Where Love Lies – Julie Cohen

where love lies

To the outside world Felicity has the perfect life, a job as a children’s author and illustrator, a lovely home in a small village and a doting husband most women would dream of. Underneath all of this though, Felicity is struggling. After the loss of her mother something hasn’t felt right but one day she catches a scent she hasn’t smelt in years…could it be her mother? Following her senses has never been more risky as it all comes down to following her head or her heart.

The novel revolves around love, loss and questioning yourself. As Felicity struggles with what she knows is right and what she feels it leads us as a reader to question our own lives. It is also very important to recognise that Felicity is on her own, the mother she adored has gone, she’s never known her father and feels suffocated by the expectations that life in a small village have put on her.  After the whole village seems to know that her and husband Quinn have even considered having a baby (something which she hasn’t even decided on yet) her feelings of not belonging come to the surface again.

The fact that Cohen has also used multiple POV’s makes this go further than the chick lit title that some have given it (you are WRONG this novel goes further than that!) seeing both Quinn and Felicity’s side opens up a whole new set of questions and feelings towards the characters. I fell in love with both of the characters and it spurred me to read constantly, Cohen has an incredible knack of making you know something isn’t quite right but giving you no clue as to the real answer!

After reading Dear Thing, I was hooked by Cohen’s talent and eagerly waited for Where Love Lies, as I suspected Cohen didn’t disappoint. The novel focuses on the fine lines of love that we sometimes forget, the hazy days of a first love and the realities of settling down. While Felicities’ feelings are confusing and at times hard to understand you live through them with her and are just as desperate as she is to work out what is going on.

Although I can’t spoil it for you, the ending of this novel is absolutely spectacular and so well researched. To top it all off it’s something that you would never suspect and if anything can be slightly chilling as well as an interesting perspective. There is a worry of mine that when a novel builds steadily throughout the reveal will disappoint but I can assure you Where Love Lies is completely worth the wait and the suspense.

I’m giving this novel 5 stars *****. Although initially I wondered how this would work and worried it could be just a romance Cohen has crafted something inspiring with Where Love Lies, the novel makes you think, question and follows you for a long time after you have finished. I think quirky Felicity and loveable Quinn will live in my memory for a long time, and so will the ending but you’ll find out why once you read it yourself!

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The Fault in Our Stars – John Green Book review *****

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‘Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book’- Hazel

As my regular readers know I posted this originally last year but having seen the film I can say both film and book go hand in hand perfectly. I’m so pleased that one of my favourite novels ever has been made into a cinematic masterpiece. Although this review is for the novel I urge people who loved the book to see the film, you wont regret it! 

This novel shattered my heart into a million pieces and made me laugh more than I have in a long time.   From the first pages The Fault in Our Stars I was laughing and I fell in love with the character of Hazel.  I loved her brutal honesty, her train of thought and just how normal she tries to be. It wasn’t until I finished the novel that I realised just how much of a good job Green had done at getting into the head of a sixteen year old girl with terminal illness. There were no flaws in her monologue, decisions or actions. I felt that Hazel was real, at first I was a little taken aback with how mature she was about dying but this is not uncommon in novels of this kind. These types of novels have been dubbed ‘sick lit’ by the press which I think is just pathetic and immature. The novel isn’t out to ‘glamourize’ death or terminal illness and I think it is an insult to the tireless research authors. In a nutshell this novel is about falling in love, having hope, excruciating loss and life after death.

 

I’ll admit that at first I was incredibly sceptical of the love life between Hazel and Augustus. I rolled my eyes a little when the beautiful boy turned up to take her troubles away. Usually I would have been able to put the novel down at this point but Green’s charm made it so that I could not walk away ( I seriously mean that, I took my Kindle EVERYWHERE until I had finished). There is something unique in the relationship between Hazel and Augustus. Some may be sceptical but how do we know how we would act if we were in love and time was running out?

