Review of Playing Hooky by Rita J. Webb




Valentine’s Day.

And my 21st birthday.


Just another college day full of classes and more homework than is humanly possible.

…until Jason, my best-friend-since-kindergarten, shows up to take me out for the day.

Like old times: the two of us on a wacky adventure, playing hooky from real life. With his lopsided grin and tickets to a circus full of misfits and monsters, he introduces me to a whole new world—one full of magic and mystery—and turns my reality upside down.

Except nothing goes as planned, and we end up running through the city to find a missing siren before someone brews a love potion with her blood.

Sirens and love potions, witches and elves, and Valentine kisses. Nothing will be the same for me again.

 This beautiful cover does nothing to highlight the wonderful story. While I wished this was full length novel, instead of just a novella, I found it funny, interesting, and romantic. The magical element is very believable. However, I felt that Emma seemed to accept it just a little too quickly and easily. My favorite thing about this book, was the characters. They were loveable and realistic. Even the grumpy dwarf (Gruff) was loveable in his own way. Speaking of Gruff, I felt that he was a character reminiscent of J.K Rowling’s writing and I enjoyed that. Lastly, though miniscule in the grand scheme of things, I felt that this book needed another run through with editing. There was nothing big, but when a line like “blues as emeralds” pops out at you like it did, it sticks with you… Or, maybe that’s just my OCD talking. All in all, I enjoyed the story and feel that the author is a good writer with great potential. Hope to read more from this author in the future.

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Leaving the house to go to school, I had schoolbooks spilling out of one hand, the other holding my place in a Nancy Drew novel, and bunny slippers still on my feet. My mom was a wee bit upset.

I haven’t changed much. Still always have a book (or two) in my hand or creating stories in my head, and although I don’t have any bunny slippers, I love writing in my jammies and snuggly slipper socks.

When I grow up (maybe a hundred years from now), I’d like to be a superhero, but for now, saving the day, one page at a time, suits me just fine.

With my husband TJ (my own cuddly werewolf), I home-school our three girls, who keep us busy with art, science projects, books to read, dance classes, and walks about the park.


Above the entrance, a sign reads Michael Magnificent and the Magician Magellan’s Magical Menagerie of Malicious and Monstrous Misfits. The word Misfits was smaller than the other words most likely because the painter almost ran out of room. Someone got a little carried away with the alliteration.

Carrying loads of boxes and pushing wheelbarrows, people bustle from tent to tent, and nobody pays any attention to us.

I blink as I stare at the sight before me and then glance at Jason.

He gives me a smile. “Welcome to a whole new world.”

“A circus?” I make a high-pitched noise, that is not a squeal. Because I do not squeal.

“Calm down.” Jason rubs his ears. “Not just any circus, Miss Acrobat.”

I’m normally not the squealing type, but I love the circus. As a kid, I dreamed of being an acrobat and pestered my parents until they finally got me into gymnastics. They stopped complaining about the cost when I got a full athletic scholarship.

“We’re a little early, but I thought you’d like to wander around and explore with me. The animal tents are . . . well, you’ll like it.”

“Jason, you’re the best friend a girl could ask for.” I give him a big bear hug.

“I know.”

“And geez, humble too.”

“I know.” He grins.

Inside the closest tent, stalls filled with white horses line the center aisle. Tack hangs along one wall in the entry way, and stacks of hay and barrels of oats fill the other side.

White horses with long horns protruding from their foreheads.

“How did they glue the horns on?” I lean in close to inspect.

“They’re real.”

I raise an eyebrow, and he grins.


“Would I lie to you?”

“There was that time you told me the mud pies would give me flying powers if I ate them.”

“Not my fault. I really thought they would.”



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