Breathe To Read

Breathe To Read

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Extra Book: Class Act

 Book: Class Act

Author: Jerry Craft

Pages: 256

This is my 94th read for the year.

This is the follow up book to Craft's "New Kid".  This story centers around Drew, whose Grandmother has always told him that he will have to work "twice as hard to be half as good".  He goes to the privledged school of Riverdale Academy, but he isn't privledged himself.  He attends the academy on an academic scholarship and isn't sure how he fits in among his peers.

He is invited to his friend Liam's house for the day and finds out how wealthy his friend really is.  This puts a strain on their friendship and their mutual friend Jordan tries to figure out a way to bring them back together.

My daughter, Finley, and I have been really enjoying reading this middle grade graphic novels together.  We enjoyed "New Kids" quite a bit, so when we discovered this book on an outing the other day, we had to have it.  IT was just as good as Craft's first novel.  It has a nice message, some good humor, and some good talking points.  I hope he continues to write more, because we are now fans.

Check it out.

Stars: 4 1/2

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Read The World - Libya - In The Country of Men

Book: In The Country Of Men

Author: Hisham Matar

Pages: 246

Book takes place in the country: YES

Author is from the country: No (but his parents are)

I have visited: NO

This is my 93rd read for the year

This is the story of Suleiman.  In the late 1970s, in Libya, who is quickly caught up in a world that is beyond his nine year old understanding.  His father - who is frequently away on business trips - is spotted in town when he was supposed to be away.  Soon, things start to change in his household.  The phone is constantly ringing, a neighbor disappears, his mother burns all of his father's books.  Soon Suleiman's mom realizes it is too dangerous for him to be in Libya, and he is sent to Cairo with a family friend to keep him safe.

This was a well written book.  It isn't very long, and flowed nicely.  Suleiman is a bit infuriating, but what nine year old boy isn't.  There were times where I felt the character was a bit too naive.  You get an insigth into Qaddafi's Libya from the few of a little boy, and it is an interesting take.  All the things a child would not understand about the seriousness that was going on around him.  He witnesses the execution of the neighbor and it sticks with him for the rest of his life.

A good read.  I am glad I found this one for my Read The World challenge.

Stars: 4

Friday, November 20, 2020

Extra Book: The Babysitters Club - Logan Likes Mary Anne

 Book: The Babysitters Club - Logan Likes Mary Anne

Author: Ann Martin

Pages: 176

This is my 92nd read this year

The 8th graphic novel in this series is about Mary Anne.  The babysitters club has put out an ad to the PTA at their school that they can offer their services.  What they got was a lot of responses and realize they need help.  Logan, a new kid at the school (and a kid that happens to look like a famous boy that Mary Anne has a crush on) says he loves to babysit.  The girls pair he and Mary Anne up on a job and they discover that they do like each other.  Mary Anne - who is shy - struggles on what to do when Logan asks her to the school dance.  With the help of her friends, she comes out of her shell and realizes how much fun they have together.

Another sweet book in this series that my daughter, Finley, and I read together.  She has really enjoyed these graphic novels (and the TV show that was on this summer) and I love reading them with her.  One of my favorite series growing up, and I am glad to enjoy them once again with her.

Check it out.

Stars: 4 1/2

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Extra Book: The Strange Journey of Alice Pendelbury

 Book: The Strange Journey of Alice Pendelbury

Author: Marc Levy

Pages: 278

This is my 91st read of the year

This is the story of Alice.  A 30 something single woman living in London.  She has good friends, a good job, and a great apartment.  Around Christmas one year, her life begins to change.  She and her friends take a trip to a carnival and Alice decides to sit for a reading with a fortune teller.  The Fortune teller tells Alice that she will soon meet the love of her life.  In order to do so, though, she must travel to Turkey.

Alice, returns to her apartment and tries to put what the fortune teller says behind her.  Her neighbor - who is usually biligerant, gives Alice a candle and matches on the night of a blackout, and to Alice - seemed strangely kind.  Soon the two of them are talking and keeping each other company.  Alice tells him about the fortune teller, and he drives her back to see her again and find out the rest of the story.  After the meeting - and the long drive together - Ethan (the neighbor) decides that Alice must take this trip.  He agrees to fund it and go along with her to get her started on finding Mr. Right.

On the journey, Alice has strange dreams, and deja vu when she sees certain places in Turkey.  Even though she is convinced she has never been there before.  What she discovers about herself, and Ethan, will change her life forever.

This was a sweet book.  I listened to it as an audiobook all in one day.  An 8 hour day of yard work and errands by myself and I had this one finished.  It was a great story, well told, and just fun.  Ethan has a funny side and I found myself chuckling often.  The ending is predictable - you know what is coming right from the beginining, but it didn't distract from the story.

Fun read.  I recommend trying this out.

Stars: 4

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Extra Book: The Keeper of Lost Things

 Book: The Keeper of Lost Things

Author: Ruth Hogan

Pages: 288

This is my 90th read for this year

This is the story of Lost Things.  Anthony lost his wife and a favorite keepsake on the same day.  Now he has spent the last 40 years without her, but collecting things that are lost everyday.  He records them and catalogs them, and hopes that one day, he can return them to their rightful owners.  Laura has wored for Anthony as his assistant for the last 6 years.  Anthony - a famous writer by trade - brought her on the help with the typing and housekeeping, but lately, she has just been the housekeeper and carer of the house.  Anthony - knowing that his time on earth is growing short - needs to decide if Laura can carry out his last wish - return as many of the lost items to their rightful owners as possible.

Laura - with the help of the gardener Freddy, and the young next door neighbor - Sunshine - work together to fulfill Anthony's wish.  Along the way they find people whose stories twist among Anthony's and discover that life is full of losing and finding, and how objects hold stories about all of our lives.

This was a terrific book.  I listened to it wthin a few days because we have been working on moving and it is keeping me entertained.  That is two in a row of me of truly wonderful books.  This book is full of back stories of the lost things that have ended up in Anthony's possession, and Laura figuring out how to return them.  It is a bit of magical realism. Sunshine - a young girl with down syndrome - seems to have a second sight when it comes to the objects and their past.  And the ghost of Anthony's dead wife haunts the house.  But the magicial realism in this book is so slight compared to most books in that genre, that I would be hard pressed to catalog it as such.  The story is beautifully told.  Most characters easy to like.  

Shouldn't be missed.  Check it out.

Stars: 5

Monday, November 16, 2020

Extra Book - The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

 Book: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Author: V.E. Schwab

Pages: 448

This is my 89th read for the year.

I started by listening to this book as an audio book about a month ago.  Scribd - my go to audiobook subscription site - had it and I was THRILLED.  I got to the end of October, had about 2 hours left to listen and Scribd removed it from their library.  I have never had that happen before.  I was crushed.  It is such a popular book that I would have been a long list to wait.  So when my Book of the Month club had it, I scooped it up.  It arrived Friday, and this morning I read the last pages to finish this story once and for all.

This is the story of Addie LaRue.  In the year 1714 Addie is to marry a man she does not love.  Growing up in a small town in France under a doting father and mother and a wonderful neighbor, Estelle, Addie is afriad of what will happen if she marries this man.  So on her wedding day she runs into the woods and begs someone to save her.  She has always been warned to never beg for help in the dark, but Addie is desperate.  Her begging in the darkness brings the devil who promises he can save her from an unwanted marriage - as long as he can have her soul.  Addie agrees.

What happens next is Addie spending 300 years invisible from the world.  Anyone who meets her - immediately forgets her once they are out of her sight.  She cannot hold a job, a home, a relationship.  She cannot leave a trace.  Cannot say her name, write, leave a footprint.  Yet every time Luc (her name for the devil) visits her and asks her to turn over her soul to him, she refuses.

After 300 years, Addie walks into a bookstore and takes a book, knowing that no one will remember her even being there as soon as she is gone.  But what she discovers is.....this time, that isn't true.

This is a great book.  The writing is superb, the story intriguing.  The books bounced back and forth between the past - creeping forward through the decades - and the current year, 2014.  The story follows Addie as she tries to make a life for herself and what that would be like if no one ever remembered you.  How she can't really have a love.  How she cannot rent a room because as soon as the person is out of sight, they won't remember she was ever there.  That she has more lows and hard times than good times.  I enjoy watching her fight to stay alive, keep her soul, and find flaws in the devil's system.  Finds suttle ways to try and leave her mark over the years.

It is really great and one of the best reads I have had this year.  I highly recommend it.

Stars: 5

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Read The World - Jamaica - Here Comes The Sun

 Book: Here Comes the Sun

Author: Nicole Dennis-Benn

Pages: 352

Book takes place in the country: YES

Author is from the country: YES

I have visited: NO

This is my 88th read for the year

I have 24 books left to read in my Read The World Challenge.  I should be done by now, but the move and "still moving" has really stopped me.  Plus I did take a big break from it and read some off challenge books.  Just needed a break.  My HOPE would be to have this challenge done by the end of the year, or if not - soon after.

This is the story of two sisters - Margot and Tandi.  Margot - who is about 15 years older than Tandi - has never cared for anyone more.  Their mother - who barely gives them the time of day - relies on Margot to work to support the family.  Margot works at a hotel on the island but has to perform sexual favors in order to give Tandi everything she needs.  She wants her sister to go to school, get good grades, and get away this place.  She does everything she can to make that happen.  Tandi, though, has other ideas.  She wants to be an artist.  She wants to fall in love with a boy.  She wants to be lighter skinned.  All things she doesn't dare share with her family knowing they are looking to her to make something better for herself.  Margot wants financial freedom and to spend the rest of her life with Verdene.  Their love must remain a secret and Margo must continue to sell herself so that she can escape as well.

This was a pretty good book.  It is written in the Jamaican language, so you have to read slowly to get through the dialogue.  It sets you in the space even further - picturing the people among the Jamaican scenery.  You become involved in the lives of these two sisters and can picture their struggle.  I cannot say that I particularly liked either of the girls - Margot who seemed to be mostly out for herself with her sister's best interest as second in line.  Tandi - who wanted to be anything but herself - not willing to accept the gift of schooling and ability to make things better for herself.  But I felt for them.  Which I think is what the author was trying to do.  They were both in desperate situations and could see no way to get what they really wanted.

I would recommend this one.  I don't get to read many fiction novels for my Read The World challenge, so I am glad I found this one.

Stars: 3 1/2