Posts By: Jana

Caraval by Stephanie Garber | 2017 Debut Book Review

September 20, 2017 Book Review, Young Adult 0 ★★★★★

Caraval by Stephanie Garber | 2017 Debut Book ReviewCaraval by Stephanie Garber
Published by Flatiron Books on January 31, 2017
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 407
Format: ARC
Source: From the Publisher
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5 Stars
Remember, it’s only a game…

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.

Oh my goodness… you guys, this was SO GOOD and so magical and amazing. I read it 9 months ago and I still can’t stop thinking about it. I also have not been able to figure out how to review it because I LOVED IT SO MUCH that I have no idea what to say. I can’t tell you everything I loved because then I’d just be typing out the book for you. There was nothing I didn’t love to pieces, so writing a review is a truly overwhelming task that I’ve been scared to even begin. lol. I was truly and utterly captivated by and immersed in this story from the first page, and even though it’s over it has not yet let go of me. Part of me is still in that story, unable to let go of it and eagerly anticipating the next book.

Caraval is a magical, whimsical, quirky, convoluted, mysterious, romantic, captivating ball of beautiful words and imagination. The story is dripping with danger and unknowing, with mischievous and  ominous characters. Stephanie’s writing is on point, and her imagination and storytelling ability are on FIRE. I wonder if she rents out rooms in her mind…? The world of Caraval is bigger than our world, and the game has so many layers and mysteries that it’s basically ingenious.

I was fully expecting and intending to write a detailed, organized, and coherent review. But… I don’t want to say anything more than this because it’s honestly better if you have no idea what to expect. I went in very skeptical (hello hype, and the book had not even been published yet!) and not quite sure what to expect. Best decision ever. The less you know about Caraval, the more mysterious and exciting it will feel to you. So don’t read any reviews. Just don’t do it. My review is vague enough that you’re pretty much just going to leave my blog knowing Caraval is a book you’ve got to read. If I’ve convinced you of this, I’ve done my job! If not, write to me and I’ll talk your ear off until you can see there’s no other option.


Tobie Easton Guest Post | Submerge Blog Tour

September 19, 2017 Blog Tour, Giveaway, Guest Post 2

Tobie Easton Guest Post | Submerge Blog Tour

Welcome to my stop along the blog tour for Tobie Easton’s Submerge, hosted by Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours! As part of my month-long event that I’m co-hosting with Bonnie, Magic, Myth, and Mischief, I’ve asked Tobie a very important question.


If you were a mermaid, what kind would you be? Tail and hair color? Sparkles or no sparkles? Any special talents or abilities?

Sparkles! Definitely sparkles. Actually, a fun fact about the book covers for the series is that the addition of sparkles was one of the only parts of the cover design that was my idea; the original cover of Emerge that my publisher sent me (which I LOVED) was nearly identical to the finished version except that there were no sparkles. I asked if we could do something to the title to make it more magical and suggested sparkles or starbursts of some kind. The cover designer, who is extremely talented, played around with different versions of the idea and the whole team fell for the one you see now. Then, of course, we continued that theme on the Submerge cover. I’m so happy because I think it really matches the fantasy feel of the book and hints at the mermaid magic within.

In addition to sparkles, I’d wear a traditional Mer siluess, which translates to chest-covering in Mermese and refers to the garment Mermaids wear on their torsos when the bottom half of the body is in tail form. Siluesses are cut kind of like fancy crop tops. They’re made of luxurious fabrics and often embellished with seashells and precious stones. I’d definitely have some seashell and pearl hair accessories (since my tears would turn into pearls, they’d be easy to come by!).

As for the color of my tail, that’s a hard one. When I first started writing Book 1 of the series, I asked a bunch of my friends and early readers what color tail they’d have, and everyone had a different answer! I incorporated so many different tail colors into the series so that everyone can picture themselves as Mer. I love when readers message me and tell me what their tail color would be! I originally thought mine might be gold like Lia’s or a deep green like her eldest sister Em’s, but then I did a photo shoot with Project Mermaids to help raise awareness for ocean conservation, and I fell in love with the light turquoise tail we chose on the set. Since then, I can’t really picture my Mermaid alter-ego any other way ;) And as you might have guessed from my author photo, I do wear a lot of turquoise, so it really fits. The makeup artist at the shoot even added sparkles to my hair and face (to match the cover, of course!).

Here are some behind-the-scenes pics and the behind-the-scenes video of the shoot:

And the final image in all its magical, Photoshopped glory from the photographer:

 

I still can’t believe I got to be transformed into a mermaid for a day! WAS THIS EVEN REAL LIFE? Six-year-old Tobie is still squealing. At home afterwards, I sat around for the rest of the day in my pajamas with all the makeup still on because I couldn’t bear to take it off!

Anyway, as for hair color and special abilities, I will give you a hint at a detail in Submerge and say that those might actually be related. I don’t want to give spoilers, so I’ll leave it at that. Submerge will definitely dive deeper into the secret workings of Mer magic. I’m so excited for you to read it when it comes out this week and to learn more about the Mer world!

I’d LOVE to hear about what kind of mermaid you’d be, so let me know in the comments or on social (@TobieEaston)!

xo Tobie


Submerge by Tobie Easton
Series: Mer Chronicles #2
Published by Month9Books on September 12, 2017
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Now that Lia and Clay’s love has broken the Little Mermaid’s curse, everything has changed. Will Lia’s family remain on land, leading the only life she and her sisters have ever known, or will they move below the waves, to the sparkling new capital city? Lia is adamant about staying on land with Clay for her senior year. But at Melusine and her father’s trial, new revelations threaten what Lia holds most dear.

The verdict will shake Lia’s whole world, calling into question her future with Clay, her feelings for Caspian, and the fate of all Merkind. As she wonders who to trust, Lia sets out on a treacherous path that will lead her away from her sheltered Malibu home to a remote and mysterious school for Mermaids—Mermaids who may hold the secret to ancient magic Lia can use to either get back all she’s lost or to embark on a thrilling and dangerous journey.


About Tobie Easton

Tobie Easton was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, where she’s grown from a little girl who dreamed about magic to a twenty-something who writes about it. A summa cum laude graduate of the University of Southern California, Tobie hosts book clubs for tweens and teens. She and her very kissable husband enjoy traveling the globe and fostering packs of rescue puppies. Learn more about Tobie and her upcoming books on www.TobieEaston.com.

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Interview with Author Kaitlin Bevis

September 18, 2017 Author Interview 0

Magic, Myth, & Mischief, hosted by me and Bonnie, is a month-long event that celebrates fairy tales and mythological retellings, as well as retellings of favorite classic novels and books featuring mythical beasts such as mermaids, dragons, and fae! Find the schedule of events and other information here.

Today I’m welcoming Kaitlin Bevis, author of the Daughters of Zeus series, to the blog to participate in our fun interview series! I reviewed the first book in this series last week!


Interview with Kaitlin Bevis

What makes your book magical, mythical, or mischievous?
My books feature the Greek Gods living in the modern day.

What elements of the Greek myth of Persephone did you use when incorporating the tale into your own novel?
Every single element I could find. Mythically speaking, Persephone is only involved in a handful of myths, so I was really able to include a lot of fantastic detail. Aphrodite on the other hand, was involved in so many myths, that I really had to pick and choose.

That’s not to say I didn’t make changes. For example, in my version, Hades is a good guy who offers Persephone shelter in the Underworld. His typical role is played by Boreas, yet another serial rapist in Greek Mythology.

Which mythical character do you see yourself in the most, or do you relate to most and why?

Melissa. Melissa is a nymph and one of Persephone’s priestesses and her best friend. But despite being a nymph, she’s exceedingly average. I’ve always figured if I was in a book, I’d probably end up being a thoroughly un-magical background character.

If you could cross any two fairy tales or myths together, which would you choose?
I like to think of my books as Once Upon a Time reimagined for Greek mythology. Events from the stories we all know happened in the past, but not in the way people think, and some events from the stories we all know are still unfolding. The stories cross over in unusual ways. Half the fun is putting together the timeline and seeing the way all the mythical figures fit together.

Who are your favorite villains of lore?
Hades. My version of him anyway :) Otherwise, I’m a big fan of Maleficent.

Who do you feel are the most romantic couples from fairy tales and/or mythology?
Ares and Aphrodite and Persephone and Hades.

What are some of your favorite novels influenced by fairy tales/mythology? (Besides, of course, your own!)
I love the Cinder series. Oh, and Ella Enchanted is one of my all time favorite childhood books. It’s also one of the few I appreciated more as an adult.

If you could be any mythical creature, which one would you be and why?
A goddess. An immortal, super beautiful, powerful goddess. But preferably one without any of the incest issues.

If you could live in any fairytale or mythical world, which one would you choose to live in and why?
I’m actually very happy in our world. But when I was little, I wanted nothing more than to be a Sailor Scout.

What lesson do you want your readers to learn from your retelling?
Romance is nice. Really nice. But friendships are incredibly important.

What magical power do you wish you had?
I’d take any of them :) Particularly immortal life and youth. But short of epic powers, I’d like to always have exact change (in the appropriate currency) for any purchase I want to make.


Persephone by Kaitlin Bevis
Series: Daughters of Zeus #1
Published by Musa Publishing on July 6, 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Mythology, Retelling
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One day Persephone is an ordinary high school junior working at her mom’s flower shop in Athens, Georgia. The next she’s fighting off Boreas, the brutal god of Winter, and learning that she’s a bonafide goddess—a rare daughter of the now-dead Zeus. Her goddess mom whisks her off to the Underworld to hide until Spring.

There she finds herself under the protection of handsome Hades, the god of the dead, and she’s automatically married to him. It’s the only way he can keep her safe. Older, wiser, and far more powerful than she, Hades isn’t interested in becoming her lover, at least not anytime soon. But every time he rescues her from another of Zeus’s schemes, they fall in love a little more. Will Hades ever admit his feelings for her?

Can she escape the grasp of her powerful dad’s minions? The Underworld is a very cool place, but is it worth giving up her life in the realm of the living? Her goddess powers are developing some serious, kick-butt potential. She’s going to fight back.


About Kaitlin Bevis

I spent my childhood curled up with a book, and a pen. If the ending didn’t agree with me, I rewrote it. Now, I write my own endings, middles, and beginnings for the Daughters of Zeus series, including the best selling novel, Persephone.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and I spent high school and college learning everything I could so that one day I could achieve that goal. I graduated college with my BFA and Masters in English with a EDs in School Library Media.

For up to the minute information on my future releases subscribe to my facebook or twitterpage!

