April 29, 2016

Featured Author: Jessica Day George

Today I'm featuring another one of my favorite authors! Jessica Day George primarily writes fantasy for teens and kids. She also has written some fairy-tale retellings. I have read and liked almost all of her books; a fact I realized after finishing one of her newest.

She also a fellow BYU alum, so that makes me proud!

Most of her work is in a series or at least a trilogy, though she does have a couple stand-alone titles. For the series, I will review the first book, then give an overview of the others.

Silver in the Blood

3.5 stars: Dark secrets and a fight against evil.

Dacia and Lou are American cousins, travelling to Romania for the first time to meet their mothers' side of the family. There are big secrets that they will find out about soon, but so far anyone who could tell them what's going on is either hostile or terrified. Not a great beginning.

Eventually, they discover their "heritage" and have to come to grips with who and what they really are. In the meantime, they have a chance to save the rightful King and Queen of Romania--though it will come at great personal risk for both of them.

Also, there are some guys that they like, who happen to factor in to the grand scheme of things.

* * * * * *
I'm wavering a bit on the stars--hence the 3.5 rating. There was a lot I liked about it. The delving into various legends--such as werewolves and vampires was well-done, and added to the story without making it into Twilight 2.0. I also enjoyed seeing the way Dacia and Lou grow up and change throughout the story. Showing believable growth takes some talent and it happened here.

Drawbacks: I wasn't crazy about the letters back and forth; they slowed down the plot. The diary entries were a bit better, mostly because they were shorter. I would have liked even more background about the girls' mother and the way they were raised, but as it is listed as a trilogy, perhaps that information will be forthcoming.

Content: This was George's most adult book so far, content-wise. There was some nudity having to do with shapeshifting, an attempted rape, and some violence and death during battle.

(Finished reading April 23.)

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow

4 stars: Enchanting.
Polar bears, trolls, mysterious carvings, and a girl without a name.
A retelling of the Snow Queen fairy tale.

(Review from March 2013.)

Castle Glower Series

Tuesdays at the Castle

4 stars: Fun and imaginative.

Castle Glower is no ordinary fortress. It has a mind and will of its own, adding new rooms and corridors at will (though usually on Tuesdays), removing those not in use, even shutting people in a room together who ought to marry (that would be the King and Queen, in their younger days, of course.) Of the 3 royal children, it has always been obvious that Princess Celia, the youngest, is the Castle's favorite. She has pages of maps that she has drawn of the ever-changing terrain, and just feels a kinship with the castle.

When the King and Queen are attacked and presumed dead on their way to see their oldest son, things suddenly get very dark and uncertain for the 3 royal orphans. Neighboring kingdoms immediately send over envoys, who seem to be planning to stay for a long time. Like, maybe forever. Princess Celia will do anything to prevent a takeover, or worse, an assasination of Rolf, the heir. Good thing the castle's on her side.

(Review from September 2013.)

Other Books in the Series:

#2: Wednesdays in the Tower--the Castle appears to be in trouble, and Celie finds a mysterious egg. My Goodreads review.
#3: Thursdays with the Crown--Celie & siblings are transported to another land, where they try to figure out how to heal the Castle, and also how to get back home again. My Goodreads review.
#4: Fridays with the Wizards & #5: Saturdays at Sea--haven't read these two yet.

Overall: So far I liked the first book the best in this series, but the other two kept my interest. I want to read the rest to see what happens, if nothing else. The Castle itself was very intriguing to me and as the series progresses you learn more about the rhyme and reason behind its changeable nature. These are geared for about the same audience as the Dragon Slippers books--right in the 10-12 year-old range. Could go younger, if you had a child who enjoys fantasy.  Content: clean.

Dragon Slippers Trilogy

Dragon Slippers

3 stars: Fun read; not as much depth as the Midnight Ball.

Creel doesn't have much, except for skill with a needle and some courage. When her aunt drops her off at a dragon's cave in hopes of a rescue by a wealthy knight, (the marriage afterword goes without saying), Creel finds that she not only can handle the rather awkward situation herself, she can do it with aplomb. Before she knows it, she's off to the big city to work in a dressmaker's shop, with a really comfortable pair of slippers on. If only someone would have told her a little more about those marvelous slippers--such as the powers associated with them--things would have turned out much differently, for Creel and for the kingdom. But as Creel proves time and again, dealing with extraordinary and perilous times may be just what she does best.

I liked how the dragons had different personalities, as shown by their respective hoards.

(Review from April 2010)

Other Books in the Trilogy:

#2: Dragon Flight--actually skipped this one unintentionally and have never gotten back to it.--oops!
#3: Dragon Spear--Nothing like a dragon kidnapping to delay Creel's upcoming wedding.
My Goodreads review.

Overall: This was a light-hearted series. All 3 were quick reads, with some action, a little romance, and a generous dose of humor. They are geared more for the younger teen/tween, but could be enjoyed by any age. Content: clean.

Princesses of Westfalin Trilogy

Princess of the Midnight Ball

I actually posted my review of this one earlier this month, as part of the He Said/She Said list, which can be found here:

It's the 4th one down, so you will have to scroll a little bit.

Other books in the series:

#2: Princess of Glass--a retelling of the Cinderella tale, with a bit of a twist. My Goodreads review.

#3: Princess of the Silver Woods--Petunia (the youngest of the 12 sisters) gets abducted by the notorious Wolves of Westfalin. A mashup of Red Riding Hood and Robin Hood. My Goodreads review.

Overall: I thoroughly enjoyed this trilogy. The stories are a bit deeper than her other 2 trilogies and are more geared for teens. I especially like the way she fleshed out these well-known fairytales, while still keeping fairly true to the storylines. My star ratings reflect accurately how much I liked each one: #1 received 5 stars, #2 received 3 stars, and #3 received 4 stars. Content: there a couple of swear words in #3, otherwise clean.

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