Oana @All Fantasy Worlds

Book Review: "Beowulf: A Bloody Calculus" by Milo Behr

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Fast-paced action, intriguing characters, and a universe that I can’t wait to further explore in Milo Behr’s second novella… I think it’s fair to say that “Beowulf: A Bloody Calculus” is one of the best cyberpunk reads I’ve come across lately. The story grabbed my attention from page one, and I couldn’t put my Kindle down until I finished it. I simply had to know what happened next.

Beowulf is a different kind of superhero. It’s the kind of superhero that people of a highly technologized 22nd century need to assure them that they’re still in control of their own lives and what happens out there, in the world, when their implants allow them to experience anything they want from the comfort of their home. Together with Booth, the host of the most popular variety show, Beowulf tracks down outlaws and punishes them for their crimes live, at the public’s request. Sometimes, this means killing them. So, yes, Milo Behr’s novella is dark, gritty, and it explores a possible outcome of allowing technology to take over our lives. The enhancements do make things easier, but they also make people vulnerable, as it happens to the victims in “Beowulf”. Also, they may give a truly smart hacker the possibility of playing God.

The author starts from an interesting premise, which, of course, has been present before in cyberpunk works, and delivers an action-packed story that keeps readers guessing. The characters are well defined, and by the end of the novella I found myself liking a character that I initially disliked. And I’m talking here about Booth, who seems to be only interested in the rankings of his show, and not about morality and justice. The final scenes, however, put him in a different light, and I started to see that he does care about the people’s safety and freedom. I think Booth is a good example of character development done well in the limited space given by a novella.

“Beowulf: A Bloody Calculus” is a must-read for all fans of science-fiction and cyberpunk. The author’s original writing style is immersive, and the action scenes have just enough details to give you a clear view of what is happening and how. Bottom line: it was a fun and intense read that got me thinking about how it would be if we had everything we needed – information, medicines, entertainment –, just a thought away, and how much we’d have to pay for this comfort.


The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Book Review: Violet Moon – Fairy Tales with Art to Heal the Heart by Sara Deutsch and Denise Ostler


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This is the fourth book by Sara Deutsch that I have read, and I must say that it’s also the one I like most. It seems to me that the author took all the amazing pictures she created together with Denise Ostler, and all the story ideas they have come up with until now, and put them all in this inspiring book. Actually, this is not just any kind of book. It is a collection of original fairytales that can change the reader’s perspective on life, love, happiness, purpose, and anything and everything that truly matters. I would say that “Violet Moon – Fairy Tales with Art to Heal the Heart” is more appropriate for older children.

Every single story has a powerful message behind it. It is difficult to say which of them I liked most, but if I had to choose, I would have to go for “Tyla and the Warrior”. Why? Because the main character reminded me of someone I know, and while reading the story I couldn’t help thinking that she would have a lot to learn from it. As soon as I get the chance, I am going to tell her about this collection. Tyla is a woman who is always busy helping other people. She takes care of patients in the hospital, she adopts the pets that her friends no longer want, and she gets very little time for herself. She thinks that dedicating her life to solve other people’s problems should make her happy, but she is wrong. “Tyla and the Warrior” is a story about self-discovery and about learning that happiness means taking care of your own needs and problems.

One thing that I noticed about Sara Deutsch’s fairytales is that most of them have as a central theme the journey. In “The Brave Tinker”, Ergo realizes that he is growing old and he’s never been on an adventure. In “Florasapiens – The Flower People”, Orchida goes on a journey because she believes there is something out there that can bring happiness to the Florasapiens by teaching them to see beyond the physical appearance. These are just two examples of how the author used this theme to show that in order to grow and learn people need to step out of their comfort zones and explore the world.

At the end of the book, readers will discover an entire chapter dedicated to exercises and techniques that can help them solve their problems and heal their wounds. Each fairytale contains at least one of these exercises, thus giving an example of how they can be used to gain insight into your own emotions and deepest thoughts. My personal favorite is the one that encourages you to draw and write with your other hand. I can understand how your non-dominant hand is connected to the right brain and can reveal surprising information and long forgotten memories. This is one of the exercises that I intend to try.

It’s easy to see why I think “Violet Moon – Fairy Tales with Art to Heal the Heart” will appeal more to older children. They need to have some background to understand the deep meanings of each fairytale, and complex concepts such as meditation and healing. Of course, the book can be read together with their parents, who can further explain these ideas and how they can use them in their own development.

The illustrations are amazing! They are brightly colored and incredibly complex. I often caught myself staring at a picture for minutes, admiring the details and trying to understand the multiple messages the illustrator wanted to suggest.

Book Review: The Arab Marilyn Monroe by Sienna Wilder


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After reading Sienna Wilder’s novella, “Turning Lesbian”, I wanted to see what else this new LGBT author has published. I love it when I come across an interesting book description, I give the book a try, and I discover an author I know I will stalk forever to make sure I read everything he/she publishes. This is what happened with Sienna Wilder. I read “The Arab Marilyn Monroe” in one sitting, and now I can’t wait for the next novella in the series.

This novella is just as hot as the first one I read. Olivia and Fairuz are perfect together, and I liked the fact that they come from completely different cultures. Olivia is Greek-American, and Fairuz is Algerian, which makes for interesting discussions about religion and how love between two women is seen by the people belonging to different communities. This adds depth to both the characters and the story, turning the novella into much more than the readers might expect. Needless to say that those who love cross-culture romance stories will absolutely love “The Arab Marilyn Monroe”.

I liked both main characters, but I must admit that Olivia was my favorite. After she meets Fairuz, she realizes that her relationship with Peter will never work. I loved the way she decided to give him the news, and the scene right before she left him was insanely hot. I can’t imagine a better way to torture a man than by allowing him to look and not letting him touch. And the scene was even sexier because Olivia was thinking about Fairuz the whole time.

The relationship between Olivia and Fairuz was not only based on their hot encounters, and I loved the fact that they became very close in a short period of time by talking and understanding each other. There are some sweet and romantic scenes where Fairuz is very gentle with Olivia while helping her move past her relationship with Peter and start a new life. It seems like they were made for each other, and after reading the last page of the novella, I only wanted for them to find a way to overcome all the obstacles imposed by Fairuz’s religion. The Epilogue promises a second book, so I can’t wait to find out what the author has in store for Olivia and Fairuz.

Book Review: Turning Lesbian by Sienna Wilder


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I picked up this novella because I loved the cover, and the description sounded very intriguing and promising. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised to discover it has a lot of drama, romance, and hot scenes for such a short piece of writing. The author managed to balance everything very well, and I couldn’t put it down once I started reading it.

First of all, I loved the characters. I could totally relate to Rachel and understand how much she suffered after her boyfriend decided to leave her for another woman. I also liked the fact that she remained strong and positive, and chose to be his friend even though he had hurt her. This is not something that anyone can easily do. Rachel’s decision to avoid men and date women instead was understandable, and this made the character very believable, and her actions realistic.

Kathryn is also an interesting character, and I liked how she raised Rachel’s confidence and made her feel desired and appreciated. Meeting Kathryn was very important for Rachel even though things turned out a different way. I admit the twist took me by surprise. Sienna Wilder is such a good and clever writer, that it is impossible for the reader to predict what might happen next. It was one of the few moments when something happened in a story and I didn’t see it coming. This was one of the things that made me want to read more of the author’s writing, along with the complex plot, well-developed characters, and very hot erotic scenes.

Fans of the genre will absolutely love the sex scenes in this story. There is one that takes place in a doctor’s office, and even though I thought it was a bit unrealistic, it was very well written. I mean, I can’t imagine something like that happening in a doctor’s office, but it worked great for the story. And the chemistry between Rachel and Elizabeth is perfect. After that particular point in the story, I wished that something would happen and Rachel would end up with Elizabeth instead of Kathryn.

After reading “Turning Lesbian”, I feel like Sienna Wilder is going to become a popular name in LGBT literature.

