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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: fantasy, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 2,771
26. Shadow Scale: Q&A with Rachel Hartman + Giveaway

We only need to tell you one thing about Rachel Hartman’s books and it should pretty much tell you whether you’d be interested in it. DRAGONS. *waits* Are you stampeding to the bookstore? Or are you overly cautious and need further persuading? Here, have a look at Kim’s rave review of Shadow Scale, the second book in the author’s Seraphina duology. Both she and K. have praised the world-building, characters, and romance in this series–as well as the spectacular craftsmanship of the writing. Hartman’s words are exquisite. Her imagination is expansive. Her world is detailed and fascinating. She has created laws, and religion, and a history. She has built architecture, painted landscapes, and constructed streets and alleyways. She has peopled her world with characters of different shades — from rebels to teachers, musicians to politicians, royalty, knights, outcasts and lovers. ~ K.’s Seraphina review Kim also asked Rachel Hartman a... Read more »

The post Shadow Scale: Q&A with Rachel Hartman + Giveaway appeared first on The Midnight Garden.

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27. Review – James Munkers Super Freak

Author, Lindsey Little likes looking at things from great heights. Me too. It is how I choose my rugs, for one. Allowing yourself a chance to gain a different view of a situation or object can afford you a very different perspective of it. And having a different perspective can be very rewarding indeed. As […]

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28. Friday Feature: The Great Timelock Disaster


AMAZON



There's nothing’s more dangerous than a wizard-in-training. And Pete Riley, has just proven it. He's worked a bad time spell--a very bad time spell.

No YouTube, no smoothies, no Manga. Not ever again. Not unless Pete figures out how to reverse his spell and free Weasel and him from Victorian England. 

He has until the next full moon. Only a few days.

Tick. Tock.




Here’s how the story starts, and it only gets worse.


One minute the clock was tick-tocking on the mantel and the next it was a smoldering mess.

“No,”􏰁Harriet shouted. Then she braced one hand on her desk and covered her eyes with the other.

Pete froze, not blinking, not breathing, but waiting to see if Harriet would point one of her long, bony fingers at him and turn him into a turnip or something slimy.



SEQUEL TO ALLIGATORS OVERHEAD
To celebrate the launch of The Great Time Lock Disaster Lee is giving 20 eBooks away. She hopes you'll jump in to the copter and go for a ride!


Usually, C. Lee takes on modern issues that today's teens face in their daily lives. Her first young adult novel, Sliding on the Edge, which dealt with cutting and suicide was published in 2009. Her second, titled The Princess of Las Pulgas, dealing with a family who loses everything and must rebuild their lives came out in 2010. Double Negative (2014) was her third young adult novel. Researching it turned her into a literacy advocate. Her fourth YA, Sudden Secrets came out in December 2014. 



When she really want to have FUN, she writes middle grade books. Alligators Overhead and The Great Time Lock Disaster are now available.

Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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29. Eulogy to Sir Terry Pratchett

It is with deep sadness that I heard about the death of my hero, Terry Pratchett, today. Terry has played the lead role in the books I read, and write, for many years. The world of fantasy will never be the same without him. Terry had a style and wit that no one will ever be able to replicate, he was a true genius.

I hope that Terry’s personification of DEATH met him with the love and respect Terry so richly deserves. Terry has moved on from the mortal plane, but will live forever in the hearts and libraries of all his fans.

A great man, and a fantastic author. We will not see his like again. My deepest sympathy goes out to Terry’s wife, Lyn, and to his family and friends.

Enjoy your afterlife, Terry. It is very lucky to have you…

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30. Shadow Scale: Review

If Seraphina is the tale is the tale of a girl coming to terms with her dragon heritage (and, oh man, do I just love being able to mention a girl coming to terms with her dragon heritage) and coming to accept herself, then Shadow Scale is the story of a girl who has found her wings and put them to good use too! Shadow Scale takes the foundations of Seraphina and explodes its world outward. Not just geographically, but culturally (and mythically) as well. Seraphina is on a mission to find the other half-dragons to aid in the dragon war against Goredd. She must travel to other countries to gather her “grotesques” and convince them to help her. It’s so fun to travel to these new lands and learn about But the real delight is in meeting all the new people. I adored the expanded (and diverse) cast of... Read more »

The post Shadow Scale: Review appeared first on The Midnight Garden.

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31. What’s Your Winner’s Curse and Giveaway!

This morning I’m participating in a blog tour and giveaway for Marie Rutkoski’s The Winner’s Crime.  This is the follow up to The Winner’s Curse, and you can learn more about the books here.  You can follow the tour here.  I also have a copy of The Winner’s Crime up for grabs, so enter below!

The ‘Winner’s Curse’ is an economics term that means you’ve gotten what you wanted – but at too high a price.  What would you pay too much for?

Time.  I would pay any price for more time.  More time to spend with my family and my friends, and more time to spend with my duppers and my horses.  At the end of every day, there is one thing that I always run out of.  There are only 24 hours in a day, a finite number that limits everything about our lives.  But what if we had the ability to turn that limited resource into something a tiny bit more infinite?  Yeah, I’d pay way too much for that.

How about you? What is something you would pay too much for?

 

Following your heart can be a crime

A royal wedding is what most girls dream about. It means one celebration after another: balls, fireworks, and revelry until dawn. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement: that she agreed to marry the crown prince in exchange for Arin’s freedom. But can Kestrel trust Arin? Can she even trust herself? For Kestrel is becoming very good at deception. She’s working as a spy in the court. If caught, she’ll be exposed as a traitor to her country. Yet she can’t help searching for a way to change her ruthless?world . . . and she is close to uncovering a shocking secret.?

This dazzling follow-up to The Winner’s Curse reveals the high price of dangerous lies and untrustworthy alliances. The truth will come out, and when it does, Kestrel and Arin will learn just how much their crimes will cost them.

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love

They were never meant to be together. As a general’s daughter, seventeen-year-old Kestrel enjoys an extravagant and privileged life. Arin has nothing but the clothes on his back. Then Kestrel makes an impulsive decision that binds Arin to her. Though they try to fight it, they can’t help but fall in love. In order to be together, they must betray their people . . . but to be loyal to their country, they must betray each other.

Set in a new world, The Winner’s Curse is a story of rebellion, duels, ballroom dances, wicked rumors, dirty secrets, and games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

GIVEAWAY!

US addresses only, please

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post What’s Your Winner’s Curse and Giveaway! appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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32. When In Doubt, Search Out Joy

As I came to the end of the Sweet Easter collection yesterday, doubt started to overwhelm me. It had already begun creeping into the space of my heart, but yesterday I was submerged and left bobbing for some kind of clarity. Did I do ok? Was this strong enough?? Is it what my agent wanted??? Will it sell????

The art licensing realm is quite different than what I'm accustomed to. I had a system to my art, always got great feedback, and I thought I knew what I was meant to do! I thought "I'm going to paint fantasy, and that's that. That's me! It's what I do!". I am learning, quickly, that nothing, NOTHING, is "That's that.". EVERYTHING is changing, all....the.....time.

That includes my art. What I'm accustomed to is, as my friend put it best, being comfortable. Art for licensing is stretching me so thin that I'm being redefined, challenged, pulled out of my box. I am usually the one teaching my students to get outside of their comfort zone, and to get outside of the "box" we choose to place ourselves in. Time to take a big bite out of my own teaching! I'm comfortable with my subject matter, my compositions, and techniques. I'm not playing anymore.
This has led to doubt. I feel helpless, lost, without faith, no trust, and begin to think I just don't have what it takes. But doubt is a LIE. It's the biggest lie out there that you'll ever find. It just takes a grain of doubt to bring your entire soul down. At least...that's usually how it rolls with me. That doubt must, I repeat, must be replaced by JOY.


Tonight, after teaching another watercolor class about getting out of your comfort zone, I decided to continue searching for words of wisdom, insight into the world of creating art for licensing, and found this amazing interview by J'Net Smith with Joan Marie.

This! This is just what I needed to hear! If you have any doubt, this simple yet compelling interview resounds all the advice and wisdom I have found thus far, on creating art for licensing. I thrive on constructive feedback, and have found very little in the licensing community so far. But there are TONS of information and interviews. These are the keys to gaining feedback. Read. Read. Read. It's just different then what I'm accustomed too. That's okay!


And...

TRUST

LOVE

Find your JOY. Your VOICE. Your SPIRIT.

Then share it to the world.

This is the key I must continue to remind myself. To remind others as I teach. To remind yourself.

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33. A Letter to THE SIN EATER'S DAUGHTER by Melinda Salisbury

by Becca THE SIN EATER'S DAUGHTERThe Sin Eater's Daughter #1by Melinda SalisburyHardcover: 320 pagesPublisher: Scholastic Press (February 24, 2015)Language: EnglishGoodreads | Amazon Seventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she's engaged to the prince, Twylla isn't exactly a member of the court. She's the executioner. As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone

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34. Review: Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

ZOMG!  These books!  This series!  I’m going to gush, and I just can’t help myself!  It’s rare when I come across a series that sucks me in with the strength of a Dyson vac on steroids, and Anne Bishop manages to do just that.  I read Written in Red in December, and it was one of the best books I’d read last year.  I didn’t write a review because, gosh, I just didn’t know how to put my thoughts into words.  I still don’t, but I’ll try anyway.

