Prepublication Reviews and Expertly Selected Title Lists

Archive for the tag “Military Fiction”

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Salt to the SeaHistory jumps off the page and into life with Ruta Sepetys’ latest novel Salt to the Sea.  While there are many stories told of WWII, this is a lesser known tale brought to life at Sepetys’ skillful hand.

As part of thousands of refugees, we are drawn into the stories of Joana, Emilia, and Florian as they meet on their way to freedom aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff ship.  We are swept along in this action-packed adventure as the unthinkable happens: the Wilhelm Gustloff is attacked by a Russian submarine and sinks.  Joana, Emilia, and Florian each carry their own secrets. They must band together and rely on each other’s strength for sheer survival.

This is a great book to add to your YA collection. It not only sheds light on the worst maritime disaster in ever, it also reveals a generation whose strength and courage is now told primarily through the pages of history as we lose those who fought insurmountable odds to strengthen generations to come.

– Becky

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The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

The War That Saved My LifeThis is the story of a young girl named Ada and her brother Jamie who live in London right at the start of World War II. Ada is nine years old and was born with a club foot. She’s never been outside of her family’s apartment as her mother is too embarrassed.  She even makes Ada think that she was to blame for her own deformity.

When younger brother Jamie is sent away from London to escape the coming war, Ada sneaks out to join him and the two are transported to the countryside.  They are taken in by a woman named Susan who is grieving over the loss of a close friend. When she met the children she was uncertain what to do with them. She starts by getting them cleaned up and into some new clothes and feeding them.

After some time with Susan, the children begin to settle in and explore their new surroundings now that Ada is finally free to go outside. She befriends Susan’s pony and learns how to take care of him and even ride. A strong bond is beginning to form between the children and their caretaker Susan who is also beginning to love them back. All is going well until their mother finds them and plots to make them return to with her to London.

This book is a great read about overcoming obstacles while mixing in history, adventure and family dynamics.

– Ellen

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2014 Great Group Reads for National Reading Group Month in October

Have you ever been part of a book club or reading group?  It doesn’t have to be a large group.  For example, I always pass books that I read on to my mom and sisters and then we discuss the book. We’ve never formally called ourselves a book club but that’s essentially what it is.  It’s great to hear their opinions and reactions to the characters and plot.  Also, it gives us an excuse to get together and chat over coffee.  October is National Reading Group Month so what better time to get together with friends/family and discuss some great books.  The following selections are perfect titles that can spark some thought-provoking questions and discussions.  Try them out!    View the entire list here.

All the Light We Cannot SeeAll the Light We Cannot See by Anthony DoerrThe story of a blind French girl named Marie-Laure and a German boy named Werner, whose paths collide in Nazi-occupied France during World War II.  Against all odds, the two show ways that there’s good in the world.  Learn more and order here.
Burial RitesBurial Rites by Hannah KentBased on a true story, Agnes has been accused of killing her old master and sentenced to death.  She’s sent to an isolated farm to await her execution where she unexpectedly finds comfort from the farmer’s wife and daughters.  They open their hearts and minds to the tragedy of Agnes’ life.  Learn more and order here.
Everything I Never Told YouEverything I Never Told You by Celeste NgA small town 1970s Chinese-American family is torn apart after their beloved middle daughter goes missing and is later found dead in a local lake.  The mother, Marilyn, seeks revenge, while the father, James Lee, has an affair.  The family unravels as secrets are revealed and only the youngest child could hold the key to the truth. Learn more and order here.
NeverhomeNeverhome by Laird Hunt Constance “Ash” Thompson, feels strongly about supporting the Union cause, and knows her husband isn’t able to fight in the war.  She leaves him to tend after the farm, dons a uniform, and disguises herself as a man to fight in the Civil War.  She becomes an expert at hiding her secret and faces difficult challenges and battles.  Learn more and order here.

YA Reads for Adults – August 2014

There are so many great titles being published for the teen market that can also be enjoyed by adults. Some are referring to these crossover titles as New Adult.  Check out Brodart’s list of hot, new titles that will appeal to both teen and adult readers.  There’s well-known, as well as, debut authors, a mix of genres, and interesting plots and characters to keep any age reader engaged.    View the entire list here.

Falling into PlaceFalling into Place by Amy Zhang

Liz Emerson, a high school junior, tries to commit suicide by crashing her car into a tree.  She’s taken to the hospital and is stuck somewhere between life and death.  Both friends and enemies visit Liz and the twisted truth of what pushed her to this point is told through flashbacks.  Learn more and order here.

If You're Reading ThisIf You’re Reading This by Trent Reedy

15-year-old Mike starts to receive letters that his father wrote while in Afghanistan seven years ago, before he was killed.  Mike takes comfort in each letter as he struggles to take care of his emotionally distraught family, and tries to follow the advice that his father gives.  Mike must also find the person that held on to the letters the past seven years and discover what really happened to his father.  Learn more and order here.

Zac and MiaZac & Mia by A.J. Betts

17-year-old Zac meets outspoken Mia, a fellow cancer patient, during a leukemia treatment.  Their story is told from each teen’s perspective as they form a friendship and try to see beyond their sickness.  Learn more and order here.

Hunt for the Bamboo RatHunt for the Bamboo Rat by Graham Salisbury

Zenji, a 17-year-old high school graduate, plans on being a translator in the Phillipines but the Army sends him to spy on the Japanese.  Zenji endures hardship and fights to survive as he’s lost for months in the jungle, knowing that if he compromises his cover as an American citizen, he will be tortured.  Based on a true story.  Learn more and order here.

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