Stage Daughter

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Sonya is a single mother that always dreamed of being an actress but never quite made it. Struggling to support her daughter, Sonya pushes her daughter Razia to become the successful actress that Sonya would never become. Sonya is trying to find her place in a world where she never seems to fit in while focusing all of her attention on troublesome Razia. How can one woman hold her own while combatting so many outside forces?

Razia is curious about her father and disappears for the afternoon on a trek that lands her in front of a man that she doesn’t even know. One curiosity about her life has changed the lives of everyone that she knows. She comes face to face with her father, Aziz, with whom she has nothing in common with but she is fascinated by. What will happen to Razia now that she has a mother and a father that just can’t get along?

Aziz is a muslim yogi running a successful business when a daughter that he never knew he had arrives at his work. Struggling with his past and present infidelities, Aziz is now faced with the challenge on worrying about the future of two separate families. What will happen when Aziz’s unfaithfulness to his religion and to his wife come crashing in to his life?

“Stage Daughter” is reality fiction told from the perspectives of Sonya, Razia, and Aziz. The situations that they are dealing with are very relatable to the modern world and are very easy to understand. They are equally important characters in the tale of one family, and all of them are just trying to find where they fit into this crazy world. Personally, I didn’t really like Sonya as a character because she was very quick to start fights without thinking rationally about things, and it was easy to confuse the voice of Sonya and her 12-13 year old daughter, Razia, because they are both incredibly immature. Sheryl Sorrentino excellently captures the language of how modern teenagers speak and act, which was very impressive. I appreciated reading a realistic story that was easy to relate to in the sense that all of the main characters had very different personal issues that they needed to come to terms with and was very pleased with the outcome of the story. Sheryl Sorrentino has crafted a story that, albeit is riddled with intense arguments, is an inspiring story about being true to who you are and embracing your place in this crazy, messed up world. 8/10

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Adela Arthur and the Creator’s Clock

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Adela Arthur is your average teenage girl trying to make it through her school life unscathed by the popular girls, until the day of her sixteenth birthday, when her life is changed forever by learning that she is a special human being called a Volsin. Adela discovers that her seemingly blind grandfather is actually a dragon and together they travel through a mirror into a world called Cielieu. Adela and her lifelong friend Hector are sent to the Elpida Castle of Light where they are taught the history of Cielieu, how to use their light, and play the Volsin sport of choice- Natorbi. Inside the enchanting castle, the young Volsin are safe from any outside forces, but in the forests of Cielieu, dark forces of light lurk in the Shadows. Through her journey, Adela learns of her powerful lineage and the support that she receives from her classmates and elders alike in order to defeat Prince Delapeur, the power hungry Volsin leading the dark forces of light. Adela struggles with learning how to control her light as Prince Delapeur continues to steal the light of other Volsin while tapping into Adela’s mind, until the fateful night that Adela receives a gift called the Creator’s Clock. What is the significance of the Creator’s Clock and what power does it hold? What do Adela and Prince Delapeur have in common after all of this time? And what will happen to the Volsin of Cielieu if Adela isn’t able to defeat the dark Prince?

In this exciting fantasy novel by Judyann McCole we are shown the life of a young girl named Adela Arthur. Adela has to adjust to her entire life being a false representation of who she was in just a short amount of time, but she seemed to do this without any issues at all. Adela is somewhat of a celebrity when she reaches the Elpida Castle of Light, but most of her peers are resentful because of their lack of optimism in Adela’s abilities to defeat Prince Delapeur. Jeremy was my favorite character in this novel because of the mystery that he presented to all of his peers and his predictable infatuation with Adela. This novel is filled with twists and turns that you may or may not see coming, but will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat! Adela and her friends battle Chimeras and a troll, help deliver a baby dragon, learn how to protect their minds from the Prince and use their light, and try to win the passionate competition game of Natorbi. Fans of the Harry Potter series will rejoice in the release of this exciting new novel. 7/10.

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The World was My Oyster but I Didn’t Know How to Cook

“The World Was My Oyster but I Didn’t Know How to Cook” was the absolute best book that I could have read at this point in time in my life. Why? Because Christy Potter showed me how to be thankful for what I have, showed me which authors I need to know and recognize, and reminded me of the small things that I should never forget, and instead embrace. Full of inspiration in the form of short essays, short stories, a couple photo journals, interviews, etc. that will make your heart sing with creativity and put life back into your seemingly colorless day.

Christy Potter is an amazing and honest writer that will make you feel the changing of the seasons as they progress on paper. She pays homage to respectable writers that deserve recognition for their craft including, but not limited to: Edgar Allen Poe, Dr. Suess, Lois Lowry (also conducted an interview with her), and C.S. Lewis (who she affectionately refers to as Jack). The way Christy Potter talks about writing is incredibly inspirational. She’s an encouraging writer that convinces her audience to do what they truly enjoy doing as an individual. Some of my favorite chapters were when she talks about the different quirks of various writers, her interview with Lois Lowry, and a narrative essay called “Christy Goes to England: Searching for Jack” that gave me chills, and “To my unconceived child on Mother’s Day” that left me with a tear in my eye.

This book made me realize how out of touch I’ve been with my greatest hobby: reading. And it has inspired me to set goals to write more, attend book readings or even join a book group, take more pictures, read more great authors that I have yet to experience, learn and grow, spend more time in libraries, go abroad, and most importantly to realize that inspiration is everywhere.

This book is an excellent read for anyone with passion, a creative mind or spirit, or a writer at heart. Easy to be read by anyone Young Adult and older to spark that creative match that may or may not still be lit within you. This book made me feel very passionate about the craft of writing and left me with only one question in regards to Christy Potter: why won’t you love her Philip Roth?!

10/10

Some of my favorite quotes:

“Everything interesting and creative has to be called a hoax at some point by those with limited creativity.”

“Poetry is one of those things that seems to frighten and fascinate people in turn. A bit like marriage, really.”

“If there’s ever been a mental image that has encouraged me to keep going with my writing, it’s Janet Evanovich burning all her rejection letters.”

“There is such beauty in how uninhibited we are before the world teaches us to be inhibited.”

“The time I spend writing, or gardening, or sculpting, or playing my flute, are the moments that define me. They are the times when I am myself the most. I’m done fitting my art into my schedule. It’s time to start fitting my schedule into my art.”

The Traveler

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“The Traveler” is the exciting first book in the Fourth Realm Series written by John Twelve Hawks. “The Traveler” focuses on the lives of two brothers, Michael and Gabriel Corrigan, and a fighter named Maya. Michael and Gabriel have lived “off the grid” for the majority of their lives until the day Michael gets tired of living like a hermit and decides to make something of himself, calling upon him the attention of the Tabula. The Tabula, also known as the Vast Machine, are a mysterious organization that keeps a watchful eye on people throughout the world and claim to be a terrorist prevention organization by seeking to get rid of ancient fighters called Harlequins and those they protect, Travelers.  The father of the Corrigans was a known Traveler, but does that mean Michael and Gabriel are Travelers as well? What will happen if the Tabula catches them before Maya, one of the last Harlequins alive, can find them and protect them? Will the world ever truly be safe from terrorism or the Tabula themselves?

I won’t deny, “The Traveler” is quite a thrilling book… If you can make it past the first 200-250 pages. The first half of the book was incredibly drawn out and the book took me roughly 5 months to read because it wasn’t something that immediately pulled me in. The characters weren’t very personable and it was difficult to warm up to them. It was interesting to read about Maya, a ruthless killing machine, and see the way that she begins to care for Gabriel even though affection between a Harlequin and a Traveler is forbidden. This book is full of betrayal, mystery, suspense, and action. The author gives great detail throughout the book, but often times it was overwhelming and would pull me away from what I actually wanted to find about about the Corrigans and the Vast Machine. It wasn’t something that I would personally recommend, but there’s a rumor that Warner Bros will be looking into an adaptation of the book, so maybe it will have better luck as a movie.  At best I give it a 4/10.

Crystal Clean

Crystal Clean

By: Kimberly Wollenburg

Crystal Clean is the emotional and honest story lived and told by a mother struggling with meth addiction.

Kim had low self-esteem through her adolescence and started using drugs and alcohol at a very young age to help her cope with her depression. By the time Kim was in her late 30’s, she was using every day. Kim tells her story starting from the way she was treated at school at a very young age up until she was in her early 40’s and had been sober for 4 years. She tells the story openly sharing both the good things that she learned and all of the negative things that she had to pull herself out of in order to survive and be there for her son. She talks about denial, loving yourself, and taking care of yourself.

It was heartbreaking to read everything that Kim had to go through and the lessons that she had to learn the hard way in order to come out on top of her addiction. It was a tear-jerker when Kim retells her stories about her son Andy, and it truly touched my heart the relationship that she had with her son and how a mother should be willing to do anything to protect their children, including sobering up. The most emotional part was when Kim was talking about being in rehab and having to confront her parents about how she felt.

Crystal Clean is a must read for anyone in this generation due to it’s powerful insight on life provided by the wonderful author and mother that dealt with it first hand. It was the most honest work of art that I’ve ever read and would greatly recommend it to anyone. Hands down, 10/10.

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“For some people, it only takes one time. Others may use for a few days or a week before it turns on them, but it always does. And the result is always the same. One hundred percent of the time. Meth will rip you apart and destroy you, no matter who you are, and by then it won’t matter how thin you are or how clean your house is because the whole picture is uglier than anything you can possibly imagine.”

“Getting sober is hard. It hurts, mentally and physically. Staying sober takes true courage. The courage to heal not only the pain caused by addiction, but also all the pain that led to addiction.”

Untimed

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Charlie always thought there wasn’t anything particularly special about him because he just wasn’t one of those “memorable” people. But he didn’t realize that the reason nobody except his aunt and father knew who he was stemmed from the fact that he was a time traveler. Through trial and error, Charlie learns the ways of time travel and drastically changes the past leading to a very unexpected future; where clockwork men referred to as Tick Tocks seem to be in charge. How will Charlie and his new friend Yvaine undo events from a couple hundred years in the past to preserve the future that we know today? What would happen if Ben Franklin was never the successful inventor that we know him as? What if the French Revolution didn’t have the same outcome that we think? Find out in this thrilling novel expertly written by Andy Gavin.

Andy Gavin successfully establishes the eras in which Untimed takes place through successful accents and imagery that makes the past come alive right before your eyes. Something that I personally enjoyed was how the author weaved in references from movies and pop culture that we know today even when the main character was stuck in the past. Time travel is always a touchy subject to delve into, but Andy Gavin has explanations for everything in a way that made me wonder how time travel isn’t being used today if it’s so simple! The author expertly crafted an adventurous story teeming with debauchery, intense fight scenes, and even love -all throughout different eras of time! Untimed truly is a science fiction story fit for any reader looking for an adventure. This one’s a 9/10  in my book!

“I guess life is more about who you’re with than where – or when – you are.”

Roots of Insight

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Quinn has returned from Eirentheos to Earth and is left to live life like a teenage girl, but she’s having a major problem readjusting. She can’t seem to stop thinking about the time she spent in Eirentheos and how much different it is from her own home. She is absolutely delighted when Thomas travels through the gate to invite her to a royal wedding in Eirentheos, but something is amiss. Thomas is distracted with the thought of his missing cousin, Lily, and Quinn was the last one to see him before he went missing and she returned home. Will Quinn be able to help William find Thomas? Will they solve the mystery of their missing cousin? And how will they ever stop the ill-intended Tolliver from becoming the King of Philotheum after all he’s done to poison the children?

In this thrilling Sequel to the first book in the Dusk Gate series, Quinn truly begins to understand who she really is. She keeps having vivid dreams and begins to confuse them with real life, but they seem to help her find what she’s looking for. It almost seems like she’s fulfilling her destiny of becoming a prophet, but that’s just my opinion. I loved reading the way the relationships between Quinn, Zander, William, and Thomas grew individually and I still find myself completely torn in this love triangle that has Quinn in the middle of it all!

This book in it’s entirety kept me on the edge of my seat. There is a rebellion stirring against Tolliver that has safe houses between the two kingdoms of Philotheum and Eirentheos that Quinn and William travel through to find Thomas, but it’s not as easy as it might seem. The most nerve-wracking and anxiety filled part of this book takes part towards the end where they are staying in a safe house provided by a family that doesn’t seem all too trustworthy, they certainly seem to be keeping a lot of secrets. Hopefully Quinn and William will learn the difference between their friends and their foes before they’re left with no one to join them standing in Tolliver’s way to the throne. Once again, an 8/10.

Seeds of Discovery

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Quinn was just your average teenage girl, that is, until the fateful night that she almost hit her fellow classmate William Rose with her car and he vanished into thin air shortly after. Caught up in the mystery of William Rose (and how he keeps disappearing), Quinn begins to follow him to see what she can find out. Never in her wildest dreams was she prepared for the mystery that was revealed. A gateway between two worlds, ours and the land of Eirentheos where William Rose is a Prince of the kingdom. In William’s absence, a sickness had been spreading with no positive advances in how to cure it, until Quinn came along. Will she be the one to help save them?

I was very easily sucked into the magic of Seeds of Discovery. From the very beginning, I was furiously turning pages to find out what could possibly be going on with William Rose, I started feeling like Quinn myself! William had been the shy kid at school and always kept to himself, so when Quinn noticed that he was disappearing, she decided to follow him to a broken bridge over a lake. Worst case scenario she figured she would fall in, but she got much more than she bargained for.

I loved the author’s detail of Eirentheos and it was very easy to imagine the type of kingdom that it would be. Everything was very easily explained, and I loved the way that time moves a lot faster in Eirentheos than it does in our world. In the book, Quinn was there for ten days, but in our world that would have only been one! I really wanted the book to be longer, and I felt like there very easily could have been more of a story to it. Also, there are 13 Princes and Princesses of Eirentheos, so keeping track of the names could be a little bit difficult at times if you’re not paying close attention.

I loved the pace that the story moved at, and I found myself torn between who I want Quinn to end up with romantically. Does she date Zander- the boy she’s known for her entire life, classic gorgeous football player with a great personality? Or William Rose himself- the shy boy from her school that she’s known for years that has a secret that’s literally out of this world? Or what about William’s irresistibly charming brother Thomas? I can’t wait to finish reading the second book in the Dusk Gate series to find out who gets the girl, who is poisoning the children of the kingdom, and just how Quinn manages the pressures of being a teenage in two worlds at once! I would definitely give this one an 8/10

Giveaway from the author:

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Lone Wolf

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My collection of Picoult books

Title: Lone Wolf

Author: Jodi Picoult

Anyone that knows anything about me will know that my favorite author, hands down, is Jodi Picoult. That being said, I was very excited to read Lone Wolf when it came out.

Lone Wolf is about a man that has spent his life dedicated to researching wolves. Luke Warren spent two years in the Canadian wilderness furthering his education on wolves and living with them as one of their own. When he returns home, his family slowly falls apart over the course of several years until a fatal accident occurs. With society’s beloved Luke Warren in a coma in the hospital, who is to decide his fate? His estranged son of six years? Or his daughter that is underage? Lone Wolf asks the reader: Who has the right to decide your fate when  you’re not capable of doing it yourself?

Lone Wolf was a gripping read. I enjoyed reading the perspective of the different characters, specifically the memories from Luke Warren himself. It was a little bit confusing why there were flashbacks from Luke Warren since he was in a coma, it lead me to believe that he was either going to wake up or they were left behind in a journal somewhere, but this wasn’t revealed to the reader.

There were a couple things that the book kept secret for quite a while: Why did Edward really leave his family? What happened during the accident that Cara is keeping a secret? I felt as if it took longer than it should have to let the reader in on the secret’s of the family. It made the reading go by a little bit slower because it didn’t flow as naturally. Also, when they were revealed, it made all the difference and brought tears to my eyes; specifically Cara’s secret of why she was holding on to her dad’s life so dearly.

Overall, I would rate this book an 8/10. It wasn’t my favorite Picoult book, but it was interesting to read and kept me intrigued throughout. Also, the knowledge of wolves was very impressive and gave this book an edge that I haven’t read in a while.

Painted Blind

 

What happens when the God of Love falls for a mortal? In this modern day twist of the myth of Cupid and Psyche (most often referred to as Eros in this story), Eros truly does fall in love with a mortal and unintentionally sends her on the journey of a lifetime.

I’ve always been in love with this myth, because it’s very interesting, and it has a very happy ending which definitely held true for the book as well. In this modern day story of Eros and Psyche, Psyche is a beautiful but shy high school girl that hides her body by wearing men’s clothes. Psyche’s mother took her to Europe for the Summer where she modeled and starred in an advertisement where she portrayed the goddess Aphrodite (or Venus), Aphrodite became jealous of Psyche and sent her son Eros to kill her, not intending him to fall in love with her instead.

If you’ve read the myth of Cupid and Psyche, Psyche is tricked by her jealous sisters to see what her true love looks like because he will not show himself to her and they make her believe that he might be a monster. When Cupid is awakened by hot wax from a candle dripping on him, he sends Psyche away and she must prove herself to him by completing tasks determined by Aphrodite: Sorting out a huge pile of seeds, retrieving golden fleece, filling a flask with water from the River Styx, returning from the Underworld with a box containing Persephone’s beauty.

Back to the book, the first task that was given to Psyche was to collect 1,400,000 copies of the advertisement that was printed of her portraying Aphrodite, and 10 billboards which was no easy task, followed then by collecting silver fur from wolves, then traveling through the underworld to visit Persephone and give her a box (which was provided by Aphrodite) and return to the mortal world with the box unlocked. Psyche completed these tasks with help from Aeas and Titus who were both immortal servants, and also the help of Eros who came to her aide after she was harmed by Aphrodite’s guard and lover, Theron.

Overall, I would give this book an 8/10: The story held true to the original myth while giving it a modern twist and adding a lot of details to help explain things and make it easier to understand overall (for example: how do the immortals “age”?) It was a very well-written and exciting tale that left me wanting to read more and it truly shows the dedication and love that people can show each other. However, there were a lot of grammatical errors, and parts of it seemed to go really fast, or seemed out of character.

My favorite quotes from the book:

“I will tell you this: Love like you cannot imagine awaits you if you have the courage to find it.”

“It’s okay to believe in things you can’t see. Isn’t that what people say? The best things in life are unseen.”

” ‘Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind…’ The rest of the stanza from A Midsummer Night’s Dream now came into my mind, ‘…And therefore is wing’d Cupid painted blind.’ “