“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

“See Me” by Nicholas Sparks Book Review

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Review by: dancingforever27
This month, I read the novel See Me by Nicholas Sparks. Sparks has published around twenty books, and ten of them have been produced into movies such as The Notebook. This book surely does account to the exquisite love story of those other pieces of literature.

This narrative focuses on two characters through alternating third-person omniscience that varies each chapter.

Colin Hancock is the leading male character with a history of impulses that have gotten him in trouble with the police. He has been granted, by the authorities, five year probation to erase all of his criminal records, but a single petty offense could have him locked up for all of his charges.

Maria Sanchez, on the other hand, is a working daughter of a family that immigrated from Mexico. Speculated, everything in her life is met with awards, recognition, and success. She works at a law firm in Wilmington, North Carolina. Eventually, the reader comes to find out that this job has caused her trauma with their brutally aggressive cases.

In the first chapters, the reader is able to observe how the characters come to find one another, simply described as quite standoffish. The scene is set to be a rainy night where Maria has a flat tire on a stretch of road with little to no cars. Colin approaches Maria, tattoos and bruises laced across his body, offering assistance.She is immediately frightened as she suspects he could take her life without anyone knowing out in the middle of nowhere. Colin notices her terror and allots a large space in between them for her comfort, which helps her later trust him.

Shortly enough, the two twenty-eight year olds meet again and their love story begins. They are able to test how horrid tragedies, mainly involving a stalker, can either bring them together, or make them part ways.

All in all, this story has a roller coaster of a plot line, where every chapter has a new addition to the mystery of who is leaving mysterious signs for Maria.

This book also demonstrates consistency in many cases, especially through characters’ actions, to make it more compelling to the readers. Barney, one of Maria’s bosses, always stands or sits up straighter when he is feeling nervous or on the wrong side of an accusation. Colin frequently says “Okay.” whenever there is an open ended statement requiring advice or further explaining. This tells the readers that he does not provide life assistance or advice, is always honest, and excepts the limits of what people will confess to him.

With the fact that Sparks used great character development, made careful decisions when choosing what actions those people would perform that stay true to their identity, and provides a love story while menacing messages are  produced, I would absolutely rate this book 10/10.

(This book will be rated for somewhat older audiences for intimacy. However, nothing is ever described in detail and is mainly only referred to.)

Ages 14+

What Goes Up (Book Review)

https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1483391836l/31450696.jpg

Review by: apiazza4

When Eddie Toivonen applies to NASA’s Interworlds Agency tryouts with hundreds of the country’s smartest teens, he is trying to get an escape from his troubled past. With a criminal father, people don’t always trust him so he needs to work extra hard to not mess up. The tryouts for the spot in NASA include a variety of challenges that touch on different skills which would help in the field. If you fail a challenge you get disqualified. Eddie has strange test results so the director doesn’t know what to make of him.

Rosa Hayashi is the daughter of brilliant scientists and she is constantly trying to live up to their expectations. Rosa knew she would have no problem getting into the program, she has been training for this her whole life, but it is harder than she thinks and soon finds that out.

After some of the tests are over and there are about forty people left in the running Eddie and Rosa are at the top. This puts a target on their backs because some people are so desperate they would do anything for this job…and they do. Four guys pull the fire alarm in their dorm building and as Rosa is going down the stairs they try to throw her over but Eddie comes just in time to save her. The authorities get three of the boys and throw them out but they aren’t aware of the fourth so he stays, still determined on being the winner.

When the challenges are complete there are four finalists, Eddie, Rosa, Trevor, and Brad. They each get an apartment on campus and meet their trainer, Reg. Their training includes learning teamwork and learning to fly a space shuttle. These training sessions are useful but dangerous, one includes a bomb.

They aren’t near ready to be in the field yet but when the two other teams are sent out to investigate something in space, they might have to go. The systems had picked up a flutter in the gravity out in space, which means something is moving toward the Earth and NASA starts to worry. Soon after, they detect something coming toward their landing pad, and it’s a spaceship. When aliens step out the scientists don’t realize just how much trouble they are in.

I liked What Goes Up by Katie Kennedy because it was witty and exciting. This book left me guessing until the end and it was so interesting I couldn’t put it down.