It’s Thursday already, and boy, are there some great posts to share this week! I don’t know about you, but I’ve felt like I was slammed this week with blogging. I really didn’t have much time to blog-hop, which was really disappointing. Even so, I came […]
Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault Publisher: Parliament House Press Some see it… Some don’t… People in the town of Deer Park, Texas are vanishing. There is a strange museum, known as Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault, that appears overnight. Perrie Madeline’s best friend and ex-boyfriend are among […]
Joey is a warhorse, but he wasn't always. Once, he was a farm horse and a gentle boy named Albert was his master. Then World War I came storming through and everything changed.
Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.
Book: War Horse
Author: Michael Morpurgo
Publication Date: first published in Great Britain in 1982
Publisher: Egmont UK
Page Count: 180
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Animals
Cover Artist: Rae Smith
My Rating: ★★★★★
Joey, a strapping young foal is sold at auction to an unlikable farmer. But the farmer’s son Albert, dotes on Joey and raises him to be a fine horse. When WWI shakes Europe, the English army travels from town to town, gathering up soldiers and purchasing horses to use for the war. In a bad way, Albert’s father sells Joey to the army behind his back, in order to pay off his debt. Beside himself, Albert swears that when he is old enough, he too, will enter the war and find Joey and bring him back home.
Joey is sent to a short training camp and learns how to become a war instrument instead of a simple plow horse. While he adjusts quickly to his new position, he is abruptly thrust into the front lines of the war. Guided by the kind hand of Captain Nicholls, Joey is at ease. He also becomes close companions with Topthorn, another pristine black horse. But the war isn’t so kind, and takes Captain Nicholls’ life in that first battle. Joey is passed between riders, until he is finally captured with Topthorn and enlisted into the German army for a few years
The two find solace as they are kept by a young French girl Emilie and her grandfather, and used to pull the German ambulance carts. The war lulls, and the Germans leave the two horses in the young girls’ care. However, soon after, a different regiment comes through and takes the horses again to pull ammunition carts. It’s heavy work, and many horses perish, and Topthorn grows gravely ill.
Spring returns, but Topthorn never fully regains his strength, and ends up dying due to complications. Although devastated with losing Topthorn, Joey escapes the Germans’ clutches in a raid by the English. He ends up getting stuck in No-Man’s-Land, and severely injures himself. Both armies see the poor horse’s condition, and end up flipping a coin to see who would take him back to their company to be cared for. The English win, and take him back to their veterinary base.
Ironically enough, Joey is confronted by Albert, who is now enlisted in the army to give veterinary service to sick and wounded horses. The two are elated at finding one another again, however, Joey grows gravely ill from his injuries he obtained in No-Man’s-Land. With Albert and the other order-lee’s help, they are able to nurse him back to health.
Once Joey regains his strength, he is enlisted to work again and pull the ambulance cart for injured horses and bring them back from the front line. During this line of work, one of Albert’s closest friends is killed, and Albert becomes severely depressed. It isn’t until talk of the war ending that he begins to liven up, saying how he and Joey will soon go home.
The army has different plans, and auctions off all the horses to the highest bidders, many being French butchers. Desperate to keep his horse, Albert asks for help. All of the soldiers pitch in to raise money to buy Joey, even though it is against orders. They end up being outbid by the old French gentleman who had kept Joey and Topthorn back when they were with the Germans. Hearing Albert’s story, about how he owned Joey since he was a colt, he decided to give Joey to him for an English penny, as his Emilie had passed away. He didn’t want to see Joey, the beloved horse by his granddaughter, go to a slaughterhouse.
Albert and Joey are able to return home, and live out the rest of their days in each other’s company.
”That’s what war is all about, my friend. It’s about which of us is the madder.”
I remember when I saw this movie when it first came out in theatre. At the time, I didn’t realize it was an adaptation from a book. Naturally, when I learned of its origins, I had to read the book as well! War Horse is told in a similar fashion to Black Beauty, as it is told from the horse’s (Joey’s) perspective. While this point-of-view may be slightly limiting as it leaves out a lot of human emotion, I appreciated how it simplified the narration and actually made everything come across more bluntly. Just like humans, Joey and the other horses felt and experienced raw emotions throughout the war. Fear, anxiety, comradery, sacrifice–however, they came across without jadedness. Unlike humans, animals feel emotions without complications. This narration bled into the human characters throughout that were pivotal in Joey’s story, as their complicated situations were unraveled to reveal the jewels underneath.
The main point about this book that I love is the theme of human value. Despite the fact of there being a war going on, there weren’t any ruthless characters that only wanted to kill, kill, kill. Everyone had a sense of general right and wrong and understood the fact that war is ugly, traumatic, complicated, and tiresome.
”The horse is yours. Take good care of him, my friend,” and he picked up the rope again and handed it to the Welshman. As he did so he held out his other hand in a gesture of friendship and reconciliation, a smile lighting his worn face. “In an hour, maybe, or two,” he said, “We will be trying to our best again each other to kill. God only knows why we do it, and I think he has maybe forgotten why. Goodby Welshman. We have shown them, haven’t we? We have shown them that any problem can be solved between people if only they can trust each other. That is all it needs, no?”
This element of humanity is undeniably prevalent in a pure form to show how humans can only take so much. For a majority of this war, the people didn’t even know what they were fighting for. They didn’t hate each other–they knew they were all equals, and they respected each other in that.
Comparably, the theme of friendship is very strong. Deep friendships between men, horses, and men to horses, exist in several examples. Albert and Joey–Joey and Captain Nicholls–Joey and Topthorn–Joey, Topthorn, and Emilie, and several other connections overflow this book with friendship. I believe this is the aspect which makes this book so emotional because the deepness of affection between characters in untainted ways is tangible. It’s so tangible, in fact, that several characters willingly faced their fears in order to sacrifice for one another.
This book is devastatingly heart-wrenching at times but makes you feel so good at others. It’s a short read, but is packed full of virtue, respectful characters, and honorable missions–both by horse and man. It was a refreshing read and completely cleansed my palate. This book is aimed at children to young adults, but can easily be read and appreciated by someone of any age. I would highly recommend this read to anyone.
Vulgarity: The “H” word is only used once.
Sexual content: None at all.
Violence: Seeing how this book is about WWI, the evidence of violence is there. However, the author does a wonderful job in its portrayal and steers clear of gore, unnecessarily graphic scenes, and the like.
Release date Feburary 27, 2018! Seventeen-year-old Ana is a scoundrel by nurture and an outlaw by nature. Found as a child drifting through space with a sentient android called D09, Ana was saved by a fearsome space captain and the grizzled crew she now calls […]
I've been blogging for over a year already...
It was Winter 2016 when I decided that I really needed to do something in order to keep me sane (for lack-of-better-terms). Being a wife to an amazing husband, mother to an adorable toddler (we are also expecting a baby boy), a full-time employee, along with all of that other demanding life stuff, took up majority of my time. However, most of that time is me doing things for others (which is truly a blessing!) I just wanted to look for something that I could focus my attention on when I did have some downtime. Instead of watching movies (which I like to do), I wanted to focus more on reading. It was something I had always done, but got away from for a few years because of college.
I grew up on not really a farm, but out in the country where I was always involved in outdoor activities–mostly horseback riding and training. Showing took up a good twelve years of my life (which I gladly gave), along with a peppering of sports, extra-curriculars, and then some more. If you don’t get the picture: I was always incredibly involved in multiple different activities. Naturally, living this lifestyle molded me into a mess of chaotic organization, so when I wasn’t doing one-hundred things at a time, I didn’t know what to do to myself.
After my husband and I were married, we bought a house where I couldn’t sustain my horse. In the midst of one year, nearly everything I had been mega-involved with disappeared. It was a sad stage of life for me, to part with the old and take in the new. However, I welcomed the life to come with my husband. I realized though, that I didn’t really have an active hobby.
A friend and I have been working on writing a book series over the course of two or three years now. In order to build some credibility, I was told by fellow authors and bookish folk that starting a blog was a great way to do this. It was around that time that I also really took an interest in writing reviews for books, so I thought, I’m going to start a book blog!
So I did.
Only recently, had I realized how little I’ve posted about blogging itself. When I decided to start reviewing books and blogging, I dove in without really having much (any) of a plan.
Sometimes, jumping in and learning to go with the flow isn’t all that bad. You have the freedom to do whatever you please! However, I found that over this course of time, I spent nearly all of my time only blogging about my book reviews, and participating in a few reading challenges, cover reveals, etc., here and there.
This isn’t necessarily bad. However, it doesn’t really help establish my brand on blogging itself. I’m not surprised it took me this long to realize some of these things because it’s how I work–I jump in full-force, not really knowing what to expect, and planning to learn along the way. I have learned a lot, too–and now I have some strategy.
Blogging takes some trial and error. There isn’t really a way to do it right or wrong, it’s a combination of everything you do as a whole. When I started getting approvals for eGalleys of books, I went a bit berserk and requested far too many. I was, quite literally going book crazy.
(I'm so funny...)
So, I got in a little over my head. I had to play catch-up right from the beginning (but I liked the challenge.) I wouldn’t recommend this method for others to use, but it definitely forced me into commitment right from the start!
I certainly didn’t anticipate how much time and effort blogging takes! But after burning myself and learning from my mistakes, it’s slowly getting more manageable.
If my testimony has scared you, please, don’t be. I made the mistake of getting in over my head right away, but that doesn’t mean you will. Most people are better strategists then I am, so that will definitely help benefit them in the long-run. I had to learn some of that. Thankfully, Book blogging has helped me do that! It’s also opened a new world to me, with tons of wonderful bloggers just doing what they like to do: talk about books!
I think blogging could be beneficial to anyone who just needs an outlet. You don’t even need to have a consistent theme or topic you discuss! (Although, it may help you when starting out.) I’m amazed at the diversity, versatility, and uniqueness by every blog I’ve come across.
So, there’s a little of the backstory as to what got me into blogging. I’ve spoken with many others who started for various reasons. That variety is what makes the realm so interesting, if you ask me!
Here are some reasons why blogging is great, and why you should consider blogging as well!
It helps to pass the time: get more organized!
I’ve experienced for myself the benefits blogging has. For one, it’s helped me manage my time for effectively. Instead of filling my “free” time with frivolous things, I sit down and read, write a review, read other’s posts, write something, etc. It helps me appreciate the time that I do have instead of wasting it away, and to stay focused. I’m not always the best at this because I get distracted, or I have too much to do, or…you get the picture. But it could definitely be a useful tool to those who like to have a schedule and know what they will be doing, and when!
It's a wonderful outlet for creativity!
Your blog is your own. Meaning, you have the freedom to do whatever you like with it! You can customize it to your liking, and create whichever content you want to feature on it! I’ve seen many types of blogs, all with their own unique flare. It’s fun to be able to make something your own. In an age where much of what we do is digital, it’s nice to be able to express ourselves in that way, too!
While my blog mainly focuses on books, I’d like to expand it to also include my artwork. I’ve been a hobby artist for years, and would love to share some of that with others, too!
Engage your mind: challenge yourself to think outside the box
This point goes along with the previous one about creativity. Create! Do new things! Write about topics that you wouldn’t normally–or ones that you are passionate about. Ask questions! Host discussions! Really, the options here are endless!
Make new connections
Book bloggers are probably some of the nicest people you will ever meet. But, you want to know a secret? If you are a nerd, and nervous to geek out about books and gush about how much you love them, don’t fear; book bloggers reciprocate. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t grow up (or currently have, for that matter) many friends who read a lot. Sure, I’ve made an effort to find those who do. But, they simply aren’t in my proximity. Stumbling upon the bookverse has been a great experience for me, and I’ve met some wonderful people from all over the world!
