First Chapter Review: The Black Shard by Victoria Simcox


The first chapter of this tween fantasy novel was sent to me by the author Victoria Simcox.


BLURB: The Black Shard, Victoria Simcox’s fast-paced, intricately woven sequel to The Magic Warble, takes Kristina Kingsly and her schoolmates back to Bernovem … and into a thrilling, often dangerous adventure.

Kristina’s stay at summer horse camp is horrible to say the least, and it’s all because Hester and Davina are there as well, making her life miserable. When Hester’s cruel prank goes terribly wrong, it’s actually what sends the three girls back to the magical land of Bernovem. In Bernovem, Kristina is very excited to see her former friend, Prince Werrien. When he invites her to sail with him on his ship to his homeland Tezerel, putting it simply, Kristina can’t refuse.

Reunited with her gnome, dwarf, animal, fairy friends … and best of all, Werrien, things seem like they couldn’t get any better for Kristina. But when Werrien becomes fascinated with an unusual seeing stone, the “Black Shard”, Kristina is haunted by a ghostlike old hag. Struggling against suspicion, guilt, illness, and ultimately the one who wants to possess her soul, Kristina will see it’s in her weakest moment that she will encounter more strength than she has ever known.

COVER: Love it. The covers for both novels in this series are exquisite. They speak to the genre, the characters, and the setting.

FIRST CHAPTER:  Stuck at a summer horse camp, Kristina is having a hard time dealing with Hester and Davina. The girls make her so miserable, she ends up wanting to leave camp. As she prepares to leave, she runs into Graham Kepler a kid she has known since kindergarten, who works at the camp.  Now she’s even more eager to leave.

KEEP READING:  You bet. Fantasy isn’t my favorite genre, but one of the great things about this series is Kristina is an average girl dealing with regular issues. There are the mean girls (Hester and Davina) and the dreaded summer camp experience. Combine that with  Kristina’s memories of the magical world of Bernovem and her friend Werrien and you have an engaging novel filled with characters you want to journey with.

Publisher Two Harbors Press (October 4, 2011)
Language English
ISBN-10 1937293149
ISBN-13 978-1937293147

File Size: 2330 KB
Print Length: 268 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1937293149
Publisher: Two Harbors Press (September 30, 2011)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English

I received a copy of book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

First Chapter Review of The Magic Warble by Victoria Simcox and Giveaway (3 winners!)

First Chapter Review is a special feature I started at The Book Connection this year. I haven’t written any for this blog, but I figured this giveaway would be the perfect chance for it. Author Victoria Simcox has generously offered 3 electronic copies of The Magic Warble to 3 readers of The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection. Read the details on how you can enter this giveaway at the end of this post.

BLURB: Dwarfs, gnomes, fairies, talking animals, and an evil queen – all these and more can be found in The Magic Warble, an enchanting tale of adventure and friendship.

Twelve-year-old Kristina Kingsly feels like the most unpopular girl in her school. The kids all tease her, and she never seems to fit in. But when Kristina receives an unusual Christmas gift, she suddenly finds herself magically transported to the land of Bernovem, home of dwarfs, gnomes, fairies, talking animals, and the evil Queen Sentiz.

In Bernovem, Kristina not only fits in, she’s honored as “the chosen one” the only one who can release the land from Queen Sentiz’s control. But it’s not as simple as it seems. To save Bernovem, she must place the gift she was given, the famous “Magic Warble” in its final resting place. And she must travel through the deep forest, climb a treacherous mountain, and risk capture by the queen’s “zelbocks” before she reaches her destination. Guided by her new fairy friends, Clover and Looper and by Prince Werrien, a teenage boy, as well as an assortment of other characters, Kristina sets off on a perilous journey that not only tests her strength but her heart.

COVER: Love it. The artwork and colors are stunning. Though we can’t guess what the cover has to do with the story based solely on the first chapter, the book blurb lets us know that it is appropriate.

FIRST CHAPTER: Kristina drags herself out of bed on the last day of school before the Christmas holiday. A bit of a loner, she doesn’t have friends at school. She has wonderful parents, though, which helps to make up for her lack of friends. Her dawdling leaves her rushing to catching the bus on time.

KEEP READING: Yes. This isn’t a genre I read often, but I like to expand my horizons from time to time. The author has created a character that young people can easily relate to in Kristina. Though the first chapter is short, the reader gets an idea who Kristina is, what she likes, what she doesn’t like, and who is important in her life. Nicely done.

Victoria was born in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, to an Austrian immigrant mother, and a Dutch immigrant father. She now lives in Western Washington with her husband, Russ and their three children, Toby, Kristina, and William. Her other family members are a Chihuahua, named Pipsy and two cats, named Frodo and Fritz. Besides being an author, Victoria is a home-schooling mother of twelve years and an elementary school art teacher of eleven years. In her spare time, Victoria enjoys managing her two older children’s Celtic band. She also loves writing, reading, painting watercolors, hiking, good movies, and just simply hanging out with her family and friends.

You can enter for your chance to win 1 of 3 available electronic copies of The Magic Warble by Victoria Simcox. Entry instructions are simple. You get one entry for each item:

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Please leave a separate comment for each entry, including your email address so I can contact you if you win. All winners will be notified by email and have 72 hours to respond accepting their prize. Instructions on how to claim your prize will be provided by the author or her representative. Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM on Sunday, December 2, 2012.