Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Book Review Club (April Meeting)

Welcome, welcome, welcome!

It's the THIRD meeting of The Book Review Club. We are really getting good at this. Look at the coffee already percolating in the corner. And the cute little basket of assorted flavored creams. And another cute little basket filled with muffins. Not to mention all the very amazing book reviews we've written! (I divided them up by Children's, YA, Adult this month. Let me know what you think.) A HUGE thank-you to all our dedicated reviewers!

And who is this walking through the door? One of my very own critique partners? One of the Denny's Chicks? Yes, it's KATHY KREVAT. And she's saying something to me, "Go away and write I So Don't Do Makeup! I'm doing the book review this month."

Awww. Do I have the best critique partners or what? Last month, Kelly took the reins. And, now, Kathy. Yes, I do understand that I'm picking up the tab at Denny's. Grand slams all around! BTW, if I missed linking to anyone's review, it's totally my bad. Nothing to do with Kathy. Leave a comment and I'll fix you right up.

Take it away, Kathy....

Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos is my favorite book of all time. I'm so in love with this book that I'm having a hard time writing a review that does it justice.

From the cover copy: A devoted city dweller, Cornelia Brown surprised no one more than herself when she was gripped by the sudden, inescapable desire to leave urban life behind and head for an idyllic suburb. Though she knows she and her beloved huband, Teo, have made the right move, she approaches her new life with trepidation and struggles to forge friendships in her new home.

De los Santos weaves together the lives of Cornelia, queen bee Piper, the enigmatic Lake and her gifted son Dev with an intricate plot that moves the reader toward the startling conclusion demonstrating the power of love, family and friendship.

I love de los Santos' writing styles. As an award winning poet, her prose is true artistry.

Here's an example from page 53: What I mean by the first day of fall is that day when you suddenly understand with your whole body that the season has changed. When the air feels snappier against your skin and the sky's blueness turns wistful, and the humming of insects shifts pitch, and you just know like you know your own name that summer is over.

I love the characters who are genuine and true as they feel their way through the various complexities of life. I immediately appreciated Cornelia's wit and humor. I came to understand and even like Piper, especially when she commits herself so whole-heartedly to her dying friend. We get to be in the point of view of Cornelia, Piper and Dev. De los Santos is amazingly accurate in the feelings and thoughts of a brilliant, thirteen-year-old boy finding his way in a new school, his first love, and solving a family mystery.

I read this book three times. And I cried at the ending all three times.

My husband bought me a signed first edition for my birthday. I'll treasure it forever.

And, now onto the intrepid Book Review Club reviewers! They've gone all out to bring you some interesting books. Please visit them one and all!

Oh...and sending speedy recovery wishes for her knee replacement surgery to our reviewer Ellen Booraem of Freelance Ne'er-Do-Well




Thao of serene hours: I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE by Stephanie Kuehnert

Sarah Laurence: THE WILD GIRLS by Pat Murphy--includes author interview

Sarahlynn of Yeah, but Houdini didn't have these hips: THE DEBS by Susan McBride

Keri Mikulski: EVERMORE by Alyson Noel

Jody Feldman: JUST ONE WISH by Janette Rallison

Kathy Holmes: APRIL FOOL'S DAY (NANCY DREW AND THE CLUE CREW) by Carolyn Keene (Middle Grade)

Stacy Nyikos: THE SUMMERLANDS by Michael Chabon (Middle Grade)


Scott Parker: DROOD by Dan Simmons

Patti Abbott: THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP by John Irving

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin of The Tainted Archive: HOMBRE by Elmore Leonard

San Diego Momma: LOVING FRANK by Nancy Horan

Kaye of The Road Goes Ever Ever On: THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES by Sue Monk

Jenn Jilks: PLAIN TRUTH by Jodi Picoult

D.A. Riser of the Writing Greek: THE SEVENTH SCROLL by Wilbur Smith

Alyssa Goodnight: REVENGE OF THE SPELLMANS by Lisa Lutz

David Cranmer of The Education of a Pulp Writer: TALES FROM DEADWOOD:THE TROOPERS by Mike Jameson

Blue Violet's Book Blog: THE BROKEN PARACHUTE MAN by Robert Bolin


Anonymous said...

I'm just a little late to the party. I did write one for The Broken Parachute Man:A Novel of Medical Intrigue.

Sorry, I'm so slow.

Now, on to yours (Kathy's)....if ever a review was convincing, this is. I'm definitely going to have to read it.

Barrie said...

