Tuesday, July 29, 2014

*BOOK REVIEW* This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E Smith

     {Title~ This Is What Happy Looks Like}

 {Author~ Jennifer E Smith}

 {Pages~ 405} 

{Publisher~ Poppy/ Little, Brown and Company}

 {Other Books By Author~ The Statistical    Probability of Love at First Sight, 
           The Geography of You and Me}

So usually I pick apart and do mini reviews for each story I review. This review of This is What Happy Looks Like will be different because my last review was from Jennifer E Smith, the writer of both books from my previous review and this current review. The writing type was the same, no dry spells but most importantly the link between the summary and the story was there.

Jennifer E Smith has become one of my Top Authors just from reading two of her books. This is What Happy Looks Like is very much about self discovery, finding what you truly want in life and making the choice to let people in. Ellie (Protagonist #1) has gone through some tough times with her mom, having her dad out of the picture for publicity reasons. Because of that Ellie has reasoning for not wanting to be in the spot light for anything. She works two jobs at an ice cream parlor and at another shop with her mom. Everything is just plain and simple until Graham emails her. Graham is like the epitome of the public eye. He's being watched all the time as one of Hollywood's rising stars, so when he shows up with a troop of unrellentless photographers and an entire film crew behind him, Ellie's little beach town is about to be turned over. Now everything would have been fine if Ellie only hadn't been speaking to Graham for months without even knowing it. Writing to each other through email, Ellie gets to know Graham (and his pig Wilbur) in a whole different light. I'm really sad though that Ellie didn't get to meet Wilbur I mean COME ON Wilbur was the whole reason they ended up speaking together! #propstowilbur!!!! 

So that is the basic beginning of the story. I mean usually I would have thought "oh god he has a pig this is going to make for a stupid story" but I was really surprised after reading this book to find out that we really should be thanking that terrific, radiant, humble pig! 

So enough about Wilbur for the moment. 

It's clear that both Ellie and Graham has family issues. Ellie is running and hiding from her past and then Graham trying to reconnect with his family and live his own life. Now the only problem I have was that Quinn was a butt face. I mean I get that she didn't tell you something but jeez take a chill pill, don't like completely do a 360 on her and ditch her when she needs you the most. Okay that was just me ranting and I completely get that it adds drama and what not. I have to say though Quinn was also unrellentless in the silent treatment. 

Now for the other unrellentless characters in the book. The paparazzi. Oh my gosh I would have popped them one too, a LONG time ago. So without spoiling anything, those characters were portrayed correctly, I mean just look at the ones stalking Justin Bieber in real life, I mean can it get any more accurate? 

Alright so the relationship between Graham and Ellie is sort of rocky at first, rightly so being they only knew each other over the internet. You could make out the awkwardness between them whenever they were talking, like it just wasn't the same as over email. I totally get that because that does happen in real life, the weird situations where you don't know what to say. Later on though it becomes a smooth relationship with jokes and the amazing bets of Whoopy Pies (I swear I'll find one one day!!!). The action flow throughout was great, there weren't too many pages that I got bored at, and everything just clicked in place like pieces of a puzzle. 

Graham though is definitely one of my favorite characters, I mean I did call him a dufus for avoiding her but it makes sense, a girl needs space, especially a red head (I know, I am one). He is just the perfect gentlemen, minus the part where he ditches Quinn on their date but hey he thought it was Ellie. But looking through Graham's eyes it was clear that no matter what you think you know about a person, you will never know the full story. Sometimes we imagine what a person may be like but when we really get to know them it's different. I like though that Jennifer didn't make Graham the perfect star she could have, she made him have shape and back story. He had memories of the time before he became famous, when he was in school with his pals and went fishing with his dad. Jennifer could have easily disregarded all that giving him the past of a movie star, but instead she added depth to him. I like the Graham that I saw in this book, better than the one he could have been.

