Book Review: “Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs

Hello!

There have only been two books in my life that have taken me practically forever to finish: Harry Potter and The Prisoner Of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling and Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs! I’ve always known the issue behind POA but with the other it’s been a mystery. I have always thought it was entertaining but for some odd reason it’s taken me over four years to finally get it off of my TBR list!

The year I purchased the paperback edition was in 2016! I thought it wasn’t that long ago honestly, but I guess I was wrong. I’ve tried to read in 2018 and made some progress but I thought the huge gap in between each time I would stop and read it would confuse me, so once I made the commitment to actually be done with it, I wasn’t necessarily planning on doing a review. It wasn’t until I reached Chapter 9 that I ended up changing my mind and thus, I am here to unleash anything and almost everything…

So, if you haven’t read the first book and want to sometime in the future, please be warn because there might be spoilers listed below.


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A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow-impossible though it seems-they may still be alive. A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

taken from Goodreads.


I do remember the day I found this book at Walmart, because the film was being released in theaters and I had seen Candice King from The Vampire Diaries talk about it on her Twitter back in 2016, so it was purely a trendy book at the time and I fell into the trap and basically begged my mom for it that day.

When I first began reading, Jacob Portman wasn’t a teenager in my head at all. I pictured him in his early 20’s and this never went away until he actually gets inside the loop itself. I wasn’t the biggest fan of him either, I thought he was cocky and I don’t really care for characters like that in any age, so it was somewhat difficult but once I got over that hurdle, I started to see him in a different light.

I still don’t believe Jacob was a favorite of mine, at least not as much as I adored both Emma Bloom and Millard. The name Millard has been added into this month’s favorite names, but I just pictured him like Griffin in the Hotel Transylvania films, but way smarter and younger of course! I felt like Emma and I could be best friends. I really enjoyed her spunk and understood her compassion for Abe and Jacob. For me, I loved the story between Emma and Abe, more than her and Jacob. I thought this was creepy!

Since I waited basically five years to complete the book to watch the film afterwards, I hadn’t seen the cast list at all, but when we were introduced to Miss Alma Peregrine, also known as “The Bird” I immediately had Helena Bonham Carter in my mind as the perfect person to play her; I know she wasn’t the actress in the movie but I could not get her out of my mind, in every scene she was in, I had this pretty, dressed properly Bellatrix Lastrange image! I could even hear the woman’s posh voice in my ears, that’s how bad it became for me!

Unfortunately, I figured out who the villain was towards the middle, which really caused me to become conflicted about how I would explain it on here. I’m not usually notorious for spotting ‘Easter eggs’ in anything, so as I continued, I was extremely hopeful I was wrong but it didn’t happen and I was super bummed that I put the two together so quickly.

After I finished it on Goodreads, I gave it a 3/5 stars. It was a four at first but I feel like I wasn’t as interested like I thought, plus how it ended wasn’t up to par with others I’ve read this past year, so with that being said I will not be reading the other five books in the series. However, in the mist of writing this review, I’ve probably watched the film and I am hopeful I will write a post about it too, but it will depend on whether I make it through the entire movie, which is why I never wrote about the Wonder film back at the start of the year.

Have you read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Pecilaur Children by Ransom Riggs? What were your thoughts on it?

snowflake

Book Review: “The German Midwife” by Mandy Robotham

Well, here we are!

This is my last book review to be included in my “20 Books In 2020” reading challenge. I saw this one day while I was scrolling through KU and something about the cover just made me click it and read the blurb, and once I did that I was instantly intrigued with the concept. What if Evan Braun had had a child? This question would play with me while I was reading and after I had finished it.

If you are interested in historical fiction, especially if it is set in the depths of World War II with all of its ugly history dealing with an evil dictator like Adolf Hitler and of course with the aftermath of the Holocaust and its survivors. There are very few times that a book itself would read like if you were sitting in a movie theater watching it on the biggest screen and the volume blasted as loud as it can to pull you into it ever more.


51X-kIIkghLAn enthralling new tale of courage, betrayal and survival in the hardest of circumstances that readers of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, The Secret Orphan and My Name is Eva will love.

Germany, 1944. A prisoner in the camps, Anke Hoff is doing what she can to keep her pregnant campmates and their newborns alive.

But when Anke’s work is noticed, she is chosen for a task more dangerous than she could ever have imagined. Eva Braun is pregnant with the Führer’s child, and Anke is assigned as her midwife.

Before long, Anke is faced with an impossible choice. Does she serve the Reich she loathes and keep the baby alive? Or does she sacrifice an innocent child for the good of a broken world?


When I first started reading it on July 20th, my only note I put on the status update on Goodreads was “On chapter 6 and it’s already a doozy!” I am familiar with the hardships that the Jews dealt with during their time either hiding from the SS soldiers and being starved and worked to death in various camps all over Europe. While I was in high school, I took a course called “Novels” and we read Elie Weisel’s Night. This was the first time I ever read a book about a survivor’s time in the concertation camps and I literally thought I would never read a book from that time period ever again.

After reading about Enjeela and Malala’s stories escaping their war-torn homelands earlier this year, I figured I couldn’t necessarily talk myself out of not reading a book set in this time frame.

Our main character Anke Hoff, is the everyday woman in the mid-1940’s, she was young but trapped in the gray area of being a German but not supporting Adolf Hitler and The Reich. She was also helping all women–including Jewish–give birth to their children. The story is given to you in two different parts, so you begin with the character about Irena, a Jewish woman giving birth in a crowded and nasty hut full of other women, including Anke and her helper Rosa. You learn about the ins and outs of bringing a baby into the world and how Jewish babies were stripped away from their mothers and put to death for all to hear in the camp.

The second part of the story are these diary-like entries, they include dates and estimated locations. These tell the story of Anke’s life before ending up in the camps. You get to see everything that happens within a hospital before the war erupted and how she is captured by the Gestapo and eventually sent to a camp. At first, this section was my least favorite because I thought it would be too much information for the reader, including myself to separate while reading about her current living situation. However, it was in this part that talked about how the Nazi doctors and officials treated babies with physical disabilities. This is the reason why in my first note I said “it was a doozy” because I wasn’t necessarily expecting it, but while I was sad to learn what would happen to this innocent babies, it really gave me a sense of who Anke was as not only a midwife but a human being at this time.

In a way to luminate that Anke is a regular woman, the author set up a love interest, and I will be honest, I wasn’t much of a fan for it in the beginning, but when we learn more about Dieter Stenz, the quicker I was willing to overlook my initial reaction to him. As the story was ending and we learn what happens to him, my emotions were all over the place! It also didn’t help that this was the final book in my Goodreads challenge for the year. If you didn’t know by now, I finished 20 books in eight months!

The final thing I enjoyed about this story was that the author Mandy Robotham, is actually a real midwife. This made me really happy to learn this in the beginning because I knew she would include anything she has learned throughout her medical schooling and career as a midwife too. It also made me realize that everything that was discussed about childbirth inside the camps and domestic life in the 1930’s and 40’s could be true in some form despite the fact that the story is fictionalized. So, if you are interested in learning about midwifery, enjoy reading historical fiction and/or a good ‘what if’ kind of story, then you will love this book; if you decide to read it, please let me know your thoughts about it.

If you have read Mandy Robotham’s first novel “The German Midwife” or “A Woman Of War” as it was titled in the United Kingdom? What were your thoughts about Anke Hoff’s story? 

snowflake

 

Coronavirus | When Does The Cycle End?

I wasn’t going to talk about this. I didn’t want to be another echo in a steady line of chatter, but I have realized two things about this Coronavirus madness. If this panedemic has taught us anything, it is that we truly are as human beings are only concerned about ourselves and the cliche phrase “history repeats itself” rings true to our new reality.

Before I get too far, I should mention that I hardly watch the news. Honestly, I don’t have to, social media is doing its best that it is plastered in every newsfeed, tweet, and vlog. I understand the panic and worry over your financials; I may be a disabled, but I’m not an idiot! I feel for every person who is sick in the hospital forced away from their families and the ones who are upset about the fact that everything is being cancelled.

For the past two days, I have been going through our DVR watching documentaries that I had piled up for a number of weeks. The two I want to talk to you were broadcast on PBS and a part of it’s American Experience program.

The first was about the outbreak of Influenza in 1918-19. I knew from the time it started it was an older episode because of the quality of color on the screen. It was talking to people who were infected or had members of their own family and possibly friends that were diagnosed with it and died.

It featured a lot of elderly people talk about their childhoods before and after the sickness creped into their cities and towns. What really pulled me in was when the narrator explained that it didn’t start with children and their weak immune systems. Instead it was the soldiers in the army camps that were being taken out first. You have to remember that at the time, World War I was going on and the need for young and healthy men were desperately needed to help fight the cause overseas.

Unfortunately, the war wasn’t the only killing machine out there. When Influenza appeared in the spring of 1918, there is a possibility that 500 million people worldwide came down with the deadly virus. Once the war was over, the men who came home were “healthy” to the naked eye but the disease lingered in their bodies to spread into their families and friends who were happy as clams to have their loved one back. All of a sudden the happiness was shattered when more and more people were being knocked down by the symptoms of the virus. The world was put on pause, and businesses and whole families were put on lockdown.

At this time, radio was the only way people could have contact with the outside. There was no TV for young children who were either bored or sick in their beds. They got by with doing chores, schoolwork, and played with their siblings in their rooms. To me, it is a surprise the stock market didn’t crash when the virus showed up because nobody would go anywhere. They were too afraid to!

Even though mainstream medicine was popular in the homes of American people, some could be superstitious and say that God was punishing them for their sins. Satan was there to claim every single person affected with the influenza. However, like with most sicknesses, as quickly as it came in, it disappeared! It had ended just in time as World War I was over and soldiers stationed in Europe were allowed to return to their homes again. Everyone was back to their old selves like nothing ever happened.

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

The next morning I woke up, had breakfast and started watching my second documentary, this time it was about polio. Since this epidemic happened in the 1950’s, the talk about it was discussed a little bit more compared to the influenza outbreak. I heard it through both sides of my grandparents when I was younger. I never heard much talk about it while I was a teen and honestly neither one were discussed in school. You would hear someone talk about a fraction of what happened and that was pretty much it.

So, when I saw American Experience was going to re-air the episode about polio or infantile paralysis I knew it would keep me entertained for the lack of a better word.

Where the influenza had been affecting anyone from the ages to 20 to under 50, polio began to infect children the most. Adults were also struck with it too, such as future President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt or FDR for short. He was the one that everyone talked about in my family. I think it was to possibly show me that at one time we had a disabled President.

Anyways, the program was focused more on the relationship with FDR and his friend Basil O’Connor. He was put in charge of running the President’s fund and resort for more research done on polio. As influenza came and went fairly quickly, polio dragged on and on, infecting as many people as it could at various ages. Polio was known for headaches, dizziness, and eventually the loss of movement, which explains the technical term ‘infantile paralysis’.

If you have ever watched the episode of The Waltons, where their mother becomes diagnosed with polio. In the beginning you see this strong young woman become affected by a dark shadow one day. She could no longer control her arms or legs. She could no longer go outside by herself because it made her unable to walk or do anything by herself. This was common to everyone who had it. They could be permanent paralyzed and at the mercy of their families for support. Although for Mrs. Walton regained the usage of her body at the end of the show.

After Basil O’Connor met Jonas Salk, he began to look into the science behind this nasty curse. In 1953, it was announced that Dr. Salk had discovered the source of the problem and gave treatment on a number of people to test it. A year later it was said that the vaccine had worked and they moved to have it be given to everyone in America. Forty-four years later, it was said that polio had became extinct

Yet here we are again, in our own crisis, dealing with a brand new illness with really no end in sight.

History will continue to repeat itself over and over, to show us what we need to see again. When each sickness rolled into town, people seemed to be kind and stayed at home. They followed quarantine rules and religiously practiced social distancing, so to not affect anybody else with the virus. So, as we keep modern day Americans, Italians, English, etc keep gathering together for fun, we are only making everything worse.

I know you’re bored. I live at home, and rarely get to go out when the air is clear. It’s been over two weeks since I have seen my sister, brother-in-law and little nephew. Yes, I have seen and talked to them on FaceTime, but I love being face-to-face with people. So I ask you to please do everything you can to help eradicate this new virus, so we can go back to our normal lives and forget about it just like our ancestors did before us.

Thank you!

snowflake

Music Monday | 10 Years Of Apperciation!

Howdy!

So, I have some exciting news to share with you today.

Last year, I celebrated 10 years of blogging and talked about various disability topics. It was fun and I seriously thought I was done and was going to have a nice break for a while, but then back in February, I realized I have been a high school graduate for ten whole years! If you feel old, don’t worry I’ve never been more afraid of sliding into my thirties this much in my life! Although, I don’t think they are considered “old” (hell, I don’t even think fifty or sixty years old are elderly anymore!) but everyone close to me will certainly feel their age and I don’t necessarily feel that bad about that! 😉

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If you have been following me for a long time, you might remember my ‘Tune Tuesday’ summer posts I did for a good three or four years in a row. They were about music from all around the world. It was exciting to share with my family, friends and audience of new and old acts are based in places they’ve never expected before. Some people were really surprised by this and it made me really happy! I hoped I gave everyone a shot on discovering something different each week!

Unfortunately, I am not comfortable to mess up my new schedule just so I can publish on Tuesday, but I had a clear version of everything coming together nicely (we’ll see about that!) so I thought about using the start of the week, like my A-Z challenge and I have seen other blogs use it before and it’s even trended on Twitter in the past! The last two Mondays’ of the next six months will be called ‘Music Monday’.

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Now let’s discuss the theme of this new journey.

I’ve been getting the idea to go this route back for a while. I know I don’t talk about this a lot, but after I graduated from high school I was supposed to study Audio Recordings, and hoped to become a record producer one day.

One of the classes I had to take was one called “music appreciation”. Now, I have to remind you of the fact that I only lasted about a month or two, before I quit the whole thing, so I don’t really remember the main objective of the class itself. However, I feel like it would have talked about finding the genius in various genres and the masters that created each piece. If it ever turns into a special on PBS, I would probably end loving it!

I have selected 12 people that have inspired prior to making the decision to study this and the others were found while I was doing my own course into appreciating all forms of music for the last ten years. I am hoping to explain a little more into why I gravitated to discover something different and how I evolved with each new act I collected overtime.

I am really excited to do this series and hope you enjoy every post that I publish in the next couple of months.

Who are you hoping to see included in my new series?

snowflake

A-Z Disability Challenge | Y : Let’s Talk About You

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Since we are at the end of this challenge, I wanted to do something fun. I kept going back and forth on what I wanted to do. I originally had titled it, “It’s YOUR life” but I felt like I have been talking about this a lot, so I changed it to discuss you.

I’m also doing this in a totally different way than my previous posts too. Since I’ve already done a Q&A several weeks ago, I thought it would be fun to get to know you and your way of life, so I am opening this up to you now with ten questions.

1.) What is your disability? Do you have more than one?

2.) What are some ways you’ve learned to adapt with it?

3.) I came across this question last week, and thought it would be cool to include it here. Do you think you’re a warrior?

4.) How do you feel about the word “inspiration”? What is your response to when someone calls you that?

5.) Have you ever thought about how we can change people’s perspective on what a disabled person should be in every sense of the word?

6.) What is your dream for the future? Example: goals for 2020.

7.) Does having sex with your husband/girlfriend/partner made accept or hate your disability even more? *If too personal, just skip it!

8.) What do you hope to accomplish in your lifetime?

9.) Do you follow any other disabled influencers? Such as Alex Darcy of Wheelchair Rapunzel or Jessica Kellgren-Fozard on YouTube?

10.) If you kept up with my A-Z Disability Challenge the whole year, did you enjoy the content? Did I miss anything you think was important?

It is crazy to think that not only do we start a whole new year next week, but I will also complete this challenge too. After what happened at the beginning of the year, I really did not think I could finish it. I was perfectly fine with letting it go until after new years day. I don’t really know what inspired me to get up one day and look into my daily planner and count some how days and letters I had left to find out they matched, and then get back on it every Monday. I guess I was determined to do it.

snowflake