Breathe To Read

Breathe To Read

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Book Challenge 2022: A Book With Two POV: The Ask And The Answer

 Book: The Ask And The Answer

Author: Patrick Ness

Pages: 560

This is my 8th read for the year

This is book 2 in the Chaos Walking Trilogy.  Todd and Viola are separated once they arrived in Haven.  Viola was taken in by the women's camp to heal her and save her life.  Todd has been imprisoned by the former mayor.  Soon Viola is asked to join "The Answer" which is revolting against the new regime the mayor is driving.  Todd is forced to make a choice between joining the mayor or fleeing to find Viola.  The Answer starts to bomb parts of Haven and Todd is not sure where Viola's loyalty lies.  Should he search for her to find the truth, or join the mayor's regime?

This was a pretty good book.  Even at 500 pages, it is a pretty fast read.  Viola and Todd are on opposing sides and trying to find their way back to each other.  It is quite dark - a lot of killing happening in this one.  The romantic undertone between Todd and Viola is stronger in this book as well - although they keep it very PG.  You can tell that they are fierce about keeping each other alive.  It may be where it ends is friendship, but right now it doesn't seem to be heading that way.  The Spackle (aliens) from the first book are still present and there seems to be a leader in that group that is going to come back to have a bigger role in the final novel.

Anxious to see where it goes.  With this being not a fantastic series in my opinion, but one that is just okay, I am still interested in finishing it and seeing where everyone ends up.

Stars: 3 1/2

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Book Challenge 2022: A Book On The NY Times Bestseller List

 Book: The School For Good Mothers

Author: Jessamine Chan

Pages: 336

This is my 7th read for the year

This is the story of Frida Liu.  Frida had one bad day where she needed a break and left her toddler daughter at home alone.  What happens next is that Frida has to spend the next year making it right.  Along with other parents who put their children's lives in danger, she tries to redeem herself so that she can see her daughter Harriet again.

This book, in my opinion, didn't live up to the hype.  It moves slow.  It is really wordy, even in its 336 pages.  It takes awhile for the story to get moving and even when it does, it still moves slow.  Frida was never a likable character - I could not get into caring about what happened to her in the end.  Never rooted for her.  The best part of this book was the real life dolls that Frida and the other parents use to "relearn" how to be good parents.  Otherwise - it isn't worth the read.  It is supposed to be dystopian, but besides the dolls, I found nothing that different from today's world.

Disappointing read.  Luckily I listened to it while doing chores, otherwise I am sure I would not have even bothered finishing it.

Stars: 2

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Book Challenge 2022: A Book With Cutlery On The Cover Or In The Title: The Knife of Never Letting Go

 Book: The Knife of Never Letting Go

Author: Patrick Ness

Pages: 528

This is my 6th book for the year

This is the story of Todd Hewitt.  A boy of almost 13 years old, on an alien planet where only men are still alive.  (or so he thinks) When humans settled on this planet, the Spackle (aliens) infected them with the "Noise" so they can all hear each other's thoughts. (or so he thinks).  Todd is the last baby born in his settlement - was born on this planet and knows nothing else.  Todd learns from the people who care for him that the bad people in the town are after him, but he doesn't know why.  He is forced to flee with his dog (whose voice he can also hear) when he comes across a girl.  Why is she still alive when all the other women in his village are dead?  Together they set off together for a town called Haven that is supposed to protect Todd from the bad men and answer all of his unanswered questions.  Along the way they come across several other settlements that just add to his growing questions.  All the while an army from his settlement are in persuit to find him and bring him back.  

This book was fine.  I love dystopian novels and I couldn't get near this book last year at the library to borrow it because the movie came out.  But all that hype was a bit of a let down (as it almost always is).  It was entertaining enough, but not especially well written.  A lot of things are hidden from the reader more than necessary which is one of my least favorite writing styles.  Having to flip pages and pages to get to the bottom of a secret just to draw out the suspense?  No thanks.  There is a lot of running and hiding which should be exciting but wasn't.  It is pretty wordy - simple explanations go on for pages.

The dog is my favorite character.  I love that Todd can hear his thoughts.  I love the interactions between Todd and his dog as they travel.  The other characters it was hard to really care that much about.  I kept reading because I wanted to know the answers to the secrets, where this was going, and what was going to happen when they got to Haven.  And you know what I found out?  This book is a trilogy.  I didn't know that going in - silly me. ends on a cliff hanger.

I cannot have that.  Even though this book was just okay - I plan on reading at least the next one to see where this is going.

Stars: 3

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Book Challenge 2022: A Book About or Set In A Non Patriarchal Society: The End Of Men

 Book: The End of Men

Author: Christina Sweeney-Baird

Pages: 416

This is my 5th read for the year

In the year 2025, a virus hits Europe that no doctor can explain.  It seems to be only affecting men/boys - killing them fast.  Women are immune, but carriers of the disease so they can pass it to any men around them.  The doctor who first realizes that something is very wrong puts out an SOS, but it falls on deaf ears until it is too late.  The virus spreads around the world killing billions of men and boys before a vaccine is found.

The book - told by several characters (doctors, historians, scientists) document what happens when a world is turned upside down.  a small % of the men are immune.  How do you continue on when your husband and your children die?  What can be learned from mistakes made?  How do you continue in a world that has completely changed in terms of workfoce, population and family.

This was a pretty good book.  I am a big dystopian fan.  It is my #2 favorite genre after non-fiction.  So I always jump at a chance to try them when I see them.  It crosses 6 years of time during the plague from discovery, through loss of so many, to finding a cure, to moving forward.  It wraps up nicely- some people get their happy endings.  You root for the characters who lost all their children and their husbands - to find faith in love and life again.  I would say that the world seemed to deal well with the loss of billions in terms of availability of goods/services, which was unrealistic to a point.  They did have rations given to them.  But it was pretty "surface" discussed where I think it would be a much bigger deal.  And going through a pandemic right now - we all know even on a much smaller scale that this isn't possible.

I listened to the book, and I recommend taking it in this way.  Most of the characters are European, and they did a great job with different voices/readers to separate the characters.  Helps keep them straight.

Stars: 4

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Book Challenge 2022: A Book From An Author You Already Know

 Book: Apples Never Fall

Author: Liane Moriarty

Pages: 480

This is my 4th read for the year

I am off to a slow start!  I have been working so much and exhausted after coming home that I just could not make myself read these last two weeks.  Hopefully all the Covid and covid testing at our schools is slowing down now, and I will have a chance to pick up the pace a bit.

This is the story of the Delaney family.  The parents opened a tennis school and all four kids grew up playing.  Top notch players, but never the best, all four children took different paths as adults.  Two girls and two boys, their parents were always secretly disappointed that none of them were interested in taking over the business.  One night, a stranger named Savannah shows up at the parents - Joy and Stan's - house saying she is running from an abusive boyfriend, saw their lights on, and was looking for refuge.  6 weeks later, Savanah is still there, relaxed and with no plans to leave. The 4 Delaney children don't believe that Savannah found their parents by chance and are sleuthing around looking for a motive.  

Then Joy goes missing.  She left her cell phone, sent a cryptic text message to her children and was gone.  For 3 weeks the police and family frantically search for her, and for Savannah.  The police start to assume that Stan killed his wife based on clues that start to emerge, but he claims he is innocent.  The Delaney's family history comes to light with the children split down the middle about their father's innocence.  Without a body, and with a possible motive, it is hard to say what the truth might be.

This was an okay book.  I am a fan of Moriarty's books, and I did like this one for the most part.  The book trucks along at an okay pace, making me continue to want to see where it is leading.  It all comes together in the end, but along the way you realize that this whole family (well all the characters) need serious therapy.  There are a lot of toxic relationships that are just kind of brushed away for "family ups and downs" when they clearly aren't.  

It is a book that bounces back between the present and the past, and does help build the "why".  Always a favorite kind of book of mine - getting that much needed back story to make the present story make sense.  However, I didn't really feel drawn to any of the characters.  And it was too long -she could have chopped out about 150 pages of dialogue and still make this a good story. the end, an okay read.  

Stars: 3

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Book Challenge 2022: A Book with a Board Game Name in the Title

 Book: Gulp

Author: Mary Roach

Pages: 352

This is my 3rd book for the year

In Gulp, Roach takes us down a path (literally) into our bodies and the bodies of animals.  She delves into subjects on taste and smell, all the way to the miracle of fecal transplants.  She meets with scientist and even criminals to discover the inner workings of the body.  She researchers were a lot of techniques got their start and where they are now.

Another great book by Roach.  It is well written, and lightly whitty, and I learned quite a bit.  She has a great way of taking even the most "ichy" topics and making them interesting to learn about.  She does a great job taking a look at things we don't often consider and giving it a spin that makes it an interesting (instead of dry) read.  

Highly recommend

Stars: 4 1/2

Friday, January 7, 2022

Book Challenge 2022: A Book About The Afterlife: Spook

 Book: Spook

Author: Mary Roach

Pages: 311

This is my 2nd read for the year

The author takes a year long look at what happens when we die.  She explores what people believe happens to them - if some sort of our selves continue on after this life is over.  She speaks to scientist, mediums, schemers and engineers all trying to prove - or disprove - that there is "life" after death.

I love Roach's books.  My favorite genre is non-fiction, and her novels never disappoint.  She is funny and thorough in her research.  The writing is wonderful as always.  This is my 3rd book of hers that I have read (I highly recommend her others "Stiff", and "Fuzz").  We all long to know what is going to happen after we die.  She approaches each person she talks to with an open mind.  While you might not come away from this book with feelings one way or another, it was an entertaining read.  I had no idea there were so many people out there doing research to try and get to the bottom of that long unanswered question.

Good read.  I am looking forward to reading her next book.

Stars: 4

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Book Challenge 2022: A Book About A Secret: Frankenstein

 Book: Frankenstein

Author: Mary Shelley

Pages: 207

This is my 1st book of the year

This is the story of Victor Frankenstein - a scientist who created an unnamed creature as an experiment.  Victor is horrified by what he creates and shuns it to an unkind world.  Thus what begins is constant rejection based on how the creature looks to humans and people are killed in the creature's revenge.  Victor catches up with his creation to try and find out what it wants and when he refuses the creature's request, the creature vows to take away everything Victor loves.

This book is one that I have wanted to read, but have never gotten to before.  I received a leather bound addition as a present and decided it was time to tackle it.  The writing is wonderful.  I have never seen the movie, but in doing some research have found that the creature in Mary Shelley's novel is very different than the non-verbal, grunting creature in the film.  This creature is eloquent in speech and his desires for companionship.  For an author who wrote this in 1817 at the age of 18, it is truly impressive.  She wrote it as a competition with w friend and it sets in motion one of the first science fiction novels.

Glad I read it - it wasn't at all what I thought it was going to be.  A good book to add to the shelf.

Stars: 4