Have I ever been busy this week! I finished the second book in the middle-grade trilogy I am currently working through. This one was called Shipwrecked: Dragon Island by Carey Fessler. Besides reading, I have been preparing for a weekend trip to Toronto where I hope to visit ECW Press and House of Anansi. These are 2 book publishers that I have been collaborating with. But for now, back to the review.
Synopsis:The trek has begun, and the trail will show no mercy.
After escaping a rogue submarine, twelve-year-old cousins Emma and Scott wash ashore on the beach of a remote tropical island lurking with jungle dragons and headhunters.
So begins their trek to find safety and civilization so they can return home to their families in Australia–but not before having to fight for their lives across a savage land. Can the young castaways survive long enough to find help?
I find that when I talk to people about trilogies, I am always an advocate for the middle book. It is the same case for this series. I really enjoyed the middle book in this trilogy.
The characters were already fleshed out so you know what to expect in their behaviors and the story picked up right where it left off so it felt like you were watching the next episode of a show in a series.
In this one, they were on what they thought was a deserted island and were trying to find a way to escape and get back to Australia where their families were. Little did they know that this island had more to it than they expected and thus ensued an eventful adventure from one side of the island to the other. This tale is filled with dragons (yes, I said dragons), tribal sacrifices, and creepy crawly critters.
Emma and Scott further develop in bravery and courage as they are faced with more dire situations. Compassion and trust is something they need to find in themselves if they are to escape this island alive. Brock (one of the mutants) actually becomes likable in this one and I can safely say that I hope there is more of him in the finale to this trilogy.
Overall, I think this was a great middle book for a middle-grade series. It kept it interesting, fun, and engaging with all the predicaments that our main characters kept finding themselves in! And it was a quick read to at only 185 pages!
Happy Valentine’s day to everyone out there! Spend today with your loved one and do something special even if that is only watching a show together or just spending some quality time hanging out.
Or if you are single, don’t sweat it. Today is your day to celebrate you and your awesomeness!
This is a short and sweet post but just wanted to let everyone know to enjoy their day regardless of being in a relationship or not. We don’t celebrate ourselves enough and we all deserve it. Stay tuned for a review of the second book in a trilogy I am reading. It will be posted tomorrow :).
Get ready to explore a gem of mythic fiction in Michael Williams’ Dominic’s Ghosts Blog Tour. Taking place February 13-20, 2019, this blog tour celebrates a new stand-alone novel in Michael’s ambitious City Quartet.
Atmospheric and thought-provoking, Dominic’s Ghosts will take you on a unique kind of journey that involves a conspiracy, legends, and insights from a film festival!
About the Author:
Over the past 25 years, Michael Williams has written a number of strange novels, from the early Weasel’s Luck and Galen Beknighted in the best-selling DRAGONLANCE series to the more recent lyrical and experimental Arcady, singled out for praise by Locus and Asimov’s magazines. In Trajan’s Arch, his eleventh novel, stories fold into stories and a boy grows up with ghostly mentors, and the recently published Vine mingles Greek tragedy and urban legend, as a local dramatic production in a small city goes humorously, then horrifically, awry.
Trajan’s Arch and Vine are two of the books in Williams’s highly anticipated City Quartet, to be joined in 2018 by Dominic’s Ghosts and Tattered Men.
Williams was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and spent much of his childhood in the south central part of the state, the red-dirt gothic home of Appalachian foothills and stories of Confederate guerrillas. Through good luck and a roundabout journey he made his way through through New England, New York, Wisconsin, Britain and Ireland, and has ended up less than thirty miles from where he began. He has a Ph.D. in Humanities, and teaches at the University of Louisville, where he focuses on the he Modern Fantastic in fiction and film. He is married, and has two grown sons.
Synopsis of Dominic’s Ghosts:
Dominic’s Ghosts is a mythic novel set in the contemporary Midwest. Returning to the home town of his missing father on a search for his own origins, Dominic Rackett is swept up in a murky conspiracy involving a suspicious scholar, a Himalayan legend, and subliminal clues from a silent film festival. As those around him fall prey to rising fear and shrill fanaticism, he follows the branching trails of cinema monsters and figures from a very real past, as phantoms invade the streets of his once-familiar city and one of them, glimpsed in distorted shadows of alleys and urban parks, begins to look uncannily familiar.
I was asked to write about creating “powerful characters,” which is an interesting distinction from the usual request about “good characters” or “believable characters.”
I could comply with the usual request. Consistency and plausibility are the foundation of any well-drawn character, and a number of writers can do those things and do them ably. But I have a feeling that what’s asked for here is something more—that intriguing moment in fiction where you encounter someone you’ll never forget: Sherlock Holmes, perhaps, or Madame Bovary. Captain Ahab, Hamlet or Gollum.
The figures who haunt you after you close the covers of the book.
Because almost anywhere you look, you can find the standard advice on character plausibility and consistency: writers I know keep notebooks, fill out character sheets, base the people in their stories on the people they know, or “cast” their stories with the screen personalities of appropriate actors or with the best guess at the temperaments of historical figures.
I mean, everyone has heard these methods already. Pick out a tactic that works for you.
Sometimes, though, you hear this complaint: “I just couldn’t relate to the character.” Pay close attention to those moments. Are readers actually saying the character is unrelatable? If so, the solution probably lies in some of the tactics I’ve mentioned above.
However, a lot of the time, what a reader might be saying is, “I couldn’t identify with the character.” And that, to me, is a very different thing. You can believe in a character without that kind of identity that a lot of readers demand: after all, who’d want to be Iago or Saruman, and yet we are fascinated by them, like by something glittering and poisonous. Very often the most powerful characters are figures strange to us, people who stretch our imaginations rather than confirm our assumptions. We do our work as readers in coming to know them, and the fascination of discovery takes the place of the ease in feeling that we already know them.
In short, when I read about a fictional character, I’d rather be asking “What’s up with her?” than resting in the assurance that “she’s just like I would be in that situation.”
My own Vine: An Urban Legend—one of the books in my City Quartet—met the objection of one reviewer that one of the central characters was “unsympathetic”. Well, a drug-addled homeless Elvis impersonator, haunted by paranoia and delusions of grandeur, might not be someone you’d want to buddy up with, much less grow up to be. But I maintain he’s interesting as hell, and his recurrence in the other three volumes—a secondary character in Dominic’s Ghosts, a cameo appearance in the pending new edition of Trajan’s Arch, and one of the two principal figures in the soon-to-be- released Tattered Men—make you more and more acquainted with Tommy Briscoe, so that when you glimpse him from the corner of your eye or when he settles in your sight, I’m hoping you’re curious, eager for more.
All of this without necessarily “identifying with him,” though depending on what book of the Quartet you read first (and you can start with any of them) you may be more sympathetic than if you began somewhere else. Just like living around someone like Tommy: where you start may shape where you end up. But you’ll stretch your thoughts along the way. Explore the character’s contradictions and layers. And that’s the power of characters, and of fiction.
Hey bookworms! I am back with another review for you. This one was called Shanghaied: Escape from the Blackwolf by Carey Fessler and is the first book to a trilogy. I will be reviewing the entire trilogy so the other reviews will be following this one.
Synopsis: Twelve-year-olds Emma and Scott stumble across a dark secret and are shanghaied by a rogue submarine that once suffered a ghastly fate: a radioactive incident that transformed its crew into mutants.
They are plunged into the depths of the ocean, far beyond the reach of help, where the Blackwolf battles against lurking enemy navies.
Now they must find a way off the submarine without being killed first–or even worse, being forced into service for the rest of their lives.
The race to escape has begun.
I rather enjoyed this book. It was another middle-grade book so it doesn’t quite capture your attention or have fully fleshed out characters like YA does but the story progresses quickly and you get to think like how a kid would. In dangerous situations, the kids would do something so bold or brave and I would think to myself that I wouldn’t even have the courage to do that. Oh to be a kid again and not know that fear that growing up can teach you.
There were quite a few technical terms about working in a submarine which I thought was pretty cool. You were learning about life at sea while enjoying the daring escape these kids were trying to plan and execute.
Plus, it had mutants! Creepy, slimy, hairless mutants. Well, they all had different descriptions as they were all unique crewmembers but still fun none the less. The captain was a grumpy, mean mutant and so was most of the crew but not all of them were bad as you will come to find out.
At one point, Scott and Emma find themselves in a situation I would be truly terrified and they manage to keep their cool and get through it. I can’t tell you what that situation is because I don’t want to spoil it but I would lose my cool real fast.
I also realized after I finished the book that there were two characters they eluded to multiple times but never brought them back up so I am not sure if they will be in the next one or were just forgotten about.
This one ends somewhat intensely and you can pretty much guess that the next one will pick up right where they left off so I am excited to get reading it and find out what comes next.
Hey bookworms! Check out this great post by Celine about bookmarks and all the uses we have for them and the types that we use 🙂
As a reader, there’s only one thing I need to emphasize right here and right now. Bookmark is a lifesaver. Who can relate? I can’t read without a bookmark. Before, I literally use anything to mark my reads. Guess what they are. Trust me, you don’t even want to know. Let’s see what type of […]
Hey bookworms! Over the past weekend, I went to a used bookstore and picked up a copy of Wonder Woman Earth One by Grant Morrison. It was a very quick ready and only cost me $9. How do you feel about used bookstores? I believe that we should support these amazing places that allow us to share our books with others who may not be able to afford new copies. Plus they are usually really fun to explore.
Synopsis: For millennia, the Amazons of Paradise Island have created a thriving society away from the blight of man. One resident, however, is not satisfied with this secluded life—Diana, Princess of the Amazons, knows there is more in this world and wants to explore, only to be frustrated by her protective mother, Hippolyta. Diana finds her escape when Air Force pilot Steve Trevor, the first man she has ever seen, crashes onto their shores. With his life hanging in the balance, Diana ventures into the long forbidden world of men. The Amazons chase after her and bring her back to Paradise Island in chains to face trial for breaking their oldest law—staying separated from the world that wronged them.
Wonder Woman has made some amazing progress in becoming a present, modern superhero who is well known by all. She empowers females to be strong no matter who they are.
This graphic novel was good but a little slow. There was very little action in it and more play on justice and Wonder Woman’s rights to be who she chooses to be and live by the rules that she dictates. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good storyline. It just lacked that fun comic book vibe with the battles and team-ups.
It did have some funny characters though. There is one part where she saves a school bus of sorority sisters and they give her a makeover (essentially a lingerie suit that looks like her original suit).
I would still recommend this as a read for comic lovers as it is an origin story being part of the Earth One series. Just don’t get your hopes up for battles of glory or anything.
Glasgow Kiss Episode 1.
(Publication Date: February 7th, 2019)
Genre: Thriller/ Serial Killer
Author: C.S. Duffy
Haunted by the fact that he never got the chance to tell best friend Lorna that he loved her before
she was murdered, Ruari sets out to track down the man he saw her with the night before she was
murdered – the man police are certain was her killer.
Forensic psychologist Amy Kerr has been watching prominent Glasgow lawyer Alec McAvoy for
months, certain that he is the so-called Dancing Girls Killer who evaded capture in London five years
Now Ruari and Amy are closing in on the same man – but every step they take draws them deeper
into the killer’s web.
“…completely addictive. Very fast paced with the short punchy time-stamped
chapters adding to the sense of a fast-moving investigation.” – Joanne Baird, Portobello Book
“…full of the Glasgow banter and humour laced with a good old-fashioned murder
mystery. Lots of twists and turns and little pools of red herrings kept me engrossed all the way
through.” – Sharon Bairden, Chapterinmylife Blog
C.S. Duffy writes crime thrillers with a healthy dose of black humour. Her background is in film and
TV. She has several projects in development in Sweden and the UK and her other writing has
appeared in Elle Canada and The Guardian. She is the author of Life is
Swede, a thriller that was originally written as a blog – leading several readers to contact
Swedish news agencies asking them why they hadn’t reported the murder that features in the blog.
She was selected as a Spotlight author at Bloody Scotland in 2018.
New book review alert! We have delved into the world of middle-grade books this time. Presented here is a book called Foiled by Carey Fessler.
Synopsis:It’s 1947 on a U.S. Army base near Roswell, New Mexico, and eleven-year-old Kate’s friend and neighbor, Billy, shows her a secret. A CIA agent arrives at Billy’s house, to recover the Top Secret items, and threatens the family, warning them to never talk about the incident—ever. Special Agent Falco informs them of their sudden reassignment to Germany. Billy, not wanting to move to Germany or return his treasures, begs Kate for help. Feisty and fiercely loyal, she agrees to hide him.
Thus begins a most unusual road trip in which the two friends use their wits, their knowledge of the terrain and geography around the base, and sheer determination to evade capture. Kate must also reach her grandfather, more than two hundred miles away, and warn him how the secret poses a dangerous threat … to anyone involved.
Their race has begun, and there’s no turning back.
This was an average middle-grade book. It had likable characters, despicable villains and quite an adventure through different parts of New Mexico. I was kept entertained all the way through it with Billy and Kate’s antics. They bantered back and forth just like two young kids would and it was fun to experience this kind of honesty and childlike innocence.
It was set in the 1940s and had all these references to things that are a part of our history (especially baseball and comic books). I identified with Billy as a child because, like him, I would read comic books and want to be just like the superheroes/protagonists of the adventure.
There were some parts of the book where I would think that they should be a little more descriptive of the scene but this could have been because of the nature of it being a middle-grade book. The author was just making it easier for kids to understand and in turn, this would keep them from losing interest in the novel.
Overall, I think it is a genuine adventure book that would be fun for kids to read when they are experiencing books for the first time and just starting to explore the world of literature. It just gets better and better the more you open your world to reading!
Hey bookworms! It has been a while since I have thrown a giveaway with you lovely readers so I decided to do one for the month of February. This is to show some love and support back to the bookish community and give someone another adventure to dive right in to.
The prize pack is a paperback copy of The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines and of course some fun stickers to go with it.
To enter the giveaway, you need to do this:
Comment on this post
Be following the blog (either through WordPress or email)
For extra entries, you can go to the Link below and do those extra steps (stuff like follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram):
Sara Mac is hitting us up with another review over here. She finished the trilogy she was working on. This was called the Demeter Code by Russell Brooks.
Synopsis: When two American embassies in northern Africa are bombed, CIA operatives, Ridley Fox and Nita Parris, are assigned to track down the perpetrators. However, when their top asset is killed in a failed op, the agents suspect that there may be a new threat. Their search for the truth puts them on a collision course with a powerful multinational—which will go to extreme lengths to bury its criminal activities. However, the agents soon learn that someone with a personal vendetta against that company not only knows their secrets but will expose them in a way that could result in the largest single-day attack against America.
Unfortunately, this book is disappointing.
I enjoy the action scenes, and the concepts seem to be unique, so I like that too.
But I don’t really like anything else. Reading the ebook version, there are A LOT of weird errors, that may be due to conversion. There are bits of text inserted in the middle of words every three pages or so (the first book had this as well), and the entirety of chapter 18 is missing. Just gone. So I was really confused when chapter 19 started, as apparently chapter 18 had a lot going on.
This whole book feels like you’re dropped in the middle of a movie with no idea what’s going on. New characters pop up constantly like we should know who they are, with zero character development. There are connections between characters and organizations that aren’t fleshed out – I think there might be several double agents but I honestly can’t keep track.
Unfortunately, the whole book just feels choppy and as if no one read through it for consistency. I’m confused! And I really wanted to like it for the engaging action scenes, but that’s about the only redeeming quality. Sorry!