What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in
    from   

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Posts

(tagged with 'magic')

Recent Comments

JacketFlap Sponsors

Spread the word about books.
Put this Widget on your blog!
  • Powered by JacketFlap.com

Are you a book Publisher?
Learn about Widgets now!

Advertise on JacketFlap

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: magic, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 309
1. Ted Sanders, Author of The Keepers: The Harp and the Ravenvine | Selfie and Shelfie

Check out Ted Sanders’ Selfie with The Keepers: The Harp and the Ravenvine, the second in the magical series that began with The Box and the Dragonfly.

Add a Comment
2. The Gallery of Wonders: Magora: Book One, by Marc Remus | Dedicated Review

The Gallery of Wonders, by Marc Remus, is an incredibly engaging middle grade book for ages nine and up—especially those that dabble in art, magic, and defending against the dark arts.

Add a Comment
3. THE MIRROR KING by Jodi Meadows // More Of An Okay Book Than Anything...

Review by Sara... THE MIRROR KING The Orphan Queen #2 By Jodi Meadows Hardcover: 544 pages Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (April 5, 2016) Language: English Goodreads | Amazon Wilhelmina has a hundred enemies.HER FRIENDS HAVE TURNED. After her identity is revealed during the Inundation, Princess Wilhelmina is kept prisoner by the Indigo Kingdom, with the Ospreys lost somewhere in

0 Comments on THE MIRROR KING by Jodi Meadows // More Of An Okay Book Than Anything... as of 4/1/2016 1:31:00 AM
Add a Comment
4. The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann


The Unwanteds By Lisa McMann


      In the world of Quill, creativity is bad. It counts as an infraction, and on the day of the Purge, every thirteen year-old is put into three categories: Wanted, Necessary, or Unwanted. Wanteds are honored, Necessaries become slaves, and Unwanteds are sent to their deaths.When Alex Stowe is sent to the Death Farm after the Purge, he discovers that being Unwanted doesn't bring death... it brings the discovery of a whole new world called Artime.

       In Artime, creativity is allowed. Even encouraged. The wild-haired leader, Mr. Today, helps each artistic Unwanted learn that they can hold their title like a badge. Because in Artime, creativity is a magical gift... and a weapon.

       It's the first book in the Unwanted Series, and I am so excited for the last one to come out in April! If you like dystopian novels and magic, then you should totally try this book out!

-Grace

0 Comments on The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
5. 8 Reasons You Should Never Read V. E. (Victoria) Schwab's Shades of Magic Series \\ A Darker Shade of Magic - A Gathering Of Shadows

I I know you've probably been hearing a lot about this series, and how amazing it is, and how the world-building is incredible and the characters are awesome and blah, blah, blah. But I'm here to tell you to think twice before starting these books. Here are 8 reasons you may want to steer clear. 1. You're going to want a magic coat that changes every time you flip it around and you can't

0 Comments on 8 Reasons You Should Never Read V. E. (Victoria) Schwab's Shades of Magic Series \\ A Darker Shade of Magic - A Gathering Of Shadows as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
6. #826 – Liberty Frye and the Witches of Hessen by J. L. McCreedy

Liberty Frye and the Witches of Hessen Written by J. L. McCreedy Penelope Pipp Publishing   11/18/2012 978-0-9882369-1-2 256 pages     Ages 8—12 . “The average ten-year-old girl seldom travels far from home. She doesn’t worry about being kidnapped by witches or imprisoned in medieval castles where children meet their unspeakable demise. She rarely …

Add a Comment
7. Sorcerer to the Crown

cover artZen Cho’s book Sorcerer to the Crown has had so many people crowing about how wonderful it is that I caved in and had to find out for myself what the buzz was about. When I first started reading it I thought, uh-oh, this is so Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell-y how can this possibly not have people crying derivative! But the similarities didn’t last long and in the end it turned out to be a very different novel. Thank goodness.
 
The story is set in Regency England. English magic is on the wane and no one knows why. The British are in an uneasy truce with France agreeing that neither will use magic against the other. But there are goings on in the small nation of Janda Baik that might make things very bad for England without some careful diplomacy. It also turns out that England’s magical stores are shrinking because of some unhappy and very powerful lamiae and witches in Janda Baik. And the fairies are rather peeved at an English sorcerer who broke a treaty with them regarding taking new familiars from the land of Fairy.
 
In the world of this book anyone can have magic but of course the ones in charge, the thaumaturges, are all men and there is a definite hierarchy. Magical women are scandalous. Sure no one minds the maid or the cook using a little magic to help them in their daily duties but a female of gentle birth using magic? Girls are sent to special schools so they can learn how not to use their magic. The male thaumaturges are convinced that the female frame is too delicate for anything more than minor household magic. Are they about to get a rude awakening!
 
The very popular Sorcerer Royal, Sir Stephen, dies suddenly one night and is immediately succeeded by his protégé, Zacharias. The only problem is that Zacharias is a black man, a former slave, bought by Sir Stephen when he was a baby and brought up as if he were his own son. To be a sorcerer, one must have a familiar and the familiar of the Sorcerer Royal has been passed down from one to the other. What has happened to Sir Stephen’s familiar? Rumors spread that Zacharias killed both of them. To add even more complications to his situation, Zacharias returns from giving a speech at one of those special schools for girls with one of the girls.
 
Prunella, whose mother was Indian and father British, was orphaned young and raised by the proprietess of the school. Prunella has some powerful magical abilities that impress Zacharias so much he brings her back to London to teach her how to be a thaumaturge. Since Prunella does not have an independent fortune, she gets Zacharias to agree to have Lady Wythe, Sir Stephen’s widow, launch her into Society that she might find a husband with money. Prunella is a sassy, savvy girl who speaks her mind and has a penchant for adventure and trouble-making. Both she and Zacharias have secrets that make for all sorts of delightful twists and turns in the story.
 
Along with being a fast-paced tale full of magic and adventure and a number of I’m-not-taking-any-crap-from-you magical women, the story also very nicely weaves racial and gender issues throughout. It is done in such a subtle way too that not one of the thaumaturges who votes to remove Zacharias as Sorcerer Royal ever mentions it has anything to do with him being a black man, but as the reader you understand it has almost everything to do with it. There is also a quiet revelatory moment during which the ghost of Sir Stephen comes to understand that his protégé’s life has been very different than he had thought because the white Sir Stephen had no reason to notice all of the slights and sly remarks directed at Zacharias because of his color.

It is because of Zacharias and Prunella that the book has gotten so much attention. A fantasy novel with a hero and heroine who aren’t white and that doesn’t make excuses or tie itself into knots in order to make that happen is a big deal. That the book also manages questions of race and gender so adeptly and in such a matter-of-fact manner is also a big deal. At the same time, it is kind of sad that the race and gender of the main characters of the book are unusual enough that it has people buzzing. Hopefully one day there will be so much diversity in books that it is no longer such a newsworthy item.

Sorcerer to the Crown is Zen Cho’s first novel and she is a little surprised I think by its popularity. Born and raised in Malaysia, Cho moved to the UK to pursue a law degree. She began practicing law in the UK, got married and a couple years ago started writing the novel. She had been writing short stories and fan fiction, had even done some editing so she wasn’t a complete novice. She still practices law part time, at least according to one interview I read. And she is at work on another novel, purportedly one that takes place in the same world as Sorcerer but with different main characters, though Cho has said Zacharias and Prunella will make an appearance.

I found Sorcerer to the Crown a delightful book. It is well paced and plotted, the characters aren’t always so very three-dimensional but they are interesting and definitely not cardboard cutouts. Sometimes Prunella seems a bit too wise to the ways of the world and society and just a smidge too composed for her age and upbringing, but her sass and confidence are contagious and make it easy to overlook the other things. Quite the debut, it will be fun to follow Cho’s career and see where she goes from here.


Filed under: Books, Reviews, SciFi/Fantasy Tagged: magic, race and gender, Regency England, Zen Cho

Add a Comment
8. New issue of The Lorelei Signal (link)

The Jan - Mar issue of The Lorelei Signal is out: www.loreleisignal.com
Stories include:

The Dead Lady's Hand - Maureen Bowden

A reborn sorceress must confront an ancient enemy who has waited for her through the centuries.

Dragon Slayer - Charles Kyffhausen


Slaying dragons is supposed to be something knights aspire to do. But for an American living in the time of King Arthur, slaying a dragon comes only as a matter of duty and carries deep emotional scars.

Finding Persephone - Charlotte Lee

Demeter embarks on an interstellar search for her missing daughter, aided by the love of her worshipers, only to discover that all is not as she assumes it to be.

The Garden Shop - Vonnie Winslow Crist

Those with an affinity for growing things do not appreciate those with an affinity for death.

Btw, if you enjoyed the magic and sentient plants in The Garden Shop, you might enjoy Crystal Quest in: Issue 17 of Mystic Signals, which combines the Jan 2012 issue of The Lorelei Signal and the Feb 2013 issue of Sorcerous Signals: https://www.createspace.com/4169883

Add a Comment
9. ENDURE by Sara B. Larson // The RIGHT Way To End An Amazing Series...

Review by Krista  ENDURE by Sara B. Larson Series: Defy #3 Hardcover: 320 Publisher: Scholastic Press (December 29, 2015) Language: English Goodreads | Amazon The remarkable third novel in Sara B. Larson's bestselling Defy series!At last, Alexa and King Damian are engaged to be married. But their lives are far from safe. The kingdom of Antion is under siege, and Rylan is a prisoner of the

0 Comments on ENDURE by Sara B. Larson // The RIGHT Way To End An Amazing Series... as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
10. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine




Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine is a creative retelling of Cinderella. As a baby, Ella was cursed by a fairy to obey any orders that were given to her, no matter what they were. So when her mother dies and her father remarries, Ella must live with her stepsisters, Hattie and Olive. Quickly, Hattie discovers that Ella will obey her and uses that knowledge to her advantage. Instead of being treated as an equal, Ella is forced to be her stepfamily's servant.

Ella meets Prince Char. Together, they have exciting adventures. Slowly, they fall in love, but she knows that if she marries him, an enemy of the throne could command her to do something awful to him. She struggles to protect him and break the curse, but it seems impossible with such a burden as hers. Will she ever gain the freedom required to be with her true love?

-Grace


0 Comments on Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
11. Happy Fairy Friday


WINGS OF THE WISPS
Original Painting Available Here: 

0 Comments on Happy Fairy Friday as of 11/6/2015 10:38:00 PM
Add a Comment
12. Review Molly and Pim and the Millions of Stars

Sometimes, it takes a little while for things to change from what they were to something different. Imagine a new seedling nudging its head up through the earth for the first time, no longer a seed, not yet a tree. This miraculous transformation of being represents the way I felt reading Martine Murray’s new mid-grade […]

Add a Comment
13. One Book. Two Perspectives. My Diary from the Edge of the World, by Jodi Lynn Anderson

 Oh, twitter.  Sometimes you are a wonderful thing!  Last July I was at my daughters' swim lesson reading away, and I shared a shot of the book I was reading online.  Barbara, it turns out, was reading the same book and we began somewhat of a back and forth as you are want to do when you find out someone besides yourself is smitten.  We decided we would co-blog closer to the publishing date, and here are our thoughts!

Barbara:  Gracie Lockwood's voice immediately drew me into the story. She keeps a careful record of the family's journey in a diary, a gift from her mother. It is lovingly inscribed with these words, To Gracie, May this diary be big enough to contain your restless heart.  Gracie is a girl with strong opinions, stating from the outset that her purpose in keeping a written record is to "prove that I knew it first." Her friend Oliver's observation, "You're kind of fiery" is an understatement. In addition to Gracie's fire, readers witness her gradually evolving realization that the world is much more complex than she initially imagined it to be.  She begins to temper her original strong judgments. "I've realized I may have been completely wrong about my dad."  "I wondered about the word 'beast.' I wondered if sometimes, the way everything looks - who's the beast and who isn't - depends on where you're standing."  I love this statement of self-realization:  "Every year I realize how dumb I was the year before." 

One of this book’s striking aspects is the comparisons I made to Homer’s The Odyssey.  The book’s 416 pages is itself a reading odyssey.  It requires an investment of time, attention to storyline, and a commitment to the characters. Reading Gracie's diary becomes a personal journey for the reader.

The travelogue aspect is certainly an integral part of this family's epic saga. We follow Gracie and her family on an extended journey to known and unknown places, several described in vivid detail. The mode of travel is symbolic. The family first travels via Winnebago, a name reflecting a Native American Tribe who excel in oral storytelling. Later they board the Weeping Alexa.  Alexa is a reference to Alexander the Great, the “protector”. These modes of transportation give added meaning to the family’s quest. 

​The major characters read like the cast from a Greek drama.
We meet good guys, bad guys, both real and mythical. Sea monsters and mermaids inhabit the waters. Dragons and unicorns take flight through the skies. 
Homer’s motifs take the form of the individuals the family encounters on their journey:  an oracle (Grandma), sirens (Luck City), Penelope’s suitors (Captain Bill).
Not since the Coen brothers’ O Brother, Where Art Thou? have I encountered such an imaginative homage to Homer’s epic classic.

Without question, the theme which resonated with me and continues to haunt my thinking is the concept of fate. This also reflects the Greek concept of The Fates: goddesses who controlled the life of every mortal from birth to death and watched that the fate assigned to every being proceeded without obstruction.

Stacy: I read quite a few books.  Especially during the summer when I am fortunate enough to be lakeside and poolside depending on the day. So it’s not everyday that a story really makes me sit up and notice it. In the first few pages of MDFTEOTW I found myself looking up from the pages and grinning.  Reading bits aloud.  And then tweeting this to my friend Barbara -

@moonb2 thanks for the spotlight on this book, Barbara. I'm only on page 7 and I'm already delighted!”

By page 7 we know this: Cliffden Maine isn’t the Maine that we know in 2015. It is a Maine where there are the expected things like McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Wendy’s, schools and houses. But people in town are scuttering around because the dragons are on their way to hibernate and they’ve been quite destructive this year. Protagonist Gracie is out at her favorite spot (where she’s not supposed to be) on top of the hill overlooking town and writing in the journal her mom gave her for her 12th birthday.  

Dragons aren’t the only odd things in the sky in Maine. There are also Dark Clouds. These are not the storm clouds we know that release the likes of lightning and rain. Rather they come to town and take away the people who are meant to die.  And now a Dark Cloud is settling right in Gracie’s yard.  Gracie is worried about her little brother Sam, who is often ill.  Complicating family matters is the fact that Gracie’s dad’s crackpot theories about the Extraordinary World have just ousted him from his job.  So when Gracie comes home one day to see a Winnebago in the front yard, she’s not too surprised that her dad means to pack up her mom, sister, brother and Gracie and head out of town.

Obviously this is a story about a journey, but it wasn’t until I had back channeled a bunch with Barbara that I could see the Odyssey’s tracks.  For me, the Lockwood family was running from crisis and desperately grasping at possibility.

Gracie truly makes this books shine. Whether it’s seeing her witchy grandmother’s house through her eyes, feeling her affections for Sam, seeing her longing to have a relationship with older sister Millie, or having those moments of embarrassment followed by yearning to believe in her father, if Gracie’s voice was less Gracie, the story wouldn’t work half as well.

The other high point for me was Anderson’s world building. The magical mixing with the mundane is presented so matter of fact, that readers simply have to buy it.  The journey has them landing in places like Luck City, Big Tex’s Circus, The Crow’s Nest, a broken down L.A. and even Cliffden itself and of the places contain different magic, but the magic follows the same rules. 

