Tuesday, January 12, 2016

REVIEW: Oldenglen (+$50 Amazon GC giveaway!)

Title: Oldenglen
Author: Robin & Michael Mason
Series: Oldenglen #1
Pages: 298
Date Published: 2015
Publisher: Tricklewood press
Format: Kindle
Genre: MG Fantasy 
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
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Synopsis:
The last thing twelve-year-old Jax wanted was to leave his city life in England for a remote and rugged corner of Oregon―but he hasn’t had any say in the matter.

Although Jax hates it there, he is drawn by the deep woods, as if something or someone is pulling him in. The more he explores, the more he senses the presence of a hidden magic. Joined by Sarah, the granddaughter of the land’s owner, he begins to unravel the secrets of the glen.

But when invaders threaten the wildwood and its inhabitants, Jax and Sarah―and a most unusual army―must prepare for war.

Great peril has come to Oldenglen, but who and what must Jax and Sarah confront in the battle to save it?


~My Thoughts~
Oldenglen is a classic Fantasy tale retold so that it fits in our modern times and can be relatable to kids of any age. Jax is dealing with a lot of issues our kids face, parents who don't listen to him who moved him away from his home, a new place with no friends. But then BAM his life is changed in unbelievable ways when he discovers a hidden power within himself. 

There were lots of underlying messages here...primarily being green and sustainable, although I could be reading into that...not sure. But it's definitely a coming of age tale, and something tells me that Jax isn't quite done growing yet. I enjoyed his character arc, but he just doesn't seem finished to me yet.

In my opinion, the writing felt a little young at times. I think it gets hard for adults to get into the minds of teens or preteens sometimes simply because we are no longer there. We no longer have the mind of the child so how can we know what they think like? We might think their heads are full of dandelion fluff and spit when they're really thinking about tough issues. While Jax's immaturity did come out, it didn't really hurt my opinion of him, and I liked what it did for his character development.

I loved the setting! The Pacific NW is lush and beautiful and it's so true that you can get lost in parts of scary forest up there! Perfect for a children's book and pretty scenery all at once! The authors did a wonderful job painting the picture of the story in this one. I included an excerpt below that I thought really helped showcase the beautiful imagery. The Masons sure know how to tell a story so you're picturing it in your head!

I will definitely be gifting this to my 11 year old niece for her birthday next week!
~Try an Excerpt!~
In the center of a small glade in a deep wood, an animal crouched, hidden within the shadow of a pillar of blood-red stone. One paw rested on the cool, rough granite. The eyes of the animal were closed. It breathed quietly, its flanks rising and falling; its black nose quivered. It seemed to be listening…sensing. All around, the forest was still.

The animal suddenly opened its eyes and bared its fangs in a ferocious snarl. A growl rose from its throat and rang out. Snatching its paw from the stone, it whirled around and loped into the cover of the thick trees, swiftly disappearing from sight. The glade echoed with the sound of its fury. And with its fear.

All through the wood, the animals stopped suddenly, just for an instant, unsettled and on guard. Danger was coming—they could feel it, though none but the beast from the glade knew what it was.
~Meet Robin and Michael!~ 
Michael was born in 1924 in England, which makes him 91-years-old. The son of an employee of a grand estate in England, as a boy Michael had room to roam.

Graduating from the University of London, and after completing a stint in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, he began his lifelong career of teaching, inschools and universities in England, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and Canada. He holds an MA and PhD in English Literature. 

Oldenglen is Michael’s first novel. He is also a published poet and playwright and contributor of articles to quarterly publications. 

Michael is married to Muriel and they will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary in March, 2016. He is blessed with two sons, four granddaughters, three grandsons and one newly-arrived great granddaughter

The Masons will be awarding a Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

54 comments:

  1. This book sounds like something I'd really enjoy reading!

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  2. Thank you for the chance to win :)

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  3. What is the most erotic book you've read?

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  4. "Oldenglen is Michael’s first novel ... Michael is married to Muriel and they will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary in March, 2016." Now THAT is awesome!

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    1. My dedication in the book reads "To my father, Michael, and my mother, Muriel, for the best story of all." And that is, of course, the story of their marriage and that of our family. They are an awesome duo.

      Robin

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  5. Sounds like a great setting in the woods of Oregon!

    Thanks for the chance to win!

    wildorchid985 at gmail dot com

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  6. This sounds like a wonderful read for my 12 year old who has a big imagination :)
    Thanks for the review. Great post!
    Lori

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  7. Good morning, Andra.

    My father and I thank you for hosting Oldenglen today. You're absolutely right that Jax is still growing. We see more of his development in the second book in the series, Lone Wolf, which will be out on March 1st. He hits the ground running, so to speak! Thanks again.

    Robin (Mason)

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  8. Thank you for the opportunity to find out more about you and your book!

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  9. Thanks for the review!

    --Trix

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  10. Enjoyed the excerpt and nice review.

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  11. I would like to read this book- it seems suspenseful, which I like.

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  12. I think I would really like to read this book. Sounds fascinating. Sue M. Van/Haven Malone

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  13. Thank you for the chance to win :)

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  14. Great review, I'm looking forward to sharing this with some of my nieces :)

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    1. I have no real preference - I do not discriminate lol.. I like anything that jumps out at me, blurbs specifically

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  15. What a great bio. My mother is 91 this month. She writes too. Mostly the family history.

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  16. Thank you, everyone, for stopping by today, and thanks again to Andra for hosting. We hope you or your loved ones will have the opportunity to read Oldenglen at some point. Storytelling is a joy for us, made greater for the experience of sharing it.

    Robin (Mason)

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  17. Thanks for the giveaway! I like the excerpt. :)

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  18. Congratulations on such a long marriage and your first book.

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    1. Thank you. I will pass that on to my father.

      Robin

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  19. Thanks for the review and excerpt!

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  20. Thanks for the review and the giveaway!

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  21. I just love the book cover, it's amazing!

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    1. The illustrator is Chris Beatrice, who is at www.chrisbeatrice.com. He does amazing work.

      Robin

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  22. How did you come up with the concept for Oldenglen?

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    1. Hi Helen.

      Thank you for the question. When I was five and until I was eight, my family rented a forested, five-acre property on the west coast of Canada. It was a very old estate. The property was on the side of a very large hill (more of a small mountain, I suppose). I was always outside exploring. We moved away from BC after three years, but not before the owner of the property (our landlord) had begun to parcel off pieces of the property for others to build homes. The orchard, as an example, was torn down to make way for one such house. The loss of my 'magical' playground clearly had a profound effect on me, enough that I in effect fought that battle (with words) nearly fifty years later. That story forms the core of the book. The other aspects evolved with time and drafting.

      Cheers.

      Robin

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    2. Thank you for taking the time to reply. I love hearing about the inspiration for books. It gives the book more depth for me.

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    3. Helen:

      I will mention, too, that the evolution of other aspects of the story, though mostly initiated and driven by me, were sometimes a kind of negotiation or compromise between my father and me. As you can imagine, our difference in ages (nearly 40 years) made for very different perspectives, language, sensibilities etc. For example, I had to defend Jax using the expression "Bloody hell!", which is the most colorful language in the book. My father was aghast at the idea. Winnie the Pooh never said such things, after all. There were a number of those generational clashes, amusing in retrospect. On the positive side, we both brought something different, too, to the mix, with a happy result.

      Robin

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    4. Hehe, thank you. I have a mental image of Winnie the Pooh now cursing! I imagine the clashes were frustrating at the time, but now it's a fond memory.

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  23. I am really enjoying following this tour, thank you!

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    1. Thank you, Nikolina. We have enjoyed it, too.

      Robin

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  24. This sounds so good! And I love the cover!

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  25. How did you decide on the cover for Oldenglen?

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    1. First of all, I had to find the right illustrator, which meant scouring the internet for someone whose style I thought best met my vision of the cover. That was a lengthy process. I also looked at a lot of middle grade covers in the genre to get a sense of what was out there. Then I sent a list of possibilities to the illustrator (Chris Beatrice). He indicated what he thought would work best and then we discussed what should be depicted. He sketched a couple of different versions, with variations. We picked one and then it was all Chris. I will note that, as I am at the jumping off point for the series, the cover of Oldenglen is getting a bit of a redesign. The illustration is staying the same, but the fonts and placements are changing. There will be consistency with Lone Wolf, the illustration for which can be previewed here: https://www.facebook.com/1469617586681163/photos/a.1472469876395934.1073741829.1469617586681163/1492243841085204/?type=3&theater.

      Robin

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  26. Did you come up with the title for your book first, or at the end, once you'd finished writing it?

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    1. Fairly early on in the process. It was intended to convey a sense of age and to identify the geographic location of the story. It is also a bit of an amalgam of Old England, although the story is set in Oregon.

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  27. What is the first book that you remember reading that had an impact on you. Thanks for the giveaway. Bernie W BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

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    1. The Narnia books by C.S. Lewis, and then The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. My father (Michael) read them to me when I was very young, and I immediately turned around and read them for myself. As my father has an amateur theatrical background, he brought them to life. I had the pleasure of taking him to see The Lord of the Rings films when they came out.

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  28. What is the first book that you remember reading that had an impact on you. Thanks for the giveaway. Bernie W BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

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  29. This sounds like a fabulous book and I love the author's story also! dailydealsjc1(at)gmail(dot)com

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  30. Congratulations Michael & Muriel on your (soon to be) 60th wedding anniversary! That is amazing!!!!

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    1. I will pass that on to them. Thank you, Nikolina!

      Robin

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  31. Bit random this time, but are you a dog person, or a cat person? (or neither!)

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    1. Dog, but I don't have any as one of my children has some sensitivity in that area.

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  32. Thank you for the chance to win!!!!

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  33. Congratulations on your new release, it sounds like an adventure! And thank you for the awesome giveaway!

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