18 March 2019

Books - February 2019

I finished six books in February, but March has seriously gotten away from me in blogging and everything else.

See, March started on a Friday, and on March 3rd, before we even started on the first full week of March, my seven-year-old broke his leg while skiing. So things have been pretty sideways since then - I sit at home most days (luckily my long-term substitute lunch job ended) and wait for the call that now comes about half the time. My little guy toughs out half the day or so, but then he's ready to come home. Or he makes it all day, but the parking is SO bad at school that I have to go early to pick him up, since he can't 'run' out to the car.

Anyway, back to this post that I'm finally getting around to writing. Check out the six books I read in February, along with their official summary, and maybe a few words from me about it too. Enjoy!

Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah

Oh my, what a magical book! I have to say this is now probably on my short list of best books ever. I've already loaned it out, but it's one of only two books I received to review that I've asked to get back after sharing it. The characters are completely enchanting, and the story is one I never would have dreamed of. I loved it! Check out my full review at Books I Think You Should Read. I gave this one 4.5 out of 5 stars.

"After the loss of her mother and her own battle with breast cancer, Joanna Teale returns to her graduate research on nesting birds in rural Illinois, determined to prove that her recent hardships have not broken her. She throws herself into her work from dusk to dawn, until her solitary routine is disrupted by the appearance of a mysterious child who shows up at her cabin barefoot and covered in bruises.

The girl calls herself Ursa, and she claims to have been sent from the stars to witness five miracles. With concerns about the child’s home situation, Jo reluctantly agrees to let her stay—just until she learns more about Ursa’s past.

Jo enlists the help of her reclusive neighbor, Gabriel Nash, to solve the mystery of the charming child. But the more time they spend together, the more questions they have. How does a young girl not only read but understand Shakespeare? Why do good things keep happening in her presence? And why aren’t Jo and Gabe checking the missing children’s website anymore?

Though the three have formed an incredible bond, they know difficult choices must be made. As the summer nears an end and Ursa gets closer to her fifth miracle, her dangerous past closes in. When it finally catches up to them, all of their painful secrets will be forced into the open, and their fates will be left to the stars."

Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer

I first saw this book at Target, and knew I had to read it. I was able to borrow it from the local library on my Kindle after not too long of a wait. It was everything I expected - a quite amusing book. I would make a point to read any other books that come out since it is listed as 'Obama Biden Mysteries #1.' I'd give this one 4 out of 5 stars.

"Vice President Joe Biden is fresh out of the Obama White House and feeling adrift when his favorite railroad conductor dies in a suspicious accident, leaving behind an ailing wife and a trail of clues. To unravel the mystery, “Amtrak Joe” re-teams with the only man he’s ever fully trusted—the 44th president of the United States. Together they’ll plumb the darkest corners of Delaware, traveling from cheap motels to biker bars and beyond, as they uncover the sinister forces advancing America’s opioid epidemic.

Part noir thriller and part bromance novel, Hope Never Dies is essentially the first published work of Obama/Biden fanfiction—and a cathartic read for anyone distressed by the current state of affairs."

A Map of Days by Ransom Riggs

I'm a big fan of the Miss Peregrine's peculiar children books. I initially thought it was a trilogy, but this was the fourth book. I loved it just like the others I've read. I'd give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

"Having defeated the monstrous threat that nearly destroyed the peculiar world, Jacob Portman is back where his story began, in Florida. Except now Miss Peregrine, Emma, and their peculiar friends are with him, and doing their best to blend in. But carefree days of beach visits and normalling lessons are soon interrupted by a discovery—a subterranean bunker that belonged to Jacob’s grandfather, Abe.

Clues to Abe’s double-life as a peculiar operative start to emerge, secrets long hidden in plain sight. And Jacob begins to learn about the dangerous legacy he has inherited—truths that were part of him long before he walked into Miss Peregrine’s time loop.

Now, the stakes are higher than ever as Jacob and his friends are thrust into the untamed landscape of American peculiardom—a world with few ymbrynes, or rules—that none of them understand. New wonders, and dangers, await in this brilliant next chapter for Miss Peregrine’s peculiar children. Their story is again illustrated throughout by haunting vintage photographs, but with a striking addition for this all-new, multi-era American adventure—full color."

The Fever King by Victoria Lee

This was another book I received to review. I love dystopian fiction, and this one definitely fit the bill. This reminded me a lot of The Darkest Minds - a book turned into a movie that my daughter asked me to watch with her a few weeks ago. People were afflicted with a virus which either killed them, or endowed them with special gifts. The lists all say it's 'Feverwake #1,' so apparently there are more to come in this new series. Check out my full review on Books I Think You Should Read and see why I gave it 4 out of 5 stars. 

"In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.

The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.

Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good."

Vox by Christina Dalcher

As I've said before, I enjoy many dystopian or speculative fiction books. While I frequently read more than one book at a time, I was careful to read this one after I'd completely finished the one before it - I didn't want to tangle all the future speculations in my mind. LOL In "Vox," women are only allowed 100 words per day. Without being able to to communicate with really anyone else completely, the main character feels more helpless and isolated than she could ever have imagined. And her feelings are even more magnified when she tries to think what her daughter's future holds. I'd give this one 3.5 out of 5 stars. 
"Set in an America where half the population has been silenced, VOX is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.

On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed to speak more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial—this can't happen here. Not in America. Not to her.

This is just the beginning.

Soon women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard.

But this is not the end.

For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice."

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Another favorite choice of books for me is book and movie tie-ins. I think a lot of people watched the Netflix exclusive "Bird Box" when it was released in November 2018. My husband and I were watching it too (although I don't like scary movies, so I watched a lot of it while peeking out from behind my hands!). When I found out it was based on a book by a local Michigan author, it went on my to-be-read list. I borrowed it for my Kindle ASAP. 

There were a lot of differences between the book and movie on this one. While the general premise about the monsters was the same, a lot of the different incidents varied. These differences didn't really make the book or movie any better than the other. I enjoyed the book and the movie. I'd give the book 4 out of 5 stars (I also love reading stuff that mentions places local to me!).  

"Something is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.

Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remains, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now that the boy and girl are four, it's time to go, but the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat—blindfolded—with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children's trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. Something is following them all the while, but is it man, animal, or monster?

Interweaving past and present, Bird Box is a snapshot of a world unraveled that will have you racing to the final page."


Liz Parker said...

Thanks for the guest posts and shoutout! I really enjoyed Bird Box as well. So cool that he's a local author, too.

Mom Among Chaos said...

I've been so bad about reading. I don't know why. I keep buying and don't finish them. I should go add the book you recommended at the top.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

These are books I haven't read and I appreciate your good reviews. It makes it easier to decide if it's a book I would enjoy. Always fun to learn about new authors too! Thanks!

siteseer said...

Loved Where the Forest Meets the Stars.