10 Perfect things while reading a good book :)

I was having a think this morning while laying in my lovely warm bed, what are the top 10 things while reading a good book?

Here are my personal 10:

1.Listening to the rain or laying in the sun

2. A cup of tea (of course with buscuits)

3. Good music

4. NO INTERRUPTIONS

5. Being comfortable

6. Cake. Especially Victoria Sponge

7. A comfy seat

8. Hearing birds sing

9. The feeling of knowing you’ll come back to a book you love

10. When a book makes you think about it for days after

🙂 There is my Ten, how about yours?   

The Baby Laundry for Unmarried Mothers- Angela Patrick with Lynne Barrett-Lee

 

I became interesting in this subject after watching a TV show called Lost Families on UK’s ITV 1,  a show trying to reunite parents and the children they had, had adopted. As I watched again and again, the same story was repeatedly coming up a young woman getting pregnant from the 1930’s to the 1970’s (ish) and being sent away in shame and disgrace or removing themselves to mother and baby homes, ran by Nuns to give birth alone, spend mere weeks with their children (who were desperately loved by their mothers in the majority of cases) and being put up for adoption often leading to years of guilt and heavy secrets for the mother.  I was wandering around the library (where else?!?) and I saw this, it was new in an

d the front cover just captured me, however what I read on the blurb made me need to read this book and learn now about an era that is only now being spoken about.

‘I’d been denied saying goodbye to my baby,

denied that last chance to stroke his ch

eek and feel his fingers grip mine,

to kiss his tiny mouth in loving farewell’

That alone is heart wrenching. The year is 1963 a young nineteen year old girl forced to wear a fake wedding ring, to go alone to a convent run by so called ‘women of God’ (which made me seriously consider why people don’t think religion is about power), to endure a horrendous labour with no comfort and no idea of what was going on, then to fall in love with her perfect little boy Paul only to have to give him away and why? To avoid stigma and ultimately to make sure she did not disgrace her family in the eyes of the Catholic Church. Although Angela forgave her mother and step father (after the death of her own beloved father passed away when she was just 14) knowing and repeating throughout her story that it was the way of the time, something that was done and she felt lucky

However it haunts me that throughout in all aspects of things going wrong or Angela feeling pain, she repeatedly asks God if he has forgiven her yet, desperately praying for her personal hell to be over, for her sins to be forgiven. T

o me this in itself is pretty alarming here is this young intelligent woman, with a job in London and what seems to be a loving family (even though some love cannot be expressed) who does what she needs to do in societies eyes but ultimately pays the price her entire life because of wondering what God would think? It just proves that too me religion is so dangerous and don’t even get me started on these lovely nuns! Sister Act they were not, women were forced to work in heavy labour jobs until the day they went into labour, not laughing, no smiling, insulting these vulnerable women, leaving the babies all night long with no feeding and no changing, no holding the babies and god forbid you give your own child a kiss goodbye!  It makes me sick to the stomach especially after looking after my lovely little 2 and a half month old ‘niece’. Even after leaving the nuns behind Angela is terrified not to mention heartbroken after leaving her son to others, she is sure that being unable to conceive is God still punishing her for having sex before marriage!

Angela does move on although never forgetting Paul even after happily marrying and having a ‘miracle baby’ her daughter Katherine. Although the joy that pours from these pages when Paul finally gets hold of his mother is euphoric, it really makes you ecstatic even though you know it will happen!

This story has made me realise the true bond of mother and chil

d. I do not have children myself, although I desperately wish to have them in the future, it seems strange to think that within the next ten years if I am lucky I will have my own child. Although I have no children I know that when they happen, I will love and fiercely protect them, I couldn’t even think about giving them away and I know that none of the women in my family could of done it either. It’s so clear that Angela truly loved this tiny baby boy the agnoy she must of had to endure hearing him crying and not being able to say goodbye, just to hear your baby taken away from you by voices and then having ot wait so long to have another child, it is so heart-breaking. People would assume that because of this the book makes you sad and yes it does there was a period where I had to just leave it for a little while, I had to think hard about what I had read and it even made me tear up. This said it is also so beautiful we know from the blurb  that Angela w

ill find Paul again for the reunion she dreamt of for thirty years but in the thick of it you forget that, you feel her pain (I may have felt it more simply because I have maternal feelings). For me what Angela experienced is the worst pain possible, I could never give a baby away for adoption or listen to him cry and not be able to even hold him.

However even if this is a tale with a happy ending, there are many adopted children who do not share the same story. Some women never told a soul and when contacted, their children were told they could not possibly see them. The lies were too deep even now, they could not tell anyone the truth, it would break them apart. This is a valid part of history that cannot be forgotten we must learn as a younger generation from these poor women and children’s stories and make sure that it never happens again.

 

This book is truly unique, heart breaking and inspiring ❤

 

I give it 5 plus stars!!!! *****

 

Go and buy it or borrow it, NOW!!!

The Baby Laundry for Unmarried Mothers  by Angela Patrick with Lynne Barrett-Lee

Simon and Schuster

£6.99

Review by Chloe Metzger

 

The Bridesmaid Pact- Julia Williams

 

Another one of my little guilty girly purchases that was on a 3 for 2 (which my boyfriend was not impressed with). I didn’t expect to like this book as much as I did, I thought yeah okay a little light reading as a break, won’t have to think too much just a bit of fun.

Now the plot line isn’t amazingly difficult and I understand people looking and thinking oh just another typical woman’s book about weddings but surprisingly this book really can make you feel good 🙂 The story focuses on four best friends Beth, Caz, Doris and Sarah childhood friend who make a pact to promise to be each other’s bridesmaids at their future weddings, but as these things go time changes a few things and each of the women need to face choices they never thought they would make.

We have four (rather stereotypical) women who we follow through this novel. Caz, the wild party animal who is always testing the limits and never thinking of the consequences. Sarah, umming and arring over her upcoming wedding, who has to weather storms that definitely were not in her mind when she promised to be a bridesmaid for her friend. Beth, the good girl who is being haunted by her past as she so so desperately tries to fulfil both her and her partners dreams to have a child and Dorrie the one who wants to pull them all back together over the years to make the pact still stand as she organises her dream Disney wedding while tackling a terrifying secret that she never wants to share.

In my honest opinion I don’t feel like this novel is about the four women, the true heroine of this novel is clearly Dorrie. She is the one that you honestly remember long after you have finished reading because you generally are routing for her the whole way through (well I did at least). This doesn’t mean that you don’t feel for the other women at all, they all have a rough time and you want the best for all of them, I just personally feel that when you read a book, if a character still sticks out a year after you’ve read it (for the right reason) then to me they are the most important.

Williams has done a brilliant job with the actual storytelling and there are some twists and turns that you really do not expect (and I love an author that can throw in a complete surprise), some of which will make you smile and think YES GO ON YES! and others well others won’t they will have you genuinely feeling so sad for them and wanting to shout noooo!

It’s so hard to review this novel because you can let so much slip about how their lives transform. I think one thing that has to be said though it we can all see these girls in our own lives even if like me you’re not around loads of girls often, you can still see these personalities around you.

So for this I give 4 stars, a recommended girly read.

****

The Bridesmaid Pact by Julia Williams

Published by Avon books

£6.99

🙂

 

Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen

I only heard of this novel when the film came out a year or two ago, I really wanted too see it but I then found out there was also a novel. So me being me I decided I would read the book before I watched the film (the only film that I watched before I read the book was The Other Boleyn girl which I loved and I now need to buy the book!) and I really enjoyed it, although I must confess at times I got a little bored and naughtily peaked at a later part (I know it’s terrible but I got bored). That said I did enjoy the book and I even enjoyed the ending (although I usually wouldn’t), now I must get a copy of the film too see how much they differ.

The novel opens with a prologue from a young Jacob Jankowski, describing the one time disaster broke out in his beloved circus, wetting the readers appitite for the destruction to come later on. Although after doing this the next chapter is rather depressing and slow compared to the ideas of the prologue. Fast forward a good 50/60 years and Jacob is alone grumpy, old and starting to loose his mind a little in a nursing home where the only good thing is a sweet nurse and the fact that the circus is finally coming to town possibly for the last time Jacob will ever see it (throughout the novel we are forced back and forward, which to some could be seen as slightly depressing)

After the excitement regarding the circus Jacob is forced to sit alone after an argument with a fellow resident claiming he ‘carried water for the elephants’, but going back to his youth Jacob knows this is a lie after all he was the vet on one of the ‘greatest circus’ on earth’. This sets the tone for the whole novel, as the reader is constantly drawn to and from the past which in a way makes this a story of triumph tinged with sadness throughout, as we know how it ends with Jacob waiting for his children, waiting to get back a piece of his life and true love, Marlena.

Young Jacob is a student with dreams of being a vet and getting that one girl to sleep with him, although in one day his whole life,happiness and studies are destroyed by the sudden death of his parents, going home he learnt he has lost everything he thought he had. His father has been in crippling debt just so that Jacob had the education he needs. Alone, heartbroken and peniless Jacob has no way of going back to college and no job prospects Jacob decides to take a risk. He’s manages to wing his way onto the circus as the circus vet.

Although beware! do not expect this book too be all glitter, spangles and performing monkeys, Gruen’s tale can break your heart. The Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth may be spectacular but in more ways than you can imagine adultry,hookers,murder,lies,secrets and of course romance. From the very beginning Jacob is hooked on the beautiful Marlena a horse entertainer,she is truly the beauty and the heart of the circus espcially with dreams of performing with the ‘dumb elehant’  Rosie,that the circus had just aquired. However there is a catch despite Jacobs love  for Marlena and the animals, he must work over the watchful and evil ring master, August, who is also coinsidently Marlena’s husband. Yes it is obvious he has reached a problem.

Although through the help of friends he aquires along the way (although let me tell you he starts off as the lowest of the low with a lot to learn) Jacob begins his battle too save Marlena from her abusive husband and finally teach Rosie in a way that nobody else could. It has been said that the real hero of this story is not Jacob at all, that the real hero is Rosie (for later events that I won’t spoil now), a beautiful creature who is not as ‘stupid’  that people are lead to believe. However with a bit of a physco at the head of it all, it’s obvious that life and love will not run smoothly.

Gruen has done a beautiful job with description, it is simple to image everything you read. To see Marlena’s acts and Rosie’s beauty while feeling Jacob’s pain. The reader is transported to another time and another world the smells, the feelings, everything. The only criticism I can give is when it goes back to old Jacob, yes it’s vital and there for a reason but it does get dull and you do want to skip it, however this said once finished I put down my book and discovered it was one of the best books I have ever read.

I give this beauty 5 stars *****

For the nearly flawless story telling and an amazing plot line! I will forever be dissapointed by the circus from now on.

A forbidden love and a heroine in a beautifuly smart elephant.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Published by Two Roads

£7.99

Review by Chloe Metzger

New books and knowing which ones arn’t for you

So I have a lot of new books at the moment (the number is really really shocking). I decided to start reading one that I picked up the other day and was quite excited about reading ‘The Story of Beautiful Girl’ by Rachel Simon and although I’m just over a quater in but I’m just not feeling it. The one chapter has captivated me, the rest it’s like yup okay your saying the same thing, I don’t think it is badly written, nor is the plot I’m just bored the flow isn’t quick enough. When this happens I find myself skipping, going forward to find something worth reading. I’m a firm believer that you don’t need read a whole book to have an opinion on it, you know if somethings not your cup of tea, you try it and if you can’t carry on the nyou know it’s not for you. Life’s too short to trawl through books you don’t want too, although even if you don’t like the novel it may inspire you to read something else,’ The story of  Beautiful Girl’ has a beautiful idea and the few chapters have opened my eyes to the treatment of people with disabilities in the 1960’s/1970’s but I suppose the way it was told just wasn’t for me! Sorry!

The Chosen One – Carol Lynch Williams

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I would not read this novel light heartedly; Carol Lynch Williams has seamlessly captured the horror and reality of life inside a cult. Although the characters in this novel are pure fiction, it is the sad reality that these cults do exist throughout the world. 

To Kyra the last of her 13 years has been lived under the restriction of the compound she was born into, along with her devoted father, 3 mothers and 20 brothers and sisters. Although being under the strict orders of the prophet to Kyra means that she sees the horrors of those who defy him (death and fierce beatings keeping all families in line). Little known to her tight knit family, the Prophet and his security, Kyra is begging to see that the compound is not the only part of this world. While standing near the fence Kyra spots a Mobile Library, after seeing it a few times it finally spots and the wonder of books (after the new prophet makes an order to burn all books that apparently hide Satan within them) teaches her more than the compound ever could but their teachings are never far from her mind. 

When the news comes through that Kyra has been chosen to be married to her 60 year old uncle, and to live with his six other wives her life is shattered. Not even her beloved father or mothers can do anything to stop it and the most heart breaking part of it all is the boy she has fallen in love with is beaten near to death for declaring his love and wanting to take her away from the madness. After watching her youngest sister plunged repeatedly into iced water, simply for crying in the presence of a man of high power and being prowled upon sexually by her future husband and uncle and watching her beloved Joshua beaten in front of her Kyra decides she must get out, but knows the consequences could be fatal and she will never see her family again.

The scary thing is the control and abuse of the higher power in the compound, although fictional this MUST be used to educate people as these things do happen, and unfortunately most legal systems have little control over them (as they claim this is their belief, although it is known that cults will prey on vulnerable people. However Lynch Williams does not stick to the traditional views of a cult she genuinely shocks you but makes you sympathise with the people pulled in but have the beliefs too engrained in their minds to escape. She does not make all men evil as others have done Kyra’s father and the bus driver being prime examples of the love and protection they try to give although unfortunately they cannot do what they desperately want too. The women are strong although they cannot stop the marriage they try to help Kyra in any way they possibly can, and there is talk of a leader before simply trying to create a better world, when Kyra’s mother was young they left the compound, laughed, smiled and were not marriage to men 4 times their age.

This novel is so skilfully written, another book you cannot put down author Meg Cabot described it as ‘A powerful and heart-breaking novel of love and hope’, it is not a lengthy novel but each page is powerful.

***** Five stars go and buy a copy! 

The Chosen one

Carol Lynch Williams

Published by Simon and Schuster

£6.99  

Do you remember the first time? – Jenny Colgan

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I picked up this book at a car boot sale to fill my girly, after a laugh side I have when reading (it was always a rule as I used to buy books with either a serious underlying issue in the plot or just heavy reading I made myself balance it out with a book that would make me laugh or was just light fun reading). I didn’t realise how much I would like it, I honestly could not put it down. 

Now if you are looking for a realistic story this is not the novel for you. Flora is a little over the dreaded 30’s and while watching her best friend but her wedding cake realises her life is not at all what she wanted she has a boring boyfriend, a rubbish flat and her life is not what she planned out when she was 16. Then BAM for the clichéd magic, Flora wakes up as her 16 year old body. This girl has a list of things to do with her new hot body (which I don’t understand I’m 17 years old but I do not think my body is amazing at all) and best friend by her side let the fun begin! Although along with fighting the school bullies and doing what she can to finally change her later life for the better, there is a catch she is a teenager, but in the present day. While she desperately tried to convince her best friend Tashy and boyfriend Ollie to help her teenage self, sort out a mess she has got herself into (yes she doesn’t got back in time completely, she’s still in the modern world and ends up sleeping with someone fairly questionable).

On this journey Colgan makes it possible for Flora to go back and re-do all the things that many of us wish we could (well I don’t know what I want to re do yet again) and that is what makes it something you can’t but down. It lets you imagine what you would do with that second chance or even makes you want to chase things you haven’t quite done yet. I won’t’ spoilt the ending for you, but make yourself smile, go and get a copy!

  Now this novel is no way in hell the greatest literature that will live on and amaze generations to come BUT it is a fun, it is easy to read and it makes you laugh. The perfect book for in between reading or to take away with you on holiday to read by the pool, its feel good! I’m sure even the most academic readers couldn’t resist a book like this every once in a while, so well done Jenny Colgan, well done.

**** Four stars just for the giggles and smile! 

Do you remember the first time? – Jenny Colgan 

Published by BCA (cannot find the price)

 

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