Monthly Archives: May 2021

Awaken by Maggie Sunseri

Awaken by Maggie Sunseri

I love how this book is written alternating the main character’s returning memories and what is happening a year later in the present. It makes it really hard to put down, though! In fact, after a certain point I couldn’t put it down and kept right on reading until the end. Right from the start I was super curious about where the story would go. It follows the typical pattern of “escape” dystopian novels. There isn’t a whole lot of time spent on worldbuilding, instead allowing the reader to learn about what it’s like inside Oportet, where the main character lives, little by little. I recommend Awaken to anyone who enjoys young adult dystopian.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 40
Pages Read in 2021: 11,607

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Filed under Dystopian, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Young Adult

Whisper My Secret by JB Rowley

Whisper My Secret by JB Rowley

Whisper My Secret is a memoir based on a few years in the life of the author’s mother. It reads like a novel and covers when her mother got pregnant as a teenager, married, had three kids, and lost them after being deemed “unfit.” It’s really well written and every time I sat down to read I looked forward to finding out what happened next. The author indicates at the end that there’s a fair bit of imagination added since her mother always kept that part of her life a secret and the whole thing started because the author wanted to find out about those three half-siblings she never knew about. The majority is based on records and people’s memories of how things happened. It really shows what a vindictive and controlling mother-in-law can do to someone. I recommend it to all adults.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 39
Pages Read in 2021: 11,332

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Filed under Memoir, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

The final installment of the Hunger Games trilogy, Mockingjay picks up not long after some of the tributes are rescued from the Quarter Quell arena. It’s really hard to put the book down. Reading it to my 12 and 14 year old sons as a bedtime story, they’d often beg for another chapter. The ending is very satisfying and ties everything up nicely. It’s an excellent end to an excellent series. I highly recommend the whole series to anyone who enjoys young adult dystopian.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 38
Pages Read in 2021: 11,037

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Filed under Dystopian, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys, Young Adult

Coma by Robin Cook

Coma by Robin Cook

This book starts out slow, but ramps up to full of action before too long. About two-thirds of the way through I started wondering about one character. About a chapter before all was revealed, I was sure that character was the bad guy. I found the main character to be pretty annoying. I just didn’t care for or about her about half the time. It’s quite interesting, though, that Coma was published before I was born and yet the story still stands as something that could happen or be happening. The only dated part is the extreme attitudes toward female medical students and doctors. And, of course, the lack of cell phones. Otherwise, it’s easy to forget the book was written almost 45 years ago. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys medical thrillers.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 37
Pages Read in 2021: 10,748

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Filed under Reason: LitHub Bingo, Thriller

Courage to Soar by Simone Biles

Courage to Soar by Simone Biles

Simone Biles is amazing. Her gymnastics experience has been nothing short of incredible. She was born with a large amount of talent and, starting at age 6, was able to hone that talent leading to multiple national and world championship titles and four golds and a bronze at the 2016 Olympics. Written shortly after her impressive performance in Rio, Courage to Soar is Simone’s story, or at least her first two decades. She’s honest about her “bratty period” and times she didn’t want to work so hard and times she was a little afraid of her own success. Her faith and her bubbly personality are apparent on every page. I highly recommend it to anyone who has been impressed watching Simone Biles perform.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 36
Pages Read in 2021: 10,376

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Filed under Memoir, Reason: LitHub Bingo

The School I Deserve by Jo Napolitano

The School I Deserve by Jo Napolitano

The School I Deserve chronicles the 2016 court battle against the Lancaster school system that won older (17+) refugees the right to go to the regular high school rather than be shunted to the last chance school for at risk youth. The writing is excellent and really guides you through the case day by day. Interspersed throughout is background on some of the refugees named in the case, as well as what was going on in the country, at the rise of Trump, related to refugees and their education (as well as increasing anti-refugee sentiment). I found it to be quite fascinating. I recommend it to anyone interested in refugee rights or curious about how life goes for refugees once they have been resettled in America.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 35
Pages Read in 2021: 10,135

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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: Vine Review

The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport

The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport

The Romanov Sisters is a rehashing of other books on the topic of the Romanov family, just specifically focused on the four girls. It drags quite often and is very wordy. There is really nothing new in this book that you won’t find elsewhere. Pretty much all the people the girls associated with are mentioned, some only one time. For those the girls wrote about in their diaries, sometimes the author used the person’s real name and sometimes the code name used. This was often confusing. I found the book to be mediocre.

3 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 34
Pages Read in 2021: 9929

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Filed under Biography, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay

Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay

Mostly written as a series of letters to an unknown benefactor, Dear Mr. Knightley follows an orphan who grew up in foster care, now in her mid-twenties, as she attends graduate school to become a journalist. There were some things said about the foster side of things that are not quite accurate, but I wouldn’t know that if I hadn’t been a foster parent. I guessed who the benefactor was about 3/4 of the way through it mainly because it was who I wanted it to be and there is some foreshadowing that hints at the identity. The ending is just perfect and exactly how I wanted it to wrap up, though I didn’t want it to end quite as soon as it did. I recommend it to people who like clean, mild romance and are in need of a little mind vacation.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 33
Pages Read in 2021: 9400

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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo