Book Review – Educated by Tara Westover

Book Review – Educated by Tara WestoverEducated by Tara Westover
Published by HarperCollins on February 20, 2018
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Personal Memoirs, Women, General
Pages: 400
Goodreads
five-stars

A little change of pace here…I read this book a week ago but I’ve struggled to find time to write a review and I want to do it justice. I have wanted to read this book for quite some time. I feel quite strongly about biographies and memoirs and I tend to read and review them with a different lens. I acknowledge that the story is personal, it actually happened and should be respected.

Educated is a memoir about the author, Tara’s, childhood, continuing into her adulthood. Tara’s upbringing was challenging, she grew up in an environment whereby her parents had extreme beliefs about healthcare, education and the government. Tara, her parents and siblings are mormons, but Tara makes it clear from the outset that the book is not about mormonism.

As always, I’ve done my research, I watched some interviews with Tara on You Tube and she stresses that mormonism was not responsible for the views of her parents and the events that occurred for her and her siblings. There are plenty of practising mormons who still attend school and access healthcare. Rather, her father’s declining mental health heavily influenced his actions and paranoia about the world.

Tara’s situation is extraordinary, she entered university education at the age of 17, despite having no formal education previously. Tara’s family members suffered injuries and illness as a result of her father’s belief about medical treatment. Due to Tara’s lack of exposure and awareness of how other families and children live, the home life she experienced was normal. The beliefs were not questioned by her, until much later.

The book is such an intriguing read. It reminded me of The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. It is about more than just Tara’s formal education, it is primarily about her home life, family, relationships and struggles. Tara’s home life was sometimes abusive and often neglectful. Tara and her siblings were often in very dangerous situations as a result of her father’s actions. I know a lot of people have feelings of anger towards Tara’s parents after reading her book. Tara does not mirror these feelings towards her parents and her siblings. Tara still expresses gratitude for some aspects of her upbringing, which is so admirable.

I had mixed feelings towards Tara’s father whilst reading the book. At times I was shocked, other times angry, but there were times when his responses made me giggle a little. Tara is successful in portraying her father honestly, without degrading him. Tara also acknowledges at the end of the book that she and some of her siblings have different accounts in relation to several events in the book.

You’ll enjoy this book if you love memoirs, or stories where people have overcome hardship in their lives. Tara is certainly admirable and her accomplishments speak for themselves.

five-stars

About Tara Westover

Tara Westover is an American author living in the UK. Born in Idaho to a father opposed to public education, she never attended school. She spent her days working in her father’s junkyard or stewing herbs for her mother, a self-taught herbalist and midwife. She was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom, and after that first taste, she pursued learning for a decade. She graduated magna cum laude from Brigham Young University in 2008 and was subsequently awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. She earned an MPhil from Trinity College, Cambridge in 2009, and in 2010 was a visiting fellow at Harvard University. She returned to Cambridge, where she was awarded a PhD in history in 2014.

The gift that keeps on giving

I’ve talked about it before, very recently, that it is such an honour to be sent books to review and I really appreciate it when authors ask me to review a book, even it’s not really my preferred genre.

Even more lovely, is receiving the physical copy of a book in the mail, all the way from the US. I’ve also said that I enjoy reading books on my kindle rather than physical books, but there is something about reading the physical copy of a book when it is gifted to you. This is the first actual book I have been sent and it is rather exciting.

I’m looking forward to reading Craig M Dial’s Bully Brother. Memoires and biographies is another of my favourite genres (aside from thrillers). At the moment I’m reading Educated by Tara Westover, which is also a memoir. So I might need a break from the genre before reading Bully Brother. It’s also such a personal experience and I think when an author is sharing that much of themselves, I need to give it my full attention. To be honest, Educated is almost taking it out of me emotionally. I’ll be reading a thriller next. Not sure which one yet…that will be a suprise.

