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

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Book: Pretty Little Wife

 Book: Pretty Little Wife

Author: Darby Kane

Pages: 416

This is my 33rd read for the year

This is the story of Lila.  She has been in a terrible marriage for a long time, and she has just discovered a secret that her husband had that is unforgivable.  She needs to end her marriage to Aaron, but he is missing.  The police suspect Lila, but she doesn't know where he is.  While the police dig into her past Lila does some digging of her own and finds out more than she bargained for with her husband's past.

This was a pretty good book.  I was set for this one to be cheesy or have a terrible ending, but it was neither.  It was pretty well written and the ending didn't disappoint.  Was I surprised at the end with the wrap up?  No.  However, it did not take away from the story.  It was the first book in awhile that I didn't really want to put down - wanted to keep reading chapter after chapter to see where it was going.  

Check this one out.  It isn't a hard core thriller, but an interesting enough story that you will want to see where it ends up.

Stars: 4

Friday, March 19, 2021

Book: The Ickabog

 Book: The Ickabog

Author: JK Rowling

Pages: 304

This is my 32nd read for the year

This is a book that takes place in the land of Cornucopia.  The people were happy and healthy.  However, looming over the town was a myth of the Ickabog.  Most people believed this was a fictional being and therefor harmless.  

A power hungry member of the Royal Palace decides to bring the Ickabog to life to gain control over the people.  Things quickly spirl out of control for the Palace as a lie is hard to keep secret.  Children Berty and Daisy set out to find out the truth about the Ickabog once and for all knowing that it could help not only their own families, but the whole town.

This was a cute book.  It is definitley written as a children's book, but there is a lot of murder, so I would caution reading this with younger children.  I love that Rowling included art of children throughout the book.  The story is a cute one with a good message:  What happens when a lie spirals out of control and all your time is consumed by trying to cover it up.

Stars: 4

Friday, March 12, 2021

Read The World - Wales - The Owl Service

 Book: The Owl Service

Author: Alan Garner

Pages: 224

Book takes place in the country: YES

Author is from the country: NO

I have visited: NO

This is my 31st read for the year

*It was brought to my attention that I did a book about Scotland, but left our Wales in my Read The World Challenge.  So - I dug around and found a book from Wales - not an easy task!

**Also I used this book for my 2021 Challenge: An Endorsement by a Famous Author On The Cover

This is mainly the story of Allison, Roger, and Gwyn.  Allison and Roger are step-brother and sister, and Gwyn is a Welsh boy that is spending the summer while his mother works for Allison and Roger's family.  One night, Allison hears scratching noises in the rafters above her room and asks Gwyn to see what it is.  What he finds is a whole set of plates that seem to have a flower pattern on them.  When he touches them, he almost falls through the ceiling.  He brings a plate down to give to Allison who starts to trace the pattern on the plate.  She discovers when she puts the patter together it makes an owl.  As she traces the plate, the pattern disappears leaving only a white plate behind.  Allison becomes obsessed with the plates and traces each one and then each one becomes blank.  

With the appearance of the plates, the occupants of the house start to behave oddly, and tensions rise.  Soon the young people are involved in a mythical curse doomed to repeat itself.

This was an interesting book.  It is an older book (written in the 1960s) and full of Welsh mythology.  I had a hard time following it, even as a middle grade book.  Being more familiar with Welsh history and mythology would help a lot here.  The scratching in the attic - never resolved.  The ending?  Unsatifsying. I did continue reading - interested to see where it would go.  And I am glad I gave it a try since there isn't much out there from Wales.  I just think that this was a book that would take a lot of concentration from a middle grade reader if you were not familiar with this author or this area of the world.

Stars: 3

2021 Challenge: An Author With Only One Published Book: The Picture of Dorian Gray

 Book: The Picture of Dorian Gray

Author: Oscar Wilde

Pages: 176

This is my 30th book for the year

**Side note - This was touted as Oscar Wilde's only NOVEL - it is not the only thing he has written.  

This is the story of Dorian Gray.  A young model for a painter's work, when Dorian sees it he utters a fateful wish. While artist Basil paints his masterpiece, Lord Henry puts in Dorian's head that while Dorian continued to age, his portrait would remain forever youthful.  This causes Dorian to ask for the reverse.  His wish is granted, and what ensues is a life of amoral practices while the portrait ages and records Dorian's sins.

this was an interesting read.  The book, for the most part, is well written and the story engaging.  There were a few chapters that were just dialogue that drug.  The chapters with story between Dorian and Lord Henry and Basil were the best in my opinion.  It is a short book, so the few chapters that did not capture my interest didn't matter much.

Glad I read this one.

Stars: 3 1/2

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

2021 Challenge: A Dual Timeline: The Lost Apothecary

 Book: The Lost Apothecary

Author: Sarah Penner

Pages: 320

This is my 29th book for the year

This is the story of Nella, Eliza, and Caroline.  In 1791, Nella is running an underground apothecary that sells remedies, but lately - poisons.  Women find her by word of mouth asking to "fix" problems they might be having with their husbands or significant others.  Eliza is a 12 year old girl that comes to the shop one day on behalf of her mistress, and finds that she wants to stay and help Nella with her shop.  But a mistak young Eliza makes puts the shop in jeporday.

In present day London, Caroline has escaped for a getaway.  Leaving a failing marriage behind, she stumbles across a glass bottle with a bear on it while doing a hunt with a tour group.  This sends her on a path that connects that past Apothecary -and the unsolved murders associated with it - and changes her course forever.

This was a pretty good book.  I read it quickly because I was curious to see where it was going and how the two timelines came together.  It is an easy read and a well written novel.  I will admit that I was more invested in the timeline of Nell and Eliza than Caroline's, but it didn't distract from the story.  I just find the historical plot much richer.

Great find.  Glad I read this one.  Highly recommend!

Stars: 4

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

2021 Challenge: Book That Takes Place In A Country That Starts With "S" (Switzerland) - The Sanatorium

 Book: The Sanatorium

Author: Sarah Pearse

Pages: 400

This is my 28th read for the year

Elin and her boyfriend Will are taking a holiday.  Elin's brother, Isaac, is getting married and has invited Elin to the engagement party at a new hotel in the Swiss Alps.  Elin is on leave from her job and feels this is a good time to re-evaluate if she wants to continue her career as a police officer.

However -once at the hotel, a sinister storm sets in and an avalanche blocks the guest in the hotel.  While trapped, people start to go missing.  The Swiss police are not able to get to the hotel due to the storm, so Elin starts working as a detective to find out what is happening to the missing people.  Elin now has to figure out who is taking these people and how to keep the remaining guest safe.

This was a fair book.  I was intrigued by it because it took place in Switzerland.  And I love a good mystery/thriller story.  However, Elin quickly got on my nerves.  She isn't a particularly  strong character - and honestly - none of the others are either.  They lacked depth.  Every move was "sinister".  There was no range with the characters.  There were a lot of loose ends that didn't get tied up.  And the ending - well she left it wide open to interpretation.  Which could be good if she is going to write a second one?  But if not - it was just confusing.  

Stars: 3

2021 - Repeat of a Catagory - Howl's Moving Castle (Category - book with a garden in it)

 Book: Howl's Moving Castle

Author: Diana Wynne Jones

Pages: 448

This is my 27th read for the year

This is the story of Sophie.  A young girl who works in a hat shop with her sisters and mother.  One day the Witch of the Waste comes into the shop, and Sophie tries to turn her away.  What results is a curse that leaves Sophie an old woman.  She sets off to try and get the curse reversed and she comes upon Howl's Castle.  She shows up and tells him that she is his new cleaning lady - hoping that he will help her break the curse.  In Howl's castle lives a young apprentice, Michale, and a Fire Deamon - Calcifer.  Getting tangled with this group shows Sophie another side of Howl and of herself and leads her on our path she least expected.

This was a great book. My husband bought me the Folio Society version for Christmas and my eldest daughter and I read it over these last few weeks.  She is a lover of Studio Ghibli - who made this book into one of their films.  We loved the movie, but it does differ from the book.  My daughter and I decided that we liked the book better - the characters fit a little better and made a little more sense.  It is a well written book, and heart felt and a fun read.  Highly recommend

Stars: 4 1/2

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

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Book Challenge 2021 - Recommended on Book Bub: Shadow And Bone

 Book: Shadow And Bone

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Pages: 416

This is my 19th read for the year

This is the story of Alina Starkov - an orphan who grew up to become a soldier that needs to enter the Shadow Fold.  (darkness that is crawling with monsters) During a fight, when her best friends life was at stake, Alina unleashes magic she had no idea she had.

Now that her power has been discovered, the Darkling has come to claim her and bring her into the world of the Grisha.  She will be trained to be the Sun Summoner they were all waiting for to get rid of the Shadow Fold and free the world once and for all of the monsters that lurk there.

During her Grisha training, she learned of the Darkling's true plan and escapes to find her best friend.  She knows what she must do to protect her world (Ravka) and save everyone from the darkness.

I got this book for Christmas from my husband.  He knew they were making it into a Netflix show and thought I would like to read the book before that happened.  I read a chapter each night and was really hoping that this would be a series that I would enjoy and be excited about enough to finish the trilogy before the show came out in April.

Alas - it was not.  The book was fine, don't get me wrong.  It wasn't terrible.  It just wasn't great.  This is the author that wrote Six of Crows, so it got a lot of press.  You don't really get attached - or like - any of the characters.  The plot is just okay.  Nothing jumped out at me - it has all been done before.  And yes, I realize that because of the vast number of books I read this is something that would be hard to avoid, but still.  I won't be reading the rest.  We shall see what Netflix makes of it.

Stars: 2

Monday, February 15, 2021

Reading Challenge 2021 - A Book Published In 2021: The Push

 Book: The Push

Author: Audrain

Pages: 320

This is my 18th read for the year

This is the story of Blythe.  Raised in a troubled household with a mother who left when Blythe was young, she is determined to be a better mother than the one she had.  Even Blythe's own mother had a terrible childhood, so Blythe is worried about the pattern continuing.  When Violet is born, Blythe already knows something is wrong.  She doesn't feel a connection to her daughter like she thinks she should.  And ask Violet grows and starts to have questionable behaviors that leave Blythe wondering if it is her or Violet that is the problem.  When a second child is born, and tragedy strikes, Blythe is convinced that she was right all along about her daughter.

This was an interesting read.  I listened to it with a free Audible credit I had.  It was a choice in my Book of The Month club as well.  It wasn't a new story line, of course.  Mother who doesn't bond with her child/child might be evil.  It has been done.  And this one wasn't particularly well written in my opinion.  I kept waiting for me.  For there to be more "incidents" or for the family to get help.....anything.  Instead Blythe makes wishy washy decisions and doesn't defend her thoughts or actions, and in the end......well the book just kind of ends on a bit of a cliff hanger.  I shoudln't say that.  It wasn't really a cliff hanger - you could see it coming.  But you could tell the author wanted to add some shock value.  

It was FINE.  I am glad I didn't waste my BOTM credit on this one, but it passed the time while I ran errands.

Stars: 3

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Read The World Challenge COMPLETE

 I finally did it.  202 Countries - 202 Books.  I have officially read a book from every known country in the world - what a feat!  It feels good to be done.

It has taken me two years to complete this challenge thanks to the pandemic.  As much as I should have been reading during all of that "stay at home" time, I instead had to get our family ready for our big move from Switzerland back to the United States.  So it took me awhile to get the challenge finished.  

I have bought each book I have read from each country and made a Read The World shelf in the house.  To have all 202 books in one place (and in Alphabetical country order) that I can look at forever was a big reward for this challenge.  

If this is a challenge you would like to try for yourself, I highly encourage it.  I have learned so many things about the countries I read about.  I explored countries that I didn't know anything about.  My world view grew by leaps and bounds with this one, and solidified for me that traveling and discovering new places will always remain a goal of mine.  Once this pandemic is over, my family plans on contiuing our travel journey.

Here is the list of countries and the books I read from each.  If you click on the title, it will take you to my review.  


Afganistan - Kite Runner 👌👌👌👌👌

Albania - Chronicle In Stone 👌👌👌👌

Algeria - The Plague 👌👌👌👌

Andorra - 32 Yolks 👌👌👌👌

Angola - The Book of Chameleons 👌👌👌👌

Antigua - A Small Place 👌👌👌 1/2

Argentina - Alive 👌👌👌👌

Armenia - Like Water on Stone 👌👌👌👌 1/2

Aruba - An Island Away 👌👌👌

Australia - The Light Between Oceans 👌👌👌👌 1/2

Austria - Marrying Mozart 👌👌👌👌 1/2

Azerbaijan - Ali and Nino A Love Story 👌👌 1/2

Bahamas - An Evening In Guanima  👌👌👌👌

Bahrain - Round The Bend 👌👌👌👌 1/2

Bangladesh - A Golden Age 👌👌👌👌

Barbados - The Girl With Hazel Eyes 👌👌👌

Belarus - Voices From Chernobyl 👌👌👌👌

Belgium - A Tall Man In A Low Land 👌👌👌👌

Belize - The Last Flight Of The Scarlet Macaw 👌👌👌👌

Benin - The Viceroy of Ouidah 👌👌👌

Bhutan - Beyond the Sky And Earth 👌👌👌👌 1/2

Bolivia - Bolivian Diary 👌👌👌

Bosnia - Zlata's Diary 👌👌👌👌

Botswana - The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency 👌👌👌👌

Brazil - Dora Flor and Her Two Husbands 👌👌👌

Brunei - Devil Of A State 👌👌

Bulgaria - The Physics of Sorrow 👌👌👌

Burkina Faso - Of Water And Spirit 👌👌👌👌

Burundi - This Voice In My Heart 👌👌👌👌 1/2

Cambodia - The Rent Collector 👌👌👌👌 1/2

Cameroon - Mission To Kala 👌👌👌 1/2

Canada - Still Life 👌👌👌

Cape Verde - Last Will and Testament Senor de Silva 👌👌👌👌

Central African Republic - Making Sense of Central African Republic 👌👌👌

Chad - The Roots Of Heaven 👌👌👌👌

Chile- Maya's Notebook 👌👌👌👌

China - Lost On Planet China 👌👌👌👌 1/2

Columbia - Delirium 👌👌👌👌

Comoros - A Fish Caught In Time 👌👌👌👌

Congo - Democratic - Tomorrow I'll Be Twenty 👌👌👌👌

Congo - Republic - The Poisonwood Bible 👌👌👌👌

Costa Rica - Cadence Of The Moon 👌👌 1/2

Cote D'Ivoire - Whiteman 👌👌👌

Croatia - Girl At War 👌👌👌👌

Cuba - Waiting For Snow In Havana 👌👌👌👌

Cyprus - Mythos 👌👌👌👌 1/2

Czech Republic - The Unbearable Lightness of Being 👌👌👌

Denmark - Number The Stars 👌👌👌👌

Djibouti - The Nomads, My Brothers 👌👌👌 1/2

Dominica - Black And White Sands 👌👌👌👌

Dominican Republic - In The Time of Butterflies 👌👌👌👌

East Timor - A Nation's Bitter Dawn 👌👌👌 1/2

Ecuador - Galapagos 👌👌👌👌

Egypt - A Pure Heart 👌👌👌👌 1/2

El Salvador - Bitter Grounds 👌👌👌👌

Equatorial Guinea - Shadows Of Your Black Memory 👌👌👌

Eritrea - I Didn't Do It For You 👌👌👌 1/2

Estonia - The Beauty of History 👌👌👌 1/2

Ethiopia - Cutting For Stone 👌👌👌👌

Fiji - The Blue Lagoon 👌👌👌 1/2

Finland - The Year Of The Hare 👌👌👌 1/2

France - All The Light We Cannot See 👌👌👌👌👌

French Guiana - Papillon  👌👌👌👌

Gabon - Mema 👌👌👌👌

Gambia - Folk Tales And Fables From Gambia 👌👌👌

Georgia - Flight From The USSR 👌👌👌 1/2

Germany - The Book Thief 👌👌👌👌👌

Ghana - Homegoing 👌👌👌👌

Great Britian - Dracula 👌👌👌👌👌

Greece - Eleni  👌👌👌👌👌

Granada - The Bone Readers 👌👌👌

Guadaloupe - Crossing The Mangrove 👌👌👌 1/2

Guatemala - The Guatemalan Reader 👌👌👌👌

Guinea - The King of Kahel 👌👌👌

Guinea Bissau - The Ultimate Tragedy 👌👌👌👌

