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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-05-22 09:58
Unwritten by Tara Gilboy
Unwritten - Tara Gilboy

NOTE:  I received an Uncorrected Advanced Proof of this book from NetGalley.  This review is my honest opinion of the book.

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TITLE:  Unwritten

 

AUTHOR:  Tara Gilboy

 

EXPECTED DATE OF PUBLICATION: 16 October 2018

 

ISBN-13 (paperback):  978-1-63163-178-8

ISBN-13 (ebook):  978-1-63163-178-8

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Unwritten is a beautifully written portal-fantasy/adventure novel written for middle-graders but that is also interesting enough for adults to read.  The novel also has an attractive and eye-catching front cover.

 

The reader follows twelve-year-old Gracie, who is not a normal child.  She is actually a character from an unpublished novel that she has never read.  She only knows that she was supposed to die in the story.  That's why her parents took her (and some other people) out of the story, into this world, to save her.  She longs to know more about the story but her mother refuses to talk about it. All that this secret-keeping does is foster Gracie's curiousity about herself and the story she came from.  Then the author of Gracie's unpublished story comes to town and things get interesting... and messy.

 

The main characters are believable (even if I did want to stuff Gracie in a broomcloset for continually ignoring sound parental requests), and the conflicts dealt with are complex.  however, the other characters (Walter, Cassandra and Jacob) could all have used a bit more "flesh".  The plot line is interesting and slightly twisty, with the setting skipping between our world and the story-world.

 

There are many themes in this book - keeping secrets, being honest, the detrimental effects of being too stubborn, family - but the main theme is about figuring out who you are in a world that may try to turn you into something else; realizing that your story is not written for you and you can determine your own path. 

 

Being geared for the 8-14 years olds, this novel is rather short and fairly easy to understand, but it is a fantastic story about magic and self-determination that is enjoyable to read.

 

 

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review 2018-05-19 18:56
Calamity Jane (Living Forest #12)
Calamity Jane: The Wise Old Raccoon - Sam Campbell

A year in the life of a raccoon, particularly a female, is challenging and then there are the kits one must raise and teach to survive before winter comes and the cycle starts again.  Calamity Jane is the final book of Sam Campbell’s Living Forest series, focusing on the year in the life of a raccoon introduced in Looney Coon yet in a different style than the rest of the series.

 

Campbell begins Jane’s story with her emerges from a several weeks long nap in mid-February to get out and about, eat some, and meet other raccoons especially one big male in particular.  The book then shifts into spring as Jane reemerges on the hunt for food as quickly and as much as possible before having to feed her four kits.  Taking up most of the book, the spring is when young kits are in the most danger first because they rely on their mother and then when they’re eyes open they begin exploring much to their mother’s fear in some cases.  Eventually Eno, one of Jane’s kits, begins living with a nearby farmer and his family after a misadventure but later reconnects with his mother and siblings.  The most shocking turn of events is the apparent death of Jane when hunters enter the Wildlife Refuge she lives in and attack her, though by then she had weened her kits off of needed her and able to survive on their own.  But later that fall, Jane returns after proving harder to killer than the hunters expected to the joy of the farming family.  The book ends back in the winter with Eno not comfortable his human family’s sleeping habits and heading back to his old home to get some much needed sleep with his siblings and mother.

 

Like Sweet Sue’s Adventures before it, Calamity Jane is written differently than other books in the series.  Focusing on Jane and her kits, the book follows them in a style meant for young readers.  With the addition of over 50 photographs, this book is definitely for young readers than readers for all ages.  Given that Sam Campbell passed away the same year as this book was previously published, one wonders if his health changed the way he wrote the last two books of this series though interesting information for nature’s citizens isn’t diminished.

 

Calamity Jane like its predecessor is a children’s book to get them interested in nature and giving them a wonderful introduction to Sam Campbell’s writing so they can be interested in the other books in the Living Forest series.

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text 2018-05-19 05:04
Anything To See The Laughter On Their Faces

At Rumple and Friends, our performers have only one aim. To keep the kids laughing and happy. They will do anything to hear the laughter of the children ringing in the air. Our performers are highly trained in the acts they perform. But if there is one thing they have in their minds, it is the happiness of the children who are their audience. Rumple and Friends are committed to providing the best time to your child. When it is a party with us, we will spare no effort to keep the kids entertained. Kids grow fast and change fast. Every year they are different persons.

 

You can never get back that period which just passed. It is your duty as parents to give them the happiest memories of those times which they nor you can get back. Give them the chance to have a blast of a time on their birthdays. Organize a party on your boy’s birthday that he will never forget in his life. Let him and his friends have their happiest moment on that day. Let him be thankful to you his whole life for keeping him so happy. Rumple and Friends are the best children’s party entertainers in Singapore. We have a variety of performers who can keep your children happy for hours together.

 

All these performers are highly trained in their acts. We have a list of characters who will keep appearing at the party and mingling with the kids. There are many characters who will seek the help of your children for some game. This will keep your kids engaged and happy. We also have magicians who will awe your kids with their magic.

 

 

The children will also get a chance to participate in some of the magic acts. We have face painters who can change your children into the hero of their choice. The best of our acts is by our Super Rumple, the hero who saves the world. He will come for the Superhero party for your hero. This party is sure to make your child’s evening the best he has ever had.

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review 2018-05-19 04:14
Sweet Sue's Adventures (Living Forest #11)
Sweet Sue's Adventures - Sam Campbell

The length of a mother skunk’s time with her young is less than three months, but even in those three months you can learn a lot.  Sweet Sue’s Adventures is the penultimate book of Sam Campbell’s Living Forest series, yet unlike all of the other books in the series this one completely different.

 

Sam Campbell takes the reader on a journey of six hikes to a nearby farm and follow the adventures of a female skunk just before she gives birth through to the raising of her big family to when they leave, all of that under three months.  However this time, Campbell writes in such a way that the reader becomes an active participant of the narrative like a student going out with an old-timer to learn instead of relating a variety of events around the Sanctuary of Wegimind or another location that his wife and he travelled to.  Yet the information learned about the skunk like its eating habits, the raising of it’s young, and the warning signs before it sprays you with its pungent odor are extremely interesting.

 

As stated before, Sweet Sue’s Adventures is a completely different book than its predecessors.  The first was the change of narrative style as noted above, the second was that instead of being easy to read for all ages this book was aimed at younger readers specifically, and third was the inclusion of 48 black-and-white photographs of Sue and her litter instead of the occasional illustrations.  Being the shortest book of the entire series at around 120 pages with photographs and wide spacing made this a very quick read, though informative.

 

Sweet Sue’s Adventures is a quick lite read aimed at young readers about an animal that is stereotyped as always smelling.  While it is completely different from previous Living Forest books, Sam Campbell packs it was information that is suited to his target audience.  Though adults readers and probably first time reader might find it juvenile, for experienced readers of Campbell it’s a nice quick read on a rainy day.

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review 2018-05-18 18:11
Book Review of A Case of the I Love You's by Micah Lorenc, illustrated by Jesse Leyva
A Case of the I Love Yous - Micah Lorenc

You'll never guess what happens when a mother's love reaches its limit and simply can't be contained. Follow an unsuspecting family as they take on an uncommon challenge. A brother and sister duo must use their wits and creativity to save their parents from a rare and mysterious illness.

 

Review 5*

 

This is a fantastic children's book! I loved it!

 

The story is a mix of fun rhyme and beautifully drawn illustrations. The illustrations follow the story perfectly, so a child who cannot read properly yet can understand what is going on. I love the way the artist has drawn this fictitious family, and their facial expressions and antics made me smile.

 

The story is told through the eyes of the children as their parents become infected by a virus. This mysterious virus is rather contagious and makes people blurt out "I love you" at odd moments. The family try their best to cure this virus, but there's no stopping it. By the time the book ends, all the members of the family are affected by this "I love you" virus. By reading this book the reader becomes infected too. It is such a sweet story that by the time I finished it, I wanted to shout "I love you" to my family too. In fact, I still may just do that. *wink*

 

"I LOVE YOU!" There, I feel a lot better! *grin*

 

Micah Lorenc has written a lovely children's book that made me smile. He uses simple language for the most part, so children should be able to read this on their own (depending on reading ability, of course). However, there was a sentence that I read that I found a little jarring even though it rhymed with the previous one. It's where the mother first becomes infected and she is rather apologetic about her outburst. My editing hat reared it's head and made me think that the sentence could have been written differently and still rhyme somehow. However, that is my only grammar niggle and other readers may not have the same reaction. The children may not even notice, to be honest. As I said, it could just be me being pedantic, so I'll leave it to the readers to decide for themselves. This is the author's debut children's book and I am looking forward to seeing what else he comes up with in the future.

 

I highly recommend this book to children from the age of 3 (as a bedtime story) and up to 8 as a young reader. I also recommend this book to adults looking for a fun and entertaining read for their children. - Lynn Worton

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