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The Stroke of Eleven (by Kyle Robert Shultz) – Beaumont & Beasley, #3

(Pretty cover is pretty…)

Title: The Stroke of Eleven

Author: Kyle Robert Shultz

  • Date read: December 3, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fairytale retelling (Cinderella / Beauty and the Beast / Alice in Wonderland / etc.)
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 255 (Kindle)
  • Series: Beaumont & Beasley, #3
  • Fave character: DON’T MAKE ME PICK. (*ignores fact that I’m the one who asks myself these questions*)
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free e-copy of this book from the author (thanks!); these opinions are entirely my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO REVIEW THIS, HALP.

So much of this story is mind-boggling twists, and it’s basically a walking spoiler, so HOW I am even going to BEGIN to talk about this is just…

*takes deep breath*

This will be a spoiler-free review, and I will attempt coherency, but basically: everyone needs to read this so that I can talk about it, because if the whole world has read it, then nothing will be a spoiler anymore, right? Right. Problem solved!

Anyway. Reviewing.

MEEP. <—[My entire reaction to the entire book.]

I HAVE FEELS, OKAY. I HAVE MANY FEELS.

NO I WILL NOT BE CALM.

*calms self*

I haven’t quite figured out how I feel about a few of the things. Because wow, things GO DOWN in this and nothing will be the same. O_o It was honestly exhausting to read. So, good news for all you people who love feelsy books: this one is for you. XD

I… ahem… do NOT always love feelsy books, so like I said, I’m kind of on the fence on some things… BUT once I got over it, I think I figured out that I’m mostly worried about what will happen in future books, and not AS much about what actually happened in this one (or did it?), so since that’s kind of a silly thing to worry about, I’ll just say: this was a good book. An excellently written one, in fact. And it’s brilliant/genius/mindboggling, and as long as I don’t worry about what future books will hold for my precious character friends, or about some of the sort-of things that kind of maybe happened (or not? Time travel is confusing, guys.), I can say: I LOVED IT! 😀

It’s a fairytale retelling/reworking/mashup/THING, featuring Cinderella, dashes of Alice in Wonderland, continuations of Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid (because of the first two books) and TIMEY-WIMEY STUFF. How cool is that? VERY cool.

And I can’t say much about the plot because SPOILERS. (So. many.) But I’ll do what I can.

Nick and Cordelia continue to be one of my favorite things—seriously, I love their relationship and banter SO MUCH. And just them as characters. THEY ARE THE BEST. ❤ Crispin kind of isn’t in it as much, since he and Molly are kind of… out of the way near the beginning, but I didn’t actually mind as much as I thought I might. Because the explosion of plot twists, and Nick and Cordelia being adorable, kind of distracted me. XD (ButIloveCrispinokayarewegoodyesCrispinCrispinCrispin.) The Mythfits are back, being quirky as ever. 😉 MALCOLM returns—I was kind of unsure about him in Tomb of the Sea Witch, but gaaahh, I love him now. So much. We also meet exciting NEW characters!

And I quite liked the Cinderella and prince characters. They were great! 🙂 The Cinderella story was fascinating in this! (Any story that is very involved with a clock/midnight is a prime candidate for a time-travel story. ;)) And yay for dashes of steampunk!

There are SO many new developments, and time-travel-y thiiings (some of which are frankly terrifying, but you know). And DID I MENTION TWISTS? There are twists, people. o.o TWIIISTS. O____O And I guessed a couple of them and they happened and I’m in shock but wow, and I don’t know how I feel, but ALL THE THINGS. Also the White Rabbit. Yes. Wow.

AND THERE WERE BEAUTY AND THE BEAST THINGS. I know it’s silly, because the Disney cartoon isn’t even an original thing, and I only saw it once, but I was ridiculously happy about a little moment or two in this that was B&B-ish. XD (And there was a thrown roll. Just sayin’.)

Anyway, Nick and Cordelia and Crispin are some of my favorite EVER characters. I’m immensely attached to them. Plus I adore the Afterverse, and fairytales in general, and time travel hurts my brain, and what I mean to say is this book was excellent. Exhausting and hard for me to decide if I’m okay with a thing or two, but excellent. XD

And did I mention it’s still hilarious? No? Because IT’S STILL HILARIOUS. I don’t know HOW Kyle Shultz does all of this—hilarious, fairytale, timey-wimey, plot twist, epic, fun adventure, with all the feels, and my favorite characters. I’M KIND OF EMOTIONALLY INVESTED. If you can’t tell. Ahem.

SO, I LIED. This wasn’t a coherent review. Oh well.

Now you know what I think (kind of… as much as I know… which isn’t very much…), so you can dash off and read the book yourself so that we can discuss spoilery things… And if you can’t yet, because you haven’t read The Beast of Talesend, well WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR, YOU POOR SOUL. *shoos you off to go read that one because you’re missing out*

If you need me, I’ll just be over here in the corner, emotionally worn out and confused and waiting for another Beaumont and Beasley adventure. Send help. Or, no, send tea and cakes and the next book, and a safe where I can keep the characters protected from all the MEEPery. (It’s a word, shush.)

(This is why I don’t write reviews at one a.m.)

Some Favorite Quotes

So… parachutes. Not fun. I’ve never liked heights. I like them even less when I’m falling from them.

***

“Look… we come in peace.”

“No, we don’t!” cried Cordelia. “We don’t come in peace! We go in abject terror!”

***

Getting eaten by evil pumpkins was very low on my list of preferred ways to die.

***

“My name is Gervase,” he informed us.

“My condolences.”

***

Malcolm stopped me with a gesture before I could speak to him. “Please, don’t say anything. Whatever it is, I’ve already heard it.” He started doing a very poor imitation of my voice and accent. “Malcolm! Crikey! You’re so young! What’s going on here? Who’s that girl? I’m so confused! Oi!”

“I do /not/ sound like that,” I growled.

Melody smacked him on the back of the head. “Don’t be rude, grumpy-scales.”

***

“The White Rabbit Society is now assembled.” Kanin’s tone was solemn and ceremonial. “May the clock strike twelve.”

“May the clock strike twelve,” echoed everyone, including Cordelia.

I looked from one to the other in bewilderment. “Right. That wasn’t weird at all.”

***

“…but a scheme this brazen could get us all killed. Repeatedly.”

***

Melody moved over to a table laden with refreshments. She picked up some sandwiches and began gleefully throwing them at random people.

“She reminds me of you,” I said to Cordelia.

“Oh, really? I can’t imagine why.”

***

“Shut up and be magical.”

***

That was cheating, of course. But I was perfectly willing to cheat time, death, and any other inexorable force of nature for Crispin’s sake… regardless of what the consequences might be.

***

“Cinderella and Prince Charming.”

They both gave me displeased looks.

“What?” I shrugged. “That’s who you are, isn’t it?”

Cinderella rubbed her eyes. “I do wish people didn’t remember me by that ridiculous nickname my stepsisters made up.”

“And I have an actual name,” said Matteo. “Why do they never remember the princes’ actual names? Plus the fact that they made me out to be a complete idiot. How insane would you have to be to try finding a girl based on her shoe size?”

***

“Chin up, Gareth!” said Malcolm, with a sort of crazed cheerfulness. “Why worry? We’re Beaumont and Beasley! We live for danger!”

“Technically, only Cordelia, Crispin, Molly, and I are Beaumont and Beasley,” I reminded him.

“At this point, I’d say we’re all honorary members by virtue of shared insanity.”

~ ~ ~

Click covers for other related reviews:

  

~ ~ ~

Talk to me, fellow page dreamers! Have you read The Stroke of Eleven, or either of the first two Beaumont and Beasley books?

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

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Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith (by Shaun Hume)

Title: Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith

Author: Shaun Hume

  • Date read: October 6, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Contemporary Fantasy
  • Age: Juvenile Fiction/YA
  • Year pub: 2012
  • Pages: 498 (Kindle)
  • Series: Ewan Pendle, book 1 (sequel to release next year, I hear tell)
  • Fave character: I can’t decide!
  • Source: From the author
  • Notes: The author sent me a free e-copy of this book to review (thank you!) and these opinions are my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazon USAmazon UK • Author’s Blog

This was a fun, enjoyable, unique sort of fantasy tale. It’s a little different than what I usually read, but I had a blast with it!

Meet eleven year old Ewan Pendle, an orphan boy who has the gift of seeing the fantasy creatures around us in this world in modern times, and discovers he’s not alone. This story is about how he ends up at a school for people like him (called Lenitnes—notice what that is backward; love it!) to learn skills to help protect the unknowing world from the creatures (and, if need be, protect some of the creatures from some humans). But it’s not just that—the Lenitnes are a whole way of life, a whole culture and world of people with the abilities to see, and therefore fight or deal with the various fantasy creatures, and it was fascinating to be immersed in that!

This is an academy story—I don’t know if that’s really a genre, but it should be. XD (Think Knightly Academy, or maybe Harry Potter.) I so enjoyed watching Ewan at Firedrake Lyceum (the name of the school) get to learn about the creatures, learn to sword fight, learn about the history of his people, etc. But I especially enjoyed getting to watch him hang out with the various friends (and enemies) he makes, as he and his friends sort through some mysteries, secrets, and perils threatening everyone. But who can he trust…?

There were some mysteries of who was good or not, and who was up to what—it was delightful to follow those twists! It kept me VERY involved, like “Noooo, don’t be a villain!” or “I knew it!” or “Wait, who’s behind it, then?” On that note, I absolutely love the characters, who were all well-written and unique, even the side characters. I got to know them all so well and they just… I don’t know, they feel like my friends somehow. ❤

Ewan is a great hero—I really felt for him and rooted for him. Then there’s quirky Mathilde, who is usually barefoot and says “dude” a lot and makes me laugh. And Pirate girl Enid—well, she was seriously EPIC. 😀 Enola Whitewood (I ADORE her name; actually all the names in this book are brilliant—I love them all!) was an extremely enigmatic, mysterious character, who I simply loved reading about. And so many other characters I’d like to know more about, like Brigid, and Betony (more enigmaticness!), and what about Jack Mangrove and aaall the other characters? I want to go back and be with them some more! Plus, of course, I want answers to some of the mysteries still lurking… The book doesn’t cliffhanger or anything, but I just really enjoyed being with these characters, and in this world, so much that I want a sequel. 🙂

The world was so neat! It’s like modern London, but with hidden pockets of surprise fantasy elements and an old-fashioned feeling which was perfect. I absolutely LOVED the feel! The writing has a sort of charm to it too, which I can’t really explain. But I love the detail and the original twist to describing things. (Plus, the author’s lived in England, I believe, so the book just FELT authentic as I read it; how cool is that? :))

Even though it’s about an eleven year old, I think any age could enjoy this—I know I did. 🙂 It’s a little long, and there are a few slightly scary parts about the titular White Wraith, but it’s otherwise perfect for younger readers and teens and anyone else, really. There’s a sort of layered feeling of depth and detail that I loved, and like I said, all those mysteries and hints would captivate any reader!

