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Book Review: The World's Greatest Chocolate-Covered Pork Chops by R.K. Sager

The World's Greatest Chocolate-Covered Pork ChopsThe World's Greatest Chocolate-Covered Pork Chops by R.K. Sager
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Middle Grade, YA

"I'm Zoey Kate, culinary prodigy, gourmet innovator, child chef extraordinaire."

"... I know how to say bon appétit in fifty-two languages."

Zoey is a child chef genius. Her recipes are all about mixing together ingredients that normally wouldn't go together, but it works and people love her cooking. She wants to open her own restaurant so that the whole world will get to experience her amazing cooking. She has wonderful people who support her along the way. She also makes a few enemies who don't want her to succeed.

This book was hilarious. It had me laughing from the first page. Zoey is such a quirky character. Following her adventure was really fun. I loved that different food cultures are talked about and that we get to explore some of San Fransisco. This book is full of unique and imaginative characters.

This book would be great for children as it teaches them to dream big and that anything is possible if you work hard for it. It also shows us the importance of friendship. As an adult this book will let your inner child run free. I like that recipes are included at the end, especially one for chocolate-covered pork chops.

Overall, I enjoyed it and I think that children would love this book. Since there are many children who have a passion for food and cooking they will really enjoy it and relate to Zoey.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGallery.

 Sincerely, JoJo. ♥

Book Review: A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Genre: Fantasy, YA

Vikram has received an invitation to the Tournament of Wishes but in order to compete he needs a partner. Gauri reluctantly becomes his partner. They're complete opposites. The Fox Prince can charm his way out of anything. He can spin a tale so intricate that anyone will be enchanted. His words are his weapons. Instead of fighting he uses his speech. The Jewel of Bharata is a mighty fighter. In a battle she's lethal. She doesn't trust anyone or anything but herself. On the surface Vikram and Gauri appear to be different but if you look closely you’ll see that they’re two halves of the same coin. They both want the same thing: freedom. An unlikely alliance is formed by two people who were destined to meet. They must learn to work together in order to win.

This book has everything you could possibly want in a great story. We have a strong, fiercely independent female protagonist and a wonderful, optimistic male protagonist. It's told in multiple perspectives, which allows the reader to understand what each character is thinking. Vikram endured a difficult childhood and he didn't let that turn him hard. He still believes in magic and has faith in himself. Gauri's childhood taught her how to be a fighter and to survive. They need each other to break their walls and finally let someone in.

This book has a slow-burn, enemies to lovers romance. This is one of my favourite tropes. It was nice to read about the progression of the romance. It was also nice to see both characters grow on their own. What I loved about Vikram is that even though he was sure of his feelings for Gauri he gave her the time that she needed to discover who she was before she could be with him. He waited for her. He let her decide and never pushed her to be with him. We need more characters like him. Both of these characters were extremely pleasant to read about. I loved them both.

This book is lyrically written.This is a companion novel to The Star-Touched Queen.  I'd consider it a sequel because it's set in the same world and it feels like it starts in the time period where the previous novel left off. I also think that this book can be read as a stand-alone because it's different enough from the first one. The Star-Touched Queen has a larger focus on mythology and immortality, while A Crown of Wishes is mainly about these two people thrust into a magical world and encountering magical creatures. Roshani Chokshi's prose captivated me and brought me to another world. I would read anything from her because she has such a enchanting way with words. I love that she takes elements of her own culture and creates a story around it. This story takes you on an action-packed adventure. I throughly enjoyed every minute of it. If you love fantasy novels this book is for you. I highly recommend that you read it.

Have you read this book? Do you plan to read it?

Sincerely, JoJo. ♥

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the publisher.  

Book Review: Persuasion by Jane Austen

Persuasion by Jane Austen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars 

“I am half agony half hope… I have loved none but you.”

“Her affection would be his for ever.”

I haven’t read Jane Austen in a while. I’m glad I read this one as a means to get back into her works. 

Persuasion tells the story of Anne Elliot. When she was nineteen she was persuaded to reject the proposal of the man that she loved because he had no net worth. Eight years later he reappears in her social circle as a rich captain. He treats her as if they’re strangers and seems to be interested in someone else. When someone else shows an interest in Anne will his true feelings come out? This book deals with love, loss, self-worth and jealousy.

I think that Anne Elliot is the most mature Austen heroine. She has become one of my favourite literary characters ever written. She’s an over thinker. She needs time alone to get her thoughts in order. She like spending time with people but she also needs to spend some time alone. When she was young she let the influence of others, particularly Lady Russell determine her decision to reject the man that she loved, but as she matured she didn’t blame anyone but herself for it. She accepted the fact that it was her decision and didn’t regret it even though it brought her great suffering. There were parts of the book where she thought about how her life would have been different if she would have accepted the proposal. She never stopped loving him. Anne spent most of the book watching the love her life interacting with someone else not knowing that he was still in love with her. She would have married him the second he popped back into her life.

I strongly disliked Anne’s family. Her father doesn’t see much worth in her as she didn’t marry when she was young. I felt indifferent towards her sister Elizabeth. Her sister Mary is selfish and acts as if she's the centre of everything that goes on. At the start of the novel I completely disliked Lady Russell, but I grew to tolerate her.

While I do think Captain Wentworth should have been clear about his feelings from the beginning but, I think that he’s a good person. He understood why Anne rejected his proposal when she was young. It’s understandable that he was angry at first. Even in the times that he’s ignoring her he still speaks highly of her. He spent eight years away from her but his love for her remained constant in all that time. He was ready to accept rejection a second time, but he just had to let his feelings be heard.  He gave her the choice of whether or not she wanted to be with him.

If I would have read this when I was younger I wouldn’t have been able to appreciate it as much as I do now. I’m pleased with the ending. This was Austen’s last novel and it’s her most mature.

Who's your favourite Austen heroine?

Sincerely, JoJo.♥

Book Review: Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë

Agnes GreyAgnes Grey by Anne Brontë
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"Reading is my favourite occupation when I have the leisure for it, and books to read."

Agnes Grey tells the story of Miss Agnes Grey who becomes a governess to help with her family's finances when her father loses their money. It gives you the impression that it was written as a journal about her time as a governess for two families: the Bloomfields and the Murrays. She often addresses the reader which makes it feel like she's writing to you. You get the impression that she wrote it knowing that she would have an audience. I don't particularly like it when the author addresses the reader; but, in this case it works because she's telling exactly what she wants us to know.

I believe this is a semi-autobiographical account taken from Anne Brontë's experience as a governess. It's exquisitely written. Anne Brontë doesn't romanticize life in the 19th century. She depicts a realistic picture of the difficulties that come with this occupation. You really understand how Agnes feels. Agnes was treated horribly by the children yet her faith never wavered and she persevered. The portrayal of love is realistic. The love interest is not romanticized. I would say it'a slow-burn romance because you're not sure if anything is going to happen and when it does it leaves you extremely pleased. If I had to make any criticisms to the book it would be that the love story is too short. There's not enough of Agnes' love story in the book; however; the main point of this book is not the love story, it's about life and the treatment of women in the Victorian era.

I think that Anne Brontë was ahead of her time as her writing focuses on women, and the reality and difficulties that came with being a women during that time period. She also explores themes that were taboo in the 19th century. She hints at the reality of marriage in the 19th century. You also clearly understand that you're reading the work of a religious person as religion is a main part of Agnes' life, which reflects that Anne was a religious person. Her works are underrated but I think they need to be read. If you've never read her before I urge you to give her a chance because her views on life surpasses those of her sisters.

Sincerely, JoJo. ♥

Book Review: Three Souls by Janie Chang

Three SoulsThree Souls by Janie Chang
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Genre: historical fiction, fantasy

This book recounts the life of Song Leiyin. We meet her watching her own funeral and where she first encounters her three souls (in Taoism it is believed that a person has three souls: yin, yang and hun) as we take a journey to the day she finished high school and the choices she made that changed her life forever. We see the consequences of her choices, how they affected everyone around her and how she must make amends before moving onto the afterlife. We also uncover the mystery of how she died. Now that Leiyin is essentially a ghost she begins to see her life and the people around her in a different way. She understands why her father made certain choices and wishes to see him again. As a ghost she is given a second chance to help the people she cared about. This book is set in 1935 China with flashbacks to the late 1920's. You get a sense of the social and political changes that were occurring that the time.

This is an intriguing tale that keeps you wanting more till the last page. It's lyrically written. I liked that the story stresses the importance of education and family. It shows us how one choice can dramatically change every part of your life. The novel ended up being darker than I initially thought and some parts felt uncomfortable for me to read. The beautifully crafted narrative is what prompted me to finish the book.

What books have you been reading?

Sincerely, JoJo. ♥