Poppy the Proud by Emlyn Chand

Poppy the Proud

By Emlyn Chand

Illustrated by Sarah Shaw

Genre: Children

Poppy is a peacock with an ego problem. He is the most beautiful in the park and it’s gotten to his head. When a beautiful white peacock chick named Snow arrives in the park one day, Poppy is eclipsed. Why does everyone love this new kid? How can Poppy get back the admiration he deserves?

This was a darling tale about getting over yourself. Poppy learned image isn’t everything through failed attempts to beautify himself and the humiliation that followed.

I wondered if the format that appeared on my Samsung Galaxy seven inch tablet would not provide enough picture stimulation for Corbin, but the pretty peacock-feather details helped keep his eyes entertained. I would have liked to have heard more about the festival where Poppy was covered in colored powder. Though a bird might not know the name of the festival, we humans were interested.

I really love tales of redemption! I read it to my four-year-old son, Corbin, who enjoyed the story and loved the bright pictures. He said “My best part was when the peacocks put their heads in the shirt.” The language and message were perfectly understandable to a child of only four, and were relevant to a wide range of ages. Image and appearance are such an important topic in life today with cameras in every hand, and I really appreciated reading my son the message that it’s about making others happy and caring for them, and not about being praised.

Thank you for the lovely story, Emlyn!

Book trailer – http://youtu.be/QSh1BFjO448

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GoodReads – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13568454-poppy-the-proud

Open Heart by Emlyn Chand

Open Heart

By Emlyn Chand

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal

Simmi Shergill is a girl overwhelmed by emotions. Not only does she have her own barrage of teenage feelings to handle, she also feels and even influences the emotions of others. Saved from a grim fate by her boyfriend Alex’s powers of precognition, she now enters back into her regular life. But the stress of that everyday life is getting to her. Her powerful emotional influence has frightened her with the responsibility and guilt of forcing others to her own will. Will turning to a dangerous eating disorder help her to regain control? Can she become the actress she wants to be, earning the right to shine in the only thing that seems to bring back her confidence? What are these feelings she has for Dax, the telekinetic boy who sort-of almost caused her death? Why doesn’t she feel the same way about Alex that he feels about her?

This story is a tangle of emotions, just like a real teenage girl’s life. I could relate very closely with the visceral feelings and insecurities of a girl who feels so out of place. Emlyn almost made me feel Simmi’s physical reactions to her emotional states. Though it didn’t contain the unique perspective of the first book of the series, I really enjoyed the perspective of someone beside Alex as a reflection on the first character.

Simmi is a very spicy character, appearing as mild as she can manage though she broils with feeling. I loved the part her culture and family played in her inner struggle, pitting her American teen lifestyle against her Indian family values. Her fears and insecurities add to the tension of the story, where everyday interactions become charged with emotion. I didn’t always like how she reacted or the choices she made, but it forced the reality of her story under my skin. None of us do what we should or react the way we should and I could forgive Simmi’s mistakes knowing I’d mess up too.

I also enjoyed the group of characters she’s put together in Simmi, Alex, Dax, Shapri, and all their families. They don’t work together as a seamless team as often ends up happening in a story. They struggle through, misunderstanding and screwing up, trying to make it through. This brings a tremendous amount of sympathy and heart to the story.

The ending was shocking and chilling, and I appreciated the courage Emlyn had in allowing Simmi’s powers and romantic troubles to come to their startling conclusion, rather than swooping in to save her somehow. It really made me eager to hear more of the story in the next book!

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Farsighted by Emlyn Chand

Farsighted

By Emlyn Chand

Genre: Fantasy

My rating: Four out of Five Stars

Bonus! This blog tour has a $100 prize for one random commenter as chosen by random.org. Leave comments on this post your chance to win! You can also visit other tour hosts and leave comments on their blogs to enter for the random commenter prize.

This is my first Blog Tour participation. I’m a person who learns by doing, so this is me doing. My review will live at the “Book Reviews” page.

Description:

Alex Kosmitoras, blind from birth, is an otherwise normal high school boy, until he develops powers of foretelling the future, as well as perceiving events currently happening elsewhere. His new friends Simmi and Shapri, two girls in his class, have been drawn to him because they also have powers. Simmi can affect people’s moods and Shapri can speak to the dead. Shortly after meeting Simmi, Alex begins to have feelings for her. Then he has a vision of her gruesome death. Prevention of this disaster becomes his obsession, compelling him to hone his powers and push his own boundaries. Alex must crack the mystery of his  visions and stop a telekinetic boy named Dax from killing the girl he loves.

Review:

Farsighted was exciting and engaging. Emlyn’s characters were lovable and she made me want to know what happened to them.

Alex’s bravery through his challenges and his manliness was refreshing and made me respect him. I connected with him from the first few pages, loving his frank perspective and unique challenges. His many, shifting emotions were dead-on for a sixteen-year-old boy, and they enriched the story. I really enjoyed the view into his sightless world under the context that he had never seen before. Omitting that aspect from his descriptions made the descriptions sizzle, and that takes talent. Only once or twice did I think, “Would a blind boy be able to tell that was happening?” The plot engaged me as I was pulled through the book by the
momentum of the story, not left hanging by too much description or rabbit trails.

A few of the dramatic scenes seemed rushed. With all the great emotional description of Alex’s feelings through the rest of the book, I was surprised how little some of the big scenes were explored in this way. The scenes of Alex’s dad’s disappearance and reappearance, the false breakup with Simmi, the fake romance with Shapri, Alex’s mom knowing the whole time about his powers, and the final confrontation with Dax left me wishing for more details, particularly in how everyone felt. The characters’ feelings here so richly described elsewhere that I expected it to flow through the whole narrative.

The description of Alex’s identification of people by their smell, and his awareness of what was happening through sound was fantastic. I wanted to hear all about his perceptions and impressions in this unique perspective.

Alex’s numerous and dramatic visions belied the quick ending. There was so much buildup to the horror of Simmi’s death and the evil nature of Dax that the tame ending felt a bit like an anticlimax. This is truer with real life than with a novel, and I felt Emlyn could have gotten more out of her ending.

The segue into a second book was obvious, but not so abrupt that I felt cheated. I’m looking forward to the next book in this series!