And then there’s the idea of hope. Inextricable hope tangled up with fate. Which one rules the day?

What a pleasure it was to virtually read My Diary from the Edge of the World with Barbara across geography and time.  Clearly, both Barbara and I love this book, and though we both approached it differently, it worked for us.  I can’t wait to share this with a big cross section of readers. It works on so many levels that I am sure it will be a crowd pleaser!

************************

A big note of thanks to Barbara Moon for co-blogging with me this time.  Barbara is a retired librarian who reads up a storm! Member of 2009-2011 Great Graphic Novels for Teens selection committee, 2012 Odyssey Award committee, 2014 Margaret A. Edwards Award committee. Currently servicing on the 2016 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award committee. You can find Barbara blogging at Reading Style

0 Comments on One Book. Two Perspectives. My Diary from the Edge of the World, by Jodi Lynn Anderson as of 10/20/2015 11:47:00 AM
Add a Comment
14. That One Time Lauren Oliver Interviewed H.C. Chester About Curiosity House

Bestselling author Lauren Oliver and notorious relics collector H.C. Chester interview each other about Curiosity House: The Shrunken Head (HarperCollins, 2015).

Add a Comment
15. Interview with Christopher Nuttall, YA Fantasy Author of ‘Trial By Fire’


nuttall_pix_med (1)Christopher Nuttall was born in Edinburgh, studied in Manchester, married in Malaysia and currently living in Scotland, United Kingdom, with his wife and baby son. He is the author of 20 novels from various publishers and thirty-nine self-published novels. More than 100,000 ebooks in the Schooled in Magic series have sold since March 2014.
Sample Chapter HERE.
Purchase on Amazon / OmniLit
Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Trial By Fire, Book 7 in your Schooled in Magic series. When did you start writing and what got you into fantasy? 
Well, I started writing seriously around 2004-2005 and … well, I write the sort of books I like to read. I began with a military thriller, then went through alternate history and alien invasion before starting to experiment with fantasy. Frankly, I’m still fond of all four genres, although military science-fiction is probably my favorite. 
What is your book about? 
Oh, a hard question.
The Schooled in Magic series follows the adventures of Emily, a teenage girl from our world who is accidentally kidnapped by a necromancer and swept into an alternate world where magic is real, dragons fly through the sky and young magicians are sent to boarding schools to learn magic. But it’s also a series about the introduction of new ideas into a static society and just what happens when those ideas are developed, then start to mutate.
Trial By Fire follows Emily as the repercussions of her actions in earlier books finally come back to haunt her, putting her at the center of a deadly plot that will force her to fight for her life – or die at the hands of a relentless enemy.
What type of challenges did you face while writing this book? 
Making it convincing, alas.
Ok, that sounds absurd; fantasy is not, by definition, convincing. A world where someone can be turned into a toad with a snap of a witch’s fingers isn’t our world. However, it does have to follow its own logic – and, if that logic is violated, people tend to protest. (They also protest if humans don’t act like humans, although creatures like Elves get a free pass – they’re not human.)
TrialByFire_med1One very notable example comes from Harry Potter (I use this because most of my readers will probably be familiar with the series.) In Goblet of Fire, Harry is forced to compete in a deadly contest that could easily leave him dead … apparently because having his name put in the titular Goblet creates a magically-binding contract that enforces participation. But we know Harrydidn’t put his name in the Goblet … which raises questions about how the contract was binding in the first place. (And why, if you can create a contract binding someone, they don’t use it on the Dark Lord.)
(Personally, I tend to think that Dumbledore was the one under contract; he’d sworn to make sure anyone whose name came out of the Goblet had to compete, which would have included Harry as well as the other guy. And it would be perfectly in character for Dumbledore to keep mum about this and push Harry forward.)
In Trial By Fire, I worked hard to put together a trap for Emily that wouldn’thave a thinking fan banging his head off the wall. I hope I succeeded. 
What do you hope readers will get from your book? 
Well, I hope they will have an enjoyable story.
Let’s be honest here. I’m not trying to write something that will echo down the ages, something with the staying power of the Foundation series. I’m writing so my readers will have fun reading the books. If they learn something about the importance of technology, the spread of ideas and just what can happen when whole new approaches are explored … well, that’s a bonus. 
Did your book require a lot of research? 
The series absorbed a great deal of research . I actually spent years reading about the Middle Ages, just to flavor my work. The Allied Lands themselves have a great deal in common with Europe, particularly in the Reformation era. I studied how those societies worked, what drove them, how their people thought and what weakened them in the face of stronger enemies.
Of course, there are differences – the presence of functional magic, for a start. 
Many writers experience a vague anxiety before they sit down to right. Can you relate to this? 
Sometimes. Oddly, I feel it while crafting the next installment in a successful series.
Trial By Fire was originally intended to serve as the end of the first arc of novels set within the Schooled in Magicuniverse. I knew it had to be spectacular, the moment when Emily steps up and takes firm control of her life, and so I was nervous about actually having her do it. I hope it lives up to its purpose. 
Do you have a writing schedule? Are you disciplined? 
Very disciplined. Truthfully, you don’t get anywhere in writing unless you’re disciplined.
I get up, eat breakfast and drink coffee, then get to work. I set myself a goal of three chapters a day, except for the first day; that generally takes around five hours. Then there’s the task of checking the beta reader comments and editing the manuscript. Between drafts, I generally try to move to something different or edit completed manuscripts. 
How do you define success? 
Success comes in the form of people buying my books and writing good (and thoughtful reviews). I know; I probably won’t win any major awards. (I did win the Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards for Bookworm.) However, I’m happy with being paid and being told I did a good job. 
What do you love most about the writer’s life? 
I get to work from home, set my own hours and generally be my own boss. And then there’s the fact I get to meet fans, even if I am a little shy. 
Do you have a website or blog where readers can find out more about your work? 
I have a website, a blog, a mailing list and a Facebook fan page.
The website contains free samples – I try to give away at least a couple of chapters, sometimes as many as ten – and a number of older books that are completely free. They’re really ones I wrote during my first period as a writer; not good enough to be published, perhaps, but people liked them. A couple have even been rewritten for later publication.
The blog and Facebook page cover everything from my musings to fan comments and suchlike, allowing a degree of fan participation. All are welcome. The mailing list, however, is only for new releases – I believe in trying to avoid spamming people where possible.
Where is your book available?
The ebook version of Trial By Fire is available for purchase from Amazon Kindle, Apple iBookstore, BN Nook, Kobo Books, OmniLit, etc.
The print version of Trial By Fire will be available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble Bookstores, Brodart, Coutts, Davis-Kidd Booksellers, Emery-Pratt, Follett, Ingram, The Book Despository, The Book House, etc.
Purchase links will be available on the chapter excerpt page:
What is your advice for aspiring authors? 
I think I’ve said this before, time and time again, but the best advice I can give is work hard, work hard and work hard. Writing is 10% inspiration and 90% hard work. It is very rare to get a first novel published, unless you have VERY strong connections with the publishing industry or a name you can exploit (and those books tend to be terrible). Eric Flint said you really need to write at least a million words before you have something worth reading and I tend to think he was right.
Once you have a manuscript, get a few readers to look at it and give you honest feedback. If they said “this sucks, because [insert reason here]” listen to them. They may be wrong, which is possible, or you may have failed to explain something properly. Either way, they should make you think about it … which is better than having a review that boils down to “this author is an idiot.”
And grow a thick skin. You’ll need it. 
Anything else you’d like to tell my readers? 
I offer cameos for anyone who reads a book and reports an error to me. All (again) welcome.

