Book Review: The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

All of my reviews are always SPOILER FREE 🙂

The Wonder

 

Title: The Wonder

Author: Emma Donoghue

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Psychological Thriller, Ireland

Publisher: HarperCollins

Date published: September 2016

Page Count: 291

My Rating: 4/5 stars

 

 

 

synopsis

“An eleven-year-old girl stops eating, but remains miraculously alive and well. A nurse, sent to investigate whether she is a fraud, meets a journalist hungry for a story.

Set in the Irish Midlands in the 1850s, The Wonder—inspired by numerous European and North American cases of “fasting girls” between the sixteenth century and the twentieth—is a psychological thriller about a child’s murder threatening to happen in slow motion before our eyes. Pitting all the seductions of fundamentalism against sense and love, it is a searing examination of what nourishes us, body and soul.” (Goodreads)

 

My Review

The Wonder is told from the perspective of Lib Wright, an almost thirty year old woman widowed after just one year of marriage. She’s a nurse trained by Florence Nightingale (a real person, founder of modern nursing). Lib is an English woman, not impressed by the conditions of the rural Irish town where Anna O’Donnell lives. The O’Donnell family claim that Anna hasn’t eaten for four months. Lib and another nurse, Sister Michael, have been recruited to watch over Anna twenty-four hours a day to ensure the validity of Anna’s fast. Lib and Sister Michael are working for a seemingly unintelligent doctor named Dr. McBrearty. Anna claims she doesn’t need food because she lives on “manna from heaven”.

In University I completed a few courses about Irish history and culture and quite enjoyed the Irish dialect and cultural references in this story. My favourite character is Lib’s romantic interest, William Byrne, a journalist correspondent for many English papers. The Wonder made me laugh, cry, and feel an insane amount of anger, particularly towards Anna’s family (wish I could slap her mother in the face).

Lib’s annotations of Anna’s daily vital signs were an extremely effective technique to help increase the reader’s concern for Anna and was an important piece of this psychological thriller. The plot starts with a slow heartbeat, but by the end my heart was pounding along with Anna’s.

The lengthy chapters create a slow pace for a thriller. I felt quite annoyed by the main character Lib. She’s irritated by just about everything and everyone, and I didn’t feel like she changed much throughout the story.

The Wonder is a thought-provoking, atmospheric, emotional Irish historical mystery. This is a quick, easy read that will leave you feeling satisfactorily disturbed.

About the author.jpg

Emma is the youngest of eight children of Frances and Denis Donoghue. She attended Catholic convent schools in Dublin, apart from one year in New York at the age of ten. In 1990 she earned a first-class honours BA in English and French from University College Dublin, and in 1997 a PhD (on the concept of friendship between men and women in eighteenth-century English fiction) from the University of Cambridge. Since the age of 23, Donoghue has earned her living as a full-time writer. After years of commuting between England, Ireland, and Canada, in 1998 she settled in London, Ontario, where she lives with her partner and their son and daughter. (Goodreads)

Advertisements

Unpopular Books I Love

Here are books with less than 10,000 ratings on Goodreads that I quite enjoyed. Have you read any?

Together at Midnight

 

 

My review: Together At Midnight ~ Spoiler-Free Book Review 🗽 💕 🎄 🎆

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dress Codes for Small Towns

 

 

My review: Best Book I’ve read this year! Dress Codes For Small Towns by Courtney Stevens ] Spoiler-Free #BookReview

 

 

 

 

 

 

momswhodrinkandswear

 

My review: Book Review: Moms Who Drink and Swear: True Tales of Loving my Kids While Losing My Mind

 

 

 

 

lonely hearts hotel

 

 

My review: Whimsical Novel from Canadian Author: The Lonely Hearts Hotel – Review #spoilerfree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the little giant of aberdeen county

 

 

My Review: On Goodreads

 

 

Book Review for Upcoming Mystery/Thriller “A Guide for Murdered Children” by Sarah Sparrow

All of my reviews are always SPOILER FREE.

I received an advanced copy in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion. Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley, for allowing me to review.

 

Title: A Guide for Murdered Children

Author: Sarah Sparrow

Genre: Adult Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Publisher: Blue Rider Press

Expected Publication: March 20, 2018

Page Count: 400 pages

 

 

synopsis

We all say there is no justice in this world. But what if there really was? What if the souls of murdered children were able to return briefly to this world, inhabit adult bodies and wreak ultimate revenge on the monsters who had killed them, stolen their lives?

Such is the unfathomable mystery confronting ex-NYPD detective Willow Wylde, fresh out of rehab and finally able to find a job running a Cold Case squad in suburban Detroit. When the two rookie cops assigned to him take an obsessive interest in a decades old disappearance of a brother and sister, Willow begins to suspect something out of the ordinary is afoot. And when he uncovers a series of church basement AA-type meetings made up of the slain innocents, a new way of looking at life, death, murder and missed opportunities is revealed to him.

Mystical, harrowing and ultimately tremendously moving, A Guide for Murdered Children is a genre-busting, mind-bending twist on the fine line between the ordinary and the extraordinary.” (Goodreads)

 

My Review

A Guide for Murdered Children is separated into three books: “Closely Watched Trains”, “The Spirit Room”, and “Local and Express”. While reading the first 25% of this book the first time around I was terribly confused. I honestly had no idea what in the world was happening. The story flipped from past to present and it was challenging to keep everything straight. I almost decided to stop reading it, instead I flipped to the beginning to try again. I’m SO GLAD that I did, because I understood it much better the second time around.

Detective Willow “Dubya” Wylde is presently at a rehab in Arizona. He’s made some really bad choices in life, ruining his career and family. It’s time to make amends and restore balance. The story flips to the past where we meet brother and sister, Troy and Maya on the day they were murdered in Saggerty Falls, Michigan. Back to the present we meet Deputy Lydia Molloy as she falls to her death at the Macomb Orchard Trail and Deputy Daniel Doheny, who dies from a heart attack. In the present eleven year old Winston is also murdered around the same time that Renée “Honeychile” Devonshire dies from an asthma attack. The murdered children’s spirits enter the body of those who have recently died (usually adults except for Honeychile) in order to achieve their moment of balance by killing the person who took their life.  As the murdered children’s spirits enter their “landlords”, the “landlord” body comes back to life – so the people who know the “landlords” don’t realize they have died. I hope that made sense. I’ll wait while you go back and re-read that part…Okay, you following me?

Annie, the Porter, greets the new arrivals on the train, giving them the address for the meeting.  There are also Subalterns on the train, who are ancient, shadowy beings. Annie, The Porter, knows her replacement is coming soon but doesn’t know who it is yet.  At the meeting the murdered children are given the Guidebook of rules they must follow.

Detective Willow has a recurring dream of being on a train. In the dream the Porter gives him an address. When he wakes up he decides to go to the address, discovering it’s the new house of his ex-wife and her new husband Owen, who is Willow’s old cop partner. He makes up a story that he’s there to make amends with both of them, and Owen asks Willow to join his new Cold Case team. In Book Two and Three there are a lot of twists and turns, it kept me turning the pages wondering what in the world was going to happen next.

A Guide for Murdered Children is an extremely out-of-the-box concept of balance and forgiveness. It’s a little far-fetched for a Mystery/Thriller, you’ll have to put aside your questions and just let it be revealed to you.

The main character, Willow, is seriously annoying. I don’t think he experiences enough of a transition to make me like him in the end. If you like unlikable characters he might be right up your alley.  Although I did not enjoy Willow’s character, I enjoyed Annie, and Willow’s ex-wife. I would have loved more information about the Subalterns.

The book is too long and can benefit by an editor not afraid to trim the unnecessary bits.  If you can get past the first 25%, and let your mind wander outside of reality, then I think you’ll enjoy this thriller.

 

About the author.jpg

From what I could figure out A Guide for Murdered Children is written with a pen name, Sarah Sparrow. I attempted some digging around online, but wasn’t able to figure out the real name of the author.

Bookish Love Tag

I completely forgot to post a Book Tag for Tag Tuesday. I’m home today catching up on cleaning and stuff, so here’s my tag for Valentine’s Day ♥ Hope your love day was filled with smiles.

⋯ QUESTIONS ⋯
1. 3 book boyfriends/girlfriends
2. 3 OTPs
3. Favorite first kiss
4. What couple had the greatest sexual tension?
On Valentine’s day, which couple would…
5. …go to a fancy restaurant
6. …have a quiet picnic/walk on the beach
7. …stay at home and watch Netflix
8. …go dancing!
9. What couple do you want to get together?
10. What couple do you HATE that everyone else LOVES?

Creator -> Novel Noise  → https://youtu.be/dtvq1LuMvb0

1. 3 book boyfriends/girlfriends

James Fraser ♥ What a man. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

August Flynn ♥ This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

Aragorn ♥ LOTR by J.R.R. Tolkien

2. 3 OTPs (One True Pairing)

Cinder + Prince Kai The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Rose + Pierrot The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill

Kendall + Max Together at Midnight by Jennifer Castle

3. Favorite first kiss

Ron + Hermione (in the book, actor chemistry didn’t work for this in the movie)

4. What couple had the greatest sexual tension?

Claire + James Outlander (ooooo, soooo goooood)

On Valentine’s day, which couple would…
5. …go to a fancy restaurant

Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza, Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

On Valentine’s day, which couple would…
6. …have a quiet picnic/walk on the beach

Scarlet + Wolf, The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

On Valentine’s day, which couple would…
7. …stay at home and watch Netflix

Hazel + Augustus, The Fault in our Stars by John Green

On Valentine’s day, which couple would…
8. …go dancing!

Cora Seaborne and Will Ransome, The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

9. What couple do you want to get together?

Ronan and Adam, The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater (I haven’t read the whole series yet)

10. What couple do you HATE that everyone else LOVES?

Four and Tris, Divergent by Veronica Roth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King

I’m finally getting around to writing a book review for The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King. As always, this review is spoiler-free.

the bazaar of bad dreams

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King

Mass Market Paperback: 686 pages

Published 2016 by Pocket Books

synopsis

“Since Night Shift was published more than thirty-five years ago, Stephen King has dazzled an entire generation of readers with his genius as a prominent writer of short fiction. Now, in his latest collection, he once again assembles a generous array of unforgettable, tantalizing tales. There are thrilling connections between these works – themes of morality, the afterlife, guilt, and what we would do differently if we could see into the future or correct the mistakes of the past. Magnificent, eerie, and utterly compelling, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams is one of Stephen King’s finest gifts to readers everywhere – a master storyteller at his very best.” (Book Back Blurb)

Includes the new story “Cookie Jar”

Stephen King delivers an “outstanding” (USA TODAY) collection of stories, featuring revelatory autobiographical comments on when, why, and how he came to write (or rewrite) each story.” (Goodreads)

My Review

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, vivid stories that will haunt your dreams. King’s imagination is limitless. The first story, “Mile 81” is about a monster car that kills people. My favourite stories are “The Dune”, a “magical place where an invisible Moving Finger would write terrible things in the sand”, “Morality”, a story to make you wonder about how much money would someone have to pay you to commit a horrible sin, “Ur”, a story that Amazon asked King to write about the Kindle (this one has references to The Dark Tower series), “Under the weather”, an extremely disturbing love story, and “Obits”, a tale which I won’t give any info because it will give it away. Just read it.

Some reviewers have said that the stories weren’t scary, but for me, the frightening part is that aspects of each story reflect a version of events that COULD happen “in real life”. King doesn’t write simple heart-pounding typical creepy stories, he gives me that “goosebumpy” feeling of “Wow, I know this character is an ass for doing this, but I might do the same, (or know of someone who would do the same).

I think my fellow “Constant Readers” will quite enjoy these stories, but I’m not sure how someone who’s never read King’s work would enjoy The Bazaar of Bad Dreams. Have you read it? What did you think? What were your favourite stories?

Until next time…

Blog Signature

 

Riverdale Book Tag

Check out the Riverdale Book Tag Creator: https://youtu.be/lavII4Kzlnc

Here are all of the question:

1. Archie – A book with great side characters

2. Jughead – A character from a broken home

3. Veronica – A character who very easily could have been one dimensional

4. Betty – A great sibling relationship

5. Cheryl – A character who acts tough, but is secretly an emotional wreck

6. Josie And The Pussycats – A strong marginalized female who is more than just their stereotype

7. Polly – A character who gets locked up (can be physically, emotionally, mentally etc)

8. Kevin – A character who is lgbtqia+

9. Jason – A characters death that broke your heart OR a character death that made you cheer ‘finally!’

10. Riverdale – A world building win

11. Wild Card – I choose Pop’s Diner – A book featuring food 🙂

1. Archie – A book with great side characters…The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

The lunar chronicles

2. Jughead – A character from a broken home…The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi

the stonekeeper

3. Veronica – A character who very easily could have been one dimensional…The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker

the little giant of aberdeen county

4. Betty – A great sibling relationship…Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Wonder

5. Cheryl – A character who acts tough, but is secretly an emotional wreck…Things to do when it’s Raining by Marissa Stapley

things to do when it's raining

6. Josie And The Pussycats – A strong marginalized female who is more than just their stereotype…Dress Codes for Small Towns by Courtney Stevens

Dress Codes for Small Towns

7. Polly – A character who gets locked up …The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

The Last Unicorn (2008)

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

8. Kevin – A character who is lgbtqia+…Take me With You by Andrea Gibson

Take me with you

9. Jason – A characters death that broke your heart …The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

The Essex Serpent

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

10. Riverdale – A world building win…The Dark Tower series by Stephen King

11. Pop’s Diner – A book featuring food…Remnant Population by Elizabeth Moon

Remnant Population May 1996

Remnant Population, May 1996 Hardcover Edition (Goodreads photo)

 

If you do this tag, please link it in the comments 🙂

Blog Signature