Review: The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times

The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times
The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I binge-watched Call the Midwife during my maternity leave just over a year ago. I was fortunate in that I don’t have horror birth stories to tell so watching this show was actually enjoyable (yes, I’ve forgotten the pain fairly quickly!). When I found out that this serial is a based on a trilogy of books, of course, I couldn’t resist; I am a reader🙂

This book is a collection of memories of Jennifer Worth née Lee of the time she was training to become a midwife. In between these memories, she also commented on the state of antenatal care and midwifery with a bit of historical background. This is what was missing from the series though understandably, it probably won’t fit that well but I enjoyed these little tidbits and am very grateful for all those who paved the way so I got a terrific care in my turn.

Despite knowing most of the incidents in the book from the serial, I still enjoyed it very much. I still laughed at the funny moment (Chummy on her bike, Fred with his quails and pigs, etc), got teary at successful births, and heartbroken with the hard times some of these women faced. Most of all, I admire all these women for their courage and resilient in what seems to me impossible situations (I got it 100 times better than them!).

What caught me by surprise is the somewhat spiritual tone. It seems “Nonnatus House” or rather the Sisters of Nonnatus House affected the author quite a bit. Their faith, peace, and joy were puzzlement to her but slowly she began to see that surely it’s based on something bigger than what she can see.

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Review: Firewalker

Firewalker
Firewalker by Josephine Angelini
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There was something about this trilogy that disturbed me and I wasn’t quite sure what it was… I started reading this book, Firewalker (book 2 of the Worldwalker trilogy), with some anxiety that I might end up hating it or myself. Now that I’ve finished it, I think it better than Trial By Fire (book 1) and I’ve figured out the reason why this trilogy has made me so anxious!

Firewalker picked up exactly from where Trial By fire left off. I was excited to see both Rowan and Lily in a different world/setting. But what I find I was actually excited about was to see Tristan again… With Rowan along though, this was going to be a rocky trip read. Despite all the angst, Josephine Angelini really has succeed in making this not to be as painful as I usually find love triangles and I actually finished reading this book & looking forward to the finale! If you are like me about love triangles (which is one reason my I could not get into Throne of Glass, ssshhhh), look out for my review on book 3, Witch’s Pyre and I’ll let you know whether you should or should not get into this trilogy.

At the end of my review for book 1, Trial By Fire, I mentioned that I was very curious about Lillian’s motivation. It is still Lily’s book (her perspective only) but we were given glimpses of what Lillian has gone through to make her what she is now. With the violence that was hinted at the beginning, I was terrified of what it’ll be when revealed as I can’t stand violence against women in books. But, it wasn’t at all what I thought and I’m utterly grateful for it. It was a horrible decision she’s had to make but I was too grateful to be proven wrong to feel the wrongness of it.

I am still just as annoyed with Lily though the path she pursued in the later part of this book is very interesting and I’m very curious what book 3 will bring. After the relief of Lillian’s secret, I was still rooting for not-the-right-guy AND I was absolutely gutted at the end of this book. I am hoping against all hope that it’ll turn out differently in the finale but I know my hope won’t come true. I’ll see you all on the other side!

Many thanks to Pan MacMillan Australia; I received a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil

Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil
Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil by Melina Marchetta
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are books and then there are BOOKS! I’m talking about those books that permeate your whole soul and haunt your dreams. Yes, I have bookish dreams. Don’t you?! Melina Marchetta’s latest is one of these. If I could, I would’ve read this book in a single sitting but work and kids… such stumbling blocks! But even if I had to stop reading, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

My first reaction when I found out about this book was jubilation that Melina Marchetta is releasing a new book followed by, oh, wait… what’s this?! It’s not YA! **gasps** Nevertheless, it’s a Marchetta’s, it’s must read. Still, I started with a tad of trepidation but no fear, as within the first few paragraphs, she’s got me in the palm of her hands.

This is a story of someone who has had to repress a part of his inheritance and its consequences. It’s a story of the migrants with brilliant opportunities but circumstances and prejudices conspired against them. It’s a story of a world where being different means being wrong. It’s a story of hatred and love and everything in between. It’s a story of the pursuit of truth and its liberation.

If you haven’t read any Marchetta’s and always thought YA isn’t your cup of tea, you must read this book. She created such a realistic fictional world with well developed characters that you cannot but think must be real. Her characters are always different (or diverse, whichever way you want to look at it) and being different always caused a ripple in a world where homogeneous = safety. Whilst the ending isn’t in anyway sad, I kind of felt tired… about the current state of world and why we cannot all live in mutual acceptance and peace! For the mystery/thrillers lover, I do believe you will love the twist at the end, I certainly didn’t pick it.

I really had no idea what to expect in this adult fiction from a worldwide-fame YA author but in my eyes, Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil is definitely a success. I am, more than ever, entrenched deeply as a fan because as someone who widely reads across the genres, Melina Marchetta has written books crossing many of my favourites; books which I’ve loved. Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil is a confronting novel of the broken world we have today, the pain of terror attacks, of hate and its consequences.

Postscript: This review is all about what this book makes me feel because it makes me feel so very much, my meter has overflowed. “Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil” isn’t just a title, it’s an exhortation. Let’s keep the conversation going…

My thankful heart goes to Melina Marchetta and Viking (Penguin Books Australia) for copy of book in exchange of honest review

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Review: Nirvana

Nirvana
Nirvana by J.R. Stewart
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Nirvana presents a curious post-apocalyptic world. The world is mostly devastated but there are domes of safety where life glitzes on. The virtual world is so advanced and real that it’s sometimes hard to distinguish from real life. Especially for Larissa Kenders, who in losing the love of her life, would prefer the virtual where he can still be found.

I thought it was a fascinating concept though I was mostly confused during the reading. That might be because Larissa is so confused herself and couldn’t get anything straight! In effect, I didn’t particularly enjoy the book. It was a fairly short book though so I reckon it was tough to fit in that much world building (it really was an interesting world).

Thanks to Blue Moon Publishers for copy eARC via NetGalley in exchange of honest review

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Blog Tour (Review & Giveaway): Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

About the book

Words in Deep Blue

Second-hand bookshops are full of mysteries

This is a love story.

It’s the story of Howling Books, where readers write letters to strangers, to lovers, to poets.

It’s the story of Henry Jones and Rachel Sweetie. They were best friends once, before Rachel moved to the sea. 

Now, she’s back, working at the bookstore, grieving for her brother Cal and looking for the future in the books people love, and the words they leave behind.

Sometimes you need the poets

My Blurb

Life is the big scheme; death is the little one at the end

I loved visiting second-hand bookshops though these days I don’t actually know whether there is one in my neighbourhood. Nowadays, I buy second-hand books from Vinnies so they don’t usually have that “old” feels to them. And to be honest, I hate seeing things underlined or highlighted in books though I do like the little penciled (not penned) notes. I haven’t, however, found anything that meaningful in my books or maybe I just haven’t the imagination to find meaning in old bus/train tickets. The idea, however, is utterly charming.

The thing about the Letter Library at Howling Books is that you leave actual letters / notes to people who mean something to you. Rachel Sweetie has never been able to grasp the point of this exercise for what use is words? They’re just words. They’re there but they don’t DO anything in the scheme of life. She’s a scientist and she believes in the moon and the tides. Henry Jones, on the other hand, is a poet. He loves words. He believes in the power of words. And yet, they are the best of friends until… they weren’t. Years later, Rachel returned; stricken by grief, angry, and numb. 10 years of friendship, however, cannot be ignored.

I loved Rachel. Her strength impressed me from the very beginning; she’s been struck down by a grief so profound and yet, life still flickered inside of her. It was amazing to see that fire being stoke back to life and seeing her grasp life once again. Henry, on the other hand, didn’t quite impress me. I am fascinated by his family and, most especially, his family home! I wasn’t sure though I could like a real life Henry. His one redeeming fact is that he’s a reader and that he’s really a terrific friend. All the secondary characters though were brilliantly alive. I love the diverse cast of characters: Lola & Hiroko with their music, George (Henry’s sister) & Martin and his mums, etc.

Words in Deep Blue is a book about books (& words), of love and grief, of friendship and finding one’s feet. It is poignant and funny at the same time. It is wonderful collection of words strung into a beautiful story; one I’d highly recommend as it will delight many hearts.

Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Cath Crowley is a young adult author published in Australia and internationally. She is the author of The Gracie Faltrain trilogy, Chasing Charlie Duskin, and Graffiti Moon. In 2011, Graffiti Moon won the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction, the Ethel Turner Award for Young People’s Literature, and was named an honour book in the Children’s Book Council, Book of the Year. Cath writes and teaches in Melbourne.

Find Cath on: goodreads  |  website  |  tumblr  |  twitter

Giveaway (AU only)

I have 1 brand new copy of this book to giveaway but Australian address only (sorry, peeps, can’t afford overseas shipping :/). To enter, simply leave me a comment on what book would you leave your letter in and why OR who would you leave a letter to at the Letter Library.

I will contact the winner on Saturday, 1 October for his/her postal details.

Review: Trial by Fire

Trial by Fire
Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I always like the idea of alternate and/or parallel worlds though I’m not particularly keen on the idea of alter-egos. I guess I’m selfish that way –there’s only ONE of me in this whole universe! Lillian/Lily actually met and clashed in this story. I can understand not liking my alter ego (back to above point) but I found it strange that 1 person can be so different in perspectives or points of actions?

Trial by Fire is mostly told from Lily’s perspective except for some glimpses of other characters’ actions for the readers’ understanding. Unfortunately, I don’t like Lily! I don’t hate her but I found her frustrating a lot of the time. On another note, I found this alternate world very interesting, the dual existence of magic & science, the magical evil creatures, and just the overall brokenness. However, I’m not quite convinced on the magic/science thing or maybe I’m just confused; too much magic, not enough science.

The minor characters are actually of more interest to me than the main characters! I find myself wishing for Lillian’s perspective (though that may actually destroy the mystery which is probably not due to be revealed until later on in the trilogy). Rowan-Lily isn’t giving me the feels either. In fact, I really like Tristan despite his poor-boyfriend-quality but here’s to hoping he’ll improve!

Overall, the world building kept me reading and I am very curious about Lillian’s motivation as this whole thing is based on it. The ending of this first book also intrigues me and I will be picking up book 2, Firewalker , soon.

Many thanks to Pan MacMillan Australia; I received a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: Sight Unseen

Sight Unseen
Sight Unseen by Iris Johansen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After Kendra’s harrowing experiences in the first book (and therefore, unsurprisingly, her reluctance to assist in any more crime solving), I have wondered how the authors are going to lure her back in. Of course, what I really wanted to know is how and when Kendra Michaels and Adam Lynch get together! It’s inevitable, right?!

Kendra finally agreed to a blind date arranged by her formidable mother. Despite warnings to keep her acute observation skills to herself, she managed to blurt it all out just a few minutes into the date. What surprising was his reaction! And the fact that she’s dragged him out to a crash/murder scene but still he was rather more intrigued than repelled. However, with a killer artist weaving his murderous web around her and her loved ones, Kendra doesn’t have much time for love.

Sight Unseen is approximately a year after Close Your Eyes which I first found rather surprising. Again, aside from some kisses, this book is fairly clean so I am a little frustrated with how sloooww things are going. On the other hand, I really appreciated the twists at the end! I wasn’t really expecting that since there was this huge big red herring in front of me and I just lapped it up. I should’ve know that it just wasn’t going to be that simple.

An enjoyable second instalment in the Kendra Michaels series; fast paced with a shocking revelation at the end, promising more to come in the third book. I wish I get to see more of Adam Lynch then!

Many thanks to Pan MacMillan Australia; I received a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

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