Breathe To Read

Breathe To Read

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Extra Book: The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell

Book: The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell
Author: Robert Dugoni
Pages: 434

This is my 33rd read of the year

This quarantine has not sped up my reading.  It has done just the opposite - it has really slowed it down.  With my kids doing schooling at home and my husband working from home,I am finding less time to read - not more.  It is never really quiet in the house, so I just can't seem to get motivated to read.  We have turned to movies and puzzles and games instead, and that is okay.  Once we get out of this, and life goes a bit back to normal, I can return to reading more.

This is the story of Sam Hill.  He was born with occular albinism which makes his eyes red.  His whole life he is teased about his eyes - called "Sam Hell" or "Son of the Devil".  Until one day, an African American boy joins his school and he and Sam become instant friends.  

40 years later, Sam the eye doctor is reflecting on his life and his path and changes he made that made him the man he is now.  These days he hides his red eyes behind brown contacts and it takes another little boy to realize that hiding the most special part about him doesn't change who he is.

This was a good book.  It was recommended to me by my sister in law, and I am so glad I read it.  It is well written and well told.  There is a large religious aspect to it, so if that isn't your cup of tea, you should be aware of that from the start.  I am not very religious, and it didn't take away for me the quality of the story.  I knew it was there and that was that.  

I encourage you to read the story about a little boy who had a hard time because he looked different and who had a mother who fought to the ends of the earth to make sure he was treated fairly.  You won't be disappointed.

Stars: 4

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Read The World - Lithuania - Breathing Into Marble

Book: Breathing Into Marble
Author: Laura Sintija Cemiauskaite
Pages: 194
Book takes place in the country: YES
Author is from the country: YES
I have visited: NO

This is my 32nd read for the year

This short novella is a poetic story of a family who has a sick child and wants to adopt another.  The child they choose to adopt has some problems, and the orphanage tries to discourage the couple from adopting him.  The mother is insistent, but the father is hesitant.  Bringing him into their home ends up being a mistake and leads to death and misery for the whole family.

This was a very strange book.  It was hard to follow and just isn't my style of writing.  It wasn't terrible, but it was a challenge to get through it.  I will keep it as my Lithuania book for now, but may hunt out another in the future.

Stars: 3

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Extra Book - The Killer Across The Table

Book: The Killer Across The Table
Author: John Douglas
Pages: 352

This is my 31st read for the year

I listened to this book while I was on vacation.  See - I DID do some reading.  

I have listeened to all of John Douglas' other books, so why stop now.  He is a gifted writer, and his stories from his time with the FBI are intriguing.  I have learned so much about the country's serial killers.  It is quite incredible.  This book comes 20 years after his Mindhunter stories and in this book he talks about his 4 most notorious cases.  

The audio book is read by Jonathan Groff - who plays Douglas in the Netflix Mindhunter series.  I thought that was great that they got him to read it - he does a good job.

This was a good book.  Nothing, to me, will be quite as good as his first - Mindhunter.  But this one was better than the last one I read - a little more about the various cases and delving deeper into the histories of the killers.  I say check it out.

Stars: 4

Monday, March 16, 2020

Extra Book - The Guardians

Book: The Guardians
Author: John Grisham
Pages: 371

This is my 30th read for the year.

I have really been slacking with reading this month.  Worse than I have in years.  I do have good excuses.  We were in Japan on vacation for about 2 weeks and were having so much fun that I didn't have a lot of reading time.  And I did listen to a few podcast for something different.  I need to get back on track.

We are no quarantined becasue we were in Japan and then Switzerland declared schools closed until April 20th.  As much as I would like to say that we will have a lot of free time to read, I also have 3 teenagers and a husband home who don't make things that quiet.  So we shall see.

The book is about lawyer and reverend Cullen Post who opened a law firm called "Guardians".  He and his co-workers travel the country working on wrongful convictions trying to set innocent convicts free.  The main case in the book is about Quincy Miller - a man who was sentenced to death row 22 years ago for a crime he claims he didn't committ.  Post and his team set out to clear Quincy and find the real killer before Quincy is executed.  However - many road blocks appear and Quincy is nearly killed to keep the truth from even coming to light.

This was a good book.  I have always been a John Grisham fan, and he did not disappoint yet again.  It was a good story, and flowed well.  Expertly written as usual.  I always enjoy a good legal thriller, so I am glad I used my last Audible credit to grab this book - another extremely popular new novel that will be months to wait for through the library. 

Check it out

Stars: 4 1/2

Thursday, March 5, 2020

February in Review

We have just returned from vacation, so I am a bit behind on my month in review.  I would like to say I spent this vacation reading, but I spent it eating and shopping instead.  And I have also found a new love in Podcast.  I listened to Serial and I loved it.

Here are the books I read in February.  I read 16 books this month - 7 of them for my Read The World Challenge.  Click on the title if you want to see the review for that book

1) The Trailing Spouse: Reimagined (Off Challenge)

2) An Island Away (Aruba)

3) Mema (Gabon)

4) Dear Haiti, Love Elaine (Haiti)

5) The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (Off Challenge)

6) In An Instant (Off Challenge)

7) A Tale of Love And Darkness (Israel)

8-13) Locke and Key Book Series (off challenge)

14) Papillon (French Guiana)

15) Milly's Story (Luxembourg)

16) The Last Brother (Mauritus)

Favorite books this month:

1) The Last Brother
2) Locke and Key Series
3) The Seven Husband's of Evelyn Hugo

My Least Favorites:

1) A Tale of Love and Darkness
2) An Island Away

Did you have a good reading month?

Monday, February 24, 2020

Read The World - Mauritus - The Last Brother

Book: The Last Brother
Author: Nathacha Appanah
Book takes place in the country: YES
Author is from the country: YES
I have visited: NO

This is my 29th read for the year

This is the story of a young boy named Raj who lives on Mauritus.  He is on a tiny island and oblivious to the Second World War until Jewish exiles arrive on his island.  His dad works at the prison, and Raj becomes fasinated with the prison and the people behind its walls.  He soon meets a little Jewish boy named David and they start to communicate through the fence and then later again when they are in the hospital together.  Even though they don't speak much of a common language, they soon become friends and allies.  Raj is determined to help David escape the prison, even not knowing exactly why he is there.

Raj tells the story as an old man looking back on what he and David went through in their short time together, and how he has spent his life trying to forget.  Raj - who lost his own brothers when he was a child wanted nothing more than to save David.  And when he can't, he spends his life regretting the choices he made during that time in his life.

This was a great book.  It is short, but packed with beautiful writing and an incredible story.  The author tells an amazing, fictional tale that pulls at your heart strings as you route for David to escape and live a life of happily ever after away from the Jewish concentration camp.  Your heart breaks for Raj and his mother when a tragedy pulls his family apart and leaves Raj lost and lonely.  And even though we know from the beginning of the book that David dies, you read the book hoping that the outcome is untrue.

I suggest this one highly.  Put it on your list of TBR.

Stars: 4 1/2

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Read The World - Luxembourg - Milly's Story

Book: Milly's Story
Author: Milly Thill
Pages: 216
Book takes place in the country: YES
Author is from the country: YES
I have visited: YES (but just a short pass through)

This is my 28th read for the year

I have been through Luxembourg on a trip back and forth to Amsterdam.  Just a small blip on the radar, but I would like to return to do a full visit someday.

This is the author's own story from when she was a child during WWII in Luxembourg.  She speaks about her family's experience of food shortages, daily bombings, and then the US libration troops that billeted at her house.  From the ages of 10-15 Milly recounts what it was like to live in fear, even as she tried to gain a degree as a teacher, and the relief they felt when it was finally over.

This was a good book.  At first, I thought Milly had written it as a child, because the writing is quite simple.  But Milly wrote it as an adult.  Beyond that, the story was a good one, and we learned a lot about Luxembourg during WWII, and what it was like for children especially during this time. 

I recommend this one.  It is a quick read, but there was a lot of knowledge in this short book that made it a good story.

Stars: 4