Unicorns and flowers, oh my!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

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I'm starting the new year off with a couple book reviews. This is more like what I'd intended the blog to be about, but I think I'll still keep up with writing updates as well from the ROW 80. Maybe a better blend of the old and new aims.

Over the holidays, I picked up a couple books from the library in the kids section. One my Goodreads list said I'd read before, but I didn't recognize the stories. Hmm. Well, I read it (again) and loved it. Twelve stories with unicorns of many forms fill A Glory of Unicorns edited by Bruce Coville. He also wrote the first story in the collection, The Guardian of Memory. Some of the stories take place in fantastical settings like in The New Girl, some might be our own backyard like in Tearing Down the Unicorns.

It's an interesting mix of stories that draw upon the legends of unicorns without being sappy. Authors in the collection are Bruce Coville, Janni Lee Simner, Gregory Maguire, Ruth O'Neill, Nancy Varian Berberick, Jessica Amanda Salmonson, Katherine Coville, Alethea Eason, Nancy with Greg Labarbera, Kathryn Lay, Gail Kimberly, and Sean Stewart.

For a lighter feel, I also picked up Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris. As it says on the cover: part comedy, part love story, part everything-but-the-kitchen-sink. As you can imagine, it's a whimsical sort of tale. Front cover doesn't really hint that it's a fantasy, but the blurb on the back had, so I had to pick it up. I wouldn't want to read it all the time, but it was a cute story.

Christian is gaga for Princess Marigold. He's just a commoner, though, and no match for royalty. Heck, he lives in a cave with a troll! And now he's discovered another reason to put his love-soggy heart on ice: Queen Olympia is scheming to take over the kingdom--and she'll bump off Marigold to do it! Can Chris foil her diabolical plans?

I loved the whimsical feel of the story. Ed the troll is a fun supporting character. He's been trying to get into the tooth collection business, since the tooth fairy herself is falling behind on her duties but won't allow anyone to break into her monopoly. He doesn't want to take over, just get a piece of the action. He found Chris when the boy was a small youngster lost in the woods who refused to be taken back home. Somehow ending up like a parent, he does his best to teach Chris bits of etiquette from a book he'd collected at some point while not being strict enough to make the boy run away again as he'd done to end up in the woods to begin with.

The p-mail parts were another fun touch. Christian first makes contact with Marigold via pigeon, since Ed kept a pair of pigeons for sending messages of his own. And the cave they shared was just across the river from the castle where Marigold lived. Some of the messages are long enough that they are broken up into pieces in order to fit on the birds' legs. They are shown in order, but the book shows the breaks between pieces of paper.

So a fun pair of books. I hope you'll check them out. On the writing front, this week I got back to work on my trog and wizard story. During the holidays, I jumped in on a Word War with some of my writing friends online. I missed the first ten minutes because I'd forgotten about it, and my brain was starting off cold. But since I'd had some scene summary ideas jotted down for that story, I grabbed one and ran with it, writing about 850 words in 50 minutes, one of my best stints. So on Tuesday I picked up where I'd left off and added another 1250 words, though over the course of the morning rather than just an hour. Still a good day's work for me.

I didn't get much done yesterday since I was puttering on several other things as well, like trying to learn how to crochet a hex-base with beads. Still haven't gotten the hang of it yet even with the book and accompanying DVD. Best I've gotten so far looks like a horseshoe shape, like I haven't put on enough beads even though I have the correct number on. Sigh. Harder than it looks. I may have to try one suggestion I got which is to practice without the beads, since I think my problem is the closing the rings and stepping up to the next row (and first stitch after that).

That's enough for now, but I'll work on what sort of goals I want to focus on this month. I plan to post them on Sunday's ROW80 check-in. Maybe I'll have another book review for you then, too. I'm baaack! :D


Anonymous said...

Yay! She's back! Great reviews, too. Thanks.

Jaleh D said...

Haha, thanks! And you are fast. It's barely been up, and you already saw it and commented. :D

Kelly. said...

Those books did sound really cute :D If I get chance at some point, I will check them out. Congratulations on your super speedy writing! I hope you manage to work out how to do the hex-bases.


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