“The Shifter”

04/11/2011 at 7:55 pm (book recommendation) (, , , , , , , , , )

“The Shifter”

By Janice Hardy


I know I’m not getting this up on Friday like I said I would, but I kind of got too busy on Friday to do really any blogging.  I had to head up to Sacramento to visit my sister for one of our last long runs before the marathon we entered, so I really didn’t get much done then.  But here’s my book recommendation for last week.

It’s been a little while since I’ve read “the Shifter,” but I loved the voice and personality of Nya, the main character.  Even when she’s faced with tough decisions her quirky personality shines through.  Plus all the other characters in this book have their own unique personalities as well that help keep the book moving along.

The setting of this book is very exotic, and very easy to picture.  The other thing that I found really neat was Nya’s unique magical ability of being able to shift pain from one person to another person.  It is because of this ability that Nya is thrust into dangerous and morally questionable situations, and it also because of this ability and her quick wits that she is able to get herself out of those situations, only to find herself worse off from where she started.

The basic plot of this book is that Nya’s sister, Tali is training to be a healer at the Healer’s Guild (something Nya can never do, since she can’t put pain into a of strange kind of rock that healers deposit it into after healing someone; all she can do is shift it into another person).  While at the Healer’s Guild Tali goes missing, along with many other healers, so Nya has to try and find her.  What makes the situation harder is the fact that her strange magical ability has attracted the attention of the Healer’s Guild and the Pain Merchants, which are the two most powerful groups in the city.  With healers going missing, that’s not the sort of attention that she wants to have.

There’s a lot more to it making Nya’s situation more urgent than just that, but I don’t want to give too much away.  If you want to find out more you’ll just have to read it.

The ending of this book I felt was fairly strong, even though it was a first book in a series, and when I was done I eagerly was waiting for the sequel.  My biggest complaint is, when is the third book coming out?!  I would also like to note that “The Shifter” is an all right title, but Janice Hardy’s original title “The Pain Merchants” sounds much more intriguing.

Even though I’m only really supposed to be recommending a book because of its interior content, I have to admit I would have totally bought this book for it’s awesome cover as well.  I love it!  But that’s a post for my illustrator blog when I finally get that up.

To wrap this post up, I’d give “The Shifter” five out of five stars.  I loved the plot, the characters, and the setting.  I can’t wait to read the next book in the series!

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Two Heads Are Better than One…Unless One Head is Rabid and Spiteful

04/06/2011 at 7:42 pm (Writing) (, , , , , , , )

I know, that was a really long post title, but I figured today it might be fun to talk a little bit about the perks and pitfalls of working with another writer on a novel, or at least the perks and pitfalls that I’ve come across so far.


I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but right now I’m working on a novel with my sister.  We both hope to be published someday, we both mostly write young adult fantasy novels, and we both like having strong, female protagonists.  So pretty much, we’re a good fit to be working together.


Before starting this novel, my sister and I talked about writing one together for a long time.  Then I had this idea that I was running by her that I originally was going to write on my own, and a light bulb went off, and I asked her if she wanted to write it with me.  Since then, my idea has merged with her warped imagination and evolved to become our idea.


One of the big perks about writing a novel with her is that she is a more experienced writer than I am.  I’m not ashamed of this fact since I did spend a large part of my life trying to perfect my drawing, not my writing skills, while she’s wanted to be a writer pretty much her entire life.  And since we are working on this first draft together, it feels more like a second, or even a third draft to me.


But one of the pitfalls that I keep stumbling into working with her is that she likes to throw completely unexpected characters and side plots my way that we never talked about.  How is a girl supposed to work under these conditions?  Plus, I’m one of those people who likes to outline and plan out my novels before hand, with the occasional unexpected scene that writes its own way into my story.  My sister on the other hand, likes to write stories by the seat of her pants.  So that means while I’m working with her, I have to be prepared for anything she might throw at me.


Even that particular pitfall isn’t all that bad though.  It just means that she adds more flourish and depth to out story while I try to keep us somewhat grounded to the main plot and keep it moving along.  All and all, I would say our styles work well together, and it’s nice being able to take a small break from a story I’m working on and still know that progress is being made on it.  So the only real pitfall that I’ve actually come across is that I spend more time with this new novel rather than fixing up my old one.


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“Starcrossed” My First Book Review

04/01/2011 at 7:56 pm (book recommendation) (, , , , , , , , , )



By Elizabeth C. Bunce


This being my first Friday book recommendation, I’m not exactly sure how I should go about doing this.  What I am sure about is the book I have chosen for today.


I finished reading “Starcrossed” about a couple of weeks ago, and I loved it!  I loved it so much that the first opportunity I got after finishing it I jumped online to try and see when the next book was coming out.  But my search was sadly fruitless, and I couldn’t even find the title of the next book, let alone a date it’s supposed to be out by.


It’s about a thief named Digger, and she’s pretty much on the run (as a lot of thieves are in fantasy books), but she manages to get herself in as a handmaiden to a noble girl.  While she’s living her double life, one of the nobles finds out about her being a thief, and uses that information to blackmail her into working for him.


For those of you who are like me and love a good young adult fantasy novel with a strong female protagonist, pick up “Starcrossed” and give it a read.  You will not be disappointed.  Digger is a great main character, although she can be a little cold at times, do to all the hardships she has had in her past, and she is surrounded by a great cast of supporting characters, all with their own unique, individual personalities.  The setting is very easy to picture, and I find it incredibly fascinating that the world has multiple moons.  I also like how the magic is very important to the story, but it doesn’t overshadow all the other subtle details weaved into the plot.


“Starcrossed” caught me a little by surprise.  I was expecting a story that was lighthearted and full of humor, but even though it turned out to be a little darker than I expected, in no way was I disappointed.  I would definitely give his book five out of five stars.


I hope this review/recommendation was helpful without giving anything too important away, and I’ll have another book to suggest to read next week!


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