Breathe To Read

Breathe To Read

Monday, September 20, 2021

Book: Later

 Book: Later

Author: Stephen King

Pages: 272

This is my 79th read for the year

This is the story of Jamie.  Jamie, a now young adult, it telling the story of his unnatural ability and how it shaped his life.  His mom is a single mother who sometimes believes in Jamie's "gift" and sometimes thinks that her son is just making it up.  It isn't until she needs him one day that she realizes that he has always been telling the truth.  When an NY police officer draws JAmie in to use his gift to find a serial killer, Jamie is taken on a wild ride as a young kid that he will never forget.

This was a pretty good book.  There is no doubt that I am a Stephen King fan.  He has hits and misses, but I still feel drawn to reading what he writes.  I thought this was a pretty good one.  It is short, and I do miss the long stories that King is more known for, but in this case - shorter was better.  He didn't add "fluff" just to add pages, which I always appreciate.  Could it have been scarier?  Sure.  But I felt myself drawn to wanting to see where the story was going, and read it quickly.

Check this one out if you are a fan.  You won't be disappointed.

Stars: 4

Friday, September 10, 2021

Book: 56 Days

 Book: 56 Days

Author: Catherine Ryan Howard

Pages: 320

This is my 78th read for the year

This is the story of Ciara and Oliver.  The met in Dublin right on the verge of the pandemic and on a whim decide to ride it out together.  Now - Oliver is dead, and the detectives try to piece the story together to find out if it was an accident or a homicide.  The story bounces back and for between 56 days before Oliver's body is discovered, 35 days ago - around the time Oliver and Ciara decide to live together during the pandemic, and today - where the detectives have discovered the body.  

This was a pretty good book.  I liked the idea of a murder mystery during the actual pandemic and wasn't disappointed.  I "kind of" figured out where it was going midway during the book, but there was enough suspension and twist and turns to keep me wanting to read it quickly.  There is a lot of good banter between the characters.  I love a good "quick wit" dialogue.  I liked all of the characters and the story flowed well.  Glad I read this one.

Stars: 4

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Book: The Forest Of Vanishing Stars

 Book: The Forest of Vanishing Stars

Author: Kristin Harmel

Pages: 384

This is my 77th read for the year

This is the story of Yona.  Stolen from her German parents when she was a baby, she grew up with her kidnapper in the deep forest.  She never knew she was taken until her kidnapper reveals the truth on her deathbed in 1941.  Now Yona is alone in the forest - until she comes across a group of Jewish people fleeing the Nazis.  She has no idea that a war is going on.  She vows to help these people and teach them how to survive in the forest.  She continues to help as the group grows until one day she is betrayed.  She feels that her time with this group has come to an end and she wanders into a German village.  What happens there changes the course of her life forever.

This book wasn't that good.  I had hope for it in the beginning - liked the idea of someone being able to survive in the woods and then teach the terrified Jewish people to hide and survive.  The truth is - a lot of Jewish people did survive this way (the author reveals this at the end of her book in her author notes).  That would have been an intriguing story.  Instead, she develops a far fetched story that turns into a love story and she loses me.  I never really liked any of the characters.  Their emotions were almost too extreme to be believable.

Stars: 3

Friday, September 3, 2021

Book: Freedom

 Book: Freedom

Author: Sebastian Junger

Pages: 160

This is my 76th read for the year

This is the story of the author - a journalist and novelist - who took 2 Afgan war vets and a conflict photographer on a 400 mile journey from Washington DC to Connellsville, PA along the railroad tracks.  Their journey was to unteather themselves from every day life and reflect on the time in the war, and their lives since.  The author talks about what it was like to be free - to walk, sleep, eat, and journey where they wanted.  Along with the people they meet and the towns they visit (he talks mostly about the towns in Pennsylvania) he recounts railroad history and others who have walked the tracks.  

My husband bought me this book for mother's day when he found out it ended in our hometown of Connellsville, PA.  Our sleepy little town isn't the center of a lot of books by famous writers (Junger wrote "The Perfect Storm" - a novel turned movie many of us are familiar with), so I was excited to tackle this little book.  I LOVED the parts where he talked about his journey on the tracks, the people he met in the Pennsylvania towns along the way, and espeically the small sections about Connellsville.  But this book was like two novels in one.  Instead of having one track (personal stories/personal journey) he threw in a lot of history that just felt disconnected to the rest of the book.  Not always, but enough that I found myself wishing that he would have left those parts out.  The history seemed a bit "all over the place" which is the best way I can describe it and I never felt that it was connected to their journey in a meaningful way.  I could have skipped many of those parts completely and found an enjoyable story.

For such a short book, there was really no reason to throw in "beef" for this book.  I can imagine what he saw, heard, and the people he met along the way could have filled many books.  I am glad I read it for the Connellsville part of this story, but without that connection, this would not have been a book I would recommend.

Stars: 3

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Book: Firekeeper's Daughter

 Book: Firekeeper's Daugher

Author: Angeline Bouley

Pages: 496

This is my 75th read for the year

This book is about Daunis Fontaine.  She has just graduated from high school  - top of her class - but has chosen to go to a local state school to stay close to her family.  She meets Jamie - a newcomer in town, and quickly falls for him.  She feels he is hiding someting from her, though, and when she finds out what it is - she is sent on a path she never expected to be on.  The path is dangerous and ends in tragedy for one of her friends and her family.  It is a lot to carry for an 18 year old girl and in the end she gathers the strength she needs to make things right for her community.

This was a pretty good book.  I listened to it and it moved at a good pace.  It covers the growing problem of methamphetamine addiction and how it affects the Native American communities.  You learn a lot about customs of Native American tribes.  The downsides were - it was a bit long and you did figure out who the drug dealer for this community was pretty quickly.  There were a few surprises here and there, thought, which helped.  And I feel like I leanred a great deal, so I am glad I read this one.

Stars: 4

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Book: Malibu Rising

 Book: Malibu Rising

Author: Taylor Jenkins Ried

Pages: 384

This is my 74th read of the year

This is the story of 4 Riva children.  They are the children of the famous Mick Riva who grew up without him after he cheated multiple times on their mother and left them to find for themselves.  Nina - the eldest - is having her annual party in her mansion in Malibu but this year it is shortly after her husband left her for another woman.  Jay - the second eldest is a champion surfer, Hud - the half sibling brother who is a renowned photographer, and Kit the youngest is the adored baby sister.  The 4 of them raised by Nina after their mother dies, have long put their deadbeat famous father out of their mind and made their own lives.

The party -which Nina never wanted to have - is quickly spiraling out of control.  By the morning, the house has burned down and the siblings have faced all their demons.  Told in a timeline from when Mick met their mother to present day, we find out how the siblings ended up where they are.

So - I don't get the good reviews for this book.  And I was happy to see Amazon reviewers that agree with me.  This book was terrible.  I loved The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.  But this one was not good at all.  I found myself wanting to skip read over the bad writing and terrible characters.  I didn't like any of them except for maybe Nina.  The chapters with the party were so disjointed I couldn't follow the madness.  Characters were unbelievable.  Name dropping of fake celebrities was dumb.  

My vote is skip it.  

Stars: 2

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Book: Life's Too Short

 Book: Life's Too Short

Author: Abby Jimenez

Pages: 384

Thisis my 73rd read for the year

This is the story of Vanessa, a young woman who started a vlog when she discovered she might have the same disease that killed her mother, her sister, her grandmother and an Aunt - ALS.  She travels the world and her videos went viral.  She gives most of the money she makes to ALS research, and uses the rest to support her family.  

Vanessa's world is turned upside down when her young half sister leaves her newborn daughter on Vanessa's doorstep and says she cannot take care of her.  Her sister has struggled with drugs ever since their older sister died of ALS, so Vanessa stops her traveling and her vlog and tries to figure out what she is going to do with a newborn especially when her own life might be coming to an end.  Enter - the handsome next door neighbor, Adrian, who offers to help knowing very little about Vanessa and about her life expectancy.  Now Vanessa - who vowed to never fall in love, never get attached, is struggling with both.  She is now hoping for a future she may never see and for things she can possibly never have.

This book would be the perfect Hallmark Christmas movie.  Not only does it start out in December right before Christmas, it moves along as the best of those cheesy movies always do.  Everything falls into place and what to do you know.....the ending is perfect.  I rolled my eyes quite a few times during this book, BUT then I remembered that I do love those cheesy Hallmakr Christmas movies.  It is sweet and Adrian is of course perfect.  Vanessa a hero.  The baby - a charmer.  Everything unrealisticly resolved.  Everyone is rich.

This is the lightest of the lightest reads and honestly - I think that is why I stuck with it.  Sometimes you have to read cheesy, predictable books when you are in the middle of a pandemic.  I can recommend it for that.  If you want a silly, predictable, perfect ending read - this book is most definitely for you.  Great literature it is NOT.  But fun - yes.

Stars: 3