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review 2018-05-12 08:51
mixed feelings
The Girl and the Grove - Eric Smith The Girl and the Grove - Eric Smith

Leila hears voices in her head and taking deep breaths and focusing on what is real around her , a routine she’d been running through all her life, one she and Sarika had developed together at the group home when the voices came.  And the voices pulled back into the depths of her mind, as they always did. Leila had been adopted by her foster parents Jon and Lisabeth. No other family had treated her this way, they didn’t fuss over her like she was someone …. different. Asking stupid questions like how to wash her hair or freaking out every time the seasons changed. The group home had been honest about her seasonal affective disorder and every other foster family had pushed and pressed Leila about it. They let her take her meds on her own and since she was the only child there was no questions about her therapeutic light box. For years Jon had been a corporate lawyer but now he had a new camera and he had a new career as an environmental journalist and it suited him better, even if he wasn’t exactly great of taking care of anything green around him. Jon wrote for news outlets such as: Slate, Farm And Agriculture, The New York Times, and Grid. he also taught part time at St. Joseph’s university in their small environmental department.Leila and Jon shared their interest/love of nature and the environment.The voices were weak and muttering when out here in the in the suburbs of the city. The group home had been big with a lot of rooms but this house - her home was narrow yet somehow cozy. Here it was hard for Leila not to see her new parents at all times or bumping into one of them when turning a corner or not hear them talk when she was in her room.It was strangely comforting, nice even. Leila could not use the words mom and dad everything was to new and she was afraid they would yet send her back she wasn’t sure if they could do that since they had adopted her but she couldn’t take any chances. She knows how much Jon and Lisbett wanted to hear the words she would try harder though to be more bending wwith them. Since the storm two weeks ago the voices had taken on a new tone with a hint of something strange that Leila couldn’t quite figure out. The voices came and went with the seasons. They faded and disappeared in the winter and rampaged back loud in the spring. Sarika worked in Adam’s  cafe as a barista . then a cute boy named Shawn was putting up fliers. He said hey to Leila and told her he’d see her around. Sarika came running over from behind the counter she had been working at and shreiking she said that cute boy had totally been checking out Leila. The Sarika went back to work and Leila checked out one of the fliers the boy had put up -it was for the Belmont Environmental Activism Club - B E A C- any high school student could join. It was starting on Wednesday at three. Leila grabbed a flier. Sarika came back out and again startled Leia as as she asked Leila what the flier was about. For whatever reasons the voices decided to be particularly loud this morning and over the past two days since hanging out with Sarika at Adam’s Cafe and going through the motions at Summer Enrichment at Belmont they suddenly became clearer. Leila could tell Shawn was into her the way he stared at her across the room and the awkward way he said goodbye at the end of the meeting. But Leila wondered about Shawn he had been going out with Jessica the leader of the three girls who had been bullying Sarika and Sarika ghad even fought with Jessica and made her nose bleed that she had never told Leila about and just told Leial she couldn’t protect everyone. Shawn asked Leila to meet him and go for a bike ride together Sunday and some lunch and Leila agreed. The voices had come when Leila when Leila had been rapidly pedaled away from Shawn and his intrusive questions and the disaster of a date. Leila had seen a young man with owl trying to get it to fly but then Leila flew over her handlebars as she jammed on her breaks. Leila ended up with a cut on her head and a mild concussion. The voices had told Leila the man and the owl were the one that could help them and her. Apparently they were in trouble but what had the voices done for Leila but distract her, scare her, and make Leila feel crazy? They had given her a dark secret Leila had to hide from everyone but Sarika. A grove is to be destroyed as well as an old mansion that was in the middle of the park. Leila does listen to the voices that have gotten clear now and goes to Landan and tells him everything he said she should get help about the voices but he will help her as much as he can with everything else.

I had mixed feelings about this book. I felt this was technically an easy read yet at times I got confused. This had a lot going on in it. I loved how the author addressed how Leila and Sarika felt and what they went through being in foster care so long and the group home, the back and forth they had experienced and they shattered hope every time they returned to the group home. I also loved how the author described how Leila as well as ehr new parents felt and what they went through being the adopted and parents of a special care needed to be taken with Liela - but ever patient and loving toward Leila. I thought this could be realistic in these aspects. I liked that the author also addressed prejudices and racism. I  really liked the enthusiasm stressed on the environment and progress wanting to destroy trees and parks etc. This did drag for me at times then after a certain part of the book it kinda felt rushed. I liked the dryads part and wished that had had been gone further into. I did love how close Sarika and Leila were and for a long time. I was also happy Landan was willing to help Leila as much as he could. As I said i Had mixed feelings on this book.

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review 2015-05-18 02:21
Inked by Eric Smith
Inked - Eric Smith

Ah, Inked. I'm still not sure where I stand on this book. The concept of tattoos imbued with magical powers fascinated me. The premise held so much promise of a world that I could get lost in. Alas, while there were a lot of pieces that I did enjoy, this wasn't exactly what I hoped for.


The world building was the first thing that left me on the fence. A world where magical tattoos determine the wearer's fate should have swept me up. The fact that there was an evil empire to fight back against would normally have pulled me in. The problem was, that this world building wasn't ever fully realized. Inked is rather short for a fantasy story. It flew by, so quickly that I wasn't able to grab a hold of anything. Sure, the magical tattoos were still fascinating. It just never went beyond that.


As for the characters, initially Caenum and Dreya were adorable. I loved the little bit of romance flowing between them. When Caenum decided that he wanted the opportunity to decide who he was, rather than allowing the magic to choose for him, I was smitten. That strength spoke to me. However these characters also suffered from the short length of this book. There wasn't much depth to them and so, even when the ending was happy, I wasn't that invested.


Great premise, but I really believe that it needed more time to come to fruition. 

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review 2015-03-13 22:24
Peachboy by Eric Metaxas
Peachboy (Rabbit Ears: a Classic Tale) - Eric Metaxas,Jeffrey Smith

Genre: Japan / Monsters / Fantasy / Folktale


Year Published: 1991


Year Read: 2008


Publisher: Rabbit Ears Books



“Peachboy” is one of the classics from Rabbit Ears’ “We All Have Tales” series and is probably the most dramatic and heartwarming story out of the whole series since East of the Sun, West of the Moon. With Sigourney Weaver’s tender narration, along with Ryuichi Sakamoto’s mesmerizing music and Jeffrey Smith’s beautiful illustrations, “Peachboy” is an instant classic that cannot be beat!

Sigourney Weaver’s narration is so tender and soothing that she helps reinforce the intensity of this story, especially during the scenes of the emotional loss for the parents who lost their children to the ogres. Ryuichi Sakamoto’s music brilliantly captures the Japanese influence of the story making this story dramatic. Jeffrey Smith’s illustrations are beautiful as they brilliantly capture the essence of the Japanese characters. The image that probably stood out the most would be the image of Momotaro himself as he has a small and distinguished looking mustache and wears a traditional green Japanese outfit with a red belt that makes him look more heroic.

Parents should know that the scene with the ogres might be a little scary to younger children. The ogres are drawn so realistically that smaller children will definitely be frightened and what will frighten children even more is the fact that these ogres had kidnapped many of the village’s children when they were young. This part of the story might scare young children as they will probably think that the ogres will kidnapped them at the middle of the night and parents should explain to their children that this is merely a fairy tale and that most of the creatures in this book (except the dog, pheasant and ape) are imaginary.

“Peachboy” is a fantastic tale from Japan about the true power of friendship and courage and children will easily watch this video over and over again. I would recommend this video to children ages five and up since the scenes with the ogres might be too scary for smaller children.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog


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review 2015-02-08 19:57
Inked by Eric Smith
Inked - Eric Smith
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review 2015-01-19 04:09
Review: Inked
Inked - Eric Smith

Imagine a tattoo that moves and changes, and yet will determine your future. When citizens come of age, a Scribe "Inks" them, creating these tattoos that tell you who you are and what you will do. In a world without choice, only the Unprinted are rumored to have a semblance of freedom.


As the Scribes arrive, Caenum is tempted to run away, leaving behind his grandmother and his best friend Dreya. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Caenum is dragged into a race for freedom when a boy Scribe is newly Inked and finds himself to be a Conduit: A person who magic awakened by the Ink running under his skin. When the Citadel Guards destroy his entire town and the residents, Caenum, Dreya, and the Scribe Kenzi must keep themselves safe not only from the Citadel but also the assassin Molivar.


In this adventure, not everyone is who they seem, and a sanctuary may not actually be to keep you safe. A war between the Citadel and the Conduits is brewing, with Inked citizens trapped in the middle. A fun and exciting new book in what is hopefully a series, Inked may be marketing as a Young Adult novel but is interesting and dynamic enough to keep the interest of an adult as well! The author does a good job at introducing the characters and developing them over the course of the story so that you really want to like - or hate - them. I would love to see more about the workings of the Citadel and how the Inked came to be, but even without that information it is still a worthwhile story.


Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.




If you enjoyed my review, please help me share it by marking it as being helpful on Amazon. I have included the link to the Amazon review in the Source section at the bottom of this review.

Source: www.amazon.com/review/R3BVXPRSEPSNUD
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