I didn’t rush out to read Written in Red because I don’t remember loving the first two Black Jewels books.  I read them so long ago, though, that maybe my memory is faulty.  Or my reading tastes have changed.  But when I was offered a review copy of Vision in Silver, I thought, what the heck.  Written in Red was on sale for $1.99 at the time, and the library had Murder of Crows, so I cautiously entered the world of Meg Corbyn and the mysterious, dangerous Others.  I’m hooked!

Meg is a cassandra sangue, a blood prophet.  Murder of Crows picks up where Written in Red left off; Meg has settled in with the Others as their human liaison.  She’s basically their mail carrier, and she accepts, sorts, and delivers the parcels the terra indigene , or the Others, order from the humans.  There is an uneasy peace between the humans and the definitely not human Others, but it’s a precarious peace at best.  The humans are tolerated by the powerful Others only as long as they provide something they want, otherwise, the humans are reduced to one thing. If they have nothing to offer, then the humans are prey.  It’s as simple as that to the Others.  Either a human is somewhat useful and they are allowed to live unmolested, or they are special meat.

Meg is special because of the power in her blood, so she is in the not prey category, and that designation is non-negotiable.  The blood prophets are wonderful and terrible creations.  Some evil humans are exploiting them, selling their prophesies to the highest bidder, as well as using their blood to poison the Others.  The cassandra sangue feel euphoria after being cut, which releases their prophesies, but they also come with an expiration date.  Supposedly, their skin can only be cut a thousand times, and then they go mad or die.  They are virtually slaves to greedy, powerful men who use them for their own gain, keeping them carefully segregated and ignorant of the rest of society. 

Murder of Crows notches up the tension between humans and the Others.  Humans First and Last, an organization intent on destroying the Others, is striking out at their enemies, heedless of how the Others will react.  They seem to have forgotten how powerful the Others are, and that humans are allowed to remain in their towns and cities, on land rented from the Other, only because the Others find them useful.  When the Crows are singled out for murder, the Others don’t respond well to the threat to their kind. 

The series is engrossing and hard to put down.  Anne Bishop made the Others seem, well, not human.  I love the world building, and I love learning more about the creatures that populate it.  Simon Wolfgard is the leader of the Lakeside Courtyard, and he and Meg have a lot to learn about each other.  Their first interactions are awkward, and growly Simon often leaves Meg frightened and uncomfortable.  Simple misunderstandings threaten to burst into violence with all of the Others, and Meg has to carefully navigate her new surroundings.  She’s at an even greater disadvantage because she was kept sheltered and ignorant in the Controller’s compound.  She manages to make friends among her new employers, and slowly gains their trust, and even wins the protection of one of the most powerful Others in Lakeside.

I love the Elementals, who bring devastating destruction as casually as flicking their fingers.  And the ponies.  OMG! The ponies!  Chubby and grumpy, they reluctantly assist Meg with her delivery duties (she has to bribe them with treats).  But then, when danger strikes, suddenly, they aren’t chubby little ponies anymore.  They are majestic, terrifying beasts of thunder, lightning, and fog.  I freaking love the ponies!

Meg is hard to dislike, too.  She is one of the most selfless heroines I’ve ever been introduced to.  She knows that she can only cut herself some many times, and that cutting herself is inherently dangerous because she can cut too deeply and bleed to death, but when she feels that her new friends are in danger, out comes her blade.  She’s also one of the bravest characters; she endures horrible pain to learn how to escape from the Controller, and she puts herself in harm’s way to protect the Courtyard and everyone in it.  She’s kind and gentle, but has a stubborn streak a mile long.

My favorite part of Murder of Crows is how confused both Simon and Meg are about their relationship.  Being a Wolf, he doesn’t understand that shifting into his human form can cause all kinds of problems between him and Meg.  Being different species, they have a different understanding of what a friend is, and they grapple to work out a definition that works for them, but it’s a slow, awkward process.  Will they ever be more than friends?  I have no idea, but I can’t wait to find out!

If you haven’t read Written in Red or Murder of Crows, you must give them a try!  Like, right now!  They are awesome books that build to a holy crap, I can’t believe this is so good! crescendo.  Then, after the last page, you just want more!

Grade:  ZOMG! A!!

Review copy obtained from my local library

From Amazon:

Return to New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop’s “phenomenal” (Urban Fantasy Investigations) world of the Others—where supernatural entities and humans struggle to co-exist, and one woman has begun to change all the rules…
After winning the trust of the terra indigene residing in the Lakeside Courtyard, Meg Corbyn has had trouble figuring out what it means to live among them. As a human, Meg should be barely tolerated prey, but her abilities as a cassandra sangue make her something more.

The appearance of two addictive drugs has sparked violence between the humans and the Others, resulting in the murder of both species in nearby cities. So when Meg has a dream about blood and black feathers in the snow, Simon Wolfgard—Lakeside’s shape-shifting leader—wonders if their blood prophet dreamed of a past attack or a future threat.

As the urge to speak prophecies strikes Meg more frequently, trouble finds its way inside the Courtyard. Now, the Others and the handful of humans residing there must work together to stop the man bent on reclaiming their blood prophet—and stop the danger that threatens to destroy them all.

The post Review: Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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35. Seraphina, by Rachel Hartman | Book Review

In the kingdom of Goredd, humans and dragons have lived and worked side by side for more than forty years, a treaty of peace signed, and the past war forgotten. But when a member of the royal family is brutally murdered and the finger of blame points to dragons, it appears that not all is forgotten, or forgiven.

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36. Book Titles: Creating a Good Book Name | Rachel Hartman, Author of Seraphina

Shadow Scale jumped out at me. It was more complex than it first appeared, I realized in that moment, because “scale” could mean several different things.

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37. Seraphina Series, by Rachel Hartman | Book Series Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of Seraphina, written by Rachel Hartman, and the newest release, Shadow Scale (Seraphina: Book Two). Giveaway begins March 9, 2015, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends April 8, 2015, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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38. #663 – OMG . . . Am I a Witch?! by Talia Aikens-Nuñez

 

OMG…Am I A Witch?!

Talia Aikens-Nuñez, author
Alicja Ignaczak, illustrator
Central Avenue Publishing/Pinwheel Books          8/06/2014
978-1-77168-025-7
148 pages      Age 7+
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“April Appleton is s annoyed at her older brother that she searches the Internet for a spell to turn him into a dog. When it works, April realizes she has more power than she ever dreamed of! Now she has to figure out how to turn him back to normal before her parents find out.”

About the Story

April turns her older brother Austin into a little soft, poofy dog when he harasses her on the school bus. Yep, she is wearing huge red glasses and braces, but that does not give Austin the right to tease her. Now realizing she cannot keep Austin cute and cuddly forever—lest mom and dad will be unhappy—April tries in vain to turn Austin back into an annoying brother.

Things do not go well for April, who is getting better at opening and closing doors at will, but could not get the reversing spell to work. With the help of help best friend Grace and new friend Eve (her grand-mere is a witch doctor), April must perform some nasty tasks before the undo-spell might work. The Old Magic Book’s paper-thin pages are so dusty, reading might be difficult—and it is in French!

Review

First, I am not a fan of texting “terms” used in a story, and most definitely not in the title. I also do not like the double sign (?!), and because of this, think the title needs polished. The back cover preview (above), contains a sentence ending in a proposition. A few more are in the story. The expertly drawn black and white line drawings, at the onset of each chapter, help mark each new beginning, but do not add anything to the story.

omg1a

With that out of the way, OMG . . . Am I a Witch is a cute story with energized dialogue. Read in one sitting, I found the story entertaining and it held my attention throughout. Most of April’s magic occurs as she thinks of what she would like, such as thinking her doggy-brother looks white and billowy as the clouds above, then he begins floating upward. April does a lot of thinking and worrying. The humor is light, which suits the urgency of the story.

“Austin is fluffy like those clouds. Ha ha. I could just imagine him floating off like a cloud . . . I just made him float. He floated like a cloud in my daydream. I am a witch. Wow. I am . . . a . . . witch.”

Girls will especially love the main character and her female sidekicks. OMG . . . Am I a Witch is a short 148 pages that can be read one chapter at a time or entirely in one sitting, making this a good story for younger middle grade kids. I believe this is Ms. Aikens-Nuñez’s first MG book. She has written a fine first foray into writing for the late elementary and middle grades. I would love to find out how April uses her newfound magic and how her friends will influence her choices. I loved all the characters.  I think OMG . . . Am I a Witch would make a fine series, especially if April ages along the way.

