Breathe To Read

Breathe To Read

Monday, February 29, 2016

2016 Challenge - Book 22, The Bluest Eye

The book I am going to review today is:

The Bluest Eye



This was under the category:  an Author the same age as you.  (disclaimer - I had a hard time finding this, to be truthful.  Toni Morrison was 40 when she wrote this book, so I went with it)

This is the story of an African American girl named Pecola who just wanted to have blue eyes like the other little girls she sees.  She is a very poor girl in the 1940s with a family whose father drinks too much, and her mother is too quick to beat her over the smallest things.  The story tells of the life she has been dealt.

I liked this book okay.  It was a little hard to read.  The story was haunting, and sad, of course.  Each chapter was about a different person in the story - giving you background of how they came to be the person they were.  These were poor children in a poor neighborhood and their lives were hard.  There is a house that is burned down.  There is an unexpected pregnancy.  And all Pecola wants is blonde hair and blue eyes.

I don't really recommend it.  I mean - it is fine.  It was only 200 pages, so it only took me a few days to read it.  But I really had to make myself read it.  I think this was her first book, so to be fair, that might be part of the problem.

Stars: 2 1/2

Thursday, February 25, 2016

2016 Challenge - Book 21, Crank

Today's book I am reviewing is

Crank



This is under the category:  A Book Involving Addiction

This book is about a young girl - named Kristina - who is introduced to crystal meth (crank) while visiting her dad (who is also a drug addict).  Before she started taking drugs she was a kid on the high honor roll with a lot of friends and a bright future.  She develops an alter ego, she calls Bree, who will do anything Kristina won't.  She becomes attracted to several dangerous boys who can help her get the drugs she craves.  She even is raped by one of them while they were both high and becomes pregnant.  Her decision to keep her baby encourages her to stop her drug addiction, but she couldn't do it.

This book was pretty intense.  But it was an easy read as well, because it was written in "poetry" form.  Meaning, there weren't many words on the page, and the words were laid out in interesting patterns to tell the story.  It was shocking how easily a young 16 year old girl fell into the wrong crowd, and started taking hard drugs, and within a year she was a completely different person.  I was hoping that once she became pregnant, she would stop because she decided to keep her baby.  But she didn't.  And the book ends with her child being 17 years old and not being in her life because she chose drugs over him.

I think in another year or two, I will share this book with my oldest daughter (who is now 13).  I think it would be a good passage way into how easy it is to fall to drugs and alcohol and who easily you can spiral out of control.

Stars:  4

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

2016 Challenge - Book 20, After You

Book 20 - oh yeah!

The book I am reviewing today is:  After You



It is in the category:  A Book You Have Been Putting Off Reading

This book is a sequel to a book called Me Before You.  I read that book a year or so ago, and really enjoyed it.  This story picks up where that one left off (I highly recommend Me Before You - by the way).  Our main character - Louisa - is back after Will (her love of her life) dies.  It has been 18 months since his death, and even though she did a little traveling, and tried to make something of her life as he asked her too, she didn't get far.  Now she is working a dead end job in a bar in an airport, her parents aren't speaking to her, and she hardly ever leaves her apartment.

Then one night, while she is on her roof looking at the stars, a voice calls her name behind her, and she turns, slips, and falls.  The accident leads her to meet someone that connects her to Will, and also helps her let him go.

I thought this book was pretty good.  Not as good as the first, but close.  I thought it was written well, and was a pretty easy read.  There were parts where I wanted to shake Louisa because I felt the character was being stupider than she had to be, but those were few and far between.  I thought it was interesting that even though Louisa only knew Will for 6 months before he died, she was so in love with him that 18 months later, she was still grieving.  She didn't know how to move on.  She had never really been in love before, and instead of getting a broken heart from a first love, she watched him die.  I think she never had the closure she needed to truly be able to move on.

If you read the first book (or are willing to read that) then I suggest reading this book.  I had been putting off reading it because I wasn't sure how it would be.  Sequels are usually let downs, but in this case, I was proven wrong.  Check it out.

Stars: 4

Sunday, February 21, 2016

2016 Challenge - Book 19, The Shack

We were away for my kid's winter break, but I did read one book.  My family kept us busy that I didn't get to read as much as I would have liked.


But I did get one done.  I read:  The Shack



It was under the category:  A Self Published Book

This book is about a man whose daughter disappears when they are on a camping trip.  She is soon found to be murdered by evidence in a shack in the woods.  Four years later, the man receives a note in his mailbox that says "Meet at the Shack".   He decides to go and the trip changes his life.

Okay - this book had 10,000 reviews on Amazon.  I think everyone I know has read it.  And everyone I know that read it, didn't like it.  But curiosity got the better of me, and when I found it was self published, I figured - why not.

I should have left it alone.  It wasn't terrible.  It was fine.  It was a little weird, and cheesy.  The story starts very tragic - the death of a 6 year old girl is hard to read.  But then the story moves to him being in the shack and meeting Jesus, and God, and the Holy Spirit.  And the conversation is just......strange.  And kind of rambly.  So I quickly lost interest.

I don't really recommend this book.  It was alright, but I was glad to be done with it.

Stars: 2

Sunday, February 14, 2016

2016 Challenge - Book 18, The Infinite Sea

Happy Valentines Day!

Today's book I am going to review is called

The Infinite Sea



This was under the category:  Dystopian or Post-Apocalyptic Novel

This is the second book in a trilogy. (The 5th Wave)  It picks up where the first left off (obviously) - 7 billion people on earth are dead, and the aliens who invaded have started the 5th Wave.  Surviving the first 4 was tough enough, but the humans that remain (who are mostly children/teenagers) are fighting back.  The aliens are not done fighting to exterminate the whole human race, and the humans are not willing to give up yet.

I was thrilled to be able to find a category that the second book of this series fit into.  (the third does not come out until May).  I really enjoyed the 5th wave, and made it my first book I read this year (so you can check it out here on the blog).  The aliens have been watching the humans for 10,000 years before they attack.  They have killed off 7 billion people with plaque, coastal destruction, and general killings, and now they aliens are killing off the last of the small pockets of people that are left.  Which are mostly children.  I did enjoy that this book told us more about the other characters that came into play in the first book - developing them a little more.  But there was definitely not enough story line with our two main characters - Evan and Cassie.  Cassie was the heroine in the first book, and we wanted to see that continue.  We do - but not as much as I would have liked.  They developed another female character and spent many chapters with her and her story - more than was necessary in my opinion.

But - the book was still enjoyable.  And not a long book.  I am looking forward to what the third, and final, book will bring.

Stars:  4

Thursday, February 11, 2016

2016 Challenge - Book 17, A Stolen Life

The book I am going to review today is

A  Stolen Life



This was under the category:  A Book Based on True Events

This book is written by Jaycee Duggard who was abducted at the age of 11, and forced to live in captivity for 18 years before she was rescued.  She was forced to change her name, she had two children by her abductor.  She was sexually and mentally abused, and in 2009 she was rescued.

This story was hard to read.  Not because it was poorly written, but because of what happened to Jaycee.  What she was made to endure for 18 years with no way to escape is unimaginable.  At age 14 she had her first child.  And at age 17, her second.  Both due to being forced to have sex with her abductor.  I have a 13 year old daughter, and I cannot imagine her being in this situation without getting sick to my stomach.

The fact that she survived at all, is utterly amazing.  And since her release she has worked hard to keep her daughter's faces and names out of the press (they are not even named in this book).  She wants their lives to be normal.  She was 11 when she was abducted, and 29 when she was released.  Her daughters were 15 and 12 - they also having to endure being held in captivity for most of their lives.

It is a good book.  It is simply written, but that makes it all the better because it is in Jaycee's own words.

Stars: 4

Monday, February 8, 2016

2016 Challenge - Book 16, Juliet Naked

The book I am going to review today is called:

Juliet, Naked



It was under the category:  A Book About Music

This book is about Annie who lives in England with her boyfriend, Duncan.  Duncan is obsessed with a recluse rock star named Tucker Crowe.  Tucker hasn't made any music in 20 years and has gone into hiding in America - according to his fans.  Duncan and Annie take a trip to America so that Duncan can stop at some famous Tucker Crowe places, and that is when Annie decides that she has had enough.  When they get back to England, Tucker Crowe's people have sent some of his biggest fans a demo CD called Juliet, Naked.  Annie listens to it, and doesn't like it.  She decides to take to the internet and post this about the album.  It leads to Tucker getting in contact with Annie which leads to life changing consequences.

This book was pretty good.  Duncan is a bit of a douche, but Annie is sweet and Tucker is very likable.  Annie starts having an online conversation with Tucker which leads to meeting face to face and finding out most of the things posted about him on the internet are untrue.  Most of this book is about regret.  Annie regrets spending 15 childless years with Duncan - whom she doesn't really love any more.  Tucker regrets not knowing his children better and making more of his life after he left the music business so long ago.  We find out the reason for his album in the first place, and it isn't what everyone thinks.  It is the same reason he went into hiding and quit the music business.

I enjoyed it.  It wasn't a hard read, and I thought the characters were easy to like.  Check it out.

Stars  4

Thursday, February 4, 2016

2016 Challenge - Book 15, Peace Like A River

The book I am reviewing today is:

Peace Like A River



This was under the category: A Book With a Simile in the Title

This book is about the Land family.  It is told by the middle child, Reuben, who grew up in North Dakota as a son of a poor janitor.  He didn't have a mother - she left when he was very little.  His brother flees when he is charged with murder, and Reuben, his sister, and his dad set out to look for him.  Their journey takes an unexpected path and leads them somewhere they didn't expect to be.

This book talked a lot about miracles performed by man through the love of God.  While I was a little worried (well....worried isn't the right word) that it might be a novel strictly about religion and God's miracles, it wasn't.  It was the story of this family whose father seemed to perform miracles because he loved God and prayed hard.  It is how his 11 year old boy, Reuben, viewed him.  A pot of soup that never seemed to empty.  A person changed because his dad simply touched him on the cheek.

What it comes down to is the kindness that this man showed to those around him.  Reuben's father was a calm, polite, giving man, and to an 11 year old boy, the reactions that happened because of these actions definitely changed the people around him.  When Reuben's older brother kills two boys in self defense, and runs from the law, Reuben and his family head out to search for him.  Who they find instead is Roxanna - a beautiful woman - both inside and out - that takes them in during a blizzard and treats them like family.  They finally feel like they are home when they are with her.

Do they find his brother?  You will have to read to find out.  I will tell you that there is tragedy in the book - beyond the initial shootings.  But in the end of the book, we get to see Reuben as an adult (he is telling the story as if it is in his past) and what his life has become because of what happened the year he was 11.

I would say give it a try.  Like I said - I was a little wary of it at first because of the direction I thought it would take.  I think it was because I wasn't expecting it.  But it was good.  And it ended well.

Stars:  3 1/2

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

2016 Challenge - Book 14, Let's Pretend This Never Happened

Today I am reviewing my first book for February.  I wonder if Feb. will be as good as January.  If we have bad weather here in New England my guess is....YES.

Today's book review is for:  Let's Pretend This Never Happened



This was in the category:  A Satirical Book

This is a non-fiction book about the life of the author.  She writes about her father who was an eccentric taxidermist and her childhood.  She takes us through her life growing up and getting married and having a family of her own.

This book was hilarious.  There is no other word for it.  I died laughing on about every page, and read several pages to my husband.  I have read a lot of serious books, and okay books, so this was a nice change.  She keeps her life story light, and you find yourself shaking your head in disbelief.  I love sarcastic humor, so this book was right up my alley.  There is a lot (a lot) of language so consider yourself warned.

Stars: 5