April and May Bookshelf Updates

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I ended up reading two books in April and five in May.  My e-reader is completely full of books from the library and a free trial of Kindle Unlimited (through Amazon).  I’m thrilled to be checking some books I’ve been wanting to read for a long time and it is such a great feeling when they are as great as you hoped they would be!

April and May bookshelf updates// what did I read this month? Reviews on: A Fifty-Year Silence: Love, War, and a Ruined House in France; Destiny Maker: Lost Souls Trilogy Book One; Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children Boxed Set; & Childhood Regained: Stories of Hope for Asian Child Workers | Stay gold Autumn

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*A Fifty-Year Silence: Love, War, and a Ruined House in France by Miranda Richmond Mouillot// 4 stars

This is the story of Miranda Mouillot as she investigates the fifty-year silence between her grandparents.  I knew the book was going to be an interesting one to me because I love World War II novels, but I felt this one was especially intriguing with the author’s background in history and journalism.  I felt Mulliot is a great writer being able to string together the present and past seamlessly as she discovers more about her grandparents and their involvement in the Nuremberg trials as well as time in concentration camps.  This story was different from so many other WWII novels I’ve read because of the link to the now and I felt the pressure of Mouillot as she was rushing to discover her grandparent’s past before senility and old age took it from her.  This story is an unique and insightful view into how the holocaust impacted generations of a family.  The story was full of tying up a lot of lose ends while creating a lot of new beginnings.  Since reading this, I have found myself suggesting the story to several people and thinking of the story when I see documentaries.


*Destiny Maker: Lost Souls Trilogy Book One by Melissa Dugger //  1 star

I feel so conflicted about this book.  I like science fiction, fantasy, Christian, and young adult genres, but I felt the author tried to pull too much off with this series at once.  There were numerous typos and unanswered plot holes that I feel an editor should have been able to pick up (since I’m not a grammar nerd and have plenty of my own issues writing).  I am optimistic that the book would become better as the author develops the series, but the book felt rushed.  The story was unique, but the strong Christian message felt really odd the way it mixed with the science fiction topic.  Sometimes the different plot lines with demons just made me really uncomfortable.  The story line is often predictable while still being unique.  However, I didn’t like that there wasn’t a lot of foreshadowing that could actually happen in the book.  Since you are thrust into a new world, everything is being described to you for the first time.  My hopes for the series would be that this first novel is setting up the series with information so the reader can guess along.  The characters were interesting even if there was the ever popular young adult fiction love triangle.  The book was quick read, but it just wasn’t enjoyable enough for me to want to read again.


Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children Boxed Set (Books 1-3) by Ransom Riggs // 5 stars

I’ve been wanting to read this book since it came out just because the cover and photos inside of it were so bizarre!  I wasn’t sure what category of book this would actually be from the cover, but I was pleasantly surprised when it was a young adult fantasy series instead of a horror series (which I had previously thought).  The book series is very family friendly with some cussing.  I loved that I could guess along what would happen as the book went on because the author really planned ahead well with plot development and I loved the small details that the author weaved through the stories.  I found myself reviewing different details throughout the book when I finished just because I wanted to spot all of the things I wish I had picked up on the first time; to me, that is a sign of a great book!  The series starts out with a character named Jacob who lives in the Florida suburbs.  After his grandfather’s death, he becomes more and more aware that maybe the stories he told him growing up were actually real.  Present day, the past, and peculiarities all blend together for this series with great character development that has action, love, monsters, and plots guided by real vintage photographs that the author found.


*A Casualty of Grace by Lisa Brown// 3 stars

I picked up this book because I’ve heard a lot recently of the orphan train and I was really curious to learn more about it.  That being said, this book is the story of two brothers who are orphaned and are bought on the orphan train in Canada.  It details their lives in England, their new lives in Canada, and so much heart ache.  I’m impressed with the research that the author did with farming, the areas where the children lived, and with managing to write in dialect instead of plain text.  The book was slow moving, but well written.  I’ve read a lot of books and this one was mostly very horribly sad.  I felt for the boys so much and I felt it did give me a very real representation at what many of the orphan on the orphan train endured.  While many of the children may have received loving homes, the reality is that many became indentured servants in very abusive situations.  I kept hoping things would get better for the children and began thinking of them as little boys I actually knew.  Over and over, I found myself comparing the ages of the boys in this story to what my priorities and obligations were at the same time.  


*Childhood Regained: Stories of Hope for Asian Child Workers by Jodie Renner // 2 stars

This book is an anthology of stories about children who are child laborers throughout the world as well as a resource for people who want to become involved in helping them.  I felt sad that the stories included weren’t actually from any children who were in these situations, but instead written through research;  I struggled connecting with the stories realizing that the stories meant to represent children who are marginalized didn’t actually have a voice in a book meant to help them.  The book proceeds go to organizations across the world that help these children which I think is excellent, however, I felt the resources that were given in the book were very limited to help others become more involved.  I believe this is a cause that needs more light, but I hope that the children who are impacted can receive more of a voice while doing so.

 


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