Books, Fiction, Reading, Reviewing, Three Star Rating

Review: ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ by Jodie Picoult (Contains Spoilers)

my sisters keeper

 

Anna Fitzgerald doesn’t want her sister to die. But she’s sick of helping her to live.

Anna was born to be a perfect genetic match for Kate, who at just two years old was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. For thirteen years, she has acted as donor to her sister.

Now, Kate needs a kidney, and nobody is asking Anna how she feels about it, they’re just assuming she will donate.

Until the Sheriff serves the papers that will rock their family’s world: Anna is suing her parents for the rights to her own body . . .

My Thoughts:

Seeing as my last book review was of ‘The Tenth Circle’ by Jodi Picoult, I thought that I would jump start my reviews, with another one of Picoult’s novels.

The premise of this novel seemed very interesting and grabbed my attention straight away. I think that Picoult’s attempt to tackle controversial topics, is something which drew me to her books in the first place.

This book approaches the idea of genetically modifying a child in order to save another sibling, with diverse writing.

Each of the chapters are dedicated to the points of view of several different characters; Anna Fitzgerald the main character, Kate Fitzgerald, Anna’s sister who has a terminal illness, Jesse Fitzgerald, their brother and their parents Sara and Brian  Fitzgerald.

Outside of the Fitzgerald family, chapters are dedicated to expressing the points of view of Julia Romano, who acts as Anna’s guardian during legal proceedings and Campbell Alexander, Anna’s lawyer.

Whilst I liked the idea of reading the situation from different perspectives, at first, I found the individual chapters, took a bit of getting used to. I frequently had to keep going back, in order to remember who each character was. Despite that, I think that Picoult’s characters are equally believable and well rounded. Each character had its strengths and weaknesses and I think this helped me to invest in the story.

I even thought that the romantic element between Julia and Campbell fitted in very well with the book’s very heavy topic.

The main problem for me about this book and it was a pretty big one, was the ending.

Due to the fact that this novel asks you to believe and invest a lot of time and emotion in the characters, the ending left me feeling furious and cheated. ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ goes into great detail about the proceedings of a court case and is very thorough at presenting a realistic representation of the law. Therefore, to simply put all of her characters through all of this heartache and stress in the court case, to come to a decision and yet write an ending which just felt convenient, I feel that Jodi Picoult demeans her readers by giving them that ending. I was so annoyed by the last few chapters, that I actually wanted to throw the book out of the window in frustration!

It’s not the first time this has happened with Picoult’s novels. So far, I have read two of her books and both have had endings which have nicely wrapped up the story, but have not tackled the gritty topics she focuses on, in a satisfactory way.

I’m willing to give Jodi Picoult one more chance, but after that, if her novels still continue to offer the reader a patronizing, ‘warm and fuzzy’ ending, then I will not continue to read any more of her novels.

‘My Sister’s Keeper’ starts with promise, but falls very flat at the end.

My Rating ***

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Blogging, Books, Life

I’m back!

I’m a terrible blogger. There, I’ve said it.

I could write another one of those posts where I apologize for not posting in a long time and give you the reasons why, like life got in the way and all of those usual excuses, but I won’t.

Instead, I’ve come back to what I love doing and that is talking about books, films and TV programmes and I promise you that I will do my upmost best to post at least twice week. If I can post more frequently, then that’s a bonus.

I haven’t stopped reading since I last posted though. Reading remains a constant in my life. Over the last few months I have read the following novels:

‘A is for Alibi’Sue Grafton

‘A Street Cat Named Bob: How One Man And His Cat Found Hope On The Streets’James Bowen 

‘Harry Potter and The Cursed Child’ John Tiffany 

The ‘His Dark Materials’ Trilogy-Philip Pullman 

‘Billy and Me’Giovanna Fletcher 

‘My Sister’s Keeper’Jodi Picoult

‘The Gunslinger’Stephen King

It has been a mixed bag with my choices of reading. Some of these titles I have enjoyed like ‘A Street Cat Named Bob: How One Man And His Cat Found Hope On The Streets’ and some that I haven’t enjoyed, for example, ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ (possibly a controversial choice). However, I haven’t stopped enjoying the reading experience.

Writing has been put on the back burner over the last few months, I’ve probably written a handful of pages. By getting back into blogging, I hope that this will re-ignite my passion for writing.

I have some exciting plans for future blogs. I want to start a regular film reviewing series and possibly collaborate with other bloggers, so keep coming back to see what’s new on the blog!

If you have any suggestions or would like to collaborate with me on future posts, then post in the comment box below, or send me a tweet on Twitter.

Have you read or want to read any of the books I have read over the last few months? Have you made any new book discoveries that you think I need to read?

Look out for some film talk on Friday!

Books, First Paragraph Tuesday, Reading

First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday

‘First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday’ is hosted by ‘Bibliophile By The Sea’. Each week, I’ll share with you the first paragraph of a novel I’m currently reading or want to read in the future.

This week’s paragraph is from ‘The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet’ by David Mitchell:

‘The House of Kawasemi the Concubine, above Nagasaki’. The Ninth Night of the Fifth Month.

‘Miss Kawasemi?’ Orito kneels on a stale and sticky futon. ‘Can you hear me?’

In the rice paddy beyond the garden, a cacophony of frogs detonates.  Orito dabs the concubine’s sweat-drenched face with a damp cloth.

‘She’s barely spoken,’ the maid holds the lamp ‘for hours and hours…’

‘Miss Kawasemi, my name’s Aibagawa. I’m a midwife. I want to help.’

Kawasemi’s eyes flicker open. She manages a frail sigh. Her eyes shut. She is too exhausted, Orito thinks, even to fear dying tonight.’

Would you continue reading?

Books, Fiction, Reading, Reviewing, Romance, Two Star Rating

REVIEW- ‘The Notebook’ by Nicholas Sparks

the notebook

What the ‘Blurb’ says:

How far can love endure?

Noah Calhoun has just returned from World War Two. Attempting to escape the ghosts of battle, he tries to concentrate on restoring an old plantation home to its former glory. And yet he is haunted by images of the beautiful girl he met there fourteen years before, a girl who captured his heart like no other.

But when these distant memories begin to slide into reality, the passion that had lain still is ignited once more. Though so much is in their way, the miraculous force of their love refuses to fade.

My Thoughts

Firstly I have to admit that romance isn’t a genre I normally read, but on the recommendation of a friend, I decided to give this novel a go.

What I liked about the story was Noel, one of the main characters. He is believable and likeable. The romantic story between Noah and Allison, is very well told. It does come close to being too over sentimental, but just about gets away with it.

The problems I had with this book, were contained within the later half. The issues this book deals with is, as far as I can imagine, were well told and researched. I do think that those issues could have been developed more though.

I also felt disappointed with the story, at the last page of this novel. I didn’t expect this book to end as it did. Some people may be satisfied by the way this novel ends, but I thought that it was slightly far-fetched and ruined the story a little for me.

I wasn’t entirely keen on the slow pace of the novel either. I can imagine this novel to be perfect for the lazy days of summer, when there is no rush to go anywhere. I prefer slightly faster paced novels.

After reading this review you may think that I didn’t enjoy this novel at all, but I thought it was a reasonably enjoyable read.

Whilst I wouldn’t rush to read this again, I think that ‘The Notebook’ would make a readable, beach novel.

My Rating **

Books, Reading, Reviewing

On Reviewing…

I’ve been thinking about what the future holds for the blog and some of the ideas I have had, I’m quite excited about. Although I’ve realised that to start off well, the foundations of the blog have to be right.

In my previous book blog, I realised that my book reviews were good, but lacked a scoring system. When reading book reviews, I’m not usually persuaded entirely by the review. In fact, if a novel has received a complete slating by a reviewer, that actually encourages me to read that novel so that I can make my own mind up about it. However, I do pay slight attention to a star system any review, it would certainly encourage me to read the rest of its contents.

So, that being said, here is my scoring system for any review of books, films or tv featured on the blog:

***** Loved it. Thoroughly recommended.

**** Enjoyed it, but not without faults.

*** It was ok. Neither good nor bad.

** Mildly enjoyable. Had elements which could have been improved.

* Hated this. Wouldn’t recommend.

Whilst I don’t expect everyone to agree with my reviews/ratings, (feel free to disagree, I love a discussion on books and films!) it’ll give you a good idea of what I think. I’ll also tag each book review not only by genre, but by ratings.

I’ll be posting a review tomorrow, so watch this space!

For those of you who review (books, films, tv etc) what’s your rating system? How much attention do you pay to reviews/ratings?

Books, Favourites Series, Fiction, Horror, Reading, Stephen King

Favourites Series – Stephen King

I have many favourite things in my life. From clothes to songs, films to food. So I thought that I would share a list of favs with you in this new series.

Like my mind, this favourites list will be random. Each post will be about a completely different subject.

This time I’m going to share with you, my list of 5 favourite Stephen King novels:

The Stand

1.This will forever be my favourite Stephen King novel. At a whopping 1344 pages, it seems an  intimidating read, but trust me, you won’t notice how massive this book is.

The diverse, believable characters combined with fantastic storytelling, will transport you to post virus America with a message of good against evil.

Carrie

2.The character of Carrie, in my opinion, depicts the perfect anti-hero. Yes, she is a hormone fuelled, crazy psychopath, but when reading about what she gets up to at her high school prom, you can’t help but feel pleased for her. Maybe that’s a bit worrying…

Misery

3. Not only is this a gripping story, but as a writer myself, I’m fascinated by the insight the protagonist Paul Sheldon gives on the writing process.

This is a story which will keep you on the edge of your seat and has a twist at the end, that I wasn’t expecting.

cell

4. ‘The Cell’ is a lesser known novel by Stephen King (correct me if I’m wrong), but once I started reading this book, whilst on holiday many years ago, I couldn’t put it down.

It channels into the modern day obsession with technology and mobile phones, to tell a horrifying story. It also sends a very strong message of family.The main character, illustrator Clayton Riddell fights to save his wife and son from being over taken by the power of a vicious, futuristic virus.

Thinner

5. It was hard to think of only five novels to be included in this ‘Favourites’ list. I could have selected ‘Bag of Bones’, ‘The Green Mile’, ‘The Shining’, ‘Doctor Sleep’ and loads of other Stephen King Novels. However, the last in my list is ‘Thinner’.

What I like about this short novel, is the suspense that is built up throughout. I also really like the ending. I won’t give it away, but it’s one of the most bizarre endings I have read!

I will post another ‘Favourite’ list soon. If you would like to join in with this series, post a ‘Favourite’ list on a subject of your choice, on your blog. Then post a comment here, including the link.

Books, Life, Photos, Reading, Writing

The Summer of 2015

Now the nights are drawing in, I’ve been reflecting on the summer.

It has had a few stresses, mostly about money, but overall it has been great. I’ve been to some great events, most recently a blues/rock concert by an up and coming singer/guitarist Joanna Shaw Taylor, a classical concert held in the beautiful surroundings of a rose garden and enjoyed the usual local festivities which happen every year.

My writing mojo has also kept me busy and I’m ploughing into finishing my first ‘proper’ novel, with gusto.

Reading books has been slow and steady during the summer. I’ve read a total of eight books and abandoned two. As I’m developing in my writing, I’m finding that I have become pickier with my reading taste. I don’t think that this is a bad thing though. As I’m getting older (I’m at the ripe old age of 34!), I’ve realised that life is too short to waste time on books that I’m not enjoying. That’s not to say that I won’t give a book a chance. Even if I’m not sure if I am going to like a book, I will still read about 100 pages before deciding whether to ditch it or not.

Over the next few days, I will try and catch up on blog posts I have missed and reviews I’d like to tell you about. For now, here are some photos of my summer:

DSCN1593DSCN1590DSCN1574