Wednesday, March 31, 2021

What's Coming in April?

We're several months into the year, and I'm swimming in great reads. We'll be shooting in all directions during the next few weeks, but there is a lean toward girl power and a few more serious reads. Age group wise, it's going to be a pretty even spread of picture books, middle grade reads and young adult tales, and we'll hit everything from fantasy to science fiction to romance to historical fiction to paranormal to contemporary and even something a bit more experimental. 

In other words, expect a lot because it should be a fun ride...

*coughcough*

I mean read.




 BREATHING UNDERWATER

The title and cover make it pretty obvious that this one heads in the romance direction, but it flows around sisterly love as well. I like the cover...and the fact that it's a middle grade read. And the cover...did I say the cover? You can read my thoughts about this one on the 2nd. (And not just about the cover)

Middle Grade Contemporary




TAKE THREE GIRLS

Ready for that girl power pure I mentioned? This one is written by an already much-loved, author trio: Cath Crowley, Fiona Wood, and Simmone Howell. And nope, I have not read anything from them, yet, but have heard tons of buzz. Addressing tough issues, these pages are said to be light-hearted and super engaging. I'll let you know what I think on the 6th (which happens to be release day!).

Young Adult Contemporary



ODDILY

I'm super excited about this one. It takes place around the time of the Louisiana Purchase with the daughter of a doctor. Upon his death, he, leaves her to protect a magical object...although she has no clue what it does. It should be rich in history, adventure, and even has a teapot which makes never ending tea as requested. Isn't that cool? Discover it with me on the 10th.

Middle Grade Historical Fantasy




GOOD NIGHT, EARTH

I cheated and already took a look at this one. The illustrations are so artistic, and it's packed with animals from the other side of the globe. Plus, it has the cutest, quirkiest, and most original alien twist. Curious? Gaze at it with me on the 14th.

Picture Book



MAX AND THE SPICE THIEVES

Who wants to set sail for high-sea adventure? It's been a long time, since I've journeyed with a character over the waves. This is another middle grade read and rotates around a young man, family, and friendship. Take a peek with me on the 15th before it releases on the 20th.


Middle Grade Adventure




YOUR HEART, MY SKY

Cuba is the setting for this historic book, and it takes place during the 'el periodo especial en tiempos de paz' It's said to have tons of heart and be packed to the gills with emotions as it follows two characters and their struggle to find food, when they refuse to follow government requirements. I'm going to learn something new in these pages. Find out more on the 19th.

Young Adult Historical




ME & MAMA

I'm sneaking in a feel-good for moms and their kids. These tended to be a favorite when mine were younger, since they were always ready for mom cuddles and love. Feel the warmth with me on the 22nd.


Picture Book




SOMETHING FOR BEBE

Time to shift gears to a thriller (I promised this month was broad). With a jaunt into the realm of journalism, this young girl pursues a murderer around the world. It also touches upon Bosnia and should peek into some of the turbulent history there...something I'm looking forward to. I'll be presenting this one on the 24th.

Young Adult Thriller



A DRAGONBIRD IN THE FERN
 
I loved the cover on this one, too. You might have noticed that I grab books for covers quite often. This one is a fantasy revolving around royal intrigue, murder, unwanted marriage, and sisters. I'll be presenting it on the 26th, and it releases August 3rd.


Young Adult Fantasy




SISTERS OF THE WOLF

Time to dive into the past, and I mean, way into the past. Taking place in pre-historic times...and when was the last time a YA historical has been written in that time period?...this one isn't only about adventure but about sister relationships. Honestly, the time period had me wanting to explore this one. Be ready to visit those mammoths with me on the 28th.

Young Adult Historical



And that's all you're getting from me for now. I have several more contemporaries, some nonfiction coming, something really unique with a fantastic waltz into classical music... In other words, you aren't going to want to miss out on all the goodness coming out way.

Oh, and let's not forget this month's joker (thanks to the huge pile of reads, I always have one to slide in sometime...hopefully.)


ESCAPE FROM A VIDEO GAME: MYSTERY ON THE STARSHIP CRUSADER

A book which brings video games into a literature form? Sign me up! This is the second book in a series...and yes, I actually read the first one and enjoyed it quite a bit. Since I have no doubt that young readers out there will love this concept, I'm going to be hitting this one and sharing with it with you, too. But when? That's the question!

Middle Grade Science Fiction / Gamer Fiction

Cover Reveal: INterlude Peripeteia by W.H. Rose



Interlude: Peripeteia
by W.H. Rose
Sidereal, #2
YA Magical Realism, Romance


COMING...
APRIL 20th!!!





Venus thought that meeting her soulmate Taein would change her for the better. She never could have imagined uprooting her life and hiding their relationship once she moved across the world.

Upon returning to Korea, the spotlight is on Taein’s band Eclipse like never before. Fame and new opportunities should make him happy, but the harsh realities of his career are more draining than anything.

When old flames and family secrets start coming out of the shadows, the soulmates are pulled further and further apart, pushing their relationship to the brink of collapse.

Add to Goodreads


And here she is...


W. H. Rose is an emerging author who just released her debut novel, Mythomania, in January of 2020. Her life's passion is storytelling. Rose has always entertained those around her with her ability to create moving and impactful tales and is proud to share her first novel at the young age of eighteen. She lives in Georgia with her loving family and pet rabbit, Soba.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram




XBTBanner1

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Review: List of Ten by Halli Gomez

Today's review hits deeper themes and takes a darker, emotional turn. This one, although for teens, does lean a bit toward the controversial side of life. It also takes a open look at the Tourette Syndrome and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. This won't be a read for everyone (there are more than a couple triggers), but those who do grab it up will be left with more than just a little food for thought. 


LIST OF TEN
by Halli Gomez
Sterling Teen
YA Contemporary
360 pages












Ten: three little letters, one ordinary number. No big deal, right? But for Troy Hayes, a 16-year-old suffering from Tourette Syndrome and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, the number ten dictates his life, forcing him to do everything by its exacting rhythm. Finally, fed up with the daily humiliation, loneliness, and physical pain he endures, Troy writes a list of ten things to do by the tenth anniversary of his diagnosis—culminating in suicide on the actual day. But the process of working his way through the list changes Troy’s life: he becomes friends with Khory, a smart, beautiful classmate who has her own troubled history. Khory unwittingly helps Troy cross off items on his list, moving him ever closer to his grand finale, even as she shows him that life may have more possibilities than he imagined. This is a dark, intense story, but it’s also realistic, hopeful, and deeply authentic.


BOOK DEPOSITORY   /    GOODREADS    /    B&N     /    AMAZON


BOOK BLINK

                                        * open look at Tourette Syndrome and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
                                        * darker story with difficult themes
                                        * ends with hope

Triggers:  cutting, suicide, marijuana usage, abandonment



MY TIDBITS

This is a novel, which digs deep, pulls at the gut and heart-strings, and gives a light at the end of a dark tunnel.

Troy is sixteen and was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder ten years before. With the tenth anniversary of this diagnosis approaching, he decides to create a list of ten things to complete before that day is achieved. The last on his list will finally mean an end to a life he no longer wants to fight and suffer through. As he starts hacking away at his items, he learns to know several others around him better and develops relationships he didn't think possible...even maybe learns to rediscover himself.

Some books are pure food for thoughts, and this one definitely slides into the category and then some. Troy is a kind guy, who's hard not to like and impossible not to feel for as he struggles through life. The author allows Troy's fight with his syndrome and disorder to come across clearly and with a huge impact. This creates not only a deeper understanding for Troy but also opens readers' eyes to the troubles people have, who suffer these disorders. It carries pain, heart and is a very heavy read on that end.