The one way I can tell if a novel is worth reading and passing on is if the characters are still walking around my head a week after. You wonder endlessly about them, as Hazel does herself in regards to her own favourite novel, An Imperial Affliction, with that ending (see now you have to read it to understand what I’m on about).  I still think about the characters and have endless questions for Mr Green if I ever had the pleasure of meeting him. The characters really do come off the page, I feel like they were my friends and at certain points I had to stop and fight off tears by the pool side (especially as I had an outburst of ‘No!’ with absolute agony in my voice making my family look at me very strangely the day before). It felt like just as you were getting to know the characters and thought you knew how they were going to act and what they were going to do you were thrown off balance and had to revaluate what you previously thought. I feel that the relationship between Hazel and Augustus has been portrayed in a very interesting light. Green has not set out to prove that a teenage love lasts forever, nor does it make everything better which I believe adds to the magic and reality of the novel. It is not only the relationship between Hazel and Augustus that is explored within The Fault in Our Stars there is the relationship between Hazel and her parents. It is rather incredible that Green has not stuck to the stereotypical parents in many aspects. I cannot spoil the plot for you but Hazel’s mum is not as clingy as she seems.  Green has instead portrayed an emotional father and a mother who is not pressuring her to pursue endless treatment; she wants her to have a life. It is because of her parents that she finds herself in the support group for cancer and although she hates it by the end you can see their logic and the effect of Cancer on the family unit, they deal with it the best they can. The reader also experiences the world through the eyes of a cancer patient and Green goes as far as to make a point out of the Cancer Perks which the characters themselves do at times find amusing, for example Augusts’ driving skills.

I was surprised to find that the novel did not depress me, yes it made me sad and I felt heartbroken but it also made me appreciate the struggles of people with Cancer as well as inspiring me.  As a writer who is researching terminal illness I found Green’s ability incredible as well as his empathy with his characters.  There is a point in the novel which I found to be both beautiful and brutally honest in regards to the previously mentioned ‘Cancer Perks’. I will not spoil the plot for you but I will say that Green makes it clear that even when you have Cancer the world can still screw you over, making the characters more normal. I will give this novel five stars ***** it really is a unique novel and I urge everyone to read it or at least try it.

The Fault in Our Stars – John Green

Image

‘Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book’- Hazel

This novel shattered my heart into a million pieces and made me laugh more than I have in a long time.   From the first pages The Fault in Our Stars I was laughing and I fell in love with the character of Hazel.  I loved her brutal honesty, her train of thought and just how normal she tries to be. It wasn’t until I finished the novel that I realised just how much of a good job Green had done at getting into the head of a sixteen year old girl with terminal illness. There were no flaws in her monologue, decisions or actions. I felt that Hazel was real, at first I was a little taken aback with how mature she was about dying but this is not uncommon in novels of this kind. These types of novels have been dubbed ‘sick lit’ by the press which I think is just pathetic and immature. The novel isn’t out to ‘glamourize’ death or terminal illness and I think it is an insult to the tireless research authors. In a nutshell this novel is about falling in love, having hope, excruciating loss and life after death.

 

I’ll admit that at first I was incredibly sceptical of the love life between Hazel and Augustus. I rolled my eyes a little when the beautiful boy turned up to take her troubles away. Usually I would have been able to put the novel down at this point but Greens charm made it so that I could not walk away ( I seriously mean that, I took my Kindle EVERYWHERE until I had finished). There is something unique in the relationship between Hazel and Augustus. Some may be sceptical but how do we know how we would act if we were in love and time was running out?

The one way I can tell if a novel is worth reading and passing on is if the characters are still walking around my head a week after. You wonder endlessly about them, as Hazel does herself in regards to her own favourite novel, An Imperial Affliction, with that ending (see now you have to read it to understand what I’m on about).  I still think about the characters and have endless questions for Mr Green if I ever had the pleasure of meeting him. The characters really do come off the page, I feel like they were my friends and at certain points I had to stop and fight off tears by the pool side (especially as I had an outburst of ‘No!’ with absolute agony in my voice making my family look at me very strangely the day before). It felt like just as you were getting to know the characters and thought you knew how they were going to act and what they were going to do you were thrown off balance and had to revaluate what you previously thought. I feel that the relationship between Hazel and Augustus has been portrayed in a very interesting light. Green has not set out to prove that a teenage love lasts forever, nor does it make everything better which I believe adds to the magic and reality of the novel. It is not only the relationship between Hazel and Augustus that is explored within The Fault in Our Stars there is the relationship between Hazel and her parents. It is rather incredible that Green has not stuck to the stereotypical parents in many aspects. I cannot spoil the plot for you but Hazel’s mum is not as clingy as she seems.  Green has instead portrayed an emotional father and a mother who is not pressuring her to pursue endless treatment; she wants her to have a life. It is because of her parents that she finds herself in the support group for cancer and although she hates it by the end you can see their logic and the effect of Cancer on the family unit, they deal with it the best they can. The reader also experiences the world through the eyes of a cancer patient and Green goes as far as to make a point out of the Cancer Perks which the characters themselves do at times find amusing, for example Augusts’ driving skills.

I was surprised to find that the novel did not depress me, yes it made me sad and I felt heartbroken but it also made me appreciate the struggles of people with Cancer as well as inspiring me.  As a writer who is researching terminal illness I found Green’s ability incredible as well as his empathy with his characters.  There is a point in the novel which I found to be both beautiful and brutally honest in regards to the previously mentioned ‘Cancer Perks’. I will not spoil the plot for you but I will say that Green makes it clear that even when you have Cancer the world can still screw you over, making the characters more normal. I will give this novel five stars ***** it really is a unique novel and I urge everyone to read it or at least try it.

 

Review by Chloe Metzger  

Top Tuesday – Getting over Heartbreak

Both myself and my boyfriend have had our hearts broken in some way in the past week, and not by each other as you might think! We lost our band this week, For All That Goes have split up despite this me and him will be carrying on firstly with our new song ‘Heartbreak’. I felt like it was important to write this because it is not just a romantic relationship that can break your heart a loss of any kind can, especially friendship. I said I would publish a reaction to the end of the band and well here it is. I feel that although the band was planning to end at the end of the summer it ended earlier due to selfish actions and change, in all honesty myself and Ali were struggling to carry it on. Don’t get me wrong I am still friends with two other members, another has chosen that this is not what he wants which is completely out of the blue. I will tell you now though that For All That Goes will never get back together due to recent events and a betrayal.  ImageAbove: My first gig with For All That Goes 

Do you know what? It’s made me a stronger person in the long run. I’ve felt like my heart has been ripped out and stomped on in front of me but I’m writing again, I’m singing again and I haven’t had a clearer goal in my head. It also taught me that just because silly little girls don’t like your passion of life and your confidence because of their own insecurities  doesn’t mean that it’s your problem. I’ll smile wider and laugh louder because I CAN. I’ve been through so much S*** in the last few years that I deserve to smile and so do you my wonderful readers. I’m going to walk away from this band with great memories, experience and a smile because it’s what it deserves. I hope you never find yourself in this situation be it by a Girlfriend, Boyfriend, close friend or family, but if you do maybe this list will cheer you up 🙂 

Love as always, Chloe 

1. Give yourself time to cry – crying is good and healthy, let it all out

2. Eat Ice Cream – or another choice of desert just for a while stuff the diet, get yourself back on track

3. Have support around you – Ali, my friends and family have been brilliant about this and it made me better 

4. Don’t make rash decisions – Think about what your going to do/say 

5. Decide what is best for YOU 

6. Do things you enjoy! – I started writing poetry, lyrics and reviews again! 

7. Don’t let it rule your life – I can assure you most of the time they are not worth it.

8. Love yourself. 

9. Breathe – If something gets to you for whatever reason just take a two minute breather and move on. 

10. Don’t expect to be okay over night – everyone is allowed to hurt but you’ll be okay in time. 

My Sisters Keeper – Jodi Picoult

If you haven’t heard of this brilliant book I would like to ask you which rock you have been living under recently so I can go and destroy it then cover you in brilliant books! I read this long before the stupid film with Cameron Diaz that completely ruined the plot line ( I have heard how it ends, it’s wrong and ruins the brilliance of the novel itself).

As most of you already know from reading my blog I absolutely adore Jodi Picoult novels (although as with most authors there are a few that I wasn’t so keen on but I do have more than 15 Jodi Picoult novels on my bookcase), the brilliance of them you ask? The shock that Picoult seems to place so effortlessly,the questions she puts to us that we think about for days afterwards. What would I do?, how would I cope?, who is really the victim and who is the villain? I beg you please do not let the hollywood glamour and screen writers ‘visions’ blur your perceptions of this fantastic novel, a novel that I could not put down, nor could many people I know.

In 1990 the Fitzgerald family was just like any other American family, Firefighter Brian his lawyer turned mother wife Sara, son Jesse and daughter Kate. Little did they know that two-year old Kate was about to be diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia, and the little girls chances of survival are slim. After treatment after treatment and brother Jesse failing to be a match to give her the bone marrow she desperately needs, so at a passing comment from a Doctor Sara begs her husband to have IVF to have another baby, a baby who is a perfect match for Kate, to help her sister. However Picoult has gone further than that she wants the reader to know that this baby will be loved,

‘What do you hope for this baby in ten years’

‘I hope I can tell her to stop bugging her sister’

Flash forward and 13 year old Anna has had enough,after constant,painful and tedious hospital treatments to save Kate she doesn’t want to watch her sister die but she can’t stand by and miss out on her life, simply for being born.

Now it is not simply one issue that Picoult has dealt with here, I think that is why the families she creates are so realistic. Nobody in them is perfect and as with many families when one person has an illness, it can cause a ripple effect that turns into a tidal wave that has no mercy. Everyone in the world knows that cancer is not simply a one person illness, families are torn down to the foundations and often learn about each other. By using Julia and Campbell, you can also see an outside perspective and their stories entwined with the Ftizgerald families does give you a bit of a distraction although not completely as Picoult has seamlessly combined these stories into the same breath and complimented real life. The message seeming to be we all have demons but not all of them are as clear-cut to see.

The one thing you will notice in the fist few pages is that we are not clear on who the speaker is, with this ambiguity and a slight hint of bitterness Picoult draws you in. Who is speaking, who is going to die? I cannot answer these questions for you but once you pick it up I assure you ,you cannot put it down. The relation between sisters Anna and Kate is truly breath-taking they really do seem to lean on each other, but have the usual sisterly relationship of she stole my make up, you are so annoying etc, but it is clear that they do love each other so much. As much as possible Picoult has added the normal family dynamic that you would expect to find within any household. However this is not a normal family, it is shattering left,right and centre and the girls seem to cling to each other, Kate being eternally grateful to her little sister and only wanting the best for her even if it means her own life coming to an end.

The way in which Anna was conceived is also not clear-cut, it does show the whole argument for the ‘designer baby’ debate in a medical sense. Although you do have the love of the sisters and Ana is obviously loved within her family (as is shown in the powerful relationship she holds with her father something that honestly can bring a tear to your eye, because really without her father I think she would have fallen apart), she goes to the extreme of wanting the rights to her own body because in her own words she had ‘never been asked’ if this was what she wanted and for a 13-year-old girl they weight of your sister’s life on your shoulders can be a completely damaging prospect. Are you selfish for wanting to live your own life, even if this kills your sister. Are you selfish for not wanting to give away your kidney, meaning the chance that you may have to give up the possibility of  your own children and the sport you love, because of what you were born to do? On the flip side, Kate’s mother is fighting so hard and has been for so long to make sure that Kate stays alive she seems to forget that both of her daughters, even Kate might want to say enough is enough, I can’t do this anymore. It is heartbreaking that this mothers love is being tested loosing any of her babies is killing her but this does not make her a bad person or mother, it simply shows the hardships of the situation she is faced with and as the catchphrase on Picoult’s novels says ‘What would you do?’ many of us couldn’t even imagine.

Throughout the novel,you just want to hug Jesse and this shows the true extent of the damage of any illness on a family. You have a young boy who, without meaning to his parents have ignored. It is interesting though that he is never angry towards or about his sisters. The anger and bitterness he portrays is almost entirely devoted towards the Cancer that is tearing his family apart and partially towards his parents but it is simply because inside he is still that little boy who had to spend christmas with neighbours. The little boy who needed a hug and ultimately the child and man who wasn’t able to save his sister. This is perhaps one of the most haunting parts of the novel, Jesse feels partially to blame and guilt stricken that both of his little sisters are in pain and there is absolutely nothing he can do. So as is the way in some cases he turns to the bad side of life, although never loosing his caring nature (this is shown from his relationship with a homeless man). Jesse is there to represent the outward effect Cancer has, you have someone hooked up to wires and tubes being blasted with chemo but back home you have the rest of the family the people who in cases like Kate’s have to chance their whole life to fit around the cancer.

As for the parents, as I have already touched upon Sara is so human and complex , as is the relationship she has with Brian. There are times when both of them break down,where they fight over the children but he truth of the matter is they really need each other. She needs him so she does not forget who the REAL Sara is, the girl who was once a young lawyer, who could laugh and tease him, to keep the family together while she spends weeks at the hospital with Kate. He needs her because she knows what to do, she knows how to juggle three children, one with a horrific disease, he also need the old Sara to remind him of the life they had and have a glimpse of happiness every now and again.

This is one of the books that you HAVE to read before you die, I believe that it will be considered a classic in the years to come. Of course it gets five stars (as do most of Picoult’s novels although there are some that I got bored with fairly quickly). I cannot tell you all the twists turns and secrets obviously it would ruin the novel itself so go, go now and buy it! (also it helped me pass biology, a credit to Picoults research skills!)

My Sisters Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Available from all good book retailers and for eBook

Review by Chloe Metzger

First poem!

Hi guys!!

As you know I’m a normal student which means sometimes reading time is cut down by having to read text books, novels for study etc (although I may do a play review soon, let me know what you think!), but sometimes I do creative writing, I use an amazing website for prompts! it is http://creativewritingprompts.com/ check it out it really helps me out when I’m stuck and sometimes sets me off on a whole other subject I can write about.

Today I picked a number it said to write a poem or story based on a flourish of hate so I put my own spin on it!, I hope you enjoy!

A  pulse, a spark, a flame

each burning

a simmer

faster now,faster.

My palms tremble,

to the beat of the drum inside my head

A simple look,

the snarl of feeling

burning through my chest.

Hate.

or Love?