0 Comments on Interview with Christopher Nuttall, YA Fantasy Author of ‘Trial By Fire’ as of 9/18/2015 7:25:00 AM
Add a Comment
16. #735 – Scrap City by D. S. Thornton

Scrap City Written by D. S. Thornton Capstone Young Readers    10/01/2015 978-1-62370-297-7  352 pages       Age 10—14    “Beneath a small Texan town lies s city unlike any other . . . “Eleven-year-old Jerome Barnes isn’t expecting to find anything interesting in crazy Wild Willy’s junkyard. But then he discovers Arkie. Arkie …

Add a Comment
17. A fairy tale is more than just a fairy tale

When some one says to you "that's just a fairy tale," it generally means that what you have just said is untrue or unreal. It is a polite but deprecating way of saying that your words form a lie or gossip. Your story is make-believe and unreliable. It has nothing to do with reality and experience. Fairy tale is thus turned into some kind of trivial story.

The post A fairy tale is more than just a fairy tale appeared first on OUPblog.

0 Comments on A fairy tale is more than just a fairy tale as of 9/7/2015 5:33:00 AM
Add a Comment
18. "The Last Vanishing Man"

Littleton Opera House, Littleton, NH c.1900, a location in the story
I have a new story — my first (but not last) of this year — now available on the Conjunctions website— "The Last Vanishing Man".

This one's a bit of a departure for me, in that it is a serious story that will not, I'm told, make you want to kill yourself after you read it. In fact, one of my primary goals when writing it was to write something not entirely nihilistic. Various people have, over the years, gently suggested that perhaps I might try writing a ... well ... a nice story now and then.

(I actually think I've only written one story that is not nice, "Patrimony" in Black Static last year. And maybe "On the Government of the Living". Well, maybe "How Far to Englishman's Bay", too. And— okay, I get it...)

So "The Last Vanishing Man" is a story that has an (at least somewhat) uplifting ending, and the good people triumph, or at least survive, and the bad person is punished, or at least ... well, I won't go into details...

Here's the first paragraph, to whet your appetite:
I saw The Great Omega perform three or four times, including that final, strange show. I was ten years old then. It was the summer of the Sacco and Vanzetti trial, a time when vaudeville and touring acts were quickly fading behind the glittering light of motion pictures and the crackling squawk of radios. What I remember of the performance is vivid, but I am wary of its vividness, as I suspect that vividness derives not from the original moment, but from how much effort I’ve put into remembering it. What is memory, what is reconstruction, what is misdirection?
Continue reading at Conjunctions...

0 Comments on "The Last Vanishing Man" as of 8/26/2015 12:06:00 AM
Add a Comment
19. Off the Page, by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer | Book Review

Fantasy meets reality in Off the Page, a romantic comedy written for the young adult audience by New York Times bestselling authors Jodi Picoult and her daughter and coauthor, Samantha van Leer.

Add a Comment
20. An interview with D. D. Everest – author of Archie Greene and the Magician’s Secret

Archie Greene and the Magician’s Secret by D. D. Everest takes you into a world where bookshelves are enchanted, librarians have magical powers, and spells aren’t just something to read about in dusty tomes. It’s ideal for kids around the age of 10 who perhaps enjoyed the magic of Harry Potter, but it can also can be enjoyed as a family read with younger children who’ll be excited by mysterious apparitions and strange goings-on.

Various Archie Green covers - from L-R: UK paperback, UK hardback, US

Various Archie Green covers – from L-R: UK paperback, UK hardback, US

Archie Greene receives a curious birthday present; an old wooden box containing a book written in a language he can’t read, along with the command to return this book to its rightful place on the shelves in the Secret Library. This is the first step on Archie’s journey to meet the family he never knew he had and a band of people dedicated to finding and saving magic books.

Atmospheric and exciting, I enjoyed this book so much I’ve since recommended it to several children in my 8-12 bookgroup. With a paperback edition hitting bookshelves early in June I took the opportunity to interview D.D. Everest about this book.

Playing by the book: Archie Greene and the Magician’s Secret is a wonderful fantasy novel. What is it about fantasy as a genre that appeals to you? I’m especially curious because of your background as a journalist and non-fiction writer, both of which seem to be about as distant as you can get from fantasy… which is maybe part of the answer?

D. D. Everest

D. D. Everest

D. D. Everest: You’re right. One of the (many) reasons I love the fantasy genre is that it is so far removed from my other work as a journalist. When you deal with dry facts all day it is such a treat to escape to another world of magic and adventure.

But I have always loved magical fantasy. My favourite books growing up were the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. What I love most about those books is the depth and detail that Tolkien gives to the world he creates, the layering of the stories and the myths and the cultures that he describes.

Playing by the book: I love books where true facts coincide with the story and this very much happens in Archie Greene and the Magician’s Secret; John Dee really did exist and was Elizabeth 1’s adviser, and there was indeed a Library of Alexandria which was destroyed by fire. What other truths have you smuggled in to your story? (What other truths did you discover during your research which you would like to have included in your story)

D. D. Everest: I think including real facts and places grounds a story. It connects it to the real world so it feels like you can almost touch it. It’s something I really wanted to do with the Archie books. Using history is a great way to give the story some of that depth that I mentioned before.

John Dee, who is in the first Archie book, was a real person. He was described as Queen Elizabeth I’s court magician. He really did collect books about magic and he did think he could talk to angels. The Great Library of Alexandria is also historically accurate, although the part about Alexander the Great’s magical book collection being kept there is just wishful thinking!

Another historical detail I included in the book is the Great Fire of London. In Archie’s world, the fire was started by a magical experiment that went wrong. That plays a big part in the second book Archie Greene and the Alchemists’ Secret.

Playing by the book: With another hat on you’ve written several non-fiction books. How has writing fiction compared? What’s been more difficult about writing fiction? And what has been more enjoyable? Do you still write non-fiction?

D. D. Everest: Writing fiction is much harder, especially fantasy because you are creating a whole world from your imagination. That world has to be plausible enough for people to believe in it and exciting enough for them to want to read about it.

Writing children’s books is the most challenging of all. Having said that, I don’t write for children as such. I write what I’d like to read. But I hope children will enjoy it.

The best thing about writing for children is that they have such rich imaginations that you have lots of licence to be creative. So, you have a big canvas. But the other side of that is they have very high expectations. They question everything in a way that adults don’t, which means they could get ahead of the plot or find holes in the logic. So you have to work really hard at that.

Playing by the book: Can you share a little of the research you did for Archie Greene and the Magician’s Secret – I imagine you spent time exploring the back streets of Oxford and visiting atmospheric libraries, perhaps even learning some bookbinding skills?

D. D. Everest: Luckily, I was doing some work at the university when I was writing the first book so I was in Oxford quite a lot. I wandered around at night taking lots of photos with my phone. I sometimes show the pictures when I do school events. Again, it grounds the story and makes it feel real.

Oxford

Oxford

For example, there is a description of when Archie first goes to the magical bookshop and he crosses a cobbled square and goes into some narrow lanes. If you go to Oxford it is very easy to find that cobbled square!

Playing by the book: Libraries play an important role in Archie Greene and the Magician’s Secret. Can you share a memory/experience of libraries and the role they’ve played in your life?

D. D. Everest: Most of my memories of libraries are of being told to be quiet because I was talking too loudly! That’s probably why I wanted the Museum of Magical Miscellany to be a noisy place, full of children laughing. Books should be exciting and fun. And magical books should be even more exciting and fun, so that’s how I imagined the Museum.

I have been lucky to see some famous libraries like the British Library, which are fabulous places. I’ve always wanted to have my own library – with revolving bookcases and secret passages. Perhaps I will one day!

Playing by the book: Did you always want to be a writer? If you weren’t a writer, would you rather be? (A professional football coach, perhaps?)

D. D. Everest: I have always wanted to be a writer ever since I was very young. I didn’t really know it at the time but looking back I can see it now. I was the kid who wrote pages and pages when the teacher asked us to write a story. My stories were always too long and complicated to finish in the lesson time. I still do that!

When I’m not writing I manage a junior football team. Most of them have been with me since they were about six – they are now 17. They are a great bunch. I’m not sure how good a manager I would be but I do enjoy it, especially on match days.

Playing by the book: What’s the most magical (in any sense) book you’ve read recently?

D. D. Everest: I really enjoyed Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell. It is very imaginative and beautifully written. The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman, is so original. The other really clever book I’ve just read is Lockwood & Co. The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud. He’s a great writer – I loved his Bartimaeus series.

One of many interior illustrations by  James de la Rue for the hardback edition of Archie Greene and the Magician's Secret

One of many interior illustrations by James de la Rue ffor the hardback edition of Archie Greene and the Magician’s Secret

Playing by the book: What magic trick would you most like to be able to perform?

D. D. Everest: I’d like to be able to vanish, so I could avoid people I don’t want to talk to. I’d love to have a permission wall around my study, too, like the one that protects the Museum of Magical Miscellany so that only people with the secret mark could come in. But best of all I’d love to be able to talk to magical books like Archie!

Playing by the book: Oh, yes I’m with you on that one! Here’s keeping our fingers crossed that such magic comes our way!

If you’d like to receive all my posts from this blog please enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

0 Comments on An interview with D. D. Everest – author of Archie Greene and the Magician’s Secret as of 5/25/2015 7:47:00 PM
Add a Comment
21. Review: Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I was in the mood for something different, and when I saw Elantris mentioned on a list of zombie books, I decided to give it a shot.  While there aren’t zombies in the traditional sense, Prince Raoden, is technically dead, with no heartbeat, no real need to eat, and wounds that never heal.  When he becomes the victim of a curse that makes him one of the living dead, his father sends him to the deteriorating city of Elantris, which was once the shining beacon of Arelon.  Now its magnificent buildings crumble and its streets are coated in slime.  The other cursed residents of Elantris suffer from an all-consuming hunger, and every little wound causes unending suffering.  Those that have succumbed to the pain lie huddled in the streets, muttering and no longer aware of their surroundings.

At over 500 pages,  Elantris is a bit longer than novels that I usually read.  This isn’t a conscious decision on my part, but most of the books that I read clock in at around 350 pages.  I don’t know if that’s because publishers are so focused on series now and the pressure to produce books on a steady time table has put a dent in page count. Or maybe reader attention span has forced shorter books to prevail.  Regardless, when I see a longer book, I do sometimes think twice about picking it up because they can take so long to read.  A thousand pages can be off putting.  Five hundred pages – that’s doable in a few days for me, so I clicked the Borrow button and settled down with my first Sanderson read.

I really liked the characters, and there are a lot of them. Sarene was my favorite, with Raoden running a close second.  They were engaged to be married, until Raoden’s untimely “death.”  When Princess Sarene arrives from Toed, she’s dismayed to discover that she’s now a widow.  The terms of the marriage contract between Toed and Arelon stipulated that should Raoden die, the marriage instantly becomes binding.  Toed and Arelon are the last two countries holding out against the religious fanatics from Fjordell.  The marriage between Sarene and Raoden was meant to cement their countries together and make them allies against the priests of Shu Dereth.  With a convert or die policy, countries have fallen like dominoes under the might of Fjordell.  Sarene is committed to resisting conversion to Shu Dereth, and she and Hrathen, a high priest who has been sent to convert Arelon, battle to sway the populace of Kae, Arelon’s capital.  Sarene fears that if Arelon falls to Shu Dereth, Teod won’t be far behind.

Sarene learns that Raoden had gathered together followers to oppose his father, King Iadon.  Iadon is a poor ruler and has weakened the country considerably since he took control ten years ago, just after the collapse of Elantris.  Iadon instituted a policy that rewarded the wealthy, and made virtual slaves of the poor.  The injustice is so great that Raoden and his father constantly butted heads over Iadon’s policies.  Sarene wishes to infiltrate Raoden’s group and persuade them to continue their opposition to Iadon, as well as to fight against Hrathen and his efforts to convert the citizens of Arelon to Shu Dereth.

More than anything, Elantris is about politics.  Arelon is seething with political cesspools, from the threat of forced conversion to Shu Dereth, to the possibility of rebellion from a group of nobles.   With Raoden in the decayed city of Elantris, struggling to understand the power behind the Aons that once created the magic and wonders that held Fjordell at bay, there’s yet another threat that few are even aware of.  Everyone thinks that Raoden is dead, and Iadon hasn’t done anything to enlighten them.  A petty man ill suited to leadership, Iadon believes that wealth is an indicator of the right to rule.  With his repressive laws, the poor suffer and seethe at the injustices shown to them.  It’s a huge powder keg just waiting for a spark to ignite.  Sarene turns out to be that spark, but has she brought greater ruin down on the her new country?

I really enjoyed this book.  It’s a nice blend of political intrigue and mystery, with a light romance thrown into the mix.  I wanted to know what happened to the gods of Elantris, those mighty beings that once ruled Arelon.  Why didn’t the magic work anymore, and why were those taken by the Shaod now cursed, powerless shells instead of the once powerful gods that the transformation turned them into?  While I liked Sarene, I was dying to find out the secrets behind the fall of Elantris.  And what was the deal behind the monasteries of Shu Dereth?  The momentum flagged a bit with the chapters featuring Hrathen, but I found him, at the beginning at least, to be humorless and void of a personality.  No wonder he was having trouble winning over the masses during his quest to convert the citizens to his religion!

