More than Magic: Semester Aboard

Rated 4.61/5 based on 36 reviews
Jen is looking forward to spending an entire summer studying abroad on a cruise ship and she knows the experience will change her life. Then she sees something she wasn't supposed to see, something she can't explain. Jen finds herself thrust into a world she never knew existed and her life will change more than she imagined. That is, if she can survive the dangers lurking on the ship. More

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Published by Anchor Group
Words: 152,800
Language: English
ISBN: 9781465972330
About Elizabeth Kirke

Elizabeth Kirke has always loved writing and the ocean. It was inevitable that she'd combine the two! When she isn't writing or staring at the ocean, she's reading, baking, or crafting!

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More than Magic: Semester Aboard
Jen is looking forward to spending an entire summer studying abroad on a cruise ship and she knows the experience will change her life. Then she sees something she wasn't supposed to see, something she can't explain. Jen finds herself thrust into a world she never knew existed and her life will change more than she imagined. That is, if she can survive the dangers lurking on the ship

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Reviews

Review by: Lynn Shaw on April 09, 2014 :
A friend of mine introduced me to this series and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. Having recently jumped on the YA band wagon I found this to be a great starting point.

Our main character, Jen accidently sees something that she can't explain and in that brief moment her entire world changes. Jen discovers that there is a world of magic out there and she is a part of it. Through the help of her new friends Thomas, TS, Danio, Char and Marianna, Jen is rediscovering herself, learning to be a witch and trying to save the ship from vampires. There is even a new budding romance on the horizon for her.

The book was chopped full of action and was fast paced. A definite page turner. I immediately purchased the 2nd book in the series, Snow Bound, upon finishing. I look forward to following this author and seeing what is next for these characters.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Kypris Cytherea on Dec. 03, 2012 : (no rating)
I was given More than Magic: Semester Aboard by Elizabeth Kirke as a gift to read and I was pleasantly surprised, I am not sure what I expected when I started, but after chapter one I was hooked. As character rolls began to unfold, I quickly found myself connecting and loving each and every one for different reasons. I love the chemistry between the group as a whole and the individual characters. Jen finds out that there is so much more in store for her as she fumbles through her new life with the help of some amazing friends and a sweet and handsome love interest. I love the expressions each of the water/fire elementals Dani and Char use such as Splashy and Toasty or something as simple as an adorable dog head tilt and for TS. Mariana has a sweet innocents about her that I think fits her perfectly. I also love that Jen comes into a new life and a new world, but she doesn’t know everything off the bat, she asks so many questions and screws things up when she’s in a pinch and yet her friends understand and try to help her through… reminded me that there are still many human attributes to them. This book has everything… suspense, drama, romance and bonds stronger than blood. It’s hard to pick a favorite character for me as they all have their charm when relaxed they all interact as family should, but under pressure they change and take care of business. Elizabeth Kirke has done an outstanding job capturing real emotion in her book keeping us as the readers on the edge of our seat and hanging on to every word. I can’t wait to read more about Tom’s stolen kiss on the deck or what new skills Jen learns and what new adventures await the MES team. A great young adult book to curl up with and read, but make sure you clear your schedule because you won’t want to put it down. If you haven’t read it yet, I strongly recommend More than Magic: Semester Aboard. I can’t wait until December 2012 when book two, More than Magic: Snow Bound hits the shelves!
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Andrea Coventry on Nov. 30, 2012 :
I was given the opportunity to read this book as a part of a book review club. I am so glad I had the chance! Yes, this book is another epic tale in which a girl comes of age, only to find out that she has special powers. Yes, it is another book in which a group of paranormal beings get together to fight off the evil ones. It is also another book that you should just go ahead and buy and enjoy.

First, I love the idea of spending a semester on a ship, traveling around the world, while also taking college courses. Talk about life experience! There is just something romantic about traveling and meeting new people.

Second, I love the relationships between the characters. They are all multifaceted and true to life. I have known people like them in real life, except, of course, for their paranormal powers. Jen doesn't randomly wake up one day with her powers; she has to study and learn how to use them. There is still a lot that she doesn't know. The reader is taken along for the ride, learning all about this supernatural world that exists within our own. The story unfolds in what feels like real time, which I also appreciated.

