Today I am pleased to welcome Victoria Simcox the author of The Magic Warble, an exciting middle grade magical adventure that is a reminiscent of C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia. Here is a Victoria to tell you all a little bit about her books.
My novels, The Magic Warble and The Black Shard, are fantasy stories, listed as Juvenile fiction. Even though labeled for kids and teens, I know that some of us seasoned adults still have a trace of that childlike wonder in us that provokes us to escape into a magical world every now and then … at least I still do.
Growing up reading C.S. Lewis’s beloved Narnia Chronicles has influenced me in writing The Magic Warble, a story about a 12 year old girl named Kristina Kingsly, who hates to go to school because she doesn’t fit in. She’s bullied by some of her peers, and they make her daily life miserable.
I created this part of my main character's life because as a child, I had experienced dealing with bullies in school, and I remember hating to go because of them.
I named the main character “Kristina” after my daughter Kristina, who is now 17. Though they have the same name, my book’s character is not actually characterized after my daughter. Kristina in The Magic Warble is definitely her own unique person.
The Black Shard is the sequel to The Magic Warble and takes place 3 years later when Kristina is 15 years old. She and her school-mates are once again magically transported back to the land of Bernovem. This story is not only filled with adventure, intrigue, suspense but it also deals with the first feelings of teenage love. Check out my personal blog. There you will find many reviews as well as book giveaways.
Victoria was born in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, to an Austrian immigrant mother, and a Dutch immigrant father. She now lives in Western Washington with her husband, Russ and their three children, Toby, Kristina, and William. Her other family members are a Chihuahua, named Pipsy and two cats, named Frodo and Fritz. Besides being an author, Victoria is a home-schooling mother of twelve years and an elementary school art teacher of eleven years. In her spare time, Victoria enjoys managing her two older children's Celtic band. She also loves writing, reading, painting watercolors, hiking, good movies, and just simply hanging out with her family and friends.
Thank you so much Victoria for being here today and for the giveaway.
Best of luck to you. You can find Victoria on her blog, website, Goodreads, Facebook and Twitter. Her books are available for purchase on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and are a great value at only $2.99 each. Victoria is kindly offering a chance to win an ebook copy of her book The Magic Warble. To enter please fill out the rafflecopter. See Contest Polices for all details. Good Luck! See my review below. a Rafflecopter giveaway
The Magic Warble by Victoria Simcox
Twelve-year-old Kristina Kingsly feels like the most unpopular girl in her school. The kids all tease her, and she never seems to fit in. But when Kristina receives an unusual Christmas gift, she suddenly finds herself magically transported to the land of Bernovem, home of dwarfs, gnomes, fairies, talking animals and the evil Queen Sentiz.
In Bernovem, Kristina not only fits in, she's honored as "the chosen one," the only one who can release the land from Queen Sentiz's control. But it's not as simple as it seems. To save Bernovem, she must place the gift she was given, the famous "Magic Warble," in its final resting place. She must travel through the deep forest, climb a treacherous mountain, and risk capture by the queen's "zelbocks" before she reaches her destination. Guided by her new fairy friends, Clover and Looper and by Prince Werrien, a teenage boy, and an assortment of other characters, Kristina sets off on a perilous journey that not only tests her strength but her heart.
Paperback, 268 pages
Published February 1st 2009 by Two Harbors Press (MN)
Three and a half stars: A fun, magical adventure for middle grade readers.
Kristina is dreading the last day of school before Christmas break. She tries to hide under her soft pillow and burrow deeper into her blankets, but alas her efforts fail and she is now running late. Grabbing her pet rat, Raymond, she makes a mad dash to the bus. At last, she has survived another day at school. Unfortunately for Christina, school is not always pleasant. She is often picked on, but thankfully she has Raymond and her favorite teacher, Miss Hensley. At the end of the day, Miss Hensley gives Kristina a rather unusual gift. An old hat box that buzzes strangely. On the bus, two of her nemesis attempt to take the box, but thankfully she is rescued by the kindly bus driver. At home safe in her room, Christina opens the box to find a strange, tarnished ball. Puzzled she puts the box away and goes to bed. Somehow the silver marble falls down the laundry shoot. Christina hangs down the laundry shoot attempting to retrieve it. She loses her grip and slides down the laundry shoot. When she opens her eyes, she finds herself in a strange land under a pile of leaves. A great adventure awaits Christina. It seems she is destined to fulfill an old prophecy and return the magic warble to its resting place. Unfortunately, there are others who wish to destroy the warble. Can Christina safely get the magic warble to its resting spot?
What I Liked:
- The Magic Warble is an entertaining adventure read that will appeal to younger readers. This book has lots of action, danger, magic and more. If you know a middle grader that likes fantasy adventure books, this is a good pick.
- I enjoyed all the magical characters in this book. There are dwarves, gnomes, fairies, and numerous talking animals. The variety of characters will appeal to a young reader with an active imagination.
- I liked that one of the main messages of this book is to not give up, to keep going and keep trying, even when the odds are stacked against you, persevere.
- I enjoyed all the surprises and plot twists in this one. There were traitorous betrayals and redemptions throughout. This book keeps you guessing as to everyone's true intentions and there were definitely a couple of jaw dropping surprises.
- This book is appropriate for the middle grade reader.
And The Not So Much:
- This is a personal preference, I was a little put off at the wicked Queen's constant berating and use of words such as stupid and so on. Granted, I realize it was all done in order to show how depraved she was, but I would prefer a little less of the derogatory words in a middle grade book.
- I was left with a couple of lingering questions: why did her teacher give her the magic warble to begin with? Why did Rumalock behave the way he did? How did the wicked Queen usurp the previous rulers? Also the book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, leaving the reader wondering what will happen next to Christina.
- I know I am not the target audience so this probably won't be an issue for younger readers. I would love just a bit more detail in the world building.
The Magic Warble is a fast and engaging read for younger readers. It is a bit reminiscent of C.S. Lewis' The Lion Witch and the Wardrobe. A young girl unexpectedly finds herself in a strange land inhabited by dwarves, gnomes, fairies and talking animals as well as a cruel Queen. Christina faces a daunting task: return the warble to lift the curse. This book has lots of action and surprises that will engage young readers. Look for the sequel: The Black Shard available now.
"The load of worry began to get very heavy, and he felt things couldn't possibly get any worse."
"Look at your friend. Why don't you follow her example? He pointed to Davina, who was calmly gazing out at the Indra River and picking her nose. "She seems to be having a nice time."
"Her majesty---what an unsuitable title for such a horrible being, he thought."
"Don't worry about it, if you don't have many friends at school, you're a unique girl and if you find a few unique friends in life, be grateful for that."
I won a copy of this book. I received no compensation for this review.