The Prince And The Dressmaker By Jen Wang [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

Book Review: The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang | Reading | Young Adult | Graphic Novel | LGBT | Book Blogger |

My sister bought a hardcover copy from Barnes & Noble.


Paris, at the dawn of the modern age:

Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride―or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia―the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion!

Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances―one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone’s secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend? Jen Wang weaves an exuberantly romantic tale of identity, young love, art, and family. A fairy tale for any age, The Prince and the Dressmaker will steal your heart.

My Review:

Book Cover |

I was immediately intrigued by the cover itself to see the two main characters along with Sebastian’s alias the center of attention, yet in the background. I thought the cover was well done and says a lot about the contents of the book.

First Thoughts |

I have read a graphic novel by this author before. My sister found this book first and both of us were intrigued, so she bought it.

Plot |

This is not your typical “fairy-tale” as Prince Sebastian is looking more for a seamstress than a princess. Sebastian’s secret and hobby is dressing up in dresses and feeling pretty though he can’t announce it to his kingdom. Frances is his seamstress and her dream is to become famous with her sewing and have her work out into the fashion world. The problem is, no one can know she’s the one making dresses for “Lady Crystallia,” Prince Sebastian.

The plot conveyed the struggles of both characters very well through both the dialogue and the pictures drawn. There was enough tension, happy moments, and sad moments throughout. This is a page-turner and not just because it’s a quick read due to it being a graphic novel.

Characters |

Sebastian and Frances were strong characters. Both were likable and easy to relate to. They had their own unique personalities and struggles just like everyone else. I’d love to see this pair in another book.

Emile, Sebastian’s servant, was awesome too. He was the only one who knew Sebastian’s secret and he kept it and cared for Sebastian as his own.

The king and queen were annoying at first – though I think that was the point. They were still good characters, just thinking of the kingdom as well as their son.

Writing Style |

This is a graphic novel and it had a good balance of dialogue and pictures. There were a good amount of pages that just had pictures showing the time pass and expressions. There were no words needed. It was very well done.

Overall |

This was a wonderful read with an important message for all. It’s fast paced being a graphic novel, but it worked. The characters were great and I’m looking forward to more from this author.

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang gets…
Book Review Rating System | 5 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com5 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“When I first learned the truth, I thought Sebastian’s life would be ruined. But seeing you, I realized everything would be fine. Because someone still loved him.” –Jen Wang, The Prince and the Dressmaker

Buy the book:


Read my review of IRL: In Real Life by Jen Wang!

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around! Also, check out the other Book Reviews I’ve done!

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

Sign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging |


Time To Write: Rain [Creative Writing Prompt]

Last week’s writing prompt was a general prompt. Check out some great pieces by fellow writers:

Now onto this week’s writing prompt:

Creative Writing Prompt | Rain | Flash Fiction | Writing | Weather Prompt |

Write a story based off the prompt provided above.

If you use this prompt, please leave a link to your post in the comments below and I’ll share it next week. Please be sure to link back to my blog so your readers know where you got the prompt!

Happy Writing! If you want more, check out all my other Writing Prompts here!

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double JumpSign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging |

6 Ways To Organize Your Bookshelves

If you’re an avid reader, then I’m sure you have too many books to fill your shelves. I’m also pretty sure you love to organize the books in your free time because… why not?

6 Ways To Organize Your Bookshelves | Book Blogger | Book Reviews | Reading | Books |

1. Chronologically

You can organize your shelves this way in a number of different ways. This can be in the order you bought the books, the order the books were published, or by the author’s age… I’ve never seen anyone do that, but I’m sure it’d be interesting and probably very tedious.

2. Color

Who doesn’t want a rainbow bookshelf? Put your books in rainbow order by their spines. It would most likely split up books by the same author and series but it’d be really pretty to look at.

3. Alphabetically

Alphabetize your books. They’ll be easier to find if you’re looking for something in particular. You can order them by the title or the author’s first or last name.

4. Genre

This one speaks for itself. Clump mystery books together, romance books together, and so on. Alphabetize the genres while you’re at it.

5. Geographically

Based on where the book is set, you can put all those books together as well. You can order them based on various parts of the world, alphabetize those places, or you can put places you’ve been to in real life first. It’ll be like a map of where you’ve been as well.

