Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Quick Request

We interrupt your regularly scheduled blog posts for this special news announcement.

A friend of mine, Alexandria Buller, made a video as part of a contest to win a full-tuition scholarship at Abilene Christian University. In this touching video, she talks about some of her experiences caring for orphaned or impoverished kids while she and her family were serving as missionaries in Liberia.

She made it to the finals, which means now she needs some help to keep advancing. To help, you can like her video on YouTube, share it from YouTube, or vote for her on the ACU site. The deadline for this is really tight- January 21- so if you could take a few minutes right now to do that, I know she'd really appreciate it (and I would as well). Thanks!

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Random Fridays: YA Would You Rather

Happy Dragon Appreciation Day! This week's Random Friday theme, sadly, has nothing to do with dragons, but it is really fun: YA Would You Rather? I love "would you rather"/"this or that" games, so I'm super excited to answer Emma's WYR questions.

Would you rather . . .
. . . go to Panem or the world of Divergent?
No question: Divergent world, any day. It's a mess, sure, but it's less than a mess than Panem, and I think I'd have a considerably higher chance of survival.
. . . read/reread the Matched trilogy or The Selection trilogy?
Reread The Selection trilogy. I read the first Matched book, and though I'm halfheartedly considering reading the rest of the trilogy in hopes that it'll get better, I'd rather reread The Selection books.

. . . go on an adventure with Hermione or Cinder?
Pffffff. Is that even a question? Cinder, definitely!

. . . be a Gallagher Girl or go to Hogwarts?
Gallagher Girl, as I'm not a Harry Potter fan. Besides, being a spy would be cool. (Though I'd probably be less inclined towards fieldwork and more inclined towards tactics, intelligence analysis, etc.)

. . . be in Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw?
I haven't read HP, so . . . Google to the rescue! From what I read on the Harry Potter wiki, I'd probably go for Ravenclaw.
. . . spend your wish on Disney World or Amsterdam?
I don't know. Probably Amsterdam; the Netherlands are pretty high on my places-I'd-like-to-go list.
. . . date Captain Thorne or Levi (from Fangirl)?
Ooh, that's a hard question. I love Captain Thorne, but I just looked up Levi on Wikipedia (since I haven't read Fangirl), and he sounds really nice. I guess I'll go with Captain Thorne because, y'know, Thorne

. . . go back in time to The Book Thief or Grave Mercy?
Grave Mercy. I haven't read it (or The Book Thief, for that matter), but it's set in just-past-medieval times, so it would be cook to visit that time period. Also, I really wouldn't want to live through World War II.

What would your answers to these questions be? Please tell me in the comments, or make your own Random Fridays post!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)  

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Dragon Appreciation Day!

Hello, everyone! Tomorrow is Dragon Appreciation Day! This celebration of dragons was started in 2004 by Donita K. Paul, an awesome Christian fantasy author, in honor of the release of DragonSpell. It's a day to celebrate dragons in literature, whether by reading about them, making art featuring them, or by doing something else dragon related. In honor of the day- and to help you figure out how to celebrate- I thought I'd tell you about some of my favorite dragon-related books.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
The best place to start is always with the classics- and anyway, who doesn't love Smaug? (Inasmuch as you can love an evil, fire-breathing dragon, anyway.) Or, if you like, you could also try "Farmer Giles of Ham", a short story Tolkien wrote concerning a farmer who's pushed into being a hero when a dragon turns up near his village.

Heartless or Golden Daughter by Anne Elisabeth Stengl.  
Heartless especially. The Dragon is the most terrifying dragon I've ever encountered, and for that reason, he's also my favorite dragon (just barely beating out Smaug). Of course, both these books feature dragons other than the Dragon, though they're less terrifying because- well, fans of Goldstone Wood know why, and anyone else will just have to read the books to find out.

The DragonKeeper Chronicles or Chiril Chronicles by Donita K. Paul
Of course, we can't leave out the books that actually started Dragon Appreciation Day! My favorite part of both of these series is probably the minor dragons. They're so CUTE, especially Gymn. And I know that "cute" and "dragon" are not words one would generally put together, but . . . cute! dragons! It's like cute kittens, only better, because dragons. (Coincidentally, minor dragons also inspired certain dragons in my own writing. I squee over them- well, one of them- too.)
Dragons in Our Mist and sequel series by Bryan Davis
This is the series I'll probably be celebrating with, since it's been on my to-be-reread list for a long while. I love DioM and its sequel series; Mr. Davis is an amazing author, and I love the way he combines Biblical truths, ancient legend, and modern-day fantasy adventure into one great story. (Well, series of stories.) Also, the DioM and sequel series have the most dragons-as-major-characters of any book or series on this list.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
I mentioned this book in my Top Ten Books/Series of 2014 post, and what I said there still stands: Seraphina is awesome, and the dragons aren't quite like any others I've read. There are similarities, true, but they're still very much unique. The worldbuilding is also very good- not Sanderson or Tolkien level, but impressive all the same.

Are you going to do to celebrate Dragon Appreciation Day? How? What are your favorite dragon-related books? Please tell me in the comments!
Nai haryuvalyë melwa rë!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)   

Monday, January 12, 2015

THAW Series Launch!

Hello, everyone! I'm finally breaking my silence to join the blog hop for a new fairytale retelling series that just released this weekend: Thaw, by E. Kaiser Writes!

The Thaw series, books 1-3:

 Winter's Child
A barren king and queen pray for a child, and when in their loneliness, they make one out of snow, their prayers are answered in a special, and unusual way. 

 Sometimes, when we get what we wish for, we don't know what to do with it.

Winter's Queen
A slightly pampered girl allows her avoidance behavior to isolate her from the world... and it's only when she takes the final step that the realizes the wall she's built in the name of safety is also the one that will hold her prisoner forever... unless she discovers how to destroy it.

 The only one who can break a neurosis... is the one who has it.

Prince of Demargen
The whole world knows his guilt, and is absolutely correct about it, but how far can a man go to regain respect so swiftly lost?
 Or is an honorable death the best a fallen star can hope for?

 The only person who can help him... is the one he most deeply wronged.

I'm always excited for new fairy tale remakes, and these ones sound really cool (pun very much intended). They retell the stories, "The Snow Maiden", "The Snow Queen" (of Frozen fame), "Snegurken" (which I had to look up because I've never heard of it), and others. Since I haven't seen a lot of retellings of these fairy tales, I'm eager to find out what the Thaw series will be like. Apparently, there's also going to be a spin-off series with retellings of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses", "Cinderella", "Rapunzel", and possibly others, which I'm nearly as excited about. (Anyone want to guess which one in particular I'm most looking forward to?)  On her site, the author describes the series as "a ride into the world of the unknown, on glittering icy swans and a wind that can blow you anywhere you'd least expect it"- sounds like lots of fun to me!

So, who else is excited for the Thaw series? While you're waiting to check it out, be sure to click through the rest of the blog hop and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win one of six copies of this series! You can also connect with E. Kaiser Writes on her blog, her website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.  

Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)