Posted in book reviews, books, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Reads: Playing with Fire

Playing with Fire by Tess Gerritsen

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*Published October 27, 2015*

playing with fireThe Teen Librarian at my library recommended this book to me a few weeks ago. She actually recommended that I listen to it, as there is violin music that will play and it’s simply beautiful. I read it, so I’ll need to listen to it next time to hear the music.

A beautiful violinist is haunted by a very old piece of music she finds in a strange antique shop in Rome.

The first time Julia Ansdell picks up The Incendio Waltz, she knows it’s a strikingly unusual composition. But while playing the piece, Julia blacks out and awakens to find her young daughter implicated in acts of surprising violence. And when she travels to Venice to find the previous owner of the music, she uncovers a dark secret that involves dangerously powerful people—a family who would stop at nothing to keep Julia from bringing the truth to light.

I was not expecting to like this book. Contemporary books are generally not my cup of tea, especially if they are mystery/thriller books. But you can definitely draw me in if you mix up some historical fiction into the mystery and it suddenly becomes a lot more interesting to me. And the historical fiction was the best part for me, because it shone a light on a part of World War II that didn’t really occur to me before. I loved learning about the Jews in Italy, and how they were truly members of the Italian community, and it was hard to differentiate, but when it came down to it, they were still discriminated against.

Life is not as black and white as it seems, and history is not as black and white as it seems. History is written by those who won and so to them, the story is bad guys lost, good guys win. But in between the beginning and the end, there are a lot of grey areas and it’s in those grey areas is where the stories come to life. For Julia Ansdell, finding out where a most haunting violin piece comes from takes over her life in a most drastic way. And it’s in those grey areas where Julia dives right in and finds out the history that shines a new light on a most powerful family in Italy.

What do you think of historical fiction? Does it draw you in or push you out of the story? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in audiobooks, book reviews, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Listens: The Help

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

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*Published January 28, 2009*

the helpI had previously read and listened to this book, but it had been a few years, so when I finished my previous audiobook, I decided to listen to this one again. It’s apparently the first time I had recorded my reading of it on Goodreads, so it’s a good thing I listened to it.

Be prepared to meet three unforgettable women:

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women — mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends — view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t.

The narrators for this book perfectly capture the voices of each character and bring these three different women to life. Skeeter Phelan, a young woman who dreams of writing has come home from college in 1962 Mississippi; Aibileen, a maid watching over a small child whose mother looks at her and sees only disappointment; Minny, a maid who cannot watch her mouth around her white employers. These three women are pulled together by what’s going on in Mississippi in a way neither one knew was going to happen.

As Skeeter works to write the story of the black maids working for white women in Jackson, Mississippi, she learns that there is much more going on in the background of her life than she ever realized before. Not only does she not know what happened to the woman who raised her, but no one will tell her. But as she works through her stories of the maid of Jackson, she realizes that what she believes and what she thinks about the world is very different from her friends and family.

When you read books that take place in a politically uneasy time, what are your thoughts? Do you think these books speak some truth, or do they gloss over things? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in book reviews, books, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Reads: Girl with a Pearl Earring

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

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*Published September 30, 2003*

girl with a pearl earringThis was a book that was part of a local librarian traveling book project. I was doing mine for @youthbookreview’s from Tumblr, and one of my friends at work was excited and wanted to try it. This was her pick and it was an interesting book.

In seventeenth-century Delft, there’s a strict social orderrich and poor, Catholic and Protestant, master and servantand all know their place. When Griet becomes a maid in the household of the painter Johannes Vermeer, she thinks she knows her role: housework, laundry, and the care of his six children. She even feels able to handle his shrewd mother-in-law; his restless, sensual wife; and their jealous servant. What no one expects is that Griet’s quiet manner, quick perceptions, and fascination with her master’s paintings will draw her inexorably into his world. Their growing intimacy sparks whispers; and when Vermeer paints her wearing his wife’s pearl earrings, the gossip escalates into a full-blown scandal that irrevocably changes Griet’s life.

Written with the precision and focus of an Old Master painting, Girl With a Pearl Earring is a vivid portrait of colorful seventeenth-century Delft, as well as the hauntingly poignant story of one young girl’s rite of passage.

The most enjoyable part of this book was that it was a historical fiction novel and it delved into how a very famous painting Girl with a Pearl Earring came to be and the inspiration behind it. While a bit of a stretch the story was enough that I didn’t mind it.

Griet, daughter of a renowned title painter, has to go and work to help support her family. In doing so, she learns to not only appreciate beauty but paintings not of her religion as well. She also learns more about herself, something that she wouldn’t have learned staying where she was comfortable.

I like it when stories take something we don’t know more about, such as paintings, and gives a backstory to how it came about. I also learned there is a movie based off of the book. This is not a movie I want to see, but the book was interesting enough.

What do you think of books that give backstories to paintings? Or backstories to things that we know very little about? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in books, goodreads, reading, writing

Tiny Navajo Reads: Thursday Three Books I Recently DNF’d

Hey guys! It’s Thursday once again and this is actually a subject that I haven’t talked about on this blog before. Books that I Did Not Finish, or DNF in the online book community. So, this is what we’re going to be talking about today!

  1. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters. I do want to read this book, I truly do, it sounds amazing! I have tried to read it twice now and both times I have just DNF’d it. I will hopefully be able to start and finish it at some point.
  2. Neuromancer by William Gibson. I tried. That’s really all I can say about it. I tried.
  3. The Dinosaur Lords by Victar Milán. Now this was such an interesting premise! I just…could not get into it. I want to try it again at some point, but not right now.

So, what are some books you’ve recently DNF’d? Why did you DNF said book? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in book reviews, books, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Reads: Deck Z

Deck Z: the Titanic: Unsinkable. Undead. by Chris Pauls and Matt Solomon

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*Published September 21, 2012*

deck zThis was a book I won in my library’s summer reading program a couple of years ago, and I figured it was finally time that I read the damn book. And I did. And it was better than I expected!

It’s 1912, and German scientist Theodor Weiss has just discovered a strange new plague that transforms its victims into soulless, flesh-eating monsters. As he studies one of the plague victims, Weiss uncovers a sinister military plot to use the disease as a weapon, and decides to run away with the sole vial of the zombie virus. And what better place to hide than on the world’s largest ocean liner, the Titanic? Unfortunately, Weiss is being followed by a vengeful secret agent who is determined to get the vial back at any cost. Now the virus has spread and the undead are running rampant aboard the Titanic! As the doomed ship steams at top speed toward an iceberg, it’s up to Weiss, a young passenger, the captain, and the crew to stop the carnage. This gory page-turner reveals the grisly untold story of what really happened on the world’s most famous ship.

I think what I enjoyed most about this book was that it gave a different reason as to why the majority of steerage on the Titanic did not make it onto the lifeboats, were there enough lifeboats in the first place. I like this alternative universe and how much someone will do what they can in order to not let this plague become a biological weapon. Yet, once on the Titanic, that is exactly what it becomes; the plague is set loose and zombies now roam the ship, looking to satiate their endless hunger.

Do you like it when well known events have some behind the scenes features added like this book? Or do you want things to be left alone? Comment below and let me know!

 

Posted in audiobooks, book reviews, books, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Listens: Death on the Nile

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie, read by David Suchet

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ◊

*Published July 3, 2012 by HarperAudio*

death on the nileI love Agatha Christie’s novel and I love Hercule Poirot. I have read other mysteries by Dame Christie, but I had not actually read this one. I have seen the movie if that helps any, so I knew who was who and roughly what was going on as I listened, but I was still entranced and I loved going along with M. Poirot as he seeks to find the murderer.

The tranquillity of a cruise along the Nile was shattered by the discovery that Linnet Ridgeway had been shot through the head. She was young, stylish, and beautiful. A girl who had everything … until she lost her life.
Hercule Poirot recalled an earlier outburst by a fellow passenger: ‘I’d like to put my dear little pistol against her head and just press the trigger.” Yet in this exotic setting, nothing was ever quite what it seemed.

What better backdrop for a murder than that of the Nile river? What better motive is a jealous and stricken ex-fiancee? And who better to find out what the heck is going on than the famous detective, Hercule Poirot?

All in all, I highly enjoyed this book, as I knew that I would. I love Agatha Christie and I love mysteries like this, where it’s the main character is working against the clock, rather than madman to figure out what has happened. I liked that even though the murderer was thought to be easily found, there was more and more intrigue going on the steamboat than originally thought. Everyone on that boat has a sordid past or something to hide. And no one wants to see what Hercule Poirot will turn up in his investigations.

The only reason I’m giving this a 4/5 stars rather than a 5/5 stars is that with the narrator, I sometimes could not understand Hercule Poirot the character! His accent was very thick, and I know that it’s because he’s Belguim and that’s how Dame Christie wrote him. That was my only quibble, and it’s a very small quibble at that.

Have you read any of Agatha Christie’s books? Which ones? Did you like the mysteries? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in book reviews, books, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Reads: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

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*Published May 9, 2009*

guernseyI loved this book! I loved this book! I loved this book! So good! The reason why I actually picked this up though is because I had a Barnes & Noble gift card to spend and I had been meaning to read this for a while, so I bought. I am so glad that I did! But imagine my surprise when I later looked in my Nook app and found the ebook version of this. All well! If I ever lose my paperback, I have the ebook to be me satisfied. Now, onto the review!

This book is told through a series of letters and it’s one of my favorite ways to tell a story. For The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, the story is about the island of Guernsey and the Nazi occupation during World War II, their story is one told in many parts, but it creates a harmonious timeline and it’s so beautifully done.

Our main character, Juliet Ashton, is both a journalist and writer and is seeking the seed for her next book. When she receives a letter from a fellow book lover from Guernsey and they continue their correspondence, Juliet is drawn into his world – his life, his friends, their time occupied during World War II, their alibi built on a spur of the moment – and she realizes she might have found the material needed for her next book. As she starts to correspond with the other members of the Society and learns about their lives, she sets sail for Guernsey where she starts to develop her book and become a part of their lives. Juliet falls in love with the life of the island of Guernsey and the people that live there.

I loved this book! I had been meaning to read it for some time, but what really pushed me to read it is there is a Netflix original movie based on this book and I want to watch the movie; I have a rule though, need to read the book before I watch the movie. Now that I’ve read the book, I can watch the movie! WHOO!

I also loved that this was told in letters. I love writing letters and I love receiving and reading letters. When books are told in the form of letters exchanged, I love reading them. It feels more intimate and real to read, especially when the story deals with a real time period and seemingly real people. For me, this is one of the best ways to tell a historical fiction book.

What’s been your favorite book-to-film adaption? Why did you enjoy it? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in book reviews, books, goodreads, reading, Uncategorized

Tiny Navajo Reads: The Air You Breathe

The Air You Breathe by Frances de Pontes Peebles

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*Published August 21, 2018*

the air you breatheThis was another ARC from ALA New Orleans and it was one that I both loved and hated at the same time if that makes sense. Its premise was what pulled me in when I was browsing the area and while not the type of book that I would usually read, this sounded way too good to let go. And if worse came to worse, then I could give it to my mom who I knew would really enjoy it.

The Air You Breathe is about two girls from two very different ways of life but raised in basically the same house. Orphaned Dores lives and works in the kitchens of the Big House on a sugar plantation in Brazil. Graça’s family owns the plantation and she is the Little Miss, the one who receives everything she asks for. These two bond over mischief and being the only two girls the same age in a place where there is very little else in the world.

As these two girls grow up, they go through different trials. But music brings them back together and keeps them going. A love for music they discovered on the plantation. Graça has the voice of a songbird, each song she sings sounds better the instant she starts to sing. Dores feels the music in her soul and is able to write the lyrics to match. As they make their way from their home on the sugar plantation to Rio de Janeiro, music becomes not just a bond but a shared passion, a way they both want to make their mark on the world. But as they continue to grow, becoming a music star is the destiny for only one of them. Dores and Graça’s intimate and volatile bond will not only influence their music, but it will determine their future, fortune and haunt their memories in their lives to come.

This is a hauntingly beautiful story of two girls who became friends, grew to sisters, and how this bond between them not only brought them together but threatened to tear them apart. I can see the similarities of my own bond with my sister in how these two act around each other. And it brought to my mind memories of how my sister and I would act when we still had to share a room together, but also how we act now that we live several thousand miles apart.

This story felt real and that is how I know that a book made a true impact on me; especially when it was a book that is not in a genre I typically read. While I may not read it again, it is a book that I would recommend to just about anyone, but especially anyone who has a sister.

What books struck an arrow through your heart? Why did it do that? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in book reviews, books, goodreads

Tiny Navajo Reads: The Book Thief

The Book Thief by Markus Zusk

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*Published March 14, 2006*

the book thiefYeah, this is an oldie by a goodie. I had been meaning to reread this book at some point, and I was able to thanks to youthbookreview on Tumblr and her Traveling Book Project. If you have heard of it, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, then let me explain; the traveling book project is when a group of people get together, usually over the Internet, decide on what book they will send throughout the group and you annotate your book then send it onto the next person. I had sent The Bear and the Nightingale for my book, and I have recieved several books that I’ve reviewed since then, but this has been my favorite so far.

The Book Thief is a historical fiction with a dash of fantasy centered on a young German girl named Liesel who is placed with a family after her brother dies and her mother leaves her. She steals her first book at her brother’s funeral, but she doesn’t realize the significance of it until later, with her new family. All through World War II, Liesel learns what it means to not only to be German but to be human. She learns that her story-telling and her book-thieving ways is what brings hope not only to her family and friends but to the Jewish man they hide in their basement as well.

This is a book that will take all of your emotions, blend them with a good dash of salty tears and yearning, and then will give them back to you. And you have to take them because otherwise, you cannot enjoy this book. You need to enjoy this book, and if you enjoy historical fiction, then you’ll love this book. It tells you how human not only those you love are, but those that the world tells you to hate and revile are human. I also love that our narrator is something not exactly human. We may ascribe human emotions to this concept, but they are not human. I love the small interludes we get between Liesel and her family and what our narrator is doing. It gives the book that little bit of extra that I love!

I also know that this book has been made into a movie, but I have not seen the movie. Those of you who have seen the movie, would you recommend it? How does it compare to the book? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in book reviews, books, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Reads: The Collector’s Apprentice

The Collector’s Apprentice by B.A. Shapiro

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*Expected publication October 16, 2018*

collector's apprenticeThis was another ARC I picked up at ALA New Orleans and it was one that sounded up my alley when I actually read contemporary books. And it most definitely was; it also was something that I wasn’t expecting.

Paulien Mertens is alone in Paris in 1922 and she’s still not sure how she ended up there. Just a few weeks ago she was engaged to be married to a wonderful man, her family was working towards all they dreamed up and life was looking like it was about to take off for her. Right now though, everyone – including her family – believes that she pulled a con with George, her now ex-fiancee, to cheat everyone out of their money and made a run for it. Paulien now needs to figure out how to support herself in a city where she only used to come for the art.

Paulien realizes that the life that she wanted with her fiancee (from hell) is not going to happen. To protect her family from the wrath of those who were taken advantage of by George, she creates a new identity; a French woman by the name of Vivienne Gregsby. She is now out to recover her father’s beloved art collection, as well as exact revenge on George.

Vivienne is offered the perfect job to do all of these things by an eccentric art collector by the name of Edwin Bradley, from America. Being taken under this art collector’s wing, Vivienne is exposed to a world she hoped to touch as Paulien, but is now involved in as Vivienne. As she continues towards her goals, she moves to America where she works with Bradley to curate his art collection and art appreciation school, she realizes that she’s coming close to all that she wanted. Until George reappears in her life and she is arrested for the murder of Edwin Bradley.

I love this book! I’m not a fan of mystery in contemporary books, but this was an amazing one for me! It makes me want to read other Shapiro books to see if they all hold up to the standard this one now is for me.

What books have you tried outside of your comfort zone that just excited you? Why did they excite you? Comment below and let me know!