Book Review: I, Human (Book IV) by Vito Veii


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The fourth book in the “I, Human” series by Vito Veii picks up exactly where the third one left off. Captain Marcus, the android Vlen, and their entire fleet continue their journey towards the most distant planets of the galaxy. As they advance, they reach more dangerous places, and they find out some of the planets they want to explore are too hostile to sustain human life. All the while, the darkness at the edge of the galaxy grows even bigger and stronger, and it even starts influencing those who dare look upon it through the telescope.

One of the things I liked most about the fourth book is the symbolism. There is a scene, for instance, when Captain Marcus has a dream. Actually, it is more of a vision because everything he sees later proves to be real. He sees the darkness that threatens the entire universe take the form of Death, who is playing cards with Mephistopheles. When he wakes up, the Captain feels ill, and he is cured by Padre. So, the darkness tried to possess Marcus just like an evil spirit would do. As a reader who really likes stories where the good characters have to face truly challenging threats, I found this idea very clever. The darkness is more than a mystery. The Captain realizes that it is unpredictable and even more dangerous now that he knows it can take over someone’s mind.

The way the author describes the new planets will never cease to amaze me. For example, Dias is the most distant planet in the solar system, and it is incredibly hostile. But there is more to it than that: it is a ghost planet, and together with its moon, it seems that it acts like a shield that protects the entire solar system from outside threats. No matter how many probes the Captain sends, it seems impossible to explore properly, which makes it even more interesting and intriguing.

However, my favorite part was Padre’s sermon. I liked how the concept of human nature was exposed and explained, and it proved to me once again that the author has a unique way with words. As Padre says, the nature of man is determined by his will, which is why people always have to be careful what they want, because those are the things that define them. Once you will something, you also have to be prepared for the consequences, and that’s one of the most powerful messages this novel conveys. This time, the book ends in a cliffhanger. Now I can’t wait to read the fifth installment to find out what happens next.

Book Review: Supernatural Hero (Book 1) by Eran Gadot


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I can’t think of a better book for a middle grade student than “Supernatural Hero”. There are so many confusing situations children of this age have to face, and the author has managed to tackle them all in this lovely, heart-warming story of a class nerd who dreams of becoming a hero. And the best thing about this book is not that in the end his dream does come true, but that he becomes a hero through his own strength and courage. It is easy to see why Andy’s story is so empowering: it teaches children they have to believe in themselves even when no one does, and never let others bring them down.

Andy is the class nerd and he knows it. He also knows why the other children like to bully him so much: he is skinny, wears glasses, he is smarter than most, and too weak to protect himself. His social skills are almost non-existent, but it’s not like anyone ever gave him a chance to prove what he can. The fact that he can see ghosts doesn’t help either, especially when his own parents think he is crazy and take him to a psychologist. So, what are the chances that the prettiest girl in class, Zoe, might consider going to the movies with Andy? This is why I loved the twist in this story so much: it turns everything upside down, but in a believable, constructive way.

I liked that Andy didn’t turn into a superhero overnight. Even with his Grandpa’s guidance, he still had to make great efforts to find the courage to speak to Zoe, the girl he was in love with. As a character, he was very well-developed and very realistic. He was bullied, and each and every insult hurt him greatly and made him lose some of his self-esteem, but he always found the power to get up and go on. Also, I liked how he loved his parents so much even though they were ignoring him most of the time. He was even happy to help his sister with her homework even if she bullied him just as much as his classmates did. It’s impossible not to root for such a kind and special boy, and this is why “Supernatural Hero” is a great read for children: it offers them a role model who is their age.

Another thing that I loved about this book was the gentle way in which the author managed to approach the topic of death. When losing a loved one, children might find it hard to understand what is happening and why. Before he dies, Andy’s grandfather promises him that he’ll always be there, beside him. When he dies, he becomes a ghost, so Andy finds it easier to cope with his death. Knowing that those who are not among us anymore still protect us from above can make us stronger, so it’s good for children to learn about this as soon as they are old enough to grasp the concept.

“Supernatural Hero” is more than an entertaining, action-packed story that both children and parents will enjoy. It is the journey of a boy who discovers he can accomplish his wildest dreams only by being brave enough to step out of his comfort zone and face the challenge.

Extended Family – Original Fairy Tales with Art and Heart by Sara Deutsch and Denise Ostler


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Some time ago I read “Creative Collaboration”, a fantastic book for children and adults written and illustrated by Sara Deutsch and Denise Ostler. I loved the idea of using scribbles, doodles, and inkblots to create characters and stories, and I even used this fun game with some of my students. They enjoyed playing it, and the results of their collaboration were amazing. They ended up creating interesting characters and incredible plots by taking turns writing a few lines each. This didn’t only encourage them to use their imagination and creativity, but also helped them learn more about each other and become closer.

When I saw that the two authors had published a new book based on their BEFORE and AFTER game, I knew that I had to read it. This time they have put together some of the key characters developed from their exchanges, and created original fairy tales with very powerful messages. The result of their collaboration is a book that will appeal to both children and their parents, as they will find the stories humorous, but also realistic and educational. I think it would be a great idea for parents to read these stories with their children, right before going to bed, or maybe on a peaceful week-end, because it will give them the opportunity to spend some time together discussing about life, the universe, friendship, and the importance of loving yourself before you dedicate your time to those around you.

I loved all the fairy tales, and I found them truly inspirational. However, I must say that one of my top favorites was “Rhonda and the Robot”. I liked the idea of a tiny robot named Shoulds who worked in a small cubicle in Rhonda’s brain. It’s easy to see that we all have our little Shoulds who wakes us up each morning by screaming “You should do this, and you should do that! Stop wasting time! You should do what you’re supposed to do, not what you enjoy doing!” In Rhonda’s case, Shoulds was a program installed by her parents, but sometimes this annoying robot might be a program that we installed ourselves. The idea that Shoulds could be quieted down by installing the new program NOW was brilliant. It’s incredible how Sara Deutsch and Denise Ostler managed to present in simple words such a common, yet awful problem that most people today have, and then find a solution that anyone can apply. It’s all about motivation and a bit of willpower.

All the other fairy tales are just as lovely and inspirational as this one. I will let you discover them yourselves. Most of them are quite short, but there are also some longer, more complex ones that deal with people learning about the world and the universe. In order to love and appreciate what surrounds you, you have to first understand it, and this is exactly what the readers will learn by reading these incredibly imaginative stories.

Book Review: I, Human (Book III) by Vito Veii


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The journey through space of Captain Marcus Magnusson and his fleet continues in the third book of the “I, Human” series. As expected, this third installment is yet another proof of the author’s creativity and originality. Vito Veii takes his readers to new planets, and introduces them to new, mind-blowing concepts, theories, and technologies. After leaving the planet Gigas, where Captain Marcus managed to find friends and allies, he heads to the planet Sapentia. His fleet is traveling to the edge of the solar system, and all the people on board are aware of the fact that they may never return home.

There are so many things I loved about this book. The worlds Vito Veii created on each planet are incredible, and I couldn’t have enough of the descriptions and details he gives about them. For instance, Sapentia is the planet of harmony, and it is ruled by love and wisdom. All inhabitants live in peace, and the fact that their technology is very advanced hasn’t affected them in the least. This is an interesting point considering that technological advances have always been associated with terrible outcomes, such as the desire for power and control. Of course, there are the Homo-superiors who want to destroy the Homo-sapiens because they believe inferior beings should not be allowed to live, but I loved how the author also created planets where the people don’t regard technological advances as a mark of superiority.

Some of the concepts presented in this book are amazing. The part where the different dimensions are explained is fascinating. For instance, I found the description of the seventh dimension very interesting. It seems that in the seventh dimension, space, time, gravity, light and velocity outside normal space are used to send travellers into the future. Captain Marcus himself is impressed by everything he learns from those he meets on his journey, and he records every bit of information that can help his planet evolve.

“I, Human III” is very fast-paced and action-driven. The Captain’s fleet gets in a space battle with aliens, and they manage to save the last survivor of a very old civilization. Meanwhile, the darkness Marcus and his android, Vlen, first saw in the first book keeps increasing, swallowing whole star systems in the process. This unknown threat might bring everyone together in an attempt to save the whole universe. After reading the third book, I can’t wait for the next one in the series.

Book Review: I, Human (Book II) by Vito Veii


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The second book in the “I, Human” series continues the adventures of Captain Marcus and his android, Vlen, as they explore the space to learn more about other planets and their inhabitants. The Captain is now in command of an entire fleet. The major part of their mission is to find and colonize a new world, and for that they build space stations that are used for communication and astronomical observations, and they make contact with alien civilizations, trying to exchange knowledge and learn about their technological advances. Their mission is a diplomatic one, so the readers get the chance to explore a lot of the universe Vito Veii created.

Just like the first book, “I, Human II” raises thought-provoking questions about what makes us human and what it means to have a spirit or a soul. One of my favorite chapters is Chapter 8, which is written from Vlen’s point of view. The android is one of the most interesting and intriguing characters in this series. Though a robot, he is capable of thoughts and emotions – something that even his creator finds it hard to believe. Vlen has a very long and complex discussion with the ship’s Chaplain, Padre. The Chaplain is impressed by how advanced Vlen is, and when the android claims that he can experience feelings and emotions, he challenges him to explain how he came to this conclusion. What follows is a mind-blowing Socratic discussion on the existence of what we call the “I”, on the spirit and the soul, and on the idea that thoughts make us what we are.

So, if thoughts make us human, then what exactly is Vlen if he is perfectly capable of independent thought, and he even learned what feelings and emotions are through close observation of the people around him? Is he still an android, or is he something more? The discussion between Vlen and the Chaplain is not only very clever and well carried, but it is also very entertaining in a way that makes you stop after each paragraph and consider what you’ve just read. For instance, after finishing the book, I couldn’t take my mind off Vlen’s conclusion that when thought stops people will discover that the “I” doesn’t exist and it has always been just an illusion.

I would say that the second book in the “I, Human” series is even better than the first one. Now I can’t wait to read the third book, because I have a feeling this series is only getting better and better with each installment.

Book Review: I, Human (Book 1) by Vito Veii


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Science-Fiction has always been one of my favorite genres, so I simply had to get this book after reading the description, which promised a thought-provoking discussion about robots and how people see them. The title, “I, Human”, might remind you of Isaac Asimov’s “I, Robot”, but no worries! The author has managed to bring some new and completely unexpected twists to his story. White reading it, I realized that his premise is quite original, and his ability to paint the universe he created in vivid, detailed images got me hooked from page one.

The narrator is Marcus, the captain of the starship Veda. The whole book is like a journal, and I soon fell in love with Marcus and his way of seeing things. In the first chapter, we see him visiting his friend and mentor, Paul, who is a brilliant inventor. Thus, he meets Paul’s newest invention – an android that acts and behaves just like humans, without leaving the impression that it is only copying them. Marcus is absolutely fascinated by the robot, and asks Paul to tell him how he created it. This is one of the parts that I loved most about Vito Veii’s story. I love reading about science and technology, and trying to understand how things work. If you read the book, you will see that the author is great when it comes to explaining technological advances, as well as how his world is structured and how it functions. All the details about the political system, the war between the blocks, and the differences between Homo-sapiens and Homo-superiors helps the readers understand everything better.

My favorite character is, of course, Vlen – the android. It was interesting to see how the other characters, including Marcus, treated him knowing that he is not human. Even though he wasn’t sure at first, Marcus soon realized that Vlen is special and he should be treated like any other person. This is why he changes his name from Stellaris to Vlen. It is the first step to acknowledging that he is, in fact, very much human and he should be treated accordingly.

“I, Human” is a truly complex and creative novel. It is not only fast-paced and engaging, but it also raises some interesting and thought-provoking questions about what makes us humans, and about how the technological developments influence the future of humanity.


Bookish Pin-Up Art

I don't know about you people, but I have always been a huge fan of pinup art. I do enjoy the art in form of photography but always prefer drawn or painted versions of the sexiness. 


I have again collected multiple pictures from various sources to give us some Wednesday eye candy. Enjoy the art, enjoy the views. 

















Book Review: “Fountain” by John Medler


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I picked up this novel because it sounded like an intriguing historical thriller, but it took only a couple of chapters to convince me it was way more than that. Complex action, interesting, well-developed characters, mysteries, and even some clever twists – I’d say this book has all it needs to keep any reader glued to the pages. It surely kept me. Even if it has over 500 pages, I read it in two sittings and I couldn’t believe it was over.

“Fountain” follows at least two different plot lines that somehow come together at the end of the novel. On the one hand, there is the incredible theory Professor Charlie Winston develops regarding the discovery of America. I liked how the author did his research and presented all the historical facts in such a way that it didn’t feel like a history lesson, nor like the characters were dumping information. All the details were cleverly woven in the narrative and the dialogue, and it was a real pleasure to learn so many things about the discovery of America and the Pacific Ocean, as well as about the myths and legends of the natives, and the Fountain of Youth. I must admit that I didn’t expect the characters to actually go on a journey to find it, because it seemed like a crazy thought even for a history professor who was so passionate about this legend, but it was a nice twist. I absolutely loved the second half of the book, where Winston and his friends had to use their wits and knowledge to solve the Mayan riddles and survive the Trials of Xibalba.

On the other hand, there is the plot line that focuses on bioterrorism. Two brothers want to take revenge for their parents’ death, and choose to do so by spreading the airborne strain of the Ebola virus and threatening with the painful death of millions of Americans if the president doesn’t accept their terms. It was really exciting to see the best scientists trying to isolate the virus and find a cure, and, again, I loved the fact that the author did so much research on this. It was also interesting to see the bioterrorists’ side of story and try to understand the motivation behind their actions. The fact that “Fountain” is such a character-driven story was a plus for me.

Now I’m curious to read the author’s other book, especially since “Fountain” is a sequel to it. The characters hint at what happened in “Quatrain” a couple of times, and I really liked John Morse and his son, Zack, so it would be nice to read about how they discovered the lost prophecies of Nostradamus in John Medler’s first novel.

Mandala Magic – An Interactive Book for Children and Their Parents by Sara Deutsch


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This book is a great example of how parents and teachers can show their children and students how wonderful the world is by using simple, yet creative and effective techniques. By reading “Mandala Magic” and doing the activities the author suggests, children will not only learn about mandalas and how different cultures use them, but they will also understand their healing power and their unique ability to calm the nerves, enhance meditation, and bring peace to one’s soul and mind.

I believe the best thing about Sara Deutsch’s book is that it manages to teach children something so important in an enjoyable manner. In the first chapter, the author explains what a mandala is, and then gives examples of places where they can be found, as well as cultures that used them for different purposes. The readers are invited to look around them, in nature, and see that they are surrounded by amazing mandalas. They can be found in snowflakes, webs, flowers, fruits, shells, trees, and in so many other things that we often ignore. Actually, this is why this book is not only for children, but also for their parents: it encourages us all to take some time to truly look at the world around us and see how special it is. It can be a great read during the week-end, when parents can take their children for a picnic and read the book together trying to find mandalas in every flower, tree, or butterfly.

My favorite chapter was the one dedicated to the personal handwriting mandalas. I had no idea that a mandala could be created from handwritten initials, and now I’d like to try the technique suggested by the author and see what I get. I think it’s an interesting way of discovering yourself by combining your handwriting with your favorite colors and patterns. The result is unique and very personal.

The last chapter is full of activities that parents and children can do together. Starting with discovering what kind of mandala you are, then meditating using mandalas, and creating your own mandalas using all kinds of materials, all these exercises are fun, relaxing, and help you learn more about yourself. Working with mandalas regularly can only help parents and children gain peace and balance, and it also offers them a great opportunity to spend quality time together.

Book Review: Creative Collaboration by Sara Deutsch and Denise Ostler


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As an English teacher who works with children of all ages, I’m always interested in all kinds of creative games that can help me make my classes more fun, so that my students would learn easier and truly enjoy the whole process. I’m glad that I came across Sara Deutsch’s book, “Creative Collaboration”, because I discovered a game that can be used in so many ways. And the best part is that it can also be turned into a great activity for adults.

I loved the idea of collaboration between two partners to create drawings and stories together. The author explains how she invented this creative game together with her friend, Denise, turning it into something more than just a fun activity. The game became a perfect way of learning new skills from her friend and getting to know her better. The idea is that one of the players would draw a scribble or a doodle (BEFORE) and send it to the other player, who would turn it into a completely different image (AFTER). Then, the two players would choose three or four AFTERS that they would use to create a story. This simple, but highly effective concept got me very enthusiastic, and I’m already thinking of how I can use it with my students.

Ink Blots and Energy Prints are two other techniques that I found very interesting, especially because they can be used to learn more about your own feelings and emotions. They help you discover the creativity that is buried deep within you, and the Energy Prints, for instance, can bring many things to light. I loved the idea of using them as a journal technique because they can say so much about your real state of mind, and help you understand why you might be feeling the way you do at certain moments.

I see myself coming back to this book in the future and adapting the author’s games and techniques to other situations as well, not just teaching. I’m thinking that they can also be used by writers who need to come up with characters and plots for their stories, so that’s also a possibility I’m considering. “Creative Collaboration” was a truly inspiring read. For now, I’m going to start working on the BEFORES the author provided at the end of the book for those who don’t have a partner to play the game.

Book Review: Keoni and the Return of the Li’i by Kapuna Kane


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“Keoni and the Return of the Li’i” was a great surprise. It is an original, creative story that combines magic, mythology, and elements from different cultures, thus arousing the children’s curiosity and making them want to learn more about the countries and peoples mentioned in it. What made me pick up this book was the promise of a lighthearted read and the fact that it is based on Eastern mythologies. However, I was glad to discover that Kapuna Kane’s book has to offer much more than an exotic universe populated by mythical beings that are less known to children, and even adults.

Keoni is a young Menehune boy who is trained by teachers skilled in different forms of magic to become the best in this ancient art. He has been chosen for a special, secret mission that will put not only his magical abilities to test, but also his heart. The future of all magical creatures in the world is in Keoni’s hands, and his friends and mentors are there for him, teaching him everything they know and guiding him on the right path. More than anything, this is a story about family, friendship, and cultural diversity. It teaches children the importance of trusting their loved ones, and it also shows how they should never judge other people just because they are different.

Keoni is a great role model for any child. One of the many virtues he needed to learn was patience, which is something so many kids lack today. He is curious and excited about everything that is new, and he wants to grow and learn as much as possible. He is also compassionate, and he always starts from the idea that everyone is good, even those who harm others. Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book, when Keoni tells Parrick the Leprechaun that he should never assume people are bad because of what they do, and he should always give them a second chance:

“Parrick, you mustn’t assume that all Druids are bad just because they are different than you. Look around this gathering and you’ll see many beings who are now your friends. We may speak differently, dress differently, and even look different than you, but deep inside we are all the same.”

Another thing that I thought was brilliant about Kapuna Kane’s book was all the hyperlinks that take the readers to maps, pictures, and lovely illustrations of the characters. Children can find out more information about the magical creatures, about the islands where the action takes place, and even about the food that is mentioned in the text. Thus, “Keoni and the Return of the Li’i” is not only a fun and entertaining story, but it’s also a great opportunity to learn about Hawaii, Japan, and Ireland. The author has chosen some of the most interesting facts from all these cultures and explained them briefly at the end of the book. My bet is that, if your children haven’t been much interested in mythology and culture until now, they will surely become little experts after reading this book.