Book Reviews by Today, I Read…

A Continuous Book Review and Vocabulary Assignment

March 17

Comments: 2

Waiting on Wednesday: The Ides of July Make for Beautiful (If Heartrending) Music

by Ann-Katrina

Thanks to Jill at Breaking the Spine, I present another edition of Waiting on Wednesday…

This book’s description called out—or should I say sang?—to me. I knew instantly that I wanted to read it. Now, I grow impatient waiting for the day it shall arrive.

The Long Song by Andrea Levy The Long Song by Andrea Levy is scheduled for publication on April 27, 2010 and can be pre-ordered from Amazon.


Small Island introduced Andrea Levy to America and was acclaimed as “a triumph” (San Francisco Chronicle). It won both the Orange Prize and the Whitbread Book of the Year Award, and has sold over a million copies worldwide. With The Long Song, Levy once again reinvents the historical novel.

Told in the irresistibly willful and intimate voice of Miss July, with some editorial assistance from her son, Thomas, The Long Song is at once defiant, funny, and shocking. The child of a field slave on the Amity sugar plantation, July lives with her mother until Mrs. Caroline Mortimer, a recently transplanted English widow, decides to move her into the great house and rename her “Marguerite.”

Resourceful and mischievous, July soon becomes indispensable to her mistress. Together they live through the bloody Baptist war, followed by the violent and chaotic end of slavery. Taught to read and write so that she can help her mistress run the business, July remains bound to the plantation despite her “freedom.” It is the arrival of a young English overseer, Robert Goodwin, that will dramatically change life in the great house for both July and her mistress. Prompted and provoked by her son’s persistent questioning, July’s resilience and heartbreak are gradually revealed in this extraordinarily powerful story of slavery, revolution, freedom, and love.

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March 3

Comments: 3

Waiting on Wednesday: A Doppelganger of the Same Name

by Ann-Katrina

Thanks to Jill at Breaking the Spine, I present another edition of Waiting on Wednesday…

Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like if I had a twin. Or, if not a twin, someone with the exact same name as me. What’s in a name, anyway? (Would a rose by any other name still smell as sweet?) And other times I wonder, is it really nature or nurture that determines our lot in life? (Strange things to wonder, I know, but sometimes I’m just a strange person.)

A name is immensely personal. Stop for a moment and think about how it makes you feel—physically—when someone says your name with love, with anger, with apathy. A name is the oldest possession you have. Now imagine that someone else has your exact name—something that should, it seems, be uniquely yours—wouldn’t you be interested in learning more about that person? I know I would.

It seems logical (at least to my mind) that a person with the same name would have the same life, the same personality, and in a sense, be the same person. But life isn’t always logical and that’s what makes it interesting. And that’s why I’m anxious to read The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore.

The Other Wes Moore

Two kids with the same name were born blocks apart in the same decaying city within a year of each other. One grew up to be a Rhodes Scholar, army officer, White House Fellow, and business leader.  The other is serving a life sentence in prison.  Here is the story of two boys and the journey of a generation.
In December of 2000, the Baltimore Sun ran a small piece about Wes Moore, a local student who had just received a Rhodes Scholarship.  The same paper ran a huge story about four young men who had killed a police officer in a spectacularly botched armed robbery.  The police were still hunting for two of the suspects who had gone on the lam, a pair of brothers.  One of their names was Wes Moore.

Wes Moore, the Rhodes Scholar, became obsessed with the story of this man he’d never met but who shared much more than space in the same newspaper.  Both had grown up in similar neighborhoods and had had difficult childhoods.  After following the story of the robbery, the manhunt, and the trial to its conclusion, he finally he wrote a letter to the other Wes, now a convicted murderer serving a life sentence without possibility of parole.  His letter tentatively asked the questions that had been haunting Wes: Who are you?  Where did it go wrong for you?  How did this happen?

That letter led to a correspondence and deepening relationship that has lasted for several years.  Over dozens of letters and prison visits, Wes discovered that the other Wes had had a life not unlike his own:  they were both fatherless, were both in and out of school; they’d hung out on similar corners with similar crews, and had run into trouble with the police.  And they had both felt a desire for something better for themselves and their families—and the sense that something better was always just out of reach.  At each stage of their young lives, they came across similar moments of decision that would alter their fates.

Told in alternating dramatic narratives that take readers from heart-wrenching losses to moments of surprising redemption, The Other Wes Moore tells the story of a generation of boys trying to find their way in a hostile world. 

The book is due out in April and can be pre-ordered from Amazon.

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June 24

Comments: 5

Waiting on Wednesday: Hey, Where Did Those Deformed Triplets Come From? Oh, Divine Conception You Say.

by Ann-Katrina

Thanks to Jill at Breaking the Spine, I present another edition of Waiting on Wednesday…

Not too long ago, I received an email pointing me in the direction of this book called . The email mentioned that there would be an excerpt on the website.

Well, after reading the brief excerpt, I’m waiting…patiently (or not so).

Wait Until Twilight Cover What I need to do, needs to be done before it gets too dark . . .

Sixteen-year-old Samuel confronts his own inner monster when he discovers a set of deformed triplets whose mother believes they were immaculately conceived. Soon, the babies have taken hold of his waking and sleeping thoughts, and, unable to escape them, he decides to save them, but their shut-in mother and violent older brother want nothing to do with him.

Samuel must fight the trouble within him and the trouble he sees around him to determine who he will become in a year that forces him to grow from motherless boy to self-defined man. Set in a small Georgia town, this psychologically complex story of survival and self determination explores the dark, often contradictory worlds of young contemporary life, laying bare the ugly truths and secrets that haunt all of us.

I mean deformed triplets whose mother believes they were immaculately conceived? Does it get more interesting than that?

Wait Until Twilight sounds like it’s going to be a chilling (and twisted) ride and I’m curious to see what unfolds.

You can read an excerpt online: Wait Until Twilight Excerpt [PDF] or it can be pre-ordered from Amazon.

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June 17

Comments: 13

Waiting on Wednesday: I Think I Was Kidnapped by an Irresistible Fallen Angel

by Ann-Katrina

Thanks to Jill at Breaking the Spine, I present another edition of Waiting on Wednesday…

Hush Hush Cover My current lust is Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick.

Although there has been recent buzz about Hush, Hush, I actually knew about it from late last year. As soon as I read the synopsis, I knew I had to have it. I just couldn’t wait until it came out (and I’m still having a little trouble waiting if I told the complete truth).

And now that I get to see a cover, my little fingers are burning. Isn’t that cover the complete hotness?

Anyhoo, without further ado, here’s the rundown:

For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She’s never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch came along.

With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora’s not sure who to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can’t decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.

For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen – and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.

The book is scheduled to arrive in October 2009 and can be pre-ordered from Amazon.

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January 14

Comments: 3

WoW: The Year of the Zombie

by Ann-Katrina

Welcome to another edition of Waiting on Wednesday where I tell you about the book I happen to be lusting after at the moment.

You Are So Undead to Me Cover After last month’s WoW, it seems that 2009 is turning into the year of the zombie because the next book I find myself looking forward to getting my hot little hands on is You Are So Undead to Me by Stacey Jay.

I came across it by chance while browsing Amazon and the cover looked interesting. Then I read the description and decided that I definitely want to see what’s up.

As you may have guessed from the title, this is a book about zombies. But not just any book about zombies, but a Buffy the Vampire Slayer style book about zombies. And Buffy was just so campy and comical that it worked. I’m hoping the same is true of this one.

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