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Michellesibs

Michellesibs

Joined June 2016

review
Michellesibs
Western Lane: A Novel | Chetna Maroo
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Mehso-so

We meet Gopi in the aftermath of losing her mother. She's the youngest of 3 girls and Dad, in his quiet way, isn't coping. No one in this family is dealing with their grief.

Grief and loss open up massive spaces and Gopi fills her space by playing Squash at Western Lane every day.

This is a short book at less than 200 pages but I feel like it needs a good edit. I like what this book is trying to communicate but the execution falls flat.

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Michellesibs
Gravel Heart | Abdulrazak Gurnah
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Pickpick

This book is very descriptive and dilly dallies all over the place and we are given far more information than we would ever need however it does create an atmosphere which absorbs you. At times you could almost smell the scenes being described.

Set between Zanzibar and London, this is the story of Salim and his family secrets. I was pretty invested in the characters here and how their lives were playing out.

I liked this, it was a decent read

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Michellesibs
Looking For Jane | Heather Marshall
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Set in Canada, this book explores the Jane Network. An underground network performing illegal abortions in a safe clean environment before the legalisation of the procedure.

I also learnt alot, while I knew backstreet abortions took place, I had only thought of that in terms of the dirty coat hanger type, not the clean surgery ones.

42 likes1 stack add
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Michellesibs
Girl: Broken | S. Williams
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Panpan

Firstly, the characters here are ridiculous. Flat, no personality, basic, stupid and every word they speak is dribble.

Secondly, there's no real plot and the timeline makes zero sense. When you get to the end you find out that you have to read book two if you want to find out what happens next.

And thirdly, there's smartphones and smart watches and an array for techy gadgets but the Internet is dial up.

monkeygirlsmama Oh my 😬😝 4w
37 likes2 comments
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Michellesibs
Know My Name: A Memoir | Chanel Miller
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Pickpick

Chanel Miller's victim impact statement went viral a few days after she read it out in court to her attacker. This is her memoir.

Chanel takes us though that night. The immediate aftermath. The nurses, doctors, police officers, lawyers, defense attorneys, judges. The media, the frat boys, the university board. The verdict. That speech.

A must read.

45 likes1 stack add
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Michellesibs
Pachinko | Min Jin Lee
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Pickpick

I didn't know that Japan controlled Korea for 35 years and the ramifications for the Koreans living inside and outside of Japan of which still exist.

I knew very little about the history and relationship between these two countries and I learnt so much reading this and it's tie in with Germany and WW2 really expanded what knowledge I did have.

Within these pages we travel from Korea to Japan through four generations of the same family.

46 likes1 stack add
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Michellesibs
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Mehso-so

I found this book a bore which is very unusual as it's set when Jack was in active military service and these ones are my favorites but the actual story line didn't grab me.

It was all desk work, no action.

We all now know that Lee Child had itchy feet with this series. I wouldn't be surprised if this book was being drafted while he was deciding whether to hand over to Andrew Child or to finish it up.

Not up to the usual standard at all.

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Michellesibs
Annie Bot | Sierra Greer
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Annie is an AI Bot, a cuddle bunny. Custom made for Doug, the man who owns her.

Through Annie's eyes we see her life with Doug. She's programmed to please him, to satisfy him. Through Doug, Annie learns what it is to be human. She learns our traits, expressions, social norms and about control, lies and deceit.

This book has so much to say about women, relationships and AI.

A fantastic book club book, a vibrant discussion is guaranteed.

51 likes5 stack adds
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Michellesibs
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Pickpick

This is the story of Nuri and Afra who we initially meet in the UK as they await their asylum hearing. From there we go backwards, to Syria where war rages on.

I really liked how the author showcased PTSD throughout this story, its an aspect that doesn't get much attention but an important one in the refugee experience.

Another book shining a light and giving a perspective that we don't see reflected in current media.

lazydaizee I read this book a couple of years ago, I enjoyed it very much. 2mo
Michellesibs @lazydaizee Such an important read ❤️ 2mo
53 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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Michellesibs
Solito: A Memoir | Javier Zamora
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Pickpick

Javier was 9 when he migrated alone from El Salvador to the US and this is his story.

Going in I knew this was a memoir however I didn't expect it to feel like it was written by a 9 year old. I read a fair bit of Middle Grade but I'm not the biggest fan of non fiction for this age category however after a few chapters I was really invested in this.

If you have youngsters in your life this is a great resource on migration and displacement.

50 likes2 stack adds
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Michellesibs
Dead Famous | Ben Elton
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Pickpick

Introducing House Arrest, a reality show where the general public are locked in a house for a couple of months for a prize of half a million pounds (basically the same format as Big Brother).

Day 27 starts like any other until one of the housemates is murdered live on the Internet feed. Whose responsible? The house is full of cameras so this has to be an easy plot to solve. Right?

43 likes1 stack add
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Michellesibs
Nettle & Bone | T. Kingfisher
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What happens when the fairytale turns bad? When the Princess is a victim of domestic violence from her husband the Prince? What if you are Marra and have already lost one sister and your last remaining sibling is walking the very same path?

As you sit with Maara as she builds her bone dog, meets a grave witch, reunites with her fairy godmother and enters the goblin market, it's impossible to not get wrapped up in this fantasy land.

44 likes1 stack add
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Michellesibs
The Beauty of Your Face | Sahar Mustafah
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Pickpick

Set in the US, we immediately join our main character as she faces a gunman in a Islamic School of which she is the Principal.

From there we head to the very beginning. A Palestinian family arriving in the US with a young daughter.

Through our characters we see close up the various struggles that face displaced families in the West.

I liked the portrayal of how the displaced long for home and the mental health issues relating to that.

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Michellesibs
Make Me | Lee Child
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Pickpick

I love Jack and therefore I'm incredibly biased towards this series. Yes I know every book follows the same formula and yes they become somewhat predictable but I don't care. The writing, the characters, the plotlines are as familiar as comfy trainers and sometimes that's what we need in a book.

Content warning in this one for the Dark Web and suicide along with Jack's usual violence.

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Michellesibs
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Set in the early fifties we see Tehran through the eyes of two seventeen year olds on the cusp of starting a new chapter in their lives. They are thinking of universities, careers. All the while falling in love, while their country falls apart.

As always, where there is oil you will find us Brits muddying the waters for our own political gain. Another decade, another country, same old story.

Overall I enjoyed this.

45 likes2 stack adds
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Michellesibs
Evil Eye | Etaf Rum
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Mehso-so

We are following Yara & her mental health journey. She's the daughter of Palestinian parents. She's married to Fadi, has two daughters. She's an art teacher, a photographer and boy does she whine.

I'm here for all books looking at female mental health, generational trauma and cultural stereotypes but this book did nothing but double down on those stereotypes.

Yara is a textbook case of everything men say we are. She hurt my eyes to read about.

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Michellesibs
Notes on Grief | Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
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Pickpick

Adiche's father died during the covid lockdown.

This really is Notes on Grief. Each chapter is short. Sometimes it's a memory of her father, others a particular feeling in a moment of grief. It's snippets of seconds in time, conversations, meaningful looks, hindsight.

This is a grief companion. Adiche isn't here to guide you, or help you, it's purely her notes on her grief for her father and its beautiful.

44 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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Michellesibs
Part of Your World | Abby Jimenez
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I'm a hard sell on romance, if I know I'm guaranteed a happy ever after, you need to give me substance throughout to keep me interested and this book delivered.

I enjoyed the complicated parent / adult children dynamics, especially the mother / daughter relationship.

Also showcasing different forms of domestic abuse is a hit with me. Wonderful representation.

51 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Michellesibs
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Pickpick

From Kuwait, to Jordan, to Palestine, this is a story of displacement. Wrapped up in beautifully structured sentences, the smell of mint tea in the air, this book is harrowing.

I knew Iraq had invaded and occupied Kuwait for a time but I didn't know an awful lot about it and I didn't know the ramifications that's people faced after Kuwait was liberated. This book is a history lesson, wrapped up like a memoir, written in a narrative format.

danx Hadn‘t heard of this one, will have to seek out a copy! 3mo
Michellesibs @danx I hope you get as much out of it as I did 😊 3mo
44 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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Michellesibs
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Panpan

Having read Asking for it and Only Ever Yours, I know this author can do better than this.

A disappointment.

I don't think this book knows if it wants to be a podcast or netflix documentary and the characters definitely don't know who they are, they are as dazed as I was reading this book.

There's weird who experienced the worst domestic violence conversations, and the characters have loyal lines that have no foundation or make any sense.

dabbe #hailthebail! 🤩🤩🤩 3mo
38 likes1 comment
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Michellesibs
Parable of the Sower | Octavia E Butler
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Lauren lives in a gated community with her family, she feels other people's pleasure and pain. Lauren knows the world can only get darker.

Written in a diary format this is Earthseed, the Books of the Living.

My second book by the author and her writing is extremely accessible and her insights are very realistic. The world she creates here isn't that far fetched anymore.

