Monday, December 12, 2011

The Merchant's Daughter by: Melanie Dickerson

Click HERE to read my review on The Healer's Apprentice, also by Melanie Dickerson.

 Click HERE to read my author interview with Melanie Dickerson.

Check out Melanie Dickerson's website, HERE.

While Annabel is hard at work in the fields, her family slacks at home, unwilling to do their share of the work and dirty their white hands.

Of course, laziness like this cannot go unnoticed forever.

Annabel's family is faced with two choices. The disgusting and perhaps sometimes cruel Bailiff Tom wants to wed Annabel. She, however, will do everything in her power not to marry him. Unfortunately, he has promised to pay the fine that her family has been charged with because of their lack of work. The one thing he asks in exchange? engagement to dear Annabel.

She, of course, is completely against this proposition. Her sissy of a brother Edward, though, encourages it. And, while her mother does not insist on the matter, Annabel knows that she yearns for Bailiff Tom and her union. Her other sibling, Durand, claims that he is afflicted with too great a sickness to over exert himself. Thus, Annabel has no supporters. She knows that her father, had he been alive, would have sided with her all the way.

The only other option would be to send Annabel to work for Lord Ranulf while the rest of her family pays off their debt in the field.

Since her family wants to make her marry the disgusting Bailiff Tom, Annabel decides to leave them and offer herself to Lord Ranulf.

She is hired on as a field worker, but soon moved into the kitchens. Then when a fire occurs she is given the occupation of caring for Lord Ranulf, because she has some of knowledge of how to cure burns. Her lord is not as bad as she had first thought he might be. His hand is maimed, his face scarred, and his life a wreck. But somewhere in there he has a good heart.

Soon she is confronted with a problem. She is attacked by a man and when her friend rushes in to save her, they injure him seriously.  Despite the fact that he was injured in a case of self-defense, problems quickly come of this, leaving Annabel and Lord Ranulf's futures at stake.

My thoughts:

This book is amazing! It is such a sweet, fairytale romance.

I love Annabel's kind heart. I love how rough around the edges Lord Ranulf is. I love how Annabel's dream is so simple - to be able to hold and read a Bible without the priest telling her what to believe.

This story is based loosely on the classic fairytale, The Beauty and the Beast.

I love a good medieval romance, and this certainly is that! The honesty and love in these pages is truly amazing. I recommend this book for anyone and everyone (girls especially :) ages twelve and up.

Objectional Content:

Language: None.

Romance/Sexual Content: Kissing, forced marriages. Bailiff Tom tries to get Annabel to kiss him and teases her.

Violence: Fighting. Fires. People getting seriously hurt.

Drugs/Alcohol Content: None as far as I remember.

I reviewed this book for:

Team Novel Teen.

Team Novel Teen is a group of bloggers dedicated to spreading the word about clean teen fiction.

Check out other posts about The Merchant's Daughter by: Melanie Dickerson by clicking on the links below, and check out for more information about Team Novel Teen.

The Librarian’s BookshelfRachelle ReaADD LibrarianThe Book FaeMy Life with a MissionKatie McCurdyTerri HarrBook Nook 4 YouMy Story ShelfSugar PeachJill Williamson

If you would be interested in buying this book, click HERE.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Dragon Slippers by: Jessica Day George

She wanted dragon gold. She got a pair of shoes.
The shoes could save her kingdom ... or destroy it.

Creel's parents are dead, leaving her and her young brother, Hagen, to the mercy of their aunt and uncle. These relatives were by no means cruel, what they did was not intentionally unkind, but that does not change what they did.

Creel was sacrificed to a dragon, in the hopes that a wealthy prince would be fooled into rescuing her. Then she and the unfortunate man would have to marry.

Not that Creel was hard on the eyes. But what prince in his right mind would want to marry a poor girl with freckles?

Creel decides to not wait for a knight to rescue her. She strikes out on her own. But not before making a bargain with her captor. Dragons love to collect things - this particular dragon loves shoes. He allows her to choose one pair. Creel, of course, chooses the wrong ones. A lovely pair of blue slippers, and, surprisingly, the only pair in the dragon's overwhelmingly large collection that fit her feet.

Creel, having now escaped the dragon's cave, is on the road to the king's city, where she hopes to make her fortune. Along the way she meets another dragon, Shardas. She stays with him and his stained-glass-window collection for several months - during that time she spends her days talking, embroidering, and meeting a new dragon, one with a dog collection.

When the time comes to leave, Creel and Shardas part ways as good friends, and Shardas instructs her to just call his name and he will always come. And then, after telling her how to find the king's city, he is gone.

Creel finds work as a seamstress, though not before making enemies with the royal prince's bride-to-be.

She is about to find out that these slippers are more than beautiful ... they control dragon's minds!

My thoughts:

I. Love. This. Book. It's AWESOME! You have to, er, get into it a bit, but once you do ... wow.

The cover is soooo cute! Love it.

There's this guy, a prince named Luka, who is sooo sweet! He's probably my favourite character ... next to Creel, of course.

Dragon Slippers is clever, well-thought out, and fun!

Objectional Content:

Language: None.

Romance/Sexual Content: A quick kiss between Creel and Luka (I don't mention him in the review above). Some boys want to hurt Creel and tease her - flattering and flirting with her.

Violence: Perhaps some fighting, nothing in particular.

Drugs/Alcohol: None.

12 and up.
9/10 stars.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Beyond the Reflection's Edge by: Bryan Davis

Enter a fantastical world where even the mirrors tell lies.

Nathan Shepherd - a sixteen year old violinist - enjoys the life he has with his investigative father and musician mother.

Until that day.

It was all set up perfectly. His mother and he were going to do a violin duet on stage together. The song began. They harmonized together beautifully. Then began Nathan's solo. As he stroked the first notes, his mother whispered these words to him.

"It is time for a very long solo, my love. Play it with all your heart. I will join you again when the composer commands me."

When his solo ended, he opened his eyes, awaiting his mother's notes. She was gone.

Minutes later, he finds both his parents murdered. His father with a bullet hole in his chest, his mother with a slit in her lovely white throat.

Nathan is sent to a safe house, where Tony, the verbally clumsy father of his teenage daughter, Kelly, abides.

Left with a mirror and a note from his parents, Nathan struggles to get over their death. Then the mirror begins to reflect scenes and images that have never happened - almost like it has a mind of its own!

And, somehow, music seems to activate it.

Nathan finds a chest that can't be opened unless his reflection is the one doing it. The world is suddenly confusing and troubled. Especially when he finds out that he can cross dimensions and meets his mother as a young girl!

What he once thought was non-existent is suddenly his job to save. A man of magic tries to defeat Nathan as he learns the secrets to crossing dimensions and discovers new earths.

Kelly and Nathan must join together to battle against the evil force trying to melt all dimensions together.

My thoughts:

Wowzers! This book is good!

Maybe I'm a little biased because I LOVE the violin. And since I play it, I can relate to everything written in this book.

I had to start the book twice before I could get in to it, especially because the middle is a bit confusing. But it really is quite good!

Kelly is quite the girl. I love how she is so hard, and yet so soft, too.

And this sentence?

"It is time for a very long solo, my love. Play it with all your heart. I will join you again when the composer commands me."

It is so beautiful!

Objectional Content:

Language: None.

Romance/Sexual Content: Hinting at Kelly having a dark past. Hint at Nathan and Kelly having a crush on one another.

Violence: People getting their eyes sucked out by a bad guy who uses magic. Fighting. Injuries.

Drugs/Alcohol Content: None.

8/10 stars
12 and up.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Author Interview with Carlie Gernhart

Carlie Gernhart has agreed to do an interview with me! She is the author of the amazing book, Fable Weaver. You can read my review for it HERE.

1. When did you first start writing?

I first started writing a couple years ago, when I was about 14. I made a 400 page mess of horrible writing that had a repetitive plot that went nowhere. At 16 I started writing seriously when I was in the pilot class of OYAN, and I'm so glad I took it. My writing improved drastically and that 400 page mess got revised into a book called Kytt's Tale. Here I am at 19 and totally loving being a writer.

2. Where did you get the idea for your novel? I mean, seriously, it's AMAZING!

Thanks! I got the idea from hearing other people talk about their characters, and from experiences with my own. So, Tierra Fabula was born. Fable Weavers and Changelings evolved from that. I also like the "Fractured Fairy Tales" method of taking a old story, then turning it on its head in a funny or unexpected way.

3. Are you working on anything right now?

Yeah, I'm always working on something or other. Right now I've got a prequel going for a book I already wrote called "Elementia" (though I'd like to find another title for it someday...). Really enjoying working on that, because some of my favorite characters to write are in it. I've also got several books I'm juggling in the back of my mind, working on them when I have time.

4. What do you like to do when when you're not writing?

Video games, mostly. I've been gaming since I could hold a Super Nintendo Controller. Right now I'm really into playing Minecraft, though I'm also playing through Final Fantasy VII (got stuck at a particularly hard battle). Some of my favorite games are Shadow of the Colossus (amazing story), Portal 1 and 2 (amazing writing), Pokemon games, The Legend of Zelda series and way too many others to list here. I also like drawing, which is something I've been doing for about nine years. I like it because it lets me show people how my characters look to me.

5. So, your novel was written with the One Year Adventure Novel program? Would you recommend it? I personally found the program to be a big help in my own writing.

Yes, it was. I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who wants to write. The difference between the way I used to write and how I write now is amazing. I take the time to structure my stories, develop characters and make sure the plot works before I write it. I'm so, SO glad I found OYAN. Might sound a bit dramatic, but I really do think it's changed my life for the better.

6. What are some of your favorite books? Authors?

Oh boy, let's see... Recent books I've read and loved have been the Maze Runner series (James Dashner) and the Hunger Games trilogy (Suzanne Collins). I also really enjoy the Bartimaeus series, written by Jonathan Stroud. Some of my favorite authors are Terry Pratchett (who can write some amazingly funny books) and J.K. Rowling (who also wrote one of my all-time favorite series).

7. Off the topic of writing, what is your favorite fast food restaurant?

Can't beat a Triple Stacker combo from Burger King. Yay bacon!

8. Who or what most inspired your writing?

My parents really helped me stay motivated, and my sister is excellent at brainstorming and bouncing ideas around. J.K. Rowling was probably the one that most inspired me to start telling stories. I also wanted to get my stories into the world so my characters would stop bugging me about it. :)

9. Is your life any different now that you're an author?

Incredibly different. It's crazy how random some sources of inspiration can be (Elementia was spawned from a single gesture in a Pixar movie... still got no explanation for that one). Also, whenever I'm bored, I'll often start a mental conversation with my characters (it helps me develop them, and also helps pass time). It's amazing to me when someone asks me "Hey, how's *insert character name here* doing" or something along those lines.

10. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I'd love to see Ireland. :)

11. What did you want to be when you were little? Was writing always a part of it?

For a long time I wanted to be a zookeeper. Then I wanted to be a video game tester. Now I think I'll be a Character Designer/Animator/Story Writer for video games who is a masked vigilante by night. :)

*    *    *

Thanks for doing this, Carlie! :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fable Weaver by: Carlie Gernhart

Linnet Fairweather's words have power. Literally.

She is a fable weaver. A fable weaver can spin a pretty tall tale ... and than make it come true!  

Gifts like these must be guarded. This is why she has guardian changelings to watch over her. There is Izar, the most mature and wise of the group. And then we have Sekker. The crazy one who wears his hair in a ponytail and has a hidden past. And last, but certainly not least, Arkose. The clown who loves video games and snicker doodle cookies.

But then everything goes wrong. The fable weavers plan a meeting ... and only Linnet shows up! Fara, head of the changelings, informs her that they've all disappeared.

Linnet is the last of the fable weavers. It is up to her to save them - if they are still alive.

However, plans must change when fiction's worst villain escapes from the prisons of Tierra Fabula - the place where characters go once their stories are over - and begins to make trouble in the real world! The barrier between true life and the story world is weakening.

Linnet and her friends know the truth - that there is only one way to beat this vile villain. They must get the help of Merlin ... a wizard who has long since been imprisoned.

No one knows where Merlin is or how far his powers can stretch, but if they want to mend the barrier between imagination and reality, they know that this is the only way.

Fable weavers aren't often at a loss for words ... but it's going to be hard to find the right ones to battle the most feared character ever to be used in fiction and mend the damage done before it is beyond repairs!

My thoughts:

This book is AWESOME! I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I first saw it for sale - okay, I immediately decided I didn't like it - but when I found out a friend of mine owned it, I couldn't resist asking to borrow it and get a taste of what it was like.

WOW, I'm glad I did. The writing is amazing, the plot is EPIC, and the humor is actually funny. :) Books don't make me laugh very often - out loud or not.

I love this concept. There's a place where characters go when their novel is finished, and they roam around our world freely during the day, then return to their home (Tierra Fabula) at night. Unless, of course, they're villains and are in prison.
I don't believe it's a Christian book. Come to think on it, it can't be. Not with wizards around.

Objectional Content:

Language: I believe the word "bloody" is used.

Romance/Sexual Content: None that I recall.

Violence: Fighting, magic used to harm people.

Drugs/Alcohol: None.

12 and up
9/10 stars

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Apothecary's Daughter by: Julie Klassen

Lilly remembers everything - whether she wants to or not...

Lilly Haswell is the pretty, eighteen-year-old daughter of the local apothecary. Lilly is intelligent and has an amazing mind for remembering things - making her a great help to her father, Charles Haswell.

The Haswell name is a respected one in the community, but that doesn't stop idle tongues from wagging about the disappearance of Lilly's mother. It is not a subject Lilly's father likes to discuss. Thus, she knows nothing of it and often catches herself thinking about it as well.

Then a visit from her aunt and uncle change everything. They invite her to stay with them in London for a time. Of course, Lilly's sweet aunt has only one thing in mind: suitors.

In London, Lilly learns the ups and downs of wealthy society and being courted. She must attend parties and is forced to dance with all the wealthy gentlemen in the room. The handsome Dr. Graves is not the ideal suitor, according to Lilly's aunt, but power and possessions do not affect Lilly's feelings.

Two years of her new London life fly by. But they come to an end when Lilly receives word that her father is not himself, and she decides to return home to him - just for two weeks.When she discovers her father's condition is far worse than she ever could have expected, those two weeks stretch longer... turning into months... then years. Her father needs her, and who else does he have to care for him?

A serious suitor from London follows her home. She is all ready to accept his marriage proposal whenever he makes it because she knows with him she has finally found true love ... hasn't she?

Lilly searches for not only the truth of her past, but for love for the future also.

My thoughts:

This book is amazing! I love all of Julie Klassen's books.

How can you help but love sweet, beautiful Lilly who adores her younger brother more than her own life? And the cover art is gorgeous. The dress and the hair especially.

I liked this book because one: it's historical, two: while the plot idea is not exactly new, it's still interesting, three: I enjoy the writing style, and four: it's a romance. :)

Oh, and it's written in a 'Jane style,' as I like to call it - 'Jane' meaning Jane Austen and Jane Eyre. Basically, it is all about a girl finding a rich man to marry. Society in that day was all about status.

Objectional Content:

Language: None that I remember.

Romance/Sexual Content: Of course, while there is mention of boys falling in love with Lilly, it is only serious in two places. One, where she is aims to kiss someone on the cheek to thank him and he moves so she gets his mouth instead, and two, on the very last page, where she kisses her true love. When she is alone with a man, there is mention of him maybe "doing more than he did," had Lilly's brother not been there. (as for "what he did," I believe he was just holding her)

Violence: None that I remember, except perhaps someone getting hit or something along those lines.

Drugs/Alcohol: Mention of someone being drunk.

Thirteen and up.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pharaoh's Daughter by: Julius Lester

I saved my brother from the soldiers,
but the princess says he is hers now.
Abba and Ima will never trust me again.

Almah never imagined when her mother ordered her to go and take a watch for soldiers that she would meet the Pharaoh's daughter. She never would have believed that the Pharaoh's daughter would take in her little brother, Moses.

And she most certainly never thought that she and her mother would be asked to come and stay in Pharaoh's palace for a period of time.

As much as Almah's family does not wish to stay in the palace, they decide to accept anyway, because the Pharaoh's daughter has taken their son, and they want to be near him as long as possible.

Almah is there through the stress of Pharaoh's beloved wife passing on, and is his chief comfort as she has many similarities with his deceased spouse.

But when Almah is given the choice to either stay on in the palace or return to her home, there is no way for this situation to work out in a positive way. If she stays in the palace, where she finally feels alive, she will be dead to her family. And if she goes home, she will lose her quality of life and the love of the Pharaoh and his family.

The Pharaoh has feelings towards Almah, something most girls can only dream of, but will she except them?

Moses lives in the palace, raised by the Pharaoh's daughter. It was this woman, his adopted mother, that saved his life.

He is a happy boy, for his sister Almah is by his side at all times, ready to do anything for him, and he lives a life of luxury.

But the people of the palace do not trust him. The reason is clear: they could change his title, his family, and his beliefs, but they could not change who he really was. They are Khemetian. He is Habiru.

Because of this, Moses does not feel completely at ease. His identity is changed against his wishes, and he longs to uncover his true self. When he does, this time the answer to his problems is not something Almah can help him with. He must do it alone.

My thoughts:
This is the story of Moses, as you may have already guessed. But half is told from Moses' point of view, half from Almah's.
You have probably already read, or at least heard, the story of Moses. But I still highly reccomend this book! It puts the story into an entirely new light.

I have a feeling that if we're trying to be historically correct, Pharaoh did not fall in love with Moses' sister, but it does definitely add some colour.

I have certainly read worse books, but I have also read better. This is a thought-provoking read and I can almost guarantee you won't be sorry you read it. (I can't say the same to you boys out there, though. :)

Objectional Content:
Language: None that I remember.
Romance/Sexual Conent: Someone is in love with Pharaoh's daughter.
The Pharaoh loves Almah and wishes to marry her.
With Almah's job as priestess, she must dance naked. The description is not too vivid, but enough....

Violence: Moses kills someone. He is asked to whip someone, but he whips the man who asked him to instead.
Drugs/Alcohol: None that I remember.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Series Of Unfortunate Events: The Slippery Slope by: Lemony Snicket

In The Slippery Slope, we continue the story of Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire. This is the tenth book in the series.

If you have not been following the series up until this point, I had better explain. (And if you have, then you'd better skip the next couple paragraphs.)

Violet, Klaus, and Sunny are three unfortunate orphans whose parents died in a fire quite recently. Ever since Mr. Poe, who was in charge of placing them with a relative, came to them that cold, hard day to give them the news, their lives have been one sad event after another.

It all began with a man named Count Olaf, who was, apparently, the closest relative they had. But the Baudelaire children saw through his guise immediately. He only wanted their fortune. And when he found out he couldn't have it until the eldest was either sixteen or married, he attempted to marry her.

But Violet managed to escape from this slippery deal just in time, and she and her siblings were placed with another relative.

They weren't safe, though. Count Olaf found them again and continued his pursuit of stealing them away. But they outsmarted him - once again.

Ever since then, he has been out for revenge. Guardian after guardian have been fooled or killed by this vile villain, until finally the Baudelaires gave up on the people Mr. Poe was placing them with and began to rely on their own wit to survive.

In The Slippery Slope, we find the two eldest Baudelaires separated from their younger sibling, Sunny. She has been captured by Count Olaf. And they are on a quest to get her back. And once they rescue her, they hope to continue their search for their friends, the Quagmire triplets.

On the way there, they run into a person thought dead, the Volunteer Fire Department's burned down building, an icy slope, and the "False Spring Queen".

How could their circumstances do anything but improve? They are about to get much, much, much worse...

My thoughts:

I realize that this series is probably for kids much younger than myself, but somehow I still find myself always coming back to them.

Lemony Snicket has a very interesting writing style. It always makes me smile.

I love that Violet, Klaus, and Sunny each have their own talents. Violet is an inventor, Klaus is a researcher, and Sunny is a "biter". *smiles*

Why would I recommend this book? Well, to start with - I hope I don't put this wrong - but it's kind of a... "cute" book. It makes you think, it's funny, and the writing is very unique.

Objectional Content:

Language: None.

Romance/Sexual Content: There is a small hint at Violet and another boy having a crush on one another.

Violence: None that I remember.

Drugs/Alcohol: None.

8/10 stars
Ages: Eleven and up

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Oryus by: Craig Gordon

A dream. A quest. A destiny.

Duncan's life has been one of secrets. He and his father, mother and brother have lived a sheltered life in Laynarra - the one city in Corandor that is untouched by the evils of the world. 

They do not associate with their neighbors, Duncan is not allowed to leave the town, and his father will tell him nothing. If it weren't for his mother, Duncan would probably not even be allowed to marry the woman he loves, a girl named Rhyelle.

But then everything changes.

Duncan has an encounter with Mahaylik - a man who calls himself a messenger for the Creator.

Mahaylik gives him instructions to go to Ruxallium.

It is a very puzzled Duncan that later confronts his father and tells him of the meeting.

Mahaylik told Duncan to ask his father one thing.

"Ask him if he knows how Toric fares."

And these simple words have more power than Duncan could ever imagine. His father, upon hearing them, tells Duncan to ignore the request and never even look at Mahaylik again.

But Mahaylik caused a stirring in Duncan's restrained heart.

His father would tell him nothing of the past, and refused to let him have much of a future.

Duncan has always questioned his secluded life, and now the chance has come for him to live life as it was meant to be.

But how can he leave his family and bride-to-be?

"Trust your heart, Duncan, not your head."

Despite everything, Duncan leaves his home for the first time in his life.

His eyes are opened to new things. Suffering ... and truth ... good ... and bad ...

His father always told him to trust no one ... but could his father only be saying these things to hide Duncan from his past?

On his quest, Duncan will meet Zaig the giant ... 

"Get your hands away from my neck or I'll snap you in two!"

... irresistible Fyfe, the Midni, who is constantly on end with Zaig ...

"Well done, Zaig! I did not know you could count that high!"

... Visuriun the sorcerer ...

"The only reason you are still alive is because I believe you may serve a purpose for me."

 ... and Blaithe son of Kohr - a worker for Mahaylik ...

Duncan discovers his entire family was killed during his absence ... and their blood is on his hands ... except his father and bride ... they are still alive ... and he finds himself on a mission to rescue them ...

... and then his calling is revealed ...

My thoughts:

This book is amazing!

To start with, the characters are all very likeable, the book is incredibly well-written, and the plot is unique.

We can all relate to Duncan. He is annoyed that his father keeps his past a secret from him, and he decides to go uncover his destiny. And, though at the time he doesn't know it, the Ceator is calling him to even higher purposes.

You will also love Duncan's bride-to-be, Rhyelle. She is so sweet!

I should probably warn any younger readers, there is a scene where Duncan and the sorcerer have an exchange while Duncan is in jail, and the sorcerer raises Duncan off the ground without moving a muscle. He also chokes Duncan by just moving a finger.

Objectional Content:

Language: No particular words. But they say things like, "he cursed."

Romance/Sexual Content:
- Duncan kisses his bride-to-be a couple times. (he also proposes to her in chapter three.)
- When the soldiers took Duncan's bride away, he worried once that they might violate her. They didn't.
- Someone hints at the queen betraying her husband. She did.
- Duncan's friend has a crush on the queen. It passes shortly. But he is later accused of violating her, and she lies and says it is true, even though he didn't.

Violence: A couple people are killed. There are fights.

Drugs/Alcohol: Duncan's dad is a winemaker.

9/10 stars.
Thirteen and up.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Mara, Daughter of the Nile by: Eloise Jarvis McGraw

Mara is a slave, but unlike other slaves, she has not accepted the fact. She still dreams of one day earning her freedom. But when the opportunity arises, the situation gets more serious than she ever could have imagined. Earning her freedom involves serving as a double spy for two arch enemies - both of whom support a different contender vying for the throne of Egypt.

From then on her life is one of confusion as she is commissioned to work as a translator for a Canaanite princess - this will get her behind enemy lines so she can deliver a message from her master. Why? she does not know. All she knows is that, if no mistakes are made, it will gain her freedom.
But then she meets Sheftu and overhears him plotting to overthrow the queen. Unfortunately for her, Sheftu knows that she was eavesdropping, and forces her into his plans - threatening to kill her if she disobeys.

Rather unwillingly, free-spirited Mara works as a double-agent, translates for an over-weight, homesick princess, and begins to believe the plan to restore Thutmose III is not as treacherous as it once seemed.

Ultimately, Mara finds herself falling in love with Sheftu and is finally willing to admit feelings towards him when her duplicity is unveiled, putting not only Mara, but her beloved Egypt, on the line

My thoughts:

Many a time I have made the mistake of telling my mom that we "have no books to read," and for the next ten minutes she will create a pile of books for me that we have that I haven't read yet. In this case, Mara, Daughter of the Nile made it into my mom's pile of "to read" books, so I picked it up and began to read.

Well, to start with, I absolutely love Mara. She's so independent and I love that she is always ready with a clever remark. I also like that she is not willing to accept her destiny as a slave - even when a fellow servant, Teta, discourages her from dreaming big.

This story is set in ancient Egypt - which is a time period I happen to l♥ve.
I can't really think of anything else to say about it, except that I loved it, so I'll go right to the....

Objectional Content:

Language: I'm embarrassed to say that while I know there was some, I don't remember any of it.

Romance/Sexual Content: Mara flirts with an officer so he will let her through the gates, and he wants to kiss her. *SPOILER ALERT* Mara and Sheftu kiss several times.

Violence: Mara is tortured. Nothing else I remember.

Drugs/Alcohol: None that I remember.

12 and up.
Highly Recommend.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cascade by: Lisa T. Bergren

Read my review of book one in The River of Time Series, Waterfall.

What if you not only fell back through time... but fell in love, too?

Cascade is the second tale in The River of Time Series. In this book, we continue the story of the Betarrini sisters, Gabi and Lia, and their escapades in fourteenth-century Italy. Except this time, they've got their mom with them.

Gabi's heart is continually drawn towards Marcello Forelli, but many things are keeping them apart. For example, she is from the twenty-first century, and he the fourteenth. Gabi can not leave her family, and she can not ask them to go back and live in the past. But Lia, Gabi's fifteen year-old sister, seems to have discovered feelings towards Luca, as well.

War is raging on in Italy, and all three of the Betarrini women are right in the middle of it. But there are also good things coming out of this. Gabi and Lia are feeling a connection with their mom - something they haven't had for a long time, courage, and the realization that good things often mean sacrifice.

After much pondering, the Betarrini women decide to travel in time to the moment just before their dad dies and save him. But is it really possible to go into the past and change your future? And will Gabi and Lia fulfill their heart's desires and marry the men they love?

My thoughts:

I quite enjoyed this book! I am curious, though, how the last book in the series is going to finish. Because it would be a little weird if Gabi and Lia stayed in the fourteenth-century and married Marcello and Luca when they're really two twenty-first century American teenagers.

One thing I definitely did not like about this book, though, is that despite the fact it carries the title, "Christian book," it did not really have any mention of God in it. Sure He is brought up once or twice, but it is not enough to satisfy me. Some people would probably say I'm just picky.

