Monday, May 31, 2010

NYC: Day 2

NYC: Day 2

Monday was the only full day I had with my two friends, Trever and Cheryl, so I knew it was going to be busy and full of our favorite things to do. We each pretty much like the same things about New York especially the shows. We are Broadway Junkies!

We awoke early for vacation standards; completely sleeping in for Stay At Home Mom standards. 8am...luxurious! We hit our favorite diner in Midtown just a few short blocks away from the Best Kept Secret Hotel in the city (wink!).
The diner?
Cosmic Diner on 8th and West 52nd.
Saucy waitresses with thick New York accents calling you honey and constantly keeping your coffee cup full. I love this place like it was home! Be warned though, when they say sausage on the menu, they mean sausage! 3 big huge Bratwurst sized links of meat. Good Morning to me! (or I should say for my friend Cheryl who had no choice but to share)

With full bellies we made our way down to the other somewhat best kept secret in town. The TKTS Booth down along the South Shore in Downtown Manhatten. The picture above is deceiving. I did take that one at the TKTS Booth in Times Square. (cringe)
I do not like waiting in lines for hours. I do not necessarily like large massive shoving crowds of people. So, I tend to stay clear of Times Square if I can.

The TKTS Booth downtown is much less crowded. In fact, you can get your tickets within 20 minutes if you get there at 11:00am when they open.
For those of you new to NYC and the TKTS Booth, this is where you get same day show tickets for 40% or 50% off the list price. Brilliant!

Since it was Monday and most shows are dark on Mondays we had a limited selection. We chose Rock of Ages and it rocked my socks off! If you are a child of the 80s, like I am, this is so much fun to see. REO Speedwagon, Whitesnake, Journey, Styx. Need I go on? How the creators wrapped all of these songs together to make a linear story line is amazing to me. I haven't seen hair this big since, 9th grade school picture.!

But let's jump back to the afternoon. I had a scheduled tour of Scholastic Publishers that was arranged because of my attendance to the Book Blogger Convention. I could not pass this up considering Scholastic publishes almost everything Kid related that I've loved. Harry Potter, Babysitters Club, Canby Hall, 39 Clues, etc.

I met so many lovely bloggers during this tour including
Angela from Dark Faerie Tales
Pam from
Gaby from Starting Fresh

And I know I am forgetting a few others but I am trying to organize all of my business cards I got along the way and remembering faces to cards. :)

Scholastic was a blast! The tour guides were so friendly whether they were publicists or the marketing department. We got a chance to see the Archives where they had all of the older books from my child hood, like the Canby Hall series! They had a giant sized Clifford doll that I knew my son would LOVE but, it was much too big to smuggle out of there :)
They gave us lots of cool ARCs to fill our bags and we got a chance to meet Rick Riordan. He was just hanging out in the offices signing stock! So cool until my camera decided to die right before I met him. Grrr.

After drooling over the glass case of all of the first editions of Harry Potter, we got a chance to meet Young Adult author, Aimee Friedman. She is the author of the South Beach books for Teens. She was a delight! She did a little Q & A and signed copies for all of us.

Then we had a great group photo on the roof and went on our way.

All in all, Monday: Day 2 in NYC proved to be a great start to an exciting week!

I finished out my afternoon with scones and clotted cream at Tea and Sympathy in the Village. Sigh. I wish I was there now.
I will include a pic of that place later in the week because I went there multiple times. I'm a little addicted to the place and the cute, hairy Scottish boys with accents that work next door. :)

Until tomorrow...

Happy reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Sunday, May 30, 2010

NYC-One Day At A Time

Dear Followers and Friends,
I am back from NYC. For those of you new to my blog, I have been away in the Big Apple for BEA and the first ever Book Blogger Convention.

Yes, it's true. I was part of the fabulous group of trendsetters.

I had a wonderful time and met so many wonderful people that I have been following and reading for months. It was such a pleasure to meet these individuals and a whole bunch of new people as well.

