Thursday, August 15, 2013

BRT: The Stone Kingdom by Danielle E. Shipley [ARC]

The Stone Kingdom (The Wilderhark Tales, Book 2)
Title: The Stone Kingdom
Author: Danielle E. Shipley
Number of Pages: 179
Rating: 5/5!
Date to-be Published: September 20, 2013
“Love and prince,
Both true, wed rose of white in realm of stone;
For blood begins,
But naught can be put right by blood alone.”

One thoughtless act is all it takes to bring the curse threatened on Rosalba’s christening day to pass. Now the princess must combine her desperate determination with the service of benevolent tailor Edgwyn Wyle to find the second half of the key to her kingdom’s restoration.

<> ~ <> ~ <>

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 Wilderhark’s.
Ah, Danielle has done it again. *Slow claps* I swear, she must take classes on how to twist all of these words into clever incantations and riddles! Either that, or she is the teacher. Well-rounded characters, ingenious pace and plot, and twists at all the right turns are my favorite. The author excels in all of these areas, and her descriptions are beautifully vivid.
Something else I want to take into account is the cover. It's so much brighter than the cover of The Swan Prince, and for good reason. The debut book of this series had a dark, mysterious tone to it while this one was an adventure of soul-searching for open-minded, heart-on-her-wrist Princess Rosalba. Danielle has an incredible artist, to say the least.
Let's talk about Edgwyn for a second. A lot of research was put into this, I'm certain, regarding Edgwyn Wyle's love for fabric. His character is so lovable! He has a great love for animals and a heart of gold is the best thing Rosalba could have, given her standpoint for a majority of the book. He's completely selfless, clever, and kind. I definitely hope to see more of him in later books.
Another skill Danielle has is voice. She wrote from several different perspectives in this installment, and each one sang of its own independent feelings and thoughts. That's something all writers struggle with, and she makes it seem effortless.
She also takes real life experiences and morphs them into a fairytale, something I can see many readers learning from. At the same time, she weaves true, already-existing fairytale scenarios into the writing, and I LOVE IT. Every time I would spy such a happening, I had to stop for a minute just to absorb it.
The Wilderhark Tales are all about learning morals. How to be honest, to respect oneself, to be brave enough to face any threat for the ones you care about. It's beautiful, really. It makes you wish the Wilderhark Forest was a real pace, despite the anarchwitches!
Honestly, I can't find anything to rag on here. Perhaps a little bit more explanation was needed for a few minor details of the book, but it wasn't enough to detract from the story whatsoever. Being that I don't want to spoil anything, I'll leave the review off here. Please, get your hands on The Swan Prince as well as this when it's released.
Another thank you to Danielle for giving lucky-ol'-me an ARC for this amazing installment!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Writing World Wednesday: Why Novels Don't Have Pictures

Currently reading: Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. (By the way, the name Ransom is kind of cool. Is it a pseudonym? I wouldn't be surprised.)

I am 95 pages into this book, and I am truly enjoying it. I spied quite a few reviews where people were displeased with the book due to the misleading cover and summary. Well, I raise you this question: don't all readers know better than to trust the cover? Either way, I'm enjoying it for its story, not because of what its eerie cover promises.

Now, covers mean pictures; and pictures raise another question: If we have a picture, why do we need to describe anything? Description is a crucial element for any writer to use and configure into their writing to give readers the same image that the writer has in mind. This book has photographs interlaced throughout the entire story, and instead of being enraptured by them, they're annoying.

They are wasting ink. Riggs specifically describes exactly what is on the picture before you see it. Let me give you an example:

"He loved guns so much that sometimes he even slept with them. My dad had an old snapshot to prove it: Grandpa Portman napping with a pistol in hand." (Page 27)

 Page 28 is a photograph of a man sleeping with a pistol in his hand.

...Why did we need the photograph when it was specifically explained? It takes away from the writing and distracts us from the story for a moment to examine the photograph. It's unnecessary. Novels are all about the wordsmithery, not the photography like younger books.

It could be just me. Yet I just feel as though this is the possible #1 reason novels do not have pictures woven into the text: unnecessary distraction. Your opinions and thoughts?

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Interview Saturday: With IRIS CLEARWATER, invited by Kimberly Kay!

When the curtains open, our black-haired, violet-eyed host is already sitting in a chair leaned back with his arms folded. With what seems to be a great effort, he smiles out to the audience, and gets straight to the point. “Welcome back to Interview Saturday, after a brief hiatus,” he begins. “I’m your host, Fortune Treston, and our latest interviewee is Iris Clearwater, who can be found blogging about her adventures at on her blog here hosted by Kimberly Kay.”
Iris Clearwater was born with super powers. Or rather, super LAME powers. Let's be honest, how useful is it to have it rain every time you blink? That's right. Every. Time. To compensate for her obnoxious powers, Iris spends a lot of her time alone in her basement, hacking--I mean, surfing the internet--and looking up information on supers who actually have useful powers. She may or may not actively stalk attractive hunk, Sonic Boom (she's the president of his fan club). With his sparkly gold cape, and matching smile, she knows it’s a love meant to be. If she could just find out his secret identity and arrange a happenstance meeting, that is.
Said happenstance meeting unexpectedly occurs when Iris and Sonic are kidnapped by Evil Evil (the most redundant of the super villains). It's the first step in a journey that will not only give Iris a chance to meet her idol, but take her down an unexpected path lined with villains much less redundant, and much more evil than Evil Evil.
Fortune motions Iris out from behind the curtains, observing the girl only a little younger than him, and folds his hands. Iris skips across the stage. When she’s seated, he hops straight to it. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Iris--"
"Pleasure's all mine! It's fantastic to get out and about!" She peers eagerly around the room with bright, hazel eyes, not in the least disappointed that she can't see past the bright lights to the audience presumably sitting somewhere out there. She folds her hands on her lap and turns attentively back to Fortune.
Fortune raises an eyebrow at the interruption and clears his throat. "So you’ve had these superpowers since birth?”
She snorts. "If you can call them 'powers', then sure, yeah. I mean, it was different when I was small. It would always be kind of misty around me when I was a baby--it was only as I got older that my powers actually condensed enough to fall as rain. As if that makes any sense, right?"
“It’s my own morbid curiosity that leads me to inquire as to whether the duration of your blinks determines the intensity of the resulting rain. The longer the blink, the more rain?”
"Sounds about right." Ruffling her long brown hair, Iris leans back. "I'd show you, but since we're indoors, that won't work too well. But yes, basically, the faster I blink, the more rain. The harder I blink, the bigger the drops. Still haven't found much of a use for it--regardless of my slight ability to control it. I can't make it stop, though I hear rumor that when I sleep there's nothing. That would be useful if I were, you know, actually awake to enjoy it."
Fortune gives a slow nod, restraining a comment about how irritating something like that would be. “I see. Hm.” He shifts to cross his legs. He begins, “This Sonic Boom. How do all of the gifted people in your world find each other? Is it a secret society, a school dedicated to all of you? How does it work? In the case of the latter, do villains attend?”
Mimicking Fortune, Iris also crosses her legs. "I don't know how it is around the country. For me personally, I never attended a super school or anything like that--though some of my online friends like Issac say such schools do, indeed, exist. For me personally, it took a while to realize I even had powers, and when I realized they were quite useless, I didn't bother with the school track. Heroes like Sonic--" Her eyes go misty at his mere mention, "Might have training. From what I've been able to dig up about him though, Sonic came out of nowhere. After learning about super schools from Issac, I hacked--er, googled--some of the school records. Never came across Sonic's name. I think he must have been self taught. As for the villains, I assume they go to school, you know, before they decide to turn evil."  
“Surely you’re going to have a secret identity,” Fortune declares. “The aliases Sonic Boom, Evil Evil… What are you going to choose for yourself?” He delivers a small smile. Seeing where this is going, Iris rolls her eyes. “No matter how ‘lame’ your superpower may appear, its worth will reveal itself in the future. I’m certain of it.” He pauses. “Do you choose the names yourself, or does someone else choose for you?”
"I can't say anything about my powers revealing their use in the future. I mean, sure there was that one time I was able to save Sonic and me with them, but that was more of a happenstance than anything else. My powers haven't grown much since I stopped growing. As for the hero names, according to one Mirabel Watson, whose articles can be found on my own blog and my friend Ruby's, the supers tend to acquire names due to their looks or powers or what have you. That explains why they're generally generic, and, I'll be honest, uncreative. Sonic Boom, though I love his name, has fallen prey to this sort of thing--I mean, the guy's power is to fly so fast he creates Sonic Booms! So I suppose the name just kind of sticks. As for the villains, I know when they make their first appearance, they usually announce themselves and declare names and all that. Evil Evil--not sure what his deal was, but I think he was trying to come up with a creative way to explain just how evil his evil is. And, I mean, what's more evil, then evil that is evil--if that makes any sense.
"As for myself, I'm not sure what name the public would give me. The Raindrop Rebel? Stormy Eyes? Uh... I have no idea. I know my name, "Iris" is derived from the goddess of rain and rainbows or something, so maybe someone would throw something cliche about that in there. I actually haven't planned a name for myself just yet--though I should! As I plan to be helping Sonic more in the future, a fake name will be necessary."
"I think it would be nice to do something with your name," Fortune comments offhandedly. “Where did you learn to ‘surf’ the internet?” he then inquires, making quotes with his fingers. “Something self-taught, or an outside influence? Are one of your parents skilled with technology?
Iris blushes. "Well when you spend as much time indoors as I do, you find ways to... entertain yourself. I like staying informed. You could say it was pretty much self taught--after a few online courses in computer programming, and some help from google it was mostly guess work. As for my parents." She uncrosses her legs, her shoulders hunching slightly. "My dad was brilliant with computers and things. But I don't really see them much anymore so... Yeah."
“Do they have powers as well?” He frowns in a hint of concern.                                                              
“What sort of a work ethic do you have?” Fortune asks, either unaware or ignoring his creator’s glare for getting too formal. “Do you do well in school? Badly? Do you like to have things done on time, or procrastinate?”
Iris snorts. "My grades are marvelous as long as I remember to turn my homework in on time. It's not that school is hard, just sort of a waste. Nothing seems applicable to the girl who will always be working out of her basement, you know? Not even flipping burgers works for me, as I doubt any business would appreciate the constant rain I drag with me."
For once, he chuckles softly. “I would imagine not. What is your dream superpower, then?”
Her eyes brighten and she sits up straight. "I think flying would be glorious, but all of the supers can do that, and I'd want something unique! Invisibility would be freakishly awesome. I know a lot of people don't like it, because they're afraid of what they'd overhear behind their back and stuff, but I have like, zippo friends to spy on, and hacking--er, surfing the internet--is about the same thing as being invisible, so it'd like being me without being stuck in one place. I'd make the best spy in the world! Think of all the stuff I could learn!"
Seeming a bit loathe to ask this question, though he can feel his creator’s eyes burning into his neck, Fortune sighs. He then asks, “What makes Sonic Boom so charming that you decided to become President of his fan club?” He then proceeds to wonder, What does it matter?
"Sonic Boom?" With a huge breathy sigh that leaves Iris once again misty eyed, she says, "How could anyone NOT want to follow him? I mean, the whole "President of his fan club" thing is sort of a self appointed job title--hey! No one else had claimed it yet!" She drops her chin into her hand and offers an insipid smile. "I guess the best thing about Sonic is that he's not in any of this for the glory. He legitimately cares about people. I mean, if you've seen him on the news, he's always there to save the day, and then gone again before the press can contact him. He's adorably shy!"
Finally, a small smile from our host. His favorite part of an interview: general questions. “Iris, it must get stressful with the constant rain. How do you alleviate stress?”
Rolling her eyes, she leans back on two legs of her chair. "Oh, the usual. Ice cream. Chocolate. Hiding in my basement for a hundred years and living through cyber space."
“Barring your superpower, what would you say are your greatest strengths and weaknesses? It can range anything from dexterity to sloppy handwriting.”
She flashes a smile. "Well, I know I've got a knack for learning information most people can't get a hold of. I think that's a strength, but some people consider it obnoxious--so perhaps a weakness. Those are the same people that tell me I suck in all social situations, but hey, that's what happens when you live under a rock."
“Being obnoxious is a strength and a weakness both," he responds. "Depends on how you use it. Final question,” Fortune declares, leaning forward in his seat. Noting the seriousness of the moment, Iris falls back to all fours and leans forward as well. “As per the interview guidelines… Where do you see yourself in five years?”
Iris blushes. "Well, I'd like to imagine that by that time I'd have graduated from my online school, and have found someone to settle down with. Someone who can see between the raindrops, and stay by my side--no matter how obnoxious I may or may not be, with or without powers." She looks at her toes, then back up to Fortune and flashes a smile. To lighten the mood, she jokes, "That, and perhaps I'll be the CEO of Sonic Boom's fan club." 
"Perhaps so. I wish you the best of luck." Fortune rises from his seat and steps over to Iris, holding out a hand for hers and smiling at her. “That’s all our time for today,” he says as she stands. “Thanks so much for joining us, and thank you,” he directs to the audience. “Again, you can all visit Iris at her blog here. Meanwhile, I’ll be taking Miss Clearwater out to lunch.” He thinks ruefully, With my own money, as my creator won’t lend me any.
Iris bounces on her heals. "I know this fantastic little Chinese place--or at least, I order take out from there all the time. We could even get you a FORTUNE cookie!" She laughs at her own lame joke.
Fortune forces out a laugh for her sake, as though he's never heard that one before; though his creator is cackling uncontrollably offstage. “Thank you again, Iris. See you all next time!” Perhaps hoping he won’t, Fortune doesn’t look at the audience again as he leads Iris offstage, taking his (plump) wallet out with his free hand.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Cover Reveal!! THE STONE KINGDOM by Danielle E. Shipley!

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 Wilderhark’s.
<> ~ <> ~ <>
Love and prince,
Both true, wed rose of white in realm of stone;
For blood begins,
But naught can be put right by blood alone.”
One thoughtless act is all it takes to bring the curse threatened
on Rosalba’s christening day to pass. Now the princess must combine
her desperate determination with the service of benevolent tailor Edgwyn Wyle
to find the second half of the key to her kingdom’s restoration.
Full Title: “The Stone Kingdom (Book Two of The Wilderhark Tales)
ISBN: 978-0-9891846-1-8
Genre: Young Adult Fairytale
Length: Novella (179 pages)
Release Date: September 20th, 2013
Future availability: Paperback ( and eBook ( and
About the Author:
Danielle E. Shipley’s first novelettes told the everyday misadventures of wacky kids like herself. …Or so she thought. Unbeknownst to them all, half of her characters were actually closeted elves, dwarves, fairies, or some combination thereof. When it all came to light, Danielle did the sensible thing: Packed up and moved to Fantasy Land, where daily rent is the low, low price of her heart, soul, blood, sweat, tears, firstborn child, sanity, and words; lots of them. She’s also been known to spend short bursts of time in the real-life Chicago area with the parents who home schooled her and the two little sisters who keep her humble. When she’s not living the highs and lows of writing young adult novels, she’s probably blogging about it at

I don't know about the rest of you, but I am so excited and so honored to give you this! I absolutely loved The Swan Prince, and The Stone Kingdom is just gonna be amazing. The cover is so beautiful! Danielle's artist always does such a great job and keeping everything accurate to the smallest detail. Not to mention the colors, and just the fairytale vibe from it.

Ahh, so exciting! Be on the lookout for the release of The Stone Kingdom! Also, check in next week for my review of this lovely gem of literacy! 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Random Monday: Letdowns and Vacations

*Shrugs* C'est la vie.

Vacations aren't good on inborn procrastinators. You know very well with me rambling about my tendency to push things off... I've had two vacations recently, one for my birthday and one for a trip I was supposed to have. Both were soured.

The birthday didn't go as expected, as a lot of people I know forgot (despite it being on their Facebook feeds), as well as a few other reasons. Let's just say my wallet is hurting right now. Also, I was meant to have a writing retreat on my birthday; as I did last year. It was cancelled last minute. ): The trip I was meant to take on the second vacation didn't happen either...

So, yeah. While vacations aren't good on inborn procrastinators, letdown-vacations probably aren't that great either. At the same time, forcing a work ethic on procrastinators isn't that great either. Keeping up on blog posts during the school year (seventeen days...) isn't something I'm good at, so while I promise to keep up; don't believe it.

Procrastinators also break promises when they don't want or mean to. :/

This sort of seems like a depressing post, but I'm not really depressed. The only reason I've really got to depressed is the fact I ate an entire bag of chips on my own yesterday for no reason.

I need something to make this happier... Here, have a sleeping lion.

By the way, there's going to be an INTERVIEW SATURDAY this weekend!!