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‘The Light Between Oceans’ Movie Review

22 Jun

Movie Poster via The Movie DB

I’m not going to lie, it’s been a long time since I read The Light Between Oceans. It was about two and a half years ago that my book club read it and I fell in love with the title. I’ve already written a book review and a book club reflection on the title which have become top pages on this blog. Now that my class is winding down, I wanted to start watching come movies I’ve missed and this was at the top of the list. I don’t remember too much of the book, but here’s my best shot at remembering it!

Things I Thought Were Awesome

Janus. I imagined the island as very small when reading the book. It could have been in reality but seeing it as a larger island really helped me. The house and infrastructure on the island were a lot more developed than I’d thought of, too. It’s crazy to believe that the house and stairs were built by, probably, one man a few lightkeepers before Tom. Today, it would take a whole team to do that!

Isabel. Alicia Vikander did an amazing job with this character. It was easy to see how she was able to manipulate Tom into keeping baby Lucy. Part of it wasn’t manipulation, just her pure joy at having a baby around when she’d lost one. Tom loved his wife dearly and was able to make her happy. Happier than tuning a piano could ever make her.

 

Changes That Didn’t Really Bother Me

Simplifying Tom’s past. I didn’t remember how complicated his home life had been until I read through my earlier posts on the book. This was completely glossed over in the book, removing any mention of siblings and saying only that his father was abusive and unloving. I think this was more than enough. Tom’s quiet and desire to be alone was explained by his time in the war and for me, that was more than enough.

 

Cover Image via Goodreads.com

Things That Were Taken Out and I’m Still Wondering Why

 

Forgiving Bluey. I forgot about this until I reread my review, too. There’s a lot of stress on forgiveness. Frank is big on forgiveness and Hannah tries to be forgiving to act how she knows her late husband would want her to. She forgives the Sherbournes for not telling her sooner. There were a lot of parallels between Frank and Tom, one of which was Tom’s ability to forgive Bluey for turning him in. I would have liked to see this and I wonder if it was a deleted scene.

Things That Changed Too Much

Less time spent with Hannah. Maybe I remember this wrong but I recall a large part of the book taking place back on the mainland with the legal battle going on and Lucy-Grace shunning Hannah. I thought this time was compressed too much in the movie because there was a lot of change going on in the characters during this part.

 

I only wish I’d seen this sooner. It was a really good watch. Reader, have you see The Light Between Oceans movie? What did you think?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 21-June-2017

21 Jun

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: Still nothing with A Son of the Circus by John Irving. One more book to go before I jump back into it, though! Soon enough I’ll be back on this one.
I got through a bit of Love in the Elephant Tent by Kathleen Cremonesi. I had some technical difficulties opening it on my phone but those cleared up and I’m able to read it during lunch again.
I really pushed to read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig this weekend. I didn’t make great progress, but I got through the first 150 pages or so. I think this is a book where if I don’t finish it, I can still go to the book club discussion and not have too much ruined for me. At least I hope it’s one of those books!
I started two new audiobook. The first is one for my phone, Abraham by Bruce Feiler. I heard Feiler speak a few years ago and have a signed copy of this book I haven’t gotten around to. Feiler narrates the audiobook so I’m having a good time of listening to him read it.
The second one is Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith AKA J.K. Rowling. I could only find this audiobook on CD so I grabbed it to listen to in my car. Car audiobooks are usually a slow-go for me so I expect this to be on here for a while.

Recently finished: I finished up Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay on Friday. I really liked this one and I posted my review of it yesterday if you want to go check that out. I gave it Four out of Five Stars.
I forgot this one last week because I was determined not to write a review of it. I had to read a full book for my class so I wanted to count it toward my Goodreads goal for this year. The book was People Analytics in the Era of Big Data by Jean Paul Isson and Jesse S. Harriott. It was well written but doesn’t go along with the theme of this blog so I’ll leave my review at that.

Reading Next: I’m still not making plans! I need to get through what’s already on my plate before I even think of something else. I’m hoping to get back to Son of the Circus soon so I’ll concentrate on that.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Review: Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay (4/5)

20 Jun

This is one of those books I feel like every book club read before I joined book clubs. I’d heard good things about it and wanted to read it so when I saw it at a library book sale, I grabbed it. Of course, I never had time to get around to it so I ended up listening to the audiobook. This feels like a common theme lately, huh?

Cover image via Goodreads

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

Summary from Goodreads:

Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family’s apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.

Paris, May 2002: On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France’s past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl’s ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d’Hiv’, to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah’s past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.

I think I’m a sucker for dual timeline historical fiction books. I really enjoy the format and find it helps make the history seem closer to me. I enjoyed both Sarah and Julia’s timelines though I wish Sarah’s had continued on a bit longer. I think it could have been done to an extent without giving away Sarah’s future too much. Anyway. Julia was a good character, though not very relatable for me. I liked her extended family, too. Sarah’s story was so sad that it was hard to hear at times. She grew up well before she should have due to her losses.

Even though I didn’t relate well to Julia, she was a well-developed character. She never felt like she fit in Paris as hard as she tried. I thought the relationship she had with her daughter Zoë was a little unbelievable for Zoë’s age, but that was minor and didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book. Julia’s desire to find the truth was a great asset and I liked how she followed things through to the end, even when they were difficult.

Even though I didn’t like him as a person, Bertand was my favorite character. He was very opinionated and strong-willed which was fun to read. Yes, he was a terrible husband, but we knew that from the first scene when he was making fun of Julia for being an American even though it upset her. He doesn’t redeem himself when we find out he’s been unfaithful but gains some sympathy when he points out to Julia she’s been neglectful of him. I thought he was very realistic and I liked his character a lot, even if he was a total jerk.

There weren’t many characters in this book that felt relatable to me. Probably the most relatable thing was Julia’s feeling of not fitting in. It’s not the same, but I lived in Southern Indiana for college and I never felt like I fit in there. It was a small city with a strong farming community, very different from Metro Detroit! Even when I knew my way around and held jobs in town, I wasn’t from there and it seemed it was always obvious to everyone.

Tatiana de Rosnay
Image via the French Embassy in the United States

I liked Sarah’s timeline. Those were my favorite parts because they made me feel like I knew more than Julia and I liked watching her figure out what I already knew. Her story had more pressing dangers to it and I could feel the fast pace and immediacy to her story. Even though it was sad, I liked the pacing.

I disliked the storyline about Julia’s pregnancy only because I thought it was superfluous to the story. She could have had a fight with Bertand without that being the cause and she could have connected with William without it, too. It felt almost like an afterthought and was almost too convenient to push the plot forward.

The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Polly Stone. It must be a challenge to narrate a book with so many foreign words and I thought Stone handled that well. The one thing that bothered me, and I’ve witnessed this before, is that she gave the French characters French accents when they were speaking French. Maybe this is just my brain but the accents gave me a feeling of the characters not having mastery over the language even though they were speaking their native tongue. It’s a small thing, but it got to me. Besides this, Stone did a great job building tension and tackling all the French names and places.

Family was a hard thing for Sarah to deal with. After her loss, she never felt happy with the Defaures. I felt she was always wondering what she’d be doing if her parents and brother were still alive. Julia’s family is breaking up and she seems to be redefining what her family means to her. Can it be a family without Bertand? Can her family include one more? I thought these questions played on one another well. Sarah’s struggle was much more difficult and I’m glad it got so much attention in the later half of the book.

Writer’s Takeaway:  I’m really enjoying the dual timeline in historical fiction! I think it makes the story more relatable for a modern reader and it takes some of the pressures away of researching every small detail so finely. I might have to give this a try myself in my next book.

This was a really enjoyable title with a great history lesson and some really cool twists to it. Four out of Five stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Sarah’s Key, Tatiana de Rosnay | Literary Treats
Review: Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay | The Book Stop
Sarah’s Key – Tatiana de Rosnay | What Counts!
Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay | Denton Public Library

‘Murder on the Orient Express’ TV Show Review

15 Jun

Image via Fanart

I’m forever going to watch the BBC editions of Christie books after I read them. This is such a treasure trove of good TV! I’m looking forward to the new Murder on the Orient Express movie due out this year, but I thought I’d watch the Agatha Christie’s Poirot version first. It was a good thing to do with my Sunday afternoon!

