Breathe To Read

Breathe To Read

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

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

2016 Challenge - Book 46 - Everyday

The book I am reviewing today is called


This was under the category: A Book Recommended by a Teacher or Librarian

This is a story about "A" who switches bodies every day.  He is never the same person twice.  At midnight he leaves the body he is in and wakes up in a new one.  He can access their memories and no one is ever aware he was there.  He tries not to interfere or get too attached to anyone knowing he is only there for one day.

It has been this way for as long as he can remember.  He ages just like he would in his own body, but he doesn't remember ever having his own.  He wonders if there are others like him.  One day he arrives in the body of a boy named Justin.  He falls for Justin's girlfriend, Rhianna.    All of the sudden he has found someone he wants to be with each day.  Rhianna and A try and figure out how they could ever be together when each day, A is a different person on the outside.

This is an interesting novel.  It is a neat concept - changing bodies every day - never knowing who you are going to be in the morning.  Boy, girl, happy, sad, good family, bad family.....he never had control.  He didn't know why it happened or when it started.  He doesn't remember being any different.

But  when he meets Rhianna, it becomes a teenager novel.  He falls for her immediately after only knowing her a few hours, and then no matter what body he is in, he has to see her.  Try to be with her.  She has a boyfriend.  He finally tells her what he is, and she is accepting, but never really agrees they could be together.  A pushes back - says there has to be a way.  They both struggle with the idea of what it would be like to be with someone who never looks the same two days in a row.

I won't spoil the end of the book, but I did like the ending.  A redeems himself in my eyes.  It is an interesting idea, and I did enjoy the story, so I vote to give it a try.

Stars: 4

Friday, June 17, 2016

2016 Challenge - Book 45 - Calabrian Tales

Whoa.  Has it been almost a month since blogged on here?  Thankfully it is almost summer vacation for the kids and there will be more time to read.

I finished this book about a week ago (took me forever to get through due to busy schedules), and then forgot to blog it.

The book is:  Calabrian Tales

It is under the category:  A  Book Written By An Author With Your Nationality.

I did one better - I did one from the actual place my grandma was from in Italy - Calabria.

This is the story of the author's family from the late 1800s in Calabria, Italy.  The story involves his great aunt - who was a mistress to a very rich man, his father - who fled Italy for the US when he was young, and several other family members who were very poor in Italy.  It talks of the hardships they faced at that time in Italy, and what happened when some of them left for the United States.  Most of the book was written from stories his grandmother told him.

It was a pretty good book.  Not very well written, but I enjoyed the stories and how all the people intertwined in the book.  Many of his family members were farmers who worked from dawn to dusk every day of the week and still didn't have enough food to make it through the winter.  They had to give olive oil to the Dons in order to "pay rent".  Their lives were very hard and not rewarding at all.  I wish I would have asked my grandmother to tell me more stories while she was still alive, so that I would know what it was like for her parents and grandparents growing up in such a place.

Stars: 3 1/2