March Book Reviews

march book reviews.jpg

March was an interesting time for me. It came with segments of constant busyness and exhaustion, but with other segments of binge reading and relaxation. Interesting month, but these are the books that filled my head through it all.

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marry poppins.jpg

Mary Poppins: P.L. Travers

 4/5 stars

This is a story of childhood nostalgia for anyone like me. It was so sweet to enter into this world that I explored so often in the movie as a child. It is also interesting to see the drastic difference between P.L. Travers’ story and the Walt Disney version of the same beloved tale.

Jane and Michael have chased away just about every nanny that their mom has hired, until one day Mary Poppins arrives and shows them a magic like they’ve never known is possible. With the perfect mix of charm and strictness, Mary Poppins becomes the perfect person to care for the two children and their twin brother and sister as she shows them all a world beyond their wildest dreams.

The book was definitely written for a younger readership, with illustrations on some pages, and a light vocabulary, but it is still extremely enjoyable for readers of all ages.

 

 

between shades of gray.jpgBetween Shades of Gray– Ruta Sepetys

4/5 stars
{not at all in any relation to Fifty Shades of Gray.}

Fifteen-year old Lina’s life is flipped upside down one night when Soviet officers bust into her house remove her from her world of art and comfort. She, her brother, and her mom are separated from her dad and forced into a train car where they are taken to one of Stalin’s labor camps. This book follows the journey of this brave girl as she and her family move from camp to camp, each time being forced into more work in worse conditions.

This book introduced me to a side of WWII that I once neglected to recognize for what it was. I think it is easy to focus on the destruction of Hitler on the Jews, and we forget that there were equal evils happening under Stalin’s control. It is believed that Stalin is responsible for the deaths of over 20 million people.

It’s a perspective that everyone needs to experience. It offers a brutal truth of history, told through the story of a likable and respectable protagonist.

 

harry potter.jpgHarry Potter and the Cursed Child- J.K. Rowling

4/5 stars

Picking up from the epilogue of the very last book, this stage script allows you to join Harry’s child as he makes a similar trip to Hogwarts as his dad, but has an extremely different experience. The young Albus Potter is sorted into Slitheran, and finds himself unable to live up to the high standards set by his dad, and this leads into some very classic Harry Potter trouble.

This story was strange to read after reading the other seven books. It is hard to adjust to reading a screenplay rather than the incredibly vivid novels that we all grew up on. The storyline seemed to rush a bit without the finer details, which makes for a fast, but slightly awkward read.

While it is obvious that J.K. Rowling had a huge role in the fantastic storyline of this tale, the story certainly lacks some of the magic of her other works, making it clear that others were more involved in the writing than you’d really like.

So I encourage you, if you are fans of Harry Potter, certainly do not miss out on a chance to check in with some of your favorite characters years past your last moments with them, but do not come into this book expecting the same experience of the other seven novels..

 

this life i liveThis Life I Live: One Man’s Extraordinary, Ordinary Life and the Woman Why Changed it Forever – Rory Feek

 5/5 stars

 Beautiful. This story is raw, authentic, and beautiful. It is the true story of a man’s battle in life to be who God wants him to be, the story his overcoming of barriers and downfalls, and the story of grace as he learned to forgive himself and others. But most of all, it is about a love that he had and lost, and his fight to keep his faith strong through the trial.

Many people followed the story of Gospel duo Rory and Joey Feek a few years ago, when Joey faced a fight with cancer. The world fell in love with the love story of this man, his wife, and their precious daughter, Indiana. While her story did not end the way the world was praying it would, there is so much love and redemption in this book, and Rory explains everything he believes the world needs to know about him, his wife, and the role God played and continues to play in their life together.

Whether you followed the story or not, this book is one that needs to be read by anyone seeking to see God in the face of trials.

 

beautiful ruins.jpgBeautiful Ruins– Jess Walter

4/5 stars

A young Italian Inn-Keeper on a dissolute fishing island, an American actress who may or may not be dying of stomach cancer, a struggling musician from Seattle, a writer with a story he needs to tell, but can’t get past the first chapter, a screen writer hoping to get just one chance, and a film scholar trying to figure out if she is where she is supposed to be in life.

All of these lives intertwine somehow in this beautifully written story of love and relations that lives through the decades.

This book is a definite “bare with me” novel. The first fifty pages are hard to get through, however, once you make it into the depths of the story, you will find it more engaging and the thoughts and ideas presented in it will end up sticking in your mind even after you flip the last page.

 

life of pi.jpgLife of Pi – Yann Martel

4/5 stars

He grew up around animals, but loved religion, every religion. That’s why Pi Patel chose to major in both zoology and religious studies. The book is loaded with a vast knowledge of both. The climax takes place when Pi and his family are moving to Canada from India on a large ship. When the ship hits a storm and begins to go down, Pi finds himself alone on a lifeboat with only a tiger to keep him company.

The relationship between the man in the tiger is an interesting concept to grasp through out the story, but more than that is the concept of man and religion.

This book was not a page-turner. It started pretty slowly, and the pace never sped up too dramatically. I would also warn that it seemed to be about 150 pages longer than was needed.  But it is one of those stories that becomes more relevant to you in life following the last chapter than it may have seemed while reading it. I find myself referring back to the book in my daily life more than I ever imagined I would. It’s certainly worth the long reading.

 


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