Breathe To Read

Breathe To Read

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Book: Deamon Copperhead

Book: Deamon Copperhead

Author: Barbara Kingsolver

Pages: 560

This is my 63rd read for the year

This is the story of a boy named Damon.  Nicknamed Demon Copperhead as a boy for his red hair and a twist on Damon from his childhood classmates, he is a boy who was born to a teenage mother, a father that was already dead.  His mother and her choices will shape Demon's entire life.  He is tossed through the system until he finally locates a grandmother who gets him a permanent foster placement.  And even when that happens, Demon's luck finally runs out.  His struggles become so big for a teenage boy that he wonders how he will ever pull himself out.

This was a pretty good book.  I am a Kingsolver fan, and she is an excellent writer.  She develops the characters well and makes us want to reach through the book and grab ahold of them sometimes and shake them until they make better choices.  You can feel the deperation of the characters as she weaves the story from Demon as a small boy until he is a young adult.  

I struggled a bit with the hopelessness of this book, even though I know that was the point.  Just about every character in the book becomes addicted at some point, and I really didn't like the character Dorie, which is Demon's love interest through a large part of the book.  But Kingsolver's ability to tell a story - even one that you wish didn't need to be told about the rampant opioid problem this country has - kept this book at a higher star rating for me.  It is a spin on David Copperfield so you can spend sometimes doing character comparison as you read.



Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Book: Ledge

 Book: Ledge

Author: Stacey McEwan

Pages: 288

This is my 62nd read for the year

This is the story of Dawsyn.  She lives in a place called The Ledge - a place trapped by a chasm and steep mountain.  There is no escape and even if they could leave the mountain, the area is controlled by Glacians winged creatures who hunt humans for sacrifice.  Each year, the Glacians decend on The Ledge and chose humans to carry away.  Dawsyn has always been overlooked, but not this year.  Her luck has finally run out.

When she arrives at the Glacian hold, a half Glacian named Ryon offers to help her escape.  Something that is unheard of and humans never get far even if they try to run.  Dawsyn isn't sure he can trust him, but it might be her only option to get away alive.  Ryon has his own reasons for helping Dawsyn and decides if they can work together they might just be able to overtake the Glacians and save the people on The Ledge.

This was an okay book.  As I said in a recent review, I think I am beyond YA.  However - I do like a good fantasy/dystopian novel, so I keep getting suckered into trying them.  I like the premise of this book - a group of people that have been stranded and live in fear of a supernatural being, and a character - a woman - who can hold her own and doesn't need saving, but is actually quite capable of saving herself.  There is a good twist in the book that makes me want to see where the story goes in the second book.  The writing is fair, and of course there is the romance story that evolves that you knew would be there. 

This was a fine read.  It is a short book, so I will see where the author takes this story.

Stars: 3

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Book: Drowning: The Rescue of Flight 1421

 Book: Drowning: The Rescure of Flight1421

Author: TJ Newman

Pages: 304

This is my 61st read for the year

Six minutes after flight 1421 takes off, the pilots know they are in trouble.  Their only hope is to land in the Pacific Ocean and hope that some of the passengers survive.  After the plane lands there is a quick decision to try and get as many people off the plane as possible.  However, when an engine explodes, one passenger makes the quick decision that the plane needs to close the doors and trap several passengers inside in order to save their lives from the flames.  Thus begins the harrowing rescue of those passengers who are now 200 feet under the ocean surface quickly running out of oxygen.

This is a work of fiction (which could be a little confusing based on the title) and the second book of Newman's I have read.  I liked the first one (Falling) pretty well, and this was was equally as good.  I listened to it on a long car ride, and its suspense and pace kept me wide awake during my drive.  It is intense and nerve wracking.  My husband said "this is a beach read", but I do not agree.  It is not a relaxing story.  While the entire book takes place over just a short number of hours, they are quite intense that, if you are like me, will find youself holding your breath wondering how it was going to turn out.

A pretty good book - I recommend both of her novels.

Stars: 4

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Book: The Fourth Wing

 Book: The Fourth Wing

Author: Rebecca Yarros

Pages: 528

This is my 60th  read for the year

This story is about Violet Sorrengail.  She has spent most of her life training to be a Scribe.  Her mother, though, has other plans.  Her mother is a commanding general and everyone in their family is dragon riders, so Violet will be the same.  She is small and brittle compared to her brother and sister and feels like becoming a dragon rider will be certain death.  As she joins others who all have bene selected to be dragon riders, one by one, people are eliminated in challenges that you either pass or die trying.  And in the end, the students meet the dragons and the dragons pick their new riders.  

Meanwhile, the war outside their warded area grows more deadly.  As Violet and her crew in Fourth Wing practice what is called "War Games" to prepare them fro what is outside the kingdom's walls, they start to feel that the leadership is hiding a terrible secret.  Only time will tell who they are really fighting and why.  

Okay - let's start with the obvious here.  This is a YA book.  I am starting to think that I am growing too old to enjoy these books.  I do love a good fantasy/world building book, but this one was a bit too young for my taste.  So please keep that in mind as you read my review.  There are 44,000 reviews for this book on Amazon, so it is attracting someone.

The good in my opinion: I liked the idea of dragon riders.  Game of Thrones is my all time favorite fantasy book, so I love a good dragon story.  The relationship Violet develops with her dragon and the commentary they have is a highlight in the book.  I would have liked more.   There is a ton of action.  There is a lot going on in this world - and a lot of it ends in tragedy - had a real war element to that part of the story.  I liked Violet's moral compass and how smart she is.  She was set to be a Scribe which means she has a lot of knowledge to share with her dragon rider wing, and she is able to puzzle out what is truly going on in the kingdom,

The parts I didn't love:  This is a romance heavy book.  That is one genre I really dont read.  Rom Com/beach reads - all fine.  But this?  This was steamy.  And just too much, in my opinion.  The sex scenes are long and just too much.  And weirdly - heavy in the middle of the book.  Violet's love interest goes from enemy to friend to lover very very quickly.  I really needed to skim because it was just over the top.

Also - they make Violet almost too weak.  This book was touted as the next Hunger games, but she is no Katniss.  She is always getting injured and talks about how brittle she is, and everyone around her is sworn to protect her (especially her love interest).  I would say she is more like a character out of Twilight or Divergent instead of Hunger Games.  

Will I read the next one?  At first (well in the middle when it was getting a bit too Fifty Shades of Gray for a YA novel) I would have said no.  I almost put this aside, but I bought this book so I was determined to read it.  However the end?  I have to see now where it is going.  The last page of the book pushed me to want to at least try the next one and see if there is any improvement.  

If you are a firm YA reader, like a lot of steamy scenes, and characters that need saving, this book is for you.  If you are looking for Hunger Games, (or even Game of Thrones) you will not find it here.

Stars: 3

Friday, July 14, 2023

Book: Before The Coffee Gets Cold

 Book: Before The Coffee Gets Cold

Author: Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Pages: 293

This is my 59th read for the year

A small cafe in Tokyo has a magic power - it can send people back or forward in time.  But there are rules that need to be followed otherwise the person cannot return to their present life.  A cup of coffee is poured, and the person it told that they must finish drinking that coffee once they get to the past/future- before it gets cold.  They cannot move from their seat.  And they can go back into the past/future to any point they wish.  However - they cannot change the present by visiting the past/future.  However it can change how they live in the present themselves.

This was an okay book.  IT is VERY short, and really is a book of short stories.  I had a hard time staying engaged with this one - I ended up putting it down and starting another book  and then coming back to this one to finish it.  I don't know how I feel about this one.  I am glad I finished it, and the stories do come together, but I never felt truly engaged with it as a whole.

Stars: 3  

Friday, July 7, 2023

Book: The Mostly True Story of Tanner and Louise

 Book: The Mostly True Story of Tanner and Louise

Author: Collen Oakley

Pages: 352

This is my 58th book for the year

This is the story of Tanner and Louise (hence the title).  Tanner is a 21 year old girl who had it all - a scholarship to college to play soccer and a hope to someday go pro.  Until one fateful night when she went to a party with a friend and fell and injured her leg so badly she will never play soccer again.  Louise is an octogenarian who fell and broke her hip and now her children insist that she have a live in nanny to help care for her.  Louise just wants to be left alone, so when a broody, quiet Tanner is hired for the job - she feels like it might just work out.

The arrangement is working well - Tanner driving Louise to and from appointments and activities and then spending the rest of the time on her beloved video game - until Tanner starts to notice weird things around the house.  Locked doors and drawers, a locked shed, and finally a news broadcast where the person they are reporting bares a striking resemblance to a younger Louise.  One night - Louise appears in Tanner's room telling her to pack a bag and that they were leaving town.  This begins an adventure that neither of them expected to be one and one that reveals all the secrets Louise has never told anyone else - including her husband.

This was a great book.  While Tanner is infuriating and her brooding an attitude at the beginning of the book made me crazy, the overall story was wonderful.  As these two characters start an adventure together to get to someone from Louise's past, and the secrets that Louise has come to light, the story unfolds nicely and I was anxious to see where it went.  It was beautifully written, and has good humor, and life lessons, and found family elements that made it a treasured story.  Ending even had some surprises, even after Louise's secrets were reveals - things I didn't see coming.  

Highly recommend this one.

Stars: 4.5

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Book: Wolfsong

 Book: Wolfsong

Author:  TJ Klune

Pages: 528

This is my 57th read for the year

This is a story about Ox.  When Ox was a boy, his father walked out on his family - never to return.  He told Ox that he was different and told him that would follow him his whole life.  Ox always believed that until one day  - when Ox is a teenager - he meets a young boy named Joe.  Joe is immediately taken with Ox and brings him home to his family to meet.  This leads to Ox, and his mother, being taken in by this family and becoming part of it.  When Ox finds out what Joe and his family truly are, and the connection they have to each other and to him, he realizes he has found where he truly belongs.  When tragedy strikes them all, Joe and Ox have to make a choice that might drive their family apart forever.

This book was just okay.  Actually only half of it was okay, and the other half I struggled to finish.  This is an older book of TJ Klune (published in 2015).  I have loved his most recent books and thought I would like to read more of his older books.  But this one wasn't for me.  I liked the idea of found family in the book, but this book was overly flowery.  His writing tends to be, but this was over the top.  It was too juvenile, too much teen fantasy, and just a bit boring.  I should have quit reading it, but wanted to see how it ended.  Wasn't worth it.

Stars: 2