Thursday, December 24, 2009

Magic Under Glass by Jackie Dolamore

"Still, if I had a purpose, surely it must be to save Erris, and even Hollin himself. I had come to Lorinar to seek my fortune, but in four years, I had found nothing like fortune. I might as well have stayed in Tiansher if my life was to be an endless round of seedy halls and pennies for pay, watching the songs of my country lose their potency as they toughed indifferent ears. This was my chance to be something more, my chance to act."

-MAGIC UNDER GLASS by Jaclyn Dolamore

Bloomsbury, December 22nd, 2009

Nimira is a music-hall girl sed 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-burried secrets are about to stir. Unsettling rumors begin to swirl about ghosts, a madwoman roaming the halls, and Parry's involvement with a league of sorcerers who torture fairies for sport. When Nimira discovers that 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.

After being intrigued by the cover art, I contacted Bloomsbury books, who graciously sent me a review copy of MAGIC UNDER GLASS. When I recieved the book and read the back cover (above), I immediately put down whatever I was reading, pushed my homework aside and started in on this story.
However, when I continued to read, I found myself slightly disapointed. I am not going to say that I didn't enjoy this book. That would be a lie. I very much enjoyed it. The fact of the matter is that I found that I was not able to relate to anything going on in the main character, Nimira's, life, something that I find very important when writing fantasy.
The writing itself of the story added to this idea as well. Although extraordinarily beautiful and classic, the writing felt so remote to the world today that the characters and story felt even more distant.
That is not to say that I didn't love the writing style. Even though I felt it did make the story more remote, the words themselves added depth and detail to the story, making the fictional world in which the story took place to become unique, full and complete. The writing style also drove the story along. Sometimes, I felt as if the writing was a plot point in itself, something I have never before seen. Props to Jaclyn on making the book so beautiful in this regard.
The story itself was intriguing and unique. First off, the love interest, Erris, isn't even human. And when I say he isn't human, I don't mean he is a vampire or a werewolf or some other creature that children run from screaming. I mean he isn't alive. He is an object called an automaton, or a clockwork man. You know those little wind-up toys that you get as a kid that make wierd noises and jump around on the table? Yeah, Nimira falls in love with one of those, except there is someone trapped inside of it, who communicates with Nimira through a piano.
Another layer to the plot is the goings on in the house itself. Between Hollin, the master of the house, the crazy lady who roams the halls and the dynamic casts of maids, you are never bored even though 75 percent of the story takes place in the same Beauty and the Beast like castle. Not to mention the characters who don't live in the Hollin mainsion, such as the antagonist, the sorcerer Smollings.
The book itself was a quick read with a plot that wasn't at all repetitive or overdone in YA. A breath of fresh air, if you will. I was intrigued until the very end, and, although I am not compelled to read it over and over again, it was still a book worth reading.

Thank you Jaclyn for sharing your story with me and the rest of the world. Also, thank you Bloomsbury for sending me this ARC!

If you all haven't entered the contest to win a signed copy of Melissa De La Cruz's BLUE BLOODS, please do so! The link is posted in the contest box above this post. Also, I hope all of you guys have a safe and happy holiday!!!

More to come,

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Randomness (featuring a scene from my NaNo project!!!)

I haven't posted in almost two weeks and I would completely understand if you guys hated me at this point. I hope you don't, but you know, it would be understandable.
So as a "thank-you-guys-for-continuing-to-read-I-love-you-all-so-much," I am posting a scene from my NaNo book. That would be the reason why I was gone, by the way! I was writing!
And reading! I have received more Advanced Reader's Copies than I can handle, so as I make my way through a ridiculous amount of Tenners books, I give you this. All you need to know is that Kenza is a witch/princess who's run away from home and she is kind of horrible with 'chore' magic- ie. cleaning your room with magic, ect. Segori is her best friend and they are about to go to a party together. Felix is Segori's brother.
I hope you guys like it!!! I am going to try to do a super special VLOG post soon with all of the ARCs/books I haven't reviewed yet, just to spice it up a bit. What do ya'll think?
Also, if you haven't entered my contest to win a signed copy of Melissa De La Cruz's BLUE BLOODS, you should. Those books are awesome.
Okay, scene time!!! Hope you all like it!

Kenza stood in her kitchen, panicking as she sloshed around in the rapidly growing pool of water at her feet. The dog stood in her kitchen sink, covered in bubbles and shaking with cold, its hair hanging like a mop over its eyes. It was pretty pathetic looking, Kenza thought, as she picked up the whimpering creature and wrapped him in her arms, trying as much as possible to dry him with her already sopping wet sweatshirt.
"It's okay! Shhh... see? You're fine? You're fine? See? You're all clean now?" Kenza was just wishing she could say the same about her completely flooded kitchen when the phone rang. Skidding across the slippery floor, dog in hand, Kenza caught it (as well as her balance) on the third ring.
"Hey, hun, where are you?"
"At my house," Kenza said in a slow voice as if talking to a dumb child. Where else would she be? Segori had just called her on her home phone, home being the operative word in the sentence.
"Oh, yeah, right. Dumb blonde moment," well, it would have been, Kenza thought, if Segori didn’t have pitch black hair.
"Anyways, what's up?" "Um.. that's what I was calling to ask you, hun. It's sevenish. Where are you, babe? I thought we were going to pick out something for you to wear?" Her voice adopted a shrill, annoying, whinny tone with her last words, like a baby crying for candy.
"I don't think that it's gonna work out," Kenza said with hesitation, holding the wet dog close to her and staring around at her kitchen. It look like a tsunami had just flooded it and a steady stream of water was still running uncontrollably from her tap.
"Why not?"
"Because my kitchen is a wreck."
"Well, can we fix it later? You worry waayy too much, Kenz."
"Uh, actually, no, I don't think I can. You see, it is currently in the process of.. um.. flooding. I can't stop this cleaning spell that I learned in home ed and I don't--" Kenza was starting to panic, her voice rising higher with the water levels in her kitchen.
"Okay, hun, listen to me. I am sending Felix over right now. He is super good at stuff like this. He'll fix it and then we can go out on the town, kay?
"Yeah," Kenza said, still in too much shock from her dog wash gone wrong to say much more.
Okay, well then, I'll see you in an hour or so." The phone went dead. Dropping it back onto the receiver, Kenza slid to the floor against the wall, careful not to squish the puppy she had clutched to her chest, to wait for help to arrive, giving up all attempts to salvage the situation on her own. Every spell she had tried only seemed to make things worse. She was better off just sitting there, thinking about the aneurism her landlord was going to have if Felix didn't get there soon. Kenza was a strong girl, but from how her current situation was looking, she was a damsel in distress when it came to home-ed magic.
It seemed like forever and a day before Felix got to her house to save her from herself. When the doorbell rang, Kenza pushed herself clumsily off the floor, almost falling on the slippery surface and cautiously made it towards the door.
“Holy…” Felix said with a laugh of astonishment as Kenza opened the door. He immediately rushed over to the tap, his balance and coordination clearly much superior to Kenza’s, allowing him to walk with a fair amount of ease over the slick floors. Sparks began to fly from his hands, sending what looked like multi-colored glitter around the room, curling around the faucet and every other orifice from which water was pouring out of. With a loud click! the sound of rushing of water stopped just as suddenly as it had started. Felix stared at the tap, as if making a peace agreement with it, and then, once it looked as if all was calm, he turned to her and leaned back on his hands against the countertop.
“How in the hell did you do that?” he said. Kenza shook with cold, holding her dog that was also shaking, more out of fear than anything else.
“I—I have absolutely no idea,” she laughed breathily, sitting back down on the floor with exhaustion. Pushing off from the counter, Felix surprised Kenza yet again by coming to sit next to her. “I tried to do a cleaning spell to give the rat a bath and—“
“Wait,” Felix interrupted, turning to her and giving her that look again, the one where he raised on eyebrow and smiled at her like she was an idiot. “Why were you giving a rat a bath?”
“Oh, well, he isn’t actually a rat,” she said, untucking the shaking creature from her sweatshirt and offering him to Felix. “He’s a dog. Charlie and I found him when we were walking home from blahdy blahdy blah blah cafĂ©. He kind of forced him upon me.”
“Oh, the horror,” Felix said, his voice anything but horrified, disentangling the puppy from Kenza’s hands and holding it to his chest, scratching him affectionately behind his ears. “A killer puppy.”
“Well, he did do quite a lot of damage here…” Kenza said, her voice drifting off, indicating the glistening wet countertops and large amounts of water that covered almost every surface in her kitchen, including but not limited to her ceiling.
“Well, technically, Kenz, you did the damage,” he said, still holding the shaking dog close to him. It surprised Kenza that he used the nickname that Segori and Charlie often called her. She liked it more than she should.
“Technically. It was still the rats fault.”
“I don’t get why you call him the rat. He’s pretty cute, actually. Look at that tiny face. I am assuming he doesn’t have a name?” Name? Kenza was suppose to name the thing? She was happy with just calling it the rat forever. It wasn’t like she was actually going to keep him. “I was just going to stick with rat.” “That’s not a very nice name.”
“Yeah, well, I wasn’t exactly planning on keeping him.”
“Why not?” “Um.. I am not really a dog person, you know?” The dog chose that exact moment to jump from Felix’s arms, shake out as much of the water as he could from his soaking fur and ran around in a circle before running over to Kenza and curling into her lap, falling asleep after only a few seconds. If Kenza didn’t know any better, she would have thought the little thing had known just what she was saying. She also would have thought that the dog knew exactly what he needed to do to wrap Kenza around his little finger.
“Well, you seem like a dog person to me,” Felix said, laughing, petting the sleeping dog gently on the top of his round head. She had to admit, he was pretty cute. The dog, that is. Not Felix.
“Okay, enough puppy love. We need to get this cleaned up before your sister calls screaming at me for not getting over to your house for a makeover soon enough.”
“No, you’re right. We wouldn’t want to release her wrath,” Felix said, smiling, launching himself from the floor in one graceful movement before offering his hand out to Kenza.
“Thanks,” she muttered, as she took his hand and pulled her up from the wet ground, leaving the dog to his rest on the floor. Dropping his hand, Kenza lifted her palms and focused on both maintaining her appearance spell and drawing the cleaning spell to the front of her mind. Water rose from the ground in spirals, and just when she thought it was working, exploded into the even farther depths of her house. Whatever parts of her and her house that were not wet before, certainly were now. Laughing, she turned to Felix. He was completely soaked, his blonde hair falling over the front of his face, but somehow, he was laughing too.
“Holy… That was impressively horrible,” he chuckled, pushing his wet hair from his eyes.
“I seem to be getting a reputation for that lately,” Kenza said, embarrassed. She wasn’t exactly keen on making a fool of herself in front of Felix, but at this point Kenza had just given up. Embarassment seemed to follow her wherever she went now that she had left the palace. “It’s kind of embarrassing.” “Don’t worry about it. Screw ups are part of being a teenager,” he laughed and raised his palms, and as before, all of the water that had covered the liquid covered surfaces withdrew from wherever they lay and hung in the air. Felix snapped and the water disappeared with it.
“Then how come you never do?” Kenza blurted out before she could stop herself. He turned to her and looked straight into her eyes, making her heart jump. His expression, although quizzical, still retained its amused demeanor.
“If you think I never screw up, then you don’t know me at all,” he smiled at her, but his voice as dead serious.
“Uh… sorry. That was a really awkward thing of me to say. It just kind of came out. I’ve just never seen you make an idiot of yourself before, is all,” she said, desperately trying to backpedal through this conversation, making things even more awkward than before.
“I can tell you one thing though, you will see me screw up if I don’t get you over to our place before my sister goes insane.” Kenza murmured her assent, and, wrapping the dog in the blanket from her bed and setting him their to sleep, she headed out the door with Felix, locking the deadbolt behind her.

More to come,

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

NaNo is over...

Hey guys,
As you may have noticed, November is over. And, by looking at the widget above, you may have noticed that I didn't finish my novel in the month of November. After starting out with so much enthusiasm for my project, my attitude that writing 1667 words a day wouldn't be that hard, I didn't reach my goal.
Last night as I was going to bed knowing that I would wake up in the morning and my word count would be set, I was thinking about my month. About whether or not I had failed. I kept asking myself the same question. Are you disappointed in yourself?
My answer every time was, No.
I may not have made it to fifty thousand words but in the month of November, I accomplished so much more. I visited a foreign country, got awesome grades, made a friendship that I hope will last a lifetime, figured out how to do my hair so it doesn't look like a bomb went off in the morning, got along with someone who I never thought I could ever get along with and had an amazing Thanksgiving with my family. I grew as a person this November. And, even though I didn't finish, I grew as a writer. I found out what I was capable of.
I realized that I can do anything I want to if I set my mind to it.
And I am proud of every single one of my 37,451 words. I fell in love with my characters and found out how hard and rewarding writing is. How incredibly personal it is. How much of yourself you give away when you write and when you read, how much you find out about the person who put the pen to paper. It made reading a personal thing for me. I found out more about myself and how I've changed throughout my life in this one month that I think I have in my entire life.
So am I disappointed that I didn't finish my NaNoWriMo?
Absolutely not.
I know that I will finish my novel. I also know that the most likely situation is that no one but myself and a few friends will end up reading it.
I know it was worth writing it anyways.
More to come,

You may also like...

Related Posts with Thumbnails