Archive | May 2017

Adventures and Adversities by Sarah Holman

Title: Adventures and Adversities
Author: Sarah Holman

Date read: May 27, 2017
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Christian / Adventure / Historical Fiction / Medieval (in fictional country in Europe)
Age: YA
Year pub: 2013
Pages: 314 (paperback)
Series: Tales of Taelis, #1
Fave character: William
Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

I was a little uncertain if I would like this at first, but I was pulled into this story and ended up quickly absorbed, and enjoyed it very much! 🙂

I really grew to like these characters!

  • Alditha, our heroine, who tries to find the good in the midst of hardship.
  • Her sweet little friend Eleanor, such a bubbly and feisty thing. 🙂
  • But mostly William, Eleanor’s brother, who may have a thing for Alditha… 😉 He was brave and good and kind and heroic, and I really liked his character!
  • I also, unexpectedly, really liked Captain Harold, a guard. He was so nice! He might have been my second favorite. 🙂
  • There are other memorable characters, both good and bad, which populate this story, and it was interesting to meet each of them—I quite liked the kind hermit priest as well. 🙂

It’s set in medieval times, in a fictional country in Europe called Taelis. This made the book feel like a historical fiction novel, but without me wondering if all the details were real, which made it more fun. XD

From the point of view of peasants and servants, it was a different look at the higher classes. These heroes and heroines are good hardworking people, simple folks who are kind and good and do their best in the face of adventures and adversities.

There was love and loss, friendship and hardship, laughter and tears, and through it all the characters strove to find God’s plan in their lives and trust in Him.

It seemed at first like it was going to be one of those quieter books without much adventure, but it turned out to have plenty of excitement after all! Most of it was about the day-to-day struggles—physical, emotional, and spiritual—of the heroine, but there are other things going on as well. There are dangers and adventures, plots and fights, storms at sea and riding through stormy nights on land as well. It kept me absorbed and interested!

Most of all, I was caught up in reading about William and Alditha, so long separated, as they struggled through their separate lives, and waiting to see if they would finally be able to see each other again. 🙂

There were a few things that seemed inconsistent or didn’t make sense to me, and some slightly distracting typos (I have an older paperback version of this book, so I don’t know if there is a newer version or not), but on the whole I don’t have many specific complaints. 🙂

Overall, I enjoyed the book a lot and fell in love with this medieval world and these characters, and this nice simple tale of love and faith. It drew me in and was a sweet story. ^_^ I’m definitely looking forward to reading more in the Tales of Taelis series! 🙂

~ ~ ~

In the series so far (will update with links as I review them):

~ ~ ~

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

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Masters and Beginners by Daley Downing (Review)

Twinsies! My cat loved that there was a fellow stripey cat on this book. ^_^ (Thank you, Callette, for putting up with me using you as a photo prop. XD)

Title: Masters and Beginners
Author: Daley Downing

Date read: May 3, 2017
Rating: 5 stars
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy
Age: YA
Year pub: 2017
Pages: 194 (paperback)
Series: The Order of the Twelve Tribes, Volume 1
Fave character: Alexander Torrington (and Flynn… and Jules… and… yeah, lots of them. :D)
Source: From the author in exchange for my honest review
Links: GoodreadsAuthor’s Blog • Purchase here or email the author at the address provided on her blog 🙂

UPDATE: This book now has a shiny new cover, and you can get the paperback through Barnes and Noble, HERE! 🙂

Masters and Beginners is a delightful modern fantasy novel for young adults (or anyone, really), featuring some of my favorite things, namely Faerie things! I had a lot of fun reading it! I don’t read a lot of modern fantasy largely because I don’t often like it, but this is one I didn’t mind reading and overall enjoyed muchly.

There are Faerie things (fae/faery/elves used interchangeably) which were really cool, and talking cats who are more than cats (Jules! Loved her! :)), Fae characters both good and bad, Seelie and Unseelie (I particularly liked/would like to know more about Alex…), other mysterious beings, mystery, family, humor (I laughed aloud a couple of times), adventure, and other awesome things like PORTALS, yay! (Loved how the portals were used.) It was a very rich tapestry of different elements. 🙂

It starts out a little bit slow, drawing us into this well-constructed storyworld of our modern times with an undercurrent of mythological things, and steadily builds as we meet beloved characters, are immersed in all the details and magical feel of it, and drawn deeper into the mysteries and dangers, until it gets quite exciting and intense near the end there! O_O I was so drawn into this storyworld, and although I might have liked to have gotten to know a few of the characters better (next time!), overall I really fell in love with these characters and this setting, and just had an incredible time reading it! ^_^

In a lot of ways, it was very different from other YA books I’ve read, which was both fascinating and a delightful breath of fresh air. 😀 There are actually *gasp* nice people! And the parents aren’t dead! *more gasps* And the parents are actually nice and a part of the story! *triple gasp* There was more of a focus on the entire family—who actually love each other *biggest gasp of all*—and even some homeschoolers. All of this was super neat to read in a YA book. 😀

Also, not a big thing, but the main characters, the Driscolls—Sophie and her brother Flynn, and their parents Kate and James, and little brother Callum—are already a part of this set of people (the Order of the Twelve Tribes, which is where the series gets its title) who know about the crazy stuff going on in the world, so they didn’t need to go through the “wait, faeries exist?” transition that’s common to a lot of modern fantasy type stories. They do, of course, become more a part of it, and learn new things, so it’s not like there’s no wonder or discovery, but already being past the big hump of knowing it all exists is a great twist. 🙂

Sometimes angels in fiction make me twitchy—I have no idea why—but I think I managed to get over that this time and found it intriguing and different how there were all kinds of legends, mythology, faeries, Nephilim, angels, etc. just woven together in the history of this setup. Some of it was a litle weird, but I hadn’t seen something like this done before, so it was interesting to have Faerie mythology and elements of Christianity/Hebraic history/legend seamlessly woven together and taken for granted as things that are a part of the world. 🙂

Other fun things:

  • References: I loved the little references to things like Doctor Who, the “Warriors” cat books, King Arthur, things like the veil between worlds being thin Halloween night, and other myths and legends—so much fun. 😀
  • Extras: There are lyrics or quotes at the beginning of all the chapters, as well as “extra” material at the end of the chapters—emails, documents about the Annex, texts between characters, letters, etc.—both of which lent it an extra atmospheric and authentic quality, which I absolutely loved! 😀

As for possible downsides (if they can be called that)…

  • I might have liked seeing more of some of the characters, but that’s what sequels are for. 😉 Same with the actual Annex (the warehouse with mystical artifacts)—I think I thought there would be more with that, but with portals and such, who even needs artifacts when you have the real thing? XD
  • At the beginning especially, there were a lot of names all at once that were a little hard to keep track of, which was simultaneously difficult and made it seem more real—like this is an actual organization with interconnected families, and naturally something that complex is hard to keep track of for a sudden reader. I might have liked some more reminders of who was who with some of the side characters, but that may have been me not paying enough attention.
  • One thing—the only thing I might have actually disliked—I’m still on the fence about… I can’t really talk about because it’s a spoiler about how some things ended up at the end. There are enough hints at something different happening in a later book that I’m deciding that I THINK it’s okay… so I will wait it out on that one to see. But it’s just a general trope I don’t like in fiction, so not a particular fault of this book, I guess? SPOILER (highlight to read):: When characters forget some of the things that happened, “for their own good” just because some powerful being, who’s supposed to be benevolent, can’t have them spilling secrets. But then what’s the POINT of having the story and them having those adventures? *wails* I want them to remember all those times they had together! D: Buuut there was a hint that mayyybe they might break free of it and remember at some point, so I’m holding on to that. 😉 ::END SPOILER

But overall, I didn’t have a lot of complaints! It was just a fun read that I loved! 😀 (For those who care, there was a little mild language, and some sweet possible romances, and of course a bit of fairytale violence, but nothing bad, really. Overall it’s a pretty good clean read, if readers are worried about that. :)) I found it to be definitely not as dark as a lot of the YA books out there, which made me happy. Also, the adults in the story have prominent parts as well, so it’s more rounded, about whole families, which I really liked, and makes it more likely that both young adult and adult readers will both find something enjoyable about the book. 🙂

Overall, I may have had a quibble or two, but really, I just had a blast reading it. 😀 I’m giving it 5 stars for the amount of enjoyment it gave me, and the breath of fresh air and fun this book was. 🙂 I can’t wait to see where some of this goes in later books, too! Definitely looking forward to future books in the series releasing someday so I can return to this delightful storyworld! ^_^

(I received a free review copy of this book from the author—many thanks! I was not required to write a positive review, and these opinions are entirely my own.)

Exciting book mail! This was my mini-subscription box with the book when it arrived! You can purchase an ebook or signed paperback copy, or a limited-edition mini-subscription box with surprise gifts and a letter from one of the characters. I recommend the latter. 😉

Faeriiiies! ❤ I just love faerie books, don’t you? 🙂 Are you a fan of contemporary fantasy? Does this book intrigue you? Lemme know in the comments! ^_^

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

10 Thoughts on Beggar Magic by H.L. Burke

Title: Beggar Magic
Author: H. L. Burke

Date read: April 25, 2017
Rating: 5 stars
Genre: Fantasy / Steampunk
Age: YA
Year pub: 2014
Pages: (Kindle copy doesn’t have page numbers… Amazon claims paperback version would be 208 pages)
Fave character: Brick (also Vickers, near the end)
Source: Either got it free on Amazon one time, or free for signing up for H.L. Burke’s newsletter; don’t remember which.
Notes: I read this book for the Fellowship of Fantasy book club April 2017
Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor Website • Author Blog

Ten Thoughts on Beggar Magic:

  1. Another fun yet genre-defying read! (Apparently I really love those. XD) It started out like a mild Steampunk story with elements of very original fantasy, and then turned into a sort of academy-story, which turned into a murder mystery, and all with a strong thread of friendship and a dash of romance. Basically it was great. 😀
  2. The world was super interesting! It’s a psuedo-19th-century kind of feel, with a Steampunk flavor, but some other parts of it seem kind of more old-fashioned. I loved the fantasy element of the “Strains” which are musical wisps of something like magic/sprites. There are class-distinctions based on how well you can hear/use the Strains. And much of the story takes place in a sort of academy thing in an intriguingly-arranged city with different sections specializing in different things. Anyway, for some reason I found the whole world and setup super fascinating. I could also see everything SO clearly. And the “costumes” and rifles and just—LOVE!
  3. There were several directions I would think the story was going, but it kept doing something totally different and unexpected. I don’t know if that means I’m disappointed, or if it means it was awesome because it was so surprising and original and kept me on my toes! I guess I’m not actually disappointed, just… mentioning it was different than I thought. It also got QUITE intense near the end there! I kept forgetting to breathe. o.o
  4. Brick! I really liked Brick. 😀 Brick is a deaf guard who is absolutely epic but also kindhearted and sweet—basically Brick is awesome and he was my favorite. 🙂 All the parts with him were the best. ❤
  5. Leilani, our heroine, was all right—for some reason I felt a little detached from her? But I liked her okay. I thought it was neat how in most books she’d be considered the “side-kick” and Zebedy would be the hero, but Leilani got to be the heroine of this. 😀 Leilani only has “beggar magic” which means she isn’t particularly gifted or special, like Zebedy is… so normally, Zebedy would be the heroine and main character, and I thought it was neat how it’s basically a story from the POV of the “chosen one’s” side-kick. So cool!
  6. Zebedy was spoiled and I didn’t usually like her too much, but I didn’t always dislike her either… and sometimes I felt sorry for her… Eh, I don’t know. I might have liked her more if the story was from her perspective, but like I said above, I did like how it was told from Leilani’s POV.
  7. Leilani’s and Zebedy’s friendship was really cute (if occasionally rather trying, as many besties-stories can be…). 🙂 As were… other relationships which are spoilers. Much cuteness all-around! ❤ EEP. My little adorableness-loving heart is VERY happy. ^_^ (Especially with how everything turned out at the end. :))
  8. I was really surprised by Vickers’ character—at first I SUPER disliked him (and for some reason thought he was way younger than he was), but somewhere along the way I realized I’d actually… grown to like him. o.o Rather a lot, actually! I wished we could have seen more of Vickers. But this hardly ever happens where I dislike a character but then end up absolutely loving them! So kudos on that.
  9. THERE WAS A PLOT TWIST. WHICH I SUDDENLY GUESSED DUE TO A SUBTLE HINT. AND I WANTED IT TO BE TRUE. AND THEN IT WAS. AND IT MADE ME HAPPY. 😀
  10. Overall, there were a couple things—hard to pinpoint—which kept this from becoming a top-favorite-of-all-time, but it still seems to deserve a spot on the 5-star list, and on the whole it was a super fascinating, suspenseful, original read, and funny with great dialog too! I’m actually super fond of this story and really enjoyed it! 🙂

Favorite Quotes

“Jess and I do not flirt. We converse.”

“I didn’t know conversing involved so much eye-batting.”

***

“Walk like a lady.”

Like a quick lady, Leilani decided.

***

“It’s a long story, but Vicky is my nemesis.”

Leilani mulled over this as the girls took the path back to the maze entrance. She had never known anyone with a nemesis before.

***

Leilani hoped she wouldn’t lose her ability to think if she ever fell in love.

***

“I don’t understand it either, but Art fellows like things that don’t make sense.”

***

“That’s Art. They get all the odd ones.”

***

“Vickers Buffet, eighteen.”

“That is Buffet as in to hit someone repeatedly with a blunt object? Correct?” A smile played about Zeb’s mouth.

Vickers smirked at her. “Wouldn’t you like to know?”

“Not really. Did you get that, Leilani?”

Leilani quickly scratched out the information. “Vickers Buffet, eighteen, likes to hit things repeatedly with blunt objects. Check.”

***

[Leilani reading a book:] It was a romance, the dry kind where the boy and girl fought for foolish reasons, and she kind of hoped one or both would die before the end.

***

“Did you come here just to insult my office?” [Vickers, of course. He is awesome. XD]

~ ~ ~

What do you think? Intriguing? Do you have any favorite steampunk-esque, or academy-type, or unique fantasy-world books?

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Admirable by Sarah Holman (Short Story)

I’m starting to work through reading the Tales of Taelis series, including the short stories, and hope to have several reviews going up for the series over the next few weeks, before the release of the next book… So here is the first one! 🙂

Title: Admirable
Author: Sarah Holman

Date read: May 4, 2017
Rating: 3 stars
Genre: Adventure / Christian (Medieval, Fictional Setting)
Age: YA
Year pub: 2016
Pages: 38 pages (Kindle)
Series: Tales of Taelis Short Stories, #1 (prequel to Adventures and Adversities)
Fave character: William
Source: Amazon
Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

This short story is a very quick, fairly intriguing read. It was a nice introduction to the world of the Tales of Taelis series—book one is Adventures and Adversities, which I hadn’t read yet.

Admirable provides a little backstory for William, a character from Adventures and Adversities, and I enjoyed stepping into this medieval setting (in a fictional place) and meeting William and his sister, both of whom I quite liked. 🙂

The frequency of typos and errors was somewhat distracting, and William seemed to act older than he was supposed to be (could just be me!) but otherwise it was an interesting and enjoyable read. 🙂

I did like this peek at this medieval world of castles and such, with some sweet Christian characters, and I look forward to reading more stories in the Taelis series!

(Also, I LOVE that cover!)

~ ~ ~

In the series so far (will update with links as I review them):

~ ~ ~

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Nightstand Books May {2017}

Time for Nightstand Books! (I mean, it has been for awhile, but hey. Leave me with my delusions of it still being the first couple of days of May. It will make me feel better. *cough*)

Nightstand Books is a meme created by Jenelle Schmidt and DJ Edwardson, a monthly look at what we’re reading/have on our “nightstands”.

Here’s what I’m reading/would like to read this May. 🙂 (Or, y’know… into June… or however long it takes me… *cough*)

The Stack

  • Masters and Beginners by Daley Downing — I read this one, LOVED it (Faeries and THINGS!), and will have a review up for it soon! 😀 (Thanks to the author for my shiny review copy!)
  • Puss in Boots by Diana Wynne Jones — This is a tiny retelling DWJ did and I just read it. So much fun! I like how she made everything make sense, while also making it rather humorous as is traditional with DWJ books. 😉
  • Adventures and Adversities by Sarah Holman — I’m starting to work through the Tales of Taelis series (long overdue!). Interesting so far. 🙂
  • Arbiter by Jamie FoleySentinel was awesome, hence I’m super excited to read this! *flailing* (Thanks to the author for my review copy! *pets it*)
  • The Fatal Tree by Stephen R. Lawhead — Currently reading this, and it’s VERY intriguing so far. O_O I can’t wait to find out what happens! Eep. 😀
  • Moonblood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl — The Imps of Goldstone Wood fan club on Goodreads is having an epic series read-through this year, with a different book every month, give or take. You can hop aboard on any of them you like, as re-reads or new reads. I’m jumping in this month because Moonblood is up for May, which is next in the series for me. Halfway through and enjoying it SO MUCH so far! O_O Didn’t realize I missed the Goldstone Wood world and characters so much until I started reading it again.
  • The Noble Servant by Melanie Dickerson — I’m slightly addicted to Melanie Dickerson’s fairytale retellings. They just make me happy. So I’m looking forward to reading this one. (Thanks to Thomas Nelson through BookLook Bloggers for the review copy!)
  • The Beast of Talesend by Kyle Robert Schultz — I just devoured this in a sitting and ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT! Short version: just read this, peoples. (I will write a review at some point… *has many reviews to write and unfortunately not a lot of time for it lately*)

Ebooks

And the ebooks which I hope to read, which don’t stack nicely on a nightstand, but are absolutely lovely-looking books all the same…

  • Halayda by Sarah Delena White — This is the May book for the Fellowship of Fantasy bookclub, and I am SUPER EXCITED FOR IT. Because faeries and things. About a third of the way through and enjoying it thus far. 😀
  • Where the Woods Grow Wild by Nate Philbrick — Super excited to read this fantasy novel — it sounds right up my alley! (Also for review; thanks to the author for my review copy! Check out his blog — it’s absolutely hilarious. :D)
  • Spellsmith and Carver: Magician’s Rival by H.L. Burke — This is for review and just released and I’m quite excited because it’s a buddy story with magic and scary Fae things and I’m all for this. (Thanks to the author for my review copy!)

Not Pictured

  • I’d also like to keep working through my backlog of beta-reads, so I’d like to get one of those done.
  • I’m listening to an unabridged yet fully-dramatized audio recording of The Tempest by William* Shakespeare, as well, which has been interesting thus far!

*(In other news, sometimes I wonder if I should bother saying “William”. Like, is there any other Shakespeare? I mean, come on, really. Maybe I should say “Bob Shakespeare” sometime and see if anyone notices…)

If I have time, I also would not say no to re-reading Yorien’s Hand by Jenelle Schmidt, to refresh my memory before the final book releases… but we’ll see; could be pushed to my June list. In fact, seeing that we’re OVER HALFWAY THROUGH MAY (WHAT??? HOW DID THIS HAPPEN. SOMEBODY HELP), many of these might carry over to a June stack.

Not sure how many of these I’ll get around to this month, but they’re what I’m working on for now. 🙂 (And I did do remarkably well on last month’s stack, reading all of those listed, so that makes me happy.)

Yes, a lot of these are for review. Something about review-books seems to be that they come all at once. XD But, y’know, having way too many awesome books to read is obviously a good problem to have, yes? *cough*

So much awesome fantasy going on! Very excited about all of these books! 🙂

How about you? What’s on your nightstand? And have you read (or want to read) any of these? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

FYI: Book News! {May 2017}

The other day I was thinking “there’s so much exciting bookish stuff going on!”

So I thought I should do a sort of summarizing post about several bookish things I’m excited about that you should know about! 🙂

In this post:

  • Giveaways links
  • Vintage Jane Austen update
  • Other recently-released books I’m excited about
  • Upcoming cover-reveals

Let’s get to it! ^_^

INDIE AUTHOR GIVEAWAYS

Masters and Beginners giveaway on Goodreads (ends May 17)

Check it out HERE.

I just read this one and really enjoyed it! (You may remember my spotlight post for it.) Faeries and talking cats and modern and was a breath of fresh air in many ways compared to most YA novels — review to come! 🙂

The Beast of Talesend giveaway (ends June 6)

Check it out HERE.

I haven’t read this yet, but I’m so excited to do so soonish! It’s a retelling of Beauty and the Beast/detective-like novel in an alternate 1920s England (I believe), with an alternate history where fairytales were real and part of history. I AM ALL OVER THIS IDEA. (Plus the author is a super cool blogger, and knowing he’s Christian and generally awesome means I know his books are going to be good clean fun, which is exciting. :D) Also, everybody should go follow his twitter (and blog) because he’s hilarious. It looks like the book is going to be just as hilarious… I can’t wait. 😀

VINTAGE JANE AUSTEN UPDATES

I’ve mentioned the Vintage Jane Austen series on my other blog before — a collection of Austen’s works rewritten in a 1930s American setting.

(I designed the website for the series, where you can learn more about these books.)

Well, there are exciting releases going on in that series! 🙂

Find the Vintage Jane Austen books so far on:

Suit and Suitability by Kelsey Bryant

This retelling of Sense and Sensibility by an lovely author friend of mine, released today! I beta-read it and loved it. 😀 It’s currently at a discount price for a couple of days! (Details here.) Paperback coming soon too. 🙂 I hope to have a review for it up sometime soonish… *has many reviews to write*

Second Impressions: A Collection of Fiction Inspired by Jane Austen

The short story collection in the Vintage Jane Austen series, edited by my dear friend Hannah Scheele (and featuring some other authors I know), is now available! I haven’t read it yet but it looks like these are going to be some fun stories. 😀 (Note: these stories were part of a contest, and are not set during the ’30s like the other books in the VJA series, but rather in a wide range of settings, which look quite neat!) There’s a really fun “meet the authors” sneak-peek at the stories in the collection, here.

Bellevere House by Sarah Scheele (coming in June)

I beta-read an early version of this and loved it — super fun! So excited for this re-imagining of Mansfield Park, by another good writer friend of mine, to release — I can’t wait to read the final version! 🙂 (You may remember my mixed review of Mansfield Park… This new version solves some of the problems I had with the original, so… ;))

MORE RELEASES LATELY

Arbiter by Jamie Foley (May 3)

(You probably know about this one by now. XD And if you don’t, read this. Or this.)

Spellsmith and Carver: Magicians’ Rivalry by H.L. Burke (May 6)

I’m currently a liiiittle addicted to Heidi Burke’s books and I jumped on this one because magic + buddy story + Faerie things = I’m all there!

The Noble Servant by Melanie Dickerson (May 9)

Another Melanie Dickerson, which I got for review. Excited to try this Goose Girl retelling! 🙂

COVER REVEALS

Lightporter by C.B. Cook (sequel to Twinepathy) will have a cover soon! (Which is one step closer to publication, which has me ecstatic!)

There’s also going to be a cover-reveal for the final Rooglewood Press fairytale Five-Something-Something writing contest, and we’re all so curious to see what it’ll be!

I’ll be sharing both cover reveals (probably one on each blog) on June 1st, so stay tuned! I’m so excited. 😀

Any bookish news or releases you’re excited for? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

(Now somebody chase me away to actually write those 2398798 or, y’know, 5 reviews I need to write. *cough* Or maybe very nicely ask Life to give me time to do so…)

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Sentinel + Viper by Jamie Foley (Double Review)

Time for reviews of a novel and novella by Jamie Foley!

Title: Sentinel
Author:
Jamie Foley

Date read: April 26, 2017
Rating:
5 stars
Genre:
I… really don’t know what to call it. Fantasy / Contemporary (other world) / Apocalyptic / Suspense
Age:
YA
Year pub:
2016
Pages:
281 (Kindle)
Series:
Book 1 of the Sentinel Trilogy (Followed by 2: Arbiter, just released, and 3: Sage, coming soon. Prequel novella: Viper.)
Fave character:
Jet Valinor!
Source:
Amazon
Links:
GoodreadsAmazonSigned Paperbacks • Author’s Website

WHAT DID I JUST READ? I have no idea, but I know I had an absolute blast and loved it so much! 😀

Picture a fantasy world with (surprise!) modern times (not here, but similar to our time-period), and some fantasy elements like mind superpowers; then add an apocalypse, secret military agents out to wreak havoc, lovable characters (including an awesome sarcastic ex-sniper), snarky conversations, and loads of humor, all wrapped up in a layer of suspense, with a dash of Christian-allegory undertones—and you have a unique, well-written, good-clean-fun novel called Sentinel, which reads almost like an action-movie (but funner)! Definitely outside of my normal reading, and I’ve never read anything like it, but I so enjoyed it!

