Sunday, July 31, 2011

IMM - Some Good Stuff!

As we begin another week, lets take a look at what we've added to our TBRs! Thanks to Kristi, the Story Siren, for hosting. Here's my stuff.

For Review:

Blood Wounds, by Susan Beth Pfeffer, from Banned Book Tours.


  The FitzOsbornes in Exile, by Michelle Cooper, from Random Buzzers.

From the Library:
 Other Words for Love, by Lorraine Zago Resenthal

Devil's Kiss, by Sarwat Chadda

I'm pretty happy with my "haul" this week -- not to much, but enough to keep it interesting. So, how was your week? I'd love to hear about it. Thanks for stopping by, and please come back soon. Have a great week!

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

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Book Review: These Things Hidden, by Heather Gudenkauf

I requested These Things Hidden from NetGalley a long while back. I was approved, but before I could download the book, the Kindle button disappeared, and by the time I could actually get the book onto my Kindle, it had already been released. So, I never got around to reading it. I saw a review for another book by Gudenkauf on a blog last week, and it reminded me of this book. I’m really glad I finally took the time to read it – I enjoyed it very much.

Allison is being released from prison after serving five years for throwing her newborn baby girl into the river. She is now 21 years old, and must begin her life all over. She is sent to a halfway house in her home town of Linden Falls, Iowa. The actual circumstances of the night Allison gave birth are gradually revealed throughout the book, and not until the very end do we know the whole story. I’m fairly sure you won’t figure it out – at least not all of it – until it is revealed.

The book is narrated from several POVs, including Allison, but also including her sister, Brynn, who helped Allison that fateful night, and suffered so much emotional turmoil that she now lives with her grandmother and won’t talk to Allison at all. Allison’s mother and father have pretty much written off both of their children, and don’t have anything to do with either of them anymore. Claire is another narrator, who owns a bookstore and hires Allison. Charm, the final narrator is a nursing student who lives with her stepdad, Gus, after her mother left him for yet another guy. Gus treats Charm like his own child, but he is dying from lung cancer. Charm likes to visit the bookstore and especially Joshua, Clare’s adopted son, who is five years old.

Joshua is really what brings the four narrators together, but I don’t want to give away any more details. They all face a lot of turmoil because of a horrible situation, and I think you will enjoy how Gudenkauf expertly unwinds the entire chain of events just as we need to know it.

I don’t believe this is marketed as YA, but it is certainly appropriate for teens, especially those that enjoyed Amy Efaw’s After. It’s not an easy book to put down and will appeal to mystery/thriller readers of all ages.

Published by Mira, January 18, 2011
Ebook provided for review by NetGalley
352 pages (qualifies for my 350 Page Book Challenge!)

Rating: 4/5

I just have to add a personal note. In this book, Charm talks about Gus making kolache, a Czech pastry, from his grandmother’s recipe. My grandmother (of Czech decent) used to make these pastries, and they were so wonderful. There were so many different fillings – fruit, cheese, poppy seed, pecan. Makes my mouth water just thinking of them. She died many years ago, and my mom has made kolache a few times, but not as often as Grandma. It just touched my heart and brought back fond memories to read about that.

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

Friday, July 29, 2011

Follow Friday - Boy those weeks fly by, don't they?

Feature & Follow Friday is now hosted by TWO hosts, Rachel of Parajunkee and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs! So make sure you go visit both of these hosts!

Q. Let's step away from books for a second and get personal. What T-Shirt slogan best describes you? 


Well, I don't know about a t-shirt, but I have a mug that says "Reading is Sexy!"

The mug is made of 100% corn, which it pretty cool. There's a t-shirt available at the same website.

So, my kids gave this to me, so it must describe me? Right?

Character Envy: If you could be one character from a book, who would you choose & why?

I've answered a question similar to this before, and I said Hermione. So I'm going to come up with a different one....... I wouldn't mind being Anna, from Anna and the French Kiss. I could enjoy a boarding school in Paris, and of course, get me some √Čtienne!

Hope you have a great weekend, and don't forget to check out the other participating blogs at GReads! Thanks for stopping by, and come back soon.

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

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Book Review: Where She Went, by Gayle Forman

Where She Went is a sweet, satisfying book that answers the questions that were left at the end of If I Stay.

This book is told from Adam’s perspective three years after Mia’s accident. She has pretty much dumped him after leaving for Juliard. Adam’s band has been hugely successful, so much so that he is recognized everywhere he goes. Adam isn’t enjoying this life of fame as much as he thought he would.

So Adam runs into Mia, and that’s pretty much all I’m going to say. I will say that it didn’t end the way I expected, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like the ending. 

I wouldn’t really recommend reading this if you haven’t read If I Stay. There’s just too much back story that will help you enjoy this one. They are both short books, and definitely worth reading. This is a “girl story” but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to adults as well as teens.

