Tag Archives: Novel

Book Review: The Stowaways – by Meghan Marentette

the-stowaways










Book: The Stowaways
Author: Meghan Marentette
Illustrator: Dean Griffiths
Publisher: Pajama Press
Date: Oct. 15, 2013
Genre: Children's chapter book; ages 8-12
Pages: 236
Price: $19.95
My rating: an adventure one does not want to leave 
until the end

Last year I had the privilege of meeting several authors at a local  children’s book fair, Meghan Marentette being one of them. Her table was directly beside Carolyn Mallory‘s whose book I reviewed HERE.

Here is a photo I took of them holding their books.

meghan-marentette-carolyn-mallory

The Stowaways is an exciting first novel by Meghan Marentette. The main character, a little mouse by the name of Rory Stowaway, has been compared to Stuart Little, and he does have that gutsy and daring personality.

Rory lives with his twin brother, his little sister, his parents, and his grandmother. Since Rory’s grandfather failed to return from a daring adventure to the World Beyond, his father won’t let anyone go very far. He is anxious and has put a stop to exploring, but Rory is restless and wants to go searching for his grandfather and bring him home. His father is firmly against such an idea and will not hear of it. 

The neighbours all believe Rory’s grandfather was killed in a trap, so they are standoffish with the family. They all are Weedle mice, and Weedle mice are normally not adventurous – the Stowaways being the exception for generations. Rory’s brother, Morgan, is a dreamer and wants to go on a sailing adventure, but when Rory learns his grandmother’s secret he is all the more determined to go on what he plans to be a rescue mission. 

Life for the Stowaway family gets turned upside down by a series of unexpected events, scary and dangerous situations including a hurricane, a girl who likes to catch and cage mice, a cranky cat who wants to do worse than that, and more adventure than even Rory imagined. 

The Stowaways by Meghan Marentette is a fast-paced tale consisting of eighteen chapters, lots of page-turning action, and Dean Griffiths’ wonderful illustrations that include maps on the end pages. It is not only young readers who will enjoy this book.

You can find The Stowaways on my BUY THE BOOK page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Book Review: As Far As I Remember – by Michael Bawtree

as-far-as-i-remember-coming-of-age-in-post-war-englandBook: As Far as I Remember: coming 
of age in post-war England

Author: Michael Bawtree

Publisher: Like No Other Press

Date: 2014 in England; 
2015 in Canada 
Genre: Memoir
Pages: 408

Price: $24.95 (CD)

My rating: very interesting, honest, and funny in all the 
right places

I was very pleased to meet the author, Michael Bawtree, at his book signing in April 2015. I hadn’t known about it until I entered the shop for a children’s book, but immediately bought a copy of As Far As I Remember and waited to speak with the author to have him personalize my copy.

I enjoyed this book, although it took me awhile to read all the way through due to my limited reading time when I purchased it. Mr. Bawtree wrote with revealing honesty about his childhood in England where he was born – his years in boarding schools, overcoming shyness, establishing himself as a successful student, a temporary rather nomadic life due to harsh economic times for his family, and many interesting events that occurred. Some incidents he tells about are downright hilarious, the funniest for me being an unfortunate situation that involved his proper English mother in a garden entanglement. There are many things he describes with just the right balance of humour.

This book is the first of two volumes about his fascinating life – the first covering his early years in England, the second volume will cover his life and career in Canada as an actor, playwright and director.

Although Michael Bawtree grew up in boarding schools, he had the opportunity to meet professors and dukes and many other important people, including world-famous C. S. Lewis and others who sometimes stayed at the inn his parents bought and operated. I hope you can read the back cover of his book shown here once you click on the image below to enlarge it.

as-far-as-i-remember-back-cover

His interest in literature, drama and music eventually led him to Canada where he embarked on a career in theatre and the arts all across the country, eventually bringing him to Nova Scotia where he now resides. As Far As I Remember, though, is everything leading up to then and is told in a natural and inviting way. It’s well worth the time to read this fascinating story. I’m looking forward to volume two.

 You can find As Far As I Remember: coming of age in post-war England on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Book Review: The Story of Gar – by Syr Ruus

The Story of Gar
Book: The Story of Gar
Author: Syr Ruus
Publisher: etc. Press Ltd., 
Canada
Date: 2014
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 166
Price: $20.00
My Rating: A fascinating story 
that's different and sweetly 
memorable

 

 

I was delighted to be gifted a copy of The Story of Gar by Syr Ruus. Having read both of her first two novels – Lovesongs of Emmanuel Taggart  and  Devil’s Hump – which I have also reviewed here, I was eager to find out what marvellous tale the author had written this time. I was not disappointed. 

The Story of Gar is about a young mother looking for a new home for herself and her three small children, a man who is alone and likes it that way, a family of crows also uprooted from their home. We are given the interesting view of life seen mostly from the perspective of one young crow in particular. At first notion it may seem a curious plot, however, you really should read this book! Syr Ruus has woven a story that pulls the reader in, holds one’s attention, and thrills with her storytelling.

This book is really about relationships and interactions – people with people, people with nature. The young family is needing a new life, and the man  who helps them finds his life changing – for the better – because of them. His gift to them brings a whole new dimension to everyone’s life.

The Story of Gar is a novel that a young person would enjoy. There are a couple of tastefully handled places more for mature readers, small sections that can easily be skipped over and not ruin the story should a parent/guardian prefer the younger reader not read them.

A portion of this novel was awarded the Joyce Barkhouse Award by the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia.

The Story of Gar was shortlisted in the Ken Klonsky Novella Contest (Quattro Books, Toronto.)

If you want to read this book it can be obtained directly from the author. Please write to her at: syr(at)eastlink(dot)ca 

You can find The Story of Gar listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Sue Harrison’s “Writing the Third Dimension” – part 25: The End

Welcome back! Over the next several more months we invite you to return here, specifically on the fourth Thursday of each month for the newest installment of Sue Harrison’s teaching: Writing The Third Dimension. You can read all the segments by clicking on the page title WRITING THE THIRD DIMENSION, found under Writers’ Helps & Workshops on the drop-down menu. Please feel free to ask questions and leave comments for Sue. Now for the topic for month twenty-five:

*****

“Writing the Third Dimension” – part 25: The End

You’ve worked so hard writing the first draft of your novel, and finally, finally, there you are — one last chapter left to go. After a marathon that has required every ounce of your strength and endurance, you can see the finish line.

You gulp in a deep breath, and, on a huge burst of adrenalin, you tie up remaining threads of the plot and proudly type those two words you have been striving toward throughout the whole, long process:

THE END

TaDa!! Celebrate!!

InflatableBalloons

I hate to burst your balloons, but, before you celebrate, you need to answer a few questions. If you answer “yes,” then you really have finished your first draft. If you answer “no,” you need to go back and work on those last few chapters. Groan!

Don’t get discouraged. Even if you need to rewrite, you can handle it. After all, you’ve already written hundreds of pages. This will be easy-peasy. Well, almost easy-peasy.

Let’s dive into those Before-You-Celebrate questions:

1. Last month we talked about the climax of your novel. Does your final page take place only a chapter or two after the climax?  Yes? Then hooray! If not,  you may need to shorten this after-climax portion. You risk losing your readers’ attention if you prolong the unwinding that occurs after the novel’s emotional high.

2. In your excitement at nearing the end of your novel, have you continued to show your scenes rather than tell them to the reader? It’s so tempting to rush through that last chapter.

3. Did you avoid the classic error of allowing one of your characters to indulge in a long-winded monologue to tie up any loose ends? Good! Then celebrate. If not, rewrite so that some of the information is doled out in a short scene or two, and any necessary monologue is brief!

4. And by the way, did you tie up all those loose ends? If you are planning a sequel, then a few loose ends are fine! If not, you need to weave them into the natural progression and outcome of your storyline.

5. Did you refuse to end your novel with a “Deus ex machina” scene? In ancient Greek plays, the endings were often based around a Greek god coming down in a “machine” (a basket hooked to a pulley system) to “magic” away all the problems. Don’t allow a contrived ending to spoil your previous hard work.

All right. Now, are all your answers YES? Hooray!! Then Celebrate! (And next month, we’ll talk about second drafts. Mwahahaha….)

Tell me about your first draft experience. Do you enjoy writing first drafts or is that the most difficult part of the process for you?

Strength to your pen!

Sue

*Writing the Third Dimension, copyright, 2010 Sue Harrison*

Sue HarrisonBestselling author, Sue Harrison, has written two bestselling Alaska trilogies: The Ivory Carver Trilogy and The Storyteller Trilogy – all of which went digital in May 2013. She also wrote a middle readers’ book SISU. Prior to the publication of her novels, Harrison was employed at Lake Superior State University as a writer and acting director of the Public Relations Department and as an adjunct instructor in creative writing and advanced creative writing. For more information, click here. To inquire about booking Sue for workshops or speaking engagements this year, click here.

Thanks for joining us! Please feel free to leave your questions and comments. We invite you to come back March 26, 2015 for part 26.

Book Review: The Tipping Point – by Walter Danley

The Tipping Point. Walter DanleyBook: The Tipping Point (A Wainwright Mystery)
Author: Walter Danley
Publisher: Marble Arch Communications
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Date: 1st edition December 9, 2013, 2nd edition May 15, 2014
Genre: mystery thriller; crime mystery
Pages: 354
Price: $13.78 but can be found for much less
My Rating: a crime mystery full of twists and intrigue to keep the reader hooked
 
 

* Before the book was in its finished state, I received the ARC of the second edition of The Tipping Point to review; therefore, my comments are based on the unpolished product. *

Debut novel, The Tipping Point by Walter Danley, begins with murder and continues from there with corporate greed, intrigue, conspiracy, suspense, and more. There are many questions that come up which the reader will want answered before reaching the last page. Even though there were a few contradictions in the story, sidetracks and extra information that drew the reader away from the main story, and times when it was hard to follow who was speaking, the main thread carried through. It was set in the 1970’s, so the reader may find some subtle sexism that seems to be accepted by the characters.

Instead of my dwelling on the problems with the editing of this story, and inconsistencies which I hope have been corrected in the final edits, I would suggest – if you enjoy a novel such as I described in the first sentence of the above paragraph – you give this book, The Tipping Point, a try. 

You will meet Wainwright, who, after one of his partners is murdered, tries to uncover the corrupt undercurrent he discovers that prevails in their multimillion-dollar company. There are more deaths, threats, fraudulent dealings, love affairs, an illusive hit-man, and many well-developed characters to follow through it all.

The Tipping Point is not a straightforward tale, but one that is tangled and interesting to read. It is fast-paced where needed, and dramatic. Even with my habit of noticing flaws as I read, this was a story I wanted to follow to the end. I’m usually a good guesser at ‘whodunit’, but this one kept me guessing as to whom was behind the murders and conspiracy.

Readers will be satisfied with the ending Walter Danley wrote to The Tipping Point. Because of his fans’ requests, the author is working on a sequel. 

Visit Walter Danley’s website to view the trailer for The Tipping Point.

You can find The Tipping Point listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 

 

 

my NaNoWriMo updates

Just a quick note to you —

I DO intend to participate in NaNoWriMo this month. So far, in case you didn’t notice, here on my blog I have set up a new page called NaNoWriMo Updates (2012) where you can track my progress – which is, so far, not progressing.  But I have not given up yet.  Last year I didn’t get going until day 7, and that was a slow start with a low count of words. The result was not a NaNo win, but it was not a total disappointment to me because I did add to my novel. I’m hoping to do better this year.

Just so you know …  in case you are interested.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Hurry! You could win a book today!

 

This is a friendly reminder of the BOOK GIVEAWAY I’m offering TODAY – November 12 – courtesy of Red Deer Press.

Please refer to my October 22 post and read my review of A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk – an amazing story written by Jan L. Coates.

Then, following my October 28 interview with Jan, you have the opportunity to win a copy of A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk by leaving a comment.

Please be sure to let others know about this, too, and get the word out about this heralded novel. There’s not much time left until 9:00 pm (8:00 EST). Tweet about it, mention it on Facebook and in your own blog .. use your imagination to get the word out there!  I know Jan will appreciate the publicity for Jacob and Wadeng Wings of Hope.  Don’t know who Jacob is? Read my blog posts of October 22 and October 28. ;)

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)