The Light Between Oceans-M.L. Stedman

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Light between oceans

 

I was really excited to read this book because the movie looked really good. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I know by the book that it’s going to be sad! I felt like Bilbo Baggins reading this book, “I feel like butter that’s been spread over too much bread”. In other words, I felt like the story was a great concept, but it was stretched out and didn’t have enough plot points to drive it home. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked it, and thought it was well researched and written. But there are only so many ways that you can say, A couple living in a lighthouse finds a baby washed ashore and they torment themselves over what to do.

Tom Sherbourne returns from the war to Australia. He finds a job as a lightkeeper, which is perfect job for him because he’s an independent man, not wanting for much. One of the previous lightkeepers suggests to him that he find a wife or he might go mad out there alone. This is sort of foreshadowing—Tom is just fine when he’s by himself, but once he and his wife find the baby washed ashore with her father’s dead body, they slowly begin to go crazy with worry, fear, and guilt.

Tom’s wife, Isabel, has suffered so many miscarriages and one stillbirth. They’ve all but given up their dream of having a child, when they find the baby they come to call Lucy. Isabel begs Tom to keep her, despite his better judgement.

This is when the book starts to stretch and tug too tight over the conflict. I think the author did a very thorough job of detailing all the emotions Isabel and Tom experience while having Lucy in their possession—on the one hand, they want keep her for their own, but Tom knows in his heart that he needs to tell someone ashore.

The real plot twist comes when they go ashore for the first time since finding Lucy, when she’s about 2 years old. They learn of Hannah Roennfeldt, a woman stricken with grief over losing her husband and 3 week old baby. They were never found. I won’t give anything else away, but it does have an interesting ending.

I wish this novel had more plot twists in it—I think it would have held my interest better. Instead, the author focused more on details and the emotions of the characters. It’s not bad, just different. I’m interested in watching the movie and seeing if it stays true to the book.

2.5/5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Talking as Fast as I Can

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I have a new reading challenge that I am attempting this year I found on Facebook somewhere. One of the challenges was to read a book that I could read in one day. This book met that criteria–it was only 209 pages. I think I read the first half straight through.

Lauren Graham’s first novel Someday, Someday, Maybe came out in 2013. My review can be found here.It wasn’t as good as I thought it would be, because I think I was hoping for more of a bio, like this book is. That’s why I loved this book so much more.

Everyone who’s a huge Gilmore Girls fan like myself, wants to know about the making of the show and what it was like during those 7 years. Well, this memoir will give you some insight into those years of playing Lorelai Gilmore, as well as the Parenthood years, and the Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life mini-series.

I liked the way Graham wrote this book; she writes to the audience as if she is talking to them face to face. Plenty of jokes and sarcasm. I think I would have preferred her to write this book first, before Someday, Someday, Maybe but I understand why she wrote that first now. She had some spare time in between shooting Parenthood episodes and that’s where her first novel began. I certainly applaud her for putting her baby out there for everyone to read and getting a book published! I’ve never done anything like that so I definitely give her props.

My favorite part about this book was where Graham watched all the Gilmore Girls episodes and commented with her favorite scene, hairstyle/fashion, and a fun-fact for each season. It was interesting to know that she makes a point of not watching herself in shows so she had forgotten some things that happened in the show. There was one part when she was shooting Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life and she had to have the part where Lorelai and Christopher get married completely hashed out to her because she forgot it had happened! Such an important detail that she had forgotten! But with how hectic actors’ lives are, I can see how you wouldn’t be able to remember everything that ever happened in a TV show you’ve been filming for 6 years straight.

I highly recommend this book if you’re an avid Gilmore Girls fan and I’m excited to read her next book!

4/5

 

Me After You

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I finished Me Before You, the novel awhile back. I wrote a review about the movie which you can find here.I didn’t bother writing a review of the book because, who wants to read a review of a book and the movie when there’s not much difference? Although I will say, I wish I had heard of the book sooner and read it before the movie, as there were parts that I had already known what would happen and got a little bored reading it.

This sequel was slightly disappointing. I mean, we know what happens in the end of Me Before You…so what could the sequel be about? Well, JoJo Moyes managed to captivate my attention for the most part, but we end up in pretty much the same place we started with at the beginning; a girl learning how to live after loss.

The story picks up a few months after Clark (Louisa/Lou) has had a chance to travel and see the things Will wanted her to see before he died. She has some money as an inheritance, and she uses it to buy a nice flat in east London. She gets a crappy job as a bartender wearing a hideous green costume and wig in an airport. She’s basically wasting her life again as Will would tell her and she’s no better off than before she met him.

One night, she’s standing on the roof of her flat, thinking about Will, when a girl frightens her from behind and she falls a couple of flights. With a broken hip among several other injuries, Clark survives. She manages to reunite with the girl who scared her on the roof, named Lily. Lily turns out to be….PLOT TWIST…Will’s daughter!

Lily is just as wild and reckless as her father used to be before his accident. She is searching for answers about her father. Lily’s mother is basically a gold digger and wants nothing to do with her daughter and Lily wants nothing to do with her stepfather, Fuckface. (Her nickname, not mine). Clark tries to help Lily the best she can, but Lily constantly runs away, smokes cigarettes in Lou’s flat, and gets plastered on random occasions. She is a cyclone of a teenager and Lou doesn’t quite know how to handle her.

Clark takes Lily to meet her grandfather, Will’s father, who is divorced from Will’s mother, remarried, and has a baby on the way with a much younger woman. The meeting doesn’t go so well, as Lily has this complex that prevents her from accepting that anyone would love her, let alone like her. She has a similar meeting with Will’s mother. Clark is at a loss about what to do with Lily.

One integral part to Clark’s story after her fall is the Moving On Circle. It’s a group that meets once a week to discuss how to move on after a loss. One young teenager in the group, Jake, has lost his mother. The man who takes him every night to the group is Sam, whom Clark assumes is Jake’s father. She builds a relationship with him after she finds out he is the paramedic who saved her life after she fell.

Ambulance Sam is a good guy and someone who really tries to bring Clark out of the darkness of losing Will, but he is still a guy who needs her to forget the ghost of Will. I liked how JoJo gave Clark a new love, but I was disappointed with the ending. I won’t go into too much detail, but it’s not as sad an ending as Me Before You.

Overall, I liked this book but I would have rather not had a sequel to spoil the first book. 3/5.

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls

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Owls

 

I’ve read at least 4 other works by David Sedaris, so I figured I would have the same reaction to this one. Even if I didn’t like the stories, at least the title was entertaining—and it was only $5 at Barnes and Noble!

My favorite stories of his usually involve his family. My favorite story out of this book was him telling about his colonoscopy experience. His father kept begging him to get one after he did—when Sedaris was only in his early 20’s—but Sedaris refused of course. It wasn’t until his sister got one that he decided he might try it. She described it as being the best thing she ever did and it was like being on a drug high essentially. The best part is when he gets done with the procedure and is moved to the “farting room.” I’ll leave that one to the imagination.

Some other topics covered are politics, visiting Asia, going to the dentist, losing his passport and visas, and a few fictional essays where he writes in first person POV. It’s been a few weeks since I finished the book, and I have the hardest time remembering things I’ve read if I don’t write anything down.

I admit this wasn’t my favorite of his works (“Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim”) but it wasn’t his worst either. I thought this one was quite a bit more political than the others. To be fair, it was published in 2013, the year Obama was reelected. Although I don’t agree with Sedaris religiously or politically, he writes in a way that is borderline offensive but comes off entertaining and hilarious. I wish I had as much funny material to write about as he does.

 

I give this book 3.5/5

 

Me Before You

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I haven’t reviewed a movie since I started this blog and funny enough, one of them was The Theory of Everything, another disabled man-meets-perfect-soulmate romance (with a few more things found here.)

Let me start off by saying Sam Claflin played Finnick in The Hunger Games movies. There, got that off my chest. Some people don’t realize this. I’m all about movie trivia. So, if you thought he was sexy while trying to escape murderous monkeys and flesh-eating fog, he’s even sexier when he plays a quadriplegic. My husband just shakes his head at me.

I was totally going to go buy this book and read it before I saw the movie but let’s be honest, I have way too many books on my to-read list and I really wanted to see this tear-jerker movie. I forced my husband to not stare at me while I bawled my eyes out. I tend to not cry when he’s staring at me and smirking because he thinks I’m cute but I’d rather just cry as hard as I want to get completely involved in the lives of the characters who are obviously not real people. That’s what writers and readers do, right?

Without giving too much away, here’s a brief synopsis: woman needs job-gets job that no one else can stand taking care of an angry quadriplegic-said quad refuses to try to live in his new body because he misses his old life too much-girl befriends man-girl tries to help man find joy in life-girl and man fall in love–and

****SPOILERS AHEAD****

 

needle runs off the record–he commits assisted suicide ANYWAY! Why do good romance movies always end this way? Why does the man HAVE to die? I mean, couldn’t he just have decided that Clarke could make him happy and give him a new life? I understand him being stubborn about the whole thing, I’m pretty stubborn myself. But COME ON. The audience would have left the theater a whole lot happier. We all would have gone home with a nice warm fuzzy feeling instead of cold, dead-inside, mascara-running faces. This is why I need to read the book because there MUST be a reason this character had to die. The movie simply couldn’t explain everything in the book or it would be 8 hours long. I need to read the book to see if I’m happier with the outcome.

Has anyone actually read the book? Is it any different or am I doomed?

I give this movie a 4.5/5 only because of the ending.

Salt to the Sea

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It took me a couple of months but I finally finished this book. It was not my favorite of Sepetys’ three novels, but certainly ranks high as far as historical fiction goes. Reading the Author’s Note at the end gave me a greater appreciation for the amount of research Sepetys does for her novels. You know she’s dedicated when she spends 3 years doing research, interviews, tours, and traveling to multiple countries for 1 novel. I don’t have the patience to finish anything I start. That’s why I will never be a novelist. Plus, as most writers I hate my own work.

This novel is unique because Sepetys tells the story of the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff through the voices of 4 characters. Joanna, is a young Lithuanian nurse trying to help others to appease her guilty conscience. She meets Emilia, a 15 year old pregnant Polish girl trying to survive the deathly cold alongside Florian, a mysterious Prussian who is hiding a secret from everyone. The three characters come into contact with the fourth, Alfred, aboard the Wilhelm Gustlaff at the end of World War II. All 4 characters have a story to tell of how they are trying to survive the war.

I like the fact that not all the characters are likeable, especially Alfred. He is a tormented soul, not quite all there mentally but still a three-dimensional character. He writes letters to his Hannelore in his head, to keep himself sane and boost his ego about being an important soldier serving Hitler.

Joanna was probably my favorite. She is a young woman full of emotions but trying to hide them all. She is interested in Florian, whom Emilia calls “the knight.” She tries very hard to help others as best she can, to make up for all the needless guilt she feels. I related to her the most.

Emilia is a quiet, young girl with a strong will to fight all through all of the suffering she has endured. She stays close to Florian because she views him as her savior, literally and figuratively. She looks to him as protection and safe-keeping from the war.

Florian was a hard one to figure out. You don’t quite know his whole story until the very end. He is on a mission to save an important artifact but pretends to work for Hitler most of the time, to save his life. He doesn’t open up to anyone until he meets Joanna. I like him because he is the romantic figure in the book without trying to be.

Although I liked this novel a lot, I will say the shipwreck portion was a bit disappointing for me. I have seen the movie Titanic a hundred times and this has some of the same descriptions and lines as the movie. I will say she did do her research and got the time period very accurate as to what would have been available in case of a ship sinking and the realities of imminent death. I just wished for something a little bit different I suppose.

I would highly recommend this book, especially if you like historical fiction/ or World War II accounts.

I give this one a 3.5/5.

So, it’s been awhile.

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So, I haven’t had a new post in quite some time, for several reasons. I started a new job 3 months ago, I’ve had some new health issues, and I’ve generally been too stressed out and tired to read. I’m in the middle of 3 books, one of which, I should finish really soon. I got this idea from another blogger I follow—jessreadingnook.wordpress.com. You make a list of all the books you own but haven’t read yet, and make a goal to read some over the summer. Now, I’m kind of a slow-reader, in that, I read big chunks at a time with several days or week in between. I read the most when I had my tonsils taken out—7 books in 3 weeks! But I will make some sort of goal. This list is not completely accurate—it’s only the books from my To-Read list on Goodreads that I know I own, but there are several more that I can’t remember right now. Have to check my shelves later. So here you go, a list of books I own but have yet to read. Feel free to comment on which books you liked, didn’t like, recommend I read first, etc.

1. The Wizard of Oz books 2-10 by Frank Baum

2. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green

3. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

4. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

5. Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

6. Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris

7. Yes, My Accent is Real: and Some Other Things I Haven’t Told You by Kunal Nayyar

8. The Queen’s Fool by Philippa Gregory

9. The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

10. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

11. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

12. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

13. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

14. Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

15. The Lighting Thief (Percy Jackson Series #1) by Rick Riordan

16. Stardust by Neil Gaiman

17. The Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (I’ve started it 3 times)

18. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding

19. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodie Picoult

20. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

21. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (about half-way through)

22. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (nearly half-way through, second time reading)

23. The Little House on the Prairie series (1 giant book)

24. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins