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An Echo of the Fae by Jenelle Schmidt (Blog Tour + Review)

Hey everyone! I’m thrilled to be a part of the blog tour for this fabulous new novel by one of my favorite authors! Read on for my review!

Title: An Echo of the Fae

Author: Jenelle Leanne Schmidt

  • Date read: March 27, 2020
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Age: Anyone / Children’s to YA
  • Year pub: 2020
  • Pages: 262
  • Series: Stands alone
  • Notes: I was a copyeditor for this, but as an unbiased reader I genuinely loved this book and all opinions are completely my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsBarnes & NobleAmazonAuthor’s Website

An Echo of the Fae is a stunning new fantasy adventure, featuring selkie and fae mythology deliciously woven together, with a dash of Rapunzel!

I LOVED how this book was full of familiar folklore and fairytale goodness, but with its own twist on all of it. I’ve always felt that selkies should feature in more books, and I loved how that element showed up in this, in surprising ways. Fae stories are also some of my favorites, and the way that features in the book was also delightful — with a dash of the Summer and Winter Courts and all of it! And then we have just a hint of a Rapunzel thread near the middle, which I loved. This mingling of familiar things with new twists made me SO happy!

The characters. THE CHARACTERS! We have a splendid cast in this adventure, all of them so vividly real! I love how nobility still shines through despite their struggles — and I love how they are all true to how they should be, like the array of fae characters are unpredictable and sometimes capricious or terrifying. Just. I can’t describe it but they were all exactly right! Echo is a fabulous heroine, this twelve-year-old girl who’s introverted but has such a steady courageous determination. Malilia the elf is sooo intriguing. Echo’s parents, Gareth and Runa, are fabulous and I adored how they were a big part of the story. And we meet so many others along the way, who I will let you meet yourself, but . . . Eirloch (one of my faves)! Princess Jana! Little Drayeth! The Winter King! (Whoa. He was one of THE most fascinating characters! :O I CAN’T!)

The setting was another favorite thing. I adore this world and I want to go live there! I felt like I walked right through the pages, and I simply loved the gorgeous descriptions — you can FEEL the sea and the mysterious woods and enchanted paths and towers and magical lanterns etc. And delightful fantasy elements, like fae and selkies and dragons and other really cool creatures and characters! The feeling and atmosphere of this book (almost a Celtic feel) and the different lands and the feel of different seasons throughout was just perfect!

The story itself felt like a solid adventurous quest, with a coziness alternating with peril that felt simply perfect for the book — and a smidge of fae court intrigue lurking at the edges. I LOVED the writing, which had this fairytale quality to it and pulled me right into the story. The book stands alone well — though I almost want a sequel simply because there were one or two threads I’d LOVE to follow more, and I want to go back to this world again for more fae and selkie goodness and Eirloch and the owl and the Winter King and all of it!

Overall, An Echo of the Fae captivated me and is definitely a new favorite! I loved being pulled into this enchanting world full of such a striking cast of delightful characters, fantastic beings, heroism, finding light and courage in the darkness, sisters and family and friendship, and dashes of folklore and fairytale that absolutely made my day. It’s a perfectly magnificent new adventure for readers of any age. Don’t miss it!


Some Favorite Quotes

“But I’m not a heroine,” Echo muttered. “I’m just… me.”

***

If the past few days had taught her anything, it was that she much preferred going on adventures when they were contained within the pages of a book.


Tour Schedule

June 21

When the Story Chooses the Author @James Quinlan Meservy

Character Interview with Echo and Jana @Live.Love.Read

June 22

Author interview @Dreams and Dragons

Myths and Folklore that Inspired An Echo of the Fae @Author E.E. Rawls

June 23

How I’ve Been Influenced by Fairy Tales @DJ Edwardson

Review and Author Interview @Smudged Thoughts

June 24

Author Interview @An Independent Will

Book Spotlight @Kyle Robert Shultz

Book Review @Live.Love.Read

Building the Fae Realm @JL Mbewe

June 25

A Peek Into My Writing Process @Lands Uncharted

Book Review/Spotlight @Cathrin Bonham

June 26

Friday 5s @Light and Shadows

Book Spotlight @Caroline Puerto

June 27

Character Interview with Jana @AMReynwood

Book Spotlight @NJWalker

Author Interview @Adventure Awaits

June 28

The Building of Ennis Rosliath @Live.Love.Read

Does the Author Matter? @An Independent Will

June 29

Book Review @ThePageDreamer

Interview with Jana @Dreams and Dragons

Book Review @Christine Smith Author

June 30

Character Interview with the Winter King @Beka Gremikova

Author Interview @Live.Love.Read.


More by the author . . .

5ERcover   Yoriens Hand - Cover Reveal Medium

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Well? Does it intrigue you? 😀 Thanks for reading! 🙂

Beast of the Night by E.E. Rawls (Blog Tour + Review)

Hey everyone! I’m so excited to be spotlighting this fairy tale retelling I had the joy of beta-reading — and I’m sharing my mini review for it!

