The Knife Of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness ( a re-read)

The Knife Of Never Letting Go, the Chaos Walking series, holds a special place in my heart.  Never have I raved so much about an author’s brilliant writing style since JK Rowling.  Ness makes the book literally come alive and the font very well may be a character in itself.    ~Sheila

My brief synopsis:  Protagonist Todd Hewitt, lives in a world where a virus has killed off all of the women and caused men’s thoughts to be heard out loud in a way that has become known as Noise.  Todd is the youngest of Prentisstown at almost 13 years of age.
When Todd takes a walk away from the town one day he discovers a void in the noise.  When he searches more closely he finds something that he never thought he would see again…

a girl.

Suddenly Todd’s world has changed in a blink of an eye.  How can he keep his thoughts quiet enough so no one knows of his discovery?  And why are the people who raised him – the only people he trusts suddenly sending him hurriedly on his way once they know of his discovery?  Todd’s world has just been upended.

I wish my writing could do this book justice.  There is so much rave-worthy content yet when I try to write it down… I feel a little…well, “duh.”  I read this book (originally read in 2011) and now again I read it with my friend Mena over a series of weeks where we would talk every Sunday on the phone and discuss what we have read.  Even though it was a second reading for me – it was exciting and often new all over again.  There was so much I had forgotten.  With the movie hopefully out by the end of this year or the first part of 2020… I am renewed in my love of this book.  If you enjoy a good dystopian read, I recommend this book.  (So does Mena) 😀

A Monster Calls By Patrick Ness (w/ Bookies Book Club review)

Patrick Ness has amazed me with his writing in the past (his Chaos Walking series is still a book series I recommend to those who enjoy YA Dystopian like myself).  A Monster calls, while completely different – still rang true with the unique writing style of Ness that I find irresistible.  ~Sheila

 

13-year-old Conner is having nightmares.  His nightmares in fact are so dark that he dare not speak them out loud.  So when the Yew Tree comes to him at night furiously pounding on the walls of Conner’s house, Conner proclaims he is not scared, he has seen worse. 

Yet the Yew tree returns to his again and again, big and looming with a message that he claims had been beckoned by Conner himself.  Although Conner claims that he could not have possibly called upon the tree. 

Conner’s mother is sick with Cancer and his Grandmother is making herself a little too at home for Conner’s liking.  When Conner’s father shows up after a long absence Conner starts to wonder how seriously sick is mom, and does anything going on with her or what is happening at school have to do with the trees visits?

 

While you may say this is a children’s book – I believe this book offers so much more.  I found the writing to be deep, profound, and engaging.  The symbolism of the tree touched me.  Perhaps I was just in the right frame of mind to read – but I sat down Sunday afternoon and finished this that same afternoon.  It messed me up a bit emotionally, but Patrick Ness tends to do that anyway.

I look forward to seeing the movie.

The Bookies Book Club had a good discussion around this book.  Discussions of dealing with loss and letting ago of were tapped into.  For the most part we agreed it was a unique read, and while most of us enjoyed the book, a few did not.  Thus the beauty of a book club. 

We also had great food.  Early on in the book Conner and his mother are eating an Indian Dish called Chicken Vindaloo.  In this part of the book it is described as “they ate great plates of this and were farting and laughing by the time they got to the car.”

Of course I was curious about the dish and had to make it, teasing the Bookies that I was seeing if it would have the same effect on us.  As far as I know it did not, however we did not eat large plates of it (although I think I could have – it was pretty tasty.  😉

Great night with the Bookies.  A book I would recommend and would love to hear your thoughts on.  The movie is out and I am looking to give that a try as well. 

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

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Sam and Clementine would define their life as full and satisfying.  They have two beautiful little girls and a life that works for them.  Sam is just starting a new job and Clementine is rehearsing for a cellist position that would be the job offer of a lifetime.

Erika is Clementines oldest friend dating back to grade school.  The two know each other so well, but if Clementine were honest… she isn’t always sure why she is Erika’s friend.  The start of their friendship still seeming a bit forced on her…..

When a barbecue invite by neighbors comes to Sam and Clementine as well as Erika and her husband, Clementine think s it is a brilliant idea.  After all the neighbors Vid and Tiffany are larger than life people who know how to entertain.  It might just be fun to get everyone together.

Two months later Sam and Clementine can barely stand to be in the same room together.  They both question everything….  and they mostly question….  what if they hadn’t gone to the barbecue?

 

I love me some Liane Moriarty.  I can add that I especially love her books on audio – they are a treat to listen to and this one was exceptional.  Narrator Caroline Lee nails it with the fun diverse personalities and voices of the characters of Truly, Madly, Guilty.  (You are going to LOVE Vid!).  The enticing way she made her way through his book just added to my enjoyment of the story line.

Secrets kept, false truths… and all through the book as the tale unwinds I kept asking, “What the heck happened at that BBQ?”  This book really does cover the choices we make can alter our worlds forever.

Thoroughly enjoyed.

 

  • 7aListening Length: 17 hours and 27 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio
  • Audible.com Release Date: July 26, 2016

 

The Mind-Gut Connection by Emeran Mayer, MD

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Most of us have experienced a feeling of queasiness before walking in to a large meeting or to speak in front of a group.  Or we have had that “gut feeling” when we know something is not right.

What is that?

How does our mind connect to our gut ?  Why is the gut sometimes called “the second brain?

 

I love this kind of stuff.  I find it fascinating and I am honestly surprised that I have not thought about this before, why does my gut hurt when I have to do something that makes me nervous?

I can not even express how much I enjoyed this.  I learned so much about serotonin (where your gut stores the most) and had no idea that your gut actually has control of your over all well-being.

I enjoyed reading about the connections between what we eat and how our diet affects everything for brain functionality to over all gut feelings.  Literally. I know about diet and healthy habits obviously, but the connection of the mind and gut to the diet was something I liked reading more about.

Over all a thoroughly enjoyable book.  It has been a busy season here for me and I honestly have not had a lot of time to sit down and read. The book did not read over my head.  It is well written and easy to understand.   I was glad to find out this book was interesting, informative and held my attention.

Recommended.

 

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Wave (July 5, 2016)
  • Language: English

 

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for connecting my mind to my gut. 

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Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar and Narrated by Kathleen McInerney

louis sachar, fuzzy mud, book journey MG, middle grade, audio, Kathleen McInerney

Seventh grader Marshall Walsh has been walking his neighbor 5th grader Tamaya Dhilwaddi to school ever since elementary.  When a bully by the name of Chad Hilligas forces them off the road home one day both Marshall and Tamaya wind up cutting into the woods in hopes of escaping Chad.  While trying to find their way out of the woods and avoid Chad at the same time, they stumble into an area that has strange mud that appears to have fuzz floating on top.  Little do they know the danger they are all in by being near this mud – but they are about to find out.

 

 

You may think that Louis Sachar sounds familiar and you would be right – he is the author of Holes which brings a smile to my face just by saying that title.  Another incredible MG read and movie.

Fuzzy Mud contains Louis’ unique story telling style.  He amazes me how he can pull a subject out of nowhere and create an interesting story within that not only captivates, but contains a lesson as well.  He did it in Holes, and he does it again in Fuzzy Mud.  I loved the story and the parts where the senate and authorities get involved explaining what has happened.  Brilliantly done.

I listened to this on audio on my way home from Chicago.  Kathleen McInerney has a voice that works well in this book.   She can really bring out her inner child and captures Tamaya as well as the other tweens flawlessly.

This is a perfect family audio book for a road trip.  One I think all ages can enjoy, I sure did.

 

  • Listening Length: 4 hours and 5 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Listening Library
  • Audible.com Release Date: August 4, 2015

 

 

First Women by Kate Andersen Brower and Narrated by Karen White

first women, kate andersen brower, karen white, narration, audio, book journey

 

If you think the President has a tough job, imagine being the First Lady!  From uprooting your children from their homes, schools, friends, to be in the very public eye;  to letting go of any sense of privacy, the ability to go shopping/drive for yourself, or even take a nice quiet walk in a park.  You are “on” 24/7 standing next to your husband supporting his decisions (both good and bad), being scrutinized by the public for the way you dress, talk, your weight, your habits, and your contributions to the world at large.  You run a staff in the White House and are in charge of decorating and planning White House events.

First Women takes you up close and personal to witness Michelle Obama’s desire to leave the White House as soon as possible hating the constant over attention and lack of any private life.  Lady Bird Johnson’s struggles, Patricia Nixon’s ability to hold her head high, Jacqueline Kennedy’s marriage and heartbreak, Rosalyn Carter removing all alcohol from the White House, Nancy Reagan’s refusal to use a paper napkin, Barbara Bush being a part of the White House not only once, but twice with her daughter in law Laura, and Hilary Clinton…. potential to return to the house that blew her personal life up to the public and yet she wants back in.

 

 

 

I absolutely enjoyed Kate Andersen Brower’s book The Residence.  I loved how she gave us an inside look into the inner working of the White House through the staff’s eyes.  I gobbled up every word and was thrilled when I heard she was going to do it again but this time with the focus on First Women to our Presidents.  As someone who values their privacy and down time I can not even imagine a life in the constant spot light.

Karen Andersen Brower once again does an amazing job of sharing with the reader/listener the inner dealings of the First Women of the White House.  If you do listen to this one on audio, know that Karen White (who also narrated The Residence) does an exceptional job of capturing each of these women’s essence through her words.  I listened to this audio from Minnesota to Chicago and thoroughly enjoyed all of it.

Highly recommended to those of us who enjoy great non fiction with interesting facts about people.  I hope that whatever Karen Andersen Brower offers up next includes Karen White’s narration again… enjoy this duo!

I picked up First Women from the Brainerd Public Library

 

 

  • Listening Length: 12 hours and 26 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Harper Audio
  • Audible.com Release Date: April 12, 2016

 

Allegiant by Veronica Roth Narrated by Emma Galvin and Aaron Stanford

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The final chapters in the Divergent Series….

Tris and Tobias along with a few of the gang we have come to love (or hate), continue to try to make things right.  As the factions are no more, Divergents such as Tris are no longer outcasts, by considered genetically pure.  Tobias who was once a strong leader of the Dauntless is not considered one of the genetically damaged.  As both Tris and Tobias try to make sense of this new world, coming to term with past hurts, family, and what the future holds there is still an underlying plan humming through the city that can once again..

change everything.

 

 

I have a funny history with these books.  I loved Divergent and everything is stood for.  I read the follow-up of Insurgent and continued to love the books.  When Allegiant was just a whisper with a release date I pre-ordered the book to read as soon as I could get my hands on it….

and then the buzz began…

about a week before the book released the word was out that the alternating chapters of Tris and Tobias from their point of view was not appealing.  The word on the net was that a golden opportunity with this series was missed and I, I am ashamed to say, caught up with the hype, put the book on my book shelf…

unread.

Fast forward to the movies…. I loved the first two movies and seen both in the theater.  Then it came time for Allegiant to come out, and I still had not finished the series.  My rule (occasionally bent) is that I read a book before I see a movie made from it.  So Allegiant was not a movie I seen at the theater.  And then, I found the audio available for download from my library.  Well then….. let’s do this.

My review…

After that LONG lead in, here we go.  This is a good example of why we should not listen to others thoughts on anything and always see for ourselves. I did not mind the alternating chapters at all.  Maybe it flowed better on audio, I do not know as that original book I bought is STILL unread on my shelf.  I enjoyed this final to the series, how the world would work when you think you have fought for freedom that never really comes free.

The narration was wonderful.  LOVED both narrators and I thought that Aaron Stanford was the perfect rough, young, dare I say sexy, voice that was right on for Mathias.  Emma Galvin handled Tris’ character perfectly with just the right tone of self-confidence and intelligence you expect out of Tris.

My over all thoughts – initially I felt the books could have ended with Insurgent.  Now I see why Allegiant was necessary.  It is not the ending I would have wanted…. it is the one it needed to be.

 

 

  • Listening Length: 11 hours and 55 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: HarperAudio
  • Audible.com Release Date: October 22, 2013