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The Shadow Lamp by Stephen R. Lawhead

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5starrating

Title: The Shadow Lamp (Bright Empires, #4)

Author: Stephen R. Lawhead

review

Firstly, THIS MAY BE MY FAVORITE BOOK OF THE SERIES YET. Hard to say, because they’re so good, but you know. Just so much is HAPPENING in this! (Speaking of which, it’s increasingly difficult to review these books as the series goes on, without spoilers, but I’m continuing to do my best.)

Questing, beloved characters who are so fun to read about, adventures on the high seas and across many times and places, and something about the end of the world… all make an excellent, gripping adventure. Like I said, possibly my favorite in the series yet!

THERE IS SO MUCH GOING ON AND IT’S SO EXCITING. Things have been happening through the entire series, of course, but I feel somehow that there was MORE, and there’s a lot coming to a head in this one. It’s positively thrilling. 😀

One of the things I was very excited about, was various of the characters finally meeting up! I simply love it when a story follows several people on their own journeys and then they start meeting and… it’s the best. I’m not going to say WHO is meeting up, because that may range into spoiler territory? BUT IT’S FABULOUS.

Speaking of characters, I’m so attached to these! Even the ones I started out disliking, or being wary of, I like now. (Villains aside. *cough*) Kit (so funny and British and… and… KIT-like!), Mina (I want to be her), Etzel (his food, though!), Giles (his new part in the story—HE IS THE BEST), Cass (new heroine, who’s growing on me), Haven (wow. So hard to figure out), Gianni (Italian hand-gestures when he talks!), and all the rest of the cast, old friends and new. One of my favorite things is seeing these characters interact. ❤ Especially in CERTAIN PAIRS. *cough*spoilers*cough* Anyways, they’re all great and I love them. 😀

The dialog in this book. Gold. GOLD. It’s clever, funny, or thoughtful in turn. And the writing as a whole is so enjoyable to read. (I still love the chapter and part titles too. “In Which Tomb Robbing Is Encouraged.” “Many Unhappy Returns.” “The End of Everything” [okay then]. “In Which Time Is of the Essence.”)

Two random fun moments I loved: When Kit eats so much he vows he’ll never eat again—until smelling Etzel’s honey-and-walnut rolls. 😄 And when Kit is teasing Cass about the Brothers Grimm living around the corner and she almost falls for it—priceless. 😀 There are so many fun incidents.

What the villains are up to, as well . . . So much going on and all quite fascinating. O_O Not saying anything about them but EEK. THINGS.

Also: nautical adventures and pirate attacks and THINGS. Whenever Captain Farrell is mentioned, I can’t help thinking of a certain song. (And, for the matter of that, I love names like Smollet and the Black Spot sneaking in and reminding me of other beloved high-seas adventures…) It just makes the book feel like an even richer tapestry, filled with all manner of references for the attentive eye to pick out. It was so rewarding to read closely.

England, Prague, Egypt, and other fascinating places are back in this one, the Zetetic society is working to figure things out, and the plot is slowly but surely making new twists and turns and taking new shapes. I really wonder how they’re going to get out of this one!

I want to go to Prague and eat pastries at Mina and Etzel’s Kaffeehaus, and to have tea with the Zetetic society, please and thank you.

This book used the word “eucatastrophe.” It made me very happy.

The final scene before the epilogue. SLOW MOTION. That scene is sticking with me. These books have a way of ending at these amazing, chill-inducing, vivid scenes. I love it.

THE EPILOGUE. OH MY GOODNESS. I CAN SAY NOTHING ELSE. BUT. THINGS. O_O

I’m finally reviewing this book because I’m about to start the final book and I’m so. excited. And have some slight trepidation. (How can this finish?? What’s going to happen??) But mostly excited. I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS. I can’t wait to see how the series wraps up!

Some favorite quotes

“Good afternoon,” she said, pausing to cast a critical eye over him. “Are you among the living at last?”

“Hi, yourself,” replied Kit.

“Ley leaping?”

“The man who showed me called it ‘crossing the Coyote Bridge.’”

“That’s a new one.”

“He’s the Lord High Alchemist and, just so you know, he takes his position very seriously. If we see him, a bow and curtsey are in order. And whatever you do, do not mention the Turks. Oh, and be sure to call him Herr Docktor. He insists.”

