The Deep by Rivers Solomon

5 stars Fiction

It was cover love that brought me to this book.  After reading the synopsis, I knew that I had to read it.  I was amazed how short this book was, yet the story had everything that I was looking for.  Yetu needed to find her own life for the honor that was bestowed upon her was difficult.

She was the chosen one. Yetu was chosen to be the historian of her people. You would think, that being selected out of everyone else would be a blessing, yet to Yetu, this wasn’t.  To be elected as the historian, Yetu wore this title like a weight. It dragged her down, deeper than she could handle.

As the historian, Yetu collected all the memories of the Wajinru people.  Yetu’s job was to hold onto these memories so that they wouldn’t be forgotten throughout the years.  

As I read about this, I thought about letting go of my own memories.  Imagine, letting go of your memories, can you function?  I think my day would be carefree and cold as I feel that my memories play a huge role in who I am and how I function and react each day. I wonder who I would be without my memories.  

Now, think about Yetu.  She carries all the memories of her people.  The good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly.  What a gift and what a burden to know so much information.  Yetu knows that being a historian is too much for her but what can she do, she was chosen and she has all the memories? 

Yetu is late.  The time for the Remembrance has passed and the Wajinru people are restless.  Yetu must perform the Remembrance for them and give them the reassurance they need but more importantly, this event will give her some peace. I was hoping that Yetu would talk to the Wajinru and explain her situation, she was in a position of power, they would listen, wouldn’t they?

I really enjoyed this novel. I became a part of Yetu’s journey as she learns more about herself and the Wajinru. I enjoyed the flow of the book and the historical aspects used within it. I am hoping there will be more of this story.

I received an advanced copy of this book from Saga Press in exchange for an honest review.    

The Red Zone: An Earthquake Story by Silvia Vecchini

3 stars Children’s

This graphic novel addresses the issues an earthquake has on young children. Torn from their homes, these children have to deal with the issues of the unknown as their community tries to rebuild.

I liked how the novel immediately begins with some powerful action. Mother Nature begins unleashing her power upon the community, leaving its citizens left to fend for themselves. We follow Matteo, Giulia, and Federico as they learn to live with the aftermath of the destruction.

The devastation from the quake is massive. The citizens are warned not to enter the “Red Zone” but to some that zone is their life and contains everything they have. How can you tell someone to stay away from the only possessions they have?

A make-shift school is immediately constructed while the community tries to rebuild. Why is it taking so long to move forward? What are they supposed to do in the meantime? Each family tries to rebuild their lives and get some structure into their lives, to the best of their ability, but it’s hard when all your possessions are in the “Red Zone.”

I really liked the idea of this graphic novel and I thought, the illustrations were fantastic. We are experiencing more weather-related catastrophes lately and having children understand them is important. The illustrations were bright, colorful and had a great flow. I liked everything about this novel but I thought it was missing a few things. I really had no connections to the characters as I had no background on them. I wished I had known something about them and/or their relationships with other individuals in the novel, so I knew exactly the emotional toll this disaster played on their lives. I know that any tragedy is hard but I felt that my character and emotional connection was not fully engaged while reading this novel. I think this is a good novel to share with children, it’s a good starting point.

Snack Attack! by Terry Border

4 stars Children’s

I liked it but it didn’t wow me, like I thought and hoped it would. I liked how the three snacks played together but wasn’t it smart Cookie who found the note? I thought it was interesting how Cheese Doodle came up with the interesting ideas and Pretzel was the scared one. Cookie was still the smart one who kept telling Cheese Doodle how his ideas wouldn’t work and then, what happens at the end? Oh, Smart Cookie….I’m sorry

I thought it was a cute story but maybe I’m reading more into the story than I need to be. The pictures were fun and I do hope there is another book that follows this one, as I need to know what happens next.

Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner

3.5 stars Fiction

There were times that I found myself absorbed into the lives of these two sisters, that I took a break from my own life, sat down and became a part of theirs.  This book covered a lot time and the issues were staggering.  They led an exciting and eventful trail as they made their way through life.

I listened to this book on audio and as I tried to go about my day, I found myself stopping to listen to it.  It was no longer, just something to listen to, but something I had to hear. 

The novel began when these sisters were young, their future had endless possibilities.  Unfortunately, their mother thought differently, and boy, did she irritate me.  Each sister tells us their story and about how each day brought new challenges and adventures into their lives. 