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The Gift of the Crocodile: A Cinderella Story by Judy Sierra | Children’s Book Review

September 18, 2017 Children's Book Review 0 ★★★★★

The Gift of the Crocodile: A Cinderella Story by Judy Sierra | Children’s Book ReviewThe Gift of the Crocodile: A Cinderella Story by Judy Sierra
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on November 1, 2000
Pages: 40
Format: Hardcover
Amazon Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
In the Spice Islands, where clove and nutmeg trees grow,
a girl named Damura lived long ago.


Damura is a beautiful girl, as kind and lovely as the little green parrot that perches on the nutmeg tree. But Damura's stepmother and stepsister mistreat her. They force her to rise before dawn, carry out all the chores, and sleep on the floor. One day, while down by the river, Damura calls out to the creatures of the wild for help. Rising from the waters, an ancient crocodile answers the call. This unusual fairy godmother, aptly named Grandmother Crocodile, outfits Damura in a sarong of gold, with slippers to match, and sends her to the palace to dance for the prince. Once he sees her, the prince knows that she will be his bride.

But the fairy tale isn't quite over. Damura's wicked stepmother and stepsister are so jealous that they push Damura into the river, where she is swallowed by a crocodile. Too bad they didn't know about Grandmother Crocodile....

The Gift of the Crocodile, a tale from the Spice Islands in Indonesia, offers a colorful and dramatic twist on the universally adored Cinderella story.

*spoilers, because I’m basically telling you the entire story because I love it so much!*

This version of Cinderella takes place in the Spice Islands in Indonesia. Cinderella’s name is Damura in this tale, the fairy godmother is actually an ancient crocodile named Grandmother Crocodile, and Damura talks to her animal friends like the little green parrot who sits on the branches of the nutmeg trees. In this tale, a widow gives Damura a doll with the stipulation that she talk her father into marrying the widow. She is successful. Her life becomes miserable, though, as she begins to realize she traded her happiness for a doll. She becomes a servant and is very badly mistreated. One day when she is washing her family’s clothes in the river she loses her sarong and calls upon the wild animals to help her. Grandmother Crocodile surfaces and agrees to get her the lost sarong if she agrees to watch her baby crocodile.

Grandmother Crocodile comes back with an even more beautiful sarong because Damura deserves that one and not the old, ragged one. She returns home with her new sarong, but her stepmother takes it away and demands to know how she got it. The stepsister decides to try and get her own and goes down to the river to summon Grandmother. She is rude and mistreats the baby crocodile while Grandmother goes to find her sarong. The crocodile returns with a sarong filled with leeches, which sends the stepsister running home in tears.

When the prince invites all the young women to dance for him, Damura is forbidden to go. But… with the help of Grandmother Crocodile, she goes clothed in a beautiful gold sarong and riding in a horse and carriage. She was to return these things to Grandmother before she went home. She danced beautifully, but then had to rush out when the rooster crowed. The prince tries to follow her, but is left only with one of her slippers. A messenger comes to try the slipper on the young ladies, and it flew right onto Damura’s foot. Even though she is shabby and poor, the prince selects her to be his bride. The next day her stepmother and stepsister, both very jealous, offer to reconcile with Damura over a boat ride on the river. They are not sincere, though, and push her overboard in to the mouth of a crocodile. They run back to the palace and shout that Damura has been eaten, in the hopes that the prince would marry the stepsister. The prince runs to the river to summon Grandmother Crocodile. He tells her what happened, and she scolds her crocodiles, insisting that the guilty party spit Damura out. Grandmother licks Damura’s face and brings her back to life. She tells all the other crocodiles to never touch Damura, the prince, or their children, but instructs them to eat the stepmother or stepsister if they ever see them. The two flee into the forest, never to be seen again. Damura and her husband lived happily ever after.

 

The Indonesian style illustrations are very pretty, and there is an author’s note about the origins of this tale at the back of the book, as well as the history of the island it takes place on. This adds credibility to the story, and makes it of high quality. I love this blend of Cinderella and a traditional Indonesian folk tale. It’s a very unique, entertaining, and culturally educational story that would make a wonderful addition to anyone’s fairytale library.


The Debut Dish: Kes Trester, Janelle Milanes, Maggie Ann Martin, Tiffany Pitcock, Carl Hackman, & Candace Ganger (+ Giveaways)

September 17, 2017 Author Interview, Debut Author Challenge, Debut Dish, Giveaway 3

The Debut Dish, a bi-monthly Debut Author Challenge feature, is where you go for the scoop on some pretty awesome debut authors and their new books! Hopefully these interviews will inspire you to add many, many more books to your to-read list. Because, really, who doesn’t need more books in their lives?

This issue of The Debut Dish features Kes Trester (A Dangerous Year), Janelle Milanes (The Victoria In My Head), Maggie Ann Martin (The Big F), Tiffany Pitcock (Just Friends), Carl Hackman (Gerald and the Amulet of Zonrach), and Candace Ganger (The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash).


A Dangerous Year by Kes Trester
September 26, 2017 from Curiosity Quills Press
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Seventeen-year-old Riley Collins has grown up in some of the world’s most dangerous cities, learning political strategies from her ambassador dad and defensive skills from his security chief. The only thing they didn’t prepare her for: life as an American teenager.

After an incident forces her to leave her Pakistani home, Riley is recruited by the State Department to attend Harrington Academy, one of the most elite boarding schools in Connecticut. The catch: she must use her tactical skills to covertly keep an eye on Hayden Frasier, the daughter of a tech billionaire whose new code-breaking spyware has the international intelligence community in an uproar.

Disturbing signs begin to appear that Riley’s assignment wasn’t the walk in the park she’d been promised. Now, Riley must fight for her life and Hayden’s, as those around her reveal themselves to be true friends or the ultimate betrayers.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Intrigue, danger, and possibly murder.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
When Riley shows up at the MMA gym at her new American high school expecting to find other girls to spar with, but it’s only guys. It’s the first time she’s felt at home since she left the embassy in Karachi, and the familiar setting makes her a bit bold. Whether that emotion is justified when she faces off against Sam Hudson, the captain of the team, is another story.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was on vacation with my extended family. My nephew Devin had just asked what was going on with my writing when my agent called. I couldn’t have written the scene any better if I tried!

What’s your favorite junk food?
I like to switch it up, but right now I can’t get enough of a chocolate slice of heaven called Bark Thins. It sounds like a dog treat, I know, but try the coconut almond. Guaranteed to fuel at least 1,000 words!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
This is going to sound REALLY weird, but I live in a haunted house. I have a small gold angel figurine that came flying out of nowhere one day to land at my feet. Things are always appearing and disappearing around here, but the angel has stuck around for about ten years now. I keep her on my desk to remind me that kindness can be found in the most unexpected places (even from Ida, our resident ghost!).

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The Victoria In My Head by Janelle Milanes
September 19, 2017 from Simon Pulse
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Victoria Cruz inhabits two worlds: In one, she is a rock star, thrashing the stage with her husky voice and purple-streaked hair. In the other, currently serving as her reality, Victoria is a shy teenager with overprotective Cuban parents, who sleepwalks through her life at the prestigious Evanston Academy. Unable to overcome the whole paralyzing-stage-fright thing, Victoria settles for living inside her fantasies, where nothing can go wrong and everything is set to her expertly crafted music playlists.

But after a chance encounter with an unattainably gorgeous boy named Strand, whose band seeks a lead singer, Victoria is tempted to turn her fevered daydreams into reality. To do that, she must confront her insecurities and break away from the treadmill that is her life. Suddenly, Victoria is faced with the choice of staying on the path she’s always known and straying off-course to find love, adventure, and danger.

From debut author Janelle Milanes comes a hilarious and heartfelt tale of the spectacular things that can happen when you go after what you really want.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Music, stage fright, romance, dreams.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
It involves karaoke and chicken cutlets, but that’s about all I can reveal! Toward the end of the book, there’s also a big climactic kissing scene in a beautiful NYC setting. Unfortunately, I can’t provide any more detail because all of my favorite scenes are spoiler-heavy!

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I’m a teacher, so I was sitting in my classroom surrounded by fourth graders when I got the email from my agent. The subject line said “OFFER” in all caps, and I almost threw up from excitement then and there. I couldn’t call my agent for another twenty minutes because I had to find someone to cover my class while I stepped out of the room.

What’s your favorite junk food?
When I’m in the mood for something savory, I reach for Cool Ranch Doritos. For something sweet, cookies and cream ice cream is my go-to.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
For some reason, when I get bored I like to draw eyes…? I know, it’s strange and a little creepy. So on my desk you will usually find an assortment of sticky notes with an eye drawn on each one.

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The Big F by Maggie Ann Martin
August 29, 2017 from Swoon Reads
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Danielle effed up. Big time.

Danielle’s plans for the future were all figured out…until she failed senior English and her single college application was rejected. Suddenly she’s in hot water with very few options, because, honestly, who applies to a safety school when your mom is a semi-famous “college psychic”?!

Determined to get her life back on track, Danielle enrolls in her hometown community college with a plan: pass her English class and get back into Ohio State—and her mother’s good graces. Romance isn’t on her radar. That is, until she reconnects with her childhood crush and golden boy next door, Luke.

Between family drama, first love, and finding her own way, Danielle can’t help but feel a little overwhelmed. Thankfully she has her friendship with the snarky and frustratingly attractive Porter, her coworker at the campus bookstore, to push her to experience new things and help keep her afloat.

One thing’s for sure: This time, failure is not an option.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Friendships, Failure, Future, Finding Love

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
Any time that my characters Porter and Danielle have a particularly banter-y scene, I’m so game for it. One of my favorites involves a drunken game of Eye Spy at Danielle’s very first house party (where she has no business being). We get a glimpse into their chemistry and Porter’s soft side when he has to take care of Dani who has been drinking for the first time ever.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was actually in New York visiting my sister! My whole family was together (which is pretty rare) and I was at a Buffalo Wild Wings in White Plains, New York. I got an email from my lovely editor saying that she and the director of Swoon Reads wanted to talk about my book. I scheduled a call for the next day, and the rest is history!

What’s your favorite junk food?
It’s a tie between Cheetos and mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I actually use the Reese’s minis as my reward for finishing a certain amount of words while writing or editing! :P

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
I have two baby cacti on my desk (named Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth) and they are planted together in a shiny gold pot.

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Just Friends by Tiffany Pitcock
August 1, 2017 from Swoon Reads
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A new spin on the classic smart-girl-and-bad-boy setup, this witty contemporary romance shows how easily a friendship – even one built on an elaborate lie – can become so much more.

