Monday, October 14, 2019

"History of the First Queen" by Mark Miller

This was the tale of Nyssa, who came from very humble beginnings and who found herself thrust into a new world one day while seeking to escape from those who always made her life miserable. How was she to know that the grand adventure she would soon find herself a part of, if successful, would save the world that was destined to become her own.

This is the fourth book in the Empyrical Tales series, and in my opinion it is the best one in the series that I’ve read thus far. In this book, we get to see not only how Nyssa arrives from her own world into Empyrean, but how she grows to become one of the land’s four Queens. I found it to be a fascinating tale that also introduced us to a number of characters that we’ve already met, though we had previously seen them at a later point in their lives than we often find them in this book.

Through much of the story, Nyssa is lost in a strange world and must find her way through numerous situations made more difficult by the fact that she has absorbed deep magical energy that seems to be causing her to bounce back and forth in Empyrean’s timeline. She never knows when she will skip around in time or when she will find herself afterwards.

I really liked that this tale is told in the manner of someone reading a book about how Nyssa became the first Queen. The story (both the one we read as well as the one read to the children in the castle), was well written and very entertaining. There were numerous twists and turns in the story that kept me guessing all the way until the end of the book.

This story was clearly well thought out and flowed very well, even while dealing with a girl who found herself skipping randomly back and forth through time. While that could have made it difficult to follow, it was well enough written that I had no problems keeping track of whether Nyssa was in the past, present, or future of Empyrean. And though I won’t spoil it for you, I absolutely loved the ending.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys intricately designed fantasy worlds containing a rich history that clearly shines throughout the story.

Monday, October 7, 2019

"Escaped Mail Order Bride
and her Redeemed Husband"
by Florence Linnington

Catherine and her step brother Guss had been living with his father since the death of Catherine’s mother several years earlier. However it was a far less than ideal situation. Hershal was often drunk and physically abusive. Catherine had been taking most of his beatings and abuse to keep Guss safe, but when Hershal began trying to touch her inappropriately, she knew that both she and Guss had to leave as soon as possible.

After exchanging a number of letters with a man in Colorado that had answered her ad in a mail order bride catalogue, Catherine left town with Guss as soon as Mr. Jeremiah Beals began to speak of marriage. She was so desperate to find a better home for the two of them that she didn’t even wait for Mr. Beals to propose. She and Guss simply snuck out of the house one night while Hershal was still asleep and left to go meet the man she hoped would marry her and take care of both Guss and herself.

This was another wonderful book in this series from Ms. Linnington. She is very good at describing the hardships of a less than ideal life and then comparing and contrasting said life with a much better situation in another part of the country. As always, her stories leave me smiling at the end, after having watched her characters be put through the wringer on their way towards what they hope will be a happy ending.

I enjoy her stories a great deal, and I believe that anyone who enjoys an often heart-wrenching mail order bride story will also enjoy this book.

Friday, October 4, 2019

"The Graveyard Book" Audio Book
written and read by Neil Gaiman

This was the story of Nobody Owens, whose parents were murdered one night. During the time his parents were being murdered, their young toddler had managed to wander off and escape, becoming lost by those striving to kill his entire family. Luckily for him, he was found and rescued by the residents of the local cemetery. Over the years of his being raised by the dead, he was unaware that the man who had killed his family was still looking for him. He had been hired to kill the entire family, and allowing even a small child to escape was unacceptable.

Nobody (or Bod as he is called) has many adventures and has quite a number of friends in the cemetery. It is not the life that many would have sought for their children, but it is not one that left Bod feeling as if there was anything missing from his life.

I enjoyed listening to this story as it was read by the author. I had no difficulty in differentiating between the various characters as the storyteller did an excellent job with the voices.

I would recommend this audiobook to anyone who enjoys reading or listening to YA stories, as well as to anyone who enjoys Neil Gaimen tales.

"History of the First Queen" by Mark Miller

This was the tale of Nyssa, who came from very humble beginnings and who found herself thrust into a new world one day while seeking to...