I liked how each sister’s life was different.  Between the two of them, they addressed almost every important issue that women face. I thought that this made their lives interesting.  I enjoyed how the girls cared for one another even though they were so different from one another.  This book is rather long and I feel that it could’ve been shorter and still effectively deliver the same message. 3.5 stars

The Space Walk by Brian Biggs

3 stars Children’s

This book was different. I guess I expected more than what I got from this book.

I liked the color contrast between the inside of the spaceship and space. The inside of the spaceship is a light gray and space is bright and colorful. The idea behind the story is great. I liked the ideas of being out in space, the idea of aliens or unknown beings in space, making friends with other beings, and taking pictures in space.

I wasn’t a fan of the drawings of space nor of the colors of the planets. They looked too cartoonish or like bouncy balls. I thought the depth of the story could have been deeper, or the author could have elaborated on a few of the items that he touched on. I also wasn’t a fan of all the wordless pages in the middle, as I thought there were a lot of them.

This was a children’s book about Randolph taking a spacewalk. Clearing the walk with Ground Control, Randolph must do a few things before taking his walk out in space. When Randolph finally makes his way outside the spaceship, what does he see? This spacewalk is one that Randolph will remember. When he makes his way back into the spaceship, Randolph asks Ground Control if he can take another walk tomorrow.

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

3.5 stars Fiction

I listened to this book and what surprised me the most was that I didn’t think this book was a creepy or mysterious as I thought it would be. I was hoping for a good suspenseful story to listen to but I didn’t find that. I really enjoyed the story but I didn’t find it suspenseful, it was more action-packed with a few moments of mystery thrown in.

I thought that there were some really weird things about the house and the family to start with. We didn’t even need to add Rowan to the mix. What’s up with all those cameras and the audio in all those rooms? Can you not have any privacy? What are they afraid of? Then, the technology that supposed to make living in the house easier but seems like it’s overkill. I thought the family seemed a bit off. Did anyone find it strange that the parents left the kids, with their new nanny, on an extended amount of time, immediately after they hired her?

I liked the character of Rowan as I thought her true personality came through when she needed it. I liked her determination yet she also had moments of uncertainty. I loved how the author wrote this novel. Important, unknown pieces of the story are fed to us readers throughout the novel as we follow Rowan along in her new nanny position.

I wanted more thrills and chills but in-all, it was a good read. I thought the last half of the book was really good. I’ll be looking out for Ruth’s book. 3.5 stars

Believe Like a Child by Paige Dearth

5 stars Fiction

I’m been wanting to read this book ever since I saw its cover many years ago and then, when I won a copy of it from a Goodreads Giveaway, I was excited. The book moved quickly yet it didn’t leave anything out. I hadn’t expected the hurricane of events that swept through the pages but it was the eye of the storm that walked into her life that scared me the most. That eye that looked so calm and who she thought was her answer. Her answer was actually another devil in disguise.

I knew this book would be difficult one to read based on the subject matter but there’s something about books like these that I enjoy. I feel it’s the energy these books deliver as the characters gain strength and control as the book progresses. It’s also their fight and spirit that they acquire along their journey. Alessa’s story, like our own, is unique.

As I met Alessa, my heart broke. She was still a child yet no one was looking out for her. She soon realized, she’d have to take care of herself and her own needs. This didn’t make her self-centered or hard, it made her resourceful. Not all of Alessa’s choices were great or “right” but they were what Alessa had at the time and what she knew.

I liked how the book told the story from different perspectives and how issues weren’t instantly solved. I wondered sometimes about Alessa’s choices but I’ve never walked in her shoes, so I couldn’t judge her actions. She did, what she did, so she see another day. The book moved quickly and I enjoyed that, we didn’t get blogged down in too much information about the events that were taking place. There were highs and lows throughout the book which keep the book moving along. I was not expecting that ending though. What was up with that?! As I started to read the ending, I had a feeling but I thought things would turn around but what the heck.

It’s a tough book to read but I’m so glad I got the opportunity to read it. Thank you to the author and to Goodreads for my copy of the book. This review is my opinion of the book.

Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta

2 stars Fiction

I don’t understand all the hype about this book. Eve reminded me of no one special, just a typical middle-aged woman who is coming to terms with her own life. Her son, Brendan is headed off to college where he feels life will be like those comedy videos he must have watched while a teen. In reality, they both get a reality adjustment, and come to terms with what they really want and need in life.

As I read this book, I really couldn’t understand why this book was getting all the excitement I have been hearing. Eve is going to be an empty-nester, a single mid 40’s, empty-nester which is going to be a major adjustment. Realizing that she’s going to need something to occupy her time, she signs up for a college course (great idea) but she also finds something else that starts to occupy her time. Online porn. Eve is embarrassed by her new online fascination but not embarrassed enough to quit.

Meanwhile, Brendan is getting settled into his college dorm and finding that partying all the time is taking a toll on his classes. Brendan doesn’t understand why others don’t want to “party” as they attend their lectures and study for their classes. This is not what Brendan had pictured when he imaged going to college, why is everyone so serious about these college classes?

I thought it was funny how both mother and son had similar yet different experiences. They each had something they needed to live through to gain them valuable insight.

I don’t think this book was a good fit for me but I read it for a book club read. It was an okay read.

All The Forgivenesses by Elizabeth Hardinger

5 stars Historical Fiction

I didn’t want this book to end because I had fallen hard for these characters.  Times were hard in the Appalachian Hills of Kentucky, at the turn of the century, but as I turned the pages of this book, I wanted/needed Bertie to get a break. 

Bertie and Timmy liked to play hide-and-go-seek together until the day, little Timmy wedged himself into a tight spot and couldn’t get out.  Every day, Bertie is haunted by that day when her brother Timmy died.  As if that wasn’t enough, her mother now has basically, given-up-on-life and her father is a drunk who comes and goes as he please.  Add to that, four siblings and you have a lot of responsibility and no adult in charge.

In walks, tired Bertie.  She’s 15 now, and if helping running the homestead wasn’t enough to tire her out, add a new neighbor to her busy life, who doesn’t know what Bertie is actually experiencing.  I wanted to give Bertie a break but the situations for Bertie were on a downward spiral. When would they stop?

When her older brothers start to come up with a plan, I started to have hope, I really did. Life is hard as the family moves about and tries to make the best of the situation.  The highs and the lows kept me going and I loved this family. Oh, Bertie!  You knew you had to be strong, you hid your feelings but I knew how you felt.  What a fantastic book! 

Theme Music by T. Marie Vandelly

4.5 stars Thriller

Creepy, weird, and the details……this book was right up my alley!  I’d read that this book shouldn’t be read in the dark but I’ve read that statement many other times for other books which I felt didn’t actually apply but this book, it’s twisted so dark would be perfect.  I can’t tell you how many times I chatted, shouted and questioned this book while reading it, I really needed to step away from this book but I just couldn’t.

So, what made this so grand? First, let me tell you that the story moves quickly, which I enjoyed.  The book starts off swiftly and it doesn’t let up until the very end.  As I was speeding along, flipping the pages, there were times that I was shaking my head, and yelling at the main character Dixie, as I couldn’t believe what she was doing, she had to be crazy! 

What happened? When Dixie was 18-months-old, her father killed their entire family and then, committed suicide.  Dixie lost her parents and her four siblings that day and was then, raised by her Aunt Celia who has never really told Dixie about that day.  Guess what?  Dixie is an adult now and her childhood home is for sale, so she visits it. 

Yeah, it should be okay, she was 18-months-old when her life was turned upside down inside that house, she was too little to remember. Except, Dixie doesn’t see the houses best features on her showing but something more personal and startling.  She still falls in love with the house and she buys it! Of course, she does! Talk about strange. The creepy doesn’t stop there though, as it’s Dixie’s LUCKY day and she’s blessed with the actual furniture that her parents kept in that house.  Her relatives are so thoughtful and saved it.  If you are thinking what I thought, you are correct, what is wrong with her? 

The fun or bizarre activity continued and I just couldn’t stop gripping the sides of this book. The book is very descriptive (which I loved) but it’s not done in a disgusting and/or exaggerated way.  I enjoyed the way the author kept the book moving forward, how there were reveals along the way so I could check things off that were going on inside my head as I tried to figure out exactly what was happening.  There were not a lot of characters in this book either.  I liked the author’s execution and her style and I will definitely be reading more of her work in the future. 

I liked the journey that I took while reading this book, it’s not always about if someone can solve the book early or not.  It’s about the journey.