Friday, 20 March 2015

A Look at the Book - Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, and Hollow City, by Ransom Riggs

First of all, Ransom Riggs, awesome name. Makes me think of ... pirates?

Continuing on, I have to say, I love more than just his name. I love his books! The Peculiar Children trilogy (well, I've only read the first two so far) is a delicious swirl of clever, intriguing, and involving, with a spoonful of suspense and a light dash of creepy. And the pictures!!! It's so cool how the author collected "peculiar" pictures and wove them seamlessly and brilliantly into the story. Can you say AWESOME? Go on, say it. Awesome.

Well, I don't wanna spoil too much (because I want you to read them yourself), but in the first book, our 16-year-old hero Jacob experiences a trauma he can't quite seem to shake, because he can't escape the feeling that the source of his trauma is still there, lurking.
Hunting him.
And it is.
Due to REASONS, he and his father take a trip to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where Jacob discovers the crumbling, abandoned ruins of the Home. But somehow, someway, though the house had been violently destroyed a good 70 years ago, it's residents might still be....alive. And dangerous.

In the SECOND book, ten children and a bird flee from two separate wars, and experience more trauma and see more horrific sights than any child should ever have to see. And it's all downhill from there. But you just ROOT SO HARD for them!! And they repay that confidence by kicking BUTT! is the middle of a trilogy, the ending has to draw you into the third book. And it does! Oh, it does. I can't wait to read the third one!

Anyway, I really like these books. ^.^ And they were both New York Times bestsellers, so I'm not the only one. ;)

There's quite a few characters, but at first, it's just Jacob, and his boring parents. Then you meet all the others! And I have to say, Riggs does an amazing, amazing job of not only keeping all of the characters involved in the story and dialogue, but of giving each character a unique personality and unique skills. Everyone is useful, everyone is involved, and it's glorious.

Anyway, we have:
Jacob - our ever frightened, never cowardly hero.
Emma - our hero's spirited flame.
Millard - the scholarly nudist (he's only nude for convenience's sake).
Olive - adorable, but a light breeze could be the end of her.
Bronwyn - the biggest heart, and the widest shoulders.
Horace - a small medium in a large hat.
Enoch - plays with dead things.
Hugh - resident beekeeper.
Claire - the mouthy one.
Fiona - the gardener.

After you've finished reading the books, please come back here and review this character list. Just do it.

I love them!! The characters, the story, the descriptions, the pictures, the whole enchilada! I want tacos! Which are not the same thing; but then, I always want tacos.


5/5 hearts, would read again! Highly recommended.

Monday, 16 March 2015

The Brother I Never Knew

21 years ago, on March 16, 1994, my parents were in the hospital, waiting for the birth of their first child: a baby boy they'd given the name Philip.

21 years ago, one of the best days of my parents' lives turned into the worst when something went inexplicably wrong, and even an emergency c-section couldn't save him.

21 years ago, Philip was born dead.

Obviously, I never knew Philip: I was born a little over a year after this happened. And two years after me, my younger brother Ian was born. We're a very happy little family, and we love each other a whole lot. But sometimes I wonder what it would have been like growing up with an older brother.

Of course, you hear all the stories of how older brothers torment their younger siblings tirelessly, but I'm never too worried about that. Fighting and unfairness were never really tolerated with just two of us, and knowing my dad, it wouldn't have been tolerated with three of us, either.

Even though I never knew him, I miss Philip. I miss all the things we've never done together; all the conversations we've never had together; all the things he could have been and done. Would he have a girlfriend now? What would he be taking in college or university? What would he want to be? Would he enjoy travelling like me and mom, or prefer to stay home like dad and Ian? What would be his favorite food? Color? Would he play video games like the rest of us? Would he like animals, and would he be allergic to cats like mom and Ian? Would he have blue eyes, like his siblings? Would he have wild dreams and ambitions, or a simple life goal? I wish I knew. I wish we could have experienced this and more with him.

However, our life might have been very, very different if Philip had lived that day. Not only because there would be five people instead of four people in our family, but because Philip's death led to my mom's salvation. If Philip hadn't died, would mom have become a Christian? Would the love of God flow from the very walls of our house, as it does now? Maybe. Dad was already a Christian, so maybe he would've been able to get through to her. Or maybe she would have left. Or maybe dad would have abandoned his fledgling faith in order to avoid tension in the household. Maybe my brother and I never would have gone to church, or been homeschooled, or become Christians ourselves. Maybe we wouldn't have the wonderful, wonderful friends that we have now, and maybe we wouldn't have the peace and assurance that God offers so freely.

Only God knows what our lives would have been like. Only God knows what Philip would have been like. But I know that God is taking good care of Philip right now. I know that Philip is having a better life in Heaven than he ever could have had on earth, and I know that one day, we'll join him there, and meet him for the first time.

Whatever may have been, whatever we might have experienced together .... I miss you. Happy birthday, Philip.