The Adventures of Precious Penny by Dina Marie Filippini

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Hellllllo readers, hope you’re well and have had a wonderfully bookish week. I have a children’s book to review for you today and it’s been a little while since I’ve reviewed this type of book but I’m super excited. Without further waffling onto le review.

 Dina Marie Filippini lives in New York and has three children. She has participated in the Gotham Writers’ Workshop in New York City, and this is her first children’s book. Having picked up her fair share of misplaced coins, one day she stopped to consider where a particular penny had come from—and her children’s story The Adventures of Precious Penny was born. Now, when she spots a penny on the ground she often wonders about its backstory.


I’ve mentioned this before and will probably mention it again, children’s books are so important in creating future readers, learners and creaters; it all starts here. I’ve read a lot of children’s book and I think this is a really interesting concept; we follow the life of Precious Penny as she makes her way from the safe haven of the bank into the sticky pockets of young children into dark and cold puddles, with a little bit of sandpit adventure on the way. As she travels through the various different situations Polly reminisces about the pennies and other coins she has met and the adventures she has had; jumping in puddles, running, skipping and singing in the car.

In terms of writing I think it’s the perfect text style for readers aged 6/7+ but could be easily used by parents to read to younger children. Although there is a larger amount of text than normally seen in children’s books it’s not unrealistic in terms of engaging a child. There’s just enough but not too much. The images are beautifully created and styled. They have bright colours, and they are a mix of realism in the drawing of the coins but the illustrations of the children are fantasy and cartoon it’s beautiful to look at and I can imagine this becoming a child’s favourite book to pick out of the shelf and had read to them.

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The story doesn’t tell a moral as such but I think it would teach children to think about the little things. To remember that there is a story about everything, that we should treasure the small things; I had never thought of the adventures the coins we use everyday go through but here it has been woven into an interesting and telling tale. It also tells of friendship, of keeping strong through difficult and lonely times and things will get better. You may think this is too much for a children’s book but it’s done subtly, and in a sweet understandable way.

Overall this is a beautiful book, one that has not only an original storyline but is beautifully produced. I think the ideas are good, I would have liked more of a moral woven in but it is a sweet story. Definitely worth a buy for a lovely bedtime story.

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Kalarum: The Stone Tablet (The Kalarum Trilogy Book 1) by Dee Willis

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Is it me or is the fantasy genre becoming ever more popular? I might have to filter how many I read because there are just too many for me to get my tiny hands on. I don’t know what it is about the fantasy genre that irks me so much but it just doesn’t appeal in the same way as a thriller or a historical fiction does. I find myself reviewing almost from the point of view that I enjoy this genre because the writing is sublime or the characters are really well described it’s just the genre? Is that odd? Maybe I’ve got book brain at the moment. Despite that ramble today I have, yes you guessed it, another fantasy style book and it’s a good’un all fantastical writing and all that. Without further delay: THE REVIEW.

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The Land of Kalarum is in the mist of the Dark Hour – a time that was prophesied centuries ago – and to defeat it, the stone tablets must be reunited as one. After the attack on Tinsgates, Belcrest barely escapes with his life. Severely wounded he makes his way to Hollow Woods. It is there he meets Nasira – High Captain of the Vycar Legion. Unknowingly, the evil creatures that attacked Tinsgates had stolen one of the tablets. Unable to reunite them all, the Elven Chieftain tasked them with gathering the remaining stones. Since the tablets were dispersed to various races within the land – which they had no clue existed – they had to rely upon legend to guide their journey and quickly the 19 year old Nasira learns that the land she had known is full of mystery and shocking truths. Legend and myth become reality and there is no turning back from the road she must now travel.

So the basics: we follow the journey of the elven warrior Nasira and the human Belcrest (that’s going on my list of names for future children,) as they fight to bring the tablets and the two nations together. One tablet is lost and it is feared that evil forces have taken it under their possession; our heroes must fight to keep the remaining three from also being unaccounted for. I thought this book was a really fantastical story; it’s got all the basics, dwarves, elves, humans, creatures, prophecies, magic, and destiny: you know the drill right? Each is written with understanding and dexterity the elven are particularly graceful, delightful beings with their pointed ears and their extensive knowledge of war. I however liked the dwarves a little more; hot tempered and heady creatures their language and their mannerisms kept me captivated as a reader.  Belcrest is sweet and loyal, as he learns from Narisa and their friendship blossoms in a really wonderfully honest and trusting way. Being the sole survivor of his village we see him have to quickly take up this new role which is so important for the survival of the worlds and I thought it was written with skill and understanding.

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In terms of writing style it is stunning, utterly utterly stunning and I think that’s the main reason I keep delving back into this genre.

For example, ‘as dusk approached, on the other side of Kalarum, the two moons were beginning to take their place in the sky. The splash of color melted across the land from the rising of the moons and the setting of the sun. The tiny granular rocks below reflected a dark orange color and many of the finer granules sparkled like crystals from the soft touch of the moons light.’

That description really helps to transport you to this new, exciting, fantasy world and I guess that in my love of historical fiction transports you to a different era fantasy takes you to a new world? Definitely got book brain at the moment I would say. Anyway I liked the message that was woven throughout the action, the fantasy characters and the beautiful descriptions; the message that despite differences in race, and ability Narisa with her weaponry skills and Belcrest with his awareness of goodness and honour make a strong and dependable team. I think my only comment would be there’s not quite enough to make it feel wholly original.

I’ve gone on a long time again so I’ll make this a little snappier: it seems that Dee Willis has really written a truly fantastical novel with some really strong writing flavour. The emotions that are created, the landscapes that are described and the ultimate battle of good versus evil is a true fantasy tale. Definitely one for the fantasy genre lovers.

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TOP TEN TUESDAY: Ten authors I would like to get together to write a pretty epic book

Helllllllo readers, it’s Tuesday which means it’s a Top Ten Tuesday kind of day. Today’s was seriously tough and I’ve spent the last week kind of worrying about it which is daft but that’s who I am. To make it a little easier I clicked through to my list of reviews and seeing all the authors there kind of made it a hell of a lot easier. As always comments, queries, questions let me know in the comments.

 John Green and Rainbow Rowell

I imagine this will be on so many lists for this weeks topic but if these two created a book it would be not only be beautifully written but I think it would be so sweetly and wonderfully created it would become a worldly bookish treasure basically.

Giovanna Fletcher and Cecelia Ahern

I recon this would be just magical if these two got together; think how beautiful and intriguingly sweet it would be – magical, light and fluffy but the writing being such a quality piece. Perfection.

J.K. Rowling and C.S. Lewis

Let’s take a minute now to remember the brilliance of C.S Lewis…..*sighs*. But seriously if these two could of collaborated then it would have been magical and meaningful and beautifully written. These two are the only fantasy writers who have honestly captured my imagination. It would be just beautiful.

Gillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins

ALLLLL THE TWISTS AND ALL THE TURNS. Give them to me. Now. Tar.

Tess Gerritsen and Karen Long

Both of these authors are utterly brilliant writers with slightly sadistic minds. I fear that if they ever created a book together then I would be to scared to sleep for maybe weeks months. Not cool but would be so brilliant.

J.K. Rowling & Suzanne Collins

Think how utterly nuts the bookish  blogosphere would go if this actually happened. It would just be incredible and the story I cannot believe would be anything less than a masterpiece. It could be like HP all over again. *sighs*

George R.R Martin and J.R.R Tolkien

This is an utterly selfish one. I haven’t read Lord of the Rings, I haven’t read Game of Thrones and now I feel like I’m too far behind to really get into either. If they could create a new series then I could join in with all the fun. *sobs*

Morgan Matson & S.M Stevens

Still so in love with the book Amy and Rodger’s Epic Detour and I think if Morgan Matson and S.M Stevens who wrote books that focused on musical theatre paired up it would just be such a brilliant combination. Both used mixed media, adding lyrics and illustrations and I think it would just be lovely.

Kingsley Amis & Charles Bukowski

If these two could have written a book together I tell you sparks would have flown big time. It would be a hysterical piece of literature.

Stella Newman & Sophie Ranald

For my last pairing it’s just two of my most favourite of authors. These two would make me cry, laugh, smile and fall in love with them all over again. It would be beaut.

Quite a tough top ten Tuesday; I did go through and look at a number of lists and it seems I wasn’t the only one. Struggled through but very happy with my little list as always let me know what you would add, would trash or what you think of the list. Cheers lovelies. 

 

A Guest Post for MLBB: Thoughts about Reading Books while Writing Books

Consider the obvious when an author names one of their hobbies being reading. That would make a lot of sense; in a call-and-response kind of matter. An author wouldn’t be in the profession they’re in now if they didn’t read in their spare time and any author that doesn’t read is one that ought to not be trusted.

As an author myself, I too am just as adamant about reading as I am about writing, and an activity like that doesn’t stop when I’m creating reading material myself. I still read, amidst the story that’s swirling in my own head… and it’s the balance regarding switching between two different, fictional worlds at a time that remains to be a challenge.

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I’ve been a published author for a little over a year now. I released my debut novel, “A Moment’s Worth,” last year, and I’m currently in the editing stage for my second novel. I wrote the draft for the second novel in a little over six months, and during that time, I read a total of 10 books. Some of the books include: “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho, “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” by Haruki Murakami, “Looking for Alaska” by John Green, “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline, and “The Sun Gods” by Jay Rubin. These along with a graphic novel, a poetry collection, and a short story collection make up some of the books I’ve read during the drafting period for the second novel.

Anyone familiar with these titles knows that they’re not at all similar to one another. Sure, some of them may share similar strands, but they’re all just as different as they can get. One of them could easily be an incredibly long proverb with a plot, one of them easily falls under the historical fiction genre, one of them is a memoir, and one of them is yet another addition to the heightened dystopian genre. All the while, over on my end of the fiction sphere, without giving away my yet-to-be disclosed synopsis, I’ve been working on a novel that is more or less science/utopian fiction, with a twist of civil rights infused.

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For that matter, with the material in my head and whatever material I’ve been reading have, for the most part, differed greatly, and one can imagine how mind boggling it can get when jumping between works like that. One minute I may be writing a really heavy scene for my book, the next minute I’m reading up about how two gods from Filipino folklore came together and fell in love. It’s exhausting!
Words in books, when crafted in as clever of a way possible, can be powerful, and sometimes influential; so much as to where it can deter between passing through your mind without a second thought, or manifesting itself in your mind into a whole new thought experiment. In other words, you have a choice between being influenced by the work you’re reading, or not at all.

Out of the books that I’ve read during the drafting period, there were a few that I chose for thematic purposes; in attempt to further develop ideas of my own. I did something similar while writing my first novel; where I read a heap of David Mitchell’s novels, and I let them manifest in my head and aid me in the direction I wanted to take. I always say that it’s okay to have influences and inspirations, so long as you’re not stabbing them in the back and completely ripping them off.

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As for the books where I just want to read and enjoy and not mesh with the story in my head, I treat those in a different way. I treat books like those similar to how I would visit a different country; where I would respect the laws and customs there. I’m only there for a limited period of time before I’m on my way. For that matter, that’s why I’ve managed to switch between writing my novel, and then go off to read something completely different, like a fantasy tale or something. I don’t know if it’s from my nature as a bookworm that I’m able to do this, or my skills as a writer where I can simply get lost in my own world.

Either way, this is how I’m able to continue reading the books that I want to read while writing the books I want to write. It’s all about deciding which books you want to be influenced by, and which ones you simply want to “visit.” Just be sure that something is gained from the chosen path.

“Reading about journeys while on a journey is an intensely stimulating experience” –Umberto Eco

Written by Lauren Lola

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101 things in 1001 days: 60,000 hits for my little book blog *eee*

101 things in 1001 days

Hellllllo readers, and happy Tuesday; I’ve quickly popped this post together because something a little brilliant has happened. As of today my little book blog has received 60,000 hits. 60,000! I can’t quite believe it, but when I put this post together a year or so ago I never thought I would hit this number, it seemed like an impossible feat at the time, and yet today, here we are. It’s a little crazy, a little emotional and just a bit shocking but thank you to you all that have wiggled over and had a ponder on all my bookish thoughts.

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Now I’m over two years in, stats and followers and the like mean less to me as a blogger. As long as the people that come and read my posts still enjoy them I will continue to be over the moon, but this number just felt like the one that would say, “hey Lizzy you’re doing something right,” and I’m going to continue trying to do things right, now and onto the next milestone. But thank you for all you wonderful followers, tweeters, commenters, readers, authors, bloggers and publishers. You’re one in a million.

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