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Ann Haines is a debut writer from the South East of England. She is a married mother of two, a horror movie buff, Tweeter, Blogger and a self-confessed geek............................ and GLEEK (much to her sons annoyance).
She has been writing from an early age and even took to illustrations as she went through her teenage years. Although she still sketches as a hobby she now prefers to focus on her writing. At nineteen she became a mother and had to put her writing on hold for a more lucrative job to support her and her son, as it was just the two of them. She never gave up the idea of becoming a writer though and when her son was four he gave her the idea for what is now her first book 'Brunswick'.
After two and half years of writing her book and researching the self-publishing industry, Ann's book 'Brunswick' was published on Amazon. She became part of the Indie Publishing community that she loves and is widely involved in. Over the years she has had many ideas for her work and so we can expect to see much more of this new Indie Author.
on Aug. 28, 2012 :
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through the We Love YA Books on Goodreads.
I really enjoyed this story about a young man who ends up in a world he helped create, where if he grows up and stops believing in it, it will be destroyed. I love the idea behind this book; I just wish there had been more time to get to know the characters better and for the world building to have been more detailed. The beginning was confusing for me, but soon afterward I began to understand what was happening.
The characters are definitely likable and smart--I just wanted to know more about them. Some of the dialogue didn't come across as natural and was weak, but overall it wasn't a huge distraction from the story itself. The plot is well planned out, and the character's actions and reactions made sense to me. Even if I disagreed with how a character felt or reacted to an event, I could understand where he or she was coming from. There are serious times as well as humorous ones with a nice balance between the two.
While reading, I felt there were some elements of "Peter Pan," "The Neverending Story," and "The Lord of the Rings" that pleasantly reminded me of my own childhood and how my own imagination has changed as I've grown up. If you like any of the above mentioned books, you will definitely love this book as well.
(reviewed 61 days after purchase)
on July 29, 2012 :
How powerful is imagination? Jonathan Brunswick finds out the hard way. After falling into a cavern while on a beach trip with his family, Jonathan wakes up in a world where the people seem familiar. Surprised to learn that he was brought to the village with magic, he soon makes another discovery: this place is Brunswick and is the result of the stories that Jonathan and his dad made up. The villagers tell Jonathan about the great tower that appeared one day and the darkness that followed. Adults and children alike began disappearing into the smog, never to return.
Realizing that is more important to stay and help instead of returning to his family, Jonathan learns to fight, meets his equal in a pretty girl named Grace, and works with Gideon, Hector and other villagers to determine how to fight the unknown “It” who lives in the tower...and has a deathly army called the Volker.
Through a long, arduous journey to the Tower, this group of villagers meets other clans, forges new alliances and comes up with a plan that should not only take down It but rescue the villagers that have been taken prisoner. But what is “It” and should all of the group’s hopes be pinned on Jonathan?
I really enjoyed the framework of this story; the travel between Brunswick and the “real world;” how the ending is tied up; the basic plot line. It was an intriguing concept for a story. However, the writing did not support the story enough. While I was reading, I felt like this was a story that was written down exactly as a storyteller was uttering it. No breaths, no paragraphs, no editing. Everything running together.
I lost count of the run-on sentences, incorrect word usage and lack of punctuation. Questions had no question marks, periods were missing and commas, lacking. Apostrophes were used incorrectly. Unrelated phrases were put together to make extra long sentences.
There was a great deal of unnecessary explanation as well. When something was introduced, whether it was a person or a place, it was described in great detail, sometimes telling who someone’s parents were and what they did for a living. It did not matter whether this was important to the story or not. Just about everyone/everything got the same treatment. Usually these kinds of facts are a signal to the reader that this information is important and will be needed later in the book, but not so in many cases here. Also, the drama wasn’t very dramatic. Everything seemed to be on the same excitement level - no peaks and valleys. As the reader, I didn’t get a chance to know these people or care about them or their plight.
Lastly, and I know these things may sound petty, but the main character, Jonathan, was referred to as “Jon” in the narrative on occasion. I don’t know if this is a rule, but it seems to me that people should always be referred to the same way every time so there is no confusion as to which character is being referred to. Nicknames, etc., can be used when characters speak to each other. Also, the word “doctor” was alway written as “Dr.” That is a title, and the word should be written out otherwise. The “G” is always capitalized in the word “God” when referring to the one and only as well.
2 of 5 Stars (Based on Ink and Page’s Rating System)
Genres: Young Adult Fiction Fantasy
Ages: 12 and up
You might want to know: No bad language beyond one time use of "hell."
Brunswick by Ann Haines was published March 1, 2012 by Ann Haines. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review.
(reviewed 29 days after purchase)
on July 25, 2012 :
I have to admit that I really enjoyed this book! I got lost within the pages and hated to put it down. I felt so close to all the characters and found myself wishing that I could be a citizen of Brunswick. At times the story brought tears to my eyes and at other times I found myself afraid of what might happen. The story has such a positive message: Always Stand Up For What You Believe In! I truly look forward to reading more of her work in the future!
for the rest of my review check out my blog: http://icanonlybehele3.blogspot.com/2012/07/brunswick-by-ann-haines.html
(reviewed 30 days after purchase)
on July 25, 2012 :
I read this book as part of the ARR program on goodreads. I enjoyed the storyline and I thought that it was fun adventure story that reminded me of the adventures I used to read when I was younger. I liked the twists and turns and thought it was very imaginative.
I had a hard time with the grammatical errors, the pace was slow at times and it took me a while to get hooked in. It seemed like a younger book than what I originally thought, although the character was supposed to be 15, I thought the target audience would be more around the 11-13 range. Most of the YA books I read the characters almost seem grown-up and easier to picture as older and wiser than their age, but I thought that Johnathan acted younger and was hard to visualize as an older teen. All in all it was a good read and I am glad I got the opportunity to read it.
(reviewed 29 days after purchase)
on July 23, 2012 :
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I love a good quest. Ann Haines gives us a great adventure and incorporates a powerful message for young and young at heart readers with Brunswick.
The story starts off with a young boy who is creative and loves to write. His character grabbed me from the beginning. His struggle with growing up is something that is real for all of us, especially those of us who live and breathe fiction.
What makes the quest adventure work is the ability for the reader to identify with and struggle through the story along with a character and to be able to imagine ourselves becoming better because of what we have gone through during the quest. Haines gives us something to struggle and identify with and in turn this makes the adventure real to the reader.
Aside from the grammatical issues, the main problem I had with this tale was the pacing. There were many things narrated that were unnecessary details (like Jonathan remembering home and friends). In the end, I felt that these details had no meaning. I also found that everyone was just too polite. I know that sounds strange but in the heat of battle the characters were stopping the war to talk each other. This again slowed the pacing, and it was hard to believe while under attack the characters would have time to complement each other as much as they did.
In the end, like the main character I quested with, I did find something that made me a better person. This is the key power of the quest plot, and Haines successfully delivered this.
Characters (Major and Minor): 3/5
Overall Storyline (Concept, Plot): 5/5
Overall Pacing: 2/5
Technical (Grammar, punctuation, etc.): 2/5
My Overall Rating: 3/5
(reviewed 27 days after purchase)
on July 22, 2012 :
In the beginning I was having a hard time getting into the story, I actually read a very small amount over about 4 days which is unlike me. The closer it got to the weekend, I decided I had to commit to this book and when I sat down and actually focused on reading it, I really enjoyed it. The reason it was not a 4 or 5 star rating for me is because I believe it was a bit of a younger story and that's the reason I could not get into it as much as I would have liked. Most YA that I do read seems to be targeted at older teens whereas this story seems targeted to pre-teens or early teens. I definitely recommend it to someone in the 11 to 15 age category.
Ann Haines did a wonderful job of world building with the imaginary land of Brunswick. I could really envision what Brunswick looked out and picture it in my mind and that is something that I really look for, if I can't imagine the world it takes place in, the story will fall flat for me.
I also very much enjoyed how much of Jonathan's real life tied in with the imaginary land as well, I thought that was a unique factor and I liked how it also tied in Jonathan's father.
The ending was a twist I did not expect, which I shall not spoil for anyone, but it was really a twist that I did not even think of!
All in all this was a nice, cute read about a young boy who travels to an imaginary land.
(reviewed 25 days after purchase)
on July 21, 2012 :
This was a good adventure story. The book is about a boy named Jonathan Brunswick, who finds himself being transported to this other world. At first he is not happy about it and then decides to help the people of that world, which he finds out, that he created.
I liked the story line itself. The only reason why I did not give this book more stars was because I could not convince myself that Jonathan was 15 years old. He seems much younger, judging by the way he acted in many parts of the story.
Over all it is a good book.
(reviewed 25 days after purchase)
on July 21, 2012 :
Brunswick followed a regular teen, Jonathan, on his journey into a magical world of the same name. It was a charming tale, for anyone who is a fan of fantasy, heroes, and especially imagination.
I really enjoyed reading this book. Every character was likeable, and Jonathan was the epitome of a wholesome hero. One of my favorite things was meeting all the creatures that lived in Brunswick. I'm not going to spoil them for you, but they were creatures/animals I can guarantee you haven't seen in any other fiction!
Imagination was a big role in this book. The whole story ran on it. The plot twists were totally unexpected, and so clever. The morals that came out at the end were also heartwarming, and the epilogue sealed my love of this book.
The cover kind of makes it look like a horror novel, but it's totally the opposite! I recommend this to anyone who is up for a bit of fantasy fun. (:
(reviewed 25 days after purchase)
on July 18, 2012 :
If "Brunswick" had started out with the richer dialogue & action it ended with, this would have been a good read. The flow of the story was very slow and grey at the beginning. A third of the way in, the drama perked up and the story became more dynamic. The ending was told very well and was a nice wrap to the plot. Unfortunately, I will not recommend this book. However, I hope the author does not give up as I see plenty of potential to become an awesome storyteller.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
Sadie S. Forsythe
on July 18, 2012 :
Brunswick put me in the mind of The Never Ending Story or maybe a modernized Narnia. I’m fairly sure I’m not the first person to make the comparison, but that just further supports the similarities. Jonathan and his family are about as ideal as you can imagine, everyone loves each-other and is comfortable expressing it. So it isn’t surprising that Jon’s overriding desire is initially to get home. But because he comes from a strong, loving family that has taught him to do the right thing he can’t turn a blind eye to the suffering around him. It is easy to see the influence of his home-life in the decisions he makes, and this serves to make his emotional transition believable.
He meets a whole host of interesting characters in the new land of Brunswick. This is my favorite aspect of the book. Haines really lets her imagination go wild. The variety of species is a lot of fun. That they are initially reluctant to combine their resources serves as an allegory for the manner in which racial or cultural segregation weakens a society or cause.
The story does tend to leap periodically. I would have liked for it to have progressed a little more smoothly, but I didn’t find this so jarring that it put me off in any manner. If you are looking for a story with a contagious innocence that reminds you of what is good in the world, this is probably the one for you.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on July 11, 2012 :
This was an enjoyable book into the imaginative world of Jonathan Brunswick. He is a fifteen year old boy that loves to write stories, and ends up being transported to this world he has created. There he meets many different people, and helps them save Brunswick from the evil that has taken over. When he finally confronts the evil doer he is on for a surprise of who it turns out to be.
This was a fun read with lots of battles and courage. I think this would be especially good for boys ages 11 and up, and everyone else, too. This book was clean for youth to enjoy.
(reviewed 15 days after purchase)
on July 09, 2012 :
Author: Ann Haines
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Jonathan Brunswick used to play a game with his father as a kid. They would both go into the backyard and pretend that they were in a magical kingdom named Brunswick, where they would fight snake-like creatures in the forest and live happily in a sort-of backwards village with all of these simple minded people. But it turns out that Brunswick is not just a figment of Jon's imagination. He created an actual world, with real lives who have him (as the Creator) to thank. And when they all summon Jonathan to help them against the impending darkness of the Tower, it is up to him to save the lives that he created, and learn more about himself in the process.
Thoughts on the Characters:
To me, the characters were just okay. They were pretty shallow. All of the villagers were friendly and welcoming and had a reverent attitude towards Jonathan because he's the Creator. It/The Destroyer was the epitome of evil, and Jonathan is the humble boy who doesn't realize his own strength and heroic nature inside of him.
The only character I found interesting was Dashana ((view spoiler)). As the "insider" and mastermind to The Destroyer's world, you really felt for her. She was complex - the unwilling assistant to the Destroyer who knows that she will be treated humanely as long as she helps her master. Yet there were times where she could overcome her master's spell and think somewhat lucidly and with her heart. I genuinely enjoyed reading her chapters.
Positive Aspects of the Book:
If pressed a little farther, I think this could have been a GREAT book. The ideas are all there. In fact, I think it is a really cool fantasy plot. We are always told by those "recent scientific studies" that the brain has more power than we know, that imagination plays a greater role in our lives than we previously thought, that belief may in fact translate to tangible results. All hypothetical, of course, but tie in to the essence of Brunswick - imagination unfathomable power.
This could have been a really, really cool book. The plot itself was well-paced and, albeit predictable, always taking new turns. It is organized through several characters' perspectives, and I do think the author ordered the chapters well in the sense that the placement either provided relief, suspense, or more sustenance, whichever was most effective at the time.
The last half of the book was commendable though. It brought it some cute themes about the necessity of working together despite historical difficulties, and what can happen when the world comes together as one. And everything was tied nicely together by the end as all of the loose strings were brought back in. I know I already used the word, but I can't really describe it in any other way but just being a cute ending.
Negative Aspects of the Book:
I don't know how else to say this except pretty bluntly - this needs an editor. Someone who can read this thing through and pick it up apart to pieces. I'll give you an example verbatim from my kindle, "He was at the edge of a huge lake surrounded by trees, it was beautiful. As he looked around he could see nothing more than trees and water, he looked down at himself and saw that his legs and arms were cut and grazed. His head hurt and as he held his hands up to his face he felt pain over his right eye and the fatness in his lower lip, he could taste the blood. He rolled to his knees and splashed some water on his face, he winced as it stung." And it goes on. Not to mention there are a lot of misused words/spelling mistakes.
You see what I mean? I don't care how great the storyline is, that kind of writing is almost unendurable. I said almost though, because it gets better as you progress through the story. Or maybe I got used to it. I'm not sure.
I also thought the romance between the two main characters was rushed and barely even there. Typical of a young adult novel to need to include romance, but this should either gone more in depth or not included at all.
power of imagination, growing up (and the responsibilities that come), loyalty, teamwork/compromise
Extent to which the book achieved its goals:
I have to say that it didn't. As I said earlier, this book could have been great. If Haines developed the characters more, went into greater depth concerning the creation of Brunswick/the Tower/the Darkness, and just varied the sentence structure and grabbed an editor, this story would have serious potential to be a real success.
It just didn't live up to its potential.
Younger teens. They won't mind the grammar as much, and they probably still have more of an imagination left compared to the rest of us :)
(reviewed 9 days after purchase)