Review: When I’m Gone by Emily Bleeker

I started this book and immediately found myself drawn in. As the book continued I admit, I started to become angry with the wife. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to let go and accept someone whom you loved a great deal had died if they remained in contact with you. I really felt bad for the husband. As the book continued on more, I became outraged at this dead wife. I kept trying to put myself in her shoes. Why would she do this? I put myself in her husband’s shoes. How awful it must have been for him. Why oh why would she do all of this? Why wouldn’t she had just been honest and up front when she was alive?

As the book approached the ending… well, I finally understood. I can’t say I agreed with her reasoning…or her methods…but I could finally understand to some degree.

Even when I was incredibly angry with these characters, I remained invested in this novel and couldn’t put it down. I rushed through it to make sure it would all turn out alright.

Sure, I figured out some of the “surprises” in the ending…however, the path I thought we would be taking to get there was different from I expected. I finished this novel and didn’t feel any anger about emotional manipulation as I often do with these “surprise twists” at the end.

Sure, it might be a novel that I won’t remember all the details next month, that happens a lot with me, but I have to say I really enjoyed this whilst I was reading it and I definitely know some mates that I would recommend this one to…very happy I picked this one to spend the day reading…

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now When I’m Gone by Emily Bleeker

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Review (Revisited): The Simplicity of Cider by Amy E. Reichert

So glad I gave Richert another try after the disaster of her last book (sorry, but I hated it!). After falling in her love with her first book, I really wanted her to redeem herself with this one…and boy did she ever! If I had any complaints I just wish it was a bit longer and had some more details with a few minor characters. I am really hoping one comes back and has her own book soon.

Sometimes reading a book is just what you need to reset your spirit and get your head in the right place. This is that book. Having attempted and abandoned 2 books previous to this one…and having read several in a row that were just so-so…well this is exactly what I needed to clear out all the clutter in my head.

As in her first book, I couldn’t wait to finish this one and had problems putting it down once I started…Another book I finished in less than 24 hours…that hardly EVER happens in my life anymore and now I have found an author that has inspired me to do it TWICE!

Can’t wait to read what she comes up with next…

Until next time…
Urania xx

ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review

The Simplicity of Cider by Amy E. Reichert

Review: Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

** spoiler alert ** This was hard for me. I just found it a bit far-fetched. I know bad parents exist. I know they hide from the system. However, I find it very hard to believe that Ginny was able to be place for adoption so soon and that no one discovered about baby doll. I understand that no one asked the correct questions for Ginny to explain that the baby doll was real, I just find it hard to believe that social workers never discovered her. Especially since it was obvious Ginny’s mother didn’t want to give up custody. You add to the fact that Ginny’s mother is kinda portrayed as not very intelligent, unstable and very impulsive, well it doesn’t make sense to then have her smart enough and level-headed enough to be able to hide the existence from the authorities. I feel like there would have been some supervised visits between Ginny and her mother before adoption was placed on the table. Especially since drugs were involved and Ginny’s mom went into treatment voluntarily. Maybe it’s different in other states, but when I worked within the system it was evident that the main purpose of the system is to try all means to keep families intact. Even those that (I feel) have no business intact or with parents I felt should never have second chances.

Also, the adoptive mother….I get the whole protective mother thing and maybe even postpartum depression (giving her the benefit of the doubt here) but I just don’t understand the relationship at all. I do get that Ginny might have been very difficult, but still. To turn off like that and then at the end for us all to believe in a HEA ending…it was just too much. Again, I worked within a small part of the system, so I understand that people like this do exist…but it just didn’t mesh for me like it should have in this story.

Even Ginny’s doctor didn’t seem to understand the proper way to communicate with her at times. Yes, I get it. But as a trained professional, she should have understood the basics.

I hope my review is clear, I didn’t dislike Ginny. Or even the story. And certainly not the plight that all the characters found themselves in. I just think the things I mentioned left too much of a stretch for my imagination to believe. It really ruined the whole book for me.

Until next time…
Urania xx

Review copy provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy it now Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

Review: A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

How does one review this book? Looking at near 250k ratings and over 10k reviews on Goodreads.com I reckon I don’t have to. However, you all know I’m a glutton for punishment so I will say a few words…

With all the foreshadowing in the first 100 pages of the book you can pretty much figure out how it’s to end…you might even think you know the whys. I mean it’s all there…however, as in life, this book demonstrates that it’s all in the details…and in perhaps what is never said as well…

This book made me laugh out loud in more than a few places. It’s a wonderful telling about two boys growing up. How they help one another in ways that they are unable to even ask for. I found at times I was a bit irritated with the back and forth of the memories. The 1st person narrator would have a memory and then the novel would go back in time to expand on that memory. As the novel progressed and I became used to this, it really proved interesting. Especially since many of the memories were reminisced over a few times. Experiencing something vs looking back at a memory vs looking back at a memory after a traumatic event can all be very different experiences for the same person. “After the fact” we can all imagine how things might have been different if we had picked up on the clues we were given.

I should note that this is a novel full of wonderful secondary characters. Some of them truly do help make this an extraordinary read.

I admit, Owen really annoyed me during much of the novel…however, some part of me thinks that’s part of the point.

I also leave myself wondering how different Johnny would be if Owen was still his best mate living down the street. Or if Owen hadn’t thrown that ball…

Finally, I have to say that at times I might have wished greatly that this book would just move along faster. The slow pace was just as annoying as Owen was. Reading this book really was a test of my discipline. Some novels are just like that for me…My reward wasn’t the ending….it was all the time spent with so many wonderful characters, getting to know them in a way that just wouldn’t have been possible if the novel was written any other way…

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

Review: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

I’m not sure how to review this novel. Seeing so many of my friends have given this book high ratings but no reviews makes me think that perhaps it’s not just me‽

I had a really hard time getting past the grandparents. It kinda challenged my commitment to not judge other’s personal choices. The same with the parents I guess, not to the same degree, but there was still a bit of taking myself to task for some of my thoughts.

Also, I realised at some point that I might expect too much of fictional characters. I mean, I found the grandfather really weak and unlikable at times…especially at the start. However, maybe I was expecting Lefty to be this perfect literary character and not an actual person. At some point, Lefty did become real to me…and all those things that really irritated me and made me really dislike him at the start turned things around and made him real to me.

That’s what Eugenides did for me in this novel. He made all of these characters seem like every day people. He made them into my neighbours. Liking them, even though I didn’t really know what was going on behind closed doors (of course, being the reader we actually DID know what was going on).

Since I can’t really think of how to review this novel, I’ll tell you that the blurb on the cover does a nice job explaining what the plot of the novel is about. But to understand this novel…well no review can do that…no summery can do that. You really have to meet Callie/Cal to understand why this novel is so amazing.

I’m not sure the moment when Callie realised that she was different. Or when Cal realised that he was real. But he does a wonderful job at the end summing it up. Gender does not define us. We are who we are…and Cal, along with all of his family are just wonderful…faults, and non-faults alike…simply wonderful…again, gender doesn’t define us….try to remember that next time if you’re the type to judge…

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Review: A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

What an interesting novel. I’m not even sure how to explain it. I’m not even sure what happened really. However, what I am sure of is that I loved it. I was captivated by it. I want to read more about Ruth and Nao. I was sad when the novel finished. I won’t lie. Parts of the novel really sickened me and made me extremely sad for humanity. There are some really horrible instances of bullying and at times Nao and her father continued to break my heart over and over and over again. I wanted to grab them both and hug them and never let go. Of course, I am sure this would have freaked them both out equally, but I would have just held on until hopefully, their discomfort eased.

If you’re looking for a book that fits nicely into a box where everything ties together and it all comes together at the end then this isn’t the book for you. But…if you’re looking for a book that’s imaginative in a way that isn’t able to be placed in a box, one that will make you sad, happy, having you laughing out loud at times, and cringing at other times, then this might very well be the book for you!

After finishing the last page, I read the blurp for the book, and really it does sum it up rather nicely…

“Full of Ozeki’s signature humour and deeply engaged with the relationship between writer and reader, past and present, fact and fiction, quantum physics, history, and myth, A Tale for the Time Being is a brilliantly inventive, beguiling story of our shared humanity and the search for home.”

I’ll definitely be looking for more of Ozeki in the future!

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now a tale for the time being ruth ozeki

Review: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

There are many reasons why I stopped reading the blurbs listed for books. For one, I started seeing more than a few authors/publishers feel the need to give a detailed outline for the entire book in the blurbs published on Amazon and Goodreads. That’s the same reason I try not read any review or even publicity postings for books I intend to read. It’s always a fine line to walk to see what’s being talked about without hearing too much of the talk! The main reason, for me, to avoid blurbs is that I honestly sometimes feel like I no longer need/desire to read the book if I’ve read so much information and I don’t go into the story “blind”. This is something that’s happened in the last 5 or so years. So it’s true to say that I go into the majority of my reads with little more information that the title of the novel and the author’s name.

Why do I tell you all of this? The danger of this is that I often avoid a book far too long because I assume it’s something it isn’t. Bel Canto is one fine example of this. I’ve never read Ann Patchett before. I went into this thinking it would be…well I don’t want to label anything or make a label sound bad, when that isn’t my intention. But I basically thought this would be a family drama with some difficult every day issues to deal with and at the end of the day it would be a HEA.

This wasn’t at all like that. I really enjoyed this novel. Part of that love was that it was so opposite of what I was expecting.

If you’re looking for detailed descriptions on what occurs in this novel…well….go read the blurb or some of the reviews…hahahahahaha…

I will say I felt the ending was a bit abrupt…buuuuttttt….if it had ended any other way it would have just been because the book was exactly like the reason I avoided it for years in the first place…hahahaha…really, I’m not sure how the novel could have ended differently and stayed true to the story…

I certainly understand why some people love Patchett and others don’t care for her…I’m not so sure that everyone has a literary heart that is strong enough to take an ending such as this…so many of us use novels to escape the reality of the world…we want only HEA endings…

Some might see this novel as a HEA, many others will not…

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now Bel Canto by Ann Patchett