Breathe To Read

Breathe To Read

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Extra Book - Betty

 Book: Betty

Author: Tiffany McDaniel

Pages: 480

This is my 74th book of the year

This is the story of Betty Carpenter and her family.  The 6th of 8 children born to a mother who was white and a father who was Cherokee, her story unfolds in the 1950s-1970s in this book.  Early in her life, she and her family settle in the town of Breathed, Ohio.  Their family is poor and isolated due to their Cherokee background, but despite that, Betty grows up feeling the love from mostly her father.  A man full of stories and love for his children, Betty learns from him to become resilient.  As one tragedy after another strikes her family Betty is left with her stories and her love of writing to help her escape.

I have mixed feelings about this book.  First - you need to know that this book has a lot of very hard subjects to read about.  There is rape and abuse, and death among the love and stories of Betty's upbringing.  I THINK I understand that this is based on the true story of a real person.  And if that is the case, I really have a hard time with it.  I am sure families like this exist and they are horrible to their core on many levels with deep secrets that no one would ever guess.  I am sure of it.  But it bordered on the unbelievable.  NOW - if it is purely fiction based on the backgrounds of Cherokee families or hardships of poor families at this point in history - then it becomes a little different for me.  Don't ask me why - I cannot put my finger on it.  Beautifully written on many levels?  YES.  Cringe worthy parts?  YES.  Worth a read.....MAYBE?  Close to a yes.  

The dad in the story is amazing.  He weaves stories and tales from his Cherokee anestry that were the best parts of the book.  But many of the characters - the mom, the eldest brother, two of the sisters......cringe.

Ugh.  This one was harder than I thought.  I got those book through my Book of the Month and I am glad that I chose it.  However - as I read the very very few reviews it has on facebook, I see I might be the only one that is having trouble putting into words exactly how to review this one.

Stars:  3 1/2

Extra Book - Guts

 Book: Guts

Author: Raina Telgemeier

Pages: 224

This is my 73rd read for the year

Another tale from the author's childhood, Raina relives the story of when stress and anxiety caused her physical stomach aches and problems at school.  She had gotten the stomach flu, and then after that, every time she thought about different kinds of food or germs - she would get another stomach ache.  And then if she had to talk in front of her class - a stomach ache would come on.  She soon started talk therapy to work through what was going on with her and give her strategies on how to cope with her feelings.

This was another great one.  Reading this one with Finley was ideal because she is of the middle school age where a lot of these things come into play.  Shyness and awkardness and friendships.....the life of a teenage girl can be rocky.  I think it is important for kids to read stories about real people who had real struggles just like they do to help them realize they aren't alone in trying to figure it all out.

Good read for the pre-teen/teen group for sure.  

Stars:  4 1/2

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Extra Book - Sisters

 Book: Sisters

Author: Raina Telgemeier

Pages: 208

This is my 72nd read for the year

This is a story about the author.  She relives becomes a big her two younger siblings and what it was like growing up with them.  The younger sister she got was not the younger sister she expected.  Amara is a grouchy baby and a grouchy kid, and Raina finds her exhausting.  

A trip to visit family changes their relationship and they realize they must learn to get along.

This was another cute book that Finley and I read together.  A great graphic novel about the author's childhood - touching on the subject of two sisters tumultuous relationship as they grow.  Cute stories that had us laughing, and serious parts that had us discussing the relationship Finley has with her own sister.  I am glad we read this one.

Raina's books are great to read together with your kids or have your kids read alone.  Don't miss these ones.

Stars: 4 1/2

Monday, October 19, 2020

Read The World - Grenada - The Bone Readers

 Book:  The Bone Readers

Author: Jacob Ross

Pages: 264

Book takes place in the country: YES

Author is from the country: YES

I have visited: NO

This is my 71st read for the year

This is the story of Michael Digson who is recruited by the local police to help solve a cold case.  He has a natural talent for forensics, so he starts the hunt for a missing boy, and in the process continues to try and solve his own cold case - the one involving the disappearance of his mother.  What Digson uncovers is not only the missing boy, but several other people who went missing on the island and uncover a spree killer

This book was fine.  It got a lot of 5 star reveiws and my guess is there are not a lot of books that take place in Granada.  The color of the island came through nicely in the book - the author writes as the locals speak - and that adds some flavor you don't see in many books.  It found it a bit "all over the place" and only mildly entertaining.  However- it is a short book, and it checked the box for my Read The World challenge, so we will hang onto it for now.

