Thursday, February 26, 2015

Book Review: My Kingdom For A Quest

The newly released, highly anticipated (in my house at least) third book in the Bookania Quests series.

Warning:  There will probably be a few spoilers in my review.

TYPE/GENRE: Fiction, Fantasy/fairy tale
SERIES: Bookania Quests #3
LENGTH: 145 pages
RATING: 10 out of 10
READ ALOUD:    5 out of 5

Arthur is the rightful king of Briton, but his Uncle Mordreth refuses to give up the regency. Arthur and Grandfather are now returning with allies to wrestle the kingdom from his uncle's grasp. But not all is as it seems among his allies, and everyone has secrets. New loves, old loves, lost loves, kingdoms conquered and kingdoms stolen. Who is the real "rightful heir" and will the nearly forgotten sword in the stone finally answer this question?

My Review:
My family and I had been champing at the bit for Kingdom's release.  When I told my younger siblings the release date, they squealed.  

Kingdom is the third installment in the Bookania Quests and from the moment of my reading the beta copy, it was immediately apparent to me that it would be my favorite Bookania book so far, and second favorite Ardnek book (my first favorite being The Ankulen).  There are several reasons it is such a favorite.  It's Arthurian Legend and anyone who has read my blog for any length of time knows how much I love Arthurian Legend.  It contains significant amounts of Shira, Robin, Arthur and Eric, who are some of my favorite Bookania characters and each of them displays considerable growth and maturity in this book.  It is a very good writing and contains several brilliant plot twists.  Need I say more other than, "Go read it as fast as you can find a copy!"?

Kendra did an excellent job not only with the main plot of the book, but also filling in other details about the world of Bookania, and contrasting the way Bookania was a hundred years ago with the way it is now.  The characters who awoke in Take are having an interesting time adjusting to the land that has changed so much that it really is a 'new' world to them.

I give this the highest rating and the highest read aloud rating.  I just finished reading it to my siblings this afternoon.  We read between two and three chapters every day this week, and every time we stopped for the day, the children clamored for more.

In conclusion, it's a beautiful book and if you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend that you do so at your earliest opportunity.  If you haven't read any of the Bookania books yet, I recommend reading Sew, It's a Quest and Do You Take This Quest? before reading KingdomKingdom will make much more sense if you do read the other two first.

Favorite Characters:
Robin- always and forever one of my favorite characters.  She has matured since Sew and Take but still has plenty of fire and that indomitable Robin spirit.

Shira had a pretty turbulent storyline in this book and I liked her even more than I had in Take.

Eric has become the steadying influence Robin has needed- someone who can calm her down the way Robert could, but who perfectly understands her in ways not even Robert did.

Arthur - so confused and bewildered at first, but by the end of the book he has become more confident and has some great scenes.   I look forward to his continuing story.

Robert was only in part of the book, but his interaction with Arthur was well written and pretty cool.
We didn't see much of Robin Hood or Maid Marian in this book, but hopefully we'll see them again soon.

Favorite Quotes:  (I had a lot of favorite quotes so I just picked a few of my favorites at random to put in this review)
"Madeleine does not behave like a normal human being.  Never has, never will."  ~ Robin
"Hello, how good are you with a sword?"  ~ Robin
"Auroren cased to be mine the day she became yours."  ~ Grandfather
"Don't look at me like that, Robert.  I can be clever if I want to be."  ~ Robin
"I am thy worst nightmare."  ~ Shira
"Better than living as a ghost under your thumb."  ~ Arthur

Random other things I loved:
~ Robin, Robert and Eric's interaction.  Eric says something, Robin contradicts him and then Robert agrees with Eric.
~ Pair Bonds, especially Robin and Snow's.
~ The Robin and Shira conversation in Chapter 8- one of my top five favorite scenes in the book.
~ Samson and Shira's return to their former kingdom was intriguing, seeing their reaction to the castle that had been theirs... even though it was one hundred years ago. 
~ Maddie and Samson were hilarious, as always. 

Miss Melody Muffin

Saturday, February 21, 2015

My Kingdom For A Quest Release

Today I'm thrilled to be hosting my good friend Kendra E. Arknek, who is promoting her newest book My Kingdom For A Quest.  I had the privilege of beta reading Kingdom and it quickly became my second favorite of Kendra's books, partly because it's a good book, partly because it's Arthurian Legend.

Back Cover Blurb:
Arthur is the rightful king of Briton, but his Uncle Mordreth refuses to give up the regency. Arthur and Grandfather are now returning with allies to wrestle the kingdom from his uncle's grasp. But not all is as it seems among his allies, and everyone has secrets. New loves, old loves, lost loves, kingdoms conquered and kingdoms stolen. Who is the real "rightful heir" and will the nearly forgotten sword in the stone finally answer this question?

Author Person:
Kendra E. Ardnek loves fairy tales and twisting them in new and exciting ways. She's been practicing her skills on her dozen plus cousins and siblings for years. "Finish your story, Kendra", is frequently heard at family gatherings. Her sole life goal has always been to grow up and be an author of fantasy and children's tales that also glorify God and his Word. You can read more about her on her blog,

Welcome to The Splendor Falls on Castle Walls, Kendra!

1. In Kingdom there is a Camelot mentioned.  Is it still a kingdom?

That answer is complicated and will be addressed thoroughly in book 16. Suffice to say its history is rather golden, may have something to do with this short story I wrote a few years back, and that I developed the character for Robin and Eric's two oldest children while plotting book 16. I even have some about a chapter and a half in a notebook in my desk prewritten. I am very much looking forward to writing this book. Sigh. Just twelve volumes to go!

2. Do you have family trees drawn up for the Bookania series?  I've been more or less making one myself, just to keep track of who everyone is, but I wondered if you keep track of it all in your head or have it all written down somewhere.

I've started a few, in particular one for the Locksley family, but the trees are so complicated and interconnected, what I really need is a computer program that will allow me to sort them out, and I haven't found any, especially not ones that are at a price I can afford (free.)

I also need a program that will let me write up a calendar for Rizkaland, because it's a bit different from ours, and I really need one so I can keep dates and seasons straight in the books.

3. The Lady Alitha that Maxie married after he knew Shira wasn't coming back, was she another Locksley girl or did she come from another country?  You've established that Locksley women were known for their tapestries and said she was a noted embroiderer, so I'm guessing that she was from Locksley.

Actually Robin was referring more to her mother's side of the family when she said that all of the women in her family were known for tapestries, to the country of Germaine. There is a weird curse on the family (that I haven't brought up yet, though I have alluded to) that renders all of the members very bad at anything music related - dancing, singing, that sort of thing, so in order to not seem unaccomplished, all of the women have focused on the needle. I'm not 100% certain where this curse came from, but I suspect that one of the members insulted a Tune about 300 years back.

And, actually, I'm not entirely certain where Alitha came from, but it is possible she was a Germaine, and that her marriage to Maxie was to secure Locksley's assistance in Germaine's rise to power after Prince Solomon and Princess Serendipity disappeared. This would make Robin and Robert's parents cousins once removed - but that is tame compared to the inbreeding that occurred in the royal families of Europe.

I shall have to ponder this.

4. Will Robin's cousin Edward have a book about himself?  He's one of my favorite minor characters, and I'd like to see more of him, especially the friendship between him and Robin.

I intend to have him show up again in book 4, but he won't be a major character until book 6, and yes, he'll get quite a bit of limelight. In fact, it was because he would be a major character in book 6 that I went back and edited in his scene in Take, because I wanted to establish his relationship with Robin. Also, I slid in a bit of foreshadowing for his story in this scene, but I'm not going to say what it is.

I might also have to write a short story at some point about the mischief they could get into as kids.

5. Will Princess Beauty appear in a later book?  I'm curious about her, since in Take it is mentioned that she is distinct from Rosamond and is a princess that none of them have met.

I doubt it. She lives off in a far away country (nearly to the next page!) and I actually hadn't meant to create a whole new character. In fact, she might not even exist, just being a memory that the fairies invented to explain why they were having a wedding. I mean, readers of Sew know that Push was off looking for Rosamond, and yet when he appeared in Take, he'd been off to fetch Beauty, so ... conflicting stories here?

6. In which book will Charlene's story be explained?

Book 4!!! Yes, answers to be given soon, rather than in a hundred years. I'm looking forward to writing her, since Charlene is an interesting character, and I'm especially looking forward to seeing Robin interact with a girl cousin, because so far, it's been Edward and Arthur. (And yes, I am inadvertently revealing that Charlene has a daughter, won't say anything more, though.)

7. I think you mentioned one time that Meg would be a main character in one of the books.  Which book?

She will be a major character in books 5 and 6. I'm not entirely certain that I'll ever give her POV, but I'm really looking forward to sharing her story.

8. These are the Bookania countries I remember being mentioned so far:
Camelot, Tune, Briton, Winthrop, Locksley, Skewwood, Germaine, Alion, Fronce, Chin
How many more are there?

Plenty, most of which I don't know where they are or what they're called. Bookania is a huge world. I mean, even on the pages where I've done all of my exploring so far, I have a huge blank space that grins up at me tauntingly.

I drew a map once, and it has most of the countries I know of. The only ones that aren't there that you failed to mention are Upontime, Rosamond's kingdom, which was where Scotlund and part of Normandy is now; Refrence, which covered the rest of the lower half of Normandy, and part of Winthrop; and Skewwood itself used to be its own country.

9. One of my sisters wants to know what happens to the wimpy prince that the dragon sweeps off the mountaintop in the end of Woodcutter Quince.  Does he die?

It's quite possible he met his end in that scene. It's also possible that he got blown away to a far away country and married Princess Beauty. You never know.

(Actually, he's somewhat important in book 8 but ... spoilers.)

Kingdom Around the Web:

Visit the other stops Kendra made in Kingdom's blog tour;

In honor of Kingdom's release,  Saffron's Big Plan and Other Stories is free for Kindle today.

Miss Melody Muffin

Thursday, February 5, 2015

In Lieu of a Book Review....

I didn't post a book review last Thursday and I don't have one today either.  I've been too busy working on my language studies.  I need to schedule my time differently, I guess.  :)

Instead of posting a review, I'm going to post a list of books I read last year.  I'm not going to list all the books I read (that would be a looong list!) but I am going to list all the ones I found notable for one reason or another.

I'm planning to write reviews for all of these... so look for those this year... sometime.  :)

Graustark - George Barr McCutcheon
Beverly of Graustark - George Barr McCutcheon
Truxton King - George Barr McCutcheon
The Prince of Graustark - George Barr McCutcheon
Lady Molly of Scotland Yard - Baroness Emmuska Orczy
The Rock of Chickamauga - Joseph Altsheler
The Shades of the Wilderness - Joseph Altsheler
 The Tree of Appomattox - Joseph Altsheler
Brewster's Millions - George Barr McCutcheon
Right Ho, Jeeves - P. G. Wodehouse
Twelfth Nightb- Shakespeare (this was actually a re-read)
Miss Billy - Eleanor Porter (the author of Pollyanna)
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
Through the Looking Glass - Lewis Carroll
Beaumaroy Home From the Wars- Anthony Hope
The Chronicles of Count Antonio - Anthony Hope
Sophy of Kravonia- Anthony Hope (INTRIGUING)
His Last Bow - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Sign of the Four - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Valley of Fear -  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Haphazardly Implausible - Jack Lewis Baillot (totally fun)
A Stretch of Loyalty - Jack Lewis Baillot
Daddy Long-Legs - Jean Webster (hilarious)
Dear Enemy - Jean Webster (sequel to previous, even funnier)
The Wheat Princess - Jean Webster (really liked this one)
Lochinvar - Samuel Rutherford Crockett
Charity Girl - Georgette Heyer
The Masqueraders - Georgette Heyer (had me howling)
Friday's Child - Georgette Heyer
False Colours - Georgette Heyer
Behold, Here's Poison - Georgette Heyer
Envious Casca - Georgette Heyer
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins  (I finally understand why it's so popular)
THG: Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins (ow)
THG: Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins (OWW)
Bardelys the Magnificent - Rafael Sabatini
The Sea-Hawk- Rafael Sabatini (MAGNIFICENT)
The Innocence of Father Brown - G.K. Chesterton
Little Dorrit - Charles Dickens
Plenilune - Jennifer Freitag  (review HERE)
Five Glass Slippers - Various (terrific book)
Woodcutter Quince - Kendra E. Ardnek (review HERE)
The First Star To Fall - Diana Peterfreund
Among the Nameless Stars - Diana Peterfreund
Fall For You: Jane Austen Academy - Cecilia Gray
A Passion Most Pure - Julie Lessman
Ashes of Roses - Christine Pope
Home to Walnut Ridge - Diane Moody
Lady of Devices - Shelley Adina
In Between: A Katie Parker Production - Jenny B. Jones
The Princess Spy - Melanie Dickerson
Marking Time - April White (surprisingly, really liked this one)

Have any of you read any of the books on this list?  What did you think of them?  What titles that you have not read sound the most interesting to you?

Miss Melody Muffin