Tag Archives: children

Book Review: Preparing My Daughter For Rain:: notes on how to heal and survive. by Key Ballah

Self Published Published Aug. 24,2014 106 Pages
Self Published
Published Aug. 24,2014
106 Pages

A collection of poetry for daughters, future daughters and women about how to heal and survive. 

This is going to be short review and that is because I do not have the words to describe this other than deep and powerful.  I wasn’t expecting much and that is because its been a hit and miss for me with poetry; mostly because I am not at a point in my life where I am sad nor am I obsess or desperate about love and being in love (long statement I know).

But anyway, this book, this poetry moved me so much. To say I am not an emotional fragile woman at this moment, would be a lie. The words were so honest but followed so beautifully without the fillers and the whimsical ideas. It reminded me of my past and made me feel for my future. It also made me think of mom a lot, which is the purpose but I really thought about my mom and who she was before kids.

I love this book and although I go it for kindle unlimited, I have every intentions of buying it for my library. I fell for this book and I think each time I read it I will learn something new about myself, women and my mom.

Powerful…powerful read I would recommend to all women for themselves and their daughters.

5 Pickles 

Book Review: The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith

Penguin Books Published Aug. 27, 2015 64 Pages
Penguin Books
Published Aug. 27, 2015
64 Pages

A friendship is formed between a lonely fox and a star that guides his way through a threatening forest.  When the star disappears, fox hides in the dark alone wishing for his only friend. 

After a while, enough is enough and the fox goes to find the star, only to find something just as beautiful as his friend.

When I picked up this book at the bookstore, I thought it was one of the most beautiful books I picked up. The cover was a soft hardcover, carefully drawn in. The illustrations was bright and detailed. . . it was beautiful.

But the story was incomplete and it was extremely disappointing. Firstly, by the description of the story (not reading the page count on goodreads) I thought this was going to be a long story . . . at least 200 words.  No. It is 64 pages and not all of the pages actually tell the story. I would not have a problem with this is the story was longer and if the ending actually meant something to me.

This book is considered something of a fairy tale but I don’t see a real moral to it. Yes, the fox steps out his comfort zone but and . . .??? So what? The book literally just ends with what is supposed to be interpreted as a happy ending. But it is just a ending, with no real emotion coming out of it.

You are sucked in instantly by the beauty of this book and you are waiting for an adventure even if it is a small one. But although the fox leaves his comfort zone it felt like he went around the block and came back.

I wanted some much more from a book that got so much hype.

2 Pickles

Book Review: Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen

Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) Published Feb. 3, 2015 208 Pages
Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Published Feb. 3, 2015
208 Pages

Every few months Sarah and her parents move, chasing after the sun, because her mother hates the cold. But one day her mother decides to leave and never come back.

Now Sarah, more lonely than she has ever been, is forced to move in with her parents and there she discovers the curse that her family is plagued with. The day Sarah falls in love for the first time she will turn into a beast . . . unless she breaks the curse.

You almost forget that a good book for Young Adults can be writte`n without sexual tension or even dramatic romances. This book reminded me that it is possible for a retelling to simply tell a story th`t believes in love with insta lust/love.

So to the story. At first I was skeptical because Sarah really doesn’t have much personality. But as reading the story, I can see why. The obvious is her parents are constantly moving from the cold she can’t make not even a single friend; all she has is her parents.  So Sarah doesn’t really develop til much later in the book, which for me is unfortunate because she makes some interesting choices that I had to do a “really?” on.

This story is extremely creative, it is not the typical beauty and the beast story. It deals less with the original fairy tale and it creates its own. It was written with care and love. Although the story wasn’t predictable, I feel it was too easy of a story. What I mean is things weren’t every exciting throughout the story. Sarah constantly accepted things especially when they didn’t turn out how she wanted. The turn of events wasn’t as spectacular as I had hoped they would be. Things went pretty smoothly even then ending . . . things went rather smoothly and with content.

I love the fact that there was clear signs of a beginning middle and end but they were extremely clear.

Beyond all of this . . .  I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick and original read. I recommend to everyone.

4 Pickles


NetGalley Review: Chimera (Chimera #1) by Phil Gomm

Troubador Publishing Ltd Published Oct. 15, 2014 100 Pages (ebook)
Troubador Publishing Ltd
Published Oct. 15, 2014
100 Pages (ebook)

After running away from his impostors posing as his parents, Kyp Finnegan is lost in Chimera. Chimera a dangerous world where lost things are placed and evolve into dangerous creatures. 