Things I Thought Were Awesome

Seeing the cast. There were so many names that I was getting Schmidt and Ohlsson confused for a lot of the book, but seeing them in the show made it a lot easier to keep them separate.

The train set. It was so beautiful! Now I want to take a trip on a trans-continental railroad like that. It must have been very costly but I feel like it would have been worth it as well.

Changes That Didn’t Really Bother Me

The simplified plot. Taking out the pipe, finding the kimono, and everyone writing down their addresses was fine by me. I got lost in the details in the book so having it simplified this way was great for me to follow along better. Even though I knew the outcome, it was fun to watch the details unfold!

The money. I think this gave the murder a slightly more believable feel to it so it was a logical add for me. The senseless murder with no motivation, the original set up, was too easy to see through.

Stoning in Istanbul. My husband and I agreed this was a better way to be introduced to Debenham and Arbuthnot. Being on another train when we met them was a bit much. It also flashed back to Debenham’s being beaten up.

Cover image via Goodreads.com

Things That Were Taken Out and I’m Still Wondering Why

 

No Hardman. I don’t get why he was taken out. How hard would it have been to add another character? There are already so many that I don’t think it would have really mattered. It gave Dr. Constantine a weak connection at best.

Things That Changed Too Much

Poirot’s anger. This was the biggest change to me. First, it brings in religious righteousness, which was something the book had none of. Second, it was a stark contrast from the man in the book. It seemed in the end that he was passing judgment and had the final say in matters like he was sentencing them instead of the jury passing judgment. I did really like the shot of him walking through the group to the police, but that doesn’t mean I liked how he was portrayed.

Not questioning each person methodically. This is how Poirot functions! He’s methodical and follows a process. By not questioning each person on the train in turn and setting up a questioning process, I thought it was a big deviation from the character of Poirot and made it frustrating for me.

It will be interesting to see how the feature film version changes things again. I’m glad I watched this one first. Reader, have you see the Murder On the Orient Express episode? What did you think?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 14-June-2017

14 Jun

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: Nothing with A Son of the Circus by John Irving. I think I’ll get back to it this summer, I’m just not sure when.
I made some small progress on Love in the Elephant Tent by Kathleen Cremonesi. There’s not much more reading for my class this summer so I’ll be able to enjoy this during lunch again! AND it’s about time to eat outside again. Woo!
I didn’t run as much as I thought I would this week so I haven’t made much progress with Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. I think I’ll have it finished by next week, though!
I started Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Rober Pirsig over the weekend. I only have two weeks to read this one before my book club meets so I hope to fly through it. Fingers crossed!

Recently finished: I finished Tigerman on Saturday and got my review up yesterday! Go check it out and let me know what you think. I hope to have my book club reflection for it up tomorrow because we met Monday.

My review for Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express went up on Thursday. I gave it Four out of Five stars. I’m getting really excited for that movie adaptation! Who’s with me?
My review for Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris went up on Monday. I gave it Four out of Five stars.

Reading Next: No plans now. My next read will probably be an audiobook but I have no idea what title I’ll get. It all depends on what’s available at the time.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Review: Tigerman by Nick Harkaway (2/5)

13 Jun

This is my book club’s last selection before our summer recess. To be honest, I forgot we had one more or I would have started it early. I scrambled to finish this over the weekend and turned the last page Saturday night. I wanted to like it more than I did but I’ll get to that shortly.

Cover image via Goodreads

Tigerman by Nick Harkaway

Summary from Goodreads:

The island of Mancreu is the ideal place for Lester to serve out his time. It’s a former British colony in legal limbo, soon to be destroyed because of its very special version of toxic pollution – a down-at-heel, mildly larcenous backwater. Of course, that also makes Mancreu perfect for shady business, hence the Black Fleet of illicit ships lurking in the bay: listening stations, offshore hospitals, money laundering operations, drug factories and deniable torture centres. None of which should be a problem, because Lester’s brief is to sit tight and turn a blind eye.

But Lester Ferris has made a friend: a brilliant, internet-addled street kid with a comic book fixation who will need a home when the island dies – who might, Lester hopes, become an adopted son. Now, as Mancreu’s small society tumbles into violence, the boy needs Lester to be more than just an observer.

In the name of paternal love, Lester Ferris will do almost anything. And he’s a soldier with a knack for bad places: ‘almost anything’ could be a very great deal – even becoming some sort of hero. But this is Mancreu, and everything here is upside down. Just exactly what sort of hero will the boy need?

There were parts of this book that had me really excited. An island nation that’s going to be destroyed: cool. A shootout and a revenge plot: cool. A love story: cool. But between these things, I was completely uninterested. The author wrote in long stretches of internal monolog or a lot of movement with minimal dialogue. It made the plot drag between moments of high action and it didn’t keep my attention.

I liked Lester a lot, which is one thing that kept me going. He didn’t feel like a hero but he was one, at least to the boy. He had legitimate fears and concerns and I felt it was very realistic that he would start to feel for the people of Mancreu. The way this love made him act made sense and he was very aware of the fact that he ‘shouldn’t’ feel that way but none the less did.

Kaiko was my favorite character. I liked that she was a strong female in a scientific role but she was still funny. She wasn’t afraid to speak her mind when she needed to and stood up for what she believed in. She was a stark contrast with Africa/Laura who was more of the stereotypical woman in power. I liked that Kaiko wasn’t yelling at everyone all of the time. She was funny and smart, a delightful combination.

The situations the characters were in wasn’t very relatable and that made it hard to get into. So much of their thoughts and actions were influenced by the volatility of the island and it’s a situation I can’t relate to. I think the reason I liked the relationships in this book best is that I could relate to them. I could understand Lester and Kaiko’s emotions or Lester and the boy’s feelings for each other. These were the most interesting for me.

Nick Harkaway
Image via Amazon.com

I liked the first adventure of Tigerman the best. I thought it was well written because from Lester’s point of view, what he does is very routine or in an attempt to not die. When the footage is reviewed, he comes off as something completely different and I liked seeing how in his head, it was obviously a shoddy job to make the best of a bad situation, not a highly planned operation.

I disliked the riot scene. I thought the way it ended was very unbelievable. With such a small island and so few people left, it seemed strange to me that there would be a mob. Everyone probably knew each other so the mob wasn’t faceless or attacking unknown people. These people all knew each other. If I could be on my 2,500 person college campus and know about 25% of the students, surely the residents of that island knew each other.

 

Tigerman had to realize why he was a hero. He wasn’t trying to save the island or find justice. He wanted to protect one person, the boy. It was an admirable goal to be sure and I think it took a completely different direction than he originally envisioned. I was glad he was aware that this was his goal the whole time and why he wanted to be a hero. It made sense why he kept going back.

Writer’s Takeaway: This book didn’t hit a balance between dialogue, action, and reflection to me. There was too much inside Lester’s head and too much description of the action. I needed a better balance and more dialogue to be sure. The book had a lot of long paragraphs of Lester deciding to do something and I could have done without those.

This book missed the mark for me. Two out of Five stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Tigerman by Nick Harkaway | Intellectus Speculativus
Tigerman – Nick Harkaway | x+1
tigerman | Raging Biblio-holism

Book Review: Dress your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris (4/5)

12 Jun

I enjoy listening to some comedy from time to time. I couldn’t stand waiting for this eaudiobook any longer so I got the CD version to listen to in my car. It took me a little longer than normal to get through it, but I’m glad I listened to it. I own a copy of this book and have it signed by Sedaris.

Cover image via Goodreads

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris

Summary from Goodreads:

David Sedaris plays in the snow with his sisters. He goes on vacation with his family. He gets a job selling drinks. He attends his brother’s wedding. He mops his sister’s floor. He gives directions to a lost traveler. He eats a hamburger. He has his blood sugar tested. It all sounds so normal, doesn’t it? In this collection of essays, Sedaris lifts the corner of ordinary life, revealing the absurdity teeming below its surface. His world is alive with obscure desires and hidden motives–a world where forgiveness is automatic and an argument can be the highest form of love. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim is another unforgettable collection from one of the wittiest and most original writers at work today.

I have an odd relationship with Sedaris. I first tried reading his book Me Talk Pretty One Day in college and I couldn’t stand it. I returned it to the library without finishing it which is something I’d never done before. Two years later, I hated that I never finished it and got the audiobook and finished the book, loving it. I met David Sedaris three years ago and found him warm and welcoming. This is one of his books that I had signed and he was impressed with the long line of people he met. I knew what I was getting into with this book and I think that helped me enjoy it from the get-go. Sedaris narrated this one himself which helps a lot. Hearing him make fun of his brother’s accent or the emphasis he places on his disgust of his sister’s apartment is great. I really recommend his books on audio to anyone wanting to try Sedaris for the first time.

I love the way he portrays his family. You can tell he feels like a bit of an outcast amongst them and as different as he is, they still love him beyond reason. It’s great to hear him talk about his mother and how much he loved her. I enjoyed the stories about his siblings a lot, too. He never gets too deeply into his partner, Hugh, and how he feels about him. I can only think of one story that mentions their quarreling. I think Sedaris portrays his family in very realistic ways because as much as they may seem like caricatures, they’re consistent from book to book and none of them have come forward publicly denouncing him yet.

Paul was my favorite and the story about his daughter being born was amazingly funny and heart-wrenching. He has a heart of gold, it’s easy to see and really cared for his wife and daughter. Sedaris made a comment about how often Paul calls that really stuck with me and talk of how much he loves his siblings and father. I could tell there was a huge age gap between Paul and David that meant they were never that close, but I wish there could have been more about Paul in Sedaris’s childhood stories.

I think Sedaris’s family stories are so relatable because we’re all embarrassed by our families at one time or another. I work at the same company as my mother and spend about 20% of my time trying not to embarrass her by my own actions. It’s a very universal feeling, especially as a kid which is why I suspect so many of Sedaris’s stories are from his childhood.

My signed copy of the book.

My favorite story was Six to Eight Black Men. It talked about cultural differences, focusing on Christmas traditions between America and the Netherlands. Sedaris has this great sense of humor and vividness to make American traditions sound just as outrageous as the Dutch ones and poke fun at both. He also taught me that in my home state of Michigan, the legally blind can hunt alone. I have to say, I’m not at all surprised but I wonder if this is still true.

It’s hard to say if I disliked any of the stories but there were some with more dark humor than I was comfortable with. Monie Changes Everything comes to mind. David’s family gained a lot from Aunt Monie but he seems to not care much for her, even when he went to see her. It was a little too dark for me.

Sedaris narrating the book himself was perfect. Like I said before, it changed how I perceived the whole story the first time I listened to him. There were two stories recorded live and played back for the recording which was even better. Sometimes, Sedaris wouldn’t pause after something funny and if I laughed too hard, I’d miss the next bit. In the live recordings, he pauses to let the crowd laugh and then I didn’t feel as silly laughing alone in my car. There were recorded voices of hundreds of others joining me.

Sedaris is very different from the rest of his family but they all accept and love each other. I think that’s the most important thing he tells his readers. No matter what, we all need to love our families because we never know how far away we’ll end up or how long they’ll be with us.

Writer’s Takeaway: Sedaris does a great job poking fun at himself. It can be hard to admit your flaws or when you mess up but he does it humbly and it makes for a really fun read.

A great laugh. I made my husband listen to one of the stories before we returned it. Four out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim – David Sedaris | Lorannkay
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Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, David Sedaris | Books j’adore

Book Review: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (4/5)

8 Jun

I heard this one was going to be turned into a movie and I wanted to read it before the film came out. My husband and I needed a book to listen to for our drive to the cottage over Memorial Day weekend and we picked this one. We finished it up last week over dinner. I love having a husband who loves books, too!

Cover image via Goodreads.com

Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot #10) by Agatha Christie

Other books by Agatha Christie reviewed on this blog:
El misterio de la guía de ferrociarriles 4/5

Summary from Goodreads:

Just after midnight, a snowdrift stopped the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train was surprisingly full for the time of the year. But by the morning there was one passenger fewer. A passenger lay dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside.

I really enjoyed this story. I think that I listened to it in big chunks helped me enjoy it because I could keep track of the small details. My husband and read this book a long time ago and he remembered the final reveal, but he had fun picking up on the small details along the way. I was changing my guess at the murderer every ten minutes! Christie really is a master of mysteries.

I loved the variety of characters Christie was able to create and how distinct each of them was. She did a good job of building all of these people and then slowly revealing their secrets. I loved each time we found out something new. A part of me was very glad Poirot was on the train to solve the case, but it seems like mystery chases him! He was on his way home from solving one case to dive right back into another. Can’t the guy get a break?

I loved and hated Mrs. Hubbard. She was a great character but she made me feel like Christie must really hate Americans. Her hysterics were very believable and as annoying as she seemed, she also came off as a very loving mother and grandmother. She made for great drama on the train to be sure.

This wasn’t a book where I was looking to connect with any of the characters so I can’t say I related to any of them. I’m going to talk about the reveal a bit here so skip to the end of this paragraph if you don’t want that ruined! I have experienced times where I felt justice wasn’t served and I’ve wanted to do something about it myself but I never have. I could understand why the people involved wanted to do something, but I would never do it myself.

Agatha Christie
Image via Biography.com

OK, one more paragraph about the reveal so skip down again if you’re so inclined. I promise this is the last one. I loved the reveal! I thought it was such a perfect fit and I was, as always, impressed Poirot could think of it. It started to seem more and more suspicious that so many people connected with the Armstrong case were on the train. They, of course, would have recognized each other but were pretending not to know each other, which is when I started to suspect it was something bigger. I was sitting slack-jawed the whole time Poirot revealed it. Amazing!

I can’t think of a part of this book I didn’t like. I thought the part on the first train was dull, but that became important later. And I got a little frustrated when Poirot seemed to know the ending but wasn’t giving anything away but, again, that was important at the end. The book moved along well and I really enjoyed it!

The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Dan Stevens. He did an amazing job doing all the voices! I wondered if it was full cast at one point but I think Stevens is just that talented. I didn’t realize until we were done with it that he plays Beast in the new Beauty and the Beast movie! I’m tempted to just start listening to all of his audiobooks, it looks like he’s done some great classics!

OK, one more paragraph of semi-spoilers. Sorry about that. The biggest theme I got from this book is revenge. It became obvious very early on that the murder was one of passion. The number of stab wounds was excessive for a murder and the revealed connections made it more clear. When is revenge justified? Was this murder justified? It’s up to the reader to determine.

Writer’s Takeaway: Christie had me feeling stupid and I liked it. I was OK not knowing what Poirot was thinking all the time. I still liked the story when I was guessing to the last minute who the murderer was. I don’t feel this way often, but Christie did a great job of it! She gave me just enough as she went through the story, having Poirot reveal a little at a time so that I enjoyed feeling smarter than the passengers. It’s a great balance.

This was a really enjoyable read and I hope others take a chance to read it before the film comes out. Johnny Depp and Kenneth Branagh! Be still my heart.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Book Review: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (Classics Challenge #1) | Pretty Books
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (spoiler-free review) | Alastair Savage

WWW Wednesday, 7-June-2017

7 Jun

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: No movement on A Son of the Circus by John Irving. Still on hold pending free time and a break in the book club season.
I got through some more of Love in the Elephant Tent by Kathleen Cremonesi because I forgot to bring my school book to read during lunch. It meant more school reading over the weekend, but it was a nice break!
I got into Tigerman by Nick Harkaway this week and I’m really enjoying it now. The trouble is finding more time to read it. I get through a few pages before bed, but all my free time now is for school. It will be over soon…
I made some big progress with Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. I’m finally seeing the two stories converge and I’m looking forward to them really crashing into each other.

Recently finished: Two finished! I feel like I’m winning at reading this week. The first is Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris. My review for this one will be up next week. I enjoyed Sedaris’s commentary on life and I’ll just say here that I’m glad I’m not one of his sisters! I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.
I also finished Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. It was perfect timing because my husband and I finished listening to it on Thursday, the same day the trailer for it came out! It looks like they’ve changed a few things around but it will be pretty close to the book based on the trailer. I can’t wait for that one!

I posted my book review for Landline by Rainbow Rowell so please go check that one out! It went up on Monday.

Reading Next: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Rober Pirsig is still waiting on my bedside table. I’ll pick it up as soon as I finish Tigerman.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell (3/5)

5 Jun

I waited a long time to read this one because I didn’t know if I would like it. I found a copy at the library book sale. It had been taken out of circulation after the book started being checked out less. I hadn’t found time to read it so I’m just now getting around the audio version of the book. I was wasn’t completely right about my feelings of it, but it is probably my least favorite Rowell book.

Cover image via Goodreads

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Other books by Rainbow Rowell reviewed on this blog:

Attachments 5/5
Fangirl 3/5
Carry On 5/5
Eleanor & Park 4/5

Summary from Goodreads:

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble; it has been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems beside the point now.

Maybe that was always beside the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts…

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

I’ve read Rowell’s fantasy and I’ve read her realistic fiction and liked both. I wasn’t ready for a hybrid, though. The whole magical phone thing really got me. In Carry On, I was ready for magic and how it would affect the story. In this story, it wasn’t explained and there wasn’t a culture that normalized it. It was too much for me to buy into. I liked Georgie and Neal and Seth and Heather and all the other characters, but the phone really ruined it for me. I couldn’t suspend my disbelief in a phone that talks to the past.

Rowell does an amazing job of building realistic characters and that’s why she kills contemporary fiction. I thought all of the characters were very realistic and I really enjoyed Seth. I feel like I was supposed to hate him, but he reminded me of friends from college and it was hard to dislike him. The little girls were great and Heather was super fun. As much as Georgie’s mom seemed like a caricature, I’ve met women like her. It was all great.

Seth was my favorite character. I liked his confidence and sense of humor but also his dedication to Georgie and their show. I would have been one of the girls swooning over him from a distance in college. Spoiler warning for the rest of this paragraph! Skip to the next to avoid it. I didn’t like how he admitted having feelings for Georgie at the end. That really bothered me. It was implied but I don’t think it ever needed to be spoken and I think it would really have ruined the relationship between him and Georgie which put their future success at risk. I wish he hadn’t said anything and it seemed a bit out of character for him to do it.

I could understand where Georgie’s problems came from. Even having only been married four years, I can see how the magic of dating is not a daily occurrence in my marriage. I’m sure this is not uncommon. I hope I’m never as blindly committed to my job as Georgie, but I can see how it would happen. This is a very relatable problem and I hope it doesn’t take a magic phone to solve it if I ever do run into a similar situation. I don’t think I can count on one.

Rainbow Rowell
Image via the author’s website

I liked Heather’s story (spoilers, again!). I think it would be really hard to tell my mom if I thought I was gay and the way she handled it seemed real to me. It didn’t surprise me that her mom already knew, either. The pugs being born bringing the girls together was cute. I liked that touch.

If the phone had been removed, I would have liked the story a lot more. I think it could have been. I think there could have been some home videos or letters or pictures that stirred up memories and gave Georgie the same sense of urgency and reflections that the phone did. It took the book into magical realism and that’s a genre I don’t much care for.

The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Rebecca Lowman. I thought she did well with the girls’ voices and the guys without being distracting. Sometimes a man’s voice is too over-the-top in an audiobook and with how much Neal talked in this one, it’s good that it wasn’t. She gave the women in the story just enough difference to make them distinguishable, too.

Georgie didn’t mean to put her job before her family, but that’s what happened. I don’t think our priorities get that out of whack on purpose. I know there are times I’ve put school ahead of my husband and it was never an intentional decision. The trick is to recognize when you’ve done this and make things right. It might not be as extreme as what Georgie went through, but saying you’re sorry is always important.

Writer’s Takeaway: Rowell’s contemporary characters knock it out of the park again! I think adding a fantastical element was a bit of a risk for her and it didn’t work for me. She’s had great success with contemporary fiction and I don’t know what made her deviate from that. Personally, I hope she doesn’t again. It’s risky for a writer to move to another genre. Rowell has crossed over adult and YA but maybe magical realism is a bit too far for her.

I liked the book but the premise wasn’t for me. Three out of Five stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Landline – Rainbow Rowell | the book goddess
Review #3: Landline by Rainbow Rowell | forwards and bookwords
Book Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell | Jen’s Pen Den