Fire Star (Last Dragon Chronicles #3) by Chris D’Lacey

Title: Fire Star
Author: Chris D’Lacey
Publisher: Orchard Books
Release Date: 2005
Other Titles in Series: The Fire Within (#1), Icefire (#2), The Fire Eternal (#4), Dark Fire (#5), Fire World (#6)

Characters: 20/20
Plot: 20/20
Originality: 20/20
Writing: 19/20
Recommendation: 20/20
Overall: 99/100
Source: I own this book

Synopsis: A research trip to the Arctic and a contract for a new book – life can’t get much better for David Rain. But as soon as David finds himself in the icy climes, he begins to write his legend of bears, dragons, and the mysterious fire star. Soon he realizes that his tale is beginning to mirror real life, and that an old enemy is on her way to meet him. Can David thwart her terrible plan? Or will his world be destroyed forever?

My Thoughts: Fire Star is the third installment of the Last Dragon Chronicles, and the plot is finally beginning to heat up. Much of the setting takes place in the arctic, where serious events are beginning to escalate. Now three books into the story, I am devouring Chris D’Lacey’s writing with a passion. I am now very familiar with his writing style; the way he incorporates vast, complicated, and fascinating ideas into a a simple script that anyone could read with ease. I am in awe. 😉

In this fascinating book, Chris describes a race of beings that reside on a different vibrational frequency than humans. They exist in the realm of Dark Matter, where thoughts are substance. They are called Fain. The Fain have mastered inter-dimensional travel and often visit us humans, influencing our thoughts and overall aiding us in achieving spiritual enlightenment. This is a thought-provoking idea. . .

The concept of a fire star (a portal from the world of fain & dragons to Earth) is extremely exciting.  It carries the same vibes as a mass revolution, shift of global consciousness, or any other momentous event. Throughout the novel, any reader will realize that tensions are beginning to increase. You can tell something high-scale is coming. When the climax finally comes to pass, readers will not be disappointed.

D’Lacey, Chris. (2005) Fire Star. United States: Orchard Books.

Icefire (Last Dragon Chronicles #2) by Chris D’Lacey

Title: Icefire
Author: Chris D’Lacey
Publisher: Orchard Books
Release Date: 2003
Other Titles in Series: The Fire Within (#1), Fire Star (#3), The Fire Eternal (#4), Dark Fire (#5), Fire World (#6)

Characters: 20/20
Plot: 19/20
Originality: 20/20
Writing: 19/20
Recommendation: 20/20
Overall: 98/100 or A+
Source: I own this book

Synopsis: In the exciting sequel to The Fire Within, David must uncover the truth behind the mysterious clay dragons. David’s quest is to discover the link between the fire of the last known dragon on earth and the icy regions of the Arctic, It’s a journey that will bring him to the very heart of the legend of dragons and the mysterious, ancient secret of the icefire. . . .

Review: The stunning ingenuity of Chris D’Lacy expresses itself once again in the second installment of the Last Dragon Chronicles. In this continuation of the plot, David finally discovers the secrets of the Pennykettle Dragons, along with the uncovering of a link between polar bears and and dragons of ancient times. Icefire is indeed a step up on the maturity level compared to The Fire Within, yet the childish innocence of the first book manages to carry over as well. 

One aspect of the book that really impacted me was the description of “auma” or someones inner fire. Auma can be compared to the breath of God, or universal consciousness. It is the animating force of the Pennykettle Dragons, and it is a major part of the plot. I’m guessing (but not entirely for sure) that “auma” is the author’s personalization of the Hindu and Buddhist “Aum” or “Om.” It is often referred to as the sound of the Earth… Creation… The heart of existence. This idea is very inspiring. 😉

All in all, Icefire is definitely a good read. If you enjoyed The Fire Within, you will be satisfied by it’s sequel. I will give some warning though, this book seems to open the door to the more cosmic aspects of the series, which may be confusing to some. I am looking forward to reviewing the later books in the series, including the recently released Fire World. Until then, read on! 😉

D’Lacey, Chris. (2003) Icefire. United States: Orchard Books. 

The Fire Within (Last Dragon Chronicles #1) by Chris D’Lacey

Title: The Fire Within
Author: Chris D’Lacey
Genre: Adventure/Fantasy
Publisher: Orchard Books
Release Date: 2001
Other Titles in Series: Icefire (#2), Fire Star (#3), The Fire Eternal (#4), Dark Fire (#5), Fire World (#6)

Characters: 20/20
Plot: 18/20
Originality: 20/20
Writing: 19/20
Recommendation: 20/20
Overall: 97/100 or A
Source: I own this lovely book 😉

Synopsis: When David moves in with Elizabeth Pennykettle and her eleven-year-old daughter, Lucy, he discovers a collection of clay dragons that come to life. David’s own special dragon inspires him to write a story, which reveals the secrets behind a mystery. In order to solve the mystery and save his dragon, David must master the magic of the fire within–not only with his hands but also with his heart.

Review: The Fire Within is one of those books that might not seem very special, or as if it would be a worthwhile read, yet is actually a story that will touch the hearts of all who decide to open its cover. In my opinion, the writing style of this first installment is most suitable for someone of a younger age than my own, yet the themes expressed have the ability to capture anyone’s interest. This easy read is a favorite of mine and will always remain so.

Throughout the entirety of the novel, a prevalent theme becomes evident; We all have a fire within us, and it is called creativity. This message is expressed in every essence of The Fire Within. The protagonist, David Rain, finds his fire within while discovering inspiration. David manages this only with the help of his special dragon, Gadzooks who often writes ideas down on the notepad he was kilned with. David receives inspiring ideas from Gadzooks only in his imagination. Or does he?

Again, this seemingly trivial read is actually a book I wish all of humanity had the chance of reading. The thought-provoking themes the author provides will undoubtedly effect the current generation of readers. I am quite fond of The Fire Within and the rest of the Last Dragon Chronicles as well, which I hope to be reviewing in the near future. Truly, Chris D’Lacey has constructed a beautiful, touching, and adventurous novel that will kindle the fire within each and every one of his fans, including me. 😉

D’Lacey, Chris. (2001) The Fire Within. United States: Orchard Books.

The Light (Morpheus Road #1) by D.J. MacHale

Title: The Light
Author: D.J. MacHale
Genre: Young Adult/Psychological Horror 
Publisher: Aladdin
Release Date: April 20, 2010
Other Titles in Series: The

Characters: 18/20
Plot: 20/20
Originality: 19/20
Writing: 19/20
Recommendation: 19/20
Overall: 95/100 or A
Source: Library

Synopsis: Marshall Seaver is being haunted. It begins with mysterious sounds, a fleeting face outside the window, a rogue breeze-all things that can be explained away. That is, until he comes face-to-face with a character who only exists on the pages of a sketchbook–a character Marshall himself created.

Marshall has no idea whi he is being tormented by this forbidding creature, but he is quickly convinced it has something to do with his best friend, Cooper, who has gone missing. Together wih Cooper’s beautiful but aloof sister, Sydney, Marshall searches for the truth about his friend while ultimately uncovering a nightmare that is bigger and more frightening than he could ever have imagined.

Review: D.J. MacHale has been one of my favorite authors ever since I feasted upon the Pendragon Series. His writing style is immensely captivating, keeping you on the edge of your seat throughout the entire book. This was the first horror I have read in a long time, and I must say MacHale seems to have a knack for the genre. I was surprisingly and utterly enthralled.

D.J. MacHale definitely incorporates his ingenuity in all literature he has a hand in. His most recent project, The Morpheus Road Trilogy, is… unique to say the least. It was unlike anything I usually read, a true psychological horror with paranormal aspects. I have no regrets upon reading it though, I actually enjoyed it quite well. The characters were solid, the plot was intricate, and originality was rampant.    

For YA readers, The Light is assuredly a novel worth checking out. I found myself shocked, chilled, and in some cases disturbed while reading. If you are looking for a thrill ride that will surprise you multiple times, than the first installment of Morpheus Road will undoubtedly satisfy you. A hunger for horror and paranormal goodness will quickly be satisfied upon opening the cover. I am looking forward to read and review the next in the series, The Black. The prospect of continuing to indulge upon the story of Marshall Seaver is exciting.

MacHale, D.J. (2010) The Light. United States: Alladin

Author Interview: J.D. Thompson

Today, I’m excited to host my first ever interview with J.D. Thompson, author of Silver and Stone. J.D. has kindly offered to answer a few questions for me, of which I thought to share with my readers. I was more than happy to review her first book, and even ecstatic when she mentioned the possibility of an interview. I hope you find her answers enlightening and her advice to aspiring writers helpful. 😉 

Ty: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

J.D: I’m a twenty-something year old writer from New-Brunswick, Canada. Living the lifestyle that I do I’ve gradually become a compulsive multitasker. Quite frankly, it’s become an art. With only twenty-four hours in a day and three jobs, it’s necessary to make every moment count. In my limited free time, I enjoy reading as well as spending time with family and friends.

Ty: What do you do when you are not writing?

J.D: Mostly work! I have a full-time job at the local hospital as an Electroneurophysiology Technologist as well as own a photography business. Needless to say both occupations take a lot of my time. I do most of my writing at night for this very reason.

Ty: Do you prefer writing with a pen and paper, or on a computer?

J.D: I use a pen and paper when I’m jotting down ideas, or mapping a storyline. The writing however is done on computer.

Ty: When did you first start writing?

J.D: For as long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed writing. When I was little I would draw storybooks and read them to my sisters at night. My favorite classes in school were always english since we had the chance to express ourselves through writing. However, even after several creative writing classes in university, I had yet to write anything longer than an essay. The idea of Silver and Stone came to me while on maternity leave with my daughter. Within six months, I had completed it.

Ty: How did you choose the genre you write in?

J.D: YA is the genre I relate to the most. It’s also what fills the bulk of my bookshelf, so I suppose it’s only natural that I would gravitate in that direction. I can’t imagine writing anything else at the moment.

Ty: Do you ever experience writer’s block?

J.D: I think every author experiences writer’s block at one point or another. My best advice is to keep writing. Every day, even if it’s only a sentence, write something. In my opinion writing is like a muscle. You have to work at it regularly. It’s a method that’s worked for me in the past.

Ty: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

J.D: There are many authors along the way that have influenced my style of writing. I love James Patterson. The pace of his novels is fantastic. He knows how to keep readers at the edge of their seats with every word written. I know it’s cliche, but J.K. Rowling is also a great inspiration to me. She is so talented, and her imagination is beyond compare. I would be happy to have even a fraction of her creativity.

Ty: Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

J.D: Blood and Champagne is the second book of the Bloodlines series, scheduled for release in early 2012. It picks up where Silver and Stone left off and is a rollercoaster ride to say the least. Stuck between the life she has and the life she should lead, Alexis will be faced with decisions that will put her most important relationships on the line. Without giving too much away, not everyone makes it out alive in Blood and Champagne. Fans of the series will not be disappointed.

Ty: Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

J.D: The setting in which Silver and Stone takes place is loosely based on my hometown. Holler Creek bares many similarities to life back home, from the mountains surrounding it to the general small town mentality. Weatherford Preparatory School is based on Bishops University, located in Lennoxville, Quebec. It’s campus is beautiful and definitely has the historic feel I was going for. Other than that, Silver and Stone is purely fictional.

Ty: What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

J.D: For obvious reasons to anyone who has read the novel, I loved writing chapter 18. Lucas is gorgeous so playing up his features was not a hard task to say the least. I think every girl dreams of a Lucas climbing through their bedroom window at one point or another.

Ty: How did you come up with the title?

J.D: When I first decided to write the Bloodlines series, I literally wrote down the entire storyline from start to finish. I had decided early on what names each book would bear. Every title ties into the events of each particular book, though they often only make sense once the reader reaches the end.

Ty: What project are you working on now?

J.D: At the moment, I’m working on completing the Bloodlines series. It’s still early to say where my writing will take me after.

Ty: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

J.D: It takes thick skin to be part of the publishing industry. Authors face criticism on a daily basis and it’s not always pretty. Though I’ve been fairly lucky so far, I have had a few bad reviews. The toughest criticism I’ve received wasn’t so much criticism so much as general dislike. The reader just didn’t like the book. And that’s ok. Because as much as I’d like to, I can’t please everyone. Thankfully, I’ve also had many great reviews and feedback. I’ve been extremely fortunate so far and I can’t help but think that I have the best fans. My favorite so far has been receiving fan art. I love to see a reader’s interpretation of the characters and story through photos. It’s so surreal!

Ty: Coffee or Tea?

J.D: Coffee, hands down. I’m ashamed to say I drink far too much of it, and given the choice on a deserted island, I would choose it over water.

Ty: Mac or PC?

J.D: I prefer Mac, though at the moment the three computers I own are PCs. I plan to convert once they break down.

Ty: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

J.D: Be persistent. The whole process can be overwhelming and I know many writers give up before they even begin. If writing is truly your passion, don’t give up. I know that sounds completely cheesy but it’s the truth. Publishing takes time. And above all keep writing.

Ty: Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

J.D: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I can’t say it enough. The support from fans has been astounding. It’s still surprising to me that any one person aside from my mother has willingly read Silver and Stone, let alone hundreds. It’s truly heart-warming.

Ty: What did you think of this interview?

J.D: The interview was great! Very fun questions to answer.

I would like to express my deep gratitude for J.D. Thompson for an amazing interview! I am eager to review her next book in The Bloodlines series. You can check out my review of Silver and Stone if you haven’t already. Below is a synopsis of the book for those who are interested.

Welcome to high school high society hell, where last season’s slingbacks can warrant a lunch table demotion, the wrong date will knock you off the it-list and behind every pair of oversized Chanel sunglasses lies a secret people are dying to keep.

As if senior year at Weatherford Preparatory School wasn’t hard enough, sixteen year old Alexis Bardolph had to add school outcast to the curriculum.

A new found notoriety following a family scandal, her lacrosse star boy-friend dumping her for a former BFF and a string of perpetually bad hair days were among the many things going wrong in her already turbulent teenage life.

But when the haunting nightmares that have plagued her since childhood begin to take an eerily tangible form and several Holler Creek residents are reported missing, Alexis can’t help but wonder if there isn’t more to her hellish dreams than meets the eye.

The unexpected arrival of a mysterious and dangerously handsome new student ultimately leads Alexis to troubling truths that not even her wildest imagination could have conjured.

Brisingr (Inheritance Cycle #3) by Christopher Paolini

Title: Brisingr
Author: Christopher Paolini
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Release Date: September 20th 2008
Other Titles in Series: Eragon (#1), Eldest (#2), Inheritance (#4 to be released)

Characters: 20/20
Plot: 20/20
Originality: 20/20
Writing: 20/20
Recommendation: 20/20
Overall: 100/100 or A+
Source: Borrowed from Friend

Synopsis: Oaths sworn. . . Loyalties tested. . . Forces collide. It’s been only months since Eragon first uttered “brisingr,” an ancient language term for fire. Since then, he’s not only learned to create magic with words–he’s been challenged to his very core. Following the colossal battle against the Empire’s warriors on the Burning Plains, Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have narrowly escaped with their lives. Still, there is more adventure at hand for the Rider and his dragon, as Eragon finds himself bound by a tangle of promises he may not be able to keep.

First is Eragon’s oath to his cousin, Roran: to help rescue Roran’s beloved from King Galbatorix’s clutches. But Eragon owes his loyalty to others, too. The Varden are in desperate need of his talents and strength–as are the elves and dwarves. When unrest claims the rebels and danger strikes from every corner, Eragon must make choices–choices that will take him across the Empire and beyond, choices that may lead to unimagined sacrifice. 

Eragon is the greatest hope to rid the land of tyranny. Can this once simple farm boy unite the rebel forces and defeat the king?

Review: Wow… I am at a loss for words, which rarely happens. I must express my deep gratification toward Mr. Paolini for reviving an emotion inside of me that I have not felt since many books ago… As my first ever perfectly rated book (100/100 points) I deem it appropriate to say this read was totally awesome!!! Although this is unusually immature for me, it is undoubtedly my true reaction. Brisingr brought out the best of enjoyment inside of me. A literal tingling pervaded my entire body as I read, especially toward the end of this phenomenal book.

Once again, Christopher Paolini proves his indubitable talent for comprising a brilliant plot. I could compare his skill and craft to chocolate making, the perfect combination of essential ingredients that leads to an amazing finished product. Paolini is a true master when it comes to implementing characters into a plot, finding the environment that suits them the best. When it comes to the setting of the story itself, his ingenuity is unmatched. An entire world, the plot of Brisingr is built upon, a world of ceaselessly discovered detail. Simply spectacular.

For those who eagerly await the next installment of The Inheritance Cycle, Inheritance, I feel your apprehension. How could anything rival the splendor of Brisingr? I have no doubt Christopher Paolini’s fourth and final book of the series will be the best by far. He has done it before with the earlier installments, and he can do it again. Join me in waiting as the closure of the Inheritance Cycle draws ever nearer. Join me, as the story of Eragon and Saphira finally ends. 37 days and counting. . .

Paolini, Christopher. (2008) Brisingr. United States: Alfred A. Knopf.