Book Review: Three Voices by Nora Sarel

About the Book:

Three Voices

History always comes full circle

Whether she was hiding in an oven or the forest, in the monastery or in the cellar, Lena has been followed by one thing: loneliness. Now an elderly woman with nothing but her memories to guide her – she embarks on a journey to unravel the truth of her past, once and for all.

You have never read a story quite like this. Based on real events, Three Voices illustrates the trauma and relief of a woman escaping the atrocities of the Holocaust, traveling the world and eventually reclaiming her childhood. This incredible tale, pieced together from three unique perspectives, weaves past, present and future into a heart-wrenching experience that will change you.
Watch Lena take her life back

Lena remembers everything from her childhood. She doesn’t know that her whole life is about to be turned upside down as she comes face-to-face with another Lena. A once-in-a-lifetime meeting between the two Lena’s and the town’s priest sends shockwaves that reverberate through the truth that was known to her.

My Thoughts:

Three Voices portrays the horrifying life and trauma of a woman during the Holocaust and her journey as she tries to put it behind her. The story is told in three parts, bringing together the past, present and future, creating links that the woman was unaware of and exposing some truths that were hidden.

The story is brings out the harsh conditions, the way of life and the hardships people faced at the time of the Holocaust. In the first part, we take a journey with Lena as she shows us a glimpse into her childhood and years of growing up. A child, forced to grow up and act mature right from the age of 3, Lena deals with hiding, secrecy, living away from her parents and changes in faith. The main question that comes up as a part of this story is the question of faith and religion, how the mind processes it and how it affects people.

At times it is difficult to follow the story as it is narrated without a clear distinction in who is really talking to the reader. It becomes confusing to separate the information until later on, in the last part, when the rest of the story unravels. The character profile of the “other Lena” is confusing and not very clear. The story of the priest and the truth he finally brings out ensures that the reader has the entire story by the end of the book. A lot of repetition of points, especially to re-enforce how the protagonist was forced to grow up very soon, diluted the effect and seriousness of the overall theme.

Overall, the story is a decent read for those who enjoy stories based on historical events and the reader will definitely feel the sadness and effect of the events as Lena sets out to rediscover and reclaim her past.

Book Review: Ascendant (book 1) and Midheaven (book 2) by Rebecca Taylor

About the Books:

Ascendant (book 1):

Ascendant by Rebecca Taylor

When I was twelve, my mother disappeared. I was the first person to never find her. I’m sixteen now and she has never been found, alive or dead. I’m not the girl I should have been.

When Charlotte Stevens, bright but failing, is sent to stay at her mother’s childhood home in Somerset England her life is changed forever. While exploring the lavish family manor, Gaersum Aern, Charlotte discovers a stone puzzle box that contains a pentagram necklace and a note from her mother-clues to her family’s strange past and her mother’s disappearance.

Charlotte must try to solve the puzzle box, decipher her mother’s old journals, and figure out who is working to derail her efforts-and why. The family manor contains many secrets and hidden histories, keys to the elegant mystery Charlotte called mom and hopefully, a trail to finding her.

Midheaven (book 2):

Midheaven (Ascendant Trilogy, #2)

As Above, So Below

As the direct descendant of Francis Bacon (aka Shakespeare) Charlotte is the next Ascendant. She is destined to teach mankind the secret mysteries of alchemy.

If only she knew what those were.

With her father’s stone box, and her mother’s first key, Charlotte will quest around the world to solve the puzzle and reveal its secret.

Unless Emerick gets her first.

My Thoughts:

Since I read these books continuously, one after the other, I decided to post a combined review. In general, I enjoyed the premise of the story and the events that occurred to take it forward. The story is written decently and will ensure the reader continues on until the end. The author manages to build up some amount of mystery and intrigue.

However, the protagonist is decent at best, but she gets rather whiny and annoying. Her attentions are directed towards the two guys showering her with attention and she is torn between them in the usual cliched style. At times she comes across as shallow, and at others, someone with a strong mind. She sets out to find the meaning to the clues left behind by her parents. As the story unfolds, the reader is drawn into a world of drama, secrets, betrayal.

The story lacked in precise character development and a deeper premise than was there. It was easy to figure out what might happen next and the books did not make me want to keep turning the pages. Having said this, there are parts that are interesting and had potential. A stronger focus on the characters, creating complex personalities and a more interesting twist to the plot would have made it gripping. Though there was some adventure and mystery thrown in, it just made the story more confusing. It was just another book in the usual style of having a clue and trying to decipher it while also trying to keep it away from the bad guys.

Bottom-line: Read the book. You may or may not like it, but you can form an opinion by yourself.

Book Review: On the Way to Simple by Jennifer Acres

About the Book:

On the Way to Simple

Dakota Ames had everything under control, or so she thought.
Ever since her father’s accident on duty as a fireman, she promised herself she would always have a plan. Life couldn’t throw her a curve anymore.
That is until her best friend Alex enlisted in the Navy.
This couldn’t happen. It wasn’t part of her plan. She hadn’t even worked up the nerve to tell him she loved him. Alex was wrong to go and she was going to prove it.
But when she meets Will, one of Alex’s fellow recruits, she finds that things aren’t always so simple.

My Thoughts:

A wonderful and heart warming story of friendship, love, acceptance and the beauty of life. This is a story that will tug at the heart strings of the reader. The ups and downs of life are beautifully portrayed in this story and it’s a pleasure to see the characters grow into stronger people.

Dakota, the main protagonist, has a plan for everything. She thinks that she can control the direction her life takes, including how everyone close to her affects it. What she doesn’t realize is that plans are never set in concrete and life is ever-changing. She is severely affected by the trauma of her father’s accident and the job he used to do, which lead her to be the way she was. Alex, the best friend, has also seen his share of problems in life and in spite of everything, has always been by Dakota’s side. It’s a deep friendship, stemming right from childhood.

The author brings out these minute details in the character’s lives and the introduction of Dakota’s best friend adds more substance to the story. She is so different from Dakota, but is perhaps one of the most caring and time proves that their friendship is very strong. The story revolves around how Dakota meets Will, a Navy recruit and falls for him against all her plans. In parallel, she is also dealing with the fact that Alex has enlisted and she feels betrayed by the same. What follows is a test of the strength of their friendship, their love and all that matters to the people involved.

Life takes unexpected turns, introduces new people to us, and in the end everyone has a role in shaping who you are. The author gives enough importance to all the relationships in this story and the feelings of the people involved. A well-written story with a moving plot, there is no doubt that the reader will fall in love with everything about this book.

Walking down memory lane

Let’s take a walk down memory lane and check out some really good books to read during your childhood. This post will be restricted to a few of my favorite books. I will do a follow-up post later to add on more books or else this will be a never-ending list. The books are mentioned in no particular order.

Books by Enid Blyton:

Enid Blyton is definitely my favourite childhood author. I have read almost all the books written by her and can pick these books up, even now and read them all over again. They are filled with fun, light humour, adventure and so much happiness. They are delightful and she created so many characters, that it is difficult not to fall in love with at least some of them.

Find out more about her books at http://www.enidblytonsociety.co.uk/cave-of-books.php

Here are a list of series that are strongly recommended from the very bottom of my heart –

  • The St Clare’s series – A series of books chronicling the lives of girls studying at the boarding school St Clare’s. The books follow them through different years of study and the mischief they get up to brings out many a laugh. The main protagonists are the O’Sullivan twins.
  • The Malory Tower’s series – Similar in concept to the St Clare’s series, this is also a series about a boarding school. This series however follows the life of Darrell river’s as she works her way through each year of schooling along with the various kinds of girls she meets. A whole load of mischief awaits.

The above two series talk a lot about friendship, being truthful, faithful, finding oneself and growing up to be who you were meant to be.

  • The Famous Five – I am sure that most everyone knows of the Famous Five. Just mentioning the name of the series here should be enough of a memory trigger.
  • The Mystery Series (Five Find-Outers and Dog) – A series similar in style to that of the Famous Five, this series is still quite different. It consists of more adventure, disguises, investigation. If you haven’t read it yet, it is never too late!
  • The Adventure Series – A series of books about 4 children and the various adventures they end up on, though similar in the basic theme to the above two series, is once again quite different.
  • The Magic Faraway Tree – This book as well as the Folk of the Faraway Tree, is quite different from Blyton’s other books. These talk about various kinds of people who live in the tree and is quite enchanting to read. It will enhance a child’s imagination to a higher extent.

The Nancy Drew Mysteries by Carolyn Keene:

A famous series about a young girl, in her teens, interested in solving mysteries. She is accompanied by a group of friends and her boyfriend Ned. A rather charming set of books, this is definitely a series that one should have grown up with.

The Hardy Boys series by Franklin W. Dixon:

A YA series about two brothers in their late teens involved in solving mysteries, this counts for quite a fascinating read.

The Three Investigators by Robert Arthur Jr.:

 A YA series about three boys, friends, who are vastly different in their abilities, come together to start an investigating agency complete with visiting cards for them all.

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot:

A YA series about a girl who learns that she is a princess and has to deal with the responsibilities that come with the same. Written in the form of diary entries, this is a fun filled read.

Look out for the next post which will have more books. In the mean time, add on to this by sharing the various books you have read in your childhood and would like to recommend to me and to others.

Malory Towers series by Enid Blyton

Image

Some of the earliest books I remember reading are those by Enid Blyton. Among the authors for children’s books, she stands far ahead in the kinds of stories she tells. She has written so many books that it is difficult to keep track of, but some of her most famous books do bring back fond memories when I think of them. This is the first of many reviews I plan to write about some of her novels and series.

The Malory towers series is about a boarding school in Cornwall by the same name for girls. They begin school there at the age of 11 and then continue to finish by the age of 17. The series chronicles the life of the students and the fun they have. It talks about strong bonds of friendship and great values in life ad how these can shape a person. The first book is about a girl called Darren who joins the first form and how she adjusts to the new life where girls sleep in dormitories and share their things and are loud but have a lot of fun playing pranks on their teachers and of course having the ever famous midnight feasts. The rest of the books follow the same set of girls as they go up each year and the kind of problems they face with each year. It describes the hard work they need to put in and the kind of qualities brought out in each girl.

The stories are heartwarming, fun and light to read. In spite of that they keep you entertained and you end up loving the characters you read about. Such harmless stories filled with so much meaning and a lot of ideals which we can and should follow in life. These are the kind of books that one can read at any time. There is no particular age to read these books and Enid Blyton’s books are forever. I recommend these books for the sheer joy they bring and the life they add. Frankly I have always secretly wished I could attend one of their midnight feasts!!

More thoughts and reviews on the various books by Enid Blyton will come soon. I do hope there are people out there who share my love for these books.

– Dark Warrior