Book Review: “The Light between Oceans” by M.L. Stedman

Book Review

Lately, I’ve been dipping my toes in the ever-flowing river of fictional novels. A few weeks ago, I viewed part of a trailer on Facebook for the upcoming feature film The Light Between Oceans. As my friends and family will tell you, I typically avoid watching trailers for movies I know I want to see. In fact, if I’m in a theater and can’t avoid it, I’ll close my eyes, plug my ears, and whisper “Lalalalalalala” until it’s over. However, since I had never heard of this movie before, the gorgeous scenery captured my attention. I immediately recognized the star of the movie, Michael Fassbender—known for his role as “Magneto” in X-Men (the prequels)—and became intrigued. Instead of finishing the trailer, I decided to search out the book, requesting it from my local library.

The Light between OceansA week later, when my phone rang with the robo-call alerting me to its arrival, I headed down to the library to pick up my diversion: I had no idea I’d be finished reading it in a few short days. I used to be such a slow reader! Well, I guess my reading rate depends on the quality and attention-grabbing-ability of the book itself. I put this book down only when it was absolutely necessary.

WOW!!! This is the first fictional novel that has deeply engaged my emotions. There were tears at least twice—don’t tell anyone, or it will ruin my image. (We INTJs are supposed to be robots with hearts of ice!) My emotional reaction was completely unexpected and totally NOT normal for me! The author captured my attention in the first chapter and held my close attention all the way through to the final end mark, at which point I told my husband, “We HAVE to go see this movie once it comes out!”

To be honest, there were a few predictable events which nearly resulted in my setting the book down permanently, but they were so well-written! I hoped the entire book would not be like that, and it wasn’t. The plot continued to thicken as the characters became more complex. I kept reading.

He Wasn’t Looking for Love

The story begins in a small coastal town in Australia whose citizens lost many a young man to the Great War—some physically, others mentally. Once the characters have been introduced, the scene shifts to a small island off Australia’s coast upon which stands a lighthouse: the sole protector of souls between two oceans.

The lighthouse is in desperate need of a replacement keeper, and Tom Sherbourne (Fassbender) is the perfect choice. Young, healthy, responsible, self-disciplined, trustworthy—Tom is all this and more. He’s a decorated, honorably discharged veteran of World War I. His biggest struggle in life is trying to make sense as to why he was allowed to live, keep his wits about him, retain all body parts and senses while multitudes of other honorable “blokes” lost everything. Tom’s survival—and sanity—appears to require solitude and serenity. It seems that he and the lighthouse were made for each other. Of course, he can’t stay out there alone the entire time, now, can he?

This brings me to my least favorite part of the book: the silly, sappy, somewhat predictable early romance which began very early in the novel. If you’re perceptive, you’ll know what’s coming by the end of chapter two. But this budding romance is key to the plot and his character development. It moves pretty quickly, so I’m hoping the movie version will be better than that of the book. In this case, I’m hoping a picture is worth a thousand words.

The Light between Oceans

Once the necessary coupling has been completed, the author moves the plot right along with excellent character development, stunning scenic descriptions, and plot twists aplenty. The main characters are developed so fully, you’ll feel like you know them inside and out. You will share in their joys, mourn their losses, and question what you would do as they question their own decisions when their world turns topsy-turvy and nothing is as it once was, nor will it ever be again.

The novel is extremely well-written with beautiful, descriptive language about lighthouses (parts and service included), the solitary life of lighthouse keepers, Australian geography and native animals, as well as historically accurate sociological insights into postwar trauma and bigotry. (I think that’s one of the reasons I enjoyed the book so much, because it reminded me of topics I taught in an eighth grade world history class years ago.)

If you like history, romance, and mystery, you’ll enjoy reading The Light between Oceans by M.L. Steadman. Should you read it, please comment with your thoughts and impressions.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review: “How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You?” by Rachael Carman

Book Review

You Can’t Judge This Book by Its Cover!

Don’t let the cute fonts and brightly-colored, busily-decorated cover fool you into thinking this is a shallow, feel-good-about-yourself parenting book filled with fluffy anecdotes and little depth. That’s NOT what this is. Rachael Carman’sHow Many Times Do I Have to Tell You? What God Wants Us to Hear When We Talk to Our Kids challenges the reader to pursue a more intimate relationship with the Lord by listening to the words coming out of his or her own mouth.

Rachael Carman’s premise is that God oftentimes speaks to us—His children—the same way (sometimes with the exact same words and phrases) we speak to our children. Throughout the book, the author demonstrates her thesis by sharing deep spiritual insights she’s gained through a wide variety of experiences she’s had as the mother of seven children.

Parenting 101

Whether we’re helping our son overcome lazy habits, teaching our daughter polite manners, or working with both children on sibling rivalry, Carman challenges us to prayerfully pay attention to what we say and listen for God’s voice in our own lives.

How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You? is a life-changing book. When you read it and take “the dare” mentioned in the introduction, you’ll see that what you think is for the benefit of your own child is often of as much, if not more, benefit to yourself. I definitely recommend this book.

HMT - Make room HMT - Look at me

Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest, objective, and unbiased review. This is the first Rachael Carman book I’ve ever read, and I really did enjoy it. I gave it 4/5 stars on Amazon.com because I got the point early on, and I was ready to start listening to God in my own life rather than continue reading what God revealed to Rachael Carman about hers. However, that said, I gleaned a lot from what she shared, and I can see how it applies to me. I read it from cover to cover, and my spiritual life is forever changed. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review: “The Power of the Other”

Book Review

Have you ever wondered if your success in life is dependent on you alone? If your own grit, drive, and tenacity are the chief contributing factors to achieving your life’s dreams?
The Power of the Other by Dr. Henry CloudAccording to Dr. Henry Cloud, success in your career and your personal life will never be determined solely by what you do, regardless of your level of commitment or your work ethic. Why? Because, unless you are Mark Watney, alone on Mars, you live in community with others. And, believe it or not, your friendships are already having a dramatic impact on how successful you will be at reaching your full potential and accomplishing your goals.

I just finished reading The Power of the Other, the latest book by best-selling author and world-renowned psychologist, Dr. Henry Cloud. In this enlightening book about “the startling effect other people have on you…and what to do about it,” Cloud draws a clear distinction between four different types of relationships—three dysfunctional, one healthy— placing each one in its own corner, extrapolating the ways they contribute to, hinder, or possibly halt our personal achievements and overall success in life.

Power of the OtherThe Power of the Other

Each “Corner” is defined according to the level of connection we have the person. These levels of connection are based on how we feel during and after interaction with the person (valued vs. diminished; condemned vs. accepted; authentic vs. fake; and so on) and how this person’s influence directly impacts our ability to move forward in life.

As we begin to sort our relationships into four corners, based on the objective criteria Cloud presents, we learn that the healthiest and most authentic relationships exist only in Corner Four where there is emotional support, wisdom, community, truth, reality-based feedback, and caring communication. Corner Four relationships are the key to our success and a significant part of the foundation of a fulfilled life.

What makes Corner Four relationships so powerful is that they don’t end even after they end. The lessons we learn, the phrases that motivate us, are ours to keep forever.

This is an excellent book filled with practical information to assist you in re-aligning your relationships (1) to invest in and benefit from the healthy ones while (2) setting boundaries with or ending dysfunctional ones. I highly recommend this book.

Click here to order your copy of: The Power of the Other * 
Available in the following formats: Hardback, Paperback, Audio CD, KindleÂŽ, AudibleÂŽ

* Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” What I learned from this book has already had a tremendously positive impact on my life. I wrote the book review because I’m a learner, and it’s my mission in life to share what I learn with others. I hope you enjoyed the review. 🙂