Now something I enjoy personally is when a character makes a joke and throughout the story the joke keeps being referred to-- like the Whoopy Pie. Theirs book though ended wonderfully, like this is seriously my favorite ending of all the books I've read, and I've read a lot. The cover is again spectacular I mean, what's better than two people in a boat looking too adorable? So in short this is the subject's ratings. 

Cover- 10/10
Summary vs Book- 10/10
Characters- 9/10 
Setting- 9/10 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

YALLFest Survival Guide

Alright so on much request I've decided to do a YALLFest Survival Guide. If you have no clue what a YALLFest is...let me explain. YALLFest is a yearly book festival held in the Downtown streets of Historical Charleston, SC. Butt loads of new and hot, YA/Teen authors come to speak at panels, answer questions, and sign books. Plus there's pie...so much pie.

So, chances are, someone you know will be here.

I attended last year with my amazing bookish pals and we had an AMAZING time meeting Veronica Roth (Divergent Series), Marie Lu (Legend Trilogy), Rainbow Rowell (Fangirl, Eleanor and Park), and plenty others such as Veronica Rossi, Lauren Oliver, Margaret Stohl, Melissa De La Cruz, Kami Garcia, Brendan Reichs, Tahereh Mafi and Ransom Riggs.

This year for whoever is wishing to go (being their first time and not knowing what to expect) I've accumulated some important info and just downright suggestions to help you pull through the (this year) 2 days of complete fun!

So where will we start? Well how about the basics. YALLFest this year will be 2 days. As far as I know there will still be the Preview Night before hand on Friday evening. Preview Night isn't a huge thing, it's ticketed and those prices will be up soon. Basically the only thing you have to pay for since the festival is free is the ticketed events like Keynote, Premiere Night, YA Smackdown, your hotel and the gas and food. Now Preview Night isn't necessary but I do think of it as a big help to Saturday's schedule. Say an author you REALLY want to see Saturday is there Friday Night, it may just be worth it to attend Friday night's events which hold author's reading excerpts from their books, also a raffle for tickets to the Keynote Address the following morning. That way you can cut someone off your list for Saturday and you now have more time to see someone else or just breath.

Now you can take the chance at winning tickets Friday night for the Keynote Saturday morning...but I don't suggest it. It's not a great chance that you will make it and who would want to miss out on an amazing start to the festival?

The Keynote is also a ticketed event. The nice thing about Keynote is you can't just walk in. You HAVE to buy tickets and that guarantees you a spot for the Keynote author's book signing afterwards. You can't just walk into the signing either. The police station and fire station ask that those attending Keynote please not line up before 7 am. That is impossible. You need to make it there at least 20-30 minutes before 7:00 am due to people already lining up. The Signings run by hour. They let the first 100 or so in the first hour, the next 100 the next hour and so forth. If you plan ahead that you want your book to be signed in the first hour and plan everything else around you getting your book signed that first hour, be there early. Also last year the rule was only 1 book for key note speakers. Keynote authors will NOT sign anything else but a book. If you have multiple books you want to bring (what I have found effective for many authors) bring a friend or your mom/dad who has no books they want signed. Have them stand in line and get the book made out to you.
This also works if two authors are at the same time. Split up and hit them both. But sometimes it's possible to just plan on seeing them at another hour.


Say you want to attend all 4 authors' signings. You can do it like this

Veronica Roth Signings
12:00 am, 2:00 pm, 4:00 pm, 6:00 pm

Lauren Oliver
12:00 am, 3:00pm, 5:00 pm

Rainbow Rowell
11:00 am, 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm, 4:00 pm

Ally Condie
11:00 am, 2:00 pm, 3:00 pm, 4:00 pm

You can attend Veronica Roth at 12:00 am; Lauren Oliver at 5:00 pm, Rainbow Rowell at 2:00 pm, and Ally Condie at 3:00 pm.

It sounds easy but having many more authors than just 4 can make it extremely difficult. It's also very helpful to just take an hour or two and write out all the authors you want to see, below their names write the times and then start another list. Write out each hour and under the hour write the names of all the others doing signings at that time.

(Not Actual Times)

11:00 am
Veronica Roth
Stephanie Perkins
Kami Garcia
Margret Stohl
12:00 pm
Rainbow Rowell
Ally Condie
Kathy Reichs
1:00 pm

Brendan Reichs
Margaret Stohl
Lauren Oliver
Marie Lu
2:00 pm
Stephanie Perkins
Lauren Oliver
Rainbow Rowell

Do this for Panels as well. Coffee Talks and Panels are the same thing. They're just panels where authors sit with a table in front of them with coffee cups on them. Sometimes they aren't even allowed to drink in some areas. Just make sure you have a plan A and then make sure you have a Plan B in case Plan A doesn't work out. I say start a folder and keep all your info in there that way its easy to grab and take a pen in case you need to make changes to schedules. It does happen. Okay now I just want to write this out as simple as I can. This is all that is going on and where.

Coffee Talks
(You will have to purchase tickets)
Keynote Address (Morning)
Premiere Night (Friday Night)
YA Smackdown (Evening)

Blue Bicycle Books
American Theatre
Charleston Music Hall
Upper King Street

MUSIC HALL = Charleston Music Hall, 37 John St.

BALLROOM = American Theater Ballroom, 446 King St.
CINEMA = American Theater Cinema, 446 King St.
Alright so some other advice, just from what I've found important:
1) As soon as the list of schedules come out, plan! Also, as soon as tickets for the ticketed events come out and you wish to purchase them, do that quickly. Don't wait. They'll be gone.
2) Many of the hotels do not serve breakfast early enough if you are attending Keynote. Breakfast usually starts at 7 or 8; people start lining up for keynote at 7. Keynote begins at 10:00 am. The Music Hall is where the Keynote was held last year on John St. On the main road (King St) all the way at the end is a Starbucks. I get that some people don't like it, but Starbucks is open early at that time, they have plenty of drinks to choose from (Juice, Coffee, Espresso Shots and etc), and they serve pastries. It's important to bring at least SOMETHING to eat. The entire day is packed full of events and if you have as many authors as I do and 30 something books to get signed, you'll not have a lot of time to sit down and have a nice lunch. You'll be stuffing a croissant in your bag and picking off it all day.
3) Dress warmly and continually check the weather. I get that some people may think November may still be a little warmer during the day...it's not. I you attend Saturday morning's keynote make sure you bring a jacket, scarf, heck bring a blanket. It's freezing. I was numb all over from how cold it was. Make sure you know the weather and prepare by bringing jeans, jackets and a scarf. Maybe bring a hat too.
4) Never underestimate people. Make sure when you find a seat, don't for any reason seem unsure about them. Grab them and park yourself there because someone will take them. Last year we had gone into an aisle to get seats and 2 girls came around and literally threw their bags ahead of them into our seats. Like really? So make sure you get your seats right away. Set your eyes on where you wanna be and go there. 

