Semester Aboard Book Review & 2 Giveaways

I’m in love with fantasy and SF books. I read them and I write them. One day I might actually get published. In the meantime I’m doing my best to attract and keep followers who might like to read my books. That’s you, dear readers. I hope you will want to read my first book, Earth Won, when it becomes available. I plan to finish revisions within the next few months and submit it for traditional publishing because most middle-grade readers depend on their parents to buy. So far, no other publisher has the same reach into schools as Scholastic, my dream publisher.

Wish me luck. Better yet, spread the word. But until my own book is ready, I’ll continue to feed your appetite for reading with other books. I truly believe I’m not in competition with other writers. I think there are enough readers to go around. It’s video games I worry about cutting into reading time. All I can do is make reading material easier to obtain. A book costs far less than most video games, and right now I’m giving them away to show my appreciation and love to my followers.

I’d like to thank Kathy of for hosting this giveaway hop and Rachel Renee Anderson for co-hosting. Now for my book review of:

Semester Aboard (More than Magic #1)Semester Aboard by Elizabeth Kirke

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
*I read the first version. This rating may change to 4 stars if the new version I just learned about passes my editing recheck.

See that moon? I wasn’t over it, but I did moon over the main character’s good fortune to take a whole semester of  classes on a cruise ship.

I enjoyed this book for its atmosphere, maybe because I’ve been on enough cruises to recognize the touches that made it feel authentic. I had mixed emotions about its leisurely pace at the start, though the normalcy and routine of taking college classes, not that different aboard than on land, was part of what made it feel real. Another plus was how the author put this leisure time to good use in building characters and relationships of the college students.

Once Jen sees something she shouldn’t, things get a little tense and creepy. A group of students begins watching and tailing her. When she demands answers, the students arrange a meeting with their leader. By now Jen has seen many things she shouldn’t have, and one thing in particular forces the group to accept her. From then on she’s marked in a good way. It won’t spoil anyone’s enjoyment to say there’s magic involved, or that Jen ends up on the good guys’ side.

Of course there are bad guys. Once they board ship, things take a nasty turn. And of course the good guys aren’t trained or equipped to handle them. Neither is Jen. She’s very new to all this magic stuff and becomes a target for reasons I won’t say here. That’s when things get scary exciting and it’s hard to put the book down. Mysterious illnesses lead to fighting and life-threatening injuries. It doesn’t help that Jen becomes attached to a *******.

This all happens between cruise stops, more than once. Ships do stop at ports and people go on day trips, but I found it odd that each tour was strictly sightseeing, entertaining but no real trouble. Back aboard, the trouble resumed. I would have thought the bad guys would track Jen on land when she was separated from all but one of two of the good guys.

This would be a good book to read on a cruise. In some places it was easier to put down than in others. Later on there were some real hair-raising scenes I stayed up late to finish. I most enjoyed the way one character saved the day by outsmarting the worst bad guy. The author did a very good job making her characters relate-able so I cared whether they lived or died.

What she didn’t do well was edit.*(See note at top. The author just notified me of a new, thoroughly edited version.) Without so many errors, I would have rated Semester Aboard 4 stars. (If the book now meets professional standards, I will change my rating to 4 stars.) Besides punctuation errors, there were a lot of missing words. Each one took me out of the story, but I still look forward to the next book. If you’re like most people, your brain will supply the missing words anyway. Mine did. So what are you waiting for? (I hope the new version won’t have missing words. If you have a good eye for detail, please let me know as soon as you finish reading.)

If you can’t wait to buy Elizabeth’s book at Amazon, click here.

Then go ahead and fill out the Rafflecopter form below.  I’m posting early because I’ve got a lot of editing to do this week. You can also scroll to my last post  or click here to enter Rafflecopter’s giveaway of an ipad 2 and kindle fire which runs through Feb. 9th, and my 500 follower giveaway of a whole box of books and chocolate that will run approximately through the 11th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can also enter another books and chocolate contest through the tab at the top of this blog with a drawing on the 11th of every month. For that contest, I have a blog button on my sidebar you can place on your own blog to earn extra entries and remind you to enter each month. In either contest, you could win enough books and chocolate to last a month or more. Yumm!

View all my reviews

I love my followers! Please remember that as you go blog hopping. Come back often!

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Indie author-friendly freelance editor, children's book blogger for picture books through YA, kid lit, SF/fantasy lover with special fondness for middle grade, pun-loving SCBWI member, meter-maid for poetry and rhyming picture books.


  1. Yes I’d love to read this book looks great!

  2. If I get through the rest of my TBR pile, I’d love to read it. :p

  3. Thanks for the giveaway! The book sounds interesting- and I am usually up for reading anything that is new to me.

    Also- your new book sounds interesting. I understand where you are coming form with the middle grade book- their parents do by most of their books for them! πŸ™‚ Best of luck!

    haightjess at gmail dot com

  4. Thank you for the giveaway! I do think this sounds interesting. I like to read many genres and always looking for something new! That is why I love blogs cause they bring to you new authors and books you don’t always see on book sites! Some of my favorite writers are from blogging events that I never would have found. Thank you!

  5. I would definitely be interested in reading this!

  6. Thanks for the opportunity. I’d love to read this book πŸ™‚

  7. This sounds like it would be a really good read! Thanks for the chance to win πŸ™‚

    susanaudrey33 at gmail dot com

  8. Sounds like a facinating read!
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  9. Good luck with your book! Scholastic is a great publisher. Make sure to check their guidelines, you may have to have an agent to submit. But, like I said, GOOD LUCK!

  10. I’ve been on cruises and read mysteries, so I think I’d enjoy it.

  11. i would love the read this book!
    thanks for the giveaway : )

  12. I’d be very interested to read this book–thanks!

  13. Thanks for the giveaway! πŸ™‚

  14. I definitely want to read Earth Won. I am going to follow this journey to the end my friend πŸ™‚ Thank you for participating in the Valentine fun πŸ™‚

  15. I would love to read this book. Thanks for the giveaway.

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    All content is copyrighted and may not be used in any form without proper credit and links. For purposes other than charity or education, printed materials require prior written consent. Disclaimer: Most books were provided free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.