Only Child Blog Tour

Blog Tour: Only Child – Rhiannon Navin

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‘We went to school that Tuesday like normal.
Not all of us came home . . .’

I was honoured to be asked to be a part of this blog tour for Rhiannon Navin’s debut novel. I had read and loved it before I was asked to take part. Before I start this review I want to be mindful of the past few weeks events in Florida, this review may be distressing as it also relates to gun violence against children.

Six-year-old Zach is having a normal day at school, that is until a gunman enters his school. Hiding with the rest of his class and teacher, Zach listens to the ‘pop’ in the school, something that he won’t forget. Thankfully, Zach and his classmates survive and after finally being reunited with his distraught mother he thinks everything is ok, that’s until Zach’s parents ask him where his older brother Andy is but he’s not coming home.

This novel is a whirlwind of emotion and is written incredibly well. Told solely from the perspective of Zach, making it even more heartbreaking, the innocence of a child makes all the difference. Seeing not only the horror of the day itself but the impact this has on a child and on a family in the aftermath, I don’t even know how to begin to describe the emotion. This isn’t an easy read, but it is an important one.

I’ve read novels before focusing on the subject of a school shooting, they’ve made me feel deeply sad but this was different. The simplicity of the way Zach tries to process what has happened and how his family changes. I also found it interesting that Navin showed raw emotion and didn’t hold back. She showed a mother who needed justice no matter what, a father coping with his youngest child and a little boy confused by the feelings he’s experiencing. Can he be happy and sad at the same time?

In times like these, I think this is a vital read, it may be fictional but this could quite easily be a reality for a child or young person at school. For this, I applaud Navin for her portrayal. There are no dark details in this, it is simply the force of emotion that moves you alongside Zach. I, of course, gave this five stars. I cannot recommend the novel enough to everyone. A heartbreaking, poignant read.

Thank you to the publisher, author and Netgalley for this early release.

Carrie – An Icon

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I’m writing this with a heavy heart and tear stained cheeks, today the world lost an incredible woman, Carrie Fisher, her death was confirmed by daughter Billie’s publicist. To many Carrie will be remembered as Princess Leia, but she was so, so much more. I met Carrie only a few weeks ago and still can’t get my head around how this fun loving woman who crouched down to sign a little girls wheelchair without so much as a second thought is no longer with us, the world is cruel.

Of course Carrie was Princess Leia, but it’s not all she should be remembered for. She had a no BS attitude to life, which was apparent in her interviews. She was also an incredibly talented writer publishing three memoirs, a handful of novels and also working on screenplays in her life too. Carrie had a way with words that I can only dream to have, I’m thankful she took the time to have a London signing.

While Star Wars makes me happier than most things, it’s not the the thing I’ll remember Carrie most fondly for. She was open and honest about her struggles with addiction and life with Bipolar Disorder. When I met Carrie I wanted to thank her for that, when I did she seemed surprised and said ‘well I have a voice, when you can speak out you should, you know?’ There was nothing more to it. Carrie knew that she could make a big change and she did. For a star of her size to talk so openly about mental illness opened people’s minds. Carrie took the label of ‘crazy’ in her stride, she laughed about it, she made people realise it was ok to laugh. She made mental health come into the conversation, because she wasn’t ashamed. I didn’t get into Star Wars until I was 20, but finding out about Carrie changed my life. I devoured her books and interviews because she became an icon to me.

We have lost a beautiful soul, I can’t help but think of her daughter Billie, her dogs and the rest of her family at this time. She meant so much to so many, but at the end of the day she was someone’s Mum, Sister, Daughter and I cannot imagine the heartbreak they are facing right now.

Rest in Peace Carrie, and May The Force Always Be With You.

carrie-fisher-princess-leia

Book Review: The Light Between Oceans – M.L. Stedman

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A Woman stole your heart when you didn’t know it could mend, 

Her heart is now broken and you can fix it if you never tell a soul as well as saving a child. 

As this novel is about to fill our cinema screens, I wanted to share with you my review of the breath taking, heart breaking novel by M.L. Stedman.

Set just after  WW1, war hero Tom Sherborne wants a quiet life after what he has seen. With a heavy heart it is just short of a miracle when he finds not only his perfect job on the isolated island of Janus, but also a young and fiery Isabel. After exchanging letters Tom and Isabel marry as he takes her back to Janus to join him in the lighthouse and start their own paradise on the island. When a boat arrives on the island holding a dead man and a tiny infant the couple don’t know what to do. While Tom is adamant he must stick to the keepers code Isabel , heartbroken by the death of her stillborn son and two miscarriages, and sure the child is an orphan. The couple begin to realise that while their paradise is a world away, they cannot hide forever.

This novel absolutely warmed and shattered my heart all at once. I honestly can not remember a book that has touched me in this way before, even my favourite The Storyteller didn’t make my heart ache this much. I knew nothing of this book before I found it in my local Tesco’s and I was hesitant to pick it up, but I am so glad I did. The blurb warns you that it will break your heart but I was sceptical. That said, I am yet to read a review in which the novel hasn’t brought the reader to tears by the end. I’ve read reviews beforehand saying that they couldn’t stand Isabel and I could see why some would hate her, but I just couldn’t. I don’t know if it is because I’m a woman, because of my own maternal instincts, but I understood Isabel. I understood why she did what she did. The pain of losing her children broke her and changed her in a way no one could explain, because think about it, wouldn’t it change you? I can also understand Tom’s dilemma and the decision he makes, and maybe it’s not the right one but in his shoes I doubt anyone knows what they would really do.

The novel has a very real sense of the implications of war and the fragile nature of human life. Although we never hear about Tom’s time as a serving soldier to graphically you don’t need to because it is not the dead who will shatter you heart it is the living who are left behind. On land there is an eerie sense of the hardships of war, of the men who came home but never really came back at all, the mothers and widowers who refuse to believe their boys are really dead. Stedman also bravely touches on the subject of racism after  war, when an innocent life is lost because of the decisions of the few. In my opinion, this was incredibly important because we rarely see this side written about and also because it shows the hurt of a whole community and also the sacrifice of Australia in WW1, something that is often overlooked.

One of the main reasons I loved it though was because I wasn’t in a rush. This wasn’t a thriller but it made you want to read on at your own pace. After saying this, however, this does not mean that I couldn’t put it down and even though I peeked later on at one point I soon forgot what I had read because you get so absorbed in the novel. The imagery of the surroundings is beautiful and I could hear the characters inside my head. The way I can decide if it is a novel worth passing on is if the characters live on in my head, if they become alive and Stedman has certainly done this. I think about living in a lighthouse, about Tom and Izzy and I dream about Australia, so on that basis I can give you a five-star rating!

The Light Between Oceans – M. L Stedman (debut novel)

***** – It may have broken my heart but I love this novel to pieces already!

Published by Black Swan

Something a little different – sharing some poetry

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I wanted to share something a little different with you all today. I’ve been thinking of ways to make the blog a little more interesting and I have a lot of blogs planned out for you all! For today I’d like to share one of my poems I wrote a few years ago!

Heartbreak

I am falling apart

Pieces and pieces of this tough old heart

I know again that it will start

I will move on but for now I need to mend a broken, broken heart.

As always let me know what you think 🙂

The uni couples

In my first year of uni I saw a lot of love and not just the kind that only happens in a one night stand. Of course those happen, it wouldn’t be uni without the various hook ups when people roll out of Pryzm or at 2am. I want to use this post to just show people how diverse uni is when it comes to love. 

 

The Fresher’s hook up 

I’ve seen this one so many times! People go a bit crazy during freshers, get a bit flirty and anything from a kiss to well… So they hook up and then awkwardly avoid each other for the rest of the year praying they won’t have to start a conversation. 

The Flat Mate Romance

This one explains itself. Sounds like a bad idea. Probably is a bad idea. Wanna go for it? I’d leave it until the last month if I were you just so you have an escape route should you need one!

The Long Distance Couple 

I love these couples! I have a lot of friends in LD relationships. Don’t get me wrong it’s a hard time to deal with a LD relationship we’re all young, new people, new places etc but you CAN get through it, so many people do. Sometimes you sacrifice a night out or two to see them but it’s all worth it if you really love them. 

Coming out 

So many people come out at uni. Like I said you find out who you are, what you like and can really be whoever you want to be. Uni also has societies for LGBT people making it easier to have someone to talk to. 

The casual hook up (that lasts a year)

The are they? aren’t they? sort of couple. They’ll never admit how much they like each other but they’ve been having casual hooks ups all year and don’t seem to go for anyone else…

The couple that came to uni together 

This is me! My boyfriend and I decided when applying to go to uni’s close to each other or the same. Kingston was perfect because we had our own space, made our own friends and now we’re moving in together 😀 A lot of couples do this, maybe not at the same uni but in the same area.

The mistake…

Most people will have a relationship that was a mistake for so many reasons! It’s normal and human! Don’t beat yourself up when he/she doesn’t turn out to be ‘the one’ as much as they are the one you want to hit with a bus. 

Looking for love 

A lot of people come to uni looking for love…keep going there will be someone! 

The LOUD ones 

You know what I mean. They *cough* like they’ll die tomorrow and make sure everyone knows…

The ones who find their soul mate

Something like 25% of people find the person they go on to marry at uni, that could be you!