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.

 

The Mailbox Post January 11th to 16th

Its hard to believe its that time of the week for another mailbox post.
The hosts of the mailbox memes are:
StackingtheShelves

 

Tynga’s Reviews is the host of Stacking the Shelves and the other host is Mailbox Monday which now has its own blog.

Mailbox Monday will no longer be hosted monthly by different bloggers.

BoughtBorrowedBagged

I am also going to be taking part in the Bought, Borrowed and Bagged (BB&B) that is hosted by Frankie AKA Braine over at http://www.talksupeblog.com/ . This is a weekly meme where you share what books you have bought, borrowed or bagged (this would be books you won or that were gifted to you).

Photobucket

Good Morning, its a busy day here today as we have a few things to do before we leave for our 2nd tournament. Thankfully its in the city so its not that far away.

This week I got to meet up with my friend, Jennifer for a much needed coffee/shopping/lunch date. We haven’t really seen each other since just before Christmas so it was so much fun getting together to talk.

I did buy some books but I plan on making a post at the end of the month showing you what I got throughout the month. I personally think this will be a much better way to keep track of what I am buying in the course of a month.

I was gifted a book from Jennifer and it is this one:

I didn’t get any physical books for review in the mail but I did get a couple of eArcs to review and they are:

This is what I got to read this week, what about you?

Review/ The Mystics of Mile End

Review/ The Mystics of Mile EndThe Mystics of Mile End by Sigal Samuel
Published by HarperCollins on October 13th 2015
Pages: 320
Source: ARC From Publisher, Book From BEA 2015
Goodreads
Genres: Family Life, Fiction, Jewish, Literary

Sigal Samuel’s debut novel, in the vein of Nicole Krauss’s bestselling The History of Love, is an imaginative story that delves into the heart of Jewish mysticism, faith, and family.“This is not an ordinary tree I am making.“This,” he said, “this is the Tree of Knowledge.” In the half-Hasidic, half-hipster Montreal neighborhood of Mile End, eleven-year-old Lev Meyer is discovering that there may be a place for Judaism in his life. As he learns about science in his day school, Lev begins his own extracurricular study of the Bible’s Tree of Knowledge with neighbor Mr. Katz, who is building his own Tree out of trash. Meanwhile his sister Samara is secretly studying for her Bat Mitzvah with next-door neighbor and Holocaust survivor, Mr. Glassman. All the while his father, David, a professor of Jewish mysticism, is a non-believer.When, years later, David has a heart attack, he begins to believe God is speaking to him. While having an affair with one of his students, he delves into the complexities of Kabbalah. Months later Samara, too, grows obsessed with the Kabbalah’s Tree of Life—hiding her interest from those who love her most–and is overcome with reaching the Tree’s highest heights. The neighbors of Mile End have been there all along, but only one of them can catch her when she falls.

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 lucky enough to attend a Book Blogger event when I was at BEA 2015 and pick up this little hidden gem while I was there.

Two things I loved about going into this book was one that it takes place here in a part of Montreal called the Mile End and secondly this is a Canadian author. I am making it my mission in 2016 to read more Canadian authors.

I should let you know that this is a debut novel. I love reading debut novels.

The books is broken down into four parts and each telling a part of the story. The four parts are Lev, Samara, (who are a brother and sister) David (their father) and the Mile End.

In the first section is about Lev and his journey. This was such a fun section and I loved how Lev kept trying to match up his dad with is teacher or vise versa. You can tell that he just wanted his dad to be happy after his mother died. What kid doesn’t want that for their parent?

As a young boy he doesn’t realize that his dad has already met someone else. He thought when he smelt the perfume it was his dad spraying himself with the mother’s perfume. I have to say that I wish Sigal would have touched more on the friendship that Lev had with Alex and what happened.

Also in this chapter we meet the very eccentric neighbor Mr. Katz. He is quite the character and I think he was another character I would have loved to know more about. I loved how he was building a Tree of Knowledge in his front yard. We are also introduced to Mr. Glassman who is taking care of his sick wife who has had a stroke and over time she isn’t doing well. I loved how Mr. Glassman would tell Lev about the numbered tattoos on his arm and so much more. Mr. Glassman reminded me so much of my parents and when my dad got sick and passed away, my mom didn’t want to be left behind on her own and Mr Glassman was the exact same way he didn’t want to live without his wife. This was so touching and sad and yes I did cry. So be prepared for the tears to flow.

