Breathe To Read

Breathe To Read

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Extra Book - The Nightingale

We did a long drive recently, and I needed something to listen do since I did most of the driving.  So I picked up

The Nightingale

No category for this one!

This is a WWII story (I seem to read a lot of these) that takes place in France.  It is the story of two women - sisters - taking two very different paths during the war.  One sister has a husband and a child, and when he husband is sent off to war, she is left home alone to care for their home.  A German soldier billets with her while her husband is gone.  He is gentle and cares for Vienne and her daughter, Sophie.  He tries to help her as much as he can.  He sends care packages to her husband when he becomes a prisoner of war, and makes sure they have enough food to eat.  Vienne's sister Isabelle is young and foolish, but decides she cannot sit around and wait for the war to end.  She throws herself into helping the anti-war unit and getting soldiers from other countries across the Pyranees to safety.  Both women learn things about themselves during the war, and come out on the other side heroes in their own right.

This was a pretty good book.  The story was captivating.  Every time something happened to Vienne - her herilooms were taken by the Germans.  They had a food shortage, and had to stand in line for hours for scraps.  She lost her job.  She made clothes out of blankets and bits of was terrible.  I just can't imagine having to live through that - not for a few months, but for years.   The story ends with Vienne telling her sister's story years later.  The whole story was humbling.

I encourage you to read this book.  Heck - I encourage you to read any stories during the WWII era, to get a sense of what they endured.

Stars: 4 1/2

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

2016 Challenge - Book 52 - A Game of Thrones

This was another whopper sized book, so it took me a bit to read.  Plus - I am actually finding that summer is harder to find time to read rather than easier.

Today I am reviewing:  A Game of Thrones

It is under the category: A book recommended by a spouse

This is a story about a land where there are 7 kingdoms, and many people who want to rule them.  Right now there is one King.  There are lords that rule the other areas of the kingdoms, but they all bow to one King.  There is magic, dragons, lords, ladies, princes, princesses, soldiers, sorcerers, and seers.  In this land, summers and winters can last for years without end.  There are many who want to be King (or Queen) of the seven kingdoms and will do anything to make that happen.

I really enjoyed this book.  I was worried it was going to be boring and overly nerdy.  My husband and I watch the show together, but mostly because he loves it and I am in the room at the same time.  But I have grown to like some of the characters, so when he suggested I read the book, I gave in.  I am so glad I did.  It is really well written.  It is not for the faint of heart.  This is not a love story.  This is a story of war, and power, and wealthy people getting what they want.

I encourage you to read it if you like fantasy fiction.  You will not be disappointed.

Stars: 5

Thursday, August 11, 2016

2016 Challenge - Book 51 - Watership Down

Today's book I am going to review is

Watership Down

This was under the category:  A Book About an Animal

This book takes place in one of England's Downs called Watership.  It is a story about a group of rabbits to decide to leave their Warren due to some foreseen danger predicted by one of the rabbits.  This rabbit has been known to be a bit of a seer, so his closest friends believe him and leave the Warren together.  They set out to find a place to settle down.  They meet several rabbits and other creatures along the way - some who become friends, and others who become enemies.  A few rabbits don't make it to their final home, but most do.

Once settled, they start to realize they will need does to form a complete Warren.  (the band of rabbits that traveled were all male).  They use the help of a new friend - a bird - to search out warrens near by for does.  They then take their bravest rabbits to visit the warren to see if they can encourage some of their does to follow them to their new Warren.

The rabbits overcome impossible odds to settle a new Warren and begin a new life.  The guidance of their leader, Hazel, makes it possible.

I enjoyed this book.  It was a slow start, I have to admit.  But as I got into it, I become more and more involved in the stories of the main characters, willing them to live through every battle, and every mission.  When one of the main rabbits seemed to be doomed for good, I worried what would happen to the morale of the whole group.  They had come so far together, and there were so few of them from the original Warren.

The book has a whole language thought up by the author, which after awhile I started thinking about in my every day life.  He has a glossary of terms in the back of the book, which was nice for when you forgot what one of the "rabbit language" words meant.

This is a mature book - definitely suited more for middle school students, but children ages 13 and over would enjoy the story.    I say give it a try.  The battle scenes went on a little long in my opinion, but don't let those get in the way of enjoying the overall story of this book

Stars: 4

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

2016 Challenge - book 50 - I Am Legend

Lucky number 50!!!  If I was doing my original challenge, I would be at the end.  But I have chosen to do a 75 book challenge, so onward we go.