Grade:  B

Review copy obtained from my local library

From Amazon:

Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling.

Arelon’s new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping — based on their correspondence — to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.

But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.

A rare epic fantasy that doesn’t recycle the classics and that is a complete and satisfying story in one volume, Elantris is fleet and fun, full of surprises and characters to care about. It’s also the wonderful debut of a welcome new star in the constellation of fantasy.

Add a Comment
22. The real world of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell

Some reviewers of the first episodes of the current BBC1 adaptation have dismissed it is over-blown fantasy, even childish, yet Clarke’s characters are only once removed from the very real magical world of early nineteenth-century England. What few readers or viewers realise is that there were magicians similar to Strange and Norrell at the time: there really were 'Friends of English Magic', to whom the novel’s Mr Segundus appealed in a letter to The Times.

The post The real world of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell appeared first on OUPblog.

0 Comments on The real world of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
23. Real Life Tween Review - The Imaginary, by A.F. Harrold

I figured, since I live with you real live tweens, it is high time that I have them write some of the book recommendations that appear on this blog.  Tween 2 read The Imaginary before school was out, and she loved it!  The following is what she has to say about it!

*************************************

I had just finished a book, and as always, I was looking for a new one. Just like most kids, I like it when a book sticks to me. Sometimes I read the first two chapters of one book and I do not like it and then same with the next, and so on. As usual I asked my mom/librarian for a suggestion. She usually gives me like 8 books and I don’t like any of them, so it is usually hard for her to give me suggestions. This time she gave me this book, and it hooked me right from the introduction. I checked it out and just read it.


The one thing that keeps Amanda happy is her imaginary friend Rudger. After all, she is an only child.  There is just him and her. They are best friends. But Amanda’s mother thinks there is something wrong with Amanda. Amanda loves to imagine. Rudger and Amanda always go on adventures in the backyard. Then one day Mr. Bunting comes to the door.


Mr. Bunting hunts Imaginaries. Rumor has it that he eats them! He sniffs them out and this time he has sniffed out Rudger. With Mr. Bunting’s (well let’s say) “assistant” he has almost got Rudger in his clutches! With Amanda unconscious in the hospital, Rudger is alone with nobody believing in him.  He is starting to fade away with Amanda not being able to imagine him. All at once he is trying to get to Amanda, escape from Mr. Bunting, and not fade before it is all done. On his way he meets some other imaginaries that help him. But can he make it before fading?


A.F. Harrold has created humor, with scary moments and magic all in one plot. This book was super amazing! Emily Gravett has so many great and detailed pictures. The illustrations and the book work in harmony together. This is a must read book! Ten out of ten stars! **********

0 Comments on Real Life Tween Review - The Imaginary, by A.F. Harrold as of 7/14/2015 6:10:00 PM
Add a Comment
24. Blog Tour and Giveaway: The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester

I’m thrilled to be part of The Girl Who Could Fly blog tour!  In celebration of the upcoming release of The Boy Who Knew Everything, I have a copy of The Girl Who Could Fly up for grabs, and the publisher asked bloggers to answer this question:

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

With all of the health issues in my family right now, I would want the the ability to heal.  First, I’d fix my hip, so I would be ready to hit the road and get my mom squared away, too.  I’d stop by the barn and give some pain relief to all of the older horses, because they, unfortunately, develop arthritis and life-altering illnesses, too.  Then off I’d go, healing anyone or anything in pain or suffering from an illness.

Which superpower would you choose?

About the books:


You just can’t keep a good girl down . . . unless you use the proper methods.

Piper McCloud can fly. Just like that. Easy as pie.

Sure, she hasn’t mastered reverse propulsion and her turns are kind of sloppy, but she’s real good at loop-the-loops.

Problem is, the good folk of Lowland County are afraid of Piper. And her ma’s at her wit’s end. So it seems only fitting that she leave her parents’ farm to attend a top-secret, maximum-security school for kids with exceptional abilities.

School is great at first with a bunch of new friends whose skills range from super-strength to super-genius. (Plus all the homemade apple pie she can eat!) But Piper is special, even among the special. And there are consequences.

Consequences too dire to talk about. Too crazy to consider. And too dangerous to ignore.

At turns exhilarating and terrifying, Victoria Forester’s debut novel has been praised by Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight saga, as “the oddest/sweetest mix of Little House on the Prairie and X-Men…Prepare to have your heart warmed.” The Girl Who Could Fly is an unforgettable story of defiance and courage about an irrepressible heroine who can, who will, who must . . . fly.

There is a prophecy.

It speaks of a girl who can fly and a boy who knows everything. The prophecy says that they have the power to bring about great change . . . .

The boy is Conrad Harrington III. The girl is Piper McCloud. They need their talents now, more than ever, if they are to save the world-and themselves.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Add a Comment
25. this week....

mixing up a little bit of *magic*....



spending afternoons with this sly little guy...


working on a self portrait, of sorts...

and...
sketching cute little snowmen, just for the fun of it (and because i'm WINTER OBSESSED!!!).

{that's what's going on}

0 Comments on this week.... as of 8/19/2015 9:04:00 PM
Add a Comment

View Next 25 Posts