Book Review: Dragon Stone Trilogy by Kristian Alva

This is a tale of the prophesied boy, Elias, with magical powers from a small village. He discovers a dragon stone and is hunted by an evil emperor. The story has elements that have been seen before: dragon, elf, dwarf however it is mixed with new and interesting creations like the necromancers. The backdrop of a simple village where Elias is living in a dark time, being poverty stricken was well depicted. His grandma was his one and only family. She was his guide but she hid her true magical powers. The story would have benefited if both the characters were developed substantially more. This is a simple story but it is fast paced and keeps you turning pages to find what happened next. Book 1: Dragon Stones is however, pretty short.

The end of book one offers some nice surprises which also kept me going on to Book 2: Return of the Dragon Riders. While we have yet to meet the evil emperor Vosper, more about Elias’s parentage is revealed to the readers. Thorin, Elias’s halfling friend from Book 1, is still around providing advice, support, and the occasional comedic relief. There’s plenty of action in this novel and it is well-paced. I like that the point of view shifts around and we get to spend time away from Elias. Elias is a well-meaning teen who wants to think the best of nearly everyone. Many of the other characters are not so trusting. In fact, there is a hidden traitor among them, which adds suspense to the story.

Book 3: Vosper’s Revenge, is an excellent ending to this saga! There is more action, mystery and magic. The evil Emperor Vosper and his forces are stronger and more wicked than ever and their opposition to the Riders and the land of Durn comes to an action packed conclusion. I really enjoyed the strengthening bond between Elias and his dragon, Nydiered. Their story is sweet and warms the heart. The end of the book seemed rushed. The battle between Vosper and Elias seemed almost anticlimactic. I would have also enjoyed a more detailed account of the after effect of the war, as well as what happened to the characters. However, the book was still a decent conclusion to the series.

Overall, I give the entire series four stars.

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Author Interview – Lord & Lady Doherty authors of What Squirrels Do Series of Picture Books

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1) Tell us about yourself- where are you from? What do you like to write?

We are Lord and Lady Doherty and live in the UK. We have a beautiful baby daughter called Hazel, who is the inspiration and muse for the pen-name Hazel Nutt. She takes up most of our time during the day and by night we write! At the moment, we are happy creating childrens’ picture books.

Who knows what the future holds, we will probably write a few non fiction books in our own names, however we are having another baby in April, so not a lot will be written in the next 6 months or so!

2) What prompted you to start writing?

Both of us have written short stories and poetry from an early age, however in the last few years we have had a writing hiatus. We have written numerous articles, reports and books as ghostwriters, but nothing resembling fiction.

When Hazel was born it was like a creative bolt of lightening and we have been getting inspiration and ideas left, right and center. We have so many future picture books up our sleeves, if we are successful in promoting our first set of picture books.

3) What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors?

We mainly like to read thrillers and murder mysteries. Our favorite thriller writer is Peter James. We are really into the Agatha Raisin murder mysteries set in the Cotswolds. Agatha Raisin is like a comedic drunk version of Miss Marple! We have read the entire series by M C Beaton and we pounce on the new releases when they come out!

4) What inspires you to write?

That one is easy – our daughter Hazel. She makes us laugh everyday and is is just the perfect muse.

5) What made you self-publish? Would you recommend that to other aspiring authors?

Well we wanted to do something special for our daughter’s second birthday, so we decided to have the publish date of the “What Squirrels Do” trilogy as her birthday

Although the name Hazel Nutt is a pen-name, for all intents and purposes these books have been created for our daughter, as a sort of legacy for her and her future family. We wanted to retain control over these books and have a go ourselves at self-publishing.

We think that the traditional route of publishing of finding a publisher is a very time consuming task and you seem to have to wait a long time to get anything published, even when the manuscript is finished and ready to go.

Self publishing gives you complete control. It is by no means the easy route, as it is difficult to create a professional looking manuscript that looks good printed and marketing it yourself is no mean feat either, but hopefully it will all be worth it.

Make no mistake, It is hard work whatever publishing route you take – maybe more so with the self-publishing route, as you are on your own.

6) What did you find to be the most difficult part of the writing process? Easiest?

One of the most difficult parts of the writing process is the editing – deciding what stays and what goes. In addition to that putting it together in a format that looks good in print and on Kindle is very hard. We ended having to outsource the making it look good in Kindle part.

The easiest part is coming up with ideas, because Hazel is so curious and scrumptious it is impossible not to!

7) Tell us about your books. Where can our readers find it?

The books: What Squirrels Do When You Are Not Looking, What Squirrels Do: The Squirrel Olympics and What Squirrels Do: Just For Fun are full of beautiful illustrations and ideas that could just be true. Who really know what squirrels get up to while people are looking the other way?

What Squirrels Do When You Are Not Looking – this book answers some of life’s mysteries like why car alarms go off in the middle of the night and why shopping trolleys can be found deep in the wood – squirrels have something to do with the answers.

What Squirrels Do: The Squirrel Olympics – Human Olympics take place every four years, but squirrels get up to all sorts of fun events like squirrel bunjee jumping or limbo dancing all year around when everyone’s backs are turned.

What Squirrels Do: Just For Fun – A look at the everyday antics of squirrels and what they might do to keep themselves entertained, like swinging on the ivy like Tarzan, or pulling faces at humans behind their backs.

The books encourage a love of nature. They also help develop creativity and little imaginations, as children can have fun thinking of additional antics that squirrels (or other animals) could get up to when no-one is there to see.

You can find these books on Amazon as paperbacks and Kindle ebooks.

What Squirrels Do When You Are Not Looking
Amazon.com:http://www.amazon.com/What-Squirrels-When-Youre-Looking/dp/1478363800/
Kindle (Amazon.com): http://www.amazon.com/What-Squirrels-Youre-Looking-ebook/dp/B00BDBVKRW/

What Squirrels Do: The Squirrel Olympics
Amazon.com:http://www.amazon.com/What-Squirrels-Do-Squirrel-Childrens/dp/1482354195/
Kindle (Amazon.com): http://www.amazon.com/What-Squirrels-Do-Childrens-ebook/dp/B00BDZYOCG/

What Squirrels Do: Just for Fun
Amazon.com:http://www.amazon.com/What-Squirrels-Do-Rhyming-Childrens/dp/1482354349/
Kindle (Amazon.com): http://www.amazon.com/What-Squirrels-Do-Childrens-ebook/dp/B00BDZYR2S/

8) Who is your favorite character in your books? Why?

Well Hazel Nutt is the both the writer and narrator of these books and her picture appears at least once in each of the books, so she is our favorite character. Why? Because it’s Hazel!

9) Do you have a website? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?
Author Website: http://www.HazelNutt.com

Book Website: http://www.WhatSquirrelsDo.com

Social Media Links:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/1HazelNutt

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BabyBloggerHazelNutt

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/105971791020252696308/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Hazel-Nutt/e/B008JI05GO/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/HazelNutt

Get a Squirrel Mask to catch those squirrels in the act yourself here:

http://whatsquirrelsdo.com/activity-pack

Win Signed Copies of The What Squirrels Do Trilogy here:

http://whatsquirrelsdo.com/whatsquirrelsdogiveaway