Elizabeth’s Legacy

I’ve been pretty quiet lately, mainly due to the lack of reading or watching of anything worth writing about. I’ve spent most of my time binge watching NCIS and PSYCH.

However, I am pleased to report that I have FINALLY discovered something worth writing about – Elizabeth’s Legacy, the first book in the Royal Institute of Magic series by the late Victor Kloss.

Two years after his parents’ sudden disappearance, Ben Greenwood stumbles upon a cryptic letter that could shed some light on their whereabouts. But before he can track them down, he’ll need to find the mysterious organization that sent the letter: The Royal Institute of Magic.

Amazon.com description

For those of us who loved the Harry Potter series, you will definitely see some parallels – orphaned British boy, unpleasant relative, hidden magical world. But if you give it a chance, you will soon discover a unique, clever world that, aside from those few parallels, is not anything like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

The magic of Taecia is not dark. In fact, it is almost a science, which is a clever spin on the magic we are familiar with. The humans of Taecia live a life fully integrated with the non-magical folks, using cell phones, computers, etc. Fun fact, they even attend school in the non-magical world!

There is little to no profanity which is often unheard of in books these days, and I love the camaraderie between the main characters. Their loyalty and sense of humor – especially Charlie’s (Ben’s best friend) is truly appreciated.

This is one of those rare, clean books that parents can enjoy with their kids. So, check it out!

Definitely getting added to my “favorites” list.

Timebound

TimeboundJust finished reading Timebound by Rysa Walker.

It was an entertaining story about a teenage girl named Kate who learns she has a special ability to time travel, an ability her grandmother is hoping she will use to stop the Cyrists, a religious cult created by another time traveler who seeks to rewrite history for his own benefit.

While I enjoyed the book, time travel stories aren’t really my thing. However, I will be adding Timebound to my list of “enjoyed” books for teens/young adults as the story itself is well written and entertaining and worth recommending to those who enjoy time travel novels.

In the meantime, I think I will check out one of Ms. Walker’s other series, the Thistlewood Star Mysteries. But, for those who enjoy time travel, check out Timebound by Rysa Walker. It is the first book in The Chronos Files.

P.S. The reason this is going on my teen/young adult list is because there is a mild description of Kate making out with her boyfriend as well as some very vague adult references. I think I’d give this book a PG rating as the descriptions aren’t graphic. However, it’s not something I would want my 10 year old kid reading, if of course, I had a 10 year old kid.

 

Mage Errant

MageErrantI’ve found a new favorite author – John Bierce.

Choosing a new audiobook is always stressful. Many things run through my mind.

What if I don’t like it? It sounds good…but it probably won’t be as good as _______ (insert title of last favorite listen). How long do I need to ‘give it a try’ before I can quit listening? ……. etc.

You know. All those sorts of “normal” questions any avid listener/reader asks themselves when desperately searching for their next great escape.

Well, I took the leap and tried John Bierce’s Mage Errant series. I got lucky. I found my new favorite series! I actually enjoyed this even more than Twinborn Chronicles by J.S. Morin (which I enjoyed immensely). Mage Errant moves a bit faster and has a more focused plot (fewer characters and minimal sub-plots.) All-in-all, it made for a great listen.

So if you liked Harry Potter or Angie Sage’s Septimus Heap series, you might want to check out Mage Errant by John Bierce.

This book will be added to my “favorites” list. The well-developed characters, the humor, and the themes/values in the story make this a worthwhile read.

P.S. I forgot to mention that this makes it in my Top-10 list!


Sensitive Reader Alert / A Note for Parents:

There are many great themes in this book like:

  • overcoming your fears
  • learning you don’t have to face your struggles alone
  • loyalty and friendship
  • recognizing your own value (self-worth)
  • not being afraid to be different
  • learning that just because you are different doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you
  • and many others…

However, there are a few things parents should be aware of if they are letting their younger children read it. The third book (A Traitor in Skyhold) contains a few innuendoes, which are by no means vulgar compared to stuff on TV, and references to “contraceptive cantrips” (spells). Also one of the main characters is a homosexual. He is a loyal, friendly, patient, courageous, and caring individual. However, if you have not discussed same-sex attraction with your children, this book will raise questions as the third book deals a little bit with him and his relationship.

Twinborn Chronicles

twinbonrchronciles1This is a loooooooooong story!

I downloaded the audio version of Twinborn Chronicles: Awakening Collection by J.S. Morin from Audible. The download included the first three books in the series – Firehurler, Ethersmith, and Sourcetheif. In total, the collection is 67 hours and 32 minutes! So, you understand why I say this is a loooooooong story. The narrator, Mikael Naramore, does a fabulous job with all the characters (and believe me, there are a lot of them).

The story is difficult to explain, so below is the description of the collection from Amazon:

Caught in plots between two worlds, his only hope is to awaken the link between them.

Kyrus had lived a quiet life as a scribe until his dreams begin seeping into his waking life. Fanciful tales of magic and battle turn out to be real. In his sleep, he witnesses the adventures of his twin. Kyrus is swept up in the intrigues of those who already know of this connection between worlds.

As his knowledge of the two worlds grows, so does his entanglement in the intrigues between them. Kyrus discovers friends, lovers, and adversaries among the twinborn. His knowledge of magic grows until he becomes a valuable pawn for masterminds of plots that threaten empires.

Kyrus must learn a deadly game against opponents who already know the rules. He must join forces with his twin to combat threats in both worlds. One misstep or misplaced trust and Kyrus could find himself dying…twice.

Twinborn Chronicles: Awakening Collection is a three-book collection chronicling the adventures of heroes who alter two worlds. For fans of epic fantasy who aren’t looking to start another unfinished series, the Twinborn Chronicles provides multiple new worlds to explore and all the closure you’ve long been denied.

©2012 J.S. Morin (P)2018 J.S. Morin

The general idea is that there are two worlds, and most people go through life never knowing of the existence of the other world. However, some individuals have “twins” living in the other world, and whenever one twin sleeps, instead of dreaming, he/she sees the daily life of their twin. Kyrus is one of these “twinborn” and soon finds himself on an adventure he never imagined. After all, he was just a scribe, but now, he is so much more!

The characters in the story are very well developed and complicated. Even the villains you have sympathy for, and for me, I wasn’t exactly sure whose side I was on. 🙂 My favorite aspect about the book was its uniqueness. The idea that people have “twins” living in another world made for an interesting dynamic, especially when the twins realized their connection and used it as a tool for spying, negotiating, and communicating with each other and their enemies.

As I said previously, this is a loooong story. I listened to the first two books and started the third. I got impatient and wanted to know what happened, so I skipped to the end and never actually completed the third book in its entirety. I think, had I downloaded and listened to each book individually instead of as a collection, I might have enjoyed it more and not been so impatient to finish it. But, overall, I enjoyed it and would recommend it to others, with the disclaimer that it is long and thus requires some patience to complete.

P.S. It will be added to my “favorites” list.

Blessed Among Us

BlessedAmongUs.jpgBlessed Among Us is a collection of short biographies (3 paragraphs at most) of individuals who, through their lives, exemplified virtues such as service to others, humility, courage, compassion, etc. Written by Robert Eslberg for the Give Us This Day monthly publication, they were eventually compiled into a book.

This book covers people from all walks of life. While this book predominantly focuses on the lives of Catholic Saints and Catholic individuals, it does not limit the biographies to solely Catholics, featuring biographies of individuals like Martin Luther King Jr., Anne Frank, Fred Rogers, and Mohandas Gandhi to name a few. The purpose of this book is not to promote one denomination as superior, but to show how individual lives can change the world simply by making selfless choices.

Often times, when I read stories about people from history, religious or not, I do not feel as if I can relate to them. Their deeds are far beyond anything I believe I am capable of or their experiences are not comparable to my life. I find it discouraging – how can I ever hope to make a difference when I’m not special or talented or gifted?

This is one of the reasons why I enjoy Blessed Among Us so much. While some of the individuals featured are naturally gifted, extremely brave or devout, or make some extraordinary discovery, many of those featured are simply “normal” (at least by my standards). They didn’t discover a cure or save somebody’s life; they just lived – lived a life doing what they could with what they had to make the world a better place.