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October 2018 Favourites!

I hate to alarm you but we are now officially in Christmas countdown mode, ok well I am at least. We’re into November and October already feels like a distant dream. So, let’s jump into some October favourites.

Books

My reading may have slowed down a little, but it doesn’t mean that I haven’t read some excellent books. I got my hands on the fantastic Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and Other Lies – I will be writing a full review but this is one of the best non-fictions of the year. I also got to My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness, a manga memoir about mental illness, loneliness and sexuality. I’ve also picked Saga up again and I please go into this incredible series knowing you will feel all the feels.

Rip It Up

 

My boyfriend has been away on tour for the past 2 months and so I got to go and see the show he’s been working on – Rip It Up The 60s. I went to both Reading (where I spent the day before with him too) and then Guildford. He also got us tickets to meet this year’s stars! My sister may have been a little star struck to meet Aston…

Heathers (Again)

 

I already professed my love for Heathers The Musical before but I went to see it again, this time in the West End! As always it was perfect and this time I got to go with one of my oldest friends, Lucy, and fellow godmother to the munchkins Tori.

London

I’ve been going into London more and more recently. Mostly it’s for events like Heathers, where I managed to meet Joe after for a catch-up and a late Primark visit. I also went up with my Mum for a book event (more on that later) and a mooch around Oxford Street on the coldest day so far!

Lego

Yep, more lego. Ali got me the Great Hall for my birthday. It is amazing and I now have my eye on the Hogwarts castle…problem is it’s £300 and I don’t think that’s on the cards just yet.

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New Hair!

Oh heeey didn’t recognise you there 🙈. Yep, I took the plunge and decided to change up my hair with two shades of red. My hairdresser Millie is AMAZING, you can find her on Instagram here.

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Jodi Picoult

I got to meet the lovely Jodi Picoult again! Jodi is an incredible writer and I’ve reviewed her latest novel here. Not only is she a boss author she’s also not afraid to speak her mind. She also liked my jumper.

 

Top Posts

Twenties – A Poem. 

Book Review: Vox – Christina Dalcher 

Where I’m At – World Mental Health Day 2018 

Fibromyalgia and Me

On Loneliness 

What were your October favourites? Let me know in the comments below!

Book Review: A Spark Of Light – Jodi Picoult

A Spark of Light - Jodi Picoult

A normal morning changes multiple lives forever. After calls come in that a shooting has taken place in a Women’s Reproductive Health clinic, negotiator Hugh heads to the scene, what he doesn’t realise is that his 15-year-old daughter is one of the hostages.

I’ve been a Picoult fan for almost 10 years and devour her books when they come out. So, of course, I was itching to get my hands on a copy of her latest novel and as soon as I heard the subject matter I really wanted to see how she would tackle this topic. She isn’t afraid of taking on complicated issues.

As always, we are introduced to a wide range of characters, all of whom have their own complex backgrounds, thoughts and emotions. You see a snapshot into their worlds at that time. A doctor that works because of his faith, a nurse who cares for others no matter what, a pro-life campaigner caught in the crossfire, a woman who has chosen to have an abortion.

This novel is different from Picoult’s others in the way that it plays out, and initially, this threw me. This works backwards from the point of conflict to how the situation started. From this perspective, the novel was a little difficult to follow at times I was unclear who was who and how they were related for the first few chapters. So be aware of this is you are a die-hard Picoult fan.

I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of the novel to read on my Kindle. I’m hoping that the final novel makes it more obvious when the narrative changes, but this is minor in relation to the novel itself. There is a richness within that shows so many perspectives and ultimately, this is a novel about choice.

I gave this novel 4 stars. I thought it was well written and showed an interesting perspective. As always I could have read another 300 pages about these characters, about their lives beyond the events of this novel. Of course, it broke my heart at times and I’m pretty sure it will for most people.

Thank you to the publisher, Netgalley and Jodi Picoult for this advanced copy. You can get your own copy on the 30th October!

 

Are you going to be picking up Jodi’s latest novel? Let me know in the comments below!

Book Review: Great Small Things – Jodi Picoult

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“You say you don’t see colour…but that’s all you see. You’re so hyperaware of it, and of trying to look like you aren’t prejudiced, you can’t even understand that when you say race doesn’t matter all I hear is you dismissing what I’ve felt, what I’ve lived, what it’s like to be put down because of the color of my skin.”

When a newborn baby dies after a routine hospital procedure, there is no doubt about who will be held responsible: the nurse who had been banned from looking after him by his father. What the nurse, her lawyer and the father of the child cannot know is how this death will irrevocably change all of their lives, in ways both expected and not.Small Great Things is about prejudice and power; it is about that which divides and unites us. It is about opening your eyes.

I have to start by saying that I have had the release date of this novel written down since it was known. I’m a HUGE Jodi Picoult fan and have been lucky enough to speak to the lady herself a few years ago when The Storyteller was released. Jodi’s novel is a particularly prominent in light of the violence we have been seeing pouring out of the US against black people, and how quickly things can turn nasty. I requested a copy of this novel from the publishers and was lucky enough to receive it in return for an honest review.

As with all Jodi Picoult novels, the story is seen through the eyes of multiple characters. Ruth is a trusted and hardworking nurse, she is also African American. Turk is a husband, new father and White Supremacist. When baby Davis dies, Turk wants the hospital to pay and to know why the woman he demanded not be near his son was present. Ruth is thrown into a world of accusation and uncertainty, can she finally face the fact that the world might not be as colour blind as she thought? Meanwhile, lawyer Kennedy has her eyes opened to the world in a way that she couldn’t understand.

Once again Picoult has chosen to write about a moral situation that raises a thousand questions. It’s something completely new to me to read from the perspective of a White Supremacist. While there is a fair amount of novels out there from the perspective of a black person facing prejudice, novels that I want to read and to understand. I never would have picked up something from the perspective of a White Supremacist, because I didn’t see the point. Why would I want to read about hatred? However, Picoult manages to show the humanity in everyone. She doesn’t paint Turk and his wife as someone to disregard because of their views, nor does she sugar coat them. I felt angry and uncomfortable reading Turks perspective, but I realised that this was important, because this is what people face. That said, Ruth is not painted as perfect either. While she is a model citizen, the widow of a fallen hero and loving mother, Picoult shows her reactions in a human way. She shows not only what people would expect of the characters, whether that be in a positive or negative way, but also shows them as real people who make judgements, mistakes etc.

That said, Ruth is not painted as perfect either. While she is a model citizen, the widow of a fallen hero and loving mother, Picoult shows her reactions in a human way. She shows not only what people would expect of the characters, whether that be in a positive or negative way, but also shows them as real people who make judgements, mistakes etc. While I understand why Kennedy was included as a point of view, she wasn’t particularly memorable for me. She added a middle ground to the novel but I didn’t feel particularly affected by her until the very end.

This is without a doubt an important modern novel, it’s been compared to To Kill a Mockingbird (one of my favourite novels of all time) and while I understand the comparison, it’s different. To Kill a Mockingbird had a clear right and wrong, you knew who was innocent and who was guilty. While few people would agree with Turk and his beliefs (and I certainly don’t agree with them) the emotions, thoughts and to some extent certain backstories make you unclear about all parties. Picoult has refused to show a clear cut good vs bad situation.

I gave this novel 4 stars. I really enjoyed it and I thought the concept was incredibly unique as well as very well written. That said I had mixed feelings about some parts towards the end of the novel, some I just felt didn’t fit (I wish I could go into more detail than that!), but I think this is down to personal preference rather than a flaw in the writing/plot. Picoult has once again shown that she is not afraid to confront issues that we might not want, or feel too awkward to talk about. She’s cemented her status as one of the most thoughtful and intelligent writers of the 21st century.

Great Small Things is out in the UK on November 22nd!

Harry Potter Spells Tag!

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I found this over on my friend Becky’s new blog (check her out here) it combines three of my favourite things, Harry Potter, books and fun tags. So, here we go! Remember I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

  1. Expecto Patronum – a childhood book connected to good memories

 

Lola Rose – Jacqueline Wilson

This was the first time I met an author I really admired and got a book signed. It was the first time I saw an author as a real person and she signed in pink pen. Pink. Pen.

2. Expelliarmus – a book that took you by surprise

How to Be a Woman – Caitlin Moran

I tried reading this initially when it was first released, but I was too young to get it and thought she was a bit mad. I read it again last Summer before starting a Writing Women class and it changed my life and made me embrace feminism. I never thought it would become one of my favourite books.

3. Prior Incantato – The last book you read

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman. So freaking good.

4. Alohamora – A book that introduced you to a genre you hadn’t considered before

Star Wars Moving Target made me realise I might like Sci-fi and give it a go.

5. Riddikulus – a funny book you’ve read

Why Not Me? – Mindy Kaling. Kaling’s second book was MUCH better than her first and had me in stitches.

6. Sonorous – a book you think everyone should know about

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.

I cannot describe what this book means to me, or how much Plath means to me as a writer. There are few books that deserve the title of classic, but The Bell Jar really, really does.

7. Obliviate – a book or spoiler you would like to forget having read

The Storyteller – Jodi Picoult, that spoiler was incredible.

 

8. Imperio – A book you had to read for school

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

Most people hate the books they’re forced to read, I on the other hand fell in love with TKAM. It started my love for reading novels about and based in the civil rights era and the treatment of African Americans.

9. Crucio – a book that was painful to read

I’m choosing to see this in the light of a book that was so GOOD it put you in pain emotionally.

The Fault in Our Stars – John Green.

My heart still hurts. Still.

 

10. Avada Kedavra – a book that could kill (interpret as you will)

 

Maestra by L.S. Hilton

Sex, Scandal, Murder. Don’t give this book to your Nan, could induce a heart attack.

As always if you’d like to do this tag then go right ahead! Drop me a link in the comments as I’d love to read your responses!

Image from Pinterest.

Book Review: The Storyteller – Jodi Picoult

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Imagine living a life where destroying others made you a good person.

Imagine living a life where the monsters you imagined suddenly became real. 

Imagine a revelation and story leaving you trying to make sense of the world

past and present.

This review was originally published in 2013, I was incredibly lucky that Jodi and her publishers became aware of it and posted it worldwide, I also got the opportunity to speak to Jodi and it was one of the best days of my life. So here is the piece of work that means the most to me.

Welcome to the world of The Storyteller, Jodi Picoult’s brand new and breathtaking novel. From the very beginning you are caught up in Picoult’s world, arguably more seamlessly than any other novel. Yet again she has created an entire novel from a simple moral question, someone who committed murder asks for your forgiveness, what would you do? Ok maybe it’s a little bit more complicated but this simple seed quickly branches out and has you deep in thought as you read. Sage Singer is a baker, she works at night alone as she cannot face the world seeing her scars, she later meets an elderly man who for the first time is someone she can talk to apart from her boss.  Imagine he tells you he needs your help, he wants you to help him die but before you do that you need to forgive him for helping to murder millions of people. Hooked yet? I certainly was.

A bit of context might help here. I waited for months and months for this novel to be released, imagine how excited I was when my boyfriend managed to get hold of a copy for me from the United States before it was released in the U.K. The novel combines some of my favourite things, Jodi Picoult novels, historical fiction, learning about the Holocaust and divided perspective, oh and a poke at Fifty Shades of Grey ( I did chuckle a lot at one simple joke). My own personal fascination with the Holocaust both the survivors and those lost started when I was looking at the period at the age of 11, I would trawl through accounts of the survivors both horrified and hooked at the same time. I think this is what makes The Storyteller even more fascinating, from picking up any of Picoult’s novel you will know that she does her research thoroughly but this is something else entirely. On the one hand you have the character of Minka who tells the story of a Holocaust survivor, an incredible tale. I had to remind myself that this was fictional, simply as the sheer amount of detail that has gone into Minka’s section was amazing if you were given this and not told it was written by an author you would genuinely believe it was a real survivor’s story. What is incredible also is how Picoult has woven Minka’s story ideas into the novel, at first I was a little thrown but they match the plot line perfectly and give really interesting ideas that I never would of thought of on my own and show the humanity in others as well.   To combat this however the reader is also given an equally shocking story beforehand, although this one made me sick to the stomach. SS officer Josef’s story was beyond belief, from the beginnings of Nazi Germany where young boys were pretty much brainwashed into being brutes (not that I think this is an excuse at all)  and then either went insane from their ‘duties’ or had to drink themselves stupid just to try and  forget  (see even you are feeling some mild sympathy, the brilliance of the author!), because at the end of the day no matter how monstrous and vile they were human…one point in time at least.

I cannot fault this novel in any way (as my readers will know if I don’t like something, I really don’t like something) and ending was incredible and so shocking not even a hardcore fan could work it out! The different perspectives are incredible too because it leave you having sympathy for characters you really feel you shouldn’t. I think that although Minka and Josef’s story will dominate the reader, Sage and another character (who I will not give away as I don’t want to ruin the surprise) present a modern perspective which is needed in this type of novel. The division Sage feels towards Josef as an old man and him in his youth tears the reader apart too, so does her turmoil over her grandmother, a Holocaust survivor. I cried though this novel, sometimes I had to put it down because it was so hard to process but within minutes it was back in my hands. Why do I like The Storyteller most of all though? Because even in one of the darkest parts of history and in the presence of the most revolting crimes against humans you still feel that there is light, that humanity still exists.

So to end, this novel made me want to live, it made me want to live for those who survived and those who didn’t.

***** five stars (although this doesn’t seem enough) released in the UK on the 26th March.

Chloe Metzger – a lifelong fan.

Sunday Seven: My Next YA Reads!

After having to read so many heavy (and sometimes dull) novels for my degree I decided to push the boat out and buy myself a stack of YA novels to get me through the summer months. More daylight means more reading, right? So for this week here are 7 of my next YA reads! I’m also on Goodreads if any of you would like to connect (link on the right of my homepage).

 

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A ‘Study Machine’ who cares for nothing else bust grades meets a fellow genius, after a podcast reveals more than it should both of their lives start to collapse. I won’t lie I was drawn to this initially by the title and cover, then I read the synopsis and was hooked. I can’t wait to get stuck in.

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After being told that they can’t afford to be taught at home anymore conjoined twins Grace and Tippi need to get the hang of the ‘outside’ world fast. They may have defied the odds medically their whole lives, but can they handle high school? This is something so different I needed to pick it up. I’ve always been interested in twins, but I’ve never read about conjoined twins, very exciting.

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Parker has his own set of rules don’t deceive him…especially using his blindness, don’t be weird and don’t betray him. It’s a fact that we need more books with disability in them and so I picked up Lindstrom’s novel off of the table in the book shop. I haven’t heard anything about this book but I’m hoping it’s going to be great.

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Despite being best friends for years, Caddy has always wanted to be more like Rosie and when Suzanne shows up she learns that a little trouble can also be fun. I keep seeing this novel everywhere and I caved and picked it up. It’s going to be interesting to see the effect that a third friend has on their relationship and just how much trouble they can get away with.

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Being allergic to everything sucks, being stuck inside your house and not seeing anyone but your Mum and your Nurse sucks…cute boy moving in next door? Now THAT might be interesting. I am really on the fence about this novel, the protagonist has a rare disease which means she is allergic to everything, when she see’s the new boy next door her thoughts start to change and she thinks that maybe she should start taking risks. I’m a little sceptical because it sounds like the whole, ‘this boy is going to save me even though the medical world can’t’ thing BUT I reserve judgement and hope that isn’t the case.

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What would you do if a character from your favourite story came to life? Jodi Picoult is one of my favourite authors EVER. So why haven’t I picked up the YA Novel she wrote with her daughter? I have no idea but it’ll certainly be interesting to see her writing style combined with her daughters.

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Auggie has always been different and now it’s time for him to finally go to school for the 5th grade. As well as living with a facial disfigurement Auggie has to make friends and deal with others who don’t want to give him a chance. I’m reading this at the moment and it’s already melting my heart. I haven’t seen ONE negative review of this novel, fingers crossed it stays as good as it currently is.

 

How about you guys? Anything to add to my list or have you already read any of them? Drop me a message in the comments below and let me know!