Sunday, June 10, 2012

Great Books




Are you ever amazed at how many great books there are out there? I read two wonderful books this week. The first was Mirka Breen'sThe Voice of Thunder. I was lucky enough to get a free Kindle copy during the publisher’s special promotion so I didn’t have to wait for the September 4th release date.

I don’t read enough middle grade fiction. That's how reading this book made me feel. I read it in one sitting last weekend because once I got started, I couldn’t put it down. Mirka has taken these big issues: war, prejudice, intolerance, and filters them through the eyes of two ten- year-old  Jewish girls living in Israel in 1967. Mira and Gili are richly drawn characters: neighbors in the same apartment complex and best friends. They have crushes, secrets, dreams, and they are both amused and frightened by their eccentric old neighbor. They could be any one of our younger selves. But at a time when they’re discovering their own voices in the world and through their own diary entries, they also discover a frightening new voice broadcast over the radio.The Voice of Thunder from Cairo threatens the annihilation of all Israeli Jews. As uncles, fathers, and friends go off to fight, Mira and Gili are left to make sense of how their world is changing and what it means for their families and themselves. This is a beautifully written, compelling story you won't want to miss.


The second  book I read and loved was I’ll Be There, a YA novel by Holly Goldberg Sloan. I originally added this to my TBR list because of the cover. I discovered it while reading about illustrator, Neil Swabb's process here. The cover turned out to be just one of many things I will remember about this book. Among them strong, memorable characters revealed through multiple third person narrative, a gripping emotional journey, and a sweet, sweet romance (the very best kind, in my opinion.)


One of the reasons I've experienced so many wonderful books lately is because of the reviews and recommendations on your blogs. So thank you! Do you have a book you're dying to give a shout out today? I'd love to add it to my list.



58 comments:

  1. Where do I begin?

    I'm still shouting out 'The Song of the Whales' by Uri Orlev (an MG novel); and recently read 'Tofu Quilt' by Russell Yeung (MG). I've placed quite a few books on my to-read list because of your reviews, Ruth. :)

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    1. Thanks for these titles, Claudine. And MG, too. Nice.

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  2. I just read PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ and loved it. Definitely one of my faves from this year. These reads sound great...sigh...trekking over to GoodReads to add yet more titles to the TBR ;)

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    1. That title is intriguing. Thanks for the recommendation.

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  3. So glad you're passing on the Great Books. I do appreciate it when I read about a book a blogger has liked and recommended. Now I have two more to add to my TBR list. Thanks.

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    1. You've very welcome, Lee. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

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  4. I just read Closed Hearts by Susan Kay Quinn. That was great. I'm reading Betrayed by Ednah Walters now and that's awesome, too.

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    1. I've been seeing Susan Kay Quinn's name all over the place. Her books are on my list. Thanks.

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  5. These both sound great! I just blogged about all the books I've been reading recently: I think the standout, though, was SCARLET by A.C. Gaughen.

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    1. Thanks so much, Anna. Can't argue with a standout recommendation. Added.

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  6. Thanks for the info, always on the lookout for great books. :) I am currently reading an ARC of Cathy Gohlke's September release, Band of Sisters. She's written another winner; it is excellent.

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  7. Thank you for the detailed reviews. I'd heard of the first book, but not the second one.

    Have you read The Healing Spell or Circle of Secrets by Kimberley Griffiths Little? I loved both of those middle grade books.

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    1. I haven't heard of either of those. Thanks for mentioning them =)

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  8. Thanks for spotlighting these books. I had to put aside Mirka's book to meet my deadline, and in the meantime got some other other assignments, so I'm still on deadline. Yikes. Looking forward to finishing up and cosying up with the girls.

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    1. I hate being too busy to read. But looking forward to a book is good too.

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  9. Oh, Ruth. I'm Me---lting. (I say this not in the way the witch in the Wizard of Oz, but as in heart-melting.)
    Writers are not supposed to react to reviews, good bad or indifferent. But I’ll make this the one exception. Thank you.

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    1. You're very welcome, Mirka. I'm so glad to have read your book and I always love spreading the word about books that leave an imprint on me. Yours did.

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  10. Thanks for the wonderul book recommendations, Ruth! The Voice of Thunder sounds like one I won't want to miss. Then, on a completely different level, I'll Be There sounds delightful.

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    1. You're welcome, Victoria. I think you'll enjoy them, too.

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  11. What well thought out reviews. Adding these to my list, Ruth. They both sound awesome. I love getting book recommendations from writers I trust. And you fit that bill nicely. I appreciate you!!! :-)

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    1. Awww, thank you Robyn. I always appreciate the joy that comes through in your blog posts and even in your comments. Thanks for stopping by. You make me smile =D

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  12. Thanks for the link to Neil Swabb's work, it looks amazing. Those books sound really interesting, thanks for sharing.

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    1. You're welcome, Clare. I know, his work is amazing, isn't it?! I love hearing about how artists work.

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    2. You're welcome, Clare. I know, his work is amazing, isn't it?! I always love hearing about how artists work.

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  13. Hi Ruth!

