Archive | June 2017

10 Thoughts on “Courage and Corruption” by Sarah Holman

Title: Courage and Corruption
Author: Sarah Holman

Date read: June 16, 2017
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Christian / Adventure / Historical Fiction (in fictional country, medieval times)
Age: YA
Year pub: 2016
Pages: 161 (Kindle)
Series: Tales of Taelis, #3
Fave character: Uncle Edwin and King John
Source: Amazon
Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

Ten Thoughts on Courage and Corruption

1. Still enjoying this series. 🙂 I think this one was the most well-written in the series yet, and it’s awesome to see this author’s writing improving more and more over time!

2. It’s about a twin brother and sister (Christopher and Catherine) who don’t… erm… get along. 😛 They have to learn to become better people etc. There are a lot of strong Christian messages/themes along this line throughout the book. 🙂

3. I didn’t enjoy the first half of the story as much because it was hard reading about these characters being so angry and argumentative, so I… kind of didn’t like them very much then because they had so much to learn. Likely just one of my reading quirks. 😛 So for that reason, it wasn’t my personal favorite of the series, even though it’s the most well-written and would likely be a favorite with most readers. 🙂

4. In the second half of the book, I warmed to the story much more, and I found myself quite enjoying the intrigue and excitement, once most of the character-building parts had been dealt with. 🙂

5. I LOVED the plot that emerged in this one, linking back to a certain event in Adventures and Adversities, and featuring descendants of the little prince from that one! :O I was so hoping that plot would come back and it DID. 😀 That was one of my favorite things about the story. ^_^

6. My other main favorite thing was all the little stories Uncle Edwin told. 🙂 That was so fun, like lots of mini tales within this one; my favorite was the one about the Shepherd King and the one about Princess Brianna and John in the garden. 😀 Lovely little follow-up to Brothers and Betrayal! AWK. Such cute. ^_^

7. It’s been great reading more of these books set in the medieval country of Taelis! I especially loved seeing familiar places like Coraway Castle and Delmore Castle (both of which are super super cool… I’d love to live in Coraway Castle! I hope to see more of it in future books too. :)).

8. There are also lots of references to characters and events from the first two books, which I loved. ^_^ (Some of that’s inevitably a little sad though, of course, with multiple generations. 😦 But oh well. Otherwise I liked the references.)

9. Oh, and along that line, it was neat to see the main characters from Brothers and Betrayal in this one a little, much older but still lurking around being great. 🙂 Bryon, John, and Brianna all make appearances. 🙂

10. Overall, while some of it didn’t click for me personally, I think most people would really enjoy this! If you like Christian fiction with strong themes and families and adventure and medieval times, you will probably like this one; and like I said, it’s probably the most well-written yet. 🙂 Can also stand alone. I’m definitely curious to continue reading this series in this lovely land of Taelis. ^_^

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

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Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Nightstand Books June {2017}

WHAT HAPPENED TO JUNE? HALP!

Ahem.

June is already zipping by and it’s long time for a look at my nightstand and what I’m reading!

Aaand as per usual, I have the perfect excuse for that, thanks to this fun meme created by DJ and Jenelle, where, as Jenelle so aptly put it in her post this month: “we post on the first Wednesday of each month a picture of our nightstand and the stack of books thereupon, and then we gush about how excited we are to read those books.” 😀

So I am here to do just that! (A little late, but still. ;)) Feel free to join in the fun anytime, if you like. 🙂

On My Nightstand for June

Ebooks (On Virtual Nightstand)

“Good gracious, Deborah, do you like not have a life or something? What are you THINKING, imagining you can read all these things in a month?” I know you’re saying it. XD

I know that looks… er… ambitious. *cough* Especially when there’s a couple others I want to read that aren’t on Goodreads and therefore not included in the pictures.

BUT DON’T WORRY. GOOD NEWS: I’ve already read half of these. And of the ones still to read, Blood Ties and The Skin Map are re-reads I’m working on, and The Tempest is a (short) audio play and Fallen Star is a short story.

So you see, I’m not QUITE as insane as it looks like. 😉 (Just… mostly. Ahem.)

I am dividing things into categories this time: the ones I’ve already read in June (since we’re so far in… *cough*) and ones I’m currently in, and the ones I hope to read next.

ALREADY READ

  • Where the Woods Grow Wild by Nate Philbrick — OH MY GOODNESS. THIS BOOK. XD It was a fabulous fantasy read, with a classic Narnia/Prydain-esque feel, yet also felt entirely new and I could NOT stop reading it; plus it was really funny, and I LOVE funny books! Plus the characterrrrs, and the originality and just ALL THE AWESOME. I really, really enjoyed it. ❤ Look for a review of this one hopefully in the next couple of days! ^_^
  • Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones — WHAT DID I JUST READ. *collapses* I don’t have a dog, but I’m convinced I now know 100% what they’re all like after reading about this. 😛 Another sci-fi/fantasy/contemporary/myth mashup as only DWJ can write, this had a slightly bittersweet ending and was definitely one of her early works (before she learned how to make EVERYTHING hilarious, and write happy endings) but I absolutely loved it all the same. 😀 (It wasn’t actually originally on my June list, but I just read it one evening when I needed a DWJ to cheer me up.)
  • Mythic Orbits 2016 — This was a collection of short stories by various authors, and most were in genres I… don’t really care for. So it was overall a mixed bag, but I did enjoy a few. 🙂 Hopefully I’ll review it at some point…
  • The Noble Servant by Melanie Dickerson — Another enjoyable medieval fairytale retelling by Dickerson, I had quite a good time reading this one. 🙂 I think I liked it more than the last few of hers I’d read and it was just fun. ^_^ Review to come!
  • Brothers and Betrayal by Sarah Holman — I quite enjoyed this fun Christian medieval adventure story with a Robin Hood spin! 😀 Read my full review HERE.
  • Spellsmith and Carver: Magicians’ Rivalry by H.L. Burke — This booook! It’s a “buddy story” and has magic and a scary Fae world and it’s got great dialog of the two not-getting-along heroes and I LOVE IT. 😀 *must review soon*
  • Bellevere House by Sarah Scheele — This is the next Vintage Jane Austen book, a retelling of Mansfield Park; I just read it, loved it, and am super excited! 🙂 It’s now available for pre-order on Amazon HERE and on Goodreads HERE, releasing June 17. 😀 Hopefully reviewing it this week. ^_^

CURRENTLY READING

(Halayda pictured below instead of here, because I do not have a gorgeous paperback of it. *weepings of sadnesses*

  • Blood Ties by Hazel B. West (re-read) — There’s an epic readalong of this going on over on Goodreads HERE, and I’m super excited to be taking part! I read this last year but I’ve been wanting to re-read it ever since, so this is perfect. 😀 Modern Ireland with an alternate history and Faeries and a medieval twist and humor and banter and brotherly friendships is SO AWESOME. ❤
  • The Tempest by Bob Shakespeare — Haven’t actually continued this since I mentioned it last time… I always forget about audio books. Oops? It’s not very long though, so I just have to get around to finishing listening…
  • The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead (re-read) — I know I just finished the series, but I can’t help myself! I just started re-reading this, aloud, and it’s SO fun! (Especially doing the voices, and catching all the little hints that I now understand because I’ve read the whole series.) We’re going to re-read the entire series together and I can’t wait. 😀 Definitely a new favorite! (Yes, I know I still haven’t reviewed The Fatal Tree… I’m doing that soon. It’s very hard to put my thoughts into words because I LOVED this series and it’s one of those amazing life-changing kinds of things and I know no review of mine will do it justice. Not to mention the spoilers… That said, there will be a review once I can get my thoughts in order; hoping to get my review for that one up in the next week or two!)
  • Halayda by Sarah Delena White — Yes, I’m still in this one, which was the May bookclub book I was reading. *cough* Enjoying it but it’s quite long and I’ve been busy reading review books instead. >.> Aaand of course, once the actual month of a bookclub is over, there’s slightly less incentive to ACTUALLY FINISH. (Or is that just me?) Soon, though!

READING SOON

  • Courage and Corruption by Sarah Holman — Still working through the Tales of Taelis series, and this is the next one. I’m really excited to read it. 😀 Expect a review for it (hopefully) later this week. 🙂
  • Dreams and Devotion by Sarah Holman — No cover yet, as it’s not quite ready to release. Another Tales of Taelis, this is the next one coming out and I’m reading a pre-release version for review since I will be part of the blog tour soon-ish! Can’t wait! 🙂
  • Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith by Shaun Hume — A review book from an Australian author living in England, this looks like an intriguing fantasy tale about a boy in England who can see otherworldly creatures. It looks fun and I’m quite curious about it! 🙂
  • Fallen Star by Anne Elisabeth Stengl (short story) — I think/hear-tell (hope?) this is going to be the read for this month in the ongoing Imps of Goldstone Wood Goodreads group readalong, and I’m SO excited!!! I’m guessing it will be in the last week or two of this month. Join the fun HERE if you’d like to read (or re-read!) it with us and discuss it! 😀

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There you have my June Nightstand! As always, some of these may migrate to July, but since June and July are all sort of like one really long, hot month that starts with Ju, it’s no great tragedy, yes? XD

SOMEDAY I’m going to catch up on all the books coming out and will just read random things that I feel like, but it is not this day. XD They’re all awesome anyway, so that is also no great tragedy. 😉 So excited for these!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I must dash off to deal with all those reviews I semi-promised you, and/or to devour more lovely books, in between Life’s ever-constant demands. 😉

How about you? Anything fun on your Nightstand? Summer reading plans, perhaps?

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

10 Thoughts on Brothers and Betrayal by Sarah Holman

Title: Brothers and Betrayal
Author: Sarah Holman

Date read: June 5, 2017
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Christian / Adventure / Historical Fiction (fictional country in medieval times)
Age: YA? Suitable for younger as well
Year pub: 2015
Pages: 237 pages (ebook)
Series: Tales of Taelis, #2
Fave character: John/The Archer
Source: Amazon
Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

Ten Thoughts on Brothers and Betrayal

1. This one was even better than the first one! I quite enjoyed it. 🙂 I liked the first, but this one’s even more exciting, and more well-written, too! I just really enjoyed this. ^_^ It’s also a fairly short novel, so I was able to read it in an evening, which was nice. 🙂

2. It’s more-or-less a Robin Hood story! I’m not sure if I would QUITE call it a “retelling,” since it’s very different, but there are certainly references that felt very Robin-Hood-ish, which totally made my day. XD A lot of it twisted the old Robin Hood stories in a very classic turn-it-on-its-head retelling way, so it was fun to pick those things out. 😀 (Like Lord Notly—like Nottingham, mayhap?—and the mention of an archery contest, etc. :P) But I LOVE retellings, and haven’t seen a lot about Robin Hood, so I really, really enjoyed this book. 😀

3. I loved seeing a lot of the same places/names as the first one. The connections and references were fun. 🙂 It’s very handy to have a medieval story in a fictional country, and I’m quite attached to Taelis by now! ^_^

4. There was one thing I was sad about—inevitable with multi-generational stories, but I thought I’d be able to handle it but I wasn’t and it was super devastating; at least we didn’t SEE it… So that’s my main downside to the book; just a me-thing and I know it’s unavoidable but still. *cough*

5. I also… um… I’m afraid I didn’t really like the main character, Bryon, for a lot of the story. >.> I suspect I was supposed to like him, but he and I just didn’t get along very well. *cough* It may be partially because I’m a lot older (he’s like twelve) and I wanted to see more of John? Not sure. He was alright, just not my favorite.

6. It’s mostly set in a castle (the same castle as in book one, Delmore, but nearly finished being built now) and in a forest, which are like my favorite settings, so that was awesome. 😀 LOVED that. And the secret stairs and stuff. 😀

7. I can just see myself having positively adored this book when I was a little younger. I still enjoyed it but I think younger teens etc. might enjoy it even more, although I think anyone might enjoy it like I did—and it’s appropriate for any kind of age-range, which I appreciated. 🙂

8. It has a strong Christian message of forgiveness as opposed to revenge. The typical conversion scene was… well… typical and not necessarily fitting for the time period, but oh well. 😉 I did appreciate the forgiveness theme, because it’s a tough one.

9. The Archer/John was my favorite! 😀 I quite liked him, and would have liked to have seen more of him. ^_^ I love how he’s very Robin-Hood-ish, and I loved his lines—he has a sort of dry wit and quiet wisdom—and I also loved how he’s JOHN (and rather taller than most of them; hmm… ;)) but also the Robin-Hood leader of sorts, so it’s almost like it’s about Little John, who’s actually Robin. XD Anyways, he was great. I liked Princess Brianna too, and how they’re both sort of under-cover, even to each other. 😀 That was awesome!

10. Overall, I quite enjoyed it, and am looking forward to continuing the series! Definitely give this book a try if you like medieval stories and adventure, castles, and Robin Hood. 😀 (And it’s totally able to stand on its own, and doesn’t need to be a book 2 at all; so you can even start here if you want!)

FAVORITE QUOTES

[When the soldiers are chasing the young hero and his little sisters:]

“Stand aside! We are about the king’s business.”

“I can see that,” a casual voice said off to one side. Bryon glanced around until his gaze landed on a man atop a boulder, leaning on his bow. His golden hair was held back by a bit of string, and in one hand he twirled an arrow between his fingers. “I see you are after some hardened criminals, Lord Notly.”

The leader sneered. “They are no doubt members of your renegades, Archer.”

Bryon drew in a sharp breath. Was this The Archer?

“No doubt,” The Archer said, examining his arrow. “You really ought to give up chasing people around in the woods; you know how it displeases me.” He gave a cocky smile as he nocked the arrow in his bow.

***

“Then we shall see you make it safely to the edge of the forest. There are many desperate men who live in these woods.”

A giggle rose in Brianna’s throat. “Such as yourself?”

For the first time, a wide grin appeared on the young man’s face. “The maid has wit.”

***

“Or maybe they think you are just a bad shot,” Nathaniel teased.

“If they thought I was a bad shot, they would not fear me,” John countered, turning to his cousin.

Nathaniel shrugged. “Not necessarily. If you can’t hit what you are aiming at, and point an arrow at the person next to them, they might end up being the person dead.”

John rolled his eyes.

***

“Now tell me who it is or I will…” Notly could not seem to come up with the proper threat.

“Kill me? As you already plan to do so, threats of that nature do not seem to be of much use, do they?”

[Can you see why I like John’s lines? XD]

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

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Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Befriended (Short Story) by Sarah Holman

Here’s another short story review for another of the Tales of Taelis stories! 🙂

Title: Befriended
Author: Sarah Holman

Date read: May 27, 2017
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Adventure / Christian (Medieval, Fictional Setting)
Age: YA
Year pub: 2016
Pages: 38 (Kindle)
Series: Short Stories of Taelis, #2 (prequel to Brothers and Betrayal, set after Adventures and Adversities)
Fave character: Kaden
Source: Amazon
Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

This was a very quick, short read (I read it in fifteen or twenty minutes), but was a really cute story for all that. 🙂 I quite enjoyed it! ^_^

It’s set soon after Adventures and Adversities, with the same characters and a couple of new ones.

This is Eleanor’s story, and it was really neat to have one for her. 🙂 Kaden was a great character as well, and little John and Nathaniel were cute. 😛

I particularly liked the parts in the forest, and with the stars. ❤

I can’t really say much about it, lest I spoil the entire story, but overall it was sweet, had some moments that were fun and adorable, as well as spiritual moments, and overall made me happy.

It also made me more curious to continue reading this series! I’m looking forward to Brothers and Betrayal to see what John and Nathaniel do when they grow up. 😀

Definitely worth a read. 🙂

Favorite quote:

“My home is the North Star and with you,” Eleanor said.

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

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Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Five Poisoned Apples Cover Reveal!

Hey everyone!

I’m super excited for TWO awesome cover reveals today — so I have one here and the other on my other blog. 😉

Today I’m pleased to help reveal the cover, theme, and title of the fourth and final Rooglewood Press fairytale creative writing contest!

I haven’t read the third collection, but I enjoyed most of the stories of the first two collections (particularly all-time-favorites Broken Glass and Stone Curse! <3), and I know the whole blogosphere has been holding its breath to find out which fairytale this fourth one will feature, and to see its cover and title, so without further ado, I now present…

The Cover

Cover model/photography: Wynter Clark. Cover design: Julia Popova.

Isn’t it stunning? *collapses* I LOVE IT. ^_^

So yes, Five Poisoned Apples is its title, and it will indeed be retellings of Snow White (as I suspected!). 😀 (I even totally called the title in a comment earlier this year. XD)

I will likely not be entering myself, but I did enter the contest last year, which was an interesting experience, and I wish the best of luck to anyone who decides to dive in and write a story to submit to the contest! 🙂

Maybe I’ll end up reading one of your stories someday. 😉

All the contest details are available on Rooglewood Press’s website, HERE.

So what think ye? ISN’T IT SO PRETYYYY?? ^_^ And are you excited about a Snow-White-themed collection? And do you think you’ll try entering the contest? Tell me all in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer