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The Fatal Tree by Stephen R. Lawhead (Bright Empires Series)

I’ve got a long-overdue review to share with you, and a giveaway!

Title: The Fatal Tree (Bright Empires, #5)

Author: Stephen R. Lawhead

  • Date read: May 18, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Historical Fiction / Fantasy / Sci-Fi / Time / Christian / Contemporary
  • Age: YA and up
  • Year pub: 2014
  • Pages: 340 (hardcover)
  • Series: The Bright Empires, #5 (final one!)
  • Fave character: All of them. ❤
  • Source: Amazon
  • Notes: Definitely be sure to start with book 1, The Skin Map.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleAuthor’s Website

Review of The Fatal Tree

review

5starrating

In the immortal words of Bilbo Baggins (at least in a certain film), “I’ve put this off for far too long.”

I was waiting for the right words, but I’ve realized that there’s simply no way to do justice to this book in a review, and so instead of waiting for a time that will never come, I’m simply going to say something about it, even if it’s not enough.

You see, the Bright Empire series (of which The Fatal Tree is the fifth and final book) meant so much to me that I can’t quite put it into words.

I enjoyed it, loved it, and it had a profound influence and effect on me. The series worked its way into a deep part of me that makes it hard to get at to explain. I’m not sure if you’ve had this experience, but sometimes you read something that becomes a part of you. It changes you. And so you can’t really talk about it—not really, not in a way that could explain to anyone why it happened to reach you at that soul level, because if it didn’t do the same for them, then they just won’t understand. And that’s all right, because every book affects people differently, if at all. It just makes it difficult to explain.

So it’s seems silly to attempt it, and I won’t try, but I will say that this series is a part of me, like several other book milestones along the way through my younger life—I won’t go through those here. It’s enough a part of me that I don’t really think about it, but it is and it’s there.

So here are a few things about the series that made it something special, at least for this literary traveler.

For one thing, there’s Mina. She was the first female role-model I’d met in a book since I was very young. I want to be her. (More on that in My Tower of Fantasy.) Heroines never interest me in fiction much; I don’t know why, but I’m usually more drawn to the heroes. So Mina was something new and different. She showed me it was possible to do oh-so-many things. She’s the bravest character I’ve ever read about, but she started as a stressed, tired young woman from our modern days. Literally plucked out of her life and thrust into another one, she refuses to give in and transforms her situation into something incredible. She is clever and heroic and rather more brave than I think I’d ever be, but she is so incredibly loving and steady too, and she shines. She makes a way in the world, and is loyal to her friends, and capable, and an entrepreneur, ready to try new things whether in a bakery or fearlessly treading the roads between worlds, but she’s still human and shows that it’s okay to wish you could be home taking a hot shower to avoid the world at times. And, I mean, who wouldn’t want to go visit her and Etzel’s joint Kaffeehaus in 1600s Prague? It’s the most amazing place! I think what I’m trying to say is that I didn’t really have role-models in fiction, and that we need those. I’ve had plenty of fictional heroes, and I needed those too, and I had Eilonwy and Princess Irene and Eowyn and others, but I hadn’t met a modern heroine I could look up to, and I think in a rush to write “realistic” characters (read: dull and flawed, or fake and artificially “strong”), people just don’t write truly heroic characters anymore. Not the ones who can actually be looked up to, and show a blueprint of what might be, and meet me where I am and inspire me and show me that I can be something more and do things. I won’t ramble on about her more than that, but Mina is one of the best things that ever happened to me.

The series also firmly embedded into my mind that whole “there are no coincidences” thing, which as much as I always knew in theory I didn’t really believe if you know what I mean, until reading this fascinating series. If there’s one thing I took away from these books, it was that, and I adore it.

O’er earth we see Thee, and Thy footsteps trace / Through the Bright Empires of unbounded Space

Then there’s how I’ll run across things in life, or in other literature, or in a song, or history, and I’ll see it echoing back to this series—whether it’s a name, or a place, or something else—and I’ll go “Aha! It’s like Bright Empires!” and I’ll do a little dance of intrigued joy. (For example, I stumbled across a translation of a Welsh song called Adra (Home) by Gwyneth Glyn and it so strongly fit this series I thought “What a coincidence! Oh, that can’t be right . . .” ;)) Aside from simply being great fun to find things in life that remind me of a beloved series, it opened up a whole new world to me—and how could it not, with such a broad canvas of times, places, people, and thoughts painted together with such intricacy and skill?

