Wonder by R.J.Palacio

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Book Description. 

My name is August. I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.

Auggie wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things – eating ice cream, playing on his Xbox. He feels ordinary – inside. But ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids aren’t stared at wherever they go.

Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life. Now, for the first time, he’s being sent to a real school – and he’s dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted – but can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, underneath it all?

My Review.

An amazing, inspiring, simply WONDERful book that I absolutely loved. I’ve yet to watch the film, I really hope it lives up to the book and does this story justice. 

I found myself being able to relate to Via quite often – when I was growing up my older sister was in hospital quite a bit and I often felt left out but never bitter ! Via was a wonderful sister to Auggie, I really liked her and how she perceived Auggie.                                                                                                                         I loved the chapters told from the different characters perspectives , to hear what each character thought of Auggie was interesting. I especially like Justin’s chapter, how it was written made it so personal.                                                                                   Initially I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Auggie but as the story progressed, I forgot about his abnormality and was inspired by his character, such a strong, brave boy, who I adored. 

This book should become part of the national curriculum, everyone could learn so much from this story. It teaches the true meaning of being kind to others. I especially loved the precepts, they certainly made me think !!! 

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Five Years From Now by Paige Toon

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Book Description 

What if you met the right person at the wrong time?

Nell and Van meet as children when their parents fall in love, but soon they are forced worlds apart.

Five years later, they find each other.  Their bond is rekindled and new feelings take hold, but once again they must separate.

For the next two decades, fate brings Nell and Van together every five years, as life and circumstance continue to divide them. Will they ever find true happiness? And will it be together?

‘One day, maybe five years from now, you’ll look back and understand why this happened…’

My Review

Well I’ve been waiting so impatiently to read this book and now I’ve finished it, I wish I was actually still waiting. I loved this book and towards the end I actually put off reading it at times because I simply didn’t want it to come to an end and that would be it till the next Paige Toon book !! I normally say this is perfect for fans of (name other authors) but I simply can’t because nothing compares to Paige Toon. She is such a fantastic author, who writes with such passion (I can’t get the vision out of my head of a video she shared on social media, which showed Paige sobbing her heart out whilst writing this book!) I can now guess which part she was writing. Paige Toon books are so easy to get into but so hard to put down !

I thought Cornwall was the perfect setting for this story, it’s such a beautiful place and this story was simply beautiful. Even though I haven’t been to Helford, I didn’t struggle to picture the setting and the same goes for Australia. The characters of this book and there was many, were all well written and I actually liked them all – there wasn’t one that I took a disliking to. They all made such a great team. Even as the years passed they never seemed to change. I’m not actually going to discuss any of what happens because I want you to experience the story first hand and not through my review. 

This book made me really think about the past – what was I doing 5 years ago and what will my life be like in ‘five years from now’ ? This book has now given me a book hangover – the feeling where you struggle to get into another book because you are still thinking about such a great book that you have just read. 

 

What Happened That Night by Sheila O’Flanagan

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Book Description 

Then

When Lola Fitzpatrick catches the eye of Philip Warren, she’s new to Dublin and loving it. He’s used to getting what he wants…and she can’t resist him. Until one night he forces her to make an impossible choice.

If she’d known then what she knows now, everything might have been different.

Now

Lola’s daughter Bey has inherited her mother’s impulsive streak and it takes her down dangerous paths.

Then one night she too finds herself in front of a man she loves, with impossible choices of her own to make.

For both women, what happened that night changes everything. For better. For worse. For ever.

My Review 

Well I’ve only ever read one Sheila O’Flanagan book and that was short stories, I can honestly say I’ve been missing out on wonderful stories , I shall be reading more by Sheila O’Flanagan. Parts of the story reminded me of all the Danielle Steel books I used to read as a teenager – I gues this book made me feel young again!!

The opening of the story had me very intrigued as to where the story would go.     Then when I read the part when Lola was admiring the jewellery and a man came up behind her saying ” Why don’t you try it on” , I got a vision of Robert Redford in ‘Indecent Proposal’ (one of my favourite films) and I got even more intrigued and excited about the future of this story.

There were a couple of characters I couldn’t warm to throughout the story – Philip, I found him to be big headed and arrogant. Then there was Adele, she was a hard-faced, cold woman who needed a good slap to bring her to down to earth !!                                The characters Lola and Bey were well written as strong and independent women , I adored these two women and almost felt like I had watched them grow up through words (if that makes sense!)

This is a story that made me look at jewellery in a different way, I’ve never really thought of the hard work that goes into designing it and then making it before now. I loved how at the begining of each chapter, a jewel/gem was described .

Thank you to Becky Hunter at Headline for sending me a copy of this magnificent gem of a book.

 

While I Was Sleeping by Dani Atkins

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I Don’t remember what happened or what has changed. 

I can still hear your voices but you can’t seem to hear me.

I was about to be married, had everything to look forward to.

Now I have to find a way back – to you, to our family, to us.

My Review.

**May contain spoilers**

A beautiful but heart-wrenching book, which should be sold with an endless supply of tissues.                            Perfect for fans of Nicholas Sparks, Jill Mansell and Jojo Moyes.

Maddie – at the begining of the story, Maddie was like any bride-to-be, excited for her big day, this was so well written that I felt like I was going through the motions of preparations and joy with her !                                           When she thought she was being followed, I felt like I was reading a psychological thriller, I was at the edge of my seat.                                                                                     Throughout the book, I was rooting for Maddie all the time, I felt like she could do no wrong, her character was so well written. She responded to situations as any woman would in her shoes which I think made the story all the more realistic.

The character Chloe, I initially couldn’t warm to her, she felt like an imposter , a thief but the more I read, I began to see her in a different light. Chloe to me became a rainbow through a storm !

I felt Ryan had it the toughest, he was about to marry the woman he loved before tragedy struck and his whole life was turned upside down. I thought he remained loyal to Maddie throughout, even when he was with Chloe. True love never dies I believe.

This is a story that had me thinking about it all the time, I’ve never got my housework done so quickly so I could pick up where I left off !!                                                           A story that filled me with sadness, joy and hope. Thanks to @BookMinxSJV at Simon and Schuster for sending me this arc.

The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland

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Book Description 

Ailsa Rae is learning how to live.

She’s only a few months past the heart transplant that – just in time – saved her life. Life should be a joyful adventure. But . . .

Her relationship with her mother is at breaking point and she wants to find her father.
Have her friends left her behind?
And she’s felt so helpless for so long that she’s let polls on her blog make her decisions for her. She barely knows where to start on her own.

Then there’s Lennox. Her best friend and one time lover. He was sick too. He didn’t make it. And now she’s supposed to face all of this without him.

But her new heart is a bold heart.

She just needs to learn to listen to it . . .

My Review 

This story reminded me of ‘Everything Everything’ by Nicola Yoon and ‘The Fault in our Stars’ by John Green, it had many similarities to those two stories, yet it was unique in its own way.

I really liked the main character Ailsa, she comes across as a strong,brave and inspirational woman, who was learning to live again and not be afraid. Her mum, Hayley annoyed me at times, I felt she was holding Ailsa back from a whole new life and I understand she was probably just being a protective mother. I just felt at times Hayley came across as selfish !

I loved the style of writing in which this story was told through – some parts were Ailsa’s blog, some parts were newspaper articles and some parts were emails between Ailsa’s and Seb. I love this in a book, it gives it more of a personal touch I think.

A fascinating story that will make you appreciate the little things in life that we all take for granted. Thanks to Imogen Sebba for sending me this proof copy, I loved it !!

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A Long Way From Home by Cathy Glass

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Description

The true story of 2 year-old Anna, abandoned by her natural parents, left alone in a neglected orphanage.

Elaine and Ian had travelled half way round the world to adopt little Anna. She couldn’t have been more wanted, loved and cherished. So why was she now in foster care and living with me? It didn’t make sense.

Until I learned what had happened. …

Dressed only in nappies and ragged T-shirts the children were incarcerated in their cots. Their large eyes stared out blankly from emaciated faces. Some were obviously disabled, others not, but all were badly undernourished. Flies circled around the broken ceiling fans and buzzed against the grids covering the windows. The only toys were a few balls and a handful of building bricks, but no child played with them. The silence was deafening and unnatural. Not one of the thirty or so infants cried, let alone spoke.

My Review

Since becoming a mum I would avoid reading these kind of true stories with cases of abused or neglected children because I found  them too upsetting but this book made me realise how lucky my children are to be brought up in a loving home. This story is truly inspiring.

When I first started reading this, I couldn’t believe how long the adoption process took, yet the day at court was simple and quick.  I felt sorry for Anastasia but then another part of me couldn’t understand why she was reacting the way she was towards Ian and Elaine. This made me frustrated and sad, they were only trying to give her a better life ! Yet towards the end, Elaine and Ian’s actions made me so mad ! 

I worked in a primary school as a one-to-one teaching assistant to a little boy with behavioural issues, Anna’s behaviour reminded me of the child I looked after behaved, it really hit home with me at times. 

As heart- wrenching as this story was, I really enjoyed reading it and will be reading more by Cathy Glass. It really highlighted the impact on everyone involved in adoption and fostering.

Thanks to Rosie Margesson from Harper Non Fiction for sending me a copy. 

Evie’s Year of Taking Chances by Christie Barlow

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Book Description 

Evie’s job has always been her safe haven. As a librarian in the little town of Becton she loses herself in books – after all it’s far easier to read about other people’s problems than set about solving her own. Then, one birthday, everything is turned upside down. A mysterious parcel containing a beautiful book with a poignant inscription arrives for Evie. It’s the start of new chapter for Evie and she’s inspired to try and find her real mother. Evie’s search leads her to meet handsome author Noah Jones.Charming and intelligent, Noah seems the perfect catch but what Evie doesn’t realise is that he is hiding something – a key to Evie’s past. As Evie gets closer to Noah and discovering her real mother, she must take a giant leap of faith. Can she embrace the new and make this her year of taking chances? And if she does, will she get her heart broken?

My Review 

I have a confession to make ….. this story had been on my kindle for over a year and now upon reading it, I wish I’d read it sooner ! 

I felt a connection with Evie from the start, she’s a bookworm like myself and she’s partial to cake !! Well reading and baking are my hobbies (baking is slightly more than a hobby, I have my own cake making business.)Evie came across very down to earth and lovable, I wish I had a friend like her !

  I did guess one part of the story but I was left with my jaw hanging at the end ! What a shocker but also such a lovely ending, it made me feel all warm-hearted.

I loved it how each chapter was short so it left me saying to myself “one more chapter” a lot. This is a story that will make you think about it when you are not reading it, as I did.  An amazing feel good book, thanks to Bookouture and Netgalley for approving me to read this in exchange for a honest review.