Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Man He Never Was: A Modern Reimaging of Jekyll and Hyde by James L. Rubart Review and GIVEAWAY (TLC Book Tours)

Toren Daniels awakens one morning in a strange hotel, even though he remembers falling asleep beside his wife at home the day before.  Getting up and venturing into life, he realizes he has been missing for eight months and was presumed dead.  Where has he been this entire time and what has happened to his fierce anger that was driving a wedge between him and his family?

Toren was a NFL player who had troubles managing his anger on the field.  So much so that he lost his spot on the team and in the NFL overall with no team wanting him.  Instead of having that outlet for his anger, he instead starts taking it out on his family until the day he disappears.

Toren spends this story trying to figure out what exactly happened to him during this time.  He feels like he can control his better anger now – where was he?  How can he use this control to get his family back?  As he explores he starts to realize it is related to the classic Robert Louis Stevenson novella of Jekyll and Hyde.  Every person has a dark version of themselves that sometimes during hardships is unleased.  Jekyll was trying to figure out how to control and destroy that version of himself, has someone managed to figure out how to do this in the modern age?

I was intrigued by the entire premise and I really enjoyed the bringing in of the Jekyll and Hyde story as well as discussion of how that was used in the modern age for Hulk.  I also wanted to know along with Toren -where was he and I enjoyed his journey.  His journey took a deep look into his past and abuse at the ends of his father and how that led to his present.  Toren wants to be a good person for his family and to be able to regain his spot in the NFL, how can he get there?

Favorite Quotes:

“Because in Jekyll and Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson portrays one distinctly good personality and one distinctly evil personality.  Henry Jekyll ends up in an all-out war with his dark half, Edward Hyde.  Jekyll says that he and every other man and woman is ‘not truly one, but truly two,’ and he sees the human soul as the ultimate battleground of our lives – one part of us an angel, the other a demon, both struggling for mastery and destruction of the other.”
“Only love matters in the end.  So only love matters in the present.”

Overall, The Man He Never Was is a very interesting and original story of a man’s self-discovery.  It’s a mystery/thriller as he tries to figure out what mysterious forces have been at work in his life.

Book Source:  E-book Review Copy for being a part of TLC Book Tours.  For more stop on the tour check out this link.


One lucky winner will receive a copy of The Man He Never Was by James L. Rubart. If you would like to win this book, please leave a comment on what interests you about this book. Have you ever read The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde or watched a film/play version?  If so, what are your thoughts on the story?

As part of your comment, you must include an email address. If I can't find a way to contact you I will draw another winner.

For an additional entry, blog about this giveaway or post it on your sidebar. Provide a link to this post in your comment.

I will be using (or a Monte Carlo simulation in excel) to pick the winners from the comments.

This contest is only open to addresses in the United States and Canada.

The deadline for entry is midnight on Friday April 6th!

Please make sure to check the week of April 9th to see if you are a winner. I send emails to the winner, but lately I've been put in their "junk mail" folder instead of their inbox.

Good luck!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

What is it like to live with Alzheimer’s disease?  To know that you have it, and are forgetting the everyday matters of life?  To think that one day you will forget your children and your spouse?

Alice Howland is a psychology professor at Howard and has had great success in her field.  She loves teaching and being a partner with her husband, also a Harvard professor.  They have three beautiful children in their 20’s off on their own attending school or starting careers.  Alice starts to forget things more often, cumulating in going for a run and not recognizing the neighborhood that she has been running through and living in most her life.  She goes to a doctor to determine what is wrong and is diagnosed with early on-set Alzheimer’s disease.  Alice breaks the news to her family and tries to make the best choices to still be able to live her life to the fullest before it is too late.

Still Alice is the March pick for the Kewaunee Library book club and we will be discussing it this week.  I have been wanting to read this book for years and was glad to finally have an excuse to read it.  I’ve previously read and enjoyed Left Neglected and Inside the O-Briens both by Lisa Genova.  My Great-Grandpa Kile had Alzheimer’s Disease, and his daughter, my Grandma Stone had Dementia.  Watching them battle through these diseases and the changes it made on them and their loved ones was heart breaking.  My Great Grandpa and Grandma Kile were married for 67 years when he passed away.  The last year or so he didn’t recognize my Grandma but called another lady at the Alzheimer’s home “Norma,” my Grandma’s name.  I remember her softly crying when we would leave from a visit with Grandpa.