And also with beloved characters and humor and enjoyment, because that’s the important bit that makes the rest stick in your mind. Because there’s the thing: you can have the most interesting or enlightening book in the world, but if it’s not fun, it’s not going to stick with you—or with me, at any rate. And you can have an enjoyable story, but how much more enjoyable is it if, amidst the fun, it stretches your mind far afield and shows you a whole new world and makes you think? I love how this series did all of those things for me, and all in a mind-bending, genre-defying, completely new sort of way.

But aren’t you going to talk about this book, not just the series, then? you ask.

Oh, very well.

I see the series as a whole and so I don’t have terribly much to say specifically about the final book, other than as the end of a saga. (Especially not without massive spoilers, which nobody wants because you must discover them on your own when you read the books; and you ARE GOING TO, right? *stern but loving look*) But there are a few things, so I’ll mention them.

I don’t know how I feel about a few things that happened, and at least at one point I wished that some of the characters could have come in at the end with the others and they didn’t—but then I realized that they were perfect where they are. Several pairs of people are THE MOST ADORABLE THING. (I’m sorry, I’m a romantic. XD)

Familiar places (like Black Mixen Tump) swirl back into the story, and continue to be fascinating. Desert sand in Egypt to frozen ice and the Stone Age, with Prague and Constantinople and all the rest in between. I love the richness of all the different countries and times we get to visit in this series, and how vivid they are (even if some can get downright frightening!), and especially the good hearts of many of the people we meet. Everything’s so genuine, laced with a thread of nobleness and light.

I still adore all of the characters, fiercely. Mina, Kit, Etzel, Cass, Giles, Tony, Haven, Gianni, the members of the Zetetic Society, and all the rest. They’re my friends now. ^_^ I was so delighted to get to finally complete their story in this book, and I absolutely love how all of their tales intertwine and fit into the book so neatly but with threads trailing afterward to the future. And I love all of their interactions SO MUCH. They make the book. 😀

Even the villains are interesting, and far from straightforward. Burleigh’s plotline is one of the two most skillful ones of its kind I’ve read in my life.

And, of course, there’s a time-related thing or two that finally happen in this book, which I’ve been waiting for since the first one. One in particular made me SO HAPPY. (Looking at you, chapter 11.) Speaking of timey-wimey things, that sort of thing always makes my head spin (in a good way) and I think I filled a couple of pieces of paper with diagrams of different people’s timelines and where and when they crossed and it was still dreadfully confusing and I love it so much. XD Someday I’m going to carve out the time to read the whole series again, and I’m looking forward to that with relish. (And maybe then I’ll finally fully understand the ending, which tied my mind in knots. :D)

Then there’s that whole having-to-save-the-world thing, what with the whole universe about to end and everything, which is as serious as it sounds and just as exciting—and there may or may not be some death in there, and I’m not saying I totally understood how everything turned out (I like a good goes-slightly-over-my-head-and-requires-a-rereading ending—just look at Diana Wynne Jones), especially with science-y things going over my head, but everything came together from the previous books and on the whole I was terribly pleased with how The Fatal Tree wrapped up the series. (I’m also so glad we got a what-happens-next bit at the end too! *collapses*)

It was an experience, and one it’s taken me nearly two years to get around to finally externalizing and typing up in the form of a “review” (or shall we call it an essay?), but I can safely say that the Bright Empires is one of the most delightful series I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Even if only as an enjoyable adventure, I recommend them highly to anyone who cares to try their luck. Or, since there is no such thing as coincidence, let’s say that luck is the wrong word and leave it at that. 😉

I’m deeply indebted to Mr. Lawhead for penning such a—well, brilliant is the only word for it, in so many ways—series, and I look forward to delving into more of his books very soon.

(Also . . . THE SPOON. :O WHAT. DOES. IT. MEAN. I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS.)

Read my reviews for the previous books in the series:

10SkinMap 2bonehouse 3spiritwell

GIVEAWAY!

I happen to have a spare paperback copy of the first book in the series, The Skin Map, and I want to share the love!

Visit the Rafflecopter HERE for a chance to win it!

(USA addresses only. Runs 4/11/19 through 4/17/19. Winner will be contacted by email and announced here shortly after.)

[Edit: Giveaway is closed! The winner is Grace T! Thanks for entering, everyone! :)]

Have you read any of these? And do you have a favorite Lawhead book? Thanks for reading! 🙂

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5 Thoughts: Ewan Pendle and the Castle of Nightmares (by Shaun Hume)

Good morning (or afternoon, or whenever), my dear Pagelings!

I’ve got a British, Urban Fantasy, academy-ish sort of book to share with you today!

Title: Ewan Pendle and the Castle of Nightmares

Author: Shaun Hume

  • Date read: February 19, 2019
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Urban Fantasy
  • Age: MG-YA
  • Year pub: 2018
  • Pages: 339 (Kindle)
  • Series: Ewan Pendle, #2
  • Fave character: Rusty, Enid, Enola, Jack Mangrove, Ewan, etc. I LOVE ‘EM ALL.
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I was given a free ebook copy of this book from the author (thanks!). I was not required to write a positive review, and all opinions are my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Blog

Ewan Pendle is back! I enjoyed the first book in this series (Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith) and I’m pleased to say that this sequel is just as enjoyable, and in fact adds new awesomeness. 😀

5 Thoughts on Ewan Pendle and the Castle of Nightmares

I love these characters, getting to read more about their adventures, relationships, and interactions, and also their backstories and mysteries. Some questions are answered, while others are hair-raisingly raised — and there was one reveal in particular at the end that more or less had me jumping up and down going “I KNEW IT! YESSS! :D”

The setting is fun (a hidden academy in modern-day London for people who know about the existence of Creatures and have lessons in things like sword-fighting? And includes an adventure to Scotland? Sign me up!) and I just feel rather at home in this world and at the Firedrake academy and with these characters! (Plus, the fact that the author lives in England, I believe, only makes it that much cooler because I feel like it’s authentic!)

The plot hits a good balance between adventure and some slower times to get to breathe and enjoy the characters and mysteries. It’s exciting and cozy and fantastical and mysterious all at once, and I love that! It’s a bit long (though shorter than the first one), but I felt like it really picked up about a third of the way in! Some errors and typos were minorly distracting, but for the most part I was too busy having a blast to care at all. XD

More awesome things:

  • The new (if brief) addition of a suitably dragon-y dragon — I hope to see more of him in the future! I LOVED how dragon-like he was!
  • Adventure that includes an attack by a flaming skeleton wil-o’-the-wisp in a bog in Scotland at night. Can you say exciting?
  • Dream world intriguingness! O_O
  • Problems like trolls and goblins and the titular Castle of Nightmares — keeps things interesting!
  • Reveals about Ewan and his backstory that have me even MORE curious. :O
  • More of our young hero Ewan, Enid the pirate (she’s AWESOME), my favorite Rusty who is in it a bit more (hurrah!), Matilde and Max of course (need those loyal friends!), tantalizing hints of Brigid and Betony and Jack Mangrove (NEED MORE!), and of course the mysterious Enola Whitewood! I adore this cast. 😀 They’re awesome and my friends. ^_^

Perfect for fans of A Series of Unfortunate Events (but without the gloom) or Harry Potter (but without the magic, exactly), or for anyone who loves a good acadamy adventure, or an urban fantasy set in modern-day London and Scotland! I feel like all teens would enjoy this, and some of us who are a bit older too and just enjoy a good book. Other than some slightly scary parts, it’s suitable for all readers, and is just a blast! ^_^

A Favorite Quote

‘However, for now, your chief task during these dedicated Vanguard sessions will be the taking of notes.’

The enthusiasm in the session suddenly wilted like petunias left in a hot car.

‘Notes? We’re only going to be taking notes?’ moaned Enid, scandalised. Something told Ewan she would have zero qualms about tackling a ferocious Creature with a sword in only her first week as a Grade Two.

‘Oh well there goes my hopes,’ Rusty offered from Ewan’s side, ‘I kind of fancied being thrown headlong into the action, after that rather tame first year.’

‘Tame?’ whispered Rosie Prince, the ends of her short blonde hair fizzing at the mere suggestion, ‘we nearly all got killed by a white wraith!’

‘Ah,’ Rusty replied with blithe nonchalance, ‘there was only one of those. And that wasn’t even during Lyceum hours. It’s like being a detective and going on holiday, init? Someone gets offed in your guesthouse, and everyone else expects you to solve the murder … Then it’s just annoying. The sessions last year were a world class yawn in comparison.’


Review for book one:

What do you think? Sound intriguing? What’s your favorite academy tale or British-set fantasy? Thanks for reading! 🙂

The Villain Who Saved Christmas by C.B. Cook (Short Story Review)

Merry Christmas Eve, my pagelings!

I’m so excited to share about a short story releasing TODAY about a supervillain and Christmas. What is not to love? (It’s also only 99 cents, so. ;))

Review below!

FREE BOOK: Also, Twinepathy, the first book in C.B.’s superhero series, is free on Kindle December 24-28, so make sure to get yourself a copy if you haven’t yet! (It’s super fun, no pun intended — you can read my review here.)


Title: The Villain Who Saved Christmas

Author: C.B. Cook

  • Date read: December 19, 2018
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Superhero / Short Story / Christmas
  • Age: Any
  • Year pub: 2018
  • Pages: 15 (ebook)
  • Series: No
  • Fave character: Scott
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I was given a free e-ARC of this short story by the author and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are entirely my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

Aww! That was so much fun! ^_^ The Villain Who Saved Christmas is an utterly charming Christmas short story featuring superheroes. IT’S PRECIOUS AND I LOVE IT SO MUCH. ❤ *hugs story forever*

Two children hoping for a white Christmas for their little sister who thinks it will be her last Christmas decide to track down a supervillain with ice powers to see if he can help.

I loved the Christmas setting and the superhero, Reflex, and supervillain, Hypothermia—and how they have their own histories and stories going on that we get a glimpse of in this little tale. I liked both of them a lot, which made it interesting to read because you’re kind of rooting for both sides. 😀

My favorite character was Scott—what a great name for a supervillain. XD His parts were so fun and cool—no pun intended. Okay, fine, pun intended. 😛 (The ice cream!) You’ll just have to read it to find out if an (admittedly minor) supervillain’s heart can melt enough to help some kids. 😉

It’s really hard to talk much about such a short story without giving anything away, but it was well-written and funny and there were also feels. I loved the conclusion and the unexpected wrapup bit at the end!

It’s an adorable, super quick read, and just the thing for superhero fans to read for Christmas!


About

This may be Becca’s last Christmas, and all she wants is a white Christmas. But with no snow in the forecast, her brother and sister know that might not happen… until they get the idea to track down supervillain Hypothermia for help. With his ice powers, he could create a white Christmas for their sister. There’s only one problem—they have to find him first. Can they discover where Hypothermia is hiding and convince him to make it snow?


Thanks for reading! 🙂 MERRY CHRISTMAS! ❤


You may also enjoy:

twinepathycoverKINDLE  

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!)


Similar Reviews Under Superheroes:

twinepathycoverKINDLE 


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

Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones

Here, have a review from a couple of March Magics ago, which I never got around to posting. 😛 (This is making me want to get it out of the library again and re-read it!)

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5starratingTitle: Deep Secret

Author: Diana Wynne Jones

review

I’ve discovered that I’m downright horrendous at writing reviews for books by Diana Wynne Jones. I plan to write one, then I put it off, and put it off, because I know that it’s far too complex to do justice to in a review — and how even do I wrap my head around it all, exactly?? So once again, as I did with Fire and Hemlock, I’m going to need to just start typing and hope something semi-coherent and possibly slightly resembling a review will come out of it…

This story is a mix of fantasy/sci-fi/modern, with some other worlds thrown in for good measure. Most of it takes place at a sci-fi/fantasy convention of all places. Talk about an original setting! It’s in first person but you totally forget this fact as the story draws you in.

I found this one in the adult section of the library (I usually frequent the YA room… sorry-not-sorry, but all the good stuff’s there!). I suppose it’s a bit more Adult than most of DWJ’s books (more language/dark/gruesome/disturbing/implied stuff) so be aware of that. I don’t really recommend it to teens because it’s kinda dark… But it’s so absorbing!

I LOVED the multiple-worlds stuff. Absolutely fascinating.

There are centaurs! YES.

I also loved the idea of “deep secrets” which Magids (the magic users) thread into the world through stories and art and such. Absolutely brilliant.

There were also a few things about writing and I think some jibes at publishers, etc., which I found hilarious. XD

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The DWJ library book visiting some of its cousins who live on my shelf

I think it’s possible DWJ put herself in it. There was a lecture on A Sense of Humour in Fantasy. “Some woman beside him wrote funny stuff too” and said that in her own writing, sometimes her jokes made her laugh. (And I remember in some interview or essay or somewhere, DWJ said that about herself.) So I think she put herself into this book and I LOVE IT.

She definitely put in a fan of her book “Archer’s Goon”, as somebody at the convention wore a badge that said “All power corrupts, but we need electricity.” I was just sitting there grinning absurdly as I read that. XD

There are other references too, which made me happy, like to LOTR (somebody had a T-shirt that he said read: “I am a Hobbit.” In Elvish. I think she was making fun of these people, but it was funny. XD), and The Princess Bride. And at one point there was something about being rather like “a magical Bertie Wooster with an invisible butler”. I totally lost it there. It was the BEST.

As usual with DWJ books, there’s a fabulous cast of characters that I love. There’s Maree and Rupert (who tell the story in turns) and they’re so… well… THEM. It’s hard to explain. But I love ’em! Then there are other characters like Will (he’s great!) and Rob the centaur (!!). And one of my absolute favorites is Maree’s cousin Nick—who is, I hear, based on a teenaged Neil Gaiman, who Diana Wynne Jones knew. She based Nick off him, and he’s so incoherent in the morning before he’s eaten breakfast and IT MADE MY DAY. So very hilarious. And one can’t forget neighbor Andrew, the “fabulous Nordic type”! But no more, lest there be spoilers. (Oh! And the quacks! A sort of otherworldly duck. 😀 Loved them!)

I’m absurdly proud of myself for only staying up until 2-something a.m. and having the willpower to go to bed without finishing the last 70 pages. I got to the part where it said: “And, I see in retrospect, that was the last moment when events were in any way within my control.” And I thought: “Welp, I’d better go to bed before things get worse.” 😛

Anyway, DWJ is brilliant and I love her books so much, and this one was no exception! It was longer than many of them. I get addicted to her longer books and LIVE in them, and then have a tendency to accidentally go around in a haze for the next few days, vaguely living in the story again in the back of my mind after spending 414 pages in it…

DeepSecret

“Where is the road to Babylon? / Right beside your door.”

The road I’m looking for is the road to the library to get the sequel, thank you very much.

The story doesn’t need it, but I do.

summary

From Goodreads:

deepsecretAll over the multiverse the Magids, powerful magicians, are at work to maintain the balance between positive and negative magic, for the good of all.

Rupert Venables is the junior Magid assigned to Earth and to the troublesome planets of the Koyrfonic Empire. When the Emperor dies without a known heir, Rupert is called into service to help prevent the descent of the Empire into chaos. At the same time, the senior Magid on Earth dies, making Rupert a new senior desperately in need of a junior. Rupert thinks his problems are partially solved when he discovers he can meet all five of the potential Magids on Earth by attending one SF convention in England. However, the convention hotel sits on a node, a nexus of the universes. Rupert soon finds that other forces, some of them completely out of control, are there too…

factoids

Genre/Category: Contemporary Fantasy / Sci-fi / Inter-world Fantasy / ??? / DIANA WYNNE JONES (which is a category of its own, or should be, because it’s really hard to fit her books into pigeonholes…)

Age Group: Adult

Published: 1997

Pages: 414

Series?: Book 1 of Magids; followed by The Merlin Conspiracy

When Read: March 22 – 23, 2016

Favorite Character: Oh my GOODNESS, don’t ask me this! O_O (Er… I know I’m asking myself; shush.) Rupert or Rob or Nick or Will or Andrew or somebody. Probably most of the cast because you just get so attached to DWJ characters…

Source: Library

Other Notes: Read for March Magics, hosted by Kristen @ We Be Reading

Have you read this one? I feel this NEED to talk to people who have. XD (And I also want to re-read it either before or after Realm Makers, because Sci-fi/Fantasy Conference…)

