Archive | August 2017

The Tomb of the Sea Witch by Kyle Robert Shultz

Today I’m reviewing the sequel to The Beast of Talesend, AND I’M SO EXCITED!

Title: The Tomb of the Sea Witch
Author: Kyle Robert Shultz

  • Date read: July 23, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Fairytale retelling (Little Mermaid, bits of Beauty and the Beast, etc.)
  • Age: YA — or, well, anyone really
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 209 (paperback)
  • Series: Beaumont and Beasley, #2 (read my review for Book 1, The Beast of Talesend)
  • Fave character: Crispin and Nick
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free Advance 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.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Blog

I don’t know how to review this book! I JUST LOVED IT A LOT, OKAY?

There are SO many amazing twists, and spoilers that I have to avoid talking about because I don’t want to spoil it… I also kind of want to keyboard-smash and flail in all-caps that everyone should read this… I will attempt to be coherent, but MAN, this might be hard. *twitch* Ahem. *gathers self*

This is an utterly fun adventure! From the moment I read the prologue (in Nick’s delightful dry narrator tone, of course) I knew I was going to adore this book—and was I ever right! (The answer is yes; yes, I was right.)

I loved The Tomb of the Sea Witch just as much as book 1, The Beast of Talesend—possibly more, if that’s possible. O_O I… I don’t even know; I loved them both a LOT. But this one has potential to be my favorite so far, if only because of a few awesome things which were even more prevalent than before.

LIKE THE CHARACTERS.
AND THEIR BICKERING.
AND THE HUMOR.
AND THE FAIRYTALE TWISTS.
AND ALL THE PLOT TWISTS.
AND MAGICAL CREATURES.
(And I will try to be coherent, promise. *cough*)

More fascinating fairytale bits feature in this! Book 1 was largely Beauty and the Beast, and this one has remainders of that, but is mostly The Little Mermaid… ish… but different. (I will say no more. XD) Other THINGS are also referenced. O_O Needless to say, this post-fairytale world of the Afterlands is still FASCINATING, and totally unpredictable, and I can’t wait to see what other fairytale things get woven in later on!

THERE ARE TWISTS GALORE. The adventure got pretty intense in the midst of all the humor and character interactions! Eep! *collapses* EXCITEMENT. And so much trouble for our heroes. XD I couldn’t put it down and had to keep flipping those pages. It kills me that I can’t say much about the plot because I LOVE so many of the plot twists, but I will not spoil them—just go read the book yourself! (But these plot twists though. So many amazing and/or ominous developments! :O)

Nick is still an AWESOME narrator—seriously, he’s a favorite! ^_^ I just love his loyalty and grouchiness and he’s fabulous. ❤ Cordelia is taking a turn for the mysterious (I mean, she had a dash of that to start with) and—gah, I need to know more about her. O.o She’s great too. 😀 CRISPIN IS IN THIS ONE MORE. *does a dance of happiness* I absolutely loved Crispin in book 1, although he wasn’t in it very much, so I was ecstatic to find that he has more of a central role in this one. SO MUCH CRISPIN. ❤ It’s still mostly about Nick, but more Crispin “screen-time” this time around was great, and all the shenanigans he got up to were hilarious. XD He also went through a lot… *cough* *hugs Crispin and adopts him*

But even better than each individual character on their own? ALL THE CHARACTERS TOGETHER. I absolutely LOVE this trio! THEY ARE THE BEST!!! *hugs them* Nick and Cordelia are so great; I love their banter. I love Crispin and Nick’s brotherly shenanigans and interactions. I love how Nick and Cordelia try to keep Crispin in line and he tries to keep THEM in line and—laksjdlfkj SO MUCH ADORABLE. All three of them just make the greatest trio! There are some fabulous character arcs going on here during the continuing quest to de-Beast-ify Nick, and more questions raised about all the characters… ACK, I can’t wait to read more about these three! Anyhow, the Beasley brothers are fantastic together! I love themmm! ❤

There are other fun characters introduced, too. 🙂 Molly, for instance. *grins* I really like her. 😀 She and a certain character were so adorable together. XD And we have an ominous dragon with SUCH a presence… o.o And since it takes place largely at a magical “anti-hero” type school (*laughs so hard over this*), we have a small group of students dubbed “the Mythfits” by Nick—and they were so fun. XD And Kiran (a certain descendant of a certain character…) was verrry interesting and I’m curious about him. Mer-people also feature—yay!—as well as mythical creatures galore—many of which Crispin “adopts” in this, which was beyond adorable. 😛 (The little dragon/salamander though!! “Zup-zup!” <3)

I must confess, the very ominous epilogues got me extremely nervous for what will become of these characters in the upcoming sequels—eep! O_O (NEED. MORE. BOOKS. NOW.) So as far as any “downsides,” that’s literally all I can think of: that I’m VERY worried for my character friends, and there’s a bit of intense, dark scariness throughout the book, mostly in the second half. (But all mixed in with hilariousness, so it still felt pretty lighthearted overall. Of course, it being intense only means it’s VERY EXCITING and only makes me want to read them more, sooo…)

Short version: This book is one of the funniest I’ve read, with the BEST dialog, and is an utterly original twist on fairytales, with some of my favorite characters ever; I totally recommend it. JUST READ IT ALREADY, EVERYONE. Or, well, maybe read The Beast of Talesend first. BUT READ THIS BECAUSE IT’S FABULOUS.

Now I’ll just be over here flipping through both books and reading amusing quotes from Nick and Crispin and co., while waiting impatiently for the sequel, because I NEEDS MORE OF THESE, PRECIOUSSS.

(P.S. This was the perfect thing to read over a weekend when I was kayaking—all the water!—and my family also benefited from it because I couldn’t resist quoting aloud parts of it as I read; there were lots of laughs. The book photography opportunities were also perfectly timed. <3)

(This quote was so appropriate for being at the beach, I had to snap a picture of it. XD It will stand in for quotes, because if I were to share my “favorite quotes” like I do sometimes, I would literally quote the whole book…)

~ ~ ~

So there you are! Do you have this or The Beast of Talesend on your To-Read list? BECAUSE YOU SHOULD. XD And what’s the best fairytale retelling, or funniest book, you’ve read lately?

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Poison Kiss by Kendra E. Ardnek: Review (Three Sleeping Beauties Blog Tour!)

Today I’m excited to join in on the Three Sleeping Beauties Blog Tour with a review of Poison Kiss by Kendra Ardnek!

This blog tour is to celebrate the release of THREE Sleeping Beauty retellings, all released on August 7, by three different authors:

Wander on over to Kendra’s Blog, knittedbygodsplan.blogspot.com, for details. You can find the full tour schedule HERE!

Giveaway

Enter to win a paperback copy of Twisted Dreams or ebooks of all three books here:

****—>ENTER GIVEAWAY AT THIS LINK<—****

Free Books

And here are a few books by Kendra which are free for the tour, for you to pick up! 🙂

Sew, It’s a Quest (Permafree)
CinderEddy (Free August 7-11)
Woodcutter Quince (Free August 8th-12th)


Here’s a bit about the book I’m reviewing today…

Poison Kiss

by Kendra E. Ardnek

{GoodreadsKindle}

About the Book

Everyone knows that Sleeping Beauty’s curse is triggered when she pricks her finger on a spindle and that she is awakened by true love’s kiss … but what happens when the wicked fairy decides to switch things up?

Edmund didn’t mean to put Auralea to sleep, but now it’s up to him and the famous Puss in Boots to figure out how, exactly, a spinning wheel is supposed to awaken her.

About the Author

Kendra E. Ardnek is a homeschool graduate who picked up a pen at an early age and never put it down. The eldest of four, she makes her home in the Piney Woods of East Texas with her parents, younger siblings, giant herd of giraffes, and honor guard of nutcrackers.

You can connect with Kendra on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.


And now for . . .

*drumroll*

  • Date read: July 25, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Fairytale Retelling (Sleeping Beauty + Puss in Boots)
  • Age: Anyone!
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 44 (Kindle)
  • Series: A Twist of Adventure, #2 (stands alone)
  • Fave character: Edmund and Boots
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free e-ARC of this tale from the author as part of the blog tour (many thanks!). These opinions are entirely my own.

Thoughts

This was adorable!! I loved it! ^_^

Somewhere between a short story and novella-length (novelette is the proper term, I believe), this brief tale was entirely delightful.

Poison Kiss is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty and Puss in Boots, with other bits of fairytales woven in here and there, and it did a fabulous job of combining them. I absolutely loved the twists and tongue-in-cheek telling of this story, flipping so many things on their heads, while still feeling a lot like the original tales. 🙂

The writing is fabulous and at times hilarious, which I loved, and the dialog was splendid! My absolutely favorite stories are funny ones, and add that to a (double!) fairytale retelling and some lovable characters, and you have a recipe for a story I’ll love—as I definitely did this one! ^_^

I can’t decide if Edmund (the hero) or Boots (the cat, called Puss for most of the story) is my favorite. I liked them both immensely! 🙂 Edmund was a fabulous hero, who I quite liked, and the twist about him was very clever and interesting! Boots is a classic cat; that it is to say, he’s clever and snarky and very catlike. XD I loved his part in the story too! 😀 *grinning*

The other characters were also fun! And I particularly loved how immersed in fairytales this world was, with all the little snatches of them popping in or being mentioned; it made me think of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles in that way, so that made me happy. ^_^

It wrapped up a little quickly, but it WAS a short story, so I can’t really blame it, and I really have no complaints! 🙂

I can’t say much more about this brief tale without spoiling it, and I’d rather you discover all the delightful twists on your own. 😉 So I will finish up and merely say that if you like fairytale retellings with twists, humor, cats, Sleeping Beauty, or simply delightful little stories, you will love this one! 🙂 I certainly did. ^_^

Favorite Quotes

“Some days I wish that one of my godmothers had given me something practical like Health,” Auralea told her nurse between sneezes.

***

“Edmund, milady, if it pleases you,” said he, setting his bag down on a table and rifling through it.

“Edmund is a charming name. It pleases me very much.”

***

“I’m rather certain that he’s in this wood,” said Edmund. “To my memory, he’s never ventured out of it. He’s scared of civilization.”

“Well, I can’t say that I blame him,” said Puss.

***

“In my experience, involvement in fairy tales is unavoidable no matter who you are, no matter how many fairy tales you’ve lived through already.”

***

“I stuck her in a tower and hoped for the best.”

“What is it with putting princesses in towers?” asked Puss.

“It’s … fashionable?” suggested the Enchanter.

Puss gave a haughty sniff. “It’s terribly ineffective.”

***

His eyes fell on Puss, who sat licking his whiskers indignantly. “I would have thought,” said the cat, “that part was obvious.”


Doesn’t this sound delightful? ^_^ Have you read any Puss in Boots or Sleeping Beauty retellings you liked? 🙂

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

10 Thoughts on Halayda by Sarah Delena White

Title: Halayda
Author: Sarah Delena White

  • Date read: June 30, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Epic Fantasy / Steampunk
  • Age: New Adult?
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 439 pages (Kindle)
  • Series: Star-Fae Trilogy, #1
  • Fave character: Taylan! (and Zad)
  • Source: I got a free e-copy of this book through the Fellowship of Fantasy bookclub
  • Notes: Read for the Fellowship of Fantasy bookclub’s May 2017 book. Also I LOVE THAT COVER SO MUCH AND I NEED A PAPERBACK SOMEDAY. ❤
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NoblePublisherAuthor’s Website

Ten Thoughts on Halayda

1. TAYLAN. He’s the best. 😀 He’s the Faerie King and he’s epic and also caring and I love him to absolute bits. I love Zad too. ZAD IS ABSOLUTELY AWESOME. And snarky. XD

2. It takes place in a steampunk fantasy world and an attached Faerie world. I LOVED THIS. The Faerie world was very messed up for pretty much the entire story, but it was still kind of amazing and epic and just WOW too, and I loved the creatures, Fae, and fantasy-ness of it. Also it’s VERY LONG. (It also took me 2 months to read because I was busy with other books.) So I kind of lived in this book for a very long time, and it’s kind of hard to leave…

3. The dynamics between the four main characters are FABULOUS. Sylvie, Taylan, Zad, and Diza. I particularly loved how Zad and Diza are married, and Sylvie and Taylan kind of like each other (like a lot but don’t always admit it… *is quietly in the background aggressively shipping them because their romance is so cute*) but they have great dynamics with each other, and also since Zad and Diza are married, I didn’t have to worry about any tedious love-triangles. Silvie and Zad can be friends and work together, without her having a stupid love-triangle, and same with Diza and Taylan. They’re all super-connected to each other, and Diza and Sylvie are besties, and Zad and Taylan are kind of friends, in the best buddy-story-where-they-snark-at-each-other kind of way. XD And just… I really really loved these four characters and how they interacted and it was fresh and awesome. LOVE.

4. IT’S FUN TOO. I mean, sometimes it’s hard to find things this epic that can still be funny at times. It’s a sweeping fantasy epic with snark and hilarity and great banter. I love the snark and dialog! ^_^ Sooo much Kindle-highlighting going on. XD

5. Points for awesome Faerie references and things: like iron, and the Wild Hunt, and Banshees, and so many things. I love that it’s in a fantasy world so it can have different rules, so not ALL the old faerie lore applies, and much of it was flipped around, but it was so neat to have many of them woven in all the same. 😀

6. It’s rather dark at times, and it’s probably more New Adult than Young Adult, not to mention that naturally it’s verrry violent and there’s a bit of language for those who worry about such things, but despite the darkness and stuff, it was still mostly clean, and I still loved it!

7. It’s utterly epic and gorgeous and Fae, all in the best possible way. It felt… well, this may sound silly, but it felt like all those gorgeous fantasy/faerie pictures on Pinterest… Like… sort of shadowy but colorful and vivid and so FAERIE AND FANTASY-ISH. I can’t describe it any better way.

8. I will say that I’m a liiiittle worried/hesitant about the future sequels. Because it ended just well enough that I’m happy with it, but just not-well-enough that I can easily see it breaking some of my happilies in sequels and I don’t know if I can go through that kind of trauma. O.o So at the moment, I love it as a standalone (just figuring that there’s naturally a few very very loose threads left hanging for the sequels) and will just pretend that everything’s okay. *coughcough* I kind of need the sequels but I also don’t because I’m happy with where things are and can’t bear the thought of anything happening to my precious characters. <333 Buuut more stuff needs wrapping up because CERTAIN THINGS are kind of left hanging, a bit. But at the same time it ended perfectly. ❤ SO I’M TORN. IN A MAJOR WAY. I don’t even know, somebody save me from these feels.

9. Also, I love the word Halayda and what it means and just yes. ❤

10. BUT THE EPIC. AND THE FANTASY. AND THE CHARACTERSSSS. I… I… I… Words fail me. Easily one of the most epic, sweeping, mythic, dark, gorgeous, Fae things I’ve ever read. Definitely a favorite this year.

Favorite Quotes

“There have to be a few perks to being king of Faerie or no one would want the job.”

***

It’s sad when one’s highest priority is to not get captured by a tree.

***

“Say it, Your Loftiness.”

“Fine; you’re actually good for more than making smart remarks and eating other people’s food.”

***

“but I know you. And no matter what happens, no matter what you do or what you become, you’ll always be my Taylan.”

***

“Hey, your majesty!” Zad’s voice cut through the haze of her thoughts. “Are you coming back, or are you planning to leave all the packing to your peons?”

Taylan pulled away, scowling. “I’m coming.”

***

“I’m putting all the heavy things in the royal pack,” Zad called.

***

Zad gave a loud snort. “That’s it. Next time, I’m choosing the quest.”

Taylan rolled his eyes. “You did volunteer for this.”

“It serves me right for being noble and selfless.”

“You know you love being the hero, Zad.” Diza laughed.

***

“I’d rather walk through the darkness with you than have the most privileged life with anyone else.”

***

“I vow with all my heart to love you with the constancy of the sun, to protect you as the thorn protects the rose, to sustain you as a river in the wilderness, to stand beside you when all others desert. This is my promise to you, my halayda, until the world fades to nothing.”

***

“You’re an idiot.” Zad walked with plodding steps, his hooves thudding on the rocky ground.

“Thank you so much Zad, but I already knew that.” Taylan gripped the pooka’s mane, trying to stay upright.

***

“You haven’t eaten in two days.” Zad stopped to nuzzle a clump of dying leaves that clung to a gnarled branch. A shriveled brown fruit was buried in the middle. He snorted. “I haven’t eaten in two days.”

“If you rescued people faster, we wouldn’t be having this problem.”

***

“Why does a horse need to steal a horse?” Taylan held the reins of the bay stallion while Zad swung into the saddle of his new acquisition— a dapple gray that threatened to bite anyone who came within easy reach.

“Why would I run the whole way when someone else can do the work?” Zad settled onto the gray stallion’s back and smacked the horse’s nose as it nipped at his leg.

“It looks like you two will get along perfectly.”

“Shut up and start destroying things so we can get out of here.” Zad urged the scowling horse into the cover of the trees.

~ ~ ~

What do you think, my pagelings? Catch your interest? And what are some epic Faerie tales you’ve read and loved?

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

August Nightstand Books {2017}

Due to a very busy July full of a spontaneous Camp NaNo and the Silmarillion Awards, I’m a bit behind on reviewing and reading (but more reviews will be coming!) and did not read anywhere near all the books on my July Nightstand — however, it’s now time to update that for August! 🙂

(Nightstand Books was created by DJ Edwardson and Jenelle Schmidt — join the fun by sharing your own picture of what you’re currently reading!)

August Nightstand

  • The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien — Didn’t quite finish this during the SilmAwards due to a very busy end of the month, but looking forward to finishing my reread of it soon. ❤
  • The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead — Still re-reading parts of this aloud. 🙂
  • Starflower by Anne Elisabeth Stengl — Didn’t quite get to starting this, so I hope to soon. 🙂
  • On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness and North! Or Be Eaten (by Andrew Peterson) — I don’t know if I’ll get to these this month, but North! Or Be Eaten is currently in my grasp because it’s out of the library (I own book one) so IF I can manage it, I’d like to read them both, but I’d like to catch up on review books too, sooo if I don’t get around to it this month, I’m sure I’ll read them someday. 🙂 (Also, I just love saying that title. “North! Or Be Eaten” — one of my fave titles EVER. XD)
  • I also got some picture books from the library. Because picture books! ❤ And at least I know I’ll have time for THOSE. XD

Virtual Nightstand

  • Perception (Vintage Jane Austen) by Emily Ann Benedict — This just released (!!) and is a retelling of Persuasion which I’m currently reading, and I’m VERY excited, because Persuasion is awesome. 🙂
  • Magicians’ Trial (Spellsmith and Carver, #2) by H.L. Burke — THERE’S ANOTHER SPELLSMITH AND CARVER BOOK OUT. MORE SNARK. MORE JERICHO. MORE AURIC. MORE OF BOTH OF THEM BEING AWESOME TOGETHER. I CANNOT CONTAIN MY ELATION. Must. read. soon!
  • Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith by Shaun Hume — Still working through this and enjoying it!
  • An Earthly King by Hazel B. West — Still on the readalong in preparation for book 3 releasing… maybe this month? So excited! I love this book. 🙂
  • Yorien’s Hand by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt — Want to re-read very soon because I miss this world. 🙂 (I’m sure a lot of this will make more sense now that I’ve read the first two books in the series as well. XD)
  • I also have a couple of books to beta-read so I will try to get those done this month.

Rundown/update on last month’s nightstand:

Read (and loved): The Tomb of the Sea Witch (review coming soon!), Coiled, The Invisible Library, The Reluctant Godfather, and Kate’s Capitol. I also read Poison Kiss by Kendra Ardnek, which wasn’t on the nightstand post, but I greatly enjoyed it! Look for a review as part of the release blogtour next week. 🙂

Still reading: An Earthly King, Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith, The Silmarillion, The Skin Map, and Perception. Carried over Starflower, unstarted thus far.

Postponed: Heartstone, The Illusionist’s Apprentice, and Intermission, I sent back to the library without reading them because I didn’t have time. *sadness* Another day! I decided I’d rather finish Camp NaNo, and I’m glad I did. 🙂

***

So that’s what’s up with my reading and what I have on my Nightstand! What’s on yours? 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Keep dreaming away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll