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Originally from Vermont, Ann now lives in Virginia with her family (those still at home). With a blended family of seven kids spreading out around the country, there has never been a dull moment. Ann's childhood was spent moving around a lot. Now settled, she is a home-schooling mom.
Ann has a love of books from childhood and continues to nurture that love in our children and now grandchildren -- always nurturing their imaginations. Along with publishing several books, Ann is active in the community, fighting illiteracy, with the founding and facilitating of a Creative Writing Club and volunteer tutoring at the Adult Learning Center.
Struggling with disabilities of her own, she tries not to overdo things... not always listening to her own advice. Her dry, sarcastic, and often corny wit finds its way into her writing. She pulls from life's experiences, both hers and others, for inspiration... always sharing, growing, and learning.
on June 12, 2013 :
Orphans Krissa and her little brother Micah move around a lot in the foster system and yearn for a place to call home. When their less-than-ideal caseworker drops them off at Grandma Athey's house, she has no idea she would be playing right into her enemies' hands. As Krissa and Micah adjust to their new environment and make new friends, they learn the truth about their parents' death, who they are, and quickly embark on a journey to fulfill their own destinies.
I was truly surprised by this book. I have a really bad habit of acquiring books to read and I love mysteries. I have a mountain of books on my to-read list. Sometimes by the time I get to reading a book, I have forgotten what it is about. You would think I would go and read the synopsis. But, I love mysteries. I figure I have it on my list to read for a reason and so I tend to just begin reading.
This book was one of those. I began reading it and for the first few chapters, I thought, "Wow, this is a nice coming-of-age story." Then, all of a sudden, I had the rug pulled out from under me! I knew something was up by different hints and clues, but I was not prepared for what happened. Now, I love paranormal stories, science fiction, and even fantasy novels. So, the direction this book took me in did not bother me in the slightest. It was simply surprising. That most likely would not happen with the average reader. I mean, you are reading this review right? You have probably read the synopsis, too. Just know that [much to my delight] everything and everyone is not as it seems in this coming-of-age story. And it pays to not necessarily know what to expect when reading.
There are so many aspects of this book that I loved. This book pulled me right in from the get-go. About mid-way through it became just action-packed and I flew through it. This was a phenomenal read that glued itself to my hands. There is the wonderful array of characters, each unique and with something to offer. It is amazing that there is so much detail. The author wrote in the mannerisms and character flaws very well. The slight toying and hinting of romance that is and could be, might be, but isn't and then yet again could be captures that confusing time of middle school and junior high so beautifully. I am sentimental by nature. So, I loved how all of the names had a meaning. The foreshadowing, the hinting, and the clues just propelled me through this book.
I was not too fond of the beginning simply because I pay attention to details. I became way too caught up in details. I wondered why an almost 14 year old would think it is fun to roll around in the mud. What were the characters' ages and their grades in school? I pondered how a 9 year old and a 14 year old could both be in middle school and at the same time. Pin's little brother was three years old and then he was 15 months, but born last year. They are registering for school, then begin school the next day. It is not the beginning of the school year because Micah "hoped to stay all summer". So, which day of the week would you register for school when school is the next day? Sunday? Turns out it was April and the 9 year old skipped a couple of grades. So, the details were all correct in the end, it was just really distracting for me trying to keep it all straight. Some readers like details, especially in suspense stories. If you do, this may not bother you.
This is the first book in a series by an indie author and, yet, there is a definite beginning, middle, and end to this book. There is not only great foreshadowing throughout the story, but also in the ending in such a way that all of the loose ends are tied up for this book and still leaving the door wide open for the sequel and the rest of the series. In fact, we are even given some ideas as to the direction the second book is headed - without saying hardly a thing. This is exactly how I want to read books in trilogies or those part of a series.
In the end, I remembered why I said I would read this book: it was written by Ann Snizek. I have not read much by her but I am not going to pass up a story she has written. She is one of those little-known authors and one to watch, folks.
If you are wondering about violence, sexuality, coarse language, drugs, etc. Given the content, I would definitely recommend it as quite suitable for a younger audience. There really is none of that here.
If you do pick up this one, be sure to pick up the Secret of the Shielded (Book 2) and look for Jewel of the Nirel (Book 3) which comes out in August. You will be glad you did. I know I am. I get to start it...now.
Disclaimer: All books reviewed by me have been received via purchase, lending, or given to me by an author or publisher for the purposes of an honest review. No reviews are purchased. They are my own opinion.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)
on Feb. 17, 2013 :
Krissa and her brother Mica has been on tour around the foster system for over 6 years, never staying very long anywhere and with each new location a little more mistrust, tiredness, loneliness and heartache have been put inside them, but especially Krissa. But when the kids are replaced (again) and end up at Grandma Athey’s things almost seems too good to be true. Krissa is very wary of what’s happening around them, where Mica (for once) actually drops his shy façade and falls into the new group of friends very quickly, leaving Krissa a little on the outside.
But when Krissa starts to hear strange voices in her head and finds an old key on the attic, learning she has a choice to make, a choice that either will save or condemn thousands of people, who can she trust? Soon enough Krissa is thrust into a new world, where old memories slowly resurfaces, old and new friends meets and one mistake can lead to death (or worse) for her, Mica and their new friends.
I enjoyed this book immensely. (Thank you Ann!) I loved to see how much Krissa grew in this book, how she stepped up to the challenges and how fiercely protective she was of her baby brother, Mica. On her journey she learns new powers, how to control them and that her choice can affect many, many people.
Mica is a real surprise once he shed his shy façade. Ina way he just wants to be a normal kid, but in reality… he’s far from it.
Not to forget the rest of the Travelers; Daisy (the tracker), Pinelopin – or Pin (the dream weaver), Philetus (the collector), Khevin (the crown Prince), Lorenzo (the watcher) and Sealey (the champion). Each of them contributes to the journey in their own way and our friends are in deep trouble even before they get to their own world.
It took me a little while to get into the book, but once I got into the characters I couldn’t put the book down and I kept turning page after page wanting to know what happened.
I found myself digging deeper into the story, loving each second, every twist and turn Ann delivered. I can’t wait to read the next book; Secret of the Shielded, it’s being released on March 9.
(reviewed long after purchase)
The Vampire Queen
on Dec. 12, 2012 :
Tunuftol’s Fortress of Light was a wonderfully woven story full of fun, charisma and entertainment. Ms. Snizek has fully developed characters what are loveable and make you feel a gamete of emotions throughout the story. She writes in a manner that the reader feels like they are right there as part of the group in the story and the things there are actually happening around you. You are put right into the story as you read it.
A young girl and her brother are pushed around through the adoption system until they are found by a caring Grandmotherly type old lady. Krissa, the main character starts having inexplicable dreams and her little brother Micah knows more than she gives him credit for. Krissa’s new friend Pin and her twin brother Khevin start to unravel Krissa’s questions about her dreams. She has become The Chosen One and is taken on a mission to take over the faction that has upset Khevin’s family from the throne. She has to learn her powers and follow her dreams which Pin helps out with as she’s a dream weaver. The group of friends accumulated at school take on a trip to find this other place they left as children and struggle against the evil they face. Will they succeed in the end? Who is the most valuable and who keeps the most secrets? Will Krissa know what to do when the time comes?
Author Ann Snizek creates a world where any reader would like to go. The travel she puts this young group on is a treat for the reader. As you learn along with the main character, you feel for her and learn some interesting facts. She gives you a whole world where you can emerge yourself for awhile and follow along with this group of friends. I would recommend this as a must read for anyone who likes to get themselves entirely involved in a story. This is a page turner that is hard to put down. It’s an easy read with short chapters that move you along through the story at a quick pace. Ms. Snizek has done a great job creating a story that everyone should read!
(reviewed the day of purchase)