Review/ Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit

Review/ Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel SavitAnna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit
Published by Random House Children's Books on January 26th 2016
Pages: 240
Source: Book From BEA 2015
Goodreads
Genres: Europe, Family, Historical, Holocaust, Orphans & Foster Homes, People & Places, Young Adult

A stunning, literary, and wholly original debut novel set in Poland during the Second World War perfect for readers of The Book Thief.   Kraków, 1939. A million marching soldiers and a thousand barking dogs. This is no place to grow up. Anna Łania is just seven years old when the Germans take her father, a linguistics professor, during their purge of intellectuals in Poland. She’s alone. And then Anna meets the Swallow Man. He is a mystery, strange and tall, a skilled deceiver with more than a little magic up his sleeve. And when the soldiers in the streets look at him, they see what he wants them to see. The Swallow Man is not Anna’s father—she knows that very well—but she also knows that, like her father, he’s in danger of being taken, and like her father, he has a gift for languages: Polish, Russian, German, Yiddish, even Bird. When he summons a bright, beautiful swallow down to his hand to stop her from crying, Anna is entranced. She follows him into the wilderness. Over the course of their travels together, Anna and the Swallow Man will dodge bombs, tame soldiers, and even, despite their better judgment, make a friend. But in a world gone mad, everything can prove dangerous. Even the Swallow Man.    Destined to become a classic, Gavriel Savit’s stunning debut reveals life’s hardest lessons while celebrating its miraculous possibilities.

I received this book for free from publisher/pr firm in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I picked up Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit during BEA 2015. I was drown into the cover when I first spotted it. Its very simple but I think eye catching at the same time.

As I sit here trying to write my review I am still thinking about the book. So I will have to be careful with my review because I don’t want to give the story away and I tend to have a habit of doing that. Don’t you just love it when I book holds onto you?

I went into the book not knowing what was going to happen and reading it I realized it was being told during the war and I wasn’t sure I was prepared for that because I find those kinds of books very difficult to read. I do have to say its not that bad and its really not the focus of the book but you do know a war is happening. I think that is why I enjoyed the story more.

There is quite a few characters in the book but the main are Anna, the Swallow man and then a guy named Reb. I have to say that the Swallow Man and Reb were complete night and day but it worked and it balanced the two of them out and I think despite their differences they were looking for the same thing, acceptance. They both loved Anna and would do anything to protect her.

The book begins in 1939 in occupied Poland. Anna is seven years old. Anna’s father is a linguistics professor and he has to attend a lecture that has been mandated by German authorities and we all know what that means and where this is going. He leaves Anna with a friend of his but when he fails to return home he forces Anna to leave. Anna has no where to go because the door is locked in her apartment and no one will take her in.

On the streets of Krawkow she sees a tall elegantly dressed man who manages to charm Anna when he has a swallow land on his finger. He takes her under his wing so to speak and before long they become traveling partners. The books spans over a few years because we see Anna is growing up.

The Swallow Man taught Anna how to survive and they did and it wasn’t all sugar coated and happy you could see the struggle they endured with sleeping outside in harsh weather conditions, hiding from the enemy, the day to day struggle of blending in when they went into a city and the fight for food and how they would only eat once or twice a day. I think these are all live lessons that saved Anna in the end.

Reading the book you realized how different the world has become. Anna and the Swallow Man were able to cross man borders and patrols with no problems and the only one who had documents was Swallow Man. There was only one point in the book they encountered a problem and that was crossing into Russia but even through the gunfire no one was seriously hurt and they all remained together.

As I was reading I felt like I was traveling with them and I could picture the group traveling together.

For me the ending end like their could possibly be another book but I’m not sure but I would like there to be because I am curious to what Anna is doing and where she ended up along with the Swallow man.

 

Review/ The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

Review/ The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina BivaldThe Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald
Published by Sourcebooks, Inc. on January 19th 2016
Pages: 400
Source: Book From BEA 2015
Goodreads
Genres: Contemporary Women, Fiction, Humorous, Literary

The International Bestseller #1 Indie Next Great Reads January 2016 #2 LibraryReads January 2016 Once you let a book into your life, the most unexpected things can happen...Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her book-loving pen pal. When she arrives, however, she finds Amy's funeral guests just leaving. The residents of Broken Wheel are happy to look after their bewildered visitor -- not much else to do in a small town that's almost beyond repair. They just never imagined that she'd start a bookstore. Or that books could bring them together and change everything.There's a book for every person ... and a person for every book.

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald was a book that I picked up at BEA 2015 and its been sitting on my shelves since then so I was really happy that I could finally dig into this book. I believe it was Lucy from Moonlight Gleams that told me about this book and I am happy that she did tell me about it because I really enjoyed reading this.

The main character Sara. lives in Sweden and use to work in a bookstore until it closed. During that time she was corresponding with Amy from a little town in Iowa called Broken Wheel. Sara has traveled to Broken Wheel by the request of Amy to spent two months together. How much fun would it be to meet a pen pal you have had that shares the common interest of books? I would have loved that.

Upon arriving in Broken Wheel Sara discovers that Amy has passed away. At first Sara doesn’t know what to do and the people of Broken Wheel kind of take her in because that is what Amy would have wanted them to. Sara is uncomfortable at first because honestly who wouldn’t be staying in a person’s house who is no longer there and you haven’t even met?

As the book progresses Sara is starting to meet the people of Broken Wheel. She realizes that they are a unique kind of people where it seems like everyone is there to help each other and have their backs and you can see Sara starting to fit into the town. I loved how every character in the book played a role in it and it all blended so well within the story.

For Sara she has a passion for books and loves to read. Not a lot of people share that kind of passion in the town and the only other person who loved books just as much as Sara was Amy. Gradually Sara begins to think that she needs to find a way to give back to the town for their kindness and perhaps this little town needs a bookstore. Sara brings it up because Amy actually had a empty building just sitting there waiting to be used and Amy has a ton of books that could fill the little store. (This is what I should be because I have a ton of books)

With the towns permission Sara goes a head to prepare the store but due to her visa she is unable to work to sell the books but she can give them away or lends them to the people of the Broken Wheel. At first its not a hit because no one likes to read and they are puzzled at how much and long Sara can seat and read for.

Gradually word starts to spread in the next city called Hope that Broken Wheel has a book store. I think out of curiousity they come to check it out but are quick to point out that no one from the town is ever there so with a little help of the town they set out to prove the people of Hope wrong. Can they pull it off?

As the weeks slip by the people of Broken Wheel begin to realize Sara’s visa is about to expire and they don’t want to loose her so they have to come up with a plan to make her stay but will Sara stay or will she want to go back to Sweden to be with her family?

This was a fun and pretty easy read and I did enjoy it. I think Sara is some one I would be friends with. I would be curious to see what kind of books she would recommend to me because she had that knack about her of giving the right person the right book.

Review/ This Is Where It Ends

by Marieke Nijkamp
Published by Sourcebooks Fire Goodreads
Genres: Action & Adventure, Bullying, Social Issues, Survival Stories, Violence, Young Adult

I received this book for free from publisher/pr firm in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve. 10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class. 10:03 The auditorium doors won’t open. 10:05 Someone starts shooting. Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

I think this has to be one of my favorite books that I picked up at #BEA15 last year. Once I started reading it I couldn’t put it down. It grabbed a hold of me from the first page and it still sits with me today. Just be prepared if you pick up this book to read you will need a tissue. This is a fantastic debut novel.

This Is Where It Ends is told in the point of view of Claire, Tomas, Autumn and Sylv. A new semester has started at Opportunity and the Principal Trenton is giving her regular speech that the kids all know pretty much by heart.

Claire is not in the school for the assembly because she is part of the track team and she is out running the track with her team mates when the sound of gunshots forces them to stop. They try to get into the school but its locked so she comes up with a plan to find out what is going on so she puts everyone in groups.

Inside the school Tomas and his friend Fareed are also not in the assembly because they are breaking into the principal’s office trying to find out some information on a kid named Tyler who has left the school and is due to come back. They are in the office and when they realize something is up the go and look out in the hall way and that is when they hear gun fire. Quick thinking they decide to call the police. They are told to get out of the school but Tomas can’t leave because his sister Sylv is in the assembly. He will do anything to protect her.

I don’t want to give to much away about the book because you know what its about. Everyone is surprised at how the shooter is and I think had there been a little more to the story before hand you might have had the chance to figure it out.

I really enjoyed this book and I look forward to reading more from this author.

 

 

Book Spotlight/ Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Book Spotlight/ Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s StoneHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone on October 6, 2015
Pages: 256
Source: Book From BEA 2015

For the first time, J. K. Rowling's beloved Harry Potter books will be presented in lavishly illustrated full-color editions. Kate Greenaway-award winning artist Jim Kay has created over 100 stunning illustrations, making this deluxe format a perfect gift as much for a child being introduced to the series, as for the dedicated fan.

Harry Potter has never been the star of a Quidditch team, scoring points while riding a broom far above the ground. He knows no spells, has never helped to hatch a dragon, and has never worn a cloak of invisibility.

I received this book for free from publisher/pr firm in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I was able to pick up a little sampler of this book at #BEA15.

I have yet to read the Harry Potter series (yes I know where have I been and why have I not read the books?) of books but I have to say after seeing this little sneak preview of the illustrated book I think I might just have to pick it up to read. Perhaps this is what I need to get me into the series.

The illustrations in this sampler were amazing and I can’t wait to see what the actually book will look like.

Are you a Harry Potter fan?

Review/ Olive & Beatrix: The Not So Itty Bitty Spiders

Review/ Olive & Beatrix: The Not So Itty Bitty SpidersOlive & Beatrix: The Not So Itty Bitty Spiders on August 26, 2015
Pages: 80
Source: Book From BEA 2015

Meet twin sisters Olive and Beatrix! One is a witch. One is totally not-a-witch.

This series is part of Scholastic's early chapter book line called Branches, which is aimed at newly independent readers. With easy-to-read text, high-interest content, fast-paced plots, and illustrations on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and stamina. Branches books help readers grow!

Twin sisters Olive and Beatrix don't often get along. Olive is "ordinary" and loves science. But Beatrix is a witch! She has a brain full of tricks, and she uses her magic powers to play pranks on Olive and her best friend, Eddie. In this first book, Beatrix ruins Olive and Eddie's latest science project. So Olive and Eddie play a prank on Bea. They rig up a bucket of spiders over her bedroom door. But when the spiders crawl into one of Bea's magic potions...WHAM! Giant spiders are on the loose! These sisters will have to work together to shrink the not-so itty-bitty spiders down to size!

I received this book for free from publisher/pr firm in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I picked up this cute little book from #BEA15 this year.

This is the perfect book for the kids who are just a little too old for picture books but yet a little too young for chapter books. The book has some great illustrations that go along with the story really well.

I loved Olive & Beatrix. They were cute girls who loved to play off each other. Beatrix is the witch and loves playing all kinds of tricks on her sister and Olive is just your regular girl who is getting a little tired of being the one getting pranked on so with the help of her friend they set out to prank Beatrix. While Olive be able to pull it off?

This is the first book in the series and I have to say it was a fun and very quick read. We really enjoyed it and are looking forward to the other books in the series.

Review/ Where’s Walrus and Penguin?

Review/ Where’s Walrus and Penguin?Where's Walrus and Penguin? on August 25, 2015
Pages: 32
Source: Book From BEA 2015

When Walrus escapes the zoo with his new friend Penguin, their adventures are twice the fun!

