logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: illness
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-06-08 23:24
Upstaged
[Death of a Hollow Man: A Chief Inspector Barnaby Mystery] (By: Caroline Graham) [published: March, 2006] - Caroline Graham

Once more I'm delving into Caroline Graham's world of detective fiction but this time it's with the second book in her Chief Inspector Barnaby series. Death of a Hollow Man takes place primarily in the Causton theater. It begins with the death of a prominent member of the local acting community committed during a performance of their newest production. Very dramatic, eh? [A/N: I have to restate my dislike of Sgt Troy who is misogynistic, homophobic, and generally vile. I understand he's used as a literary device to highlight how different he is from the main protagonist of the novel but I really wish he wasn't in the books at all. Something I do like is the relationship between Tom and his wife Joyce which is portrayed quite a bit differently from the TV series which I am more familiar with (and like better). The reader learns more background knowledge about how they met each other and fell in love (turns out Joyce is an excellent singer while Tom possesses admirable artistic skills). In fact, a lot of relationships are explored in this sequel and the majority of them are quite ugly beneath the surface. There's quite a lot of flippant talk regarding mental illness which I didn't particularly care for especially relating to Alzheimer's. I think the only really good thing I can say about this novel is that the mystery itself is fast paced and interesting so it kept me turning the pages. Graham knows how to write a gripping mystery but I don't think she's especially adept at character portrayals (or sensitivity). All in all, I think this will be my last foray into this literary series but I will continue to watch Midsomer Murders (especially after we visited the place where it's filmed). 5/10

 

What's Up Next: Ghostbusters by Larry Milne

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-06-01 19:00
A character you won't soon forget
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman

There is a reason that this debut novel has been on hold for many, many months and why it continues to be difficult to get in a hurry. Gail Honeyman has managed to create a character so unique and delightful that I found myself instantly enamored of her. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is the story of a woman who the reader learns from the outset is completely aloof to the social mores of society and is pretty content to remain so...until she sees the man of her dreams. It seems fairly obvious to the reader that this 'relationship' is doomed to fail. (Like my romance with Brian Littrell when I was in middle school.) However, having this foreknowledge does not detract from the story because the love story is between the reader and Eleanor and Eleanor with herself. She is a fragile woman who has built up a rather thick wall between herself and the entire world...and she's had plenty of time to reinforce that wall. Her past is nothing if not murky and it doesn't get cleared up until almost the very end of the novel. (And it's a doozy, ya'll.) It's exceedingly difficult for me not to spill some essential facts while writing up this review because they're the things that make this a truly gripping piece of realistic fiction. Eleanor is a character that seems to live and breathe beyond the page. Her bucking of social 'norms' coupled with her frankly hilarious inner dialogue about what is and isn't 'polite' had me laughing out loud on several occasions and made me feel so connected to her. I truly rooted for her and became emotionally invested as if I was reading an autobiography or memoir instead of a work of fiction. (Gail, you've made it into my list of top 20 authors of all time. I'm excited to see what you come up with next!) 10/10 highly recommend

 

A/N: The author discusses child abuse, disfigurement, bullying (from all ages), and mental illness. If these are triggering to you in any way, shape, or form then you should steer clear. Everyone else, I think Gail handled these topics very well (having dealt with 2 of the 4 personally) and I see no reason why you should give this book a pass. Eleanor will grab you by the heartstrings and refuse to let go.

 

What's Up Next: Grace & Style: The Art of Pretending You Have It by Grace Helbig

 

What I'm Currently Reading: The Outsider by Stephen King

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-05-30 22:30
Carrie by Stephen King
Carrie - Stephen King

I finished my third read of Carrie on Sunday. I wanted my thoughts on it to be fresh for an in-person book group meeting at the end of this month. (It is prom season after all!)

 

 

 

I still love this style of story-telling which includes snippets from newspaper articles, different (fictional) books and journals, and several eye-witness accounts. I still find myself feeling for Carrie, and mostly those feelings consist of pity and sadness. I think every American schoolkid has been where she was. I wonder if Carrie would be a school shooter these days instead of a telekinetic time bomb? That may be a crazy thought, but having just re-read RAGE last month, (not to mention seeing the daily news here in America), I think it's natural for such a thing to cross my mind.

 

Lastly, reading this book while also reading King's latest, THE OUTSIDER, presented the chance for comparison. King was lean and mean in writing Carrie, in fact, I wished for more. THE OUTSIDER, while good, is a bit bloated and not as focused. Is that just his writing style changing over the years? Is it the fact that editing guidelines were different, and tighter back in the day? Whatever it is, there's a definite difference between the two, and despite King's tendency to ramble on? I think some of his largest books will still remain among my favorites of all time.

 

-

 

8.21.2012:

 

I just finished a re-read of this book. It was a bit different than I remembered. I think I took a lot more away from it this time than I did the first. Perhaps it's in light of the current problems regarding bullying among teenagers, or perhaps it's just that more than 20 years have passed since I last read it, and I am viewing it from a different perspective. Whichever it is, I enjoyed revisiting the town of Chamberlain and all its residents.

 

I also enjoyed (very much) how the story was related. Little bits from the White Commission (the investigatory body formed to discern the truth about what happened in Chamberlain), fake AP news articles, and tidbits from books later written about the Carrie White case. The only thing I would've have liked would be a little more meat to the story. Not something I would normally say in regards to Mr. King!  All in all, I'm very glad I re-read this book.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-05-30 00:29
Handle with Care by Josephine Myles 3.5 Star Review!
Handle with Care - Josephine Myles

Great things come in small packages…

Ben Lethbridge doesn’t have many vices left. He lost his youth to raising his little sister to adulthood, then made up for lost time with reckless abandon. Two years of constant partying—and ignoring his diabetes—has left him tied to a home dialysis regimen.

He can work from home, fortunately, but most of life’s little luxuries are forbidden. Except for watching porn… and fantasising over Ollie, the gorgeous purple-haired skateboarder who delivers his discreetly packaged DVDs.

Their doorstep banter is the highlight of Ben’s solitary day, but his paranoia over his illness-ravaged body prevents him from seeing their flirting for what it really is. He knows Ollie is far too young for him anyway, but he figures there’s no harm in sprucing himself up a bit.

Then one day, a package accidentally splits open, revealing Ben’s dirty little secret. But instead of Ollie being repelled they make an unexpected connection that has Ben wondering if he’s been reading him wrong all this time. The only way to find out if they have a chance at love is to risk showing Ollie every last scar. And that could take more courage than Ben owns.

Warning: Contains superhero porn comics and a pint-sized, accident-prone delivery guy with colour-changing hair. Readers may experience coffee cravings, an unexpected liking for bad mullets, and the urge to wrap Ollie up and take him home.

 

Review

 

I  am a big fan of Myles work and I really liked this romance.

I am all in for the hero on dialysis. Since I have lived with and loved someone through this process, I really valued the details of what it is like living with kidney failure and all that is associated especially in terms of a romantic and sexual relationship.

Ben was complex and so was Ollie and I really enjoyed that as well as Ben's sister's struggle to share her brother.

Ben and Ollie struggle with communication and the story needed to be longer to really sink into an HEA but overall I enjoyed and would recommend this read just for the rep of a character with a chronic illness alone. 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-05-04 19:34
If you believe in the power of stories and love magic, theatre, families, and heart-warming novels, you must read this feel-good book. Love at first-read.
Days of Wonder - Keith Stuart

Thanks to NetGalley and to Little, Brown and Company UK (Clara Díaz in particular) for providing me an ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

I read and reviewed Keith Stuart’s first novel A Boy Made of Blocks, a truly extraordinary book, a couple of years ago, and loved it. I could not resist when I was offered the opportunity to read the author’s second novel. And, again, it was love at first read.

Days of Wonder has some similarities to A Boy. It does center on the relationship between a father and his child (in this case, Hannah), and how their relationship is shaped by a specific condition affecting the child (Asperger’s in the first novel, a chronic cardiac illness that cannot be cured and will only get worse in this novel). All the characters are beautifully portrayed, not only the protagonists but, in this case, also an array of secondary characters that become an ersatz family unit.

Tom, the father, runs a small theatre and has close links to the amateur theatrical group. His wife, Elizabeth, left the family when their daughter was three and leads the life of a high-flier, with no real contact with her family. Hannah has grown-up in the theatre, surrounded by the players and by stories, both on stage and out.

The book, narrated in the first person by both Tom and Hanna (mostly in alternating chapters, although towards the end there are some that follow the same character’s point of view, due to the logic of the story). Hannah’s narration in the present is interspersed with what appear to be diary entries addressed to Willow, (the theatre is called The Willow Tree). She is a strong girl, who loves her father, the theatre and the players, her friends, and who has a can-do attitude, despite her serious illness, or perhaps because of it. She knows how valuable each moment is, and lives it to the fullest (within her limitations). She is worried about her father and how much he has focused his life on her and decides that he must find a woman and live a fuller life. She loves comics, fairy-tales, is funny (having a sense of humour does help in such a situation, without a doubt), witty, and wise beyond her years, whilst being a credible teenager who worries about boys and can sometimes have questionable judgement. I challenge anybody not to fall in love with Hannah, her enthusiasm, and her zest for life.

Tom is a father who tries his hardest in a very difficult situation, and who sometimes finds himself in above his head, unable to function or to decide, frozen by the enormity of the situation. He is one of the good guys, he’d do anything to help anybody, and some of his philosophical reflections are fairly accurate, although, like most of us, he’s better at reading others than at understanding himself. His date disasters provide some comic relief but he is somebody we’d all love to count as a friend. Or, indeed, a father.

One of my favourite characters is Margaret, an older woman who has become a substitute grandmother for Hannah, and who is absolutely fabulous, with her anecdotes, her straight speaking, her X-ray vision (she knows everything that goes on even before the people involved realise what is going on sometimes), and she is a bit like the fairy-godmother of the fairy tales Hannah loves so much. As for the rest, Callum, Hannah’s boyfriend, is a very touching character, with many problems (the depiction of his depression is accurate and another one of the strong points of a book full of them), and the rest of the theatre crew, although they appear to be recognisable types at first sight (the very busy mother who wants some space for herself, the very capable woman whose husband is abusive, a retired man whose relationship with his wife seems to be falling apart, a gay man who can’t confess his attraction for another member of the group…), later come across as genuine people, truly invested in the project, and happy to put everything on the line for the theatre.

The novel is set in the UK and it has many references that will delight the anglophiles and lovers of all-things-British, from language quirks to references to plays, movies, TV series and festivals. (Oh, and to local politics as well), but I’m sure that the lack of familiarity with them will not hinder the readers’ enjoyment. Although there are also quite a number of references to theatre plays and comics (and I don’t know much about comics, I confess), they never overwhelm the narration and are well integrated into the story, adding to its depth.

The book deals in serious subjects (family break-ups, abuse, chronic physical and mental illnesses [affecting young people, in particular], aging and death, growing-up, single-parent families) and whilst it makes important points about them, which many readers will relate to, they are seamlessly incorporated into the fabric of the novel, and it never feels preachy or as if it was beating you over the head with a particular opinion or take on the topic.

Reading the author’s comment above, I can vouch for his success. This is indeed a book about love, life, and magic. It is a declaration of love to the world of theatre and to the power of stories. The novel is beautifully written, flows well, and the readers end up becoming members of their troupe, living their adventures, laughing sometimes and crying (oh, yes, get the tissues ready) at other times. Overall, despite its sad moments, this is a hopeful feel-good book, heart-warming and one that will make readers feel at peace with themselves and the world. It has a great ending and although I wondered at first if the epilogue was necessary, on reflection, it is the cherry on top of the trifle. Perfect.

The book is endlessly quotable and I’ve highlighted a tonne of stuff, but I couldn’t leave you without sharing something.

Here is Hanna, talking about magic:

I don’t mean pulling rabbits out of hats or sawing people in half (and then putting them back together: otherwise it’s not magic, it’s technically murder). I just mean the idea that incredible things are possible, and that they can be conjured into existence through will, effort and love.

As I’m writing this review on Star Wars Day, I could not resist this quote, again from Hannah:

I feel as though it’s closing in around me, like the trash-compactor scene in Star Wars, except I have no robots to rescue me although I do have an annoying beeping box next to the bed doing a twenty-four-hours-a-day impression of R2-D2.

Oh, and another Star Wars reference:

It’s as though the spirit of Margaret is working through me, like a cross between Maggie Smith and Yoda.

And a particularly inspiring one:

Margaret told me that you must measure life in moments —because unlike hours or days or weeks or years, moments last forever. I want more of them. I am determined. I will steal as many as I can.

A beautiful book, a roller-coaster of emotions, and an ode to the power of stories, to their magic, and to family love, whichever way we choose to define family. I urge you to read it. You’ll feel better for it. And I look forward to reading more books by its author, who has become one of my favourites.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?