This book is:  I am Legend

It falls under the category:  A book by an author that writes under more than one name

This is another "end of the world" type of story.  There has been an illness that is causing people to turn into vampires.  (I know - for real).  The main character's name is Robert.  He is pretty sure he is the last man on earth that isn't a vampire.  During the day time, he goes out into the city hunting vampires who sleep like the dead (and won't attack him) and hunt for food and supplies.  At night he has to hole up in his house to try and keep the vampires out.  They know he is in there, and are constantly trying to break in.  He can't get away from the city where he is because once the sun goes down, he has to be back in the safety of his house.

Robert also spends a lot of time at the library trying to figure out if there can be a cure for the people who are not "too far gone".

This is a really short story.  The book has many short stories in it, and this is just one of them.  I have seen the movie "I am Legend" and it is nothing like this book.  Well - almost nothing.  Yes there are vampires and yes there is Robert, but that is where the similarities end.  So I was shocked when I read it - expecting it to be similar.

The story holds its own.  Robert is very infested in finding a cure.  He is desperate for human contact.  He hardly sleeps because at night the vampires scream for him to come out and join them.

The ending was the same as the movie (if you have seen it - no spoilers if not), but it just happens in a different way.

You could try this book.  It wasn't really my cup of tea.....maybe because it was so short.  I never really got as invested in the characters as I would have liked.

Stars:  3

2016 Book Challenge - book 49 - The Stand

Wow - I have been missing for awhile!  I have read a few books, but one was huge and took me a long time.  Let's start with that one.

The book I am reviewing is:  The Stand

This was under the category:  Book Originally Published the Decade You Were Born

This is the story of good versus evil.  A patient escapes from a testing facility where everyone has died from whatever has been released into the air by accident.  He makes it half way across the country before he stops - too sick to continue.  Along the way he has infected anyone he has come in contact with.  They call it "the flu".  There are few people who are immune.  Everyone else dies of the flu within a week or so of becoming infected.

The people who remain form two groups.  One is lead by 108 year old Abigail Freeman who follows God's calling.  The others are lead by Randall Flagg who represents the devil.  These two people come to the remaining survivors through dreams - calling them to join them.  In the end, there is a stand against evil to help restore humanity.

This is one of my favorite stories that Steven King wrote.  I try to read at least one of his big books each summer.  (this one was a whopping 1100 pages).  I have seen the TV miniseries and love it.  IT is a great story, and exactly how I imagine it would go if the population was invaded by a deadly disease and what was left were people who were good and people who weren't.

I definitely recommend this book.  Yes, it is a doozy to read, but you will not be sorry.

Stars:  5

Saturday, June 25, 2016

2016 Challenge - Book 48 - Each Vagabond By Name

Today I am going to review

Each Vagabond By Name

This was under the category:  A Book Set Somewhere You Love

This is the story of a small town in Western Pennsylvania named Shelk (made up town).  It is a sleepy town until a group of traveling people (known as gypsies in the book) come to town.  A local bar owner, Zac Ramsy is drawn into their world when a young traveler named JT shows up at his bar hungry and cold.  Ramsy's old girlfriend, Stella, is also drawn to them because she believes her daughter that was kidnapped 15 years ago may be among these travelers.  The travelers begin to rob local homes and tensions rise among the townspeople.  Ramsy tries to encourage JT to have his boss move the group out of town, but JT says his boss won't hear of it.  Tragedy strikes, and changes the town for good.

I grew up in Western PA, and the woman who wrote this book - Margo Litell - is a dear friend of mine.  This is her debut novel, and it doesn't disappoint.  It is wonderfully written, and I can picture many things about our childhood home in this book.  The characters, town, and nuances were spot on.  I was easily sucked into the story - wondering what would happen to the towns people and to the travelers if things didn't change.  The ending is haunting but very well written - which I know is hard for authors to do!

I encourage you to check out this book.  It does not disappoint.

Stars: 5

Thursday, June 23, 2016

2016 Challenge - Book 47 - The Last Star

Today's book review is "The Last Star"

Did I read this book in one day?  No I did not.  I am just behind.

This book is under the category: A Book Published in the Year 2016

This is the third book in a triology I was reading (and enjoyed).  The first book was The 5th Wave which was a major motion picture this past winter.

This is a continuation of a story where aliens have invaded and have wiped out 7 billion people on earth.  There have been 4 waves of disaster that have wiped out most of the population and now it is time for the 5th and final wave that will wipe out the rest.

The remaining humans have chosen to fight until the end.  They don't know what the 5th Wave will be, but they are aiming to find out so that they can try and stop it and save what is left of the human race.

I don't want to say more because if you haven't read the other two books, it wouldn't make much sense.  The first two books were pretty good - especially the first.  I liked the concept.  But this book?  Bleh.  IT was like the author gave up.  Some parts were pretty good, and I liked the ending okay.  (not a lot but it was okay).  But the writing was bad.  It wasn't written well.

I know this happens a lot with trilogies, but I keep holding out hope that one of these days the 3rd book will be as good as the first.

Stars: 2