Book Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

About the Book:

Fangirl

Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they’re off to university and Wren’s decided she doesn’t want to be one half of a pair anymore – she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It’s not so easy for Cath. She’s horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she’s experienced in real life.

Without Wren Cath is completely on her own and totally outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

Now Cath has to decide whether she’s ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she’s learning that there’s more to learn about love than she ever thought possible.

My Thoughts:

A well-written coming of age novel, Fangirl follows Cath’s journey as she navigates the world of university and discovers her identity separate from that of her twin. Lost completely in a fictional fantasy world, Cath spends most of her time writing fan-fiction revolving around the fictional characters of Simon Snow and his arch enemy Baz. Having grown up as a twin, Cath is more dependent on Wren, seemingly always in her shadow. The abandonment she feels when her mother leaves them, pushes her towards becoming more of an introvert.

This story not only brings out the contrast between the two girls, but it shows us that the world has a lot to offer if we only let it. Cath learns to find her way, forming a weird bond with her roommate, finding love and facing betrayal from a classmate. Dealing with all this makes her stronger and she learns to open up more. We are shown how the girls are quite similar yet different and the reader will come to love all the characters.

The characters are relatable and quite real, making it easy for the reader to understand them. The emotions are real and the events in the story are such that they could easily happen to any of us. On the whole this story is about getting out of one’s comfort zone and learning to live. Even though the focus is on Cath, we get a glimpse into who her twin is, how their father is coping with life and how they deal with college and growing up.

A wonderful book in the YA genre, Fangirl is worth picking up and giving in to.

Book Review: Say Goodbye for Now by Catherine Ryan Hyde

About the Book:

Say Goodbye for Now

On an isolated Texas ranch, Dr. Lucy cares for abandoned animals. The solitude allows her to avoid the people and places that remind her of the past. Not that any of the townsfolk care. In 1959, no one is interested in a woman doctor. Nor are they welcoming Calvin and Justin Bell, a newly arrived African American father and son.

When Pete Solomon, a neglected twelve-year-old boy, and Justin bring a wounded wolf-dog hybrid to Dr. Lucy, the outcasts soon find refuge in one another. Lucy never thought she’d make connections again, never mind fall in love. Pete never imagined he’d find friends as loyal as Justin and the dog. But these four people aren’t allowed to be friends, much less a family, when the whole town turns violently against them.

With heavy hearts, Dr. Lucy and Pete say goodbye to Calvin and Justin. But through the years they keep hope alive…waiting for the world to catch up with them.

My Thoughts:

The phrase, ‘Say goodbye for now’, also the title of the book, is a recurring point throughout the book. It is a wonderful thing that the title of a book has been incorporated throughout the plot and brings out the overall theme or point of the story.

I picked up this book after reading ‘Ask Him Why’. I really enjoyed the author’s style of writing and couldn’t wait to read more. I was most surprised when upon starting this story, I found that the style of writing, the tone and pace of the story were different! This made me enjoy the book all the more apart from the wonderful plot.

The story focuses on two young boys, in their early teens, who meet by chance and decide that due to their way of thinking, that they should be friends. It was rather unfortunate that the times they lived in frowned upon friendship between them. With a town set against the newly arrived African American father and son duo, a lady doctor who cares for abandoned and hurt animals, and a young American boy who seeks her out when he finds a hurt wolf-dog lying by the side of the highway, there is a lot that can happen when we bring these four people together.

The author takes her time to bring out the personalities of each of these principal characters, as well as their backgrounds. She helps us understand what makes them tick and how they became the way they are in the present time. The author elaborates a little on the town and it’s mindset and perception of these main characters. Nothing is simple in the lives of these four people and the author takes her time in making things right. The story is told alternatively from the points of view of Pete and Dr. Lucy. The reader will get to know them very well and will feel as though even they are friends with them. As pleasing and simple as they are, they are not perfect and have their dark moments.

Pete is thoughtful and advanced in the way his mind thinks and instead of being shushed by the adults he comes to know, they encourage and nurture his inquisitive mind. His relationship with all the characters and his thoughts and feelings help to shape the direction the story moves in. Justin though different, understand Pete and plays his part in this story to perfection. The simple chemistry between Dr. Lucy and Calvin is shown with understated simplicity. It just happens, and there is no confusion or apology. The characters take all situations in their stride, including the fact that a time will come when they can be together and until then, they just have to keep living on.

The simple tones and calm manner in which things are dealt with make this story all that more pleasing. This was a wonderful read and I fell in love with every aspect of this story. The title, used extensively as demanded by the plot, will help the reader see that there is no need to end a relationship of any kind, there are times when it can just be postponed, with some understanding, care and love.

