“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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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

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

Cover of the book The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

Review by fmarie0122

Eddie is a grizzled war veteran who feels trapped in a meaningless life of fixing rides at a seaside amusement park. His days are a dull routine of work, loneliness, and regret.

Then, on his 83rd birthday, Eddie dies in a tragic accident, trying to save a little girl from a falling cart. He awakens in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a lush Garden of Eden, but a place where your earthly life is explained to you by five people. These people may have been loved ones or distant strangers. Yet each of them changed your path forever.

One by one, Eddie’s five people illuminate the unseen connections of his earthly life. As the story builds to its stunning conclusion, Eddie desperately seeks redemption in the still-unknown last act of his life: Was it a heroic success or a devastating failure? The answer, which comes from the most unlikely of sources, is as inspirational as a glimpse of heaven itself.

My mom actually recommended this book to me and one day on a trip to the beach I decided to give it a shot. Through Eddie’s encounters in heaven his life is pieced together, and it allows the reader a deeper insight into the hardships that Eddie has experienced throughout his lifetime. All the people that he meets along the way played a part in his life and they had a story to tell, along with a lesion to be taught. With this Eddies is able to come to terms with what has happened in his life so that he can be truly at peace in heaven. This is a beautiful interpretation of heaven created by Mitch Albom and I would highly recommend that you give the book a chance.

Review – Rick and morty season 3 episode 3

Still image from TV show Rick and Morty

Review by: wrackon

Rick and Morty season 3 episode 3 “Pickle Rick” is one I have been anticipating for a while. The concept of Rick turning into a pickle and having to make his way back home struck me as a very intriguing concept. In this episode, Rick turns himself into a pickle in order to get out of having to go to family therapy. When Morty discovers a timer on a needle that appears to be the serum that turns Rick back into a human he tries to play it off as something unrelated. Beth then takes the needle, puts it in her purse and leaves to go to the family therapy with Summer and Morty. Right after they leave, a cat comes into the garage, knocking Rick into the driveway. After this, heavy rain starts pouring and carries Rick into the sewers. There he manages to kill a cockroach and uses its brain control its limbs. Using the cockroach he builds a trap that decapitates a rat and attaches its limbs to his body giving him arms and legs. From there he fights through all the sewer rats and manages to escape the sewer unscathed only to find out he escaped into an armed facility. When the guards don’t let him escape, he kills them one by one until the head of the facility decides to let a mercenary named “Jaguar” out of his cell to kill Rick. After a shootout between Jaguar and Rick takes place and it appears that Rick won, the head of the facility calls in a escape helicopter only to find that it is piloted by Jaguar with Rick in the back. Rick then takes a puff of a cigarette and flicks it onto the ground that is covered in kerosene with a fuse that leads back to explosives blowing up the building. Jaguar and Rick part ways as Rick flies the helicopter to the therapy session where his family is and barges in in the middle of their conversation about Rick. After the therapy session with a spot on analysis on the family’s problems Beth gives Rick the anti-pickle serum and the episode ends shortly after.

Overview:

This episode I think is one of the best yet. It has a very interesting concept and was a funny episode all throughout. It was cool getting to watch Rick go through the process of finding his way to attach limbs to his pickle body and to escape the sewers and the armed guards to make it back to Beth and to get the anti-pickle Serum. Overall this was a cool idea for an episode with many comedic moments and is easily my favorite of the season so far. This episode is one that I have long awaited and it did not disappoint.

Rating: 9.3/10

Review of Dunkirk

Poster for the movie Dunkirk

Review by: jakobsherman

Dunkirk is a movie produced by Christopher Nolan, and soundtrack done by Hanz Zimmer. Dunkirk is a movie about the evacuation of over 400,000 men in WW2. This movie takes place on the beach of Dunkirk, the sea surrounding it, and the sky above it. As such, the movie revolves around three different plot lines. The movie starts off with the sound of ticking, like many other Hanz Zimmer films. The soundtrack uses something called the Sheppard’s tone, a musical illusion that is able to hold up everlasting suspense.

As for the acting, it is done perfectly. This movie stars Harry Styles, who I was fairly skeptical about, mostly because he has never acted before. However, this singer definitely has a future in the acting scene. This movie is not for the faint of heart. Many people die, however most characters live, and to be honest, it’s terrifying. It really just goes to show how it must’ve been like when real people were fighting on those beaches, because yes, this was a real event.

The plot of this movie is not for everyone. It’s more about the event rather than the people in it if that makes sense. There is very little dialogue and no character even has their name said to my knowledge. This movie grabs your hope, and just chucks it out the window, as boat after boat gets sunk by torpedoes. All three stories do connect in the end, but I don’t want to spoil what happens. This movie might be confusing, since everyone looks basically the same (which is accurate to the actual event). Plane fights are very realistic, but are still confusing. Just remember the planes with the yellow noses are Germans.

Overall, Dunkirk is amazing, and is definitely worth seeing in Imax theaters if at all possible since that’s how it was shot. I give this movie a 9.3/10.

Review – Rick and Morty Season 3 episode 2

Image result for rick and morty

Review by: Wrackon

This review contains spoilers for Rick and Morty

Season 3 episode 2 of Rick and Morty first aired on July 30th and mostly takes place in a post-apocalyptic dimension. In the episode, Rick takes Summer and Morty to a post-apocalyptic dimension to obtain a powerful element. While there, Summer and Morty use the post-apocalyptic lifestyle as an unhealthy coping mechanism to deal with their parents divorce. It is there where Rick infuses Morty’s arm with the muscle memory of the severed arm of a deathstalker (person who lives in that dimension). This makes his arm large and muscular so that he can fight in the “blood dome,” which is a fight to the death arena, to occupy the deathstalkers while rick steals their rare element. Meanwhile, Summer goes off scavenging with the deathstalkers and builds a relationship with one of them. By the time Rick gets the rare element from the deathstalkers, Morty and Summer don’t want to leave. “Armothy” (Morty’s infused arm) then hits Rick’s bag revealing the deathstalkers stolen crystal which leads to them chasing him. Rick then escapes back to his dimension, but Beth asks where the kids are so Rick is forced to build life like robots of them to occupy her while he gets them back. During this time Morty is still fighting in the blood dome when Armothy notices a man in the audience who was responsible for destroying his village. Armothy then goes on a rampage killing him and then proceeding to tracking down and killing the man’s boss where he then shrinks back down, giving Morty his arm back. Rick runs into Morty while Armothy is murdering the boss of his village’s destroyer and then returns the stolen crystal to the deathstalkers. Right before they leave the deathstalkers ask Rick to show them what they could do with the crystal and then it fasts forwards to three weeks later. Now it shows the deathstalkers in a post-apocalyptic version of a civilized society with summer coming home with groceries to a post-apocalyptic suburban neighborhood where her new deathstalker husband is watching the “blood dome playoffs” on t.v. Summer and her husband then get into a fight which makes her want to go back to their regular dimension. Upon returning to their dimension the robot clones are disabled and Summer decides to go see Jerry at his new place where he moved at the beginning of the episode. She gives him the skull of someone she killed in the other dimension as a house warming gift and the credits roll. But, if you stay longer you get to see Jerry get his unemployment check eaten by a wolf which was what might have been the funniest part of the episode.
Overview: In this episode of Rick and Morty it shows how the rest of the season will look with Beth and Jerry being divorced and makes it an element to the story by showing how it affects Morty and Summer. Comedically, this episode is better than the pilot and feels much more like an actual episode of Rick and Morty. It has many funny moments and introduced (brief may it have been) a new character, Armothy (if it can be considered a character). All in all this episode just felt like a Rick and Morty episode which I think is a solid start to a season.

Rating: 9/10