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At the Corner of Elm and Main by H.L. Burke (Mini Review)

Hallo, my page-dreamers!

I’m back for one last mini review on the Tales of Ever After blog tour! (Scroll to end for giveaways, which are ending TONIGHT, so hasten!)


At the Corner of Elm and Main

by H. L. Burke

Β 

What an utterly charming and perfect story! ❀

GAH. *clutches heart* *clutches this story and hugs it* At the Corner of Elm and Main is SO ADORABLE. I love it so much! ❀ I’m having a hard time explaining it, but how cool is the idea of a sentient lamppost? It makes me think of a Pixar short or something. Which of course is perfect. πŸ™‚

I love the setting and “feel” of this one, feeling somewhat shadowy and cold with (probably) cobblestone streets and rain and a lamplighter going around lighting lamps, including our hero, Abner.

Abner the lamppost is MY FAVORITE THING. He’s wonderful. I loved reading the story from his perspective. And I loved the mysterious old woman who sits on the bench, too.

This is a positively delightful original fairytale type story, with SO much heart and charm. It’s a joy to read, but also has depth to it, and unexpected feels.Β Everything was so vivid and the delightful writing drew me right into it. It’s going to sound weird but I really related to the lamppost character. ^_^

I’m definitely going to be reading this one again sometime. It lit a light in my heart and made me smile. πŸ™‚

I can’t say anything else without spoiling it, but basically, you need this adorable story in your life ASAP! Go forth and read it and have your heart melted like mine was! ❀


If you missed them, you can read my review for two other short story in this collection, Believing Fairytales (by Arthur Daigle) and Cinders (by Kendra E. Ardnek).

Check out the rest of the stories in this anthology! It’s free on all ebook platforms! (See links below.)

Tales of Ever After

Rescue a princess, meet a mermaid, win your reward.

The authors of the Fellowship of Fantasy tackle fairy tales from once upon a time to happily ever after. Explore twists on old tales and brand new magical stories. Meet feisty mermaids, friendly lampposts, and heroes who just might be monsters themselves.

This fourth anthology from the Fellowship of Fantasy will lead you on a quest for entertainment and storm the castle of your imagination. So make a wish and enter the deep dark woods to find stories that will make you laugh, shiver, and maybe even fall in love.

LINKS

AmazonΒ β€’ Books2Read Universal LinkΒ β€’ Goodreads


Tour Schedule

Check out the blog tour schedule HERE.


GIVEAWAY!

And now it’s time to enter a delightful giveaway the Fellowship of Fantasy authors are hosting — there are 3 giveaways! (Rafflecopter hates me so you’ll just have to click the links. XD)

U.S. Only Giveaway:

(All books are paperback, and possibly signed)

***LINK***

International Giveaway:

(All books are ebooks of the winner’s file format of choice)

***LINK***

Comment Giveaway:

The person who leaves the most comments across the blog tour will receive the chance to read special sneak peaks from several of the authors’ upcoming works!


Do you like stories featuring inanimate objects who are more than they seem? I love them — they’re so adorable! Are you going to check this one out? πŸ˜‰ Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

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Cinders by Kendra E. Ardnek (Mini Review & Giveaway)

Hi everyone! I’m back on the Tales of Ever After blog tour with a mini review for another short story from this collection! (And there’s still a giveaway at the end if you haven’t entered yet. ;))


Cinders

by Kendra E. Ardnek

Β 

Okay, that was adorable and enchanting! I have a new story to put on my growing list of top-favorite Cinderella retellings. πŸ˜€ I LOVED this one!

The thing about retellings is that you can’t usually say much about the twists/plots/bits that make you really like them, without spoiling the story. XD So I won’t. But I did LOVE the twists a ton. Some I suspected, others were a delightful surprise, and a few times I got worried about how it would turn out and then things worked PERFECTLY and made me absurdly happy.

There’s also a cute kitten. And humor. And loveable characters! And… well… what more can be said? It’s a classic Cinderella story flipped on its head and made fabulous all over again. I loved it so much! The perfect story to start out this collection. πŸ™‚

So what are you waiting for? Go pick up this free collection and read Cinders! I’ll be over here contemplating rereading it, and hugging it because I adored it. ^_^


If you missed it, you can read my review for another short story in this collection, here.

Check out the rest of the stories in this anthology! It’s free on all ebook platforms! (See links below.)

Tales of Ever After

Rescue a princess, meet a mermaid, win your reward.

The authors of the Fellowship of Fantasy tackle fairy tales from once upon a time to happily ever after. Explore twists on old tales and brand new magical stories. Meet feisty mermaids, friendly lampposts, and heroes who just might be monsters themselves.

This fourth anthology from the Fellowship of Fantasy will lead you on a quest for entertainment and storm the castle of your imagination. So make a wish and enter the deep dark woods to find stories that will make you laugh, shiver, and maybe even fall in love.

LINKS

AmazonΒ β€’ Books2Read Universal LinkΒ β€’ Goodreads


Tour Schedule

Check out the blog tour schedule HERE.


GIVEAWAY!

And now it’s time to enter a delightful giveaway the Fellowship of Fantasy authors are hosting — there are 3 giveaways! (Rafflecopter hates me so you’ll just have to click the links. XD)

U.S. Only Giveaway:

(All books are paperback, and possibly signed)

***LINK***

International Giveaway:

(All books are ebooks of the winner’s file format of choice)

***LINK***

Comment Giveaway:

The person who leaves the most comments across the blog tour will receive the chance to read special sneak peaks from several of the authors’ upcoming works!


