B.C.R. Fegan’s Henry and the Hidden Treasure is the story of one little boy’s quest to keep his “treasure” a secret from one person in particular. Henry’s tale of overwhelming desire to keep his treasure box from his sister’s clutches leads the reader on a journey into a child’s imagination and its endless possibilities. The threat posed by his baby sister is the driving force behind a long string of scenarios designed to trick, intimidate, and trap his sister as he shields his beloved treasure from her greedy hands. Henry, for all his planning, learns a valuable lesson about jumping to conclusions in the process.
Henry and the Hidden Treasure is a delight in both text and illustrations. As a third grader teacher and parent and one who has read more than my share of picture books to Kindergarten through 5th grade students, I can say Fegan has written a real gem. Children of all ages love a surprise ending, and the author has more than provided such a conclusion with a fantastic build-up and an added bonus on the last page. Teachers appreciate the opportunity to have students predict endings, and Fegan and Wen’s last page of text allows us to do just that with the simple yet powerful lone illustration of Lucy stealthily peeking at Henry.
The author/illustrator team of Fegan and Wen has created a story for both families and classrooms. The older brother versus baby sister dynamic is addressed via detailed, colorful illustrations which demonstrate the intensity of a child’s imagination. Each subsequent illustration adds a sense of drama children find appealing. My personal favorite of all the illustrations, as a mother, is the one depicting the reality of Henry’s room.
Teachers looking to create text sets for their students will find Henry and the Hidden Treasure a delightful addition to sets alongside books like Charlie McButton Lost Power where sibling rivalry is the theme. With the open-ended conclusion given by Fegan and Wen, I certainly hope there is a sequel to the saga of Henry and Lucy.
Pages: 32 | ASIN: B0719JXRRT
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When a historical fantasy grips you from the very first page, you know you are in for an excellent read. With Apollo’s Raven by Linnea Tanner, we are brought into the world of the not-so-distant past when Rome set their sights on Britannia. We follow the experience of our protagonist Celtic princess Catrin and her star-crossed Roman lover, Marcellus. On opposing sides of a battle that grows fiercer with every passing day. There is more to this tale than love and war for magic and mysticism are part of the lifeblood of our characters. This is more than a tale of might and magic. This is also a tale of a woman coming into her own as a powerful warrior and a strong mystic. Catrin has faced uncertainty and hardship even within her own family. When pitted against the Roman Empire will she find the strength she needs to survive?
When you write a story that has its base in history, research is a must. You cannot simply write whatever you wish and hope that it makes sense. Tanner realizes this and does her best to research her time period. How people acted, how they dressed, their beliefs and their mannerisms are carefully reviewed in this tale. At the end of the book she does acknowledge that the Celts did not leave much written history. This is a blessing for a writer though, because it leaves an open creative license. Since they didn’t keep records, who is to say that the druids did not behave in exactly the same way they did in this book? This is where the fantasy aspect comes in. Tanner is careful not to get too carried away and the tale feels believable and relatable.
Tanner begins each chapter with a brief excerpt. This gives the reader a sense of where the story is going. This can be a useful tool when you take long gaps between readings. While there is some slightly graphic content, a teenager would find this to be a friendly reminder of what is about to happen and can help jog the memory if they haven’t picked up the book in some time.
The way Tanner portrays women in this book is also very empowering. Our protagonist is a princess, yet she is not fragile. There is no Snow White here. She is forged with fire and metal and trains to be able to reach the pinnacle of fortitude her eldest sister has. For a young woman who is trying to figure out where she belongs in her world, this tale is relatable to other young women in our timeline who are also trying to figure out where they belong.
If you’re looking for something entertaining with a fast, action-paced rhythm, Apollo’s Raven by Linnea Tanner is a definite must. The first in a series this book firmly establishes backstory while also being able to stand alone if necessary. It’s a very exciting read and readers of all ages and genders will find something to identify with in this tale. How will things turn out for Catrin? What will happen with her relationship with Marcellus, scion of the Roman Empire sent to oppress her people? You’ll have to read and find out.
Pages: 400 | ASIN: B06XJQ74H6
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Seed of Treachery takes place far in the future, where humanity is on the brink of extinction and alien star systems are on the brink of war. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?
First of all, thank you so much for your kind words on Seed Of Treachery. I’m glad you enjoyed the read. Architects as a series is actually the realization of a long-game story arc that I’ve had in my head since I was a tween or so, which went through various forms until it finally ended up in this format as a published work. Seed Of Treachery, in particular, was always intended to be just that: a seed, an introduction to the universe, with a story arc that resolves while also sending out hooks for the next books. The tragic rift between the two sisters was the first plot point that really came together as the beating heart of the story. And as I got deeper into the writing process, the Jagged Edge plotline came together, and the idea that our protagonists are fighting a war against people whose motivations they actually agree with, the more they think about it, informed the way the narrative moved forward from there.
This story follows two interesting characters, Eva and Ashy, members of a bird-like alien species. What were the driving ideals that drove the characters development throughout the story?
I think most of us can relate to Ashy, who constantly feels judged as something she’s not, tension and anxiety worming their way in with every intrusive thought. Outcast and downtrodden, I admire her spirit to keep running if it means a sliver of a chance of making right. She’s clinging to a past that was unjustly stolen from her, while Eva, always the more stoic of the two, has abandoned her past to become what some would call a beacon of hope, and others have called an ‘outlaw with exceptions’. I think one of Seed Of Treachery’s main themes is Separation, and the sisters are no exception. It’s clear that Ashy still has hope for a brighter tomorrow, but at this point, is Eva really a totem of stoic resilience, or, as a certain someone says, “a shell waiting to be shattered”?
As for their species, the arkerian race, I had a ton of fun with it, and I’m still having a ton of fun with it as I currently write the third book in the series; they have hollow bones, which means that they break easier, and they have a species-wide aptitude for feats of tricky athleticism to compensate for that, which means I always enjoy writing their action sequences. In the back of my mind, I kind of like the term ‘genetic parkour’ when summing it up.
Space adventure novels are my favorite. What were some authors and books that inspired you as a writer?
I like to think I soak up inspiration from anything and everything I can get my hands on. A lot of things that inspired this series in my formative years actually weren’t books; films like Star Wars and video games like Metroid Prime caused the sci-fi bug to bite me early on. I love entertainment-art in general, no matter the format (music, film, books, games), but I latch on to just about anything with elements of futurism, sci-fi or a speculative nature.
What was the driving force behind the idea in this novel that humans are a dying race?
It’s something a bit different, and there’s an inherent sense of intrigue behind the idea of having outraced our own extinction, I think. It turns humanity’s socio-political paradigm in this universe on its head. Lots of great sci-fi narratives depict a universe where humanity goes right from Earth to joining with a wider universe full of cool aliens and worlds, like Mass Effect (one of my personal bibles of thorough sci-fi worldbuilding) and Star Trek. In Architects, humanity’s still managed to lift up and join the Convergence, but it hasn’t been without some pretty huge speedbumps in their past that inform their future.
Where does the story go in book two of Architects of the Illusion?
Storm clouds are gathering. If Seed Of Treachery is a bit more insular – most of the action mainly takes place in a single star system – then The Great Scourge is the gateway to a larger, darker, wilder, more dangerous universe.
Earth is long-gone. In a distant future where the endangered species known as humanity has assimilated into a much broader tapestry, the star system of Arela is at the brink of war with itself. What measures are right and wrong in the moral vacuum of space? Join the last vestiges of the human race, the birdlike Arkerians, technological Terraxins and others in the first installment of Architects Of The Illusion. Though the galaxy may be won by the bolts of blasters and forbidden sciences, darkness lurks just beyond the corners of perception…
Posted in Interviews
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