Archive for February 18, 2012

Book Review – Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver

February 18, 2012 Leave a comment

Book Description:

A mix-up involving the greatest magic in the world has tremendous consequences for Liesl, an orphan who has been locked in an attic, Will, an alchemist’s runaway apprentice, and Po, a ghost, as they are pursued by friend and foe while making an important journey.

From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver comes a luminous and magnificent novel that glows with rare magic, ghostly wonders, and a true friendship that lights even the darkest of places.


“Coincidences; mix-ups; harmless mistakes and switches. And so a story is born.”

Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver was an absolute delight to read – had I been a young kid reading my first book, I think that Liesl & Po would have set me off for life as a book lover! It’s that good. What’s funny is that I’m not in the actual age group this fairy tale-like novel is geared to (it’s written for young readers, and features lovely sketch illustrations by Kei Acedera), but wouldn’t you agree that some books just transcend age or time? Featuring magic, ghosts, alchemists, lonely orphans, and an evil stepmother – this magical fantasy novel hooked me from the first line – “On the third night after the day her father died, Liesl saw the ghost” –  and just never let me go.  I so highly recommend this one!

The setting of Liesl & Po is a cold, dark and dreary Dickensian-like world where the sun has not shone for 1,278 days. The story follows three child characters:  the grieving 11-year-old orphan, Liesl Morbower, who is imprisoned in an attic bedroom by her evil stepmother; the child-ghost Po (and its pet ghost Bundle) who delivers an important message to Liesl from her father lost in limbo on ‘The Other Side‘; and the overworked (and sleep-deprived) alchemist’s apprentice Will who manages to misplace ‘the greatest magic in the world”.  Liesl (accompanied by Po) escapes her attic prison, and sets out on a journey to fulfill her father’s last wish, her flight intersecting with that of the runaway apprentice Will. And thus begins the group’s misadventures while pursued by dangerous foes (including the deliciously villainous Lady Premiere who believes the children have stolen the ‘magic‘) and an unexpected ally.

Liesl & Po is a story of loss & goodbyes, unlikely friendships, the love of family, and ultimately, one of new beginnings and hope. And this is a children’s book! Ms Oliver wrote in her ‘Authors Note‘ that this book was written to help her deal with the sudden death of her best friend and that she didn’t expect the book to be publishable (?!) – I’m glad that someone took a chance with this. It’s a very special book.

I haven’t read Lauren Oliver’s other novels (Before I Fall and Delirium), but just based on this, I think I should check them out. Ms Oliver is a talented writer, able to convey rich imagery with her words (that are just perfect for reading out loud). Example: “… he had walked down empty street after empty street, past row after row of darkened houses, in silence so thick it was like a syrup that dragged his footsteps away into echoes…” Sigh, makes me wish I could write like that!

Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver (illustrated by Kei Acedera) from HarperCollins is available on Amazon as a Kindle edition, Hardcover edition and Audible audio edition. *also available at Amazon UK.

The eBook is also available at B&N, and Apple iBooks.

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Free iTunes app Download – Dr. Seuss Band (THE DR. SEUSS MUSICAL INSTRUMENT GAME!)

February 18, 2012 Leave a comment

Whoa! Free for a limited time only – Dr. Seuss Band (THE DR. SEUSS MUSICAL INSTRUMENT GAME!) By Oceanhouse Media! Grabbing this as my niece loves Dr. Seuss! (But warning, there is an option to purchase in-app content, so be sure to lock out that ability by adjusting settings on your iPad!)

Experience the excitement as Dr. Seuss Band transforms your device into a vibrant, energetic musical instrument that all ages will enjoy! Jam along with playful Seussian melodies or create your own whimsical masterpiece. As you play, you’ll unlock new instruments, silly effects and catchy songs. Contains over 120 combinations of sounds, so you’ll always have something new to discover!

Enjoy the free app!

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Indie Saturday – Author Talli Roland on “Build A Man”

February 18, 2012 5 comments

Today, we have author Talli Roland featured on the blog’s ‘Indie Saturday‘ for her romantic comedy “Build A Man” (Available on Amazon). Perfect for Chick lit readers looking for an uplifting read marked by tongue-in-cheek humor (while tackling such ‘heavy’ topics as  the perils of cosmetic surgery and the ugly side of tabloid journalism). The sequel Construct A Couple will hopefully be set for release soon!

Author Talli Roland writes about ‘Build A Man’ (and why she loves writing about strong female characters):

I enjoy sweetness and light as much as the next gal, but sometimes it can get a tiny bit irritating to watch female characters spin in hopeless circles as they eat their way through cupcakes and trot off to buy high heels. Where are the successful, professional women who stand up for themselves and don’t fall to bits when faced with hunky men? Where are the protagonists who aren’t afraid to speak their mind, who drink whisky not spritzers, and chow down on potato chips not chocolate?

Don’t get me wrong: I’m a big fan of romance and love. But I want to see a couple come together as equals, after the woman sorts out problems herself – not because the hero has swooped in, snapped his fingers and made everything fine. I want the woman to be a person in her own right; I’ve never understood the attraction of the sentiment ‘you complete me’. In our modern times, women do it all. Why shouldn’t our chick lit protagonists represent that?

In my novel Build A Man, main character Serenity Holland doesn’t hesitate to pursue her ambition of being a top tabloid reporter, despite many obstacles in the way. She’s far from perfect – in fact, she takes quite a few wrong turns! – but she certainly isn’t dithering or ditzy. She makes firm decisions and follows through. In spite of her flaws and the fact that she unwittingly hurts others, I can’t help but respect her drive. By the end of the novel, she’s learned what’s really important . . . and found love along the way, without sacrificing who she is to get it. After all, isn’t that true romance? Two people who don’t need each other, but who choose to share their lives because they want to.

And that’s why I love writing strong female characters!

Bestselling novelist Talli Roland has three loves in her life: chick lit, coffee, and wine. Born and raised in Canada, Talli now lives in London, where she savours the great cultural life (coffee and wine). Her debut novel, The Hating Game, was shortlisted for Best Romantic Read at the UK’s Festival of Romance, and her second, Watching Willow Watts, was selected as a 2011 Amazon Customer Favourite. Build A Man is her latest release.

Build A Man by Talli Roland is available at Amazon in Kindle format. You can check out her Amazon author page or her website ( for a list of all her books (also romantic comedies). You can also find Talli Roland’s books on Barnes & Noble.

To learn more about Talli Roland, go to or follow Talli on Twitter: @talliroland. Talli also blogs at Drop by and say hi!


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Do you want to be a featured ‘Indie Saturday’ author too? Go here for more info!

Read an embedded sample of “Build A Man” after the jump!

Read more…

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