#SpooktasticReads Audiobook Review | “The #Supernatural Pet Sitter” by Diane Moat (narrated by Barbara Goldie) A #MiddleGrade #paranormal tale of friendship between a gnome & a witch!

Posted Wednesday, 25 October, 2017 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Digital Audiobook by: I am a blog tour hostess with Audiobookworm Promotions wherein I have the opportunity to receive audiobooks for review or adoption (reviews outside of organised blog tours) and host guest features on behalf of authors and narrators alike. I have been hosting for nearly a year now and I appreciate the diversity of genre selections and styles of stories to choose from whilst I navigate the audiobook realms!

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “The Supernatural Pet Sitter” via Audiobookworm Promotions in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why this particular audiobook interested me:

I happen to have an affirmative appreciation for stories of the Paranormal & of characters who have a whimsical attachment to the supernatural realms! This is hinted at by how much I loved the first story within the Tipsy Fairy Tales (and each story to follow in the series!) inasmuch as how keen I was on the first Halfway Witchy novel! Reading these kinds of stories in the *Autumn!* is a great joy of mine – as I used to pick up a different novel of the Ghost Harrison series by Heather Graham – something I need to return back to doing in the forthcoming years, as her series has taken on a life of it’s own since I first discovered it eight years ago! Ha! 

Though seriously – whether it’s for adults or children, I like seeking out wicked good stories which encourage the fantastical elements of story-telling – where we can disappear inside a magically spun world where characters and creatures populate a story with elements of the paranormal!

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Notation on Cover Art: The creepiest part of the ‘cover art’ is how I missed something quite critical about the design of it – which is why I’m sharing the larger scale version of the cover for my readers so they can see what I accidentally ‘missed’ when viewing this in a smaller edition! However, it is the cover art for the second novel in the series ‘The Supernatural Pet Sitter: The Curse’ where I think the illustrator truly tapped into the essence & likeness of the lead character, Pepper! I liked her definition in the second cover a bit more than this first rendition – however, the close affection she has for her familiar charges is shining through as is the sinister danger lurking around them!

#SpooktasticReads Audiobook Review | “The #Supernatural Pet Sitter” by Diane Moat (narrated by Barbara Goldie) A #MiddleGrade #paranormal tale of friendship between a gnome & a witch!The Supernatural Pet Sitter
Subtitle: The Magic Thief
by Diane Moat
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Lisa Plokker
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Barbara Goldie

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. Pepper can sense that the tortoise is very scared.

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.

Genres: Middle Grade, Middle Grade Fantasy, Urban Fantasy

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing


Published by Self Published

on 3rd August, 2017

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 4 hours, 3 minutes (Unabridged)

Self Published Audiobook

The Magic Thief series:

The Supernatural Pet Sitter: The Magic Thief (Book One)

The Supernatural Pet Sitter: The Curse (Book Two) (Synopsis)

Formats Available: Paperback and Audiobook

About Diane Moat

Diane Moat

Diane Moat lives in Tennessee and works as a nurse and legal professional. When not at work, she fosters Chihuahuas. Her six rescues inspired her to write The Supernatural Pet Sitter children’s series, which features a gnome who can communicate with animals.

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my review of the supernatural pet sitter:

Pepper is a knome who has a most unusual after school job: she’s a pet sitter for the supernatural world! She has to work out how to approach each animal with the right kind of care they deserve. We’re first introduced to her skills as a sitter when she came to visit Cranky (the ferret) who was not as brave as other familiars – the author kept concurrent with our world by the use of the ‘thundershirt’ for animals who need extra comfort & protection against their anxieties. The interesting bit about her life is how she isn’t helping the regular ‘pets’ you would associate with being kept by ‘witches’ – no, she’s into the more exotic animals who might need an adaptive approach to watching over them!

As we’re getting acquainted with this world – the familiars Pepper is sitting for are slowly starting to ‘lose’ their magic and thereby, putting their owners in jeopardy by default. Familiars and their witches or warlocks share a symbiotic connection – meaning, if one was affected, the other would soon follow. In this regard, the more magic to start disappearing, the more Pepper’s community was being placed in more danger than they could foresee possible!

Pepper’s parents are worried over their daughter’s activities – if by continuing to sit for the pets, she would run into something she could not handle; magically speaking! For a family of gnomes, they all stood out in different ways – Pepper had this innate gift for understanding her charges whereas her parents re-set the standard for what a gnome family could accomplish. Theirs was a species with firm traditions and expectations but Pepper’s family didn’t want to be like the rest of their kind. Especially in regard to how Pepper’s continued influence in the world of witches goes directly against their ‘gnome nature’ as gnomes had a snobbish side to their behaviours. They would readily dismiss people if they felt they were either beneath them or not worth their while; not good attributes to have but they were open enough to admit their faults (not that they viewed this as a ‘fault’).

Pepper recruited her friend Luna to aide her ‘unofficial’ enquiries into the alarming happenings – as Luna was a young witch still in the midst of her training, giving her an advantage for having knowledge Pepper needed. Pepper was entrusting her friend to give her insight into what was causing the distress for her familiars, because first and foremost – the animals’ welfare was Pepper’s first priority. As Pepper’s friendship with Luna grows, she realises she has to be ever vigilant and guarded to keep her friend’s secret about being a ‘witch’ as there were those in her life which would never accept the friendship.

Pepper’s Dad had a firm presence in the gnome community despite the fact the other half of her family lived in a more affluent area of her town. She was aware of the focus on her family and didn’t want to upset the apple cart so to speak – either through her actions or the misconceptions on her behalf if she wasn’t careful to watch what she said.

We’re treated to knowing more about how Luna and Pepper met – (in school) whilst finding out how long Pepper has been in control of her ‘powers’ as a gnome. Even at a young age, Pepper and Luna formed a bond of true friendship as they both trusted each other without any doubts about their loyalty. Pepper had to resolve Luna would outgrow her as the main difference between Luna and Pepper is not just the fact they were different species but the two girls would ‘level out’ at different heights. Along the way, Pepper gathered the gist from her parents it was better if she didn’t let on how much she trusted Luna to them because they would not understand why Luna was important to keep in her life.

The two girls start to theorise why someone would want to kidnap familiar magic – as what would be the purpose of affecting the witch world on such a wide scale? It was a backdoor way of doing it too – by going through the familiars, but as Luna theorised, it would have devastating effects which would be far reaching. As Luna goes to investigate if Cranky the ferret was fairing well – Pepper found she could not have entered the house if Luna hadn’t been there! There is a clever moment of how a magical version of a security system is used to safeguard Cranky’s residence! I liked how inventive this service was being used and how clever the girls’ were to circumvent it. Their timing was apt, as something wicked was happening at this residence and Cranky had more reasons to feel anxious than previously only being put off by the impending storm!

Jax wasn’t a very sympathetic brother – Pepper tried to enlist him to defend her and Luna on their return home but found he could be indifferent to her when he wanted to be. Needless, Pepper kept an eye out for things she could not explain, hoping the worst of what was happening might not become more than what she could handle by herself. Shortly thereafter, Pepper had a moment of curious enlightenment about how her powers and Luna’s could be merged together – it was a small glimpse of how witches and gnomes could work together but the startling part about this discovery is how Pepper could not understand how it was even possible!

I laughed into a smile when Pepper explained why ‘gym’ put her in a funky mood!

I love how Pepper’s first connections with familiars allows her to see a reel of memories from the familiar themself as much as keen insight into their distinctive personalities – including how they view their own character traits! The interesting bit is how sometimes Pepper was able to gain information she was surprised she was being inclusive of knowing as it was personal to the owners!

King Arthur, the tortoise was one of my favourite familiars – seeing him so withdrawn by his leafy greens was quite disheartening! It was during her visit to check on him (with her mother) where she discovered another gift of hers which had laid dormant until now – she had the gift of premonition and/or precognitive visions – whichever way you interpret it, she had a unique gift which worried her parents. Her mother had been with her due to the increasing threat of danger to both gnomes and witches – as what effected one of them, they all could be pulled into the fray.

Pepper and Luna wanted to be more pro-active in helping the adults (both gnome and witch) with the pending fight to stop the magic stealing, however, they were both aware of how their parents wanted to keep them safe at home. They were both being kept purposefully out of harm’s way even though to them, (by how they saw things) it was preventing them from growing in their own adaptive powers of being able to contribute something more than anxiety and fear.

I think the hardest part of the changes in the familiars behaviour patterns is how despondent they had become after their ‘magic’ was taken. It was almost as if the spirit of who they were was also displaced – they simply were an empty version of themselves, as if without the magic, they could not be the same as they once were unless the magic was restored. This was even harder on Pepper, whose through her repeat visits she started to notice this herself.

Gnomes love the underground world found through caves – it is a natural habitat for them, which is why Pepper and her family retreated below ground once the concern for her welfare and the witches rose to the extreme. There were a few unexpected surprises awaiting Pepper and Luna before the gnomes had to safeguard themselves for what was ‘brewing’ above ground. The back-stories involving the gnomes was fascinating because it was well-thought out as much as the parental oversight threading throughout the story-line where life lessons could merge into the Fantasy elements wherein younger readers could draw out the tangible purpose behind the supernatural overtures.

There is a disconnection a bit in the scope of the narrative when Pepper’s family goes underground – part of me thinks it’s because this is setting up something coming up next in the series – of why the underground section of a gnome’s life is important to forthcoming installments. A part of me was getting ‘lost in the momentum’ of the established story for the sake of learning more of ‘gnome culture, tradition and work ethic’ as Pepper’s family made their way through the cave. At the end of this excursion another creature is introduced which did not have an established place in the setting nor the story-line as well: werewolves.

I missed the witches, to be honest! Instead of shifting between Pepper and Luna as each girl moved forward with their story-lines, we’re only privy to Pepper’s point of view. I realise this is a series rooted on Pepper’s journey, however, Luna was such a strong part of the first two hours of the story, I was feeling a bit short-changed when Luna and the witches disappeared! This might have felt like a shorter ‘break’ in the novel, but in the audiobook it felt like an eternity! If it weren’t for habit of text messaging being a form of communication between Pepper and Luna, we’d have felt truly disconnected! This is interesting to mention because there was one point where I felt the insertion of the ‘texts’ didn’t congeal well with the pacing but now, at this latter junction without the ‘texts’ themselves I missed the cohesive fusion of the dual focus of the characters!

I also felt the build-up to the climax was not established as well as the opening bridge – at the 1 hour and 46 minute mark I was questioning how we ‘arrived here’ because the entire focus thus far afield (prior to the spelunking section!) was sorting out who was stealing the magic of the familiars! It was truly only setting up the pace of hunting down a supernatural connection to why ‘magic’ was being taken out of the world – but then, all of a sudden I felt there was a ‘shift in perspective’ and ‘of purpose’. For me, I didn’t think the first half and the second half were joined as well as I would have preferred to have seen developed. My attention waned as I felt there were aspects of the last chapters which were muddling my joy of the first half. To best honest, I simply lost interest in the novel at this point because there were too many additions to the flow of where the story originated.

Fly in the Ointment: World-building & Character Development

Despite the elements of the story I enjoyed listening unravel, there were other moments where I felt the author could work on – such as some of the world-building aspects were spilt between this being an ‘Urban Fantasy’ where the Fantasy elements and our Contemporary 21st Century world were ‘blended’ well to being at odds with each other – I felt this could nearly have passed for a regular Contemporary story-line as it was ‘too predictable’ in certain aspects rather than remaining ‘fantastical’.

Some of the choices in character expression (especially on Pepper’s behalf) were a bit short-changing of her personality – a few too many quick chirping of OMG! and other little things that came off ‘unnatural’ – although, I defer this to the fact I was listening to the audiobook – it could have been due to the narrator’s interpretation of how to speak the words rather than the intentional inclusions on behalf of the writer. I can only go by how I felt as I listened to the audio version.

I had wished this felt fuller somehow – as there were moments of true clarity – of where you could fully realise yourself in Pepper’s life, but then, there were undeveloped places where things did not feel as fleshed out as they could have been. I am hoping as the series progresses both the world and the characters are better developed. One area that held the most promise is when Pepper’s family went underground – it was weird, because when the writer took us below the surface of this world, her imagination expanded exponentially! I think maybe she spent more time developing the back-story on the gnomes moreso than the community where they lived above ground.

On the writing style of Diane Moat

One thing I clued into quite quickly – is there is something quite mysteriously unique about how this story and the Halfway Witchy series (by Terry Maggert) are both set in upstate New York! Perhaps this is the new ‘go to’ locale for paranormal activity? It used to be certain portions of the Southeast and Northeast were known for their paranormally inclined areas but I am feeling – if upstate New York is being a setting of choice by two Children’s Lit authors, perhaps there is something to it? Here, we are in Ithaca, New York – a city known for green living and a stronghold of alternative living principles.

I appreciated seeing both Pepper’s and Luna’s parents were actively involved in their daughter’s personal affairs; even if they hadn’t quite realised the extent of how their friendship might change their lives. Too often parents and guardians are not equally represented in both Middle Grade and Young Adult fiction – where the young persons are seen more to be ‘of the world’ on their own terms than being ‘under the care & guidance’ of adults.

There were aspects of this story which I questioned being labelled ‘Young Adult’ as to me, this felt more ‘Middle Grade’ as it has an innocence about it which is not generally in YA. The maturity of the characters is younger in both experiences and the ways in which they carry themselves, too. I was able to cross-compare this Paranormal YA with the Halfway Witchy series – as both series are set in a Contemporary world with Supernatural attributes and overtures – in this, if you listen to both of the series first installments, you will easily see the key differences between Pepper and Carli. Therefore, I re-classified this on my blog as being for Juvenile Fiction fans rather than YA. This was confusing me on another front: it’s labelled as ‘Middle Grade’ in some places and YA in others? I suppose it’s open to reader preferences and interpretation but for me, I’d give this to a Middle Grade reader, as I think most young adult readers might find it a little absent of what they’d hope to find inside it. Meaning, there is a transition period as a reader – from Juvenile Literature into Young Adult.

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specifically in regards to the audiobook:

As I am relatively new to reviewing audiobooks and listening to them with a greater frequency than of the past, I am appreciative of Ms Jess providing a cursory outline of how best to articulate my listening hours on behalf of this audiobook and the others I shall be blogging about or reviewing in future. I’ve modified the suggestions to what I felt were pertinent to respond too on my own behalf as well as keeping to the questions I felt were relevant to share.

About Barbara Goldie

Barbara Goldie

Barbara Goldie grew up in Northern Kentucky, and then moved to Texas for several years, before deciding to pursue her dreams and follow her heart to the other side of this great planet we call Earth! Now living in Auckland, New Zealand, she is married to her soulmate and is loving her new life. Already a very devoted full-time voice actress, she has just recently started adding audiobooks to her resume of voiceover projects.

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Listening Habit:

I coloured inside my Madala colouring book which Mum gifted to me when she realised I wanted to colour certain patterns which would have a two-fold purpose whilst I was listening to audiobooks: I could use the patterns as mediative Zen and the patterns would give me a healthy break from the illustrations & quotations of my other colouring books. In order words, sometimes it’s nice to ‘switch-up’ what your colouring as you listen!

Number of Narrators:

There is only one attached to this audiobook – her voice fits well with the youthfulness of the story, too. She quirkly makes up the difference of a full cast by altering the tone and inflections of her dialogue sequences. My opinion of this vacillated as I listened to the audiobook – I went from finding a few flaws in her performance to appreciating her take on the narration. The only part which didn’t alter in my mind was how she approached the ‘straight narration bits’ which I felt were her strength.

Number of Times I’ve heard the Narrator(s):

This is the first time I’ve listened to a story by Barbara Goldie.

Regards to the Narrator’s Individual Character performances:

Pepper – she had a very high pitched voice, which I think was being used to compensate for her youthful age – however, there were moments where I enjoyed listening to the ‘narrative’ sequences moreso than the ‘dialogue’ sections as I understood Pepper better when I could just listen to Ms Goldie talking about her life rather than voicing her directly. Other times, I felt she caught the essence of Pepper but overall – I wasn’t sure if I was truly convinced she was the right ‘fit’ for bringing Pepper to life. The one thing I wasn’t impressed by were her personal expressions – she either sounded too superficial or too immature – which was ironic, as she is one incredible gnome!

Luna – at first I thought this ‘Luna’ might be too similar to the ‘Luna’ in the Harry Potter series until I realised there were enough differences to set them apart. However, if your familiar with the other ‘Luna’ you will instantly warm to the ‘Luna’ of this series! She held within her a certain maturity Pepper was still growing into having herself. I liked how Luna was approached – of showing how vulnerable a young witch can be but also how resourceful.

Pepper’s parents – Whenever I heard Pepper’s Mom, I felt I was listening to Pepper’s Dad – or at least another masculine character. She didn’t feel like a ‘mother’ as much as perhaps an Uncle? It was strange – as the female characters didn’t come off as naturally as the male counterparts. The best moment for Pepper’s Mom was when she was consoling Pepper after seeing King Arthur for the first time when his magic was gone.

Mr O’ Brien – King Arthur’s warlock seemed very natural to me, even moreso than Pepper’s Dad. Jax, her brother sounded like your typical infuriating brother who likes to irritate his sister, but Mr O’ Brien had a humbling voice.

How the Novel sounded to me as it was being Read: (theatrical or narrative)

Definitely narrative – although there were moments where I thought Ms Goldie was performing this like a staged play, for the most part, I thought it was more narrative than theatrical.

Regards to Articulation & Performance of different sections of the novel:

During the narration sections – Ms Goldie’s strength shines. There were moments where she was altering her voice between characters where I felt she might have intoned the characters a bit too young for their roles but she definitely had a winning pacing to her narration. You could pick up all the words and understand the continuity of the story as it unfolded by how she purposefully staid true to how the story was written; from what I could gather by her voice performance.

There were a few issues with a faster acceleration of dictation – where I felt maybe she could have improved a few sections in earlier chapters – but I overlooked this as there were segues of spoken dialogue between Pepper and the other characters. It fixed itself in the end, where she was more relaxed as the performance continued.

Notes on the Quality of Sound & the Background Ambiance:

I didn’t detect anything abnormal in the background or in the sound – there wasn’t anything interfering with how you listened to the book.

Preference after listening to re-Listen or pick up the book in Print?

There is part of me where I felt I might have preferred to have the print book on hand whilst I was listening to the story. It comes from the fact I readily read a lot of Middle Grade and Young Adult novels vs listening to them in audiobook (except of course for the Halfway Witchy series). This audiobook left me contemplating if some narrators for these genres might not fully convince me of continuing ot listen to them as I sometimes think my own imagination of inventing the background of the story might be a personal preference than opting to listening to them.

In closing, would I seek out another (narrator) audiobook?

Definitely ‘one the fence’ about this as I looked at the narrator’s performances and wasn’t sure if there was another story which would be a good ‘fit for me’ to seek out. She tends to narrate stories outside the scope of what I prefer to read – especially in regards to Romances. Therefore, I’ll mark this as a ‘wait and see’ narrator rather than one I’d actively look forward to listening to again. Unfortunately I just wasn’t completely ‘won over’ by the character performances – I preferred her narrative dictation instead.

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 This blog tour is courtesy of Audiobookworm Promotions:

Audiobookworm Promotions Event Host badge provided by Audiobookworm Promotions

Whilst participating on:

The Supernatural Pet Sitter blog tour hosted by Audiobookworm PromotionsI do apologise this review was meant to run during the blog tour itself – however, this was during my unexpected ‘hiatus’ from blogging and the online bookish community I love participating inside – as I did not mark my return until October was nearly dawning – as you can see throughout the archive for October, I’ve been one busy little bee getting her hive of activity back into regular action again! lol I decided to pull this review into my #SpooktasticReads celebration whilst enjoying the paranormal aspects closer to Halloween! This is my favourite time of the year – it kicks off three solid months of holiday delight! Blessed to be able to listen to this story during the Season it’s celebrating at it’s heart!

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “The Supernatural Pet Sitter”, book synopsis, author & narrator biographies, photographs of Diane Moat and Barbara Goldie as well as the Audiobookworm Promotions badge and the audiobook tour badge were all provided by Audiobookworm Promotions and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Audiobook Review Banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Wednesday, 25 October, 2017 by jorielov in Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), Brothers and Sisters, Childhood Friendship, Children's Literature, Coming-Of Age, Content Note, Earthen Magic, Familiars, Family Drama, Family Life, Fantasy Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, Good vs. Evil, Gothic Literature, Gothic Mystery, Indie Author, Juvenile Fiction, Life Shift, Middle Grade Novel, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Parapsychological Gifts, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Self-Published Author, Siblings, Small Towne Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction, Superstitions & Old World Beliefs, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Telepaths & Telepathy, Witches and Warlocks

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