Talking About ‘The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes’ with Bibliobeth

The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes Cover

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Beth!

Synopsis:

Here is a truth that can’t be escaped: for Mia ‘Rabbit’ Hayes, life is coming to an end …Rabbit Hayes loves her life, ordinary as it is, and the extraordinary people in it. She loves her spirited daughter, Juliet; her colourful, unruly family; the only man in her big heart, Johnny Faye. But it turns out the world has other plans for Rabbit, and she’s OK with that. Because she has plans for the world too, and only a handful of days left to make them happen. Here is a truth that won’t be forgotten: this is a story about laughing through life’s surprises and finding the joy in every moment.

CHRISSI: The novel is all about family – discuss the relationships between family members and with Rabbit.
BETH: Rabbit appears to be at the core of the whole family unit and so when she is diagnosed with cancer and especially when the cancer comes back and she is told it is terminal, the family looks like it might fall apart. She is very close to both her father and mother – I especially loved Molly, a very strong, funny and independent Irish character who is trying not to let the rest of the family know that she is breaking inside and is attempting to be there for not only the rest of her family but for her dying daughter – a huge feat. Rabbit has also had periods during her life where she has been closer and more distant from her brother and sister, Davey and Grace but at the time of her illness, she finds the old closeness once again and the entire family becomes a force to be reckoned with.
BETH: Who was your favourite character in the novel and why?
CHRISSI: Ooh, Beth that’s a tricky question! There are so many characters in this story. I really enjoyed reading about many of them. I think one of my favourites has to be Davey though. His love for his niece was adorable. I loved that he was willing to change his lifestyle in order to care for his niece. Aw. <3
CHRISSI: What do you make of the blog posts used throughout? Would you have liked to have seen more of them?
BETH: I was actually a bit surprised that more wasn’t made of the blog posts, there seemed to be very few of them. In them, Rabbit talks about the time when she was first diagnosed with cancer and the way she feels when the cancer returns. We do hear a little about her feelings at the present time when she is moved into the hospice but other chapters when written from her point of view focused mainly on the past and the love of her life, Johnny as she evaluates her life so far. I would have loved to see more blog posts but I think I understand why the author didn’t expand these – there was already so much going on in the novel and a number of different characters who all needed to be explored.
BETH: Juliet is with her mother until the end, and helps care for her when she is sick. What effect do you think being with a parent at such a harrowing time can have? Was it better for Juliet to be with Rabbit at the end?
CHRISSI: I really felt for Juliet. I think it must be so tough for children to go through caring for a sick relative. I imagine it’s hard enough for an adult, but when you think about young carers and the emotional turmoil they have to go through…it breaks my heart. At the same time though, I think for Juliet’s peace of mind she had to do everything she could for her mum and spend the time she did have with her.
CHRISSI: Talk about the ending of the novel – how did it make you feel?
BETH: From the beginning of the novel we know that Rabbit Hayes has terminal cancer in a number of different places in her body including her bones so the ending was never going to be a walk in the park. I was one hundred percent convinced I would leave the novel feeling incredibly depressed. What I was surprised about was how uplifted I also felt. The author uses humour very well to make the best job of a bad situation and I think it worked beautifully with this particular story. By the end, we don’t feel that Rabbit is leaving her family forever, she’s just going on a different journey and will see them at some point later on.
BETH: Molly puts her foot in it many times, but always makes Rabbit laugh. Is laughter the best medicine?
CHRISSI: I think it can be. Of course, it doesn’t always cure everything, but having a good laugh can make you feel better. I also think that this book needed some humour within it, otherwise it would have been incredibly depressing. It’s not an easy subject to tackle or read about, but Anna McPartlin cleverly weaved in the humour amonst the sadness.
CHRISSI: How does this book compare to others in its genre?
BETH: There are a lot of novels similar to this out in the world and I think it sits very comfortably in its own genre, even surpassing some. The author creates such wonderful characters in a family everyone would love to be a part of and I think the combination of such authentic people you can really believe in, humour and misery and a take-home message of love and support for your nearest and dearest makes this novel a joy to read and one I will remember for a while.
BETH: Would you read another book by this author?
CHRISSI: Yes. Much like you mention in the question above, I think the author has surpassed others in the genre. I found her writing incredibly easy to read.
Would we recommend it?:
BETH: But of course!
CHRISSI: Of course! 4.5 stars

