Author: MiddleEarthMusician

I am a Child of the King//I Write//Create and Study Music//Enjoy Martial Arts//Make Films//Devour Stories//Take Photos//Geek Out//and call OYAN Home.

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness

Featuring toothy cows, hidden secrets, crazy sockmen, books, Fangs, ridgerunners, and sea dragons; On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness is a rip-roaring tale of adventures, intrigues, and three children-Janner, Tink, and Leeli Igiby. These children, living in a little house in the Glipwood Township have perfectly ordinary lives, or so they think-until a series of strange events occur that lead them to believe that perhaps their lives aren’t quite as ordinary as they thought. The ferocious Fangs of Dang are seeking for the lost jewels of Anniera, which are somehow tangled up in the history of the three Igiby children, their mother, and their ex-pirate grandfather; and the Fangs are determined to find the Igiby’s at any cost.

I would highly recommend On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, written by Andrew Peterson and published in 2008 by Waterbrook Press, for ages 10+. It’s witty, fun, fast-paced, and the plot twists will leave you on the edge of your seat. There is some minor violence to watch out for with younger readers. All in all, a well-written, wholesome book with unique characters and a twisty storyline. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Coral

“A broken shell tore into the skin of her left foot. She winced and withdrew. Blood, red and angry, drip drip dripped onto the sand, dissolving in an instant. As if it never was.

Better a bleeding sole than a tortured soul.

A soul that was nothing now. Because before preluded after.

And after. Was never as it was. Before.”*

Coral, mermaid princess of the sea, is slowly succumbing to a fatal, human-originated disease: emotions. Her sister, the Crown Princess, already has been taken by its cruel waters-and Coral fears the Red Tide is coming for her next.

Brooke, teenage girl on the west coast, is close to giving up. Depression, anxiety, and trauma have pushed her to the breaking point and she’s trying a therapy home as a last resort. But if nothing will be as it was Before, what’s the point of going on?

Merrick, famous and wealthy golden boy of San Francisco, wants to escape both his father and his social status. But when his sister attempts suicide and his mom vanishes, his life is thrown upside down and he doesn’t know what else to do except escape.

When these three lives collide there can either be healing or heartache…and sometimes both exist in the same story.

I would highly recommend Coral, written by Sara Ella and published in 2019 by Thomas Nelson for mature readers 17+. A truly breathtaking and heart wrenching novel about love, loss, and mental health, this re-written fairy tale will grip your soul as you read it. There are several mature themes throughout the book including self harm, unwanted advances, and other traumatic experiences. Coral is written with a theme of hope, memorable characters, and an intriguing storyline. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

“…after will never be the same again.”*

*all excerpts taken from Coral, written by Sara Ella and published in 2019 by Thomas Nelson

The Outsiders

The Outsiders, written by S.E. Hinton, is a coming-of-age story featuring 1960’s greasers, Socs, cars, switchblades, gangs, books, and family. Read about Ponyboy, his brothers, and their friends as they fight against injustice and prejudice both against them and that they have against others; and not everyone may make it out of the fight alive.

I would recommend this novel for ages 14+. It would fall under the historical fiction and young adult genres and is very well written with an excellent ending. The Outsiders is not one of my favorite books, it was predictable and not one of the most memorable stories I’ve read in my lifetime; there was also some content to watch out for younger readers. 3 out of 5 stars.

The Mysterious Affair at Styles

Hercule Poirot, a charming and quirky retired Belgian police chief, is asked by his friend Hastings to assist in the unravelling of a confusing turn of events. An elderly, wealthy lady has been murdered; the suspects: her new husband, spiteful family, or long-time companion. The solution: one that nobody was expecting. Follow the unofficial detective and his friend as they tear apart the details of this murder at the Styles Estate in a race against the unknown murderer and the English court of law.

I would recommend The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie for ages 16+. This book is a classic whodunit complete with bumbling police chiefs, nighttime murders, dapper detectives, and family intrigue. There are a few mature details to watch out for, including some minor profanity; overall, a well-written and attention-grabbing mystery. 4 out of 5 stars.  

Inkheart

Inkheart, written by Cornelia Funke and published in 2003 by Dressler Verlag, is a tale of stories slipping from the pages of books they belong in and entering the real world, bringing their magic, rivalries, and dangers with them. Follow the adventures of 12-year-old Meggie, her father Mo, and the enigmatic Dustfinger as they travel the countryside in an attempt to stop the villain Capricorn from covering the world with a darkness taken from the pages of his origin book. Fairy tales, classics, mythology, and reality collide as the Silvertongues read from their books in an attempt to save their own world.

I would highly recommend this book for ages 14+. It is well written, rich with literary references, and packed with adventure at every turn of the page. There are a few minor inappropriate jokes and some usage of mature language, as well as violence to watch out for. Full of memorable characters, a unique storyline, and bookish quotes, Inkheart is a book that will keep you up until the early hours of the morning. 4 out of 5 stars.

The Lost and Found Journal of a Miner 49er

The Lost and Found Journal of a Miner 49er is a collection of tales regarding river mermaids, journeys, boxing kangaroos, love, bandits, acts of valor, and daring escapades. This novel features the brave Miner 49er, also known as Cody Kirschenbaum, and his darling daughter, Clementine. As you read these 17 wild adventures that take place at the time of the Gold Rush, you’ll learn valuable lessons, laugh at Cody’s dry wit and outlandish stories, and enjoy a good, Western fantasy book.

I would recommend this book, written by Jack Dublin, for ages 10+. Well written, humorous, with unexpected twists and fantastical creatures set in Gold Rush California; this book is great for a bit of lighthearted reading. 3.5 out of 5 stars.     

Professor Diggins’ Dragons

“For everyone, young or old,

who has ever had a crock of butter

to carry around a mountain…

and met a dragon.”*

Professor Diggins from the University is a little cracked, or so the board of Directors believe. Any respectable marine biology professor should keep fantasies out of the classroom, according to the Directors; so when Diggins begins to teach his devoted students about dragons and dragon-hunting and rumors start spreading, there’s only one course of action the University can take. They must retire Professor Diggins. That course of action is not popular with anyone, however; and especially not with the children who walk the Professor to his class every day. When the Directors insist on the Professor having at least a vacation to clear his head of these dragon fantasies; he takes a group of these children with him to the beach for a camping trip, where they will meet the Professor’s dragons for themselves.

I would highly recommend Professor Diggins’ Dragons by Felice Holman for ages 8+. This is a fun, lighthearted children’s book, with excellent themes and eccentric, memorable characters; well written and humorous. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

“ ‘Oh dear!’ said Lydia. ‘Is this the end?’

‘Indeed not!’ said Professor Diggins. ‘Just a stopping place.’ ”*

*Excerpts taken from Professor Diggins’ Dragons, written by Felice Holman and published in 1996 by The Macmillan Company

A Thousand Perfect Notes

“Music is nothing unless it fills your soul with colour and passion and dreams.”*

Beck Keverich is a pianist who hates music. Every day he is forced to practice for hours in order to match his mother’s standards. She was once a famous pianist, popular and talented; but after her hands started to shake, she could no longer play; so she focused all her energy onto making her son the continuation of her legacy. Beck is barely balancing piano, taking care of his younger sister, and appeasing his mother’s rages without losing his own sanity; then to make matters worse, he gets paired up with a girl for a class assignment. August is bubbly, talkative, and determined to make friends with this angry boy who shows up to class with a hand-shaped bruise on his cheek and rusted piano strings barely holding together the broken pieces of his heart. Beck is a broken boy, but there’s hope just around the corner, if only he can make it there.   

“His skin will part like old paper and the world will see how his skeleton is made of dark wishes and macabre dreams.”**

I would highly recommend this book, A Thousand Perfect notes written by C.G. Drews, for mature readers ages 16+. This novel was published in 2018 and would fall under the contemporary romance genre. It is an emotional story about obsession, abuse, music, and love; and could affect sensitive readers. There is some minor mature language and a few violent abuse scenes to watch out for; but overall, A Thousand Perfect Notes is a beautifully written novel that is sure to tug at your emotions and leave you wanting more. 4 out of 5 stars.

“You are worth more than a thousand perfect notes.”***

*All excerpts taken from A Thousand Perfect Notes, written by C.G. Drews and published by Orchard Books

And Then There Were None

And Then There Were None is a thrilling, sinister mystery written by Agatha Christie and published as Ten Little Indians in 1939. This chilling story reveals the depravity of the human mind as it unfolds its bloodstained pages; ten strangers, invited to a lonely island by an anonymous host, share their darkest secrets…then one by one, the guests begin to die.

No one is safe from the hand of vengeance.

I would recommend this book for ages 16+. It’s dark and menacing, with a mature theme and twisted morals. The writing is excellent and gripping, the characters sympathetic yet unlikable. Agatha Christie outdid herself in the writing and plotting of this tale, but there are little to no redeeming qualities about the story; it’s a twisted tale of sin catching up with the sinner. 3.5 out of 5 stars. 

Irena’s Children

Irena’s Children: A True Story of Courage, written by Tilar J. Mazzeo and published in 2016 by Gallery Books, Trifecta Creative Holdings, Inc, is a harrowing story of secrecy, sacrifice, bravery, and love in a time of war. This book falls under the biography and WWII genres.

Irena’s Children tells the tale of a heroic woman named Irena Sendler who organized the rescue of over 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto during the German occupation. Working closely with her old college friends, Irena smuggled babies in handbags and older children through the sewage systems, changed their names and identities, then found them new homes either in orphanages or Polish foster families willing to risk their lives and those of their family to help save these Jewish children. Read as Irena and her band of fighters save children, smuggle food and medicine into the Ghetto, stage resistance battles, and narrowly escape arrest. Sometimes, however; their operations didn’t always go as planned, and more than one brave soul lost their life for freedom.

I would highly recommend this book for ages 16+. It’s a well-written, fascinating biography written more like a novel than a history book. There is quite a bit of violence to be on guard for, as well as a few mature themes and some mild profanity. I highly enjoyed reading this book-it’s easily one of my favorite WWII biographies, with accurate representation of the facts and respect for both sides of the struggle. All in all, a masterful book about the German occupation of Warsaw and the horrors, and bravery, that resulted from it. 4.5 out of 5 stars.