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  1. Following is the most recent review published on the named blog (reprinted by permission). A Universe On the Edge RARITY FROM THE HOLLOW. Robert Eggleton. Doghorn Publishing. Published 2012. Lacy Dawn is a little girl who lives in a magical forest where all the trees love her and she has a space alien friend who adores her and wants to make her queen of the universe. What’s more, all the boys admire her for her beauty and brains. Mommy is very beautiful and Daddy is very smart, and Daddy’s boss loves them all. Except. Lacy Dawn, the eleven year old protagonist, perches precariously between the psychosis of childhood and the multiple neuroses of adolescence, buffeted by powerful gusts of budding sexuality and infused with a yearning to escape the grim and brutal life of a rural Appalachian existence. In this world, Daddy is a drunk with severe PTSD, and Mommy is an insecure wraith. The boss is a dodgy lecher, not above leering at the flat chest of an eleven-year-old girl. Yes, all in one book. Rarity From The Hollow is written in a simple declarative style that’s well- suited to the imaginary diary of a desperate but intelligent eleven-year-old – the story bumping joyfully between the extraordinary and the banal. The central planet of the universe is a vast shopping mall, and Lacy Dawn must save her world from a menace that arrives in the form of a cockroach infestation. Look again and the space alien has made Daddy smart and happy – or at least an eleven year old girl’s notion of what a smart and happy man should be. He has also made Mommy beautiful, giving her false teeth and getting the food stamp lady off her back. About the only thing in the book that is believable is the nature of the narrative voice, and it is utterly compelling. You find yourself convinced that “Hollow” was written as a diary-based autobiography by a young girl and the banal stems from the limits of her environment, the extraordinary from her megalomania. And that’s what gives Rarity From The Hollow a chilling, engaging verisimilitude that deftly feeds on both the utter absurdity of the characters’ motivations and on the progression of the plot. Indeed, there are moments of utter darkness: In one sequence, Lacy Dawn remarks matter-of-factly that a classmate was whipped to death, and notes that the assailant, the girl’s father, had to change his underpants afterward because they were soiled with semen. Odd, and often chilling notes, abound. As I was reading it, I remembered when I first read Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle” at the age of 14. A veteran of Swift, Heller, and Frederick Brown, I understood absurdist humour in satire, but Vonnegut took that understanding and turned it on its ear. In the spirit of Vonnegut, Eggleton (a psychotherapist focused on the adolescent patient) takes the genre and gives it another quarter turn. A lot of people hated Vonnegut, saying he didn’t know the rules of good writing. But that wasn’t true. Vonnegut knew the rules quite well, he just chose to ignore them, and that is what is happening in Eggleton’s novel, as well. Not everyone will like Rarity From The Hollow. Nonetheless, it should not be ignored. by Bryan Zepp Jamieson
  2. I am currently staying at a friend's house while she is in Africa, while my house is being readied to sell for what I hope is a LOT of money. Her 27-year old daughter, whom I've known most of her life, stays in a cottage (but less cute than that sounds) at the back of the property, but we usually see each other in the evenings to watch "Game of Thrones" or chat while she is playing a video game that I can't remember the name of. The daughter is friends with this author, who is a professor of English at a well-known college in Boston (not Harvard, which is sometimes called a "college outside of Boston" by those who are trying to feign embarrassment at coming right out and saying that's where they went to college, but everyone knows). She loves this book and suggested I read it. You can imagine that my hopes were not high, but I enjoyed the book a lot. There are two intersecting plot lines, one of a woman who has studied magic and realizes that a friend of hers has a magical knife and the other of a woman who has a magical talent for finding things looking for a special item at the behest of a client. I never got the 2 women mixed up and I thought the plot was easy to follow and engaging. I looked forward to getting back to the book when I had to be away for something as hum drum as work. While there were definitely scary and upsetting moments, there were also some very funny asides or comments that I enjoyed. I would recommend this to anyone who has an interest in this kind of fantasy. Apparently some people were put off by the ending, but I was not. The objection was that not everything was resolved clearly.
  3. Hi guys, (Hazel, admin, knows I’m posting this.) What do you think of our concept of books with 360 cinematic illustrations? Do you agree that young adults will be encouraged to discover reading with this concept? Do the demonstrations on m http://www.turlbook.com/ m engender the magic experience for you? ----- I’m new to this forum. I volunteer for TurlBook. We are a small team of artists. Isti is from Hungary and got an art degree from Oxford. I’m from Southampton (UK) and I worked in publishing for 9 years (US sometimes). We have a whole new eBook format. Someone on Twitter compared it to Harry Potter magic newspapers where drawings suddenly wake up and move. (In our case it goes further: 360º panoramic animation. Characters act out a scene as you move around.) There’s a singular aesthetic to match the text and 360 together. I tell Isti he’s tapping into ancient Eastern European storytelling when he does his thing. He kind of agrees. When I tried a demo first time on my tablet I was afraid it would be like seeing LOTR movie; a lot of the scenes weren’t how I'd dreamed. It actually encouraged me to imagine more. Others have said the same. It’s a bit like making real the shared dream we’ve all had at least once of a book coming alive so we can step inside its world. (Hence “the magic book is now real”.) We have working demonstrations (see http://www.turlbook.com/ ). Before we do a Kickstarter or an Indiegogo to fund the making of the first three books we’d like to canvas opinion from the book loving community. We’re not going for “feature rich”. We hope you will love the concept and sign up your support on the site. Questions at the top. Trevor SaveSave
  4. My fantasy Ebook 'Secret Code of Magicians' is going free from 20th Feb to 24th February, 2015 Though it is the 3rd volume in the series, 'Magical Ventures of Loli and Lenny,' yet it can be read independently from the first volume and second volume Available at Amazon.co.uk - Please use the link at the top of the page. Also at Amazon.com - Please use the link at the bottom of the page. “Magical Ventures of Loli and Lenny,” is a fantasy series for children and middle grade. Packed with adventure and mystery this series will keep the young readers hooked as they follow the two young protagonists on their magical missions for planet earth.
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