Top Ten Books You Would Classify As ALL TIME FAVOURITE BOOKS

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely The Broke and The Bookish. Each week they come up with a list for us to complete. This week the topic are the ten books that we’d class as our all time favourite books within the last 3-5 years. This could be tricky…

In no particular order (with book images leading to Goodreads) here are the books that I picked!

Magic Under Glass (Magic Under, #1) The Sky is Everywhere

Magic Under Glass- Jackie Dolamore- I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this cute little book! I keep intending to pick up the next book in the series!

The Sky Is Everywhere- Jandy Nelson- A beautifully touching book.

The Ice Cream Girls Undone

The Ice Cream Girls- Dorothy Koomson- I devour everything that Dorothy Koomson writes. This was a particular favourite of mine.

Undone- Cat Clarke- I was blown away by the ending.

Dangerous Girls Gone Girl

Dangerous Girls- Abigail Haas- I thought this book was amazing. Totally messed with my mind!

Gone Girl- Gillian Flynn- I know Gone Girl has its critics but I thought it was a great book with probably one of the characters I hate the most in literature!

A Monster Calls Something Real

A Monster Calls- Patrick Ness- A simply beautiful, poignant book which really touched me.

Something Real- Heather Demetrios- I loved this book. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

Me Before You Golden Boy

Me Before You- Jojo Moyes- When I first thought about this list I was hoping that this book wasn’t more than 5 years old so I could include it. Regular readers of my blog will know how much I adore this book. It’s not what I expected. I didn’t expect it to still have such an impact on me years later, but it really does.

Golden Boy- Abigail Tarttelin- This book crept up on me as well, but I’m glad I was encouraged to read it. Amazing!

What are your all time favourites from the last 3-5 years? Feel free to leave a link to your post and I’ll stop by! :-)

How To Fly With Broken Wings

How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Hatchette Children’s Books!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
A Room Full of Chocolate

Synopsis:

Twelve-year-old Willem has Aspergers Syndrome and two main aims in life: to fly and to make at least two friends of his own age. But all the other boys from the Beckham Estate do is make him jump off things. First his desk – and now the wall. As his toes teeter on the edge, Sasha Barton gives him a tiny little wink. Might she become his friend?

Bullied by Finn and his gang the Beckham Estate Boyz, Willem has no choice but to jump. As he flies through the air he flaps his arms, wishing he could fly and escape into the clouds. Instead he comes crashing down and breaks his ankle.

Sasha, angry with herself for not stopping Finn and his Boyz, is determined to put things right. And soon, while the gangs riot on their estate, Willem and Sasha form an unlikely friendship. Because they share a secret. Sasha longs to fly too.

And when Magic Man Archie arrives with stories of war-flying spitfires, he will change the lives of the kids on the Beckham Estate for ever. And perhaps find a way for Willem and Sasha to fly.

Thoughts:

I lapped up Jane Elson’s debut novel A Room Full of Chocolate, so when I knew there was going to be another book released by her, I knew I had to read it. I went into How To Fly With Broken Wings with very high expectations. Whilst I didn’t enjoy it quite so much as A Room Full of Chocolate, I still thought it was a decent read. I really appreciate that Willem had Asperger’s Syndrome. I love books with diverse characters and How To Fly With Broken Wings definitely represents diversity.

How To Fly With Broken Wings centres around Willem who desperately wants to learn how to fly and how to make friends. He strikes up a friendship with Sasha who also has a desire to fly. How To Fly With Broken Wings is packed full of action, covering many themes such as bullying, friendship and love.

I think one of the strengths of this story are the characters who are well developed and realistic. I thought the way in which Willem’s Asperger’s Syndrome was covered was well represented. This book is well worth reading if you want to explore some very interesting characters. :-)

Would I recommend it?:
Yes- 3.5 stars!

A book centred around many themes, How To Fly With Broken Wings is full of realistic characters which you easily warm to!

Beth and Chrissi Do Kid Lit- Pollyanna

Pollyanna (Pollyanna, #1)

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

When orphaned 11-year-old Pollyanna comes to live with austere and wealthy Aunt Polly, her philosophy of gladness brings happiness to her aunt and other members of the community, somewhat to their surprise.

Thoughts:

Pollyanna was originally published in 1913. It’s a book I was always conscious of, yet never read as a child. I read it for the first time in 2011 and remembered it fondly when I reread it for this challenge. Pollyanna is a sweet book, which is easy to read. It does have a moral to it, much like many books of its era. I do wonder if it now comes across as a little too preachy and sickly sweet, but as a children’s book- I think it’s a decent read.

If you’re not familiar with the story of Pollyanna then I shall briefly describe it. Pollyanna is a young, always optimistic girl. She is orphaned and sent to live with her Aunt. Pollyanna’s outlook on life changes the lives of others. Pollyanna always tries to find the ‘glad’ moment in everything. Terrible things can happen, but Pollyanna always looks at how it can be used in an optimistic way to make you grateful for everything you have.

As I mentioned, I think many adults would find Pollyanna’s message quite hard to swallow. There are times in life when you do want to grumble and moan. It gets things off your chest and feels good sometimes!

I think Pollyanna means well though. It definitely reminds readers that not a lot can be gained from being horrible to others. A good, positive message to give to young children.

For Beth’s wonderful review, please check out her blog HERE

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

Reading next for the Beth and Chrissi do Kid Lit Challenge:
Diary of a Wimpy Kid- Jeff Kinney

A Week In The Life of A Primary PGCE Student: I’m up again!

Every Sunday (hopefully) I shall be posting a personal post about my massive new venture. I am going to University to train to be a primary school teacher. I will be trained to work with 5-11 year olds. It’s known to be a very, very stressful time so I’m hoping I can channel my thoughts and feelings into a blog post. It gives you an insight into what’s going on in my life and hopefully it’ll be incredibly therapeutic for me. I will NOT be naming any children, schools or teaching staff. I won’t even mention what University I’m at. I hope that’s understandable. If personal posts aren’t your thing then feel free to skip these posts. I won’t mind!

I can’t believe that another week is over. It feels like I’ve only just published my last ‘A Week In The Life…’ post and now here I am, writing another one!  That roller-coaster of emotions that I keep referencing? Well I’m upward again on the loop de loop that is this course.

This week I spent another week in the classroom. I really like the class I’m with, but what I loved about this week was that I got to fit in some teaching with my old class. Oh how I loved it! They’re so adorable (and cheeky at the same time) and loved having me back as much as I loved being back.

I seem to have taught a lot of story writing this week. I’m so impressed with the story writing across the school. We have such a creative group of children. I can’t believe it when I’m reading and laughing out loud at many young children’s writing. Some of it completely blows my mind and I hope that I’m reading these children’s books in the future. I think there’s definitely some future writers emerging!

Next week is my last week at the school I’m currently at. I have a lot of work to do in my last week, but I’m looking forward to finishing and moving onto my next school. The school I’m hoping I love as I’m spending over 2 months there! :D

Stacking The Shelves #108

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you’re adding to your shelves, be it buying or borrowing. From ‘real’ books you’ve purchased, a book you’ve borrowed, a book you’ve been given or an e-book they can all be shared!

As ever, click on the book Image or title to get to the Goodreads page!

Bought:

Gathering Blue (The Giver Quartet, #2) The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories

I had to pick up the next book after reading The Giver this week. I can’t wait to read it! I’ve also heard a lot about The Opposite of Loneliness. I’m intrigued, so of course… I now own a copy!

Received from Stripes Publishing

Flesh and Blood (Red Eye)

I received Flesh and Blood this week from Stripes Publishing. I shall hopefully be reviewing this book ASAP.

What have you added to your shelves this week? Feel free to leave a link to your post and I’ll stop by!

Comparing ‘Pointe’ by Brandy Colbert

Pointe

Synopsis:

Theo is better now.

She’s eating again, dating guys who are almost appropriate, and well on her way to becoming an elite ballet dancer. But when her oldest friend, Donovan, returns home after spending four long years with his kidnapper, Theo starts reliving memories about his abduction—and his abductor.

Donovan isn’t talking about what happened, and even though Theo knows she didn’t do anything wrong, telling the truth would put everything she’s been living for at risk. But keeping quiet might be worse.

Click on the image to get to Luna’s blog!

Thoughts before you started reading Pointe?

CHRISSI: I admit, I was drawn in by the cover and the title. Ballet is one of my favourite dance disciplines. I may not be a ballet dancer, but I adore watching it. I then read the synopsis and immediately wanted to read it. I took forever to buy it for some reason! But as soon as I had it in my possession I knew I wanted to read it ASAP. So when it was my turn to pick a book for our Compare feature, I knew how much I share my passion for dance with Luna… therefore Pointe was a given!

LUNA: So there is a story to this. Back in November 2011 some *cough* Marieke *cough* emailed me about this book that had sold. I’m not sure if it was even on Goodreads at that time but I found Brandy Colbert’s blog and you know what my original comment is still on there!

brandypointe

I’ve wanted to read Pointe for so long but when I finally had a copy it in my hands I began to worry my expectation where too high. I mean I essential decided this was going to be one of the best books ever before I even read a single word…

I kept putting it off, until Chrissi picked it for our Compare Review.

What did you think of Theo?

CHRISSI: Theo is such an amazing character. She’s flawed, but she’s SO real. She comes so far throughout the story and the reader is with her every step of the way.

LUNA: Theo is one of the most amazingly real characters I’ve come across in YA. She’s flawed, yes but this isn’t a case of “insert flaw A here for effect, then flaw B there” Theo is a person. Things get messed up but Theo also excels. She’s so talented, determined and honest with herself, even when it hurts.

Best bit?

CHRISSI: Cheating to say.. ‘ALL OF IT!!!’ but it’s the truth. I haven’t felt so compelled to keep turning the page for a long time. I had so much university work to do, but this book made me shun all of the work and just keep reading. I had to!

LUNA: I’ve decided to select my Top 3 Theo moments:

1.      When Theo talks about ballet

2.      The moment Theo decides about her testimony

3.      The very end, I cheered. Keep walking.

Worst bit?:

CHRISSI: Not being able to save or support Theo from all of the hurt. My heart hurting for her.

LUNA: The Winter Formal. You could see it coming but sadly no one has invented a way for readers to step into books yet. If they had… how I wanted to go to Theo and even if I couldn’t save her from what was coming, at least to be there so she wasn’t alone. (I should not have been reading this book in public.)

Favourite character / moment?

CHRISSI: Theo’s strength despite everything! The ending was particularly powerful too.

LUNA: It sounds wrong to call this my favourite moment (because you thought of think of favourite things as stuff that makes you smile) but when Ruthie gives Theo a lift, that chapter. It’s amazing.

Was Pointe what you expected?

CHRISSI: It exceeded my expectations.

LUNA: Yes, I mean my expectations were rather high but I didn’t know how much I’d come to love Theo.

Would you recommend it?

CHRISSI: Without a doubt! 5 billion stars.

LUNA: Sunshine Star = affirmative, certainly, absolutely, of course, definitely, gladly, indubitably & without fail!