Books really are a gift. When you recommend them, lend them buy them or borrow them. I think that’s what I love most about books and reading. The ideas and stories can be shared and through the sharing comes enjoyment. I enjoy the book and I want everyone else to read it and know what I know. It’s like a shared secret. Except I have the opportunity to share that secret with you. 😉

Book Review – Facing the beast by Jackie Bluu

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Thank you to the author for the opportunity.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Book Review – Facing the beast by Jackie BluuFacing The Beast by Jackie Bluu
Genres: Non-Fiction
Format: eBook
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

Brave doesn’t even begin to describe this book…

This world is filled with powerful, amazing, extraordinary women and Jackie Bluu is one of them. Facing the Beast is a very short book, but it will stay with you for a long time after reading it. It may take you a while just to get beyond one page. The thoughts and feelings depicted are so raw, real and heartbreaking. The topic of this book is very close to my heart and is about the victim’s perspective of child sexual abuse.

The content is not for everyone. There are some graphic descriptions and language, however, the feelings, experiences and drawings give incredible insight into someone’s mind and the impact of sexual abuse. I felt angry whilst reading it, but not half as angry as the person experiencing this type of trauma.

The anger is evident:

He smirked through it all, and denied it all…

through his thirty – two coffee stained teeth and his putrid cigarette-rotted breath.

The fear is real:

Press the panic button!

Assemble all signs of joy and stuff ’em in a bag!

stop, drop and roll into a hiding place!



The grief lingers:

See, loneliness is all I know-

loneliness is my familiar friend-

and loneliness is my comfort zone.

Facing the beast is an incredibly important collection of thoughts and feelings. The author was not aware of what I do for a living when she sent me her book. I am so grateful for it and I want all of my colleagues to read it because we do important work with children and can hopefully have an influence over their experience and make the world a slightly better place.

Facing the Beast is not just important for those in the caring/welfare professions to read though, it is for the public. Individuals in the wider community need to know the trauma. Perhaps they won’t understand it, it might be hard to read – but – if it makes us cringe and hurt and feel bad…how did it make the child feel who was living it???

Read Facing the Beast and you might just begin to understand…

Synopis

Facing the Beast is a story of the mind depicting grief, mental illness, and the effects of child sexual abuse. 

How does the mind continue to unravel after enduring years of abuse as a child? How does one try to cope with that leftover trauma along with added unresolved grief? Written in a snarky collection of thirty poems, some of which are simple illustrations, readers have a chance to get inside the author’s head and witness a damaged woman’s struggle to overcome these tragic experiences.

This chapbook brings forth difficult and uncomfortable subjects to the table, with just the right hint of sarcasm and dark humor.

five-stars

About Jackie Bluu

Jackie Bluu is a book publicist by day and a writer by night. She manages FishFood, a literary and arts magazine, on weekends, helping emerging writers share their work on a weekly basis.
Facing the Beast is Jackie’s first publication. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her fiancé, her dog, Paulie and goldfish, Fishy.

Sleeplessness makes for more reading (and blogging) time

Coming to you live from my bed where I should be sleeping…

I’ve had a few sleepless nights recently, which is unlike me. Usually I just lay down at 9:30pm and I’m off to sleep before I know it. I’ve had a few things on my mind of late.

The great thing about this is that I have more time for reading and blogging and I’m utilising this time for both. The You Tube meditation vids were just not cutting it for me.

I wanted to give you a general update, so you don’t feel neglected and to let you know where I’m at because I fear I may have given you a couple of false promises (sorry in advance).

The January wellbeing thing:

I know I promised you a wellbeing theme in January, with some reviews of self-improvement books and recipe books. I have not forgotten about this, it is still coming – just probably not in January…I have a few things in the works and up my sleeve for future blog posts. But yeah, you keep that January spirit alive until I get to it, ok? We actually need to look after ourselves all year round not just in Jan.

Authors reaching out to me:

I’ve had some authors reach out to me directly to review their books. I think this is incredibly flattering and I’m very grateful that authors would trust me to read and give an honest review for them. Plus I love reading – so we all get something out of it right?

I’ve been a little slack at getting back to some people, but I really will try to. If the genre/storyline of the book doesn’t appeal to me I’m going to be honest and tell the author it’s not my cup of tea. I don’t review just anything, I need to have some interest in the topic or story to be invested in reading and reviewing the book.

Thank you to the authors who have reached out and sought my review and trusted me in that process. I have a great one coming up…well…tonight!

Regularity of posts:

No one has specifically complained to me about this, but I am aware I may not be posting as frequently. Believe me I would like to post more often. I’m just a handicapped reader. Ha ha ha. I am a slow reader and I really like to immerse myself in a book and process it. I like to take notes whilst I’m reading and highlight important sections where I love the language and/or feeling evoked and might want to use it as a quote in my blog. I like to note down my first impressions of the book, details about the characters, the overall feeling I have whilst reading and if that changes and notes about the author too. I do a bit of research about the book and the author. This level of perfection takes time and probably slows my reading down a little more. I don’t mind because I love it, but it does mean the reviews take a little longer to be posted.

I actually wrote this last night and fell asleep! Sooooo, blogging also appears to cure my intermittent insomnia. There is much more to come. Stay Tuned.

Book Review – Something in the water by Catherine Steadman

Book Review – Something in the water by Catherine SteadmanSomething in the Water by Catherine Steadman
Published by Random House Publishing Group on June 5, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Suspense, Psychological, Women
Pages: 352
Format: eBook
Goodreads
five-stars

Fan – tas – tic.!!!

On my list of favourites and I have already been blabbing about it and recommending it to others. So they might find this post boring.

I want to start off by saying, what a talented woman. Not only a great actress, but clearly an amazing author also. This is Catherine’s debut novel and I had heard about it a long time before reading. I actually wish I hadn’t waited so long to read it. Catherine captured my attention straight away and I wasn’t disappointed by the events that followed.

Something in the water is part of Reese Witherspoon’s book club ( I thought it was just Oprah who had one of those?) Word on the grapevine is that Something in the Water is going to be made into a film, produced by Reece and I am front and centre at that movie. You know how excited I get about books being adapted to the screen. I’m not going to lie, I did imagine Reece as the protagonist, Erin, whilst reading. This book would make an amazing movie.

The book was also nominated in the Goodread’s Choice Awards in the best mystery and thriller category. I would have definitely voted for this one had I read it before voting ended.

There may have been a brief moment in time at the start of the book where I was impatient and I wanted things to move along a little faster, but that was just me being greedy, because I was spoiled when the action began. It just didn’t stop and any feelings I had about a slow pace were quickly forgotten.

There were also possibly some eye – rolling, sickening, romantic sections, whereby I had to strategically swallow my puke whilst reading on the train. Again, all is forgiven here, because the plot is by no means just a mushy, love fest. It is thrillaaaahhhhh personified.

The Best Bits

  • The story is from Erin’s perspective – I loved hearing just from Erin, I admired her as quite a strong woman and an enjoyable character to follow
  • Heart racing plot – what a page turner after the discovery in the water! It really does change things for the couple and the pace of the book
  • There were step by step instructions on how to use a Glock 22 – for those innocent types, this is a gun. I was smiling ear to ear when reading this…hey, no judgement, a girl has to know these things
  • The juxtaposition of Erin’s world making a documentary about criminals and her own world about to drastically change and mirror that of her subjects – thoroughly enjoyed this aspect of the book, some great characters introduced here too

In summary:

You need to read this one. You.just. do. If you don’t, you will be watching the movie, loving it and then I’ll be screaming “I told you so” from the rooftops. Which is something I quite enjoy doing by the way….

I’m prepared to cop it if you don’t like it too. I will stick my neck comfortably on the line with this one. It’s my fave of 2019 so far (and once again, I’m late to the party on this one – don’t be like me…)

Synopsis

If you could make one simple choice that would change your life forever, would you?   Erin is a documentary filmmaker on the brink of a professional breakthrough, Mark a handsome investment banker with big plans. Passionately in love, they embark on a dream honeymoon to the tropical island of Bora Bora, where they enjoy the sun, the sand, and each other. Then, while scuba diving in the crystal blue sea, they find something in the water. . . .   Could the life of your dreams be the stuff of nightmares?   Suddenly the newlyweds must make a dangerous choice: to speak out or to protect their secret. After all, if no one else knows, who would be hurt? Their decision will trigger a devastating chain of events. . . .   Have you ever wondered how long it takes to dig a grave?   Wonder no longer. Catherine Steadman’s enthralling voice shines throughout this spellbinding debut novel. With piercing insight and fascinating twists, Something in the Water challenges the reader to confront the hopes we desperately cling to, the ideals we’re tempted to abandon, and the perfect lies we tell ourselves.

five-stars

About Catherine Steadman

Catherine Steadman is an actress and writer based in North London. She is known for her roles in Downton Abbey and Tutankhamun, starring alongside Sam Neill, as well as shows including Breathless, The Inbetweeners, The Tudors, and Fresh Meat.

In 2017 Catherine will feature in political thriller Fearless and new BBC comedy Bucket. She also has appeared on stage in the West End including Oppenheimer for the RSC, for which she was nominated for a 2016 Laurence Olivier Award.

Book Review – I’m thinking of ending things by Iain Reid

I'm thinking of ending things by Iain Reid
Published by Simon & Schuster on 14/06/2016
Genres: horror, Psychological, Suspense, Thriller
Format: eBook
three-half-stars

Wow. What. A. Ride.

Short. Sweet. Weird. Wonderful.

I’m not sure what I think. Im not sure what I think. I’m not sure what I think. I’m not sure what I think. I’m not sure what I think. I’m not sure what I think. I’m not sure what I think. I’m not sure what I think.

he he he he he. If you’ve read this one you’ll know what I’m getting at here..

This book is quick and easy to read. I recommend you read it. You might absolutely hate it and that’s ok. The book has extremely mixed reviews and I can see why. I couldn’t even describe to my friends what the book was about. I had a feeling I knew where it was going, I’m not disappointed by the ending. I’m not sure why it is comparable to We Need to talk about Kevin – in my mind it is not. It stands alone in it’s craziness.

Almost everything is revealed at the end. It might take some googling…(admittedly, I did this) but I’m interested in people’s interpretations. The book will leave you thinking. I quite like this. I also like the book the more I think about it.

“The Girlfriend” character annoyed me a little bit. I mean, she carried on a bit. There were moments where I wanted her to shut up. She’s thinking of ending things and he…well, you’ll see…

Maybe the end was written right from the beginning.

Jake was strange from the beginning, but a little more likeable – oddly.

Sometimes a thought is closer to truth, to reality, than an action. You can say anything, you can do anything, but you can’t fake a thought.

Who will love this:

If you enjoy weird, dark, unexplainable things…you will love it. Similarly, if you aren’t concerned about evvveerrrything being obvious or explainable, you will also like it. Especially if you enjoy quick reads (this was a bonus for me). There is no way around it, the book is weird. If that’s your thang, read it.

You gonna hate it:

You will not like this book if you dislike anything indie, that leaves you questioning things. You will likely want to google it to gain a little insight, if this bothers you, it’s a pass. You will be thinking WTF early on – again, this a normal response to the situation, but if it bothers you…thank you, next.


It’s coming to Netflixxxxxxxxxx. You know how excited I am about this. I’m very interested to see how this is going to be adapted to the screen. So. I think you should read it. You might love it, you’re probably gonna hate it but I think you need to read it to see what all the fuss is about. Just remember I sent you. I’ll cop to it. It is only 241 pages of your life…

I also want to read Iain Reid’s Foe now… sucker for punishment.

I just want to add that I wrote this review in the bathtub (don’t get dirty thoughts now) – I got a bath shelf and it is ahhhhhmazing. :o)

I also have not forgotten that I promised you a self – improvement January. Don’t worry – it’s coming…after a few more dark books. Ok, it might be more of a February thing.

Synopsis

You will be scared. But you won’t know why…

I’m thinking of ending things. Once this thought arrives, it stays. It’s always there. Always.

Jake and I have a real connection, a rare and intense attachment. What has it been…a month? I’m very attracted to him. Even though he isn’t striking, not really. I’m going to meet his parents for the first time, at the same time as I’m thinking of ending things.

Jake once said, “Sometimes a thought is closer to truth, to reality, than an action. You can say anything, you can do anything, but you can’t fake a thought.”

