Posted in Book Review

Book Review: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

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The Nightingale by Kristin HannahHello, Dear Bloggites! It’s me, again! 🙂  Today’s book review is over The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.  I must provide a disclaimer on this one: I am not a fan of books about war.  I come from many generations of military men who have served in most of the wars and do not like to watch or read about anything in regards to it.

Now that the disclaimer is given: I loved this book!

At first I put off reading it and put it down once the author, Kristin Hannah, started going into the history of the war with Germany (side note: my father was in Germany and watched them open the Berlin wall that separated East Germany and West Germany, I was the dummkopf who left a month before it happened).  Once I was able to push past the history information, I was hooked and read the book in one evening.

I was sucked in, best way to express my interest, by the different roles played by the people in times of war.  The story is about two sisters, Vianne & Isabelle, who totally handle dealing with the war in complete opposite approaches: one fought the invasion and one “played nice” and followed the rules handed out by the Germans for the French citizens.  Both sisters had their own demons to deal with after they lost their mother and the father removed himself from his duties leaving the sisters to raise themselves and turn into the two women you read about in the book.  A big plus I will point out is the book is written in the third person, now on to my review. 🙂

This book, The Nightingale, did something to me that rarely happens: took me on an emotional roller coaster throughout the entire novel.  I am not an emotional person, I have always kept my emotions in check, never giving into the whims as many do.  This emotional roller coaster was brought on by two things: I was fighting a cold/flu bug and (the most important) AMAZING writing by Kristin Hannah.

I am not familiar with Kristin Hannah and her writing even though I know she has written many successful novels.  This is one of the reasons I feel all avid readers should visit or join a book club in their area: to step outside their reading boxes and delve into other types of genres in the Amazing World of Books. 🙂

Kristin Hannah did a wonderful job at creating a storyline and intertwining life on a daily level during a war-torn era without focusing too much on the war aspect.  The characters throughout the book were true to the nature on how they acted toward others that were not liked them: i.e. Germans versus Parisians.  Some accepted the current fate during the war like Vianne did: focusing on trying to keep life as usual for her daughter and some fought the fate during the war like Isabelle: working with the rebels to fight against the German invasion in Paris.

Being a “doer” I related more with Isabelle than Vianne, but being a mother, I totally understood Vianne’s need to keep life as normal as possible.  The overall meaning given throughout the book was: never give up hope and never give up on love.  Each character in the storyline had their own challenges to face and overcome and the author did a wonderful job at helping you see those challenges.  The book was written in such a way that even the characters you may hate were still shown as human beings doing what they had to in order to survive.

The ending was my emotional undoing because what I wanted to be true of the different key characters turned out to be true, but ended entirely different from what I wanted. Yet the end was the true way life ends up.

I give The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah 5 out of  5 Bookmarks and highly recommend you, Dear Bloggites, to give it a turn.

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

GGood Day, Dear Bloggites! 🙂  Here is my latest book review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.  As you know, I joined this awesome book club three months ago.  I was looking for my fellow book lovers of America whom I can share my personal thoughts and insights into the different books I have read as well as hear their feedback on their thoughts and insights into the book we just read.

The Girl On The Train by Paula HawkinsI am a lone liker of this book as compared to the ladies who attended the last book club meeting earlier in the month.  None of them liked the book.  They found nothing endearing or likable about any of the characters in this book.  They did not like how the novel was structured with dates that bounced around throughout the storyline.  These ladies were shocked that this book stayed so long on the top, best books to read list.

I differ in the opinion about the book staying so long on the list, but do agree with their assessment on the characters being unlikable with no endearing qualities.  The Girl on the Train is about just that, a lady with an obsessive nature and a severe drinking problem who watches the people outside the train window she rides on every day.

The book gave some good insight into living life as or with an alcoholic and how it affects every aspect of the lives involved with said alcoholic.  I think the character, Rachel, captures the sympathy of many readers because of the challenges and issues she faces.  I have been married to an alcoholic and could totally relate to the issues being faced on a daily basis from all involved.

To add to the alcoholism, the main character seems to have lost touch with reality in an obsessive way.  Rachel fixates on one couple, Megan & Scott, she sees out the train window and begins to create a certain lifestyle with this couple, a lifestyle she wished she had.  Another obsession she suffers from is the one with her ex-husband and his new wife, Anna, and their child.  Anna was the cause of the ending of Rachel’s marriage to Tom because he was cheating on Rachel with her.

The story unfolds as the lady from Rachel’s fantasy, Megan, turns up missing.  Rachel, who suffers from blackouts due to her alcoholism, begins to wonder if she was involved with the disappearance.  As Rachel delves more and more into the investigation, she begins to have memory flashbacks of things she witnessed or did during her blackout the night Megan went missing.

I am not going to delve much deeper into the storyline for fear of taking away the reader’s enjoyment, but I will share my thoughts on the characters and how the book was written.

I am not a fan of first person writing, and this book was written in the first person.  I do see a benefit in certain situations where the first person writing aspect is a good route to go, but overall, I think it takes away from the storyline, especially a storyline like this where the characters are not very likable.  No one want to envision themselves as a bad person or even a person with the issues Rachel suffers from.

This is the first novel written by Paula Hawkins and so I believe I am more forgiving with how the book lacks some elements than my cohorts in the book club are toward the author.  I am an aspiring writer and would hope that when my book is published, I will be forgiven if some elements are lacking or missing.

The characters in the book are not very likable, even the most helpful of all the characters, Cathy, Rachel’s roommate, is not likeable because she chooses to condemn Rachel and her addictions in silence and does not confront Rachel about her issues.  Cathy turns the proverbial blind eye to the whole situation because she believes Rachel is just “going through a rough patch” in her life.

The storyline can get a bit confusing if you pay attention to the dates given in each section of the book.  The story is not written in a uniform, chronological format, so the dates are out of order as the book is being written and can distract from the storyline itself.  The author should have kept the dates out or made more of an effort to specify the transitions from one date to another.

I did enjoy the plot twist in the book which kept the reader wondering who actually caused Megan to disappear.  One moment you would think it was Rachel, the next you would think it was someone else.  Plot twists are always fun for me.  I love to figure out who the guilty party is and generally know before it is exposed at the end.  Plot twists keep you guessing and so makes the reading experience that much more enjoyable.

All in all, I give The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins 3 out of 5 Bookmarks: I would recommend it to people who do not care about the technical writing of a novel, but would not recommend it to someone that does hold writers to a higher standard when they write a novel for the public to read.

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Sports

Baseball: Good ‘Ol Sport

I love baseball.  Always have, always will.  My favorite team is the Texas Rangers.  I have celebrated the good times and the not so good times and just love them more and more each day.

As I was watching an awesome game the Rangers were playing the other day, the MLB’s Commissioner came on with the announcers and did a little interview with them.  I don’t know much about the Commissioner, Rob Manfred, but I liked what I heard from him on that day.

The Commissioner was talking about how he does listen to the team players and managers and truly desires to work with them because in the end they are all there because they love the game of baseball.  This statement made me pause and realize that I agree with him.

Out of all the different sports out there, baseball is the one that shows all the players, whether team mates or team competitors, playing

ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 13: Nelson Cruz #17 of the Texas Rangers celebrates with teammates Michael Young #10 and Adrian Beltre #29 after hitting a grand slam home run against pitcher Jered Weaver of the Los Angeles Angels on May 13, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Layne Murdoch/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX – MAY 13: Nelson Cruz #17 of the Texas Rangers celebrates with teammates Michael Young #10 and Adrian Beltre #29 after hitting a grand slam home run against pitcher Jered Weaver of the Los Angeles Angels on May 13, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Layne Murdoch/Getty Images)

around with each other and have just a good ‘ol time while playing against each other.  Now, I am spoiled rotten because my team, the Texas Rangers, have the amazing Adrian Beltre on it, who I believe does not see a single person he plays against as an enemy.

Belts is always teasing and joking with his team mates as well as the opposing team members and it just reminds me that baseball is just a group of great guys who get together and play the one game they all love.  It is nice to see when watching a sport.

So many times players in other sports view the opposing team as their enemy and treat them as such with rude comments, actions, etc.  It is nice to watch the sport I love being celebrated by the players and fans of the game.  Just makes my love for baseball that much more.

I want to Thank all the players, managers, owners, commissioner, and any other people involved in the wonderful game of Baseball for making my watching experience amazing!

~4-Ever, P