OMG . . . AM I A WITCH?! Text copyright © 2014 by Talia Aikens-Nuñez. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Alicja Ignaczak. Published by Central Avenue Publishing, British Columbia, CAN and Point Roberts, WA.
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Purchase OMG . . . Am I a Witch?! at Amazon B&NBook DepositoryiTunesPublisher’s Website.
Find out more about OMG . . . Am I a Witch?! HERE.
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Meet the author, Talia Aikens-Nuñez, at her website:  http://talia-aikens-nunez.vpweb.com/
Meet the illustrator, Alicja Ignaczak, at her facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/alicja.ignaczak.102
Learn more about the publisher, Central Avenue Publishing, at their website: centralavenuepublishing.com
Learn more about Pinwheel Books: http://pinwheelbooks.com/

Interview with Talia Aikens-Nuñez: HERE
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Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Chapter Book, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade Tagged: Alicja Ignaczak, Central Avenue Publishing, chapter books, fantasy, magic, Pinwheel Books, Talia Aikens-Nuñez

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39. A Darker Shade of Magic: Tour Stop + Giveaway (international)

We have two fun things for you today–A Darker Shade of Magic prize pack and a quick visit from V.E. Schwab as part of the official blog tour! The book was just released this week and reviewed by Kim–I’m in the middle of the book myself and I can see why she lavished it such glowing praise. In the book, which takes place in multiple alternate universe Londons, one character observes, “No London is truly without magic.” Kim’s question for our stop on the official blog tour: What are the most magical parts of London to you? V.E. Schwab: I grew up wanting the world to be stranger than it was, and because of that, I’m inclined to look for—and see—the potential for the magical, the fantastical, the extraordinary everywhere I look. In alleys and doorways and in the seams between places—and in the case of ADSOM, between worlds—anywhere there’s... Read more »

The post A Darker Shade of Magic: Tour Stop + Giveaway (international) appeared first on The Midnight Garden.

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40. Short Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue


The Raven Cycle #3: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie StiefvaterScholastic, 2014. Review copy from publisher. Sequel to The Raven Boys (Book 1) and The Dream Thieves (Book 2).

This continues the story of the search in Virginia for a missing Welsh king. The searchers are prep school students Richard Gansey III (the driving force behind the search), his friends Adam Parrish, Ronan Lynch, and Noah Czerny, and local girl Blue Sargent.

By the events of Blue Lily, Lily Blue, I'm not going to lie: it's complicated. There are a mess of characters, plus the search, plus the issues that the characters are dealing with in the present. Gansey is driven by his search; Ronan discovered dangerous family secrets, including his own ability to pull things out of dreams into the real world; Adam is a scholarship student with the drive for more and a serious, well earned chip on his shoulder. Noah has his own issues.

And Blue: Blue is from a family of psychics, without any real power herself, and with a curse upon her: her kiss will kill her true love. And since she's falling hard for Gansey, and since one of her aunts foresaw Gansey's death, it's, well, messy. Like life. Now take life and add in magic and history, myth and legend.

Readers know that I like when teen books have interesting adult characters: well, this has them and then some. The enigmatic Mr. Gray -- I mean, how often is a hired killer so sympathetic and likable? (And yes, I keep picturing him as Norman Reedus). Blue's mother has disappeared, but this allows other adults to move center. And Mr. Gray's boss also enters into the picture. It's not just magic and myth that is a danger.

The only frustration with Blue Lily, Lily Blue is there is still one more book in the series. So while the adventure moves forward, and questions are answered, there's still so much more to find out


Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

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41. THE WINNER'S CRIME by Marie Rutkoski is EVERYTHING: Book & Audiobook Review

by Andye THE WINNER'S CRIMEThe Winner's Trilogy #2by Marie RutkoskiAge Range: 12 - 18 yearsHardcover: 416 pagesPublisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (March 3, 2015)Audiobook Narrated By Justine Eyre Length: 10 hrs Publisher: Listening LibraryGoodreads | Amazon | Audible Following your heart can be a crime A royal wedding is what most girls dream about. It means one celebration after

0 Comments on THE WINNER'S CRIME by Marie Rutkoski is EVERYTHING: Book & Audiobook Review as of 3/4/2015 12:48:00 AM
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42. A Darker Shade of Magic: Review

Hello! Do you like humorously told fantasies, unique magic, complex heroes, heroic villains, parallel worlds, and London(s)? Of course you do. You are a person of quality and good taste. So, great news! This book has all of those things. I mean, honestly, it had me at “parallel Londons!” Each London is distinct and wondrous in its own way. I loved being able to follow the characters through to the different worlds. Even our own dreary, magic-less* Grey London is a joy to visit. Red London is vibrant, opulent, and full of life. White London is gorgeously dark, creepy, and dangerous. Atmospheric, beautifully detailed, and rich in the character of its worlds; Schwab writes in such a way that I felt like I could step off from the main story and wander around in her various Londons exploring for days. This is world building done right. And give me a... Read more »

The post A Darker Shade of Magic: Review appeared first on The Midnight Garden.

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43. Short Review: Salt and Storm

Salt & Storm by Kendall KulperLittle, Brown. 2014. Reviewed from ARC.

Salt and Storm is set in an alternate 1860s, where witches and magic are real. Avery is the granddaughter of the witch of Prince Island, and should have been trained and raised to be the next witch. Except, her mother -- who refuses to have anything to do with magic or witchcraft -- drags Avery away from her grandmother and forbids her to see her. At sixteen, Avery is trying to escape her mother's control and claim her inheritance.

What I liked most about Salt and Storm is that Avery wasn't aware of the full picture. She knew what she knew, believed she had the full picture, believe she knew the real story about the witches of Prince Island. She thought she knew herself, but it turns out things aren't what she thinks they are. Which means what she wants isn't what she thinks it is. I also like the historical information in here, about life on nineteenth century islands.

Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

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44. Fairy or Demon - Part II

It's striking, in all of my reading the fairy lives in this 'in-between' place. Most would say "I have never seen one, but I believe they have a place on this earth.". I'm paraphrasing of course, but that's the gist.

Interesting. There are definitely those who believe in them, and those that do not, but most fall in the middle. The history of fairies is also of that, they are in the middle. Neither heavenly, nor demonic, just either stuck or thrown out and left to hide.

What I Believed


Lady of the Forest
It started as a romance. I was drawn to the beauty and mystical qualities of the fairy. They appeared to be one with nature, dance on air, and talk to animals. As a child I wanted all of this. I was swooned in. As I grew older I discovered their magic, their power, and the mists of Avalon. There was sensuality and mystery.... all that I thought was stronger and more valuable than anything else I had encountered.


When I first experienced magic I was astonished and thought I had the same power that the fairies had. When I believed I could conjure fire in my own hand out of nothing I thought I could BE someone, or something. I truly believed they were all around hiding and waiting to find the right time to reveal themselves to me. I worked so hard to make them think I was worthy enough for them.

I believed fairies were elemental workers of the earth. They were misunderstood, agents for our environment, spoke to us through runes and other natural tools (fire, water, air, stones, etc.). I thought by being an ambassador for them I was helping the earth and thus my own heart. I thought I was fighting for a better place in this world so full of pain, hate, and disregard for the tree spirit I talked to every day at school. I never saw anyone standing up for them quite like the fairies. Of course I sounded crazy to many.

The Reality Sets In


With most of my experiences, when I came into contact with a fairy or spirit, it was unpleasant and always made my depression worse. Something so beautiful didn't prevent me from thoughts and attempts of suicide, they didn't make me feel valued, loved, or gifted. This isn't to blame the craft and to say it caused these, but it didn't help either, and I thought it would.

In my early adult life I was asked many questions about my faery tradition practices and witchcraft. In an attempt to answer, I began to notice how much of a religion it all was, how it was similar to other religions. A group of people, a hierarchy, priests, elders, book of stories, etc. I had myself convinced it was different, but now not so much. I started to attend a church through a relationship and, although I had MANY negative thoughts and accounts about Christians and the religion, I left my heart open. I was desperate, in pain, stuck, and at my lowest. I fled the paganism and jumped on board. How???

Sisters

It's simple, all I wanted was to feel loved, to be an agent of the earth, and to freely use my gift for good. I had seen so many testimonies of the love people felt when they gave their life to God, to Jesus, I wanted it too. In my circles, I saw SO many people depressed, searching but never finding, and always wanting to gain more. In my experience I never met a witch who was at peace with who she was in her heart. I know they are out there, but it made me wonder and question from my own perspective.

Because of the mystery found in fairies and their folklore, I can now enjoy and experience the mystery found in the Bible and in God. Because of the belief I had in something unseen before, I can believe in Jesus. Because of my romantic lure into fairytales, I can read the Bible and see my prince, play the princess, and be the warrior on a horse fighting battles.

What I Believe Now


I was given this imagination from the start. I would run around in the backyard pretending I could talk to animals, connect with a tree and learn it's secrets, and fly. I would imagine running then taking off and flying just to fall asleep each night. I have always been drawn to the world of magic, mystery, and ethereal. So why, then, would that go away the moment I started to follow Jesus?

Why would I be given this imagination only to not use it? To deny it? That doesn't make sense. Not with the God that I know.

