MERMAID ABOARD by Louise Cypress – A cheesy but adorable novella


NOTE: The author provided me with a copy of this novella in exchange for an honest review.

I enjoyed this read for the most part. It was a quick and easy read, which I like on busy days when I don’t have time for a long, involved novel but want to feed the reading hunger.

I found the story to be cute enough, but the whole insta-love thing was not for me. While Ian and Estella were cute together, they fell in love too fast. Sure, they could be smitten with each other, but I didn’t fall for the love thing. Then again, if I were an 11 or 12-year old reading this story, I’d totally love the puppy love thing, so I guess it’s all relative to the age group reading it.

I felt the language was a bit young for the characters.  They sounded more 14ish than 17ish. And while I appreciated the science talk and how our oceans are in danger due to human littering, and global warming, I felt much of the storyline was info dump. I would have appreciated it more if there were pictures laying around Ian’s room of garbage hauls on a science vessel deck or something that could spark the conversations. I felt the story moved too fast as if the author was trying to shove as much content into 5000 words or less. I think there were some aspects that could have

I felt the story moved too fast as if the author was trying to shove as much content into 5000 words or less. I think there were some aspects that could have used a bit more flushing out and extended. Life doesn’t fall into place so quick and easy. I would have liked to have seen a bit more turmoil. I loved the scene with Estella, Ian, his brother, and their parents in the dining room. THAT was realistic. That was teen angst that I felt was well done. I also loved the innocence of the story, that the author didn’t have to resort to foul language or sex to tell the story. I found this endearing and I miss it so much in middle-grade and YA contemporary reads lately.

As an adult, I thought the story to be on the cheesy side, but, on the same note, I also felt it would be a perfect short story for a middle-grade girl looking for an adorable story about mermaids. Overall, I’d give this story 3 fins. I look forward to more writings by this author.

 

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Top 5 Cinematic #Dragons


Who doesn’t love an awesome dragon?

Every year, artists, filmmakers and writers of fiction (myself included) work diligently to test the limits of their imaginations to bring their audiences wondrous dragons to either make us laugh or terrify us in our waking and sleeping moments. No creature seems to do either of these better than a dragon.

There is no doubt in my mind that the best books of fiction about dragons is Anne McCaffrey’s Dragons of Pern series, which begins with this beauty:

But what about film?  My top 5 picks to date are in order from #5 to #1. Keep in mind, I am not grading the movie but the dragon.

#5.  The Reluctant Dragon

This is an old 1941 animated Disney film featuring a whimsical dragon who, instead of being a fierce, fire-breathing terror, would rather sit and recite poetry.   It is an awesome film for kids. The knight, Sir Giles, is unlike any other you will encounter. If you have small children, this is a must see.

#4.  Falkor – THE NEVERENDING STORY


Who doesn’t love a luck dragon, especially ones with soft features of your favorite pup? For those not familiar with the story, it’s about this bullied kid named Bastian who literally dives into a fantasy world through the pages of a mysterious book, and helps a warrior to stop a dark storm called the Nothing from engulfing the world of Fantasia.  I thought it was a wonderful family film. Falkor, the dragon, is so loveable and cuddly but fierce when needed in a good way.  I wasn’t impressed with the second film in the series, but the 3rd was quite original.

#3.  Dragonheart

dragonheart3

This film is the story of the last surviving dragon (Draco) and a disillusioned dragon-slaying knight who join forces to stop an evil king who was given partial immortality. While I hated the name Draco for the dragon, and I found the film lacking in plot, I did love Draco’s character and Sean Connery brought this character a charisma and charm that made the audience root for the beast.  Again, a family film, not an academy award winner, but look at that dragon!

#2.  Vermithrax Pejorative of Dragonslayer

This is a Disney film about a young wizarding apprentice who is sent to kill a dragon which has been devouring girls from a nearby kingdom. The plot is hokey and cliché. The acting not so great, but this dragon is to die for!  And what a name for a dragon! Vermithrax Pejorative. Can you say, awesome?

#1 – Smaug

We all know Smaug from the Hobbit series. While this dragon didn’t have as much screen time as I would have like, Smaug is the ultimate film dragon.  Look at his size! The beast is fearsome and cunning and is the epitome of a bad-ass dragon.  I wish I’d experienced more of him because he’s just so epic, and of course Benedict Cumberbatch added the perfect voice to the perfect cinematic dragon terror.

Of course there were other dragons I loved:  Pete’s Dragon, Toothless, the dragons from the Game of Thrones series, but these are my faves.

What are yours?

 

 

3 pieces of dragon art that will blow your mind


I love anything fantasy related, especially dragons, so it’s no surprise when I stumble upon fantasy artwork that blows my mind, I have to share.

Welcome to piece #1 – Spyro – a gem dragon

photo by artist Mo van Hamersveld

This beauty was made by artist Mo Van Hamersveld, and she’s made of amethyst, aquamarine, peridot, crystal quartz, selenite, rose quartz, black obsidian, …added aluminium, iron, copper, steel, brass, messing, resin and LOVE.  You should absolutely check out her Facebook page and look at all the beautiful dragon heads she’s made, and if you’re lucky enough, you might be able to buy one for yourself.  

Welcome to piece #2 – Hitofude Ryuu

Do you have any idea what a sumie painter is?  I didn’t either until I found this article on the website, This is Colossal.  Folks, I am totally blown away.  Check it out.

This delicate style of painting is called hitofude ryuu, which roughly translates to “dragon with one stroke.”

Wow. Just wow.  You can find more videos at this link as well.

Welcome to piece #3

I fell in love with James Doran-Webb’s artwork not too long ago when I stumbled upon this piece on the web:

http://www.boredpanda.com/driftwood-dragon-sculptures-james-doran-webb/

I literally gulped when I saw this beauty, so I did a bit of research on the artist. James Doran-Webb is an incredibly talented sculptor who carves animals from driftwood. I am in awe. Be sure to check out his website to view a spectacular collection of his works, and maybe even buy his coffee table book, ‘Animalier“.

So, what did you think?  Which artist is your favorite?

MINOTAUR by Phillip W. Simpson – A Review


Minotaur-Review-Tour

When I first read the blurb for MINOTAUR, I knew I had to read it, and I’m so glad I got an ARC from Month9Books. This story did not disappoint.

I do have to say it took me a bit to get into the story. The writing style is unique and a little ‘slower’  than I’m used to. I felt as if I were taking a leisurely stroll with Ovid, the scholar. And then this incident happens and we meet Asterion, aka Minotaur, who leads Ovid to the mountain and the labyrinth of Minotaur legend.

This story is so compelling, so heartbreaking, so different than anything you’ve ever read about the Minotaur.  It is billed as the true story of the Minotaur, and I’m inclined to believe it. Asterion opens his heart, his soul as he tells Ovid about his trials and tribulations of growing up, about being made fun of and ridiculed. About being shunned and despised by his father because he was the son of a god.  We learn of the love of his life and experience his heartache as he retells the moment when she was stolen from him. But the twist I wasn’t ready for was what really happened to him in the labyrinth.

For those familiar with the Minotaur stories, the creature suffers a horrible, bloody, gory end at the hands of Theseus, the god-founder of Athens.  This true story tells a different tale, one that will change everything you’ve ever learned or believed.  I was mesmerized, spellbound, and my emotions were all over the place as I read this story.

This is not your typical Greek mythology story-telling type book. If you’re looking for something like Percy Jackson retelling of Greek mythology, you’re not going to get it here. This is deep, dark and very solid, strong writing, and I’m happy to say I can give a two thumbs up review of this ARC from Month9Books.  This won’t be a book for everyone, but if you like good fantasy that takes its time to unfold, then you’re going to love Minotaur.

Do you want to read what others are saying about this amazing book?  Follow the Review Tour Schedule HERE

Minotaur-Cover

ABOUT MINOTAUR:
 Minotaur by Phillip W. Simpson
Publication Date:  September 29, 2015
Publisher:  Month9books

“Where shall I start?” asked Minotaur.

Ovid made an expansive gesture with both hands. “Where else but the beginning of course.”

Minotaur nodded his huge head. “Yes,” he said. “Yes,” his eyes already glazing over with the weight of thousand-year-old memories. And then he began.

So begins the story of Asterion, later known as Minotaur, the supposed half bull creature of Greek legend. Recorded by the famous Roman poet, Ovid, Asterion tells of his boyhood in Crete under the cruel hand of his stepfather Minos, his adventures with his friend, Theseus, and his growing love for the beautiful Phaedra.And of course what really happened in the labyrinth.

This is the true story of the Minotaur.

Link to Goodreads:

Purchase Links:

Amazon | B&N | BAM | Chapters | Indiebound | Kobo | TBD | Google Play

Giveaway Information:  Contest ends October23, 2015

  • Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Minotaur by Phillip W. Simpson (INT)

Enter Here 
Phillip W SimpsonABOUT PHILLIP W. SIMPSON:

Phillip W. Simpson is the author of many novels, chapter books and other stories for children. His publishers include Macmillan, Penguin, Pearson, Cengage, Raintree and Oxford University Press.

He received both his undergraduate degree in Ancient History and Archaeology and his Masters (Hons) degree in Archaeology from the University of Auckland.

Before embarking on his writing career, he joined the army as an officer cadet, owned a comic shop and worked in recruitment in both the UK and Australia.

His first young adult novel, Rapture (Rapture Trilogy #1), was shortlisted for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards for best Youth novel in 2012.

He is represented by Vicki Marsdon at Wordlink literary agency.

When not writing, he works as a school teacher.

Phillip lives and writes in Auckland, New Zealand with his wife Rose, their son, Jack and their two border terriers, Whiskey and Raffles. He loves fishing, reading, movies, football (soccer) and single malt Whiskeys.

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Five things I miss about Havendale


Hi all. It’s me, David from IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING. Charlotte and I took the day off yesterday. Things got kind of bad, and we had to run, but we’re safe for now (thank you, oh scribbler of our tale).

I have no idea what to talk about except what’s on my mind and right now, that would be my home, Havendale.

I miss my home so much.  I remember when I read Lord of the Rings how I used to wish I could go on grand Hobbit adventures. I used to think that would be so cool, but now that I’m on one, all I can think about is going back to my shire. My little hole in the forest of Tennessee. You know what I miss the most?

Sleep.  I miss being able to sleep all night and not have to worry about whether a dragon is going to eat me or if a sorcerer is going to kill me.

I miss showers, baths, bodies of water that I can bathe in. We’re always on the go and running and hiding. Deodorant and toothpaste are non-existent here, and the soap will burn a hole in your skin. And it’s not just me that stinks. When we’re in the wild like we are most of the time, Charlotte, Trog, me … God, we smell like wet dogs wrapped in sweaty gym socks.  And razors? Ha! It’s a good thing the hair on my face grows relatively slow, but I am growing a bit of a beard, which I hate. I’m sixteen. That’s just not right. And Charlotte? Let’s not go there with what the lack of a razor can do to a girl my age.  It’s not pretty.

I miss real food, like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, orange juice, chocolate chip ice cream. Coffee. Oh my God, how I miss my coffee. Trog says it sounds like something one might find in The Spice Isles. I don’t even have a clue where that is. Too far from Fallhollow, that’s for sure.

I miss my house. I live in this old 1800 civil war antebellum home with the big columns you see in old movies, except I don’t live on a plantation. The rooms are huge, but they’re not stuffy like you’d think they’d be. They’re really kind of modern. My favorite room in the house is the library. Two stories of nothing but books and artifacts. I could spend hours in that room and never get tired of it.

Last, I miss my car. You remember Eleanor from Gone in 60 Seconds? Yeah, well that’s mine, except in black and man, does she purr. She’s a ’67 Shelby GT 500. It’s got a 428 under the hood, and can go 0 – to 100 in 13 seconds. That baby is fast (not like I’ve ever taken it 100 mph, just saying). The car used to belong to my dad. Now it’s mine, and she’s in mint condition.  I don’t know how she’s stayed that way for so long, but I’m not going to complain. I think when I get home, I’ll take her for a spin, let her know I haven’t forgotten her … that is if I can find what Lily did with her.

Now that I’ve told you what I miss about my home, what do you miss about your home when you go away for a while?

Dragons! Oh how I hate and love them


Hi everyone. So sorry I’m late getting to this post. I’ve been dealing with two dragons, and I’ve had it up to my eyeballs with both of them! By the way, this is Charlotte from the novel IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING.

Yeah, this book is named perfectly. We are constantly living in the shadow of this jerk face dragon named Einar. Peeps, you thought Smaug was big? Heh, he looks like a toy next to this disgusting blackish-purple fire-breathing wreck.

Picture if you will an animal so large it would easily span a football field. A hundred yards. Easily, and he’s probably about 2/3s as tall. He’s got horns and frills and these black scales that have this purple sheen. If he wasn’t so freaking nasty, he  might be kind of cool to look at, but to tell you the truth, I wish someone would kill him. He’s evil. Bad evil. And he’s protected by some ancient magic and there are only two things that can kill him.  Of course, I have to be in the presence of both of them, which makes me dragon fodder. Grrrrr.

On the other hand, I know this really nice dragon. His name is Mirith and he’s the strangest creature I’ve ever seen. I mean, I don’t know if I would have classified him as a dragon when I first saw him, but he definitely is. He’s got these really pretty turquoise scales and a very interesting mane of feathers. He’s just so bizarre, but he’s safe to be around and really treats David and me quite well. You should see him. He’s curled up by the fireplace like a dog. He even wags his tail when you talk to him.  What a dope.  David wants to bring him back to Havendale with him. I don’t think that would be a good idea, do you? I mean, could you see someone walking a dragon on the streets of Anytown, insert country?

I don’t know. Mirith’s cool and all that, but there’s no way I’d want to own a dragon.  What about you? Would you want to own a dragon?  If so, where would you keep it, ’cause, you know they’re usually the size of, oh, I don’t know – Texas?

Anyway, I’m going to nap, now. Running around and staying in Einar’s shadow is exhausting. Chat later.

Fun facts you wanted to know about David Heiland, savior of the universe (not!)


Hi everybody.  My name is David Heiland from the novel, IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING, and I’m here because Jenny, the person who wrote me into existence, asked me to be, though I haven’t quite figured out why. It’s not like I’m a rock star, but whatever. I have no clue what to talk about because I’m kind of a brooder, at least that’s what Charlotte calls me. Char’s my best friend, by the way, and she’s sitting here next to me, coaxing me to write stuff about myself. Bor-ing. She said to start with the stats cause everyone wants to know about those, so here are some tidbits about me that no one should be required to know.

I was born in Havendale, Tennessee, which might as well be Bristol for all it matters, cause I can literally walk twenty-five feet in my yard, and I’ll cross over the town line. Weird, you know, that the map line runs through my yard, but then again, I have a pretty big yard, as in acres upon acres of Cherokee National Forest big. But you know what would be even weirder? Living on the time zone line. Can you imagine? Clocks on one side of your house would read one time, and the clocks on the other side would read another. You’d walk through your own house and be like where am I? What a mind blow. You know what else would be crazy? Actually being able to travel through time. I mean, what if you didn’t just change time zones. What if you could actually step through time and change the things that effed up your life? Man, that kind of power would screw with your head.

But I kind of went off on a tangent there. Sorry. Charlotte’s nudging me to get back to the stats. Can you hear my eyes rolling?

So, stat facts. I’m sixteen. I’ve lived in Havendale all of my life, but I have a gazillion stamps in my passport. My godmother, Lily, insisted I see the world from the time I could walk, so twice a year, we go somewhere new. Next Christmas we’re supposed to go to Italy. I’m stoked, and if Charlotte behaves, we might take her with us, too. Yeah, you should hear her squeeling right now. Too funny. Anyway, I’m average in looks, nothing really to talk about. My hair is dark, like mud, and I have blue eyes. Char says they’re like someone captured the summer sky and then threw a prism into the mix. I think she’s nuts, but she’s a girl, so what do I know. Anyway, I’m pushing the 6’1″ mark. I’m on the Havendale High track team, and I’m a two-time state champion archer. Yep, I can shoot a tennis ball out of the sky, whoo hoo, not like that will ever land me a job or anything, but it’s kind of cool to say I can do it.

What do I do in my spare time? I like to play video games. Right now, I’m really into Borderlands, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag,  and Tera, but I still like playing stuff like Burnout and The Legend of Zelda.  Sometimes I fool around on my Taylor guitar, which I love. I also like to read, swim, water ski, that kind of stuff, but I haven’t had a chance to do any of those things lately because the alterer of my life decided to thrust me out of my comfort zone and into something I was totally unprepared for. I wish I could find a do over button, but I don’t think one exists, at least not in my present world.

One of Jenny’s friends, Deby, wanted to know what I see as my role in this crazy story that is now my life, and if that role interfered with my plans for my future. My role in THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING, Miss Deby, is beyond insane. It’s twisted and I would never wish it on anyone. I hate being in the spotlight, yet here I am, right in the middle of it. Did it interfere with my plans for the future? Excuse my language, but hell yeah. I mean, I didn’t have anything set in stone, but whenever I envisioned my future, there were no dragons involved. Ever. Now I have two of them, and some other mind-blowing stuff I can’t even begin to explain. What has happened to me and Charlotte has made me question everything I believed in, everything and everyone I trusted. I’ve had to do some things I never, in a million years, ever thought I would do. I’ve been forced to look at who and what I am, and I still can’t wrap my head around what I’ve become. I mean, it’s hard enough being sixteen, but to have all this other shit, sorry, crap, thrown at me in such a short amount of time? There was no time to prepare. No training. It was just do or die. And to make things worse, the story isn’t even over yet. Ugh.

On the good side, I’ve experienced some crazy and bizarre things I never dreamed existed. For example, I came face to face with a real, live centaur. I’m not kidding. It was crazy. And then I met this bad-ass knight who’s scary as shit and as big as a freaking tank, but is really cool, if you can get past being scared of him. This road trip we’ve been on has taught me a lot, but one thing I’ve learned the most is to never say never. It’s amazing what you can find if you just open your mind and your eyes.

And, on that note, I’m going to call it quits. Charlotte will be here tomorrow to dazzle you with her charm. We’ve decided to switch off every other day, that way, if you want to ask us questions, we’ll have time to answer. I hope I didn’t bore you too much with my ramblings.

Later.

It’s a Teen Invasion


It’s that time of year for me to take a hiatus from my blog to write, edit, and write some more. In the past, I just went silent but this summer, at least for a month, I am turning my blog over to two teens, David and Charlotte, from my soon to be released novel, IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING.

I have to tell you up front I have no idea what will spring forth from their fingers. I can tell you that David is quite nervous about it. He’s not one to voice his opinion. Charlotte, on the other hand, is quite vocal, but she promised me she would be nice, right Charlotte?

girl with thumbs up

They also said they would answer questions, too, and take ideas as they have no idea what to talk about.

Go figure … teens with nothing to talk about. Hmm. Is that even possible?  We shall see.

With that said, I will be here through the end of the week and beginning Monday, David Heiland will be on board to start off your week with whatever 16-year-old boys talk about. I hope you tune in now and then. It will be interesting.

#MINOTAUR cover reveal and Giveaway ~ #M9BFridayReveals


Welcome to this week’s M9B Friday Reveal!

This week, we are revealing the cover for

Minotaur by Phillip W. Simpson

presented by Month9Books!

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

Minotaur.v3

“Where shall I start?” asked Minotaur.

Ovid made an expansive gesture with both hands. “Where else but the beginning of course.”

Minotaur nodded his huge head. “Yes,” he said. “Yes,” his eyes already glazing over with the weight of thousand year old memories. And then he began.

So begins the story of Asterion, later known as Minotaur, the supposed half bull creature of Greek legend. Recorded by the famous Roman poet, Ovid, Asterion tells of his boyhood in Crete under the cruel hand of his stepfather Minos, his adventures with his friend, Theseus, and his growing love for the beautiful Phaedra.And of course what really happened in the labyrinth.

This is the true story of the Minotaur.

add to goodreadsMinotaur by Phillip W. Simpson
Publication Date: September 29, 2015
Publisher: Month9books

amazon

About-the-Author

Phillip W Simpson

Phillip W. Simpson is the author of many novels, chapter books and other stories for children. His publishers include Macmillan, Penguin, Pearson, Cengage, Raintree and Oxford University Press.
He received both his undergraduate degree in Ancient History and Archaeology and his Masters (Hons) degree in Archaeology from the University of Auckland.
Before embarking on his writing career, he joined the army as an officer cadet, owned a comic shop and worked in recruitment in both the UK and Australia.
His first young adult novel, Rapture (Rapture Trilogy #1), was shortlisted for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards for best Youth novel in 2012.

He is represented by Vicki Marsdon at Wordlink literary agency.

When not writing, he works as a school teacher.
Phillip lives and writes in Auckland, New Zealand with his wife Rose, their son, Jack and their two border terriers, Whiskey and Raffles. He loves fishing, reading, movies, football (soccer) and single malt Whiskeys.

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Giveaway

Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!
Title will be sent upon its release.

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