What do you think? Doesn’t this one sound charming? Do you have a favorite Cinderella retelling? And have you picked up Tales of Ever After for free yet? Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

Believing Fairytales by Arthur Daigle: Mini Review (+ Featuring Me Squawking About Jayden Because #Excuses)

Welcome to the Tales of Ever After blog tour! πŸ™‚

I’m here today to share a mini review of one of the short stories in this NEWLY RELEASED anthology of fairytale retellings (and original fairytales) from the Fellowship of Fantasy! It released yesterday; I’m really excited. πŸ˜€

And don’t forget to scroll through to the end where there’s a giveaway. πŸ˜‰


Believing Fairy Tales

by Arthur Daigle

Tagline: Some fairy tales are true. The dangerous ones are partly true.

*cue Deborah O’Carroll’s review*

Β 

Short stories are hard to review without spoiling, and I really don’t want to spoil this one because it has an excellent plot twist, but I’ll do my best. πŸ˜›

Arthur Daigle is one of my new favorite authors I’ve discovered this year, due to just a couple of short stories in previous Fellowship of Fantasy anthologies. (Those two short stories featured one of my favorite-ever dynamic duos, Dana Illwind and Sorcerer Lord Jayden.)

So I was excited to review this short story! Despite not having said two favorite characters in it, this short story does contain Mr. Daigle’s signature humor, fantastical setting (including monsters), twists, and a snarky main character who stands up for himself, as well as a mischievous goblin.

Nestor is a boy who spends his time keeping the shrine of the Brotherhood of Righteousness clean and reading old manuscripts — and Gibber is a little goblin who loves to annoy him and prank people. Their relationship was fun. XD

Enter some problems in the form of some villains, a lot of hilarious conversations (with snarky lines like: β€œI would have lost my faith in humanity if I’d ever had it.”) and a plot twist that I started slightly guessing at (and had me going “OOH!”), and it’s overall a delightful original fairy tale type story. πŸ˜€

I loved the bits about people not getting fairytales right. XD

This story was a lot of fun, and the setting and humor reminded me of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books. It’s slightly scary (just fantasy violence) but awesome overall, and I loved it! I’m excited to read the rest of the stories in this collection, as well as more of Arthur Daigle’s work!

Fantasy that makes me laugh is my favorite, and this absolutely qualifies! ❀


While You’re Here…

Not 100% related to the story I just reviewed, but I’m not going to finish a post featuring Arthur Daigle without mentioning how you can check out the short stories that made me fall in love with his writing.

If you’re curious to read about Dana Illwind and Sorcerer Lord Jayden (since I’ve mentioned them a few times and LOVE THEM SO MUCH. Ahem.) you can find a story each about them in previous Fellowship of Fantasy anthologies, Hall of Heroes and Mythical Doorways — which are FREE and have other delightful stories in them as well! (And did I mention free?)

Or if you just want to meet Jayden NOW (I don’t blame you) you can read said short stories on Arthur’s Booksie account here, here, and a NEW ONE that just came out (*shrieking* I’m so excited!) here.

I’m sorry, but I’m also TOTALLY NOT SORRY because Jayden is my fave. πŸ˜€

(And I really need to check out this author’s Goblin books someday… I believe all his works take place in the same world. Which is awesome.)

Okay, I’m done derailing this post, now. *cough*

This has been a public service announcement. Carry on.


Check out the rest of the stories in this anthology!

Tales of Ever After

Rescue a princess, meet a mermaid, win your reward.

The authors of the Fellowship of Fantasy tackle fairy tales from once upon a time to happily ever after. Explore twists on old tales and brand new magical stories. Meet feisty mermaids, friendly lampposts, and heroes who just might be monsters themselves.

This fourth anthology from the Fellowship of Fantasy will lead you on a quest for entertainment and storm the castle of your imagination. So make a wish and enter the deep dark woods to find stories that will make you laugh, shiver, and maybe even fall in love.

LINKS

AmazonΒ β€’ Books2Read Universal LinkΒ β€’ Goodreads

(The ebook should be free most places, and if it’s not yet — say, on Amazon *cough* — it WILL be… soonish… So keep an eye out. Or you can get it for 99 cents which isn’t bad; or buy the paperback because it looks shiny.)


Tour Schedule

Check out the blog tour schedule HERE.


GIVEAWAY!

And now it’s time to enter a delightful giveaway the Fellowship of Fantasy authors are hosting — there are 3 giveaways! (Rafflecopter hates me so you’ll just have to click the links. XD)

U.S. Only Giveaway:

(All books are paperback, and possibly signed)

***LINK***

International Giveaway:

(All books are ebooks of the winner’s file format of choice)

***LINK***

Comment Giveaway:

The person who leaves the most comments across the blog tour will receive the chance to read special sneak peaks from several of the authors’ upcoming works!


Do you enjoy funny fantasy too? Have you met Jayden yet? Are you curious to read this story or the rest of the anthology? ISN’T THAT TALES OF EVER AFTER COVER GORGEOUS?? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading!

March Magics 2018: Wrapup

I know this is a bit late, but bear with me as I wrap up my reading etc. for March Magics!

(via webereading.com)

Books Read

For March Magics 2018 (all new reads this year for me) I managed to read:

  • The Game – Diana Wynne Jones — This was a quite short novella, so I wish there’d been more, but what there was I LOVED. The idea of the Mythosphere was AWESOME, I loved Flute and Fiddle and Troy, and there were some great references (like the one about The Lord of the Rings and the One Ring. XD). Loved it! 5 stars
  • Dragons at Crumbling Castle – Terry Pratchett — This was a collection of shorter stories by young Terry Pratchett, which were published in a paper when he was in his teens. I loved them! XD The illustrations were actually kind of distracting/annoying to me (and definitely made the book seem like for a younger audience than it needed to be), but most of the stories themselves were downright hilarious, and simply sheer fun! In a way, I enjoyed it even better than some of his fiction for older readers, because sometimes you just want to enjoy yourself. πŸ˜› 5 stars
  • The Homeward Bounders – Diana Wynne Jones — Um. OKAY THEN. O_O This one was fascinating and very different. It’s in first-person (I ended up really loving Jamie, the narrator boy) and… well… let’s just say that DWJ wasn’t all that into happy endings apparently at this time? *cough* It was kinda bittersweet, though at the same time I don’t know how else it COULD have ended. It was like Dogsbody in that way. ‘Twas scary too! But really addicting. And the world-hopping was fascinating. There were also a couple of characters I loved. XD I felt like it was a lot more serious at first and didn’t get really funny and DWJ-ish until the second half, but I really started to enjoy it then. OH. BUT ANCHORS. O_O So, since I was reading this for the first time, and I also had A Blink of the Screen by Pratchett out from the library, I was NOT okay with the Doubleday anchor on the side of that book (see picture above). NOT OKAY, I TELL YOU. (If you’ve read The Homeward Bounders, you will know why. O_O) Anyway, I read it finally and liked a lot of it. 5 stars because I couldn’t not.
  • Yes Dear – Diana Wynne Jones (picture book; not in the above photo) — This was a cute little picture book I read quickly while visiting a library during the month. Not a lot to it, but it was fun. πŸ™‚ 4 stars
  • A Blink of the Screen – Terry PratchettShort story anthologies are always a huge hit-or-miss with me. A lot of these I just didn’t “get,” connect to, or care for, particularly some of the stranger or more sci-fi ones. But I did enjoy some of them! Particularly the one about English queues, the one about Father Christmas, and a couple others I don’t recall just now because I don’t have the book handy at the moment. So some of those are 5 stars and I loved them. XD It’s funny to me that I loved his short fiction from when he was younger (i.e. the Dragons at Crumbling Castle book) better than the ones when he was older and “a better writer.” XD I think I may go back to Pratchett’s longer fiction, and Discworld in particular. πŸ˜› 2.5 stars overall; ratings varied
  • A Sudden Wild Magic – Diana Wynne JonesNot my favorite DWJ book — it’s an Adult book (very, very specifically) and this is why I feel like she should have stuck with children’s books. XD I don’t recommend it for younger readers, and feel like a lot of my friends simply wouldn’t care for this due to some of the content. (Definitely don’t start out with DWJ with this one — start with Howl’s Moving Castle, because it’s the best. :D) This was an interesting read, and while I didn’t care for some of it, it was gripping and fascinating as always — I’m pretty sure DWJ can’t write a terrible book; just not her best. And the car stuff was pretty funny. XD And I liked some of the characters at times (just… less than usual…) and some of it was fun. And centaurs. πŸ˜€ Anyway, not a must-read, but I’m glad I got around to reading it in my continuing journey to read all of DWJ’s books. 3.5 stars

Other March Magics Ishness

This month I also picked up a copy of Pratchett’s The Carpet People when I was visiting a book shop for my birthday… so I’ll get to read that one at some point too.

I will definitely have to still get around to reading DWJ’s Unexpected Magic anthology, which I intended to try but it was out at my library, so I did not get the chance to read it this month, sadly… But sometime!

Posts

As far as posts, I shared these reviews (click covers to visit their posts):

And, on my other blog, I shared a post about some of my favorite Diana Wynne Jones quotes and talked a little bit about them:

Diana Wynne Jones: 6 Quotes to Live By

(the rest are in that post)

Anyway, those were the festivities for this March Magics, for me.

I had fun and I’m looking forward to next year, as always. πŸ™‚

Thanks to Kristin for hosting!

Did you read any Diana Wynne Jones or Terry Pratchett books this March? And have you read any of the ones I mentioned? Let me know your thoughts!

(P.S. What do you think of my new blog header??)

Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

The 15 Most Glorious Book Gems I Read In 2017

Guys, it’s 2018!

WHAT EVEN.

I have no idea how this happened, but it has.

This gives me license to share with you THE MOST GLORIOUS BOOK GEMS I READ IN 2017. And also mention some of my book-reading stats of the year because obviously I need to squeal about even MORE books. It’s who I am. πŸ˜‰

(Most of the books I read last year which I have physical copies of around.)

STATS

SOME STATS

According to my Goodreads Reading Challenge, in 2017, I read:

88 books

20,368 pages

(I find it perfect/hilarious that my shortest and longest reads both had sea covers. XD)

Here are some stats I put together from a spreadsheet. (And if you include some short stories and picture books, etc., which I didn’t include on my challenge, then I read 125 books this year. ;))

  • New Books (i.e. novels & novellas) I Read: 62
  • New Anthologies: 7
  • Short Stories (Singles): 17
  • Non-Fiction: 5
  • Re-Reads: 17
  • Picture Books: 18

SOURCE/ETC

  • Won: 6
  • Library: 14 (most of these were picture books. XD)
  • Audiobooks: 1
  • For Review (more or less): 37
  • Books in Readalongs/Bookclubs: 13
  • Beta-read: 5-ish

OTHER STATS

  • Diana Wynne Jones: 11
  • Jane Austen related: 7
  • Words of Reviews Written (according to Scrivener where I kept my reviews for this year): approximately 50,000. XD

BLOGOVERSARY

Also, last week, on January 1st, it was my blogoversary! :O

I’ve now been blogging here on the Page Dreamer for two entire years and I’m gobsmacked at this information.

Thanks for coming along with me all this way! ❀ And if you’re newer — welcome! I hope you’ll have as much fun here as I’ve been having! ^_^

TOP 15 READS OF 2017

Anyway! Without further ado, in no particular order (I mean, slightly more favorites are nearer the top, but it’s not 100%…) here are the top 15 (ish) books I read in 2018!

(Click the titles for my reviews! And the author names for website links.)

1. Hexwood (by Diana Wynne Jones)

This one still wins for most mind-boggling and… well… everything. I mean, there had to be a DWJ book at the top, of course, and this was the best one by her I read all year. So, naturally. And then there’s fantasy/sci-fi/King Arthur/timey-wimey/PLOT TWISTS. Plus Mordion. IT WAS SO GOOD. I need to read it again. (See review linked from title above for disclaimers. XD) (ButMordionThough.)

2. The Beast of Talesend / The Tomb of the Sea Witch / The Stroke of Eleven (by Kyle Robert Shultz)

(So, I can’t quite decide which of these is the best, hence I’m tossing them all together and saying it’s kind of one book. XD)

THESE BOOKS. I’m utterly addicted to the Afterlands and all these fairytale etc. retellings, not to mention the humor and the characters I love. ❀ Plus they’re really clever and well-written, and just… really good books. With just a smidge of alternate-1920s and steampunk to spice things up. AND TWISTS. Definitely one of my favorites of the year! (Nick! Cordelia! Malcolm! CRISPIN!)

3. Halayda (by Sarah Delena White)

I don’t know exactly how to describe this, but it’s epic and Fae and perilous, and I absolutely love Taylan and Zad and the snark and romance and fantasy, with snatches of Celtic mythology re-imagined in there. It’s just a sweeping, glimmering fantasy epic, and I love it. ^_^ I read this as an ebook with the Fellowship of Fantasy book club, but I had to get a paperback copy for myself for Christmas because I needed to own it! I hope to re-read it someday. πŸ™‚

4. Magician’s Ward (by Patricia C. Wrede)

Regency Fantasy! Which is a genre I discovered this year, and I’m in love. I haven’t really read anything else in this genre, but I’m excited to read the prequel to this, soon. All that to say, this was a Regency England setting with magic and fantasy, and a former street thief girl trying to learn to be a “proper” lady of the time (with hysterical results), and also one of my favorite characters, a magician named Mairelon. It was just so much fun!

5. The Fatal Tree (by Stephen R. Lawhead)

The Bright Empires series has meant SO much to me that I’m having a hard time putting it into words. Which is the main reason I have yet to review this. I WILL, I just… How do you sum up an epic series like this? But I read this series at just the right time in my life, and this book was a great conclusion (I mean, how could it not be??), and I love basically every element of it! It’s a brilliantly written series, I adore all the characters, the plots and twists and timey-ness were fascinating, and the series was deep and just… they’re Really Good Books, okay? I will talk more about this at length, but it’s probably the single most influential series I’ve read for many years. ❀ I HIGHLY recommend trying out The Skin Map if you haven’t, so that you can get to this one — which definitely deserves a place in my top 5.

6. Sentinel / Arbiter (by Jamie Foley)

These have to go together, since I think of them as practically one book. And I NEED book 3. NEED. Jet is one of my favorite characters of all time — he’s just so awesome! — and I love his and Darien’s friendship. The world is so original, I really love some of the fantasy elements and can’t wait to see more, they’re super thrilling, and the character interactions and dialog and snark are just SO FUN! I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for the final book and seeing how things work out!

7. Where the Woods Grow Wild (by Nate Philbrick)

This book is sort of like Prydain-meets-Narnia-meets-Wingfeather-Saga. Which is to say, it’s REALLY GOOD. Truly delightful fantasy, skillfully written, quirky, original, and just a lot of fun. It was so imaginative, and any time I say something reminds me of Lloyd Alexander, that is a HIGH mark of praise from me, since that author brought me to fantasy. I really want a sequel! If you haven’t tried this one out, it’s so much fun. πŸ˜€ (I read an ebook version of it for review, but I simply had to get a copy for my sister to read!)

8. Scars of War (by Hazel B. West)

I actually re-read the first two books in this series this year to get ready for this one, because I love this series/characters/world SO MUCH. Because an alternate modern Ireland with medieval aspects and epic warriors who drive fast cars is basically MY FAVORITE. This one was a roadtrip featuring two of my favorite characters (Oberon and Aedan), and a modern Faerie changeling plot, and basically WHAT IS NOT TO LIKE? It was so much fun. ^_^ I need more!

9. Magicians’ Rivalry (by H. L. Burke)

Another buddy story, this is one of my favorite such tales! Auric Spellsmith and Jericho Carver are basically opposites, and they do not get along AT ALL, but they have to work together. Unique magic and a scary land of Faerie and a dash of steampunk make this book a delight to read. Throw in the snark and the dash of romance (because Jericho is in love with Rill, Auric’s sister; queue awkward and ADORABLE) and it’s just SO MUCH FUN. ❀

10. Beren and Luthien (by J. R. R. Tolkien and Christopher Tolkien)

I almost didn’t put this one on here, because it’s not EXACTLY a normal book (being a collection of poetry and prose from various stages of Tolkien’s composing of this tale), and also because I don’t suppose it’s quite how he’d want it. But I’m putting it on anyway, because, despite those problems, it’s still absolutely gorgeous writing (and poetry), and it’s fun to see different stages of the story (even if Tolkien himself might not have wanted people reading his early drafts). The illustrations by Alan Lee are fabulous. And it’s the only new thing by Tolkien I read this year, so NATURALLY it needs to go on my top list. πŸ˜‰ Here’s to 100 years of Beren and Luthien! ❀

11. The Little White Horse (by Elizabeth Goudge)

I can’t describe this story, but it’s so delightful. It’s set in England in the 1800s, and sometimes you wonder if it even IS fantasy or just FEELS like it, but there are so many fun surprises, and it’s simply one of the most beautiful stories I’ve read in my life. It’s historical and fantasy and Christian and all without quite feeling like one of those. It reminds me a little of George MacDonald, and something else, but I don’t know what. It’s like a beautiful original fairytale in novel form. And it was written in 1946, so it has the old style of writing which is fun to read sometimes because it’s DIFFERENT. I also loved its whimsical nature, and all the eccentric characters we meet — I love them all!

Plus, it has two of my favorite quotes:

β€˜I should like this story to be like all the best stories and to end in β€œHappily ever after”.’

and

β€˜In every fairy-tale there is a kernel of truth.’

❀

12. King’s Warrior / Second Son (by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt)

*huggles books* These were so fun! I think my favorite is Yorien’s Hand (book 3, which I re-read this year too), but these were so enjoyable too! I love this more classic kind of epic fantasy, but with its own twists too. And I love the Myth Folk (especially the Dragons. ;)) and just all of it. Best of all are the characters, like Brant and Kiernan Kane (two of my favorites of all time! ❀ ), and all the rest! I just love them SO MUCH. ^_^ I’m really looking forward to finishing this series in the upcoming Minstrel’s Call. πŸ™‚

13. Masters and Beginners (by Daley Downing)

This one’s a straight-up modern fantasy novel, which is a little unusual to make it to a top list, for me — but that’s precisely why this one did, because it was refreshing and fun and didn’t have all the annoying things I don’t like about modern books. πŸ™‚ Plus, FAERIES, and I just love how the Order integrates modern things with fairies and mythology and Biblical things, and it’s fascinating! And I love the characters as well, and just — I’M VERY FOND, OKAY?

14. Moonblood (by Anne Elisabeth Stengl)

I remember enjoying Heartless and Veiled Rose, but this seems to be where Goldstone Wood gets going, so I’m SO happy I read this with the Imps of Goldstone Wood fan club on Goodreads (I hope we’ll get back to reading the books together sometime!). I so enjoyed getting to see more of Eanrin and Imraldera and Leo and Rosie and BEANA and Oeric and basically ALL MY PRECIOUS PEOPLE. It’s gorgeous and perilous and such great Fae-fantasy, and just excuse me while I hug it. Plus so well-written. o.o I need to read Starflower…

15. The Reluctant Godfather (by Allison Tebo)

And lastly, a simply utterly fun little story! This charming novella-length retelling of Cinderella was simply a BLAST to read! Burndee the fairy godfather is SO grouchy and it’s hysterical! I love the snark and dialog and humor and fairytale twists. And of course Burndee himself! Isn’t a fairy godfather who hates humans and just loves to bake cakes original? I love him. XD It reminded me a little of Broken Glass (my FAVORITE Cinderella retelling of all time) and of the Talesend books a bit (because humorous and fairytales), and it’s just so fun. ^_^


So there you have my favorite books of the last year!

Have you read any of these or are any on your TBR? Because YOU NEED TO!

And what was your top favorite(s) read of 2017?

Tell me all in the comments!

Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Bookish Post! (a.k.a. I Travel from NaNo Land to Book Land + Bookish News + Mini-Reviews)

Oh, hi, world! I’m baaack!

It’s been a wee bit quiet around here because it’s awfully hard to read/review books while you’re madly writing one of your own. But as I have now won my EIGHTH NaNoWriMo, I am back in the world of books — and my first thought (besides “ACK, I CAN READ AGAIN!”) was “Time to pop onto my poor neglected book blog!” πŸ˜‰

So this is kind of a mashup of OH HI I HAVEN’T REALLY POSTED MUCH AROUND HERE LATELY BECAUSE NANO and stuff I’ve been reading and stuff going on/releasing, and all of the bookish things. *nods*

Books I Read Lately

October

Here’s what I read in October, which was a busy month and I barely managed to squeeze these in… I award them all 5 stars because though all different, I loved them each in their own way.

  • Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith – Shaun Hume — I lived in this book world and loved the characters and setting, and though it was a little long and not my usual thing, it was different and fun. Review to come!
  • Spellsmith and Carver: Magicians’ Reckoning – H. L. Burke — SO MANY FEELS. :O This almost got a star knocked off BUT it ended reasonably better than I thought it might and yes. MY FEELS. But a good conclusion to the Spellsmith and Carver Trilogy. Review to come!
  • Second Impressions: A Collection of Fiction Inspired by Jane Austen – edited by Hannah Scheele — Adorable short stories based on Jane Austen things. Loved this collection! {My Review}
  • Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen — This was a re-read. It was the first Jane Austen novel I read, AGES ago, and I hadn’t read it since, so it was lovely to read it again. I really enjoyed reading along with Season of Humility’s readalong. Mr. Darcy is the best, okay? πŸ˜‰
  • The Last Days of Lady Cordelia – Kyle Robert Shultz — This novelette had MANY FEELS and some humor and parallel world stuff and delightful references to Kyle’s main Beaumont and Beasley series! In a way I don’t know how I feel about it, but in another way I loved it so much I read it twice, so… XD

November

Wait, who is this crazy person who READ BOOKS during NaNoWriMo?? :O These were all very short, quick reads, which I consumed between my crazy writing because I needed to relax occasionally. *gasp* I enjoyed them all and give them all 4 stars. πŸ™‚ My mini-thoughts…

  • Saffron’s Big Plan and Other Stories – Kendra E. Ardnek — I had the pleasure of meeting the delightful Kendra herself this month, and picked up a couple of her short story collections when I did. (She’s super fun, FYI! ;)) What fun little tales! πŸ™‚ I read them all in a sitting and they were just the light little read I needed just then. Three original fairytales, and one retelling of Puss in Boots — very unique! I loved the style. πŸ™‚
  • The Woodcutter Quince and Other Stories – Kendra E. Ardnek — What fun stories! The Woodcutter one was my favorite — fantastic! πŸ˜€ The CinderEddy twist on Cinderella was awesome too. XD Most enjoyable. πŸ™‚
  • Coloring Christmas Devotions – Thomas Nelson Publishers — This is my first Adult Coloring book, and while I haven’t colored all the pictures yet, I did read through all the devotionals and colored some. This was a book for review from BookLook, and I’ll be reviewing it on my other blog soon.
  • Fire and Ice Cream – K. M. Carroll — AWK. SO GREAT. ^_^ Super original modern fantasy, with a murder mystery in an ice cream shop in Arizona, where shapeshifting dragons (fire-breathing) and shapeshifting drakes (ice-breathing) are a part of normal life — and in fact the heroine is one! So cool. πŸ˜€ (I read this for the Fellowship of Fantasy Bookclub’s book of the month for November.)
  • No Plot? No Problem! A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days – Chris Baty — A fairly quick, light read, sometimes amusing with a few helpful ideas, in general of interest to those who have or would like to participate in NaNoWriMo or otherwise write a novel in a month, and about writing in general. There’s some language, and the humor is of a particular type you need to be in the mood for, so it’s not for everybody, and has stuff/advice that hopefully nobody takes seriously, because it’s intended to be tongue in cheek. XD But otherwise it was enjoyable and a nice distraction so I could feel like I was being NaNo-ish when I should have been writing words for NaNo. πŸ˜› And besides, it felt vaguely appropriate to read it this month. Anyway, I enjoyed it, rather. πŸ™‚

If you’re curious to learn more about any of the books I’ve been reading, you can always find them linked in my Goodreads Reading Challenge.

Releases

The Stroke of Eleven by Kyle Robert Shultz, which is the third Beaumont and Beasley book, came out today and I’m ridiculously excited for more Nick and Crispin and Cordelia and fairytale humor. I CAN’T WAIT. ❀

The sequel to Masters and Beginners by Daley Downing (which I loved) is now out at B&N and it’s called Rulers and Mages and I love the cover! I beta-read this, really enjoyed it, and can’t wait to read the final version. πŸ™‚

The final Vintage Jane Austen book, Presumption and Partiality by Rebekah Jones, which is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice in 1930s Arizona, also released this week in ebook and paperback, and the Kindle version is 99 cents on Amazon this week only — I just snagged my copy over there and I’m excited to read this one too! πŸ™‚

Hannah Scheele continues to outdo herself with each new VJA cover. ❀

Speaking of covers…

Upcoming Cover Reveal

(image by DJ Edwardson)

DJ Edwardson (of Silmarillion Awards fame) is about to reveal the cover for his upcoming first fantasy novel, The Last Motleyso go join his awesome newsletter so you can see it this week! πŸ˜€ (I’m ridiculously excited.)

Reviews on the Horizon?

I’ve been somewhat quiet on the review front, as I just haven’t had the energy to write any what with NaNo… But now that NaNo is over, I’m hoping (key word: hoping) to get back into reading and reviewing, particularly catching up on a few that I was hoping to before November but just didn’t find time for. (And some other kinds of posts on my other blog, as well!)

So you can reasonably hope to expect some reviews (like for Ewan Pendle, Magicians’ Reckoning, Coloring Christmas Devotions, The Fatal Tree) soon-ish… And a couple of beta-reading books, and reviews books (like Disowned by Sarah Addison-Fox) which I hope to read/review soon! And hopefully for those new releases I just mentioned too. XD

Basically, I should have National Book Reading/Reviewing Month (NaBoReReMo… no? Not catchy enough?) but we’ll see how much I have energy for. πŸ˜›

It’s been a CRAZY couple of months in my life lately and hopefully I can finally breathe/relax a little, with some reading and blogging on the side…

I thought about sharing a Nightstand Books kind of thing but I have so many I WANT to read this month, and have no idea what I’ll get to during December, so I’ll just say I WILL READ ALL THE BOOKS THAT I CAN. XD

Anyway!

I think that’s it on the bookish news, and what’s been up with me. What about you? And have you read/want to read any of the books I mentioned? Chat with me, fellow page-dreamers! πŸ™‚

Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

Mid-Year Top Reads + Roundup {2017}

Hi everyone!

We seem, impossibly, SOMEHOW, to be halfway through 2017? I… I don’t know quite what to do with this information. I’ll just be over here in a shock blanket next to Sherlock. Ahem.

MEANWHILE, this means I get to recap my top favorite reads of the year and… generally just list all the books I’ve read so far, because I want to, and in case you’re curious. XD

Favorite Books So Far This Year (More or Less)

Here’s a glimpse at my top-favorite most-wow books this year, although there have been many other AWESOME reads. It’s been a good half-year for reading. πŸ˜€

  • Magician’s Ward was Regency Fantasy and the first awesome book I read this year.
  • Hexwood blew my mind.
  • Sentinel (and technically Arbiter too…) are awesome because JET.
  • The Beast of Talesend is hilarious and perfect.
  • The Fatal Tree concludes one of my new all-time favorite series.
  • Moonblood was absolutely gorgeous fantasy.
  • Where the Woods Grow Wild was excellent fantasy plus hilarious.
  • Halayda‘s the last book I read and… I haven’t sorted all my thoughts on it because, like I said, it’s recent, so I dunno if it will stay on my top-list or not, but initial reaction was Fae and characters and snark = I loved.

Some runners-up are mooore awesome fantasy, namely:

  • Spellsmith and Carver: Magicians’ Rivalry (buddy-story in Faerie, plus banter!)
  • Masters and Beginners (so much awesome Faerie things and refreshing YA!)
  • King’s Warrior and Second Son (feels-like-home epic fantasy, plus Brant!)

More on all these books below!

Stats

According to my Goodreads Reading Challenge, I’ve read 50 books out of my… 50 book goal! (So maybe I’ll be an overachiever this year. Maybe. Just a smidge.)

(And yes, some of these are re-reads, short stories, or an unpublished beta-read and a picture book, sooo… it’s not as much as it looks like, I promise. XD I think I read 35 new books?)

ALL THE BOOKS

And now, a liiiist of all the bookses, with quicky thoughts on them, ratings, and linkses to reviewses.

(I’m leaving out the short stories and putting the re-reads at the end, even though the pictures are just screenshots of my Goodreads Reading Challenge, which have all of those on, AND are in reverse-chronological order due to it showing up that way, because I’m lazy and consequently confusing. OH WELL! You’ll figure it out. XD)

If you’re curious about any of these, or want to add them to your to-read list, you can find them all listed on my Goodreads challenge, HERE. (So I don’t have to link to all of them, which would be exhausting. o.o)

  • Magician’s Ward – Patricia C. Wrede — 5 stars — Regency Fantasy is a genre I must inhale more. This was hilarious/epic, like Georgette Heyer meets Diana Wynne Jones. Also, Mairelon the Magician! ❀ [REVIEW]
  • Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors – H.L. Burke — 4 stars — Steampunk novella with great banter and lovable talking computer. Slightly scary but totally awesome. Must read rest of series soon! [Mini Review on Goodreads]
  • The Faerie Ring – Kiki Hamilton — 3 stars — Annoyed me slightly, BUT scary fairies in alternate 1800s London, plus Rieker was awesome. [Mini Review on Goodreads]
  • King’s Warrior – Jenelle Leanne Schmidt — 5 stars — Awesome medieval fantasy with dragons and great characters, including Brant and Kiernan Kane, two of my favorites ever! [REVIEW]
  • The Firethorn Crown – Lea DouΓ© — 4 stars — Twelve Dancing Princesses and dragons and great characters; torn about the villain; overall enjoyed. πŸ™‚ [REVIEW]
  • Suit and Suitability – Kelsey Bryant — 5 stars — Absolutely delightful retelling of Sense and Sensibility set in the 1930s; so historical-feeling but YA and sweet. ^_^ [REVIEW]
  • Wild Robert – Diana Wynne Jones — 5 stars — Short but delightful, and stopped right where I wanted to learn more! XD But super enjoyable. [REVIEW]
  • Aunt Maria – Diana Wynne Jones — 5 stars — Mind-blowing DWJ fantasy, which I loved. So, so good. [REVIEW]

  • Mort – Terry Pratchett — 4 stars — This and Guards! Guards! are my favorite Discworld books so far. πŸ˜€ Dark humor (not for everyone. XD) but overall I quite enjoyed. [Mini review on Goodreads]
  • Mansfield Park – Jane Austen — 3 stars — Actually a really good book, trying to do really interesting things; I just couldn’t enjoy it because it was depressing. o.o But still good! [REVIEW]
  • Reaper Man – Terry Pratchett — 3 stars — Tricky because I LOVED the Bill Door plot, but didn’t care for the other main plot, so half I disliked, and the other half were some favorite Discworld times. [Mini review on Goodreads]
  • Soul Music – Terry Pratchett — 2 stars —Β I was sad about things, okay. Plus the rock references went over my head and didn’t do much for me. (Loved the motorcycle and the rat though; and some parts I quite enjoyed.) [Mini review on Goodreads]
  • Hexwood – Diana Wynne Jones — 5 stars — MIND BLOWN. SO MANY THINGS. ALSO MORDION IS MY FAVE. ❀ AND IT’S FANTASY/SCI-FI/ARTHURIAN/MODERN/TIMEY-WIMEY. Just imagine if Aragorn was turned into the Winter Soldier and then thrown into a genre-defying time-travel thing that breaks your brain and is mindbogglingly plot-twisty, with ALL THE FEELS. Basically. Anyways, one of my fave DWJ books, just dark and might not be for everyone. XD [REVIEW]
  • Viper – Jamie Foley — 4 stars — Thrilling novella mixing military thriller/fantasy, with characters I love. Great backstory! I want to re-read this for Jet… [REVIEW]
  • Second Son – Jenelle Leanne Schmidt — 5 stars — Awesome epic fantasy, backstory for Brant from King’s Warrior, who’s one of my favorite characters. ❀ [REVIEW]
  • Beggar Magic – H.L. Burke — 5 stars — Steampunk-feeling original fantasy with a twist of murder mystery and friendship and cute romance. So fun! [REVIEW]
  • King’s Blood – Jill Williamson — 2 stars —Β Excellent author, I was just too devastated about a certain character death to look at this objectively; I’m sorry! D: (*goes quietly away to sob in a corner*) [REVIEW]
  • Sentinel – Jamie Foley — 5 stars — Genre-defying fantasy/modern/apocalyptic/in-another-world/superpowers, with snark and humor and great dialog and characters, this was SO ORIGINAL and I loved it; plus Jet is one of my top-fave characters of ALL TIME. ❀ [REVIEW]

  • Masters and Beginners – Daley Downing — 5 stars — Such an extremely enjoyable and refreshing contemporary YA fantasy, with SO many cool faerie-ish things; can’t wait for book two! [REVIEW]
  • Puss in Boots – Diana Wynne Jones — 5 stars — Very brief retelling, which was interesting since I’d never read anything retold by DWJ! Mostly very like the original, but with enough humor and good explanations to make it super fun. Puss in Boots now makes sense to me and this is the definitive version for me. XD
  • The Beast of Talesend – Kyle Robert Schultz — 5 stars — Hilarious and awesome fairytale-ish shenanigans and one of my top faves. JUST READ IT. [REVIEW]
  • The Fatal Tree – Stephen R. Lawhead — 5 stars — An excellent conclusion to the Bright Empires series, I am STILL attempting to wrap my brain around it so I can review it. All I know is that even if I don’t understand everything and might still have some questions (be right back, must re-read series to find answers…), I love this series and these characters fiercely, and this was an tremendous final book. ❀ Just go read The Skin Map, people. Just do it. [REVIEW TO COME]
  • Arbiter – Jamie Foley — 5 stars — SO INTENSE, plus more of Jet, plus hilarious memory loss and basically all the things. ❀ [REVIEW]
  • Moonblood – Anne Elisabeth Stengl — 5 stars — Absolutely GORGEOUS and fabulous fantasy, so perilous and Fae and just so good. *collapses* Plus, Eanrin and Beana and Oeric. ❀ [Review-of-sorts on Goodreads]
  • Adventures and Adversities – Sarah Holman — 4 stars — A super sweet medieval story with a Christian message; quite enjoyed. πŸ™‚ [REVIEW]
  • Where the Woods Grow Wild – Nate Philbrick — 5 stars — Classic-feeling yet utterly original fantasy, HILARIOUS, excellently-written, plus lovable characters. Instant classic! [REVIEW]
  • Dogsbody – Diana Wynne Jones — 5 stars — Brilliant mind-blowing DWJ as usual, fantasy/sci-fi/modern/mythology. It’s bittersweet (she might not have figured out how to do happy endings yet…) but overall super good. Plus the main character is a former-star-being-turned-dog, and now I know ALL about dogs, which made it hilarious. XD
  • Mythic Orbits 2016 (short story anthology) – edited by Travis Perry — 2 stars — Not totally fair, since there were 4-star, 3-star, 1-star, AND 2-star stories in this collection, but overall they were too weird or disturbing for me, and I just don’t usually get along with short stories. XD But others might enjoy more. [REVIEW TO COME]
  • Brothers and Betrayal – Sarah Holman — 4 stars — Robin-Hood-ish and I really liked the story of John (the Robin Hood character) and Princess Brianna; also great Christian theme of forgiveness. [REVIEW]
  • The Noble Servant – Melanie Dickerson — 5 stars — Extremely enjoyable Christian romantic Goose-Girl retelling, with a great hero and great wrapup to the Thornbeck Forest series. πŸ™‚ [REVIEW]
  • Spellsmith and Carver: Magicians’ Rivalry – H.L. Burke — 5 stars — Absolutely fabulous “buddy story” about rival magicians and magic and a scary Faerie realm, with a touch of Steampunk feel. I LOVED Jericho and Auric and their banter! ❀ So good. [REVIEW TO COME]
  • Bellevere House – Sarah Scheele — 5 stars — Extremely enjoyable retelling of Mansfield Park, quite different than the original, but excellently written and funny, set in the 1930s with a Christian spin; sort of romantic-comedy-ish and so fun! πŸ™‚ [REVIEW]
  • Courage and Corruption – Sarah Holman — 4 stars — A strong character-growth novel about twin brother and sister and a kingdom teetering on the brink of war, looking for its rightful king. Enjoyable medieval Christian fiction in the fictional country of Taelis. πŸ™‚ [REVIEW]

  • Dreams and Devotion – Sarah Holman — 4 stars — Well-written medieval tale of a peasant girl and her brother as a new priest, separately facing adversity and growing stronger in their faith. It’s an extremely emotional and bitter-sweet book, focusing on the little things, but it kept me so absorbed and it was overall quite good. πŸ™‚ [REVIEW TO COME NEXT WEEK, with blog tour and giveaway]
  • For Love and Honor – Jody Hedlund — 3 stars — Mostly a just-okay read for me, but overall enjoyable medieval romance; I loved the bantering of the hero and heroine. πŸ™‚ [Mini-review on Goodreads]
  • Halayda – Sarah Delena White — 5 stars — This is truly EPIC fantasy, with a dash of steampunk, set mostly in Faerie in another world, with dashes of tweaked mythology, SO much great imagery and fantasy, characters I absolutely adored, breathtaking writing, and a dash of humor and hilarious snark and banter, with some great character dynamics and a side of sweet romance. It’s a little darker than some, but so epic. Faerie King Taylan and snarky shape-shifting Zad are definitely new favorites! ❀ [Review to come at some point, perhaps?]

RE-READS

Note: All re-reads are, nearly always, 5 stars. Why else would I re-read them? XD

  • Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen — Re-reading so I could read the retelling; enjoyable. πŸ™‚
  • The Magicians of Caprona – Diana Wynne Jones — SO FUN.
  • The Dark Hills Divide – Patrick Carman — MY CHILDHOOD.
  • Witch Week – Diana Wynne Jones — CHRESTOMANCIIII. ❀
  • Mixed Magics – Diana Wynne Jones — And Chrestomanci short stories are so fun. XD
  • The Pinhoe Egg – Diana Wynne Jones — MY FAVORITE CHRESTOMANCI BOOOOK. ❀ [REVIEW]
  • Howl’s Moving Castle – Diana Wynne Jones — Yes, I read this for the 5th time. I REGRET NOTHING. ❀ Still my top-favorite-book-of-all-time-tied-with-The-Lord-of-the-Rings. πŸ˜€
  • Year of the Griffin – Diana Wynne Jones — I loved this SO MUCH MORE on this re-read! :O So enjoyable, and griffiiiiins! ❀
  • Blood Ties – Hazel B. West — Jumped on the chance to re-read this for a readalong! We’re about to start reading An Earthly King next, and I. can’t. wait. πŸ˜€ (But alternate-history modern Ireland with cars and swords and Faeries, though. <3) [REVIEW of Blood Ties from Last Year]

~ ~ ~

So there you are! I hope you enjoyed this glance at my reading year so far! What’s your favorite book you’ve read in 2017?

Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer