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Review: Song of Leira by Gillian Bronte Adams

Look! Birdie seems to be singing a dinosaur through a hedge! (Creation Evidence Museum) #SongofLeiraContest

I’m back on the Song of Leira release blog tour to share my review! And also some snazzy photos I took for Gillian’s Take Your Book on an Adventure photo contest (details at the end of this post — but it ends in just a couple of days, so be sure to get in on it!).

I took Song of Leira on an adventure to the Creation Evidence Museum, and the Dinosaur Valley State Park with dinosaur footprints in the riverbed (both in Glen Rose, TX), so that’s where these pictures scattered through the post are from!

(There mayyy not be dinosaurs, exactly, in this book, but there are definitely some big scary critters, so close enough!)

Enjoy the pics and review, and thanks for reading. ^_^

#SongofLeiraContest


Title: Song of Leira

Author: Gillian Bronte Adams

  • Date read: June 5, 2018
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Epic Fantasy
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2018
  • Pages: 411 (paperback)
  • Series: The Songkeeper Chronicles, #3 (Book 1: Orphan’s Song. Book 2: Songkeeper.)
  • Fave character: GAH. How can I pick? Cade, Birdie, Ky, Amos, Gundhrold… so there.
  • Source: The publisher
  • Notes: I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher (thanks!) and was not required to write a positive review. These opinions are entirely my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

There’s some kind of beastie footprint down where Birdie sang the water away! (Dinosaur Valley State Park) #SongofLeiraContest

The sweeping, epic conclusion to the Songkeeper Chronicles trilogy, SONG OF LEIRA far exceeded my expectations and does not disappoint! AAHH! My heart is so full. ^_^ *hugs book* I’m not using “epic” lightly—it really is that.

I haven’t read a book with such overwhelming hope in a long time. Yes, there’s darkness and war and death and sorrow, but in the midst of it, the light and the Song pour out hope and peace and strength. It’s full of those times when you feel like everything’s lost, but then there are moments of eucatastrophe and those good surprises (particularly near the end!) that make everything right.

After the darkness and shattering despair of the dark-before-the-dawn middle of the series, Songkeeper, I was worried this final installment wouldn’t live up to my hopes, but it rallied and brought me soaring through the conclusion on wings of exhilaration like a griffin. 😀 Twice, SONG OF LEIRA had tears pricking my eyes—at a certain death (still broken up over that one, though at least there was peace and purpose to it) and reading the beautiful final paragraphs of the novel. It’s heartbreaking and beautiful all at once, and still dark much of the time (there are a few side characters I could have wished survived), but the overall feeling I came away with was hope and joy. 🙂 It just stirred my soul so much. ❤

The book started out a little quietly but it soon pulled me in and swept me away on the adventure. We’re in the mountains in this one, with Ky and the runners of the Underground, Birdie and the griffin, and many other characters we meet along the way, both friends and enemies, new and old, and so many places… but I don’t want to give anything away! The world is so vivid and I love it. ^_^

I also loved following Birdie and Ky on their journeys, as they fall and get up again over and over—as they doubt and find their way, and make mistakes and grow and learn, and become so much more than they could have imagined. Becoming heroes worthy of legend and song. And Gundhrold the griffin and Amos and—gaah, I love them all! There are new characters too—I particularly love Frey, the beast from the cover!

Is it the River of Song? (Dinosaur Valley State Park) #SongofLeiraContest

All the characters are so HUMAN (I mean… except for the actual non-human characters. *cough* But you know what I mean!) and we bleed and struggle and triumph along with these broken but determined souls. I love them so much! ^_^ These are definitely some characters who’ve wrapped themselves around my heart. (Yes, including Cade. He may be arrogant at times, but I still love him! He wasn’t in it much, but I was so glad he got to come in near the end like that! 😀 He’s still one of my favorites despite everything, and I will not apologize. 😛 CADE.) Even the villains are written in such a compelling way that they seem human too. There was one in particular I hoped for a better ending for, but… ah well.

Another thing I found delightful was the Song and what the Songkeeper can do—it was such a unique thing and made me love this fantasy world even more! A unique “magic system” for lack of a better term (gift?) helps set apart a fantastic series from a merely good one. I just love all the stuff about the Song, and it was wonderful to see Birdie come into her own at last! Also her humility in not taking the credit to herself but pointing it back to the Master Singer. Christian fantasy done absolutely RIGHT. ❤

Some of it can also be fun, too! The little moments of humor or wonder made my day. ^_^ The writing, too, is gorgeous—effortlessly drawing the reader along and painting everything so vividly, in soul-stirring moments of near-poetry at times. Gillian Bronte Adams is definitely a talented author, and this is her best book yet. (Sometimes I was reminded of another of my favorites, Lloyd Alexander, at his best—which is high praise from me. :))

The plot was exciting too! It brings so many threads together from throughout the trilogy and ties most of them together so that everything falls in place in an utterly right and satisfying way. I’m not going to spoil anything, but WOW. That ending! So epic and thrilling! (And I got a slight Arthurian vibe, which is always welcome. ;))

SONG OF LEIRA is a breathtaking, fulfilling, and so rewarding conclusion to what has been a beautiful journey of a fantasy trilogy, masterfully penned and threading its way through my heart.

It brings you through the darkest shadows of night and on to the glorious rays of dawn.

This—THIS—is what epic fantasy with echoes of truth is meant to be.

Just imagine Song of Leira being printed on this Gutenberg press replica! (Creation Evidence Museum) #SongofLeiraContest


The Song bids her rise to battle.

Reeling from her disastrous foray into the Pit, Birdie, the young Songkeeper, retreats into the mountains. But in the war-torn north, kneeling on bloodstained battlefields to sing the souls of the dying to rest, her resolve to accept her calling is strengthened. Such evil cannot go unchallenged.

Torn between oaths to protect the Underground runners and to rescue his friend from the slave camps, Ky Huntyr enlists Birdie’s aid. Their mission to free the captives unravels the horrifying thread connecting the legendary spring, Artair’s sword, and the slave camps. But the Takhran’s schemes are already in motion. Powerful singers have arisen to lead his army – singers who can shake the earth and master the sea – and monsters rampage across the land.

As Leira falters on the verge of defeat, the Song bids her rise to battle, and the Songkeeper must answer.

Find Song of Leira online: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD

Add Song of Leira to your Goodreads Shelf


NEED TO CATCH UP ON THE SERIES?

Orphan’s Song (Book 1) Her solo is a death sentence. When Birdie first hears the Song coming from her mouth, her world shatters. She is no longer simply an orphan but the last of a hunted people. Forced on the run, she must decide who to trust: a traveling peddler, a streetwise thief, or the mysterious creature who claims to know her past. With war threatening to tear her homeland apart, Birdie discovers an overwhelming truth: the fate of Leira may hinge on her song.

Songkeeper (Book 2) War ravages Leira & the Song has fallen silent. Desperate to end the fighting, Birdie embarks on a dangerous mission into enemy territory, while Ky returns to his besieged city to save the Underground runners. Legend speaks of a mythical spring beneath the Takhran’s fortress and the Songkeeper who will one day unleash it. Everyone believes Birdie is the one. But can she truly be the Songkeeper when the Song no longer answers her call?


TAKE YOUR BOOK ON AN ADVENTURE CONTEST

To celebrate Song of Leira‘s release, Gillian Bronte Adams is running a contest to show that reading and adventuring go hand in hand! Snag a picture or video of you adventuring with your book, tag it #SongofLeiraContest and post it online. Winners will be announced on June 22 at the “Song of Leira and King’s War Facebook Party.”

To see the prizes at stake and the official contest guidelines, head over to Gillian’s website.

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Lightporter by C. B. Cook: Superheroes! (Review)

Lightporter, sequel to Twinepathy by C. B. Cook, is releasing this weekend! I’m so excited to be a part of the blog tour today and share my review for this fun book. 😀

Title: Lightporter

Author: C. B. Cook

  • Date read: June 7, 2018
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Superheroes / Contemporary / Sci-fi
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2018
  • Pages: 173 (ebook)
  • Series: IDIA, #2 (Book 1: Twinepathy)
  • Fave character: Blaze and Anvil!
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free ARC of this book from the author (thanks!) and was not required to write a positive review. These opinions are entirely my own.

Featuring superheroes with unique abilities, mysterious plots, and laugh-aloud humor, Lightporter is sheer fun. It’s a blast following the telepathic twin heroines and the rest of the agents at IDIA, as they face new threats—and secrets among themselves. A fun, thrilling read!

I’ve been looking forward to this book ever since reading Twinepathy, the first in the series. Lightporter was so much fun! In many ways it improved on several things from the first book, especially since all the beginning/setup is behind the characters and we can settle into the adventures. 😀

There were a bunch of mysteries which kept me curious and flipping pages, and I can’t wait for more books in the series to find out more about the hints that were teased at, about… well… things. 😉 (Like Blaze! And a certain new character who seems really cool and I can’t wait to find out more about him. :D) Essentially, these books feel like a really awesome superhero TV show and I love it.

It’s fast-paced and exciting, and I enjoyed getting to go a little further into this world of superheroes. Speaking of which, the superpowers are so cool and fascinating! I would love to be able to teleport like Blaze, or move a remote (and other things, of course) with my mind like Maddie. I also liked that we got a bit more about the twins’ telepathy in this one. 🙂 So cool! And the other abilities were super neat! The story also travels all around the world, which was so fun.

Really my only complaint is that some of it rushed by a little quickly and it was over a little suddenly—like I said, kind of like a TV show, waiting for the next installment. 😉 Which isn’t bad, exactly; I just was a little surprised it was over so quickly and left quite a few things hanging, and just—I want MORE! Heehee. 😀

My favorite things, besides the cool superpowers, was the humor—which had me grinning or laughing several times—and the characters! I’ve become super attached to them (no pun intended) and I loved getting to read more about them. ^_^

Albany has grown quite a bit and I like her so much more! I don’t even mind that it’s in first-person-present-tense. 🙂 Brooklyn is still sweet, but we see more of her unexpectedly solid side too. Jen/Data is fabulous as always—it takes a strong personality to run a superhero agency and she’s definitely got it! 😀 I liked getting some more of Keller too—she’s still a grouchy, tough cookie, and I like her. XD Speaking of cookies: we get more Anvil! I was extremely pleased about this. 😀 Anvil is one of my faaaavorites! ^_^ The intimidating guy who also bakes cookies, I loved seeing more of him in this, as Data’s right-hand man, and also his nice side occasionally. 😉 And then Blaze! I loved how he takes center stage just a little more in this, with a lot of the questions revolving around him… so I won’t say more about that, but I love Blaze! Even though he was a little grumpy sometimes, I still love his banter and humor and essential Blaze-ish-ness. 😀

Anyway, between everybody (especially more Anvil and Blaze!) I was SUPER happy with all the character stuff going on in this! There are tons of little tidbits hinted at, which only make me more desperate for another book… even though this one JUST came out. Heehee. Anyway, I’m hooked and I love these precious characters at IDIA! ^_^ *hugs them all*

There were also a couple of new characters, who are very interesting… Spoiler guy: OOH! 😀 Ember: Iiinteresting… Singe: AAAHH! 😀 And some others. 😉 You’ll just have to meet them yourself!

