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.