Published by Dutton, April 5, 2011
Copy obtained from the library
264 pages

Rating: 3.5/5

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

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Book Review: Ada: Legend of a Healer, by R. A. McDonald

I really enjoyed Ada: Legend of a Healer. Ada was so easy to love and care about. I really wanted her to end up happy and free.

Ada is an orphan, and hasn’t had much success at her foster homes. So, as a last ditch measure, her aunt Jessie agrees to take Ada. Aunt Jessie doesn’t have a home—she travels around for her job, so Ada must adjust to this new lifestyle. But there’s more to it than just travelling. Ada discovers that Jessie has the power to heal. Ada has always been able to tell when people were ill, and what their illness was, but she never considered trying to focus on healing them. When she attempts to heal an injury, with the encouragement of Jessie, she finds out she can do it!

Unfortunately, others know of Jessie’s abilities and want to use her as a lab experiment. So she is always on the run. Ada’s mother could also heal people, but she disappeared many years ago, and no one seems to know what happened. So Ada decides to find out what happened to her mother.

Ada ends up in Paris, and we meet some other very colorful characters. She ends up staying at Madam Jardin’s, who she met on the airplane. She knows she needs to be able to move quickly in case she is found. When she sees some kids doing Parkour, she follows them until Daniel, their leader, agrees to teach her. If you don’t know what Parkour is, look at this video. (I’m fascinated by this.) Ada is very good, and learns fast, but of course, she can heal herself as she makes mistakes!

McDonald’s included a moral message in this book too, and I really appreciated Ada’s maturity of thought:

“Sickness is here for a reason, no matter how bad it sucks. I won’t help you change the world into standing room only...How about this, professor. You come up with a shot that actually makes people give a shit about something besides themselves and we’ll talk tests, until then sickness and death are the only things that halfway keep people in line.” p. 101

There’s much build up of tension at the end and also a build up of some romance. The story is exciting, the healing is believable. I cared about all the characters and really enjoyed the heck out of this story. Great book for paranormal lovers both young and old.

Published by House of Lore, 2011
Copy received from the publisher for review
250 pages

Rating: 3.5/5

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Book Review: Five Flavors of Dumb, by Antony John

Five Flavors of Dumb is a story about a high school rock band. This genre seems to have gained popularity lately, and this book is an excellent addition to the theme. The fact that our main character, the band manager, is deaf just adds to the appeal of this book.

Piper has been deaf since she was six years old. So, she can speak fairly well, and has some hearing, although mostly she reads lips. There’s a powerful family dynamic in this story too. There’s hard feelings because Piper’s college fund was used to pay for her baby sister’s cochlear implants. She resents her father because he has never learned sign language, and her brother, who is a freshman, is hiding something.

Then there’s the band, Dumb. Piper isn’t sure why they asked her to be manager, but motivated by money, she does the best she can, and makes some mistakes. There are the typical conflicts of any group of teens, especially those desiring to be in the spotlight.  And Dumb has quite the hodgepodge of members. We have the chess geek, the quiet goth girl, the hot, popular guitar girl who can’t play the guitar, and the lead singer who only asked the hot guitar girl to be in the band so he can hook up with her. There’s enough humor to break up the tension, and a little bit of romance, but not enough to keep boys from enjoying this.

The ending is satisfying and hopeful, although not perfect. John allows these characters to make mistakes, learn from them, and mature naturally, especially Piper.  This was an entertaining read for teens, especially those who are interested in music.

Published by Dial, 2010
Copy obtained from the library
338 pages

Rating: 3/5

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

Monday, July 25, 2011

Book Review: A Need So Beautiful, by Suzanne Young

A Need So Beautiful is a paranormal like no other I’ve read. And it is beautiful.

I really can’t tell you too much about the premise. If I told you that Charlotte’s skin starts to flake off and under it is a beautiful golden glow – well – if you’re like me you would say, “That sounds stupid.” So, I won’t tell you that.

Charlotte is compelled to help people. She feels what she calls “a need” and if she doesn’t follow her compulsion, she is in extreme pain. The need always leads her to someone who she can help in some way, usually just by telling them something.  The need is happening more often, and she’s having a hard time keeping it from her friends and family. Young does such a great job describing these episodes and Charlotte’s difficulties that you really believe this and I really could feel Charlotte’s pain.

Young has written a romance, too. There’s no insta-love here. Harlan and Charlotte are already deeply in love when the story begins. There’s the implication of sex, but no actual description. Their relationship is a believable teenage love story.

The book has excellent secondary characters. Charlotte’s adopted mom, her brother, Alex, and her friend, Sarah all play a role in the story. But the most interesting character is Monroe, Charlotte’s doctor. I enjoyed their conversations and the way their story played out.

I always have to tell you when I cry during a book because it happens so rarely. The ending had me in tears.  This is really a positive, feel-good book. It’s tender and beautiful. It’s heartbreaking and redeeming. I think teens who like paranormal, especially angel stories will love this one, but I won’t hesitate to recommend this to adults, although I’d stick to women.

Published by Balzer & Bray, June 21, 2011
Copy purchased by me
267 pages

Rating: 4.5/5

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