Audio Review: The Throne of Fire (Kane Chronicles, Book 2) by Rick Riordan

By First Mate Keira

Title: The Throne of Fire (Kane Chronicles, Book 2)
Author: Rick Riordan
Format: Audiobook
CDs + Minutes: 11 CDs (Approx: 12 Hours, 48 Minutes)
Grade Reading Level: Ages 9-12

Summary: Apophis, the ancient Egyptian god of darkness chaos that takes the form of a snake, is breaking ever so slowly free of the prison that Ra, the sun god who represents order, banished him to eons ago. The Kane children have until the solstice to find the three aspects of Ra, combine them with magic, and convince Ra to help fight Apophis or it’s the end of the world.

The hard part? No, it’s not Vlad. Most of the gods don’t want Ra back because they last remember Ra as a weak and senile old man. How can such a god defeat Apophis? Shouldn’t the Kanes put their trust in another… perhaps Horace?

On the side, lots of new comers to the Brooklyn House show up and a few of these fledgling magicians have secrets of their own including a family curse. The House of Life is facing a threat from within while strongly opposing the Kanes’ plan to awaken Ra. Also Carter’s unrequited love is in danger and he’s got to find her! But don’t forget the Forces of Chaos will stop at nothing to see Apophis rise.

Why I started this book:

Read the first, needed something to listen to in the car on the way to and from work. :)

Likes:

  • The narrative style for this series is very suited to narration. The readers were brilliant and had a wide range of voices. They both somehow managed to be unique and yet have enough overlap in how they read certain characters to make the switches feel familiar and the character voices as well.
  • Bes is a god of little people or dwarves (term used in book). He bet some of his height and lost once way back, which is why he’s short. He’s also extremely ugly and uses his ugliness to scare away others be they regular people, magicians, or gods. But he’s also considered extremely lucky so most Egyptians will gladly be around him if he isn’t actively trying to frighten them. What I liked best about Bes was that he simply helped out with no agenda. That’s rare. He’s a true friend to the Kanes.
  • The trip down the river to find and put Ra back together… he’s rather like Humpty Dumpty.

Dislikes:

  • Walt is 15? 16? Sadie is just now 13? Excusez moi? Yes, Sadie talks like a 15 year old and seems as mature as her older brother Carter, but she’s not. And while I do enjoy her boy crazy ramblings, the reciprocation on the guys’ (Walt and Anubis) part doesn’t make sense spelled out. This is why I continually wish she and Carter had been twins instead of merely siblings.
  • Two Southern American accents? Jaz? Hippo goddess? Um… one is enough. It’s too distinctive.

Last Minute thoughts: While there are some downsides for me in the story, one thing is always true about Riordan. He promises and delivers no matter the series or book an epic adventure.

Buy: The Throne of Fire (The Kane Chronicles, Book Two), The Throne of Fire (Audiobook)

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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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: Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke

by Second Mate Embry, guest reviewer

Title: Igraine the Brave
Author: Cornelia Funke
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 212
Grade Reading Level: Ages 9-12

Summary: As a daughter of two magicians, Igraine is expected to follow in their footsteps, casting spells and concocting potions, right? Actually, all she wants to be is a knight and have adventures. She gets her chance when Osmund the Greedy tries to take over the castle, and her parents are turned into pigs! Luckily her brother is making a potion to turn them back, but he needs one more ingredient. Will Igraine become a knight, save her parents, and beat Osmund? Or will Osmund the Greedy rule over the castle with an iron fist forever?

Why I Read This Book:

I read this book because I have enjoyed other books by Cornelia Funke and thought that I would try it. Also, that back blurb caught my attention in the library and sounded interesting.

Likes:

  • I like the idea of a 12 year-old knight. She’s fighting for us pre-teens!
  • I liked the magic used by Igraine’s brother and parents; it seemed unstoppable.
  • So we know Igraine wants to be a knight, right? Well she would be a knight with one fear: Spiders. I thought it was hilarious that out of all the fears she could possibly have, her ONLY fear was spiders.

Dislikes:

  • I found myself skimming this book to get it finished. It didn’t really hold my interest and more than anything I just wanted to finish it. Some parts of the book I enjoyed, but I like to be totally captivated during the whole book, not just good parts here and there. I’d be all excited about something that happened and curious to read on, but then instead of finding more rising action it was more of a plateau and that got very dull very quickly. I think Cornelia Funke could have made this book a lot more intense by keeping the rising action strong.

Buy: Igraine The Brave

Rating: 2.5 Treasure chests!

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