The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

the-storyteller-395Okay, so, first of all this book is one of the most quotable books I have ever read. I loved every second of it. The layers that Jodi Picoult has created with this book are flawless. You get the POV for four characters plus a short story written by one of the characters sprinkled on top. I am going to say that like The Pact this book took me to a dark place. When I bought the book I didn’t realize that the Holocaust would be such a big part of this book and the Holocaust alone gives me a heavy heart but to hear the story of a survivor hit it home for me. I realize the survivor is a fictional character but the things this character endured in the story are very real to actual survivors.

The weight of loss or the past is very obvious in this book, each character has something weighing on them. Sage carries the weight of her mothers death, Josef carries the weight of all he has seen, Minka carries her untold experiences and it seems that Leo carries the injustice of the Holocaust with him. Not only is it a weight on these characters but it’s also an invisible scar, or in Sage’s case a visible scar and reminder of the weight she carries everyday.

All that being said each of these characters deals with their grief differently Sage deals with it by being somewhat of an introvert, taking up with a married man who doesn’t know her worth, avoiding the unknown and always trying to remain comfortable. Josef deals with his grief by working to become an outstanding citizen and working to be a good person now to make up for his past. Minka writes, but she disguises her truth in a Gothic fairy tale and Leo works night and day to right as many wrongs as he can.

Eventually Josef can’t deal with his grief and seeks out Sage to assist him in a suicide. Sage struggles with this request for quite some time, even after she discovers that he was a Nazi solider. Initially she is torn between helping someone die or not killing someone. Once she finds out he was a Nazi solider the dilemma turns to a struggle of morals, on one hand she wants to kill someone who did horrible things in the past but on the other she doesn’t want to stoop to the level of a Nazi. In the end after hearing her grandmothers story and making the connection between the two of them she helps Josef die but not before she tells him that she will never forgive him.

This story clearly had me thinking a lot; about grief, morals, desires and maybe most importantly actions.

★★★★★ out of 5

Lastly, I want to share some of the quotes from the book that stood out for me the most:

“What is the point of trying to put down on paper emotions that are too complex, too huge, too overwhelming to be confined by an alphabet?”

This one had me conflicted. I totally agree with the idea behind this statement, however, it was referring to Minka’s Holocaust experience and to me that is a story that begs to be told no matter how lacking the words might be.

“I don’t believe in God. But sitting there, in a room full of those who feel otherwise, I realize the I do believe in people.”  

This is something I have always tried to promote. Believing in people, you don’t have to agree with their views, religion or beliefs but as long as they are not bad people or hurting others then embrace and celebrate each others differences. To me that is equality.

“History isn’t about dates and places and wars. It’s about the people who fill the spaces between them.”

For the most part history always bored me in high school but when we where learning about individuals in history I took more interest. For example, World War II as a whole was not interesting to me but learning about the individuals that lived through it, fought and most specifically Anne Frank was what compelled me to learn more. Reading The Diary of Anne Frank really got to me (as I am sure it did everyone) but you sit back and you think to yourself, these are her words, words that she wrote while hiding and trying to avoid death. So to me hearing stories of individuals LIVING in history is the most compelling part of history.

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

My New Books: August 14, 2014

Books were not always my friends I am embarrassed to admit I used to say that I “hated” reading. I realize that hate is a strong word and now I am buying books at a pace that I can’t read. I have decided that I will share new books on my blog here as I purchase them.

The-Hundred-Foot-Journey-bookThe Hundred Foot Journey
Soon to be a major motion picture starring Helen Mirren and Om Puri, directed by Lasse Hallstrom, and produced by Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Juliet Blake, DreamWorks Studios, and Participant Media.

“That skinny Indian teenager has that mysterious something that comes along once a generation. He is one of those rare chefs who is simply born. He is an artist.”

And so begins the rise of Hassan Haji, the unlikely gourmand who recounts his life’s journey in Richard Morais’s charming novel, The Hundred-Foot Journey. Lively and brimming with the colors, flavors, and scents of the kitchen, The Hundred-Foot Journey is a succulent treat about family, nationality, and the mysteries of good taste.

Born above his grandfather’s modest restaurant in Mumbai, Hassan first experienced life through intoxicating whiffs of spicy fish curry, trips to the local markets, and gourmet outings with his mother. But when tragedy pushes the family out of India, they console themselves by eating their way around the world, eventually settling in Lumière, a small village in the French Alps.