And here’s what I’m thinking: I don’t want to be here.

I’m thinking of ending things.

Iain Reid explores the depths of the human psyche, questioning consciousness, free will, the value of relationships, fear, and the limitations of solitude. Reminiscent of José Saramago’s early work, Michel Faber’s cult classic Under the Skin, and Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin, this tense and atmospheric novel will haunt you long after the last page is turned.

three-half-stars

About Iain Reid

Iain Reid is the author of two critically acclaimed, award-winning books of nonfiction. His internationally bestselling debut novel, I’m Thinking of Ending Things, has been published in more than twenty countries. Oscar-winner Charlie Kaufman is writing and directing a film based on the novel, which Reid will co-produce. His second novel, Foe, was an instant bestseller and feature film rights have been acquired by Anonymous Content, with Reid set to executive produce. Follow him on Twitter @Reid_Iain.

Book Review – Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Book Review – Sharp Objects by Gillian FlynnSharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Published by Crown/Archetype on September 26, 2006
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Suspense, Mystery & Detective, Women Sleuths, General
Pages: 272
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Sometimes you just need to read the book after watching the tv show

Again, I’m drastically late to the party, but I don’t care. Who cares when you read a book as long as you enjoy it right? Enjoy it I did.

Yes, every living person has read Gone Girl. I’m going to put myself on the line here and say I enjoyed Sharp objects EVEN more. Sharp Objects was where Gillian Flynn started and she did goooooood. It’s now a HBO tv show starring Amy Adams and a bunch of other great actors (it’s on Foxtel for those of you in Australia) and I really enjoyed the show – it led me to the book.

What I loved about the book:

  1. It’s set in South – in a fictional town called Wind Gap and the scene was set for me – with words like “pitcher” and phrases like “pull taffy” and  “catch a greased pig”- ok, so that might have been an out of town character making fun of the town, but still I could almost hear the southern drawl
  2. Verrrrrrry similar to the tv show, but the ending has a lot more juicy detail, so if you’ve seen the show I think you’ll enjoy the book
  3. Easy, quick read with lots of scandal mixed in
  4. Interesting characters

I think there was more of a focus on Camille’s past in the tv show though and I also hated her mother, Adora much more whilst watching the show. Amma, Camille’s younger, overly sexualized, devious sister did not disappoint. I think she might be my favourite character. From the mouth of 13 year old Amma:

What if you hurt because it feels so good? Like you have a tingling, like someone left a switch on in your body. And nothing can turn the switch off except hurting?…

The book is a bit of a whodunit, but there is more to it than that, there are also dark pasts, temptations and complex relationships.  If you enjoy dark family type thrillers I think you’ll enjoy this book. You should also watch the show, I thought it was fantastic.  I’m hoping there is a Season 2 of Sharp Objects, which may or may not lead to a second book (fingers crossed). Hey – Margaret Atwood announced she is writing a follow up to the Handmaid’s Tale on Twitter, so it happens ok.. (BTW  – I’m super excited about that).

 

Synopsis

FROM THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF GONE GIRL

Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.

four-half-stars

About Gillian Flynn

Flynn’s 2006 debut novel, the literary mystery Sharp Objects, was an Edgar Award finalist and the winner of two of Britain’s Dagger Awards—the first book ever to win multiple Daggers in one year. The book is now an HBO® limited series starring Amy Adams.

Flynn’s second novel, the 2009 New York Times bestseller Dark Places, was a New Yorker Reviewers’ Favorite, Weekend TODAY Top Summer Read, Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2009, and Chicago Tribune Favorite Fiction choice. In 2015, the movie adaptation starring Charlize Theron was released.

Flynn’s third novel, Gone Girl, was an international sensation and a runaway hit that has spent more than one hundred weeks on the New York Times bestseller lists. Gone Girl was named one of the best books of the year by People Magazine and Janet Maslin at the New York Times. Nominated for both the Edgar Award and the Anthony Award for Best Novel, Flynn wrote the screenplay for David Fincher’s 2014 adaptation of Gone Girl for the big screen, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike.

Her newest release, The Grownup, is an Edgar Award-winning short story and an homage to the classic ghost story. Universal has optioned the rights to The Grownup.

Flynn’s work has been published in forty-one languages. She lives in Chicago with her husband, Brett Nolan, their children, and a giant black cat named Roy. In theory she is working on her next novel. In reality she is possibly playing Ms. Pac-Man in her basement lair.

Struggle town – pop.1

I am not a quitter.

When I set my mind to something, I like to think I’m an achiever. It may take me a couple of tries. I might take the long way round or get a little lost along the way. I might not succeed a few thousand times. Ok, it’s usually not a few thousand times… but it certainly feels like it.

Hence the reason why I really don’t like giving up on a book.

Maybe I’m worried I’ll miss something. Perhaps there’s something wrong with me if my friend really liked the book and I don’t. Often, I realise too late that the book isn’t getting any better and even if there was an amazing, fantastic ending it doesn’t make up for the hours of struggle to get there.

I am struggling through a book right now and I’m over half way. The dilemma is real. I really want to keep reading but I’m not looking forward to it. I don’t care about the characters and as someone once told me, life is too short to be reading a book you don’t enjoy.

What do you do when you aren’t enjoying a book?

Do you give up? Or press on?

Sadly, I think  I’m going to have to throw in the towel. I don’t want to review it because I don’t feel it is fair, having not read the book in it’s entirety.

On to better books.  I am still working through my TBR list and I’m very excited about some that I have been dreaming about for a while. I’m also now on holidays, so more time for reading and relaxation.

I’m also keen on a January theme. I don’t like making false promises but… I’m considering a “self-help” theme for the start of 2018 and I already have some great ideas. January is the time of year where we often look at self-improvement, our lifestyle, diets, wellbeing and exercise. I would argue that this should be a continual process, but the reality is that most of us consider these things at the start of a new year. I know I certainly am, but I have been thinking about my health and wellbeing and self improvement for a while now. Here’s a sneak peek of the likely themes…

Possible January posts:

  • Keto or Paleo diet books (nothing new here for me, but I’ve regained an interest after a long hiatus)
  • Gratitude and the impact this has on mental health and wellbeing – several books on this
  • Dare I say it….mindfullness (never thought I’d dig it, but with daily practice…I dig it)
  • Last, but not least, removing the negativity from my life – negative people, situations and feelings. 

Lemme know if you are also into the above and any books you’ve struggled with finishing.

 

 

 

Book Review – Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

Book Review – Nineteen Minutes by Jodi PicoultNineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
Published by Atria Books on March 5, 2007
Genres: Family Life, Fiction, General
Pages: 440
Format: eBook
Goodreads

five-stars




Old School

I know, I know… this book was published in 2007 and I’m only reading it now. I’m slow to the party on this one. I wish I had read it sooner. I’m a converted Jodi fan.

I had read another of Jodie’s books (The Pact) and I loved it and several friends recommended Nineteen Minutes as another great read.

The book was a change of pace for me. It’s not a thriller in the traditional sense, more of a drama, but has moments leaving you on the edge of your seat. I had trouble putting it down.

A school shooting is a horrible reality in the US and has been for a long time. The details of the school shooting were heartbreaking. Jodi does a fantastic job of describing the events leading up to and the post impact of the shooting. There are many players in the telling of the story. From the police investigator, to the lawyer (hello again Mr McAfee from The Pact), to the parent of the shooter and of the victim. Jodi accurately reflects the thoughts and feelings of the characters and yourself as the reader.

From the investigator:

He had no fucking idea how to process a nightmare this massive…

From the mother of the shooter:

no one seemed to have the right words of comfort for someone whose son had just killed ten people.

The overall feeling and questions you ask yourself when reading:

Did every teenager have the capacity to fall on one side or the other of that tightrope, and could you identify a single moment that tipped the balance?

As well as the courtroom drama that plays out, the book focuses on relationships. In particular the relationship between mother and daughter and the associated struggles. Also worth mentioning is the exploration of relationships between friends and the cruelness of young people.

I loved the book and a friend advised me it reminded them of the book We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. I loved that book too, but they are different. There are many more perspectives in Nineteen Minutes and I don’t think it is as dark as We Need to Talk about Kevin, although the same feeling of heartbreak and senselessness is there – as it is with all the shootings that occur on a daily basis. I’m grateful  I live in Australia, where thankfully, since the Port Arthur massacre, shootings are not commonplace in my country.

Read this and be prepared to be moved.

Synopsis

In nineteen minutes, you can mow the front lawn, color your hair, watch a third of a hockey game. In nineteen minutes, you can bake scones or get a tooth filled by a dentist; you can fold laundry for a family of five….In nineteen minutes, you can stop the world, or you can just jump off it. In nineteen minutes, you can get revenge.


Sterling is a small, ordinary New Hampshire town where nothing ever happens — until the day its complacency is shattered by a shocking act of violence. In the aftermath, the town’s residents must not only seek justice in order to begin healing but also come to terms with the role they played in the tragedy. For them, the lines between truth and fiction, right and wrong, insider and outsider have been obscured forever.

Josie Cormier, the teenage daughter of the judge sitting on the case, could be the state’s best witness, but she can’t remember what happened in front of her own eyes. And as the trial progresses, fault lines between the high school and the adult community begin to show, destroying the closest of friendships and families.

five-stars

About Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult is the #1 bestselling author of twenty-five novels including My Sister’s Keeper, Nineteen Minutes, The Storyteller, Leaving Time, the acclaimed #1 bestseller, Small Great Things, which explored the issues of power, privilege and race, and has sold more than 1.5 million copies. Picoult’s most recent novel, A SPARK OF LIGHT., published on October 2, 2018, was her tenth consecutive instant #1 New York Times bestseller, and was praised as “Picoult at her fearless best” by the Washington Post.

My love/hate Relationship with Audiobooks

Audiobooks. Love em or Hate em?

I will admit. I have dabbled in the thrill of audiobooks via the Audible App. At times I love it. Other times I realise I’ve missed several pages of a chapter when I accidentally tune out whilst listening.

I have listened to several audio books that stick out to me:

  •  The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
  • The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena  **FYI – I  LOVED this book**
  • I See You by Claire McIntosh  – did not love ↓

and some others, which I can’t recall right now.

The pros…

Audiobooks are convenient, in our age of multitasking you can have your hands free to do anything whilst listening. Audiobooks are entertaining, sometimes the accents and tone of voice can really catch your attention. The Wife Between Us audiobook is kinda cool because it switches from adults to a child’s voice (adult doing a child’s voice) and it worked quite well. Audiobooks are also great for giving your eyes a rest, so if you look at a computer screen all day you might want a break from reading  and they are fabulous for that.

The cons…

Maybe it’s just me…but at times I get distracted very easily whilst listening. Usually, it’s because I’m multitasking (ugh) whilst listening and walking, cleaning or getting ready for work at the same time and I miss key moments. I find this really frustrating because I never really know if it’s just that I’m not into the book or the story or that I haven’t paid close enough attention. So the multitasking pro above,  can also be a con depending on how you listen. Audiobooks also aren’t great if you are someone who processes information mostly visually (which is me). Think about your own learning, do you prefer to read information and look at graphs, models and scribble notes as you read? You might be a visual learner vs someone who learns by listening to lectures or discussions.

What am I listening to?

I’m currently listening to The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. This audiobook was free with a new subscription to Scribd (more info about Scribd once I’ve used it more). Given the genre is self-help, this could be why I’m having some difficulty focusing. I don’t think I’m taking in all the information and advice while just listening. I’m taking lots of notes whilst listening (almost to the extent of writing the book again) which brings me back to my point of needing to see things in writing in order to process information. I like the messages in the book so far ( I don’t think it really needs profanity to sell it, but let’s be honest, that’s likely why it is so popular). There will be a full review when I’ve finished it. I want to love audiobooks more, but I really do have a love/hate relationship  with them.

Your Thoughts?

What are your thoughts or feelings about audiobooks? Do you listen? What are you doing whilst listening? Any tips or suggestions for great audiobooks? Comment below and let me know!