Read on for all the info! 🙂

Also, drop by the author’s blog post that kicked off the tour, to check out an excerpt of the book and the other stops/tour schedule!

About the Book

A one-armed, practical girl. A rude lord hiding a curse. A dark secret with the town’s fate hanging in the balance.

A Beauty and the Beast retelling with an Austrian twist and a new breed of curse.

When Rosen moves to Freudendorf—a secluded town in the Alps—with her dad, he vanishes on her and the debt collectors come to call: taking her into slave labor. As if that wasn’t bad enough, just when all her hopes and dreams for a normal life are ruined, a frail zombie-like butler purchases her: taking her to serve Lord Varick, who currently resides in the forbidden castle near the salt mines, where the Beast of the Night is said to roam.

Varick is handsome, with an attitude that’s the exact opposite. The servants aren’t human, and the castle itself is an ugly wreck. But if Rosen cannot solve the dark secret spreading beneath Freudendorf, and the curse holding Varick’s cold heart, then both they and the town will fall prey to a waiting evil—and worse, even lose their memory of it.

Book Purchase Links

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

Author Bio

E.E. Rawls is the product of a traveling family, who even lived in Italy for 6 years. She loves exploring the unknown, whether it be in a forest, inside a forgotten castle, or within the pages of a book.

She runs on coffee, cuddly cats and the beauty of nature to keep the story wheels of her mind running, as she writes tales that will both entertain and inspire others, giving them worlds they can explore and become lost within.

WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM


Title: Beast of the Night

Author: E.E. Rawls

  • Date read: March 28, 2020
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Fairy Tale Retelling
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2020
  • Pages: 138 (ebook)
  • Source: the author
  • Notes: I beta-read this novella and then received a free e-ARC as part of the blog tour. All opinions are my own.

Beauty and the Beast being one of my favorite fairy tales, I quite enjoyed this unique retelling!

I adored the setting and feeling of this one! It was delightfully autumnal and atmospheric and a smidge gothic/spooky but not in a bad way. The Austrian/Alps (but fantasy!) feeling was delicious, as was the old castle.

I loved the characters! Rosenrot and Lord Varick were wonderful, and the side characters were also intriguing and grew on me throughout the story.

Rosen is a fabulous heroine — I loved her spunk and her lavender hair and how she doesn’t let having only one hand get in the way of her go-get-’em lookout on life.

Lord Varick is the best — so dramatic and sniffy and self-centered at times, but with a great character arc. I loved how he grew in the story — and the twists on the curse and him himself. He was such a different “Beast” character, but I loved that!

I also like that, being a novella, it was a very quick read. Perfect for devouring all at once, as you’ll want to in order to discover the secrets behind the mysteries in this! So many plot twists! :O

I loved the humorous bits and banter (which sometimes made me laugh) and budding romance (awk!). And, again, Varick’s drama was hilarious. XD

It’s a delightful, fun, quirky, quick read. If a twist on Beauty and the Beast and a deliciously autumnal Austrian fairy tale story sounds up your alley, definitely give this one a try!


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Any Beauty and the Beast fans out there? Thanks for reading! 🙂

The Story Hunter by Lindsay A. Franklin (Book Review)

(Whoops, had a glitch there when I tried to post this at first. Hopefully this works better!)

Hey! I have a review to share today! (I’m not sure how often I’ll be able to post, due to not having internet at home right now, but I’m excited to be able to get a post up for this series finale which I just finished last night!)

Title: The Story Hunter

Author: Lindsay A. Franklin

  • Date read: June 4, 2020
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Age: older YA
  • Year pub: 2020
  • Pages: 368
  • Series: The Weaver Trilogy, #3 (Book 1: The Story Peddler — my review. Book 2: The Story Raider — my review.)
  • Fave character: Kharn
  • Source: Amazon
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

What a majestic conclusion to this fantasy trilogy! I’m not sure quite what I expected, but I quite enjoyed THE STORY HUNTER, for the most part!

It was somehow cozy and familiar to be back in this world for the finale of this series, even with my near-panicked uncertainty of AAHH WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN? (You know, like coming into watching Endgame for the first time. XD) I was so curious to find out what was going to happen to these characters — after waiting all this time for the last book to release — and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would!

Which . . . sounds wrong, when I put it that way. But I was bracing myself for a lot more darkness and sadness, on par with the second book, and was pleasantly surprised with how things wrapped up. Don’t get me wrong — this book is definitely somewhat dark and grim, in some ways more than book two (although book two had all the middle-book-darkness-without-any-victory-to-offset-it feel which is, I suppose, why I enjoyed this one more). The stakes also ramped up a bit for the finale, and there were one or two darker parts that weren’t my favorite. But there was also much hope and light sprinkled in, a lot of triumph and unexpected twists, and even a proper eucatastrophe moment, to use Tolkien’s word. So I guess I would say it balanced itself out.

