The Great Alone: A Book Review

Title: The Great Alone

Author: Kristin Hannah

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Copyright Date: 2018

*Setting for book challenge: Isolated Location (Kaneq, Alaska)

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The Vietnam War stole Leni Allbright’s father.

He returned in 1974 a former POW and a new man with a violent streak. His love for her mother ran deep, but flipped a switch in him. And that switch hurt her mother. Every episode ended with an apology and every time Cora took him back. Meanwhile, teaching her teenage daughter that to wake up to broken glass, overturned furniture, empty whiskey bottles and a mother speckled black and blue is normal.

News that they inherited a cabin in Alaska brings Leni hopes that the move will help him. They pack their Volkswagen bus and settle on a homestead in the beautiful Alaskan wilderness. Leni’s small family from Seattle learns to live off the land and adjust to life without electricity where their nearest neighbor is miles away.

They quickly become part of their new community in Kaneq. Leni befriends Matthew, the only other teenager in town, and he teaches her how to prepare for her first winter in Alaska. He strengthens Leni’s spirit and shows her that love doesn’t have to mean being a punching bag and letting men walk all over you.

“Everyone up here had two stories: the life before and the life now.”

During their first winter in Kaneq, the citizens face a horrific tragedy that soon brings division. When they need to lean into one another for support the town scatters themselves and builds walls of hatred.

“They were trapped, by environment and finances, but mostly by the sick, twisted love that bound her parents together.”

This was a beautifully written novel about a young girl learning to survive harsh circumstances and weather. Life dealt Leni an unfortunate hand, but throughout the course of her story she learns how to live unbroken.

I haven’t read a book I loved this much in a long time. There were at least five twists in this plot that I NEVER SAW COMING. I love a good, unpredictable read. I found myself constantly wanting to know what would happen next. I cheered for Leni, screamed at her mother, and all but spit at her abusive father.

This year, my goal is read books set all over the world. This is my first book of 2019. As I complete books this year I plan to share some details I learn about different corners of the world.

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I felt like I was in the last frontier as I read this novel. Glacier filled white mountains, cloudless cornflower blue skies, fjords, and northern lights all drew me into the landscape of this beautiful state. Orcas, seals, otters, bears, moose, bald eagles, ptarmigans, and cormorants were all wildlife that appeared in the secluded woods of Kaneq.

“The natural world spoke loudest here.”

I experienced both of the Alaskan seasons. The days where the sun barely set were unusual to me. I found myself wondering how one could fall asleep at midnight with the light of day still bright. Other days, the sun surfaced for only a couple of hours. How depressing that must be to endure! I learned that in many parts of Alaska one must travel over the ice by small planes and that during the winter months casualty numbers were high due to stupid mistakes and poor planning.

I’m off on another travel. Stay tuned to see my latest reading destination.

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

 

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2019 Read the World Challenge

Every year I forget how quickly time passes.

I feel like I was just writing my goals for 2018 and here I am days away from 2019. Part of my annual goal setting means creating a plan for reading. Losing myself in the pages of fictional stories has become a daily part of my self-care routine. As a routine-oriented person I love to have a plan or a map of where I want to be at the end of every year.

This year I want to read the world.

Over the next twelve months I plan to visit every region and corner of the planet by reading books set in those locations.

Inspired by my mother-in-law who is currently on a trip of a lifetime around the world I’ve set out to craft a few travel plans myself.

I scoured travel websites and maps. I read lists of book reviews. Then with a bit of travel-envy I let myself be inspired by the travels of Karen Sisley. She is one brave woman who has sold all of her belongings and is currently traveling all over the eastern hemisphere doing humanitarian work and site-seeing.

I may not ever climb to the peak of a mountain, wash elephants in Cambodia, or sun bathe in the Caribbean, but I can always enjoy those adventures from the pages of well written novels.

I’d love for you to join me on a reading journey that takes us around the world. You can choose to read the following books in order or at random.

Reading Challenge 2019

You can do this journey reading library books (and do it all for free) or you can buy them cheap at discount book shops, yard sales, or download ebooks. However you prefer to get the books make a plan now!

If you plan to travel with me please let me know!

I want to discuss where we’ve been and what we’ve seen as we embark on this adventure.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Books I Read in 2018

I’ve had so many reading adventures to share with you from 2018. I traveled back to Hogwarts, solved the murder of a teen in detention, witnessed the prejudices against minorities, fought countless types of mental illness, united a broken family, visited postwar Europe to save a child, and restored my faith in the human race.

Here is the list of books I read in 2018:

Devotional/Faith Books:

 

Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp

The Way of Abundance by Ann Voskamp

Anxious For Nothing by Max Lucado

 

Other Books:

 

 

 

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

The First Phone Call From Heaven by Mitch Albom

Every Day by David Leviathan

One Was Lost by Natalie D. Richards

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crawley

When We Collided by Emery Lord

-One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

We All Fall Down by Natalie D. Richards

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany

I didn’t quite meet my goal of 26 books this year, but considering I had a baby in February I am pleased with the fact that I kept reading a priority.

I am excited to start a new Reading Challenge in 2019. Next week I plan to share with you my plan and I would love for you to join me.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Books of 2016

Happy Christmas Eve!

Another year is coming to a close and as another reflection on where I’ve been and what I have accomplished this year I wanted to capture my 2016 Reading List. I began 2016 with the goal of reading 24 books. I wanted to vary my reading exposure so I created a Reading Challenge for the year. I was able to nearly finish the challenge, but still have a few books to go before I complete it in 2017. I am happy to say that I expanded my exposure to different genres and authors this year and I diversified my reading from online periodicals, magazines, and eBooks (as well as the classic book.)

For each of the books listed below, you can find a review or information about the book under my books category in the right-hand margin. I hope you had a lovely year reading.

Devotional Books

-Fear Fighting by Kelly Balarie

Five Minute Friday by the Five Minute Friday Link Up (with a poem by me!)

For the Love by Jen Hatmaker

-Live Loved by Margaret Feinberg

 

Writing Books-These are books I focused on this year on the blog to hone my writing skills.

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

The Writer Magazine

The Irresistible Novel by Jeff Gerke

 

Other Books (Book Challenge)

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Numbers by Rachel Ward

Whole 30/It Starts With Food by Melissa Hartwig

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Tru and Nelle by G. Neri

The Crown by Keira Cass

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

The Heir by Keira Cass

Wicked by Gregory Maguire

The One by Keira Cass

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

The Elite by Keira Cass

The Selection by Keira Cass

Real Time by Pnina Moed Kass

Good Omens by Terry Prachett and Neil Gaiman

Schooled in Revenge by Jesse Lasky

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Frederick Backman

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Dreamlander by K.M. Weiland

 

I’m looking for reading plan suggestions for the new year. I’ve been really impressed by a new local library and have been spending a lot of time combing through their YA and adult fiction selections. I’m kind of on a YA kick right now as my next book I’m writing is from the perspective of a teenager.

Happy ready goals in 2017!

The Ameri Brit Mom

Books I Read in 2015

This is another one of those posts where I reflect on some of the things that I accomplished this year. In my last post I reflected on my top 5 posts of the year and discussed what about each post made it appealing to my readers. Today, I want to take a look back at all of the books I read in 2015, most of which I already reviewed here on the blog.

Devotional Books:

Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer

The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst

David by Beth Moore

 

Writing Books:

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

Structuring Your Novel by K.M. Weiland

Blog Inc. by Joy Deangdeelert Cho

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Other Books:

The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley

Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Bad Girls Don’t Die by Katie Alender

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

The Curious Incident of a Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

To read any of my reviews of these books check out my Book Category on the blog.

Just a couple of days ago I finished my last book of 2015, The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith.

This book is set in modern day Botswana. Immediately I fell in love with the African setting. I don’t often choose books about Africa. It’s relatively unfamiliar territory to me, but I found myself really beginning to appreciate the land and way of life as described in this book.

Precious Ramotswe is the protagonist of this story. She is a highly intelligent and well-educated woman who decides to use her inheritance to establish the first ever female detective agency due to her desire to help people.

This book is fabulously written and the author does a spendid job at introducing the backstory of each of the characters.

Throughout the book Mma. Ramotswe begins to have some high profile customers and cases and becomes a very successful detective. As a reader I enjoyed the way that each chapter contained a case as it helped to establish a quick pace to the book.

Toward the end, I would have liked a little more explanation about why Mma. Ramotswe makes certain decisions, but I guess that’s why Alexander McCall Smith decided to create a series off of this story line.

I would definitely read another book from this series because a reunion with the unique and beautiful setting and with the wonderful cast of characters would be ideal after the way that this book ends.

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In 2016 I will be hosting and taking part in a 24 Book Challenge to widen my exposure to literature both new and old. I would love if you would take that challenge along with me. Please take a look at my post, 24 Book Challenge, for more details and consider being a part of a community of readers who are striving to read their way through the new year.

Happy New Year!

The Ameri Brit Mom