February 23, 2016 by Kiersi
Title: THE REMARKABLE JOURNEY OF CHARLIE PRICE
Author: Jennifer Maschari
Genre: Fantasy Middle-grade
Publish date: Febrary 23, 2016
Blurb: After the death of their mother, Charlie and his sister Imogen discover a secret world where Mom is still alive.
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ out of 5
I received an ARC of this beautiful little novel in exchange for an honest review, and it is my absolute pleasure to extoll all its many virtues.
In some ways, CHARLIE PRICE is about grief and mourning. In some ways, it’s about bravery and adventure. And in some ways, it’s about denial, hope, and redemption—and the resilience of the human heart in the face of all of it. Tackling these subjects in the middle-grade sphere can be a challenge, but Maschari writes with incredible wit, humor, and kindness. (more…)
Category Book Reviews | Tags: fantasy,Jennifer Maschari,MG,middle-grade,new releases,The Remarkable Journey of Charlie Price | No Comments
May 13, 2014 by Kiersi
Well, I was tagged in this blog challenge by not one, but two lovely ladies: Amber J. Keyser, my oft-partner-in-crime and a devilishly talented writer, and Lauren Spieller, a recently-agented author and spectacular friend. So, without further ado:
1. What am I working on?
For reasons, I am revisiting my middle grade novel, Gryphon. Gryphon is an epic fantasy starring a princess, an orphan, gryphons, and even a dragon. It’s that kind of book!
I’m also in the trenches plotting a new novel, but I’m not ready to talk about it just yet. However, I can tell you it will be YA (I’m returning to my roots!) and it’ll have a retro 1920s sci-fi feel. The mood of the story really captured me and I’m so psyched to start telling it! (more…)
Category Blogging, The Writing Life | Tags: blog hop,fantasy,Gryphon,middle-grade,my writing process | 9 Comments
December 6, 2013 by Kiersi
Growing up, my two favorite books were written by a not-necessarily-obscure, but-also-not-particularly-popular fantasy author named Mary Brown. These two books were Dragonne’s Eg, about a poor schoolteacher who receives a mysterious inheritance–but the stipulations of the inheritance include carrying a supposed dragon’s egg all the way back to China; and The Unlikely Ones, where a deformed girl and her talking animal companions, all the ex-slaves of a fearsome witch, go on a quest to fix themselves and return the witch’s stolen gems to a dragon.
The not-so-surprising part, if you know me at all: they are both great journeys across great distances, and both end with dragons. Obviously, I also loved The Hobbit (also, not surprisingly, an adventure book involving dragons at the finish line), and definitely Song in the Silence (about a girl who goes so far as to fall in love with a dragon. Ballsy). I also really adore a non-fiction adventure autobiography called The Long Walk, about a man who escapes from a Russian gulag in Siberia and treks to safety in India. (An incredible book, if gritty and emotional and thrilling is your jam.)
Category How-to | Tags: adventure,Dragonne's Eg,fantasy,journeys,Mary BrownD,RPGs,The Long Walk | 2 Comments
January 24, 2013 by Kiersi
Curse Workers (White Cat, Red Glove, Black Heart) by Holly Black
This series gets: ♥♥♥♥ out of 5
The Curse Workers, a trilogy by Holly Black – A preface note: I listened to all of these on audiobook, so any name misspellings are purely Holly’s fault for giving all of her characters homonyms for names (Cassel = Castle, Barron = Baron). For the longest time I was actually spelling “Cassel” as “Castle” in my head, and let me tell you, that is way more awesome.
Anyhow, I loved Curse Workers. The idea is brilliant. Cassel Sharpe lives in an alternate Earth, where one in every one thousand people has a special ability–these “workers,” as they’re called, can place a curse with no more than the touch of a bare hand. Workers come in all kinds, from small-time luck workers (good or bad luck), to emotion or memory workers, to death workers who can kill just by removing a glove. (Like magic in most books, there are repercussions to “working,” called “blowback,” which is always related in some way to the type of curse-working. Oh, yeah. This is definitely my favorite alternate universe ever.) (more…)
Category Book Reviews | Tags: Black Heart,book review,fantasy,Holly Black,mystery,Red Glove,The Curse Workers,White Cat,YA | 5 Comments
January 8, 2013 by Kiersi
"Crazy Frog" by moffoys - Who even cares what it is, it is perfect
There are some superstar authors who don’t hate editing or revising. I spend a lot of my revision time envying them, instead of doing what I’m supposed to be doing, because that’s how I roll. And that’s probably also why I still haven’t finished a revision of my middle-grade book, Gryphon. Because I hate revising.
I do love writing, though.
So, over time I’ve been building up my resolve, and packing it together like a mud pie from lots of little shredded pieces of sanity (they fall off now and again, and must be collected in a handmade wicker basket). The following bullet points have occurred to me:
-Print it all out, to stop the ever-present I must change this word right now, this isn’t right, and now I am so hung up on this one stupid line that I am so frustrated with myself and I wish this had all never happened at all goodbye world. (more…)
Category In Progress | Tags: editing,fantasy,first drafts,Gryphon,middle-grade,revising | 5 Comments
December 24, 2012 by Kiersi
Days of Blood & Starlight, by Laini Taylor
This book gets: ♥♥♥ out of 5
Days of Blood & Starlight, by Laini Taylor – I wanted to like this book. I wanted to like it so, so much–mostly due to the love affair I had with its precursor, Daughter of Smoke and Bone (tapped by Universal Studios for a motion picture). And that is, perhaps, part of my problem with it. High expectations. Unrealistically high expectations.
In a lot of ways, I did like Days of Blood & Starlight. As ever, Taylor’s writing is (at least in prose) totally flawless–gorgeous, in fact. Unfortunately, this book suffered from, well… middleness. The whole novel feels like the soggy middle section of a much larger book. It reminds me of The Two Towers in Lord of the Rings, doing a lot of the necessary world-building, lore-weaving, or whatever that is, at the expense of plot and character.
The story follows many different story strands that, for the first half of the book, only run parallel to each other and rarely cross. Karou spends a lot of time locked in a room, building bodies for Thiago, and surmising and ruminating and generally mulling over her dreary situation. It makes you long for the ray of sunshine timelines–cough, Zuzana, cough–and even for the snippets of war and bloodshed that sneak in.
Category Book Reviews | Tags: book review,Daughter of Smoke and Bone,Days of Blood & Starlight,drama,fantasy,Laini Taylor,war epic,YA | 1 Comment
December 13, 2012 by Kiersi
The epic Golden Gate Bridge. Taken during the Bay Cruise on a peculiarly calm, un-blustery winter day.
This post has two parts: first, my adventure south to San Francisco, where I met up with some friends and experienced the city for a weekend. Second, an update on the Vision Quest, and other bookly-things. I’ll be reviewing Stephenie Meyer’s The Host tomorrow, so please check back for a review that will probably surprise the hell out of you.
So, on to part one: I love San Francisco. Not in the way I love Portland (for its culture, art scene, and greenness), and not in the way I love Los Angeles (drivers I actually understand, beautiful people, also Venice Beach). I love San Francisco because it is insane. (more…)
Category In Progress | Tags: fantasy,first drafts,Golden Gate Bridge,Gryphon,middle-grade,San Francisco,Vision Quest 2012 | 12 Comments
November 29, 2012 by Kiersi
This was my first year doing National Novel Writing Month and it was a wild success. I just finished the last keystroke of my 50,497th word and I feel like I could walk on the sun in my bare feet and come away with the perfect tan.
Since I hit the 50k-word mark for a middle grade novel titled Gryphon, I am now supposedly a “winner,” though anyone who completes this feat of caffeine and bruised fingertips counts as a “winner.” And, in reality, 50,000 words is short even for a middle grade book. Nonetheless I’ve entered the third act of the story, a.k.a., the sprinting stage, where all the really big “oh no you di’int” stuff goes down; from here I know every twist that comes next, and it’s just a matter of time (much like a train wreck) until the end arrives.
As a writer, I’ll often map out big twists or moments in advance, and then anticipate (and also visualize, often on endless repeat like your kid watching Lion King ten million times) a particularly important scene for days and sometimes weeks. Here’s one from the second act. I was pretty gratified to finally put this baby down on the word processor:
He didn’t push her away, and for that, she was grateful. It was awkward at first; their lips trying to find purchase against the other, their hands unsure of where they should go, but nevertheless it felt perfect, more perfect than any other thing Rheya had ever done. It was right, if a little strange.
Then she realized she couldn’t breathe and broke away, and the two of them sat there, panting, staring only at each other as if the entire world around them had vanished into the dark. And who would have minded? If the world were gone, and only these two left, everything would probably be as it should.
A prickle of light poked its head over the distant hills. It was dawn. But neither of the two children could let the other go.
Category In Progress | Tags: fantasy,Gryphon,MG,NaNoWriMo,National Novel Writing Month | 1 Comment
September 28, 2012 by Kiersi
Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo
This book gets: ♥♥♥♥ out of 5
Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo – Ravka is a country split in half by a dark slash called the Shadow Fold, where trespassers face total darkness and terrible, dangerous creatures. Alina Starkov is an orphan; after failing to display any mastery of magic during her Grisha exam, she is sent to serve in the Second Army and cross the Fold with her fellow orphan and best friend Mal. But when Alina displays an unusual power in the heat of the moment, the Darkling, the head of an order of magicians called Grisha, determines she is the fated Sun Summoner and whisks her away to Grisha headquarters to be trained (and pampered). The Sun Summoner is the only Grisha who can shed light on the Fold and save Ravka–but Alina cannot call upon or control her power. Without Mal, she feels alone and powerless, especially in the face of her growing attraction to the mysterious Darkling.
There are so many things to like about Bardugo’s debut fantasy offering: the dark backdrop of the Shadow Fold, the strangely imperfect landscape, the Russian-themed people and place names (I have a super soft spot for fantasy books with unified linguistic conventions)–there’s so much depth to the world of Shadow and Bone that I wanted to slip into it like a second skin and live there for a while. (more…)
Category Book Reviews | Tags: book review,fantasy,Leigh Bardugo,Shadow and Bone,The Grisha,YA | No Comments
May 7, 2012 by Kiersi
Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor
This book gets: ♥♥♥♥♥ out of 5
(A perfect score!)
Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor – No matter your age, gender, heritage or creed, you will love Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Taylor writes brilliant prose, dynamic and painstakingly life-like characters, dialogue that can potentially cause obnoxious outbursts of laughter, and all the while weaving a tale that cannot be put down. Plus, it has monsters.
Aqua-haired Karou straddles two lives: one as a seventeen-year-old high school student attending an arts academy in Prague, and another as the adopted daughter and errand boy of a mysterious, faun-like Chimaera named Brimstone, who runs an inter-dimensional shop dealing in teeth. Yes, you heard me: Chimaera. Inter-dimensional shop. Teeth. (more…)
Category Book Reviews | Tags: book review,Daughter of Smoke and Bone,fantasy,Laini Taylor,monsters,pacing,YA | 3 Comments