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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Magical Realism, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 64
1. TURNING PAGES: THE SEVENTH BRIDE, by T. Kingfisher

Fans of Patricia McKillip, Juliet Marillier, Brenna Yovanoff, fans of Holly Black's plot twists, as well as fans of a good hedgehog will really enjoy the newest tale from T. Kingfisher, just in time to read whilst you're waiting for your root veg to... Read the rest of this post

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2. TURNING PAGES: THE IRON TRIAL by Cassandra Clare & Holly Black

I take book recommendations from friends seriously, and when Charlotte said that THE IRON TRIAL was a fun book, I went ahead and snagged it when I saw it at the library. Charlotte - diffident reviewer that she tends to be - tends toward... Read the rest of this post

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3. TURNING PAGES: PROPHECIES, LIBEL & DREAMS by YSABEAU S. WILCE

Not gonna lie; we've been the bemused and bedazzled fans of Ysabeau Wilce since waaaaaay back in the day and the advent of her first book of Western fantasy, packed with rangers, skirted men, hummingbird gods, and plain craziness. We invited her by... Read the rest of this post

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4. Writing Competition: Fairy Tale Review Awards in Poetry and Prose

Fairy Tale Review Awards in Poetry and Prose

2014 Prose & Poetry Contest Guidelines

Fairy Tale Review is thrilled to announce the debut of an annual contest, beginning this year with Prose & Poetry awards. We’re interested in poems, stories, and essays with a fairy-tale feel—mainstream to experimental, genre to literary, realist to fabulist. Sarah Shun-lien Bynum will judge prose; Ilya Kaminsky will judge poetry. Both contests will award $1000, and all submissions will be considered for publication in The Mauve Issue. Reading fee: $10.

Submit online or to:

Fairy Tale Review, c/o Kate Bernheimer
Department of English
University of Arizona
Tucson AZ 85721

Deadline: July 15th, 2014

Awards: $1,000 each

Eligibility & Procedure

All submissions must be original and previously unpublished. For prose, please send works of up to 6,000 words. For poetry, no more than five poems and/or ten pages per entry. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable, but please withdraw your manuscript immediately upon acceptance elsewhere, and note that the reading fee is nonrefundable. Multiple submissions are acceptable, but please note that you will need to pay a reading fee for each submission.

Online submissions link.

Reading Fee: $10.00
Ten percent of your reading fee will be donated to Tucson Youth Poetry Slam as part of Fairy Tale Review’s interdisciplinary outreach efforts. (Fairy Tale Review has no official affiliation with Tucson Youth Poetry Slam.)

CLMP Contest Code of Ethics

CLMP’s community of independent literary publishers believe that ethical contests serve our shared goal: to connect writers and readers by publishing exceptional writing. We believe that intent to act ethically, clarity of guidelines, and transparency of process form the foundation of an ethical contest. To that end, we agree to 1) conduct our contests as ethically as possible and to address any unethical behavior on the part of our readers, judges, or editors; 2) to provide clear and specific contest guidelines—defining conflict of interest for all parties involved; and 3) to make the mechanics of our selection process available to the public. This Code recognizes that different contest models produce different results, but that each model can be run ethically. We have adopted this Code to reinforce our integrity and dedication as a publishing community and to ensure that our contests contribute to a vibrant literary heritage.

Fairy Tale Review Annual Contest Selection Process

1st Round of Judging: Non-Blind Read by Genre Editor and Editor. Finalists (approximately 15 poems, 15 pieces of prose) will then be forwarded to the contest judges for the 2nd Round of Judging.
2nd Round of Judging: Blind Read by Contest Judges. Judges change on a yearly basis.
Conflicts of Interest: Students, faculty, staff, or administrators currently affiliated with University of Arizona are ineligible for consideration or publication. Anyone with a substantial personal or professional affiliation with a judge is ineligible to enter in that category; if you have questions as to your eligibility, please contact ftreditorial (at) gmail (dot) com, and we will assess the situation together. Upon learning the Judges’ selections, the Editor will assess any potential conflict of interest before finalizing the result. We ask that past winners of our contest refrain from entering until three years after their winning entry was published.

Fairy Tale Review was established in 2005 and is an annual publication of Wayne State University Press.

About the Judges

Sarah Shun-lien Bynum is the author of two novels, Ms. Hempel Chronicles, a finalist for the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award, and Madeleine Is Sleeping, a finalist for the 2004 National Book Award and winner of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize. Her fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including the New Yorker, Tin House, the Georgia Review, and the Best American Short Stories 2004 and 2009. The recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and an NEA Fellowship, she was named one of “20 Under 40” fiction writers by the New Yorker. She lives in Los Angeles and teaches in the Graduate Writing Program at Otis College of Art and Design.

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5. Monday Review: OBSIDIAN MIRROR and THE SLANTED WORLDS by Catherine Fisher

You wouldn't necessarily think time travel, alternate worlds, mad science, and faeries would go together so well. But when it comes to Catherine Fisher, they really do. I loved her books Incarceron and the sequel Sapphique for their unique... Read the rest of this post

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6. Thursday Review: THE WRENCHIES by Farel Dalrymple

Click to embiggen. Totally worth it.Two things to get out there right away: 1. I received a review copy of this book from First Second, and 2. I'd definitely recommend this one for an older YA/crossover audience, due to some fright/violence/swearing... Read the rest of this post

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7. TURNING PAGES: BABA ALI AND THE CLOCKWORK DJINN, by Danielle Ackey-McPhail & Day Al-Mohamed

Come, Best Beloved, and sit you by my feet. I shall tell you a tale such as sister Scheherazade could have scarce imagined. A tale of wonders, of deeds both great and grievous, of courage that defies description, and above all, Child of Adam, I... Read the rest of this post

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8. TURNING PAGES: THE EMPRESS CHRONICLES, by Suzy Vitello

I admit that this book put me in a bit of a spin, when I'd finished it. I had no idea how to talk about it. Magical realism? Historical fiction? Problem novel? The line between what was, and what wasn't was... a little shaky. The pacing was very... Read the rest of this post

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9. Review: Belzhar

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer. Dutton Children's Books. 2014.

The Plot: Jam Gallahue was in love with Reese Marfield and it was wonderful and magical and all that made life living.

Was.

A year that has passed since she lost Reese, a year of life not being worth living, a year of Jam barely able to leave her bedroom, shattered by his death.

So Jam's parents have done the only thing they can think of: sending her away from her New Jersey home and all the memories, to go to The Wooden Barn, a boarding school in Vermont for those who are "emotionally fragile, highly intelligent."

Jam isn't happy to be there, but then she finds herself in a unique seminar: "Special Topics in English," with five students intensely studying one author for a semester. This year, the author is Sylvia Plath.

Each student is given a journal, to write in. And when Jam puts pen to paper ... something magical happens. She finds herself in a place where time stands still, and Reeve is hers again.

As the semester draws to a close, Jam wonders what will happen when she reaches the last page. Will she figure out a way to stay with Reese? Should she?

The Good: Another one of those books that I love, but part of what I love is the twists and turns and the reveals. It's not just the secrets: it's finding out the secrets.

Jam is at a school for the "emotionally fragile," so everyone has some type of story Hers is Reeve. Her fellow Special Topics members (Sierra, Marc, Griffin, Casey) each has had a loss; each, it turns out, can also use their journals to return to that pre-loss time. Inspired by the title of Plath's novel, The Bell Jar, they call the place they go to Belzhar.

Jam's whirlwind romance with Reeve was meaningful and magical but short: only 41 days. Actually, that is the sum total of the days they knew each other. It was sixteen days before they kissed. So Jam has only a handful of memories stored up and what she finds is in that Belzhar, she is limited to experiencing only what actually happened. Oh, it's not as if she's stepping back in time: Reeve understands that something is happening, something outside time almost, and impatiently worries about the times she isn't with him.

And... I don't want to get into spoilers, about Jam and her friends, or about Jam and Belzhar, and what it is or is not. But wowza; there was a certain deliciousness in reading and figuring out and discovering, much like there was with We Were Liars (but for different reasons.) Belzhar is not just about "emotionally fragile" people, but it's what it means to be emotionally fragile and how that shapes how you see the world and how you act in it. And aside from that, it's about the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, much like The Bell Jar itself is Plath telling her story in a certain way.

And, of course, the language! This, for example -- "to be on the verge of your life, and not to be able to enter it" is just such a good description of someone being held back and knowing they are held back, for whatever reasons.

Or this: "Because when I let go of the story I've been telling myself and just try to think about what's objectively true, I can barely get a grip." And how often is that true, also -- the truth being so frightening that we tell ourselves other things we believe to be true, to get through the day.




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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10. Call for Submissions: The Golden Key

The Golden Key is a bi-annual journal of speculative and literary writing, inspired by the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale of the same name. We seek realist work sensitive to the magical and strange. The fantastical. Slipstream. Fabulist. Gothic. Weird tales. Work that unlocks. Work that restocks. We love writers who see familiar things in unexpected ways, and writers who revel in playing with language.

We are currently accepting unpublished fiction and poetry submissions for Issue #3 Things Unseen.

Bring out your work that invokes the cloak of night, ghosts, and hidden motivations. Poltergeists, microbes, tooth fairies all welcome here. Introduce us to characters who are often heard of, but never heard from. We want presences shaped by their outlines and negative space.

Present us with your best card trick, or a story or poem that quietly slips under our skin. Bring us to life with the scent of a stewing tomato, the barest tickle on the backs of our necks, or a strange strain of music that floats off the page.

We want work that is spectral, smoky, suggested. Work that has us weaving after it through the brume. Give us your intangibles, your stories and poems that can’t be grasped too tightly. Peel back the veil.

Deadline: The Things Unseen issue ends October 1, 2013.

Please see our website for further detail on submissions. For journal updates, follow us on Twitter @GoldenKeyLit or Facebook. We do our best to keep our response times to about 4-6 weeks
.

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11. Call for Submissions: Eleven Eleven

Eleven Eleven is looking for writing that pops!

We welcome daring and insightful submissions of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, art and literary criticism and drama. We are especially interested in fabulist, interstitial and/or experimental prose. We love translations and writing from outside the US. We also love recovery projects (archival work that draws attention to writers who may have fallen off the map – query us beforehand!).

Eleven Eleven is a biannual journal of literature and art published through the MFA Writing program at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. We produce an online issue in the winter and a print issue in the summer. The aim of our publication is to provide a forum for risk and experimentation and to serve as an exchange between writers and artists. Recent work first published in Eleven Eleven has been featured in the Pushcart Prize Anthology and Best European Fiction, and has appeared in books that later went on to win the Pulitzer Prize, the Governor General's Award and the PEN Faulkner Award.

We’ll be reading submissions for issue 17 from January 15 through March 1, or until we hit 200 submissions, whichever comes first.

Send your bestest work here.

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12. Review of the Day: Nightingale’s Nest by Nikki Loftin

NightingalesNest Review of the Day: Nightingales Nest by Nikki LoftinNightingale’s Nest
By Nikki Loftin
Razorbill (an imprint of Penguin)
$16.99
ISNB: 978-1-59514-546-8
Ages 10-14
On shelves now.

Magical realism in children’s novels is a rarity. It’s not unheard of, but when children’s authors want fantasy, they write fantasy. When they want reality, they write reality. A potentially uncomfortable mix of the two is harder to pull off. Ambiguity is not unheard of in books for youth, but it’s darned hard to write. Why go through all that trouble? For that reason alone we don’t tend to see it in children’s books. Kids like concrete concepts. Good guys vs. bad guys. This is real vs. this is a dream. But a clever author, one who respects the intelligence of their young audience, can upset expectations without sacrificing their story. When author Nikki Loftin decided to adapt Hans Christian Andersen’s tale The Nightingale into a middle grade contemporary novel, she made a conscious decision to make the book a work of magical realism. A calculated risk, Loftin’s gambit pays off. Nightingale’s Nest is a painful but ultimately emotionally resonant tale of sacrifice and song. A remarkably competent book, stronger for its one-of-a-kind choices.

It doesn’t seem right that a twelve-year-old boy would carry around a guilt as deep and profound as Little John’s. But when you feel personally responsible for the death of your little sister, it’s hard to let go of those feelings. It doesn’t help matters any that John has to spend the summer helping his dad clear brush for the richest man in town, a guy so extravagant, the local residents just call him The Emperor. It’s on one of these jobs that John comes to meet and get to know The Emperor’s next door neighbor, Gayle. About the age of his own sister when she died, Gayle’s a foster kid who prefers sitting in trees in her own self-made nest to any other activity. But as the two become close friends, John notices odd things about the girl. When she sings it’s like nothing you’ve ever heard before, and she even appears to possibly have the ability to heal people with her voice. It doesn’t take long before The Emperor becomes aware of the treasure in his midst. He wants Gayle’s one of a kind voice, and he’ll do anything to have it. The question is, what does John think is more important: His family’s livelihood or the full-throated song of one little girl?

How long did it take me to realize I was reading a middle grade adaptation of a Hans Christian Andersen short story? Let me first tell you that when I read a book I try not to read even so much as a plot description beforehand so that the novel will stay fresh and clear in my mind. With that understanding, it’s probably not the worst thing in the world that it took a 35-year-old woman thirty-nine pages before she caught on to what she was reading. Still, I have the nasty suspicion that many a savvy kid would have picked up on the theme before I did. As it stands, we’ve seen Andersen adapted into middle grade novels for kids before. Breadcrumbs, for example, is a take on his story The Snow Queen as well as some of his other, stranger tales. They say that he wrote The Nightingale for the singer Jenny Lind, with whom he was in love. All I know is that in the original tale the story concentrates on the wonders of the natural world vs. the mechanical one. In this book, Loftin goes in a slightly different direction. It isn’t an over-reliance on technology that’s the problem here. It’s an inability to view our fellow human beings as just that. Human beings. Come to think of it, maybe that’s what Andersen was going for in the first place.

It was the writing, of course, that struck my attention first. Loftin gives the book beautiful sequences filled with equally beautiful sentences. There’s a section near the end that tells a tale of a tree that fails to keep hold of a downy chick, but is redeemed by saving another bird in a storm. This section says succinctly everything you need to know about this book. I can already see the children’s book and discussion groups around the country that will get a kick out of picking apart this parable. It’s not a hard one to interpret, but you wouldn’t want it to be.

As for the characters, there wasn’t a person here that I couldn’t recognize as real. I was quite taken with the fact that Loftin continually sidesteps a lot of the usual middle grade tropes. Gayle’s nasty foster brother Jeb, for example, could easily have been labeled the typical bully type character for this book. Bullies in children’s books, after all, have a tendency to be one-note characters. Jeb, in contrast, is capable of talking like a normal human being from time to time. He’s a horrible human being at other times, but at least you get the sense that he’s not just a walking two-dimensional caricature. It makes a difference.

The ending is going to be problematic for some folks. It is not, I should say, unsatisfying. I think even people who don’t have a problem with what it says will only have a problem with HOW it goes about saying it. But the end of the book goes so far as to make it clear that this story really doesn’t take place in the real world in which we live. The characters face real world problems, but that doesn’t preclude the presence of something magical. “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio . . .” and all that jazz. For some readers, this may feel like a kind of betrayal. As if the author didn’t have the guts to stay in the real world from start to finish, but instead had to rely on something otherworldly for her climax. I don’t see it that way. Loftin’s choices seem very deliberate here, from page one onward. Just because something is magical, that doesn’t mean you can’t interpret the book in other ways. Don’t like the supernatural element at the end? Then why are you assuming it’s real? After all, we’re getting this whole story through Little John’s perspective. Who’s to say he’s the world’s most reliable narrator? Just because a book is written for children, that doesn’t mean you have to take it at face value.

In any case, I don’t believe the magic detracts in the least from what Loftin is saying here about the banality of poverty. This isn’t a book that romanticizes what it’s like to be poor. It’s just Little John’s everyday existence, to a certain extent. And with the introduction of The Emperor, readers get to see firsthand how money, or the lack thereof, has a lot to do with self-worth and what you have to do with your pride and sense of self-worth when you’re indebted to another person. Little John witnesses firsthand his own father’s humiliation at the hands of the Emperor, and then finds himself in possession (in a sense) of something The Emperor wants. But rather than give him power, this just focuses the rich man’s attention on the boy, making him easy prey. Better that you never have something the wealthy think that they need. And as Little John says at one point, “What was right didn’t have a thing to do with what was.”

Reading the book, I found it enormously painful. But I at least had the wherewithal to realize that it was uniquely painful to me as a mother. Any parent reading this is going to instantly fret and worry and think about Gayle’s position in her foster home. But for kids reading this book they’re going to identify with Little John and Gayle as children, not as parents. This is a book about terrible decisions made, for the most part, by good people. This can, at times, make the story emotionally hard to follow, but I like to think Ms. Loftin had things well in hand when she came up with her tale. There’s a great comfort in knowing that even when you screw up royally, you can still find forgiveness. If kids take nothing else away from this book, I hope that they understand that much. Smart and beautiful by turns, The Nightingale’s Nest does one thing that few will contest. Once you’ve read it, you’ll have a hard time getting it out of your head.

On shelves now.

Notes on the Cover: It was indeed the cover that I noticed first about this book. Unfortunately the name of the artist has been difficult to find, but it’s lovely isn’t it? The girl, clearly Gayle, could be floating or flying or just lying on the ground, depending on how you look at it. Of course, most notable is the fact that she appears to be African-American. There’s been a lot of talk over the last few years about showing black faces on our book jackets, so I applaud Razorbill for having the guts to do a cover that isn’t a silhouette. That said, I did notice that at no point in the novel does the book specifically say that Gayle is dark-skinned. In fact, it doesn’t really describe her skin at all. We get a sense of how soft her hair is and how beautiful her voice, but nothing much more beyond that. Could this be one of the very few cases in which a kid’s race isn’t mentioned in a book and yet that kid isn’t just assumed to be white? If so it’s a big step forward in the world of book jackets. Someone should conduct an interview with Razorbill’s art director about the decision to go with this cover. I’d love to know if this is indicative of books in the future. If so, it’s a trend I’ll be watching with great interest.

Source: Galley sent from the publisher for review.

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13. TURNING PAGES: The Violet Hour, by Whitney A. Miller

After a lengthy push to finish up a manuscript, I'm sort of blinking in daylight. Time to dig into a pile of neglected books! First up, a debut from Bay Area writer Whitney A. Miller. I would characterize this one as horror - but though there's gore... Read the rest of this post

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14. A Snicker of Magic, by Natalie Lloyd

Sometimes a book will just call out to you.  It tells you that it was meant for you and that you need to read it.  The first time I heard the title A Snicker of Magic, I was intrigued.  The first time I saw the delightful cover, I knew I had to get my hands on it.

Felicity Juniper Pickle is a collector of words.  Not in the same way that some of us are, she is lucky enough to see words.  Words surround certain people and things, and when Felicity sees them, she writes them down in her always present blue notebook.  When her little sister Frannie Jo asks for a poem, Felicity can pluck them out of the air and combine them into a soothing rhyme for her.

There are two things that Felicity Pickle cannot do, however.  She cannot comfortably speak those words in front of anyone, and she can't stay in one place too long.  The first thing she can work on, but the second thing is all because of her Mama.

Her Mama is cursed with a wandering heart.  She loads her girls up into her beat-up van and travels around with them.  This last jaunt has brought the Pickles home to where Mama grew up: Midnight Gulch.  Midnight Gulch used to be a magical place, but a few generations ago the magic seemingly up and left town right along with the famous Threadbare brothers.

But for Felicity, Midnight Gulch does turn out to be a magical place.  First of all, she acquires her very first friend - Jonah Pickett.  And Jonah, it turns out, has a secret and a bit of a magical identity as well.  As he takes Felicity under his wing, she sees the things that could be -- the things that she didn't even know she was longing for as Mama shuttled them around "Per-clunkity-clunk, per-clunkity-clunk" across the country.

Natalie Lloyd has created the kind of world that readers want to jump into.  This small Tennessee town should exist and feels like it does.  Perfectly quirky, the characters are interwoven, layered and kind. Turns of phrase verily melt in your mouth, and beg to be read aloud.  This is a heart-song book, if ever there was one.

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15. The Children of the King by Sonya Hartnett

With the fall of France and the war becoming worse for Britain, it was time for the Lockwood children, 12 year old Cecily and Jeremy, 14, to leave London.  So it was off to Heron Hall, to their Uncle Peregrine Lockwood's estate, with their mother, Heloise.

Traveling on the train to the same village were groups of school children also being evacuated from London by the government.  These school children are taken to the town hall and as Cecily watches them leaving one by one with women who were to care for them for the duration, she asks her mother if they couldn't also have a child.  May Bright, 10, seems to fit the bill, despite her indifference towards Cecily.

Feeling powerless and picked on by her brother, Cecily wants someone that she can control and have power over.   But May is an independent child with a mind of her own.  And though she isn't impressed that her new luxurious surroundings at Heron Hall are more than she is accustomed to, it is the vast fields and woods that attract her.  And in among it all are the remains of Snow Castle, a once beautiful castle made of white marble, where she meets two young oddly dressed boys.  At first, believing they are evacuees running away from an unpleasant placement, it soon becomes apparent that something else is going on with these two boys.

When May and Cecily ask Uncle Peregrine about the castle, he begins to tell them, little by little each evening, the haunting story of Richard III, of his brother King Edward IV's death, of his two sons, the eldest of whom is next in line for the throne and how Richard had hidden the two boys in the Tower of London in order to make himself King.

Meanwhile, Jeremy, frustrated that he can't do anything to help the war effort but hid out in the country,   he wants so very much to make his mark on the world.  Each day, Jeremy reads the newspaper accounts of the war, becoming more and more exasperated that he is not there help.  And so one night, he runs away to London. There, he discovers a burning, war torn London that he could never have imagined.  Stunned by what he sees, feeling smaller than ever, Jeremy manages to do the very thing he sets out to do - help the war effort.  It is his coming of age moment and Jeremy returns to Heron Hall a very different boy.

No one can turn a phrase, creating a hauntingly brilliant story quite like Sonya Hartnett can. Gracefully creating lyrical phrases, and characters that are hard to forget as you begin to recognize parts of yourself in each of them.  There is spoiled, selfish Cecily, who, the reader thinks, will grow up to be just like her shallow, socialite mother, Heloise, but who surprises us so often; May, quiet and thoughtful, careful but unafraid, she becomes a favorite of Uncle Peregrine (kindred souls? maybe); Jeremy, on the cusp of becoming a young man and wanting to get there way too soon - all so realistically and captivatingly drawn.

The Children of the King is the story of the powerlessness of children and the people who want to control them - of the two princes at the hands of Richard III who craves power and control, of England's children at the hands of German bombs, sent by a dictator who also craves power and control.  But it is on a smaller scale that we see how little power and control others really have over us unless we let them.  Despite all Cecily's attempt at controlling May, she is the one who remains an independent spirit.  And it is by running away, that Jeremy discovers the power each of us has to change another person's life.

Just as she did in The Midnight Garden, Hartnett once again uses the device of magical realism and of a story within a story.  Here, they is used as a means of connecting past and present, reminding us that the past is never past, it lives in the present or as May tells the two boys in the castle "Everything is connected…We are here because you are here."And the dialectic that Hartnett creates in The Children of the King is just wonderful.

I should tell readers that there are a few graphic descriptions when Jeremy goes back to London, giving a sense of realism, but not graphic enough to scare away middle grade readers.  And one does not need to already know the story of Richard III to understand Uncle Peregrine's story, he weaves in enough of it for readers to understand it perfectly well.

I put off reading this novel because I was afraid that I would be disappointed.  The Midnight Garden was such a brilliant book, had Hartnett set her own bar too high?  No, the bar is high but The Children of the King is right up there.   But, in the end, all I can says is fans of Sonya Hartnett, rejoice!  To those who will be reading her for the first time with this novel, you are lucky ducks.

This book is recommended for readers age 10+
This book was and eARC from Net Galley

The Children of the King will be available on March 25, 2014

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16. Call for Speculative Flash Fiction: Lightning Cake

Lightning Cake is a tiny zine of illustrated speculative flash fiction. New electrifying bites posted weekly—cut yourself a slice and chomp in. Lightning Cake wants speculative stories—stories that are fantastic, strange, idiosyncratic. Science fiction, fantasy, magical realism, slipstream, weird, new weird, futuristic, surreal, mythic, fairy tales—Lightning Cake likes them all. Lightning Cake will fall for the stories that scared you to write, and will love the stories that you loved writing.

Submit previously unpublished speculative flash fiction up to 500 words.

Lightning Cake pays $5 ($0.01-$0.04/word) for accepted stories.

Upcoming reading period: April 1 - July 31, 2014.

Follow @LightningCake on Twitter for updates.

Read our guidelines here.  Our website.

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17. Call for Submissions: Rose Red Review

Rose Red Review is now accepting submissions for its Summer 2014 issue!

Rose Red Review is published four times a year, in homage to the passing season. In fairy tales, the future is unknown, often summarized by the vague phrase “happily ever after,” but each character is influenced by his or her past, and we, like the characters, live in the moment as we read their story. Rose Red Review seeks to publish art, fiction, photography, and poetry that best reflects the magic in the every day–work that honors the past, the moment, and the uncertain future.

Read more about the publication here.


Please send your submissions here.


Please visit Rose Red Review on Facebook. On Twitter.

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18. Gabriel García Márquez sigue


"The day shit is worth money, poor people will be born without an asshole."

Those aren't my words; they're from Gabriel García Márquez, who's given us some of the greatest in any language.

QEPD = Que en Paz Descanse is the Spanish equivalent to "rest in peace." After I posted notes about Marquez passing, an Anglo friend sent me condolences: "Lo siento," he said, "sorry."

I'll say the sentiment was good, but the intended audience was too narrow. Latinos don't need condolences from Anglos, about Márquez's death. He belongs to the world's peoples and in that sense, is relevant and part of us all.

Márquez, a political creature
There's the tendency to mention magical realism whenever Márquez's name comes up. That bothers me as an indirect slotting of his work, like it was "only" an example of latinoamericano speculative literature. Anymore than Crime and Punishment should be called genre horror or thriller. Some works and writers defy delimiting, like Márquez and his works. However much he defined magical realism, he also shred that envelope, passing into the realm of Classic.

Here's more of his words, not usually quoted:
The world must be all fucked up when men travel first class and literature goes as freight.
I don’t think you can write a book that’s worth anything without extraordinary discipline.
With The Thousand and One Nights, I learned and never forgot that we should read only those books that force us to reread them.
Literature was the best plaything that had ever been invented to make fun of people.
If men gave birth, they'd be less inconsiderate.
The secret of a good old age is simply an honorable pact with solitude.


Whatever type of reader you are, you haven't lived unless you've experienced at least one of Márquez's epics. Below are the openings to two novels. Go outside somewhere by yourself, read them once for meaning, sentido, then read them aloud for the music. This might make you wonder if you should read the entire book. You should.

from Love in the Time of Cholera:


(translation): It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love. Dr. Juvenal Urbino noticed it as soon as he entered the still darkened house where he had hurried on an urgent call to attend a case that for him had lost all urgency many years before. The Antillean refugee Jeremiah de Saint-Amour, disabled war veteran, photographer of children, and his most sympathetic opponent in chess, had escaped the torments of memory with the aromatic fumes of gold cyanide.

from One Hundred Years of Solitude:
Muchos años después, frente al pelotón de fusilamiento, el coronel Aureliano Buendía había de recordar aquella tarde remota en que su padre lo llevó a conocer el hielo. Macondo era entonces una aldea de veinte casas de barro y cañabrava construidas a la orilla de un río de aguas diáfanas que se precipitaban por un lecho de piedras pulidas, blancas y enormes como huevos prehistóricos. El mundo era tan reciente, que muchas cosas carecían de nombre, y para mencionarlas había que señalarlas con el dedo.

a children's book on Márquez
(translation): Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, General Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. At that time Macondo was a village of twenty adobe houses, built on the bank of a river of clear water that ran along a bed of polished stones, which were white and enormous, like prehistoric eggs. The world was so recent that many things lacked names, and in order to indicate them it was necessary to point.

Esquirere-posted a Márquez short story, The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent Erendira and Her Heartless Grandmother that you can read in full.

I'm not sad Márquez died. He was mortal and reached a logical end. I don't know how his last weeks, months, years were, given a cancer he suffered; perhaps he was grateful to end his time, even. But before that, he left his people, his species, with enough to prove that he'd been here and done good. Great. Phenomenal. So, while his energy has left his body, some remains locked in his prose, to be shared by those to come.

Salud al maestro Marquez!

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19. Monday Review: THE CRACKS IN THE KINGDOM by Jaclyn Moriarty

I devolve to such a squealing fangirl when it comes to Jaclyn Moriarty. I think everything she does is brilliant and we've made no secret around here of our admiration for her writing (cf. the gushing fan letter we wrote for One Shot World Tour:... Read the rest of this post

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20. Reading in Tandem: "The Lost," by Sarah Beth Durst

It's bits of ephemera -- a favorite song that popped into your head like a mini-book soundtrack, who you think would be best as the lead if they ever turned it into a movie, your fervent hope that they never, ever, turn it into a movie -- things... Read the rest of this post

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21. TURNING PAGES: WHERE SILENCE GATHERS, by Kelsey Sutton

This is a companion novel, second in the SOME QUIET PLACE series. SOME QUIET PLACE, which was published in 2012, has a common emotional personification, but that's the only overlap; it's definitely a standalone novel. While the cover is... Read the rest of this post

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22. Turning Pages: A CORNER OF WHITE by Jaclyn Moriarty

Okay, so, here's the thing.This isn't the sort of book that you can review. You can only... respond. Reader Gut Reaction: First of all, if this is your first Jaclyn Moriarty book, I might suggest you start with a different one. NOT because there's... Read the rest of this post

3 Comments on Turning Pages: A CORNER OF WHITE by Jaclyn Moriarty, last added: 4/14/2013
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23. Turning Pager: HAMMER OF WITCHES, by Shana Mlawski

ALL RIGHT. I know I say this every time, but I ♥ Tu Books. It's just the kind of publishing company so many people were waiting for - because where else can you tell your crazy YA tales of monsters, the Malleus Maleficarum - the Spanish... Read the rest of this post

2 Comments on Turning Pager: HAMMER OF WITCHES, by Shana Mlawski, last added: 5/8/2013
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24. TURNING PAGES: Scrapbook of My Revolution, by Amy Lynn Spitzley

All hail the cooperative! I know I'm always on my soapbox for the Little Guy, but seriously, many readers never see books that aren't put out by the Big Five publishing houses (it used to be Big Six, before the Random Penguin House thing). Curiosity... Read the rest of this post

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25. Listening for Lucca, by Suzanne LaFleur

"I'm obsessed with abandoned things." So begins LaFleur's quiet and enchanting book about friendship, family, choice, ghosts and history.

Siena's family is about to abandon Brooklyn for the beaches of Maine.  Siena doesn't really mind.  There's not much tying her to Brooklyn anymore.  Her once deep friendship with Kelsey has fizzled since Kelsey no longer seems interested in Siena's dreams or imaginings.  And honestly, Siena is a little frightening about what has been happening to her lately.

She has always had vivid dreams, but now these dreams are creeping into her waking hours.  Scenery seems to shift and she finds herself viewing history, when she should be seeing what everyone else is seeing.  Maybe Maine will help?

The move is not for Siena, however, but for her little brother Lucca.  Lucca used to be a run of the mill little kid...sticky and loud.  But now Lucca is silent.  Siena's mom is desperate for anything that will give her son a voice again.

Once Siena is in the new house, she just knows that there are ghosts.  What's more, is that Lucca seems to sense them too.  She has no sooner unpacked her collection of abandoned things, when her vivid dreaming and visions start again.  Only now Lucca is scared, and Siena promises him that she will get to the bottom of things.

When Siena finds an old lost pen high up in her closet, pieces of the past come forward and help her to understand not only her dreams and her visions, but her family as well.

This is a lovely slow reveal of a book that will delight detail oriented readers.  LaFleur weaves the story together with invisible strings that form a delicate pattern that becomes clear in due time.  Each character is fully developed and the past and the present storylines never compete with each other; rather they complete each other.

Simply captivating.

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