Author Recommendation: Jeff Wheeler

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One of my most beautiful discoveries this year is the author Jeff Wheeler. I came across one of his books, “The Queen’s Poisioner” by coincidence (Well, I don’t really believe in coincidences, but anyway…) when I was visiting Norway in April, and I was immediately drawn to it. I bought it, and wolfed it down in a day! The very same day I started the follow-up: “The Thief’s Daughter”. Both the books are a part of the “Kingfountain” series and I finished the series in days and started on the next series.

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I am currently reading the “Muirwood” series and I am loving it even more (if that is possible) than the the “Kingfountain” series!

So what is it about Jeff Wheeler’s books that I love so much?
Well, first of all it is Fantasy, but more than that it is extremely well written fantasy! The books are both action driven and character driven. Almost every page is a page-turner and the language flows so easily that it is a dream to read. The plots are intricate and dramatic, but still logical and realistic ( with realistic, I don’t mean they are like reality, I just mean that they make sense and have no irritating holes in them).
The characters are loveable and interesting, they all have their weaknesses and strengths, and the most important part, the real heroes are often girls and women! Here you will find that it is often the strong woman or girl who saves the man! Yet, she never loses her femininity, and become what I personally never like in female heroines, like a man.

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But what I love most about Jeff Wheeler’s books is how very spiritual they are! Especially the “Muirwood” series. The spiritual aspect of the books is not preachy, or depicted as a very fantastical and otherworldly magic. It is described, or used, in a way very similar to non-fictional spiritual books, only it is done in a way that weaves it so beautifully into the tale. There are little pearls of wisdom everywhere, and you learn something new, even if you are experienced in hardcore spirituality yourself.

Many of the tales are set in castles or abbeys, with a wise person, a spiritual teacher, training the hero/heroine in the spiritual aspects. I love seeing these beautiful places in my mind! It is like I am there taking part in the story myself.

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Jeff Wheeler himself recommends starting with the “Kingfountain” series, which is his most recent, but if you want to read the books mostly because of the spiritual aspects, I recommend starting with the “Muirwood” series. The protagonist in this series is a young teenage girl and she is such an amazing character I am in awe of Jeff Wheeler for creating her!

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I am not sure what age group Jeff Wheeler targets, but I did not feel that I was reading Children’s- or young adult books. I think these books really are for all age groups, but some of the content is at times a bit violent, not overly so, but it has short descriptions of battles and many of the villains do get killed, so I think it depends upon the sensitivity of the child, but I would perhaps say that the books are suited for everyone from 12 years and up. And with everyone, I really mean everyone!

If you want to know more about Jeff Wheeler and his books, you can check out his website here: http://www.jeff-wheeler.com

All the above images have been sourced from Jeff Wheeler’s website.

Roald Dahl and me

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Roald Dahl is one of those authors who is so beloved that we quarrel over his Nationality. The British will claim he is theirs as he was born in Wales, whereas Norwegians will say he belongs to them since his parents were both from Norway. His name is certainly Norwegian (he was named after the Norwegian explorer Roald Ammundsen), and we know that he spent most of his childhood summers in TjΓΈme, Norway, with his extended family who lived there. This is where most of his stories in his autobiographical book “Boy” takes place.

When I was very small my parents used to read to me. All kind of books really, but I especially loved Fairy stories, and stories of a more fantastical character. I loved stories so much that I wanted to read them all the time, so by the time I was four years old, I taught myself to read. After that there was no stopping me. I skipped the picture books and I dived into the whole bibliography of Roald Dahl.

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In one year I read most of his children’s books. My favorites were “Matilda” ( Well, it was about a four year old girl who teaches herself to read and then discovers she has magical abilities!), “Charlie and the Chocolate factory”, “The BFG” and the “Witches”. “Matilda” got me interested in classics, like Charles Dickens, and I started reading the abridged children’s versions of “Oliver Twist” and “David Copperfield”.

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A couple of years later, when I was maybe 6 or 7, I watched the film “The Witches” based on Roald Dahl’s book. I watched it at my granny’s house with my cousins and we were all frightened to death by those super scary witches! To this day, I still feel that it is the scariest movie I’ve ever seen ( and I saw the “Jaws” movies around the same time!).

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My cousins and I were so inspired by the film, that we enacted many of the scenes in our make-believe games, and made up our own stories about witches, often featuring the local elderly ladies, and the ancient paintings my granny had of farms and farmer’s wives. We were just convinced we saw the ladies in those paintings move!

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When I was seven and started school I believed wholeheartedly that I could move things with my eyes, like Matilda in Roald Dahl’s “Matilda”, and I was so ready for a Trunchbull to overcome!
That year I also started writing my own stories, and many of them were inspired by characters, ideas and plots from Roald Dahl’s magical books.

