Breathe To Read

Breathe To Read

Friday, February 25, 2022

Book Challenge 2022: A Book Featuring the LGBTQ community: Razorblade Tears

 Book: Razorblade Tears

Author: S. A. Crosby

Pages: 336

This is my 13th read for the year

This is the story of Ike and Buddy Lee.  Both men have done hard time for crimes in their past.  Ike has been clean for 15 years, owns his own business and has a family.  Buddy Lee is also out of prison, but hasn't had an easy time.  When the cops show up at Ike and Buddy Lee's doors to say their sons have been murdered, the men know they need to make this right.  Neither father were good to their boys while they were alive so now they feel they own them redemption.  They set out to find out who killed their sons, however that going to come at a heavy price.

This was a pretty good book.  It is well written and the story moves fast.  Once I got into the story, I wanted to finish it to see where it was going.  There are a lot of characters and a lot of of POV throughout the book which can make for a tough read.  The two sons who were killed were not really brought to life in this book, which was probably intentional, but left me wanting more.  I wanted to feel the father's pain by knowing more about their boys and their lives.  HOWEVER - based on how these fathers were to these boys, that may be why we didn't learn much.  Alao a disclaimer-this book is very very violent.  The story is about two men who did hard time and outside gangs who killed their sons, so it falls suit- but just be warned.

Interesting story.  Glad I read this popular book.  I will be anxious to see if they turn it into a movie.

Stars: 4

Friday, February 18, 2022

Five Star Reads

 I have been asked in the past about books I rate 5 stars.  I read over 100 books a year,so you would think there would be more.  And, to be fair, there really should be.  Writers put everything out there for our enjoyment and judgement, but in the end- who am I to judge someone's hard work?  We are all entitled to our opinions, yes.  But in the end, I give every writer - even of the books I did not enjoy - a full 5 stars for the effort and the guts to write, sell it, and put it out there for public consumption.  Bravo.

I do try and reserve my 5 star reviews for books that stay with me.  The books I remember. The books that I would read again just for the joy of reading the story over.  Do I recommend them?  Sometimes.  However - everyone's taste is different and something I loved or enjoyed might be something that someone else hates.  I do put my reviews out there, and leave myself vulnerable to the "I cannot believe you didn't like that (or did like that)."  All I can do is shrug and move on.  To each their own.

In the 7 years I have kept this blog, I have reviewed over 750 books.   And in that time I have given a 5 star rating to a book 58 times.  4 1/2 stars and even 4 stars?  100s.  But I try to reserve those 5 star reviews because in the end-they are just for me.  I own each of those 58 books (I don't buy many) because a book that special deserves to be purchased and not just borrowed.

Reading in general is something that is such a gift.  Consuming a story and escaping into a different world for awhile is a joy.  And every one of the 1000s of books (reviewed and not reviewed) that I have consumed over my life time was worth every minute.  

5 Stars: (click on the title if you want to learn more about the book)

The Master and Margarita

All The Light We Cannot See

Kite Runner

Night Circus

The Martian

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime

A Thousand Splendid Suns

Let's Pretend This Never Happened

Burial Rites

And The Mountains Echoed

The Elephant Whisperer

The Stand

Game of Thrones


The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats

A Man Called Ove

Baby Catcher

Hillbilly Elegy

Life of Pi

Orphan Train

One Plus One

A Fighting Chance

The Book Thief


Diary of A Young Girl

Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer and Longer

Dad is Fat

The Misremembered Man

The Art Forger

A Fall of Marigolds

Salt To The Sea

The Bone Garden

The Shadow of the Wind

A Gentleman in Moscow


Daring To Drive

The Little Prince

What is the What

The Astonishing Color of After

Fire and Blood

Bad Blood

The Only Plane in the Sky

When Life Gives You Pears

Each Vagabond By Name


Mornings in Jenin


Anxious People

Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

The Keeper of Lost Things

Smokes Gets In Your Eyes

Great Expectations

From Here To Eternity

Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs

Van Gogh


Cloud Cuckooland

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Book Challenge 2022: A Book By A Latinx Author: Mexican Gothic

 Book: Mexican Gothic

Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Pages: 352

This is my 12th read for the year

This is the story of Noemi.  She and her family receive a troubling letter from her cousin,  Catalina, and Noemi's father wants her to go and check on her.  When Noemi arrives at High Place in the Mexican countryside, she finds a strange, recluse family who barely talks.  No one ever seems to come and go besides a doctor that is carring for Catalina. Noemi -after talking with her cousin - feels that a second opinion is needed as well as a psychiatric consult, but the family is reluctant.   When they finally agree,Noemi starts on a parth that she never expects.  The truth comes to light and Noemi realizes that she must get herself and Catalina away from the house before it is too late.

This was a pretty good book.  The beginning started strong, and I quickly found myself invested in finding out what was going on with the family at High Place.  I liked Noemi and Francis' characters.  The villanous characters are written well enough to make you dislike them.  As the book went along, the story got weirder and weirder.  As it neared the end, it fell apart for me a little, but wrapped up nicely.  

Overall a good read.  Glad I picked this one up.  I understand they are thinking of making it into a limited series.  I will be anxious to see how that goes.

Stars: 4

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Book Challenge 2022: Own Voices Fiction or Fantasy Book: Kindred

 Book: Kindred

Author: Octavia Butler

Pages: 288

This is my 11th read for the year

This is the story of Dana - a married black woman in the 1970s who was in the middle of celebrating her 26th birthday when she was snatched away from her persent back to the1800s to rescue a young white named Rufus.  Time and time again Dana is drawn from the 1970s to Rufus' family plantation- each time she only being gone from her present a few minutes to a few hours but in the past she is there days to months.  When she returns to Rufus' time he has always aged a few years, and he has always got himself into a situation where he needs to be rescued.  Their tie is eventually revealed and Dana always fears that one time she will be brought to the past and won't be able to get back home again.  Living as a slave on Rufus' family plantation, she has her eyes opened to what it was like for her ancestors in the South and how dangerous it was for them, and now for her.

This was an okay book.  The characters fell flat for me, so it makes it hard to judge the story on a whole.  I liked the time travel premise - and Dana got more and more savvy each time she was returned to her time to make sure she was better prepared when she traveled back to the past.  But when she was there - I just could not understand some of her actions.  I really didn't like that she called Rufus "Ruf" like they were besties and he wasn't a slave owner and she one of his slaves while she was there.  The few people she trusted with her secret time travel seemed to just accept it a little to willingly.

I don't know.  Would I recommend it?  Maybe.  The story was interested enough, I just wish the characters would have been a little more developed.

Stars: 3 1/2

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Book Challenge 2022: A Social-Horror Book: Rosemary's Baby

 Book: Rosemary's Baby

Author: Ira Levin

Pages: 256

This is my 10th read for the year

This is the story of Rosemary and her husband Guy.  They find an apartment they have to have in the Bramford in New York City.  There are tales of this building having a troubled past, but Rosemary refuses to believe the rumors.  She and her husband, a struggling actor, befriend their elderly neighbors Roman and Minnie, and when Rosemary falls pregnant, they take her under their wing and get her the best care.  Guy becomes even closer friends with Minnie and Roman and Rosemary begins to grow suspicious.  She has pains she knows she shouldn't, she is being forced to drink something every day that she is sure is making her sick, and odd things start to happen to her and Guy's friends.  She is sure there is something wrong with her baby and that Roman and Minnie and their friends are probably behind it.  She will do everything she can to protect her child.

This was a weird book.  It is pretty short, but you still figure out what is happening - even if you knew nothing about this book before reading it.  Guy is awful.  The ending was really out there and almost ended on a cliff hanger.  It wrapped up so quickly after so much build up that it left me wanting more.  Was it scary?  No.  A little eerie? Yes.  

Just strange.  Not sorry I read it, but strange none the less.

Stars: 3  

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Book Challenge 2022: A Book That Is A Young Adult Novel: Monsters Of Men

 Book: Monsters of Men

Author: Patrick Ness

Pages: 656

This is my 9th read for the year

This is the last book in the Chaos Walking Trilogy.  It opens where we left off - there is a war between the Mayor, the Answer, and the Spackle.  The Spackle - who think as one - have mobilized to defend the 1000s of dead Spackle from the last book.  The new settlers ship has landed and they have now learned what has happened to Viola and her parents and what happens to them on this planet.  Viola and Todd are forced to decide where their loyalty lies.  In the end - will they choose each other, or follow either the Mayor or the Answer?

This was a mediocre ending to a mediocre series.  I am not sorry I read it, but this last book was a bit of a slog.  The two main characters are frustrating -their decisions at time confusing.  This made it hard to root for them. There were so many action scenes - to the point that he could have shortened the book by 200 pages and still told the same story.  The ending was not satisfying - after 3 books I like the story to wrap up and for there to be a true ending.  This left almost another cliff hanger.

Eh.  It was fine.  

Stars: 3