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My Progress:

12 / 30 books. 40% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
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My Progress:

28 / 51 states. 55% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

22 / 50 books. 44% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

23 / 50 books. 46% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

48 / 50 books. 96% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

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40 / 52 books. 77% done!

2024 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

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26 / 40 books. 65% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

15 / 40 books. 38% done!

2024 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

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10 / 25 books. 40% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

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My Progress

12 / 26.2 miles. 46% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

My Progress

25 / 100 books. 25% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

64 / 104 books. 62% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

My Progress

43 / 52 books. 83% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

69 / 165 books. 42% done!
Monday, January 04, 2016

Gentle 1963 Children's Novel Expansive, Eye-Opening

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

For 12 years—his whole life—David has lived in captivity.  When he gets the chance to escape the concentration camp, he takes it.  Although the prospect of leaving everything he's ever known terrifies him, David would rather die quickly from a guard's bullet than slowly waste away in the wilderness.  Much to the boy's surprise, he makes it out of the camp alive.  What now?  He's been told to seek safety in Denmark, but that's miles and miles away from his home in eastern Europe.  How will he travel that far?  For how long can a young fugitive really hope to stay alive?  Wouldn't dying prove an easier path to freedom?

It's only when David arrives in Italy, soaking in the vibrant colors and beauty of that land, that he decides he desperately wants to live.  After seeing such a sight, he "could no longer think of nothing as he had trained himself to do in the concentration camp" (191).  In order to live, however, the guileless David will have to learn some important lessons about trust, friendship, and making his way in the great, wild world with all its charms and dangers.

I Am David, Anne Holm's 1963 novel for young readers, is a quiet, but expansive coming-of-age tale. Like many tales of imprisonment, this gentle story celebrates the beauty of life, even in the midst of great ugliness.  David's remarkable journey opens not just his eyes, but those of the reader as well.  Although the story starts slowly and ends in a most convenient, contrived manner, it's still a memorable, inspiring tale.  Overall, I enjoyed it.

(Readalikes:  I can't think of anything.  Can you?)


If this were a movie (and it is!), it would be rated:

for violence and scenes of peril

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

Eerie Psychological Thriller a Riveting Roller Coaster Ride

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Still reeling after the recent death of their 7-year-old daughter, Kirstie, Angus and Sarah Moorcraft struggle to pick up the pieces of their broken marriage and family.  Their remaining daughter—Kirstie's identical twin sister, Lydia—hasn't been the same since the tragedy that stole her only sibling.  Neither has Angus, whose grief has turned into a hot anger made worse by heavy drinking. Sarah longs for something, anything, positive to bring her family out of the impenetrable darkness into which they're all sinking.  So, when Angus inherits a remote Scottish island, Sarah embraces the chance to start over in a place where everything she sees doesn't remind her of her dead daughter.  The fact that the place is barely habitable seems irrelevant.

Sarah's new abode—a dilapidated, rat-infested lighthouse keeper's cottage miles away from anything and reachable only by boat is disconcerting enough.  Then, there's Lydia's sudden, strange insistence that she is, in fact, Kirstie.  Considering how much Lydia's been acting like her dead twin, the declaration sends a horrified shudder down Sarah's spine.  What Lydia's saying can't possibly be true, can it?  Sure that establishing a normal, comfortable routine will bring normalcy back to her family's life, Sarah sends Lydia off to school and tries not to worry.  That plan doesn't last long.  With Angus becoming increasingly unpredictable, Lydia withdrawing even more, and Sarah suffering from loneliness and unease, the Moorcrafts have plenty to worry about.  

Obsessing about what really happened the day her daughter died, Sarah's anxiety and fear peak.  As a vicious storm brews around her, she finds herself stranded on an island where terrifying, inexplicable things keep happening with a daughter who seems as alien as the moon.  Is Sarah, in her profound grief, experiencing a break with reality?  Are the things she's seeing real?  Is the island somehow haunted?  Possessed?  Is Kirstie truly dead?  Or has Sarah made a grave, possibly deadly, mistake?

I love me a psychological thriller where I never quite know what is real and what is not.  The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne (a "non-man" pseudonym for British journalist Sean Thomas—read why he chose it here) is just such a book.  From its eerie setting to its mind-bending plot to its unsettling premise, the novel is a twisty, chilling, roller coaster ride.  I couldn't look away from this gorgeously gothic spook story—and I mean that (almost) literally.  The Ice Twins kept me completely riveted.  If you like creepy, atmospheric mind-twisters, you will not want to miss this one.

(Readalikes:  The book's tone/style reminded me of novels by Jennifer McMahon, while the twists are reminiscent of bestsellers like Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language, sexual content, violence, and references to illegal drug use and child abuse

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find         
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Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson


The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

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