(I did occasionally feel like I’d like to know more about some of the grown up characters, but that’s something I’ve started noticing in a few books about younger characters lately, so that’s just me getting slightly boring as I grow older. XD And I did love reading about everything from the young characters’ points of view. I just want to know MORE! Because I’m so curious. :D)

It felt a little long, which is a slight drawback to me (I like shorter books. XD) BUT once I got immersed in it I didn’t mind so much, and ended up enjoying living in the world. There were a few rough spots, some typos/strange wording, and the ending was a little quick so I might have wanted a few more things explained there (there IS supposed to be a sequel, though), but I’m still giving the book five stars simply because I enjoyed it so much and keep thinking about the world and characters. When a book sticks with me like that, I know it’s a keeper. 🙂

I’m looking forward to more adventures with Ewan Pendle, hopefully, in the future; and if the story intrigues you at all, do give it a try! It was fresh and classic all at once, and I had so much fun experiencing this world with these characters. 🙂

 

Favorite Quotes

‘What’s brainic power?’

‘It’s the power taken from people’s brains when they dream. Freaky, huh?’ added Mathilde, seeing the totally bemused look slapped all over Ewan’s face. ‘There are people, right, who get paid to just sleep.’

***

‘Why, what time is it?’ said Ewan, looking around him as if he expected Time itself to jump out from behind a large painting and tell him.

***

This, Ewan thought, must be what it feels like to have friends.

***

‘If you do not believe in yourself, Ewan, then you will surely not succeed. Pity in ones own downfalls without the sight to rejoice in your strengths is truly the road to ruin. But if you do decide to pat your own back a little more often, then you will find that you are not the only one who believes it a worthwhile exercise. And there will always be those there to do it for you in times when you may not quite be able to reach.’

***

‘What’s their problem?’ said Ewan to Mathilde, as she too was now watching on intently.

‘They don’t really need one, dude – look at them,’ replied Mathilde. And indeed it was hard not to notice that the group of four boys looked like trouble didn’t just follow them around, but that they were most likely on first name terms with it.

***

Sneath took a half step backwards, looking up at the vast Max, before throwing Rusty a venomous look and setting his eyes back onto Ewan. Sneath then held up a straight index finger and drew it slowly across his neck, before turning on his heel and leaving the dormitory.

‘Sign language too,’ Rusty called after him, ‘jiminy cricket, I /am/ impressed.’

‘Thanks,’ said Ewan a moment later, looking at Rusty, his heart still hammering and the rest of him not feeling at all as relaxed as Rusty looked.

‘Eh,’ said Rusty, shrugging his shoulders indifferently, ‘you’d be surprised what having a six foot tall eleven year old standing next to you does for your self confidence.’

~ ~ ~

What think ye, readers? Sound intriguing? Do you enjoy academy-type stories?

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Second Impressions: Short Stories Inspired By Jane Austen (Vintage Jane Austen)

I’m reviewing the short story collection Second Impressions today as part of the Vintage Jane Austen Blog Event. (All the VJA books are on a Kindle countdown deal this week, so get ’em while they’re discounted — or pick up lovely paperbacks! Find the links with my mini reviews here.)

So excited to share this sweet collection with y’all! 🙂

Title: Second Impressions: A Collection of Fiction Inspired by Jane Austen

Editor: Hannah Scheele

Authors: Hannah Scheele (Introduction), E. Kaiser Writes, Gail Bryant, Therese Peyton, Mikayla Holman, Jennifer Baxter, Hannah Jones

  • Date read: October 22, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Short stories / Retellings (Jane Austen) / Contemporary / Historical Fiction / Fantasy / Kingdom Adventure / Sci-Fi
  • Age: Anyone
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 222
  • Series: Vintage Jane Austen (this is a bonus to go with it; it’s not actually in the 1930s like the others)
  • Source: I received a free e-copy of this book for review purposes; these opinions are entirely my own.
  • Links: AmazonGoodreadsAbout the Authors

The moment I read the opening line of the first story in this collection (from “Chocolate Surprise” by E. Kaiser Writes) — “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman, in possession of any income at all, must be in want of some chocolate.” — I knew I was going to have the best time reading these stories. I was right. ^_^

From the lovely introduction right through each of these nine tales to the end of the collection, I was touched and charmed and smiling (or laughing), and overall delighting in finding these sweet gems, retelling or otherwise revisiting Jane Austen’s tales in many different colorful ways.

We have four set in modern times, two in the original time period (like a direct prequel and sequel), one in the 1950s, one non-magical fantasy, one kingdom adventure, and even a sci-fi story! Three involve Emma, two Pride and Prejudice, two Mansfield Park, and one each of Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility. I enjoyed them all!

Below are my mini-thoughts on each entry. Second Impressions (I love the play on titles, harking back to Pride and Prejudice’s early title “First Impressions”!) is a lovely add-on to the Vintage Jane Austen series. One thing is for sure: if you like Jane Austen’s works at all, you’re going to want to give these stories a try! 🙂

Introduction – Hannah Scheele

5 stars

Hannah collected a varied and sweet bunch of stories in the contest for this collection, designed absolutely gorgeous covers for the Vintage Jane Austen series, and wrote a delightful introduction too! This was a lovely introduction, full of heart and honesty and a touch of wit; perfect for the collection. I read it twice, before and after reading the stories. It made me happy. ^_^

Chocolate Surprise – E. Kaiser Writes

5 stars

At the beginning, I wasn’t totally sure which retelling this was, or if I’d like it, but pretty soon everything clicked and I was like “OH!” and the pieces fell together. And I loved the end! I also loved the letter, and Kingston was great. 😀 It’s set in the 1950s, and the color and detail was fabulous and so vivid. I shall allow you to discover the story it retells, yourself, but overall I really enjoyed it! 🙂

Gently Pursued, Finally Persuaded – Gail Bryant

5 stars

Aww, so sweet! 🙂 A Contemporary retelling of Persuasion, set in the 1990s, this was an unconventional love story, with a Christian theme and a thread of humor. It said this was the author’s first short story, but you would never have known it! The writing was well seasoned and full of clever or fun turns of phrases scattered throughout. The story left me with a smile. ^_^ Lovely!

The Secret of Pemberly Estate – Therese Peyton

4 stars

I wasn’t so sure about this one. It’s a direct sort of sequel to Pride and Prejudice, set in 1815. I had just re-read Pride and Prejudice, and some of the characters in this story seemed to act out of character, to me at least, and some of the plot confused me. It was, however, very original/thrilling/theatrical, like a mystery. Not my favorite, but it did have vivid imagery and was an interesting read. 🙂

Emma’s Irritation – Mikayla Holman

5 stars

Eep, I loved this one! It’s a sort of prequel, set a few years before Emma, and features a teenage Emma and her relationship with Mr. Knightley, as well as some scenes fans of Emma will find intriguing and fun. Mr. Knightley felt very Mr. Knightley ish! He was great. And I could imagine Emma herself being something like that as a teen. I loved the bantering dialog and fun! And just… really enjoyed it. 🙂

Mother’s Day – Jennifer Baxter

5 stars

Aww! ^_^ I can’t really explain this one without giving it away, somehow, but it was an extremely unique and touching twist on a Sense and Sensibility story in a modern setting. It’s very short, but every word counts, and just… I don’t know! It was subtle but just lovely. 🙂

The Mansfield – E. Kaiser Writes

5 stars

OH MY GOODNESS. This story! I never would have imagined Jane Austen in space would work as well as this did. The idea of Mansfield Park’s story taking place on a spaceship (instead of in a mansion) was genius and worked astonishingly well. The characters and dialog were great (the worldbuilding too) and the Mansfield Park story translated SO well to this new in-space setting that it was just delightful! 🙂 I don’t even read much sci-fi but this was great. XD

Elaina – Hannah Jones

5 stars

I was trying to categorize this, and I think I came up with Christian Fiction and the newly named Kingdom-Adventure genre. (There wasn’t really adventure? But hey.) This retelling of Emma set in a kingdom of knights. etc., and featuring her as a princess, was so neat! Again, it translated really well, and I thought that was great fun. 🙂 Amazing how well a little kingdom works to replace Emma’s small town!

Peace in the Orchard – E. Kaiser Writes

5 stars

Imagine Pride and Prejudice set in an idyllic, non-magical, fantasy-type kingdom where Mr. Darcy is a dragon-slaying king, and you pretty much have this one in a nutshell. XD There’s a lot of lovely description of this original, fantastic world, and it mainly focuses on the Elizabeth and Jane characters. The orchard scene at the end was my favorite. 🙂

Maid in Houston – Jennifer Baxter

4 stars

This was a Contemporary retelling of Mansfield Park, featuring a Hispanic heroine — who I quite liked — and a modern setting in Houston. It was a little strange to me, but had some lovely parts and overall it was a very good retelling of Mansfield Park, and so fluidly written and original! It’s about every-day people, and I loved that. The part at the end about love was beautiful. ^_^

~ ~ ~

The Vintage Jane Austen Blog Event

Check out the rest of the blog tour, and the giveaway!

November 5

November 6

November 7

November 8

November 9

November 10

November 11

Giveaway

As part of this special blogging event (November 5-11), we are giving away a $25 Amazon gift Card.

Enter to win HERE.

So what do you think? Does Second Impressions sound intriguing? Which story are you most curious about?

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

The Beast of Talesend AUDIOBOOK Review

Title: The Beast of Talesend
Author: Kyle Robert Shultz
Narrator: Richard “Spanners” Ready

  • Date finished reading (erm… listening to?): September 1, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Fairytale Retelling (Beauty and the Beast)
  • Age: Anyone, really
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Hours: 4 hours, 13 minutes
  • Series: Beaumont & Beasley, #1
  • Fave character: Nick and Crispin
  • Source: Audible code from author for review
  • Notes: Audio version. Re-reading. Read my original review HERE.
  • Links: AudibleAmazonGoodreads • Author’s Website

I have flailed elsewhere about how much I love this book, and this time I’m here to talk about the absolutely delightful audiobook version.

I remember thinking, when I heard about the audio version, that The Beast of Talesend would make a positively fantastic audiobook. Add to that a British narrator and the levels of fantastic go through the roof. Fast-forward to my ecstatic reaction when the author offered me a chance to listen to the audiobook and review it. I gladly accepted, started listening to it right away, and . . . Oh, was I ever NOT disappointed!

The light, fun, humorous, fairytale quality of this book, makes it the perfect audiobook, and the Britishness reminded me of my favorite audiobooks from when I was younger. The Beast of Talesend audiobook is perfection. 😀

I don’t listen to audiobooks often these days (though I used to). They’re not always convenient for me, and these days I generally prefer to absorb stories through physically reading printed words with my eyes, you know? Otherwise my mind can wander and I miss important details, which drives me up the wall. (Not through the roof. Through the roof is a good thing in this case; up the wall isn’t.) I have listened to many audiobooks over time, but don’t as much anymore, except in extreme cases of really, really wanting to listen to one for some reason. Like this one.

In this case, the reasons were twofold: 1) I already had read The Beast of Talesend and loved it and wanted to re-read it anyway (never mind that it was only three months since I read it the first time), and 2) I listened to a sample and the narrator has a fabulous British accent.

I’m one of those shallow (erm, that is, blessed with good taste. *cough*) people who absolutely loves accents, and as an American who primarily lives in fictional worlds created by authors from the British Isles, accents which are English, Irish, Scottish, etc., are my favorites. Mr. Richard “Spanners” Ready has a fabulous British accent which was so fun to listen to, and that alone would have made this audiobook splendid.

HOWEVER, he’s also an amazing narrator, and the book was a delight to hear read by this fellow. He does different voices for all the characters, which was SO fun, and some with different accents as well. His narration as Nick Beasley (the main character who tells the story in a somewhat dry and totally funny way) was brilliant, and for some reason I particularly liked his depiction of Cordelia—she was spot-on! Actually, all the characters were. THEY WERE AMAZING! The acting/performance brought the story and characters to vivid life, and I simply LOVED that! It was like watching a movie… just… you know… listening to it instead. In a way, this is better, because you get the audio-drama quality BUT can still imagine everything appearing the way your imagination wants to paint it. And this narrator’s way of bringing the characters to life only adds to that. 🙂 He drew out so much of the character interactions, drama, excitement, and humor in the BEST way. It was fantastic and so fun!

Narrator quality varies in audiobooks, and I would say there are lots who are okay or even good, but not so many who are the best of the best. Out of the many narrators I’ve heard over time, I’d put Richard Ready in my top five with a very select few who are outstanding. He’s delightful to hear, and a narrator of true quality. 🙂

One or two characters sounded a little different than I, personally, had imagined (I think of Crispin with a higher voice and Whitlock with a lower voice; though both were great in the audio), and one area in the beginning was slightly rushed-feeling to listen to. But those are literally my only “complaints” (and very unimportant ones at that), because overall this audiobook was PERFECT and an absolute delight. I LOVED IT!

Some of my family was listening in while I listened to this, and we all had the best time. 😀 It’s also handy that it’s a shorter book—only a little over 4 hours long, so it was just right to listen to without feeling like it was going to take an age. I’ll probably even listen to it again sometime (What? The shock! Unheard of!) because it’s THAT fun.

Overall, my reaction: read this book, people! Better yet, have Richard Ready read it to you, because he’s fantastic. 😀 (And, great—now I want an audiobook of book 2, The Tomb of the Sea Witch…)

(I was given an Audible.com code for a free download of this audiobook from the author. I was not required to write a positive review, and these opinions are entirely my own.)

Story: 5/5
Narrator: 5/5
Performance: 5/5

~ ~ ~

Have you read this yet? BECAUSE YOU NEED TO! (And the audio version is a fun way to try it; just sayin’. ;))

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Wanted: A Superhero to Save the World by Bryan Davis (Blogtour, Review + Giveaway)

Hey, Pagelings!

I’m so excited to be joining in on the blog tour for the new book by Bryan Davis, Wanted: A Superhero to Save the World!

It’s a super-fun book about two young superheroes, and it probably took me less than seventeen seconds to get hooked and stay hooked — I couldn’t put it down! 🙂

In this post, I’m sharing a review of it — and make sure you scroll all the way down for info about the book, the author, a couple of awesome giveaways, and the other tour stops! 🙂

Title: Wanted: A Superhero to Save the World

Author: Bryan Davis

  • Date read: September 12, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Superhero / Contemporary
  • Age: Middle-Grade
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 250 (paperback)
  • Fave character: I… can’t decide who’s my favorite since I like so many of them; and the one I’m most intrigued about is a spoiler, sooo…
  • Source: The author
  • Links: Amazon • Signed CopiesGoodreads
  • Notes: I received a free copy of this book from the author (many thanks!). These opinions are entirely my own.

WANTED: A SUPERHERO TO SAVE THE WORLD is a gripping and delightful read, which I read in a day and couldn’t seem to put down.

Meet Eddie and Samantha (Sam) Hertz. They’re kids, but also superheroes—kind of—and the fate of their city (and the world) is on their small shoulders. Eddie and Sam make a great superhero team, and they have an adorable brother-sister relationship, which I absolutely loved!

Eddie is the one telling the story, and he’s a fantastic hero. This twelve year old is super smart (no pun intended, though he would have intended it because he’s fun like that), and I love all the gadgets he’s made. So fun! He’s heroic too, and goodhearted, and just… I really liked him. 🙂 Eddie’s the best. Eight year old Sam is… well, she’s adorable and I really liked her as well! I especially loved her “superhero name” and how she had a thing with long names, like with the cat. XD She’s awesome. And they’re especially awesome together. 🙂

I don’t read a lot of Middle-Grade type books, and I’ve only read one superhero novel before this one, so even though both are outside my usual reading zone, I really enjoyed this book and found it to be fresh and unique. Filled with excitement, danger, and edge-of-your-seat suspense and action, it still found time for humor, fun, and kids being kids. I was impressed with how TENSE the story is, keeping me flipping those pages. Super exciting and gripping. I loved watching Eddie and Samantha get out of things with cleverness, gadgets, and occasional superhero strength. 😉

There were so many twists in this story! Some of them I guessed, others were complete surprises. I loved them! It was so fun following the twisting plot and wondering what was going to happen next. Some of the reveals were awesome. I also loved the mystery and suspense, especially how there were a lot of mysterious characters around, and it was hard to know right away if they’re good, or bad, or… what. That was so cool! I always love it when books leave me guessing, and this was excellent in that way. 🙂

It’s really, really well written. I loved how there was SO MUCH attention to detail, without making it feel bogged down at all. I could see, hear, taste, smell, and feel everything in this setting. It was so vivid and felt like a super-cool movie—in book form, of course (which is the perfect mix for this booklover. ;)).

It has heart and humor too, and some touching or sad moments—I nearly cried a couple of times, when it was sad, or at a very touching adorable part near the end. ^_^ (SO, I wasn’t a fan of the sad things. But I got over it because I really enjoyed the book. :))

I just noticed that I must be getting old, since sometimes I worried about them because earthquakes and peril and swamps and they’re only eight and twelve… ahem. But that’s the point, of course, and having been a teenager myself not so long ago, I didn’t used to think of younger characters in terms of “protect the precious young childs!” It just makes me feel old. XD I do like that it’s suitable for all ages—so many books, even for younger children these days, seem to be dark or inappropriate or just… off, somehow. This one seemed just right for that age or anyone else, too. 🙂

I also loved how Sam and Eddie’s mom was a part of the story! You don’t see much of that in young adult or middle-grade fiction, and I loved that. 🙂 The other characters were all interesting as well! They were all so unique and quirky. I liked Barney, and Gilbert was unexpected. There’s a certain other character, who’s slightly spoiler-ish, so I won’t say much, but I’m now VERY curious/want to know more about him… or see more of him in a sequel.

Speaking of which… The book doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, but it does leave the door wide open for possible future books. Now I want more about Eddie and Sam and company, because that would be delightful! 😀

It’s not an absolute favorite, largely due to being outside my usual favorite genres/age-group, but for what it is, it’s absolutely fantastic and so much fun. 🙂

Overall, this was an extremely fun, vivid, suspenseful story, for readers of any age—children, young adults, or adults would all enjoy it, I think. I certainly did! Definitely recommend. 🙂


About the Book

Eddie Hertz is smart, real smart. He has to be. What other twelve-year-old patrols the streets of Nirvana alone, hoping to foil the schemes of the evil Mephisto? Since Eddie is small for his age, he trusts in his Batman-style gadgets belt and acrobatic skills as well as lots of experience, like knowing how to swing across dark alleys without being seen.

Eddie has a dream, to become like Damocles, Nirvana’s great superhero. To make that dream come true, Eddie invented a device that is supposed to give him superpowers, but using it on himself is dangerous, maybe even fatal. He doesn’t have the nerve to try it.

When Mephisto unleashes an earthquake machine on the city, Eddie gets a surprising teammate — his quirky eight-year-old sister, Samantha, who comes up with an unexpected way to help Eddie in the frantic battle to prevent the biggest earthquake of all.

Since Damocles has lost his ability to help in physical form, Eddie and Samantha are the only hope for Nirvana and the world.

Available on Amazon


About the Author

Bryan Davis is the author of several bestselling series, including Dragons in Our Midst and the Reapers Trilogy, speculative fiction for youth and adults. Bryan and his wife, Susie, work together as an author/editor team to create his imaginative tales.

Find Bryan Davis Online

Author WebsiteBook Purchase SiteFacebook PageWriting BlogTwitter: @bryandavisauthGoodreadsInstagram


Contest Giveaways

There are two giveaways on this blog tour!

The first contest’s giveaway is the winner’s choice of any Bryan Davis book, plus a Wanted: A Superhero to Save the World T-Shirt and bookmark. Enter via the Rafflecopter HERE!

The second contest holds the Grand Prize – the items from the first giveaway PLUS a complete Bryan Davis book series of the winner’s choice or a $50 Amazon gift card. To enter this one, you go through all the tour posts and gather the hidden number in each of them (which should be “hidden” fairly easy to find), including the one in this post; add them up, and you will have the key to the Grand Prize giveaway. You can read all the details in Bryan Davis’ opening post, and you can find the Grand Prize Giveaway HERE. Good luck! 🙂


Tour Schedule

Wednesday, September 20th

Tour Kickoff @ The Author’s Chair

Book Spotlight @ Backing Books

Book review and YOU WRITE: About Bryan Davis @ Zerina Blossom’s Books

Book Spotlight and Review @ The Spooky Bookshelf

Book Spotlight and Author Interview @ Scattered Scribblings

Book Review and Character Interview @ Light and Shadows

Thursday, September 21st

Book Spotlight and YOU WRITE: About Bryan Davis @ Red Lettering

Spotlight and Author Interview @ The Reader Addict

Spotlight and YOU WRITE: About Bryan Davis @ target verified

Book Review and Character Interview @ Hidden Doorways

Book Review @ Ashley Bogner

Book Review @ The Page Dreamer (You are here)

Friday, September 22nd

Book Spotlight and Character Interview @ Story of Fire

Book Review @ Inkwell

Book Spotlight and Character Interview @ Liv K. Fisher

Book Review @ writinganyone

Spotlight and YOU WRITE: About Superheroes @ Dreams and Dragons

Author Interview and YOU WRITE: About Bryan Davis @ March to a Different Drum

Book Spotlight @ Author Jaye L. Knight

Saturday, September 23rd

Author Interview @ Jessi L. Roberts, author

Book Spotlight and Character Interview @ Book Lovers Life

Book Review and Character Interview @ Verbosity Reviews

Book Spotlight, Author Interview and YOU WRITE: Superheroes @ Creature of Graphite

Character Interview @ Wanderer’s Pen

Book Spotlight and Author Interview @ Adventure Awaits

Sunday, September 24th

Tour  Wrapup @ The Author’s Chair (Winners will be announced here after the contest giveaway deadline which is September 27.)


Have you read any superhero novels? Any to recommend to me? And does this one sound fun? Because it is! What would your superhero power be?

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

Magicians’ Trial (Spellsmith & Carver #2) by H.L. Burke

Title: Magicians’ Trial
Author: H. L. Burke

  • Date read: August 4, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Steampunk
  • Age: New Adult?
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 203 (Kindle)
  • Series: Spellsmith and Carver, #2 (see my review for book one!)
  • Fave character: Jericho and Auric
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free e-ARC of this book from the author (thank you!) and these opinions are entirely my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

Another fabulous Burke book! Due to the amount that I loved the first Spellsmith and Carver book, and the fact that I was expecting something more like the first one, I didn’t enjoy this one quiiiite as much as I hoped to, but it was still an excellent book! I just wasn’t expecting it to be so different. XD

Book 1 (Magicians’ Rivalry) featured the buddy-story-type beginning friendship of Jericho and Auric, and shenanigans in Faerie, with a dash of cute romance. It’s very fantasy-esque, features SO MUCH snark, and I adored it so much! (I guess I thought the next one would be more of the same. :P)

Book 2 (Magicians’ Trial) was completely unexpected, which now that I’m over that, is likely a good thing, because NEW. Even if the other kind is more my favorite. XD I’d call this one more of a steampunk story with dashes of magic and yes some of that famed snark still. 😉 It’s mostly set in their capitol city, instead of in Faerie, and there’s not as much magical happenings because MAGIC DROUGHT which is kind of our heroes’ fault… XD

I loved Auric and Jericho’s continuing friendship (with bouts of bickering, naturally) even if I miss the early days of it; and two certain characters are MARRIED now (*gasp*) which made for a different angle to the story than what I’m used to… You don’t see a lot of the continued adventures of married couples once the beginning romance has led to a wedding. XD I still prefer the first-romance part buuut at least it was new. So there were different dynamics in this one (married couple, friends who are actually friends now and not just by necessity, and a lot more of Rill than last time) which was definitely unique, even if different than I hoped/expected. XD

It was super exciting, well-written, and awesome though! I did really enjoy it. 🙂 It’s a thrilling, unique tale, more like a mystery and a steampunk city type of thing, with dashes of fantasy and snark and beloved characters, romance, humor, peril, betrayal, and so many things! I think it felt a little more like Beggar Magic than Magicians’ Rivalry, if that makes sense, but it was fascinating to see these new places and characters, and lovely to read more about Jericho, Auric, and Rill. 🙂

There’s also a new character, Lotta, who is very different, but neat—and she’s super shy and paranoid and mechanic-y, which was adorable—as was a certain new blooming romance. 😉 And I liked her uncle. XD Also there is more of Jaspyr, the mechanical fox—yay!—and I absolutely loved a certain part where he proved himself! *bouncing up and down and cheering* And a scary magical assassin lady with a totally creepy mechanical monkey. O_O EEP. And all sorts of mysterious characters doing mysterious things and popping in and out, and an austere inspector, and various plots—basically very mystery-vibed! WHO DO YOU TRUST. Ahem.

It was super interesting to see them having to use their wits to get them out of things sometimes when magical things wouldn’t work. XD Clever and fun! And of course the highlight is still Auric and Jericho’s great buddy relationship, on top of the snarkiness and humor and adventure. ^_^ AURIC AND JERICHO! ❤

All in all, I still loved book 1 the most, but this one was totally different and fascinating, thrilling and unputdownable (it’s a word, hush), and another worthy addition to the Spellsmith and Carver trilogy! (Now I’m anxiously awaiting book 3, terrified for what will happen to my precious character friends in the final installment, but so looking forward to more of these awesome characters in this fascinating fantasy/steampunk world!)

If you haven’t gotten a bit of Spellsmith and Carver in your life yet, you need to—so hasten to it, book friends! You need them in your life. ^_^

Favorite Quotes

“Technically, Auric could go alone,” Jericho said. “However, I don’t trust him to. Not that he wouldn’t represent us well, but he already hinted that he’d take the fall for this, and I want to be sure he doesn’t confess to something to spare the rest of us and end up in jail or worse.”

Her mouth tightened. “Yes, because Auric is the one who has a history of making stupid sacrificial gestures to protect the people he loves with no regard for his own well-being. That’s definitely only Auric. No one else we know has ever done anything foolish like that.”

***

“Are you sure you don’t wish me to accompany you?”

Auric rolled his eyes. “You, too? What, do I have ‘incapable of speaking for myself’ written on my forehead this morning?”

***

“I’m sorry. I should go. You’re obviously busy setting booby traps and—”

***

“Just a fox sniffing about the hen house for an opportunity.” Jericho snorted.

Jaspyr yipped.

“No offense, buddy.” Jericho rubbed the fox’s ears.

***

Auric gasped. “The water is rising.”

“How can you tell? Is it the fact that the stream is blocked by a cartload of rubble and it’s swirling about our ankles?” Jericho indulged in an eye-roll. Sarcasm wouldn’t help anything, but it soothed him.

***

“I can’t swim, remember?”

Auric gaped. “Still? After everything that happened last time, you never bothered to learn?”

“I’ve been busy!” Jericho snapped.

***

“Trust me, he’s going to regret that. After all, it is foolish to get on the bad side of either Spellsmith or Carver … and I just happen to be both.”

***

He entered and found Auric lying on the floor surrounded by a sea of papers, a thick, leather-bound book over his face.

“Death by bureaucracy?” Jericho chuckled.

Auric pushed aside the book and squinted at him. “Just resting my eyes.”

***

No, Jericho told himself. This is not how I die. I’ve faced dragons and vengeful Fey. I’m not going to be killed by a ridiculous monkey.

***

“Uh-huh. Auric, do you know what I thought of you when we first met?”

“Not really, I guess.” Auric strode over to an upholstered bench against the far wall and sat down.

Jericho stood over him. “I thought you were a spoiled brat who only cared about himself,” he said.

Auric raised an eyebrow. “Thought as in past tense, right?”

~ ~ ~

Other similar reviews:

  

So, are you a steampunk fan? And have you tried Spellsmith and Carver yet? 😀

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

(I just like this, okay. ^_^)

Persuasion Retelling: Perception by Emily Ann Benedict

Title: Perception
Author: Emily Ann Benedict

  • Date read: August 3, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Historical Fiction (1930s) / Christian Fiction / Retelling (Jane Austen’s Persuasion)
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 198 (ebook)
  • Series: Book 4 in the multi-author Vintage Jane Austen series (but stands alone!)
  • Fave character: Freddy
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free advance reader copy of this book from the author (thank you!); these opinions are entirely my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s WebsiteSeries Website

Another excellent addition to the Vintage Jane Austen series! I’ve quite enjoyed reading each of these standalone retellings by different authors—all so different, yet similar too, and delightful one and all thus far! 🙂

This one is a sweet retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, except it’s set in 1930s America during the Great Depression.

Perception is a lovely tale, in its own right, and also as a retelling. I so enjoyed all the parallels to Persuasion—which is one of my favorite of Austen’s novels—and also the twists and how it fit into a new era. It was fascinating how well this story translated to the ’30s, featuring Captain Wentworth’s character (Freddy, in this one) as a post-WWI soldier, and Anne Elliot (Abbey, in this) as part of a once-rich family which has to rent out their home due to financial troubles of the Great Depression. It all fit SO. WELL. I loved that. 🙂

I loved the characters! Abbey was a relatable heroine (quite liked her!) and Freddy was fabulous and unexpectedly fun sometimes. XD I quite liked some of the other characters too, like Freddy’s sister and her husband, and Sam. Many fun characters! I was impressed with how well-drawn the characters were, how some of them who in the original version I disliked, Miss Benedict’s writing managed to turn into characters that I either liked, or at least understood more and saw their side of things. Excellent character building!

The settings—both geographical and time-related—were quite well done too! It was interesting visiting Boston and Cape Cod and other places filling in for the old locations in Persuasion, and the 1930s feel felt very real—and I liked the old cars and such as a great touch. 🙂

Mostly, the plot and characters line up very well with the story it is retelling, but there were also a few surprising additions and twists which were super interesting! Like Abbey’s unexpected business venture, and other developments and surprises which were neat, and which I will not spoil. 😉

I also loved the Jane Watson cameo (so fun finding them in each of the books!!), and the few dashes of excitement and a snatch or two of unexpected peril, as well as the humorous bits of dialog from time to time. It was also kind of beautiful at times. ^_^

This author’s writing is lovely! It has a sort of quality to it that I can’t quite pinpoint, but was perfect for this story. I’m looking forward to trying more of her work. 🙂

Overall, this is a quite fun retelling of Persuasion, and a lovely clean romance of almost-lost-love, with a few surprises and even a dash of murder-mystery lurking in the background, all set in a well-drawn ’30s atmosphere, and skillfully penned. I quite enjoyed myself reading this, and definitely recommend! ^_^

Favorite Quotes

“So am I engaged to both of them now?” Freddy asked, smiling.

“I don’t think that’s legal, Freddy,” Bonnie replied drolly.

***

Abbey relaxed, grateful not only that someone had thought to throw a party for her, but that she had been able to escape attending.

***

Abbey could have laughed at Freddy’s appearance. He was clearly not yet sufficiently awake for this sort of conversation.

***

“You’re my guardian angel, Abbey,” she said as she climbed into the car.

“No, not really, Sam. I’m just a messenger.”

“But that’s what angels are. That’s how God says, ‘I’m here, and it’s going to be all right.”

***

“Tired physically, or tired of someone?”

Abbey couldn’t help smiling. “Tired of many someones, to be honest.”

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“I want to eat pasta.”

***

“I can’t settle for merely liking a man when I’ve known what it’s like to love one.”

~ ~ ~

Read my reviews for others in the series so far:

Have you read any retellings of Persuasion, or other Jane Austen books?

(Note to any potential reviewers: For a limited time, Emily Ann Benedict is currently looking for a few people to review this book on Goodreads and Amazon in exchange for a free download of it, so if you’re interested, do let me or her know! Thanks! You can also find the book at the links above.)

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer