Phases of the Moon

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 05 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

I was drawn to this book by it’s cool cover listen on Netgalley, and the description looked pretty promising, too. Soon after beginning this book, I found it to be about on a middle grade reader’s level. 
As I continued the book, there were many grammatical errors and a couple plot holes. For example, at one point in the book, some characters are talking when the main character hasn’t arrived yet, yet the main character has a line of dialogue with them, though he doesn’t arrive for the next three pages!
I felt that the characters had unrealistic emotions, were flat, and nothing drew me to like any of them, like a good book should. For example, when the main character and his friend are whisked away through a magic portal, they’re kinda just like, “I wonder where we are...” hardly amazed at the supernatural thing that just happened to them. 
There was a forced romance in the book I was not a fan of. Two characters just met and were together, dating, for about a month, and they had only just met, as I had said before. There was no relationship or character development between them, just BOOM-ROMANCE. And yes, the characters are only 14, so I’ll give them that, but the boy describing the girl as the one he’d love for eternity, though they’d have to be apart, was pushing everything too far. 
I felt the author overused some words and phrases like ‘he wondered aloud’ or ‘he said ominously’, so much that the author even used the phrases inappropriately. There were other out of place words I found also in the book that need to be exchanged with words that actually fit the meaning the author is looking for. 
The one thing I kind of enjoyed about the book was the potential for a good plot. The book never really took a boring side, which was good. Yes some things in the plot were a bit forced, like the unnecessary romance that added nothing to the story, but overall, I think a middle grade reader wouldn’t be bothered by the current plot holes and grammatical errors and forced plot, just because of the adventure plot.
I feel like the author could do so much more if he looks over his story and writes a second draft. Overall, I don’t think the story is ready for publishing, but, with a bit of work, it is an enjoyable story for middle grade readers.
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Thank you Netgalley and Smith Publicity for sending me the digital arc of this book.

Aaron Anderson is a ordinary boy whose life consists of hanging out with his best friend Jake and listening to his grandfather's stories. But his life changes forever when one day his grandfather goes missing and Aaron and Jake set out to find him. Soon Aaron learns that he is a folkteller, someone who has to collect and share stories to keep the dark shadow creatures at bay. The shadow people wants to destroy the folktellers along with the Folkteller's Guidebook which they have been after for ages. Suddenly Aaron has to fulfill his destiny and save his grandfather's legacy and the world itself from these sinister shadows while travelling through dimensions.

The premise of this book is very intriguing. It strongly based upon myths and folklore. While this book had loads of potential, most of it was wasted due to lack of proper writing and character development. Most of the book felt like info dumps which I understand is common for a first book but I feel that information could have been relayed in a different way so that it felt more natural. The characters and the relationships were not developed at all. I would have liked to know their inner conflicts, their though process, their mindset. I failed to connect to any of them or even understand their motivations and actions. We were given a lot of information without any explanations or backstory. The book would have been a hundred times better if only the writing style was a little different. However, the plot continues to intrigue me, so I would very much like to continue with the series and look forward to the second installment.
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I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The story was interesting and different from what I've read recently. Though, I felt this book lack in character development.

I think the problem was that I couldn't relate to any of the characters. I didn't actually like them. I could not care about them in the slightest.
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Finally got around to reading this. These characters were so relatable and loveable and the plot was so great. This story is set in the modern times but has a hint of fantasy to it which just made it even better! Aaron, Jake, and Wendy had moments of drama, danger, and preteen appropriate romance.
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I really enjoyed reading this! A wonderful story about mystery and magic. As this is the first in a series, I'll be interested in seeing what happens next!
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I tried. So hard. For some reason I couldn’t really get into the book. I don’t know if it’s the writing style or the characters but something is off that kept me from full enjoying the story.
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**** I was given a copy of this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ****


I love to give glowing reviews to books I have invested time and, more importantly, pieces of myself. I would especially love to gush and rave about each and every book I am gifted BUT that's not realistic. I dread giving less than stellar reviews when an author has graciously asked for my criticism of their hard work BUT while I am reticent to speak ill of the fruits of their labor and love, I also have to be honest so here we go.


The most obvious aspect of this book is its slightly sophomoric, repetitive and succinct writing style. It has an interesting premise but it feels forced to fit, crammed tightly into a middle grade mold when it could have easily been a much more robust YA fantasy. The character interactions were stilted, awkward and flat to boot. All of the characters suffered from an overabundance of genre cliches and an underdeveloped, nondiverse cast. This is especially noticeable with the female characters. It was extremely offputting because my young reader happens to be a strong, willful impressionable young lady and I prefer that she sees her gender (and by extension herself) depicted in capable, dynamic, fully developed, positive, diverse characterizations. Is that a lot to ask? I think not but sadly this 2d depiction of females is a common tropy trend that alienates and disregards the girls that, like most readers, are looking for something of themselves in everything they read. Am I being rough? Yes! After reading the synopsis I went into this fully prepared to fall in love and unfortunately I fell into dissapointment.

Now granted, I am most likely not the targeted demographic here BUT not only have I read MANY a gripping MG & younger end of YA books, I am always on the hunt to find interesting (yet age appropriate) novels to share with my precocious child. Sadly this isn't going to be one of them.
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A fun filled adventure for children. When Aaron's grandfather goes missing he must solve the mystery. Armed with his best friend and a grandfather clock that creates a portal between dimensions, Aaron fights Shadows and learns how to become a Storyteller. Although the writing style was easy and approachable, I found it a little under developed and repetitive. I'm hoping that future books in this series will be more polished.
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I think that I was the wrong audience for this book. It read too young for me and I didn't like the writing style. Perhaps for a younger reader.
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Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book!
It is a great story for the power of the words. 
We have Aaron who is a regular teenager, even a bit boring. He doesn't have a lot of friends, in fact only one--Jake. Everyday after school Aaron goes to his grandfather's house and they talk. But one day the house is unlocked and his Pap is missing. Aaron finds a strange note on the floor, what it should mean?
It is a great story for children showing the power and magic of telling stories and how they keep us happy and help us with the choices in our life.
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In brief this is an amazing book for children and for older people.

I have been reading teen and NA books lately, and I hadn't read a book in third person in ages so at the start it felt a little weird to me. This book is really well written though and even if it seems to be more dedicated to younger people it's really nice to read and does a great job on keeping you interested till the end. This is clearly the start of a longer story that was really well introduced in this book.
The characters are simple but really nice, as you can know how they feel you get to like them more and the relationships between them seem pretty real. This book has a lot of adventure, mistery, family and even a little of romance which is really sweet and innocent.
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The Folkteller shares a secret story that everyone should dare to read. Those who do will find that it’s a captivating adventure filled with mystery, fantasy, humor, young love, self-realization, and respectful nods to classic literature. They’ll also find themselves wanting to run to the bookstore as if it were Pap's house for the future stories that this one excitingly sets the table for.
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This is a very good fantasy book regardless of the age of the reader. It's fast paced, with a lot of world building and a great plot.
I hope to be able to read the next instalment soon.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC
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This book was soooooo good! I’m not sure why there has been bad reviews. It starts with this kid goes to his Paps house every day after school. Pap always tells him stories. One day when he gets there he realizes Pap is missing! There is a note in his handwriting with one word Grandfather. He runs home and tells his parents Pap is missing. His parents makes him promise that he won’t go back just in case the police needs to be called. So what does he do? He goes back with his best friend. This is such a wonderful book for children about the power of words and good vs evil. Highly recommend and thank you to NetGalley for allowing me to review this!
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So magical! This book was amazing to read and fun to try and figure out what would happen! Thank you netgalley for the free arc in exchange for an honest review!
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This was a really fun adventure. I loved reading it. The characters were well thought out and the plot was amazing.
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This book held my interest throughout.  The story is set in modern times but has a fantasy/sci-fi theme that was seamless and  believable. Aaron, Jake, and Wendy had moments of drama, danger, and preteen appropriate romance. I enjoyed the twists and turns the story took and was sad to see it end. There were a few annoying typos or missing words but overall I loved it!
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This books is more of a 1.5 stars.

Aaron, your typical average middle schooler, finds out his grandpa is a Storyteller: he has to fight evil beings who move like shadows by reading stories and protect them.
This book is soooo boring and white, there's the predictable red-head girl (hello read-head heroine trope!), the teenage characters (Aaron, Jake and Wendy) are way stereotypical in their portrayal and the story is just not compelling at all. It seems to me the author had a great idea for the plot and he just dumbed it down way hard.
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Book 1:  Phases of the Moon leads you through an unexpected adventure in a placeless dimension.  Just when your mind leads you to think the typical outcome of a situation, mysterious surprise erupts in the tale’s characters and their encounters.   You immediately connect with Aaron and experience his emotions as you travel with him through the Phases of the Moon.  You think you know the twists and turns of the tale but are left amazed at what you find.  This book nicely compliments folk telling with real life lessons and is a great escape from today’s craziness.  You will be hooked immediately regardless of age and find yourself wondering the outcome.
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Hey Guys!

Today, I wanted to switch up the pace and do a little fantasy review! We've been reviewing a lot of realistic fiction, and it's time to get back into the mythical amirite?

Phases of the Moon, is a new book by Josef Bastian about a mousy-haired middleschooler with a dark secret lurker in his blood: he is the next in a line of ancient Folktellers. Stories have the power to bring light into the world, as any reader knows, and Aaron is tasked with handling this responsibility through the dimensions.

Teaming up with his best friend Jake and Wendy, a mysterious redhead from a parallel world, they must finish their quest to take on the burden of Pop, an old Folkteller, and save the world from the mysterious shadows. Aaron must learn his trade and hide the mysterious Folkteller's Guidebook that gives him his power, all the while the shadows employ every wile and trick to stop him.

This is an adorable midgrade for the younger side. I know I would have loved a story like this when I was 7-8 ish. My only complaint is that its female characters are extremely one-dimensional, which is a trend I despise in fiction for younger kids. Spoiler alert: little girls love to read!

I would give this book a solid 4/5 and would recommend it for young fantasy lovers who are storytellers and readers alike.

Happy Reading!
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