Friday, July 26, 2013

BBF Last Day - Link Compilation

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Book Review: The Battle for Princess Madeline

Where to Find The Escape of Princess Madeline:
The Kingdom of Soron bustled with activity as preparations for the Fall Festival began.  Lively merchants, hardworking farmers, and musicians eagerly awaited this event of harvest and joy.  This year’s festival was even more important, as they celebrated Princess Madeline’s betrothal to her Knight Champion, Daniel.

Celebration quickly turns to disaster as Prince Paulsen returns with curious demands, either Princess Madeline will be his, or no ones.  Rejection turns to obsession and battle is declared.

In a tense struggle to decide her future, Princess Madeline must choose where to put her trust… in the king’s tried and true plan, the wizard’s cryptic messages and maps, or her own sense of bravery. Follow Princess Madeline as she battles evil in an attempt to create a future of love and magic.

WARNING MINOR SPOILERS


I enjoyed the sequel much more! Madeline is back with her friends and family along with a few new acquaintances. The book pretty much picks up where the first book left off which I think is always a good thing. I'm not always fond of time skips between books unless there is a good reason for it.

The world was much more developed this time around and it showed in the writing. This time it expanded farther than the forest which I think is great. I love adventure and traveling to new places is always something I enjoy. Getting cooped up in one place with all dialogue is no fun but you won't have a problem with this in this book. I loved seeing the wizards and how they became a part of the story since they were only hinted at in the first book.

Book Review: The Escape of Princess Madeline

The Kingdom of Soron is known for many things, its rolling landscape, haunting history, fiery sunsets, and its beautiful princess.  Princess Madeline woke on her sixteenth birthday to realize that her future had been planned out, a life full of privilege, royalty, and boredom... a life with a husband and knight champion that she did not choose.  Using her charm, strength and stubbornness, she defies the King at every turn, determined to keep her freedom on her terms.

Freedom quickly turns to disaster as she finds herself seized by a group of wandering bandits.   With the kingdom in turmoil over her capture- her Knight Champion eager to prove himself, a group of dedicated suitors determined to win her hand, and a group of exiled wizards join forces in the hunt to rescue her.  Follow Princess Madeline in this adventure to find freedom and love.


BEWARE MINOR SPOILERS

I enjoyed Princess Madeline, it was a fairly short read. Please note this is a Middle Grade book instead of the usual Young Adult that I read so that may influence my opinion/review.

First off, the earlier descriptors were beautifully written, the description of the backgrounds and castle were so vivid I could see it in my head. I loved how the author played with the colors of the sunset and how she described the events. It was so lively it was as if I found myself there. The characters were well described but I feel like their personalities to be lacking.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Guest Post: BBF Catherine Stine - Worldbuilding

Whether your world is set on a future earth, in a spaceship speeding to a ringed planet, or in an alternate medieval high fantasy with fantastic magic, it must have an internal logic that satisfies readers. Magic needs rules and constraints, a techie world must have gadgets that match the level of society, and aliens must speak a language that makes organic sense in their environment. A military guy in an advanced world wouldn’t use a prehistoric club to bash his enemy’s skull in. In a post-apocalyptic world where the lights have gone out, people can’t have access to iPhones or even flashlights.

It’s invaluable to create a “bible” of setting elements and characters that you can refer to so that your world details remain consistent. Things to consider are: the type of government that’s in place, cultural preferences, the state of science and medicine, fashion, food, and even etiquette. Is the society repressive or liberal? What happens to those who break the law? Is there any law at all, or is there a wild anarchy? You can have endless fun imagining various combinations of these elements and playing out the “what ifs” before committing to any one system.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Guest Post: BBF Danielle E. Shipley

I used to be a speedy reader. It was all my local libraries could do to keep me supplied as I inhaled mysteries and historical adventures, joke books and comic books, and what would eventually rise to top of my favorites lists, fairytales and fantasy.

            Then, in recent years, something changed. I gradually turned the corner from Reader to Writer. And somehow, reading became a very different experience.

            I blame my creative subconscious. Already nearly full of words and worlds and pieces of plot, I no longer have the space to down someone else’s story in one quick gulp. A book bought or borrowed is like dessert at the end of a hearty dinner; I want it, I do, look how yummy it is! But I’ve got to take it slow. Nibble, swallow, savor, settle. Not too fast, or I’ll make myself sick.

            That does happen, sometimes. I’ll happen across a book – “The Scorpio Races” by Maggie Stiefvater; “Spirit’s End” by Rachel Aaron; “Deathless” by Catherynne M. Valente – and rediscover the meaning of having one’s imagination captured. Maybe I love the story, maybe I’m not sure precisely how I feel. It doesn’t much matter. Unable to think of anything else, I surrender my afternoon, my evening, an imprudent length of the night to the story, and spend the next day, possibly two, dealing with the indigestion. No regrets.

            It can be the same when I’m writing – not nearly always, but often enough to remind me why I partway turned my back on finished books, the better to focus on the blank page. Characters of my own making and the stories of theirs take over my waking and sleeping hours, and those in between. Perhaps it’s wiser to take smaller bites, to rise from the table and walk around for a minute, to say “no, thank you” to another helping, just now… But, okay, just one more taste, one more paragraph, just to the end of one more chapter before bed.

            I like to think that my work will someday be the overindulgence of choice for more than just me.

            I like to hope a few friends and strangers will find themselves pleasantly trapped by the banquet I spread out before them.
            I like to assume there will be no hard feelings about that almost painful fullness in their centers.

             It’s the best kind of ow, isn’t it? No regrets.

             Bon appetite, Readers.



This post is in part of the Book Blogger Fair so if you want to learn more about it check out the July 2013 directory for more authors/books, giveaways, events, and more!




About the Author:

 

Danielle E. Shipley’s first novelettes told the everyday misadventures of wacky kids like herself. …Or so she thought. Unbeknownst to them all, half of her characters were actually closeted elves, dwarves, fairies, or some combination thereof. When it all came to light, Danielle did the sensible thing: Packed up and moved to Fantasy Land, where daily rent is the low, low price of her heart, soul, blood, sweat, tears, firstborn child, sanity, and words; lots of them. She’s also been known to spend short bursts of time in the real-life Chicago area with the parents who home schooled her and the two little sisters who keep her humble. When she’s not living the highs and lows of writing young adult novels, she’s probably blogging about it at www.EverOnWord.wordpress.com.
Also follow her on Facebook and Twitter!
 
The Swan Prince Summary:

Catching her leg in a bear trap proves the least of Sula’s worries. Haunted by an enchanted monster from a past she dare not reveal, and hounded by the perilously perceptive young village doctor, Villem Deere, the headstrong girl of the woods gambles with fate by binding hers to that of Sigmund, the captivating orphan boy with mysterious nightly business of his own.

Check out my review of The Swan Prince.

Where to Find The Swan Prince:
B&N Nook

Book Review: The Swan Prince (The Wilderhark Tales, Book 1)


Catching her leg in a bear trap proves the least of Sula’s worries. Haunted by an enchanted monster from a past she dare not reveal, and hounded by the perilously perceptive young village doctor, Villem Deere, the headstrong girl of the woods gambles with fate by binding hers to that of Sigmund, the captivating orphan boy with mysterious nightly business of his own.
No Spoilers

Wow, this was a wonderful read! My only real complaint was that it was so short! I enjoyed the lyrical language that Shipley used in the book. It was very fairytale-esque which I think fit the story perfectly and sets the mood. I do like the idea of enchanted royalty but wished that there had been a little more background as to why they were enchanted. Especially at the end, there was no explanation but I suppose it didn't need to be tied up. Still it was a fairly satisfying ending although I did want more.

Now there were some elements in the story where I was able to predict and others I weren't. This is probably due to my inhalation of books of the similar genre but I definitely didn't see the ending coming so that was a huge plus. It also seemed like the ending was cut short but that could be because it's a novella so things were a bit rushed. The relationship also seemed a bit hurried but now I can see the reasoning as to why and I'll leave it at that.

I really enjoyed the characters, they all had their own voice in the story. Sula with her slightly aggressive but clever nature, Sigmund graceful and cautious, then Villem a mystery-loving doctor who gets all mixed up in their business. They were all fun to read about. I'd have to say Villem is my favorite character! lol

I do find that Sula can be rather bratty at times but that's just part of her nature but she does learn to act more compassionate. I wish it was emphasized a bit more. I did wonder as to why Villem would distance himself from others but it makes sense since he is a doctor so getting unemotionally attached makes sense. I also thought it was to protect himself from others once we learn his background. Sigmund did seem like a mystery for me, never did fully understand him until the end. Ohhh tricky, tricky, tricky, Ms. Shipley! (Hey that rhymed!)

Therefore, without giving away any more lest I spoil it for you I heartily recommend you picking up this novella. It's a short and quick read but one that is sweet and well written. Looks like there might be a second book so I'm looking forward to seeing more!

4 out of 5 rating for me!

(An ARC was provided by the author for an honest review. I was not compensated in any other way.)


This post is in part of the Book Blogger Fair so if you want to learn more about it check out the July 2013 directory for more authors/books, giveaways, events, and more!




About the Author:

 

Danielle E. Shipley’s first novelettes told the everyday misadventures of wacky kids like herself. …Or so she thought. Unbeknownst to them all, half of her characters were actually closeted elves, dwarves, fairies, or some combination thereof. When it all came to light, Danielle did the sensible thing: Packed up and moved to Fantasy Land, where daily rent is the low, low price of her heart, soul, blood, sweat, tears, firstborn child, sanity, and words; lots of them. She’s also been known to spend short bursts of time in the real-life Chicago area with the parents who home schooled her and the two little sisters who keep her humble. When she’s not living the highs and lows of writing young adult novels, she’s probably blogging about it at www.EverOnWord.wordpress.com.

Also follow her on Facebook and Twitter!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Guest Post: BBF Lucie Smoker - The Tangy-Sweet of Red Herring

When we tell a story, one part of the reader's experience is illusion.  The reader loves getting fooled--hoodwinked--but only if you do it fairly.  Mystery writers have a box of plot tricks for pulling off illusions and any author can use them.  Amongst the most fun is the tangy-sweet red herring.
  
In old-time fox hunts, the hounds were distracted by a fish laid in the trail.  Inexperienced dogs would stop and signal a find while the rest of the hunt moved on.  After a couple such fails, the smart dogs learned not to be distracted by a red herring laying too obviously on the trail. 

These days, mystery authors love to share stories about their characters telling them everything.  That can be true to an extent, but in mystery in particular, there is no substitute for a good plot--and fish stories are a part of that.  Like foxhounds, experienced readers won't be distracted unless that red herring smells and tastes delicious.  Too stinky and you know it's gone bad, too subtle and they run right past it.  The most successful red herrings share a few traits:  

1)  Means, motive and opportunity.  Your herring suspect and subplot have to be plausible. In this way, it's like writing a second book.  

2)  Author passion.  To make the red herring real, it needs to smell delicious, to taste like a lobster thermidor, and to seem a part of the scenery--like a fish in the pond.  

3)   One fatal, but subtle flaw.  Even though the herring is plausible, fairness requires a clue to its being a plant.  Something has to feel not quite right.  And I believe the best herrings contain a masked key to their falseness.  Kudos to the savvy reader who finds it.

But mostly it needs to just feel right.  In my first suspense novel, Distortion, I actually wrote the first two acts with three completely plausible plots.  In the middle of the third act, character interactions revealed the killer to me.  They also revealed the flaw in each of the other subplots.  My editing job came of making sure I had laid enough clues.  

And that comes back to author passion.  If you write your book without knowing the final conclusion, then you the author won't know which sub-plot is the herring.  You'll write it tight as plot.  

The final clue adjustments will come in revision.  Like all storytelling, balance and rhythm play a huge role in believability.  Plot must intertwine with character feelings.  In some ways, it's all a mystery.



This post is in part of the Book Blogger Fair so if you want to learn more about it check out the July 2013 directory for more authors/books, giveaways, events, and more!




About the Author:


Lucie Smoker's imagination grew up at a Little House on the Prairie and at 221B Baker Street.  Her first suspense novel, Distortion, was published in November by Buzz Books USA. Its sequel is in the works.  Her freelance articles appear in mutiple print and online magazines.  A passionate storyteller, she lends her voice to mystery productions on two continents.  For more info visit luciesmoker.wordpress.com, Facebook, or Twitter.


Distortion Summary:

Artist Adele Proust is over her ex, activist Jack Thomas -- or so she thinks. At a 3-chord punk bar, Adele drinks to forget him, but when shouts of "Fire!" send the nightclub into chaos, she stumbles over a slashed-up corpse. ... Her signature technique brings out a pivotal clue that was missed by the police: a paper currency strap. The FBI thinks Jack may be behind the murder and they want Adele to spy on her friends, but she refuses ... until someone starts killing them off.


Where to Find Distortion:

Friday, July 19, 2013

Otakon 2013 Artist Alley Placement

(Click image make it bigger)

I'll have an Artist Alley Table at Otakon this year! I'll be sharing with my good friend Kagar at E-llusion Studio! If you happen to be going please check out my stuff! It will be my second Otakon but my first time having a table there so I'll be nervous but please don't let that stop you from stopping by and saying hi! I'll be selling prints, stickers, bookmarks, blank notebooks with my design, and commissions. If possible I'd like to do mini-comics, sketchbooks, and buttons. :D For now you can also buy stuff at my online store or at least take a sneak peek of what I have so you can purchase at the con! If you do plan on stopping by please leave a comment so I can try to put a face with the commenter when you do stop by. :D

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Upcoming Book Blogger Fair July 22-26

Calling all book lovers and readers!

 

I will be participating in the bi-annual Book Blogger Fair this month on this blog! It'll start Monday, July 22 and I'll be posting new posts everyday! It will include guest posts from different authors to book reviews from me so please take a look at those if you're interested! :D

If you're a regular reader I'd love to recommend checking out all these great authors and the books they have to offer. They have a diverse-genre group so I'm sure you'll be able to find at least one book that will interest you!

So stop by and check out all the other bloggers and author posts! If you feel inclined feel free to stop by and let me know how you liked the BBF and share the love!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Book Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.
Elisa is the chosen one.

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can't see how she ever will.

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he's not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people's savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do.


(Summary from Goodreads.com)

BEWARE SPOILERS

This book left me feeling disappointed and reluctant to read the second book. I wasn't super fond of the main character or story in general. I generally like stronger characters but Elisa started off as weak and fat which is fine. I figured I'd give it a chance as I like to see characters grow. It's refreshing to see a weak character grow, however, while she did grow into a more confident young woman I can't help but feel that she could have done more in certain situations. It was appalling for me to see her just stand there and be useless having others sacrifice and do things for her even if she is a princess and the Godstone bearer. It seems like she didn't even try sometimes and when she did all she did was pray. I don't mind her prayers but very few times it seemed helpful.

I do like how she was a leader but that's only because she was a princess and bore the Godstone. Everyone else seemed to adore/worship/hate her because of it. She needed so much help from other people when she should have been well educated far beyond the others. I do give her credit a couple of times she's willing to sacrifice herself for her friends but it wasn't cleverly planned out. I found it ridiculous that Elisa's father and sister never showed up again. Especially towards the end when she was coronated as queen. I do like how her enemy, Cosme became a friend. I have a bit in common with Cosme in terms of personality and that Elisa was willing to set aside differences and both became friends. It was good to see her become more strong-willed and not let anyone stop her anymore. Her patience and understanding of Prince Rosario was touching as she knew what it was like when she was a young royal. It was nice to see her play a motherly role to him even if she is only 16.