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/ And Again by Jessica Chiarella

Review/ And Again by Jessica ChiarellaAnd Again by Jessica Chiarella
Published by Simon and Schuster on January 12th 2016
Pages: 320
Source: ARC From Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
Genres: Dystopian, Family Life, Fantasy, Fiction, General, Literary

In the spirit of Station Eleven and The Age of Miracles, this exciting literary debut novel imagines the consequences when four ordinary individuals are granted a chance to continue their lives in genetically perfect versions of their former bodies.

Would you live your life differently if you were given a second chance? Hannah, David, Connie, and Linda—four terminally ill patients—have been selected for the SUBlife pilot program, which will grant them brand-new, genetically perfect bodies that are exact copies of their former selves—without a single imperfection. Blemishes, scars, freckles, and wrinkles have all disappeared, their fingerprints are different, their vision is impeccable, and most importantly, their illnesses have been cured.

But the fresh start they’ve been given is anything but perfect. Without their old bodies, their new physical identities have been lost. Hannah, an artistic prodigy, has to relearn how to hold a brush; David, a Congressman, grapples with his old habits; Connie, an actress whose stunning looks are restored after a protracted illness, tries to navigate an industry obsessed with physical beauty; and Linda, who spent eight years paralyzed after a car accident, now struggles to reconnect with a family that seems to have built a new life without her. As each tries to re-enter their previous lives and relationships they are faced with the question: how much of your identity rests not just in your mind, but in your heart, your body?

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.

Would you live your life differently if you were given a second chance?

That is what sold me on the book when I got pitched it to read.

I had no idea what was going to happen and after a bit of a slow start I have to say that I ended up really enjoying the story.

What a great way to ring in 2016 then with a debut novel.

As my readers you know I don’t dip myself into a lot of sci fi and that is mainly because its not usually my cup of tea but I have to admit that after reading this I am a little curious about the whole genre. Although, And Again isn’t really in the sci fi section is more of a fiction book that has the sci fi element to it with the cloning of real life people. The story line is modern day and it wasn’t really a far fetched story line like most sci fi is.

I really enjoyed the four main characters: Linda, Hannah, Connie and David. All four people come from four different walks of life all with a tragic life threatening aliments that get them into this program. The book begins as the four patients are waking up from the transformations. As the story progesses we discover secrets, lies and betrayals. They are all going through changes and learning to adjust to their new lives. Will all four be able to adjust to their new bodies or will the revert to their past ways and hinder their progress?

The chapters are all told in alternating points of view from the four characters and its not confusing at all to follow it along and Jessica keeps each chapter quick and simple and she makes it work.

Another thing I loved about the book was that it was all wrapped up at the end and nothing was left hanging.

So my question for you is, Would you live your life differently if you were given a second chance?