6. Size and Shape

If you really want to please your eyes, put your books in order by size. It’ll look like a staircase and the books will look organized from the get-go. You can also do it by shape as well – put all the hardcover books together and then all the paperbacks together.

How do you organize your bookshelves? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double JumpSign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging |

What Book Bloggers Want Authors To Know

Book reviews are important for authors. It’s good for their sales and it gives them valuable feedback. Authors seek out book bloggers to send copies of their books to in exchange for honest reviews.

Some people see book blogging as fun and easy because you sit there and read before typing up your thoughts. But there’s a lot a more to it that people don’t realize. It’s hard work and it’s time consuming.

What Book Bloggers Want Authors To Know | Book Bloggers | Book Reviews |

Read Our Reviews/Review Policy First

If you want to ask a book blogger to read and review your work, you need to read their work first. Make sure you’re happy with the way they do their reviews and also make sure they review the kinds of books you write. Sure, it never hurts to reach out and ask if you have a question, but chances are the answer is already somewhere on their blog.

Be Personal And Professional

I mean, I’m not one to be too professional. I enjoy a good smiley-face in an email once in a while but a professional tone is nice. I like it when I get personalized emails using my name and talking about my own blog – not a general blog.

No Means No

I personally hate saying no to books. However, if I don’t think I’m going to enjoy the book or if I just have too many in my queue at the moment, I may not accept your request. If that’s the case, don’t keep emailing asking when I can accept your book or letting me know that you’re cool with waiting a while.

Don’t Send Too Many Emails

Speaking of waiting, if I accept your book I’ll let you know how long the wait will be. I don’t need you emailing me every week asking if your book is coming up next in my queue. I will get to it in the near future, otherwise I wouldn’t have accepted it.

Don’t Ask For A Good Review

Some reviewers don’t post reviews if they’re a certain low rating, but most reviewers post the review whether the rating is low or high. The point is, the reviewer is giving their honest opinion in exchange for a free book. If the book didn’t turn out to be their cup of coffee, they have the right to post the review no matter what. Remember, it’s just one person’s opinion.

Don’t Ask For The Reviewer To Pay For The Book

Sales are important and authors need to make a living, but asking for a reviewer to do you a favor and then have them use their own money just doesn’t fly. Book bloggers are doing you a favor so the least you can do is give us a free book in return.

Share The Review Around

Once the review of your book is up, please share the post around with your own followers and readers. As the book blogger is helping you by reviewing your work and sharing the review around, you can help the reviewer out by sharing the review too. It gives you exposure and it gives them exposure for their blog. It’d a win-win for everyone.

Say Thank You

Book bloggers live to read and review because we love the written word and we know how hard authors work. Most of us don’t expect anything in return and don’t charge for our book review services. So, after writing a review it’s always nice to get an email (or even a comment on the review) from the author afterwards with a simple thank you. Even if the reviewer gave the book a low rating, it feels good to get a thank you from the author.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I always feel bad giving a low rating – but the book just wasn’t my cup of coffee. So when I receive a nice email from the author afterward, appreciative of my work, it makes me feel good as well. I know my hard work was acknowledged and I’m sure I’ll be working with that author again in the future.

This goes especially for authors going through publicists. I’ve gotten most of my review copies from publicists and never hear from the author at all. I don’t mind working with publicists, but it’d be nice to know if the author themselves are reading my reviews of their books and not just trying to get a stack of reviews going.

Do you agree? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double JumpSign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging |

My Book Review Format

I’ve changed the way I write book reviews over the years. I used to write a quick blurb about what I liked and didn’t like about the book and that was it.

Then I discovered Goodreads and realized that there’s a lot more to book reviewing than I thought. I took the biggest components of a book and put them together in a review – plot, characters, and writing style.

Now I do it a little differently and I’ve added more to my reviews.

My Book Review Format | Book Blogger | Book Reviews |

My Review

My review consists of six parts – Book Cover, First Thoughts, Plot, Characters, Writing Style, and Overall, a conclusion.

Book Cover

I talk about the book cover and my thoughts on how I like it and how it fits with the story itself. The book cover is the first thing people see. They say not to judge a book by its cover, but… come on, we’ve all done it.

First Thoughts

In this section I mention why I bought the book or why I decided to read it (if I get a free copy). I talk about what intrigued me about the book at first glance.


This one speaks for itself. I don’t typically summarize what happened in the book, but I discuss what I thought worked well for the plot and how unique the plot made the genre it’s written in. I say my thoughts on how well I think the author executed the plot.


Characters are what drive the story forward and are, in my opinion, the most important part of a story. In this section I discuss the protagonist, the antagonist, and any supporting characters. I talked about which characters I enjoyed and related to, and I also talk about how well they developed throughout the course of the story.

Writing Style

A book is only read well when it’s written well. The writing style section talks about how well the book flowed, the pacing and tension, as well as the POV and length of book.


This is the conclusion to the review. It’s a wrap up, just a sentence or two summarizing my overall thoughts before I give it the rating.


The actual review isn’t the only part of the book review post. Before I write my actual review I mention how I got the book and show the book cover along with its genre and publication date. I add in the summary of the book and then dive into the review.

At the end of the review, I post the rating – I use a 1-5 rating scale. After that I add in my favorite quote from the book which can be a funny line, a line that struck out to me for some reason, a great piece of description, or something inspirational. Anything, really.

Then I end the review with buy links to the book and an author bio, if provided.

It’s a much bigger process than it seems and it can be pretty time consuming. But this is the best way I’ve come up with writing my book reviews and it works for me.

How do you write your book reviews? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double JumpSign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging |

Should Book Bloggers Post “Bad” Book Reviews?

As a writer, when I read a book that I don’t particularly care for, I feel bad giving it a “bad” review. As a writer, I know how hard an author works on their book. I know the blood, sweat, and tears that go into it. I understand how time consuming it is, how much hard work and dedication gets thrown into the book.

Yet, as a book blogger, I’m obligated to be honest – but fair – in my book reviews. Especially if I get the book for free from the author.

So, what do you do when you don’t care too much for a book you read?

Should Book Bloggers Publish Bad Book Reviews? | Book Reviews | Book Bloggers | Reading | Books |

What is a “bad” book review?

To me, giving a book a “bad” review means giving it a 1- or 2-star rating. Of course, everyone’s rating system is different, but I typically go by the Goodreads rating system. To me, a 1 or a 2 means that I didn’t like the book that much and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever given a book a 1-star before, but I know I’ve given a couple books a 2-star rating before. As I said in my intro, I always feel bad doing this because I hate telling something I didn’t like their creative work.

But that just means it wasn’t my cup of coffee.

Not everyone reviews the books they read and book bloggers review books because they truly enjoy reading.

Reviews are super important to authors. It really brings the hype to their books and the feedback is wonderful for them.

Yes, it’s disappointing and disheartening when someone posts a bad review about their work, but you can’t please everyone. We all have different tastes in things, different likes and dislikes. I’ve come across a couple book bloggers who refuse to read books written in first person. It’s all a matter of perspective and opinion.

Should book bloggers published “bad” book reviews?

The short answer? Yes.

The long answer? Yes, because it’s the job of a book blogger and reviewer to be honest and give feedback to the author. The review serves two purposes: it shows potential readers of the book what to expect (if they read reviews before deciding to read the book) and it also gives the author feedback on their writing – what worked in their story and what didn’t.

As I said, you can’t please everyone. One person might have hated the protagonist, but three other people might have loved the protagonist. It’s a matter of opinion and now two people read the same story. It’s all perspective and what the book meant to them.

Remember to be honest, but fair and polite.

Just because you didn’t like it, doesn’t mean other people didn’t either. It also doesn’t mean the author doesn’t have feelings.

Every time I’ve given a book a 2-star rating, I always try to balance the review with the things that didn’t work with me along with things that did work well, but just wasn’t enough to do it for me. I also end the review with a recommendation.

Just because I didn’t like the book, doesn’t mean you won’t. If you thought the summary sounded intriguing to you, give the book a try.

What if you don’t want to give a bad review?

I’ve seen plenty of people say they won’t publish their review if it’s under 3 stars. Most authors prefer to not have the review published because they don’t want any low ratings. I understand that, but I personally don’t think it’s practical because not everyone is going to enjoy your work. It sucks, but it’s true.

So, if you don’t want to give a bad review, let the author know and tell them your feelings on why. There was a book I couldn’t finish one time and I explained why and deleted my free copy. That book wasn’t poorly written, but I couldn’t connect with the characters and the content of the book was pretty heavy on a topic I didn’t care to read about.