The second section is about David. David is Lev and Samara’s dad. I think once his wife died he become more distant from his children and in their religion. David provides the back ground story and what happened the night his wife was killed in a car accident. We also discover another side to David that even his children don’t know about and what his father has been up to all this time.

The third section is about Samara. Samara is like the wild child, reckless and dangerous in a way. Behind everyone’s back she goes a head and takes classes so that she can do her Bat Mitzvah. Its with Mr. Glassman’s help that she does this. I think with everything going on she abandons it until discovering her father’s manuscripts and this seems to entice her. But can she be saved before its too late?

Finally the last chapter is about the Mile End and this is where I feel as though I was missing something along the way. With Samara hallucinating about the Tree of Knowledge and physically climbing Mr Katz’s hand made Tree of Knowledge in his front yard. I just didn’t quite understand that.

This certainly won’t detour me from reading future books from Sigal. I am determined to reread this book again to see if perhaps I missed something. Did I miss something?

 

Review/ Unslut A Diary & A Memoir

UnSlut by Emily Lindin
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on December 29th 2015
Pages: 304
Source: ARC From Publisher, Book From BEA 2015
Goodreads
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Bullying, Dating & Sex, Girls & Women, Juvenile Nonfiction, Social Issues, Women

When Emily Lindin was eleven years old, she was branded a “slut” by the rest of her classmates. For the next few years of her life, she was bullied incessantly at school, after school, and online. At the time, Emily didn't feel comfortable confiding in her parents or in the other adults her my life. But she did keep a diary. Slut/UnSlut is adapted from Emily’s much-acclaimed blog “The UnSlut Project” presenting unaltered excerpts from that diary alongside split-page commentary to provide context and perspective.

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 book at #BEA15 purely by luck and I thought at first this wasn’t the book for me because I normally don’t read this kind of stuff but I decided to give it a chance and I managed to breeze through this in two sittings. This is a debut novel.

The book is basically told in a diary format that Emily wrote when she was in grade 6.  The story begins with Emily in grade 6 and it follows her through grade 7 and 8.

Emily is your typical girl trying to fit in with her peers and how one little mistake has labelled her a “slut” in her school. I am trying to remember when I was in grade 6 if we were like that and I honestly don’t remember maybe I just wasn’t hanging out with those kinds of kids or not. Then again I can’t really compare my experiences with kids now a days because its completely different and I have to say that I honestly don’t think I could handle being a grade 6 now. What I went through some thrity years ago is different from what kids are going through now.

Kids can be so nice but yet so cruel. Why are they so quick to label kinds with names and titles that just aren’t right and appropriate? Things like this carry over with these kids and they hold on to that stigma for ever and we need to teach our kids that this isn’t right.

We as parents need to make communication between child and parent very important and stress that no matter what good and bad we are there to listen and help them out.

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

Review/ Even Monsters Say Good Night

Review/ Even Monsters Say Good NightEven Monsters Say Good Night on August 1, 2015
Pages: 32
Source: Book From BEA 2015

It's bedtime, and Avery hates bedtime. She is positive that there are monsters under her bed, expecially on Halloween. Where else would all of those monsters sleep? After a thorough discussion with her mom about the monster situation, Avery finally goes to her room. Does she dare check under the bed? A mix of story text and speech bubbles blend seamlessly in this humorous bedtime tale that both parents and children will relate to.

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 picture book at #BEA15.

Even Monsters Say Good Night is a super cute picture book. Its about a little girl named Avery and its Halloween night and she hates bed time. She knows there is monsters out there especially on Halloween night.

Avery is your typical little girl questioning all things about bed time and monsters. Her mother reassures Avery that even monsters have a bed time and that they all sleep in various places such as the mummy sleeps in a coffin, werewolves sleep in their dens, and so many more.

The illustrations are appealing and colorful. This book will appeal to kids of all ages. Even Michael liked this super quick and fun read. We had fun flipping through the pages.