Happenstance Found (The Books of Umber)
by P. W. Catanese
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Aladdin; Reprint edition (December 22, 2009)
Author's description: About Happenstance Found: Happenstance, a boy with unusual green eyes, awakens with no memories. Falling in with the adventurer Lord Umber and his band of misfits, this boy with many uncanny gifts soon discovers that he may be the strangest one of all. This is a big, exciting tale that should thrill anyone who's enjoyed my previous books. You don't need to read any of my other novels before diving into this. It's a whole new story. And I won't leave you hanging at the end of this book - it's a satisfying read with a real conclusion (and even bigger adventures ahead!). So far Lord Umber has been compared to Willie Wonka, Sherlock Holmes, the Wizard of Oz, Leonardo DaVinci and Indiana Jones... who will he remind you of?
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Aladdin (January 26, 2010)
Author's Description: Let the Dragon Games begin! All is not well in Kurahaven. Happenstance is jolted by a surprising revelation about his origins, and the rivalry between the princes takes a violent turn. When Umber receives a pair of mysterious messages, he and Happenstance are hurled into a wild, epic adventure. Before the final twist, Umber and company will encounter a ring of volcanic fire, a strange island filled with murderous creatures, a man from Umber's past living with a terrible curse, and a land ruled by a cruel tyrant who is eager for Umber to witness his Dragon Games.
My take: Giddy as a school girl whose crush just talked to her. That's how I feel now that author P.W. Catanese and I have emailed a few times. Seriously. Ask my husband - he thinks I'm nuts after squealing with glee at my computer last night. Because to me, my biggest heroes are authors. Why? Because their talents allow me to escape to a myriad of other worlds at any time I want - all I have to do is open a book. And particularly good books such as The Books of Umber cross all boundaries of age, race and sex - these books will appeal to a broad range of people. It's hard to talk about why I love The Books of Umber so much without giving away the plot. I will say that if you liked the Harry Potter books, the Lord of the Rings and other such fantasy novels, you will LOVE The Books of Umber. The books are set in a world of fantasy but have a very real and believable tie to our modern world. The characters are so well fleshed out I have very real pictures of them in my mind and they seem very real to me - what great movies these would make! Heroes and villains abound in this world of nail biting action - I devoured them both in a matter of days and now I'm afraid I'm left in the unenviable position of having to wait for the last book of the trilogy to find out what happens. Ah well, in the meantime, I just placed the rest of Mr. Catanese's books in my Amazon.com cart to get started on...that will have to do until I find out what happens to Hap and Umber and all of Kurahaven (not to mention our own world!)
Bonus: Be sure to come back tomorrow for my very own interview with P.W. Catanese. I'm going to throw in a surprise giveaway of my own then so stay tuned!
About the author: P. W. (Paul William) Catanese was born in New York and grew up in Connecticut, where he lives with his wife and three children. When he's not writing books, he draws cartoons and works for an advertising agency. Interestingly, the letters in "P. W. Catanese" can be rearranged to spell "want escape?" Paul figures that's why people read books like his.
The giveaway: FIVE lucky winners will win their own copy of BOTH BOOKS OF UMBER!!!, courtesy of Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing! [US ADDRESSES ONLY PLEASE]
To win: Leave a comment here telling me the name another Simon and Schuster book that looks like a good read to you. Be sure to leave your email address with your comment if you are not a blogger or your email is not easily found on your blog. This giveaway is open until 11:59 p.m., EST, Tuesday, April 6, 2010. Good Luck!
Bonus entries: Get up to 9 extra entries for a total of 10 entries (please leave a separate comment for each extra entry):
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This review was sponsored by the Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing who provided the books for review and giveaway. I was not compensated in any way except for the complimentary books.