Comic Book Review: Empress #1

Synopsis:

Imagine you’re married to the worst bad guy from your favorite sci-fi movie. An alien dictator feared throughout the universe, who will kill you if you leave — but you need to escape for the sake of your three children. All you have are your wits, your bodyguard, and three guns.

What I First Thought:

I found this comic one day when I went with my boyfriend and his family to their local comic book store. They had the first four issues and it looked interesting enough, so I grabbed it. I’m still new to comic books, I still haven’t quite figured out how to judge whether or not I’ll like it before buying it. This time I went with my gut, so hopefully that was enough!

Ratings:

Art: 5/5

I loved Stuart Immonen’s art! Not going to lie, but at first I was a little leery about the heroine’s character design because from the cover it looked like she would be an unrealistic “space babe”. After seeing the artwork, time and again Emporia was portrayed with realistic body proportions that weren’t too over the top. I think what I liked most about the artwork is that it already appears pretty smooth, some of the past comics I’ve read were a little rough in the beginning. Every line has a purpose, the scenes aren’t cluttered with too much detail, there’s just enough to give the readers all the information they need. The action sequences weren’t overcrowded or overpowered, just enough explosions when needed.

Story: 4/5

This was a pretty good beginning to the series. I’m really intrigued with the setting of this story. The story is set 65 million years ago with dinosaurs, aliens, and space travel; to date I don’t think I’ve ever read a story (outside of watching those few episodes of Doctor Who) in which those three are combined. I’m excited to see where Millar will do with this setting. Already I’ve seen a T-Rex fighting in an arena and a ship having to avoid a flock (?) of pterodactyls, but will there be more to it and will the dinosaurs actually play some sort of role in the story.

This story had just enough information to keep me from getting lost, but still left me with questions. I would’ve liked for a little more background, but I think that’s more my speed. I’m still curious to see what happens next!

Overall: 4.5

Details:

Title: Empress

Issue: 1

Publisher: Icon

Writer: Mark Millar

Illustrator: Stuart Immonen

Colors: Ive Svorcina

Letters: Peter Doherty

Released Date: April 6, 2016

Pages: 32

Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera

10 Book Recommendations for Earth Day (2017)

I’m doing something special because today is Earth Day and I can’t attend March for Science. As you may or may not know, I’m working toward a degree in Marine Science with a minor in Biology and focuses in Conservation and Ecology. The big thing I want to do with my knowledge is to help coral around the world, whether it’s to help build or protect more reefs, get into aquaculture, or educate people at aquariums. The books listed here are books by evironmentalists, conservationistis, and other people of science. They will give you more than enough information to if you’re willing to read them!

  1. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was first published in three serialized excerpts in the New Yorker in June of 1962. The book appeared in September of that year and the outcry that followed its publication forced the banning of DDT and spurred revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land, and water. Carson’s passionate concern for the future of our planet reverberated powerfully throughout the world, and her eloquent book was instrumental in launching the environmental movement. (Goodreads)

Basically she wrote about the effects of DDT on birds through biomagnification. DDT was a chemical that never dissolved or removed as waste from the bodies of organisms, once consumed it stuck with the organism even after death. Biomagnification is when something like a chemical increases in concentration as it moves up the food chain, getting to its highest concentration in top predators in an environment. DDT really affected the birds at the top of the food chain like eagles and pelicans, weakening the egg shells to the point of fracturing, leading to drastic population declines for many birds, including the Bald Eagle.

  1. The Sea Around Us by Rachel Carson

This book is basically Carson’s way of introducing the ocean to the general audience and familiarizing them with a lot of the processes that make it function and the unique creatures found there. I really want to read this book, if I can ever get my hands on it!

  1. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

“UNLESS someone like you…cares a whole awful lot…nothing is going to get better…It’s not.” Long before saving the earth became a global concern, Dr. Seuss, speaking through his character the Lorax, warned against mindless progress and the danger it posed to the earth’s natural beauty. (Goodreads)

This book gets mixed reviews, even within the science community. I’ve still added it to this list because my conservation ecology professor talked about it in class some a few times. It’s a good example for the tragedy of the commons and the effects of overharvesting. Many people claim that no human would ever let something like this happen, that they would eventually stop but history has proven otherwise. Real life examples including the extinction of the Dodo and the Steller Sea Cow, and the fall of Easter Island where many species of plant life native only to that island were lost due to overharvesting.

  1. Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Walden, or, Life in the Woods, is an American book written by noted transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau. The work is part personal declaration of independence, social experiment, voyage of spiritual discovery, satire, and manual for self-reliance. Published in 1854, it details Thoreau’s experiences over the course of two years in a cabin he built near Walden Pond, amid woodland owned by his friend and mentor Ralph Waldo Emerson, near Concord, Massachusetts. (Goodreads)

Thoreau believed that nature should be preserved because it was man’s closest link to God. He thought that humans needed nature to have a better spiritual connection. He was also one of the earliest natural historians and Walden was the most detailed account, at the time, about the nature of an area and how it changed over time.

  1. The Diversity of Life by Edward O. Wilson

In this book a master scientist tells the story of how life on earth evolved. Edward O. Wilson eloquently describes how the species of the world became diverse and why that diversity is threatened today as never before. A great spasm of extinction — the disappearance of whole species — is occurring now, caused this time entirely by humans. Unlike the deterioration of the physical environment, which can be halted, the loss of biodiversity is a far more complex problem — and it is irreversible. Defining a new environmental ethic, Wilson explains why we must rescue whole ecosystems, not only individual species. He calls for an end to conservation versus development arguments, and he outlines the massive shift in priorities needed to address this challenge. No writer, no scientist, is more qualified than Edward O. Wilson to describe, as he does here, the grandeur of evolution and what is at stake. (Goodreads)

If you’re interested in a detailed account on evolution and species diversity then this book may be interesting to you and intriguing. Species diversity is extremely important to the environment and is threatened by many things including climate change and anthropogenic actions. It’s also interesting to read about the argument to save the whole environment in which a species lives and not just that species, which is a concept that is really being pushed today in conservation.

  1. Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv

“I like to play indoors better ’cause that’s where all the electrical outlets are,” reports a fourth-grader. Never before in history have children been so plugged in—and so out of touch with the natural world. In this groundbreaking new work, child advocacy expert Richard Louv directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today’s wired generation—he calls it nature deficit—to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as rises in obesity, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), and depression.

Some startling facts: By the 1990s the radius around the home where children were allowed to roam on their own had shrunk to a ninth of what it had been in 1970. Today, average eight-year-olds are better able to identify cartoon characters than native species, such as beetles and oak trees, in their own community. The rate at which doctors prescribe antidepressants to children has doubled in the last five years, and recent studies show that too much computer use spells trouble for the developing mind.

Nature-deficit disorder is not a medical condition; it is a description of the human costs of alienation from nature. This alienation damages children and shapes adults, families, and communities. There are solutions, though, and they’re right in our own backyards. Last child in the Woods is the first book to bring together cutting-edge research showing that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development—physical, emotional, and spiritual. What’s more, nature is a potent therapy for depression, obesity, and ADD. Environment-based education dramatically improves standardized test scores and grade point averages and develops skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and decision making. Even creativity is stimulated by childhood experiences in nature.

Yet sending kids outside to play is increasingly difficult. Computers, television, and video games compete for their time, of course, but it’s also our fears of traffic, strangers, even virus-carrying mosquitoes—fears the media exploit—that keep children indoors. Meanwhile, schools assign more and more homework, and there is less and less access to natural areas. (Goodreads)

We also discussed this book in class earlier in the semester. My professor thought it important to point out how closely tied to nature we are and that our lives can be greatly affected by its absence. It’s an interesting read for anyone who wants to see the connections between a decline in physical and mental health and the amount of time we spend outside.

  1. Song of the Dodo by David Quammen

In The Song of the Dodo, we follow Quammen’s keen intellect through the ideas, theories, and experiments of prominent naturalists of the last two centuries. We trail after him as he travels the world, tracking the subject of island biogeography, which encompasses nothing less than the study of the origin and extinction of all species. Why is this island idea so important? Because islands are where species most commonly go extinct — and because, as Quammen points out, we live in an age when all of Earth’s landscapes are being chopped into island-like fragments by human activity.

Through his eyes, we glimpse the nature of evolution and extinction, and in so doing come to understand the monumental diversity of our planet, and the importance of preserving its wild landscapes, animals, and plants. We also meet some fascinating human characters. By the book’s end we are wiser, and more deeply concerned, but Quammen leaves us with a message of excitement and hope. (Goodreads)

Interesting read for anyone who wants to learn about the idea of Island Biogeography and extinction. An island isn’t necessarily a land mass surrounded by water, islands now can refer to any habitat that is surrounded by a completely different habitat. For instance, a small park in the middle of a city is considered an island, also lakes and mountain tops. The relation to the Dodo is that the bird went extinct rather quickly, before anyone could really record everything about it, after humans made contact with it. The Dodo went extinct because it could not leave the island and escape the new threat-humans.

  1. The Edge of the Sea by Rachel Carson

“The edge of the sea is a strange & beautiful place.” A book to be read for pleasure as well as a practical identification guide, The Edge of the Sea introduces a world of teeming life where the sea meets the land. Rachel Carson’s books have become cornerstones of the environmental & conservation movements. (Goodreads)

Another book by Rachel Carson that talks about the various environments found within the ocean and the creatures that inhabit them. Interesting read for learning and species classification.

  1. Plant Earth: As You’ve Never Seen it Before by Alastair Fothergill, Vanessa Berlowitz, Mark Brownlow, Huw Cordey, and Jonathan Keeling

A visual odyssey that will change the way we see our planet, this remarkable book, companion to the acclaimed Discovery Channel/ BBC series, is an enduring and awe-inspiring record of one of the most ambitious natural history projects ever undertaken. Using the latest aerial surveillance, state-of-the-art cameras, and high definition technology, the creators of Planet Earth have assembled more than 400 stunning photographs of wondrous natural landscapes from around the globe, including incredible footage of the rarely spotted, almost mythical creatures that live in these habitats. Many of the images reveal inaccessible places that few have seen and record animal behavior that has never been filmed or photographed before. With the help of this highly advanced technology and the world’s premier wildlife photographers, the book takes us on a spectacular journey from the world’s greatest rivers and impressive gorges, to its mightiest mountains, hidden caves and caverns, and vast deserts. Planet Earth captures breathtaking sequences of predators and their prey, lush vistas of forests viewed from the tops of towering trees, the oceans and their mysterious creatures viewed from beneath the surface, and much more—in a magnificent adventure that brings unknown wonders of the natural world into our living rooms. (Goodreads)

Pretty much if you like BBC’s Plant Earth series you’ll like this book. It’s full of pictures, detailed accounts, and bountiful information that you may find intriguing.

  1. The Forest Unseen by David George Haskell

A biologist reveals the secret world hidden in a single square meter of forest.

In this wholly original book, biologist David Haskell uses a one-square-meter patch of old-growth Tennessee forest as a window onto the entire natural world. Visiting it almost daily for one year to trace nature’s path through the seasons, he brings the forest and its inhabitants to vivid life.

Each of this book’s short chapters begins with a simple observation: a salamander scuttling across the leaf litter; the first blossom of spring wildflowers. From these, Haskell spins a brilliant web of biology and ecology, explaining the science that binds together the tiniest microbes and the largest mammals and describing the ecosystems that have cycled for thousands—sometimes millions—of years. Each visit to the forest presents a nature story in miniature as Haskell elegantly teases out the intricate relationships that order the creatures and plants that call it home. (Goodreads)

A book similar to Walden, it’s another natural account of an environment for a whole year. Interesting to anyone who enjoys short stories, liked Walden, or is fascinated by nature and how it changes over time.

Graphic Novel Review: Fantastic Four Ultimate Collection (book 1)

Synopsis:

Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo take the reins of Fantastic Four and deliver some of the most daring and humorous adventures these heroes have ever seen! Giant bugs! Living equations! Johnny Storm, CEO! Exploding unstable molecules! The secret behind the Yancy Street Gang! And witness the antics between the Thing and the Human Torch heat up like never before! Prepare to laugh and cheer at once!

First Thought:

Recently, my boyfriend and I were playing Lego Marvel Super Hero ©. While playing, I told him that I didn’t really care for the Fantastic Four characters because I was unimpressed by them in their movies. He agreed that their movie were terrible representations of them and decided to lend me a couple of his favorite storylines for the characters. Opening myself to change, I decided to give this book a read to see what this family was really about!

Overall Thoughts and Opinions:

My original impressions of the characters were wrong, at least within this storyline by Mark Waid. I haven’t read very much of Marvel, but I was really impressed with this story. It was all about family, focusing on the group as a whole and the relationships between various characters.

I enjoyed seeing Reed and Sue as parents. They aren’t the perfect parents, they mess up from time to time it was great to see that, it was real and heartfelt. I smiled seeing Reed interacting with his new daughter, it reminded me of my relationship with my own father. It was nice to see how the young boy of super heroes messes up, royally so, and learns from the experience.

I enjoyed the relationship between Sue and Johnny. She did everything she could to help him, to raise him, to make him into a better man, and Johnny was able to realize that. I loved seeing the arc of their relationship, and I can’t wait to see more from them!

Lastly, I really enjoyed seeing the interactions between each of the before mentioned characters and The Thing. He played a different role for each of his team members and it was nice. Before reading this, the thing (eh, get it? Okay, I’ll stop…) I remembered the most about his character was the childish relationship between him and Johnny and not much else. After reading this novel, I see him as a dear friend to each of the other members and that they actually care for him too.

Ratings:

Art: 4

The art changed for the last two issues in this novel. Both art styles were nice to look at and didn’t make me cringe, but I really enjoyed the first art style more. Overall, I appreciated that the artists made the characters a bit cartoonier to fit the overall mood of the story. I also loved the colors in this story; everything was so bright and colorful!

Story: 4

I found the stories to be fun and light, but serious when need be and I believe Waid did a wonderful job balancing the moods. I enjoyed seeing the Fantastic Four not as super heroes first, but friends, family, adventures, and pioneers before anything else. I believe the first issue did a wonderful job of setting up Waid’s vision for this story and I can’t wait to read more!

Overall: 4

Details:

Title: Fantastic Four Ultimate Collection

Book: 1

Issue(s): 60-66

Publisher: Marvel

Creator(s): Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

Writer(s): Mark Waid

Illustrator: Mike Wieringo & Mark Buckingham

Colors: Paul Mounts, Avalon Studios’ Mark Milla & John Kalisz with Malibu

Letters: Bill Oakley and Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Albert Deschesne

Released Date: June 29th 2011

Pages: 208

Manga Review: Nichijou (vol.1)

Details:

Title: Nichijou: my ordinary life (Vol. 1)

Chapters: 1-18

Written by: Keiichi Arawi 

Artist:  Keiichi Arawi

Translation/Adaptation: Jenny McKeon

Publisher:  Vertical Comics

Published:  March 29th 2016

Pages: 178

Genre: Manga, Comedy, Slice of Life, Surreal humor

Synopsis:

(as read on my copy)

Define “ordinary”

In this just-surreal-enough take on the “school genre” of manga, a group of friends (which includes a robot built by a child professor) grapple with all sorts of unexpected situations in their daily lives as high schoolers.

The gags, jokes, puns, and haiku keep this series off-kilter even as the characters grow and change. Check out this new take on a storied genre and meet the new ordinary.

What I First Thought:

            I picked up this manga because of the reaction a friend of mine had to seeing it on the shelf at Barnes & Noble. This friend of mine is an exchange student from Japan and is an absolute sweetheart! Anyways, she was so excited to see it that I decided to give it a read.

Overall Thoughts/Opinions:

4/5

This manga was nothing like I expected! My friend warned me that it was going to be bizarre, but I didn’t think to take her too seriously. I’ve never read a manga like this and I’m glad that I have. The comedy was a lot of dry humor and outlandish events. Something things didn’t really make sense to me, which I believe may be because of error in translation or the joke doesn’t translate as well into English.

Overall though the volume was great! Each chapter or couple of chapters contained individual stories, so at the moment there doesn’t appear to be any overarching plot line. The chapters are headed by different characters or sets of characters, so you never get too cozy before you’re following someone else. The main characters are cute and a little stereotypical, up to a point, and the drawing style really matches the cutesy but surreal feel of the manga. What I loved most about this volume was that every chapter is different, either the cast members were different or the overall writing style was different. One chapter none of the characters said a single word, but the artist really captured the mood and what they were trying to express in each panel. Another chapter one of the main characters just kept coming up with different haikus and played a bystander, and later she kept getting distracted by accidentally making up different poems. Each chapter kept me on my toes and where the humor didn’t quite hit the mark for me the story made up for it; I definitely can’t wait to read the next volume!

 

Comic Review: Steven Universe (2017-) #2

Details:

Title: Steven Universe (2017- )

Issue: 2

Publisher: kaboom!

Creator: Rebecca Sugar

Writer: Melanie Gillman

Illustrator: Katy Farina

Colors: Whitney Cogar

Letters: Mike Fiorentino

Released Date: March 22, 2017

Ratings:

Art: 5/5

Story: 5/5

Overall: 5

I loved this issue! Where do I even begin?

The art was fantastic, like before, but a little better. I loved the dresses that Stevonnie and Kiki tried on in the shop, they were so outlandish but reminded me of the prom dresses that I saw in high school. My favorite of the art was the backgrounds and the characters around the main cast. There’s so many little things in the background that fans of the show should recognize and geek out about. The dance scene was my favorite, just because of how unique each of the teenagers were drawn. It made me giddy just looking at each of the dancers, trying to figure out their stories from their designs. Even though they never speak and you see them once, how they’re drawn really fleshed out who those kids were individually.

The story was really nice and I really wish I could see this as an episode. It was nice to see the little nods to the show, like the movie they were going to see was the fantasy book they read in the show, and Pearl’s suit from when they went to Empire City. I really enjoyed seeing more of Kiki, she’s treated well in the show but she never got a lot of screen time, so it was interesting to learn more about her and her character. I loved this story because it dealt with the issue of how to react to someone, that you don’t have a romantic interest in, who asks you out. Sometimes I accidentally give people the wrong impression and I always feel bad after they express a very different interest than me; it was always challenging for me to let them down easy but still preserve the friendship. This story deals with that problem and comes up with a realistic thought process to come up with a solution. I loved how Steven and Connie worked the problem out together, making sure to keep their best interests in mind but also taking care not to hurt the other person. It was a powerful message to read and I can’t wait to see what’s next!

Author Interview with Patrice M. Foster

Info about the author:

Patrice Foster’s life is just simple nothing much.  I am just enjoying myself getting to know my kids more each day.

