“Goodnight Tweetheart” by Teresa Medeiros

I picked this book up because of course it was a reccomendation of the 2peas (I get most of my recommendations from them!)  Here is the description from goodreads:

Abigail Donovan has a lot of stuff she should be doing. Namely writing her next novel. A bestselling author who is still recovering from a near Pulitzer Prize win and the heady success that follows Oprah’s stamp of approval, she is stuck at Chapter Five and losing confidence daily. But when her publicist signs her up for a Twitter account, she’s intrigued. What’s all the fuss?

Taken under the wing of one of her Twitter followers, ‘MarkBaynard” – a quick witted, quick-typing professor on sabbatical – Abby finds it easy to put words out into the world 140 characters at a time. And once she gets a handle on tweets, retweets, direct messages, hashtags, and trends, she starts to feel unblocked in writing and in life. After all, why should she be spending hours in her apartment staring at her TweetDeck and fretting about her stalled career when Mark is out there traveling the world and living?

Or is he?

Told almost entirely in tweets and DMs, Goodnight Tweetheart is a truly modern take on a classic tale of love and loss – a Griffin and Sabine for the Twitter generation.

It was a quick read and it made me actually laugh out loud at points and cry at others.  It made me get engrossed in the characters of Mark and Abigail.  It was just the kind of book I needed at that time (isn’t it funny how that works out).  My only real complaint is the ending.   I want more.  Maybe there will be a sequel? I truly hope so.

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“The Handmaids Tale” By Margaret Atwood

I have made the decision to read one classic a month this year and the first one I chose was “The Handmaids Tale” by Margaret Atwood.  I really enjoyed reading it and wish I had read it before now.  It was easy to read and I really got involved with the charactors.  I read it in a couple sittings and it was a good start to my resolution to read more classics.  Here is the description from goodreads:

In this multi-award-winning, bestselling novel, Margaret Atwood has created a stunning Orwellian vision of the near future. This is the story of Offred, one of the unfortunate ‘Handmaids’ under the new social order who have only one purpose: to breed. In Gilead, where women are prohibited from holding jobs, reading, and forming friendships, Offred’s persistent memories of life in the ‘time before’ and her will to survive are acts of rebellion. Provocative, startling, prophetic, and with Margaret Atwood’s devastating irony, wit, and acute perceptive powers in full force, The Handmaid’s Tale is at once a mordant satire and a dire warning.

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“The Imperial Cruise” by James Bradley

I picked up this book because one of my favorite books is “Flyboys” by James Bradley and I had also liked reading “Flags Of Our Fathers” by the same author. When I saw this book and decided to pick it up to see if I liked it as much.  Also it had to do with history so that was a bonus.  I had high hopes going into this book since I liked his others and although I was not as drawn into this one as I was his others I liked it.  James Bradley has a way of telling facts and packing a lot in without it becoming boring.  Well like might be an odd word to use since this book made a lot of things about the United States involvement with Japan and Asia come to light and not in a good way but I enjoyed learning more about our history even if it was not all good.  It made you understand a little what made the Japanese get involved in WWII even if it didn’t excuse their heinous acts of violence.   Here is the description from goodreads:

In 1905 President Teddy Roosevelt dispatched Secretary of War William Taft, his gun-toting daughter Alice and a gaggle of congressmen on a mission to Japan, the Philippines, China, and Korea. There, they would quietly forge a series of agreements that divided up Asia. At the time, Roosevelt was bully-confident about America’s future on the continent. But these secret pacts lit the fuse that would–decades later–result in a number of devastating wars: WWII, the Korean War, the communist revolution in China. One hundred years later, James Bradley retraces that epic voyage and discovers the remarkable truth about America’s vast imperial past–and its world-shaking consequences. Full of fascinating characters and brilliantly told, The Imperial Cruise will forever reshape the way we understand U.S. history.

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“Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand

I picked this book up because once again it was talked about over and over again on Twopeas.  I have a interest in anything that has to do with WWII and knew I wanted to read this.  I was very happy when I got the call from my library that it was in.  Here is the description of the book from goodreads.com:

On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood.  Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared.  It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard.  So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.

