Elijah Hawk has never heard of the Magi. He doesn't know about the
secret power they have. He has never been to Savenridge, the Magi city
hidden deep inside the northern forests. Most of all, Elijah is unaware
of the dangers hunting him, in search for something he has. After one
terrifying night, however, all of that changes!
On a quest to solve the murder of his parents, Elijah stumbles upon
the land of the Magi. Learning their secrets and training with their
power is the least of his problems. In order to find out why his
parents were killed, Elijah learns that he must confront the dangers
that are hunting him. What's more terrifying is learning that stumbling
upon this new world of the Magi may not have been an accident after all. ~~synopsis from Goodreads
My thoughts on The Magi ~~
This book is a very well written, fast paced book about a young boy who loses his family and then discovers a whole new world that he was supposed to be a part of. He eventually ends up in the world of the Magi and starts to learn about the powers that are available for him to master. Things seem to come rather easily for him, which makes me wonder if maybe he is a special Magi that is going to do great things once he completes his training.
Great line from The Magi ~~ "But that's just what you were told you were supposed to learn. I want you to tell me what you expect to learn. I don't think there's much you can expect to learn if you don't expect to learn anything, is there?"
The Magi learn to control the 4 elements; earth, water, wind and fire. And the Magi use their power for good against the Maliphist, who are basically evil.
Another great line from The Magi ~~ "There
is a hope that one day, we will live in a world where everyone looks
for the good first, while keeping their power in check."
(Take the Element Quiz
to find out which element you would most likely study if you were a
Magi. I found this quiz on the Magi blog and took it. It's kind of fun - I
found out I would 'most likely study water'.)
Okay, so getting back to the book, this story swept me in with the action starting right from the beginning. I was enthralled all the way through to the end and I can't wait for the next in the series - yes, this is book 1 of The Magi Series. The author is working on book 2, The Sphere. Hope it is published soon!
Several times while reading The Magi, I was reminded of the Harry Potter tales and since that story is completed, it is kind of nice to know that there is another series that can take us to a world where good fights evil. So if you loved HP, you are going to want to check out this series.
I haven't been able to write up my thoughts on most of these books. I have been busy getting ready for the holidays and traveling. I will get them posted soon. The links will take you to Goodreads if you want to find out more.
America’s greatest women writers, Willa Cather established her talent
and her reputation with this extraordinary novel—the first of her books
set on the Nebraska frontier. A tale of the prairie land encountered by
America’s Swedish, Czech, Bohemian, and French immigrants, as well as a
story of how the land challenged them, changed them, and, in some cases,
defeated them, Cather’s novel is a uniquely American epic.
Bergson, a young Swedish immigrant girl who inherits her father’s farm
and must transform it from raw prairie into a prosperous enterprise, is
the first of Cather’s great heroines—all of them women of strong will
and an even stronger desire to overcome adversity and succeed. But the
wild land itself is an equally important character in Cather’s books,
and her descriptions of it are so evocative, lush, and moving that they
provoked writer Rebecca West to say of her: “The most sensuous of
writers, Willa Cather builds her imagined world almost as solidly as our
five senses build the universe around us.”
Willa Cather, perhaps
more than any other American writer, was able to re-create the real
drama of the pioneers, capturing for later generations a time, a place,
and a spirit that has become part of our national heritage. ~~synopsis from Goodreads
My thoughts on O Pioneers! ~~
O Pioneers! was selected as the 'classic' read that my book group read this month. I loved the book; the writing and the characters. It is amazing to me that this book was written almost 100 years ago and and it is still a great read, you know what I mean? The language and writing seemed very modern and there was not that challenge to 'get used to' the dialogue or the vocabulary that she used. It flowed very well.That's a sign of a great classic!
All of us in the group loved the book. There is a very strong female character, actually she is the main character, and the thought among us was that this was a very feminist book for it's time. Rather unusual.
I grew up about 30 miles from Red Cloud, which is where Willa Cather grew up. She uses Red Cloud as the model for the settings in a lot of her books. I am kind of ashamed to admit that I don't remember reading any of Cather's books before now. I can't imagine that we didn't have to read any of them in school, but for the life of me, I don't remember reading any. I really need to change that.
Probably one of her most well known books is My Antonia. This title is available as a free e-book. I downloaded it last night and will be reading it soon. Gotta love the classics!
Today I have the author of Chosen, Chandra Hoffman, here at The Book Bag. I posted my thoughts on her wonderful book yesterday. Read them here.
I posed this question to her~~
"I have heard other authors
say that they 'hear voices in their head' and that is how they write
their books, the characters are telling their stories. Not being a writer, that idea has always intrigued me.
When some people hear voices, we
get them medical attention, other people become writers. Does that happen to you? How do you come up with your stories?
Great question, Susan. Thanks so much for having me and reviewing CHOSEN!
When I am in the thick of it, it’s difficult to describe what happens without
sounding hokey, but it's like being a medium. The words come, the story flows,
I hear the characters and my mouth actually moves along with their dialogue; I
just try to keep up. On days when I can't go there, when I know I can’t
mentally still be in a women's prison or describing the smell of flowers in
Maui while picking my kid up from piano, I try to do something technical, like
outlining or editing.
As far as editing, I'm a big believer in beat sheets, and in
getting a listener whose opinion you value, who is not your target audience,
who also might have a short attention span, and reading them sections out loud.
I find myself editing, rewriting, rephrasing as I read. I think it's because
growing up, I was the middle of five kids and there was always some anxiety
about not getting enough airtime, losing my audience.
My first novel, CHOSEN rattled around with me for several
years. The story grew out of three defining experiences: the first was
my time in Romania post-Revolution as an aide worker in the infamous Orphanage
Number One. It was
overwhelming—I was given fifty infants my first day—but inspiring to see the
human spirit surviving in spite of the bleakness. Romania led me to the second
experience, a job in the United States as the director of the domestic adoption
program for a private agency, the sole caseworker managing birth and adoptive
parents. My goal was to create happy endings, everything I hadn’t been able to
do in Bucharest.
There is a social aspect to this novel: In everything I
write, I strive to shine a light on the complexity of scenarios that we
encounter regularly -- in the case of CHOSEN, I selected domestic adoption as
the backdrop for the novel. When I took the agency position in Portland, I was
surprised by how many agendas there are to what seems like a simple equation,
how many sides of the adoption story. I chose unique voices for the multiple
points of view, the grieving birthfather, one potential adoptive father, the
jangled single mother, the green social worker, to underscore this fact.
I wanted to share an inside perspective on domestic adoption
with characters who were human, flawed, and sympathetic, because the truth is,
adoption is the creation of a family in a unique way, but there is a darker
side, both the business aspect, and the fact that at every birth, someone is
going home empty-handed. All parenthood is a risk; adoption ups the ante.
I also learned that when you take into account the business side
of adoption, it was very difficult to meet the needs of everyone. I left the
adoption world when I became a mother myself—my skin had become too thin.
This was the final defining point that shaped this novel: our
first son's birth and an unexpected diagnosis, nearly losing him as an infant.
As a new mother to a child with huge medical hurdles, I pondered some of
the deeper issues that form the backbone of CHOSEN: How does parenthood change
you? How will the challenges you face shape you as a couple? What happens when
your expectations of parenthood are so far from the reality? What makes a good
parent? A good person? What happens when you get what you thought you wanted?
The story is fiction--characters and settings and scenarios are
as though I took a handful of my life experiences, threw in a
well-marinated childhood paranoia about abduction, seasoned them with the salt
of my vivid imagination, put them all in a bag and shook it up. From all
of this, CHOSEN grew.
WHAT'S COMING NEXT
With the book I am working on now, it really was a moment of
creative inspiration. Last year, I was on book tour with my three little kids
all tucked around me in a hotel in Santa Monica. We had been traveling for two
weeks, and it had been months since I had done any creative writing. I had a
few stories that I figured I would work on after I got home and the dust
settled, but that night, something happened. We had left the windows open so we
could hear the ocean and I dreamed an entire novel, a love story peppered with
obstacles and tinged with grief and loss, set in the islands. I had to get
through a day at Disneyland and hustling everyone on to a red-eye flight before
I had four uninterrupted hours to write it all down, but I knew it was the next
story. I can't wait to share it with readers.
Thanks Chandra - And I can't wait to read it!
**Everyone who leaves a comment on Chosen's tour page will be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card! If you purchase your copy of Chosen from
November 26 - December 19 and send your receipt to Samantha (at)
ChickLitPlus (dot) com, you will get five bonus entries!**
a young caseworker becomes increasingly entangled in the lives of adoptive and
birth parents, with devastating results.
It all begins with a
fantasy: the caseworker in her "signing paperwork" charcoal suit
standing alongside beaming parents cradling their adopted newborn, set against
a fluorescent-lit delivery-room backdrop. It's this blissful picture that keeps
Chloe Pinter, director of the Chosen Child's domestic-adoption program, happy
while juggling the high demands of her boss and the incessant needs of both
adoptive and biological parents.
But the very job that
offers her refuge from her turbulent personal life and Portland's winter rains
soon becomes a battleground involving three very different couples: the Novas,
well-off college sweethearts who suffered fertility problems but are now
expecting their own baby; the McAdoos, a wealthy husband and desperate wife for
whom adoption is a last chance; and Jason and Penny, an impoverished couple who
have nothing—except the baby everyone wants. When a child goes missing, dreams
dissolve into nightmares, and everyone is forced to examine what he or she
really wants and where it all went wrong.
Told from alternating
points of view, Chosen reveals the desperate nature of desire across
social backgrounds and how far people will go to get the one thing they think
will be the answer. ~~synopsis from Goodreads
Check out the bottom of this post to find out how you can enter to win a $10 Amazon gift card and then tune in tomorrow for thoughts from Chandra~~
My thoughts about Chosen ~~
First of all, let me just say that I am so excited to be a part of the blog tour for Chosen. I am a cover-lover and doesn't the cover of this book just make your heart melt - a little one grasping onto mommy's finger? Gotta love it! The rest of the stops for this book's tour are listed on the tour page over at Chick Lit Plus.
Chosen is basically a story about 3 couples (really 4 couples if you count Chloe and her boyfriend) whose lives are intertwined because of babies. Chloe is an adoption caseworker who places babies into homes with couples that can't have their own baby. She thinks she is doing a good thing by 'making families' but she really doesn't understand that she is also tearing another family apart. She has a lot to learn.
I really, really enjoyed reading Chosen. It is one of those books that I wanted to lose myself in and just come up for air when I was done with the whole thing. I could very easily have read this book cover to cover in one sitting but my silly life got in the way. I truly did savor my time with this book.
Ms. Hoffman does a great job of developing the characters and bringing out their personalities. Some of characters I really cared about and then others, not so much. A great author can do that with their writing!
The storyline moves along very nicely and then, boom, things start to happen and you get sucked into the action. I found myself gasping at a few of the unexpected twists in the story. Just another reason that made it hard for me to put the book down.
A note at the back of the book mentions that Ms. Hoffman is working on her second novel. I can guarantee that I will be watching for it and will put it at the top of my list to read. This was a very enjoyable ride!
Great job, Chandra!
Book trailer for Chosen
**Everyone who leaves a comment on Chosen's tour page will be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card! If you purchase your copy of Chosen betweenNovember 26 - December 19 and send your receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, you will get five bonus entries!**
The Fallen Star (Fallen Star Series Book 1)by Jessica Sorenson
The Color of Heaven by Julianne MacLean
Chasing Rainbows by Kathleen Long
I bought all 3 of these e-books for 99¢ each for my Kindle. It is so hard to pass up those 99¢ book!
But the most exciting book I received this week was 11/22/63 by Stephen King. I pre-ordered this book with another book that was also a pre-order. (free shipping that way) Amazon held 11/22/63 for a few weeks but finally went ahead and sent it. I am so excited to read it.
"Sometimes going after
what you want is the hardest thing you will ever do...
Smart, successful and obliviously trapped. For the past six years, Helen
has given her life and her heart to her cushy corporate finance job and
to Mark without question.
However as the Recession sweeps the Nation,
she is one of many left unemployed and with the burning question of what
does she really want in life.
RECESSION PROOF is a debut novel for
anyone that has settled in their career and relationship but has
discovered that what really matters in life is living it... " ~~synopsis from Goodreads
My thoughts on Recession Proof ~~
First of all, let me say that I am thrilled to be participating in the blog tour for Recession Proof. The rest of the stops are listed on the tour page over at Chick Lit Plus.
This story is about Helen's struggle over what she knows she 'should' do and what she wants to do, to be happy. I imagine that a lot of us struggle with a similar dilemma every day. When Helen loses her job, she has the perfect opportunity to remake her life, as well as having a great friend who is there for her and the resources to be able to take the time to 'figure it out'.
I marked a couple of great lines in the book that I want to share.
'My idea of a good time was always curling up with a book at a local coffee shop. What can I say? I committed to being a literary nerd.'
~~ Don't you just love that? And yes, I too am a literary nerd, or as some members of my family call some of the other members of my family - 'library nerds'. Personally, I don't see a darn thing wrong with that!!
'White is like a non-color. It's for people who don't know what they want.'
I think this is a very insightful comment. I'm not sure if it's true or not but it is very interesting to think about. I felt like white was maybe where Helen was at, at the beginning of the story.
But she does respond to this comment by saying 'I think it's the color of possibility or a clean slate.'That's a smart woman!
I really enjoyed reading Recession Proof. It is very well written and had great characters. Ms. Lin's writing made me feel like I knew Helen, Sophie, Mark, Nate. I became immersed in their lives and really came to care about how their lives turned out.
And I am wondering if this book just might be a little bit autobiographical. Ms. Lin started out in the financial world and then became a writer. Hmmm, maybe?
Kimberly Lin is a California native, graduated from UC Irvine with a degree in Economics. After college, she moved to Los Angeles and worked as a financial writer and hedge fund analyst but always dreamed of becoming a women's
fiction author. Utilizing her experiences, she writes stories that are witty, heartwarming and relatable to the modern woman.
I am currently participating in this reading challenge for 2011. I set my goal at 62 books and I have already read 69 books this year. Whew!
I think I am going to try for the level, Out of Breath, which is 6 - 10 more than last year. Once I have my total for 2011, I will know what my goal will be for 2012.
Here are the details for participating from The Book Vixen's blog if you want to sign up.
Runs January 1, 2012 – December 31, 2012 (books read prior to 1/1/12 do not count towards the challenge). You can join at anytime. Sign up on The Book Vixen’s blog.
The goal is to outdo yourself by reading more books in 2012 than you did in 2011.
See the different levels below and pick the one that works best for
you. Nothing is set in stone; you can change levels at any time during
Books can be any format (bound, eBook, audio).
Re-reads and crossovers from other reading challenges are allowed.
the reading challenge button and post this reading challenge on your
blog to track your progress. Please include a link back to this sign-up
post so others can join the reading challenge too. You do not have to be a book blogger to participate; you could track your progress on Goodreads or LibraryThing.