Breathe To Read

Breathe To Read

Thursday, November 30, 2017

2017 Challenge - Book #65 - Artemis

Today's review is for:  Artemis

Category:  New book by Andy Weir (who wrote the Martian.  Which was a great book)

This is the story of a girl named Jazz who leaves in the Lunar town of Artemis on the moon.  She has lived there since she was 6 years old with her father.  She is brilliant but a slacker.  She lives in near poverty because she refuses to get a steady job.  Right now she moves contraband and does odd jobs for money.  She has become friends with a Billionare who wants her to sabotage a Lunar business so that he can take over.  It is risky and dangerous, but she wants the money, so she agrees to do it.

The heist starts her down a path that uncovers a conspiracy that has been in the works on Artemis.  It puts her life, and the lives of people she loves, in danger.  She gets in way over her head, but with the help of her friends she helps to bring down a cartel that could have ruined her existence on the moon forever.

This was a good book.  Andy Weir, no doubt, is a great writer.  The book is smart, and funny.  It isn't a hard read, and it kept me entertained until the end.  I didn't want to put it down.

If you read the Martian, read this book.  If you didn't read the Martian, read that AND this book.

Stars: 5

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

2017 Challenge - Book #64 - The Book Thief

Another book off list - I am a maniac!

Today's review is for:  The Book Thief

No category except it was on my list to read last year and I didn't get to it.

This is the story of Liesel Meminger who is living in Munich Germany in 1939.  Her mother took she and her brother on a train to a foster family to keep them safe during the war.  Her brother got sick and died on the journey, so Liesel is all alone when she shows up.  Her foster father is kind and generous, and her foster mother is hard and stubborn.  Each night, Liesel wakes with nightmares and her dad comes in to comfort her.  Eventually she shows him a book that she stole when they buried her brother called "The Grave Diggers Handbook".  This starts Liesels love of books and her father starts to teach her to read.

Over the course of her years with her foster family she steals several more books, is invited to the Mayors house to read whenever she wants, watches bombs fall on her city, and helps her parents hide a Jew.  In a time when all books were being burned by Hitler and the Nazis, Leisel was trying her best to save them.

I loved this book.  LOVED it.  Probably one of the best reads I have read this year.  It was well written, and had a great message.  I have read a lot of WWII books, and this was among the best.

Don't miss it.

Stars: 5

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

2017 Challenge - Book #63 - Norse Mythology

Okay -time for me to go rogue.  I am going off script for the rest of the year because 1) I do not have easy access to many of the books I had on my list now that I am in Switzerland and don't really want to buy them and 2) because I want to.

The books that are left on my challenge are not possible at this point in the year.  And frankly - I don't know how much I REALLY wanted to read them - they were just fitting snuggly into some of the categories I chose.  But this move has taught me one thing - I cannot get many English speaking books in a German speaking country, so I am going to have to improvise.

And here we are.

Todays' review is for:  Norse Mythology

No category.  Unless you call it :my son had this book on his shelf and it looked interesting.

This is a collection of short stories true to Norse pantheon.  The stories center around Thor, Loki, and Odin.  The stories are about forming the world, creation of Yggdrasil, how Odin lost an eye, the god's treasures, Loki's children, Thor and the giants, Balder's death, Ragnarok,   The author puts his own twists on the old myths, but stays true to the stories.

This was a pretty good book.  It is a good book for the 11-17 age range, and if your child is a fan of Thor, then it is definitely a good choice.  Thor is definitely the comic relief of these stories.  They are silly, over the top, and enjoyable. 

I say try it out!

Stars:  4

Sunday, November 19, 2017

2017 Challenge - Book #62 - Three Wishes

Today's review is for:  Three Wishes

It was under the category:  A Book You Borrowed from Someone

This is the story of a set of triplets named Cat, Lynn and Gemma.  The 33 year old women all live close to each other, but their lives could not be more different. Gemma - who has never been in a relationship longer than 6 months - thinks she might have found "the one".  Lynn - who has a young daughter and a step daughter - is trying to balance a full career and being a mom and a good wife.  And Cat - who desperately wants to have a baby - just found out her husband is sleeping with someone else and wants a divorce.  They are the product of divorced parents who have never quite gotten along.  Their mom was only 17 when she found out she was having triplets, and the marriage didn't last long after that.  The girls grew up splitting their time between two parents whom they never felt close to, and always relied on each other for comfort.  

This was a sweet book.  IT was an easy read, and fun.  Liane Moriarty is a great author and I have enjoyed many of her books over the last couple of years.  The characters were likeable and well developed.  It does have a recurring theme from her other books (divorce, cheating spouses, infertility), but that didn't make it less enjoyable.  

If you are looking for a Chick-Lit book, this is a good one.

Stars:  4

Thursday, November 16, 2017

2017 Challenge - Book #61 - 100 Years of Solitude

Whoops!  Missed blogging about another one.

This book review is for:  One Hundred Years of Solitude

It was under the category:  A Book Whose Story Spans Generations

I am pretty sure I read this one near the beginning of the summer.  This is the story of a fictional town called Macondo.  It is the history of a family named Buendia.  All the characters have names that are similar.  The founder of the town is Jose Arcadio Buendia.  It covers the lives of his children and his grandchildren.  Jose and his wife are first cousins, and they leave their village to search for a new home.  The town stays pretty secluded, but is often visited by gypsies.  Over time, Jose Buendia goes insane, starts speaking only Latin, and is tied to a chestnut tree for many years until he dies.  Generations of Buendias eventually leave the town into a near abandoned state.  There are only two people left in the town, and they enter into a relationship - not knowing that they are aunt and nephew.  The wife dies in child birth and the child is devoured by ants (what?!?!) leaving Aurelino - the nephew - as the last living Buendia relative.  Aurelino finds a manuscript that was left by the gypsies years before that tells of all the Buendia misfortunes.  While reading it, the town of Macondo is wiped off the face of the earth by a hurricane.

This book will make your head spin.  While I enjoyed the book, I had to keep referring to the family tree at the beginning to keep all the names straight.  There are a lot of Arcadios and Ursulas and Joses that you start to forget whom is married to whom.  The book is written in a magical realism style and will have you chuckling and shaking your head all at once.  It was WEIRD.  And silly.  And just fun.

I think I will recommend it.  It is an acquired taste - that is for sure.  You just never knew where the story was going!

Stars: 3

Monday, November 13, 2017

2017 Challenge - Book #60 - A Fighting Chance

Looks like I forgot to blog about this one a while ago!  I listened to this book while we were getting our house ready to rent, and I somehow missed it.  I listened to it back in July.

The book was called:  A Fighting Chance

And it was under the category: A Political Memoir

This was the story of Elizabeth Warren, who is the senator from my great state of Massachusetts.  This wasn't her newest book (she had one come out in April of this year), but it was the one I wanted to read.  Elizabeth Warren grew up in a small town in Oklahoma.  She wanted to become a school teacher.  But she got married young and got pregnant quickly, and that dream was out of reach.  The marriage ended in divorce, and Elizabeth was left with young children and a passion for the low and middle class.  She quickly started to see how people get into financial trouble, and started a fight for bankruptcy laws.  She fought big banks and big Washington for 10 years....and lost.  Finally - at age 62 - she ran for public office and won.  Now is fights in Washington for the people and against big banks who have become predators to working class Americans.

I MAY have a girl crush on Elizabeth Warren.  We lived in Massachusetts for 6 years, and she has been the Senator for most of our time there.  She is a powerhouse.  She is an amazing person who is passionate and not afraid to speak her mind.  She does not hide behind politics - she fights against them.  I watched her show up in the middle of the night at the Logan Airport in Boston when Donald Trump starting denying Muslims entrance back into our country even though they lived here.  She stands with you and for you.

Okay -soap box out.  The book was GREAT.  She covers her life from childhood to present (2015). She got remarried later in life to a wonderful man.  She talks just as passionately about her dogs as she does bankruptcy laws, so we get to see two sides of her.  She is deeply devoted to her family and to her job.

This was a good read.  I am hoping to read more about her in the years to come.

Stars: 5

Sunday, November 12, 2017

2017 Challenge - Book #59 - Alexander Hamilton

Whew.  Moving to Switzerland is really getting in the way of my reading.  I am wondering if I will pull off a challenge next year.  Still debating even starting it.  I am not going to make my 75 books this year, which is a bit of a bummer.  Too much Europe exploring.

Today's review is for the monster book:  Alexander Hamilton

It is under the category:  A Nonfiction Book about History

Alexander Hamilton - is there much I need to say about this man that you don't already know?  Thanks to the musical "Hamilton" - a large part of the world is more familiar with him than ever.  But in case you aren't - here is a quick recap:  Orphaned boy whose mother was from Nevis and father who was Scottish.  He was brought to America by a cousin and eventually ended up with a merchant family.  He was known as an intellect from an early age.  He studied at Kings College (which is now Columbia) and became a lawyer.  He married Eliza Schulyer and they had 8 children.  He worked very closely with George Washington, and fought on the front lines of the battle with Britian.  He wrote the federalist papers.  He cheated on his wife.  His eldest son died in a duel.  And then Alexander died in a duel with Andrew Burr at the age of 49.

That about sums him up.  Just kidding.  That barely scratches the surface, so you should read the book.  All 900 pages of it.  The author very much idolizes Hamilton, and paints just about every other founding father as people who did everything wrong.  Hamilton was no saint.  He was brilliant - no doubt - but no saint.  He was hot tempered and a womanizer.  He spent long amounts of time away from his wife and children chasing battles and defending his Federalist papers.  You do wonder - had he lived - what else he might have accomplished.

It is going to be winter soon.  If you are like us and need to hunker down to get through the cold, wet, snow driven months, then this would be a good book to pass your time.

Stars: 4