One Good Knight

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One Good Knight by Mercedes Lackey, Narrated by Gabra Zackman

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars

Actual Rating: 4.5 

Narrator Rating: 5

 

One Good Knight is a retelling loosely following the Greek myth of Andromeda. Where Greek Lore indicates Andromeda to be beautiful, One Good Knight indicates she is “lesser” than most females and more homely than beautiful. One Good Knight is also loosely based from St. George and the Dragon, however, it is really in name only as this does not end in an entire town going through religious conversion.

In One Good Knight, Andromeda (Andi) is very book smart and she starts to notice some magical irregularities in her research for the Queen. During this time, the Queen had her consort conjure a dragon to wreck havoc on the villages. Andi is tasked to find out how to “rid” the kingdom of the dragon and discovers meaningful sacrifice would do so. A lottery is set up for virginal women, and each week a new name is drawn. After a while, the reader discovers prior to the cast, that this lottery is not by chance, but whenever a family displeases the Queen or speaks out against the Queen, their daughter is “selected” in the lottery and sent to die. During one such lottery, Princess Andi’s name is drawn and she is sent to be sacrificed, and so the adventure begins.

I really enjoyed the twists and turns this particular story had. As a reader, it is often times easy to get bored when books do as you expect. One Good Knight keeps readers entranced. Without giving away spoilers, the ending has been one of the best I have enjoyed. Much like in The Fairy Godmother, the Tradition had a mind of it’s own, only in One Good Knight I really enjoyed the way the Tradition worked for the characters.  I feel Andi was well written. She is portrayed as a confused, homely, child not to be taken seriously for most of time leading up to her being sacrificed. Queen Cassiopia is one to be despised. She is heartless and offers up her daughter happily to be killed.

The reason the actual rating is 4.5 stars is mainly because it was soooo slow to start out. Once the excitement of Princess Andi being sacrificed to the dragon occurs, things really start to speed up.

I really can’t say there is a particular character I didn’t like, aside from the villains of course, but I even enjoyed them. I thought each character in the book gave the book it’s personality it took on. Oh but the twists!!! It would be too many spoilers to explain the twists, and I want any potential reader to be as shocked as I was when I first came to the twists.

I am really glad I started this series, and I look forward to more Virgin chasing unicorns, fairy godmothers, and all of the other Traditional tales yet to be discovered.

Adam Exitus

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 Adam Exitus by Nicholas Abdilla

Goodreads rating: 5 stars

Actual rating 4.5 stars

I was given a copy of this book from Old Mate Media in exchange for my honest review. 


I want to start with my negative first…the beginning was too slow and too confusing for me. I almost didn’t keep going. Give it a few chapters and things pick up. 

This story is about a man named Adam who wakes up face first in the mud one day in a cave far away from home. There is a beautiful woman in the cave with him but she doesn’t talk. He makes a promise to get them both free one day. After a few failed trips to find a way out, Adam almost resigns himself to stop trying. That’s when everything changes. 

I fear giving more detail about the synopsis will give away the whole book. It has twists and turns and I never knew how to feel. One minute I felt one way and then one action would change EVERYTHING. I can’t wait for people to read this book. It is such a breath of fresh air in the science fiction world!!! 

I look forward to reading more by this author! 

Get your copy:

www.oldmatemedia.com/shop 

Amazon: http://geni.us/AdamExitusK

iBooks: http://geni.us/AdamExitus

The Fairy Godmother

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The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey, narrated by Gabra Zackman

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars

Narrator Rating: 5 stars

 

A member of my book club talked about this series in a recent book club meeting. I decided to give the series a try. I really enjoyed the narrator. She made the story entertaining to listen to.

The Five Hundred Kingdoms series follows various individuals who discover what fairy tale the “Tradition” wants them to follow. In The Fairy Godmother, Elena was supposed to become Cinderella, however, after some unfortunate turns, she becomes the apprentice of the Fairy Godmother and eventually becomes the Fairy Godmother herself. During one of her Godmother tasks, she turns a prince into a donkey. This prince is supposed to learn about how he treated the Godmother, who had been disguised as an old beggar on the side of the road, is typical of how he treats all of those individuals of similar status. The Prince eventually learns that he was not living the life of a future good king, and begins to change.

I will not go into further detail, as the book is worth the read. I found that there were never really any slow parts to the story. The narrator kept me enamored the whole time. By the end of the story, I was ready to buy the rest of the series to keep going. This start to the Five Hundred Kingdoms series is well worth the read. I do not have anything really negative about the story. I disliked all the characters that you want to dislike. I look forward to learning about the other characters the Tradition has its sights on. My favorite part of the book are the unicorns who get their sights on virgins and follow them around becoming obsessed, protecting them, and doing the virgin’s bidding. The Fairy Godmother is very unique and well worth the read.

Dark Harvest

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Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars

Actual Rating: 3.5 stars

 

I have had this book on my To Read list for a very long time. Since my book club’s theme for October was something spooky/Halloween, I decided to go with this book.

The writing style was different for my tastes and it took a little while to get into, but once I got adjusted, I did like the story. The reason I gave the actual rating 3.5 stars is because the narration of the overall story (it jumps back and forth from first person to third person) and also because it seems a lot of information had been left out (I will get to this later).

This story is about a little midwestern town in which every year on Halloween, all boys 16 to 18 must compete in the Run. At the start of this Run a scarecrow with a jack-o-lantern head is brought to life and stuffed with candy. The object of the Run is to be the first boy to bust open this creature, releasing all the candy. For the sake of spoilers, I will not give away any other information.

The idea was interesting, but I feel like a lot was missing. For instance, the story briefly talks about the Harvester’s Guild, who is in charge of the run. The story mentions, again briefly, that no one can leave the town unless they are drafted for war or the creature wins the Run. The story does go into why, or how this all started. I think knowing this information would definitely have made it better overall.

The Book Of Lost Things

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The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly, Narrated by Steven Crossely

Goodreads rating: 4 stars

Narrator Rating: 5 stars

 

When I first started to read this book, I found I couldn’t get into it; so I went off and got the audiobook in hopes that maybe I could listen to it better. I was right. It still took a little time to get into the book as a whole, but I ended up really enjoying it.

It took me a while to determine if this is a retelling, and I have decided that yes, it definitely is a retelling. In this story the reader will enjoy interactions with the Woodsman and the Wolves (Red Riding Hood), Snow White and the Dwarves (but we won’t talk about Comrade Number 7, the traitor), Sleeping Beauty, Roland (The Song of Roland), and The Crooked Man (Rumpelstiltskin… I have to say, I was most excited when this connection occurred).

David is a child when his mother dies. His father soon remarries and a half brother comes along. This causes a lot of unrest for David, and he starts seeing shadows of The Crooked Man around the house, which scares David. Eventually, David starts hearing his mom call for him to save her. He enters into a special passageway which brings him into another land, where he meets the Woodsman. From there, David goes on an epic adventure and goes from an angry, selfish, afraid, child to a strong, understanding, and confident young man.

There were parts of this book that really did feel like it took forever. And to be honest, for an 11 hour book, it felt like ages to get through. With that being said, I am glad I read this and recommend it to anyone. It is a bit dark. There is a lot of blood, and gore…but let’s face it, all the best fairy tales are 😉

 

Spoiler ahead!! I loved this scene:

“I came back,” said David.

“Most people do,” said the Woodsman.

“Come on, we’ve been waiting for you,” said the Woodsman.

The Bitches of Everafter

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Goodreads Rating: 3 stars

Narrator Rating: 3 stars

 

I found this book on kindle randomly. I decided I would listen to the audiobook version because lately, I have a hard time reading any books because of work and school.

I want to start off with the Narrator. Erin Fossa is just okay for me. I found the voices to be kind of off and sometimes couldn’t tell who was talking. I also felt like some sentences were forced and it felt like the chapters suddenly ended, but the narrator’s voice inflection made it feel as if there was more to come.

The story does end on a cliffhanger. I repeat. The story does end on a cliffhanger. I would like to continue the story eventually. I feel that there were some characterizations that needed to be further developed.

So what is this story about? Basically, Snow White, Belle, Rapunzel, Cinderella, and Aurora are all sentenced by Red Riding Hood (who is Judge) to this boarding house for various crimes they have committed. Then, Snow White figures out she is Snow White, and slowly the other girls figure out who they are. It turns out, that some other person has brought various characters of fairy tales from fairyland to a town called Everafter. Judge Red Hood is set out to permanently lock up these “Bitches” in order to keep, what you eventually learn is a curse, from being broken. Each character, except Snow White really, has some weird twisted storyline. I hate that Rapunzel is called Punzie and Aurora is called Aura. I think the behaviors of the princesses were also super far fetched to the point where the story was not believable at points, even for a fairytale. I think the book ended in an interesting twist, but it does not look like the other books are yet released? This book came out in 2014. So I will need to do some digging eventually 🙂

The Iron King

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Goodreads Rating: 3 Stars

Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars

Narrator Rating: 4 stars

My Goodreads group selected The Iron King for our April read. A little side note on the Iron King- George RR Martin has stated this series inspired his Game of Thrones.

The Iron King is based on Philip the Fair, King of France. It is medieval historical fiction. I love Medieval history, so it was very exciting. My issues with the story: there are soooooo many characters that I had a hard time keeping who was in (in my defense someone who read the literal book had the same problem), there was too much constantly going on, and there wasn’t enough treachery/double cross/excitement for me. The story was TOO factual. Never thought I would say that. I was hoping that the author would take the history lesson and give it a fun spin to it, since it is supposed to be fiction. And though he did give it life, it wasn’t a very good life. Not to me anyways. I found myself constantly checking how much time I had left.

I thought the narrator was good. Some of his voices for characters cracked me up. I have not had experience with the narrator Peter Joyce. I may give him another shot if he narrates books outside of this series.

All in all, this has just been an okay read for me. Part 2 was the best section of the whole book. The rest was just slow.

Joyland

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Joyland by Stephen King, Narrated by Michael Kelly

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars

Actual Rating: 4.5 Stars

Narrator Rating: 5 Stars

 

I picked up this story on Audible to listen on a work trip. My unconventional book club’s theme is to pick a book off a list/flow chart provided, and I decided, since I have never ever read a Stephen King story, I would like to get a good start somewhere.

First, this story is classified on two different genre subtypes on Goodreads, Suspense/Thriller and Coming of Age. On the flow chart provided, it was indicated as a Suspense. This is really where I want to start my review:

My expectations for Joyland were more along the line of It, and Pet Semetary. To me, that is what suspense/thriller means. However, that is not what this story was. This story is about a young college student, Devin Jones, getting a summer job at Joyland theme park in North Carolina. Devin discovers that a few years prior, there was a murder on one of the rides and no one was ever caught. He was also informed that at some point in time, he would come across two children: a girl and a boy, and of these two children one would have the “sight.” Devin Jones has his heart broken by his first love and this adventure shows him how to move on and provides life experiences that any college kid would be lucky to have. The only real suspense in the story is about a chapter, when he discovers who the Carnival Killer was. I kind of pegged this person, but really was leaning on a different character. I will let you decide who is who.

This book was wonderfully narrated. It took me a couple of hours to really get into the book as a whole, but once it got going, it was really brilliant. The story really  hits on all the feels you want in a book. My wish was that, for a classification of suspense, that there was more suspense in the book, beyond the short info at the tail end of the story.

I will read Stephen King again. I really like the versatility of King’s writings. I really enjoy discussing this book with my fellow book clubbers!

Cold Burn of Magic

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Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep

Goodreads Rating: 3 stars

I received a copy of this book at the RT Booklover’s Convention in May 2015. I was super excited to get to meet Jennifer Estep as I am a HUGE fan of her Mythos Academy series. Estep is super nice and very humble.

Cold Burn of Magic is the first in the Black Blade series. Based on the first book, I am not entirely sure what the series as a whole will be or how many books. This new series has monsters and magic, but you only ever see the pixies, loch ness, and what what magic someone may or may not carry. I do think this series carries a lot of promise and that perhaps this first book is more of prepper, getting the whole of the story ready. There was some excitement and drama, but not until the last couple of chapters. I figured out who the bad guy was pretty early on. The rest of the series will, I believe, focus around the bigger picture conflict with probably some obstacles here and there. (My guess).

I only gave it 3 stars because I felt like there could have been more. More action, more monsters, more magic, more to the story,  and more of the other characters. My hope is the next books will give me the “more” that I look for in Estep’s books! I will continue on with this story, as I said before, I believe it carries a lot of promise.

In A Dark, Dark Wood

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In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware, Narrated by Imogen Church

Goodreads Rating: 3 stars

Narrator Rating: 5 stars

I have been wanting to read this book for a while, and when I discovered it was narrated by Imogen Church, I wanted to give it a go that much more. I decided to listen to the story because Church is a great narrator. I enjoyed her in Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach, so I wanted to hear her bring Ware’s novel to life. She did great for Nora.

I didn’t like Nora. Her character is whiny, and not confident. Flo was bat shit crazy, Nina was funny, Tom was not memorable, and then we have Clare. The one who knows all the secrets. Nina and Nora’s friend in school, Nora split ways when she was 16 after a bad break up, which, during Clare’s bachelorette weekend, after not seeing Clare in 10 years, Nora finds out Clare is marrying Nora’s high school sweetheart. The start of a great weekend away yes?

The bachelorette weekend is taking place in the middle of nowhere, in a glass-ish cottage where there is no cell phone service at all. (Because THAT isn’t a bit of foretelling, is it?) Flo goes absolutely crazy through the weekend trying to make sure everything is perfect, but it’s not is it? Because someone gets murdered. And then we end up to the beginning of the book where Nora is trying to figure out and regain her memories about what happened that night.

The book goes back and forth: from the happenings of the weekends and back to Nora in the hospital. Ultimately, I wished this story was more than what it was. I felt like I was robbed from great potential. This story could have gone so many different ways, the end was a bit of a let down. I can, however, say that Imogen Church narrates this role amazingly. Church is made to voice this type of character and story.