Monday, August 31, 2015

The Wonder of Harry Potter - Part 1

Guest Author: Elaine White
This article is by Elaine White. All opinions are her own.
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I am, ever so slightly obsessed with Harry Potter. But there’s a reason for that. Just like with Disney, there are important life lessons in the world of Harry Potter that speak to us all. It’s not all about the quest, the adventure and the heroism. It’s about so much more than that.
I came to Harry Potter late on. I saw the films before I had read the books and because I enjoyed them so much, I waited until I had seen all the films before attempting the books. That being said, I loved the books even more than the films. There are things in the films that aren’t in the books, for obvious reasons and things in the books that aren’t in the films. I find that this offsets the whole chaos of having to only like one or the other. They both have a lot to offer. Here, I’ll mostly be discussing the books, since I’m reading them right now.
The first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, is one of those that has that exciting newness about it right from the beginning. The whole thing is unknown. You have no idea if Harry’s going to be put into Slytherin and if he’ll change his mind and become friends with Draco, or if he’s made the right decision by asking the hat to put him into Griffindor instead. And for all that there are a lot of new characters to get your head around - Hagrid, Ron, Neville, Hermione - it’s done expertly. To me, the biggest lesson of The Sorcerer's Stone is to not let other people’s expectations rule your life. Draco and the others expect Harry to want only pure-blood friends because he’s a famous wizard. However, they seem to forget that Harry himself is only a half-blood, because of his Muggle born mother.
And yes, I know what you’re going to say. Harry is Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived and everyone expects him to defeat He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named. And he does, over and over again. But not because of other people’s expectations. Harry does what he does, for himself, for his parents, for his friends, for Dumbledore, for the wizarding world. Even at the age of 11, he has a strong sense of duty, love about what he is and the world he’s a part of.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Book Review: The Dream Keeper Chronicles

Guest Author: Elaine White
This article is by Elaine White. All opinions are her own.
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series image
TDK
Book – The Dream Keeper (The Dream Keeper Chronicles - Book 1)
Star rating - ★★★★☆             Cover - ✔             Suitable Title - 
Plot – very entertaining, original, good flow
Characters – loved all the characters and how detailed they were
Movie Potential - ★★★★★            Would I read it again - 
Ease of reading – very easy to read

 

** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK, BY THE AUTHOR, IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW **


The book is really nicely presented, with chapter headings and good formatting. I didn't notice any spelling or grammar mistakes, and if there were any they were so unobtrusive to the reading of the story that I never caught them.
We come into the story, in the middle of events, which I love. I really think Gladamyr is a brilliant character, who holds the others together. The very idea of the world of Dreams, and how it connects to the moral (human) world is so clever and original. I've never seen it done before.
Gladamyr is a Mare – a nightmare creature created by a human child. He's also one of those tortured souls who is born to be bad, but yearns to be good. I really felt his struggle, time and again, even when the story wasn't told through his POV. At the end of every chapter, I couldn't wait to see what he did next, or what the children did. I think making Gladamyr a shape shifter was believable and wasn't just a clever twist to the story, so that he could become what they needed in their time of need. His gift didn't always help him or save who he wanted to save, so desperately.
Continuing on from that, I don't think there was any aspect of the story that was specifically designed to be a help or hindrance to the characters, purely to push the story along. When I read a fantasy book, especially one for teens or a YA audience such as this book, I want every aspect to be wholly believable and reasonable. I don't want the characters doing anything silly, just because it's a fantasy book and anything goes. Everything in this book was made true and honest to the world it was set in and the characters who lived it.
I really love the two human kids; Parker and Kaelyn. They're your typical high school kids, caught up in high school politics, until something much more important comes along. Parker is a typical teenage boy, caught in the confusing middle ground of popularity, where he's popular enough, but he's also one mistake from social ruin. Kaelyn is the opposite; she's already at the bottom of the social register at school, lost and doubting herself. Her aunt is a psychic, which doesn't help her popularity, and Kaelyn has an inner critic, telling her that she's fat and ugly, which should explain why no-one likes her. We learn from her aunt, Zelda, that she's just curvaceous. Both kids need to learn to stand up for themselves in different way and do so throughout the book.
I was so impressed with the way that the author developed the children. Not only did they learn from each other and still have to battle their own fears and doubts, right until the end of the story, but they learned about each other and about themselves, as they did so. There were times when I got angry with Parker for saying something, later on in the book, that he should have known better than to say. But then he would apologise and see that it was wrong. Kaelyn would do the same; taking a compliment as criticism and then getting mad about it. I loved how they interacted together, protecting and caring for each other, even when they didn't want to. I love that Parker shows Kaelyn that she's not the social reject she thinks she is and that he learns to appreciate her for who she is. I love that Kaelyn teaches Parker to think for himself and not let the other kids at school dictate how he acts or what he says.
Together, these kids have an adventure, but the most important adventure, I feel, is that they are starting to discover who they really are. Away from social high school dramas, they've grown and learned things that no-one but each other could teach them.
There were only three problems I had with this book.
  1. The texting. I'm glad the author put in brackets what they were saying, because I've never seen texting like this before. It would have been easier to either insert the bracketed text on its own or create a shortened version of the words that still made sense.
  2. There are phrases like 'whack job' that are reworked as 'quack job'. Simple, common phrases have been changed in minor ways, but every time the new version came along, it surprised me and jarred me out of the reading.
  3. Sometimes it was hard to imagine the fight scenes or the creatures that the Mares and Gladamyr turned into. There's something a lot going on, so stopping to try to imagine these unfamiliar creatures did disrupt the reading and I often had to read the description over a few times, to get a clear picture in my head.
Overall, I find the story captivating, intriguing and original. The only thing I've ever read that could touch it, is my all time favourite YA series, Dragons in Our Midst, by Brian Davis. I loved the simple, dream like quality of each new adventure and how it was something that either child would want to step into. The more I read of Parker, Kaelyn and Gladamyr, the more I like them and see them growing. The ending took me by surprise. I can't wait to read book 2, to find out where it leads.
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TDS
Book – The Dream Stone (The Dream Keeper Chronicles - Book 2)
Star rating - ★★★★★              Cover - ✔              Suitable Title - 
Plot – very entertaining, original, good flow
Characters – loved all the characters and how detailed they were
Movie Potential - ★★★★★             Would I read it again -  
Ease of reading – very easy to read

