Among Others By Jo Walton

Blub from Amazon:

Winner of the 2012 Hugo Award for Best Novel. Winner of the 2011 Nebula Award for Best Novel. Startling, unusual, and yet irresistably readable, Among Others is at once the compelling story of a young woman struggling to escape a troubled childhood, a brilliant diary of first encounters with the great novels of modern fantasy and SF, and a spellbinding tale of escape from ancient enchantment.

I did not really enjoy this novel but think many other who like fantasy will. A novel written in diary format by our protagonist Mor. Mor is a young adult who has a past we being to learn about as the novel progresses. She has a bad leg. A dead twin. An absent mother. A knowledge of magic. A fascination with Science fiction and fantasy novels.
Despite all these possible avenues to provide an interesting plot I feel Jo Walton failed. However, there are many others who disagree with me on that count.
Mor is different from her peers and this is very apparent as soon as she starts at a new school, a boarding school in which her previously estranged father has placed her. Through the diary entries we learn where Mor has come from and how she adapts to a new town and a new situation.
A coming of age novel with a twist into the realm of fantasy, magic and relationships.
For me the constant lists of novels that Mor has read or is currently reading distracted me as I do not read fantasy or science fiction and thus had not read any of the novels that were talked about and only recognised a few authors who were mentioned. However I can image for readers of these genres it would add another layer of understanding into the characters and the understanding of Mor’s life.
For me this is a 3 out of 5. Interesting ideas but not enough plot for me.
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The Girl on Paper By Guillaume Musso

  Have you ever felt that the characters just ‘jump off the page’? Well in this book author Tom Boyd’s character literately appears, fallen from a page of the book.

Tom has severe writers block and after his bestsellers he is unable to write another book even though his fans are crying out to him for one. Living by himself after his relationship with a famous pianist, Aurore, falls apart he becomes a recluse, sleeps constantly and is not looking after himself. Drink and drugs become his only company.

Life is an adventure and Tom needs one to get his life kick started again. So when one wet and windy evening Billie, a fictional character from Toms novels, appears outside on his veranda his life is thrown into a whirlwind of activity, growth and realization. Billie is desperate to return to her world and Tom is desperate to win back Aurore.

This is a novel that really does take you on the journey with the characters. With interesting characters, and an interesting twist in that Tom’s creation, Billie, is the one who manages to remove him from his medicated stupor. This is a novel that you have to read and is a perfect book to get you back into reading. It revitalizes you. Makes you look at your life and recognize how enhance it.

4 out of 5

In My Mailbox 001

In my mailbox is meme hosted by The Story Siren to let everyone see what books you have got that week!

Click on the image to take you to the amazon.co.uk website 🙂

So I have received:

   My Dead Friend Sarah By Peter Rosch

  A Cold and Lonely Place By Sara J. Henry

  Rape Girl By Alina Klein

  A History of the Present Illness BY Louise Aronson

  The Air We Breathe By Christa Parrish

  This is How I Save My Life By Amy B. Scher (linked to publishers page)

Thank you NetGalley

Bought:

  A Beautiful Mind By Sylvia Nash

A Voice in the Distance By Tabitha Suzuma

  ‘A Voice in the Distance’ is the companion novel for ‘A Note of Madness‘.

Now in his final year at the Royal Collage of Music, Flynn is under more stress than ever before. His bipolar disorder begins to rear its ugly head again and is worse than it was before. Becoming manic very quickly and forcing his friends to phone for an ambulance and police he is saved from being sectioned (detained in hospital) due to his older brother. His ‘perfect’ older brother, who is a doctor, promises to take care of him and make sure he takes his medication.

It is difficult being a young adult at university/collage never mind being a young adult with a mental health problem who also has to cope with the pressures of collage and the competitive nature of the Royal Collage of Music. These pressures continue to erupt for Flynn and his mental health deteriorates again, this time he is hospitalized, putting pressures on all his relationships. Manic to the extent his girlfriend is frightened of his behavior and struggles to cope. His friendships are put on the line.

The problem with bipolar disorder is the Depression that so often follows the Mania. Here we say the destruction in a darker light. We see the struggles of those who love Flynn and the unbearable pain and devastation Bipolar can leave in its wake.

A fantastic novel for any one interested in mental illness. The music side also kept me interested as I once was a trumpet player, though I can imagine some people disliking this side. A young adult novel and a great conclusion to ‘A Note of Madness‘.

This novel looks more at Flynn’s manic side and thus has a different feel to ‘A Note of Madness‘ and therefore is not a rehash of the first novel.

I gave ‘A Note of Madness‘ 5 out of 5. I say ‘A Voice in the Distance’ is even better and again must be a 5 out of 5.

A Note of Madness By Tabitha Suzuma

   Flynn is enjoying life. He is at the Royal Collage of Music and has been given the opportunity to play the piano at an important concert. But things begin to change for Flynn. Sometimes he is bursting with energy and feels invincible. Other days however he cannot get out of bed and wishes he was dead.

Flynn is beginning to experience the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder and it threatens to wreck his music career. His behavior worries his friends and family but his brother manages to get him some help from a psychiatrist that he knows. Flynn must begin a battle with erratic mood swings and medication.

I read this book several years ago but am writing a review now because I read it and loved it. This is a novel which deals with the onset of mental illness which often occurs in a persons young adult years in which they are at a pivotal point in their lives – here it is collage. Unlike most books about Bipolar Disorder Tabitha Suzuma does not focus solely on the manic episodes but shows the depressive episodes which are often the main problem people with Bipolar Disorder experience. The debilitating depression often comes in the wake of a manic episode and lasts much longer. Flynn must battle to get out of bed and continue with his studies before it is too late.

This is an excellent novel aimed at a young adult audience. A introduction into the world of mental illness and that it can happen to anyone. Those with Bipolar Disorder do not have to be famous or on drugs. It can happen to anyone.

I feel that Tabitha Suzuma understands that there is no easy answers to mental illness. This shows through the writing. Medications don’t work straight away and the side effects are sometimes harder to deal with than the illness. You might have to try a variety of medications to find the correct balance. Talking therapies also play a role. This book is not overly medical which is a good thing. It explains things in a way that is easy to understand without overly simplifying them.

I am giving this novel a 5 out of 5 as it is a book I would read again and again.

Rape Girl By Alien Klein

  Rape girl is a skillfully written novel about a 16 year old girl, Valarie, who is raped by a fellow student at her school, Adam. However, the students at her school take Adams side and increase Valarie’s alienation and suffering.

Alien Klein herself was a victim of rape and this shines through in her tactful writing of such a delicate subject matter. This novel is aimed at young adults and I think it is a must for all teens to read a novel like this. Although it is aimed more at females I think many males can learn a valuable lesson. No means NO.

Reporting rape is a hard thing to do, never mind having to deal with the fallout it causes and the alienation that Valarie faces. But no matter what, Valarie knows she has done the right thing. She knows she was raped. She attempts to press charges even though she was bullied for trying to. Rape is hard. But learning who your real friends are is a valuable lesson on the journey to adulthood.Valarie grows due to this tragic attack but will forever be scarred.

A novel expressing one of the under reported crimes that can rip peoples lives apart. But access to novels like this is a must for teens and adults alike to show that through strength you can get through and learn from such an experience and grow into a stronger and more understanding person.

4 out of 5

Return to Middle C By Gregory Shultz

Ben Devenport is a rock star. He has a 6 year old son and a wife which he loves. He is looking forward to a break from touring with his band and spending time with his family. However, when they don’t appear at the venue he calls the taxi driver who was supposed to be picking them up. The driver is still waiting. The driver has tried to call and has knocked on the room door. They are not there. Ben tries to call Stella’s mobile – his wife – but he can’t get a hold of her.

Fast forward 5 years. Ben is in hiding, he is exhausted, he is broken. That day Ben lost his son Bryan. Ben lost his wife. But his wife wasn’t his. His wife cheated. Now Ben only has the company of stray cats in his large empty house. But when a women, Delora, moves into the house across from his and becomes preoccupied with him she ends up being his saving grace.

This is a book about the depths of depression, the strength it takes to return to the search that had previously taken everything away from you. The spark that one person can give you just by holding out a hand of friendship and allowing you to take your time to accept it.

A book which reminds you why you are alive. That no matter how bad things get there is a way to improve them. Even though Ben lost everything he is able to find himself again and reconnect with his musical past.

A fantastically written book with a great flow and a great plot. Please read this book and you will learn so much about pain but also so so much about healing.

This book has action, mystery, love, hate, joy, pain, thrills. This is a book for everyone and anyone.

4.5 out of 5

Before I go to Sleep By S. J. Watson

   Before I Go To Sleep took my attention as I am a Psychology student and am very interested in memory loss. It was featured on ‘The TV Book Club’ and after watching their reviews and hearing many good things I eventually got myself a copy on my Kindle.

Imagine waking up every morning and not knowing where you are. Not knowing the person lying next to you. Not recognizing the hands that are apparently yours. Looking in a mirror and realizing you are not as young as you should be. For many people this is a reality. Those who are unable to create new memories. Having someone, someone you don’t recognize having to show you pictures each morning and explain what happened and that they are in fact your husband, that you both love each other.

Christine, our protagonist, has to deal with this.

Christine’s husband has left for work and she hears a phone ringing, but it isn’t the mobile that her husband had left her with. It is a doctor. A doctor telling her she has a diary hidden. So she spends the day reading the entries and adding to it. Through these entries the story progresses. We learn more about Christine’s life and the truth behind the accident that caused her amnesia.

This is a well researched novel and you get a true insight into the destruction amnesia can cause to someones life. Along with this there is a thriller that speeds up the further through the novel you get. It is an excellent idea however what stops me saying it is fantastic is that it is slightly too repetitive (which is the problem with amnesia stories I guess) but if you look past this then it is an amazing story with great ideas and keeps you questioning until near the end!

4 out of 5

Broken Places By Wendy Perriam

    I read this novel while on holiday, relaxing on an amazing hammock chair that hung from a tree, it was relaxing and added to my enjoyment of this book.

Divorced, his daughter now eleven hours away on a plane, constant walls in his way at work, and a pretty drab flat in a drab area. Life is unfair.

Things don’t seem to be going too great for Eric Parkhill. His phobias stop him from doing much, and are the reason his marriage eventually failed. But phobias can be tackled and faced. And in this book we see true courage a father musters in attempt to see and save his daughter, whose life is taking a turn for the worst.

We see a man, a foundling, who has no real knowledge of his beginnings taking a a wide step from his comfort circle to learn new things. No longer running away from things that cause extreme anxiety.

One thing about this that I loved was the fact that Eric is a Librarian and is constantly trying to get funding to allow those disadvantaged access to books and a forum to discuss such books. Any novel which has a lot to do about books always sucks me in! It’s a weakness!

There is a story of his past. A story of the beginning. A story of his future. And a story right now. You will feel for Eric but you will also want to tell him to ‘GET A GRIP’ but it is a book about a human, he has flaws, and has his positives. You see a man grow.

This is a lovely book which I would give 3.5 stars in total. It has a good ideas but has its points where you do have to push yourself through. All in all a good read.

Into the Darkest Corner By Elizabeth Haynes

Elizabeth Haynes debut novel and a fantastic one at that! Switching between the past and present of Catherine’s life. In the past she is outgoing, wearing beautiful party dresses, drinking, and flirtatious. Now she is living with severe OCD and can barely function. Spending most evenings checking and rechecking her doors and windows.

Both times have love interests. Lee, a bouncer, undercover police officer and general hard man. And Stuart her new neighbor, is understanding and helps Catherine beginning the road to recovery and a step back into a social life.

As the novel progresses we get a real insight to why Catherine has developed OCD and that the facade which Lee had fooled everyone.

A psychological thriller which demonstrates true understanding and sound research into the subject matter. You will not be able to put it down!

A fantastic novel and a excellent debut.