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Come One, Come All by E. Gilliland (Book Review)

The Pied Piper Circus lures in the lost, the lonely, people who wish to be stronger or faster or prettier…but once you join, you can never leave. 

Louisa knows the dangers of the traveling carnival, but she cannot afford to stay away. Not if she wants to get rid of the white owl that’s been haunting her, invading her dreams. Not if she wants to know about the dark, sinister mark in her eyes that convinces people to follow her every whim, no matter how terrible. Not when she fears what she might do with that power.

Ringmaster Amos Cain has the answers Louisa seeks, but like everything else in the Pied Piper Circus, they won’t come without a price. And there’s something hungry living in the heart of the carnival that will never be satiated, no matter how many lost souls She consumes.

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from R&R Book Tours.
I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

Years and years ago, I grew up in a tiny town. Every fourth of July weekend, a carnival would be set up less than a block from my house. During the day, the carnival didn’t look scary. At night, I had the opposite feeling regarding the place. I’m sure the carnie workers were friendly enough, but at night, I was afraid of them and who might grab me on the way back to my house. This story made me remember all those uneasy feelings from years past. 

The Pied Piper Circus had an acrobat, clown, a strong man, and a tiger that entertained the visitors. The circus also housed a very dark secret – a monster that feasted on the souls of the lost and lonely. When hunger struck or anger boiled over, the monster, referred to as “Lady,” would peel the skin off her victim’s flesh. She was the stuff of nightmares! 

Amos was the circus’s ringmaster, but he also helped corral the Lady when she awoke. It was no easy task keeping the Lady pleased; she was a jealous and heartless beast. 

The book’s summary was an attention-grabber. The cover and title are perfect! The story itself left me with mixed feelings. The story’s plot was unique. However, the first half often gave off a sequel vibe. For instance: It was written as if I should know who certain characters are, their past interactions, and why they behaved or reacted in certain ways. I looked up the book to verify this was not a sequel in a series. 

Since this book is labeled “horror,” I craved more Lady feasting scenes. Her hunger wasn’t capitalized on enough to make this a typical horror book. This story was more supernatural in nature. 

I was pleasantly surprised who came out of nowhere to help Louisa when we saw Lady’s anger unleashed. I thought they were gone forever. (No spoilers.)

With the superbly written book summary, I was ready to be blown away by the contents. Unfortunately, I wasn’t. It felt incomplete. Even though I had mixed feelings regarding the story, I recommend you read it. It was a nice supernatural read, and the ending opened it for a sequel. 

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: 1/2

 

 

About the Author

Writer Elizabeth Gilliland was photographed in Mobile, Alabama.

Elizabeth Gilliland mostly believes in ghosts and other supernatural spooks, but she has a standing agreement with them to keep a respectful distance. When she isn’t writing, she is most likely sneaking classic Gothic novels into her class curriculum, or arguing why we need to value adaptations as art. She is also the author of the Austen University Mysteries, and she lives in Alabama with her husband and son.

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Nope-Nope Emu by R.C. Chizhov (Book Review)

A funny and endearing tale about the power of persistence and never giving up.

An emu wins the emu-flap game every year. But when she loses her winning streak, she mopes around saying “Nope!” to every game. Follow her journey as she finds inspiration to say “Yes!”

and play emu-flap again.

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

Anastasia Yezhela did a phenomenal job with the illustrations. My daughter loved the emus. She liked their different hairstyles and clothing choices. She remarked that their shoes matched their outfit. Good catch! What an observant kiddo, and well done to the artist! My daughter was excited to see the emus wearing a crown since she plays dress-up and wears a crown too. She recognized the unicorn float from our local department store. 

We laughed together as the puppy chased his tail. In my daughter’s words, “Puppies are so silly.” I agree. We never see our kitties chasing after their tail.  

My daughter covered her eyes when she saw the pages with the magenta spider. I don’t blame her. They were rather big. Even though she kept her eyes closed, I read her the pages because spiders play an essential part in our daily lives. BTW: I thought the spiders were cute because they were fake. 

Nope-Nope Emu by R.C. Chizhov teaches children a valuable lesson: don’t give up when something is challenging; keep trying!

Nope-Nope Emu combines easy and complex words, perfect for homes or classrooms with varied reading levels. If your child is a non-reader, no sweat, they will enjoy the story too. 

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score:  ❤ 

Amazon Purchase Link

 

About R.C. Chizhov

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R.C. Chizhov grew up in India, moved to New York in 2005 and spent fourteen years as an investment banker before pursuing her childhood dream of becoming an author. She now lives in Florida with her ever-supportive husband and ever- energetic son. She is a member of SCBWI.

Instagram: @rcchizhov
 
 

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