Book Review: Wonder

The Blurb:

My name is August. I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever, you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.

The Review:

This novel is a feel-good life-giving story. This book gives power to change hearts – where people no longer base their judgment of another upon race, appearance, religion, gender and many other prejudices.

I happen to have written this review a month after one armed man performed heinous acts of hate upon my country and took the lives of 50 New Zealanders. Reviewing this novel was so timely and important as I can reflect on the importance of the message of this novel. No more should we stand for judgments of others based on what we see. And no more should we act on those judgments.

The offender tried to spread terror throughout the world and divide people. However, acts of kindness, charity, and compassion circulate the arteries of many humans who choose to good. The harrowing and bone-chilling stories of fear experienced by the victims must be drowned out by an earth focused on love. I hope this manifesto of compassion allows and inspires you, Readers, to allows you to see with eyes that are clear and unprejudiced, because (as shown in Wonder) we can change how we view others.

When we view our planet from outer space (as Auggie would have liked to do) it can be observed that we are all the same and all inhabit the same life-giving planet. We must stand beside those who are unprivileged, physically different, religiously alternate to us, and racially diverse because we all have hearts that beat at the same pace. We are the same! We may all have different struggles and stories like August, Julian, Summer and Jack-Will but we all deserve love and equality.

Now enough of my ranting, on to the review. Wonder is an amazing novel. It is written in a style that reflects it’s narrator, depending on the chapter. Having perspectives of all the main characters in the book really helps to understand the motives of some of the kids actions and helps to see the personal adversities each one faces – whether it be shy and humiliated August or his overlooked sister Olivia, his drifting friend Jack-Will or with August’s nemesis Julian.

I would recommend this book to all ages as this book discusses lessons that are vital for children and adults alike. After reading this book you may be angry, happy or even in tears. This book is also a major motion picture, which gives justice to the book and reflects it’s different Parts.

The main theme is this novel was that it doesn’t matter what you look like – everyone has their own story and deserves love.

Favorite Quote

“If every single person in this room made it a rule that wherever you are, wherever you can, you will try to act a little kinder than is necessary—the world really would be a better place.”

Mr Tushman, Wonder

Favorite Character

Probably overlooked sister Olivia and cute dog Daisy. I would say Auggie, but he got a little annoying when he whined a lot and didn’t accept Jack-Will’s apology

QFTR (Questions for The Readers)

  • How has this book changed the way you see others?
  • Why do you think Jack-Will talked about Auggie behind his back?
  • Do you thinks the way Via feels is justified?
  • Do you think Auggie’s parents were rightly overprotective and treated both Via and Auggie equally?

What did you think about this book? Was it one of your favs or did you expect better?
Write what you think in the comments section : )


Review: Peggy and Me

The Blurb:

Hello dear book browser and welcome to Peggy & Me, the story of my life since getting a beautiful Shih-Tzu Bichon Frise cross puppy (I call the breed a Shitty Frise – fun) in the form of Peggy.

Some of you may be thinking: “a book about a dog, how totally brilliant, I need hear no more, I’m sold.” In which case we should be best friends and go out to tea together, every day.

Others of you may be thinking: “a book about a dog, how totally mad, she must have officially lost it.” In which case I completely understand. For I once viewed dog owners with much suspicion. The way they obsessively talk about their dogs often using voices for them to reply; the way they have a light covering of dog hair all over their clothes and sofas; and worse, an alarming comfort and ease around excrement.

But I now get why people become so mad about their hounds. It wasn’t instant love I have to admit. Getting a puppy when I was at a low ebb in my life wasn’t easy – there was a lot of challenging, what I call, dog administration (dog-min), and the humiliating first trip to the vet still haunts me. It’s been a bumpy old road, but Peggy has been lovingly by my side through some life-changing moments and I wouldn’t have coped without her. Most surprisingly she has taught me a huge amount – not how to get an old pie packet out of a bin and lick it (I could already do that), but real lessons about life and love and trust and friendship.

Put aside any doggy reservations and come walkies with Peggy and me ..

The Review:

If you’ve watched Miranda you already know that she is hilarious. Immediately when I saw this book on the lower shelf in my local book store I just had to bend down and pick up the biscuit, oops I mean book. I chose to read this as I love dogs and the combo of Miranda and a cute puppy – how can you go wrong.

This book is an auto-biography filled with some exaggerated and some not-so-exaggerated stories of Miranda’s life with her “Shitty Frise”, Peggy. Now I understand that this is non-fiction but I felt compelled to review it anyway. in short this book was super humorous. It took place over Miranda’s life and journey and struggles she had whilst creating the renowned TV series Miranda. This story contains funny anecdotes that only Miranda would find herself tied up in.
The dog made an awesome addition to an already funny story. This is a must read for any dog lovers or Miranda Fans and anyone in between.

Favorite Quote

“It’s me [Miranda] and you [Peggy] against the world.”

Miranda Hart, Peggy and me

Favorite Character

Miranda and Peggy (you can’t have one without the other) – this is an auto-biography, so there are no other prominent characters.

QFTR (Question for The Readers)

  • What was your favorite anecdote? (Mine was probably the Vet story)
  • Have you read any other Miranda books?
  • Have you ever had moments like Miranda has – when you completely make a fool of yourself?

Book Haul 03/05/2019

What I got:

  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  • The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins
  • Selected Poems of John Keats
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • Bertram’s Hotel by Agatha Christie
  • Agatha Christie’s 3 Part Crime Collections
  • The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

Where I bought these:

I bought these from Xanadu Book Exchange – an independent bookstore absolutely filled with books.

What do you think:

Have you read these? Would you recommend them?

Do you have a favorite independent bookstore?

Book Review: The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin

The Blurb:

What if your life depended on a stranger?

On a stormy went tonight, to strangers wait for a flight at the salt lake city airport. Actually Knox is an attractive, successful writer, who is flying east for her much anticipated wedding. Dr Ben Payne has just wrapped up a medical conference and is also eager to return home. When the last outgoing flight is cancelled due to forthcoming storm, Ben finds a charter plane that can take him around the weather front. And when the pilot says the single engine prop plane can fit one more, Ben offers the seat to Ashley.

Then the unthinkable happens and the plane crashes into the High Uintas Wilderness – one of the largest stretches of harsh and remote land in the United States. Ben, who has broken ribs, and Ashley, who suffers a terrible leg fracture, along with the pilots dog, are faced with a battle to survive. How will they make it out of the wilderness and if they do, will they ever be the same again?

The Review:

I’m sorry, but this review is not a very positive one. This is one of those rare moments when the book was not better than the movie. They were both equally bad. In the book, the characters were shallow, except for a few flashbacks of Ben Payne’s childhood and relationship with his wife. Of course, he has a harsh childhood where his father abuses him. We get to hear nothing of Ashley’s past though. Why? This story was extremely predictable.

As seen on the blurb “What if your life depended on the stranger?” and “How will they make it out of the wilderness?” seems extremely unoriginal. The story was very uninteresting and sounded like any other survival story – where once again the cliché of two people coming together and through adversity fall in love with each other was used.

Of course that would happen. The way it was written was extremely flat as it didn’t have much description and just stated what was happening. It did not use the well-known story structure of ‘show not tell’ instead it just told everything as it was. The only success of this book was the twist at the end. I did not see this coming and this was the only part of the book that keep it afloat in my eyes. The story is written in first person. The addition of the symbolism of the Dictaphone was a good additive to the story as it made a link to the later twist.

I would not recommend this book to people who love world-building or heavy description as there was none. For those of you who wish to read this, yeah sure, give it ago but mark my words: you may be disappointed. In 2017, the film was released, starring Idris Elba and Kate Winslet and was also a disappointment. This film was doomed from the get-go after being based on the book that had virtually no plot and no possible scene development. It closely followed the story but shortened the time it took for them to reach all the memorable points in the book. Strangely enough, the names of the main characters were changed in the film. How would this make a difference to an already dull movie? The names of the main characters in the film were changed to Ben Bass and Alex Martin which was just a completely strange thing to do and made no sense. It didn’t change the story anyway and there was no reason behind the name change. There’s one thing I need to make clear: why did they even bother making a film out of a book that wasn’t made for a film in the first place? The book was worse enough and making a film didn’t make it any more appealing to read. This book was set in the wilderness of the US, so anyone who lives outside of the US, you may struggle to grasp the context of this novel. For those of us who aren’t American, we just won’t get the humor. This book was hard to finish, although the twist made it somewhat worth it in the end. Give it a go if your game. But be prepared that you may just find yourself looking at other books in your bookshelf very longingly.

Thank you, Charles Martin for the personal note to the reader as I felt that I somewhat understood the reason behind your story in the end. I applaud your persistence in writing this novel and having it made into a movie. That is what all authors hope to achieve. The setting of this novel was a very beautiful landscape and it is always awe-inspiring looking at the nature God created for us. We all should “Lift our eyes to the hills and remember where our help comes from”.

Favorite Quote:

How can I be expected to have a favorite quote as I didn’t like the book. Perhaps the common cliche that I found when I was going through the book trying to find a quote is my fav.

“What was her greatest weakness prior to the separation?”

“The thing that’s also her greatest strength.”

“Her love… for me and the twins.”

Ben Payne and Ashley Knox NOT Ben Bass and Alex Martin

Favorite Character:

This was hard, especially when you don’t particularly like the characters. Can I say the dog, Tank-Napoleon?

***Spoiler Below***

QFTR (Question For The Readers)

  • What did the title represent and why do you think was it chosen?
  • Is Ben to blame for the crash as he was the one who suggested taking a charter plane into a storm?
  • Why do you think Ben kept the real truth about his wife secret from Ashley?
  • What do you think the Dictaphone symbolizes?

What did you think about this book? Write your thoughts below.

Book review: The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes

The Blurb:

Christmas 1919. Louisa Cannon dreams of escaping London, and most of all her dangerous uncle.
Her salvation is a position within the Mitford household at Asthall Manor. There she becomes nursery maid, chaperone and confidante to the Mitford sisters, especially sixteen-year-old Nancy.
But then a nurse – Florence Nightingale Shore, goddaughter of her famous namesake – is killed on a train in broad daylight, and Louisa and Nancy find themselves entangled in the crimes of a murderer who will do anything to hide their secret …

The Review:

My fav book of 2018. The cover stood out on shelf of new releases in my local bookstore and I hastily plucked it out. After reading and watching Agatha Christie’s Poirot Mysteries I realised I was an avid fan of mystery-solving novels. After starting MM I soon found myself ensconced on my bed with a hot cup of tea for hours on end, in awe of what was unfolding before my eyes.

This book was a masterpiece. True artistry.

I ended up scribbling down notes of the interesting clues as they were revealed in the book, trying to be a real-life Hercule Poirot, and let me tell you, red-herrings were rife. The characters are so iconic and, even though set in 1920s London, are relatable. The combo of real historical figures and fictional fantasies was the work of genius. The young Mitfords proved an interesting bunch and Louisa (our determined heroine) and Guy were two characters that I felt I was journeying with as they solved the case. I loved the setting, especially since it was set in amidst the ‘art deco’ period. All details were carefully considered, though I wouldn’t expect anything less from Downton Abbey companion writer @official_jessicafellowes The best part of this book was the plot, so unexpected, yet made perfect sense. I recommend this book to ages 16 and up, especially to murder mystery enthusiasts and Downton addicts. The precisely timed reveals of tell-tale information lead to a very satisfying read. Will definitely read no. 2 Bright Young Dead.

Favorite Quote:

They’d looked forward to post-war life for so long, only to find that nothing could be returned to the way it was before.

