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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Fantasy, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 2,991
1. Gateway books: Introduction to your favorite genres (link)

What book introduced you to your favorite genre(s)? Here's a list from Tor.com: Five Gateway Books

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2. Girl Who Drank the Moon, by Kelley Barnhill -- deep magic (ages 10-14)

I can't wait to share The Girl Who Drank the Moon with my students and hear their thoughts; it's a story full of deep magic, wonderful characters, powerful themes and rich language. Magical stories have fascinated me since I was a young girl--starting with classic fairy tales, their all-powerful witches and the young people who outsmart them. This is sure to be a favorite this fall, especially with my fantasy-loving readers.

reading The Girl Who Drank the Moon while camping this summer
The Girl Who Drank the Moon
by Kelly Barnhill
Algonquin / Workman, 2016
Your local library
Amazon
ages 10-14
preview
*best new book*
A terrible crime happens once each year--the people of the Protectorate must sacrifice a baby, leaving it in the forest for the witch who threatens them. They believe that this child saves them all: "Sacrifice one or sacrifice all." But who is telling this story? Who makes the family sacrifice their child? And what happens when the child is left in the forest? Right away, questions start swirling in the readers' mind.

This complex story quickly unfolds, revealing that the Elders hold the power in the Protectorate, enforcing this tradition ruthlessly--and the submissive populace rarely questions them. This year, however, things go differently as the grieving mother protests vehemently when her baby is taken to be left in the forest. Barnhill quickly raises the questions of truth, power, authority and loyalty--themes that readers will reflect on throughout the story.

As soon as the Elders leave the baby in the forest, a kind witch named Xan rescues her. Xan accidentally feeds the infant moonlight, which gives her powerful magic. Aware that magic is both a power and a responsibility, Xan decides to raise the infant--whom she names Luna--as her granddaughter.

Barnhill skillfully weaves together three separate plot lines: Xan and Luna's relationship together as Luna grows into adolescence; the grief the madwoman--Luna's mother--endures after her baby is taken from her; and the questions that arise in a young apprentice to the Elders after he witnesses the madwoman's breakdown.

I cannot wait to hear what students in my Mock Newbery club say about this story. Will they react most to the characters? Or will they start thinking about the themes that Barnhill raises? How will they react to the uncertainty and complexity in the plot? It will be a terrific choice for book clubs to read and discuss.

I loved listening to Kelly Barnhill talk about the beginning of the story with my friend librarian Laura Given, in the summer reading podcast. Definitely listen to Kelly and then listen to Laura read aloud the opening chapter in her podcast PCS Reads (hopefully the podcast will embed below).

I love how Donalyn Miller and Stacey Riedmiller share their thoughts about this magical story in their NerdyBookClub review:
"It is impossible for mere mortals to adequately communicate the beauty of Barnhill’s language or the emotional resonance of Luna’s story, so we won’t even try. All we can share is our pale impressions of it like memories of a moonlit night in the woods...

The Girl Who Drank the Moon reminds us that all great stories offer readers rich explorations of what it means to be human–even when the “people” are dragons and witches. Whether our scales and warts show on the outside or not, we are all flawed, but our choices show the world who we really are."
The Girl Who Drank the Moon is a book that I want to savor, reread and talk about. It is definitely a complex story that juggles many themes and plot lines, asking readers to consider different characters' points of view and motives.

The review copies were kindly sent by the publisher, Algonquin Books for Young Readers / Workman Publishing. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2016 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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3. Ogres Awake! by James Sturm, Andrew Arnold, and Alexis Frederick-Frost, 40 pp, RL 1.5


Ogres Awake! is the third book in the Adventures in Cartooning Jr. series (the mini-me of the Adventures in Cartooning series)and, as with Sleepless Knight and Gryphons Aren't So Great, authors Sturm, Arnold and Frederick-Frost present yet another silly story as the manic Knight and his steed, Edward, rush headlong into a new adventure. As always, the endpapers provide readers with instructions on how to draw the characters from the story.
From high atop a parapet where the Knight is playing fetch with Edward, the duo discover that what they thought was thunder is the snoring of ogres, one of whom is using a sheep for a pillow. Ready for a battle, the Knight and Edward gallop off to the King, who is calmly reading a comic book, naturally. This day has been foreseen - a plan is in place!


What is the plan? You just have to read Ogres Awake! to find out! But, the illustrations - and garden gnomes - just might give you a clue or two...


Source: Review Copy







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4. A Promise of Fire: Review

This is such a frustrating review to write. The story doesn’t have bad bones. The writing and plot are fine, and might well have been very enjoyable. There’s considerable action and adventure. But there were two major obstacles that prevented me from enjoying this (and they’re big ones). I couldn’t stand the main character, and I I did not at all care for the romance. Not liking the romance is going to be an instant downer in a book that is explicitly a fantasy romance. Cat is a young circus performer on the run from her abusive past. Cat makes her way in the world as a soothsayer, but her real “gift” is the ability to tell truth from lies. Anytime someone tells a lie in her presence Cat feels a searing pain. Considering the prevalence of lies in daily human interactions she spends the book in much less pain... Read more »

The post A Promise of Fire: Review appeared first on The Midnight Garden.

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5. Favorite fantasy ships (link)

Here's a list of favorite fantasy ships--it should be ships and not boats, shouldn't it?--from Tor.com, and be sure to check out the ones in the Comments: Seafaring vessels

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6. Mini Reviews: Fantasy and Sci-Fi Round Up

Here we have three entries that show just how varied fantasy novels can be. There’s a historical, paranormal fantasy, a fantasy romantic comedy, and a graphic novel that is part steampunk, part epic fantasy. Let’s take a look!              Title: These Vicious Masks Author: Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars Release Date: February 9, 2016 Publisher: Swoon Reads Age Group: YA Source: Borrowed I’m so glad I read this absorbing paranormal historical story set in Victorian London. If you typically enjoy books placed in this setting, These Vicious Masks will not disappoint. There are all the usual trappings: young heroine who defies Society and its restrictive gender roles, a dashing gentleman (or two), and a paranormal mystery/quest driving its heart. Evelyn is our sassy, independent MC on a quest to save her gentle, kind-hearted sister from the hands of a devious mad scientist bent... Read more »

The post Mini Reviews: Fantasy and Sci-Fi Round Up appeared first on The Midnight Garden.

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7. AND I DARKEN by Kiersten White \\ A Book That Will Blow You Away...

Review by Sara... AND I DARKEN  By Kiersten White Series: The Conquerors Saga #1 Hardcover: pages Publisher: Delacorte (June 28, 2016) Language: English Goodreads | Amazon No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be

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8. Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom GUEST POST by author David Neilsen!


Today, something special is happening here. I am participating in a blog tour, but not just any blog tour. Sometimes you read a book and really love it, then you get to the author's notes or the acknowledgements and find something that makes you love it even more. That's exactly what happened to me when I read Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom by David Neilsen. Neilsen's debut is a marvelous mix of silly, spooky and creepy with a haunting plot point worthy of an episode of The Twilight Zone. Finishing the book, I learned that Neilsen, a professional actor, story teller and voice actor, was inspired by a pen and ink drawing by Trina Schart Hyman, a legendary illustrator who brought many fairy tales to life, winning a Caldecott in 1985 for Saint George and the Dragon, retold by Margaret Hodges. The illustrations of Trina Scahrt Hyman, longtime art director for Cricket magazine, take me back instantly to my childhood. I am thrilled and honored to have the author of a novel inspired by Hyman's work share here, in his own words, how his curiosity was piqued and how his creativity was sparked by this one work of art.

I hope you’re enjoying the blog tour for David Neilsen’s Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom! In case you missed yesterday’s post, head over to The Book's the Thing to check it out. The tour continues tomorrow on The Book Monsters. For my review of Neilsen's book, check back here tomorrow!


A Picture is Worth 46,000 Words
By David Neilsen


Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom started life as a reaction to an illustration. The picture, done by Children’s Illustrator Trina Schart Hyman, had been hanging on the wall of my in-laws’ home for as long as I’d known them. It was part of a 10-piece collection of drawings done years ago by some of the top children’s illustrators of the time. They were each asked to create a single image based on their favorite fairy tale or fable. Most of the pieces in the collection were based on stories I knew such as Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater or St. George and the Dragon. The one that caught my eye was labeled simply, “Dr. Fell.” I’d never heard of Dr. Fell, had no idea who he was or what he was about, but the more I looked at the picture, the more intrigued I became.
The image shows a little girl looking up warily at an old man in a suit and top hat. He is smiling down at her in a very creepy way, and on his back, unseen by the girl, is a basket filled with the arms, legs, and heads of little children. This was awesome! How had I never heard of this story before?
I asked my mother-in-law if she knew who Dr. Fell was. She was as stumped as I. So we turned to Google, and discovered Tom Brown’s four-line poem from 1680.


I do not like thee, Doctor Fell,
The reason why -- I cannot tell,
But this I know and know full well,
I do not like thee, Doctor Fell.


My first reaction after reading the poem?
That’s it?
I read the four lines again and again, finding them lovingly creepy but a far cry from arms and legs sticking out a wicker basket.
But then I read a bit more about the history of Doctor Fell. It turns out that those four lines had inspired a number of literary references throughout the ages. Robert Louis Stevenson mentions him in The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Author Thomas Harris had his most famous creation, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, use Dr. Fell as a pseudonym in the book, Hannibal. The original nursery rhyme has been quoted in multiple episodes of the cult-TV show Dark Shadows.
Something about these four lines has sparked a foreboding sense of unease for three and a half centuries. They’d sparked Ms. Hyman to draw a truly-creepy picture. Now they were sparking something in me.
Questions ran through my mind. Who was this guy? What did he want? What was he doing? How was he doing it? Doesn’t anyone notice? As each question popped up, the story began to take shape. What happens when Dr. Fell comes to town? I knew right away that this was a children’s story, so he couldn’t be chopping off the arms and legs of children. There had to be something else he was taking from them, something else he needed them for. When that plot point clicked into place, it was obvious. The playground came next, as the natural vehicle for his monstrosity.
In the drawing, Ms. Hyman has added a few other details; a raven atop a withered tree, the girl having stepped off the path to get out of Dr. Fell’s way, flies buzzing around the basket on his back. All of it combines to give the picture a very lively, magical feel. I took that quality and tried to get it into the story by using heightened language a touch above the normal and expected.
The hardest part for me was creating the heros. There had to be a little girl, because of that image, but one little girl didn’t feel right. One little girl, on her own, was simply not going to be able to defeat the Dr. Fell I was creating. I played with different combinations of boys and girls of different ages for a while, trying to fall upon the right combination. For a while I had only two heros, a brother and sister, but after a couple of false starts, I knew I needed a third, and the trio from the book was finally formed.
All of this came from that single picture. Looking at it now--my mother-in-law gave it to me for Christmas and it hangs on my wall--I still feel that slightly-queasy feeling it gave me when I first noticed it. I owe it, and the late Ms. Hyman, a great debt. Her single image planted a seed in my head that grew to become Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom.

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9. THE CROWN'S GAME by Evelyn Skye \\ Worth The Hype Or No?

Review by Sara... THE CROWN'S GAME By Evelyn Skye Series: The Crown's Game #1 Hardcover: 399 pages Publisher: Balzer + Bray  Language: English Goodreads | Amazon Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs

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10. Take Your Imagination On Vacation

imagination on vacation

Children don’t need planes, trains and automobiles to be transported to different countries, different worlds or even different points of view. All it takes is an engaged imagination and the right resources and they can explore the far-off corners of their active and growing minds.

