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
tc25

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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: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

prisoner of azkaban

Reviewed by Captain Lyaf Yarr

Title: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Author: J.K. Rowling
Format: Hardback
# of pages: 435
Grade Reading Level: 5.9; Ages 11+

Summary: School hasn’t even started and there’s and escapee from a high security wizarding prison out to kill Harry Potter. He has been warned not to be looking for Sirius Black by Arthur Weasley, but as Harry said to Arthur, “Why would I go looking for someone I know wants to kill me?” At school the Ministry of Magic has put a guard in place made up entirely of Dementors. The Dementors are only suppose to be in charge of the wizard prison, but Cornelius Fudge seems to think their presence will inspire confidence in the populace. Though how we do not know as Sirius Black has escaped the guards once already! Harry’s life is in danger in more ways than one this year.

Why I Started the Book:

I read this book because I’m continuing to reread the Harry Potter series.

Likes:

  • I liked it when Malfoy got his “just desserts” for insulting Buckbeak the hippogriff.
  • Rowling came up with a really fun artifact– the time turner. I especially enjoyed its use and the turn of events at the end of the story. I thought Dumbledore’s omniscient handling of the predicament to save Buckbeak and Sirius Black was excellent.
  • The Marauders Map was awesome! I liked how it showed where everyone was and where they were going. Now if only it showed the difference between a person in Animagus form and the normal human form.
  • The Dementors were scary, but awesome, and I loved reading the parts where they were mentioned.
  • Remus Lupin is a fantastic character! He was helpful, knowledgeable, and patient. The best Defense Against the Dark Arts teach to date in the books!

Dislikes:

  • I greatly disliked Draco Malfoy and his father. Yes, they’re characters to love to hate, but it really is unfair what they can get away with because they’re Malfoys. For instance when they got Hadgrid in trouble after his first Care of Magical Creature lesson. It clearly wasn’t his fault.
  • I didn’t like Hermoine deceiving and depriving Harry of his new Firebolt. She could have handled her concerns better instead of going above Harry to a teacher.

Last Minute Thoughts: This book is where the series takes off and fleshes out.

Buy: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Paperback), Harry Potter Paperback Boxed Set (Books 1-7), Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Audio Book), Harry Potter 1- 7 Audio Book Collection

Book Rating: I give this book 5 treasure chests for cleverness, creativity, and creepy creatures!
tc5

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Review: The Dark Side of Nowhere by Neal Shusterman

by Captain Lyaf Yarr

Title: The Dark Side of Nowhere
Author: Neal Shusterman
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 192
Grade Reading Level: Grades 6-9

Summary: Jason has always lived in the same town his whole life and thinks it’s so boring. But when Jason’s friend, Ethan dies from a burst appendicitis everything changes. Not only is everyone sad that he’s gone but something really weird happens. Grant, the janitor tells Jason that Ethan isn’t dead. Is he right? How is that possible? Then Jason is given a robotic-like glove by Grant and finds out that his whole life has been a lie. Everybody he knows, including himself, are aliens!

Why I Started the Book:

I started this book because it was a book we were reading in class before school got out for the year. We didn’t get to finish it so I decided to cheek it out of the library.

Likes:

  • The writing in this book was phenomenal! I was at the end of my seat after every chapter. I could understand how the characters felt and their whole experience. It was like I was there in the same situation.
  • I liked how his parents never lied. He told Jason the truth about them through a bedtime story, he just didn’t know it was true.
  • The cover of this book is way awesome and fits the suspenseful  haunting quality of the story.
  • The book’s main point is what it means to be human.

Last minute thoughts: I wouldn’t suggest anyone under sixth grade read this book. It’s very dark and I don’t know if they would understand everything or just be completely creeped out.

Neal Shusterman is my favorite author at the moment! I look forward to reading more of his books!

Buy: The Dark Side of Nowhere

Book Rating: I give this book 5 treasure chests!

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Review: I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

by Second Mate Embry, guest reviewer

Title: I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls)
Author: Ally Carter
Format: Hardcover
# of pages: 288
Grade Reading Level: 7-10 Grade

Summary: Cammie Morgan goes to a school for geniuses (but really it’s a school for training spies). Cammie’s schedule is just like a regular kid’s – she has PE, sure it’s advance martial arts, but it’s still PE. One of her class assignments is to go to a carnival and find out what one of her teachers likes to drink with a funnel cake. There she meets Josh – which is both wonderful and terrible!

Why I Started the Book:

I started this book because it had an interesting premise. I like the idea of a teenage spy in training. It sounded very cool to me, sort of like Agent Cody Banks, but for girls.

Likes:

  • I like the training that they did and their class schedules. It actually seemed very spy-like, which was good. I was afraid that it would be kind of hokey.
  • I like the character Cami a lot. She wasn’t a valley girl or a drama queen which was refreshing. She was smart and capable.

Dislikes:

  • They had to mind-wipe Josh at the end which I hated!
  • The romance between Cami and Josh was kind of weird. Cami and her friends aren’t sure if Josh is trying to infiltrate the academy or if it’s “true love” so they investigate him. They even went through his trash … gross and weird!

Buy: I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls)

Book Rating: I give this book3.5 Treasure Chests!

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