As we reach the end of May, our thoughts turn towards Summer; vacations, cookouts, fireworks, and heading to the beach. Readers also use this as an opportunity to begin a new book. In this post, I will share a list of books for you to enjoy over the Summer and perhaps meet some new authors along the way. This is a group of Fantasy books, but not just Fantasy they are known as Portal Fantasies. Interested? Read on!
What is a Portal Fantasy?
The name of this sub-genre might be unusual to you, but it is not new. Generally, it means when a character passes from our world into a Fantasy world via a magical doorway. If you’ve read C.S. Lewis’, The Chronicles of Narnia, then you are that much ahead. The wardrobe that became a doorway into the land of Narnia is a perfect example of this. But not all Portal Fantasies have a physical door. For example, L. Frank Baum’s, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, used a tornado to whisk Dorothy and Toto out of Kansas and into the land of Oz.
When a character finds a way into the Fantasy world, there usually is a way back into our world. Sometimes, characters might decide not to return to their humdrum lives in our world. Especially, if they are crowned king or queen of the Fantasy land.
If you think about it, every book that you open and read, is a portal into another world; a chance to lose yourself in a magical place that allows you to forget about the world you live; even if for a few hours at a time.
My Suggestions for Summer Reading
The following is a list of Portal Fantasy books which I have recently read. I highly recommend them to you!
Where The Carnies Are by Kayla Curry
Blurb: Olive is having a very bad day. She caught her boyfriend cheating on her, she lost her job, and she stumbled into a portal leading to a secret carnival kingdom which she can’t escape. The good news is she meets an eccentric, but stunningly handsome knife thrower. The bad news is she can’t go home for another two months.
The world she lands in is full of sideshow characters, terrifying amusement rides and her biological parents’ past. She was born a carny, but raised as a normal human. Magic lives in her blood, but it hasn’t reached her heart. To find out who she really is, and why carnies are disappearing, Olive must deceive the king with the help of Alex the knife thrower.
Olive and Alex play a dangerous game with their emotions when they decide to have a fling during Olive’s stay. They both lead very different lives and being together would mean one of them giving up the life they’ve always known.
Tricks and traps are around every corner in this kingdom. Few can be trusted and Olive will need all the help she can get to make it through unscathed.
My comments: This book was released just last month and I’m currently reading it. This is a great story so far, and uses a clever doorway which transfers the person, via a bounce house, into the world of Carnies. This isn’t just your normal traveling circus, this is an entire kingdom!
Dreamlander by KM Weiland
Blurb:What if it were possible to live two very different lives in two separate worlds? What if the dreams we awaken from are the fading memories of that second life? What if one day we woke up in the wrong world?
Every night, a woman on a black warhorse gallops through the mist in Chris Redston’s dreams. Every night, she begs him not to come to her. Every night, she aims her rifle at his head and fires. The last thing Chris expects–or wants–is for this nightmare to be real. But when he wakes up in the world of his dreams, he has to choose between the likelihood that he’s gone spectacularly bonkers or the possibility that he’s just been let in on the secret of the ages.
Only one person in a generation may cross the worlds. These chosen few are the Gifted, called from Earth into Lael to shape the epochs of history–and Chris is one of them. But before he figures that out, he accidentally endangers both worlds by resurrecting a vengeful prince intent on claiming the powers of the Gifted for himself. Together with a suspicious princess and a guilt-ridden Cherazii warrior, Chris must hurl himself into a battle to save a country from war, two worlds from annihilation, and himself from a dream come way too true.
My comments: This was a wonderful story! I immediately got caught up in the story and enjoyed all of the characters. The idea of the portal was when MC, Chris Redston fell asleep and was awake in the other world. In other words, your dream state is your alternate identity and alternate world. The use of skycars to travel from one land to another was very original for a Fantasy story and yet an inventive way to move from one city to the next without the use of magic. The ending of this story was beautiful and it was one that you hoped wouldn’t happen but there was no other way. The author does leave a surprise at the end which should make every reader satisfied in having read the book.
The only negative comment I have about this book is that there isn’t a movie made yet. Somebody get Ridley Scott on the phone!
The World of Karov (Children of Demilee) by Elyse Salpeter
Blurb: Adam and Alec look like identical twins, but their personalities are as different as possible. Adam is gentle and kind, whereas Alec is the essence of nightmares. Always jealous of his twin, Alec does everything he can to destroy his brother’s happiness, including kidnapping Adam’s fiancée on their wedding day and disappearing with her deep into the Canadian mountains. Adam searches for them for months, but he never finds them. Just when Adam is at his most grief-stricken point, a stranger appears and offers him a chance for a new life in a land filled with magic, gems, and powers unimaginable; a world mysteriously led by a special tribe of children who have hidden themselves away from a great evil that is seeking to destroy them. Adam takes the chance and goes with the stranger, but his past is never far from his mind. Eventually, reality comes back to haunt Adam, resulting in a final showdown with his brother…. and this time, only one will win.
A dark fantasy that will appeal to teens and adults alike. It’s a novel about magical worlds, identical twins and a pervading evil that’s spreading through the universe.
My Comments:What a great start to a new Fantasy series! I was intrigued with it from start to finish and the author gave us a lot in just the first book. It allows for many, many stories and directions in which to go with this series. I would rank this story up there with the Chronicles of Narnia for it originality and characters that you deeply care about. I would recommend this book to any fan of Fantasy stories!
Nexus of the Worlds (The Askinar Towers trilogy) by Christopher Mentzer
Of course I would recommend my own book!
Blurb: Sara’s tenth birthday was concluded by a visit from the family friend known only as The Professor. He gives Sara a special key that starts her on a great adventure! Along with her sister, Erika, she gains access to a world dominated by four towers.
Their goal is to find a way back home and that means finding the Fifth Tower, which is considered a legend. Along the way they join up with a detective from 1935 New York, a female secret agent from 1969 Washington D.C., and a King’s Champion. Together they encounter obstacles that delay their travels.
But someone else is ever present watching the progress of the girls and their friends. A black robed figure trails behind with an agenda of some sort. Does it want the key or the girls?
My comments: The portal in this trilogy is a mirror in the attic of the man known as The Professor. From there, all portals are behind doors of the four towers on the various floors. I wrote this story in the tradition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and planned to write in every type of genre that’s out there. Unfortunately, I hadn’t succeed it that but, hope to do so should I write a follow-up series.
There you have it, just a small sampling of Portal Fantasy novels. This should keep you entertained throughout the Summer months. If you have any further suggestions of Portal Fantasy novels, share them in the comments below. Or, if you have any other comments to share, I’m always happy to hear from you.
This may be my last post for some time as a new family crisis has arisen and I may be without internet access for a while. I hope I won’t be gone for a long time, a couple weeks at best. In the meantime, you can catch me both on Facebook and Twitter. If you really need to get a hold of me, you can reach me through my e-mail… mentzer2150 at hotmail.com
Sibling Rivalry, book 2 of The Askinar Towers trilogy will be going on sale next Monday, May 24, on Amazon.com as part of the Countdown Sale concept. I’m new to this so bear with me. The sale price will be 99 cents to start and will increase a little bit at a time over the next few days. This is a great time to invest in both books to start your Summer reading list.