Five stars for Tree Spirits

Readers' Favorite

5star-shiny-web

A few months ago I posted the news that the first two books of the Agnil’s Worlds series had both been awarded five star reviews by the Readers’ Favorite site. Readers’ Favorite have two systems for reviews; one paid for and one free. I am not happy about paying for reviews as I feel that the reviewer might well feel obliged to give a good review. On the other hand, asking for a free review is more likely to be unbiased, especially if you don’t know the reviewer at all. So it was for the free reviews that I submitted the first two books and, more recently, book 3, Agnil and the Tree Spirits. Yesterday I was delighted to receive notification that the review was ready and had been posted to Readers’ Favorite and once again I was thrilled to see that the book had been awarded a fabulous full-fat FIVE STAR review! And what a review it was!
I am reproducing it here in full:
Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers’ Favorite

Agnil and the Tree Spirits (Agnil’s Worlds Book 3) by Susan Navas is the third book in the series of Agnil. In this magical story, we see Agnil being asked to help the elves whose world is threatened by the Navigator, who is destroying the world by dirtying it and polluting the clean places. Agnil wants to help the elves, but at the same time she is facing problems at home. This book takes the reader on a whimsical fantasy ride while it teaches about real world issues like dwindling forests, pollution and exploitation of minerals.

The book begins with Cranus approaching Agnil for help to save the beautiful elf world. Woven around environmental issues, the author’s tale enchants young readers with fantasy and adventure that will capture their attention until the very end. I liked the concept and the message that is conveyed and the fantasy part will pull readers into the story effortlessly. It is a perfect story for read aloud sessions in classrooms and libraries as it deals with a relevant topic. The beautiful illustrations add to the pace, action and drama of the story. The author’s writing style is fluid and there is an element of surrealism in her way of describing situations, and the depiction of characters makes the story captivating. The illustrations are also unique and they complement the characters and scenes in the book well.

The Magic of Forests

toadstool

What is it about forests? It’s no secret that I love them. In Germany, where I spend a lot of time, the area I visit is full of them and I love walking there. In early autumn picking mushrooms and later watching the leaves turn from green to all the glorious shades of gold and brown. In winter driving along narrow roads, forest on both sides, passing through a tunnel formed by the boughs of trees laden with snow. Sometimes we try to walk through as silently as we can in the hope of catching sight of a passing deer. I always take my camera in an attempt to capture some of their enchantment. I find them both enthralling and inspiring.
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The forest symbolises somewhere wild, where you can escape civilisation for a while, yet it is full of hidden dangers at the same time. Even the act of picking mushrooms is fraught with danger unless you know which ones are safe to eat!

toadstool

Definitely not for eating!

In ancient times forests covered much of Europe, and Germany still seems to have retained much of its woodland, while here in East Anglia, where I live, they are few and far between. Have we become too ‘civilised’?

In 1812, Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm published their collection of German fairy tales, commonly known as Grimms Fairy Tales (or Grimms Elfenmärchen in German). Of course, in Grimms tales, the forest is always present. It’s the place where Hansel and Gretel find the cottage of the wicked witch and where Little Red Riding Hood comes across the wolf on her way to her grandma’s house. Forests appear in many myths and legends too. Take Robin Hood, for example, where the outlaws hide in the forest. Story tellers throughout the ages seem to be obsessed with them and I suppose I am no different.

In each of the Agnil’s Worlds books, the forest plays an important role. In ‘The Rise of Agnil’, it’s the place where Agnil meets the strange old man who comes to play such an important role in her life. In ‘Agnil and the Wizard’s Orb’, the Frozen Forest of Boreas is where Agnil and Estil are placed in mortal danger. By contrast, the forest of Lilurrian in ‘Agnil in the Tree Spirits’ is in danger itself and Agnil’s quest is to save the home of the tree spirits.

If you are interested in reading more about the symbolism of forests in fairy tales, look no further than this article by Justine Gaunt.

 

 

All photos by me!

An experiment

Right now I feel like some mad scientist pouring strange chemicals into test tubes, mixing them carefully and trying to come up with a magic formula! Let me explain. I love my books. I believe Agnil has some wonderful stories to tell so I’m sad if children don’t get to hear about her just because I’m not published by one of the major traditional children’s book publishers. I want her to reach a wider audience.

mad scientist

Amazon offers some opportunities for authors who only sell their ebooks through them. One of those is to make them available for loan, rather like an online library, through Kindle Unlimited. Until very recently, this feature has only been available in the USA but it has just come to the UK too so I felt it was the right moment to try this experiment. At the moment, Amazon are offering Kindle Unlimited on a 30 day free trial and it will normally cost £7.99 a month to borrow as many ebooks as you want from their vast collection. Think of it as a Spotify or Netflix for books!

For the next three months at least, we have withdrawn the e-book versions of Agnil’s Worlds from all other online retailers to enable the books to be available through Kindle Unlimited. We’ll watch carefully and see how it goes. Will it enable Agnil to reach out further into our world? Only time will tell! Watch this space but follow this link if you want to read Agnil’s Worlds for free!

Life changing

Agnil and the Tree Spirits

Today is the first day of the rest of my life. Until yesterday I worked as a teacher in a wonderful primary school. I had been there for a long time and all my children attended the school. It has been a part of who I am for very many years but today I have left it behind. I am ready to move on to the next chapter of my life by turning to writing. This will give me time and energy to continue the Agnil’s Worlds series and maybe branch out into other genres too.

However, life is never straightforward and the best laid plans don’t always go without a hiccup. I do have some family problems to deal with over the next few weeks. Because my internet access will be rather intermittent, I may not be able to update this blog for a little while. On the other hand, I do hope to have some time to write. Book 4 is bubbling away in my mind, desperate to appear!

Remember, if you haven’t yet read the third book, Agnil and the Tree Spirits, it is now available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Scribd and right here!Agnil and the Tree SpiritsIf you have read the book but haven’t yet left a review on Amazon, please help me out by spending a few moments doing this. Reviews on a book help its ‘visibility’ on Amazon and enables us to further promote it to a wider audience.
Children’s reviews can be sent to me via the contact page for inclusion on the reviews page.

Many thanks to you all for following me on this exciting journey through Agnil’s Worlds!

thank-you

Agnil and the Tree Spirits – cover reveal!

Agnil and the Tree Spirits

With the imminent release of Agnil and the Tree Spirits, book 3 of the Agnil’s Worlds series, I wanted to share with you the cover and the blurb for the new book!

In Lilurrian, one of the eight elf worlds, tree spirits and elves live in harmony with nature in a beautiful forest. The Great Library, the centre of elf learning and culture, lies at its heart. When the Navigator sets out to mine the crystals of Lilurrian, the whole forest is under threat of destruction. How can Agnil, the half-elf, prevent this disaster? Who is the Navigator and what does he really want?

Agnil and the Tree Spirits

Illustration Reveal Number 2 – Book 3

rock pool

Not long now till the release of book 3 so we’re going to peek through the curtains for another hint of what’s coming your way! This time I’m revealing an illustration from the first chapter of Agnil and the Tree Spirits.  I hope you enjoy the picture. All illustrations in the Agnil’s Worlds books are by Charlotte Moore.

Agnil is on a beach with her dad who’s fallen asleep. With nothing else to do, she decides to go for a walk and explore the rock pools, when it starts to rain…

rock pool

As Agnil watched it, first one and then a lot more large raindrops plopped into the pool, sending ripples across the surface of the water.

Illustration Reveal Number 1 – Book 3

Tree Spirits

The illustrations for Agnil and the Tree Spirits have arrived and they are absolutely gorgeous! Charlotte Moore has done a fantastic job and I hope everybody loves them as much as I do. To celebrate their arrival, I have decided to let you all have a sneak preview by revealing one of my favourites, which I think has a touch of Quentin Blake about its style. I’m a big fan of Quentin Blake, so I’m more than delighted about this! If you’d like to see more of Charlotte Moore’s work, you can visit her web site. Over the next few days, I hope to be able to post one or two more to give you a good flavour of what you’ll find inside the book. Keep popping back so you don’t miss them!

Tree Spirits Illustration

“Some tall and others small, some bent over with age and others almost skipping in their youthfulness.”

Book 3 coming soon!

Agnil's bracelet

Exciting news! The blog has been a bit quiet lately, but behind the scenes it’s all go! Book 3 of Agnil’s Worlds, Agnil and the Tree Spirits, is on its way! Charlotte Moore has been beavering away producing some magical illustrations while the story itself is now ready and waiting. Watch out for further announcements and illustration reveals nearer the time. The countdown has begun!

Agnil's bracelet

Agnil’s bracelet