow after her mother saved her life, and then killed herself to avoid being burned as a witch. The Burrows and the city have been taken over by The Limping Man. He has huge strength of mind, and no one who hears his voice can escape this little man who can barely walk. He has built himself a castle (more like a fort) and uses his mind to control all who can hear to do his bidding, and regularly rounds up women and the men who support them and kills them, amidst the cheers of his minions.

As she escapes, Hana meets the old Dweller, Danatok, who tells her that things are going to get much worse, because The Limping Man is building up armies, constructing ships, and plans to destroy all of the people who do not follow him. He intends to be the king of the entire world. Danatok sends Hana to take a message to Pearl, Hari, Tealeaf, and the rest of the family.

After Hana gives her message, she quickly disappears. Ben (Pearl and Hari’s grandson), Lo (who is Ben’s father, although he hasn’t seen him since he was a baby), Blossom, and Hubert travel to the city to try to stop The Limping Man. Along the way they meet (and rescue) Hana, who travels with them. Blossom and Hubert have the strongest ability to “speak” (communicating thoughts without speaking) of any of the people, but even they are afraid because The Limping Man is so powerful. They cannot “see” into the city, they describe The Limping Man’s mind as “slippery,” unlike any they have encountered before.

This book has a great build up, and a very nail-biting end. There are many details to the story (Hana’s ability to “speak” to the hawk, The Limping Man’s Mother, Lo and Ben becoming acquainted as father and son, and the development of Hana and Ben’s relationship) that make this a rich, complete story. It is more than just “We’re on a quest to save the world!” (Although that certainly is the theme.) I really think, to make this story complete, you should begin with Salt and Gool, the first two books in the series.  Although this is a separate, complete story, there are many references to past events that connect the reader to the characters.

I’ll recommend this entire series to teens and pre-teens. Each book is a quest, with distinctive supernatural beings and unique settings.  I think fantasy/adventure lovers will fall in love with this world and identify with these characters.

Published by Orca, March 1, 2011
ARC obtained from LibraryThing
195 pages


Back to Annette's Book Spot Homepage Copyright © 2011 Annette's Book Spot. All Rights Reserved

Friday, February 25, 2011

Happy Friday ! Let's Hop!

I'm really glad it's Friday (as usual) -- my life has gotten really hectic, so the weekend is welcome! Hope you all have a great one.

Follow Friday is hosted over at Parajunkee's View, so go over there and spend some time with some new blogs! This week's question is: 

Share your current fav television show! Tell us a bit about it...
I really enjoy comedy. My favorite show is Big Bang Theory, followed closely by Rules of Engagement and Mike & Mollie. Oh, and there's Modern Family, which I also think is hysterical!

I also enjoy participating in the Book Blogger Hop over at Crazy-For-Books, so make sure you visit some of those blogs too!

Do you ever wish you would have named your blog something different?
I actually did start out with a different name. I started as: The More You Read, The More You Will Know. But, that was a bit long, and my URL was "Annettes Book Spot." (I used that because I have another blog at "Annette's Hobby Spot.") I decided the blog name should be the same as the URL to avoid confusion, so a couple of months ago I changed it. Now I'm happy, for the most part.
Thanks for stopping by; hope you enjoyed yourself and will return often! 

Back to Annette's Book Spot Homepage Copyright © 2011 Annette's Book Spot. All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Book Review: The Girl Who Played With Fire, by Stieg Larsson

The Girl Who Played with Fire has a stunningly intricate plot. I loved this book. I’ve heard others say there are too many characters, it’s too slow, there are too many details….but I simply devoured this book.  I like a book (sometimes) that requires you to pay attention. This wasn’t a book that I could read during commercials. I don’t think I could have listened to this as an audio book either—I needed to flip backwards a few times.

This is Stieg Larsson’s second book about Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. This really isn’t a series—you can read this book without having read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but that story is mentioned several times in this book, and several of the characters reappear.

Salander has cut herself off from pretty much everyone. Blomkvist tried unsuccessfully for several months to get in touch with her before giving up. Salander, being the expert computer hacker, keeps tabs on him through his computer, as well as some other characters from the first novel. I like the way the reader doesn’t know what Salander’s motives are. We are figuring it all out right along with the characters in the novel. In this novel, Salander is accused of killing three people. Two of them are associated with Blomkvist because of an article he is publishing on sex trafficking, so he is once again tangled up with Salander.

As I said, the plot is complex, so I’m not going to explain much here. I didn’t have problems keeping track of the characters; they all played an important role, so I was able to follow them. I didn’t feel there were any unnecessary plot lines, with the exception of the beginning when Salander is in the Carribbean. But even that part was enjoyable. Larsson can write about anything and make it interesting. 

If you liked Dragon Tattoo, you should read this. If you like a complex, intelligent mystery-thriller, you should read this. I’m looking forward to The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, and visiting Salander and Blomkvist again.

Published by Knopf, 2009
Copy purchased for my Kindle
503 pages (qualifies for my 350 Page Book Challenge!)

Rating: 4.5/5

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Book Review: Gool, by Maurice Gee

Gool, the second book in the Salt Trilogy, is a very different story with a different tone than the first book, Salt. Where the first book was more of an intense survival story, Gool is more of an epic journey book. The pace of Gool was much slower and less intense until the last 30 pages of the book.

The characters are the same, and include the children of Pearl and Hari. Duro, the son of Tilly (who helped Hari and Pearl escape the city in Salt) is also a major character in this book.

As the children and Hari are exploring, Hari is attacked by some unknown being (Gool) who wraps a piece of itself around Hari’s throat and will not let go. Tealeaf tells of the legend of Barni, who destroyed a Gool by killing “the red star” and “the white star.” The children, Xantee and Lo, along with Duro decide to undertake a quest to find Tarl, Hari’s long-lost father who lives in the wilderness with his dogs, so he can help them understand this legend. They believe they need to return to the old Burrows, find the mother Gool, and kill her.

Most of the book is this journey and the adventures with creatures and beings who are dangerous and some that are helpful. The characters' ability to communicate without speaking, and sometimes over great distances, adds interest (and certainly gets them out of some jams!) Eventually the group reaches the old Borrows, the city, and the port. The ending provides some explanation as to the current state of affairs in this part of the world, and does involve an epic and somewhat violent battle, so that part is reminiscent of Salt.

I enjoyed Maurice Gee’s writing and the descriptions of the jungles, mountains, seas, and the people along the way. It was an easy book to read, and everything made sense. I like reading books in a series that are a complete story in themselves. Gool could really be read without reading Salt, but I think knowing the background of these characters adds much to the continuing story.  I’ll be looking forward to reading the third book, The Limping Man, because I want to know what else could possibly be in store for these characters.

Recommended to all teens who enjoy a good adventure or quest, with a great build up of tension at the end. This is a short book, so it would be highly recommended to more reluctant readers.

Published by Orca
Copy obtained from the library
215 pages

Rating: 3/5

Back to Annette's Book Spot Homepage Copyright © 2011 Annette's Book Spot. All Rights Reserved

Sunday, February 20, 2011

In My Mailbox - my first blog tour books!

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi, The Story Siren. Please make sure you go check out all of the wonderful blogs that participate. You will find LOTS of good stuff to add to your TBR!

From the library:

Gool, by Maurice Gee
The Mockingbirds, by Daisy Whitney

From Banned Book Tours (my first-ever book tour books! -- This is FUN!)

Wonderland, by Joanna Nadin
Memento Nora, by Angie Smibert


 Delirium, by Lauren Oliver
This one will go to the library, but my daughter is reading it first.

For FREE on my Kindle:

Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte
I saw this on so many "Favorite Romance" lists over Valentine's Day, that I decided I wanted to read it again. I don't think I've read this since high school (I won't tell you how long ago that was, but it was too long!)

I hope you had a great "Book Week!" Thanks for stopping by, and I hope to see you back here soon!

Back to Annette's Book Spot Homepage Copyright © 2011 Annette's Book Spot. All Rights Reserved


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