There’s heartache and loss but also love and light, and it wrapped up everything in a mostly-satisfying way and made me pretty happy. ^_^ It did give me all the feels (laughing at banter, shedding a tear or two but in a good way at the beautiful legacies left behind) but it didn’t tear my heart out like I was afraid it would, and overall, by the end, it left me . . . uplifted. Which is something that’s good to feel at the end of a series. 🙂

I quite enjoy the unique world and it just felt cozy to be back in it, like I said. It’s colorful and unique, even shrouded in the darkness that’s fallen across it as of book two. All the caverns and strands were particularly cool! And I loved following the large cast of characters — all well juggled, although I wanted more of Kharn but I suppose under the circumstances that wouldn’t have worked out so well. XD

I’m not mentioning everyone by name because I don’t want to give anything away (awk, trying to write book three reviews without spoilers is hard!) but I will say I was glad to see how several of the characters’ arcs ended, and some of them make me smile. I also loved the beautiful tribute near the end to those lost along their journey, which made those sad parts a little more worth it, somehow.

There were one or two things and/or character actions that seemed to come totally out of the blue and left me kind of bewildered and going “wait, what?”, but I rolled with it and things turned out better than I expected in some cases, so I’m cool with it, mostly. XD (And to be fair, it could just be the fact that I read the previous book a year ago, and the first book two years ago, and I may have just missed certain connections or not remembered seeing things before — like Celyn, who I’m not complaining about AT ALL but had no memory of meeting before.) And, again, a couple of the darker parts I wasn’t fond of, but there you are.

Still, on the whole, I absolutely LOVED how it drew so many elements from the previous two books and wove them together, all the strands weaving into a beautiful, if sometimes scary, tapestry. Everything connected for the finale, in a swirling crescendo of color and characters — I absolutely loved how everything came together for the end! It made me so happy. The adventure definitely kept me on the edge of my seat, worried for everyone at every step, not able to put the book down and reading until midnight to finish.

Overall, I’m so glad I finally got to read the end of this saga, and while there were a few stumbles along the way (and I don’t really recommend the second and third books to younger or sensitive readers), it’s still been quite a journey — an often-fun one, with laughter and tears and a reminder of the good and the light in the world, even amidst the darkness.

Because the light wins and “winter will not last forever.” A magnificent, fitting end to the Weaver Trilogy. ^_^


More reviews!

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Have you read any in this series? Thanks for reading! 🙂

Winter Spell by Claire M. Banschbach: Review/Tour!

“But what if we fail? What if I can’t undo the magic?” Tonya whispered, her fear leaking out onto her face. “Then you try again. That’s all failing is. Something not done right the first time.” (Loved this quote SO MUCH I had to make calligraphy of it. ❤ )

It’s heeeere! This magnificent book released yesterday and I’m thrilled to be a part of the blog tour today and share 12 Things I Love About Winter Spell!

But first, tour and book info, including a giveaway! (Tour links are at the end of the post.)


About Winter Spell

A half-breed faery. A war-weary princess. A quest to free three kingdoms from the deadly winter spell.

Constantly doubted by her ocean faery kindred, Tonya Freyr-dottir only wants to untangle the dormant ice and water magic within her. Then a strange attack makes her unleash a fierce winter on the land and sea. And she has no idea how to stop it.

Princess Diane serves faithfully at her brother’s side, trying to restore their kingdom of Myrnius after the devastating Dark War. Now with brutal winter wreaking havoc, everything they have worked for might be lost to famine and destruction.

Desperate to help, Tonya travels to the far north to unlock her magic, aided by Diane, as well as two land faeries: Dorian, a reckless healer and August, a mischievous warrior. But the north brings fresh dangers, unearths old wounds, and offers more questions than answers.

With doom threatening human and faery alike, Tonya must find a way to trust her new friends and release her magic before all fall to the fury of winter’s spell.


Now available!


Preorder Info

Adorable art (!!), bookmark, and northern lights sticker (not pictured)

Pre-order goodies include a character art postcard of four characters from Winter Spell done by @h.s.j._williams, a series bookmark, and northern lights sticker! Submit receipt to campitorpress@gmail.com

Pre-order packets will also be available to those who buy the book in ebook or paperback up to 5/7 and submit receipt to campitorpress@gmail.com


Note: Winter Spell is book 3 in the Faeries of Myrnius series, but can be read as a standalone. However, series is best enjoyed in chronological order.


Tour Giveaway

Follow the Rafflecopter link HERE to enter a giveaway including Ebooks and swag pack!


Author Bio

Claire M. Banschbach is a native Texan and would make an excellent hobbit if she wasn’t so tall. She’s an overall dork, pizza addict, and fangirl. When not writing fantasy stories packed full of adventure and snark, she works as a pediatric Physical Therapist where she happily embraces the fact that she never actually has to grow up.

She writes New Adult/Adult fantasy as C.M. Banschbach.

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Title: Winter Spell

Author: Claire M. Banschbach

  • Date read: January 11, 2020
  • Rating: 5 stars — ALL the stars! 6 stars if I could!
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2020
  • Pages: 309 (ebook)
  • Series: The Faeries of Myrnius, #3 (but can stand alone)
  • Fave character: DORIAN! Also August. And all of them.
  • Source: The author (and also Amazon)

12 Things I Love About Winter Spell

1. Just imagine the most epic, fun, adventuresome wintry story, full of magic and faery awesomeness and FABULOUS characters. Then throw in a dash of a buddy story, an adorable romance, some humor and twists and feels (of course!). Then imagine that it’s super well-written and absolutely captivating and fun too. THAT is what this book is!

2. THIS BOOK, GUYS! IT’S SO GOOD, HALP. One of my favorites I’ve read this year — one of my favorites, period! I’ve read it three times and loved it more each time. (Disclaimer: I copyedited it, but my unbiased opinion simply as a reader is that I love it and I just ordered a paperback so I can read it againnn.) I had the most incredible time living in this book and this world with these characters! *hugs Winter Spell forever* I don’t even know how to explain how good it is in a review but let me give it a shot. *deep breath*

3. The characters are MY FAVORITE and one of the best things about this book. They’re all so broken but help each other and I just — ! *squishes them all in a huge hug* Tonya is a pretty epic main character, a faery warring with her ocean and ice natures. It’s mostly her journey and I love it! Princess Diane is the other point of view, who is also fabulous! (Her journaling and no-nonsense self!) They were both so relatable and also epic, in their own ways, and I loved their stories. I found a lot of me in them. Then we have August and Dorian! August is a fun-loving warrior faery related to CERTAIN PEOPLE from a previous Myrnius book, which was SO cool. 😀 August is one of my favorites! And every side character was well-written and unique and I loved so many of them! Edmund, though! And Ralf! And Lilja and spoiler people and just ALL OF THEM. They are all SO EPIC.

4. DORIAN. Dorian gets his own point in this list because he’s THE ABSOLUTE BEST AND I LOVE HIM SO MUCH. I CAN’T. The strong, quiet faery healer who’s actually unexpectedly stabby and doesn’t put up with August’s shenanigans. XD He’s just — I can’t describe how cool he is. 😀 MY FAVORITE. Dorian is just absolutely amazing. And so is August! They are both precious and epic and fabulous, especially when they are antagonizing each other but having to work together. THE BEST.

5. Relationships. Okay, but for real, I love how this book has nearly every awesome relationship that I love reading about! A buddy story (you know those are my favorite!), but also other characters with an ADORABLE romance (I ship them so hard!). Two of my favorites right there, but ALSO siblings, besties, families, found-family, platonic relationships . . . and all written in a fresh, relatable way. I love all of iiiit! I remember thinking while I read that it was all of my favorite things/relationships and that they worked together SO WELL and made it so balanced and layered!

6. The banter and the humor just make my day. You’ve got to have snarky dialog on a quest adventure, especially with a buddy story on the side. 😉 I want to quote all of it! These characters! *hugs them all again*

Princess Diane and her brother, King Edmund, are so fun. XD

7. The winter and the north, though! Guys! It just felt so deliciously cold and atmospheric. I absolutely loved all the details, especially in the North in the third part of the book or so, with the caribou and the pines and polar bear (!), and even more ice and snow, and the fantasy-world version of the Northern Lights! *screaming* I. LOVED. IT. SO. MUCH. It was just so cool! (No pun intended. Okay. Pun totally intended but no less true. XD)

8. Speaking of the north, can we talk about the worldbuilding/cultures and how detailed and awesome they were? Aahh! I loved being back in Myrnius, and the nods to the previous books made me happy (though you can read this one even if you haven’t read Adela’s Curse or The Wolf Prince). I LOVED seeing the different faery cultures, especially. The ice faeries and ocean faeries and plains faeries. All the details that were such a part of the story and totally pulled me into the world. SO DELICIOUS. The faery magic was also SO COOL. I loved how it actually served a purpose and MADE SENSE. So, so good. Also! I need to go live in Csorna Hold or Konungburg or even Chelm. RIGHT NOW. Like. Take me theeeere. (And let me eat some of the delicious food that kept making me hungry while I read the book. XD)

9. TWISTS, Y’ALL. I can’t share them, clearly, because spoilers. But aaahh, there were delightful plot twists, both vaguely expected and totally WHOA WHAT that kept me on the edge of my seat. It’s a wild ride and a thrilling adventure!

10. MY FEEEELSSS. Yes, this gets a whole point too. XD Again, spoilers, so I won’t go into it, but I have SO MANY FEELINGS about my precious character friends and their stories. *muffled screaming* I got so emotional and worried and aaahh! I love them so much and got so invested! And I love that while it’s a fun story, it also showed me things about life and enriched me just by following along in these characters’ boots. The best books do that. ❤

11. The writing is also — gaahh, I love it! It’s just right for the story. Also, Tonya’s ocean-based descriptions of everything when we’re in her POV is absolutely BRILLIANT. I love it so much. I also love how the world and its history and the characters’ backstories all have this DEPTH that made me feel like we were just barely scratching the surface of the ice and that there’s so much more lurking just out of view.

12. In conclusion: I loved everything about this booook! It is entirely made of fabulousness. There’s not a single thing I disliked. I ADORE IT. JUST READ WINTER SPELL RIGHT NOW. You need Dorian and Tonya and Diane and August and this fun, wintry, faery, magical epicness in your life! YOU JUST DO.


You may also enjoy . . . (by this author or wintry books)

pc PoDcover


Tour Schedule

Monday 4/20:

Tuesday 4/21:

Wednesday 4/22:

Thursday 4/23 – RELEASE DAY!

Friday 4/24


And there we are! Doesn’t it sound like such a fun book? Let me know in the comments if it piques your interest and/or if you like wintry books! Thanks for reading! 🙂

Giveaway+Review+Tour: The New Emperor’s Concerto by Hazel B. West!

I’m so excited to join in on the tour for The New Emperor’s Concerto!

Today I’ve got a book review, all the tour/book info, and my own personal giveaway as well as the tour-wide giveaway, so read on for all the juicy details and why you need this book in your life. XD

It’s one of my top favorite books I’ve read so far this year! ❤


Tour Details

The blog tour runs 4/20-4/24 and you can follow the official tour links here!


Instagram Live Chat!

Hazel B. West and Claire M. Banschbach will be doing an Instagram Live chat on Thursday, April 23 on Claire’s Instagram @cmbanschbach — be sure to drop by!


Instagram Photo Challenge

There is also an Instagram photo challenge — anyone who participates will be entered in a giveaway for a signed copy of the book, or a swag pack!


Tour-wide Giveaway

Hazel is hosting an awesome giveaway across the tour!

Be sure to drop by the Rafflecopter link HERE and enter to win a signed copy + swag, or an ebook + swag!


My Personal Giveaway! (On Instagram)

Drop by my Instagram and enter to win this paperback! (Tea and biscuit not included, sorry. XD)

I’m also running a giveaway of my own!

I ended up with an extra paperback copy of The New Emperor’s Concerto, and I thought it would be fun to give one away!

Drop by the post on my Instagram and enter there!

(Runs 4/22-4/29, US only, winner announced on my stories afterward.)

If you are NOT on Instagram but would still like to enter, just drop a comment below here on my blog and let me know, and I’ll enter you!


Free Prequel Short Story

Lastly, The Butler’s Story, a fun prequel short story, is FREE on Kindle during the tour!

Find it here!

It’s about Sinclair (MY FAVORITE BUTLER) and a young Lysander, years before The New Emperor’s Concerto.


About the Book

The year is 2228 and the world is on the cusp of World War Four. London is rife with anarchists and secret plots. It looks like dark days are coming for the British Empire. Darker than any that have been seen for decades.

But luckily England has some help.

Sir Lysander is the King’s Righteous Man-and all that entails. He’s the king’s right hand, and a red one at that, the man who stands in the shadows and does what needs to be done for the protection of his country.

Eidolon is a phantom, the anarchist group Apophis’s top retrieval expert. They need something, he gets it, no matter the consequence. Even though he’d secretly prefer to be in his flat with his cat and a good book.

They’ve been butting heads for a while but in times like these, loyalties are known to change and right now, any help is good help. They just didn’t count on being the only thing standing between England and the start of the next world war.


Book Links


About the Author

Hailing from Purgatory (aka, Florida) Hazel is an indie author, book wyrm, and coffee connoisseur. She typically enjoys writing books with an unconventional flair, probably with a bit of folklore and mythology, most definitely with a lot of siblings or brothers-in-arms. When she’s not writing, she manages an Etsy shop, drinks a lot of coffee, listens to music, haunts conventions, or just holes up like an eldritch horror and binges her favorite shows—for inspiration. If you meet this rare creature on the street, she has been known to respond to the offer of coffee and old bookstores. But it’s probably best you try to contact her online first.


Title: The New Emperor’s Concerto

Author: Hazel B. West

  • Date read: January 7, 2020
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Thriller / Mystery / Futuristic / Humor / Buddy-Cop-type-story / LONDON. IS THAT A GENRE?
  • Age: YA and up (minor language/action)
  • Year pub: 2020
  • Pages: 333 (paperback)
  • Fave character: Eidolon AND Lysander AND Sinclair!
  • Source: The author and also Amazon
  • Notes: Disclaimer: I was a beta-reader for this book, so that means I got a free copy, but I legitimately loved this book and went on to buy my own copy as well. All opinions are entirely my own.

