Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Book Review: The Rebel Princess

Periodically I am asked to review books on my blog. Most of the time it's something I enjoy, since I love to read. This time around, I absolutely loved the book I was asked to review. A middle-grade read, The Rebel Princess is a fun story for all ages. The author, Janice Sperry, has created a clever, new-age twist on fairy tales that will entertain anyone who has the chance to read it.

The main character is an anti-heroine, Raven, who is determined to never become a princess like her mother. Set on becoming as evil as possible, Raven barely tolerates her twin brother: Edgar; a wannabe best friend: Amy; and she absolutely shuns the new kid on the block: Eric Charming, convinced he is a total rat.

The storyline contains a great deal of tongue-in-cheek humor, and as Raven finds herself lost in the horrors of the Enchanted Forest, the plot-line thickens. Interesting characters, like the one Raven labels Princess Loathsome, also known as Pansy; a young girl named Ella, who seems destined to face a wicked step-mother; a confused dragon who finds himself wearing an orange tutu; and the Muffin Man who is tired of dwelling on Drury Lane, surface throughout Raven's quest to find her way back to reality. It doesn't help that she has to rely on people who formerly annoyed her: her twin brother, Edgar, Amy, the wannabe best friend, and Eric Charming to survive. 

The ending was as delightful as the entire story, and it left me hoping there will be future adventures for Raven and her friends. 

I give this book a huge thumbs-up recommendation and I plan to buy copies for my granddaughters, knowing they will enjoy this story as much as I did.

You can learn more about the author on her blogsite:
Janice Sperry Blog and her book is available on Amazon.com on this link: Buy Rebel Princess

Monday, July 7, 2014

Fighting the Good Fight

From time to time most of us have probably heard snatches of the theme song from the Rocky Balboa movies inside our hearts and heads. Perhaps we've envisioned favorite scenes from these movies. The first two films in this particular series were released when I was a teenager. (Yes, gasp, I'm that old . . . sigh . . .)
They were so popular, that is possibly why I've occasionally borrowed strength from the storyline(s).

Many of us love underdog stories. We love it when the beleaguered protagonist manages to overcome tremendous obstacles to succeed. Cheering the hero on gives us hope that we will be able to do likewise when we face challenges of our own.

There have been numerous days when I have felt very much like the character, Rocky, after a fierce battle in the ring. My body and I have gone the rounds on many occasions, thanks in part to the Type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis that I deal with on a daily basis. One lovely day, I actually resembled Rocky after a nasty fight when I experienced an extremely bad episode with hives. My face looked so awful, little children cried. Fortunately this adventure took place when I was out of town, so the only people who witnessed this event were close family members. They were so alarmed, they didn't mock me until much later, after I survived that hazardous incident.

Emotionally, there have been days when I have very much felt like I have hit the mat inside Rocky's turbulent ring. Heartbreaking trials, like the death of a loved one, rip you apart like nothing else. It is tempting to not move, to remain face-down on the mat and ignore the audience that is trying to cheer you on. After all, they're not the ones dealing with overwhelming pain. They don't understand how hard and horrible it is--or so we reason with ourselves as we delve into self-pity mode. We convince ourselves that if we stand back up, life is just going to knock us down again. Then that annoying little theme song resurfaces. We've all heard it. Dadada . . . dadada . . . dadada . . . dadada.

I will admit there are times when I've tried to block that silly song, but to no avail. Eventually, one of my toes takes on a life of its own and begins to tap in time to the silent music. When that happens, I know it's only a matter of time before the rest of my body will begin to join in. Suddenly, I'm up on my knees. Then I stagger to my feet . . . and often get hit so hard, I find myself back in a prone position on the mat, whimpering.

The process of rising to meet my challenger head on often takes a long time. But there is something inside of me that usually doesn't let me give up. Like Rocky, I slowly rise to my feet, and beg for more. "C'mon, Life! Is that that best you can do? Is that all you've got? Bring it! You heard me . . . c'mon . . . take your best shot! That didn't hurt . . . okay . . . maybe it did . . . but I'm not giving up! Do you hear me? I'm not going away! No matter how many times you knock me down, I'll get back up! Because that's the kind of person I am! I wasn't sent to this earth to fail!!! I will eventually win this match!

That is my hope in mortal mode--that I will continue to be as stubborn as Rocky. It is my prayer that I will always remember how important it is to never give up. Our Elder Brother is the supreme example of how to face difficult times. He has given us all of the hope in the world--but it is up to us how we fight our individual battles. May we always rise to the occasion. ;)