Sunday, October 15, 2006

YA Paranormal + Halloween = Contest! WIN WIN WIN!!!!

So, catchy titles are not my forte. What of it? My shortcomings in the title category, do not change the fact that the title is 100% accurate. We at Dee & Dee Dish have a most excellent contest for you lovely readers this month. I'll break the details down for you at the end of this review, just know that it is HUGE! We have SIGNED books to give away this month. Books - yes, plural. Serena Robar , MaryJanice Davidson and Anthony Alongi , and Gena Showalter have all graciously agreed to donate signed copies of their YA Paranormal Books to the winners of this months contest! Since I know every one is frothing at the mouth to hear the details, without further ado, I present you with a review of one of the books you will have a chance to win...

Jennifer Scales and the Ancient Furnace by MaryJanice Davidson and Anthony Alongi
(BCC)

AND YOU THOUGHT PUBERTY SUCKED. TRY MORPHING INTO A DRAGON.

I knew that at this age I'd be going through a lot of changes - but blue scales? Claws? A snout? Come on! This is ridiculous and just so unfair. And I can't believe my parents waited until the day I nearly turned into a dragon to tell me that I am one - thanks to my dad's side of the family. Believe me, no amount of dieting can stop how big I grow when I turn dragon - and don't get me started on the tail!

This dragon thing is going to happen every crescent moon. Can I be any more of a freak? At least I have my grandfather to show me how to get by as a were-dragon. It's not easy. And I can't even tell my best friends because there are ancient enemies who want to destroy all dragons. As if my parents, school, and the soccer team weren't enough to deal with. Looks like it's up to me to protect the few fellow dragons that are still left or I won't see my next birthday. Forget about blowing out those candles. With this breath, I'll set the whole town on fire...

I'm a bit loathe to admit (and please, my lovelies, try not to have a heartattack about this) - that I can find absolutely NOTHING wrong with this BCC. It does what it is supposed to do, gives a good idea of the story and conveys well the attitude of the main character, while sucking me in and making me want to read the story within it's borders.

From the moment I started reading this book, I was hooked. Jennifer Scales is your average 14 year old. She argues with her parents, she is the star athlete on her school's soccer team, and she has best friends. All of that begins to change (okay, except for the arguing with her parents part, I mean, I know this is paranormal and all, but even for fiction that would be stretching things) the day of the Community Junior League Soccer Championship.

Jennifer's team, The Winoka Falcons, are in sudden death overtime against the Northwater Shooting Stars, and Jennifer wants the win. With time running out, Jennifer sees her shot and makes a FANTASTIC goal. So, why are her friends staring at her as if she just grew a second head?

It isn't long after that fateful game that Jennifer learns that she is a weredragon and every crescent moon she will change shapes. Jennifer isn't just a normal weredragon, however. She first transforms about two years earlier than most and she is a cross breed between the three dragon types (creeper, dasher, and trampler). Can you say "Freak, Much?"

But Jennifer needs to get over herself and but fast. The weredragons are a hated species with many enemies. There are Beastalkers and werachnids that would love to see them exterminated and soon begin to launch their first attack.

I just cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this book. There are reasons MJD is one of my favorite authors. Her ability to make the characters of her books believable is just one, and working with husband Anthony Alongi , has only strengthened this ability. Jennifer Scales is written with such true to life teenage angst, that I could actually remember what it was like to be 14 again, if only for a while. "In other words, this is a big vaudeville show, I'm your puppet, and you're both annoyed that I'm not moving and talking the way I'm supposed to with an arm jammed up my wooden butt!" Oh, if I was only as snarky as Jennifer, when I was 14!

I do not envy YA authors the task of writing a book for a younger market. The books not only need to entertain, but have some deeper meaning of life in them without being preachy. This fantastic duo delivered the goods. For instance, there is a part when Jennifer confides in one of her new friends and admits that she wasn't sure what she was going through was important, her friend tells her, "Listen Jennifer, if it's important to you, it's important." Or the time when Jennifer and her mother are trying to figure out who the bad guys are and her mother says, "Good and evil are not always so clear cut, dear...." I think that is one thing the younger generation should always know. And lastly, my favorite quote of the book, is when Jennifer confronts her mother about avoiding conflict and her mother replies, "I'm a doctor, honey. I heal. I see the results of conflict every day - school bullies who provoke my daughter, family members who hurt each other, and complete strangers who go at each other's throats because they're just a tiny bit different. No, I am not a big fan of conflict. I prefer discussion, and open minds." I hope, that as people read this book, they too realize that they prefer discussion and open minds.

I have already made this review longer than most, and I find that I could go on and on. I'll end it with saying, I have already ordered the second book of the series, Jennifer Scales and the Messenger of Light and two copies of The Ancient Furnace for other people (I am not lending my copy out). The minute you get a chance, you need to pick up this book, it is amazing!

And now, CONTEST DETAILS!!!!!

Over the next couple of weeks, I will be reviewing various paranormal books. All you have to do to enter the contest is COMMENT on one of the posts (make sure you comment on the PARANORMAL posts) and tell what paranormal creature or superpower would you want if given the chance. If you have trouble with the comment section, you can e-mail us at deeanddeedish@sbcglobal.net with your entry. On October 29th, I will post all of the entries in one post and bring the judges in. The winners will be announced on October 31st. Happy Halloween!!!

Take Care

8 comments:

Robin Snodgrass said...

Oh, I loved the Jennifer Scales books! I'm a 42 year old female but these are books that span the generation gap. They are not just for the Young - but also for the Young at Heart! :) I can't imagine going through puberty and having to deal with the problems that Jennifer has to deal with on a regular basis....argh

I'm a huge paranormal fan and these have been terrific additions to my library. Then again, I just love Mary Janice Davidson's books. I don't have any of hers signed but would love to be able to add one to my library! Please enter me in your contest.

You also had Gena Showalter in your list and I've read most of herr books. She's a terrific writer of paranormals. Playing With Fire was a great book and I would LOVE to have the powers in that book! Control of the elements - wow.

I also wanted to recommend a couple of YA Paranormal books: Twilight and New Moon by Stephanie Meyer. These are absolutely wonderful books about a 17-18 year old girl and the vampire she loves.

Thanks for reading this note.

Sincerely,
Robin Snodgrass
Jefferson City, TN

Cherry Tea said...

Robin - Thanks for entering! I'm reading Playing With Fire now and will be posting a review about it hopefully tonight. I'm really loving it right now!

I agree, I love MJD too, and not just because if you change the J to a G you have a great tasting beer (hahaha, bad attempt at humor!) I so wish I could enter the contest this month, because it is such a good contest.

I also agree about the books spanning the generation gap. I'm 30 and just loved them, and I think any one who reads them will!

Thanks Again for entering!!!

angela said...

Saw your link over at the MJD fan club site..
My favorite super power would probably telekinesis.

My one main complaint with Playing with Fire.. the "super hero name" she gave the heroin: Wonder Girl. Sorry, it's taken by a DC hero from the Teen Titans.. Wonder Woman's protégé. Just bugs me since I'm a comic book lover. I would have preferred an original name.

Paula Guran said...

I'm editing a new line of paranormal and fantasy called Juno Books. Really just commenting so you will contact me (editor@juno-books.com) and I can hook up with some review copies. Also, for writers, we are looking for novels and for readers (and writers) we are looking for recommendations for our annual "year's best" anthology.

So, I didn't mean this to be a crass commercial, but the guidelines are on the Juno Books Web site.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I asked my daughter, Jordan, what she would want for a super power. She said "invisibility". When I asked why she came up with a couple of answers:
1) It would be great to be able to play tricks on your friends!
2)New way not to be late for class--if you are invisible you can usually go through walls so you could just slip into class late and appear in your chair!

The Jennifer Scales book sounds funny--I am sure that Jordan would love it! But it also goes to show you that there really are no new ideas--I just thought of the dragon thing for a book I am writing and here it is already done... (sigh) Oh well, the story isn't anything similar, but here I thought I was onto something cool and new! LOL!

Anonymous said...

Wow! What black hole have I fallen into? I had no idea that MJD write YA. I love her. I don't have any kids, but I still need to read this. Thanks for the review.

What superpower would I like? Thats tough. I guess I might like to fly. I'd like to be a shapeshifter that could morph into a bird or Pegasus or something. :)

Kay said...

Hello! It's Gret, and I read the Jennifer Scales And the Ancient Furnace (thanks to Charity), and I loved it! So thanks, Char.

It actually turned out to be better than I had expected. See, I thought that it was going to be one of those cheesy paranormal books and wouldn't ever amount up to my beloved Harry Potter books. So I was a bit surprised when I got home last night and started reading... I got home around 9:00-9:15 and was bored. Tried watching a movie and it didn't do a thing. So I went uptairs 'round 9:30 and started reading the book. After reading for a while, I looked at the clock in my room, and from what seemed only ten minutes turned out to be more like... 3 hours. I mean no other book had made me lose track of time quite like that. Not even the beloved Potter. And so now I am buggin' mom like crazy to go to Borders (mom:breakfast needs to be cleaned up. me: the guys can do it! we girls ALWAYS do. mom: *snicker*) so we can get the next one(s). And maybe a few others that I wanted. She doesn't know that yet though. hehe. So, Charity, thank you so so so so SOOOOO much for that book! But now I must bid you goodbye. Borders, here I come!

p.s.- As for the "superhero thing", it's kind of a cross between quite a few of the X-Men powers. Mind Reading- Xavier; Power Sucking- Rogue; ShapeShifting- Mystique. All put into one. I just think that those ones are pretty cool. ;)

Cherry Tea said...

Silly girl, I would never send you a cheesy book :) I'm so glad you liked it and the other one will be on the way to you probably tonight. So you can do your chores now, sorry.