First Book offers books and resources that will stimulate children’s creativity this summer and take their imaginations on vacations!

Imaginative Play

Children can fly to outer space, perform surgery, put out an inferno, explore uncharted territories and do it all before lunch with the help of fun role playing costumes. When children imagine what it would be like to be an astronaut or a doctor their world expands and they begin to dream bigger. In this section you’ll also find puppets, building blocks and even a toy taco!

imagination on vacation

Fairy and Folk Tales

This section is filled with old classics as well as exciting new titles that will keep young minds captivated. These stories, legends and myths from different cultures all over the globe will give children endless worlds full of princesses, monsters and giant beanstalks to explore.

imagination on vacation

Fantasy and Sci-Fi

Books and stories from different dimensions and galaxies! Free from the rules of space and time, the books and stories in this section will help children think beyond what seems possible and imagine freely. Children can go to the beach in another galaxy or visit an amusement park in the future…the imagination vacation possibilities go on and on with these engaging books.

imagination on vacation

Arts and Crafts

All of the beautiful paintings or paper planes children dream up can’t come to life without the tools and resources they need. This section features a wide variety of kits and activities that will help children turn their creative ideas into fantastic works of art or fun puppets.

imagination on vacation

The post Take Your Imagination On Vacation appeared first on First Book Blog.

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11. POISONED BLADE by Kate Elliott \\ Further Expands The Court of Fives Universe..

Review by Kaitlin... POISONED BLADE By Kate Elliott Series: Court of Fives #2 Hardcover: 418 pages Publisher: Little, Brown (August 16, 2016) Age Range: 12-17 years Grade Level: 7 up Language: English Goodreads | Amazon In this thrilling sequel to World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott's captivating young adult debut, a girl immersed in high-stakes competition holds the fate of

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12. SISTERS OF SALT AND IRON by Kady Cross \\ Looking For A Good Scare?

Review by Krista... SISTERS OF SALT AND IRON By Kady Cross Series: The Sisters of Blood and Spirit #2 Hardcover: 352 pages Publisher: Harlequin Teen Language: English Goodreads | Amazon Lark Noble is finally happy. She’s trying to move on and put the events of the past behind her: the people who avoided her because she talked to the ghost of her dead twin sister, the parents who

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13. Lowriders to the Center of the Earth - a review

Lowriders to the Center of the Earth
Written by Cathy Camper
Illustrated by Raúl the Third

They're back!

The impala - Lupe Impala, master mechanic
The mosquito - Elirio Malaria, the finest detail artist around
The octopus - El Chavo Flapjack Octopus, washcloth-wielding polisher of the Lowriders in Space Garage

If you think lowriders are impractical, think again.  When the three amigos from the Lowriders in Space Garage go in search of their missing cat, their rocket-powered lowrider is just what they need.  In this second book in the series, the three friends journey to the center of the earth and face off against a trickster coyote, an Aztec God, and other legendary Mexican and Aztec foes.   As in the first book, they do it with humor, brains, and style—lowrider style—bajito and suavecito (low and slow).

Lowriders to the Center of the Earth is so visually cool, that it looks more like an older brother's indie comic book than a middle grade graphic novel. Raúl the Third uses red, black, and blue ink on sepia pages, and creates expressive faces, wild action, and hidden humor. The illustrations have a distinctly Mexican flair and invite the reader into the culture.  His art is a perfect complement to Cathy Camper's hilarious wordplay. It's difficult to imagine that kids can learn Spanish, geology, ancient Aztec culture,  Mexican culture, and the virtue of teamwork by reading a book that screams divertido (fun) but they can!  Camper's dialogue is sharp and witty, and even features bilingual puns, as in this exchange between Lupe and the trickster coyote.

"Have you seen our cat?"
"Knock knock."
"Who's there?"
"Señor."
"Señor who?"
"Señor cat?  I don't think so."
¡Ja, ja, ja!

This book may be even better than the first!



My copy of the book was provided by the publisher at my request when my LibraryThing copy went missing in the mail.

    0 Comments on Lowriders to the Center of the Earth - a review as of 7/21/2016 7:17:00 AM
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    14. “Leonora”

    We all know that clowns, ventriloquists’ dummies, and scarecrows are some of the creepiest things in creation. But there’s something far worse. According to tvtropes.org in “Creepy Doll“: Dolls are perceived as harmless, and they can be gorgeous and/or adorable, but there’s still something scary about dolls. It’s probably because many of them fit squarely […]

    The post “Leonora” appeared first on Cathrin Hagey.

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    15. Book Review: Black Lightning by K.S. Jones…

    I absolutely love Arizona! I’ve been lucky enough to visit twice (Phoenix, Tempe, and Scottsdale areas), and would love to go back and see the Grand Canyon, since I never got a chance to go there. K.S. Jones paints a vibrant and beautiful picture with her words, that allows me to feel my skin sizzle under the Arizona heat, and make my mouth water for buttery cornbread. So what’s my take on a story set in a place that can conjure up Geronimo’s ghost and make you sweat with every page you turn? This is what I posted on Amazon and Goodreads…



    Lightning does indeed strike twice with this 5 Star Winner!

    K.S. Jones combines a mixture of Apache folklore, natural phenomenon, and science fiction in a dessert setting to create her middle grade sci-fy adventure about 10 year-old Samuel Baker and his incredible journey into another dimension. Fast-paced from beginning to end, Jones weaves a fantastic and emotional tale wrought with love, death, magic, and hope.

    Jones’s imaginative story is a must for any bookshelf (or ereader), and though geared for tween boys, there’s plenty of action to get the girls cheering for Samuel and his friend Isabelle to get them back home to the families they love. High fives for K.S. Jones and her electrifying tale!

    Tagline and Blurb:

    Life moves on — no matter what...

    Following his father’s puzzling disappearance and his mother’s death, ten-year-old Samuel Baker goes through the motions of living in a world turned upside down. He wears an Apache talisman, a long ago gift from his father, in hopes its promise of strength and guidance is true. But what he truly wants is the power to bring his parents back. 

    Heartless Aunt Janis is elated at the prospect of becoming Samuel’s legal guardian. She is sure an orphan boy will elicit such an outpouring of public sympathy that her husband will win his Senate bid by a landslide. But when Grandpa Tate arrives, things don’t go as expected, especially when black lightning strikes!

    Read an Excerpt:

    Samuel stood beside his mother’s rain-speckled casket. He had cried his tears dry, so there was no point in trying to find more.

    “Chin up, young man,” Aunt Janis said as her fingers nudged Samuel’s jaw upward. “Death is just part of life, and our photographer needs a good picture of you for the newspapers.”

    A camera flashed, leaving Samuel’s red and swollen eyes burning as if stung by the sun instead of grief.

    So many important days had come and gone without his father, but surely he would come home today, wouldn’t he? Samuel closed his eyes. He pretended his father was beside him holding his hand. They had a right to hold hands, he told himself. Not because he was ten, but because it was his mother’s funeral. Two years had passed since his father left, never to be seen again. Vanished, was the word his mother had used. Into thin air, she’d said.

    “Take that silly thing off.” Aunt Janis flicked Samuel’s wood and bead necklace.

    “No,” he said and shook his head. “My dad gave it to me.” It was a pinewood tile, the size of a domino shaved nickel-thin, which hung from a leather cord around his neck. Burned onto the front side of the wood was a lightning bolt. Its flipside bore the blackened imprint of a tribal dancer. It had a turquoise nugget and a shiny black hematite bead strung together on each side. His father had given the talisman to him with a promise: It will guide you and give you strength when you need it most.

    Today, dressed in a black suit and starchy white shirt, Samuel wore it in hopes the promise was true.

    As mourners gathered, Samuel’s friend Brian came to stand beside him. “Hey,” he said.

    “Hey,” Samuel answered without taking his eyes off the casket.

    “Is that the necklace your dad gave you? You don’t usually wear it.” Brian’s wire-rimmed glasses slid down his straight arrow nose. He pushed them back up the bridge with one finger until they encircled his eyes again. “Can I see it? I promise I’ll give it right back.”

    “It’s not a necklace.” Samuel pulled the leather cord off over his head, mussing his overgrown blond hair. “It’s a talisman.” He handed it to Brian. “My dad said it would help me, but it hasn’t done anything yet. I think it was just one of his stories. It’s probably just an old piece of scrap wood with a couple rocks tied to it.”

    Brian shrugged after examining the piece then he handed it back to Samuel. “I think it’s cool. You should keep wearing it anyway.”

    Nodding, Samuel hung the talisman around his neck again, but this time he dropped it down beneath his shirt where it was no longer visible. It felt warm against his skin.

    “Has anybody told you where you’re going to live now?” Brian asked.

    “Probably with Aunt Janis and Uncle Jack.”

    Brian frowned. He kicked the tip of his shoe into the muddy soil. “They live so far away. Why can’t you just stay here and live with Mrs. Abel? She doesn’t have any kids.”

    Mrs. Abel was their fourth grade teacher. She had plainly stated to all who would listen that her job was to teach the proper use of the English language to children who behaved properly. A babysitter, she had said, she was not. Today, she stood in the rain with the other mourners, eyeing the ground where the hem of her long, gray dress lay caked in mud. Tufts of brown hair jutted out from under her pink plaid scarf. Even though she stood a few feet from him, she had not spoken to Samuel since his mother’s death. Few people had. Everyone had words for Aunt Janis and they talked to Uncle Jack, but no one but Brian and a few classmates had spoken to him. Maybe talking to an orphan was harder than talking to a normal kid.

    Purchase Links:

    Mirror World Publishing

    Amazon 

    Barnes & Noble

    Meet the Author:

    Karen (K.S.) Jones grew up in California, but now lives in the beautiful Texas Hill Country northwest of San Antonio with her husband, Richard, and their dogs Jack Black, Libby Loo, and Red Bleu. Black Lightning is her first middle-grade novel. She credits her love of fantasy to the early influences of authors J.R.R. Tolkien, Jules Verne, and H.G. Wells. Her award-winning first novel, Shadow of the Hawk, a Young Adult Historical, released in 2015.

    Connect with K.S. Jones:



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    16. throwback to my favorite season....

    silence of the snowdrops
    8x10, acrylic on canvas
    ©the enchanted easel 2016
    WINTER!!!

    with almost triple digits temps going on here the last few days (ugh!) well, i thought we could all use a friendly reminder of a much colder time....you're welcome. :)

    {ps and btw, this is my favorite painting. must be the winter theme...}

    PRINTS HERE. OTHER GOODIES HERE. and for a little Eira (that's her name) in the making, visit my Facebook page HERE.

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    17. The Invisible Library: Review

    Once again I find myself in the position with a book that is practically perfect in its premise, yet I ultimately fail to forge much of a connection with it. This is not a bad book, and I think it has its readers! I mean, it is a book about a great Library that has access to infinite alternate dimensions and universes. It also has werewolves, vampires, Fae, and dragons all romping around and creating magic, mystery, and mayhem in a sort of alternate steampunk “Victorian” London. Sign me way up for that. However, I get this sense of “fuzziness” for lack of better word to describe it with fantasies and other genre works where the world building is not at all clear to me. The Library is a very advanced institution that seems to exist out of time. It has its own Language that allows Librarians to alter their... Read more »

    The post The Invisible Library: Review appeared first on The Midnight Garden.

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    18. Book Tour and Guest Post: THIS NIGHT SUCKS by Elizabeth J.M. Walker...

    Welcome to the Book Tour for Elizabeth J.M. Walker's new novella, This Night Sucks!

    Follow the tour each day to read reviews, guest posts, and exclusive excerpts.


    Book Details:

    From the author of She Dreamed of Dragons

    Title: This Night Sucks

    Author Name: Elizabeth J.M. Walker

    Genre(s): Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy, Vampires, Comedy

    Release Date: June 17, 2016

    Publisher:  Mirror World Publishing 

    Mirror World Publishing Link:  

    Amazon Link: 

    Link to the Tour Schedule:



    About the Book:

    Lana is a high school senior enrolled in Vampire Education – a class to teach students about the very real presence of vampires in the world. Lana and her classmates don’t really expect to meet up with any undead bloodsuckers. Vampires are a lot like other scary things that supposedly exist but you hope you’ll never come across: nudist colonies, mad cow disease, and your parents’ sex life.

    What is part of Lana’s everyday reality is navigating through one last year of high school while desperately trying to be less nerdy. She still loves spaceships, fantasy novels, and cat stickers, but she also recently got her braces removed, grew boobs, and is working on the makeup thing. She never expected her crush-of-a-lifetime Pete to even notice her – let alone ask her out on a date. 

    The date is going great until Pete’s ex-girlfriend Katy shows up, all bloody and pissed off. Lana quickly realizes that Katy is not just her ordinary bitchy self – she has been turned into a vampire. After a near death experience, Lana learns that she is changing into a vampire too.

    Lana needs answers, and the only way to get them is to find the vampire who started the chain of events – and to find him before sunrise...

    Fun Vampire Facts – Book Edition!

    1.      One of the first recorded accounts of a vampire dates back to an ancient Sumerian and Babylonian myth dating to 4,000 B.C.
    2.      Over 1,000 vampire novels have been published, most within the past 25 years.
    3.      The first full work of fiction about a vampire in English was John Polidori’s The Vampyre. The Vampyre was a short work of fiction published in 1819.
    4.      Bram Stoker’s Dracula, published in 1897, remains an enduring influence on vampire mythology and has never gone out of print.
    5.      A key inspiration for Dracula was said to have been Vlad the Impaler, the 15th-century Transylvanian-born prince.
    6.      The character Dracula has been featured in over 200 films.
    7.      Popular vampire writer Anne Rice has sold over 100 million books.
    8.      Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire Mysteries have been published in several countries, including: Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Spain, Greece, Germany, Czech Republic, Swden, Denmark, and many more.
    9.      The children’s book Bunnicula, by James and Deborah Howe, has won more than ten Children’s Choice awards, including the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award and the Nene Award.
    10.  The Twilightbooks are the only vampire related book series to have sold over 100 million copies. 

    Meet the Author:


    Elizabeth J. M. Walker lives in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. She has always loved books and writing. As a teen she discovered zines, which inspired her to publish her own litzine of odd fairy tales for over a decade.

    She Dreamed of Dragons is her first novel.

    Connect with Elizabeth J.M. Walker:

    Facebook: 

    Amazon US: 


    Publisher Website: 

    Author Website: 



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    19. Discount of the day: Daughter of the Sun (Cult of the Cat series, Book 1) only $.99!



    Title: Daughter of the Sun (Cult of the Cat series, Book 1)
    Author: Zoe Kalo
    Genre: YA mythological fantasy/paranormal
    Word count: 93,000 words / 330 pages
    Official Launch: May 1, 2016

    Only $.99 until Wednesday May 11th(regular price $4.99)

    Get your copy on Kindle today!

    Daughter of the Sun, Book 1 - blurb

    Sixteen-year-old Trinity was born during a solar eclipse and left at the doorsteps of a convent along with a torn piece of papyrus covered with ancient symbols. Raised by nuns in the English countryside, she leads a quiet life until she’s whisked away to the Island of Cats and a grandmother she never knew.

    But before they can get to know each other, her grandmother dies. All that Trinity has left is a mysterious eye-shaped ring. And a thousand grieving cats. As Trinity tries to solve the enigma of the torn papyrus, she discovers a world of bloody sacrifices and evil curses, and a prophecy that points to her and her new feline abilities.

    Unwilling to believe that any of the Egyptian gods could still be alive, Trinity turns to eighteen-year-old Seth and is instantly pulled into a vortex of sensations that forces her to confront her true self—and a horrifying destiny.

    What readers are saying….

    “This was an amazing story!” –Hot Off the Shelves

    “This book was so super good! Great writing, great characters, great plot. Very immersive reading experience.” –Awesome Book Assessment

    “Wow- this book was a stunning, magnificent adventure! Very well written and full of intricate details, I was immediately drawn in and just absolutely did not want to put this one down... The intrigue just leaves you racing through the pages to find out what will happen next! I absolutely, completely enjoyed this book and can't wait to see what happens in the next one!” –The Recipe Fairy

    “The way [Zoe Kalo] writes cats into the book is astounding. Every little quirk, mew and lick is incredibly authentic. I love it when a writer is skilled at writing about the animals in the character’s story, it makes it more warm and fuzzy, no pun intended.” –Samantha Writes

    “Daughter of the Sun is an intriguing young adult mythology read full of mystery, magic, action, and history… [it] kept me flipping pages like an addict.” –Fishing for Books

    “Oh my God. This is definitely a ‘something.’ This concept and the plot is soooo unique and weird and fascinating that I did not want to put this down. I literally breezed through this one…. This book was an overdose of kitty love.” –Grape Fruit Books

    “If you are looking for a Young Adult Fantasy book that is different from the norm, then look no further. Daughter of the Sun is full of Egyptian mythology, with layer upon layer of mystery just waiting to be uncovered.” –Archaeolibrarian

    About the Author
    A certified bookworm, Zoe Kalo has always been obsessed with books and reading. Reading led to writing—compulsively. No surprise that at 16, she wrote her first novel, which her classmates read and passed around secretly. The pleasure of writing and sharing her fantasy worlds has stayed with her, so now she wants to pass her stories to you with no secrecy—but with lots of mystery…
    A daughter of adventurous expats, she’s had the good fortune of living on 3 continents, learning 4 languages, and experiencing a multicultural life. Currently, she’s working on a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature, which she balances between writing, taking care of her clowder of cats, and searching for the perfect bottle of pinot noir.
    Connect with Zoe Kalo on the web: www.ZoeKalo.com /Facebook / Twitter

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    20. Ahab & The White Whale


    via Emergent Ideas Ahab & The White Whale

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    21. Ahab & The White Whale

    Over the last few months I have been listening to the unabridged Blackstone Audio of Moby Dick. Along the way the story has seeped into my thoughts and drawings. I present to you some work that I made along the way. As it turns out, I am a little obsessed with illustrating stories. Hmm, perhaps there a […]

    via Studio Bowes Art Blog at http://ift.tt/1rLX8sv

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    22. Guest Post: Amy Bearce on The Woes (& Wows) of World-Building

    By Amy Bearce
    for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

    Confession: I have a terrible time with world-building. So, naturally, I consistently write fantasy, where world-building is critical.

    You gotta be kidding me! Credit: Pixabay, mintchipdesigns, CC0

    In real life, I’m not very observant about the space around me. I notice people’s emotions, but not what they are eating or what they are wearing. But in writing, all those little details make a place come alive. And in a fantasy story, they are even more important because readers must trust you to be their guide through an unknown world.

    Right this way, please. Credit: Pixabay, InspiredImages, CC0

    My first book, Fairy Keeper (Curiosity Quills, 2016), and the sequels are set in the world of Aluvia, full of magical creatures and beasts. Through writing these books, I’ve learned a lot about how world-building works best for me. When writing about a fantastical world, the phrase, “Write what you know” now has yet another meaning for me. One way to create new magical creatures is to extrapolate what you know from the real world and tweak it.

    My fairies were inspired by bees and have a lot in common with them. My merfolk are bioluminescent like deep sea squid and jellyfish, and in book 3, dragons are awakening from a long hibernation like giant wild bears with wings (and flames.)

    As a girl of the plains, I had to watch a lot of documentaries to get a better idea of what was in the deep ocean. As it turns out...pretty amazing stuff! Credit: Pixabay, emdash, CC0

    Originally, I had only considered fairies. But as I wrote about my fairy keeper character, soon I had merfolk and dragons and fauns…and had to decide details about each of them. It became apparent that while my world had magic, it was pretty broken. My magical creatures were less magical than many of their traditional representations. But I didn’t start off knowing that. Essentially, world building sneaked up on me.

    This stealthy kitty is hunting dragons, mermaids, and fairies. Credit: Pixabay, rihaij, CC0

    Others writers build an encyclopedia of knowledge first. Google “World-Building Tips” and you will receive an avalanche of questions to answer.

    How do people live here? What foods do they eat? What is their religion? Have there been wars? What economic system is used?

    Here’s my secret: I hate those questions worse than a pop quiz in math. They almost hurt to ponder.

    My expression when trying to answer “world-building questions.” Credit: Gratisography, CC0

    I don’t know most of the answers until they suddenly appear in my story. I’m not saying it’s the best way to do it. I do it because creating details about a new world does not come naturally to me. But when my character is walking from point A to B, as I’m writing, my mind fills things in, and it mostly works. Mostly.

    There always comes the moment my husband reads it and says, “Hey, these parts don’t make sense.” And he’ll be right. So I change things.

    The cost of this build-as-you-go approach means that I often end up with a draft full of contradictory information. There’s a lot of clean up involved. I’m sure it would be easier to build the world before writing anything. But for me, it’s exactly that little stuff that trips me up. Every. Single. Time.

    World-building: My own personal banana peel. Credit: Pixabay, stevepb, CC0

    The good news is that if I can create an imaginary world with consistent magic rules and an actual map inside the book, you can, too. Don’t let overwhelming questions stop you. Try writing some scenes and see where they take you.

     Be patient, keep writing, and don’t be afraid to change things if you need to. Turn your woes to wow! After all, you are the master of your universe! Own it! Write it! And have fun with it!

    Sing it with me: “I’ve got the power!” Credit: Pixabay, Skitterphoto, CC0

    Cynsational Notes

    Amy Bearce writes stories for tweens and teens. She is a former reading teacher with a Masters in Library Science.

    As an Army kid, she moved eight times before she was eighteen, so she feels especially fortunate to be married to her high school sweetheart. Together they’re raising two daughters and are currently living in Germany, though they still call Texas home.

    A perfect day for Amy involves rain pattering on the windows, popcorn, and every member of her family curled up in one cozy room reading a good book. Her latest release is Mer-Charmer (Curiosity Quills, 2016).

    From the promotional copy:

    Fourteen-year-old Phoebe Quinn is surrounded by magic, but she can't muster any of her own. Her sister is a fairy keeper. Her best friends are merfolk. And all she does is dishes and housework.

    When Phoebe finds out a terrible sea creature is awakening that preys upon the gentle merfolk, she resolves to help them, even though it means risking her life deep in the ocean.

    Beneath the waves, Phoebe learns she’s more like her sister than she realized. The merfolk are drawn to her, and she can sense the magic of the sea all around her. Magic is finally at her fingertips, but that’s precisely why the stirring dark power under the waters decides it wants her most of all.

    Now she must not only help the peaceful merfolk escape this ancient enemy, she must master her out-of-control powers. If she fails, she will die, and darkness will rise to enslave the merfolk once more. But embracing her full power could cost her the very people she loves the most.

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    23. Book Blog Tour and Guest Post: Black Lightning by K. S. Jones...


    About Black Lightning:

    Life moves on — no matter what...

    Following his father’s puzzling disappearance and his mother’s death, ten-year-old Samuel Baker goes through the motions of living in a world turned upside down. He wears an Apache talisman, a long ago gift from his father, in hopes its promise of strength and guidance is true. But what he truly wants is the power to bring his parents back. 

    Heartless Aunt Janis is elated at the prospect of becoming Samuel’s legal guardian. She is sure an orphan boy will elicit such an outpouring of public sympathy that her husband will win his Senate bid by a landslide. But when Grandpa Tate arrives, things don’t go as expected, especially when black lightning strikes!


    From the award-winning author of Shadow of the Hawk

    Title: Black Lightning

    Author Name: K.S. Jones

    Genre(s): Middle Grade, Science Fiction, Fantasy

    Length: Approx. 132 pages

    Release Date: May 17, 2016

    Publisher:  Mirror World Publishing (www.mirrorworldpublishing.com)

    Follow the Tour for Reviews, Guest Posts, Exclusive Excerpts, and Spotlight Posts:


    ~Black Lightning and its Apache influences~

    A century ago, the word “Apache” would have conjured up images of warriors on horseback with whoops, hollers, and painted faces—worthy adversaries and fierce fighters trying to protect their families, their land, and their life-way. In my new middle-grade novel, Black Lightning, a modern-day (although rural) Chiricahua (cheer-uh-kaw-wuh) Apache family is integral to the story, adding flare to the tale with their traditional ways in a contemporary world.     

    The Chiricahua are most closely associated with an area in southeastern Arizona known as the Chiricahua Mountains. Within this mountainous range is the Chiricahua National Monument, which today is part of the National Park Service. It is an amazing architectural wilderness of rock pinnacles and formations, once known to the Apache as the “Land of Standing-Up Rocks.”

    Storytelling has always been important in the Apache culture, and Chiricahua children are expected to be well-versed in the oral traditions and lore. These storytelling sessions are often held for the benefit of the kids and usually take place at night. Can you imagine sitting outside under a starry night and listening to the story about a race of “supernaturals” who inhabit the nearby mountains? Or maybe hear the story of a girl who married a water monster? Or learn about a place that opened a door where no door had been before?

    And sometimes, Apache men and women wear amulets, or talismans, made from wood struck by lightning, called tzi-daltai. Among other virtues, it is believed the wearer can learn things from the tzi-daltai and know the right direction when lost. Most amulets are made of wood, shaved-thin and incised with a simple human form then decorated with lines to signify lightning. Some even believe lightning talks to them, while others think the flash is the flight of the arrow thrown by the Thunder People. Talismans can be worn like necklaces or carried.

    Black lightning, although not a rendering of Native American lore, has gained recent recognition in the science world with what scientists are calling “dark lightning.” And given the fact that the American Southwest has some of the most spectacular thunderstorms on earth, where better to imagine the phenomenon and its potential? To a storyteller, Native American or otherwise, the possibilities are endless and interesting!

    More information related to the book BLACK LIGHTNING can be found on my Pinterest page! https://www.pinterest.com/ksjones/black-lightning-by-ks-jones/

    Read an Excerpt:

    Samuel stood beside his mother’s rain-speckled casket. He had cried his tears dry, so there was no point in trying to find more.

    “Chin up, young man,” Aunt Janis said as her fingers nudged Samuel’s jaw upward. “Death is just part of life, and our photographer needs a good picture of you for the newspapers.”

    A camera flashed, leaving Samuel’s red and swollen eyes burning as if stung by the sun instead of grief.

    So many important days had come and gone without his father, but surely he would come home today, wouldn’t he? Samuel closed his eyes. He pretended his father was beside him holding his hand. They had a right to hold hands, he told himself. Not because he was ten, but because it was his mother’s funeral. Two years had passed since his father left, never to be seen again. Vanished, was the word his mother had used. Into thin air, she’d said.

    “Take that silly thing off.” Aunt Janis flicked Samuel’s wood and bead necklace.

    “No,” he said and shook his head. “My dad gave it to me.” It was a pinewood tile, the size of a domino shaved nickel-thin, which hung from a leather cord around his neck. Burned onto the front side of the wood was a lightning bolt. Its flipside bore the blackened imprint of a tribal dancer. It had a turquoise nugget and a shiny black hematite bead strung together on each side. His father had given the talisman to him with a promise: It will guide you and give you strength when you need it most.

    Today, dressed in a black suit and starchy white shirt, Samuel wore it in hopes the promise was true.

    As mourners gathered, Samuel’s friend Brian came to stand beside him. “Hey,” he said.

    “Hey,” Samuel answered without taking his eyes off the casket.

    “Is that the necklace your dad gave you? You don’t usually wear it.” Brian’s wire-rimmed glasses slid down his straight arrow nose. He pushed them back up the bridge with one finger until they encircled his eyes again. “Can I see it? I promise I’ll give it right back.”

    “It’s not a necklace.” Samuel pulled the leather cord off over his head, mussing his overgrown blond hair. “It’s a talisman.” He handed it to Brian. “My dad said it would help me, but it hasn’t done anything yet. I think it was just one of his stories. It’s probably just an old piece of scrap wood with a couple rocks tied to it.”

