Throwback Thursday – August 31st – My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme created by Renee @ It’s Book Talk. This meme is an awesome way to share favorites that were published over a year ago or even books that you’re finally reading after much time has passed. I have plenty of those to share! If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, and you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic as well. Please link back to her@It’s Book Talk.

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-This week’s Pick-

My Sister’s Keeper

by Jodi Picoult

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Leave it to Jodi Picoult to captivate me from cover to cover. I read this in 2005 and remember that I couldn’t put it down until the final shocking end.

Sara’s daughter Kate is sick. She has leukemia and Sara will do whatever it takes to keep her alive. When Anna is born, she quickly becomes her sister Kate’s savior, but as time goes on, Anna wants a life of her own.

“If you have a sister and she dies, do you stop saying you have one? Or are you always a sister, even when the other half of the equation is gone?…I didn’t come to see her because it would make me feel better. I came because without her, it’s hard to remember who I am.” 

A life is at stake and family relationships spin out of control when Anna files a lawsuit against her parents to be removed from the situation. Who is it that’s right when not one of them is sure of their own decisions on this controversial matter?

I couldn’t put the book down. The book is written with multiple character viewpoints and the story unfolds quickly. Picoult has the capability of twisting a story so far that you can never figure out what’s ahead or how it’ll end.  I love the way she writes and she’s one of my favorite authors. This is just one of my favorite books by her.

My rating for this book is 5*****

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Blurb: Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate — a life and a role that she has never challenged… until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister—and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves.

A provocative novel that raises some important ethical issues, My Sister’s Keeper is the story of one family’s struggle for survival at all human costs and a stunning parable for all time.

You can find the book on Amazon and Goodreads

  • Series: Picoult, Jodi (Large Print)
  • Hardcover: 712 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; Large Print edition (May 18, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743486196
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743486194

Here’s the movie trailer below. I thought the movie was good, but enjoyed the book much more…

Continue reading “Throwback Thursday – August 31st – My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult”

Meet the Reader Series with David – proud Gleeman in Branwen’s adventuring party & Hiatus

I’m taking a hiatus from Breakfast and a Book because I’m catching up on reading and won’t be able to add a new book this week. I should be back next week.

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I’m always looking for friends on Goodreads that have similar tastes. I like learning about new books and discussing them with others, so I decided to experiment with a new idea and thought it would be neat to find readers that I’m friends with on Goodreads and share them with you. Maybe they might be someone you’d like to add too. As I find readers with an interest, I’ll introduce them.

Meet the Reader Series

Today’s Featured Reader:

David – proud Gleeman in Branwen’s adventuring party

Q: Did you enjoy reading as a child? If so, what were some of your favorite books?

A: I did!  I actually started reading at a very young age.  My parents used to have audio cassettes of me reading “Sam & The Firefly” out loud when I was only two and a half years old.  During my grammar school years, I mostly read mysteries, it probably was influenced by my love of Scooby Doo cartoons at that time! I used to read series like “The Hardy Boys“, “Encyclopedia Brown“, and “The Three Investigators“.  Then when I was around 12 years old, I read Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None”, which was unlike anything I had ever read before, and I realized how magical books could really be!

Q: What are some of your favorite books this year or last?

A: Well, the last couple of years, I’ve been taking part in a buddy read of the entire “Wheel of Time” series with one of my best friends.  That’s over 12,000 pages, it might be the most epic buddy read in history!  This series has such vast world building and is populated with compelling characters who truly grow as the series goes on, it’s been an enthralling read.  I also read “To Kill a Mockingbird” last year for the very first time… such a powerful book, I have no idea why I waited so long to read it!

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Q: What are your favorite book genres?

A: My first love is the fantasy genre, both high fantasy and urban fantasy.  There are so many new worlds and imaginative adventures to find there.  I also like science fiction, although truth be told, I don’t have a very sciencey brain, so sometimes I can get a little lost if the author gets really intricate with the scientific elements… this tends to happen to me a lot in the cyberpunk and steampunk sub genres.  Still, the stories themselves are often so good I still enjoy the stories even if I get confused at times.  I’m also a big fan of mysteries and graphic novels as well.

Q: What are some of your favorite authors?

