Posted in Reading/Book Reviews

The Neverland Wars by Audrey Greathouse

The Neverland Wars by Audrey Greathouse book review Rachel Poli
Via Goodreads
Title: The Neverland Wars
Author: Audrey Greathouse
Genre: Fantasy
How I got the book: I bought it

Summary (from Goodreads):

Magic can do a lot—give you flight, show you mermaids, help you taste the stars, and… solve the budget crisis? That’s what the grown-ups will do with it if they ever make it to Neverland to steal its magic and bring their children home.

However, Gwen doesn’t know this. She’s just a sixteen-year-old girl with a place on the debate team and a powerful crush on Jay, the soon-to-be homecoming king. She doesn’t know her little sister could actually run away with Peter Pan, or that she might have to chase after her to bring her home safe. Gwen will find out though—and when she does, she’ll discover she’s in the middle of a looming war between Neverland and reality.

She’ll be out of place as a teenager in Neverland, but she won’t be the only one. Peter Pan’s constant treks back to the mainland have slowly aged him into adolescence as well. Soon, Gwen will have to decide whether she’s going to join impish, playful Peter in his fight for eternal youth… or if she’s going to scramble back to reality in time for the homecoming dance.

My Review:

This book is not what it seems. No, I’m not talking about the magic. I’m talking about the plot. Or, lack thereof.

While the writing style of this novel was very easy to read and the story flowed well, not too much happened. The summary and the even the title itself was misleading. And when I say misleading, I mean it chalks the story up to be much more than what it was.

Neverland was fun to explore, but that was just about it. There was a lot of worldbuilding, but not too much happened in that world so it seemed to be pointless.

I thought the characters were well done and I enjoyed each and every one of them. However, Gwen, the protagonist, is 16 and acts much younger. She could get slightly annoying at times.

Gwen goes to Neverland to bring her sister, Rosemary home. Rosemary is barely in the story as we focus too much on Gwen. So the ending when Gwen finds out whether Rosemary wants to stay or not, is a little unclear because we didn’t get to know Rosemary at all.

The beginning of the novel was strong. So I got increasingly disappointed as the novel continued. The ending was very abrupt and I don’t know if there will be a sequel or not.

If you know me, you know Peter Pan is my absolute favorite. So while it was fun reading about the author’s interpretation of Neverland, nothing else about the actual story was memorable. 

The Neverland Wars by Audrey Greathouse gets out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“It’s fun to watch how their imaginations run away with them… And how they sometimes end up running away with their imaginations.” –Audrey Greathouse, The Neverland Wars

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest | GoodReads


Posted in Writing, Writing Prompts

Time To Write: Sentence Starter 12

Start your next story or chapter using this sentence. Or, end the story or chapter with this sentence.

Feel free to change the genders and point of view to fit your ideas.

Feel free to post your story in the comments below. I’d love to see what you come up with. If you respond by Thursday, August 4, I’ll post your story and a link to your blog for next week’s Time to Write prompt.

Happy writing!

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest | GoodReads

Posted in Blogging, Reading/Book Reviews, Writing

July 2016 Wrap Up


I had a successful month of reading. I got through most of the books I wanted to and then some.


I wrote a lot this month. I finished the first draft of my novel, Hunter. I finished it before hitting 50k words for Camp NaNoWriMo, so I wrote some short stories. I finished my Short Story Sundays for the rest of 2016.

The still didn’t bring me to 50,000 words, so I’ve been working on other stories for contests and magazines.

Needless to say, it was a productive writing month.


I got a bit behind in keeping up with the blogs I follow this month, but I think I kept up with it enough.

I finished my posts for July and was able to get a head start on August as well.


July was a busy, hectic month. But, despite everything, I had a really productive month.

Posts to Remember

1. July/August 2016 Writing Contests
2. 5 Quotes by Stephen King
3. July 2016 Camp NaNoWriMo Update
4. Guest: On Writing Short Stories
5. Guest: Always Back Yourself For The Better

How was your month?

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest | GoodReads

Posted in Blogging, Reading/Book Reviews, Writing

Blog Round Up: July 2016

Here’s a list of my favorite blog posts from July. I hope you find them as useful as I did!


Top Ten Tuesday 32 (Quotes)
Harry Potter: Exploring the Unforgivable Curses
Monday Book Recommendations: Miss Peregrin Series
Book Buying Habits Tag
The July Biblio Box – Review and Unboxing


An Open Letter To Writers
A Writer’s Personality
Myths About Fanfiction
Lies – 5 Tips To Master The Perfect Character Arc

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest | GoodReads

Posted in Reading/Book Reviews

A Spark of Justice by J.D. Hawkins

A Spark of Justice by JD Hawkins book review Rachel Poli
Via Goodreads
Title: A Spark of Justice
Author: J.D. Hawkins
Genre: Mystery
How I got the book: I got a free digital copy from the author in exchange for an honest review

Summary (from Goodreads):

A fatal accident at the circus sparks an insurance investigation that leads John Nieves, a former New York cop, to a list of murder suspects. It seems that The Great Rollo, beloved of millions, had enemies… both at the circus and among his own family. All that is surreal and magical about the circus brings out Nieves’ deepest fears, blinding him to the very real danger that is closer at hand. A bizarre series of revelations and coincidences keep Nieves’ suspicions of the circus people high, even after the actual evidence suggests that the incident really was only an unfortunate accident. The furtive actions of Rollo’s wife and brother, the beneficiaries of his insurance, lead Nieves into even dirtier family secrets. Apparent attempts on his life from all quarters threaten Nieves, but he refuses to drop the case until the whole truth of who killed The Great Rollo is revealed.

My Review:

We follow John, an insurance man, as he investigates a death in the circus to write a proper insurance claim. Even though he’s not a cop anymore, those instincts still remain and he wonders if there’s more to the death than meets the eye.

This was an interesting read having a mystery based in a circus. It certainly gets points for having a different type of setting.

The writing was easy to follow and quick to read. It was written in third person which I think was the best choice for this story. I liked following John throughout the story and each of the circus characters were interesting and unique.

I was a little disappointed in the ending as I felt it was a bit anti-clamatic. This is categorized as a cozy mystery and cozy it is, but I felt more or something different could have been done.

A Spark of Justice by J.D. Hawkins gets out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“Practice makes perfect. Never give up what you really want to be.” –J.D. Hawkins, A Spark of Justice 

About the Author:

J.D. Hawkins is a native of Los Angeles, but has also lived in Hawaii and the Midwest States. He spent part of his youth traveling with a carnival and has lived through many real life adventures that include hitchhiking cross country and living through one of L.A.’s more famous earthquakes.He began writing stories in high school and has turned to writing Mystery and Thriller novels, intentionally devising more original themes than the usual police procedurals and standard murder mysteries.

He began writing stories in high school and has turned to writing Mystery and Thriller novels, intentionally devising more original themes than the usual police procedurals and standard murder mysteries.

He once seriously considered becoming a lion tamer and fantasized owning a zoo as a child. He still gives regular thought to becoming involved with a Big Cat sanctuary and this love of wild felines may come out in the plots of some of his stories.

Connect with J.D. Hawkins:

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Posted in Life, Writing

A New Environment

I’m on vacation this week.

I’ve been reading a lot. And writing in my notebook before bed to wind down.

I’ve also been playing a fun amount of video games, swimming in the lake, playing board games and card games, and lost money in a casino.

I hope all of you get a chance torest  and relax and have a vacation at some point this summer!

Posted in Short Story Sunday, Writing, Writing Prompts

Short Story Sunday 119

            Candice’s mother cut up her grilled steak. She speared a small piece onto her fork and looked up at her daughter with a sweet smile. “So, what did you do today, Candice?”

Candice grabbed her ice water and took a sip to wash down the salty piece of steak she had shoveled into her mouth. She swallowed and smiled remembering her day.

She worked in a school system and school had just ended for summer break last week. Candice was a free woman. She was home all day, every day. She had no responsibilities.

Candice woke up early that morning as her body was still on her school schedule. She woke up around six in the morning, but rolled out of bed anyway. It wasn’t that bad to wake up so early in the morning if you didn’t have anywhere to be. She didn’t even get changed out of her pajamas right away.

Her parents had already left for work by the time she woke up, so she went downstairs to the quite kitchen and made herself a tall glass of iced coffee. It was only the end of June, but the summer heat was coming in with a bang. It was going to hit about 80 degrees by eight in the morning.

She grabbed the latest novel she was reading in one hand and had her coffee in the other. Then she stepped outside onto her back porch. She put her book and drink down on the glass table and opened the umbrella, squinting from the sun already pretty high in the sky.

Just as she was about to sit down to read and enjoy her morning brew, Candice heard a whimper at the back down. She looked over her shoulder and noticed her small Chihuahua, Pip, scratching at the screen.

Of course, how could she forget the dog? Candice opened the screen and her puppy dashed outside. Pip hopped up onto the chair beside Candice. It was in the sun, but Pip enjoyed sunbathing.

And with that, Candice put her feet up, leaned back, and read her book all while taking small sips of her coffee.

She stayed out there for a while, only to go inside to house to make herself food or get on her bathing suit to take a dip in the pool.

“Well, it sounds like you’ve had a very relaxing day. It must be nice not having to go to work anymore.” Her mother chuckled.

Candice nodded her head slowly. “Oh, you have no idea how nice it is to be on break…”

After nine straight months in a classroom with 15 three-year-olds? Summer couldn’t have come quick enough.

Words: 446