Welcome to my blog!

This blog highlights all my favorite picks and ponderings. I share book recommendations, yummy recipes and fashion favorites! I throw in some surprises every now and then and share my life happenings and LOTS of pictures of my adorable sons, Joey and Teddy:) Hope you'll keeping stopping by!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Moloka'i- Alan Brennert

Moloka’I is an exquisite novel that blends history, human spirituality and rich language into a unique story of strength in the face of weakness, triumph in the face of despair and love in the face of bitterness.    When a rose colored mark appears on the skin of sweet, spirited seven year old Rachel Kalama, she is instantly robbed of childhood hopes and dreams.  She is sent to Kalaupapa, a quarantined leprosy settlement on the island of Moloka’i.  There, along with other exiled lepers, Rachel’s life is supposed to end.  But what she soon discovers is that this is an island where people embrace life in the face of their own imminent mortality.  This true-to-life story gave me a glimpse into a time in history that I was completely unfamiliar. It was truly a learning experience for me about the absorption of Hawaii by the United States, the disease of leprosy or Hansen's disease, the leper colony of Kalaupapa on the island of Molokai, the island of Maui, and early aviation.  Although criticized by some for his often contemporary language amidst a backdrop of late 19th/ early 20th century, I found Brennert’s writing to be particularly relatable in creating a more distinct connection with the colorful cast of characters.   This novel is equal parts heartbreaking and uplifting.  The story can be captured in a passage from one of my most beloved characters, Sister Catherine.

“I’ve come to believe that how we choose to live with pain, or injustice, or death…is the true measure of the Divine within us.  I use to wonder, why did God give children leprosy? Now I believe; God doesn’t give anyone leprosy.  He gives us, if we choose to use it, the spirit to live with leprosy, and with the imminence of death.  Because it is in our own mortality that we are most Divine.”  Pg. 307

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Delirium-Lauren Oliver

What can I say? I like my dystopian trilogiesJ

Although Delirium is a dystopian novel, it is first and foremost a love story and it doesn’t pretend to be otherwise.  Having said that it does not just focus on the romantic relationship that transpires, but it also delves into the realm of family and friendship as well.  In a society that considers love a disease and the reason for most wrongdoing in the world, a procedure is performed at the age of 18 to “cure” one from ever loving again.  What makes this novel so believably realistic are the small nuances of society that Oliver utilizes.  From the quotation of official documents, rules and regulations to children’s songs and  poetry  the reader is able to mentally fashion and conceive the world that Lauren Oliver has created and is constantly aware that the characters live in a restrictive and severely controlled society.  The setting of the novel really resonated with me as it was based in Portland, Maine.  This location constructed a vivid picture of Lena’s environment.  Her mention of Back Bay, Monument Square, Deering Oaks, and Commercial Street truly allowed for a unique reading experience.  Another thing that stood out to me was Oliver’s writing.  Her writing flows like poetry.  She has an uncanny talent for using the most brilliantly crafted language and imagery to capture a moment perfectly.  Here is an example:

                "Somewhere deeper in the city a motor is running, a distant, earthy growl, like an animal panting. In a few hours the bright blush of morning will push through all that darkness, and shapes will reassert themselves, and people will wake up and yawn and brew coffee and get ready for work, everything the same as usual. Life will go on. Something aches at the very core of me, something ancient and deep and stronger than words: the filament that joins each of us to the root of existence, that ancient thing unfurling and resisting and grappling, desperately for a foothold, a way to stay here, breathe, keep going."

                Finally, the love story that comes to life is beautifully construed and heartbreakingly appealing.  The truths Lena learns about her government, her family and love also awaken truths about herself.  This novel ends with a gripping cliffhanger, but lucky for readers the second book, Pandemonium, has been released.  The third and final book of the trilogy is due out March 5th.  I will eagerly be waiting at the door when the book store opens to get my hands on a copyJ

Delirium is a delightfully expressive, heartbreaking love story set in a dystopian future. It’s both an intense and melodious experience. If you’ve not yet jumped on to the dystopian bandwagon, you simply must.