Friday, February 13, 2015

Book Review: Florence by Ciye Cho

Title: Florence
Author: Ciye Cho
Series: The Florence Waverly Series
Publisher: Self
Date of Publication: July 2012

Book Synopsis:

"Seventeen-year-old Florence Waverley is out of her depth. Literally. Kidnapped and brought down to Niemela--the hidden world of mermaids and mermen--Florence is the ultimate gift for Prince Kiren: a human familiar tied to his side. But nothing is what it seems amid the beauty and danger of the dark ocean.
Every Niemelan has a role to play, from the mermaids who weave towers out of kelp to the warriors who fight sea monsters. But in trying to survive, Florence will end up in the middle of a war between the mer and the Darkness. A conflict that will push her between two brothers: Kiren, the charmer inexplicably drawn to both her and the monsters; and Rolan, the loner who has been pushing her away since the day they met. But in order to take a stand--and find out where she belongs--Florence will have to risk it all: her life, her heart... and her very soul."

My Thoughts:

I received a copy of Florence in exchange for my honest opinion of it.  The views are entirely my own.

I have never been a huge mermaid fan, although, I have never really read that many mermaid stories either.  So I was willing to get out of my comfort zone and try something that I don't normally gravitate to, in the case of this interesting new read.
The cover first caught my eye before I even read down to the blurb.  It is absolutely beautiful!  I love the colors: green, golden orange, aquamarine.  Honestly, I am a huge fan of the colors of the sea but not of the actual sea.  I know!  It doesn't make any sense, right?  But I can't swim.  Yep, I am a thirty-something woman who can't swim.  So I have never really been a beach person.
I always wanted to see the adventure and beauty of the beach and ocean, but the fear always seemed to lurk behind me, keeping me far away.
Glancing at the cover of Florence,  I see the beauty now.  The colors compliment each other so well and the rendering of Florence is the visual equivalent of the beauty that  the ocean has beneath the waves.
So yeah the cover actually made me have to read this story.  But the blurb did get me a little excited too.
The world building is magical, to say the least.  The author has a true talent for painting a beautiful life like picture in our minds, whether it is a beach in Australia or a fantasy world under the ocean.  The descriptions of land of Niemela are so realistic, I still think that there might be a real Mer world near Australia.
You can tell that the author, Cho, has an immense love for art, visual and literary.  It shows in this wonderful story.
Of course, the world building isn't the only thing that is great about this book.
Our main character, Florence, is adorable.  The first few pages I fell in love with her so strongly because I seen myself in her.  I remember being in high school and feeling like I was on the outside looking in.  Right then, I knew that I was going to be an advocate for Florence through this story book adventure.
The characters are pretty complex and we see growth for each of the characters throughout the book.  But the best growth we see is what Florence finds when she looks within herself.

And then of course the plot is also done very tastefully too.  At first, we are led to believe this is  love triangle between the two brothers and Florence; but it is much more than that.  In fact, I believe it is more than just a love story.  Its more about  finding yourself and loving the person you find there.

I really enjoyed Florence.  It had just the right amount of romance but with a huge pack of action too.  The characters have this surreal beauty to them that portrays danger and yet  a calmness too.    I was whisked away with the plot lines as Florence tries to find a place among a world of mer people, all the while trying to find a place within herself too.

I am glad that I was asked to review this story because I now have found another series that I am in love with.  And Florence has opened my eyes to an exciting new world of mermaid folklore in new ways.

I challenge anyone who thinks Mermaid stories are not their cup of tea to definitely read this book.  It is a surprisingly light and fun read that will transport you to another world under the ocean.  But it will also change your views on the Mer folklore out there.

Get your own copy at:

Amazon| Barnes & Noble |

Connect with Ciye Cho:

Website | Twitter| Goodreads |

Friday, February 6, 2015

Book Review: Bigfoot's Small Feet by Jason Bohne

Title: BigFoot's Small Feet
Author: Jason Bohne
Illustrator: Jordan Race
Publisher: Self
Date of Publication: Dec. 23 2014
Source: Kindle, Pdf, received from author,

My Thoughts:

I received Bigfoot's Small Feet from the author for my honest opinion of it.  

At first glance, you can see that the illustrations are done very well.  I like that Bigfoot doesn't look intimidating; not to mention he has small feet.  This would be a fine story to read to your younger kids as well as the older ones (9+).  At least my older boys enjoyed it.  
It is a great message for kids to accept themselves just the way they are instead of being sad and ashamed of how they look.  
There was one part in the story where Bigfoot hits a little blue monster for making fun of him.  It didn't bother my kids that much, but you might just want to explain to kids that its best to try to find a way to handle this without throwing punches.  But it is Bigfoot after all; he is a tough guy! 
Other than that, I found this short story enjoyable and my kids and I laughed at all the funny pictures and especially the *SBD at the end.  I think my favorite part was the troll with the red wig.  "Real Talk."  I still am laughing at just that little comment.  
It's a pretty good story for little kids and upper elementary too.  But don't take my word for it....:

Here's the boys to let you know what they thought:

Jace (6): I liked the pictures a lot.  They were really funny and had lots of color in them too.  I thought Big foot had a cute and cuddly face too.

Conner (11): This is a pretty good story for little kids.  Okay, I enjoyed too.  I thought the pictures matched the story very well.

Anthony (11):  Well, I pick on one of my younger brothers and now I feel kinda bad because of how the blue glob picked on Bigfoot for being clumsy.  I think I am going to try to catch myself from picking on my brothers the next time; but nobody is perfect.  Still, this book was pretty funny and I liked it too!

Michael (9): Yeah, I am the brother Anthony likes to pick on.  I am glad that this book could show him how it really feels.  Although, I have been telling him enough already.  I can really relate to Big Foot, except my feet aren't small.
  I don't think Anthony does this out of meanness, but its nice for him to see first hand how it feels.  
I loved this book!  I liked the pictures and I liked all the different creatures in it.  Big foot seemed like a really great guy.  I hope to see something else with him in it in the future.  

Get your own copy at:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble |

Connect with the Jason Bohne:

Website | Facebook |

Monday, February 2, 2015

Book Review: Nightfall Gardens by Allen Houston

Title: Nightfall Gardens
Author: Allen Houston
Series: Nightfall Gardens Book 1
Publisher: Flycatcher Books
Date of Publication: May 8  2013

Source:  Received from author in exchange for my honest opinion.
Genre: Young Adult, fantasy, Kindle edition, 249 pages

Goodreads Synopsis:
Vain Lily Blackwood and her shy brother Silas wonder if their family will ever settle in one place long enough to lead a normal life. When a mysterious stranger arrives claiming to be their uncle, they discover their parents have been hiding a secret that turns their world upside down.

The two are kidnapped to Nightfall Gardens, the family’s ancestral home, a place shrouded in ancient mystery, where they meet their dying grandmother and learn of an age-old curse placed on Blackwood females.

Lily must take over as protector of the house and three haunted gardens that hold mythical beasts, fairy-tale nightmares and far worse. If she doesn’t, the evil trapped there will be unleashed and bring on a new dark age.

While she deals with malevolent ghosts inside the house, Silas is put to work in the gardens, where one wrong step means death.

Along the way, they search to unlock the secrets of the house and to stop the creatures in the gardens before time runs out and the world is destroyed.

My Thoughts:

I received a copy of Nightfall Gardens for my honest opinion of it.  I wasn't sure if it would be my type of story; I was afraid it would be too much for the kids and not exciting enough for myself.  I shouldn't have worried!  This book is amazing!
Before I get to the actual story can we talk about the cover?
I love when the illustration conveys the story perfectly and this cover definitely does it!  I also love that it is in just black and white and the contrast is between the shadows and the light.  It's just beautiful!
Just as the cover is foreboding, so is the first chapter.  It really grabs you and pulls you in right away.  There is no lag in the story; no boring parts.  We are able to glimpse Lily and Silas' life before the Gardens just enough to understand their personalities.  
Lily Blackwood, our female protagonist, is the more vain and self centered one of the family.  She believes the world revolves around her and she deserves the theaters of Paris and beyond.
Silas Blackwood is more of a dreamer.  He lives for his writing and I  think, a good book too.  But he is kind and generous too.
The introduction of the their long lost Uncle ,one they never knew they had, comes into play it makes for even more exciting reading.
I found the Uncle enjoyable; although, probably everyone else sees him as the bad guy.  I don't know; I think he is admirable but committed to the safety of others as well.
As the plot goes through we get to see each character, Lily and Silas, mature into a more well rounded person as they go through their own path.  Each one adds a crucial element to the story that makes the book much more enjoyable for girls and boys.   Neither one overshadows the other one; instead they compliment each other from the love they feel for each other.

The world building was also a major plus too.  Mr. Houston creates this niche in the world that essentially is what is holding the world's worst nightmares and evil from being let loose on humanity. I love that there is three gardens: White, Shadow and the Labyrinth, and each one has your different baddies in it.  The nerd in me would love a drawing of the different gardens; a map if you will.  Ohh! And wouldn't it be cool to have like every different creature that resides there and what myth they come from contained in a list?
Aww that would be awesome!

I was simply astounded at the creativity that was put into making Nightfall Gardens.  I am also into having a mesh up of the different mythologies.  I have also wondered what would happen if we had different creatures and the different gods from the old myths come together.  Mr. Houston wove an exciting tale that flows smoothly throughout the story.  I really had a hard time putting the book down.
I am pretty much obsessed with this series now.  As soon as I finished this book, I ran to order book 2 and have already started it.  I also plan on picking up the whole series in print form to go on our "favorite books" bookshelf.  And as soon as my 11 year old twins finish the books they are reading, I know they will devour this one too.

I highly suggest giving this book a try.  It has so much to offer for both kids (12+) and grown ups too! It is a truly creative fantasy with so much action, you might find yourselves reading it through the night!

Get your copy at: 

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