Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Book Review: The Crowns of Croswald by D.E. Night

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this book, free of charge,from JKS Communications, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about them, all opinions are my own.

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This new kids book comes out July 21, and for those fo you still experiencing Harry Potter/Fantastic Beast withdrawl, it is the PERFECT book to ease your pain! Not only it is another magical realm, but this time the GIRL is the lead character (can we get an "AMEN!" to some girl power?). Add in some Cinderella Magic and Percy Jackson myth, and you have a recipe for keeping the kdis reading this Summer!

The Crowns of Croswald

Synopsis:

The Crowns of Croswald is the first book in a series for middle grade readers brimming with whimsy, adventure, and steampunk undertones. 


An Interview With the Author:

What inspired you to write The Crowns of Croswald?

 I have always found joy in being creative, art projects and things like that. But more than that, I’ve always loved stories, mostly my favorite animated movies. I’m a Disney fanatic. My draw toward fantasy and my creative drive sort of forced me to start writing. For me, it’s not just about the writing, it’s about creating characters, designing scenes, and imagining everything and anything magical. Croswald is basically me in a book––fairy tale with an edge. I love fashion, fairy tales, anything that sparkles, and I especially love magic. 

What was your favorite part about creating the world of Croswald?

 I’m so grateful to be one of those people that really truly loves what they’re doing. My favorite part of this whole experience is seeing pieces of my world come to life, whether in the form of illustrations or being able to hold a physical book in hand. It’s like a dream. I also love the process of creating characters and naming them. I have a lot of fun with that.

Tell us more about creating a character. What sort of process do you go through? 

Well, I don’t know if it’s a process exactly. It always seems sort of like randominspiration. For example, eating dinner beside my 11-year-old brother who loves butter and bread. Emphasis on the butter. Readers get to meet Woodley Butterlove and understand how my little brother inspired such a character.Ivy is a strong, inspirational character. 

How do you think she grows throughout the book, and what would you like the reader to take away from that? 

I think a lot of people’s natural talent is hindered by self-doubt. I think for Ivy Lovely, the first book is all about discovery and uncovering her hidden talents. It’s all about taking that first step and trusting your gut. I like to think that her first stride across the slurry fields may speak to a reader waiting to take the first step in their own adventure. Everyone should get the chance to step into something magical.

As a debut author, what surprised you most about the writing process for The Crowns of Croswald? 

Probably my patience. I think people often get deterred by the time it takes to complete something. It’s taken me three and a half years to get to this point and I was surprised by how calm I was throughout the whole process. Excited, but calm.

This is the first book in a series. Without giving too much away, what do you have in store for your readers as the series evolves? 

Of course, readers will get to join Ivy on her adventures of discovery through Croswald, full of weird and whacky character. Also a lot of magic and new inventions. The final show down with the dark Queen is going to be spectacular!

 Your love of magic and fantasy is apparent in your writing. How did your love of magic develop?

 I spent every birthday visiting theme parks with my best friends. My mom would pick us up early from school and we’d spend a day in a place of total imagination. That world offantasy seemed so vibrant and I always dreamed of creating a place one day where people can visit. When I wrote, I always wrote keeping that in mind.Where can people visit? 

What can they see when they go there? 

Like I said, I love being creative and writing a book seemed the perfect fit. Besides being a Disney fanatic, I love that, with magic, anything is possible.

The Crowns of Croswald follows the adventures of Ivy Lovely, a strong heroine who is full of spirit and unwavering courage. Can you tell us more about her and how her character came about? 

The reader meets Ivy when she’s unsure, held back, and lonely. Through the course of The Crowns of Croswald, we get to see Ivy become who she is meant to be: impulsive but smart, studious but adventurous. She doesn’t know it yet, but those are the very traits that will save her kingdom. She trusts her gut and that gets her pretty far in life, but she learns to ask for help along the way. Most importantly, she’s compassionate and funny: two must-haves in any friend, in my opinion.

 If you could give readers one message to inspire them from your book, what would it be? 

Believe in the magic of your dreams.

book pack collage


Review:

When a book arrives in a magical package, with ancient books on the outside, magical newspaper on the inside, surrounding a magical blue orb, and special instructions for using it, you know you have stepped into a land far far away.

That feeling is furthered  by the opening page:
"The village, well, it had a lot of secrets. And its secrets need to be kept safe. So, the town's name was like a key- those who knew the name could find the village. Let's call it The Town.",
you KNOW you have something VERY special in your hands!

And that feeling doesn't change as you keep reading! We chose to read aloud together every night, oncce the book came in. It seemed a bit odd doing a read outloud to Miss Grace at her lofty 10 years, but really this is the PERFECT book for some mother-daughter reading! The book has everything you want from an older fairy tle book adventure enchantment, humor and a lead character/hero that is truly so attuned to middle graders, that she could walk off the page and into their lives without any hesitation. 

Night says. “I find that sometimes girls don’t know how powerful they are, and how what makes them different can be what makes them destined forgreatness. Even if she’s not always sure of herself, Ivy has a sense of adventure, determination, and courage that I hope we can all see in ourselves.”

glanagerie collage

Reading this book together allowed me to not only subject my child to a little drama ("NOOOO, don't stop reading, read the next chapter, the scene is still going on!"), but also a very helathy encouragement to READ! Yup, she who is back in the 'I don't want to read" phase, suddenly picked up the book and took off to her room, to read the next day and to see what happened next! We had long discussions on the magical inventions (she REALLY wants a personal cabby, complete with small house and thunderstorm) like the amazing glanagerie bottle we received (above), how people get treated (even in books) and how things may not be what they seem! The book REALLY held her interest and I would say it is definitely on a 6th grade reading level, based on vocabulary, which was another reason the read aloud was better for Miss Grace, though she did make use of her small dictionary while reading it (score!!!). This is a magical book (which I'm not going to give too much away- you really MUST read it for yourself), and one that is really hard to describe- it's really all the books you ever loved, but rolled into one! Which means your kids are going to adore it, even if they don't tell you! You'll know by all the strange words that start using for different things, like Scrivenist for writer! I held off telling her this was only book 1, so I knew there would be tears at the end ( "NOOOOO, I can't ait for the next book!!!"), ala the days of Harry Potter! So that IS soemthing to think about, so you're prepared for the scream that comes out of your house!! LOL

We can't recommend this book enough, and can't wait til book 2!

Miss Grace said to tell you that it would be " An EXCELLENT gift idea for kids in 4-6th grade!"!

So there you have it, a double thumbs up!


The Crowns of Croswald slurry fields

About the Scrivenist Extraordinaire: 

D.E. Night lives, dreams, and writes in South Florida amid her menagerie––two dogs and two cats––with her husband. “The Crowns of Croswald” is her first book. She draws inspiration from silver-screen storytellers, magical imaginings, and her younger brothers. A day spent in Croswald, or another whimsical world, is her favorite kind of day. Check out her website for more info!



Giveaway Alert:

Leesburg Public Library is giving away a copy of this great book on their Youtube page (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDX_DpJ8CzI ), with winner being selected on July 20th!

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