Hey There, Guess What!

Hey There, Guess What!

Hello, my dears!

I have great news to share with you! Exciting and wonderful news! We now have an official review team! BiblioGal is proud to announce the addition of 2 regular book reviewers and one reviewer/contributor/FanFic Expert to the team!

I’m even more proud to announce that we’re an all FEMALE crew!  An all-female crew who will dive into fandoms, geek culture, pop culture, and a vast array of novels; just for you, our dear audience.

Check back this afternoon for our first reviewer’s debut as she reviews If You Come Softly by Jaqueline Woodson, a YA Contemporary novel that conveys a relevant message and some hard truths.

On Friday, our resident Fan Fiction Aficionado will help introduce you to the thrilling and addicting world of Fan Fiction, with her Beginner’s Guide, which includes everything you need to know to get started.  Look for this to be a series of bi-weekly articles and get ready to fall in love with a new hobby and possibly make a new bestie!

Later this month look out for a special Release Day Review of Hook’s Little Mermaid (Book 1) and Red’s Tangled Tale (Book 2) by Suzanna Lynn. A fairy tale retelling and mashup involving some of the most iconic and beloved characters to date.

I am so proud of the team that’s been assembled and I cannot thank them enough for all the hard work and dedication they are putting into this blog! I can’t wait for you to meet them!

Assemble!

Happy Reading,

BiblioGal

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Review: Red’s Tangled Tale (Book 2 Untold Stories Series) by Suzanna Lynn

Review: Red’s Tangled Tale (Book 2 Untold Stories Series) by Suzanna Lynn

 

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 Red’s Tangled Tale (Book 2 in The Untold Stories)

 Suzanna Lynn

Reviewed by: Lisa

Red, as in Little Red Riding Hood, aka Rosalee, was first introduced in Hook’s Little Mermaid. This untold story mixes Red’s with Rapunzel’s. The author does a great job of adding on to what we know and love about these favorite fairy tales and expanding on them to breathe in new life and surprises. One of the things that continues to amaze me is how these tales are being connected, particularly to a story that isn’t usually associated with fairy tales (sorry, no spoilers but it’s a fantastic connection!). Hook returns in this story as a means of revealing Red’s background and character as well as the discovery of Rapunzel. The secondary characters are interesting and give the story more credibility as to what you would think of in regards to a small town that’s been forgotten by its kingdom. While Red’s character is resilient and adventurous, Rapunzel is nearly the opposite. The fairy tale mashup is cleverly done and the allusions to upcoming characters and worlds as Red and Rapunzel continue their journey are exciting. I can’t wait to see how things play out. Suzanna Lynn is a new author to me, having only read the books in The Untold Series thus far. However, I will be following her and this series. Recommended for most age groups, teen and up.

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Review: Hook’s Little Mermaid (Book One of Untold Stories) by Suzanna Lynn

Review: Hook’s Little Mermaid (Book One of Untold Stories) by Suzanna Lynn

Good morning! If you’ve been following the changes to BiblioGal, you’ll remember that we have acquired a review team! So far, you’ve been introduced to a contemporary YA review by Lakin and a Fanfiction 101 series by Lil Red Writing Hood.  I’m thrilled to round out this team by introducing you to Lisa! Lisa has TWO reviews to share as she was given 2 books in a series to read.  Without further adieu, here is Lisa’s review of Suzanna Lynn’s, Hook’s Little Mermaid (Book One in the Untold Stories Series).

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     Hook’s Little Mermaid (Book 1 in The Untold Stories)

 Suzanna Lynn

Reviewed by: Lisa

If you have ever watched the show “Once Upon a Time”, and liked/loved it, then you will enjoy this series. This was an imaginative blend of fairy tales mashed together with its own original voice. As the title implies, the focus is on Captain Hook, from Peter Pan fame, as he reveals his untold tale. The story draws you in as though you are catching up with an old friend, reliving the glory days and adventures you might have known about and divulging secrets that you probably didn’t. Surprising backgrounds, unexpected connections, and old wives’ tales abound as you get to know the characters. Additionally, as the title suggests this story is more than just about Hook; the story of the Little Mermaid is also entangled in the mash-up quite seamlessly. While the names are not quite the same, there are both familiar aspects to the story and others that are unique. Overall, this is the start of a promising fairy tale retelling series that has interesting, well-developed characters, storylines that continually cross over and blend naturally, and keep you “hooked”. Recommended for most age groups, teen and up.

Suzanna Lynn’s books are available at all major online booksellers.

 

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FanFiction Friday!

FanFiction Friday!

Welcome to Fanfiction Friday! I am someone who firmly believes that fanfiction is a vital part of being in a fandom.  Is it required? No. Is it necessary? Honest opinion, absolutely, but factually, probably not. The fun thing about fanfiction is that you can continue the stories of your favorite shows or books in your own way. You can make pairings that aren’t canonical, create crossover universes, and make new and very like-minded friends. I personally am just getting back into fanfiction.  My heyday was in the 90s, so I’m not qualified to introduce or guide anyone, but my friend Lil Red is! She’s an avid reader and writer of several fandoms and ships which makes her well versed and qualified to give some tips for anyone who wants to delve into this fun community. So here at my request and of her own volition is Lil Red Writing Hood’s Introduction to Fanfiction.

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Fanfiction: Where stories are continued, reborn, or reshaped.

 

Whether you have enjoyed the massive entity that is fanfiction before or you have no idea what it is, this article will endow you with some new information and safe browsing practices. Or at least I hope it will.

 

My first adventure into fanfiction was a beautiful verse based on the show Supernatural and was recommended to me by someone to whom I am now eternally indebted. It was a long downhill spiral after that first ‘fic’ and I have only a couple regrets which were entire all my fault.

 

So… what is fanfiction?

 

Fanfiction is a magical thing that is provided on countless platforms for free (or mostly so) and it takes a wide variety of stories that have been told to us through movies, television, books, theatre, etc and retells them. Whether they change one tiny detail or they change everything, fanfiction is nearly limitless. Imagine your favorite characters, now imagine the qualities they have that most draw you into them. What would those same qualities look like if their whole world was shaken and twisted upside down?

 

But isn’t fanfiction, stealing? Building worlds with characters that belong to someone else?

 

No. Most fanfiction authors never claim to create the characters they love to write.

 

There’s an argument to be made that could easily state that things like BBCs Sherlock could be considered a modern day AU, which is just to say here is a universe where Sherlock Holmes was born roughly a hundred years later than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created him. What would his deductive reasoning look like today? Sure, the copyright for most of Doyle’s detective works has expired and is public domain at this point, but the point still stands.

 

Countless authors have been inspired by other characters and creations for generations and technically you could, just enough, or wait until the copyright runs out, and you could potentially make a profit, but most fanfic authors post stories online for other people who love the thing they love, for simple enjoyment.

 

So any tips, advice, links?

 

Of course! I got you boo!

 

First Pro Tip to reading fanfiction.

 

LEARN WHAT TAGS ARE! LEARN WHAT THEY MEAN! LEARN HOW TO READ THEM!

 

Do NOT dive into fanfiction until you have a medium grasp of the following:

Rating System (is pretty self-explanatory most places)

 

G-GA General audience

T-teen and up

M-mature

E- Explicit (graphic sexual situations)

NR- Not Rated

 

MCD= Major Character Death (usually means one of the main people who are tagged under characters). If you’re unsure and the author hasn’t posted any hints as to not give away the story, you could politely ask in a comment or see if they have any contact info in their profile. Most authors are super understanding and helpful!

 

UNDERAGE= Someone under the age of 18 is involved in a romantic/and or/ sexual relationship ***(It’s out there, we’re not condoning, just informing)***

 

Most authors will tag anything that could be a potential trigger, we understand that there’s a lot of scary things out there and everyone’s trauma is different. So we absolutely do what we can to protect our loyal readers and anyone that happens to stumble across our works.

 

If you’re unsure about what a tag could mean, please do your research. The last thing anyone wants is for you to get mid-way through an amazing story and when something triggers you or even just causes you to stop reading with a disgusted feeling in the pit of your stomach. You don’t want to feel that way and we don’t want you to feel that way.

 

My best advice for new readers? Think about what it is you’re looking for and then search it out. If you’re looking to laugh, check out something tagged crack or crackfic. If you think that a sappy romance between two of your favs is just what you’re looking for, check out things tagged for Happy Ending/Fluff. And if you are looking to have a long deep sobbing cry, cathartic tears shed as you’re curled up in bed, I highly recommend, Angst/AngstWithAHappyEnding. Though, you can totally do it without the happy ending too if that’s your jam; no judgment.