10 Awesome Things About

The New Emperor’s Concerto

1. WHAT DID I JUST READ. I have no idea, but it was absolutely smashing and I adore it, and I’m going to go have a book hangover now, thanks. My absolute FAVORITE thing about this book is the characters and their banter/snark/buddy relationships. I CAN’T. I love them all so much! Shenanigans and unlikely friendships and brothers-in-arms. It’s HILARIOUS and awesome and so much fun! And their snark gives me life. XD

2. MY NEW FAVORITE BUDDY STORY. ❤ Buddy stories where two (or more) characters who don’t get along AT ALL have to work together and become brothers-in-arms are the best! LYSANDER AND EIDOLON/FLYNN AND ALSO SINCLAIR. (Everyone needs a Sinclair!)

3. IT’S SO BRITISH. Honestly. It’s like the most British thing I’ve ever read. It celebrates Britishness and tea and just all of it. And it’s set in futuristic London a couple hundred years from now, which I adored! “Futuristic London” should be a genre. It’s delightful because it’s a perfect mix of modern London with other feels — old-fashioned-ness tossed in, and bits of technology that are just enough ahead of modern times to be cool and spy-gear-like but without being so advanced as to feel like it crossed into sci-fi. It just all felt so natural and I loved it!

4. HUMOR AND SNARK GALORE. Humor is important to me. I love books that make me laugh, and are fun, and I especially love humorous, quotable banter. The dialog in this book is on point and I kept wanting to quote it. XD These snarky characters are just the best! Not to mention the footnotes from one of the characters. The book itself also doesn’t take itself too seriously, so there will be random fun cliches or make fun of those, and it’s just . . . great. XD

5. EXCITEMENT, THRILLING ACTION, ETC. Aside from simply being a fun romp, it’s also an awesome action-adventure story, with the characters trying to stop World War Four from happening. If it was a movie it would be on par with some of the greats. It can get a bit intense at times and kept me on the edge of my seat and there were a few feels thrown in along the way. The plot kept twisting and it was just delightful! Such an exciting book. (Now I wish it WAS a movie… 😀 Also, if it was, it’d be rated a low PG-13 for minor language/action so just FYI.)

6. LYSANDER. The King’s Righteous Man, Sir Lysander’s the “good guy” who’s also a little scary and not afraid to do what has to be done. Lysander is so epic, beyond all epicness! Definitely a new favorite character. And he has no patience for putting up with the likes of Eidolon, and it’s brilliant. XD

7. EIDOLON. Eidolon, the Phantom, might be my favorite, but really they all are. He’s one of the “bad guys” and is a brilliant thief but really he just wants to read and drink tea and hang out with his cat and I love it. XD His snark and his converse and his Britishness and just I CAN’T! But what’s most fun is throwing both of them together and watching the sparks fly. XD

8. EVERYONE NEEDS A SINCLAIR. Then we have Sinclair, who is Lysander’s butler but not terribly older than him, and they’re almost like brothers-in-arms aside from the whole proper-British master/butler thing. Just imagine a younger Jeeves who can fight and you have Sinclair, who’s my new favorite butler. He’s the single most competent person ever, he’ll always have tea and biscuits ready under the slightest notice in the most insane circumstances, he is about as skilled at fighting as even Lysander, is never flustered, is the loyalest ever, can casually stab villains with a knitting-needle when you least expect it, and has the solution to everything. I need a Sinclair. Everyone needs a Sinclair! (I will not stop saying this. XD)

9. REFERENCES. As if all of the above isn’t enough awesomeness, there are also delightful references peppered throughout — from Pratchett to Doctor Who to Lord of the Rings to Star Wars to The Princess Bride. It made me so happy and is tons of fun, especially all the Pratchett-ness. XD

10. CONCLUSION: It’s just an absolute rollicking good time and I had a blast reading it. Some of the most sheer fun I’ve had reading a book in a long time. I have a sudden need for more futuristic-London stories. And more hilarious adventure stories in general. And more of these characters, let’s be honest. In conclusion, that was an ABSURD amount of fun and was absolutely hilarious, exciting, and SO BRITISH. You need it in your life!


Excerpt

Lysander came to slowly, groggily. His training kept him from making a move, from tipping off his captor that he was conscious. Simply continuing to put on the façade of unconsciousness as he tried his best to make sense of his surroundings in his current state.

The first thing he noticed was the rustle of paper as if someone were turning the pages of a book and identified the familiar scent of English breakfast tea. The clink of china confirmed that fact. Was the knave really sitting there reading and drinking tea while he was lying there captive?

He tried to ease his eyes open, staring out through his lashes when he realized something else. Something moving against his side. He froze, his breathing hitching in surprise before the thing seemed to simply leap onto his chest, digging something sharp into him. Lysander tensed, almost not wanting to look.

Unless you want to keep pretending, I know you’re awake, so you may as well get up and have a cup of tea. I’m sure it will help your head,” a familiar voice said.

Lysander opened his eyes and found himself staring face to face with his attacker: A black cat with green eyes, staring at him reproachfully, flipping its tail, claws digging through Lysander’s clothing and into his chest. He turned his head, confused, to see Eidolon. The other man was sitting comfortably in a chair to the right of the sofa Lysander was lying on, a pair of reading glasses perched on his nose, a cup of tea in one hand and a book in the other, balanced across his knee to hold his place.

What is this?” was all Lysander could ask, still muzzy from the drug.

My flat, which you broke into, in case you don’t remember,” came the rather defensive reply.

Lysander huffed indignantly, reaching up to feel the side of his neck, which smarted from the dart. “You drugged me.”

You should have knocked like a civilized person,” Eidolon replied. “It’s quite rude to just go breaking into people’s residences willy-nilly, King’s Righteous Man or not.”


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And there we are. Make sure you enter the giveaways and let me know if the book sounds interesting! Do you like buddy stories? British books? Humor? 😀 Do you have a favorite book that fits one or more of those categories? Thanks for reading! 🙂

My Diana Wynne Jones Journey (Part 2)

My Diana Wynne Jones collection so far! (Not counting a few extra copies. ;))

Way back in 2016, I posted “My Diana Wynne Jones Journey (So Far)” during a previous March Magics, and I had a ton of fun listing each book by DWJ which I’d read and some thoughts about them. (It also amuses me how some of my thoughts/favorites have changed since then. XD)

I’d say a Part 2 of such a post is long overdue (I have sixteen books to talk about!), so here we are!

Here are the DWJ books I’ve read since that post. Those first few years definitely had most of my favorites, but I’ve read some more gems since. ^_^

(Also, last time, I mentioned rereads as well, but I’ve done a fair amount of rereading DWJ these last couple of years and I’m mostly only listing the ones that are new reads this time.)

All titles link to Goodreads, in case you want to read more about them.

2016 (continued)

The Merlin Conspiracy

May 16, 2016

My original review consisted of this: “YES TO THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!! ❤ I need an elephant. AN ELEPHANT. Also Romanov. Yesssss. ACK DIANA WYNNE JONES BOOKS ARE LIFE I TELL YOU. (I may coherent a review someday.) ROMANOV.” So I must have liked it quite a lot, even if it’s a bit hazy in my memory due to how long it’s been since I read it. XD Definitely due for a reread! But it’s about Nick, who’s in Deep Secret, so that was fun. (Did you know he was slightly based on a teenaged Neil Gaiman? 😀 His not-coherent-until-breakfast-and-coffee parts, at least. XD) Also, I was reading it when I had a flu, which was appropriate, since one of the characters did too. XD

The Ogre Downstairs

August 6, 2016

This one was different but interesting, and a little more like a normal modern fantasy than I was used to reading by her. Many shenanigans and unreliable narration. XD But my favorite part was when two of the characters accidentally switched appearances and stuff ensued. XD A shorter read and kind of strange but fun!

Eight Days of Luke

December 28, 2016

Who likes Norse Myths? This fun little book by Diana Wynne Jones features some of that in some most unexpected ways! She was writing about Loki (and Thor etc.) in modern times back in 1975, before the Marvel movies were making this cool more recently. XD It’s been awhile since I read this one and I need to read it again, but I remember it being unique and really enjoying it. 😀 I liked David, and Loki is very much of a trickster! The mythology elements and characters are woven in so well, in surprising ways (DWJ is excellent at this), and there is much fire. XD Luke was just so much fun. XD

2017

Wild Robert

March 1, 2017

I wrote a review for this one awhile back but it was so much fun! It reminded me partially of The Boggart, and a little bit of Howl for some reason, and it was surprisingly short and I didn’t want it to end — it just stopped and I wanted more! Ack! But it was very cool and had so many shenanigans I loved the twists so much!

Aunt Maria

March 1, 2017

I reviewed this too, and it was really different. It built up and had some cool twists, and some of it was creepy, but it also had fun parts. And so many magical happenings and interesting characters! It’s told in first-person by Mig and it was sooo intriguing to read it as a journal of sorts. It also has one of my favorite quotes about happy endings. I love it so much and I had to make a quote graphic for it awhile back, which I’ve shared before but I have an excuse to share again. 😀

Hexwood

April 6, 2017

Another top-favorite one! And definitely requires more than one read-through. XD I re-read it for March Magics last year and it was even better the second time. It’s just a mind-blowing book, with soooo many different genres and complex twists all thrown together. I love it so much! And Mordion is my absolute favorite! Some of it’s a bit darker, and it’s terribly confusing at times until you piece together what’s happening (I kept a diagram of who was who while I read it!) but it’s just so unique and delightful. 😀 It also has out of order timey-wimey stuff, modern/sci-fi/fantasy, Arthurian elements, robots, dragons… ALL THE THINGS. Check out my review if you like. ^_^

Another of my favorite quotes. ❤

Puss in Boots

May 14, 2017

This is a rather short kid’s-book about Puss in Boots, which was fairly straightforward but a fun read. 🙂 I now consider it the ultimate version of this fairy tale. XD DWJ did a good job of making it make more sense and of course her cat character was fabulous. It was fun and had a few illustrations too. Not 100% necessary to read this one but I did really enjoy it. 🙂

Dogsbody

June 3, 2017

This one was sooo unique and I loved it being from the POV of a dog! And in Ireland. The mystery was really interesting. Also, the Wild Hunt! And sentient planets. *grinning* Yep, it has all sorts of things. XD Again, a bittersweet ending meant it wasn’t my faaaavorite, but there was a lot to love. But seriously, dog point of view! XD So much fun!

2018

The Game

March 6, 2018

The whole idea and the mythosphere and all the story bits were brilliant. I wish it had been longer than a novella because it was so fascinating. LOVED this one. I want to re-read it. I particularly love all the myth bits and the characters and all of it.

Yes Dear

March 18, 2018

This was a picture book! Which… again, I don’t remember that well, but I do remember reading it, on a special library trip to a library I hadn’t been to before, specifically because I knew this book was there and it was my birthday month and I wanted to read it. XD I know it was fun (people, pay attention if a child tells you something magical is happening. :P) and I was glad I read it!

The Homeward Bounders

March 12, 2018

EXTREMELY vivid and I loved parts of it, particularly the worldhopping stuff and a certain cool character! Actually, more than one… Just… bittersweet ending, and creepy parts, and I’m stark terrified of anchors now. O_O But a great narrator and WORLD HOPPINGGGG! Kinda mixed on it but there were definitely great things about it. Fascinating and intense and really interesting!

A Sudden Wild Magic

March 31, 2018

I enjoyed this one but I consider it one of her darker, stranger books. XD This one was written for adults so there was more content in this and just more disturbing, so… I figure you can give this one a miss unless you’re being thorough like I am and trying to read all her books. XD Feels a bit more scifi than some. I did enjoy parts of it though! I mostly remember the part with the guy who loved his car. XD And I think there were centaurs!

Dalemark Quartet Re-Read

Okay, I said I wasn’t going to post about re-reads in here, but it’s worth noting my epic re-read of the entire Dalemark Quartet in the second half of 2018. I loved it so much, and there were even plot threads I’d forgotten, so some of it was like discovering it the first time! DWJ is the only author who can do that to me. XD (We won’t discuss how many times I forgot and rediscovered the villain of Conrad’s Fate. XD)

2019

A Tale of Time City

January 6, 2019

Who loves timey-wimey stories? Meeee! A few of Diana Wynne Jones’s books have time stuff in them, most notably this one. The idea of Time City, a city outside time, was really cool. I read this one early last year and had a blast! A bit of sci-fi and WWII era for those who like that. (Even if I don’t usually; but I didn’t mind. XD) If you like Doctor Who you might enjoy this! Elio is the best and I NEED A BUTTER PIE!!!

Earwig and the Witch

January 20, 2019

The illustrations were actually really distracting for me on this one and I feel like I would have liked it better if it hadn’t been illustrated? That’s… weird and probably just me. XD It mostly wasn’t a super favorite but I did enjoy some of it, of course. There’s always something fun about DWJ books! Also, the cat was great. XD

That’s all I got to last year of new ones. I did a lot of re-reading DWJ throughout the rest of 2019, though, and it was so fun!

2020 (so far)

Unexpected Magic

January 8, 2020

An anthology of sci-fi and fantasy short stories. I especially loved No One (genius robot plots. XD), Little Dot (wonderful story from a cat’s point of view), and Everard’s Ride (unique novella set in historical times with some interesting twists and not quite like anything I’d read! One of the author’s earlier works). Some stories were creepy or a bit too weird — short stories are always hit or miss for me, regardless of their author, but it was a quite interesting collection! So glad I finally read this one.

The Islands of Chaldea

March 12, 2020

The latest one, which I just read this month for the first time! It was so much fun! I loved Aileen and the sprawling cast of varied characters. I loved the different islands and getting to travel across them (rather like the British Isles but still with their own twists). I loved the creatures! What fun. And I love how it all wrapped up rather well —  I’m quite curious where Diana’s sister Ursula picked up the story’s threads, but they worked quite well! And the little romance threads were adorable, and the twists were delightful! (Also, how about that hot air balloon?? <3) So much fun! What a delightful final work from an incredible author.


And there’s my DWJ Journey, part 2! I’ve so loved getting to discover more of her works in the last few years.

I still have a small handful left to read. (The Time of the Ghost, Witch’s Business/Wilkin’s Tooth, Stopping for a Spell… I think that’s it? Not really counting Changover since it was before her main works and so hard to find. There might be a stray short story or few.) But I’ve read most of her books — 39? I think? — and a couple other short stories.

It’s been a beautiful journey (8 years so far, as March 14 this month, which marked the 8 year anniversary of the first time I read Howl’s Moving Castle!), and the best thing about it is that I get to wander back down this road and stop to enjoy the stories and places along the way all over again.

Hope you enjoyed and thanks for reading. ^_^