Review: Shadowspell (Faeriewalker, Book 2) by Jenna Black

Reviewed by First Mate Keira

Title: Shadowspell (Faeriewalker, Book 2)
Author: Jenna Black
Format: Hardback
Page Count: 304 pages
Grade Reading Level: Ages 12 and up

Summary: Dana Hathaway came to Avalon to meet her father and find a new life. She did not expect to have her limited social schedule hijacked by a bodyguard. So much for dating hot magical prodigy Ethan. Then the Erlking and his pack of bespelled faery known as the Wild Hunt come to Avalon in pursuit of fresh prey. A treaty between the Erlking and the Queens of Faery limits his powers; he can’t hunt or kill unless attacked first or given permission by the Queens. Knowing that the Queens hate her and her faeriewalker gifts, Dana has to watch her back like never before…and then make a deal with the very devil to rescue Ethan from the Erlking’s grasp.

Why I started this book:

Reading the series.

Likes:

  • The Erlking – holy smokes. I am Team Erlking. Screw Ethan and Keane. I want two of the Erlking. I’d be the center of an Erlking sandwich if I could get away with it. He’s by far my favorite character in the series now. I can’t wait to see where his deal with Dana goes! Erlking = big predator cat. Dana = mouse. Let the toying begin!
  • I thought it was very smart to weasel a second favor out of the Erlking in exchange for what he wanted from the deal. Good job Dana!
  • Still love Dana’s inner voice.

Dislikes:

  • Dana is still unreasonable about her safety; pretty reckless too. Think of Dana as the girl who would run into the house with the serial killer just to catch a glimpse of him. Not too smart. Of course without these traits the Erlking couldn’t have made that deal with her, or at least not as easily. ;)

Last Minute Thoughts: Even better than Glimmerglass!

Buy: Shadowspell (Faeriewalker)

Rating: 4 Treasure Chests

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Review: The Spirit War (The Legend of Eli Monpress, Book 4) by Rachel Aaron

spirit warReviewed by First Mate Keira

Title: The Spirit War (The Legend of Eli Monpress, Book 4)
Author: Rachel Aaron
Format: Ebook
Page Count: 544 pages
Grade Reading Level: Ages 15+

Summary: Eli Monpress is on his way to earning the largest bounty in the world. Along the way he gathered friends, master swordsman Josef Leichten, and demonseed Nico. When Josef finds his name on the bounty list jump higher than Eli’s he says he has to head his home in Osera. Eli and Nico tag along and discover their friend is really a prince! Then a second impossible bit of news reaches them – the Immortal Empress is on the move and she’s coming to claim the world.

Why I started this book:

I’ve been enjoying the series. I can’t believe there is one left!

Likes:

  • How Josef procured the Heart of War.
  • How Josef really melded with the Heart during this book.
  • Eli’s time with the Shepherdess and what makes him change his mind about being with her.
  • We learn why Eli wants the outrageous bounty he requires.
  • The entire Spirit War!!!
  • What Eli does at the very end – I just have to say “You got served!”


Dislikes:

  • Sharp Mountain – Good thing Miranda escapes! Poor Slorn.
  • Eli’s parents – what is wrong with them? Seriously.

Last Minute Thoughts: OMG cliff hanger! Wow!

The Spirit War (An Eli Monpress Novel)

Rating: 5 Treasure Chests

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Audio Review: Insurgent (Divergent Trilogy, Book 2) by Veronica Roth

insurgentReviewed by First Mate Keira

Title: Insurgent (Divergent Trilogy, Book 2)
Author: Veronica Roth
Format: Audiobook
Length: 11 hrs and 22 mins
Narrator: Emma Galvin
Grade Reading Level: Grades 9 to 12

Summary: War looks more inevitable by the hour. The Dauntless faction is split. Some have sided with Erudite, the faction that brainwashed them into becoming murderers, and the rest are seeking sanctuary wherever they can. Tris and Four search out Amity and Candor and find out that every faction is facing problems… and then there is the factionless, those who have been forced out because they couldn’t pass initiation rites. Now is the perfect time for them to flex their muscle and rise out of the shadows. Danger is everywhere… who will Tris trust?

Why I started this book:

I started the series at the recommendation of a friend and continued because I liked the first book.

Likes:

  • The natural growing pains of Tris’ and Tobias’ relationship.
  • Tris’s natural fortitude to resist serums. You should never take or succumb to mind-altering drugs. I understand the author implies the resistance is due to genetics, but it’s also a choice.
  • I like that Candor and Amity factions are equally messed-up. The author has really developed the world in which the trilogy takes place.

Toss-up:

  • Four/Tobias joining Tris in Erudite. On one hand it’s incredibly romantic… sort of… because on the other hand, it’s completely selfish.  “You want to turn yourself in? Fine. So will I.” Now they’re both stuck and nobody is left to rescue them. Clearly, Tobias is not the brains of the operation/relationship.

Dislikes:

  • Tris’ brother is an idiotic, self-righteous, numbskull. How was he smart enough to get into Erudite when he’s got the common sense of a pea-brain and the compassion of a snake-in-the-grass?
  • I’m not a fan of the psychological torture in the book. It does make the situation more bleak and desperate. I’m not saying it doesn’t add drama… the idea is repugnant that someone supposedly intelligent would feel the need to go to such lengths to protect themselves and their way of life that abusing kids is considered okay. Why is the rest of the faction equally moronic and morally corrupt?
  • All factions rely on serums to rule and control. Clearly the ideology is that the more medicated the population is the better for those in charge.

Buy: Insurgent (Divergent Series), Insurgent: Divergent (Audiobook)

Rating: 2.5 Treasure Chests
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Character Casting for Zaria Fierce – Meet the Fierce Family

Character Casting for Zaria Fierce – Meet the Fierce Family

Greetings! You might have noticed some changes on the website recently. One of the sidebar widgets is displaying information about the book I wrote and self-published this month.

My name is Keira Gillett (aka First Mate Keira) and I’m the author of a brand new middle grade / young adult trilogy. My book is about an American girl who meets a troll in the middle of modern-day Norway. And not the nice kind! The first book, Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest released on March 6, 2015.

I bet you’re a lot like me when you read a book or book series. You develop a mental picture of the character and sometimes cast famous people to play the role of your favorite characters. It’s fun to do and it’s fun to compare notes… especially against the author of the book or if the book is ever picked up to be produced as a motion picture. I’m sharing my vision of the Fierce family with Zaria, Merry, and Colonel. Let me know what you think!

Zendaya as Zaria Fierce:

She’s the perfect blend of cute and sassy.

Zaria Fierce

Rani Mukherjee as Meredith “Merry” Fierce:

She’s warm, friendly, and happy.

Meredith "Merry" Fierce

Tyson Beckford as Colonel Fierce:

He’s handsome, strong, and wonderful.

Colonel Fierce

How do you visualize the characters? Who would you cast for the role of Zaria, Merry, and Colonel Fierce?

Watch the Book Trailer:

Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood ForestBook Blurb: On her birthday, Zaria Fierce finds her usual path to school blocked by an ugly river-troll. At first she’s surprised and curious, but then Olaf threatens to eat her, which is an act Zaria could not in good conscience consent to, so Zaria counteroffers. A deal is struck and she goes to school, but Zaria is about to learn the hard way that one does not trick a river-troll and expect to win.

Early Reviews:

“With kids interested in “Frozen,” with Anna and Elsa, this would be a natural progression.” – Judi Oswald, Reference Librarian

Excerpt:

Geirr stooped to pick up some decent-sized sticks, and Zaria bent to grab a few too. They talked amicably and walked, stretching their legs, until they were too burdened by their loads to keep going.

“My arms are going to collapse,” Zaria huffed. Her breath fogged around her face, covering and then revealing a well-pinked nose and cheeks. “Let’s head back to camp.”

“Sounds good to me,” Geirr said and turned around to do just that. Zaria followed and collided into him, dropping her load of kindling all over the ground.

“Hey!” she exclaimed, as she went to gather them. “Why did you stop?”

“I don’t think we’re going to find camp,” Geirr said, worrying his lip. He juggled his armful of wood and pointed haphazardly forward. “It’s like pea soup.”

Zaria looked up from playing fifty-two pickup and saw what worried Geirr. In front of them was a wall of fog, thick, viscous, and impossible to see through. She gulped and carefully set down the pile she’d been working to gather again. Was it her imagination or did the fog seem to be breathing? It crept closer in stages. Not fast enough that she saw it while looking directly at it, but if she looked away and back, it most definitely moved.

“Uh, Geirr,” Zaria said, slowly gaining her feet. “I think we should move and fast.”

Geirr looked at her puzzled. “I don’t think fast is an option here. Now if you pick up your stack and stick near me maybe we can Marco Polo our way back to the others.”

“Geirr,” Zaria hissed, her voice ratcheting higher. “The fog is moving.” He didn’t look impressed. The breathing sounds from within the fog grew louder, distressing Zaria. “No seriously, it’s moving like it’s alive.”

Geirr looked back again and stared hard, trying to penetrate the fog with his gaze alone. Zaria started to ease away, firewood forgotten.

“Come on, Geirr, we have to move. Can’t you hear the breathing?”

“That isn’t you?” he asked, alarmed.

“No!” Zaria shouted. “Run!”

Listen to an Audio Book sample:

I think Michele (the narrator) is marvelous!

Available in E-book | Print | Audio Book formats.

See if you’re eligible to get a free copy of the audio book here.

Keira Gillett author pictureAuthor Bio: Keira Gillett is a technical publications librarian, book blogger, world traveler, artist, and now author. She graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Drawing and Painting. From an early age her mother instilled a love of the written word, as such she has always been a big reader. Her first book, Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest, is about a young girl who must complete a quest to save her friend from a nasty river-troll.

Website: http://keiragillett.com

Social Media: Twitter (keiragillett), Facebook (zariafiercetrilogy), Pinterest (keiragillett)

Available in E-book | Print | Audio Book formats.

See if you’re eligible to get a free copy of the audio book here.

Review: The Spirit Rebellion (The Legend of Eli Monpress, Book 2) by Rachel Aaron

Reviewed by First Mate Keira

Title: The Spirit Rebellion (The Legend of Eli Monpress, Book 2)
Author: Rachel Aaron
Format: Digital ebook
Page Count: 464 pages
Grade Reading Level: Ages 15+

Summary: Eli Monpress is a brilliant thief who can charm any spirit into helping him which just so happens to make him a brilliant wizard as well. His next target has to be big – because how does one top kidnapping a king? Well he’s found just the thing with the Duke of Gaol’s famous “thief-proof” citadel. It is most definitely a trap, but one Eli can’t wait to break into and out of it anyway. Life isn’t worth living without challenges. Plus the Duke is hideously wealthy, which makes the heist even better and more alluring. As Eli is hunting for treasure and fame, Miranda is preparing to capture him and perhaps reclaim her spot in the Spirit Court.

Likes:

  • Eli is forced to rely on talent and not charm in this book, because the trap that was set neatly around our favorite thief was very magic sensitive. One flirtatious encounter and the whole city threatens to crush our trio from its bricks to its doors to its roads to its currency. It’s one big booby-trap waiting to spring!
  • It’s interesting to see how one wizard can control everything in a city because of his inherent need for control and what he’s willing to do to get it. The book’s message is clear—when someone has power and is abusing it, don’t give yourself into their hands because you become another tool they use to get someone else to follow orders.
  • I love the background story of Eli as it’s revealed, we’re left with whetted appetites to learn more, but Wow! Who knew his father was head hauncho of the Spirit Court? Or that Eli took his mentor’s last name as his own? I still want to know why exactly and how Eli lived with and then left the White Lady.
  • Favorite quote: “It’s probably an impostor,” he decided for the second time in as many hours. “Someone banking on my fame.” Josef chuckled. “Don’t you mean robbing on your infamy?”

Dislikes:

  • Nico’s story as a demonseed gets more spotlight. I figure it’s important, and it’s obvious the character speaks to the author, but I love me some Eli. Nico isn’t sympathetic to me yet despite the author’s attempts. She’s a ticking time-bomb. Can we just diffuse her? Please?
  • Josef doesn’t kill crazy swordsman. You know he’s coming back in the next book. Arg!

Buy: The Spirit Rebellion (The Legend of Eli Monpress)

Rating:4 Treasure Chests

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Review: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

ender's gameReviewed by First Mate Keira

Title: Ender’s Game
Author: Orson Scott Card
Narrators: Stefan Rudnicki, Harlan Ellison
Format: Unabridged Audio Book
# CDs + Minutes: 9 CDs (11 hours, 11 minutes)
Grade Reading Level: 9th Grade
Summary: In a near-future society, the human race is in a war against the buggers, a hostile alien race, who nearly won twice in two wide scale confrontations against humankind. Fearing a third invasion, a system was put in place to discover and train child prodigies in the art of war. This system found Ender Wiggin, and set a course for him unlike any other kid that has gone before. Is Ender the general humankind desperately needs?

Meanwhile a second (side) plot revolves around Earth, Ender’s siblings, and it’s three separate governing bodies. The Hegemon, Strategos, and Polemarch, all struggle for supreme control and threaten humankind on the home front. Peter and Valentine are determined to make the world over in their image and work to achieve this through the “Nets” to influence how the masses think. Are two kids capable of achieving that sort of influence?

Why I Started This Book:

I can name approximately half a dozen boys over the last several years telling me I had to read this book. It was essential, a must read! I caved. Got it in audio format, because I’m grooving it right now and settled in for the long haul. I now have to apologize to the first five guys who said to read it and I ignored. Great book!

Likes:

  • Orson’s style of writing. It’s obviously a style meant to be read aloud; in fact audio format is the best version to meet this book and is something the author mentioned at the end of CD #9.
  • Orson’s writing is very evocative. You see pictures and feel emotions and think thoughts as if you were a part of the book itself.
  • Battle School is fantastic. I loved it when Ender finally goes up in rank and starts commanding. The mock battles are some of my absolute favorite moments.
  • The surprising twist at Command School. It was an ending I did not expect it. I liked it even more when Orson took the story further and explained the aftermath. That too did not go how I pictured it might. Frankly, I was expecting that Ender was going to have to watch out for Peter.

Dislikes:

  • Very little. I was going to say the graphic nature of some of the fights or the violence but as Orson pointed out in his ramble at the end of the CD #9 the language is in fact very plain. All graphic nature is rendered through the reader.

Last Minute Thoughts: It’s definitely a book for boys as it deals on many fronts issues boys face more often than girls such as bullying and warfare. Ender also goes through a crisis of identity of self. He does not want to be a killer (or hurt others) but is forced to become one. I think the following quote explains this very well:

Unlike his brother, Ender does not take pride in destroying others and commits this action because he is often pushed into situations which demand physical defense. This portrayal and situation in the novel justifies Ender’s actions. (Nick M. on Amazon.com)

I am glad I came to this book now instead of earlier in my life. I don’t think I would have appreciated it then. I do now. It’s terrific! I’m giving the audio book to my dad and telling him to listen to it. He’s on CD #2 and loves it so far.

Buy: Ender’s Game (Unabridged Audio Book), Ender’s Game (Paperback), The Ender Quartet Box Set (Ender’s Game, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind)

Find books by Orson Scott Card on ebay.

Book Rating: 5 Treasure Chests.
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Keira runs a book review blog for readers by readers on romance novels entitled Love Romance Passion. She’s been reading romance since she was in her teens and began blogging about romance so she could share her passion for her favorite genre. She loves reading paranormal, Regency, historical America, and highlander most of all and completely adores blind and wounded heroes.

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