But before I tell you all about those events, I will tell you about my trip as a whole. BEA and the Book Blogger Convention happened mid week starting on Wednesday for me. I arrived on Sunday full of long lists of things to do.

I have been to NYC 4 times now with the same two people that I went with this time around. My best friend, Trever, who went under the bookseller hat and my friend, Cheryl, who is an archivist. Both were able to go with me to BEA.

We are all three lovers of the city; the sights, the food, the people, the shows, the energy. We love it all...even the subway. I, of course, have no sense of smell so I probably love some areas more then they do!

So we arrived on Sunday, after many a delay and lost luggage, and hurriedly checked in the same little hotel we always stay in in the heart of Midtown. To let you all know the name would be telling you a best kept secret. So sorry. :)

We couldn't waste a minute. We walked the streets looking for the "perfect" place to eat. In NYC, you have a restaurant every two steps.
Picking one is a tremendously hard thing to do.
We wanted comfort food after our long day of travels so we stumbled on
Bocca Di Bacco on 9th and West 55th.
Authentic Italian food for typical New York prices.

We never hold back when it comes to food in NYC. It's just not worth it. It's expensive everywhere but more often that not it's worth it.
Unfortunately, this was one of the places that catered more to the design of the dish rather then the amount of food. So, yes, instead of getting a good old helping of Tortellini, I got 5 pieces (or some such ridiculously small amount).
I love to eat. I love to eat a lot. In fact, my friends commented on how often I get hungry. Chalk it up to having a two year old or having my body get all whacked out after having a two year old but I can eat all day.
So, needless to say, delicious as it was, those few pieces of yummy Tortellini were not enough. At all. Not with a gigantic glass of red wine.
Can you say No Tolerance?

So I did the only thing I could. I ordered a piece of chocolate for each of us and I was pretty sure I could eat all three but thank goodness, this portion was a good size.

After our meal, we walked the streets and soaked it all in and planned our big week.

Would I be able to sleep without my little kiddo?
Would I be able to schmooze with all these new people?
Would they all start immediately un-following me once they meet me?
Would it physically be possible to smuggle the life size Clifford doll out of the Scholastic offices?
What if I spend my mortgage payment on boxes of books to send back?
Would I be prepared to do an impromptu duet with Bernadette Peters if she asked?

And, lastly, are my feet going to survive?

Stay tuned for my daily posts this week on my adventures in NYC!

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by! It's good to be back.

red headed book child

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Welcome to Red Headed Book Child!

Thanks for stopping by Red Headed Book Child. This is a welcome post to those of you who may be new to my blog due to me meeting you at BEA or the Book Blogger Convention this week.

I have been reviewing books on this blog since July 2009. I have 10+ years experience in book selling as a manager and buyer. Starting in June I will be making my transition to working at my local library.

I am a passionate reader of all genres but my favorites are literary fiction, mysteries, memoirs and young adult.

I review everything I read. I am honest and open in my review style and I have enjoyed working with all of the publishers and authors I have so far.

You can navigate my blog quite easily from my tabs above and find my email under the Contact info.

Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope to work with many of you in the near future!

Happy Reading!

Michelle @
Red Headed Book Child

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I'm off to see the Wizard (in Wicked in NYC!)

Hello fellow bloggers!

I am off to NYC for BEA and the Book Blogger Convention.

My days are jammed packed with so much I think I may burst. I have long lists of authors and publishers I want to meet at BEA. I have names I want to put to faces at the Blogger Convention. I have names I want to put to faces at BEA too!

I get to tour Scholastic! I get to see Wicked! I get to have tea at Tea and Sympathy and look at the cute English boys next door. I get to get lost in Brooklyn. I get to see Sex and the City 2!
All in all, I am beyond excited.

I hope to introduce my blog to many and share my passion of reading and
recommending as well.

I hope to not need medication for being away from my son.

Here's to a crazy fun filled week full of hope and new beginnings!

