Breathe To Read

Breathe To Read

Friday, May 27, 2022

2022 Challenge: A Book With A Music or Art Theme: Every Note Played

 Book: Every Note Played

Author: Lisa Genova

Pages: 336

This is my 42nd read for the year

This is the story of Richard and Karina.  Estranged and divorced, they are forced to work together when Richard is diagnosed with ALS.  Karina finds out from friends at a party that her ex-husband has canceled all of his piano concerts because he can no longer play.  When she visits him, she finds out that he is declining quickly and needs more help that he can afford.  At first she is reluctant.  But then she agrees to help him, and eventually moves him into her home so that she can care for him full time.  Richard knows he needs to make ammends with Karina and their daughter Grace, and time is running out.  He has much to apologize for but Karina feels she does as well.  Hopefully they will get the chance before Richard loses his ability to communicate everything he needs to say.

This was a pretty good book.  It is a quick read, and pretty well written.  I wasn't a big fan of either of the main characters - both selfish characters who couldn't see beyond the end of their nose that each had a play in the end of their marriage.  But the story in general was a good one.  Predictable, yes, but a good read none the less. The writer is gifted - and has a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Harvard.  She was the author of Still Alice.  So her books are always worth a read.  Glad a friend recommended this one.

Stars: 4

Thursday, May 26, 2022

2022 Challenge: A Book With A Color in the Title: The Green Mile

 Book: The Green Mile

Author: Stephen King

Pages: 400

This is my 41st read for the year

Paul Edgecombe is a guard on E Block - otherwise known as The Green Mile.  This is the last stop for the worst prisoners before they are sentenced to death by electric chair for their crimes.  After years on the mile, the biggest prisoner they have ever seen - John Coffey arrives on the mile.  Convicted of killing two little girls, the guards are not sure what to make of this man.  He cries constantly, he is afraid of the dark, and seems like the most mild mannered person they have ever met.  As the weeks pass, the truth about who Coffey really is comes to light as his interactions with the other prisoners and guards comes to light.  

This was a great book.  I have seen the movie a few times and it is one of my favorites.  The book is well written, and flows well from past to future as Paul recounts his time in the 1930s as a guard at this prison and what it was like to work with the worst criminals.  The author does a good job keeping the story moving - leaving just enough wonder about the smallest details while revealing the truth about Coffey right from the beginning.  The reader isn't kept in the dark unnecessarily.

It is a good one.  It is a horror novel, of course, so keep that in mind if you decide to read it.  But a well written novel like this is worth a look.

Stars:  5

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

2022 Challenge: A Book You Know Nothing About: The Small Scale Poultry Flock

 Book: The Small Scale Poultry Flock

Author: Harvey Ussery

Pages: 416

This is my 40th read for the year

This book is a comprehensive look at having a small flock of chickens at your home. Harvey has a large flock, but does talk about what you need to get started from the brooder to moving them outside.  He covers birds that you keep as a source of food (both egg and meat) as well as incorporating a few other farm animals.  His indepth coverage talks about ways to incorporate a flock into all of your backyard activities - including gardening and composting. 

This was a great book.  I have read another chicken book since getting our 6 chicks, but this one was the one I started with when we went on this adventure.  It just took me longer to finish.  Harvey is a master in this area, and I learned quite a bit from his book.  There are a lot of sections of this book that will never apply to me (he lives on a large farm and we plan on having a few chicks enclosed at all times due to predators), but I learned so much.  I am impressed with how much he does to feed his chick naturally and how he makes them work in all aspects of his farm.

This is a great one.  If you have a flock or are thinking of getting some chicks, have this book on your self for reference.

Stars: 4.5

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

2022 Challenge: A Book Set On A Holiday: A Boy Called Christmas

 Book: A Boy Called Christmas

Author: Matt Haig


This is my 39th read for the year

This is the story of Nikolas.  He lives with his father in the woods with very little to eat or play with, but he is happy.  His father tells him one day that he and a group of men are going to the North Pole to find a place called Elfhelm to prove to the king that Elves exist.  While he is gone, Nikolas' aunt is put in charge of him.  A hateful woman, she makes Nikolas sleep outside and cook and clean for her.  After a few months when his father doesn't return, Nikolas decides he needs to go and find him.  Thus starts his adventure to find his father, and the elves, and find who he was meant to be.

This is a very cute middle grade book.  I saw the movie at Christmas time and thought it would be fun to read the book.  The show followed the book nicely.  It is a well written book and a fun read for anyone in that 8-12 age range or older.  Glad I picked this one up.

