Breathe To Read

Breathe To Read

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

Monday, February 17, 2020

Read The World - French Guiana - Papillon

Book: Papillon
Author: Henri Charriere
Pages: 576
Book takes place in the country: YES (around 50%)
Author is from the country: NO
I have visited: NO

This is my 27th read for the year

This is the author's own story of the time he was in prison for a murder he states he was wrongly convicted of.  Nicknamed Papillon due to the butterfly tattoo he had on his chest, he takes us through his trial, his sentence of life in Prison, and then his time in French Guiana prison.  Papillon had only one thing on his mind once he got to prison in French Guiana - escape.  He escaped several times over the 13 years he spent in prison before he finally escape for the final time.  He lived out his days in Venezuela as a free man after his final escape and there he wrote this book recounting the prison time and his escapes in detail.

This was a good book.  I did wonder by the end how true it all is (at least the way people reacted to an escaped convict) because Papillon never saw himself in anything but a positive light.  He was always well respected and well liked and a hard worker.  It may all be true, but only Papillon would know for sure.  HOWEVER - this does not take away from the story itself and it is well written.  I became highly invested in his story.  He is a good story teller above all, so I am glad I decided to go ahead and read this one.

Stars: 4

Friday, February 14, 2020

Extra Book(s) - Locke and Key Series

Books:  Locke and Key books 1-6 (Graphic Novels)
Author: Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
Pages: 986 over all 6 volumes

These are my 20-26th books for the year

I decided to review them all in one post since they are a continuous story of short-ish graphic novels

These books tell a story of the Locke family over several generations.  The story opens with the current day Lockes.  The Locke children's father has just been killed, and their mother - Nina - decides to uproot the family and move them across the country to Lovecraft, Massachussetts.  They are moving into the old Locke family home - called Keyhouse - that they haven't visited in years.  

Keyhouse isn't what it seems.  There are a ton of doors, and the kids keep discovering keys that cause magic beyond their wildest dreams.  When the youngest child - Bode - finds an old well on the property, and a voice echos his calls, trouble begins.  The more keys that are found, the more trouble that arises for the Locke children and their friends.  Their families past comes to light and the puzzle that is Keyhouse begins to fit together.

This was a great graphic novel story.  I don't read many graphic novels, but we just started watching the Locke and Key series on Netflix, and I decided I wanted to read it.  My husband had read that the TV show had been tamed down to appeal to kids (teens) but that the books were more.....Joe Hill.  (who is one of my favorite horror story authors).  So I wanted to see the real story.  It is a gruesome book - lots of killing and definitely scarier than the TV show.  But it was fantastic.  I loved the concept of the keys and what they lead to - it was very clever.

If you are a fan of graphic novels or horror or Joe Hill, you shouldn't miss this one.  They were great.

Stars: 4 1/2

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Read The World - Israel - A Tale Of Love And Darkness

Book: A Tale Of Love And Darkness
Author: Amos Oz
Pages: 560
Book takes place in the country: YES
Author is from the country: YES
I have visited: NO

This is my 19th book for the year

This is a story of a the author that great up in war-torn Jerusalem  from the 1930s-1950s He grows up in a home with two parents who speak multiple languages.  The author actually grew up knowing Samuel Yosef Agnon (who later won a nobel prize for literature) His mother committed suicide when the author was a teenager and his father never talks about her again. This sets in motion how his life plays out.

This is a coming of age story in Jerusalem among gun fire and tension in a home where the members don't fully understand or appreciate each other.  It is a memoir of a child who grew to be a writer and wanted to write about the terror he grew up with.  

This book was a really hard read.  It took me forever to get threw it, and for a time, I actually thought about quitting.  It has some dry parts, and it is just extremely intense.  There is mountains of information and detail that you have to be in the right mindset to read something like this.  And I don't think I was.  

It was well written enough that I could never give it a low score - the problem was mine with this book.  If you know going in that it is going to be an intense, heavy read, then you might find it a wonderful memoir.

Stars: 3 1/2

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Extra Book - In An Instant

Book: In An Instant
Author: Suzanne Redfearn
Pages: 326

This was my 18th read for the year

I got this one as part of the monthly First Reads for Kindle through Prime.  I try to get those books once a month, but I haven't read many because I have been working hard on this Read The World Challenge.

This is the story of Finn Miller and her family.  They were going on a camping trip for the weekend when an unspeakable tragedy happens.  Finn is killed in the accident but is trapped between this world in the next as she witnesses her family and friends fight to survive.  The months that follow the tragedy are hard on Finn's family and friends and she bounces between them as they come to terms with the aftermath of the tragedy.  The survivors start to piece together what happened immediately after the accident and the truth comes to light.

This was a fair book.  I know this type of story has been done many times, but I was still drawn to it.  It is a very easy read and I got through it in two evenings.  I didn't want to quit until I saw where it was leading and how everything was going to turn out for this family.   It is pretty well written, and the characters were well developed.  Some of the plot  But overall - it was a good read.  It brings to mind what we would do ourselves in the face of a similar tragedy. 

I always read the Author's note in each book, and I encourage you to read this one when you finish the book.

Stars:  4

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Extra Book: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Book: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Pages: 400

This is my 17th book of the year

I listened to this one through Audible.  I am grateful for my subscription from my sister in law because I have been able to get my hands on two books that through the library I have been on the waiting list for months.

This is the story of a fictional famous actress named Evelyn Hugo.  Married seven times over the course of her life, she decided before she dies she wants to tell the truth of her life.  She reached out to a young journalist named Monique to write her biography.  Monique has no idea why Evelyn has chosen her for such an honor, but she jumps at the chance to get to know the reclusive star more intimately.

Over the course of a few weeks, Monique listens as Evelyn replays her entire life and all the people she has loved.  She tells Monique how she became an actress, and how she became ruthless in her persuit to becomes famous.  Monique tries to ask Evelyn questions, but Evelyn promises her that once she is done - all of Monique's questions will be answered.  What Monique doesn't know is where that ending will leave her.

This was a pretty good book.  I never know how these popular books I see on instagram will be, but I really liked this one.  It is very well written, and the story flows nicely.  The ending was a good one - I didn't see it coming.  (although I probably should have).  Evelyn's reasons for what she did, why she married so many times, and why now she wants to reveal the truth become a marvelous story that I could not stop listening to.  I was glad I found this one.

Stars:  4 1/2