Sunday, August 20, 2017

#MMBBR #RoundUp #SCR2017 @BookSparks #FirstLine #Reviews #JulyPicks #AugustPicks #GettingCaughtUp #SummerReading



JULY/AUGUST BOOKS:  

I AM STILL WORKING THROUGH THESE AMAZING BOOKS!!  I HAVE LOVED EVERY ONE OF THE BOOKS THAT THIS CHALLENGE HAS OFFERED.  I LOVE THE VARIETY, DEPTH AND ORIGINALITY IN THESE READS.  THEY HAVE KEPT ME FULLY ENGAGED AND ENTERTAINED ALL SUMMER LONG!  HAVE YOU BEEN READING ALONG?  TELL ME WHAT YOU HAVE THOUGHT SO FAR!  WE ARE NOW INTO OUR LAST MONTH, WHICH MAKES ME SAD, BUT FALL READING IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER!! 

Letting go after her abrupt break-up with Samson is harder than Julene thought it would be, especially since her ex has wasted no time in burying himself in the local dating scene. But during an extended visit to her parents overseas, Julene rediscovers her love of art, and a burgeoning career develops. Samson, on the other hand, after trying valiantly―and unsuccessfully―to forget Julene, has settled instead on his own new career. 

When Julene returns home to Australia, a coincidental meeting leads to an emotional reunion―but her love and patience will be tested when she finds out just how busy Samson has been in her absence. Yes, they have both made mistakes they can work through and move past―but when a specter from Samson’s past looms, Julene wonders: Can she trust him again?
#FirstLine  The lock disengaged and the door clicked open, squeaking gently.
REVIEW:  I am a believer is love and in second chances and this book highlights both.  A story that beautiful and moving and give all us hopeless romantics hope.
Richard and Michael, both three years sober, have just decided to celebrate their love by moving in together when Richard―driven by the desire to do the right thing for his ten-year-old-daughter, Brady, whom he has never met―impulsively calls his former father-in-law to connect with her. With that phone call, he jeopardizes the one good thing he has―his relationship with Michael―and also threatens the world of the fundamentalist Christian grandparents who love Brady and see her as payback from God for the alcohol-related death of her mother. Unable to reach an agreement, the two parties hire lawyers who have agendas far beyond the interests of the families―and Brady is initially trusted into Richard and Michael’s care. But when the judge learns that the young girl was present when a questionable act took place while in their custody, she returns Brady to her grandparents. Ultimately, it’s not until further tragedy strikes that both families are finally motivated to actually act in the “best interests of the child.”
#FirstLine  Moving in with Michael should have been perfect.
REVIEW:  No family is perfect.  No love is perfect.  This is a story of family dysfunction and the road to recovery and self exploration.  It is heartbreaking and hopeful.  A book not to be missed.

“There was a time I would have called Lisa Ko’s novel beautifully written, ambitious, and moving, and all of that is true, but it’s more than that now: if you want to understand a forgotten and essential part of the world we live in, The Leavers is required reading.” —Ann Patchett,  author of Commonwealth

Lisa Ko’s powerful debut, The Leavers, is the winner of the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Fiction, awarded by Barbara Kingsolver for a novel that addresses issues of social justice.
 
One morning, Deming Guo’s mother, Polly, an undocumented Chinese immigrant, goes to her job at a nail salon—and never comes home. No one can find any trace of her. 
With his mother gone, eleven-year-old Deming is left mystified and bereft. Eventually adopted by a pair of well-meaning white professors, Deming is moved from the Bronx to a small town upstate and renamed Daniel Wilkinson. But far from all he’s ever known, Daniel struggles to reconcile his adoptive parents’ desire that he assimilate with his memories of his mother and the community he left behind. 
Told from the perspective of both Daniel—as he grows into a directionless young man—and Polly, Ko’s novel gives us one of fiction’s most singular mothers. Loving and selfish, determined and frightened, Polly is forced to make one heartwrenching choice after another. 
Set in New York and China, The Leavers is a vivid examination of borders and belonging. It’s a moving story of how a boy comes into his own when everything he loves is taken away, and how a mother learns to live with the mistakes of the past. 
 
Lisa Ko’s fiction has appeared in Best American Short Stories 2016, Apogee Journal, Narrative,Copper Nickel, the Asian Pacific American Journal, and elsewhere. She has been awarded fellowships and residencies from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the MacDowell Colony, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Writers OMI at Ledig House, the Jerome Foundation, and Blue Mountain Center, among others. She was born in New York City, where she now lives. Visit her at lisa-ko.com.
#FirstLine ~ The day before Deming Guo saw his mother for the last time, she surprised him at school.
A story that is important and relevant...The Leavers has impact in both message and characters.  You will be moved by the story and forever changed.
** NATIONAL BESTSELLER **

“From its startling opening line right through to its stunning conclusion, Girl in Snow is a perfectly paced and tautly plotted thriller. Danya Kukafka’s misfit characters are richly drawn, her prose is both elegant and eerie—this is an incredibly accomplished debut.” Paula Hawkins, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Girl on the Train and Into the Water 

WHO ARE YOU WHEN NO ONE IS WATCHING?

When a beloved high schooler named Lucinda Hayes is found murdered, no one in her sleepy Colorado suburb is untouched—not the boy who loved her too much; not the girl who wanted her perfect life; not the officer assigned to investigate her murder. In the aftermath of the tragedy, these three indelible characters—Cameron, Jade, and Russ—must each confront their darkest secrets in an effort to find solace, the truth, or both. In crystalline prose, Danya Kukafka offers a brilliant exploration of identity and of the razor-sharp line between love and obsession, between watching and seeing, between truth and memory.

Compulsively readable and powerfully moving, Girl in Snow offers an unforgettable reading experience and introduces a singular new talent in Danya Kukafka.
#FirstLine ~ When they told him Lucinda Hayes was dead, Cameron thought of her shoulder blades and how they framed her naked spine, like a pair of static lungs.  
A gripping and thrilling mystery that kept me buzzing through the pages of the book.  I found this book fully engaging and utterly entertaining.  It was one of those reads that was unlike any other book I have read.  There is something so purely human about this story...something that gets to the core of human tragedy and captures the the aftermath.  Such a hard to put down read.
 
A sly debut story collection that conjures the experience of adolescence through the eyes of Chinese American girls growing up in New York City—for readers of Zadie Smith, Helen Oyeyemi, and Junot Díaz

A fresh new voice emerges with the arrival of Sour Heart, establishing Jenny Zhang as a frank and subversive interpreter of the immigrant experience in America. Her stories cut across generations and continents, moving from the fraught halls of a public school in Flushing, Queens, to the tumultuous streets of Shanghai, China, during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. In the absence of grown-ups, latchkey kids experiment on each other until one day the experiments turn violent; an overbearing mother abandons her artistic aspirations to come to America but relives her glory days through karaoke; and a shy loner struggles to master English so she can speak to God.

Narrated by the daughters of Chinese immigrants who fled imperiled lives as artists back home only to struggle to stay afloat—dumpster diving for food and scamming Atlantic City casino buses to make a buck—these seven stories showcase Zhang’s compassion, moral courage, and a perverse sense of humor reminiscent of Portnoy’s Complaint. A darkly funny and intimate rendering of girlhood, Sour Heart examines what it means to belong to a family, to find your home, leave it, reject it, and return again.
#FirstLine ~ Back when my parents and I lived in Bushwick in a building sandwiched between a drug house and another drug house, the only difference being that the dealers in the one drug house were also the users and so more predictable.

From Danielle Paige, the New York Times bestselling author of Dorothy Must Die, comes a re-imagining of "The Snow Queen" fairy tale.
Seventeen-year-old Snow has spent the majority of her life within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she's not crazy and doesn't belong there. When she meets a mysterious, handsome new orderly and dreams about a strange twisted tree she realizes she must escape and figure out who she really is.
Using her trusting friend Bale as a distraction, Snow breaks free and races into the nearby woods. Suddenly, everything isn't what it seems, the line between reality and fantasy begins to blur, and she finds herself in icy Algid--her true home--with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai, none of whom she's sure she can trust. As secret after secret is revealed, Snow discovers that she is on the run from a royal lineage she's destined to inherit, a father more powerful and ruthless than she could have imagined, and choices of the heart that could change the fate of everything . . . including Snow's return to the world she once knew.
This breathtaking first volume begins the story of how Snow becomes a villain, a queen, and ultimately a hero.
#FirstLine ~ First kisses sometimes wake slumbering princesses, undo spells, and spark happily ever afters. 
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