Author: Elizabeth Kirke
Narrator: Starla Huchton
Length: 14 hours and 34 minutes
Publisher: Elizabeth Kirke
Released: July 4, 2018
Genre: Young Adult; Fantasy
Jen Maddox is a few days into her summer study-abroad program and has loved every moment on her cruise ship turned college campus. Everyone tells her the experience will change her life, but none of them realize just how right they really are.
One night, Jen goes out on deck and encounters five other students. She knows Charlie from one of her classes, and he’s a funny, friendly, regular guy. Picture-perfect Dani and his gorgeous wife, Mariana, live right down the hall from Jen, and she has seen TS, who’s built like a truck, around the ship, and recognizes the cute but quiet Thomas as well.
Then Jen sees something that isn’t humanly possible. Jen would have thought that it was all a dream if not for the fact that Charlie, Dani, Mariana, TS, and Thomas are making every effort to cover it up. Suddenly, the five of them are everything but normal, and Jen is determined to figure out what they’re hiding.
When she does, her life really does change. Jen expected to spend her summer studying the cultures of Latin America; she never dreamed she’d learn about a magical culture instead.
But Jen’s childhood fantasy come true is about to turn into a nightmare; there’s something on the ship. Something dangerous. Suddenly, everyone on board is threatened by a creature that Jen never even believed existed. Jen and her new friends might be the only people who can stop it!
Now Jen has to learn everything she can about her new world before it kills her. And her friends. And maybe everyone on the entire ship.
Elizabeth Kirke lives with her husband, two young sons, a hound-mix, and two turtles. She wanted to be an author before she even knew what an author was. She used to say that she wanted to be an artist, but that was only because she was too young to write and had to tell stories with pictures instead. She hasn’t stopped writing since she learned how. It wasn’t long before she dreamed of becoming an author and couldn’t be happier now that that dream is a reality.
If she isn’t writing, she’s probably doing something involving books, baking, gardening, or yarn.
Like most slightly-nosy, avid readers, Elizabeth can’t resist trying to catch a peek at books she sees people reading when out in public to see if she can figure out what it is. While doing just that one day, she realized that it would probably be the coolest-thing-ever if she caught a complete stranger reading one of her books. That’s her new dream.
Since debuting her narration skills in 2009, Starla Huchton has lent her voice to many podcasts and audiobook productions. She has read both character parts and main narration for authors such as Tee Morris, Philippa Ballantine, and Lindsay Buroker, and her work spans across both fiction and non-fiction in multiple genres.
My mind reeled. He was soaking wet, it was obvious it wasn’t just from the rain. He fell into water that had to be well over fifty feet below us, and we were really moving, too. Even an Olympic swimmer couldn’t have kept up with us. Dani had fallen all the way down into the ocean and, not only had he not drowned, he’d gotten back on the ship. This was impossible. Dani vaulted easily over the railing and landed on the deck.
If you saw something happen that quite frankly seemed impossible, would you believe your eyes? Would you question what you saw or ignore it and have your mind make up scenarios to what really occurred? For Jen Maddox, a boy from a class on the ship falls off of a moving ship into water fifty feet below and bounces back up like no big deal. How would you react to something like that? Kirke captivates the audience with intrigue, action and a world of fantasy elements. What you think that you know about werewolves, witches, elements of nature, and vampires…all stories that are told at bedtime and in movies, but the real deal may just be closer than we think.
Jen is coasting through her classwork on a ship and enjoys spending her time out on the deck. Late at night, when she just needs some air from the stuffiness of her room, in the pouring rain…she thinks that she must be crazy to go out. To her disbelief, others are out on deck. She thinks that they are asking for a death wish, being on the railing and when that boy goes overboard, they all try to cover it up! Jen refuses to believe that it is just weariness—she knows what she saw and she is determined to get answers—especially once the boy jumps back onto the ship like it wasn’t something that could have just killed him. These students, there is something secretive and different about them. Not one to ignore her curiosity, she won’t stop prodding them until she gets answers. Who are they? What are they? Those answers put her in danger, especially when they tell her that there is a vampire on the ship who is illegally feeding from her schoolmates on the ship. Learning a few things about herself along the way, she is determined to go to lengths to save these people, even if she doesn’t know how. Can she help them in any way or is she completely useless and out of her element?
Kirke has one incredible first installment. This story has superb character development, an interesting take on fantasy, and is chalked full of creativity. Since this review is complimenting the audiobook, it appears that the story is well-written from the voice relay. Huchton’s narration is impeccable and enjoyable. The character vocalizations are all different and her relay is easy to follow. If you are a reader of young adult and fantasy, you may want to pick up this first installment. Since this is the first in the More Than Magic series, readers can simply jump right in. Fair warning though, you may find yourself filling your bookshelves or electronic devices with more from this series and/or author.
An audiobook was provided to Turning Another Page by Audiobookworm Promotions and in no way affects the honesty of this review. We provide a five-star rating to Semester Aboard by Elizabeth Kirke.
- Height: 5’ 4” and slim
- Eyes: Blue
- Hair: Brown
- Favorite Food: Pizza
- Favorite Movie: Twilight
- Birthday: June 17
- Born: Oregon
- Occupation: College student
In this book: Jen thinks the only “magical” thing about her summer on a cruise will be the cruise itself, little does she know, some of her new friends are quite a bit more magical. In fact, they aren’t even human. Learning about magic seems like a dream to Jen, but it quickly turns into a nightmare; something is on the ship with them. Something dangerous. Now, the lives of Jen, her new friends, and everyone on the entire ship are threatened by a creature Jen never even believed existed. And it’s up to Jen to stop it.
- Height: 5’ 8” and borderline too thin
- Eyes: Green
- Hair: Brown
- Favorite Food: Teppanyaki
- Favorite Movie: Journey to the Center of the Earth (the original)
- Birthday: October 8
- Born: New York
- Occupation: Special Agent with the Magical Enforcement and Secrecy (MES) agency
In this book: Taking time off for college is encouraged by MES, although Thomas and his friends are pushing the limits by signing up for a college cruise. Nevertheless, he’s ready for a fun summer of cruising and a three-month break from his job as the Resident Magic Coordinator with MES. In spite of all of his experience welcoming magical beings to town, he’s never seen anything like Jen. He’s never felt this way about anyone either. But, when a dangerous magic sneaks aboard the ship, Thomas knows it’s his duty as a Special Agent to stop it, and the lives of everyone on the ship may depend on what he can, or can’t, do.
- Height: 5’ 6” and stocky
- Eyes: Red
- Hair: Red, orange, and yellow
- Favorite Food: Anything spicy
- Favorite Movie: The Shop Around the Corner
- Birthday: June 7 (shared with twin sister, Callie)
- Born: Arizona
- Occupation: MES Agent, Magic-Owned Business Liaison Department
In this book: Charlie is less than thrilled to spend a summer surrounded by water; he’s out of his element, literally. But, as long as the ship doesn’t sink, he supposes he can give it a whirl. With the power of fire at his beck and call, he makes a powerful ally for Jen and the others. But, if he loses control, he could sink the very ship they’re trying to save…
- Height: 6’3” and broad
- Eyes: Dark brown
- Hair: brown
- Favorite Food: Meat
- Favorite Movie: The Shining
- Birthday: February 10 (shared with four siblings)
- Born: Ireland
- Occupation: MES Senior Field Agent
In this book: The only downsides to spending the summer on a ship, as far as TS is concerned, are his seasickness and monthly problem. A potion for the seasickness is easy enough. As for his other issue… well, he’ll just have to spend full moons in his cabin. Of course, it’s also annoying to speak seven languages and find yourself in a country that doesn’t speak any of them. For a Senior Field Agent, thinking on his toes is exactly what TS excels at. Handling a rogue magic on board should be a piece of cake. Of course, he’s also used to having back-up, weapons, and a wider field to work in.
- Height: 6’ 4” and lithe
- Eyes: Blue
- Hair: Blue
- Favorite Food: His mother’s cooking, not that he’d admit it
- Favorite Movie: The cheesier the better
- Birthday: November 14
- Born: Off the coast of Greece
- Occupation: MES Special Agent, Secrecy Breach Cover-Ups
In this book: Prank-loving Dani was, naturally, the mastermind behind pulling some MES strings to get an all expenses paid vacation. The icing on the cake is being on a ship. Had he known the danger lurking, however, he would’ve taken a rain check. Dani’s no stranger to threats on his life, but he prefers to face them without the people he loves along for the ride.
- Height: 5’ 10” or 7’2”
- Eyes: Blue
- Hair: Blonde or Green
- Favorite Food: Fish
- Favorite Movie: The Little Mermaid
- Birthday: April 2
- Born: Maine
- Occupation: MES Intern
In this book: Mariana is eager to go along on a cruise with her friends, even if her bestie couldn’t make it. She’s ready for sun, sand, and (mostly) the depths of the ocean. There’s plenty of exploring to do with Dani by her side. But take her out of the water, and she’s not nearly experienced enough to take on the creature hunting them. Mariana feels more like a liability than a future MES agent. Nevertheless, she’s ready to do whatever it takes to defend herself and her friends.
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