Friday, December 30, 2011

Some "Thank you's" and a Book Review.

As promised, I am back. Christmas was lovely, but I must say that December really got away from me. I am long overdue in thanking people for blog posts and awards, and way late for a book review I meant to write before now. 

First, my gratitude to two kind bloggers:

On December 10th, Richard Hughes (Writing and Living by Richard P. Hughes) posted a nice review of my book, The Fourth Wish,on his blog. You can read it here. So, belated thanks, Richard. And for readers of today's post, Richard has an interesting blog that includes articles about the writing journey, book reviews, and snippets of his own fiction. It's a spot worth visiting often.

Additionally, Ann Best mentioned my book on her December 10th post at her wonderful blog site. Thank you, Ann! Ann's memoir, In the Mirror has earned 24 five-star reviews at Amazon, and she has published two other books. You can learn more about them here:

If that wasn't enough, Richard included me on his December 3rd list of recipients for the Great Comments Award, a very nice award indeed: A condition of the award is to pass it on to the top 20 commenters on my blog. Well, that's very hard to sort out, as so many people do leave great comments, but here are 20 who come to mind:

Rosi Hollinbeck                                            Joanna Marple     
Rachna Chhabria                                           Tanya Reimer
Richard Hughes                                             Lauren Boyd
Carol Riggs               Lydia Kang at The Word Is My Oyster
TGayer                                                         Julie Musil
Ann at Inkpots and Quills                               Kenda Turner at Words and Such
David Powers King                                        Gary Gauthier at Literary Snippets
Ann Best                                                       Robyn Campbell
Jayne at A Novice Novelist                             Theresa Milstein
Kimberly at Meetings with My Muse               Michelle Fayard

I hope you will visit their sites. You are in for a treat at each one.

Next, the Book Review:

This month I had the opportunity to read Andrew Leon's middle grade novel, The House on the Corner, a “haunted-house tale” with a different twist. 

When the Howard family moves from Denver, Colorado to Shreveport, Louisiana -- a military move because the father is in the Air Force -- their new home is a creepy old house with what turns out to be a mysterious garage. And it seems the former inhabitants of the house disappeared years ago with no explanation.
As the three siblings, Tom (12), Sam (10), and Ruth (6), explore the house and neighborhood, they meet some strange neighbors and find a secret cache of odd weapons in a tool shed under the garage apartment. The garage apartment itself soon becomes the “Imagination Room”, due to unusual adventures that occur when the children meet in it. I don’t want to be a spoiler by giving away the kinds of adventures they have. I will say that the adventures kept me turning pages, although the first adventure doesn’t happen until Chapter 15. 
For this reader, the book could have benefited from some strong pruning. The early chapters bogged down in description and ongoing arguments between the kids, slowing the pace and sapping suspense. The children were believable, but they always seemed to be squabbling. Some variety in how they behaved toward each other would have rounded them out more for this reader. The narration was rotating first person point of view, through the eyes of each of the siblings. Then for some reason the last forty-five pages suddenly switched to third person narrative, sometimes close third, sometimes distant, but always from an adult point of view. 
Still, the story line is quite unique. The Imagination Room and the worlds it borders are intriguing, and the book ends with some unresolved issues that will lead into the second book of this author’s series. The book jacket by Rusty Webb is nicely spooky. 
The House on the Corner is available at Barnes and Noble on Nook for $2.99.


Kenda Turner said...

Thanks for including me in your comments award list--I enjoy stopping by your blog :-)

Happy New Year to you!

Carol Riggs said...

Well, I've never heard of this award before! Congrats for winning it, and thanks much for passing it on to me. :)

I think having characters constantly squabbling is tiresome. And yes, some books DO need "strong pruning"! I've read some of those, myself. It's especially important for middle grade readers. Thanks for the review--and Happy New Year!!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the award. And I agree with carol ... Prune.

Theresa Milstein said...

Thank you for the commenter award and congratulations to you and the other award recipients. (I'm supposed to be a good commenter, so I'm feeling a lot of pressure here.... I got nothin'.)

Happy New Year!

Tanya Reimer said...

Thanks for passing on the award this way! And congrats on all the fame the past month!

The book sounds weird unique. Strange that it changed pov like that too!

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Kenda, hope you had a good Xmas and a happy year of publishing ahead of you.

Carol, I had never heard of this award, either, but it certainly is a nice idea.

Michelle, thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Theresa, didn't mean to apply pressure! But I'm the same way. Just tell me I've said something interesting and I can't think of a single other thing to say. :-)

Tanya, thanks for the good wishes.

Lauren F. Boyd said...

Hi, Elizabeth! Happy holidays to you! I hope you and your are doing well.

Many thanks for selecting me for the The Great Comments Award! Of all the wonderful blogs out there, I am flattered and honored (and humbled) that you chose me as one to receive it. Thanks so much - I am going to display it on my blog right now.

Happy New Year, and I will see you again soon!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Elizabeth, for the award. You're a dear friend.

When I think of "magical" I think of your writing. Lately I am drawn to middle grade, which I read a lot of in the past. Memoir is still my thing, I think, but I am going to start reading more MG, and might try writing an idea I've had for many years. You have spurred me on!

I know what you mean about December. Unfortunately, I'm still in December, and may be for a while. But I WILL try to keep in touch with my best blogger friends such as you! Hope you have a great New Year with your writing and everything else in your life!!
Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror & Other Memoirs

Rachna Chhabria said...

Thanks, Elizabeth for including me in the Great Comments Award.

The book sounds good. I love haunted-house tales. So, I will definitely look it up.

Robyn Campbell said...

Elizabeth, much appreciation for including me in your great commenter award. That is truly an honor coming from you. I hope your Christmas was lovely and that you were able to visit some art galleries during the break. I know the street you live on has lots of them. I spent time with family and my horses, of course. :-)

Happy New Year and I am wishing a ton of success to us all. *waving and smiling*

Robyn Campbell said...

I meant to thank you for such a great review too. The storyline does sound different, but I don't like books that drain the suspense and slow the pace. If I wrote a book like that, my betas would have my hide. :-) Still, I might try the book just because of the twist. But I cannot for the life of me understand how the author got away with those last pages being in adult POV.

Rosi said...

Thanks for the award, Mitty. I always enjoy your blog. The concept of the book sounds great. Pruning is almost always good advice. I need to do more of that! Happy New Year and to quote Theresa -- I'm feeling some pressure and "I've got nothin'!"

Kimberly said...

Thank you for the award. I enjoy your blog very much and hearing the reviews. Love the title on this one.

Happy New Year!

Gary Gauthier said...

Happy New Year Elizabeth. Thank you for the award. I'm glad I made your top 20 list.

I haven't done a book review on my blog, but maybe it's something I should start doing. I am working on publishing posts more often on my blog.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Lauren, you are very welcome. Look forward to reading more of your posts.

Ann, glad to hear you are getting drawn into writing a middle grade book. I'll be intersted in reading it. Thanks for the kind comments.

Rachna, I've always been drawn to haunted house and ghost type stories too. For some reason I like ghosts more than the usual fantasy themes out there. Dunno why.

Robyn, glad you liked the review. Yes, I had great holidays, but I didn't have the opportunity to visit an art gallery. Am going to try to remedy that his month. Did hang out at a couple of used book stores, though! Yes, good publishing success to us all in 2013.

Rosi, always good to hear from you. Hope you had a great New Year's Eve. Looking forward to great accomplishments in 2013, no?

Hi, Kimberly, you're very welcome. Glad you like the reviews.

Hi, Gary, you're welcome. Hope 2012 brings good tidings for us all re: publishing. I think you would be a good book reviewer, because your comments are always very thoughtful and reasoned.

Jessica Therrien said...

So many good things! Happy New Year!

Julie Musil said...

Oh, thanks so much for the kind mention and the award. I've visited several of the other blogs, and you're right, they're amazing. I'll be sure to stop by the others.

Your blog looks great!

J.L. Campbell said...

Happy New Year! Sounds like an interestingly different read.

Joanna said...

Thanks so much for this award. Sorry I am late to the party, been away (and still am) and slow on blogs. Wishing you a year of wonder, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Julie, thanks for the feedback, glad you liked the other sites.

J. L. Happy New Year to you, too. Hope it's a year of great reviews.

Jessica, thanks for stopping by.

Joanna, you're very welcome. Good wishes to you, too, for the coming year.