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The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Stephen Chbosky | 2013 | Fiction & Poetry
9
8.1 (98 Ratings)
Book Rating
An Impactive Read
In all honesty, I expected to dislike Perks. So, I confess to a little discomfiture at the realization that I don’t hate this book. I don’t even dislike it. I’ll push the boat right out and say, I was rather moved by this story.

Being Charlies' Dear Friend is what engrossed me the most. I didn't realize I was feeling like his "Dear Friend" until almost the end of the book. He makes you feel part of the story. He involves you, and this is to admire from the author. Not only is it engaging in that form, but it seems to offer a sense of connection, understanding, and honesty about things left unspoken, or whispered behind hands and closed doors.


This book speaks to the sense of alienation that many teens experience. As well as the questions of who they are and where they belong. Charlie has become a response to – and I mean no disrespect by this, as I was/am a voice in this – a collective, plaintive cry of “nobody understands me." He proves to be understanding and is what makes him likable as well as the read.


The book tackles some of the issues and content that may seem less groundbreaking now, as opposed to when it was first published. But, I think it’s fair to say that they still resonate with readers. Successfully captures the way these topics are internalized by the protagonist, and it’s evidently a voice that continues to engage and move its more recent audience. Basically, it’s not strictly the topics that appeal, so much as the manner in which they’re approached and discussed. That I did appreciate, and what ultimately caused me to like this book, was how accurately Charlie’s experiences with anxiety and depression were presented. Anxiety is an incredibly frightening and isolating condition, and I think this book communicates that very truthfully. The sensation of being a spectator of life, rather than a participant in it, is all too relevant and close-to-home for many who have experienced a mental illness in some form.


I found Chobsky’s characterization another of the highlights of this book. From Charlie himself as the narrator, through the supporting cast, I felt that I knew who these people were, that they were real. I am quietly appreciative of this book, and the powerful, unique experience of reading it.


As a tribute:

Dear Charlie,


I didn't expect to learn from you as much as I have. You showed me that no matter what happens, what we experience, we always have a right to feel the way we feel, just because. You showed me the purity of feelings, the beauty of thoughts, generosity of love, and warmth of friendship. You made me appreciate books and poetry more, and see the impact they have on people's lives. For that, you will always hold a special place in my heart.


-Gloria
  
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Hazel (1592 KP) rated Our Zoo in Books

May 28, 2017  
Our Zoo
Our Zoo
June Mottershead | 2014 | Biography
10
10.0 (2 Ratings)
Book Rating
BBC Drama
This eBook was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Many people in Britain may have recently watched the drama series Our Zoo on BBC1 about the Mottershead family who moved to Oakfield, Upton in 1930 with the aim of building a zoo without bars. Based on a true story the drama over exaggerated the difficulties the family faced in developing what became to be the famous Chester Zoo. Until 2010 when TV producer Adam Kemp approached her, June Mottershead had never thought about making her history available to the public. As the truth had to be bent slightly for the television production with the removal of certain characters and added romance, and, of course, the laws preventing chimpanzees from being filmed, June Mottershead has penned the true story, also called Our Zoo, which is just as fascinating as what was shown on screen.

June was only four when she moved to Upton with her parents, grandparents, and her fourteen-year-old sister Muriel as well as a selection of animals. The BBC1 drama only showed up until the point that her father, George, had finally been given permission to build his zoo despite the petition against it. In the book, however, this occurs within the first few chapters and then continues on until June’s marriage to her husband Fred Williams in 1949. In fact the time period of the narrative jumps around depending on the animals or events that June is describing.

A large chunk of the book is focused on the effect the Second World War had on the zoo. As can be expected the rationings of vital products took its toll on the animals’ diets and, although the zoo never took a direct hit, the Liverpool blitz caused havoc by destroying the glass tanks in the aquarium. On the other hand, the amount of animals rapidly grew, as it was not just humans that became refugees during the war.

It was a delight to read about June’s relationships with some of the animals, particularly Mary the chimpanzee who was also June’s best friend as a child and behaved in a humanlike manner. Alas, as well as the happy moments there were the inevitable upsetting accounts of the deaths some of the animals, either from old age, illness or accidents.

While Our Zoo cannot be described as a novel, it neither has the feel of an autobiography. The conversational tone of the writing made it a pleasure to read and easy to visualize (admittedly watching the televised version had already provided a certain image).

This easy to read book is a strong recommendation for those who enjoyed the BBC adaptation and wish to find out what happened next. It does not matter if you have not watched the drama, as it is overall a fascinating story to read.
  
All the Crooked Saints
All the Crooked Saints
Maggie Stiefvater | 2017 | Paranormal, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Young Adult (YA)
10
7.8 (12 Ratings)
Book Rating
Music (2 more)
Mental Illness
Family
Owls (0 more)
Saints Have Darkness, Too
Forget all you know about Stiefvater's previous books.

Okay, don't forget everything. Let me make it a bit clearer. Forget the characters you've known before. Forget the twists and turns, plots, and bits of information before. You'll need your mind clear to process All the Crooked Saints because a whole new world has been created in 1962 Colorado on a ranch in Bicho Raro where miracles take place, yet not the type of miracles you may have in mind.

The Sorias have a gift to perform these miracles on people who come, called pilgrims, where the darkness within a person becomes tangible. Some come believing once it is done then all is well. This is not the case. Drawing out the darkness is the first part. The second part is on the pilgrim to figure out on their own or darkness shall overcome the Soria who attempts to help. This is how it has always been. This is what the Sorias have been told. This is what the cousins, who the story is greatly based around, have been told. Yet is this the truth?

This is what the cousins (Beatriz and Joaquin) are trying to figure out when Daniel, the oldest of their trio, breaks the rule in aiding one of the pilgrims. They know neither can directly interfere. So Beatriz goes out on a limb using the radio system she has built for Joaquin to see if the broadcasting can help the others and let Daniel know he is not alone until they figure out how to change his fate. They've noticed the broadcast has done well for the other pilgrims, so why not their dear cousin, too? They have to figure it out before he dies out in the valley from the darkness, starvation, dehydration, or the elements.


However, there may be a slight problem with this plan. Well, two problems. One, Pete Wyatt arrived with a pilgrim to do odd jobs around the ranch to earn the box truck. The very box truck Beatriz fixed up and built the radio station in. As well as he is doing Pete may earn the truck before they can help Daniel. It's hard enough working under the time frame they have without the ticking time of Pete. Two, a Soria recognized Joaquin's voice. This means their secret is no longer a secret. This means they may not be able to help Daniel anyway.

They're pressed for time. Can Pete be talked to? Can Daniel, the saint, who should have known better, even be saved from his darkness? Or will the little bit of work be all in vain?


All this can be found out in the tale that will have you turning pages to find out if Daniel can be saved from his darkness, why he risked his life, and if the other pilgrims can be helped without bringing darkness to them all.
  
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Louise (64 KP) rated Relativity in Books

Jul 2, 2018  
Relativity
Relativity
Antonia Hayes | 2016 | Fiction & Poetry
6
6.0 (2 Ratings)
Book Rating
When I was asked to join the blog tour for Relativity I jumped at the chance. The blurb really intrigued me and also there is stunning praise on the front cover from three authors that I have read before: Graeme Simsion, S J Watson and Christos Tsiolkas. With such high praise from these authors I knew I had to read it.

Relativity follows Ethan Forsythe, twelve years old and a very clever young man who has a particular obsession with physics and astronomy. Ethan lives with his single mother Claire in Sydney, as he is getting older he is asking more and more questions about his fathers whereabouts which Claire is particularly hesitant about answering and very mysterious much to Ethans annoyance.

When Ethan gets taken ill, secrets start to unfold and the reasons for his current illness are revealed and how it's connected to his past and father.

I had never heard of Relativity until I was asked to do this Blog Tour, I like to go into books knowing as little as possible so I can form my own opinions and not waiting for twists and turns. Relativity took me by surprise,this is what you would classify as family drama/literary fiction and I devoured this book, needing to know what happened, why Ethan was ill? Why his father wasn't around?

I thought the writing style and prose of this book are beautifully written. I also liked the science parts even sometimes when I couldn't get my head around (I am not great at science). You don't have to be great at physics to follow this book but I think Antonia Hayes must have put a lot of research into the topics that were explored within.

The story is told from third person past tense narrative from the perspectives of Ethan, Claire and Mark. The characters are well-developed,complex and three dimensional. Ethan's character was written really well and believable for a twelve-year-old boy, he would say some profound things and had me laughing out loud.

    Mum,want to know something crazy? Statistically, the probability that I exist is basically zero. Did you know you were born with two million eggs?

I could really empathise with Claire, being a parent myself you will do anything to protect your child and what you feel is best for them. Her anxiety that she was experiencing was palpable, what with introducing Mark back into Ethan's life but there were points where I felt she made some bad decisions and should have discussed it more with Ethan.

I liked reading from Marks perspective, especially towards the end when you get more of a back story, though there is parts sprinkled throughout the book about their relationship and extended family.

Relativity is beautiful, realistic and a well researched novel and definitely recommend picking it up. This is a great debut novel and I am excited to see what Hayes does next.
  
Providence: A Novel
Providence: A Novel
Caroline Kepnes | 2018 | Fiction & Poetry, Science Fiction/Fantasy
9
8.7 (3 Ratings)
Book Rating
Brilliant!
Thank you to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster for allowing me to read an advance copy of "Providence"in exchange for an honest review ❤️??
Let me start off by saying that I was a bit of a "Nervous Nellie" going into this book because "You" by Caroline Kepnes makes my top ten favorite books of all times, and is by far my favorite thriller to date. I am always looking for a thriller novel to compare and while some have come dangerously close, no cigar.
Having said that...I have seen many mixed reviews regarding the topic of this book versus Kepnes's other novels. The subject varies drastically from her other fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat, pulse pounding reads! This is a book about so many things, including : love, turning a curse from something bad into good, how fate intervenes no matter what we would choose for ourselves, and how all of our lives can change in a split second.
When beginning this book I immediately started thinking ----this is definitely NOT the type of book I would ever pick up--I typically do not enjoy any type of science fiction and all things having to do with superpowers just are NOT my thing! I like villains like Harley Quinn and Joker. But...because it was written by one of my favorite authors ---I stuck around and I'm so happy that I did!
I flew through this book! The entire time I found myself rooting for this stolen boy, this monster, the underdog! I have taken away So many quotes ( you can find a few on my goodreads page) such as ..." Being alive is nothing without being able to live." My Dad faces this every single time he heads to the hospital to get his weekly chemo treatment. I can sympathize with Eggs and his illness and Lo reminding to eat, to check this, check that--- I can also see how a relationship based solely on messaging can supersede any other form of love if it's the right person.


Highly highly recommend this book, I don't want to spoil too much-- thank you for opening up my eyes to another genre. It's action meets romance meets science fiction meets superhuman?

To Caroline Kepnes: thank you for calling those delectable things you put on ice cream jimmies and NOT sprinkles, thank you for opening my eyes to the world of H.P. Lovecraft, for using my favorite quote ever by E.E. Cummings in this novel & and for leaving me with an undeniable urge to hit the store for strawberries, fluff, and a cookie scented candle.

Kepnes has a way of reaching out to you as if you are her only reader no matter what the topic may be--- please give this book a shot, she has proved she isn't a one hit wonder and can write about anything she puts her mind to!

I am Providence.
  
IT
In the Midst of Life
Jennifer Worth | 2017 | Biography
7
6.5 (2 Ratings)
Book Rating
When I picked up this book to read, it was because I wanted something far removed from what I would normally turn to. Usually I'm very much a 'chick-lit' reader. But I've been finding these magazine/tabloid style novels all follow the same formula and are so predictable. Time for something new.

I hadn't previously heard of Jennifer Worth but was aware of Call the Midwife, although I hadn't read it or seen the series.
These memoirs show what a full and rewarding life Jennifer has lived. A simple and loving life, but she made quite an impact. The way Jennifer can recall so many interesting characters, people and tales from over the years during her nursing career just goes to show how much she cared. Plus the fact that she obviously inspired her nieces to follow her footsteps in the career path.

She talks about her experiences with life and death and how procedures, and perhaps opinions, have changed in her lifetime.
It often gave a very detail and graphic insight to health problems and what occurs in the lead up to end of life as we know it. I have had health issues myself, so to me this didn't come across as too out of the ordinary or gruesome but I can understand that it might be quite horrific to others.

In reading this book I feel more of a sense of calm of what I will one day face. We all will die. This is a fact. Whether it comes about from some unfortunate accident or illness or simply 'growing old' we will all one day breathe our last breath.
It gives new incentive to make the most of life and those we share it with.
I had always seen death as something terrifying. I felt that dying was a personal event and that the individual should be allowed privacy. I felt this gave the most dignity. But I now believe I was wrong. You repeatedly hear how having a loved one there can bring on a sense of calm and peace. It is a very spiritual, and almost intimate time, that helps both the one who is passing and the people left behind.

I would recommend this book to everyone who works in the medical field. I have seen time and time again the heartless doctors Jennifer talks about but the caring nurses and assistants who brighten your day.
I would recommend this book to anyone who has had medical issues. It gives a sense of calm about death when you know your life expectancy isn't quite as long as you had hoped.
I would recommend this book to those with depression or suicidal feelings. I have been suffering myself for the past year but reading this helped me see that others are suffering more than myself.
I would recommend this book to anyone who has a heart and soul. It is a very touching read.
  
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Hazel (1592 KP) rated Our Zoo in Books

Dec 7, 2018  
Our Zoo
Our Zoo
June Mottershead | 2014 | Biography
10
10.0 (2 Ratings)
Book Rating
<i>This eBook was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review</i>

Many people in Britain may have recently watched the drama series <i>Our Zoo</i> on BBC1 about the Mottershead family who moved to Oakfield, Upton in 1930 with the aim of building a zoo without bars. Based on a true story the drama over exaggerated the difficulties the family faced in developing what became to be the famous Chester Zoo. Until 2010 when TV producer Adam Kemp approached her, June Mottershead had never thought about making her history available to the public. As the truth had to be bent slightly for the television production with the removal of certain characters and added romance, and, of course, the laws preventing chimpanzees from being filmed, June Mottershead has penned the true story, also called <i>Our Zoo</i>, which is just as fascinating as what was shown on screen.

June was only four when she moved to Upton with her parents, grandparents, and her fourteen-year-old sister Muriel as well as a selection of animals. The BBC1 drama only showed up until the point that her father, George, had finally been given permission to build his zoo despite the petition against it. In the book, however, this occurs within the first few chapters and then continues on until June’s marriage to her husband Fred Williams in 1949. In fact the time period of the narrative jumps around depending on the animals or events that June is describing.

A large chunk of the book is focused on the effect the Second World War had on the zoo. As can be expected the rationings of vital products took its toll on the animals’ diets and, although the zoo never took a direct hit, the Liverpool blitz caused havoc by destroying the glass tanks in the aquarium. On the other hand, the amount of animals rapidly grew, as it was not just humans that became refugees during the war.

It was a delight to read about June’s relationships with some of the animals, particularly Mary the chimpanzee who was also June’s best friend as a child and behaved in a humanlike manner. Alas, as well as the happy moments there were the inevitable upsetting accounts of the deaths some of the animals, either from old age, illness or accidents.

While <i>Our Zoo</i> cannot be described as a novel, it neither has the feel of an autobiography. The conversational tone of the writing made it a pleasure to read and easy to visualize (admittedly watching the televised version had already provided a certain image).

This easy to read book is a strong recommendation for those who enjoyed the BBC adaptation and wish to find out what happened next. It does not matter if you have not watched the drama, as it is overall a fascinating story to read.
  
The Lies We Told
The Lies We Told
Camilla Way | 2018 | Crime, Mystery, Thriller
10
8.8 (5 Ratings)
Book Rating
Fantastic Plot Twists (1 more)
Interesting Characters
Plot Twists Abound!
I believe I first heard about The Lies We Told by Camilla Way on Goodreads. When I read the book synopsis, I knew it was a book I had to read. I'm so glad I did because I loved this book.

The pacing in The Lies We Told was brilliant. It is such a fast paced psychological suspense novel! I found myself having a hard time putting this book down. Never once did it slow down to the point of being boring, and it never went too too quickly where I had no clue what was going on.

I really did enjoy the plot and the world building. For the most part, The Lies We Told is written fabulously. The plot is interesting., and I loved how it changed from us reading about Clara to hearing from Beth's point of view throughout the story. Clara's boyfriend Luke goes missing. She knows he had a stalker, but he never took it seriously. Clara becomes even more worried when she finds some worrying emails sent to Luke. As she starts to learn more and more about Luke's past, she puts herself in danger, and she's worried that Luke may be in even more danger. There were so many plot twists and turns in The Lies We Told. I loved it! This book had me guessing, and I was never right! There's even a plot twist towards the very end. All but one of my questions were answered. I won't go too much into it because it would spoil almost all of the book, but I will just say that I was left wondering why the police didn't do one thing once the truth had been revealed. I would have thought it would have been protocol if someone suggests it. Sorry for leaving you hanging, but I can't go into much detail.

The characters in The Lies We Told were so well written and fleshed out. I could relate to Clara a lot. I loved how far she was willing to go to find out about Luke. Hannah was another great character to read about. I found her to be the most interesting character of the story if I'm honest. I also enjoyed reading about Mac. He seemed like a great friend. Luke's parents also seemed very sweet, and I would sympathize with Beth when she would talk about Hannah. However, keep in mind that with this book, some of the characters aren't who and what they seem which was great!

Trigger warnings for The Lies We Told include profanity, cheating, blackmail, lying, kidnapping, mentions of sex, alcohol and some drug use, mental illness, death, murder, and violence.

Overall, The Lies We Told is such a brilliant book. It's got a fascinating plot, very interesting characters, and fantastic plot twists that will leave you scratching your head! I would definitely recommend The Lies We Told by Camilla Way to everyone aged 17+. I really enjoyed it.
  
3 Days To Kill (2014)
3 Days To Kill (2014)
2014 | Mystery
7
5.8 (5 Ratings)
Movie Rating
Ethan, (Kevin Costner) is a man with some serious issues but oddly enough, his life as a spy and heavy hitter is not one of them. Ethan has a reputation for getting the job done and he is brutally efficient in his craft.

When a mission to stop a government purchasing a Dirty Bomb from a mysterious figure known as “The Wolf” goes awry, Ethan finds his life turned upside down when he learns he is on borrowed time due to a previously undiagnosed illness.

Ethan returns to Paris in an attempt to reconnect with his daughter, Zoe (Haillee Steinfeld), and her mother, Ethan comes home to learn that a group of squatters have taken up residence in his apartment, and under French law, nothing can be done to remove them until the spring arrives.

Since Ethan has been gone for five years, his family is less than thrilled to see him as it has been easier to live their lives without him. Undaunted, Ethan continues to try to make up for lost time.
Complications arise when a top level agent named Vivi (Amber Heard), arrives in Paris and attempts to recruit Ethan to identify and eliminate The Wolf when it is learned that there is a window to remove him over the next 72 hours.
Wanting no part of his past life, Ethan is dragged back into the fold by the offer of cash for his daughter and an experimental drug that will extend his life.

Ethan now must walk a deadly path between dangerous people, his former employers, and the largest danger of all, his teenage daughter and her mother.

Based on a story by Luc Besson who also had a hand in writing the script, “3 Days to Kill” is a fresh and fun film despite its flaws. Director Mc G does a good job of keeping the emphasis on Ethan and his family as that is the core of the story. There is action aplenty and some of it does play out in typical Hollywood fashion, but there is a charm to the story that one does normally associate with this type of film.

Costner does a good job of playing Ethan as a world weary man who is simply trying to do the right thing with what time he has left. Scenes where he has to deviate from his deadly profession to deal with teen trauma and domestic issues are funny as they come across as very natural. Ethan is so frustrated by the duality of his life; he even seeks parenting advice from suspects he is interrogating.

While parts of the film may drag out and some of the plot points stretch credibility, the winning cast makes the film worth seeing and I for one was pleasantly surprised by the film as you may be if you are willing to look past some of the flaws.

http://sknr.net/2014/02/20/3-days-to-kill/