Friday, December 19, 2014

Aoléon: The Martian Girl

Take me to your reader.
You don't need to be a member of MUFON to read this book, but it does help to have a vigorous imagination.  I've just read the ebook Aoléon: The Martian Girl (Part One: First Contact), written and illustrated by Brent LeVasseur, on my iPad mini (my eReader).  This short book (under 100 pages) will have five parts, and is appropriate for middle-grade children.

In the first chapter of Part One, we meet a young boy, Gilbert Sullivan, who often has disturbing dreams before crop circles appear on his neighbor's farm in Nebraska.  Gilbert's interest in space and astronomy was sparked by mysterious crop circles that appeared in Old Farmer Neville Johnson's farm.  One night, wide awake after his recurring nightmare, Gilbert hears his parents arguing downstairs, and wishes for an end to the trouble, and for an angel who would take him far away.  When he notices a bright light outside, he decides to investigate.

Gilbert ventures outside toward the distant, glowing light, through the wheat fields of the farm next door.  Farmer Johnson, at the urging of his wife, also goes outside, with his three-legged dog, Tripod, and walks toward the brilliant light.  Gilbert trips over someone in the field, and meets Aoléon, the Martian Girl.  

Strange-looking yet beautiful, with huge blue eyes and turquoise skin, this girl is from Mars (though Aoleon's website is accessible to Terrans like us).  She has special powers which are remarkable to Gilbert.  She seems to be able to read his mind, and her touch heals (she helps Tripod after he falls in a gopher hole).  To escape from Farmer Johnson, who believes that vandals are making the crop circles, the Martian Girl brings Gilbert onto her spacecraft.

Gilbert and Aoléon fly above the earth, travel through various countries, and experience many adventures together. As they soar toward the North Pole in Aoléon's spacecraft, Gilbert realizes that he's "been abducted by a nutty alien who's a speed freak".  Gilbert's wish to leave home has come true, and his boring, ordinary life is a thing of the past.

Aoléon: The Martian Girl features numerous large, brightly-colored pictures.  Three-dimensional images are an integral part of the story, and I asked how the author created them.  This is his reply:

"I used The Foundry Modo to make all the character models, buildings, props such as weapons and ships, and to render them, using Modo's amazing built in renderer.  The landscapes and the Planet Mars with the exclusion of Gilbert's farm field, were rendered using Planetside's Terragen 2/3.  The final renders were color corrected and any effects such as lens flares and or depth-of-field blurs were done in both Adobe After Effects and Photoshop."

Brent calls his pictures 3D renders.  They are really fantastic!  In fact, although I enjoyed the prose of the story, it's the images in this book that make it so appealing, at least to me.  The book features many pictures of space, as well as flying cows, and other humorous things (and one-liners), that would translate well into film.  This book has MOVIE written all over it.  While I was reading it, I wondered if this was going to be a movie--maybe it's already in pre-production?  It would be perfect as an animated film.

I enjoyed the ideas in the book about dreams (or nightmares), telepathy and mind-reading, and the ability to heal through touch and thought (yes, I'm a bit "new age").  It's imaginative and clever, and suitable for folks like me (who don't read a great deal of science fiction), as well as for young adults drawn to sci-fi and adventure stories.  At the end of the book there's a helpful glossary which defines some of the terms used in the book.  There's also a related song, Another World ~ Aoléon: The Martian Girl Song, featuring Élan Noelle, on iTunes!  I listened to it, and it's a pretty song (that would be great in the movie).  Aoléon: The Martian Girl (Part One) will be available at the end of January 2015, but you can pre-order the book now, on Amazon.  As for me, I look forward to reading Part Two!

Many thanks to Laura from iRead Book Tours for sending me an advanced readers copy of this ebook. For more reviews, please stop by iRead's book blog tour for Aoléon: The Martian Girl (Part One).  Since this book is for young adults, I'll soon add a link to this review to Kid Konnection, hosted by Booking Mama.

Thanks very much for reading!  Your comments are welcomed.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

First Lines 2014

At last--my wait is over!  I don't like time to pass too quickly, but I do look forward to this special meme all year long.  Created by Melwyk from The Indextrious Reader, A Year in First Lines is a once-a-year, end-of-year meme, that creates a personal collage of your year in reading and writing.  Simply stated, the idea of this meme is "to take the first line of each month's first post over the past year and see what it tells you about your blogging year".  It's a lot of fun, and I encourage other book bloggers to try it.  As a reader, you'll recall and think about some of the books that you read over the past year (which is valuable when you read a lot of books).  As a writer, you'll note the strength of your opening sentences.  (Are they good enough to "catch" readers?  Do they show variety?)  I could go on and on, but since it's an extra busy time of the year, here are my first lines.

Do your bookstacks defy gravity?

When Irish playwright and novelist Dermot Davis contacted me about reading his self-published book, Brain: The Man Who Wrote the Book That Changed the World, winner of the 2013 USA Best Book Awards for humor, I knew I wanted to read it.

After Caroline Sommer's husband of fifteen years, Scott, announces that he's "had enough", he methodically packs a suitcase and leaves her alone at home in Columbus, Ohio, with their three young children, Henry, 5, Maggie, 7, and Jack, 9, and Caroline is understandably distraught and confused.

Did she or didn't she? 

Most of you already know what a cozy mystery or "cozy" is, but for those who require a bit of help, it's a mystery that's not too gory or violent.

Although I have never had an eating disorder, I've struggled at various times with weight and appearance issues, like many women.

Which characteristic do you value most in a female protagonist?

When Laura from Italy Book Tours invited me to participate in the tour for The Supreme Macaroni Company by Adriana Trigiani, I was overjoyed.

Author Tanya J. Peterson does not shy away from difficult subjects in her books.

In My Thinning Years: Starving the Gay Within, a memoir by Jon Derek Croteau, published in September of 2014, the author talks a lot about his father, a bully who constantly criticized his wife and three children, Jared, Julie, and Jon.

Is there a term for someone who collects words?


To read beyond these first lines, simply click on the month above them.  Not surprisingly, my year in reading and writing was rather eclectic.  Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful holiday season!  

Blog header by Held Design


Some of the books reviewed here have been provided
to me free of charge by authors, publishers, and agents,
in exchange for my honest reviews.