Sunshine Blogger Award

Recently, Liv K. Fisher tagged me in the Sunshine Blogger Award. And since I love tags (free blog post ideas? Yes, please!) today that is what you get! Also, she went with a bookish theme for her questions, so I absolutely couldn’t resist. I could talk about books all day long!
The Rules
  • Thank the person who tagged you. Thanks, Liv!!!
  • Copy and answer the eleven questions provided. check!
  • Tag up to eleven new bloggers to complete the challenge. um… not sure I can do that… we’ll see when we get there…
  • Write eleven new questions for them to answer. check!

The Questions

Which book on your shelf has the prettiest cover?
I’m torn on this one as I’m extremely partial to Angelina’s covers for my books… but that feels like cheating. So… um… is it still cheating of I pick the Five Enchanted Roses cover?

What is one of your all-time favorite fantasy novels?
I can only pick ONE? What kind of question is this? Well, I’m going to go a little Gollum “Riddles in the Dark” on you here.
The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles
The Death Gate Cycle
The Song of Albion Series
The Chronicles of Narnia

I cannot narrow it down any further than that… and even that is painful as it leaves out the Chronicles of Prydain and The Pendragon Cycle and Tales of Goldstone Wood and Ella Enchanted and Dragon of the Lost Sea and… you get the picture.

Who is one author whose writing is SO GOOD that it makes you want to sit down and up your word count?
Seriously, picking just one is hard, particularly since I would say there are different reasons that certain authors make me want to sit down and write. Timothy Zahn’s plots and characters inspire me to write new adventures and not stick to a single series. C.S. Lewis and Janette Oke inspire me with their ability to evoke emotions with single lines of text that make my spirit soar. Diana Wynne Jones and her complex, out-of-the-box sorts of stories always make me want to sit down and write something totally new. Patricia St. John and George MacDonald make me want to write something heart-wrenchingly beautiful. Recently-discovered authors like H.L. Burke, Marc Secchia, and Lea Doue make me want to write something unique and magical.

What is one of your favourite fairytales?
Whew, finally, a question I can answer. The Apple of Contentment by Howard Pyle. (I love fairy tales, though, and have lots of other favorites, as well)

What is one of your favourite fairytale retellings, book or movie?
Hmmm, I really love Robin McKinley’s “Beauty” retelling of Beauty and the Beast. And of course I really enjoy the retellings in the Five Something Something anthologies put out by Rooglewood Press. I also really enjoyed Cloaked by Alex Flinn.

Is there a protagonist you just totally connect with? Who is it, and which book are they from?
I have always felt a kinship with Cimorene, the princess in Dealing with Dragons. I love her practical, no-nonsense approach to things. She has dreams, but she also is willing to get her hands dirty and work hard. She is feisty and precocious, but she also does respect her parents and endeavors to obey them.

Who are your top three to five favourite authors? Have you met any of them? Conducted interviews with them?
J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Patricia C. Wrede, Timothy Zahn, Stephen R. Lawhead, Anne Elisabeth Stengl, and a few of the authors in the Fellowship of Fantasy are quickly becoming new favorites. I have met Anne Elisabeth at a book signing and conducted an interview with her a few years ago.

You just learned that you are to inherit your very own ginormous library — and it comes with a castle, too! Oh, and one more thing — you get a magical creature (of your own choosing) to be your librarian/bookkeeper! What sort of creature is it?
My magical creature/librarian would be a gryphon. Of course I’d love a dragon, but a gryphon strikes me as being better at book-keeping. 1) he would fit in the library better. 2) No danger of him getting angry and burning the library down. 3) Smaller claws might mean less tearing of pages/shredding of book covers.

You are holding a very pretty book in your hands. Describe it.
It has a fancy font and an obviously fantasy-genre title. There are some high-contrast colors… possibly black and turquoise or black and lavender. Some sort of symbol or image that speaks to a fantastical story within the covers… or anything with a dragon on the cover.

(And now, I’m stealing one of Tracey’s questions!) You’re a princess (well done!), but there’s a catch: You have to be (kind of) cursed for two years. To make up for the fact that you have an evil(ish) stepmother, your fairy godmother has sweetened the deal — you get to choose just how you get cursed: Locked in a tower with a pet, books, and your very own room full of food and paper and fountain pens and other such wonders; trapped in a magic lamp, where you have the ability to be a mischievous li’l Faerie queen with an unlimited supply of (healthy!) cake; or sent into an enchanted slumber, from which you will awake to find your true love smiling back at you! Which do you choose?
Finally, an EASY question!

I’ll take a lovely tower with books, food, paper and fountain pens, and my very own pet dragon. (If I can’t have a dragon, can I have a dragonet?) Or possibly a very tame wolf I can curl up against like a warm pillow while I’m reading.

(Last one, guys!) You just found out that you fell out of a book. Which book was it, and from which world have you come?
Hmmm, well, when it comes to fantasy realms I’d love to spend time in, I’d have to say that I would really enjoy having come from H.L. Burke’s “Dragon and Scholar” series. It seems like a lovely fantasy world with plenty of excitement and adventure (magic and dragons and the like) but also a world that doesn’t have too many terrible dangers and villains to watch out for. It also seems like a place where a normal person can have adventures without having to be a princess or something particularly special.

 

My Questions – Fantasy Themed

1. What mythical creatures do you wish were featured in more fantasy books?

2. If you had to spend a month in one dangerous fantasy location (Mordor, the Forbidden Forest, the Evil Queen’s Castle… etc) which one would you choose and why?

3. You suddenly find yourself as a side-character in a fairy tale. Which fairy tale are you in and what is your side-kick role?

4. What is your favorite flavor of fantasy? (Fairy tale retelling, Epic/High Fantasy Adventure, Quests, Steampunk, Urban Fantasy, Coming-of-Age, etc?)

5. Who is your favorite fantasy hero/heroine? Why?

6. You are granted one fantasy ability or “gift” from a fairy godmother. What is it?

7. You find yourself the hero/heroine of a fantasy story. What is your profession and how will it help you on your adventure?

8. Who is your favorite fantasy villain? Why?

9. Fantasy steed of choice?

10. If you suddenly found yourself transported to a fantasy world, what weapon would you hope to be wielding?

 

Tag Other Bloggers

Zachary Totah

Christine @ Musings of an Elf

Kaycee @ An Independent Will

And anybody else who finds these questions interesting, consider yourself tagged! Or pick your favorite question and tell me your answer in the comments!

~ jenelle

Dragonfriend

Another beautiful discovery brought about by the Fellowship of Fantasy book club, Dragonfriend by Marc Secchia has become an instant new favorite. Fall into a truly fantastical world full of volcanic islands and airships and dragons. Meet Hualiama “Lia” for short, the royal ward with no knowledge of her parentage, but who secretly dreams of flying with dragons – a major taboo to even think about. When the king is betrayed and dethroned, Lia attempts to defend her adopted family, only to find herself nearly fatally wounded and tossed from an airship to her death. Fortunately for her, a curious little dragonet sees her plummeting to the ground and, uncharacteristically for his kind, seeks to slow her fall and care for her wounds. When she awakes, she must find her way through vast dangers and immense obstacles to not only get off the island she has landed on, but also to free the royal family from their imprisonment so that her adopted father can retake the throne. But there is more to Lia’s story than a simple quest for vengeance, for her own past is about to catch up with her in a meaningful but startling way.

This book captivated me within the first page and kept me reading hungrily, despite being the first ever book I’ve read in e-book format. On my iPad… which is not a recommended experience. I NEED this book and series in paperback so I can enjoy it more thoroughly, but I decided to take advantage of the free e-version so that I could read this with the book club. And despite the e-reading experience, this book was absolutely fantastic.

Not only is the plot fast-paced, enjoyable, and filled with various twists and turns, but the characters are superb. The interactions between the characters is almost more fun than the story itself, and it was fun to simply bask in the sometimes serious, sometimes banter-filled dialogue. The attention to detail in these interactions, and the intricate details that they highlight in various ways in the main character unfolds gently, like someone meticulously unwrapping a present so that the paper can be reused.

I also loved the tiny hints of steampunk flavor throughout the story, mostly in the way of airships. And the complexity of the world… which I look forward to exploring more in later books in the series. I wasn’t quite sure if the islands were floating in the air or separated by water, but I might have missed that simply due to reading on the iPad. Either way, the world was unique and full of surprises.

The author is obviously a lover of enormous words because Dragonfriend is full of them: enough to stretch even my fairly extensive vocabulary, which is always a fun experience for me. And yet, these large vocabulary words are woven so seamlessly into the story that they never felt like they detracted from the tapestry of plot and characters. And they were cleverly placed so that I never felt the need to grab a dictionary. They never seemed “tossed in,” either, but rather chosen with care.

Overall, I highly enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves fantasy, dragons, and big words.

One tiny little nitpicky niggly thing that detracted from my complete enjoyment of the story… and I do mean “nitpicky” was that there were a few instances where the words “awesome” and “sweet” were used in various moments of dialogue to mean “that is extremely cool.” Because I grew up and went to high school in the 90s, when those words were the preferred slang of the day, every time they showed up these words yanked me straight out of the fantastical world of Fra’anior and plunked me down in the halls of my high school. I know that seems like a minor thing, but these words just seemed starkly out of place in a tome that was otherwise replete with carefully chosen sesquipedalian terms.

I would caution younger readers as there is a lot of violence, some of it described on the moderately graphic side. Lia’s wounds and their description made my skin crawl a bit. Also, there are a few more mature themes that come out in the story: abuse, a very delicately hinted at instance of rape, and some innuendo as Lia tries to teach a dragonet about the differences between human and dragon cultures. Due to those themes, though I would still term this a “clean” book, I would probably hesitate to recommend it to readers younger than 16.

Four Dragon Eggs

dragonEgg4star

~ jenelle

Fellowship of Fantasy Read to Review

I think I may have mentioned the Clean Indie Reads group I found on facebook a year or so ago. Well, the fantasy-writers in that group have created a sub-group just for our little fantasy genre! And they have been such a wonderful place full of new ideas and fun things. They are behind the Fellowship of Fantasy Book Club that began in January of this year. They are creating anthologies of short stories (the second one is underway). And now there is a Read to Review program you can participate in!

If you enjoy reading fantasy, reviewing books, and being able to get new books to read for free… then you should definitely head on over to the Fellowship of Fantasy’s site and check out the read-to-review program. Many of our authors (including myself, though I’m not listed in the directory yet) are offering their books FOR FREE in exchange for a review, which you will post (through a very easy submission form) on the FOF website. To make it easier, we’ve done away with a “star rating system” and you just give your honest opinion of the book and answer a few questions about the content of the book. You get a free book, and perhaps the ability to fall in love with a brand-new story! Browse through our authors, select a book that strikes your fancy, and email your request to the administrators at: burke@fellowshipoffantasy.com

You can read all the details and guidelines HERE!

If you enjoyed the last two character interviews I did for the InterFiction Gazette, then head over there immediately, because both authors are offering their books as part of the Read To Review program!!

 

~ jenelle