Joshua Blanc's Blog: Blog of Elves and Trolls

November 22, 2011

Escape Velocity: The Anthology

I just found out this morning that my humourous time-travel story 'Jutzi Coblentz - Amish Time Traveller' appears in this anthology, published in May. It's available from Amazon as a paperback ($7.08) or kindle e-book ($2.99). Fancy that!

Pertinent links:

http://www.adventurebooksofseattle.co...

http://www.amazon.com/Escape-Velocity...

http://www.amazon.com/Escape-Velocity...
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Published on November 22, 2011 16:15 Tags: escape-velocity-the-anthology, joshua-blanc

July 18, 2011

The Road To Oz by L. Frank Baum

The Road to Oz (Oz, #5) The Road to Oz by L. Frank Baum

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I went back and read this a second time, having got hold of an illustrated edition. I still maintain that Button Bright underwent a personality change when he appeared in a later book 'The Scarecrow of Oz,' but it's clear from the descriptions and illustrations that he's a younger lad in this story.

I thought that Dorothy finding her way back to Oz (in a roundabout fashion) after the pathways get scrambled was a clever premise (and there is an explanation for this later in the book). The character Polychrome, The Rainbow's Daughter, is another clever idea and well-realised if a little sugary. One invention that always brings a smile to my face is Para Bruin, the 'Rubber Bear.' An absurd idea but a fun one. In fact there are a host of odd characters in the last few chapters which are a testament to Baum's imagination.

Of all the Oz books, this is one that really feels like a fairy story.

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Published on July 18, 2011 15:51 Tags: l-frank-baum, review, the-road-to-oz

Five Days of the Ghost, by William Bell

Five Days of the Ghost (Junior Gemini) Five Days of the Ghost by William Bell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Overall not a bad ghost story with some fun characters (particularly Chief Copegog). It's been a while since I've read a novel written in the first person, and in this case I found there were a lot of irrelevant passages (telling us what each character is wearing in every scene, for instance). The book is set in a real location (Orillia, Ontario) and delves into some historical background so it's interesting from that aspect as well.

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Published on July 18, 2011 15:22 Tags: five-days-of-the-ghost, review, william-bell

June 25, 2011

Interview and Giveaway!

Tracy's Treasure of Books has posted an interview with me and is hosting a giveaway. Here's another chance to win a paperback copy of The Crystal Goblin! Giveaway ends July 1st - Good luck!
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Published on June 25, 2011 11:46 Tags: giveaway, interview, joshua-blanc, the-crystal-goblin

May 31, 2011

Review @ Tracy's Treasure of Books

Tracy at Tracy's Treasure of Books has written a wonderful review of The Crystal Goblin. You can read it here. Thanks, Tracy!
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Published on May 31, 2011 11:21 Tags: review, the-crystal-goblin, tracy-s-treasure-of-books

May 18, 2011

Giveaway winner!

My first book giveaway has ended and the winner has been announced. Thank you to everyone that entered and that followed me on FaceBook and Goodreads. I hope to do a few more giveaways in the future so stay tuned!

P.S. if you'd like a copy of the eBook, I'm giving away a few copies in return for reviews. Just drop me a line!

All the best,
-Josh Blanc.
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Published on May 18, 2011 13:03 Tags: giveaway, the-crystal-goblin, winner

May 3, 2011

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeline L'Engle

A Wrinkle in Time (Time, #1) A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I must admit I had preconceived ideas about this book based on its title. I expected a carefree romp through the past, along the lines of E. Nesbit’s ‘The Affair of the Amulet.’ Instead, it’s more of a dark and foreboding journey through space and possible futures. The danger to the protagonists is very real and their ability to deal with it is not always certain. So, definitely not light reading, although it has its lighthearted moments.

The protagonists, Meg, Calvin, and Charles Wallace (this being his given name) are all square pegs in round holes, which makes for an interesting dynamic. The three beings known as Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which are exceptionally vivid and eccentric inventions. I could easily picture them popping up in an animated Disney film.

There are a few preaching references to God and the Bible which I could have done without, but in the end, this is a story about the strength of the family bond and its ability to overcome – literally, in this case – the darkness. It could easily have been a longer book, so it’s nice to know it was expanded into a trilogy.

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Published on May 03, 2011 14:48 Tags: a-wrinkle-in-time, madeline-l-engle

April 15, 2011

Book Giveaway and Interview

You can read an interview with me and enter to win a copy of The Crystal Goblin over at I Am A Reader, Not A Writer.

The giveaway ends on March 10th. Good luck, everyone!
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Published on April 15, 2011 15:31 Tags: giveaway, interview, the-crystal-goblin

April 11, 2011

Awake and Dreaming by Kit Pearson

Awake And Dreaming Awake And Dreaming by Kit Pearson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Awake and Dreaming is part ghost-story, part fairytale, and overall a compelling study of the harsh nature of reality. It unfolds in three acts, following the trials of a nine year-old girl named Theo, whose mother, Rae, gave birth to her when only a teen. She is dragged from school to school in the city of Vancouver. Her clothes are rarely washed, her shoes worn through. What little money Rae makes goes towards cigarettes and new clothes for herself, and when work is scarce Theo is forced to dance in the square like a performing monkey.

Theo’s only defence is to shun both scorn and pity, go zombie-like through the motions, and escape into books. I think it’s fair to say that the author is a fan of the classics. Many of the books Theo reads are named and even delved into when they have a bearing on the story.

In her mind, Theo has constructed the perfect family. When a new man enters Rae’s life, Theo is to be taken to live with her Aunt in Victoria. Instead, Theo finds herself accepted into a family very much like the one she imagined. But everything is not as it seems, and slowly the fairytale fades away.

Will Theo find her way back to her fairytale family, become a ward of her work-worn aunt, or remain stuck with her self-obsessed mother? And what of the ghost introduced in the prologue? That would be telling. Theo is a wonderfully believable character that even the most contented child should be able to identify with. She looks for hope in the most hopeless of circumstances, and magic is her reward.

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Published on April 11, 2011 14:55 Tags: awake-and-dreaming, kit-pearson

April 7, 2011

Azumanga Daioh Omnibus by Kiyohiko Azuma

Azumanga Daioh Omnibus Azumanga Daioh Omnibus by Kiyohiko Azuma
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I discovered Kiyohiko Azuma's work via his still-ongoing Yotsuba&! series, then caught a few episodes of the Azumanga Daioh anime. I guess you could call it slice-of-life comedy. There's no underlying plot beyond following the six protagonists through three years of high-school life which is slapstick-funny one moment and heartwarming the next. As you get to know each character's idiosyncrasies, recurring story elements emerge such as Sakaki's never-ending battle with 'the biting cat' and Osaka's constant struggle to stay awake in class.

The artwork is superb, the characters are immensely likeable, and there are plenty of bits and pieces that didn't make it into the anime. It's a great manga to unwind with, and one you'll want to revisit more than once.

I purchased the Yen Press edition. As well as being great value, collecting all four volumes into one book for a fraction of the price, it's lovingly translated and includes notes that explain some of the harder-to-understand jokes and Japanese culture references.

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Published on April 07, 2011 17:11 Tags: azumanga-daioh, kiyhohiko-azuma, manga

Blog of Elves and Trolls

Joshua Blanc
A blog to promote my book 'Tales of Elves and Trolls: The Crystal Goblin' and to collect together my humble book reviews. ...more
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