Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Book Review Club (March 2010)

Come in! Come in!

You can see we've renovated since the last Book Review Club meeting. So, pull up a new and comfier chair. Have a cup of coffee from our brand new espresso machine. And get ready for some exceptional book reviews this month. This is our FOURTEENTH get-together! We're happy you're joining us!

No doubt you remember my delightful critique partner, Kathy Krevat. Basically, Kathy took pity on me and offered to write a review for this month's meeting. Most of you know I'm in the final push (we hope!) for finishing i so don't do famous, a book that may be renamed i so don't do endings!!

Here's Kathy and here's her review. (Seriously, what would we do without good friends?)

THOSE WHO SAVE US by Jenna Blum is a beautifully written page turner of a book that raises many questions, some of them unanswerable. It is a Holocaust novel with a new slant – from the perspective of a German woman, Anna, who makes choices that reverberate into a new generation.

I’m sure this book caused intense discussions in book clubs across the country, as it did in mine, about the ethical decisions people make: When it comes to survival for me and my family, what would I do? One woman pointed out the nasty things adults in our communities do to each other – gossip, leave people out, even humiliate people – in order to feel better about themselves. What would they do during a war?

The opening chapter presents a huge question: why didn’t anyone attend the reception following the funeral of Anna’s husband, a World War II veteran and beloved neighbor of the small farming town of New Heidelberg, Minnesota?

The book goes back and forth in time between Anna during World War II and fifty years later, when her adult daughter, Trudy, continues to deal with issues of identity and self worth. Anna has always been silent about the war while Trudy, a German history professor, wants answers.

Anna, the beautiful daughter of low-level Nazi, is abused, but also seemed spoiled, and ultimately reckless, to me. The suspense builds right away when she begins a love affair with a Jewish doctor that ends tragically. Anna takes refuge in the home of the local baker, an unexpectedly heroic and enjoyable character. Soon Anna’s beauty catches the eye of a brutal Nazi officer and she must decide what is best for her child and their survival.

Jenna Blum, who interviewed Holocaust survivors for Steven Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation, deftly weaves the horrific details of the Holocaust into what seemed like intimate and personal situations.

This book continued to haunt me long after I finished it, mostly with the question: What would I do?

Thank you, Kathy! Now....

Please click on the links below for amazing reviews from amazing reviewers!


Ellen Booraem of Freelance Ne'er-do-well: WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON by Grace Lin (*Newbery Honor Winner! middle grade)

Stacy of the Cat's Meow: I SO DON'T DO SPOOKY by Barrie Summy (middle grade) Seriously, folks, this is a very nice surprise for me!! I didn't pay Stacy--not even with extra cookies. ;)

Stacy Nyikos: JUMPED by Rita Williams-Garcia (young adult)

Keri Mikulski: THE SECRET YEAR by Jennifer Hubbard (young adult)

Sarah Laurence: UNDERCOVER by Beth Kephart (young adult)


Patti Abbott: A COLD DAY IN PARADISE by Steve Hamilton (crime fiction)

Beth Yarnall: THE BRIGHTEST STAR IN THE SKY by Marian Keyes (chick lit)

Beth of From the Desk of Bee Drunken: HOME SAFE by Elizabeth Berg (women's fiction)

Prairie Rose of Prairie Rose's Garden: THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett

Alyssa Goodnight of the Writers' Road Less Traveled: THE BETRAYAL OF THE BLOOD LILY by Lauren Willig

Kathy Holmes: THE LOST RECIPE FOR HAPPINESS by Babara O'Neal (women's)

Cassandra of Misadventures of a Teenage Writer: MY SISTER'S KEEPER by Jodi Picoult


Scott Parker: SANDMAN, VOL. 1: PRELUDES AND NOCTURNES by Neil Gaiman (novel)

Sarahlynn of Yeah, but Houdini didn't have these hips: THE COMPLETE PERSEPOLIS by Marjane Satrapi (memoir)


Staci of Life in the Thumb: THE POWER OF HALF by Kevin Salwen and Hannah Salwen

Kaye of the Book Review Forum: THE UNTOLD STORY OF AMERICAN NURSES TRAPPED ON BATAAN BY THE JAPANESE by Elizabeth M. Norman (historical)

Jenn Jilks of My Reflections: FISH! A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results by Paul & Christensen Lundin; WHO MOVED BY CHEESE? by Spencer Johnson, MD (2 books!, self-help)

Zu Vincent of Through the Tollbooth: PLANET HUNTER by Vicki Oransky Wittenstein

**Exceptional previous reviews are only a click away.**

Note to Reviewers: You know the drill.:) If I missed you, leave me a comment and I'll rectify the situation straight away. And award myself one less cookie today!


  1. Thanks, Kathy, for this great review! I saw this book while browsing at the bookstore last week and thought it sounded like an intriguing novel. I'll have to put this on my ever-growing to-read list.

    Barrie, and to anyone who might be looking for my review,...I'm running late, as always, but will have it posted soon. Save me a cup of espresso:)

  2. Good luck with that ending! They haunt me too!!

  3. Sounds amazing.. Thanks for the review. :)

  4. I'm sorry that I didn't read this review before placing my Amazon book order last night! I'm intrigued, definitely. Kathy's fine review made me feel wistful about not having a book club to share it with.

    Barrie -- Good Luck with that pesky ending that won't end!

  5. Oooh, I bet this would stir some good discussion!

  6. Oh, I just saw the cover for this book somewhere and was intrigued by it. I'm so glad to know what it's about--it sounds fascinating. Thanks for the review!

    Barrie, FYI, the link to Keri's site doesn't seem to work.

  7. Thanks for the reviews! Barrie, could you just change the Hollywood to a vaudeville ending and pull her off the stage with a cane? :) Good luck. I hope you get it to your satisfaction.

  8. Ellen, thanks! I've been monkeying with the link to Keri's website. And I think it works now. At least I hope so. :)

  9. Teresaa, the vaudeville ending is very tempting!!

  10. Thank you, Bee, for the good luck wishes. I will let you know if they work. ;)

  11. I love the review of Those Who Save Us - it's been added to the list - which can never be too long.

  12. Reviewing MY SISTER'S KEEPER by Jodi Picoult (adult realistic fiction)

    Not up yet, but almost finished!

  13. Great review, Kathy! I bought this book a few months ago, but I have to confess I haven't opened it.

  14. Barrie, thanks for including Tollbooth in the Book Review Club this month. What a great list of books to check out! Loved the lead review, and just seeing the cover of Those Who Save Us makes me want to read it.

  15. Kathy, that was an amazing review. I usually groan at the idea of reading "yet another" Holocaust book (all that pain) but I will seek this one out gladly and take one of my book clubs with me.

  16. Barrie, you made me laugh with “i so don’t do endings!” Very Lemony Snicket. It would be a good title for your last Sherry book.

    Kathy, wow, that sounds like an amazing story. My great grandfather (a Jew in the US) funded the evacuation of many Jews in Europe and helped them to set up farms in South America.

  17. Such a cool thing you've got going on here. I'll have to consider writing a review...ONE of these days!

  18. Free information about penis enlargement products, how it works, price of products, top products, and review of penis products. Visit
    - male enhancement -

  19. I must admit that this information is great! Keep up the good info. Will be reading your posts.


Comments are always welcome!