My Rating: 5 Stars
I’m fully aware that I’m reading this collection backwards, but I honestly say that it doesn’t make a difference to me. These tiny books are a treasure and it’s a true pleasure to read them no matter in which order I receive them. Beauty Within is just as good as Poor Unfortunately Souls and I would give it more stars if I could.
You think you know the story of the selfish, arrogant and proud prince that got cursed to live as a beast until he found true love and has loved in return? Think again. In this novel, you will have a glimpse at the past of a prince that is the fruit of privilege, richness but also loneliness and superficiality.
I fell completely in love with this perspective of the story of the Beast. The story-line is very well-developed and the style of writing is as beautiful as always. I really felt like I got to know Beast a bit better and to understand him in a level that the Disney version didn’t allow me to. It’s different, powerful and a bit scary. I couldn’t imagine that Miss Valentino could come up with such a version of the punishment that Prince Adam goes through before the curse is complete. I will not give any spoilers, but I can tell you the punishment is slow, painful and has a psychological side to it that is both perfect and a bit cruel. Don’t get me wrong: I think it’s very efficient.
Like I wrote on my previous review of “Poor Unfortunate Souls”, villains aren’t born evil; there are circumstances outside their control, the environment they spend their childhoods in that shape who they become in the future. In the real world, we do bad choices and chose wrong paths but in the end we learn about our mistakes and just like the Beast, the thing we fear the most is unjust and cruel judgement.
A great book that I highly recommend to all the fairytale-fans out there!
My Rating: 5 Stars
It seems I started in the middle with this series, but I regret nothing. Little Mermaid is one of all-time favourite Disney film and Ursula definitely one of the best villains, so of course this book is a must-have! The best part? It wasn’t disappointing, quite the opposite: unpredictable, heartfelt and very addictive!
This novel tells the story of Ursula, the most feared sea witch of all time and her journey to becoming the villain so known and terrifying in the sea world. Haunted by her past, fuelled by hatred you’ll take a ride to the depths of the witch's' heart and beware, it’s a wild ride.
I loved this novel! It was amazing to see her story from the beginning and how it intertwines with the story of Ariel and scenes from the film; To read “Poor Unfortunate Souls” while reading Ursula’s line of thought gave me goosebumps! This story gives depth to the villain and proves that no one is born evil. Being left in a state of fear, loneliness and rejection, turned Ursula to the path of hatred; so strong that she has no chance at redemption.
I couldn’t help but feel for her and understand why she is the way she is. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but she has one or two good reasons to be the way she is and to seek revenge, even if I know that it isn’t the answer to the problem. I also could help but wish that the story ended differently and that her fate wasn’t the one we’re all familiar with.
My first read by Ms Serena Valentino and it’s my pleasure to highly recommend this book to any Disney villain fans out there! Can’t wait for the next volumes to arrive!
My Rating: 3 Stars
A nice middle-grader adventure book.
The novel introduces us to an alternative universe where evil travellers in old train cars and the Karmanic Sovereign Legion is in the front line to fight this threat. When Cole’s father dies in a train crash, he doesn’t know that he’s being tossed into a world he didn’t know it existed. When he receives a strange stone called Blue Moon Narthex, Cole travels to the Coreseum with his two companions, Britten and Sasha, where he begins to understand the power of stone and the evil forces that are so kin in having it.
The story line is enjoyable and the idea of Karma matter balancing the good and evil in the world was refreshing to read. The writing style is very engaging and easy to follow. Unfortunately I didn’t connect with the story as well as I thought I would as I found a lot of similarities with the Harry Potter and Percy Jackson universes. Though the book takes a different turn after a while, I was disappointed with the lack of details of the period when the story takes place and the overly detailed descriptions like the educational process of the three main characters.
I definitely think that this novel is more turned to the middle graders level: magic, mystery, companionship and adventure. Overall, I give three stars for the writing style and the refreshing idea of the narthexes and the Karmanic universe!
This review was originally published on NetGalley.
My Rating: 5 Stars
Wonderful novel! Fantastic, heart-warming and fast-paced adventure that was impossible to put down. I absolutely loved every phrase of it!
I want to thank Miss Ali Seegar for the advanced copy of her debut novel and for the opportunity to read it.
Tommy Turner’s Tremendous Travels by Ali Seegar tell the story of Tommy, a 12 year old boy and his adventures in a difficult period of his life. When Tommy’s mother announces that they will be moving from his little town to another, Tommy feels that his world is ending. Forced to leave everything behind including his best friend and fellow adventurer Digby, the 12-year-old struggles to adjust to a new life, a new school and the constant favouritism of his sister Sally.
But his life changes when he enters ‘Petrovsky’s Toy Store’, where his double-life starts. During the day, he’s a student at the High Brooms, struggling to fit in, make friends and survive encounters with bullies, and at night he’s an adventurer that travels to different planets meeting aliens, fighting mythical monsters and even winning the World Cup. When real life catches up to him, will Tommy be able to become the hero of his story?
First of all, I want to congratulate Patrick Hawkins for the brilliant illustrations in this book, they really helped me in imagining Tommy’s world and to fall deeper into the story.
Secondly, for Miss Ali Seegar, I want to say that you are a wonderful writer with an amazing talent. The writing is very nice, it flows perfectly and the simple vocabulary makes it very easy to understand and follow. The story-line is incredible, very rich in imagination and creativity.
In this novel there aren’t just adventures but lessons as well, lessons that come with life experiences. I loved to see the evolution of Tommy’s character from the lost boy desperately wanting attention and struggling with a new life to the boy against all odds overcomes his fears and insecurities and starts his own path in life. I fell in love with Tommy, with his courage and his ability to face his fears.
It was very easy for me to identify some of the challenges Tommy faced to ones that I had myself when I was younger, and that’s why I think this book isn’t just for children but for adults too. Mr Petrovsky, the toy store owner, represents the past and he’s there for a reason. The lessons that he teaches are the horrors of past wars, their consequences and that we should value what we have in our lives and the people that are important to us.
An amazing story with brilliant and memorable characters that will leave a tear in your eye. I highly recommend this book for children of all ages and for adults would like to remember that it’s like to be a child. I can’t wait for Miss Ali Seegar’s next novel!
My Rating: 5 Stars
First of all I have to say I'm a huge fan of Mr Rick Riordan's work and style. I've read quite a few of his books and the feeling never really changes.
The Sword of Summer is the first book of the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard collection and it was absolutely brilliant! Fast-paced adventure filled with twists and a lot of humour... I mean buckets of humour!
About the story: Meet Magnus Chase, a troubled boy that lives in the streets after the mysterious death of his mother. Growing up not knowing who is father was, imagine his surprise when one of the people that he has been avoiding finds him and tells him his dad is Norse god. Magnus life takes a big and fatal turn that will take him on a quest beyond the world of the living and into the world of Viking myths and legends. His mission? To prevent Raganarok, the end of days. Guided by a prophecy, together with his three friends Magnus most travel the Nine Worlds in search of a weapon that has the power to change the course of destiny. Easy right? Oh, did I forget to mention the giants, fire-giants, trolls, resentful gods?
A great start for this series. There is nothing not to like, the characters, the settings, the plot and don't even get me started on the humours conversations and chapter titles.
I really liked Magnus as a character. His spirit, his ability to face his fears, his loyalty, his courage and of course his sarcasm make him an epic hero that I want to read more of. Sam, the main female protagonist is incredible. She is force of nature, not afraid to speak her mind and to follow her instincts. Despite being set aside for her linage, Sam doesn't let others opinion bring her down.
The rest of the team Blitzen the dwarf and Hearth the elf complete the picture and add the spice to the story. With this group it really shows that you can't be good at everything, you're not perfect and that's okay, because you are unique and you have friends that will always have your back. Their friendship is incredible and I could feel the strong bond between them right from the start.
Is this like Percy Jackson? No. Percy and Magnus are two very different characters with two very different destinies.
The second book is already to go on my Reading List and I can't wait to get my hand on those pages! Highly recommend it!
Some of my favourite quotes:
“I told my new friends that I was allergic to dismemberment. They just laughed and herded me toward the combat arena. This is why I don’t like making new friends.”
“The thing about talking swords…it’s hard to tell when they’re kidding. They have no facial expressions. Or faces.”
“No, Satan would be a schlub next to this guy. This guy is like Satan’s fashion consultant.”
“I don't expend my energy trying to fight the change of seasons. I focus on making sure the days I have, and the season I oversee, are as joyful, rich, and plentiful as possible.”
My Rating: 5 Stars
Beautiful, charming, funny with a dark approach.
This middle grade book can definitely be read and appreciated by all ages. The fast-pace of the book, it's charming characters, Warren and his friends, the mystery plot and all this turns and unexpected twists is the perfect combination for a very entertaining book.
The illustrations are absolutely breathtaking and go perfectly with the story. I definitely want to see the printed version of it and probably buy it too!
This review was originally posted on NetGalley.
My Rating: 5 Stars
A friend recommended me to read this book even though it's for children. I took up the challenge and most say it's not what I was expecting... in a good way.
For me the story had a very slow and calm flow of events and it reminded of the time when I was still a child that saw the world through the eyes of innocence. Tom travels through time without really understanding why, getting to know friendship, reflecting on time itself, and growing up.
The ending is simply beautiful, and I felt a warmth that I haven't felt in a while, when reading a children's book.
From the Author
Hi there fellow book lover!
Disclaim: All the images used serve for illustration purposes only, I don't own them. All the reviews and opinions are my own.