Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Book Review: ‘The Blackwell Family Secret: The Guardians of Sin’ by Jonathan L. Ferrara


blackwellThe Blackwell Family Secret: The Guardians of Sin is book 1 in Jonathan L. Ferrara’s YA urban fantasy series. I must say this was a thoroughly enjoyable read, and I can’t wait to read the sequel.
After his parents are killed by a demon, sixteen-year-old Nicholas Blackwell is put under the protection of the Vatican and sent to a boarding school surrounded by a deep forest: St. Christopher’s Academy, complete with iron gates, gargoyle statues, and gateposts that leer at him. As his life is in danger, this is the only place where he can be kept safe. One night he ventures into the woods and a serpent tricks him into eating the forbidden fruit, with disastrous consequences–for the Guardians of the Seven Deadly Sins have been unleashed, and now Nicholas must go into the City of Demons and defeat the Princes of Hell, and in the process discover his family secret, one that could change the entire world…A daunting task for a teen, even if he happens to be the school’s cockiest leader of mischief.
I loved the book. Nicholas is a charming protagonist, cleaver, arrogant, yet brave and selfless at times. Ferrara’s world, inspired by Biblical tales, of course, is elaborate and imaginative. I especially loved his focus on the Seven Deadly Sins–what they are, where they came from, etc. Angels and demons are intertwined with fantasy elements, and the whole concept of good and evil is explored.
There’s romance, action, adventure, and mystery. It is also a bit dark at times, which I enjoyed. Ferrara is a talented writer, his prose smooth and his dialogue witty. The pace was excellent and the story kept moving forward with increasing tension until the very satisfying ending that left me hungry for book 2. Recommended!
Find out more on Amazon.
My review was originally published in Blogcritics.
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Friday, January 9, 2015

Book Review: The Boy Who Couldn't Cry Wolf, by Caldric Blackwell


Title: The Boy Who Couldn’t Cry Wolf
Author: Caldric Blackwell
Publisher: Icasm Press
Pages: 32
Genre: Children’s Picture Book
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

Six-year-old Byron Woodward is a werewolf who can’t howl. Determined not to embarrass himself after being chosen to lead a full-moon ceremony, he embarks on a mission to learn how to howl. He learns a lot about howling during his journey, but more importantly, he learns a valuable lesson about believing in himself.

My thoughts...

I love werewolves and I love picture books--but a picture book about werewolves? That's kind of an unusual combination. So I was curious. Well, The Boy Who Couldn’t Cry Wolf turned out to be a pleasant surprise! I read the story with keen interest throughout, and there's was even a bit of suspense as I wondered what was going to happen. The ending was sweet and satisfying. I bet young readers will have the same reaction and will be glued to the pages, though adults might have to explain to the little ones what werewolves are. I love that the author tells an enjoyable story that also touches on important values and ideas, such as the love for nature and, more importantly, the need to believe in oneself. I hope to see more picture books from talented author Caldric Blackwell!


About the Author

Caldric Blackwell realized he loved reading when he read about a bunch of people (with single-syllable names) and their pets (also with single-syllable names) in kindergarten.

Exposure to a host of great authors while studying at the University of California, Santa Barbara inspired him to begin writing fiction. Although he began writing short stories for adults, he eventually migrated to writing children's books. His debut work is an early chapter book titled The Enchanted River Race. His second release is a picture book titled The Boy Who Couldn't Cry Wolf.

Outside of writing, Caldric enjoys hiking and playing the mandolin, banjo, and guitar. Caldric currently resides in California.

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