Cardinal Fairy
I wrestled with fairies for a long time after I began studying the Bible. There was nothing to guide me away, or anything that alarmingly stood out telling me to stop, drawing fairies. I read once somewhere that Brian Froud put wings on his fairies as an expression to who they were. To their personality. This resonated with me, and it's part of how I see fairies.

They are expressions of the earth, it's elements, it's spirit, and to aid in the belief that there is more out there than what we see. They are part of our imagination to get us wondering, to see outside the box, and to question.

They exist because we want them to exist. Are they as real as the flower I hold? I don't believe they are real like that. But what that flower does to your senses is what I believe a fairy can do, and that is where they are real.

Fairies represent vitality, freedom, expression, the possibilities, the unknown, wonder, beauty, humor, fears, and even what haunts us.

Interestingly fairies are more like a bridge in my opinion. They are that bridge between real and imaginary. They can bring you closer to God BECAUSE you are free to imagine and wonder. They can bring you closer to nature BECAUSE you're gardening to make a creative fairy garden. They can open up possibilities BECAUSE they are the stuff of magic and give us hope.

Angels are referenced as stars throughout the Bible and spirits of light. Fairies are accompanied by auras of light and twinkling 'fairy dust' about them. They are a reminder of my home, heaven, and the imagination God has given.

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45. Book Review: The Last Wild/The Dark Wild

I read both of these books together, so I'm going to do what I rarely do and review them together. If you haven't read the first book, you might want to stop after my review of The Last Wild, because my review of The Dark Wild will, of necessity, have spoilers for the first book.



The Last Wild
by Piers Torday

In a dystopian future, all animals have died out from an illness called "red-eye" that mutated to spread throughout the animal populations. The only animals still living are a few hardy species like cockroaches. Even the bees are dead, which means that there are no more food crops. The only food left is a synthetic food called Formul-A, and the only supplier of Formul-A is the Facto corporation, essentially giving them control of the remaining human population.

Twelve year old Kester Jaynes has been incarcerated in Spectrum Hall Academy for Challenging Children for six years. The Academy is just as horrible as its name makes it sound: the children live regimented, restricted lives, and breaking the rules is punished by solitary confinement. Kester can't even complain: he hasn't been able to speak since his mother died. The words just won't come out.

Kester keeps company with a cockroach at lunch, but one day he's surprised to hear the cockroach speaking to him in his head. Shortly after that, one hundred pigeons break through his window and help him escape from Spectrum Hall. Kester discovers that Facto lied: the animals are not all dead. There is a group of them — a Wild — still living on the edge of civilization, and Kester has a unique ability to talk to them through a kind of mental connection. Between the red-eye virus and the cullers sent out by Facto to kill any remaining animals, the Wild is in grave danger. Kester sets off with the pigeons, the cockroach, a stag, and a wolf cub to find his father, who used to be a vet, and try to find a cure for the red-eye.

If all this sounds a bit unbelievable, it is, but that's ok. This isn't the kind of book that has to be realistic. The characters and the situations are somewhat exaggerated, like you might find in a Roald Dahl or a Lemony Snicket book, with the same kind of dark humor found in those books.

The main characters are Kester and a girl named Polly, whom he meets along the way, and various animals. Kester and Polly are good characters, but the animals are really the best thing about this book. Torday has done an outstanding job of giving the animals unique voices that really fit their personalities. Kester develops through the story, as he learns to be self-reliant and to take responsibility.

The pacing is good, and the plot keeps you turning pages, as Kester, Polly and the animals go from one situation to another as they try to make their way to the city to find Kester's dad. The Last Wild is a unique and interesting book, and a good read. I've read a lot of books, and I can honestly say that I haven't read anything quite like it.

Diversity?

There isn't really any diversity that I saw in the book. In fact, in a few cases I was bothered that some of the villains had impediments or physical characteristics exaggerated in a negative way for comic effect. For example, the evil headmaster stutters.

Who would like this book?

Middle-grade readers, particularly those who like animal fiction. Be aware that The Last Wild is a dark book, and there are deaths; some animals are killed by evil people in front of Kester and Polly. Sensitive children who are bothered by such things may want to give it a pass.

I suspect that this book would have strong appeal for fans of the Warriors series. It's a very different kind of book, but I think that Warriors fans would appreciate not only the animal characters, but also the dark conflicts in a dangerous world, the Wild community, the theme of personal sacrifice, and the well-paced plot.






The Dark Wild
by Piers Torday

Kester and Polly have saved the Wild, and helped Kester's dad find a cure for the red-eye virus. But the Facto corporation isn't going to give up their control of the world and everything they've worked for so easily. Selwyn Stone, the head of Facto, wants something more than to kill all the animals. He wants what Polly has, the secret she swore to her parents that she'd never reveal.

Other factions are also after the secret, and Polly escapes into the city to protect the secret. Kester sets off after her, to help and protect her, but before he can find her he discovers another Wild — an army of bitter, angry animals living under the city, who are determined to destroy the human race. Kester is caught in the middle, and must try to find a way to stop the Dark Wild, while also saving Polly and the animals of his Wild from Facto.

The Dark Wild is a gripping read, and just as thrilling as The Last Wild. In the first book, Kester had to learn to be a leader, but in this one he learns something much more difficult: the value of loyalty, personal heroism, and sacrifice. Other characters develop as well, particularly the wolf cub, who is beginning to grow up and become an adult wolf.

It's also just as dark as the first book, if not more so. In one painful scene, Kester, as a prisoner, has to watch Selwyn Stone taxidermy a squirrel who had been one of Kester's friends. The squirrel was already dead, killed earlier in the book, but it's quite a horrifying scene.

Some things are not resolved by the end of the book, so there may be another book on the way.


FTC required disclosure: Review copy sent by the publisher to enable me to write this review. The bookstore links above are affiliate links, and I earn a very small percentage of any sales made through the links. Neither of these things influenced my review.



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46. Talon: Review

I didn’t know I needed a book about dragons masquerading as humans until I found one. Talon is about a world where the remaining dragons hide in plain sight in human form in order to stay alive and a girl who wants more for her life than what has been laid out for her. Although I had some issues with it, I liked the interesting characters, their relationships with each others, and the dragon culture. The book follows multiple perspectives, but the main character is Ember. She and her twin brother, Dante, have been moved to a small beach town for the summer by Talon so they can learn to blend in with normal human teenagers. For Ember, this is her one, brief period of time where she can have fun and do whatever she wants before the next stage of her mysterious training begins and she is officially locked into... Read more »

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47. 2014 Andre Norton Award Nominees


The 2014 Nebula Award nominees have been announced, and with it the nominees for the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy. The Nebula and Andre Norton awards are given by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

Two of the Andre Norton nominees were also Cybils Awards finalists: Salvage, by Alexandra Duncan, and Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future, by A.S. King. As a Cybils judge, I read both books and they're both excellent, although very different, books. I've also read Love Is the Drug, by Alaya Dawn Johnson, and loved that one as well.

Here's the full list of Andre Norton Award nominees:

  • Unmade, Sarah Rees Brennan (Random House) 
  • Salvage, Alexandra Duncan (Greenwillow) 
  • Love Is the Drug, Alaya Dawn Johnson (Levine) 
  • Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future, A.S. King (Little, Brown) 
  • Dirty Wings, Sarah McCarry (St. Martin’s Griffin) 
  • Greenglass House, Kate Milford (Clarion) 
  • The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, Leslye Walton (Candlewick)
The complete list of Nebula Award Nominees on the SFWA website.

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48. Red Queen: Review

I am sad to say that Red Queen is yet another bland and wholly unexceptional entry in YA fantasy. What starts out with potential is ultimately unable to fulfill the promise of its premise. Here you have the story of a common girl, Mare, a Red, who finds herself in a position to make an actual impact against the brutal oppression of the supernaturally powered Silvers, and yet the story is one long slog fest of tired trope after another. The writing is competent, yet far from stunning. But it was the convenience of the plot that first got my hackles raised. In the space of a single day Mare: is selected from obscurity to get a job serving in the castle after a chance run in with one of the princes (he is obviously instantly enamored of her) is sent out to serve the most important families in the... Read more »

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49. Princely Binge Reading Material

My niece and I started a new series, beginning with The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen. It appears to be a trilogy, not a marathon like the last series we read. I thought it dragged just a liiiittllllle bit, but I definitely like a well done unreliable narrator. The best part? Books 2 and 3 have been published. I can whip through these things the way I like to.

Oh, wait. The best part, really? My niece compared Sage in The False Prince to another character in a book I gave her three years ago. I can't tell you who or what or you will figure out an important, neat thing about The False Prince. I figured it out about two-thirds of the way through the book but it was one of those figure-something-out-in-a-cool way not a oh-my-gawd-why-didn't-she-just-put-up-a-road-sign? way. But my point is, Becki made that connection between those two characters, which I, of course, had already done. She wasn't telling me anything.

But she saw the connection between two characters from two books that I had given her. My work as an aunt is done.

And I will be reading the sequels to The False Prince.

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50. “The Story of the Fisherman” Sketches and Video

During the course of working on "The Story of the Fisherman" I've generated many many sketches, here are just a few. I hope you enjoy them.



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

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