The Kids of Cattywampus Street | A Review

Hiya! Today I’ll be reviewing The Kids of Cattywampus Street, written by Lisa Jahn-Clough, and illustrated by Natalie Andrewson. I picked this one up because I had been looking for a whimsical book to read. So when I found this one, I just knew I had to pick it up. Not to mention that Lemony Snicket himself liked the novel! Anways, let’s get into it!

The Kids of Cattywampus Street by Lisa Jahn-Clough: 9780593127568 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

In this delightful chapter book filled with black-and-white pictures, you’ll meet Jamal, Lindalee, Hans, Matteo, and others–the kids who live on Cattywampus Street, not far from the Waddlebee Toy Store. Each of the eleven chapters in this magical, mysterious, silly, scary, happy, and sometimes sad chapter book tells an utterly unforgettable tale about one of the kids. Whether it’s about Jamal and his magic ball, which knows how to find him after its been stolen away; or Charlotta, who shrinks so small that she can fit inside her dollhouse; or Rodney, whose pet rock becomes the envy of all the kids on Cattywampus Street, here are stories sure to charm, captivate, and engage all readers of chapter books, even the most reluctant.

First let’s talk about the plot. The Kids of Cattywampus Street promises wacky tales about children that live on Cattywampus Street, or somewhere near it. The stories are also said to have some sort of connection to a toy store called The WaddleBee’s Toy Store. While the tales present in the book are bizarre, they don’t necessarily tie into each other. I was hoping for the stories to be connected in some way, but that wasn’t the case. Furthermore, the stories felt unoriginal, and already-done-before.

In addition, the characters had beautiful designs, but not all of them were likeable. There also wasn’t much character development, nor were there any learning opportunities present for children. 

The dialogue felt bland and tried too hard to be funny. For example, there was a typical mean kid and their ‘sidekicks.’ When a character was crying, the words ‘Boo Hoo’ were used to enunciate her sobbing. (I hope that makes sense!)

Moreover, I really struggled with the writing. It would always reveal the events that occurred before it happened. This left no space for the readers to predict or imagine what would happen next. 

Fortunately, the illustrations were stunning! They were whimsical and vibrant, which I’m sure young readers will love.

Overall, I enjoyed my time with The Kids of Cattywampus Street. (Pun intended.) While I disliked the writing style, I adored how bizarre and vibrant the book was. This novel is perfect for kids transitioning from picture books, to chapter books!

Age Rating: 9 and up

TW: Some scenes might scare younger children

Final Rating: 6/10 or 3 stars

⭐⭐⭐

What is your favorite short story collection? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Have an amazing day!

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Sugar and Spite | A Review

Hi everyone! Today I’ll be reviewing Sugar and Spite by Gail D. Villanueva. I hope you enjoy!

Sugar and Spite by Gail D. Villanueva

Can a bully be defeated by a magical love potion?

Jolina can’t take Claudine’s bullying any longer! The taunts and teasing are too much. Though Jolina knows she’s still in training to use her grandfather’s arbularyo magic, she sneaks into his potions lab to get her revenge. Jolina brews a batch of gayuma, a powerful love potion. And it works. The love potion conquers Claudine’s hateful nature. In fact, Claudine doesn’t just stop bullying Jolina — now she wants to be Jolina’s BFF, and does everything and anything Jolina asks. But magic comes with a cost, and bad intentions beget bad returns. Controlling another person’s ability to love — or hate — will certainly have consequences. The magic demands payment, and it is about to come for Jolina in the form of a powerful storm…

First let’s talk about the plot. Sugar and Spite promises a magical enemies-to-friends story. And well, I’m happy to say that it delivered! Young readers will find this short and sweet novel both immersive, and exciting. 

Furthermore, the characters were very three dimensional! In many cases, I’ve found that middle grade protagonists don’t have much personality. Thankfully, Jolina and Claudine were very intriguing characters. The side characters also added quite the amount of liveliness to the story too. Jolina’s relationship with her grandfather was absolutely adorable!

In addition, I really liked how the dialogue was done. Many Fillipino phrases and words were used, which is great as it allows people to understand more about The Philippines. Moreover, the character interactions also felt very authentic and real.

