“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 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.

Temeraire by Naomi Novik (pt. 2 of 2)

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Review by: Glory Skyfire

I freely admit that this series is definitely not for everyone. It’s written in Regency style, so if you weren’t able to understand Jane Austen’s prose, this may be a little difficult for you to enjoy. (However, Temeraire is much easier to read.) There are heaping helpings of tactics, warfare, politics, and Regency era high society sprinkled throughout these pages. There’s a bit of swearing, mostly when the situation is really getting bad, but it isn’t every other page (more like every six or seven chapters). It’s not a little kid’s book, and does drag at some points in the later books. But after the initial setup of the first book, which is interesting in and of itself, the pace never slows.

This series is also notable for tackling societal issues of the early nineteenth century. There are several female dragon captains, because Longwings, which are a very valuable acid-spitting breed, only bond with women. Women are given equal consideration and rank within the Royal Aerial Corps; it’s noted that one of Laurence’s runners, Emily Roland, will probably be captain of her mother’s dragon one day. But it’s also noted that women are frequently looked over for other leadership positions, and when Laurence’s friend Jane Roland (Emily’s mother) is promoted to Admiral of the Air (book 5), it’s over strong objections from the Army, Navy, and Parliament. Laurence and his former second lieutenant Riley nearly get into a fistfight over the “slavery question;” Riley is for slavery, Laurence strongly against it. They meet several freed people in book four, including a missionary who gets passage on their dragon transport to Africa, which gets Riley’s back up again (he’s the captain of the transport at that point).

The main societal struggle is actually not one we had to deal with in the real world: dragon rights. As dragons vary from “two-year-old kid” intelligence to “calculate artillery trajectories in your head” intelligence, voting rights, property rights, and more are up on the table. In Britain, dragons are the property of the Royal Aerial Corps, and cannot really choose what they want to do due to their fierce loyalty to their riders (who are all in the Aerial Corps). In China, dragons are treated exactly like humans, with schooling, trading, etc., and some have status around that of the emperor himself. When Temeraire visits China, he sees a lot to improve back in England, and getting dragons rights is a significant subplot which helps to inform Temeraire’s and Laurence’s character development.

Now, characters:

There’s Laurence, Temeraire, Riley, Granby, Choiseul, Iskierka, Tharkay, Maximus, Berkley, Lily, Harcourt, the Rolands, Volatilus, Sipho, Demane, Kulingile, Yongxing, Lien, Perscitia…

and there’s the characters borrowed from reality. Napoleon (obviously), the Duke of Wellington, Horatio Nelson, William Wilberforce, and William Bligh… and more.

I can’t describe how much I love this series. Characters? Well-developed and interesting. Plot? Incredibly original and immersive. Settings? Not the focus, but beautiful just the same. My favorite books of the series are books 1-3: His Majesty’s Dragon, Throne of Jade, and Black Powder War. DISCLAIMER: I have not read books 6-9 and am not responsible for your loving them, liking them, or *shudder* not liking them.

This review is in no way complete because of Temeraire’s size and scope. I just don’t have the ability to detail everything I like about this series. I’ve hit 1000 words in total and climbing, and I haven’t told you everything.

Just give Temeraire a try – you won’t regret it… unless you can’t stop reading and don’t get any sleep for a week in a caffeine-fueled haze of dragons.

 

Building a Random World. Part 4: System. By Yasadu De Silva

wfrp3_contents

Hello all,

As you know, the world I am creating is for a tabletop RPG (see Part 1 if you don’t know what a tabletop RPG is). Thus, I need to decide what tabletop RPG (or system) I’m going to use to play the world. The system is important because the character options and rules can dictate the setting. For example, the world’s most popular RPG, Dungeons and Dragons, is a RPG of high fantasy with flashy explosive spells. If I use D&D in my world with no modifications, my world will eventually become something closer to high fantasy, which is not what I want. So before I do anything else, I will decide my system. Below is a list of systems I considered, and their pros and cons.

Name Pros Cons
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying: 2nd Edition WFRP2 has a grim feel, which is good for low fantasy. In addition, it has many rules, including optional rules for armor layers and hit location (stab the torso or the right arm, etc.). It uses a d100, which I’m familiar with. WFRP2 assumes that you are using the Old World setting, which affects some of the rules (equipment, races, monsters, etc.)
Harnmaster  Harnmaster is a low fantasy RPG. It also has detailed rules for armor layers and hit locations, which are more detailed than WFRP2. It has low magic, being near-mundane. It uses a d100, which I’m familiar with. The complexity is mostly in character creation, but it might scare my friends away from playing. In addition, the only races are human, dwarf, and elf.
Runequest 6  It uses the same basic engine as another RPG, Call of Cthulhu, which is one of my favorites. One of my friends and his group is also familiar with CoC, so they might like RQ6. Has rules for health per hit location. Apparently, this book is poorly organized. For example, sprinting is mentioned on page 58, but finally elaborated upon on page 438.

After deliberating, I have chosen to use WFRP2.

Thank you,

Yasadu De Silva