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Friday, April 13, 2018

The Stone Girl's Story by Sarah Beth Durst - Book Review, Interview & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Mayka's creator made his stone creatures come to life through intricate markings that are telling their story. Mayka is a girl made of stone with her history etched on her body. Because stone lasts longer than a human life, Mayka and the stone animals she lives with now no longer have anyone to recarve their markings. When those marks are fading the stone creatures lose functions, until they stop moving completely. To prevent that from happening to her friends and herself, Mayka leaves home for the first time to look for a stonemason willing to come to their aid. Will she find someone?

Mayka's journey is more difficult than she thought it would be. She's glad her stone bird friends Jacklo and Risa have joined her, so she doesn't have to face each new challenge and experience on her own. She hasn't got much knowledge about the world beyond the mountain that she calls home. Not everyone has good intentions and Mayka learns the hard way that she won't find just friendly faces and that not all stone creatures are being treated well. She has a long and difficult journey ahead of her. Is there someone she can trust and will her mission be a success?

The Stone Girl's Story is a beautiful magical story. I immediately fell in love with Mayka and her friends. I loved the idea of stone coming to life because of marks that tell a story. It's such a wonderful thought. Mayka is sweet, clever and generous. She has a loving sparkling personality that makes her story a true gem to read. I liked her friends, I enjoyed Mayka's storytelling, she explains the markings of her friends with care and gorgeous fitting words. I couldn't turn the pages quickly enough to find out more about this very special main character.

Sarah Beth Durst has written a gripping adventure. I loved the way she writes about magic and her world building is amazing. I was especially impressed by the different ways she shares the same history, seeing one situation through the eyes of several characters gives it extra dimensions and versatility, which makes it come to life in an incredible way. She put so many interesting layers in her story and they all have something valuable to add. There's a great message in the book as well and the fabulous thought-provoking ending made me smile. Each chapter brings a new surprise, which is a real treat. I was enchanted by The Stone Girl's Story, it's a terrific book that captivated me from beginning to end.


The Stone Girl's Story would be a perfect choice for anyone who loves magical fantasy. It's meant for the 10-12 age category, but due to the many fantastic layers it's suitable for all ages.

About Sarah Beth Durst

Sarah Beth Durst is the award-winning author of fifteen fantasy books for kids, teens, and adults, including The Stone Girl's Story, Drink Slay Love, and The Queens of Renthia series. She won an ALA Alex Award and a Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, and has been a finalist for SFWA's Andre Norton Award three times.

Sarah was born in Northboro, Massachusetts, a small town that later became the setting for her debut novel. At the age of ten, she decided she wanted to be a writer. (Before that, she wanted to be Wonder Woman, except with real flying ability instead of an invisible jet. She also would have accepted a career as a unicorn princess.) And she began writing fantasy stories. She later attended Princeton University, where she spent four years studying English, writing about dragons, and wondering what the campus gargoyles would say if they could talk.

Sarah lives in Stony Brook, New York, with her husband, her children, and her ill-mannered cat.


Website // Blog // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram


1) Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

I have really curly hair, and I've wanted to be a writer for my entire life.

Those are pretty much my two defining characteristics. My hair is so monumentally curly that it could house several bird nests, and I wouldn't notice until the birds chirped.

As for writing... it's really the only thing I've ever wanted to do with my life (except when I was five, and I desperately wanted to be Wonder Woman).

2) How did you get the idea to write about main characters made of stone?

One spring, my husband gave me a little stone rabbit for the garden. I am, however, horrible at gardening -- the second I see the first tick of spring, I lose all interest in ever weeding. So by fall, the rabbit was lost to the weeds, and I joked that it had hopped away to join its stone friends.

You'll see that stone rabbit in the first few chapters of THE STONE GIRL'S STORY -- he's one of Mayka's friends.

Mayka is a girl made of living stone. Forever twelve years old, she has outlasted the father who carved her and engraved her body with the stories that gave her life. But now the magical marks that animate her and her stone friends are fading, and she must leave her home for the first time to find help if she wants her story -- and those of her friends -- to continue.

3) Can you describe the main characters of The Stone Girl’s Story in six words each?

Mayka -- stone girl who loves her family
Jacklo and Risa -- brother and sister stone birds
Si-Si -- little stone dragon who wants to fly
Garit -- stonemason apprentice who wants to help

4) You love fantasy, how did this passion for the genre start?

I spent my entire childhood searching the woods behind my house for a dragon's egg, wishing for a magic wand, and hoping my cat would talk. Fantasy and I... we go way back. I can't even remember the first fantasy book I ever read or the moment I fell in love with it.

Someone recently asked me, "How have your reading tastes changed now that you've grown up?" And I kind of stared at them, thinking, "They were supposed to change?!?"

I love the same kinds of books I've always loved -- the ones that make you feel like the world is more magical than it was before, the ones that fill you with a sense of wonder, the ones that make you believe you are strong enough to conquer anything that life throw at you.

5) If you could make something made out of stone come to life, what would you choose?

A dragon. So long as it was a friendly one!

6) Your stories are magical, what does magic mean to you and how does it enrich your life?

I am a firm believer in the magic of books -- the power to lift you out of your own life, take you on a journey, and then bring you back again safe and sound, maybe slightly changed. I've always wanted to be a part of that magic.

To me, magic means hope. And the ability to see hope.

A unicorn. A talking cat. A living stone girl. A Hogwarts letter. A light-saber. All of these are manifestations of the strength of the human spirit to be more, to be better, to hope, to wonder, to believe, and to love.

7) If you could go on a journey in one of your own stories, which one would you chose and why?

I'd love to see Mayka's world, with all the creatures made of stone. She lives with her stone family (birds, rabbits, a turtle, etc.) at the top of a beautiful mountain with views of the valley and glorious sunsets.

Most of my other worlds... I'd probably last about five minutes. I have zero survival skills. My epic fantasy series The Queens of Renthia, for instance, takes place in a gorgeous world where nature spirits have run amuck, so you have these massive Lothlorien/Endor-size trees with cities nestled in the branches and towering mountains that pierce the sky... but you also have all these bloodthirsty spirits that want to kill you. Me in that world? Five minutes. Maybe less.

8) What’s your favorite kind of magical creature and why?

Ooh, hard to choose. But I think I'd pick dragons, specifically telepathic, friendly dragons like in Anne McCaffrey's Pern books.

I love dragons because they're so emblematic of fantasy literature -- they're these impossible, wild, magical creatures that dominate the imagination whenever they're on stage.

9) Where do you find inspiration for your stories? You’ve written a lot of books already, what are you still dreaming about when it comes to writing?

Sometimes inspiration comes as a lightning strike, all at once. But more often it's a little spark. A single flame that joins another flame, then another, then another, until you have a fire.

There are always more stories to tell, worlds to create and explore, and characters to invent. I dream of writing the stories I don't yet know I want to tell.

10) What are your plans for the future?

My next book for adults, THE QUEEN OF SORROW (Book Three of The Queens of Renthia), comes out on May 15. It's the final book in my epic fantasy series about bloodthirsty spirits and the queens who can control them. Very excited for readers to see how it all ends!

And in December, my next YA book, FIRE AND HEIST, comes out. It's essentially Ocean's Eleven with were-dragons. I just posted the gorgeous new cover over on my website (

Currently, I'm in the middle of writing next year's MG book (SPARK, about a girl and her lightning dragon) and adult book (THE DEEPEST BLUE, a standalone Renthia novel with a lot of sea monsters).

Thanks so much for interviewing me!


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a signed hardcover copy of The Stone Girl's Story by Sarah Beth Durst.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.


  1. It sounds like an awesome adventure.Great interview, thanks for sharing it.

  2. Totally sounds like a good one. I have a niece who would love this!!

  3. The Stone Girl's Story sounds like an engrossing adventure and a wonderful coming of age story.

  4. This looks and sounds like a classic fantasy adventure! Perfect!

  5. I am so thrilled to have discovered you!!! :D I looooove the sound of this book and the cover is amazing! YA fantasy is my favourite genre - I love unicorns, dragons, castles and being swept away into amazing fantasy words! I love your sense of humour, haha. I have quite curly hair too, hehe! Took me ages to learn to control it (hint: Kinky Curly products!! ;) ). Also I've wanted to be a writer all my life too! Having kids and getting a chronic illness has delayed that (in the case of the kids, in a wonderful way :D) but hoping to publish in next few years! :D I can't wait to look up ALL your books - they sound right up my alley! Keep being amazing and have a wonderful 2018!! :)) xx

  6. The book sounds amazing. Would love to read it!

  7. This sounds fantastic, my son would love this magical story.

  8. What a wonderful surprising fantastical novel. It has my interest piqued.

  9. this looks fun, i know my son would love a read x

  10. I loved Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst, it was so creative and I've been eager to try more from her ever since, The Stone Girl's Story sounds like something I'll love.

  11. Would love to read this author, a new discovery and one I'm excited about reading!

  12. A fantasy adventure! Exactly what I need for my afternoons.

  13. sounds like a great book - thanks for the chance

  14. I've enjoyed lots of fantasy books lately and I'm realy interested in The Stone Girls Story.

  15. Sounds very different

  16. Thank you for the interview the magic was in Sarah Beth Durst's answers

  17. It seems to be such a beautiful story

  18. This looks like a lovely book and I love the cover

  19. I totally agree with Sarah-Beth: Books definitely have a magic to transport you away from everyday life.

  20. This looks great, i think my daughter would love this!

  21. Love a great magical story. Sounds wonderful

  22. Thanks for the great giveaway!
    The book looks amazing!