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
Just finished Angelfire and on to book no. 2. This is good timing since book 3 is set to be released in January. I wonder if this is a trilogy or a saJust finished Angelfire and on to book no. 2. This is good timing since book 3 is set to be released in January. I wonder if this is a trilogy or a saga......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 40 in my 2012 Reading Challenge of 50 books is Rapture by Lauren Kate. Rapture is the fifth and final installment in the Fallen series. InBook number 40 in my 2012 Reading Challenge of 50 books is Rapture by Lauren Kate. Rapture is the fifth and final installment in the Fallen series. In addition to that, it is a milestone for me to mark my progress in my Reading Challenge and 50 Book Pledge. At the completion of Rapture, I have ten more books to read to complete my 2012 reading goal.
When I began the Fallen series several years ago, I did not know much about the novel nor was I able to tell which direction this series would go. However, I took the plunge as I fell in love with the cover. And of course, I will admit that I’m in love with the idea of angels, fallen angels, nephilim, and that entire sort. It was a promising beginning. As I read the first novel, Fallen, I couldn’t help myself –I pried each new page over hastily hungry for more. I was so in love –mysterious and challenging characters, uncertainty, and an eerie and uncanny setting. Fallen had it all. I couldn’t wait to pick up the next book, (view spoiler)[which in my opinion fell a little short, soon to be followed by more disappointing novels. One after the other, they showed up at bookstores around the world. And I think all of us readers were just hoping: Please! Let this one be a good one! Let this novel be the one that makes up for the past failures! And then of course, that didn’t happen. (hide spoiler)] But now here we are at Rapture, ready to pick at it and pull it apart and tell the world what this book was like in comparison to the first novel and to the series as a whole.
Within Rapture, we continue to follow Lucinda Price as she learns about her journey and role in the greater scheme of things. Together with Daniel, their angelic companions and all of the characters whom we met along the way, Luce must uncover the secrets of this curse. And as Luce is able to divulge more information about her past lives and the nature of this curse, the more Daniel must step back to allow Luce to solve it on her own. (view spoiler)[ And here’s where the honesty kicks in. Have you seen the book? It’s quite thick for a YA book. I’m not complaining about the girth as many of my favourites are longer and wider books. However, I can only think of one word right now to describe the first two-thirds of this novel: ampaw. It is a Filipino word. My mother uses it a lot when she thinks something is of poor quality or useless. Sometimes you might hear other Filipinos describing a loaf of bread as ampaw. What it means is “full of air”. And no matter how much I try to recall the first two-thirds of the book, I cannot seem to remember all of the details. They were not memorable or outstanding, especially not for what is supposed to be the finale. (hide spoiler)] I must admit that as the momentum built and as Luce slowly (a little too slowly) uncovered the pieces, I enjoyed it more. After all, isn’t this book supposed to be about fallen angels?
As we uncover the narrative for what it truly is as well as Luce for who she truly is, I cannot help but relax a little. The story is quite beautiful and enchanting. I imagined the skies darkening quickly with gray doomed wings, stepping into another dimension as Luce explores the final announcer, and the shrill brightness upon approaching the Throne. The list is quite extensive when discussing the positives of the end of Rapture. If you could pull through the previous books, I hope that you will be able to find a little bit of heaven in the conclusion of this one. It isn’t breath taking but it will do!
Overall, I am rating Rapture 2.5 stars out of 5 stars as the ending definitely made up for the first two-thirds of the novel. In addition, I would like to rate the Fallen series as well. I give the Fallen series by Lauren Kate 2 stars out of 5 stars for having an ace idea with an unfortunate and poor execution. This is a series that should have been, in my opinion, two large novels (comparable to the size of Rapture or three novellas. Oh! –And someone should teach Lauren Kate about mind mapping and storyboarding.
There you have it: 2.5/5 stars for Rapture!
Book number 41 in my Reading Challenge of 50 Books is Endlessly by Kiersten White. ...more
At first, I was a little hesitant to pick up this book. I had no clue what it was about and the book clerk just told me it was a story about a disabilAt first, I was a little hesitant to pick up this book. I had no clue what it was about and the book clerk just told me it was a story about a disability. So I bought it. That's a good reason to buy a book, right?
It actually wasn't too bad of a book and made me think twice about our society today and the norms which we have created for ourselves. Not to say that the book was great, because it wasn't, but it definitely teaches the reader to question their own beliefs on human abilities and accessibilies and how we treat them. It was a journey for me and for the main character Charlie.
One thing that I would suggest is don't see the movie. I usually like to compare books and movies and observe the differences in the medium shift. If you do choose to see the movie or are being forced to for some reason, watch it sober. It's just THAT ridiculous!
Overall, I give this book a 3 out of 5. I raised it a bit because the movie was a waste of time BUT very entertaining. I also shut it off half way (So messed up!) So there you have it! 3/5, a review, a movie warning and some things to think about regarding our world....more
Book number 30 in my 2012 Reading Challenge of 50 books is Wasteland by Mur Lafferty. Wasteland is the fourth installment of Mur Lafferty's AfterlifeBook number 30 in my 2012 Reading Challenge of 50 books is Wasteland by Mur Lafferty. Wasteland is the fourth installment of Mur Lafferty's Afterlife Series
In Wasteland, Kate and Daniel find themselves exploring what they believe is the "Wasteland", after being exiled from Heaven and Hell. Instead, they realize that they have been (view spoiler)[ placed there to explore their newly created Earth: Earth #3, Imari. The first Earth (as we know it today) and the second Earth (created by Kate by her blood and tears) has been destroyed. As they wander through Imari, Kate meets newly created gods and believes that their purpose is to use this Earth to save and rebuild the other two. With a completely different crew, Kate and Daniel sail way to Meridian and beyond. (hide spoiler)]
The story of Kate and Daniel has grown to be more than expected! Originating from a story about two best friends who were to explore the different afterlives, Wasteland ventures into un-chartered terrain with flying zepplins, levitating cities and different types of dark matter and chaos. Through the progression of four books (Heaven to Wasteland), we witness a fantasy novel evolve into a sci-fi novella. And this is the Mur Lafferty whom we have come to know now through her current novels and podio broadcasts --whimsical, quirky, and so full of ideas that it is sometimes difficult to follow. As much as we see the characters change, we also see the change in Lafferty as a writer.
I must admit that it is not one of my favourite books as I found the story to change too drastically for my liking, but perhaps that is something that is of usual practice when it comes to podiobooks, which are narrated, as opposed to physical books.
Altogether, I am rating the novella, Wasteland, 2.5 out of 5 stars. It was enjoyable and fun as a stand alone but left me confused at times when I though about the bigger picture. Next up is the fifth and last installment to Mur Laffery's Afterlife Series: War. I am intrigued to see how all of the four previous books come together and wrap up. I have been waiting to get to this point for several years. It should be epic!...more
Book number 28 in my 2012 Reading Challenge of 50 books is Earth by Mur Lafferty. Earth is the third installment in Mur Lafferty's The Afterlife SerieBook number 28 in my 2012 Reading Challenge of 50 books is Earth by Mur Lafferty. Earth is the third installment in Mur Lafferty's The Afterlife Series presented via podiobook format.
In Earth, Kate and Daniel explore their powers and options as the deities who are destined to rule Heaven and Hell. Gods from all different cultural afterlives gather to aid Kate and Daniel as they struggle to keep Heaven and Hell from other gods wanting to overthrow them. Within this novel, (view spoiler)[ Kate finds it more and more difficult to trust Daniel as he turns over the keys and power of his domain to a demon. They are literally and figuratively worlds away from each other, making Earth full of rising and unsolved tensions. Through all of Kate's frustrations, the Earth is reborn. This installment also gives notions that there will be a continuation --Wasteland(hide spoiler)]
As per usual, Mur Lafferty truly engages the reader in her storytelling. I found myself sometimes confused and re-listening to chapters as they were quite complex. Listening to them in the car and dividing my attention between the road and the narrative was sometimes tricky, as proved by previous experience as well. However, Earth had to be my least favourite in the series so far. And I believe that it may have been tricky for Mur Lafferty as well. Earth was so different from Heaven and Hell and it is also very different from Wasteland
Earth is not my favourite installment within Mur Laffery's The Afterlife Series; however, it did seem that Earth was a necessary step so the series could move forward. Thrilled to have finished this book, I will be moving on to the fourth installment Wasteland.
