Thursday, February 21, 2019

My Hero Academia Volume 15 - Fighting Fate / Kohei Horikoshi (Japanese author) / 192 pages / Color in the title

Besides Midoriya getting third-year student Togata as his new mentor, three other 1A students are chosen by the other two third-years: Uraraka and Tsuyu Asui by Nejire Hado, and Eijiro Kirishima by Tamaki Amajiki.  Both groups experience fighting villains or dangerous criminals.  In the latter group, Kirishima, who was treated as useless since Vol. 5, proves himself to be extremely powerful even for a hero, let alone a new sidekick.

When Midoriya and Togata go out in the city on patrol, on the other hand, they run into a child sprinting out of an alley; Overhaul appears out of the alley behind her and claims that he is her father.  Seeing the terror in her face and the bandages covering her arms, Midoriya refuses to give the girl to him, and Togata insists Midoriya not to act so suspicious around Overhaul.  In the end, Overhaul persuades the frightened girl to come with him.

And in case that wasn't bad enough, Midoriya gets news that All Might will die between now and a year due to a mix of severe injuries and using up all his power.

Later on, the professional heroes and seven teens meet together to discuss the girl Midoriya and Togata failed to save earlier, telling them about the evidence they found that could lead to her location and thus save her.

Super Awesome, as always.

Monday, February 18, 2019

My Hero Academia Volume 14 - Overhaul / Kohei Horikoshi (Japanese author) / 205 pages / Color in the title

So much has gone on between Volumes 3 and 13 (sorry), So I'm just going to cut to the chase:

Midoriya and Bakugo fight and reveal their thoughts of each other as they do-- the former looks up to the latter for his determination, and the latter is insecure of the former for being approved by All Might more.  They're soon caught, and they both get punished and must miss class time to do "odd jobs" around the school dorms; Midoriya for three days, and Bakugo for four days (since he started the fight).  Each boy gives the other some advice on his Quirk during their punishment.

After Midoriya's punishment ends, not only does he need to catch up in school, but the class also has special guests-- three third-year students who've had personal experience in the professional hero world.  At least one of them, Mirio Togata, proves it in their first drill fight, where none of the first-years, not even Midoriya, were able to beat him-- at least, not without feeling like he or she got pummeled in the gut.  Nevertheless, Togata, originally All Might's to-be successor, becomes curious of Midoriya due to his quick analyzing of opponents as well as why he was chosen as the successor instead.     
Meanwhile, the League of Villains invite a criminal who goes by "Overhaul" (the plague doctor guy on the cover) to join them; however, Overhaul declines, pointing out that their never having a structured plan before sending any hit man out on a mission is a major flaw in their system.  He leaves, but he also keeps an opportunity in coming back open while he goes at his own pace on wreaking havoc.

First off, I haven't been able to watch Season 3 the anime adaptation, and I hear this book was the equivalent to the season finale, so now I feel a little more ahead in the story.
Second off, YAY!  MIRIO TOGATA!  I hear so much about this guy from memes-- anyone who has a kid that plays a lot of Fallout would be reminded of its mascot when one sees him-- and he was as plucky and memorable as I thought he would be, but also a lot scarier than I expected.

Someday/David Levitahn/394 pages

     Someday is the 3rd in a series of young adult books about "A," Nathan
and Rhiannon.  Having not read the first two, I was floundering a bit at the
Someday (Every Day)
beginning but my interest was grabbed immediately and you just have to know more.
     A is an entity that starts every day in the body of someone new.  He has access to most of their memories and he goes through the day trying not to get his person in trouble--for the most part.  When A leaves the person's body, they experience a loss of memory and have no idea why they acted the way they did or said the things they did.  A has been doing this for a very long time and he cannot stop--he cannot halt in the body he is in--he has no say in where he goes next.  Oh, and A is not the only entity out there that does this!
     A, Nathan and Rhiannon have a history,  Rhiannon has feelings for A but they are hard to define.  Another entity ("X") shows up but he is not like A and both Nathan and Rhiannon fear him but A needs to meet with him just to talk since he has never met anyone who does what he does and is what he is.
     This story is somethings sad and some times confusing but always fascinating.  You want to believe and you want to help and you want answers.
     Very unusual story but a great read.


Saturday, February 16, 2019

In a Dark, Dark Wood/ Ruth Ware/ 310 pgs

Ruth Ware's books are hit or miss for me. Though it's an older title, In a Dark, Dark Wood was mostly a hit for me. Nora is an author herself, but also a loner. Out of the blue, she receives an invitation to an old friend's hen (bachelorette) party. A friend she hasn't spoken to in 10 years. Another friend also receives the same invite and reluctantly the two agree to go. The party is being held at a house deep in the woods and things seem off to Nora from the start but it gets really twisted when she realizes the bride, her old friend Clare, is set to marry Nora's former love, James. The story takes off from there. While there were definitely parts of this book that were hard to believe, it grabbed my attention and kept me hooked until the end.

Friday, February 15, 2019

The Tattooist of Auschwitz/heather Morris/262 pgs/International Author

You don’t read about the Holocaust and think about people falling in love, but this story tells of a couple who find each other in a most unexpected place, Auschwitz.

Lale Sokolov, a Jewish man from Slovakia, spoke many languages and it was that ability that helped keep him alive in the horrible concentration camp.  Early on during his captivity he was chosen to be one of the tattooists for the camp.  Those chosen for the job were given more and better rations, more freedom of movement around the camp, and better quarters.

It was while Lale was tattooing numbers on a new group of women arrivals that he met his future wife, Gita.  With his tattooist position, Lale was able to smuggle extra food to Gita and her friends and his former barrack mates.  He also established a small trade system with two outside workers, who brought in better food and even chocolate, for gems and jewels taken from prisoner’s belongings.  Lale was given these items by female prisoners assigned to empty all the suitcases.  The women were happy to supply him with the jewels he used for trade.

Lale and Gita eventually left the camp and after a desperate search were reunited after Germany surrendered.  While this is a fictional account of their story, the author spent many hours with Lale piecing together his memories into this moving book.


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Color Purple / Alice Walker / 288 pages

One of the categories for the 2019 Read Harder Challenge is to read an epistolary novel. Epistolary novels are my favorite and I have already read tons, but I had no idea that The Color Purple, which I had never read, was a novel made up of letters. I had seen the movie a couple of times but had never read the book.

This is one of those books that I felt very torn about. I had a tough time with the book for the first half, but it got better and ended up grabbing my attention later. The story is told in a series of letters, first Celie's letters to God, then letters from her sister, Nettie, to her, then letters from her to Nettie. I think when those letters from her sister begin, about halfway through the book, that's when it finally got interesting and I ended up enjoying the latter half of the book far more than I did the first half.

Celie is a young black woman living around 1915 Georgia with her dad and mother. She is raped by her father and gives birth twice to children that her father takes away; she knows not where. Celie is not educated or good looking, unlike her younger sister Nettie, who is both of those things. Celie is given to an unnamed Mr. _____ to marry. He beats her and is obviously having an affair with Shug, a worldly beautiful singer. Meanwhile, Celie's sister runs away from home and a lifetime passes before they reconnect.

I'm glad I got to read this during Black History Month, as it is a good reminder of what life was like for African Americans in Jim Crow South. I recommend the book, but with the caveat that it's a tough read at first. Get through it and it gets better.

A is for Alibi / Sue Grafton / 320 pages

Divorce lawyer Laurence Fife had been found dead, and the media blamed the murder on his wife Nikki Fife.  When she is released from prison eight years later, however, Nikki claims to be innocent, and she hires a detective, Kinsey Millhone, to find out who the real murderer is.  Kinsey goes around Southern California and Nevada to interview several suspects, including Mr. Fife's ex-wives as well as the family of a young woman who died the same way Mr. Fife did.  But when one of the suspects is murdered before Kinsey gets to interview her, she tries to figure out how the deaths are all linked to one another and why.

The first book to Grafton's Kinsey Millhone/"Alphabet mystery" series, I found it really interesting as I don't often read/listen to mystery novels.  I'm looking forward to B is for Burglar.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Seedfolks / Paul Fleischman / 69 pages / Color in the title / Required Reading / Tasty cover

In Cleveland of 1997, a young girl takes inspiration from her late father, who was a farmer, and plants some lima beans in a dirty vacant.  At first, it starts off as her own private garden, but as soon as more and more people find out about it, the vacant transforms into the neighborhood's community garden, where people from diverse races and cultures come together to work, celebrate, and even look after one another.

It was a nostalgic read, as this was a book I had to read in my 6th grade English class, almost ten years ago.

Untouchable/Jayne Ann Krentz/308 pages

     Winter Meadow is a hypnotist--has been since she was a young girl surviving the foster care system.  One of her clients, Jack Lancaster needs help focusing while in a lucid dream state and Winter is the perfect anchor and guide.  While they are together on Eclipse Island, a man stalking Winter attacks them.  Jack doesn't buy into the stalker theory--immediately assuming that he is the target because Jack and his family have been tracking the man who killed his mother in a fire at a cult's compound years before.  (Sound confusing?  It is rather but once you figure it all out--its worth the time invested!)  Long lost sons, pyramid schemes, FBI consultants, hit men and conspiracy plots--scramble all together with a heaping measure of romance and you have the latest Jayne Ann Krentz novel.  I am an avid fan of Krentz no matter which pen name she is writing under and I will admit that I love them all but this is not one of her best.


Sunday, February 10, 2019

Long Road To Mercy/David Baldacci/404 pgs

Best selling thriller/suspense writer David Baldacci introduces readers to a new character that promises to be a favorite.  We meet Atlee Pine who is an FBI agent in a one-agent office in Arizona.

As a young child, a man entered the bedroom of six-year olds Atlee and her twin sister, Mercy.  This man terrorized the girls, hitting Atlee and chanting a rhyme to choose between the two girls.  In the end, the man left with Mercy leaving Atlee devastated.

Now, as an FBI agent, Pine is charged with solving a disappearance of a tourist from a Grand Canyon mule tour.  Typically the tours take two days with an overnight stay at the bottom of the canyon and the return trip the following day.  But, one of the tourists disappeared and a mule was found dead in the canyon.  Even more disturbing was the mule had been mutilated and letters carved in its side.  

As Pine’s investigation progressed, she realized that there was more than just a missing tourist and a mutilated mule.  She discovered possible ties to Russia and China and that national security was in the balance.  Even more devastating she learned that there was a nuclear bomb hidden somewhere in the Grand Canyon.  A good suspense thriller worth reading.

The Reckoning/John Grisham/420 pgs/Author's last name ends with M

In this Grisham thriller the reader is introduced to Pete Banning, a Mississippi cotton farmer and a decorated WWII officer and hero.

Unfortunately, this meeting is soon tarnished when Banning walks into his church and shoots and kills his pastor, Dexter Bell.  Banning turns himself in to the local authorities and calmly awaits his fate.

Stunned by his actions, Pete’s family and friends struggled to understand why he committed the heinous act.  Pete refused to discuss anything pertaining to the shooting or participate in his defense.

The reader meets his wife, children, and sister who are deeply troubled by the shooting and subsequent execution of their loved one.

Grisham, like a great thriller writer, takes his readers along to the end before revealing the mystery behind Banning’s motive for the killing.

The Journal of Wong Ming-Chung/Lawrence Yep/213 pgs/Epistolary Novel

This book is one of the Dear America series.  In this book, a young Chinese boy decides to journal his uncle’s preparation and eventual journey to America during the California gold rush.  The uncle arrives in America and sends back money for the family.  He also requests that the family send the oldest son to join him.  Unbeknownst to the young boy, his family does not send his older and stronger brother, but sends him instead.

There in California the boy and his uncle experience the hardships and cruelty directed at the Chinese laborers and at immigrant workers.  They also experience the thrill of discovering gold.  Between the wages earned and the money from the gold, the two are able to send home money to help many in their homeland. 

Saturday, February 9, 2019


Fire in Frost is the first book within the Crystal Frost series. Its about a girl that grew up able to see the dead and able to predict the future. But even though she was able to do these things she never really thought anything of it. That is until she starts to see Olivia, a fellow classmate that died last year in a fire. When Olivia asks Crystal to help save Olivia's friend kelli from her abusive boyfriend; Crystal fully accepts that she has gifts and is psychic and wants to do anything she can to help. This book is pretty good; it gets to the climax pretty fast and you kind of feel like she should have realized she had a gift. I mean if I saw dead people or just knew all this stuff out of nowhere I would kind of be wondering whats up. But otherwise I enjoyed the book; I probably won't continue with the series tho.

Friday, February 8, 2019

My Brilliant Friend/Elena Ferrante/504pgs/ international author

Such a great book that is actually one of four in a series. The story is told from the point of view of Elena and describes the relationship between her and her friend Lila, from the age of 10 and onwards. The setting is in a town outside Naples. Lila and Elena become close friends right from the beginning, so close that when you see one you always see the other. Over the years they experience rift in their friendship but also times that bring them back together. Their friendship is an interesting one that is a mixture of competition, jealousy and admiration. It's almost as if this friendship is taking over their lives and although sometimes they can't stand each other, it's almost as if their very being would be lost and pointless without this bond.

I loved book one and am reading book two. The author writes very eloquently and is very descriptive. I also see that there is an hbo miniseries on this that I would like to watch!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Midnight Rose/Dani Hart/427 pgs

In the Midnight Rose, the main character Abigail Rose lived a normal life, well for the most part. Unbeknownst to her she was part of a world that is on the precipice of war. A battle fought for centuries between the humans and the Immortals. Abigail finds out that everyone that she loves has been hiding something from her and now she must take on all this new information and make a life altering decision. One that will take her away from all the ones she loves but may just lead her to the brother she never knew existed. This book was full of twists and wrong assumptions. If you like books that keep you guessing, then this book is worth a read. It is the first book of the Midnight series, and I'm interested to see if my guesses for Abigail's future are correct.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

The Girl Who Lived/Christopher Greyson/284 pages

     Faith was 12 years old when her sister, best friend and father die in a
The Girl Who Lived: A Thrilling Suspense Novel
bloody knife massacre at the family's lake house.  Faith survived but for the past 10 years she has been hospitalized with crippling survivors guilt.  The official ruling from the investigation was that Faith's father was the one who killed everyone and then took his own life.  No one believes her story of a rat faced man who hums being the killer.  Everyone is convinced that Faith is crazy, that she would harm herself if left alone.
     The 10th anniversary of the killing is coming up.  Faith's mom (who wrote a tell-all book that made Faith and her story famous) helps get Faith released into her custody with strict rules--survivors meetings, therapy sessions, AA meetings.  Faith tried but it really seems that the deck is stacked against her.  Chapter after chapter gets her roughed up, stolen from, terrified, stalked and more.  Many people try to help her but she becomes convinced that the original killer is back.  Faith wants to find and kill him and she doesn't care what happens to herself.  Worst of all, she doesn't know who to trust.
     What a powerful book!  The story grabs you as soon as you start reading and you simply cannot put it down.  Towards the end of the book you start doubting that everything Faith is experiencing is real which makes the ending perfect!  Really a great story.


Thursday, January 31, 2019

Sold on a Monday / Kristina McMorris /341 pages

Sold on a Monday is an historical fiction story based on a true story.  It is set in 1931 during the depression.  Ellis Reed is a young newspaper reporter trying to make a name for himself at a newspaper in Philadelphia.  One day he takes a picture of two boys sitting on their front porch before realizing there was a sign in front of the porch advertising the boys for sale.  The picture was not meant for publication.  Lillian Palmer is the secretary for the head of the newspaper.  She finds the picture and gives it to her boss thinking it would help Ellis's career.  Ellis writes a human interest story to go along with the picture.  The story spreads to other papers and Ellis's career is taking off, but there are huge repercussions.  The book starts off slow, but gains momentum and was hard to put down.

The Monkey's Raincoat/Robert Crais/201 pages

Elvis Cole is a private-eye in L.A. with a case he is initially not too interested in. With the help of his mysterious partner, Joe Pike, he goes on the hunt for a missing husband and a missing son in the seedy underbelly of Hollywood. When things lead to a drug cartel, Cole and Pike bring out their darker sides to get the job done.

The author's style gave me the impression of a mash-up between Miami Vice and Lethal Weapon.

The Girl I Used To Be/April Henry/ 229 pgs

Ariel Benson’s mother was killed when she was only three years old.  Her father was the suspected murderer.  His truck was found abandoned at the airport shortly after her body was discovered and he hasn’t been seen since.  But now, fourteen years later, his skull has been found and identified by DNA.

Ariel, who now is known by her adopted name, Olivia Reinhardt, returns to the town where she was raised to find out what really happened to her parents.  She soon begins having long suppressed memories of her parents and the fateful day they were killed.  Unfortunately, the killer fears that she might remember him/her and she is in for the fight of her life to stay alive.  Good read!