In this sequel to the acclaimed WHERE'S WALRUS?, author Stephen Savage doubles the fun when Walrus escapes the zoo with his mischievous pal, Penguin. Will the zookeeper find them? Or will these clever runaways stay one step ahead disguised as subway riders, baseball players, and even grand opera performers? Hiding in plain sight, they elude the clueless zookeeper until a fly ball at a baseball game leads Walrus and Penguin to a chance encounter with surprising results!

This is another picture book I picked at #BEA15.

This is the sequel to Where’s Walrus? We haven’t read the first book but have a request in at the library to get one.

Walrus and Penguin have escaped from the zoo. They are spotted by the security guard of the zoo and he is attempting to catch them but walrus and penguin are blending in with their surroundings so its make it hard to catch them.

The wander all over the city and doing various things and its not until the end that they are caught.

This is a super cute book and I think the young kids would love this. It was so much fun to flip through the pages to see what walrus and penguin were doing and I have to say they they blended in.

Review: Dancing Through Life: Steps of Courage and Conviction

Review: Dancing Through Life: Steps of Courage and ConvictionDancing Through Life: Steps of Courage and Conviction on August 1st, 2014
Pages: 224
Source: Book From BEA 2015

Candace Cameron Bure has grown up before our eyes and we've watched as she's balanced life in Hollywood with her faith for many years. But that all reached new heights when she was given the opportunity to join the cast of Dancing With the Stars. Being on the show was one of her dreams come true; and with that dream came the opportunity to display her Christian faith in front of millions of people, through an intense season of stretching beyond her limits, and to run the race God gave her with joy and perseverance.

Join Candace as she reflects on the self-discovery that came through leaping out of her comfort zone. Go behind the scenes and experience the highs and lows, the roadblocks, and the personal victories. Hear straight from her heart on tough lessons learned about grace, rejection, perfectionism, disappointment, accountability, dealing with criticism, and more. Through God’s strength, and with the help of endless support from her family and friends, see how Candace stayed true to herself and publicly lived out her faith in Christ all the way to the finale.

How do you stand with conviction in your world? Where does your courage come from when faced with challenges? How do you live out your faith on a daily basis despite opposition? Your stage probably isn't in Hollywood and the challenges you are facing may not be on live television, but they are no less real. Come along with Candace as she shares how she found the courage to stand with conviction on one of the largest platforms of her life.

Dancing Through Life is Candace Cameron Bure’s third book. Her other two are Reshaping It All: Motivation for Physical and Spiritual Fitness and Balancing It All: My Story of Juggling Priorities and Purpose.

I didn’t realize that this book was going to be at BEA until I walked by the B & H Publishing Group booth. When I saw it on the table I need I had to pick it up to read.

Dancing Through Life is all about Candace’s time on Dancing With the Stars season 18. The book offers behind the scenes stories that you might not know and her struggle throughout the course of the show to remain true to her beliefs. I have to applaud her for doing this. She has never sold herself out for ratings and stuck to her beliefs.

The book begins when Candace gets the email about being on the show which was a long life dream of hers. As she is writing the book she admits that she didn’t think she would end up in third place. As of fan of hers I was happy to see that she got as far as she did.

I really enjoyed reading this book because to watch Dancing With The Stars is one thing but to read behind the scenes is a whole other thing. So much goes on that we aren’t aware of especially in Candace’s case because she struggled every day.

I think Dancing With The Stars opened Candace’s eyes and took her out of her comfort zone on a daily bases. Every day was a struggle for her but she got through each hurdle and grew along the way. Its not easy trying to  remain true to yourself and what you belief but she managed to do it with grace and dignity.

I managed to read this book in pretty much one sitting and I enjoyed reading it. I can’t wait to flip through the finished copy to see the photos that would be included in the book.

I think after reading this I have a whole new appreciation for Candace. I really think I need to pick up her previous two books to read.