The author doesn't only let the dark side of Troy's life come through but addresses other problems teens might face through the other characters, and their struggles are by no means less difficult. Many difficult areas are addressed and several will disturb more sensitive readers. But there is light in the darkness. Troy develops wonderful relationships, including with his girlfriend and younger brother. This not only gives much needed reason to hope but also offered dots of sunshine. Even Troy's list does include a few things which lightened the tale and added a touch of humor. This keeps the book from only bogging down and makes Troy more likable as well. 

While there are positive moments and a shining light at the end, it is important to mention that this is a darker and heavier tale, which explores Troy's own lack of self-worth and serious struggles of those around him. Topics such as cutting and suicide are mentioned and, for most of the book, Troy is not in a good place. It's a story which leaves an impression on the reader, shows that goodness is out there even when it doesn't seem that way, and helps readers to see some people and their struggles in a new way. 



 And here she is...

Halli Gomez writes for children and young adults and works at her independent bookstore. She has written several stories with neurodivergent characters including her young adult novel, LIST OF TEN (Sterling, March 2021) When no one is looking, she sock skates through the house and talks to dogs like they are human. When people are looking, she enjoys reading, outdoors, and breaking out of escape rooms with her family. Halli lives in North Carolina with her husband, two boys, and two dogs.


Monday, March 29, 2021

Review: Marjory Saves the Everglades by Sandra Neil Wallace

With flowers peeking their heads out to greet Spring and nature now awakening, this book slides in with great timing. Add the fact that we still have Women's History month,  and it's perfect for today's review spot. I'll admit I had never heard of Marjory Stoneman Douglas (I learn as much with these books as kids do!) and was inspired by her work. Plus, who doesn't love a peek at the gorgeous Everglades?

Before I say more...it's time for trip into nature!


MARJORY SAVES THE EVERGLADES
The Story of Marjory Stoneman Douglas
by Sandra Neil Wallace
Illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon
Paula Wiseman Books
Picture Book 
56 pages
ages 4 to 8


From acclaimed children’s book biographer Sandra Neil Wallace comes the inspiring and little-known story of Marjory Stoneman Douglas, the remarkable journalist who saved the Florida Everglades from development and ruin.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas didn’t intend to write about the Everglades but when she returned to Florida from World War I, she hardly recognized the place that was her home. The Florida that Marjory knew was rapidly disappearing—the rare orchids, magnificent birds, and massive trees disappearing with it.

Marjory couldn’t sit back and watch her home be destroyed—she had to do something. Thanks to Marjory, a part of the Everglades became a national park and the first park not created for sightseeing, but for the benefit of animals and plants. Without Marjory, the part of her home that she loved so much would have been destroyed instead of the protected wildlife reserve it has become today.


GOODREADS   /   B&N    /    BOOK DEPOSITORY    /     AMAZON    /     KOBO


BOOK BLINK
 
                                       * lovely illustrations
                                       * easy to follow and understand
                                       * opens up the Everglades to young readers
                                       

MY TIDBITS

I was already taken by this one when I opened the cover and saw the inside. Even before the book begins, colorful birds of all shapes and sizes take flight and swirl around each other. The recount of Marjory's life and accomplishments follows along the same, nature-bound thread and does a wonderful job at introducing young listeners/readers to the Everglades, while sharing the history of an inspiring woman.

The whole thing begins with Marjory and a short recap of her childhood as she grows up in the Everglades. Her joy for the creatures and landscape around her is clear. When she grows older, like most adults, she follows a career and ends up in a more urban setting, but her love for the Everglades and desire to save it from the changing world, draws her back as she fights to keep it thriving and alive.

The illustrations are really what won me over in these pages. Every page is bright and bold, and allows the Everglades to come to life. The creatures and plant life as well as the landscape hold a playfulness, which draws in while keeping the details realistic enough to allow the reader to get a good impression of what the Everglades looks like. It's hard not to want to live there and discover it. On the same side, the illustrations also tell the tale as much on their own as with the text as they follow Marjory growing up, moving to her job, the various problems which threaten the nature, and Marjory's work to keep the landscape safe.

The tale and text is well done, very age appropriate, and easy to understand. It flows nicely and allows listeners to get to know Marjory and sympathize with her efforts as well as understand the dangers the Everglades faced. Not only do the pages teach more about Marjory but also inspire readers and show that a person can make a difference.


And here they are...

The Author...
Sandra Neil Wallace hopes that her stories inspire readers as much as they inspire her. Her most recent book, Between the Lines: How Ernie Barnes Went From the Football Field to the Art Gallery, illustrated by Bryan Collier, received the Orbis Pictus Book Award, was an ALA Notable Book and a Booklist Top 10 Biography for Youth. Her novel, Muckers, was named a Booklist Top 10 Sports Book for Youth. Formerly, Sandra was an ESPN reporter and was the first woman to host an NHL broadcast. She lives in New Hampshire with her family. You can visit her at SandraNeilWallace.com.

The Illustrator...
Rebecca Gibbon is the illustrator of many picture books, including Elizabeth Leads the Way, an ALA Notable Book, and Celebritrees. She lives in England with her family.

Too Young to Die in the Garden of Syn by Michael Seidelman with Giveaway!

 



Too Young to Die in the Garden of Syn
Garden of Syn Book #3)
by Michael Seidelman
YA Fantasy
Chewed Pencil Press 

COMING TOMORROW...
MARCH 30th!!!


The stakes could not be higher in the epic conclusion of The Garden of Syn trilogy.

Synthia (Syn) Wade discovered a secret world known as the Garden, where illness and death do not exist. Because of the tragic events that occurred in the Garden, Syn vowed never to return, even as cystic fibrosis threatened her young life. But when Syn faces the ultimate betrayal and a malicious adversary closes in, she is forced to escape her world and reluctantly return to the Garden.

However, her ruthless foe is not easily thwarted. Flanked by a deadly army, this dark force manipulates its way into the Garden with the goal of ultimate destruction. Facing great adversity, Syn must risk her life to protect the Garden and all those living within its borders.

Will Syn save the Garden and those she holds dear from the storm cloud of evil? Or will she discover that no one is Too Young to Die in the Garden of Syn?



Buy Links: 


GIVEAWAY!!! 

$25 Amazon Gift Card

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And here he is...

When Michael Seidelman was growing up, his passions were reading, watching movies, enjoying nature and creative writing. Not much has changed since then.

Working in Online Marketing for over ten years, Michael felt it was time to pursue his passion and began writing The Garden of Syn trilogy.

Michael is excited about the upcoming release of the third and final book in The Garden of Syn series and beyond the trilogy, he has more books in the works that he can’t wait to share with the world!

Michael was born in Vancouver, BC Canada where he continues to reside.




Tour Created by YA Bound Book Tours 

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Review: The Threads of Magic by Alison Croggon

Today's read is a rich fantasy for middle grade readers...and what a fantasy it is! This one is set in a kingdom with a young pick-pocket, who gets himself into quite the situation. It's on the darker side as there is a boy, who was murdered and a few other characters die magical deaths. Yet, it's not enough to make it overly creepy or gruesome. There's definitely a well-woven plot and tons of rich characters. Oh, and let's not forget magic! 

Yep, I enjoyed this one quite a bit. And now, you can read more about it... 


THE THREADS OF MAGIC
by Alison Croggon
Candlewick Press
Middle Grade Fantasy
384 pages
ages 8 to 12










In a gripping stand-alone fantasy from the acclaimed Alison Croggon, a pickpocket steals the cursed Stone Heart and is propelled into a power struggle, woven with witchcraft, that will change the kingdom forever.

Pip lives by his wits in the city of Clarel. But when he picks the wrong pocket, Pip finds himself in possession of a strange dried heart in a silver casket—and those who lost it will stop at nothing to get it back. With assassins on his trail and the ominous heart beginning to whisper to him, Pip and his childlike older sister El are drawn deeper into the forbidden world of magic. Now they must seek the help of the secret witches of Clarel and Princess Georgette—who is sick of being a pawn in everyone else’s game—to wage revolution against a chilling king, a power-hungry church cardinal, and an ancient evil they don’t truly understand. A beautifully written adventure full of courage and kindness, The Threads of Magic transports readers to a magical city of airy palaces and rotten slums, of agents of the Office of Witchcraft Examination and midsummer dancing in the Weavers’ Quarter, of dangerous fathers and chosen family


GOODREADS   /    AMAZON   /    KOBO    /    B&N    /    BOOK DEPOSITORY


BOOK BLINK

                                      * action packed and fast paced
                                      * witches and royals
                                      * slightly darker read
                                      * male protagonist


MY TIDBITS

Tightly woven intrigue and a vibrant world make this a read which is hard to put down and easy to get lost in.

Pip is a street thief and does his best to keep himself and his younger sister alive. When he gets his hands on a silver box inlayed with jewels, he's sure their fate is about to take a change. That is, until he discovers what is inside. Magic is forbidden, and witches long destroyed and erased from the kingdom, but somehow, he's managed to stumble right into a spell. But this isn't any spell, and his thievery has opened a dark secret, one which threatens to destroy life as he knows it...and unveil a darkness lurking behind the kingdom's facade.

This is a darker tale and does deal with death, murder, and blood magic. So, more sensitive readers should beware. That said, it is still very middle grade appropriate and does push any of these areas too far. 

I was looking forward to reading this one and wasn't disappointed. Pip is an orphan with a huge heart. He's quick witted but does make mistakes. If it wasn't for his younger sister, best friend, and new friend (which I'm not going to say who it is because that gives away some of the plot), he'd stumble into more trouble than is good for him. In other words, friendship is important in this book and especially concentrates on the aspect of trust. Family relations also play an important role, and this one involves a mother/daughter one, which is simply warming.

The pacing is well done and molds the world building right in, so that there's never a boring moment. The world forms as the story speeds along, allowing the reader to sink in and feel as if they were joining Pip and his sister in the adventure. There's a lot going on in this book...I did wonder how the author was going to manage to stuff such a complicated plot into only one book...but it's well done. By changing up the points of view as necessary, time is saved and the action is kept front and center. Since the scenes changes hold to the chapters, it's never confusing, either. Unfortunately, the author does do perspective changes between characters sometimes from one paragraph to the other, which jolted, but the tale was intriguing enough to make this only a small stumble. The quick space also allowed a couple more emotional moments to loose their impact and especially one, almost was too shallow to be believable. Otherwise, everything sits wonderfully, and I couldn't put this one down, since I had to see what happened next.

Summed up, this one is definitely worth a read. The world is rich, the tale is packed with adventure, and it never talks down to the audience. So, yep, put this one on your to be read list.


Saturday, March 27, 2021

Review: Breaking the Ice by Angie Bullaro

Sports is a popular theme among young readers...at least, that's what my librarian friends out there keep telling me. And with March just happening to be Woman's History month, I was excited to get my hands on today's read. Not only do these pages hit both areas, but it even wraps it up into a wonderfully illustrated picture book. Add a good portion of inspiration and determination, and this one is for more readers than just hockey fans.

If I could, I'd now pop-in We Will Rock You from Queen...I attended a hockey college, and that was, of course, the song played during warm-up before the game. So, let that roll through your ear and off we go!



BREAKING THE ICE
by Angie Bullaro
Illustrated by C.F. Payne
Paula Wiseman Books
Picture Book Non-Fiction
40 pages
ages 6 to 10








The inspiring true story of Manon Rhéaume, the first and only woman to play a game in the National Hockey League, featuring an afterward from Manon herself.

“One day, a woman will play in the National Hockey League. If no one prevents her,” said a twelve-year-old Manon Rhéaume. Manon always dreamed of playing hockey. So, when the team her father coached needed a goalie, five-year-old Manon begged for the chance to play. She didn’t care that she’d be the only girl in the entire league or that hockey was considered a “boys’ sport” in her hometown of Lac-Beauport, Quebec, Canada. All she cared about was the game. After her father gave her that first chance to play, she embarked on a spectacular, groundbreaking career in hockey.

At every level of competition, Manon was faced with naysayers, but she continued to play, earning her place on prestigious teams and ultimately becoming the first woman to play a game in the NHL. Including an afterword written by Manon herself, Breaking the Ice is the true story of one girl’s courage, determination, and love for the sport.


GOODREADS   /    AMAZON   /    B&N    /    KOBO    /    BOOK DEPOSITORY


BOOK BLINK

                                            * introduces readers to Manon Rheaume
                                            * well-done, realistic illustrations
                                            * for slightly older readers
                                            * note from Manon herself at end
                                            * timeline at end


MY TIDBITS

In true tale fashion, the inspiring account of Manon Rheaume's desire to play hockey despite gender borders comes to life.

Manon Rheaume grew up in Canada and loved playing goalie for her brother's backyard hockey games. When her father was missing a goalie for his younger team, she begged to take the spot. Despite reservations, her father agreed but only if she wasn't seen without her helmet to hide the fact that she was a girl. But Manon soon proved her place on the ice through her skills. When an American team owner saw her abilities on television, her hockey dreams took a leap she never thought possible.

This is a book, which screams inspiration. It starts out with Manon as a young girl, snuggling right up with readers as they're shown how normal she really is. The author goes step by step, allowing her fight and determination to come across clearly as well as her own realization that each new step might really be the highest rank she'd ever achieve. There isn't any bitterness on her part but simply the desire to play hockey and convince people of her right to be on the ice through her own capabilities and skills. It's inspiring without ever feeling exaggerated or fed with extra tension to make the story bigger and better. And I appreciated that.

The illustrations have a more realistic style to them, and these are well done. The text is heavy for young listeners and is more appropriate for slightly older readers, ages 6 and up. The tale is interesting and allows it to unfold in a true story fashion, making sure dates and details are left mostly to the side. These are then added at the end of the book in a timeline. There's also a letter from Manon herself, which adds a nice, personal touch.

Anyone who wants to learn more about Manon, women in hockey, loves hockey itself, or enjoys sport tales is sure to sink into these pages.















Friday, March 26, 2021

Sneak Peek: Silver Dawn Afire by Sonja J. Breckon

Today's main book dives into the realm of rich fantasy and has tons of depth. I found the surmise intriguing: a girl destined to destroy the world refuses to do that and sets out to save the world instead. After all, who doesn't love to trick fate and challenge destiny? 

I haven't gotten around to reading this one quite yet, but a review is coming up soon! So, keep your eyes open for that in the next weeks.

Silver Dawn Afire banner

This blog tour is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 15 March till 4 April. See the tour schedule here.


Silver Dawn Afire cover

Silver Dawn Afire
The Seventh Age Saga #1
by Sonja J. Breckon
YA Fantasy
March 16th, 2021






 

Myridians are coming, each wielding one of Six Cataclysmic Powers that will lay waste to the world and wake the God of Neutrality. What happens when one refuses to succumb to her myridian nature and sets out to save the world instead?
***
SIDRA ANATOLA will soon die a human death and be reborn as one of the myridian, beings destined to destroy the World of Aetheria. In a desperate attempt to change her dark fate, she flees home and the young man she loves to seek help from a powerful entity who has lived through all the ages. But she may not make it in time before she is killed by hunters—or by the love of her life, also a myridian, who fights every day to hold onto the emotions that made him human.

BRESEIS ERISWEN was expelled from the academy and failed her father who expected her to carry on her late mother’s profession as a myridian hunter. But Breseis never wanted to be a hunter—she refused to kill, and she never believed in myridians, to begin with. She leaves home with big dreams, lacking experience, and a broken heart, to prove that she is more than a failed hunter.

Two contrasting paths converge to become a turbulent one. A mouthy intellect with a colorful personality, and a skilled warrior with a frosty attitude, put their differences aside and travel the rest of the way together, robbing temples, angering false gods, and escaping numerous predicaments with their lives. Amid the chaos, they form a friendship despite a gut feeling that both hide dangerous secrets that can save or destroy the world and each other.

-Goodreads  /  Amazon   /    B&N   /    Kobo




Silver Dawn Afire promotion banner


SNEAK PEEK

The susurrus of voices and the shuffling of bodies filter in from the parlor just outside the room where a small crowd has gathered, though not for Sidra’s sake. Most either don’t know she’s here, don’t know she’s dying, or don’t care. Some are people from the streets who, like Sidra and me, have gone into the brothel to take shelter from the rumbling mountain and the chaos in the streets; others are the brothel’s residents, Eslanda’s girls who live and work here.

“They found her,” Eslanda announces from the doorway.

She enters the room with a young woman embellished by a thin yellow dress that clings to her naked form underneath. She has reddish-brown skin; her cheeks and nose splashed with dark freckles, and her hair falls just below her ears in springy reddish-black curls. She reminds me of my good friend, Evolet, back in Valdania: lovely and kind and incredibly talented.

Can it be that simple? That Eslanda can send someone into the city to find a healer, and Sidra be magically cured as a result? I don’t think anything is that simple, so there are no feelings of hope or relief when the woman steps into the room. Okay, maybe some hope, but not much.

“This is Nesrin,” Eslanda says. “She’s the best healer I know; I’ve seen her do extraordinary things.”

“But Sidra’s not sick,” I point out kindly. “She’s cursed.” I grasp the top of Sidra’s hand, absently trying to comfort her; Sidra’s fingers feel clammy against my skin.

The healer, named Nesrin, steps up closer; she smells of begonia and a hint of honeysuckle. I notice the woman carries no satchel or anything that might indicate she is a healer. Where are the salves and herbs that traditional healers often possess?

“I have banished as many curses as I have healed diseases,” Nesrin says in a honeyed voice. “I make no promises, but I will do my best to help your friend.”

I release Sidra’s hand, and I stand.

“You know Banishing Craft,” I say; it is as much a question as a statement.

“I am one of few left with the gift,” Nesrin says.

“Gift?” I make a face. “Forgive me for saying, but Banishing Craft is as much a curse as the curses and diseases it cures—why do you still practice it?”

Nesrin places the palm of her hand to Sidra’s forehead; then, she sits down on the bed beside her; I move out of the way to give her more space.

“Because it is my calling.” Nesrin runs her fingers through Sidra’s hair. “If I die banishing the maladies of others, then it will be a good death.”

Um…okay; have to admire her dedication, at least.

Banishing Craft is one of the most sought-after crafts in all of Aetheria—because it almost always works, even against so-called unbreakable curses and incurable diseases. But like all things involving life and death, there are consequences. The one using Banishing Craft is at risk of dying from the same curses and diseases they cure. It is why there are so few of their kind left. And few ever seem to care for the healer’s life when they are so worried about the lives of their loved ones, and I have always felt bitterly of such people—I’ll be damned if I became one of them.

“I don’t feel right about this.” I pace, one arm across my midsection, the other propped atop it at the elbow; my fingers curled underneath my chin. “I mean, of course, I want someone to help her, but I…” I bite my lip. “But by agreeing to it, I feel like I’m trading one life for another—it’s just not right.”

“Do you want your friend to die?”

“Of course not. But I don’t want you to die either.”

“Your conscience is clear,” Nesrin assures. “I choose to help her.”

“You don’t even know her.”

Nesrin smiles softly.

“One day you will understand,” she says and turns to Sidra. “I would like everyone to leave the room.”

My arms drop to my sides, and I just stand here, not liking the idea of leaving Sidra alone with anyone.

Sidra moans in her unconscious state, and her body trembles and sweats profusely against the linen that covers the small bed. I can only imagine what horrible images the fever is trying to burn from Sidra’s mind.

“All right,” I give in. “But if you need me…”

Nesrin nods.

“Let’s go sit in the parlor.” Eslanda reaches for my hand.

“And please,” Nesrin says, stopping us, “do not come into this room unless I tell you. Many curses, when removed from one body, find another one to attach itself. Let it be mine, as I am experienced in such things.”

With reluctance, I follow Eslanda into the parlor, where several people are all standing and sitting around in groups of three and four, discussing amongst themselves what they think might be happening with the quakes in the city. I can’t bear to sit or stand still, so I pace, arms crossed, my bottom lip wedged between my teeth.



And here she is...

Sonja J. Breckon
Sonja J. Breckon is a builder of fantasy worlds and not ashamed to admit she lives in them more than in the real world. Besides writing books, she works with various programs to create her own cover art, interior art, design, formatting, and fantasy maps. Sonja loves nature, the universe, coffee, and bookstores. Oh, and chicken potato enchiladas.

Author links:
- Website
- Instagram
- Twitter
- Goodreads
- Amazon
- Newsletter






Silver Dawn Afire banner square


Lola's Blog Tours graphic

Review: Dark One by Brandon Sanderson

For today's review, I stretched into a totally new direction. Well, a new direction for me. While I always enjoy a good fantasy and have been trying to include more graphic novels in Bookworm for Kids' list, this one takes a much more serious direction...and darker...than I've gone in the graphic novel area before. While I won't recommend this to the younger end of the YA world, older ones won't have a problem with it. It does hit the violent side of things, though.

So, are you ready for something new? 


DARK ONE 
VOLUME 1
by Brandon Sanderson, Jackson Lanzing, and Collin Kelly
Diamond Book Distributors
YA Fantasy / Graphic Novel
224 pages
ages 16 and up


COMING...
MAY 18th!!!


From #1 New York Times Bestselling, Hugo Award-winning author, Brandon Sanderson (The Mistborn Trilogy, The Stormlight Archive series), along with Nathan Gooden, Jackson Lanzing, and Collin Kelly, comes Dark One, the first book in a series of original graphic novels, from Vault Comics. Some worlds are made to be broken. Paul Tanasin is a young man haunted by visions of a dark and fantastic world?visions he initially believes are hallucinations. But when he discovers they are prophecies from Mirandus, a world in which he's destined to become a fearsome destroyer, he'll have to embrace the fear, rise up as the Dark One, and shatter everything. Dark One examines the dual roles we often take on in life-the ability to be a savior as well as a destroyer.


   B&N    /    BOOK DEPOSITORY    /      AMAZON


BOOK BLINK

                                        * hits several points of view
                                        * fast-paced
                                        * intriguing characters and plot
                                        * for older YA due to violence and gore



MY TIDBITS


Worlds collide with prophecies, narratives, heroes and certain evil only to turn everything on its head and launch into what promises to be an exciting series.

A monster hides inside Paul, but nobody truly believes him. He's not so sure he believes it himself and is determined weekly psychologists visits might finally help him become normal. But when a warrior appears on horseback in the doctor's office and beheads a man, Paul realizes he might not be so crazy after all. Soon, he's swept into another world, one where evil always rises and is defeated by a chosen one again and again. And Paul's at the center of the entire thing.

This read was darker and harsher than I expected it to be. So, I'd definitely recommend this one to the upper YA end due to violence and gore. But it's nothing which doesn't fit the story or go completely overboard, either. Paul's life isn't nice and neither is the world and adventure he's about to face. The first pages are calm enough and allow the reader to get to know Paul. The story isn't only seen from his point of view, though. Rather, it switches between Paul, the other world and his mother, who's a top-notch prosecutor. This switch from one perspective to another was well done, never grew confusing, and allowed the two worlds to become a bit familiar before they collide.

The graphics are well done and definitely kept the story racing along. While there are more than a couple violent and bloody scenes, this does not overshadow or weaken the character depth and general plot. Rather, it supports how horrible the situation is, in which Paul finds himself. And I especially appreciated the character arc. Paul is a character to cheer for and full of surprises. He battles with himself, and has an amazing balance of light and darkness inside. I can't wait to grab up the second volume because there is so much more to come.