I agree. Kathy did a great job with this review. Like, you, I'm going to read Belong to Me.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

Just posted my piece and thanks for the invite to be a part of the Book Review Club. I very much enjoy the feeling of community.

Off to read all the other entries now.

Swishy said...

I adore, adore, adore Belong to Me! Such a great book (as is her other one, Love Walked In).

Sarah Laurence said...

Barrie, thanks so much for hosting our book club again. I prefer this new format of grouping by age. I will be back to visit more posts later. (You are still date stamping a month earlier so I corrected my button. We’ll figure this out by next month.)

Hi Kathy, nice review. You make me want to read the book from that quotation and your praise. Her Love Walked In is in my stack to be read already.

Beth said...

Even when it turns out I've already read many of the books reviewed, I love to see that others did too.
Belong To Me was excellent.

D.A. Riser said...

Wow, so many books - so little time!

I enjoyed your review, Kathy, particularly the excerpts.

Keri Mikulski said...

Sounds fabulous, Kathy! Thanks for the review. :)

Cid said...

Great choices, I've added them to my "Must Read" list. I would love to add a little Cancon to your reviews, how do I get in on the reviewing? I just finished "The Book Of Negroes" by Laurence Hill, an unbelieveable read and "The Friday Night Knitting Club", light and easy but good. Next up "A Thousand Splendid Suns" and "Elegance of the Hedgehog" I would love to share some thoguhts with everyone.

Mrs. O said...

Hello Mrs. Summy! I am running right out to order Belong to Me from the library. I love it when someone is passionate about a book like that. Some of your readers might be interested in a cute website that's full of book reviews by kids for kids. It's wonderful and you might even get a kid you know to post a review of your book -wink, wink, nudge, nudge:

Happy reading all!

kayerj said...

I loved your review, it sounds like the kind of book I would love. The best part of blogging is finding people with so many wonderful things to share. I'll add this book to my ever growing list of books I'd like to read.

Thanks for hosting!

Barrie said...

Thank you Mrs. O! As usual, you are a fund of information. p.s.That was a fun dinner the other night. Your old dh was obnoxious and funny. ;)

Charles Gramlich said...

Three meetings already? Ya'll are off to a running start.

kelly hayes said...

Great rewiew! I agree about the writing in Belong to Me. It's very poetic. And piper is a wonderfully complex character. Good job making everyone want to read the book.

San Diego Momma said...

WAIT! I won't have my review up until 11!


And great review, Kathy!

Unknown said...

i read another book by de los santos, but i can't remember the title--oh, oh! love walked in (or something like that). it was this same cornelia character, i believe. great review--i like that book cover!

Anonymous said...

Wow, wow, wow, Kathy! And you read it 3 times. I'm not sure I ever read a book again all the way through - maybe only "Gone With The Wind" maybe that's why I don't after reading such a huge book twice.

Nice review!

Alyssa Goodnight said...

Where is the basket of muffins??

'Grand Slams all around'...hee hee hee!

I loved the excerpt--her writing is beautiful.

Thanks for organizing, Barrie--I really enjoy this!

Thao said...

it sounds so good. I can't believe you read it three times. I have to go and find this book.

I posted my piece at last ^^

Stacy said...

I adore Love Walked In, but haven't picked up Belong to Me yet. I shall have to put it on my list.

Sarahlynn said...

In addition to the coffee and muffins, I wonder if I can't get a basket containing each month's books, to peruse at my leisure?

I wish I could just quit my day job and read ALL THE TIME.

But I think my kids would miss me.

Don Mills Diva said...

I have heard about this book and now I want to read it even more!

kayerj said...

I don't know if you accept blog awards--if you do I have one for you on my page, thanks for being an inspiration

Lainey-Paney said...

Oh, that "Belong to me" book...I'm gonna have to read that!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I LOVED this book, too. It was so beautiful.
I'm glad to read that you write! I'm "so going to check out your books!"

Unknown said...

Good luck with the book, Barrie. I hope it's coming along well!

Gabriele Goldstone said...

This blog is just a hub of activity. Reading, writing, reviewing. Wow.

Amy said...

After reading this post, I really want to read Belong to Me!

In response to your comment on my blog, those 2 Aveda products I listed are great! I've only been using them for a few days and my hair seems a lot more manageable. Before, my hair would get very limp as the day went on, but using the Phomollient styling foam has given me volume that lasts all day. The Brilliant Universal cream adds shine and helps with frizziness. My hair is usually thick and frizzy, so with those two products combined, it works wonders :)