Resonating – Leave Me by Gayle Forman

Leave Me

by Gayle Forman

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Published 2016

Genres: Fiction

 

“What is the matter with you?”

“What’s the matter? I’m here alone all day with my mother and the kids and I still feel like shit.” She paused, waiting for Jason to respond but he didn’t say anything. “You’re never here. I can’t tell if you’re trying to avoid home, or if you think that a week in the hospital, a week of recovery, was enough luxury for old Maribeth.”

“What are you talking about?”

“You promised me a bubble,” she said, her voice cracking.

“I’m trying, Maribeth. But keeping you in the bubble and keeping the house running and keeping on top of my job is no easy feat.”

“Welcome to every fucking day of my life.”

 

Maribeth is like so many other mums – forever chasing a never-ending to-do list, always putting everyone else first, and rarely feeling appreciated. No wonder she didn’t even notice that she was having a heart attack.

At home on leave from work and trying to recover, Maribeth is finding that even now, life must go on and there’s no rest to be found. Why does it seem that only mothers can never catch a break? Even after having a heart attack, her family can’t cut her some slack. What if she had died? How would they ever cope if she wasn’t around?

So, she decides to let them find out…..

 

Janelle says…

This is one of those books that makes you want to scream “YES! I KNOW!” and then berate your husband for not understanding. Poor Maribeth – I feel you, girl! Not that I’ve ever had a heart attack and had to rely on my family being able to fend for themselves and let me recuperate. BUT I have often wondered just how well, or not, they would do under those circumstances.

The tasty thing about this book is that you get to live out that evil little fantasy vicariously through Maribeth, as she takes the plunge on your behalf. And it is satisfying as all get out. Maribeth actually does just pack up and leave her family to their own devices, heading off to who-the-hell-cares to do god-knows-what, just as long as it doesn’t involve looking after other people for a change. Regardless of whether you’re a parent or not, haven’t we all just wanted to throw our hands up in the air at some point and say “I’M OUT!”

So off she goes, with no real plan and not knowing how long she’ll stay away. She has to find a place to rent, a new grocery store, new friends, a new cardio specialist to keep an eye on her…..and for a while, she doesn’t seem to think about her family all that much, only writing the occasional un-sent letter to her children. But of course, with each passing day Maribeth examines her relationships – past, present and future – her own worth, and her happiness. We see her coming to realise that, even though they can be a pain in the arse and unbelievably inconsiderate at times, her family gives her life meaning and satisfaction that she can’t get otherwise. Having had them, she can’t go back to NOT having them. Being a mother and wife are integral to who she is.

I loved this book, it resonated with me so much and even weeks on from finishing it, I’m still thinking about it and realising new ideas to ponder in it. It’s an easy read, and if you love books that examine families and relationships and identity, then you must put this on your list.

 

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

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Peculiarly Perfect – Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children Series by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children Series

by Ransom Riggs

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Published 2011-2015

Genres: Fiction/Fantasy/Young Adult

 A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.

A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

‘Peculiars – The hidden branch of any species, human or animal, that is blessed – and cursed – with supernatural traits. Respected in ancient times, feared and persecuted more recently, peculiars are outcasts who live in the shadows…’


Mel says…

It has been a long time, well since Harry Potter, that I have found a book series that captured my attention so quickly. Enter ‘Miss Peregrine’s’. I read the first book over 6 months ago, just before the birth of my first baby and I really enjoyed it, rating the first book 4 stars on Goodreads.

It was several months until I was able to get my hands on book two, Hollow City and I must admit, the plot just got better. The characters are so loveable and it is hard not to get attached to each and every one of the Peculiar Children as time goes on. The second book of the series picks up immediately where book one left off and it gets straight down to business. I loved the second book enough to give it a rare Five stars. It built perfectly on book one and just grew from strength to strength, with the introduction of further Peculiar’s and the great land that I now know as ‘Peculiardom’.

Sadly, all good things must come to an end and that is how I felt while reading ‘Library of Souls’. It is hard to complete a series that has such complexities as Miss Peregrine’s, with so many dimensions to characters and landscapes, but Riggs has done a perfect job in tying up loose ends. Although it took me a while to complete the third instalment, this was due to life and not a reflection on the story itself. Trust me, I was not impressed at being stalled from devouring this gem, at all!

Overall, the Miss Peregrine series is a must read for fans of YA and fantasy. I LOVED the concept of storytelling through the use of old photographs, which is not something I have yet come across, but found that as the series went on, fewer photographs were used to depict events and characters, but that isn’t to say that this was a bad thing.

Ransom Riggs has created a world full of peculairities (pun intended) and I for one am a HUGE fan. I look forward to seeing the movies however, I hope that they stay true to the books.

Overall SERIES rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

Bookfair book haul!

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My biggest bookfair haul yet!

Janelle says…

A couple of weeks ago was one of our most anticipated events of the year – the spring Lifeline bookfair (the other annual event we anticipate being the summer bookfair, of course). I took a leave day from work to go to the bookfair….using the excuse that I was taking the day off in lieu of my birthday which was 3 days earlier. But who am I kidding, I would have taken the day off regardless! Despite the fair being held in a smaller venue than usual this time, resulting in quite a squishy and uncomfortable experience, Mel and I (and baby Phoebe!) still had a ball as we always do. We were there for around 4 hours which is a bit of a record for us, and really made a morning of it, stopping for a coffee and a snack and a peruse of our books halfway through.

 In my years of attending the bookfair I have learned some valuable lessons-

  • the best time to go is always 9am on the first day – somehow, this is when the best books are up for grabs;
  • you mustn’t rely on a tote/grocery/shoulder bag to carry your books in, lest you be in pain. Rolling suitcases are the only way to go;
  • always carry water and a snack, just in case;
  • if you see a book that you’re not too sure about, just pick it up anyway. You can review your finds and cull them later if you must, but just go go go!

You see that picture up there? Probably one of my favourite pictures ever. And let’s face it, probably one of my best days ever! Anyway, the excitement still hasn’t worn off for me yet. I still have the massive book pile on the floor next to my bed (because I’ve run out of bookshelf space) which I look at every day, and it both makes me smile and makes me hyperventilate because WHEN AM I GOING TO FIND THE TIME TO READ THEM ALL?!

I went to the bookfair with no specific “list” in mind. I just know in my head what books are on my TBR, and my plan was – if you see them, grab them! So, what did I grab?

 

Books I don’t really know much about, but bought because I have heard either it or the author mentioned somewhere before, and/or because I liked the cover:

The World Without Us – Mireille Juchau

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: and other lessons from the crematory – Caitlin Doughty

The Bone Clocks – David Mitchell

After the Crash – Michel Bussi

The Paying Guests – Sarah Waters

Burial Rites – Hannah Kent

Clade – James Bradley

Swamplandia! – Karen Russell

The Hive – Gill Hornby

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August – Claire North

 

Books I bought by authors I haven’t read before, but because I’m jumping on the bandwagon:

The Passage – Justin Cronin

Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell

Carry On – Rainbow Rowell

Landline – Rainbow Rowell

 

Books I bought because I have the first books in the series and want to have a full set, even though I haven’t read those first books yet:

Home – Marilynne Robinson

Lila – Marilynne Robinson

A God in Ruins – Kate Atkinson

 

Books over which I audibly squealed when I found them, such was my delight:

The Natural Way of Things – Charlotte Wood

Girl Waits with Gun – Amy Stewart

Gold Fame Citrus – Claire Vaye Watkins

Oryx & Crake – Margaret Atwood

 

Books I found which weren’t previously on my TBR, but which spoke to me at the time:

A Journey to Peace through Yoga – Lynette Dickinson

Ice Cream & Sadness – Cyanide & Happiness Vol. 2

 

So this brought my total of books I own and haven’t read up to 135, noting that I have since read The Natural Way of Things. I don’t want to think about how many years it will take me to read the other 134….

 

Have you read any of the above books? If so, what did you think? Did you go to the Lifeline bookfair?

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Mini-reviews – what I’ve read in the past three months

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Janelle says…

I feel like I have been neglecting LBoB over the past few months. I think it’s been a combination of having had other activities I’ve needed to prioritise in my spare time, and feeling like my recent reads weren’t anything to write home (or to you!) about. I’ve actually been finding it difficult to concentrate in the act of reading, and I feel like I’ve become more impatient too – if not much is happening in a book and there are long stretches of seemingly useless banter, I get very cranky!

But I HAVE been reading, so I thought I would do a round-up of what I’ve read lately, or mini-reviews if you will. Here’s what I’ve read since my last individual book review back in July, and what I thought:

 

The Girl With All the Gifts – M.R. Carey (Fiction / Thriller)

5 stars

I just loved the premise of this book, and it didn’t disappoint. Something was happening every few pages in this book, all the while teasing you to choose sides and guess where it’s all leading, which inevitably is to a satisfying ending. Recommend.

 

City of Bones (Mortal Instruments #1) – Cassandra Clare (Fiction/Fantasy/YA)

4 stars

I had a craving for some fantasy YA, and found this on audiobook from my library. Even though it was a bit cliche in parts, I really enjoyed immersing myself in this world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders, enough to dip into the second book in the series a bit later….

 

The Midnight Zoo – Sonya Hartnett (Fiction/YA)

1 star

Another audiobook, this one was a very quick read and sounded quite sweet – two young brothers, stranded in a place annihilated by war, take refuge in a zoo where they discover a menagerie of talking animals. But no, it was just boring. I only bothered to finish it because I knew it was so short.

 

Uprooted – Naomi Novik (Fiction/Fantasy)

4 stars

On a fantasy roll! This one was on my wishlist for so long, and it just kept getting thrown in my face, in the end I had to just run to the library to get it. I actually would like to re-read this at some point, because I adored the mystical, slightly dark, super magical world that Novik has created (I believe this story is based on a traditional folk tale), but for some reason I really struggled to focus each time I picked it up. It may have been the weight of it (hardcover) combined with the small font. Would still recommend though.

 

City of Ashes (Mortal Instruments #2) – Cassandra Clare  (Fiction/Fantasy/YA)

2 stars

Back for more. I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the first in the series, there didn’t seem to be as much happening, and I just couldn’t be sympathetic to some of the teenager-problems going on. I’d still give this series one more crack though by moving on to #3, before I threw in the towel.

 

Bad Feminist – Roxane Gay (Non-fiction/Essays)

DNF

SO DISAPPOINTED. The essays in this book weren’t necessarily bad, in fact a couple of them were really entertaining (particularly the one about the intricacies of the professional poker world). But I went in to this expecting some strong statements about feminism in modern day culture, and most of the time I couldn’t see that represented in what I was reading. It felt more like a memoir to me, which is fine, just not what I signed on for.

 

Smoke – Dan Vyleta (Fiction/Fantasy)

1 star

All I knew about this one, is that it is set in a world where people’s bodies smoke if they are sinful or evil. That conjures up a lot of questions for me, so I just had to do it. But that general idea was as exciting as this book got. It got real confusing really fast, I had absolutely no idea what was going on or what the characters motives were, and even though I stuck it out to the end I still couldn’t really tell you what happened.

 

Shiver (Wolves of Mercy Falls #1) – Maggie Stiefvater (Fiction/Fantasy/YA)

DNF

I went into this hoping it wouldn’t be too Twilight-esque, and liking the idea of a girl having a human connection with a wild wolf. But about a third of the way through, I’d had enough of “the feelings” and how amazing they were. It was becoming clear that it was running too parallel to Twilight for my liking.

 

The Natural Way of Things – Charlotte Wood (Fiction/Literary)

2 stars

Oh, that cover. What could possibly go wrong? I nearly shrieked with joy when I saw this amongst the piles at the recent local bookfair. I dived into it straight away….and it was weird….and then it got weirder….and weirder and more confusing….and I was confused and a little disgusted too….and then it ended and I was more confused than ever. I know there are messages and ideas in here, but they were too abstract for my liking. There was no resolution at the end. I have questions. I need closure.

 

So, that’s what I’ve been up to for the past few months. There were a few good reads in there, but overall, it has been a disappointing reading time. I’m desperately hoping that I’ll pick some reads soon that really blow my mind!

Have you read any of the above books? Do you agree or disagree with my thoughts?

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