Book Review: Skulduggery Pleasant

Skulduggery Pleasant (Skulduggery Pleasant #1)

by Derek Landy, Tom Percival (Goodreads Author) (Illustrator)

Meet Skulduggery Pleasant. Sure, he may lose his head now and again (in fact, he won his current skull in a poker match), but he is much more than he appears to be—which is good, considering that he is, basically, a skeleton. Skulduggery may be long dead, but he is also a mage who dodged the grave so that he could save the world from an ancient evil. But to defeat it, he’ll need the help of a new partner: a not so innocent twelve-year-old girl named Stephanie. That’s right, they’re the heroes.

Stephanie and Skulduggery are quickly caught up in a battle to stop evil forces from acquiring her recently deceased uncle’s most prized possession—the Sceptre of the Ancients. The Ancients were the good guys, an extinct race of uber-magicians from the early days of the earth, and the scepter is their most dangerous weapon, one capable of killing anyone and destroying anything. Back in the day, they used it to banish the bad guys, the evil Faceless Ones. Unfortunately, in the way of bad guys everywhere, the Faceless Ones are staging a comeback and no one besides our two heroes believes in the Faceless Ones, or even that the Sceptre is real.

So Stephanie and Skulduggery set off to find the Sceptre, fend off the minions of the bad guys, beat down vampires and the undead, prove the existence of the Ancients and the Faceless Ones, all while trading snappy, snippy banter worthy of the best screwball comedies.

Review:
This is a really fun book, full of interesting characters, adventure, and action. I was engaged right from the first page.
Skulduggery Pleasant is a skeleton detective with a dry wit and a quick mind and full of snappy quips. You know right away when he appears at the fringes of his friend’s funeral that he is going to be interesting and full of character. He teams up with twelve year old Stephanie to find the Sceptre of the Ancients after her uncle’s death. There is mystery and intrigue right away, pulling both Stephanie and the reader into a magical world hidden in just below the surface of the everyday world.
I liked Stephanie — she is feisty and fearless, willing to fight for what is right. She is sensitive and thoughtful, but also determined, is able to stand up for herself, and is up for adventure.
Landy has created a fantastic magical world in this book, filled with interesting characters and menacing villains. Many of the characters are stereotypes, however, with the evil ones having no redeeming qualities and the good ones very sympathetic.
This is a great start to the series and I can see kids racing through these books.

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Recently I have been having a hard time getting into reading due to some health issues. Finally, I decided to re-read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. I first found this book in high school and instantly fell in love with it. I’ve read it a couple of times since and still find it funny, compelling, and a great read.

Synopsis:

Seconds before Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.

Together, this dynamic pair began a journey through space aided by a galaxyful of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox, the two-headed, three-armed, ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian (formerly Tricia McMillan), Zaphod’s girlfriend, whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; and Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he’s bought over the years.

Where are these pens? Why are we born? Why do we die? For all the answers, stick your thumb to the stars!

Review:

It’s hard for me even to consider writing a review of this book — it was one of those pivotal books I discovered in high school that opened up whole new worlds of writing to me. I hadn’t read much fantasy or sci-fi before I discovered Hitchhiker. I remember racing through it, soaking up the humour, the adventure, the sheer quirkiness of the book. No one else I knew had read it, so I couldn’t talk to anyone else about it and I would have loved that. Instead, I devoured everything else written by Adams, then started on some other fantasy books.

Re-reading Hitchhiker recently was a lot of fun, reminding me of why I loved the book so much. It’s become iconic — so many people know the answer to the question of life, the universe, and everything now, they know the importance of carrying a towel, or the tragedy of a bowl of petunia’s falling from the sky.

All as I can say is that I love this book and will continue to love it, re-reading it every so often when I need a light-hearted laugh. I love the simple, outrageous, hilarious brilliance of Adams’ work and how it’s still current, all of these years later. In fact, what’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide but an e-reader with Wikipedia?

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Book Review: The Emerald Dagger

Book Review: The Emerald Dagger (The Raiders of Folklore #2)

The hunt for the Eye of Odin continues…

Since discovering a hidden world existed parallel to our own, fifteen-year-old Grayle Rowen learned he’s also a Hexhunter, someone born with the skills to track down and kill witches. Awkward…since his friend, Sarah Finn, is a witch-for-hire.

Now, together with Sarah and her elf Caretaker, Grayle travels to Istanbul to retrieve a third runestone linked to the whereabouts of the Eye of Odin—an artifact of unimaginable power. Their search pits them against Romans, a Crusader hit squad, and a journey through a deadly tomb. But what Grayle and Sarah discover about themselves along the way might be more than what they bargained for, and may ultimately put their friendship to the test.

From Istanbul’s grandest sites to its deepest tunnels, Dennis Staginnus has created a fast and furious thrill ride in this sequel to The Eye of Odin.

Review:
Dennis Staginnus’ Raiders of Folklore series just keeps getting better. I enjoyed his first book, The Eye of Odin, but this second installment is even better.
The Emerald Dagger had me hooked right from the first pages and kept me turning the pages to see what’s going to happen next. There is never a dull moment. And the story has mythological elements, something which I love.
The main characters, Grayle and Sarah, really start to come into their own in this book as we learn more about them and their motives for getting the Eye of Odin. The stakes just keep getting higher and more personal which makes the reader want them to succeed even more.
This is a great middle grade/early young adult book, especially for readers who like lots of action and adventure.
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Spring Writing Newsletter & Free Ebook

Hello Everyone,

I am sorry for my long absence, but I am happy to be back now. As many of you know, I experience mental illness and this last year has been a bit rough; however things are looking up.

International Woman’s Day & Free Book
March 8th is International Woman’s Day!!! How great is that? I was trying to find a way to celebrate and wanted to offer my book, Prophecy, for free that day. In the synchronicity of the universe, I received an email yesterday from Smashwords about an opportunity to enroll my book in a one week sale from March 5-March 11 for Read an Ebook Week! So, now, to receive a FREE ecopy of Prophecy in the format of your choice, all you have to do is go to Smashwords and use this coupon code: SFREE and it’s yours — and Prophecy has a fun, strong, stand up for herself heroine, perfect for International Woman’s Day. There are also hundreds of other books on sale or free this week, so it’s a good time to check them out. If you don’t have a Smashwords account, it’s easy and free to get one. And, if do get a book, please pay it forward and leave a review. Also, feel free to share this with friends.

What I’m Working on Now & Kickstarter Campaign
Currently, I’m working on my historical/mythological fiction called Betrayed, which is the story of Clytemnestra (Helen of Troy’s twin sister). Clytemnestra has been villianized throughout history, so I am telling her side of the story, getting behind her famous murder of her husband. This book is definitely not YA oriented and I’m enjoying the change of pace.

I’ve decided to do a Kickstarter for Betrayed in the upcoming months and am planning to publish it this fall — I am finalizing the details and am working on some fun rewards, and will let you all know when it’s ready. I need a bit of help for editing and production costs. Wait until you see the cover that a friend of mine designed. It is simply stunning, I mean, really beautiful. I have no other word for it. It’s not quite finished, but I’ll reveal it when it’s ready. The image above isn’t the cover, but isn’t it an amazing painting of Clytemnestra with her knife after murdering her husband?

What I’m Reading
Right now, I’m immersed in the short stories of Ray Bradbury. I can’t believe I’ve waited this long to read them! I knew he was a master storyteller, but these are timeless. I’m being whisked away to the future and other worlds and am loving it.

However, I’m always on the lookout for new books to read. In the spirit of International Woman’s Day, does anyone have any recommendations for books with amazing heroines? I can easily recommend the Graceling series by Kristin Cashore.

The snow is melting in my corner of the world and it looks like the tulips might even come up soon. I hope everyone is enjoying some nice sunshine and spring weather.

Coreena

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