Ruth Finnegan’s Voyage of Pearl of The Seas is more than meets the eye. It is the story of two kids and a beloved dog – Chris, Kate, and Holly. They build a boat from a log they find in the sand of a beach and embark on what they hope will be a thrilling adventure.
They face unprecedented challenges, ultimately finding themselves in a fantastical land with a King much reminiscent of God. He has many names and speaks of creation and wisdom. He particularly tells stories that seem to be related to those included in Biblical text. But what is even more intriguing about him is that he gives gifts that come in handy in some of the most unlikely of situations.
While this story is full of much of the awe and wonder that you expect from a fairytale, there are some unexpected concepts here. For instance, one of the main characters, Chris is hailed as a hero yet many of his mannerisms don’t portray him as such. He seems to be inconsiderate, entitled, and even condescending, particularly to women. Several times in the story, he has disparaging thoughts about Kate. At some point, he even forgets about her and abandons her in a “wilderness”. Yet through it all, she seems to be very concerned about his needs, putting them first in many situations. And while he did eventually sacrifice his dream to save Holly, it is not much of a voluntary grand gesture but rather a last-minute decision made in a crisis. However, it must be said that the author does a great job at weaving together the different facets of this story – the physical, emotional, and the fantastical.
That aside, the language used is poetic, adding a creative lyrical aspect to this story. There are songs, poems, and unexpected dialogue embedded within the flowery prose.
There is one thing that’s clear though- Kate’s timidity seems to increase across the narrative, most times directly proportional to Chris’ arrogance. To some extent, it feels that they are symbols. Voyage of Pearl of The Seas is an emotive and intellectually-invigorating fairy tale that is creative and deeply thought-provoking.
Pages: 134 | ASIN: B079GPQMG1
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A Unicorn Named Rin is an adventurous children’s story that follows a qilin, a Chinese unicorn, that must help Princess Pingyang find Fan, the royal Phoenix, before the Friendship Concert begins. Rin sets off on a wonderous journey that takes him to many real life locations where he meets many mythical creatures from real Chinese legends.
This is a beautifully illustrated children’s picture book. Every page is covered in bright colors that will surely keep young readers attention. I loved all the creatures that Rin encounters as they were intricately drawn and each helps Rin when he needs it, and lift his spirits when he is down. In the end they all work as a team to find Fan in a clever twist that requires teamwork, a fantastic message for children. This is the most unique children’s book that I’ve read as it combines Chinese culture in every aspect, from myths, to poetry, festivals, and real geographic locations.
This fairy tale is easy to read, with a couple of larger words that will challenge young readers, but with repetition they are sure to pick it up. The message this story delivers is an important one for children to learn, don’t despair, ask for help, and work as a team. I appreciate how all of this is never stated outright, but learned through the story.
A Unicorn Named Rin is a fun and educational picture book that teaches children about Chinese culture as well as building literacy skills. Highly recommended to parents and teachers who are looking to diversity their children’s bookshelf.
Pages: 32 | ISBN: 1913891127
Tags: A Reimagined Fairy Tale, adventure, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, childrens book, chinese literature, culture, ebook, education, elementary school, fairy tale, fairytale, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kids book, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, parent, picture book, read, reader, reading, story, teacher, writer, writing
An award-winning unput-downable tale of two children building a boat from a log they find buried in the sand and sailing off to far-off fantastic lands in a stormy sea-driven adventure with their faithful – but accident-prone – dog Holly. There they learn much wisdom from a king who, like God, has many names’. After an incredible sacrifice of his dearest dream by the boy (now growing up) they return – another dream – to a family tea with their loved ones. The tale is a prequel and companion to Ruth Finnegan’s award-winning epic romance ‘Black inked pearl’, here adapted for preteens but characterised by (in a simpler form) the same unique dream-like and enchanted style as in the original novel.
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A boy and a girl, “helped” by their dog, build a magical boat from a log buried in the sand, They sail to far-off fantastic lands in a stormy sea-driven adventure with their faithful, and accident-prone dog. Into the sea, again! In the enchanted, heaven like island where their boat is wrecked, they learn much wisdom from a king who, like God, has many names. The boy sacrifices his dream of sailing around the world and they return, in another dream, to a family tea with their loved ones. An unput-downable volume in the growing Kate-Pearl Series.
A tale of depression and rediscovery.
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Prepare for magical delights and dark creatures in The Fae Princess by Ektaa Bali! The second book of The Pacific Princesses series follows 10-year-old faery princess Vidya. She resides deep within the Bushlands of Australia in a hidden faery realm that oversees and communicates with plants. Everything is fine until the first day of Spring. Their annual feast is put to a sudden halt when a mysterious darkness begins to overtake the land and puts the adult faeries to sleep. The fate of the kingdom is on Vidya’s shoulders. Can she save her kingdom?
Author Ektaa Bali has created a fun and imaginative children’s fantasy story. Her ability to craft a story that both meaningful and easy to read is something I greatly appreciated. From the imaginative world-building to the intriguing characters, Bali has set a high bar for indie middle-grade authors.
Bali introduces us to a majority of the ideas and concepts of the fae kingdom within the first three chapters. We see her describe who the fae are, where they are from, and what they do within the confines of only 43 pages.
I also enjoyed her magical descriptions of both real and mythical plants. She did not go into overt detail but gave you just enough to be satisfied and understand what you were reading – which is a great writing style for younger readers.
Watching Vidya come into her own as she has to save her kingdom added a beautiful message to an already magical story! We see her become braver, use her intelligence, and rise to the occasion. Young girls everywhere will find a wonderful role model within Vidya. Although I thought Vidya is a rousing character that I loved following, I felt that she sometimes sounded mature for her age.
The Fae Princess by Ektaa Bali is a story infused with adventure and creativity. This is an exceptional book for young girls everywhere, but any young reader will surely get swept away in the story. This is a fantasy story that is empowering as well as entertaining.
Pages: 236 | ASIN: B08X3YPZL4
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Queen of Dragons finds an uneasy peace shattered when Elky and Ustice are taken and the Spires are spurred into action. What were some new ideas you wanted to introduce in this book that were different from book one?
Thank you, Thomas. In this book I wanted to show how even one life is missed from a community. The beginning of the story expresses, I think, the feeling of loss each individual of a community feels and the joy at the recovery of that person. This part of the story leads to the ‘why’ behind the crime which is the focus of the book.
I really enjoyed the world your building in this series. What were some sources that informed this world’s development?
I lived in California for many years, close to the mountains. Hiking trails along those mountains gave me a keen sense of a land the dragons would inhabit–the outcropping of mountains close to the ocean with the scent of sea spray that hangs in the air is much like The Spires of Dasny.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
I don’t prethink themes, they occur naturally through the writing process. The sense of loss was one theme, a joyful return another, redemption yet another. Mainly in this book I wanted to show the growth of the characters and the challenges each of them face with that growth. It’s not necessarily a ‘coming of age’ book, but it does touch on some of those emotions and the growth each character experiences.
This is book two in The Spires of Dasny series. What can readers expect in book three?
In book three of The Spires of Dasny, the readers will be propelled into a much larger world. They begin to learn of other kingdoms and how they can benefit them or destroy them. Along with this discovery is an ancient lore that plays out with the main characters of Seyra, Grifton and Elky. What is the meaning behind it and will it help them or come at a cost? It is my hope to expand this series by focusing on these different kingdoms and the impact each plays with The Spires of Dasny.
I am aiming for the release of book three, The Kingdom of the Spires, by fall 2021, and with any luck, much sooner!
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The Literary Titan Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.
Gold Award Winners
Silver Award Winners
Trust vs Lust… a biography by Ian D. Niall
Intrepid Spirit by David Tunno
Visit the Literary Titan Book Awards page to see award information.
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Dance of Hearts is a riveting retelling of a classic story with a strong female protagonist and some clever twists. What drew you to Cinderella’s story and inspired you to rewrite this fairy tale?
The story began as a writer’s challenge, but I was immediately taken with the idea of re-writing it as a study in manners, like a Jane Austen tale. Re-telling classics so they appeal to a modern reader can be tricky since many of the heroines in these tales aren’t the sassy heroines we tend to read about today. The difficulty for an author is how we can write characters that remain true to the original and to a historical romance, while also making them enjoyable for modern readers.
I enjoyed the direction of Melinda’s character. What were some things you wanted to keep the same from the classic story and what were some new traits you wanted to introduce?
I feel the essence of the Cinderella tale is of a person who is downtrodden but still succeeds despite their challenges. She takes a chance to do something she otherwise wouldn’t and it pays off for her. Similarities to the original tale include a family situation that is not ideal, being the unpaid servant of the family, and a chance at true love.
While there is no glass slipper in Dance of Hearts, there is a magical dress given as a gift by a mysterious benefactor. The role of “prince” becomes someone more real in this Jane Austen world where fairy magic is present.
What was the funniest scene in the story for you to write?
Probably this won’t be the same for readers, but when Melinda has to chomp on her toast in order to remain silent for it was a realistic gesture we all have had to do when around relatives at some time or another. LOL.
Do you plan to write other stories based on literary classics?
Yes, Dance of Hearts is the first in a series where each tale is a standalone. Beauty and the Beast is retold in the next story, Price of a Rose. This collection will include fairytales familiar to many readers but also some lesser known fairytales that will be enjoyable due to being fresh and new.
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