Monday, January 29, 2018

Blog Tour: A Wild and Unremarkable Thing by Jen Castleberry...Review & More!

Have a fun new fantasy to tell you about today...and let’s just say, “There be dragons!”
Plus, find out some of my favorite fictional dragons.

A Wild and Unremarkable Thing

Publisher: The Parliament House
Release Date: January 23, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy


Fifteen years have passed since a Fire Scale scorched Cayda’s village.  Fifteen years of beatings, of bare kitchen cupboards and sloppy swordplay.  Fifteen years of biting her lip for her father’s cane while her younger sisters did the same for the grimy patrons of the village brothels. Fifteen years of staring steadfastly after beauty in an increasingly ugly world.

Now, with hair shorn and breast bound, Cayda marches into the Summer Alps as Cody, a hopeful Champion seeking a dragon-slayer’s reward, with the full weight of her family’s survival on her shoulders.

But the road between poverty and prosperity is rife with beasts, betrayals, and baser temptations. Sensible Cayda soon discovers that she is not the only Champion with her eye on the prize, or the only one wearing a disguise.
With monsters, gods, and royalty hot on her heels, Cayda must ask herself if victory is worth sacrificing her identity for – or her life.

A Wild and Unremarkable Thing pits girl against dragon in a stunning blend of Greek mythology and medieval lore. Readers will not quickly forget the diverse cast or the thrilling, sexy ride!

Jen Castleberry lives and writes in Virginia Beach.
Her background is in Animal Welfare.
All of her pets are named after superheroes.

Title: A Wild and Unremarkable Thing
Author: Jen Castleberry
Format: Digital ARC
Source: Publisher/Blog Tour 

A Wild and Unremarkable Thing is a fascinating tale about a young woman’s journey to fulfill a task that she has been raised kill a Fire Scale, a dragon-like creature that hibernates or hides and only comes out during an event that happens every 15 Years known as the Emerging.

Thanks to her father’s harsh training and determination, young Cayda is gone and where she once stood is now a tough, young “man” named Cody. Cayda has been forced by her father to act as a male because “girls shouldn’t kill” Fire Scales and her family needs the money killing one during the next Emerging would bring. When her father is injured, Cody must make the dangerous journey alone to the tournament in hopes of helping her struggling family. Cody faces dangers not just from nature, but also man. If her secret is revealed it could be dangerous.

Along the way we learn more about Cody, but we also meet some other fascinating characters such as Penn, a man with a fascinating secret past, Wolfe, who is more at home in a library than a battleground but who yearns to prove himself, and Wolfe’s friend, Fares, the crown prince who just wants to have a good time. All are on their way to the same destination...the site of the next Emerging. Each of the four have secrets they don’t want to share and their own reasons for traveling to the Emerging.

The first half this beautifully-written and at times emotional story focuses on the journey to the Emerging. There is not a lot of excitement really, but it gives us a chance to get to know our main characters a bit and see how they interact with one another and reading the different viewpoints allows us to see the other characters in a different way. I was never quite sure what to expect or think, however, when it came to the prince...he’s a tough one to figure out at times. But as I said they all have interesting and distinct personalities and it slowly becomes clear just why each has taken this journey.

As for the second half, things start to pick up as they near their destination and the Emerging approaches. Secrets are revealed, relationships are forever changed, and more. Plus, our characters finally come face-to-face with some of the beasts and creatures hinted at in the first half including the Fire Scales.  There are even a few unexpected twists thrown in as well...or at least, I didn’t expect them.

I really loved the author’s incorporation of both fantasy and mythology to tell this story. It definitely made it more interesting and the elements she chose to use raised the stakes a bit for some of the characters making their success during the Emerging even more critical. I can’t say too much because I am trying not to spoil the story, but it was definitely fascinating.

Overall, A Wild and Unremarkable Thing was just what I had hoped it would entertaining read with likable characters and a world I wouldn’t mind seeing more of someday.

*I received a complimentary digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion*
So if you read my review above, you’ll see that A Wild and Unremarkable Thing features Fire Scales or as I’d probably call them...Dragons.

I have long been a fan of all things dragon and I am not exactly sure when this love of mine started.  I thought I’d share a list with you of some of my favorite fictional dragons. As I sat down to compose this list, I began to see that my love for these fire-breathing beasts started young...perhaps one of these dragons is responsible for my passion.

The first thing I want to point out about dragons is that there are so many different types...I mean, anything goes when imagining these fictional creatures. I remember giving my nephew (another dragon fan) an encyclopedia of dragons when he was little and it was so fascinating reading about these fantastical creatures as if they truly existed.

Dragons can also vary when comes to personalities...sometimes they’re the enemy and sometimes they’re our friend. And that can be said about all of the dragons on my list.

So the list...that’s what you really wanted...not me rambling.

Okay, in no particular order, here are some of my favorite fictional dragons...

Up first, we have Maleficent. Technically, she’s not a dragon, but there’s a scene that has stuck with me since early childhood where Prince Phillip is battling our villain to get to Aurora and I can clearly remember sitting there watching as she transforms into this big magnificent beast of a dragon. This was long before Beauty & the Beast was released and became my favorite Disney movie so I would watch Sleeping Beauty, my second favorite, multiple times a day and this scene has always stuck with me.

Another favorite dragon also comes from childhood, but this one was in a book. I’m not even sure the dragon has a name, but when I was little I was obsessed with the book There’s No Such Thing As A Dragon by Jack Kent. It was one of those books that came with a cassette tape for you to “turn the page at the chime” so I’d read and listen for hours even falling asleep to it playing on the stereo. The yellow & orange dragon was my dream pet for a bit.

My next all-time favorite dragon will always be my favorite...Elliot from the 1970s version of Pete’s Dragon. Another movie I watched over and over, yet I couldn’t tell you much about the plot, Pete’s Dragon featured my favorite invisible dragon, Elliot. He was just so cute and so much he took care of Elliot...he had a good heart.

It wouldn’t be a list without Puff the Magic Dragon. This is one of my dad’s favorite songs and it has become one of my favorites as well. I know the rumors that surround the song, but I choose to believe in the innocent nature of Puff, the Magic dragon.

One last favorite before I wrap things up (although I could easily add about 10 or so more), Draco from Dragonheart. Not only does he have an awesome voice (thanks to Sean Connery), he does his best to help change the world around him and how people view dragons.  I love this movie so much and it’s got a lot to do with Draco. He’s such a fabulous character.

So those are some of my favorite you have any favorites?

  • Prize: 1 signed paperback copy of A WILD AND UNREMARKABLE THING by Jen Castleberry
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  1. I LOVED There's No Such Thing as a Dragon!!! And so did my kid. A really fun book :) Great post Jennifer!!

  2. This book was very different from the author’s others, and I loved it. I love them too but this was more fantasy than sci-fi. It was a story of adventure and hardship and love.

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