TBTB (Throwback Thursday Books) – Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones


The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold | LibraryThing

I originally read Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones during Christmas break my senior year of college. The balance between the macabre and whimsy never left me. The distinct point of view (POV) struck me like not much else.

Some years later, I saw a nice, hardcover edition on the shelf among the Friends of Freeman book sale. Then, over Independence Day weekend 2014, I read this book again. Eventually, I checked out the film based on the book.

Reviews of book and the movie both may be coming soon. As this title seems polarizing, comments are most welcome! If you’ve read it, what did you think? If you’ve also seen the movie, what did you think of the interpretation? I’ve got some strong opinions about both.

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For more walks down memory lane, check out my page for #tbtb:

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Ann Brashares’ My Name is Memory


My Name is Memory

My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares | Jorie’s Store @ Amazon

 

Title: My Name is Memory
Author: Ann Brashares
ISBN: 9781594487583
Length: 324 pages
Publication Date: June 01, 2010
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Source: Harris County Public Library

Goodreads

Reasons for Reading: I came across this title on someone else’s Top Ten Tuesday list back in March. The premise and author Ann Brashares caught my interest. Quickly, I discovered a few copies of My Name is Memory on the shelf at a Harris County Public Library (HCPL) branch and checked out one.

Warning: This is a work of fiction which deals with the subject of reincarnation (past lives). If reincarnation is an offensive topic, please consider yourself warned. 

Summary: Lucy’s crush on the enigmatic Daniel kept her from approaching him. She gathers up courage at the high school graduation dance and approaches Daniel. Little does she know that she and Daniel go way, way back. Unlike most, Daniel recalls each of his past lives. In the first incarnation (that he remembers), Daniel encountered a woman (Lucy) that stole his heart. With each life, Daniel doggedly pursues a seemingly star-crossed love of his lives, the woman who once was called Sophia. Added to a mix is a vengeful brother from that fateful first life who’s after blood. Brashares employs both Daniel’s first person and Lucy/Sophia’s third-person views. This tale of epic proportions begins in 552 AD Asia Minor and carries on through to 1918 England and Twenty-First Century Virginia.

One Thing I Learned from this book: There was an earthquake in AD 526. To learn more about it, visit the following, linked phrase – 526 Antioch Earthquake – Wikipedia

What I Liked: As a historical fiction fan, I enjoyed the passages set in the past. I especially liked reading about events in the First Millennium AD. Also, Brashares’ characters in this book differed greatly from those in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. While I enjoyed reading about Carmen, Lena, Tibby, and Bridget, I appreciate Brashares’ originality in character formation.

What I Disliked: I refuse to spoil the ending but I hope Brashares can write the other books planned involving Daniel and Lucy.

RR - Orange

Rainbow Rating: Orange – Restricted from those under age 17 

 

Song: Nat King Cole, Unforgettable

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Deborah Johnson’s The Secret of Magic


The Secret of Magic

The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson | Jorie’s Store @ Amazon

 

Title: The Secret of Magic
Author: Deborah Johnson
ISBN: 9780399157721
Length: 416 pages
Publication Date: January 21, 2014
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Harris County Public Library

Goodreads

 Reasons for Reading: I either heard about or read something referring to this 2014 release. Given that we were planning a library program about African American History Month, I sought and requested this book via Harris County Public Library (HCPL).

Summary: Decorated African American World War II hero Joe Howard Wilson took the bus home to his native Revere, Mississippi. When expected to give up his seat for German POWs, Joe Howard refused. Later on, Joe Howard’s body is found. Fast forward to the Fall 1946 New York, the reader meets Regina Mary Robichard, a young attorney working for Thurgood Marshall at the NAACP. Regina discovers a letter from writer of the notorious The Secret of Magic, M.P. Calhoun, has called upon the NAACP for help in bringing Joe Howard’s killer to justice. With her childhood copy of The Secret of Magic practically in hand, Regina journeys down to Revere in order to discover what happened to Joe Howard.

One Thing I Learned from this book: Thurgood Marshall’s wife was called “Buster.” To learn more about the late Justice Marshall, click on the following link – Marshall, Thurgood – Facts on File History Database

What I Liked: Regina is an African American woman who was also an attorney. Author Deborah Johnson’s inspiration was Constance Baker Motley. I liked the tidbits about Marshall, too. Johnson’s writing is vivid and rich. Already, I was imagining who should play Regina, M.P. Calhoun, Joe Howard, and Marshall in the movie.

What I Disliked: A few parts dragged for me but this didn’t much eclipse my appreciation of the book.

RR - Yellow  Rainbow Rating: Yellow – Parental Guidance for Kids Under 13

 

Song: Cristine and Kathrine Shipp – Sea Lion Woman

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Sarah Addison Allen’s Lost Lake


Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen | Jorie’s Store on Amazon

Lost Lake  
by Sarah Addison Allen
Length: 304 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
on January 21, 2014 
Genres: Fiction
Source: Harris County Public Library

Goodreads

Reasons for Reading: In 2011, I rapidly read all of Allen’s works I could find. So, when Allen’s newest book came out, I requested it as soon as I could.

Summary: Suley, Georgia is a sleepy, swampy little town near the Florida border. Suley boasts the Lost Lake Cottages run by Eby Pim, an enchanting retreat from the daily grind. After losing her beloved husband, Kate and her free-spirited daughter, Devin, find themselves heading to Lost Lake and the arms of her comforting Aunt Eby (her great aunt, really). Yet, when Kate and Devin arrive, they discover Eby intends to sell Lost Lake. Eby no longer feels the magic. Nonetheless, the Lost Lake Cottages faithful, journey back for one last summer. Kate and Devin stay on, too,  and wait for memorization.

One Thing I Learned from this book: I never considered parts of Georgia to be swampy. Then again, it’s close to Florida! 🙂

What I Liked: I liked Eby and her resilience. Thankfully, I found dashes of the magical realism which make me seek out Allen’s works. Simply, I was grateful to get my hands on another book written by Allen.

What I Disliked: A lot was happening in Lost Lake and I would’ve preferred more of a focus on Eby and Kate’s growing relationship. This just wasn’t Garden Spells or The Girl Who Chased the Moon.

RR - Yellow  Rainbow Rating: Yellow – Parental Guidance for Kids Under 13

 

 

Song: Blind Melon – No Rain

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Wendy Mass’ Willow Falls/Birthdays Series


11 Birthdays, Finally, and 13 Gifts by Wendy Mass | eBranch Harris County Public Library

11 Birthdays, Finally,
and 13 Gifts by
Wendy Mass |
eBranch Harris County
Public Library

Mass, W., & McInerney, K. (2010). 11 birthdays. New York, NY: Scholastic Audiobooks. 9780545202787

 Mass, W., McInerney, K., & Scholastic Audio-Visual. (2011). Finally. New York: Scholastic Audiobooks. 9780545353984

 Mass, W., McInerney, K., & Scholastic Audio-Visual. (2011). 13 gifts. New York: Scholastic Audio. 9780545354073

Reasons for Reading:  When I sought an audiobook I could download to my iPhone Overdrive app, I first found and downloaded 13 Birthdays. Realizing this book was the third in the series, I checked it in and found the first book in Wendy Mass’ Birthday Series, 11 Birthdays with the HCPL Digital Media – eAudio, supported by Overdrive.

Summary: The first book, 11 Birthdays, is mostly narrated by Amanda, one of Willow Falls’ denizen. Her former best friend, Leo, was born on the same day. Each year, these two have celebrated their birthdays together. When they had a falling out at their tenth birthday, Amanda and Leo haven’t spoken to each other. Amanda keeps reliving the day of her eleventh birthday. Will she ever see tomorrow?  

The next book, Finally, is narrated by Rory (the girl) Swenson, a classmate of Amanda and Leo’s, and this book happens a year after 11 Birthdays. Ever since Rory can remember, she’s longed to be twelve years old. Why? Well, that’s when her parents say Rory can:

  • Get her ears pierced
  • Go to the mall with her friends
  • Babysit her next door neighbor
  • Ride in the front seat
  • Have a cell phone
  • Wear makeup

However, when she turns twelve, Rory has her own special series of misadventures as she becomes the whipping girl of Murphy’s Law.

The third book, 13 Gifts, is narrated by shy wallflower Tara. When she attempts to steal the school mascot so she can sit with the cool kids at lunch, her parents decide that she won’t get to go on her parents’ summer trip to Madagascar. Instead, Tara is sent away to Willow Falls to stay with her aunt, uncle, and cousin Emily for the summer. What a way to spend your thirteenth birthday!

What I Liked : I liked these kids and I liked the wonder generated by the magical elements in all of these books. The kids wanted to do the right thing and they’re very kind. A nice, realistic touch was the fact that there was Rory the girl (a major character in the second and third books) and Rory the boy. What school doesn’t have boys and girls with the same name?

Also, they’re young enough that these books don’t venture into PG-13 or above territory. I found the first and third books to be really strong.

What I Disliked: While I liked Rory, I wasn’t so crazy about her book Finally. I am not a parent but her parents’ concept of making “12” this special age where their daughter eventually gets to do things really seems wrong. This just didn’t seem very loving to me. Couldn’t they have let her do things gradually? Also, I hated how this poor kiddo always had the absolute worst thing happen to her. Was Mass hating on her or what?

Another thing brought to my attention by another blogger was that these kids seem to lie a lot.

Lastly, the woman of magic, Angelina, is sorta scary!

Three Out of Five Pearls

Song: Happy Birthday Song

Setting: Willow Falls

You might also like:

  • Ingrid Law’s Savvy
  • Judy Blume’s Just as Long as We’re Together
  • Louis Sacher’s Holes
For more on Wendy Mass’ Birthday Series, please check out the following links:

Christopher Moore’s Sacré Bleu: A Comedy d’Art


Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d’Art by Christopher Moore | LibraryThing

Moore, C. (2012). Sacre bleu: A comedy d’art. New York: William Morrow. 9780061779749

Reasons for Reading : I posted Christopher Moore’s Sacré Bleu: A Comedy d’Art on my TBR list. Check out my reasons for reading there.

Summary: News of the suicide of volatile artist Vincent van Gogh rocks Parisian baker and artist Lucien Lessard and his good friend  Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. Compounding issues is the sudden reappearance of Lucien’s MIA girlfriend, Juliette and the nasty little guy who’s known as The Colorman. Lucien and Henri take the reader for a ride on the crazy train, encountering figures in the French art scene along the way.

What I Liked : Author Christopher Moore is uproariously humorous. There were numerous “ROL” (read out loud) moments throughout this novel. Characters such as fictitious Lucien and Juliette appealed greatly. The physical book is gorgeous with images discussed in the narrative and has blue typing.

What I Disliked : Some curse words here and there don’t bother me but the language used by various characters was beyond nasty. Also, I thought sometimes Moore crossed the line between amusingly irreverent and crazy wicked. One point late in the novel made a reference to bestiality that had major cringe factor.

Three Out of Five Pearls

Song: Bobby Vinton Blue Velvet – YouTube

Setting : Paris, France with stops in the French countryside, Italy, England, and the US

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