Breathe To Read

Breathe To Read

Friday, March 24, 2023

Book: Unsweetined: A Memoir

 Book: Unsweetined: A Memoir

Author: Jodie Sweetin

Pages: 256

This is my 25th read for the year

This is Jodie's own story of her struggles with drugs and alcohol through her teens and twenties.  After 8 years as Stephanie Tanner on "Full House", Jodie found herself without a job and without a lot of friends.  At a wedding at age 13 she got her first taste of wine, and that started her down a path of destruction.  Spending the next 14 years in and out of rehab and struggling with meth, cocaine, and alcohol, Jodie recounts how the birth of her daughter at the age of 27 saved her life.  It took her being in charge of someone else to realize that her life had to change for good.

This was an interesting read.  Again - as I have written before - it is hard to review a book about someone who struggled so painfully with substance abuse.  While Jodie takes the blame more than other celebrities I have read about, she is still searching for the "why" of her situation.  This book was writte in 2009, and when I looked her up, it looks like she has been clean since that time and has turned her life around.

It was a quick read.  It started to lose steam near the end, but for the most part it was well written.

Stars: 3.5

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Book: We The Scientist: How A Daring Team of Parents and Doctors Forged A New Path For Medicine

 Book: We The Scientist: How A Daring Team of Parents and Doctors Forged A New Path For Medicine

Author: Amy Dockser Marcus

Pages: 256

This is my 24th read for the year

This is the story of how a group of parents - whose children were diagnosed with a fatal disease called Neimann Pick Type C - encouraged scientist to collaborate with them to find a cure for their children.  Scientist - who normally are tight lipped about their experiments and work - chose to work with parents to try a save the lives of these childrens.  Thus leading to the first "citizen scientists" that paved the way for other parent groups to collaborate with scientist on othe diseases.  While the cure for NPC has still not been found - the work of the parents along side of the scientist made progress that might not have otherwise been made if they did not work together pulling their resources and research toward one goal.

This was a good book.  I love a good non-fiction and one that has patient stories are among my favorites.  My husband has done with with NPC and we are very familiar with the rare disease world with our daughter having one of those rare diseases herself.  Our own foundation has been working closely with scientist on our daughter's disease for the last decade and we are grateful that the scientist in our case are so willing to work with us to find a cure.  

Well written, well researched and heart wrenching, this book is worth a read.  The stories of these families are tragic.  Children with NPC live around a maximum of 20 years, and most of those years are spent severely disabled.  Children who are born normally quickly start to lose function in their early years and their parents watch them wither away for years.  The work that these parents and researchers are doing to save these children is harrowing.

Stars: 4

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Book: The Children's Blizzard

 Book: The Children's Blizzard

Author: Melanie Benjamin

Pages: 368

This is my 23rd read for the year

This is the story of two young teachers - Raina and Gerda - and the students they are in charge of in an 1888 blizzard that hit northern Tennessee and South Dakota.  On an unusually warm January day, the weather quickly turned to a blizzard that the prarie was not expecting.  Caught at their individual schools with a group of children, these young women had to make a choice.  Barely beyond childhood themselves, they knew if they stayed at the schools, they might run out of heat before the blizzard past and they would all die.  When Raina makes one choice, and Gerda another - both lead to very different outcomes that will change their lives forever.  Told from the points of view of both Raina and Gerda plus a few other main character - this historical fiction book leads us through one of the most tragic blizzards of the time.

This was a very good book. I did not know anything about this blizzard, and while the characters are fiction, the circumstances (and the death of over 200 people) are not.  The book moves quickly through the blizzard, and I was tense the whole time wondering how Raina, Gerda, and the children in their charge were going to get through the blizzard unharmed.  The second half of the book is the "after" of the blizzard, and while I didn't find that as interesting as the build up and climax of the blizzard itself, it is still well written.  There is even an epilogue at the end, where we climb into the future of these characters which I always appreciate.

A well written, tragic tale that I am glad I read.  Don't miss this one.

Stars: 4.5

Monday, March 20, 2023

2023 Challenge: a Book That Becomes a TV Show/Movie in 2023: Anasi Boys

 Book: Anasi Boys

Author: Neil Gaiman

Pages: 368

This is my 22nd read for the year

This is the story of Fat Charlie.  This father has died, and he was just told he has a brother named Spider that he never knew about.  When Spider appears, he turns Charlie's life upside down.  Spider - who has the powers of Fat Charlie's dad (who was a god and Charlie never knew) makes a mess of Charlie's personal and work life before Charlie has a chance to stop him.  Needing help - Charlie enlist the help of the women who told him about Spider in the first place.  However - this plan backfires leading to Charlie and Spider having to work together to solve an even bigger problem.

This was a pretty good book.  This is the 2nd in the American God's series which I read a long time ago.  Neil Gaiman is a fantastic author and I always enjoy his books.  This one did not disappoint.  It is well written with an engaging story.  Is it my favorite of his books?  Not at all - I would say it is one of his weaker novels.  But still well written and kept me entertained.   I am glad I read it.

Stars: 4

Friday, March 17, 2023

2023 Challenge: The Longest Book on my TBR List: The Lincoln Highway

 Book: The Lincoln Highway

Author: Amor Towles

Pages: 592

This is my 21st read for the year

This is the story of Emmet Watson and his brother Billy.  It is 1954 and they have recently lost their father, and their farm has been forclosed.  Emmet - after serving 15 months in a juvenile camp for involuntary manslaughter - has decided it is time for he and Billy to move on.  Billy has an idea that he and Emmet should go west to California to find their mother who left when Billy was just a baby.  Emmet is not so sure, but has no other plans.  Billy - an avid reader - wants to follow the Licnoln Highway across the country - knowing that the postcards that his mother sent them long ago, will lead them right to her.  Before they can set off, though, two of the boys that were in the juvenile camp with Emmet - show up and have other plans.  This story spans only 10 days - told from view points of several characters - sents Emmet and Billy on a journey they never expected.

I know this book has a lot of 5 star reviews, but I didn't enjoy it.  I really liked his other book - A Gentleman in Moscow - and was anxious to read this one after it received so much hype.  However - I found it hokey and just so so.  Based on the title, I expected this to be an open road journey book of Emmett and Billy, and even the other two juveniles - crossing the US on the Lincoln Highway.  But alas - the Lincoln Highway had about a 5 minute appearance in this book surrounded by constant thwarting of events before Emmett and Billy can start their journey.  And then it just.....ends.  I did finish the book despite me getting more and more frustrated with the direction of the book (so many repeated plot from different view points it got tiring) because I wanted to see it pan out.  And it never did.

Stars: 3

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Book: Unaccustomed Earth

 Book: Unaccustomed Earth

Author: Jhumpa Lahiri

Pages: 352

This is my 20th read for the year

This is a book for 8 short stories.  The first series are unrelated stories about families and couples who are mostly of Indian heritage who live and work in the United States.  They are Bengali's who are trying to combine their heritage with American culture.  The last set of stories are all related - a girl and a boy - told from each of their points of view - from when they were children through when they were adults and found each other again.

I enjoyed the book.  There is no doubt that Lahiri is a talented writer.  I am not a big fan of short stories because I never feel like I get enough of the characters to form feelings.  I was pleased that the last several stories were related, and enjoyed that part of the book most of all.  She is from around our area, (Boston), so she incorporates large parts of that city into her narrative which I liked.  

Overall another well written book by Lahiri.  This one has been on my shelf for awhile (it is one of her older novels)- given to me as a hand me down-and I am glad I finally decided to pick it up.

Stars: 4

Friday, March 3, 2023

2023 Challenge: A Book You Think Your Friends Will Life: Home

 Book: Home

Author: Penny Parkes

Pages: 400

This is my 19th read for the year

This is the story of Anna.  She is a woman in her 30s who has been a house sitter for the decade since she left Oxford.  She doesn't have a home she calls her own, but travels to beautiful places stepping into other people's lives whil caring for their homes and pets - meeting new people as she goes.  A bad encounter on one of her house sits, gets her boss set on having Anna take a break for awhile and take a real vacation.  But Anna's past as a foster kid who never found a real place to call home - struggles with the idea.  It takes a chance encounter with another young girl who is struggling, and the support of her best friend, to see that roots is exactly what she needs.

I really enjoyed this book.  The reviews are all over the place, but I was surprised by that.  I found Anna endearing and the banter between she and the other characters sweet, fun, and often times - humorous.  It is not a love story except that Anna learns to love herself and figure out what she needs to make herself happy.  It is sweet, well written, and I really enjoyed it.  I listened to it, and I thought that the reader did a fantastic job of bringing the characters to life.

Stars: 4.5

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

2023 Challenge: Book I Bought Second Hand: Twelve Patients: Life And Death At Bellevue Hospital

 Book: Twelve Patients: Life And Death At Bellevue Hospital

Author: Eric Manheimer

Pages: 368

This is my 18th read for the year

This is a non-fiction recounting of the author's time as a medical director at Bellevue Hospital.  He tells the story of 12 different patients he cared for - from dignitaries to prisoners.  He delves into their families, their personal back stories and their lives after the hospital to spin the side that is often missed with medical personnel.  These are real people with real problems and families that love them.  When he becomes a patient himself, he talks about his struggles to still care for his patients while he also needs to care for himself.

This was a pretty good book.  I have been wanting to read this one because they based the TV show "New Amsterdam" on this hospital and Dr. Manheimer.  The author does a good job at recounting the lives of the patients he stories and puts a human spin on even the prisoner from supermax.  He is heart felt and caring for everyone that walks through his doors and it shows.  I did look Dr. Manheimer up after I read this book, and he is alive and doing well - even after a serious cancer diagnosis.

Stars: 4

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

2023 Challenge: A Book By A First Time Author: Tell The Wolves I'm Home

 Book: Tell The Wolves I'm Home

Author: Carol Rifka Brunt

Pages: 384

This is my 17th read for the year

This is the story of June Elbus.  She is a 14 year old girl in 1987 who feels like the only person who understands her is her Uncle Finn. Finn is a renowned painter who has been painting June and her sister each Sunday afternoon -trying to get the portrait just right.  While June's sister wishes that Finn would hurry up so she could get back to her life, June hopes that the painting never ends.

However - when Finn dies, June feels lost.  The painting of the girls becomes famous and makes the news, so June's parents secure it in a vault - telling June and her sister they can go and see it anytime they want.  June discovers that Finn had someone else in his life - and she feels betrayed that she wasn't the most important person in his life.  As she gets to know Toby, their mutral love for Finn brings them together.  As June and her sister start to rebel Finn's life with Toby and even before as his life as a brother to June's mom- come to light.  And June does not know where that leaves her.

This wasn't a great book.  I did finish it, but should have quit about half way through.  Weak characters that I never really felt drawn to care about.  June and her sister Greta's relationship is so up and down it will make your head spin.  I found the relationships between June and her Uncle and Toby disturbing.  

I just couldn't get into it.  Not for me.

Stars: 2

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

2023 Challenge: A Book About A Family: The Latecomer

Book: The Latecomer

Author: Jean Hanff Korelitz

Pages: 448

This is my 16th read for the year

This is the story of the Oppenheimer family.  A wealthy New York family where parents - Salo and Joanna - are trying to start a family.  Salo - always a little stuck in the past due to an accident he caused that killed two people - he is never quite in the same place as Joanna as far as family. After several failed IVF attempts, the final one results in twins - two boys and a girl.  Joanna finally feels she has the family she always wanted.  However - as the children grow, and never becomes close (Even growing to greatly dislike each other) and Salo withdraws further into his art collection and his past, things start to fall apart.  An affair, the reveal of family secrets, and a late in life baby finally bring the Oppenheimer family to the breaking point.  

Told from the view of the fourth child - a child born 17 years after her siblings - as she grows, she tries to bring her fractured family back together and get the family she wishes she had all along.

This was a pretty good book.  It started strong, and I was very invested in figuring out how the triplets came to hate each other so much.  I did not care for two of the three triplets - Sally and Harrison were awful.  When Pheobe - the 4th child - entered the picture, the book got a bit better, but the writing seemed to peter out and the book ended kind of quickly.  Just left me a little unsatisfied as far as the characters and story.

Stars: 3.5 

Thursday, February 9, 2023

2023 Challenge: A Book With Just Text on the Cover: Quiet - The Power Of Introverts In A World That Just Can't Stop Talking

 Book: Quiet - The Power Of Introverts In A World That Just Can't Stop Talking

Author: Susan Cain

Pages: 352

This is my 15th read for the year

This non-fiction novel explores the topic of introverted people and how undervalued the author thinks they are. In a world that expects people to be extroverted to get ahead, Cain explores all the people who have gone on to do great things (Einstein, Gates, etc) who were truly introverted people. The author researches and explores people who prefer listening over talking or wish to work alone instead of a group, and what that means for them socially and professionally.
This was a pretty good book. I live with two introverts, so I could relate to quite a bit in this book relevant to my husband and youngest daughter. Both are painfully shy when it comes to being social - crave intimate relationships and quiet evenings at home instead of parties and large groups. I have come to appreciate and accept their comfort level. If you have introverts in your life - or are one yourself - check this book out.
Stars: 4

Saturday, February 4, 2023

2023 Challenge: Shortest Book On Your TBR list: Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption

 Book: Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption

Author: Stephen King

Pages: 128

This is my 14th read for the year

This is the story of a prisoner named Andy Dufresne.  Convicted of killing his wife and her lover, he ends up in Shawshank prison on a life sentence.  His story is told by a fellow prisoner named Red who has been in Shawshank for a long time by the time Andy arrives.  In a story that Red writes about Andy and his time in prison, we learn how Andy spent his time in Shawshank and how he ultimately escapes.  

I will leave it right there because my guess is that most people have seen the movie at this point.  It is one of my favorites, and being a King fan, I don't know what took me so long to read this Novella.  There are differences between the book and the movie (for one Red in the book is a white Irishman) but not too many.  I did like the ending of the movie a bit better than the ending of the book, but overall it is well written and a great read.

Stars: 5

Friday, February 3, 2023

2023 Challenge: A Book About A Vacation - Headhunters On My Doorstep

 Book: Headhunters On My Doorstep

Author: J. Maarten Troost

Pages: 272

This is my 13th book for the year

In Troost's newest installment, he is headed back to the South Pacific.  He has struggled with alcoholism and after rehab and getting himself sober, he set out on a vacation to reconnect to what he loves most - travel.  He falls the path of Treasure Island author - Robert Louis Stevenson and lands himself in the Marquesas, Tuamotus, Tahiti, Kirbati and Samoa.  He meets several other world travelers, and people from all walks of life as he takes us on a journey through the history of this part of the world, and how Stevenson ended up here.

This was another great book by Troost.  I have read all of his books and find him charming, enlightening, educational, and very funny.  His travels and his tales make me long to get back out there and start traveling regularly again.  I was sad to hear he had fallen on hard times, but glad to read that he was in recovery.  He is a great author, and I look forward to reading more of his travels in the future.

Stars: 5

Thursday, February 2, 2023

2023 Challenge: A Book With A Color In The Title: Purple Hibiscus

 Book: Pruple Hibiscus

Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Pages: 336

This is my 12th book for the year

This is the story of Kambili.  She is a 15 year old girl living with her parents and brother in Enugu Nigeria.  Her familyis wealthy - and they want for nothing.  She is shielded from the troubles around her.  However - behind closed doors, her family is not a picture perfect unit.  Her papa is a tyrant - and life is suffocating for Kambili and her brother.  When Kambili and her brother are sent to visit her aunt, they discover that there are homes filled with laughter, and books, and rancous discussion.  Their eyes are opened to how suffocated they really are.  When traged strikes, Kambili must do what she can to hold her family together.

This was an okay book.  I am a fan of this author - Half Of A Yellow Sun is one of my favorite novels.  This one just missed the mark for me.  For one - I found it a bit rambling.  It was mundane overall and just lacked life.  I didn't really connect with the characters.  And I am not a fan of stories about domestic violence.  I always struggle with these books - often quitting them.  I stuck with this one - wanting to see if a story outside of that developed.  It did - but it wasn't interesting enough to give this book more than 3 stars.

Stars: 3

Friday, January 27, 2023

Book: The Rosie Effect

 Book: The Rosie Effect

Author: Graeme Simsion

Pages: 368

This is my 11th read for the year

In the follow up story to "The Rosie Project" Don and Rosie have moved to New York to start new jobs and a new life.  Busy starting their careers Rosie discovers she is pregnant.  Don sets out to figure out if he is going to be a good father.  His research gets him into trouble, and Rosie starts to have her doubts if this is actually going to work out.

This book was not as good as the Rosie Project.  I really loved that book, and honestly - I should have stopped with that one.  This one was not written as well, and I actually found myself annoyed with Don and Rosie on many occasions.  After reading this one, I think I might pass on the third - holding The Rosie Project as a book I am still so glad I read.

Stars: 3

Monday, January 23, 2023

2023 Challenge: A Book With A Queer Lead and a Book With A Rabbit on the Cover: Everyone in this room will someday be dead

 Book: Everyone In This Room Will Someday Be Dead

Author: Emily Austin

Pages: 256

This is my 10th read for the year

This is the story of Gilda.  She is a young person in her 20s - gay, aethiest, suffering from panic attacks and anxiety and having a hard time holding everything together.  When she gets fired from her job beacuse she stopped showing up, she finds herself employed as a secretary in a Catholic Church.  Hired because the secretary before her was believed to be murdered, Gilda spends a lot of her time trying to get to the bottom of Grace's (the previous secretary) demise and who might have been responsible.  Along the way, she struggles to hold herself together as she navigates a relationship with someone she truly likes.  

This book was pretty terrible.  I really did not like the main character.  She was insufferable and just overly done.  Blurbs about this book state that it is "hilarious" - and it was far from that.  It was dark and depressing, and I barely finished it.  I should have let it go - but I was listening to it on a plane ride, so tried to stick with it.  Sorry I did.

Stars: 2

Sunday, January 22, 2023

2023 Challenge: A Book With The Main Character's Name in the Title: The Rosie Project

 Book: The Rosie Project

Author: Graeme Simsion

Pages: 295

This is my 9th read for the year

This is the story of Don Tillman (yes I know the challenge is the main character's name is in the talent - but bare with me).  He is a genetics professor with aspgergers who has trouble with social cues.  He decides to start something called "The Wife Project" because at the age of 39, he finds himself still unmarried.  He puts together a survey in hopes of eliminating women who he would not find compatible with himself.  Until he meets Rosie.  Rosie walks into his office in hopes of finding out who her biological father is and she and Don form a friendship.  Even though Don tells his friends that Rosie would never be a candidate for the Wife Project, as their friendship blooms, so does his love for her and hers for him. 

This book is incredibly sweet. Don is as endearing as he is maddening in his search for a wife.  It is light hearted with very likable characters and great plot.  It is well written, and you find youself rooting for Don to find someone to love him for exactly who he is. Rosie becomes the center of the book and his world, and he finds that people are not just numbers on a page or information in a survey.  

Highly recommend this book. I am so excited that there are more "Rosie" books - looking forward to reading the next one.


Friday, January 20, 2023

Book: Constance

 Book: Constance

Author: Matthew FitzSimmons

Pages: 343

This is my 8th read for the year

This is the story of Constance D'Arcy.  In the future, the very rich have the chance to have a clone of themselves kept in reserves in case of their untimely death.  Constance, far from rich, was gifted one from her aunt who runs the cloning company.

People who have the clones have to go to the center once a month to upload their consciousness so that if they die their recent memories are up to date.  During Constance's most recent upload, something goes wrong and she wakes up 18 months later.  Her memories of that time are gone and her original - is dead.  Now it is up to her clone to piece together what happened and who is behind her death.

This was an okay book. It acutally was pretty good and held my attention for about 3/4 of the book, and then it went a bit off the rails.  Plot started to fall apart a bit.  The lack of character development left me wanting and not really caring what happened to people.  The plot started to have too many twists and turns for one novel- I felt that the author should have picked one or two and threw the rest out.

I understand there is a second book.  I might check it out just to see if it comes together a bit better.

Stars: 3

Monday, January 16, 2023

2023 Challenge: A Memoir by a Celebrity: Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing

 Book: Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing

Author: Matthew Perry

Pages: 272

This is my 7th book for the year

This is the autobiography of the author.  Starting from his chidhood - where he states his problems originated from - to present day (he is 53 years old), he recounts his life of drug and alcohol abuse and how he still struggles with those demons. 

I really struggle to review this book, so I don't think I will.  What I will say is that drug and alcohol abuse must be beyond terrible, and since I will never truly understand what it is like, what is there for me to say. I can say that I was glad I did the audiobook version of this book because Matthew reads it himself.  And Chandler was my favorite character on friends.  Matthew touts himself as selfish and narcissistic, and I have to agree with his analogy.  And he is also extremely angry at everyone - including himself - but some of the people he blames is ludicrous.  But I still wish him well and hope that he conquers his demons.

Stars: 3.5

Thursday, January 12, 2023

2023 Challenge: A book your friend recommended: Sign Here

 Book: Sign Here

Author: Claudia Lux

Pages: 416

This is my 6th read for the year

This is the story of Peyote Trip.  He works in the deals department on the 5th floor in Hell.  He has a plan that once he gets the last piece of a puzzle - a member of the Harrison family on earth to sell their soul - he can finally be free.  But no one must know his plan.  When he gets assigned to a new person to the floor - Cal - he soon discovers that she isn't what she seems.  Set between the stories in Hell and the Harrison family on earth, the two worlds eventually collide and the truth comes to light.

This was a great book.  It was actually recommended to me by two friends and I am glad they did.  It is well written, and entertaining.  The idea is GREAT - the chapters in Hell being my favorite.  It took me awhile to see how everyone was connected and eventually the whole story comes together.  The up and down of Peyote and Cal got to be a little much at times - the hot and cold of their relationship, but easily forgivable for the overall story.

Good book.  Check it out

Stars: 4 

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Book: Animal Farm Graphic Novel

 Book: Animal Farm Graphic Novel

Author: George Orwell

Pages: 176

This is my 5th read for the year

This graphic novel is the condensed form of Orwell famous novel.  A story of new tyranny replacing old. The animals at the farm have had enough of the farmers controlling when they work and how much they work and what they are fed.  So they revolt and chase the farmers off.  What happens next- when the pigs deam themselves in charge, the takeover isn't all it seems to the other animals.  

I read the novel years ago, so when I saw it in Graphic Novel form, I bought it for my daughter.  She loves graphic novels.  It was well drawn and the perfect size to get the gist of the original novel and story.  We enjoyed it.

Stars: 4

Monday, January 9, 2023

2023 Challenge: A Book With A Song Lyric as a Title: Stardust

 Book: Stardust

Author: Neil Gaiman

Pages: 256

This is my 4th read for the year

This is the story of Tristan Thorn.  He is in love with a girl named Victoria.  She told him that if he can get her a fallen star that she will marry him.  This sets him off on an adventure to capture a star.  Because Tristan is half faerie, he is able to cross a barrier at a wall in his town, and in the faerie land he encounters all kinds along his journey.  He quickly finds out that there are others who are also seeking the star.  When Tristan finds the star - Yvaine - they embark on an adventure to bring her back to Victoria, but along the way, Tristan changes how he feels for Victoria and realizes he is in love with Yviane.  However - Yviane cannot leave Faerie land without turning to stone.  Tristan is left with having to make a choice - return to the world he knows, or stay with the one he loves.

This was a pretty good book.  It is beautifully written.  I am a big Gaiman fan - having read almost everything he has written, and this one didn't disappoint.  He is written as a fairytale for adults - but there is only minimal "adult" language/scenes.  Enough, though, that I would not given to someone below high school to read.  The story was intriguing and as a short book, it was quick to finish.

Stars: 4

Saturday, January 7, 2023

2023 Challenge: A Book Published The Year You Were Born: The Bermuda Triangle

 Book: The Bermuda Triangle

Author: Charles Berlitz

Pages: 252

This is my 3rd book for the year

This is a non-fiction book about the disappearances of boats, planes, and people in the Bermuda Triangle from the 1940s-1970s (when the book was written).  It recounts the numerous disappearances, what the causes could be, and even recounds the history of this part of the world.

This was a pretty good book.  A little dry, but I was interested in learning more about The Bermuda Triangle. I am still amazed at how many boats and planes disappeared without a trace here. I need to find a more current book to see if these diappearances are still happening and if they have ever located any of the missing planes and boats.

In a side not - Charles Berlitz family runs the Berlitz language school which I am familiar with - that was a neat discovery.

Stars: 3


Friday, January 6, 2023

2023 Book Challenge: A Book On A Celebrity Book List: Our Missing Hearts

 Book: Our Missing Hearts

Author: Celeste Ng

Pages: 352

This is my 2nd read for the year

This is the story of a 12 year old boy named Bird.  Living with his father who shelves books at the library after his wife left and the world fell apart.  Bird's mother, Margaret, a Chinese American poet, has not been seen since he was 9 years old.  His father won't even talk about her, and insist on calling Bird by his real name - Noah.  Bird's best friend, Sadie, has also disappeared without a trace, and now he is all alone.  Remembering a story his mother read him when he was little, Bird goes on a search for the story in the library and this leads him on a search for his mother and for Sadie.  What unfolds is the story of how and why his mother left and the truth of how the world became the way it is.

This was an excellent book.  I am a big Celest Ng fan and this book did not disappoint.  It is beautifully written about a tough subject.  I enjoyed the story and the path Bird takes to find his mother and learn the truth.  While this is a dystopian novel - where Chinese Americans are wrongly accused and jailed for the most minor infractions (and their children rehomed when neighbors think the parents are unfit) - it could also be seen as a cuationary tale.  

I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it - especially if you are a fan of this author.

Stars: 5

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Book Challenge 2023: A Book You Meant To Read In 2022: Gleanings

 Book: Gleanings

Author: Neil Shusterman

Pages: 432

This is my first read for the new year!

This is a spin off book in the Arc of Scythe series.  A book of short stories told from the perspective of diferent scythes and of different characters, you get another glimpse into this world.  Scythes have been in charge of population control ever since the world was irradicated of disease and death.  This book tells stories of how certain Scythes choose to Glean and the general publics reaction to Scythes all over the world.

This was a good book.  This is probably my favorite series by Shusterman, so I was very excited to see another book appear from this world.  I thought it was well written and enjoyed almost all of the stories.  There were a few that were just okay, but not enough to take away from the book or this clever world building.  Highly recommend.

Stars: 4.5