Melismatic One of my absolute fave reads of all time. 💖 3mo
E.Bolhafner I loved this book. I haven‘t read it in a hot minute. Pretty sure I loaned my copy to my son and he is currently not reading 🥺 3mo
Michellesibs @Melismatic I can see why ❤️ 3mo
Michellesibs @E.Bolhafner tell him it's a good book for reading slumps! 3mo
48 likes1 stack add4 comments
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Michellesibs
The Swallows of Kabul | Yasmina Khadra
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I've read many books focusing and educating us (quite rightly) on the traumas, restrictions and hostilities towards females under the Taliban rule. But what if you are an educated man that wants to hear his wife's laughter? Would love to walk beside her on the streets? Wants to see her face under the glow of the sun?

Here we see two marriages trying to hold onto humanity in a place where pleasure is a sin.

This book packs a punch.

45 likes2 stack adds
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Michellesibs
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Pickpick

Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey were the two journalists who broke the story in the New York Times. Together they take us through the build up, the background work, the intensity of the conversations. The breaking of the story and the aftermath.

I felt like I got a real up close look at journalism, I felt the fear of the women who started to speak up, I felt the rage of Weinstein and the puffed out chests of his legal team and I felt angry.

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Michellesibs
By the Sea | Abdulrazak Gurnah
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Mehso-so

We have two main characters, Saleh and Latif. Both from Zanzibar, both living in the UK, both with complicated histories.

Everything we see, we see directly from our main characters minds, like a stream of consciousness in many ways. We only ever look backwards, in reminiscent.

This didn't grab me, it felt very drab and I understand that's the vibe the author is going for here. I wasn't particularly engaged, was fine.

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Michellesibs
The Housemaid | Freida McFadden
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Pickpick

This book has all the ingredients for a terrible novel.

1. The writing is basic.
2. There's plot holes.
3. One of the main characters thinks wearing glasses makes them unattractive.
4. There's fat shaming everywhere.
5. A short white dress was the culprit in our main character having sex.
6. This plot has been done a thousand times over. The unreliable, unstable female character is far from new.

Yet I couldn't put this damn book down.

ShelleyBooksie I love this review! 4mo
Michellesibs @ShelleyBooksie 🤣🤣🤣 Thank you! ❤️ 4mo
50 likes3 comments
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Michellesibs
Perfect | Cecelia Ahern
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Mehso-so

Following on from book one, we follow our main character, Celestine North in the battle to take down the Guild and Government after being branded Flawed.

The author says she wrote these books in six weeks and you can definitely tell that, you can also tell this is her first foray into the genre. The characters aren't as developed as her other novels and it's hard to get a grasp on who they really are.

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Michellesibs
Mad Honey | Jodi Picoult, Jennifer Finney Boylan
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Pickpick

Olivia is a beekeeper, a single parent. Lilly isn't far from finishing school, starting college. Olivia is telling her story forwards, Lilly tells hers backwards.

I was gripped by this, and the twist - I did not see that coming, it was a real whiplash moment for me.

Picoult's books can be info dumpy at times, but as someone that loves honey, I was here for all the bee knowledge and I shall certainly make sure I never eat mad honey.

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Michellesibs
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Pickpick

Originally from Iraq, Zeina has been living in the US since adolescence after her Father was tortured by the government and fled the country.

Decades later, Zeina returns to Iraq as a translator for the US Army.

This is a story of conflict. The conflict of countries. The conflict of blurred lines. The conflict within a family and the conflict within ourselves.

The war on Iraq is an uncomfortable one and this is an uncomfortable read.

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Michellesibs
Ship of Destiny | Robin Hobb
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Book three in the Liveship Trader trilogy and this book pulls everything together wonderfully.

The world and plot are too big for me successfully put into words but just know, this is an epic journey with traders, pirates, slaves, royalty and many other sections of society tackling many issues that we face today. It gives you such a lot to think about.

Deifio The series is wonderful! Really heart wrenching though! I read them twice. Are you going to read the other Farseer books? 5mo
Michellesibs @Deifio I've read the first trilogy (Farseer) and now Liveships so 2024 I shall move onto the next trilogy. Have you read them? 5mo
Deifio @Michellesibs yes, I read all of them. I like how the story is told over several trilogies. So you're up for the Tawny Man trilogy next 5mo
Michellesibs @Deifio Yep, and I'm looking forward to it! X 5mo
35 likes4 comments
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Michellesibs
Flawed: A Novel | Cecelia Ahern
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Pickpick

Celestine and her family are perfect, they follow the rules and stay far from those that have been branded flawed. They believe in the system, they believe in being perfect. Everything is black and white, everything is logical. Until its not.

Reading in the authors note that she wrote this in 6 weeks does not surprise me. The characters aren't as deep and fleshed out as the usual Ahern standard but overall I like what's she's doing here.

MissRob950 I enjoyed this too! 2mo
37 likes1 comment
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Michellesibs
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Pickpick

Book two in Robin Hobb's Liveship Trilogy.

The plots in her books are bigger than I can ever contemplate however the writing, the magic system, the world building are so assessable and the characters are so relatable.

Paragon remains my favourite character however there isn't a character I'm not invested in. Hobb batters her characters and that batters my heart, I'm here to witness their suffering along with their jubilation.

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Michellesibs
Minor Detail | Adania Shibli
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Based on true events, this is a fictional account of a woman who was sexually assaulted by isreali soldiers.

Split into two timelines, 1949 and the other more recent, we experience Palastine.

This book is heavy. The heat, the sand, the occupation, you can feel the intensity in each sentence. For such a short book, it's exhausting, but necessary.

Five stars. Do pick this one up folks.

39 likes2 stack adds
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Michellesibs
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Book 19.5 in the Jack Reacher series and this is probably going to be a favourite in the short story collection, mainly because we see some of Joe Reacher which is rare.

It's nice to see the brother together if only for a few pages.

Three stars.

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Michellesibs
Greenwood | Michael Christie
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Well this was a surprise.

Told backwards, and then forwards, this is a family saga where the bloodlines are more complicated than most.

Woven between the decades, the tress grow strong, a life force of their own.

When I read the blurb I really didn't think this would work, but it does beautifully.

As the people in a small village in Canada would say, it could have gone either way.

Four stars.

LiteraryHoarderPenny Loved this book. Interesting cover for your edition!! 4mo
Michellesibs @LiteraryHoarderPenny Yes, the UK kindle cover, really eye catching! 4mo
37 likes2 comments
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Michellesibs
American Psycho | Bret Easton Ellis
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Panpan

What a pile of nonsense.

If there's a point to this book, I missed it entirely.

This book has two tracks.

The first is listing the brand name of every single item of clothing the cast is wearing on any given day.

The second is graphic murder scenes that only a lunatic can come up with.

I was going to give this two stars but seeing as I'll probably never be able to eat brie again, I'm downgrading to one.

Alfoster Exactly! I actually threw this book away and I NEVER do that! Not for me! 6mo
Breanne1 Not ruining Brie for you!??!?! A crime in and of itself. 6mo
TrishB Hated this book too. 6mo
Balibee146 Also despised this.... Well - the 4 pages that I read 🤮🗑️ 6mo
Michellesibs @Alfoster @Breanne1 @TrishB @Balibee146 I'm glad I'm not alone in this, what a horrible book! 6mo
44 likes5 comments
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Michellesibs
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Pickpick

Wow, this certainly took some unexpected turns!

I haven't read a domestic thriller for ages and the ones I have read have felt disappointing after Gone Girl. In my opinion, He Said / She Said definitely holds its own in the genre.

The build up during the first three quarters of the book is slow but intense and then bang, that last quarter could cause whiplash.

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Michellesibs
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Panpan

Fat phobia. We don't need this in books being published in this decade. Every character comments on calories, being over weight, commenting on other people's weight. Gym culture, denying food. Its toxic. We don't need it.

I know this book is ultimately fluff but I've seen fluff do better.

If you are weight conscious, believe men have feelings or have lost someone to cancer, this probably isn't going to be for you.

Jari-chan Sounds awful 😑 6mo
Michellesibs @Jari-chan It really is a terrible book! 6mo
39 likes2 comments
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Michellesibs
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Pickpick

The writing style here is very dry and feels very academic. That said, the case studies and examples did hold my attention, probably because it felt more like a story.

I would listen to a podcast or a TED talk on this topic and I think that's where I head next.

I did takeaway a lot from it but at times it felt like a struggle and it took me a long time to get through because this isn't a format that engages me.

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Michellesibs
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It starts as an English assignment to write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain, he died young just like her sister.

From there Laurel writes to a host of dead celebrities from Amy Winehouse to Heath Ledger and its through these letters we learn about Laurels dysfunctional family, her sister May and the events that led to May's sudden death.

44 likes3 stack adds
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Michellesibs
My Name Is Leon | Kit de Waal
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This novel is narrated entirely by Leon. He's nine when we meet him and he's already had a few short stays in foster care.

Leon's life is unstable, always has been, but things really escalate when his baby brother Jake is born.

Leon's Dad is Black, Jake's Dad is white. Neither Father is present. Leon's mum will not get out of bed. There's race riots in the streets.

This is a story of big hearts in a broken society.

