Posted in Book Reviews, Fantasy, Reading, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Keepers By Sacha de Black [Book Review]

Keepers by Sacha de Black Book Review

Title: Keepers (The Eden East #1)
Author: Sacha de Black
Published: 
November 17, 2017
Genre: Young adult, science fiction
How I got the book: I received a free digital review copy in exchange for an honest review

Summary:

Eden’s life is balanced…
…until her soul is bound to her enemy.

When her parents are murdered, the realm of Trutinor is threatened. Then a mysterious human arrives and changes everything.

As Eden’s world spirals out of control, she doesn’t need a charismatic Siren from her past returning to complicate life.

Now, saving Trutinor is the last thing on Eden’s mind.

Three boys.
Two murdered parents.
One deadly choice.

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

I have been following Sacha on her blog and social media for some time now. I’ve read and followed her through every update this book and I can’t believe the time has finally come – it is out in the world. Sacha approached me to advance read this book and I was more than happy to accept.

rp-plot

Keepers has the most unique plot I’ve seen in a while. The world is fleshed out to the max and the characters are super important in their own way.

We follow Eden East as she tries to do right in her world, Trutinor. Everything changes when her parents are murdered, her soul is bound to not one, but two boys. One of those boys being her enemy and neither of them being the man she truly loves. Then it’s a race against time to fix their binding and Balance their souls once more.

It’s hard to explain only because this world was so cleverly crafted and the rules are complicated (but they’re easy to understand within the pages). A lot of worldbuilding went into this book and it certainly shows. The plot revolves around Keepers, Fallons, Shifters, etc., with the occasional human sprinkled in. While I would not want to be in Eden’s shoes, the world of Trutinor seems like an interesting place.

There was a good amount of romance thrown in, as once you’re Bound your soulmates. You may not be Bound to who you love. That called for a perfect opportunity for a love triangle. I’m not a big fan of romance or love triangles, but it was well done in this story and I found rooting for one guy over the other.

rp-characters

I loved each and every character. They all fulfilled a certain role and no talent was wasted.

Eden made a great protagonist. I loved her voice and her strong will. I felt that she had a nice balance of being “tough” and “vulnerable” at the same time.

Victor made a nice antagonist. Though I have to admit, even though we were meant to hate him, I actually liked his character in the beginning… then I hated him.

Trey made a great supporting character as did Bo, Kato, and everyone else in the story. It was a great cast of characters.

rp-writing-style

This book was written in the third person limited through Eden. I felt that was a good choice for the narrator for this kind of novel.

The pace was smooth, yet it was action-packed. It sped up and slowed down at the right moments. I never got lost in the reading as it was easy to understand and it flowed well.

There’s a lot of learning as you read this novel. It’s a big world with many new terms, but it’s easy enough to stay caught up.

rp-overall

I don’t read a lot of science fiction or even this kind of fantasy for that matter, but I can very easily see myself getting sucked up in this world. The ending had a great twist. I’m really looking forward to the sequel.

Keepers (The Eden East #1) by Sacha de Black gets…
5-Star Rating | Book Review 5 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“Scars are memories. They’re real. Moments we shouldn’t forget.” –Sacha de Black, Keepers

Buy the book:

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Posted in Book Reviews, Memoir, Poetry

Into The Light By Emily Stroia [Book Review]

Into The Light by Emily Stroia

Title: Into The Light
Author: Emily Stroia
Published: 
October 2017
Genre: Memoir, Poetry
How I got the book: I received a free digital copy in exchange for an honest review

Summary:

Into the Light is a memoir-inspired poetry collection in seven parts.

The book shares the author’s life from a transformative perspective of being in a deep state of darkness to finding hope, miracles and light. In the final part, there are notes to the reader and finding one’s inner peace after adversity.

This book explores trauma, abuse, sexual abuse, mental illness, loss, healing, spirituality, meditation, inspiration and empowerment.

