Tag Archive for: 5 Stars

Review: The Midnight LibraryTitle: The Midnight Library
Author: Matt Haig
Genre(s): Fantasy
Pages: 304 (Hardcover)
Source: Library
For: Book Club

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There's a trigger warning for this book. See Trigger Warning section at end of review for more details.
Goodreads Synopsis

Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices... Would you have done anything different if you had the chance to undo your regrets?

My Thoughts

THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY was my IRL book club’s pick for June. I was really excited to read it as I’ve heard a lot of great things. After reading it, I can tell you that I wasn’t disappointed and I hope I can do it justice with my spoiler-free review.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect while reading THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY. It ended up being one of the most profound reading experiences I’ve ever had. It spoke to me like no other book has. I felt seen as someone who has struggled with severe depression, suicidal ideation, and crippling regret for most of my adult life.

But there is no life where you can be in a state of sheer happiness for ever. And imagining there is just breeds more unhappiness in the life you’re in.

I understood Nora, all the emotions she felt, especially the loneliness and despair. I understood her suicidal ideation and urges. AND, even when she didn’t, I knew her depression and loneliness were lying to her–telling her she wasn’t needed, no one wanted her around, she let everyone down, or they’d all be better off without her.

I’m convinced that Nora’s journey through THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY was the only way she could’ve learned what and come to the conclusions she did. After all, one of the lessons the librarian wanted her to realize was, “The only way to learn is to live.”

Haig beautifully illustrates what Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) did in helping me want to build a life worth living. Its message that it’s not too late to start living life is one I think we all need to be reminded of once in a while.

Have you read THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY? If so, what did you think?

Trigger Warning

There is a trigger warning for suicide, suicidal ideation, and loss of a pet.

Review: Dear Emmie BlueTitle: Dear Emmie Blue
Author: Lia Louis
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 311 (Hardcover)
Source: Library
For: Personal Interest

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There's a trigger warning for this book. See Trigger Warning section at end of review for more details.
Goodreads Synopsis

At sixteen, Emmie Blue stood in the fields of her school and released a red balloon into the sky. Attached was her name, her email address … and a secret she desperately wanted to be free of. Weeks later, on a beach in France, Lucas Moreau discovered the balloon and immediately emailed the attached address, sparking an intense friendship between the two teens. Now, fourteen years later, Emmie is hiding the fact that she’s desperately in love with Lucas. She has pinned all her hopes on him and waits patiently for him to finally admit that she’s the one for him.

My Thoughts

When I read Wendy’s review of DEAR EMMIE BLUE, I put it on hold right that second at my local library. Fortunately for me, there was no wait and I got to pick it up the very next day. I’m so happy I got it as fast as I did because I absolutely adored this book!

OMG! This book! I can’t say enough good things about it. DEAR EMMIE BLUE reminded me of a cross between My Best Friend’s Wedding and something I’d read that’s written by Beth O’Leary. (If you don’t know, FLATSHARE by Beth O’Leary was my favorite book last year.)

I loved Emmie. I related to her so hard. I didn’t have a flighty mom and I knew my dad, but I’ve dealt with a lot of severe family drama since my early teenage years. I’m a victim of sexual assault and bullying like her. A lot of her fears and anxieties mirrored my own.

Maybe home isn’t a place. It’s a feeling. Of being cared for and understood. Of being loved.

I loved the other characters in the novel too. Her friendship with Lucas and his family was such a great way to set up the story. I loved Lucas’ brother Eliot and I loved his parents Amanda and Jean. Her work friends, Rosie and Fox, were fun and a bit dirty, which endeared them to me because I love dirty jokes. I loved her landlady Louise the most. I absolutely adored every scene with Emmie and Louise together.

I adored the setting. The constant go between England and France. It was so much fun to read about the two towns where Emmie and Lucas lived, the differences between them and Emmie and Lucas.

DEAR EMMIE BLUE is such a beautiful story. I really needed it right now. I felt ALL the emotions. There were times when I laughed, cried, yelled, and swooned. I was on the edge of my seat for the last two-thirds of the novel because I wanted to know how everything panned out.

I honestly don’t want to say anymore because I don’t want to give anything away. Just know that DEAR EMMIE BLUE may be a fun contemporary romance AND it’s so much more! It deals with some heavy themes that give the story some depth. It’s my second 5-star read of the year.

Have you read DEAR EMMIE BLUE? If so, what did you think?

Trigger Warning

There is a trigger warning for sexual assault (not rape) and loss of a parent.

Review: Anxious PeopleTitle: Anxious People
Genre(s): Contemporary
Pages: 346 (Kindle)
Source: Library
For: Unofficial Trim Challenge

Goodreads   Amazon

There's a trigger warning for this book. See Trigger Warning section at end of review for more details.
Goodreads Synopsis

A poignant, charming novel about a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common than they ever imagined. Humorous, compassionate, and wise, ANXIOUS PEOPLE is an ingeniously constructed story about the enduring power of friendship, forgiveness, and hope--the things that save us, even in the most anxious of times.

My Thoughts

I’ve never been interested in reading Fredrik Backman’s books. They sounded boring to me. Then my IRL book club read ANXIOUS PEOPLE back in September and the discussion sounded interesting. Fortunately, I didn’t pay attention too much so I wouldn’t be spoiled because I decided to add it to my Unofficial Trim Challenge list and its number was chosen for January.

Some of us never manage to get the chaos under control, so our lives simply carry on, the world spinning through space at two million miles an hour while we bounce about on its surface like so many lost socks.

I’m so glad I decided to act opposite of my initial inclination and read ANXIOUS PEOPLE. I absolutely adored this book. I was giggling from the outset and I was hooked from the first time I sat down on Monday and started to read the book. I loved how it was written, that we got the story in parts. It reminded me a lot of TRULY MADLY GUILTY by Liane Moriarty (but better executed). I wanted to keep reading so I could figure out how everything would play out.

After I finished reading ANXIOUS PEOPLE, I felt almost spiritually moved and like Backman had spoken to me through his characters on a deep personal level. Backman made me feel a gambit of emotions for every single character, including the grumpy know-it-all who thrived on causing conflict. It made me love every single one of them. He even made me have feelings for bridges.

I’ll definitely look into Frederik Backman’s other books now and see if I like any of them as much as ANXIOUS PEOPLE. It was such a treat to read.

Have you read ANXIOUS PEOPLE? If so, what did you think about it?

Trigger Warning

There is a trigger warning for suicide and suicidal ideation.

Before I Blogged is a feature here at JenniElyse. The idea is to discuss a book I’ve recently reread and haven’t reviewed on this blog. There may be minor spoilers.

I recently read DUNE by Frank Herbert for the seventh time! The first time I read it was in high school for my Sci Fi class. (It was one of the only books I actually read.) I fell in love with the story that first time I read it. Over the years, DUNE has become my all-time favorite book. I adore everything about it. I love Herbert’s writing, the characters, the setting, the complexity of the story, and the ethical/moral issues it explores.

I understand why some new readers have a hard time with it. I had my IRL book club read it almost seven years ago and most gave up or didn’t understand the political and economical aspects of the book. In today’s publishing world, so much of DUNE would’ve been edited out and the third-person omniscient POV isn’t for everyone.

I’ve never read any of DUNE’s sequels. I’ve toyed with the idea, but I’ve decided against it. I don’t want to be disappointed and I don’t want that disappointment to ruin my love for DUNE. Fortunately, DUNE stands well enough alone that I don’t need to go on.

During this reread, I was very aware of how much Herbert relied on Islamic culture as his inspiration for DUNE. In past reads, I had wondered if some of the words were inspired by Arabic. It wasn’t until I was watching the new movie that I became more curious about Herbert’s inspiration. As I did a little research, I was surprised to find out how much of Islamic culture he used. It made me wonder … is DUNE a misappropriation of Islamic beliefs? If so, can I still love DUNE, acknowledge the misappropriation for what it is, AND help society do better by also supporting Muslim authors and authentic Muslim stories?

What are your thoughts? Do you have any recommendations for Muslim authors and authentic Muslim stories that I should read?

P.S. My shortest read of 2021 was DUNE, THE GRAPHIC NOVEL, BOOK 1 at 160 pages and my longest read was DUNE at 894 pages. Ha!