With the help of Atticus, a sock snake, Kyp must avoid the biggest danger of them all Madame Chartreuse, who wants to imprison him in Chimera forever.

This wasn’t for me . . . at all.

This book reminded me of the Chronicles of Narina, which I didn’t appreciate at all.  The story just jumped right into Kyp and him becoming lost. The back-story didn’t show up until almost the 6th chapter which causes confusion. I was literally in awe at how I know nothing about the character other than the fact that his parents aren’t really his parents.  Eventually I do come to know about the character but at that point I was just disappointed with the book.

The author doesn’t completely explain Chimera. Yes, I am aware it is a place for lost things and they evolve but something huge was missing and I felt that the author didn’t develop his ideas enough,  The imagination was there and I felt a passion within the author’s words but it felt like a rip off.

Overall, I didn’t enjoy this book. This is not to say that someone else may not like it. It lacked complete originality, character development and a consistent flow and order of ideas.

2 Pickles.

Book Review: Bird by Crystal Chan

Atheneum Books for Young Readers Published Jan. 28, 2014 304 Pages
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Published Jan. 28, 2014
304 Pages

So remember a far back, I interviewed Crystal Chan? If not read the interview first here. I finally was able to read her book and here is the review.

Jewel is born the day her brother Bird dies. She is constantly surrounded by the remembrance of his life and his death.

Unable to live as freely and lovingly, Jewel sneaks out her home at night to release frustrations. One night she meets a new boy (in the small town) named John and everything she wanted to come out does. 

This book moved me. Firstly I loved the fact that it was realistic without being too emotional. This was book wasn’t dripping with sadness. Yes, it was sad in a sense that a little girl feels unloved and a lack of support from her mother but the sadness didn’t make her who she was. It was part of her but Jewel was smart, responsible and observant of other feelings.

I liked how the story didn’t add a lot of nonsense to it.  There was a moment regarding Jewel’s new friend that I felt didn’t need to be there, in regards to his name, but that didn’t kill his character or the story-line.

This was a slow read but I didn’t mind too much because I liked Jewel so much and I needed to know how her family came together.

What I didn’t like about the book was the cliche of the lonely girl. I would have liked her to have someone that she can be completely truthful too. Although she was to a certain extent with the boy, I feel that her growth wasn’t as high as it should have been at the end of the book.

I also felt that the issue of being bi-racial wasn’t as big as I though it would be in this book. Yes, there are difficulties but it seemed more within family than with people who are outsiders.

Overall, this wasn’t a bad read and I would recommend it for those who are into realistic coming of age novels.

4 Pickles.

New Releases: December 2013

          Minotaur Books         To Be Published Dec. 10, 2013                304 Pages
Minotaur Books
To Be Published Dec. 10, 2013
304 Pages

Options by Abbi Glines 12.05.2013

I Even Funnier: A Middle School Story by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein 12.9.2013

Hunted by Karen Robards 12.10.2013

Snakeroot (Nightshade Legacy #1) by Andrea Cremer 12.10.2013

Once Upon a Lie by Maggie Barbieri 12.10.2013

These Broken Stars (Starbound 1) by Amie Kaufman 12.10.2013


Bloody Cross Vol 1 by Shiwo Komeyama 12.17.2013

What We Lost in the Dark (What we saw in the Night #2) by Jacquelyn Mitchard 12.17.2013

The Invisible Code: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery by Christopher Fowler 12.17.2013

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book 4: The Interrupted Tales by Maryrose Wood and Eliza Wheeler(artist) 12.17.2013


  Katherine Tegen Books  To be Published Dec. 23, 2013              356 Pages
Katherine Tegen Books
To be Published Dec. 23, 2013
356 Pages

Ashes to Ashes by Melissa Walker 12.23.2013

Roomies by Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando 12.24.2013

Control (Control #1) by Lydia Kang 12.26.2013

The Offering (Pledge Trilogy #3) by Kimnberly Derting 12.30.2013

The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine 12.31.2013

Taste of Darkeness (Healer) by Maria V. Snyder 12.31.2013

 Warrior by Ellen Oh 12.31.2013

Book Review: The Crossroads (Haunted Mystery #1) by Chris Grabenstein

    Random House Books for Young Readers       Published May 27, 2008            325 Pages
Random House Books for Young Readers
Published May 27, 2008
325 Pages

Zack, his dad and her stepmom Judy, are moving to his father’s hometown. After losing his not so great mother to cancer, Zack is looking forward to starting over in a new town and house. However, the moment Zack and his family enters the town, things seem a bit off.

50 years ago, a killer slammed his car into a bus killing 40 people; he himself hit a tree and died a fiery death. Now his spirit, which was trapped in the tree he slammed, is released due to a lightening storm and he plans on handling unfinished business that involves Zack and his family.

What I loved about this book was how Grabenstein made it feel as if you were breezing through the chapters. They weren’t overly long but they were full of details, twist and turns. I also loved the fact that he brought out the biggest characteristics of a small town . . . everyone knows everybody/everything.

There were a lot of turns in this book and it was done very respectfully. You didn’t feel overloaded with the information because you was able to piece things together flowingly with the story. It was perfect and it felt like a true mystery.

I also loved the fact that Judy wasn’t a mean stepmother or someone who was trying to hard. She was all for Zack. I didn’t appreciate Zack’s father; he didn’t believe Zack for anything and felt that he was always making up stories. I felt bad because Zack loved his father but also knew that his father would never understand or know the truth about him.

Overall I think this is one of the best mysteries that is perfect for everyone . This book gets 10 out of 10.

Love, Pickles.

Book Review: Great Discoveries and Inventions by African-Americans Fourth Edition by David M. Foy

I love history and I love expanding knowledge. I always read what is recommended to me and Discover Black advised that I read this book and I was surprised.

  Duncan & Duncan  Published March 1, 2008             146 Pages
Duncan & Duncan
Published March 1, 2008
146 Pages

Simply put this book is a reference book that details what African Americans have done historically in this world. This is not your common Martin Luther King, Madame C J Walker, or Nat Turner reference book; this book is pages on top of pages of African Americans who are not commonly known to average citizen. This is what I really appreciated about this book. It told information that I didn’t know.

For instance, have you ever heard of Frederick McKinley Jones (1892-1961)? Did you know he invented 16 items that are used today such as the ticket dispensing machine but most importantly the air conditioning unit? Who off the street would know that information?

What I also love about this book is most of all is it makes reference to the fact that these inventions/discoveries are still used today when they were found/created over 70 years ago. The relevance is important in any and all reference books and I believe this book did a really good job of it.

My only qualms about this book . . .  the pictures weren’t in color. LOL

Overall this book (yes it will be rated even though it is a reference book) gets a 9 out of 10. It was extremely informative. Perfect for research papers or just a expansion of knowledge. It wasn’t long and dragged out; it got to the point and provided patent numbers with dates. Book is completely filled with knowledge.

Book Review: The Turning by Francine Prose

Woe is me. . . .

Jack has to get a summer job to pay for college. So his girlfriend’s father gets him a babysitting job on a “haunted” island for the summer. Although he doesn’t want to go, his Dad is unable to pay for the college of his dreams. So Jack goes to this island and on his way there he hears stories about the tragedies that happen on the island and is spooked out but not spooked enough to change his mind (of course).

With no cable, internet or cell phone services, Jack is in this house for 2 months with creepy kids and a housekeeper who really thinks the kids are perfect.

The only good part of this book that I can state is it keep a consistent pace. The building of the story was great and it kept my attention but that wasn’t enough to make this book great or even a recommendation.

Here is the bad:

The book is written in letters. Terrible idea. It made the story boring for the most part ( I know contradiction from what I said earlier but no). It didn’t prove enough life for the story and it was mostly the thoughts of Jack, his father and girlfriend. It was a bad choice in format.

The characters lacked everything. If the main focus was the children they lacked the scare factor. There was nothing creepy about them and even when everything “explodes” they were still just children that bore me to death. Jack was too willing to believe in the bumps in the night. There was no fight from him.  There was no fight from anyone. The housekeeper knew things were odd but she played ignorant. Granted there was no reason for her to assume otherwise but gosh she was a boring character.

No one held any secrets; the tragedies really didn’t relate to each other. The kids were being haunted by former employees but can you really call it being haunted when it really didn’t bother them?

The ending was horrible. It was as if the author didn’t know how the end so she put Jack in an asylum still writing letters. There was no thrill there was no horror. It was such a waste of time reading this book with this ending. I am actually upset about it.

Overall the book gets a 4 out of 10. *Kayne Shrug*

Tania Lasenburg is a communications major that plays video games and cyber stalks Gym Class Heroes. Follow her on twitter @mrztanyapickles