This isn’t exclusive to just book bloggers. There are people who blog about all sorts of topics that I’ve interacted with who have been really wonderful to get to know!
To put it in short terms: you can make new friends!
Practice your writing skills!
Seeing how one of my main reasons to start this blog in the first place was for writing, it actually helped me out a lot in regards to improving my writing overall. (I definitely still make mistakes though!) Even if I’m not working on creative writing, composing book reviews takes a lot of work and brain power. It takes a lot of effort to string one’s thoughts together into a coherent review (that will hopefully be helpful to whoever reads them). Writing blogs and reviews have really helped me focus on writing well. I can see this only as a benefit as it helps to exercise that part of my mind.
I hope you have found this post helpful, and perhaps, encouraging. Now you tell me:
What about blogging do you love?
How has it benefited you?
Let me know in the comments below!
It’s been a long time since I’ve done a book haul post! It’s literally been months since I last did one, which means I’ve been successfully sticking to my book-buying ban! I must admit, I’m doing this ban a bit begrudgingly because they’re books. I want […]
Release day February 27, 2018! Tess, stubbornly, is a troublemaker. You can’t make a scene at your sister’s wedding and break a relative’s nose with one punch (no matter how pompous he is) and not suffer the consequences. As her family plans to send her […]
It's Thursday, and it's time to start a new Meme!
What is Thursday Blog Trot? Well, since I don’t have all the time in the world to spend following my lovely fellow book bloggers, bookstagrammers, booktubers, and the like, I wanted to dedicate some time each and every Thursday to provide shout-outs to these peeps, and the hard work they spend each and every day to run their blogs, read books, write reviews, and so much more!
If you like the sounds of this Thursday Blog Trot Meme, feel free to use it, along with the image provided! Be sure to comment below if you do, I’d love to see your posts and all of your blogger friends’ hard work!
Without further adieu, let's see what everyone has been up to!
The #NewBloggers 101 is a Discord group headed up by Evelina at AvalinahsBooks.space. She puts in a HUGE amount of effort to coordinate and provide amazing content for fellow book bloggers to learn from, starting with the basics. Each Friday, she or other bloggers from the group posts a self-help guide to all different topics. Her post from last Friday was:
This is the third part in a series on social media and networking. See the previous posts in theis series by expanding the list below!
- 02/09/2018: What Tools Can Help Me Be An Organized Blogger? Writing And Scheduling Posts(#NewBloggers 101, Book blogging, Discussion)
- 02/02/2018: What Tools Can Help Me Be An Organized Blogger? Blogging Calendars(#NewBloggers 101, Book blogging, Discussion)
- 01/25/2018 How Do I Write A Proper Review Policy? (#NewBloggers 101, Book blogging, Discussion)
- 01/19/2018: Book Blogger Etiquette: How To Get Comments? (#NewBloggers 101, Book blogging, Discussion)
- 01/10/2018: How Do I Make A Good Edelweiss Or NetGalley Profile? (#NewBloggers 101, Book blogging, Discussion, Edelweiss, NetGalley)
- 01/05/2018: When Should I Start Requesting ARCs? (#NewBloggers 101, Book blogging, Discussion, Edelweiss, NetGalley)
This post is so helpful in regards to organizing how to manage posting, and keeping up across all platforms. While there isn’t a best way to do this, Evelina gives one way that works for her, and it is certainly helpful! I discovered the wonderful (and free!) Buffer.com which is one way to control social media posts, and have incorporated using that each and every day. I’d highly recommend checking these posts out. I mean, they are free guides and tips!
If you are a photoholic and bookaholic, Sushma’s post on Her Bookstagram Journey is what you need in your life!
She tells about her story and what got her into Bookstagram, and her journey until today. For being someone who has been (very) inconsistent with posting on Instagram, I find this material highly valuable and insightful!
Free Blogging Tips!
She has several very practical suggestions, but also focuses on individuality. The most valuable tip I got from her was to “not forget why I started blogging.” It’s so easy to get caught up in keeping track of all that needs to be done, and forget to love what I’m doing in the meantime. I’d encourage you to check out her post if you need a little bit of encouragement!
Aimee over at AimeeAlways has a lovely post on How to Style Book Reviews. She gets into the nitty-gritty and helps break down some formatting (including HTML!) that she uses while designing her book review posts. It’s no wonder why her blog looks so amazing! Any blogger can find some useful information in this post, so be sure to check it out!
Last, but certainly not least is a post from a series of posts called Bookworms Explained, by Chloe. She’s the lovely blogger behind bookdragons247. I love these posts! If you are looking for something light-hearted, funny reads, be sure to check this series out! The focus is to explain bookworms and how they think. But let’s be honest, that’s a lot easier said than done!
Here’s a list of her past posts in the series if you’d like to get caught up!
That's it for this week! Be sure to stop by each Thursday to discover more wonderful posts! Also, show these bloggers some love and leave them a comment, follow, or like! Until next week.
Nine While Nine Publisher: Parliament House Press For fans of This Savage Song! Find Out About Other Books by Stasia Morineax at http://stasiamorineaux.wixsite.com/stasiamorineaux Isabeau Finne’s perfect world utterly unravels when she meets Death’s right-hand man one fateful night, spiraling her life into a world of […]
The year is 2030, and climate change is making life on Earth more challenging. Fourteen-year-old Jasmine Guzman is struggling to come to terms with the abduction of her twin sister, Jade, and her mother’s illness. Things go from bad to worse when a series of bizarre occurrences make Jasmine wonder if she’s losing her mind.
Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.
Book: Finding Jade
Series: Daughters of Light #1
Author: Mary Jennifer Payne
Publication Date: March 7, 2017
Publisher: Dundurn Group
Page Count: 216
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Paranormal
My Review: ★★★
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Dun Durn, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
Jasmine has always been different from most kids her age–she was born a twin. She grew up close to her sister until a few years ago when Jade was abducted. Jasmine and her mother have never recovered from the incident, understandably. With no body, or trace of evidence, there was no closure for them.
Life in 2030 was hot, no matter where one lived. After a drastic climate change, much of the world has been changed past the point of inhabitation. The conditions make it difficult for anyone to thrive. Jasmine’s mother, riddled with a debilitating disease, only grew worse when the abduction happened. Jasmine has worked hard ever since to help her mom out in any way possible, alongside her mother’s close friend Lola.
When Jasmine is transferred to a new school, she realizes that something strange is going on. Most of her classmates are made up of twins. Introduced to the world of demons, Jasmine learns that she is a part of a special network of individuals who have access to unusual abilities. There, she meets a boy named Raphael who has a hankering for helping her in the times that matter the most.
Jasmine learns through a series of extraordinary events that her sister is alive, but is stuck in a place called The-Place-in-Between. More sinister than it sounds, Jasmine must quite literally face her demons in order to rescue her long-lost sister from the shadowy realm.
I like it when I go into a book not really knowing what to expect. I like even more when a book takes the reins and leads me down a path that I don’t foresee. Finding Jade had a lot of surprising attributes to it that make it stand out. However, a few of those attributes could ultimately be its downfall, as some are under-developed and without must investigation. Needless to say, I thought this was an interesting take on the paranormal topic of angels and demons. While I didn’t necessarily like parts of the backstory, I appreciated the author’s ingenuity and ability to converge several (seemingly random) paths into one.
Things that I liked:
#1 There is a lot of diversity among the characters. Both Jasmine and Jade are of Chilean descent, and the book is mostly set in Toronto which has a lot of diversity in and of itself.
#2 The concept, while a bit unpolished, was interesting. I did not expect the book to travel in the direction that it headed toward, which made for a surprising read.
#3 I loved the (random) variation of settings, and how they were tied into the plot. The-Place-in-Between, aka a Pergatorish “Hell-like” state where people would become stuck in was original and rather creepy. I felt like I was stepping onto a London street at night knowing that Jack the Ripper was on the loose when reading these scenes.
Things that I didn’t like:
#1 I felt that there were several aspects of this book that were left without much explanation. Granted, this is the first book in a series, but I found that it would have been more beneficial to have more information on specific topics such as Lola’s Ibeja doll, the Seers themselves and what all they are actually capable of, and more on Raphael (but I’m certain more is coming on him in Solomon’s Ring.
The Seers were never painted into a full picture for me.
Seers are genetically connected to this chick called Lilith, who was apparently Adam’s wife before Eve. She’s gotten a bad rap over the centuries because she held supernatural powers and led armies into battle, refusing to be subservient to men. Good for her, right? But because she used her girl power without shame and men could not control her, they made up nasty rumours about her. Rumours that she was a demon, a vampire, and an evil whore. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: not a lot has changed between guys and girls over the years. Kind of depressing. Instead of spreading this stuff on social media, guys back in the day wrote trashy rumours on scrolls and cave walls. Nice.
While we do get some background information, (with some jabs at the male gender – another thing I didn’t care for) I couldn’t seem to grasp the entirety of their capabilities and entire purpose.
#2 SPOILER ALERT!!!
I found Jasmine’s reaction to finding her sister so…odd. A lot of time was spent in the first portion of this book with her pondering her sister’s disappearance. Yet, when she discovered she was alive and successfully rescued her from The-Place-in-Between, she almost seemed indifferent. No, I don’t expect her to be jumping up and down from that moment on. I just found her to have a lack of engagement with her sister’s return. It was weird.
[I found Jasmine’s reaction to finding her sister so…odd. A lot of time was spent in the first portion of this book with her pondering her sister’s disappearance. Yet, when she discovered she was alive and successfully rescued her from The-Place-in-Between, she almost seemed indifferent. No, I don’t expect her to be jumping up and down from that moment on. I just found her to have a lack of engagement with her sister’s return. It was weird. (hide spoiler)]
END OF SPOILER.
#3 While the setting clearly takes place in Toronto, I had a hard time envisioning where the characters were throughout. The proximity of the schools, what they were like, the subway scenes, and The-Place-in-Between settings were only briefly touched upon. Especially seeing how this takes place in a dystopian future, I was looking for more detail on the different locations, as well as the drastic variances between them and the eras in which the characters travel.
Overall, I thought this was a unique read. While I had some issues with underdevelopment of some aspects of the plot, I thought the characters were decently-developed and played into the plot well. I’m curious to see where they will end up in Solomon’s Ring.
Sexual content: Kissing only.
Violence: Moderate – there were some scenes particularly in The-Place-in-Between that were grotesque, including decapitation of some characters.
The Bone Roses Publisher: Parliament House Press Sixteen-year-old Rags is the most feared Rustler in the world, and for good reason. When she’s not raiding the post-Yellowstone Kingdom’s established settlements for supplies to keep her frontier, Rondo, alive another day, she’s fending off witch hunt-happy […]
It is the autumn of 1846 in Ireland. Lorraine and her brother are waiting for the time to pick the potato crop on their family farm leased from an English landowner. But this year is different—the spuds are mushy and ruined. What will Lorraine and […]
Are your reviews-to-write list getting you down?
Don’t worry, you aren’t alone. I’ve been sitting on some reviews that I need to write for a few months. It’s time to buckle down and get them done! Currently, I have seven reviews that I need to write and post (including one book that I’m currently reading, but will finish shortly.)
So, what exactly is this "Review Rally?"
Seeing how I’ve been unsuccessful with staying on top writing my reviews, I needed a little motivator. For the next seven days (February 19th-February 26), I will be posting a book review that’s been sitting in order to get caught up! One review per day. At day seven, I should be sitting on a fresh, clean “to-review” pile.