Guyana - The Sly Company Of People Who Care 👌👌👌

Haiti - Dear Haiti, Love Alaine 👌👌👌👌

Honduras - The Lost City Of The Monkey God 👌👌👌👌

Hungary - The Dukays 👌👌👌

Iceland - Burial Rites 👌👌👌👌 1/2

India - Life Of Pi 👌👌👌👌👌

Indonesia - The Earth Of Mankind 👌👌👌

Iran - Persepolis 👌👌👌👌

Iraq - Imperial Life In The Emerald City 👌👌👌👌 1/2

Ireland - The Misremembered Man 👌👌👌👌👌

Israel - A Tale Of Love and Darkness 👌👌👌 1/2

Italy - Beneath A Scarlet Sky 👌👌👌👌👌

Jamaica - Here Comes The Sun 👌👌👌 1/2

Japan - Memoirs Of A Geisha 👌👌👌👌

Jordan - Leap Of Faith 👌👌👌👌 1/2

Kazakhstan - One Day In The Life of Ivan Denisovich 👌👌👌 1/2

Kenya - Circling The Sun 👌👌👌👌

Korea - North - The Girl With Seven Names 👌👌👌👌 1/2

Korea - South - Please Look After Mom 👌👌👌👌

Kosovo - City Of Thieves 👌👌👌👌 1/2

Kuribati - The Sex Lives of Cannibals 👌👌👌👌 1/2

Kurdistan - My Father's Paradise 👌👌👌👌 1/2

Kuwait - The Hidden Light Of Objects 👌👌👌👌 1/2

Kyrgyzstan - Jamilia 👌👌👌👌 1/2

Laos - Mother's Beloved 👌👌👌👌

Latvia - Among The Living And The Dead 👌👌👌👌

Lebanon - The Hakawati 👌👌👌👌

Lesotho - Basali 👌👌👌👌

Liberia - The House At Sugar Beach 👌👌👌👌

Libya - In The Country Of Men 👌👌👌👌

Liechtenstein - Ludmila 👌👌👌👌

Lithuania - Breathing Into Marble  👌👌👌

Luxembourg - Milly's Story 👌👌👌👌

Macedonia - What Does It Take To Stop A War? 👌👌👌👌

Madagascar - Beyond The Rice Fields 👌👌👌👌 1/2

Malawi - The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind 👌👌👌👌 1/2

Malaysia - The Gift Of Rain  👌👌👌👌

Maldives - Gate Crashing Paradise 👌👌👌👌

Mali - Bound To Violence 👌👌👌

Malta - The Great Siege Malta 1565 👌👌👌👌

Marshall Islands - Surviving Paradise 👌👌👌👌 1/2

Martinique - Sugar Money 👌👌👌👌

Mauritania - Travels in Mauritania 👌👌👌 1/2

Mauritius - The Last Brother 👌👌👌👌 1/2

Mayotte - Island In The Stream 👌👌👌👌

Mexico - Like Water For Chocolate 👌👌👌👌

Micronesia - Island Of the Sequined Love Nun 👌👌👌👌

Moldova - Playing The Moldovians In Tennis 👌👌👌

Monaco - Once Upon A Time: A Tale of Princess Grace 👌👌👌👌

Mongolia - Ghengis Birth Of An Empire 👌👌👌👌

Montenegro - Blood Of Montenegro 👌👌👌

Morocco - Dune Song 👌👌👌 1/2

Mozambique - The First Wife 👌👌👌👌

Myramar/Burma - The Art Of Hearting Heartbeats 👌👌👌👌👌

Namibia - The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo 👌👌👌

Nepal - Into Thin Air 👌👌👌👌 1/2

Netherlands - Diary Of A Young Girl 👌👌👌👌👌

New Zealand - Whale Rider 👌👌👌👌

Nicaragua - The Country Under My Skin 👌👌👌👌

Niger - Harmattan 👌👌👌

Nigeria - Half Of A Yellow Sun 👌👌👌👌 1/2

Norway - Out Stealing Horses  👌👌👌👌 1/2

Oman - Earth Weeps, Saturn Laughs 👌👌 1/2

Pakistan - Three Cups of Tea 👌👌👌👌👌

Palau - Vanished The Sixty Year Search 👌👌👌👌

Palestine - Mornings In Jenin 👌👌👌👌👌

Panama - The Path Between The Seas 👌👌👌👌

Papua New Guinea - Four Corners 👌👌👌

Paraguay - Ada's Violin 👌👌👌👌 1/2

Peru - The Last Days of the Incas 👌👌👌👌

Phillippines - The State Of War 👌👌👌

Poland -Flights 👌👌👌

Portugal - The Book Of Disquiet 👌👌👌👌

Puerto Rico - Stories From Puerto Rico 👌👌👌👌

Qatar - The Glass Palace 👌👌👌

Romania - The Land Of Green Plums 👌👌👌👌

Russian Federation - The Master And Margarita 👌👌👌👌

Rwanda - We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed 👌👌👌 1/2

Saint Kitts and Nevis - Only God Can Make A Tree 👌👌

Saint Lucia - Birthright 👌👌👌👌

Saint Vincent and Grenadines - Island Of Eden 👌👌👌👌

Samoa - Leaves Of The Banyan Tree 👌👌👌

Sao Tome and Principe - Equator 👌👌👌

Saudi Arabia - Daring To Drive 👌👌👌👌👌

Scotland - The Black House 👌👌👌

Senegal - So Long A Letter 👌👌👌👌 1/2

Serbia - The Last Window Giraffe 👌👌👌

Seychelles - Stranded In The Seychelles 👌👌👌👌

Sierra Leone - A Long Way Gone 👌👌👌 1/2

Singapore - Aunt Lee's Delights 👌👌

Slovakia - Maria Gulovich - OSS Heroine in WWII 👌👌👌

Slovenia - Veronkia Decides To Die 👌👌👌

Solomon Islands - Headhunting In The Solomon Islands 👌👌👌👌

Somalia - The World's Most Dangerous Place 👌👌👌 1/2

South Africa - The Elephant Whisperer 👌👌👌👌👌

Spain - The Shadow Of The Wind 👌👌👌👌👌

Sri Lanka - The Island of a Thousand Mirrors 👌👌👌👌 1/2

Sudan - What Is The What 👌👌👌👌👌

Suriname - The Cost Of Sugar 👌👌👌

Swaziland - The Kingdom of Roses and Thornes 👌👌

Sweden - A Man Called Ove 👌👌👌👌👌

Switzerland - Swiss Watching 👌👌👌👌 1/2

Syria - Damascus Nights 👌👌👌👌

Taiwan - The Astonishing Color of After 👌👌👌👌👌

Tajikistan - Beyond The Oxus 👌👌👌👌

Tanzania - The Snows of Kilimajaro 👌👌👌

Thailand - The Beach 👌👌👌

Togo - The Village Of Waiting 👌👌👌👌 1/2

Trinidad and Tobago - A House for Mr. Biswas 👌👌👌

Tunisia - Talismano 👌👌

Turkey - 10 Minutes and 30 seconds in This Strange World 👌👌👌 1/2

Turkmenistan - The Tale of Aypi 👌👌👌👌

Turks and Caicos Islands - Water and Light - A Diver's Journey 👌👌👌👌

Uganda - Kintu 👌👌👌👌

Ukraine - Like A River From Its Course 👌👌👌👌

United Arab Emirates - City of Gold 👌👌👌👌

United States - The Stand 👌👌👌👌👌

Uruguay - The Invisible Mountain 👌👌👌

Uzbekistan - A Carpet Ride in Khiva 👌👌👌👌 1/2

Vanuatu - Getting Stoned With Savages👌👌👌👌 1/2

Vatican City - The Fifth Gospel 👌👌👌👌

Venezuela - The Hacienda 👌👌👌

Vietnam - The Sorrow of War 👌👌👌👌

Yemen - I an Nujood: Age 10 and Divorced 👌👌👌👌

Zambia - Don't Let's Go To The Dogs Tonight 👌👌👌👌

Zimbabwe - We Need New Names 👌👌👌👌

WHEW!  What a list.  There are a few countries where I think I will replace the book - find something I like a little better for that "forever shelf".  Might take some time to search for books from these countries: Azebaijan, Central Africa Republic, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Czech Republic, Indonesia, Pakistan, Scotland, Singapore, Swaziland, Tanzania, Trinidad.  I wasn't realy satisfied with the books I read for these countries and feel that for most of them, I can find something better.

If you have evern done this challenge, please share a link so I can see what you read.  Happy Reading!