Dark and sad, Paige Dearth brings out a part of life that many don’t see, in her book When Smiles Fade!

About the Book:

When Smiles Fade

Emma’s father’s coldblooded beatings and the ultimate abuse to which he subjects her, lays the foundation of the person she becomes. As she matures into a resourceful teenager, she is unwilling and unable to stifle her desire for revenge. Reaching her breaking point she can no longer control the impulse to fight back and finally takes matters into her own hands.

Having learned the art of hatred from her father and the mastery of manipulation from her mother, young Emma now sets out to make a better life for herself, leaving the memory of the abused child she had once been behind her. Hardened by the heartless brutality she encounters and the dangerous situations she must overcome in the course of her journey, she faces every challenge that comes her way in her quest for a normal life for herself and for those she loves.

Finally a person emerges from within that guides her toward a better life until she learns of a secret that sets her on the path of ultimate redemption.

 My Thoughts:

What would you do if your only option to survive is to do anything? Would you resort to killing the people who hurt you to protect the ones you love? What does it mean to be hated and hurt? How do you live in a family devoid of the basic emotion that connects them, love and trust? How does your upbringing shape who you ultimately become?

These are the kind of questions that this book raises and answers in some ways. There cannot be a right answer, it’s more of a perspective which the author brings out in a gentle manner. This is required when dealing with topics of abuse and hurt. Paige Dearth introduces us to Emma and her younger sister, who are subject to severe abuse from their father, with a mother who turns the other way through all this. To be frank, it is expected that the children will be traumatized, and that is putting it mildly. These experiences can change a person and the author portrays the same through the protagonist, Emma. She is strong-willed and resourceful while at the same time has a pleasing personality. It becomes difficult to dislike her or condemn her actions when she is after all doing her best to survive.

The people the sisters encounter along the way leave profound impacts on their lives. Some help them and end up becoming life long friends while the others end up somewhere in a ditch, and that’s putting it mildly. Everyone craves normalcy and a mundane life at times and the sisters are no different. However, tragedy seems to strike  so many times, it’s a wonder that they still find reasons to smile. In the end, Emma has the last laugh, but it was worth it all.

The author’s writing is bold and to the point and she doesn’t hold back on her descriptions. There is no stone left unturned in the journey of the sisters and Emma finally learns that you move on – “When smiles fade”! The title is apt and the reader understands this eventually. The story has a lot of smaller plot lines, with each encounter giving us a different glimpse into the characters who support this story and take it forward. The characters are well developed and clearly defined, giving the reader a clear idea of their personalities and at the same time helping us understand how they fit in.

The final question of “Will she find redemption and be happy?” is answered and I really enjoyed the way the story ended. It proved that Emma is a survivor and this is an inspiring thought. There is a lot to learn and understand in this book and I strongly recommend the same to all.

Prepare to laugh until your insides hurt in Jesper Jinx and the Mouse Mayhem (Jesper Jinx #7)

Marko Kitti is back with yet another book in the Jesper Jinx series, Jesper Jinx and the Mouse Mayhem. This is the 7th book in the series and is probably the most hilarious of the lot.

About the Book:

Jesper Jinx and the Mouse Mayhem (Jesper Jinx, #7)

Jesper Jinx is eleven, and probably the unluckiest person in all of Puffington Hill. Everything he touches seems to end up in sweet disaster. Hence his nickname ‘Jinx’.

But this time around, it is Puffington Hill itself that appears to be jinxed. The school canteen gets shut down and children are forced to eat wild clover flowers for lunch. Horrible hairy acorns fall from the sky, targeting black cats and squirrels. An eyewitness even claims to have seen a flying antique piano.

Something utterly peculiar is going on.

And it is up to you, Dear Reader, to help Jesper figure out who’s responsible for these seemingly unrelated incidents. Could it be Jesper himself? Or Lenny and Benny, the WARRIOR MOUSE brothers? Or even you yourself, the unsuspecting Book Gobbler?

My thoughts:

“So tell me, my friend,” Oliver goes on, lowering his voice to a near whisper, “have you been doing anything, say, out of the ordinary today?”

The above quote from the book, sums up in entirety, the main premise of this seventh installment. Those who have already read the previous books will have a fair idea about Jesper and his famous nickname, ‘jinx’. For the rest of you, it’s alright even if you haven’t read the rest, this book covers it all!

I seriously do not know where Marko gets his ideas from, but with each book that comes out in this series, the stories only get better and better! The silly old scribbler does indeed have a sack filled with wonderful and entertaining stories which are easy to read and can be enjoyed by people of all ages. It is clear that the target is young children, but still there is no going back once you start.

This book, the seventh installment, brings us face to face with a pair of mice who are at the bottom of a series of events that unfold like the domino effect, soon after Jesper adopts them as pets. The story is narrated over 24 hours, 1 day in Jesper’s life and is then followed by eye-witness and character accounts that bring out a side of the story that we couldn’t see before. Marko once again writes this story in his unique style mixing humor with some unbelievable incidents that will have the reader in splits. After all, many of us know about “the jinx”. However, in this story, it is for the reader to decide whether Jesper can be held responsible for the events that take place or not. He is after all just an eleven year old kid!

With each characters account becoming more outrageous than the other, the entire story is one fun-filled ride that will have the reader in splits. A must-read for everyone, there can be no age limit to enjoying Marko’s stories!