My Goodreads Quotes

Allison’s quotes


"Don't you think it's rather nice to think that we're in a book that God's writing? If I were writing a book, I might make mistakes. But God knows how to make the story end just right--in the way that's best for us."
Do you really believe that, Mother?" Peter asked quietly.
Yes," she said, "I do believe it--almost always--except when I'm so sad that I can't believe anything. But even when I don't believe it, I know it's true--and I try to believe it."— E. Nesbit

Friday, July 31, 2015

Book Review: Corroded Thorns, by Emma Clifton

Hello, readers!  Today I am pleased to present my belated review to Emma Clifton's newest novella, Corroded Thorns, the sequel to her novella in the Five Glass Slippers collection.

A fairy godmother—in prison? Madeline can’t remember even being a fairy godmother, let alone doing something bad enough to land her in a cell. When a mysterious lady sends her back to her old village with cryptic instructions and no answers to her many questions, Madeline must find a way to free her father, who has been imprisoned in a tower by a terrible beast.

First banished by his father the king, then cursed by an angry fairy, Prince Darcy will do anything to escape this fate and achieve revenge and power. Just when he thinks his chance has arrived, by some cruel trick of fate a girl from his past returns and once again wreaks havoc on his life. Worse still, he begins to question what he truly desires.


Emma Clifton first came onto my literary radar with her novella, Broken Glass, which I found adorably, ridiculously fun.  It left questions unanswered, though: what happens to the sinister younger prince, Darcy?  Or Ophelia, who betrayed the rules she had sworn to follow?  Corroded Thorns answers these questions.

My overwhelming impression of this novella is adorableness.  The characters are adorable.  The plot is adorable.  The political espionage is adorable, but probably only because the characters are involved.  It stars Madeline: a girl with no memories, only a certain sense that she has done something terribly wrong.

At first I thought that Madeline's introduction to interspecies politics would form the greater part of the plot.  But nope.  The novella was pretty much about Madeline and Darcy.

Don't get me wrong: I love Emma Clifton's couples.  She is the queen of adorable couples, and she successfully balanced two-- two!-- of these with the plot in Broken Glass.  But in this instance, I think the balance fell slightly away from the plot and landed in a series of secret picnics, stolen glances, and captured hearts.  All of these were, as I mentioned, adorable.  But this novella felt much less meaty than its predecessor because the romance didn't have the focus of the plot to balance it.

As always, with Emma Clifton, the writing was crisp and direct, with no ambiguity.  Even if I preferred Broken Glass, Corroded Thorns is still a worthy sequel.  Be sure to follow Emma on Goodreads and her blog.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Changes

Hello, readers!  I'm writing this post hastily before I head off to breakfast.  Or, you know.  Actually get out of bed.

My time at summer boarding school comes to an end this Friday, so I'll be able to turn my attention back to this poor little blog.  I wrote this post, however, to announce some exciting changes.

I have officially been published!

Bear Publications chose to include my short story, Golden, in their anthology Medieval MarsAnd we have our first review!  And it is so frightening!

Really, though, the most important detail is that my Goodreads page has switched over to my new penname, Allison Rohan.  I'm not entirely sure if I like this.  We'll see.

I'll write more soon!  Thank you for your lovely support, readers.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Interview: Jaye L Knight

Hello, readers!  Today I am so pleased to introduce Jaye L Knight and her novella, Half Blood.
 
 
 
The gasps and murmuring grew. Though some were hardly more than whispers, clear words reached Jace’s ears—dangerous, monster, animal, soulless. He tried to back away from their accusing eyes, but the collar pulled hard against his throat and held him in place.

For all his years as a slave, Jace has known nothing but the hatred people hold for his mixed blood—one half human, the other half the blood of a race considered monsters. Always, he is the outsider and quickly learns it is better to keep to himself. But, when his volatile ryrik blood leads him to do the unthinkable, he is thrown into a world of violence and bloodshed.

Forced to become a gladiator, Jace finds more and more of his heart dying as his master works to break down his will and turn him into the monster everyone believes he is. When a stranger interferes with his master’s harsh punishment, Jace’s world is upended again. But with it comes the possibility of hope that has long since died. Could the man possibly hold the key to escaping the hopeless darkness that is Jace’s life? Is there such a thing as life beyond the cruelty of slavery?

Jaye L. Knight is an award-winning author, homeschool graduate, and shameless tea addict with a passion for Christian fantasy. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.






Your series, the Ilyon Chronicles, is written on a truly massive scale.  While portraying this titanic
conflict, how do you keep the story personable, readable, and centered on the characters?
 
I try to focus mostly on the characters’ individual struggles, particularly my main character, Jace. Though book two centered mostly on my female character, Kyrin, the overall story of the series belongs to Jace. Despite the overarching conflict of the emperor’s plans of domination and wiping out believers, it’s always been my goal to tell the individual conflicts and struggles of Jace and the characters around him. The intimate details of relationships are what I love most about writing. The world can be falling apart, but it’s what is going on between characters as they deal with it that’s the most interesting.
 
Conflict and faith are prominent themes through the books.  This, along with the emperor and the system of gladiators, are reminiscent of ancient Rome.  In what other ways have real-life conflicts inspired these books?
 
A lot of inspiration came from some personal stuff I’ve gone through. The last few years have been tough in a lot of ways, for both me personally and for my family dealing with special needs, health, and other issues. I’ve had to battle depression quite a bit. I think God gave me this story as a way of dealing with the pain of all that. Kind of like He said, “Here is this broken character (Jace). Write his life and show how I work in it and how I make it better through the pain and suffering. I’m working in your life the same way.” So, basically, my real-life conflicts were big in inspiring these books.
 
And because I'm a bookish nerd, I have to ask: what books lead you to writing this series?
 
The initial inspiration came from DragonQuest by Donita K. Paul. I was reading a part where you find out one of the characters is half-blooded. That started the “what if” questions that led to Jace. Within a day, I was writing the first book of the series.

Thank you so much for dropping by, Ms. Jaye!  You can connect with Jaye on her website, blog, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Etsy, and on her new fiction forum, where you can interact with other readers of the series.
 
Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a themed giveaway pack! Prizes include an autographed copy of Half-Blood, a blue feather bookmark hand crafted by Jaye, a bronze sword pendant, and a $5 Amazon gift card! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.)

Tour Schedule Tuesday, July 14 Wednesday, July 15 Thursday, July 16 Friday, July 17 Saturday, July 18 Sunday, July 19 Monday, July 20 Tuesday, July 21 Wednesday, July 22
 

Friday, July 17, 2015

A Tag of Randomicity

Hello, dear readers!  Grace from Fictionally tagged me in a Tag of Randomicity, which I choose to accept!



The rules for the tag are:
~ Paste the button onto your blog post.

~ Leave a new list of questions (or just pass on the question list you answered) and tag a few people of your random choice (and say why you tagged them, if you have time!) (Be original and nonsensical in your question-creativity – make the blogging world a cheerful place.  And be disastrously random.)

~Answer the questions of the person who tagged you – make it all super random and interesting.

And here are Grace's delightfully random questions:

1. It's party time, and you can invite all but one of your favorite book or t.v. characters to the party. Who is left out?

Oh, that is cruel!  Well, first let's see who is there...  Eugenides, courtesy of Megan Whalen Turner, would be there, and he would probably be either the image of courtesy or overturning the punch bowl.  Briony, written by Franny Billingsley, would be giving him an utterly polite, utterly condescending look as he mops up the punch.  Lord Peter Wimsey, by Dorothy L. Sayers, would say something like, "What ho, old chap!  That's some rummy punch you've spilled on that waistcoat!  It's blotted out the murderer's fingerprints!"  Then Kaladin and Shallan (from Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight Archive) would hunt down the murderer, culminating in the discovery that Locke Lamora, written by Scott Lynch, had murdered a rival and hidden him in my coatroom.

On second thought, perhaps I won't invite Locke Lamora.  His antics are hysterical on paper, but he would probably be a decidedly uncomfortable character to meet in person.

2. What would you name a unicorn if you got one for a pet?


May I just say that I don't appreciate the 'if' in this question?  When I get a unicorn, I will name her Pooky, after Garfield's Teddy Bear.

3. What's your favorite color to wear?


Um, I like to wear a wide variety of colors--

My friends and family: "She wears blue!  All the time!"

4. The title of the last book you read?


A Hat Full of Sky, by Terry Pratchett.  It was an exquisitely enjoyable reread, and I constantly marvel at his craftsmanship, particularly in his children's books.

5. What was a favorite television show when you were a child?


Um.  This is embarrassing.

My friends and family: It was SpongeBob Squarepants!

6. If you could dye your hair any color, would you, and what would it be?


I am secretly a redhead trapped in a brunette body.  So I would dye my hair red.  Not fire hydrant red-- a tasteful, muted, autumnal auburn.

7. In the spirit of summer, what is one place you'd like to go on vacation to?


I would dearly like to visit Ireland because it has the perfect weather (rain) and the perfect architecture (castles and cottages).

8. Have you tried any foreign foods that are not the cultural norm where you live? If  not, are you willing?


Half of my family is Serbian, which is where my freaky last name comes from.  Because of this, every time we visit my grandmother, she makes us sarma.  It's cabbage leaves rolled around a mixture of ground beef and rice, and it-- is-- exquisite.  I'm always game for trying new foods, as long as they aren't spicy (like, at all) or actively moving.

9. Dance time! What song is most likely to get you moving when you hear it?


This one.  It's an excerpt from the hilariously funny ballet Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.  I would dance the role of the Red Queen, of course.  It's a parody of another famous pas de deux in The Sleeping Beauty, which I would also love to dance if I could balance that well.

10. If you could watch any movie today, what would it be?


Today?  As in right now?  Well, I bought the DVD of Lerner and Loewe's Camelot, which I expect will be breathtakingly beautiful and hysterically funny.  It's three hours long, though, so I haven't had the chance to watch it yet.  Actually, now that I'm writing about it, I really want to watch it...


And now I introduce my random questions:

1. How did you (the tagged) meet me (the tagger)?

2. What do you consider your quirkiest trait?

3. If you could host a party with all of your favorite characters, who would you invite and what antics would transpire?  (Yes, I borrowed this from Grace.)

4. What was your most epic moment?  Feel free to exaggerate-- I mean, elaborate.

5. Where is your family from?

6. What will you title the movie version of your biography, and who will play you in it?

7. If a cloaked stranger with poorly cut hair invited you to help return the One Ring to Mordor, how soon could you be ready, and what would you bring?

8. Which two characters would you happily play matchmaker for?  (Note: they can't be from the same book.)

9. If you could brag that you had read any book without actually having to read it, which book would you choose?

10. And finally, what was your favorite blog post you ever wrote?

I tag Hannah from the Writer's Window, Ghosty from Anything, Everything, Candice from O Ye Scribes, Jemma from the Sherwood Storyteller, and Sarah from Dreams and Dragons.  Go crazy, ladies!



Friday, July 10, 2015

Reread Challenge

I love Goodreads with the flaming passion of someone who never entirely enjoyed Facebook.  But—it pains me to say this—it can be stressful sometimes.
 
Take their reading challenge, for instance.  As many of you know, I ambitiously challenged myself to read 200 books in 2015.  With their helpful system, I tracked the number of books I read to ensure I was right on schedule.

I made it maybe three months when I realized that it was making reading un-fun.  I couldn’t reread books, because I had to keep reading new ones in order to meet my quota.  That long, dense book I’ve been dying to read?  Forget about it.  I had a schedule to meet.

Sometime around March, I quite cheerfully deleted the challenge.

Ever since then, though, I’ve been in that mindset.  Read new books!  Don’t reread old ones!

But I like rereading books.  It is, in its way, more pleasant and relaxing than reading new books.  Everything I loved is still there, but it’s worn and familiar, like a favorite old blanket.  I pick up on new details that I didn’t notice before.  I can skip the boring parts.

So I have challenged myself this year—not to read more new books, but to reread favorite old ones.  Here is my reread challenge:

The Tiffany Aching series, by the late Sir Terry Pratchett

I read the first book, The Wee Free Men, as a youngster and adored it.  A fairytale about a girl with brown hair?  Was that even allowed?  Then, a little older, I discovered it was a series.  Right now I’m rereading A Hat Full of Sky, which is perhaps one of the best-written books I’ve ever read.  These books are some of Pratchett’s best and great favorites in my house.  And they're posthumously publishing a last one... and I am so afraid....

The Lord of the Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien

Confession: I’ve only read this series once.  But I’m working my way slowly and surely through The Silmarillion, and it’s inspired me to a reread.

Howl’s Moving Castle and House of Many Ways, by Diana Wynne Jones

I came to these books rather late in life at the grand age of sixteen.  Since then I’ve read them a few times, but I think they’re due another rereading.  They’re my second and third favorite books by Diana Wynne Jones and utterly enchanting!

Those are the three main books on my list, but I’m making a point to incorporate more rereads into my reading diet.  I truly believe that rereads are some of the most important ones.  And so I’m challenging you, readers, to reread one of your favorite books.  Which one will you choose?
 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Perfect Words

Hello, readers!  Today I have a blogging tag to share with you.

Perfect words!

The challenge: select and share three of your favorite textual passages, where you feel the author found the ‘perfect words’.  Then tag your friends!

It was difficult, but I narrowed it down to three passages from three books.  I present them to you in no particular order.

The first is from “The Wee Free Men,” by Terry Pratchett, which, even aside from this passage, is delightful and a must-read.  I chose this passage because of its poignancy.  A wanderer far from home tells this to Tiffany, the young heroine, as her adventure begins:

“I am the last o’ those who came.  When this is o’er, I’ll seek the leave of the next kelda to return to my ain folk in the mountains.  This is a fiiine fat country and this is a fiiine bonny clan my nephews have, but I would like to die in the heather where I was borrrned.”

“The Wee Free Men,” by Terry Pratchett, p. 123

It’s all right to cry!  But really, I love this passage so much because it fills me with a longing for distant, heather-filled hills.

The second passage is from “Bitterblue,” by Kristin Cashore.  This novel is stunning and one of my favorites—but not one I can recommend casually, because of certain content and the fact that it is the third book in a trilogy, and I did not care overly for the other two.  But “Bitterblue,” recommending qualities aside, is stunning.

‘Bitterblue laid her pen down and went, cautiously, to an east-facing window.  She put a hand to the frame to steady herself ….

Why do I push myself to these windows when I know I’ll be too dizzy to get a good look at anything?  What is it I’m trying to see?’

“Bitterblue,” by Kristin Cashore, p. 19-20.

I love this passage for the same reason I love most of the novel: it asks questions and raises a sense of wonder that I find so relatable to my life.

The third and final quote was much harder to choose—not because I wasn’t sure which book to use!  Instead, I couldn’t decide which specific quotation to include, because four or so pages near the end of “The Queen of Attolia,” by Megan Whalen Turner, are absolute perfection.  For the sake of alacrity, I narrowed it down to a paragraph, removing names for the sake of not spoiling the plot.

“If there is one thing a woman understands, it is the nature of gifts.  They are bribes when threats will not avail.  Your emperor cannot attack this coast… [he must] hope to be invited in as an ally, and I did not invite him. …  The problem with bribes… is that after your money is gone, threats still do not avail.”

-“The Queen of Attolia,” by Megan Whalen Turner, p. 232.

This is the last word in dignity, regality, and cunning.  It left me jumping up and down, cheering—as did most of the series!

I tag Hannah from the Writer’s Window, Ghosty from Anything, Everything, Clara from To Find a CastleGrace from Fictionally, Emma Clifton from Peppermint and Prose, Candice from O Ye Scribes, Sarah from Dreams and Dragons, Jemma from the Sherwood Storyteller… pretty much whoever wants to join in!  And tell me in the comments: what are your favorite quotes?