Cass gave Kit a look that said, Pinch me, I’m in a dream, and Kit returned it with a glance that said, You cannot make this stuff up.

“Then, by all means, tell me about the Zetetic Society—if that is allowed.”

“No need to be snarky, Mr. Clarke,” chided the woman.

“Forgive me for being—what was it?”

“Snarky.”

Gianni paced to the other side of the room, hitting his stride as he warmed to his thesis, his hands describing complex Italianate gestures in the air.

[Page 283 (hardcover edition), last six lines, end of chapter 27. I’m not typing it here for reasons of semi-spoilers, BUT SO CUTE.]

“Cassandra, my dear,” said Kit, mimicking the old-fashioned, elevated tone of his late great-grandfather, “we should all very well know by now that there is no such thing as coincidence.”

summary

From Goodreads:

4shadowlamp

The quest for answers—and ultimate survival—hinges on finding the cosmic link between the Skin Map, the Shadow Lamp, and the Spirit Well.

The search for the map of blue symbols began in a rainy alley in London but has since expanded through space and time and includes more seekers.

Kit, Mina, Gianni, Cass, Haven, and Giles have gathered in Mina’s 16th-century coffee house and are united in their determination to find a path back to the Spirit Well. Yet, with their shadow lamps destroyed and key pieces of the map still missing, the journey will be far more difficult than they imagine. And when one of their own disappears with Sir Henry’s cryptic Green Book, they no longer know who to trust.

At the same time, the Zetetic Society has uncovered a terrifying secret which, if proven, will rock the very foundations of Creation. The quest for answers is no longer limited to recovering an unknown treasure. The fate of the universe depends on unraveling the riddle of the Skin Map.

factoids

Date read: October 25, 2016

Rating: 5 stars

Genre: (Oh boy, let’s see if I can pigeonhole it at all…) Historical Fiction / Fantasy / Sci-fi / Christian / Time

Age Group: Young Adult. Adults will enjoy too!

Published: 2013

Pages: 378 (hardcover)

Series?: Book 4 in the Bright Empires series. (Book 1: The Skin Map — read my review here. Book 2: The Bone House — read my review here. Book 3: The Spirit Well — read my review here.) Followed by Book 5: The Fatal Tree.

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Favorite Character: ALL OF THEM. (Also known as Kit, Mina, Giles, etc.)

Source: Read from the library; have since acquired a copy because I needed to own this series.

Other Notes: Make sure to start the series properly with The Skin Map!

findbook

{Goodreads} • {Amazon} • {Barnes & Noble} • {Author’s Website}


Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

The Spirit Well by Stephen R. Lawhead

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5starrating

Title: The Spirit Well (Bright Empires, #3)

Author: Stephen R. Lawhead

review

The middle book in this 5-book series, The Spirit Well was another great addition to the Bright Empires novels. Enthralled, I sped through it in just a few days and can’t wait to continue the saga. Once again, I’m in a hurry to review this one, in effect capturing my thoughts at this point, so I can scurry along to read book 4, The Shadow Lamp… I must find out what happens next!

Again, the character list, “previously”, and ending essay were amusing and enlightening — I just love how even the extra beginning and ending matter are interesting. In short, I love basically every word of these books — literally.

The story itself is progressing in quite a fascinating manner, branching out in all directions (past/present/etc.). There were many new revelations! Some of a tragic or scary nature… and others verrrry intriguing… Let’s just say there’s a lot going on (and as the series progresses, it’s increasingly difficult to write spoiler-free reviews, but I shall do my best). The writing continues to be phenomenal as well and it’s just a pleasure to read. 🙂

There’s quite a collection of characters by now, but I never got them mixed up, and they were one and all delightful to read about. There were several point-of-view characters, both familiar and new; most notably Cassandra Clarke. I think I like Cass. *nod* Kit and Wilhelmina continue to be my favorite people to read about, on their separate journeys. I JUST LOVE THEM SO MUCH. ❤ I always love reading about them. It’s also always interesting to get glimpses at the lives of the generations of the Flinders-Petrie family: Arthur, Benedict, Charles, and Douglas, piecing things together. (And I’m also beginning to know what to think about them… hmm…) I still loathe Burleigh and Snipe, for the record. (But what’s a book without some well-placed loathing for the villains, I ask you.) Still on the fence about Lady Fayth… I love Etzel and Giles, and En-Ul and his River City Clan. We can add the Zetetic Society (mostly Brendan [Irish accent!], Rosemary [tea!], Tess [oh goodness, this lady! XD]) to our list of new acquaintances — still working on what I think about the society as a whole since I feel only recently acquainted with it, but methinks I like these people — as well as Brother Lazarus, who’s a definite new favorite. He’s an extremely quotable chap. 🙂 The people in these books are so well written!

Once again, we’re all over the map and time-periods, and I absolutely love it. Modern-day Arizona (that’s new! We hadn’t been to America yet…), the Stone Age, Egypt, China, 1600s Prague, 1800s Italy, 1970s Spain, 1930s Damascus, present-day London, 1800s England, medieval Oxford… (And of course Black Mixen Tump. I love saying that name — dunno why — even though it’s a scary place.) What a delightful tapestry of time and locality! Not to mention sprinklings of different languages (German, Spanish, Italian, French, Latin) for an extra immersive, authentic flavor. These books positively ooze rich multi-cultural feelings and it’s glorious.

I’m not sure exactly why I felt this way (maybe because we didn’t in book 2?) but it was neat to pop back into modern-day London again! That part, and the contrast with the older time periods, was great. Love love love! (Sale! Everything must go! 😄 Goodness, how awful. :P) And ah, good old Grafton Street, bringing back memories of the opening of book 1… It makes me all nostalgic. (I still can’t help but feel that the opening chapter of The Skin Map, “In Which Old Ghosts Meet”, when paired with the presence of a “Grafton Street” in London, is suspiciously like a reference to a certain old song I know… Especially when so many characters in these books are so fond of repeating that there’s no such thing as coincidence…)

Some of the interlacing storylines, especially Mina’s, make my head hurt, and I love it. Time travel-y stories are delightful to read about. She hadn’t… done something important yet that we saw happen in book 1 — MIND. BLOWN. I was even trying to make a time/character thread diagram, which… didn’t go so well. 😄 I’m still trying to wrap my head around some of the time-y things.

Did I have quibbles or uncertainties? Maybe a couple. One part was very sad… even though I should have expected it. But still. Sadness. 😦 There were a couple things that had me pausing to reflect, leading to some interesting ponderings, so even if I wasn’t sure how I felt about them, they at least served the purpose of making me think. I’ll have to see how things pan out in the rest of the series, but they didn’t make me dislike it, per se, just… unsure. So my quibbles aren’t really quibbles, and I don’t have any concrete complaints.

A few more brief thoughts/reactions:

  • I love how the experiences of Kit and Wilhelmina in the times/places they “adopt” (or… perhaps adopt them?) are so good for them. ❤ They really benefit from their adventures, which is fabulous.
  • There is much tea and yummy foods. (In the words of Brendan: “That will be Mrs. Peelstick making tea. We live on tea, it seems.” …I love this book.)
  • It’s still perfectly enjoyable/appropriate for Young Adult readers, as well as for older adults, I would say — basically, everyone should read it.
  • Some more tendrils of Christianity creep into this book than in the previous two — the tapestry is widening out.
  • The language barrier/misunderstanding about the map was very well done.
  • The new ley lamp is absolutely fascinating.
  • The moment when a certain… erm… cat shows up by a certain… erm… road — that was one of those priceless moments of AAHH which I loved. No idea why, I just did.
  • I found the Spanish peoples’ reactions to Kit to be hilarious — nobody wanted to deal with him, and they kept shuffling him off to somebody else. 😄
  • That ending! How can it stop there? *flailing around* These books do have a tendency to simply stop and leave one squirming for the next one. 😉 I must read book 4 ASAP.

Overall? I greatly enjoyed this one and can safely say that it has joined the ranks along with The Skin Map (book 1) and The Bone House (book 2) as excellent specimens of books in a series I’m enjoying more and more.

Now if you’ll pardon me, I have a large book titled The Shadow Lamp (Quest the Fourth) calling my name, which I intend to devour at once. Toodle-pip and all that.

I will leave you with some quotes from The Spirit Well to help convince you that you need this series in your life (because you do, you know).

FAVORITE QUOTES

“I insist you go away before we both say something we will have need of confessing.”

“Dear lady,” offered the priest with a smile, “there are no accidents.”

Kit spent the next few hours idling in the gate-keeper’s lodge as a sort of quasi-captive — he was not locked up, nor was he free to go, for every time he got up and tried to leave, the porter came running after him, scolding in Spanish, and he was pushed back into the lodge. [I have no idea why I laughed so hard at this, but there you go.]

The old lady regarded her with a sudden intensity, then announced, “I’m going to adopt you, dear heart. I hope you don’t mind.”
“Not at all,” Cass replied. “But do I look like I need adopting?”
“Not in the least,” Tess answered.

Probably, I should have locked Kit in the strongbox as well, she thought sulkily. [Wilhelmina, of course.]

“I am gobsmacked. … You clever little thing.” [Mina again. I love her dialog.]

“Don’t you know?”
He shook his head. “Nobody tells me anything.” [<– The story of Kit’s life, right there.]

“It does not matter where one starts; it is where one finishes that makes all the difference.”

summary

From Goodreads:

3spiritwell

The search for the map — and the secret behind its cryptic code — intensifies in a quest across time, space, and multiple realities.

But what if the true treasure isn’t the map at all . . . what if the map marks something far greater? Something one world cannot contain? Those who desire to unlock that mystery are in a race to possess the secret — for good or evil.

Kit Livingstone is mastering the ability to travel across realities using ley lines and has forged a link from the Bone House, a sacred lodge made of animal bones, to the fabled Spirit Well, a place of profound power.

His friend Mina is undercover in a Spanish monastery high in the Pyrenees, learning all she can from a monk named Brother Lazarus. Still determined to find Kit, she is beginning to experience a greater destiny than she can fathom.

Cassandra Clarke is overseeing an archaeological dig in Arizona when a chance encounter transports her to 1950s Damascus. There, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to the Seekers — the last living remnants of the Zetetic Society who need her help to track down the missing Cosimo Livingstone and his grandson Kit.

But there are darker forces at work in the universe whose agents always seem to be one step ahead of the rest–and they’re all desperate to gain the ultimate prize in this treasure hunt where the stakes increase at every turn. At the heart of the mystery lies the Spirit Well.

factoids

Genre/Category: Historical Fiction / Fantasy / Sci-fi / Time Travel / Christian / Contemporary

Age Group: Young Adult. Adults will enjoy too.

Published: 2012

Pages: 375 hardcover

Series?: Book 3 in the Bright Empires series. (Book 1: The Skin Map — read my review here. Book 2: The Bone House — read my review here.) Followed by The Shadow Lamp, and The Fatal Tree.

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When Read: October 5-7, 2016

Favorite Character: Wilhelmina and Kit.

Source: Library

Other Notes: Be sure to pick up the first two books first! 🙂

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{Goodreads} • {Amazon} • {Barnes & Noble} • {Author’s Website}


Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Ashburn by Julia Erickson

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Note

I’m posting this review of Ashburn today because Shantelle Hannu (as part of her Author Gems blog series in which she interviews and spotlights various authors and books) is having an interview/giveaway with author Julia Erickson this week, so go check it out! 🙂

Giveaway

GO HERE (or, y’know, to Shantelle’s blogpost where it’s featured. ;)) for the Rafflecopter giveaway to win e-book copies of Ashburn and Diamond! It’s open all week, from today (August 22) until August 28. Hop to it! ^_^

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Hidden Gems: Authors You Need to Discover is a weekly blog event being held every Monday from August 1 to November 21, 2016, by Shantelle @ A Writer’s Heart, featuring author interviews, book spotlights, and book giveaways.

Be sure to check it out and follow her lovely blog so you don’t miss any of the delightful posts! ^_^

Title: Ashburn (I.C.E. Agency, #1)

Author: Julia Erickson

review

4starrating

I don’t usually read agent-y type books… which is something I should stop saying since this is actually the third agent-y type book I’ve read in the last month or so. 😄 But still, the point is that contemporary isn’t usually my thing. But I decided to check it out on the recommendation of a friend (thanks, Shantelle!) and was so excited to get to borrow it from another friend (thanks, Sarah!). I really enjoyed this one. 🙂

I loved the characters in this book, and especially how the point of view switches back and forth between Bryce and Cara. Bryce and Cara! Great characters. They’re so sweet together (the growing romance was so adorable), and I absolutely LOVE the bickering dialog between them — it was the best. 😀 So much fun. Also, the Rapunzel thing was funny. 😄 …Long golden hair. You’ll have to read it to find out. 😉

Bryce is the best, by the way. He’s just such a great character. Definitely a favorite. 🙂 Also, I positively NEED a pair of his agent-y sunglasses! Those would be super handy to have. *thumbs-up* Cara was nice too. And like I said, they’re so CUTE together and I adore their fun conversations — they’re just such a blast to read. ^_^

There was a Christian thread going through the story, which was nice. Also it’s one of the few books I’ve read which was about homeschool graduates. Both Bryce and Cara were homeschooled, which was neat. 🙂 I didn’t really have much in common with them, despite that, but still neat. 😛 The book is also quite clean, for those wondering about that.

Some of the plot seemed to get a little lost in the background at some points so in a way a lot of it wasn’t totally wrapped up (but it didn’t matter by the end, I guess), and I didn’t always agree with the way some things were handled (also, to be honest, the elaborateness of the ending honestly freaked me out, but I’m probably alone there. XD), and other than that I just enjoyed the ride.

Oh! And one of the most cool things of all about this book (you know, aside from the characters and the sweet romance and the banter) was the international chase and mystery and adventure! We travel all over with Bryce and Cara — Georgia to Venice to Paris to Germany… it was awesome to be immersed in all those countries and just gave it an international-spy-thriller feel… which I suppose is exactly what it is. 😉

So! A Christian romance spy suspense fun adventure with just the right mix of humor, dialog, romance, and edge-of-your-seat action, it was overall a very fun read for me, and I definitely recommend it if you’d like something kind of light and agent-y to read! 🙂

summary

From Goodreads:

Cara Stephenson, a talented graphic designer at Silver Strand Technologies, never thought she’d see her childhood best friend again… but when he suddenly reenters her life ten years later, he’s a completely different man. What is he hiding, and why should she trust him?

Bryce Reynolds is a man on a mission- a top-secret one at that! He never dreamed the girl down the street would one day become his link to the destruction of Ravenmeister, Inc.- a front for black-market arms and ammunition. Will he crumble underneath the burden of all his secrets?

When the hunt for a missing technology developer in possession of a priceless prototype drags Cara and Bryce on a high-adrenaline ride through the streets of Paris, Venice, and Munich, they must work together to find what they’re looking for… and survive the trip!

findbook

{Goodreads} • {Amazon}

factoids

Genre/Category: Christian / Mystery / Thriller / Suspense / Romance

Age Group: I suppose it’s “technically” Adult since the characters are in their twenties, but it’s clean and would likely be most enjoyed by teens. 🙂

Published: 2014

Pages: 319 pages (paperback)

Series?: Book 1 of the I.C.E. Agency Series, followed by Diamond.

When Read: July 11 – 16, 2016

Favorite Character: Bryce A.K.A. Ashburn because he’s the best. ❤

Source: Borrowed from a friend.


Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

 

The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson

5starrating

Title: The Golden Braid

Author: Melanie Dickerson

review

Another excellent read from Melanie Dickerson! *huggles book*

I think it was the least standalone-ish of her books I’ve read so far, simply because it had so many delightful tie-ins to other books in the Hagenheim series. I loved that! 🙂 It was also so so cool how it tied in with The Princess Spy and the events going on in that and even some of the things behind the scenes we hadn’t seen before! So awesome. (Though a couple times it seemed like it was summarizing a bit too much and I would have liked more details/scenes sometimes. But that may also be because I don’t remember The Princess Spy all that well since I read it awhile ago. *shrug*)

I also loved how the Christian theme was so well-woven into the plot–it was just a really strong part of it, more-so than usual in these books, and I just thought it was super lovely and incredibly well-done.

And I loved the retelling, how it had so many nods to Rapunzel (and maybe even Tangled…?). Awesome retelling! But also rearranged and different and unique enough that I never knew what was coming, which was really cool. 🙂

The romance, as always, was adorbz and awesome and I loved both the characters. Rapunzel was super likeable, and Sir Gerek was, naturally, fantastic. I loved his grouchyness. 😄 And just… yes, he was awesome.

AND THE TWIST. OH MY GOODNESS THE TWIST. Okay, so I was picking up on little subtle hints and totally guessed it before it came to light, but that only made the revelation even BETTER because I pieced clues together and came to the conclusion myself and was hoping and hoping and then it WAS and just ASLKDFJLDKJF it makes me so happyyyy! ^_^ I only wish :: SPOILER (highlight to read) :: that there could have been a scene featuring Gabe and Rapunzel. I WAS SO HOPING THERE WOULD AND THEN THERE WASN’T. *cries* That was my only disappointment though. I just… it would have been so wonderful seeing a scene like that after what Gabe was thinking in The Fairest Beauty. *sniff* But oh well, I can imagine it, so that’s okay I guess. 🙂 :: END SPOILER ::

I also got a little teary-eyed there at one point, at a certain beautiful scene, so gotta give it credit for that. 😉

Anyways, aside from a couple little things, I absolutely loved it and just THE TWIIIIST!!! *flails around* So so so awesome and automatically made it twice as wonderful as it could have been. 😀

Overall, great book! ❤

summary

From Goodreads:

The one who needs rescuing isn’t always the one in the tower.

Rapunzel can throw a knife better than any man around. And her skills as an artist rival those of any artist she’s met. But for a woman in medieval times, the one skill she most desires is the hardest one to obtain: the ability to read.

After yet another young man asks for Rapunzel’s hand in marriage, Mother decides they need to move once again, but this time to a larger city. Rapunzel’s heart soars—surely there she can fulfill her dream. But Mother won’t let her close to a man. She claims that no man can be trusted.

After being rescued by a knight on the road to the city, and in turn rescuing him farther down the road, Rapunzel’s opportunity arrives at last. This knight, Sir Gerek, agrees to educate Rapunzel in order to pay back his debt. She just has to put up with his arrogant nature and single-minded focus on riches and prestige.

But this Rapunzel story is unlike any other and the mystery that she uncovers will change everything—except her happily ever after.

factoids

Genre/Category: Christian YA Romance / Historical Fiction / Fairy Tale Retelling (Rapunzel)

Age Group: YA

Published: 2015

Pages: 471 pages (Large Print Hardcover)

Series?: Book #6 of the Hagenheim/Fairy Tale Romance series

When Read: June 4 – 5, 2016

Favorite Character: Sir Gerek

Source: Library

Other Notes: Read a large print version because it was what my library had, and I for some reason really liked reading it like that. 😄 It was relaxing somehow. *shrug*

findbook

{Goodreads} • {Amazon} • {Barnes & Noble}


Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

 

The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead

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(Yes, you get a random review from me today… I’ve posted it before on Goodreads but I may start posting older-ish reviews here on occasion. :))

5starrating

Title: The Skin Map

Author: Stephen R. Lawhead

review

I’m giving THE SKIN MAP 5 stars . . . with one reservation (which is what this review is for, naturally).

This is going to be just a little bit hard to review. I won this book in a giveaway from Robert Treskillard (a masterful author in his own right), and read it over the course of three days when I was sick, and it helped pass the time marvelously.

For most of the book, THE SKIN MAP was a resounding 5-stars. I enjoyed it so very very much and it was brilliant and unique and fascinating and awesome and funny and perfect.

Then the last 20 pages happened and it almost lost a star or dozen because, well, not to be specific or anything, let’s just say certain authors don’t mind killing characters and I may or may not have gotten really really sad and/or devastated at something that may or may not have happened. Ahem.

That being said, if I’d rated and reviewed THE SKIN MAP the instant I finished it, I probably would have been upset enough it would not have held the 5-star rating it so richly deserves. As it was, I went to bed after finishing it, with a hole in my chest and a determination to never read anything ever again. What can I say. I’m a drama-queen when it comes to books that play with my emotions.

But I let myself cool down, and now I have to say that THE SKIN MAP fully earned every one of those five stars. Again with that one reservation, which naturally only shows how well the book was written that it made me CARE that much. I didn’t like how it was handled, though. But I will say no more because spoilers…

I must say, I was surprised by how much I outright loved THE SKIN MAP when I started it. (And still do, of course!) But from the very beginning it hooked me and drew me in and I found myself thoroughly enjoying myself. So. Much. Enjoyment.

It also felt perfectly British at the beginning there (it went on to feel like other countries too, wherein lies part of its brilliance) and I just found myself loving this story to death.

The characters were so much fun!

  • I love our hero, Kit Livingstone, who had so much humor and normal Britishness.
  • The timeless old fellow Cosimo who I love love love every second of.
  • Arthur Flinders-Petrie himself, who can I just say was positively awesome; though I was a bit confused about his parts of the story and if they were all flashbacks…? But I suppose they were. The nature of time-jumping-ish stories can sometimes get confusing….
  • Wilhelmina surprised me by working her way into my heart. I don’t usually love the heroines of stories that much, but she had such unexpected spunk and determination. I found myself loving the parts with her and Engelbert and their Kaffeehaus the best of any parts of the book — which, again, surprised me, because in a way there wasn’t much going on with them compared with all the action and mystery in the other parts of the story. But the genius of Lawhead seems to be that he can make absolutely anything fascinating.

Following all these characters in all these different times/countries (modern-times, 1600s, and older; England, Prague, Egypt) was so much fun, so interesting, and masterfully handled. There was a particular “feel” to each section which was awesome. So well drawn!

The ley-line travel was fascinating and awesome and I can’t wait to read more about it.

Plus, aren’t those character names just delightful? I love almost everything about this book!

All in all, THE SKIN MAP is a fabulous read, full of mystery, awesome characters, and traveling through different times and localities, all richly painted in a masterful tapestry of ever-turning pages. I couldn’t stop reading, and enjoyed the whole adventure immensely.

Also I just learned that my library has all the sequels in this Bright Empires series, which makes me indescribably happy. I can’t wait to read the rest of these books and fill my life with more Lawhead brilliance.

summary

From Goodreads:

It is the ultimate quest for the ultimate treasure. Chasing a map tattooed on human skin. Across an omniverse of intersecting realities. To unravel the future of the future.

Kit Livingstone’s great-grandfather appears to him in a deserted alley during a tumultuous storm. He reveals an unbelievable story: that the ley lines throughout Britain are not merely the stuff of legend or the weekend hobby of deluded cranks, but pathways to other worlds. To those who know how to use them, they grant the ability to travel the multi-layered universe of which we ordinarily inhabit only a tiny part.

One explorer knew more than most. Braving every danger, he toured both time and space on voyages of heroic discovery. Ever on his guard and fearful of becoming lost in the cosmos, he developed an intricate code–a roadmap of symbols–that he tattooed onto his own body. This Skin Map has since been lost in time. Now the race is on to recover all the pieces and discover its secrets.

But the Skin Map itself is not the ultimate goal. It is merely the beginning of a vast and marvelous quest for a prize beyond imagining.

The Bright Empires series–from acclaimed author Stephen R. Lawhead–is a unique blend of epic treasure hunt, ancient history, alternate realities, cutting-edge physics, philosophy, and mystery. The result is a page-turning adventure like no other.

factoids

Genre/Category: Well gee, how am I supposed to answer that? Contemporary / Time Travel / Fantasy/Sci-fi / Historical Fiction…

Age Group: Young Adult

Published: 2010

Pages: 403

Series?: Book 1 in the Bright Empire series. Followed by The Bone House, The Spirit Well, The Shadow Lamp, The Fatal Tree. Series list on Goodreads.

When Read: February 2015

Favorite Character: Cosimo. (Closely followed by Arthur. Also have a soft spot for Kit… And Wilhelmina was awesome, so…)

Source: Won in a giveaway.

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages!

~ The Page Dreamer

Review: Songkeeper by Gillian Bronte Adams

I reviewed SONGKEEPER by Gillian Bronte Adams (sequel to ORPHAN’S SONG) on my other blog, The Road of a Writer. Check it out if you haven’t! 🙂

The Road of a Writer

Orphan's Song--Front Cover 02Today’s the day! Gillian Bronte Adams is an INCREDIBLE author, whose books I devour and leave me hungering for more, so it’s with great excitement that I can happily say: The long-awaited sequel to Orphan’s Song has finally released!

*cue trumpet blast and ecstatic flailing around with confetti fireworks in the background*

As you may remember, I ADORED Orphan’s Song (in fact, it was one of the top-two-favorite books I read in 2014) and I have been anxiously awaiting the continuance of the story after that cliffhanger… The wait is finally over!

Read on for my review, and be sure to drop by the author’s blog throughout the week to see what celebrations/giveaways/fun things are going on!


SONGKEEPER-FRONT-COVER

Songkeeper (The Songkeeper Chronicles, #2)

by Gillian Bronte Adams

Sequel to Orphan’s Song (read my review)

YA Christian Fantasy

Released April 15, 2016

I received an advance reader copy of this book…

View original post 1,495 more words

A Spy’s Devotion by Melanie Dickerson

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Title: A Spy’s Devotion (The Regency Spies of London, #1)

Author: Melanie Dickerson

review

Sometimes you just want an enjoyable read, you know? This was that for me. 🙂

I don’t read a lot of Regency romance type things, but I so wanted to try this one because I’ve loved Melanie Dickerson’s medieval fairytale romances. I was not disappointed — Melanie does an AMAZING job with the Regency time period! I just felt there; completely drawn in. It was really awesome to be in the time period, somehow. Simply fabulous. 😀

The heroine, Julia, was quite a good heroine — I really liked her, she was so nice but not stupid. The hero, Nicholas, was of course awesome; an honorable gentleman-spy-by-necessity. 😉 I really liked the alternating viewpoints between the two of them — that was such fun to read. The romance was really sweet and I so enjoyed reading their story. I JUST LOVED THEM! ^_^

The slight dash of espionage/suspense added a lot of interest to the plot. Regency spies in London — what a fun idea! I also loved that it had a bit of action and danger, which added to the heroism of the hero (and heroine)! I don’t tend to think of “action” when I think of Regency tales, but the time-period is perfect for it, so I LOVED seeing that in this!

I love Melanie’s fairytale retellings, but this was her first published “original” tale, and it was actually fun to not know anything about the plot and be kept guessing! So… I really love both this and her retellings, in different ways. I’m very much looking forward to book 2 of The Regency Spies of London, whenever it may release! (I hear it’s going to be about Nicholas’ sister Leorah, who I really liked, so that excites me!) I can’t wait!

This book is technically for adults as opposed to YA, but in this case I didn’t mind. It was quite an enjoyable Historical Fiction / Christian / Regency Romance novel, which I’d recommend to anyone who likes the genre, or even to try if you haven’t yet. I just really enjoyed it. 🙂

Overall? It’s not my usual genre or type of book to read, but it was a fabulous read despite that! I enjoyed it a good deal and I’d say I rather love it. ^_^

(Plus, that cover has got to be one of THE most gorgeous ones ever! It still makes me ever so happy every time I walk by my shelf and see it nestled in amongst my growing collection of Dickerson books. <3)

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summary

From Goodreads:

In England’s Regency era, manners and elegance reign in public life—but behind closed doors treason and tawdriness thrive. Nicholas Langdon is no stranger to reserved civility or bloody barbarity. After suffering a battlefield injury, the wealthy, well-connected British officer returns home to heal—and to fulfill a dying soldier’s last wish by delivering his coded diary.

At the home of the Wilherns, one of England’s most powerful families, Langdon attends a lavish ball where he meets their beautiful and intelligent ward, Julia Grey. Determined to maintain propriety, he keeps his distance—until the diary is stolen and all clues lead to Julia’s guardian. As Langdon traces an evil plot that could be the nation’s undoing, he grows ever more intrigued by the lovely young woman. And when Julia realizes that England—and the man she is falling in love with—need her help, she finds herself caught in the fray. Will the two succumb to their attraction while fighting to save their country?

factoids

Genre/Category: Christian / Historical Fiction / Regency / Romance / with a touch of suspense

Age Group: Adult (probably could be read by young adults as well)

Published: 2016

Pages: 312 (paperback)

Series?: Book 1 in “The Regency Spies of London”

When Read: March 10-11, 2016

Favorite Character: Nicholas Langdon

Source: Got for my birthday

findbook

{Goodreads} • {Amazon} • {Barnes & Noble} • {Libraries} • {Author’s Website}


Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer