Either they are going to be friends, or one is intending to attack the other.

The wonderful thing about stories is that they can contain many sorts of unlikely friendships like predators and prey being the best of buddies and never wondering how the other might taste. For example, there’s the friendship of the lion and the tuna (plus his school of friends who can construct a breathing aparatus out of kelp) from “The Other Guys” that you would have to pause if you want to attempt to catch all the jokes and references. There’s the homunculus and the forest brownie from Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke (admittedly, they were at each other’s throats at first. But they did become buddies in the end!) Here are a couple other examples:

  • Tommy and Petra in The Calder Game by Blue Balliette (though admittedly, their friendship was a little bit inevitable seeing as they both had Calder as a friend).
  • Lord Umber and the woman in charge of his accounts (though she is more like a terrifying aquaintance you don’t want to talk to) from Happenstance Found by P.W. Catanese.
  • Twig and the Banderbear (reading the description you’d have thought it would tear him apart as soon as it saw him or at least impaled him on its tusks when he pulled that bad tooth out) from Beyond the Deepwoods by Paul Stewart.

My point is that even though some of my above examples weren’t very good (I had some good ones, but I couldn’t remember the title or character names which annoys me) you can get away with highly unusual friendships in stories. Heck, Kendra Kandlestar and the unger who actually turned out to be ________ managed to strike a friendship that was so endearing and yet so frustrating at times that you love it and remember it forever! By the way, that example was taken from Kendra Kandlestar and the Door to Unger by Lee Edward Fodi. Ratchet Ringtail is definitely my favorite character out of those books!

You have to wonder where good authors get some of these ideas. Some seem obvious from the start and others are less obvious but guessable. I find some seem completely impossible but still end up happening. How do authors write those sorts of things? How are they able to choose the right words that will convey the characters of the pair/group, in such a way that they’ll be utterly lovable (in one of the many definitions of lovable) and also thoroughly memorable?

How would you make an unlikely friendship (one that doesn’t revolve around lovestruck werewolves and glittery vampires deciding “Hey! You ain’t half bad!”)?  Personally, I’d make a situation where a light elf and a dark elf were forced to work together. They’re supposed to be opposites right! It wouldn’t be a romance setting so “opposites attract” wouldn’t apply. Another example of unusual friendships would perhaps be a griffin and a horse, seeing as they’re enemies (can you believe that hippogriffs were supposed to be just a ‘scholarly joke’?) It wouldn’t exactly be original, but hey! It could happen … right?

Post Script: One more highly unlikely friendship would be myself and a chicken. How I love their wings and not in an I-want-to-pet-you-way!

What is one of the more unlikely pairings you have created or read that made an impression on you?

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As You WishAs You Wish by Jackson Pearce

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

How to describe “As You Wish”? In one word, it is stupendous!

In another… outstanding!

In yet another, it’s outrageous (but only because Viola actually got mad at Jinn in the movie theatre). Using more than one particular word though? Give me a minute to tap my chin and attempt to look thoughtful.

Now, when I found out about Jackson Pearce (I still forget how that happened exactly but I don’t particularly care) I had mislaid my library card. So seeing as I couldn’t read her books, I watched her online videos. Not only do they make me laugh but they also impart wisdom on occasion. So when I found “Sisters Red” in my local bookstore when I went there for my birthday this year, I got it and read it and loved it! Two Little Red Riding Hoods running around waving a “Kill the Werewolves!” banner (okay I exaggerate, just one did that). Who wouldn’t be interested in this literary jewel? Yesterday morning for Christmas I unwrapped “As You Wish” and immediately started screaming!

Why? Because I had been looking for it forever … (maybe not forever but since I found out about Jackson Pearce a short while ago) and read that it was about a genie and a girl falling in love and that most certainly sounds fantastic to me. For some unknown reason, I seemed to think it would be like “Sisters Red”. It’s a good thing time machines haven’t been invented yet because if they had been, I’d have gone back to give my past self a kick in the pants. With “Sisters Red” I was hooked pretty-much immediately but “As You Wish” started with me feeling curious about the first sentence. By the end of the first paragraph, I was laughing as was my Aunt, my Grandmother, my Mom, and basically anyone else I showed it to. I couldn’t really read during the visit but I did manage to get one hundred and eighty pages in before my sister and my Mom mainly finished with what they wanted to say to our Christmas company. In those first hundred and eighty pages, I found that not only is “As You Wish” drastically different (what with the whole absence of any one-eyed sisters in red capes running around trying to kill characters) but I loved it even more than “Sisters Red” which I had not thought humanly possible. Even though I have never been in a situation that Viola has been in, I connected with her quite well with most of my internal dialogue during the book being “oh you poor girl, come here, let me give you a hug then let’s go out for some hot chocolate with whipped cream”.

Of course, I did have my moments where I got upset with Viola but if I told you those parts this would be a review containing spoilers, so let’s switch to Jinn. Otherworldly Jinn. Handsome Jinn. Mouthwateringly gorgeous Jinn… before I go on with the titles and possibly embarrass myself if I haven’t already, I should probably take an axe to that particular branch of this review. Jinn was not (to me at least) your typical love interest character. I mean sure, the genies you usually read about are either lamp-bound, stuck in some other world where they’re all the same and they love annoying magicians (think Bartimaeus) or other such stereotypes. Bartimaeus did create what Disney didn’t with what I thought of genies but I think Jackson Pearce replaced Disney so Bartimaeus is now balancing against Jinn. Jinn is funny and impatient to head home but even better…he is a florist! Or rather, someone who works for the florist. The way his friendship with Viola and Lawrence developed and how his feelings for Viola grew, were very well written. I find myself wishing that I had just so happened to sidle into the book and knock Viola into a cupboard so I could get a kiss from Jinn or something while his eyes were conveniently closed so he wouldn’t notice the switch.

The plot, the execution of the plot, the character growth and the overall moral theme was coupled with my previously monumental respect and admiration for Jackson Pearce and it skyrocketed into one of the tallest buildings in my head after completing this book!

All I can say is that I fervently hope there will be a sequel and that seeing as I have loved these two books, I can’t wait to see what her next book, “The Damn Historical Novel” turns out to be like.

Oh Jackson, let’s do lunch!

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Hi! So this review will be for two things, instead of one. Luckily for you (or maybe me) they are related. Awhile ago, around the time that Mr. DiTerlizzi posted on his blog about the sketchbooks for The Search for WondLa (only available to people who showed up on the WondLaful tour, if I remember correctly), I posted on my other blog about it. This post was more of a pity-party, seeing as I myself would not have been able to go to any of the places where he’d be appearing. Imagine my surprise when he used the contact form I’d set up to e-mail me  and told me that if I gave him my address he’d send me one of these sketchbooks!

The Search for WondLa sketchbook: title page

Oh my.... *faint*

Of course, having this on the inside only served to make me even more anxious than I had originally been about the publishing of the actual book. Until then though, I could look through the sketchbook and I could pretend to know everything about the characters when talking about them to other people. Sometimes I can be a little… odd, with my behavior :D The sketchbook went almost everywhere with me for awhile, until I remembered that it could possibly be torn or damaged by something like water or food, so I hid it in my shelf safely, between two art books by John Howe. From there, I’d pull it out and read it in my room, before carefully returning it. Did I mention that I would tell my friends about it and almost immediately after that I’d start telling them how I got it and that Mr. DiTerlizzi’s signature was inside, thanking me for being a fan?

Rovender Kitt sketches

I love all the designs that were made for Rovender.

The blurriness of this picture is unfortunate but I can’t seem to keep myself completely still when taking pictures. After awhile, I had to do other things and thus couldn’t bring out the sketchbook that often. Recently, as I said in my post “The Search is OverNa,” I acquired a copy, thanks to my Aunt, Miss Kitty (thank you once again). I couldn’t read it that night, seeing as I was watching Tomb Raider with Grandma but the next morning around ten I picked it up. The previous night, I had promised to put aside all other items on my list of books that I was currently working through and I did. With lots of interruptions, I couldn’t finish it within three hours at the most like I usually would with few distractions but I did get it finished that day. My Aunt couldn’t believe I’d finished it so fast and we talked about what WondLa was, which we both found to be delightful!

 

I adore the artwork in this book!

Rating: 5/5

Reason: The concept was simply delicious, and the artwork (with how it conveyed the mood of the scene so well) was excellent! The characters were very believable to me and the description of the world Eva is going through is astounding.

If my reason didn’t make you think I’m totally in love with the story, then maybe the fact that I was already hugging it to my chest and cackling madly before I’d even read it will inform you. I had read an eighty page preview on iBooks but I have to say the digital format does not hold a candle to having a physical copy of the book in your hands. The illustrations look better on paper, too. If you have read the summary for the book then you will know that Eva lives with the robot Muthr, and that their lives are disrupted when a bounty hunter by the name of Besteel comes and breaks into their underground home called a Sanctuary. Eva escapes up a vent in the kitchen but Muthr is caught by Besteel. For awhile, we don’t know what has happened to Muthr because Eva is the main focus.

Eva checks her Omnipod for messages, and finds one from Muthr, who tells her to get as far away as possible then signal another Sanctuary. Eva does not wait though, and sends out the distress signal while she is still very near where the vent comes up. This allows her to see the intruder (Besteel) when he comes up. Unfortunately for her, Besteel somehow figures out exactly what tree she’s hiding behind and shoots it with his sonic boomrod. A chase scene follows this and Eva eventually climbs up a tree. Besteel circles around its base for awhile until she throws a nutriment pellet to create a distraction. This works, and Besteel shoots off in the direction of the sound. Eva spends the night in the tree, and in the morning when she wakes up, she finds that she’s not in the forest anymore, and strange birds are around her.

The tree she’s on is moving, so she climbs off. In the distance, she sees weeping-willow like trees eating the birds, which her Omnipod can’t seem to identify. Which is odd, because it has all knowledge that mankind has in it, and its identicapture feature should be able to tell her what anything is. Of course, she believes she is on Earth, just like Muthr believes. When wandering around, she comes across another Sanctuary. This one is quite obviously abandoned. She calls down and a flock of flying crabs come out, which are promptly eaten by a whale. Eva initiates a LifeScan on the Ominpod, and it identifies some sort of life form, however, it can’t tell if it’s human or robot. This life form turns out to be my favorite character: Rovender Kitt.

After taking her Omnipod and going back inside the Sanctuary, Eva goes off on her own and gets stuck in some sticky plant, which he comes and rescues her from. Most unfortunately, Besteel finds them and captures them. Or maybe not unfortunately, seeing as this led to Eva meeting (and bonding with) Otto, and getting to understand Rovender, through use of a transcoder. Of course, at first she thought that he was trying to kill her with the ‘dust’ coming out of it, but it actually allows her to understand him and vice versa. I thought this idea was particularly cool, because I like the idea of tiny machines that can translate things for you. Now if only I actually had one…

The escape from the camp was harrowing, seeing as I kept on tensing whenever it seemed like Besteel was going to get them, or that they weren’t going to make it. Actually, that encompasses the whole scene. After they escaped the camp and Eva got the transcoder, they camped. The next day, they headed back to Eva’s Sanctuary to check on Muthr. They find her in a swimming pool, missing her battery. After she repairs herself, and Eva gets the Sanctuary to release Muthr from her duties (namely, staying there for all eternity) they leave. Reluctantly, Rovender agrees to help them get to Solas to see if they can find any clues about what happened to the other humans. Of course, Otto accompanies them.

Other than the reasons I gave for the five star rating, I think that I have to say that what Orbona and WondLa actually turned out to be is what made me love it so much. That, and Rovender and Muthr’s occasionally non-too-cordial interactions. Needless to say, I’d recommend this to everyone, as long as they won’t get too disturbed by what happens to a water bear in the taxidermist’s place in Solas. Because that was, I have to admit, a little creepy, and made me become a bit of a wet rag, just like part of the ending of the book.

The Search for WondLa: original drawings

The original illustrations. I absolutely adore Otto's!

Thank you to Mr. DiTerlizzi, who gave me the sketchbook, to my Aunt, who purchased the book for me! Life is good!!

My sister Zoe sent me a link to a blog called Lethal Inheritence. Tahlia Newland is trying to get her book published and had the first chapter up for people to read (go comment on that please). Curious, I read it. My opinion? This book needs to get published! From what I’ve read the writing is fantastic and so is what I understand of the plot. Seeing as first lines are so important, here’s the first line of the chapter:

Exponential logarithms. Uggh.

Why that hooked me, I’m not exactly sure. Maybe it was because I was wondering what the heck logarithms are. Of course, I still don’t know but that doesn’t matter does it? I read the chapter and found it exciting and that’s all that matters. Please help this book get published because I really want to read the rest! Thank you for your time and contribution to the book’s publishing journey. :)

Now I have to go finish reading some of those other books I currently have in my possession. If you’ll excuse me….  :D

A short story about a young fairy named Oonzil Windlestraw, trying to get the other fairies to stop calling his father an oathbreaker. Now, that doesn’t sound like much of a story but it is. As the summary says, this is not your typical fairytale, mainly because Oonzil has a bit of an attitude. What sort of fairytale fae actually beats up other fairies over a name? None I know of (except, perhaps, Tinkerbell). Mr. Mathias introduced the story of how the oath Oonzil’s father made was broken very skillfully, in my opinion. I probably would have had the wizard ask Oonzil if he knew the story, then launch into it, lost-in-thought-old-man style.

As it is, the story starts with Oonzil being given a talking to because of the aforementioned tendency to hit other fairies who call his father an oathbreaker. The wizard remembers the details of the oath breaking, without going into a sort of flashback mode. From there, the wizard hasn’t yet decided what punishment to give Oonzil, so he has him clean out his eagle’s cage. Oonzil does so, and then the eagle comes back. The fairy and the eagle talk a bit, and then Oonzil gets the idea for them to work together to catch the whole wasps that the wizard wants. They do so, using a doily, and the wizard strikes a deal with Oonzil. I won’t say how that all ends, because the story is only (I think) thirty pages long, and I’ve given away most of the stuff already.

I got a copy (digital, not paperback or anything unfortunately) on Smashwords for free, thanks to a coupon Mr. Mathias put up in a Goodreads event for his October giveaway. :) I highly recommend it, because it’s very fun, and the ending is very satisfying.

Seeing as I’m still working through all the topic suggestions my awesome Aunt is suggesting (AAC shall be a tag, standing for Awesome Aunt Content that shall be used at the same time as another new tag: meow) I shall be using the AAS (Awesome Aunt Suggestions) tag so that she can look at all the posts she inspired :D So now I actually have to tell the masses (a.k.a. those who jump on the currently tiny bandwagon. Note: don’t fall off) what this post is about: that would be animals. To be precise, talking to animals. So the question (or questions) is this: If you could talk to an animal for a day, which animal would you choose, why would you choose it, and what in the heck would you talk about?

Here below I put my own answer.

For me, I find choosing one animal I’d like to be able to talk to for a day is a problematic thing. Mainly because I have to think about whether or not that animal might attack me if I get too close (I am not thinking about talking to zoo animals) and then there’s the problem of getting an inter-dimensional passport or a time machine. If I could only choose one that I’ve actually seen…. then I’d choose the heron, because I think they’re amazing and I’d like to know what it’s like to be a heron and what they do all day. If it could be a forest animal, I’d definitely choose the wolf (I think of it as a forest animal at least) because they are one of my favorite animals and we’d talk about what the life of a wolf is like…. from a wolf’s perspective, not a human one.

If I could choose a safari animal, then it’s either a lion or a a tiger. Reasons for that are obvious. For birds, I’d like to talk to a raven so that I could ask one if it would like to stay with me. Like a friend who drops in occasionally and is fed and given a warm place to stay when it’s raining, provided they don’t make a mess. For ocean animals, I’d like to talk to either a blue whale, a killer whale, a shark of some sort, or a seahorse. For monkey’s I’d like to talk to a gorilla and for dogs I’d like to talk to either an Irish Wolfhound, or an Azawakh.

And if we’re talking myths…. well most of the ones I like are able to speak english (by various physics defying means) so this question is a tough one. Hmm…. adlets. I don’t know if they can talk or not (in my story they can, they just don’t actually do it that much) but I don’t think they can. I’d choose them because A) They’re cool, B) They’re my current favorite myth, C) I repeat reason A, and D) I would like to be able to have some actual facts to use in my story that I could say were given to me by an actual adlet.

Now, if I was Dr. Doolittle and could talk to ALL of these creatures… I’d have probably fainted already. And not from the danger, oh no…. I’d have fainted from the hyperventilating and the excitement!

Rating: 5/5

Reason: Great story, great characterization, great world-building and a really cool concept!