    Brian shrugged after examining the piece then he handed it back to Samuel. “I think it’s cool. You should keep wearing it anyway.”

    Nodding, Samuel hung the talisman around his neck again, but this time he dropped it down beneath his shirt where it was no longer visible. It felt warm against his skin.

    “Has anybody told you where you’re going to live now?” Brian asked.

    “Probably with Aunt Janis and Uncle Jack.”

    Brian frowned. He kicked the tip of his shoe into the muddy soil. “They live so far away. Why can’t you just stay here and live with Mrs. Abel? She doesn’t have any kids.”

    Mrs. Abel was their fourth grade teacher. She had plainly stated to all who would listen that her job was to teach the proper use of the English language to children who behaved properly. A babysitter, she had said, she was not. Today, she stood in the rain with the other mourners, eyeing the ground where the hem of her long, gray dress lay caked in mud. Tufts of brown hair jutted out from under her pink plaid scarf. Even though she stood a few feet from him, she had not spoken to Samuel since his mother’s death. Few people had. Everyone had words for Aunt Janis and they talked to Uncle Jack, but no one but Brian and a few classmates had spoken to him. Maybe talking to an orphan was harder than talking to a normal kid.

    Purchase Links:

    Mirror World Publishing
     http://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/products/black-lightning-ebook

    Amazon
    http://amzn.to/24H7yrY

    Barnes & Noble
    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/black-lightning-ks-jones/1123660287?ean=9781987976120

    Quote:

    “If you’ve forgotten the magic that lives in a child’s heart, this book will remind you. Black Lightning is a rare and beautiful mythic journey about one boy’s struggle with paralyzing grief and the powerful bonds that can carry a person through this world and beyond...” W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O’Neal Gear USA TODAY and NEW YORK TIMES bestselling authors of People of the Thunder

    Meet the Author:


    Karen (K.S.) Jones grew up in California, but now lives in the beautiful Texas Hill Country northwest of San Antonio with her husband, Richard, and their dogs Jack Black, Libby Loo, and Red Bleu. Black Lightning is her first middle-grade novel. She credits her love of fantasy to the early influences of authors J.R.R. Tolkien, Jules Verne, and H.G. Wells. Her award-winning first novel, Shadow of the Hawk, a Young Adult Historical, released in 2015.

    Visit K.S. Jones:







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    24. Steeplejack: Review

    It’s interesting to ponder what qualifies as a fantasy and what exactly makes that so. You can have fantasy that takes place in whole other realms replete with magic and magical creatures. You can have fantasy that places in our very own world, but with elements of the wondrous. Then you have works like Steeplejack, in which there is no magic (or none yet presented) but the world it takes place in is not our own, and so it is a fantasy work. It just occurred to me while reading how interesting the many varietals of fantasy works are.  This is a book that reads very much like a historical crime novel that takes place in 19th century South Africa. But it is not 19th century South Africa, only a land in an unknown world that has many echoes and similarities to it. Does this seem like a complaint? Not... Read more »

    The post Steeplejack: Review appeared first on The Midnight Garden.

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    25. Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes

    HarperTeen, 2016

    Dinah has been called to the Great Hall to meet with her father.  It isn't something she relishes at all. She gets dressed in her silks with adorning red hearts everything, along with her crown of rubies and makes her way through the Cards to the King's throne...and what happens next begins her saga.

    Vittiore is Dinah's step-sister.  Unlike Dinah, with dark hair and eyes, Vittiore is blonde with blue eyes, loved by all, especially the king.  There are favorites in the castle, and Vittiore rises to the top. Dinah is beyond frustrated with this new girl and doesn't give her the time of day.  Perhaps she should...

    Charles, Dinah's older brother, cannot be the next in line to the crown because of his condition.  His entire apartment in the palace is filled with hats he makes, which are very coveted. People call him the Mad Hatter, Dinah knows he is more than that.

    Wardley, a childhood friend of Dinah's and a Heart Card (soldiers bound to protect the royal family), sees the pain and humiliation Dinah has to face every time she faces her father, and he is there for for her.  His support and friendship will be tested by both Dinah and the court.  Where do his allegiances lie?

    Harris never runs late.  He makes sure his student, Dinah, is kept on schedule. He has been with her since Dinah's mother died and is loyal and kind.  In fact, Harris is more of a father figure in Dinah's life than anyone else.  He is the bargaining chip between Dinah and the king...if she doesn't do what he asks, Harris won't be around much longer.

    Cheshire is the king's right hand man.  He is always whispering in the king's ear, with a grin of evil on his face.  He is the only one the king trusts and the one Dinah trusts least.  Although not a royal, Cheshire wields a lot of power.

    The Cards play an important role in Wonderland.  The Spades are mercenary soldiers even the Heart Cards fear.  They are wild and bent on destruction, which the king believes makes the best type of soldiers against his enemies.  The Clubs are Wonderland's judge and jury.  Most of them work in the Towers, where the criminals and insane are taken until Execution Day, where their heads are cut off.  The Diamonds are the men who work with the royal coffers.  Dinah learns how to handle these different characters, as only a future queen can.  But will they be loyal to her?

    Then one evening, she finds a vial with a message hidden in it
    within a tart that is served to her.  Is this a trap, or is this meant to help?  After she reads the message and undertakes the journey, even she is no longer sure.  But her life is at stake...

    We all know the Queen of Hearts in Carroll's classic novel, and Colleen Oakes has done an excellent job in recreating Wonderland, the characters, and especially the future queen in this amazing fantasy re-telling.  Put the classic back on the shelf and don't read into the pages what will happen.  Allow the book to take you to this Wonderland in all of its wildness, hidden secrets, danger, and pomp.  And when the reader comes to the end of the book wanting to know more, fear not!  There is an excerpt from the next book in the saga!  Recommended for grades MS-HS.

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