Hello again everyone, Paul here. Welcome to the Young Adult Faeries & Fantasy Giveaway Hop hosted by Kathy at I Am A Reader Not A Writer and Gabrielle from The Mod Podge Bookshelf. For all current giveaways, a middle grade author spotlight opportunity, and to sign up for a March Kindle Fire giveaway with low-cost entries for bloggers and authors, please click here.
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Now on to the Giveaway Hop. Author Ann T. Bugg is giving away one paperback copy (sorry US only) and one ebook copy (INT) of Book 3 of her wonderful middle grade fantasy series The Before Happily Ever After Series: Off to Camp and Discovering Art (King Arthur). If you have youngsters, especially girls you’ll want to enter this giveaway. You can read my review of book 1 here & book 2 here.
Before I get started with my review, here is the blurb:
Valerie and Samantha are disappointed that their schedules were not allowing them to spend a week together this summer like they have done every year since they were young. Their parents are able to plan a weekend camping trip towards the end of summer. The girls are happy for the visit, but sad to think they can’t go through the mirror this year on another adventure. They discover the magic is not only within the mirror, but within themselves when they are together. Merlin the magician shows up to take them on their quest to help Arthur find his true identity and his place in Camelot.
I was again thrilled to read about my good friends Sam and Val. This book, along with the rest of the series continues to be just a joy to read. If you have young children, especially girls, do yourself a favor and pick up the books in this series. If you have a reluctant reader, this might get them to read. It has it all. It has action, romance, chivalry, lessons, humor, you name it. I was happy to see Marcus the gnome return to drop in his comments here and there, but he quickly passed the baton onto an old friend. Too bad, I like Marcus, but I wasn’t disappointed with his friend.
What I liked best: As usual, Val and Sam. Ms. Bugg does a wonderful job of developing these two characters. I just can’t get enough of them. There are several valuable lessons mixed into the story. I love stories with lessons, especially when the reader doesn’t realize they are being taught a lesson until the end. Val teaches a lesson to Art early on when she tells him not to be troubled by the fact that he is a stable boy and hasn’t done anything “significant”. Her mom (another character I love with her silly names and great attitude) says anything worth doing is worth doing well and he should be proud. Great, subtle lesson that is every bit as important in today’s world as in a fairy tale. There is also a lesson cautioning to not look to far ahead, or “all in due time”. This is delivered when Art is given responsibility for the girls from Merlin, and again as parts of Art’s past begin to unfold. Another lesson that is valuable to learn in today’s world. As news/information travels like wildfire over the internet, it is important to let things unfold and not rush for answers and solutions. Sometime things take time and if so, it is best to allow it.
What missed a bit: The one thing that missed a bit in this book for me is the decline in the roles of Val and Sam. A good portion of the book, beginning about half way through, was told through Art. Nothing wrong with this, it is a lovely story and read very well. I just enjoy Val and Sam so much, I would have liked to see them involved more.
Overall: Buy it. Read it. Another wonderful book in a series that does a spectacular job of putting a modern spin on classic fairy tales. It will appeal to young, old, boys, and girls because it is just a really good story. The great thing about these books too, is that each book has an ending. So many book series end in cliffhangers and I, for one, do not like that. I love series, don’t get me wrong. If I love a character I definitely want to read more, but I hate not having an ending to the story and feeling forced to read the next book. At the end of this book, I read where there are two more books due out in the series and I am very excited to read more about Val and Sam’s adventures.