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

This isn’t the kind of book I would typically read. I’ve read poetry before and I do enjoy memoirs. However, if I saw this at the bookstore I probably wouldn’t have picked it up. It’s a dark, sensitive topic, but it’s a quick read and it never hurts to branch out a little. Since this is a memoir, this review will be written a little differently.

rp-plot

This memoir is told through the author’s point of view from birth and beyond. It goes through all the motions as everything she witnessed as a child between her father’s relationship with her mother as well as her father’s relationship with herself. She describes both of her parents and watches them both continue on with their lives, though not necessarily in an upbeat way.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, however. It’s hard to describe as the story is so short. This one is better if you just read it yourself.

rp-writing-style

This book is a quick read being only 158 pages. It’s told entirely through poetry, so it goes fast. Some pages only have a few words written on them.

The poetry was well written and easy to follow. Some pages rhymed while others didn’t. Some of the poetry was written in longer sentences and some weren’t. It flowed well and no matter how it was written, it just read poetically. The author does have a way with words.

The book is broken up into several parts as well. We start at the very beginning, go through the journey and pain, and end up with her breakthrough and finally forgiveness. It goes through the motions very well almost as if it were the stages of grieving.

It’s fast-paced, but I think it worked well for this particular topic. As I read the story, I felt as though the ending, the redemption, was slower than the beginning. That was my interpretation of it, but I liked it. You want that happy ending.

rp-overall

This was a great read. While I can’t personally relate to the author, I’m sure there are others out there who can. It’s easier said than done, but there are positive moments in life and everything does and will get better. I think that’s what this story is about. You go through tough times, but there always is a light at the end of the tunnel. It was well written and I commend the author for sharing her story.

Into The Light by Emily Stroia gets…
5-Star Rating | Book Review5 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“If you ever wonder what you could
have done differently
remember you were doing your best
with what you knew how.”
-Emily Stroia, Into The Light

Buy the book:

Amazon

About Emily Stroia

Emily is an intuitive teacher, spiritual leader, author, and artist. Emily first discovered her gifts of intuition and creativity as a child and was placed in a highly gifted program for children. She often explored her gifts through writing, art, and experienced frequent visions and dreams that would turn out to be accurate. Not understanding fully why or how she was able to do this, she decided to study.

She has always felt a strong attraction to the metaphysical and spiritual aspects of life and continues to delve deeper into each. Believing strongly in her intuitive gifts, as well as wanting to express her deep desire to help people, Emily decided to utilize her abilities to turn her passion into a profession.Her mission is to inspire people to find the gifts in

Her mission is to inspire people to find the gifts in their stories and live powerful transformed lives with ease and peace. Her life is a breathing expression of intuition, passion, spirituality and creativity. Most days you can find her coaching clients, writing, practicing yoga and playing with her dog in Los Angeles.

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Posted in Book Reviews, Inspirational Fiction, Mainstream Fiction

The Fragile Thread Of Hope By Pankaj Giri

The Fragile Thread of Hope by Pankaj Giri

Title: The Fragile Thread of Hope
Author: Pankaj Giri
Published: 
November 3, 2017
Genre: Mainstream inspirational fiction
How I got the book: I was given a free eARC by the author in exchange for an honest review

Summary:

In the autumn of 2012, destiny wreaks havoc on two unsuspecting people—Soham and Fiona.

Although his devastating past involving his brother still haunted him, Soham had established a promising career for himself in Bangalore.

After a difficult childhood, Fiona’s fortunes had finally taken a turn for the better. She had married her beloved, and her life was as perfect as she had ever imagined it to be.

But when tragedy strikes them yet again, their fundamentally fragile lives threaten to fall apart.

Can Fiona and Soham overcome their grief?

Will the overwhelming pain destroy their lives?

Seasoned with the flavours of exotic Nepalese traditions and set in the picturesque Indian hill station, Gangtok, The Fragile Thread of Hope explores the themes of spirituality, faith, alcoholism, love, and guilt while navigating the complex maze of familial relationships.

