Inspiring – Wildflower by Drew Barrymore

Wildflower

by Drew Barrymore

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Published 2015

Genres: Non-fiction/Memoir

Out there in the world of chaos
All the concrete and fumes
People with determination behind the wheel
The soles of their feet wiser
Some faces with souls of routine
Others with high hope of their destination
Among all the human and industrial invention
My eyes find a tiny wildflower
With pretty yellow petals
And a brown button nose
Reminding me that there is beauty everywhere
A compass of nature
A second of stillness in my mind
As my heart races to the rhythms
Of it swaying in the wind
You are that Flower,
Reminding me of what is real

 

 

Mel says…

Before reading this book, I already admired and loved Drew for her movies. So when I saw she had released a collection of life stories, I was excited to learn more about her and her private life.

I should also note that at the start of the year, I set myself the simple New Year’s resolution of learning to appreciate and enjoy the smaller things in life. From the sound of rain, to the smell of freshly cut grass and the first moments I get to spend with my newborn daughter. This book spoke to me, through all of this wisdom.

Wildflower is written in a way that is typical of Drew’s character; free flowing. Each short story is about a different part of her life journey and that is exactly how I felt whilst reading this book, like I was on a journey. She is inspiring and truthful in all that she writes.

There is no dive into her dark childhood, like most would expect from a celebrity biography, nor is there any “dishing of the dirt” on other celebrities, so if you are looking for a juicy gossip read, this is not the book for you! Instead, this book is a journey through many of Drew’s life epiphany’s. From her young childhood years, through the teens and right up to her 40th birthday, she discusses her emancipation that forced her to grow up and fast, acting, charity work and her most important role, motherhood.

Once I closed this book, I couldn’t wait to go out and buy my own copy. I feel inspired to be creative, loving and appreciative of all the small things I have been gifted throughout my life. She has spoken to me on so many levels and I encourage all women to give this a read!

I thought I couldn’t love Drew Barrymore anymore than I already did, but I was wrong!

 

Rating:

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

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Mysterious – Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children

by Ransom Riggs

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Published 2011

Genres: Fiction / Young Adult

 

“There’s no time,” he whispered. Then he raised his head off the ground, trembling with the effort, and breathed into my ear: “Find the bird. In the loop. On the other side of the old man’s grave. September third, 1940.” I nodded, but he could see that I didn’t understand. With his last bit of strength, he added, “Emerson – the letter. Tell them what happened, Yakob.”
With that he sank back, spent and fading. I told him I loved him. And then he seemed to disappear into himself, his gaze drifting past me to the sky, bristling with no stars.

A mysterious island.
An abandoned orphanage.
A strange collection of very peculiar photographs.

Mel says…

Right from the start, I was drawn into the world of Miss Peregrine. I had only heard little snippets of feedback about this book and it was all mysterious, which intrigued me even more.

The protagonist, Jacob, is enthralled in his Grandfather’s strange behaviour and stories about a world he knows nothing about. After a family tragedy, Jacob begins to question what his Grandfather’s life was really about and decides to make a trip back to where it all began. As answers unfold, I found the pages were turning more quickly, as I was becoming more and more excited to know where this story would lead.

The photographs throughout the book add an extra air of mystery and add some reality to the stories of individual characters in the book. This is something we rarely see in fiction, but I would love to see more of as it worked so well to add that little extra oomph to the story. If you decide to read Miss Peregrine’s, please ensure you read the book and don’t go for the audio version, which I almost made the mistake of doing. The photographs are worth your reading time alone!

This is the first book of the series and I can safely say I will be continuing the series to see where it leads. I was also excited to find out that Tim Burton is bringing this book to life in a movie, due to come out late 2016, so if you are wanting to read this book, do so before the movie is released! It is worth the hype!

Rating:

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

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Controversial – Troublemaker by Leah Remini

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology

by Leah Remini

Published 2015

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Genres: Non-Fiction / Memoir

“It is to the Church of Scientology that I say this: I wrote this book because I feel an urgency and responsibility to reveal the injustices and hypocrisy that were perpetrated against those who left and spoke out before me. Those who again and again have been harassed and bullied into silence. This book is also a personal act of defiance – against intolerance, which I have witnessed, lived with, and been part of for far too long.

Mel says…

When I heard that Leah Remini was releasing a memoir based on her experiences in the Church of Scientology, I was so excited! I love Leah Remini, as I was a huge fan of her show King of Queens, so knew that her personality would ensure this book was highly controversial and guess what? It was!!

Leah’s brutal honesty makes this book what it was. There was no holds barred when it came to naming and shaming in this book. One such person who’s name one would expect to appear in any story around Scientology, is Tom Cruise. Yes, you do get a LOT of Tom Cruise dirt and yes, it is cringe worthy!

This book is not purely about Scientology though, despite the fact that it consumed most of her life, she does delve into the nitty gritty of her personal life. She isn’t afraid to acknowledge any transgressions she has committed and one such example was breaking up a marriage at the age of 19.

Leah Remini is a love her, or hate her kind of girl. You won’t put this book down thinking hmm…she is ok, I guess. 

I am not a Scientologist, nor have I ever read much about the religion, however this book is a real eye opening recount of one person’s experience of the church. A must read for anyone who is as curious as I was!

“..it’s been a little more than two years now since I left the organization, for the first time it’s like I’m living a real and authentic life – everything from sitting and enjoying a glass of wine with non-Scientologist girlfriends without secretly judging them as they speak about their lives and thinking Scientology could help them with that, to worrying that I am wasting my time finding enjoyment in my child or family when I should be on course or in session instead. I put so much time, energy, and resources into the church that it left little room for anything else.” 

 

Rating:

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

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Easy Holiday Reading – Mel’s List

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As we are now in the midst of holiday time, whether you need some easy beach reading (for our local Aussie fans), or you are looking for a cosy, heartwarming book that you can snuggle up and stay warm with, LBoB have a few recommendations for easy readers.

Heartwarming – Thanks for the Memories

Author – Cecelia Ahern

Who doesn’t love a good Cecelia Ahern novel!? Honestly, P.S. I Love You?! Haven’t heard of it? Then you can’t be a true fan of chic-lit. Sorry!

But seriously, Cecelia Ahern delivers another classic chic-lit book with Thanks for the Memories. I got this book from one of our local book fairs and it sat on my bookshelf for about a year before I picked it up. Shame on me! This book has a bit of everything. Romance – check. Heartwarming – check. Intrigue – check.

It follows the story of Joyce, who is the main character that events tend to revolve around. Joyce’s tale starts off with heartbreak and as time progresses, we sit back and watch how each individual in her life plays a special part in putting the pieces of the broken heart back into place.

I mostly enjoyed reading about Joyce’s relationship with her elderly father. It was so heartwarming to read about the special bond between father and daughter and how, in his odd, old fashioned ways, he is the glue that puts his daughter back together.

Then, there is a the biggest mystery of all. Why does Joyce have such a connection with the complete stranger, Justin Hitchcock? How does she know so much about him and why does his daily habits start transferring to Joyce’s own life? To have this question answered, you will just have to read the book yourself!

Rating:

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

Intriguing – The Husband’s Secret

Author – Liane Moriarty

The Husband’s Secret follows three different women, on their quest to find their own truths. Truths that appear to not exist throughout the start of the novel, but as you turn the pages, these truths start to appear. They slowly reveal themselves to be dark, ugly and raw.

Liane Moriarty addresses the age old question of ‘what if?’. ‘What if Cecilia never went into the attic that day?’ ‘What if Felicity had never lost all that weight?’ and ‘What if Janie hadn’t forgotten about her Doctors appointment on that dreaded afternoon?’.

This novel made my mind start ticking over events in my own life that once seemed minuscule, but evaluating them now seems that these ‘miniscule’ decisions or events could have shaped the course of my life; much like the characters in this book. This is a great read for anyone who likes a bit of intrigue with their chic lit.

Rating:

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

Self Discovery – Alice in La La Land

Author – Sophie Lee

This book jumped out at me because of its pretty cover art. It is a simple design, but it is what drew me to purchase the book in the first instance. The synopsis described a book about an Australian girl called Alice, who follows her acting dreams to Hollywood, to only find that life in LA isn’t as glamorous as it looks from the outside.

At first, I enjoyed the simple writing and easy reading of Alice’s story, but then I soon realised that the plot was not getting any deeper and the story itself soon annoyed me.

The story itself is all about Alice’s self discovery, with assistance from others, but don’t expect to be rooting for Alice to achieve her dreams because I couldn’t even bring myself to liking her all that much. She was very blasé about her acting pursuits and although the plot was based around her journey to finding a big time role in Hollywood, she was never dedicating herself to the task at hand, which I think Sophie Lee needed to expand on Alice’s character development to explain why this was so.

If you are looking for a book to read whilst lazying on the beach, then this one is for you. It is an easy and quick read and is perfect for days where you don’t want an in-depth story that makes you think.

 

Rating:

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

Read by Mel: July 2015 – Secret Keeping For Beginners by Maggie Alderson

Secret Keeping For Beginners

by Maggie Alderson

Published May 2015

Genres: Fiction / Chick Lit

Everything lurking beneath the surface of this seemingly happy family is about to come bursting out….

Secret Keeping for Beginners follows the individual stories of four women; mother Joy and her daughters, Tessa, Rachel and Natasha, as well as Rachel’s boss Simon. Each individual has a differing underlying ‘secret’ and it is only a matter of time before it starts to affect their relationships with one another and the ‘secret’s come bubbling to the surface. 

Mel says…

I think it is important to start this review by stating that I absolutely LOVE Maggie Alderson. I have read all of her books, so when I found out she was releasing a new book, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to read it for my first individual review.

This book sets the scene with the family of four women. Firstly there is Joy, the hippy/eclectic ageing mother who is the problem solver of the family. Her eclectic style, utilising meditation and crystals as her main sources of calm and guidance in her life, displays great amounts of compassion to not only her children, but others throughout the story. I found myself wishing I could carry some of my own problems to Joy and have her hold my hand and make everything ok. Her character has the great depth of warmth and welcome that Maggie Alderson was aiming for.

There was no doubting the closeness that was described of the three sisters; Tessa, Rachel and Natasha. I did feel that Rachel’s story was by far the stand out of this book. Her issues and character development made me feel for her in more ways than any of the other characters.

If I had to pick one character whom I disliked, or did not take to, it would have to be Tessa. I felt that Maggie Alderson didn’t portray her well and she felt like a bored stay-at-home Mum. Her back story annoyed me and I found that I would get irritated with her dedicated chapters.

As the title suggests, this book is full of secrets. One for each main character in fact. I felt that the secrets were definitely what drove the story and as the name suggests, each character had uphill battles with their own concerns as well as supporting one another. There was one secret though that I felt was worthy of more than the minimum mentions that it was granted, and that was Joy’s. I was disappointed that it was not given more depth, and it could have possibly been left out completely as Joy played a great role as the confidante.

All in all, I enjoyed this book. Would I read it again? Probably not. But it did give me the heartwarming feel that Maggie Alderson always seems to bring out in me.

Rating:

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

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