Breathe To Read

Breathe To Read

Monday, March 1, 2021

Book: Read Player Two

 Book: Ready Player Two

Author: Ernest Cline

Pages: 384

This is my 26th read for the year

This is the continuation of the story of Wade Watts after he won James Halliday's contest.  Now a multibillionare and owner of Halliday's company and OASIS, Wade and his friends have been left a new technology as Haliday's heirs.  A system that allows people to be able to taste, feel, smell, and sense everything inside the OASIS, truly bringing that world to life.  Halliday has also given his new heir a new quest inside the game that leaves them to a mysterious prize.

However, while Wade and his friends hung for the new prize, a long lost enemy emerges to try and kill millions and take over the OASIS once and for all.  It is up to Wade and his team to protect humanity.

Well - I read the first one, so I figured I should follow up and see how the story would end.  I liked the first one okay - an interesting idea, except the character was always set up with everyting he would ever need to succeed in his quest - just seemed like a small child telling a story and building a world that would be "amazing".  The second one was full of nostalgia from the 80s.  Kind of like the first, but definitely to the point of overkill.  Too much explanation, not enough story advancement.  It was a 7 year old's fantasy of what would happen if they had endless money and toys.  I just could not get into this book, could not relate to any of the characters - or really like any of them - because they were drowned out by boring nostalgia writing.

Stars: 2

Book: A Bittersweet Surprise

 Book: A Bittersweet Surprise

Author: Cynthia Ellingsen

Pages: 298

This is my 25th read for the year

This is the story of Emma Laurent.  A young woman who helps run her deceased father's candy shop in a small town.  She has always loved making chocolate, making people happy, and putting other's needs before her own.  But now, her stepmother is selling the candy shop and Emma isn't sure she is ready to let it go.  Hoping to be able to buy it and keep her father's legacy alive, she tries to figure out how to get the money to do so.  One day, a couple comes to the shop offering a large sum of money for a painting that has hung at the candy store almost all of Emma's life.  She thinks maybe this is exactly what she needs so she can buy the shop.  But something feels off.  It leads Emma down a path she never expected to be on and it changes her lift forever.

This was a sweet book.  There isn't a lot of strife, and even the "bad guys" in the book are not true bad guys.  It was a good choice for right now as we come up on a year of dealing with the pandemic.  Very Hallmark movie.  I have read a few heavy novels lately, and this was a nice refresher to lighten the mood.  There isn't much drama or suspense, just a little bit of mystery.  I listened to it, and it kept me entertained while I ran my errands.

If you are looking for light and fluffy, this is a good one to try.

Stars: 3 1/2

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

2021 Challenge: Book By Kristin Hannah: The Four Winds

 Book: The Four Winds

Author: Kristin Hannah

Pages: 464

This is my 24th read for the year

This is the story of Elsa Wolcott.  A young lady that falls in love with a man and is disowned by her family when she discovers she is pregnant.  She has to grow up fast, learn to farm harsh farm land in the midwest, and figure out why her husband is so unhappy.  Elsa begins to realize that if she doesn't take her children west looking for a better life, then they surely all will die.  But that decision will come at a cost she is not sure she can make.

Kristin Hannah is one of my favorite authors.  "Nightingale", "Winter Garden", and "Firefly Lane" remain on the top of my favorite reads.  However - this book wasn't for me.  I did not find it well written.  It took me around 100 pages to even begin to get into it, and even then....I never really did.  I was so disappointed because I have been excited since last year that she was coming out with a new book.  I couldn't wait.  It is extremely despressing.  And really cheesy writing, which I never enjoy.  And just not like the author I have come to admire.

I am sure I will get a lot of flack for this review.  She is beloved.  I didn't even mind the political statement this book was making.  It wasn't that at all.  It was just quality.  The story didn't capture me.  The characters fell flat.  I will hope that her next book will be on the upswing.

Stars: 3

Sunday, February 21, 2021

2021 Book Challenge: Book Where First Chapter Ends on an Odd Number - Game Changer

 Book: Game Changer

Author: Neil Shusterman

Pages: 400

This is my 23rd read for the year

This is the story of Ash.  A high school football player to one Friday night game takes a very hard hit on the football field.  The next thing he knows, the world he knew looks completely different.  Stops Signs are now Blue.  He lives in better neighborhood.  His friendships have changed.  Small changes roll into bigger changes the more hits he takes at his games leaving him trying to figure out how he will get back to the world he knew.  However - along the way, he has a chance to look at life through difference lenses that will leave him forever changed.

I want to say first - I am a huge Shusterman fan.  Dystopian Future/Alternate worlds: this is my favorite genre.  And "Scythe" and "Unwind" series that Shusterman wrote are among my favorite books in that genre.  This Shusterman novel was a disappointment to me.  I was so looking forward to it because "Scythe" was amazing.  The underlying story that the author was trying to tell was a clever concept.  Jumping around in different dimensions, developing memories of the person you are in that world, yet holding onto the memories from previous worlds is intriguing.  But that wasn't the central theme of this book.  Instead Shusterman uses this as a soap box platform to talk about every issues that plagues us in 2021.  And while I whole heartedly agree that it needs to be discussed and be brought to the front of our minds daily - he over did it.  The story of the different worlds fell second to the point of almost non-existent.  

Look - I am loving that most books I read these days bring forward issues of racism, and LGBTQ characters are becoming a norm.  I applaud it whole heartedly.  This book just missed the mark.  When you lose the story because you think your 17 year old character would be this aware, then you lose me.  I see what he was trying to do - he just tried too hard and lost his way.

Stars: 3

Thursday, February 18, 2021

2021 Reading Challenge: A Book Published By Penguin: The Vanishing Half

 Book: The Vanishing Half

Author: Brit Bennett

Pages: 352


This is my 22nd read for the year

This is the story of the Vignes twins.  These girls grew up in a small town in the south, but ran away from home at the age of 16.  One twin returns year later with a young daughter.  The other never returns, and actually lives her life as a white woman in an affluent neighborhood in California.

Crossing a large span of these girl's lives, and the lives of their daughters, we see the tug of their roots come back to haunt them.  Learning what shapes and influences people's decisions and expectations. How trying to "reinvent" yourself does actually mean.

This was a pretty good book.  I enjoyed getting involved in the long span of time that passes in the book, and how the sisters and their families evolved over all of those decades.  However, I do wish the books spent more time on the sisters than their daughters.  It was evently dispersed acrossed the twins and their two daughters, but I wanted to get more involved with the twin sisters and their lives more than their children's lives.

Also - the ending wasn't strong.  It seemed to wrap up so quickly after spending so much time with a large timeline in the book.  It left me wanting.  

The book overall tackeled so many important issues, racism: colorism, transgender issues, domestic abuse, self hate, and that needs to be commended. I just wish the book would have done maybe two characters and developed them more than try to broaden 4 characters over the 350 pages.  

Stars: 3 1/2

Extra Book: Elites Of Eden

 Book: Elites of Eden

Author: Joey Graceffa

Pages: 288

This is my 21st read for the year

The second book in the Children of Eden trilogy starts with Yarrow.  She is a rich elite girl in Eden who is the daughter of one of the most powerful women in their world.  She goes to the exclusive Oaks boarding school and her friends make everyone's lives miserable who dare get in their way.

One day a girl named Lark shows up and thing change.  Yarrow starts to discover there are things about her she needs to uncover.  She is not who she thinks she is, and discovering that puts her in danger. The fate of second born children rely on Yarrow uncovering memories she didn't know she had.

Okay - I am glutton for punishment.  I hate giving up on trilogies  - especially when I am just listening to them when I am running errands.  So I decided to keep going with this series.  It didn't get any better in the second book from the first.  I liked how it started - thought that we might be going somewhere.  But alas - the writing hasn't improved.  Or the character development.  It quickly became predictable just like the first book.   The one swear word is back.  So....I think I am done.

Stars: 2

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Book Challenge 2021: A Cover With A Woman Facing Away: Children Of Eden

 Book: Children of Eden

Author: Joey Graceffa

Pages: 288

This is my 20th read for the year

If you are wondering why I have so many in a row - it is because of the beautiful world of audiobooks.  While I was finishing my Read The World challenge, I was using my car time/chore time to listen to several books. I tend to overlap a few books at a time.

This is the story or Rowan.  She is a second child in a world that does not premit second children.  For 16 years her family has hidden her away in her house while her twin brother was able to explore the world.  And even thought her brother Ash shared his days with her by describing them when he returned hom - Rowan knows it isn't the same.  One night she decides to sneak out of their walled garden and everything changes.  This decision sends Rowan on a path she never expected to be on.  And soon she discovers the secrets of her home - Eden - that she was never supposed to know.

This book wasn't that great.  I know - I have been saying that a lot lately.  Things come up on my Scribd app, and sometimes I give them a try.  My favorite genre is Dystopian.  And I am hutning for the next Hunger Games.  Or Testing Trilogy.  But I haven't found it in this one.  Why or why do authors need to make their main characters so naive.  All.the.time.  This main character is a special kind of niave.  Yes - she is supposed to be 16 and yes the author is setting her to make 16 year old impulse decisions.  But I found myself rolling my eyes so hard so many times that I just cannot count this as good literature.  It was a good book for runnig errands because it did not demand much of my attention.  Her love triangle is cliche.  There is no originality.  She has decided not to have profanity in the book, which I commend her for, but she uses one "made up swear" - Bick" - so much it gets exhausting.  I don't get it.  

I would not bother with this series.  I am sorry to say that my next review is going to be for the second in this book.  I really need to start searching for better content on my Scribd app.

Stars: 2