With that said, while I still post “bad” reviews, it’s okay to not review the book at all. As long as you email the author, if you got the copy for free from them, and explain to them why giving them your feedback privately, there’s nothing wrong with that.

It’s all up to you.

Some people don’t mind posting bad book reviews and others do. Just like the books themselves, it’s all a matter of opinion and whatever you feel is right.

Do you usually post a review for every book you read, no matter if it’s a high rating or not? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double JumpSign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging |

Short Story Sunday 217: Oxygen

Short Story: "Oxygen" | Creative Writing | Flash Fiction |

            Amelia sat in the waiting room. Her body was slumped over one of the hospital chairs. It was cushioned, but was not at all comfortable. Then again, it may have been because she was sitting there for so long.

Her head was bowed down as she felt herself drifting off to sleep. She wouldn’t allow it though. The doctor was going to come out any moment and give her an update on her grandfather. While her eye lids were heavy and they stung every time she blinked, Amelia was not going to rest. Not while her grandfather was in pain and possibly suffering.

Amelia had called her mother, her grandfather’s daughter. She had also contacted her sister and a couple of her cousins. A few never answered the phone and the others were on their way.

It was Amelia’s turn to visit her grandfather. It was her turn to make sure he was comfortable and to keep him company for a little while. And while she knew something like this was going to happen soon, she had never imagined that he would have happened on her watch.

She could now say that she had dialed the emergency number for someone. She could now say that she finally put her CPR class to good use. She could now say that this might be it for her grandfather and she would officially have no more grandparents left.

“Amelia South?”

Amelia shot out of her chair as though she was never half-asleep. She didn’t want to seem too eager, but how else was someone supposed to act in such a situation?

“I’m Dr. Hopper,” a tall man stuck out his hand.

Amelia shook it staring up at him as best she could. Her vision was getting a little blurry though. She didn’t know if tears were forming or if sleep was overcoming her while standing.

“Amelia South, as you know, how do you do?”

“I’m as well as I can be, thank you.” He nodded. “You’re Rusty’s granddaughter?”


“Is there anyone else coming?”

“My mother is on her way. She’s his daughter. I don’t know what’s keeping her though.”

“Okay, well I’ll tell you so you’re not in such suspense anymore.” He cracked a smile.

“Thank you,” Amelia breathed. She didn’t know why he was smiling in such a dire time, but she was going to take that as a good sign.

“Your grandfather is going to be just fine. You can see him in a moment. He had an asthma attack and being 92-years-old, his body had a tough time fighting back.” Dr. Hopper explained.

Now the tears started to come. An asthma attack wasn’t good, but it was better than a lot of other things that could have happened.

“We’ve put him on oxygen and there’s a chance he’ll need to be on that for the rest of his life, but he’ll be able to go home. We’re just going to keep him overnight for observations.”

“Thank you,” Amelia said with a grateful grin.

“You can come see him.” Dr. Hopper took a step back and led the way down the hall.

Amelia trotted after the doctor like an excited puppy. She smiled when she saw her grandfather lying in a hospital bed wearing a gown hooked up to IVs, various wires, and an oxygen tank.

“Grandpa?” she asked.

He turned his head and smiled at her. “Hey, Amelia. Did you hear? My lungs tried to kill me.”

Amelia chuckled as she sat down in a chair beside his bed. “You’re very lucky, you know. If you had just gotten that cold checked out at the doctor’s like we all told you to.”

“Oh, hush. What good would that have done? An asthma attack is an asthma attack. It would have happened sooner or later. Besides, it’s all alright. It’s not my time to go just yet. Don’t you worry about that.” He stretched out his hand and Amelia took it.

A few minutes later, Amelia’s mother came running into the room. She let out a sigh of relief upon seeing the two of them together. She walked over to the bed.

“Dad… How are you?”

“I’m great,” he smiled.

“Well,” Amelia’s mother looked down at her daughter and let out a small chuckle, “That makes one of us anyway.”

They laughed and Amelia’s mother pulled up a chair beside her daughter. Then the three of them sat and talked for a while. After a while, Amelia had forgotten that they were even in the hospital.

Words: 756

I hope you enjoyed the story! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around. Also, check out the other Short Story Sundays I’ve done!

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double JumpSign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging |