Tag Archives: Jodi Picoult

Small Great Things- Jodi Picoult


Synopsis

When the baby of .a white supremacist dies fingers point to black nurse Ruth who had been banned from caring for the child.

Review

I was excited about reading ‘Small Great Things’ as I generally really enjoy what Picoult writes, but I was also a little unsure. For a white author to write in the voice of a black woman could be problematic, I was concerned about stereotypes, or just that generally the character wouldn’t be right. Thinking about it more I thought that maybe I shouldn’t be concerned about it, after all part of Picoult’s writing is about people who aren’t herself. She can never be a black woman, but then she can never be a male lawyer with epilepsy either, or a child who speaks to God (or at least she can’t be that and a teenage witch, school shooter, abused teenager, abused child, suicide victim) so why shouldn’t she be able to imagine the voice of a black woman?

Whether she wrote an actual realistic representation of a black woman, I can’t say, but I didn’t think that it was stereotypical, and I did think that an interesting view was put on racism which seemed rather empathic. Whether she was actually a believable character is a bit of a moot point, because Picoult definitely did a good job of highlighting, sometimes unnoticed, elements of prejudice and racism.

What I was more surprised about was how Picoult managed to make the voice of the white supremacist a voice which couple be understood and sympathised with- beyond simply as the voice of a man who had lost his child. It wasn’t so much that you could understand why he was racist as you could see how someone could fall into that life.

There was one part of the story which I did find hard to believe, and I don’t think it was really needed. Maybe Picoult just wanted a twist at the end. I won’t say what it was because of spoilers.

I found when I started writing this review that ‘Small Great Things’ is being made into a film– lets hope a better job is made of it as there was on ‘My Sister’s Keeper.’

4//5

Buy it:

Paperback (£2.99)

Kindle (£4.99)

Hardback (£4.99)

Other Reviews:

Annette’s Book Stop

So Many Books, So Little Time

Curiosity Killed the Bookworm

Did I miss your review? Leave me a link in comments and I will add it here

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Deals of the Moment- August 2016 (Part 1)


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. Whenever there are deals of interest I post on here. Links are associate links but money goes back into the blog.

So I’m going to briefly talk about the books I’ve read which are on offer, and those that I have bought myself. Why I liked them/bought them, and what they are about. End links are to the amazon page, any other links are to my reviews.

I have 28 tabs of deals open this month so I’m breaking this post into three parts; this part (part 1) is books I’ve already read, part two (hopefully tomorrow) will be books I own/can borrow but haven’t read yet, and part 3 will be books I’m interested in. My computer is going to the macshop tomorrow (l0ts of little problems) so I will try and get part 3 out on Friday but we will see how it goes.

Please note prices are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.


Still Alice- Lisa Genova

I really enjoyed this rather sad novel told by a narrator who has early onset dementia. It’s very touching, and language wise an easy read but also rather emotionally difficult

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)


Fahrenheit 451- Ray Bradbury

To be honest I didn’t love this classic about book burning, but there were some points which made it worth a read.

You can buy it,,,here (only £1.99)


The Rosie Project- Graeme Simsion

I loved this funny, quirky, sweet book about a clever man who thinks he has found a clever way to find love. It was so much more than I expected

You can buy it…here (only £1.99)


Mockingbird- Kathryn Erkstien

A beautiful book about a girl with Asperger’s whose brother is killed. The normal grief of that situation added to her autism.

Buy it…here (only £1.39)

 


Girl at the Lion D’or- Sebastian Faulks

This book is actually the first in the trilogy which ends with, what is probably Faulks’ most well known novel, Birdsong. It’s probably my least favourite of the trio but it’s a nice little book about a girl who starts working at a slightly seedy hotel. I read the series in the wrong order and it does stand well as a novel on its own.

Buy it…here (only £1.99) Buy the others in the series, Charlotte Grey, and Birdsong, for £4.99 each.


 

The Secret Scripture- Sebastian Barry

Since reading The Secret Scripture I have read a lot of other Sebastian Barry novels, and none are as good as this one, I loved this one. About a woman who has spent most of her life in a mental institution

Buy it…here (£1.09)


Clovenhoof series- Heide Good and Iain M. Grant

Funny, political-ish books about satan being expelled from Heaven and being sent to live in Birmingham. I love these books, I’ve read 1-3 (and the short) and ordered number 4 when I saw it on offer, number 5 is out too, but that’s not on offer.

Buy one, two, three, four (only £0.99 each)


The Elements of Eloquence- Mark Forsyth

I love Mark Forsyth, his books about language are interesting and funny, I recommend them to everyone.

Buy it…here (only £1.19)


The Pact- Jodi Picoult

I love Jodi Picoult, I’ve read all her books. This one is about a boy and a girl who apparently had a suicide pact, or did the boy call the girl?

Buy it…here (£1.99)


Look Who’s Back- Timur Vermes

Hitler wakes up in the modern day. Everything is wrong, he must find his power again. Satirical, funny, a bit on the edge.

Buy it...here (only £0.99)


Middlesex- Jeffrey Eugenides

This is one of my favourite books. A sort of coming of age novel, kind of hard to describe, but there’s a family secret involved and I can’t tell you because that will spoil the story. Just read it

Buy it…here (only £1.99)


 

The Shock of the Fall- Nathan Filler

An incident happened, it effected the whole of one man’s life

Buy it…here (only £1.99)


Eleanor and Park- Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor is the new girl, she’s not fitting in great, but then she meets Park. A nice little love story.

Buy it…here (only £1.99)


The Beach- Alex Garland

I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book about a secret island, and the things that happened there.

Buy it…here (only £1.99)


How to Build A Girl- Caitlin Moran

Yay Caitlin Moran. How to Build a Girl is a little too autobiographical to feel like novel, but I still loved it.

Buy it…here (only £1.99)

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Deals of the Moment- March 2016


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. Usually I tweet about the interesting deals and leave it at that, but a couple of months ago I decided to try sharing them more widely. There was nothing of interest last month but this month they have holiday offers too and there are a few interesting offers there

So I’m going to briefly talk about the books I’ve read which are on offer, and those that I have bought myself. Why I liked them/bought them, and what they are about. End links are to the amazon page, any other links are to my reviews.

Please note prices are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.


The End of Your Life Book Club- Will Schwalbe

Thoughtful and a little sad memoir about the last month of Schwalbe’s mother’s life.

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)


Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close- Jonathon Safran Foer

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close has been on my wishlist since I read, and loved, Everything is Illuminated. Just goes to show how long things stay on my wishlist. Will almost definitely be buying this one. It’s about a kid who finds a key in his Father’s closet (his father was killed in the 9/11 attacks) and tries to find out what it is.

You can buy it…here (only £1.99)


Chocolat- Joanne Harris

Chocolat was the first Joanne Harris book I read, and still the best. About a woman who opens a chocolate shop in a French village during lent. It’s a little bit magical, and draws a great picture of the town, and also the chocolate!

