Thursday, May 23, 2013

BRT: The Swan Prince by Danielle E. Shipley

The Swan Prince (The Wilderhark Tales, Book 1)
Title: The Swan Prince
Author: Danielle E. Shipley
Number of Pages: eBook format {ARC}
Rating: 5/5 stars
Date to-be Published: May 31, 2013


Catching her leg in a bear trap proves the least of Sula’s worries. Haunted by an enchanted monster from a past she dare not reveal, and hounded by the perilously perceptive young village doctor, Villem Deere, the headstrong girl of the woods gambles with fate by binding hers to that of Sigmund, the captivating orphan boy with mysterious nightly business of his own.

<> ~ <> ~ <>

An enchantress’s curse turns a spoiled royal into a beast; a princess’s pricked finger places her under a hundred-year spell; bales of straw are spun as golden as the singing harp whisked down a giant beanstalk – all within sight of Wilderhark, the forest that’s seen it all.

You’ve heard the stories – of young men scaling rope-like braids to assist the tower-bound damsel; of gorgeous gowns appearing just in time for a midnight ball; of frog princes, and swan princes, and princes saved from drowning by maidens of the sea. Tales of magic. Tales of adventure. Most of all, tales of true love.

Once upon a time, you knew them as fairytales. Know them now as Wilderharks.

*Deep sigh of content*

I loved it. The writing, the pacing, the characters, the plot, all of it—it’s superb. I kept trying to put the book away but found myself incapable. I’d be able to stop for maybe a few minutes, but then I’d keep going.

There was perhaps but one thing in the entire book that didn’t satisfy me, and that was how some of the characters’ relationships felt rushed. I understand, however, that this book was a novella and it required that small rush involved. Same with the quick comprehension of some characters—such as how Doctor Deere suddenly jumped to an accurate conclusion after a seemingly vague explanation.

Still, the content of the story and the diversity of the characters; the entrancing dialogue and scenery; and just the author’s voice made all of that very worthwhile. Oh, I loved it.

Since it’s not released and I don’t want to spoil; and as it’s a shorter story, I feel like there’s not so much I can say. Danielle’s voice is sort of similar to that of a fairytale (which is sooo perfect!) and it also reminds me a little of Tolkien’s. It’s amazing how Danielle made such a strong plot—I feel like this is a story I could’ve learned about when I was younger. It wouldn’t surprise me if people will tell their kids this story in a few years.

Another topic to address is how well she veils her truths and plot twists. Oh, wow. Within the last three pages of the book, there were so many amazing plot twists! I was reeling in amazement from them all, and when I finished the story, I just kind of sat there staring at the pages in dumbfounded awe for a few minutes.

This story is so successful in everything it wants to achieve. Inspiration, creativity, empathy, grace, and lessons learned… I fell in love with all of our protagonists. I want to know what happens to them in the future, for if Danielle has wrapped everything up so neatly in this tapestry, surely she has even greater twists and coincidences planned in their futures.

Seriously, read this book. It’s awesome. This may be one of my shorter reviews, but I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone. Just take my word for it.

Not to mention, this was my very first Advanced Reader’s Copy [ARC]! Thanks so much for letting me read it, Danielle. It was truly an honor!

THE SWAN PRINCE comes out on May 31, 2013!  Be immersed in the magic of the Wilderhark Tales!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Random Monday: I Don't Feel "Graduated"

According to my class, I'm the odd one out...but did anyone else feel like nothing had really happened when they graduated? I mean, I feel about $2000 richer, but not quite...graduated.

I represented my class. I gave the valedictorian speech. I played a song for everyone. I took my diploma and shook the hands of the school board. But for some reason, I still don't feel like it's changed much. I'm sure, come August, it'll all flood in...but why not now?

Even afterward at my party, looking at my tassel. Even on Saturday, when I went to be filmed for the news... Why don't I feel like I've graduated?

Maybe others feel the same way. Maybe it's just a valedictorian thing? I don't know. But I have a diploma, and my tassel has changed, and I am now an alumna...

Well, until the feeling sinks in, I guess I'll just continue writing. And even after.

Please, share your graduation stories in the comments. (:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Writing World Wednesday: Short and Snappy

Yep, gotta keep it short. This week's gonna waylay me, guys. So, I'll just give an update on something I'm planning to do writing-wise and get your opinions on the same topic.


I want to submit to an anthology, and I need to write a short horror story.

So, naturally, I started investigating a surefire way to make a horror horrifying. One of my friends told me, "You can't be obvious. You have to be subtle. Your enemy can't be right in your face. It's the distance and the invisibility of the enemy that makes him horrifying."

Other tips say to remain in the dark, not to overuse viscera, to make your characters very close to your heart, and other such things.

What tips do you have? Do you write horror? Have you ever tried? Will you try? Give me all the details! We can learn together!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Random Monday: Expectations vs. Reality

As the van rolled forward and I scrolled through the song list on my iPod, a shadow fell over us. I glanced over at my classmates, then at my teachers in the front seat, and then finally spied outside of the window. My heart came to a screeching halt.

Five lanes of traffic on one side of the road. A train riding on its tracks overhead. And, in the distance through the fog, buildings upon buildings towering up into the sky, so high that the fog veils the tops. Skyscrapers. The first time I've ever seen them. Disbelief consumes me as I stare around at all of the people waiting at the train station between the lanes of traffic, and the cars around us, the way we loop up toward those enormous buildings that seem to tower toward Heaven.

Chicago. I hear a laugh behind me, and my friend states, "Well, here's Chicago, Kendra. Everything you thought it would be?"

No. No, it wasn't. I knew to expect the skyscrapers and the traffic, be honest... I'm a little shocked at the condition of the place. The stories I'd heard about Chicago had me thinking we would pull in and see nothing but slums and the occasional big building, but to my pleasant surprise, this place was cleaned up really well... Beautiful, really.


This morning I walked into a store two towns away from me. At night, the employees are expected to sweep, vacuum, and mop the floor as well as clean the tables and services available to patrons. I was stunned to see that none of this had been done. I've seen the store in the morning when it has been cleaned, and now, I suppose I've seen it when it hasn't been cleaned.

It's a surprising, and not overly pleasant, experience. I felt sorry for the worker who had to be there that morning. They expected to walk in and have everything ready to go for the day, but instead they were walking around cleaning everything up.


It's strange how such little things can cause such a big change. My experience in Chicago was sweetened so much by the aspect of such an amazing city. The people weren't as rude as I had expected them to be, and altogether, it was amazing. Whereas in the store, the experience was a little bitter.

Basically, that's all I have to say about that. Isn't it weird?

What stories do you have where reality defied your expectations (and vice versa), for better or worse?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

A Break and a Rebirth

January?! That was my last post?!


Have you missed me? Wondered where I was? Questioned if I died and fell off the face of the earth? ...Didn't care? (That's cold.) Heh. Well, anyway, hi! If you don't remember me, my name's Kendra and I run this nice little fiery blog here.

The one I abandoned for a while in January.

See, though, I've been busy. Here's a small overview of what I've done.

- Become Homecoming Queen of my school
- Prepared a valedictorian speech
- Prepared a song for my graduation on Friday
- Met one of my best friends from Ohio
- Went to prom with said friend
- Applied and was accepted to a two-year college
- Got a full ride to said college
- Won first place in two divisions of a business contest
- Went on a Senior Skip Day and almost died in a war between projectiles flying from cars
- Opened a bank account
- Went to Chicago
- Writing wise, I finally finished the initial editing process of Book 3 in my series, started the editing on Book 2 (don't ask), and wrote a novella.
- And more!
Future events?
- Wednesday: Class of 2013 Bachaloriette
- Friday: Class of 2013 Graduation
- 18 and 21: Dinners for being valedictorian.

I've been a busy bee, and I just kind of gave up blogging/tweeting/etc in favor of these activities. I didn't want to force myself to do it, or I knew the work would be shotty. Anyway, I'm going to try and get back into the groove of all this.

So, my break consists of doing LESS drafting of works, and MORE querying/blogging/tweeting. I should be able to keep up! I thank you all for your patience, and hopefully soon, I'll be back into book-reviewing and maybe some posting about writerly things!

To conclude, I want to share the great news of Danielle Shipley, A.K.A. Ever On Word:

SHE'S BEING PUBLISHED. TWICE! One in an anthology, and another for self-publishing. Please, go see her here and give her all of your support!! You won't have to wait long to grab these books and enjoy the heck outta them!

It occurs to me I didn't proofread this. ...Oh well. Please ignore errors.