THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN
Some middle grade stories are the sort that just grab you and turn you inside out, all the feelings layered deeply within every page. The One and Only Ivan is one such story, with a depth of emotion that catches you, yet mitigated with a humor in the very words that inspire those heart-felt responses.
Ivan is a gorilla on display at a small carnival off a main route. He lives there in his domain alongside an older elephant named Stella, a scrappy dog dubbed Bob and a ton of other small animals. He has also made friends with the little girl who comes and sits by his enclosure each night while her father cleans. He is content, or at least numb, to his life. But all that changes when baby elephant Ruby is brought in to replace Stella.
Armed with a promise to Stella that he will change Ruby’s lot in life, Ivan sets about putting his artistic talents to use in order to communicate with his human friends. But he’s just a gorilla. A gorilla who has been in this cage for so long, his memories of a time before shuttered away, leaving him wondering if he’ll ever be capable of fulfilling his promise, of ever seeing anything but the inside of the cage that has been his domain for so long.
This one is easy to read, with laugh-out-loud commentary from Ivan (and Bob!) that breaks up the serious issues of captivity and animal abuse, leaving this book sweet and wonderful rather than heavy. Highly recommend for all ages, but in particular for artists, because there are many touchstones for young artists (and old!) that will bolster anyone creative.
Posted in Recommendation
Tagged book, contemporary, contemporary fantasy, fantasy, fiction, furry, furry fiction, katherine applegate, MG, middle grade, novel
THE STONE ROAD
The Stone Road is a gothic fantasy set on a future Earth where much of our modern technology has been lost. On the day Jean was born, a distant Furnace burned to life. That Furnace calls to the people of her town, seducing them away with an irresistible call. An irresistible call that Jean, herself, has never felt. Since that first day, awful occurrences always happen on Jean’s birthday. The day becomes an ill omen and she blamed for all that befalls the people of her town.
Born to a family with the power to hear the dead, Jean has always known them as presences under the ground. They grab at her toes as she walks in the dirt, their voices filled with hate and fury. But they are stuck, unable to move on down the stone road, for something closed the road off. So the dead simply gather beneath the surface while outside of the town the monsters linger.
Jean is raised by her grandmother, who slowly reveals all that Jean will be responsible for, from the monsters without, to the dead within. And forever unmentioned, but always looming, is the day when Jean must face her Trouble–that ever-burning Furnace.
This is a tale for those who love reading of slow unveilings of mysteries and powers. We follow Jean’s struggles throughout her childhood, learn along with her of all the horrible beauty and monstrous friends that stand beside her in her town. The characters are distinct and memorable—from a tree that carries their story on its bark, a not-quite man who is always an artist, a bird called Bird, and a man who boasts all the grace of the leaves dancing in autumn.
However, be aware, there are questions that remain unanswered and answers that never truly had questions by the end of this novel. This story will leave you with a wild taste of a world that feels more removed from our own than many fantasy novels.
Thank you to Erewhon Books for the eARC of The Stone Road by Trent Jamieson!
In a not-so-distant future on a Mars begun to be colonized, two girls get into and out of trouble time and again. Nanoannie is desperate to escape her hab (habitation) and experience life away from her parents, who she sees as domineering and overbearing. While Kapera is struggling to say goodbye to the home she knows because her parents want to take her to Earth in order to get treatment for her leukemia.
Neither of them have met in the flesh, but given that options are limited when on Mars, friendships formed can be strange company. When Kapera rolls up alone in her family’s rover to Nanoannie’s hab, Nanoannie jumps at the chance to investigate whatever might be going down at Kapera’s family pharm.
And when they find out that Kapera’s parents are missing, the girls are off! Stumbling into coups-in-progress, uncovering frozen corpses, being kidnapped, escaping, kidnapped again, and even married off, by friends and enemies and sects within friends and enemies. Confused and, in Kapera’s case, sick, the girls uncover a plot that involves Kapera’s own parents and the research they’d been knee-deep within. A plot that might just take them and most people on Mars on a one-way trip to no man’s land. Continue reading
I’m excited to announce that my novelette “Veins of My Sister” has been published in the pages of Deep Magic’s Spring 2021 issue! :) This is my third publication of the year and only my second ever novelette sold!
“Veins of My Sister” is a science-fiction tale set in the far-flung future deep in the distant recesses of space.
Long after a war base has been deserted, it still thrives, now as a city called Tews, led by Jes, woman of grit who will stop at nothing to keep her home safe.
But it’s not just the people who give Tews its reputation as a force to be reckoned with, for it was a veined city, moveable through space, weapons reacting as fast as the thoughts of whoever controlled her. Only now, there are problems. One such being Jes’s sister returning abruptly, arriving into Tews completely ignorant of the bounty Jes has put on her head. And she didn’t come alone…
This is a tale about desperation and loyalty. Of sisterhood, with all the differences therein. But most of all, “Veins of My Sister” is a space adventure about finding and accepting your place as well as those of others.
And that cover! It’s beyond gorgeous! I want that dress! That cover is stunning and I’m so proud to be in the pages of this issue :) :)
You can buy the Spring 2021 issue of Deep Magic here!
<3 Marie C.
Posted in Publications
Tagged action adventure, book, deep magic, fiction, marie croke, novelette, publication, sale, sci-fi, science-fiction, short story, space adventure
A Tribute to Anne McCaffrey and Pern
ed by Todd McCaffrey
The dedication for Dragonwriter is to “all those who have found solace in the Worlds of Anne McCaffrey and Pern” and that’s exactly who this collection is for. All of us who’ve dreamed of her dragons, of flying her brainships, of being a Talent in our own right.
These essays all encompass different aspects of the same great woman, yet cross and overlap consistently to paint a picture of this larger than life, mischievous person who is Anne McCaffrey. Some of the essays head into the history of McCaffrey’s career, detailing certain aspects or shedding light on events that became turning points. Some of them give larger, more macro-oriented overviews. And some are more personal, more focused on the relationship between essay writer and McCaffrey.
All of the essays come from the writer’s specific viewpoint, highlighting the ways they knew McCaffrey and how she affected or influenced them. The writers are an eclectic bunch, with some of them being fellow writers who were either inspired by or mentored by McCaffrey in some way. Some of them knew her in other ways, such as being an editor she worked with, convention runners, a singer/songwriter, a cover artist, and, of course, her children, each of whom leave their own mark within these pages.
I recommend this non-fiction book for all who fell in love with McCaffrey’s fiction, regardless whether it was Pern who first brought you to her work or another of her series, especially as The Ship Who Sang is referenced a great deal, particularly in one emotional essay. This will only heighten your appreciation for these stories, as well as making you fall in love with the woman behind the words.
Posted in Recommendation
Tagged anne mccaffrey, book, dragonwriter, essay, essays, fantasy, non-fiction, nonfiction, novel, pern, sci-fi, science-fiction, todd mccaffrey