Alice has the disease at a much earlier age than my Great Grandpa who was in his 80’s battling the disease.  As a professor of psychology, she is keenly aware of what is going to happen to her.  I loved that she made her own group of other early on-set Alzheimer’s patients to support each other.I also enjoyed that the book was told from her point of view as she declined with the disease.  I was both amazed and infuriated by the reactions of her family.  I love that her strained relationship with her youngest daughter seems to strengthen with the disease.  I felt for her husband, but was also infuriated by decisions that he made.  It would be a very difficult situation to be in.

Favorite Quotes:

“Her mother had comforted her and told her not to be sad for the butterflies, that just because their lives were short didn’t mean they were tragic.  Watching them flying in the warm sun among the daisies in their garden, her mother had said to her, see they have a beautiful life. Alice liked remembering that.”

“Her sense of Alice – what she knew and understood, what she liked and disliked, how she felt and perceived – was also like a soap bubble, ever higher in the sky and more difficult to identify, with nothing by the thinnest lipid membrane protecting it from popping into thinner air.”

“There is no peace in being unsure of everything all of the time.  I miss doing everything easily.  I miss being a part of what’s happening.  I miss feeling wanted.  I miss my life and my family.  I loved my life and family.”

Overall, Still Alice was a touching look at Alice’s battle with early on set Alzheimer’s and how it affected her and her family.  I like that this book brings Alzheimer’s into focus and into discussion.  I feel like this disease and Dementia are not understood and the victims are often blamed for something they can’t control.  Or forgotten because it’s easier to deal with that way.

Book Source:  The Kewaunee Public Library

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Have you ever had a book that sat on your “to read” list for twenty years and you aren’t quite sure why?  A Wrinkle in Time is just such a book for me.  My little sister Katie highly recommended it to me while I was in college and even loaned me her copy, but I never got a chance to read it.  It’s always been in the back of my mind, and with the new movie coming out, it seemed like now was the perfect time to read it.

This book has time travel and a female protagonist, which would have been totally up my ally as a teen / pre-teen, I’m not sure how I missed it.  Originally published in 1962, I am amazed at how this book is before its time.  Not only is the main character of this sci-fi novel a female, but her mother is also a PhD scientist that works as an equal partner with her husband.  Very cool.

Meg never fits in anywhere.  Besides feeling that she looks odd and she doesn’t like the regular material at school, her father vanished without explanation years before causing much talk around town.  After a mysterious visitor appears, Meg together with her brother Charles Wallace and friend Calvin, travel through time and space to find her father.

I loved that the story not only was a cool time travel story, but was also a great coming of age story as Meg tries to find and like herself.  I really liked the explanation of the travel through space and time using drawings.

My son Kile does not want to read it because the main character is a female.  Has anyone else had this experience?  He wants to read about a fellow male protagonist, unless the female is an animal.  At twelve, he is not fond of girls or any sign of romance in a novel or a movie.

Favorite Quotes:

“Yes.  I believe that they do.  But I think that with our human limitations we’re not always able to understand the explanations.  But you see, Meg, just because we don’t understand doesn’t mean that the explanation doesn’t exist.”

“A book, too, can be a start, ‘explosive material, capable of stirring up fresh life endlessly,’ a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.” – a quote from L’Engle’s Newbery Medal Acceptance Speech from 1963.  It is a wonderful speech about the love of reading and the love of fantasy/sci-fi.  It’s worth reading on its own!!

Overall, A Wrinkle in Time is a classic sci-fi / fantasy novel that deals with time travel, and also understanding yourself and what it means to love.  I thought it was a great unique story, especially for the time it was written.  It’s interesting how many tales that came after it borrowed parts of it.  I think the movie looks really interested and I can’t wait to see it!

Have you seen the movie or read the book?  What are your thoughts?

Book Source:  Purchased while we were Christmas shopping – I can’t remember where.