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

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

My sister bought a hardcover copy from Barnes & Noble.

Summary:

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 | RachelPoli.com

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 | RachelPoli.com

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 | RachelPoli.com

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 | RachelPoli.com

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 | RachelPoli.com

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 | RachelPoli.com

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:

Amazon

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!

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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 | RachelPoli.com

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.

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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 | RachelPoli.com

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.

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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 | RachelPoli.com

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.

Plot

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

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.

Overall

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.

Extras

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.

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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 | RachelPoli.com

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.

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Locomotion By Jacqueline Woodson [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: Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson | Reading | Young Adult | Realistic Fiction | Poetry | Book Blogger | RachelPoli.com

I bought a paperback copy at Barnes & Noble.

Summary:

When Lonnie was seven years old, his parents died in a fire. Now he’s eleven, and he still misses them terribly. And he misses his little sister, Lili, who was put into a different foster home because “not a lot of people want boys-not foster boys that ain’t babies.” But Lonnie hasn’t given up. His foster mother, Miss Edna, is growing on him. She’s already raised two sons and she seems to know what makes them tick. And his teacher, Ms. Marcus, is showing him ways to put his jumbled feelings on paper.

Told entirely through Lonnie’s poetry, we see his heartbreak over his lost family, his thoughtful perspective on the world around him, and most of all his love for Lili and his determination to one day put at least half of their family back together. Jacqueline Woodson’s poignant story of love, loss, and hope is lyrically written and enormously accessible.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

The cover is sweet and pretty. I like its simplicity, though it doesn’t have much to do with the contents of the book.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

I’ve read a couple of Jacqueline Woodson’s books before and she’s a great writer. So when I saw this at the bookstore I decided to pick it up.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

Through poetry written by Lonnie, the protagonist, we learn a lot about what’s going on in his life and the world around him. This is the story of him and how he’s growing through his poetry and overcoming challenges and his past with his little sister and his foster mom.

It’s a sweet story but that’s basically all there is to it. We about Lonnie’s past and how he’s trying to overcome it. It’s a lot of telling through his poetry.

Characters | RachelPoli.com

There’s only a handful of characters in this story and we see them all through Lonnie’s eyes and what he writes in his poems. Lonnie is an interesting character to follow and I liked his teacher and foster mom. His younger sister played an important role though she wasn’t in it much.

The development is subtle, but it is there for most of these characters.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This is a book of poems written by the main character in his point of view. They’re easy to read and flow well. The poems range from various styles and definitely work well with the plot. The book itself is short and sweet being only 100 pages. It’s a very quick read to get through.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

While I wouldn’t peg this as one of my favorite books by Jacqueline Woodson, this was a good read and I enjoyed it. This is certainly worth the read.

Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“Ms. Marcus don’t understand some things even though she’s my favorite teacher in the world. Things like my brown, brown arm.” –Jacqueline Woodson, Locomotion

Buy the book:

Amazon

Read my reviews of Hush and Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson!

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 some other Book Reviews I’ve done!

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How To Decide Your Next Read

Choosing what book you should read next is not easy.

Sometimes you have to be in a certain mood to read a book. Other times you have your next book all picked out but then you go to the bookstore and end up finding something else. There are times you look at the millions of books on your shelves at home you haven’t read, yet you decide to go to the bookstore or library to find something new.

So, how do you typically decide what book you should read next out of all the books you currently own?

How To Decide Your Next Read | Reading | Books | RachelPoli.com

Ask a friend to pick one for you.

If you’re really unsure of what book you should read next, ask a friend or family member to pick one out for you. Tell them to explore your bookshelf and have them pick one at random. No cheating, either. You have to read whatever they pick out.

Play book bingo or another reading challenge.

Book bingo and other reading challenges are great because they get you to zero in on books you already have. I’m sure you have plenty of unread books with blue covers that you can read and check off a bingo square.

Pick a number out of a hat.

This one may be a bit tedious, but you can count how many books there are on your shelf and then pick a number out of a hat. Then count down which book is that number on your shelf and read that next.

Pick a book out of a hat.

Do the same thing above, but write down the titles and/or authors of books you haven’t read yet.

Read your unread books in alphabetical order.

Start with the letter A and work your way down your TBR pile in alphabetical order. The letters will do the choosing for you.

Reread a book you love.

It’s not exactly reading something new, but if you’re in a slump or just don’t know what to read next, reading an old favorite it sometimes the way to go.

How do you typically pick out your next read? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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