Reasons why this book is awesome:

  • Jet! First I have to mention Jet Valinor, who is a new favorite character and definitely a top reason for liking this. He’s my favorite kind of dark, growly, snarky, mysterious, dangerous, but awesome, with a heart of gold, type character. He’s got mind-power skills and military skills and generally you want him on your side when there’s covert military ops attacks, apocalypses, or general problems of any kind. He’s also got excellent snarky lines. What is not to love about Jet? Even without all the other awesomeness (of which there was lots), Jet just totally made the book for me. 😀
  • Buddies-who-aren’t. I don’t know about you, but I LOVE stories about two characters who are thrown together and REALLY don’t get along but have to work together. And when one of them is a rather flippant teenage boy (our hero, Darien), and the other is dark, no-nonsense Jet who is not going to put up with stupidity… you know it’s going to be awesome. They kind of hate each other but are the best and have such excellent interactions AND I JUST LOVE IT SO MUCH.
  • Banter/humor. Coming right up on that last one, there is SO much awesomeness in the form of Darien and Jet bickering, and general snark and humor, plus some of the writing is humorous too.
  • Right there, you have four of my favorite things, all rolled up in this book: an awesome favorite character, a buddy-story (where they aren’t… yet. ;)), humor, and hilarious snarky banter. SO MUCH YES. But oh, you want more reasons?
  • Fantasy! Fantasy makes everything better.
  • Mind-powers etc. which are called Aether, and the different kinds people can be include Arbiter (mind-things like telepathy or memories), Sentinel (use it like striking force), Valnah (emotions), Vanguard (making walls of force), and rare ones like Healer, or Sage (seeing the future).
  • Road-trip! Okay, so it wasn’t a huge part of the story, but I SO enjoyed Jet and Darien stuck in a car together with only Sorvashti to act as peace-maker. So much gold. 😀
  • So original and unique—this world and everything is just new and I loved it.
  • It’s well-written and gripping.
  • The other characters are great too and the different cultures etc. and mysteries and hints are really interesting.
  • Everything else—just read it already!

Reasons why I thought I wouldn’t like this book (but actually loved it):

  • It’s modern, which isn’t my favorite — but it’s modern in another world and somehow isn’t the usual blech of many modern books.
  • It’s apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic (which is a close relation to dystopian, which is a no-no for me, and in general I’m not the biggest fan of the world ending?) — but again, being in another world… I don’t… actually… mind? Plus we didn’t actually see the end of the world happening, since it was kind of off-screen (“Looks like the apocalypse started without us.” — one of my fave quotes in the book) and I’ve heard it’s just going to move more toward general fantasy-world kinds of things with less technology in later books. And because it’s not OUR world, I don’t actually mind, somehow!
  • It is definitely SUPER intense and suspenseful, which might have gotten too much for me, but the humor keeps rolling in to keep it a little more light-hearted.

Warnings:

It’s kind of violent/intense/scary, but that’s it. Basically a great YA novel! It certainly kept me breathless on the edge of my seat! O_O (I’m not sure if I remembered to breathe in the last third of the book. Whew. *collapses*)

Overall:

I loved this book and can’t wait to read the next one! (Largely because WHAT EVEN JUST HAPPENED AT THE END? I need Arbiter right now.) I’m quite hooked by this world and in love with these characters, and I can’t wait to find out where the rest of the series is headed. 😀 All in all, an excellent (if different) book. ^_^ *hugs it*

Favorite quotes:

“Easy for you to say. You already know what your power is.”

“They’re called ‘gifts’,” Tera murmured, “and I’m pretty sure yours is impatience.”

***

Levi yelled something about volleyballs being expensive.

***

Darien racked his brain for the smallest reason he could have been summoned by something as scary-sounding as ‘the Grand Master council’.

***

He squinted and found a fresh crack snaking from the right windshield wiper to a small spider web in the center. “Speaking of bad news, you owe me a thousand credits.”

It’s the end of the world:

“Cool. So, the world is ending, but who cares, right?”

***

“So it’s the apocalypse and special forces are after us. Awesome. We’re all gonna die.”

Darien and Jet:

“That’s enough,” Jet said.

Darien froze. “What?”

“Jet! Would it kill you to be nice?” Aleah shot Jet a disapproving look, then gave Darien a sheepish grin. “I’m sorry. He’s just… introverted.”

Jet snorted and looked back out the window.

And a psycho. Darien forced a laugh. “No problem.”

***

Is ‘Thracian’ his dad? Why does he call his dad by his name and not ‘Dad’?

Jet barely contained a growl. He could call Darien out on it—again—but this time it’d be just as awkward for himself. Note to self: get him to build mental shields. Immediately.

***

Darien’s thoughts ran over Jet’s like a freight engine.

***

“Why not?”

“Because it’s dangerous, you idiot! And untested and stupid.”

Darien grinned. “Did you just call yourself stupid?”

Jet sighed. “I should have left you in Katrosi.”

***

(I love them so much. ^_^)

~ ~ ~

Title: Viper
Author: Jamie Foley

Date read: April 12, 2017
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Military Thriller / Contemporary Fantasy (in another world)
Age: YA
Year pub: 2016
Pages: 118 (paperback)
Series: Prequel to the Sentinel Trilogy (Sentinel, Arbiter, Sage)
Fave character: Jet Valinor
Source: From the author (thank you, Jamie!)
Links:
GoodreadsAmazonSigned Paperbacks • Author’s Website

A little different than the main series books of the Sentinel Trilogy, Viper is set years before Sentinel, and therefore pre-apocalypse… which means society hasn’t collapsed yet, and it reads very much like a contemporary thriller, with a dash of fantasy powers and military strike team and hostage situations. Just… y’know… in another world. 😉

It was VERY thrilling and intense and suspenseful! Not what I usually read, but I was definitely super absorbed and worried. 😛 As a novella, it was also a quick read. There were a few typos, I had trouble keeping Copperhead and Moccasin (two of Jet’s Viper strike team) straight, plus it’s short, and generally not entirely my usual reading cup of tea, hence 4 stars; but I did really enjoy it and it was engaging, well-written, and super intense!

Also Jet is awesome. I found him to be even more awesome in the next book, meeting him from an outside perspective, so I didn’t realize when I read this just how cool he was… so in a way I didn’t appreciate that, but now I do. 😛 Now that I’ve read Sentinel, I actually want to read this again as backstory-on-my-favorite-character. XD

Jet and Sorvashti are great together, especially with her way of speaking since she doesn’t know his language well, and he doesn’t know hers—loved that! Language-barrier things are so fun. It was hilarious and adorable. ^_^ It’s told in their alternating POVs, which was really interesting. I enjoyed both of their perspectives.

Like I said, it’s a prequel, and I read it first, instead of starting with book 1. This was an interesting introduction to the world/cultures/characters of the series, so I enjoyed having some background on everything. But it would also be awesome to read as backstory once already familiar with the way things are introduced in Sentinel. So… I can’t decide which is better. 😛 Probably don’t do it like I do, and instead start with Sentinel. (But you can read either first.)

Definitely an overall enjoyable, quick read which got me hooked on the series and world and characters, and left me eager to read more! 🙂

(I was given a copy of this novella by the author; I was not required to write a review; these opinions are my own.)

~ ~ ~

(Look, it’s Jet with a spear! This cover means SO MUCH MORE now that I’ve read Sentinel…)

Arbiter (book 2) just released!

Check out the Arbiter Blog Tour and giveway! My post for the blog tour will be going up on my other blog Wednesday morning — tomorrow! — so watch for that!)

I’m going to be reading Arbiter soon; I can’t wait! 😀 I’ll be reviewing it here once I’ve read it, so stay tuned. 🙂

What about you, my Pagelings? Have you read any of these? Do they intrigue you? Let me know in the comments!

~ ~ ~

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer