Maryellen’s Monday Morning Musings

This week’s review: UNDER A SUMMER SKY by Nan Rossiter

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Get your beach bag ready! This book is a must read to take to the shore. As a matter of fact, if you can’t make it to the beach this summer, this book will take you there. From beautiful cover to cover, you’ll feel like you need to empty the sand out of your shoes even though you never left your living room!

Noah and Laney Coleman and their five sons and two dogs, one old lab named Mennie (Amen) and a new puppy named Halle (Hallelujah), live in a big old house on Cape Cod. The sons range in age from 21 to 7 (about to turn 8). Life in the Coleman house is a flurry of activity all the time! With Noah being a very busy minister; Laney a teacher; Elijah (E.) and Gabe lifeguards and college students; Ben and Seth on the track team in high school; and little Asher having trouble with a bully at school~~there’s seldom a free moment! With all of that going on, Noah somehow forgot to tell Laney that he agreed to let his brother Micah and his fiancée, Beryl, have their wedding at the very much in need of repairs, Cape Cod Coleman house!

In the midst of getting the big, old house ready for what will be a happy day, the family must also suffer some growing pains and some unsettling news. Laney faces some medical news that she’s reluctant to share. Noah’s parents, Asa and Maddie, are heavily involved in the lives of their two sons and their grandchildren, but when their sons want to know more about what is going on with them, they’re suddenly quiet. Though Asher is relieved that his bully has been kicked off of the school bus, he’s really worried about the circumstances surrounding the incident and even begins to blame himself for the outcome. And Elijah has met and become serious with a girl who seems to differ on some fundamental views of Elijah’s own.

If you’ve never read a Nan Rossiter book, you’ll have no trouble in making this one your first. If you have read Ms. Rossiter’s work before, you’re going to love seeing some familiar names in UNDER A SUMMER SKY that you may have come across in THE GIN AND CHOWDER CLUB and MORE THAN WORDS. And as a bonus to all of us, the author includes a “Cast of Characters” guide in the front of the book that is just brilliant! 

There are so many things to love about this book. Ms. Rossiter takes some very important and timely issues and incorporates them into her story. She also gently handles some very difficult “part of life” issues and pulls at your heartstrings. As with each of Ms. Rossiter’s novels, the story gets told and all of the strings tied neatly in the end…but she always leaves a little something for you to think about for her next book. There are some scenes in UNDER A SUMMER SKY where the author includes sermons that “Noah” preaches at his church. These sermons are some of my favorite writing in the book. Really read those sermons. Some of them really hit home.

And for those of you who just happen to love running~~you’re going to love that this entire family is a family of runners. I absolutely love the competitive spirit of the siblings and even Noah and Laney too! 

Anxiously awaiting Ms. Rossiter’s next book. Though, I’m wondering which character from this book will make an appearance in the next! 

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A copy of this book was given to me by the author. The above opinions are most definitely my own.

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Maryellen is a 48-year-old avid reader, runner, and reviewer who lives near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband Mike and their two rowdy cats. The fact that she has a car named RoxyBlue and has a phone named Janet (Miss Jackson if you’re nasty) are only two of a million reasons why I love her. Couple that with her insight, intelligence, and her always half-full glass of optimism and it makes for an exceptional book reviewer. I am lucky to have the honor of Maryellen allowing me to post her reviews here every Monday.

Maryellen’s Monday Morning Musings

This week’s review: THE WEIGHT OF BLOOD by Laura McHugh

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There’s nothing I love more than stumbling across a debut novelist who just blows me away. THE WEIGHT OF BLOOD is Laura McHugh’s debut novel and it is gritty, suspenseful, mesmerizing~~and it blew me away!

Set in Henbane, Missouri in the Ozark Mountains where you’re either a local in town or you’re an outsider, this is a story about the disappearance of two women a generation apart and the one girl that is the link to finding out what happened to both of them, even if it means she could lose everything.

Lucy Dane was just a baby when her mother, Lila, disappeared. Lila wasn’t much older than Lucy is now when she went missing. Lila was an outsider in Henbane and never really accepted by the townsfolk but for Carl Dane—he was immediately bewitched. And that was part of the problem about Lila; she had an exotic beauty and an air of mystery about her that made the people in this backwoods town think that she was a witch. Now that Lucy is older and looks just like her mother, she is a constant reminder to the people of Henbane of that unsolved mystery.

Cheri Stoddard is developmentally challenged. She’s slow. And her only friend is Lucy. When Cheri goes missing no one seems to care, except for Lucy. And a year later when Cheri’s body is found mutilated and on display across from the Dane family business, Lucy is determined to find out who did this to Cheri and if it has anything to do with her Mother’s disappearance. Sometimes the truth is a hard pill to swallow. And sometimes the truth can get you into some trouble. 

“You grow up feeling the weight of blood, of family. There’s no forsaking kin. But you can’t help when kin forsakes you or when strangers come to be family” 

The WEIGHT OF BLOOD is told in alternating narratives between Lucy and Lila. And then about midway through the book we get narratives from some of the other key characters. Though some might think those narratives would muddy the waters of this sordid story, the fact is, they don’t, they enhance it greatly. Watch out for unlikely heroes. And just like in real life, there are characters in this book who are good people that fall into bad circumstances; and bad people who have moments of good. There’s a definite “ick factor” in this book with regard to some of the characters. You’ll need a long, hot shower after reading this one.

4.5 Stars

An ecopy of this book was granted to me by the publisher via NetGalley. The opinions above are expressly my own.

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Maryellen is a 48-year-old avid reader, runner, and reviewer who lives near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband Mike and their two rowdy cats. The fact that she has a car named RoxyBlue and has a phone named Janet (Miss Jackson if you’re nasty) are only two of a million reasons why I love her. Couple that with her insight, intelligence, and her always half-full glass of optimism and it makes for an exceptional book reviewer. I am lucky to have the honor of Maryellen allowing me to post her reviews here every Monday.

Forgiveness

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Like cooking and sex, some people are better at forgiveness than others.  I count myself among the deficient crew.  Up until recently, I’ve taken a backwards approach to forgiveness.  My philosophy was to hand out many “get-out-of-jail-free” cards, but once they were used up, so were the offers of any more.  There was a threshold of betrayal and once crossed, there was no going back.

Part of my problem with the concept of forgiveness is my strong belief that people should be held accountable for their actions.  Moreover, people should pay for their mistakes.  Forgiveness seemed a foolish concept—a way of erasing another person’s slate.  Go ahead and dump on me.  It’s okay, because I forgive you.  Ugh!

Then I started to look at forgiveness from a different angle.  Maybe my job isn’t to dish out punishment.  Maybe forgiveness means realizing we are all human and inevitably, we will all mess things up.  But what about the epic screw-ups?  Are there some things in life that are beyond forgiveness?

You only have to forgive, but you don’t have to forget.  How cliché.  How convenient.  But how right.

Maybe forgiveness is all about letting go of the anger and sourness—like pouring the grease off of cooking meat.  Maybe forgiveness is an internal process.  I toss aside the hurt, but that doesn’t necessarily dictate what I do next.  It doesn’t strictly imply that I allow someone whom I know is dangerous back into my life.  The process of forgiveness doesn’t mean I have to reach out to the person I forgive.  I just have to let go of the poison.

So I tried it out.  I opened my heart and shed feelings of bitterness and resentment.  In some cases, I reached out to those against whom I have held a grudge.  In other cases, common sense told me to stay away.  Either way, I feel lighter and more at peace than I have in a very long time.  Maybe forgiveness isn’t so bad after all.

Maryellen’s Monday Morning Musings

This week’s review: ABOVE by Isla Morley

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Blythe Hallowell is sixteen years old. Today is the Horse Thieves Picnic in Eudora, KS. Blythe is going to meet Arlo Meier there. Young love. Arlo and Blythe find themselves alone for just a moment when Arlo’s name is called over the loudspeaker. He says he’ll be right back. Blythe waits but Arlo doesn’t come. Now angry, she leaves. She starts walking home. And that’s when Dobbs Hordin, a survivalist who knows Blythe from the library, offers her a ride home.

Blythe won’t make it home that night. She has been kidnapped under the guise of being protected from a major world catastrophe. Dobbs locks her away in an abandoned missile silo in the middle of nowhere that he has claimed and fashioned into a bunker of sorts where he thinks she’ll be safe from the destruction of the world. He’s going to save her! She is his prisoner.

At first, Blythe tries everything to get Dobbs to let her leave. She tries to escape on her own. She even tries cooperating to fool him. He will not let her go. He takes what isn’t his. Two years have passed. She gives birth to a son that she names Adam. Trying to raise a son in this prison is the only thing that keeps Blythe from taking her own life.

Adam is fifteen years old when he and Blythe are finally able to escape the prison that Dobbs has held them in all these years. For years he has told them stories of the destruction of the world and their responsibility to restore and repopulate it. Blythe can’t wait to show Adam the real world and for him to meet her family. 

And then this book takes a turn that I absolutely did NOT see coming. Wow what a twist! To tell you any more about it would constitute a spoiler and I truly don’t want to do that. You’ll need to read it for yourself to know what happens when Blythe and Adam venture out into the world after having been held hostage for seventeen years.

Author Isla Morley does a brilliant job of creating a character in Blythe that is absolutely believable. She goes from a terrified teenager to a mother in her 30’s intent on freeing and protecting her son. The descriptions of the missile silo and the claustrophobia of it all will give you a sense that you’re trapped too. I found this book difficult to put down even though at times my heart was racing. There have been comparisons made between ABOVE and ROOM, by Emma Donoghue, though both books have a premise of a young girl being held captive, they become very dissimilar rapidly. Both books get high praise and recommendations from this reader.

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An ecopy of this book was graciously provided by the publisher via Net Galley. The opinions above are expressly my own.

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Maryellen is a 48-year-old avid reader, runner, and reviewer who lives near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband Mike and their two rowdy cats. The fact that she has a car named RoxyBlue and has a phone named Janet (Miss Jackson if you’re nasty) are only two of a million reasons why I love her. Couple that with her insight, intelligence, and her always half-full glass of optimism and it makes for an exceptional book reviewer. I am lucky to have the honor of Maryellen allowing me to post her reviews here every Monday.

Mother’s Day

 

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One of my best friends recently lost her mother. A few years ago, another very close friend nearly lost her child to cancer. Yesterday, I discovered one of the surgeons with whom I worked suffered an arrhythmia after a tennis match, collapsed and is now in a coma with no brain activity. She is in her 40s with three young kids. My mother lost her daughter over twenty years ago. That daughter was me.

My parents divorced when I was six and my sister was three. We lived with my mom and visited my dad every other weekend. My memories of childhood are scattered. I recall watching Bugs Bunny on Saturday mornings until my Uncle Bud picked us up to take us to my dad’s. I remember asking my mom if I could live with my dad. She would say no, I would cry and ask again the next day. One day, she said yes. The experiment lasted about two years, and I moved back. By that time, I was a teenager.

As far as being a teenager goes, I was good at it. I drank. I partied. I did things with boys that I pray my daughter never does. I ditched class. I stayed out all night and lied about my whereabouts. I shoplifted. I was a nightmare.

But I wasn’t the only nightmare. There are more images of my childhood. Beer cans piled under my mother’s bed. My mom’s open ‘travel beer’ in the car. Her advice before I left on Friday nights: “keep your knees together.” The booze she bought for me. Doing the grocery shopping and forging her signature on checks. Being the only one who ever cleaned house. Embarrassment.

What I don’t remember are the things my daughter complains about now, but will treasure in ten years. I don’t remember her telling me to do my homework. I don’t remember her asking me details about my friends. I don’t remember ever feeling like I couldn’t get away with something. I don’t remember her teaching me about love.

What precipitated my break up with my mother is less important than how it could happen in the first place. How could a child walk away from the person that gave her life? I look at my friends and their experiences and wonder how I could be so cold as to shut this person out of my world. Am I really that heartless?

I try to look at my mother through the eyes of an adult. I know she had little education beyond high school. I can only imagine how hard being a single, working mom must have been. I’m sure she tried. I can’t blame her for her lot in life. But I also know, as a mother myself, that parenting is hard. It takes constant focus and energy and tenacity. Not for a second can you let your guard down. Parenting doesn’t require a college education. It requires commitment. On that level, sadly, my mom let me down.

In the end analysis, I don’t believe I’m heartless. Otherwise, why would my heart ache so much when I reflect on my childhood? Sometimes in life, we fail. My adolescence was an epic fail. Or maybe it wasn’t. Sometimes the lessons of what not to do are just as important as what to do.

Maryellen’s Monday Morning Musings

This week’s review: SHOTGUN LOVESONGS by Nickolas Butler

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Bravo Mr. Butler, bravo! You wrote a book that is universally appealing to BOTH men and women. With confidence I can recommend this book to anyone who loves to read. Anyone! Brilliant!

Little Wing, Wisconsin wasn’t known for much. They had the mill there but it shut down. Mostly, Little Wing was known for farming. That is, until two of their very own became celebrities. Before his accident, Ronny Taylor got his share of TV time being a champion on the rodeo circuit. And then there’s Leland “Lee” Sutton, he became a rock star. A really big rock star.

Even though Lee traveled the world playing his music, he always kept Little Wing as his home base. His friends were there. There’s Ronny, who after his accident is maybe a little slower than before, but he’s still the same Ronny. Henry “Hank” Brown is married to Beth and they own and operate the family farm. Kip Cunningham spread his wings and did the big city thing as a financier, but he’s back in Little Wing now with dreams of reopening the mill. The friends, now in their late twenties/early thirties, are all back together and sometimes coming home is the hardest thing to do.

SHOTGUN LOVESONGS, also the title of character Lee Sutton’s first album, is told from the viewpoints of Lee, Ronny, Henry, Kip and Beth with each character telling their version of this story of friendship, growing apart and finally growing up and living life. I love that the author taps into what must be his own experiences with his own set of peers. He nails the many layers of male friendship. He also has a grasp on what happens behind the closed doors of marriages. There is humor and heartache in this story told with equal finesse. These characters are all people that you’d imagine in any small town. I imagine Beth as someone I’d be friends with. Henry is probably someone I’d have had a crush on. Ronny is the class clown. Lee would be that one guy in study hall that would be a little too cool for me to try to talk to. And Kip, well, he was probably Senior Class President.

The New York Times did an article about this book and interviewed the author. As it turns out, sometimes art really does imitate life. Mr. Butler is from Eau Claire, Wisconsin and went to school with Justin Vernon, the lead singer of indie band, Bon Iver. This made me very curious about the music. Not only does debut novelist Nickolas Butler have a new fan, so does Bon Iver.

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An ecopy of this book was provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley. The opinions above are expressly my own.

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Maryellen is a 48-year-old avid reader, runner, and reviewer who lives near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband Mike and their two rowdy cats. The fact that she has a car named RoxyBlue and has a phone named Janet (Miss Jackson if you’re nasty) are only two of a million reasons why I love her. Couple that with her insight, intelligence, and her always half-full glass of optimism and it makes for an exceptional book reviewer. I am lucky to have the honor of Maryellen allowing me to post her reviews here every Monday.

May Day is Lei Day

The first day of May is a special time in the islands…May Day is Lei Day.  It all began on May 1, 1928 in Honolulu when the entire city was encouraged to adorn themselves in leis to celebrate the Hawaiian tradition of making and wearing leis.  It has been reported that “lei blossomed on straw and felt hats, lei decorated automobiles, men and women and children wore them draped about their shoulders. To the city Kamehameha’s statue extended a garland of maile and plumeria, which fluttered in the wind from its extended hand. Lei recaptured the old spirit of the islands (a love of color and flowers, fragrance, laughter and aloha).”

On May 1, 2014 I was one lucky wahine!  I attended the Lei Day celebration at the Kauai Historical Museum.  Over the course of a wonderful morning amongst friends, I was showered with aloha, culture, community and pride.  Instead of doing an injustice to the festivities with words, I would rather show you…

Learning to make plumeria leis with friends.
Learning to make plumeria leis with friends.
My blonde Hawaiian princess.
My blonde Hawaiian princess.
A beautiful hula dance.
A beautiful hula dance.
In the courtyard, a sweet man creating fish net from fish line.
In the courtyard, a sweet man created fish net from fish line.
This guy deserved two pictures.  He was awesome.
This guy deserved two pictures. He was awesome.
And on to the lei contest...
And on to the lei contest…
These are the most breathtaking leis I have ever seen!
Breathtaking!
All parts of the island flora wrapped up in aloha.
All parts of the island flora strung with aloha.
Lei Papale.
Lei Papale.
My new screen saver.
My new screen saver.
The green rose is actually hand-crafted using plant leaves.
The green rose is actually hand-crafted using plant leaves.
Sunshine in the form of a flower.
Sunshine in the form of a flower.
Simple and Exquisite.
Simple and Exquisite.

After taking in these works of art, I partook in a laulau plate–pork roasted in a bag made from taro leaves.  The best part of this experiment is that trying laulau is officially off my bucket list, and I don’t have to eat it again.  For my finicky palate, it wasn’t my favorite.  However, it was interesting to pull the string off the taro leaves and reveal the pork inside.  For the record, I’m not a fan of poi either.  Sorry Hawaii.  I promise to integrate in other ways.

Many people love this dish...they can have mine :)
Can I have a side of pepperoni pizza with my laulau?

We ended the day at the pet store/gun shop.  Is it wrong to love the fact that you can buy a goldfish, a puppy and a revolver all in the same place?

Guns & Puppy Chow
Guns & Puppy Chow

So from our Ohana to yours, Aloha and Happy Lei Day!

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Maryellen’s Monday Morning Musings

This week’s review: THE MOON SISTERS by Therese Walsh

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Jazz and Olivia Moon, two sisters as opposite as night and day, find their common denominator in the loss of their Mother. Beth Moon was a dreamer who fancied herself a writer. She was a woman who created a world where a fairy with a golden cloak would be trapped until an amazing day of rescue. For Beth, that day would never come. She always said that if she could only make it to the Cranberry Glades to see the “will-o’-the-wisps”, (atmospheric ghost lights seen by travelers at night, especially over bogs, swamps or marshes, resembling a flickering lamp said to recede if approached, drawing travelers from the safe paths), she’d find her ending to her book.

After the loss of their Mother, Jazz, the elder by four years and always the responsible sister, watched as her family began to fall apart. Her Father’s drinking made him even more distant. And then Olivia~~Olivia has a condition called synesthesia that causes her to see sounds and smell sights and taste words. Her world is so different from anything that Jazz can comprehend. To Olivia, her Mother smelled like the sun. So Olivia stares at the sun, nearly blinding herself. Left with only her periphery vision, Olivia insists on fulfilling her Mom’s desire to go to the cranberry glades and to also spread her ashes among the “ghost lights”. With or without Jazz, she’s going. If it’s without, she’s going to walk for days to get there if she has to!

Olivia won’t go alone. Jazz will be guilted in to taking her sister on this journey that will find the sisters falling farther apart than they had ever been before all the while bringing them much closer together as this is the first time that both sisters will see the world through the other’s eyes. On that journey of broken down cars, hitchhiking and train hopping, they meet “Hobbs”. Hobbs is a tattoo-covered train hopper with secrets of own. He is definitely not the kind of person that Jazz wants Olivia to be around, let alone to guide them to the bogs.

Olivia never did listen to Jazz. This time won’t be any different.

This book is brilliant. Author Therese Welsh brings to life characters that are so rich and engaging that you feel their every emotion. Her prose is lyrical. Her descriptions of what Olivia “sees” are masterful. Set in the mountains of West Virginia, the story seems to take on a fairy tale likeness of its own. There are some difficult subjects addressed in this book and they are handled with great care. I read somewhere that it took the author five years to craft this novel; a novel that will stay with me for a lifetime. 

This is the second novel by Ms. Walsh. I haven’t read her first one called THE LAST WILL OF MOIRA LEAHY…yet. I love this author’s writing style. She could very easily become a new favorite of mine.

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An ecopy of this book was provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley. The opinions above are expressly my own.

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Maryellen is a 48-year-old avid reader, runner, and reviewer who lives near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband Mike and their two rowdy cats. The fact that she has a car named RoxyBlue and has a phone named Janet (Miss Jackson if you’re nasty) are only two of a million reasons why I love her. Couple that with her insight, intelligence, and her always half-full glass of optimism and it makes for an exceptional book reviewer. I am lucky to have the honor of Maryellen allowing me to post her reviews here every Monday.

Are You There God?

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There are two things we aren’t supposed to talk about: politics and religion. I’m not much of a conformist, so today I’m picking religion. And I’m being honest, so watch out.

I haven’t been to church to worship since I was a kid and sent off to Sunday school. That’s about 40 years of viewing God from the outside. Although I always believed that some higher power exists, my thoughts never took on more than a vague notion—like a wispy cloud in the summer sky. And since I’m being honest, God didn’t scare me but religion did. I used to call them the “bible thumpers.” We all know the bible thumpers. They come to your door in pairs between the hours of 9 am and 3 pm preaching God’s word and spreading peace and harmony. To me, they were nothing more than a physical manifestation of a telemarketer. I figured if God was so awesome, why couldn’t his awesomeness just sell itself? Why did He have to use billboards and bible thumpers and televangelists with special God antennae?

Then something happened. I’d like to tell you exactly what that ‘thing’ was, but I’m not sure I understand it myself. I got to a point in my life where some inner voice pointed me towards God. Even when I think about it, there’s this strange sense of peace and calm that whooshes through my body. If you think this sounds weird, imagine how I feel. I am not a ‘whooshy’ kind of gal. It’s more than just a little overwhelming.

Our first Sunday in Hawaii, I put on a dress, dabbed on some makeup and did what only a year ago would have been the unthinkable; I went to church. To be perfectly honest, it was a mixed bag. Some parts creeped me out a little. I’m not much for singing and dancing and cajoling. When they started that up, I stiffened. But then I forced myself to tune them out and focus on the words. I liked the words. I also don’t like the part where the preacher says, “He is risen,” and we are all supposed to dutifully reply, “He is risen indeed.” Maybe it’s that I inherently don’t like to be told what to do or what to say. It makes me feel a wee bit brainwashed, like being forced to say “Yes, sir” and “Yes, ma’am” as a kid. Based on feistiness alone, I don’t know if I will ever chant back.

Then there are parts that I want to believe, but I’m skeptical. The biggest would be the part that if I don’t fully accept that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and then rose from the dead, I will never be saved. I believe it’s possible. But in my lifetime, I’ve seen plenty of unfortunate people publicly tortured to death and gravesites vandalized. What if some wise guy just stole Jesus’s body and the whole thing got blown out of proportion?

I really don’t want to think that way, but I can’t help it. I’m caught on the pinnacle between belief and doubt. Forty years of living in this unfair and brutal world has taught me to question Him. But I am taking baby steps as I begin my infancy into this foreign and overwhelming trek. In church, I focus hard on what the preacher has to say. When I am able to tune everyone else out, I find comfort in his words. The stories are interesting and meaningful. They pull on me.

Maybe it’s too much to ask that I become a believer overnight. I could pay lip service and say that I believe, but that would be dishonest. That dishonesty seems like a bigger sin than struggling with the concept of belief. For now, I have to believe that the mere acceptance of the possibility of Christ is sufficient. Hopefully, as I continue to attend services and listen to the messages, those walls that are keeping out His light will begin to crumble. Hopefully one day I can truly say, “I believe.”

Maryellen’s Monday Morning Musings

This week’s review: DEAD MOUNTAIN by Donnie Eichar

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From the inside cover: “In February 1959, a group of nine experienced hikers in the Russian Ural Mountains died mysteriously on an elevation known as Dead Mountain. Eerie aspects of the incident–unexplained injuries, signs the hikers cut open and fled their tent without proper clothing or shoes, a strange final photograph taken by one of them, and radiation readings on some of their clothes–have led to decades of speculation over what really happened.” If that doesn’t grab your attention, I don’t know what will. 

Until December 2013 I had never heard of the Dyatlov Pass Incident. My husband came across a blurb about this book and he did more research. When he told me about this story I was absolutely engrossed. I needed to know more and I needed to read this book. This is not my typical genre at all yet I felt compelled. And now, I’m practically obsessed. 

Author, documentary filmmaker and producer, Donnie Eichar gives us an incredible account of what happened in 1959 to those nine hikers. There were times during the reading of this book that I felt that I was right there with them. Told in alternating time periods, both 1959 and 2012 when the author traveled to Russia to make the same trek that those hikers took, the story unfolds much like a mystery. The photos that are interspersed in the book are a fabulous addition. There is a sort of yearbook page where we see what would look like “senior photos” of each of the hikers. One photo in particular of the hikers riding in the back of a truck getting ever closer to their destination stood out to me more than most. This photo, on page 108, shows the excitement of the group for their adventure~~an adventure that would lead to their tragic deaths on that cold mountain. 

It seems that everyone has a theory about what could have possibly happened to make these experienced hikers rush out of their tent into the bitter coldness without even wearing shoes. Could they have been attacked by the local Mansi tribe; was it an avalanche; government weapons testing; space aliens? Will we ever know for certain why these nine vibrant and healthy people had to die?

For me, the most bone chilling parts of the book came with the interviews of the 10th hiker, Yuri Yudin. Yes, there was a 10th hiker. This story, this version of it, needs to come to life on the big screen. When it does, I’ll be there.

Well done Mr. Eichar. Well done.

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Maryellen is a 48-year-old avid reader, runner, and reviewer who lives near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband Mike and their two rowdy cats. The fact that she has a car named RoxyBlue and has a phone named Janet (Miss Jackson if you’re nasty) are only two of a million reasons why I love her. Couple that with her insight, intelligence, and her always half-full glass of optimism and it makes for an exceptional book reviewer. I am lucky to have the honor of Maryellen allowing me to post her reviews here every Monday.