Thursday, March 31, 2011

Book Blogger Hop Day: April 1-3

This week on Denim-Jacket Librarian Dishes:

Book Blogger Hop

As Crazy For Books says:

Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTis an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books!

This week's question is:

 "Since today is April Fool's Day in the USA, what is the best prank you have ever played on someone OR that someone has played on you?"

My Answer: Wow, the only prank I can recall is the one a college roommate played on me and our other roommate.  All three of us received an "official-looking" letter from the university claiming that we were in some violation of public display from a previous night.  It was signed 'April Fool', so pranked we were.  Only thing was she didn't realize I knew where you could get the letterhead paper and had friends in the school store.  They told me it was a girl that looked like my roommate. 

So my prank back on her was to tell her that whoever the prankster was they were in trouble with the campus police (since one of the officers was in the store at the time).  It was considered a case of fraud and someone could have an instance placed on their record.  She looked a little worried and I saw her disposing of something out of the corner of my eye.  Looking into her waste basket I saw the letterhead paper, and then asked her "April Fool, I presume?" ^_^

Thought for Thursday: A Need for Magic

Do you remember a time when you played “Let’s Pretend” or a similar game as a kid?  You would pretend to be something different, sometimes something ordinary (like a dog or a horse) and sometimes something ferocious (like a lion or a dinosaur) and sometimes something fanciful (like a fairy or a unicorn).  My group of friends at daycare loved this game, and it was especially fun to play at recess after watching a movie during “nap time” (well “nap time” for those who were sleepy and “movie time” for those who wanted something to do in the darkened room).  After seeing The Last Unicorn film, all I wanted to pretend to be was a unicorn, something so beautiful and magical that it could only exist hidden secretly in some wood far away from people. 

Now my dear readers are probably wondering how this moment of nostalgia relates to books.  ^_^  It regards the most-read and most-present genre on my bookshelves: fantasy.  For the longest time, that was the only genre I ever wanted to read, and I read many fantasy books back in school as I still do now.  Anne McCaffrey, Robert Levy, Tanith Lee, so many other authors that I can’t even recall all their names or even the titles of the books I’ve read.  I still love that genre most of all as I’m sure my readers know by the books I review.  But the fantasy genre has really branched out under many different labels.  Paranormal, supernatural, and speculative fiction are just another way of saying ‘fantasy.’  Books falling under these labels still have the fantasy element of magic.  It may not even be explained in the books instead just an underlying and understood presence involved in the story, and perhaps that is what really draws so many readers. 

It’s hard not to notice the rise of paranormal/supernatural/fantasy books in bookstores and libraries, and I think it’s great.  Not just because it’s my favorite genre, but because I think there is an unconscious need for magic in the populace today.  True, a lot of the books have to do with the extraordinary being found in the ordinary along with familiar elements of romance, mystery, and action.  But you could find those elements in novels listed under any of those separate genres or even in general fiction.  What is different about a paranormal book such as Aimee Carter’s The Goddess Test, Carolyn Turgeon’s Mermaid, or Deborah Harkness’s A Discovery of Witches?  Magic, as simple as that. 

I think people need magic and that they need to see the extraordinary and the special in the everyday.  Science and doubt have a way of taking away what people once thought of as magic.  Don’t get me wrong, I love science and technology and learning new information, but there is a certain spark that comes with the belief in something magical.  Think about a time when you saw a magician performing his trade either at a carnival or a daycare or library event.  Did you sit there, thinking that what the magician is doing can be proven using scientific facts?  Or were you so transfixed in awe by the idea that the magician is doing what was thought of as the impossible? 

As we get older, our childlike faith and belief starts waning, and we have to look at things logically and with fact.  The everyday world is just that, every day is another ordinary day.  I believe we get tired of that train of thought, and there’s some part of us that seeks out magic again even if it’s through the eyes of a storyteller.  We read and we escape the ordinary day by living the life of a sorceress, a werewolf, a vampire, a dragon, or even a human being taken into a fantastic realm.  Maybe we see ourselves in the familiar human elements, especially of a human being made to see the surrounding magic that they never noticed before.  We can remember that belief we once had and hopefully smile at the memory of how we not only wanted to chase unicorns and dragons… we wanted to be them. 

Think of this as a big ‘thank you’ to all old and news authors of paranormal, supernatural, speculative, and fantasy books.  Keep the magic alive within your words, and help future readers to see that magic, too. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday: Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's "Waiting On" Wednesday selection is: 

By Nalini Singh
Publish Date: May 31, 2011 by Berkley Hardcover

Since the moment of her defection from the PsyNet and into the Snow Dancer wolf pack, Sienna Lauren has had one weakness.  Hawke.  Alpha and dangerous, he compels her to madness.  Hawke is used to walking alone, having lost the woman who would've been his mate long ago.  But Sienna fascinates the primal heart of him, even as he tells himself she is far too young to handle the wild fury of the wolf.  Then Sienna changes the rules-and suddenly there is no more distance, only the most intimate of battles between two people who were never meant to meet.  Yet as they strip away each other's secrets in a storm of raw emotion, they must also ready themselves for a far more vicious fight...  A deadly enemy is out to destroy SnowDancer, striking out at everything they hold dear, but it is Sienna's darkest secret that may yet savage the pack that is her home-and the alpha who is its heartbeat. 

A friend of mine has been hinting to me that I should really check out Nalini Singh's work, and now I definitely feel inclined to do so.  I know I've said I'd like something aside from werewolves (and vampires), but this story intrigues me.  However, I'll have to start at the beginning of the series before hitting this one.  That's nine books before I reach Kiss of Snow.  Can I do it soon enough?  Here's hoping!  Also, that cover is something, yowza.  

What are you waiting on today? ^_^

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sad News: Diana Wynne Jones

You might remember reading any number of fantasy books by Diana Wynne Jones such as Howl's Moving Castle, Dogsbody, The Magicians of Caprona, among others.  She had a unique writing voice that managed to bring to life so many new worlds.  It is with a sad heart that I say she passed away on Saturday, March 26.  

Her work influenced many including Maggie Stiefvater who has written a letter for Ms. Jones here and HarperCollins pays tribute to her here.  It's rather sad hearing about her passing after the fact especially when she affected so many readers, and the same could be said for many other authors.  What we really should appreciate is their impact on us and how they touched our lives as storytellers.  Diana Wynne Jones shall be missed but she will also be remembered through her work and the influence her work has had on other creators.  

May you rest peacefully and happily knowing what you did for so many, Ms. Jones.  

Sunday, March 27, 2011

In My Mailbox (4)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where bloggers post about all the books they have received whether in the mail, if we purchased it, or checked out from our local library.

For the second week in a row, all of my books (the eclectic lot of them) came from my library including:

Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love
(Side story from the Fables graphic novel series featuring Fabletown's resident spy, Cindy.)

World of Warcraft The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm
(I may not play WoW, but it's hard to resist the novels. ^_^)

Bayou Volume 1
(This title had an interesting premise involving the supernatural south following the Civil War.)

Elephantmen: Wounded Animals
(While selecting the new branch's graphic novel collection, I came across this dystopian title. Looks action-packed!)

What's in your mailbox this week? ^_^

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Stanza Saturday (1)


Stanza Saturday is a new weekly meme where we share poetry from either a home collection or from the library.  Find a book of poems, any poet will do, and open up to a random page and post the first poem you see.  If the poem is rather lengthy, feel free to post just the first stanza and be sure to include the poem's title, the book's title, and the poet. ^_^

This week's poem is:

"Before the Rain"
by Thomas Bailey Aldrich
From Random House Treasury of Year-Round Poems

We knew it would rain, for all the morn
   A spirit on slender ropes of mist
Was lowering its golden buckets down
   Into the vapory amethyst.

Of marshes and swamps and dismal fens--
   Scooping the dew that lay in the flowers,
Dipping the jewels out of the sea,
   To sprinkle them over the land in showers.

We knew it would rain, for the poplars showed
   The white of their leaves, the amber grain
Shrunk in the wind--and the lightning now
   Is tangled in tremulous skeins of rain!

