Twogalsandabook’s Recent Reads 2017

Read on to see some books Twogalsandabook have been reading in 2017!


Goodnight Malaysian 370: The Truth Behind the Loss of Flight 370

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Mischenko: Goodnight Malaysian 370 by Ewan Wilson and Geoff Taylor is a book about flight MH370 and the possible cause of its disappearance along with the 239 lives aboard.

There are many different scenarios here, all the way up to the conclusion. All possible causes are exhausted and the final conclusion by authors is the best answer they can give based on evidence. Yet, it’s all still speculation due to the fact that they haven’t been able to locate the plane or black boxes, and have only recovered some wreckage.

This is a great book for all those interested in discovering the possible fate of flight MH370. It’s been 3 years and the plane still hasn’t been found. I hope that future searches will help the families to know what happened that day on March 8th, 2014.

4****


Dirty Laundry: From the Streets to an Executive One Man’s Forty Year Journey by Ivan Von Baublitz

32071819Stacy: This was a heartbreaking story of a boy growing up in the worst imaginable way. From years of neglect, abuse, trauma, it truly is amazing he is sane, not dead, or in prison or an institution. He rose from a dysfunctional family, the system, the streets to graduate with 2 college degrees, and raise a successful family. This was a truly inspiring story.

One thing did confuse me though, was a character that would pop up randomly, usually when something bad happened or was about to. At the beginning of the book, Mr. Von Baublitz states, ” Richard Nixon is a fictional creative process I used through some difficult times while writing this book. He is a creative motif and not my intention to discredit his legacy that speaks for itself.” Ok, I was expecting recurring picture, or something…. but this guy would show up out of the blue, seem to have some foreknowledge of something coming or he would be there after something had just happened. At first, I thought perhaps, this is a PTSD related to times of extreme stress that his young mind invented to help come with troubling circumstances…. Lord knows he had enough reason to have PTSD and every other trauma related mental illness known of. But then the guy (Richard Nixon) would start to get weird, cruel, sick even, and I thought, well to this kid, whose world was so dysfunctional, even people he trusted and felt bonded to had issues, so it would feel normal to him for his mind to imbue this hallucination with something off. But then other people would see him to so that really threw me. A strange sort of angel? Nah– It was too implausible for me to believe that some guy, especially and ex-president followed him around his entire life, knew things were going to happen before they did, etc…. So, if this character was created by the author to help him cope with the writing of particular events, and times that were so disturbing to revisit, I get it, but for me it made the story sort of disjointed with him popping up at odd times. In spite of that, I felt the story was still good enough for 5 stars. Thank you Mr. Baublitz for telling us your moving story. You definitely deserve the world’s applause for surviving against all odds, and having the courage to share it with others. Kudos.  5*****


All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

26114135Mischenko:

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood is a book that was very challenging for me to read due to the content. The title is nothing short of absolute perfection in describing the book. I went into the book completely blind and didn’t read much about it besides liking a few reviews. I had no idea what was in store.

There were a few times in the book I wanted to stop reading. What supported me finishing the book was reminding myself about the fact that this story, no matter how hard it is to accept, is very real. This is a book of fiction, but there are dysfunctional lives comparable to this and they’re very true. Just because they’re out of sight, out of mind, doesn’t mean they aren’t happening. The author could have written it differently, but then it wouldn’t be what it is. I don’t think by reading and finishing the book, you’re necessarily celebrating the events that take place.

**Spoiler**
The controversy with people is the relationship. I get that the relationship Wavy chooses is wrong, but just look at her life. Her parents, exposure, and experiences are not what most would consider “normal” and she’s not able to enjoy her childhood as it is. Instead, she’s having to live like an adult and she experiences adult situations at a very young age. Because she has nobody, a nonexistent family and no support from anyone, Kellen becomes her family and they fall in love.

After all, it’s just a story. To me, it was captivating. The book is written very well and I loved it.  I’m delighted to have discovered this author and I’m looking forward to reading more. I’ll leave it at that. 🙂

5*****


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Einstein’s Beach House: Stories by Jacob M Appel

Stacy: Another collection of Mr. Appel’s short stories that is so entertaining, with his unusual take on life. I always look forward to his books that make me laugh, and think. His skill with the written word is truly a talent indeed.

I received this book from the author for an honest review. 5*****


Bloom: A Tale of Courage, Surrender, and Breaking Through Upper Limits by Bronnie Ware

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Mischenko: I was thoroughly connected with this heartfelt memoir. As a person who has experienced autoimmune disease first hand myself, I understood exactly what Ware was dealing with.

Becoming a mother is such a blessing, yet can be difficult at times. With illness it can become even more of a challenge with complications. The courage she possesses is nothing short of a miracle to me.

I enjoyed this beautifully written memoir and I’m very glad to have read it. I would recommend to anyone, but highly to women living with autoimmune disease. 4****

Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC of this book


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The Topless Widow of Herkimer Street: Stories by Jacob M. Appel

Stacy: Another funny, disturbing, crazy compilation of short stories by Mr. Appel. His skill at fashioning a story never ceases to amaze and delight. Wow, he has one incredible imagination. I always enjoy his tales– they are a great way to end a day. I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to Mr. Appel for sharing this with me. 5****


Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life by Jonathan Gould

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Mischenko: This book doesn’t just encompass Otis Redding’s story, but also scads of information about his time. It’s a history of African American families and covers the racial tensions, struggles, and social challenges he and his family endured throughout their lives. The author also touches on other artists including Ray Charles, Little Richard, Sam Cooke, and Johnny Jenkins.

Those who aren’t sure who Otis Redding is might remember him by some of his most popular songs like: “(Sitting on) the Dock of the Bay”, “Try a Little Tenderness”, and “Respect” (sang by Aretha Franklin). He was a singer, songwriter, and producer. His story reminds us how powerful and influential music was during the civil rights movement.
___________

Sittin’ in the mornin’ sun
I’ll be sittin’ when the evenin’ come
Watching the ships roll in
And then I watch ’em roll away again, yeah

I’m sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Watching the tide roll away
Ooo, I’m just sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Wastin’ time
___________

He had an astounding career before his life was cut short similar to some other great singers of that time, including Sam Cooke. It’s heartbreaking to think what his family experienced when he died.

This book is impressive, jam-packed with information, and includes many photos. I recommend it to Otis Redding fans, and anyone who wants to learn more about him.

5*****

Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC of this book


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Fata Morganna by Steven R. Boyett

Stacy: Oh my gosh! This book was soooo good. It made me cry a few times, and others had me laughing out loud. I really must read more by this author. It was about a WWII bomber, the Fata Morganna, that went through a vortex into the future. He met a girl and fell in love. This crossed a few genres– historical fiction, sci-fi, romance… I liked the ending too, not what I expected, but now that I am done, I can see nothing else would have really worked. I received this book as an ARC from Netgalley. My thanks to the publisher, the author and Netgalley for this book. 5*****


A Really Big Lunch by Jim Harrison

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Mischenko: I learned about Jim Harrison after watching one of my favorite shows on PBS called “Dinner and a Book.” This is the first book I’ve read by this author and I’m looking forward to more.

A Really Big Lunch is different from any book I’ve read. Even though Harrison writes well and I found myself turning the pages rather than taking a break, the menu was most unusual and even seemed disgusting at times. I’m not into eating snake, but I still enjoyed reading about his food adventures.

Harrison’s belief is simple. Quality of life is more important that quantity and food is the ultimate pleasure.

Life’s short, so better start eating now!

Oh, and don’t forget the wine!

4****

Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC of this book

 


The Child of Happiness by Stjepan Cobets

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Stacy: I enjoyed this collection of poems. The poems encompass a wide range of emotions: happiness, joy, despair, heartbreak, sadness, longing, etc. I marked the ones I liked best with bookmarks, and now the book bulges with them. LOL… I really liked the word pictures Mr. Cobets creates; great imagery! I got permission from the poet to print one here as an example, and have had trouble choosing just one–

MY THREADS

I release my threads like an old spider
And, as if I didn’t care when tiny dust has fallen,
Old paste is dried for some mad silence,
There is nobody to be caught while they play.

If anybody comes to my kingdom
He should dust them to see my colours.
And only then is hope to stick to them,
To revive my lips, so much desirous of love.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Mr. Cobets for sharing this with me. : ) 4****

 


A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

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Mischenko: I decided to spend some of my weekend, which turned out to be all day today, catching up on some reading. I started A Little Life sometime in January, but had to put it down a few times due to time restrictions on other books. Plus, this book is colossal. It’s a smidge over 700 pages.

I’ll start by saying that I can’t recollect the last time I felt so connected to characters in a story. I was so consumed with the four main characters seeing as how it’s nearly impossible not to fall in love with them, especially Jude and Willem. ♡ They’re so complex, it feels like your living the story and your associating with all of them.

I cried a few times, and laughed a few times. The further I read, the more shocked I became, ending with a feeling of devastation.

I remember the first time I saw “Million Dollar Baby” with Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, and Morgan Freeman. I was sick about that movie for more than a day. In fact, the next day I still felt depressed. Well, that’s exactly how I’m feeling right now. Don’t get me wrong, I loved this book, but it’s going to take me a few days to get over it and I’ll never forget it.

5****


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Famous Animals: Volume 1 by Kate Stewart

Stacy: I won this book in a giveaway. This book was simply charming. Several famous historical people are depicted as animals. The illustrations are delightful, with little humorous quips about each historical “animal”, plus educational facts about each of the real-life animals.
My thanks to the author and publisher for a copy of this book. 5*****


Standing Strong: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Sisterhood and the Court Case That Made History

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Mischenko: Standing Strong by Diane Reeve had me captivated from beginning to end. The story is absolutely amazing, revealing, and well written.

I have to admit, I was so shocked as the story unraveled. It’s truly hard to believe that someone has the capabilities to be so destructive and cruel. What happens to Diane is a tragedy, but her courage prevails.

I love that she explained statistics and helpful information in the book.

Diane is unbelievably brave and now a prominent AIDS awareness advocate.

5*****

Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC of this book


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The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton

Stacy: I just loved this book. The little house was sad to see things change around her, but it had a happy ending. 5*****


Survivors Club: The True Story of a Very Young Prisoner of Auschwitz

29102851.jpgMischenko: Survivors Club : The True Story of a Very Young Prisoner of Auschwitz by Michael Bornstein is a memoir written for middle schoolers, but its a story for all.

I personally had a lot of emotions reading it, but the story was so moving, and I couldn’t put it down. It’s told in first person and I can’t imagine what life was like for him and what his family had to endure at that time.

I consider books on the Holocaust extremely integral to children’s curriculums. These books need to be brought to the attention of kids and they need to read them, so that these stories won’t be forgotten! I think this would be a great book for schools, libraries, and even for a home library. Great for adults too.

5*****

Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC of this book


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Cold Little Duck, Duck, Duck

Stacy: Oh we liked this book. Little duck is so cute, and I understand how he feels, anxious for spring! 5*****


Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

27833670.jpgMischenko: What on earth can I say about this book? I don’t even know how to describe it. I’m just going to say it was totally AWESOME!!!

This is my first read by Blake Crouch and Dark Matter was literally an action packed roller coaster ride! I was thoroughly engaged and engrossed by the story. I went into this book totally blind and had no idea of the plot. Also, there were surprises along the way that weren’t predictable and I remained on edge until the end.

I would highly recommend this to anyone and honestly can’t believe someone would hate it. I thought it was AMAZING and so far the best fiction I’ve read in a long, long time!

I have hopes for a second book and I’m looking forward to reading more by this author. I can totally see this turned into a movie, seriously!

5*****

 

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