5) For those who have more than 15 books they wish to bring make sure you skip the bag. As in, skip a tote bag or grocery bag or what ever you would think to bring, this is not your average rodeo. You'll walk around for four hours and your shoulder will have an indention mark in your skin. Take a wagon or a cart of some kind, don't worry you won't look weird. A lot of people take wagons because some, have like over sixty books to bring. It's incredible how many books are brought by just one person. I know for me I have over thirty that I'm bringing.
Last year I brought a tote bag and had only 9 or 10 books to get signed. I now have that, plus 20. It's amazing! Anyways, bring something that is easy to move around, isn't terribly huge and in the way, but basically get something that works for you and works best for a festival.
6) My Bookish friend and pal that introduced me to YALLFest last year, Azelyn, also made a good point that I thought I should add in here. When attending a festival like this, it does create long lines, crabby fangirls (especially if they haven't eaten), and lots of excitement. I can tell you there's nothing like standing in a line for an hour to realize the author who you'd wanted to see was now done with signing in this particular venue and now had to go to another one, and you still didn't get your books signed. Also people started lining up at the other venue already. It sucks it really does but as my friend Azelyn pointed out... there's nothing like patience. Patience is seriously needed for this type of event. Patience with the authors, patience with the booksellers in the Big Tent, patience with all the volunteers who helped set this up. Patience is needed all around for a better time at YALLFest... and quick feet and a good heart. You have to be quick in your step, watch some videos of New Yorkers walking and learn. Also, have a good heart, as in if you know that you get stressed out easily then maybe double and triple think attending. It's a very packed and energy filled event. I have an okay heart but even I needed to stop and breathe cause my heart was like a jack rabbit on crack. (Yeah I know, weird saying. But laugh at it because it's funny.)
So... I hope that this can help somewhat. Please, If you have any question you think I may be able to answer. Please ask. I'll do my best to answer. For more info on the event, like hotel suggestions, restaurant suggestions and etc. consult the home website of YALLFest:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

*BOOK REVIEW* The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight by Jennifer E Smith

I will base this review on 6 things. They are: Dialogue, Cover, Storyline's Compatibility with its
Summary, Characters, How Logical Scenes and Settings are, and finally, the Pace.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
{Author: Jennifer E Smith}
{Pages: 236}
{Publisher: Poppy/Little Brown}
{I own a copy}
So, how to begin. From the beginning it was smooth sailing. I enjoyed every bit of Jennifer's writing style including the interaction from her characters. Sometimes in books the interaction can come off as phony, too perfect, and clearly spelled out. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight's dialogue was not only humorous and enjoyable, but easy going and totally REAL! Though I personally would never delve into a relationship on a plan and go chasing after him through London...it never seemed stupid while reading it. But that's all about scenes so let's get back to dialogue. Well you can already tell that she's strained by her father's departure from their family and throughout the entire book Jennifer held that strain which is really good. You can't just have such hard feelings about a subject and three chapters in dump it and go back to being not so worried about it. Hadley throughout the book was angry about her father's second marriage but continually remembered back to the times that they were together and how happy they were. It was part of her character's mind. That will be discussed more in the character's portion. Though Hadley was the main protagonist and her voice was the only one heard you got to have a real love for her love interest, Oliver. Oliver is an amazing guy who also has an amazing voice, though it's only heard from Hadley's view. I will honestly go as far as to say that when I was reading Jennifer's novel, I kept noticing how amazing her writing was and feel good enough about it now to say that she could very possibly be the female version of John Green. Her books, this one specifically, are humorous like John's and are written pieces of art, like John's.


I don't even think I need to explain my love for this cover. This year I've found myself obsessed with girly contemporary covers, cool fonts, pops of colors and amazing titles. I plan on shaking Jennifer's hand in the future for this title cause sweet mother Francis it's so witty and beautiful and it matches the cover and the writing. Though, maybe it's just me who notices this, but the guy on the cover... he looks kind of old. it's not going to make much a difference saying it but he looks almost 30 and not at all what I imagined for Oliver but then again who I imagined Oliver to look like well....... you'll just have to peek at the Character's portion of this to find out and have a good laugh. Hey, I laughed at myself even.

{Storyline's Compatibility With It's Summary}
Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. Having missed her flight, she's stuck at JFK airport and late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's sitting in her row.

A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?

Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.

So, the summary clearly states that Hadley meets Oliver at the airport. Check!
Then Hadley loses Oliver in the craziness of the airport. Check!
Basically every word of this summary is honest and true to a tee.
Hadley's character is amazingly real. Jennifer kept Hadley's character consistent. For example, like I mentioned before, Hadley had hard (completely understandable) feelings about her Father's absence. She was angry with him for leaving their happy family, she was unhappy that she even had to travel to his wedding with a woman she hadn't even met yet. It was clear the way she felt, and Jennifer was able to keep those feelings going. They didn't just magically disappear during the story. That makes for an amazing story by the way. Hadley has a great sense of humor that bounces perfectly off Oliver's humor. Now Oliver, though a second character, is brilliant, hilarious and spunky. Okay...spunky is a funny word but what the heck! He's spunky. Now I guess I have to admit, when imagining Oliver I just kept thinking of Harry Styles from One Direction. I don't get why, if it was the longish hair, or the fact that he's British but it's also quite possible it's because of the humor.
{How Logical Scenes and Settings Are}
Well, the setting is just perfect. It's London, England. Come On! Also it all takes place in one of the most unexpected areas to meet  your Love at First Sight, an Airport. I could never imagine finding love at first sight in an airport. All I'd see is a gross looking guy in overalls and an old lady in a moose sweater.
The point of this is that Hadley meets a British guy, it's logical that they may meet at an airport or in England.
*Just to explain the need for this category of review, some books in past have had some very unbelievable and unethical settings. Either the genre just didn't add up or common sense just kicked in. So this is just an explanation for why I added this category.
Okay, this story is stretched over a 24 hour period. Usually I would laugh and be like, yeah right. I'd go against this type of romance usually. This time though it makes sense. The title is The Statistical Probability of LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT.... it was love at first sight. The pace made sense for this novel and thankfully it still, despite that, didn't go too fast. It was  evenly paced and in the end a very enjoyable read.
So, in the end, I LOVE THIS BOOK!


Thursday, July 10, 2014

*BOOK REVIEW* Four by Veronica Roth

Four: A Divergent Story Collection (Divergent, #0.1 - 0.4)

Two years before Beatrice Prior made her choice, the sixteen-year-old son of Abnegation’s faction leader did the same. Tobias’s transfer to Dauntless is a chance to begin again. Here, he will not be called the name his parents gave him. Here, he will not let fear turn him into a cowering child.

Newly christened “Four,” he discovers during initiation that he will succeed in Dauntless. Initiation is only the beginning, though; Four must claim his place in the Dauntless hierarchy. His decisions will affect future initiates as well as uncover secrets that could threaten his own future—and the future of the entire faction system.

Two years later, Four is poised to take action, but the course is still unclear. The first new initiate who jumps into the net might change all that. With her, the way to righting their world might become clear. With her, it might become possible to be Tobias once again.

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth comes a companion volume to the worldwide bestselling divergent series, told from the per-spective of the immensely popular character Tobias. The four pieces included here—The Transfer, The Initiate, The Son, and The Traitor—plus three additional exclusive scenes, give readers an electrifying glimpse into the history and heart of Tobias, and set the stage for the epic saga of the Divergent trilogy.
We've been waiting so long for this to come out, especially after the disaster of Allegiant. Told from one of our favorite male characters, Four, this story is what all Divergent fans NEED to read. I am not going to do my usual ripping apart of the story because this one doesn't need to be to know that Dialogue, characters, scenes and so forth were amazing. Veronica has already earned an A+ in that despite my boredom with Insurgent and the ghastly ending of Allegiant. She writes good, no matter the content of her books. Now when i say fans NEED to read Four...i mean NEED to read it. It gives so much insight to the cruel but sweet, firm but funny, trainer we thought we knew. He's so much more, so much deeper and complex. I hate to spoil things but a lot of questions that i had like 'How did Marcus know about the upcoming war on Abnegation and was able to get Andrew and Natalie and multiple others out before it happened?' That answer in particular is answered and believe me, it gave me a knew sense of admiration for Four's character. He's really devoted to not being just ONE thing. He doesn't want to please Max, or Marcus, or Jeanine, or Evelyn. We see where he starts becoming other things, more than a stiff, more than anything we may previously thought. He's sweeter and more caring and definitely a smart-aleck if you hadn't figured that out yet. I also love the interaction between him Zeke and Shauna, they're impossibly hilarious and probably some of my new favorite characters. Four for me is a necessary read and basically the end all be all. Veronica did a great job of tying together everything so there would be no loose ends. She wraps up the story between Eric and Four, she even gives us a show of just what Tobias had to go through to make his decision to leave Abnegation. Mild spoiler for Divergent but you'd find out everything eventually. I'm very happy with this book as it allows us to see through the eyes of Four as he meets Zeke and Shauna and when he's around Tris and on his own. He's a lot more than i thought he was and i think this to be a great story that is necessary to the ending of the Divergent Series.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Build-Your-Prize GIVEAWAY!

Giveaway time! This is my second giveaway and have decided to try something a little different. This time around I am giving you the option to build your own prize! The prize will consist of 3 items that you get to choose from a whole bunch of items. I have lots of ways to get extra points, like following my account on Instagram (@thefeelssociety) and on Twitter (@feels_socitety), you can also sign up for emails and refer a friend to the blog! There's lots of ways to have a chance to win! So, now for the prizes.

Prize List:
1 Hunger Games Peeta Poster from The Collectors Edition US Magazine
1 Hunger Games Gale Poster from The Collectors Edition US Magazine
1 District 8 Mini-figure
1 Strip of Divergent Faction Stickers
1 Copy of Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
1 Peace Love Books Apron
1 Lissa Price Enders Button
1 (SIGNED) Enders/Starters Book Plate by Lissa Price Bookmark
1 (SIGNED) Starters by Lissa Price
1 Price of Dawn John Green Inspired Postcard
1 The One Key Chain
1 Issue of the Entertainment Weekly Hunger Games Magazine

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Gift of Charms (The Land of Dragor #1) Book Review and Interview (Children's Book)

Recently I seized the opportunity to review and interview a new fantasy author, Julia Suzuki. Julia has written an epic story all about dragons, so all you fantasy readers gather around and let me tell you a little about Julia...

Julia Suzuki is British author of the widely praised Land of Dragor adventure series and can be found on Wikipedia. As a child Julia grew up listening to the magical sounds of fair rides and animals from a theme park just across from her home in Staffordshire, England. A love for reading, nature and the outdoors fed her imagination and inspired her to become a 'story teller'. 

Julia has a degree in business studies and creative writing as well as studying speech and drama at the' London School of Music'. Her hobbies and interests have always been dance, fashion, movies and reading. Julia worked for a division of Disney licensing, and with a famous leisure entrepreneur before becoming an author. She learned a lot in those formative years which she feels has benefitted her work and business vision. Julia has learned from both successes and mistakes and especially from relationships. Writing is Julia's greatest passion - "I lose all sense of time and have no cares when I am in 'Dragor. I consider myself a 'story teller' more than a 'writer' - i feel as though my imagination knows no bounds and I enjoy sharing my adventures." 

1) Julia's Bio (Above)
2) Julia's Accomplishments (Awards, Media)
3) Proffesional Reviews of 'The Gift of Charms'
4) Pricing and Link to pre-order 'The Gift of Charms'
5) Cover and Summary
6) Sydney's Personal Review of 'The Gift of Charms'
7) Sydney's Interview with Author Julia Suzuki

You can also see some of Julia's accomplishments below. 

British Arts Council Award 2014
Patron of Reading 2014
Julia has also been featured in The Mirror, Daily Mail, The Sun, The Express, Womans Own and on various radio shows.

Julia's Websites and Media:



BOOK Review Sites


"This is a classic in the making - a mythical magical fable in the tradition of Tolkein and JK Rowling"

"A beautifully presented, wonderfully unique debut" 

'Fantasy fans will warm to this tale of how being different can be a strength rather than something to be feared'

'Action packed. This book is on fire"


Sometimes you read a book that is like a big mug of hot chocolate - it's very satisfying and warms you all the way through - and sometimes those books have some very interesting sprinkles you've never seen before and some uniquely coloured marshmallows you've never tasted before. That's how I would describe Yoshiko and the Gift of Charms in a nutshell - or should I say a mug?
Dragons almost always take on the role of sidekick in a fantasy story and are often portrayed either as unruly pets or ethereal creatures. It is just wonderful to find a story where dragons are the main characters and humans are the mythical race. The Land of Dragor is a beautiful place to escape to, rich in detail, legend, myths and lore which is impossible not to get wound up in. In the same breath, Dragor also shares a lot of similarities to the human world: young dragons must attend school and undergo the same challenges that any human child might. I think this is what I find so captivating, Julia Suzuki has created a world of fantasy with an original mythology but has kept it grounded and relevant to children.
Yoshiko is a fantastic hero character, just like any child he has his fair share of flaws when he begins his journey - he's self-conscious, self-pitying and has unusual physical attributes, all of which open him up to bullying from the spiteful Igorr. But as the story unfolds, so does Yoshiko's character. His hard work and determination improve his abilities and confidence, and bring out the courage that was hiding inside him. Yoshiko is a wonderful role model and the story is peppered with important messages for children and, as an adult who loves a good story, I certainly appreciated them too! The book is packed with other well-formed and engaging characters from the overgrown bully Gandar and his terrorised but equally nasty son, Igorr, to the wise old recluse, Guya, who is definitely my favourite character. Everyone you will find in life, you will find within the pages of Yoshiko and the Gift of Charms and I think that is what is at least partly at the heart of this book: it's a fantastic exploration of character. Each of the seven dragon clans have different character traits and flaws but this story is about finding the cure for those flaws and overcoming them. It's about identifying why a character behaves the way they do and not judging them based on their flaws but based on what they have been through and what they have achieved, looking at what they can do rather than what they can't.
Yoshiko and the Gift of Charms is simply a wonderful story filled with subtly delivered lessons on life which you really cannot stop learning. That's why, if this were a film, I would give it a U certificate because it is meant for everyone and has something to give to everyone who reads it, whatever your age. I have been thoroughly charmed and fallen in love with Yoshiko and the Land of Dragor and I cannot wait for the next book - especially if it is in the same beautiful hardback format as the first! ~LYRICAL REVIEWS

Now...that was a lot of info... a lot of info that should definitely make you want to read this even more than it should have when i announced that there'd be dragons. 

Now on with my opinion of The Gift of Charms (The Land of Dragor #1), a tale of dragons with incredible gifts. As Daily Mail mentioned, this is a story that proves that being different can be used as a strength.The Gift of Charms becomes available to the public September 4th but you can pre-order it in Paperback right...about...HERE. Just so you know, it is in British Pounds being that it was published in the UK. The conversion is below. I hope I did it right. 

5.99 (GBP) = $9.92 (USD) 


{Publishing Date: 9/4/14 by John Blake Publishing}
{288 Pages}
{Author: Julia Suzuki}
{ISBN-10: 1782199241 ISBN-13: 978-1782199243}


This epic novel, first in the Land of Dragor series, transports the reader to the magical Land of Dragor, where seven dragon clans live hidden from man having beaten off the evil dragsaur beasts. 

Their great wars with the humans are over and the dragons live peacefully among the smoking mud pools and around The Fire Which Must Never Go Out. But the terrible years when they were enslaved by humans have left a lasting scar, and they are told they can never soar above the mountains and leave their safe haven to explore the outside world. 

There is unease in the air of their mist-filled valley, and the coming of a strange egg heralds a new era. Unlike the normal delicate lilac, this shell is multi-coloured like the contents of a treasure chest. The newborn hatchling is called Yoshiko, but he is immediately treated with suspicion by the elders, and is lucky to survive. The last time a coloured egg was laid, legendary warrior leader Surion was born from a red shell, and with his gift of fire the dragons went to battle with the humans. Will Yoshiko bring a blessing to the clans, or a curse? Could Dragor be about to meet its saviour, or its destroyer?

