“The Mermaid’s Sister” by Carrie Anne Noble Review

Disclaimer: I listened to the audiobook version of this book.

The Mermaid's SisterThe Mermaid’s Sister by Carrie Anne Noble
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What can I say about this book? A lot really. I absolutely loved it. Loved it. Loved it. Loved it!

You know how we always read stories where the main character is the chosen one, the magical one, or the one all the adventures are about? I was interested in this story for the very thing it’s not.

Auntie, the guardian of two young teenagers, tells the story a hundred times – perhaps more – for they love to hear it. She raised two girls from babes. The first arrived in a conch shell. The second was delivered to her doorstep by a stork. When Maren starts becoming a mermaid, it is up to her sister Clara, the stork’s delivery, and their childhood friend, O’Neill, to take her to the ocean where she belongs.

Clara is an ordinary girl in a lot of ways – beyond her odd stork-ish beginnings. She loves her family, loves a boy she realizes loves her sister and hates herself for her jealousy and her love, and she doesn’t believe in herself. She isn’t brave. She isn’t as beautiful as Maren. She fully believes she might become a stork, as her sister is becoming a mermaid. She is full of doubt and modesty, but beyond that, she is a loving and caring soul. She’ll do anything to save her sister. She’ll doubt herself along the way, but she will do everything humanly possible to see her sister returned to the sea.

That’s one of the things I loved about this book. Maren was a mermaid, a fantastical creature. O’Neill and his father, Scarf, were traveling people who sold their wares and told fantastical stories and played a bit of magic or tricks. Auntie was a healer with a bit of fae blood and able to cure anyone of any ailment they had. It was Clara who was the most ordinary of them all, unless you want to count her friendship with their pet wyvern, Ausbert. So many times, the main character is someone who is magical themselves, and it was so refreshing to have someone who wasn’t as fantastical as those around them – and still managed to find a way to use their skills to keep themselves out of trouble.

And trouble did indeed find them as they journeyed from the mountainside in their attempt to return Maren to the sea from which she came. Who wouldn’t expect trouble when one travels with a mermaid? Again, these troubles were – in their own way – magical and odd, and Clara was still the most ordinary among the people surrounding her.

I loved that there was no real love triangle. There was the possibility of such, but Clara’s feelings were always clear, even if she did try to deny the way she felt about one of them as she believed (with all her heart) that he belonged to someone else. She never led either boy on, and it was fantastic because it allowed us to see more of her personality. Her loyalty to her friends and her sister and her own feelings was amazing. No one could sway her in her emotions. She hid them from some, mainly the young man she had feelings for, but when the other young man tried to draw her out, tried to turn her affections toward him, she spurned him, and she spurned him hard. It was amazing.

There was so much faith and love and promises and magic and music and stories in this tale. It was, by all rights, a magical piece of storytelling that I can’t wait to read again.

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“Self-Editing on a Penny” by Ashlyn Forge Review

Disclaimer: I listened to the audiobook version of this book.

Self-Editing On A Penny: A Comprehensive GuideSelf-Editing On A Penny: A Comprehensive Guide by Ashlyn Forge
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have mixed feelings about this book, but only because I was listening to the audio book rather than reading a physical or Ebook copy. Note to self: grammar and editing books are not as good in audio book format. I will be re-reading this book at some point to see how each compares.

There were several good tips in this book, like several other editing books I’ve read before, and didn’t offer a lot of new information about the editing process I didn’t already know. However, the way the information was delivered had a bit of comedy, and there were several examples to showcase the author’s viewpoint. It was extremely well-done in that sense.

This is a quick book to read, and great for writer’s who are new to the editing process. Even if you aren’t new to editing, there are some decent tips that are perfect for a refresher course as you go through the editing process (like I’m about to do).

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“Beastly Bones” by William Ritter Review

Disclaimer: I listened to the audiobook version of this book.

Beastly Bones (Jackaby, #2)Beastly Bones by William Ritter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had forgotten how much I loved this series, but I was once again reminded as I listened to this audio book. I absolutely LOVE this series.

This book takes place shortly after the events of “Jackaby” and Jackaby and Miss Rook have a new case that pulls them into Rook’s preferred profession of paleontology. As someone who wanted to be a paleontologist the first time she watched “Jurassic Park”, I fell in love with the story. There were creatures that mimic their prey and take on the body and shape of the creature they eat. There were missing dinosaur bones (that may or may not) be a dinosaur at all. There were mysterious strangers with odd auras. It was a conglomeration of events that all built upon one another and it was amazing.

Once more, I listened to the audio book (as I did the first), and I loved it in this form. The first reason is that they seem to be written in a way as to be accounts of events after they have already happened. Once more a chapter was left out and noted as well. “The contents of [insert chapter] have been removed from the record…” This isn’t an exact quote, but the gist of what is mentioned, and I smiled when I heard it because I had forgotten that the same was done with the first book until I heard it once more. It’s an odd thing to occur in a book, but it works for this series, and I love that it was once more included (and I hope to see it in future books).

All-in-all, this is a great read. I love the characters. I love the relationship Abigail Rook has with Jackaby, her boss, and how he’s awkward (he doesn’t think he is, but he is a strange man) but there are no romantic feelings between the two. It’s refreshing because in a lot of what I read these days there is a romance between co-workers, and it’s nice to see that there’s NO relationship beyond that of work-related between the two main characters of this series.

That said, there is a bit of a budding romance between Miss Rook and the Charlie, the cop we met in the first book, but it’s slow and (again) awkward, and not the emphasis of the book. The main focus is on the mystery and the case, and I loved that the romance did not take the forefront.

There are a lot of new characters in this book, but I was pleasantly surprised and reminiscent with seeing some of the same characters from the first book appear as well. It was like greeting an old friend, and I loved it.

Can you tell I loved this book?

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2018 Book Unhaul #1

0000HelloDragonlings!

Today I have my first unhaul of the year. I have a bunch of books I’m going to be getting rid of. Most will be going to my library (even if they don’t take donations, they have a free shelf where people can put books).

There will be several more throughout the year because I am completely out of shelf space and I need to figure out what to do about it. (There is *a lot* of stuff in my house.)

Using a different camera and a different editing software than usual and noticed after both filming and editing this footage 3x that the mouth movements and the sound aren’t matching up with one another. I don’t know why and I don’t know how to fix it… yet. I’ve got to play around with a few settings to see if I can fix that in the future.

0000ThanksDragonlings!

“The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman Review

Disclaimer: I borrowed this audiobook from the library.

The Graveyard BookThe Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I listened to the audiobook, which I’d checked out from my local library.

In a way, this novel felt like a collection of short stories all featuring the same characters at different points of Bod’s (Yes, Bod. Short for Nobody Owens) life. That’s not overly a bad thing, but it was certainly different. I felt as if each chapter was meant to be its own story and that “The Graveyard Book” was just an omnibus collection of those short stories. It was certainly a different way of writing.

I found myself disliking most of the characters. They weren’t badly written. Quite the opposite. Each character was fleshed out in its own way so that you had a clear image of their personalities and their traits. They just weren’t the greatest people in the world. With some of them, those who were dead and stuck in the times they had lived in, it didn’t bother me as much, but those who were living – such as Scarlet (Gods, I hated Scarlet the most actually, even more-so than the bullies honestly) did because they weren’t good people. I did like Silas (for the most part) and Bod, but there were a couple things near the end of the novel I can’t reveal without spoilers that annoyed me about both.

Overall, I liked the story. I liked how the sections of Bod’s life all tied together, how each new character that was introduced impacted his life. It was wonderful storytelling. What I liked the best was how each of the chapters seemed to start with something that seemed to have no correlation with Bod and his life, but it would all be tied back to it in the end. Especially the discussion of ghoul gates. That was my favorite chapter because it started talking about how every graveyard has a ghoul gate and what to look out for, and as I sat there listening, I couldn’t help but wonder why there would be a mention of ghoul gates. However, Bod had a short adventure dealing with ghoul gates in which he discovered what they were and how they operated, but on top of that, he was able to use that knowledge near the end of the book (again, I can’t reveal more without spoilers).

This story was Bod’s story. Mainly. There were several “interludes” where we got glimpses into the lives of some of the other characters (Silas, Scarlet, and Jack), but overall it was Bod’s tale. That being said, it would have been interesting to know more about what Silas is/was and the Honour Guard. It would have been interesting to learn more about the Jacks of All Trades and their organization.

This is a good book following the life of a boy who grows up in a graveyard and those surrounding him, who (for the most part) are all dead. Neil Gaiman is a master at weaving a story that you feel compelled to read even if you don’t like the characters in the story (Gods… Friggin’ Scarlet…). If you like Neil Gaiman, you should read this book. And if you like audiobooks, I highly recommend listening to it. It’s read by Neil Gaiman and it’s perfection to listen to.

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“Truthwitch” by Susan Dennard Review

Disclaimer: I borrowed this audiobook from the library.

Truthwitch (The Witchlands, #1)Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I listened to the audiobook, which I’d checked out from my local library.

First of all, the story was amazing. I loved the idea of a world where there were regular people and then those with magical abilities. And not only were there magical abilities, but there was the possibility of war surrounding the abilities one has and even wars started because of such abilities.

The story had a Avatar: the Last Airbender feel to it, except in this case, there wasn’t a “and then the Fire Nation attacked” moment. It was a rich world filled with all kinds of “witcheries” as the magical abilities were called, and it was cool to see so many different people with different kinds of witchery abilities working together in this world.

I thought most of the characters were pretty well-rounded. The only character I really had an issue with was Safi, and that was because I thought she was ignorant and a fool. It was mentioned multiple times that she was a Truthwitch and that her witchery needed to stay a secret because she could be used to start or stop wars. That said, she thought herself useless and couldn’t figure out why the Emperor might want to marry her. Really? I’m pretty certain a blind man could have seen that coming. That said, she grew up a lot in the novel and it was interesting watching her progression and seeing her grow as a character. I feel like she matured a lot over the length of the novel.

The narration of this audiobook was splendid. The woman who narrated did different voices and accents for the different characters, and you could get an honest feel about what lands each character hailed from based on their accent when they spoke.

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November Reads

collage-2017-12-06

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November was NaNoWriMo month, and as such I didn’t plan to read anything. That being said, I went ahead and read a few children’s books and several graphic novels and mangas because they are fast reads. I also finished reading the chapter book I was reading aloud to the girls because My Little Pony is the bomb.

  1. Disney Manga: Tim Burton’s the Nightmare Before Christmas by Jun Asuka
  2. Be a Unicorn by Sarah Ford
  3. Open the Suitcase by Ruth Wielockx
  4. My Bed by Anita Bijsterbosch
  5. Twilight Sparkle and the Crystal Heart Spell by G. M. Berrow
  6. The Little Red Wolf by Amelie Flechais
  7. The Scarecrow Princess by Frederico Rossi Edrig
  8. Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter by Crystal Chan
  9. Streak of Chalk by Miguelanxo Prado

Disclaimer: All images pulled from Goodreads.

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