Sunday, January 29, 2017

Once Upon A Time....EAH Trilogy January Book Review

Once Upon A Time...

Those four words have introduced numerous tales for ages. Fairytales are treasured stories that have been repeated from generation to generation. But what if they were in danger of fading away forever? Would you be willing to step into a role and live out the character's destiny to ensure the story didn't disappear forever after? 

The story of Ever After High: The Storybook of Legends by Shannon Hale follows some of the most beloved fairytale characters of all time as they attend a magical high school where they are trained to follow their parents' paths. From the time of their birth they are taught they are destined to live out the stories their parents made famous. As long as they follow the rules, they are promised certain endings. The students' second year at Ever After High is known as Legacy Year. This is the year that students pledge to follow their destinies. Once they sign the fabled Storybook of Legends, they are magically bound to live out their fairytales.

For Apple White, daughter of Snow White, and the other royals, following their destiny means a promised happily ever after.  But destiny is not kind to all at Ever After High. What if following your destiny means becoming an evil, powerful villain feared by all when you dream of is being good and kind, a friend to all. What if you were forbidden to be with the one you love because you were destined to marry another? Many students of Ever After High are faced with dilemmas such as these, but, in the end, all choose to sign the Storybook of Legends, fearful of their stories, and they themselves, disappearing if they choose otherwise. That is, until one brave student, Raven Queen, daughter of the Evil Queen chooses to rebel. On Legacy Day she refuses to pledge to become evil and poison Snow White. Her decision throws the royals into chaos and empowers those who have been unhappy with their destinies but too afraid to act. The school is split into two sides: Royals and Rebels, those believe in following destiny and those who wish to write their own. What follows is an exciting tale giving well know stories a new twist.

I have always enjoyed stories of princesses and princes, heroes and villains, magic and wonder. So I thoroughly enjoyed reading this trilogy. It's rare that readers can root for the villain of the story, however I found myself doing just that. From the moment that Raven and Apple were introduced, I knew I would side with Raven. Apple believes that she is good because that is how her story is written, but I find her character superficial and selfish, It's like all she cares about is her own happily ever after. Raven seems more genuine and her struggles are more relatable. 

As for my favorite hero or "prince charming", I would choose Dexter Charming, youngest son of Prince Charming. Compared to his older brother Daring Charming, Dexter is awkward and a bit of a nerd. But where his brother is flashy, Dexter is sweet and caring. He is one of the few students at Ever After High that chooses to look past who Raven is destined to become and see her true heart.

Two of my favorite supporting characters are Madeline Hatter, Daughter of the Mad Hatter and Cerise Hood.

Maddie is Raven's best friend forever after and Cerise has a secret past that makes for a fairy interesting story. Raven and readers are privileged to learn more about Cerise in Book 2. There are many interesting side stories about the supporting characters that I enjoyed just as much as Apple and Raven's stories. One of my favorite couples at Ever After High besides Raven and Dexter are Ashlynn Ella, daughter of Cinderella, and Hunter Huntsman; Royal and Rebel. Another cute couple is Alistar Wonderland and Bunny Blanc, two wonderlandians surviving their cursed world by relying on each other. I will let you guess who their parents are. ☺

The third book in the trilogy focuses mostly on Wonderland characters and I have never been a big fan of Wonderland, so it was my least favorite book. But I still enjoyed finishing the story and I recommend the trilogy to everyone who enjoys a good fairytale with a little twist. Shannon Hale is a very talented writer and I have enjoyed her other stories as well. Another of her books I recommend: 

I hope you enjoyed my review as much I have enjoyed the world of Ever After High!



What Books Did You Read In January?

Monday, July 4, 2016

Writing Update plus ENTER TO WIN a Kindle Fire from Clean Teen Publishing in their Christmas in July GIVEAWAY!

Good Morning Everyone!

Thanks for taking the time to read this update post. First of all, I have decided to place my retelling of the Nutcracker story on the backburner for now. I was not as disciplined a writer as I should have been, working on that project. I was working on that story for over three years and had exhausted myself with it. I still plan to complete it when the time is right; that time is just not right now.

I am, however, inspired and excited to be working on my new project, a story entitled Enchanted. I got the idea for my story while I was listening to a song. My idea started out as a music video then developed from there. This July I am participating in this year's Camp NanoWriMo, a website where writers all over the world come together to encourage each other to focus on their projects and complete their stories. My goal is to have written 31,000 words or more by the end of the month. Managing my writing time with the demands of everyday life has always been a struggle for me. But I am determined to write each day this month. Even I do not meet my goal by the deadline at least my story will have progressed. With prayers and support though, I believe I can achieve my goal.

So, again, thank you for your encouragement. It helps more that you know. You can read the synopsis of Enchanted as well as a short excerpt below.
NOTE: The following is from my first, unedited draft. Please excuse any and all mistakes. Thank you.

SynopsisFor seventeen years Elisina lived an enchanted life. Orphaned as an infant, she was taken in by her mother’s closest friend, the queen of Valyn. Growing up in the palace, side by side with the heirs to the throne, Elisina flourished into a beautiful, charming, lively young lady. When tragic events rip away the only family she’s ever known, she suddenly finds herself having to decide whether to honor her duty or follow her heart. Her choice could not only threaten her own life, but also the future of her kingdom.

Excerpt: Just as the darkness threatened to fully engulf Gwen, she sensed another person enter the room. She squinted against her blurry vision, attempting to identify the individual. Her oxygen deprived brain, however, refused to bring the person’s features into focus.
Gwen decided it made no difference who had entered her chambers, she was only grateful the Lord had answered her cry and had sent someone to help her. Her rescuer hurried to her side and pulled out an object that, although it was small, caught and held Gwen’s attention. The item was silver in color and reflected the light the sifted in through the windows. It took Gwen’s sluggish mind several moments to recall the name of the object. The person she had assumed to be her savior, clutched a knife in their hand. The blade hovered dangerously over Gwen’s heaving chest.
“Please,” Gwen begged weakly.
She could no longer hold on. It was too hard to continue the fight to breathe. She allowed her eyelids to close, placing her fate into the hands of the young woman who stood before her. The woman hesitated only a moment before plunging her knife downward. 

Thanks for reading and following my updates. I hope that you enjoyed the sneak peek. Thank you for your continued support. God Bless.

~Virginia Lynn Burford

Want a chance to win a Kindle Fire?
 Check out this GIVEAWAY from Clean Teen Publishing! 
Click on the picture below to visit the link.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A Royal Review- 4 out of 5 stars

About 24 hours after my mail carrier Finally delivered my copy of The Heir yesterday, I read the final page. Here are my thoughts:

First Impressions: Disappointment. I wanted so bad to love this story and new characters as much and as quickly as I had the first three stories in the series. But I just wasn't as captivated. The reason is because I couldn't connect with the main character, Eadlyn. I understood why she acted the way that she did, in a way. But I thought that she was a spoiled brat who thought she was better than others. Halfway through the book she hadn't gotten much better, and my hopes of liking this book were falling. 

What I liked: Of course I enjoyed getting to catch up with some of my favorite characters from the first three books and seeing how their lives had changed over 20 years. I liked the relationships that Eadlyn had with each of her family members. It was special to read about the King and Queen and their four children. When tough situations arose they banded together as a family. I liked how Eadlyn finally let some of her walls come down a little towards the end of the story and allowed herself to start caring for someone besides herself. 
I like how each of her younger brothers have unique personalities. Ahren (pronounced like Aaron I think, although I kept reading it as air- hern) and Eadlyn have a close, special bond as twin. Ahren is a level-headed prince who likes to read and write and who loves his soulmate with all of his heart. He looks just as his father did at his age. Kaden studies hard to learn the duties of ruling his kingdom, although he is third in line for the throne. He is very perceptive and I think that he would make a great ruler. Not that I want anything to happen to Eadlyn (even though I'm not her biggest fan) or Ahren for Kaden's rule to be possible. Osten is the youngest prince. (I just realized his name is probably pronounced Austin) He's very mischievous and always keeps things interesting.
I have a few favorite suitors for Eadlyn. I like when she is with Kile and allows herself to open up and talk to him. The chemistry is just there and is right. Henri is very sweet and is all in for Eadlyn. I also like how passionate he is about what he loves to do, cooking! I just don't feel that he is the right match for Eadlyn. Now his translator Eric...even though he was not selected. There is a natural connection between him and Eadlyn. He is a good, honest friend. 
Finally, the story is written so well that it's a fast read.

What I Didn't Like: I was completely frustrated with Eadlyn's character throughout most of the book. I believe readers should be able to connect with the main character; to root for him/her to succeed. But this is the most I have struggled with liking the main character. She was spoiled and acted like she was superior to others. I couldn't believe that beloved characters from the first books were her parents. Although she loved both of her parents, she was very disrespectful and mean to them many times throughout the story. She even gave them the silent treatment. At one point she really needed to talk with her parents but wondered if she had given them a long enough "punisment" of silence. Ugh! Grow up and act like a queen if you want to be one so bad! Other characters called her out on her behaviour several times throughout the story. She never seemed to learn from those occurrences or try to change. She doesn't have to change her true self. The Eadlyn that she is when she is in her room designing clothes. Or those rare moments when she lets her guard down and is just herself. I understand that she has the pressure of trying to be perfect but she is the next ruler of her country. But she choose to do so by being powerful to make others respect her. Her mother and her brother Ahren hits the nail on the head twice in the story. 
Another thing I didn't like was the frantic kisses she shared with one of the selected men. After they kiss, then she starts to give him a chance and finds every excuse to kiss him again.him. The heavy kissing leads to grasping and pulling at clothes. In my personal opinion, light kisses are ok outside of marriage. Anything more could lead to more intimate situations that should be saved for man and wife.
Finally, I felt like readers didn't really get to know any of the Selected guys because Eadlyn didn't try to get to know any of them. She promised her father that she would really try for his sake and for the sake of their country. But, time after time she refused to do just that.

Overall: In the end, I think The Heir is a worthwhile read for fans of the series. If a reader had not read the first three books however, I'm not sure they would enjoy this book. I know I wouldn't have. Had I not known how talented of writer Kiera Cass is, by reading her previous work, I may not have stuck with it. I'm glad I did. I realize that Ms. Cass is kind of a genius. The way she wrote this story is realistic. People can change, but change does not happen overnight. She first introduces us to Eadlyn, explains why Eadlyn is the way she is, and then, over time, allows us to meet the real Eadlyn as her guard slowly comes down. Readers didn't get to know the Selected men until Eadlyn allowed herself to get to know them better. Just when the reader starts to connect, the story ends in a MAJOR cliffhanger that I didn't see coming. I knew I was coming close to the end of the story but when I turned the page and saw it was the last my exact words were "The story canNOT end like this!" Now the wait for the next story. My hope is that Eadlyn will learn from her past and the twist of events. Until the release of the next book,  my bookcase offers many distractions.

P.S. The One is still my favorite Selection book!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Heir is Here!

The Heir, the fourth book in The Selection series by Kiera Cass, IS OUT TODAY! 
This series of stories has grabbed my attention from the start and I am beyond excited to read what happens next! I am anxiously awaiting for my pre-ordered copy from Amazon Prime to arrive. 
Please hurry United States Postal Service! 
Before you all lose me to this story, I wanted to share this post with y'all. Stories are made for sharing; especially stories as good a these! 

The first three books in this series tell the story of America, a young girl who is chosen to compete for the heart of the prince and the title of future queen. The problem is, her heart already belongs to someone else. When her love and trust is shattered, she numbly leaves her home to become part of the Selection. She soon learns that time and distance heals a broken heart. A handsome, sweet prince may help as well. Just as she begins to love again truth, lies, and other dangers threaten America's happily ever after. Her choices along the journey ultimately decide her fate.

The Heir tells the story of Eadlyn, America's daughter, and her quest to find love. I am eager to follow Eadlyn on her adventure! I will post my thoughts of the story after I finish it. You can find out more about the Selection series by following the link below:

Now, I would like to add an update about my story. The word count for Return of the Nutcracker is at 3,000 words. My goal is to increase the word count by 1,000 a day until my first draft is completed. I will keep you updated as writing continues to progress. 

As a final note, I would like to add that I am currently reading Frostfire by Amanda Hocking and Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins while I await the royal arrival of Her Highness Princess Eadlyn. I will posts my thoughts of these stories when I finish.

In other exciting news, The world has just welcomed the birth of real life princess Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana! Yay!

What are you currently reading? Thanks for taking the time to read my posts. Please stay tuned!~Virginia

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Piece of My Mind

Hello Dear Reader,

I want to thank you so much for taking the time to read my words. Readers are one of the biggest reasons writers are able to do what they love and share their stories. Without readers our words, worlds, and characters may escape our minds and find their new homes on papers or screens, but they would still be stuck. Stories do not fully become alive until they are read.

Ok, this was not how I planned on starting this blog, but I just typed what came to mind. Writing has been on my mind more and more lately. I am not a regular blogger but I would like to try to post more updates. As I said in a previous blog, blogging gives me more practice writing. And, as the saying goes, "Practice makes perfect." But I know I will never be perfect. There was only one perfect person who walked this earth, Jesus. I do want to become more like him everyday that I live, though.

There is another saying that I like better, "Practice makes progress!" Progress is what I am aiming for. I want to be more dedicated in my writing. I want to make it my goal to write a little each day, and then write a little more the next day. I want to complete a story before editing it. And when I have done all I can do with my completed story, find people who will help me take the next step in sharing my story with others. I want to be published, no to be famous, but just to share the gift God gave me with others and hopefully brighten someone else's day. I will only accomplish my goal with practice, discipline, encouragement, and prayers.

So I invite you on this journey with me. I ask you to pray for and encourage me. I promise to do the same for you. Many people may not read this, but maybe more will join us as we go along. Even if they don't, I will write for God, hoping to bring Him and His Kingdom honor and glory.

I want to write my next blog about inspiration. What are your dreams and what inspires you to pursue them? I will be sharing what inspires me to write. I hope to hear from you. I'm excited for your response! I do not know when I will be posting my next blog because I will be very busy over the next few weeks, but I will do my best to post at least one blog a month. Hold me to that and remind me alright?

WRITING UPDATE!!!!!!! I just finished my first children's story for one of my best friend's childrens' birthday. It was a lot of fun to write! Now I am splitting my writing time between writing a story for another friend's daughter and my Nutcracker story. Yes I am stilling working on the same project! Exciting right?Well it is for me at least. Everytime I get an idea for a new story now, I force myself to make notes about it and not start working on it just yet. Not until I complete Return of The Nutcracker. <<<<<<-------- That's  the title of my story! ;) I have filled up one notebook writing the story and I'm halfway through another one! I'm not allowing myself to type it up yet because I know I will start editing it if I do. Fun Fact about my writing: I do most of it by hand in cursive, mostly because I don't always have access to a computer and if I get a new idea I want to write it down right away before I forget. I always try to keep paper and a pen or pencil with me at all times (I will tell a funny story about that another time.)

I would like to end this blog with a book series review. This review is only my opinion. Please feel free to share yours with me as well whether you agree with me or not. I recently read the Divergent series by Veronica Roth. This is a Dystopian series that I learned about after reading The Hunger Games Series. I saw an advertisement that encouraged me to read the series if I enjoyed The Hunger Games. So I decided to give Divergent a try. I think the first book is AMAZING! The story was so captivating and fast-paced that I finished it in no time. I immediately went to the store and bought the next two books in the series, fully expecting them to be just as good. I am sad to say that I was disappointed. To me, the second and third books, Insurgent and Allegiant, were long a drawn-out reads. Many times the story became almost boring. There would be spurts of action throughout but then the story would become dull to me again with alot of fillers. Veronica Roth is a very talented author and I may even give the series another try in the future. I will definitely read the first book again! However, the second and third book in the series were not as good as I had hoped and I was not a huge fan of the ending!

I think the movie is pretty awesome though! I was disappointed with a few things, but I'm not reviewing the movie right now. Overall it was good and I plan to own it when it is released on Dvd. God's Not Dead is an even better movie if you are looking to see a good movie this week or weekend, I highly recommend both of these!

A new book series that I love is The Selection by Kiera Cass! I am super excited for the third and final book in this series to be released in May! I will review this series in my next blog.

Sorry for any and all mistakes. This was typed quickly. Thanks again for read-ing! Happy Spring and God bless! ~Virginia

Monday, February 11, 2013

Blog Giveaway!

Hey Blogging Buddies!

I just wanted to post a short blog to let you all know about another awesome blog I think you should check out. The writer of the blog does reviews of books and authors so you could find some good new reads. Also, the blog is currently having a giveaway. So head on over to the link below and check the blog out! Thanks for reading! Have a great week! ~V

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Surprising Adventure!

A couple of months ago I entered my name to be considered as an advanced reader for Patrick W. Carr's debut novel, A Cast of Stones. I was not really sure this story was something I would enjoy because it was a different style than any other book I have ever read. When my name was chosen, I wanted to give the story a try anyways. I am very glad that I did!

Mr. Carr is an extremely talented author. His characters are easy to relate to and realistic. His descriptions are so vivid, readers will feel as if they are part of the story. The pace of A Cast of Stones is as quick as the plot is gripping. I did not want to put my book down until I found out what would happen next! The conclusion of the novel left me satisfied but wanting to read more at the same time. I am glad the next book in this series will be releasing soon! I cannot wait to find out how the tale continues!

I recommend this novel to any readers who enjoy a well-written, fast paced, adventure!~V

P.S. I know one is not suppose to judge a book by its cover, but the cover of this novel is one thing that got me interested to read the story. Gorgeous and intriguing!