Jenny meets Chance for the very first time when she is assigned as his partner in their Junior Oral Communications class. But after they rescue a doomed assignment with one clever lie, the whole school is suddenly convinced that Little-Miss-Really-Likes-Having-A’s and the most scandalous heartbreaker in school have been best friends forever. It’s amazing how quickly a lie can grow―especially when you really, really want it to be the truth.

With Jenny, Chance can live the normal life he’s always kind of wanted. And with Chance, Jenny can have the exciting teen experiences that TV shows and movies have always promised. Through it all, they hold on to the fact that they are “just friends.” But that might be the biggest lie of all.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Fake friendship, real love.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
There’s this scene the night before Christmas where Chance and Jenny are talking about Chance’s parent while they sit in the glow of the Christmas lights. I love everything about that scene.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I was sitting at my desk (which I hardly EVER used) in my dorm room when I got the email.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Pretzels. I love them!

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A pencil holder shaped like a hot pink dumpster.


Gerald and the Amulet of Zonrach by Carl Hackman
May 16, 2017 from Immortal Works
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In the realm of Wyverndawn, a wizard’s height is the mark of his power, so shrinking an entire inch is disastrous for Gerald. Looking to gain a few inches, Gerald attempts to create a village landmark using his superior wizarding skills. But the spell he bought — from a guy who knows a guy — is a tad more powerful than he anticipates. The resulting earthquake, hurricane and escape of a very dangerous wizard from prison really weren’t part of the plan. To add insult to injury, a red-faced Gerald finds himself banished from his village along with the one inch demotion; two more and he’ll join his father as a Royal Equine Poop Disposal Coordinator. Gerald’s hopes of returning home hinge on repairing the devastation he caused and thwarting the evil wizard’s plans of grasping Wyverndawn for his own. Failure could mean Gerald’s next spell might well be his last.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Gerald’s in deep trouble; again.

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
I have many, but there is one where Gerald is learning about the history of dragons from a trainer. In this scene you can see how his personality is changing, for the better. He was never a selfish boy, but he always took shortcuts and looked for the easy way to achieve something. To be a dragon companion he will have to learn the hard way.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
I had just sat down at my desk to work on another novel when the email arrived. I ran into the bedroom to let my wife know, but obviously first thing in the morning is not the best time to be so excited as she thought we were being burgled, and her reaction to being woken by a slightly deranged husband was not entirely unreasonable.

What’s your favorite junk food?
Fish and Chips from Yorkshire, but I can’t get any over here which is very frustrating. I used to love to sit on the moors with freshly fried fish and chips wrapped in newspaper and look out over the countryside.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
It is a thirteen inch carving of a dragon. It tends to look me in the eye and I’m sure it can tell when I’m procrastinating rather then working. I keep telling him it’s research, but I’m sure he knows that I’m not being entirely truthful.


The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash by Candace Ganger
July 25, 2017 from St. Martin’s Griffin
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Birdie never meant to be at the party. Bash should have been long gone. But when they meet, a collision course is set off they may never recover from.

Sebastian Alvaréz is just trying to hold the pieces together: to not flunk out, to keep his sort-of-best friend Wild Kyle from doing something really bad, and to see his beloved Ma through chemo. But when he meets Birdie Paxton, a near-Valedictorian who doesn’t realize she’s smoking hot in her science pun T-shirt, at a party, an undeniable attraction sparks. And suddenly he’s not worried about anything. But before they are able to exchange numbers, they are pulled apart. A horrifying tragedy soon links Birdie and Bash together—but neither knows it. When they finally reconnect, and are starting to fall—hard—the events of the tragedy unfold, changing both their lives in ways they can never undo. Told in alternating perspectives, The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash by Candace Ganger is a beautiful, complex, and ultimately hopeful teen novel that will move you to the very last page.

Describe your book in five words or less.
Collision, Lies, Loss, Heartbreak, Hope

Tell us about your favorite scene in your book.
There’s a scene in the skating rink basement where things heat up between Birdie & Bash for the first time. I’m pretty partial to their banter because it reminds me of myself through the (awkward) high school romance years.

Where were you when you found out you were being published?
Sitting on my couch! I’d had THE WORST day (and even ordered an extra large latte that morning), and then mid-morning, I received a text from my agent asking if I was free to talk. Turns out, it was THE call with THE offer.

What’s your favorite junk food?
I’m not huge on junk food anymore, but when I do, I’m a fool for donuts/doughnuts.

What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
A cat.


Combination Station: When Legends Collide | Guest Post by Danielle Shipley

September 15, 2017 Guest Post 2

Magic, Myth, & Mischief, hosted by me and Bonnie, is a month-long event that celebrates fairy tales and mythological retellings, as well as retellings of favorite classic novels and books featuring mythical beasts such as mermaids, dragons, and fae! Find the schedule of events and other information here.

I’d like to welcome Danielle Shipley to the blog today! Danielle has written multiple fairytale retellings (which she will be talking about on Bonnie’s blog) as well as reimagined British mythology, what she is talking about here today!


Combination Station: When Legends Collide

by Danielle Shipley

Once upon a time in a Renaissance Faire, my muse handed me an idea: What if that Robin Hood over there wasn’t just a modern-day actor, but the actual, ages-old outlaw himself?

An impossible notion. Or is it?

After all, the tales of England’s criminal hero aren’t completely down-to-earth. Sure, there are the archery contests, stave and sword fights, and robbing from the rich to give to the poor – all good, clean, mostly realistic fun. But some versions of the legend also feature a touch of magic or pagan mysticism – as in the “Robin of Sherwood” television series of the ‘80s, or Stephen Lawhead’s King Raven trilogy. For every taleteller suggesting that Robin Hood was a real, historical man, there’s another happy to hint that he was more than a man; a woodland spirit, a forest god, or at least someone favored of that ilk.

So, my muse and I brainstormed, suppose a 21st-century fairground of period-inspired fantasy housed a 12th-century Robin, and a handful of his Merry Men to boot. Would their legend have magic enough to get them there? Maybe, maybe not. But there was another legend that surely would.

On those same British Isles, it is said that a great king once ruled in the idyll of Camelot. It is said also that, beyond his kingdom’s catastrophic fall, he would someday in future reign again. A not unlikely theory, in a story of wizards and dragons, enchantresses and bespelled swords in stone, and not a few somewhat super-powered knights. If anyone could live immortally in a Renaissance Faire, it would be King Arthur Pendragon.

“Well then,” spake the muse. “Why not combine the tales?”

And thus was born a new legend: The Outlaws of Avalon.

I took my favorite bits from Robin Hood lore – the showboating bandits with their good-natured fellowship among the feel of an ancient forest – and threw them together with a gold-hearted king and his heroes of the Round Table, with a little help from a micromanaging Merlin and morally ambiguous Morganne le Fey. All that, plus a minstrel blown in from afar to usher in a new age of adventure.

Each legend on its own has endured for centuries, retold in any number of ways – from lighthearted comedies, to gritty tragedies, to adaptations that encompass both. Together, it’s a mythic beast that, some part of me insists, could still be somehow real, hidden somewhere in plain sight.

Impossible, yes. But what of that? As a Merry Man of mine once said, “There is a lot of overlap, I’ve found, between the truth and the impossible.”

About the author: Danielle E. Shipley is the author of the Wilderhark Tales novellas, the novel Inspired, and several other expressions of wishful thinking. She has spent most of her life in the Chicago area and increasing amounts of time in Germany. She hopes to ultimately retire to a private immortal forest. But first, there are stories to make.

About the “The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale” (The Outlaws of Avalon, Book 1): Welcome to Avalon, a Renaissance Faire where heroes of legend never die. Where the Robin Hood walking the streets is truly the noble outlaw himself. Where the knightly and wizardly players of King Arthur’s court are in fact who they profess to be. Where the sense of enchantment in the air is not mere feeling, but the Fey magic of a paradise hidden in plain sight.

Enter Allyn-a-Dale. The grief of his father’s death still fresh and the doom of his own world looming, swirling realities leave the young minstrel marooned in an immortal Sherwood Forest, where he is recruited as a member of Robin Hood’s infamous outlaw band.

But Allyn’s new life may reach its end before it’s scarcely begun. Their existence under threat, the Merry Men are called upon to embark on a journey to the dangerous world Outside – ours – on a quest which must be achieved without delay, or eternity in Avalon will not amount to very long at all.

(Look for the final book of the trilogy to release on October 3rd!)


The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale by Danielle Shipley
Series: Outlaws of Avalon #1
Published by Ever On Word on July 12, 2016
Amazon • Add to Goodreads

Welcome to Avalon, a Renaissance Faire where heroes of legend never die. Where the Robin Hood walking the streets is truly the noble outlaw himself. Where the knightly and wizardly players of King Arthur’s court are in fact who they profess to be. Where the sense of enchantment in the air is not mere feeling, but the Fey magic of a paradise hidden in plain sight.

Enter Allyn-a-Dale. The grief of his father’s death still fresh and the doom of his own world looming, swirling realities leave the young minstrel marooned in an immortal Sherwood Forest, where he is recruited as a member of Robin Hood’s infamous outlaw band. But Allyn’s new life may reach its end before it’s scarcely begun. Their existence under threat, the Merry Men are called upon to embark on a journey to the dangerous world Outside – ours – on a quest which must be achieved without delay, or eternity in Avalon will not amount to very long at all.


About Danielle Shipley

Danielle E. Shipley is the author of the Wilderhark Tales novellas, the novel Inspired, and several other expressions of wishful thinking. She has spent most of her life in the Chicago area and increasing amounts of time in Germany. She hopes to ultimately retire to a private immortal forest. But first, there are stories to make.

Website | Blog | Twitter | Outlaws of Avalon


Rumpelstiltskin’s Daughter by Diane Stanley | Children’s Book Review

September 15, 2017 Children's Book Review, Inner Child 0 ★★★★

Rumpelstiltskin’s Daughter by Diane Stanley | Children’s Book ReviewRumpelstiltskin's Daughter by Diane Stanley
Published by HarperCollins on May 28, 2002
Genres: Fairy Tale, Retelling
Pages: 32
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed from Library
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4 Stars
Once upon a time a miller's daughter was given an impossible task by a cruel and greedy king. She had to spin straw into gold. And who should show up to help her but an odd little man named Rumpelstiltskin.

According to tradition, the gold-bedazzled king and the miller's daughter are wed. But wait just a minute! This king is definitely not husband material, and there's someone else who is -- a hardworking guy who's supportive and nice looking, and who really comes through in a pinch.

Why not marry Rumpelstiltskin?

In Diane Stanley's merry rethinking of the traditional tale, Rumpelstiltskin and the miller's daughter are wed...and then sixteen years later their only daughter is stuck in the same dilemma: She's been locked in a room full of straw to spin for a greedy king! She could call for help from her father, but this fairy-tale heroine has some canny plans of her own.

How Rumpelstiltskin's daughter sets things to rights in the troubled kingdom, while achieving a unique place for herself, makes for a wise and witty tale of kindness and cleverness rewarded. Diane Stanley's wickedly funny text and zesty illustrations put a delightful new spin on a classic fairy tale.

Rumpelstiltskin's daughter may not be able to spin straw into gold, but she is more than a match for a monarch whose greed has blighted an entire kingdom.

We learn that Rumpelstiltskin’s daughter’s name is Hope, which is such a fitting name for her because of what she does for the kingdom. She brings them hope in the form of golden coins so that they can make their own living. When Hope is kidnapped by the king and forced to turn straw into gold in her mother’s old tower, she decides to be smart instead. She knows the kingdom is poor and struggling, so she tricks the king into hiring the townspeople to “grow” or “knit” gold for him. The fields fill up with wheat and the townspeople end up bundled up in golden clothing. These people end up loving the king so much that he discovers that is better than gold. He tears down the protective wall around the castle and builds houses for the poor. All of a sudden, the kingdom is prospering. The king is so happy that he decides to make Hope his wife. She suggests the alternative of becoming Prime Minister instead, so that she can keep an eye on everyone. A feminist fairytale, indeed.

The illustrations are very fun, and sometimes even funny. I really enjoyed read this story, and love the unique spin that was placed on it. I’ve never been much of a fan of the traditional tale of Rumpelstiltskin, but I did find this fractured version to be fresh and fun, with teachable moments and good messages. I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys a fresh spin on an old classic.


Persephone by Kaitlin Bevis | Book Review

September 14, 2017 Book Review, Young Adult 9 ★★★★★

Persephone by Kaitlin Bevis | Book ReviewPersephone by Kaitlin Bevis
Series: Daughters of Zeus #1
Published by Musa Publishing on July 6, 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Mythology, Retelling
Pages: 237
Format: eBook
Source: From the author
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5 Stars
There are worse things than death, worse people too

The “talk” was bad enough, but how many teens get told that they’re a goddess? When her mom tells her, Persephone is sure her mother has lost her mind. It isn’t until Boreas, the god of winter, tries to abduct her that she realizes her mother was telling the truth. Hades rescues her, and in order to safely bring Persephone to the Underworld he marks her as his bride. But Boreas will stop at nothing to get Persephone. Despite her growing feelings for Hades, Persephone wants to return to the living realm. Persephone must find a way to defeat Boreas and reclaim her life.

I love the Greek myth of Persephone, and I really enjoyed this book. If you’re curious about the myth, I explain it right here. Anyway, my main points are bolded. :)

1. This story is so unique! Katilin Bevis really made it her own. Persephone ends up in the Underworld for a completely different reason, in a completely different way, and under different conditions. The story stays true to many aspects of the original myth, but I loved the spin Kaitlin put on her version.

2. I really liked Persephone. She’s a fun character who is reasonably blindsided when she finds out she’s a goddess, and her best friend is actually her priestess. And then when Boreas comes after her and she ends up hiding out in the Underworld with Hades and all the souls, she adapts pretty well! She’s pretty headstrong and spunky, and I liked that about her. I enjoyed watching her learn and change as she came into her own powers at the goddess of spring.

3. Hades is swoony! And honestly, I never thought I’d say that. He’s dark and sensitive, and he loves his library. My kind of guy. He is in charge of helping the souls transition from life to death, and his concern for them is so sweet. I also loved his concern for Persephone. She ended up there with him because he saved her, not because he kidnapped her like the original story goes. This gave the author a lot more to work with, and enabled her to write Hades as a good person. I was pleasantly surprised.

4. The Underworld is amazing. It’s light and beautiful, full of flowers and trees and rivers. The suburbs have cute little colorful houses, they have balls and parties, and people work because they love what they do and not because they have to. If you want a cute outfit, you imagine it and it’s yours. I loved reading about how Persephone decorated her room in the palace there. All she had to do was think about what she wanted, and it was so. She even chose the scenery outside her window. It’s a magical place, and I’d love to see it!

5. One of my favorite twists to the story is the fact that Gods can’t lie. They just can’t. If they say they won’t tell someone something, they are physically incapable of doing so. That created a lot of fun and crazy story lines.

6. Persephone and Hades are very cute together, despite the age difference. At times I saw him as a mentor, and at times I saw him as a love interest. I loved watching their friendship grow.

7. The story is written very well, and there’s a lot going on. I enjoyed Kaitlin’s writing style and her descriptions of the world and the powers these gods possess.

8. That ending. Holy moly! It was amazing! I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book!

Persephone might just be my new favorite version of Persephone. Haha. (I wish the title were a little more creative, though! Talking about this book is tricky because you have to differentiate between the myth, the book, and the character.) It’s fresh, it’s unique, it’s suspenseful, and a lot of unexpected and exciting things happen that will leave you craving the next book.

This review was originally posted on September 12, 2013 and is being re-featured.

 


Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon Hale | Graphic Novel Review

September 13, 2017 Book Review, Graphic Novel 0 ★★★

Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon Hale | Graphic Novel ReviewRapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale
Published by Bloomsbury Children's on August 5, 2008
Genres: Retelling
Pages: 144
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed from Library
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3 Stars
Once upon a time, in a land you only think you know, lived a little girl and her mother . . . or the woman she thought was her mother.

Every day, when the little girl played in her pretty garden, she grew more curious about what lay on the other side of the garden wall . . . a rather enormous garden wall.

And every year, as she grew older, things seemed weirder and weirder, until the day she finally climbed to the top of the wall and looked over into the mines and desert beyond.

Newbery Honor-winning author Shannon Hale teams up with husband Dean Hale and brilliant artist Nathan Hale (no relation) to bring readers a swashbuckling and hilarious twist on the classic story as you've never seen it before. Watch as Rapunzel and her amazing hair team up with Jack (of beanstalk fame) to gallop around the wild and western landscape, changing lives, righting wrongs, and bringing joy to every soul they encounter.

Here we have a wild western retelling of the classic Rapunzel. Rapunzel lives in a walled-up city with her mother, Gothel, before climbing the wall and realizing how horrible things are on the outside. She also discovers that Gothel is not her real mother and goes on an adventure with a man named Jack to try and free the people of Gothel’s evil magic.

This story has a lot of elements that are the same as the original Rapunzel. Rapunzel was taken from her parents because the stole Gothel’s lettuce, Rapunzel has very long hair that she uses to her benefit, there is a handsome man along for the ride, and she is thrown into an isolated tower. In this version, though, her mother his been imprisoned, and the story takes place in the Wild West. Rapunzel is very feisty and brave, whereas most renditions depict her as a helpless, naïve girl who can’t take care of herself and does not understand the concept of evil. She goes up against gun carrying vigilantes, thieves, monsters, and scary situations. This time the man sits in the back seat and has to be saved. I loved seeing a fairytale heroine with a brain, who can hold her own and get things done. The illustrations are very well done and are infused with color, perspective, and a ton of detail. Children who enjoyed the original story of Rapunzel or Disney’s Tangled will enjoy this fractured version of the tale.


Q&A with Author Konstanz Silverbow (+ Giveaway)

September 13, 2017 Author Interview, Giveaway 3

 

Magic, Myth, & Mischief, hosted by me and Bonnie, is a month-long event that celebrates fairy tales and mythological retellings, as well as retellings of favorite classic novels and books featuring mythical beasts such as mermaids, dragons, and fae! Find the schedule of events and other information here.


I’d like to welcome Konstanz Silverbow to the blog today to answer some questions about herself and her books. Konstanz has written a series of fairytale retellings called Finding Gold which she is talking about over on Bonnie’s blog this month.

Q&A with Konstanz Silverbow

Tell us about your fairytale/classic/myth retelling or any mythical creatures that appear in your story.
I am a sucker for everything fairytale related and all mythical creatures, but especially dragons! Every single one of my books features at least one dragon in some form.

If you could be any mythical creature, which one would you be and why?
That’s easy … dragon! Definitely a dragon! As for why … they are strong, majestic, beautiful creatures that can breathe fire on anyone who annoys them. … Kidding, kidding!

If you could live in any fairytale or mythical world, which one would you choose to live in and why?
My dream is to live in Middle Earth. I love the world J.R.R. Tolkien created and it’s the place I escaped to whenever life got hard. It’s my second home. It also sparked my love of fantasy and reading!

What lesson do you want your readers to learn from your retellings?
I think Samwise Gamgee said it best in The Two Towers: “There’s good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.” That’s the kind of inspiring message I try to make clear in each story. From Missing Royal, where Shanice learns that you never have to fight alone, The Enchanted Rose which teaches true love will always find a way, to Once Upon an Assassin where you’re reminded to never let your situation define you, and Beauty’s Thief, where looks aren’t everything, but a kind heart is.

If you found yourself trapped in a fairy tale, which would you want it to be?
Beauty and the Beast. Helloooooooo library!

Dragons or unicorns?
Dragons. Definitely dragons!

Mermaids or fae?
Hmmm … right now I have to say Fae. But that might change after I write my mermaid story!

Hans Christian Andersen, Grimms Brothers, or Disney?
Confession: All of the above! I love the original fairytales but I also love retellings!


About Konstanz Silverbow

Konstanz Silverbow has always been a dreamer . . . but not a writer. Being an author was something she was dragged into. But since that day, she hasn’t stopped. It has become more than a hobby, it is a passion.

During the day Konstanz works, making jewelry, playing the violin, collecting dragons, and learning all she can about medieval weapons. But at night she creates made up worlds and places where those dragons come to life and the weapons are used in battle.”

Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, with a dash of romance author, Konstanz Silverbow; Proud Creator of magical worlds, fictional creatures, ideal super heroes and sarcasm since 2007!

Author Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


Missing Royal by Konstanz Silverbow
Series: Finding Gold #1
Self Published on March 20, 2014
Amazon • Add to Goodreads

One princess destroyed the world. One princess must save it.

When she was little she wished to be a princess. Now as a teenager she just wishes she fit in. But Shanice doesn’t feel like she belongs, she never has.

When her parents tell her she is the last known princess from another world, it all makes sense. A world full of magic in place of technology. One where she is more than just royalty, she is their last chance to stop the one who is bent on destroying it. Mendina.

But she can’t do it alone, first she must find the other missing royals. In her quest, Shanice will be forced to choose between the course prophecy set for her, and the one that leads to the man her heart belongs to.

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