And the winner is...
Saturday, February 28, 2015
And the winner is...
Thursday, February 26, 2015
|I love the elegant simplicity and color scheme of the cover.|
Blanche Pendragon enjoys her undemanding life as the ward of an eccentric nobleman in 1900 England. It's been years since she even wondered what happened to her long lost parents, but then a gift on the night of her eighteenth birthday reveals a heritage more dangerous and awe-inspiring than she ever dreamed of--or wanted. Soon Blanche is flung into a world of wayfaring immortals, daring knights, and deadly combats, with a murderous witch-queen on her trail and the future of a kingdom at stake. As the legendary King Arthur Pendragon and his warriors face enemies without and treachery within, Blanche discovers a secret that could destroy the whole realm of Logres. Even if the kingdom could be saved, is she the one to do it? Or is someone else the Pendragon's Heir?
I don't know about you guys, but I cannot wait to get my hands on this! If you're interested (and you should be), enter Suzannah's giveaway for an eBook copy, add the book on Goodreads, and follow Suzannah's blog!
And while you wait for Pendragon's Heir, which should release on March 26th, keep commenting on the classic book series!
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
I'll give you a hint. They call him the Bard.
I am pleased to introduce to you my favorite classic of all time: the Complete Plays of William Shakespeare!
"But Allison!" you may respond. "That's not one classic; it's thirty-eight!"
To which I respond: "Pfffft!"
Shakespeare did everything. He wrote comic plays: A Midsummer Night's Dream, A Comedy of Errors. He wrote tragic plays: Hamlet, Macbeth. He wrote great plays: King Lear, The Merchant of
He wrote poetry, too: some dry court stuff and some very lovely sonnets. But mainly Shakespeare wrote plays: incredibly powerful, incredibly beautiful plays that are always, always worth reading. Even... Timon of
Because for every time I yawned over a confusing monologue, another ten held me riveted. Sure, not all of his plays make sense. Sure, I may not read all of them again. But remember when Macbeth finally despaired-- "Out, out, brief candle!" (Macbeth, 5.5.23). When Shylock lost everything he held dear (The Merchant of
Here is what you should not do after reading this. You should not be so fired through with poetic fervor that you race to your local bookstore and buy the Complete Plays of William Shakespeare. Because if you buy the complete plays of William Shakespeare in one volume, the font will be size negative six. If you read thirty-eight plays of font size negative six, you will strain your eyes, and you will sue me, and I will have to pay your ophthalmologist bills.
The moral of the story: read the plays in individual volumes.
If you haven't read Shakespeare yet, then I suggest you start with A Midsummer Night's Dream. Don't read it; see it first, fall in love with it, then read it. If you've read Shakespeare before, then I can recommend my personal favorite play: King Lear. (The first servant! His duel! *sniffles*)
And so, dear readers, concludes the favorite classic books series! Keep commenting on these posts to earn entries in the favorite classic books giveaway, the winner of which will be announced on the 28th. As for me, I will celebrate by going out tomorrow to see a production of my favorite Shakespeare play: King Lear!
1. The Complete Plays of William Shakespeare.
2. The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien
3. Middlemarch, by George Eliot
4. Idylls of the King, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
5. Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo
Monday, February 23, 2015
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit hole, and that means comfort.
So begins The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien. If you're like me, you've read this line a thousand times, so often that you scarcely need to see the words to remember what they say.
Like so many other great books, I read The Hobbit in third grade, the year I started homeschooling. Shortly after I went nuts for The Book of Three and Harry Potter, my Wonderful Mother, wondering if it mightn't be unhealthy for me to reread books so much, dug through her old childhood classics and pulled out a yellow, vintage novel with close print and her childish signature in the front. The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien.
I wish I could tell you that I devoured it in one sitting and that it became an instant favorite.
But... I can't.
I'm rather ashamed of this next part.
I obligingly sat down and read the first two chapters. Dwarves! Songs! Hoods!
And then I reached chapter three, where Bilbo, Gandalf, and the dwarves reach Rivendell and the merry, pretty, singing elves. Now, shortly before reading this book, I had fallen in love with Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl series (a series which has since fallen out of favor with me), and I knew with conviction that elves were stern, tough people, and they-- did not-- sing!
So I threw down The Hobbit and declared that I hated it. I was young and stupid then.
Time passed. And one miserable, wet, rainy day, I was in the mood for a new book. A distant memory of adventure and song floated through my mind, and I picked up The Hobbit again. I was a little older, a little wiser. I loved it.
The Hobbit is beautiful, innocent, childlike, and, above all, a portal to what I believe is the most interesting fantasy world ever created. It has dwarves, halflings, wizards, magic, adventure, a dragon, but above all, it has the faint, nostalgic recollection of the good old days of England before war came to Europe, when Tolkien was young.
Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away ere break of day
To seek the pale enchanted gold.
You remember the drill from last year! Comment on any of the favorite classics posts to be entered in the favorite classics giveaway! Entries are capped at one per post, but feel free to comment more. This series will conclude tomorrow, the 24th, to celebrate my birthday, and I will announce the winner on the 28th, so you can enter until then. As for the hint for tomorrow's book: this dramatic collection is tragic, comic, historical, tricky to read, and great fun!
Sunday, February 22, 2015
|I love the colors. So warm!|
Hidden in the vast mining valley north of Valcré, a faithful crete has spent years sharing his knowledge with the destitute miners and their families and is known to possess what may be Arcacia’s last surviving copies of the King’s Scrolls—the Word of Elôm. Joining the cretes, those in Landale must find the crete teacher and bring him to safety, but it is a race against time. Should Daican’s men find him first, execution and the destruction of the Scrolls is certain.
Author Notes: Aaron very nearly didn’t make it into Ilyon Chronicles. He was a character who floated around in my mind since shortly after Timothy came to be, but I wasn’t sure he was absolutely necessary to the story. That has been one thing I’ve tried hard to do with Ilyon Chronicles—not include any characters who aren’t necessary to furthering the story. Here are my notes from August 12, 2012 that show my struggle.
I’m having trouble making up my mind. I have an idea for a character I think would be really cool, but is he necessary? I can’t put a character in just because I like him. He must have a purpose. The idea I’ve been thinking of is giving Timothy an older brother. I really like some of my ideas, but is it necessary? Also, would Timothy be better on his own? Ugh, I just really like what I imagine for his brother, but I just can’t make up my mind. The problem is, I’ll have to decide soon. Well, one way or another, I think I’ll call him Aaron. It suits him.
So how did I make up my mind? I went to see The Bourne Legacy with my mom and brother, which happened to have just come out in theaters. You see, it was the previews for that movie that inspired Aaron in the first place. Right from the beginning, I pictured him as Jeremy Renner. And yes, The Bourne Legacy is also where the name Aaron came from. Seeing him in that movie fueled my ideas for my own Aaron and really brought the character to life in my mind. I knew I had to include him in the story. I wasn’t quite sure yet what his purpose would be, but he actually turned out to be a pivotal piece of how things came together. I’m not sure how it would have worked without him. It’s one of those moments I know God was quietly guiding me and the story.
Wednesday, February 18
Friday, February 20, 2015
So says Mary Ann Evans, alias George Eliot, in her massive, gorgeous novel, Middlemarch.
Dorothea Brooke-- young, beautiful, and quite, quite bored with provincial country life-- leaps at the first chance of marriage she gets, to a self-proclaimed notable scholar of mythology. As her own dreams and preconceptions fade, their absence allows her to see those around her clearly: irresponsible Fred, desperately trying to prove himself worthy of the girl he loves; Rosamond, his sister, prepared to sacrifice her husband's happiness for his success; and Ladislaw, the cousin of Dorothea's husband, who falls more and more in love with the young, unhappy Dorothea, whose reputation he refuses to tarnish.
This is the village of Middlemarch. A vividly colored, skillfully drawn novel that captures the individual lives of villagers and their eventual intersections.
As for how I came by it, I can only say that my literature teacher knows me well. After class ended for winter break, she recommended two novels for me to devour until class resumed. (The other was Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray, which I also enjoyed but did not make the list.)
Middlemarch's brilliance is that it captures multiple plots, spins them into a cohesive story, and never makes one more interesting than the others. So what that it doubles as a three-pound hand-weight! Within Middlemarch's almost-eight-hundred pages is a close, hard look at what makes a marriage, what makes a village, and what makes a life.
What can I say about Middlemarch? It is beautiful. It is brilliant. And in case you are interested, it is shorter than Les Miserables!
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
She wills it: would I, if she will'd it? nay,
Who knows? but if I would not, then may God,
I pray him send a sudden Angel down
To seize me by the hair and bear me far
And fling me deep in that forgotten mere,
Among the tumbled fragments of the hills."
It was enchanting. Lovely. Spritely, shimmering, and all sorts of ephemeral adjectives that don't quite make sense in context but seize my poetic soul.
Young, romantic Elaine, a lady in her own right, falls desperately in love with Sir Lancelot and (spoilers!) dies of grief when he refuses her. And O! how I felt for Elaine, who everyone pinched companionably on the cheek and said how adorable her crush on Lancelot was, never realizing that her broken heart had never ceased bleeding dry...
But I had yet to discover the crowning gem of Tennyson's Arthurian poems: the haunting, elegiac The Lady of Shalott, which, although not technically part of his Idylls, is often included with it.
On either side the river lie
And thro' the field the road runs by
To many-towered Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round and island there below,
This poem alone does not secure this collection its spot on my favorites shelf, however. This collection has a personal significance for me.
While vacationing in
The first one I reached for was Idylls of the King. And upon opening it, I saw signatures marching across the front page in faded, lovely handwriting. James Edward. Richard Kerrick. John Emmet. Walter Vincent. Mary Eleanor. Mary Agnes. And finally, Mary Bernadette.
My great-great uncles. My great-great grandparents.
So yes, I love Tennyson's Idylls of the King. How can I not, when a passion for it runs five generations back?
Reminder: You remember the drill from last year! Comment on any of the favorite classics posts to be entered in the favorite classics giveaway! Entries are capped at one per post, but feel free to comment more. This series won't take place consecutively but will be scattered around blog tours and interviews until it concludes on my birthday, the twenty-fourth. As for the hint for tomorrow's book: what happens when one novel follows the individual plotlines of an entire village?
(Also: Hurrah for my fiftieth post!)
Sunday, February 15, 2015
But first-- about her new book!
|I love the look on her face!|
Jane Daugherty has survived what can only be described as the childhood from hell. After years of mental, physical, and sexual abuse, she has become a fiercely independent young woman - closed off from human connection. Unable to believe in people or their capability to be kind, she has vowed to build a new life for herself so that she never has to rely on, or trust, others again. At 24-years-old, she is fulfilling this vow, successfully working as the youngest tenure-track professor at the University of New York.
Brilliant and remarkably accomplished, Jane's life takes an unexpected turn when she is reunited with the childhood friend she protected in foster care. Alexa Masterson introduces Jane to the family that adopted her, a family that includes her older brother, Aiden Masterson. Instantly drawn to each other, Aiden and Jane embark on a relationship that will either destroy them both or shape them into the man and woman they were always meant to be. Can what started as lust transform into love? And what will bring about the transformation that they ultimately need?
Hello, Ms. Onuorah! First off, please tell me about yourself. What are you like?
Hi Allison, thanks for having me! Oh boy, where do I start? I am 24-years-old and I’ve been writing since elementary school (initially for fun). I graduated from Biola University in southern California two years ago and have been writing professionally ever since. I release my work under my publishing company, MNO Media LLC. If you asked friends or family about my personality, many would say that I am bold, driven, intelligent, and persistent. I personally think I’m kind but that’s an attribute one can always increase, don’t you think? : )
After reading your bio, I am very impressed at how early your literary career began! To contrast that, the title character of Jane is a professor of literature who never mentions writing of her own. How much did your passion for words feed hers, and where does it differ?
Jane tackles many issues such as race, abuse, extramarital relationships, and trust. Did these naturally come into your writing, or did you specifically target these themes?
The extramarital - or pre-marital - aspect of the book was an opportunity to confront the myths of modern day relationships. Romance often glorifies pre-marital sex and boyfriend-girlfriend relationships, using marriage as a bumper sticker for a deeply intimate relationship when it’s really the other way around - at least in my opinion. In my first romance, Remember Me, I wrote to emphasize the beauty of marital love. In this novel, I’m writing to emphasize the necessity of it.
I think it’s important to recognize that people should be treated by their character and integrity and not so much by their perspective (which can change). I portrayed these people with different backgrounds and ideas with respect because I remembered they were people (well, in the context of the book at least : ) ).
And finally, what can we expect next from you? Are you writing another book now?