“Your being brown doesn’t make you ugly. Mom always says we’re beautiful.”

― Gail D. Villanueva, Sugar and Spite

Unfortunately though, I didn’t love the writing. At times, the storyline became too confusing. The world building was done poorly as well. The only things the audience knows about the magic system is that it aids people, and that it’s passed down by generation. (I’m not entirely sure though, so please take what I said with a grain of salt.) However, I loved the talk about colorism and classism. The book promotes the idea that no one should be discriminated against, regardless of socioeconomic status, or race. And I think that’s such a beautiful message!

Overall, I really enjoyed Sugar and Spite! It’s educational and exciting. Younger kids will surely enjoy this story to the fullest!

Age Rating: 8 and up

TW: Natural disaster, bullying

Final Rating: 7/10, or 3.5 stars

⭐⭐⭐

What is your favorite Middle Grade novel? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Have a fabulous day!

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A Place Called Perfect | A Review

Hi all! Today I’ll be reviewing A Place Called Perfect by Helena Duggan. I hope you enjoy!

(Synopsis from goodreads)

Violet never wanted to move to Perfect. Who wants to live in a town where everyone has to wear glasses to stop them going blind? And who wants to be neat and tidy and perfectly behaved all the time? But Violet quickly discovers there’s something weird going on – she keeps hearing noises in the night, her mum is acting strange and her dad has disappeared. When she meets Boy she realizes that her dad is not the only person to have been stolen away…and that the mysterious Watchers are guarding a perfectly creepy secret!

A Place Called Perfect delivers a creepy and whimsical tale on friendship, and fighting for what you believe in.

The synopsis was said to be a book fans of Roald Dahl would like. I’m happy to report that this pitch is quite accurate! However, it did miss the mark for me in some places.

One aspect of the book I didn’t like were the characters. The main character Violet can’t do much on her own. She always needs the help of a boy whose name is…Boy. This annoyed me as young children, specifically young girls, will read this and see a girl their age constantly being saved by a boy. Here is a quote from page 237 in which I feel has some sexist undertones. For context, the main character Violet says this line. “I think I prefer the gate.” To which Boy responds. “Don’t be such a girl.” Boy laughed. It’s almost as though Boy is using the word ‘girl’ as an insult. The line was unnecessary, and adds nothing to the story. There was another line similar to this one. I can’t remember the page, but for context, Violet is cold. To which Boy responds, “Boys don’t get cold.” I just don’t think these comments are needed, especially in a children’s book. Overall, the main characters Violet and Boy were written very poorly. It’s such a shame because A Place Called Perfect had so much potential for witty banter.

Luckily, the side characters, specifically the Archer brothers, add a lot of creepiness to the story. The background characters also have this bizarre monotone expression to everything. It’ll only make you want to read on!

The dialogue, as mentioned earlier, contained a few sexist remarks. This unfortunately was a big turn off for me.

On a better note, the writing was deliciously eerie and gripping. It definitely reads like a thriller-mystery. The book is also quite easy to read, which is a plus since the target audience is under thirteen. My only complaint is that the pacing felt off at times. It went from 0 to 100 far too many times, and the transitions weren’t very smooth. Nevertheless, Helena Duggan still delivers a great story!

The overall enjoyment level of this book is fairly high. It was engaging, but could easily become boring for those who don’t love thrillers. All in all, if you’re looking for a creepy story to read on a rainy day, I highly recommend A Place Called Perfect!

Age Rating: 10 and up

TW: Some scenes might scare younger children, mind control, some violence

Final Rating: 7.5/10 or 3.75 stars

⭐⭐⭐⭐

What’s your favorite mystery novel? Have a great day!

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Author Interview With Tori Sharp!

Hey everyone! Today’s post is a special one because the lovely Tori Sharp is here to answer some of my questions. I am beyond excited to have them here with us today! Before we get into the interview, here is a bit about her debut graphic novel; Just Pretend.

Just Pretend: Sharp, Tori: 9780316538855: Books - Amazon.ca

(Synosis from goodreads)

Tori has never lived in just one world.

Since her parents’ divorce, she’s lived in both her mom’s house and her dad’s new apartment. And in both places, no matter how hard she tries, her family still treats her like a little kid. Then there’s school, where friendships old and new are starting to feel more and more out of her hands.

Thankfully, she has books-and writing. And now the stories she makes up in her head just might save her when everything else around her—friendships, school, family—is falling apart. 

Without further ado, here is the interview!

1. Hi there Tori! I’m so excited to have you here with us today. Before we begin the interview, do you mind sharing some random facts about yourself?

Tori: So nice to be here! Sure, random facts are a specialty of mine. My favorite socks have stars on them, I prefer iced coffee to hot even when it’s snowing, I can bend my thumbs down to touch my wrists, and I’ve been a swing and blues dancer for nine years. Besides being a children’s author and illustrator, I’m also an associate literary agent, and I live in Seattle, WA!

2. Congrats on debuting your first graphic novel! Just Pretend is amazing, and I can’t wait for other people to read it as well. May I ask, what inspired you to write it?

Tori: Thank you—you’re making me blush! I decided to write Just Pretend because I wanted to tell a story that sympathizes with kids whose parents are divorced, and is simultaneously a fun, sparkly romp. Almost every kid is going to know someone whose parents split up, but you don’t realize how that situation impacts every aspect of your life unless you’ve actually lived it. It’s not unusual to have divorced parents, but it can be complicated for a kid to try to express what it’s like. I hope this book will encourage kids to actually talk about it with people they trust.

Saniya: I love the message, it’s so sweet.

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3. The cover is so pretty! What was the cover design process like?

Tori: I’m incredibly happy with how the cover turned out—honestly it was the most daunting part of making the book! I feel confident drawing sequential art (like comics), but struggle sometimes with composing static illustrations. So, naturally, I started by enthusiastically staring at graphic novel covers on Pinterest. Next, I walked around my neighborhood and tried to visualize the coolest possible cover for Just Pretend. Daydreaming is a crucial, foundational step to any illustration. Then I drew a whole bunch of thumbnail sketches and showed about a dozen of my favorites to the team at my publisher, and they preferred this concept out of all the options. I think it’s perfect, and I love the fonts and the background color that the design team landed on.

Saniya: It’s so cool that you illustrated the cover yourself!

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4. If I may ask, could you please describe the storyline of Just Pretend in emojis?

Tori:

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5. Lastly, what do you hope young readers will take away from your novel?

Tori: If kids read Just Pretend and then spend some time creating something of their very own, whether that’s through writing or drawing or a fully embraced daydream, then I’d be so happy. Making things is its own kind of magic.

Saniya: That’s such a heart warming message, I love it!

About The Author

Tori Sharp is a Seattle-based author-illustrator and swing and blues dancer with a BFA in sequential art from SCAD. You can find her online at www.noveltori.com and on Twitter @noveltori. Just Pretend is her debut graphic novel.

Add Just Pretend to goodreads here!

Thank you once again Ms. Sharp for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer some of my questions, and thank you all for reading! Have a fabulous day everyone!

Scritch Scratch | A Review

Hey everyone! I hope you are well. Today I’ll be reviewing Stritch Scratch by Lindsay Currie. I must say, this one scared me quite a bit. Yes, yes, I’m a scaredy cat. We’ve established that by now. 😆 Anyways, I hope you enjoy!

Scritch Scratch: Currie, Lindsay: 0760789294242: Books - Amazon.ca

(Synopsis from goodreads)

Claire has absolutely no interest in the paranormal. She’s a scientist, which is why she can’t think of anything worse than having to help out her dad on one of his ghost-themed Chicago bus tours. She thinks she’s made it through when she sees a boy with a sad face and dark eyes at the back of the bus. There’s something off about his presence, especially because when she checks at the end of the tour…he’s gone.
Claire tries to brush it off, she must be imagining things, letting her dad’s ghost stories get the best of her. But then the scratching starts. Voices whisper to her in the dark. The number 396 appears everywhere she turns. And the boy with the dark eyes starts following her.
Claire is being haunted. The boy from the bus wants something…and Claire needs to find out what before it’s too late. 

Deliciously eerie and mysterious, Lindsay Currie brings us a story all thriller fans will adore! The plot hooked me right from the beginning, and kept my attention till the end! Scritch Scratch is fast-paced and gripping, so it’s definitely the perfect read to get out of a slump.

Furthermore, the characters were not that interesting. Although I respect the author’s ability to create semi-realistic kids without throwing in a gazillion references, I did not feel any connection to the characters. None of them were annoying per se, they were just lacking in development. Fortunately, the main character’s parents were very well developed. They each had their own unique personalities. The MC’s dad is a ghost story author, and runs his own spooky tour bus company. While their mom runs a baking business. How cool is that?!

“Love Ms. Mancini. She’s the only teacher I have who wouldn’t shame a student for falling asleep in class. I think she remembers what it was like to be in seventh grade and that’s what makes her so good at her job.”
― Lindsay Currie, Scritch Scratch

In addition, the dialogue fell short on personality. Most of it was trope-y, and uneventful. However, it’s the writing that really grabbed me.

Man oh man does Lindsay Currie know how to write a chilling story! I was very frightened, yet so intrigued throughout the book. What I found interesting, was that the writing was not very descriptive. This fascinated me as typically thrillers are quite descriptive. Luckily, this didn’t have a negative affect.

The overall enjoyment level of Scritch Scratch is very high. If you’re looking for a thrilling story with a wonderful message about friendship, and never forgetting those who came before us, then this is definitely the novel for you!

Age Rating: 10 and up

TW: Some scenes might scare younger children, lots of talk of a drowning accident, talk of abandonment

Final Rating: 7.5/10 or 3.75 stars

⭐⭐⭐⭐

What’s your favorite thriller? I’d love to know. Have a lovely day, and thank you for reading!

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April Wrap-Up

Hiya! Today I’ll be talking about the books I read in April! I’m actually quite happy with this month’s results. I read more books in this month than I have ever read in any month before! Anyways, I hope you enjoy!

Novels I Read

Rogue Princess by B. R. Myers: ⭐⭐⭐ (3.5 out of 5 stars) This was a gripping Cinderella retelling that also had a lot of sci-fi elements. Read my full review here!

(ARC) Made In Korea by Sarah Suk: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.5 out of 5 stars) I adored this!! Made In Korea is essentially a book about rival high school businesses but make it K-Beauty, and it was so much fun. 😆 I buddy read this one with Rania and Ritz. Do check out their blogs as well! Read my review here, and my interview with the author here!

Yesterday Is History by Kosoko Jackson: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.25 out of 5 stars) I read this one in two days! It was so intriguing! Yesterday Is History is a touching and quick read on time travel and love. Read my review here!

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A Place Called Perfect by Helena Duggan: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4 out of 5 stars) This was my first middle grade read of the year, and it did not disappoint! The premise is incredibly unique too. Review to come!

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(ARC) The Other Side of Perfect by Mariko Turk: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (3.75 out of 5 stars) This was a sweet coming of age about dance and musicals. Check out my review here, and my interview with the author here!

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Scritch Scratch by Lindsay Currie: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4 out of 5 stars) This was a chilling middle grade novel about a ghost that follows a girl home. Review to come!

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Graphic Novels and Manga read

Blue Lock Volumes 1-11 by Muneyuki Kaneshiro and Yuusuke Nomura: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5 out of 5 stars) I may or may not have binged this series. It was THAT good. I don’t think I’ve ever read something so interesting! I can’t recommend it enough.

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Shortcake Cake Volumes 3-6 by Suu Morishita: ⭐⭐⭐ (3 out of 5 stars) This was just okay. The art is incredibly stunning, but I have major issues with a lot of things in the series.

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Ao Haru Ride Volumes 12-13 by Io Sakisaka: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.75 out of 5 stars) Only one more volume left! It feels so bittersweet, but I’m glad I enjoyed the series.

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The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4 out of 5 stars) I didn’t like the Prince much, but it was still a cute story nonetheless.

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Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds: ⭐⭐⭐ (3 out of 5 stars) This was just okay. I didn’t love the art style, and the ending felt rushed.

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(ARC) Star⇄Crossed!! Volume 1 by Junko: ⭐⭐⭐ (3.5 out of 5 stars) This was a fun and light hearted manga on switching bodies with a J-Pop idol.

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Eyes That Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho and Dung Ho: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.5 out of 5 stars) This was so adorable!! I loved it! You can read my full review here!

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Total Number Of Books Read: 30 (A new record!)

Total Number Of Posts Published: 7

Average Rating: 7.2/10 or 3.7 out of 5 stars

First, let’s recap! Last month I said I’d read three novels and post some of the things I was tagged to try. Luckily, I read five novels!! However, I only posted one tag. I don’t mind though. 🙂

Some of my goals for May include…

  • Finish all netgalley ARCs
  • Read five novels
  • Drink lots of water

And that’s a wrap! I hope you enjoyed reading about my April in books, I’d love to read about yours too! Have a lovely day!

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Thanks A Lot, Universe | An ARC Review

Hey everyone! I hope you’re all doing spectacularly! Here is my review for Thanks A Lot, Universe by Chad Lucas. Thank you Netgalley and ABRAM Kids for providing me with an eARC of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Without further ado, here is the review!

Thanks a Lot, Universe by Chad Lucas

(The synopsis provided is from goodreads.)

Brian has always been anxious, whether at home, or in class, or on the basketball court. His dad tries to get him to stand up for himself and his mom helps as much as she can, but after he and his brother are placed in foster care, Brian starts having panic attacks. And he doesn’t know if things will ever be “normal” again . . . Ezra’s always been popular. He’s friends with most of the kids on his basketball team—even Brian, who usually keeps to himself. But now, some of his friends have been acting differently, and Brian seems to be pulling away. Ezra wants to help, but he worries if he’s too nice to Brian, his friends will realize that he has a crush on him . . .
But when Brian and his brother run away, Ezra has no choice but to take the leap and reach out. Both boys have to decide if they’re willing to risk sharing parts of themselves they’d rather hide. But if they can be brave, they might just find the best in themselves—and each other.

Before I get into the review, I would just like to mention how absolutely stunning the cover is. Just look at this beauty!

First let’s talk about the plot. It seemed like an average middle school coming of age. You’ve got the bullies, the awkward and quiet kid, and that one parent who loves sports. With that said, I’m happy to report that the plot was executed in a very intriguing and unique fashion. It tackled issues that I haven’t encountered all that much in other middle grade novels. My only complaint is that I feel as though the synopsis made me assume that Brian and Ezra would help each other out more than they actually did. Fortunately though, it was something pretty easy to overlook.

The main characters, thirteen year old Brian and Ezra, where so lovable! They were such interesting characters! Brian is socially awkward and has a hard time talking to the ‘popular kids.’ When I was their age, I could totally relate! Ezra was such a cool character! He loves old music, told hilarious jokes, and had great fashion sense! The only thing I found to be a little infuriating was when Brian talked so much about having trouble speaking to people, but then a couple pages later he swears at a teacher. I felt as though he went from zero to a hundred a bit too quickly. His parents also talked about how he was such a responsible kid, even though some of his actions in the book were rather questionable. Then again, I can only imagine how hard it is to be in the foster care system. My heart goes out to all of the children in these systems. Overall, our main characters are put into such heartbreaking situations that I was happy to see represented in a middle grade novel.

The side characters where also very diverse and intriguing. Thanks A Lot, Universe gave adults diverse narratives, and it really worked well in the story. It was also interesting to see Ezra lose touch with his supposed best friend. Friendship was widely explored throughout the book, and I absolutely adored that aspect of it! Moreover, I liked how although there are a lot of side characters, each character plays a significant role in Brian’s life. Whether it be positive, negative, or neutral. My only complaint is that the police officer associated with Brian wasn’t talked about that much, and we never really got to know his true intentions.

Furthermore, the dialogue was a lovely mix of lighthearted and serious. Brian’s conversations with his dad, Katie, and the police officer, seemed rather mysterious. While the conversations he had with Gabe, Brittany, his teacher, and Ezra, seemed more lighthearted. In addition, it was interesting to see how Brian explained their family situation to his little brother. Overall, the dialogue in Thanks A Lot, Universe was superb!

Unfortunately, the writing style felt repetitive at times, which was a bit of a turn off. At certain times in the story, the pacing escalated and de-escalated very quickly. For example, sometimes Brian’s mindset would change from I-am-so-shy-and-responsible to edgy-bad-boy-has-been-unlocked in almost an instant. However, as mentioned in my A Song Below Water review, I love when books have no swearing in them. There’s just something so refreshing about books like this one. I also liked how there wasn’t necessarily any romance. The main characters aren’t even fourteen yet, so it makes sense for there not be any romance. One aspect of the book that I really enjoyed reading about was the setting! It takes place in (I believe) Nova Scotia, which is a maritime province in Canada. It was very fascinating to read about a place I’ve never been to before.

The overall enjoyment level of Thanks A Lot, Universe is very high. The plot was gripping, the characters are intriguing, and the story is fast paced. Must I say more?

Age Rating: 11 and up

TW: bullying, displacement of homes, running away, some violence

Final Rating: 8/10 or 4 stars

⭐⭐⭐⭐

What is your favorite coming of age novel? Let me know in the comments down below! Have a wonderful day!

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Author Interview With Francesca Burke

Hiya everyone! Today I am here with a special treat; An author interview! I am super excited to be introducing the lovely Francesca Burke who is here with me today to answer some questions about life as an author. I hope you enjoy!

First let’s talk about Burke’s newest novel; The Princess and the Dragon and Other Stories About Unlikely Heroes. Here’s a quick synopsis!

Princess Amelia’s home, the Kingdom of Mirrors, is on its knees, ravaged by the cantankerous Sapphire Dragon. She must find a way to rid her country of its unwelcome guest and work out how to restore its fortunes before her parents marry her off to clear the kingdom’s debts. Prince Richard of the Valley of Dreams knows he’s not very heroic… he’d rather read about quests than actually go on one. But when he finds himself travelling to a haunted tower, he discovers a treacherous conspiracy that could rip the Three Kingdoms apart… and learns there might be some heroism tucked up his sleeve after all. Esme Delacroix is a psychic living in Stormhaven, the only part of the Three Kingdoms where magic is taboo. A terrifying vision sends Esme and her friend Violet on a perilous quest that shakes Stormhaven and the Three Kingdoms to its core.

Without further ado, let’s get right into the interview!

1. Was there anything that inspired the making of The Princess and the Dragon and Other Stories About Unlikely Heroes? If so, what inspired it?

Ms. Burke: Yes! I wanted to write the sort of fairy tale I wish I had read as a child/teen. Something with all the magical elements and questing, but with fewer irritating princes and helpless princesses.

Saniya: I totally agree!

2. If you could give your past writer self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Ms. Burke: Learn to plan! Or at least try to know where your story’s going before you start. It’s going to make the editing process so much easier.

Saniya: That’s a great point! Effective planning is really important, regardless of if it’s for writing or not.

3. Did you always want to be a writer? Or did you have something else in mind?

Ms. Burke: I think I wanted to be a pilot when I was very small! I sort of fell into writing when I was 12 or so, and I’ve been doing it ever since (I’m 25 now), so I think I’ve wanted to do it and been doing it for long enough that I can’t really remember a time when it wasn’t part of my life.

Saniya: That’s very cool!

4. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Ms. Burke: Is that… is that…do people do things other than write? Just kidding. I like to read, obviously, and I like walking, which is good because there’s not a lot else to do at the moment… I have a blog, Indifferent Ignorance, where I chat about books and writing and sometimes more intense things like politics. It’s kind of part of my writing work but doesn’t really earn any money, so I think it counts as a hobby. Or I hope it does, I really don’t do much else. Let’s blame the pandemic for that, and not my being an introvert.

Saniya: Reading and walking are wonderful things to do!

5. Do you have a specific writing routine? Is there a certain time of day that you write the most?

Ms. Burke: I yo-yo between a strict routine and no routine. I work best when the rest of the world’s still asleep, and my general routine fluctuates with the seasons, so in the summer I’m usually up early and working away at 7am. Left to my own devices, I do nothing between about midday and early afternoon, and then I work in the evenings. This is not conducive to being a student or having a job, I should add. Why does no one in the UK take a siesta?! Anyway, in the winter I’m in hibernation mode so I do write in the morning and evenings, but more in the evenings.

Saniya: I can totally understand how your routine would fluctuate depending on the season you’re in!

6. What is the main message you would like your readers to take away from The Princess and the Dragon and Other Stories?

Ms. Burke: That evening dresses should always come with pockets. There are other, more serious, ‘messages’ in the novel, but telling you any of them would be a GIANT SPOILER so you’ll just have to read it to find out!

Saniya: All dresses should come with pockets!!! Well there you have it folks, now you just have to read Francesca Burke’s newest novel!

Alrighty~ That’s a wrap! I hope you all enjoyed the interview! Here is some information about Ms. Burke!

Journey To The Center Of The Earth | A Review

Hi everyone! Today I bring you the long awaited review of ‘Journey To The Center Of The Earth’ by Jules Verne. After six long months, I finally finished it! I didn’t DNF it, I just got carried away into other books. (And that’s on reading 4 books at the same time.) For those of you who don’t know, this novel is a 295 page classical adventure that takes place in, for the most part, Iceland, England, and the center of the earth.

Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne - Penguin Books New  Zealand

When German professor Otto Lidenbrock stumbles upon a mysterious, ancient manuscript, it’s the first step in an epic adventure-one which will take him to the planet’s very core! Lidenbrock, together with his nephew Axel and Icelandic guide Hans, mounts an expedition downward through the layers of the Earth, coming face-to-face with strange creatures, overcoming terrific obstacles, and discovering truly wondrous sights.

First, let’s talk about the initial premise of the story. A journey into the earth sounds exciting and fun! I for one have never heard of such a unique plot, so I was rather intrigued to see how it would turn out! However, the plot execution is where the novel falls a bit short. Don’t get me wrong, I genuinely did enjoy reading this classic, but the ending is what really bummed me out. The story had so much potential to grow! There were so many amazing species they talked about, and even saw, but never really discovered. Then again, there is only so much you can do in 295 pages. So overall, the plot execution was just okay. Not incredible, but considering the fact that this was most likely THE FIRST adventure novel out there at the time, I’ll give Mr. Verne a pass.

The characters where actually really interesting. First we have Professor Lidenbrock, who is absolutely hilarious. The novel is told through the eyes of Axel, the professor’s nephew. His sarcastic and rational reactions to his Uncle’s outgoing and determined behavior keeps the story lively and interesting. Hans, their Icelandic assistant, literally saves their butts ten times in row, and it gets even funnier every time. Overall, the characters were simple, yet well-crafted. Not to mention that despite being published in the early 1860s, there were no sexist or racist remarks made by the author in the novel! That pushed me to give this book an immediate extra star.

“Is the Master out of his mind?’ she asked me.
I nodded.
‘And he’s taking you with him?’
I nodded again.
‘Where?’ she asked.
I pointed towards the center of the earth.
‘Into the cellar?’ exclaimed the old servant.
‘No,’ I said, ‘farther down than that.”

― Jules Verne, Journey to the Center of the Earth

The dialogue was absolutely hilarious! I never ever got tired of it. The language was so easy to understand, yet it was very descriptive. Speaking of descriptive, Journey To The Center Of The Earth had me playing a literal movie in my head. It was so descriptive, but in a great way! You also learn A LOT about geology and science. However, due to the stressful situations the characters go through, it isn’t nearly as boring as reading a high school geology textbook. (No offense.)

The writing style was surprisingly simple yet energetic. It was quite easy to understand. So if classics intimidate you due to their formal and hard-to-understand nature, this book is a wonderful place to start!

I must say, I really did enjoy Journey To The Center Of The Earth. In my 2021 Winter TBR Post, I talked about how I’ve been reading this book for a while now. The reason behind that is because adventure is simply not my style. I love realistic fiction and contemporary, so that’s why I decided to take a break from the novel for a while. Nevertheless, it was an incredibly spontaneous read, and I highly recommend it to anyone eager to read a good classic novel. If classical reads aren’t your style, this is the story that will hopefully get you out of your comfort zone! (In a good way of course.)

Journey To The Center Of The Earth is a charming classic that everyone should read!

Age Rating: 10 and up

Final Rating: 8/10 or 4.5 stars

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Have you read Journey To The Center Of The Earth? If not, what do you think of classical novels? Let me know in the comments down below! Take care and have a fabulous day everyone!

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