I love how Gabi is so independent, but Lia always kind of annoyed me. I know she is supposed to be sweet, but I don't find her to be so.

And, like I said in my Waterfall review, I absolutely l♥ve the cover art!

Objectional Content:

Language: None that I remember.

Romance/Sexual Content: Marcello and Gabi kiss several times. Marcello proposes to Gabi. Lia begins to fall for Luca.

Violence: Some sword fights, and some painful wounds.

Drugs/Alcohol: Nothing that I can recall, except for maybe some wine at a feast.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Elsie's Endless Wait by: Martha Finley

In Elsie's Endless Wait, you meet Elsie Dinsmore, a sweet, eight year-old girl who will one day inherit a vast fortune. To some, she may sound extremely fortunate, but to Elsie, this means nothing.

Not without the love of the father she has never known.

Long ago, her father placed her with his parents and siblings, and then left... disappearing from her life completely.

Until now.

When Elsie learns of her father's home-coming, her spirits rise and she is determined to be his perfect little girl. But her father is not going to make it easy for her. Every mistake is deserving of a spanking, every bold word is punished.

Elsie's schoolteacher, Miss Day, hates her and often mistreats her. Her aunts and uncles (most of them are younger than herself) despise her and are forever blaming things on her. Elsie's grandparents are no better.

Arthur, the worst of Elsie's uncles, especially dislikes poor Elsie and treats her cruelly. Clueless to this, Elsie's father believes the lies of his brothers and sisters and gives Elsie unfair punishment.

Elsie's heart is broken... her father does not love her! And she can take no refuge in her relatives, whom she has lived with all her life, because they all wish her gone.

The only person she can turn to is Jesus. At eight years-old, Elsie is an extremely mature Christian and realizes the privileges that God has given her. But can her faith help her endure her relative's taunts and teasings? And will she ever win her father's love?

Here's the book trailer, which I thought was very good, by the way.

My thoughts:

What a great book! It was simple and charming and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it!

I know a few people don't like this book, because they think Elsie is too easy to influence and gives in too much. But I think that she is sooo sweet! Of course, it did bug me a little, but she is just trying to live out what Jesus said to do, even if she does go a little overboard in one chapter.

Objectional Content:

Language: None.

Romance/Sexual Content: None.

Violence: None.

Drugs/Alcohol: None.
Eight and up
8/10 stars

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Princess Ben by: Catherine Gilbert Murdock

My gown suited me as well as I could ever hope, though I could not but envy the young ladies who would attract the honest compliments of the night. My bodice did not plunge as dramatically as some, and no man - no man I would ever want to meet, surely - could fit his hands around my waist. What I lacked in beauty I would simply have to earn with charm...

When Princess Ben's parents both meet tragic ends, she is sent to live with her aunt, the conniving Queen Sophia. She tries to put up with her aunt's haughty manner, and she tries to ignore her aunt's constant jibes about her etiquette, but one day it just gets to be too much. At the dinner table, Ben lets her feelings be known. The wrong way.

As a punishment, she is sent to live in in the castle's highest tower. Ben is miserable until she stumbles upon a mysterious, magical room.

And so begins her training, unknown to the rest of the world, in the arts of magic, giving Ben's once boring existence a little sparkle.

But it can't last. Ben is accused of being a witch and she quickly runs away. She is captured by the people who are believed to have killed both her parents and forced to work for them. Unknown to her captors, they have just imprisoned the princess.

And all this time, true love is waiting patiently for Princess Ben.

My thoughts:

I'm not quite sure what to say about this book.

To start with, there was a lot of magic in it, which I did not like.

When you hear the word magic, what do you picture? I picture a dusty room with a broom leaning against the wall, an hour glass, and a big thick book on a table. I also picture a man with a long white beard, blue pointy hat, and a blue dress covered in tiny yellow moons.

Some people might say there is good and bad magic. "Good" magic could mean something like Narnia, although some people might disagree with me on that. And "bad" magic could mean something like I just said: spells, pots of magic potion, wizardry and flying brooms.
And that is what Princess Ben is full of. Wizard-type magic. Maybe you don't have a problem with that sort of magic, maybe you think that since it's just a book that it's all a-okay. It's not real life, who cares..... right? Wrong!

Personally, I don't approve of that sort of magic, and I most likely would not have read this book if I had known that magic was in there.

When I discovered it, I wondered what I should do. Should I stop reading, or keep going? I was already half way through the story, and I wanted to find out what happened. But then I thought maybe I should stop anyway. In the end I continued, even though I'm still not sure whether that was the right thing to do or not.

You probably won't be affected by reading that sort of thing 'just once,' but that 'just once' can turn into 'just ten times.'

The writing is good, though. I enjoyed the descriptions and comparisons, and the story line was quite interesting.

So, in conclusion, if you do decide to read this book, just be careful and think about what your reading as you read. No one's going to blame you if the magic is just too much for you and you stop half way through.

Objectional Content:

Language: D*m*.

Romance/Sexual Content: Queen Sophia decides that Princess Ben must marry, and goes about finding a proper husband for her.
When Queen Sophia believes Ben to be under an enchantment, she says that whichever man's kiss awakens her, he may be the one to marry her.
There is one kiss between Ben and the man she decides to marry.
A prince, to spite Ben, dances with a lady whose "chest was only contained by goodwill."

Violence: I won't exactly call this violence, but Ben is accused of being a witch. She escapes quickly after this accusation can be put to the test, however.
There is also a fight near the end, Ben and a prince against a dragon.
A battle.
Nothing else that I remember.

Drugs/Alcohol: I'm pretty sure someone gets drunk at a feast, and there is hinting at the queen and a friend of hers getting a bit tipsy at dinner.

I suppose there really isn't such a thing as "good" magic, but if you've just got to read about magic, I'd stick to the Narnia series.

Not quite sure what to rate this book. It was good, but I just don't feel right about all that magic.
Ages: thirteen and up

Friday, June 24, 2011

Author Interview with Mattie Richardson

Today I have the pleasure of introducing Mattie Richardson, author of Appaloosy and Dusty's Trail. I'm sure a couple of you bloggers out there will know Mattie Richardson from her blog, Appaloosy Dreams. And if you don't know her, be sure to click on the link and check out her blog! She's really cool!

1. When did you first start writing?

I'd have to say I first started writing when I was about 8 years old. I went to public school at that time, and while the other kids were finishing their assignments I would write tablets full of stories, most of them involved animals of some sort.

2. Is life any different now that you're an author?

Yes life is different. It is so cool to be able to say, "I'm an author" to people and watch their response. I do get tired of explaining the details over and over, though. One thing that is definetely different now too: I have no time! Who has time to be bored in this world? Every minute when I'm not doing something else I'm thinking that I should be writing.

3. How long did it take you to write, edit, and publish your first book? How long did the first draft take?

The first book definetely was a long process. It took me the entire summer of my 13th year to write Appaloosy. Editing took about three months, the saving up money for the first round of publishing is what took the longest. I worked about a year to earn enough to publish it, the publishing process itself took about a month and a half.

4. Do you have any hobbies/things that you really enjoy doing?

I love to ride horse! Wanting a horse is what inspired me to write Appaloosy. Now that I actually have a horse reality has hit me a bit. =) I also like to write, play the fiddle and the electric guitar, work on 4-H projects, and hang out with friends.

5. What/who most inspired your writing?

My want for a horse really inspired the writing of Appaloosy. When I was 13, I didn't have a horse yet and dreamed about owning a beautiful Appaloosa. Add a little history, a character modeled after myself, and a little bit of special aspects to a normal horse, and there you have Appaloosy.

6. Are you working on any books right now? How many books do you have out?

Currently I have two books out, Appaloosy and Dusty's Trail. Both are historical fiction told from a horse's point of view. I am working on my third horse book, Golden Sunrise, and a longer teen novel I have entitled "Blackberry Blossom".

7. Did you always want to be an author? What did you want to be when you were little?

I don't think that I always wanted to be an author. I kind of wanted to be a veternarian or horse trainer when I was little. I always have written stories, but I didn't think about it until I heard a few stories about teen authors and thought, "Hey, I could do that!"

8. Do you have a favourite writing quote?

I love all kinds of writing quotes! Everytime I read one, I can relate to it so much usually I hurry and put it on facebook as my status, only to find out that not everyone thinks like a writer. :) Here's one of my favorites:

What no wife of a writer can ever understand is that a writer is working when he's staring out the window. ~Burton Rascoe
Change "wife" to "parents", "friends" or "coworkers" and this quote is amazing to me!

9. What was your first reaction when you found out your first book was going to be published?
It was a long time coming for me, but you wouldn't belive how excited I was to hold the first copy of Appaloosy in my hands. I had put so much time, effort and inspiration into writing my first novel, and here it was, a real book!

10. Who is your greatest support in your writing?
I'd like to say my parents, but because they are so busy in their lives they don't have a lot of time to support my writing so they usually leave me on my own in writing, publishing, earning money to publish, marketing, etc. I think the greatest support would be my blogger friends! I do have to say that my uncles on my mother's side have been very helpful too, helping with editing, marketing and stuff like that.

11. Do you have a favourite book? Author?
I love the book Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock, and I like Louis L'amour books too. But I'm not sure on my favortie author yet. I guess I haven't read enough books out there to decide yet!

12. What's your best tip for beginning writers?
Keep plowing along, and don't have too high of expectations. Being a writer is hard work and there really isn't a lot of glory in it unless you hit the bestseller list (very unprobable). It takes a lot more time and work than you would think to write a  book so don't start it thinking that it will be easy. It never is.

13. What's the best part of being an author?
I think the best part of being an author is sharing your work with others. It is so scary having your writing out there for the whole world to read, but also it is very thrilling, especially when people like it. Of course though, I think my favorite part was always being locked in my room typing away, not having to listen to any voices except for the characters that are in my head.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Waterfall by: Lisa T. Bergren

What do you do when your knight in shining armor lives, literally, in another world?

The Betarrini sisters decide to explore an ancient tomb during their visit to Italy with their archaeologist mother. They are bored out of their minds, so it takes Lia very little convincing from her sister Gabi to check out the tomb, not matter how dark and uninviting it may look.

While in the tomb, Gabi places her hand in a hand print, and finds herself transported to fourteenth-century Italy. And worse still, she arrives in the middle of a fierce battle between knights of two opposing forces. All she wants to do is get out of there, but one side - the good side, she hopes - takes her with them to their castle.

It doesn't take long for Gabi, who isn't afraid to get in on the action, to make a name for herself. She believes her sister was transported with her, yet she cannot find her. The search begins. The knight who rescued her from the fight, Marcello Forelli, will do everything in his power to help her find Lia, her sister. Maybe too much? Marcello, after all, is already betrothed, to Lady Rossi, a flirty girl who doesn't want Gabi to get in the way.

Even though they are betrothed, there is no true love between Marcello and Lady Rossi. On the other hand, could there be some between Marcello and Gabi? But how could that ever come to be? Gabi is from the twenty-first century, while Marcello is from the fourteenth. Why does Gabi always seem to fall for the guy she can't have?

At a ball, her partner tells her he knows where her sister is, and he only requires one thing. Something she would be a traitor to give.

My thoughts:

Argh! I hate cliff-hanger endings! This book is so cool, I just have to know what comes next! I want to go get the next book, Cascading, right now! Oh well, maybe tomorrow.

I love the cover!!! Though I'm still wondering what the book has to do with waterfalls.

I fell in love with Gabi. She's so strong and smart, and I love the way she always wants to get in on the action, and she wants to fight her own fights, though all the other girls think it's scandalous.

Objectional Content:

Language: A few uses of the word "heck" and one other word that I can not remember.

Romance/Sexual Content: Marcello and Gabi kiss a few times. Luca falls in love with Gabi's sister, but it is rarely mentioned.

Violence: Some sword fighting, and some nasty wounds.

Drugs/alcohol: They drank some wine at the feast

Here is the book trailer:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Author Interview with Dandi Daley Mackall

Author Dandi Daley Mackall has agreed to do an interview with me! She is the author of around 450 books, which is way too many for me to mention here. :)

Her webite is HERE.

1. When did you first start writing?

I think I was “writing” even before I could hold a pen. I made up characters and stories in my head. I’ve always written—which is a good thing because I’d hate to have to keep all those characters stuffed inside my head. When I was in high school, I wrote letters to the editor and got them published in newspapers and magazines. In college, I wrote articles for national magazines. Then I turned to books, first to grown-up books, then to children’s books and teen novels. Now I get to write for all ages.

2. Is life any different now that you're an author?

Hmm…It’s been a long time since I wasn’t an author. But I’m pretty sure that, even if nobody ever published my books, I’d still write them. That’s my calling, and I love it…most of the time.

3. How long did it take you to write, edit, and publish your first book? How long did the first draft take?

I took a year to write my first book—probably half on the writing, and half on editing it and rewriting.

4. Do you have any hobbies/things that you really enjoy doing?

I do! I love to ride and hang out with our horses, play with our dogs. I walk around our lake (5 miles) about 5 times a week, play tennis when I can. In the past, I’ve painted and done all kinds of craft, though I don’t seem to have time lately.

5. What/who most inspired your writing?

Inspiration is everywhere, but I do believe God is behind it. I think if we see what’s in front of us and around us, it’s not that hard to be inspired.

6. Are you working on any books right now? How many books do you have out?

Right now I’m working on a new horse series, BACKYARD HORSES. I’m also finishing a young adult novel, THE SILENCE OF MURDER, a middle-grade novel, DREAMS OF A DANCING HORSE, two picture books, LISTEN TO THE SILENT NIGHT and THERE’S A BABY IN THERE! I’ve written some I Can Read chapter books. And I’m “playing around” with another mystery, a new novel set in the sixties, an adult novel set in WWII, and ….

I’ve had about 450 books published. I know—it’s crazy! I feel very blessed.

7. Did you always want to be an author? What did you want to be when you were little?

I have always wanted to be an author, although I didn’t think I could make a living at it. So I’ve been a college teacher, too. I did toy about being a horse trainer at one point.

8. Do you have a favourite writing quote?

Here are a couple: Proverbs 18:20 20 Wise words satisfy like a good meal;
the right words bring satisfaction.

I John 1.4 joy We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy.

9. What was your first reaction when you found out your first book was going to be published?

I called everyone I knew and told them I was an author! The funny thing is that I didn’t know enough to get everything in writing, and they never sent me a contract. Months later when I asked when the book would be out, I was informed that my editor had died of a heart attack, and the publisher wouldn’t be following through on the promise. Can you imagine? But I thought I was an author, so I’d gone on to write another book, which I’d sold as a proposal. And I was well into my third book. Later, that first book did get published and was much better than it would have been. The title was: When the Answer Is No.

10. Who is your greatest support in your writing?

My husband is my greatest supporter and cheerleader, and he’s also my first reader and editor. He writes adult nonfiction, and we’ve both edited professionally. So we’re lucky to have our own in-house editors.

11. Do you have a favourite book? Author?

I still love TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee. If you haven’t read it, you must.

12. What's your best tip for beginning writers?

Write your heart out. Don’t worry about what happens after that.

13. What's the best part of being an author?

For me, it’s picturing a reader at the other end of the process, reading my book and seeing something in there that connects, that will make a difference. And then best of all, it’s getting a letter or email from that reader.

14. Do you usually start your stories on the computer or on paper?

Although I usually do start stories on the computer, I’ve written entire books by hand when I had to—three books in the hospital, in fact. And I always keep a notebook on me just in case.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Golden Road by: L. M. Montgomery

In this book, you will join a lively group of children who share the triumphs and falls of growing up together on Prince Edward Island. You can always be sure their leader, Sara Stanley, or the "Story Girl," is always cooking up beautiful enchanting stories and planning their next adventure. In her group of willing accomplices are Cecily, Felicity, Dan, Felix, and Beverley King. Also in the group are homely Sara Ray and gentlemanly Peter Craig.

Beverley has a plan for the cold, boring winter ahead. He thinks they should start a magazine! Each person gets a section in it. Sometimes, though, they go a little bit overboard with it and end up printing things about each other that aren't true. Ah well, such is the way of a reporter.

But one things is for sure, they are never bored. One time they even get to spend the night with the local witch, an experience they will not soon forget. Or the time when Felicity put tooth powder instead of baking powder into a recipe for potatoes when an important person was visiting.

And there's always the time when someone they thought was a horrible old relative came to visit, and it turned out to be the governor's wife! They said all sorts of horrible things, thinking their deaf relative could not hear them, when she was hearing...and enjoying... their every word.

Peter is always trying to get the attentions of prim, proper Felicity. Sara Ray is always worried about getting in trouble with her overly-protective Mother. Sara Stanley finds a hidden romance in the town they live in, and Peter's father turns up out of nowhere!

But if things are getting slow, Sara Stanley is always ready with a plan or a story. Sometimes it can take months for her to get the story just right, but there's always one there.

Unfortunately, nothing can ever stay the same. The friends are growing up and everything is changing. New people are entering their lives and they are experiencing new things...fame...romance...sorrow...adulthood. Their lives can never be the same.

My thoughts:

I love all of L. M. Montgomery's books, especially this one and the Anne Of Green Gables book series. These books are true classics! Some people might say that in a review, I should find all the bad things in the book, but there are none in this book - at least, that's what I think.

Objectional content:

Language: None that I remember.

Romance/Sexual Content: Peter tries to get Felicity's attention all the time, but that's it.

Violence: Unless you call spending a night in the local witch's house "violent," then no. No violence. At least, that I remember. I've learned not to rely on my own memory when it comes to these sorts of things.

Drugs/alcohol: None that I remember.

This book is for all ages, though I think ten or eleven and up would appreciate this book more than, say, a nine-year-old would. :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Always Watching by: Brandilyn and Amberly Collins

The daughter of a rock star has it all - until murder crashes her world.

Sixteen-year-old Shaley O'Connor has the life that many people could only dream of. Her Mom, Rayne, is the lead singer in a band. Shaley's excessive life is full of limos, hotels, and behind-the-stage secrets. Besides that, Shaley is beautiful and famous. But then something happens. Shaley finds her friend, Tom Hutchens's, body backstage... he was shot in the eye.

From then on Shaley isn't even allowed out of her hotel room without a personal bodyguard. But bodyguards can't do it all. They can't keep her safe from the notes and white roses that keep appearing in mysterious places. They can't quiet her fears that Tom's death was just the beginning. They can't keep the paparazzi from stalking her non-stop all day. One of the paparazzi even goes to serious measures to get a picture of Shaley, including setting off a fire alarm, harassing her, and following her wherever she goes. The paparazzi don't care about Tom's death, they only want a "good story" to send into a magazine, where Shaley's life, now a living nightmare, would be displayed for the world to see.

But Shaley's mother refuses to believe that someone in the band could be responsible for this. After all, she knows them all too well for them to do something like that... right?

Somebody keeps sending Shaley white roses.White roses have a special symbolism to Shaley and her mother. White roses were what Shaley's Dad gave her Mom when he was courting her, no one is supposed to know that, though. But Shaley doesn't know where her Dad is, or even who he is. Where is God in a time like this?

Shaley learns that the person who was murdered, Tom, was secretly in love with her. This only raises more questions. Is the killer out to get her? Shaley's friend, Brittany, senses that something evil is going to happen. Life may seem pretty bad, but it's about to get worse.

My thoughts:

I liked this book!

One thing I would like to point out, though, is that this is a Christian book, but God is only mentioned twice. Once on the back-cover, and once inside the book. Actually, I didn't even realize it was a Christian book until my sister told me. To me, I think that a Christian author should make God shine through in their books so that it's clear that he's there.

I really liked the ending. It was such a surprise! Though I was kind of hoping it would be someone else who did it. But isn't that what everybody does? Makes you like the bad guy?

I thought the bad guy's reason for killing the two men was kind of silly, but it's never not silly to murder someone.

Language: Though they never specify the words, they will sometimes say things like 'Mom uttered a curse,' stuff like that.


Romance/Sexual Content: As I mentioned above, Tom (the person who was murdered) was secretly in love with Shaley. She found out after his death, because a detective found some paper with the words "I love Shaley" written on it, and he has pictures of him with her plastered all over the wall. I don't want to get into specifics, because that could spoil the book, but the reason that Tom (and another man) were killed, was because the killer was in love with Shaley.

Violence: Of course, having the two men die, is violence. Also the fact that the two men were shot in the eye doesn't make it any more pleasant. After that it's just smaller things, like the paparazzi (which Shaley is terrified of) crowding in so close that Shaley can't breath and having the possibility of them trampling her... things like that.

Drugs/alcohol: None that I remember, but there might be some, I'm not sure.

8/10 stars

13 and up (one review I read said sixteen and up. But I didn't want to rate it that high, since I don't think it needs it. Besides, I'm not even thirteen yet, so I guess, according to my own review, I shouldn't be reading it :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Author Interview with Heather Burch

Heather Burch has agreed to do an interview with me! Book one of her HALFINGS series will be available February, 2012. Visit her website HERE.

And here's her bio:
Heather Burch grew up weaving stories and rewriting movies when she didn’t like the endings. She loves a good romance if it’s set in the midst of danger with the fate of the world on the line and where characters narrowly escape with their lives. She is an award winning author and conference speaker. Book one in her series, Halflings, will debut in February of 2012 from Zondervan publishing. You can find more information about her at

Here's a little taste of her book:
Seventeen-year-old Nikki must entrust her life to three half human, half angel young men; the Halflings are sworn to protect her at all costs, but when two fall for Nikki, it puts more than their lives in danger; their very eternal souls hang in the balance.

1. When did you first begin writing?

I’ve always written. My first story, I was six or seven. It was about a trip to the beach. My mom sent it to our local newspaper office in Branson, Missouri—my hometown. The paper published the story. I guess that could be considered my first writing credit. *smile*
2. Do you enjoy writing poetry at all?
I wrote a lot of poetry during junior high and high school. It was a great way to express myself. Lots of frustration and confusion during those times, so poetry became a terrific outlet. I was able to explore territory on the written page that is difficult to sort through.
3. What was your first reaction when you found out that your HALFLING series was going to be published?
Shock, excitement, relief all rolled into one. I really believed in the Halflings. I also knew it would be a tough sell because it breaks a ton of unwritten rules. But I believed in the characters. I had to write about Nikki, Mace, Raven, Vine, and all the other Halflings. Their story took me captive. Which is why selling the series was a relief. I’d like to do ten more Halfling books. And because of the uniqueness of the characters, that’s totally plausible. The storyline has endless possibilities. If people love them the way I hope they love them, I’ll get to write several more.

4. Do you have any hobbies/things that you really enjoy doing?
We live near the beach now, and I love anything having to do with the ocean. I’m a certified scuba diver, but I don’t go as often as I’d like. I love to travel! I’m constantly looking for a conference to speak at or somewhere to go. Cruises are a favorite too. In fact, any boat will do. I love being on the water.

5. Where did you get the idea for the HALFLING series?
Years ago, I read a scripture that really stuck in my head. It suggested there was a time when male angels roamed the earth and actually took human wives. I’d always wanted to explore that scenario in a contemporary setting. But that was just step one of the idea.
I think teenagers are awesome. I wanted to write a story where the fate of the world rests in the hands of teenagers. I wanted a supernatural element to the story as well. One part X-men, one part angel fiction. And I wanted it to be “edge of your seat” suspenseful. All those thoughts were rolling around in my head. So, I started playing the “What if” game. What if the offspring of that human/angel union still roamed the earth? What if once they “tap into” their angelic ability, they stay teenagers? What if the entire world rests in the hands of these super human beings?
Then I got a picture of the first scene where Nikki is being chased through the woods by hell-hounds.
Once I wrote that, the story just kept coming! Literally, it consumed my thoughts for months. And with each passing day, the Halflings became more and more real.

6. Are you working on any books right now (aside from the Halfling book)?
Zondervan purchased the first three books in the Halfling Series, so those will keep me busy for a while. If the books do well, the door is open for many more—which I LOVE! The Halflings are quirky and fun to write, so I’d be happy to camp right here for a good long time!

7. What's your absolute favourite book to read? How about your favourite author?
That’s such a tough question for me because different things hit me at different times. Right now, I’m loving the Hunger Games. It’s so well written and beautifully crafted. Another recent favorite is Maria Snyder’s Inside Out.
8. What was your greatest inspiration to write? Did you ever want to be something else?
My mom was a huge inspiration because she always wrote beautiful poetry and encouraged me to write. Then, I married into a family of published authors. Book authors! I was gloriously ruined. But, I've done lots of other things. I worked in the spa industry for ten years. And I've always worked with teens in some fashion.

9. What genre is your favourite to write in?
Young adult. No question.

10. Do you have a favourite writing quote?
Yes. It comes from my first writer’s conference after the sale of the Halflings. Roxanne St. Clair was the key note speaker. She was talking about inspiration and writing great books. Her quote? Write Your Butt Off Every Day!
I will always remember that conference because Roxanne St. Clair was making her way around the room chatting with people and introducing herself before the conference began and when she asked my name, I told her and she said, “I know who you are!” Wow. It stunned me. I didn’t even know what to say, and at that point playing it cool was out of the question what with the big cheesy grin on my face and all!

11. What's the best part of being an author?
There are so many things I love about it, I don’t know where to begin. I really enjoy connecting with people. And I love helping people discover their own potential as a writer. I love words. People who read lots of books share my passion for words. It connects us.

12. What stage are you on in the HALFLING series (still editing, ready for printing, etc.)?
Halflings, book one in the series will release in February, 2012. I’m doing some final edits on book one right now. I am working on book two and will send it to my editor in the next couple of months, then on to revisions for book three. I’ve already done quite a bit of work on books four and five, but they will need a lot of attention before they’re ready. Book two will release about six months after book one, book three, the same.
13. Is life any different now that you're an author?

In some ways. I don’t feel any different, but sometimes now I get treated differently. Suddenly, people listen. I try not to give advice on writing unless I feel pretty sure about what I’m talking about. It used to frustrate me when I would give someone a solid piece of advice—you know, the kind that could turn an okay book into an awesome book—and I could almost see the words floating into one ear, passing behind their glazed eyes, and right out the other side. Glazed eyes. Maybe I’m just that boring. Hee hee. Anyway, I love, love, love to see people succeed! Writing is a tough business and anything I can do to help someone makes me feel great. So, I guess that’s how life feels different. People tend to listen.

14. How has your faith influenced your writing?

That's a tough question to answer because I don't think there's any area of life that our faith doesn't influence. It is everything to me, so it probably comes through in the writing. But at the same time, I'm vastly aware that my story is fiction. I'm not writing to "convince" people of anything. I'm not trying to make them see the light because as an author of fiction, I don't believe that can be your main goal. My books are deeply rooted and grounded in Biblical themes like sacrifice, loyalty, and being willing to lay down ones life. But as an author of fiction, it's my job to tell an amazing story and if it sparks people's questions about who God is, then that's a huge bonus. When the weight of responsibility gets overwhelming, God quickly reminds me He called me to write fiction. Not nonfiction. If not for Him, I would never have launched into this series of books.
Halflings by Heather Burch will release in February, 2012 from Zondervan Publishing.