Book Review: Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball + Amelia Fang and the Unicorn Lords by Laura E. Anderson

Now,ameliafangBarbaricBall20200322 these books are not my usual selection but I bought them and read them because an agent said that one of my pieces of writing sounded “Amelia-Fang-ish”. So I thought I look into this Amelia Fang person, thinking she was an author, but it turns out she is the main character of a series of middle-grade fantasy books.

I must say I really like Amelia Fang! She is spunky and determined, such a good friend and brave when the situation calls for it. She has great friends in a grim-reaper and a yeti. She does not always plan for what happens but her heart is always in the right place.

Nocturnia is where Amelia and her ghoulish friends live. It’s a place where you can find The Ricketty Residences, Zombie Yoga Hall, Post-bats and even a putrid pond. They go to school at Catacomb Academy and disobey their parents when the situation calls for it. But they always try to do what they think is right.

In the Barbaric Ball, Amelia has to rescue her pet pumpkin from the spoilt Prince Tangerine of Nocturnia, who turned out to be only a half-vampire. But when Amelia finds out the prince’s true family situation, it softens her heart towards the prince and they end up as friends.

ameliafangUnicornLords20200322In the Unicorn Lords, that dark secret Amelia discovered in the Barbaric Ball takes them to the Kingdom of Light in search of Tangerine’s long-missing mother. There they uncover a sinister plot to control both the creatures of the light and the creatures of the dark. But can these four friends really save both kingdoms?

The illustrations are absolutely fab. I like how each book cover has its own accent colour and the sides of the pages have the same colour.

The storyline has lovely little twists and turns, and each character we get to know not only has a part in the story but is also well fleshed out. The descriptions of the various places are not overwhelming but just enough to allow you to picture them in your head.

I am confident any middle grader would enjoy these books. Dare I say, I know some adults who would enjoy these too. There are also a few more books in the series, you can check them out here.

Happy Reading!


Book Review: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

This is one of those unusual situations for me – i watched the movie before i read the book. This time around i didn’t read the book first because i heard about the movie before the book and there was such hype about it, we just decided to watch it.

It was a good movie, which showcased some parts of Singapore but we felt that it showed little of what Singapore is really like or how the average Singaporean lives. But of course, the story had little to do with the average Singaporean.

41rujicffol._sx327_bo1204203200_i thought i would read the book to see if there was more to it. While there was not much about normal Singaporean life, it did have more.

It contained, as expected of a book, so many more layers and sub-plots than a movie can present. i also felt that the movie presented a few of the characters in quite a different light than the book did. But again, this was not out of the ordinary for a movie adaption.

i, of course, liked the book better! No surprise there. The book followed not just the story of Nicholas and Rachel but also of Nicholas’ cousin, Astrid. Kwan keeps us on the edge by moving between the storylines, yet maintaining a strong link between the various plots and really showing off how complex family relations can get in a large, wealthy Asian family. It was great to have the family tree at the beginning of the book to guide us through the complicated who’s related to who bits.

i love how the various cousins and aunts are all trying to get a piece of the action by being their super KP (kaypoh = colloquial for busybody) selves and stepping over what most would consider normal family actions/reactions. In this aspect, i feel Kwan has done a good job.

i also enjoyed the ending which doesn’t quite tie all things up in a nice bow, we leave the story sort of in the middle of the action and this gives the reader room to imagine what might happen after. It gives a nice sense that their stories are not at an end, that there is more to come.

If you want to learn some Singaporean slang, dive into the completely upside-down world of the super-rich and a good Romeo/Juliet-type story, then this is the read for you.

Happy Reading!


Book Review: Off the Page by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer

i love Jodi Picoult’s books. i have a collection. Her stories have such a big heart at the center of them and they usually make me think about the issues they touch on.

offthepage20191009This one, however, i feel, is more light-hearted than usual. This is, of course, aimed at the YA reader rather than her usual adult audience. It still has a ton of heart in it but the issues are different from what she usually tackles and i feel that is what makes it refreshing.

i also wanted to read this book because it is a collaboration between Picoult and her daughter, what an interesting prospect; to be able to work with and create something with your own child.

Off the Page is the sequel to Between the Lines, however, it does well as a stand-alone. i have not read the prequel but now i want to.

Which young person does not dream of a happily-ever-after? Almost everyone does. But this book explores what one might have to give up for that happily-ever-after? Would you still want the happily-ever-after, even if it’s different from your ideal vision of it?

It takes the classic story of The Prince and The Pauper and turns it into a modern fairytale with quite a few unexpected twists and turns. Oliver, a prince from a book, and the love of his life, Delilah, are finally together, in the real world. But strange things happen which seem to indicate that the universe is pulling them apart. Edgar, who agreed to switch places with Oliver and go live in the book-world, is less than happy as the book seems to not want him to dictate how the story goes. Delilah’s best friend is also pulled into the book, literally. To complicate matters, Edgar’s mother, who is the author of the story Oliver is from, needs saving too.

i really love how they wrote the story from different perspectives and show us how different characters felt and wanted. It really built a fuller story. i also like dedication at the end, it talks about how every one of us has a story, whether or not it’s written yet.

So if you are up for an easy read, which has a bit of excitement, a fair bit of romance and lots of emotions, this is one for you.

Happy Reading!