Tuesday, October 1, 2019

#gretchensbooks2019 - September

Remember how I said I would do better about recapping books and post about them while they were still relevant in my mind? - well I am! Here it is, in September, and I'm actually sharing my thoughts to this empty post about books I read THIS MONTH. And I’m actually going to post it as soon as this month is over. I swear!

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(Summaries are from Amazon, but all reviews are my own!)

Image result for 102 minutes79. 102 Minutes The Unforgettable Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers by Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn (4/5 ★)
Hailed upon its hardcover publication as an instant classic, the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller and National Book Award Finalist for Nonfiction is now available in a revised edition timed to honor the tenth anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001.

At 8:46 a.m. that morning, fourteen thousand people were inside the World Trade Center just starting their workdays, but over the next 102 minutes, each would become part of a drama for the ages. Of the millions of words written about this wrenching day, most were told from the outside looking in. New York Times reporters Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn draw on hundreds of interviews with rescuers and survivors, thousands of pages of oral histories, and countless phone, e-mail, and emergency radio transcripts to tell the story of September 11 from the inside looking out.

Dwyer and Flynn have woven an epic and unforgettable account of the struggle, determination, and grace of the ordinary men and women who made 102 minutes count as never before.

I was three months short of ten years old when the Twin Towers fell. Old enough to know something terrible had happened, but too young to really understand it. 102 Minutes gave a look into the lives of those in the towers when tragedy struck. Though terrifying, it was interesting to me to learn about what in what like in the time between the first plane hitting the tower and the final collapse. I also am naive enough to think that police departments and fire departments get along, which apparently was so far from reality when 9/11 happened.

80. Gretchen by Shannon Kirk (3.5/5 ★)

The new tenants have a terrible secret. So do the landlord and his daughter…
Ever since Lucy was two, she’s been on the run alongside her mother. She’s never understood the reason for a lifetime of paranoia, aliases, and lies. All she understands are the rules: never lock eyes with strangers, never let down your guard, and always be ready to move on.
Finally, after thirteen years and eleven states, their next hideaway seems perfect. An isolated, fortresslike place in the New Hampshire woods is the new home they share with its owner, a gentlemanly pianist, and his lonely daughter, Gretchen. She’s Lucy’s age and soon becomes Lucy’s first real friend.
But Gretchen and her father have secrets of their own—and an obsession with puzzles that draws Lucy into a terrifying new game of hide-and-seek. Lucy’s dark past is about to come calling. And this time, for her and her mother in the house on the hill, it might be too late to run.

Obviously, I only read this book because of the title.  Well that, and a lot of bookstagrammers were recommending it. At first it felt kinda of slow. I kept putting it down and picking up another book. It was odd, but nothing too suspenseful. Then it got absolutely weird. Like to the point that I had to put it down at night because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to sleep if I kept reading it. The last third of the book was SO much better than the beginning.i could NOT put it down, and stayed up much too late on a school night finishing it!!

Image result for i am malala81. I am Malala by MalalaYousafzai (5/5 ★) 

Malala Yousafzai was only ten years old when the Taliban took control of her region. They said music was a crime. They said women weren't allowed to go to the market. They said girls couldn't go to school.

Raised in a once-peaceful area of Pakistan transformed by terrorism, Malala was taught to stand up for what she believes. So she fought for her right to be educated. And on October 9, 2012, she nearly lost her life for the cause: She was shot point-blank while riding the bus on her way home from school. No one expected her to survive.

Now Malala is an international symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize winner. In this Young Readers Edition of her bestselling memoir, which has been reimagined specifically for a younger audience and includes exclusive photos and material, we hear firsthand the remarkable story of a girl who knew from a young age that she wanted to change the world -- and did.

Malala's powerful story will open your eyes to another world and will make you believe in hope, truth, miracles and the possibility that one person -- one young person -- can inspire change in her community and beyond.

I don’t know how I made it this far past publication before reading this book. It listened to it on audio, so I finished it in a day, but it was really good! I knew of Malala, and the very basics of her story, but I really didn’t know any details. I highly recommend this for any middle grade reader, and even for adults. Though she did not narrate the audiobook, a performer with a similar accent did, which I loved. The audio also included her UN speech at the end which was intriguing to hear. I think I listened to the version meant for children, but I'm sure the storyline is the same.

82. Final Girls by Riley Sager (4/5 ★)
Image result for final girls by riley sager
Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls: Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout's knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them and, with that, one another. Despite the media's attempts, they never meet.
Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancĂ©, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.
That is until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit; and Sam, the second Final Girl, appears on Quincy's doorstep. Blowing through Quincy's life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa's death come to light, Quincy's life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam's truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

This was a good one!! I had predictions throughout, but I truly had no idea what to think about who was guilty of what until I got to the end. I’d think I knew, then something would happen and I’d think something else, then something else would happen and I’d change my mind again! Not my favorite suspense read of this year, but definitely a good one!!

Reading Challenge: 82/50 books read in 2019

You can find previous book reviews here!

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