Archive | March 2019

I have feelings (Healer’s Bane by Hope Ann: Review)

Look what came out today! A delightful new novella from Hope Ann. 😀 Read on for my confused feels which I’m throwing together and calling a review. XD

Title: Healer’s Bane

Author: Hope Ann

  • Date read: March 28, 2019
  • Rating: 4 stars?
  • Genre: Gaslamp Fantasy / Novella
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2019
  • Pages: 178 (Kindle)
  • Series: No
  • Fave character: Lael
  • Source: The author
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

5 thoughts on Healer’s Bane

I have MANY FEELINGS about this novella and I don’t know quite what they amount to so . . . I’m just going to throw them at you. XD

1. It was sooo mysterious and spooky, with an intriguing gaslight sort of feel, mixed in with a smidge of dystopian-type feel, with the rebellion and so on. The fantasy bits were woven in well, with the mysterious healing powers and the Poisoner (URGH) and the star-mists and everything. It’s sort of a shadowy, gritty setting but felt EXTREMELY vivid. Everything was quick and punchy and made it work in the small space.

2. We have a small but vivid cast of characters. Kynet, our no-nonsense but compassionate heroine. Her hot-headed brother Nayn, who runs the revolution. Street-orphan Ean with the Scottish accent. And a certain mysterious character who is all spoilers but is AWESOME and my fave! (Definitely my favorite part of the story.) And of course a villain or two. 😉 Villains aside, I loved them all! They definitely sprang to life in the course of this small story. And their snark and banter was fun, naturally.

3. It’s terribly interesting and edge-of-your-seat, and you never really know exactly where it’s going, but it’s fun too. So I really enjoyed it in one sense, while in another sense it was a smidge more dark/creepy than I generally like to read (though I didn’t mind as much as I thought I might?) and then there’s an . . . er . . . awkward fact. I kept being constantly afraid that this or that—no, THAT—character was going to die any second, so I wasn’t exactly SURPRISED buuut there was a death that was Not Okay and I’m sort of upset. BUT ALSO it was almost beautiful/okay—almost—and I’m not sure why I’m not MORE upset and giving out two-stars all over the place? It’s more like I’m mildly sad so maybe it worked well? So I’m essentially rather confused about my reactions because that death and the darker aspects would normally mean I’m a disappointed bean, but I still think it was really fascinating and rather fun most of the time. SO. I think it might be because it’s a novella.

4. ANYWAY, I have all these confused feeliiiings and I don’t know what I think. But yes, it’s a fascinating and exciting and fun and spooky story, and I loved the feel and the atmosphere even if it was creepy sometimes, and I liked the characters even if I’m rather upset about the thing that happened. I am all confusion. XD

5. But if it sounds like an intriguing story to you, and you like a gaslight sort of setting and a rebellion against the corrupt government, fabulous sibling relationships, an adorable orphan boy, a mysterious courtly awesome chap, and healers and poisoners and secrets and plots and aaall the feelz, do give this little novella a try! 😀

Thanks to the author for the Advance Reader Copy! All opinions are my own.

What do you think? Sound intriguing? And what do you do when you read something and can’t disentangle your feelings?? XD

Bookish News Roundup/March Magics 2019!

Once upon a time, a blogger used to blog. This was a long time ago, but there were likely fearsome, lengthy, time-consuming, important quests involved and totally valid reasons for her absence of many moons. Fortunately, this blogger is back today to share bookish happenings, releases, cover reveals, a free book, and of course March Magics!

Once upon a time (even longer ago), a fabulous author named Diana Wynne Jones wrote some of the best fantasy ever to grace the page. This month is all about celebrating her work (and that of another fabulous fantasy author, Terry Pratchett) and even if I’m approximately two-thirds of a month late posting about this, I have been doing things to celebrate when time allows. XD

So.

It’s March.

I’m not quite sure how this happened?

But I do l love March. It’s my birthday month (I had a FANTASTIC bookish one!) and Diana Wynne Jones month and St. Patrick’s Day and spring (happy Spring, as of yesterday!) and all things good. ❤ Particularly Diana Wynne Jones March. 😉

So here’s how I’m celebrating one of my favorite events of the year, and all the other March madness! (It’s a good madness, I promise.)

MARCH MAGICS

March Magics is hosted by Kristin @ We Be Reading and this year the theme is Riches Well-Told. Which means we get to re-read our favorites! I’m totally down for this. 😀

There’s also a readalong for Howl’s Moving Castle (YESSS! Hoping to do that this week) and for The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett — which I just read and was delightful!

Here’s my stack!

Status update on these!

  • The only new-to-me book in this stack is The Wee Free Men, which I read this month (about the only book I’ve finished, but you know. XD) and it was SO SO FUN! I loved it so much! 😀 It felt totally different than the other Discworlds I’ve read but I LOVED it. The Nac Mac Feegle are the best. XD And I managed to find a GORGEOUS fully-illustrated edition at my library, so reading that was just magical.
  • I’m about a third of the way through my Hexwood re-read (which I loved the first time) and I’m sooo enjoying it! Especially now that I know what actually happened. XD I can’t wait to finish. (MORDION. MY FEELS.)
  • I’m reading an essay per day, more or less, of Reflections: On the Magic of Writing. I’m loving it! I read this collection years ago but I appreciate it so much more now that I’ve read more of DWJ’s work, and I think most of her things are best on a re-read. Even if I don’t agree with every thing in it, there are SO many gems in here about fantasy, writing, and her own work. I ADORE IT. I think I’m on track to finish by the end of the month. If you’re a writer or a fantasy fan or a DWJ enthusiast, you HAVE to read this. I don’t read much non-fiction but this one is phenomenal.
  • I’m definitely planning to pick up Howl’s Moving Castle this week for my sixth read and I can’t wait! 😀 In the years since I discovered it, I’ve re-read it almost every year (just missing two years, one of which was last year), so it’s definitely time! (I almost always read it in the spring for some reason! It just seems a spring-y kind of book. Maybe because spring cleaning. Or May Day…)
  • I’m SO hoping I will find the time to dive into my first re-read of Fire and Hemlock, but if not, I will definitely have to do it next month. I’ve adored this one for ages but been a little afraid to reread it (while also been wanting to reread it ever since I closed the final page). I’m SO looking forward to it.
  • And if I get a minute, I’m totally planning to re-read Mort, which is one of my favorites. XD A Guards! Guards! re-read would not go amiss either, but looking less likely. But hey, I’ve read The Wee Free Men this month and that was totally awesome, and I’m in the midst of re-living some DWJ magic, so anything else I get done, or don’t, it’s all good. 🙂

So there’s an update on my DWJ and Pratchett reading/goals!

I haven’t made any specific plans for March Magic-ish posts (being too busy to blog on this or any other topic) but I’m still holding out hope that I’ll do something more — maybe I’ll Howl myself into writing one or two before the month is out. 😉

Meanwhile, check out my DWJ page where I’ve collected some DWJ-ish things.

And enjoy this quote, which I’ve been thinking a lot about lately as I don’t allow myself time to take care of myself between all the busy things . . . *cough*

Onward to the non March-Magics Marchness!

MARCH RELEASES

  • A Dream Within a Dream by Kristina Mahr — I still need to read book one, but look, another gorgeous book from Uncommon Universes Press!
  • Hertz to Be a Hero by Bryan Davis — I just picked this up at a homeschool convention I went to for my birthday. I’m so excited to read it! Middle-grade superhero novel? Yes please! Check out my review of book one, Wanted: A Superhero To Save the World, which you should totally read!
  • Healer’s Bane by Hope Ann — I’m reading a review copy of this fantasy novella and enjoying it so far, so expect a review for it in late March! (I mean, later than it already is. *cough*) It’s got a dash of gaslamp and semi-dystopian and it’s fascinating.
  • Betrayal by Blood by RJ Metcalf — Prequel to the steampunk-fantasy book Renegade Skyfarer! I need this in my life!
  • The Door to Camelot by Suzannah Rowntree — This is actually a re-release, which I share about later in the post under gorgeous-cover-reveals but YAY ARTHURIAN!
  • The Road to Bremen by Kelsey Bryant — This one actually released at the end of February, but I had to include it! Lovely retelling of the Bremen Town Musicians, with adorable illustrations! I love it so much. ❤
  • The Fourth Musketeer (Part 1) by Kyle Robert Shultz — This is a fabulous novella retelling of The Three Musketeers, featuring dragon-shifter Julio Aquino from Horseman and . . . another surprise character from the Afterverse. 😉 The first part is up on Kyle’s Patreon and the second half is coming April 2. (If you’re not on Patreon, the stories he puts up there will someday be collected in anthologies available elsewhere, just so you know!) I edited this and it’s one of the most fun things I’ve read in a long time. XD
  • Elapse by Sarah Holman — Pictured below since it’s not on Goodreads yet, but this is another short story in the Tales of Taelis series and it just released! 😀

OTHER MARCH NEWS

(a.k.a. a free book and some gorgeous covers!)

Free through March 22

Retrieve by Sarah Addison-Fox is currently free on Kindle! (You may remember my review for it from before the gorgeous cover change!)

Coversss

Speaking of gorgeous covers, in case you missed it . . .

The Electrical Menagerie has an epic new cover! And an audiobook! AAAHH! You need it in your life. ❤

There was also a cover reveal for an upcoming fairytale anthology called Encircled, featuring stories by Laurie Lucking (author of Common), E.J. Kitchens, J.M. Hackman, Jebraun Clifford, and others! It’s sooo pretty and sounds amazing!

Sarah Holman has a new Tales of Taelis short story out! I love this cover and can’t wait to catch up on the series! 🙂

Also, guys! Suzannah Rowntree is re-releasing her book, Pendragon’s Heir, as a TRILOGY with shiny new titles/covers! IT’S EXCITING. And a good reminder I need to get around to reading this!

What if King Arthur had a daughter?
Blanche was an ordinary girl in 1900 England…until the knight crashed through her door. Now, her guardians say she’s a princess lost in time.
Now, her father’s enemies want her dead.
Raised in the wild, Perceval has never known his father. Hoping for answers, he sets out to pledge his sword to the legendary King Arthur Pendragon. But dark forces threaten Camelot. And darker secrets fester behind the legend.
Sparks fly when Perceval steals a kiss from the strange damsel he finds in the forest. Blanche doesn’t trust this brash young knight…but as assassins close in, he might be her only chance of survival.
If you love Narnia and Middle Earth, you’ll be enchanted by this beautifully crafted Camelot! The Door to Camelot is Book One of Pendragon’s Heir, an acclaimed new Arthurian retelling now being re-released in three volumes.
Get it now (99 cents) • Goodreads

MY MARCH NIGHTSTAND

Or, the non-March-Magics part of it

I’m sort of laughing at myself right now since this is the photo I took at the beginning of the month, of what I wanted to read this month, and I’ve done none of them. I just haven’t had time to read and it’s BREAKING MY HEART but you know, life. *cough* Look at pretty books because they are pretty:

I’ve listened to all of fifteen minutes of Cress so far (no time for life! Aagh!) but so far it’s neat and Cress is adorable.

Haven’t touched the rest so far. *cries* I need a vacation dedicated to reading. 😛

I’m also still totally planning to read a couple of ebooks which might take precedence. So. You know. That might happen, they’re just less easy to take pictures of. XD

MY READING NEWS

Other than, you know, a lack of reading this month . . . *cough* Here’s stuff I read last month!

February Reads

I talked about some of these in my February Ishness post on my other blog, but these were mostly fun. Beneath the Haunting Sea would be my favorite, with The Gilded Wolves being least-favorite. Scarlet is super fun as an audiobook! Also, I will be sharing a review for Ewan Pendle and the Castle of Nightmares as soon as my brain has a coherent moment between life things!

And there you are, my pagelings! Are you doing anything for March Magics? Do you have a favorite book by Diana Wynne Jones, or have you not read her yet? (This is an excellent time to remedy that!) And are you ready for Spring? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading! 🙂

The Electrical Menagerie Re-Cover Reveal! + Audiobook!

Guys, I’m SO excited to share with you the new cover for The Electrical Menagerie by Mollie E. Reeder — and also the fact that it is now an audiobook! *screaming in delight*

For those who don’t know, I absolutely ADORED The Electrical Menagerie (read my 10 reasons why you should read it!) and it was one of my top favorite reads of 2018!

And now it has a shiny new cover by the amazing Kirk DouPonce of DogEared Designs, and is being released TODAY as an audiobook narrated by Travis Baldree!

So I’m going to give you links and a cover in a minute. But first, here is a little about the book!

In brief, it’s a steampunk-ish tale set on floating islands with trains and electricals (sort of like robots) which are powered by stardust, and has one of my favorite fictional friendships of all time, namely Carthage and Huxley, and it’s suspenseful and HILARIOUS and a little like The Greatest Showman with a mystery, and I love it absolutely so so much! ❤

Here is the official blurb:

The Electrical Menagerie by Mollie E. Reeder

The Electrical Menagerie, one-of-a-kind robotic roadshow, is bankrupt.

Sylvester Carthage, illusionist and engineer, has the eccentric imagination the Menagerie needs to succeed creatively — but none of the people skills. Fast-talking Arbrook Huxley, meanwhile, has all the savvy the Menagerie needs to succeed commercially — but none of the scruples.

To save their show, Carthage & Huxley risk everything in a royal talent competition, vying for the once-in-a-lifetime chance to perform for the Future Celestial Queen. In this stardust-and-spark-powered empire of floating islands and flying trains, The Electrical Menagerie’s bid at fame and fortune means weathering the glamorous and cutthroat world of critics, high society, and rival magicians — but with real conspiracy lurking beneath tabloid controversy, there’s more at stake in this contest than the prize.

Behind the glittery haze of flash paper and mirrors, every competitor has something to hide… and it’s the lies Carthage & Huxley tell each other that may cost them everything.

And now the cover!

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Yes, I’m making you wait. Yes, I’m evil. XD

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But really, what’s a cover reveal without a bit of silly teasing? 😛

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AND HERE IT IS.

AAAAHH. ISN’T IT GORGEOUS?? I’m in love! ❤ I’M SO EXCITED. IT’S PERFECT. I love that Endeavor the elephant is on it, and the little Carthage and Huxley on top, and the setting with the cobblestones and carriages is absolutely perfect, and the feel and just I CAN’T. IT’S MAKING ME SO HAPPY. I can’t stop screaming! *may possible need to get a new paperback copy* XD

If you haven’t picked this book up yet, YOU TOTALLY NEED TO. It was one of the top three best books I read all last year! Do check it out! ❤

Pick up the ebook/paperback or the shiny new audiobook version!

What do you think of the new cover? I ADORE IT. *screaming* It’s the perfect new face for my dear friends Carthage and Huxley! (I’m officially Huxley’s #1 Fan, just so you know. 😉 ) And are you excited about the audiobook? Because I think it’s going to be incredible! 😀 Talk to meee!