Tour/Guest Post: The Serpent’s Ring by H.B. Bolton

On this tour stop, we have an awesome guest post about the brand new Harry Potter theme park and a giveaway.  Please check out my review of this special MG fantasy book HERE.  Don’t forget to stop by the other blogs on the tour for more guest posts, reviews, interviews, and chances to win a copy of The Serpent’s Ring!  You can see the full tour schedule at CBB Book Promotions.

Gateway to the Magical World of Harry Potter

Guest Post by H.B. Bolton

I remember the first time I held my paperback copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Not only did J.K. Rowling spin magic between those pages, she brought to life a world full of mystery, enchantment and delight. She wrapped the world of Harry Potter into a charming little package called a book.  But it didn’t end there: Next came the films, capturing the essence of Hogwarts, Diagon Alley and the Forbidden Forest, thus bringing these treasures to a wider audience. And then came more books and more movies. It was like eating chocolate frogs; although I savored every morsel, I wanted more … and that’s just what I got.

On the morning of June 18, 2010, the first guests were officially welcomed into Universal Orlando’s new Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  I was not one of them, and I waited a bit before heading into the park — crowds and all.

Finally, on one brisk morning in December 2010, I walked along the cobblestone streets of Hogsmeade. Muggles were bustling about, buying butterbeer and pumpkin juice. Thrill seekers charged onto the Dragon Challenge roller-coaster ride. A queue wrapped around the outside of Ollivanders wand shop, each person waiting his turn to choose his wand … or have the wand choose him. Either way, I left Ollivanders with a wand very similar to Dumbledore’s.

And the first time I walked through the doors of Hogwarts, I was breathless. Portraits were talking to one another; as I entered Dumbledore’s office, he bid me welcome; Harry, Hermione and Ron gave instructions that I was supposed to meet them in the Room of Requirement; candles floated above my head; and then I sat on my broomstick (a seat for the ride).

I flew with Harry Potter, raced away from a dragon, dodged between Dementors, and barely escaped spitting spiders. I managed all of this while closing my eyes — well some of the time, anyway. This ride might be one of the most amazing rides I’ve ever encountered, but it made me feel slightly nauseated. I suppose I won’t be trying out for the Quidditch team any time soon.

Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter not only met my expectations, it might have even exceeded them. Since I live in Orlando, I’m fortunate in that I’ve been many times, and when I wander past Zonko’s joke shop, Honeydukes and Hog’s Head pub, and gaze through the many storefront windows that line the street, I still marvel at the innovation and attention to detail that is all things Harry Potter.

If you are a fan of Harry Potter and would like more information about Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter, visit this ingenious site:  Harry Potter at Universal Studio

Click HERE to enter the giveaway.

The author is giving away a paperback copy of The Serpent’s Ring, a Rune Treasure box, and a signed bookmark for one lucky person.  This giveaway is opened internationally.

Book Review: The Serpent’s Ring by H.B. Bolton

The Serpent’s Ring (Relics of Mysticus #1) by H.B. Bolton

Publisher:  Self-published

Genre: MG Fantasy

You can buy it on ebook  or paperback on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  More reviews available on Goodreads.

Overall:  I know that it might seem cruel to rate this mediocre when I liked the story so much.  The Serpent’s Ring hit a few pet peeves and if you aren’t bothered by these things, then this could be a 5 star book for you.  I let my 9 year old *nephew* read the first few chapters and he adored the characters and the action.  Now that I’m done reading, he can’t wait to finish.

Firstly, the beginning is slow and it feels like every other fantasy novel.  There’s a couple of kids who get an epic quest, some magical powers, and have to finish it before the world ends.  Another things is that there isn’t much “he said, she said” in this book.  There are quite a few “exclaimed, grunted, yelled, shouted, declared” and so forth.  Besides that, the book is very well written.

Characters:  What I really appreciated about this book was the fact that Evan and Claire had personality and attitude.  A lot of main characters in this age group are timid and follow adults without question, but not these two.  Evan is sarcastic and definitely thinks that he knows what is best for himself – just like a fourteen year old teenager does.  He does hold his tongue on a few occasions in this book, but only when an outburst might be lethal.  He’s blunt but not stupid.  It’s hard to say which sibling acts more mature.  Claire is better at keeping a calm head in stressful situations but she can be such a GIRL! at times.  I like how the two didn’t always get along, yet they knew the other sibling would always be there when needed.

Plot:  Though horribly predictable at first, I liked the twist and pacing after Evan enters the underwater world.  The first few chapters are bogged down with explanations about this magical world and Dr. Irving’s disappearance and connection to the serpent’s ring.  Once the world was established, then this book shined.  I just wish that the beginning was less dialogue and introduction.  The later chapters managed to create a believable and visual world underwater effortlessly.

Ending:  I kind of expected The Serpent’s Ring to end on a cliffhanger and it didn’t.  The plot was wrapped up nicely and there’s little teasers for what to expect in book two.  I was kind of surprised how long the children remained in the world after the plot wrapped up.  Typically in this genre, the honeymoon is over quickly and the kids are shipped back home in the next paragraph.  Not here.  Definitely a different sort of ending then I’m used to and I liked that.

Book Description:

Evan and Claire Jones are typical teenagers, forced to go with their parents to yet another boring museum … that is, until something extraordinary happens to make their day a little more than interesting. After following a strange little creature into a closed exhibit, Evan and his older sister, Claire, discover the Serpent’s Ring, one of the magical relics formed from the shattered Mysticus Orb. Purely by accident, they have awakened its powers and opened a portal to Sagaas, land of ancient gods.

Before the siblings can comprehend what has happened, the Serpent’s Ring is wrenched from Evan’s hand by an enormous bird and flown back to Aegir, the Norse god of the sea. Evan and Claire, accompanied by a band of unlikely heroes, must retrieve the Serpent’s Ring before Aegir uses its immense powers to flood all the lands on Earth.

Rating:  C

Kids and teenagers will love this MG fantasy.

I received a copy of this book from CBB Book Promotions as part of a tour in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

(Picture and information borrowed from Goodreads.)

Currently, Barbara Brooke resides in sunny Florida with her supportive husband, two adorable children, gorgeous greyhounds, and scruffy mutt. She is actively creating new worlds and interesting characters for the next book in one of her series. Shhhh, can you keep a secret? Not only does she write spellbinding, heart-pounding women’s fiction, she also writes books for the young-at-heart, adventurous sort who yearn to dive into a good young adult fantasy story. These particular books are written under the name H.B. Bolton, but that is another story altogether.

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Feature and Follow: Accomplishments

I don’t normally participate in feature and follow, but I HAD to because I love this week’s question.  This week’s featured blogs are Book Liaison and Angela’s Anxious Life.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish with your blog? Is it to one day become an author yourself, just for fun, maybe get some online attention, or maybe something very different?

I do wish to one day become an author myself, but that isn’t what drives me to post every day and read 4-5 books a week.  I’m a huge fan of dark fiction and horror.  It is severely under-represented in the market and on blogs.  Most of the blogs I see like books that are YA with HEA.  I don’t like guaranteed happily ever after endings.  I don’t like books where romance is the only plot-line.  I’m not one of those bloggers who becomes a super-fan of some book guy because he’s “hot”.  I like books with a fast pace, lots of drama, flawed heroes, a couple gory deaths, and a bittersweet ending.

Maybe I’m being selfish with promoting the genres and books that I do.  I write YA horror.  I know that the only way to get better with my writing is to read YA horror – and it’s probably the most difficult genre to find in the bookstore (read: Anna Dressed in Blood is the only book).  I would love to only cover this genre on my blog, but I simply can’t find the books.  I hope that within the next few years that YA horror becomes more popular.  Until then, if my blog can help find and promote the books that do exist (and I get a chance to read), I’m satisfied.

If you have any recommendations for this genre, I’ll be happy to check them out!  If you have a blog, what do you hope to accomplish?