Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Shard Giveaway!

It's GIVEAWAY time again!!! Woohoo!! As some of you know, I recently hosted my first giveaway of The Warble, a middle-grade fantasy by Victoria Simcox. See my review HERE. I really enjoyed the book, and was eager to read the sequel--The Shard. Well, the author was kind enough to provide 3 copies of the sequel to do ANOTHER giveaway!! Amazing, right?! Oh, for those of you who haven't read the first book, I want to say you could totally read The Shard and not be left out. It is a sequel, but it's a completely different story and adventure. So don't hesitate if you haven't read The Warble! Alright--Let's get this party started :party

The Shard, Victoria Simcox’s fast-paced, intricately woven sequel to The Warble, takes Kristina Kingsly and her schoolmates back to Bernovem … and into a thrilling, often dangerous adventure.

Kristina’s stay at summer horse camp is horrible to say the least, and it’s all because Hester and Davina are there as well, making her life miserable. When Hester’s cruel prank goes terribly wrong, it’s actually what sends the three girls back to the magical land of Bernovem. In Bernovem, Kristina is very excited to see her former friend, Prince Werrien. When he invites her to sail with him on his ship to his homeland Tezerel, putting it simply, Kristina can’t refuse.

Reunited with her gnome, dwarf, animal, fairy friends … and best of all, Werrien, things seem like they couldn’t get any better for Kristina. But when Werrien becomes fascinated with an unusual seeing stone, the “Black Shard”, Kristina is haunted by a ghostlike old hag. Struggling against suspicion, guilt, illness, and ultimately the one who wants to possess her soul, Kristina will see it’s in her weakest moment that she will encounter more strength than she has ever known.

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The Black Shard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars. :star :star :star :star :star 

I'm rating this 5 stars. I'd really like to share my thoughts on this book (and how it relates to the first book, The Warble). 

We start with Kristina (the perfect heroine, in my opinion, I'll get to that later); and her bout in summer camp. She's lonely due to the fact her best friend (hamster) was left in the magical land of Bernovem. Now, if you haven't read the first book that's ok because things are filled in quite naturally. Things quickly progress and Kristina is taken back to Bernovem and another adventure starts! 

This time, though, things are different. She's older, for one thing, and I really like how she was written as older in an "extreme" way. Ok, last book she was "BFFs" with Werrien (guy/good/cute/prince charming). This book she's totally crushing on him and insecure and adorable. I say "extreme" but that's what it is when you age at 13!! So, kudos to the writing for not trying to young-it-down. There was a sharp change in behavior; which, is necessary because there is a sharp change in hormones at that age! But things were written so I'd be comfy having my younger niece read this (she's 11) and we'd both enjoy it (although probably for some different reasons). Before I forget, I want to mention how much I admire Kristina. She's pretty, yet modest to the point of being insecure (as much as any girl her age is). She is subjected to bullies, and relates more to her teachers than peers. She is so brave and selfless, but she's a kid too. I think it can be a difficult thing to get right. I never forget her age-- yet I'm still impressed by her maturity. Oh, and she flings lentils at her crush with a fork.

I'm gonna say another thing about the writing...it was so much bolder. Perhaps bolder implies courageous. But, yes, courageous and just more confident. I felt things that were a bit shakey in the last book (some plot lines and transitions)-- were really excellent in this story. I mean, wow. It was the most striking thing to me. And let me be clear-- the first book, The Warble was a great book! Heck, I rated it 5 stars! But, that was before I read The Shard and it's still a great story...but, the contrast is so stark I had to go back and change the rating to 4 (which is still a solid A). 

Another thing I really want to express is continuity. It was great. This is a middle-grade novel-- the genre of which I love. In the first book, I remember writing in my review how angry I was that the two girls were such bullies to Kristina and how annoying the 3 children that were also stuck in Bernovem were! *smirks* Well, I just have to shake my head now. Because, sure enough at the end of this book I totally got it! Haha, and you know, It's not something everyone might react to--what pissed me off won't necessarily annoy the next reader..but I loved that. It was like, ok, the one thing you were kinda peeved about was planned all along so *sticks tongue out at self* 

I just really enjoyed this book. I really suggest this to readers of all ages who love Narnia. The Shard continued to solidify the world that Simcox created in The Warble. We are left wanting a third book and I am highly anticipating the next installment...by the progress of the first two books I think I'll be pleasantly surprised for a third time. ;) 

This book has some amazing illustrations! So instead of an excerpt, here's a peek at the wonderful artwork from The Shard Chapter 20.
Lunch by the Waterfall

Victoria was born in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, to an Austrian immigrant mother, and a Dutch immigrant father. She now lives in Western Washington with her husband, Russ and their three children, Toby, Kristina, and William. Her other family members are a Chihuahua, named Pipsy, and two cats, named Frodo and Fritz. Besides being an author, Victoria is a home-schooling mother of twelve years and an elementary school art teacher of eleven years. In her spare time, Victoria enjoys managing her two older children’s Celtic band. She also loves reading, painting watercolors, hiking, good movies, and just simply hanging out with her family and friends.

Victoria's Blog: http://www.victoriasimcox.blogspot.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/VictoriaSimcox
Facebook: The Black Shard on FB

Now all you have to do to WIN this fabulous book is ENTER THE RAFFLECOPTER BELOW!
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GOOD LUCK!!!!!!! ^_^

If you want to enter to win the first book, The Magic Warble-- you can!! All you have to do is enter my fellow book-blogging pal Jennifer Silverwood's blog! Enter to win The Magic Warble HERE
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(aka Dee) has loved reading for as long as she can remember. She loves many things: fantasy novels, young adult fiction, her cat, painting, and horror films from the 70s. Diamond is a grad student at UCLA. She's pursuing a Master's in Library and Information Science.