Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Arcady's Goal by Eugene Yelchin

Arcady's Goal by Eugene Yelchin takes place on the eve of WWII in Soviet Russia.  Arcady, now twelve, has been raised in orphanages.  His parents were taken away when he was a baby as they were accused of being "enemies of the state". Orphanages are the only home he has ever known. The other thing he knows well, though, is soccer.  Where he has picked up his mad soccer skills, we will never know, but he dreams of being the next striker for the Red Army soccer team. 

For now though, he plays one on one soccer with the other boys in the orphanage.  He is so good, that they often parade him out when the inspectors come around - to entertain the inspectors and keep them from actually seeing how poorly the boys are treated.  It is during one of these inspections that Ivan Ivanych sees Arcady play.  Ivan is not really an inspector, but he is interested in adopting - and feels Arcady is the one.  Arcady doesn't know anyone who was adopted and thinks Ivan is a soccer recruiter and starts calling him coach.  

Both of these characters have been wounded and they strive to please each other - Arcady by always trying to impress "Coach" with his soccer skills, and Ivan, by actually creating a soccer team - even though he knows nothing about soccer.  Things don't go as planned, though, and Arcady's dream of trying out for the Red Army soccer team seems further away than ever.  Somehow these two start to become a family, and maybe that was Arcady's goal all along.  

There is a lot of other nuances going on with this story as well - the charged atmosphere and the anticipation of war. The prejudice towards the families of the enemy of the people as well as the unjust way that people were accused of being enemies. For grades 4 - 7. 

Stealing Home by Sherryl Woods

Stealing Home by Sherryl Woods is the first book in The Sweet Magnolia series.  I saw Swan Point advertised sometime last year, and as it is the latest in The Sweet Magnolia series, I wanted to go back and start at the beginning.  (Swan Point is book 11, so I have a ways to go!)

The Sweet Magnolias are comprised of Maddie, Dana Sue and Helen, best friends since high school.  Stealing Home is Maddie's story and it starts out with Maddie finding out about her doctor-husband's affair with his nurse.  Well, she is pregnant (and 16 years younger) and he wants a divorce. I have a feeling that this happens more than we would like to admit in the medical field.

After wallowing in some much deserved self-pity, her friends set out to give her a new purpose by deciding to open a new spa/health club in town. They decide that Maddie needs to be the one to run it - to put her unused business degree to good use.  Dana Sue already runs a very successful restaurant and Helen is a very successful lawyer. 

As with all of Ms. Woods' books, there has to be some romance - and this comes in the shape of a much younger, easy-on-the-eyes ex-ballplayer (who just happens to be Maddie's son's baseball coach), Cal Maddox.  Cal remembers the first time he saw Maddie, and never dreamed that her 20-year marriage would soon be over.  Wanting to give her time to heal, but also needing to be there to lend a hand, he slowly develops a friendship with Maddie - both denying the attraction that is simmering under the surface. 

I have read The Ocean Breeze Trilogy by Sherryl Woods and knew that I would enjoy this one.  I was looking for a light-hearted romance that would be an easy read, and this one fit the bill.  I look forward to continuing on in this series.  The second book, A Slice of Heaven, is Dana Sue's story. 

The Vault and PopSugar's Reading Challenge

After working as a shelver for a year at our public library, I was able to move up to a position in our Youth Services department in October.  The Vault is our teen center and they have picked up a challenge from PopSugar.  I have decided to do this challenge as well, but felt it should have it's own page since it is my library.  :)

You can find out more about this challenge by either visiting The Vault or PopSugar's challenge page.

The challenge is to read a book that will fit into each of the categories below:

You can fulfill the list however you would like, with whatever type of books you would like.  You could even make your book fit more than one category.  I am going to try it the hard way though and try to do a separate book for each category.  

I will be keeping track of my books with a separate google spreadsheet - but will also update my progress here.

For printable lists - please visit The Vault as they have a few different ways to access the list.

To view other challenges that I have joined, please see the tabs at the top of the page.

1. A book by a female author - Stealing Home by Sherryl Woods (January)
2. A book you can finish in a day - Arcady's Goal by Eugene Yelchin (January)
3. A book with nonhuman characters - Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman (January)
4. A Book with more than 500 pages - The Liar by Nora Roberts
5. A Book with a One Word Title - Nil by Lynne Matson
6. A trilogy - Blood Red Road/Rebel Heart/Raging Star by Moira Young
7. A book with a love triangle - Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
8. A book set in the future - The Ark by Laura Nolen
9. A book set in highschool - A Really Awesome Mess by Cook,Halpin


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