“Message in a Bottle” Book Summary and Review

Cover of book Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks

Review by dancingforever27

In 1999, Message in a Bottle was mass-produced in an abundance of book stores. World-renowned author, Nicholas Sparks, narrates a love story between two unsuspecting love interests. This is a fictional romance story that debates fate and forgiveness, yet remains original and an easy read. Like all other stories written by Sparks, this novel takes place in the South of America in real locations.

The female lead is Theresa Osborne, a hardworking and determined woman. She previously has been divorced to a man unworthy of companionship, David, as he had an affair while they had a son to take care of. She has had a history of bad romantic relationships and some serious trust issues after figuring out his secret. Her friend and her husband, Deanna and Brian, have been focused on getting her out of this slump.

Theresa believes that her work in the city as a part of the columns in the Boston Times is too valuable to her life to be focused on dating. Her son, Kevin, alternates with both parents over summer, and he has just left to stay with David and his new wife, Annette. Currently, Kevin is spending a few weeks with his dad, and she believes she should be spontaneous and go to the beach for a few days. Her main focus for the trip is to relax and renew from these stressful situations she finds herself in such as taking care of Kevin, finding informative parenting text to write about in her column, being a single mother, and getting popularized for her work in the columns and later be featured in The New York Times.

While she was staying on vacation, Theresa notices a washed up bottle along the shoreline. Inside the bottle is a message on a scroll, one describing a romantic yet tragic love story. It seems to be understood that a man named Garrett loved a woman named Catherine very much. In a way, she has left him, most likely through death. As she reads a brief description of his passion for the missing lover, she cries of a longing for that type of relationship and informs her friend Deanna. She thinks that Theresa should release this into her column to find out who this poetic and adoring man is. This leaves Theresa with many questions about him, and she also has a few decisions to make based on that:

Questions about Garrett

  1. Where does he live?
  2. How can she meet him?
  3. What exactly happened between him and his previous lover?

Decisions to Make

  1. Will she listen to Deanna and publish the letter? If so, will she make it as personal as it was in the original print?
  2. If she finds out more information, will she try to find out where he is and meet him?

                                                                                 Find out more by reading the novel.

            I would rate this book an 8 out of 10 for the following reasons:

On the positive side of things, this story is a great romance with multiple layers of overcoming a devastating loss for Garret. Both characters are quite idealized by having great character. Each lead character are quite opposites. Theresa is a big-city woman with large dreams of being famous and well-known. Garrett loves to sail, is a rhythmical and romantic type of man, and is a classic type of southerner. These qualities allow for a constant struggle of how to work together and make their relationship progress.This works well to keep the reader interested, as they should keep attempting to predict and wonder about their future together.

On the other hand, it was tad bit frustrating to see Garrett use Theresa to get over Catherine, as it seemed. I also did not really see the two ending up together, nor did I really want them to because in no way would either one be happy giving up their lifestyle. This made them go through a constant struggle which was saddening to see them this way. Lastly, the secrets held between each individual of them led to the inevitable anger and fighting because of lying too much.

 

Ages 14 + for intimate scenes

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30 Day Book Challenge(Completed)

Image of books with pages folded into a heart

By shipperprincess52

Day 1- The Hidden Oracle
Day 2- The Lightning Thief
Day 3- Percy Jackson
Day 4- The Mark of Athena
Day 5- A Court of Mist and Fury
Day 6- The Fault in Our Stars
Day 7- Fairy Tail
Day 8- Twilight
Day 9- A Court of Thorns and Roses
Day 10- Fairy Tail
Day 11- Teardrop
Day 12- Alice in Zombieland
Day 13- Rick Riordan
Day 14- The Lightning Thief
Day 15-  Rhysand
Day 16- Aelin Galanthynius
Day 17- “Hercules,huh? Percy frowned. “That guy was like the Starbucks of Ancient Greece. Everywhere you turn–there he is.”
-The Mark of Athena
Day 18- The House of the Scorpion
Day 19- The Sorcerer’s Stone
Day 20- A Window to Yesterday
Day 21- The Lightning Thief
Day 22- The Clockwork Princess
Day 23- Attachments
Day 24- Bad Girls Don’t Die
Day 25- I don’t know
Day 26- Twilight
Day 27- Stalking Jack the Ripper
Day 28- Marie Antoinette Serial Killer
Day 29- Obsidian
Day 30- A Court of Wings and Ruin

Challenger Deep- Book Review

Cover of the book Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

Review by laurae87

Caden Bosch thinks too much. As a fifteen-year-old struggling with schizophrenia and anxiety, life is one confusing mess of hallucinations and worried thoughts. With the growing concern of his family, Caden takes too many painkillers, eats too little, and paces around the house in a dissociated state. At school, his test scores are dropping, and his paranoia is rising. School becomes a place that triggers panic, so Caden starts skipping classes, and instead, walks around town. His “thought-voices” torment him and make him think unpleasant thoughts. Caden is slowly losing his grip on reality. His parents notice his unusual (and worrying) behavior and admit him into a psychiatric ward. There, he meets other teens who are battling their own mental illnesses. He slowly becomes friends with some of the teens, and tries to help them with their struggles, along with getting better himself. However, one situation that occurs is so shocking that Caden doesn’t know if he will be swallowed whole by the gaping jaws of schizophrenia, or if he’ll manage to get out alive. Will Caden have the courage and strength to battle his mental illness and win, for now? To find out and follow Caden through his journey, read Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman. This novel is about courage, self-reflection, and mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, psychosis, paranoia, mania, and anxiety. Challenger Deep lets people who have been there know that they are not alone in their struggles. In the last pages of the novel, Shusterman provides resources and help for those dealing with mental illness.

“The Notebook” Book Summary and Review

Cover of the book The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

Review by dancingforever27

During this past month, I read the literary classic, The Notebook. This romantic novel was written by Nicholas Sparks in 1996. It became popularized in 2004 when the movie containing Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams as love interests was produced. The story takes place after World War II in South Carolina, yet little-to none of the historical aspects of that time were referenced.

The story first starts with an elderly man, in a nursing home, who is reading a passage from a notebook to fellow members of the nursing home. He partially serves as a preface to the story, stating it can be viewed as “romantic to the optimists” and “tragic to the pessimists.” The purpose of his role is to read the majority of the actual novel to the other members, which mainly consists of patients who suffer from dementia. He has an interest in this act due to the fact that his lover also suffers from the disease.

After this section, we explore the love story behind Noah Calhoun and Allison “Allie” Hamilton. They can be described as star-crossed lovers, as they come from two different parental backgrounds; his being completely ‘southern’ and free-spirited in the working fields, and the her’s being much stricter and conventional of higher class residents. The two first met when Allie’s family came visiting town fourteen years from present day. They eventually had a summer affair. It would be dubbed this because they fell in love over that time and Allie had another boyfriend who was unaware of them.

Their love was filled with passion, yet also quite short-lived as factors such as class and wealth divided them. After she left town, Noah had sent two-years worth of letters, yet was never met with a response. It was almost as if something, or someone, had been standing in the way of their love.

Many years later, Noah, 31, and Allie, 29, are reunited as she approaches him three weeks before her wedding when she sees an ad in the paper for Noah’s refurnished estate. They relive their previous magic for a few days and catch up on lost time. Allie is faced with three important decisions and questions to answer before she can move ahead in her life:

  1. Why did she feel compelled to visit Noah while she was in love with another man?
  2. Due to what occurred at his house, what does this mean for the future of her and her current lover?
  3. Will she choose her current fiancé, or will she return to the poetic, hard-working man of her past?

As she decides on what her future holds by answering these questions, the story is wrapped up with the return of the elderly man mentioned in the beginning. Some of the unfinished components are continued on in Spark’s sequel, The Wedding. I plan on writing a book review on the continuation in the near future to see how it compares to this novel.

My rating on this book would probably be a 9.5/10 for a great plot line.

Pros:

I personally loved the fact that this book had the necessary forms of closure that it required, along with an interview between Sparks and students to offer even more of it. These included who ended up with who after all of the drama unfolds. I also really did enjoy how Sparks was able to end the story properly by including the elderly man in the beginning of the story and in the end to come “full circle” with the notebook he read from. The romance itself was invaluably perfect as they had been previous lovers. This was especially because Noah was a romantic poet who hadn’t lost himself in the war while remaining vulnerable, and how Allie defied social standards by allowing herself to fall in love with a man of lower class.

My only personal issue was that this story made me cry as their relationship remained fanatical until their final days together approached.

Fair warning to any future readers out there, be prepared with tissues while finding out how the story unfolds.

Ages 14 + for intimate scenes

July Wrap Up & August TBR

photo of a stack of books

By shipperprincess52

July Wrap Up

  1. I Funny School of Laughs by James Patterson
  2. Not Without Courage by T. Elizabeth Renich
  3. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
  4. Maximum Ride Manga 1 by James Patterson
  5. Dicey’s Song by Cynthia Voigt
  6. The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger
  7. Black Butler 23 by Yana Toboso
  8. Maximum Ride Manga 2 by James Patterson
  9. Maximum Ride Manga 3 by James Patterson
  10. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King
  11. The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson

August TBR

  1. Lost & Found by Jacqueline Sheehan
  2. Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
  3. The Dead Hour by Denise Mina
  4. House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
  5. Persepolis by Marjane Strapi
  6. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
  7. Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell
  8. A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard
  9. Otherwise Engaged by Eileen Goudge
  10. Sorting Out Billy by Jo Brand
  11. Evening by Susan Minot
  12. The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller
  13. Lottery by Patricia Wood

Sonnet No. 1 – The Fighting Sonnet (Part Two)

silhouette of Viking warrior

By tiarshuspendragon

The mage let his head fall into his hands, seriously considering forcing the warrior to take a nap.

However, the bard popped up and squinted against the sun. “You know, I’ve never seen this viking dude, because I was busy buying food while you guys were kicking his butt. So I’m not gonna miss out on the off chance that he actually is – ” The bard’s jaw dropped mid-sentence. “Oh, wow. That guy is more bear than man.”

“Ah, good, so he’s not a hallucination.” The warrior grinned broadly, pleased with himself, as the mage helped him to his feet. As he caught sight of the large man again, he frowned slightly. “Or . . . not good. Not good, because that means he’s here. And wants to attack us.”

“I would want to attack us if I were him. You went a bit over the top with the creative insults,” the mage remarked, giving the warrior a dry look.

The bard snickered. “Now those I heard. But are we going to battle him this time? I have a feeling our main fighter – ” (a pointed look at the warrior) ” – isn’t really up for fighting.”

“I beg to differ!” The warrior bent over, picked up what he must have thought was his sword (it was, in fact, a stick, and not even a very pointy one), and brandished it in front of him. His face went pale from standing up too fast and he swayed on his feet.

The mage grabbed him before he could fall. With a Charismatic Grin™, the warrior slung an arm over his friend’s shoulders for support. “See? I’m perfectly fine. Able bodied warrior, right here.”

“I see what you mean,” the mage replied to the bard, ignoring the protests of the boy he was half carrying by that point. “You and I are distance fighters more than anything, which works best when we have someone else engaging the enemy up close. Unfortunately, our warrior here is the one who performs best in close combat. So I suppose we need a different plan.”

Frowning, the bard watched as Oswalt the Unfriendly Viking Man approached. The overly muscular man seemed to be in no hurry, which only made him all the more intimidating. “Hey – did the insults rile him up enough to make his fighting sloppy?”

“I think so . . .” The mage’s lips pursed as he tried to remember.

“They made him very angry,” the warrior put in smugly. He leaned toward the bard and whispered, “Especially when I made fun of his tiny, adorable battle axe.”

A grin started to form on the bard’s face. “Good, then I have an idea – no, not about the axe, you sleep-deprived weirdo – but you guys are just going to have to trust me and go with it.”

“Done and done.” The mage shifted his weight slightly (the warrior was not exactly light). “Just going with it is our main way of doing things. So what do you need us to do?”

Stooping over, the bard picked up the mage’s bag from the ground. “Well, I’ll be needing this. You should probably put our sleepy friend somewhere – ” (the bard gestured vaguely away from the path) ” – where he’ll be safe, because I’m going to need you, dear mage, to sneak up close to that behemoth. I’ll try to distract him. When he seems angry enough, strike as hard and fast as you can, and then get the heck out of there. Not that I doubt your strength or anything, but I haven’t fought this guy. I don’t know if one hit will bring him down.”

“It may and it may not,” the mage said grimly. “It all depends on whether he’s fully healed from our last encounter. But we’ll figure it out, one way or another.” He moved to duck into the surrounding tall grass, dragging the warrior with him; but before he did, he paused and turned back to the bard. “May I ask how you plan to distract Oswalt?”

The bard only gave him a smirk. “Oh, you’ll hear. I do hope you’ll enjoy the show.”

Julius Caesar: the Immortality Plot

Drawing of bust of Julius Caesar

By fmarie0112

Julius Caesar was a proud, strong and intelligent man. Some might ask, what could he possibly gain by orchestrating his own death? To this question the simple answer is immortality. Just as any great leader would, Caesar wanted to leave a legacy; he wanted to be remembered once he was gone. Caesar had “temporal lobe epilepsy, a progressive disorder resulting in a loss of mental and physical control (including bowel control)” (Hodder). This disorder would have eventually killed Caesar, and having his people witness his slow deterioration would have tarnished the strong self-image he worked so hard to build for himself. Would William Shakespeare have still written a play about him if he was a once undefeated dictator dying slowly of an incurable disease, rather than a powerful conqueror betrayed by his peers? He probably wouldn’t have. Caesar orchestrating a plan to die at the hands of the conspirators made him immortal through the unforgettable legacy he left behind. While this would justify Caesars desire to plan his own assassination, it does not prove that he took the necessary steps to create the plan. Although there are no firsthand accounts indicating that Caesar took part in planning his death, it can be seen through the actions during and leading up to the event that Caesar perfectly set the stage. As previously mentioned, Caesar was an inelegant man, he had to of known about “the impending plot – there have been persistent rumors of it throughout the city. And yet he dismisses his bodyguard and walks alone” (Bursztajn). Rumors had been spreading about the city, it is doubtful that Caesar had no idea that the assassination would be happening. Even knowing that he had men within his city that wanted him dead, he chose to leave his bodyguards outside. Had Caesar not wanted to die, he would have increased the presence of his guards after becoming aware of the threat. Lastly, Caesar changes his will just six months prior to having been killed and this provided insight to his political agenda. By leaving the guards at the door, Caesar created the perfect opportunity for the conspirators to kill him, which would “ensure that his will is honored, and that Octavian will succeed him. By tricking the conspirators onto the wrong side of the law, Caesar ensures that they cannot themselves seize power and that his dynasty will survive” (Bursztajn). In doing this Caesar has become not only immortal through his memory, but also physically through the dynasty he has created. The conspirators, such as Brutus, are the primary people that would have tried to seize power once Caesar had passed. Now that they have killed Caesar, they have become enemies of the state and the people are no longer willing to follow them. Therefor Caesar’s wish for his nephew to rule after him would be granted, seeing as there would no longer be a struggle for power.