Monday, February 11, 2013

Innovative Online Book Tours: Review of Moonstone, by Marilee Brothers




Welcome to this stop in the
Moonstone Book Tour,
sponsored by
Innovative Online Book Tours!




(Unbidden Magic #1)
Marilee Brothers
Trade Paperback, 236 pages
Bell Bridge Books
August 1, 2008
Suspense, Urban Fantasy,
Young Adult Fiction

Goodreads Synopsis

A sickly mom. A tiny house trailer. High school bullies and snarky drama queens. Bad-guy dudes with charming smiles. Allie has problems. And then there's that whole thing about fulfilling a magical prophecy and saving the world from evil. Geez. Welcome to the sad, funny, sometimes-scary world of fifteen-year-old Allie Emerson, who's struggling to keep her and her mom's act together in the small-town world of Peacock Flats, Washington. An electrical zap from a TV antenna sets off Allie's weird psychic powers. The next thing she knows she's being visited by a hippy-dippy guardian angel, and then her mysterious neighbor, the town "witch," gives her an incredible moonstone pendant that has powers only a good-hearted "Star Seeker" is meant to command. "Who, me?" is Allie's first reaction. But as sinister events begin to unfold, Allie realizes she's got a destiny to live up to. If she can just survive everyday life, in the meantime.




My Review

(Note: This book was provided by the
author, in exchange for my honest opinion.) 
   

The cover of this book drew me in right away, with its mysterious atmosphere and lovely tones of blue in the night sky.  As I began to read, however, I wasn't quite sure I would enjoy this novel.  I didn't particularly like the mention of "landing in a bull pie" right at the beginning of the story.   While I must admit it was funny, it was also pretty gross.  Still, I kept reading, because I do believe in giving every book a fair chance.  I'm so very glad I did, too, because this novel has turned out to be one of my favorites, in any genre!

Allie's discovery of her sudden paranormal powers first manifests when she somehow makes a massive bull running straight at her abruptly reverse stride and start walking backward.  Who wouldn't feel bewildered at such a weird turn of events?  And all because she was zapped by some electricity as she tumbled from the roof of her trailer home!  Now, what was she doing up on that roof?  She was adjusting the TV antenna, so she and her mother could get better reception, of course.  They can't afford a satellite dish, after all.

This book kept me turning the pages with Allie's madcap adventures, as she struggled to juggle high school bullies with following the advice of Trilby, her new, hippy guardian angel (whom only she could see), attempting to keep Social Services from separating her from her mother, and digging for clues to find out more about the mysterious prophecy she was supposed to fulfill.  

One thing inevitably leads to another, and Allie is tested to the limit while doing her very best to take it all in stride.  She's more than equal to the task, however.  In fact, she's one of the sassiest, spunkiest young adult heroines I've yet come across.  Her wisecracks and funny, down-to-earth descriptions of all the shenanigans sometimes had me holding my sides in helpless laughter.  At the same time, her street smarts -- as well as her academic smarts -- allowed her to thread her way through the maze of events that unfolded throughout the story.

In short, Allie has emerged as one of my very favorite characters in young adult fiction.  She's very real, with a lot of in-your-face appeal. Her inner strength is quite remarkable, as well.  On top of everything else she has to deal with, there's the matter of her long-lost father, whom she has never met.  This, along with Allie's unusual, yet close, relationship with her mother, brings poignancy to the story, while also making it a coming-of-age tale.

Along with Allie, I also love her mentor, Kizzy, a kind-hearted neighbor shunned by the townspeople because she's rumored to be a witch.   Ironically, she's more of a mother to Allie than her own mother, Faye, who really seems to be more like a sister.   Kizzy knows more about the history of the Star Seekers than she has ever let on, yet she's afraid to let her young friend know too much, fearing to put her in danger.  Ironically, once she gives the girl the moonstone, she herself becomes a target.  

Then there's Junior Martinez, the town bad boy who has supposedly scored with every girl at school he's ever dated, and who's also been in a gang. He's a delightfully surprising partner for Allie, who soon takes him into her confidence.  A budding romance begins, and Junior becomes very protective of her and her mother.  I thought it was sweet that he kept calling her "Emerson", while his behavior toward her, at first only one of camaraderie, began to change into something else.

The villains in this novel lend quite a bit of depth to the plot; it seems they're just as interested in Allie's moonstone as she is herself.  Of course, they want it for their own nefarious purposes. The background behind the novel sounds like some sort of conspiracy theory, except that it's very real, within the setting of the novel.  I was very much reminded of the Illuminati, which are a rumored secret society supposedly engineering world events, as well as controlling governments, for the purpose of bringing about a New World Order. Needless to say, I found the entire thing totally fascinating!

Brothers's writing is whiplash-sharp, her characters and setting totally believable.  I really enjoyed the witty interchanges between the characters, even the ones involving the bad guys.  Everything unfolded like a movie before my eyes, as the action developed into increasing complexity.  The author kept the suspense high throughout, as well, with unexpected plot twists and clever resolutions to the challenges presented to the characters.

This is a great start to a series that promises to deliver even more fascinating surprises and characters in subsequent volumes! Moonstone is not just any YA novel, but one that is fresh, original, quirky, funny, suspenseful, and completely entertaining!  I will go on to the other books in this series as soon as I possibly can, because I want to learn more about the Star Seekers, the Trimarks, and their wonderfully inventive, although sinister, adventures!   I also hope we readers can look forward to a movie, at least of this first novel, very soon!

 MY RATING:



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Marilee Brothers
Author Bio

A former teacher, coach and school counselor, Marilee lives in Washington State and writes full-time.  Her books include Castle Ladyslipper, a medieval romance, The Rock and Roll Queen of Bedlam, winner of the 2010 Booksellers Best award for romantic suspense, Moonstone, Moon Rise, Moon Spun, Shadow Moon, and Midnight Moon.  Marilee is a member of the Romance Writers of America, Pacific Northwest Writers Association, and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. 




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4 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such an extensive review. I truly appreciate it. I'm glad you enjoyed Moonstone.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi, Marilee!

    Oh, I certainly DID enjoy it!! Allie is such a GREAT character! I want to read more of her adventures.

    You're very welcome for the review, and thanks for commenting!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Maria! Thank you for joining Show Some Love Fridays and I'm happy to hear my advice about A Novel Challenge helped. This book sounds like an incredible story...great review!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey, Kimberly!

    You're very welcome! I think your meme is a GREAT idea!! And yes, I do think my Saturday meme will get more exposure now.

    "Moonstone" is indeed a terrific story. Thanks for the compliment on my review!! :)

    ReplyDelete

THIS IS NOW AN AWARD-FREE, AND TAG-FREE BLOG. Thanks for the compliment, though! : )

Thanks for your thoughts on my posts! I always reply here, as well as comment back on your blog. Have a WONDERFUL day!! :)