Tuesday, April 30, 2019

REVIEW of RECORDS OF SHELLEY, BYRON AND THE AUTHOR by Edward Trelawny

Records of Shelley, Byron and the Author
Edward John Trelawny
1878
Penguin Classics

SUMMARY (from the publisher)
In February 1822 the writer and adventurer Edward John Trelawny arrived in Pisa to make the acquaintance of his heroes Shelley and Byron, leaving a broken marriage and an exotic seafaring career behind him. He became a close companion to them and their circle, and this collection of his reminiscences is one of the most fresh and intriguing documents of the Romantic age. It records his initial meeting with a cynical and flippant Byron, his impressions of a youthful, otherworldly Shelley and, most memorably, the poet's death at sea and the subsequent burning of his body on the sand. Trelawny's Records combine vigorous prose, vivid description and mythmaking to create one of the most memorable portraits of an age.

Rosemary Ashton's new introduction explores the mysterious life and quixotic character of Trelawny, and this edition includes all the author's later revisions.

Edward John Trelawny (1792-1881) was one of the most curious figures of the English Romantic Movement, and spent his long life travelling extensively as a naval officer, biographer and adventurer. After a brief education, Trelawny was assigned as a volunteer in the Royal Navy by the age of thirteen, and led an unaccomplished naval career until his resignation at nineteen. He met Shelley and Byron in Italy in 1822, where he became fascinated, almost hypnotized, by the two poets. His Records of Shelley, Byron and the Author, written after both their deaths, is the end-product of this strange obsession. An incorrigible romancer, Trelawny had three marriages - the second of which was to Tersitza, sister of the Greek warlord Odysseus Androutsos, whose cause he had joined and whose mountain fortress he looked after when Odysseus was arrested. He died after a fall at the age of eighty-eight, in England, and his ashes were buried in Rome in a plot adjacent to Shelley's grave.

REVIEW
Edward Trelawny
How to describe Edward Trelawny? Perhaps he’s a learned English gentleman with such an insatiable taste for adventure that he must spend his days camping across the Continent, sailing the high seas, and joining foreign wars. Yeah, that’s not bad.

At age 86, Trelawny was the last surviving member of the “Pisa circle” surrounding Shelley, so he gathered all the old surviving documents and wrote what can only be described as a celebrity tell-all, 19th century style. His close association with Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley, the Leigh Hunts, etc., gives insights into these literary luminaries that we don’t usually find.

Although the book rambles in places, it’s still quite interesting. I have a sneaking suspicion that I should take all of his stories with a grain of salt, but the letters back up most of his claims.

I’d say the book can be divided into three parts:

1. Why Shelley is the best person on earth (along with morbid details about his death and cremation)
2. Why Byron is pretty awesome, too, but not nearly as awesome as Shelley (including morbid details about his death)
3. And then we fight a war in Greece! (Morbid details, etc., particularly about Trelawny’s receiving a gunshot wound to the shoulder)

I love getting glimpses into the lives of literary figures, and this book offers plenty. Trelawny himself might be “the world’s most interesting man,” but then again, he might just be a gifted storyteller. Either way, this book is a great read, especially for people who love history, English literature, and travel.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: RED by Christopher D. Seifert

Red
Christopher D. Seifert
CreateSpace
2009

SUMMARY (from the publisher)
Two brothers, one team, and the greatest season ever told ... Teenage brothers Charlie and Robert Hall couldn't be more different. Charlie is seventeen. He's perpetually chipper, the loveable goofball – a hopeless optimist. Robert is fifteen going on fifty. He's gruff, sarcastic, a hapless underachiever. Only a mutual passion for football – Red football – unites the brothers. When Charlie angers school bully Justin Stankoski, the brothers find themselves targeted for revenge, and Robert must choose between loyalty to his brother and the safety of the sidelines. Meanwhile, as Red football battles through a season of adversity in pursuit of the national title that so narrowly escaped it one year before, the brothers learn something about life, football, and what it means to be a true fan.



REVIEW
I was charmed from the start of this one. It reads like a John Hughes movie, but the story and the characters have real heart. The teenage lunchroom hijinx take on life-and-death importance when seen through 15-year-old Robert Hall's eyes, and if you really think about it, that's how it is when you're 15.

Torn between his desires to fit in and his loyalty to his brother, Robert struggles to navigate his sophomore year of high school. Through encounters with bullies and torment over a crush, the one outlet that brings him pure joy and unites him with his brother Charlie is Red football. The college football season provides structure and excitement to the boys' lives, and recaps of each of the winning season's games are interspersed among the chapters that make up the narrative. These interludes give us a peek into Robert's hopes and dreams, especially when he seems to have given up on school and his social life.

The author paints adolescence masterfully, in all of its cringe-worthy details, and at times I found myself transported right back to my own 15-year-old life. The writing is beautiful, and the author leaves us with a sense of gratitude and nostalgia, even though the events in the novel are as normal and every day as can be.

This novel is well worth your while. Hopefully, we'll be seeing more from Christopher Seifert.

Amazon
Author Website

Monday, January 14, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: IMPERIUM by RYSZARD KAPUSCINSKI

Imperium
Ryszard Kapuscinski
Granta Books
1992

Summary (from the publisher):
Imperium is the story of an empire: the constellation of states that was submerged under a single identity for most of the twentieth century - the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. This is Kapuscinski's vivid, compelling and personal report on the life and death of the Soviet superpower, from the entrance of Soviet troops into his hometown in Poland in 1939, through his journey across desolate Siberia and the republics of Central Asia in the 1950s and 60s, to his wanderings over the vast Soviet lands - from Poland to the Pacific, the Arctic Circle to Afghanistan - in the years of the USSR's decline and final disintegration in 1991. 

Review
How is it that I’d never heard of the demise of the Aral Sea basin or the blowing up of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour? Growing up in the West, I’d heard all about Anne Frank and Auschwitz. I knew about the people who starved to death during Mao’s Cultural Revolution. I even knew a bit about the Bolsheviks and their brutality during the revolution. But for some reason, the USSR has gotten a pass, despite being responsible for tens of millions (perhaps over 100 million) deaths during the 20th century.

I just finished reading Ryszard Kapuscinski’s Imperium, in which he travels around the Soviet Union, interviewing people and observing the influence of the Soviets on the diverse people included in the “republic.” 

Half a year ago, I spent some time reading Gulag Archipelago by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, so I had some idea of the breadth of the depth of Soviet totalitarianism and brutality, but some of the stories in Imperium broke my heart. Here are two:

After the Russians withstood Napoleon’s attack on Moscow, Czar Nicholas vowed to build a magnificent cathedral to show their gratitude to God. The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour took 45 years to build and was perhaps the most magnificent building in the empire.

When Stalin came to power, he announced (in Pravda) the construction of a new palace. The news piece included the address where the palace would be built. Those who knew the city well would have recognized the address as the location of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Stalin ordered the destruction of the cathedral. But first, it would be looted. Once every precious stone, chandelier, religious vestment and work of art was removed, workers wedged sticks of dynamite into the stones and blew it up, piece by precious piece.

The palace Stalin had announced in Pravda was never built. Later on, Khrushchev built a swimming pool on the grounds where the cathedral once stood.

Kapuscinski compares the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour to Notre Dame in Paris or St. Paul’s in London. I couldn’t help comparing it to the Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some of my ancestors helped in the 40-year construction of that building, which happens to have been built during the construction of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. I cannot imagine how I would react if the president of the United States looted that temple and then blew it up, knocking down the hand-hewn blocks of granite painstakingly transported from the mountains using horses and wagons. I cannot imagine.

And then there’s the Aral Sea, which used to support communities of fishermen, craftsmen, and agricultural workers. When the Soviet leaders decided Moscow needed more cotton, they ordered all of these people to quit their trades and start planting and harvesting cotton. In order to produce more and more cotton, a river was diverted, upsetting the delicate desert ecosystem. The flooded plains were soon awash in salt, which had lain three feet beneath the earth’s surface. The river dried up and couldn’t reach the sea any longer. Amazingly, Soviet leaders actually considered blowing up two mountains with nuclear bombs in order to provide more water for their precious cotton production, but they knew the rest of the world would respond critically to such a project, and they wouldn’t be able to hide it. Today, the Aral Sea basin is ruined, a Soviet legacy that won’t soon be corrected.


These are two very short episodes in an amazing book. Kapuscinski’s writing manages to be both poetic and precise. Written like a travel log, the book doesn’t have an overall story arc, so it took me a while to get through it. Still, I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s a sobering reminder of the tragedy that inevitably follows an embrace of authoritarianism.





Tuesday, November 6, 2018

GUEST POST: RYAN TOMLIN | The Campfire Technique


A few weeks ago I was walking back to my place from the store when I ran into Ryan Tomlin (aka R.J. Tomlin) on the street. He was selling poetry. Being in a hurry, I walked right past him, but then I stopped and went back. How could I resist an independent author selling poetry right here on the streets of Leeds?



Ryan was also promoting his latest novel, and I'm thrilled to have a guest post by him today at the BookPound. Personally, I find Ryan's advice in this post to be both liberating and motivating. Thank you, Ryan. Cheers!

The Campfire Technique – Why Writing Isn’t Always That Difficult

Writing a book can be daunting – anyone who’s given it a go will agree. Whether you’re writing an autobiography about your personal life and struggles, a dark thriller set in a dead-end town, or an epic fantasy series based in an imaginative, dangerous and enthralling world, if it’s not the story itself that’s hard to come up with, it’s the words you use to tell that story. And even on the rare occasion that those two line up, it always seems like it’s at the worst possible time. The world’s greatest poem might flow through you whilst you’re in the shower, but the moment you step out its gone. A walk through the park might fill your mind with an idea of a nine-book series that’s destined to be a best-seller, but the moment you get home it’s disappeared. Put simply; writing isn’t easy.

What’s always confused me about writing is that some best-selling authors channel their stories with complicated language, and vivid, distinct scenery, whilst others write just as engaging stories using basic vocabulary and short, sharp sentencing. My favourite author is Anthony Horowitz, and throughout the 23 books of his that I’ve read (Diamond Brothers series, Alex Rider series and the Power of Five series), I’ve rarely stumbled across a word I didn’t understand, or such a complex development of the story that I struggled to follow it. But despite this, each and every one of these tales has captured me like no other, and the worlds and places he’s taken me have been some of the most gripping and impactful… but how?

I call it The Campfire Technique. I’ve written various books myself – ten in total – and I’m not one to say whether or not those books are examples of fine literature. But through these stories I’ve gone on many adventures; I’ve navigated through a series of hidden tombs in the Amazon Rainforest, prevented various terror attacks across the U.K, and even invented a machine in order to save the population from extinction following a post-apocalyptic meltdown. I find it easy, as many do, to write and describe things that are close to my real-life experiences – an early morning walk through a misty park, or a hectic car ride through a busy city, standing on the edge of a train platform in the rain. However, when writing a new story, whether based in an extremely imaginative worlds, or one just like our own, I can honestly say it’s a rarity that I really struggle to keep my writing rhythm going. We all have a writing style – descriptive words we like to use, or a format in which we structure things – but when what others call ‘Writer’s Block’ shows itself, all of this goes out the window. And for myself too. So how do I prevent this stopping me from writing? To me, it really is simple; I stop thinking so hard, I relax, take a deep breath, and imagine myself by a campfire, telling the story to my friends or family.

I remember times as a child being told stories at campfire with the scouts or on school trips, and I can honestly say that some of stories I remember to this day. Was it their vivid language and deep characterisation? Was it there complicated sentencing structure, or use of punctuation? No… it was the fact that the basics of the story were told so well, that they didn’t need any of the complications.

When I first started writing books, I was so obsessed with structure and order – with using intelligent words and attempting to fill the readers mind with such sinister and unique settings – that, in ways, I lost track of the basis of what I was doing… simply telling a story. If what I was trying to say could be described in a few sentences, why go on for half a page? If it can be described in three simple words, why use five complicated ones? It’s easy to get addicted to the amount of words you’re writing, but if not each and every one of those words is making a difference, then there isn’t much point. The same way an incredible album might sound just as good stripped down to an acoustic ‘live lounge’ version – all the other parts are a nice addition, but they don’t really make it any better.

The Campfire Technique is telling the story in its most basic form. Whether applied to a whole story, a scene, or just a paragraph. If you’re struggling to move on the story, strip down to the basics – describe the scene in a sentence, focus on what the characters are saying, use short, simple sentences – and you’ll find the flow of the words coming a lot easier. Like I said, close your eyes, and pretend that you’re sitting by a campfire, telling it to your friends and family.

Give it a go – you might surprise yourself. 


Find Ryan here:

Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
LinkedIn
Website

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

REVIEW of NORTH AND SOUTH by ELIZABETH GASKELL

North and South
Elizabeth Gaskell
Penguin Classics (1996 version)
1855

Summary (from the publisher)
As relevant now as when it was first published, Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South skillfully weaves a compelling love story into a clash between the pursuit of profit and humanitarian ideals. This Penguin Classics edition is edited with an introduction by Patricia Ingham. 

When her father leaves the Church in a crisis of conscience, Margaret Hale is uprooted from her comfortable home in Hampshire to move with her family to the North of England. Initially repulsed by the ugliness of her new surroundings in the industrial town of Milton, Margaret becomes aware of the poverty and suffering of local mill workers and develops a passionate sense of social justice. This is intensified by her tempestuous relationship with the mill-owner and self-made man John Thornton, as their fierce opposition over his treatment of his employees masks a deeper attraction. 

In North and South Gaskell skillfully fused individual feeling with social concern, and in Margaret Hale created one of the most original heroines of Victorian literature. In her introduction Patricia Ingham examines Elizabeth Gaskell's treatment of geographical, economic and class differences, and the male and female roles portrayed in the novel. 

This edition also includes further reading, notes and a useful glossary. Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-65) was born in London, but grew up in the north of England in the village of Knutsford. In 1832 she married the Reverend William Gaskell and had four daughters, and one son who died in infancy. Her first novel, Mary Barton, was published in 1848, winning the attention of Charles Dickens, and most of her later work was published in his journals, including Cranford (1853), serialized in Dickens's Household Words. She was also a lifelong friend of Charlotte Brontë, whose biography she wrote. If you enjoyed North and South, you might like Jane Austen's Persuasion, also available in Penguin Classics. 
Elizabeth Gaskell


Review
One of the hurdles modern readers have to jump over if they're going to really enjoy 19th century fiction is that pacing has changed remarkably in the last 150-200 years. Today's mass-market paperbacks read like thriller movies. Modern readers seem to crave plot-driven, conversation-led fiction. We want chapters to end on cliffhangers so we'll be compelled to keep reading.

Gaskell wrote North and South in a different environment. Imagery and description were not only expected but in many ways were necessary for readers who had limited experience. Today's readers have vicariously experienced so much more than Gaskell's readers would have. They didn't have television, movies, Periscope live streams, or phone-shot videos on Twitter. In many ways, modern readers don't need as much description because we've seen so much and our minds can fill in the gaps left between action scenes and conversations.

On the other hand, we haven't lived in 1855. We don't have high-definition video from that era to help us understand how sooty and smoky an industrial northern English town would have been. Most of us haven't experienced what it would have been like to watch a young woman waste away for wont of clean air, healthy food, and possibly antibiotics. And for this, we're grateful that nineteenth-century authors tried hard to include so much imagery and description.

North and South tells the story of the Hale family and especially of the 19-year-old daughter Margaret. Margaret's father, a clergyman, has a crisis of faith and feels that he can no longer lead his parish in good faith since he's unsure of some of the basic tenets of his religion. This crisis of faith leads him to give up his comfortable position in the south of England. An acquaintance suggests that he seek employment as a tutor to one of the new "masters of industry" in the north. The family relocates to Milton, a bustling industrial town in the north, and they're shocked at the differences in the people and the culture.

The issues discussed in North and South are still being discussed today, perhaps more than ever before. What kinds of education are best for preparing people for the future? Do labor unions hurt or help the people they serve? What kinds of obligations do governments and churches have to care for the poor? How much should you sacrifice for a clear conscience?

Gaskell has created some memorable and interesting characters in this novel. Margaret Hale is, in many ways, a typical Victorian heroine, but she's more complicated than some of the other female protagonists of the era. For someone so young, she has firm opinions about a variety of topics, but her new experiences in a new town help her to see the world as more complicated than she initially thought it was. This leads to great personal growth and a greater capacity to help those around her.

I can't wait to watch one of the several film productions based on this novel. I already miss the characters.

Monday, October 15, 2018

INTERVIEW with ALDREA JOHNSON, author of THE BATTLE FOR THE FOUR REALMS


Today we're happy for the chance to get to know author Aldrea Johnson. She writes fantasy and has recently released the first book in her Dragon Bone series. Follow Aldrea's book tour for her new fantasy novel, The Battle for the Four Realms. Many thanks to Aldrea for the following interview:

What do you love about writing for young people?
I don’t think I intentionally set out to write for young people, But I love the idea that the young will identify with one the characters. For example girls/females can become powerful and self reliant and not rely on males to save them.

How do you feel that your early childhood in Jamaica affected your writing?
I don’t know whether it has except that I use Jamaican fruits, names for items/objects to give the story an “otherness” feel to the world/realm I created.

Which authors do you enjoy the most? Do you read particular authors while you're in the midst of a writing project?
Sterling E Lanier, CJ Cheerah, Ian Rankin, Dorothy Koomson, James Patterson, I very rarely read while I am writing and as a result I have a stack of books waiting to be read.

Can you tell us a little about your writing process?
I make rough notes, then I start writing chapter one, then I think of an idea of where I want the story to go. I would then start writing a different chapter and could be writing three/ four and more chapters at the same time.

What do you most like about writing? What do you least like about writing?
I love to see the character that has been living in my head come to life on the page and developing a life of their own. I am not very disciplined and find it really difficult to get started.

About Aldrea Johnson:



I was brought up on stories, tales of adventures of far off places, of princesses in peril and their princes rescuing them, they filled my head and sparked my imagination from an early age. I have very fond memories of “Lloyd Brown” or “Lloydy” as he was known to us children, telling the most wonderful stories. The only time he didn’t stutter was when he was telling stories, I would travel with him to those far off places from the Grimm fairy tales and just around the corner of the “Anansi” stories of Jamaican fables, these were amongst my favourites. By the time I had to swap the Jamaican sunshine for the winter “watery” sun of England at the age of almost eleven years old. My head was already crammed full of stories to accompany me on my very own adventure to far off England.

I may have spent my formative years in the Jamaican country side with the wild green woods and perfectly clear rivers but I grew up in London. Long winter days and darkened evenings would find me with my head in a book, the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Arabian Nights and closer to home Enid Blyton’s Famous Five were later replaced but not forgotten by Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast, and Sterling E Lanier’s Hiero’s Journey.

I was a shy introverted child but while at school I was regarded as one of the “cool” kids; I was a real Jamaican with the accent to prove it.  Libraries became my playground; they helped to fuel my imagination where adventure after adventure played out again and again in my head.  I could be anywhere, any place, anytime from my little corner of the local library. I lived in my head; my stories gave me  a sense of belonging, they sustained me  and now somehow one of my adventures found its way onto the page and is about the be shared with others.

Website: www.imzadipublishing.com 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

REVIEW of AROUND THE VILLAGE GREEN by Dot May Dunn

Around the Village Green
Dot May Dunn
2014
Orion Publishing

SUMMARY (from the publisher)

It's 1939 and little Dot May Dun is playing with her brothers in the quiet lanes of their Derbyshire village. The grown-ups' talk of war means very little to Dot but things are starting to change in the village, for good.
When a prisoner of war camp is built close to Dot's village, and a Yankee base is stationed nearby, Dot makes friends with the most unlikely of soldiers. But her friendships are threatened when telegrams start to arrive in the village and the real impact of war bears heavily on this close-knit mining community.
From little lives spring great tales. Dot's childhood memoir shares the universals of innocence, love, loss and friendships. THE VILLAGE will move and entertain in equal measures.


REVIEW

Around the Village Green begins in the late 1930s, when the author is less than five years old and it continues through the War, ending in 1945. The brilliance of this memoir is that it captures childhood so well and gives us new insights into an event we've all read and heard so much about from many different perspectives.

I think it's quite difficult for adults to write from children's perspectives. It's simply been so long since we've thought like children. It's even difficult to remember what we knew then and what we still had to learn about. Dunn is so good at defining these lines. As a reader, I often found myself inwardly chuckling at the misunderstandings caused by children not quite understanding what a certain phrase meant or by reading more into a situation than was there.

For instance, the children have heard that there are German spies around the village, and it was true that a German POW camp was set up nearby. But the children start suspecting that certain villagers are spies. They don't have much to go on, but they do know that "Heinz" is a German name. So when a Heinz advertising poster goes up in a shop window, they decide to start watching the shop closely to see if Germans are involved.

Some of my favorite parts of the memoir were the episodes in which the author's family was exposed to foreigners. Dot's mother, especially, was wary of Americans and Germans. The American soldiers are stationed nearby, and the adults suspect them of being bad influences on the children. None of the children have ever seen gum before the Americans arrive, and soon the soldiers are giving out pieces of gum to the village children:

As suspected, nothing gets past Father and the next evening he gives us a sound lecture on the evils not only of begging from others but also of chewing gum. Gum, it seems, can damage every part of your inner workings, from stopping you breathing if you inhale it to stopping up your digestive system if you swallow it. I wonder why the Americans have come to fight the Germans, as it appears that most of them will die from gum before they even get going.

Dot's father invites three of the American servicemen over for tea, and they soon become friends. In the end, Dot remarks that "they have brought something that we have not known before, a sunlight and brightness in contrast to our dark and austere winter."

And then there are the Germans. The Germans have caused untold misery for the British people during the war. Dot's Uncle George and her friends' father have been killed. The whole village has lived with air raids and rationing and fear and constant threat of attack, all because of German aggression.

So when Dot's father asks a young German POW over for tea, Dot's mother is furious. The children all expect this German to be mean and angry and ferocious, and they're shocked when they see who he really is: 

"His hair is very fair---almost white--and when Father introduces me to him I expect a triumphant and superior look, but he is pale and tired-looking, and his eyes are full of fear and sadness. I had been determined to hold my head high, to be defiant, and to let him know that I am not afraid--that I too can hate. In my mind he has killed Uncle George and Arthur and Bert's father; he has even bombed the cities around us. But now I know as he stands here, I can see that there is nothing to hate. I can't get a grip on any part of him to hate."

Dot May Dunn
Not only does the family learn to love this 18-year-old German boy who is scared and homesick for his mother and sister, but he becomes like a member of their family. When he is transferred to another camp, he leaves a hole in their family and in their hearts. At one point, he rescues Dot's mother and cares for her as if she were his own mother. 

It's a heart-warming memoir that will increase your faith in humanity. I'm living in Leeds, UK, right now, and I was telling an older woman about the book because I had been reading it on the bus. She said, "I was five years old when the war started. Can I see it?" She looked through the book, nodding and smiling, and then she told me about how she actually liked the air raids as a child. Her mother had fitted out their cellar with little beds and cushions, and when they had to be down there, she let them eat the fruit preserves that were ordinarily set aside for special occasions. 

Childhood is a magical time of life, even in difficult circumstances, and Dot May Dunn captures this perfectly in Around the Village Green. Difficult topics are treated with reverence and respect, and you'll find plenty of opportunities to laugh as well. 

Learn more about Dot May Dunn here, or check out her other books, including Christmas Around the Village Green.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

REVIEW of TWOSPELLS by Mark Morrison

TWOSPELLS
Mark Morrison
CreateSpace
February 2018

SUMMARY (from the publisher)
Sarah and her twin brother Jon are heirs to an ancient magical realm and its most valuable treasure, an enchanted library. The library endows readers with the supernatural means of crossing into the uncharted inner-sanctum of the second dimension, inhabited with peculiar and sometimes perilous creatures. 

The children are emboldened with a wondrous mystical gift that no other being has ever possessed. But fate intervenes and triggers a disastrous inter-dimensional war that disrupts the fabric of time and space spanning multiple universes, tearing destiny a new and savage pathway. 

The two must rescue their world from a phantom hybrid alien race controlled by a demented dark-wizard, Jeremy Sermack. They will either assimilate or be exterminated. 

Will they be the saviors the prophets spoke of, or will they retreat to the perceived safety of their distant homeland?


REVIEW
I enjoy books that introduce me to new places, and this is a fantasy novel that is grounded in some actual places as well as some fantastical ones. At the beginning of the story, twins Sarah and Jon are traveling with their parents in Wales to visit their grandparents. The parents are interesting and engaged with their children, the kinds of parents all of us want to be. Sarah and Jon have interesting, individual personalities right from the start. The descriptions of their conversations and the countryside are unique and fun.

The protagonists soon learn that they have access to a magical library, and that's when the action really picks up. Readers find themselves jumping into and out of books along with Sarah and Jon, and the intensity makes for a great page turner. They encounter all kinds of creatures, from werewolves and dragons to zombies and ninjas.

Although Sarah is hesitant at the beginning of the story to accept the existence of mythical creatures, seeing is truly believing, and she soon embraces her role as rescuer of her world. Can these twins live up to the prophecies that have been told about them? 

Get a paperback or digital copy of TwoSpells at Amazon.