June 3, 2013

Lighthouses, A Camera & Some Action

The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman

Release Date: July 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster | Scribner
Pages: 343 pages
Source & Format: Library; Hardcover
Amazon Goodreads

Summary (from Goodreads)
After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as a lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day's journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby's cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom's judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

Thoughts on The Light Between Oceans
When I spotted this on the New Release table at my library, I decided to give it a shot. I loved the lighthouse on the cover - the blue sky illuminated by the stars. I was excited for a historical fiction set in Australia, and I was really intrigued by the summary. This is a slow book, but a beautiful one. The writing just sort of sucks you in - almost like falling under its spell. I finished it in one sitting, but not because I raced through it. It just entranced me. At its heart, it's a character story. It focuses on a childless couple and a decision they make that changes the course of their lives forever. It's a moral dilemma - a question of doing the right thing, even if it means broken hearts and shattered dreams. It's an emotionally heavy novel, but it absolutely got into my heart. The Light Between Oceans is a story of mistakes and forgiveness, and I'd absolutely recommend it for fans of adult historical fiction.

So Quotable
“You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day.”

Bloom by Kelle Hampton

Release Date: April 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins | William Morrow
Pages: 288 pages
Source & Format: Library; Hardcover
Amazon Goodreads

Summary (from Amazon)
Bloom is an inspiring and heartfelt memoir that celebrates the beauty found in the unexpected, the strength of a mother’s love, and, ultimately, the amazing power of perspective. The author of the popular blog Enjoying the Small Things—named The Bump’s Best Special Needs Blog and The Blog You’ve Learned the Most From in the 2010 BlogLuxe Awards—Kelle Hampton interweaves lyrical prose and stunning four-color photography as she recounts the unforgettable story of the first year in the life of her daughter Nella, who has Down syndrome. Poignant, eye-opening, and heart-soaring, Hampton’s Bloom is ultimately about embracing life and really living it.

Thoughts on Bloom
I had a friend in college that introduced me to Kelle Hampton's blog - Enjoying The Small Things - a lifestyle/motherhood blog with gorgeous photography. I didn't read it consistently, but I'd often stop by and catch up on their lives. In the month or so leading up to this Mother's Day, I kept seeing Bloom at Target on their shelf of books for mothers so I finally requested a copy from my library. In this memoir, Kelle tells the story that first began on her blog. When Kelle gave birth to her second daughter, she and her family were shocked to learn that little Nella had Down syndrome. Bloom is the story of her daughter's birth and how the family finds "beauty in the unexpected." I'll be honest, this was a hard read at times because of Kelle's honesty. She doesn't dance around the truth - that she was devastated by the news they received when her daughter was born. She says and writes things that are hard to read, but I actually appreciated it about her. Her reality didn't match her expectations, and this book was a chronicle of her journey from grief to celebration. That being said, I didn't love everything about Bloom. It's a memoir that is more about Kelle than about her daughter, and that focus did get a little old for me after a while. However, the photos in this book are really lovely (Kelle is a photographer and is obviously super talented behind a camera) and fans of Kelle's blog will certainly love spending more time with her and her family!

So Quotable
“You know, through pain, you learn a lot about yourself - things you thought you never knew you wanted to learn. And it's kind of like those animals that regrow a part of their body - like a starfish. You might not feel it. You might not even want to grow, but you will. You'll grow that part that broke off, and that growing, that blooming - cannot happen without the pain.” 

Pivot Point by Kasie West

Release Date: February 2013
Publisher: HarperCollins | HarperTeen
Pages: 352 pages
Series: Pivot Point #1
Source & Format: Library; Hardcover
Amazon Goodreads

Summary (from Goodreads)
Addison Coleman's life is one big "What if?" As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It's the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie's parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with - her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the "Norms," or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it's not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school - but she never wanted to be a quarterback's girlfriend. When Addie's father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she's unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she's willing to live through... and who she can't live without.

Thoughts on Pivot Point
I really liked the cover of Pivot Point, but I wasn't that intrigued by the description. The whole searching aspect didn't really appeal to me. However, I gave it a chance after seeing a bunch of rave reviews in the blogosphere. Well, I have to join in that chorus because I absolutely loved this book! I raced through this in one afternoon and was then absolutely depressed that I couldn't immediately dive into book two! Addie performs a Search of the future in the beginning of this book, and then the rest of the novel alternates back-and-forth between her two possible futures. It sounds like a weird concept, but it was an absolutely addicting read! There's a mystery aspect in Pivot Point that was totally unexpected, but it made for an added bonus in this already enjoyable book. I totally loved seeing Addie's future unfold, and now I'm dying for book two so we can see the aftermath of the choice she made at the end!

So Quotable
“When I read, I feel emotion all on my own. Emotion no living person is making me feel.” 

6 comments:

  1. The first two are on my list. I looove the quotes you chose. Especially the one about forgiveness.

    Great reviews sugar!

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    1. Yay! Love hearing that they are on your list! I enjoyed them both :)

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  2. First of all, I'm so glad that you loved Pivot Point! I didn't love the cover but I picked it up because of all of the reviews and tweets that I was seeing - and that totally paid off. When I read it, I didn't realize it would have a second book and I was THRILLED that the story will continue. I was so pleasantly surprised by it. YAY for you liking this one!!

    Also, with the first book up there - I'm super intrigued by this one! The Light Between Oceans. I'm not really familiar with it but the cover is so beautiful and it would catch my eye in a heartbeat. ALSO, you kind of have me when you mention that it is a slow book because I'm seeming to crave those lately. Slow, quiet books. Also, the dilemma and the forgiveness and resentfulness? It sounds like a very discussable book and you know how I feel about those! :) I think I'll probably be picking this one up after June. Thanks for introducing this one to me!!

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    1. I actually did really like the cover of Pivot Point, but I don't like the cover for book two (Split Second, I think?). But I didn't think it sounded that interesting UNTIL I read your review. You totally made me want to read this one! And I'm so glad I did - it was awesome!

      Oh, I adore the cover for The Light Between Oceans. It's what made me pick it up in the first place. And yes, it's very discussable. Hope you read it & we can chat about it!

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  3. The Light Between Oceans sounds absolutely lovely and heartbreaking! I hadn't heard of it before, but I'm loving that cover. The story sounds like it's going to be one that hurts my soul (in a good way, mind you), and I'm truly intrigued.

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    1. Hope you do read it! It's a really lovely book :) Definitely made me think about what I'd do in those circumstances, too!

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