Reading

Vanishing Acts – Jodi Picoult | A Book Review

Vanishing Acts - Jodi Picoult

Title: Vanishing Acts

Author: Jodi Picoult

Genre: Contemporary

About the book: It’s a standalone about Delia Hopkins who was raised by her father, Andrew. She now has a young daughter in Sophie and a fiancé in Eric. As her wedding nears, Delia begins having flashbacks of events she doesn’t recall happening to her. Soon after, a police officer knocks on her door and reveals a shocking family secret.

First impressions: I’m a fan of Picoult, so I was looking forward to reading this novel. There’s a short prologue, and the beginning introduces readers to many of the key characters.

Characters: The story follows Delia, Andrew, Eric, and Fitz. They develop a great deal throughout the book. Even the secondary characters are well fleshed out, making the plot easy to follow.

Quote:

“Maybe knowing where you belong is not equal to knowing who you are.”

Writing: Told in alternating points of view, the book is a little less than 500 pages. I enjoyed that it was broken into several sections and chapters with short scenes. I liked how the author explores interesting issues such as motherhood along with alcoholism from different perspectives. There are some graphic and violent parts in Andrew’s chapters.

Final thoughts: The ending was my favourite part with twists and turns I didn’t quite see coming. If you want to read about family as well as memory, I recommend Vanishing Acts.


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Reading

Change of Heart – Jodi Picoult | A Book Review

Change of Heart - Jodi Picoult

Title: Change of Heart

Author: Jodi Picoult

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

About the book: The standalone novel alternates between the perspectives of four characters: June, Michael, Lucifus, and Maggie.

First impressions: I’ve read Picoult’s work in the past, so I was excited to read Change of Heart. At first, I didn’t know what to make of the four different storylines. I hadn’t expected so many. It took me some time to settle into the story and get to know the characters. But once I did, I quite enjoyed the journey.

Summary: Shay Bourne’s a death row inmate who wants to donate his heart to Claire Nealon, June’s daughter. However, he’s also convicted of murdering June’s husband and her other daughter. June has to decide whether to let Shay give his heart to Claire. Maggie becomes his lawyer, Michael his spiritual advisor.

Characters: They all have their own unique voice. I liked the unique dilemmas of each character.

Quote:

“You do not learn to like something you abhor; you come to live with it.”

Conflict: There’s a lot going on with the plot. Yet the author does a fine job simplifying complicated issues enough to make them understandable for the layperson.

Writing: I’m fond of the style. Picoult describes what’s going on well enough for me to picture each scene in my head. I didn’t mind the dialogue either. The characters have conversations about real, relevant issues.

I’m not religious, so I don’t know much about religion. But I think it’s a tough topic to write about. The author isn’t condescending or preaching. If anything, through the conversations in the book, Picoult may even encourage discourse in real life.

Final thoughts: I liked Change of Heart. I’d recommend it if you enjoy contemporary reads about contemporary issues.


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Reading

Plan Your Perfect Author Panel

Not long ago, I watched an author panel about genre blending. It got me thinking how awesome it’d be if I could gather all my favourite authors in the same room and listen to them talk about writing.

Here’s how I imagine my perfect panel:

Who would be there?

Pierce Brown, Stephen King, Sarah J. Maas, and Jodi Picoult. They’re my favourite storytellers as of right now.

Why these authors in particular?

In general, I love all of their work.

I enjoyed Brown’s Red Rising series, even though it shattered my already broken heart. So now I’m eagerly awaiting Iron Gold. In fact, IG is the first book I ever preordered. Also, Brown was in the genre blending panel, and his comments were spot on. The video is on YouTube for anyone interested.

King is king. I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. This won’t be the last time, my friends. For some reason, I have this irrational fear I won’t like one of his novels. He still continues to surpass any and all expectations of mine. Carrie has a special place in my heart. The film adaption was not as good as the book but it wasn’t bad either.

I didn’t think I would like Throne of Glass by Maas as much as I did. The hype surrounding the books almost made me pass on it. I’m glad I didn’t.

Fortunately, I found and fell in love with House Rules. Then I proceeded to read all the Picoult novels I could get my hands on. Nineteen Minutes and The Pact stand out in my memory still to this day.

What will the panel be about?

To start, I’d want them to talk about their writing journey.

I even have questions prepared. When did you start writing? What made you become a writer? Why do you write? What’s a typical day in your life like? Where do you work? How do you write? What’s the easiest thing about your job? What is the hardest?

I’m a curious writer myself, so I like listening to other writers share their life stories.

Of course, if I could only ask one question, I’d have them answer this: what’s one piece of advice you’d give to aspiring writers?

Where would the panel take place? 

I wish more book events and conferences were held in the wonderful country of Canada. As much as I love the United States and hope to visit the United Kingdom one day, I can’t book a plane ticket without losing an arm or a leg. Probably both.

So, for obvious reasons, I’d want the panel to be held at a location near me. That way I could actually attend and keep all my limbs. In my dreams, I want to go to a Canadian book conference. Preferably downtown Toronto in a large building with awesome views of the skyline. Bonus points if it’s close to a hotel for those flying in from other countries with their two arms and legs.

When would the panel take place?

A weekend in the summer would be ideal. Or during autumn when the temperature is cool but not chilly. Then again, the panel will be inside an air conditioned room. But I’m all for having fun events take place outdoors. Beggars can’t be choosers, but planners can be picky, right?

Who should moderate?

I’m not sure. Perhaps another writer. Maybe an agent or an editor. I don’t have anyone specific in mind.

I want to hear all about your dream author panel. Let me know in a comment down below or create your own blog post and get carried away like me. I won’t judge.

Thanks to Eventbrite for inspiring this post. They are a self-service ticketing platform that helps people find and plan events like book conferences or author panels.

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Reading

Completing The 30 Books Challenge

1. A book you love:

Morning Star by Pierce Brown

I love this book with all my heart. And I’m trying to make other people love it too.

2. A book you can’t forget:

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

My grade five teacher recommended it to me. Bless her for doing so.

3. A book that motivated you:

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

King makes me want to be a better writer.

4. A book that made you think about life:

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

It’s thought-provoking.

5. A book with a colour in its title:

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

I adore Brown and his brain.

6. A book with a number in its title:

Zone One by Colson Whitehead

I had to read it for school, but I liked the modernized zombie tale.

7. A book everyone needs to read:

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Timeless classic. What more can I say?

8. A book that was recommended to you:

All the Rage by Courtney Summers

A good friend of mine made me pick this one up.

9. A book you didn’t expect to like as much as you did:

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Because of the hype surrounding Maas and her work, I thought I wasn’t going to like her novels. But I enjoyed ToG so very much.

10. A book that made you cry:

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

It didn’t directly make me cry, but I was holding the book while I cried. Does that count?

11. A book that reminds you of your childhood:

The Giver by Lois Lowry

I was a naïve child.

12. A book you have reread or would reread:

Thirst No. 4 by Christopher Pike

I reread the fourth book prior to reading the fifth in order to jog my memory. The second read through was just as good, if not even better than the first.

13. A book that was turned into a movie:

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

I read the book before I watched the movie. If you know me at all, you know I’m firmly in the camp that the book was obviously better.

14. A book you wish was turned into a movie or TV show:

The Escape by David Baldacci

This needs to be made into a movie.

15. A book you couldn’t put down:

Endgame: The Calling by James Frey

Action-packed fun.

16. A book that kept you up at night:

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

I remember finishing the novel late at night and being blown away by the ending.

17. A book you travelled with:

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

I carried the novel in my bag with a water bottle I didn’t close properly. Safe to say water and paper don’t mix unless you’re painting with watercolours.

18. A book you wanted to toss across the room:

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Because of how it ends.

19. A book you received as a gift:

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

From my one and only older brother. Thanks.

20. A book you gave or would give as a gift:

The Elements of Style by E. B. White and William Strunk Jr.

I would give it as a gift, especially to someone who likes writing.

21. A book you think is underrated:

Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris

I don’t see or hear many people talk about Norris and her books.

22. A book that lived up to its hype:

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

I didn’t think it would, but it did.

23. A book that broke your heart:

House Rules by Jodi Picoult

It was my first Picoult novel. I’m happy to say it was not the last. I really felt for the characters in this one.

24. A book that restored your faith in humanity:

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Young, awesome characters tend to restore my faith.

25. A book with a pretty cover:

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

It’s my aesthetic.

26. A book that reminds you of summer:

Atonement by Ian McEwan

The novel takes place in the summer.

27. A book that brings back good memories:

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

Technically it’s a play I performed with some of my best friends in high school.

28. A book that makes you happy:

Nevermore by James Patterson

I enjoyed the entire series.

29. A book you will never get tired of talking about:

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

I could go on and on about this gem.

30. A book you wish you wrote:

Carrie by Stephen King

If I had to be honest, I wish I wrote every novel King wrote. Carrie is no exception.


This post contains many affiliate links to Amazon. If you buy through them, I earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

Reading

Authors I Want To Meet

I want to meet almost every author but the ones below especially.

Pierce Brown

I would love to pick his brain over lunch or brunch. But I’ll settle for reading his books.

Jodi Picoult

Love her characters. Love her stories. She never ceases to amaze me. I don’t think I’ve ever correctly predicted the endings to any of her books.

Stephen King

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: King is King. He always will be.

Who do you want to meet?

Reading

“Which Author” Questions

Kid you not I couldn’t think of a decent title for the longest time. I’m still not entirely pleased with it. As the post goes on, you’ll be less confused as to what’s going on. I think.

Pretty much I’ll answer the questions with an author, living or dead.

Which author would you want to have lunch with?

Jodi Picoult. I want to take a page out of her book. Er, books.

Which author would you choose to write you as a character?

David Baldacci. Sign me up.

Which author would you want to read another book from?

Steig Larsson. A first draft will do just fine actually.

Which author would you like to be friends with?

Margaret Atwood. I feel like we’d get along quite well.

Which author would you like to collab with?

James Dashner. Let me pick his brain and I will rest in peace.

Which author would you say got you into reading or even writing?

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. Margaret Peterson Haddix. Many more actually. I’m aware I named more than one author, but this is my post so I can break the non-existent rules.

Reading

Books That Have Changed Your Life

Obviously I don’t know which books have changed your life, but I know mine. It’s about time I start doing more book related posts and I might as well reflect on my life while I’m at it. Besides I am who I am today largely because of books.

By no means is this an exhaustive list or else we’d be here forever. Also why would anyone want to be on my blog for that long?

This intro sounded much better in my head.

Below are a few of many books that have changed my life…for the better, of course.

The Maze Runner (series) by James Dashner

Diversity and representation. Enough said. Dashner did a WICKED job with everything else as well if you know what I mean.

The Maze Runner (series)-James Dashner

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

It was a recommendation from a teacher. I think I was in grade five. Ten-year-old me loved it. I’d love to reread it in my retirement. The book did something to me. I can’t explain it. Sorry not sorry.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

I had to read this for school, but that didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the book whatsoever. Another story I would reread. I’m starting to think most of the books on this list are in my reread list. I didn’t realize I even had a list until now. Thanks goes to my subconscious mind.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

The. Ending. Though.

Carrie by Stephen King

King is in a category of his own. So is Carrie.

House Rules/Nineteen Minutes/The Pact by Jodi Picoult

All her books are incredible and worth reading, but these ones, in particular, hit me the hardest. They’ll continue to stay with me.The Pact-Jodi Picoult

Don’t lie to me. I know books have changed your life as well.

Reading

We Can’t Be Friends If…

We can’t be friends if…

  • you dog-ear the pages in a book.
  • you refuse to read something outside of your comfort zone.
  • you hate Stephen King, James Patterson, or Jodi Picoult.
  • you rather watch a movie than read the book.
  • you write in the margins of novels.
  • you don’t use a dictionary or a thesaurus frequently.
  • you treat books worse than you treat your friends.
  • you think libraries and bookstores are boring places.

There is a chance you can be my friend if you…

  • take care of books,
  • read a bit of everything,
  • appreciate authors,
  • prefer books over movies,
  • avoid ruining books,
  • look up words,
  • love books more than people,
  • enjoy surrounding yourself with books.