38 likes1 stack add
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Michellesibs
Supporting Cast | Kit de Waal
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Mehso-so

This is a collection of short stories featuring many characters which have appeared in Kit De Waal's full length novels.

I didn't realise this until now so while I enjoyed some of these short stories, I think I should have read at least one full lenght novel prior.

So now I shall read My Name is Leon to give some of these short stories context.

Three stars. As with all collections, some I enjoyed more than others.

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Michellesibs
The Boy Refugee | Khawaja Azimuddin, MD
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Just less than 60 pages this is Lemn Sissay's play adaptation of Benjamin Zephaniah's novel.

Refugee Boy tells the story of a family holding both Ethiopian and Eritrean nationalities and their refugee status in the UK.

I would love to see this on stage. While I know a bit about the war between the two countries (which i have to credit to the Asylum Speakers podcast), this play has given me a bit more insight and I need to know more.

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Michellesibs
Something Dark | Lemn Sissay
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I think this is the first play I've read.

Having read My Name is Why by the same author, I wanted to get further insight into how he found his parents. This little 40 page play did just that.

Having now read this, it reminds me that happy ever afters come in all shapes and sizes.

If you've read My Name is Why, I would say there is a benefit to picking this up.

Five stars.

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Michellesibs
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Mehso-so

According to the tag line, this is the most chilling and unpredictable thriller of 2016 - good choice for Halloween .
Wrong.
From the blurb I was also expecting a lot of social media elements (which I love in books!), but no, there's a few mentions but no real visuals of the socials.
Do I feel let down by this book? Yes, however I can push my expectations aside and admit, if you're looking for silly horror then this is pretty decent.

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Michellesibs
Nightcrawling: A novel | Leila Mottley
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Mehso-so

From reading the blurb I thought I was going into a fast paced page turner with an explosive plot line and unforgettable characters.

But nope, no explosions here.

Inspired by real events, this is the story of a Black teenage girl sexual assaulted by police officers.

This book clearly wants to tackle some big issues, but for me the author didn't do that.

Great idea but an emotionless execution.

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Michellesibs
My Name Is Why | Lemn Sissay
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Featuring many of the documents from social services in their original form along with Lemn's narrative of how each event translated into his childhood mind, we enter a world where a Black baby boy was put in the care of a white couple.

It's a troubling read. Lemn did not know where he came from, he did not know the name on his birth certificate. His birth mother was portrayed negatively, His developing years were unstable and unpredictable.

TrishB This was a sad read 🥲 so glad he turned his life around to where he is now! 7mo
Michellesibs @TrishB Yes! Now I want more! I need to know what happened where the book ends to present day! 7mo
39 likes2 comments
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Michellesibs
The Heart and the Bottle | Oliver Jeffers
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I was recently in a bookshop and I asked the owners for book recommendations on Grief. Turns out they are also on first name terms with Grief having lost their child.

They said to me, if there's one book we think everyone should read, it would be this one.

There's a lot of stigma around adults reading children's books but I don't subscribe to any of that nonsense.

I'm so glad this book exists for children and adults alike.

43 likes1 stack add
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Michellesibs
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Pickpick

We meet Annie in the last weeks of her life. She hasn't had it easy, losing her sister in her twenties, spending decades in an abusive marriage, then the diagnosis with a expiry date.
When we meet Henrietta, she's started a new job with the Life Stories Project. She has a handbook which will guide her through the process of writing the memoirs of those facing their last weeks.
This is a slow paced mystery which is strangely compelling

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Michellesibs
Because of You | Dawn French
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Panpan

There was too many plot holes in this for me to really enjoy it. The timeline didn't make sense, the crime was too glossed over to ever feel real and the conclusion was eye rolling.

I also have an issue with people crying 'soft tears', what does this even mean?

I'm not sure if this was meant to come across as humorous or maybe its satire, French is a comedian as all, but either way it didn't work for me.

squirrelbrain I didn‘t ‘get‘ this one either when I read it - the crime seemed all too ‘acceptable‘ to me. 7mo
Michellesibs @squirrelbrain It's a very bizarre book, glad to not be the only one who felt this way about this book! 7mo
35 likes2 comments
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Michellesibs
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I love the way Robin Hobb writes, her sentences are cozy which is something considering how brutal her plots are.

There's a lot being said here about women. How society and tradition tie our hands both in the present day and in our futures.

Loved the liveships, how they come to be, how they operate, how they are sustained. Paragon is a great liveship and I'm incredibly interested in where his story line is going.

Ruthiella Robin Hobb is amazing. I just finished the second in the Tawny Man trilogy. 👍 7mo
Michellesibs @Ruthiella I'm looking forward to getting to that trilogy! 7mo
36 likes2 comments