This project deserves your attention and review! Really does!
EDUCATIONAL, FUN & SERENE
Writing a children’s book is never easy, and I commend anyone who tries. It is always difficult to express what you wanted to, in the language suitable and understandable for children, yet not condescending. It is also useful, especially in books for younger children, to use TPR-inspiring vocabulary, which helps the children and their storytellers get more engaged in the reading process. Your characters should be simple, recognizable, relatable, and they should have certain catch phrases or behavioural patterns children could mimic and enjoy. Illustration is essential, and carries almost half the story. Most of all, for your children’s book to be a good book longterm, it must have an educational, non-sensational yet important message.
Pam Bonsper’s book has all of these elements, and deserves its stars. Although, personally, I may say I would like to see a more emphatic ending, a tiny bit more of a dialogue, when you look at the overall, the story really works. It has a lovely forest setting with recognizable animals (later changed briefly into a polar backdrop), very interesting and charming illustrations (in perfect synergy with the story), and finally, tells the story of environmental changes in a very simple, friendly, serene way.
As a parent and a teacher, I can see how this story lends itself to teaching and learning, leading the children gently and inobtrusively into critical and creative thinking, and, provided one reads with them and talks about the ‘why’ and ‘what would you do’, the children can only grow emotionally from this book.
THE TAMING OF A BRIDEZILLA – MISSION IMPOSSIBLE!
This is the perfect book for single girls in their 20s or 30s, who can understand and relate to the (anti)heroine Rebecca instantly! I can picture them reading it on a beach, sipping through it with ease and giggling, then commenting with gal pals on Rebecca’s perseverance, shopping frenzy and celebrity obsessions. They would pity her and then bash on Barry, debating on whether he was being too patient, or just typically male in playing it safe for as long as it suited him, his supposed infidelity serving him right, or something along those lines.
Rebecca’s obsession with brand names and looks, absurdly expensive wedding plans, the lives of celebrities and her own self, however, make her an antiheroine in my book. Cheeky is her charm, but she is so shamelessly frivolous and selfish that you feel like knocking some sense and sensibility into her. I’d love to see her and Bridget Jones exchange some ideas over a cup of coffee. I got till about half the book on the breeze of the author’s upbeat style and humour (take a bow, Amy Lynch, wonderfully defined writing style), but as you read on, Rebecca’s character gives a new meaning to superficiality. Getting an ARC, I promised to give an honest review, so I am. The author’s witty style was the only thing making the Bridezilla likeable for me. Rebecca is really believable, with her reality-show upbringing and gossip-magazines values, workday hangovers and morning painkillers with alcohol, skipping work, faking sickness to go on a shopping spree, charging her boyfriend’s credit card while he’s on a business trip, weighing whether to dump her or marry her. She reminded me of similar girls we all know, who are not evil, but you wouldn’t really consider giving them the badge of graciousness. But then again, perhaps I was thinking too much like a mother. The author did me a favour there – made me feel grateful for my life experience and age, and lit a red light in my head, warning me to make sure my daughter is not brought up anything like Rebecca. Therefore, my stars do not go to Rebecca at all, or her life story for that matter. They go to the author. Amy Lynch’s style is truly witty, her descriptions funny and illustrative, and her loyalty to her characters truly admirable. You know how they say when a child is less than cute – that only a mother could live such a face? Well, this author sure has lots of love for her character, and sticks to Rebecca’s inner voice all the way, the way a mother would. Every good comedy must have a reality sting to it, and I choose to believe Amy Lynch has packed that sting here, deep under the brand names and Rebecca’s ego-tripping monologues. A book is supposed to make you think and feel. This one has, although in a really quirky, awkward and unexpected way. I am definitely looking forward to reading Amy Lynch’s future books.
If you are looking for a funny, quirky, guilt-free, ego-boosting, sinfully sweet, layered wedding cake-ish summer read, knock yourselves out with Rebecca’s bride dreams!
Here is a sweet taste of Amy Lynch’s wonderful style and sense of humour – a sneak peek from the prologue (graciously sent by her promo team)…
This is it. I can feel it. Four years of waiting for my beloved Barry to pop the question. Four years of hinting. Four years of dreaming and praying and wishing. Tonight’s the night.
He has chosen the perfect evening for it. You’ve got to give the man credit where credit is due. I mean, surprising me with an engagement ring on my thirtieth birthday in Jacques restaurant? It’s elegant class. I couldn’t have scripted it better.
I spied the velvet box last week, accidentally stumbling upon it when I was innocently vacuuming under the mattress. I’d already gone through his wardrobe and chest of drawers with a feather duster and rummaged through his bedside locker with a wet cloth. OK, OK, you’ve got me. I don’t dust. I don’t vacuum. I don’t wipe sticky things clean with wet cloths. Yuk! I admit it, I was snooping. But can you blame me? The suspense was killing me.
Fumbling with the box, so close to opening it, I heard the key in the door. Rumbled! Sneaking back later, he’d moved it. Next thing you know, he’s booked a table at the most pretentious restaurant in town. All deliciously suspicious behaviour.
The night is upon us. I have taken glam to a whole new level, even shelling out for a new posh frock, a designer one. The works! My tan is flawless, not pasty, not orange, just perfectly in the middle. My lipstick and shellac nails are a deep vixen red. It’s the kind of colour that says ‘Yes, I’ll marry you, my darling. And I’ll rip you apart in bed later.’
Barry is driving so that I can have a drink when we get there. Super sweet! He probably wants to keep a clear head. You know, for the proposal and all. I close my eyes. I love Barry so much I could explode.
‘Now, I just got you something small for your birthday. Give it to you later.’
He plays a good game, I’ll give him that. He’s throwing me off the scent.
Yeah, right! Something small, is it? I love the whole fake out. So devious of him!
‘Of course,’ I wink at him. He doesn’t wink back. ‘Sure, the best things come in small packages, eh?’ I wink again.
He glances sideways with a confused look on his face.
‘Yeah, I suppose so.’
Oh, this is great! Bless him. He really thinks he has me fooled! Of course, to spare his manhood, I will naturally act all, like, shock horror when he produces the bling ring. The poor man is probably sweating buckets. It must be so much pressure to ask someone to marry you!
He is concentrating hard on the road, probably practising his romantic speech. Perhaps he is considering whether he should go down on bended knee or not. Maybe he’s worried he’ll cry when I say yes. I send him a telepathic message.
Bended knee, yes! Declaration of love, yes! Tears, no!
The man needs his dignity, after all.
‘You’re quiet,’ he breaks my fantasy.
I’m thinking about my supersized reaction and visualising the smattering of applause from the waiters.
‘Just thinking how lucky I am. You know – being whisked out for my birthday, and all. Special night, eh?’
‘Absolutely. You only turn thirty once, right?’
Don’t remind me. At least I will have reached the goal I set when I was twelve to be engaged by the time I am thirty. I have no intention of failing. I will have scraped to the finish line by the elastic of my knickers. If he pops the question before midnight, I will be on target.
THE NAKED NEWS FOR INDIE AUTHORS – HOW NOT TO INVEST YOUR MARKETING $$$$$$$ by GISELLA HAUSMANN – my review no.18
TELLING IT LIKE IT IS
How-to books are not your cup of tea? Well, they are not mine either, I can tell you. It is much easier drifting away into fantasy novels I enjoy so much, or getting tangled into a web of a tightly-knit mystery, right?
This book is no escape. This book is very specific, does exactly what it promises, is exactly what it preaches and tells things exactly as they are. So when you go looking for specific advice, as a self-published author on a fantasy budget, this is the kind of advice you need. What to avoid, how not to succumb to dream predators lurking in vanity publishers’ enticing offers, money-grabbing fake promo companies, etc. Not attacking those who genuinely help and offer trustworthy services, this book will help you weed out the rotten tomatoes in your inboxes and letter-boxes, and I personally know several whose prey I almost became (but am now glad I couldn’t afford their spectacular/phoney offers). The author clearly states her arguments, makes you no promises save work and learning, and offers straightforward, easy-to-follow practical advice to help anyone like me, a bit lost in the world of self-publishing, self-promotion and self-improvement (feeling kind of sleezy with all the selfie connotations, yet believing in our stories).
You know how you tend to say ‘Oh, I wish someone had told me this sooner!’? Well, this is Gisela, telling you! So if you are beginning your career as an author, dabbling with it as a hobby, or have a friend who is, lunge yourself at this fast, practical and applicable advice and then pay it forward!
The author of todays’s guest post is Julia Greef, a teacher, poet, blogger and artist friend I met through an international online teaching community. She is a lady of so many versatile skills, who lives across the globe from me, works and lives in a different culture, and yet we see eye to eye on so many things. I was wondering how she would answer my blog topic question ‘Is kindness overrated?’ and here it is.
IS KINDNESS OVERRATED?
by Julia Greef
Is kindness overrated?
I find this an odd question, because it seems to me the only possible answer is that kindness is very much underrated.
While a word or act of kindness may feel like a gratifying ray of sunshine on a good day – something that enhances our day but doesn’t necessarily make or break it; when we are down, suffering, worn into the ground, dejected, feeling alone, struggling, in despair, carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders and at a loss for what to do, a simple word or act of kindness can pierce our heart with its gentleness and have us weeping tears of gratitude. It can restore our faith in not only humanity, but in life itself; and it can radically transform lives – both our own and the lives of others.
When we are touched by an act of kindness we are jolted suddenly out of our everyday preoccupations into our heart space. As we make this move from head to heart, our heart opens and expands and we feel more at ease; more centered; more aligned with ourselves, with our world and with the Universe. We are brought back to the truth of who we are as we are reminded of the endless capacity for love and compassion that lies at the heart of all of us. So a word or act of kindness is a potent healing force, bringing us back to ourselves and our intrinsic wholeness.
When we touch the life of someone else with kindness, all the blessings that are bestowed on them are also bestowed on us. We feel more present, more connected, more vibrantly alive. We feel this ‘rush’ of kindness expand from our heart into every cell of our body. By choosing to be kind we are actively expressing the highest and most noble part of who we are; knowing this we feel beautiful from the inside out. And, I ask, what better feeling is there than that?
If you really want to start to feel good about yourself; your day; your week; your life, choosing to incorporate conscious words and acts of kindness into your day-to-day life is one of the best ways to go. Scientific research has found a multitude of benefits related to ‘practicing’ kindness – from reduced stress and increased self-esteem to greater happiness and an all-round sense of well-being. It would seem that kindness is as much a healing force in the life of the person being kind as it is in the life of the person on the receiving end of the kindness.
So our kindness is a precious gift we give to others and, at the same time, a legacy of love that we bestow on ourselves. Quite apart from all the aforementioned benefits, it is my belief that we can only know the beauty and the depth of our most essential nature, can only appreciate our own intrinsic worth and value, when we cultivate kindness. And as we do so we grow in love; both for ourselves and for all of existence.
Just to make a good thing even better, kindness is never more than a fingertip’s breadth away. We always have the choice to be kind in any and all situations. And every time we make this choice, we are honouring both ourself and the other – demonstrating our deep respect for the divine spark of life in them, which in and of itself is enough to render them worthy of our love; and, at the same time, showing our deep respect for the life that we are by choosing right action and the expression of the highest aspect of our being.
And when we choose to be kind in the face of persistent unkindness… The world may see it as our weakness; but I am of the opinion that in that capacity for kindness lies our strength, our beauty and our grace.
Far from being overrated, I don’t think we can ever really know the deep and penetrating significance of our kindnesses. Every time we choose kindness we radiate love and well-being out into the world; and this is a world that is in desperate need of such tremendously potent and powerful healing energies.
We literally have no idea how profoundly one word of kindness from us, one single act, can impact another. That one word of kindness, that one loving action, may be the one that helps them turn the corner in their life.
And let us make no mistake, a single act of kindness is by no means a single act of kindness. It sends ripples out into the world, touching the lives of all of those in its wake in an ever-growing circle of grace. A ‘solitary’ act of kindness is like a single drop of rain in a paddy field, sending out ripples that effortlessly expand to its very banks.
If more people were kind more often, imagine what a different world this would be.
Kindness being a choice we make in each moment, this is not just some impossible pipe dream too good to be true. We can create a world rooted in kindness, and the place to start is with ourselves.
I’m quite sure you’re already kind; because kindness, love and compassion seem to be impulses that are an intrinsic part of us. It’s like we have a compulsion deep within us to be kind. A need to allow this loving, compassionate part of us pour forth in words and actions that send ripples throughout the world – right to its very ‘banks.’
But however kind you already are, it is also true that you could choose right now to consciously sow more words and acts of kindness ‘on your turf.’
Try it and see how it makes the people around you feel.
See how it makes you feel.
See how your relationships blossom and your days grow in happiness, as you honour the divine spark of life in yourself and the divine spark of life in others in this way.
I can promise you the ripples will be far-reaching.
If enough of us commit to this we can transform the world, for we are the ones making the world in which we live – which means we are the ones with the power to change it.
I’d like to finish with the words of the Dalai Lama:
“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”
This, for me, says it all.
Could I not reblog this;)? Wonderful review for the project!
I was looking for a book about bullying for my granddaughter when I came upon “Inner Giant” by Frank Letras. Bullying has become so prevalent in our society and has touched so many lives that I wanted to prepare her for the possibility it could happen to her. This is actually a collection of short stories, poetry, pictures, and so much more. The best part is that it is set up for adults and children in an easily identifiable format. I was amazed at the versatility of the information included. There were stories I could share with my 8-year old granddaughter as well as others appropriate for my 15-year old grandson. Some of the stories and art are amusing others very serious. With an easy to follow color coded guide I could choose what to share with either child…
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