Last week Timy kicked off the elimination round with 3 cuts, this week it’s Nick’s turn to wield the axe. These titles sadly didn’t make it but we are grateful to every author who entered this year, we are sorry to let books go but this is how the competition works and so we obey the rules. However, we might have decided not to forward any of these into the finals, but we encourage you to check them out nonetheless. So, let’s say goodbye to three more titles then!
The Lucky Diamond by Valinora Troy
Twins Cathy and Alan don’t pay much attention to elder sister Yvonne ‘s instructions to stay hidden, keep away from the street gangs, and avoid the town guard, so it doesn’t take long for them to be in trouble. Fortunately Cathy has a magical compass that always leads her back to safety. Which is just as well because when she meets Lucky, a magical talking diamond who persuades Cathy and her family to go on a dangerous quest, and Lucky’s diamond power drains, all Cathy has to rely on is her ever trustworthy compass.
Why then is it telling her to enter the Great Forest, the last place she would dream of going to?
Cathy has a choice – trust her magical compass and enter the forest of monsters or ignore it and perhaps risk the safety of her family and the country?
I didn’t really make it past about 35% of this book unfortunately. I have nothing against middle grade or young adult fantasy, but I just never got fully invested in this particular story. The story follows a group of siblings who go on an adventure quest after encountering something that catapults them into sudden danger. The writing was decent, and the characters were fairly well written with some witty and charming dialogue. My main problem is that it just felt like a story that I have read many times before. Others may enjoy this one much more than I did, but ultimately there wasn’t enough for me to want to continue and find out more regarding what happens to the protagonists. So, The Lucky Diamond ultimately did not make it to my group of potential semi-finalists.
Stars of Destiny: Light by Melissa Stone
Dionne Archer is a regular high school girl. For her sixteenth birthday, though, she was gifted a strange mirror and a family secret that would change her life. Faced with new magical powers, Dionne must now team up with others like her to fight the organization known as the Lords of Chaos and keep them from achieving their goals.
All while dealing with homework.
As if being a teenager wasn’t hard enough already.
This book is a teen fantasy/sf story that involves a young girl who receives a magical mirror on her sweet sixteen birthday. She eventually teams up with a few of her friends to attempt to defeat a menacing force called the Lords of Chaos who are bent on destroying the world as we know it. Some cool adventure, strong themes of friendship, and a pretty interesting conflict that kept me interested until the end. I also thought the pace of the narrative was really quick and it doesn’t take long for things to happen. In the end I just didn’t feel as if the story was semi-final worthy and I didn’t ever get that certain tingle that sent me over the top. But I was entertained throughout and I would definitely read other books by this author.
Glimmer of the Other by Heather G. Harris
I can tell when you’re lying. Every. Single. Time.
I’m Jinx. As a private investigator, being a walking, talking lie detector is a useful skill – but let’s face it, it’s not normal. You’d think it would make my job way too easy, but even with my weird skills, I still haven’t been able to track down my parent’s killers.
When I’m hired to find a missing university student, I hope to find her propped up at a bar – yet my gut tells me there’s more to this case than a party girl gone wild. Firstly, she’s a bookish soul who’s as likely to go off the rails as Mother Theresa. Secondly, I’m not the only one on her trail; she’s also being tracked by the implacable and oh-so-sexy Inspector Stone.
Stone and I team up, and he shoves me into a realm where magic is real – a place where there are vampyrs and werewolves, dragons and trolls. And where my skills are more than just detecting lies…
Oh, and my dog? He’s a freaking hellhound who can manipulate the magical realms themselves.
I need to find the girl.
I need to discover who killed my parents.
And I need to find out more about the attractive but mysterious Zachary Stone…
Kind of a paranormal mystery/fantasy, I actually found this one to be a quick and fun read. The characters were well-written and likeable for the most part and the mystery angle really gave this story a nicely added boost. There were a few things however that caused this to be one of my cuts. First, the story was almost too quick in the respect that I didn’t feel as if I got enough of a setup or backstory to the events that took place. And what there was of it seemed like it was mostly infodumps. The other thing that didn’t make this a semi-finalist possibility was that I felt like a lot of the plot devices were a bit convenient and too easy for my taste. I needed a little more investment as a reader and for those reasons, I added Glimmer of the Other to my cuts.
To keep up with our process and the competition, please check out our SPFBO 8 Phase 1 page!