Book Review

Book Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Book Review (4)

Madeline has a rare disease. She is allergic to the world. One step outside, one germ that creeps in, could lead to her death. All her life she has lived inside her house, in the bubble of safety that her mother provides for her. She receives online tuition and has 1:1 medical care from her nurse. Madeline has spent her time dreaming about what the outside world is like, having never experienced true friendship, love, or any traditional coming-of-age experiences. Her only friend is her mom.

Her world starts to become claustraphobic when Olly moves in to the house across the road. He is the definition of dreamy and mysterious. Olly and Madeline strike up a friendship, miming to each other from their windows, and eventually use IM to get to know each other a little better. What Madeline finds is that Olly makes her feel like there is so much more to life than staying safe. His quirky, flippant attitude rubs off on her and she is drawn to him in ways that she has never experienced before. What will Madeline do to prevent the ‘what-ifs’? Will she play it safe, or will she risk it all for the sake of living life to the full?

If I’m totally honest, I was disappointed with this book. I first came across this book in a newsletter from Oprah’s Book Club and took a screen shot of it so that when I went looking for a new book I’d keep my eye out for it. I mean, if Oprah recommends it it has to be good, right?

It was a very easy read, and it was pleasant, but I felt that it was far too obvious. I felt that I knew very early on what the outcome of the book would be and I was right. It may have just been far too light for my liking, but as Young Adult books go I wasn’t too impressed. It is due to be released as a movie this summer and even though the book didn’t do much for me, I can see why it would have cinematic appeal.

The book does have the underlying message of ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’ but it felt like a bit of a cop out. I felt that the story had a lot of potential and the way that it ended – as initially predicted within the first few pages – was extremely disappointing. I don’t think that this is a book I would recommend. It felt as though the narrative took the easy road. And, if I’m completely honest, I’m hoping that the filmmakers take artistic liberty to change the ending to make it a much more compelling and believable story. I feel like that is harsh criticism, but unfortunately I cannot help but feel disappointed in it.

Image result for 2.5 stars out of 5
2.5 stars

Book Review

Book Review: The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

Book Review (3)

Riley McPherson is a 26 year old woman who has lived her life under the shadow of her sister’s suicide. Riley, who was only two when her sister died, cannot remember her fully and when she is given charge of clearing out her father’s house after his death, she finds a box of newspaper articles that show her a completely different side to Lisa.  Riley starts to uncover a family secret that shatters her life to pieces and leaves her wondering if she even knows who she is. Who was Lisa McPherson; was she really dead; and who could Riley really trust anymore?

This was my first time reading a Diane Chamberlain novel and I didn’t know what to expect. I was a bit sceptical at first because I have this thing about authors who write lots of books; I automatically assume that they’re not going to be great books (an awful assumption of me, I know!) However, I was proved wrong. Yes, parts of the book were very predictable, and I did at times feel as though it was all a bit too ‘obvious’, but I really enjoyed the journey that this book took me on. I honestly believed that I had the whole thing sussed after the first two chapters. I thought I knew who the enemies were, who Riley needed to put her trust in, and what had really happened to Lisa.

However, at 1am this morning I found out that a lot of what I had hypothesized was false! Even though I do consider this book to be an ‘easy read’ I really enjoyed it. The characters felt real to me and I even got goosebumps on a few occasions! I did not see the plot twist coming at all – something that I’m usually quite good at foretelling – so that was something that really impressed me! I found it impossible to not care about Riley and her family, and I felt compelled to pick up the book and find out what was going to unfold next.

The book made me consider the concept of family and what we will do for one another. It made me think about how much I love my family and consider just how far I would go for them. Overall I found this book to be a very enjoyable read and am very grateful for the recommendation!

1-star1-star1-star1-star
4/5 stars!

Have you read many of Diane Chamberlain’s novels? If so, what one do you recommend I read next? I’d love to get some advice!

Cx

 

Book Review

Book Review: Perfect by Cecelia Ahern

Book Review (2)

Perfect is the second and final installment of Cecelia Ahern’s Young Adult series. And, before I even begin the review I need to say that when the book came to an end I was a little shocked; these books didn’t follow the usual trend of being a trilogy! I had read the book so quickly that when I got to the end I felt a little cheated because there wouldn’t be another sequel but, what to do! My personal longing for another book just goes to show how well they were written!

Lets get back to business!

Perfect follows Celestine North on the next part of her adventure. Having been branded Flawed by Judge Crevan, and being declared the most dangerous threat to society, Celestine is on the run. The book begins with Celestine in hiding on her grandfather’s farm, never knowing who to trust, never knowing when it will all stop. While Judge Crevan, father to her ex-boyfriend Art, appears to have the upper hand, Celestine has one little secret that can destroy him, his power, and the Guild forever.

The book follows Celestine as she uncovers who she can and cannot trust. We meet some wonderful new characters and get an even greater taste of the dystopian world in which they live. Will Celestine share her secret and be the cause of a revolution, or will she hold her cards close to her chest and stay hidden in fear?

Flawed and Perfect have taught me many little things. It has made me become very aware of the power that the government can hold and how they can often abuse this power. I have seen the value and strength of family and friendship and it has made me consider who would stick around in my life if shit hit the fan!

Overall this was a really gripping read, I couldn’t put it down. I would have loved to have had another book or two in the series – so Cecelia if you’re reading, please continue with it!!!

deeec-4-52bstars
4.5/5 for this book. Losing 1/2 a star because I feel like the story could progress further!

Have you read Flawed? Are you planning on reading Perfect? Let me know in the comments below!

Much love,

Cx

Book Review

Book Review: Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

SODA

World War Two. We all know about it. We can all retell the general happenings that took place. “Who was at fault” I’d ask you;  “The Germans“, you’d reply. And yes you would be right, but what Tatiana De Rosnay has depicted in this harrowing but wonderful book is that the German’s are not the only people at fault.

Sarah’s Key is set in France and tells the truth about what happened in France in during the Vel’ d’Hiv roundup. The narrative follows two main characters Sarah Starzynski, a young Jewish girl living in Paris with her parents and younger brother at the time of the roundup; and Julia Jarmond an American journalist living in Paris in the modern day who is asked to write a piece about the roundup on it’s 50th anniversary.

This story broke my heart. Sure, I’ve read The Diary of Anne Frank and have a particular fondness for books, movies, and TV shows that can depict the horrors of the war in an effective and appropriate fashion, but this book really tore me apart.

Sarah is in her apartment one night when the French Police arrive. She has heard her parents mumbling lately about something and she knows it’s not good. She hides her brother away, promising she will return for him when the police leave, but then she gets arrested along with her mother and father and taken to the Velodrome d’Hiver, a stadium which had been used for bicycle racing. She is held captive there with 7,000 other Jewish men, women, and children; the majority of whom, if they survived long enough, ended up in Auswitz. The story follows Sarah’s determination to get back to find her brother during this terrifying time.

Julia Jarmond researches the Vel’ d’Hiv and is horrified to learn of the involvement of the French Police. This is something nobody seems to know about. She discovers a personal connection to Sarah Starzynski and cannot rest until she uncovers all she can about this young girl and the horrors she encountered.

This book was amazing. Honestly, I couldn’t help but become emotionally involved. It made me think of the children I know and love and how terrified they would be if they were ever treated in such an inhumane manner. Even though the events of World War Two are not yet 100 years old, they are almost forgotten. We think of the war and yes we recognise the fact that there was death, destruction, needless and heartless mass murder; but do we ever stop to think about these people as people… not just statistics. Yes the Jews were killed… but do you look into the eyes of your son or daughter and wonder how many children their age were rounded up and killed off? I bet you don’t. It’s easier not to. It’s too easy to acknowledge the War for the horror it was and move on. There were so many innocent lives taken. And for what? It was needless, it was disgusting.

Even though the story follows two main characters, it made me sit back and think about the thousands of individuals who were treated like this. How many thousands of stories have been left untold? How many people were involved in these events; who notified the police of where the Jewish people lived; who turned a blind eye; who were responsible for arresting these poor innocent people…? Our world was changed utterly by these events. How could the involvement of the French Police be so easily swept under the carpet? I have so many questions but there will never be enough answers.

If you have any interest in human rights, or in World War Two then this is a book for you. The book looks at how easily society can turn its head and look away. It has taught me how important it is to stand up for others, and to not be led like a sheep. We have a duty to remember all those who were ruthlessly murdered in the events of World War Two. A fantastic and haunting read. I believe that this is a book that all teenagers should be required to read in order to teach them the importance of compassion, bravery, and equality. We live in a world that can be so full of hate, discrimination, and suffering. A book like this has the power to show people how far things can go if left undisturbed. We are a community of people and we owe it to one another to learn from past mistakes to try to create a more promising future for those here now, and those yet to come.

I feel that the only fault with the book lay in how quickly it ended. I felt that I needed to get closure around the two people at the end of the book. (I don’t want to say too much here because I don’t want to give anything away!) It was a story that I felt was brave, and honest, but I would like to know how things ended for Julia.

deeec-4-52bstars

Do you have a penchant for the stories of the War or do you feel that this is a book you would now like to read? Let me know in the comments below!

Cx

Book Review

Book Review: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Book Reviewbusybookwormworld.wordpress.com

I started reading this book ages ago and it killed me to have to put it on hold! However, this weekend I got tonnes of uninterrupted reading time and got to finish the whole thing! And, what’s even better is that I absolutely loved it!

Small Little Things, like other books of Picoult’s, follows a number of characters throughout the book. In this novel, we meet Ruth, an African-American Labor and Delivery Nurse; Kennedy, a Defense Attorney; Turk, a White Supremacist, and Brittany, Turk’s wife. These are the central characters that accompany us on our journey of examining racial prejudice that is present in today’s society.

Brittany and Turk arrive in the hospital to deliver their baby and welcome a beautiful baby boy into the world; Davis. However, when Ruth starts her shift and arrives to check on Davis and Brittany, Turk asks to see her supervisor and Ruth is then banned from providing medical attention to the baby. What should Ruth do when she notices that Davis is becoming unresponsive? Does she help the child, or does she follow orders and refrain from engaging in medical care?

Small Great Things cleverly explores the reality of racism in the modern world.

Picoult’s book arrives very aptly as the Black Lives Matter movement is at the forefront of society. It made me step back and question my racial prejudices and try to comprehend what innate beliefs I may have. While I do not consider myself to hold any racial bias whatsoever, Picoult very cleverly shows us that it is not always that simple. Do White people actively try to treat Black people as equal? If so, perhaps instead of trying not to see skin colour, skin colour is all we see. Picoult argues the case of equity versus equality and allows us to view the world from different perspectives; each as unique as the last.

Jodi Picoult held my attention throughout the book. Even when I had not been able to read the book in a long time, I yearned to go back to it. I couldn’t wait until the day when I got my hands on the book again and could accompany Ruth on her journey.

This is definitely a book I would recommend because it has affected me greatly in my day to day life. I now notice little things about people’s behaviours and it makes me wonder how far we have actually come in terms of equality for all. As the blurb on the book states: it is about opening your eyes.

Quite simply this book is a must read!

Image result for 4.5 stars

 

Book Review

Review: A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

book-review-1

If I’m completely honest with you all, I had no idea what kind of book to expect with this one! I didn’t read the blurb on the back, and I honestly thought I’d be reading about a dog and the amazing adventures he had with one family from start to finish.

That was not the case.

A Dog’s Purpose is a book that follows one dog throughout a few lives, where Bailey searches to understand why it is that he keeps getting reborn, and what his purpose is in life. While that may seem very philosophical, and it is, it is also so endearing and intimately beautiful. The author explores the many different experiences that dogs can be subjected to, spanning across a range of settings and emotions, both good and not so good. I felt as though I was being shown the world in an entirely different perspective.

Bailey’s journeys made me look at my dog in a very different way. I genuinely feel like I understand him more and can empathise with what his life must be like. I feel like I understand why he behaves in certain ways; why he might pee all the time when we go for walks, why he wants to be by my side 24/7, why he dislikes certain smells so much etc. This bit might seem a tad mad but I honestly feel like it has changed my relationship with him too!

de13d361-8500-44ad-a891-ed39730097e6

Reading A Dog’s Purpose was an absolute roller coaster of emotions! I sat in a coffee shop and tried with all my might not to cry my eyes out as I read certain parts. There were times when I felt extremely angry, guilty, and happy. It made me want to find my pooch and have a million cuddles, particularly as he’s a bit old now!

If you’re a dog lover then this book is most definitely for you! I can’t say much more without giving things away but it’s definitely something you should pick up and dive into!

Image result for 4 and a half stars

I would give this book 4 and a half stars! A very enjoyable book, fantastically insightful, but just not long enough for me!!

Cx

Book Review

Review: The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

book-review

Last week I finished reading The Miracle Morning and set about to write a review on it. However, I stopped in my tracks and decided to hold off, simply because this is a book all about implementing practical elements into your day to day life in order to change your life. I decided to put the book to the test and complete a week’s worth of Miracle Morning (MM) practice and then report back. From my experience, something can seem great in theory and not work at all when it comes to getting it up and running, so I felt compelled to write an honest, realistic review based on my personal experience!

8c94f560-2902-4f15-85c9-e0761ba0558b

When I was reading The Miracle Morning, (TMM) everything made sense to me! To cut it short, Hal writes about getting up early in the morning and taking some time for yourself to set yourself up for the day. His theory is that “when you change the way you wake up in the morning, you change your entire life.” I inhaled this book! My work life is a huge stressor to me and because of the stress that I have been encountering at work, my physical and emotional health has been declining. I have often sat down, both alone and with friends, and posed the question “is there more to life than this?”

This book told me that I would be able to do the following things:
“Lower [my] stress… quickly overcome any challenge, adversity or limiting beliefs… improve [my] overall health…increase [my] productivity…more gratitude…less worry..”

Who could possibly say no to this?! Not me anyway! Last Sunday I set about getting up earlier than usual and practicing the SAVERS (Six practices)
S- Silence
A – Affirmations
V – Visualisation
E – Exercise
R – Reading
S – Scribing

It seems like a lot to do. And I know that, to some people, what you’re meant to do can feel fake and a bit ridiculous.

But! (yes, a but so huge it needs to be in bold, underlined, and counts as its own sentence!) After completing one week of MM practice, I feel absolutely amazing.

Let me backtrack a little and set the scene for you.

I am a teacher who is working with students with special needs (although, personally, I prefer the term additional needs but that’s neither here nor there). I work in a post-primary school. The week just gone was one of the last weeks of term. For most teachers this is a time where they get to wind down. However, when you’re working with students with Autism Spectrum Disorder, mid-term breaks mean too much free time, which causes immense stress and anxiety, which usually becomes extremely overwhelming, and they can’t always cope with this, and that then results in a meltdown, and I have to try to help as best I can. My week was full of these meltdowns and trying to calm my students and get them to self-regulate and feel good again.

On top of this, I was moving out of my apartment and back to my parent’s house. Never a fun concept, let alone practical event. Boxing things up from a nice big double room and trying top squeeze all of my things back into a tiny little box room was not fun!

And finally, the cherry on the cake is that my boyfriend works away at sea for a few months at a time, and this past week was the last week I would get to spend any with him for four months. That is just an indescribable amount of stress and worry and general upset right there!

Queue my first ever week of TMM!

I set my alarm for 5.45 and got up each morning and did my SAVERS. Every morning without fail. Even one morning after I had cried myself to sleep over Himself leaving, and also another morning after getting less than 5 hours sleep. I set my alarm and got up each day, ready to put the theory into practice and see how I got on.

sunrise-edit

Waking up and getting to see the sunrise is truly an amazing feeling!

Reflecting on the past 8 days of practicing TMM, I feel like it is all about taking time for myself, before I ever have to interact with anyone or anything, and setting my mood and intentions for the day. It allows me to be calm, motivated, happy and relaxed, all before I ever even have to think about the chaos of work and my day to day life. It is pure and utter me-time. TMM is meant to take an hour but some days I spend longer at everything because I enjoy it all so much! There really is nothing nicer than spending time on something you enjoy, and that also has a huge ripple effect on the rest of your day. This past week I have been so much calmer than I usually am able to be, and I’ve been far more productive than I’ve been all year. I’ve tackled problems in new and innovative ways and I’ve been able to leave work at work. If this doesn’t scream success for me then I honestly don’t know what it does!

I have felt so aware, so mindful, and so on top of things this week. Getting up early can be a huge struggle but, one hour of TMM practice in the morning is a very powerful thing.

By simply changing your approach to waking up in the morning, you will literally change everything – Hal Elrod, The Miracle Morning

For those of you who are sitting there thinking that this will never work for you, I urge you to buy this book and give it a try. I have noticed such a huge difference in my mood, in my productivity, and in my life in general. I’ve recommended this book to anyone and everyone who will listen to me and I feel really passionate about it! My best friend (and I hope you don’t mind me writing about you in this bit) was having a really really crappy time. She sat across from me last Sunday and cried. She had no idea how to get herself out of the rut she felt she was in. I had just done my very first MM practice and told her all about it. I even drove her into the city to get it from the only bookshop I had found that stocks it. She read it that evening and did her very first MM practice the next morning and, when we met up last night, she felt truly transformed. We both feel that life seems to be so much more manageable now. Nothing about our circumstances have changed. The only thing that has changed is that we are proactively getting up each day and setting the tone for the day ahead. I honestly don’t know if I can ever go back to not doing this!

This book has changed my experience of life. That sentence may seem drastic but you will only ever understand where I’m coming from if you go out, buy the book, and give it a go for yourself. I can promise you that your experience of life will change too, and all for the better!

img_0683
Another 5 star rating for me. Absolutely inspirational!

Do you practice The Miracle Morning? If so, how do you find it? If you don’t, do you think that it is something you would consider trying out after reading my review? I’d love to hear anything you have to say in the comments below!

With love,

Cx