The Nightingale

The NightingaleThe Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t get transported by many books, but the vivid imagery of this story set me in the time of Nazi occupation in France during World War II.

The story is about two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle. Their father leaves them in the care of another family after their mother dies, unable to care for them himself. Vianne eventually marries. She has a miscarriage and then goes on to have a little girl. Isabelle, the younger, goes from boarding school to boarding school, unable to conform to lady’s society. When Germany takes over parts of France, both girls learn what they are capable of under pressure and in constant fear.

One of the themes that kept popping up for me was this sense of abandonment. Isabelle feels abandoned first by her dad, then by her sister who couldn’t take care of her when she had her miscarriage, which led her down the path of failed boarding schools. Vianne depends on her husband, and after he leaves for war and subsequently becomes a prisoner of war, she has to learn how to live without his constant care and support. And of course, there is the bigger theme of abandonment in the French people as France turns over Paris to the Nazis, and the people who live there are now under the thumb of Hitler.

The characters and settings are complex and beautiful. Every time I dived into the chapters of this book, I got lost in the story. I’ve been to Paris, and there is a beautiful quote about Paris in the book that I totally agree with, “I had forgotten how gently time passes in Paris. As lively as the city is, there’s a stillness to it, a peace that lures you in. In Paris, with a glass of wine in your hand, you can just be.” It makes me want to go back and see the places in this story!

I highly recommend the book for anyone who likes a female character driven story. There is romance, action, and complex drama throughout the whole story. Definitely a book I will read again!

You can also get your copy of The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah here!

Join Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial

I also wanted to let you know that I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.  These are all things I have used personally.  I wouldn’t recommend something I haven’t tried myself.  Thanks!

Advertisements

Rethinking Positive Thinking: A Review

Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of MotivationRethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation by Gabriele Oettingen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Like a lot of other reviews I’ve read, “dry” is an accurate description for this book. I read this book because Goodreads recommended it based on some of my other reads. I think from now on, I’m going to read the other reviews, and not just the first one or two reviews, but the entire overview of the book. I know most normal people do this already, but I’m learning.
Anyway, the book itself is a response to the ideas coming from “The Secret” or what is normally thought of as “positive thinking.” “Just putting your wish out into the universe and it will come back to you” kind of thinking. This book basically debunks that idea.
It’s not that wishful thinking or daydreaming is necessarily bad, it’s just that there are other steps to the process of getting what you want. You have to also think about the obstacles that stand in your way of reaching the desired outcome and make a plan to overcome those obstacles. In fact, the WOOP that the author suggests includes an entire step of imagining the outcome that you want in complete detail, but then you think of the obstacles as well.
I hesitate on this idea because it really requires a person to be self-aware of the obstacles in front of them, to take the time to reflect, and then be able to make adjustments as needed. You have to be constantly looking at the bigger picture and the details. I’m not saying humans are incapable of doing this, it’s just that in the harried lifestyle of most people I know, it would take a considerable amount of slowing down in order to embrace the process.
Finally, to address the dryness. The book reads very academically. The author goes over study after study that she and her partners did in great detail. Every experiment, the variables, and the controls. I think it would have been easier to just talk about the outcomes of the experiments instead of talking in length about each one. The last three chapters went by slightly faster because they were more about application and examples instead of experiments, which I think the average reader would be more interested in.
Because of it being such a dry and slow read, I wouldn’t recommend it to someone who just likes to read light self-improvement books. It’s more for those interested in sociology or psychology on an academic level.

You can get your copy on Amazon here!

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Rising Strong: A Review

Rising StrongRising Strong by Brené Brown

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have never read Brene Brown, and this might not be the first book to read of her collection (I’m probably going to read the others next year). However, I got this from the library but now I’m actually going to purchase the book, reread, write notes and underline wisdom.

This book kicked my butt. It made me squirm in my seat because I felt like some of the parts of me that I’ve been ignoring for whatever reason were brought into the light.
Rising Strong is about those moments when you fall or fail or your heart falls into your stomach or you get angry or anxious and lash out or react in ways that don’t help you to grow.

In the book, Brown challenges the reader in those moments to stop and get curious in those facedown moments. She takes you through a practice – the reckoning, the rumble, and the revolution. She focuses most on the rumble because it’s the hardest and longest (can last years) of the three. The rumble is when you start to realize the stories you are telling yourself and honestly dividing what is actually true and what lies or half-truths you have used to plugged up the holes and gaps in the story of what is going on. And you take what is real and you use it to grow and mature as a human into a whole person.
And it’s not a perfect practice. Some of the examples and stories in her book don’t come back in neat little packages but left in the work in progress phase.

This book has definitely inspired me to get more of her books. In the back of the book are brief synopses of her other books, but I feel like I need to actually read them. I recommend this to anyone who is going through any kind of heartbreak or struggle, which I guess, really, is everyone.

This would be a great Christmas gift idea.  I am linking it below, but know that I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

http://amzn.to/2hnagTN

Throne of Glass Review

This is coming out later in the day than usual because I have been sick all week. I am literally writing this in bed. I’m hoping I can kick this thing by the weekend, but the good thing is that I’ve had lots of time to get lost in stories!

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I know I’m late to this series, but I thoroughly enjoyed the first book, Throne of Glass. Celaena Sardothien is the world’s most infamous assassin. At the beginning of the story, we meet her at her lowest point, as a slave in the salt mines who is regularly beaten. The crown prince and his best friend who is captain of the guard retrieve her to make her their candidate for the King’s Champion. She will have to endure several tests, pitted against ruthless murderers and thieves. Also, some of the other candidates are mysteriously dying, torn to shreds, with strange markings. Magic has been outlawed, but these markings come from something more ancient than magic, and more powerful.

This is the kind of young adult fantasy book that I like to read. I like the strong heroine in the center of the story. There is both romance and friendship. Plus, there was a hilarious scene surrounding the heroine’s cycle that was unexpected but really funny. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that talked about the cramps and nausea that can accompany a period. It wasn’t graphic but for me, totally relatable.

The book mainly spoke from Celaena’s point of view, but there were other small narratives from some of the other characters. And the book’s ending was very open-ended. If I didn’t know that there were already other books in the series, I would expect the next one to come out soon.

The only issue I had with the book was that at points, Celaena, who was supposed to be this ruthless killer who had just endured the salt mines, came across as if she had no experience at all from her adult-like past. I know she was just 18, and maybe that was part of the point – that no matter what adult situations a person has gone through, a teenager is still a teenager. But it was hard for me to believe how quickly she put her trust in some of the people in her life. It did help the story move along, though.

However, overall, I loved the book. It was funny and sweet and an adventure. I look forward to reading the next book in the series!

You can buy this book at my Amazon affiliate link here: http://amzn.to/2eO3Z1q

What books have you been loving recently?

The Handmaid’s Tale

Another book I read this month. It is definitely a lot more graphic than The Fever, making me a little uncomfortable at times, but I think that was the point of the book.  By the way, thank you to those of you who have friended me on Goodreads!  I’m excited to follow what you are reading at the moment!  I’m always looking for more inspiration!
The Handmaid's TaleThe Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I kept seeing this book as a suggestion for books to read in the Fall, or scary books to read.
It’s a dystopian future kind of scary. There was profanity throughout the book, but very little graphic violence or sexuality. It was more of a scary notion of what could become of women’s role in society.
It is told from the perspective of a handmaid named Offred. Her job in society was to have babies. In particular, to have a baby for the Commander and his wife. The procreation “ceremony” was devoid of any sensuality, as was the rest of the society, really. This wasn’t how life always was for Offred. She used to have her own name, a husband, a little girl. And there are flashbacks throughout the book as to how she lost all of those things. And because her perspective is limited, she isn’t allowed to read or write and is kept from knowing anything, we don’t get a complete story of how this society came to be. Which again, could be very scary. I did like the way the story was revealed, but sometimes I wasn’t sure if I was in a flashback or not. I think this was on purpose since the character seemed discombobulated as well.
The descriptions of her life, of the things around her, were a reflection of her mood and her resignation. But sometimes the descriptions seemed to drone on. And the end of the book doesn’t necessarily make it clear what happens in the end. Just like her own life, always uncertain of things she had always been certain about before. Not scary, but a good book, nonetheless.

View all my reviews

Book Review – The Maze Runner

The_Maze_Runner_cover

Photo taken from Wikipedia

Like I mentioned in my Birthday Post, I just finished the Young Adult Dystopian Fiction book called The Maze Runner by James Dashner, written in 2009.  This book was different from a lot of the books I’ve read from the same genre.  Usually, they seem written from a girl’s persective, so having a boy be the main character was quite refreshing.  It reminded me of Lord of the Flies, all of the characters were boys in their teens, except one girl who comes in later, especially in the beginning. Continue reading