Rewritten cover

#BookReview : Rewritten (Unwritten #2) by Tara Gilboy #Rewritten #Fantasy #MiddleGrade @JollyFishPress


Rewritten (Unwritten #2) by Tara Gilboy
Expected publication Date: April 7th 2020
Publisher: North Star Editions/Jolly Fish Press
Genre: Middle Grade / Fantasy
Stars: ★★★★★

“After learning the truth about her own fairy tale, twelve-year-old Gracie wants nothing more than to move past the terrible things author Gertrude Winters wrote about her and begin a new chapter in the real world. If only things were going as planned. On the run from the evil Queen Cassandra, the characters from Gracie’s story have all been forced to start over, but some of them cannot forget Gracie’s checkered past.

Even worse, Gracie discovers that as long as Cassandra has her magical book, the Vademecum, Gracie’s story is still being written and none of the characters are safe, including her mom and dad. In a desperate attempt to set things right, Gracie finds herself transported into another one of Gertrude’s stories—but this one is a horror story. Can Gracie face her destiny and the wild beast roaming the night, to rewrite her own story?”

*** Note: I received e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Publisher and NetGalley. ***

Previous book I read in series-

Rewritten was strong sequel of Middle Grade Fantasy series Unwritten. It revolved around story characters and author of the story who created them and gave them life. It was about forgiveness, accepting the way you’re, being yourself, freedom to live your dream, consequences of restraints and lack of appreciation, and good vs bad.

Writing was intriguing, compelling and fast paced. All characters, setting and plot was well written and well described. I didn’t remember most of the things from first book because of 2 years gap between books but there was bits of first book here and there that helped me to recall important details. To know characters, their journey and world better, this should be read in order.

Plot was interesting. It was third person narrative from Gracie’s perspective. That synopsis perfectly said what was going on and how the book started so I’m not repeating those things.

First half of the book (actually 40% of the book) was about Gracie’s feelings, her frustration and desperation to prove herself; her life with all characters from her story along with her story’s writer and creator Gertrude Winters; how she discovered other stories written by Gertrude and why she wrote them; how evil Queen Cassandra of her story came back in her life; some interesting and most important discoveries about the magical book- Vademecum- how it was still writing Gracie’s story and was creating portal to other stories. And why and how Gracie entered one of Gertrude’s stories, The Beast of Blackwood Hall, where terrifying beast roamed at night and its ending was even worse than her story.  

It was interesting to see how Gracie will save Walter in this horror story, if she can get away from Cassandra or steal Vademecum from her, how she and Walter will escape this horror story world or if something terrible will happen.

Characters were interesting. It was good to meet old characters once again but this time they were well written. Gracie was still grumpy, impulsive and stubborn girl in the beginning. Her feeling was genuine. Other characters looked at her like she was a trigger that might explode a bomb any time, bound to do something bad as she was a villain of her story… even though she changed the end of her story and saved characters. She was desperate to prove she was not what Gertrude has written. As story progressed she developed eventually.

I didn’t like the way Walter’s parents talked to Gracie. They were also spiteful towards Gertrude and banned her from writing any kind of fiction. It was not fair when they tried to blame her on discovering her past stories and forced her to throw them. Shouldn’t they be more mature and little forgiving after what she did for them? If I was in place of Gertrude, I would have thrown them out of my house. They made me think if I ever become writer and my stories came alive, I better write happy ending and pleasant character.

I really felt bad for Gertrude. Gertrude was expressing her guilt and feeling by letting them in her life and house. It was not her fault her story literally came to life or mean to hurt people in stories. I liked to know her and her life story in this book. It explained why she wrote such tragic stories and why characters of Bondoff only could travel to real world and not any of her other stories. This cleared many things that I couldn’t get in first book. She was wonderful character, she understood Gracie more and helped her grow by letting her know about her own faults and stories.

Story still focused on Gracie but I liked how her development depended on new characters Bryant and Mina and their story in The Beast of Blackwood Hall, which was rest of the book. This part was filled with Victorian horror world- the graveyard, old mansion, cold weather, Blackwood Hall, and beast. It all gave the story spooky feel. I loved Mina but didn’t like her brother Bryant. I could understand Gertrude’s mind and pain through this story.

We know Walter even more in this part. He was nerdy kid who unlike his parents liked story world and Gracie. His character was not explored much in first book but along with Gracie, we also learn about his feeling. How terrible he felt being under his parent’s watch all the time, for being hapless character of the story who didn’t contribute much and how he too wanted to feel important by changing the end of the horror story.

I liked the message in the book– How criticism from people you love affects your dream and make you feel shackled; respecting other’s privacy is important and some mistakes are less forgivable but at the same time all deserves second chance; how people are complicated and act based on situation, they can’t be boxed in just good or bad, bad behavior doesn’t mean person is bad or bad choice or act doesn’t mean you can’t ever be good.

Suspense of the beast was interesting. I could solve the half mystery by that first line Gracie remembered but what happened in the climax and later was uncertain. At some point I thought Gracie was going to get in so much trouble and wouldn’t able to get out of it. Walter shocked me more than anything else in this part. I was glad for the change of events and how Gracie understood to accept what she was rather than running away from it and got motive in life through this story. End was great. I can’t wait to see how she was going to change Lila’s story.

Overall, it was wonderful fantasy set in story world with a good message. I sure recommend this book and previous one to middle grade readers.

Book Links: Goodreads
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#BookReview : Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #1) by Jeff Kinney

Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #1) by Jeff Kinney
Publication Date: April 1st 2007
Publisher: Amulet Books
Genre: Humor / Middle Grade / Children’s book
Pages: 224
Stars: ★★★★☆

Boys don’t keep diaries—or do they?

The launch of an exciting and innovatively illustrated new series narrated by an unforgettable kid every family can relate to

It’s a new school year, and Greg Heffley finds himself thrust into middle school, where undersized weaklings share the hallways with kids who are taller, meaner, and already shaving. The hazards of growing up before you’re ready are uniquely revealed through words and drawings as Greg records them in his diary.

In book one of this debut series, Greg is happy to have Rowley, his sidekick, along for the ride. But when Rowley’s star starts to rise, Greg tries to use his best friend’s newfound popularity to his own advantage, kicking off a chain of events that will test their friendship in hilarious fashion.

Author/illustrator Jeff Kinney recalls the growing pains of school life and introduces a new kind of hero who epitomizes the challenges of being a kid. As Greg says in his diary, “Just don’t expect me to be all ‘Dear Diary’ this and ‘Dear Diary’ that.” Luckily for us, what Greg Heffley says he won’t do and what he actually does are two very different things.

Since its launch in May 2004 on, the Web version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid has been viewed by 20 million unique online readers. This year, it is averaging 70,000 readers a day.

F&P level: T

I haven’t heard any boy kept diary, have you? But this boy, Greg Heffley, does. Let’s just go along as he says, Diary of a Wimpy Kid was not a diary, it was his journal. It was about a middle school boy’s life at home and at school, about friendship, doing right thing.

Writing was easy, age appropriate and entertaining. Those doodles… I just love them all. Book was written in Greg’s sarcastic and funny voice that started at the beginning of the school with a mom handing her son a diary to pour out his thoughts (Greg had different reason, of course.. see below) and ended at the end of the term.

Greg was sarcastic, lazy, and self-centered boy who had a typical big brother, normal parents who doted his little brother. His thoughts as a middle child and his feeling were wonderfully expressed. He was notorious kid and didn’t have many friend. Rowley was his best friend who was nice kid a little behind in IQ. Greg never said that to him but used it to play tricks which was really mean but when a big problem occurs and Rowley shunned him, he realized his mistake and backed his friend when he saw him in trouble.

Some scenes where Greg played tricks were fun but some also showed they are not always fun, it cost kids more than they can bear. There were many hilarious events on summer vacation, Halloween, Christmas and during school. Greg participating in all kind of events at school showed how kids want to fit in and stand out. Sometimes because of parents’ insistence they take part in activities they are not interested in. They all feel awkward and selfish at this age and even feel jealousy if their friends get more attention. I loved the way author represented all these in kids with humor and in refreshing and sarcastic tone.

I saw many readers saying Greg was this and that, it’s not age appropriate or they didn’t like Greg’s behavior. How many of us were mature at his age? We lost best friend or changed friends and done many things we thought we could go back and change. This book need to be seen from kid’s eye. I tell you kids are like this at this age, sometimes even worse!

Here is some graphics and the lines I really loved-

Why 4 Stars-

What I wanted was Greg learning more lesson than just his friendship. I hope he will develop in next books of the series.

Overall, it was short, entertaining book with amazing drawings. It made me chuckle few times and reminded me my childhood and school days.

Book Links: Goodreads
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#BookReview : Fire and the Falcon (Starchild #4) by Vacen Taylor @VacenTaylor

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Fire and the Falcon (Starchild #4) by Vacen Taylor
Publication Date: June 13th 2019
Publisher: Odyssey Books
Genre: Middle grade / Fantasy
Pages: 136
Stars: ★★★★★

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With a treacherous ice journey behind them and Long’s health restored by the Healing Stone, Mai, Akra and Kalin must now find the falcon guard called Tupuck in the fireruler’s city of Calor.

It’s not long before they discover the city is ruled by a ruthless governor who has captured the falcon guard and the daughter of Ignis. The four children become soldiers in a rebellion and aid in a plan to free the falcon guard and Ignis’s daughter. All the while the dark force of Piceptus continues to gather strength.

As the children fight in the rebellion, Piceptus increases his position and readies himself to receive an even greater army. Will the information the falcon guard holds help to bring the children closer to fulfilling the prophecy and stop Piceptus from conquering all of the nations?

*** Note: I received this book from the author as a winner of giveaway. ***

Previous book I read in series:

Fire and Falcon was most adventurous in this fantasy series that took children to land of fire where they found many answers.  It was about evils of magic, slavery, fight for justice and freedom, bravery and friendship.

Writing was again fantastic. What I like most about writing is, author don’t waste time in repeating what happened in previous books or re-explaining world and powers or lengthy descriptions. Characters, world, plot and action was vividly described that was easy to imagine even for kids. If I forgot to mention before, this series would make a great animation movie.

It started with children arriving to Land of Bonfar, near Calor, one of the city of firerulers in search of Falcon guard. But as soon as they enter the city and try to find a friend, Ignis, they met on their journey in first book, they got involved in conspiracy and found themselves in dungeon. It turned out Ignis was a leader of rebels against the governor who slaved firerulers to work in mines and forbidden them from using their skills. Children didn’t want to be part of this war against governor until Long was once again lost to them, captured by governor. Governor had powers they didn’t imagine. Moreover, Amual was also on their trail trying to capture Akra and King of Fire, Piceptus, was raising his army.

How they will fight such powerful man and save Long? Will they find falcon guard and get the information that is so important to Akra from the very beginning of this journey?

Mai was stronger now, could use advanced thoughtbanking and soon she could master her skills. Kalin also developed in his skills and views. The relation between these two was turning from friendship to special. He was troubled in this book and I admired him for his decision. Long was different after being saved and healed by healing stone. He was now strong and brave. He understood his skills more and appreciated Mai’s love and efforts. He was more cautious and strong willed this time. All characters played wonderful part. Akra was hero. He never seize to amaze me. In each book he mastered a new skill and helped other characters and nations.

World was great. This time along with characters I got to know more about fireruler’s city and their steam inventions. They also used rifles which was called ‘refell’ here. This hot and dry nation was different from other nation. It was advanced in machineries, costly, people were diverse.

Many things happened in this book that made story exciting. Akra found his answers, he found the real use of Silvershade and its importance in prophecy. Oh and there were some surprising revelations in the middle and end of the book.

Climax was exciting. I guessed it differently. It was tense, action packed and well written. End was sad.  Once again children have to continue their journey with heavy heart. I could imagine lot of action in next book as now only one line of prophecy is remained to be fulfilled. Whether children will stop Piceptus from conquering world or not will be answered in the next book which is yet to release.

Overall, it was fantastic middle grade fantasy filled with action, adventure and lot of magic. I recommend you catch up with this fantastic series before final book is released.

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Affiliate Link: Book Depository

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#BookReview : The Healing Stone (Starchild #3) by Vacen Taylor @VacenTaylor


The Healing Stone (Starchild #3) by Vacen Taylor
Publication Date: April 10th 2015
Publisher: Odyssey Books
Genre: Middle Grade / Fantasy
Pages: 176
Stars: ★★★★★

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After finding the Silvershade and escaping the attacking forces as the Wilder Forest city was scorched to the ground, Mai, Akra and Kalin must now face the evil that has consumed Long.

When they reach the land of Cruscar and enter the ice city of Algus, the children are confronted with an ice challenge to win an audience with Queen Isolda. A treacherous journey now awaits them if they are to reach the Healing Stone to save Long.

But Piceptus, the underworld king, will not give up his search and he will do anything to bring the pilgrims’ journey to an end. The children grow stronger as they begin to master their powers, but will this be enough to escape this danger and continue on their pilgrimage to fulfil the prophecy?

*** Note: I received this book from the author as a winner of giveaway. ***

Previous book I read in series:

The Healing Stone was a thrilling third installment in Starchild series and was much better than previous books. This follows Akra, Mai and Kalin’s journey towards Algus, City of Ice and their adventure in this cold nation. It was about friendship, situation testing their skill and patience, hope and faith in prophecy.

The writing was gripping, vivid and flawless. Author depicted characters, their journey through the sea and the city of Ice wonderfully.

It started with Long’s worsening health and their arrival to the first iceberg, the boundary of Algus where they met Queen’s soldiers who as per their law asked to participate in challenge. If they won the challenge, they could meet the queen and ask her help in healing Long. Now that was rude to greet visitors but it was an interesting challenge. Until now I saw Akra’s basic healing skill but in this challenge I could see more of his waterclasper’s skills which were more than just basic. Queen of Ice, Isolda, was as cold as her city and weather but her son, Aque, was kind, gentle and charming. I was curious to see how they were going to win the challenge and convince the queen in helping them and how they were going to heal Long.

The characters, plot and world was getting better in this book. The world was interesting. Along with the Algus, people of ice and their way of living, rules and laws, creatures of ice and dangers in the icy Mountains, there was interesting legend about the healing stone and how the world of elemental magic developed and 8 nations were created each possessing one elemental skill, how prophecy came into existence and why people believed in it. There was more story about the starchild but it was yet to be revealed. I’m sure upcoming books will tell more about him. There was also growing army of King of fire, Piceptus. He had his plans, his siblings and powers were evil.

Each chapters were exciting to read, revealed more about the world and characters. Their journey from city to icy mountains where lay the healing stone was filled with adventure and danger. We finally meet the soundwaver who helped children in previous book and get to know why he helped them. The way prophecy was unfolding, fulfilling the each line and binding characters with it, was clever and fascinating.

Mai was much more patient and strong than I expected. If I was in her situation, I’m sure I would have left my patience behind a book earlier. Her trust in Akra, Kalin and new friends Aque and Fojan was great. I could empathize with her and all the children. Their courage was admirable. Fojan was strong soundwaver. I liked how he grew to like each of them. Aque was fun. He was the last healer of Algus and successor of throne. Unlike his mother, he believed in prophecy and these children. Banter between him and Fojan was entertaining. They all grew strong by the end of the book.

Climax was tense. At first I was not sure but then I could figure who would be left behind and will be taken by Piceptus by this point. End was tragic and sad.

Overall, it was gripping, fun, dangerous and adventurous journey of four kids in the world of elemental magic and prophecy that played important part. I recommend this book to all middle grade lovers.

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon
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Which book you read had extremely cold setting?


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#BookReview #BlogTour : The City of Souls (Starchild #2) by Vacen Taylor @rararesources @VacenTaylor

Hello readers! It’s my stop during the blog tour for The City of Souls by Vacen Taylor, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources. Check out the book details and my review on this adventurous MG fantasy. Don’t forget to enter giveaway, the link is at the end of this post.

The City of Souls (Starchild #2) by Vacen Taylor
Publication Date: October 14th 2013
Publisher: Odyssey Books
Genre: Fantasy / Middle Grade
Pages: 160
Stars: ★★★★★

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A gripping forest adventure full of mystery, betrayal and courage.

When a new sealer boy joins the journey, Mai, Long, and Akra are confident their challenges have come to an end.  But as they embark on their journey once again, they find themselves having to escape from the clutches of dangerous enemies.

They travel to Naroan – the forest lands of the soulbankers, the regulators of life and death. Against the backdrop of rules and suspicion, the children are challenged with unravelling the mystery of the Silvershade, which has been calling to Akra from the moment he arrived in the forest city. But Long is tormented by his doubts – he must face a deadly power from the Underworld before it takes him into the darkness. 

Will the dark pebble take Long along a road of no return? Or will his friends find a way to help him?

*** Note: I received this book from the author as a winner of giveaway. Many thanks to author and Rachel for tour invite. ***

Previous book I read in series:

The City of Souls was adventurous second book in Starchild series that takes children- Akra, Mai, Long and Sahib- to the City of soulbankers, regulator of life and death and their adventure in this city of souls. It was about beginning of the war against evil forces, irresolute mind, self-doubt, manipulation, love of sister, friendship and understanding and controlling the elemental powers and skills.

It should be read in order to understand world, characters and how journey of these brave kids started. Writing was again vivid and engaging. Characters, elemental magic and the world was well written in third person voice.

It started from where the first book ended. Mai, Akra, Sahib and Long are back on their journey towards Valley of Thousand Thoughts but once again they faced danger from the very first chapter. Sandslavers, Melkarie- a deadly underworld winged creature- and unexpected help from soundwaver caused them to take different direction from their journey and landed them in Naroan, the city of souls, where Akra felt the pull of mystical song that they later found was coming from Silvershade. But Long was troubled with the wound on his ankle inflicted by powerful being of underworld, Amual, who has found his weak link and tried to manipulate his thoughts.

What was the Silvershade and why it was calling to Akra, how Long would fight the evil talks of Amual, could they find Silvershade and save Long from Amual’s dark plans? It was fun to get answers to these questions.

The world was brilliant. This time we are introduced to one of the city of soulbankers, their lush green forests, their characteristics, way of living, and how they use their elemental magic. I loved that chamber of souls and how they collect and preserve each souls until they were given new life.

This time the story focuses a little more on Long and Akra’s pull towards a magical mysterious sound in soulbanker’s city and mystery behind it. Long’s self-doubt, jealousy because of Sahib and desperation to prove his worth lead him to darker path. I didn’t expect him to cave in so easily. At the same time I could see how Mai”s ignorant behavior towards Long and taking things lightly when it came to his feelings affected Long. She cared for him but Long couldn’t see it as she didn’t express it outwardly.  I have a feeling their bond is going to turn strong and unbreakable in next books of the series.

Returning of Sahib’s memory and his real identity, the healer’s power and her true nature, upcoming war was interesting turn. Each chapter had adventure, tension, mystery or new information about the world with interesting details.

Mai and Sahib were amazing in this book. Mai’s trust and faith in her brother was great. She was shocked finding out what he was up to and after all that happened, I admired her for her unwavering love for Long. Sahib turned out even more interesting. Akra was still confused because of his broken memory but he showed lot of courage and strength in climax. They all were brave and strong kids with soul filled with good and kindness.

Climax was tense and uncertain. End was tragic yet the hope in these kids kept them going ahead on their journey.

Overall, it was gripping and unique middle grade book with magical world and developed characters. I surely recommend this book to young readers.

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon US | Amaon UK | Publisher’s site
Affiliate Link: Book Depository

Author Bio:

Vacen Taylor is a children’s author with a portfolio of screenwriting and stage play achievements.  A selection of her poetry has been published in Art and Literature Journals. One of her plays was selected to be part of the Playwrights Program 2017 and then directed and performed as a performance reading at HOTA (previously the Gold Coast Arts Centre).

Her feature film script received a special commendation for Best Unproduced Screenplay titled Grandfathers at the British Independent Film Festival in 2018.  The logline can be found under Special Commendations for Unproduced Screenplays here.

Her TV pilot for a series (teleplay) was selected as a semi-finalist in the Hollywood Just4Shorts Film and Screenplay Competition in Los Angeles, CA. This pilot was listed in the top 50 for the Cinequest Screenwriting Competition in 2018.

She presented the first mental health panel at OZ Comic-Con in 2017. This panel was a fantastic opportunity to discuss openly and honestly about artists and their mental health to help support wellbeing, foster connectivity and provide a culture of support.

In 2018 she presented the panel, ‘An artist’s guide to creative happiness: How to strengthen your creative performance’ at Oz Comic-Con in Brisbane. Her panels are extraordinary opportunities to explore ideas with people who are currently working in the industry. She aims to discuss subjects like individualism, the community, mental health, wellbeing, happiness, creativity, co-creating and self-awareness which often leads to interesting questions from the audience.

What else does she do? Vacen is also a creative workshop facilitator and proficient in, teaching, speaking and concept creation. Guest Speaker. Workshop Presenter. Creative Panel Facilitator. Mentor. Support Worker. Counsellor. Social Welfare Advocate.

Social Media Links –  Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter

Giveaway to Win all 4 books of the Starchild Series by Vacen Taylor (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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What do you think about the book and review? Have you read this book already or any book in this series? Are you going to add it to TBR?
Which is your favorite Middle Grade book and character?


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