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Rulers and Mages (by Daley Downing) – The Order of the Twelve Tribes: Volume 2

Title: Rulers and Mages
Author: Daley Downing

  • Date read: December 26, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Contemporary Fantasy
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 204 (paperback)
  • Series: The Order of the Twelve Tribes: Volume 2
  • Fave character: Alex, Avery
  • Source: Barnes & Noble
  • Notes: I beta-read an early version of this book, then bought a paperback of the final version which I read before writing this review.
  • Links: GoodreadsBarnes & NobleAuthor’s Blog

Another lovely tale of modern fantasy from author Daley Downing! This book was great fun. ^_^

Masters and Beginners, the first book, introduced us to protagonists Sophie and Flynn Driscoll, and their family and friends, part of the Order of the Twelve Tribes which deals with the existence of Fey and other magical beings in our modern world—protecting the knowledge. I loved getting to step into that world in the first book and meet the characters, and this second book takes us one step further into their lives and adventures.

Once again, the mixture of modern everyday life with the secrets of Fey and artifacts and shapeshifting cats and so on, was fascinating, and so was the element of Nephilim and Biblical mythology which was gone into a bit more. Occasionally a bit odd, but interesting. XD I LOVED seeing more of Faerie and the Fey, just a bit, and some of the new characters were fabulous! But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I enjoyed getting to spend more time with the characters I’ve grown very fond of from the first book, such as Sophie and Flynn, and their parents James and Kate, and the half-fey neighbors including Alex, who’s my favorite! (I do want more of him!) Emma was… interesting. She was a little hard to like through part of it, having gained an attitude; I liked her more in the first book, though I DO appreciate that she’s having a hard time and stuff in this one, which of course can do things to people! And twists… And I still love Jules the cat sith and other characters. Some newer ones, like Prince Crispin (very brief, but he was so cool!) and Avery, were fantastic! Avery’s another favorite—she has such spark to her, and she’s basically a really cool aunt. 😉 I’m excited to see more of her in her new role! (No spoilers. :P)

There’s also a lot of character growth going on, and I really appreciated how the book dealt with the aftermath of the memory charm from the end of the first book! You don’t often get that, seeing what happens after a bunch of people forget everything… That was fascinating and well done. 🙂 I love the Archives, too! And I continue to love the film and book references, and the little snatches of articles and things after chapters, which add depth to the world.

It’s a little hard to talk about most of the things in the book because spoilers! Sooo many spoilers. And villain MEEPery. O_O But the story was definitely interesting! (One tricky thing for me was that I kept having phantom memories of different or alternate scenes because I read an early beta-version first, but that’s my own problem. XD) There’s adventure and secrets and discovery and betrayal, and joy and heartbreak and tears and love. I have a complicated relationship with a few of the twists, especially near the end, because on the one hand I’m not sure about them, but on the other hand, there ARE two more books in the series! 😉 And notoriously, one of my main issues with Volume 1 was resolved in this one… So I will look forward to seeing how some of that turns out.

There are definitely threads hanging and little hints that leave me going “WHAT??? IS THAT WHAT I THINK IT IS?? TELL ME MORE. O_O” so I’m definitely awaiting more books rather anxiously! Overall, this book is on a slightly larger scale than the first one, with more going on and more things for me to be not sure about but also more for me to go “AWESOME!” over. 😀 The first one was such a fun romp and a delightful introduction to this world/characters, while this one is going deeper and giving me feels and… yes. Anyway.

All of that to say, I may be on the fence (for now) about a couple of things, but on the whole I really enjoyed this book! It’s unique and fantastical and really well done. I definitely recommend giving the first book a try if you haven’t, and if you love fairy things and modern stories mixed (like I do!). Now I’ll be putting this lovely book on my shelf to look pretty next to the first volume and await more. 🙂 I’m rather addicted to this series and this world, and I love most of the characters, and I’m just basically FOND. ❤

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Well. Do YOU like faerie things? BECAUSE YAY! And what do you think of the lovely cover Kyle Robert Shultz made for it? Does this series intrigue you? (Book 1 made my list of Top 15 Favorites of 2017! :))

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer