Posted in Middle Grade

Beyond the Gloaming

Beyond the Gloaming by Brendan Murphy

Rating: 4 stars

 

I have received this book by the author in exchange for my honest review.

 

I first want to start off saying, I deeply apologize for it taking so long to get this review. Between traveling for Christmas, my internship, homework, work, and the flu, I have lacked any reviews. But! I am done with my internship and now have some free time to do those things I enjoy!

Beyond the Gloaming is about a boy named Sebastian who is a very lucid dreamer, only his dreams are real and he doesn’t often remember them or are able to interact with them, until the day two school bullies nearly kill him. His body puts him into a comatose state in order to protect him, that state is where the story takes place.

Sebastian is Irish currently living in England. Sometimes the words are hard to understand because the author is writing with a strong Irish dialect, which comes across the way it supposed to, but hard to understand (for me anyways). Sebastian’s older brother died, and his mom appears to be bipolar and goes from ignoring him, to beating him. When his mother is in one of her moods, dad usually punishes Sebastian as they blame him for the swings.

During his comatose state, Sebastian is transported to the Gloaming, a shadow world, an in-between, a dreamworld. Here he meets Porrig, a creepy little creature that Sebastian is forced into trusting blindly. Sebastian is special, and he is to be delivered to the King of Hibercadia in hopes to save Hibercadia from Phobitor, one of the gods from another dreamworld. Phobitor sends many to try and destroy young Sebastian before he can reach the item he is searching for.

This is a coming of age tale, in a way. Sebastian, who is weak, and feeble, who has no self confidence, and written to save an entire world he didn’t even know existed. Sebastian learns much about himself throughout his journey, finding smarts he didn’t know he had. This story is filled with excitement, adventure, and betrayal. Murphy is a great world builder, but sometimes I would get lost and have to reread.

One of my issues I had with this book is the terminology. It has a lot of Gaelic, which I am unfamiliar with. I have had to google words such as,  sgian dubhs, which I had no clue what they were. I did discover there is a glossary in the back, however, I found out at the end of the book, and I had a PDF copy, so it would not have helped me. For me, if I do not always understand what is being said, and have to reread portions, I get really lost and start to lose interest. I do recommend this book, however, I would read a physical copy so you can access the glossary in the back. For other words not included, I would have your phone at the ready to google, which is what I had to do often.

Overall, I did enjoy the book and would read more of Murphy’s work. I am however, not certain I will continue with this specific series because of my difficulty with the language used. I still gave the book 4 stars however for it’s originality, and because I still did like the book.

 

Posted in Middle Grade

Zaria Fierce and the Dragon Keeper’s Golden Shoes

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Zaria Fierce and the Dragon Keeper’s Golden Shoes by Keira Gillett, narrated by Michele Carpenter.

Rating: 5 stars

Narrator Rating: 5 stars

 

I was given a copy of this audiobook in exchange for my honest review. These thoughts are my own.

I have given a synopsis in both of the previous books in this series, therefore, I will skip out on a synopsis here and go in to talking about what I enjoyed about the book and finishing up any lasting thoughts I have of the series.

Out of the three books, Zaria Fierce and the Dragon Keeper’s Golden Shoes is my favorite. This story was action packed, enlightening, heart breaking, and heartwarming all rolled up into 300 pages of warm, fuzzy, goodness.

The Zaria Fierce trilogy is a great show of a team comprised of unique, different, individuals that come together to work towards a common goal. All of the characters had significant growth, and frankly Hart becomes one of my favorite characters, right next to Aleks (the pretty awesome Changeling) and Hector (Stag Lord). I am looking forward to Aleks’ follow up trilogy. I can’t wait to dive back into this world and will be sad if it finishes.

The whole story set leaves you wanting more. Each character is brought to life by Michele Carpenter, which makes listening that much more enjoyable. This series is a great fantasy read geared towards middle ages but is so good parents and older readers will enjoy it as well. There is so much constantly going on in this book that it is massive stimulation constantly. I like books that really hit the ground running and I finished this story pretty quickly. By the end, I was left breathless, heartbroken, yet satisfied, and happy. This book was truly enchanting.

If you haven’t read it yet, please do so. You will not be disappointed.

Posted in Book Reviews

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.

Posted in YA Book Reviews

Fairy, Texas

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Fairy, Texas by Margo Bond Collins and Narrated by Melissa Moran

 

Rating: 4

Narrator Rating: 4.5

I was given a copy of this audiobook free through Audiobook Boom in exchange for my honest review.

It has taken me a little while to get to this book. It was provided free to me for an honest review. I am a little sad I put it off for as long as I did. To tell you the truth, I am not sure what feelings I had going into this book. I was prepared for maybe it not to be so good. Here is why, lately, I have been getting some not so great free audiobooks. Either the story is falling short, the narrator was all wrong, or even the audio quality was not so great. These are the 3 areas that make audiobooks so iffy for some stories. So let me sum it up, the story was good, the narrator was good, and the quality was good.

As far as the story line, this book is original. I thought the characters were pretty good, though some aspects of the story line may need some tweaking (I feel, without giving any spoilers, the Main Event could have been a bit more clear or explained; also there are times I really didn’t seem to follow because explanations were provided adequately to Laney). I thought there were some areas that could have used a little more “umph,” for example, the kisses or the friendships Laney  was establishing (I thought she had anyways, but it didn’t always portray or come off that way, which I think was the point but not always clear). I did like that the main character Laney took everything that was thrown with her in stride. I felt the relationship between Laney and her new step sister was a little over dramatic and over the top. I may not be the best person to respond on that due to not having experienced a step sibling, but it felt really forced. I feel there were some vital bits of info that was left out of the story, but I am hoping it is in the next book. So why did I give it 4 stars? I REALLY found myself enjoying the story brought to life through the narrator. She was really great. I loved the Texas accents. Sometimes the male voices kind of blurred together, but other than that I really enjoyed it. I found myself looking if book 2 was already released (it is not ,on audible anyways).

I do recommend this book. So if you are looking for a quick listen, and want something original, and a new spin on things Fairy, then I do suggest this book. I am looking forward to, hopefully, getting more into this Ether, and learning more about this whole other species living right in the midst of a tiny Texas town!