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

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

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

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


Tour Details

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


Instagram Live Chat!

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


Instagram Photo Challenge

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


Tour-wide Giveaway

Hazel is hosting an awesome giveaway across the tour!

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


My Personal Giveaway! (On Instagram)

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

I’m also running a giveaway of my own!

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

Drop by the post on my Instagram and enter there!

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

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


Free Prequel Short Story

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

Find it here!

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


About the Book

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

But luckily England has some help.

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

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

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


Book Links


About the Author

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


Title: The New Emperor’s Concerto

Author: Hazel B. West

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

10 Awesome Things About

The New Emperor’s Concerto

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Excerpt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

In the Shadow of Croft Towers by Abigail Wilson (Review)

A Regency mystery novel with spies and highwaymen, secrets and blackmail and romance? Sign me up!

Title: In the Shadow of Croft Towers

Author: Abigail Wilson

  • Date read: May 13, 2019
  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Genre: Historical Fiction / Mystery / Regency Romance
  • Year pub: 2019
  • Pages: 319 (paperback)
  • Fave character: Mr. Sinclair
  • Source: Thomas Nelson publishers through BookLook Bloggers
  • Links: GoodreadsThomas Nelson Barnes & NobleAmazonAuthor Website

Set in Regency England, IN THE SHADOW OF CROFT TOWERS is a delightful mix of Regency romance and murder mystery.

Sybil Delafield travels to Croft Towers to become a companion to the old woman who owns the estate, and finds that nearly everyone at the mansion and nearby town has secrets, including Mr. Sinclair. As the mysteries and shadows deepen, Sybil doesn’t know who to trust, even as she begins unraveling the secrets of her own past.

Highwaymen, Dragoons looking for French spies in rural England, smugglers, and people turning up murdered are only some of the interesting twists. Secret messages, blackmail, and the shadow of an old tragedy, all hang over Croft Towers and those designing to inherit it from old Mrs. Chalcroft, who has her own secrets.

It has a delightful autumnal, onset of winter feel, with a somewhat eerie mansion and night rides through the woods and moors and town.

This book kept me totally absorbed! I particularly loved the middle bits where the mysteries kept mounting higher and higher. It was fascinating how every single person had something to hide, or at least were not as they seemed. I loved finding out what was going on, and guessing at things, and the experience alone was so delightful.

I also loved how the romance and the mystery were perfectly balanced and neither overwhelmed each other. It was such a neat idea to mix Regency romance with a mystery, and I loved how it was so exciting. There’s a sort of love-triangle, though I didn’t feel totally convinced by the one part of it, but I’m not the biggest love-triangle fan, so that might simply be me.

I particularly liked Mr. Sinclair’s character and all his mysteriousness! Mrs. Chalcroft (his godmother) was a fascinating, eccentric character. I found myself rooting for Sybil to discover what was going on, and for a certain romance. 😉

The ending wrapped things up fairly well, but I found myself wishing for more or for something different for a few of the details (like I was disappointed there wasn’t more about a certain character mentioned near the end), and there were one or two happenings that seemed surprisingly dark for this sort of book, particularly what happened with one of the other characters (no spoilers!). A few things also felt off, or at least improbable, for the time period—at least to me, though I’m not an expert—and there were one or two inconsistencies.

But none of that detracted from my sheer enjoyment of the book, and I absolutely loved the shadowy mysteriousness mixed with the Regency era!

I’m going to have to pick up more from this author in the future, because I had a thoroughly good time reading this—I totally recommend it if it sounds like your cup of tea!

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

About the Book

The Secret of Croft Towers by Abigail Wilson

Croft Towers holds more than its share of secrets . . . and Sybil is determined to uncover them all.

When Sybil Delafield’s coach to Croft Towers was robbed by highwaymen, she should have realized that her new position as companion to old Mrs. Chalcroft would be no ordinary job. Upon Sybil’s arrival, Mrs. Chalcroft sneaks into her room in the dark of night, imploring her to relay messages to town that are to stay hidden from the rest of the family. Who exactly is she working for and what do the messages contain?

