Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Lara Avery. ANYTHING BUT ORDINARY

Bryce Graham was diving at the Olympic trials when she makes a slight mistake that nearly ends her life. She ends up in a coma for five years. But then she wakes up.

Everyone calls her a miracle. But it takes her a while to settle back into her life. Everyone else has moved on. Her best friend and boyfriend have graduated from high school and college. They are beginning careers. Bryce feels lost and unsure of herself.

Since her old best friend, Gabby, feels distant, she's become close with someone else. A med student named Carter watched over her in the hospital for years. They become close and he helps ease her transition back into every day life.

Although there's one aspect of her recovery that Bryce doesn't tell even Carter about. She begins having visions. Some are of the past, like while she was in the coma, while others are of the future. She isn't sure if her brain is playing tricks on her or if it's a symptom of something wrong. But she doesn't really want to know for sure, so she plans to ignore them - as long as she can.

This was an interesting read. I like the concept of missing five years of your life and trying to "catch up." I'm always fascinated by how the brain works and the effects of trauma to different parts of the brain.

There were some really lovely parts of the book that I enjoyed. Overall, a nice read!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

M.L. Stedman. THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS

"Right and wrong can be like bloody snakes: so tangled up that you can't tell which is which until you've shot 'em both, and then it's too late."

Tom Sherbourne takes a job as a lighthouse keeper in Australia, attempting to live a peaceful life down after years in the war. He doesn't expect to find a lovely woman in the nearby town to settle down with. But Isabel takes him by surprise by agreeing to marry him and live with him on the isolated island of Janus Rock.

The two of them enjoy living alone on the island and look forward to starting a family. But after several miscarriages, Isabel becomes distraught and lonely. Their lives change forever one day when a baby turns up on shore in a small boat, along with her deceased father. Isabel feels like it's a miracle sent to them. Tom wants to alert the authorities  She convinces him to wait a day or two just to give her time to take care of the baby and make sure she's okay. Isabel swears that the mother must have drown since there was a women's cardigan in the boat. Tom sees how the baby has brought Isabel back to life and he's torn between doing the right thing and making his wife happy.

The longer they keep the baby, the harder the decision becomes for Tom to do what he knows is right. When they visit the nearby town on shore leave, the decision to keep the baby wreaks even more havoc on his conscious. He must make some difficult choices. And he's not the only one. Isabel has gut-wrenching decisions to make, as well as several other characters. Several families get caught up in this one decision that Tom and Isabel made.

This is an emotional, moral tale that will make you think deeply about what decisions you would make in Tom and Isabel's position. How much hurt would you case a person you love to do the right thing? Do you swallow your own guilt to please your loved ones? Or do you stay true to yourself but sacrifice their happiness?

The writing is exquisite and beautiful. I highlighted many meaningful sections. Here's an unforgettable section about forgiveness.

A character who seems always happy, even after all the bad that's happened to him, he's asked how he does it. He says he chooses to. He can either rot in the past or forgive and forget.

"Oh, but my treasure, it is so much less exhausting. You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all, every day. You have to keep remembering all the bad things."

Wow. Truer words were never spoken.