Look here! Keeping up from the start! January was pretty productive I’d say.
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. I picked this one up over the holidays as a Kindle Daily Deal for $2.99 maybe. WORTH IT. I would pay full price for this one. Set in both WWI and post WWII, this is the story of Eve, a WWI spy in the infamous Alice Network, and Charlie, a young woman looking for her lost cousin, and how their lives intersect through some bizarre circumstances and one very evil man.
First off, I have so much to learn about history. This is stuff they leave out in high school and college. I didn’t even know The Alice Network was a thing. Now, I’m so intrigued by these strong, brave women and men and all they did toward ending the war. Fascinating. The post war story line is not nearly as interesting as Eve’s story, but I thought they went together just fine. It had a bit more sex in it than I expected, but not graphic enough to make me stop reading it. Trigger warning on a torture scene. Very well done on the author’s part. I felt like I was going through it myself. (That’s my last trigger warning ever. I hate the word and I hate that people ever go through something that would keep them from enjoying a well written book, but I’ve quit books midway before over one event, so I get it.) Now I’m off to read every book Kate Quinn has ever written. (5 stars)
This one counts as my “book with more than 500 pages” for the MMD challenge. I didn’t realize it was that long reading it on kindle, but I read this thing in three days. Don’t let the size intimidate you. It’s so fast paced that you’ll blow through it and not even care. Promise.
I abandoned The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy. I checked this one out from my local library, and as you can see, she’s been around awhile. I love it! This book holds some history (and a 2017 bookmark).
This is my “book published in the year you were born” for A Literary Feast’s challenge. This is a monthly challenge, but I may still come back to this category later in the year.
People I Want to Punch in the Throat by Jen Mann. There is a whole series of these books, but I believe this is the first. This one was literally laugh-out-loud funny. I had no idea this woman existed, but now I follow her hilarious blog. This book has been sitting on my kindle for actual ages, and I read it as part of my attempt to read my shelves. (That’s two down if you’re counting this year.) This counts as “a book of essays” over on the MMD book challenge. (4 stars)
The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion by Elle Luna. This was apparently a blog post that went viral and was turned into a short book. I picked it up a really long time ago as a kindle daily deal for cheap not knowing a thing about it. I really should start reading summaries of books! Anyway, this was a somewhat interesting look at your Should (things required of you, like work) and Must (basically, your calling) and how there’s a push and pull between the two. The author tells you how to look for your Must and a little on how to follow it. This book counted as “a book you can finish in a day” since it was super short and a lot of the pages were filled with artsy quotes and drawings. While I didn’t love it, it would maybe be good for a high school senior or a college student? (3 stars)
The Promise of a Pencil by Adam Braun. This was probably one of the very first books I bought on kindle back when I first got it about a year and a half ago. I can’t remember why I bought this except maybe it was cheap and listed next to books like Kisses from Katie? Anyway, again, I had no idea what I was about to read.
This is the story of how a very young guy founded a hugely successful nonprofit (for-purpose) organization. He started with $25 and a dream and now has built hundreds of schools all over the world. He still may not be thirty. It really is a fascinating story and definitely worth the read for anyone who has a dream in their heart but is struggling with how to start the chase. Head over to to check out their work. (4 stars)
This counts as “a memoir” on the MMD challenge. Looks like I may finish that one first.
Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane. I picked this one up in December as a KDD for cheap. I also saw that this was a Book of the Month pick at some point last year. This was my first Lehane who is more known for Shutter Island and a couple of others. I hear tell that this is his first book with a woman protagonist. I could tell.
I did not enjoy this book at all. It starts with Rachel looking for her father while holding on to a lot of resentment for her deceased mother and then takes a sharp turn when she goes to Haiti to work as a reporter after the earthquake and then again after a hurricane. She has a mental breakdown that leads to agoraphobia, but she gets married for a second time in there somewhere. That second husband turns out to be a total con man while she is a shut in. Suddenly, bam! She’s cured! She’s out driving a car, following her husband, firing weapons at people, and being a general badass with no morals, I guess?? Geez. It all somewhat comes together at the end, but after laughing out loud at some of the intense parts, I was already done. “Thriller” is not my normal genre, so that may be where I was lost, but I know there are better written ones out there. (2.5 stars)
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. I bought a pack of 10 books for $10 from scholastic through my kids’ school and this was included, but I think we may have more than one copy around here somewhere. Anyway, it was a cheapy. I’ve never been assigned to read this book, so I feel like my childhood was somewhat lacking. I don’t know. I’ve heard Sara McKenzie (over on the Read Aloud Revival) talking about this being a good one to read aloud to kids lately on her podcast and wanted to check it out before I just started in. She alluded to an uncomfortable storyline, and I can see how one would maybe want to leave out the cheater mom when reading it aloud to young children. It’s not even really that important to the over all story.
Brian is a 13 year old boy who survives a plane crash while headed to Northern Canada for the summer. The pilot dies suddenly and tragically, and Brian is left totally alone and to his own devices for survival. He is so impressive. He has some serious resourcefulness and perseverance. A great read for a boy, young or old. So glad I read it. Now I want to discuss it with my kids, so we will be picking it up soon!
Coming Clean by Kimberly Rae Miller. This one was free on Prime Reading, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that the audio was free with it, so I listened to a large portion while I did my ironing one day.
Kimberly was raised by hoarders. She didn’t have a name for their condition until later in life, but she was keenly aware that her life at home was very different from other kids. Hearing her describe her home life as “squalor” was heartbreaking. I found it interesting that her parents interacted very differently when they were away from home than when they were at home in their junk.