The boisterous Haji family takes Lumière by storm. They open an inexpensive Indian restaurant opposite an esteemed French relais-that of the famous chef Madame Mallory-and infuse the sleepy town with the spices of India, transforming the lives of its eccentric villagers and infuriating their celebrated neighbor. Only after Madame Mallory wages culinary war with the immigrant family, does she finally agree to mentor young Hassan, leading him to Paris, the launch of his own restaurant, and a slew of new adventures.

The Hundred-Foot Journey is about how the hundred-foot distance between a new Indian kitchen and a traditional French one can represent the gulf between different cultures and desires. A testament to the inevitability of destiny, this is a fable for the ages-charming, endearing, and compulsively readable.

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
Here is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right. Maya Angelou’s debut memoir, first published in 1969, is a modern American classic beloved worldwide.

Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local “powhitetrash.” At eight years old and back at her mother’s side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age-and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns that love for herself, the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors (“I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare”) will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned.

Poetic and powerful, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings will touch hearts and change minds for as long as people read.

The first thing Sophia Amoruso sold online wasn’t fashion— it was a stolen book. She spent her teens hitchhiking, committing petty theft, and dumpster diving. By twenty-two, she had resigned herself to employment, but was still broke, directionless, and working a mediocre day job she’d taken for the health insurance.

It was there that Sophia decided to start selling vintage clothes on eBay. Eight years later, she is the founder, CEO, and creative director of Nasty Gal, a $100 million plus online fashion retailer with more than 350 employees. Sophia’s never been a typical CEO, or a typical anything, and she’s written #GIRLBOSS for outsiders (and insiders) seeking a unique path to success, even when that path is winding as all hell and lined with naysayers.

#GIRLBOSS includes Sophia’s story, yet is infinitely bigger than Sophia. It’s deeply personal yet universal. Filled with brazen wake-up calls (“You are not a special snowflake”), cunning and frank observations (“Failure is your invention”), and behind-the-scenes stories from Nasty Gal’s meteoric rise, #GIRLBOSS covers a lot of ground. It proves that being successful isn’t about how popular you were in high school or where you went to college (if you went to college). Rather, success is about trusting your instincts and following your gut, knowing which rules to follow and which to break.

A #GIRLBOSS takes her life seriously without taking herself too seriously. She takes chances and takes responsibility on her own terms. . She knows when to throw punches and when to roll with them. When to button up and when to let her freak flag fly.

As Sophia writes, “I have three pieces of advice I want you to remember: Don’t ever grow up. Don’t become a bore. Don’t let The Man get to you. OK? Cool. Then let’s do this.”

15827066Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape
Jenna Miscavige Hill was raised to obey. As the niece of the Church of Scientology’s leader David Miscavige, she grew up at the center of this highly controversial and powerful organization. But at twenty-one, Jenna made a daring break, risking everything she had ever known and loved to leave Scientology once and for all. Now she speaks out about her life, the Church, and her dramatic escape, going deep inside a religion that, for decades, has been the subject of fierce debate and speculation worldwide.

Piercing the veil of secrecy that has long shrouded the world of Scientology, this insider reveals unprecedented firsthand knowledge of the religion, its obscure rituals, and its mysterious leader-David Miscavige. From her prolonged separation from her parents as a small child to being indoctrinated to serve the greater good of the Church, from her lack of personal freedoms to the organization”s emphasis on celebrity recruitment, Jenna goes behind the scenes of Scientology’s oppressive and alienating culture, detailing an environment rooted in control in which the most devoted followers often face the harshest punishments when they fall out of line. Addressing some of the Church’s most notorious practices in startling detail, she also describes a childhood of isolation and neglect-a childhood that, painful as it was, prepared her for a tough life in the Church”s most devoted order, the Sea Org.

Despite this hardship, it is only when her family approaches dissolution and her world begins to unravel that she is finally able to see the patterns of stifling conformity and psychological control that have ruled her life. Faced with a heartbreaking choice, she mounts a courageous escape, but not before being put through the ultimate test of family, faith, and love. At once captivating and disturbing, Beyond Belief is an eye-opening exploration of the limits of religion and the lengths to which one woman went to break free.

15745753Eleanor & Park
Bono met his wife in high school, Park says.
So did Jerry Lee Lewis, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be, she says, we’re 16.
What about Romeo and Juliet?
Shallow, confused, then dead.
I love you, Park says.
Wherefore art thou, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be.
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits-smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love-and just how hard it pulled you under.
A 2014 Michael L. Printz Honor Book for Excellence in Young Adult Literature

58353300fabb0fce_veronica-roth-four.xxxlargeFour: A Divergent Collection
Fans of the Divergent series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth will be thrilled by Four: A Divergent Collection, a companion volume that includes four pre-Divergent stories told from Tobias Eaton’s point of view.

My New Books: August 14, 2014

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

20140613-222627-80787262.jpgI have been trying to find the words for this book that will do it justice. I finished it about a month ago now and I still don’t know if I have the right words.

This book does not sugar coat cancer. It’s real, raw and as someone who has little knowledge about the horrible disease this book opened my eyes. I found that most of my peers reading the books were heavily involved in the romance between Hazel Grace and Augustus which of course was a major part of the book but I found myself focusing on other things.

Obviously Hazel Grace is an incredibly sassy character but she was real and honest about her life and the cards she was dealt. That is what hit me the hardest, these children who were dying and have been dying for years understood and accepted their fate and in spite of that they welcomed love into their lives even if it would only be a “little infinity”.

“I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity.”

– Hazel Grace

★★★★★ out of 5

About the Fault In Our Stars
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.



The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

In the Woods by Tana French

french-in_the_woodsThe description of In the Woods is very captivating, the past meets present through tragic events and as soon as I read the back I was sold. That being said, it took me about 6 months to make it through this book, I broke it up by reading the Harry Potter series and a few other books but the storyline and potential for a good ending always kept me coming back.

While the plot was captivating there was far too much detail of the detectives everyday lives that, in my opinion, was rather dull and unnecessary. The book was extremely slow-moving for me and the ending left much to be desired. The conclusion wrapped up very quickly, and things just sort of magically happened, probably a result of all the mundane day-to-day details of Rob and Cassie’s lives taking up too many pages. I don’t mean to be harsh but in the end this book (for me) wasn’t worth it. If the description below sparks something for you then by all means read it, don’t let what I have to say discourage you.

★★ out of 5

About In the Woods by Tana French
As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers, and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.

Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a twelve-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox—his partner and closest friend—find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery. Now, with only snippets of long-buried memories to guide him, Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him and that of his own shadowy past.

Richly atmospheric, stunning in its complexity, and utterly convincing and surprising to the end, In the Woods is sure to enthrall fans of Mystic River and The Lovely Bones. And look for French’s new mystery, Broken Harbor, for more of the Dublin Murder Squad.

In the Woods by Tana French

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

dark-places-book-coverNow I have read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and really enjoyed it, I also can’t wait for the movie coming out later this year. However, Dark Places had a very different feel to it and I found it more gripping than Gone Girl.

I like Gillian Flynn’s style of writing in both Dark Places and Gone Girl. Each chapter flips between characters as well as past and present. In Dark Places the chapters switch between Libby Day, Patty Day and Ben Day.

You follow Libby Day in the present trying to prove her brother’s innocence and free him from prison with the help of the “Kill Club”. In Patty’s chapters you learn of her struggles being a single mother and having to keep up a farm with only her 16-year-old son to help. When reading from Ben Day’s point of view you learn about his own struggles and his dark friends and the influence they have on him. Both Patty and Ben’s stories are told in the hours leading up to the murders of Patty Day and her two other children Michelle and Debby.

I’m not entirely sure why the “Kill Club” was brought into it as they were phased out towards the end of the book. That being said I guess the “Kill Club” helps Libby consider her brother’s innocence thus getting the ball rolling on the whole book. Dark Places kept me guessing most of the way and at times it was a bit of a dark read but in the end I really enjoyed it.

★★★★ out of 5

About Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived–and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long forgotten her.

The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details–proof they hope may free Ben–Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club… and maybe she’ll admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all.

As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby’s doomed family members–including Ben, a loner whose rage over his shiftless father and their failing farm have driven him into a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town. Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started–on the run from a killer.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

2014 Reading List

Besides finishing the Harry Potter series the following are the 10 books I want to read this year. 

14book "A Conspiracy of Faith" by Jussi Adler Olsen.Conspiracy of Faith
Jussi Adler-Olsen
Detective Carl Mørck holds in his hands a bottle that contains old and decayed message, written in blood. It is a cry for help from two young brothers, tied and bound in a boathouse by the sea. Could it be real? Who are these boys, and why weren’t they reported missing? Could they possibly still be alive?

Carl’s investigation will force him to cross paths with a woman stuck in a desperate marriage – her husband refuses to tell her where he goes, what he does, how long he will be away. For days on end she waits, and when he returns she must endure his wants, his moods, his threats. But enough is enough. She will find out the truth, no matter the cost to her husband— or to herself.

Carl and his colleagues Assad and Rose must use all of their resources to uncover the horrifying truth.

The House GirlThe House Girl
Tara Conklin
Virginia, 1852. Seventeen-year-old Josephine Bell decides to run from the failing tobacco farm where she is a slave and nurse to her ailing mistress, the aspiring artist Lu Anne Bell. New York City, 2004. Lina Sparrow, an ambitious first-year associate in an elite law firm, is given a difficult, highly sensitive assignment that could make her career: she must find the “perfect plaintiff” to lead a historic class-action lawsuit worth trillions of dollars in reparations for descendants of American slaves.

It is through her father, the renowned artist Oscar Sparrow, that Lina discovers Josephine Bell and a controversy roiling the art world: are the iconic paintings long ascribed to Lu Anne Bell really the work of her house slave, Josephine? A descendant of Josephine’s would be the perfect face for the reparations lawsuit-if Lina can find one. While following the runaway girl’s faint trail through old letters and plantation records, Lina finds herself questioning her own family history and the secrets that her father has never revealed: How did Lina’s mother die? And why will he never speak about her?

Moving between antebellum Virginia and modern-day New York, this searing, suspenseful and heartbreaking tale of art and history, love and secrets, explores what it means to repair a wrong and asks whether truth is sometimes more important than justice.

Dark PlacesDark Places
Gillian Flynn
Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice” of Kinnakee, Kansas.” She survived-and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club-a secret secret society obsessed with notorious crimes-locates Libby and pumps her for details. They hope to discover proof that may free Ben. Libby hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history: She’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club-for a fee. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started-on the run from a killer.

Twelve Years a SlaveTwelve Years A Slave
Solomon Northup
Solomon Northup, born a free man in New York, was lured to Washington, D.C., in 1841 with the promise of fast money, then drugged and beaten and sold into slavery. He spent the next twelve years of his life in captivity on a Louisiana cotton plantation.

After his rescue, Northup published this exceptionally vivid and detailed account of slave life. It became an immediate bestseller and today is recognized for its unusual insight and eloquence as one of the very few portraits of American slavery produced by someone as educated as Solomon Northup, or by someone with the dual perspective of having been both a free man and a slave.

Cheryl Strayed
Strayed loses her mother to a totally unexpected illness. Shocked and devastated by the loss, her life spirals downward as she seeks out increasingly dangerous pursuits to dull her pain. Sensing her own collapse, and the imperative to change course, Strayed sets out on what can only be described as an awe inspiring journey. Over the course of three gruelling months, she hikes The Pacific Crest Trail with nothing but a backpack and her sheer determination to put one foot in front of the other. She faces down pain, hunger, thirst, injury, black bears and rattlesnakes – but she also discovers new levels of joy, accomplishment, courage and extraordinary friendship.

Orange is the New BlackOrange is the New Black
Piper Kerman
With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years before. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187-424-one of the millions of people who disappear “down the rabbit hole” of the American penal system.

From her first strip search to her final release, Kerman learns to navigate this strange world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with small tokens of generosity, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance. Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, Kerman’s story offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison-why it is we lock so many away and what happens to them when they’re there.

A Casual VacancyA Casual Vacancy
J.K. Rowling
When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity, and unexpected revelations?

A big novel about a small town, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults. It is the work of a storyteller like no other.

The StorytellerThe Storyteller
Jodi Picoult
Some stories live forever . . .

Sage Singer is a baker. She works through the night, preparing the day’s breads and pastries, trying to escape a reality of loneliness, bad memories, and the shadow of her mother’s death. When Josef Weber, an elderly man in Sage’s grief support group, begins stopping by the bakery, they strike up an unlikely friendship. Despite their differences, they see in each other the hidden scars that others can’t, and they become companions. 

Everything changes on the day that Josef confesses a long-buried and shameful secret-one that nobody else in town would ever suspect-and asks Sage for an extraordinary favor. If she says yes, she faces not only moral repercussions, but potentially legal ones as well. With her own identity suddenly challenged, and the integrity of the closest friend she’s ever had clouded, Sage begins to question the assumptions and expectations she’s made about her life and her family. When does a moral choice become a moral imperative? And where does one draw the line between punishment and justice, forgiveness and mercy?

In this searingly honest novel, Jodi Picoult gracefully explores the lengths we will go in order to protect our families and to keep the past from dictating the future.

This is Where I Leave YouThis is Where I Leave You
Jonathan Tropper
The death of Judd Foxman’s father marks the first time that the entire Foxman clan has congregated in years. There is, however, one conspicuous absence: Judd’s wife, Jen, whose affair with his radio- shock-jock boss has recently become painfully public.

Simultaneously mourning the demise of his father and his marriage, Judd joins his dysfunctional family as they reluctantly sit shiva-and spend seven days and nights under the same roof. The week quickly spins out of control as longstanding grudges resurface, secrets are revealed and old passions are reawakened. Then Jen delivers the clincher: she’s pregnant.

Alice in WonderlandAlice in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass
Lewis Carroll
One hot summer’s day Alice tumbles down, down, down a rabbit hole – and finds herself in Wonderland, where everything is topsy-turvy, upside down, and wrong-way round. Here begins a series of fantastical adventures as Alice’s body GROWS and shrinks , she swims in a pool of her own tears, attends the maddest of tea parties, and meets such iconic and beloved characters as the smiling Cheshire Cat, the hookah-smoking Caterillar; and Humpty Dumpty.

2014 Reading List

The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan

paintedgirlsUsually I go to the book store with a purpose, I know what I want to get and I get it. In the past year or so I have allowed myself to browse more and I have come across a couple gems by accident. “The Painted Girls” by Cathy Marie Buchanan is definitely one of them. I am only about half way through but I needed to write about it.

Now I’m not saying you need to be a ballet dancer to understand this book but at times it certainly helps. Even I had trouble visualizing the dance combinations and steps written on the pages before me. However, understanding these steps are not imperative to understanding the story.

The Painted Girls is set in the late 1870s and moves into the early 1880s and is centred around the van Goethem family. The father past and the mother surrendered to drink leaving the three van Goethem sisters to fend for themselves. Antoinette, the oldest of the sisters was kicked out of the Paris Opera where she was a dancer and forced to find work as a walk-on part in another theatre as well as work in the washhouse with her mother. Having taught her sisters all she knew about dance Antoinette encourages her two sisters Marie and the youngest Charlotte to join the Paris Opera in hopes of eventually joining the ballet. While Marie is working hard at picking up extra jobs such as modelling and kneading dough to pay for private dance lessons Antoinette gets mixed up with the wrong crowd and seeks love from a dangerous boy.

This piece so far is very captivating, maybe because I appreciate the element of dance but maybe there is much more to it. I hope to write a full review when I’m done but I just couldn’t keep this book to myself for much longer.

★★★★★ out of 5

About The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan
Paris, 1878. Following their father’s sudden death, the Van Goethem sisters find their lives upended. Without his wages, and with the small amount their laundress mother earns disappearing into the absinthe bottle, eviction from their lodgings seems imminent. With few options for work, Marie is dispatched to the Paris Opera, where for a scant seventeen francs a week, she will be trained to enter the famous Ballet. Her older sister, Antoinette, finds work as an extra in a stage adaptation of Émile Zola’s naturalist masterpiece L’Assommoir.

Marie throws herself into dance and is soon modelling in the studio of Edgar Degas, where her image will forever be immortalized as Little Dancer Aged 14. Meanwhile, Antoinette, derailed by her love for the dangerous Émile Abadie, must choose between honest labour and the more profitable avenues open to a young woman of the Parisian demimonde.

Set at a moment of profound artistic, cultural and societal change, The Painted Girls is a tale of two remarkable sisters rendered uniquely vulnerable to the darker impulses of “civilized society.” In the end, each will come to realize that her salvation-her survival, even-lies with the other.

The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan

The Pact by Jodi Picoult

ThePactI would first like to start by saying that this book for me personally was very moving. Every time I picked it up it took me to that dark place. I am a very happy and positive person so some times it was hard on me. These two young adults had grown up together, were friends their entire life and then the friendship turned into romantic love but one of them is battling something very dark and decides that not living is the best decision. How do you let someone you love so much go? That’s what hit me hardest, I put myself and my relationship into the story and it made my heart ache.

The other part of this book that was so sad to me is the deterioration of Gus and Melanie’s relationship. Gus Harte befriends Melanie Gold when the Gold’s move in next door to the Hartes and they become even closer when they realize they are both pregnant and have very close due dates. The book toggles back and forth between past (following Chris and Emily as they grow up) and the present. You really get a sense of one big family between these two households and the friendship between Gus and Melanie grow. This big family falls apart with the death of Emily what is Melanie to do when a boy she treated as her own kills her own flesh and blood? How does Gus defend her son against the woman whose daughter was just killed?

In the end you never really know why Emily wanted to end her life, I feel like there was more beyond the molestation and the pregnancy some problems that went unknown and unsolved. What was in her diary that her mother burned? Somethings I wish were answered but maybe it’s more intriguing left unanswered.

A dark novel that will make you think.

★★★★ out of 5

About The Pact by Jodi Picoult
The Hartes and the Golds have lived next door to each other for eighteen years. They have shared everything from family picnics to chicken pox – so it’s no surprise that in high school Chris and Emily’s friendship blossoms into something more.

When the midnight calls come in from the hospital, no one is prepared: Emily is dead at seventeen from a gunshot wound to the head, inflicted by Chris as part of an apparent suicide pact. He tells the police the next bullet was meant for himself. A local detective has her doubts. And the Hartes and Golds must face every parent’s worst nightmare and question: do we ever really know our children at all?

The Pact by Jodi Picoult

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

the-help-book-coverIt has been such a long time since I have been this into a book. Maybe because I feel so passionate about the topic of Racism and how I hate it so much. I never saw black, white or any other colour growing up, I just saw people. If it made a difference to me what colour people’s skin was I wouldn’t have made friends with so many beautiful people or learned about so many amazing cultures or places.

I have known my friend Amirah since grade one, she is an amazing person inside and out and her family comes from Malawi. Over the years she taught me a lot about her culture, things about where her family comes from, different holidays, traditions and practices. I thank her for sharing her culture with me but more than that I thank her for being a good friend and a beautiful person.

What one woman does in this story will shake the town of Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960s. Though this book is not based on a true story the author, Kathryn Stockett, grew up in Jackson with a housekeeper and some things in the book are based off her experiences and the relationship with her own her.

All it takes is one person to change things, one person to empower others to speak out and one person to give a voice to those who don’t have one.

“If you can love your enemy, you already have victory.”

★★★★★ out of 5

About The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

sisterhood-everlasting-coverFor those of you who loved the fun loving characters of the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants books by Ann Brashares you will enjoy Sisterhood Everlasting. The characters have aged 10 years and a lot has changed. Life goes on and people grow apart due to the challenges and changes of life.

This book was incredible. The the girls of the sisterhood began to separate in the fourth book as the girls struggled to stay in touch with eachother through busy lives and long distances. They managed, however, to get to Greece together in the end but lost the travelling pants in the ocean. This book is about the girls distancing from each other due to tragedy, but through a series of dated letters, old romances and a life long friendship full of love everything falls into place. This book teaches a lot about life, love and frienship and it is definitely worth a read.

About Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Ann Brashares comes the welcome return of the characters whose friendship became a touchstone for a generation. Now Tibby, Lena, Carmen, and Bridget have grown up, starting their lives on their own. And though the jeans they shared are long gone, the sisterhood is everlasting.

Despite having jobs and men that they love, each knows that something is missing: the closeness that once sustained them. Carmen is a successful actress in New York, engaged to be married, but misses her friends. Lena finds solace in her art, teaching in Rhode Island, but still thinks of Kostos and the road she didn’t take. Bridget lives with her longtime boyfriend, Eric, in San Francisco, and though a part of her wants to settle down, a bigger part can’t seem to shed her old restlessness.

Then Tibby reaches out to bridge the distance, sending the others plane tickets for a reunion that they all breathlessly await. And indeed, it will change their lives forever—but in ways that none of them could ever have expected.

As moving and life-changing as an encounter with long-lost best friends, Sisterhood Everlasting is a powerful story about growing up, losing your way, and finding the courage to create a new one.

Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares