February/March 2011 Parker’s Picks

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, by Morgan Matson

Life takes us on many journeys where we can discover a great deal about ourselves. This is especially true for Amy Curry in this superb coming of age story. Amy’s father has recently died in an accident and her mother decides they should leave their home in California and venture out to begin a new life in Connecticut.  Amy finishes up her junior year and heads to Connecticut in the family car but is accompanied by a family friend, Roger, whom she has never met before.  Even though the trip is well planned by Amy’s mother, Roger and Amy find themselves veering off the path to stumble upon some wonderful life experiences.  You’ll find yourself loving their blossoming romance! What road trip wouldn’t be complete without a playlist, games, food, and pictures! “You could be forced to take a trip, not knowing who you would meet. Not knowing that it would change your life.” (Amy)

Before I FallBefore I Fall by Lauren Oliver

The line, “live like you were dying” from a Tim McGraw song came to my mind as I first began this book because it’s exactly what is happening to Samantha Kingston! It’s Friday, February 12th, Samantha has everything a girl would want in high school – popularity, friends, and a boyfriend. Unfortunately for her February 12th is the last day of her life. Here’s the twist though – for some peculiar reason she wakes up each morning to relive her last day – seven times!  Gradually Samantha ascertains as she alters her decisions each day she learns how to become a better person – sadly bittersweet.  I liked this book because of the message the author conveyed – make good choices.

Bloodroot Bloodroot, by Amy Greene

The Appalachia region is home to the backwoods of Bloodroot Mountain where families have lived for many years. It’s the story of Byrdie Lamb and her multi-generational family.  Their stories of struggles and tragedies will have you mesmerized.  Myra, Byrdie’s granddaughter’s existence is quite heartbreaking. She longed to be loved but she pays a high price for it. I loved how this book is told through many voices. I especially liked how the dialect of the region was used.  It is heart wrenching to discover how many hardships each of the characters had to endure.  The lives of the main characters center on their hopes, dreams, adversities, and romances. All of these elements are essential to this captivating tale that makes for a wonderful debut novel by Amy Greene.

Dream Merchant Saga Book 1 The...The Dream Merchant Saga, Book 1: The Magic Crystal, by Lorna Suzuki

What happens when your fine good wish turns into quite the ghastly opposite??!!  Poor loathsome Princess Rose – (ah, a thorn in too many) – finds herself exactly in this predicament.  This is quite a remarkable Young Adult fantasy along with some intriguing and enjoyable characters.  There’s the court jester, Tag, who is funny, witty, and very charismatic.  Then there’s Cankles (I love his name) whom many think is dim-witted – but who actually is quite the opposite. Cankles and Tag join Princess Rose on her quest and their camaraderie they develop is reminiscent to me of Dorothy Gale and the relationship she develops with the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, & the Cowardly Lion.  This is the first with the next installment soon to follow that you won’t want to miss!

The Immortal Life of Henrietta... The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot 

What a incredible and significant factual account author Rebecca Skloot shares about Henrietta Lacks and the cells – termed HeLa cells – which were taken unbeknownst her either her or her family. In the 1950’s Henrietta Lacks developed cervical cancer.  Doctors removed cells from her tumor only to discover how quickly they replicated themselves. These cells with the help of researchers had enabled scientists to benefit countless lives.  The underlying story is the family of Henrietta Lacks (who was a great- great granddaughter of slaves) did not benefit monetarily at all.  This is also their story as well. They knew nothing of their mother’s famous cells and that others had benefited monetarily. Quite an extraordinary book!

IntrinsicalIntrinsical (The Yara Silva, #1),  by Lani Woodland

This is the first in the Yara Silva series! I’m anxiously awaiting my Advanced Reading Copy of book two, Indelible so I may continue reading about Yara Silva. This has just the right amount of superb ingredients to make this book a sensational Young Adult paranormal tale. There are ghosts, a bit of “body-snatching,” of course – romance, and the struggle between the forces of good vs. evil.  Yara is a teen and like her Grandmother, she has the special ability to see ghosts. She is attending the Penderell Boarding School along with her best friend, Cherie when Yara meets and is strongly attracted to Brent.  Yara finds herself trying to uncover the answers to the sixty-year-old “Penderell Curse” before it destroys her in the process.

Mr. Monster Mr. Monster (John Cleaver Series #2), by Dan Wells

A word of warning – don’t read this book late at night! Dan Wells continues with this thrilling, terrifying, and dark sequel to, I Am Not a Serial Killer.  Has another serial killer set foot in Clayton County to confront and terrorize??!!  John Cleaver is a sociopath but in this book it lends itself to more paranormal elements where he finds himself dealing with demonic fiends.  By the time you read the last page you’ll find yourself clamoring for more!  You’ll be happy to know you won’t have to wait long because the third book will be out this Spring!  Be looking for the final book in the trilogy: I Don’t Want To Kill You!

The Red PyramidThe Red Pyramid (Kane Chronicles, #1),  by Rick Riordan

Sadie and Carter Kane have been separated since the death of their mother.  Carter has been living and traveling the world with his Dad – Dr. Julius Kane – an Egyptologist. Meanwhile Sadie has been living with her grandparents in London. It’s Christmas time reuniting Carter, Sadie, & Julius Kane once again. Their reunion is short-lived while they are at the British Museum when Julius mysteriously disappears as he is summoning great forces to “right a wrong.”  Much to his children’s dismay he has freed the Egyptian god Set.  Sadie and Carter must now take flight under the care of their Uncle Amos to save themselves.  Their adventure ensues as they discover they come from a long line of ancient magicians.  They are now on the quest of their lives!  This is the first in another promising series by Rick Riordan!



Room Room, by Emma Donoghue

I have not been affected by a story in a similar fashion since reading, The Lovely Bones.  I was completely drawn into the world of 5-year-old Jack as he tells his story of the space he and his mother occupy. To him he knows no other dwelling place other than the home his mother has “created” for him and herself.  His mother was kidnapped when she was a 19 year-old college student. She has protected and shielded Jack for the past several years against their captor, “Old Nick.” Jack is oblivious to the world outside their small living quarters.  Her son knows of no other existence other than what he experiences in “Room.”
I found the analogy between Old Nick and Ma and the story of Alice and Wonderland quite interesting. The young “real” Alice and the relationship she had with the author, Lewis Carroll is what I’m referring to. I’m sure there are other thoughts on this but this is what I zeroed in on.  I found this to be a truly amazing book and a story that left an emotional impact on me.

These Is My Words These Is My Words, by Nancy E. Turner

If you enjoy books about strong, resilient, and tough women you will find, These is My Words, a memorable read.  Nancy Turner has written this in a diary format which lends such a personal account of the life of feisty Sarah Prince. She was such a remarkable and intelligent woman who lived during a time in American history in the late 1800’s when the west, specifically the Arizona territory, was predominately untamed. From the beginning you are lured into her way of life and her journey with her family. Sarah finds strength from within to survive so many setbacks. On her journey she finally encounters Captain Jack Elliot! For some reason I continue to think of him similar in comparison to Rhett Butler!  I know for sure I’ll be reading the next 2 books to find out more of this courageous woman’s life.

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “February/March 2011 Parker’s Picks

  1. Wow! These are great great picks, K! XOX

    • Glad you like the list Rebecca because The Bird Sisters will be featured on the April/May list. :)
      I will also be devoting a separate review of it soon. :)
      Hope it’s not as cold by you as it is up here in Northern Illinois!

      Kathy

      • It’s freezing here, but I am definitely looking forward to spring, which is soon in St. Louis! I can’t wait for the birds to come back :) Thank you so much for your work with The Bird Sisters, too. You are so generous to do all of that for me! XOXOX Stay warm honey!

      • My oldest daughter was just down in Springfield, Missouri on business. It’s my husband’s birthplace!
        Can’t wait to see those robins heading back. I know it will be spring & summer when we start tracking the migration of the hummingbirds! Quite fun to do! Then we know when to get the feeders ready for them.
        Again, you are welcome! Can’t wait to share The Bird Sisters with others!
        Kathy

  2. Anna

    This is rather off the topic, but do you know that your Twitter is the ONLY webpage that comes up when one Googles on “sumpanelli’s?” :-) Are we spelling it wrong, or are we the only two who know they exist? Having been raised in an Italian-American family, I’ve never seen the word, but have only eaten piles of them in my grandmother’s kitchen! (And heard the spoken word, of course.) The only Italian flatbread I can find that’s similar is piadina. I can only think that the authentic Italian spelling of sumpanelli must be different than my phonetic spelling. Do you have any idea?

    • Hi Anna,

      That is amazing!! As far as I know that is the only spelling I have been taught. I’ve been making them for many years – pretty much a staple in my household. I too am from an Italian-American family. In fact, I’m 100% Italian. I used to watch my Noni Marchesi in her kitchen make her own pasta dough for spaghetti noodles and tortellini’s. But she always referred to them as raviolas.
      So nice of you to stop by my blog site!

      Kathy

  3. Anna

    Thanks, Kathy. A blessed Lententide to you.
    Anna

  4. Great list. A few I’ve read, a few I haven’t but will now and a few I’ve never even heard of (love that)!

  5. Kim

    Looking for a recipe for sumpanelli’s, do you have one?

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