I have a fancy new Blackberry that totally exceeds my tech savviness but I will try to post a few times while out there, maybe a picture or two of me and Lemony Snickett doing shots...who knows? Or me singing with Patti Lupone?! ( I know, she is totally going to be there!)

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Guest Review #3: Play Dead by Ryan Brown (Blog Tour and Giveaway!)

Play Dead

Title: Play Dead
Author: Ryan Brown
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Genre: Horror
Format: Review Copy from Publisher
ISBN: 978-1-4391-7130-1
Price/Pages: $24.99/344
Release Date: May

Description from Publisher's Website:

Today’s #1 New York Times bestselling thriller writers agree: Ryan Brown’s compulsively readable first novel is unbeatable—a darkly humorous, rich and pungent zombie shocker that melds our national obsession with football and the newest wave of fascination with the undead.

For the first time in Killington High School history, the Jackrabbits football team is one win away from the district championship where it will face its most vicious rival, the Elmwood Heights Badgers. On the way to the game, the Jackrabbits’s bus plunges into a river, killing every player except for bad-boy quarterback Cole Logan who is certain the crash was no accident—given that Cole himself was severely injured in a brutal attack by three ski-masked men earlier that day. Bent on payback, Cole turns to a mysterious fan skilled in black magic to resurrect his teammates. But unless the undead Jackrabbits defeat their murderous rival on the field, the team is destined for hell. In a desperate race against time, with only his coach’s clever daughter, Savannah Hickman, to assist him, Cole must lead his zombie team to victory

. . . in a final showdown where the stakes aren’t just life or death—but damnation or salvation. Boundlessly imaginative and thrillingly satisfying, Play Dead gives small-town Texas an electrifying jolt of the supernatural, and is unquestioningly The Zombie Novel of the Year!

Michelle's Two Cents:
I received this ARC a few months ago from Simon and Schuster for fun, not necessarily to review right away. I had it on my list to read but my husband snagged it first! When I saw the Blog Tour going on, I emailed Sarah at Simon and Schuster and asked if he could hop on board and maybe do a Giveaway too! So, she sent us a copy and here we are. Sean read it a few months ago so he is a little rusty in remembering some of the finer details but he did remember he found it to be a hoot!

Sean's Review:
Play Dead was definitely a fun, fast-paced read. I am fan of horror novels in general and though this is a bit more on the campy side, I did find it absorbing and finished it in just a few days.

I haven't read a lot of Young Adult but this one read much like that genre. The plot line was relatively uncomplicated and it seemed the adults went along with some pretty wacky, unrealistic things; things you would not think a sensible adult would do. Zombies? Ok.

But I set aside my skepticism and enjoyed it for the candy that it was. Zombies, Revenge, Horror, Black Magic, Adults acting crazy, Jocks gone bad. A little flashy, a little sparkly, like realty TV.

Think of it as Pet Semetary with Jazz Hands.

Rating: 4 stars/ 6 stars
Recommended for a quick, summer read.

Giveaway (of my ARC) Rules:
* I wouldn't cry if you became a follower to my blog first. :)
* I would love it if you lived in the US. I'm just too broke to send it anywhere else.
* I would love it if you would leave me a comment and your email.
* Do you have a Zombie Survival plan?


Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by.

Michelle and Sean

Monday, May 17, 2010

Review #65: The Good Night, Sleep Tight Workbook by Kim West

Title: The Good Night, Sleep Tight Workbook
Author: Kim West (The Sleep Lady)
Publisher: Easton Studio Press
Genre: Parenting
Format: Review Copy from Publisher
ISBN: 978-0979824-86-9
Price/Pages: $13.95/112
Release Date: Out in Stores

My Description and Review:

The Good Night, Sleep Tight Workbook is a very short, sweet, to-the-point sleep guide for parents of children birth to five years. As a parent, the one thing I don't have is a lot of time, especially to sit and read a lengthy book on how to solve my child's sleep problems. I would probably just take my own sleep over that! Though still, I am a parenting book junkie!

This book has what I need as a parent. Simple instructional chapters, charts in back to log your progress and lots of real life examples. My son is two now and this book would have been helpful when he was an infant. It gives you age specific tips to help your child sleep through the night and through their naps. It also educates you as to how much sleep children need and the different types of sleep. This was helpful to me now.

During a busy day, you sometimes only get a half hour nap in the car and think that your child will sleep better and longer because of the lack of nap. This is not true! (and I have come to find out from my own experience!). Children need to enter a deep sleep in order for it to be quality sleep. Quality over Quantity is better ultimately. So a nap in the car with motion causes them to not sleep as heavily as they need.

Tips like this and mock schedules to follow really make this book a must for any parent. I don't think you need to have sleep issues to benefit from this one. You may think you have it all down but she also brings up some common seemingly positive parenting practices that could affect your child's sleep behavior. (rocking your child to sleep or letting your child sleep with you).
It's easy for parents to get comfortable with soothing their child at every moment because it works! But ultimately the author shows you how important it is to let your child control their sleep behavior and develop those soothing and comforting abilities on their own.

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for providing me a copy to read and review. As a mom of a toddler, I am always looking for any parenting tips and help!

Rating: 5 stars/ 6 stars
Because of its simplistic Workbook style, this is an easy instructional read for parents. It is matter of fact and easy to follow and to relate to. I rate this book a 5, highly recommended for parents of young children. Even if you do not have any sleep issues in your household, it is still helpful with understanding some basic needs of children.

Author Profile:
Kim West (The Sleep Lady), LCSW-C has helped thousands of tired parents all over the world gently and effectively teach their babies and children how to go to sleep and stay asleep. West as appeared on Dr. Phil, the Today Show, NBC Nightly News, TLC and Good Morning America. She is also the author of 52 Sleep Secrets for babies.
Visit her on her on the web at

Happy Reading, and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Review #66: The Last River Child

Title: The Last River Child
Author: Lori Ann Bloomfield
Publisher: Second Story Press
Genre: Fiction
Format: Review Copy from Author
ISBN: 978-1-897187-66-1
Price/Pages: $17.95/280
Release Date: March 15, 2010

My Description:

The Last River Child is the debut novel from Canadian author Lori Ann Bloomfield. It tells the story of Peg Staynor, a young girl born with almost no color to her eyes. She is the second daughter to a farming family that holds many secrets of their own. After her birth, a meteorite lands in their small Canadian town of Walvern. What follows is a series of seemingly "bad luck"; the 1st World War begins, livestock get sick, a drought begins, crops die. The local myth is that the Magurvey River that runs through the town holds an evil spirit that attaches itself to a child known as a "River Child". The community of Walvern believes that child is Peg.

My Review:

I have to admit this kind of story is right up my alley. I originally was not going to review it until late July when my schedule opened up but I randomly picked it up a few days ago in between books and finished it in two days.

The writing style is simplistic, one that, in time, I can see becoming quite a bit more skilled. Though that did not retract from the story or my enjoyment. I thought the author did a very nice job creating the story of Peg and the community. The story is told in three parts going back and giving the history of Peg's parents and how they came to Walvern. Mostly you get to know Peg's story and her sister Sarah.

The superstition of the River Child was fascinating but it was relatively a minor piece to the story overall. I was hoping for a bit more drama and climax regarding this piece but it never came. That would be my only complaint about this book. It didn't really build to a point of climax and resolution. It was written more like waves, up and down; little things would happen to the characters, they would react and then life would move on.

In my opinion, that could just be from a first time novelist. I think the characters were written well and the community as a whole was very well created. The reality of the war and its impact on a small farm community was right on. She captured the youthful enthusiasm of the local boys and their "Go get 'em" attitude and the pride of the families. She also captured the realty of stepping into adulthood for the young girls in becoming wives and mothers.

Rating: 4 stars/6 stars
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Though lacking in the build I have come to expect in most novels, I still felt eager to read about the fate of these characters. It was a pleasant, charming, heartbreaking, hopeful character sketch of this Canadian farming community. Lori Ann Bloomfield is a promising author in my opinion and I was grateful for the opportunity to read her novel.

Thank you to her for sharing it with me.

Author Profile:
Lori Ann Bloomfield grew up in a small farming community in southern Ontario before moving to Toronto. Her short stories have appeared in several magazines in Canada and the US. She keeps the First Line Blog- as a source of inspiration for fiction writers.

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by.

red headed book child

My Description:

Friday, May 14, 2010

Award Love

Thank you to Heather at Book Addict Reviews for giving me this fabulous award!

Here is how it works:

If you are given this award you must first accept it by leaving a comment on the post you were nominated on. Then copy and paste the post and add it to your own blog. Make a list of the last 5 books you read and pass the award on to 5 other bloggers (no backsies!). Please also identify the blog from which you got the award and don't forget to tell your picks that they have a blog award!

My Last 5 books Read:

1. Baltimore Blues by Laura Lippman
2. Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
3. Ghouls Gone Wild by Victoria Laurie
4. Arcadia Falls by Carol Goodman
5. Cooking Up Murder by Miranda Bliss

The 5 Bloggers I Pass this on to:

2. Wonder Bunny at Cookies, Books and Bikes
3. Michelle at The True Book Addict
4. Stacy at A Novel Source

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Thursday, May 13, 2010

BEA and Book Blogger Convention: Need Feedback!

Hi Everyone.

BEA and the 1st Annual Book Blogger Convention are less than 2 weeks away already and I, well, I am filled with so much excitement that i think I may burst. Of course, I am also filled with dread and anxiety over leaving my son for a whole week that I kind of want to vomit all the time now. (nervous laugh)

With that aside, I am trying to organize this trip.

I initially set it up to go with my two good friends, Cheryl and Trever. Both of them are former booksellers and of course, book LOVERS. But this fun trip is turning into the potential to be more business than fun (and that's good). I am trying to figure out how much I want to do, how much I want to "market" myself and am i ready for the attention if i do all of this?

So I've made business cards. I've read the websites to see who is coming to BEA. I've organized my days a bit. But I've also made sure I left lots of time for fun; shows, food, seeing the city again, etc. Because really it can't all be about me! Did I really just say that? :)

I would like to get some feedback from those who are going and from maybe those that have gone before.

1. Do you stay at BEA all day long? Is it just too overwhelming?
2. How many other events are any of you doing? (I'm noticing there are lots of Meetings at night that are happening)
3. Are you getting a ton of emails from publishers now asking you for interviews and such?

I am just curious as to how everyone else is gearing up for this event.

I really want to discover lots of new books and meet some people along the way. I also want to chat with other bloggers and see what the publishing world thinks of us and get to know others.

Hopefully I'll hear from a few of you.

Thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Review #64: Baltimore Blues by Laura Lippman

Title: Baltimore Blues
Author: Laura Lippman
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Mystery
Format: Own copy
ISBN: 978-0-380-78875-0
Price/Pages: $7.99/290
Series: Tess Monaghan Novels-Book 1

My Description:

Tess is a 29 year old Baltimore native, recently laid off from one of the few remaining newspapers in the city. She now spends her time working part-time for her Aunt at her Women and Children's bookstore and for her uncle at the Department of Fraud and Waste. Exciting huh? She doesn't think so but something's got to fill her time until she figures out the next step.
What she enjoys most is rowing on the river with her pal, Rock, a beefy exercise junkie who's known Tess from her early newspaper days.

One morning, after one of their rowing routines, Rock asks for her help. Turns out his fiance, Ava (whom Tess never really liked) is acting strange and distant. Rock hires Tess to investigate and follow her. Tess, in need of money and not wanting to turn her pal down, accepts. Unfortunately she has never been a P.I and Rock seems to think her past as a reporter will do just fine??
Tess, unsure of where this will take her, begins spying on Ava, quite poorly at times. What she doesn't see coming is a murder and an incredibly tangled investigation that puts Rock in danger.

My Review:

I have never read Laura Lippman. My friend Cheryl has been reading her later stand alone mysteries and really likes them. She mentioned she was going to start this series and it intrigued me. I picked up the whole Kay Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell a few weeks back during the book sale and I was going to start on those.
I was kind of itching for a new series to discover. This one may be it!

This started out really good. It reminded me of very early Sue Grafton. It is set in the 90s, before a lot of technology; Tess has a walkman, no cell phone, computer disks, etc. I like that because I can relate to that world much more than I can with the craziness today.

Tess is also a really raw, rough around the edges character. She is good looking but she doesn't show it off. She is incredibly educated with an English major so she quotes books all the time. She is a really bad liar while investigating but still continues to spin these elaborate stories that just make you laugh. She's also digs drinking, having rolls in the hay with an on and off again lover and smoking a joint every now and then.

I really got a kick out of her. On Laura Lippman's website, she apolojizes for how wacky Tess is in this first book. She promises she gets better in later novels.
Really Tess is all over the place in her investigating. The case she starts off working bursts wide open and she ends up embedded in quite a bit of lies. And she fumbles through it, sticking her nose in where it doesn't belong, putting her butt on line, and asking waaaay too many questions.

I will definitely continue reading these. I want to see how Tess grows. I want to continue reading about Baltimore, the place in which these take place. I want to learn more about her quirky side characters; her Aunt, her parents, the part-time twentysomething bookseller Crow who is in love with her, and her buddy Rock.

Rating: 5 stars/6 stars
This is an honest to god mystery filled with detailed character sketches, locations, and investigative work. If you are a fan of early Sue Grafton, Robert Parker, and Denis Lehane you will like this. The big charm is her ties to Baltimore and how the city becomes such a big character in the book.

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by.

red headed book child

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The True Story of Hansel and Gretel

I hung out with my pal Rachel tonight and after dinner we went to a Borders near by to meander through the isles. This is a typical evening for Rachel and I. And I am telling you a good 80% of books I picked up that caught my eye, cover wise, were all about Jewish refugees, the Holocaust or the war. Sigh. Rachel says I am destined to continue reading about this since Sarah's Key affected me so. Though I don't think my heart could take too much more I think I am going to read the book pictured above. The True Story of Hansel and Gretel. It was on display and it caught my attention.

Here is the description from Publisher's Weekly.

A provocative transformation of the classic fairy tale into a haunting survival story set in Poland during WWII, Murphy's second novel (after The Sea Within) is darkly enchanting. Two Jewish children, a girl of 11 and her seven-year-old brother, are left to wander the woods after their father and stepmother are forced to abandon them, frantically begging them never to say their Jewish names, but to identify themselves as Hansel and Gretel. In an imaginative reversal of the original tale, they encounter a small woman named Magda, known as a "witch" by villagers, who risks her life in harboring them. The story alternates between the children's nightmarish adventures, and their parents' struggle for survival and hope for a safe reunion. This mirror image of the fairy tale is deliberately disorienting, as Murphy describes the horrors of the outside world compared with the haven inside Magda's hut, and the fear and anguish of the other people who conspire to save the children and protect their own families, too. The na‹ve siblings are only half-conscious of much of this, though they are perfectly aware of their peril should they be discovered. The graphic details-the physical symptoms of near starvation, the infestations of lice, the effects of bitter cold-make it plain that this is the grimmest kind of fable. Eventually, the Nazis indulge in wholesale slaughter, and the children barely survive, hiding and on the run. No reader who picks up this inspiring novel will put it down until the final pages, in which redemption is not a fairy tale ending but a heartening message of hope.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

I also have Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum on my nightstand now too.
Hmm, my heart be damned. Let the tears flow.

What a stretch from Sweet Valley High, huh? (the topic of one of my previous posts)
Boy, I'm either crazy or I have amazing range!

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Review #63: Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay

Title: Sarah's Key
Author: Tatiana De Rosnay
Publisher: St.Martin's Griffin
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: Own Copy
ISBN: 978-0-312-37084-8
Price/Pages: $13.95/293

My Description:

2 storylines set in Paris. One starts in 1942 with a little girl named Sarah. Her home is invaided late one night by French Soliders. They are told to grab what they can and come with them. Her mother, trying to remain strong, does what she is told. Sarah runs to her 4 year old brother, urging him to wake up. He doesn't want to go. So she makes a deal with him. She hides him in their secret hiding place in the wall and locks the door. She tells him she will be back for him. He will be safe there.

What little 11 year old Sarah does not know is that she is being led to a round up. A round up of Jews, on her way to a Concentration Camp. She doesn't know she is never coming back.

Second story is in present day Paris. Julia is an American journalist married to a French man and mother to 11 year old Zoe. Her assignment is to do a story on the 60th Anniversary of this round up, called Vel' d'Hiv (short for Velodrome d'Hiver, the indoor stadium where 1000s of Jews where held).

What she discovers is not only the horrific details of this particular event but the story of Sarah and how their families are connected.

My Review:

I felt so much blooming emotion while reading this book that I don't even know where to start. It's one of those books you have to experience yourself. Saying that the events of the Holocaust were bad is like a drop in an ocean. There are no words. You don't have to know someone who was lost. You feel it as a humanitarian, a mother, a daughter, a wife.

I cried openly in public while reading this. I have images that are forever etched in my mind. I have not read a lot of novels or books in general on the Holocaust. I find it all so incredibly sad. But I am glad I read this one. It's important to remember and to honor those lives that were cruelly taken from the world.

6 stars/6 stars
This one will stay on my shelf to pass out to others. It packs quite a punch and if you are not in the mood for reading about that part of history, then I would suggest holding off on this one. But if you are in the mood for a powerful story of humans and how we are all interconnected, please pick this one up.

Thank you for stopping by.

red headed book child

Monday, May 3, 2010

Review #62: Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin (and info on a Giveaway!)

Title: Picture the Dead
Author: Adele Griffin
Illustrator: Lisa Brown
Publisher: Sourebooks Fire
Genre: Young Adult
Format: Review Copy from Publisher
ISBN: 978-1-402203712-6
Price/Pages: $14.99/app.264
Release Date: May 1, 2010

My Review and Description:

"A Ghost will find his way home"

One of the many haunting lines from Picture the Dead. I am a huge fan of ghost stories and this one fit the bill accordingly.

Set in mid to late 1800s during the Civil War, Picture the Dead is told from the perspective of Jennie Lovell. She is a 16 year old widow of a fallen solider, William Pritchett. She lives in the house of her Aunt and Uncle, also Will's parents. Upon hearing of his death, his brother Quinn arrives home injured and shrunken from war.

A darkness settles over the house as Quinn struggles to find sanity. Jeannie tries to carry on her place in the household under the hateful eye of her Aunt Clara and shifty Uncle Henry. Neither Lady of the House, nor servant, she anticipates being left to the streets.

On a visit to a spiritualist photographer with the whole family, in hopes of seeing their Will one last time, even if only captured in a photograph, Jeannie is struck with a vision and feeling so powerful that she knows at once that is was the spirit of her William.

What continues is Jeannie's quest to figure out why Will is trying to communicate to her from beyond the grave. She finds ultimate betrayal from the ones she has known so dear.

This book was moody and dark, like a rainy day. There was no ounce of sunshine though you never really felt weighed down by it. Though a quick story all in all, I did feel at times it dragged on without much buildup. I was pleased that it picked up towards the end when the truth was revealed.

In between the chapters there are illustrations of characters, letters, advertisements, etc. that are pulled from the story. This touch helped with gaining a clearer picture though some of the letters were hard to read. Because of this the purpose of them seemed unnecessary. Most of the time the info in the letters or illustrations were explained in further detail in the next chapter, so I wasn't at a complete loss. This was my only real issue with the book.

It was still in my mind, a good ghost story.

Rating: 4 stars/ 6 stars
I wish I could give this a higher rating because my hopes for it were truly high! I think it is written quite well, though brief. It seemed like it had great potential to be a real meaty novel but was kept short and sweet with lots of illustrations.
I was a fan of the setting and time period. At the end of the book, the author gives a detailed explanation of spiritualist photography, the Civil War, the prison camps and the Brookline MA setting. Overall, worth reading. Don't let my few negatives dissuade you. I really do think many people will like this overall.

Author Profile:
Adele Griffin graduated from the University of Pennylvannia in 1993 and is the author of numerous young adult novels, including My Almost Epic Summer. Lisa Brown is the author of the Baby Be of Use board books from McSweeney's. She is the wife of author Lemony Snickett.

Thank you to Paul at Sourcebooks Teen Fire for sending me my copy to read and review.

Check out the website below for info on the big Giveaway from Sourcebooks Teen Fire!

Happy Reading and as always, Thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Week in Review (April 25-May 1) and Author Love-a-Thon #6

Week in Review and Author Love-a-Thon

So my week has been pretty much the same has always.
Coffee, Kiddo, Play, Eat, Read, Work, Cuddle, Sleep. Repeat.
BUT this week I went to visit my parents with the kiddo to give my husband the night to "let loose" for his birthday. Though before I left I did the motherly thing and said "For Goodness Sakes, behave, you are 35 years old now, old man!".

Anyhoo, he did behave and I had a fabulous time with my mom going to their annual Book Fair in my hometown. We went on Saturday morning when it was $4 to fill a bag. I know! $4!
Can you believe it? Well, I , of course, said I would only fill one bag because, really, I was going to BEA and I would have plenty of books to fill my reading lists until 2014.
As I got going, though, I could not stop. I gathered Kids books, Religious books, Biographies, History, Mystery, Literature, you name it, I grabbed it!
I got some pretty neat books and so did my mom.
But, the most exciting of them all, were all of the Sweet Valley High and Sweet Valley Twins books I found!
This leads to me to my May installment of my Author Love-a-Thon.

Francine Pascal

So, Francine Pascal did not write every single Sweet Valley High or Twins book but she did create the world in which I devoured as a child.
DEVOURED people!
As you all know by now, I was NOT the pretty blonde blue eyed "perfect" girl growing up. Far from it. I was more like the Wakefield twins' awkward inbred cousin with clothes too big and hair even bigger.
I had begun collecting the series again a few years back but hadn't really come across a lot for sale, though I was only looking at a few bookstores here and there. When I saw the bounty of books at this sale, I had to scoop them up!
I probably still have about 60+ books to still collect, with all of the Special Editions and what not. I will! I will!
I was also so excited to discover a fellow blogger, Connie from Constance Reader who has a sidebar blog dedicated to all things Sweet Valley High! I'm hooked.

So, folks, as you can tell, the highlight from my week was my book discoveries and a trip down memory lane. If you have not seen or heard of Sweet Valley, shame on you! Just Kidding.
I will tell you the basics. Jessica and Elisabeth Wakefield are twins: blonde, blue eyed, size 6 perfect. They live in Sweet Valley, CA and are different as night and day. Jessica is the wild one. Elizabeth is the good one. The books are all about their life, friends, family and ups and downs. SO addicting to a teenager who is living through it all too! Sweet Valley Twins is the same, only they are younger.

This was young adult when young adult was well, all about being a young adult. No vampires. No werewolves. No crazy powers. Just boys and girls. And, you know, some drinking, jealously, bad grades, bad hair days, etc. (sigh) Ahh, good ol' highschool.

I am thinking that possibly...maybe...of creating a Sweet Valley Challenge. What at trip it would be to read them all again. Oh the drama....!

Stay tuned.

Happy Reading, and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child