I have heard that there is a sequel in the works, and I can't wait to read it!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Andrea Coventry on Nov. 30, 2012 :
I was given the opportunity to read this book as a part of a book review club. I am so glad I had the chance! Yes, this book is another epic tale in which a girl comes of age, only to find out that she has special powers. Yes, it is another book in which a group of paranormal beings get together to fight off the evil ones. It is also another book that you should just go ahead and buy and enjoy.

First, I love the idea of spending a semester on a ship, traveling around the world, while also taking college courses. Talk about life experience! There is just something romantic about traveling and meeting new people.

Second, I love the relationships between the characters. They are all multifaceted and true to life. I have known people like them in real life, except, of course, for their paranormal powers. Jen doesn't randomly wake up one day with her powers; she has to study and learn how to use them. There is still a lot that she doesn't know. The reader is taken along for the ride, learning all about this supernatural world that exists within our own. The story unfolds in what feels like real time, which I also appreciated.

I have heard that there is a sequel in the works, and I can't wait to read it!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: jovhanna caltzontzi on Nov. 29, 2012 :
Wow this book was such a fun read, I love how the story unfolded. What I love more is how the author wrote the story and made each character a key part equally no character was more than the other. I just love love love this book so exciting and fun. Also a completely new tail of magic I never read before I love each and ever character especially Dani and Charlie I just had a soft spot for them but I love them all. I hope that their is a sequel soon because the author left me wanting to know more of the characters and there next adventure. I give this book five stars just because it a fun, fantastic read that I want more of :)
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: m Williams on Nov. 26, 2012 :
How many great things can I say about this book?!? It took me a few pages to get into it, but I was sucked in! The author did a great job with the character development, and there were a lot of characters to deal with! As the story progressed, I got to learn more and more about each person: their "gifts" and how they use them. There was a sense of mystery in this book and the fight scenes were well played. As with the main character of this story, Jenn, she was very interesting as well as identifiable. There was magic, magic and more magic on a voyage on a "ship", which fits the title. I cannot wait to read the next book because the cliff hanger left me wanting more to sink my teeth into!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: paperrdolls on Nov. 26, 2012 :
Ive never wanted to go on a cruise so much in my life! Not because i wanted to run into magics and discover than i too am magic.. However how awesome would that be!! Too bad im too "old" .. Kirke really made it sound like a wonderful adventure..

More than magic takes a look at a floating college that happens to have a group of magical government agents.. A fire elemental, water elemental, werewolf, Mermaid and a used to be wizard.. They befriend our narrator Jen.. And good thing too because Jen is a witch! She didnt know she was magic until a series of events made it clear to the group of magics she was a witch and then they let her in on her secret.. They teach Jen how to do some magic (not very much magic at all) and what it means to be magic.. The spells come in somewhat handy while they are floating along.. Everyone on board the ship is getting sick and after Tom (our used to be wizard) notices some bite marks on one of Jens friends he immediately knows theres a rouge vamp on the loose illegally drinking from the passengers.. The team of magics all work together to try to bring this sucker down and they get a bit more than they bargained for..

They travel all around and have all sorts of magical beings.. The friendships they all shared made me soo envious! i need a group of friends like that.. what i think ive got some! Although theres one thing about the friendships that bothered me.. all the damn secrets they kept from Jen.. They should have a pamphlet "So your Magic".. Oh and the not teaching the girl enough magic.. seriously there was time in between fighting vamps to teach her more than warming herself.. night vision and making sparks just saying! plus why didnt they like get her a magical tutor for after the semester.. how is she supposed to learn this one her own!! Ahh maybe the second book will answer that for me..
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Missi Preston on Nov. 25, 2012 :
I read this book in one sitting!!!! I absolutely loved this book. It is well written and all of the characters are very well rounded and completely lovable. Elizabeth Kirke is a brilliant story teller who has woven magic in a book about magic. I love the interaction of all the main characters and the supporting players are just right. I have fallen in love with this writer and am anxiously awaiting the sequel to this book so I can be with some wonderful friends again!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Missi Preston on Nov. 25, 2012 : (no rating)
I read this book in one sitting!!!! I absolutely loved this book. It is well written and all of the characters are very well rounded and completely lovable. Elizabeth Kirke is a brilliant story teller who has woven magic in a book about magic. I love the interaction of all the main characters and the supporting players are just right. I have fallen in love with this writer and am anxiously awaiting the sequel to this book so I can be with some wonderful friends again!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Cara Crabtree on Nov. 24, 2012 :
Summary: College aboard a cruise ship, who wouldn't want to do that? Jen is doing a semester aboard and abroad. She is excited for this trip of a lifetime that takes her to several different countries. On a night she couldn't sleep, she wanders on to the deck of a ship. Then she sees someone pushed off the railing of the ship. Did she just see that? Then the next second he is back on the deck. Something weird is going on, and she intends to find out what is happening in this strange mix of friends. This happens to be the event that leads to her finding out what she really is, and she could not be more excited. Even with all this excitement, there is a threat to ship. Her and her friends are the only people that can keep everyone safe and alive throughout this trip.

Review: I had a hard time to put into words how much I truly loved this book. It has vampires, elementals, mermaids, witches, etc. I truly thought it was a fantastic blending of all these characters.

Jen was really likable I found myself rooting for her. She is a smart girl, with a good head on her shoulders. That is hard to find sometimes. I found it interesting how her personality was so open and understanding, I really liked that.

All the other main characters I loved as well. Kirke really made me love everyone in the book. The group of friends acted so much like a real group of friends; it made me feel like I was right there beside them watching this entire book take place. I tried to pick my favorite character at the end, but it was so hard. At first it was Charlie, but as the book progressed I started to get to know all of them and loved them all. I want to give a rundown of the characters, because I want you to be acquainted with them.

Charlie is a fire elemental, aka an imp. He is the funny man of the group I would imagine. He is super sweet. He is a gay character, which I found interesting. I loved how he was always there for everyone when he was needed.

Dani is a water elemental, aka nereid. If I had to pick a group leader, I would choose him. He seemed like he was the core of the group. He was the older brother figure, and very protective of the girls.

Mariana is a mermaid. She is the little sister of the group. On the outside she is very pretty and gorgeous. She makes sure everyone is getting taken care of.

Thomas is a surprise. I really do not want to ruin what he is, because I was kind of surprised myself. At the same time I should have saw it coming. He is definitely a protector.

Tethys (TS) is a werewolf. It is very interesting how Kirke has changed the typical werewolf stereotypes around a little bit.

I love how some of the characters have their own words that they used that went along with the type of magic they were. I thought that was very cute.

This is a fantasy novel if you haven’t figured that out yet. Everyone in this book is 18 or older. So I guess it falls in that New Adult age ranking? I am still confused about that whole new genre thing. It definitely has some YA crossover appeal I imagine. There’s nothing that I can think of that would keep me from suggesting it to YA. The only complaint I have about this book is that the book ended lol. The author has actually been to all these places which is a fun little fact. There will be a book two. When there is a solid confirmation on release date I will let you guys know. I really can’t wait to see what happens next.

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Jocelyn Sanchez on Nov. 24, 2012 :
Absolutly amazing book! This book is so fantastic that I literally could not put it down. I read it non-stop late into the hours at night and woke up early to read Semester Aboard. The characters were so interesting and unique, unlike anything I've read before. Char, Dani, TS, Jen, Mariana, and Tom are now some of my all-time favorite characters because of their humor, kindness, witt, and above all loyalty to eachother. The storyline in the book was so different then what I've read before but I love, love it!! I cannot say enough good things about this book. All everyone needs to know is that everyone needs to read this because its amazing. I loved this book from the phrases like "Splashy" and "Toasty" to the how far the characters went to stick together and remain loyal. I cannot wait for the sequel to Semester Aboard, I know its going to be just as amazing as this book!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Jocelyn Sanchez on Nov. 24, 2012 :
Absolutly amazing book! This book is so fantastic that I literally could not put it down. I read it non-stop late into the hours at night and woke up early to read Semester Aboard. The characters were so interesting and unique, unlike anything I've read before. Char, Dani, TS, Jen, Mariana, and Tom are now some of my all-time favorite characters because of their humor, kindness, witt, and above all loyalty to eachother. The storyline in the book was so different then what I've read before but I love, love it!! I cannot say enough good things about this book. All everyone needs to know is that everyone needs to read this because its amazing. I loved this book from the phrases like "Splashy" and "Toasty" to the how far the characters went to stick together and remain loyal. I cannot wait for the sequel to Semester Aboard, I know its going to be just as amazing as this book!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Jocelyn Sanchez on Nov. 24, 2012 : (no rating)
Absolutly amazing book! This book is so fantastic that I literally could not put it down. I read it non-stop late into the hours at night and woke up early to read Semester Aboard. The characters were so interesting and unique, unlike anything I've read before. Char, Dani, TS, Jen, Mariana, and Tom are now some of my all-time favorite characters because of their humor, kindness, witt, and above all loyalty to eachother. The storyline in the book was so different then what I've read before but I love, love it!! I cannot say enough good things about this book. All everyone needs to know is that everyone needs to read this because its amazing. I loved this book from the phrases like "Splashy" and "Toasty" to the how far the characters went to stick together and remain loyal. I cannot wait for the sequel to Semester Aboard, I know its going to be just as amazing as this book!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: jessica bridgers on Nov. 23, 2012 :
This book was gifted to me for an honest review.
At first I was expecting maybe the book had something to do with ghost of some sorts, maybe some stalking and abducting. Well,I was partly right. There was alot of stalking and abduction,just not with ghost. The authors charaters are unlike any other. Each character has their own personalities to match their way of living,even their words match who they are. Like if someone was made of fire,they would say,"ashes" or of water would say, "splashy". There is much I would like to put in this review. If I keep on telling about the story there would be major spoilers because this author has an imagination that you will love and every little detail is important to the story. Can't say one thing without giving a major spoiler away. This book has magic,love and lots of crazy twist. Friendship is a big part of the story. I felt every emotion as if I was right there with them. Connections form and become so strong. I want a group of friends like them. If you like Paranormsl Romance and want to know more about the major spoilers,I hope you don't pass the chance to go on an adventure with Jenn and her amazing friends upon their Semester-Aboard.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: melissa mcgrath on Nov. 17, 2012 :
Wow I wasn't sure what to expect with this book when I started it, but once I did I was amazed and couldn't put it down. I loved it. I love how it has so many paranormal creatures in it. She puts all your favorites in one book.It also shows you what it really means to be a friend to someone. Thomas is my favorite charater. Its ends in just the right way that your like hurry with the next book.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Stephanie Rourke on Nov. 15, 2012 :
I loved this book. All the characters were very believeable and they all had failings, everyone could be hurt. It was only when they worked together that things went right. The way the main character, Jen, was written brought us to believe in her even when she didn't believe in herself. She reacted the same way I would have when hit with that revelation! I loved TS and Thomas's relationship and the fun that Dani had at the expense of others. The cliffhangerhas me intrigued and I can't wait for next installment!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Dara Brown on Nov. 11, 2012 :
This book was great. I was astounded at the complexity of each character, and loved the fact that they all blended together so well. The plot kept me hooked for the entire book, and just when I thought I had figured everything out, new twists and turns would pop up and pull me back into the book.

The ending was a bit of a disappointment....but only because I want to know what happens next in the lives of the characters!

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is a paranormal fan!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: shona lawrence on Nov. 11, 2012 :
I read this as part of a book club on facebook. I'm not sure if it is something I would have picked up by myself and if that's the case I would have seriously missed out because this was freaking amazing.

The first chapter or two was a little slow, and honestly most books are, but this laid the foundations for a great story that did not let up until the very end.

The book follows Jen as she learns about Magics. Werewolves, Vampires, Mermaids, Witches and more. Be prepared to learn yourself as these magical creatures are different to the ones we are used to. This is the first book in a while that has had me laughing and crying as I read. As soon as I finished reading this I immediately did an amazon search for the next book in the series as I want to read it NOW! but alas for me I shall have to wait :'( but if it is anything like this one it will be worth the wait.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Kristin Scearce on Nov. 06, 2012 :
Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Words just can't seem to describe how awesome this book is!!! But I will try...... =)

We follow Jen on a Semester-at-Sea type program around Latin/South America, and along the way, she meets some rather.....interesting characters who tell her something about herself that's incredibly life-changing. Throw in things like vampires, werewolves, elementals, mermaids, and witches, among many others, and you have one amazing story!

I hated to put it down to work/sleep/etc, and was almost late for work one day because I was so engrossed in the story. I found myself really attached to the main characters, and they reminded me of some of my friends. I want to be in Jen's shoes so badly, not only to go on a summer-long cruise (although, without the classes would be better!), but to meet all the new people she does. Her world is simply awesome, and I greatly appreciate Elizabeth Kirke's ability to write a story like this, that I consider vastly different from other supernatural books out there. Kudos, and give me the next one already!!! =D

5 stars (wish I could give more)
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Allison Winfield on Nov. 05, 2012 :
LOVED this book. Once I started it I couldn't put it down. I am not a big paranormal, fantasy reader but this book made it easy to see the appeal.

I love that the book has all kinds of magical beings in it: vampires, witches, wizards, werewolves, mermaids, and so much more. I can hardly wait until the second book comes out!!

I love Jen and the other characters so much. They are very in depth and I feel like I am friends with them. I would definitely recommend this book to any fantasy, paranormal, romance reader!!
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Amanda Nolastname on Nov. 01, 2012 :
The first chapter had me hooked so I kept reading until I was finished. Vampires, mermaid, witch, elementals and a were-oh my! A very unique twist on vampires...I loved it. It did have a slight Harry Potter feel but more...mature? I liked that Jen had to work for her magic and at times was useless as she hadn't had enough practice. It didn't just click together and bam she was an awesome witch. I loved the elementals and their lack of emotional control which caused them to 'typhoon' or 'erupt'. My favorite part of them were their eyes and the way they reflected their moods using their element. I wish we would have learned more about Mariana and the mermaids, perhaps in the next book. I also wish Jen had gotten her familiar a lot sooner than she did, I kept waiting for it. Loved the story and grew attached to the characters. Ready for the next book.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Sharon E. Cathcart on Aug. 11, 2012 :
This is the description I read of this book: Jen is looking forward to spending an entire summer studying abroad on a cruise ship and she knows the experience will change her life. Then she sees something she wasn't supposed to see, something she can't explain. Jen finds herself thrust into a world she never knew existed and her life will change more than she imagined. That is, if she can survive the dangers lurking on the ship.

Now, really, it's kind of my own fault I didn't like this book as well as I might have. I don't read reviews before I read a book. If I had done so this time, I might have known that it was littered with vampires and werewolves -- and I don't read vampire/werewolf books (at least, not since I was in my late teens/early 20s, which was some time ago). The description above does nothing to indicate that this is a vampire novel.

And yet, that's just what it is. I blame Stephanie Meyer for the fact that damn near every YA author out there thinks that they have to put a vampire in their book. Well, guess what? It is possible to right a fantasy novel without a single, solitary bloodsucker in sight.

So, in short: this is the story of Jen, a college student studying abroad in Central and South America, via ship. She makes new friends who turn out to be water elementals, fire elementals -- both differentiated from naiads and salamanders, which makes no sense -- a reluctant vampire, a mermaid and a werewolf. And, of course, the ship eventually comes under attack by a horde of vampires and it's kind of up to Jen to save the day.

The last time vampires were a big trend (when I was in my late teens/early 20s), there was a film called "The Lost Boys." When the family leaves the fictional town of Santa Carlita, the grandfather (whom they've been trying to keep from knowing about the town's biggest plague) says "You know what I've always hated about Santa Carlita? Too many god-damned vampires."

That pretty much sums up my feelings about YA in general nowadays, and this book in particular.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Jenny Bynum on May 19, 2012 :
I loved this book! It had everything paranormal possible in it!! Vampires, Witches, Werewolves, Mermaids, Fire Elemental, Water Elemental, Wizards, just everything you can think of in one story and to top it all off they are on a cruise as students taking classes!! This book was very well written, and very fast paced. I couldn't put it down and I had to know what was around the next corner!! I cant wait for book 2 and see the next adventure!! Thank you Elizabeth for such an awesome heart pounding story!! 10*s out of 5*s!!
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Yvonne L on April 30, 2012 :
Finally!! A YA style book with characters my own age! :D

I loved this book. It had everything I could ask for. Vampires, werewolves, witches, water elements, fire elements...basically every magical being you could thing of. I loved all the characters. Dani, Charlie, Thomas, and TS were just the funniest and most adorable people ever. I didin't really connenct with Mariana as she was quit shy and didn't talk that much. Jen was a great character also. She was a bit naive of magic at first as she didn't know any of this existed, and it came as quit a shock to her when she finds out.

The story was very interesting. Kirke's writing was easy to follow and it just flowed really well. I loved learning about all the different magical beings and seeing all the different places they got to visit while on the cruise. I loved how the entire story was set on a cruise ship they are taking classes on. I thought it added a fun element to the story. Things really started to get interesting when a vampire starts feeding on humans on the ship and the gang have to find a way to stop him.

There wasn't a lot of romance in the book which kind of disappointed me as I am a huge romantic but I predict something happening in book two. Fingers crossed anyway!

