Narrator: Barbara Goldie
Series: The Supernatural Pet Sitter #1
on 3 August 2017
Length: 4 hrs and 3 mins
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal
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Every animal can talk to you. You just have to know how to listen. Pepper Neely is better at this than most, especially because she is in charge of pet sitting all the Familiars in her neighborhood. A Familiar is a pet magically linked to a witch or warlock. As a gnome, Pepper is no stranger to spells and sorcery. She also knows that, despite their special name, Familiars aren't all that different from regular animals. They get anxious when separated from their people, so Pepper uses her special gnome powers to calm them down. She watches Cranky, the high-strung ferret, Frank, the laid-back parrot, King Arthur, the elderly tortoise, and many others. Then, something terrible begins happening to the Familiars. Someone is stealing their magic! It not only prevents Pepper from communicating with them, but breaks their magical connection with their people. When King Arthur's magic is stolen, his owner's powers stop working, too. In order to protect the animal's magic, Pepper decides to track down the culprit. With the help of her best friend, Luna, and her brother, Jax, Pepper fights to protect all of the special pets.
©2017 Diane Moat (P)2017 Diane Moat
This was a very enjoyable children’s book. Pepper is a great character. I love that she’s a gnome. It means that she doesn’t have magic herself other than her ability to calm and sometimes communicate with animals. Her family has friends all along the spectrum of characters: witches, warlock, werewolves, other gnomes, etc. She’s also not your typical tall, athletic heroine. She’s short, stout, and doesn’t fret over her looks. That’s my kind of hero!
There’s plenty of animals in this story as well. King Arthur was a favorite, being an elderly tortoise. Each critter has its own needs, not just for their species but as individuals. It’s horrible that someone is stealing the power of these animal familiars. Pepper is key in figuring this out since the magical community is initially worried it was some virus or magical affliction.
The friendship between Pepper and Luna is a good solid one even though they come from different parts of the magical community. Luna is from a family of witches and is in training to be one herself. A witch’s powers are supposed to be kept top secret and never to be revealed outside of the witching community. However, she and Pepper have been best friends for many years and Pepper may have inadvertently learned some small things about witchcraft. That’s going to cause some complications with parents all around!
Speaking of parents, I found Mrs. Pepper to be a rather strict parent at first. Later in the story, that’s explained as part of the Gnomish culture so I was OK with it. Pepper’s dad works in a local salt mine near their town of Ithaca, NY. He’s vital in keeping the mine running smoothly even if the non-magical folk have no idea of his importance. Pepper’s older brother Jax was also a favorite character. At first, he was just an annoying older brother but he plays a bigger role later one.
The mystery of the stolen familiar powers was pretty straight forward but our villain, once revealed, was a scary and potentially deadly foe. The ending is full of action and suspense as Pepper and companions have to outwit this antagonist. I was quite satisfied by how things turned out. There’s no cliff hangers but there’s plenty of room to explore another adventure with Pepper.
I received a free copy of this book.
The Narration: Barbara Goldie was perfect as Pepper. She has this great voice for this Gnomish kid who’s caught up in adult business. Goldie had distinct voices for all the characters and her male voices were believable, especially for Jax. I liked her voice for the villain as well. The pixie voice was quite well done too.