When fellow passengers of the robbed coach are later murdered, Sybil’s hunt for the truth takes on a new urgency. The only person she can rely on is Mr. Sinclair, Mrs. Chalcroft’s godson, but under all his charms he too leads a double life. Sybil must decide if he is the one honest voice she can trust, or if he is simply using her for his own advances.

With murderers, smugglers, and spies on the loose, nothing—and no one—in Regency England is what they claim. Can Sybil even trust what she knows about herself?

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What do you think? Do you enjoy Regency time period or murder mysteries?

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

Kate’s Capitol (Kate’s Case Files #2) by Sarah Holman

Title: Kate’s Capitol
Author: Sarah Holman

  • Date read: July 4, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Christian / Contemporary / Mystery / FBI
  • Age: YA? (The characters are technically adults, but I feel like teen readers would love it too, and it’s entirely clean. :))
  • Year pub: 2016
  • Pages: 175 (Kindle)
  • Series: Kate’s Case Files, #2 (I also reviewed book 1, Kate’s Innocence, awhile back.)
  • Fave character: Patrick
  • Source: Amazon
  • Notes: Read for 10/10/10 challenge
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Blog

Another thoroughly enjoyable mystery story from Sarah Holman!

In a way, Kate’s Capitol was quite different than the first one. Kate’s Innocence (book 1) had a lot of action and peril; this one has more of a political/office/spy sort of feel, so there was still tension, just of a slightly less life-threatening sort for most of the book. It was interesting watching the FBI team tracking trails of paperwork etc. This one is somewhat tense but not as high-stakes as the first book, so they feel rather different, although it got exciting and perilous at the end there for a bit—eep!

Overall it was a good modern mystery/thriller. Even the office parts, of which there were many, kept me absorbed, even if you’d think they wouldn’t be as interesting. But it seemed very authentic and well-researched; I felt like I was in the Austin capitol building and other settings. The attention to detail was fabulous! (I know the author worked there for awhile, and it shows; I was totally pulled into the place!)

This novel was a quick read, which I absorbed in an afternoon, and was fast-paced and enjoyable. I felt like I was watching a TV show, actually. 😀 As if each book is like an episode (or maybe a pair of episodes), self-contained with full storylines, but with a few ongoing threads continuing from book to book—what’s in Kate’s past that she doesn’t like to think about? Are Kate and Patrick ever going to realize they’re perfect for each other? Is Thomas going to have a character arc? Etc. I really liked this feeling. 😀

I love this cast of characters, this close-knit team of FBI agents who are friends, and have enjoyed getting to know them. 🙂 Brian, Logan, and Kim seem more side-character-ish, with not as much focus on them, though they are still lovable, while it’s mostly about Kate and Patrick (I really like him!) and maybe a bit about Thomas sometimes—perhaps because he’s the superior who’s kind of in the shadows and not around as much; I’m curious to learn more about him. They all have a very well-drawn individual “feel” to their characters, like people I know, and I’m extremely fond of them. ^_^

I thought I was going to be sad that Kate and Patrick were working separately for a lot of the story, but I actually ended up loving it! It was super fun to go back and forth in their POVs and see them working separate angles of the case, and talking through email or phone calls—it was unique and fun and upped the tension sometimes. 🙂 I love their story and so enjoy reading about them.

At first I was disappointed in some of the ending, until I recognized the point of it ending that way, realizing it illustrated a moral point, so I decided I was okay with it. It had some good Christian themes and thoughts as well. 🙂

For readers who enjoy clean Christian fiction with an FBI twist and a light dash of possible-romance—or even just an enjoyable mystery-type read, well-written and with a fun cast of characters—I highly recommend these books!

I’ve so enjoyed these first two books in the Kate’s Case Files series, and I look forward to more adventures with this team! 🙂

Favorite Quotes

It was much easier to snoop when you weren’t trying to look like you weren’t snooping.

***

“Like there is more to life then solving crimes and catching the bad guy.”

Patrick lifted his head. “Such as?”

“Tsk, tsk, you are a sad man, Patrick Connor.”

***

“One day, we are sitting in the office, getting ready for the work day.”

“I think you were making paper airplanes out of your reports,” Brian interjected.

***

Thomas tried to push in after her, but Patrick held him back. “You flashed your badge at that poor nurse, didn’t you?”

Thomas grinned. “It saves a lot of time and paperwork.”

Patrick shook his head. “I think that you could charm your way into the White House without an ID.”

“Why do you think they made me boss?” Thomas said, entering the room.

~ ~ ~

Do you enjoy mysteries? Have you read any agent-y FBI-ish stories? Do you have a favorite agent-y book (or film/show) that you could recommend to me?? 😀

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Ten Things I Love About The Beast of Talesend by Kyle Robert Shultz

Title: The Beast of Talesend
Author: Kyle Robert Shultz

  • Date read: May 17, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Fairytale Retelling / Mystery / Alt-20s Fairytale history
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 128 (paperback)
  • Series: Beaumont & Beasley, #1 (Sequel, NOW, please? *holds hand out imperiously*)
  • Fave character: Nick and Crispin!
  • Source: Amazon

Beauty and the Beast + 1920s detective story + alternate history where all the fairytales were, well… actual history + snark + humor + lovable and entirely unconventional characters = The Beast of Talesend by Kyle Robert Shultz, a.k.a. The Book You Need To Read Right Now.

Not convinced? LET ME CONVINCE YOU. Ahem. (Fangirling may ensue. You have been warned.)

10 Things I love about this book:

1. IT’S SO FUNNY. OH MY GOODNESS. I love books that make me laugh and make me want to quote them to the world, and if there’s one thing this book did extremely well, it was that. It did other things extremely well too, which I will get to, but MY GOODNESS, THE HUMOR. XD (Even the chapter titles are funny.)

2. NICK. It’s told in first-person by Nick Beasley, private detective, whose self-appointed goal in life/job is debunking magical cases and proving that magic doesn’t exist. (Which… is kind of awkward when he gets turned into a beast. …Not a spoiler, it’s in the blurb, and mentioned on the first page. XD) NICK IS THE BEST. I don’t often care for first-person, but his narration absolutely made the book. IT WAS PERFECT. And he has such a dry-humor, kind of grumpy personality, and is the last sort of person you’d think of as a hero, but he’s actually super noble underneath, despite his grouchiness, and overprotective of his younger brother, Crispin, and just—NICK IS GREAT, OKAY. I love him and he’s awesome. 😀

3. CRISPIN. Oh my goodness, CRISPIN. He is definitely one of my top fave things. 😀 He and Nick have this great brother dynamic where Nick won’t let Crispin do anything and acts like he’s super young (they’re both in their twenties. XD) but Crispin has more going than Nick thinks, and they banter sometimes and Crispin is just absolutely funny and adorable and the best. 😀 (The part about the feet on the desk! XD *dies laughing*) Just just just CRISPIIIIIIN! ❤ All that needs to be said on the subject. I just loved this character! ^_^ (And I’m beyond ecstatic that he will be in the sequel more. YES. These brothers! <3)

4. Setting + Alternate + Fairytales. THIS WAS WONDERFUL. It’s set in an alternate world, very much like ours in London (their version of London is called Talesend) in the 1920s buuuut… different. Like, where our fairytales are their actual history, and the story is set in the 20th Century E.A. (Ever After), give-or-take 1900 years after the end of the last fairytale… (or is it??). There are so many references to these fairytales, just woven casually into historical references and conversation, which was BRILLIANT and so so much fun, and that on top of it being a loose retelling of Beauty and the Beast absolutely made my day. 😀 I LOVE alternate history, and fairytales, and old-detective-stories and just… THIS MIXED THEM SO WELL. ❤ (Plus, any story with a shady possible-gangster-crime-boss-who-deals-in-magical-artifacts has got to be good. I mean really. Let’s mix all the genre things and make it glorious. :D)

5. Lady Cordelia, a magical but also magical-accident-prone and eccentric (putting it too lightly; she’s nutty, but delightfully so) but capable woman, was a fairly fun character as well, especially when paired off against Nick, since they don’t always see eye-to-eye. 😛 (I mean… that would be difficult in any case, seeing as he’s a seven-foot monster and she’s just a presumably-normal-sized young lady, but still.)

6. THE BANTER AND CHARACTER DYNAMICS AND THE HUMOR. I know I mentioned humor before, BUT IT’S IMPORTANT OKAY. I can’t say enough about books that are this funny, because humor just makes me happy, and life is too short not to laugh copiously. Which is why books like this exist to help us with that. I love the dialog and interactions and narration and just aaaall the funny things! But it’s got intense bits and action and danger and twisty plot things all mixed in with the hilarity, which makes it even more impressive.

7. Can I just say how awesome this author’s writing is? LIKE SERIOUSLY. If all the above is not enough to convince you, just consider that all this wackiness is utterly seamlessly thrown together and well-written and just please can I be this good of an author when I grow up. The writing is gold! Actually this whole book is gold. Just— So so good.

8. Not to mention, this is a super fun, clean, family-friendly read. So awesome, am I right? Other than some scary Beasts (comes with it being a retelling of… well… Beauty and the Beast…) and slight scariness/intense wrapup, I don’t recall anything that younger readers should steer clear of. It was just delightful all-around! 🙂

9. I’m pretty sure… yep, I can’t think of anything, so I will say: There is nothing I don’t like about this book! Yes, that can be one of the things I like about it, that there’s nothing I dislike. This is my review, so my rules, so I will write it how I want. XD

10. It’s fairly short, which means that I read it in an afternoon, so that was nice—even if I would have wanted it to go FOREVER because I want to keep reading this glorious hilarity! But that’s not actually a con, because fortunately this is only the first in a series, so I’m going to get to read more adventures of the Brothers Beasley and Lady Cordelia and this hilarious fairytale-mashup world AND I CAN’T WAIT AAAAHHH! (No seriously, I can’t wait. Where is the next book? I NEED IT NOW. *flails* *pouts because I have to wait till it comes out*)

Conclusion:

READ THIS BOOK.

(I will say nothing more about it because I do not want to spoil its amazingness. But go read it. Honestly. It’s that good. In fact, it’s better.)

About the Book

Private eye Nick Beasley lives in a world where fairy tales ended a long time ago – where zeppelins now soar the skies instead of dragons, and where the first automobiles have taken the place of flying carpets. He’s made a name for himself across the Afterlands by debunking fake magicians and exposing fraudulent monsters. This is the modern age, after all. Magic and monsters are long gone.

At least, that’s what Nick believes. Until he gets magically transformed into a monster, that is.

The only person who may be able to help Nick is Lady Cordelia Beaumont, one of the last enchantresses in the Afterlands. But in order for her to cure him, they’ll have to retrieve a powerful artifact from a ruthless crime lord – who is also Cordelia’s father.

The fate of the Afterlands lies in the hands of a runaway enchantress and a monstrous ex-detective. What could possibly go wrong?

Links: AmazonGoodreads • Author’s Blog

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What do you think? Sound intriguing? IT’S AWESOME. Have you ever read an alternate-history book?

Also, don’t forget to drop by Kyle’s blog where he’s giving away a signed copy of The Beast of Talesend this week as part of the Silmarillion Awards celebration! (The ebook is also reduced to 99 cents on Amazon until July 30th.)

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

10 Thoughts on Beggar Magic by H.L. Burke

Title: Beggar Magic
Author: H. L. Burke

Date read: April 25, 2017
Rating: 5 stars
Genre: Fantasy / Steampunk
Age: YA
Year pub: 2014
Pages: (Kindle copy doesn’t have page numbers… Amazon claims paperback version would be 208 pages)
Fave character: Brick (also Vickers, near the end)
Source: Either got it free on Amazon one time, or free for signing up for H.L. Burke’s newsletter; don’t remember which.
Notes: I read this book for the Fellowship of Fantasy book club April 2017
Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor Website • Author Blog

Ten Thoughts on Beggar Magic:

  1. Another fun yet genre-defying read! (Apparently I really love those. XD) It started out like a mild Steampunk story with elements of very original fantasy, and then turned into a sort of academy-story, which turned into a murder mystery, and all with a strong thread of friendship and a dash of romance. Basically it was great. 😀
  2. The world was super interesting! It’s a psuedo-19th-century kind of feel, with a Steampunk flavor, but some other parts of it seem kind of more old-fashioned. I loved the fantasy element of the “Strains” which are musical wisps of something like magic/sprites. There are class-distinctions based on how well you can hear/use the Strains. And much of the story takes place in a sort of academy thing in an intriguingly-arranged city with different sections specializing in different things. Anyway, for some reason I found the whole world and setup super fascinating. I could also see everything SO clearly. And the “costumes” and rifles and just—LOVE!
  3. There were several directions I would think the story was going, but it kept doing something totally different and unexpected. I don’t know if that means I’m disappointed, or if it means it was awesome because it was so surprising and original and kept me on my toes! I guess I’m not actually disappointed, just… mentioning it was different than I thought. It also got QUITE intense near the end there! I kept forgetting to breathe. o.o
  4. Brick! I really liked Brick. 😀 Brick is a deaf guard who is absolutely epic but also kindhearted and sweet—basically Brick is awesome and he was my favorite. 🙂 All the parts with him were the best. ❤
  5. Leilani, our heroine, was all right—for some reason I felt a little detached from her? But I liked her okay. I thought it was neat how in most books she’d be considered the “side-kick” and Zebedy would be the hero, but Leilani got to be the heroine of this. 😀 Leilani only has “beggar magic” which means she isn’t particularly gifted or special, like Zebedy is… so normally, Zebedy would be the heroine and main character, and I thought it was neat how it’s basically a story from the POV of the “chosen one’s” side-kick. So cool!
  6. Zebedy was spoiled and I didn’t usually like her too much, but I didn’t always dislike her either… and sometimes I felt sorry for her… Eh, I don’t know. I might have liked her more if the story was from her perspective, but like I said above, I did like how it was told from Leilani’s POV.
  7. Leilani’s and Zebedy’s friendship was really cute (if occasionally rather trying, as many besties-stories can be…). 🙂 As were… other relationships which are spoilers. Much cuteness all-around! ❤ EEP. My little adorableness-loving heart is VERY happy. ^_^ (Especially with how everything turned out at the end. :))
  8. I was really surprised by Vickers’ character—at first I SUPER disliked him (and for some reason thought he was way younger than he was), but somewhere along the way I realized I’d actually… grown to like him. o.o Rather a lot, actually! I wished we could have seen more of Vickers. But this hardly ever happens where I dislike a character but then end up absolutely loving them! So kudos on that.
  9. THERE WAS A PLOT TWIST. WHICH I SUDDENLY GUESSED DUE TO A SUBTLE HINT. AND I WANTED IT TO BE TRUE. AND THEN IT WAS. AND IT MADE ME HAPPY. 😀
  10. Overall, there were a couple things—hard to pinpoint—which kept this from becoming a top-favorite-of-all-time, but it still seems to deserve a spot on the 5-star list, and on the whole it was a super fascinating, suspenseful, original read, and funny with great dialog too! I’m actually super fond of this story and really enjoyed it! 🙂

Favorite Quotes

“Jess and I do not flirt. We converse.”

“I didn’t know conversing involved so much eye-batting.”

***

“Walk like a lady.”

Like a quick lady, Leilani decided.

***

“It’s a long story, but Vicky is my nemesis.”

Leilani mulled over this as the girls took the path back to the maze entrance. She had never known anyone with a nemesis before.

***

Leilani hoped she wouldn’t lose her ability to think if she ever fell in love.

***

“I don’t understand it either, but Art fellows like things that don’t make sense.”

***

“That’s Art. They get all the odd ones.”

***

“Vickers Buffet, eighteen.”

“That is Buffet as in to hit someone repeatedly with a blunt object? Correct?” A smile played about Zeb’s mouth.

Vickers smirked at her. “Wouldn’t you like to know?”

“Not really. Did you get that, Leilani?”

Leilani quickly scratched out the information. “Vickers Buffet, eighteen, likes to hit things repeatedly with blunt objects. Check.”

***

[Leilani reading a book:] It was a romance, the dry kind where the boy and girl fought for foolish reasons, and she kind of hoped one or both would die before the end.

***

“Did you come here just to insult my office?” [Vickers, of course. He is awesome. XD]

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What do you think? Intriguing? Do you have any favorite steampunk-esque, or academy-type, or unique fantasy-world books?

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer