Hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Defending Jacob by William Landay

Andy Barber is the Assistant District Attorney in charge of most murder investigations in Newton Massachusetts. When 14 year old Ben Rifkin is stabbed to death in their neighborhood, Andy leads the search for the murderer. But he is blindslided when the police show up to arrest his 14 year old son Jacob for the crime.

I listened to this on audio and had a really hard time getting into it. I hated the character of Laurie, Andy’s wife. I’m not an emotional person and she was all about the feelings. She wanted everyone to emote continuously. I hated her from the moment she was introduced as this wonderful person who everyone loved. I kept hoping that she had killed Ben Rifkin. 🙂

As the book progressed I got more into it. Besides, the Laurie character seemed to be on the edge of a nervous breakdown and that made me happy. She did develop a backbone towards the end of the book and that made me like her better. The book is full of twists and turns with a lot of foreshadowing because the book is told as Andy is testifying in front of the grand jury 6 months after Jacob’s murder trial. You don’t know why there is another investigation until the very end. The ending is the sort that makes me want to stand up and cheer when authors twist everything you thought you knew.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Alina and Mal are orphans who have been raised together in a home. Now young adults they are in the army as a mapmaker and a tracker. They need to cross the magical dead space dividing their country. When their party is attacked Alina repels the attackers with previously unrecognized magical talent. She is whisked away to be trained in hopes that she can help destroy this blight on the land.

This is the start of a YA trilogy that takes place in a fantasy version of Russia. The writing is very good and pulls you into the story immediately. There isn’t a lot of the teen angst that can get so annoying in these books. She misses her friend and is sad that he isn’t writing to her but she isn’t off pining in a corner.

A Thousand Sisters: My Journey into the Worst Place on Earth to Be a Woman by Lisa Shannon

The author heard about the war in the Congo on Oprah and decided to do something to help the women. She ran a 30 mile trail run to raise money to sponsor women through Women for Women International. Since that first solo run, Run for Congo Women has grown into a worldwide event.

I had this book for a while from the library and didn’t pick it up. I wasn’t sure I wanted to read about the mass rapes and killings. I didn’t realize at first that it was about Run for Congo Women. I’ve been a Women for Women sponsor for years and this year am sponsoring a woman from Congo so I’ve heard of the organization.

This book starts out with a history of the war in the Congo that developed after the perpetrators of the genocide in Rwanda were driven out of there and set up camps over the border in the Congo. I didn’t realize that these were the same people. Then it goes into the start of Run for Congo Women and the author’s visits to the Congo to meet the women she was sponsoring. It discusses what if any impact grassroots efforts can really have in another country. Personally, it affected me by showing that the women in the program do want to hear from the sponsors. You are encouraged to write to the woman you sponsor but I always feel stupid. What can I say about my life here that matters at all to a woman in a war zone? But, since reading the book I’ve sent off a letter with some pictures and I’m going to try to write something every month.