Posts Tagged: War

Short & Sweet – Atonement by Ian McEwan

July 13, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2013, Short & Sweet Reviews 7 Comments

Short & Sweet – Atonement by Ian McEwanAtonement by Ian McEwan
Published by Anchor on February 25th 2003
Pages: 351
Genres: Contemporary, Literary Fiction, Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Sweet Tooth

five-stars

Ian McEwan’s symphonic novel of love and war, childhood and class, guilt and forgiveness provides all the satisfaction of a brilliant narrative and the provocation we have come to expect from this master of English prose.

On a hot summer day in 1934, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment’s flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant and Cecilia’s childhood friend. But Briony’s incomplete grasp of adult motives—together with her precocious literary gifts—brings about a crime that will change all their lives. As it follows that crime’s repercussions through the chaos and carnage of World War II and into the close of the twentieth century, Atonement engages the reader on every conceivable level, with an ease and authority that mark it as a genuine masterpiece.

‘How guilt refined the methods of self-torture, threading the beads of detail into an eternal loop, a rosary to be fingered for a lifetime.’

I very rarely pick up a book if I’ve already seen the movie. Sure, there are likely to be differences but the experience is still spoiled for me. I had to make an exception with Atonement because I adored the movie but I could see how much more the story would shine and benefit from text. And shine did it ever.

Usually I complain about over-descriptiveness in stories, and this was definitely descriptive, yet the author possesses a skill in writing that is completely captivating. He sets the scene with ease and transports you into the very midst of it. His words envelop you and leave you mesmerized. I could go on and on regarding the beauty of this story and the multitude of emotions it managed to evoke in me but put simply, this book was a breath of fresh air.

I’ve been told this is the best to expect from Ian McEwan but I will still eagerly dive into more of his works.

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Book Tour Review – The Illusion of Separateness by Simon Van Booy

June 27, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Book Tour, Read in 2013, TLC Book Tours 2 Comments

I received this book free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Tour Review – The Illusion of Separateness by Simon Van BooyThe Illusion of Separateness by Simon Van Booy
Published by Harper on June 11th 2013
Pages: 224
Genres: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
Format: ARC
Source: TLC Book Tours
Amazon
Goodreads


three-stars

Award-winning author Simon Van Booy tells a harrowing and enchanting story of how one man's act of mercy during World War II changed the lives of a group of strangers, and how they each eventually discover the astonishing truth of their connection

Whether they are pursued by Nazi soldiers, old age, shame, deformity, disease, or regret, the varied characters of Simon Van Booy's utterly compelling novel The Illusion of Separateness discover in their darkest moments of fear and isolation that they are not alone, that they were never alone, that every human being is a link in an unseen chain.

This gripping, emotional story intertwines the stories of several compelling characters: a deformed German infantryman; a lonely British film director; a young, blind museum curator; Jewish-American newlyweds separated by war; a lost child on the brink of starvation; and a caretaker at a retirement home for actors in Santa Monica. The same world moves beneath each of them, and one by one, through seemingly random acts of selflessness, they discover the vital parts they have played in each other's lives, a realization that shatters the illusion of their separateness. Moving back and forth in time and across continents,

The Illusion of Separateness displays the breathtaking skill of, "a truly special writer who does things with abstract language that is so evocative and original your breath literally catches in your chest" (Andre Dubus III).

‘In a sense we are all prisoners of some memory, or fear, or disappointment-we are all defined by something we can’t change.’

The Illusion of Separateness tells the story of six different individuals who are all interconnected in ways they don’t even realize. The story begins in Los Angeles, CA in 2010 but goes as far back as 1939 in the midst of World War II. Through these first-person stories and the recounting of past events, it slowly begins to unfold how these seemingly random people are all effected by a strangers actions.

I’m quite enamored with interweaving story lines in movies (Crash, Babel, Love Actually, The Fountain.. I could obviously go on and on) relishing in the stories of many only to find just how interconnected they are to one another. It takes a skilled writer to successfully write several plot lines, connect them effortlessly and at the same time give each of them a proper ending. I was immediately interested in this book once I realized it dealt with multiple plot lines yet found myself leery when noticing how few pages the author gave himself to work with, made me worry that he wouldn’t give each and every one of his characters proper credit or back-story. While I wish I did have more back-story on these characters, what we were given was sufficient enough to make each of them memorable.

‘…finding the candles by heat, and blowing them out one by one, as we, one day, will be vanquished with a last puff and then nothing at all – nothing but the fragrance of our lives in the world, as on a hand that once held flowers.’

While the characters ‘illusion of separateness’ did on occasion feel strained and slightly forced this was still undoubtedly an enjoyable tale. Slow to build with a simplistic way of writing but was ultimately extremely pleasing in the end.

 dvd-pearl
This post was a part of the The Illusion of Separateness blog tour.
Click the button below for a complete list of tour stops.
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Early Review – Collateral by Ellen Hopkins

October 2, 2012 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2012 2 Comments

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – Collateral by Ellen HopkinsCollateral by Ellen Hopkins
Published by Atria Books on November 6th 2012
Pages: 512
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Verse
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Triangles, Crank, Burned

four-stars

The gripping story of a woman torn between love for her boyfriend, a dedicated Marine deployed to Afghanistan, and the resentment she has for the war that is tearing their lives apart.

Written in Hopkins’s stunning poetic verse style, Collateral centers on Ashley, an MFA student at San Diego State University. She grew up reading books and never dreamed she would become a military wife. One night she meets a handsome soldier named Cole. He doesn’t match the stereotype of the aggressive military man. He’s passionate and romantic. He even writes poetry. Their relationship evolves into a sexually charged love affair that goes on for five years and survives four deployments. Cole wants Ashley to marry him, but when she meets another man, a professor with similar pursuits and values, she begins to see what life might be like outside the shadow of war.

Collateral captures the hearts of the soldiers on the battlefield and the minds of the friends, family, and lovers they leave behind. Those who remain at home may be far away from the relentless, sand-choked skies of the Middle East and the crosshairs of a sniper rifle, but just the same, all of them will sacrifice a part of themselves for their country and all will eventually ask themselves if the collateral damage caused by war is worth the fight.

‘Each returning soldier is an in-the-flesh memoir of war. Their chapters might vary, but similar imagery fills the pages, and the theme of every book is the same – profound change. The big question became, could I live with that kind of change?’

Alternating between the past and present, Collateral tells the story of Ashley and a marine named Cole. How they met. How they fell in love. How Ashley was transformed by Cole’s deployment and how she struggled to make it through by using pills and alcohol to quiet her constant fears. Collateral was a deeply moving story that tells the tale of the one left behind in time of war, and how life can be when you love a soldier.

Collateral is a realistic story in every sense because the war depicted within the pages is the exact war we’re all living with today. Just as dark, gritty, and emotional as her other works with just enough hint at reality to make you wonder just how fictional it really is. Collateral does showcase the ‘worst-case scenario’ of loving a soldier, but that certainly makes it no less tangible. My heart ached for Ashley, her pain being so evident. I loved the snippets of Cole’s poetry, being able to see his outlook on his life in contrast with Ashley’s. Ellen Hopkins is truly an amazing writer and I’m so thankful for her stories. She uses no different words than any normal person but the way she uses them ends up turning them into something truly profound.

‘Alone in this untamed
empty place, I free
a relentless volley
of words. They
rage
against the pages, a torrent
of what was, what is,
what yet may come.
And when at last the spirits
recede,
I find echoed
in their retreat, stories
I dare not give voice to –
nightmares set adrift
in my paper harbor.’

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Book Review – The Gremlins by Roald Dahl

October 15, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, Middle Grade, Read in 2011 0 Comments

Book Review – The Gremlins by Roald DahlThe Gremlins by Roald Dahl
Published by Dark Horse on September 12th 2006 (first published 1943)
Pages: 56
Genres: Historical Fiction, Kiddie Books
Format: eBook
Source: Freebie
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Witches

five-stars

The story of the The Gremlins concerns the mischievous mythical creatures of the title, often invoked by Royal Air Force pilots as an explanation of mechanical troubles and mishaps. In Dahl's book, the gremlins' motivation for sabotaging British aircraft is revenge of the destruction of their forest home, which was razed to make way for an aircraft factory. The principal character in the book, Gus, has his Hawker Hurricane fighter destroyed over the English Channel by a gremlin, but is able to convince the gremlins as they parachute into the water that they should join forces against a common enemy, Hitler and the Nazis, rather than fight each other. Source: Wikipedia

With full-page color illustrations and with several black and white illustrations by the Disney artists throughout.

This was Roald Dahl's first book and preceded the British publication by several months. The story was optioned by Disney and was intended to be made into an animated film, but it was never produced. A note on the copyright page states: "The RAF Benevolent Fund will receive the author's share of the proceeds from the sale of this book." Dahl's next children's book, James and the Giant Peach, published eighteen years later.

“In this most beautiful green wood there lived a tribe of funny little people who were quite different from the rest. They had funny horns growing out of their funny heads and funny boots on their funny feet, and with these boots – and this was funniest of all – they could walk upside down under the branches of the trees. Oh, it was a happy and peaceful life that these little men led – until the humans came.”

And so begins the story of the Gremlins who were torn from their homes when the humans decided to build a factory for airplane production. The Gremlins knew it was time to act and ‘to get revenge for the loss of our homes. We will make mischief for them, and we will harry and tease the men who fly them, until we obtain some satisfaction for all the harm that has been done to us.

The pilots finally figured out a way to appease these pesky Gremlins: feeding them Transatlantic-special-deliver-airmail stamps. By feeding them this delicacy, they were finally able to talk to the Gremlins and explain why they tore down their home and that it was to save their homes from all being destroyed. The pilot asked the Gremlins to help and that if they assisted and were victorious that they would give them a patch of forest back to them to be their new home.

Interesting Facts
This was actually the very first children’s book that Roald Dahl ever wrote. ‘The Gremlins’ is a story set in the 1940’s when we were in the midst of WWII. This story was originally meant to be a film by Walt Disney but was dropped and never completed but the book was still published. This is considered to be a quite rare book as fewer than 5,000 books were published worldwide.

Thoughts
This was an adorable book that I stumbled upon. Highly recommended to anyone given the opportunity to read it!

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