The Glass Sentence ~ BRC

Well, Christmas and New Year’s have come and gone, almost in a blur, and it’s time again for another get-together of Barrie Summy’s Book Review Club. I haven’t read much over the past month, and the books I have read have been either ones I don’t care to review or books that follow in a series I’ve reviewed for BRC in the past. So…my 12YO son has agreed to write a brief review for me on a book he just finished and termed, “awesome.” It is The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grove. I might, in fact, have been reviewing this book myself if he hadn’t stolen it from me forty pages in, with the justification that he reads faster. So basically, he brought this task on himself.

But, in an effort to make it a little easier for him (he has, after all, gone back to school), I’m pulling the summary from Amazon so he just has to craft his opinions into a few pithy paragraphs:

A New York Times Best Seller
An Indiebound Best Seller
A Kids’ Next Top Ten Book
A Summer/Fall 2014 Indies Introduce New Voices Selection

A Junior Library Guild Selection
One of Publishers Weekly’s Best Summer Reads
















She has only seen the world through maps. She had no idea they were so dangerous.

Boston, 1891. Sophia Tims comes from a family of explorers and cartologers who, for generations, have been traveling and mapping the New World—a world changed by the Great Disruption of 1799, when all the continents were flung into different time periods. Eight years ago, her parents left her with her uncle Shadrack, the foremost cartologer in Boston, and went on an urgent mission. They never returned. Life with her brilliant, absent-minded, adored uncle has taught Sophia to take care of herself.

Then Shadrack is kidnapped. And Sophia, who has rarely been outside of Boston, is the only one who can search for him. Together with Theo, a refugee from the West, she travels over rough terrain and uncharted ocean, encounters pirates and traders, and relies on a combination of Shadrack’s maps, common sense, and her own slantwise powers of observation. But even as Sophia and Theo try to save Shadrack’s life, they are in danger of losing their own.

The Glass Sentence plunges readers into a time and place they will not want to leave, and introduces them to a heroine and hero they will take to their hearts. It is a remarkable debut.

Sounds fascinating, doesn’t it??

12YO’s (somewhat quirky) Review:

Greetings from Antarctica!
Here is the report:
The Glass Sentence is a wonderful book you can read throughout the ages! (Good pun, if you ask me, but you’ll have to read the book to understand!) It is about a girl, whose parents go exploring and never return. She goes to live with her uncle, who is mysteriously kidnapped. She and a friend try to track his captors. What happens next? Well, you’ll have to read to find out!
Come visit soon!​

I liked the book, because of the characters, and the theme of the book. Cartography is amazing, and I loved the maps and explanations of the maps. Overall great book.

Also, The characters were delightful because of their character. The right balance of unsettlement and pleasure really made the characters. The theme was great because of the “we have to save the world” classic, and a twist of why.

Me again with a side note: The image on the left shows the parchment-like cover overlay shielding the actual cover (on right) from view.  Very threatening and mysterious, isn’t it?  I love it!  I also admit to poring over the New World maps printed on the beginning pages of the book.  Actually, now that the 12YO has finished, I can’t wait to get back to this book!

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Posted in book review club on 01/07/2015 12:10 am | 8 Comments

A Little Something Different ~ BRC

It’s December and the last Book Review Club of the year, so pay attention! You could score some great gift ideas if you click through the typewriter link. Now, on to the review of A Little Something Differentby Sandy Hall…

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A Little Something Different

by Sandy Hall


A_Little_Something_Different_for_sitejpgI say this a lot, but this was not a normal read for me–really.  The cover intrigued me, particularly the part about fourteen different viewpoints. So I read the blurb and was even more intrigued. So I bought it. Even though it’s a YA, and I rarely read YA. I read it over a girls’ weekend, and I have to admit, it was perfect for that.  Although…it was occasionally difficult to keep track of who was who.  But I blame myself (and my surroundings).

From Amazon:  An irresistibly sweet romance between two college students told from 14 different viewpoints.

The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together.

Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out.

But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it.

As expected, this book was really cute and really sweet.  Basically it’s about the two shyest, most self-conscious, most uncertain people EVER, and how everyone else witnessing their little non-courtship feels about them getting together.  Fourteen is a lot of perspectives on the same two people–these people, animal and inanimate object were obsessed with Lea and Gabe!  While the park bench perspective wasn’t my favorite, I admit to looking forward to those squirrel encounters.

I notice the girl eating peanuts.  I love nuts.
Nuts, nuts, nuts.
I hop across the grass, trying to be as cute as possible, hoping that maybe if I’m lucky she’ll drop one. And her loss will be my gain.
She sees me and smiles.
I’m in!  Hooray! …”

It’s a pretty together, happy-go-lucky squirrel.

And then there’s the college professor, her wife, Lea’s best friend, Gabe’s brother, his friend, the barista, the bus driver, the Chinese delivery guy, etc.  And everyone (mostly) has a distinct voice, although a couple of the things the college dudes say seem slightly out-of-character, but maybe I’m stereotyping.

Beyond the gimmick of different points of view–don’t get me wrong, I loved it!–Gabe’s story was nicely fleshed out (no spoilers!), but Lea’s, not so much.  I would have liked to get a better sense of her as a person beyond just being reserved and uncertain.  But, it was a nice, quick, romantic, fun read.  (It’s pretty G rated too, although there are fake IDs and college drinking, but beyond that, it’s pretty tame.)

Pick it up, if only for the novelty!

I’ll definitely be curious to see what Sandy Hall comes up with next!

So ends the last BRC review of 2014.  Happy Holidays, everyone!!  See you in 2015!

Posted in book review club, Uncategorized on 12/03/2014 04:17 am | 4 Comments

October’s Book Review Club

It seems almost no time has passed since I posted my last Book Review Club selection, but evidently September flew by, and now October–the month of pumpkins and mums and bats and candy–is upon us!  That means, it’s time to chat about another book.  True to my habit of selecting a book based on my love of its cover, I’ve chosen

Jana Bibi’s Excellent Fortunes

by Betsy Woodman


13166025Barrie Summy’s Book Review Club has been going on for years now, and if you’ve been reading my reviews for any of that time at all, you know that I tend to rave about the books I feature.  Well, I’m not exactly going to rave about this one.  Don’t get me wrong–I enjoyed this book very much.  This book carried me through a flight with my teenage son to Colorado, a few (lovely!) solitary afternoons reading, and a flight home with my pre-teen son, both boys extraordinarily chatty.  It absolutely kept my interest, but I wasn’t obsessively, compulsively reading, which is normally the case with the books I recommend here.  This was more a getting-to-know-you read, like the first in a cozy mystery series, set in a tiny English village, where you’re not quite sure about the detective, but you’re willing to give him/her a shot.  The difference being that this book was the first in a series set in Hamara Nagar, India, in the fifties.  And Jana Bibi is not a detective.

I’ll let you read the blurb from Amazon and then explain a bit more what I mean…

Janet Laird’s life changed the day she inherited her grandfather’s house in a faraway Indian hill station. Ignoring her son’s arguments to come grow old in their family castle in Scotland, she moves with her chatty parrot, Mr. Ganguly and her loyal housekeeper, Mary, to Hamara Nagar, where local merchants are philosophers, the chief of police is a tyrant, and a bagpipe-playing Gurkha keeps the wild monkeys at bay. Settling in, Jana Bibi (as she comes to be known) meets her colorful local neighbors—Feroze Ali Khan of Royal Tailors, who struggles with his business and family, V.K. Ramachandran, whose Treasure Emporium is bursting at the seams with objects of unknown provenance, and Rambir, editor of the local newspaper, who burns the midnight oil at his printing press. When word gets out that the town is in danger of being drowned by a government dam, Jana is enlisted to help put it on the map. Hoping to attract tourists with promises of good things to come, she stacks her deck of cards, readies her fine-feathered assistant—and Jana Bibi’s Excellent Fortunes is born.

Jana Bibi’s Excellent Fortunes is all about character development: Meeting and understanding Jalovepotionnumber10net Laird, her overprotective son Jack, her mischievous parrot Mr. Ganguly, her companion/cook/helper Mary, and all the people she meets when she decides to move from a nawab’s palace, where she’s giving violin lessons, to a Himalayan hill station house she’s inherited from her grandfath
er.  It’s a book about adapting and making your way, fitting in and, eventually, thriving.  It’s about all life’s challenges–some great and some small–and all the joy and sorrow that is invariably encountered along the way.

Janet Laird is a feisty fifty-eight year old woman who thinks nothing of starting over, staying in India when her only family is in Scotland, bravely facing whatever life might throw at her.  This book, in my mind, was her finding her feet in Hamara Nagar with the help of some wonderfully quirky and lovable new friends.  I’m looking forward to reading the next in the series.  I suspect Jana Bibi will have come into her own.

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Posted in book review club, Uncategorized on 10/01/2014 12:10 am | 6 Comments