I love when I get a reading itch! I seem to go through phases of how much I read and what I read. I've been hitting it hard recently and thought I would share the few books I have gotten through and my take on them. Silent Tears - by Kay Bratt

I just finished this yesterday and it was rough. It's the true story, in journal form, of an Expats time in China, and most of her time is spent volunteering in a Chinese orphanage. Which is an odd name because the children aren't orphans, they've been abandoned because they have deformities or because they are girls. The one phrase I keep coming up with after reading this is "complete and utter disregard for the sanctity of human life." It's heard breaking, and the 4 years the author spends doing work there pretty much sucks her emotionally dry. There are things that you can't unsee, and in my case, things you can't unread. If you can get through this book without immediately wanting to adopt a Chinese "orphan", then you are more emotionally resilient than me. Be prepared for total heart break with this one.

The Light Between Oceans - ML Stedman

A total page turner, set on an tiny Australian island occupied only by a husband and wife who tend the lighthouse, this book dug it's way into my heart. It's vivid and you immediately place yourself in the story, wondering what you would do. The wife has lost baby after baby when suddenly one washes up on shore in a boat with a dead man. The husband wants to play by the rules, but the wife just wants the baby. What to do, what to do? The book takes a few harsh turns, and in the end, I was laying in bed at 2am balling my eyes out. It wasn't the ending I wanted, but I understood it, and I accepted it.

Beautiful Ruins - Jess Walter

Another island book, but this time an actress from a famous movie set appears there sick with stomach cancer in the 60s. The production company is hiding her away because she is actually pregnant by the main actor. A parallel story is running where an old man appears in the office of a famous producer in Hollywood, asking about the past. As the two stories collide you can't wait to see how the middle of the story plays out. This book was awesome. I totally loved it, and the various stories that were woven in were so well done. This is the best book I've read in some time, loved it!

The Kitchen House - by Kathleen Grissom

Whew, plantation times, little Irish Lavinia is orphaned on the ship over to America and brought to the plantation of the ship owner as an indentured servant. She is raised in the kitchen house, but she is white, which is odd for everyone. It's a story about the difficulties of being in two different worlds, heart in one, skin in another. This is one of those books that mounts and mounts and you know it's going to blow up at one point. And it does, it blows up big, and leaves you up at 2am madly clicking the next button on your kindle. There's no way for this one to end well, and lives are lost, but it's a great read and worth the pain you know it will inflict.

Unbroken - by Laura Hillenbrand

Everyone is reading this book about Louis Zamperini, the famous American runner who is lost at sea in WW2. One third of this book would make for a great book but it keeps going. I won't spoil it, but I will say that at the end of this book your jaw will be on the ground and you will feel privileged. No matter the hardships you have been through in life, I doubt that any of it compared to Louis's life. The stories are all revealed in time, all the loose strings are tied up, and you will never be the same afterwards. This is a must read. Never Never Never Give Up!