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Disowned (by Sarah Addison-Fox) – Allegiance Series, #1

Title: Disowned
Author: Sarah Addison-Fox

  • Date read: January 9, 2018
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Christian / Kingdom Adventure
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 334
  • Series: The Allegiance Series, #1
  • Fave character: Mick!
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free e-copy of this book from the author (many thanks!). These opinions are my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

What a unique, enjoyable book!

The story kept me absorbed and guessing, and it’s a nice mix of action/thrilling, and life sequences with character moments. There’s a dash of romance which was alternately cute and frustrating—just say what you mean, already, characters! (The usual. ;)) It could be raw and real and emotional and deal with war and things, but also be lighthearted and fun at other times. Quite balanced and well-written. 🙂 Anyway, I liked the story and I can’t wait to see where it goes next!

On to characters!

Mick was my favorite; I loved him! The soldier type, he has a temper and a gruff exterior at times, but he’s goodhearted and loyal, and has a wry sense of humor. His dialog was the best. 😀 It was also neat picking out his relationships with everyone around him, like his family and Celeste and Asher.

Celeste was a good heroine and I liked how the author did a great job with her outlook on things clearly showing how foreign the more “normal” world of Mick and his family was to her, since Celeste is from the country with which his homeland is at war. I loved Mick and Celeste figuring each other out after being at odds.

Mick’s family, the Haynes, were so nice. ^_^ Having an entire family as central characters was a sweet and refreshing element! I liked how they were just good people, and a tight-knit little group. We have Maggie and Ethan, the parents (who share POV switching back and forth with Mick and Celeste), who were both such homely, good people; Maggie’s so sweet and motherly, and Ethan’s a solid, strong sort of father-figure. Then there’s Joe and Sadie, the little siblings of Mick; they’re fun, though I was occasionally unsure what age they’re supposed to be. A lot of the lightheartedness comes from them. 🙂

Other characters were intriguing, particularly Mick’s friend Asher (I’d like to find out more about him), and the monks who we saw a few times, though not as much as I thought at first. Everyone was very individual and came to life on the page! 🙂

The setting was very interesting! Some might call it non-magical fantasy, but there’s nothing fantastical about it—it’s merely non-historical countries in another land. Hence the newly-named genre Kingdom Adventure, which this book definitely belongs to. 🙂 I thought it might be medieval-esque, but while it does have dashes of that (with a monastery and things), it ended up feeling almost more like a frontier western type of era, 1800s perhaps, with a smidge of more modern feel too. There are guns, horses, potbellied stoves, and a little town with shops, as well as an organized military and intelligence which felt more modern with a lot of the wording, and electricity is a new thing so there’s lightbulbs… But apparently there’s a queen and there are many references to the Crown, so the western feel doesn’t totally fit. I guess it’s like non-magical fantasy meets western meets kingdom meets almost-modern. 🙂 Anyway, the point is that it felt very unique! A few times some of the elements didn’t mesh totally for me, but on the whole it felt like its own individual land that I’ve now become familiar with. ^_^ That’s one of the fun things about Fantasy and Kingdom Adventure—the feel of the world and getting to know it. I hope to go back to this land of Etraea sometime!

Content-wise, for those who wish to know, it’s a little bit gritty at times, so I’d recommend it to slightly older teens. There’s a little bit of gruesomeness due to war, and some other references/things which might make it more PG-13, but fairly mild. And there’s a faith element which was nicely integrated, since there’s an allegorical God and so forth. I liked how faith-filled the Haynes family was. 🙂

That ending! It didn’t cliff-hanger, exactly, but it sort of… stopped rather suddenly, and there are quite a few questions left hanging, including some big changes. I keep wondering what happens next (I want the next scene!) and I’m extremely curious to find out what will happen in later books! I want to know what happens with Mick and Celeste and their stories!

Overall, I enjoyed it very much indeed! ^_^ It was just… really good, and I loved the characters! ❤ (And and and — book 2, where are you?!) I recommend it to anyone who likes a good adventure story, and I’ll be watching for more books by this author! 😀

Favorite Quote

“You picked a bad time to get shot.”

Mick raised an eyebrow. “Is there a good time to get shot?”

~ ~ ~

What do you think? Sound intriguing? Don’t you just LOVE that cover? ^_^

[NOTE: Although I’m not part of it, there’s a month-long January blog tour going on for this book! You can find the links in this post.]

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

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

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

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

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

Editor: Hannah Scheele

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

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

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

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

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

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

Introduction – Hannah Scheele

5 stars

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

Chocolate Surprise – E. Kaiser Writes

5 stars

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

Gently Pursued, Finally Persuaded – Gail Bryant

5 stars

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

The Secret of Pemberly Estate – Therese Peyton

4 stars

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

Emma’s Irritation – Mikayla Holman

5 stars

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

Mother’s Day – Jennifer Baxter

5 stars

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

The Mansfield – E. Kaiser Writes

5 stars

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

Elaina – Hannah Jones

5 stars

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

Peace in the Orchard – E. Kaiser Writes

5 stars

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

Maid in Houston – Jennifer Baxter

4 stars

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

~ ~ ~

The Vintage Jane Austen Blog Event

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

November 5

November 6

November 7

November 8

November 9

November 10

November 11

Giveaway

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

Enter to win HERE.

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

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer