The Mountain Between US…Book & Movie Review


Title: The Mountain Between Us

Author: Charles Martin

Publisher: Broadway Books

Date of Publication: August 2017 (first published June 2010)

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Adventure (Survival)

Page Count: 336




Goodreads Synopsis click here

The Mountain Between Us is a romantic survival story about hope that takes place in the mountains near Salt Lake City. This is a unique survival story because the stranded people are complete strangers, a journalist named Ashley (in the movie she’s called Alex), and a doctor named Ben.

The crash enables our two main characters, Ashley and Ben, to see their life from a new perspective, enabling them to learn more about themselves. In the book, the Grover’s Charter pilot, Grover, married for almost fifty years, has advice to give Ben, married for fifteen years, and Ashley, engaged. In the movie the pilot is NOT married! This was incredibly annoying because the difference in their marriage experience offered Grover the opportunity to give Ben and Ashley advice.

 “When I wake up in the morning, she’s holding my hand. I make the coffee, and then she sits with her knees touching mine while we drink it.”

In the book Ben comes up with the idea to take the charter plane, while in the movie it was Ashley’s (Alex) idea. Another big difference between the book and movie is Ashley’s injury. In the book her broken femur leaves her immobile, forcing Ben to create a makeshift sled and pull her for the entire journey, while in the movie her injury isn’t as bad and she is able to walk.

There is a big emphasis on Ben’s running career and climbing experience in the book which helps to explain how he could have the stamina and experience to get them off the mountain. He also had his climbing bag with him, which contained many essential items that helped their survival. This is one of the conveniences that makes the book feel inauthentic. The movie leaves out the running, climbing experience, and the backpack – leaving Ben and Ashley (Alex) to “wing it”. It makes the story feel more authentic, however, it does make me wonder how in the world could they have survived without any kind of gear.

There are many flashbacks in the novel written in italics which makes it easy to follow. The writing style has a good description of the environment, and a great sense of humour. The banter between Ben and Ashley is hilarious and I found myself laughing more than once, which I wasn’t expecting from a survival story.

Ashley was grinding her teeth when I shook her. “You ready?”

She nodded, sat up. “Any coffee?”

I handed her a mug of fluid that looked more like weak tea. “Go easy. That’s the last of it.”

“It’s already a bad day, and we haven’t even started yet.”

“Think of it this way… every step away from this place is one step closer to a cappuccino at Starbucks.”

She licked her lips. “I love it when you talk dirty to me.”

In the book we get to see Ben making messages to his wife on his recorder, where in the movie this isn’t really shown. Being able to know his thoughts to his wife enables the reader to really get to know Ben and learn more about his marriage. Throughout the novel the reader is trying to figure out why Ben and his wife separated, and the reveal at the end BLEW ME AWAY. I didn’t see that coming at all, and it made me bawl my eyes out. This big reveal doesn’t exist in the movie.

In the book Ben and Ashley can’t remember Grover’s dog’s name so they just call him Tank. Whereas in the movie he remains unnamed. In the book Tank is a fierce warrior and a key player in their survival, however in the movie he’s often absent and it doesn’t really show the impact of trudging through human knee-deep snow for many days.

The plane crash happens very early on in both the book and movie, which amps up the excitement quickly and jumps right into Ben and Ashley being forced to get to know each other while fighting for their life.

I cried a few times while reading, and I don’t cry while reading very often. However, the movie didn’t have the scenes that made me cry, which was disappointing.

One thing the movie did better than the book is the portrayal of women. The are many sexist remarks and ideas in the book that aren’t present in the movie. In fact, Ashley’s (Alex) change in injury alone made her an active participant in their struggle.

I recommend the book and movie for anyone looking for an exciting, emotional, survival story.


About the author

Charles Martin (born November 3, 1969) is an author from the Southern United States.[1][2]

Martin earned his B.A. in English from Florida State University and went on to receive an M.A. in Journalism and a Ph.D. in Communication from Regent University. He currently lives in Jacksonville, Florida.[3]

He is the author of thirteen novels: Send Down the Rain (2018), Long Way Gone (2017), Water from My Heart (2015), A Life Intercepted (2014), Unwritten (2013),[1] Thunder and Rain (2012),[2] The Mountain Between Us (2010), Where the River Ends (2008), Chasing Fireflies: A Novel of Discovery (2007), Maggie: The Sequel to The Dead Don’t Dance (Awakening Book 2) (2006), When Crickets Cry (2006), Wrapped in Rain (2005) and The Dead Don’t Dance (Awakening Book 1) (2004).

