Review: More than Marmalade

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free as part of an Instagram book tour (MTMC Tours specifically) I did to promote the book. 

This was such a delightful book for young readers! 

This book is aimed towards children aged 9 to 12, so I’m not exactly the target audience. That being said, I still enjoyed it! 

I’m a fairly new Paddington fan. I never read the books growing up. But then I saw the movie in 2014 and absolutely fell in love with him! 

I always love learning about famous authors so it was very interesting learning about the man behind the bear. It was very evident that a lot of love went into creating Paddington. 

The author did a nice job making the story accessible for the age range. For example, she explained World War II very well, in easy to understand terms. 

I also thought the author emphasized all the right things. She used a lot of what Michael experienced and saw growing up and showed how it influenced the character of Paddington. For example, Michael’s experience with WWII refugees influenced Paddington’s own journey to a new world. 

Lastly, there was one quote I really loved that summed up Michael and Paddington very well. The author writes, “In some ways, Michael was Paddington Bear. In other ways, Paddington Bear was Michael. Together, the fictional character and the writer were an ideal twosome. They spread a lot of joy, and it was doubly returned to them” (pg 106).

Overall, this biography is perfect for both young and adult fans of Paddington! 


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Review: The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received this book for free as part of an Instagram tour (TLC Book Tours specifically) I did to promote the book. 

This book was absolutely amazing! I loved everything about it.

The story is very simple but very profound. There are lots of little pieces of wisdom sprinkled throughout that really hit me hard. For example, this was one of my favorite passages:

“Sometimes I feel lost,” said the boy.

“Me too,” said the mole, “but we love you and love brings you home.”

It reminded me a lot of Winnie the Pooh in the best possible way. It had the same innocence and spirit. 

Even though this is such a short book, I fell in love with all 4 of the characters. I particularly loved the fox because even though he was very silent, I still felt his impact. 

The illustrations in this are gorgeous. They’re whimsy and magical and just perfect, especially when accompanied with the handwritten text. The text was stylized so beautifully, they almost become part of the pictures. 

Honestly, I think everyone should read this book. It’s such a comforting little book that everyone can benefit from reading. Young or old, everyone at every age can enjoy this. 

Also, since the holiday season is approaching, this would make the perfect gift. 

Overall, if you couldn’t tell, I LOVED this book and recommend it to readers of all ages. 

Becoming Dr. Seuss giveaway!

Hi beauties! I am so happy to announce that I have partnered with Dutton Books to giveaway Becoming Dr. Seuss by Brian Jay Jones. The good news is that there will be 5 winners! I haven’t read it yet, but I’m excited to. Like many, I grew up reading Dr. Seuss so I’m curious to know more about the man behind the books.

Here’s the synopsis:

The definitive, fascinating, all-reaching biography of Dr. Seuss.

Dr. Seuss is a classic American icon. Whimsical and wonderful, his work has defined our childhoods and the childhoods of our own children. The silly, simple rhymes are a bottomless well of magic, his illustrations timeless favorites because, quite simply, he makes us laugh. The Grinch, the Cat in the Hat, Horton, and so many more, are his troupe of beloved, and uniquely Seussian, creations.

Theodor Geisel, however, had a second, more radical side. It is there that the allure and fasciation of his Dr. Seuss alter ego begins. He had a successful career as an advertising man and then as a political cartoonist, his personal convictions appearing, not always subtly, throughout his books—remember the environmentalist of The Lorax? Geisel was a complicated man on an important mission. He introduced generations to the wonders of reading while teaching young people about empathy and how to treat others well. 

Agonizing over word choices and rhymes, touching up drawings sometimes for years, he upheld a rigorous standard of perfection for his work. Geisel took his responsibility as a writer for children seriously, talking down to no reader, no matter how small. And with classics like Green Eggs and Ham, and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, Geisel delighted them while they learned. Suddenly, reading became fun.  

Coming right of the heels off George Lucas and bestselling Jim Henson, Brian Jay Jones is quickly developing a reputation as a master biographer of the creative geniuses of our time.  

To enter, just click on the picture above or click here!

xoxo,

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Review: The Crowns of Croswald (The Croswald Series #1)

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Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free from the publisher (Stories Untold) in exchange for an honest review. 

This book was so magical! It reminded me a lot of different fantasy books I read as a kid so it felt very nostalgic to me. If I had read this as a kid, I know I would have loved it. 

The whole story was very whimsy and imaginative, perfect for young middle grade readers. It was so creative. I loved learning about the school, the creatures, and just the world of Croswald in general. The world building was fantastic. 

I also loved the illustrations at the beginning of each chapter. They were so cute and just added to the magic of the story. If only there was a map! 

I have read some reviews that compared this book to Harry Potter, but since I haven’t read Harry Potter I can’t say how it compares.

The only thing I had an issue with was that it got a little confusing and convoluted towards the end. Some things weren’t totally clear, but I still managed to figure it out. 

Overall, I recommend this book for young readers who love fantasy or want to get more into reading. This book has enough action, mystery, and magic to keep them entertained. Plus it’s the first book in a series! 


Review: Sleep, Merel, Sleep

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Click here to purchase the book on Amazon

Rating: ★★★★

This was such a cute children’s book! As a 23 year old with no kids, I’m not necessarily the target audience, but I still liked it. 

Since this book was about dreams it gave me a lot of Alice in Wonderland vibes. The main character, Merel, encountered many interesting and unique characters throughout her journey. A few of them reminded me of various Alice characters. For example, King Marmott reminded me of the Queen of Hearts because they were both pretty awful rulers who chased after the title character. 

The other characters were great as well. I especially loved Merel’s encounter with the moonfish. That was my favorite part. 

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The book had a whimsical quality about it that went perfect with the dream theme. The author created a beautiful world with her prose.

I loved how the flashbacks to Merel’s real life were woven into the story. Each little flashback gave insight into Merel, her life, and her sick baby brother. 

I would have loved to seen a map or illustrations because I feel like that could take the book to a whole other level. 

I also wished the book was a tad bit longer, but that’s probably because I’m an adult not a kid. The book is an appropriate length for a young reader. 

Overall, this book was a fun adventure through a child’s dreamland that both kids and adults will enjoy. 

Blog Tour: Arcacia excerpt

Today I am partnering with Digital Reads Blog Tours for today’s post featuring an excerpt from Acacia: The Witch, The Warlock, and The Children of the Sorceress Queen. Scroll down to read the excerpt and to see links to buy the book.

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Arcacia Book Blurb

When a beautiful sorceress-queen, Selina, spurns Setanor, a powerful, jealous northern warlock, an invasion of Western Arcacia begins.  To save her newborn triplets from death, they are cast down a magical river to the New World, a place called, ‘London, England.’

Thirteen years later in a cold, Victorian London attic…  The future of Sophie, an impoverished orphan looks bleak but everything changes, to her astonishment after a young witch arrives through her bedroom window with an incredible message and a warning. So begins her life in a beautiful, enchanted ancient world…

How do Sophie and her four friends summon the tremendous courage to rescue her long lost family while restoring Arcacia from dark, ruling forces? Mystical beasts, sceptres, powerful witches and daemon-trolls are just some of their challenges. Meanwhile, the dreaded terrifying warlock, Setanor and his witch-consort Lilith have sent a secret enemy to plan their downfall…

Book Excerpt

Prologue

The prologue to, ‘Arcacia,’ outlines the events leading up to the Great thirteen year war in Arcacia, a magical realm of the Old World.  To avert the threat of invasion from the northern territories, Selina’s  father, a King of the Argenon family clan had promised his beautiful daughter, Selina’s hand in marriage to Setanor, a powerful warlock from the north.  The aggressive sorcerer ruling family houses of the North had always openly threatened to invade rich, flourishing lands of western Arcacia. So far the Argenons and their people had managed to keep them at bay but this was getting harder.

Selina, a strong, beautiful well-educated Arcacian lady is adamant she’d rather stand up to Setanor than subject the people she loves to a life-time of tyranny. After her father suddenly passes away Selina breaks his oath; gives up her magic powers, and chooses to marry an Arcacian commander.  Harris originated from a strange world called England in the New World, he is unlike other Arcacians; Harris is human.  Selina forfeits her magical powers by marrying an outsider, as is dictated by law. They have three beautiful babies, triplets a boy and two girls. But Setanor who wanted to inherit Western Arcacia and who genuinely fell in love with Selina from afar, is furious, perceiving her derisory actions to be an act of scorn and disrespect.

He declares war on Arcacia, and one fateful night he appears with his guards to Selina’s home, captures Selina, and banishes Harris to the underworld.  Before being imprisoned and spellbound in a tower, ‘Until she comes to her senses and agrees to accept Setanor,’ Selina pleads with Set’s commander, Garwain, also her paternal uncle to spare her babies.  He complies, placing them in an enclosed basket which he casts down a magical river that forks to the New world to,’ London, England,’  the land of their father, not knowing if they will live or die.  

