Book Review: Snowglobe by Amy Wilson #BookReview #Snowglobe #ChildrensBooks @MacKidsBooks

Snowglobe

by Amy Wilson

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From Goodreads:

When daydreamer Clementine discovers a mysterious house standing in the middle of town that was never there before, she is pulled towards it by the powerful sense of a mother she never knew. The place is full of snowglobes, swirling with stars and snow and each containing a trapped magician, watched over by Gan, the bitter keeper of the house. One of these is Dylan, a boy who teases her in the real world but who is now desperate for her help.

So Clem ventures into the snowglobes, rescuing Dylan and discovering her own powerful connection to the magic of these thousand worlds. Vowing to release the magicians from the control of their enchantments, Clem unknowingly unleashes a struggle for power that will not only put her family, but the future of magic itself in danger. Continue reading “Book Review: Snowglobe by Amy Wilson #BookReview #Snowglobe #ChildrensBooks @MacKidsBooks”

Book Review: The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo #BookReview #ChildrensBooks

The Tale of Despereaux

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by Kate DiCamillo

Illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering

From Goodreads:

A brave mouse, a covetous rat, a wishful serving girl, and a princess named Pea come together in Kate DiCamillo’s Newbery Medal–winning tale.

Welcome to the story of Despereaux Tilling, a mouse who is in love with music, stories, and a princess named Pea. It is also the story of a rat called Roscuro, who lives in the darkness and covets a world filled with light. And it is the story of Miggery Sow, a slow-witted serving girl who harbors a simple, impossible wish. These three characters are about to embark on a journey that will lead them down into a horrible dungeon, up into a glittering castle, and, ultimately, into each other’s lives. What happens then? As Kate DiCamillo would say: Reader, it is your destiny to find out. Continue reading “Book Review: The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo #BookReview #ChildrensBooks”

Throwback Thursday: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones #ThrowbackThursday #Wintersong #BookReview

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme created by Renee @ It’s Book Talk. This meme is an awesome way to share old favorites that were published over a year ago or even books that you’re finally reading after much time has passed. I have plenty of those to share! If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board. Please link back to her by using the link above.

befunky-design.jpg Continue reading “Throwback Thursday: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones #ThrowbackThursday #Wintersong #BookReview”

Book Review: Coraline by Neil Gaiman #BookReview #Coraline

Coraline

by Neil Gaiman

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From Goodreads:

“Coraline discovered the door a little while after they moved into the house. . . .”

When Coraline steps through a door to find another house strangely similar to her own (only better), things seem marvelous.

But there’s another mother there, and another father, and they want her to stay and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go.

Coraline will have to fight with all her wit and courage if she is to save herself and return to her ordinary life. Continue reading “Book Review: Coraline by Neil Gaiman #BookReview #Coraline”

Shabby Sunday: Beauty and the Beast by Marianna Mayer – Illustrated by Mercer Mayer – 1978

Shabby Sunday

I have a lot of old vintage books and one of my plans when I first started blogging was to do a post every week or so that shared one of my cherished vintage books. Then I thought there might be other book bloggers out there that have some vintage books, heirlooms, or maybe some old books from childhood that they might want to share. I decided to start a weekly meme titled ‘Shabby Sunday’ for those who would like to participate and share some of their old vintage books. Do you have some shabby books you’d like to share? If so, please feel free to participate as anyone can join. Feel free to use the picture I’ve provided if you’d like to. If you decide to do this meme, please consider linking back to me so that I can see the book you’re sharing.


Today’s Shabby Share is:

Beauty and the Beast

by Marianna Mayer – Illustrated by Mercer Mayer

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Continue reading “Shabby Sunday: Beauty and the Beast by Marianna Mayer – Illustrated by Mercer Mayer – 1978”

Shabby Sunday: The Bremen-town Musicians – Ruth Belov Gross & Jack Kent 1974 (Including Audio)

Shabby Sunday

I have a lot of old vintage books and one of my plans when I first started blogging was to do a post every week or so that shared one of my cherished vintage books. Then I thought there might be other book bloggers out there that have some vintage books, heirlooms, or maybe some old books from childhood that they might want to share. I decided to start a weekly meme titled ‘Shabby Sunday’ for those who would like to participate and share some of their old vintage books. Do you have some shabby books you’d like to share? If so, please feel free to participate as anyone can join. Feel free to use the picture I’ve provided if you’d like to. If you decide to do this meme, please consider linking back to me so that I can see the book you’re sharing.


There’s a new participant this morning with a shabby share from her childhood! Please check out Jennifer @ jennifertarheelreader.com!


Today’s Shabby Share is:

The Bremen-Town Musicians

by

Jack Kent (Illustrator)
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Continue reading “Shabby Sunday: The Bremen-town Musicians – Ruth Belov Gross & Jack Kent 1974 (Including Audio)”

Shabby Sunday: Walt Disney Presents the Story of Hansel and Gretel with Songs by  Walt Disney Company – 1967

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Shabby Sunday

I have a lot of old vintage books and one of my plans when I first started blogging was to do a post every week or so that shared one of my cherished vintage books. Then I thought there might be other book bloggers out there that have some vintage books, heirlooms, or maybe some old books from childhood that they might want to share. I decided to start a weekly meme titled ‘Shabby Sunday’ for those who would like to participate and share some of their old vintage books. Do you have some shabby books you’d like to share? If so, please feel free to participate as anyone can join. Feel free to use the picture I’ve provided if you’d like to. If you decide to do this meme, please consider linking back to me so that I can see the book you’re sharing.


Today’s Shabby Share is:

Walt Disney presents the story of Hansel and Gretel with songs

by
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I know I’ve shared this book a few times before now on tags and also Claire’s Blogger’s Bookshelf post @Brizzlelassbooks, but I’d like to share it again today for Shabby Sunday.

Continue reading “Shabby Sunday: Walt Disney Presents the Story of Hansel and Gretel with Songs by  Walt Disney Company – 1967”

Snow & Rose by Emily Winfield Martin – Book Review

Snow & Rose

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Blurb from Goodreads:

New York Times bestselling author-illustrator brings readers into the woods to meet two young sisters and a strange bit of magic in this reimagining of the classic but little-known fairy tale “Snow White and Rose Red.”

Snow and Rose didn’t know they were in a fairy tale. People never do….

Once, they lived in a big house with spectacular gardens and an army of servants.

Once, they had a father and mother who loved them more than the sun and moon.

But that was before their father disappeared into the woods and their mother disappeared into sorrow.

This is the story of two sisters and the enchanted woods that have been waiting for them to break a set of terrible spells.

Bestselling author-illustrator Emily Winfield Martin has created a world that sits on the border of enchantment, with characters who are grounded in real emotions that readers will recognize in themselves. Continue reading “Snow & Rose by Emily Winfield Martin – Book Review”

Happily by Chauncey Rogers – Book Review #UltimateReadingChallenge April

I had the pleasure of reading Happily by Chauncey Rogers and finished it this morning. I was truly charmed by this retelling! You can read my book review below.

Happily

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Blurb from Goodreads:
If the shoe fits, wear it.
If it doesn’t, 
make it.

Laure is a teenage street urchin just trying to get away. Where the rest of the world sees an enchanting love story, Laure sees royal incompetence and an opportunity to exploit it. She’ll have wealth and a way out of a life she detests, if she can only manage to hoodwink the royal family and survive to tell the tale.

My thoughts on this book:

Happily by Chauncey Rogers is a retelling of Cinderella, but totally unique and refreshing with an interesting premise! I sort of cherish retellings and couldn’t wait to see how Happily compared to some of the others I’ve read. As soon as I saw it, I instantly fell for the cover too! I had no idea what to expect, but rather than following the story of Cinderella and her wicked step-sisters, it follows what’s happening on the outside with Laure, the female protagonist. Laure is hard-headed, sort of pessimistic and chooses to live differently than a commoner while despising royalty as well. She’s a street urchin, and because she refuses to work, Laure barely makes ends meet by stealing the foods and necessities she needs to survive. With good reason (due to her past) she hates where she lives, Éclatant, and would love nothing more than to leave it all behind forever. During one of her thefts, she ends up causing problems for a boy named Luc and he simply won’t stand for it. He threatens to turn her in for her crime, until she shares her plans to trick the royals and in turn promises to pay him back. They both set out on an exciting, yet often dangerous journey filled with adventure.

I was genuinely connected with all the characters in the book. Laure is a very strong main character and I admired how she evolved throughout the story as she learned many lessons about honesty, love, and friendship. She’s headstrong and stubborn–nearly the opposite of Luc– but even so, she wants to do what’s right and they still had some similarities too. Luc is the type of person that wants to have a positive perspective in all situations. He’s optimistic and wants to help Laure see the good in people, and in life. With their likes and differences, they were nearly perfect medicine for one another. Prince Carl was everything I wanted him to be and truly, all the characters were great and meshed together well. Derived from the characters, one of my favorite morals in the story was to be yourself and to stand up for what you believe in.

I was pleased with the writing and the pacing was spot on which kept me interested throughout. It’s modern and without too much romance which I think makes it appealing to younger readers. The twists kept me guessing and the story wasn’t predictable. I felt like the narrative consistently took the direction I wanted it to. With that said, the ending felt a tad rushed, but with some wonderful surprises which the author tied up well. I can see this easily adapted into a movie as it’s remarkably different and stands out from others! I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys retellings or those looking for a magnificent story.

I’d like to thank Chauncey Rogers for bringing this book to my attention and sharing it with me.

My rating: 5 stars

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Continue reading “Happily by Chauncey Rogers – Book Review #UltimateReadingChallenge April”

Shadow Weaver by MarcyKate Connolly – Book Review

Shadow Weaver (Shadow Weaver #1)


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Blurb from Goodreads: Fans of Serafina and the Black Cloak and The Night Gardener will devour Shadow Weaver, the first in a dark middle-grade fantasy duology that’s filled with shadows, danger, magic, and has the feel of a new classic.

Emmeline’s gift of controlling shadows has isolated her from the rest of the world, but she’s grown to be content, hidden away in her mansion with Dar, her own shadow, as her only company.

Disaster strikes when a noble family visits their home and offers to take Emmeline away and cure her of magic. Desperate not to lose her shadows, she turns to Dar who proposes a deal: Dar will change the noble’s mind, if Emmeline will help her become flesh as she once was. Emmeline agrees but the next morning the man in charge is in a coma and all that the witness saw was a long shadow with no one nearby to cast it. Scared to face punishment, Emmeline and Dar run away.

With the noble’s guards on her trail, Emmeline’s only hope of clearing her name is to escape capture and perform the ritual that will set Dar free. But Emmeline’s not sure she can trust Dar anymore, and it’s hard to keep secrets from someone who can never leave

your side.

Continue reading “Shadow Weaver by MarcyKate Connolly – Book Review”

Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Pumpkin Pie Smoothie – Happily by Chauncey Rogers – The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham

Hello, friends! How’s your week going? Today I have a new smoothie for you that I believe will knock your socks off! I also have two new books to share. Let’s get going!

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When I think of fairy tales, I think of pumpkins and that’s why this recipe was slightly inspired by Happily, a book by Chauncey Rogers that I’m starting this week. You can learn about this book below.  Continue reading “Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Pumpkin Pie Smoothie – Happily by Chauncey Rogers – The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham”

Shabby Sunday: Favorite Stories Old and New by Sidonie Matsner Gruenberg – 1955

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Shabby Sunday Meme

I have a lot of old vintage books and one of my plans when I first started blogging was to do a post every week or so that shared one of my cherished vintage books. Then I thought that maybe there might be other book bloggers out there that have some vintage books, heirlooms, or maybe some old books from childhood that they might want to share. I decided to start a weekly meme titled ‘Shabby Sunday’ for those who would like to participate and share some of their old vintage books. Do you have some shabby books you’d like to share? Please feel free to participate. Feel free to use the picture I’ve provided if you’d like to. If you decide to do this meme, please consider linking back to me so that I can see the book you’re sharing.


Today’s shabby share is:

Favorite Stories Old and New

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Blurb: This revised edition is enlarged by twenty-six stories. The divisions are as follows: Real children and real things, Stories about animals, Stories of make-believe, Fairy tales, Folk tales, Myths and fables, Bible stories and Tales of laughter.
*I apologize for the cramming of content. WordPress is not cooperating today.*

My Thoughts:

This book is a really special one! It belonged to my grandfather and is one of the only books I have left from him. This one sat on the shelf in our living room the whole time I was growing up and now it sits on mine.
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It’s a book of short stories that were compiled for children to read. Some are about real people and events, animals, make-believe, folk tales, and even some Bible stories. There are also a few fables included. Many are stories that are well known, like Cinderella, The Three Bears, David and Goliath, Davy Crockett, and Pandora’s Box. They’re short enough that young readers won’t lose interest.
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Some of my favorites include: The Middle Bear, Indians in the House, The Coyote and the Fox, Black Face, The Lion-Hearted Kitten, Snow White, Cinderella, The Snow Maiden, and The Wind and the Sun. This isn’t just a book for children and can be enjoyed by all ages.
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My version is a hardcover Doubleday edition from 1955. It lacks the dust jacket and has very bad wear to the fabric cover. The pages are still fairly clean and crisp to read with only minor smudging.
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There really aren’t a lot of illustrations in the book, but the sketches that are included are whimsical and interesting.
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Without the dust jacket, the cover is very plain with only a few black illustrations on the front cover and binding.
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I’m very happy to have this book and won’t ever part with it. It’s not just limited to children! Even with it’s age, my children and I are still interested in these classic stories that boost their imagination. It’s a real gem of a book to have.

Continue reading “Shabby Sunday: Favorite Stories Old and New by Sidonie Matsner Gruenberg – 1955”

The Little Red Wolf by Amélie Fléchais – Children’s Book Review

The Little Red Wolf

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Blurb: Lose yourself in in the dark forests of Amelie Flechais’ spectacular artwork. A young wolf, on a journey to bring his grandmother a rabbit, is charmed by the nice little girl who offers to help him… but nice is not the same as good. A haunting fairy tale for children and adults alike.

My Review:

I found this book on Edelweiss and became instantly intrigued. I love fairy tale retellings and the beautiful cover and title were all I needed. I was lucky to get approved for it, then after reading the ebook I went straight to Amazon and bought a copy.

This is similar to Little Red Riding Hood, but the roles are switched. The story follows a little wolf pup in a red coat who’s heading to Grandma’s to deliver a rabbit. Grandma’s lost her teeth and can no longer hunt. Before Little Red Wolf sets out on his journey, his mother warns him.

“Be careful to avoid the forest of dead wood where the hunter and his daughter live. They are vile and cruel and hate wolves! I don’t want anything bad to happen to you, so make sure to stay away from there!”

Little Red Wolf is carefree and sings along his journey. As he walks he finds interesting things like a little beetle, a little mouse, and a cloud of pollen. He strays from the trail and becomes lost. At first, he isn’t scared and tells himself,

“I am a wolf, the forest is my home, I’m sure I can find my way on my own, even without the dumb trail!”

What will Little Red Wolf do? Will he find his way to grandmother’s house and what other encounters will he experience?

I absolutely loved this book. It reminds me of Grimm’s Fairy Tales with beautiful atmospheric artwork. The messages conveyed here are strong ones–never judge without knowing the truth, and never trust someone based on how they look. I think this is a stunningly beautiful book that will help children learn both of these lessons. People of any age will enjoy this twisted tale, especially those who love fairy tales and retellings.

Thanks to Edelweiss, the publisher, and the author for allowing me to preview this book in exchange for a review.

5 Sterne


You can find this book on Goodreads and Amazon as well as other retailers.

  • Age Range: 4 – 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool – 3
  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Lion Forge (October 3, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1941302459
  • ISBN-13: 978-1941302453

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Continue reading “The Little Red Wolf by Amélie Fléchais – Children’s Book Review”

Throwback Thursday – September 14th -The True Story of Hansel and Gretel by Louise Murphy

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme created by Renee @ It’s Book Talk. This meme is an awesome way to share favorites that were published over a year ago or even books that you’re finally reading after much time has passed. I have plenty of those to share! If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, and you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic as well. Please link back to her@It’s Book Talk.

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This week’s Pick is…

The True Story of Hansel and Gretel 

by Louise Murphy

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Blurb: In the last months of the Nazi occupation of Poland, two children are left by their father and stepmother to find safety in a dense forest. Because their real names will reveal their Jewishness, they are renamed “Hansel” and “Gretel.” They wander in the woods until they are taken in by Magda, an eccentric and stubborn old woman called “witch” by the nearby villagers. Magda is determined to save them, even as a German officer arrives in the village with his own plans for the children. Combining classic themes of fairy tales and war literature, this haunting novel of journey and survival, of redemption and memory, powerfully depicts how war is experienced by families and especially by children, and tells a resonant, riveting story.

My thoughts…

It’s nearly the end of the Nazi occupation of Poland and a father must abandon his children near a forest so that they can search for safety from the Germans. On the journey, they meet Magda, the so-called village witch. Magda is willing to risk her life and others to keep the children safe.

“The wheel turns. Blue above, green below, we wonder a long way, but love is what the cup of our soul contains when we leave the world and the flesh. This we will drink forever. I know. I am Magna. I am the witch.”

Hansel and Gretel has been a favorite fairy tale since childhood. It was most definitely one of the scariest. The way the author has taken the fairy tale, re-imagined it, and paired it with the evil nightmare of WWII is fascinating. The story feels so authentic. It’s incredible to me how the author has a way of keeping to the original story of Hansel and Gretel throughout, consistently hovering around elements true to the original fairy tale.

The story itself is dark and twisted and highlights the true evil doing against the Jewish, Gypsies, and dissidents during WWII. It was nothing like what I expected. I had an idea of the plot, but there’s so much more to the story. Parts of the story were so hard to get through, but I loved the characters especially Magda, Nelka, Telek, Hansel, and Gretel. Magna was surely my most prized character. The beautiful prose and specific elements reminded me of The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, which is one of my favorite books of 2017.

There are discussion questions and an interview with the author at the conclusion which I thoroughly enjoyed. I’m not sure why it’s listed as having 320 pages. My book has 297 plus a few more for interview and discussion.

This book gets 5-stars from me…

5 Sterne


 

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads

  • Paperback: 297 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; First Edition edition (July 29, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142003077
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142003077

 

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Continue reading “Throwback Thursday – September 14th -The True Story of Hansel and Gretel by Louise Murphy”

The Girl In The Tower (The Bear and the Nightingale #2) Book Review

I read The Bear and the Nightingale earlier this year and fell in love with the story within the first few paragraphs, so when I heard that there were two more books coming out, I watched and waited patiently for the release of the second book. Sure enough, I found The Girl In The Tower on Netgalley and was approved for it. You can see my review of the book below.

The Girl In The Tower by Katherine Arden

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Blurb: The magical adventure begun in The Bear and the Nightingale continues as brave Vasya, now a young woman, is forced to choose between marriage or life in a convent and instead flees her home—but soon finds herself called upon to help defend the city of Moscow when it comes under siege.

Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya’s options are few: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both doom her to life in a tower, cut off from the vast world she longs to explore. So instead she chooses adventure, disguising herself as a boy and riding her horse into the woods. When a battle with some bandits who have been terrorizing the countryside earns her the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow, she must carefully guard the secret of her gender to remain in his good graces—even as she realizes his kingdom is under threat from mysterious forces only she will be able to stop. – Goodreads

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (December 5, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1101885963
  • ISBN-13: 978-1101885963

My Review

Brave Vasya, older and wild as ever, is faced with a choice to either marry or live in a convent as a nun. Neither choice seems applicable to her and she would rather die riding in the frozen wintry forest than be stuck living a life that doesn’t fit her. She’s been deemed a witch and questions still loom regarding her father’s death. Vasya needs to discover who she is and as she embarks on a journey alone with her horse Solovey against Morozko’s wishes, she takes risks, experiences danger with violent bandits, witnesses burned and destroyed villages, meets the Grand Prince, and even reunites with family. Only time will tell if she’s made the right decisions and the commitment may be more than she can bear.

This second installment has more action and adventure, the addition of new characters, and clues that offer insight to some of the events in the first book. It’s just as enchanting and a little darker than the first. I enjoyed the characters and relationships, especially Vasya’s relationship with Morozko and her horse Solovey. When I first began reading, I felt as though I was right back in the first book again and had to remember a few of the characters. It doesn’t take long to pick up and as Vasya’s traveling begins, there’s no telling what will happen next and the book is far from predictable.

The Girl In The Tower is written in the same enchanting prose as The Bear and the Nightingale and I did enjoy it, but it didn’t captivate me as much as the first. As this book closed with an unexpected ending, I’m even more excited for the third. 4 ****

I’d like to thank Netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this book to read and review.

Star_rating_4_of_5

 

Continue reading “The Girl In The Tower (The Bear and the Nightingale #2) Book Review”

Q&A with Author Nicholas Kotar & My Book Review for The Song of the Sirin + Signed Paperback GIVEAWAY!

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Last week while on Goodreads I happened to see a blog post by Nicholas Kotar regarding his new book release The Song of the Sirin. I read the blurb and decided to dive right in. After reading I was able to ask Nicholas Kotar some questions about his new book, being an author, and what he’s doing now. You can see my book review for The Song of the Sirin, and the Q&A with Nicholas Kotar below.

You can enter the giveaway for a free SIGNED copy of The Song of the Sirin at the bottom of the page.

 

35479763 Blurb: An evil omen clouds the sky. A song of lore returns. Can one man’s quest save the world?

Voran can’t help but believe the rumors. As blight ravages the countryside and darkness covers the sun, the young warrior of Vasyllia hears of an ancient spirit that devours souls. He feels powerless to fight the oncoming devastation until a mythical creature entrusts him with a long-forgotten song. Legend has it that such a song can heal the masses, overthrow kingdoms, and raise humans to divine beings…

Armed with the memory of the song, Voran must hunt down a dark spirit before it achieves its goal of immortality. His quest takes him through doorways to other worlds and puts him on a collision course with seductive nymphs and riddling giants. With each step of the journey, the strength of the villainous spirit grows, as does Voran’s fear that the only way to save his world… is to let it be destroyed.

The Song of the Sirin is an epic fantasy retelling of the Russian fairy tale Prince Ivan and the Grey Wolf.

  • Series: Raven Son (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 380 pages
  • Publisher: Waystone Press (June 26, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0998847909
  • ISBN-13: 978-0998847900

 

My review

 

*This review may contain a few very mild spoilers*

Fantasy isn’t one of my favorite genres and when it comes to epic fantasy’s like The Song of the Sirin, it takes me extra time to read it along with some concentration. After reading the blurb for this one and finding out that it was inspired by a Russian fairy tale, I couldn’t resist. I rushed to Amazon and picked it up at sale price. I believe it was an exceptional reading choice for me.

The story begins with Voran and Lebía, a brother and sister living  in Vasyllia. Their father Otchigen and mother Aglaia have vanished and no one knows where they are. Some say Otchigen vanished after killing many people and stories abound claim him to have beaten his wife Aglaia. Voran doesn’t know what to believe, but he trusts in his heart that his father didn’t commit these crimes. He meets a pilgrim in the wilderness and discovers that everything may not be how it seems.

“You surprise me, young Voran,” said the Pilgrim. “How quickly you pierce to the heart of things. Whatever happens, my falcon, do not forget this. Vasyllia is everything. You must never let Vasyllia fall. She is everything.”

Voran begins to realize that Vasyllia is on the brink of destruction and he’s told that he must locate Living Water to save Vasyllia. At this point, everyone in Vasyllia and the outer lands is in danger. The Covenant Tree is fading, the Sirin sings for Voran, and the adventure unfolds…

There’s so much going on in the story and I was thoroughly surprised throughout the entire book. Even with each chapter having an excerpt from other tales, there was no way I could predict what was ahead. Every chapter had something new happening with separate plots taking place. New characters and events come into the story and they literally leave you aghast. The plot and the characters were so complex with a few of my favorites being Voran, Tarin, and Leshaya. Nicholas Kotar writes beautifully and his writing is very detailed and descriptive. With that said,  I have to admit that there were times when I found the reading to be a tad difficult. I ended up with 235 notes and highlights by the time I was done. This may not be a book that you sail through quickly, but it’s very enjoyable to take the time and relish in the beautiful prose.

Overall, I enjoyed the book very much. This epic fantasy has a lot of what fantasy readers expect including shapeshifters, giants, wolf-like monsters, weird creatures, good and evil, magic, and mystery. The ending was heartwarming for me which was not expected with the events that were taking place throughout the book. I’m definitely going to recommend this one and I’m looking forward the other installments.

Anyone who enjoys fantasy will love this book. 4.5*****

Star_rating_4_of_5

 

Continue for the Q&A and Giveaway!

Continue reading “Q&A with Author Nicholas Kotar & My Book Review for The Song of the Sirin + Signed Paperback GIVEAWAY!”

Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Nicholas Kotar – Cassandra Fear – Piña Colada

This week I have a simple smoothie recipe along with some exceptional books to share!

With yesterday being July 4th, I wound up eating a few uncured hot dogs, and while they may be a little healthier than standard processed hot dogs, I always feel like I need to cleanse myself the day after like I’m suffering from some sort of hangover. So, this morning I’m having a smoothie and I’ll have raw food and juices the rest of the day. giphy.gif

I was able to find a few beautiful pineapples over the weekend and they’re ready to cut, so I decided on a Piña Colada smoothie! The only issue is that I don’t have any coconut milk on hand. My problem with canned coconut milk is that the majority of brands you find on the market have sulphites and I have a serious allergy to them. You will find sulphites in many foods including frozen foods, dried fruits, dried coconut, bottled lemon juice, grape juices, and pickled foods. They occur naturally in wines and some other fermented foods as well. You can find organic coconut milk that doesn’t have sulphites, but I make it easy. I buy shredded coconut that doesn’t contain sulphites and use that to make the milk. I’ll show you how to do this first in case you’re in the same situation as me.

For homemade coconut milk you will need:

  • Shredded coconut
  • Water

Yes! I’m dead serious. You don’t need anything else. Here’s the kind I use.

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Bob’s Red Mill makes a shredded coconut that doesn’t contain any sulphites. It’s not organic. Here’s the one I get on Amazon. It comes in a pack of 4 for under $12.

Measure out a cup of coconut and add it to 1 cup water in the Vitamix.

Blend it until smooth. Add in another 2-3 cups of water and reblend.

There’s your coconut milk!

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If you want to drink the milk alone, I’d add in a little honey. Also, put it through a nut milk bag to strain it. You can see how to use the nut milk bag on my previous post HERE.

Continue reading for the smoothie & books!

Continue reading “Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Nicholas Kotar – Cassandra Fear – Piña Colada”

Author Spotlight with Candace Robinson + Hearts Are Like Balloons & Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault Book Reviews

 

Not too long ago on Goodreads, I came across Candace Robinson’s new book Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault and I instantly fell in love with the cover. I moved on to reading the blurb and I knew it was something I had to read as I love fairy tale retellings and this sounded perfect. I headed to Amazon and purchased it that very day. You can see my review for it below as well as my review for Candace Robinson’s new book titled Hearts Are Like Balloons. 

I was able to speak with the author regarding some of the questions I had about her books and included a Q&A below for those interested.


Hearts Are Like Balloons

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Hearts Are Like Balloons by Candace Robinson is a story about a teenage girl named May who has just lost her father to lung cancer and is trying to move on with life. Her dad was important to her and she has no choice but to let him go. The loss is difficult for her, but she must find a way to move on and to remain strong for her mother.

As May moves on to finding a job at a bookstore, she meets new people that help her along the way, including a hip new boss named Violet, and a new relationship with a boy she really likes named Nico. Violet hits it off with May right away as they have similar interests. Nico happens to be Violets sister and works there as well. May and Nico develop a great relationship as Nico is warm, understanding, and very much into her.  It’s just what May needs to help heal her from the loss of her father. An unexpected event will change everything with their relationship which brings more challenge and heartache for May to overcome.

I have to say that I loved this book. I loved the story as it felt real and was written well. It was emotional and I found myself crying a few times. I appreciated the relationships in the book and enjoyed all the characters. May has a really good support system in place and is loved by all that know her. I enjoyed Violet’s personality the most out of all the secondary characters. Despite the emotion in the book, it’s a feel good read and I was happy with the conclusion.

I think I just found myself a new favorite author!  Five *****

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Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault ( Glass Vault #1)

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I picked up Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault as soon as it was released after reading the blurb and viewing the cover. I love retellings and the idea of intermixed horror really pulled me in. I’m amazed at how perfectly matched this cover is after reading the story.

The story starts out with the main character Perrie and her cousin Maisie. They are really close and live next door to each other. Perrie is thinking about what she wants to do with her life while juggling the mystery that’s going on around town with people who are just disappearing without a trace. Everything is uncertain and one day while driving down Oak Street with Maisie and their friend August, something strange appears. A building they’ve never seen before. A building that is there one moment, and gone the next.

Nobody knows what’s going on with the mysterious building, but as more people start to disappear, Perrie and August begin to search for answers. As they enter the Vault world, they are unable to leave and have to discover a way out. This is where the story takes off and becomes an adventure like no other. A nightmare that you just want to get out of. There were some really grotesque parts in the story when the horror comes in. I liked the addition of the horror paired with the fairy tales and romance because it really makes the book unique.

I personally liked the story and there were some surprises that I totally unexpected, including an interesting twist at the end. I love the way this author writes and this was a fast paced read that kept me interested. I found only a few parts of the story a tad boring, but then it picks back up again and leaves you wanting answers. Anyone who enjoys retellings and horror will love this book.

I can’t wait for the second book! 4****

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Continue reading for the Q&A…

Continue reading “Author Spotlight with Candace Robinson + Hearts Are Like Balloons & Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault Book Reviews”

Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Green Juice – Lou Corona’s Lemon Ginger Blast with Thai Coconut

It’s going to be a great day! I’m so excited to share with you one of my all time favorite green juice recipes! Today’s breakfast is a meal replacer which is a mix of green juice called the Lemon Ginger Blast and Gorilla Milk. I’ll show you how to make the green juice first and then the Gorilla Milk.

One of my favorite raw food advocates is Dan Mcdonald. Some of you may already know him from his videos on YouTube. I’ll be doing a post on him soon with some of my favorite Liferegenerator recipes. He’s changed so much over the years and has become so much more professional making his own raw food DVD’s and selling raw food essentials. It’s because of Dan that I found this recipe in the first place. He was doing a segment with Lou Corona, another raw food advocate who’s been eating raw food for years and repaired his body by eating nothing but raw food. The video’s included here are Lou’s from YouTube of a Mom’s in Charge Class that he performed. Afterwards, you can see how I make this recipe…

LEMON GINGER BLAST

 

There are many different recipes out there which alternate ingredients. I find myself modifying it to fit what I have on hand. It’s always green, but you may find that you want to omit something. Today I’m going to use Kale. Next time I may use Dandelion greens. It doesn’t matter! 😉

I have kale growing in the garden and heading out to the garden as the sun is rising is one of the most fun things to do. I go out very early and pick my veggies.

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It’s so easy to grow your own kale at home. Kale is one of those vegetables you should buy organic and it’s not always easy to find. Grow your own in your garden or even in a pot. It’s so simple. You don’t have to use pesticides. This is Red Russian Kale and it’s delicious and beautiful. You can use it to make kale chips as well. I’ll be posting my favorite kale chip recipe soon.

 

Continue reading “Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Green Juice – Lou Corona’s Lemon Ginger Blast with Thai Coconut”

A Tale Dark & Grimm (#1) by Adam Gidwitz

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My review

I have a thing for fairy tales, especially Hansel and Gretel. So when I saw A Tale Dark and Grimm at the library a few weeks ago, I couldn’t hesitate. I needed to read this book.

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Firstly, I thought the story was incredibly creative. It’s like the classic Hansel and Gretel  except in addition to the witch, they deal with many other scary beings and they move through different fairy tales. They decide they must choose their own fate and they’re trying to locate caretakers that aren’t dangerous and brutal toward them. In a nutshell, they’re trying to stay alive. In between certain tales and sections we have a narrator that lightens the mood and warns before something violent is about to happen. I liked that, but at times it was also distracting.

Secondly, is this seriously Juvenile Fiction for 3rd grade+? It seems way to gruesome for 3rd graders to be reading, but in a way the story is fairly simple which makes me have a love hate relationship with it as far as the reading level. I would put this into the 5-6th grade level, but not 3rd grade and that’s based solely on the content. The author is covering Grimm’s fairy tales here with added twists and I don’t necessarily feel that readers should be spared on the details, but maybe this should be listed for an older audience. It’s fairly sadistic at times. I’d say for younger readers it’s best to read with an adult.

Overall rating on this one is:

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Blurb

In this mischievous and utterly original debut, Hansel and Gretel walk out of their own story and into eight other classic Grimm-inspired tales. As readers follow the siblings through a forest brimming with menacing foes, they learn the true story behind (and beyond) the bread crumbs, edible houses, and outwitted witches.

Fairy tales have never been more irreverent or subversive as Hansel and Gretel learn to take charge of their destinies and become the clever architects of their own happily ever after.

Continue reading “A Tale Dark & Grimm (#1) by Adam Gidwitz”

Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly – updated

I’ve been anticipating reading this book for some time. This is one of my favorite stories from childhood. I absolutely cannot wait to see the movie this week! I have no idea at this point how the movie will compare to the book, but I’ll come back and leave a review for the movie once I see it.

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This review may contain spoilers…

Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book is comparable to the classic Beauty and the Beast, yet so much more. I thoroughly enjoyed the introduction which was so unique. It pulled me right in with the interaction between Love and Death-so intriguing. It’s no surprise that Death would cheat, but who will win?

The story starts with Belle in Beast’s castle after she’s been imprisoned. Beloved Belle and her love for books begins the journey into Nevermore which is so imaginative and pulls you in like you’ve entered an enchanting dream you don’t ever want to leave. Can Beast change and will Love prevail, or will Belle be so enticed that she’ll be lost forever?

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I loved the author’s writing style and this is a super simple read that even young readers at the age of 10-12 can enjoy as its YA. Even though the story is simple, I believe adults can enjoy it as well. It took me extra time to finish it because I’m reading so many books right now, but one could easily have it read in half a day. Some of the characters are a little lackluster at times but there’s plenty of other detail and depth to the story which makes up for it in my opinion, like learning more about the Beast’s background. I loved the addition of the new characters in Nevermore. I also love the beautiful cover which fits the story so well.

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My only issue with the story is that I wanted a different ending or perhaps MORE of an ending. It was so abrupt and not what I expected. I’m really hoping there’s another book on the way! I’ll be forgiving if there is! *Excessive Sobbing*

If you’re a Beauty and the Beast fan, do yourself a favor and treat yourself to this even more magical version of Beauty and the Beast. I highly doubt you’ll be disappointed. Now I’m off to discover more books by Jennifer Donnelly and to see the movie!

4-stars Continue reading “Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly – updated”

The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty’s Prince by Serena Valentino

 

22890934.jpgI decided to spend my entire rainy Sunday reading nothing but Beauty and the Beast. After finishing Lost in a Book this morning, I was still hungry for more. This review may contain some spoilers so read at your own risk.

The Beast Within begins with the Prince and how he’s sickened with the fact that he’s been transformed into a beast. He’s tormented by the three evil sister witches who have cast a spell on him. At this point Beast understands that only true love, both given and received, can break the curse that’s been bestowed upon him.

The majority of the story heads back to the time when the Prince’s life was perfect and he hadn’t a care in the world. He was arrogant and vain. Here we learn about his best friend Gaston, and Circe, his beautiful and soon to be wife. This is where the questions begin. Is Gaston a real friend? Is the love the Prince feels for Circe true love that will have the power to break the spell?

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I liked the way the author used the three sister witches in the story with the added twists. I truthfully enjoyed learning about the Beast before the curse as well, but the relationship with Belle fell short on detail and the ending came way to fast for me. I found it strange how Circe became so understanding in the last moments and she wanted everything to be fixed after spending the majority of the book bitter toward the Beast.

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I still really liked it and I’m glad to have read it. This is perfect for upper grade school readers all the way up to adult.

4-stars

Continue reading “The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty’s Prince by Serena Valentino”

Hansel & Gretel by Neil Gaiman and other Versions…

Hansel and Gretel was originally published in 1812 by the Grimm brothers. It’s a story of German origin. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm heard the tale “Hansel and Gretel” from Wilhelm’s friend at the time, Dortchen Wild. Wilhelm later married her and she became Mrs. Grimm.

It’s possible that this fairy tale originated in medieval times when the Great Famine caused people to abandon children in the woods due to lack of food.

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Arthur Rackham’s illustration of Hansel & Gretel from 1909.

Hansel & Gretel is one of my personal favorite fairy tales from childhood. I was so fascinated with the story as a child. I used to have a copy of the Disney book that contained a record I could listen to on my record player. I can still remember sitting in my room and reading along with the story. This version was from Disney and came out in 1967.

Here’s a picture of the one I had a child.

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Here’s my review for this edition:

This is a little book and record that I must have listened to a thousand times when I was little. I can still remember listening to this on my little record player. Side one of the record is the story and side two contains three songs from the opera Hansel and Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck.

I love the illustrations in this version and I’m amazed how clear the record sounds. As soon as it started it evoked nostalgia within me that I haven’t felt for some time. I recently purchased it for my collection for my family to enjoy. It’s perfect for children to follow and it does have the page turn signal.

If you’re a Hansel and Gretel fan, pick this up online. You won’t be disappointed.

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Continue reading “Hansel & Gretel by Neil Gaiman and other Versions…”