4 More Freebies – Grab Bag – Children’s, Romance, Fantasy

Cover reminds me of old school classics.

Introduction:

We’ve moved from weird to romance. Now, let’s settle on sweet and nostalgic and romantic. Eh, life’s like a box of chocolates and all that.

Children’s Tale

He Whistles for the Cricket by Gwen Walker

I can’t make heads or tails of that title, but the story sounds lovely.

Second Chance at Love

Still Falling by Crystal Walton

Okay, so maybe there’s still a bit of romance here. They do look cute together.

A Wee Bit of Fantasy

The Movement of Crowns by Nadine Keels

The heir to a crown balances duty and love.

YA Action and Adventure

A Measure of Disorder by Alan Tucker

Goblins, fairies, dragons, and middle schoolers … recipe for interesting.

Conclusion:

Besides being free, I admit these have little to do with each other. But grab bags and randomness can be fun too.

 

Yaddah, yaddah, blah, blah – links below are associate ones.


Amazon Prime

Free Kindle Reading App

Audible

5 Fun, Free Clean Reads – Fantasy

Hall of Heroes Cover

Introduction:

Tired of hearing nothing but negativity? Let me share some free books that will take your mind off the “real world” and its problems. And give you new heroes and villains to wrestle with.

First and Second up: Anthologies Hall of Heroes by various Fellowship of Fantasy authors.

This is the second anthology. The first being Fantastic Creatures. Get introduced to a whole slew of new authors. I really wish this could be on audiobook, but that would take like 19 hours.

Fantasy Retelling: Beauty’s Curse by C.S. Johnson

Beauty's Curse (Once Upon a Princess Series)

Love this cover. Retelling’s aren’t usually my thing, but I’ve read some excellent ones. Will have to put this on the “to read” list.

What’s Fantasy without Dragons?

Dragon’s Future by Kandi J. Wyatt

I heard this one on audiobook. All books should be on audio 🙂

How About Fantasy with some Romance?

An Ordinary Knight by H.L. Burke

Conclusion:

Let’s stop there for today. I’ve got a whole bunch of books to add, but I’ve learned that things get lost in the shuffle if too many are mentioned at once. If you’ve read any of these, please chime in with your thoughts. If you want to read any of them, go grab them. These are all permanently free.

If you don’t have a kindle yet, there’s an app here that will let you read on your computer. There’s also one for the iphone/ipad. I do most of my reading on that. (Head’s up. They’re associate links. This really doesn’t affect you in any way, shape, or form, but legally, I think I’m supposed to let you know that I benefit if you partake in the free trials below.)

Kindle Unlimited

Amazon Prime

Free Kindle Reading App

Audible


Audiobook Reviews: 4/5 Argentum by Debbie Manber Kupfer

4.0/5 Magic, Mystery, and Destiny

Summary:

Miri Katz, a student at P.A.W.S. has a lot more to deal with than mere classes. Her father’s a semi-immortal psychopath of sorts. That’s enough to give you grays even if you don’t have the ability to turn into a cat.

Additional Comments:

  • Although this story can be read and understood without listening or reading book one, I’d recommend doing this series in order.
  • Tons of cool concepts can be found in here. I like the idea of magic schools, powerful pendants, the quest for immortality, moral questions, and stuff like that.

    Content Warning:

There are also some pretty disturbing elements involving multiple forms of abuse of a minor. The book is categorized as YA. I know teens deal with stuff like this. The tough content is handled reasonably well, but I just don’t like it in fantasy stuff. It makes stories way less kid-friendly, meaning I can’t recommend it to the target audience. (Everything else fits a 13-ish age bracket splendidly, except that.)

  • The narrator performede with heart.
  • Alas, I didn’t like certain characters. I don’t think you’re meant to like the particular character I had in mind, but it’s really annoying to actively hate story characters. (On the flip side, that means they’ve got some depth to them.) This could just be the voice used for the character, it grated on the nerves. Pretty sure that’s exactly what it’s supposed to do …
  • There’s not a great deal of closure. It’s very much a part two of multiple stories. I would have liked a few more threads to be tied up. I’m sure they will be, but that will have to wait for book 3.

Conclusion:

If you’re okay with slightly depressing themes like sexual abuse of a kid and can get past that, then it’s actually a really good book.

As Always …

If you want the chance to get the audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge.

If you’re an author (or a narrator) with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

Audiobook Edge and it’s Matchmaker Program are completely free now, but if you wanna donate anyway, go for it 😉

Er, just do it as a friend b/c otherwise, you’re basically just paying paypal.

Prime Student – Oh, how I wish I was still a student.

Kindle Unlimited

Free Kindle Reading App

Audiobook Reviews: 3.5/5 Empty Threat by Danny Bell

 

Summary:

Elana Black can hop into the pages of a book and save people.

Additional Comments:

  • This is the second time I’ve seen this premise. The idea of entering stories to save characters. It’s very cool. The first time was in a children’s book.
  • First person narratives lend themselves very strongly to conveying character voice. Elena’s voice is very strong. She’s uses self-deprecating humor all over the place.
  • Plot was all over the place, but that’s to be expected in a fantasy of this nature. You’re literally hopping into and out of books.
  • The bad guys made no sense to me at certain points. (I’m told that there’s a lot of stuff in here that will be explained in future, but that doesn’t really help the stand alone work.)
  • Elana’s big end strategy doesn’t seem like it would work as described.
  • The pacing is weird. I’ll leave it at that to avoid spoilers.
  • Performance was nicely handled by Whitton Frank.

Conclusion:

There are a lot of story seeds that will likely be expanded in later books of the series. I’m pretty sure that I missed quite a few things along the way. Might have been easier to pick up on in the kindle version. Not sure. I’m on an audiobook kick. If you’re looking for a quirky female character with neat powers, this is a great book for you.

Only $0.99 !

 

 

As Always …

If you want the chance to get the audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge.

If you’re an author (or a narrator) with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

Audiobook Edge and it’s Matchmaker Program are completely free now, but if you wanna donate anyway, go for it 😉

Er, just do it as a friend b/c otherwise, you’re basically just paying paypal.

 

Awesome Audiobooks: 4.5/5 Stars Mercy’s Prince by Katy Huth Jones

Summary:

Prince Valerian, second son of Lavathia’s king and queen, suddenly finds himself Crown Prince. Thus, he’s thrust into a role he hadn’t trained for during a time of war. Mercy too finds herself in a position she’s not prepared for.

Additional Comments:

– For a fantasy romance book, there’s absolutely no interaction between the leading lady and the handsome prince for the first 1/3 of the book. I listened to the audiobook and it was well over 6 hours (of 15-ish) before they even met.

– The overarching plot’s not particularly unique, but the book’s awesome. (Second son finds himself the Crown Prince and has to grow into the role.)

– The author has done a nice job creating characters you can care about.

– I will admit I found the description of Mercy’s home life tedious after a while. The Brethren come across as a creepy little backwards cult. (i.e. arranging the marriage of a 14-year-old girl to the leader. Not teaching girls to read and so forth.)

– I would have prefer Mercy be slightly older, especially given where the book took the characters in the end. (She’s 14.) Even for a fantasy world, that’s really young. I do love her healing gift though. I enjoyed how her character developed throughout the course of the story.

– The side characters were reasonably fleshed out. I love Kieran. Love the name, but the character’s great too. He’s very loyal but also believable.

– The section with the dragons was surprisingly very quick.

– The bad guy’s a tad overdone, but he fits the role of loath-able villain well.

– Love the narrator.

– The climax happened an hour before the conclusion. That’s a really, really long denouement.

 

Conclusion:

It’s long but it’s great.

 

 

 

As Always …

If you want the chance to get the audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge.

If you’re an author (or a narrator) with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

Audiobook Edge and it’s Matchmaker Program are completely free now, but if you wanna donate anyway, go for it 😉

Er, just do it as a friend b/c otherwise, you’re basically just paying paypal.

Audiobook Edge and it’s Matchmaker Program are completely free now, but if you wanna donate anyway, go for it 😉

Er, just do it as a friend b/c otherwise, you’re basically just paying paypal.

Prime Student – Oh, how I wish I was still a student.

Kindle Unlimited

Free Kindle Reading App

Awesome Audiobooks: 5/5 More Fables and Fantasies by Dale T. Phillips

Title: A Fun Collection

Summary:

5 short fantasy stories featuring dragons, peasants, heroes, villains, and interesting twist on fairy tale heroes.

Additional Comments:

  • In a collection like this, everybody’s going to get something different out of it. I especially enjoyed the one in the middle told from Hansel’s point of view. I never thought I’d like twists on old fables, but it’s fun to be able to think of them in a new way.
  • The ending of the Christmas one was predictable yet still awesome.
  • The book contains decent world-building, even in something so short. This stood out in the one about the young man and the dragon.
  • The one with the young woman who finds truffles had the markings of traditional fairy tale. It felt very similar to the one with the young man and the dragon.
  • The narrator handled the stories well. I’m a huge proponent of audiobooks (if you couldn’t tell yet). It adds a wonderful layer to each story. I especially loved the wood carver’s voice.

 

Conclusion:

This is definitely a worth-while collection to listen to/read.

 

As Always …

If you want the chance to get the audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge.

If you’re an author with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

Audiobook Edge and it’s Matchmaker Program are completely free now, but if you wanna donate anyway, go for it 😉

Er, just do it as a friend b/c otherwise, you’re basically just paying paypal.

Audiobook Reviews: 4/5 Missing: Lessons from Fiori Book 2 by Peggy M. McAloon

Title: Solid Entry in MG Fantasy Series

Summary:

Elle Burton’s brother has disappeared, and her friend Jimmy becomes a Guardian. Elle might be the Chosen One, but she has to save her brother first.

Additional Comments:

  • It’s definitely middle grade. That said, it’s kid-safe and fairly realistic. I like the balance between the kid being a hero and still being a kid.
  • It probably helps to read book 1, but it’s enjoyable as is.
  • The narrator did a lovely job.
  • Elle’s a fun character. I don’t get much sense of Jimmy, but I think he’ll be important in the series later.
  • The side characters are a little hard to distinguish if you’re not familiar with them already, but it’s still fun.
  • The magic world is pretty well-defined. There are some terms that are probably better explained in book 1.
  • The danger and way they solve the mystery is fairly realistic.
  • I enjoyed the way Elle’s home life progressed. There’s good balance of her being a hero and just being a 10 year old kid with a heart of gold. She’s the sort of kid you can totally believe lives next door.
  • I don’t usually comment on covers but the audiobook one is by far my preferred one vs the ebook one. I think the cartoon-ish one captures the essence of the story better. The ebook one says YA, but not fantasy. This is definitely a fantasy book.

Conclusion:

Solid entry in an interesting MG fantasy series.

P.S. The author is a lovely person. You should find her on FB and say “hi.”

 

 

As Always …

If you want the chance to get the audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge.

If you’re an author with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

Audiobook Edge and it’s Matchmaker Program are completely free now, but if you wanna donate anyway, go for it 😉

Er, just do it as a friend b/c otherwise, you’re basically just paying paypal.

Prime Student – 1/2 off?! I’m jealous.

Kindle Unlimited

Audiobook Reviews: 4/5 Scotland’s Guardians by Katharina Gerlach

Title: 4/5 Fun Fantasy Tale of Friendship

Summary:

Bryanna and her new friend Kaylee (sorry about spelling, I heard the audio) go on a long, perilous journey that could determine the fate of Scotland.

Additional Comments:

  • Bryanna and Kaylee’s friendship goes through natural ups and downs. Their loyalties are tested in numerous ways.
  • Because this is a fantasy, the plot takes some delightful and weird twists and turns. At times, the journey seemed simply for the sake of the journey, but overall, the plot moved nicely to the climax.
  • Bryanna’s got a good heart. That comes through pretty clearly.
  • I love how the cover reflects what’s inside. It’s beautiful and will have more meaning after you’ve read/listened to it.
  • Along the way the girls get into some crazy situations. That keeps the journey interesting.
  • Some of the hidden nature of certain relationships seemed ridiculous in the long run, more for the reader’s benefit of surprise than for the main character.
  • Bryanna and Kaylee are likable main characters. I suppose Kaylee could be seen as a side character, but if she is, she’s very well-developed.
  • The narrator did a wonderful job with all the tough pronunciations.
  • The end was a tad anticlimactic. I think the end battle took place in about ten minutes.

 

Conclusion:

A strong tale of friendship set in fantasy settings.

 

As Always …

If you want the chance to get the audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge.

If you’re an author with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

Audiobook Edge and it’s Matchmaker Program are completely free now, but if you wanna donate anyway, go for it 😉

Er, just do it as a friend b/c otherwise, you’re basically just paying paypal.

Audiobook Reviews: The Natural Order by R.J. Vickers

 

Introduction:

A troubled teen goes off to magic school and finds trouble of a different sort.

Summary:

Tristan Fairholm gets a second chance at an extraordinary school where not everything is as it seems.

Additional Comments:

Neutral:

– There are a lot of plot threads being juggled here. Overall, this is done well, but a few seem to have petered off. (ie. Evie and the twins)

– There are 15 students gathered from all over the US (presumably), but the story focuses only on 5-6 of them. (I believe that’s for the best, but the number of overall students seems small. If the others don’t matter, then why bring them up at all?)

– Content warnings: rampant casual cursing

– There’s not much explanation for the vast wealth of the school.

– Tristan makes some gains in many aspects but not the driving force presented at the beginning.

– Passage of time was sporadic. It was almost like a survey of the holidays.

What I didn’t like:

*disclaimer – I am a teacher, so my perspectives on how schools are run might be different than the average reader.*

– The idea of rewarding students by letting them out of an assigned homework is terrible. Homework’s not supposed to be busy work. Either it has value or it doesn’t. If nobody “needs” to do it, then why assign it? If it’s vital, then letting some students skip it is kind of counter productive.

– There’s a strong emphasis on hours of punishments and students working them off. The dolling out of such seemed a mite capricious. Keeping discipline and order is important in school settings, and I imagine that’s magnified in a boarding school setting. However, when handing out discipline, it’s important not to punish oneself at the same time. Are the teachers working 90+ hrs a week?

– Some of the cardinal rules of the school seemed to matter one minute and not so much the next. (ie. can the students leave or not? Can anybody leave or not?)

– The vandal’s methods and logic are fundamentally flawed.

– The first practical exam was a terrible idea. The teachers admit this later, but it’s not really an exam if nothing’s taught first.

– Tristan’s acceptance of the end twists seemed way too easy. The mystery built up some good momentum then sort of fizzled.

What I liked:

– There’s a unique premise here and some nice twists in the end.

– The character development is pretty decent at least in the main character.

– I liked Amber and wish her role were expanded. She was left as the “little miss perfect student” instead of becoming a foil for the hero.

– Side characters were decent, although the Zeke/ Leila thing got old very quickly. The relationship has an interesting turn at the end, but nothing’s settled. They seem very antagonistic for no good reason.

– The book as a whole has a summer camp bonding experience vibe to it.

– The narrator’s performance was good.

– End twist is built on a very intriguing premise.

Conclusion:

I don’t think the things that bothered me about the running of the school will affect the general public. Overall, this is a decent coming-of-age fantasy with its own brand of magic.

 

 

As Always …

If you want the chance to get the audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge. The ebook is $0.99, and if you miss out on getting a free code, then you can always buy the book for a discounted price once you have the ebook. (This holds true for most titles anyway.)

If you’re an author with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

Audiobook Edge and it’s Matchmaker Program are completely free now, but if you wanna donate anyway, go for it 😉

Er, just do it as a friend b/c otherwise, you’re basically just paying paypal.

Prime Student

Kindle Unlimited

Amazon Prime

Free Kindle Reading App

Audible

Audiobook Reviews: Shadow Grove by Lacey Edward

 

Introduction:

This is a case where the book probably makes more sense in context of it being part of a series. It took quite a bit of time and didn’t have that much of a bang in the end, but there is still potential for the series.

Summary:

Around her 18th birthday, Ariel finds out she’s a witch. The rest of the story’s pretty much about her training to use those powers and avoiding the people trying to kill her because of those powers.

Additional Comments:

Content warning: a few mild curses

Neutral:

– The plots pretty slow moving. I get that there’s a lot of setup, but really, I could only think of 2 pts in the book that had any sort of action.

– Some of the bad guys’ motives seem weak.

– Ethan kind of seems along for the ride. He doesn’t add or detract much. Wish he’d done more as Ariel’s father.

– I wish Ariel had done more. She’s learning a lot, but it seems a lot of other things/people are protecting her. I want to see her become the in control witch ready to take on the forces of darkness.

What I didn’t like:

– A lot of the training scenes involved inane questions that seemed designed solely to move the conversation on so the other character could continue his/her lecture. For some reason, in the audio, that drove me nuts. (Really? I’m a witch? A book? Etc)

– Unresolved questions: – Why does Oren offer to help her if he’s just a collector? Who is the queen? What the heck happened to James? The queen shows up at the beginning and the end, but we’re specifically not told anything about her.

– Lack of closure in the end. There would have been better closure without the very last scene. We already know it’s book 1 and the story continues, but the last scene sort of stamps a “to be continued” sign on the story. I find those annoying.

What I liked:

– I enjoyed Ariel as a character. The tried and true girl-has-special-powers trope is always a fun one, and Ariel’s pretty likable.

– Oddly enough, I enjoyed the Vampire. He was a nice addition.

– I think the series as a whole has merit. There’s a lot of setup in this book.

– I loved the narrator’s voice for Dione. (British accents rock.)

Conclusion:

It’s a slow start, but there’s a ton of potential for the series.

 

 

As Always …

If you want the chance to get the audiobook for free, please join Audiobook Readers’ Edge.

If you’re an author with an audiobook you’d like featured, sign up for Audiobook Authors’ Edge.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Julie C. Gilbert

For a limited time, I’m offering a fantasy book to anybody who supports Audiobook Edge.

Prime Student

Kindle Unlimited

Amazon Prime

Free Kindle Reading App

Audible