Before we get started, you should be aware that there are some spelling and grammatical errors in the book. However, don’t be distracted by this because the story is amazing. I am inclined to believe that the errors only exist because there were time restrictions for the book’s publishing so it couldn’t be edited properly or some other perfectly reasonable explanation, but it most certainly wasn’t the author’s fault. Now, on with the review! ^_^

Our main character is married, and has one of those “normal” lives where everything seems to have been drifting along at the same pace ever since they can remember. Of course that’s not true, but it seems that way to her. Her name is Caroyln, or Carli (her name for most of the story). She has weird dreams that she can only remember fragments of. She paints these fragments and is convinced that once she has all of them, they’ll fit together like a puzzle and her life will suddenly have meaning and be exciting. This doesn’t really happen of course, but you can’t blame a girl for dreaming. Except that she’s different from most people. Yes, I know that most main characters seem to be like normal people but they just happen to transform into a lizard or they just happen to be able to make things blow up just by waving their hand. However, Carli has to be one of my favorite not-so-normal main characters. You see, when she gets up to start her day at the beginning of the book, she starts having daydreams of a sort. She’s suddenly at this place with a sandstone building and a pool that has a mosaic of Leonardo DaVinci’s The Last Supper in it. She keeps flickering back between the apparent daydream and her ‘real’ life. She feeds the cat and does other typical daily living tasks, flicks between the two realities, then goes outside to have a smoke. She sees some deer and then, “SHAZAM!”  (sorry, just had to say that), she’s suddenly back in the world with the sandstone building. This time though, there’s a hole in one of the garments in the mosaic in the pool, and it’s shooting a beam of light up into the air. At first I thought that it was possibly some aliens sending a message to other aliens to say ‘We are here! You can land now so we can destroy this place, etc.,’ but no. It’s for something far more sinister…. if you can call what the beam is actually for, sinister. Which you can’t really…. unless you think that a ____ actually is sinister, which I find almost impossible to comprehend. Notice how I tried to be clever by inserting a blank? Yeah.

So then these missiles go to intercept the beam for some reason or other, and at first Carli thinks they are around five feet long. Then, as they get closer, she realizes that they’re around the length of half a football field. For some reason my brain was not registering that there was still a good many pages left for me to read, and was worrying about the main character’s sense of self-preservation before we really learned her importance to the plot… and before we actually learned what the plot was.

The plot involves a girl who’s got a portal as part of her, seeing as she was born at a specific time when lunar activity was high and there was an eclipse or something. That’s what gave her the portal. This portal makes her a crossover, but even in that area she’s special, because she’s supposed to stop this group called the riders, and she got combat training in her dreams (is that not so cool that you are having a lot of trouble vanquishing the green-eyed monster?) so that she’d be able to do that. Only, she’s got her teacher from the dreams, Nicholas (or just Nick) looking after her. And he’s got a gun. Why that fact makes me grin in a maniacal manner I’m not quite sure, but it does. So they flee from the Riders, but then it turns out that they’re also fleeing from this group called The Union, because Nick abandoned them so he wouldn’t have to kill Carli. To hide from the Riders, they hide in a mirror which The Union set up ages ago, which is accessed by them pushing their hands into a hole on a beech tree. Riders can’t find them there, but Revenants and animals can. ‘Yipee!’ Or ‘Oh no!’, Whichever you prefer.

My favorite character was, I’m sorry to say, Haiden, even if he was an evil, evil dude and didn’t care about what he did around the end of the book. I still find the way she wrote about the character cool. What can I say? I’m mostly into anti-heroes and heroes, but I do fall for the occasional villain. The story ended in a way I honestly didn’t expect, with all the other stuff that happened. Purple lazer beams, weird ways of travel, cool creatures like Thambusches, and the whole ‘it’s nothing but sandstone and mirrors’ thing combined to make what is most certainly going to be my favorite book of the month when the time comes to answer the RTW prompt about the favorite book from October. This opinion is not at all influenced by the fact that I won a copy of this book, the fact that Ms. LaFontaine signed it (and there was a note to go with the signature, which made me very happy), or the fact that she’s a very nice person and agreed to become my friend on Goodreads.

If there is a sequel for this book, I am definitely going to read it – I love coming across stories that are so unique and intriguing and well-written that the story just stays with you, and you simply must re-read it from time to time.  I am also going to ask Ms. LaFontaine for any tips she might have regarding character creation, world building, and the various other candy that goes into the making of a story. Whether or not that candy is sour depends on the idea that is the driving force behind the words. Oh, and did I ever mention that I love the cover? I want to walk on that path and just admire the view… and hopefully meet a few Thambusches. Ones that don’t have a reason to possibly attack me. :D Another thing….. did I ever mention that this is her debut novel? Please, please let there be more! I promise to read them. *smiles as encouragingly as possible*