Sunday, May 5, 2013

Review of Orphan Train and a Double Giveaway of Tween Books

 Thought for the Day:

"If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that." ~Stephen King~

A Gift for My Writer Friends: Here are some links to articles and posts I think you will find valuable.

Kristin Lamb had two terrific posts this week on creating multi-dimensional characters. They are really worth your time. Click HERE and HERE to see them.

Sticking with the character theme for this week, click HERE for a wonderful post from Literary Rambles  on making your character come to life.

 I was hoping a writer would win this week's drawing since there is a writing book (Kicking in the Wall) along with the ARC of The Truth of Me.  I was pleased when Martina Boone's name popped out of the hat. (Let's hear it for Martina! Woot! Woot!) Martina is a writer and the founder and prinicpal blogger at Adventures in YA and Children's Publishing, a blog I've read for a long time and never miss. If you aren't familiar with that blog, click on the name and take a look. There is always something valuable to read. Martina, I will be sending the books to you this week.

I am going to take a little departure from my usual review of a middle-grade book to talk about a wonderful YA/ Adult crossover novel I read reacently. Yes, every now and then I read a book for grown-ups. I just fell in love with it.  It is Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. Just below you will find the review I wrote for the San Francisco Book Review. I recommend this book highly.

Molly is seventeen and has spent far too much of her short life in foster homes – many of them. When she is caught stealing a book from the library, she is given fifty hours of community service. Her boyfriend helps her find an assignment helping a ninety-one-year-old woman, Vivian, sort through her attic. But her attic holds much more than expected. It holds her life story, and Molly is swept up in that story because there are surprising parallels to her own. This unlikely pair discovers much about each other, but perhaps much more about themselves, as they sort through and talk about the detritus of Vivian’s life. Vivian lost her entire family shortly after immigrating to America from Ireland. All she has left from her time as a nine-year-old orphan is a silver Celtic cross on a chain. She, along with a multitude of other orphans, is taken on a train to the mid-west where each is placed with families. Some of those placements are horror stories, but Vivian is a survivor.
Christina Baker Kline

“But I cannot muster any sorrow for Mrs. Byrne. I think of her cold eyes and perpetual scowl, her unwillingness to see me as anything more than a pair of hands, fingers holding a needle and thread. I am not glad she is dead, but I am not sorry she is gone.”
Christina Baker Kline weaves a most compelling tale based on happenings long forgotten. Her fine research makes this story feel absolutely authentic, and her writing is gorgeous.

As you can tell, I am crazy about this wonderful book. Now the bad news. I'm not giving it away. In fact, I've already loaned it to someone who absolutely promised to give it back because I just might read it again! And I want my daughter to read it too. She will love it. And my sister. And then maybe I'll read it again. And I've got a couple friends who would like this one. Sorry. You will need to get your own.

I will, however, give away two books this week, both listed as Tween books by the Sacramento Book Review, although I think one of them is for the younger crowd. The two books are The Wrigley Riddle by David A. Kelly. You can read my review HERE. The other is On the Run by Clara Bourreau. My good friend and critique partner Elizabeth Varadan reviewed it for SBR and you can read her review HERE. Elizabeth has TWO blogs, both worth reading. You can find them HERE and HERE. The second one is about all things Victorian and so much fun.

Don't forget to visit Shannon Messenger's blog for more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday books.  You can find her wonderful blog by clicking HERE

For the giveaway, sorry, but it is for those who live in the U.S. only. I just can't afford to ship books out of the country. In order to have a chance to win, all you need to do is be a follower (if you aren't already, go to the column on the right and join now. It's easy.) I now have 99 followers. Help me out here, people. One more and I hit triple digits at last!! If you want extra chances in the drawing, post the link to my blog on Facebook or Tweet it or post it on your blog. Let me know and I will give you extra chances in the drawing. Thanks for reading and have a great week.