The Mountain Between Us was made into a major motion picture by 20th Century Fox. Starring Kate Winslet and Idris Elba, it was released on October 6, 2017.” (Wikipedia)



The Man Who Died #Thriller #BookReview #SpoilerFree #Themanwhodied #Netgalley

📓 I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion. Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley, for allowing me to review.  📚 😌

The man who died

Title: The Man Who Died

Author: AnttiTuomainen

Translated from Finnish by David Hackston

Genre: Adult Mystery/Thriller

Publisher: Orenda Books

Date published: May 1st, 2018

Page Count: 245




“A successful entrepreneur in the mushroom industry, Jaakko Kaunismaa is a man in his prime. At just 37 years of age, he is shocked when his doctor tells him that he’s dying. What is more, the cause is discovered to be prolonged exposure to toxins; in other words, someone has slowly but surely been poisoning him. Determined to find out who wants him dead, Jaakko embarks on a suspenseful rollercoaster journey full of unusual characters, bizarre situations and unexpected twists.

With a nod to Fargo and the best elements of the Scandinavian noir tradition, The Man Who Died is a page-turning thriller brimming with the blackest comedy surrounding life and death, and love and betrayal, marking a stunning new departure for the King of Helsinki Noir.” Goodreads


My Review

Setting: Hamina, Finland


Jaakko Kaunismaa: CEO of mushroom business. After finding out he is dying, he walked in on his wife cheating on him with one of his employees. Jaakko suspects his wife, Taina, she is poisoning him and decides to embark on an investigation to discover the truth. I often found myself chuckling to Jaakko’s dark sense of humor.

The other characters were pretty boring for me and lacked personality. This story focused more on plot than characters, which is often the case for thrillers. I couldn’t put it down and read it quickly. I just HAD to know if his wife was trying to kill him, what the guys from the new mushroom company were up to, and if the cop would figure out what Jaakko’s been up to.

The Man Who Died is a dark, odd, funny thriller about a quirky mushroom business man.

“Finnish author Tuomainen has come up with an irresistible crime comedy caper /…/ More than just a whodunit, but a gripping tale of self-loathing, investigation and desperate floundering /…/ Both a thriller and a dark laugh a minute journey that will keep you hanging on to the end. The story of a man investigating his own death has been done before but not with such gusto. ” – Crime Time (UK)

About the author.jpg

“Antti Tuomainen is the award-winning author of seven novels: A Killer I Wish, My Brother’s Keeper, The Healer, Dark as My Heart, The Mine, The Man Who Died and his latest – Palm Beach Finland. He has been called ‘The King of Helsinki Noir’ by the Finnish press and his writing has garnered attention worldwide.

In 2011 his third novel The Healer was awarded the Clue Award for Best Finnish Crime Novel and has subsequently been published in 27 countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Brazil, China, Iceland, Turkey and Greece, among others.

His fourth novel Dark as My Heart was optioned for feature film in 2013 and is in development at Making Movies Ltd., the production company behind the Finnish film sensation Black Ice. Dark as My Heart has been voted the best crime novel of the past decade by the readers of a Finnish crime fiction magazine. The novel was also nominated for the prestigious Petrona-prize in the UK in 2016.

His sixth novel The Man Who Died was published in Finland in September 2016. The novel has been optioned by Finnish production company Luminoir and is currently in development for feature film. Publishing rights for The Man Who Died have been sold to the UK, France and Germany, among others.

Antti’s seventh novel, titled Palm Beach Finland was published in September 2017 in Finland.

Antti has been a featured guest on numerous literary festivals, events, panels and book tours in the UK, Germany, France, the United States, Spain, Italy, Romania, Iceland, Norway, Hong Kong and Northern Ireland.

Antti was born in Helsinki, Finland where he lives with his wife. In addition to novels, he also writes short stories and magazine articles. You can find him easily on Facebook and he will be happy to hear from you.”

The Essex Serpent Book Review – Spoiler Free

The Essex Serpent is a slow, seductive, mysterious, historical literary fiction novel set in the Victorian era.

The Essex Serpent


The Essex Serpent

By Sarah Perry

Published 2016

The Essex Serpent #FirstChapterFirstParagraph

This tale begins on New Year’s Eve. A drunk man wanders to the edge of Blackwater estuary, flirting with the idea of going for a dip, he suddenly catches a glimpse of “something vast, hunched, grimly covered over with rough and lapping scales” (page 5). He is later found dead, with his head turned 180 degrees.

Time is marked by the tide,
Time is served in jail,
Time can be wasted and lost,
Time is money,
Time passes no matter how we try to stop it.

“In a Circle Line carriage, Westbound, fitful lights showed The Times had nothing happy to report, and in the aisle a bag spilled damaged fruit. There was the scent of rain on raincoats, and among the passengers, sunk in his upturned collar, Dr. Luke Garrett was reciting the parts of the human heart.” (page 13) Dr. Garrett, a 32 year old man with short stature and a lopsided gait, is traveling to the funeral of his patient, Michael Seaborne, who died from cancer of the throat. Mr. Seaborne’s wife, Cora, is our main character. She is a tall, strong, not slender, gray-eyed, independent woman who does not mourn for her abusive husband. While Mr. Seaborne was ill many nurses walked out on him, one claiming he was the devil. With Mr. Seaborne dead, Cora has been born again, and is free to pursue her passion for science. Their eleven year old son Francis has some odd characteristics, and I suspect he is on the Autism spectrum. Francis has had the same nanny since birth, a thirty three year old woman named Martha.

While caring for Mr. Seaborne, Dr. Garrett has fallen in love with Cora. She thinks of him as a friend, but doesn’t return his romantic feelings. She travels to Colchester with Martha and Francis for some peace and quiet. Martha and Cora meet Thomas Taylor, who tells them a story about the earthquake that shook the Essex Serpent from it’s hiding place. They run into Charles and Katherine Ambrose who were also visiting Colchester. Charles was once a colleague of Cora’s late husband, Michael.

Charles tells Cora about the Essex Serpent while enjoying pastries at a café. “Three hundred years ago or thereabouts a dragon took up residence in Henham, twenty miles northwest of here. Ask at the library and they’ll show you the leaflets they nailed up round the town: eyewitness accounts from farmers, and a picture of some kind of leviathan with wings of leather and a toothy grin. It used to lie about basking in the sunshine and snapping its beak (its beak, mind you!), and no one thought much of it until a boy got his leg broken. It vanished soon after, but the rumors never did. Every time crops failed or the sun eclipsed, or there was a plague of toads, someone somewhere would see the beast down on the riverbank, or lurking on the village green. And listen: it’s back!” Charles then tells Cora about the man who had washed up on shore New Year’s Day with a broken neck. This convinces Cora she must go to Aldwinter and search for the serpent in hopes that she can make a great scientific discovery. Katherine suggests Cora meet up with the Ransome family while in Aldwinter.

William Ransome is a reverend, married to Stella, and they have three children named Joanna, John, and James. Will does not believe in Darwin, or the Essex Serpent, and tries to convince Cora and all other believers in town that there is nothing to be a afraid of.

Henry Banks believes his lost rowing boat is a result of the Essex Serpent. His daughter Naomi Banks is friends with Will’s daughter Joanna.

One of the most interesting characters is Mr. Cracknell, who lives on the edge of the marsh. During the past three years he has lost his wife, sister, and his son. He has witnessed some strange happenings and also blames them on the serpent.

In April Cora, Martha, and Francis move to Aldwinter, which enables Cora to become quite good friends with Will and his family. As Will and Cora strengthen their relationship everything else falls apart.

The Essex Serpent may be a slow-burning story, but you’ll be on the edge of your seat trying to figure out if there really is a monster terrorizing the small town.


As soon as I finished the book I wanted to go back and start it all over again. (In fact, I did go back and re-read the first 100 pages). This is a story in which you’ll see something new each time you read it. Sarah Perry developed authentic friendships that change with time and circumstance. I highly recommend you give this one a read – I have a funny feeling that it will be picked up and made into a movie. Such a great story about good vs evil, love, family, lust, loyalty, guilt, fear, and how time creates the ebb and flow changing everything in its wake.

Spring Reading #BookTag

I tag anyone who would like to completely this booktag! Be sure to link yours in the comments 🙂


1. What books are you most excited to read over the next few months?

The Only Child


I’m currently reading The Only Child by Andrew Pyper and loving it. The publisher kindly sent me an Advanced Reader Copy to review. Expected publication is May 23rd, 2017.

The #1 internationally bestselling author of The Demonologist radically reimagines the origins of gothic literature’s founding masterpieces—Frankenstein, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Dracula—in a contemporary novel driven by relentless suspense and surprising emotion. This is the story of a man who may be the world’s one real-life monster, and the only woman who has a chance of finding him.

Dragon Teeth


Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton was another e-book sent to me by the publisher for review. I’ll be reading this after The Only Child. Expected publication date is June 1st, 2017

The year is 1876. Warring Indian tribes still populate America’s western territories even as lawless gold-rush towns begin to mark the landscape. In much of the country it is still illegal to espouse evolution. Against this backdrop two monomaniacal paleontologists pillage the Wild West, hunting for dinosaur fossils, while surveilling, deceiving and sabotaging each other in a rivalry that will come to be known as the Bone Wars.

A Tapestry of Tears


After Dragon Teeth I’ll be reading A Tapestry of Tears by Gita V. Reddy.

Set in the early nineteenth century, A Tapestry of Tears is about female infanticide, and the unmaking of tradition. If a woman gives birth to a female child, she must feed her the noxious sap of the akk plant. That is the tradition, parampara. Veeranwali rebels, and fights to save her offspring.
The other stories span a spectrum of emotions and also bring to life the varied culture and social spectrum of India. Woven into this collection is the past and the present, despair and hope, and the triumph of the human spirit.


2. What book most makes you think of Spring, for whatever reason?

The Hobbit


Bilbo sets off on a great adventure in The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, going through incredible changes leading him to become an unlikely hero.








The Rosie Project.jpg



No idea why, but The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion reminds me of Spring.








3. The days are getting longer – what is the longest book you’ve read?

Lord of Chaos


Lord of Chaos (Book 6 of The Wheel of Time) written by Robert Jordan. 1011 pages









4. What books would you recommend to brighten someone’s day?



Moms Who Drink and Swear by Nicole Knepper is hilarious! Highly recommend this read 🙂





5. Spring brings new life in nature – think up a book that doesn’t exist but you wish it did. (eg by a favourite author, on a certain theme or issue etc)

Harry Potter The Prequel


J.K. Rowling did write an 800 word Harry Potter prequel, but I selfishly want more LOL A whole book, or shall I be so bold as to ask for a trilogy about Harry’s parents growing up as children attending Hogwarts, then becoming adults, leading up to the first Harry Potter book?





6. Spring is also a time of growth – how has your reading changed over the years?

As a young child and teen I basically only read fiction and school-required books. While attending University I read only fantasy and required reading for school. Now, in my mid-thirties, I read many different genres, and this past year has been my best reading year since I was thirteen years old.

7. We’re a couple of months into the new year – how’s your reading going?

Since January I have read 23 books, which is already more than the number of books I read ALL of last year. 🙂

8. Any plans you’re looking forward to over the next few months?

Well, now that I’ve been reading a lot more the past six months I’ve decided to get back to writing two stories that I’ve been working on for awhile. I’m hoping to finish them this year, and look into getting published.

My “To be read” list is getting completely out of hand. Once I finish all the books that I received to review, I will be reading all of the books on my bookshelf that haven’t been read yet, then tackling all the unread books on my KOBO before I delve into my TBR list. That’s the plan HAHA!


Tag questions:
1. What books are you most excited to read over the next few months?
2. What book most makes you think of Spring, for whatever reason?
3. The days are getting longer – what is the longest book you’ve read?
4. What books would you recommend to brighten someone’s day?
5. Spring brings new life in nature – think up a book that doesn’t exist but you wish it did. (eg by a favourite author, on a certain theme or issue etc)
6. Spring is also a time of growth – how has your reading changed over the years?
7. We’re a couple of months into the new year – how’s your reading going?
8. Any plans you’re looking forward to over the next few months?

Turning: a year in the water #bookreview #spoilerfree

Turning: a year in the water is a beautiful, extremely unique, autobiographical nature-memoir written by Jessica Lee. It will be released May 2nd, 2017.


The publisher kindly sent me a complementary digital proof copy for review.

“Through the heat of summer to the frozen depths of winter, Lee traces her journey swimming through 52 lakes in a single year, swimming through fear and heartbreak to find her place in the world.”

Jessica swims in 52 lakes throughout four season in Germany, we are given flash backs to her childhood living in Canada and Florida, brief time spent time in London before her divorce, and then to Berlin, Germany to work on her dissertation in environmental history. As she explains the physical changes of each lake through the seasons, she is undergoing her own emotional transformation, washing remnants of self-doubt, letting go of the feeling that you are not where you’re meant to be, and also learning to not fear being alone.

Reading this memoir brought me back to my own memories swimming in lakes while growing up in Labrador. She successfully expressed the strange, opposite emotions lakes impress upon us – intense beauty, stillness, quiet, but also scary unknowns lurking below while you stare hard into the dark depths.

I often find story without dialogue slightly cumbersome, however, Jessica deflty carves her way around the story, providing description of all sense for the lakes, trees, environment, food, and German people, completely making up for the lack of dialogue. We are also given some interesting tidbits of German history concerning the war, reunification, and even some German words.

The only thing I didn’t like was how abruptly it ended, not because of how the story ended, but because I wanted to keep reading 🙂 I could read her writing for hours and hours.

I recommend this book to those who like the outdoors, swimming, are interested in Germany, and to anyone who wants to push themselves to face their fears.

Jessica Lee is a badass winter swimmer, with a PhD in Environmental History.

Jessica Lee

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