amreading

Cascading Petals: A Review

(5 / 5)

Come into the world of Jewel Hart: a teenager with a beautiful soul who is experiencing ugly hardships. Within the pages of Cascading Petals by Jane C. Brady, we will learn just what the sources of these hardships are. It’s not easy to exist in high school, especially when you’ve been made the target of bullies for the majority of your life. With one year left, Jewel braces herself to get this final torture over and done. It won’t go easy for her, however. With the new transfer student Jewel finds her life flipped upside down. Enemies have the potential to become friends and acquaintances become that much closer. Is there love in Jewel’s future? Or is there only heartache?

Brady captures the torture of being a bullied high school student with such majesty; it was hard to put the book down. Anyone who struggled, or is struggling, in that time of their life will immediately identify with the way Brady portrays her characters. She also shows her antagonists as human, which can be difficult to do. When you’ve experienced bullying, the hardest thing, aside from surviving, is realizing that your tormentors are just as human as you are. It’s a very realistic approach and lends itself well to this book. Her depiction of how schools have been handling bullying in Canada was also very accurate. While there are good schools out there, the majority have been severely unprepared to address the issue, even when something tragic happens.

The only downfall of this book would have to be some of the descriptions that the characters use for each other. When transfer student Kaiden Carter describes how Jewel appears to him, it’s with very over-the-top imagery which can be hard to swallow. While this is a young adult novel and that language is expected, it’s a bit much in some places. As a teen reading the book, however, it might be easier to accept.

It is important to note that Brady does not hold back in the repercussions of her characters actions. There are events that take place in the book that may act as triggers for sensitive readers, so that should be taken into consideration before settling down to read. It’s heartbreaking for those who get invested in the lives of the characters to watch them struggle and go through such pain. By bouncing the book back and forth between different viewpoints, the full picture can be seen which can cause a larger impact on the reader.

For a young adult novel it was pleasantly surprising to feel so invested in how things turned out for the protagonists of Cascading Petals by Jane C. Brady. As a reader outside the target for this book, it was great to feel connected to the characters right from the start. Covering difficult topics and fairly crafting each characters personality and backstory, Brady does a great job making her book worth the read. By doing such a realistic job, all readers will find themselves swallowed up and eager for more.

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Book Reviews, 0 comments

Grond: The Raven High: Grond Book 1 Review

(3 / 5)

If you’re looking for a space-adventure that flies a bit outside what is usually expected, you’re going to find it in Yuri Hamaganov’s Grond: The Raven High: Grond Book 1. Our protagonist is a young girl, Olga, who is living on a space station far outside the realm of earth. Here, she is raised by an Android and begins preparing for work at the tender age of six. Olga, called Raven by her android nanny Arina and curator Mikhail Petrov, works tirelessly in her strange little bubble to be able to run a plant that produces water. We follow along her everyday life as she prepares for her occupation and demonstrates her higher than average aptitude. It will soon be clear to readers that Olga is not an ordinary six-year-old girl, at least by current standards. She is something more advanced that the human beings we are today. Where her life will take her is an interesting journey.

As the first book in an apparent series, it is up to the author to build their world. First installments set the stage for future books. They captivate the interest of readers and leave them wanting more. Hamaganov does write quite eloquently and it is clear that some amount of research went into creating this novel. The world is not too far in the distant future and the layout is somewhat believable. Olga is isolated on a space station and has video communication with Petrov on a consistent basis. As we learn more about her origins and the type of work required of her, we begin to empathize with Olga’s predicament. When she faces the greatest struggle of her young life, readers will find themselves hoping that she will come out victorious.

