Spunky eight-year-old Max and 12-year-old Trudesile make their way through a very narrow cavern that becomes more narrow along the way and manage to solve a complicated puzzle in order to keep moving toward their goal of saving the universe in "Max Blizzard and The Gem of Camelot". The two kiddos are squeezed together in so many adventures throughout the book, I found myself wondering if author Pat Hatt is in league with J.J. Abrams.
Earth in "Max Blizzard and The Gem of Camelot" is a cookie cutter world, and everything is the same. The people are all boring, and life is nothing but one big, fat routine. Imagination has been suppressed, until Max begins having dreams. Bullies taunt him, and Trudesile steps in to protect him. Together they fall through a rabbit hole of sorts into another dimension where imagination is encouraged and not forbidden.
Imagination runs wild in Pat Hatt's head, and this 284-page fantasy captures but a tiny slice with fantastical names like Lempilightess (think Legolas) and Gramortimous (think Kraken) and quixotic characters including a blue goo Davy Jones or leprechaun Lester mingling their way through quests to escape monster clouds that fight with rain and snow or to reunite characters' good and evil sides amidst showers of blue lightning sparks.
Action is fast and furious. There's not a boring page in this entire book. Max's crush on Trudesile is cute, and possessed fairies make the reader want to reach for a fly swatter.
"Max Blizzard and The Gem of Camelot", available here, was an enjoyable three-day read. When I first bought the book (a while back, I'm ashamed to admit), I thought it was aimed at teenagers and perhaps young adults. Now that I've finally read it, I think it would be appropriate for anyone who enjoys Harry Potter- or J.R.R. Tolkien-type fiction, but I do need to point out a couple of characters have poor vocabularies and resort to a specific curse word a handful of times. Very minimal, nothing we don't hear every day, and even good pirates are not known for their lingual finesse, but the four-letter word stood out to me, and I caught myself wishing a different word, perhaps an imaginative made-up word, could have been used instead.
I am not receiving any compensation for writing this review, but I do consider Pat Hatt an online friend I've never met. He's been faithfully following my blog every single post since about March 2013. He even reads and comments on Snowflake Mondays!!! I'm quite sure he doesn't read the patterns, and I'll bet the closest he's ever gotten to string of any kind is to tease his rhyming cat, Orlin.
This is NOT Orlin.
Orlin blogs completely in rhyme (with a real name like Pat Hatt, how could you not?) at It's Rhyme Time seven days a week and 24 times a day once or twice a year. I think Orlin/Pat stumbled on my blog via Fundy Blue, a retired teacher right here in the Denver metro whom I have not yet met and who blogs at Standing Into Danger. Fundy stumbled upon my blog via Mrs. Micawber, a blogger and real-life dear friend I have met and who sometimes rides with The Lizard and me to fight multiple sclerosis. Small world, huh?
Pat Hatt also blogs over at PatHattBooks.com. He is a prolific writer with 58 children's books to his credit. He releases a new book every single month! I honestly don't know how he does it!
Two weeks ago I promised I'd share a review of a completely different genre of book after striking out twice trying to encourage and reward readers to enjoy and review free adoption fiction on Smashwords. No one left reviews for "Are You My Sister" or "Collecting Smiles." That means THREE autographed paperback copies of "Heart Strings" are available today! Your odds of winning just increased yet again!!!
But now I have to come up with a new contest because book reviews apparently aren't something my readers want to do. (Oh, and my previous contests weren't total failures; Smashwords sold four additional electronic copies of "Heart Strings" the day of each of the previous two book reviews, bringing my total sales to 48 books! See! I am well on my way to selling a million copies!!!)
If my lack of contest success is because the prize, my own book, doesn't seem like much of a prize, well, just let me share with you the comments of a co-worker's mom (whom I don't know), who received an autographed copy of "Heart Strings" as a gift (not from me) for Mother's Day. She said she couldn't put my book down and that she read the entire thing in a day and a half. She asked her daughter to ask me when my next book will be done.
Yikes! Guess I better get busy, huh?
Does it feel like I'm stalling? Not a bit. I have a new creative contest idea. Let's see if this one will work...
Pat typically is my first commenter each day. I'm going to ask him (right here, right now; he had no advance notice) to start a story with one sentence, preferably in rhyme, and each commenter after him should add a one-sentence continuation, preferably in rhyme (because it's good mental exercise and helps prevent and/or delay Alzheimer's). No goats in boats, though. That's already been heavily exhausted, okay?
Three autographed paperback copies (or electronic PDF copies if you are outside the US because I'm paying postage out of my own pocket) of "Heart Strings" will be awarded randomly on Tuesday, June 7, 2016.
Please bear in mind I do not have internet access during the weekday except via my phone, but I will do my best to keep up with the thousands of comments I expect to garner in this sweet little contest.
On your mark, get ready, set, GO!