 

This book was action-packed! From start to finish, there was always something going on, keeping me from putting it down.
There's not a lot I can say about this book without giving away spoilers of books 1, or this one, so I'm going to keep it simple and to the point. I LOVED IT! It was so full of adventure, excitement and the characters, though we knew them already, were just as exciting to read as in book 1, when we didn't know them. I did a lot of fist pumping and 'YES!!' when a character I loved from book 1 had a less uncertain future ;) To find out what that means, you'll have to read the series.
What I really loved, was that each of the characters kept growing and expanding, even after everything they'd gone through in book 1. They still have struggles and arguments in this book, which helps them get closer to each other and their group of friends. I will say that I suspected Jason's part in it all, though I did hope that he'd been mean to Parker in hopes of goading him into confessing about Dreams, so that they could talk about it and share it. I also hoped he'd called Parker to let him know what had happened to his mom, but I wasn't all that surprised that I was wrong.
I'm really interested to see how this story develops into the next book. There's a lot of sacrifice and nail biting moments in this book that had me sitting on the edge of my seat. I was really happy to find out more about Liz and see that she was finally understanding that she hadn't always been there for Parker when he needed her. I loved his reunion with his dad and was pleased that things were finally starting to come together for him.
I absolutely loved the Driag scene. It was so touching and gut-wrenching. The whole thing was one of my favourite moments of the book, of which there were many. The way the characters connect with each other and learn about themselves is very unique and sort of magical in this series.
I'm really intrigued by Cato and what his part in book 3 will be. His connection with Kaelyn offers a lot of potential for his future.
My favourite quote would have to be this one:
““OMG!” Parker hooted. “You're amazing!”
Shut up and think for me,” she snapped. “I'm getting all these images of Lara Croft from you – I need ice!”
Parker literally shook the thoughts out of his head and began to think of the icebergs in the arctic. He would ask Kaelyn later how she had known about the superhot character from this favourite video game.”
It's so typically Parker and say a lot for the future of their relationship, as they move forward into book 3. I can't wait to see how these 14-year -old kids manage to save Dreams and learn who they really are.
One more think – OH. MY. GOD! The end…Allyon…the librarian…Mab…
I can't say anything about any of it, until you've read the book, but believe me it's SHOCKING!
~
TDM
Book – The Dream Makers (The Dream Keeper Chronicles - Book 3)
Star rating - ★★★★★              Cover - ✔              Suitable Title - 
Plot – very entertaining, original, good flow
Characters – loved all the characters and how detailed they were
Movie Potential - ★★★★★             Would I read it again -  
Ease of reading – very easy to read

 

** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK, BY THE AUTHOR, IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW **


Normally, when I write a review like this, I go into detail about the plot, the characters and the style of writing or what I loved or hated about the book. I can't do that for this one. I literally just finished reading this book and my heart is broken.
There are so many characters that tugged the heart strings, from the beginning to the end of the book. Some characters I'd hated and some I'd loved in previous books, but in this book it all came together until all the lines between good and bad, black and white were blurred.
I enjoyed going back, in the first chapter, to when Liz was little and getting to know more about her journey and how the librarian fitted in. I loved the inclusion of Jason, Cato and all the kids, good and bad, that they knew. For being fourteen, all these kids were strong enough to know and recognise when they were needed. They all pushed aside their personal grievances to come together and support each other.
Another excellent instalment in the series. I'm so sad it's over.
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About the Author 3
Mikey Brooks
"Mikey Brooks is a small child masquerading as an adult. On occasion you’ll catch him dancing the funky chicken, singing like a banshee, and pretending to have never grown up. He is an award winning author of the middle-grade fantasy adventure series The Dream Keeper Chronicles. His other middle-grade books include: The Gates of Atlantis: Battle for Acropolis and The Stone of Valhalla. His picture books include the best-selling ABC Adventures: Magical CreaturesTrouble with Bernie, and Bean’s Dragons. Mikey has a BS degree in English from Utah State University and works fulltime as a freelance illustrator, cover designer, and author. His art can be seen in many forms from picture books to full room murals. He loves to daydream with his three daughters and explore the worlds that only the imagination of children can create. As a member of the Emblazoners, he is one of many authors devoted to ‘writing stories on the hearts of children’ (emblazoners.com). You can find more about him and his books at: www.insidemikeysworld.com"
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Contact4
Twitter              Google +1              Facebook              YouTube              Pinterest              LinkedIn
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Buy3

THE DREAM KEEPER (BOOK 1)

Amazon US               Nook               Kobo               Audiobook

THE DREAMSTONE (BOOK 2)

Kindle US               Nook               Kobo               Paperback               Hardback               Audiobook

THE DREAM MAKERS (BOOK 3)

Amazon US               Kobo
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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Teaser Tuesday

#TeaserTuesday #WMP #YA #Romance

Destined Oracle, by J.G. Martinez
The Destined Oracle, book 1

http://smarturl.it/DestinedOracle

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With evil corrupting even the ranks of angels, the one to save the world doesn't know of what she is capable. At three years old, her Mother hid her in the human world from the realm of magic and from those who wished to thwart her destiny. After her last remaining relative on her father's side passes away, her mother decided to return her daughter to the magic world where she belongs. With the forces of evil building an army, will Savina find the power and strength to do what she was born to do? Or will the forces of evil finish what it began years before and destroy her?

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Author Resource: Names

Regency


Girls
Boys
Martha
Fred
Irene
Earl
Virginia
Raymond
Edith
Albert
Bernice
Norman
Doris
Eugene
Dorothy
Ralph
Esther
Clarence
Jean
Marvin
Thelma
Walter
Frances
Ronald
Lois
Gary
Sharon
Willie
Betty
Roy
Barbara
Roger
Carolyn
Donald
Elaine
Bruce
Donna
Randy
Gail
Rodney
Nancy
Jeffrey



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Contemporary

Girls
Boys
Wisdom
Thor
Sandor
Cici
Egor
Gigi
Saxon
Tiggy
Norman
Ziggy
Titas
Nixie
Atlas
Dexie
Trace
Lolo
Blaize
Echo
Royal
Halo
King
Boo
Nero
Opal
Hero
Emerald
Apollo
Amethyst
Obi
Hilda
Muse
Ednas
Memphis
Doris
Roux
Dilys
Dyson

Source: Bounty.com



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Sci-fi

Girls
Boys
Alia
Bail
Amidala
Cade
Ayala
Dash
Bria
Elihu
Davin
Galen
Deanna
Holden
Dejah
Keyan
Deliah
Kaidan
River
Jubal
Serenity
Korben
Kira
Lazarus
Lorelei
Mal
Joelle
Rune
Leia
Selim
Kaylee
Talon
Serra
Talyn
Samara
Winter
Sela
Zhora
Moya
Tali
Diva
Tyrell



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Futuristic

Girls
Boys
Noona
Niko
Nyx
Nova
Amethyst
Apollo
Aries
Artemis
Astra
Axton
Blythe
Cillian
Callista
Colton
Ceres
Cosmo
Dervilia
Drake
Jax
Indigo
Persephone
Oberon
Rhea
Quinn
Sapphire
Phoenix
Skyler
Rye
Teal
Thane
Tempest
Zen
Ursa
Astro
Verity
Gage
Xandra
Kai
Rye
Jax

Source: Huggies.com


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Paranormal

Girls
Boys
Alice
Armand
Bella
Antonio
Bianca
Brady
Cassandra
Clayton
Elena
Collin
Claudia
Cullen
Gwen
Damon
Esme
Darius
Ivy
Edward
Jade
Embry
Leah
Falcon
Venus
Irving
Nina
Santiago
Raina
Oz
Rashida
Remus
Rose
Sam
Sylvie
Seth
Vivian
Vladimir
Sam
Stephen
Embry
Tyler


Combination of:



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Exotic

Girls
Boys
Amelie
Rocco
Alessandra
Adriano
Caterina
Mathias
Giana
Leif
Kaira
Dante
Carmela
Cruz
Aviana
Kapono
Neema
Taj
Imani
Omari
Cosimia
Reza
Evelina
Kenji
Alegra
Abasi
Verena
Leonardo
Lakshmi
Laszlo
Khadijah
Bodhi
Mariko
Alden
Krishna
Albion
Aisha
Alastair
Giselle
Adal
Mina
Alda

Source: Babble.com


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