Breathe To Read

Breathe To Read

Sunday, April 11, 2021

2021 Challenge - An Author of Color: Children of Blood and Bone

 Book: Children of Blood and Bone

Author: Tomi Adeyemi

Pages: 544

This is my 40th read for the year

This is the story of Zelie and her people.  She remembers a time where magic ran through the Deviners and Maji.  However, a tyrant king made sure that magic disappeared forever leaving Maji dead.  Zelie's mom - who was a powerful Reaper - was taken away in chains and killed shattering their family.

Now Zelie is on a path to bring magic back.  With the help of her brother and some unlikely allies in the kingdom, she has one chance and one moon cycle to return magic to her people and rid the kingdom of their tyrant king.

This was a pretty good book.  I listened to it while I did yard work (it si 15+ hours) and the reader was excellent.  I got invested in the story and its underlying message.  It started a little slow and confusing for me, but as I started to invest in the characters it got better.  The chapters move between 4 differend POV which I have always been a fan of.   I like hearing from different people throughout a story - see how they view what is happening around them.  It is a story of heros, good vs evil, and how everything isn't always as clear cut as it seems.

This has been a popular book out there forever, and I kept passing it over, but I am glad I finally read it.  And I am definitely going to read the second book in the series.


Friday, April 9, 2021

2021 Challenge: A Book With A Deckeled Edge: The Prisoner Of Heaven

 Book: The Prisoner Of Heaven

Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafron

Pages: 278

This is my 39th book of the year

This is the 3rd book in the 4 book series "The Cemetery of the Forgotten"

Daniel returns in this book - our hero from Shadow of the Wind - as a grown man who is married with a baby.  He is running the bookshop with his dad and a family friend named Fermin.  A stranger visits the bookshop one day, buys the most expensive book in the shop and tells Daniel to give it to Fermin along with a mysterious note.  This leads Fermin to tell Daniel about his past and how it intertwines with Daniel's mother, Isabella, and David Martin - whose story was the last book.  This books starts to weave all these lives together and leaves Daniel wondering who he really is.

This was a good book.  Well written, as I expect from Zafon.  I liked it much better than the last book.  I was very invested in the story of Fermin and how it intertwined with DAniel's story from Shadow of the Wind and David Martin's story from The Angel Game.  I am anxious to read the 4th book to see if it ties up nicely in the end.

Stars: 4 1/2

Friday, April 2, 2021

Book Challenge 2021 - An Author Who Is Deceased - The Angel's Game

 Book: The Angel's Game

Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Pages: 544

This is y 38th read for the year

This is the story of David Martin.  He is a writer who lives in Barcelona.  He starts writing novels under a pseudonym that take off in popularity, and he decides it is tie to work on a novel.  He rents a big house he has always admired. 

He starts to write when he receives a letter from an admirer that wants to pay him a large sum to write a book that has the power to change hearts and minds.  The mysterious stranger asks for very little in return - only to meet with David every once in awhile to check the progress of the book.  When David falls ill and the stranger helps him in the most miraculous of ways, David begins to wonder who he is really working for.

The book takes David on a path that he never wanted to be on.  A dangerous, dealy path controlled completely by the man who is paying him to write his book.  David starts to piece together the past of the house he lives in and this man and knows that he, and the people around him, are in danger.

This was a pretty good book.  Zafon's Shadow Of The Wind remains one of my favorite books ever, so I was anxious to read another one of his.  This book has connections to Shadow Of The Wind - not as many as I like - and that is what drew me to it.  It is well written.  The story dark and twisted.  However it isn't as good as Shadow of The Wind as far as story line.  The story was overly complicated,and did not hold my attention as well as the first book in this series.

I do understand that this one is the weakest of the group, so I am anxious to keep going to see how the others are.  Zafon is an excellent writer and I am glad I read this one, but it just wasn't as good as the first.

Stars: 4

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Book Challenge 2021: Book Related To The Word Fire: Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

 Book: Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

Author: Caitlin Doughty

Pages: 272

This is my 37th read for the year

Told in her own words when the author worked at a Crematorium and eventually went to mortuary school.  Caitlin, always curious about people's choices when it comes to death and burial tells stories of countless families who crossed her path while she worked at the Crematorium in California.  She weaves their stories into facts about what happens when a body is cremated, the history of undertakers, and changes in the practice of funerals.  Her wit and curiosity will change your mind about how we treat the dead.

This book was fantastic.  Fair warning - it is as graphic as it is illuminating, so it is not for the faint of heart.  The stories are facinating.  She does an excellent job of telling stories of the people who she creamated and their families while remaining professional and sympathetic to her topic.  I didn't want the book to end.  I listened to it, and she does her own reading, which made it all the better.

If you have read the book "Stiff", then you have to read this one.  Highly recommend.

Stars: 5

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Book Challenge 2021: Winner of a National Book Award (any year): Challenger Deep

 Book: Challenger Deep

Author: Neil Shusterman

Pages: 320

This is my 36th read for the year

This is the story of Caden Bosch.  Caden has been diagnosed with a mental illness.  Caden believes that he is on a ship headed for the deepest part of the earth.  But in reality, he is struggling with the difference between what is in his head and what is going on in the world.  His friends start to notice his odd behavior, and then his parents.  He is finally committed to a mental hospital for treatment and recovery.

This is a good book.  It goes back and forth between Caden's belief he is on a ship to his time dealing with his mental illness.  As the book goes along, the reality and the belief start to entertwine until the reality becomes the stronger.  Shusterman does a good job showing what it is like for people who suffer from delusions and how their recovery is handled.  His own son has a mental illness, and helped Shusterman piece together this book.

It is worth a read.  It is hard to watch anyone struggle with a mental illness, and this book did a good job giving you a peak into what it is like for them.

Stars: 4

Monday, March 22, 2021

Book: The Eleventh Plague

 Book: The Eleventh Plague

Author: Jeff Hirsch

Pages: 288

This is my 35th read for the year

In the aftermath of a war, Stephen and his family are amount 1/3 of the populartion survived a flu epidemic.  He, his dad, and his grandpa roam the country salvaging what they can find.  When an accident happens, Stephen is forced to seek help.  He finds a community that seems too good to be true.  He puts his trust in the town doctor to save his dad, and Stephen tries to find some normalcy in a world that is anything but.  Stephen's appearance in the town is not welcome by everyone that lives there, and it sets the community on a course that could destroy what they have built.

This book wasn't great.  I do love dystopian novels, and I was drawn to this book for that reason.  It started off okay, but then went downhill.  For a kid who was born after the collapse, nothing seemed to surprise him. (his knowledge about McDonalds or a rollercoaster, or an arcade seemed unlikely)  It didn't make any sense.  The story also went from this being about a group of people working together to get through a society rebuild to a 15 year old kid and a girl in town who were suddenly in love and becoming reckless.  The story went in circles and was weak.  None of the characters are well developed.  I found myself wanting to skim over about 1/3 of the book.

Don't recommend this one.

Stars: 2

Sunday, March 21, 2021

2021 Challenge: A Book That Is Set In the 17th Century: Girl With A Pearl Earring

 Book: Girl With A Pearl Earring

Author: Tracy Chevalier

Pages: 240

This is my 34th read for the year

This is the story of Griet.  She is a 16 year old girl who is hired as a maid for the Vermeer family in 1664.  Her father was recently blinded, so Griet needs to make money to help her family.  One of her main tasks in the household was to clean Johannes Vermeer's studio.  While doing so, she becomes fascinated in his paintings and the women he paints.  Johannes soon enlists Griet's help in getting his supplies and mixing his paints, and then finally - asks to paint her.  She becomes the girl with the pearl earring.  Her time as a maid in this household is tumultuous- one of the daughters constantly tries to get Griet in trouble, the other help in the household become jealous of her relationship with Johannes, and she develops an unwanted admirer.  The lines start to bleed between master and servant to the point that Griet needs to make a difficult choice.

This was a pretty good book.  I listened to it, and I was worried that it might be slow or dry.  IT was neither.  I can say there wasn't incredible character development, and the story was pretty low key.  But I liked the idea of an author taking a real person (Vermeer) and a real painting (The Girl With A Pearl Earring) and develop a fictional story around it.  Nothing is known about Vermeer's muses, and I felt that her idea of what lead to him painting this particular picture was an interesting one.

Good read.  I need to now watch the movie. We visited The Hague where this painting lives, and I wish I would have known that while we were there.

Stars: 4