What poem or stanza do you want to share today? ^_^

Friday, March 25, 2011

Book Blogger Hop Day: March 25-27

This week on Denim-Jacket Librarian Dishes:

"Waiting On" Wednesday: The Goddess Test
A Question for my Wonderful Readers

Book Blogger Hop

As Crazy For Books says:

Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTis an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books!

This week's question is:

If you could physically put yourself into a book or series…which one would it be and why?

My Answer: Wow, these are always such tough questions because there's so many to pick from. In the way of series, I'd have to say I would want to be in the fantasy realms of Ixia and Sitia from Maria V. Snyder's Study Trilogy and Glass Trilogy or Tortall from Tamora Pierce's Lioness Quartet. I cannot resist realms that involve horseback riding as the main mode of transportation and learning magic and fighting skills.

For books, it would be a choice between three books for me: Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden because the setting is so gorgeous (I've always wanted to visit Japan in one of it's golden ages) not to mention the beautiful kimono; The Princess's Dragon by Susan Trombley because it is a fantasy realm with dragons and an unconventional princess (which are both awesome traits in my opinion); and I have to have a werewolf book in here so it would be Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause has werewolves in it!  But only if I could be one of the pack and a friend of Vivian's.

Which book or series would you want to put yourself into? ^_^

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Question for my Wonderful Readers

In the library, everyone has two sections of the collection to shelf-read, basically go through and make sure all the books are in proper order and neatly placed on the shelves.  One of my sections includes the poetry books, and it just looks as though they haven't been touched since we opened last year.  So my thought is how would my fine readers feel about a "Stanza Saturday?"  I would select a random poetry book from the shelf, open the book, and share the first poem or stanza depending on length.  And I invite all of you to do the same if you're a lover of poetry. ^_^  It can be any type of poetry whether sonnet or haiku or even an epic poem's stanza.  Let me know your thoughts and tell me who your favorite poet is!  Btw, one of my favorite poets is Basho as shown below.

What do y'all think about a "Stanza Saturday" weekly posting?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday: The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's "Waiting On" Wednesday selection is:

By Aimee Carter
Publish Date: April 19, 2011 by Harlequin Teen

From Goodreads~
Every girl who has taken the test has died. Now it's Kate's turn.

It's always been just Kate and her mom--and now her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.  Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld--and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests. Kate is sure he's crazy--until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess. If she fails...

This book really intrigues me because 1) it deals with Greek mythology, namely an updated rendition of the myth of Persephone and Hades and 2) there seems to be no love triangle from the looks of the summary. It's not that I don't adore love triangles in their own right, I would just appreciate a change of pace. I also find it refreshing to see the use of Greek gods rather than other mythical/mystical beings that are more commonplace in books in almost every genre these days. From the few reviews I've read, it sounds like a good book, and I'm hoping that will ring true, so we shall see. 

What are you waiting on this week? ^_^

Monday, March 21, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Bookish Pet Peeves

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, a state that you don't have to worry about being deprived of more books as long as you're near a library. ;) This week's Top Ten is:

Top Ten Bookish Pet Peeves

1.  One of the things that is an irksome pet peeve of mine about published book content is when a character becomes either a Mary Sue or a Gary Stu.  It's one thing to do that with fanfiction, but there has to be some flaws in a character to make her/him appear more realistic and relatable, not to mention respectable.  If it seems that nearly every character of the opposite sex is falling for the main character while every character of the same sex is either insanely jealous or wants to be said "Mary Sue/Gary Stu" character, then I feel as though I've lost respect for or cannot respect that character.

2.  This has actually improved some, but it's still a bit irksome to find a plastic barcode somewhere in the middle of my manga bought from Borders.  It used to be hard to peel the barcode from inside the manga volume because it appeared as though the page would rip (and sometimes it would) due to the stickiness of the glue.  However, I think Borders has gotten the message from its patrons and now uses a less sticky glue for the barcodes since they are now easier to peel off the page.

3.  It's rather annoying that the library stickers we place on our classic novels, usually those used by high schools for summer reading, have a habit of peeling off after a time.  I suppose that's the case for most stickers since they lose their sticky consistency, but still, it causes covers to stick to each other and can also leave behind residue from the sticker on books shelved together which makes them even stickier. 

4.  I know that books usually go through fazes focusing on certain elements, not that I don't love and enjoy books with these elements, but there are so many books featuring vampires and werewolves.  There are other mystical and mythical creatures in so many different cultures, I see no reason why books can't have more variety.  There are books featuring dragons, fae, and mer-creatures, but compared to vampires (especially) and werewolves, they are so few and far between.  I appreciate up-and-coming books like Abandon by Meg Cabot and The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter and current reads like The Beastly Bride (even though this does involve shapeshifters) simply because they are dealing with other mystical creatures or mythical beings (i.e. gods).  True, I will still read and enjoy werewolf and vampire books, but my friends, isn't variety the spice of life? :)

5.  This has only been found in the paranormal romance books I've purchased, but what is tiresome when I buy a new book is finding the postcard inserts to join a book club or romance league or the like.  What's worse is that they are usually stuck dead in the middle of the book.  Yes, it's a means of getting more sales in the future but not if you're putting them right in the middle of the book, like an infommercial in the middle of a movie.  Please put these postcard inserts at the end or the beginning of the book usually near the front or back cover, not in the middle.

6.  I shall speak as a librarian here...I dislike it immensely when patrons dog-ear any of the pages in borrowed books.  We love our books to stay in good condition for as long as possible.  When a person folds over a page whether marking their place in a novel or to refer back as a reference, it degrades the book.  That's why paper companies created so many beautiful bookmarks to use in this instance and office companies have a wide spectrum of colored sticky notes and tabs to use when marking for references.  Unless it's a book you bought, please refrain from folding the pages.

7.  It worries and miffs me when I start reading a book and really look forward to it because of the prologue. Typically, it's exciting, fast-paced, and really helps to set the overall mood of the book.  However, when you have a story that falls flat following the short prologue rather than taking off, it's just disappointing.  You keep waiting and waiting for that action to pick up...and it doesn't.  I experienced this in a recent read, and I just couldn't spend anymore time on the book.

8.  Characters that have either no development or growth in any way by the end of a book are a worrisome pet peeve.  Even if a main character should go from being a reserved wallflower to the epitome of evil, that shows some development, just negative development.  But when a main character remains the same without having learned anything within 250+ pages, it's kind of a letdown.  A book that takes place within one night can still show some type of development or growth in the main characters, and if it doesn't, the character(s) was fairly weak.

9.  Authors who kill off characters for no important reason beyond because they have that power are a pet peeve.  I can't think of any examples off-hand outside of manga authors (Yuu Watase), but if there is no purpose to a favored character's death, then why bother killing them?  Part of me still questions certain deaths in the Harry Potter series, but I can't say that J.K. Rowling killed them off without purpose.

10. When an author doesn't know how to end a series, it can be rather daunting.  Again, this has to do with manga authors (Rumiko Takahashi), but still, when you invest time and money in 30+ volumes of manga and you reach the last volume, you'd want to have all of the loose ends tied up nice and neat and all important questions answered.  It's a big let-down when the over-arcing story just kind of ends with loose threads not being explained.  I've seen this in some books, but this was usually to set up for a sequel rather than the ending.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

In My Mailbox (3)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where bloggers post about all the books they have received whether in the mail, if we purchased it, or checked out from our local library.

All of my books came from my library this week, including: 

The Sandman: The Dream Hunters by Neil Gaiman & P. Craig Russell
(Always was a Sandman fan, and I can't wait to read this one.)

The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson
(Nothing like revisiting old comics. Gotta love nostalgia ^_^)

Dust City by Robert Paul Weston 
(This novel arrived quickly by inter-library loan, hallelujah! ^___^)

My friends, what books arrived in your mailbox this past week?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Book Blogger Hop Day: March 18-20

This week on Denim-Jacket Librarian Dishes:

Book Blogger Hop

As Crazy For Books says:

Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTis an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books!

This week's question comes from Somer who blogs at A Bird's Eye Review (her blog design is ADORABLE - check it out!):

 "Do you read only one book at a time, or do you have several going at once?"

My Answer: I usually have several books going at once, though usually only one of them is a novel.  The others are usually anthologies and graphic novels since those are easy enough to pick up and read either when I need a break from the novel or just to have something different. :)  Right now, I'm currently reading The Beastly Bride (anthology), A Walk in Wolf Wood (novel) and Natsume's Book of Friends Volume 3 (manga). 

What do all of you wonderful readers have on your reading list this week? 

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

For those fans of Irish bands - "Road and the River" by Runrig

And for those fans of Celtic Woman - "Dulaman"

"Mo Ghile Mear"

"Siuil a Run"

Enjoy, my friends! 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday: Born at Midnight

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's "Waiting On" Wednesday selection is:

By: C.C. Hunter
Published on: March 29, 2011 by St. Martin's Griffin


Welcome to Shadow Falls camp, nestled deep in the woods of a town called Fallen… One night Kylie Galen finds herself at the wrong party, with the wrong people, and it changes her life forever.  Her mother ships her off to Shadow Falls—a camp for troubled teens, and within hours of arriving, it becomes painfully clear that her fellow campers aren’t just “troubled.”  Here at Shadow Falls, vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, witches and fairies train side by side—learning to harness their powers, control their magic and live in the normal world.  Kylie’s never felt normal, but surely she doesn’t belong here with a bunch of paranormal freaks either.  Or does she?  They insist Kylie is one of them, and that she was brought here for a reason.  As if life wasn’t complicated enough, enter Derek and Lucas.  Derek’s a half-fae who’s determined to be her boyfriend, and Lucas is a smokin’ hot werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past.  Both Derek and Lucas couldn’t be more different, but they both have a powerful hold on her heart.  Even though Kylie feels deeply uncertain about everything, one thing is becoming painfully clear—Shadow Falls is exactly where she belongs…

This has the makings of a fascinating and amazing book.  Paranormal and supernatural books have always been one of my favorite genres, and the added element of a camp dedicated to these paranormal teenagers is an even bigger plus.  Also, I'm amused to say that for once the love triangle doesn't involve a vampire and werewolf as rivals!  I can't wait until we add this to the library's collection!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Characters I'd Want As Family Members

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, a state that you don't have to worry about being deprived of more books as long as you're near a library. ;) This week's Top Ten is:

Top Ten Characters I'd Want As Family Members

1. Janco from Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder - This guy is such a joker, I almost wish he was either a big brother or a cousin that I was close enough to feel as though he was a big brother. Plus, he could teach me how to pick locks, so there's no way anyone could lock me in a room again. ;)

2. Atticus from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - I love my own father too much to want Atticus to fill his shoes, but I think he would make an awesome uncle. Full of advice while also being supportive, Atticus would fill the role of the cool uncle in the family.

3. Alanna from The Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce - She kicks total butt when it comes down to it, plus she rides a beautiful horse, so if she's a good big sister, she'll let you borrow her steed. 

4. Fudge from Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume - Yes, I realize little brothers always cause all sorts of trouble, and Fudge certainly has done his share of mischief. But really, that's what makes him so endearing.

5. Cimorene from The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia Wrede - Somehow, I think she'd make an excellent big sister, plus she could teach me how to make cherries jubilee, something I've never tried making before! And she's friends with dragons, what's not to love about that?

6. Sydney Carton from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens - He's the older brother that has some issues, yet when it really comes down to it, will do anything to help his loved ones. 

7. Schmendrick from The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle - The bumbling uncle that somehow always manages to make you laugh, that is what would definitely describe Schmendrick. 

8. Elona from The Princess's Dragon by Susan Trombley - She's the big sister that always gives her younger sisters a hard time, but despite this, she still loves and adores her little sisters. 

9. Draco from Dragonheart by Charles Edward Pogue - Definitely a great-grandfather figure who tells amazing stories to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I know he's a dragon, but that allows him to know more of the family for a longer time. ;)

10. Skeeve from Another Fine Myth by Robert Aspirin - A younger brother who can perform magic, he's adorable but you can still tweak his ears if he misbehaves or causes trouble. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Review: The Princess's Dragon by Susan Trombley

Title:  The Princess's Dragon
Author:  Susan Trombley
Summary:  Flanked by two lovely and graceful sisters, Princess Casiondra Falanell Cristalona Ariva - Sondra to her family - doesn't feel confident or beautiful. In fact, she's an unconventional princess who spends her days trying to disprove the nonsensical ideas of magic and myth. As she stands on achieving the life she has only dreamed about, Sondra's handsome suitor, Derek, prepares to propose, and her poverty-stricken kingdom of Ariva uncovers a valuable resource that will change it's future forever. Everything seems perfect in Sondra's life until she encounters a wizard who transforms her into a monstrous dragon. Forced to flee from the man she adores, Sondra blunders into the territory of Tolmac, a powerful and ancient black dragon. Instead of killing her as she anticipates, Tolmac takes her under his wing, unknowingly training the human princess in the fine art of being a dragon. As Sondra soon discovers, she must constantly sacrifice to make the right choices as she grows to love and admire her new mentor. With her homeland poised on the brink of war, Sondra finds herself facing an unbearable decision; she must choose between her heart and her duty to her country.
(Edit: Due to a serious “story high” when I first wrote this review, I decided to rewrite it because I felt this book deserved a different review than originally penned.)
The Dish:  It's amazing what you can come across when looking for something totally different. I think my disappointment at not getting into Touched by Venom made me start looking for other dragon books. In my search, I came upon The Princess's Dragon by chance and read the summary. Then, I read the first chapter on Amazon, and soon I was buying a copy of the ebook for my Kobo. Susan Trombley certainly knows how to grab a reader's attention, and I was barely able to put the book down in order to sleep. If I hadn't had work the next day, I would have most likely stayed up through the night to finish.
What really drew me to the story was the concept of having a princess transformed into a dragon. How often do you see that in stories? It’s refreshing to see this kind of take which allows a person the opportunity to see a completely new perspective. What was even better was having an actual teacher in the form of a dragon show the princess what it was to be a magical creature.
The Princess's Dragon claimed all of my attention, and I loved every bit of it, even after the story returned to the kingdom of Ariva and away from the draconic Sondra and her mentor, Tolmac. Trombley divided the novel into two portions with the first half focusing on Sondra and Tolmac after her transformation and the second half revealing what happened within Ariva following her "death" to her family and Derek. Both halves work to tell different parts of the story that took place at the same time, which can sometimes be confusing if not done right. It caught me a little off-guard when the focus went not only back to Ariva but back to the time just after Sondra had transformed and “died” to her people. Once I gained my bearings within the first few paragraphs of returning to Ariva, I was interested to see the impact that Sondra’s “death” had left upon her loved ones.
The concept may have brought the book to my attention, but it was the characters and the plot that kept me turning the pages. Trombley has a way of really showing her characters rather than just telling about them, making each of them more realistic. I felt really close to Sondra with the way she was constantly researching and trying to discover the “truth” behind the magic that her family and kingdom believed. Even after her transformation, she was always curious about new things as a dragon, asking her mentor, Tolmac, many different questions. Sondra was so endearing, I could understand why so many people in her kingdom adored her.
Tolmac was by far one of my favorite characters simply because he was such a duality. On the one hand, he was gruff with the draconic Sondra when she first arrived and suspicious about the reasons for disturbing him. But there was a soft side to him that Sondra also brought out in Tolmac, revealing him more as the noble protector rather than the fire-breathing villain of Thunder Mountain the people of Ariva thought he was. Even when he believed that Sondra betrayed him, Tolmac was always there to help her when she was in trouble, which just made him even more likeable.
Almost all of the supporting characters were endearing, and although they were well-developed at their introductions, Trombley still found a way to reveal even more depth to their characters, especially Elona, Sondra's eldest sister. I was still up in the air about my feelings on her when she first arrived in Ariva, pregnant and haughty, but there was much more revealed about the eldest princess that made me admire and like her even more than the kind-hearted Sarai. One character who changed in a more negative fashion was Derek. He just seemed to have an inferiority complex that really bogged down his character and made him less likeable when the story returned to Ariva.

This is a story for those readers who love fantasy with a bit of updating to the writing style and for those who are hopeless romantics. My delight and fervor with this ebook is so great, I am bent on buying a hardback copy for my personal library, I love it that much.
What books have grabbed your attention that you were determined to finish it as soon as possible?
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