The children survive but are separated. A mysterious woman who finds the babies floating along the river, takes one of them, a girl, to raise herself.  A wolf suckles the boy who is discovered in the forest then raised by an elf-Queen and her people. Meanwhile the third child a girl, Sophie drifts on to England.


Book Links

Facebook

T.A. Barua Children’s book author page

Amazon

Click To Buy Arcacia ebook Kindle Version From Amazon Now.

Click To Buy Arcacia paperback from Amazon now.

Twitter

T.A. Barua on Twitter  (Twitter Handle: @t_barua)

Pinterest

Author T.A Barua on Pinterest


 

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Review: Elizabeth I (The Royal Diaries)

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Rating: ★★★★

This was a reread for me. I believe I originally read this book sometime during middle school and I remembered that I really liked it. I read a bunch of the Dear America and Royal Diaries books but I would always get them from my school library. Now I’m going to try to buy the ones I liked so I can relive my childhood.

Reading this now as an adult is such a different experience, but I still enjoyed it.

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The author did an amazing job imagining what a young Elizabeth I would be like. There was a nice blend of innocence and tragedy to her character.

I also really liked the little tidbits about life at court, like how often they took baths (spoiler alert: it’s not very often).

Overall, this is a great middle grade book for kids who want to learn more about Elizabeth I.

Have you read any of the books in this series? Which is your favorite? 

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Why I’ve never read Harry Potter (and loved Narnia instead)

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I’ve never read a single Harry Potter book. I know, blasphemous right? How can that be?

Growing up I was a hipster before it was cool to be a hipster. One of the reasons I’ve never read Harry Potter was because I thought it was too mainstream. I didn’t want to get into it just because everyone else was in to it. I had a strong sense of self and individuality at the tender age of 7.

Another reason why I never picked it up was because it just didn’t interest me. The fact that it centered around a boy was a major turn off for me. When I was young I gravitated towards books that were more female centric. I loved Little House in the Big Woods, the American Girl books, the Dear America books, etc. All of these were about girls. By the time I reached third grade, I was obsessed with Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan, which coincidentally were about girls (and their brothers in Wendy’s case) who travel to a fantasy land.

In fifth grade I discovered the magic of Narnia. The movie was coming out in December and the Scholastic Book Order (that my elementary school would give out) had the books available (they even came with a movie poster). So I got The Magician’s Nephew and The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. I read TMN first and I absolutely loved it! I fell in love with the magic and the world. Then I read TLTWATW and I fell in love with it even more! I loved how everything that was mentioned in TMN came back into play. I knew where the White Witch came from, how the lamp post got there, why the wardrobe was magical, and who the professor was. Then I saw the movie adaptation and LOVED it! It perfectly captured everything about the book. After that I went to Barnes and Noble and bought the rest of the books with a Barnes and Noble gift card that I got for Christmas. I read them and loved them as well. One thing I loved about all the books were that there was always a good balance of male and female characters.

Fast forward to eighth grade, the Prince Caspian movie, and my friendship with this girl named Elizabeth. I had known Elizabeth the previous year but I didn’t start talking to her a lot until eighth grade. Second trimester she switched into my P.E. class and we started bonding over Narnia. She loved it just as much as me. We would spend pretty much every P.E. class obsessing over it. She had a crush on the guy who played Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and I had a crush on the guy who played Peter (William Moseley) and we both thought that the guy who played Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes) was Spanish and were mad to find out that he was British. We were a match made in Narnia.

The next year, ninth grade, we made a new friend named Ana. And guess what? She liked the Narnia movies too! After meeting us she read the books and loved them. We would spend most of our time at school obsessing over Narnia and the boy we all had a crush on (his name was Brandon and he was the total package but that’s a story for another time). When sophomore year rolled around, we saw the Voyage of the Dawn Treader movie together. I remember my mom picked us up after school drove us to the theatre.

We’re still friends today, even though we don’t see each other as often as we would like. The memories we made obsessing over Narnia are some of my favorites.

To sum up, Narnia gave me so much in life, that it will always have that special place in my heart. I know many people have had that experience with Harry Potter, but that just never happened with me. I honestly don’t know if I will ever read Harry Potter.

Is there a popular book series you haven’t read? Let me know in the comments!