Overall, I am rating Earth 2.5 out of 5 stars. ...more
Book number 26 to my 2012 Reading Challenge is Hell by Mur Lafferty. Hell is the second installment of the The Afterlife Series, which consists of fivBook number 26 to my 2012 Reading Challenge is Hell by Mur Lafferty. Hell is the second installment of the The Afterlife Series, which consists of five parts. This series cannot be found in physical format; however, it can be downloaded as a podiobook.
In Hell Kate and Daniel are reunited to continue their adventure in search of missing souls. With help from the divine, Kate and Daniel find themselves travelling to hell, encountering several souls --some unknown, others from ancient history, and some of them, a little too close and personal: Daniel's mother, who had died in an asylum after murdering Daniel's sister. Kate quickly learns that they have the power to decide the fate of these souls, at times absolving their sins after many centuries of waiting. Daniel and Kate continue to venture through hell with Daniel's bodyguard, Katsuko.
As we witness Kate and Daniel travel through the many different afterlives, we are able to experience the change in their character. Daniel, once known as the calm and positive good Samaritan becomes jaded and easily frustrated, while Kate soon inherits the past characteristics of Daniel.
(view spoiler)[At the conclusion of hell, Daniel is one of the souls to be judged by Anubis, an Egyptian god. And Kate is to be judged by Daniel. Once that final judgement is complete, all of Daniel's secrets are unravelled and the real adventure begins: on Earth. (hide spoiler)] And after venturing through Hell, everything should have become easier for the pair. However, there is yet another stop to make and their triumphs, struggles and quest continues --with Earth.
Overall, I am rating this book 5 out of 5 stars. It took me a while to sink into this series once again and I'm finding that each installment has a different approach from the last one read. I enjoy that there is so much change and flux occurring to keep the adventure fresh. At times, I find that the narrative is very dialogue heavy and I wish there was more time spent in describing or exploring the small details of the places which they visit. However, I can understand that the approach changes as well because it is a podiobook and not a physical book.
I have already begun the next installment Earth and I am startled by the contrast in narrative. I'm excited to see where this goes! (As I have long forgotten where it leads and where it ends up.)
Book number 24 to my 2012 Reading Challenge is Heaven by Mur Lafferty. Heaven is the first installment of the series also entitled Heaven, which consiBook number 24 to my 2012 Reading Challenge is Heaven by Mur Lafferty. Heaven is the first installment of the series also entitled Heaven, which consists of five parts. This series cannot be found in a physical novel format; however, can be downloaded as a podiobook.
Several years ago, in 2008, even before my husband and I were engaged, my husband strongly recommended this podiobook to me. After listening to two or three "seasons" himself, he continuously urged me to give it a try, guaranteeing that I would love it --especially the part about dog heaven. At the time, I brushed him off, snootily stating over and over again that my preference was to visit real books, ones with little more physicality. It was not until our long drive from Toronto to Mont Tremblanc that I finally open up to the idea. After listening to the first episode, I was immediately addicted to Mur Lafferty's story telling and characters.
This year, I decided to finish up the series and listen to the fifth installment. Upon listening to it in my car, I realized that I no longer knew any of the associating characters. So here I am at the starting point once again and enjoying myself just as much as I did the first time around.
Heaven divulges on a story about two best friends, Kate and Daniel, who die at the young age of 24. And that it just the beginning. Luckily, both end up in heaven and they learned that heaven isn't all that it is cracked up to be ...and ironically, there are some parts that are exactly the way that priests and religious figures from Earth describe it. They wander through several heavens from different religions as travelers. Little does Kate know, they are on a mission from God --a specific mission that only they can be en-tasked with.
My favourite part in the book is the section about (view spoiler)[dog heaven. And if you know me, I don't even have to explain why. But for those who don't, I can tell you that I really love my dogs. I adopt rescue dogs and have been doing it for several years. They are smart, loyal, quirky and can be real friends if you give them the opportunity. And that's only my short version, so you could imagine what a goobering mess I was listening to dog heaven. As I drove home listening to the part about dog heaven, there came a point where I knew the main character, Kate, had to leave her dog behind. Knowing what was to come, I automatically bawled up. Cheeks glistening with tears as I drove by curious drivers, I listened to what I knew would be inevitable. Although knowing did not it easier for me. (hide spoiler)]
Mur Lafferty is creative in her adventures and allows the reader to really empathize with the fictional characters. She reads her work with much care so one could really understand where Mur was coming from as she wrote it. And within all of the adventure and affection, Mur adds several bits of quirky humour.
Overall, I am giving this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. I'm very excited to read/listen to the next installment Hell and get used to the characters and the story again.
A Perfect Night to Go to China by David David Gilmour is book #2 of my 2016 reading challenge.
I had began to read this novel a few years ago while teaA Perfect Night to Go to China by David David Gilmour is book #2 of my 2016 reading challenge.
I had began to read this novel a few years ago while teaching grade 10 and I recall this book drawing me in immediately. In this novel, the main character, Roman, loses his son. The novel is quick to set up this turn of events with Roman returning home from the bar only to find his son missing-- this occurs in the very beginning of the novel. Quickly, the rest of the setting is painted for us as Roman's wife, M., is overcome with grief, Roman is closely followed by a police officer who accuses him of hiding his son and he loses his position at work. One page at a time, we watch this mediocre life fall apart and be stripped of mundane and ordinary accomplishments. Roman begins to isolate himself from society while he himself enters a new and delusional reality-- he could visit his mother, his son and others who are deceased through his dreams.
The narrative and protagonist were very easy to approach, welcoming almost, when the plot itself was quite twisted. There was nothing formal or ostentatious about the writing style and overall, it was simple yet intrinsic, just like how our minds work. And as I read through the pages again, I felt myself devouring each detail. Its setting was downtown Toronto, so I found myself creating hybrid landscapes of Toronto architecture and a romanticized film-noire setting. Naturally, I found myself seeking for hard answers, "Where did Roman's son actually go?", "Did Roman murder his son?", "Was Roman actually able to communicate with his son through these dreams?", and of course, "Was Roman successful in his suicide attempt at the end of the novel?"
Upon finishing the novel, I found myself extremely disappointed and without answers. I had invested my time into this character only to feel so un-resolved. I sat with the novel for a few hours, rereading the ending, just in case I had missed a minute detail. And it was not only until shortly before writing this review that I had realized: the minute detail that I had missed was not the one that was written on the pages. It was the emotion that I was left with; that was the same emotion that had trailed our protagonist while we had trailed him in his journey. There would be no resolution; there would be so final answer; only longing. And that emotion is much more powerful than any singular answer that could have been given to us at the end of the novel.
Just as life undulates for us everyday, giving us step forwards and taking steps away when she wants, this novel did the same for me and my mental state when reading. I would have rated this novel 3 stars once again; however, this time I am choosing to rate my reading experience, and for that, I give A Perfect Night to Go to China 4 out of 5 stars....more
Although it was not the most difficult or enticing read, I found Hades to be a good book to start off the new year. Li*Warning: May contain spoilers*
Although it was not the most difficult or enticing read, I found Hades to be a good book to start off the new year. Like a 3AM movie, it was filled with a balance of mystery, action and emotion which you did not have to think too hard about. Some things which bothered me was the characters actions versus the character descriptions. I don't think it is as strong as it could have been. Bethany is built up to be a strong character, almost heroine-like and I feel as if her actions throughout both books to this point don't illustrate it. Towards the end of Hades, it seems as if she was just as naive as in the beginning of the book, where she trusts Xavier or "Xavier" without questioning prior events or his actual character. I decided to be somewhat generous and give this book a 3/5, because entertainment-wise, it was good enough....more