Thursday, December 6, 2018

0 Many will swoon over this week’s BookTrib giveaway



Many will swoon over this week’s BookTrib giveaway, 20 different Harlequin romances to one lucky winner. As part of BookTrib's Holiday Giveaway, they will be gifting a box of 20 books, matching various themes, each week to one lucky winner through the month of December. Like what you see? Enter from now to December 13th for a chance to win all of these titles in their romance box!
Go to https://booktrib.com/booktrib-giveaways/ to enter!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

1 Review and Giveaway: A Dreadful Fairy Book



A Dreadful Fairy Book
Written by Jon Etter
Ages 9-12 | Publisher: Amberjack Publishing  
November 20, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1948705141

Publisher’s Synopsis: Shade the sprite is dreadful at being the perfect fairy. After her treehouse burns to the ground, Shade embarks on a quest, albeit with rather questionable companions, to find a place her outré self can finally fit in—a place of companionship and comfort and, most importantly, positively filled with books. When fantastic ruffians, swindlers, and a pack of ruthless Unseelie hunters threaten to halt her at every turn, can Shade survive the dreadful journey and find a destination she can truly call home?



My Thoughts

After her treehouse burns to the ground, Shade the sprite goes off to search for a replacement of her most treasured item: a book that her parents used to read to her. Not to mention she's donezo with the rest of the sprites, mostly because they were responsible for the destruction of her house and her library. I did not blame her one bit for being angry.

Shade's never quite fit in with the rest of the sprites. They made fun of her size, her flying abilities, and her love of reading. Once she leaves, she vows never to return. She ventures her way into the unknown, befriending a ragtag motley crew. She meets some interesting and some dreadful characters in the search of the book she lost.

And if this doesn't have you hooked, let me tell you about the narrator of the story, Quentin Q. Quacksworth. Quacksworth is a reluctant narrator at best. He'd prefer to tell a story in which characters and plots behaved the way they should. I couldn't help feel as if Quentin Quacksworth and Lemony Snicket might have attended the same school for narrators.

I love that Shade wasn't your average fairy. She's sassy, independent, and fierce. The only complaint I have is that she was a little heavy on the name calling. Other than that, this book was a joy to read. I hope we might even see more of Shade's adventures in the future. Also, as any bibliophile would, I  loved all the bookish references. If you get the chance, then pick up A Dreadful Fairy Book for the fairy enthusiast in your life. It's not your grandma's fairy book.

DISCLOSURE


Per FTC guidelines, I work in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Amberjack Publishing. All opinions expressed are my own and are in no way influenced by this fact.

GIVEAWAY


Enter to win a copy of A Dreadful Fairy Book by Jon Etter!

Ten (10) winners receive:

A bound galley copy of A Dreadful Fairy Book

Giveaway begins November 13, 2018, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends December , 2018, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

Giveaway open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older.

Amberjack Publishing is responsible for prize fulfillment.





TOUR SCHEDULE


The Children's Book Review
Tour Kick-Off & Review
November 13
Word Spelunking
Book Review
November 14
A Dream Within A Dream
Book Review
November 15
LitPick Student Book Reviews
Interview
November 16
Mommy Ramblings
Book Review
November 26
The Fairview Review
Book Review
November 27
To Read, or Not To Read
Book Review
November 28
icefairy's Treasure Chest
Book Review
November 29
jrsbookreviews
Book Review
November 30
The Lovely Books
Guest Post
December 3
Tales of A Wanna-Be SuperHero Mom
Book Review
December 4
Confessions of a Book Addict
Giveaway
December 6
The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow
Book Review
December 7
The Children's Book Review
Book Review
December 8


Monday, November 26, 2018

0 Calling All Authors and Bookish People



Attention, authors and bookish people! It's been a while, but we're now accepting guest essays for To Read, or Not To Read. If you're interested, please fill out the form below or click on this link: https://goo.gl/forms/MXLZz4h1IYWc4M0c2

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

0 Review: The Other Miss Bridgerton



The Other Miss Bridgerton (Rokesbys #3)
by Julia Quinn
Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages
Published November 20th 2018 by Avon
ISBN13: 9780062388209

Summary


She was in the wrong place...

Fiercely independent and adventurous, Poppy Bridgerton will only wed a suitor whose keen intellect and interests match her own. Sadly, none of the fools from her London season qualify. While visiting a friend on the Dorset coast, Poppy is pleasantly surprised to discover a smugglers' hideaway tucked inside a cave. But her delight turns to dismay when two pirates kidnap her and take her aboard a ship, leaving her bound and gagged on the captain's bed…

He found her at the wrong time...

Known to society as a rascal and reckless privateer, Captain Andrew James Rokesby actually transports essential goods and documents for the British government. Setting sail on a time-sensitive voyage to Portugal, he's stunned to find a woman waiting for him in his cabin. Surely, his imagination is getting the better of him. But no, she is very real—and his duty to the Crown means he's stuck with her.

Can two wrongs make the most perfect right?

When Andrew learns that she is a Bridgerton, he knows he will likely have to wed her to avert a scandal—though Poppy has no idea that he is the son of an earl and neighbor to her aristocratic cousins in Kent. On the high seas, their war of words soon gives way to an intoxicating passion. But when Andrew's secret is revealed, will his declaration of love be enough to capture her heart…?

My Thoughts


Julia Quinn is my go-to author for historical romance. I know when I pick up one of her books I'm going to get a feisty, intelligent heroine and a swoon-worthy hero. I've read a great number of her books, but this is the first book in the Rokesbys series that I've read. And I hate to admit it, but I didn't love this book as much as the others.

Poppy Bridgerton is a girl ahead of her time. She's been through many seasons, but just can't seem to find a suitor whose interests match her own. James Rokesby is a pirate, I mean privateer, who is on a mission for the government when his path crosses with Poppy. He's on a time sensitive mission and must bring (kidnap) her with him until the mission is over. Poppy has no idea who Captain James really is, but he knows who she is. And of course, the two are attracted to each other, but there are complications galore! 

Mystery, passion, romance . . . yet, there was something missing for me. I liked both Poppy and James and all the other characters. The storyline was good. However, it just didn't seem as good as the other books I've read by Quinn. I guess there was bound to be one book by Quinn that I didn't love. Although this book wasn't my favorite, I did still enjoy it nonetheless, and I would still recommend it for historical romance fans. Julia Quinn is a master storyteller that excels at happily ever after!



*My thanks to Edelweiss and Avon for providing me with a digital arc for review. This is no way influenced my opinion. 

Friday, November 16, 2018

0 Treat Yo Self With This Christmas Gift Guide Roundup and Giveaway


Don’t forget gifts for you! At the holidays we always spend so much time thinking about others that it’s easy to leave ourselves out. Treat yourself this Christmas and enter to win all 6 holiday books! Then cozy up with a blanket, a hot cup of whatever you like, and get lost in a wonderful romance.

Cowboy Christmas Jubilee
Amazon:amzn.to/2Cy2ctu 
Apple:apple.co/2CzJtOp  
Kobo:bit.ly/2Cz5JIb  
IndieBound:bit.ly/2Cz5U6j 


Cowboy SEAL Christmas
Amazon:amzn.to/2MShW02 
IndieBound:bit.ly/2MAr3TC



Mistletoe in Texas
Amazon:amzn.to/2xlXATO  
Apple:apple.co/2xkwAUZ  
Kobo:bit.ly/2xhxLnM  
IndieBound:bit.ly/2xlYjo0 


Billionaire Wolf for Christmas
Amazon:amzn.to/2xm0E2g  
Apple:apple.co/2xhnsjY  
Kobo:bit.ly/2xkCt4n  
IndieBound:bit.ly/2xhxrFV 



Rocky Mountain Cowboy Christmas
IndieBound: bit.ly/2K6PW4R




My Forever Home
Amazon:amzn.to/2M2jncH  
Apple:apple.co/2niQZ79  
IndieBound:bit.ly/2LZDkB0 







Tuesday, November 13, 2018

0 Review: The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel


The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel: A Story of Sleepy Hollow
by Alyssa Palombo
Paperback, 416 pages
Published October 2nd 2018 by St. Martin's Griffin
9781250127617

Summary

When Ichabod Crane arrives in the spooky little village of Sleepy Hollow as the new schoolmaster, Katrina Van Tassel is instantly drawn to him. Through their shared love of books and music, they form a friendship that quickly develops into romance. Ichabod knows that as an itinerant schoolteacher of little social standing, he has nothing to offer the wealthy Katrina – unlike her childhood friend-turned-enemy, Brom Van Brunt, who is the suitor Katrina’s father favors.

But when romance gives way to passion, Ichabod and Katrina embark on a secret love affair, sneaking away into the woods after dark to be together – all while praying they do not catch sight of Sleepy Hollow’s legendary Headless Horseman. That is, until All Hallows’s Eve, when Ichabod suddenly disappears, leaving Katrina alone and in a perilous position.

Enlisting the help of her friend – and rumored witch – Charlotte Jansen, Katrina seeks the truth of Ichabod Crane’s disappearance, investigating the forest around Sleepy Hollow using unconventional – often magical – means. What they find forces Katrina to question everything she once knew, and to wonder if the Headless Horseman is perhaps more than just a story after all. In Alyssa Palombo's The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel nothing is as it seems, and love is a thing even death won't erase. 

My Thoughts

Like many people, I was introduced to The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving at a young age, mostly thanks to Disney. I had read this Gothic classic before, but I couldn't really recall my initial impression of the story. I remember being terrified of the Headless Horseman. I remember thinking Ichabod was kinda ridiculous. I remember Katrina was the prize to be won. So I reread The Legend of Sleepy Hollow to refresh my memory of this classic, and now reading this story as an adult, I found I wanted more. Irving gives us a great characterization of Ichabod and Brom, but not so much about Katrina. 

Alyssa Palombo's The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel is the answer to my bookish request. Palombo explores the inner life of the woman at the center of Irving's story. Palombo gives Katrina her own unique voice. She's smart; she's feisty; she's forward-thinking; she's brave. And she's in love with Ichabod Crane. I have to admit I had a hard time seeing Ichabod as a romantic lead. I blame Disney. Truly I do. I had this preconceived notion of what Ichabod looked like stuck in my head, and I'm afraid that image was hard to shake off. Palombo's Ichabod would have any girl swooning. It just took me a few minutes to adjust my thinking.

I was intrigued by the storyline of this book from the get-go. This Gothic story told from Katrina's point of view was more interesting than the original story--sorry Irving. There were a few twists and turns that kept this story fresh and exciting. The characters felt more fleshed out than in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and the story felt more complete. I love that Palombo was able to capture the romance without losing a bit of the mystery. 

The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel is a great fall read. In fact, it's great any time of the year. Whenever I think of Sleepy Hollow from now on, Alyssa Palombo's The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel with be the first thing that comes to mind. And if you get the opportunity, you might want to pick it up. Be sure to clear your calendar for a day or two, you won't want to put it down.




Thanks to St. Martin's Griffin for providing me with a review copy. All my opinions are my own and are in no way influenced by this. 





Monday, November 12, 2018

0 Is there anything cooler than time-traveling, dimension-jumping, librarian spies? You're going to want to enter this #giveaway!



Is there anything cooler than time-traveling, dimension-jumping, librarian spies? We don't think so! TRoNTR is so excited for the next installment of Genevieve Cogman's Invisible Library series, THE MORTAL WORD, releasing on November 27th. If you love all things Doctor Who, this is one series that you seriously can't miss! Also, the cover to THE MORTAL WORD is really cool.



The fate of worlds lies in the balance. When a dragon is murdered at a peace conference, time-travelling Librarian spy Irene must solve the case to keep the balance between order, chaos…and the Library.

Penguin Random House is celebrating the release of Genevieve Cogman's next novel with a giveaway of epic proportions! They are giving away the entire Invisible Library series to one lucky winner. This giveaway runs from November 12th- November 23rd. To enter go to https://sweeps.penguinrandomhouse.com/enter/invisible-library-sweeps. It's easy peasy lemon squeezy to enter! So don't delay. Good luck to everyone!


Wednesday, October 24, 2018

0 Review: Reach Higher: An Inspiring Photo Celebration of First Lady Michelle Obama



Reach Higher: An Inspiring Photo Celebration of First Lady Michelle Obama
by Amanda Lucidon
Hardcover, 112 pages
Published October 23rd 2018 by Crown Books for Young Readers
9780525644002

Summary

A collection of striking and intimate photographs of Michelle Obama, coupled with personal reflections and behind-the-scenes stories from official White House photographer and New York Times bestselling author of Chasing Light , Amanda Lucidon, presented in a deluxe format for young readers. 

My Thoughts

I was fortunate to catch an interview with Michelle Obama a few weeks ago while she was celebrating International Day of the Girl on a news show. Listening to her speak about the Obama Foundation's launch of the Global Girls Alliance and the importance of education for girls was inspiring. So it's no wonder that Amanda Lucidon chose to honor the former First Lady by putting together this book of photographs with interesting information and facts regarding the White House and its history.

Amanda Lucidon was a photographer for the White house from 2013 to 2017. She is only one of the few female photographers to work at the White House, and, in fact, was the only one during the Obama administration. Her pictures have been honored in many platforms. Amanda will inspire many girls to follow in her footsteps after reading this book.

Reach Higher is full of beautiful photographs of Michelle Obama, but it's also much more than that. It's an informative book about First Ladies, Amanda's role as a White House photographer, and a bit of history of the White House as well. Young readers will not feel overwhelmed by it though. They'll be taken in by the intimate and colorful photos during the Obama's administration and hopefully will be inspired by such a strong woman. 


Thursday, October 18, 2018

0 Claiming My Place Book Blast and Giveaway #Holocaust #WWII #Jewish #HFVBTBlogTours


Claiming My Place: Coming of Age in the Shadow of the Holocaust
by Planaria Price with Helen Reichmann West


Publication Date: March 13, 2018
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Hardcover, eBook, AudioBook
Genre: YA/NF/History/Holocaust/WWII


A Junior Library Guild selection

Claiming My Place is the true story of a young Jewish woman who survived the Holocaust by escaping to Nazi Germany and hiding in plain sight.

Meet Gucia Gomolinska: smart, determined, independent, and steadfast in the face of injustice. A Jew growing up in predominantly Catholic Poland during the 1920s and ’30s, Gucia studies hard, makes friends, falls in love, and dreams of a bright future. Her world is turned upside down when Nazis invade Poland and establish the first Jewish ghetto of World War II in her town of Piotrkow Trybunalski. As the war escalates, Gucia and her family, friends, and neighbors suffer starvation, disease, and worse. She knows her blond hair and fair skin give her an advantage, and eventually she faces a harrowing choice: risk either the uncertain horrors of deportation to a concentration camp, or certain death if she is caught resisting. She decides to hide her identity as a Jew and adopts the gentile name Danuta Barbara Tanska. Barbara, nicknamed Basia, leaves behind everything and everyone she has ever known in order to claim a new life for herself.

Writing in the first person, author Planaria Price brings the immediacy of Barbara’s voice to this true account of a young woman whose unlikely survival hinges upon the same determination and defiant spirit already evident in the six-year-old girl we meet as this story begins. The final portion of this narrative, written by Barbara’s daughter, Helen Reichmann West, completes Barbara’s journey from her immigration to America until her natural, timely death. Includes maps and photographs.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Praise

“Price has boldly elected to tell the story in Basia’s own first-person, present-tense voice. The result is a dramatic, suspenseful account of survival in extremis, told in collaboration with Basia’s American daughter.” ―Booklist

“Price's rendering of West’s mother’s early life reads like suspenseful historical fiction, telling a rarely heard side of the Jewish experience during WWII . . . Family, friendships, and romance give poignancy to this unique coming-of-age story, which is further enhanced by maps, a glossary, and an afterword.” ―Publishers Weekly

“A rich exploration of a Holocaust survivor’s sheltered childhood, the atrocity that failed to destroy her, and her later life as an immigrant.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“I was completely engrossed by this drama of survival. Barbara Reichmann's story is quite extraordinary. It is sad, and terrible, and yet somehow captivating. The whole story of those who survived the Shoah by passing as Christians and working in Nazi Germany is an often forgotten part of the historical record.” ―Kai Bird, Executive Director, Leon Levy Center for Biography at CUNY Graduate Center, and co-author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer

“As occurs with The Diary of Anne Frank, this book merges the dire circumstances of the Holocaust with the tenuousness of being a teenager. But Claiming My Place expands the view provided in the diary for one critical reason. Anne Frank’s story is told within an isolated cocoon. In Barbara’s story, however, the Holocaust is in full view as her experiences unfold.” ―David H. Lindquist, Ph.D., IPFW College of Education and Public Policy / Regional Museum Educator, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

“This frightening true story of a young Jewish girl's flight from the deadly grip of the Nazis celebrates the surprising ingenuity and raw courage found only in the depths of the human spirit. Risking what few others dared, Barbara Reichmann, née Gucia Gomolinska, speaks with wisdom and uncommon self-awareness through her detailed, colorful, and evocative recollections from earliest childhood. In the final portion of this book, her daughter, Helen West, continues Barbara’s journey in an insightful and loving overview of Barbara’s life from the family’s arrival in New Orleans in 1951 until her death in 2007. This is a great read with the suspenseful, inspiring and uplifting appeal of a novel, about a character who will capture the reader’s heart.” ―Allan Holzman, Peabody and Emmy Award-winning director and editor (Steven Spielberg’s Survivors of the Holocaust, Old Man River, The Native Americans)

"Thanks to the detailed memories and the conversational tone, this book provides an engaging and informative reading experience with as much appeal as a fiction title. Recommended for most YA nonfiction collections." ―Magdalena Teske, West Chicago Public Library District School Library Journal

"This book was truly a celebration of the human spirit. What a gift she has for putting you in the story. Her way with words, plus her weaving of the actual events recounted to her by the unbelievably courageous Basia and her daughter Helen, was nothing short of magical. The included photographs and epilogue served to fully round out this amazing tale. I never wanted this book to end!" ―Rabbi Lynn Brody Slome

About the Author

After graduating from Berkeley and earning a Master's Degree in English Literature from UCLA, Planaria Price began her career teaching English to adult immigrants in Los Angeles. She has written several textbooks for University of Michigan Press and has lectured at over 75 conferences. In addition to her passion for teaching and writing, Planaria has worked with her husband to save and restore over 30 Victorian and Craftsman homes in her historic Los Angeles neighborhood. Claiming My Place is her first book for young adults.

For more information, please visit Planaria's website at www.planariaprice.com.

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, October 15

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Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a signed hardcover copy of Claiming My Place by Planaria Price! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on November 2nd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Claiming My Place


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

0 Freefall Guest Post, Giveaway, and Guest Review

Freefall: Divine Comedy by Lily Iona MacKenzie
Freefall: Divine Comedy by Lily Iona MacKenzie
Publisher:  Pen-L Publishing (Oct 1, 2018)
Category: Women’s Fiction, Literary Fiction
Tour dates: Oct-Nov, 2018
ISBN:
Available in print & ebook, 255

Freefall

During a four-day reunion in Whistler, B.C., Tillie Bloom, a wacky installation artist, reconnects with three women she had hung out with in the late ’50s and early ’60s. While in Whistler, secrets surface and a near death experience occurs during a hike, both of which bind the women at a deeper level.

Their new intimacy prompts them to celebrate the millennium as well as their approaching sixtieth birthdays in Italy. So a few weeks later, Tillie travels to Venice to have an extended reunion with her friends. While the women assume they’re in Venice to vacation and deepen their relationships, Tillie has a hidden agenda: she intends to crash the Venice Biennale, hoping to find a larger audience for her art. Cupid’s arrows complicate her goals when she and an Italian priest fall for each other.

The reflective quality of Venice’s canals also create unexpected changes in the women, causing them to turn inward. They all end up with a fresh take on themselves and their lives. Tillie, in particular, experiences a deeper understanding of herself. But will it take her on a path she’s ready to travel, and will Venice finally give her the recognition she seeks as an artist?

Advance Praise Freefall: Divine Comedy by Lily Iona MacKenzie

“Hilarious, spiritual, and sensual, Freefall: A Divine Comedy takes you on a rollicking ride spanning three countries and four decades. These fascinating characters will fill your imagination, defying expectations about aging, art, and what truly matters in life.” —Laurie Ann Doyle, author of World Gone Missing

“This is an enchanting story about old friends reuniting as they struggle with thoughts on aging, religion, motherhood, men, art, and death. A delightful trip in every respect, with plenty of surprises and laughs along the way. A Divine Comedy, indeed!” —Mark Willen, author of Hawke’s Point and Hawke’s Return

Review by Laura Lee 


Tillie is an installation artist who dropped out of high school. She is approaching her 60th birthday. She wants to see her 3 friends she used to hang out with in the 50-70’s. Her friend Daddy just gets released from jail and the two of them meet up. Daddy had plastic surgery so her nose would look like Zsa Zsa Gabor (if you’re old enough, you may remember her from the TV show Green Acres). Daddy is also a real-estate agent. The two of them take a road trip in Tallies 1960’s VW Microbus to Whistler, British Columbia in Western Canada. Now, it is a posh ski resort that caters to tourists but back when Tillie was there last, it was old beat-up houses and farms.
They arrive at their friend Sybil’s who is a chain-smoking bookkeeper and puzzle addict and seems to be tipsy on wine already. Their friend Moll is also there. She is a housewife and mother of three and loves the great outdoors. As the evening progresses they talk about their lives thus far. They also make plans to meet up in Venice where Sybil has a small property. They want to celebrate their 60th birthdays together. Tillie doesn’t revel this to her friends but she also wants to go to Venice to try to get into a famous art exhibition.
As we read on, Venice becomes another central character of the novel. Lily Iona Mackenzie really captures Venice as the backdrop and brings it to the front with the four women. This book could be categorized as women’s fiction because it will appeal mostly to women but that would be selling it short. It certainly has literary merit, full of magical realism. It is also about our own mortality and of course, art. I don’t usually enjoy magical realism, but I did enjoy it in Freefall. It was so nuanced and was needed to get the author’s point of view across. This book has great depth and well-written quirky characters. If you enjoy literary fiction you are in for a treat. I give it 5 stars.


Guest Post

Venice: The Mysterious City

I visited Venice for the first time in 1994, and it was love at first sight. It reinforced my notion that our ego consciousness is surrounded by the waters of the unconscious. I had found a city that demonstrated this perspective. Daily life goes on while the city’s structural foundations are rooted deep in the Venetian lagoon, just as our ego, our conscious perception of ourselves, floats on the collection unconscious, the inner sea that surrounds us. 
Not only do automobiles not have a role in this metropolis, but boats are the major form of transportation. And what a difference that makes! The steady hum of car motors growling and horns honking and tires squealing on concrete that permeate most aspects of city life don’t happen in Venice. It’s also very different to navigate on water instead of land. Instead of dodging cars that speed dangerously on freeways crisscrossing our American cities, Venetian inhabitants move at a much more leisurely pace, night and day. There’s something comforting about the waters’ rising and falling when we’re navigating the lagoon on boats. They create a rocking motion, not unlike what we experienced as infants in our parents’ arms or in a cradle. How could that movement not be restorative? 
But what does this have to do with how my four major female characters end up in Venice for the last two thirds of my novel Freefall: A Divine Comedy? And why does that city make a good setting for a novel? 
Venice is magical, and magical realism has played a major role in all of my published novels. The term magic implies some slight of hand, an ability to make things appear and disappear at will. In a magic show, magicians exercise their ability to draw viewers’ attention away from what the magicians are doing so they can convince those watching that a rabbit really does appear at random out of an empty hat, or that any number of equally fantastic events can occur. In this case, the magic isn’t really magical in the sense of a supernatural intervention because there’s a trick at its foundation based on perception and how skillful the magician is at keeping the audience distracted enough not to notice the hoax involved.
Something similar happens with writers. They capture our attention through assembling strings of words that become a compelling narrative we follow. Just as a viewer at a magic show sets aside his/her momentary doubts about what’s happening before his/her eyes, so too do readers enter the narrative dream. That enables the writer to convince readers that the setting, characters, and events taking place are actually happening in real time when, in truth, they aren’t. They only come to life in the readers’ imagination as readers let go of their immediate world to undertake this journey into the unknown. Put this way, reading can seem like a potentially dangerous experience, and it can be if a writer’s ideas and images shatter some preconceived notion about our world and about us.
Magic also has the ability to temporarily take people out of the constraints of everyday life and make them feel they can transcend it. Instead of being locked inside the usual routines that structure our days, we find release when something magical happens, such as when we watch a play in a theatre and suddenly our world is transformed. We’re no longer our daily selves, but we begin to identify with what’s occurring on the stage and participate in all of the characters involved, good guys and bad guys. 
Any writing, whether it’s a novel or a play, has a magical component to it. The primary storytelling goal is magic, achieved by mysterious means. Words themselves are transformative in that they can so easily metamorphose into other words: world contains word and old. Add or subtract a letter here or there and we’ve landed in a different meaning. Words in themselves are slippery and magical, calling forth images just by naming things: red chair, oak table, 2006 Honda Accord, green plaid coat, eucalyptus tree. Read the text and suddenly something appears in our mind’s eye. Amazing!
This, then, seems to be the foundation for what we call magic realism. Language by its very nature is magical, transforming our everyday reality in multiple ways, carrying us aloft on the wings of thought. The writer confronts reality and tries to untangle it, to discover what is mysterious in things, in life, in human acts. The principle thing is not the creation of imaginary beings or worlds but the discovery of the mysterious relationship between our circumstances and us. The magical realist does not try to copy the surrounding reality but to seize the mystery that breathes behind things. 
And that’s what I’ve attempted in Freefall. While the four major character’s lives are rooted in the “real,” however we may define that state, they also participate in the world of imagination where things can happen outside of our usual perspectives. This is why Venice was such an important setting for my novel. These women, all facing their sixtieth birthdays, need to be shaken out of their usual routines so they can be open to new possibilities. The dreamy quality of Venice is an ideal place for such a transformation to occur. 
Of course, it also hosts the Venice Biennale, and that major art extravaganza gives the major character Tillie, an artist, an opportunity to make her “mark” in the art world (and that has nothing to do with Venice’s St. Mark’s square!). But then you’ll need to read the book to discover for yourself the role that Venice, Italy, and Whistler, B.C., play in this book.  


Freefall: Divine Comedy by Lily Iona MacKenzieAbout Lily Iona MacKenzie

A Canadian by birth, Lily Iona MacKenzie has published reviews, interviews, short fiction, poetry, travel pieces, essays, and memoir in over 155 venues. Her poetry collection All This was published in 2011. Fling!, her debut novel, was published in July 2015. Curva Peligrosa, another novel, was released in September 2017.

Currently, she teaches creative writing at the University of San Francisco’s Fromm Institute of Lifelong Learning. She also blogs about writing and reading.

Website: http://lilyionamackenzie.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lilyionamackenzieauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lilyionamac

Buy Freefall: Divine Comedy by Lily Iona MacKenzie

Not Available Yet.  Expected publication date is January 1, 2019

Giveaway Freefall: Divine Comedy by Lily Iona MacKenzie

This giveaway is for the choice of a print copy or ebook for three winners. Print is open to Canada and the U.S. only.  ebook is open worldwide.  This giveaway ends on November 30th at midnight pacific time.  Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.


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