Breathe To Read

Breathe To Read

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Book: Firekeeper's Daughter

 Book: Firekeeper's Daugher

Author: Angeline Bouley

Pages: 496

This is my 75th read for the year

This book is about Daunis Fontaine.  She has just graduated from high school  - top of her class - but has chosen to go to a local state school to stay close to her family.  She meets Jamie - a newcomer in town, and quickly falls for him.  She feels he is hiding someting from her, though, and when she finds out what it is - she is sent on a path she never expected to be on.  The path is dangerous and ends in tragedy for one of her friends and her family.  It is a lot to carry for an 18 year old girl and in the end she gathers the strength she needs to make things right for her community.

This was a pretty good book.  I listened to it and it moved at a good pace.  It covers the growing problem of methamphetamine addiction and how it affects the Native American communities.  You learn a lot about customs of Native American tribes.  The downsides were - it was a bit long and you did figure out who the drug dealer for this community was pretty quickly.  There were a few surprises here and there, thought, which helped.  And I feel like I leanred a great deal, so I am glad I read this one.

Stars: 4

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Book: Malibu Rising

 Book: Malibu Rising

Author: Taylor Jenkins Ried

Pages: 384

This is my 74th read of the year

This is the story of 4 Riva children.  They are the children of the famous Mick Riva who grew up without him after he cheated multiple times on their mother and left them to find for themselves.  Nina - the eldest - is having her annual party in her mansion in Malibu but this year it is shortly after her husband left her for another woman.  Jay - the second eldest is a champion surfer, Hud - the half sibling brother who is a renowned photographer, and Kit the youngest is the adored baby sister.  The 4 of them raised by Nina after their mother dies, have long put their deadbeat famous father out of their mind and made their own lives.

The party -which Nina never wanted to have - is quickly spiraling out of control.  By the morning, the house has burned down and the siblings have faced all their demons.  Told in a timeline from when Mick met their mother to present day, we find out how the siblings ended up where they are.

So - I don't get the good reviews for this book.  And I was happy to see Amazon reviewers that agree with me.  This book was terrible.  I loved The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.  But this one was not good at all.  I found myself wanting to skip read over the bad writing and terrible characters.  I didn't like any of them except for maybe Nina.  The chapters with the party were so disjointed I couldn't follow the madness.  Characters were unbelievable.  Name dropping of fake celebrities was dumb.  

My vote is skip it.  

Stars: 2

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Book: Life's Too Short

 Book: Life's Too Short

Author: Abby Jimenez

Pages: 384

Thisis my 73rd read for the year

This is the story of Vanessa, a young woman who started a vlog when she discovered she might have the same disease that killed her mother, her sister, her grandmother and an Aunt - ALS.  She travels the world and her videos went viral.  She gives most of the money she makes to ALS research, and uses the rest to support her family.  

Vanessa's world is turned upside down when her young half sister leaves her newborn daughter on Vanessa's doorstep and says she cannot take care of her.  Her sister has struggled with drugs ever since their older sister died of ALS, so Vanessa stops her traveling and her vlog and tries to figure out what she is going to do with a newborn especially when her own life might be coming to an end.  Enter - the handsome next door neighbor, Adrian, who offers to help knowing very little about Vanessa and about her life expectancy.  Now Vanessa - who vowed to never fall in love, never get attached, is struggling with both.  She is now hoping for a future she may never see and for things she can possibly never have.

This book would be the perfect Hallmark Christmas movie.  Not only does it start out in December right before Christmas, it moves along as the best of those cheesy movies always do.  Everything falls into place and what to do you know.....the ending is perfect.  I rolled my eyes quite a few times during this book, BUT then I remembered that I do love those cheesy Hallmakr Christmas movies.  It is sweet and Adrian is of course perfect.  Vanessa a hero.  The baby - a charmer.  Everything unrealisticly resolved.  Everyone is rich.

This is the lightest of the lightest reads and honestly - I think that is why I stuck with it.  Sometimes you have to read cheesy, predictable books when you are in the middle of a pandemic.  I can recommend it for that.  If you want a silly, predictable, perfect ending read - this book is most definitely for you.  Great literature it is NOT.  But fun - yes.

Stars: 3

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Book: The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman

 Book: The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman

Author: Julietta Henderson

Pages: 370

This is my 72nd read for the year

This is the story of Norman.  A 12 year old boy who just lost his best friend, Jax.  The two had planned on becoming a comedy duo at the Edinburg Fringe when they are older.  When Jax dies, Norman decides he needs to do this festival himself as a tribute to his friend.  What he realizes as he starts his journey that Jax was the funny one of the group.

When Norman approaches his mom, Sadie, about his idea of doing the Edinburg Fringe, she wants to do what she can to help him.  Norman is lost without his best friend, so she tells Norman that she will help him.  Norman has another request - he wants to find his father.  Sadie enlist the help of her friend and co-worker - an 80+ year old man named Leonard - to help them.  The three set off on a wild adventure to meet the men that could possibly be Norman's father and help him fulfill his dream of stand up comedy.  

This book is so sweet and heartwarming, you will want to read it all at once.  Sweet Norman, who just lost his best friend, pulls at your heartstrings as you easily imagine what it would be like for one of your own children.  Sadie - a mom who loves Norman more than anything else in the world, but who cannot fathom how she is going to pull this off without watching Norman get his heart broken.  And Leonard - a sweet old man who is savvy with the internet drives them wherever they want to go and is Norman's biggest cheerleader.  The story has one great turn after another where you are rooting for Norman to be successful in his quest and regain some happiness after his tragic loss.

Definitely read this one.  You won't be disappointed.  

Stars: 4 1/2

Friday, August 6, 2021

Book: The Rose Code

 Book: The Rose Code

Author: Kate Quinn

Pages: 656

This is my 71st read of the year

This is a story of three women who answered the call during WWII to break German Codes.  In 1940 The three British women arrive at Bletchley Park among with other great minds from all over the country, and set out to find out what the Germans are planning before it happens.  Oslo who is beautiful and wealthy, and currently seening Prince Phillip of Greece (before he became THEE prince Phillip), Mab - who grew up poor and wants to find a husband, and Beth - a meak girl who needs to get away from her mother who thinks all Beth is good for is taking care of her.  Oslo and Mab take Beth under their wing and soon discover that Beth has a brillian mind for puzzles.  But soon, a terrible tragedy tears the women apart.

The story jumps to 1947, days before Prince Phillip is to marry Princess Elizabeth.  Beth has called Oslo and Mab to help her with one last encrypted letter that she believes is the key to what broke their friendship apart and also got Beth sent to an asylum.  Oslo and Mab reluctantly agree to unbury the past and help Beth with this one last task.  It is dangerous, but Beth knows it has to be done.

This was a good book.  It is LONG.  I listened to it, and it kept me entertained.  The story flows nicely, and you get invested in the lives of these three women and the tragedy that pushed them apart.  IT jumps back and forth from 1940 to 1947, spending most of the time in 1940 while the women work together to break codes.  We get a look into what it was like to be on a code breaking team and how hard it is to keep secret that this is what you did during the war - even after it is long over.  The women who were code breakers were some of the most brillian minds of the times, and not something I was familiar with going into this story.  While this is a historical fiction book, you still learn a lot about what the process was like, which I always enjoy.

This was a good one.  I highly recommend.

Stars: 4

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Book: The Partials

 Book: The Partials

Author: Dan Wells

Pages: 528

This is my 70th read for the year

This is the story of Kira in a world that has very little people left due to a virus and a vicious group of synthetic humans called The Partials.  The only remaining survivors in North America are now all together on Long Island.  For over a decade, every baby that has been born dies within days, so pretty soon, no humans will be left.

Kira, who is 16 years old, and training to be a medic is desperate to find a cure.  When one of her closest friends gets pregnant, she knows that she must do anything she can to save that baby.  She sets out to find a Partial that she can study because she is sure they are the key to humanity's survival.  What she discovers along the way will change her path completely.

As most people know, I am a pretty big fan of dystopian novels.  When I can get my hands on one, I give it a try.  I got this book in a haul from a friend, and was surprised to see the limited reviews for it on Amazon.  (it is an older book).  It was a pretty good story.  It is lengthy, but it held my attention through the whole book.  It is a fresh take which I always appreciate.  The plot flows along nicely, and there are some twists you don't see coming.  For a YA novel, it has pretty good world building. It keeps pace, and the ending left you wanting more AND was wrapped up nicely in case you don't wish to read the other novels in the series.

I have heard that the next two are dreadful, so I might stop here with this one.  It left me satisfied enough that I don't need more if I am not going to get a good story.

Stars: 4