The Light Between Oceans – M.L. Stedman

I was drawn to this book because of the moral dilemma at its core: Could a couple who couldn’t have children of their own really take in a child whom they found in a boat washed up on their shore without regard for the family that might be searching for her?

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

The Light Between Oceans is the story of Tom Sherbourne, a lighthouse keeper on a remote island off the coast of Australia, and his wife Isabelle who has suffered two miscarriages and a stillbirth. When they discover a boat washed up on the shore carrying a dead man and a baby who is very much alive and healthy, they make a decision to keep the child and claim her as their own. Their decision comes into question when they discover the child’s mother is still alive and searching for her missing husband and daughter. But Isabelle is desperate for a family, and when Tom sees how happy the baby makes her, he doesn’t report the incident, going against his duties as a lighthouse keeper. Instead, he buries the body of the man in the boat, and with it, he buries the truth.

The island is an ideal setting for the novel – a cocoon where the Sherbournes can safely keep their secret and live as a normal family.

When they finally leave the island for the first time in two years and head back to the mainland, they finally hear the story of the man and baby who went missing two years ago and the woman who is still desperately searching for her family, clinging to the hope they are still alive.

Tom and Isabelle must decide if they will reveal the secret they’ve harbored for the past two years. Keeping their secret means keeping a child from it’s mother, leaving a woman a lost soul with questions she will never have answered. Revealing the truth means they will surely lose their daughter Lucy, and with it, their only chance at having a family of their own.

This novel kept me turning the pages. What made the story so compelling was that everyone had a stake in the outcome; not only the Sherbournes, but also the daughter they wanted so badly they’d do anything to keep her, and the mother who wanted her child back. It is an impossible situation of mistakes and their consequences, one where there don’t seem to be any right answers.

The book is not without its faults. The beginning is bogged down with backstory, the middle is drawn out, and some awkward prose throughout the novel is distracting, though somewhat forgivable, for a debut novel. Ultimately, the story is an interesting and thought-provoking read.

Do not look to this book expecting a happy ending, as there are no easy answers in this emotionally-charged novel. What you will find is a haunting story that may break your heart.

A Reflection in Books: What I Read in 2012

As I look back at 2012, I realize it wasn’t a good reading year for me. Planning a wedding took up much of my free time for most of the year, at least that’s my excuse, but I’m still surprised by the unusually short list of books I read this year. I may have forgotten one or two along the way, and I didn’t include rereads, such as Janet Fitch’s White Oleander, one of my favorite books of all time, which I read for the third time a few weeks back.


Here is a look back at what I read in 2012:


War horseWar Horse – Michael Marpurgo

The first book I read in 2012. “War Horse” is based on a true story about a horse named Warrior. It tells the story of Joey  a horse purchased by the Army for service in World War I France and the attempts of young Albert, his previous owner, to bring him safely home. A touching story.






extremely loudExtremely Loud and Incredibly Close – Jonathan Safran Foer

This is not a story about September 11th, but a story of the aftermath of tragedy, living with loss and the search for answers. Nine-year-old Oskar Schell discovers a key in a vase that belonged to his father who died on 9/11. He believes his father left the key for him as a clue and he searches all around New York for information about the key. The joy in this story is in the people Oskar meets on his journey. It is heartwrenchingly sad, very emotional, but powerful, I couldn’t stop thinking about Oskar long after I put this book down. I saw the movie version and cried like a baby.



HungerGamesTrilogyStackedThe Hunger Games, Catching Fire and  Mockingjay -Suzanne Collins

I was skeptical of the Hunger Games series, as I am with most overly-hyped series, (i.e. Twilight) I expected nothing more than a mildly entertaining read, however, the entire series is suspenseful and interesting. For those who may be skeptical as I was, or who may think it’s no good because it’s categorized as young-adult lit, I encourage you to give the books a try.


chill factor The SwitchThe Switch  and Chill Factor – Sandra Brown

Mystery thrillers, these selections were a little out of the norm for me. However, they were both entertaining, page turners.





second-glance-lgSecond Glance – Jodi Picoult
Second Glance is a ghost-story in that the plot is based on mysterious happenings in a small Vermont town that begin when a developer is slated to build a strip mall on an ancient Abenaki Indian burial ground. But at its heart, Second Glance is ultimately a story of love and family.

Though the paranormal subject matter strays from Picoult’s typical topics, her story is still compelling, her characters in-depth (despite the number of them) This book may require a bit of patience on the part of readers.

Ultimately, Second Glance was a fun, interesting, read. Just don’t bring it to the beach and expect to whip through it in a day or two.


WildWild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
 – Cheryl Strayed

A memoir of an amateur hiking 1,100 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail and coming to terms with the path her life has taken. Told in a voice that is blatantly honest, it is, at times, funny, and raw – particularly in the sections where she talks about her mother’s death.



winter garden'Winter Garden – Kristin Hannah

I turned to this book expecting an easy yet engrossing read which I have come to expect from Hannah. It was a much darker book than I expected, telling two parallel stories, one of two sisters in the present, and one in the past of their mother’s life which the sisters know nothing about. In this book, Hannah shifts from contemporary issues to take on the past, specifically, Leningrad during World War II. Hannah’s story set in the present is not as strong as the story set in the past, but it is an interesting book nonetheless, and the story will haunt you after you have put the book down.




The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

The Light Between Oceans – M.L Stedman

A lighthouse keeper on a remote island off the coast of Australia, and his wife who cannot bear children discover a boat washed up on the shore carrying a dead man and a baby who is miraculously alive. They decide to keep the child and claim her as their own. Their decision comes into question when they discover the child’s mother is still alive and searching for her missing husband and daughter. I’ll be reflecting more on this book, check back for a more in-depth review.




Age of MiraclesAge of Miracles – Karen Thompson Walker

This may be my favorite book that I read this year. The Age of Miracles is a coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of an altered world: the earth’s rotation has suddenly begun to slow. I will also be a more in-depth review of this book in an upcoming post.






If I have a New Year’s resolution, it is to read more in 2013! What was the best book you read this year?

Ways to Celebrate National Book Month

Book lovers unite! October is National Book Month!

No matter how busy life gets, I believe we are never too busy to find time to read. Read on your lunch break, read for twenty minutes before bed, read while you wait at the doctor’s office this cold and flu season!

There is still time to celebrate National Book Month. Here are a few ways to celebrate before the month comes to a close:

Visit a Used Book Store
One of my favorite places to find a good book is in a used book store. It’s budget-friendly, and you’ll find everything from the classics, to romance novels, to modern-day bestsellers and more than likely, you’ll find entire shelves dedicated to Danielle Steele, Steven King and other authors who have penned dozens of published works.

Take a trip to the local library
Yes, they do still exist! Brick and mortar buildings that loan good old fashioned printed books! Wander in and browse the shelves for something that catches your eye. It’s free!

Try an Audio Book
Think you don’t have time to read? Try listening to an audio book on your daily commute. I was skeptical at first, and while it’s different from reading a printed or electronic book, it’s still a great way to fit some reading time into your day!

Share the Experience
While reading is typically a solo endeavor, it can be fun to get other book lovers involved in your reading experience. Join a book club! If that sounds too ambitious, pick a book and partner up with a friend. You can get together to share your thoughts before, during and after your read.

Get the Family Involved
Designate an evening or an afternoon where everyone in the household must turn off all electronic devices (with the exception of e-readers) and read a book, then discuss afterward. Read to your children. Take a family trip to the library where everyone has to borrow one book.

What will you do to celebrate National Book Month? Get reading and enjoy!

e-Readers vs. Good old fashioned Books

When e-readers first came around, I was skeptical. I am a book lover. Ever since I saw the Disney version of “Beauty and the Beast” with her library so big Belle needed a ladder to reach her books, I have always wanted a library of my own. I am in love with the idea of walls lined with books. I even have a board on Pinterest dedicated to what I’d like my future library to look like.

But I couldn’t argue with the portability of an e-reader. I always carry my current read with me wherever I go. Despite weight and heft, I bring books in the bag I take with me to work everyday, and they end up in my car, on my nightstand or wherever the last place I was reading. Getting lugged around so much can leave a paperback a bit banged up. Which is okay by me, I like a book that has been loved. Books are meant to be read, not preserved like items in a museum. So the lightweight and easy to transport features of an e-reader have a one-up on printed-and-bound books.

I read while I’m doing other things, mainly, on my lunchbreak at work. Trying to juggle a sandwhich or eat a bowl of soup while holding my page and keeping a book from closing can be difficult. Another point for the e-reader.

Intrigued, I asked for a Kindle for my birthday last year. I love that it is easy to read and not back-lit like a computer which causes eye strain. I like that it is lightweight, easy to carry around, easy to hold. I like that it lies flat so my hands are free while I’m reading. On our honeymoon in Cancun, I brought my Kindle to the beach with me each day and could hold it without awkwarding trying to hold the pages open.

I am a Kindle user, but I am still a book lover. I still love going to bookstores, used bookstores and the library to browse the shelves and see what strikes me. I love the heft of a book. I love thumbing through the pages while I read, feeling their soft edges. I love the smell of books.

When reading on my Kindle, I miss being able to pick up a pencil and underline a passage I like. Kindle has a highlight feature, but it’s just not the same as physically marking words that you want to come back to later. I miss the ability to quickly flip back a few pages or a few chapters to look back at something that has happened. Navigating the pages of a book on an e-reader is a bit more tedious and difficult to find exactly what I’m looking for.

While it seems e-readers are the way of the future, I don’t think I will ever give up the good old fashioned book.

What’s your reading preference?

October is National Book Month!

October is known for many things – the weather turning colder, leaves changing color. Most of us know October is Breast Cancer Awareness month as pink ribbons appear and everything from sweatshirts to yogurt sport pink colors in honor of those who have survived the disease, those still fighting and those who have lost their battle against breast cancer.

But did you know October is also National Book Month? With temperatures dropping, it’s great time to get cozy with some hot apple cider – my favorite – and a good read!

Celebrate by finally picking up that book you’ve been meaning to read. Support your local bookstore or library with a good old fashioned printed and bound book or download something new on your e-reader.

I’m looking for my next read and can’t decide if I should go for a literary classic in honor of  National Book Month or pick up something a bit more modern.

If you’re looking for some ideas, here are a few titles on my list of books to read:

The World Without You by Joshua Henkin –
A family tries to recover after the death of the youngest child, a  journalist in Iraq.







Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt –
A moving story of love, grief, and renewal as two lonely people become the unlikeliest of friends and find that sometimes you don’t know you’ve lost someone until you’ve found them.







Miss Timmins’ School for Girls by Nayana Currimbhoy –
Cultures clash, love blooms, and a teacher is murdered in this novel about a sheltered young woman in 1970s India teaching at a British-run boarding school.







The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson –
A young man moves up in Kim Jong-il’s power structure and then becomes a rival of the dictator.







What will you be reading during National Book Month?