Books, Christy Brown, Disability, Disability Read-a-thon, Four Star Rating, Non Fiction, Read-a-thon, Reading, Reviewing

Review: ‘My Left Foot’ by Christy Brown

my left foot

Image taken from: Amazon.co.uk

What the ‘Blurb’ says:

‘Christy Brown was born a victim of cerebral palsy. But the hapless, lolling baby concealed the brilliantly imaginative and sensitive mind of a writer who would take his place among the giants of Irish literature.

This is Christy Brown’s own story. He recounts his childhood struggle to learn to read, write, paint and finally type, with the toe of his left foot. In this manner he wrote his bestseller Down all the Days.’

My Thoughts:

This book was recommended to me, as part of the ‘Disability Read-a-thon’ and to be quite honest, I wasn’t looking forward to reading this book, mainly because I thought this would be a depressing read. Actually, I found it to be an uplifting and very good read.

I thought that this book was beautifully written, but still approachable. I really liked how the process of writing this book was talked about, as well as Christy Brown’s life. There were lots of anecdotes, which were not only moving, but some very funny too. You could sense Christy’s wicked sense of humour, throughout the book.

Whilst this book was uplifting, the moments in which Christy struggled throughout his life, not just physically, but because of the difficulty he found about processing his identity, within an abled bodied world. I thought that this was was really poignant and in some ways, I could identify with this myself.

The only criticism I have with this book, was that I felt that it ended a bit abruptly. Although from what I understand, he wrote other books about his life, which I would like to read in the future.

I don’t normally enjoy reading autobiographies, but I thought that ‘My Left Foot’ was a brilliant read. I would definitely recommend this book.

My Rating: ****

Book Series, Books, Disability, Disability Read-a-thon, Fantasy, Fiction, Laekan Zea Kemp, Read-a-thon, Reading, Science Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

Review: ‘The Girl In Between’ (Book 1 of ‘The Girl In Between’ Series) by Laekan Zea Kemp

the girl in between

 

What the ‘Blurb’ says:

‘Bryn Reyes is a real life sleeping beauty. Afflicted with Klein-Levin Syndrome, she suffers episodes of prolonged sleep that steal weeks, and sometimes even months, from her life. But unlike most KLS patients, she doesn’t spend each episode in a catatonic state or wake up with no recollection of the time she’s missed. Instead, Bryn spends half her life in an alternate reality made up of her memories. For Bryn, the past is a place, until one day a boy she’s never met before washes up on the illusory beach of her dreams with no memory of who he is.

But the appearance of this strange boy isn’t the only thing that’s changed. Bryn’s symptoms are worsening, her body weakening as she’s plagued by hallucinations even while awake. Her only hope of finding a cure is to undergo experimental treatment created by a German specialist. But when Dr. Banz reveals that he knows more about her strange symptoms than he originally let on, Bryn learns that the boy in her head might actually be the key to understanding what’s happening to her, and worse, that if she doesn’t find out his identity before it’s too late, they both may not survive.’

My Thoughts:

‘The Girl In Between’ was the first book I read for the ‘Disability Read-a-Thon’ in October and, because this was a free download, I didn’t have high expectations for this book at all. However, I was very pleasantly surprised.

This book’s main character Bryn has a sleeping syndrome, which means that she can suddenly sleep for weeks and months on end. This didn’t mean however, that she a poor defenseless girl, in fact she was the opposite. She was funny, sarcastic and a fully rounded teenager and I thought she was relatable and likeable.

This book wasn’t just about Disability but the book does cover some of the issues that, even though I don’t have the same condition as Bryn, I could relate to, when I was growing up. However, it was also a complex mix of real life, fantasy and Bryn’s condition, which was seamlessly and imaginatively, incorporated into the story.

There were a couple of times when I thought that this book would develop into a slushy teen romance, but thankfully, this just managed not to turn into this and any kind of romance was maturely and sensitively handled.

I found the pace of this to be excellent. In no part of the book did I feel the story dragged and I really wanted to know what would happen to the characters.

I think that the ending was really good and it resolved enough to feel satisfied at the end, but it left enough for me to want to read the rest of the series.

I will definitely be reading the rest of this series at some point. I would recommend reading this book, whether you want to read something with a strong main character who has a Disability, or you enjoy a good Fantasy read.

My Rating ****

Books, Crime, Disability, Disability Read-a-thon, Fantasy, Fiction, Life, Non Fiction, Read-a-thon, Reading, Science Fiction, Short Story, Suspense, Thriller, Young Adult Fiction

‘Disability Read-a-thon’ Wrap Up

So, the ‘Disability Read-a-thon’ is over! October went so quickly, that I can’t believe we are now in November.

As I’ve told you before, October was a time to surround myself with Literature, podcasts and blog posts featuring characters with Disabilities or by people who have different Disabilities.

Whilst this read-a-thon wasn’t focused on the number of books we read, I managed to read five books this month (I technically finished a book this morning, but that still counts, right?), which is the most I’ve read in a month ever!

Upon embarking on this challenge, I expected to read or hear a lot of sad things. There were times when some of the books I read were sad, but actually, I found that the majority of them were really funny and uplifting. I’ve really enjoyed listening to people’s different experiences.

‘People Assume My Girlfriend is my Nurse’ by Shane Burcaw made me laugh out loud in places and some of the stories told in ‘My Left Foot’ by Christy Brown showed that, even in the darkest of situations, there is still humour to be found.

I’ve also read books which were gripping to read. Jeffery Deaver’s crime novel ‘The Bone Collector’ was by far, one of the best books I have read for a while and I intend to read more in this series.

I’ve also listened to people talking about life with a Disability on the ‘Ouch!’ Podcast. Not only were the episodes I listened to entertaining, but really interesting too.

I didn’t manage to read all of the books on my TBR this month, I think there were two books left to read, but I don’t think I did badly, considering that at times things in my life got a bit hectic. I will be reading the remaining books at some point though.

Unfortunately, I haven’t seen much buzz about this Read-a-thon on Instagram or Twitter, but I will definitely be making some time to read more books with characters with disabilities or are by writers with disabilities, whether or not the read-a-thon takes place next year.

Be sure to check back for full reviews of all of the books I read this month!

 

 

 

 

Books, Disability, Disability Read-a-thon, Read-a-thon, Reading

‘Disability Read-a-thon’- Week 4

Sorry I missed last week’s update, time ran away with me. Just because I didn’t post, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been reading!

I finished ‘The Bone Collector’ by Jeffery Deaver and I thought it was brilliant. I will definitely be reading the rest in this series.

Then, I read ‘Strangers Assume my Girlfriend is my Nurse’ by Shane Burcaw. I enjoyed this book, it made me laugh, but for some reason, I was left a little disappointed with this read. I don’t know why, but I was expecting more from this.

Now, in the last few days of the read-a-thon, I want to finish reading ‘Accessing the Future’ by Kathyrn Allan and Djibril al-Ayad. This collection of short stories about Disability or by writers with disabilities, has been a bit of a mixed bag for me, some stories I’ve liked, some, I haven’t enjoyed at all.

I will obviously post reviews of all of the books I have read over the last month and will do a final wrap-up, in the next few days. If this read-a-thon is repeated next year, I will definitely be taking part.

What have you been reading lately?

Books, Crime, Fiction, Jane Corry, Reading, Reviewing, Two and a Half Star Rating

Review: ‘The Dead Ex’ by Jane Corry

the dead ex

Image from: www.amazon.co.uk

What the ‘Blurb’ says:

‘HE CHEATED. HE LIED . . . HE DIED.

Vicki’s husband David once promised to love her in sickness and in health. But after a brutal attack left her suffering with epilepsy, he ran away with his mistress.

So when Vicki gets a call one day to say that he’s missing, her first thought is ‘good riddance’. But then the police find evidence suggesting that David is dead. And they think Vicki had something to do with it.

What really happened on the night of David’s disappearance?
And how can Vicki prove her innocence, when she’s not even sure of it herself?’

My Opinion:

‘The Dead Ex’ was a buddy read, I had never read anything by Jane Corry before. To be quite honest with you, it will possibly be the last book I will read by this author.

Firstly, this book is split into several threads of story. We have the main character Vicki’s point of view, a little girl named Scarlett and a woman named Helen. Lately, whenever I have read a book which had more than one story thread running through it, I’ve been frustrated that one plot was good and the others, disappointing. With ‘The Dead Ex’, this was the same. I liked Scarlett’s story line and found it particularly moving. The power of this story was let down, by the weaker threads running along side it.

The characters were mostly ok, but I found some of their behaviors to be too exaggerated. This book would have been a good read for this month’s ‘Disability Read-a-thon’ (I read this just before the beginning of October), because the main character in this book, has Epilepsy. The sad thing for me though, was that this book would have been the perfect example of how NOT to portray a person with this condition.

I felt annoyed that, whenever anyone discovered that the main character had Epilepsy, she was instantly treated with suspicion. To me, this didn’t highlight the condition, but in some ways, demonized people who have to deal with Epilepsy and this wasn’t fair.

The plot of this novel was, for the most part, intriguing and I wanted to continue reading to find out what was going to happen. Whilst the many threads of story were tied up in a satisfactory way, there were a couple plot twists, which I felt to be weak, or really silly.

Overall,  I think that this book was trying to highlight many social issues. Unfortunately, this need to cram a lot into the pages of this book, resulted in a weak and messy read.

This book was ok, but nothing that I would recommend rushing out to read.

My Rating: ** 1/2 Stars

Book Series, Books, David Baldacci, Fantasy, Fiction, Reading, Reviewing, Science Fiction, Two Star Rating, Young Adult Fiction

Review: ‘The Finisher’ (Book 1 in the ‘Vega Jane series) by David Baldacci (With Mild Spoilers!)

the finisher.jpg

 

Image from:  www.amazon.co.uk

What the ‘Blurb’ says:

‘Welcome to Wormwood: a place where curiosity is discouraged and no one has ever left.

Until one girl, Vega Jane, discovers a map that suggests a mysterious world beyond the walls. A world with possibilities and creatures beyond her imagining.

But she will be forced to fight for her freedom. And unravelling the truth may cost Vega her life.’

My Thoughts:

I’m a fan of Fantasy and Sci-fi and, in a recent conversation with a friend on the subject of reading, they recommended and lent me, the ‘Vega Jane’ Series.

Book one started with great promise.  Vega Jane and the rest of the characters were very well formed and I liked the initial underlining feminist message, running throughout the story.

However, I found many problems with this novel. Firstly, the writing was a major problem for me, particularly the vocabulary that was used by the characters.

Wormwood is supposedly a fictional place, on an unknown planet. So it didn’t come to surprise, that the characters used a fictional language.

The problem with that was, when a character used a fictional word, as a reader, you had to hazard a guess at to what the characters were talking about. Also, made up words were used, where they weren’t particularly necessary. For example, ”Lights’ were ‘days’ and ‘slivers’ were ‘time’. For me, it wasn’t entirely necessary to use alternative words for these things and this vocabulary was being thrown in, to try and make the setting of the story, more interesting. I would have preferred  the use of fictitious words for some of the more exotic things, found in the environment of Wormwood.

Also to confuse things even further, more modern words like ‘bloke’ were used, which gave this weird mish mash, between the modern and the fantasy world, the book took place in. I think what David Baldacci was trying to do, was to make the situation and characters more relatable to its predominately teenage audience.  What this combination of language actually did, was to cause me to step out of the world that was being created, rather than being drawn into it.

The plot was generally good. Although, as Vega was learning more about her powers, there were no real explanations as to why she had them. I know this is a series and I suppose that during the course of the novels, there will be more explanation, but I felt like something should have been explained.

Also, Vega inexplicably finds weapons at the exact times she needs them, without any explanation about where they came from. It was as if David Baldacci found Vega in a tight spot, so he decided to drop weapons from the sky. For me, that wasn’t logical and was a bit lazy on the writer’s part.

I did enjoy the tension which ran through the book and that kept me reading until the very end. I was fully prepared, as I neared the end of book one, to continue reading the rest of the series. However, the last three chapters totally put me off reading the rest of the books, for several reasons.

Firstly, Vega Jane was a strong female character, who had guts and fought to survive. So it was totally out of character, at the end, for her to start worrying about what she looked like and what boys thought of her. To me, that totally contradicted the message that the rest of the book was trying to send.

Also the resolution to the novel, like some of the other elements in this book, seemed to come from no where. I felt totally disappointed at the weak ending.

This novel had interesting promise and a great female protagonist, but it missed the mark entirely for me.

If you like reading fantasy novels, with strong female characters, I wouldn’t suggest reading this. Read the ‘Hunger Games’ Trilogy instead.

My Rating: **

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Action, Book Series, Books, Crime, Disability, Disability Read-a-thon, Film Adaptation, Jeffery Deaver, Reading, Suspense

‘Disability Read-a-thon’- Week 2

It’s the end of week 2 of the ‘Disability Read-a-thon’. This read-a-thon so far, has helped me to discover a new favourite author. I’m currently 183 pages into ‘The Bone Collector’ by Jeffery Deaver and I love it!

bone collectr

This novel is the first in the ‘Lincoln Rhyme’ detective series and it’s very good. I watched the film adaptation of this novel, with Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie, many years ago and I really enjoyed it. I was a bit skeptical whether or not I would enjoy the book, but I have been proved wrong.

Here’s the ‘blurb’:

Lincoln Rhyme is one of the world’s foremost forensic criminalists. And a quadriplegic. And planning suicide.

Then he gets a call he can’t ignore.

A single human hand has been found, belonging to a man who got in a cab at the airport and never got out. The driver was ‘The Bone Collector’, a ruthless kidnapper.

As the minutes count down to each new death, Rhyme must decipher the gruesome clues left by the killer at each scene.

Slowly the criminalist begins to tighten the noose.

But it appears ‘The Bone Collector’ has other plan…’

Next week, I hope to finish this novel and move onto the next read, but I will definitely continue reading the rest of the ‘Lincoln Rhyme’ novels in the future.

What are you reading at the moment?