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Most of the kids in school read Roald Dahl’s books, not because we had to, but because we wanted to. We discussed his books during recess and swapped books if someone had a book someone else hadn’t read. I remember my best friends favorite book was “George’s marvelous medicine”.

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Roald Dahl and his magical universe is still inspiring me and my writing today. I have re-read “Matilda” many times, and I continue to take great pleasure in his wonderful books and his marvelous imagination. He is one of my childhood heroes, whose stories I have brought with me into adulthood and into my own stories.

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Image credit: All the art work is by the wonderful Quentin Blake. The stills are from the movie “The Witches”. The other pictures are from Wikimedia.

Fictional Friends

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Art by Tove Jansson

Have you ever read a book and just thought to yourself: Oh, I wish wish wish this person was real so that we could become friends! Or perhaps you even had a crush on a character in a book? Or maybe met a new favorite grandfather or aunt or teacher?
I certainly have! Sometimes I feel that half of my world is made up of fictional characters and imaginary worlds. 😊😊

So in this post I thought I’d share some of my favorite fictional characters with you. 😊

Luna Lovegood

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Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter books by J.K Rowling is perhaps my absolute favorite character in a book. I always love people, both in real life and in the fictional world, who are a bit eccentric, different, kind and who has a beautiful heart. Luna ticks all these boxes! I love how dreamy she is, and how she doesn’t care what people think of her. She is so strong, and sweet at the same time! I think she and I would make wonderful Friends!

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In the case of Luna Lovegood I actually even liked her more after seeing the Harry Potter movies. Evanna Lynch does such a good job portraying Luna that she has become Luna for me, and now I don’t even want to see her in other movies, because I want to keep her as Luna Lovegood, my friend, in my mind! 😊😊

 

Radagast

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Radagast the Brown from the wonderful books by J.R.R Tolkien is another favorite of mine. He is like Luna, sweet, eccentric, different and kind. He loves nature and animals, and he has this innocent energy about him that just makes me love him. Of course he also has magical powers, and a carriage drawn by rabbits! What’s there not to love! πŸ˜„πŸ˜„

 

Treebeard the Ent

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Treebeard is another character from the magical universe of J.R.R Tolkien. Treebeard is an Ent, a Tree Herder, who looks like a tree, but is not the same. Tree Herders are there to protect all the trees in the world. I love trees so much! I always have, ever since I was a little girl and climbed to the tops of trees. I always felt that trees are alive and can offer great healing and comfort, so like the Ents, I want to protect the trees!

 

Snuffkin

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A lot of you might not have heard about this character. Snuffkin is created by the amazing Tove Jansson, a Finnish-Swedish author, who wrote the beautiful Moomin books.
Snuffkin is a wanderer, he follows the season and wanders the land, sleeping in a tent he carries on his back and eat fish from the rivers and berries from the trees and shrubs. He is very philosophical and plays melancholic tunes on his harmonica. Snuffkin doesn’t believe in possessions and admires everything without needing to own it.

Snuffkin is a bit of a loner, but he is very kind and caring and always helps when he can.
His best friend is Moomintroll, but he values his freedom above the friendship, and only stays with Moomin through spring and summer, the rest of the year he is on a walkabout through the land and forests he loves so much.

 

Granny Weatherwax

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Granny Weatherwax is a character in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels. I first encountered Granny Weatherwax in the books about Tiffany Aching, a young witch who has many wonderful adventures on her way to becoming a real witch. Granny Weatherwax is also a witch. Many readers of these books might not like Granny Weatherwax much, because she is strict, authoritative, sarcastic and frankly a bit scary, but I love her! Because she is wise, strong, fair, and despite her exterior, awfully good! 😊 I love how she is always honest, and straight forward, she doesn’t put on pretenses or airs, and those are some of my favorite characteristics in people! Granny Weatherwax has also been the inspiration for many of my stories about witches, in particular my Granny FlowerWitch stories 😊😊.

 

Coriakin

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Coriakin is a character in the Narnia books, specifically the Voyage of the Dawn treader, by C.S Lewis. Now this might come as a surprise to many of you because Coriakin plays a very minor role in the book, but for me he has become the ultimate magician, who has inspired all my own literary magicians. I have to admit, it was actually in the BBC’s TV adaptation of the Narnia books I first fell in love with this character. He just had it all: the long white beard, the pointy hat, the blue cloak with stars, a huge old spell book, and he lived in a magical invisible tower! As a kid, I could ask no more from a depiction of a wizard! πŸ˜„

Serafina and the black cloak

By Robert Beatty

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This fantastical and mysterious tale is about a wild girl who hunts rats and who can see in the dark, a man with a black cloak gobbling up children at night, and an aristocratic boy who can talk to animals and whose only friend is a fierce Doberman.

Before you read on……have you ever heard of someone who’s got two souls? One wild and one tame?

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I loved this fantastical and imaginative book! I loved all the beautiful characters, I loved the way the story unfolded, and I loved the ending! It almost reads like a fairy tale, but only with a lot more details, characterization and dialogue.

My favorite character was that of the heroine, 12 years old Serafina, and boy is she a heroine! She is brave, strong, fierce, and selfless when it comes to the people she loves. And most importantly, she is wild!

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The book is a bit scary, especially for little kids, but I think it is meant for children from 10 years and up, and when I mean up, I mean waaaay up, because adults will love this book too!

I would probably have enjoyed this book as young as 6-7 years old, but I was a very brave child when it came to the supernatural, and I was a big fan of ghost stories!
This book is kind of a ghost story, but it does, like most books for children, have a sweet ending that had me in tears.

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I strongly recommend this wonderful book to children and adults alike, especially to those who love a bit of thrill and mystery!

Five of five stars! 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Happy Reading!

The Luck Uglies

By Paul Durham

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This is a tale of disgusting monsters, a secret society who is either great heroes or feared villains, secret tunnels, a cat who can never be let out, a book of forbidden knowledge and three friends determined to find out what the truth really is...

Welcome to Village Drowning, a village tormented by both its evil ruler and the much feared Bog Noblins who eat people and make necklaces out of human feet! This is where our heroine, Rye O’Chanter, lives, an 11 year old girl with a mysterious talisman around her neck. Rye O’Chanter is determined to find out the truth about the secret society called The Luck Uglies, and together with her two friends, she is about to enter into a world she only thought existed in fairy stories.

This book is both thrilling, funny and a bit disgusting. It took me a few pages before I was hooked, but towards the end of the book I was race-reading through the last 150 pages. The book is divided into chapters and each chapter ends on a thrilling note, so that you can’t wait to know what happens next. This makes it a perfect bedtime book to read for a child about 9-11 years old. Older children will also enjoy the book, but some of the humor is a bit juvenile for my taste ( there is a lot of burping, nose picking and monster saliva), but younger kids will love it! The book reminded me a little of David Walliams’and Alan Snow’s books, in the way it was written, and it was quite obvious that the author is male. It is a book for kids, but one of those stories you will definitely find entertaining yourself while reading it for, or with, a child.

I most definitely recommend this book to all kids, but especially those between 9 and 11.

Happy Reading!

Fire Spell

By Laura Amy Schlitz

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A puppet maker, an old mad witch, a puppet looking suspiciously like a kidnapped child, a cursed gem stone and two brave orphaned children who are about to walk right into the witch’s forbidden tower

This is is a magnificent story filled with all the magic, mystery and thrill you can ever dream of encountering in a book. The characters are vivid, loveable, brave, awfully wicked and heartbreakingly cruel. This book got me hooked from the very first sentence and I spent two days and two almost sleeplessness nights race-reading the 500 incredible pages.
I can honestly say that this is my favorite book so far this year, and I can’t imagine any other book surpassing it. It is just sooo good!

It is a children’s book, but for a bit older children, I would say from age 12 and up. But this book can be enjoyed by all who love a great fantasy novel. It is so well written, and the characters are so well thought out I just fell in love with them, and will keep them vivid in my imagination for a long time.

The story takes place in Victorian England something that really adds to the wonderful charm of the book. There are old houses, castles, frozen lakes, steam engine trains and street artists crowding Piccadilly in hope of earning a sovreign. I love the language and the different dialects, the street cockney and the refined upper class London English. I love the detailed descriptions and the dialogues. I just love everything about this book!
So needless to say I highly recommend it, to children (12+) and to all lovers of fantasy!

Five out of five stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Happy reading!

The Worst Witch

By Jill Murphy

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Welcome to Miss Cackle’s Academy, a school for young witches in training. Here you will most certainly make friends with our heroine Mildred Hubble. Mildred is a young witch with a heart of gold, but even though she always tries to do things right somehow it always seems to go wrong. She gets her invisibility spell wrong, and her kitten just won’t hang on to her broomstick. But when the school is threatened by a gang of jealous witches who wants to turn them all into frogs, it is Mildred who is the only one who can save the school. But will she get the spell right this time?

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This book is a classic, a tale beloved by many, but for me it was the first time I encountered the wonderful Mildred and her friends. I loved the book! Even though I couldn’t help but compare it to the Harry Potter books, which really isn’t fair since this book is a chapter book written for much younger children. The book is also written many years before the Harry Potter books, so perhaps J.K Rowling was even inspired by it!

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This book is the first in a series of books about Mildred and the other students at Miss Cackle’s Academy, and I am surely tempted to read them all! I just have one complaint, and that is that I wish I had read this book when I was little! It would have inspired so many games and make-believes! I would have lived in Mildred’s world and been her very best friend!

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I highly recommend this book to all young readers and to parents with small kids, it might not be one of those books you will enjoy as much as an adult, but kids will absolutely love it!

Happy Reading!