Stars: 4

Friday, May 20, 2022

2022 Challenge: A Book That Is At Least 20 Years Old: Books of Blood

 Book: Books Of Blood (books 1-3)

Author: Clive Barker

Pages: 507

This is my 38th read for the year

This is a book of short horror stories.  Combined together are the first 3 volumes in a 6 volume series.  Since these are short stories and not easy to give a summary, I won't.  I will just say that I really enjoyed this book.  These are "put the book in the freezer" level of horror stories, which was just what I was looking for.  I am a big Stephen King and Joe Hill fan, but Clive Barker is on a whole other lever when it comes to horror.  These stories will keep you up at night, but are extemely well written.  There is no doubt that Barker is a talented writer.

If you are looking for blood curdling stories - these are for you.  I am going to get the next set of stories to keep this going.  I have watched the show on Hulu as well.

Stars: 4

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

2022 Challenge: A Book Published in 2022: The Diamond Eye

 Book: The Diamond Eye

Author: Kate Quinn

Pages: 448

This is my 37th read for the year

This is the story of Mila Pavlichenko, a sniper from World War II.  Once the war is over, Mila has over 300 kills under her belt for the Russian Army, and is on a good will tour in the United States.  Before thewar, Mila was a history student who had a young son and was getting divorce.  She turned wanting to learn how to shoot so she could teach her son into a career in the Russian Armed Forces.  Those years she fought did not come without heartbreak, loss, and a love that would change her life forever.  

This was a great book.  It is historical fiction but based on the real Mila Pavlichenko who did kill over 300 people during World War II. The author did research into this young woman that a lot of people don't know about and spun quite the story of her time before, during, and after the war.  The author's note at the end of the book reveals how much of this books was based on truth (quite a bit of it), and gave you even more insight into this incredible person.  It is a well written book, and I would say the only thing that made me a little crazy was the amount of times it was mentioned how many people she had killed.  More often than was necessary - to the point that you felt that the author was using this as main thing to be known about this woman, when she was clearly so much more.

Check this one out.  I have read many of Kate Quinn's historical fiction books about the women during the war, and they have all be elightening.

Stars: 4.5

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

2022 Challenge: Book With A Female Protagonist: Fried Green Tomatoes

 Book: Fried Green Tomatoes

Author: Fannie Flagg

Pages: 416

This is my 36th read for the year

This is the story of Evelyn, Mrs. Threadgoode, Ruth, and Idgie.  Four Women spaning two timelines.  Evelyn meeting Mrs. Threadgoode in the 1980s when Mrs. Threadgoode is an old woman living in a nursing home.  Evelyn, a woman in her 40s, is feeling lost and alone, so Mrs. Threadgoode starts to weave the story of Ruth and Idgie who were two friends in the early part of the century.  These woman ran the Whistle Stop Cafe in a small southern town of Whistle Stop.  Thier lives, and the lives they touched while they ran that cafe, and even before.  Idgie and Mrs. Threadgoode's spirit help Evelyn find the person inside herself that was missing.

This was a good book.  I have seen the movie many times-it is one of my favorites.  The book has quite a few more characters than the movie which is to be expected.  The timeline flows nicely for the most part back and forth between the 1980s and the early part of the century.  The author does a good job building Ruth and Idgie's story.  There were chapters where I felt that they weren't really contributing to the overall story line, but not enough of a bother to take away from the story as a whole.

This is a good one.  And if you haven't ever seen the movie, I encourage that one as well.

Stars: 4

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

2022 Challenge: A Book Released The Year I was Born: Salem's Lot

 Book: Salem's Lot

Author: Stephen King's

Pages: 464

This is my 35th read for the year

Ben Mears has returned to Jerusalem's Lot to write a novel.  A place he spent only a few years living when he was small, he decides to return when he wants to write a book around the history of the Marsten House.  He had planned to rent the house to get inspired, but when he arrives in town, he finds that the house has been sold to two men who hope to open a furniture store in town.

Once he settled into this small town, two young boys go missing in the words and only one returns alive.  Looking into what happens with the boy, Mears - and several other people in the town - realize something is amiss.  Soon, more people start to die mysterious deaths - far more than a small town is used to.  A group of people, including Mears, decide it is up to them to investigate what is going on, and to find out how these two men living in the Marsten House are probably to blame.

This was an excellent book.  It is no lie that I am a King fan - I have read most of his books.  I don't know how I missed this gem which came out in 1975.  It is well written, and the story holds your interest from beginning to end.  It has just enough horror and suspense to keep you on your toes and wanting to find out what the fate of this town is going to be.

Check this one out. 

Stars: 4.5

Friday, May 6, 2022

2022 Challenge: A Book That Is A Murder Mystery: In Cold Blood

 Book: In Cold Blood

Author: Truman Capote

Pages: 343

This is my 34th read for the year

This is the true story of the murder of the Clutter family in 1959.  In November of that year two men entered the home of the Clutter family and murdered the 4 members that lived there, leaving no clues for the police to figure out who committed this terrible crime.  It took an inmate coming forward to catch these killers and bring them to justice.  

This was an okay read.  My husband informed me that Capote was one of the first authors of true crime novels, and I commend him for that.  The crime in this book is horrific and when the criminals describe what happened, you will tense up and hope for another outcome.  However - getting to what happened and why took a really long time in this book.  I enjoy a good set up, but I think if they would have explained a bit more about the crime in the beginning and THEN went back and built the story of how the ciminals got there, it would have been a more enjoyable read for me.  Instead, you are left weeding through the backgrounds of too many characters until you get to the point of the book.  Again -this is just my opinion.  Written in a different order, I feel this book would have been a true hit for me.

If you want to read one of the first true crime novels every written to see where it all began, then I can suggest this one.  If you are looking purely for entertainment,maybe look elsewhere.

Stars:  3.5

Thursday, May 5, 2022

2022 Challenge: A Book With A Constellation On The Cover/In The Title: The Dog Stars

 Book: The Dog Stars

Author: Peter Heller

Pages: 336

This is my 33rd read for the year

A flu has wiped out most of humanity.  Hig now lives in an airplane hanger with his dog and a guy named Bangley.  Their whole being is staying alive and fending off people who wonder into their space with hopes of taking it.

Hig, who is a pilot, takes flights for supplies on a regular basis.  A few years into the "after" he hears a voice on his radio and is determined to get back there one day to meet who was on the other end.  When he takes the plunge to find others out there 9 years into the after, he discovers that there is still humane people around.  It resets him to the point that he feels that living is worth it even after everything he has lost.

This book was okay.  I do like a good end of the world story.  The problem here is it was a little dry.  It is the slowest burn and it really never reaches a real peak.  Small things happen here and there, but in the end, it is mostly just about getting by after almost everyone else is dead.  And while this probably is the reality of how it would be, it doesn't make for interesting reading.  I did enjoy large parts of it, but mostly, it was just fine.  And then it just......ended.  IT ended on a high note, but no fan fair or great last words.  Just the end.

Eh.  It was fine.  Entertaining enough.

Stars: 3

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

2022 Challenge: A Book That Starts With The Last Letter from You Last Book: The Beginniner's Guide to Raising Chickens

 Book: The Beginners Guide to Raising Chickens

Author: Anne Kuo

Pages: 192

This is my 32nd read for the year

A how to book for those who are raising their first flock of chickens.  It reviews everything from types of chickens to setting up a brooder and a coop, to helping when a chicken gets sick.  Has information on how to keep your coop and chickens happy and healthy along with tips and tricks for people who don't know anything about chickens.  

This is a great book.  We have just brought home our first 6 chicks and knew absolutely nothing about raising chickens.  We talked to everyone we know who has them, did a lot of internet research, but nothing helps like a how to guide that I can grab off my shelf as we go through the process.  I read this one over the course of two days and it is well written and easy to understand.  And it is highly entertaining.  The author is a backyard chicken-keeper, so if you want a small flock (and she means around 30 chickens or less) this is the book for you.

I learned a ton, and now I feel prepared to take care of our new chicks.  And I am grateful I have this to reference to when problems or questions arise.

Stars: 5

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

2022 Challenge: A Book Set In The 1800s: A Study In Scarlet

 Book: A Study In Scarlet

Author: Arther Conan Doyle

Pages: 100 pages

This is my 31st read for the year

This is the first Sherlock Holmes book.  Dr. Watson has just returned from war and is looking for a flat mate.  A friend introduces him to Sherlock Holmes and these two start what will be quite the adventure together.  They move into 221B Baker Street - the famous address and settle into getting to know each other.  The story is told from Watson's point of view and how he quickly becomes facinated with Holmes and what drives him.  Holmes is called to help investiage a murder, one that the members of Scotland Yard are finding it difficult to solve.  Watson gets a first hand account into how Holmes works backwards to solve a crime and how he is going to outwite the detectives.

This was a pretty good book.  Well written like I knew it would be.  A lot of people feel this is the weakest of Doyle's stories, but it is his first one.  I am glad I started at the beginning - never having read any Sherlock Holmes stories before (My husband is a huge fan on the other hand), and now I feel that continuing through his books is necessary.  Getting to know how Watson and Holmes came together was essential to understanding their relationship.

I recommend this one if you have not read any Holmes stories. 

Stars: 4.5