Breathe To Read

Breathe To Read

Thursday, October 18, 2018

2018 Challenge - Book #98 - Anasi Boys

Today's review is for

Anasi Boys
Author: Neil Gaiman
Pages: 416

This is the story of Charlie Nancy.  The people close to him call him Fat Charlie.  He is an average guy who is engaged to an average girl, has an average job, and and average life.  His father passes away, and even though they aren't close, he attends the funeral.  During the funeral, he spends time with his father's old neighbor who tells him that his father was a god.  He also found out that he had a brother, Spider.

Soon, Spider shows up on Charlie's doorstep and Charlies life begins to fall apart.  He gets blamed a work for a crime he didn't commit.  His fiance starts to fall for Spider and forget about Charlie.  Spider starts to wear out his welcome, and Charlie learns that he and Spider have both inherited a bit of their father's godliness.  Charlie and Spider's dad is the trickster god named Anasi.  Charlie decides he needs to learn more about his father in hopes that helps him get rid of Spider.  Charlie - with the help of some of his father's old neighbors - delves into the world of the gods and that spins things out of control for both him and Spider.

This was a pretty good book.  I am a Neil Gaiman fan, and this book did not disappoint.  This book is supposed to come after his "American gods" book, but you don't need to read that in order to read this.  There is light comedy, horror, twists and turns, and general Gaiman great writing.  It book flows nicely and it was hard to put it down.  He weaves the characters together well, and it really made the story work.

I highly recommend this book.  You really cannot go wrong with anything by Neil Gaiman in my opinion, so check it out.

Stars:  4 1/2

Monday, October 15, 2018

2018 Challenge - Book #97 - Irish Ghost and Hauntings

Today's reivew is not for a recommended book.  IT is for a book that my eldest daughter picked up while we were in Ireland a few weeks ago.  I read it thinking it looked interesting.

Irish Ghost and Hauntings
Author: Michael Scott
Pages: 280

This is a compostition of Ghost stories and folk tales from Ireland.  They span from around the year 1000AD to present time.  There are a lot of stories about banshees, mermaids, witches, and more. 

I would like to say more, but there isn't much I can say.  Each story is very different, but they aren't that good.  They are random, not really scary, and many just....end.  They don't wrap up many of the stories.  Many of the stories left me for wanting more. 

There were a few that were good.  Not enough to make this book recommendable, but I enjoyed some.  It was a quick read - finished it in 2 days.  But that is about where the positives end.

Stars:  2

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

2018 Challenge - Book #96 - The Sometimes Sisters

Today's review is for

The Sometimes Sisters
Author: Carolyn Brown
Pages: 309

This is the story of three sisters who grew apart as they got older.  The oldest is a half sister and has always felt like the outsider.  During the summer months, they all came to their grandmother's lakeside resort as children.  Now, their grandmother has passed away and in her will, she has asked the three sisters to come back and help at the lake house.  Over the years, secrets have built up between the sisters that drove them apart, but now that they are back together, they hope that they can share and become close once again.

I actually can't really write any more else about this book becuase it was terrible.  IT wasn't well written, and the story lines were beyond cheesy.  I barely could finish it - not even sure why I did.

Steer clear of this one.

Stars:  1

Sunday, September 30, 2018

2018 Challenge - Book #95 - Dead Wake - The Last Crossing of the Lusitana

Today's review is for

Dead Wake - The Last Crossing of the Lusitana
Author: Erik Larson
Pages: 450

On May 1, 1915, the Lusitana sailed from New York bound for Liverpool.  It has almost 2000 passengers on board.  Germany had declared the seas around Britain part of the war zone, but the boat went on its course anyway.  What the captain and passengers didn't know was that a German U-boat would be waiting for them when they got into the waters around Ireland and their fate would be sealed. 

This story tells the stories of some of the survivors, and goes back and forth between the passengers on board of the Lusitana and Walther Schweiger who was on the U-boat that would eventually sink the Lusitana killing 1200 people (many women and children).  The story recounts the time on the ship, and then what happened in the aftermath of the disaster. 

I enjoyed this book.  The Lusitana has come up in a historical fiction book I have read in the past, so I have been intrigued about what happened to the ship.  I have to admit that I was more drawn to the story of the passengers on board the Lusitana than the second half of this story which is about the U-boat leading up to it destroying the ship.  But I understand that one lead to the other, so it is a necessary part of the story.

The author ends the book with telling us what happened to some of the survivors of the boat, and also the captian of the U-boat.  It is definitely worth the read, and you can't help but feeling that this loss of 1200 lives could have been completely avoided on a lot of levels. 

Stars: 4 1/2

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

2018 Challenge - Book #94 - An Innocent Client

Today's review is for

An Innocent Client
Author: Scott Pratt
Pages: 372

Joe Dillard, a defense attorney, has spent his years as a lawyer defending the worst criminals.  He isn't well liked among the police and the judges but someone has to defend these people.  Joe is ready to get out of being a lawyer when a woman approaches him about a case.  A preacher has been killed and a young lady that works for her has been charged.  She gives Joe an offer he can't refuse if he promised to set her free.

Joe is also dealing with a sister who has lived a life of drug abuse and ended up in jail.  Due to a childhood trauma that Joe witnessed happening to her, she has never fully recovered.  Joe offers to take her in and try to get her help, but his sister isn't interested in making amends.  Having his sister in jail is just adding more fewel to the lawyers on the other side of the table.  And Joe isn't sure he can prove his client is inocent.

This was a good book.  It was recommended by one of the (many) book pages I follow and got over 11,000 Amazon reviews, so I had to check it out.  It is an easy read, and the characters are well developed.  The book held my interest the entire time.  Even though some of the story "twists" weren't necessary shocking, the author did a good job keeping the story flowing smoothly.

I understand there are many more books in this series about Joe Dillard, and I think I am going to keep reading them.  If you like crime novels, this is a good one to check out.

Stars:  4

Monday, September 24, 2018

2018 Challenge - Book #93 - The Road To Jonestown: Jim Jones and the People's Temple

Today's review is for:

The Road To Jonestown:  Jim Jones and the People's Temple
Author: Jeff Guinn
Pages: 545

This is the true story of Jim Jones who lead a church/cult.  He and over 900 of his members in Jonestown (in Guyana South America) killed themselves in November, 1978 because they thought (According to Jones) that the US govenment was after them.  Among the dead were over 300 children.

Jim Jones started his People's Temple with the idea that he was going to bring equality among minorities and whites in America.  He lived a socialist, communist style life with his followers - everyone sharing equally and giving back to the poor.  But over time, Jone's paranoia, drug use, and delusions of grandure lead to the downfall of the church and the loss of almost 1000 lives. 

This book follows Jones from even before his birth (there is extensive information about his mother and father), his childhood upbringing with a drunk disabeled father and a distant mother, and his beginnings as a minister.  Even from a young age, Jones became interested in religion but not from the standpoint of God being the center, but community.  His churches stretched from Indiana to California and then finally to Guyana.  The book goes into detail about his entire life from marriage to children to what he was trying to accomplish with his church, and it is eye opening.

This was a very interesting book.  I am sure at some point I was aware of Jim Jones and this story (I was only 3 years old when the suicides occured), but I don't recall it.  The author has done a good job in retelling the story from the FBI files and interviews he conducted related to Jim Jones, his followers, and the Temple.  The author is good at keeping a steady, unbiased telling throughout the book. 

It is a long book, but I encourage you to read it.  I am always a fan of a well written non-fiction.  So check this one out.

Stars: 4

Friday, September 21, 2018

2018 Challenge - Book #92 - The Day The World Came To Town

Today's review is for

The Day The World Came To Town
Author: Jim DeFede
Pages: 260

This book was written after the events of September 11th.  The story is about the people of Gander, Newfoundland (Canada), who got 38 planes that were grounded when American airspace was closed.  For a week the people of the small town fed, housed, and clothed 7000 people.  There generosity quickly got national attention and became a story of hope and resilliance in the wake of hatred.

This was a pretty good book.  I have seen the musical "Come From Away" that is about many of the heros of Gander and how they came together as a town to help stranded people.  There are 100s of stories of passengers who were given free clothes, medicine, groceries, shelter, and friendship when they couldn't get home.  The people of Gander took a terrible situation and gave Americans some peace.

To this day - 17 years after 9/11, the people of Gander are remembered and visited by the passengers that were there that horrible week.  The passengers have raised over 1 million dollars in scholarships for the Gander high schoolers and many have worked to give back what they could to a town that dropped everything for them.

It is nice to see a story about people who are truly selfless.  The people of Gander didn't think about what would be their "thanks" for taking in these people - they just did it because it was what they do.  Their generosity prooves there is faith still to be had in people.

Stars: 4