The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini.  In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails.  As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile.  But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.

Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater.  Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion.  His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.

In her long-awaited new book, Laura Hillenbrand writes with the same rich and vivid narrative voice she displayed in Seabiscuit.  Telling an unforgettable story of a man’s journey into extremity, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit.

This book was amazing from start to finish.  I could not imagine going through what those men went through and surviving! It is a large book but you do not realize it as your reading it because you can’t put it down.  I love books that bring out all the emotions in you.  I recommend this book to anyone interested in WWII and what POW’s went through at the hands of the Japanese.  I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

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“A Northern Light” by Jennifer Donnelly

I picked this book up because I had just finished reading “Revolution” by the same author and found out about this book.  I had high hopes that this one would be as good.  “A Northern Light” is Jennifer Donnelly’s first book.  It is a fictionalized book based on a true story.  This is the goodreads.com description:

Sixteen-year-old Mattie Gokey has big dreams but little hope of seeing them come true. Desperate for money, she takes a job at the Glenmore, where hotel guest Grace Brown asks her to burn a bundle of secret letters. But when Grace’s drowned body is fished from the lake, Mattie discovers the letters reveal the grim truth behind a murder.

Set in 1906 against a backdrop of the murder that inspired Theodore Dreiser‘s An American Tragedy, this astonishing novel weaves romance, history, and a murder mystery into something moving, real, and wholly original.
I was not disappointed!  This book sucked me in just as much as “Revolution” did.  I really liked the characters and the storyline.  It made me want to be on that lake during that time period.  The ending was also a little surprising in a good way.  I really enjoyed it and I can not wait to read the other two books by Jennifer.

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“Revolution” by Jennifer Donnelly

I am not sure where I heard about this book but it was probably from twopeas which is where I usually get my recommendations.  It is a YA novel written about a young teenager Andi Alpers who has gone through a horrific tragedy and is spiraling out of control.  To try to help, her absent father takes her to Paris for winter break.  She finds a diary that is written by a young girl during the French Revolution.  It goes back and forth from present time to the french revolution.  Here is the description from goodreads.com:

BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.

Jennifer Donnelly, author of the award-winning novel A Northern Light, artfully weaves two girls’ stories into one unforgettable account of life, loss, and enduring love. Revolution spans centuries and vividly depicts the eternal struggles of the human heart.

I couldn’t put this book down.  I didn’t know much about the French Revolution but it made me want to know more.  It really sucked me into the story and made me feel for the characters.  This was the first book of Jennifer Donnelly’s that I read but it made me want to read more which I did and I still have 2 more of hers to read.  I can’t wait!

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“The True Story of Hansel & Gretel” by Louise Murphy

For the first book of 2011 I chose to read “The True Story of Hansel & Gretel” by Louise Murphy.  Now do not let the title fool you.  It’s not actually a true story but Louise Murphy took the fairytale and weaved it into a story about World War 2 in Poland.  There are true parts to the story but the story itself is not true.

Here is the synopsis from goodreads.com:

In the last months of the Nazi occupation of Poland, two children are left by their father and stepmother to find safety in a dense forest. Because their real names will reveal their Jewishness, they are renamed “Hansel” and “Gretel.” They wander in the woods until they are taken in by Magda, an eccentric and stubborn old woman called “witch” by the nearby villagers. Magda is determined to save them, even as a German officer arrives in the village with his own plans for the children.

Combining classic themes of fairy tales and war literature, this haunting novel of journey and survival, of redemption and memory, powerfully depicts how war is experienced by families and especially by children, and tells a resonant, riveting story. What did I think?  I am so glad I picked this book up (at the recommendation of someone).  It was both haunting and sweet.  It makes you sick to think that the things that they did to other people actually happened.  I cried and I laughed and I cheered for the good guys.   I could not put this book down and finished it in 2 days.  I will remember it long after I finish reading it.  It was a good choice for the first book of 2011. If you like fairy tales and historical fiction I would recommend that you pick this book up.

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