Book Reviews, Ramblings

Weekly Book Review: Unwritten by Tara Gilboy

Gracie Freeman has always known she was special. The glimmers she has remind her of where she really belongs: in the scrapped novel of Gertrude winters. Her mother’s lack of answers and no way to get ahold of the novel drive Gracie crazy. She just wants to know who she’s supposed to be. When Gertrude Winters holds a book signing event for one of her other novels, Gracie decides she just has to meet her, if for no other reason than curiosity. But things go awry, and Gertrude Winters ends up trapped in the very world she tried to create. Her mother sends Gracie off with a strange man as she goes to the rescue.

But who will rescue her if things continue not to go according to plan?

I always love it when books incorporate writing into their story. This book, unfortunately, let me down. The characters just weren’t fairytale characters. Butcher shops and vans hunkered in the middle of nowhere? It wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for when I read the synopsis. I couldn’t stop imagining the best friend as Wybie from Coraline and the dad as one of the more out there people on Doomsday Preppers. If not for the cover on the book, I don’t wanna know who I would have thought the main character was like.

It was a shame, because while the characters weren’t very lovable, the storyline was pretty good. Most of the plot dealt with the main character, Gracie, fighting against what the fairytale dictated she should be and do. Who doesn’t love a main character setting out and trying to be their own person, despite all the odds? There was also quite the twist towards the end that, had I been emotionally invested with the characters at that point, I probably would have freaked out and raved to all my friends over (to which they would try so hard to match my enthusiasm… but let’s be honest, you simply can’t match the crazy attitude of someone mid-plot-twist).

If you’re looking for something more obscure and less fairytale-esque, you might find this book enjoyable. Personally, I felt very duped. I wanted more whimsy and swishes of magical monsters. It would have been nice to have a better idea of the original story Gracie was supposed to be in, and what the original plot was supposed to be. This book is a series, for those of you wanting to give it a try. For me the journey ends here, but if you end up reading the second book let me know how it turns out!

And please suggest me something else where one of the characters is a writer, because writers writing about writers is both fun to say and one of the most relatable things out there. Don’t forget to subscribe for more book reviews and… maybe some stuff about writing? Who knows! Until next time, stay smiling!

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Book Reviews, Reading

Weekly Book Review: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Hey guys! I’m back. I told you I wanted to take a break from my readathon books to review this short story so here we go. Enjoy!

Life has not been kind to Antoine. Stripped of his childhood wonder, forced into a medial adult job as a pilot, and now stranded in the middle of the desert it’s anyone’s guess what’s next, but when a little boy appears at his side giving far more questions than answers, Antoine begins to wonder could some happenstances be good? And is it really too late to turn his current situation around?

There is a thin line between a great story and a great premise, and I still can’t figure out which side The Little Prince rests on. Throughout the story there are several great quotes and the story itself resonated with me in an odd sort of way, as I’ve always considered myself a child at heart never quite understanding the ways of other adults. What this story lacked for me, however, was focus.

There were a lot of things referenced in the story that either weren’t done justice or that I felt were completely unnecessary. While I do understand part of the fun of reading fairytales is is the whimsical and wild ride, the story didn’t feel connected. It was almost as if the first part of the story was written with a completely different plot in mind. There was no revelation about the planets or the prince’s opinions of adults, or anything mentioned before the fox came into focus. Without giving any major spoilers as to how the story -does- end, let me just say it’s not at all what I hoped for, lacking that happily ever after ending that makes me want to read these kind of stories.

All that said… there was also so much to love. Every character was adorable and I loved the story about the artwork (again, no spoilers 😉 ).  It is definitely something that would catch the interest of a child, though if it would keep them, I’m not sure. I will leave you with two quotes, one of which is my favorite, and one which I think is necessary for any writer or artist to hear. Take them as you may, and if you have any other short stories or unique fairytales you think I should read, leave a comment below! Fairytales are my favorite kind of story so any recommendations you could give would be much appreciated. Also if you’ve read this story I’d love to hear your thoughts!


“If someone loves a flower, of which just one single blossom grows in all the millions and millions of stars, if is enough to make him happy just to look at the stars. He can say to himself: ‘Somewhere, my flower is there…’” – pg. 30

“That is a beautiful occupation. And since it is beautiful, it is truly useful.” – pg. 59

Book Reviews, Reading

Weekly Book Review: The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke

Venice, France is where everything comes to life. The town is bathed in gold and mythological creatures roam the streets, or at least, that’s what Prosper and Bo’s mother told them before she died. So when an evil and self-centered relative threatens to tear them apart, they can think of nowhere better to run away to than the magical city. Unfortunately, they’re not their the only ones who remember their mother’s fascination with Venice, and pretty soon investigator Victor Getz is right on their tail. The brother’s are in trouble. No place safe enough to hide, no adult to trust, and no plan, but when the consequences are so dire not even they are willing to give up so easily.

Every time previously I’ve tried to read this book I’ve found it hard to get into. It sells itself as a whimsical fantasy novel with beautiful landscapes and an invitation into the impossible. The fantasy aspect, however, doesn’t start until halfway through the novel. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of readers stopped reading at that point because people who were interested that far in often wouldn’t want to read about fanatical Merry-Go-Rounds.

That said, my opinion of the overall book was that it is quite adorable. I do wish there would have been more fantasy laced into the first half of the book, as the ending almost feels like kind of a cop out, but for what it is it is very nicely written. I highly enjoyed Cornelia Funke’s writing style. It was very highly detailed while still leaving room for your imagination. If anyone goes to read this book I recommend you read five or six chapters before giving up on it, as that is around the point I started getting a good feel for the characters.

There was pretty little character development, which I didn’t mind, but thought was important to note.

I actually was at the bookstore the other day and unknowingly picked out another book by Cornelia Funke. She definitely has a way of appealing to people! I would have got it had it not been the third book in a series, and though they had two of the third book and like twelve of the second they didn’t have a single one of the first! I was so upset! If anyone has read the Inkheart series please do tell me what you thought of it. I kind of want to know which book came first, Inkheart or The Theif Lord.

Anyway that is all! Thank you for reading, please comment any book recommendations down below! Next week I’m going to take a break from reviewing my readathon reads because I just finished this short story and it… I don’t even know what to say. I am so torn between: “This is the greatest book ever!” and “Are you serious right now?” So get ready for that! I’m also going to start doing my writing blog posts on either Saturndays or Sundays, whichever’s easier.

If your interested in writing, reading, or a crazy girl with a curl for every wacked out thought, make sure to follow this blog! I’d much appreciate it. Stay smiling!

Book Reviews, Reading

Weekly Book Review: The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis

Adventurine is your typical dragon: greedy, selfish, and stubborn — but she has a weakness: chocolate. When Adventurine stumbles across a bumbling man in a cave, she comes across his secret hoard of hot chocolate. In exchange for his life, Adventurine takes a hefty sip of cocoa. There’s just one problem: this isn’t any ordinary hot cocoa. Adventurine suddenly finds herself five feet tall, with stubby hands and delicate features. Angry and scared, Adventurine has to find a way to turn back before her parents get worried, and maybe find some more chocolate along the way…

As a writer, when I read a summary on the back of a book I tend to write my own version of what the novel should be. It’s never accurate to the actual novel. Usually, this is a little disappointing, even when I find a book I love, because I still think the book could have been done differently. This book, however, was better than any version I could have wrote, and here’s why: The characters.

Adventurine, her best friend Silke, and the mirage of other people the two meet are not your typical cookie-cutter characters. There is a reason behind nearly everything they do, and very little of it feels sudden or over-exaggerated to the point of frustration. They feel real. I want to know the backstory behind each and every character because I’m confident there is one. There wasn’t one character I felt was an afterthought.

To be honest, everything in this story seemed to meld well together. The characters were just the best part, but if you want a world that lives and breaths with visuals to keep you imagining for hours, this is the book for you. Everything: from silver and red scaled dragons to giant vats filled with hot chocolate. Slight spoiler: I also enjoyed how despite everything that happened at the end Adventurine still had new things to learn.

You can find this book under the middle grade novels section, or with the children’s books. Yes, it is written for kids, and to be honest the writing style itself can sometimes reflect that, but it’s such a cute story. I feel like most “adult” novels lack the whimsy and charm of our youth. Even fantasy novels become more serious and less cutesy. It’s nice to read books like this and be reminded of all those heartwarming feelings.

If I could give one critique… There should have been a fluffy romantic subplot. Not a huge one, but I think Adventurine adamantly denying she has feelings for a human guy (maybe even the food mage?) would have been hilarious. It sounds like there may be some fluff in some of the later books though, so here’s hoping! This is is a book I can’t wait to read the sequel for.

Have you read The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart? If so, what did you think? Make sure to leave a comment below and subscribe to this blog for reading, writing, and random nonsense!

Events

24in48 Challenge: Choosing Favorites

We’re finally nearing the end! I hope everyone has had a wonderful time.

My favorite book this weekend has been The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burges. I was admittedly a bit skeptical when I realized it was written in first person, which in my opinion is one of the biggest writing sins one could make, but the story was perfectly light and fluffy. I plan to do a more in depth review done the road, when the readathon is officially over, so for now all I will say is it’s a perfect world. It’s got food mages, dragons, and royalty. What more could you ask for than that?

What’s the best book you’ve read this weekend? Make sure to leave a comment below so I know what I should get next!

Events, Ramblings

24in48 Check-in: A Day of Reading

One last post before I head to bed, as per the doctors orders (Who???)! I’m officially eight hours into reading, and I’m not going to lie, it’s been tougher than I thought. Everything was going well until I hit the six hour mark, then I realized I needed to get up and do something else or I was going to go insane. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading, but it some point it just became a bit much. I’ve made it through two books though, and nearly a fifth into my third! I’m going to see if I can’t find an audio book so I can switch it up a bit and hopefully get back into my grove. I also got more snacks and am switching over to my bed, which will hopefully be a lot more cozy.

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I do usually eat healthy, I promise.

Events, Ramblings

24in48 Challenge: Let’s Discuss Romance

Hopeless romantic has been one of my core traits ever since I was little. The idea of someone holding your hand, sharing your laughs, of a person loving and knowing you better than anyone else resonates in my heart. It is something that I often yearn for, and my heart is settled when I discover such a thing in books.

Books are special. Through all the endless lines describing a characters thoughts and feelings, you see a more natural development of a character falling in love. That is why I love them so. Stories like Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli and Stardust by Neil Gaimen make you love the characters individually, and the coming together of them makes things all the more special. It becomes so real and so heartwarming, and even the most overdone pairings and plotlines can become special.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m just dazzled by stars.