Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Book Review: The Dreaming Road by Elizabeth Moore (no spoilers)

Book: The Dreaming Road
Author: Elizabeth Moore
Publication: January 15, 2018
Source: Recieved for Review
Read: March 9-16, 2018
Summary (from Goodreads):
On a spring morning in early May, Diane wakes up to find her beautiful 16-year old daughter, Callie, lying dead on the floor of her bedroom. The police find a suicide note in Callie’s jewelry chest and Diane’s whole world, as she had previously known it, falls apart.

 In the afterlife, Callie meets her great grandma, Ellie, who tells her that she’s in a part of heaven called Summer Wind and can never return home again. She wrestles with her abrupt and impulsive decision to take her own life and witnesses the impact that this event has on all who love her. Diane begins a desperate search for answers by tearing apart Callie’s bedroom looking for anything that might tell her what drove her daughter to suicide. She visits Joy, a spiritual healer, who tells her that she must learn to seek the gift in her experiences rather than remaining addicted to her guilt and pain. Diane struggles with letting-go of the daughter she once knew and all her hopes and dreams for the future.

 Desperate to reassure her mother that she’s okay, Callie attempts to communicate with her from beyond the veil. They both begin a heart-wrenching journey to find one another once again.

* I recieved The Dreaming Road free in exchange for an honest review. This no way effects my opinion all thoughts or feelings are my own.*

My Thoughts:

I have to say after I recieved the email to review The Dreaming Road I was instantly intrigued and automatically told the publisher that I would love to read this book. Then I read a series of sad books and I kept putting off reading The Dreaming Road because I wasn't ready for yet another sad book. Going into this book knowing it was about a mother grieving over her daughter's suicide made me think that I was going to be crying throughout the whole book. That didn't happen. I grew deeply attached to Diane and her journey, but I didn't cry at all while reading this book. I think the author did a great job writing about grief and life in heaven.

When I first started this book I was immediately interested in the story. Even though on the day I started this book I had a busy day  I took this book with me and I would find any spare moment I had to read The Dreaming Road. I was so interested in Callie's life in heaven and I was connected to Diane's story here on Earth.

I like the way the story moved slower the first year that Callie passed away because that was when Diane was feeling the most emotions, but years 3-5 she skipped parts because she wasn't feeling the intense grief she felt in the beginning. As with any suicide I was always searching for Callie's reason that she commited suicide. Like Diane it gave me peace just hearing her talk in the book through mediums.

I think Elizabeth Moore painted such a vivid picture of heaven and I thought of my experience reading Heaven Changes Everything by Todd Burpo many years ago where they said that they ancipate the day that they get to see heaven. I think about that myself again that I'm excited to go to heaven after I have lived my life here on Earth. I think Diane was incredibly brave to reach out and ask for help from professionals and other people experiencing grief. I think this was a very important part of her journey to find joy in her life.

I really enjoyed the ending of this book. It brought a lot of peace and it was nice to see that life does move forward after loss. Although I have not personally experienced suicide of a close family member I have had people in my life that have died unexpectatly and some chose to take their own life. Elizabeth Moore wrote this as an inspirational novel and I think that is exactly what it turned out to be. I will also mention that I do not believe in everything that happened in this novel, but I don't doubt anything she said completely. I will just have to wait until I go to heaven to really know if some of these things are true. Overall I highly recommend The Dreaming Road and I enjoyed my exprience reading this book.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

My TBR List Review: On Mystic Lake by Kristin Hannah

On Mystic Lake was my to be read list pick for January 2018 and also is a part of my 5 year Deal Me In/ Fill in the Gaps Challenge.

Book: On Mystic Lake
Author: Kristin Hannah
Publication: March 1999
Source: Own
Read: March 3-8, 2018
Summary (from Goodreads):
Annie Colwater’s husband has just confessed that he’s in love with a younger woman. Devastated, Annie retreats to the small town where she grew up. There, she is reunited with her first love, Nick Delacroix, a recent widower who is unable to cope with his silent, emotionally scarred young daughter. Together, the three of them begin to heal. But just when Annie believes she’s been given a second chance at happiness, her world is turned upside down again, and she is forced to make a choice that no woman in love should ever have to make.

My Thoughts: 

I never seem to be able to find the right words to describe my feelings after reading a Kristin Hannah novel. This novel had me intrigued quickly and had me actively involved with the characters from the very beginning. I fell in love with this novel and it was a book that was hard to put down. 

This story is about Annie Colwater who has what she thinks is the perfect life. She has a 17 year old daughter Natalie and her husband Blake, who is a well known laywer. She has spent her life loving Blake, and taking care of him and her daughter. She has been happy with the life she has led as a housewife and a mother. Natalie is off on a 3 month journey to London. After dropping her off at the airport Blake confesses that he is in love with somebody else and he wants to get a divorce. Annie is devestated and truly she didn't see this coming. She heads back to her hometown of Mystic, Washington to spend time with her dad and find herself. This is where she reunites with an old friend, Nick Delacroix, who has recently lost his wife and is struggling to find his way through his grief. 

I think Annie's progression in this novel seemed pretty natural. She started out completely lost with no idea how to be a single woman after 20 years of marriage. She also wasn't really sure she knew who she was when she didn't have somebody to take care of. I think her finding out about Kathy and finding Nick again was the main focus of this story and my favorite part of this entire book. Their first meeting it was hard to see where their story would go after that. Then Annie began to take care of Izzy and I fell in love with how caring she was for this little girl, who was so deeply broken and grieving after the loss of her mother and in some ways the father she knew also. Annie ended being such a healing force for both Izzy and Nick. She changed them in incredible ways. She brought them closer as a family. 

In this journey Annie found herself. She found the person she was meant to be. She found a way to be truly happy and she realized that in her previous life she was more worried about everybody else and never took anytime for herself. I loved Nick and Annie's realationship. I loved the time they spent together. I loved every second of watching Nick become the father he was meant to be and overcoming being an achololic. I think Nick has regrets in his life, but the choices that he made as a teenager were the choices he felt like he needed to make. In the end Nick told Annie that "Love matters. Maybe it's the only thing that does." Despite what happened later in the novel the love that Annie and Nick shared healed them both. 

Just when everything seemed to be settling in to place for Annie, it is time for Natalie to come home. Despite how much Annie wants to stay in Mystic. She promised her husband that they would make a decision when Natalie returned home, but Annie finds out some shocking news that makes her decision even more difficult to make. Natalie comes back and in Annie's words is more grown up than she has ever seen her and she is looking at her mom and dad's marriage differently. She figured out how much her dad doesn't know about her while she was away in London and it has given her new insight that she doesn't truly know her father because he is never home and when he is he has no idea how to talk to his daughter and no idea how to treat her mother. Annie is commited to being a family. That is all she has ever wanted is a family, but after he summer in Mystic she is realized that the man she truly loves doesn't live in Southern California. 

Annie realizes so many things about herself in the novel and for once in her life she decides to put herself first. I loved that the book ended on a happy note the way I wanted it to end, but I do wish that she would have given us just a few more pages about what Annie's new life looks like. I loved On Mystic Lake. I think it was a great book and I highly recommend this book as I do many Kristin Hannah books. 

My well loved copy of On Mystic Lake I bought at a library book sale. I have to say I like the new cover a lot better than this edition. 

Friday, March 9, 2018

Down the TBR Hole (March 2018)

The idea behind this series is that you look at the books on your Goodreads TBR pile and chose to keep the books or delete the books.

I think it is going to help me look at my goodreads TBR and get rid of books I'm no longer interested in. Today I'm doing the first ten books on my TBR. Something that you will find out about the beginning of the list is that I'm really attached to this books despite the fact that I haven't read them. They have made it through countless purges of the TBR because I care about them. 

Here are my three categories for this. Keep, Delete, or Read by the End of 2019. 

2019 ends my 5 year Deal Me in Challenge and most of the books that were on that challenge list that do not get read by the end of the 5 years will end up getting deleted off my goodreads TBR. I will be setting that as a deadline for some books that I like, but if I don't read them then they will be deleted then. 

1. Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner- I have checked this book out from the library several times with no real sucess. It is on my Deal Me In list so I would like to read it for that challenge. 

2. Home Front by Kristin Hannah- I'm reading a Kristin Hannah book currently and she is one of my favorite authors, but I don't read her a whole lot. When I do pick up a Kristin Hannah book I always enjoy it, so I'm excited to read Home Front.

3,9,10. Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite authors. I love reading her books and I'm almost caught up with her backlist books. I think I will ge to these someday. I host readalongs with my goodreads group every so often, which does push me to read another Jodi Picoult book. 

4, 5, 6. Anybody that knows me know that I'm a big Little House fan, but I'm a little bit wiery of these three since they weren't written by Laura. All the reviews are really good and I think the authors did their research, so I would like to try to read these, but if I don't they will be deleted in 2019. 

7. At First Sight by Nicholas Sparks- I deleted a bunch of Nicholas Sparks books I haven't read earlier this year. I kept this one because I read the 1st book, but that was several years ago. I'm going to give myself another year and then this book needs to go. 

8. Who Loves You Best by Tess Stimson- The summary in this book is very interesting to me that I keep looking at deleting this book, but I keep it because I like the summary. I'm myself a little more time to read it, but a deadline, so it doesn't sit on my TBR forever. 

There are my reasons. I'm going to try to do this monthly. 

Monday, March 5, 2018

February Wrap Up and March TBR

February was a meh month for reading. I didn't have any 5 star books and it is really hard to pick out a favorite for the month. None of these will end up being end of the year favorites.

Destiny Rewritten was a middle grade book about Katherine trying to find her distiny as she wants and not how her mom wants her destiny to be. There was a lot of poetry references in the book since the main character was named after Emily Dickenson. This was a quick read, since it was middle grade, but I just expected to like it better.

Princess Academy is a middle grade book also. I just expected this to be different than it actually was. I expected it to be more like Jessica Day George's Princess of the Midnight Ball. It was totally not the princess book I expected. Miri isn't even technically a princess in this book and it just didn't have the fairy tale feel I was looking for. I will end up continuing the series because I did enjoy it for the most part.

Mercy was a part of a readalong I hosted with the Jodi Picoult goodreads group. I read this book fast because I was hoping to finish a couple more books in the month, but that did not end up happening. I had some issues with Mercy, but I did end up enjoying it.

Panis was my worst read of the month. I listened to it on audiobook and I just never got into the book. I watched Jessethe reader's review and I probably got more out of that review than I did out of Panic itself. I thought this book was really bad, the characters had no personality, and they did some really stupid things. I just never felt a connection to the characters throughout the book.

I read 2/5 books from my TBR last month, so hopefully I can read a few more this month.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Take Control of Your TBR Pile Sign Up

I'm in for another month of reading books that I own. I have done this in year's past and it has been helpful in reducing my physical TBR.

Here is the four books I want to read this month. I think I should be able to complete all of them as long as I ignore the library books I still have checked out.