Sunday, November 19, 2006

YA Paranormal + Halloween = Contest! WIN WIN WIN!!!!

So, catchy titles are not my forte. What of it? My shortcomings in the title category, do not change the fact that the title is 100% accurate. We at Dee & Dee Dish have a most excellent contest for you lovely readers this month. I'll break the details down for you at the end of this review, just know that it is HUGE! We have SIGNED books to give away this month. Books - yes, plural. Serena Robar , MaryJanice Davidson and Anthony Alongi , and Gena Showalter have all graciously agreed to donate signed copies of their YA Paranormal Books to the winners of this months contest! Since I know every one is frothing at the mouth to hear the details, without further ado, I present you with a review of one of the books you will have a chance to win...

Jennifer Scales and the Ancient Furnace by MaryJanice Davidson and Anthony Alongi


I knew that at this age I'd be going through a lot of changes - but blue scales? Claws? A snout? Come on! This is ridiculous and just so unfair. And I can't believe my parents waited until the day I nearly turned into a dragon to tell me that I am one - thanks to my dad's side of the family. Believe me, no amount of dieting can stop how big I grow when I turn dragon - and don't get me started on the tail!

This dragon thing is going to happen every crescent moon. Can I be any more of a freak? At least I have my grandfather to show me how to get by as a were-dragon. It's not easy. And I can't even tell my best friends because there are ancient enemies who want to destroy all dragons. As if my parents, school, and the soccer team weren't enough to deal with. Looks like it's up to me to protect the few fellow dragons that are still left or I won't see my next birthday. Forget about blowing out those candles. With this breath, I'll set the whole town on fire...

I'm a bit loathe to admit (and please, my lovelies, try not to have a heartattack about this) - that I can find absolutely NOTHING wrong with this BCC. It does what it is supposed to do, gives a good idea of the story and conveys well the attitude of the main character, while sucking me in and making me want to read the story within it's borders.

From the moment I started reading this book, I was hooked. Jennifer Scales is your average 14 year old. She argues with her parents, she is the star athlete on her school's soccer team, and she has best friends. All of that begins to change (okay, except for the arguing with her parents part, I mean, I know this is paranormal and all, but even for fiction that would be stretching things) the day of the Community Junior League Soccer Championship.

Jennifer's team, The Winoka Falcons, are in sudden death overtime against the Northwater Shooting Stars, and Jennifer wants the win. With time running out, Jennifer sees her shot and makes a FANTASTIC goal. So, why are her friends staring at her as if she just grew a second head?

It isn't long after that fateful game that Jennifer learns that she is a weredragon and every crescent moon she will change shapes. Jennifer isn't just a normal weredragon, however. She first transforms about two years earlier than most and she is a cross breed between the three dragon types (creeper, dasher, and trampler). Can you say "Freak, Much?"

But Jennifer needs to get over herself and but fast. The weredragons are a hated species with many enemies. There are Beastalkers and werachnids that would love to see them exterminated and soon begin to launch their first attack.

I just cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this book. There are reasons MJD is one of my favorite authors. Her ability to make the characters of her books believable is just one, and working with husband Anthony Alongi , has only strengthened this ability. Jennifer Scales is written with such true to life teenage angst, that I could actually remember what it was like to be 14 again, if only for a while. "In other words, this is a big vaudeville show, I'm your puppet, and you're both annoyed that I'm not moving and talking the way I'm supposed to with an arm jammed up my wooden butt!" Oh, if I was only as snarky as Jennifer, when I was 14!

I do not envy YA authors the task of writing a book for a younger market. The books not only need to entertain, but have some deeper meaning of life in them without being preachy. This fantastic duo delivered the goods. For instance, there is a part when Jennifer confides in one of her new friends and admits that she wasn't sure what she was going through was important, her friend tells her, "Listen Jennifer, if it's important to you, it's important." Or the time when Jennifer and her mother are trying to figure out who the bad guys are and her mother says, "Good and evil are not always so clear cut, dear...." I think that is one thing the younger generation should always know. And lastly, my favorite quote of the book, is when Jennifer confronts her mother about avoiding conflict and her mother replies, "I'm a doctor, honey. I heal. I see the results of conflict every day - school bullies who provoke my daughter, family members who hurt each other, and complete strangers who go at each other's throats because they're just a tiny bit different. No, I am not a big fan of conflict. I prefer discussion, and open minds." I hope, that as people read this book, they too realize that they prefer discussion and open minds.

I have already made this review longer than most, and I find that I could go on and on. I'll end it with saying, I have already ordered the second book of the series, Jennifer Scales and the Messenger of Light and two copies of The Ancient Furnace for other people (I am not lending my copy out). The minute you get a chance, you need to pick up this book, it is amazing!


Over the next couple of weeks, I will be reviewing various paranormal books. All you have to do to enter the contest is COMMENT on one of the posts (make sure you comment on the PARANORMAL posts) and tell what paranormal creature or superpower would you want if given the chance. If you have trouble with the comment section, you can e-mail us at with your entry. On October 29th, I will post all of the entries in one post and bring the judges in. The winners will be announced on October 31st. Happy Halloween!!!

Take Care

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