Win Cleopatra's Daughter or The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran!
Friday, August 28, 2009
Author – L. Diane Wolfe
Genre(s) – Realistic Fiction
Pages - 296
Publisher – Dancing Lemur Press
Publication Date - August 18, 2009
Plot - 26/30
Writing – 16/20
Characters - 19/20
Creativity - 17/20
The *Wow* Factor - 7/10
Grand Total - 85/100
Grade – B
Summary (From Amazon) -
Haunted by a troubled past... The future appears bright for James Sheppard. Emerging from a troubled childhood, he is blessed with talent and a good work ethic. Excelling in his classes and at the campus newspaper, James's goal of editor appears within his grasp. However, years of abuse and loneliness have dampened his spirit. By the time Maria enters his world, James is nearing the breaking point. Her innocent love slowly fills the void in his life, boosting his confidence and giving him hope. When a crisis abruptly forces him into adulthood, James is saddled with more responsibility than expected. Struggling to cope with the situation, the past returns to haunt him. Will James find peace before the mistakes of his father destroy him completely?
Firstly, let me say that this is not they type of book I usually read. Even when I read realistic fiction, it tends to be more of the fast-paced, strange, multicultural, or highly-unlikely-yet-still-possible varieties. Reading this book was like looking in on the lives of real people as they go from being confused teenagers to adults. This had its downsides, yet still made for an interesting reading experience. I didn't give this book the best of ratings, but that's probably because I gravitate towards the epic and unusual. Even so, I enjoyed The Circle of Friends Book III...James.
My main problem with this book was the slow pace. Some readers enjoy this, but I found it to drag in places. This isn't to say it wasn't interesting, because I still appreciated the plot. James lived for a long time searching for meaning and happiness in his life, which he finds in Maria and their family and friends. He and Maria overcome obstacles in their lives and become independent. As others have, I found L. Diane Wolfe's writing to be very encouraging.
The characters were where this novel truly shone. There were a lot of characters, which I usually find hard to keep track of when I read a book, but this was barely a problem with this book. They seemed like real people, and as I read I felt a connection to their lives and emotions, which were vibrantly expressed. I felt warm and fuzzy inside at the parts where where the characters feel happy or in love, and even found myself crying at the end, when a heartbreaking revelation is made. None of the characters seemed like stereotypes, and none were perfect, not even the main character. There were times where I liked and disliked each of them, which contributed to the realism of the book.
Overall, this book was very well written and believable, but there were a few things that annoyed me about its writing style. There were a few words that seemed to be overused, particularly "bubble" and "youngster." This went along with a slight overuse of synonyms. Some of the dialog seemed a bit awkward, but for the most part it seemed natural and flowed well. Also, some of the transitions from one event to another at a totally different time weren't always clear, so I had to go back a few times and look for the point where the time and location changed.
In conclusion, while this was not my ideal book, it may be someone else's. I would recommend The Circle of Friends Book III...James to readers who enjoy realistic fiction, especially about real-life coming-of-age. Reading this book would probably help those who feel scared about growing up, or need to remember that there is love and friendship in the world.
Book From (Review Group, Bought, Library, Publisher, Author, Contest, Etc.) - Author
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Here are the summaries for the books (from the Barnes & Noble site):
Cleopatra's Daughter: A Novel -
The marriage of Marc Antony and Cleopatra is one of the greatest love stories of all time, a tale of unbridled passion with earth-shaking political consequences. Feared and hunted by the powers in Rome, the lovers choose to die by their own hands as the triumphant armies of Antony’s revengeful rival, Octavian, sweep into Egypt. Their three orphaned children are taken in chains to Rome; only two– the ten-year-old twins Selene and Alexander–survive the journey. Delivered to the household of Octavian’s sister, the siblings cling to each other and to the hope that they will return one day to their rightful place on the throne of Egypt. As they come of age, they are buffeted by the personal ambitions of Octavian’s family and court, by the ever-present threat of slave rebellion, and by the longings and desires deep within their own hearts.
The fateful tale of Selene and Alexander is brought brilliantly to life in Cleopatra’s Daughter. Recounted in Selene’s youthful and engaging voice, it introduces a compelling cast of historical characters: Octavia, the emperor Octavian’s kind and compassionate sister, abandoned by Marc Antony for Cleopatra; Livia, Octavian's bitter and jealous wife; Marcellus, Octavian’s handsome, flirtatious nephew and heir apparent; Tiberius, Livia’s sardonic son and Marcellus’s great rival for power; and Juba, Octavian’s watchful aide, whose honored position at court has far-reaching effects on the lives of the young Egyptian royals.
Selene’s narrative is animated by the concerns of a young girl in any time and place–the possibility of finding love, the pullof friendship and family, and the pursuit of her unique interests and talents. While coping with the loss of both her family and her ancestral kingdom, Selene must find a path around the dangers of a foreign land. Her accounts of life in Rome are filled with historical details that vividly capture both the glories and horrors of the times. She dines with the empire’s most illustrious poets and politicians, witnesses the creation of the Pantheon, and navigates the colorful, crowded marketplaces of the city where Roman-style justice is meted out with merciless authority.
Based on meticulous research, Cleopatra’s Daughter is a fascinating portrait of imperial Rome and of the people and events of this glorious and most tumultuous period in human history. Emerging from the shadows of the past, Selene, a young woman of irresistible charm and preternatural intelligence, will capture your heart.
The Heretic Queen: A Novel -
The winds of change are blowing through Thebes. A devastating palace fire has killed the Eighteenth Dynasty’s royal family–with the exception of Nefertari, the niece of the reviled former queen, Nefertiti. The girl’s deceased family has been branded as heretical, and no one in Egypt will speak their names. Nefertari is pushed aside, an unimportant princess left to run wild in the palace. But this changes when she is taken under the wing of the Pharaoh’s aunt, then brought to the Temple of Hathor, where she is educated in a manner befitting a future queen.
Soon Nefertari catches the eye of the Crown Prince, and despite her family’s history, they fall in love and wish to marry. Yet all of Egypt opposes this union between the rising star of a new dynasty and the fading star of an old, heretical one. While political adversity sets the country on edge, Nefertari becomes the wife of Ramesses the Great. Destined to be the most powerful Pharaoh in Egypt, he is also the man who must confront the most famous exodus in history.
To learn more, here is the author's website: http://www.michellemoran.com/
To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment with your e-mail address (see rules):
To get extra entries:
- Name your favorite historical fiction book. (+1)
- Become a follower. (+1)
- If you are already a follower... (+2)
- Follow me on Twitter (@ParadoxRevealed) and leave your Twitter name. (+1)
- If you already follow me on Twitter. (+2)
- Mention my contest (with a link) on your blog or Twitter. (+3)
EDIT: You can specify if you want to enter to win just one of the books. If you don't say which you want to win, you will be entered for both. All entrants who commented before this addition will be entered for both.
1. Please mention everything you did in one comment. If you do more later, delete the old comment and leave a new one.
2. If you decide to enter by commenting here, you must leave your e-mail or blog address.
3. If you don't want to comment to enter, you can e-mail me your entries at paradoxicalblog (at) gmail (dot) com.
This contest is international!
I'm leaving the contest open until 11:59 PM on September 25th. The winner will be chosen in the next few days after that and contacted. I'll forward the winners' addresses to the author.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Weekly Theme: My Favorites
Gunnerkrigg Court –
Gunnerkrigg Court is my absolute favorite webcomic. It is set in a mysterious boarding school (which is really part of a huge complex) and the forest across from it. It is a bizarre mixture of fantasy and science fiction that includes everything from robots and futuristic technology to gods, supernatural abilities, ghosts, and everything in between. The main characters are Antimony (Annie), a girl who is sensitive to spirits, and her inventor friend Kat. They discover some of the weirder things about their school and its history in a battle between magic and science. It’s a bit hard to explain Gunnerkrigg Court, but that’s part of the mystery. If you read any sf/fantasy webcomic, read this one.
20 Galaxies -
This one might sound a bit cheesy at first, but the art is gorgeous and there’s more to it than meets the eye. Basically, it’s one of those stories where a bunch of kids end up having to save the world. But it’s more of a science fiction story than fantasy. There’s definitely a pretty black and white sense of good versus evil, but it’s not actually the evil people that are threatening to destroy the Earth, but a galactic council who wants to destroy it for the greater good, unless the evil can be eradicated from it. If you like epics or stories where ordinary people end up with great responsibilities and supernatural powers, you’ll probably like 20 Galaxies. I’ll also venture to say that it’s a bit like Star Wars.
Angel Moxie -
This webcomic is so hilarious that I’ve read it through two times (It’s completed.) It’s a magical girl (a Japanese anime/manga genre – think Sailor Moon) parody with an actual plot! If you are an anime or manga fan, you will love this.
Earthsong is a bit hard to describe. It revolves around the idea that stars and planets are sentient beings, but they become lazy and the creatures on the planets’ surfaces start to die, and planets with them. Earthsong is a planet that takes in other planets’ “children” so they can be saved. The plot involves a battle between good and evil, and a question over the identity of Willow, the main character. Even if this confuses you, check this one out if only for the gorgeous art!
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Coming 12/22/09 from Bloomsbury...
Nimira is a music-hall girl used to dancing for pennies. So when wealthy sorcerer Hollin Parry hires her to sing accompaniment to a mysterious piano-playing automaton, Nimira believes it will be the start of a better life. In Parry's world, long-buried secrets are about to stir. Unsettling rumors begin to swirl about ghosts, a madwoman roaming the halls, and Parry’s involvement in a group of corrupt sorcerers for whom the rules of the living and dead are meant to be broken for greater power. When Nimira discovers the spirit of a dashing fairy gentleman is trapped within the automaton, she is determined to break the curse. But even as the two fall into a love that seems hopeless, breaking the curse becomes a perilous race against time. Because it's not just the future of these star-crossed lovers that's at stake, but the fate of the entire magical world.
Want to win an ARC with original sketches from the author inside? See http://fabulousfrock.livejournal.com for details!
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Here's the new fan cover (click to see it full size):
Here is the other fan cover:
Here is the real cover:
Pre-order the book at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316027421/
So, do you like the new one? Which of the fan covers do you think is better?
Here's a link to the post with four of my other fan covers: http://paradoxrevealed.blogspot.com/2009/01/my-fan-art-book-covers.html
I have to include some stuff because of copyrights. Some images used in making the covers were released under these licenses, and derivative works (like the cover) must be released with the same licenses. They are:
- GNU Free Documentation License (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_Free_Documentation_License)
- Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)
These works are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Thank you so much!
These are the people who responded:
WillowRaven from Red House Books
Count Rebula/Rebrebs from Count Rebula's Concepts and Comments
Kristen from Bookworming in the 21st Century
La Coccinelle from The Ladybug Reads
If you were interested in adding another sidebar to your blog, here are the links they recommended:
- Google search for blogger templates
If you can help, e-mail me at:
paradoxrevealed (at) aim (dot) com
paradoxicalblog (at) gmail (dot) com
In return you'll recieve a public thank you on my blog and the knowledge that you've helped someone. Please?
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief
The Lovely Bones
Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Is anyone else excited about these?
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Author – Lisa Schroeder
Genre(s) – Verse, Realistic Fiction
Pages - 368
Publisher – Simon Pulse
Publication Date - December 23, 2008
Plot - 26/30
Writing – 19/20
Characters - 18/20
Creativity - 17/20
The *Wow* Factor - 9/10
Grand Total - 89/100
Grade – B+
Summary (From Amazon) -
Lost and alone...down the rabbit hole.
Years have passed since Alice lost her mother to cancer, but time hasn't quite healed the wound. Alice copes the best she can by writing her music, losing herself in her love for her boyfriend, and distancing herself from her father and his new wife.
But when a deadly snowstorm traps Alice with her stepmother and newborn half sister, she'll face issues she's been avoiding for too long. As Alice looks to the heavens for guidance, she discovers something wonderful.
Perhaps she's not so alone after all....
I read this book a while ago, so I don’t remember all the details, but I remember my general impression of it. Far From You isn’t a book with a deep plot, which you wouldn’t expect from a verse novel, but I found that the emotions expressed in the book ring true. As I read, I felt angry along with Alice, or sad, or forgiving. It’s the kind of book that makes you feel all fuzzy inside, and is definitely worth a read.
Far From You has a linear plot, but it has been written very well. But it almost seemed more like a short story than a full-length novel. Perhaps this is simply because it’s a verse novel, but I would have liked to see more. I believe that Far From You tells the story of Alice’s transformation well and I loved the slight hint at the supernatural.
Because Far From You is a verse novel, I never got to know the characters, even Alice, very deeply, but what I did see was more of a snapshot from the lives of realistic people, facing problems and emotions that could be real.
As with most verse novels I have read, I found the poetry to be expressive, and in this case both beautiful and real at the same time. Verse novels aren’t my favorite thing to read, but even I recognize the beauty in Far From You, so I think that many people will also enjoy it. I recommend it especially for those who enjoy realistic fiction, poetry, and inspirational stories.
Book From (Review Group, Bought, Library, Publisher, Author, Contest, Etc.) - Publisher
I recently entered a contest where I had to come up with alternative ways to start a fairy tale (masterminded by Heather of The Secret Life of WriterGirl), other than "Once Upon a Time." I thought I'd share my creations with you, in the hope that I'll get a few laughs.
In the time of the flesh-eating fairies...
Once, when the world was younger than the dinosaurs...
When the rainbow still held a door...
When humans were still young and fae folk ruled the realm...
Once there was... oh, forget it.
Once upon a particular position in the space-time continuum...
It was a (insert adjective here) night and the the faerie eyes were glowing in the woods...
If I tell you this tale I'll have to kill you, or at least leave you badly dismembered...
These words are powerful, so listen well...
Beware the cunning people who live where humans dare not go...
Blood and guts. If this makes you feel squeamish, do not read on...
It was a beautiful summer day and the zombies sat quietly decaying....
If you're reading this now, it's probably too late...
When the naiads had forgotten how to swim and the metal towers scraped the sky...
If the fae folk touch you, call the priest and not the police...
Once, before the sparkly glitter faeries attacked...
To read other people's entries, go to one of these links:
- You can vote for the winner here: http://thesecretadventuresofwritergirl.blogspot.com/2009/07/let-once-upon-time-voting-begin.html