A: Well, I’ve always credited Agatha Christie for igniting my love of reading, so I will becollage-2017-08-30-1.png eternally grateful to her for that!  One of my favorite authors right now is Brandon Sanderson, who I think has crafted some of the most amazing stories I have ever read.  Other authors whose work has really stayed with me are J.K. Rowling, N.K. Jemisin, Robert Jordan, Jim Butcher, Gail Simone, Eve Forward, and Brian K. Vaughan. Also, one author I have to give a special mention to is R.A. Salvatore.  Not only do I love his action-packed fantasy novels (especially with his ability to describe sword fights in such a fluid way), but he indirectly introduced me to my friend Branwen, the same person I’m currently doing the “Wheel of Time” buddy read with!  I was reading Salvatore’s “Sojourn” novel when Branwen started posting on my GoodReads status updates about the book, and through our appreciation of the same author, she and I began a wonderful friendship that continues to this day!

You can check out Branwen’s Goodreads Profile HERE. 

Q: How many books are on your TBR shelf?

A: Oooh… like many people, I don’t think I’ll ever manage to read every book on my TBR shelf!  I think right now there are over 700 books on it! Exposure to more books is both a blessing and a curse of GoodReads.  On the one hand, it introduces me to so many books out there that sound like something I’d love to read.  However, the operative phrase there is “so many”!  Thanks to Goodreads, I now know about all these books I want to read, but I’ll never have time to read them all unless I live to be at least 900 years old!

Q: What’s an emotional book, or one you won’t forget that you’ve read this year or last?

A: The first book that sprang to mind when you asked this is “All The Light We Cannot See”.  It was such a heart-wrenching story about how war tears people apart on all sides.  I was especially moved by Werner’s role in the book.  Watching him start out as such a sweet and innocent child and being slowly indoctrinated into the Hitler youth movement was equal parts tragic and horrifying.  Plus, there are all the hardships that Marie-Laure suffered while trying to elude the Nazis. Not gonna lie, while reading it, my eyes did water up several times!

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Q: Is there a book you really didn’t enjoy this year or last?

A: One book I just couldn’t get into was a paranormal mystery called “Dark Side of Sunset Pointe“. It sounded great on paper, a freelance photographer who saw ghosts and was plagued by premonitions, trying to use his link with the supernatural to help solve a murder. Unfortunately, I found the characters bland and some of the attempts at writing in a noir style just felt too forced to me. Still, the book has several four-star and five-star reviews on Goodreads, so just because it wasn’t for me doesn’t mean it’s not for everyone.

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Q: What are you reading now?

A: I’m up to Book #7 in the Wheel of Time buddy read, which is “A Crown of Swords”.  It’s fairly well known that the pacing of the Wheel of Time novels slow down in the middle of the series, and that’s certainly true of this book.  Still, I’m fully invested in the characters and they’re still interesting to read about, even when they’re not doing a whole lot but traveling and arguing. I’m also currently reading a gothic vampire novel named “Corcitura” by Melika Dannese Lux.  Reading it, I’m constantly blown away by Melika’s ability to weave such a complex tale and to even inject so much humor into a horror novel.  Melika is one of the few authors whose writing can make you laugh, gasp, and cry all within the same page!

Q: They say to never judge a book by its cover, but just how important is the book cover to you?

A: In all honesty, not very.  When I’m in a bookstore, I’m much more interested in the description on the back than the picture on the cover. While a great cover can certainly help catch the eye, there are plenty of books I’ve enjoyed that had lame covers but brilliant plot summaries.  “Storm Front” by Jim Butcher and “Mind Games” by Carolyn Crane are two books that immediately come to mind that I was so glad I bought and read even though their covers did nothing for me.

Q: Do you have a blog? Have you ever thought about starting one?

A: I don’t have a blog myself.  I would love to start one someday, but much like reading all 700 books on my TBR shelf, this is another thing that there just aren’t enough hours in the day for me to be able to do right now.

Q: Have you written anything? If not, have you ever thought about writing your own book?

A: I actually am working on a book right now!  I had an idea for a while about an urbanpexels-photo-210661.jpeg fantasy series featuring a group of social workers called “The Good Spirits” who specialize with paranormal beings and help them to thrive in a world where many people fear them. For the last couple of years, things have been so crazy in my personal life, I didn’t have the time or energy to pursue it, but I recently became more determined to get back into my writing.  The first book is called “When Only Ghosts Remain” and is about a cult of ruthless monster hunters called “The Night Suns” who are trying to unleash an army of malevolent spirits on the world in order to convince everyone how dangerous these paranormal creatures supposedly are and why their own organization is supposedly necessary. The Good Spirits have to stop the Night Suns’ plot and protect both humanity and the paranormal beings from being harmed by the angry ghosts. I’ll be posting chapters on Wattpad as I complete them.

Q: Which do you enjoy more, e-books or physical books? How about audio books?

A: This is a tough one!  I actually resisted e-books for years, but after finally getting a Kindle, I have to admit that e-books are so convenient as far as storage space and being 51QEbDDolEL._SX425_able to highlight certain passages.  Still, there’s just something about flipping through the pages of a physical book that E-readers just can’t replace.  If I had to pick only one format or the other, I think I would have to go with physical books. I don’t do audio books myself, I’d rather read books in my own voice.

Q: Where do the majority of your books come from? (Library, bookstore)

A: These days, the majority of my books come from Amazon.  That ultra convenient “one-click” buying option has cost me hundreds of dollars over the years!  I do love browsing through the shelves of a bookstore, but unfortunately there just aren’t as many of them left these days.  There used to be a Borders bookstore about 10 minutes away from me which was one of my favorite places to shop, but once Borders closed, the nearest bookstore is a lot further away now. So even most of my physical books come from online stores these days.

Continue to learn more about David…

Continue reading “Meet the Reader Series with David – proud Gleeman in Branwen’s adventuring party & Hiatus”

Should YA Books Have Parental Ratings?

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Here lately I’ve come across a few YA books that contained some content I thought might be inappropriate for young readers. With an eleven year old advanced reader, I’m reading more YA to be sure that the books are appropriate beforehand. YA can be directed at ages twelve on up to twenty-five which we all know is a broad range. Many of these books don’t come with an age rating at all and online research is needed, or the book must be screened beforehand.

Our library has become so strict with what children are able to check out. If they attempt to checkout an R-rated movie and they are under the age of eighteen, the computer will alert the library clerk and the movie will be put back on the shelf. However, they can check out any book they want. If a teen wants to buy a mature video game at Wal-Mart, the parent has to to buy it because they won’t allow him to.

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The problem with books is that many parents don’t have time to read and screen books before their kids read them. I’m sure plenty of parents don’t even like to read or just don’t feel the need to. Reading isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Now, I’ve read YA books that are perfect for my eleven year old and others that I’d never want her to read before she’s upper high school level. How wonderful it would be to open a book and read a short rating that stated: Strong use of language, sexual situations, suicide, incest. Then, you’d know right away whether a book is appropriate. Would that be too much of a spoiler? Maybe…

Earlier this year I read All the Ugly and Wonderful Things. I made the mistake of recommending the book to a few friends on GR. Needless to say, I lost a few friends over it and all because of the content. They told me that they never would’ve read the book had they known that a thirteen year old was having a sexual relationship with a young adult. They felt that the author was promoting this behavior and that it was child abuse. I didn’t feel that way, but it was at that moment that I realized people are sensitive to different things. What was I thinking when I recommended that book? I mean, it’s just a book, right? My thoughts were on the fact that Wavy,  at thirteen, was not like most other thirteen year olds, and that somehow that made the relationship okay. Others would say no, without a doubt, its wrong. It’s true that teens all have different maturity levels and can’t be pigeonholed, like in Wavy’s case. So saying that a book is for ages thirteen and up might not work for everyone.

I’ve also noticed that there are people who won’t read a book if it involves rape. Some people have triggers, and I’m talking about adult readers here. How would they feel about their kids reading books involving sexual situations, promiscuity, drug use, and sexual abuse when they don’t even like reading them?

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I’m getting off the YA topic here, but we as parents raise our children differently and I was thinking that ratings on YA books might be helpful to many. I personally would just like to see a short warning that stated the content where applicable, at least with YA. Like watching a movie trailer, the rating is exposed before the movie is even released. I’m not in any way claiming that the book’s content should be changed or stating that the content is bad, only that maybe it would be beneficial to have a short statement if the book contains controversial content for young readers.

Continue for my questions…

Continue reading “Should YA Books Have Parental Ratings?”

Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poets for the Next Generation – Book Review

Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poets for the Next Generation

by: Brett Fletcher Lauer (Author)Lynn Melnick (Author)Carolyn Forché (Introduction)

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I picked this up from my local library a while back after there was some controversy with a few parents over the book being considered YA due to the content. They felt that it was inappropriate and came in complaining about the book after their kids brought it home. At the age of 11, my oldest daughter is starting to read some YA and I thought I’d like to check this one out to see what the fuss was all about and if it’s something she could read. Plus, I love poetry.

The book is a compilation of about one hundred poems from different authors on various topics including racism, drug use, sexual orientation, sexual abuse, common problems that teens experience with friends and family, and others. It does contain some profanity. It’s a good mix of poems and I loved some and didn’t like others. A few of my favorites are:

“Richer Than Anyone in Heaven,”

“Boyishly”

“High-School Picture Re-Take Day”

“That’s Everything Inevitable”

“Sonnet”

“Second Summer”

“The Wait for Cake”

My absolute favorite was:
“Concerning the Land to the South of Our Neighbors to the North.”

I enjoyed the book, but I’m not sure about this being used in classrooms and feel that it might be best for upper high school due to some of the content. YA can mean different ages from twelve all the way up to twenty-five and I noticed that School Library Journal lists this as tenth grade and up, but I don’t think it’s appropriate for all tenth graders. Some of these poems are intense and a few can be offensive. It’s books like these that make me wish (even more) that there was a rating system in place for books just like movies, then parents and teachers could decide right away whether a book is or isn’t appropriate for their readers. I’m no expert, but in my opinion, even as an adult you really have to go into this book with an open mind.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the afterward which contains information about the poets and some short Q&A’s for each. What I didn’t like was that the questions asked were about favorite foods. artists, and mottos. I would’ve liked to learn why they wrote the poem that was featured in the book and what inspired them to write these poems in the first place.

My rating on this is 3.5***

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  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers (March 10, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670014796
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670014798

Blurb: One hundred poems. One hundred voices. One hundred different points of view.

Here is a cross-section of American poetry as it is right now—full of grit and love, sparkling with humor, searing the heart, smashing through boundaries on every page. Please Excuse This Poem features one hundred acclaimed younger poets from truly diverse backgrounds and points of view, whose work has appeared everywhere from The New Yorker to Twitter, tackling a startling range of subjects in a startling range of poetic forms. Dealing with the aftermath of war; unpacking the meaning of “the rape joke”; sharing the tender moments at the start of a love affair: these poems tell the world as they see it.

Editors Brett Fletcher Lauer and Lynn Melnick have crafted a book that is a must-read for those wanting to know the future of poetry. With an introduction from award-winning poet, editor, and translator Carolyn Forché, Please Excuse This Poem has the power to change the way you look at the world. It is The Best American Nonrequired Reading—in poetry form.

Find it on Amazon and Goodreads


 

Here you can see the authors introduce the book and also hear some of the poems.

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About the Authors:

Brett Fletcher Lauer

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Brett Fletcher Lauer is the deputy director of the Poetry Society of America and the poetry editor of A Public Space, and the author of memoir Fake Missed Connections: Divorce, Online Dating, and Other Failures, and the poetry collection A Hotel In Belgium. In addition to co-editing several anthologies, including Please Excuse this Poem: 100 News Poets for the Next Generation and Isn’t It Romantic: 100 Love Poems by Younger American Poets, he is the poetry co-chair for the Brooklyn Book Festival. – Goodreads

Find Brett Fletcher Lauer on:

Goodreads | Website | Amazon


Lynn Melnick

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Lynn Melnick is the author of the poetry collections Landscape with Sex and Violence (forthcoming, 2017) and If I Should Say I Have Hope (2012), both with YesYes Books, and the co-editor of Please Excuse This Poem: 100 Poets for the Next Generation (Viking, 2015). Her poetry has appeared in APR, The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, A Public Space, and elsewhere, and she has written essays and book reviews for Boston Review, LA Review of Books, and Poetry Daily, among others. A 2017-2018 fellow at the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, she also teaches poetry at the 92Y and serves on the Executive Board of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts. Born in Indianapolis, she grew up in Los Angeles and currently lives in Brooklyn. – Goodreads

Find Lynn Melnick on:

Goodreads | Website | Amazon

 

Continue reading “Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poets for the Next Generation – Book Review”