Book Talk – A Monster Calls

Stories are wild creatures. When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they might wreak?

Book: A Monster CallsCapture.JPG

Author: Patrick Ness

Initial Thoughts: Okay, this is going to be made into a movie (or maybe it’s already out?), so it’s probably pretty decent. My youngest brother-in-law bought it when we were out shopping one day and he LOVED it, so that’s another point to its credit. AND it was borrowed to me (by the same brother-in-law), so I needed to get it read in a timely manner. My mom started reading it, and loved it. And the cover is pretty.

Plot: Teenage years are never easy, but Conor O’Malley is going through more than his classmates this school year. With his mother sick and everyone at school walking on egg shells around him, Conor just wants things to go back to the way they were before the sickness. The most unlikely friend comes forward to help Conor in his time of need.

This is a heartwrenching tale of disease, loss, and the struggle that surround families during these trying times.

My Thoughts: This was a very well rounded and perfectly written book. Illness is an issue that a lot of books try to cover because it’s a prominent problem in society today. However, it’s a VERY difficult topic to cover. Complex. Painful. Sad. In this book, Ness artfully describes the challenges that surround not only the sick individual but also their loved ones and the grief they must overcome to say goodbye.

I loved… 

  • The plot. This seems a little weird when I think about how much I enjoyed it (it’s a dark subject, after all), but the plot kept me guessing twisting and changing as the story unfolded.
  • The characters. Or really just Conor.
  • The perspective. I watched an oral interpretation piece on “the forgotten child once” describing the loneliness a child may feel when their sibling has cancer. The sibling gets attention and gifts, and questioned after, but often that leaves the other child feeling left out. And when we (or at least I) think of someone who is sick, that is really what I think about. I often forget to think about the loved ones watching the suffering. Reading the story from this different perspectives gives me a more rounded view of how a disease affects a community.

I didn’t care for… 

  • Like any good book, this one was WAY too short. I’m not saying that it’s not well written, it was, it just could’ve kept going.

My Rating… 5 stars!

rate-5-0

I gave this book 5 stars because it was so powerful. I really wish that it had been longer, but, at the same time, it was the perfect length. Absolutely beautiful writing and an entrancing story kept me turning pages from cover to cover.

I would recommend this for… anyone going through a tough time. Cancer is ravaging the country and this book offers unique insight into dealing with loss and illness. Beautifully yet simply written anyone CAN read it, but I think ages 12+ would be best to understand the true depth of this story.

Quotes:

But what is a dream, Conor O’Malley? Who is to say that it is not everything else that is the dream?

 

There is not always a good guy. Nor is there always a bad one. Most people are somewhere in between.

 

The green things of this world are just wonderous, aren’t they? We work so hard to get rid of them when sometimes they’re the very thing that saves us.

 

As incredible as it seemed, time kept moving forward for the rest of the world. The rest of the world wasn’t waiting.

 

The answer is that it does not matter what you think because your mind will contradict itself a hundred times each day. You want her to go at the same time you were desperate for me to save her. Your mind will believe comforting lies while also knowing the painful truths that make those lies necessary. And you mind will punish you for believing both. You do not write your life with words. You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.

 

Let’s chat: Have you read this book? Did you LOVE it like I did? Is it on your to be read list? I would love to hear from you!

Tata for now!

signew

Book Talk – A Hundred Summers

It has been a LOOONG time since I last had a “new favorite book,” but this one took the trophy! Let me tell you about it…

Book: A Hundred SummersA Hundred Summers

Author: Beatriz Williams

Initial thoughts/Why I wanted to read this book: First, this is a beautiful and whimsical cover. As you may or may not know, I just graduated from college and I have a full-time job this summer. Which is VERY different than most of the other summers I’ve lived through (yes, I interned one summer and worked adult hours. I also took a summer class last year and had a mostly adult summer). BUT, in general, this summer does not feel like summer. So I picked up this book to get myself into the summer season. I own this book (with this beautiful cover) and it has been on my list for a while (plus in the goals for spring), so I figured there wasn’t a better time.

Plot: Like every summer, Lily Dane, her mother, and her younger sister travel to their summer home in Seaview, Rhode Island. Just as summer kicks off, she runs into her ex-fiancee, Nick, and former best friend, Budgie, who are also staying on the island for the summer. Facing the truth proves to be, once again, a harsh trial. As the truth begins to reveal itself, the story unfolds faster than you can turn the page.

Thoughts: I really loved this book. I picked it up because I was hoping to get into the summer mood, but that’s not really what happened. I was suddenly immersed in another world, surrounded by romance, unfinished stories, and mystery. This book was well written and provided and an encompasing glimpse into another world.

I loved… 

  • The plot (as usual). This book kept me turning the page with a hunger for the truth, but, alas, the story unwinds like a thread pulled from a tapestry rather than like a flood.
  • I REALLY don’t want to give too much away, but the way that this story unfolds is so unique. Alternating between past and present exposes not one, but two realities at once help to build the characters and unravel the truth that has been hidden for so long.
  • The characters. Even the ones I hated, I loved (does that make any sense?).  Williams writes so well that I believe I truly knew them. Each one was written with careful detail and had a background to support them.
  • The ROMANCE. I’m a sucker – I know – but I can’t help it. I love the sappy, gooey, adorable LOVE. All of it. And it was written so magnificently that I felt like I was experiencing it.
  • I LOVED the 1930s theme. I’m not sure if I like historical fiction (I think that I do), but I really loved the era this was written in.
  • The writing. I can’t say anything about this except that it was PERFECT.

I didn’t like…

  • It wasn’t long enough. Like all good books, I could’ve read this one FOREVER. And it ended too soon.
  • I worry about the characters at the end. (I know that this may seem vague, but I really don’t want to give anything away)

I give it… 5 stars!

rate-5-0

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as I did say in the beginning that it’s my newest favorite book EVER! I give it 5 stars (or a LOVE rating) because it’s beautifully written, the story is carefully detailed and beautifully explained, and the characters were brilliant. I am seriously enamored with this book and I wish it would go on forever!

I would recommend this for… anyone who loves historical fiction (the 1930s), romance, and social mystery.  It’s also a great beach read, but could also be good to get away during the cold months of winter.

Quotable Quotes:

Don’t listen to her, do you hear me, Lily? Be yourself, be your own sweet self.

 

Oh, you’re in love with him, are you? I was in love once. It’s a very pleasant thing. I’d recommend it to anyone.

 

This is why I brought you here, when I’ve never brought anyone home before. Serious about you. I’m crazy about you. Don’t you know that? Mad for you. Drunk with you, made up of nothing but you. Since the day we met, there’s not an hour gone by that I haven’t thought of you.

 

What’s a few months? What’ s a little blowup with our families? We’ve got fifty or sixty years to go, Lily.This is nothing. Actually, this is everything. It’s our beginning. Start with a bang, that’s the thing.

 

Let’s talk!! Have you read A Hundred Summers? Did you enjoy it? When was the last time that you had a new favorite book? What was it? What’s your first summer read? Is it getting you in the summer mood? I would LOVE to hear from you!

signew