Friday, August 29, 2014

The Ifs

3/5 Stars

Authors Description:

*Fantasy Adventure for ages 8 and up.

Landon and Broden are brothers. Sometimes they get along. Well, sometimes they don't. But when they find out who's behind the weird happenings in their house, they are called to battle. 

Battle? Whoa. Not just one of their fun play-battles either, but a real battle in the forest with the most unusual of creatures and the wildest of animals. Can the brothers pull together when they need each other most? 
THE IFS by J.D. Pooker, cover art by Frank Walls, graphic design by David G. Barnett, published by Little Devil Books*

The Ifs is a tale of brotherhood, loyalty, and knightly valor as two human brothers fight in a great battle to save the Ifs from their rival tribes. But which tribe is in the right? Borrowing from such beloved stories as The Borrowers, Pooker adds a unique twist in creating a group of 'little people' who are seemingly self sufficient and militarized, with their their societies living in the forrest where young Broden and Landon play. When the brothers are called upon to help the Ifs, they rise to action and learn that sometimes it's not about who is right, but about who is willing to forgive.

While the storyline is in need of further development, the characters interactions and dialogue are true to life and well thought out. A few chapters were difficult to follow and while the brothers are clearly the main characters of the book, I found they were written as a narrator observing their actions rather than through the eyes of the young heroes leaving the story somewhat impersonal and one dimensional.

Overall, The Ifs is good story the target audience is sure to enjoy.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Warble

4/5 Stars

Book Description

*Kristina Kingsly feels like the most unpopular girl in her class−she doesn’t fit in and a couple of her classmates are down right nasty to her. Simply put, her school life is miserable. But things are about to change when Kristina receives an unusual Christmas gift; she suddenly finds herself mysteriously transported to the land of Bernovem, home of dwarfs, gnomes, fairies, talking animals and the evil Queen Sentiz.

In Bernovem, Kristina not only fits in, she’s honored as “the chosen one” the only one who can release the land from Queen Sentiz’s control. But it’s not as simple as it seems. To save Bernovem, she must place the gift she was given, the famous “Warble,” in its resting place. To accomplish this, she must travel through the deep forest, climb a treacherous mountain, and risk capture by the queen’s “zelbocks” before she reaches her destination. Guided by her new fairy friends, Clover and Looper and by Prince Werrien, a teenage boy, as well as an assortment of other characters, Kristina sets off on a perilous journey that not only tests her strength but her heart.*

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Thank You For Believing...

For those who have never seen the beautiful work of James Hance, now is the time to own his work for free.

Thank You For Believing is a commemorative portrait of Robin Williams in his role as Peter Pan, an image we all cling to remember him by during this time of sorrow and remembrance.

The original painting will be sold on Ebay, feel free to bid, and all proceeds will be donated to Robin Williams favorite charity, the St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, along with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

You can check out James Hance's FB page for a link to the free download and check out his other works, or you can go straight to the download Here.

Today is a day to celebrate life and to remember the happiness he brought to millions, and will bring to millions more with his amazing works.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Victory! And Poo...

I mentioned I had some surprises and I do, in fact, now have one of them in hand! The Wheel of Fortune has turned in my favor. Finally.

After my car was fixed (for free!), I won a very exciting prize that I will also share when it comes in, THEN I deciphered the clues that lead to an epic copy of one of my new favorite books! It was my luckiest day ever!

My new awesomely awesome #LastAbbot copy sitting on my bookshelf! My Clue: The Key is hidden in a town in NC that was established in 1889.

The Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley, for those of you that didn't see my many Facebook posts and Tweets about it, is in the midst of an epic treasure hunt; 20 copies were hidden around the world, the clues to which are posted to twitter (#LastAbbot) or you can check out Brian's Blog and decipher the clues for yourself.

The keys inside the book unlock a short story about a character that the world needs to know about! (Also on the link to Brian's blog)

But you'd better hurry! There are only 9 left!

Still not convince to join in? You can read My Review of The Emperor's Blades and see if it changes your mind.

I deciphered my copies hiding place on Wednesday and was SO incredibly excited! Problem was, it was 6 1/2 hours away. Mapping out my crazy, slightly obsessed endeavor revealed the hiding spot surprisingly was conveniently tucked away just a few miles off the road I already had to take to get back home. It was perfect!

I wanted to tell EVERYONE so bad, but I couldn't risk revealing its position in case someone got to it first! I had further commitments where we were staying in NC for the next day so I had to patiently (ok, not so patiently) wait for Friday morning to go in search of it.

I did my best to go the speed limit (don't speed kids), and we only got stuck in traffic once. For one, painstakingly long hour. Just 10 miles from the exit.

I tried not to jump for joy as I finally steered my car off the interstate and onto the Great Smoky Mountain Parkway. 20 more miles and it was mine!

That's when the poo smell reached my nose.

I was sure there had been a cattle truck in front of us on the interstate and the smell would go away momentarily.

It did not.

It poured in through the vents like Hexxus coating Fern Gully with his venomous ooze of evil.

(Reverts to Childhood Terrors Here)

Nothing could shake it, but after 7 hours on the road and our destination merely 20 miles away and nowhere to stop to determine the smells origin, I had to go on! I had to get to that book!

Then the rain started.

I think I made out the soaking wet forms of a few unfortunate cats and dogs dropping from the skies the downpour was so terrible. As the poo smell grew worse, so did the rain, and driving winding mountain roads through the rain is no picnic.

After a 10 minute drive stretched into 40 minutes, we finally reached Sylva, NC. Smelling of poo and only slightly discouraged at the thought that someone could have grabbed it during my 2 hour delay, we were finally ready to see if my detective skills were on the right track!

I do have to briefly apologize to the unfortunate cafe we parked beside... I had the great displeasure of discovering exactly where the poo smell was coming from, and to my son's credit, he did not complain once, (he actually took a nap after making the mess) and we had no choice but to rush to the nearest bathroom and clean everything up. 

Seriously, I'm sorry. I mopped the floor up the best I could... 

After throwing away an outfit not worth saving, walking two more blocks, then climbing a ridiculously steep hill, there was the bookstore, and indeed the book was there!

City Lights Bookstore, Sylva, NC

Whoever hid this key chose an amazing spot. The rain cleared up just long enough for us to see the beautiful building housing an adorable bookstore and a cafe with a great view of the mountains. The town is simply beautiful. If anyone is up in the Great Smoky Mountains, they should definitely check this place out!

Despite my stressful and prolonged journey home; a 12 hour drive suddenly becoming a 17 hour drive, battling rain, time constraints, and possibly forever destroying the interior of my car, I accepted the challenge and came out victorious! 

I did have to pay for an autographed copy, which made me chuckle because I hadn't thought about the fact that it being signed would up the price, but again, worth it!