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review 2018-02-26 22:31
The Story of my Life / Helen Keller
The Story of My Life - Helen Keller

This is my “Celebrity Memoir” book to fill the Book Riot Read Harder challenge for 2018.  Helen Keller was rather famous in her day, being the first deaf-blind person to earn a BA degree.  I believe she is still admired by many in the deaf community.


I don’t suppose it is surprising that she was an avid reader, once her teacher Miss Sullivan managed to make the breakthrough that allowed Helen’s education to begin.  It was an activity that she could pursue on her own at her own speed and, like all of us, gain information on subjects that intrigued her.


I was surprised by how much she loved poetry, however.  For me poetry is very much about hearing it—I often read it aloud in order to properly appreciate it.  Since Helen was unable to hear it, she must have had a very sophisticated sense of the rhythm of the words, probably seeing many more nuances in it than I do.  I was also amazed at the number of languages that she managed to master—German, French, Latin, Greek—and I wish I had the same facility with languages.  I struggle to maintain my little bit of French and Spanish!


I couldn’t help but notice how much the natural world and companion animals were part of her life.  The smells of the garden or the seaside were ways of opening up her world and her pet cats, dogs and horses provided unjudgemental companionship.


I had hoped that this was the story of Ms. Keller that I read during my childhood, but it was a different work.  I think the book that I was familiar with was based on the life of her teacher, Anne Sullivan, and I hope to track it down some day for a reminiscent read—I remember reading it many times as a child and loving it.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-02-19 08:01
Alchemy: Turning Silver to Gold
Alchemy: turning Silver to Gold - an historical psychological mystery thriller - Chris James

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.


Mr James has done it again!  Another fantastic historical crime novel following the story of Jacob Silver.  Spanning the 20 odd years since Jacob Silver was hanged for the murders of his beloved models and his love's Sister, Rebecca. This story begins with Lizzie Weston convinced that Jacob was innocent of all the murders and may well be alive and well after she discovered his grave empty.


Within 3 years of setting out to clear his name, Miss Weston has convinced the police and convinced them to have him posthumously pardoned by Queen Victoria.  Unbeknownst to Lizzie and almost every other person on the planet, the Queen and Lizzie's father had their own plan to save Jacob from the hangman's noose. One that remains undiscovered for many years after both had passed away...


Crime is what Chris James knows, and his knowledge certainly shows with both this and the first novel in the series, Alchemy: A Perfect Murder.  I'm definitely eager to learn when the 3rd book in the series will be published.


This the second book in the Alchemy series gets 5/5 stars.

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text 2016-01-12 11:50
My now annual post holiday reading slump and this years challenge(s)

I don't know what it is about this time of year, but this is the second year running (that I've actually acknowledged) where I hit a reading slump as soon as it ticks over to January 1...

I don't know whether it's the heat frying my brain, or the kids being home from school, a post holiday slump or just the migraine I had on and off since Christmas eve that's thrown me off, but I'm sure I'll get back on track again soon, no doubt I'll get my reading bug back right when I start uni for the year and wont have the time.


On the cards for this year are the challenges I did last year (Goodreads, PopSugar & BookRiot), and a PopSugar spin-off challenge Around the Year in 52 books, but this year I will be overlapping categories within challenges instead of reading a separate book for each.  I just don't have it in me to read another 90+ books on top of Uni and my parenting duties, but I will try and at least read 52 books for the year, I figure one a week is doable, without overtaxing myself. 


I did pretty well on the challenges from last year, finished the PopSugar reading challenge new years eve, and had one book left (which I'm plodding through now) on the BookRiot read harder challenge, I also surpassed my Goodreads challenge of 60 by reading a total of 92 books for the year... I don't think I've read that many in a year since I was in high school, many moons ago. 


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review 2015-12-21 04:48
The Girl on the Train
The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins

Parts of this book hit a little too close to home, which made it difficult to get through without panic attacks of my own, but I'm very glad I did.  


Sometimes I didn't know whether to feel sorry for Rachel, unable to conceive the child she so desired, she became depressed, losing her home, her husband, and eventually her job in the process.  But she was also a pathological liar, lying to herself, to her landlord and friend, her mother, the police, and to entwine herself with the man whose wife disappeared.


There's not too much more I can write about this book without giving away the plot twists... I did thoroughly enjoy the story.


4.5 stars

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review 2015-12-06 04:13
The Amazing Book is Not on Fire - Dan Howell & Phil Lester
The Amazing Book is Not on Fire - Phil Lester,Dan Howell

This book is definitely one for Dan and Phil fans or Phans if you prefer.  This is the textual embodiment of their YouTube existence.  I really feel that you have to at least be familiar with their YouTube channels (danisnotonfire, amazingphil & danandphilgames) to really appreciate this book.  


This book definitely has the Dan and Phil feel about it, it's very them.  Their personalities are clear and strong throughout.  For me there's a certain level of kinship I feel with these two, rather tall, self proclaimed nerds. Clumsy, socially awkward and game loving are all traits I can personally identify with, though they're all a good foot taller than I am, and maybe a few years younger.  

I believe that it is their honesty and their relatability that make them the YouTube power house that they are.  


I give Dan and Phil's book 4.5/ 5 stars.

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