Just say Goodbye for Now!

Blog Tour: The Magician’s Workshop by Christopher Hansen and J.R. Fehr

This post is part of the Blog Tour for the series being conducted by b00k r3vi3w tours

There will be Guest Posts by the authors, interviews and reviews of the books posted on various participating bloggers on their respective blogs.

About the Books:

 

The Magician’s Workshop, Volume One

Authors: Christopher Hansen, J.R. Fehr
Published by: Wondertale, California
Publication Date: November 8, 2016
ISBN: 1-945353-11-2
ASIN: B01MQGHGBH
Genre: Coming of Age, Fantasy, Magic
Ages: 12 and up.
Length: 85,000 words / 290 pages

Book Links:
Amazon * Goodreads

 
Synopsis:
Everyone in the islands of O’Ceea has a magical ability: whatever they imagine can be brought into existence. Whoever becomes a master over these powers is granted the title of magician and is given fame, power, riches, and glory. This volume of books follows the journey of a group of kids as they strive to rise to the top and become members of the Magician’s Workshop.

Layauna desperately wants to create beautiful things with her magical powers, but all she can seem to do is make horrible, savage monsters. For years she has tried to hide her creations, but when her power is at last discovered by a great magician, she realizes that what she’s tried to hide might actually be of tremendous value.

Kai just wants to use his powers to have fun and play with his friends. Unfortunately, nearly everyone on his island sees him as a bad influence, so he’s forced to meet them in secret. When one of the creatures they create gets out of control and starts flinging fireballs at their town, Kai is tempted to believe that he is as nefarious as people say. However, his prospects change when two mysterious visitors arrive, praising his ability and making extraordinary promises about his future.

Follow the adventures of Kai, Layauna, and a boatload of other characters as they struggle to grow up well in this fantastical world.

 

The Magician’s Workshop, Volume Two

Authors: Christopher Hansen, J.R. Fehr
Print Length: 273 pages
Publisher: Wondertale
Publication Date: November 22, 2016
ASIN: B01N988TW7
Genre: Coming of Age, Fantasy, Magic
Ages: 12 and up.

Book Links:
Amazon * Goodreads

 

 

Synopsis:
Return to the world of The Magician’s Workshop: Where Dreams Become Reality.

In Volume Two, the Festival of Stars has finally arrived, and the Color Ceremony is about to commence. As children from all over the islands gather to stand before a puller, one question remains: who will have a Color, and who will be found void?

Rejoin your favorite characters as they step forward and receive a label that will have the power to dramatically alter the course of their lives forever.

 

About the Authors:

 

Christopher Hansen

The first glimmering Chris Hansen had that there was far more to reality than he had ever imagined occurred six days after his ninth birthday. “Christopher!” cried a wise, old sage. “Life is full of deep magic. Miraculous things happen all the time and all around us, if you know where to look for them.” Full of expectation and childlike optimism, Chris began searching for this magic, prepared to be surprised and amazed by it. And he was: he found Wonder! Now he’s chosen to write stories about it.

 

J.R. Fehr
When J.R. Fehr popped out of the womb, he knew there was more to the world than the four boring hospital walls that he was seeing. “Zango!” his newborn mind exclaimed as he saw people appear and disappear through a mysterious portal in the wall. As a child he found life wowtazzling, but as he grew older the cold water of reality hit him, and the magic he once knew vanished. After spending some wet and shivering years lost in a joyless wasteland, he once again began to see magic in the world. He writes because the Wonder of true life is far grander than anything he ever thought possible.

 

Contact the Authors:
Website * Facebook

Fun Facts: Grow Up Messy! by Paromita Goswami

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Grow Up Messy!

(A Hilarious Coming of Age Series Book1)

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Author  : Paromita Goswami
Genre :  Middle School, Teen and YA
Publisher :  Ficus India

The Blurb :  

Childhood is considered to be the best time of one’s life. What if you get a chance to live it once more with a five-year-old?
Misry, a naughty five-year-old girl, lives with her parents in a B.S.F border outpost near Indo-Bangladesh border. But with no schools and friends she feels very lonely. She tries to befriend some local village kids. But they find her incompetent in their rural antics. They nickname her Messy as most of the time she messes up their plan. Can Misry really be a part of the gang?
Set in the early eighties, join Misry in the adventures of her life.