Overall, I definitely recommend checking out this series! If you want a fun, fast-past, clean YA contemporary read with superpowers, this is the place to find it. You should probably start with Twinepathy since you might feel a little confused jumping in on this one, but know that it’s totally worth it and that there’s another awesome book awaiting you after Twinepathy! And if you’ve already read that one… well, what are you waiting for? Lightporter is waiting, and it’s AWESOME. 😀


Favorite Quotes

My version of walking quietly is like a little kid banging pans together compared to Anvil’s silent steps. Good grief.

***

“I want you back here. Immediately. No stopping for food.” She pauses. “But since I know you will anyway, I’d like a chocolate milkshake.”

Blaze gives her a weak grin.

***

Jen is sitting behind her desk, as usual, and she looks up, surprised.

“What are you four doing here so early?” she asks, frowning.

“Time zones,” Blaze informs her.

Jen rolls her eyes. “Again, Blaze? Sorry, girls.”

***

Blaze disappears. A second later, he reappears, but he hits his elbow on the table and yelps.

“Did you move that table?” he asks Anvil suspiciously.

I swear Anvil’s hiding a grin. “What have we told you about teleporting in here?”

Blaze sighs. “But walking’s so… tiring!”

“Drama queen,” Anvil mutters so quietly that I almost don’t catch it. “Here.” He gives Brooklyn, Maddie, and Blaze boxes. “Blaze, take them to Jen’s room, the tiring way.”

***

“What would be the worst that could happen?”

I frown. “Jen would be mad at you.” That’s one of the scariest things I can think of.

***

“You really should stop heating up doorknobs. It’s not good for them.”

***

“We’re officially going to die!” Ember yells. “Just so you guys know! And I blame you!”


About Lightporter

Albany and her twin sister, Brooklyn, have gotten more comfortable in the superhero world. But when Blaze starts acting secretive and weird monsters attack, the girls realize there is more going on that they still don’t know about. Before long, they discover that Blaze is hiding something—or someone. With FOE still hiding in the shadows, the girls must decide who they can trust… before it’s too late.

Add to GoodreadsPre-order on Amazon


About the Author

C.B. Cook is just a girl trying to find out where her King is guiding her, while writing the stories of the people she creates, the worlds she wants to live in, and the adventures she dreams about. Also known as a mysterious creature called an “author.” She’s a Christian and a home school graduate dedicated to changing others’ lives through the power of the written word.

Links

Blog • Goodreads • Pinterest • IDIA Group Pinterest Board • Amazon • Twinepathy on AmazonLightporter Pre-order


Tour Schedule

Monday, June 11th

Tuesday, June 12th

Wednesday, June 13th

Thursday, June 14th

Friday, June 15th

Saturday, June 16th (Release day!)


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Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

10 Reasons You Should Read The Electrical Menagerie by Mollie E. Reeder

Title: The Electrical Menagerie

Author: Mollie E. Reeder

  • Date read: May 30, 2018
  • Rating: 5 stars (ALL THE STARS!)
  • Genre: Steampunk
  • Age: Any
  • Year pub: 2018
  • Pages: 323 (ebook)
  • Series: The Celestial Isles, #1
  • Fave character: Huxley (I love Carthage too, though; and especially them as a pair.)
  • Source: Giveaway
  • Notes: I won an ARC ebook in a giveaway (thanks!) and wasn’t required to write a review. These opinions are my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website • Series Website

Ten Reasons You Should Read The Electrical Menagerie

1. What did I just read? *deep breath* I LOVED THIS BOOK. It was absolutely delightful and I have a book hangover—how will anything ever be this good again? AAHH. *collapses and wails and longs for a sequel* I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like this but it was INCREDIBLE and just so much fun! 😀

2. The humor! It’s an utterly hilarious book and I LOVE that so much! The humor/snark/dialog absolutely made my day and I keep wanting to quote it. XD

3. Arbrook Huxley and Sylvester Carthage, y’all. THESE TWO. ❤ You know how there are dynamic duos who are just the best, especially together? And you take their last names and squish ’em together into something iconic. Holmes and Watson. Spellsmith and Carver. Beaumont and Beasley. Well Carthage and Huxley are next on my list! I just love them and their friendship-not-friendship-whatever-it-is. Carthage is a slightly older man who’s a genius at making mechanical things and devising illusions to enchant a crowd, but he’s also got the heart of a child and is intensely introverted. I kind of related to that and he was so REAL. I love him. Then you have Huxley, who is… well… he’s Huxley! Young and dashing and energetic, he’s the smooth-talking and charismatic co-manager, and he’s so funny, especially when paired with Carthage. XD They’re my favorite thing about this book. ^_^ But both have a lot to learn, and are hiding secrets, and nothing’s going to work out until they learn to trust each other…

4. Welcome to the steampunk-ish, absolutely delightful, original world of the Celestial Isles, in which there are a string of “isles” floating above an ether sea with sky trains traveling between them. There are “electricals” (basically like robots) and I love the trains and the 1800s-esque feel. I feel like it’s such an enchanting world that it’s kind of like the best fantasy, but at the same time it’s more sci-fi/steampunk-ish, since there isn’t really anything “fantasy” or “magical” about it? Things are powered by electricity or stardust and just—everything’s so unique. I love it! It feels utterly magical without being real fantasy at all and… I can’t really describe it but I’m in love with the world. 😛

5. The Electrical Menagerie (their show) is taking part in what is essentially a circus-type competition to put on the best show. Which means there’s a lot of imaginative, gorgeous acts going on, and I loved seeing what would happen next. But there’s also a murder mystery and sabotage going on and WHO IS BEHIND IT ALL? :O Because all Carthage and Huxley need on top of the competition is secret plots and danger, right? 😉

6. There are plot twists, too, and the book took a totally unexpected turn and just—whoa! It’s very edge-of-your-seat. The adventure’s exciting, and you know it’s awesome when, on top of trying to win a competition, there’s also a deep plot and a princess in danger and lots of potential for betrayal, and ALL the excitement. I read the whole book in a day because I couldn’t stop reading. 😀

7. Aside from the wonderfulness that is Carthage and Huxley themselves, the other characters are fascinating too. I especially love Dominic the electrical butler! AAAHH. I love him so much. *feelz* His last speech in the book, though. It was… just… so touching and true. GAH.

