*I downloaded this title from Audiobook Sync during their summer program*
Sunday Woodcutter lives in a unique family that is involved with a lot of mag...more*I downloaded this title from Audiobook Sync during their summer program*
Sunday Woodcutter lives in a unique family that is involved with a lot of magical nonsense. Her aunts are fairy godmothers (though, one of them is not quite good), her sisters each have a special talent or gift, and her adopted brother is part fae. So, it's not quite a surprise when she meets a human-turned-frog and develops a friendship with him. Eventually, they end up falling in love and she kisses him, not realizing that he'd turn human and that her dear friend Grumble is, in fact, Prince Rumbold. The man who the family blames for the death of Sunday's older brother -- talk about a tense situation.
However, the two eventually come together to face the evil of Rumbold's seemingly ageless father and his lover, Sunday's evil fairy-godmother-aunt. They find out that not everything is as it seems in Arilland, and some events have been grossly misrepresented. In order to set things right, Sunday, her family, Rumbold, and his loyal friends come together to find out the truth about what's been going on in the kingdom for so long.
I'm a sucker for fairy tales -- even more so when they're re-imagined and put together in a new way. (Just ask about my Once Upon a Time addiction.) For a fairy-tale lover like me, Enchanted is the perfect book to escape to for a little while.
The first thing I noticed was that Kontis weaved some folk superstition into the fairy tale format. For example, Sunday is a seventh child of a seventh child, and that means she has a bit of extra magic in her. Though most of her family is magical, there are frequent mentions of Sunday's special magical abilities, though I'm not sure that those really played a huge part in the story. I'm hoping it'll be developed further in sequels. But I really liked this amalgamation of superstition from our world into this fairy tale world Kontis created -- for me, it made the story unique and interesting.
Generally, I enjoyed the progression of this story. There are quite a few twists and turns throughout the plot, and the characters are lovely. While Sunday and Rumbold are interesting in and of themselves, I loved the minor characters and hope that we get to learn more about them. (Or maybe some of them can get their own books! I vote for Sunday's sister, Thursday!)
Near the end of the middle, I scrounged for excuses to keep on listening. Everything came together so nicely, and I just needed to know what was going to happen next. I mean, what was Sunday's fairy godmother playing at? And would they save Sunday's sister from the king? And what about Sunday and Rumbold? Would they love each other again? A lot of questions, because there was a lot of drama going on. However, while I like having resolutions, the ending seemed a bit too rushed and tidy. A few things were left open to continue the series, but some things that the characters were making a huge deal about abruptly resolved themselves in an instant. Yes, this is a fairy tale retelling and those sorts of things happen in fairy tales, but I wanted a bit more build-up before getting that full resolution.
As for the format, Kellgren is one of the best narrators I've ever heard. She is incredibly expressive with her voice, and I think that I would have enjoyed this story far less if I had read it in print. There were quite a few times where she said a line with a bit of irony and sarcasm that I don't think I would have caught or put into the words if I'd been reading it myself. As a result, I thought this to be a fairly funny story, and I laughed out loud quite a bit. If you have an option to listen to the audio -- do so. It is excellent.
Overall, I would say this is good for light, fun reading. It's full of drama, fairy tale references, and has quite a bit of humor. I am looking forward to reading the sequel. Or, better yet, listening to it as an audiobook. I hope they've got Katherine Kellgren again!(less)
* I received a free copy of this book from LibraryThing's Early Reviewers Program*
This is a cute coming-of-age adventure fantasy where an imaginative...more* I received a free copy of this book from LibraryThing's Early Reviewers Program*
This is a cute coming-of-age adventure fantasy where an imaginative little girl finds out that her daydreams may actually be based in reality. When Sarah wishes herself out of her own world, she turns up in Greystone Valley and learns that magic is real, as are fairies and dragons. However, she learns that villains are also real and must come head-to-head with a warlord intent on conquering every land he can find.
Greystone Valley is cute and fun, but also predictable and fairly standard for this sort of story. I liked the interweaving of different fantasy elements; such as Sarah's encounters with the fey and then the dragons. It's also nice to think of a castle in some distant land that holds the gateways to all different sorts of worlds. I could definitely see this becoming a series of some sort, though it works just fine as a stand-alone.
Overall, this is a fairly enjoyable story. I think children who like fantasy will like this; it's a fast-paced and straightforward story with lots of action involved. For older readers, it may be too simple and predictable, but younger readers are sure to love exploring the world of Greystone Valley and discovering all the fantastical elements it has to offer.(less)
*I received a free copy of this audiobook from the publisher*
I enjoy pulp fiction and appreciate its significance and influence in the science fiction...more*I received a free copy of this audiobook from the publisher*
I enjoy pulp fiction and appreciate its significance and influence in the science fiction and fantasy genres today. Danger in the Dark is a collection of three stories, and it is pulp at its finest -- just plain, good fun. As with any collection of short stories, there were some stories that I liked better than others, but there weren't any that I really disliked or hated, so that's a good thing. This was a quick listen and was simply a fun, entertaining collection of stories. The sequence of these stories also worked very well, since my least favorite was the first story, and my favorite was the last.
The stories included in Danger in the Dark are short and sweet -- the best kind, in my opinion. A lot of action, drama, and suspense without having too much exposition to bog it all down. It's not a huge time investment, but it's good entertainment, which I appreciated.
Galaxy Audio really went all-out for this production. I loved the full-cast performance and the added sound effects. I'm not the kind of person who generally likes sound effects in my audiobooks, but these were incredibly well done. They really added to the story and helped create drama and tension in all the right places. This is one short story collection that I don't think I would have liked as much in print. I would definitely recommend the audiobook version of this one.(less)
*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher at BookExpo America.*
I love Jasper Fforde's style of writing, and even though I've only read Y...more*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher at BookExpo America.*
I love Jasper Fforde's style of writing, and even though I've only read YA and adult fiction from him up until now, this middle grade series did not disappoint. His humor, wordplay, and ability to create likeable characters and put them in ridiculously weird situations has made him one of my favorite authors.
The Song of the Quarkbeast is the second book of The Last Dragonslayer series. I haven't read the first book, but I had no trouble following the action and the storyline. So, I don't think it's necessary to read this series in order, but I'm sure that reading the first book would make this one more enjoyable, since there are probably details and jokes carried over that I didn't understand. The Song of the Quarkbeast follows Jennifer Strange, an indentured orphan who is acting manager of a magic company. She and her sorcerers have to go up against a rival magic company in a duel of wizarding skill in order to keep their rights to practice magic.
Like all of Fforde's books, The Song of the Quarkbeast is just plain fun. It has adventure, mystery, suspense, action, and a bit of romance to top it all off. I love the strange-yet-vaguely-familiar world of the Ununited Kingdom, with its inept rulers and brutal laws. The characters are also fantastic. It's told in first person perspective from Jennifer, who is mature and intelligent, which is unfortunately rare to see in a teenage character. And that's great, because in addition to being great entertainment, this book teaches the importance of teamwork, and it shows how teenagers are capable of rising to a challenge and overcoming obstacles.
I recommend this book wholeheartedly. If you've at all enjoyed Fforde's previous works, you'll love this. And if you are a fantasy fan and have yet to delve into Fforde's wondrously weird worlds, you need to give him a try. I have read quite a few books by him and have yet to be disappointed.(less)
*Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher at BookExpo America.*
Okay, so when I first started reading this, I was a bit flummoxed a...more*Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher at BookExpo America.*
Okay, so when I first started reading this, I was a bit flummoxed and I maybe, may have reacted a little too strongly. It went along the lines of:
What is this?! This isn't Richelle Mead! What's all this science fiction stuff doing in here? Where's the witty banter? The paranormal stuff? WHAT IS HAPPENING?!
But then I calmed down. Because, as it turns out, there is witty banter and quite a bit of mythology/fantasy elements. Mead just had to set the scene for us. And after a few dozen pages, I started to really get into the story.
This is definitely a science fiction book (yes, with mythology elements -- SO COOL!) and most definitely not young adult, but I became a Richelle Mead fan through her Georgina Kincaid series, and I actually prefer her adult books. I'm also a huge fan of science fiction, just transitioning from my expectations of what Mead usually brings to what she brought with Gameboard of the Gods was a little difficult.
With that said, Gameboard of the Gods is brilliant and I am amazed by Richelle Mead's talent and skill all over again. This is a terrifyingly realistic portrayal of a futuristic society in which the government severely limits religious practice, and the gods are starting to fight back. I loved the characters, and I especially loved the tension that fills Justin and Mae's relationship. (But, let's face it: creating a dynamic like that is Mead's forte.) There's also a lot of action where Mae kicks some serious butt.
*sigh* I love strong female characters.
The way the story unfolds is masterfully done; at the beginning, it all seemed very on-the-level and I wasn't really sure where the story was heading, but then clues and pieces of the puzzle started to drop in to create a story and a world I totally wasn't expecting. And it's not like the revelations ever end, either. Right up until the very last page, new facets are added to the world and the characters that live in it. Of course, not everything is resolved and I still have TONS of questions and ponderings about what's to come, but that's why this is a series, right?
*I received a free copy of this book from LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program in exchange for an honest review.*
Doublesight is a coming-of-age fanta...more*I received a free copy of this book from LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program in exchange for an honest review.*
Doublesight is a coming-of-age fantasy novel about a girl named Zimp who finds herself thrust into a leadership position she doesn't feel she's ready for. However, she has to find the strength within herself, because she is doublesight, a human who can shift into an animal, and her kind are being hunted by humans. Leading a special group to investigate rumors of a doublesight dragon who has turned against its own kind, Zimp must learn how to lead so that her people can have a chance at survival.
What I liked: - The idea of the story. I think that having "doublesight" characters who can shift into animals is really interesting, and having them be at war with those who can't shift intrigued me.
- The life of the doublesight was very well developed. Being a doublesight isn't just a gift, there are dangers in the shifting, and each clan has its own rituals and rites, which I liked reading about.
What I didn't like: - The pacing was off; the parts that were rushed should have been developed more thoroughly, and the parts that were given a lot of time should have been short scenes or cut completely.
- A lot of the character interactions seemed forced to me; I didn't buy into many of the situations Zimp got into. I felt like the characters fought just to add tension to the story, not because there was something to fight about.
Conclusion: The idea was interesting, but the execution of the idea left me disappointed. I wouldn't completely dismiss the idea of reading the sequel, but I wouldn't give it as much time as I normally would. As for this one, I know that a lot of people value story over writing, and if that's you, you may be able to enjoy Doublesight. Personally, I didn't like the writing style and that prevented me from delving into the story as fully as I would have liked.(less)