 

If you are still unsure, ask around find out if any of your friends read fanfiction. If they don’t, or you can’t find anything you’re interested in, feel free to reach out here. I have tons of recommendations for the fandoms that I’m interested in but even if we don’t jive with the same media, I’ll do my best to hook you up with something that’s up your alley and well written.

 

Last ProTip for reading fanfiction:

 

Comment

Kudos

Like

Favorite

Whatever the options are there, pleaseeee please take them. If you don’t like something, obviously you can close it and move on without feeling bad about that. But for any story that you enjoy, let me tell you…it’s an author’s lifeblood to get feedback. Whether it’s simple, ‘Man I really liked that, thanks for sharing.’ or a keyboard smash that just says ‘kajfdskjflsadkj jlkads j I LOVE IT!! OMG!!! ‘ or a full paragraph or multiple paragraphs, it doesn’t matter. As long as you feel you left a comment worthy of the free story you just inhaled, I promise, the author will absolutely love you.

 

Alright, now onto the good stuff. Where can you find fanfiction?

 

There are a ton of websites that cater to some version of fanfiction but here’s a few of the most popular.

 

https://www.archiveofourown.org/

 

https://www.fanfiction.net/

 

https://www.livejournal.com/

 

https://www.wattpad.com/

 

ENJOY!! Please feel free to reach out to me if you don’t understand a tag, or need a good fic rec, or really anything except math beyond a third grade level.

 

I’m so bored, please be my friend.

 

Seriously though, go find something that tells you what it would be like if your two favorite characters started smooshing their faces together. You won’t regret it!

 

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Review Day Tuesday! If You Come Softly by Jaqueline Woodson

Hi there! Welcome to Review Day Tuesday! Our first review in this series is a Contemporary YA by Jaqueline Woodson. Our new reviewer Lakin, read it for her book club and had a lot to say.

~~~Bibliogal

***Possible Spoiler within the review***

 

***As a bit of a warning, this book explicitly discusses racism and death. Please read responsibly. ***

If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson, Reviewed by Lakin 4.8 Stars ⭐

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If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson is an American classic. It was first published in 1998, yet it feels so relevant and modern. The story centers on a young couple, Jeremiah and Elisha. They come from wildly different lives but fall in love as they both start high school at Percy Academy. The blatant struggle of this budding romance is a racial difference. Miah is black. Ellie is white. The discussion of identity is so relatable, but this story is also a sweet and nostalgic romance.

First and foremost, Miah and Ellie both have very individual voices. The chapter narration alternates but it is so clear who is telling the story even without context. This is partly due to the shift in perspective, but the wording and sentence pace are so distinct. When I’m reading a John Green novel, for example, in my head I hear his voice like I’m watching a VlogBrothers video. However, Woodson’s characters have very unique voices as you read them and it is such an amazing experience.

As much as they have distinct voices, they also have surprising depth. I feel like I know these characters for who they are. All of them seem so natural and true. For me, a mom that struggles with the sacrifice of motherhood, seeing Marion also struggle with her identity as a mother is a touching reflection. Sometimes life happens and seeing that portrayed in such an approachable way makes this story so genuine.

It isn’t all gloom and tragedy though. Woodson does an awesome job of making first love feel as real as it does when you’re fifteen. It is so special to read the incredibly sweet and soft moments they share. At the same time, it feels familiar and normal. The characters fall in love the way we all did, head first and hopeful. Except Miah and Ellie have a first introduction fit for the big screen; they literally bump into each other. It’s a magical moment of locking eyes and feeling the world shift. This really sets the stage for their extraordinary relationship.

As with most first loves, there is a bit of a hiccup to their perfect world: other people. Miah and Ellie feel the racial tension that people project on them when they are in public. Ellie is even confronted with racism from her closest sister. Ultimately the climax of the story is Miah’s wrongful death at the hands of the police.

Reading this was devastating.

One day I’ll be echoing Miah’s father and explaining to my son how to be cautious when he’s in a white neighborhood. How to act when he’s pulled over and questioned for driving his white sister to school. What to do when kids at school use the most hurtful language to mock him. How the color of skin is something he’ll always need to remember. I’ve heard the cries to protect black boys but now we live it. I’ve never felt the heartbreak of raising a black boy like I did reading “If You Come Softly”.

Miah was at the start of his life as you are at the start of the novel. Then everything is over before it properly began. The brevity of the novel and lack of resolution illustrates the incompleteness and nonsense of the wrongful death of a young person. That’s not to say that the book feels unfinished, just that it leaves you reeling with nothing but your thoughts.

It’s a brilliant work, but I have two major issues with “If You Come Softly”. The first being the foreshadowing. Before the book begins you know something has happened to someone named Miah. Ellie has a dream about him and her mother is very gentle and supportive about his memory. It feels a bit overkill considering the entire book describes racist acts and the complexities of black identity. Being American, you just KNOW how it will resolve in a novel so short. Maybe this dream scene helps the book reach international audiences. Maybe it will help set the stage for this story in a racism-free future. It was a bit much for me, though.

My second qualm is Anne. Anne is Ellie’s closest sister and love advisor. She has one phone call with Ellie early in the book in which she makes racist remarks. Then we never hear from her again. Anne is one character that does not get that aforementioned great depth of personality. She is set up as a hypocritical, racist villain with no further questions. It would’ve been wonderful to have seen that stressed relationship explored a bit more.

At the end of the day, I love this novel. The characters are brilliant, the love story is so cute, and the truth of racism is relevant. “If You Come Softly” is personally so valuable for me as a way to understand my son’s experiences in a modern America. I would recommend this book for teens and older. It’s a strong look at modern issues while being respectful of a young person’s view. It’s also a short book which makes it accessible for those who might not feel qualified to tackle such heavy topics. There is a sequel novel, “Behind You”, for those interested in Ellie’s story after the loss of Miah.

Review: Circle (A Sisterhood Story) by Alison Clarke

Review: Circle (A Sisterhood Story) by Alison Clarke

I received an Advanced Reader Copy of Circle and like it’s predecessors before, it was an empowering and inspirational read. Circle is the third installment of Alison Clarke’s Sisterhood series. It stays true to the previous narratives of the other books; teamwork, strong women, and mythology from all over the world.
This book starts with Abi, a high school student who struggles not only with her studies but with believing in herself. She is guided by an array of powerful women in folklore and mythology to find her true self, and answer the call to save the world. Through Abi, we also see characters from previous books as they answer the call to arms and their circle is formed. I enjoyed reading this book very much. The characters are diverse and from a broad range of backgrounds and are developed very well. The story itself flows at a slow pace but I found myself savoring the details and appreciating the action and progression because of it. After finishing this book I felt like I had accomplished something big. The message Clarke leaves with her readers is awesome and encouraging.
Did I mention there were swords? Dragons?Fairies? Gods, Goddesses, fantasy creatures, etc? There is an abundance of them! Clarke uses a rich and detailed array of mythology to weave a glorious tapestry and message that women can do anything. I recommend this uplifting read to all ages. 

4/5 STARS!giphy

Uprising Cover Reveal by Kate L. Mary

Uprising Cover Reveal by Kate L. Mary

Title: Uprising (Outliers Saga, 2)
Author: Kate L Mary
Genre: Adult Dystopian
Publisher: Twisted Press
Editor: Lori Whitwam
Publication Date: May 21st, 2018
Blurb:
I stood by and let it happen for too long, but I will not do it anymore. I will not be the person who watches others get hurt and does nothing to stop it. Not anymore.
Returning to Sovereign City after everything that was stolen from her is something Indra never thought she would do. Despite the scars she wears both inside and out, left there at the hands of the Sovereign and the Fortis, she is determined to save her people from oppression, even if it means putting her own safety at risk. But it isn’t long before she once again finds her world shattering around her. As the dust settles, Indra manages to find strength among the ruins, and she sets out on a quest to unite the four Outlier tribes, hoping to take their enemies down once and for all.
Readers agree that Outliers is a “A brilliantly beautiful soul trembling story that has left me pining for more,” and that “Indra is the kind of dystopian protagonist I’m always searching for, but rarely find.”
Kate L. Mary is an award-winning author of New Adult and Young Adult fiction, ranging from Post-apocalyptic tales of the undead, to Speculative Fiction and Contemporary Romance. Her YA book, When We Were Human, was the 2015 Children’s Moonbeam Book Awards Silver Medal Winner for Young Adult Fantasy/Sci-Fi Fiction, and the 2016 Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal Winner for Young Adult Science Fiction.
Author Links:
Buy Links:
Uprising (Pre-Order): https://amzn.to/2E2PwYM