Stars: 3

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Extra Book - Magic Lessons

 Book: Magic Lessons

Author: Alice Hoffman

Pages: 416

This is my 70th book for the year

This is the prequel to Practical Magic and it begins almost 400 years ago with Maria Owens - the beginning of the Owens family blood line.  She was abandoned as a baby and Hannah Owens finds her and raises her as her own.  Hannah realizes that Maria is a witch - just like she is - and begins teaching her everything she knows.

Maria grows, and falls for a man who abandons her.  Maria decides to find him and follows him all the way to Salem, Massachusetts.  Here she raises her own daughter, Faith, and invokes a curse that will follow her family for centuries.

This was a pretty good book.  I picked this one for my Book of the Month box and wasn't disappointed.  Thought it was a good pick for the month of October.  We live very close to Salem, Massachusetts, and have visited a few times, so it was another reason I picked this one.  I have not read Practical Magic or The Rules of Magic year, but decided to start with this one (since this is the first in the series, even though it is the last she has written).

The story of Maria, and Hannah and Faith is a good one.  One daughter after the other - practicing the namless art - saving people, finding love, and figuring out who they are in a world where witches are hanged for their practices.  Maria spends her life trying to protect Faith and figuring out if she is worthy of love.

Check it out.  I am anxious to see where the story goes.

Stars: 4

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Extra Book - Smile

 Book: Smile

Author: Raina Telgemeier

Pages: 224

This is my 69th read for the year

This is a graphic novel written about the author's younger years.  Raina had fallen and knocked out her two front permanent teeth and spent 4 years getting her mouth straightened after that accident.  The book discusses her trials of dealing with that during her teenage years and how it changed her friendships and how she felt about herself.

This is a sweet book.  It was a book my 14 year old daughter wanted to read together, so we did.  We read it all in one sitting - doesn't take long when it is a graphic novel.  It was a great book and we are both looking forward to reading the rest of Raina's books.

Stars: 4 1/2

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Extra Book - The Starless Sea

 Book: The Starless Sea

Author: Erin Morgenstern

Pages: 592

This is my 68th read for the year

This is the story of Zachary Ezra Rawlins.   He is a graduate student who one night stumbles upon a mysterious book in his college library.  As he begins to read the book, he stumbles upon a story that seems very familiar to him.  A story from his own childhood.  Confused how he has become the part of a very old book, he returns to the library in search for more clues about the books beginnings.  This leads him to a masquerade party in New York, a secret club, and a library hidden deep in the earth.  Here Zachary meets Dorian and Maribel, and as he continues to read Sweet Sorrows - the book that contained a piece of his path - it takes him on an adventure filled with danger and wonder.  Zachary finds himself deeply wound in the world he has discovered through books and the one he lives in as he tries to figure out where he belongs.

The Night Circus - Morgenstern's first book -is one of my all time favorite reads.  I was so excited to see that she put out a second book because she is an incredibly talented writer.  I always know I am going to enjoy a book when I am hooked on chapter one.  Magical Realism is one of my least favorite genres but Morgenstern's writing pulls me in.

This one wasn't QUITE as good as The Night Circus.  I don't think I can give it 5 stars because I didn't find the story as good as her first novel.  Expertly written?  YES.  The story just had some parts that I didn't love, and didn't tie quite as nicely as I was hoping it would in the end.  But it came so very close to a 5 star book for me.  I did really enjoy it.  Plus - it didn't hurt that she mentioned one of my other favorite books - The Shadow of the Wind - within the first few pages.  Scored some points there.

If you loved The Night Circus, or you like Magical Realism - don't miss this one.  Truly.  It is a story that will suck you in as you picture the world that Morgenstern creates.

Stars: 4 1/2