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review 2016-11-03 15:45
Time Travel in Texas: Prom Night in Purgatory | Review
Prom Night in Purgatory: Purgatory, Book 2 - Amy Harmon,Emily Woo Zeller,Tantor Audio

A slightly confusing but wonderful YA Paranormal Romance.

 

Where does before end and after begin? Johnny Kinross is a boy from the 1950s, a boy trapped in time, and Maggie is the girl who loves him. By some miracle and against all odds, Johnny and Maggie are given a second chance at life and love. But Johnny is freed from Purgatory only to find himself in a totally different time and place, in a world full of strangers. One unsolved mystery becomes another, and Johnny and Maggie must unravel the past to have any chance at a future.

 

 

Buy Now | +Goodreads

Whispersync Deal Alert*: Kindle + Audible = $6.98 (must obtain Kindle copy first, prices may change)

Disclosure: GMB uses affiliate links, clicking and making a purchase may result in a small commission for me.


BOOK DETAILS:

Prom Night in Purgatory by Amy Harmon, read by Emily Woo Zeller, published by Tantor Audio (2014) / Length: 8 hrs 18 min

 

SERIES INFO:

This is Book #2 in the "Purgatory" duology.

 

**This review contains spoilers for the previous book.**

 

SUMMARY:

I wasn't sure that I wanted to read this. Sometimes I worry that it might be better to leave things the way they ended previously. But in the end I couldn't resist. My first time through, I wasn’t able to keep it entirely straight. But I enjoyed it enough to listen a second time. The issue is flashbacks, paranormal “dreams,” and time twisting.

 

However, and despite their issues in this book, the central romance remains a favorite.

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review 2016-10-01 07:01
Molly, Majordomo & the Minions: Castle Hangnail | Review + Author Interview
Castle Hangnail - Tara Sands,Ursula Vernon

A fun MG Fantasy with a whole lot of heart.

 

When Molly shows up on Castle Hangnail's doorstep to fill the vacancy for a wicked witch, the castle's minions are understandably dubious. After all, she is 12 years old, barely five feet tall, and quite polite. (The minions are used to tall, demanding evil sorceresses with razor-sharp cheekbones.) But the castle desperately needs a master or else the Board of Magic will decommission it, leaving all the minions without the home they love. So when Molly assures them that she is quite wicked indeed (so wicked! Really wicked!) and begins completing the tasks required by the Board of Magic for approval, everyone feels hopeful. Unfortunately it turns out that Molly has quite a few secrets, including the biggest one of all: that she isn't who she says she is.

 

Buy Now | +Goodreads

Whispersync Deal Alert*: Audible = $3.99 (must purchase Kindle first, prices may change)

Disclosure: GMB uses affiliate links, clicking and making a purchase may result in a small commission for me.


BOOK DETAILS:

Castle Hangnail by Ursula Vernon, read by Tara Sands, published by Tantor Audio (2015) / Length: 7 hrs 38 min

 

SERIES INFO: This book is a standalone. I would love a sequel someday though.

 

SUMMARY:

Is it possible to be a Wicked Witch without being evil? Molly is going to give it a try. After all, she must be wicked since she has a good twin. It's a good thing she's a very practical person, since it isn't very often that one of the main problems in a fantasy book is broken plumbing.

 

This is one of those books I turn to when I need a pick-me-up. It is fun but has depth.

 

Note: Despite the rather glamorous cover photo above, she is described as quite ordinary looking. Also, unfortunately, we audiobook readers miss out on some very well reviewed illustrations in the text version.

 

CHARACTERS:

Molly: She reminds me a bit of Tiffany Aching (although their personalities are fairly different). It's probably the big boots, in addition to being a young witch. She is smart & kind. I like that she isn't some super witch. She has a natural talent, but still has to research and work at it.

 

Majordomo: The castle's chief minion, he is extremely skeptical of Molly and very protective of the others. This is his story as much as it is hers.

 

The wonderful cast of characters is a highlight of the book, and each of the minions gets a chance to shine. Even villagers we meet rather briefly are interesting and contribute to the story. (It is mentioned in passing that a few are POC.)

 

WORLDBUILDING:

Although this isn't a world with strict lines and borders (past masters of the castle include a vampire, a sorceress & a mad scientist), nor is it one where just anything can happen. It appears that most fantasy creatures are real (or used to be). But magic has rules, although there are different kinds.

 

What is important in the book is the castle and the bureaucracy that threatens it. Apparently castles without masters can become a magical menace. The rather ordinary village & castle lands are explored as well.

 

PLOT:

The story begins at the perfect point, with the minions awaiting Molly's arrival at the castle. We get the information we need about Molly as we go along. A major point in the story is the unhealthy friendship Molly was in before coming to the castle and her growing recognition of it. There is a very satisfactory ending with a practical solution to their problems.

 

HIGHLIGHTS / CAUTIONS:

  • Bugbane (Molly's little bat friend)
  • Molly's new coat
  • Molly learns to stand up for herself

 

NARRATION:

Character voices differentiated = Yes / Opposite sex voices acceptable = Yes / Accents = Good / Phrasing, Pacing & Pronunciation = I only noticed one small error / Emoting = Excellent / Speed = listened on 1.25, my usual

 

BOOK DETAILS:

Castle Hangnail by Ursula Vernon, read by Tara Sands, published by Tantor Audio (2015) / Length: 7 hrs 38 min Buy Now | +Goodreads

Talk to Me (pretty please)

  • What's your favorite quirky MG Fantasy?
  • Do you have any strange hobbies? (See the interview below for the author's answer.)

--

  • If you are a first time visitor, how did you discover my blog?

Got My Book Signature


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Bonus Author Interview

 

Tell us something about your lead character(s) that we don't already know. [Exclusive]

Pins and the goldfish have been together for years, after they escaped a very unpleasant alternate dimension together. They are not from around here. Castle Hangnail is a very peaceful place by their standards, and they like living in a place where they aren't running for their lives.

Tell us something about yourself that we might not already know.

I really like bugs. I go out at night and photograph moths around the porchlight so that I can get them identified. It's a weird hobby, but it keeps me out of trouble.

Audiobook / eBook / Paperbooks? Which is your favorite and why?

To my sorrow, I can't do audiobooks very well--I'm losing my hearing, and I've never had any attention span, so I tend to zone out in the middle. So I do audiobooks only on long car-rides alone where I can turn the volume way up and rewind frequently. Which is a shame, because the voice actors on my books do such amazing work and I'm so thrilled about it--I just can't appreciate it myself like I want to!

 

I actually love ebooks these days. I travel a lot and I'm out of shelf-space at home, so it's very handy to be able to jam everything into one little device and carry it around!

How long did it take you to write this book?

This one went pretty quick! About eight months, I'd say, although there were some large gaps in there when people were reading the opening and deciding whether to buy it. Once all the contracts were signed, it just rolled off the page.

What is the hardest thing about writing? The easiest?

I hate cutting bits that are actually funny because the book is getting too long. Generally I write less rather than more--my editors usually ask me to add, rather than subtract most times--but every now and again there'll be no help for it but to slice out a chapter with genuinely funny bits. I don't mind losing drama, but a good joke is a loss.

 

The easiest for me is dialogue. If I can get the characters talking, it'll just flow. Sadly sometimes they have to stop talking and actually do things!

For more information: https://www.ursulavernon.com


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review 2016-09-29 07:01
The Greaser & the Ghostwhisperer: Slow Dance in Purgatory | Review + Author Interview
Slow Dance in Purgatory: Purgatory, Book 1 - Amy Harmon,Emily Woo Zeller,Tantor Audio

A Sad, Sweet & Sassy YA Ghost Story

 

In 1958, a rumble goes down outside the brand-new high school in Honeyville, Texas. Chaos ensues, a life is lost, and Johnny Kinross disappears. But in 2010, someone finds him. Orphaned at the age of 10, 17-year-old Maggie O'Bannon finally finds a permanent home with her elderly aunt in a small Texas town. Working part-time as a school janitor, she becomes enmeshed in a 50-year-old tragedy where nothing is as it seems and the boy of her dreams might vanish when the bell rings

 

Buy Now | +Goodreads

Whispersync Deal Alert*: Kindle + Audible = $6.98 (must purchase Kindle first, prices may change)

Disclosure: GMB uses affiliate links, clicking and making a purchase may result in a small commission for me.


Source: I purchased this book myself from Audible. It is available in various formats from a wide range of retailers.

 

BOOK DETAILS:

Slow Dance in Purgatory by Amy Harmon, read by Emily Woo Zeller, published by Tantor Audio (2014) / Length: 7 hrs 27 min

 

SERIES INFO:

This is Book #1 of 2 in the "Purgatory" duology. Both books are available on audio.

 

SUMMARY:

She isn't actually a Ghost Whisper, since the ghosts she sees are mostly just echoes that don't interact with her. But she has been able to see them since she was young.

 

I like most everything about this one, and only wish we had gotten more of the wonderful interactions between Johnny & Maggie.

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review 2016-08-10 17:00
Parenting Done (Mostly) Right: See Me | Review + Author Interview
See Me - Cris Dukehart,Wendy Higgins

This YA Contemporary Fantasy busts a couple of tropes and contributes to a couple of others.

 

While most 17-year-old American girls would refuse to let their parents marry them off to a stranger, Robyn Mason dreams of the mysterious McKale in Ireland, wondering how he'll look and imagining his Irish accent. Prearranged bindings are common for magical families like her own. However, when she travels to the whimsical Emerald Isle, she discovers that there's more to her betrothal and McKale's clan than she'd been led to believe. What starts as an obligatory pairing between Robyn and McKale morphs over time into something they both need. But one giant obstacle stands in the way of their budding romance: a seductive and deadly Fae princess accustomed to getting what she wants - and what she wants is McKale as her plaything. Love, desire, and jealousies collide as Robyn's family and McKale's clan must work together to outsmart the powerful Faeries and preserve the only hope left for their ancient bloodlines.

 

Buy Now | +Goodreads

Whispersync Deal Alert*: Kindle + Audible = $6.98.

Disclosure: GMB uses affiliate links, clicking and making a purchase may result in a small commission for me.


Source: I borrowed this book from the library via Overdrive, and am planning to purchase it soon.

 

BOOK DETAILS:

See Me by Wendy Higgins, read by Chris Dukehart, pub by Tantor Audio (2014) / Length: 8hrs 21min

 

SERIES INFO:

This book is standalone. There may or may not ever be a sequel featuring her younger sister.

 

SUMMARY:

Lately my biggest bookish pet peeve has been parents etc. who keep really life changing (and even life threatening) secrets from their children. I'm also a bit tired of kids who have been told things but refuse to believe/prepare. So this book gets kudos for going in a completely different direction. Add in the fact that her parents have a bigger role in the book than many YA parents manage and I'm sold.

 

Although Robyn's parents haven't told her everything, which does cause some drama, they have done their best to prepare her for her faerie mandated wedding and to make her see it as something special rather than something awful. (I do think that they should have been able to make arrangements for them to meet at least once before the time came, Ireland isn't the moon after all.) And she has accepted it, and is excited as well as understandably nervous.

 

Please see below for a note about the subplot, which I really wish had been left out.

 

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