Hey Peeps! I have got a treat for you all today!! As a giveaway I have got a SIGNED PAPERBACK of Seranfyll, an awesome, fantasy/fairytale novel from my friend and fantastic author Christina Daley. All you have to do to win this prize is to be a follower of this blog and leave me a comment with your name and email address. The contest closes Saturday August 13th and I will announce the winner here on the blog on August 14th (Sunday). If you win I will email you and ask you for your mailing address and the author will mail your signed copy to you!
Here's the book so you can see the beautiful cover:
You definitely want a copy of this book so enter!
To help me celebrate this exciting giveaway I have a unique fellow here for an interview: Domrey Seranfyll, one of the stars from the book!! Before we get to the interview I wanted to share a little about the author.
Seranfyll is Christina Daley’s debut MG/YA fantasy novel. You can find her at http://christinadaley.blogspot.com and you can find her book (in paperback) at Amazon, B&N and also in Ebook anywhere that Ebooks are found.
In addition to being a fabulous writer, Christina is also a generous person. She has granted me permission to let all of you know that if you are active duty, veteran or a dependant of someone in the military she will be happy to donate a free Ebook for your reading pleasure. I think this is great and it is a cause near and dear to my heart (my hubby is active duty). So if you are or know someone who is Enlisted in the armed services or is a veteran and loves to read please feel free to email Christina at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
So without further ado let’s welcome Domrey!!! (following the interview will be my review of the book)
Thank you, Domrey, for being here today.
My pleasure! I'm delighted to be here, Cambria. You have a lovely name, by the way. It sounds scholarly but elegant.
Thank you very much, Domrey. *blushes* I can see why the ladies are so taken with you. *clears throat* I heard some commotion on the way in, I apologize for the large gaggle of girls out there. One of my staff leaked your presence to the public. You appear unruffled and cool even though you were just mobbed.
Yes, I had a similar experience at the interview with Ms. Daley the other day [http://christinadaley.blogspot.com]. So I came prepared. Quill and I are about the same height, so I put him in some of my clothes and knitted a disguising spell for his face. As long as he doesn't say anything and knows when to start running, he should keep the crowd out there occupied.
How do you keep your popularity in perspective?
That's darling of you to think so highly of me! But to be honest, I'm not sure I really am popular. Then again, there are so many times that I've been unpopular that I've sort of stopped worrying about what others think of me. I can't control their thoughts, so I don't worry.
Do you think that maybe your unique fashion sense has something to do with your magnetism? Can you tell us a little about the outfit that you are wearing today?
Oh, do you like it? I had this suit tailored in the Royal City. The color is actually called "peacock blue," and the gold vest and purple tie were accessories I picked up in the Spice Islands some time ago. And these white shoes are among my favorites. It's important to have the proper shoe for the proper occasion, I always say.
I realize that my attire may seem unusual to some. Coal actually said once, and I quote, that I "dress like a bloody Christmas pudding." And if you're in the habit of making peacock blue puddings, then that may be. I personally enjoy loads of color, so I dress accordingly to the appeasement of none other than myself.
You like to indulge in spirits quite often. Do you have a favorite drink?
I prefer wine. Like the proper shoe for the proper occasion, I believe in the proper wine for the proper meal. There are some fine vintages from all the different provinces of Yoan, but I've also run across some very lovely ones in my travels. I've dabbled in a bit of rum and whisky on occasion. I don't care for mixed drinks at all.
But I do want to add for any minors and parents among your readership that yes, I very much frown upon underage drinking. There is no nobility in losing self control, as I demonstrate very aptly in the book, if I say so myself.
You seem like such a carefree fellow. Does anything ever worry you?
Hmm, that's a good question. I think before Rain and Coal came along, I was very carefree. I sort of just did whatever I fancied, because there was no one to worry about me and no one for me to worry about. It also helps to be like that when you have a surplus of disposable income.
But now that Rain and Coal are here, things are a bit different. I'm starting to learn what it's like for others to depend on me. I'm realizing how unkind this world can be, and just because I know how to get out of pinches doesn't necessarily mean that they do or can, and that does worry me. I have to be more responsible, and I'm learning how my choices can affect others.
What was your first ride on a flying horse like? Did you get motion sickness?
Haha, I actually don't recall my first ride very well. I was drowning in the sea when Valiance plucked me out of the water. I don't recall much after that, except waking up in Celestria later. Fortunately, I don't get motion sickness, which is good because I do enjoy flying. It's very freeing when you can escape the bonds of gravity once in a while.
Do you think that you will ever ‘settle down’ and get married?
Hmm, I wonder that myself sometimes. And I guess the common answer is whether or not I meet the right person, but I'm not quite sure what the "right person" will consist of. And there are things in my past that have prompted me to question the whole issue of marriage. But I'm still in my early twenties, so I'm sure I have time to get it sorted eventually.
Have you ever had magic go wrong for you? Have you ever turned someone into a frog by accident?
Oh yes, I've had plenty of magic go wrong! I can't even count how many times it has gone catastrophically wrong, especially when I was training. I've never turned someone into a frog, by accident or intention. But I did try to play a trick on my mentor once, and my word did it backfire! I won't go into details about it here, but let's just say I did learn my lesson.
Can you share something with us about your adopted sister and brother, Rain and Coal, with us that no one else knows?
Rain clicks in her sleep. It's rather amusing. I don't know if she's swallowing or inhaling in an odd way or what, but she makes this odd little clicking noise in her mouth or throat sometimes.
And Coal will never admit it, but he's a big softy when it comes to animals. We see some of this demonstrated in the book. He tries to act all tough, but I wager he'd be puddy in the paws of a baby bunny. Granted that it doesn't defecate on him.
Finally, of all the enchanted things in your manor, which one do you have the greatest fondness for?
Ooo, that's a hard one. Probably the mops and brooms. I don't enjoy cleaning, and I very much appreciate their service. But you do have to be firm with them sometimes if they get lazy or rebellious. A close second would be the security spell, because I don't like burglars or salesmen. The manor is very good about protecting itself, so I don’t worry much about it when I'm away.
Thank you Domrey for being here at The Unlocked Diary today and for bringing along a copy of Seranfyll, the book that you star in. Do you have any last minute advice or words to share with our readers?
Thank you very much for having me! It was such a pleasure to be here and to promote the work. Hmm, last minute advice…. Ah, my mentor used to say, "Nothing is impossible." I'm still learning what all that means. He also used to say, "Don't pet a burning dog." I don't quite understand the point of that one, but I suppose that's good advice.
By the way, take the side door that leads into the alley. It’s safer that way, I won’t tell anyone, Ahem, the girls you are gone until you have gotten away. Thanks for coming!
Will do, but would you be so kind as to send word to Quill? That is, if he hasn't already made his escape yet. Thanks again!
Note to all readers: Domrey made it out safely....but Quill....well, he made it out.
Now let's get onto my review of the book you can enter to win:
Author: Christina Daley
Publisher: May 2011 by Christina Daley
Rain was born into slavery; it’s all she’s ever known. She has never had any possessions and doesn’t even have a proper name. Yet, in her thirteen years of life, she has been lucky. She lives with her sister, Snow, under the control of Lord Peachtree who treats his slaves as humans.
But her life is about to change.
Because Lord Peachtree has a little problem…okay, a big problem. With gambling. And he settles a debt with Rain. So she is ripped from the only home she has known and sent off with a thief who only wants to sell her to the highest bidder.
Luck is on her side once more in the form of an eccentric man. Domrey Seranfyll comes to market one day, drawing everyone’s stares. Because he’s drunk. And he’s singing. Did I mention that he is riding backwards?
Everyone in town starts whispering, calling him the devil and watching him warily. They whisper about a flying horse and a cursed Manor. He causes quite the stir when he purchases ten slaves and then leads them from the square while still singing.
Rain isn’t sure what to make of this man and his huge manor that has been neglected for years. What is even stranger is that instead of putting the slaves to work he hands them all their name papers and sets them free.
A slave for thirteen years and a freeman for thirteen seconds, Rain has no idea what to do or where to go. So she stays. And cleans up after the passed out drunk. All the other slaves leave except for Coal, who stays behind to look after Rain.
As Rain and Coal begin to unlock the secrets of the enchanted estate (like brooms and mops that walk on their own! And apple trees that move!), they begin to wonder if the rumors they heard in town are true…could Domrey Seranfyll be the devil and would he curse them when he wakes from his drunken stupor?
Seranfyll is quite a charming tale. The pages practically gleam with glittering enchantment. If you like fairytales and the possibility that there might be more to life than meets the eye then this book is certainly for you. And if you don’t believe in such possibilities then you might after you read this book.
I’ll be honest and say that I was really doubtful when I first started this book. Only because Rain is thirteen and I was afraid that the book would be a little young to really pull me in. I myself, am not thirteen anymore, and I thought that I might not relate to her that well. In this book age is just a number because Rain is not thirteen. She has the maturity of a girl much older. Probably because of the way she was raised and her life up until the start of the book.
Even throughout the book Rain matures, which is fabulous for character development. It is really is good writing when you can see a character progress and change. Which, really, all three main characters do. They all grow in the relationships that they have with each other. And often times they test each other, they don’t always get along but they are bonded together and that makes it possibly to find their way back to what really matters.
I loved reading as Rain developed, deciding upon what kind of person she would be. She is a very gentle soul but does learn that sometimes you must speak up for yourself. She also accomplishes things and experiences things that she never thought possible…and I’m not talking magic here, though I’ll get to that. She meets the king, learns to read and write, and grows an inner confidence that shines.
Domrey is another character that grows throughout the story. In the beginning he comes off as silly, indulgent and selfish. And very, very immature. But really, deep down he feels alone and insecure. Even though it appears that his life has been charmed you learn that it hasn’t. By the end of the book you see him as a man with flaws but also a man who is fiercely loyal, generous to a fault and filled with good intentions. What he does for Coal changed everything in the way the reader viewed him. And okay…he still might be a bit immature…but do you know any guy who isn’t?
Coal is another strong character. He is stubborn, proud and jaded. The perfect contrast to Domrey and Rain. He tends to be pessimistic and lacks the dialogue to say what it is he wants to say so he comes off as gruff and abrasive. And might I add that he is far beyond the mindset of a thirteen year old.
The relationship dynamic is fantastic between these three and I loved that you could see them really working to create a family. In that respect the book seemed very real.
Now, onto flying horses and brooms that clean on their own…
Added in with all characterization was the enchantment. And I was really charmed by the manor and the things that came to life. It reminded me a lot of the castle from Beauty and the Beast and all the things that lived within its walls.
My favorite was the worn and broken mop and bucket that would work tirelessly along with Rain to clean. They were like eager puppies wanting to please their owner. The other brooms, mops and buckets were very naughty.
The flying horses were also fabulous and the knitting of magic blankets to cover their wings was just really clever.
I also, thoroughly enjoyed the apple tree who would offer its sweet fruit when asked.
There is one more thing I would like to touch on before I close. The romance element. I know you might be scratching your head here because there is not romantic element in the story. And that’s okay because it doesn’t belong. These people are building a family. The girl is thirteen and well, just because. BUT as I was reading I (and maybe it’s just me) couldn’t help but wonder as Rain aged how the relationship she had with Coal and Domrey would change. Would it? I could see the chemistry she had with both men. There was the way she argues with Coal as they were old and married to the way she and Domrey seemed to just fit together like two halves of a whole. The way she would lay in bed and watch the light in his observatory and be comforted made me think that maybe she had feelings for him she had yet to name. It would be quite the love triangle. And did Domrey feel more for Rain that a brotherly/sisterly bond? Was he merely getting to know her and allowing her to come into herself before he declared his love? And, would the three settle into a family brother/sister relationship (that they seemed to really work toward) and then any chance of more would be lost? I sincerely hope that Ms. Daley is planning a sequel…maybe fast forwarding two or three years into the future so this can be explored. And also with the all enchanting possibilities this story would make a great series.
You should read this book on a day when the dark clouds are heavy with rain and rumble with thunder because it is the type of book that you can really escape into with a blanket in your lap and a steaming drink (like a latte!) at your elbow.
So there you have it. My opinion.
So that wraps up our Tuesday....Go forth and enter to win!! :)