Mitford Murders, Jessica Fellowes

Favorite Character

Guy Sullivan and Louisa Cannon

QFTR (Questions for the Readers)

  • Do you think the young Mitfords were portrayed accurately in The Mitford Murders?
  • Have you read any other murder mysteries that were written in the past few years?

What do you think? Write your thoughts below

Wow, what a glorious review!

Actual quote from Jessica Fellowes on @my_addiction_to_fiction, yes THE Jessica Fellowes, author of The Mitford Murders

Book Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

The Blurb:

Mare barrow’s world is divided by blood – those with red and those with silver. Mare and her family are lowly reds, destined to serve the silver elite whose supernatural abilities make them nearly gods. Mare steals what she can to help her family survive, but a twist of fate leads her to the royal palace itself where, in front of the king and all his nobles, she discovers an ability she didn’t know she had. Except… her blood is red. To hide this impossibility, the king forces her into the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the silver world, her actions put into motion a deadly and violent dance, pitting Prince against Prince and Mare against your own heart.

The Review:

This book was amazing! It came to me when I was in a bit of a reading slump and just needed a good book to bring back to my love of reading. Definitely one of my favorite books of 2017. I would recommend it to those who would love the combo of The Hunger Games, Divergent and Game of Thrones with some Ancient Greek influences

This story takes place in Norta, (think North America) where the long lost remnants of today’s America are apparent.

The plot was action-packed and filled with plot-twists. Complex characters including the protagonist Mare barrow bring the story to life. The pages were filled with original metaphors and inspiring prose. The book brought to my attention the controversial issues of violence to prevent violence. Recommended to ages 13+. RQ is 1 of a 4 book series! Also, there are novellas such as Steel Scars and Queen Song that add another element to the RQ series. RQ may also coming to the big screen sometime in the future! Can’t wait!

Favourite Quote:

“I have lived that life already, in the mud, in the shadows, in a cell, in a silk dress. I will never submit again. I will never stop fighting.

Mare Barrow, Red Queen

Favourite Character:

Diana Farley as she was different and such a fighter.

***Spoiler Below***

QFTR (Questions for the Readers)

  • Do you think the scarlet guards methods were justified and morally right?
  • Are you Team Maven, Team Cal or neither?
  • Mare didn’t want to be a part of the proposed murders by Maven. But Maven persuaded her to agree with him. After Maven’s motives became clear, Mare realized she had been tricked and betrayed. Has there been a time when your conscience told you something was wrong and you allowed yourself to be pressured into doing something you didn’t think was right?

What do you think about Red Queen? Write your thoughts below.

Book Review: The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

The Blurb:

They break the rules and follow their hearts. What happens next will break yours.
1926. Tom Sherbourne is the young lighthouse keeper on a remote island off Western Australia. The only inhabitants of Janus Rock, he and his wife Isabel live a quiet life, cocooned from the rest of the world. 
Then one April morning a boat washes ashore carrying a dead man and a crying infant- and the path of the couple’s lives hits an unthinkable crossroads. 
Only years later do they discover the devastating consequences of the decision they made that day- and the baby’s real story unfolds…

The Review:

This book is amazing! Once I started it I could hardly put it down. The way this book is written makes you root for both the protagonists and antagonists. Midway through the book the lines become blurred between who is in the wrong and who is right.

We follow the main characters throughout their lives. I would recommend this book very highly and encourage you all to read it! This book has won many awards because of the fascinating and original story line combined with rich and mesmerizing prose.

Favorite Quote

“We each get a little turn at life, and if this ends up being how my turn went, it will still have been worth it.”

Tom Sherbourne, The Light Between Oceans

Favourite Character

Tom Sherbourne because of his complexity as a character.


QFTR (Questions for the Readers)

  • Why do you think the author selected ‘The Light Between Oceans’ as the title?
  • Which character won your sympathy throughout the novel? Who were you rooting for?
  • How did Tom’s previous experiences in the war influence the story?

What do you think? Write your thoughts below.