Breathe To Read

Breathe To Read

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Read The World - Comoros - A Fish Caught In Time

Book: A Fish Caught In Time
Author: Samantha Weinberg
Pages: 220
Book takes place in the country: YES (at least 50% I would say)
Author is from the country: NO
I have visited: NO


This is my 87th read for the year.

Well vacation is messing with me.  I am not reading near enough!  We are getting ready to go and sit by a lake for a week, so MAYBE I will have more luck then.


This is the story about a fish that was thought extinct.  The Coelacanth (see-lo-canth) was thought to have died out 400 million years ago with the dinosaurs.  However - in 1938, an ameteur ichthologist spotted a fish on a deck.  This coelacanth was 5 feet long and had limb like fins.  She saved what she could until she could get ahold of one of the best ichthyologist - JLB Smith.  He recognized it right away and wanted to get to Comoros to see if they could find more.  Over the years - through the 40s-70s - many fish were finally found.  It wasn't until 1998 that the fish finally made global news and became on of the biggest discoveries of the 20th centuries.

I really enjoyed this book.  Natural history is one of my favorite things, and this just blew my mind.  A fish that was thought to be gone for 400 million years?  WHAT?!?!  And now it is back?  Or - it was here all along?  Just amazing.  Many scientist believe that this is one of three fish that might be where man started.  Based on its fins, there is thought that it was one of the fish that came to land, and eventually, became human kind.  So it has a pretty cool .

I encourage you to read this one.  I was glad I did.

Stars: 4


Thursday, July 11, 2019

Extra Book: The Farm

Book: The Farm
Author: Joanne Ramos
Pages: 336


This is my 86th read for the year.

I am in the United States visiting family and friends for the summer, so my reading has really slowed down.  Even more than I expected, because we have been very busy!

This story is about....a baby farm.  The ultrarich do not want to carry their own babies, so they big money to have someone do it for them.  Women are placed in a facility with daily massages, and organic food, and they even get paid a very large bonus after they carry their babies to term.  However - they are not allowed to leave the grounds for 9 months.  They have very little free will - every second is monitored.

The story follows Jane - a young mother from the Phillipines who is desparate to make a better life for she and her daughter.  Reagan - a trust fund kid who wants to make a difference in the world.  Lisa - a repeat customer who is carrying a 3rd baby for a couple.  And Mae - who runs the facility.  

Jane starts to become desparate to see her little girl.  She is worried that she isn't being well cared for by an aunt, and she makes arrangements to break free from "The Farm" to see her child.  But this decision is going to have dire consequences that Jane may not be able to afford.

This book was pretty good....for awhile.  I would say that 3/4 of the book held my interest.  The ending was terrible.  She just kind of quit.  The Epilogue is about 20 pages long and really didn't go anywhere - only sort of wrapped up the story.  It was disappointing.

I don't know whether to recommend it or not.  3/4 good - 1/4, eh.  At least it was a quick read.

Stars: 3


Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday - Childhood favorites

This Top Ten Tuesday game was developed by The Artsy Reader.  Check out her blog and play along!

Today's Top Ten list is : Childhood favorites

I am sure all readers can look back on their childhood and remember books that they loved the most.  Books that were maybe read to them, or books that they read themselves.  I am sure the list would be long.

I still read to my two youngest children each night (Even though they are 13) and while the book "types" have changed, the love of reading to them hasn't.  My mom read to me, and I hope that someday my children read to their children, and that it will be something that continues for generations.

Many of the books I loved as a child, I read to my own children.  I am sure many of you do the same.

1. Babysitters Club
         - I would imagine a lot of girls (and boys) loved this series.  I collected all the books on my shelf and read the over and over again.  Now they have Babysitters Club graphic novels in an updated form for today's kids.  My youngest daughter loves the graphic novels.

Then
Now



2. Charlotte's Web
       - This one I KNOW everyone knows.  A classic across the ages - I had it read to me, and I have read it to all of my children when they were small.  It sits on our shelf as a permanent fixture of one of the most beloved childhood books we own.



3. Where The Sidewalk Ends
      - I have fond memories of my dad reading this one to my brother and I when we were young.  He would do all these silly voices that would have us rolling with laughter.  We have all of Shel Silverstein's books, and I loved sharing them with my own children.  We will still take them out every once in awhile to read some of his funny poems to brighten our day.



4. Corduroy
       - who could not love a story about a stuffed bear?  A sweet little bear with a lost button - what could be better?  Another book that traveled right from my childhood shelf, to my children's bookcase.



5. The Cat In The Hat
         - There is no doubt that most kids learn to read from Dr. Suess.  His clever, silly, wacky books are a delight - each and every one. 



6. Winnie The Pooh
          - Silly old bear.  He is silly, and dim, cuddly and cute.  I always had such a giggle with his stories as a kid - always left smiling at his antics.  My youngest daughter's favorite character is Eeyore - she has a pretty good collection - so we are big fans in this house.



7. Sweet Valley High
           - This was a love during my teenage years.  Again - like the Babysitter Club books, I had them all.  Read them over and over again.  This is one that I have not introducted my kids too.  I don't think they have redone them to "modernize" them at all (not that this would necessarily matter), so I don't know if I could get them into this series.  But I read them ALL.



8. Superfudge
         - I am read many a Judy Blume book - remember many of them being a part of my later childhood.  Superfudge was probably my first.  This one I have read with my kids and they were fans as well.



9. Ramona
      - I love this girl.  She is hysterical on a million levels.  I loved reading her books when I was a kid, and she is back for today's kids.  I have read the books with all three of my kids and we all love her and her antics.  Best character.

THEN
 NOW


10.  Little House on the Prarie
          - who doesn't love these sweet books?  I still have the large print book I had as a child - with the pictures.  I would read the books and watch the show and just fell in love with the whole world.



So - what childhood books make your top 10?


Friday, July 5, 2019

Extra Book: A Whole New World - Disney's Twisted Tales

Book: A Whole New World - Disney's Twisted Tales
Author: Liz Braswell
Pages: 400

This is my 85th read of the year.

This is a book that I read with my two youngest children.  We have been working on it for several weeks (we only read one chapter a night), and we finally finished it up.  I love that they still tolerate me reading to them each evening.  It is one of my favorite activities and it enables me to read books on their level that otherwise I might not have a chance to.

What if Aladdin never found the lamp?  What if Jafar got it instead?  When Jafar steals the lamp from the desert, he uses the genie to make two wishes:  To become sultan, and to become the most powerful sorcerer in the world.  His third wish is for Jasmine to love him, but luckily, the genie cannot force true love.  

Now it is up to Aladdin and his Street Rats to get the lamp and get rid of Jafar.  With Jasmine's help, the group comes up with a plan to do just that.  They must battle not only Jafar, but his "back from the dead" army.  It is up to Jasmine and Aladdin to unite the people of Agrabah to fight Jafar and win back their city.

I thought this was great.  What a clever spin on a favorite Disney book.   These are not for young children - fair warning - because there is a lot of fighting, and death involved (more than your typical Disney), so these are for older kids and adults.  I thought the book was well written, and well thought out.  The story started as the typical story of Aladdin, the one we all know.  IT took a few chapters for it to veer off course where Aladdin becomes trapped in the desert and Jafar gets the lamp instead.  And then it takes off on its own from there.

My two kids enjoyed it as well, and we are looking forward to reading the others.

Stars: 4 1/2




Thursday, July 4, 2019

Extra Book - Caraval

Book: Caraval
Author: Stephanie Garber
Pages: 416


This is my 84th read for the year.

This is the story of Scarlett and her sister Tella.  They have never left their tiny island where they live with their father.  Their father is cruel, and the girls would do anything to escape.

Scarlett's whole life, she has dreamed of going to Caraval.  It is a once a year show where the audience particiaptes, and it is on an island that is not her own.  Now Scarlett is grown up, and about to enter an arranged marriage to a man she has never met.  She feels she will never have a chance to see Caraval now.

By chance, an invitation to Caraval arrives for Scarlett and her sister.  A stranger - a sailor - agrees to take them there, if he can have the third ticket that arrived with Scarlett's letter (the ticket is for Scarlett's fiance).  Scarlett agrees, and she and Tella take off without telling their father where they are going.  When they arrive on the Caraval island, Tella is kidnapped by Legend - the leader or Caraval.  It is quickly revealed that finding Tella - by anyone playing the game - will be the winner of this year's event.  And the winner gets...a wish.

Scarlett has only a few days to find her sister, and get back to her island so she can be married.  She is told that the game is just that - just an illusion and nothing is real.  But Scarlett quickly finds that this isn't always true.  She is quickly wrapped up in the heartbreak and magic that is Caraval as she races to find her sister.

I thought this book was fine.  I got swept up in the bookstagram talk about Caraval, and wanted to see what the hype was about.  I should have left it alone.  The book wasn't terrible, but it wasn't great.  Again - this is just my opinion, but I just didn't like it.  If you are thinking that this is like The Night Circus - it is not.  This book had a lot that just wasn't well developed.  You don't really like any of the characters.  Scarlett talks about how Tella is her one reason for living, yet you barely get a back story on the two of them.  Nothing that would make you think their bond is amazing.  Tella is barely in the book.  The male characters make very little sense, and their plot lines are all over the place.  The love triangle is silly.  And Caraval itself?  You learn so little about the actual game, and you don't get a good picture in your head of what it even looks like.  Scarlett spends as much time in the hotel in her room as anywhere else.

Sigh.  Ah well. It is a really easy read.  If you are looking for true fluff with very little depth, then this book will be for you.  I had originally put that I will be reading the second book this summer, but I will not.  I am glad I only borrowed it from the library and didn't buy it.

Stars: 2



Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Read The World - East Timor - East Timor, A Nation's Bitter Dawn

Book: East Timore, A Nation's Bitter Dawn
Author: Irena Cristalis
Pages: 384
Book takes place in the country: YES
Author is from the country: NO
I have visited: NO


This is my 83rd book for the year.

I am going to be slowing down my reading.  I am actually proud of myself for finishing this one because I can hardly concentrate while I get ready for our trip back to the United States for the summer.  We leave in a few days, and I am just trying to wrap my head around packing for 6 weeks.


Due to my lack of brain power, here is google's review for this book:

"Few new nations have endured a birth as traumatic as that endured by Asia's youngest country, East Timor. Born amid the flames, pillage and mayhem that surrounded Indonesia 's reluctant withdrawal in 1999, it has been struggling for years to rebuild itself from the ashes. The author, one of a handful of journalists to refuse to be evacuated during the nightmarish Indonesian withdrawl, stayed on to report East Timor to the world, and to keep faith with the East Timorese whose story she wanted to tell.Her book is a vivid first-hand account of the lives of individual Timorese during the long decades of Indonesia 's repressive occupation, their often heroic struggle for freedom, and their efforts to cope with the dramatic historic shifts engulfing them and their endeavours to rebuild their homeland.
Based on years of research, and lengthy interviews with East Timor 's leaders, priests, nuns, students and guerrilla fighters, this moving and extremely readable book is at the same time also an exploration of the complexities of the country's internal politics."

I liked the book.  It is a little dry, but overall pretty well told.  It took a bit to get into it, but the stories of the victims were gripping.  I am glad I read it.

Sorry for the short review.  Just too much going on!

Stars: 3 1/2




Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Top TenTuesdays - Book Characters

Top Ten Tuesdays was developed by The Artsy Reader.  Check out her blog and join in the fun!

This week's list is "Book Characters"  No topic - just whatever you want to say about them.

I will list some here that are my top favorite characters.  They are in no particular order.

1. Katniss Everdeen
        - Book: Hunger Games
        - I am not ashamed that I am a fan of Katniss.  She is the kind of heroine I would like to be - smart, skilled, and a little bit mouthy.  An unlikely hero who just wanted to save her sister, and who you forget is only a teenager when all of this goes down.



2. Hermonie Granger
        - Book: Harry Potter
        - Another brainy, skilled heroine.  I would love to have Hermonie's brains, and magic abilities.  For sure.  Although, at my age, I would use those magic abilities to transport me on vacation, and do laundry and dishes for me.  Lame.



3. Tyrion Lannister
         - Book: Game of Thrones
         - I love me some smart alleck characters.  The whittier, the better.  I love sarcasm, dry humor, and smarts - and Tyrion is all three.  He had some of the best lines in the books and on the show.



4. Juliette
        - Book: Wool
        - I am starting to see a theme.  Another smart, capable, wise cracking heroine added to the list.  Juliette was a skilled mechanic just doing her thing when she is selected to be the sheriff of her whole silo.  And in putting her in that position, she brings down a whole, corrupt system.  Boom.



5. Louisa Clark
        - Book: Me Before You
        - I love Louisa.  She is everything I wish I COULD be.  Comfortable in her skin, and just a joyful person.  I love how easy she makes "being yourself" look, and how she turns Will's life upside down just by being a caring, genuine person.



6. Marie-Laure LeBlanc
        - Book: All The Light We Cannot See
        - Marie-Laure is blind.  Just like my daughter.  I watch my daughter struggle with certain aspects of her life, BUT I also see how amazing she is.  How strong and confident without having full use of her eyes.  What I take for granted every day.  Marie-Laure was a blind girl during the war who worked to get messages our in secret.  Amazing.



7. Jasmine Bashara
        - Book: Artemis
        - Ah, we are back to the witty, snarky, smart female protagonis.  Andy Weir is BRILLIANT, so of course he writes brillian characters.  I would LOVE a follow up to this book.



8. Pino Lella
        - Book: Beneath The Scarlet Sky
        - I know that Pino is a real person, but I threw him in anyway.  Because this was BASED on his story - it wasn't a biography.  Pino was a young, Italian man who risked his life in two ways.  1) by obtaining information when he was a driver for a Nazi who was right under Hitler.  and 2) by sneaking Jewish people over the Alps into Switzerland.  Over and over again.  Incredible.  I cannot wait to see the movie.



9. Aibileen Clark
         - Book: The Help
         - Aibileen is incredible.  She doesn't have the "snark" that Mini does, but she is a powerful woman in a town that wants nothing to do with her.  I love that she gets to a point when she believes in herself enough to leave a bad situation and go out and become a writer like she always dreamed.



10. Mark Watney
        - Book: The Martian
        - Okay - if you haven't read this book - you have to.  It is one of my favorites and Mark Watney in the book will leave you in tears from laughing so hard.  He is hysterical, and sarcastic, and brilliant.  The whole book is smart, but Watney's character is spot on.  I have seen, and loved, the movie, but the book explores so much more of Watney's chracter, that you must read it.




So what are your favorite characters?