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Book Review – ‘The Color Purple’ by Alice Walker ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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This classic book is set in the early 1900s in America’s poverty-stricken deep south. It tells the story of Celie, a young black girl who knows only struggle, segregation and suffering. She is repeatedly raped by her ‘Pa’ who then takes away the two children she bears, forced to marry an older man who mistreats her and then loses her beloved sister Nettie after she is sent away. She seems destined to a life of drudgery and pain. Then she meets the alluring singer Shug Avery and life begins to change for Celie. Shug is an independent woman who refuses to marry and has a career that takes her all over the country. She shows Celie there is a different life to be had and that everyone deserves to be loved. Slowly, Celie begins to embark on a journey of self discovery; finding her worth and finding joy in the most unexpected places.

I have had this book on my shelf for over three years. My partner bought it for me for my birthday that year as part of a theme of my favourite colour, purple. I’d obviously heard of the book and the film but had never thought or desired to read it before and in all honesty knew very little about it. As it was a gift I thought I would read it eventually, but it was never a high priority over the multitude of other books sitting waiting to be read. I decided to finally pick it up for three reasons: (1) I kept seeing it come up on Bookstagram, (2) the BookBum Book Club theme for September was ‘Back to School’ and the book is on current school curriculums, and (3) as part of Operation Clear Your TBR on Bookstagram.

As I knew little about this book I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I certainly wasn’t expecting the opening pages to hit you like a bomb, with the horror and violence of this young girl’s life is instantly thrown at you. I found my stomach in knots at her anguish and resignation to such a brutal existence forced upon her. Her helplessness breaks your heart as she allows herself to live this way.  She knows fighting against how her Pa and husband treat her would mean ending up dead and to Celie being alive, even if it means suffering, is better than dead.

I did initially find the book hard to read as it is written exactly how Celie speaks and it takes a little time to adjust to that. However I do think writing the book that way helps the tone of the book and enables you to really get inside Celie’s mind. I also loved how it was written as letters. To me this felt like I was really reading about someone’s life and not a work of fiction.

Having now read The Color Purple I have no idea why I waited so long. It is a beautifully written book that is haunting, heartbreaking and wonderful all at the same time.  I devoured this book and could have read it in one sitting very easily. This novel deserves it’s classic status and if you haven’t read it then I suggest you do so as soon as possible.

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Roald Dahl Day

Today we celebrate the birth of the man who is arguably the best children’s fiction writer of a generation.  Roald Dahl was born on 13th September 1926 in Cardiff to Norwegian immigrant parents.  After serving in the Royal Air Force during WW2 he then became well known as a writer in the 1940s, initially for his work for both adults and children. He would go on to become a best selling author in children’s fiction.

His much loved stories were known for their dark humour, portraying adults as villains and the children as heroes. He also espoused those of a gentle and warm-hearted nature in his books and underneath the dark humour was an element of tenderness that added to their charm.

I was a child at the time he was becoming so celebrated for his children’s books and he was definitely my favourite author at that time.  I was devastated upon hearing of his death in November 1990; the idea that there would be no more of his wondrous books just seemed so wrong and tragic to me.  As a child you felt like he really understood your world in a way other adults didn’t, and his genius of making adults into villains helped him resonate with his young audience. As an adult I look back at his work with a different perspective: there’s the nostalgia of my childhood innocence and also seeing just how brilliantly funny his work really is. I loved sharing his books with my own children and have no doubt that one day my Grandchildren will be reading them too.

To me, Roald Dahl truly earned the right to be referred to as “one of the greatest storytellers for children of the 20th Century”.  Happy Birthday Mr. Dahl 🎂🎉

Question – What are your memories of Roald Dahl and his books? Which is your favourite? Comment below.

 

 

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‘A Little Bird Told Me’ by Marianne Holmes🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟Publication Day book review.

IMG_20180912_145121.jpgThank you to NetGalley, Marianne Holmes and Agora books for the chance to read an ARC of this novel.

Besides, if you were one half evil, wouldn’t you want to know about the other half?

It’s the summer of 1976. A heat wave means perfect weather for swimming at the Lido for 9 year old Robyn (Little Bird) and her brother Christopher (Kit). The only things spoiling their perfect summer is their Mum bringing home women in tears and the town gossip about it, the bullies that mercilessly tease her, the mysterious appearance of The Man in the Cowboy Hat. Then something happens that summer. Something that changes the course of Robyn and Kit’s lives forever. Something Robyn feels she must atone for before it’s too late…..

The story switched between 1976 and 1988, when Robyn and Kit return to the village to solve the mysteries surrounding what happened and so Robyn can right her perceived wrongs. In ‘76 she is a child on the cusp of adolescence, trying to figure out adult secrets and behaviours while also learning who she is. Her sense of frustration and mistakes she makes as a result of childish naivete often left me wanting to shout at Robyn “don’t tell him that” or clue her in but it was great for the story and you felt your heart break with hers as the adult Robyn is filled with deep regret for what those mistakes now mean.

The bond between Kit and Robyn and the intricacies of sibling relationships, are pivotal to this story and are well written. The author weaves the layers of the story elegantly and reveals its secrets in piecemeal; teasing you with the promise of a revelation then ending prematurely so you’re left trying to decipher it’s meaning.

I was so excited to be approved for this book. The premise was intriguing and I loved the fact that it was the chance to read a debut novel. There’s a thrill of the unknown, the possibility of finding a hidden gem of a story and a new voice who you just know you’ll follow the rest of their career. Just reading the introduction to the author started the book with a smile and the sense I was about to read something special. The letter from the publisher solidified those feelings and I wasn’t disappointed in hoping I’d find all those things. I will definitely be reading any future novels by this author. A wonderful book.

Out today  

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Book Review – ‘The Memory Chamber’ by Holly Cave ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to NetGalley, Quercus books and Holly Cave for the chance to read and review this novel.

An Afterlife of your own design – what could go wrong?

Isobel is a Heaven Architect. In Fact she’s the best Heaven Architect there is, acclaimed for the beautiful and perfect heavens she creates. Each client’s personalised heaven is comprised of their chosen memories, ensuring them an eternity surrounded by those they love in the highlight reel of their lives. Isobel loves her job but then risks everything when she falls for her newest client, Jarek. When his wife is murdered Isobel is the only one who can prove his innocence and finds that it leads her to the unsavoury side of the business and her whole life crumbling around her.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this book. The premise was like nothing I’d read before and had my interest piqued with the unique storyline of artificial heavens.You feel like you’re reading about the present day but then little things that are woven in remind you that it is actually the not too distant future. Holly Cave has a beautiful way of writing that paints vivid pictures in your mind as you read.

The book got off to a slow but intriguing start and I found it addictive once the pace increased and suspense heightened further into the story. I was eager to find out who killed Sarah and couldn’t read fast enough as I tried to figure out the answer myself. There were some great twists and the outcome was not one I would’ve predicted at the start of the book, or even until it was almost revealed, my own disbelief at the truth mirroring Isobel’s.

A combination of romance, mystery, thriller and sci-fi all interlaced together to make an unusual, exciting and brilliant read.

Out September 20th (picture courtesy of Quercus books).

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The Journey Begins

First of all, let me introduce myself ; I’m Emma, I live in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, with my partner, our two teenage boys and two crazy cats. I’m a coffee and coke zero addict (I need my caffeine lol) and my obsessions besides books are anything purple, butterflies, The Wizard of Oz and The Little Mermaid. I also never met a cheesecake I didn’t like. I can’t remember a time I didn’t love books and reading. For years I’ve been obsessed with buying books and anything related to them. I was certainly born with a tbr pile I will never finish 😂

I have Fibromyalgia, M.E and a number of other chronic illnesses (if you’d like to follow that journey my personal insta is @emma_butterfly) and haven’t been able to work for about 7 years now. Fibro and M.E also impact my reading as the brain fog makes it hard to take in what I’m reading, the fatigue can make comprehension impossible and holding a book is painful and often unmanageable. The latter is why at Christmas I finally relented and got a kindle. While I will never not love books, the kindle is so much easier. I can highlight and make notes so I can remember things and it sits on my cushion most of the time so I don’t even have to hold it. I’ve gone from hardly being able to read to being on book 78 this year.

I have an eclectic taste in books and enjoy most genres, though my favourites are crime fiction, thrillers, mystery, true crime, and I’ve got into YA fiction quite a lot this year too. Some of my favourite authors are Jodi Picoult, Tess Gerritsen, M. J. Arlidge and John Grisham, John Marrs, Matt Haig, Mark Edwards and Shari Lapena.

I decided to start reviewing books as I’d sometimes post thoughts on a book online and got lots of positive comments. So, I decided to start taking it seriously as a way to give me something to focus on. It’s great to feel like I’m doing something more worthwhile with my time and I’m loving being a part of the #bookstagram community. I started my page on Instagram on 9th August and decided to as a one month celebration to start an official blog. I’m new to this so please bare with me as I learn the ropes.

Emma 💜🦋📖