8. This book made me laugh over and over—and, yes, it made me cry too. Like… I don’t know how it made me care that much but— *sniffles* THE FEELS. But I think I’m okay. Really. I don’t know why I cared so much but gaah. (It was still beautiful, though. :))

9. It taught me things about myself and life and deep things and—wow. Yes. I often find bits of unexpected truth in the most unlikely places, and I didn’t expect to find such soul-touching things in this super fun, swashbuckling, snarky story of two unlikely friends and their illusion show, but IT WAS THERE. It’s deep and touching even in the midst of the fun, and don’t you just love that? When a story is fun AND feelsy AND has depth AND it will just sweep you along in an utterly rollicking adventure? UGH, so good. *hugs book* It’s a clean read, too, and just so delightful.

10. Just—just—there is no way I can properly describe this book and how much I liked it, so I’m going to stop trying and simply direct you to the book itself. *points imperiously toward it* GO READ IT, PLEASE AND THANK YOU. AND YOU’RE WELCOME. (You can thank me later.) I need more adventures of Carthage and Huxley ASAP, and YOU, my friend, need to go read this one immediately. Ladies and gentlemen, that is all I have to say on this subject. Thank you, and good night. *bows*


Some Favorite Quotes

(I could quote the whole thing, and many of my favorites are spoilers, but here are some excellent non-spoiler-y ones.)

“Are you still alive?” Dominic asked him finally.
“Am I alive?” Huxley turned to him. “Yes, I’m alive. Why would you ask that?”
“You were uncharacteristically motionless and quiet. I thought you might be dead.”
Huxley blew air through his teeth. “Did I make a terrible mistake, Dominic?”
“The probability is high. But you’d have to be more specific.”
“Thanks a lot.”
“You’re welcome,” Dominic said without a trace of irony.

***

“You look like you’ve been run over by a train,” she said.
“Oh,” he said, and scrambled to rake his fingers through his hair and fix the tuck of his shirt.
“No, no…” She bit her lip. “The look on your face.”

***

He drank from a silver flask, which he held out to Carthage.
Carthage gave him a disapproving look. While at work?
“It’s coffee,” said Huxley. “Stars, you’re worse than the nuns at boarding academy.”
Relenting, Carthage took the flask. He drank a swig and nearly choked.
“What’s wrong?”
“It’s cold.”
“Well, it’s been in my coat since this morning.”
Carthage wanted to spit the lingering traces out of his mouth, but that would have been improper. He swallowed his own grimace. “Don’t offer me anything that’s been in your coat since morning ever again.”

***

“You’re very talented, and I especially admire how collected you are in a crisis. Except for that time you broke a teacup on the floor. That wasn’t very collected.”
“Huxley… what’s wrong with you?”
“I was spiked with a truth serum which seems to have drastically lowered my inhibitions.” Huxley raised a confident hand. “But it’s alright. I think it’s wearing off.”
“I’m quite certain it’s not,” said Carthage.

***

Secondly, the swarms of biting insects that came out in the early evening. Huxley called them mosquitoes and seemed unconcerned by them, even though they could bite you through your clothes and suck the blood out of your body, which seemed to Carthage like something to be concerned about.

***

Huxley’s hand darted out, finger aimed at a scallop of frosting. Carthage slapped the hand away.
“What are you doing?” he hissed.
“I’m so hungry,” Huxley said.
“You can’t steal food from the table of the Future Queen!”
“It’s not stealing!” Huxley hissed back. “My tax dollars paid for that cake!”

***

“If only my mother could see me now,” he said aloud.
“If my mother could see me now,” said Huxley, “I’d be legally disowned.”


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Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

The Stealthmaster’s Shadow by Hope Ann

The Stealthmaster’s Shadow is finally here!

Yep, it’s release day and I’m excited to share my review with you! 😀

It’s been ten confounded years since the war ended.

Verus, a retired soldier, determines to enforce the peace the victory ought to have brought. His wanderings bring him to the city of Nerva, a sprawling riverside chaos no other Stealthmaster will touch.

Commandeering the task of a former comrade, Verus presents himself to the governor and promises to search out hidden Subverters. The true reason for his actions he keeps to himself. After all, the tyrannical governor will hardly approve of lending aid to those pitted against him, but the Subverters need information. Maybe even weapons.

The wishes of the Subverters themselves are immaterial. They weren’t there during the war. They didn’t see the horrors Tauscher spread.

Verus has.

So has the new ambassador from Zahavia who strides through the great doors of the feasting hall, bringing Verus face to face with nightmares from his past.

As the simple mission dissolves into confusion, Verus struggles to help those he’s plunged into danger, from a serving lad to the infuriating woman he’s taken to calling “Princess.” Fleeing will only make the enemy stronger. But staying…

Staying could doom them all.

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Title: The Stealthmaster’s Shadow

Author: Hope Ann

  • Date read: May 27, 2018
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Retelling / Christian Fantasy / Twelve Dancing Princesses / Novella
  • Age: New Adult
  • Year pub: 2018
  • Pages: 129 (Kindle)
  • Series: Legends of Light, #4
  • Fave character: Verus
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free e-ARC of this book from the author (thanks!) and these opinions are entirely my own.

Well, that was great!

Meet Verus. Verus is without a doubt my favorite thing about this novella. 😀 He is SO epic! A retired soldier (at… like… in his twenties; what can we say—the war’s over), he’s a Stealthmaster (something which is never fully explained but we basically get the idea) and totally lives up to such a name. He’s constantly sneaking around, lurking in shadows and picking locks and jumping off balconies and being snarky to everybody, and… he’s just epic and so, so much fun! I don’t know how he manages to be kind of grumpy AND all dramatic and sassy, but he is. Everyone’s kind of afraid of Stealthmasters with their mysterious ways (and his awesome cloak! Want.) but Verus at least has a heart of gold, and I loved reading about him, even as he wrestles with his past and learns through mistakes. Anyway, he’s my favorite and so much fun to read. 😀 WHAT a character. ❤

Essentially, reading this is worth it just for Verus. 😉 But it’s an intriguing tale, too, AND (wait for it) it’s a retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses! Kinda. There aren’t twelve, and it’s not so much a retelling as an “inspired by,” but the hints and nods to the original were so fun and some were brilliant. It was like picking up clues! And they all made total sense, too. I loved how it was totally different and yet you could recognize bits and pieces of the fairytale, which also mixed well with the Christian allegory parts, largely involved with parallels of the early persecuted Church.

I’m pretty sure there’s a law somewhere that says all Twelve Dancing Princesses retellings must be dark. XD There wasn’t a bunch of scary magic or anything for this one, but some of it was kinda brutal… so be aware of that, if that sort of thing bothers you. Despite the snark and humor, a lot of it’s very intense and deals with some tough themes. It was also interesting how some of the story was told in flashbacks about Verus in the war.

The story is set about a decade after the other three Legends of Light novellas. I think one could read this one and enjoy it without having read those, but I did enjoy it extra since I had. There was a cameo appearance from one of my favorites! 😀 (Hi, Evrard! *waves enthusiastically*) So that was awesome. Most of the characters (like the “princess” character, who’s pretty stealthy in her own right, and a cute little boy, etc.) are new, and even if you haven’t read the first three, this one pretty much stands alone. 🙂

A few times I felt like things could have been explained better than they were and I kind of tripped up and didn’t have a clue what was going on (possibly due to the short length; it is a novella, after all), but I figured things out eventually and I just wish it could have been longer! I’d love to explore this neat palace setting and hang out with Verus and Adreana longer, but I was just relieved things turned out better than it looked like it would for a bit. XD Whew! Quite intense and exciting! With all kinds of mysteries and sneaking about.

Overall, aside from a couple minor things, it’s a fantastic read. And really, with a snarky hero who is incredibly epic (like, how often are people TRULY epic, I ask you?), a lot of witty dialog (I love funny things, okay?), and a Twelve Dancing Princesses theme (my favorite!), what is not to love? You’re definitely going to want to check this one out—I know I’m glad I did! 🙂 (But Verus though. This guy!) A great tale! ^_^

Some Favorite Quotes

Verus flung himself over the banister in one easy motion and landed in a crouch in the gloom of the stairs. The shadows flickered rapid greetings, but no soldier appeared to challenge him.

***

“If you can’t read the meaning of a locked door—”

“It wasn’t locked,” Verus said. “There was merely an obstruction to opening it. A fault I fixed. Without charge, I might add.”

***

“He does have a chimney.” Her eyes twinkled. “Of course, it might smudge your cloak—the latest fashion from Zahavia, I believe? I’d have mentioned it before now, but—”

“Oh, shut up.” Verus stalked back onto the balcony. “Which way?”

“Left. The balcony there.” Adreana pointed to a wide slab of rock several dozen paces away. “I assume you can do it?”

Verus tucked his cloak into his belt. “I hope that’s not an honest question.”

She smirked. “I’ll be waiting.” She paused at the door. “And thanks.”

Verus smiled faintly, then shook his head and forced his face back into grim lines. Botheration take the girl and all the rest. They were more trouble than they were worth. Most people were, in the end.

***

“Did you have to kill the armor?”

“Do you have to make such a racket?” Verus shut the door hastily and glanced to where the helmet hung askew on the frame. “Besides, it’s just a concussion.” He strode over and spun it back in place. “See? He’s looking better already.”

“Still a nasty dent.” Adreana turned up the lamps. “How hard did you hit the poor thing?”

***

“Escape plan?”

“You /did/ have one in place in case the rebellion of yours failed?”

“Why would I ever,” Verus spluttered. “That is what you are counting on?”

“Well, do you have one or don’t you?”

Verus scowled, then hesitated. “Of course I have an escape plan.” Of a sort.

***

“Let’s find your lady.”

“We can probably slip around by—she’s not my lady.” Verus cut himself off.

Diomed smirked.

Verus scowled. “I can maim you and leave you behind.”


About the author of the Legends of Light Series

Hope Ann uses chocolate to bribe a wide ring of spies, from the realm leapers of Aslaria to the double agents of Elkbend, for their stories. Based in Indiana, she is the self-published author of the Legends of Light series, personal writing coach, and the Communications Coordinator for Story Embers. You can find out more about her at authorhopeann.com


Check out my review for the previous novellas in the Legends of Light series, collected in the single volume Burning Rose:


Well? Are you intrigued? Doesn’t it sound funnn? 😉 Let me know what you think in the comments!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

10 Thoughts on The Story Peddler by Lindsay A. Franklin

Title: The Story Peddler

Author: Lindsay A. Franklin

  • Date read: May 8, 2018
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2018
  • Pages: 330 (paperback)
  • Series: The Weaver Trilogy, #1
  • Fave character: Mor and Warmil, maybe?
  • Source: The publisher
  • Notes: With thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of the book. I was not required to write a positive review, and these opinions are entirely my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

10 Thoughts on The Story Peddler by Lindsay A. Franklin

1. What an enjoyable tale! When I first heard about this book, I knew I needed to try it out. A fantasy novel about a story-weaver who sells stories? Um, yes, please! I think it could have been more of a top-favorite than it ended up being (for me), but on the whole I loved it! ^_^

2. Tanwen, our heroine, tells most of the story in her own charming village girl voice, though a few chapters are in third-person and follow Princess Braith, another very interesting character. There were a lot of characters, but I didn’t find it hard to keep track of them since they were all very unique. I did think that the amount of people in the story made it hard to have enough time for each of them, so I’d have liked if there was more time for a couple of them, like Mor and Aeron. Still, I ended up quite liking the band of weavers! And, as far as page-time, there’s always the sequel… which I need ASAP!

3. This tale of a fantasy land where the king has outlawed all stories except for the “crown-approved” ones, had some great things to say. I loved that. I don’t want to give anything away, but it was very thought-provoking how there are consequences to telling the false versions of stories. Tanwen needs to tell the truth in her stories, even if it’s not Crown Approved; especially if it’s not Crown Approved. As a writer myself, I loved the creative storyteller aspect of this book! It inspired me more than ever that it’s not good to “squish down” things—that storytellers must tell the truth and tell it like the story is supposed to be told, not how “rules” or the crown says. That’s so important, and I love when novels have compelling threads of truth like that woven through them, like The Story Peddler does.

4. The world was neat. I loved the idea of story weavers and… other such things, which I won’t give away. Who wouldn’t want to be able to make things appear from their told-aloud stories? I also thought the different names for animals were fun—fluffhoppers, painted-wings, grazers, etc.—which made it kind of fantasy-world-ish, but you could still tell what they were. 😀 Everything was well-written and vivid.

5. There were some great characters, too! Gentleman-pirate Mor (who has the snark aspect covered), tall and grim silver-haired Warmil (who surprised me by really working his way into my heart), fiercely loyal former-guardswoman Aeron, quietly dissenting Princess Braith with a heart of gold and somehow holding out beneath her father’s reign… I won’t go over all of the characters, due to time, but these are some of the literally revolutionary people Tanwen encounters, and I love them. 🙂

6. The banter was fantastic. There was a certain scene with romantic Tanwen and grouchy Warmil which had me positively in stitches. XD There were some great character dynamics and dialog which made things quite fun. And I do love a bit of fun. ^_^ Tanwen’s narration was often humorous too, and if a book’s going to be told in first-person, I’m all for that. 😀

7. It’s not too fast-paced at first, but on the whole, it was very exciting. There’s always some thread of tension or mystery or danger going on. It took me a little while to get into it; not sure why, because it was well-written and intriguing from the start. Part of it may have been the fact that I was busy and had to snatch reading time in bits and pieces. But after the first third, when Tanwen really got on her way on the adventure, it really picked up for me and pulled me in until the end. I couldn’t stop flipping those pages!

8. Also, the plot about “The One in the Dark” was so awesome and exciting! I guessed some things about it (yay!) but others were unexpected, and overall it was neat. 😀 Stakes got high, and the overall storyline was unique—I couldn’t usually guess where it was going! Tanwen definitely didn’t expect where things were going; I enjoyed following along with her from one surprising turn to the next.

9. As far as things I didn’t like as much… It’s totally unimportant, but all the characters said each other’s names all. the. time. which was kind of annoying. I don’t usually notice things like that, and I’m not real picky, but it got on my nerves. Just a little. XD There’s also a love-triangle-ish thing, which I’m not really a fan of in general, so I didn’t care for that. BUT I must say that there’s a twist or two which at least makes it different. XD And it wasn’t the main focus of the story, which was nice. There were some… er… interesting developments, so we’ll see where that goes in the sequels. 😛

10. Overall, The Story Peddler is a lovely adventuresome tale, full of heart. ^_^ I recommend it to anyone who loves a good fantasy yarn or has a spark of creativity in their soul. The book is a love-song to creativity and light and truth. Definitely check it out so that you can join me in anxiously awaiting The Story Raider, book 2! 🙂

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

10 Thoughts on Kate’s Dilemma by Sarah Holman (Kate’s Case Files, #3)

The third book in Sarah Holman’s “Kate’s Case Files” series is releasing June 1st!

It’s currently on sale as a pre-order (the price will go up after publication), so you can check that out. 🙂 (And scroll down to the bottom of the post for info on the first book being free on Kindle through May 20th!)

Meanwhile, I’m here to review the book. 😀

Title: Kate’s Dilemma

Author: Sarah Holman

  • Date read: May 6, 2018
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Mystery / Christian / FBI
  • Age: New Adult?
  • Year pub: 2018
  • Series: Kate’s Case Files, #3
  • Fave character: Patrick and Thomas
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I read an ARC of this book from the author (thank you!) and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

10 Thoughts on Kate’s Dilemma by Sarah Holman

1. I don’t read a lot of modern fiction, and definitely not usually FBI mysteries. But Sarah Holman’s Kate’s Case Files is a special series that has twined itself around my heart. These books are like my candy, or a fun TV show—I’m addicted and I love them. XD So I was really excited for this third installment, and it did not disappoint!

2. In Kate’s Dilemma, Kate is having trouble trying to fit in with the group, having second thoughts. We also get some fascinating hints/details/backstory about the various characters, which was very intriguing.

3. The team is headed to Charleston, North Carolina in this one. I haven’t been there, but the level of detail woven into the story makes me feel like I have now! It feels so well-researched and authentic and I was brought right into the setting. 🙂 So that was brilliant and I loved it.

4. It’s a fairly short novel and was a very quick read for me. I only meant to read the first chapter at first… and the next thing I knew, I’d been sucked into the story and only emerged when I was through. 🙂

5. I enjoyed following the trails of mystery with the team—the compelling leads, character growth and interaction, and touch of danger and excitement by the end, which I’ve come to expect from the Kate books.

6. Kate and Brian worked together for most of the story. I enjoyed getting to find out more about him—the fun, easygoing member. 😀 He and Kate make a good team. I felt like I knew the least about him, so getting to know Brian better was fantastic! (And I love when he throws paper airplanes at his boss. :P)

7. Kate and Patrick weren’t working together very much in this one (though I liked the scenes where they were), which is giving them an opportunity to figure stuff out on their own. But I did love Patrick’s parts as he infiltrates a college campus. Patrick’s always great!

8. I still like their somewhat gruff boss, Thomas, and his snarky lines—I’m looking forward to more of him in the future. I bet his part of the story would have been exciting, but probably scary too, so it’s just as well it was mostly off-screen, I suppose. XD

9. Each character has a part to play and I feel like I get to know them all a little more with each tale—Kate, Patrick, Brian, Kim, Logan, and Thomas. I’m very fond of this FBI team! ^_^

10. I can’t wait to continue the series! I’ve enjoyed all three books very much. 🙂 I recommend this series if you like clean modern stories about crime-solving, loveable characters, and a faith element. You can start with book one (Kate’s Innocence), but I imagine starting with this third book would work, too. Another lovely book! *thumbs-up*

Favorite Quotes

(What can I say; this book is very quotable. XD)

“Hasn’t anyone told you? The FBI always gets their man…person…criminal… whatever.”

***

“Patrick, you’re now enrolled at the University of Charleston. You’re also twenty again according to your file. I envy you.”

***

“You see how damaged you are, but that is never how Christ views you, Kathrine. He sees you as you can be and what you will be.”

***

Thomas grunted. “Yeah, I picked them all because the files said they would be the best for this team. I didn’t realize that I was getting a whole batch of religious people. What are the odds? Actually, I’ll tell you: one in a billion.”

***

“Besides, I’ll win a lot of sympathetic souls to my side while sporting this bruise. Half the girls on campus will fawn over me, and the guys will see it as a mark of courage.”

Kim rolled her eyes. “For the record, I think it is a mark of your recklessness and failure to listen to advice.”

Patrick smiled. “Duly noted.”

***

“And please try to avoid getting hit again. Purple is not a good color for you.”

***

“One, I don’t like eggs. Two, I only like sausage in moderation. Three, this means that I hate breakfast.”

“There are other breakfast foods, oatmeal being my favorite, fruit, nuts…”

“Whoa, you are making it sound way too healthy.”

***

“I know that it seems easier to hide from the pain—to put on a mask so that all people see is what you want them to see, but then you’re never truly known. You can neither be hated or loved, helped or hurt because no one can touch you. It’s a very lonely place.”

***

“Are you always this grumpy after being knocked out?”

~ ~ ~

Do you like mysteries? Have you checked out this series yet? Now is a great time, since the first book, Kate’s Innocence, is free on Kindle through May 20th! 🙂

Read my reviews for the first two books in the series:

katesinnocence

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel snarky (Sage by Jamie Foley: Blog Tour + Giveaway + Review!)

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Jamie Foley’s latest book, Sage! I’m SO excited! 😀

Read on for my review, and don’t forget to scroll to the end to check out the giveaway and other tour stops! ^_^

Title: Sage
Author: Jamie Foley

  • Date read: March 19, 2018
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Modern-ish/Post-Apocalyptic-in-another-world? / Christian
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2018
  • Pages: 386 (ebook)
  • Series: The Sentinel Trilogy, #3
  • Fave character: JET. And a certain character I cannot name because SPOILERS. But he’s awesome. 😀
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I was given a free e-copy of this book by the author (thank you!) and these opinions are entirely my own.

It’s really hard to review the final book in a trilogy without spoilers, as I’ve mentioned before; try “almost impossible” with this one! O_O My word. But I’ll do my best. It just may be slightly vague…

THIS BOOK WAS SO GOOD THOUGH. I’m always nervous coming into the final book in a series, because WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN TO MY PRECIOUS FRIENDS? It’s the finale, and stakes are high, and is it going to live up to the previous books, and what will the ending be like? And the first two books were ALREADY so intense. O_O But Sage absolutely lived up to and surpassed all the expectations. There were HUGE things going down, and some major twists (like… meep!), but it was all gloriously epic and exciting, and still just FUN on the side, and I love the characters and IT WAS GREAT.

I’M JUST VERY HAPPY WITH THIS SERIES. It can get a little intense or weird sometimes, and occasionally all the fantasy elements can confuse me (with elements and archangels and aaall the fascinating complexity) but I think I have it down now. This is such a fun, exciting, well-written fantasy-post-apocalypse-in-another-world kind of series, and the characters are some of my FAVORITES, and I just love these boooooks! *flails around*

I can’t really say anything about the plot of this third book, especially for anyone who hasn’t read Arbiter yet. (So many huge spoilers in that, not to mention this one…) I’ll just say that it’s just as exciting and intense as the first two books, but with sweet moments and TWISTS, and character banter thrown in—because what’s the end of the world without some snark?

Speaking of snark, there is still MUCH of that, and the dialog makes me grin, and the character interactions are priceless—sheer gold, I tell you. ❤ Not to mention this book having seriously EVERYTHING, including rebellions and escapes and fights in arenas and shapeshifters and a modern-but-fantasy-but-futuristic feel, and all the awesome Aether abilities/powers (so fascinating), and all of it!

I JUST LOVE THESE CHARACTERS SO MUCH, OKAY. Again, I really can’t talk about what’s going on with them, but I love Darien, and Jet (!!), and Sorvashti, and Tera, and a certain snarky fox (so fun!), and Kohesh cracks me up (oh my goodness! XD), and there’s a CERTAIN OTHER CHARACTER I LOVE who I can’t talk about because of so many spoilers, my goodness. But if you’ve read Arbiter you mayyy have a slight idea about who he is, and I love him! 😀 His character arc is the. best. ^_^ (But Jet though. Jet is my absolute FAVE.)

I love how Darien, Jet, Sorvashti, Tera, and said-unnameable character (and Aleah, I suppose), are all coming so far and learning/growing so MUCH and just—let me hug them! ❤ And I still love Darien and Jet’s buddy-not-buddy, apprentice/mentor sort of roles, and how far they’ve come, but how they’re still the same despite it all, in their own way. THEY MAKE MY HEART HAPPY.

Speaking of characters and my heart being happy, there’s an absolutely ADORABLE romance or two or three, which, again, I cannot discuss. SO MANY SPOILERS. Gaah. But I love-love-love these couples. 😀 There is so much adorableness, it just knocks me over. I CAN’T.

There are a couple things I wasn’t sure if I’d be okay with, but… you know… I think I’m good with it? I ended up quite satisfied on pretty much every count. 😀 (I think I randomly wanted more of Thracian and he was hardly in it, but that’s okay I guess. And more of Jet’s POV, but I always do, so I’ll stop now. XD) And it’s kinda intense and might be better for older teens? (Really bad at age recommendations, here.) But honestly I have no actual complaints. I really enjoyed it!

Overall, it’s an EXCELLENT young adult fantasy series and is SO UNIQUE (like seriously, how unique can you get? I don’t even know how to classify its genres…) and I love it to bits. This author is so absurdly talented, and the characters and snark and fantasy-thriller-ness are gold. If you haven’t, I highly recommend checking out the first book, Sentinel!

(And if you’ve read Sage, please talk to me because I MUST DISCUSS SPOILERS BEFORE I BURST. Message me or leave a spoiler-tagged comment or something. XD)

Some Favorite Quotes (Do you know how hard it is to get non-spoiler quotes? VERY HARD. But these are a few…)

Step four: return to Altair and find any survivors. And try not to let Jet kill me.

***

“You’re not teaching her because you think the way she talks is cute.”

Jet didn’t respond. Tera glanced at him in the mirror’s reflection—he stood perfectly still.

“You can’t prove that.”

Tera laughed out loud. “So I was right!”

Jet’s shoulders slumped. “She’d kill me.”

“So we have an understanding, then.”

***

“Your moping is like nails on the blackboard of my soul.”

“You’re an awful little rodent, Felix Kael Tae,” Aleah snapped.

***

Jet breathed like a bull. “You have three seconds before I throw you out the back hatch.”

***

“Spicy, mild, or no spice?”

“All of the spice.” Sorvashti crossed her legs. “None of the poison.”

Jet leaned over the map. “Give her all my spice.”

***

“…just waltz away?”

“I was planning on walking purposefully.”

***

“I was so worried.”

“Naw, I’m fine. … Heard you died.”

“You look super broken up about it.”

***

How do you turn your stupid spear on?

About the Book

Ancient elementals awaken, fracturing a dying world to its core.

Teravyn Aetherswift returns to the land of the living, but everything seems unfamiliar… including her little brother. Zekk offers help, but can an alluring Lynx be trusted?

Sorvashti finally has everything she ever wanted, so the last thing she wants to do is run after traitors. But she won’t leave Jet’s side—unless the horrifying truth about his mother tears them apart.

Darien is sick of being used and lied to. But if he stands up for what’s right, he’ll pay the price with his life… or the lives of those he loves.

Purchase on Amazon or a signed paperback

Check out the rest of the series!

When a meteor storm knocks out the power grid, the supernaturally gifted become pawns in humanity’s struggle for survival.

The Sentinel Trilogy is an apocalyptic fantasy series that takes place on a unique world with ancient powers and elementals, but familiar human struggle.

Clean. Ages 12+

LINKS:

Trilogy Boxed Set: Amazon KindleSigned PaperbacksGoodreads

Sentinel (book 1): Amazon KindleSigned PaperbackGoodreads

Arbiter (book 2): Amazon KindleSigned PaperbackGoodreads

Vanguard (prequel novella, formerly released under the title Viper): Amazon KindleSigned PaperbackGoodreads

About the Author

Jamie Foley loves strategy games, home-grown berries, and Texas winters. She’s terrified of plot holes and red wasps.

Her husband is her manly cowboy astronaut muse. They live between Austin, TX and their family cattle ranch, where their hyperactive spawnling and wolfpack can run free.

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Giveaway Time!

Want to dive into a new world or in need of a good book? Enter to win a digital $10 Amazon gift card (3 winners) by signing up for Jamie’s newsletter via the form.

>>> Entry-Form <<<

Blog Tour Schedule

Saturday, March 10th

Monday, March 12th  

Tuesday, March 13th

Wednesday, March 14th

Thursday, March 15th

Friday, March 16th

Saturday, March 17th

Monday, March 19th

Tuesday, March 20th

Wednesday, March 21st

 Thursday, March 22nd

 Friday, March 23rd

 Saturday, March 24th


Have you checked out this series yet? Because I totally recommend it! (If you can’t tell. XD)

You can read my reviews for the first two books in the series (as well as the prequel novella, Viper/Vanguard) by clicking the covers below…

 

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll