Tag Archives: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

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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Winter Reads: “And finally Winter, with it’s bitin’, whinin’ wind, and all the land will be mantled with snow.” (Roy Bean)

SVG line drawing, meant to simulate 1600's sty...

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Even though winter hasn’t officially arrived Mother Nature has doused us with our first big snowstorm of winter in the Midwest and I’m sure it’s just a taste of what is to follow!  With this in mind I’ve been diligently perusing through reviews and reading lists to come up with some new reading material just for you for the impending winter months.  The titles range from adult books all the way down to children’s books.  Get a head start on Old Man Winter and have these titles ready as the snow begins to fall!



BloodrootBloodroot by Amy Greene

Faithful Place Faithful Place by Tana French

Full Dark, No Stars (Hardcover) Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

The Girl Who Chased the MoonThe Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen

Winter GardenWinter Garden by Kristin Hannah

Wishin' and Hopin': A Christma...Wishin’ and Hopin’: A Christmas Story by Wally Lamb



At Home: A Short History of Pr... At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson

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

The Poisoner's Handbook: Murde...The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York by Deborah Blum

Sh*t My Dad Says Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern 

Unbroken: A World War II Story...Unbroken: a World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, & Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

The Warmth of Other Suns: The... The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson


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

Clockwork AngelClockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare

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

Intrinsical Intrinsical: The Yara Silva Trilogy #1 by Lani Woodland

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

Salvaged Salvaged by Stefne Miller

Sing Me to Sleep Sing Me To Sleep by Angela Morrison


Benno and the Night of Broken... Benno and the Night of Broken Glass by Meg Wiviott

The Familiars The Familiars (Familiars #1) by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobsen

How The Sphinx Got To The Muse... How the Sphinx Got to the Museum by Jessie Hartland

How to Survive Middle SchoolHow to Survive Middle School by Donna Gephart

Out of My Mind Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

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

Selling HopeSelling Hope by Kristin O. Tubb

Smile by Raina Telegemeier


Clementine, Friend of the Week Clementine: Friend of the Week (Clementine # 4) by Sara Pennypacker

Dog Loves Books Dog Loves Books by Louise Yates

Fancy Nancy's Fabulous Fashion... Fancy Nancy and the Fabulous Fashion Boutique by Jane O’Connor

Here Comes the Garbage Barge!Here Comes the Garbage Barge! by Jonah Winter

It's a Book It’s a Book by Lane Smith

Shark vs. TrainShark vs. Train by Chris Barton and Tom Lichtenheld

We Are in a Book! We Are in a Book! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) By Mo Willems


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