Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Spotlight: The Measure of the Moon by Lisa Preston

Publisher: Thomas Mercer Publishing
Pages: 336
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through Netgalley

Release Date: May 16, 2017

Goodreads Synopsis:

When eight-year-old Greer Donner falls off his horse in the Washington wilderness, he braces himself to face the long hike home alone. But screams pierce the darkness, and he stumbles upon a dead-end road where a man is beating a woman—nearly to death. In a moment of courage, he stops the assault, but he’s left to face the man, who turns his wrath into an ominous threat: if the boy ever reveals what he has seen, his family will pay the ultimate price. The secret Greer now carries begins his emotional unraveling.

In Seattle, Gillian Trett is a photographer with a troubled marriage and a childhood she’s trying to forget. Domestic tension mounts when her husband’s stepsister arrives. Desperate for a distraction, and a way to advance her career, Gillian throws herself into uncovering the history behind an old man’s Holocaust photo of boys in a forest. The mysterious children and the truth behind the scene haunt her—she can’t let go of the image, or of her own shadowed past.

Then a horrifying revelation entangles Gillian’s path with young Greer’s. The boy and the woman, separated by a generation and a hundred miles, each confront the terrible power of harbored secrets—not only to eclipse the truth but also to illuminate the dark, unknown dimensions of their loved ones and themselves.

My Review:

I was very intrigued with the synopsis of the book, Lisa Preston really tackles how one moment can affect someone. But what really brought everything together was the way she intertwined the different stories and brought these two unlikely characters together. I will say it took me some time to get into the story, I found that there is a lot of time spent on getting the readers to know the different characters, that it took away from the story at first.

I really enjoyed the story of the Donner family, I loved how they are a huge family who all come together and care for each other. Though I will say that it was hard to follow along with which character was which, I felt that everyone in the family all seemed very similar and there were not too many huge character differences. I think this was done to really single out Greer (which was absolutely achieved), since he is the main character going through the difficult time.

The biggest concern I had while reading this book is how long it took to bring these two stories together to meet, everything happens closer to the end of the book and it made it quite difficult to keep reading. I felt disconnected through a lot of the story and felt that the second storyline did not need to be as in depth, that really took away from the main idea of what is happening to Greer and I felt myself wanting more of that family dynamic while I was with the other story.

Lisa Preston keeps you intrigued and on your toes, but I felt like something just missed the mark with this story, and things just felt a tad bit disconnected from one another.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Discussion - Podcasts

I always hear people talking about different podcasts that they have really gotten into, and a few years ago I went on a binge (around the time that Welcome to Nightvale came out, that was the reason for my binge) but then I kind of lost interest and stopped listening to podcasts.

Well last night, I started a binge again, I went on a day of searching for podcasts that would pique my interest, I of course went back to Welcome to Nightvale, which is what got me started again, and I also went back to the more humourous ones, like The Nerdist podcast which I was listening to before as well. 

Image taken from www.wnyc.org
But of course, me being who I am, a lover of books, my search obviously went straight to podcasts related to books. The one that I immediately downloaded was one done by The New York Times, it's called "The Writer's Voice". Once a week, you are able to listen to an author who reads one of their short stories that has been published in The New York Times. I'm not usually one for short stories but listening to this has absolutely changed my perspective on that. These are usually only little half an hour episodes and it's something that would be nice to listen to on my way to work, I don't really listen to audiobooks because I don't have that long of a drive and then I sometimes forget what happened, after working an 8 hour day.

I've loved listening to these authors read their short stories and it is just enough for one car ride. I find it's also been a great way to get to know some new authors and sample their work. I definitely believe I will find many more authors to read with this podcast! I hear THE NEW YORKER has some great podcasts that will keep me busy!

So tell me, what podcasts have you been listening to? I'd love some new recommendations if you have any! 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Review: Books for Living by Will Schwalbe

Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
Pages: 288
Received: Purchased my own copy

Release Date: December 27, 2016

Goodreads Synopsis:

From the author of the beloved New York Times best-selling The End of Your Life Book Club, an inspiring and magical exploration of the power of books to shape our lives in an era of constant connectivity.

Why is it that we read? Is it to pass time? To learn something new? To escape from reality? For Will Schwalbe, reading is a way to entertain himself but also to make sense of the world, to become a better person, and to find the answers to the big (and small) questions about how to live his life. In this delightful celebration of reading, Schwalbe invites us along on his quest for books that speak to the specific challenges of living in our modern world, with all its noise and distractions. In each chapter, he discusses a particular book—what brought him to it (or vice versa), the people in his life he associates with it, and how it became a part of his understanding of himself in the world. These books span centuries and genres (from classic works of adult and children’s literature to contemporary thrillers and even cookbooks), and each one relates to the questions and concerns we all share. Throughout, Schwalbe focuses on the way certain books can help us honor those we’ve loved and lost, and also figure out how to live each day more fully. Rich with stories and recommendations, Books for Living is a treasure for everyone who loves books and loves to hear the answer to the question: “What are you reading?”

My Review:

My love for Will Schwalbe happened very quickly after reading The End of Your Life Book Club. As soon as I found out he had another book coming, I knew that this book needed to be on my shelf. Will's writing has a very special place in my heart and on my bookshelf because of how he is able to equate each book with a special time in his life. Books for the Living truly takes that and runs with it.

Each chapter is based off one specific book and as Will writes about this book, he talks about how the book has shaped his life or how he is able to equate a certain situation to situations in the story itself. Will Schwalbe's books are truly written for lovers of books like himself. I found many times while reading this book that after finishing a chapter I would need to put the book down and think about what Will spoke about and the things he felt while reading these books. Will truly makes you think, and he makes you want to read these books to see what you get, but even more than that, Will makes you think about what books you have read and which ones have touched your life in the way these books have touched his.

Reading this book reminds me of why I love books so much, sometimes I love books because they take me on a journey and yet I also love books that truly make me think and that change the way I may look at life after finishing it. This book truly makes me think of the conversations I have with people, one of the great things for me is that at my work I get to have a lot of conversations with people and many times while these people are walking around I get to have a lot of conversations with them about what they are reading. And I have learned that by talking about the books we are reading we get to know each other that much more, just like Will discusses in this book.

Honestly there are just so many great pages and quotes throughout the book, if I was one of those people who hi-lighted my books, I believe that there would not be a part of this book that would be left bare. That is the type of book that Will writes, every word absolutely touches you and leaves you thinking about what you just last read. I truly hope that Will continues to write about the books that he has read and what they mean to him. He is absolutely an author for those that truly love books and want to read about books.

I will end this review with the quote that stuck out to me the most, and it is how Will ends his book "When I read, I'm reminded to be more thoughtful about how I approach each day. And that's not just important for living: it's the least I can do for the dead. I read to live. I read for life." Those last few words truly hit home for me.


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