I barely squeezed in my last book of February on the last day of the month…ha, love it when that happens! There was a time that I thought I would only read one book for the whole month, with it being a short month and all, but alas, I got a couple more in there. Have you read any great books lately? I always love recommendations! Anyway, here is what I read in February…
The Hidden Letters of Velta B. by Gina Ochsner – Young Maris has been summoned to his mother’s bedside as she nears the end of her life; she feels she must tell him her version of their family history, the story of his early life, and the ways in which he changed the lives of others. Maris was born with what some might call a blessing and others might deem a curse: his very large, very special ears enable him to hear the secrets of the dead, as well as the memories that haunt his Latvian hometown. Nestled in the woodlands on the banks of the Aiviekste River, their town suffered the ravages of war, then the cold shock of independence. As a boy, Maris found himself heir to an odd assortment of hidden letters; a school project provided the chance to share them, forcing the town to hear the truth from the past and face what it meant for their future. With “luminous writing [and] affection for her characters” (New York Times), Gina Ochsner creates an intimate, hopeful portrait of a fascinating town in all its complications and charm. She shows us how, despite years of distrust, a community can come through love and loss to the joy of understanding — enabled by a great-grandmother’s legacy, a flood, and a boy with very special ears.
What I thought: This was an odd book for me to read. It took me a while to figure out the writing style and honestly, I kept imagining Maris as a girl name, lol. It was a slow read for me until I got into the writing style and then it was ok. I liked it ok, but it was just ok for me..
Crosstalk by Connie Willis – In the not-too-distant future, a simple outpatient procedure to increase empathy between romantic partners has become all the rage. And Briddey Flannigan is delighted when her boyfriend, Trent, suggests undergoing the operation prior to a marriage proposal – to enjoy better emotional connection and a perfect relationship with complete communication and understanding. But things don’t quite work out as planned, and Briddey finds herself connected to someone else entirely – in a way far beyond what she signed up for.
It is almost more than she can handle – especially when the stress of managing her all-too-eager-to-communicate-at-all-times family is already burdening her brain. But that’s only the beginning. As things go from bad to worse, she begins to see the dark side of too much information, and to realize that love – and communication – are far more complicated than she ever imagined.
What I thought: Ok, sure this is kind of cheesy, but I really enjoyed the way this book was written. I was finding myself not being able to put the book down just to see what happened next. I gave it an extra star just for that.. I read this book quickly just so my heart would slow down. lol
Change Places With Me by Lois Metzger – Rose has changed. She still lives in the same neighborhood and goes to the same high school with the same group of kids, but when she woke up today, something was a little different. Her clothes and hair don’t suit her anymore. The dogs who live upstairs are no longer a terror. She wants to throw a party—this from a girl who hardly ever spoke to her classmates before. There’s no more sadness in her life; she’s bursting with happiness.
But something still feels wrong to Rose. Because until very recently, she was an entirely different person—a person who’s still there inside her, just beneath the thinnest layer of skin.
What I thought: This book was really odd. I enjoyed the writing style.. The character was a little odd but she grows on you. I really don’t know what to say about this book but I liked it well enough.
Speaking American* by Josh Katz – Did you know that your answers to just a handful of questions can reveal where you grew up? In December 2013, Josh Katz released an interactive dialect quiz in the New York Times that became the most viewed page in the paper’s history. Now a graphics editor, Katz harnessed the overwhelming response to that quiz to create Speaking American, an extraordinary and beautiful tour through the American vernacular.
How do you pronounce “pecan”? What do you call a long sandwich with varieties of meats and cheeses? Do you cut the grass or mow the lawn?
The answers to these questions—and the distinctions they reveal about who says what and where they say it—are not just the ultimate in cocktail party fodder; they are also windows into the history of our nation, our regions, and our language. On page after page, readers will be fascinated and charmed by these stunning maps of how Americans speak as they gain new insights into our language and ourselves.
For fans of Eats, Shoots and Leaves and How the States Got Their Shapes, Speaking American is an irresistible feast of American regional speech.
What I thought: Ok, I loved this book, I found it fascinating! All the different ways that people pronounce words around the country. Some words I had to say over and over because I found myself saying them both ways, it was amusing. I definitely recommend this book if only to see where you fit in this crazy country. 😀
Mila 2.0 Redemption by Debra Driza – Mila has been running for her life for so long. But there might be nowhere left for her to go. Especially now that she’s an incredible danger to herself and anyone who dares get close to her.
That’s why Mila has gone into hiding with friend and tech expert Lucas. She can’t take the risk of hurting people worse than the way she hurt Hunter: the boy she’ll always love, the boy who might never forgive her for what she’s done.
But then Mila discovers that General Holland—her ultimate enemy—has plans that are an even bigger threat to humanity than she is. His quest to reclaim Mila is only part of a larger mysterious endgame that will put people’s lives at stake. Mila must make a choice: either push aside her fears and fight him with everything she’s got…or turn her back on the world forever.
What I thought: I read one or two of these books previously.. I don’t recall how many were in the series total. It seems like I may have missed one as she talks about a desert and I don’t remember that. This book was ok, a very fast read. It was easy enough to recall the main story once I started reading. You could probably read it on it’s own as it fills in the back story every now and again…
The Lost Girls by Heather Young – In the summer of 1935, six-year-old Emily Evans vanishes from her family’s vacation home on a remote Minnesota lake. Her disappearance destroys her mother, who spends the rest of her life at the lake house, hoping in vain that her favorite daughter will walk out of the woods. Emily’s two older sisters stay, too, each keeping her own private, decades-long vigil for the lost child.
Sixty years later Lucy, the quiet and watchful middle sister, lives in the lake house alone. Before she dies, she writes the story of that devastating summer in a notebook that she leaves, along with the house, to the only person to whom it might matter: her grandniece, Justine.
For Justine, the lake house offers a chance to escape her manipulative boyfriend and give her daughters the stable home she never had. But it’s not the sanctuary she hoped for. The long Minnesota winter has begun. The house is cold and dilapidated, the frozen lake is silent and forbidding, and her only neighbor is a strange old man who seems to know more than he’s telling about the summer of 1935.
Soon Justine’s troubled oldest daughter becomes obsessed with Emily’s disappearance, her mother arrives with designs on her inheritance, and the man she left behind launches a dangerous plan to get her back. In a house steeped in the sorrows of the women who came before her, Justine must overcome their tragic legacy if she hopes to save herself and her children.
What I thought: This book was told in alternating voices and that took me a while to get used to. I was intrigued how the story was intertwined in a way and there was a somewhat big reveal at the end. I liked this book but it wasn’t an absolute favorite..
The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak – Billy Marvin’s first love was a computer. Then he met Mary Zelinsky.
Do you remember your first love?
The Impossible Fortress begins with a magazine…The year is 1987 and Playboy has just published scandalous photographs of Vanna White, from the popular TV game show Wheel of Fortune. For three teenage boys—Billy, Alf, and Clark—who are desperately uneducated in the ways of women, the magazine is somewhat of a Holy Grail: priceless beyond measure and impossible to attain. So, they hatch a plan to steal it.
The heist will be fraught with peril: a locked building, intrepid police officers, rusty fire escapes, leaps across rooftops, electronic alarm systems, and a hyperactive Shih Tzu named Arnold Schwarzenegger. Failed attempt after failed attempt leads them to a genius master plan—they’ll swipe the security code to Zelinsky’s convenience store by seducing the owner’s daughter, Mary Zelinsky. It becomes Billy’s mission to befriend her and get the information by any means necessary. But Mary isn’t your average teenage girl. She’s a computer loving, expert coder, already strides ahead of Billy in ability, with a wry sense of humor and a hidden, big heart. But what starts as a game to win Mary’s affection leaves Billy with a gut-wrenching choice: deceive the girl who may well be his first love or break a promise to his best friends.
What I thought: I wanted to get this book because of the 80’s references…but it was written from a teen boys perspective and I found it weird for me, lol. Some of the things I knew were going to happen but it was still a decent book. I liked it ok…
So, I did end up reading more than one for the month! lol I started a new book today, not sure about it yet, we will see!
Please let me know any suggestions! 🙂