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Search tags: self-identity
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review 2017-12-03 23:12
A cute, simple picture book suitable for infants and up.
Petra - Marianna Coppo

Disclaimer: reviewing eARC galley via NetGalley.

 

Very few words and strong storytelling through the images makes it perfect for very young audiences, as well as beginning readers. The images are sparse, simple and whimsical, surrounded by plenty of white space. The story is amusing and meaningful; an accessible exploration of identity. I loved the emphasis on adjusting expectations, adapting to new, unexpected situations, and knowing and accepting yourself as the world shifts around you. The main character is a stone with a big imagination, and rather than falling into despair when its surroundings make its dreams crumble, it just keeps adapting and enjoying where it's at. A good message of resilience and stability for kids rendered in a minimalist, non-preachy style.

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review 2017-11-20 14:36
"Identity Thief", by J.P. Bloch
Identity Thief - Spencer J. Bloch

Once you have started this psychological thriller you will not put it down. This quick read with lots of twists has kept me captivated from page one and held my attention through every chapters till I reached the unexpected ending. I simply loved it.

The story is structured in alternating chapters between the view point of the identity thief and the victim, Dr. Jesse Falcon. The plot has layers upon layers of deceit; no one is who they seem. Nothing is simple in this fast-paced, sometime darkly comic thriller. The pieces of the puzzle are continually shifting and at every corner there is constant barrage of shocks, so forget trying to guess the outcome.

This is a cleverly and brilliantly roller-coaster ride filled with emotional and scarring issues. A story of a thief and victim both trying to stay two steps ahead of the other is no less attention grabbing, this one tops all. What set this story from others is you are soon thrust into a world of action with Dr. Jesse Falcon whose identity is stolen going through endless hoops to find the person causing him so much turmoil. You learn and understand the main characters from flashbacks and from their actions and what they are thinking. The supporting cast also have their own plans lurking in the shadows. The narration moves along smoothly making this story easy to read. Well-done. 

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review 2017-11-06 17:46
Dragonfly Song - Wendy Orr

This was kind of a hard book to review, mostly because it almost falls between genres. It's classed as an upper Middle-Grade historical fantasy, which, that's not wrong . . .

 

I felt like it had more of a classic children's fiction feel to it. It's coming-of-age, and also a sort of epic hero's journey, straddling children's lit and YA in a way that's often done more by adult literary works. It touches on many 'big ideas': deformity, religion/society, acceptance, adoption, trauma, bullying, disability, purpose/identity, fate . . . The format is creative and unique. The story arc stretches from the MC's birth to age 14 and is told in omniscient third person varying with passages in verse.

 

I'm not sure if there was a meaning to the alternating styles; at some points, I thought the dreamlike verse passages were meant to show the MC's perspective in a closer, almost experiential or sensory format as an infant, a toddler, a mute child . . . but then that didn't necessarily carry through, so perhaps it was more to craft an atmosphere for the story.

 

The setting is the ancient Mediterranean, and the story picks up on legends of bull dancing. The world feels distinct, grounded and natural, without heavy-handed world-building. It's a world of gods and priestesses, sacrifice and death and surrender. Humans seem very small within it, and as a children's book, it's challenging rather than comforting. There's death and violence and loss, handled in a very matter-of-fact manner, so I'd recommend it for maybe ages 10+, depending on the child. It's not gratuitously violent or graphic, but it's a raw-edged ancient world where killing a deformed child, having pets eaten by wild animals, beating slaves - including children - and sacrificing people as well as animals to the gods is just part of life. 

 

I was very kindly sent a hardcover edition via the Goodreads Giveaways program, and the book production is lovely. It has a bold, graphic cover with some nice foil accents, a printed board cover (which I prefer for kids books due to the durability), fully illustrated internal section pages, and pleasant, spacious typesetting.

 

Confident, mature young readers will find this an engaging, challenging and meaningful read with an inspiring story arc and some lovely writing. Hesitant readers and very young readers will probably find it a struggle. I'd give it 5/5 as a product, 4/5 as a literary work and 3/5 as kid's entertainment.

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