A Scribble Scrabble On Life: Laughed At A License Plate (And Other Mundane Things)

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Well this one time we were driving and some black sedan whizzed by and the license plate read something along the lines of GANDALF.

You won’t believe how disappointed I was. There was no pointy gray hat. SACRILEGE.

I’ve always been interested in license plates. I even had a collection of the weirdest ones. I think my favorite was FLYAKITE. Mom didn’t get the reference.

Welcome back to another post of the mundane with your not favorite mundane person. 😀

The past two posts have been unusually deep, for some strange reason.  Not sure why. My brain is funny sometimes. Anyway, I’m breaking that streak because I couldn’t post stuff like that on a regular basis if my life depended on it. 😛

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I dunno what I was doing here, but I definitely thought it was funny. XD

How are you, huh?

Ooh, looky- it’s SNOWING.  The sun was shining a few minutes ago. I wish I had my camera, but there’s no way I’m stepping out in in 10 degree weather. And that’s in Farenheit, too. It’s cold. It’s beautiful. It’s cold. I’m shivering. XD

Library stuff. The other day Dad was free from work, so the reprobates that were us kids drove to the library to “work”.

HA.

Work.

*dies* That’s kinda funny. XD As if I could actually get work done in a library. Leaving me in a place of books is like taking a two year old to a candy shop- you won’t emerge unscathed.

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I actually did get some homework done though- the nice librarian who knows me as “The girl who’s almost always asking for the obscure American titles” showed me to the encyclopedias, and I think I walked back and forth from my desk to the shelf like…. 20 times? Per hour? SCHOOL. WHY.

Came back home with…. um.. tenish books? Does one count comics? And I owe 2.80 to the library now. Oops. And my card expires in 30 days. *sobs* The injustice.

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I’m not sure whose blog I saw it on, but the book Because You’ll Never Meet Me caught my eye, and I spent an hour or so reading it. Mini review- the POVs are really great, the characterization is well done, the concepts are seriously cool, but as for the other elements, I’m still deciding. XD It’s a pretty good read though! I also read Girls Can’t Hit and it’s a surprisingly good read as well. *nodnod* Makes me wanna pick up a set of boxing gloves. 

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Speaking of comics, I screamed unnaturally when the A4 TV spot came on during the Super Bowl. I didn’t even bother to stick around for the game. XD It’s coming and I shouldn’t be this excited, but I am. ENDGAME. AH. I’m too excited. 😛 Maybe also because I kinda get to nerd my family out with everything Marvel connect with my family a little more. 🙂 Although I’m not lying about the family part. I got my brother reading 2 comics simply by leaving them out on the shelf. He hates reading. XD I’m counting this as a score. It’s been decided that we’re now pronouncing Tony Stark “Sony Tark.”

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Spiderman can’t be more relatable.

Anyway.

Brief birthday related paragraph. My other brother, also known as the Very Loud And Unusual One Who Plays Electric Guitar And Drives Me Crazy went and decided to get older. Being the good sister I’m not, I ate a slice off his birthday cake. What, he won’t miss it. 🙂

Weather Intrusion. Wait, wait, THE SUN’S SHINING IN THE SNOW STORM *pokes head out window*

*freezes*

*dies*

*wakes up in Budapest*

Well, that was a mistake. 😛 I’m dying it’s cold. Sent hot cocoa over here! 😛

I’ve been desperately trying to catch up school-wise, which isn’t too bad if I just got my homework actually done, it feels like I live at this get up:

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Break down: Tiny black laptop balancing precariously on the edge of the abstract art couch is actually a DVD player. Main laptop is the thing I can’t live without due to its can’tlivewithoutqualites. Papers over there are the evil fatale assignments I had to go overtime to barely finish. 

Which, I gotta say, is really, really nice, but it gets tiring over time. So what better way to switch things up than to say, do the art tutorials on The Art Lab?

Art Dump. *facepalm* Sometimes I question my sanity.

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I spent so long at that paintiiiing- and the marker bled through. 😡  Oh well. It was rather fun trying to be artistic- and my other brother said he liked it. But still. those clouds look terrible.

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See, the marker bled straight through to the next page! (Also, very sorry for the terrible lighting) But I actually kinda like this one. My first decent drawing in a while. I just might redo and frame that one.

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And then I had to go and waste all my ink on trying the spaghetti mountain thing. It was HARD. And I ran outta marker. But it kinda looks like I actually tried! Which is good, because I actually did try. Art is hard.

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*gags* WHAT. EVEN. IS. THIS. ATROCITY.  YUK. My eyes hurt right now. I was trying Buttercup’s hair tutorial and thought, “ooh, this isn’t too bad, let’s try the face!”
What was I even thinking?

This offends everything in me that has an inkling of art sense. Why. Be-yuk. I suppose I’ll have to keep practicing to be remotely good. But that’s okay. Nobody’s an expert at first try. Take this as proof what whatever you’re doing is ten times better than whatever I could conjure.

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Conversations. I kinda wish people would take this mug at their words. Lately I’ve discovered that many times a lot of hurt can be avoided if someone just takes the time to listen. Many of the hurt’s been caused by myself too, which I hope to end. Tea doesn’t hurt. 🙂

Audiosmiths’ Release! We’ve been working very, very hard on this, and it’s finally out! Big thanks to Rebekah for taking on the editing work ❤ (also: was it hard getting an annoying Scottish accent that was probably incorrect? Answer: YES. VERY. ARGH.)

To sum up. Sometimes, random posts are really just random. They don’t make an ounce of sense, and honestly, you gotta ask yourself what’s the point.

I guess I don’t have any other than that after a long hard week,  people need a reason to smile again. If my recaps of an otherwise mundane life can do that, than I’ll consider this successful. XD It’s easy to look at the news and have your heart sink. But as Thor said:

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I’m telling ya, these comics have more insight then they let on. Maybe go read one sometime. 😉  So here’s your funnies for the week. It made zero sense, but hopefully.. I dunno, maybe it got you to smile. 🙂

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Have a good one, okay? 😀

life is a highway, Jo

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Once and Then Book Review (More like Once I cried, Then I cried some more)

Finally, I get around to reviewing the books I borrowed and read on a dare. Yay!

The problem is that this specific book is so good, I can’t just review it. Or rather, these specific books.

Once is its own book, and Then is a book by itself. They’re just smushed into one cover. Funny, ain’t it? There’s a whole series by Gleitzman, Once, Then, Now, After, Soon, Maybe- I really need to read the rest. I mean, these two alone shredded me.

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If you’ve ever read The Boy In The Striped Pajamas, then you already get the setting for these books. Sorta. They travel a bunch of places. But war-you can’t avoid it. It’s everywhere. Through a child’s eyes, however, it’s a whole other story.

Felix. Good ole young, hopeful, naïve Felix. Just a kid in an orphanage whose parents are sure to pick him up after they find a safe place to store their books, right? Well, add in Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass and the fact he’s Jewish and the fact there’s soldiers everywhere, and it gets a little trickier.

But see, Felix doesn’t know why there’s a war or why everything’s happening the way it is. To Felix, it’ll all be okay in the end. So until that end comes, he’ll content himself with his stories and wait.

Ayyy, if only he did. If only he didn’t see the soldiers take those books away and burn ’em up. Then maybe he wouldn’t have done what he did and none of the heartbreak happened.

But then again, sometimes the hero needs to make choices he can’t ever take back. More on that in another post. Anyway, Felix ends up doing just that.

Morris Gleitzman Quote: “Everybody deserves to have something good in their life. At least once.”

I’ve always loved studying WWII, and reading fiction from that genre. I don’t know why. This period, this time, it’s special for me. I don’t really have any reason. I’m just one of the many lives forever affected by that war ending. I’m more especially interested in the people whose lives were directly affected by the war. Real or fictional. Especially since fictional often is heavily based on the real.

Especially because fiction opens our eyes to how bad the real thing was.

Anyway, thoughts specifically on the book:

I loved the style of writing this was written in. As you can guess, every chapter in the book starts with the word “once”. Except Then. Then every word in Then starts with “then.” Okay, that’s confusing, but read the book and you’ll get what I’m saying. XD

The characters oh my word they were so well written I can’t even. Felix, Zelda, personwhosenameIcan’tsaybecausespoilers, otherpersonwhosenameIcan’tsayforsamereason, they all had depth, they all had arcs, and just- ahhh it seemed so.. real. They carried the story so well.

I loved the perspective this was written in. POV. Whatever. Like The Boy In the Striped Pajamas, this is through the eyes of a boy who has to grow up too fast. A boy who’s naïve, and hopeful, and dreaming, and basically every kid ever. Seeing everything he does through his eyes opened my eyes.

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Zelda ahhh this kid is a well written 6 year old and she’s just really adorable and great and.. so sad.

Once and Then shows an amount of slightly violent stuff, like kids all being dead and guns and knives and -okay, erase slightly. It is violent, because the war was violent, and none of what happened should ever be whitewashed. Ever.

And yet, despite everything, there’s hope. Felix, as young and naïve and childish (oh come on, he IS a child) is so.. hopeful. And that hope is seen in trace amounts throughout the book. And that’s something I really, really loved in this bittersweet, hard hitting novel about a kid who was forever changed by WWII. Maybe he wasn’t in real life, but somebody was.

We shouldn’t forget that.

Life is a highway,

Jo

 

10 Questions With Rowan, And A Review Of Hide And Seek

Hide and Seek Blog Tour

Hello, people! Happy dreary slow moving traffic Monday, and all that wonderful homework. Ahem. Anyway, today is the day I get to interview a character. You see, Mya Gray has published her first ever book. Indeedy she has, and I get to review and interview! This should be good. If it’s not, I probably messed it up. 😛

About the Book:

Amara Clark is haunted. When her childhood friend, Asher, vanished during a seemingly ordinary game of hide and seek, she was left bewildered and alone.

Now, eight years later, memories of Asher are coming back to haunt her and she struggles to decipher the meaning of his disappearance. In a terrifying sequence of events, she comes to the deadly realization that a simple game of hide and seek can be much more dangerous than one might think.

Before they know it, Amara and her best friend, Rowan, are whisked away on a journey to find Asher and take down the sinister group that is holding him captive. But time is running out, and saving one friend could mean losing another.

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About the Author:

 

Mya

Mya Gray is a teenager with a knack for words: when she isn’t penning a story, she can be found reading, taking photos, or blogging. Her dreams range from becoming a well-known author to fostering shelter kittens. Mya is a homeschooled high school student who resides in the Midwest with her parents, three siblings, and cat, Cupcake. Stay up to date with her and her writing on her website, lifefrombehindacamera.com.

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Review 📖

Hide And Seek just became a little..spooky.

Poor Amara. Only a little kid, and she has to watch her childhood best friend Asher disappear before her very eyes, plus run into an owl to boot.

But that was years ago. Now, all Amara has to worry in her tiny town of Silverton is being late for school and getting detention. But even that’s not bad, considering that her best friend Rowan is there to suffer with her.

So why, why on earth is there a note for Amara telling her to finish her long abruptly stopped game?

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And without knowing much about the danger ahead of her, Amara and Rowan set out to find Asher- and hopefully make it back alive.

Hide and Seek, without spoiling the book, is about waay more than hide and seek. There’s disappearances, tiny towns, snow, and cloaks to boot. But it’s mostly about Amara and Rowan, and the action is primarily on them. I would’ve liked to have more background on the two of them, because without fully connecting with the characters, I wasn’t engaged in the actual adventure.

That being said, the adventure was well described and written, and I enjoyed that part very much, even though *cough cough* it may not be a good idea to sneak off on a train with no parental permission? 😉 we all know that but just thought I’d throw that out there. The settings were all nicely written, and it wasn’t hard to see the places in my head. There’s also a mystery revolving around Amara, Asher, and another girl they find. It involves a bit of the supernatural, which I found was an interesting but hard to grasp element.

The entire story was a great first start for Mya Gray, who wrote a book that was full on action and mystery, with maybe a little less on exposition, but nonetheless a good read.

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Interview 🎤

And please welcome Rowan to this here nice leather seat with a mic! To find out more about Rowan, read the book. 😛

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Roawn’s mood board. 🙂

1. How are you doing today? Good, thanks.

2. Great! Um. So. What’s life like in Silverton, and do you like that life? Life in Silverton is what I would describe calm, ordinary, and quiet. Well, except for Asher’s disappearance. There are less than a thousand people, so it’s really small. I like it, but in the future I want to try living in a big city.

3. Sounds like a nice life! Now, I gotta know, how’d you and Amara meet and stay close friends all that time? We’ve been in the same class since we started going to school (there are so few kids at the schools here that there’s only one class per grade level). But we only really started talking when some guys were making fun of me. She was the only one who stood up for me. I didn’t have any friends, and Amara thought all the girls in our class were annoying. We’ve stuck together ever since.

Amara Aesthetic Collage

4.  Ooh, puts the home in “home room”, then. And that musta been great to have someone’s stand up for you. But, uh, when Amara let you know what was going on, did you ever think it would be so serious? No. Hardly anything ever happens in Silverton, so I expected her to tell me she was being punished for getting detention or something.

5. Detention is pretty bad, but not this serious, I’ll bet! What was racing through your mind when you and Amara left town in the night? That I would do everything I could to keep her safe. I know how much she cares about Asher, so I knew she would give up anything to save him. Amara’s decisions can be a little crazy at times, so I wanted to make sure she uses common sense. *laughs because Amara is glaring at me right now*

6. XD Good on ya, keeping your friend alive! It’s for your own good Amara! Oh, speaking of her, why did you decide to stick with Amara, even with those *cough cough* people told you to stay away? I knew better than to believe them. They were trying to split us up, so it would be easier to snatch her away without having to deal with me. So instead I made sure I was being even more careful and staying with her at all times. And I came on the journey knowing that I would have to risk everything to face Asher’s kidnappers.

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And last but not least, here is the mood board for Rowan Wood, AKA Amara’s best friend!

7. Doing the exact opposite, I like it. But it must’ve been difficult. How did you survive despite the hard conditions? What made you keep going? My mom. I knew she wouldn’t want me to give up. I want to live life to the fullest before I’m reunited with her in the end. Plus, I needed to be there for Amara when she returned to Silverton.

8. That’s a great inspiration. 🙂 So how will you be living life to the fullest? What are your plans for the future? Anything like leaving town for good? I’m still not sure. I might want to be a doctor.

9. A doctor. Nice! I’m sure you have lots of time til then, which is good for dealing with everyday stuff. Like dentention. 😛 What other kinds of detention would you rather have? XD cause writing the same thing is tiring… Organizing Mrs. Cane’s desk. I peeked back there once and wow, it’s a wreck. I love organizing and I don’t know how she works in that kind of condition.

10. *gasp* Organizing a desk? That’s really hardcore man. You couldn’t pay me to clean my own desk, 😛 well, we have just one more question now. If you could say something so that everyone in the world would know, what would it be? Never give up hope. You are loved. I probably wouldn’t have made it without hope. And so many people believe that they are not loved, when it’s not true. You will never be alone.

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If you survived almost the way to the end, good on ya! As your reward, you get to sign up for the giveaway (last day folks!),  get the rest of the schedule, and get the book links!

Book Links

Amazon

Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Friday, November 9:

Intro // Mya Gray @ Life From Behind A Camera

Book Spotlight // Rose @ The Bright Bookcase

Character Interview with Amara // Bea @ The Treasure Within

Saturday, November 10:

Character Mood Boards // Mya Gray @ Life From Behind A Camera

Author Interview // Carlye @ Carlye’s Camera

Sunday, November 11:

Hide and Seek Book Tag // Mya Gray @ Life From Behind A Camera

Hide and Seek Book Tag // Rose @ A Purpose of Winged Dogs

Character Interview with Amara // Sapphire @ Simply Sapphire Song

Monday, November 12:

Q & A Live Stream // Mya Gray @ Life From Behind A Camera

Character Interview with Rowan + Book Review // Jo @ The Lens & The Hard Drive

Tuesday, November 13:

Hide and Seek Release! + Giveaway Winner // Mya Gray @ Life From Behind A Camera

Book Review // Lilian @ Green Tea With Books

Giveaway

Enter to win one signed paperback copy of Hide and Seek! (U.S. only, sorry!)

—-> ENTER TO WIN <—-

You guys are awesome. See ya later!

I Don’t Wanna Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library

 

This. book. wow.

So for some odd reason I have been able to read almost 10 books in the last two months. Which is a huge deal for me since I somehow am still keeping up with NaNo.  Yay!

At the awesome book party Kate and Anna were a part of, I saw this interesting book nestled in with other amazing books. Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library. I instantly connected with it. It’s a library, for crying out loud! So I commented that I would read it, and finally, like the other day or so, I had to put the book down (or in this case, my Kindle app). Because I’d finished the book.

I didn’t want it to end!

This book was wondermous, the concept, the characters, the setting (oh man the setting), the clues, and the entire story and subtle themes, the world. It felt so real, I was seriously transported to another world. And being the writer wannabe that I am, I kept muttering through the book,  “what a clever author. I wish I wrote this book…” which worried my mother to a certain extent.

The concept. A couple of kids get locked in a library, the coolest and only library they’ve known since the old one was destroyed before they were born, and basically, it’s an Escape Room. Use what’s in the library to get out of the library, and Mr. Lemoncello will reward ya. But frankly, I wouldn’t mind staying there forever. Food! Books! Internet! What more would I need?

The characters. Kyle is your normal, average gamer guy, but I like his character. It wasn’t flat. He’s the kind of guy you root for, and I was doing that throughout reading this book. The other kids weren’t flat either, which was awesome. Sierra is probably me, and Mr. Lemoncello is a lot like Willy Wonka. It was like I was there with  them, and it added to the story to get into some of the characters’ heads. Especially the bad guy.

The setting. Ahhhhhhhh it’s a booklover’s dream place! Imagine a science center, mixed with the gaming section of Best Buy, mixed in with a library, mixed in with so many secrets and nooks and crannies and that’s not even half of the Lemoncello library.  I wanna live there *sobs*

The clues. My Jones & Parker detective agency cap was put on again (ha, you really didn’t think I wasn’t gonna put an AIO reference, right? Cause I was.)  I had to grab a paper and pen to write down everything that would be important, and following those clues and references with Team Kyle and Team notgonnasaybutnotaniceguy was fascinating. And the author’s note at the end really heightened the suspense for me. (Easy suspense though.) If you read the book, which I certainly hope you will, read all the way to the end. 😉

Story/Themes. The story was written remarkably, like it was calling to you to stop and stay a while, which I definitely did. You’ll have to read it and see how you think of it! The themes were also written remarkably, like how thinking for others rather than just yourself goes further in the long run, to be gentle, and that books really can take you places.

As you can probably tell, I enjoyed this book immensely, as well as the second one, which talked about banned books, nerdy library kids,  and something called the library olympics. It was a great read.  Now all I gotta do is wait for the third and fourth books. And hopefully write something half as attention-grabbing as Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library.

And homework. I really do need to go to a library soon.

DID SOMEONE SAY BLOG TOUR (+ Fate Of The Watchman + Review + Giveaway)

Happy Saturday, all y’all! 😀 Yes, you read the title right, I’m part of a blog tour for a new release called Fate Of The Watchman. And today’s the last day. 😀

Fate of the Watchman, Blog Tour

 

About the book:

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Lester Sharp is a workaholic, obsessed with the success of his business and oblivious to the world around him. All of that changes when a peculiar stranger comes into his shop asking for food and help. Lester soon finds himself on an impossible journey around the world to bear witness to some of the greatest tragedies a person can know, all frozen in a single moment of time.

In this challenging and gripping novella, debut author Chad Pettit, delivers a supernatural, pulse-pounding adventure in which Lester Sharp is in for the longest second of his life and learns lessons to last a lifetime.

 

About the author: 

Chad Pettit grew up in Oregon with books and the mountains to help his imagination grow. After high school, he spent ten years in the Army, travelling and deploying all over the world, including two combat tours in Iraq. After the military, Chad earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Texas A&M University-Central Texas, and then he started teaching English at an early college high school in central Texas. Chad currently serves in a local church as a deacon and the Sunday school superintendent.

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Da Actual Review You Probably Came To Read:

(Disclaimer: I wrote this kinda tired, which I am all the time, so if it’s somewhat incoherent know that I tried!)

To start off with, the first three words that come mind thinking of Fate Of The Watchman are descriptive, dark, and Christmas Carol.

(Yes, I realize that’s four, but it’s true.)

It’s a very dark book, the theme, the story, the setting. And I think that adds to the message, that we as people and as Christians, are indifferent to the harsh sufferings of the world.

Lester is this “I don’t know and I don’t care” kinda guy. All he’s concerned about is how his business is gonna do, and he’s so wrapped up in it, nobody matters to him. Well, other than his brother. Nobody. Especially not the dude coming in his shop asking for some help.

It turns out it’s the other way around. Lester needs help. But he really doesn’t care, which reminds me a lot of Ebenezer Scrooge. Like Ebenezer Scrooge, Lester is taken on a crazy journey with an unusual guide. Unlike Ebenezer Scrooge, Lester sees much darker, deeper things then good ole’ Scrooge will.

Which just as a warning: There are parts in the book that are extremely graphic and I urge whoever would be interested to read it to read with caution. And while I don’t prefer reading that content at all, it did add to the realization that this is bad. We live in a broken world. Which I’m thinking was the message Petit wanted to convey?

The book also mentions angels as “watchmen”, which I found interesting but a hard concept to handle.

The tl;dr version of this is that Fate Of The Watchman is a book that will force you to stop and think. And y’know, sometimes we need to.

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Catch the other posts here!

Monday, October 1st

Intro Post // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries

Book Spotlight // Grace Maples @ Proclaiming His Excellencies

Tuesday, October 2nd

Author Interview // Angela R. Watts @ The Peculiar Messenger

Wednesday, October 3rd

Author Interview // Faith Blum @ Bookish Orchestrations

Author Interview // Germaine Han @ The Writing Mafia

Thursday, October 4th

Review // Rayleigh Gray @ Literature Approved

Friday, October 5th

Review // Grace Buckner @ Literatura

Saturday, October 6th

Review // Jo @ The Lens & The Hard Drive

Wrapup Post // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries

A. Kaylee // Book Spotlight @ Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes

And there’s a giveaway if you’re interested!

 

 

 

 

Just A Review: The Rose And The Balloon

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Hey everyone! I finally got around to getting that review I promised y’all. I did mention it was about roses, right?

And it is. See?

 

In a kingdom where fauna and flora are held in higher esteem than breakfast, Dmitri is a prince who yearns for change and plans it in a single daring act that will alter his life forever. However, when his demented mother accidentally causes the destruction of a prized garden of roses, Dmitri is horrified when she proposes his hand in marriage to make up for it. Not only will a wife hamper his glorious plans, he doesn’t even want one. Janelle has spent her whole life on her father’s rose farm, tending the roses and staying simple. But she really yearns for something greater than the flower beds. But now there’s a wrench thrown in the works – the crazy Queen Maeva wants her to marry the prince, and all for ruining her father’s beloved roses. This is Beauty and the Beast with a twist like you’ve never seen it before.

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Da Actual Review You Probably Came To Read-

I had no idea crazy queens, hot air balloons, and twins that try to kill each other any chance they get would be such a delightful combination. But it was.

The whole story gets off quite nicely. Queen Maeva is intent on flying a balloon, and everyone in the kingdom is sick of it. But she launches one anyway, and due to unfortunate circumstances, the balloon crashes into Janelle’s father’s rose garden. (Also neat twist, everyone is obsessed with roses. Who knew?) Everyone on both sides of the matter are properly disturbed. It’s going normal.

And then the Queen suggests something absolutely absurd. Marriage??? For her son, to the girl whose father’s livelihood was just destroyed and who doesn’t look keen on being just friends with the prince, let alone *gasp* married to him? Is she absolutely crazy???

Oh wait, she is. Heh. But she’s also the queen. Which means whatever she says goes. Rats. What are they gonna do.

To be honest, I thought Dmitri and Janelle’s obvious tension (helped along with sarcasm, wit, and the fact that they just don’t get along) was kinda funny, and I liked that there was a lot more to their characters than you usually see in re-tellings. Janelle is just as fiery, hot- tempered, and witty as Dmitri, and Dmitri is this cold, proper, aloof prince. (Which makes for the best dialogue!) It takes the twins to tell Janelle that their older brother was once a great person to be around.

Speaking of the twins, Nicolas and Nicoline are two of the wildest charming twins I have ever read. Their very serious goal to out-prank the other had me laughing. And in the end, they really– uh, you’ll have to read the book to find out. 😉

The plot was concise and very well written, and moved just a smidge too fast, but at a pace perfect for a novella. And the plot twist! You could kinda guess what was coming, but when it actually hit you, bam!

When the book description said it was with a twist you’ve never seen before, it wasn’t joking. There is no living china, angry townspeople, or a pompous annoying twit who wears hunter red, and there’s no magic. But there’s a glowing rose, there’s this reluctant love, and there’s hot air balloons. How much better can it get? All in all, I enjoyed this quick and just delightful read, and my only comment is that there should be more of Nicolas and Nicoline. They’re ridiculously sweet.