Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Book Review of Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

Buy from Amazon!
September 3, 1940. Ten peculiar children flee an army of deadly monsters. And only one person can help them—but she’s trapped in the body of a bird. The extraordinary journey that began in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children continues as Jacob Portman and his newfound friends journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. There, they hope to find a cure for their beloved headmistress, Miss Peregrine. But in this war-torn city, hideous surprises lurk around every corner. And before Jacob can deliver the peculiar children to safety, he must make an important decision about his love for Emma Bloom. Like its predecessor, this second novel in the Peculiar Children series blends thrilling fantasy with vintage photography to create a one-of-a-kind reading experience.

Series: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Book 2)
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Quirk Books; Reprint edition (February 24, 2015)
Page Count: 416 pages

After finishing Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, I knew immediately I had to read the sequel. Thankfully, my birthday came right after I finished the book, so I got both of the sequels as presents! Because I'm such a slow reader, I just now got to this book, but wow. It's even better than the first! I love the way the story is going, and I'm so excited to read the last book: Library of Souls. I really hope the movie does this series justice!

The Plot: The plot is definitely more intense than in the first book now. Jacob and the peculiars are on the run from wicked hollows and Miss Peregrine is stuck in her bird form. The first book only scratched the surface of the enchanting world of the peculiars and in this book we see so much more and it's beautifully woven into the plot. I just can't get enough of this series. This is the best series I've read since the Hunger Games and considering the Hunger Games is one of my favorite books of all time, that's saying a lot for me. The world of the peculiars is in grave danger and our motley group is struggling to survive in this dangerous world as they travel through loops, meet other peculiars, evade hollows, all to save their ymbryne. 

The Characters: I adore the character development in this book. It is prime. You get to know each of the peculiars so much more than in the first book. The personalities become far more defined. Jacob has a great character arc in his discovery of his peculiar abilities. Emma, Enoch, Hugh, Horace, Olive, Bronwyn, and Millard develop as well. New characters come into play such as Addison the talking dog, Dierdre the emu-raffe, Bekhir the gypsy, Mrs. Wren, Alethea, and many more. I love the inclusion of the gypsies. There's such a delightful cast of characters. The only thing I wish was more prevalent was the main villain, but I think in Library of Souls we'll see more of him.

The Setting: While the first book centered around the island, this book expands to all over England and England in different time periods. It's absolutely fascinating. There's a peculiar carnival, a frozen mansion, London during the blitz. It's so fun!

Epic Things: Where do I begin? All of the peculiar's abilities are so cool. There's several sequences I loved in particular such as the bee scene with Hugh and the wights, and the carnival sequence. 

The Theme: The book deals much with doubting oneself, accepting who you are, taking risks, accepting choices, and dealing with getting old and dying. There's just so much awesomeness. 

Content Cautions: There's certainly a lot less swearing in this book to my relief. I counted eleven usages of d***, five usages of h***, two usages of a**, and two usages of ba*****. There is a good bit of violence including scary hologasts and bees stinging some men to death. There is a naked man in one part of the book, but nothing is profusely described, and there is some kissing between Emma and Jacob. 

What We Can Take Away For Our Writing:

1.) The Big Cast Worked - Hollow City has a very big main cast with eight primary characters. Ransom Riggs made sure to define each of their characters as soon as possible: Jacob (the leader, brave, but human), Emma (fiery and loyal), Bronwyn (motherly with super strength), Enoch (cynical and a bit mean), Horace (cowardly but kind), Hugh (unappreciated but there in a pinch), Millard (wise and intelligent), and Olive (tender and innocent). He also made sure each had a moment to shine and to prove their usefulness to the plot. They're such a fantastic bunch!

How this can be applied to writing: A large cast is hard to work with, often you can mix up or forget characters or the character seem to blur together. But if you can manage one, it can create some amazingly fun dynamics. 

Conclusion: Hollow City is a marvelous sequel to the first book. It's a must read! Five stars!

About the Author:
Ransom Riggs grew up in Florida but now makes his home in the land of peculiar children -- Los Angeles. He was raised on a steady diet of ghost stories and British comedy, which probably explains the novels he writes. There's a nonzero chance he's in your house right now, watching you from underneath the bed. (Go ahead and check. We'll wait.) If not, you can find him on Twitter @ransomriggs.

If you liked this post, come back every other Tuesday for book reviews; Friday for tags, character interviews, and link-ups; Saturdays for writing advice and life updates; and Sundays for the Writerly Bundle which includes a new soundtrack piece, vocabulary word, and tea review!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Writerly Bundle #17: Palliate, Ao No Exorcist Second Movement, & Goji Pop

Welcome to this week's Writerly Bundle! A post where I hope to inspire you with three of the world's greatest things: music, words, and tea.

When I think of pop, I think of soda, when I think of soda I think of my favorite kind of soda called ramune! This popular Japanese drink that comes in many flavors, including pineapple, lychee, and melon, and opens in a very unique way, pops up on occasion in animes. It actually has a marble inside that keeps the drink extra fizzy!

The Word:

verb (used with object), palliated, palliating.
1.) to relieve or lessen without curing; mitigate; alleviate.
2.) to try to mitigate or conceal the gravity of (an offense) by excuses, apologies, etc.; extenuate.

Example Sentence: Ramune can palliate any problem.

This is what ramune looks like.

The Song:
"Ao No Exorcist Second Movement"
from the Blue Exorcist soundtrack
by Hiroyuki Sawano

In Blue Exorcist, you guessed it, the group at one point drinks ramune! I wish I could find some pics of it for you because it's such a funny scene, but alas. Blue Exorcist is a great anime, some of the theology is a little rocky, but the character development is great. Hiroyuki Sawano (my favorite anime composer also doing Guilty Crown and Attack on Titan) does it again with this techy soundtrack. Most of the Blue Exorcist score is synthetic. This piece is very intense and upbeat with its scratchy synthetic noises with the strings and choir added in the background. This is great for a fight scene, a triumphant scene, or a mission scene in a science-fiction novel.

The Tea:

Goji Pop

Legend has it that Li Ching-Yun was born in China in 1677 and died 256 years later in New York. His secret? Goji berries. Your secret? This hot pink tea filled with sweet, sweet goji berries, rosehips, citrusy lemon oil, apple, melon, marigold and hibiscus. It’s probably the most delicious longevity formula ever. Which is key, since you’ll be popping it for the next two centuries. Caffeine-free.

How I found it: On my recent trip to Canada, I discovered this Canadian originating tea company called DAVIDsTEA. After looking at many of their teas in one of their many stores located in Canada and northern USA, I thought they would be great to review, especially for you Canadians! After I got home I ordered a sampler set and as a bonus DAVIDsTEA sent me an additional three samples, so I have nine teas to show you guys. DAVIDsTEA definitely has a unique flavor to their teas. If you want to take an adventure in your tea drinking, this is certainly a good affordable company to try.

The Tea: Though I'd heard of goji berries, I've never had them before, so I was very anxious to try this tea, since I got it as a free sample with my last order. The tea smells very fruity and flower with a faint essence of melon flavors. 

It brews pink and it's tart yet sweet with not too much hibiscus flavor (which is a relief for me since I don't like too much hibiscus). The unusual taste is I'm guessing the goji and there are hints of the melon, marigold, and rose in the after taste. Sugar brings out the melon and goji flavors and tones down the tartness of the hibiscus. It's definitely a very different, exotic, and tropical tea. I could see it working well ice and sparkled like one can do at Starbucks. If there was a goji ramune available, I'd totally try it.

Ramune in RahXephon

Serving Recommendations: I steeped this tea at 204 F for five minutes and added sugar.

How much is it and where can you get it? You can buy this tea at a DAVIDsTEA store or on their website. You can get just Goji Pop for $7.98-$79.80, depending on how much you get. The smallest amount is 2 oz. and the largest amount is 20 oz. You can also get Goji Pop along with five other teas in the Super Fruit set (which is what I did) for only $14.00.

So how good is it? This tea is unique and delicious. Four stars!

Have you seen or used this word before? Have you heard this piece before? Have you seen Blue Exorcist or RahXephonHave you tried this tea or ramune? 

Click here for last week's Writerly Bundle!

If you liked this post, come back every other Tuesday for book reviews; Friday for tags, character interviews, and link-ups; Saturdays for writing advice and life updates; and Sundays for the Writerly Bundle which includes a new soundtrack piece, vocabulary word, and tea review!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

So Your Character is Mute ... Featuring Tyler Gray

This month we have a very special edition of So Your Character Is ...! So Your Character Is ... is an on going series where I interview or talk about myself about different people groups, countries, etc. for writing more accurate characters. Tyler Gray has volunteered to answer some questions about being mute. I have a mute character, so his answers have been so enlightening to me and I'm definitely incorporating them into my story. I applaud his honesty. Also if you haven't checked out this month's edition of So Your Character is from Another Country be sure to give that a look as well! 

Let's welcome Tyler to the stage!

Hello! I’m Tyler Gray. I’m a 19-year-old mute writer guy who occasionally goes outside. My other hobbies include ceramics and avoiding cashiers. I’m currently a college student on the last term of my English degree. I primarily write in Romance and Coming Of Age with a little Paranormal/Magical Realism thrown in there.

How does your mutism physically feel? How do you think it compares to those who don’t have mutism?

I suppose I have never thought about that before. It's not painful or uncomfortable. I don't think it varies much from the alternative, in my case. There is a lot of different kinds and causes of mutism, though. So it could possibly feel different for someone with physiological mutism. Sometimes it's caused by an issue with the mouth or throat, and others because of a hearing issue. I can hear. My mutism is psychological Somatoform Disorder.

How do you feel about your mutism?

“It doesn't bother me much” is the answer I normally give to that, which is, more often than not, the truth. But really sometimes it's like I'm trapped. And, all dramatics aside, it's a tad torturous. I don't mind the jokes; being teased about it takes the edge off. 

I would do almost anything to be able to not be a nuisance. I'm sure others would say that I'm not a nuisance, but the poor cashiers who have to read my handwritten notes to interact with me may think differently. I don't like going out much because of it. Frustration is an easy place for me to end up if I'm not constantly mindful and patient. But at the end of the day, I could be walking a far worse path of life, so I'm really okay.

What challenges does your mutism pose?

The outside world is quite terrifying. Most people probably don't think about the amount of random, obligatory, exchanges that happen day-to-day. Going to stores is the hardest, I think. “Are you finding everything alright?” and “How are you today?” Just go walking around in public for a day, visit a few stores and try to check out without talking. It's rather anxiety inducing. It's hard, having to write on my phone or notepad, watching the way their smiles fade a little. I really don't like to cause trouble for others, but writing down what I want to say seems to be all I can do.

On the note of anxiety, the level of awareness I have to constantly have in public is a one-way ticket to it. After I tried to push myself more to leave my room and venture into the world, I developed massive debilitating anxiety issues. The first attack was terrifying, being unable to call out to anyone in my house. It's small things like that, the times when I need someone but can't make my words reach them that make this so hard. It's been a couple of years since then and I have been able to combat those issues. I haven't had an attack in months, but it was pretty constant when I was in the thick of it.

Is there anything you like about your mutism?

I get to marvel at others a lot more than normal, I think. I get to watch my friends go back and forth, laughing and having a great time. I can enjoy every nuance of their presence, every shift of tone and smile they flash. Not that others ever experience those things, but it's all I can do. In general it's rather peaceful, when I'm with people who won't put me on the spot. It has also taught me a very deep level of patience with everything, though it is a little too easy to get frustrated with myself sometimes.

The people I get to live my life with truly make this set-back tolerable. I have the most amazing group of friends, family, and significant other. They are always mindful and kind. I am truly blessed to have them. They never make me feel like a lesser, but they always help me when life has decided to deck the living daylights out of me. :)

Do you think your day differs from others because of your mutism?

Completely. Other than the things previously stated there is a safety element here, too. I cannot yell out for help and I'd be lying if I said I have never needed to. It's always in the back of my mind, so I rarely go anywhere on my own. Getting separated from those I'm with absolutely terrifies me. I recently had the horror of needing to call emergency services when on my own and I was unable to speak to the operator. It's that sort of thing that really gets in my head and messes me up day-to-day.

Classes can also be difficult. Being in college for a few years now, it's not that much of an issue anymore. But those 'go introduce yourself to three people' on the first day activities will be the death of me, I swear to Thor.

Do you have any cultural differences between others who also have your ability and those who do not?

I'm sure it's different in every single case, no matter where the person happens to be. It all depends on how people communicate around them and how they can adapt to communicate the most effectively.

I'm not sure if this is too relevant to the question, but where I live everyone is very friendly. Which is wonderful, downright amazing, and I wouldn't change it for the world. But I feel reallllly bad when a super excited kind lady is trying to talk to me in the book store, or the guy standing next to me in line decides he absolutely has to sling his arm over my shoulders and tell me all about his horse. Half the time they're so nice and apt to talk with just about anyone that I don't even have a chance to get out my notepad before a response is warranted.

What are some stereotypes about your mutism that irk you?

Honestly, the only one I have ever come across is that my tongue must be cut out. I'm sure there are others. Something people tend to assume is that I'm shy. I'm not shy, I'm just scared of causing others issue so I keep to myself. If I could speak, I'd probably never shut up. I have so many stupid jokes that I can't tell because they'd lose their charm on paper, so the one that irks me most is the shy assumption. If conveying my thoughts to another didn't take so much effort, I'd 'say' a lot more. 

Unfortunately it quickly becomes a battle between wanting to connect with someone and not wanting to expend the huge amount of effort to do so. And I'm not saying that out of laziness, it just gets exhausting. It is far too easy to convince myself that what I have to say doesn't matter that much therefore it isn't worth the time to convey it, which I know isn’t a good thing to think.

What media portrays your mutism badly be it a movie, a book, or a TV show?

Just about everything that I've seen when it comes to psychological, 'selective', mutism manages to do it wrong. What gets me most are the stories where the person is somehow cured in the end. And I admit I am somewhat guilty of that in my own writing, but not to the extent we often see. It's not always that simple. If it were, I wouldn't be a 19-year-old boy petrified of cashiers. I'd love some of that movie magic. It would be pretty neat to be able to buy something without walking away from the store feeling awful.

What media portrays your mutism well be it a movie, a book, or a TV show?

Well there's that handsome gentlemen in the movie Warm Bodies but he's sort of a zombie so... There's the child in Scrooged. He's one of those 'magically cured' ones, but like I said, that could be a possibility.

I actually had to do research on this because I hadn't come across anything naturally to answer this question other than those two. Does Boo Radley from To Kill a Mockingbird count? I don't have the slightest idea. Some others I've come across are a character who have watched a brutal murder or something along those lines and that’s what turned them mute. That's also a little hard to relate to, or, at least, I'd hope that is hard to relate to.

IMBD had a list of eighteen movies that had a mute character. The most recent one was made in 2013...and that was the zombie one. Frankenstein was on that list too, so that's cool, I suppose... I'd like to comment that The Hunger Games was not on that list, despite having a mute character. Pollux had his tongue cut and communicated through sign language. He is a good example in that regard.

This was very hard to research. I did come across some movies with mute main characters that I didn't know about before, but there was only a few. I suppose it would be hard to have a movie about a mute person compared to a book. But reading has never been a hobby of mine. (I know, I know, to be a good writer one should read), so the only mute book characters I, the uncultured swine that I am, know of are my own.

Who are your top three favorite characters who share your mutism in books, movies, or shows?

Along the lines of the last question, I had a really hard time finding portrayals, good or bad, of my type of mutism.

OH WAIT NO. Does Ariel from The Little Mermaid count? I'm going to pretend like she counts. Ariel, the Zombie R, and Frankenstein. Yup. Top three. I think the fact that I can only seem to find monsters, zombies, and mermaids may mean I'm a tad underrepresented in the media. I'm pretty cool with a Disney Princess, though.

Pollux from the Mockingjay Part 1 and 2
Thank you again, Tyne, for your transparency! This is such a wealth of information! I'm looking forward to adding this information to my mute character, Ashlyn. Thanks for reading! Come back next month for So Your Character is From the Philippines ...!

Are you interested in participating in this project? Shoot me an email at howellvictoriagrace@gmail.com.

Do you have any mute characters? Did this inspire you to write a mute character? Do you have mutism and you have further input? Feel free to share! Do you have any questions for Tyne? Be sure to thank him!

If you liked this post, come back every other Tuesday for book reviews; Friday for tags, character interviews, and link-ups; Saturdays for writing advice and life updates; and Sundays for the Writerly Bundle which includes a new soundtrack piece, vocabulary word, and tea review!

Friday, May 27, 2016

A Book's Genesis - In the Beginning There Was An Idea ... : Subsapien Biomech

I'm participating in Daniela Ark's A Book's Genesis Link-Up again for the next segment which is about how the inspiration for the book came about. I'm continuing to talk about Subsapien Biomech. I've begun editing it this month, so this darlin' is on my mind. You can check out the first part of this link-up here, and if you'd like to participate in Daniela's link-up you can here. For those of you who don't know my Subsapien series is science-fiction and about kids with animal or robotic abilities. See more in the first post about it. 

What inspired the whole concept?

Subsapien is a funny series, because I thought of it in two parts. Originally it was two separate series, but then I decided to combine them. I came up with the grafting half of the story from a dream about some thugs chasing kids through a grocery store. After I woke up, I wondered why these kids were being chased then I looked at my biology book and thought up that these kids had animal abilities. Thus that half was born. For the robotic half, I was inspired by Iron Man and decided to make kids who had robotic abilities. Eventually after lots of edits these two ideas coalesced into Subsapien.

A fanmade cover.

What inspired the characters?

Bryce (Protagonist):

I knew about my character Matt (Bryce's brother) long before Bryce. Bryce actually didn't come to me until years after I thought up the idea for the story. As a young teen, all of a sudden he appeared to me while I was helping my parents clean our pool. It dawned on me that Matt had an older brother, then over time he developed into the amazing character he is now. 

Caleb (Protagonist):

Caleb was originally named Aidan, but I didn't feel like the named fitted it him after a while. I just came up with him as a protagonist for his story. In this old story which was before graftings were added in, he was a kid in modern times that got into a car accident with his mom, then he was turned into a biomech. He didn't have amnesia originally and more of his body was robotic than it is now. He's changed a good deal and he's benefited from it.

Check out his character interview!

Judah (Antagonist):

Judah was originally way more brutal with the Aiden version of Caleb from his old story. Now he's much more suave. I just created him to be the antagonist and went from there. 

Pro (Secondary):

Pro's always been closely linked to Caleb, though her original name was Megan.  I prefer Pro much more. She was created to be the love interest. Her personality was much less ... intense originally, but she'd always had mechanical parts like she does now. However, like Caleb she had a higher percentage of her body be mechanical. 

Cynara (Secondary):

Cynara is the youngest out of these characters in real time. I came up with her only last year. She just popped in and introduced herself in the story out of nowhere in the middle of writing it. I didn't intend for her to be in the story at all, but I'm glad she's here now.

Able (Secondary):

Able started as a random human who didn't give away Matt and his friends' position in the story, but slowly he evolved into a very important character to the story. I can't image the books without him now.

What inspired the plot?

The story had a very different plot originally. It changed so many times until one night while talking out the story with a friend I realized that plot is essentially about Bryce's love for his younger brother Matt. The plot and overall story is also heavily influenced by the fact that I'm Pro-Life. In the society these characters live in, human life isn't sacred anymore, and that weaves into the plot.

What inspired the setting?

Originally the books were set in modern day, but then out of the blue when I was bored at someone's house, I thought up the network of Domes that are now called the Dome Web aka the setting for Subsapien. The futuristic setting allows for much more fun technology too.

What books have inspired Subsapien?

The Hunger Games was a big influence. It made me make this book a dystopian and also enlightened me about the realities of mental trauma. Maximum Ride by James Patterson was also an influence. I discovered that book after I thought up Subsapien and tried to make mine different from theirs, then after quitting the series because it went downhill, I started writing Subsapien hoping to make a better animal DNA kids series. XD Also the Maze Runner by James Dashner was a large influence as well. It got some of my scientist diabolicalness from there. ;)

Max from Maximum Ride

What movies have inspired Subsapien?

I got a lot of influence from Marvel, particularly X-Men. I love superpowers and varied superpowers and X-Men helped inspire that love. 

Nightcrawler is my favorite X-Man.
What art has inspired Subsapien?

This reminds me a lot of a biomech eye, though their eyes look normal. This is like what it really looks like.

Since Bryce is grafted with the DNA of a cheetah, I can image Bryce making a lot of cheetah expressions like this one's.

This picture reminds me so much of Bryce when he's angry and on all fours.
What music has inspired Subsapien?

by Linkin' Park

This song reminds me so much of Judah and Bryce's relationship. The whole song sounds like Bryce singing it.

by David Guetta ft. Sia

Well the song is about being impervious and this reminds me a lot of my characters biomechanical abilities. 

"Awake and Alive"
by Skillet

This just reminds me so much of graftings in general, about their determination and oppression, just everything about them.

That's a bit more about my favorite series I've written. I love the characters immensely. Thanks for reading!

Are you planning to/have already participated in this link-up? If so, share the link! What's your work in progress? Do you have a blurb for it? Who are some of your characters?

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A Book Review of Raising Dragons Graphic Novel by Bryan Davis & Illustrated by James Art Ville

Buy on Amazon!

A boy learns of his dragon past; a girl has known of hers for years. They combine their faith, courage, and love to overcome an evil slayer who seeks to bring an end to dragon heritage, forever. The kids at school call Billy "Dragon Breath" for good reason. His breath is bad! It isn't the normal, morning mouth bad; it's the hot as fire, "don't-you-dare-get-near-me" bad. And hearing "Dragon Breath" ringing in his ears, he constantly tries to cool his oral volcano.

Trouble erupts when his hot breath sets off the fire sprinklers in the boys' restroom at school, and his parents learn that they've kept their secret for too long. Billy finally discovers the secret. His father was once a dragon! Now that's a piece of news a guy doesn't deal with every day! Billy feels betrayed, alien, lost. When his father reverts to his dragon form, and they're both chased by dragon slayers, he learns to trust his father again, battling the slayers with weapons of steel and spirit.

Bonnie, an orphan, tries to find a home, someone to love her, even though she feels like a freak because of a body feature that she calls a deformity, her dragon wings, inherited from her now dead dragon mother. She discovers that her love for others and her faith in a Creator hold the answers he is looking for. Raising dragons is a contemporary fantasy graphic novel that inspires young people to dig deep with in to find their God-given strengths and use them to over come any obstacle. 

Series: Dragons in Our Midst Graphic Novels

Genre: YA Fantasy Graphic Novel
Publisher: Scrub Jay Journeys (March 1, 2015)
Page Count: 150 pages

I read the Raising Dragons novel years ago. It's the one book I've read in just two days. I'd never read a book that drew me so close to the characters and I knew that I had to learn how to write like that. This began my journey to becoming friends with the author and going to my first writers conference. Basically, this book was paramount to my writing life. When I found out Mr. Davis and James were turning this novel into a graphic novel I knew I had to get in on that. I became a participator for the graphic novel kickstarter and a few years later I received the book! A few months ago I finally got to reading the book and it's one big nostalgia kick.

The Plot: The storyline is identical to the original novel, full of draconic legends and insane slayers. A few scenes or dialogue had to be cut, but most of the book is the same. It has the same twists I remember as a teenager and most of my favorite scenes. I love being able to actually see the scenes in illustration. It's almost like seeing them in a film! 

The Characters: My favorite part about this graphic novel is to be able to see the Raising Dragons characters as Mr. Davis pictured them. I love seeing brave Billy's reddish hair and his firebreath. I liked seeing Bonnie's special dress and her beautiful dragon wings. Prof's bushy eyebrows were a welcome sight and Walter in his toboggan. The only thing I didn't like about the character designs is Clefspeare's. His dragon form didn't have as much muscular bulk as I imagined. Also some of the character's expressions seemed a bit off at some points. 

The Setting: Another cool thing about this being illustrated is all of the settings are right before you! You get to actually see the beautiful Virginia mountains, the dragon's cave, and the school. It's very cool and nostalgic. 

Epic Things: Uh dragons? Hello? Dragons + King Arthur = Even more epicness! Plus I love Bonnie and her dragon wings. Dragon wings are awesome. 

The Theme: I feel like the graphic novel doesn't touch as much on the themes as in depth as in the novel, but there are many themes of sacrifice, love, and appreciating our God given gifts no matter what form they take. 

Content Cautions: There isn't any swearing, but there is some blood and violence. Nothing is excessively gory, but there are some blood pools from various wounds. 

What We Can Take Away For Our Writing:

1.) Taking a Spin on Legends Worked - One of the coolest things about the Dragons in Our Midst series is that it's a spin on Arthurian legend. In this version, King Arthur is protector of the dragons, Merlin is a prophet, Morgan le Fay has demonic connections, and so on. It's a neat twist on how to spin this into having more Christian origins. It's one of my favorite elements of the series. Another cool element is how Mr. Davis came up with the reason why dragons need gold and gems is because of the reflective light they need for nourishment. I thought that was clever.

How this can be applied to writing: Can you take a spin on a legend and turn it into something original? How about taking a commonly known creature trait and taking a twist on it?

Conclusion: You won't get the full novel experience from this graphic novel version, but fans of the series will be elated to see their characters illustrated. Four stars!

About the Author:

Bryan Davis is the author of the following young adult fantasy series: Dragons in our Midst, Oracles of Fire, Echoes from the Edge, and Dragons of Starlight. He also wrote I Know Why the Angels dance, a contemporary novel for adults.

After laboring as a computer geek for 20 years, Bryan followed a dream to become an author. He began by writing a story to motivate his seven children to gain some excitement about writing, and that story grew into a novel. After spending the next eight years learning the craft and enduring more than 200 rejections from publishers and agents, he broke through with his best-selling series Dragons in our Midst. He is now a full-time author and lives with his wife, Susie, and their children in western Tennessee.

You can find him on FacebookTwitterGoodreads and his website! I also have an interview with him I had on the blog!

I've reviewed several other books by this author:

If you liked this post, come back every other Tuesday for book reviews; Friday for tags, character interviews, and link-ups; Saturdays for writing advice and life updates; and Sundays for the Writerly Bundle which includes a new soundtrack piece, vocabulary word, and tea review!