Sunday, September 25, 2016

Series Review: Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth

Call the Midwife: a Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth
Call the Midwife: Shadows of the Workhouse by Jennifer Worth
Call the Midwife: Farewell to the East End by Jennifer Worth
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication date: Originally 2002, 2005, 2009
Source: Library
For: Love the PBS series!
Series: Midwife Trilogy (three memoirs)


These are three volumes of Jennifer Lee Worth, who as a very young girl left her pretty cushy life to become a midwife and work in one of the poorest parts of London during the 1950s and 1960s.

Things I Liked:
These stories are incredible! I wish I'd read the books before watching the series, but I was still blown away! It is absolutely amazing and awful and beautiful the kinds of conditions these women who were giving birth lived in. The midwives are incredible as well, but I read some of these stories and just felt almost embarrassed at how much I have and how whiny I can be about it. A wonderful look at a specific time and place and the women who played such a vital role. The first book was the most interesting to me, being more of a general collection of stories from Worth's experiences. The second and third were more general and had fewer stories of midwifery and the interesting people she met. Still, all of them were worth every minute reading. Can't recommend it enough and I adore the series as well (though not as much with Nurse Lee gone from the scene).

Things I Didn't Like:
It's been quite some time since I read these, and I don't remember anything in particular I disliked. It is pretty frank about sex and childbirth, so not exactly light reading. Also, abuse and other awful circumstances.

Nothing I can think of!

s-factor: !@

mrg-factor: XXX
not gratuitous, also not surprising considering the topic

v-factor: ->->
some of the stories are simply appalling

Overall rating: *****

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Mini Reviews 21

When in doubt, just chuck them all in at once! Here's some stuff I read a while ago, so nothing is fresh in my mind. Bleh.

Dearest by Alethea Kontis
This follows Friday as she becomes embroiled in an enchantment where seven brothers are all turned into swans by day. Can she find a way to break the curse with just a needle and her wits?

I really enjoy this series and I like how seamlessly the many different fairy tales are woven together into a fun story. I liked Friday and the brothers as well. A good, well-written fairy tale retelling. Definitely want more from this author!

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
When Kady and Ezra's planet is invaded and they must escape or die, they had to put aside the petty problem of just having broken up. But far from being safe on the escape ships, they are surrounded by lies, half-truths, and a whole different set of problems. Will they come out alive?

This story gripped me from the very start. I love the format, the fun files and emails and schematics that fit like pieces of a puzzle together into a strange and unexpected whole. This is definitely a story that will get your heart pounding and have you questioning everyone's motives throughout. The ending threw me for a big loop. Definitely need to get my hands on the next book.

Calamity by Brandon Sanderson
Things are looking bleak for David and his broken team, after Prof gave in to his epic powers. It would seem that nothing can stop him in his desires for power. But David refuses to give up and will go wherever and do whatever is necessary to save his friend.

I have really loved this series. It's fast-paced and exciting and funny. It has surprises around every corner and I definitely didn't expect the ending. I think I felt a little let down after all the build up, but perhaps I expected it to be, well, epic. Anyway, enjoyed the series, I would definitely read more about this world.

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
In 1945, there was an epic tragedy involving the Wilhelm Gustloff - a ship full of people hoping to escape the advancing Soviet army. This book tells the story of this disaster from the viewpoints of four very different young people.

This was a very painful story to read. It's hard to read about stories that you know are about disaster or tragedy, especially of this scale. I had absolutely no idea about this piece of history, as I think most people don't. It's surprising and sad how lost their stories are. I am glad to have learned more about it, would like to read historical accounts of these people. I did find that the one Nazi was kind of a caricature of badness. Just an all-around rotten person. Mind you, he didn't seem to notice he was evil, but I found him hard to believe. Anyway, I recommend it, just to get a taste of what happened in this very much ignored historical event.
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