Love and Ruin by Paula McClain

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Pages: 401/Audiobook

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine

Published: May 1, 2018

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: In 1937, twenty-eight-year-old Martha Gellhorn travels alone to Madrid to report on the atrocities of the Spanish Civil War and becomes drawn to the stories of ordinary people caught in the devastating conflict. It’s her chance to prove herself a worthy journalist in a field dominated by men. There she also finds herself unexpectedly—and unwillingly—falling in love with Ernest Hemingway, a man on his way to becoming a legend.

On the eve of World War II, and set against the turbulent backdrops of Madrid and Cuba, Martha and Ernest’s relationship and careers ignite. But when Ernest publishes the biggest literary success of his career, For Whom the Bell Tolls, they are no longer equals, and Martha must forge a path as her own woman and writer.

My Review: Hemingway was one of the first classic writers I can remember reading and enjoying. I was thrilled last year to be approved for this book. Quickly disappointment set in. I tried several times to read it and could not get interested. This year I opted to listen to the audiobook. I did finish it but again a disappointment.

The story base is very interesting but details seemed to overshadow and drag the story on longer than needed. The most interesting fact for me came towards the end when learning Martha was the only female at Normandy. I would have loved to have learned more about her experiences there.

I am happy I stuck with this book but do not think I will read again.

I received a complimentary copy from Random House Publishing House- Ballantine Books through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own. The audiobook I received from my local library.

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

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Pages: 352

Publisher: Random House Publishing – Ballantine

Published: October 2, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I will start my review saying I will NOT discuss the political sides of abortion or whether I think it is right or wrong.

George Goddard, an upset father, takes it upon himself to teach the women and doctor at the state’s only abortion clinic a lesson, by taking them hostage. He blames everyone there, patients and staff, for what has happened to his daughter.

After the first shot was fired, Hugh McElroy, a hostage negotiator, was one of the first one scene. What he doesn’t realize is that his fifteen year old daughter is inside with her aunt, his sister. Hugh has depend on his training and the others inside to keep his daughter safe.

Through the eyes of a nurse who is a patient, the doctor who performs the abortions, a retired professor facing a death she cannot control, the distraught father, an anti abortion protestor, a young woman who felt abortion was her only way out and a scared teenager we learn of the many different reasons humans make the decisions they do.

You can guarantee that when you pick up a Jodi Picoult book you will be made to dig deep inside yourself and think. You may not agree with the issue being discussed but you will be forced to see the issue from every side.

I was not sure if I would like the narrative structure The Spark of Life was written in but by the end I was glad it was written backward, meaning we start with the most recent hour of the hostage standoff and work our way back to how it all began. It forced me to question why and take more of the facts given into consideration.

A great book for book clubs as many discussions can arise while reading. Expect tears and heartache as you read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Random House-Ballantine through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

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Pages: 481 (Hardback Book)

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Published: Ocotber 11, 2016

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I know when I open a Jodi Picoult book I know I’m going to be questioning many things I believe and thought. Small Great Things was no exception. Many times while reading I became disturbed, emotional and found I had to walk away from the book. It did keep me up to 4am as at one point I couldn’t put it down.

The story is about Ruth, a black Labor and Delivery nurse; Turk, an Aryan Nation leader; and Kennedy, a defense attorney. Ruth is accused of killing Turk’s newborn baby and Kennedy takes Ruth case. The question becomes is the lawsuit race based or a nurse failing to do her job.

I never thought of myself as racist or one who pays attention to color. This book will make you think about that to the extreme. I liked how Picoult wrote from all points of view and made you feel what the characters were experiencing.

I was greatly disturbed learning about the Aryan Nation. I know it exists but I didn’t know how will hidden they could be in society. Absolutely terrifying. I guess I live in more of a protected bubble than I realized.

I am very interested to see how close the movie (release date not yet set) will follow the book. I have read Julia Roberts and Viola Davis are set to star in the movie. Very interesting strong women picked to play these characters.

Read with an open mind and heart. Be prepared for heartache and moments of self-reflection. It’s not a book for the faint of heart.