Month: September 2013

Review: HEART LIKE MINE

Heart Like Mine

Phew! What an emotional journey. We first meet Grace, independent and successful in her professional life but a little insecure when it comes to her personal life. She’s willing to marry the man of her dreams, older man Victor, even though he is divorced with two kids.  Even though Grace who doesn’t want kids of her own, the mother is there to take care of Ana and Max, and Grace doesn’t have to take on any of that responsibility. Victor and Grace have forged their private world where the children are present but never a burden.

From the first page we learn that Kelli, the mother, has died unexpectedly.

As the characters begin to process their loss, the perspectives begin to splinter and Amy Hatvany takes the readers into the minds of Grace, Ana and Kelli (before her death).  On the cusp of womanhood Ana is rebellious, fiercely loyal to her father and mother and she will do anything to preserve her mother’s memory. Grace is thrust into the midst of a grieving family and consequently is pushed to the periphery as Victor focuses on his children. Kelli’s perspective gives the reader insight into a weary divorced woman who always loved Victor but seemed destined to push him away.

As the tension between Victor and his children and Grace grows, they each uncover little clues about Kelli’s distant past that may provide closure and ultimately mend broken ties.

The arc of the story is pretty fluid and I didn’t feel that the shifting viewpoints were jarring or confusing.  Hatvany does a great job of capturing each of these characters in the midst of figuring out their lives. They are complicated and flawed but ultimately sympathetic. Without Victor’s perspective, his character is the only one that seems to fall flat. It sometimes borders on the line of being an over dramatized Lifetime script, but Hatvany knows when to exercise restraint without sacrificing the tension.

Overall: Multiple viewpoint mesh seamlessly into this highly emotional story about family, love and hope.

About the Author:

Amy Hatvany is the author of Best Kept SecretOutside the LinesThe Language of Sisters, and Heart Like Mine. She lives in Seattle with her family.

Author website: http://www.amyhatvany.com/
Purchase: AmazonB&N  – Indieound

This book was acquired on my own and was not influenced by any outside party.

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Review: The Fault In Our Stars

Faultinourstars

Hazel is only 17 and she can see the end of her life. She must carry around an oxygen tank to keep her cancer ravaged lungs breathing. The oxygen tank is the weight holding her back and preventing her from hoping for a new chance at life. John Green introduces us to someone who is unimpressed with her time on earth and sees no point to her existence. She is a character with a prickly outside and a very philosophical and introspective mind. I liked her spirit and was glad that Green chose to give us a teen that didn’t feel sorry for herself and approached the cards she was dealt with dark humor.

Augustus is introduced quickly into the story before I feel like we, as the reader, have had time to get to know Hazel. But Augustus seems to know her well enough for all of us. Lucky for Augustus, he is in remission due to having a leg amputated. He immediately take Hazel into his world in the hopes that she will open her thoughts up to him and they learn to communicate through books. Hazel’s favorite novel, An Imperial Affliction, mirrors the hopelessness of her life. She seems to rejoice in the acceptance of this loss of hope. Slowly but surely, the bond between these two morphs into a shared belief that they both might beat the odds and by some miracle, be together forever. The eventually find a replacement for saying I Love You, by saying “Okay” to one another.

okay.okay

The idea of destiny is polarized when seen through the lens of someone living with cancer. Hazel and Gus start at opposite ends of the spectrum and slowly move towards one another.  Green had his characters symbolically lose a part of their bodies to cancer, Gus and his leg, Issac and his eyes, and Hazel and her lungs. As these characters learn to live without these part of their bodies, they learn to accept the world as it’s been handed to them.

Where did this book fail for me? The cheesiness. The influence of social media had already informed me that one of them will die. They made it seem like it was a gut-wrenching turn of events in this teenage love story. Yet, my reality in reading it was cold detachment. Am I unable to feel you ask? Why, no, I’ve cried reading a book before. But the emotional build-up fizzled for me. Green piles a lot of philosophical questions onto these two fragile beings and rather than really resonating, it seemed forced.

I guess they are making it into a movie and it will be the tear-jerker teen movie of the year. I doubt I’ll take the time to see it.

Visit John Green’s website for more details : http://johngreenbooks.com/

Amazon B&N