Chameleon-like Yoshiko is bullied and tormented as he grows up, taunted at fire school as he struggles to produce a jet of flame. Desperate to hide his colour changes, he flees from school one day and finds himself on the fabled mountain of Cattlewick Cave, home to the mysterious and reclusive elder Guya. This chance meeting changes Yoshiko’s life, and as he develops from hatchling to youngling, he is inspired to spread his wings and venture outside Dragor. He returns with something, but will it be a blessing to Dragor or a curse.

~Sydney's Review of The Gift of Charms~

Due to this being a children's book I decided to tune down my usual stripping of a book. So here it is!

I believe that for a children's book description is especially necessary to appease a younger audience--to make the world real to them. Julia was exceptional in doing so! Julia is the Queen of Description for Children's Fiction! This book was extremely easy to read and I could just feel the world surrounding me. It was a very beautiful experience that all authors should want their readers to go through. Dialogue was young and rightly so being it a children's book. I wouldn't go as far to say it's a book for Teens or could fit in the YA genre but it is definitely categorized as Fantasy and possibly Middle-Grade, which means that dialogue was perfect for a younger audience. The dialogue between Igoor and Yoshiko in the beginning of the book definitely has a typical bully scenario going on. I do think that young kids do worry about going into school or being worried and what Julia does is prove that being different, is not wrong, or bad. It's amazing and it has definite props! Being different is something to be happy about, I mean who wants to be a clone? Bleh!
Julia has done an exceptional job of sliding in those important life lessons while keeping it fun and age appropriate!
 Along with the Dialogue and Description I'd like to just point out that this story was not choppy like some other books. Some writers have trouble keeping an easy flow happening but Julia has proved that she had everything in control. Yoshiko was an adorable, just ADORABLE character that started off a bit weak, but as the story went on you got to see him blossom into a self-confident character. That's the real beauty of a book like this. When children read books they tend to sit back and try to find similarities to the characters within. Though no kid is really a dragon, Yoshiko is a character that has the personality and was in situations that any kid could have and be in. Yoshiko is a great teacher and I believe that Julia is an even amazing writer!

The Gift of Charms receives a 5/5

~My Interview with Julia Suzuki~

1) What was the hardest thing you came across during writing? 

The hardest part for me was getting published. I had two literary agents, both who were very close to getting deals with some of the worlds largest publishing houses but both decided to focus on other things which was difficult in itself for me. There were many twists and turns on the way. It really was quite a story in itself as to why those deals did not quite come to be. I acquired the publishing deal myself in the end with John Blake without an agent - I refused to give up and just kept my focus. I showed John Blake himself my reviews, and shared with him my vision and he signed me on the spot. I automatically felt at home with the Blake's team.

2) How did you decide that writing Fantasy was what you wanted to do/ enjoyed? 

I have had several careers before becoming an author; I felt in my element as a writer which came easily to me. It just felt right.

3) While writing did you ever find yourself adding things from real life (places, people, descriptions) into your story? 

Yes, absolutely. The Land of Dragor setting  is based on some of the wonderful places I have visited in the world during my prior international career in the resorts industry.  There are characters that feature in my work who are based on people I have known, sometimes a few different people morphed into one.  Many events were influenced by my life experiences - positive and negative.

4) Today there are so many amazing Fantasy authors (Julie Kagawa, Stephenie Meyer, Aprilynne Pike, just to name a few) what authors are your favorites and/or inspired you to write. 

I like love the work of Chanda Hahn and what she has achieved with her 'Unenchanted' series.

5)Do you have any advice for aspiring authors in general and or when dealing with the Fantasy genre? 

A fantasy writer has to be a great story-teller above being a great writer - there are editors to help with perfecting your work. A vivid 'out there' imagination is essential for the fantasy genre but at the same time I believe you need to be able to keep it real or the novel will not have enough grip.