Overall this was a fun and interesting read. There were a few grammatical errors but nothing major. I would recommend this to anyone who loves paranormal or fantasy books and is looking for a fun and exciting read. :)
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Ever Star on April 24, 2012 :
I heard about this author through anothet author on facebook. I ended up getting this book for free and was amazed on how great of a book it was. It deals with magic and vampires and witches and so much more. It was hard for me to put it down, but I had too to get things done. I can not wait to read the next book when the author writes it. I really want to hear what will happen between Jen and Lord Whiskers, if she keeps in touch with the others, and if something will happen between her and Thomas! This was a great read for me and I highly recommend it.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Natalie Walters on March 13, 2012 :
Wow! This was a great read, I could not put the book down. I loved all of the characters and I can't wait to read about them in another book.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: K. B. Miller on Jan. 23, 2012 :
Ok, first let me say that I won an ecopy of this book a couple of months ago. Until recently I hadn't had a chance to read it. Man, that was a HUGE mistake! I refuse to give you guys spoilers as always, because a. I don't review a book I don't love and b. I want you to read it! You will be sooo super glad that you did! I will tell you that Jen learns things that are amazing and totally hot guys and just mildly babyfaced cute ones are stellar!! When I won this book, one of the questions was about Dani's NON SHOE wearing thing and when I found out what the deal was I sat back and said HOLY COW!! This is AWESOME!!!

You want my opinion *****5 stars!! This is a magical must read!
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Melissa Ringsted on Dec. 16, 2011 :
What would you do if you were stuck out on a floating college for a semester and found out that magic truly does exist? Not only does it exist, but that you too are magic? One night Jen, the main character, isn't feeling well due to sea-sickness and decides to go for some fresh air. There she see's something that will change not only her life, but how she see's things. One of her fellow student's is pushed overboard and no one reacts! Then he reappears and all of his friends act like it never happened. Jen is left with plenty of questions as to why someone, who should never have survived a fall, let alone get up to the highest level of the ship from the water, is acting like it's no big deal. Soon she finds out why and the plot becomes thick with: witches, wizards, elementals, vampires and werewolves, to name a few.

There is a big cast of characters from many different "races" of magic. The cast consists of:
Dani: the water elemental who goes overboard at the beginning of the story
Charlie: fire elemental
Mariana: mermaid
Tethys (TS for short): werewolf
Thomas: that one's a surprise!
Jen soon finds out that her new found friends are part of the MES, Magical Enforcement and Security. Not only are they all magic but apparently Jen is a witch, which is the only reason she knew that there was something different with the others. Soon she is wrapped up in more drama then she bargained for when a rogue, evil vampire boards the ship and starts snacking on the inhabitants. Although all the guys are seasoned MES agents they are not prepared for this. What follows is a fight for their lives.

This is a very well written, well thought out plot. Definitely not a quick read. I can usually finish a book in a day or two, and it took me almost four. The characters are very well written, the descriptions of, not only the magic and characters but also the landscapes and scenery are very descriptive and detailed. Some might think it too wordy but I thought it was enough to bring it up another level than "just any YA book about magic". It makes it more in-depth.

I was not paid for this review, I was gifted an Ecopy of the story to read and that is it. This is my written review and my opinion only, it was in no way swayed. Thank you for reading, I hope you have a great holidays!
A room without books is like a body without a soul. -Cicero
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Karen Edwards on Oct. 25, 2011 :
This was such a fun read. Not only do you get to imaging what it is like to take classes while on a cruise ship to Mexico and South America , but also werewolves, vampires, elementals, witches, warlocks and mermaids.

Late one night after Jen is unable to sleep, she sees someone fall off the ship into the ocean, but when she looks again that someone was back on board the ship and uninjured. Not able to let this incident go she soon discovers a completely new world in which she is now a part of. Jen soon discovers that she herself is a witch, but before she can barely come to terms with her new density, an evil vampire is out for her blood. Her new friends do what they can to protect her, but end up in a fight that they were not quite prepared for.

The characters in this book are enjoyable. You follow Jen as learns about the world of magic. At times, I felt that the constant questions that Jen asked were just a little bit much, but it did not stop me from enjoying this book. If you are a fan of YA then you will definite, enjoy this book. Elizabeth Kirke is one author we will need to keep our eyes on.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Vid Ouderkirk on Sep. 29, 2011 :
Semester Aboard: More than mystery, more than myth, more than monsters and more than magic.

