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Welcome to my Inner World. I am a French self-taught artist, and these past seventeen years I have made Norway my home. Moving to the Lofoten islands was the greatest present I ever made to myself and the Arctic landscapes are indeed a true treat for any artist’s eyes. I live with my British soulmate,… Continue Reading

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The Gift

I was walking around a lake. In spite of the night, the grass was green, kind of phosphorescent. I met a young girl and followed her to a big house which was perhaps an hotel. She explained to me that people avoided her, they were afraid of her because she had a very special gift, she could see through the veil into the Other World. She asked me if I wanted her to show me how. Full of apprehension, I accepted. There was a big door and right under my eyes, the door opened so slowly as to make the suspens last. And framed in the door stood many semi-transparent beings and all of them waved at me in slow motion with a big smile on their faces.

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Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 8 Up—This riveting story about 16-year-old Jenica; her pet frog, Gogu; and her four sisters takes place between the fairy world and the family’s Romanian estate of Piscul Dracului. When the girls were young, they discovered a mysterious portal that appears every full moon and allows them access to the Dancing Glade in the Other Kingdom. They dress in the finest gowns and spend all night dancing with a host of bizarre and enchanting fairy creatures. Unfortunately, the girls’ simple and carefree lives change drastically when their father becomes ill and must spend the winter in the milder climate of Constanta. Jenica takes charge of the estate and the family’s merchant business but their overbearing, power-hungry cousin, Cezar, interferes with their affairs and questions the sisters’ knowledge of the Other Kingdom. As he tightens the noose around them, everything Jenica has come to love-her sisters, her frog, her home, and the Dancing Glade-is in jeopardy. To make matters worse, her sister Tatiana has fallen in love with one of the mysterious and feared Night people. This relationship is doomed from the start and it is up to Jenica to make things right-but to do so she will be put to the ultimate test. Strong characters, two fully realized settings, and a fast-moving plot guarantee that readers will be spellbound by this page-turner.—Donna Rosenblum, Nassau Boces School Library System, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist
On the night of each full moon, the five Transylvanian sisters who reside in the castle Piscul Dracului don their finest gowns. They raise their hands to create shadows against the wall, opening a portal to the Other Kingdom, where they will dance the night away with all manner of fantastical creatures. After nine years of full moons spent in delightful revelry, dark forces, both human and otherworldly, arise to encroach upon the sisters’ happiness. Told by Jena, the second oldest sister, this detailed and mood-rich story covers much territory, both mundane and magical. Adult fantasy writer Marillier has uniquely reimagined and blended an assortment of well-known tales and characters–including fairies, dwarves, witches, vampires, and a frog who is more than he seems–into a compelling whole in her first book for teens. By the end, all are cleverly bound together, and a mystery is solved. With much to say about human nature and choice, not unlike the moral in fairy tales of old, this will be a hit with older teen readers, especially girls. Holly Koelling
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

Amazon.com
A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy–jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual first novel.

Gemma, 16, has had an unconventional upbringing in India, until the day she foresees her mother’s death in a black, swirling vision that turns out to be true. Sent back to England, she is enrolled at Spence, a girls’ academy with a mysterious burned-out East Wing. There Gemma is snubbed by powerful Felicity, beautiful Pippa, and even her own dumpy roommate Ann, until she blackmails herself and Ann into the treacherous clique. Gemma is distressed to find that she has been followed from India by Kartik, a beautiful young man who warns her to fight off the visions. Nevertheless, they continue, and one night she is led by a child-spirit to find a diary that reveals the secrets of a mystical Order. The clique soon finds a way to accompany Gemma to the other-world realms of her visions “for a bit of fun” and to taste the power they will never have as Victorian wives, but they discover that the delights of the realms are overwhelmed by a menace they cannot control. Gemma is left wi! th the knowledge that her role as the link between worlds leaves her with a mission to seek out the “others” and rebuild the Order. A Great and Terrible Beauty is an impressive first book in what should prove to be a fascinating trilogy. (Ages 12 up) –Patty Campbell –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up–Libba Bray’s new Gothic tale of a Victorian girls school with a deadly secret (Delacorte, 2003) is brought to life in Josephine Bailey’s nuanced reading. At 16, Gemma must leave the only home she’s known–colonial India–when her mother kills herself under bizarre circumstances and Gemma is both confused and intrigued by the details. Although she longed to see London while her family lived abroad, Gemma is disappointed to find that she’s being packed off to finishing school there. At school, she stands up to the very circle of girls who seem to hold the most power, while also dealing with weird hallucinations and the furtive presence of the young man she first saw in Bombay on the day of her mother’s death. The school and its administration hold fast to a secret about the class of 1871, which passed through it nearly a quarter century before Gemma’s stay. As friendships develop between Gemma and three of the other students, and several of her teachers reveal interesting personal sides of themselves, the plot and the reader both tug the audience into the creepy depths beneath a cave on the school grounds. There the living girls find a pleasurable world populated by goddess figures–and Gemma’s dead mother. How all this ultimately connects with that mysterious class of 1871 will delight Gothic fans and inspire those new to the genre to taste such classic writers in it as Daphne du Maurier.

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DRAGON KEEPER By Carole Wilkinson

A Breathtakingly Brilliant Adventure!

May 25, 2005 By T. J. Jones “TJ” (San Diego, CA United States)

This review is from: Dragon Keeper (Hardcover) `Dragon Keeper’ is the U.S. debut novel by highly successful Australian author, Carole Wilkinson, that has already won many prestigious Australian awards. It tells the wonderful story of a Chinese slave girl named Ping and her perilous journey to save the last imperial dragon, Long Danzi. In the beginning, Ping is a slave for the cruel, current Dragon Keeper, who neglects his duties and in so doing so causes the death of the second to last imperial dragon. In a startling amount of courage, Ping rescues Danzi and they set off for the Ocean which Danzi mysteriously insists on traveling to for the sake of a beautiful purple stone which he holds most important to the sake of all dragons. Wilkinson is a master of words, painting amazing scenes and the emotions of Ping as effortlessly as the artists of the beautiful traditional Chinese pictures that don every chapter opening. Ping was a three-dimensional, interesting main character. She realistically makes and learns from her mistakes, and therefore by doing so is relatable to all readers. The dragon Long Danzi was my favorite character. His riddles of wisdom hold lessons that Ping must take importantly if she is to outwit the many villains that chase them throughout the course of the novel and they also provide comical relief. Anyways, Ping’s transition from a scared slave girl to the confident Dragon Keeper was a highly believable journey that left me on the edge of my seat. This novel is full of humor, lessons to be learned and shared, adventure, and sheer enjoyment that I’m sure it will also bring to eager readers everywhere. Highly recommended.

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