You can buy it…here (only £1.99)

 


Thirteen Reasons Why- Jay Asher

This is another one which has been on my wishlist for a long time, I think after reading a review on another blog. It’s about 13 reasons why a teenager committed suicide. Not sure I’m up for it at the moment, but may buy it for the future.

You can buy it…here (only £1.99)


Nineteen Minutes- Jodi Picoult
I love Jodi Picoult and I’ve read all her solo novels. Nineteen Minutes is about a school shooting. The shooter and an important witness, who doesn’t seem to be able to remember some key information.

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)



Love Anthony- Lisa Genova

This is another one I’m seriously considering. After really liking Still Alice and enjoying Left Neglected. I like Genova’s blend of informative medical information and human emotion. This one is about a mother who looses her autistic son.

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)


Plain Truth- Jodi Picoult

Another Picoult. This one about an Amish woman accused of the murder of her new born, and illegitimate baby.

You can buy it…here (only £1.99)


The Mother Tongue- Bill Bryson

Another I’m very tempted by. I’ve been meaning to read more Bryson, and I like books about language so this one about the English language seems ideal.

You can buy it…here (only £1.99)


My Sister’s Keeper- Jodi Picoult

Yeah, another one. This is one of my favourites. About a girl, who, after a lifetime donating for her sister with cancer, decides to say no.

Buy it …here (only £1.49)

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Deals of the Moment- August


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. This in the post where I talk about any books which are of interest.

So I’m going to briefly talk about the books I’ve read which are on offer, and those that I have bought myself. Why I liked them/bought them, and what they are about. End links are to the amazon page, any other links are to my reviews. Amazon links are affiliate links but any money made goes back into the blog (e.g. for giveaways)

Please note prices are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.


Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas- Hunter S Thompson

I may buy this one because it’s on The Rory List, although I’m not sure how ‘me’ it is.  Plus it’s very popular. It’s about drugs and the ‘American Dream’

Buy it…here (only £1.99)


The Virgin Suicides- Jeffrey Eugenides

I love Jeffrey Eugenides writing, and especially liked Middlesex. The Virgin Suicides is a sort of modern classic. About a family of girls who all commit suicide.

You can buy it…here (only £1.99)


Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet- Jamie Ford

This is one of my favourite World War novels. It’s about the Japanese community in America during WW2.

You can buy it…here. (only £0.99)


The Happiness Project- Gretchen Rubin

I’ve heard some fantastic things about this book, but again I’m not sure if it’s one for me, it seems a bit self-helpy for my taste. However I may give it a go. It’s a sort of autobiography showing the various methods Rubin used to gain happiness and how they worked out for her

Buy it…here (only £1.99)


Keeping Faith- Jodi Picoult

I am a big Picoult fan, I’ve read all her books. Keeping Faith is about a kid who starts hearing God. She ends up with a lot of attention, but so much rubbish is going on in her life, is she really hearing God?

Buy it…here (only £1.99)


The Storyteller- Jodi Picoult

Yes another Picoult one. This is about an ex-Nazi SS solider who wants forgiveness. Not a ‘usual’ Picoult but very good

Buy it…here (only £1.49)


Anita and Me- Meera Syal

Anita and Me was one of the first ‘adult’ books I read. It’s about an Asian girl growing up in a predominately white town, and wanting to fit in.

Buy it…here (only £1.99)


The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao- Junot Diaz

This is one of those books everyone says you ‘have’ to read. It’s about a geek who lives in a dream world- basically.

Buy it…here (only £2.59)


Charlotte Street- Danny Wallace

I loved this book when I read it. It’s a bit like Nick Hornby in style. About a man who tries to find a woman whose disposable camera he accidentally took.

Buy it…here (only £1.99)


Kommandant’s Girl- Pam Jenoff

Kommandant’s Girl is probably my favourite Pam Jenoff (at least so far). It’s about a girl who gets together with a German Kommndant to help the resistance during WW2.

Buy it…here (only £0.99)


The Ocean at the End of the Lane- Neil Gaiman

I just finished this one (it’s a Summer deal rather than a monthly). I highlighted a lot of quotes (see a few on my tumblr). It’s sort of insightful, a coming of age novel, but with the usual Gaiman fantasy element (yeah, can you tell I still need to write my review?)

Buy it…here (only £0.99)


Still Alice- Lisa Genova

A very moving book, and sad. About a woman with early-onset dementia.

Buy it…here (only £1.99)


The Hunger Games- Suzanne Collins

If anyone doesn’t already have it! It’s a dystopian book about a ‘game’ played every year where basically kids have to kill each other off, sort of based on Battle Royal. I really liked it.

Buy it…here (only £2.19)


Eleanor and Park- Rainbow Rowell

Not my favourite Rainbow Rowell, but still great. Geeky. It’s a love story, but more too.

Buy it…here (only £1.99)

 

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Some More Short Reviews


I’ve decided to do some little reviews again. This time for books that I don’t have a lot to say about, but I still want to mention.

The bold links are amazon affiliate links (the money goes back into the blog).

 

Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore- Robin Sloan

Wasn’t there a character on some TV programme called Robin Sloan? (Maybe I’m thinking of Diagnosis Murder, but that was Mark… I think).

Anyway Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is about a 24-hour bookstore (believe it or not!), but there’s something not quite ‘normal’ about the bookstore and the new clerk starts to find out what it is. Lots of people have told me that they loved this book because it was about a bookstore. I don’t really see that- it’s more a mystery, almost an Indiana Jones type story. It was strange but rather intriguing and there was a good amount to puzzle out and action towards the end. I got into it well enough to buy the prequel. 3.5/5

 

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared- Jonas Jonasson

Try saying that with a mouthful of toffee! I’m going to abbreviate it (laziness!) to THMCWD.

THMCWD is a book about THMCWD, sounds dull? Well he gets up to all sorts of things which you wouldn’t expect, with the police on his tails all the time. There’s robbery, criminal gangs, murder, and an elephant. When the action was going on I read it quite quickly but when it wasn’t I found I wasn’t too encouraged to read it at all. I did find that despite not being the longest book it took me a long time to read because I lost interest. However at times it was funny, and bizarre, and I really thought that Allan was an interesting character.

THMCWD is in a middle of a lawsuit here in the UK and can no longer be sold by the British publishers, but you may still be able to get your hands on a copy somewhere. Amazon is selling the US version of the kindle edition (by the way what is up with that cover? Allan looks more like 30 than 100) 3/5

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Some Short Reviews


Seeing as I am rather behind on my reviews (I still haven’t reviewed some books I read back in 2014) I thought I would try the quick review thing for books I have partly forgotten or have little to say about.

The bold links are amazon affiliate links (the money goes back into the blog).

Somebody Else’s Kids- Torey Hayden

This one was not quite what I expected, I expected one of those ‘please Daddy, no’ type books, it’s what it looks like. I guess I shouldn’t have judged by the cover because it wasn’t that at all. It was about kids with learning problems (for a variety of reasons) and the teacher who helps them (that’s Hayden). It was more interesting and a better read than I expected. 4/5



Fahrenheit 451- Ray Bradbury. 

This is one of those must-reads, and it’s on The Rory List. About a world where books are banned. It got me thinking about books I’d want to remember, but other than that I found it generally unremarkable 3/5

Expo 58- Jonathon Coe

About the World Fair during the Cold War. Quite funny in parts. I couldn’t decide if the main character was an ass or an idiot, but him being either made me sometimes annoyed and sometimes amused. I especially liked the secret service agents for a laugh 4/5


Leaving Time- Jodi Picoult

I liked the balance in this Picoult novel. It had some of the mystic element that I found too much in Second Glance, the crime/mystery element you get in things like House Rules, and the emotional element like you would get in something like My Sister’s Keeper. Plus there are some interesting facts about elephants thrown in. Classic Picoult. 4/5

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Famous Writers and New Books



I have posts planned to write, reviews, a different musings post, but yesterday the news was revealed that Harper Lee is releasing a new book, after over 50 years.

Technically it’s not a new book, but an old one. It features ‘To Kill a Mockingbird”s Scout as an adult and was actually written before ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, only the manuscript was thought lost.

This got me thinking about authors who are famous for one book releasing new books. ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is a modern classic. It has lots of fans who think it’s one of the best books ever written.

So what does this mean for ‘Go Set A Watchman’ (that’s the title of the new book)? Well for one thing it will probably be pretty much required reading. Whether or not it’s any good I should think that it will get plenty of sales (which almost makes one doubt the lost manuscript story).

Then of course there are all the expectations which come with the book. You would expect it to be at least as good as ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, so if it isn’t then that would be a great disappointment. You would expect some great moral story, but does it really have to be that, after all authors have worked in different genres before. Although it still featuring Scout suggests that it will at least have some moral standing.

Will it be as good though? It was written before ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ which could suggest that Harper Lee knew less of what publishing wanted (whether or not they know what will make a good, and successful book is a discussion for another day). In fact it was because the editor liked the looking back sections of ‘Go Set a Watchman’ that ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ was written, and it seems that it was meant as a replacement, rather than a prequel. Does that mean that ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is basically the best bits of ‘Go Set a Watchman’?


It reminds me a little of when authors back catalogues are re-released because they have become more popular since the books were first released. The author who springs to mind is Jodi Picoult. I’ve still (generally) enjoyed her older books, but they have been a bit disappointing in comparison to some of her more recent novels.


At the moment I’m reading J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy. Anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis will know what a big Harry Potter nut I am. So why has it taken me so long to get around to reading The Casual Vacancy. Partly it was that I was worried I would end up being disappointed, or that I would have a bias favourable view just because it’s J.K. I think I might end up the same with ‘Go Set a Watchman’. I certainly want to read it, but I have reservations (not least that Harper Lee may not actually want it to be published). I will probably wait for the paperback.


I’ve always thought that I understand J.K. Rowling wanting to write a novel not as J.K. Rowling, which she did. It means it would be judged for it’s own merit. The Cuckoo’s Calling did get quite good reviews prior to J.K. being unmasked as the real author, but it wasn’t until after then that it got to be a best seller. It’s a shame in a way because it is a pretty good crime story, and so many people read it because it was J.K. rather than because they actually wanted to read it.

So what do you think. Do you want to read the new Harper Lee? Do you think that your reading of books by favourite authors are coloured based on who the author is?

You can already pre-order ‘Go Set a Watchman’ which is set for release on 14th June 2015

Hardback (£18.99)

Kindle (£10.99)

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Deals of the Moment


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. Usually I tweet about the interesting deals and leave it at that, but this month I would like to do something different and share them more widely. If the idea seems to appeal I may make it a monthly feature.

So I’m going to briefly talk about the books I’ve read which are on offer, and those that I have bought myself. Why I liked them/bought them, and what they are about. End links are to the amazon page, any other links are to my reviews.

Please note prices are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.


 

The Diplomat’s Wife- Pam Jenoff

This is one I bought. It follows Marta who survived a Nazi prison camp. She looses one love and gains another, but something from her past threatens her happiness.

I bought this one because I’ve really enjoyed the other Pam Jenoff books I’ve read. I reviewed The Officer’s Lover some time ago, and loved The Kommandant’s Girl which I read a couple of weeks ago. I couldn’t resist another, especially on offer! You can buy it…here (only £0.99)



Keeping Faith- Jodi Picoult

This is one I read in my pre-blogging days. It is the story of a girl who says she can hear God. There is lots of fuss from the media, from religious people, and from doctors but nobody knows the truth, and in the middle of it is a little girl.

Although not my favourite Picoult book it still holds some of the best features which I would expect from a Picoult book. It really gets you thinking and it’s very emotion, and even at the end it keeps you guessing, I always like a story which lingers with you. You can buy it…here (only £2.49)


 

QI books

Ok this is two books not one but they are safe to clump together. I’ve read both and they are both very interesting (or should I say Quite Interesting) books with lesser know facts. The QI Book of the Dead focuses on people whereas the QI Book of General Ignorance is more general knowledge. They are both equally as entertaining as the other although The QI Book of the Dead is probably easier to read cover to cover whereas you could easily flick through the book of general ignorance. Buy the QI Book of the Dead…here (only £2.29) and The QI Book of General Ignorance…here. (also only £2.29)

 



Fahrenheit 451- Ray Bradbury

Another one I bought. This has been on my wishlist for years, and it’s on the Rory List. It’s one of those sort of ‘required reading’ books for bookworms.

Fahrenheit 451 is set in a world where books are burnt as routine, and TV is the entertainment of choice. You can buy it…here (only £1.49)


Still Alice- Lisa Genova

Over the last year I’ve read two books which have a protagonist called Alice who looses her memory. Still Alice was the best of the two (The other is What Alice Forgot, if you were wondering). In Still Alice, Alice is a professor who has early onset Alzheimer’s. It’s a very emotional story, but beautiful too. You can buy it…here (only £2.49)



The Crimson Petal and the White- Michel Faber

This is one of those books I just love to recommend. It’s difficult to put into words what makes The Crimson Petal and the White so good, just read it! I bought it for my sister after I read it, and I recommended it to my Mum’s book group (although tentatively because the main character is a prostitute, and they didn’t like the sex in The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts). It follows Sugar as she goes from ‘admired’ prostitute to kept woman, to secret live in mistress. It’s about the underside of 19th century London, basically. You can buy it…here (only £1.29)


 

Under the Skin- Michel Faber

This is neither one I have bought nor one I have read. I am tempted by it simply because it’s by Michel Faber. It sounds sort of interesting, but I’m unsure. It’s about a woman who likes picking up handsome hitch-hikers. Has anyone read it? What did you think? You can buy it…here (only £1.29)


Tampa- Alison Nutting

I bought this one because I’ve heard really good things about it. It’s been describes as a modern day Lolita with a woman. I think it could be disturbing, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be good. You can buy it…here (only £1.99)

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Larger Than Life- Jodi Picoult


Synopsis (from amazon)

Alice is a researcher studying memory in elephants, and is fascinated by the bonds between mother and calf – the mother’s powerful protective instincts and her newborn’s unwavering loyalty. Living on a game reserve in Botswana, Alice is able to view the animals in their natural habitat, as long as she obeys one important rule: she must only observe and never interfere.

Then she finds an orphaned young elephant in the bush and cannot bear to leave the helpless baby behind. Alice will risk her career to care for the calf. Yet what she comes to understand is the depth of a parent’s love.

Review

Larger Than Life is another one of Jodi Picoult’s Kindle Singles. This time it is based around a character her up and coming novel Leaving Time.

It’s probably the best of her kindle singles which I have read (I have also read The Color War, and Where There’s Smoke). I think it stands quite well as it’s own story, and fits ok as a short story. I still wanted more (as I tend to with short stories) but it was good whilst it lasted, and I didn’t really feel like there needed to be more.

It was a cute little story. The main focus was the baby elephant, and that was really all it needed, it was sweet to imagine and I enjoyed Alice’s interactions and thoughts around the elephant.

There was also a romance element, which I had anticipated early on, and which was nice, but maybe unneeded.

4/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£1.49)

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The Color War- Jodi Picoult


Synopsis (from amazon)

All Raymond wants to do is hang out with his best friend, Monroe, but life has other plans. This summer, his mother has decided to send him to Bible camp for inner-city kids. On the bus there, he dreams of the best night of his life, when he and Monroe slipped away from home and jumped the turnstiles to ride the subway to downtown Boston on New Year’s Eve. The elaborate ice sculptures on display thrilled them, especially an angel with outstretched wings that glowed ghostly in the night. Raymond wakes on the bus to what he takes for another angel: Melody, a camp counselor and lifeguard. Like all the staff, she’s white. Pretty, blond, and friendly, she’s the person Raymond most wants to impress during the Color War, the camp’s sports competition, and to whom he confesses his most painful secret, a loss that has made him grow up far too fast and left him wise beyond his mere nine years.

Review

I’ve read a few of Picoult’s kindle singles now. Apparently I didn’t bother reviewing Where There’s Smoke, and I have Larger Than Life on the list waiting for review.

I can’t remember why I decided not to review Where There’s Smoke, maybe I was waiting for the book it was based on to come out?

Either way The Color War  is probably the one I liked the least of the three. It had good areas, or I suppose interesting areas. It didn’t really work for me in terms of a short story however. Too many big issues which needed a ‘proper’ book. Maybe not a long one, but more than the few pages you get with a kindle single (according to goodreads The Color War has 34 pages). If it had to be a shorter story then there should have been less in it. Have the major event, or something to do with Raymond’s emotions after. As it was it was too sketchy.

Plus unlike both of Picoult’s other kindle singles which I’ve read The Color War is stand alone, so you can’t hope to get more from reading the book which it is connected to.

2/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£1.81)

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The Storyteller- Jodi Picoult


Synopsis (from amazon)

For seventy years, Josef Weber has been hiding in plain sight.

He is a pillar of his local community.

He is also a murderer.

When Josef decides to confess, it is to Sage Singer, a young woman who trusts him as her friend. What she hears shatters everything she thought she knew and believed.

As Sage uncovers the truth from the darkest horrors of war, she must follow a twisting trail between terror and mercy, betrayal and forgiveness, love – and revenge.

Review

The Storyteller is a little bit different when it comes to Jodi Picoult. Her books tend to follow a formula, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing because the subject matter changes, and it works for the type of books she is writing. Her basic outline though is there’s an issue- you see different character’s point of views, and it’s not always clear who you should be backing- at least at first. Usually there’s a twist somewhere along the line which makes you question your own judgement of the situation. Basically they get you thinking- sometimes even after you’ve finished the book.

So you can understand why when I heard Picoult’s new book was centred around a former concentration camp worker I couldn’t work out how her formula would fit. You can make someone feel sympathy for someone like that but you can never make someone understand that there might be a good reason why they did what they did, so how was Picoult going to make that work.

There was a lot more in the past of this book, Franz’s past, the past of one of the women in the concentration camp, and her fictional story, which started before she was in the concentration camp and finished whilst she was there. Then there was the area now. With Sage finding out the truth about Franz. There is an element of should Franz have to suffer for something he had done so long ago, especially if he is remorseful (which at times he seems to be, but at times doesn’t seem genuine), if he is old and might well die before he even gets charged? Can he be forgiven?

It wouldn’t be much of a book if that was the only challenge, so yes there are more, and the history b its are interesting. There is little I can say without giving away some pretty major plot points (and I’m all for spoiler free reviews).

I’m still not sure I would say this is a favourite Picoult, but it’s a little too different to compare. In terms of others which are different it probably is the best, although even the different ones are hard to compare to one another.

4.5/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£3.80)

Kindle (£2.00)

Hardback (£9.00)

Other reviews:

So Many Books, So Little Time

Sam Still Reading

Book Journey

Between the Pages

Did I miss your review? Leave me a link in comments and I will add it here

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Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Historical

Lone Wolf- Jodi Picoult


Synopsis (from Amazon)

Luke Warren would sleep in the dirt if it meant he could be under the stars.

He lives by the laws of nature, and would surely want to die that way.

But Luke is in a coma, and his family must make an unbearable decision.

As tensions and secrets rise to the surface, the tragic accident which brought them back together against the odds could well tear Luke’s family apart forever.

They know Luke would not want to live like this.
But how can they choose to let him die?

Review

I have a strange compulsion when it comes to Jodi Picoult books that means I have to read them as soon as I get my hands on them, so despite the fact I already had bookmarks in Expose, The Good Angel of Death, and Kavalier and Clay, oh and have only read Part 1 of 1Q84, I still had to start Lone Wolf when I bought it a couple of weeks ago.

Picoult is easy to read though so it doesn’t give that much of an interruption to your reading. In fact it’s part of what I like about her writing, it’s easy to read, and the plot really draws you in, but it still has some substance.

As with all of Picoult’s books the chapters are broken up between different characters. I didn’t really enjoy the Luke chapters so much, maybe because they weren’t a part of the main plot, but I did think they were important. How can you really have an opinion on whether a person would want their life support turned off or not if you only know that person third hand? It was interesting in it’s own way, and I did feel a got to know Luke well enough to think I would know what he wanted. However there was always a part of me waiting for his chapters to end.

I cared more for his kids really, and I couldn’t really decide who I wanted to be able to make the decision, although I did know what I wanted the decision to be. From that I should have been able to pick one of the kids to win but I cared about them both too much to want either of them to loose. It’s not something Picoult has ever really done before and I liked that perspective.

However I did feel in some way that elements of the story were added just to bulk the story out. Sometimes I didn’t really feel they added that much to the main plot, but that the main plot in itself may not have been enough to make a whole story.

I did enjoy Lone Wolf a lot, but it’d not my favourite Picoult.

4/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£3.86)

Kindle (£4.99)

Hardback (£12.72)

Other Reviews:

Sam Still Reading

Bookworm with a View

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Top 10 ‘Older’ Books Not to be Forgotten


Top 10 Tuesday is a meme hosted every Tuesday at The Broke and the Bookish where bloggers compile lists of different top 10s. This week it’s

Top Ten “Older” Books You Don’t Want People To Forget About

I’m trying to use books which I think may end up being forgotten. Not sure if I can make it to 10 but I will try my best.

1) Pop Co.- Scarlet Thomas Scarlett Thomas is probably better known as the writer of The End of Mr Y but I preferred this one. Her more recent releases haven’t quite met up to standard so I hope this one doesn’t get lost because of them.

2) Random Acts of Heroic Love- Danny Scheinmann I read this book before I started my blog. It had been very popular for a while but I haven’t seen a review of it in a long time. When I read it I adored it and wanted to share it with everybody.

3) An Equal Music- Vikram Seth This is another one I read in my pre-blog days. I read it when A Suitable Boy (which I have never managed to finish) was at the height of its popularity, and it’s probably overshadowed by A Suitable Boy. The descriptions of music and playing made me want to pick up my violin again.

4) The Historian- Elisabeth Kostova Beware about this vampire novel, it gave me funny dreams! I was in half a mind whether to include this one or not. It still seems to be quite well know, but it didn’t have the greatest amount of hype so I thought I would add it just in case.

5) The Lover’s Dictionary- David Levithan Considering this wonderful little novel is written by a traditionally YA author I worry that it will be drowned out, or will be seen as a book for teenagers, rather than the adult novel it actually is.

6) The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts- Louis de Bernieres: when I read the review which put me onto this book I didn’t even know it existed. Louis de Bernieres is best known for Captain Correli’s Mandolin, and a lot of his work prior to that is given little notice. The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts, however, is the best I have read by him.

Yup 6 is my limit.

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Top 10 Books Read in the Lifetime of this Blog


It’s time for another Top 10 Tuesday (which is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish). I only occasionally join in with this meme but I really liked the look of this week’s topic.

Top Ten Books Read in the Lifetime of Your Blog.

Well my blog is almost 3 years old (in fact my blogiversary is at the end of this month) and in that time I’ve red and reviewed almost 200 books. So it’s a bit difficult to pick just 10…I shall see what I can do. In no particular order…

1) Pop Co.- Scarlet Thomas This is the story of a woman who creates spy kits for kids as part of a large toy company- Pop Co. One day she receives a strange coded message, who is it from and what do they want?

I really enjoyed this book. It made me think about things like the morality of corporations, and see more everyday things in a different light.

2) Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism- Natasha Walter. This book is basically feminism for the modern world. It’s one that I recommend all women read, whether you consider yourself a feminist or not.

3) Brooklyn Bites Series- Scott Stabile. These are a series of short stories set in Brooklyn and all have a connection to food. The descriptions are especially good. I’m not usually a reader of short stories but I loved these, plus they show that just because something is self-published doesn’t mean it’s no good!

4) The Lucifer Effect- Phillip Zimbardo: I studied psychology at uni and this means that a large proportion of my non-fiction reading is psychology related. The Lucifer Effect is the book written about Zimbardo’s famous Stanford Prison Experiment which studied how a person’s authority would effect their behaviour. The experiment had to be cancelled because of some of the effects, and it took a long time for Zimbardo to feel he could write this book. This meant he could apply his findings to new world events and actually means it was published at a time when people were looking for answers. It’s a scary book to read because it suggests there are things we could all be capable of but I think it’s important too.

5) Handle with Care- Jodi Picoult: I’m quite a fan of Picoult and this one is my favourite, probably because I connect with it personally. It’s a story about a woman suing her midwife because her daughter was born with severely brittle bones which should have been picked up on her scan. Well really, no, it’s more about her daughter.

6) How to be a Woman- Caitlin Moran: This book is basically Caitlin Moran’s biography, with a bit of a feminist kick. It pretty much made me fall in love with her.

7) The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts- Louis de Bernieres: since reading Captain Correli’s Mandolin I had been looking for a Louis de Bernieres’ book as good. The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts does that and more. It’s basically about a South American country with dodgy politics and the goings on of different groups and people

8) Kafka on the Shore- Haruki Murakami: I discovered Murakami thanks to the bookish community online and Kafka on the Shore is my favourite of his that I have read.  I can’t really adequately describe it, and I had trouble reviewing it, but it is fantastic.

9) Mockingbird- Kathryn Erskien: is the story of Caitlin, a girl with Asperger’s Syndrome whose brother has just died. It is a story about grief but ultimately it’s a story about Asperger’s, and Caitlin is portrayed wonderfully.

10) Middlesex- Jeffery Eugenides: Is the story of Cal, who is a hermaphrodite, about her growing up, and about his family. It’s one of those books that you can’t really tell people why they need to read it, just that they have to.

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Book Blogger Hop


It’s Friday, and the Book Blogger Hop started yesterday. I actually have a chance to sit down and write a post so thought I would join in this week (despite to fact I have a couple of reviews waiting to be written…shhh).

This week’s question suits e quite well as I’ve been in a bit of a rut recently- although I seem to be coming out of it now.

Who is your go-to author when you are in a reading rut?

Well I tend to more go for a style than anything else. Most books I can just read through a rut with, but when I’m really struggling I know if I find an easy read I should be okay. For this reason I tend to only read Chick-Lit when I’m in a reading rut, (generally speaking) the writing style is easy to understand, the stories aren’t too complex (although they can often be rather predictable), you never really have t think when you’re reading chick-lit. I also find that Jodi Picoult rarely fails to draw me in- her books do make me think, but the writing style is easy and there tends to be a great need to know what’s going to happen next. The other thing is my Harry Potter books. I know them pretty much off by heart but they still excite me.

Related Reviews:

Harvesting the Heart- Jodi Picoult

Sing you Home- Jodi Picoult

Handle with Care- Jodi Picoult

House Rules- Jodi Picoult

Songs of the Humpback Whale- Jodi Picoult

Picture Perfect- Jodi Picoult

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The Tales of Beedle the Bard

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Harvesting the Heart- Jodi Picoult


Image from Amazon


Synopsis

Paige has only a few vivid memories of her mother, who abandoned her when she was five. Now, having left home and her father for dreams of art school and marriage to an ambitious young doctor, Paige finds herself with a child of her own. Emotionally and physically exhausted, overwhelmed by the demands of her family, Paige cannot forget her mother’s absence or the shameful memories from her own past. Her next step would have been unthinkable before her doubts about her maternal ability crept into her mind. Is it possible Paige’s baby would be better off without her?

Review

As far as Jodi Picoult novels go this one was emotionally pretty easy going. It’s not that it’s nice to think of mothers leaving their children but it’s a bit more ever day than most of the issues that Picoult usually writes about.
That’s not to say I didn’t like it, or it didn’t draw me in. I can’t say I felt a particular connection to the characters for the majority of the book. I couldn’t really get my head around Paige and although I didn’t dislike her I didn’t really like her either, but at least that gives her a chance to change my mind! I did feel a little sorry for her in the way she was feeling and for not really having an outlet for those feelings but she seemed kind of stubborn and unwilling to find help, right up to the point where she cracked. By that point I didn’t really feel sympathetic so much anymore because of the way she was dealing with her feelings.
At first I really didn’t like Nicholas, he didn’t seem right for Paige at all and I found him more than a little self-centred. However by the end of the book he managed to change my mind.
This is another of Picoult’s earlier works which has been re-released (something I find frustrating). You can tell it’s one of her earlier books but I still thought it was more engaging than Songs of the Humpback Whale or Picture Perfect (which were also re-releases).

4/5

Buy it:
Kindle (£4.99)
Paperback (£4.49)
Hardback (£10.70)

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Sing You Home- Jodi Picoult


Image from Amazon

Synopsis (from Amazon)

Zoe Baxter has spent ten years trying to get pregnant, and just when she’s about to get her heart’s desire, tragedy destroys her world. In the aftermath of loss and divorce, she throws herself into her career as a music therapist. Working with Vanessa, she finds their relationship moving from business, to friendship, and then – to Zoe’s surprise – blossoming into love. When Zoe allows herself to start thinking of children again, she remembers that there are still frozen embryos that she and her husband never used.

But Max, having sought peace at the bottom of a bottle, has found redemption in an evangelical church, and Zoe needs his permission to take his unborn child . . .

SING YOU HOME is accompanied by a soundtrack of original songs created for the novel by Jodi Picoult and Ellen Wilber.

Review.

I have been struggling with my current paper book (1Q84…although apparently a rest was all I needed) so I thought it would be a good idea to try an old favourite, as it were. Sing You Home has just come out in paperback, and I had been waiting for it anyway so when I spotted it half-price at WhSmiths I had to snap it up.

I’ve found Jodi Picoult’s writing a little up-and-down lately. Handle with Care is a relatively recent one and it’s my favourite, and I enjoyed House Rules but I was less than impressed by Second Glance and wasn’t that keen on Picture Perfect. Add to that the publishers recent tendency to re-release obviously old novels and you can see why I was a little anxious when it came to reading this one.

Luckily is seems that Picoult is on form with this one. I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it as much as some of her other work but it was certainly up to her usual standard. I found it very clever how Picoult managed to make the reader almost want both sides of the party to ‘win’. I really liked Zoe and Vanessa but I liked Max too. I guess I could say I saw both sides of the story and although I ultimately came down on Zoe and Vanessa’s side I didn’t want Max to loose out and I really could see where he was coming from. Considering Picoult has a gay son (this is mentioned in the notes for the book) it seemed almost professional that she was able to present Max’s side.

There was one little niggle I had though and that was to do with how Max’s legal team handled his case. Now I am no legal expert, but even I could see that there was a better way to fight his corner.

4.5/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£3.86)

Hardback (£11.66)

Kindle (£4.99)

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Looking Back: Best books of 2009


So my first year of blogging, my first review of the year. Looking back it was a bit of a sloppy couple of posts but still did what I intended, as in talking about my favourite books of the year. I picked two that year, so looking back do I still remember them fondly.

Winner 1: Handle with Care- Jodi Picoult

I don’t think my memory will ever stop loving this book. It’s not just that I love Jod Picoult’s books, although that is part of it, it’s how it connected to me personally. This personal connection means I will never forget this book, and probably never stop loving it.

Winner 2: For One More Day- Mitch Alborn

Err I do not remember this book at all. Only that I enjoyed it! I wasn’t even sure of the title when I needed to write it for this post, despite having read it a few minutes before. Maybe it wasn’t so great after all!

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Great Literary Women


I thought it would be good to make a post for International Woman’s Day (which, if it has managed to pass you by, is today) So I thought I would make a post about great women in literature. I would love to hear your own thoughts on this, who else would you include? Who wouldn’t you include?

In no particular order

1) Lyra Belacqua/Lyra Silvertongue (His Dark Materials- Phillip Pullman): Lyra’s quest in the first of the Northern Lights starts as a quest to save her friend, but as Lyra grows it becomes a fight for her beliefs and what is right.

2) Ana Fitzgerald (My Sister’s Keeper– Jodi Picoult): Ana is great because he stands up to her parents, a very difficult thing to do for a young girl, because she believes she is right. (Highlight for spoiler)Ultimately she does this not for selfish reasons but because her sister asked her to, which makes me respect her all the more

3) Ma (Room– Emma Donoghue): Ma is strong because she goes through so much but still manages to bring Jack up well despite being away from civilisation, and because she fights to get Jack out of Room

4) Thursday Next (The Thursday Next Series- Jasper Fforde): I find Thursday Next especially strong in Something Rotten, not only is she fighting the criminals, but she’s also fighting the establishment, the corporation, fighting to have her husband re-actualised and being a single parent!

5) Minny (The Help- Kathryn Stockett) Minny doesn’t take rubbish from anyone, even though she may be better off fearing. She holds together her family and is a great friend. When she is loyal she stays loyal but you certainly don’t want to get on the wrong side of her!

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House Rules- Jodi Picoult


Synopsis (from Amazon)

Jacob Hunt is a teenager: brilliant at maths, wicked sense of humour, extraordinarily organised, hopeless at reading social cues. And Jacob has Asperger’s. He is locked in his own world – aware of the world outside, and wanting to make a connection. Jacob tries to be like everyone else, but doesn’t know how.

When his tutor is found dead, all the hallmark behaviours of Jacob’s syndrome – not looking someone in the eye, odd movements, inappropriate actions – start looking a lot like guilt to the police. And Jacob’s mother must ask herself the hardest question in the world: is her child capable of murder?

Review

I am quite happy to say that Jodi Picoult is a favourite author of mine, however recently I’ve found her writing to be a little hit and miss. For example I loved Handle with Care- it was my favourite read last year, and quite probably my favourite Picoult book, but I really was not impressed with Second Glance, which I wouldn’t even give a second glace (haa haa aren’t I hilarious?). For these reasons I was excited about reading House Rules but also a little…anxious is I suppose the most fitting word. I was really interested in the subject and hopeful that it would be done well. As someone who works with children- some of whom have learning disabilities, and has a degreee in psychology. Kids like Jacob are the type that I eventually want to work with, I hope to take a masters in Educational psychology in the not too distant future. I wanted this book to be informative and still have the interest that Picoult usually gives me, a sort of mystery and a crime story, and of course the emotional side which really gives Picoult’s writing heart. As far as an account of life with- and for a child with Asperger’s syndrome I thought it was pretty honest and informative- it told me things I did not know (although I cant claim to know a great deal about Asperger’s, having only studied autism on a wider scale) and gave the human side- what it felt like for the family, and even for the ‘sufferer’.

As for the crime side, it was done well, and did have me wondering to some extent right up to the end- although I did work out a key part of the plot long before it was explicitly said (highlight for spoiler) I worked out quite early on that Jacob was covering for Theo, and I didn’t ever think that it had been Theo who murdered Jess, although I did think that she had been murdered- possibly by the boyfriend.  I did think that she was being abused by the boyfriend was a bit of an unnecessary plot line but I guess it kept the reader thinking he did it. It could be that it gave a valid reason for Jacob to set him up, but I don’t think that fits with the profile of someone with Asperger’s. Jacob wouldn’t have set up Mark to get back at him for what he did to Jess, because he didn’t feel empathy- although he may have seen that as a reason why Mark would have killed Jess and set it up so the police would see that too.

As a first Picoult read I would probably put a few books as a first choice before House Rules. For a first time reader I would probably recommend either My Sister’s Keeper or Handle with Care, but if you have read and enjoyed Picoult’s writing in the past I don’t think you will be disappointed by this one.

4/5

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Handle with Care- Jodi Picoult


Cover of "Handle with Care: A Novel"

Cover of Handle with Care: A Novel

This review was written 11 & 17/5/09

Synopsis (from amazon)

Everything breaks. Some things just hurt more than others.

Charlotte O’Keefe’s beautiful, much-longed-for, adored daughter Willow is born with osteogenesis imperfecta – a very severe form of brittle bone disease. If she slips on a crisp packet she could break both her legs, and spend six months in a half body cast. After years of caring for Willow, her family faces financial disaster. Then Charlotte is offered a lifeline. She could sue her obstetrician for wrongful birth – for not having diagnosed Willow’s condition early enough in the pregnancy to be able to abort the child. The payout could secure Willow’s future. But to get it would mean Charlotte suing her best friend. And standing up in court to declare that she would have prefered that Willow had never been born…

Initial thoughts

Before I even started this book I knew it could be one which I could connect with, and I’m glad I wasn’t wrong. When I was 7 I was diagnosed with osteoporosis, a disorder which is similar to osteogenisis imperfecta, in fact at points it had been proposed that this is what I have, although tests have said osteoporosis. My osteoporosis is nowhere near as bad as Willow’s but all the same I recognise some of the issues she has as my own problems, especially when I was younger. I can’t even remember my first break, or my second, one I got falling down a couple of stairs I was crawling up, the other falling off my parents bed. (highlight for spoiler) Somewhere about this time my parents were asked about child abuse, in a less blatent way than Willow’s parents, and it wasn’t until after that they found out the question they had been asked was one asked to parents who are suspected of child abuse. When I was just finishing my first year of primary school is the first break I can remember, I broke my femur falling off my scooter, I was in traction for the whole Summer holiday. I broke my leg again falling over on my crutches, then my ankle when my foot slipped off the foot rest on my pushchair while I was still recovering. After that I had no breaks until just before I joined here, in more normal circumstances this time, I was hit by a car. I had the same bisphosphonate treatment as Willow in my teens, which was rather successful. All the same I do fear things, I fear falling a little, I’ve never been skating, or learnt to ride a bike, I’m scared of heights, I hate ladders and am not always comfortable with stairs unless I already know them. I am better than I once was, I know that just falling is unlikely to harm me, although my recent break is somewhat of a set back. I have never pitied myself, it’s just the way I am, but this book has made me think about myself, and my illness (I say for want of a better word)

Review
oh my

(highlight for spoiler) I never expected it to end this way. I don’t understand why. Why did Willow have to die, and in such a way? Was it so nobody really lost the court case? Seems extreme measures. I would like to think that at least it meant that Pippa and Charlotte, and Emma and Amelia became friends again.

For me I think this may be my new favourite Picoult book, not because it has the best plot, or is the most well written- both those are good but maybe not her best- but because it touched me personally. It didn’t make me cry but it did bring me close a few times (and generally books don’t even do that). Sometimes because of Willow herself, sometimes because I could see myself in her, and sometimes because it brought my own memories forward.
I adored Willow, she’s so brave, and somewhat unfazed, she doesn’t feel sorry for herself. Some of that people say I have but I don’t know if I could if I was as bad as Willow is. I really liked Amelia too (highlight for spoiler) in ways I felt more sorry for her than Willow because Willow’s pain was mainly physical, Amelia’s was psychological and in a way that is harder to get over

I liked how we always saw Willow through other people’s eyes. Except for the one chapter where Willow spoke.

(highlight for spoiler)I liked how Willow didn’t see the money as realy being hers so much as something that had brought her family back together. She didn’t so much care about what the money gave to her as that it made her family happy. This part made me close to tears at first because everything that had happened it didn’t really matter to Willow, she just wanted her family to be happy.

I also liked the recipes throughout the book, they made for something different.
Other people may not like this book as much, I am not sure, but I still think everyone will enjoy it.

5/5


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My Sister’s Keeper- Film of the book.


(I feel the trailer is a little spoilerish but not too badly, and, well, it’s the official trailer)

I love the book of My Sister’s Keeper, Jodi Picoult is an author I enjoy and My Sister’s Keeper is the first one of hers I read, and still one of my favourites (my favourite if you’re wondering is Handle with Care). So I was a bit…cautious… about the film. I tend not to like films of books, I hate it when they change things or leave stuff out, and I find it hard to take them as films in their own right.

This one was actually pretty good as far as films go. I liked the characters (in fact I probably liked Sara and Kate more than I had in the book). It was a little more emotional than the book, but sometimes that seemed forced. I haven’t cried for the book but I got a little teary over the film. I liked the way they portrayed the relationship between Kate and Anna. I thought the different voices which make up the book were done quite well, but was disappointed about how little we got from Campell Alexander and Jesse. There were a few changes I didn’t like. I didn’t like how much they cut of Campell, or that they left certain bits to do with him in which seemed kind of random (highlight for spoiler)him having the epileptic fit just seemed pointless without having the rest of his story, except for saying that was why he took Anna’s case, but it seemed more convenient for that than it had in the book. I didn’t like they way they changed Jesse either, they keep all the good kid bits of him and lost the rest (spoiler) I was kind of anticipating the arson, and that added something to the original story. I was disappointed it was gone, plus I prefered Jesse when he had more of a bad boy image, theere was more too him. I guess this is because the film was more about Kate, whereas the book is more about Anna, and about the whole family really. In a sense the film was kind of one-demensional in that way, but if they’d had all in interweaving storylines it would have been a very long film.

Unfortunately there is no review of the book My Sister’s Keeper on my blog, I read it before I started blogging. My review of Handle with Care was written on BCF but there is a copy in my review of the year 2009 here

You can also read my reviews of Picture Perfect and Songs of the Humpback Whale both by Jodi Picoult

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Picture Perfect- Jodi Picoult


Synopsis (from Amazon)

A woman is found in a Los Angeles graveyard, unable to remember anything about herself or her life.  No one is more surprised than she when, days later, her husband comes to the police station to take her home – and turns out to be Hollywood’s leading superstar, Alex Rivers.

Cassie Barrett begins to remember bits about her life: her passion for her career as an anthropologist, the whirlwind romance on location in Africa, her childhood.  But she senses there is something troubling in this perfect life that she can’t remember; and then, when she sees a pregnancy test, it all comes flooding back – and once again, Cassie feels there is no alternative but escape…

Review

I must say I have been disappointed with Picoult’s writing more recently. I did enjoy the book, and it’s still an improvement on Second Glance or Mercy. I did really like Cassie. It’s strange I wanted everything to work out with Alex, despite anything, I think that shows some skill in Picoult’s writing that she could still give the sense that Cassie really loved him, and that he loved her. By the end I did really enjoy it.

4/5

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Review of the Year 2009 (Part 1)


The bit at the beginning

Seeing as it’s almost the end of another year I thought it might be nice to have a sort of review of what I’ve read this year. What the best books have been, and the worst, and the most surprising. I’ll probably go on to talk about the books I’d like to read as a result of what I have read.

As I started logging my books from about the beginning of February those are all I will mention. My first review was written in late Febuary so on lists I will highlight books with no reviews in red, books with reviews on this blog will be linked. Those not reviewed on here are reviewed on my thread at The Book Club Forum, if you aren’t a member there (Why not?!) but would like to see a review of something mentioned let me know. I’ll post full reviews for the ‘winners’

So off we go…

General Stats

Books read (45)

Continue reading

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Blue Diary- Alice Hoffman


Cover of "Blue Diary"

Cover of Blue Diary

Synopsis

Ethan is a man most people would trust with their lives. Member of the volunteer fire department, coach of the school baseball team. He seems to have everything, a wife who he still loves the same as the day he met her and a lovely son. But Ethan has a secret. A secret which will rock the whole community.


Review.

I never really had been attracted to this book when seeing it around, but my sister recommended it as she knew I like Jodi Picoult’s books. I suppose I can see the similarities. Picoult’s books do tend to be about how events effect different people. I did feel as attached to the characters in this book though- there was only one I really felt for. The others I sympathised with but I didn’t feel that attached to.  I did find it a bit more predictable than Picoult’s books too, there always seems to be a twist in the tail with Picoult, and there was none here.

One thing I would have liked to have changed is to find out the outcome for Ethan. While the majority of the story wasn’t directly about him it felt unfinished not to know what happened with him.

I enjoyed it well enough however, and if you want something easy then I’d recommend it, but if you’re looking for something to really get involved in don’t bother.

3/5

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Songs of the Humpback Whale- Jodi Picoult


Cover of "Songs of the Humpback Whale: A ...

Cover of Songs of the Humpback Whale: A Novel

Synopsis (from Amazon)


Jane had always lived in somebody’s shadow. Escaping a childhood of abuse by marrying oceanographer Oliver Jones, she finds herself taking second place to his increasingly successful career. However, when her daughter Rebecca is similarly treated, Jane’s dramatic stand takes them all by surprise. Jane and Rebecca set out to drive across America to the sanctuary of the New England apple orchard where Jane’s brother Joley works. Oliver, used to tracking male humpback whales across vast oceans, now has the task of tracking his wife across a continent. To do so he must learn to see the world – and even himself – through her eyes…

Review

Ok so did I miss something…both the above synopsis and and the one on the back of the book suggested Rebecca was abused but as far as I can see that isn’t what happened, or the reason why Jane chose to leave…did I miss something crutial? (Highlight for spoiler)There was a brief section where I thought the Grandad may have thought about doing something, but that was in the past (he was dead in the present section) and not what caused them to leave at all. I guess that’s not something that’s really important though, makes no difference to the actual story even though it gives a false impression. Although this is Picoult’s latest book in the UK it was her first book in the US. You can already see her style though, with multiple voices. I don’t think her flow was quite up to her current standard, I did find that the changes in time took a while to adjust to and at first I found them a little confusing.

What I did like about this, in comparison to the other Picoult books I’ve read (which I think is all that are released in the UK) was that it was easier to relate to. There was still a moral dilemma as in the rest of Picoult’s books but it was the sort of dilemma you can image facing yourself, while not exactly common it’s less…dramatic, I suppose, and that makes it seem more likely to happen to you. I guess some people may see this as a disadvantage but for me I found I could more easily understand how the characters were feeling because it was easier to imagine myself in that situation.

I wouldn’t say it’s my favourite Picoult book, and it took me a little longer to get into, but I did really enjoy it- more even than some of her more recent ones.

4/5

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December- Elizabeth H. Winthrop


Synopsis (from Amazon)

Eleven-year-old Isabelle hasn’t spoken in nine months, and as December begins the situation is getting desperate. Her mother has stopped work to devote herself to her daughter’s care. Four psychiatrists have already given up on her, and her school will not take her back in the New Year. Her parents are frantically trying to understand what has happened so they can help their child, but they cannot escape the thought of darker possibilities. What if Isabelle is damaged beyond their reach? Will she never speak again? Is it their fault? As they spiral around Isabelle’s impenetrable silence, she herself emerges as a bright young girl in need of help yet too terrified to ask for it.

Review

This book has been sitting on my shelf for a while. I just didn’t feel compeled to read it for some reason. I’m not sure why, it sounded interesting enough.

In the end it reminded me quite a bit of Jodi Picoult books, a similar style. In a way this was good because well I like Jodi Picoult books, but at the same time it made it seem unoriginal. All the same I enjoyed it, in particular I liked Isabelle, and the psychologist in me was really interested in why she wasn’t speaking.

Highlight below for spoiler

In fact the psychologist in me didn’t like that we never found out for sure. I guessed and I think as a reader I was meant to guess but I would have liked to know if my suspicions were right

3.5/5

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