Category Archives: Books

Three Weeks With My Brother by Nicholas Sparks (review)

Three Weeks With My Brother is a beautiful memoir written by American Writer Nicholas Sparks who is probably most known as the author of the books that are the base for movies like The Notebook, Message in the Bottle, The Chance. There of course exists more movies based on his books but those three are the ones I actually saw.

This was a great read. It evoked many emotions while reading: joy, sadness, amazement. The novel is about his travel around the world in 2002 with his brother Micah and as we learn at the end of the book, his only remaining relative of nuclear family of 3 kids. On a travel the brothers often reminiscent about their past and how close they were all the time – growing up, interacting with parents and their very tragic family side of the story. I enjoyed reading about brothers’ adventures when they were young, I’ve enjoyed reading about their wonderful mom and her philosophy (“No one ever said life was fair”, “What you wish and what you get a two entirely different things”, “It’s your life + some socially comment”). Also when the author was describing past events he looked and offered explanation to why they were as they were with the eyes of adult and a parent (simple example, as a middle child he didn’t get attention like his older brother or younger sister but looking back as a parent he knows that attention doesn’t equal love). Comments like that also made me thing about myself and my past.

Three Weeks With My Brother was recommended to me by my mom. Now we are even since I’ve also recommended a book she enjoyed (All the light we cannot see). 🙂

The Couple Next Door by Sheri Lapena (Review)

The Couple Next Door is an excellent mystery and thriller which is about parents whose 6-month-old baby has been kidnapped while they were on a party next door. While the criminal is being investigated by the police everything is revealed through narratives which are told through eyes of different characters and confrontations with each other. Police involvement in book is therefore useless, it only adds legitimicy to the story. Who would take seriously a story where a baby is kidnapped and parents don’t notify a police about it?

I enjoyed the story, it had lot of plot twists. There were a moment I thought to myself “OK, that’s it. 40 pages left to finish the book and surely no new plot twist will come up”, but I was wrong. I didn’t know the biggest one was yet to come. This one added a new meaning to the whole story and how characters where judged.

I was little put off by writing. I’m not used to read novels in present simple. I was also annoyed how there were paragraphs where every sentence started with character name or personal pronouns (like this paragraph).

Aleatha Romig Into the Light book cover

Into the Light/Away from the Dark (by Aleatha Romig)

It’s been 2 weeks since I’ve discovered Aleatha Romig’s The Light, 2-book series when I was searching for a new read on Goodreads. First book Into the Light was ranked among the best thriller/mystery books for previous year. And oh boy, this story is so good, so captivating, I was literally skipping lines (with pages it would be too much) because I wanted to find out what happened at the end. Despite shocking main events which includes indoctrinating a woman into a cult and making her believe fake story to make her compliant to her make-believe husband,. Who own her completely (body and thoughts) and if she hides anything from him or is disobedient, he has a right to correct her. For her own success. Totally unacceptable for today’s society we live in.

In my opinion first book describes and sets the background and next book Away from the Dark tries to resolve and uncover mysteries of the first (we also learn there’s a bigger picture to the cult than just religious stuff but also a plethora of illegal activities). When I finished with the last one, I didn’t get the feeling it was a 2-book story. But if it were one book, it would be over 700 pages long which I admit is not practical from publisher’s point of view. This also has to be one of the rare books from the genre from female writers I read and shamefully I’ve admit I didn’t expect story so good. Although there is less technical knowledge as male writers like to incorporate in thrillers, Aleatha Romig exceeds at storytelling and keeping reader’s attention. I also noticed love-making parts of the story are much more detailed which didn’t leave me, let say, indifferent. 😀

There are many parts of the story I enjoyed. For example, like when Sara (the woman who was indoctrinated), previously stopping taking her birth control medicine, starts to remember her true self and despite this she keeps her new mantle to save herself and buy time. Clever writing by Aleatha Romig! Or in earlier part, when she is in conversation with other wives of the chosen (privileged people of the community, do less and elite work, live in better and bigget apartments), they discuss about their jobs and despite how awkward that would be in real world, author keeps exploring the idea.

Definitely 5/5!

A note about book covers: First one is mostly blue, the second is red but the background shows the same scene of girl running in the forest with clearing (the light) at the end of it. What differs, apart from book title text, is the direction girl is running. In first in she runs towards the light, in second away from the light. Although trivial, I think this is a nice little detail.

Review of All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See is a book by Anthony Doerr, set in World War 2 and tells the seperate story of two children, Marie-Laure from Paris and Werner from Germany. Marie-Laure is a blind 6-year-old who lives with her father and they move to Saint-Malo to her great-uncle when Germany attacks Paris. Werner is an orphan living with his sister in orphanage led by Frenchwoman who gets interested in radio and how things works at very young age and his cleverness earns him attendance to Nazi school then entering in war he’s intercepting illegal radio broadcasts.

What made me interested in book was the title – at first I thought it was a reference to all the things we cannot see because our abilities are limited or are too focused. After reading I realized I was right but concluded it referred more specifically to radio broadcasting with which you can broadcast messages, music. Radio is after all the vocal point of the story which connects the two children. I was impressed that Werner liked to listen to science program that was broadcasted by Frenchman who was in fact great-uncle of Marie-Laure. Werner was sent to eliminate enemy broadcasting but when realizing the truth he lied about it and saved the girl (also physically from intruder in her house and escorting her to safe place).

Storytelling in the book is really great, filled with nice thoughts. I liked how author were telling Marie-Laure’s part of the story – he described her surrounding using other senses like smell an touch since she is blind.

There are few things though I didn’t like but are minor. I thought story could be shortened in the middle and still not lose the main idea. I’m not a fan of non-linear story-telling especially if the segments are dated (how could I remember them?).

I didn’t like how tragically the story ended for Werner – felt quite bad for him after finishing the book. I don’t read books with war theme but I think this book is the first that got me thinking the war didn’t bring suffering only to nations attacked by Nazis but also to soldiers who fought on Nazi side. Surely not all of them felt great killing fellow human beings but were forced to.

All the Light We Cannot See really transferred me to that time and taught me something about interpersonal relations.

Tracy Crosswhite short stories: The Academy and Third Watch

Book series about Tracy Crosswhite from American writer Robert Dugoni also consists of two short stories which act as prequels to his first book in the series, My Sister’s Grave. They are titled The Academy and Third Watch and together they are long about 3 hours of reading.

The Academy describes motives and goals that drove then 25-year-old Tracy to quit teaching chemistry in school in her hometown of Cedar Grove and joining Seattle Police Department to become homicide detective. We also learn specifics of an incident between her and her later boss Johnny Nolasco who’s ego is still hurt because of that even after 20 years and is unsuccessfully trying day and night (and failing miserably) to get Tracy to fail professionally as a first female homicide detective in Seattle. We also get to know Jenny Almond, sheriff from third book in a series, In the Clearing, who Tracy helps to improve both physically and mentally to be able to pass the Academy.

Third Watch is set 6 years after the events in The Academy with Tracy doing night patrols when she responds to domestic violence and hostage crisis with no immediately available backup. She’s able to keep her cool and handles it with no casualties. Her bosses recognize her actions and award her with Medal of Valor and at the same time putting SPD critics on mistreating female officers to rest. She’s also promoted to the Burglary unit which is located in the same level as Homicide she ends up in later books in the series. Story ends with her encounter with Johny Nolasco to whom she repeats what she told him 6 years ago. That she intends to take his job ((But here’s what I’m wondering, did she already fulfill that promise by being promoted to homicide detective in later books or does she chase whatever position Johnny Nolasco occupies, because in the last book he’s a police captain)).

They are must-read for everyone that grew fond of the Tracy Crosswhite and would like to know more about her characteristics and her remarkable abilities. Because she is a very badass female character.