Follow: https://patricemfoster.com

https://www.facebook.com/patricemfoster

https://twitter.com/patricemfoster

Patrice Foster is the author of Molding my Own Destiny. It’s a memoir that talks about her life in Jamaica, moving to the United States, and fighting her way to the top. Her journey was a long, dark path, but by the end she was able to make something of herself. You can read the review of her inspiration story here. I highly recommend it to people looking for inspirational stories, but be warned, the book contains mentions of things like abandonment and rape.

Questions:

You’ve mentioned that you’ve had many jobs over the years and I was curious, what’s your current job? Are you still working with nurses or are you taking a break from everything?

A nurse

It seems like you’ve been working on Molding my Own Destiny, but just how long have you worked on this book?

For a long time since I was a teenager. IN 2009 I resign from my government job with a small pension $10,000 I decided this was the time to write my book. Found a ghostwriter who I taught would help. Send my entire old journal, tape; notes written on paper towels to the person won’t disclose name.  My only request for the lady was for her to interview my mother before she died.  Two week in the project she made a major move to another state bought a house, then it was not having babysitter to watch the kids. I was nice and patient pause the job because frankly I did not have any more money. But it was bothering me how come we have not make progress we still on chapter one of the book. 2010 kept in contact when ask to restart the project was haunting me in my gut I felt that her interest was not to finish the story. Spend another year asking her to release me from the contract after several years the box OF ALL MY LIFE was SEND BACK with a few chapters done. By now my mother was fighting breast cancer she was in remission.  It took me a couple more years to decide what to do. Getting another ghostwriter was not an option. Thoughts of given up did cross my mind. In the end I decided to write my story myself. Years passed and watch my mother health going down   I decided to write my story …I was racing against time. Long story short she died 2 days before the book came out.

I’ve mentioned this before in the review, but your life has been rather dark and depressing, and I find it remarkable that you’ve been able to do so much with your life. Reading your memoir has really opened my eyes and allowed me to see that no matter what, I can persevere if I put my mind to it. Is that why you decided to tell the story of your life, to inspire young people to continue fighting even if they’re in terrible situations?

Yes my life was dark as you say; I want young people or anyone who is struggling, who may have giving up on life.  Life is not going to be easy and they have to believe, have a little faith. Going through hardship won’t be easy how I survive is keep moving forward, never look back, Laugh more and hold no grudges. This made me a better person now I can say that.

You’ve mentioned a lot of dark memories including false imprisonment, abandonment, and rape. Was it difficult for you to write about those dark moments in your life? What was your biggest motivator for this book, something that helped you get passed the dark memories?

This book is so painful for me to read. I wanted to do audiobook but I was too emotional in the end I chose someone else coming soon.  I want the people to know I am still working on healing from with in. I have a great tolerant for pain, rejection but I am better able to ignore certain things.  The motivation was for my kids. I did not feel I was a good mother.  I was not capable of love giving it.  I was unavailable, a work alcoholic, trying to fill that empty void…Running away from myself.

I really liked the cover of your book; it was unique and appeared to be symbolic. Would you like to explain the cover?  

The dirty shoes represent my days on the street, feeling soil. Also symbolic of a person who felt scorn, abuse, dirty, rejected, depressed (darkness), ugly, lonely, unloved, bitter, angry empty, just feeling loss. The flower is symbolic of faith, hope, and being positive, my little light of happiness.   

What was it like trying to get your book published? Did you try finding a publisher first or did you decide to just publish it yourself from the beginning?

I just self-publish because I was racing against time wanted my mother to read the book. She saw the cover that’s about it. I did not want to look for a publisher they would change a lot and take forever to publish.

While your memoir can be dark, there were some moments that seemed genuinely happy to you. Which memory was your favorite? What was your favorite part about writing Molding my Own Destiny?

When my brothers, sisters and I was together playing cricket in Jamaica.

Most authors have an acknowledgements page dictating who helped and what not. I was curious if anyone helped you during this whole process, during writing and publishing. Is there anyone you want to thank, anyone that should you the most support?

I want to thank Clarissa Yeo in Singapore my book cover designer  @yocladesigns.com who I can always count on to bring my idea to live just the way I want it to be. 

Are you thinking about being a full time author? Or maybe writing any other books, nonfiction or fiction? If so, got any ideas you want to share with readers?

I am thinking about continuing writing short story. The books I have written are on amazon. Short but the message is the same.  New book “Everything I Never told you: A Mother’s confession” dedicate to my kids all mothers can relate.

Do you have any suggestions for anyone wanting to get into writing?

I am still learning, making mistakes, I would say keep writing in your journal and don’t forget to always use a professional editor.

If you had to give one piece of advice, to anyone, what would it be? Or better yet, what was the one thing you wanted someone to tell you when you were younger, or a young mother, going through school, etc.?

Believe in yourself I would say. But as I thought more about this question the adult in my life I wish they new I wanted unconditional love.  Maybe then I would have learned earlier to love myself than trying to find love in all the wrong places.

This question is more about fun and I’ve heard many people ask it of guest authors and actors at conventions everywhere. So I’m curious as to what you have to say. If you could choose any time in history, past or present, where would you go and why? You can be as detailed as you want or sweet and simple!

My dream is to learn to ride a bike so lol, I guess the year a kid gets her first tricycle …but now they have them for the big girls.

Author Talks: Carrie Mortleman and Publishing Her First Book

It is with sweet servings of humble joy that I sit to write this article. I feel as if I have been chosen, as if a bright spotlight illuminates me, drawing me from the darkness, singling me from the masses of authors lined up behind the curtains awaiting their chance.

Why do I feel such an intense level of joy? It’s because I am a new writer & illustrator of a children’s picture book Hellie the Hovercraft Elephant. When I say new, I mean I am a real infant; only 12 months old. But this teething bub has been lucky enough to cut her first molars with a publishing contract by a real live publisher. It’s almost unheard of for a first book… talk about hitching a ride on the tail of a lucky star!

Why do I feel so happy and lucky? Because Jessica (who writes this blog) has chosen my book to review. Do I sound corny? Perhaps. But let me tell you, it’s is HARD to get someone to agree to read, review and blog your book. I contacted over 50 bloggers and do you know how many responses I received? TWO. Yes two.

So truly, genuinely, and with intense levels of sincerity, securing a review from a book blogger feels like being chosen for the lead role in a blockbuster film. A good review can change your life. A medium review can make you blush with joy. And even a bad review can be taken on board with improvements for the next release.

As a creative artist you put a big piece of your heart into your work, you put parts of your soul and hefty chunks of your dreams out in the public domain for the whole world to see. It’s terrifying. It’s exhilarating.

Time, that elusive and ever active essence that seems to continually slip away, this is what I believe book bloggers (and indeed any bloggers) lack. Blogging is a passion. You give strangers a part of yourself, of your life, of your time, of your energy, to really truly think about another person’s work and honestly and critically review it.

I know this because I wanted to become a blogger myself, but I realised just how intense it is for your time and your emotions, to continually connect with your audience. I remain an independent reviewer of children’s books but oh the horror, some of the submissions I have received have made me flush with shame for my fellow writers. But occasionally you dig a shiny pearl from the depths of the ocean, pry it from the stubborn jaws of a reluctant oyster and those moments are golden. They make it all worthwhile and you are able to give a glowing review and know that you have helped another person achieve their dreams. It’s a sweetly satisfying experience.

So it is with greatest levels of appreciation, I eagerly await the review of my first book Hellie the Hovercraft Elephant. With trepidation, I hope that it will be favourable enough that Jessica will accept my second book Queek’s Race in Outer Space available in May 2017.

Carrie Mortleman
Author, Illustrator & part-time mermaid

If you’re interested in buying Hellie the Hovercraft Elephant, you can find it on amazon! Also, any authors looking for entering a cool writing contest should check out Inkett’s Writing Contest and try to win a publishing deal!