Inspirational and heart-wrenchingly intimate, it urges you to wonder—does hope stand a chance in this travesty called life?

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

I was certainly interested when the author reached out to me about what the book was about. Death is a hard topic to talk about, it’s hard to put into words. Yet, it’s a topic that everyone can relate to and feel for. So I was certainly intrigued.

rp-plot

This book follows the point of view of a couple characters, but the main characters are Soham and Fiona. They both lost someone dear to them early one. However, Fiona’s loss wasn’t a death. I still took it as a metaphorical death though. If that was done on purpose, I found it clever.

For the sake of spoilers, I won’t go into too much detail. Soham found it hard to admit the death in his family. It took him years to find peace as he felt guilty and lonely. Still, life pressed on.

Fiona was the same way. She couldn’t accept the death. While she didn’t feel guilty, she felt betrayed by Jesus and lonely.

They find their way through life, having good days and bad days. It was realistic to real life as they both struggled and sought peace.

rp-characters

I found all the characters to be relatable and well liked. Soham and Fiona both had in-depth backgrounds. I felt as though there was just enough information without it being “dumped” on me.

Sharon, Fiona’s mother, was an excellent character. She was the perfect mother trying to do anything and everything for the best interest for her daughter. She was amazing and probably my favorite character.

Joseph, Fiona’s husband, was great as well. However, I felt as though I didn’t get a good enough chance to get to know him. The novel starts off with Joseph and Fiona and then goes to tell us their story together, but I still felt as though pieces of him were missing.

rp-writing-style

This story is told through the point of views of Fiona and Soham and then Sharon on occasion. Each time it switched point of view, I took that as a new chapter beginning. I found this a clever way to tell their sides of the story and then weave them in together.

There were also dates as well. However, the dates jumped around. Well, they went in order for the most part, but sometimes Fiona’s story would be shared, then we’d have to jump back a couple of months to share Soham’s part of the story. While this makes sense, I did get confused a few times. I found it hard to keep track of the dates and years.

Still, the story was easy to read and flowed well. There wasn’t too much information and there wasn’t too little. It was a great pace and kept me turning the pages.

rp-overall

This certainly was an inspirational read. Death is something that we all have to overcome multiple times in our lives and we all face it at some point. I think the author handled it well and portrayed it well through his characters. It’s certainly a good read if you’re feeling down or lonely.

The Fragile Thread of Hope by Pankaj Giri gets…
4 stars book review 4 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“But disgust sliced through her heart as her eyes caught his teeth–they looked as if they were borrowed from a dead rabbit.” -Pankaj Giri, The Fragile Thread of Hope

Buy the book:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon IN

About Pankaj Giri

Pankaj Giri was born and brought up in Gangtok, Sikkim—a picturesque hill station in India. He began his writing career with a book review blog, and now, after several years of honing his writing skills, he has written a novel—The Fragile Thread of Hope, a literary inspirational fiction dealing with love, loss, and family relationships. He is currently working in the government sector in Sikkim. He likes to kill time by listening to progressive metal music and watching cricket.

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Posted in Author/Site Information, Blogging, Life, NaNoWriMo, Reading, Writing

November 2017 Goals

November 2017 Goals

Reading

I’m ahead with my reading! I feel like I haven’t been ahead in a while. With that said, I’ll be reviewing books this month that I read last month.

1. Into The Light by Emily Stroia
2. Keepers by Sacha de Black
3. The Fragile Thread of Hope by Pankaj Giri
4. Eleanor and The Impossible by M. Miles

Here’s what I’ll be reading this month:

1. Turtles All The Way Down by John Green
2. 13 Steps to Evil: How To Craft Super Bad Villains by Sacha Black
3. Things That Surprise You by Jennifer Maschari

Writing

It’s NaNoWriMo! My main focus is going to be on my NaNo novel, The Librarian. (I’ve been calling it Special on the blog so far, but it’s the same thing.) I plan on writing 50,000 words for that novel.

Time permitting, I would like to continue a short story that I’m handwriting. I think handwriting will allow me to not get burned out between the two stories. Still, NaNo will be the priority.

Blogging

October was super productive in which I was able to get pretty much all of my blogging done for the rest of the year. Yep, all through December is done! Except for some posts that I can’t write until the last minute such as updates on my NaNo novel, the Wrap-Ups, etc.

Still, this is going to allow me to focus on NaNo more, but also I’ll be able to work more on the updates to my blog. Which I am super excited about!

Overall

November will be busy. Blogging, writing, and then the holidays are coming up… but it’ll be good. I have big plans for the rest of the year leading into 2018 and then beyond. I’m looking forward to sharing it with you all.

What are your plans for November? Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!
Posted in Author/Site Information, Blogging, Life, Reading, Writing

October 2017 Wrap Up

Reading

I got my reading done for October! Plus more, which was great. I’m a little ahead of the game for November. But the biggest news is that I completed my Goodreads Reading Challenge! I’ve read 52 books and I’ll certainly be reading more.

My Reading List has also been updated for October and September. I realized I never updated it for September even though I said I did… oops.

Writing

Well. There’s this.

I said I was going to outline my NaNoWriMo novel, The Librarian. I did not. I tried, but I think I’m just going to wing this one and outline it as I go along. I’m excited for the novel itself, but my heart wasn’t into the outline. So, I’ll be freewriting, which will be a refreshing change of pace.

I didn’t go through my mystery novel or my picture books either. I didn’t do much “writing” this month, apparently…

What I did do was make a plan for my novels and created deadlines! Yes, I know I’ve done this before, some I’ve stuck with, some I haven’t. If you head over to the My Books page, you’ll see what I have planned. 2018 is going to be a busy writing year for me and it’s all going to start in November.

There will be more information on all this in January though.

Blogging

This is what took up my October. With NaNo around the corner (I’m not sure if I’m ready), big plans for my novels, as well as trying to revamp this whole blog, I’ve been super busy. I’m trying to get everything done on the blog by the end of the year so next year I can focus mainly on my writing.

This month I got through all my November and December posts that I could write in advance. The wrap-ups, blog round-ups, my NaNo updates, etc. are, of course, not done. Still, I got a lot accomplished! Now I can focus on re-doing the blog.

Overall

October was a great month. I didn’t get what I said I would, but I still accomplished a lot. I’m looking forward to the future.

Posts to Remember

1. Get To Know Your Characters [NaNoWriMo Prep]
2. October/November 2017 Writing Contests
3. 5 Ways To Prep For NaNoWriMo Without Worrying About Your Novel [NaNoWriMo Prep]

How did October treat you? Let me know in the comments below!

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Posted in Book Reviews, Graphic Novel, Memoir, Middle Grade

Real Friends By Shannon Hale [Book Review]

Real Friends by Shannon Hale

Title: Real Friends
Author: Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham (illustrator)
Published: 
May 2017 by First Second
Genre: Graphic novel, memoir, middle grade
How I got the book: I bought it

Summary:

When best friends are not forever . . . 

Shannon and Adrienne have been best friends ever since they were little. But one day, Adrienne starts hanging out with Jen, the most popular girl in class and the leader of a circle of friends called The Group. Everyone in The Group wants to be Jen’s #1, and some girls would do anything to stay on top . . . even if it means bullying others.

Now every day is like a roller coaster for Shannon. Will she and Adrienne stay friends? Can she stand up for herself? And is she in The Group—or out?

Newbery Honor author Shannon Hale and New York Timesbestselling illustrator LeUyen Pham join forces in this graphic memoir about how hard it is to find your real friends—and why it’s worth the journey.

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

I have seen this book floating around the book blogs of the WordPress world. I love a good graphic novel so when I found it at the bookstore, I decided to pick it up.

rp-plot

This is a fictionalized memoir based on the author’s childhood. A lot of it is true, but she fictionalized some things to make the story flow better. We follow Shannon as a young girl and watch her grow up as she tries to hold onto friendships and figure out who she is.

Her best friend is Adrienne, but then they meet a group of girls who follow Jen around. And they’re not nice all the time. Shannon doesn’t know whether they like her or not, but she still hangs out with them because she doesn’t have anyone else.

This is a good story all middle schoolers should read. It teaches an important lesson about being nice to others and also that it’s okay to not have a large group of friends. It’s okay to not be “popular.”

rp-characters

All the characters were portrayed well. I could relate with Shannon so much. She was being bullied, she didn’t have a lot of friends, and she developed anxiety along the way.

Adrienne was a good character as well. She was nice to Shannon but was also friends with Jen. When Jen was mean, Adrienne didn’t do anything because she didn’t want Jen to be mean to her in return. It was a vicious cycle. The other members of “The Group” were pretty much the same way.

It was typical behavior of middle-schoolers. But Shannon managed to push through.

rp-writing-style

The writing was well done, using a good amount of narrative and dialogue. The art style was great too. It really made the story, especially when Shannon was using her imagination.

It was a quick read being a graphic novel, but it was enjoyable (and relatable) enough that I was able to read it in one sitting.

rp-overall

This is a great story with an important lesson on bullying and just being true to who you are. Everyone should read this, no matter what age.

Real Friends by Shannon Hale gets…
5-Star Rating | Book Review 5 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“All a person needs is one good friend.” -Shannon Hale, Real Friends

Buy the book:

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Posted in Book Reviews, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Warcross by Marie Lu [Book Review]

Warcross by Marie Lu

Title: Warcross
Author: Marie Lu
Published: 
September 2017 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young adult, science fiction
How I got the book: I bought it

Summary:

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

If I remember correctly, this book was recommended to me by Nthato long before the book was released. It intrigued me and I put it on my Goodreads wish eventually forgetting about it. But I saw it in the bookstore the other day and I immediately remembered the book because of the cover. So I grabbed it. And I have to say, I haven’t read a book this fast in a while, it was that good.

rp-plot

Emika Chen is an 18-year-old bounty hunter. She is also an excellent hacker and certainly knows her way around computers and technology. So, when she accidentally hacks into one of the biggest virtual reality games, Warcross, during a live match, she assumes she’s in big trouble.

However, Hideo Tanaka, the 21-year-old creator of Warcross, offers her a job instead.

Emi is hired as a bounty hunter to go undercover in the games and hack into it to find and catch another hacker, only known as Zero. Between her skills and Hideo’s, they work together to catch the unknown man… or woman.

Books about hacking into video games are not uncommon. However, this plot was woven so intricately that it really made it its own. There’s hacking, there’s video game playing, there’s romance (eh), there’s humor, there are dangerous moments… it’s a roller coaster.

While I did figure out who Zero was fairly easily before Zero’s real identity was revealed, there was a twist at the end that I certainly didn’t see coming. And it was the best twist I’ve ever seen in a book.

But I’ll stop talking about the plot now. I could talk about it all day and I know I’ll spoil something…

rp-characters

I found all the characters to be likable in some way or another. Emi was a great protagonist and had a humorous personality. I could relate to her a lot.

Hideo was a great character as well. However, he was just okay for me. He was nice, smart, polite, but I don’t know. Something was off for me, but I did still enjoy him as a character. And I think he was the perfect fit to play the “21-year-old genius.”

The side characters, such as Emi’s Warcross team, Asher, Ren, Roshan, and Hammie, were cool as well. They each had their own unique personalities and contributed in one way or another. It showed their friendship with one another and they each had one goal in mind – to win Warcross. Still, they considered Emi a friend and was willing to help her own in any way they could.

Then there’s Keira. And here’s my only complaint about this book. Keira was Emi’s roommate back in New York, when they were poor and about to get evicted, before Emi accidentally hacked into the game. Once Emi is hired, she flies to Tokyo leaving Keira behind. She’s never heard from again.

I know she was a minor character, but I did like her, and I would assume that she would at least text Emi to see how things were going. Especially since Emi was blasted all over the news a couple of times. There seemed close enough friends that I was hoping they’d keep in touch. If Keira really wasn’t needed, she shouldn’t have been in the book at all.

rp-writing-style

The book is written in Emi’s first-person point of view. We see everything she sees and knows everything she knows, especially her thoughts. She had a humorous personality which definitely made her a fun character to follow around. It made the narration easier to read.

There was a lot of description in this book mostly of the Warcross game and overall world and all the technology that came with it. It was interesting and it honestly makes me wonder if we’re going to have something similar to that in real life at some point. It reminded me of VR Super Smash Brothers.

But it wasn’t just a came. It was a way people communicated with each other as well. It was very well done.

rp-overall

Can you tell I liked the book? I could gush about it all day if you’d let me. It was well written with a twisty plot and fun characters. I’m looking forward to book two.

Warcross by Marie Lu gets…
5-Star Rating | Book Review 5 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“Death has a terrible habit of cutting straight through every careful line you’ve drawn between your present and your future.” –Marie Lu, Warcross

Buy the book:

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Posted in NaNoWriMo, Reading, Writing, Writing Prompts

5 Fun And Useful Books Of Writing Prompts [NaNoWriMo Prep]

How do you prep for NaNo?

Most of the time, when I talk about outlining on this blog, pretty much everyone who comments tells me that they don’t outline at all.

So, how do you exactly prep for NaNo, if you prep at all?

I find that writing prompts are a great way to get your creative juices flowing.

5 useful books of writing prompts

3am Epiphany 

This book by Brian Kiteley is filled with various writing prompts and exercises. Prompts that have to do with point of view, characters, emotions, time, and much more. It’s really a great read and great practice.

4am Breakthrough 

Like the previous book, this one, also by Brian Kiteley has more great prompts and exercises. The themes around the prompts are a little different. These exercises have to do with various themes in writing such as love or death. It also goes deeper into friends and family as well as school and the like.

The Amazing Story Generator

This writing prompt book by Jay Sacher is unique as each page is broken into three pieces. It’s spiral bound on the inside and you can move the pages around as you wish. This means endless prompt possibilities for you.

The Write-Brain Workbook

Written by Bonnie Neubauer, this is a big book of prompts. It ranges from scene prompts, scenerio prompts, first lines, pictures, and more.

The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts

This is a great one by Martha Alderson. These prompts cater to where you are in your book: the beginning, halfway point, climax, and end. These prompts are pretty in depth, but they’re helpful.

Have you used any of these books? What other books of writing prompts do you use? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!

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Posted in Book Reviews, Picture Books

Lulu’s Ballalam-Bam-Bam Grooves! by Serina Adham

Lulu's Ballalam-Bam-Bam Grooves!

Title: Lulu’s Ballalam-Bam-Bam Grooves!
Author: Serina Adham (Illustrated by Ken Steel)
Published: 
August 2017 by Amazon
Genre: Children’s picture book
How I got the book: I was given a free digital copy by the author’s publicist in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

There is nothing Lulu loves more than dancing by herself. With each new song, she practices the “Ballalam-Bam-Bam Grooves.” She slides her feet, claps her hands, and bumps her hips against a tree trunk.

There is just one problem. Lulu is a gorilla! When she stamps her feet and shakes the trees, she ends up disturbing all the other animals in her jungle home. Poor Squin Squirrel cannot even sip his nut tea without Lulu’s dancing rattling his tree home. Squin and the other animals try to tell Lulu that her dancing is disruptive, but they cannot get through to the gorilla.

Then, Lulu’s loud music and dancing ends up waking up the mighty king of the jungle. The angry lion Jhawfors then confronts Lulu with the problem. Will the animals be able to find a compromise?

This rhyming children’s tale imparts valuable lessons to young readers. Lulu does not want to stop doing what she loves, but she needs to understand that her actions affect others. Through Lulu, children will learn the importance of respect, compassion, and compromise.

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

I used to be a preschool teacher, so I’m always more than happy to check out new children’s books. Since this is a 20-page picture book, this review will be shorter and slightly different than most of my reviews.

rp-plot

Lulu the gorilla is happy-go-lucky and loves to dance. She plays her music loud and dances like no one is watching. However, her dancing causes some ruckus in the jungle.

Her dancing disturbs Squin the squirrel during his tea time and her music is too loud for Lilly the owl and Fluer the skunk. Then, the king of the jungle, Jhawfors the lion, gets involved.

Before a fight breaks out, Lilly the owl comes up with a suggestion so that Lulu can dance without disturbing the entire jungle.

The moral of this story is that even though you may be doing something harmless and innocent, you still need to be aware of the others around you and be respectful of their space. This is the first picture book I’ve read with that kind of a lesson and I think it’s a good one to teach children and take to heart!

rp-characters

The characters of this story were cute and simple. I found their names to be creative and they flowed well with the rhythmic way the story is told.

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Being about dancing, this is a rhythmic book with rhymes that have a poetic feel to it. The dancing is described in a way that should get kids up and move and possibly try to mimic Lulu’s dance moves.

Because of the rhymes, the story flowed well and read easily that will certainly keep kids’ attention. Even at the end of the book, a general question to the kids ask to make up some more dance moves for Lulu, which is another great interactive way to get the kids more involved in the story even though it’s over.

The illustrations were adorable as well. The backgrounds were very pretty and the colors all around were vivid and plentiful, which are certain to attract the wandering, curious eyes of a child.

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This is a cute story with an important lesson, fun storytelling, and pretty pictures. This would definitely be one to read to your children.

Lulu’s Ballalam-Bam-Bam Grooves! by Serina Adham gets…
5-Star Rating | Book Review 5 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“It is true we all share this jungle home together, so we must be aware and consider one another.” -Serina Adham, Lulu’s Ballalam-Bam-Bam Grooves!

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Posted in Book Reviews, Reading

Beauty’s Kiss & Beauty’s Gift (Once Upon A Princess Books 3 &4) by C.S. Johnson

Beauty's Kiss by C.S. Johnson

Title: Beauty’s Kiss (Once Upon A Princess book 3)
Author: C.S. Johnson
Published: 
July 2017 by Dire Wolf Books
Genre: Young adult, fantasy, retelling
How I got the book: I received a free digital copy from the author for the blog tour in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

Rose, the Princess of Rhone, doomed to fall into a sleeping death on her eighteenth birthday, has only ever wanted two things in all her life: to be free of her curse, and to never fall in love. After securing the dragon’s blood from the Serpent’s Garden, Rose is confident she has all she needs to free herself from Magdalina’s curse. But when Magdalina comes to offer Rose a new deal—one that would free her from her curse, while also eliminating future threats—Rose is forced to confront the truth of her feelings for Theo.

As Theo’s past and new troubles interrupt their journey back to Rhone, Rose knows she must make a devastating choice. Will she let herself fall in love? Or will she break her own heart instead?

My Review:

 

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Rose fights another conflict as she’s faced with Magdalina herself and given an ultimatum. If she does one thing for Magdalina, then the curse will break. However, this may be worse than a sleeping death.

I won’t spoil what the ultimatum was, but that’s Rose’s inner struggles throughout book 3. I found it to be an interesting twist, but Rose being Rose, I don’t think she handled it well.

Sparks fly as Rose and company make their way back to her kingdom of Rhone where she will not only have to figure out her next course of action, but also face her father, the king.

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The characters haven’t changed much since the last two books. Rose is still stubborn and snippy with everyone. I understand why, but if I were there I would have left a long time ago. She didn’t treat her companions very well, especially Theo, who is the kindest to her. That’s usually how it goes, though.

Theo is still my favorite character. Even though I kept rooting for him to walk away, he was still kind to Rose and took care of her. However, he increasingly grew tired of fighting her and did eventually leave. I’m sure I was supposed to be rooting for him to stay, but… I really can’t see myself relating to Rose at all.

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Just like the first two books, this was short and sweet. It was easy to read and understand. Aside from the occasional typo here and there, it flowed well.

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I didn’t feel as though much happened in this book. Rose was conflicted with her ultimatum and she and Theo were too busy loving each other without really admitting it (until the very end, but even that caused problems). It got old pretty fast which made some parts kind of boring to get through.

Beauty’s Kiss (Once Upon A Princess book 3) by C.S. Johnson gets…
3 Stars 3 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“Beautiful things can hide ugly secrets.” -C.S. Johnson, Beauty’s Kiss

Buy the book

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Beauty's Gift

Title: Beauty’s Gift (Once Upon A Princess book 4)
Author: C.S. Johnson
Published: 
August 2017 by Dire Wolf Books
Genre: Young adult, fantasy, retelling
How I got the book: I received a free digital copy from the author for the blog tour in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

With only weeks away from her eighteenth birthday and the fulfillment of her curse, Rose, the Princess of Rhone, faces more obstacles than ever. The kingdom, anxious over her fate, is destabilizing under her father’s rule; her mother is imprisoned, and her uncle is holding a silent coup against the crown. With Theo’s absence, she is unable to do more than brood over her fate as she attempts to solve the problems around her.

When Theo returns with surprising information, Rose knows the time has come to risk everything. Along with her friends, she prepares to face Magdalina, the wicked ruler of the fairies, and fight the battle of her life – the battle for her freedom, her kingdom, and her heart.

My Review:

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And now we have come to the epic conclusion of the Once Upon A Princess saga. Rose’s birthday is arriving faster than ever, but they have a plan to defeat the evil Magdalina. They just need to hope that it works.

We open with Theo on his own journey, seeking revenge and trying to find his aunt. It’s when he fulfills that task that discovers interesting news for Rose.

Even though this is the end, I still felt as though not too much happened. Throughout the book, Rose and Theo fought with their own (and each other’s) hearts. It felt like a game of, “she loves me, she loves me not.” It wasn’t until the very end of the book that their plan to fight Magdalina comes into play and even that was short.

Everything was tied together nicely, there were no loose ends, which was great. However, I felt the ending was rushed and definitely wanted more of a fight.

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While Rose is much nicer now, I still can’t seem to connect with her. She’s not a favorite character of mine, so I didn’t really care if she broke her curse or not.

I did enjoy all the other characters though. I was really fond of Philip and Isra, though they weren’t in this book as much.

I especially loved Theo. If Theo had his own book, I would totally read it. He had a wonderful backstory, a cool job, and a great personality all around. He was by far my favorite and I honestly think he’s the reason I enjoyed this book the most. At the end of book three, he leaves Rose’s side. So, for a decent amount of time during this book, Theo is by himself fulfilling his own destiny, as we focused on him. And it was great.

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Not much has changed in the writing style from the previous books. Everything flows well and easy to read. I just felt as though some parts, like battle scenes, seemed a bit rushed.

There were also a lot of typos in this book that kept bringing me out of the story. There were two chapters labeled “18,” which certainly threw me off.

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This wasn’t a bad book. As I said before, this is my favorite one out of all four. As a series, this isn’t my favorite. The plot was clever and was well executed, but it sometimes felt rushed or there wasn’t enough action. I couldn’t get myself to like Rose as a character and, as the protagonist, that’s a dealbreaker for me.

Beauty’s Gift (Once Upon A Princess book 4) by C.S. Johnson gets…
3 Stars 3 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“He could hear Bachas cackling happily, which likely meant he had found someone to fight.” -C.S. Johnson, Beauty’s Gift

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play

About the Author

C.S. Johnson authorC.S. Johnson is the author of several young adult novels, including sci-fi and fantasy adventures such as the Starlight Chronicles series, the Once Upon a Princess saga, and the Divine Space Pirates trilogy. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family. Find out more at http://www.csjohnson.me.

 

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Giveaway

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