There are areas for improvement, however. Several times throughout our story the voice changes from past to present in the middle of sentence. This is confusing for the readers as we’re not sure what’s supposed to be happening. Not a lot of detail is given about the state of Olga’s world, why she’s referred to as ‘Raven’, and how exactly it became okay to use child labour. We know that Olga is not the only one, as there is reference to other children in the same line of work as she. We also know that Olga is not quite an organic human being, but it’s never clearly stated if she was born with her advanced capabilities or if her parents simply sold her off to be implanted and sent to work. The only things that are clear is that the Earth is in trouble, there was a war in space, Olga works harder at the age of twelve than most people do in their thirties and that she is seen as a tool by those who employ her. There is mention of a resistance group that would help her achieve freedom, but when her very life is threatened there is no sign of this group. Perhaps these are all things that will be explored in future installments.

If you can manage to ignore the few shortfalls of this novel, most readers who love a good science-fiction piece will enjoy the adventures of Olga in Grond: The High Raven: Grond Book 1 by Yuri Hamaganov. The tidy epilogue at the end sparks curiosity in the reader and the sneak peek at the next installment will have most readers looking forward to book two.

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Book Reviews, 0 comments

The Signs of Aging

Oh man. Let’s just say I’ve been feeling my age lately. It’s not even like I’m that old; I’m turning 33 this year. That’s not old at all. But hot damn do I feel old.

I was knocked flat on my ass yesterday by a cold. A COLD. I used to laugh at those and hop myself up on Halls, DayQuil and whatever other manner of medication I could find. Maybe some Advil Cold and Sinus. Those little pills are usually the relief bringers for me.

But nooooo. Not yesterday. I had a sore throat on Tuesday so I left work early. I figured I’d work from home for a bit and then when my coworker returned from his lunch I’d have a nap and chill. Things seemed to be going fine, but then the city I live in started burning dead trees. Right near my house. The combination of the throat and the smoke knocked me out. My nasal cavities are stuffed and yesterday I didn’t get out of bed until 4:00pm.

So I took a sick day yesterday. I filled my bed with manga and my tablet and promptly passed out for a few hours.

20160330_074808.jpg

Have I read all of these before? Of course I have. That’s the joy about owning something. You can keep reading it.

Folks at my Day Job were pretty okay with me taking the day. I always feel really bad and have this urge to apologize profusely. But they won’t hear of it.

In other good news, I heard back from Memorial University so I know where to send my transcripts! I can get that organized today. Hopefully I can take at least one class come the Fall term. That would be awesome!

I hope your Thursday is going well! What are some signs you’ve discovered of your ‘aging’?

me

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Rantings, 3 comments

Busy, Busy!

I was pretty busy this weekend, but not in the way I expected. It was a nice busy, for the most part.

Saturday I got up at 6:45….AM. My husband had to work at 8:45am and I was babysitting for a friend that afternoon so groceries needed to be purchased! It was definitely really weird shopping that early in the morning. There were so many spots in the parking lot. Usually by 9 when I go the lot is pretty full. It was a long day for me, but I had a good time. Got to eat out (woo hoo McDonalds!) and wasn’t just lazing about at home. It was also laundry day. Yay clean clothes! Sunday was nicer. My eldest didn’t come to get me out of bed until 9 and I managed to convince him to hang out in bed with me for about 20 minutes before it was obvious he needed breakfast. The younger one was pretty chill too. I like days like that. Not too much running around (aside from chasing the kids) and I was able to relax quite a bit. I almost didn’t get any chips this weekend, which is detrimental to my sanity. My husband picked some up on his way home from work on Saturday which was very nice of him. They were too expensive at the grocery store I frequent on Saturday so I did not buy them then.

I have not touched my book in like, forever. I’m reading a book that my husband says I must. Perhaps you know it, Dune by Frank Herbert. I’m about halfway through. It’s not bad, actually. I haven’t read science fiction in quite some time.

I’m a bit out of it today though, I think. Recovering from a harried weekend and easing back into the flow of a standard work week. Things should be good in the end, but I am tired at the moment.

Once of these days I’ll manage something coherent. Until then, stay frosty my friends. It’s freakin’ cold here today in Canada.

frosty

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Rantings, 0 comments