I smiled the entire time I read this book. It’s sweet, fun, colorful, imaginative, and includes wonderful lessons for any child or adult. The wordplay often made me chuckle, and the writing proves Mr. Estrada is a poet even in prose. The story reminded me at times of “Alice in Wonderland ” and at times of “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory” while always being unique as well. Great characters, fantastical adventures, beautiful language – I was hooked.
This is a book I will definitely buy in paperback for my kid to treasure.
See it on Amazon!
Have you ever wanted to read a book that dreams about becoming a Studio Ghibli film? Well now you can. Given to Fly is the 13th book by Puerto Rican indie author JD Estrada and his first full length middle grade fantasy novel. But more importantly, it’s a book with a lot of heart and no violence.
If you see movies, TV, video games, or the news at any given moment, it’s almost as if violence is a required ingredient in whatever medium we enjoy. Given to Fly is a book that avoids the use of violence even when it talks about real issues like death, financial and professional struggles, and life in general in favor of finding joy and life lessons through the fantastical.
At 11 years old, John Rivers is a kind hearted kid who dreams about flying. He’s just moved to the Pacific Northwest with his family to a house that although it’s very lovely and very cozy, it’s not exactly magical. What he doesn’t know is that magic is actually closer than he thinks.
After strolling up a hill near his house, he finds a cliff with a cove at the bottom and a huge tree growing over the water. What’s special about this particular tree is that it currently serves as the resting spot for a house that defies logic while embracing the amazing. As curious as he is kind, one look at Od Manor would have been all it takes for him to consider heading into the sideways house, but when he sees a shadow inside, he climbs down to make sure no one is in trouble. Once inside, he discovers that no one is in trouble but that the term living room has never been as literal as when an ottoman starts asking questions. The house’s owner is called Fäet Odstein, which would be odd enough if he weren’t also the literary persona of JD Estrada. Adventure ensues as Fäet discovers that John dreams about flying. Intent on helping the boy out, they seek the help from a library pillaging bookworm, angels, spiders, and even take a moment to contemplate at the meaning of life in the linen lagoon as they try to discover what it takes to fly.
Apart from a whimsical adventure that feels like a lover letter to works by Hayao Miyazaki, Given to Fly is also the first of what will be a series of stand-alone middle-grade novels with Fäet Odstein as one of its protagonists. The purpose of these books shall be to offer stories without violence that hopefully get more children to read and dream.
Influenced by Hayao Miyazaki, Peter Pan, and dreams of flight, Given to Fly is a book full of heart that skips the violence in favor of the fantastical.
This is not the first time JD Estrada has written middle grade fantasy stories. His Daydreams on the Sherbet Shore have been described as whimsical bedtime stories with a lot of heart. That same heart was the main driver for this story. Like most of his works, Given to Fly was written longhand in one of the best gifts Estrada has ever received in his life. A long time ago, his wife gifted him a hard cover notebook. The image on it was particularly special to him. She had asked him what image meant the most to him. Without batting an eye, he looked up the image to the Pearl Jam single by the same name. A couple of months later and with misty eyes, he had a hard cover notebook with that same image and the name could only be Given to Fly. But what to write about…
The question lingered in the air and rumbled in his brain until a trip to Orlando had him and his wife going to Epcot Center and getting on the Soarin’ ride for the first time. As sights, sounds, and smells washed over him in the beautiful flight simulator, an idea was born and by the end, he had soared right into an epiphany. “It’s going to be about a boy who dreams about flying,” he told his wife through tears of joy after getting off the ride.
Several years have passed after that ride and finally Given to Fly is ready for you to read. It is a tribute to things that bring him joy and a song that makes his soul smile.
In honor of the band that has inspired his life so much, all proceeds for Given to Fly and all other Estrada books for the remainder of 2018 shall be donated to Actionforjackson.org in support of #EBAwareness. Epidermolysis Bullosa is a family of rare genetic disorders that affect the body’s largest organ: the skin. Eddie Vedder (lead singer for Pearl Jam) has worked hard to support this cause. It is a small token of gratitude for everything the band means to Estrada and aligns with his #Humans4Humans efforts to support different causes and try to make a positive impact through his writing and any other efforts to support good causes that help our fellow humans.
Find JD at:
Website – www.jdestradawriter.blogspot.com
Twitter – www.twitter.com/JDEstradawriter
Instagram – http://instagram.com/jdestradawriter/
Google+ – https://plus.google.com/u/0/
Facebook page – www.facebook.com/JDEstradawriter
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard
Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/j-d-estrada
In this ten novel boxed set, indie publishing’s greatest superhero authors will introduce you to the heroes that save the world and the villains scheming to destroy it. Whether you like dystopian heroes, modern capes and cowls, champions of a bygone era, or guardians past their prime, you’ll love the high-octane adventure in this boxed set.
1. “Serpent’s Sacrifice” by Trish Heinrich
2. “Morning Sun” by Jeremy Flagg
3. “Action Figures” by Michael Bailey
4. “Supervillain High” by Gerhard Gehrke
5. “Origin” by David Neth
6. “Sidekick” by Christopher Valin
7. “The Kota” by Sunshine Somerville
8. “Super” by Karen Diem
9. “Wearing the Cape” by Marion G. Harmon
10. “Hero Status” by Kristen Brand
Buy Heroes and Villains today and suit up for the ride of a lifetime!
A lot of new fantasy stories about knights, lords and ladies, and ancient lands feel like “Game of Thrones” these days, so if you’re into that kind of story but more for a YA audience, this book could be for you. With multiple characters’ points of view, you get a good cast to add depth to the plot. Also, the authors do a good job of creating a fantasy realm that feels familiar and unique at the same time.
That said, there were some things that bugged me. For one, the story is a very, very slow build. This isn’t entirely bad because this is a first book in a series and you want to get to know the characters. All the political intrigue makes for a good, suspenseful read. However, when the action finally takes place at the end of the book, it’s over really quickly and you’re left with a cliffhanger just when things are finally getting good. I also felt like some of the characters were a little blah or set up to be interesting but then didn’t live up to their potential. Duchess Isolda in particular is introduced as having a complex double life, but then nothing much comes of it. Oriana is a typical, boy-obsessed princess type. Terric’s subplot was good, but he was really selfish and kept screwing everything up in annoying ways. Bastian was easily my favorite, and his pet squirrel might be the smartest character. But Rixin and Marcus were vague and underdeveloped, and I didn’t care about Garrion at all.
The writing itself is well done. It was easy to follow the dialogue, and each character had their own voice so that their chapters felt like everything was definitely from their point of voice. The action was easy to follow. The descriptions were just enough to put a clear picture in your head without overdoing it.
If you’re looking for a lighter “Game of Thrones,” give this a shot.
See it on Amazon!
We’re within the final week to enter the paperback giveaways for my soon-to-be-released Urban Fantasy book, Alterni! If you’ve missed out on entering these contests so far, I’ve compiled ALL of them below. Just click the below posts, comment with your answer (they don’t even have to be the right answers!), and you’re entered to win 1 of 10 paperbacks that I’ll give away on 12/12/2017.
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Not all alternate reality versions of Esme are human. Two alt-Esmes were from paranormal races. What type of paranormals do you think they were? Comment with your answer to enter Sunshine Somerville's Paperback Giveaway #1 for "ALTERNI." Giveaway Winners will be announced 12/12/2017. . . . #AltWorldChronicles #urbanfantasy #scifi #bookporn #booknerd #bookstagram #authorsofinstagram #books #scifantasy #read #newrelease #author #novels #bookgames #giveaways #bookgiveaways #paperbackgiveaway #bookcharacter
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Fill in the blank! Comment with your answer to enter Sunshine Somerville's Paperback Giveaway #2 for "ALTERNI." Giveaway Winners will be announced 12/12/2017. . . . #AltWorldChronicles #urbanfantasy #scifi #bookporn #booknerd #bookstagram #authorsofinstagram #books #scifantasy #read #newrelease #author #novels #bookgames #giveaways #bookgiveaways #paperbackgiveaway #bookcharacterday
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Win a PAPERBACK! Who does Owen say this to? Comment with your answer to enter Sunshine Somerville's Paperback Giveaway #3 for "ALTERNI." Giveaway Winners will be announced 12/12/2017. . . . #AltWorldChronicles #urbanfantasy #scifi #bookporn #booknerd #bookstagram #authorsofinstagram #books #scifantasy #read #newrelease #author #novels #bookgames #giveaways #bookgiveaways #paperbackgiveaway #bookcharacter
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Fill in the blank! Comment with your answer to enter Sunshine Somerville's Paperback Giveaway #4 for "ALTERNI." Giveaway Winners will be announced 12/12/2017. . . . #AltWorldChronicles #urbanfantasy #scifi #bookporn #booknerd #bookstagram #authorsofinstagram #books #scifantasy #read #newrelease #author #novels #bookgames #giveaways #bookgiveaways #paperbackgiveaway #bookcharacter
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Which monster would you least like to fight? Comment with your answer to enter Sunshine Somerville's Paperback Giveaway #5 for "ALTERNI." Giveaway Winners will be announced 12/12/2017. . (Psst. This is the first sneak peek at part of the "MALEVOLENCI" Cover) . #AltWorldChronicles #urbanfantasy #scifi #bookporn #booknerd #bookstagram #authorsofinstagram #books #scifantasy #read #newrelease #author #novels #bookgames #giveaways #bookgiveaways #paperbackgiveaway
Enter as many contests as you want to increase your chances to win!
I’m having so much fun writing this new series with new characters, a new world, and new monsters! Here’s the brand new cover for The Alt-World Chronicles Book 1, ALTERNI.
Ever have a nightmare where you’re naked in public? What if everyone else in the room was also naked…and also a version of yourself? That’s the reality Esme Kuchis finds herself in, and soon things get even weirder.
She’s not in her Kansas City anymore. This alternate world is home to an ancient, secret Order with a king, conjuri magicians, cavali fighters, and dozens of paranormal races. And the purpose of this magical Order? They protect an unsuspecting public from malevolenci, demonic beasts from otherworldly rifts.
As an alterni summoned to this world, Esme must partner with the king and fight using magic only an alterni can wield. Unfortunately, the model-perfect King Owen is broken by grief and guilt, the Order has little faith in her, and the malevolenci are worse than ever.
Eight alt-Esmes preceded her. Eight lost their lives. Can Esme use her unique gifts to master this world’s magic? If she can’t, the consequences might be more devastating than Owen is willing to say.
Stay tuned for some cool stuff ahead until the book release on 12/12/17.
I love good world-building in Fantasy, and this book is packed with it. Many elements of the scenery, races, politics, and religions feel familiar but not directly copied from anything in particular, and it was a nice balance between originality and common elements of the genre. I enjoyed how each of the main characters showed their different peoples and parts of the world (Mud, Rocks, and Trees), and we got deeper into each through their POVs.
The main characters are kids, but they are quickly forced to mature beyond their years. There’s a great sense of urgency throughout the book, a bit of mystery as the kids try to figure everything out, and you grow to care about each of them enough to keep you reading to find out what happens next. The minor characters are also pretty well fleshed out, and I liked that the families of each were explained – a lot of child heroes seem to spring forth from no significant background.
Like I said, there is a LOT of world-building description in this lengthy read. At times there’s maybe a little too much that gets in the way of the plot moving forward, but there are good bits of action as well. Very early on this action gets pretty violent, so I’d be careful about suggesting this to readers that might be a little too young/sensitive for that kind of thing.
My biggest aggravation was that the story just stopped at the end. There was no sense that this was a story complete unto itself that resolved anything. The book just stopped. I suspect this is one of those series where the author chopped the series into divided books, so the first book “ended” here. I guess you could look at this first book as “okay, this is how the adventure starts” and then expect it to pick right up in book 2, but it always bugs me when a book isn’t in at least some way a complete story.
That said, this is a very enjoyable read. The writing is sharp, the characters are likeable, and it’s a good world to dive into.
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First, beautiful cover. I feel like it fits the playful, whimsical, slightly mysterious tone of the story.
Second, I loved the complex and unique use of memories. It was a great way to shape the fantastical world Daisy finds herself in, and it was a neat way to bring so many fantastical elements together – in a world of happy memories and dreams, anything goes! The danger of Daisy losing memories added a great sense of tension. Her romantic partnership with her best friend Roger was also believable and made me care about the characters. And, how she gradually learns how to save the day was creative and pulled it all together.
I have to admit that Daisy’s character bugged me a bit. At times she’s loving and confident and brave. At other times she flies off the handle and is snippy and doesn’t think before saying or doing something stupid. This would sometimes all happen in the same scene, and it felt a little unnatural. Also, towards the middle of the book, the maturity level of the writing shifted weirdly. The book was plugging away and feeling very YA, and then suddenly it was like the dialogue and action were more fitting for a far younger audience. I still liked the story during this part, but it was a bit jolting to read.
BUT, I really enjoyed the last half of the book. I felt like the plot finally had solid direction, and I loved how everything I’d been wondering about came together. The twist towards the end was pretty cool too – although you worry for a second. And I really liked the time jump at the end that further showed how everything turned out.
Overall, I’d recommend this for anyone who likes YA fantasies that give you a mystery to figure out.
See it on Amazon!
A bit of time goes by between the first book and this one, and the maturity level definitely goes up as well. It’s nice to see Daisy has moved out of her teens but is still young enough to struggle with questions about life and who she is. For that reason the book still feels YA, but it’s definitely not as light as the first. This story is a lot darker. There’s dark magic, many skeletons, murder, etc., and the Theater of Secrets is definitely a dramatic place full of dangerous characters.
I liked how this plot felt much more straightforward than the first book. While there are still plenty of magical surprises, this world also feels more familiar. I think that makes the danger to Daisy that much more suspenseful. She again made decisions that annoyed me, but considering her emotional state, it kind of makes sense.
I loved how the plot thickened and you were never really sure what to believe – and Daisy wasn’t either. Is her own mind tricking her? Is Mr. Black telling the truth after all and there’s going to be a huge twist on everything we thought we knew as a reader so far? This story definitely kept me turning the pages as I tried to sort it all out. I liked how certain things from the first book tied in here, but it’s definitely a new story. And the end certainly suggests Daisy has more to learn.
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A Darling Secret
Strange Luck series, Book 3
Coming September 22, 2017
Learn the fate of your favorite heroes and love-to-hate foes in the thrilling conclusion to Amie Irene Winters’ bestselling Strange Luck series.
Before the Theater of Secrets was formed, before the Nameless was built, before Daisy Darling learned of her magical bloodline, there was the Realm of the Shadow Gods—ruled by the most powerful and wicked creatures known.
For nearly two decades, Daisy’s twin sister, Rose, was held captive by the Shadow Gods and survived. Now Rose has come to find Daisy to stop their impending evil from spreading into the human world. But Rose bears a terrible secret that has the power to destroy everything.
In the devastating Realm of the Shadow Gods, dark magic holds no bounds. Daisy will risk everything to save those she loves, but will the truth finally break her?
Unlock the final book in the Strange Luck series with A Darling Secret.
Pre-order today, read it September 22, 2017.
A Darling Secret excerpt:
A slow, creeping fear wound its way around me.
Tiptoeing around the mysterious plain, too afraid to call out, a surprising wisp of music came floating through the air. It was a jingly little melody—like a music box—followed by soft voices.
I paused. Through the violet-stained sky and swirling rainbow mist I saw something moving. My eyes narrowed as I stealthily approached an illuminated cave.
Shadows were gathering there.
A Darling Secret Amazon link:
MEET AMIE IRENE WINTERS
Amie Irene Winters was born and raised in California but now lives and writes in western Pennsylvania. She is the author of the bestselling Strange Luck series.
When not writing, she can be found hiking with her dog, baking desserts, or breaking a sweat in kickboxing class.
To learn more about Amie and her books, visit amieirenewinters.com.
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Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00XZ88V5A