Friday, 21 February 2014

Sarah’s Review of Radiance by Alyson Noel


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I am a huge fan of Alyson Noel’s other series, first loving the Immortals series, then most recently the soul seekers series. This book, Radiance, is the first in her series of a Riley Bloom Book. We first met Riley in the Immortals series as the younger sister to Ever, who has recently died and has been able to visit her sister, Ever, as a ghost. Ever finally comes to terms with the death of her family and convinces Riley to cross over the bridge, and this is where this series begins.

Riley has finally crossed over a bridge to a place called Here. Riley, along with Buttercup, her dog, have now been reunited with her parents. Just after getting settled into her new life, or death, she begins school. On her first day there the Council summons her. The Council explains that the afterlife isn’t all about relaxation and fun, you also have to work, and Riley has the new job as a Soul Catcher. Her teacher, Bodhi, is a very unique boy whom she is trying to understand. Riley isn’t overly thrilled with having to have a job in the afterlife, especially since she feels like she was already robbed of her life on the Earth plane. All she wants to do is go back.

Riley, Bodhi, and Buttercup travel back to the Earth plane in order to complete Riley’s first assignment, which turns out to be helping a boy, known as the Radiant Boy, to cross the bridge. The Radiant Boy has been haunting for many centuries in a castle in England. Can Riley be the first one to get him to cross when all others before her have failed?



While this first book wasn’t as captivating as the Immortals series, it was entertaining. It was easy to read and followed one simple plot line. I feel as though this series is geared towards a younger audience, and, of course, fans of the Immortals series. While I found the plot to be not overly exciting, she does draw upon people’s fears and Riley has to overcome her own fears in order to do her job. While I didn’t love this book as much as I loved the Immortals series, I did like it, and will continue to read the rest of the series. I am curious to see what other challenges Riley will face, and I want to experience more of her life in the Here and Now. I do wish there was more explanation into that world in this book.
Her character development and rich descriptions bring you right into the book, Noel never fails to deliver in making you feel like you are right there, experiencing it all with them.


Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Sarah’s Review of The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult


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I’m not sure where to start with my review of this book. It was one of the most powerful stories I have ever read. Powerful where as it invoked so many emotional feelings and had the ability to place you right in the moment. First off I should begin by giving a brief introduction as to what this story is about.

You first meet the main character, Sage Singer, who is a magnificent baker. She has inherited this talent and works all night in order to make sure all of the bakeries items are ready for the morning rush. She hides herself in the kitchen and only works at night so she can try to escape how lonely she is after her mother’s death and the horrible memories associated with the accident. Sage has been attending a grief support group since the death of her mother and it is there that she meets Josef Weber, an elderly gentleman who has recently lost his wife. Josef is a retired teacher and a beloved man in their community. They quickly form a friendship.

This friendship becomes tested when Josef reveals a horrifying truth about his past and asks Sage for a huge favour that she is unsure if she can go through with, he wants her to help him die. The next little bit that I write may contain a few spoilers about the secret, but will not give away anything from the magnitude of the story. First off, you need to understand that Sage comes from a Jewish family, yet she has decided not to practice her faith like the rest of her family. Her grandmother is a survivor of the Holocaust, in particular, Auschwitz. The secret that Josef has unloaded on Sage is that he was a soldier, an SS guard during World War II, a Nazi. He no longer wants to live with the horrors that he has done in his past and just wants to leave the world, with the help of a Jewish friend whom may grant him his forgiveness. Sage needs to decide if she can forgive someone for a crime that wasn’t committed against her, but against thousands of other people who share the same religious background. She also needs to face her moral conscious and decide if she will grant Josef his one last wish. Upon hearing both Josef’s story about his time as a SS soldier, and reading Sage’s grandmother’s recount of her life during that time, you find that their paths have crossed before.

I cannot begin to describe the feelings and emotions that awaken within you while reading this book, especially the second part (the novel is broken into three parts), which is Sage’s grandmother, Minka’s, first-hand account of her life during World War II. It’s heartbreaking to know that so many people suffered the same fate, and yet many more lost their lives, just because. This book was difficult to read due to the content, but I am glad I did. Sometimes I found that I had to put the book down just because the content was so overwhelming, but I am so thankful that I have that option. It makes you wonder just what your life would have been like, and what you would have done, had you lived through that.

Throughout the book, Picoult adds in another story, which seems to be mimicking the life of Minka. Both stories being interwoven make for an interesting read. One story leads you to think about the other.

Picoult really did her research and brought to life a horrific past that needs to be remembered. I cannot recommend this book enough. You will not only enjoy the rich narrative, but you will also be enlightened and educated. Even though the story she wrote is fiction, it is based on facts and real life events. If you can, please get yourself a copy and read. By far one of the best books I have read.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

I am still making my way through Jodi Picoult's novel, The Storyteller, but I just wanted to say, WOW! Never has a book made me feel so much before. The novel is broken into three parts, and I just finished the second one. The rich descriptives and narrative made me feel like I was right there, and the story is so heartwrenching. I'm not sure what I will write in my blog about it....It's a book that you don't want to put down, but sometimes you have to because the story is just so strong that you need to give yourself a break. I can't wait to finish the final part and write my thoughts on the story as a whole. For those of you who have read it, you know what I am talking about, for those that haven't, well I won't say anything until my actual blog, but seriously, everyone should read this book.

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