Friday, June 30, 2017

"Crossed" by Ally Condie

Often you can tell how much I am enjoying a book by how quickly it takes me to finish it. I made it through this book fairly quickly, though not quite as quickly as I did “Matched. “Crossed” is, in my opinion, just as good of a book, though it didn’t leave me questioning things as much as “Matched” did. This book seemed to be more of a transitional story, setting things up for the final book in the trilogy.

In “Crossed”, we learn much more about how the Society came to exist as well as about the main characters’ pasts. While describing things happening in the present of the story, we are given much of the history of this world; information that we were left wondering about in “Matched”.  We also learn more about the Rising, a hidden group that disagrees with the Society’s apparent belief that choices are something that only cause problems. The Rising is a group that some believe will help them to be free to make their own choices in life and will help to end the rules that the Society has imposed on everyone.

While I did enjoy this book, I preferred reading “Matched”. “Matched” made me think about and question things much more than “Crossed” did. That isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy “Crossed”: I did enjoy it and I am very much looking forward to finishing the series. I want to see what will happen with the Society next. Can it survive as is, or will it fall as have so many other governments that tried to control their populations?

Next time, I’ll talk about the final book in the trilogy... “Reached”.

Mom Kat

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

"Matched" by Ally Condie

For today’s entry, I have chosen the book “Matched” by Ally Condie. It’s a Young Adult Dystopian novel and the first book in a trilogy. To keep things simple, I plan on discussing “Matched,” followed by the sequels “Crossed,” and  “Reached” in the following posts. After that we’ll switch types of books again. While this series may be written with teenage readers in mind, it has a strong plot and is well enough written to hold an adult reader’s interest as well.

Imagine living in a world where at the age of 17 you are matched with what is considered your “perfect mate”... someone you have most likely never met and know nothing about. There is no choice in the matter, and in only a few years you will find yourself married to that person for the rest of your life

Everything about your life is planned for you. Your career is chosen for you, your free time is scheduled (with only a limited number of activities from which you can choose), and even your meals are planned and prepared for you based on your nutritional needs rather than tastes.

Now imagine that your best friend was announced at the match banquet to be your “perfect match,” but when you started to read the data card you were given to learn what little you may not already know about him, it is someone else listed on the card as your match... another boy that you also grew up knowing. Would you wonder about it? Or believing that the Officials don’t make mistakes, would you simply accept it when the Official tells you someone must have been playing a prank on you? And if you did begin to question this, what about the rest of the life choices that the Officials have planned for your future?

This was a very thought provoking book that made me think about a lot of things that many may say could never happen, but at least some of which already do seem to be coming to pass.

When one of the characters begins to secretly teach another the lost skill of handwriting (everything is written down by typing it on a datapad. Almost no one in this society knows how to write anything. Handwriting has become a lost skill), I can’t help but think of the fact that cursive writing is no longer taught in most schools. Even barely legible printing is excused in my daughter’s school under the theory that “It doesn’t matter, soon everything will be typed on a computer keyboard anyway.” Handwriting in any form is already starting to become a lost skill in our world.

Overall, this was a well written book with only a few noticeable typos/grammatical errors throughout. While I was able to anticipate the ending fairly early on in the story, I suspect that had I been the Young Adult reader that the author intended as the target audience, I would have been a bit more surprised by it. This did not, however, in any way diminish my enjoyment of the story.

As I said above, this book made me think about how such a society had come to pass, as well as how easily I could see something similar happening in our own future. And isn't the goal of a good book not only to entertain the reader, but to leave them thinking about what they had just read? If so, then this one succeeded.

Next time, I'll discuss book 2 in the series, "Crossed" by Ally Condie.

Until then,
Mom Kat

Saturday, June 24, 2017

"Between a Heart and a Rock Place: a Memoir" by Pat Benatar with Patsi Bale Cox

Hello and welcome to my first entry of Mom Kat Reads!

This is my first attempt at writing a blog, so try not to be too hard on me okay? Here I’ll be talking about the books I’ve read, whether I enjoyed them or not, and just whatever thoughts I have about them in general. I’ll even let you know if for some reason I decided not to finish reading a book and why. I enjoy a wide variety of subjects and usually choose a book depending on my mood, so you can expect a wide variety of books to be discussed here over time.

Most of what I read, I read on a kindle, though from time to time I will read paper books as well. In my opinion a “real book” is in any format that interests you, whether electronic, paper, or any other format that becomes available as time goes on. The important thing is that you read whatever you enjoy, regardless of whether that is fiction, nonfiction, magazines, or even comic books. Like the format, the subject matter isn’t nearly as important as just reading.

That being said, lets move on to today’s book shall we?

The first book I’ve read and will be talking about here is: “Between a Heart and a Rock Place: A Memoir” written by Pat Benatar with Patsi Bale Cox. I’ll try to give you some of the highlights without spoiling the entire book for you. (I hate it when I’m reading a review and they spoil the book’s ending for me, don’t you?) While this isn’t a fiction book with cliffhangers and you may already know a lot about her life, it would still be unfair of me to tell you her whole story without giving you the chance to enjoy it for yourself.

First off, this book was well written and well edited. In the past I’ve read books that could have used a good editor to help get rid of typos and other errors, but this book wasn’t one of them.  It was very easy to just let go and enjoy reading it. I don’t know about the rest of you, but one of my biggest pet peeves is trying to read a book that the author didn’t even take the time to proofread before publishing it. If they didn’t care enough about their writing to edit it before it was published, why should I care enough to buy a copy and read it after it was published? This book was clearly well cared about, and that made it a joy to read.

I learned a lot about Pat Benatar from reading this book. From her beginnings in a family that struggled financially, yet clearly loved and focused on their children’s happiness, to her success as a Rock singer. While in school, her choir teacher first noticed her vocal talents and began encouraging her as a singer. For years Pat trained as a classical singer, studying arias and operatic singing. She was even scheduled for an audition to attend Julliard to further her music studies.. But her boyfriend chose to enlist in the military at the end of their senior year and she chose to skip her audition to marry him instead so that they could remain together.

One of my favorite parts of the book occurred after Pat started singing in clubs and trying to develop her own sound as a Rock singer. With her classical training and melodic voice, she was often encouraged towards Pop rather than Rock music, but she knew what she wanted to sing, and that didn’t involve compromising her principles to get signed by a record label or changing her style for anyone. She and her husband were failing as a couple, and it wouldn’t be long before they ended their marriage.

When she was introduced to a talented guitarist named Neil Giraldo as a potential band member and as someone who could help her develop her own musical voice, Pat later told her friend and manager that she had just met the father of her children. She knew from that first meeting that they were meant for each other, both as partners in music and in life.  It was some time before that happened, as she was still married and he was in a relationship at the time, but both of them felt the immediate attraction. While neither sought to end the other’s relationship, it was only a matter of time before they did wind up as a couple.

Their relationship did have it’s trouble in the beginning. The record company actively tried to split them up, fearing it would not only ruin her image as a sexy female rocker if she was involved with someone, but that it couldn’t possibly work with them performing together. For a while, the record executives did succeed, but in the end the two did come together and eventually got married and later had two beautiful daughters. The two of them were a couple that I can only describe as true soul mates. They were destined to be together from the very beginning.

Pat Benatar is one amazing woman, mother, and singer. She is one of a very small number of performing artists who has never been involved in drugs, alcohol, or any other “bad behavior”. She has never been to rehab nor given up on her dreams or compromised her ideals to get where she is today. She has been an inspiration to many performers who have come after her and was still performing and touring at the time this book was published. She and her husband Spyder have successfully secured the financial future for both themselves and their children.

This book kept me enthralled from the very beginning.  I may have given you much of her story here, but there is still so much more that I haven’t given away.  I strongly recommend reading it for yourself. It was a very good book and well worth the time I spent reading it. I had a very hard time putting it down at night to sleep or to go and do other unavoidable daily life tasks. It really was that good of a book. Read it for yourself and feel free to let me know whether or not you agree with me.

Until next time!

Mom Kat

Firefax by A. M. Vergara

During the Revolutionary War, there are rumors of a city of gold that is hidden on an island whose location is known only to the Firefax fam...