Jen Maddox has enrolled in an international studies program aboard a cruise ship to broaden her horizons by experiencing those of others – learning a new language, experiencing other cultures, visiting sites ancient and mysterious, meeting boys – without a clue that a new and fantastic horizon awaits her shipboard. Like the book itself, Jen starts out wide-eyed and light-hearted but her fate finds her standing on a lonely deck, in the dark, demanding believable answers to unbelievable questions. Elizabeth Kirke has created a wonderful new urban fantasy, with brand new perspectives on vampires, witches and other races of “Magics,” that brings together an unexpected cast of characters into touching, frightening and very real relationships.

Ms. Kirke does a wonderful job of slowly revealing little quirks about the characters that begin to add up to impossible conclusions, and that’s only the beginning. As each round of mystery about each character is resolved, each becomes more complex with a deeper personal history and deeper interpersonal history. One of the best aspects of the story for me was Kirke’s fresh, creative and well thought-out approach to both the individual and cultural traits of her various races of magical beings. As I read the book I was drawn in by the detail of the characters’ backgrounds and behaviors – they’re a likable bunch and there is a fun logic to the fantasy that makes you a part of it.

Written in a conversational first person voice from Jen’s point of view, the story has layer upon layer of her intuitions and suspicions, and with each resolution and new discovery the layers grow deeper and darker. Within the bigger story of the Magics, their lives and world, the central conflict of the book emerges from some unwelcome stowaways (and converts) with a truly dark history of their own. I was particularly drawn in by the rhythm of the story, like a roller coaster ride with increasingly higher peaks. From the routines of classes and students’ innocent flirtations to intense friendships and fight scenes that grow more intense, disturbing and dangerous with every peak. The story gets very dark, before the dawn. And with all of this going on Jen has a profound voyage of self discovery that is the biggest mystery of all.

Read this book, and remember it the next time you look closely into your friends’ eyes.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Kristin Aragon on Sep. 25, 2011 :
Elizabeth Kirke’s Semester Aboard is a fun and exhilarating paranormal tale that includes elementals, mermaids, werewolves, witches, wizards, and vampires. I truly enjoyed this fantastical book and fell deeply in love with the characters. I found them creeping into my thoughts when I wasn’t reading and they carried me away when I was.

Jen – is a bit naive when it comes to magic…or maybe she knows nothing about magic. When she happens across some students playing on deck, she finds there is nothing normal about them. And the things she learns about herself…unimaginable.

Dani (Danio) – is a water elemental, a noreid. He is always game for a practical joke and loves to give everyone a hard time. However, underneath the fun loving guy is a wealth of strength and secrets.

Mariana – just happens to be a mermaid. She has been the only girl intermingling with the magics on this journey through South America.

TS (Tethys) – could be none other than the overbearingly big werewolf. Human during the day, a wolf at night. TS is loyal and caring when it comes to his friends. Once you have crept your way into his friendship…he’s not likely to ever forget you.

Thomas – well, let’s just say we have a lot to learn about this young man. He and TS are as close as brothers…closer even. Their history is one for the books. Thomas is the brooding character and he has plenty of reasons.

Charlie – is a fire elemental, an Imp. He is flaming in more than one way. I loved Charlie. He’s fun-loving but fiercely protective of those he cares about.

Jon – adopted Thomas after a terrible accident left him without family. Jon is a wizard and an agent with the MES (Magical Enforcement and Security) Agency.

Mark – is Charlie’s roommate on the ship. Unfortunately he falls into the hands of the wrong person.

Semester Aboard begins with a group of college students spending a semester touring South America via ship. Jen…just an innocent human, happens to see something she shouldn’t have seen and now she will have to pay the consequences…good or bad. As Elizabeth Kirke takes us on an intriguing journey, we learn the many secrets that her characters are hiding. There will be magic, adventure, action, love and deception.

Things I loved: The interaction between Elizabeth’s characters feels real, not forced. The characters that are in love have been together for longer than I have been alive. The relationship Jen wants happens very slowly…if at all. Each time I sat down to read…I was pulled into the lives of these characters. Even though Semester Aboard was told in first person from Jen’s point of view…I definitely did not feel lost when it came to what the other characters were feeling. When someone got hurt…I felt it. When someone was happy…I felt it. When someone was in trouble…I wanted to run out and help.

Semester Aboard was different from most of the other books I have read. It was more of an urban fantasy than a romance. The interaction between so many paranormal races was interesting to say the least.

Things that were just so-so: At times I felt like the book dragged. It could possibly be my impatience in wanting to know how things would work out. I have that problem a lot which is why I can’t put a book down once I have started it. I also felt like Jen sat by and let a lot of things happen when she should have been helping more.
Favorite Parts:

"I looked up and froze. Thomas and Dani were still sitting on the bed and half on them – half off the bed, was a wolf. At least it looked like one. I had seen wolves in the zoo before, but this was nothing like them." – pg 44

"How could I possibly just run away and leave him here to die? And then he pulled me closer and kissed me. For a moment my brain screeched to a halt. This couldn’t be happening. This was the wrong time, the worst possible time, for a kiss. The guy I had been trying to keep from developing a huge crush on was kissing me and we were both about to die." - pg 317

* I was given a free e-book by the author in return for an honest review of her work.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Annette Guerriero on Sep. 23, 2011 :
Today's review is on Semester Aboard by Elizabeth Kirke

Semester Aboard is the first installment in Kirke's More than Magic series and brings together vampires, werewolves, witches and a whole slew of other magical creatures.

Jen Maddox is college student who is lucky enough to be able to spend the summer studying aboard a cruise ship traveling through Mexico and South America. Little did she know that she would be thrown into the adventure of her life though. Not only does she find out that there really are things like vampires, witches and werewolves, but there are other magical creatures too. More surprising though is that she herself IS a magical creature. She in fact is a witch. If that's not enough to handle, aboard the ship there is a vampire who is feeding off of the passengers.

With Jen learning how to cast just one spell, it is up to the rest of the MES team aboard the ship to not only protect the people on the ship but her also. Along the way Jen learns a lot about herself and her new friends and somehow finds herself falling in love Thomas and becoming part of TS' pack.

After battling Nathaniel the evil vampire and the rest of his gang; with nearly everyone of Jen's new friends not unscathed, the trip comes to a close and it's time to go back home and wait for the next adventure.

Semester Aboard has all of the elements of a really good book. However, with that being said, it was also a book that seemed to go on and on and on between exciting portions. I know that lately I have been getting down on books that seem to be to short; 68, 87 pages long, but then again some books have to much fluff in between the slices of bread and Semester Aboard is one of them.

There too were quite a bit of grammatical errors and for that alone I have to lower my rating.

I loved the characters and the main story. I just would have liked to have less of the other fluff. I am however looking forward to the next installment. (I just have to see where Jen and Thomas' relationship goes from here.)

3 of 5 stars
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Franz McLaren on Sep. 12, 2011 :
In "More Than Magic: Semester Aboard", Elizabeth Kirke has penned a novel that has nearly everything that a fantasy lover could want. She has combined a college course cruise through Mexico and South America with a discovery of self through interaction with a host of magical creatures. With the deft touch of a natural story teller, she brings to life vampires, werewolves, elementals, witches, and a host of enchanting creatures in a believable mix of legend and contemporary insight. All of this while still ensuring that her heroine, Jen, maintains good grades in class.

This is a tale that touches the reader on many levels. The interaction between the characters is believable. The angst of a college student is skillfully portrayed. The confusion of meeting and trying to understand unfamiliar cultures is deftly handled. All of this, while simultaneously maintaining a high level of suspense, leads to a book that is hard to put down. Fortunately for us, Elizabeth Kirke has left this book wide open for many sequels. I for one look forward to reading more of Jen's tale in the near future.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Beck Hays on Sep. 07, 2011 :
Wow! Really good read, its really engauging and it just pulls you in.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Donna Lawrence on Sep. 01, 2011 :
Looking for a book with vampires, werewolves, witches and other magical creatures? This is the book for you. I really enjoyed this book. It has many unexpected plot turns and twists. It begins with Jen Maddox, a young college student, spending a semester on a cruise ship travelling throughout Mexico and South America. She encounters all sorts of magical creatures, some of whom are not too friendly towards her! He is on a voyage of discovery about herself and those around her. This book is a lot of fun. I felt close to many of the main characters. I give it 5/5 stars
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: RVScarlet on Aug. 27, 2011 :
A favorite recent novel, Semester Aboard combines magic, mythology and the modern college student in an unforgettable adventure. A world similar to Harry Potter's with more details and a great focus on character-building. A must read.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

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