Friday, January 16, 2015


Friday Fun!
I can think of nothing that is more fun than sharing a new book with my friends.
 I'm delighted to host my Dear Friend and  Award Winning Author Darby Karchut and her latest novel for MG/Tween readers,
HOUND AT THE GATE: Book Three of the Adventures of Finn MacCullen.
Great Cover. Makes me wonder what these characters are up to.
"Autumn: the season of endings. And beginnings.

Especially for one young apprentice.

At the annual Festival of the Hunt, thirteen-year-old apprentice goblin hunter Finn MacCullen and his master, Gideon Lir, join other Tuatha De Danaan to honor their people’s heritage. But Finn soon realizes that there are some who denounce his right to attend due to his half-human bloodline.

While he struggles to keep his place by his master’s side, he finds himself embroiled in a decades-old grudge between Gideon and another Knight, bewildered (and beguiled) by a female apprentice with a temper as explosive as his own, and battling a pack of goblins determined to wipe out the entire camp in a surprise attack.

It’s going to take some fancy knife work, the help of a female Knight with a lethal bow, and one old pick up truck to defeat the goblins and prove to his people that his blood runs true-blue Tuatha De Danaan."
“Finnegan MacCullen.” Gideon pointed at the ground by his feet. “Now.”
Fuming, Finn planted his feet and refused to move. Gideon lifted an eyebrow in warning.
You better get over there, Finn warned himself, recalling what had happened just three weeks ago when he had stubbornly refused to obey a direct order during a hunt. A hard cuff on the head, thirty push-ups, and a five-minute lecture delivered in such a deep brogue Finn could barely understand half the words—that had been his reward. Relenting before the other eyebrow went up, he dragged himself over. He winced when his master reached out and grabbed him by the scruff of the neck.
“Tara Butler is not only a fellow apprentice, but also a girl and a guest, is she not?” Gideon said in a tone that made Finn gulp.
“Yes, sir.”
“Then treat her as such.” The Knight gave him a rough shake with each word.
“Yes, sir,” Finn gasped. He rubbed the back of his neck when Gideon let go. At the unspoken command from his master, he walked over to where O’Shea and Tara stood, the girl now as red-faced as Finn.
Taking a deep breath, he forced himself to look her square in the eye. When you offer up an apology, lad, do so manfully. “Tara Butler, I’m sorry I was rude.”
“You should be. Ow!” She winced when her master pinched her arm. “Yeah, I’m sorry, too,” she replied, clearly not sorry at all.
Hoping to salvage what he could, Finn plowed along. “And I really don’t think you’re a girl.”
“No. Wait. What I meant to say is that I don’t think you’re a real girl.” Finn groaned silently when the words left his mouth.
“What the heck is that supposed to mean?”
Behind him, he could hear Gideon coughing, trying to smother a laugh. Standing behind her apprentice, O’Shea was holding her hand over her mouth.
Feeling like possibly the biggest fool in the entire history of all known and unknown universes, Finn prayed for a pack of Amandán to burst into camp and kill him. Right then.
No such luck.
“Are you trying to say you don’t think I’m a girly girl?”
Finn nodded in relief. “Exactly.” And now I’m going to shut up before I say anything more stupid. If that’s possible, he thought. Which I doubt.
“Oh. Well, okay then.”
“And, on that note, we are out of here,” O’Shea said. “Come on, Tara, before you and Finn start throwing punches.” The Knight nudged her apprentice toward the path, but then lingered a moment. “Gideon. It’s good to see you again.”
“The pleasure is mine, Kel.”
“And I’m glad you’re back.”
“As am I.”                       
Finn blew out a long breath as they walked away. Sheesh. And Gideon says I have a hair-trigger temper?
Shaking his head in disbelief, he started to say something when he noticed Gideon still watching O’Shea until she disappeared behind a stand of trees. His master continued to stare at the spot, as if remembering something. A faint smile curled one corner of his mouth.
Finn blinked. He likes her. The realization made him suddenly aware of something he knew-but-didn’t-know. Or didn’t want to know, for some reason.
That his master was more than just his master. That Gideon was a person. With likes and dislikes. With faults and strengths.
That Gideon was a man. And just like his master, one day Finn would be a man, too.
I love Finn. He keeps life exciting. And Gideon is learning a lot about raising a boy.
My Review:
Have you ever read a book that you just don’t want it to end? A book where the characters are so real to you that you hurt when they hurt and laugh when they laugh?
Award winning author Darby Karchut writes that kind of book. From her Griffin Series to her Finn MacCullen series, Ms. Karchut’s characters take you along on their adventures, their dangers, their tender moments, and their funny moments. In the author’s latest novel, THE HOUND AT THE GATE: Book Three of The Adventures of Finn MacCullen series, for tween/mg readers, you’ll feel like you’re with Knight Gideon Lir and his apprentice, Finn MacCullen, as they attend the Festival of the Hunt. You’ll face the Amandans, Goblins that you don’t want to meet on a dark night, or in bright daylight for that matter, with Finn and Gideon as they fight to save their lives and the lives of the other knights.
Finn may be half Fey and half Mortal, but he’s also a boy. Put him together with Lochlan, another apprentice in training to be a knight. Add a girl knight in training and you have typical thirteen-year-olds with tempers. Like most teens they often make bad choices along with good ones. I love the kids because they’re so human, well, in their behavior, anyway, if you overlook their amazing skills with bows and arrows and knives.
THE HOUND AT THE GATE is a story of dashing knights and evil goblins. Most of all, it’s a story of fatherly love between a man who loves a boy as though he were his birth son. It’s the story of a boy that cannot imagine his life without his knight. There is a bond between Finn and Gideon that’s as strong as or stronger than a flesh and blood father and son.
Ms. Karchut’s books keep getting better and better. I wonder what Finn and Gideon will be up to in the next novel in the series. The author gives us a sneak peek of the fourth book due out in 2016. She also includes a page of notes with information on the Scáthach, as well as a page explaining the different words and phrases used in the story. This series would make a great addition to public libraries and school classrooms and libraries for discussion of Celtic mythology and of the true meaning of friendship and family.
My review is from an ARC that I was fortunate to receive. 

About the Author:

Darby Karchut is an award-winning author, dreamer, and compulsive dawn greeter. Her books include the Griffin Rising series, the Adventures of Finn MacCullen series, and writing as Darby Kaye, The Stag Lord and its sequel, Unholy Blue.

A member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and Pikes Peak Writers, Darby has been known to run in blizzards and bike in lightning storms. When not dodging death by Colorado, she writes urban fantasy for tweens, teens, and adults.

Follow her  on Facebook
Happy Reading!


  1. A fascinating lady, and so good to read about an author who also writes for children.

    1. She certainly is, Carole. Darby just keeps writing book after book and each one gets better. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Thanks for hosting me today, Beverly, and for your wonderful review. Writing for boys is such a hoot!

    1. I'm always eager to share your books, Darby. Everyone should read them and meet Finn and Gideon. Love the introduction to the "Lady" knights. Should be interesting to see how that develops. Looking forward to the next one in the series.

  3. Really does look like they are up to something interesting in the cover. Any mythology is great too.

    1. The relationship between Gideon and Finn is a lot of fun too, Pat, as well as serious. As you can tell from the blurb. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. A wonderful virtual tour. Nice to meet the author and the excerpt. Great writing!

    1. Hi, rough. Nice to meet you. Darby always has great tours to go with her great books. Her novels keep a person reading, for sure. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Wow! What an amazing review! Congrats to Darby! :)

  6. Ooh, I'm glad this book is on my radar. Congrats to the author.

    1. I think you'll enjoy it, Medeia. Darby's novels just keep getting better and better.