    I just found your blog and I love it :)

    I agree there are sooo many great books out there, and unfortunately so many are out of print too. I really loved this book called Seal Child. I also loved Skellig.

    For YA, I am adoring Sirena by Donna Jo Napoli, and Grave Mercy, and Chime.

    Thanks!

    Andrea

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Andrea. And for all of the recommendations. I have lots of good reading ahead of me ;)

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  14. I agree with Trisha--Please ignore Vera Deitz is a great read. The last MG book that stands out for me is Turtle in Paradise. I loved it!! :)

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    1. Thanks for these, Coleen. Looks like I'll be reading a lot of MG in the future =)

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  15. So true! I don't read anything anymore unless it's recommended to me---there's just so much to read with so little time. Blogs are a great resource for finding the hidden treasures :D

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    1. I know! I'm never at a loss as to what to read anymore.

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  16. Hi Ruth,

    Most of the books I read are the result of blog reviews. I recently read Cathy Gohlke's book, "Promise Me This," a historical romance. She's a Christy-award winning novelist, and this book shines.

    Blessings,
    Susan :)

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    1. Thanks for the recommendation, Susan =)

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  17. Both of these books sound like winners, and that second book cover is pretty cool! Let's see, if you haven't read Stone Fox yet, you've got to read it. It's an easy MG book, short. You can read it in an hour, but it's so good. I loved reading it to my kids when they were young.

    As for YA, I have to recommend Susan Kaye Quinn's Open Minds and Closed Hearts, first two books in her sci-fi/paranormal trilogy. The MC, Kira, is a zero, a nobody because she never developed mind reading skills that normal teens get. She will never have a normal life. Then she discovers that she's able to jack into others' minds, able to control them. All hell breaks loose in her life from that point on. These are not only page turners, but Susan self-pubbed them and has done a remarkable job at marketing them and hitting the best seller status on Amazon. I don't know where she gets all her energy, but she's an amazing woman.

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    1. Can't go wrong with a quick read. And I've been seeing Susan Kaye Quinn's books all over the blogosphere. I've got to give them a try. Thanks!

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  18. I love reading reviews by bloggy friends, so thanks for these! As far as recommendations, I loved The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, and Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor--all YA. Keeper is a great MG novel (by Kathi Appelt) and I also liked War Horse.
    Happy reading!

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    1. Thanks for the titles, Cynthia. My list is getting longer by the minute!

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  19. I like reading reviews of MG books. Am always on the look out for good books for the 9-12 age group. The first one sounds like wonderful writing. And, the picture on the YA cover does grab you. Glad it is as good as it looks. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I always gravitate to YA, but when I do read MG I always enjoy it very much.

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  20. Ooooh, if you're interested in more middle grade--and aren't opposed to veering into fantasy--add Shannon Messenger's Keeper of the Lost Cities. It's not out until October, but it's amazing.

    :)

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    1. Fantasy is not really my thing, but ya never know. Sometimes you just really want something different. Thanks for these recommendations, Sara =)

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  21. I think MG and YA are some of the best written books out there. I don't read as much MG as YA, but I haven't read either of these. Thanks for sharing. They sound great!

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    1. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did, Susanna!

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  22. I just added both of these books to my wish list.

    I also get wonderful recommendations from reading blogs.

    Have a great weekend.

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  23. I'm revamping my 5th grade classroom library, so I've been trying to slurp down lots of MG that I'm behind on reading. The Voice of Thunder sounds like just the ticket. If you haven't read The Invention of Hugo Cabret or Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick - grab them.

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    1. I haven't read those two yet, Leslie. I'm adding them to my list now. Thanks so much!

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  24. Hi Ruth! I followed you from Kelly's blog. I love how you mentioned that one book is about big issues and the other has strong, memorable characters. I'm sometimes disappointed that so much YA is rather shallow. I like deep books about important things and full of complex characters. The two books you reviewed sound terrific. :-)

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    1. Hi Lexa, thanks for stopping by and following. I've followed you back =)

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  25. These both sound lovely, and I'm totally with you on the cover of IBT! Sparrow Road, Between Shades of Gray, and The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman have been recent favorites.

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    1. I've never heard of that last one, and the title is intriguing. I'll have to look it up. Thanks for the recommendations!

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  26. Sometimes I get overwhelmed by how many great books are out there, and being a slow reader, I know I won't live to read them all. I'm about to start King's The Wind Through the Keyhole, and I can't wait.

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    1. Yeah, it can seem impossible sometimes. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a recommendation. I look forward to looking it up =)

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  27. It's a while since I really lost myself in a great book. My reading goes in phases. I'm planning some summer reading for myself and those two books look like musts for my TBR list.

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    1. Oh good, Rosalind. I hope you enjoy them! =)

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  28. Wow Ruth- these sound great. I especially want to read Voice of Thunder! I recently read the MG The Cabinet of the Earths and enjoyed it, and an old-school book Understood Betsy, which I can't recommend enough!

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  29. I am overwhelmed at the number of books just in my own house. Once you start thinking ebooks, it's overwhelming.

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  30. This is great! I'm making a list of recommended books from the comments.

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