First things first: before even beginning to read this book, I am already loving the fact that there is a section included which is titled “about this book” to give an insight into what the book is about. I also love the fact that the bit about the author is also right as the start as too often, I read books where the about the author section is either only added right at the end or not even added at all!
I am also a fan of books that deal with historic events, mostly the first and Second World War so the fact that the characters lived during/between the first and second world war begins to entice me into the book already.
Beginning part one, I love the fact that the date, time and country is recorded so that the reader can keep up with where and at what time everything is happening.
When Alexandra Palace is mentioned I think back to my childhood seeing as this was a place I loved to visit with my immediate family where I have many happy memories. I love the fact that not long in I am already finding ways to relate.
Already into the first part and there’s a twist with character Edie which I wasn’t expecting. I love the fact that there are fresh twists right from the beginning to keep the reader interested.
I love the fact that a lot of the places mentioned in the book are places I have either been to which I have good memories from or places that I know that weren’t far from me when growing up. First it was Alexandra Palace of which I have good childhood memories followed by Muswell Hill which I have only been to in passing in a car but is the place my Dad lived with my mum before I was born. I feel that this gives extra context and an extra was for me to relate to the characters and the story because I know these areas. More often than not, I read American books where I can’t identify with any of the places or other UK books where its places I haven’t been to. Don’t get me wrong, these books can be interesting but I feel this book adds that extra way to relate.
I found that the book flowed really easily and it wasn’t too difficult to understand what was happening. I also like the fact that the book switches between different people’s perspectives to tell the story.
I have also been to Southend and love the fact that many of the locations mentioned are places I have been or passed and places I have happy memories. It makes the story much more relate able.
I feel that the book is completely realistic in every sense of the word. In part two when it says that the boys going off to war should be back by Christmas, I recognised this as something that actually happened during the war (although I don’t know quite which war!.) I remember during one of the actual wars, the soldiers were promised to be home by Christmas but in actual fact they were away a lot longer.
I find that I can relate to almost every character in a way for example the way in which Stanley is an artist as I also enjoy drawing and painting. I like the fact we are introduced to the characters slowly but not all at once giving us time to grow with the characters and begin to understand and love them.
Overall, reading this book has made the cruel reality sink in of how bad the war really was. The book is extremely thought provoking and makes you think. It makes you realise that in this day and age, so much is taken for granted and we should be grateful for what we have.
It also opened my eyes to how bad evacuation really was. Before reading Walking Wounded, I had no idea how disrespectful people would be when taking in the evacuees. I didn’t realise how hateful some of them were and the severity of splitting families apart.
I love the fact that the family show an atmosphere of solidarity and even intake people into their homes to help in any way they can. The book seriously made me think about the world we live in and how lucky I am to have the things I have. Gripping read from start to end that filled me with various emotions over what the characters were going through. A highly recommended read and one that will make you think!
I have always worked in health care, and more recently in education, and like so many other parents, hit a tiny crisis a few years ago when I felt that my purpose in life had narrowed to not an awful lot more than dashing between my two jobs and being a mummy taxi.
I managed to find time to begin singing with a choir, and that helped me feel that I might have a more creative side to myself. One evening, my husband was out and, quite suddenly, I decided to Start Writing. I immediately hit the first obstacles of terrible handwriting and a broken laptop, so my writing career began that night in bed, typing into the note section of my smart phone, with no clear idea of what I wanted to say but resulting in a severe case of RSI and several short stories over the next few nights.
My husband was delighted that I had suddenly found this passion and kept encouraging me to write a novel, which I really felt I did NOT have in me. Later that summer, however, we were walking along a D-Day beach for no other grander reason than our ferry home from France being late, and I began telling our kids about my three great-uncles who were part of that day, and my grandmother who sewed parachutes for the paratroopers jumping over Normandy. Neil looked at me and smiled and said, ‘you do actually have a story there, you know….’
Disclaimer: I received a free ebook copy of this book in exchange for a review but my review is my complete honest opinion!
Only a few pages in and I am already horrified when the first character we are introduced to, Ed is threatening to hit a rabbit since I don’t like animal cruelty but giving the basis of the story this isn’t reason to turn around as this isn’t what its about. I am struggling at first to see what significance this brings to the story. It isn’t until I progress through the book that I discover what the purpose of this moment actually was since it displays like a kind of highlighter to what will happen later on in the book.
When the book reverts to the present day to start to show Jessie’s side of the story, I can already find reason to relate with Jessie in the sense that I also find myself getting lost in music. I find myself having an emotional connection with music and certain songs do reduce me to tears like what is happening to Jessie here.
I immediately find myself sympathising with Jessie in relation to her loosing someone she was close to. Even though I have never been through something like this myself, I understand how painful it must be. I’ve just recently been reading Fire in Frost by Alicia Rades whom which the main character has lost her father in a car accident but she had a dream about it happening before it did. In this sense I can relate the two books but only loosely.
I can also find myself relating to Tom in some senses in the fact that I am good with computers and I am always the person my gran will ask if she has any issues with her computer.
I felt emotional when life changes drastically for Jessie when she looses the person previously mentioned as I can relate to these feelings. I lost a close family member when I was a child due to cancer and we were supposed to visit him a couple of days after he died but ended up going to his funeral instead so I didn’t even get to say bye.
One negative thing I would say about the book is its difficult to tell the change between Jessie’s life with Chris and next her life with Nick and there isn’t much that tells the difference between when this changes. So it is quite difficult to understand what timing this is happening at.
It feels that the book keeps switching between alternate realities which makes it difficult to keep up with what is happening as it is happening. Until chapter four I thought that Jessica had first met Coco at her job as a waitress but then in chapter four it shows her being introduced to her in a different job as a law official so I am confused.
The further I read, the more confused I become. In an earlier chapter I thought Coco was the one who told the police she was with her partner on a night he was accused of robbery but then in chapter five its shown that Chris, Jessie’s partner is the one with Daniels as a surname. I really struggled to understand the change in lives and it did take me a long while to adjust to this.
In chapter six it shows Jessie going by her full name “Jessica” which now gives me the clear indication that Nick is in fact a partner she was with before meeting Coco since I remember her saying Coco gave her the nickname Jessie. I feel if this would of been presented earlier on then it would of been clear from the start that this was the case.
I admire the way in which Jessie refused to be scared of what Chris would say and told the police the truth about where she was the night that he got pulled up for by the police. It shows that women can be something on their own without being controlled by men.
I feel for Jessie in the sense that she seems to have bad luck at relationships first with Nick not wanting to commit then secondly with Chris who doesn’t treat her in the way she deserves.
In chapter twenty five I find myself thinking of Count Olaf from A Series of Unfortunate Events when it describes how dirty/messy Garry’s house was. I find myself respecting Nick for not backing down and continuing to stick up for the girls.
I wasn’t expecting the unexpected twist when it turns out Nick knew Chris but by a different name. I also wasn’t expecting at what scale people would find out about Jessie’s affair in what I’d describe as the parallel universe. I like the fact there are plot twists in order to keep the story fresh and give the reader a sense of not knowing what is to come.
When Tracy secures Jessie a job in a receptionist and starts to think that its strange how things work out, I can feel myself relating to this well. When I was in my last year of school I wanted nothing more than to become a nursery teacher. One teacher demanded I didn’t apply for childcare while another told me she didn’t think I was suited to it but it was my choice.
I originally was offered a place on a childcare course but then they withdrew it because of the teacher who demanded I didn’t apply who gave me an awful reference despite never seeing me work around children. At the time I was devastated and cried for at least half an hour when I found out but now I could never dream of being a nursery teacher. I chose to study media instead which I now absolutely love. So it just goes to show that often, things do happen for a reason and its best to get up and continue fighting.
Overall I felt the book was difficult to understand what was happening and hard to keep track of what seemed like alternate realities but there was a good story line and I liked the ending in the sense that it ended happy again. I also struggle to see where the comedy moments are which are suggested on the cover but felt there was a gripping story even if it took a while to adjust to the different worlds/lives of Jessie.
Sue Shepherd writes contemporary romance and enjoys creating novels with heart, laughs and naughtiness. She doesn’t pull any punches when choosing her subjects, but manages to handle her characters’ challenging situations with sensitivity and humour. Her debut novel, Doesn’t Everyone Have a Secret? was published by Corazon Books in March 2015. It reached the top 10 UK Kindle chart, and also topped the romantic comedy, contemporary romance and humour charts. It became available in paperback on Amazon in November 2015.
Sue’s second novel, Love Them and Leave Them, was published in September 2016.
Sue lives on the picturesque Isle of Wight with her husband, two sons and a standard poodle. Her passions in life are: her family, writing, the sea-side and all the beautiful purple things her sons have bought her over the years. Ask Sue to plan too far in advance and you’ll give her the heebie-jeebies.
Disclaimer: I received a free ebook copy of this book in exchange for beta reading the book and also posting a review but my review is my complete honest opinion! There are also a few spoilers dotted here and there.
First things first, I really liked the way in which each acknowledgement was put onto a separate line in order to make each persons acknowledgement stand out as well as being part of the main section.
I also love the fact that at the start of each part there is a survival tip as I feel it adds personality and comedy to the characters right from the start which makes them more believable.
Before we get too far into this review I will say this: This is a book which has made me not only laugh but also cry. So, make sure you have a pack of tissues to hand just in case cause I certainly didn’t! I seriously wasn’t expecting the book to have such a big effect on me bearing in mind this is also the first book I have fully read cover to cover out of Christy’s books but I will definitely be buying some more when 1) I get paid and 2) I finally manage to get my to be read list down a little. I am one of those people that will add ten books to my reading list for every one book I read!
This is a book that answers all my questions just as I’ve thought of them. For example, in the book it said “This was a welcome difference for all three young women” at the end of the first paragraph of the prologue. This got me thinking, wondering what exactly was the difference from what they were used to. Not long after I thought of this question, it was answered!
Right from the start I am able to relate to the characters. Like Kami whose point of view it started off with is relatable for me. When she speaks of how she doesn’t like her job and only signed with a newspaper because she needed the money and agents turned her down I can relate to this. I am a media student myself and from what I have learned about the journalism sector and from what I’ve been told by people who work in the sector such as an old college lecturer I am now friends with, it sounds like a career I would absolutely hate/dread to work in. I myself prefer fiction and haven’t had a good enough idea to try and write a book but have written short fanfictions and a few short stories.
Like Kami, I hate confrontation. I find it effective that I can relate to her easily as I feel that if the characters are easy to relate to then it makes for a good read and many people can find ways to relate to them. One thing we like to do is compare our lives to characters in books when our lives seem dull so I love the fact I can relate to her.
When the book talks about Ida having cancer, I can find I can relate to this myself. I haven’t had cancer myself before but I have had a close family relative who died from cancer as well as a relative I never got to meet who also died from cancer. Upon the first description of Ida she also reminds me of my own gran, my gran says and does what she likes and says a lot of nasty stuff to her family which she never apologizes for because she thinks she’s right and it’s her way or no way. Although Ida seems nicer towards friends and family than my gran is, just the way my gran is like despite me loving her.
I love the fact that this book continues chapter by chapter. Books which stop after one chapter and then convey a new angle or talk from a different characters perspective and change like this every single chapter actually annoy me. The only book series that talks from a different perspective from chapter to chapter that doesn’t come across in an annoying way is the mortal instruments series. I tend to prefer stories which run to where they are supposed to go rather than having constant jump cuts.
I actually started crying when I read Kami’s goodbye with Ida and how she told her that her parents were never interested in how she was and I feel like that with my Dad and Dad’s parents as they are more focussed about how I’m doing at University, etc most the time or having a go at me for something. My Dad’s parents most of all, my Dad only asks how I am sometimes. I also got a lump in my throat when Kami helped Ida and feel like I know these characters.
Another thing I love throughout this story is the fact that it throws surprises that the reader doesn’t expect which keeps me hooked throughout the story. I knew that George was up to no good but wasn’t expecting to find out his intentions which were even worse than I thought. I also didn’t expect Emma to be the first one caught out considering her background in the military but I guess maybe that was intended to trick the reader? It certainly was clever, if intended or not! I also cried when Kami told Lou the truth about her helping Ida. I’m at the point I feel I’ve known these characters for a lifetime and this breaks my heart.
Even though it was upsetting and soul destroying when Kami revealed the truth to Lou, I like how it’s very realistic as everyone makes mistakes and a lot of people have regrets in life, I know I have a fair few that wear me down from time to time.
Overall, I honestly felt speechless when I had finished the book and felt like I didn’t know how to go on. Throughout reading the book, I felt so many different emotions. Before reading this book I had watched and read countless different stories about zombies and the undead but none of them compare. None of them have made me feel the vast variety of emotions I have felt throughout reading this book. This book was an amazing experience from start to end and I honestly feel that there are very few books that have made me feel this many emotions and affected me so deeply. This would be right up there with Harry Potter in the sense of the emotional connection I had while reading it and I would love to read more if this was ever extended into a series!
Disclaimer: I received a free ebook copy of this book in exchange for a review but my review is my complete honest opinion
Before reading, I thought this book was an interesting concept as I had never previously read any books on this topic even though I know it has been spoken about before in books. I believe this gave me a fresh way of looking at the book as it meant I wasn’t coming in with already thought up comparisons to other books!
I have to admit, I wasn’t really feeling the book in chapter one but I am glad I continued as it began to pick up in chapter two onward and began to capture my attention there on in.
Rose is a mother of two who is in an abusive relationship. She runs an online business from home and is desperately trying to find a way to escape with her children.
From the start of the book I can say that Jennifer is very good at describing what the characters are like and their background although it is kind of difficult to understand the change in locations. The first moment where I have found myself able to relate to Rose is the fact that I love tea almost as much as her! I feel that in order for a story to be good, the characters need to be relate able so this set the book up in good stead. Like Rose, I also know what it feels like to put a smile on your face when you don’t feel like smiling and pretending everything is okay.
From the beginning, Rose is a character I feel bad for and want to help if I could. I admire the fact that even though her relationship is falling apart and even though she isn’t happy she is still doing everything she can to ensure her children grow up happy and loved. When I was a young child, my mother was diagnosed with series mental health issues and ended up in and out of hospital. I ended up not seeing her very often and then when I got older, contact stopped and I felt like she had given up on me. Even today, family members on her side of the family tell me that she loves me, but I haven’t seen her in years and she was unable to look after me when she was unwell. So reading about Rose doing everything she can for her children even when her relationship isn’t going well strikes a chord with me emotionally.
I feel sympathetic for Rose when it turns out that Darren is cheating on her and feel that is probably why he has came across as insecure from the start and thinking that she was cheating on her. Yet again I can relate to her in the sense that she feels like a failure and blames herself for the way things had turned out. I have never had a similar experience to Rose so don’t know what its really like but whenever people I care about treat me badly, I often blame myself for it. I remember in high school I had a difficult time with someone I cared about and then because I had started the arguments, I blamed myself. I began to let them be mean and not stand up for myself as I thought I deserved it because I had started the disagreement. It wasn’t till years later that I realized that we were both to blame for what happened between us.
I like the fact that there are constant flash backs throughout the chapters in order to refer to what life was like for Rose while she was pregnant as it adds extra context to the story and gives further insight into how abusive Darren actually was towards her.
This book has made me think about what life must be like for a struggling couple with children. When I was a young child and my parents split up, my Dad went through court battles to gain custody of me seeing as my mum was too unwell to look after me at the time. I never really thought about what things must have been like on my parents side of it all until now. I feel that Isolation Junction challenges the readers thoughts on the situation and makes me think about the other aspect of a failing relationship other than what the child sees, which is the only aspect I have experienced. The book sends a powerful message to readers and provides an insight on abusive relationships which may even help those that may be in that situation.
As soon as I read the lyrics of the song in which Rose heard in chapter twelve when she turned on the radio, I knew exactly which song this was. I feel that a book that can relate to the audience and make the reader think is a powerful book which will strike thought and discussion. Like Rose, I find meaning and relation to music. Music has helped me through some of my toughest times and just when I was at my lowest mentally and thought I had no one to help me get better, it was music that got me through it all.
This book was compelling and powerful to read and I would recommend it to anyone whom wants a read that will challenge their mindset and what they think/know about abusive relationships.
Local mother and business owner, Jennifer Gilmour, has spent the past eighteen months writing her first novel with the aim of not only raising awareness of this insidious behaviour which brings hidden misery to so many but of bringing about changes at a national level. A ‘survivor’ herself, Jennifer is well aware that changes to national policies and working practices are needed so that situations in which women (and men) present in emotionally abusive situations are recognised and dealt with appropriately and with compassion. Jennifer believes that particular training needs to be focused on recognising the perpetrators of this behaviour, as often they are very persuasive people who are able to manipulate the services themselves.
Jennifer’s Huffington Post article went into more depth about life after domestic abuse and living with the unseen ‘bruises’. She states that, “This is why it is important that not only are the agencies well equipped to recognise abuse and coercive control but that there is support to protect those at risk as well. I was lucky to be supported by Hull DAP, which takes on medium risk cases as well as high risk cases. In many parts of the UK. This is not the case.”
WARNING: Major show spoilers from this point onward, you have been warned!
It has been a long anticipated TV Show since the initial announcement that Netflix would be producing a TV show based on the children’s novel series with the same name.
Ever since I first watched the original film based on the same books, I was hooked on the story line and the plot just left me wanting more. I couldn’t help but feel that the film was completely short lived considering the fact that the film only portrayed the first three books when there are in fact thirteen books in the series.
Naturally, I of course was excited when I found out about this new TV series based on the books and its like my childhood wish of wanting more of the series came true.
From initially looking at the episode titles, I couldn’t help but wonder that two episodes for each book did seem like they were trying to condense the series a little. From the initial first few minutes I noticed the ever so catchy new theme song invented specifically for this series.
I actually really loved the theme song as I believed it to be catchy and fresh which showed that the producers were dedicated to creating something as original as possible right from the start rather than copying the already released film.
The biggest problem that I have when it comes to TV show adaptations of an already released film is adapting to a new cast. More often than not, I struggle to adapt to a new cast and more often than not I end up hating that cast and comparing them to the previous cast which I end up loving better.
For me, this series started off all the same. Throughout the first episode, I was mentally comparing it to the film and what I liked better about each character. At first I didn’t like the way that Klaus was portrayed and I thought that Violet looked too young for her age. I actually thought that Sunny was cast perfectly.
As I got into episode two and three, the new cast began to grow on me. I had adapted to Klaus and Violet but I was still not keen on the casting of Mr Poe, not because of the change of race from the film but because he just didn’t seem right for the character.
From the start of the series I have loved the new involvement of Lemony Snicket and how he is now more directly involved in the story line seeing as he is the narrator. I completely love the casting of him and feel that Patrick is perfect for the role. I also love the casting of Count Olaf and feel that they have got him just right.
I also love how we actually get to see Gustav on screen in this series seeing as in the original film we didn’t which always left me wondering more about the character of Gustav. I like how the series is exploring the unexplained character’s although I don’t quite know what the significance of the role of Jacquelyn is meant to be. She does seem slightly out of place but I like how the series portrays some sort of figure looking over the children and am excited to see how her role will play out or if its just a short term role.
I was slightly disappointed about the way in which episode two ended in the sense that they ended the bad beginning with Violet simply revealing that the marriage was void because she signed with her left hand when she is actually right handed. For such an inventor and avid reader, I felt this ending for the bad beginning was a bit of a cop out and out of character for the children’s personality traits. I know the point is that they are trying to be different from the film version, but I feel that it would of had a better effect if the way out of the marriage was more creative like it is in the film.
Upon being first introduced to Uncle Monty, I yet again don’t initially like the casting. Not necessarily the actor in question but more the way in which he is being portrayed. Uncle Monty, is a scientist who is very smart and intelligent. I find that here he is being portrayed as more dumb and laid back. I don’t know if this is because I am used to the original film casting or not.
In this series, I feel that the race of Uncle Monty was more representative of how I viewed the character originally. I feel that this imagination of Uncle Monty is more accurate in terms of how I thought he should be portrayed despite him being portrayed as dumb and more laid back. I also feel his house is the perfect representation of how I thought it should look.
As episode three goes on, yet again I begin to warm to the casting of Uncle Monty and realize that he is no longer being portrayed as dumb but feel that this should have been more accurately represented from the moment we met his character on screen.
I like how in this series they have taken an original spin on the Peru story line. From watching the film, I always thought that the fact that they were going to Peru was out of place as if it had just been thrown into the plot for no reason. In the film version, Uncle Monty announced they were going to Peru as soon as the Baudelaire children arrived which made it seem suspect and suspicious. It made me wonder why they were going to Peru and why it was just randomly thrown into the story line.
In this series, I much prefer how there is a build up to this and instead there is a reason present as to why they are going to Peru: because they are in danger from Count Olaf. I love the fact that Gustav and Jacquelyn are looking out for the children and making sure they are safe.
One thought that stays present throughout the Season is that Violet looks too young to be fourteen years of age here. The actress does portray her effectively, but her age doesn’t look believable when you look at her.
I love the fact that the series has introduced some new characters such as Jacquelyn and the guy that works at the Anxious Clown when Count Olaf first approaches to help develop the story out in areas that otherwise seemed incomplete. I don’t like when Sunny suggests “Uber?” when the siblings are trying to work out which restaurant Captain Sham is going to because the story line would have been set before Uber existed so it seems out of place.
Another thing is, when Aunt Josephine is supposed to have jumped out the window, it doesn’t actually look very convincing seeing as the shape that is left in the window looks more like the shape Count Olaf would make if he was to jump out a window. In the film, it was portrayed in a way which made it look like she had actually killed herself until we later found out that instead she had tricked Olaf and left a secret message for the siblings. It also doesn’t make very much sense that Olaf in disguise as Captain Sham would have Aunt Josephine jump out a window when the Baudelaire children were still in the house.
MAJOR PLOT TWIST:
Up until episode seven we were questioning who the mysterious couple were that kept cropping up throughout the series, the couple who were flying a plane above lake lachrymose right at the moment the Baudelaire children were sinking. That wasn’t just me that was wondering that right? Well up until this point I was 100% convinced that it was the Baudelaire children’s parents and that they weren’t really dead and had covered it up.
I really wanted to believe that it was their parents coming to rescue them and reveal that they were in fact alive. Then episode seven ended. BOOM!
I wasn’t expecting that. The way in which the couple turned out to be a completely different group of kids parents, a group of kids we had not previously even heard of yet alone been introduced to. I really like the way in which this part of the story line was portrayed. With everything I know about A Series of Unfortunate Events by now, I should have known not to believe this couple was their parents. I should have known not to be fooled, but I was fooled.
This part of the story line was portrayed in a very clever and effective way that gave away no clues until the bombshell was revealed. I generally think this was a very smart and clever addition to the series in order to make it stand out from the 2004 film of the same name. This idea added a new element of hope and excitement to the viewers only to swipe the rug out from underneath our feet once the truth was revealed. The use of clever camera actions and words made me believe right until the last minute that it was the children’s parents and that they hadn’t actually died. But of course, I should know by now, this series doesn’t have a happy ending, we can take that from the name.
Another thing that I love about this new series based on the books by Daniel Handler that kind of ties in with my love of the theme song is the fact that each book’s equivalent two episodes has a unique opener. Instead of simply using the same theme song and same opener throughout the series, they adapt it so that each book’s equivalent has an addition which focuses on that specific books equivalent.
Another thing is for sure, Count Olaf is getting better at these disguises, the woman Shirley is the best one he’s came up with yet, but not good enough to fool the Baudelaire’s or the viewers.
I feel that the producers found a great place to finish season one on. They gave a snippet of what happens after Aunt Josephine’s guardianship which wasn’t explored in the film but not too much to give away the story, just enough to keep the viewer wanting more.
The season ends leaving us with many questions on our mind. Who is Jacquelyn? What is her significance? How does she know the Baudelaire’s parents and Gustav? Who are the mysterious couple with the three children? How do they know the Baudelaire’s parents. How are all these people connected? What is the story behind their organisation? The list of questions goes on…
Overall the first series of A Series of Unfortunate Events has began to satisfy that craving for more that I have had since first watching the film. I always hated how the film seemed to be lacking something because it was cut so short. The show is filmed in a way that leaves me still wanting more and with loads of questions I would like the answer to. The show also adds a refreshing spin on the tale of the Baudelaire children although I do feel that at certain points they try too hard to be different. I am definitely excited to see what else is to come in season 2 and I am sure that it will continue to be exciting! Overall I generally think this is one show that is worth the watch!
This has generally been one of the most exciting shows I have watched in a long time but there are areas where I feel it could have been improved.