Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Book Review Club (April 2010)

We're baaack!! It's the FIFTEENTH meeting of our book review club! Incredible, but true! So...pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee and a cookie and get ready for reviews that will make you want to rush out and buy books!

Three months before dying of breast cancer, Siobhan Dowd finished writing bog child.

There's a lot going on in this young adult novel. A lot for protagonist Fergus McCann to make sense of. bog child is set in the 1981 in Northern Ireland, right by the border of the North and South. While digging up peat, Fergus uncovers the murdered body of a young girl. A body that may date back to the Iron Age. He begins hearing the voice of this person, Mel, and relates her surprising story bit by bit. In addition, his brother is in prison for political reasons and has gone on a hunger strike. His parents argue incessently about "the Troubles." Fergus is studying for exams that will whisk him away from his small town and the Troubles and into a pre-med program in Scotland. He's being "asked" by the IRA to smuggle packages across the border when he goes out for his morning runs. And he's falling in love with the daughter of the archeologist. Oh yeah, and he's learning to drive.

bog child grapples with all kinds of big issues: family, moral, and policital responsibility. Believe it or not, this book also has humorous moments. And the writing is beautiful and lyrical and very Irish. Not a sentence is wasted.

The coveted Carnegie Medal was awarded poshumously in 2009 to Siobhan Dowd for bog child.

It's the best book I've read so far this year.

Please click on the links below for amazing reviews from amazing reviewers! And, surprise, surprise! We have two reviews for the same book. A first for our little book club!


Stacy Nyikos: WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON by Grace Lin (middle grade)

Kaye of the Book Review Forum: THE RANGER'S APPRENTICE SERIES, BOOK #7 by John Flannagan (young adult)

Keri Mikulski: A MATCH MADE IN HIGH SCHOOL by Kristin Walker (young adult)

Thao of serene hours: SHADOW KISS by Richelle Mead (young adult)

Ellen Booraem of Freelance Ne'er-do-well: A CONSPIRACY OF KINGS by Megan Whelan (young adult)


Sarah Laurence: THE LITTLE STRANGER by Sarah Waters (historical)

Alyssa Goodnight of the Writers' Road Less Traveled: THE SWISS COURIER by Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey (historical)

Linda McLaughlin: BETTY ZANE by Zane Grey (historical)

Kathy Holmes: CAUGHT IN A TRAP by Rich Eckardt (humorous mystery)

David Cranmer of The Education of a Pulp Writer: THE GUILT EDGE by Robert J. Randisi (mystery short stories)

Scott Parker: PERDIDO STREET STATION by China Mieville (fantasy)

Beth Yarnall: TOO MUCH TEMPTATION by Lori Foster (contemporary romance) *adult content

Staci of Life in the Thumb: THE COUGAR CLUB by Susan McBride (women's fiction)**

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

**Look! Look! Two reviews of the same book!


Patti Abbott: PICTURES AT A REVOLUTION by Mark Harris

**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 pronto. And award myself one less chocolate today!


  1. “Not a sentence is wasted.”
    These words alone constitute a glowing book review.

  2. Wow.. Sounds amazing. I can't imagine the strength it took for Dowd to finish the book. Very inspiring. Thanks for the recommendation!

  3. This one sounds very intriguing--definitely lots going on.
    Great review!

    And I love how you always suggest we get a cookie before settling in for the reviews. Genius.

  4. Wow! This book is going on my to read list. How sad that the author died. Did she live long enough to know that it would be published?

  5. I'm late, AND I showed up wearing the same dress as someone already here. (I reviewed the same book as Staci.)

  6. Barrie, you had me at, "Three months before dying of breast cancer, Siobhan Dowd finished writing bog child."
    "the writing is beautiful and lyrical and very Irish. Not a sentence is wasted."
    "It's the best book I've read so far this year."

    Excellent review.

  7. I heard about this book when it came out and then I forgot all about it! Thanks, Barrie, for getting it back on my radar. Interlibrary loan, here I come...

  8. Sounds like a great book, Barrie!

  9. The books sounds incredible and I'm so glad she was able to finish and get it published. I know that meant a lot to her. One of my writer friends died of breast cancer, and we were all so grateful that she'd gotten her book published first. It meant so much to her.

  10. Novels about dying are difficult to read - but I love it that there's also humor - think you must have both in an Irish book. I do love mixing humor with deeper issues. Best book all year - high praise - must look into this.

  11. I just might have to read this book. It sounds very complicated, but I like that about books - more than one problem arises around the major problem. It makes me keep reading and wanting to find out what will happen so that all the problems can be resolved.

    Great review, Barrie!

  12. I've read one of her books, A Swift Pure Cry and really enjoyed it. I must get up with her other releases.

  13. All, Barrie accidentally linked to last month’s review on my blog. Here’s the link to April’s book review and interview of The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters.

    Kathy, I'm unable to comment on your post or contact you since I'm not a member of Word Press.

  14. A good book with beautiful writing? That is high praise!

  15. So many good books. This one reminds me of "When I Die" which I'm reading right now. Tough issues. Seriously incredible writing.

  16. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with so many great reads - I shall never get spring cleaning done!


Comments are always welcome!