. Athena's Books
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Heir to the Lamp Will Soon Be Revealed


 Totally YA Tuesday

"A few days ago, I thought I knew all there was to know about how I came to be here…in this place…in this family…but now there’s the lamp and the Grimms, and I don’t know anything for sure anymore."        
From Heir to the Lamp

Today I am doing something here on my blog that I have not done for a long time...A Blog Tour Stop featuring the YA novel Heir to the Lamp by author Michelle Lowery Combs, and I am very excited to be part of her blog tour and even more excited that she is gracing my blog with a guest post on the oldest inspiration for many writers--the stories, the myths, the fables, and fairytales of our youth. 

I am not a complete LOTR or Star Wars Geek, but my favorite stories are the sagas of extraordinary worlds and fantastical creatures, and one day I will finish one of the many fantasy/sci-fi stories I have floating around in my head along with the the thoughts of wet laundry still sitting in my washing machine and Frank's parvo (Frank is the rat terrier mix pup who miracuosly survived after a 1,000 medical bill because we couldn't just wait around and see him die). 

Until then, I will keep blogging and social media-ing! 

Up first...Michelle Lowery Combs!

Did I mention a giveaway?  I do not have the details yet, but I would leave a comment :)

Summary of Heir to the Lamp (from Author Website):

Gifted with a mysterious lamp and the missing pieces from her adoption story, Ginn tries to discover who…or what…she really is. That should be strange enough, but to top it off Ginn’s being hunted by the Order of the Grimoire, a secret society who’ll stop at nothing to harness the power of a real genie. Ginn struggles to stay one step ahead of the Grimms with the help of Rashmere, Guardian of the lamp and the most loyal friend a girl never knew she had. The Grimms are being helped, too—but by whom? As much as she doesn’t want to, Ginn’s beginning to question the motives of her long-time crush Caleb Scott and his connection to her newest, most dangerous enemy.

Guest Post by Michelle Lowery Combs
On Discovering Real Magic

What if magic were real? It’s a potent fantasy, one that captures the minds of many young readers and sticks with them forever. As an adult, I’m always on the lookout for everyday magic around me: a perfect sunset, the smiles of a sleeping baby, the flow of a perfect piece of prose; but I also enjoy, thanks to some favorite fairytale and fantasy stories of my youth, contemplating the possibilities of cloaks of invisibility, talking animals, and parallel universes that can open themselves up to someone simply waiting at a train station.

When I began planning Heir to the Lamp, my first young adult fantasy novel about a teenage genie, I knew that the story would include more than a little magic. I set out to research genie folklore, which would set me on new paths of discovery that paralleled, crisscrossed, and intersected one another until they would have looked like a road map if plotted out in black and white.

There was so much to explore. I’d never imagined the roots of so many mythical and fairytale creatures could be traced back to the genie, or djinni as it’s called in one of the oldest traditions. Angels, demons, ghouls, sprites, faeries and leprechauns—all thought by some to be genies by another name. And then there were the magical objects associated with the versatile djinn—everything from the Arabian Nights style brass lamp to mirrors and polished scrying glasses used to imprison genies at the will of their masters. The possibilities for Heir to the Lamp seemed endless, and I had a great deal of fun turning the idea of the genie’s lamp, a traditionally unbearably cramped prison for unfortunate djinn, on its head.

In my favorite fantasies from childhood, it was most often a character’s experience with an enchanted object that lay at the heart of his or her story: The Hobbit and his ring tricked from a Golem, Snow White and her stepmother’s sinister talking mirror. In Heir to the Lamp readers will discover how a seemingly ordinary oil lamp turns out to be anything but and connects a teenage girl to a 3,000 year-old genie.

I have never ceased to wonder at the countless examples of real and ordinary magic all around us as we go about our day to day lives, nor will I ever grow too old to imagine the possibilities of mermaid combs, seven league boots, or a brass oil lamp that contains an entire ocean and private island waiting to be explored.

I hope you enjoy Heir to the Lamp!

MLC Headshot.jpgAuthor Bio from World Weaver Press:

Michelle Lowery Combs is an award-winning writer and book blogger living in rural Alabama with her husband, one cat, and too many children to count. She spends her spare time commanding armies of basketball and soccer munchkins for the Parks & Recreation departments of two cities. When not in the presence of throngs of toddlers, tweens and teens, Michelle can be found neglecting her roots and dreaming up the next best seller. She is a member of the Alabama Writers’ Conclave, Jacksonville State University’s Writers’ Club and her local Aspiring Authors group.

Publisher Website:  http://worldweaverpress.com/books/heir-to-the-lamp/

Author Website: http://michellelowerycombs.com/

Author Blog:  http://www.michelle-lowery-combs.blogspot.com/

Monday, June 17, 2013

Death, Dickenson, and Frenchie in Orlando

Monday Mini (Minnie) Review :) 

Death, Dickinson, and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia by Jenny Torres Sanchez

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just finished this book last week (and in one sitting), and I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed it. To be honest, one of the most refreshing things was just simply reading about a character named Frenchie Garcia and whose last name was not a deciding factor in the types of experiences she went through. Don't get me wrong because I surely agree with adding the personal experience, and I usually always do in my own writing. I see all writing as somehow being influenced by the writer's past whether it be actual experiences or something he or she is familiar with based on activities, reading, or viewing.

But, the number one thing I wanted to see growing up was some type of TV show where people had a last name like me, but who lived like a regular teenager and whose parents didn't work in the factory or who didn't have an accent (even though that was my family). But, it wasn't me, or so I thought, because I loved Madonna and Prince and wore neon colors and loved the mall and got straight A's and didn't really know how to speak anything other than English, and saw myself on the same playing field as anybody who is an American and/or White.

So, here is this Frenchie girl from Orlando who wears black and likes punk and who never says one Spanish word in the entire novel. I think it would have been interesting to see some of her more "Garcia" side, but then we would be talking about a different book here. Nonetheless, if you read about the author, Jenny Sanchez Torres, you find that Frenchie indeed has been created out of the author's experiences. I wanted the "regular" story when I was growing up, and here I am twenty years later reading the book I would have loved back then. Talk about making some ground here with contemporary Latina writers! (I hope to join Jenny's ranks one day soon :)

As for the book itself, the premise as suggested by the title is not completely original in that I have read a lot of books wherein the main character has a connection to some literary work or writer, but who gets tired of that? Not me. So, just to offer a summary of sort, Frenchie has loved this certain guy all her high school life and doesn't believe she will ever be able to love anyone else. But, when she "relives" a night that changed her world, well, her world changes again in an unexpected way. And, of course Emily Dickenson is there throughout to help her cope and make sense of all the craziness. Enjoy!

Brief Excerpt from Chapter 20, "Tonight" (Frenchie talking to Colin, a guy she initally told off in the worst way):

"How are you so sure?" I ask him, shaking my head.  "I mean, don't you think that on some level there are these paths to your life, already mapped, that your follow?"

He thinks about this for a minute.  "I don't know, that just seems so final.  I mean, I honestly think of life like this big wilderness.  And maybe your're on the path, but I alwasys thinks you have a choice.  To tay on theat path, or to venture out into the wilderness and make different paths."

"Oh . . ." is all I can say.  His answer has made my head feel full.

View all my reviews

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Great Gatsby Goes to Movies

Manic Monday:  Having Babies, Reliability, and The Great Gatsby

Today, my family and I celebrate my son's 15th birthday. He is my firstborn,and I can tell you for sure that I was freaking out right about this time 15 years ago.

I can't tell you the whole chronology of events, and if I tried, I would have to go back and tell you things as I rememeber them, but not necessarily in order. The only thing I can say for sure is that I was freaking out! I was like "What the heck did I get myself into?" Everything else is a blur. Period.

I could tell you about the whole event and finish saying all I remember, and even then I would forget something and have to go back and tell you about it.  Talk about an unreliable narrator! Which brings to mind Nick Carraway from The Great Gatsby.

I was discussing this novel with my students today and trying to help them see and understand the novel as an example of early 20th century modernism. Well, one of the defining elements of modernism is a rearrangement of time and plotting to the point that events are a bit confusining and somewhat vague to readers.  For what purpose?  To recount a story as a first person narrator really would, with a mixed up sense of timing and a reliance on flashback.

I can't even completely and fully tell you anything about any of my own true stories, and if I do tell you anything then it is colored by my experiences and views. Just like Nick. He wants to tell us the story, but he is involved in the story, and he is not telling it to us as it happened either. Deep stuff here!

Which all goes connected to this...the "The Great Gatsby" on the big screen! May 10th! My students are ready, I'm ready, and you too can be ready! Watch the trailer! And, if you havent' read it, well, the plot is not a happy one, but novel is considered an American classic (or should we say an American tragedy?) by many readers. And, like other book-to-movie adaptations, you don't have to actually read it to enjoy all the movie magic of the 21st century.  21st Century Technology for a 20th century text.  Now there is another topic.

Monday, April 1, 2013

City of Bones New Trailer

Totally YA Tuesday

So, this trailer has to be on practically every YA blog out there today, no?  I'm talking about Trailer #2 for The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare.  But, I had to post.

If you've never read this book, then you haven't read as much YA as you think.  Premise of novel is spectacular, as is Trailer #1 and Trailer #2.  I love tough, weapon-wielding angels!

Summary for Movie by Sony:

"Set in contemporary New York City, a seemingly ordinary teenager, Clary Fray (Lily Collins), discovers she is the descendant of a line of Shadowhunters, a secret cadre of young half-angel warriors locked in an ancient battle to protect our world from demons. After the disappearance of her mother (Lena Headey), Clary must join forces with a group of Shadowhunters, who introduce her to a dangerous alternate New York called Downworld, filled with demons, warlocks, vampires, werewolves and other deadly creatures. Based on the worldwide best-selling book series."


And just in case...here is the book summary in my own words:

Shadowhunters and Clary Use Ferocious Fighting Swag Against Downworld Villians.

Here is a longer version from Shadowhunters.com:

"When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder — much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Clary knows she should call the police, but it's hard to explain a murder when the body disappears into thin air and the murderers are invisible to everyone but Clary. Equally startled by her ability to see them, the murderers explain themselves as Shadowhunters: a secret tribe of warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. Within twenty-four hours, Clary's mother disappears and Clary herself is almost killed by a grotesque demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know..."