Breathe To Read

Breathe To Read

Friday, July 9, 2021

Book: Local Woman Missing

 Book: Local Woman Missing

Author: Mary Kubica

Pages: 352

This is my 68th read for the year

This is the story of three missing women and the community where they lived.  Shelby - who went out running one night and never returned, and Meredith - a midwife and her daughter, Delilah, who disappeared without a trace.  As the women turn up dead and the daughter never found, the community is realing thinking a serial killer is on the loose.  Moving through time back and forth 11 years, we watch the story of these wome and Delilah - who shockingly returns after being missing for those 11 years - trying to figure out the truth.

This book was just okay.  And that is probably being generous.  I didn't like one character.  They all seemed like horrible people who couldn't possibly be friends.  I could never imagine talking to m friends the way these people talked to each other.  The ending was terrible.  When the truth comes to light it becomes pretty unrealistic.  Quite a few plot holes.  (if even a mediocre medical examiner did an autopsy on Meredith the mystery would have wrapped up much quicker) 

I would skip this one.  There are better thrillers.

Stars: 2 1/2

Monday, July 5, 2021

Book: What Could Be Saved

 Book: What Could Be Saved

Author: Liese O'Halloran Schwarz

Pages: 460

This is my read of the year

This is the story of Laura, and Bea whose brother was stolen from their family when they were very young.  The family was living in Bangkok in the 70s where their father worked, and one day their brother disappeared without a trace.  40 years later, Laura is contacted by a stranger saying that a man claming to be her brother was looking for her.  Her sister, Bea, is skeptical and doesn't believe it could possibly be him, but Laura has to find out.

The story alternates between the past and the present as Laura tries to figure out if this man is her long lost brother, Robert.  The story builds their life in Bangkok in the 70s leading up to Robert's disappearance and what the family think happened to him.  The family - seeming to live a life of luxury there with servants and dinner parties had their lives turned upside down when Robert disappears.

This was a pretty good book.  I do like books that travel back and forth across timelines.  As Laura tried to piece together if this was her brother, we learned about what life was like for expats in Bangkok.  When they leave Bangkok without Robert - whom they presume is dead or out of the country - their lives are never the same.  And when we learn Robert's story and who took him and what his life was like in Bangkok, the pieces of the story all fall together.

It is well written, maybe a tad long, but a good story overall.  Glad I found this one.

Stars: 4

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

2021 Challenge: Book between 200-400 pages: Good Neighbors

 Book: Good Neighbors

Author: Sarah Langan

Pages: 304

This is my 66th read for the year

This is the story of the neighbors on Maple Street in a Long Island neighborhood.  When the Wilde family moves in with their rock star dad, and gruff speaking mom and kids, the neighbors don't know what to think.  Rhea Schroder - who thinks she runs the block - wants the rest of the neighbors turn on the Wildes.  When a sink hole appears near the street and a tragedy happens, the block starts to believe the Wilde family is to blame.  It becomes on neighbor's word against the other until the truth finally comes out.

This was an okay book.  It is a bit dark, but a fast read.  No one in this book is a particularly nice person - except maybe a few of the kids and one neighbor.  It was almost an overload of bad characters.  I was curious to see where it was going, and it kept me entertained (I listened to it).  But it was a little weird, a little disjointed.  I still don't know exactly how I feel about it.  The characters were shallow.  It jumped around a lot (future and present).    It was just.....meh.

I listen to a lot of things that are just okay.  And I don't mind.  But I would not pick this book up and continue reading it.  So unless you are doing meaningless chores and looking for something to fill your earbuds while you work, then skip this one.

Stars 3

Monday, June 28, 2021

2021 Challenge: Author With Same First Initial As You: That Summer

 Book: That Summer

Author: Jennifer Weiner

Pages: 432

This is my 65th read for the year
(also - this author and I share the same first name!  Parents in the 70s weren't that original.  No offense mom)

This is the story of two Dianas.  Diana Starling and Diana (who goes by Daisy) Shoemaker.  Two women who are strangers until Daisy starts receiving emails from Diana Starling.  The two decide to meet and hit it off right away.  Daisy - who has a cooking business, a husband, and a teenager daughter - is envious of Diana who has a big job and beautiful clothes.  What she doesn't realize is that Diana has a big secret, and that her meeting Daisy is no accident.  Diana's true intentions start to come to light Daisy's life is changed forever.

First - this book needs to come with a warning.  This is not a typical summer beach read that Jennifer Weiner usually writes.  This book is about a woman who was raped when she was younger and how it set the course for her whole life.  So you have been warned.  I am usually a big fan of Jennifer Weiner books, but this wasn't one of my favorites.  The subject is an important one - especially right now.  But it wasn't what I was expecting.  It was very heavy, and if I hadn't been listening to it while I did yard work, I might have put it down and picked it up at a different time.  It is humorless - as it should be considering the subject.  And you do figure out where it is going farily quickly - no surprises what these two women are going to have in common.  

It is an important story.  It does have a political lean (just read the Amazon comments and that will tell you quite a bit), so if that isn't for you - you should skip this one.

Stars: 3 1/2

Saturday, June 26, 2021

2021 Challenge: Book On Your Kindle/Shelf The Shortest: The Hunting Party

 Book: The Hunting Party

Author: Lucy Foley

Pages: 352

This is my 64th read for the year

This is the story of a group of friends who are on their annual trip for New Years.  Every year they go somewhere together - each member of the group picking where to go.  This year it was Emma's turn and she wants everything to be perfect.  The estate is remote and known for getting snowed in and guest getting stuck, but the group remains unconcerned.  They are there to enjoy each other's company.

A snow storm does close them in, and past resentments among the group start to emerge.  Secrets come to surface and cause a fracture in the group that cannot be undone.  And when someone winds up dead, and the people running the estate try to piece together who did it while they wait for the weather to lift, everyone starts to wonder who among them did it.  And who might be next.

This was an okay read.  I listened to it (doing a lot of that lately) while I was doing some gardening.  It passes the time.  It is told in the voices of many of the characters, which I do enjoy.  The killer was a bit surprising, but not overly so.  I didn't love any of the characters, so when it was revealed I found it hard to care.  The ending was just so/so.  They do wrap it up, thankfully, but not in a truly satisfying way.

I read her other book - The Guest List - and liked this one only slightly better.  I think I will pass on her books in the future.

Stars: 3

Thursday, June 24, 2021

2021 Challenge: Reese's Bookclub Pick: The Last Thing He Told Me

 Book: The Last Thing He Told ME

Author: Laura Dave

Pages: 320

This is my 63rd book for the year

This is the story about Hannah.  Wife to Owen, step mother to Bailey.  One day, Owen disappears.  But before he does, he leaves Hannah a note about Bailey "protect her".  16 year old Bailey who already lost her mother tragically and wants nothing to do with Hannah.  As events unfold - Owen's boss is arrested for fraud, and FBI and US Marshall agents start to appear - Hannah realizes Owen wasn't who he said he was.  Without waiting for the police, Hannah sets out to discover Owen's past.  In doing so, she uncovers things she never expected.

This was a pretty fair book.  It unfolds at a good pace and kept me entertained while I did gardening work.  Some of the decisions Hannah makes are a bit ridiculous, but I tried to keep an open mind.  Bailey is a complete brat.  I have three teenagers of my own and so I do get some of that.  What they don't get -which Bailey does regularly - is away with it.  The big reveal about Owen was just okay.  There was no real suspsense.  

But - the ending was good.  I do love a book that shows the future.  Always a win in my book.  So that was a savior for me.  It is a good book to listen to, or for a summer beach read.  Not top literature by any means, but worth a look.

Stars: 3 1/2

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

2021 Challenge: Over 300 Pages: The Grace Year

 Book: The Grace Year

Author: Kim Liggett

Pages: 416

This is my 62nd book of the year

This is the story of 16 year old Tierney.  Born into a society who believes that women have magic powers.  Girls during their 16th year are banished into the wild to relase their magic so that they can come back to society ready for marriage. However -not all girls that are released during their "Grace Year" return.

Tierney - who doesn't want to be a wife, but is destined to be one anyway - is told that the poachers who hunt the girls during their Grace Year is her biggest fear.  However, she soon realizes that isn't the biggest threat.  As Tierney starts to piece together what the magic really is, why the girls - who are forbidden to talk about the Grace Year  - look so broken when they return, and what all of this means for her own future, she sets to change things.  However, she soon realizes that this will be harder than she imagines.

This book wasn't great.  It was way too much like the Handsmaid's Tale (which is it touted for).  I was looking for some originality in my favorite genre, but got more of the same.  Another society where men see women as property.  The love story that develops escalated so quickly that it was hard to believe.  Instalove is never for me.  There wasn't a lot of character development.  I really never developed feelings for any character in the book - not even our heroine.  This isn't a slow burn, and that is possibly why.  

Handmaid's Tale and Hunger Games this is not.  For a 400 page book, I was hoping for more.

Stars: 3