Breathe To Read

Breathe To Read

Monday, March 28, 2022

2022 Challenge: A Book With A Paladromic Title: Seveneves

 Book: Seveneves

Author: Neal Stephenson

Pages: 880

This is my 19th read for the year

This is the story of the end of the world.  The moon has exploded into several pieces and the scientist determine that in 2 years a great hard rain would end world.  The scientist use this time to get people into space in livable conditions to grow and evolve until the human races can return to Earth.  The dangers of space along with unexpected challenges leave very few people to carry on the future of humans.

5000 years pass, and it is time to return to earth.  The humans have become 3 billion strong against all odds.  They return to earth to discover that Earth wasn't the desolate planet that they thought it was.

This book was.......long.  I listened to it to help pass the time during yard work, and it was 27 hours of listening.   This book was a marathon, and a tedious one at that.  It started out strong - I was intrigued about how they were going to get humans off the planet - as much as possible - in a 2 year time frame to save the human race.  But Stephenson is like author Andy Weir but on speed.  It was much more textbook than novel, and if he would have left out the constant over explanation about everything space, this novel would have been a comfortable 350 pages.

I then was hoping once it jumped 5000 years into the future we would be entertained how that would look.  How humans - who spent 5000 years off earth evloved and changed.  What ACTUALLY happened was the author spent this section of the book talking about the Seven Eves (the 7 women who harrold the human race into the future) and how their "races" took on the characteristics of each of those women.  That would have been fine for a chapter.  But it was a constant thing, and the story went actually nowhere.

Disappointing.  And I did finish it because.....honestly I have no idea.  But I do not recommend this one

Stars: 2

Monday, March 21, 2022

2022 Challenge: A Book Set In The 1980s: My Best Friend's Exorcism

 Book: My Best Friend's Exorcism

Author: Grady Hendrix

Pages: 336

This is my 18th read for the year

This is the story of Abby and Gretchen.  Best friends sice the 4th grade, they - along with two other friends Glee and Margaret- spend all of their time together.  All 4 of them excellent students with bright futures.  One night they decide to go skinny dipping and everything changes.  Gretchen starts to become unbearable.  Their friendship group falls apart.  Abby - the only one who can see that something isn't right with Gretchen, tries to help.  Abby starts to investigate and monitor her friends from afar even bringing in outside help to get to the bottom of what is happening to her best friend.  Soon Abby will find out if friendship is stronger than the devil.

This was an okay book.  A bit strange and the writing was just so so.  Entertaining enough - I was interested to see where it was going.  Ending was cliche and the story just was a bit choppy.  Characters were just alright - didn't really care about any of them.  

Stars- 3

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

2022 Challenge: A Book With a Reflective Image/Mirror on the Cover: A History Of Wild Places

 Book: A History of Wild Places

Author: Shea Ernshaw

Pages: 368

This is my 17th read for the year

Travis has been hired to find a missing author named Maggie.  His path leads him to a place called Pastoral - a secluded community that few know about.  Pastoral has left the world behind.  The people do not venture beyond its borders - knowing that there is a chance that they could get sick if they do.  The people who have been born and raised in Pastoral no nothing of the outside world.  Travis stumbles upon it one day and disappears.

Years later - Theo, a member of Pastoral- comes across Travis' truck and a blurry photo of a woman, and starts asking questions. The truck is beyond the border - past where the members of Pastoral are permitted to visit.  Theo's wife Calla, and her sister Bea start to unravel mysteries and discover where they live might not be the paradise they once believed.  When the truth is finally revealed, everything they thought they knew is lost.

This was a fair book.  You can figure a few things out pretty early in the book, but a few secrets that don't come until the end were well placed.  You don't feel the author is keeping the reader in the dark just for the sake of it.  The mystery uravels at a good pace, and while the ending isn't shocking, you never feel like the characters could have gotten there sooner with the information they had.  I would say the downside of this one might be the believability of how the people of Pastoral got to be the way they were.  I don't want to give anything away, but what I felt was lacking was more of the HOW this was accomplished.  It was hard to fathom.

If you have seen "The Village" by M. Knight you will think you are in almost a paraellel of that story for a little bit.  Secluded community that has forgotten all about the outside world.  

It is an interesting science fiction/magical realism type book, so if this is your thing, check this one out.

Stars:  3 1/2

Saturday, March 5, 2022

2022 Challenge: A Book About A Found Family: Under The Whispering Door

 Book: Under The Whispering Door

Author: TJ Klune

Pages: 384

This is my 16th read for the year

This is the story of Wallace.  Wallace -a man who lacked kindness and empathy in life dies of a heart attack.  A reaper finds him at his own fundral but Wallace refuses to believe he is dead. It isn't until he meets Hugo - a ferryman - that is realizes it is really true.  Hugo promises Wallace that he will help him to cross into the afterlife when Wallace is ready.  All Wallace has to do is say the word and walk through the door.  But Wallace doesn't know if or when he will ever be ready.  So instead,he stays at the Tea shop with Hugo, his reaper, May, and Hugo's grandfather Nelson.   While in the tea shop, Wallace becomes a different person.  He becomes the person he wishes he had been in life.  When he is given one week before he is forced to cross by The Manager, Wallace does everything he can so that Hugo, May and Nelson always remember him.

This was a pretty good book.  I really enjoyed Klune's first book-The House On The Cerulean Sea - and liked that one a bit more.  I loved so many things about Under the Whispering Door, though.  Most of all - their thoughts about what happens when you die.  How each person gets assigned a reaper and a ferryman, and isn't forced to go until their are ready. No living person knows what is beyond the door-it is different for everyone.  The characters were all likeable-especially May the reaper and Nelson the grandpa. IT is well written like his other book.  The downside is really that it is overly sweet.  The sweetness is something I enjoyed about Cerulean Sea, but this was just a bit too far.  It started to lose meaning because it was a bit over the top.

Otherwise - if you liked Cerulean, you will like this one.  The story itself is a good one.

Stars: 4

Friday, March 4, 2022

2022 Challenge: A Booktok Recommendation: Circe

 Book: Circe

Author: Madeline Miller

Pages: 416

This is my 14th read for the year

This is the story of the goddess Circe, the eldest daughter of Helios and Perse.  Circe's parents quickly discover that she isn't what they had hoped for.  As she grows, her brothers and sister are all given powerful stations in life, but Circe is passed by.  Soon it is discovered that she is a powerful witch when she turns a rival into a monster, and Zeus banishes her to a desert island.

There, Circe's powers grow.  She makes a life for herself, and tends to sailors who happen across her island.  She fears the untrustworthy men who come to her shores until one day Odysseus and his crew appear.  She soon falls for him, and when he leaves her shores, he leaves a piece of him behind.

Now Circe will have to conjure all of her powers to protect what means the most to her.  She is torn between the world of the gods and the world of the mortals and now she must chose where her loyalties lie.

This was a great book.  It is beautifully written and I enjoyed the story from beginning to send.  I am a fan of mythology and was quickly drawn to the characters and their stories.  Circe is exiled for most of this book, but that did not slow the plot.  Telling a story from Helios' least wanted daughter gives you a different view into the world of the gods. It is a fresh perspective that did not disappoint.

Glad I findally read this one.  Miller is a talented writer that shouldn't be missed.

Stars: 4 1/2