Buying Links

Amazon kindle

 Nook  

Kobo

About the author

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Paromita Goswami is a writer and storyteller by passion and a rebel by choice. She says the world is full of stories and as a writer she loves to pen them down. Her work is not genre specific. From literary fiction to children book to upcoming paranormal thriller and women fiction, Paromita Goswami‘s books offer the variety of life to her readers. Grow Up Messy! is her second book. She debuted in 2015 with Shamsuddin’s Grave, a literary fiction. Besides writing, she is also the founder of reading club that enhances book reading habit in children. She lives in central India with her family.

Follow Author

Facebook ; Twitter ; Goodreads ; WordPress

Fun facts about the book & the author’s thoughts about the writing journey

  1. Misry’s character in the book Grow Up Messy! is that of an innocent child who depends more on her mother for her smaller needs. The best part is she expects her mother to be know everything just like the superwoman. She believes there is nothing which her Ma cannot do or hasn’t seen. So when she requests her mother to make Pinjiri, something which she had tasted for the first time elsewhere, it never occurred to her that Ma might not know about its preparation.

This particular scene from the book is very close to my heart. Although the entire episode is very funny but it actually depicts the trust of a child in the mother. Something which no one can ever challenge. I see my son in this episode sometimes.

  1. Children enjoy being dirty. We have done it so many times in our days yet as a parent if we see our child playing in the soil we try to stop him immediately. The same thing our mothers might have also done with us while we enjoyed. Isn’t it strange, when we grow up we follow our mothers so blindly.

There is an episode in the book where Misry plays in the muddy pool and ruins her fresh clothes. No doubt her mother is mad at her.

  1. Children have a very special place for animals in their heart. Whether they have pets at home or not but whenever they get a chance to pet an animal they will never stop themselves. I wish as we grow up we shouldn’t lose this emotion within us. It actually makes us more humane.

      In the book, Misry befriends a sacrificial  animal as her pet what follows next is very       heart wrenching.

  1. As kids, our relationship with our first cousins is very interesting. Once in a year, during the school vacation we go to visit them. Whatever, time we spent together is always fun. We use to share things, study together, fight with each other and even share our little secrets. These moments are recreated when Misry visits her Dadu’s house. It is so much fun to have so many family members living under the same roof. Have you ever lived in a joint family or visited one?
  1. It will be a lie if I say I never had any difficulties in learning or rather mugging up the multiplication tables. This was one part that I always hated in Mathematics and the fact is no one said before that this multiplication table I will be using throughout my life. Yet when it comes to our kids we never fail to tell them how easy it is to learn the multiplication table. Was it really???

      The book has a chapter for that too. Seriously dedicated to the Multiplication Tables. How Misry and her family copes with it is something to watch out for.

The Magician’s Workshop, Volume Two by Christopher Hansen and J.R. Fehr

I’m back with book 2 in the series, the continuation of the story and it is mega! Read on to know more about the book and what I thought about it.

About the Book:

The Magician's Workshop, Volume Two

Return to the world of The Magician’s Workshop: Where Dreams Become Reality.

In Volume Two, the Festival of Stars has finally arrived, and the Color Ceremony is about to commence. As children from all over the islands gather to stand before a puller, one question remains: who will have a Color, and who will be found void?

Rejoin your favorite characters as they step forward and receive a label that will have the power to dramatically alter the course of their lives forever.

My Thoughts:

Where the first book was light-hearted with the focus on introducing us to the world and characters, the second book takes the story ahead more seriously. A shift in the direction of the plot adds more to the magic of this series.The declaration of whether our characters have color in them or not is finally given out.

It’s interesting how parallels are drawn between the colors and personality traits. We are shown how people change when color is discovered in them as well as when it isn’t. The distinctions cast between having color and being void is indeed quite unfair. The pressure on the children to have something in them is immense and with high expectations, sometimes it is easy to lose one’s own individuality and identity. It becomes difficult to read about the characters and how they feel throughout this ordeal. Family bonds, friendships and even relationships are strained through this adding to the already declining morale. This is the kind of coming of age idea where after the color ceremony, the children are considered to have “grown up” or are adults. It is a freaky concept, one that can create or destroy a person and the bonds they share with those around them. The harsh rules and manner in which they are enforced do not make it any easier.

The Master Magician turns up with words of encouragement along the lines of color, no color, it doesn’t matter, but to accept all anyway. This comes across as a surprise and a rather new concept to everyone who think that the ultimate goal is to be found with color and then to train to get into the magician’s workshop. No-one seems to know or understand the hardships that it entails or even those that follow this kind of dream. There also seems to be an underlying sub plot to change how things are perceived in the islands for so many years. We meet some rather interesting older characters who though briefly introduced in Book 1, have more importance in this and probably further on. There is talk of how everyone should be equal irrespective of whether they have color in them and this seems to threaten a lot of people. This is a difficult idea to change and would take a lot of work.

Now that everyone has found out their place (it feels harsh to write it this way, but I cannot think of another way of articulating this), it’s time to move further, to train, to find new goals and to deal with the next stage of life. The authors slowly emphasize the importance of two characters, Kai and Layauna, and the story slowly shifts focus with more of the later chapters written from their points of view. Coming out with the kind of colors they have, it will give us a sense that the tests that life will throw at these two will be harder and that they will need all the help and support from their friends and family. It is also clear that now, having been declared as adults, our beloved characters cannot let their guards down and need to be careful about whom they trust.

This book continues on in chapters from where the previous left off. The authors flawlessly craft the story to take us further and draw us in. They maintain the playfulness and style of expression which is quite refreshing and enhance the concepts and story. It is easy to experience everything with the characters and this is one of the main things that drew my attention.The style of writing, the description about each projection only add to the soaring imagination of the reader. A wonderful feat achieved successfully by the authors. Kudos to the work they have done and the time they have spent in creating this world.

It has been a while since reading Harry Potter, that a series in this genre has kept me hooked. I will say it again and again that this is one mega awesome read! Keep projecting and I hope that the next book comes out soon.

The Magician’s Workshop, Volume One by Christopher Hansen and J.R. Fehr

I was provided with a free copy of the book by Wondertale in exchange for an honest and magical review! “It’s going to be mega” is what I was promised and it definitely is mega! Read on to know more about the book (first in a series) followed by my thoughts!

About the Book:

The Magician's Workshop, Volume One

Everyone in the islands of O’Ceea has a magical ability: whatever they imagine can be brought into existence. Whoever becomes a master over these powers is granted the title of magician and is given fame, power, riches, and glory. This volume of books follows the journey of a group of kids as they strive to rise to the top and become members of the Magician’s Workshop.

Layauna desperately wants to create beautiful things with her magical powers, but all she can seem to do is make horrible, savage monsters. For years she has tried to hide her creations, but when her power is at last discovered by a great magician, she realizes that what she’s tried to hide might actually be of tremendous value.

Kai just wants to use his powers to have fun and play with his friends. Unfortunately, nearly everyone on his island sees him as a bad influence, so he’s forced to meet them in secret. When one of the creatures they create gets out of control and starts flinging fireballs at their town, Kai is tempted to believe that he is as nefarious as people say. However, his prospects change when two mysterious visitors arrive, praising his ability and making extraordinary promises about his future.

Follow the adventures of Kai, Layauna, and a boatload of other characters as they struggle to grow up well in this fantastical world.

Webpage: www.oceea.com

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MQGHGBH

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Magiciansworkshop/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32948256-the-magician-s-workshop-volume-one

My Thoughts:

Whoo whoo whooosh! That’s how the story flowed and finished in a flash of color, before I could find my bearings and return to the surface!

A wonderfully written story of a world where everyone has magic and can do magic, the authors take it one step further into the world of augmented reality. We are introduced to a myriad of people, both old and young and follow them on their various journeys. This book, the first in the series, is mainly an introduction. We are given a glimpse into the islands of O’Ceea and it’s inhabitants, their lifestyles and personalities.

The story is well written and though initially it may seem a tiny bit confusing, everything starts to make sense after a while. There are vivid descriptions that inspire the reader to imagine even further than what the authors have already shown us. The concept of projections and the fact that it forms the basis of the plot line makes this idea all the more interesting. It forces us to draw on our imagination and experience a new kind of high while reading. Just imagine being able to create anything that you can think of, make something you dislike taste or smell or even look better! So much fun! As everyone in O’Ceea say, it’s mega!

The authors introduce many characters, children around the age of 16 mainly, who are on the verge of being “tested” to find out whether they have “color” in them or are “void”. These terms will start to make sense once you read the book! As we meet each character and get to know them, the authors prepare us to embark on a journey that will see these characters traverse through their lives on the paths they are destined for. They are well-developed and many have a complex past with a lot of ups and downs. Each one has their own experiences and talents to speak of. With everyone in this world being able to do even a basic form of magic, it becomes rather interesting to see where the authors take us with this concept. It comes across as a story of growing up, moving forward in life no matter what is thrown at you as well as following your dreams among others.

The story ends rather abruptly, ensuring that once this is finished, the reader will be left wanting for more. Having been given just a taste of the magic, the reader is left hoping for more and more. I really enjoyed this book and will stop my vague review here to avoid jumping into plot explanations and revelations. So jump right in to experience a new kind of magic! Definitely worth the read and will leave you craving for more and more and more!