Book number seven in my 2013 Reading Challenge of 50 books is The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom.
The Five People You Meet in Heaven isBook number seven in my 2013 Reading Challenge of 50 books is The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom.
The Five People You Meet in Heaven is an inspirational story about a man named Eddie, who worked his entire life as Ruby's Pier as a Maintenance worker. His job: to oversee the safety of all of the mechanics and rides at the amusement park. For Eddie's entire life, he lived in the same home and worked in the same park feeling like his life was meaningless, until the tragic accident which cost him his life at the age of 82. Upon arriving in heaven, Eddie soon finds out that it wasn't what it was built up to be at all. No memories flashing before his eyes at his final hour. No tunnel or gates of white. Just a feeling of calm and an ashened blue man. It's here where he begins his real journey, reliving all of his days on earth but also coming to terms with his life's purpose and why things were the way they were.
Beautiful from the very first word to the very last word, Mitch Albom writes a very convincing story, based off of his own late uncle Eddie, about our life's purpose through the exploration of heaven. At each new person in heaven, my heart strings were getting pulled more and more taught. The way in which Albom writes leaves the reader with no choice but to look inward at our own lives while we view the life of a fictional character. Through the entire book, I recalled all of the different people and situations whom I affected just through my presence alone. I recalled the many times where situations were so tough and the only thing that got me through was a handful of just as tough people and my faith. I recalled the times where I witnessed people leave life behind leaving me nothing but a prayer that they would be okay no matter where they ended up afterward. All of these moment and so much more is captured in this book. And I'm certain that when the next person reads this book, they will draw upon different memories and thoughts than I have. But that's what this book gave me: through someone else's eyes, I saw a reflection of myself.
Easily, this book has become one of my all time favourites. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone, no matter their past, present or faith. It was such a small book but I couldn't help but take more time to read it and allow it to engulf me fully. And for something so small, it was one of the biggest boat rockers. Overall, I give 5 out of 5 stars....more
Book number 42 in my 2012 Reading Challenge of 50 Books is Dream Lake by Lisa Kleypas. Dream Lake is the third installment to the Friday Harbor seriesBook number 42 in my 2012 Reading Challenge of 50 Books is Dream Lake by Lisa Kleypas. Dream Lake is the third installment to the Friday Harbor series.
Dream Lake primarily follows the love and love losses of Alex Nolan and Zoe Hoffman. As two individuals struggle to regain stable footing after their divorces from their first spouses, Alex and Zoe journey to learn more about each other and fill the void left by love loss. The narrative of Dream Lake takes place simultaneously to Sam and Lucy’s story in Rainshadow Road and explores many stages of love, insecurity, self-preservation and the relinquishing of control on many levels through many characters.
Visited in the previous Friday Harbor novels, we know that Alex is the youngest brother and possibly the most unstable of the Nolan brothers. Scarred from memories of his alcoholic parents, Alex found himself in marriage to Darcy, which ended disastrously. Through his quick first marriage, Alex experienced nothing but spite and convenience as they were just two selfish people married to one another, with no real plans for each other in their lives. Alex’s marriage to Darcy only last a couple years but within that time and after, Alex’s adapted drinking habits worsened. After the divorce, Darcy took everything from Alex. She had reaped him of all of his financial earnings and unfortunately, his contracting business fell through at the same time. It was only a matter of time until Zoe would step into his life.
We also met Zoe in previous novels –cousin to Justine and one of Lucy’s best friends, Zoe is a kind, naïve and optimistic woman. She shares a business at the inn with Justine as the cook and creative vision. Also coming from a divorce, Zoe has always found herself a little insecure despite the perfect personality and physical appearance. Having married her best friend from high school, it was a shock when her husband Chris asked for a divorce. It was a further shock to Zoe after learning it was due to an affair he had with another man at the office and Chris discovered that he was gay. Soon after, she moved in with Justine and began their business at Artist’s Point. When Zoe finds out that her grandmother is ailing from dementia, Zoe, with the help of Justine, renovate her grandmother’s cottage at Dream Lake. And who better to call than Alex Nolan?
Dream Lake divulges in many complexities of the realities of love in life. It explores the distraught and disgruntled baggage through Alex Nolan, the blind and sheer optimism through Zoe Hoffman, the invisibility and mysterious longing through Tom Findlay (the ghost of Emmaline’s lover), and the nostalgia and the clinging to of memories by Emmaline Hoffman (Zoe’s grandmother). In addition, we learn about Sam and Lucy, Justine, and Mark, Maggie and Holly. All characters presented some complication and baggage in their relationships and clearly, each character dealt with it in his or her own manner. As a reader, I found myself nervous and treading lightly. I have come to learn many of these characters on such an intimate level that even their own friends and family didn’t know them. It was almost embarrassing as if I had just walked into a room at the wrong time. The experience of reading Dream Lake was beautiful, unsettling and sometimes heart-wrenching. Overall, I am rating Dream Lake 4.5 stars out 5 stars. I really enjoyed reading it and in fact, have such a difficult time reviewing it and explaining it because I am still trying to wrap my head around it.
Book number 35 in my 2012 Challenge of 50 Books is Rainshadow Road by Lisa Kleypas. I had decided to approach this book initially because I had thoughBook number 35 in my 2012 Challenge of 50 Books is Rainshadow Road by Lisa Kleypas. I had decided to approach this book initially because I had thought that it was a stand-alone book; however, upon completing Rainshadow Road, I learned that it was a part of a series collection entitled Friday Harbor This novel is the second installment of this series with the first installment being Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor.
Rainshadow Road is primarily based on Lucy Marinn. Occasionally, there is a shift in chacacter points of view.
Since she was a child, Lucy Marinn was accustomed to watching her sister, Alice, get everything that she wanted in life. However, as an adult, she was finally able to escape that after moving to an island called Friday Harbor. At Friday Harbor, Lucy began a new life, a new relationship with boyfriend, Kevin Pearson, developed new friendships with her boyfriends, and began her career as an artist working with glass. Life could not be more blissful (view spoiler)[ until the day that Kevin arrives to Lucy's studio telling her that they have to break up and that he has been cheating on her with Lucy's younger sister, Alice. Upon hearing this devastating news, Lucy finds herself not grievous but in shock. Kevin had also requested that Lucy hastily pack her things and leave so Alice can move in. Everything that Lucy has built up has been demolished. It is the ultimate act of betrayal --she has lost her boyfriend, her sister, her home, her friends. Taking a bike ride, Lucy attempts to gather herself from her shock, only to run into Sam Nolan, a forever bachelor who owns a home and vineyard on Rainshadow Road. With Sam and his perpetual fear of commitment, Lucy finds herself building a new friendship and a helping hand to get back on her feet and over her traumatic experience with relationships. (hide spoiler)]
Rainshadow Road is the first contemporary novel which I have read by Lisa Kleypas. Admittedly, I found myself working my way through this novel quite quickly in comparison to Kleypas' historical fictions. My guess that that is the case because these books do not have to divulge into the details and stresses of past etiquette and mannerisms. With that being said, reading Rainshadow Road was a breath of fresh air. Keeping in terms with the topics explored in the novel, there was no real sense of commitment. It was an easy novel great for a lazy Sunday read. But don't get me wrong, reading this book was a thrill, but I found that it was relaxing even in its tense moments. The novel visits topics such as heartbreak and love loss, and of course, friendships and how life can be so unexpected. There were moments within the novel where I was ready to smack Alice through the book and smack Lucy as well for feeling bad for Alice. I felt so ashamed for Alice, for her to not realize her mistakes and to have the decency to still walk around prideful among those who she had hurt so badly. Additionally, I was appalled that she was self-righteous and that people owed it to her since they had always been jealous of her. I am pretty sure my eyebrows furrowed each time I read about her, just because I know those types of people actually exist. However, in light of that one frustration, I found myself enjoying the company of the other characters. I am unable to fathom how a happy ending is possible after revealing the amount of issues that this group of people had. If it were non-fictional, I highly doubt the story would have ended this way, but Lisa Kleypas brings it together and makes you feel good about reading the novel. How some authors do it, I don't know!
Overall, I am giving Rainshadow Road 4.5 stars out of 5 stars. Despite my complaints regarding Alice, I thoroughly enjoyed this breezy and easy-going read. But one thing before I end this review... did anyone else find the narrative so closely parallel with that of 27 Dresses? I'm just wondering...["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Another Piece of my Heart by Jane Green is book no. 15 in my 50 book challenge of 2012. In addition it is my first first-reads book from Goodreads. ThAnother Piece of my Heart by Jane Green is book no. 15 in my 50 book challenge of 2012. In addition it is my first first-reads book from Goodreads. There are several mini celebrations and milestones that I had upon beginning this book, which perhaps is the perfect way to introduce it.
At the age of thirty-seven years old, Andi has finally found her perfect man. Never been married before, Andi has never really felt the need to search high and low as other women may have; although, as she feels her youthful days beginning to ripen, she begins to feel the urgency, the need, and the want to have a child. Ironically enough, the man in her life comes with a ready-made family of two daughters and the baggage of an alcoholic of an ex-wife. And it is up to Andi to find the perfect balance in proving her love for her stepdaughters, supporting her husband through trying situations, and keeping enough love to hold herself grounded.
Husband, Ethan, has always been able to keep the family running. After separating and divorcing his alcoholic ex-wife Brooke, he has felt the heavy burden of taking care of his two daughters: Emily and Sophia. His younger daughter adores Andi and similarly, Andi adores Sophia viewing her as the daughter she had always wanted. Emily on the other hand was more of a handful. Having resented her father's new relationship from the get-go, Emily is compelled to treat Andi as nothing more than a parasite to her family, causing tantrums and creating havoc whenever she can. And it's her rebellious manner that keeps Ethan on bended knee, waiting on her every command and willing to soothe her pain away, even if it compromises his own marriage and happiness.
This book tells the altruistic tale of the balance of a family without the boundaries of etiquette. It delves into the realistic recesses of the family life that no one ever sees beyond the front door. And like a good novel, Another Piece of my Heart has found ways to break even my heart, as a reader, over and over again, to the point where I had to pause, put the book down and catch my breath. The narrative whisks you away in whirlwind of drama and events, that similar to the characters, seek a sense of peace and resolution that can only come by enough experience of heartache, loveloss and resentment. And of course, that is just how it happens.
Finding this fictional story almost parallel to my own realities of finding a nice man born into a certain type of family, I felt myself instantly drawn towards Another Piece of my Heart, its trials and tribulations, and the overbearing flood of emotion that leaves you with an ache in your chest that is so bad that it gives you butterflies --and that was a constantly happening as I read this book. Read in a day, I found myself remembering back to a time when I felt like Emily --lost in my own home, receiving the support I needed but not necessarily feeling it since it was not the attention that I wanted as well as Andi --controlling a patience that has run its course to the grave. Families truly are a tricky thing to balance and this book will definitely reinstate that into your mind.
Admittedly, there is one setback which I had with this book: it's lack of consistency in writing styles. At times, I caught myself flipping back a few pages to see when the point of view had changed. And as much as I enjoyed this book, I do have to say that it was confusing at times. The verb tenses are inconsistent and the point of view changes constantly, even several times within the same chapter. If the writing technicalities were not so overbearing that it interrupted reading ease, I would have loved this book even more.
Overall, I am rating Another Piece of my Heart by Jane Green 4 stars out 5 stars. The book is definitely one that connects to a person's life experiences. However, I must admit that I may not have enjoyed this book as much if I had read it when I was younger and was still facing the difficult in-law familial distresses.
But there you have it!
Another Piece of my Heart - 4/5
Thank you to St. Martin's Press for sending me a read that was so fitting! I am still in awe that this book would find me and that we carried out a fabulous relationship from the get-go.
The next book lined up for my 2012 reading challenge is 2011's award winning book: The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt....more
Book 8 of this year's 50 Book Challenge is The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.
I'll be truthful: at first I was VERY hesitant about starting this book. It'sBook 8 of this year's 50 Book Challenge is The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.
I'll be truthful: at first I was VERY hesitant about starting this book. It's not the type of book which I would usually read. In fact, not even a little close to my typical book. After reading Book 7, I took a few days to clear my mind so I could approach this book with a very open mind. And looking back at that decision, I have no idea what the heck I was thinking. How idiotic of me!
From the very first very pages of The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan had me hooked in. Her characters were cleverly written and very witty, especially during moments where you don't expect them to be. The book explores the idea of Chinese culture, tradition and heritage through the eyes of eight women: four mothers and four daughters. And throughout the length of the book, you get to experience stories, superstitions, heritage and progress. It is amazing to me that the characters within this book were fictional as they are written with such life and charm.
My boss had lent me this book after having a book chat one day and I am really glad that I had a book recommendation from someone who does not read my style of books. This book took me longer to read in comparison to my January books and I do not regret that fact either. It was definitely something that I enjoyed and wanted to savour. As an Asian (Filipino) woman, there are many confusions regarding my heritage. It is very common case where non-Asians will approach me asking about my Chinese heritage. And I'll admit, over time, it gets very frustrating, especially when they try to validate themselves saying, "well, you look Chinese!" Well, actually no I don't. And although I'm not Chinese, these book taught me a lot and gave me interesting insight to the Chinese culture. You see, I like in an area which over the years has become heavily populated with Chinese families. And over the years, I guess I've become a little spiteful as my friendly multi-cultural community deteriorated and was replaced by "people who I didn't understand" -both in language and in tradition. And I'm not saying that I am racist, because I don't think I am. But this book has really opened my eyes to the inner workings of the development of my ever-changing community.
After this read, I am definitely going to read more books by Amy Tan. And in addition to that, I will make sure that I no longer take any unnecessary breaks between books when it comes to books which my boss recommends me. I should've known it was going to be a good one if it was from her own favourite's list.
Overall, I am giving Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club a 4.85 out of 5, but adding it to my collection of favourites. And I'll tell you why the deduction: everything was great, but the last paragraph in the book fell short for me. I don't enjoy when books drop you off as if it was a bus stop destination. Other than that, it was excellent!
Book 9 is the book in Richelle Mead's Dark Swan Series: Shadow Heir....more