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The Tomb of the Sea Witch by Kyle Robert Shultz

Today I’m reviewing the sequel to The Beast of Talesend, AND I’M SO EXCITED!

Title: The Tomb of the Sea Witch
Author: Kyle Robert Shultz

  • Date read: July 23, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Fairytale retelling (Little Mermaid, bits of Beauty and the Beast, etc.)
  • Age: YA — or, well, anyone really
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 209 (paperback)
  • Series: Beaumont and Beasley, #2 (read my review for Book 1, The Beast of Talesend)
  • Fave character: Crispin and Nick
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free Advance Review Copy of this book from the author (many thanks!). I was not required to write a positive review and these opinions are entirely my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Blog

I don’t know how to review this book! I JUST LOVED IT A LOT, OKAY?

There are SO many amazing twists, and spoilers that I have to avoid talking about because I don’t want to spoil it… I also kind of want to keyboard-smash and flail in all-caps that everyone should read this… I will attempt to be coherent, but MAN, this might be hard. *twitch* Ahem. *gathers self*

This is an utterly fun adventure! From the moment I read the prologue (in Nick’s delightful dry narrator tone, of course) I knew I was going to adore this book—and was I ever right! (The answer is yes; yes, I was right.)

I loved The Tomb of the Sea Witch just as much as book 1, The Beast of Talesend—possibly more, if that’s possible. O_O I… I don’t even know; I loved them both a LOT. But this one has potential to be my favorite so far, if only because of a few awesome things which were even more prevalent than before.

LIKE THE CHARACTERS.
AND THEIR BICKERING.
AND THE HUMOR.
AND THE FAIRYTALE TWISTS.
AND ALL THE PLOT TWISTS.
AND MAGICAL CREATURES.
(And I will try to be coherent, promise. *cough*)

More fascinating fairytale bits feature in this! Book 1 was largely Beauty and the Beast, and this one has remainders of that, but is mostly The Little Mermaid… ish… but different. (I will say no more. XD) Other THINGS are also referenced. O_O Needless to say, this post-fairytale world of the Afterlands is still FASCINATING, and totally unpredictable, and I can’t wait to see what other fairytale things get woven in later on!

THERE ARE TWISTS GALORE. The adventure got pretty intense in the midst of all the humor and character interactions! Eep! *collapses* EXCITEMENT. And so much trouble for our heroes. XD I couldn’t put it down and had to keep flipping those pages. It kills me that I can’t say much about the plot because I LOVE so many of the plot twists, but I will not spoil them—just go read the book yourself! (But these plot twists though. So many amazing and/or ominous developments! :O)

Nick is still an AWESOME narrator—seriously, he’s a favorite! ^_^ I just love his loyalty and grouchiness and he’s fabulous. ❤ Cordelia is taking a turn for the mysterious (I mean, she had a dash of that to start with) and—gah, I need to know more about her. O.o She’s great too. 😀 CRISPIN IS IN THIS ONE MORE. *does a dance of happiness* I absolutely loved Crispin in book 1, although he wasn’t in it very much, so I was ecstatic to find that he has more of a central role in this one. SO MUCH CRISPIN. ❤ It’s still mostly about Nick, but more Crispin “screen-time” this time around was great, and all the shenanigans he got up to were hilarious. XD He also went through a lot… *cough* *hugs Crispin and adopts him*

But even better than each individual character on their own? ALL THE CHARACTERS TOGETHER. I absolutely LOVE this trio! THEY ARE THE BEST!!! *hugs them* Nick and Cordelia are so great; I love their banter. I love Crispin and Nick’s brotherly shenanigans and interactions. I love how Nick and Cordelia try to keep Crispin in line and he tries to keep THEM in line and—laksjdlfkj SO MUCH ADORABLE. All three of them just make the greatest trio! There are some fabulous character arcs going on here during the continuing quest to de-Beast-ify Nick, and more questions raised about all the characters… ACK, I can’t wait to read more about these three! Anyhow, the Beasley brothers are fantastic together! I love themmm! ❤

There are other fun characters introduced, too. 🙂 Molly, for instance. *grins* I really like her. 😀 She and a certain character were so adorable together. XD And we have an ominous dragon with SUCH a presence… o.o And since it takes place largely at a magical “anti-hero” type school (*laughs so hard over this*), we have a small group of students dubbed “the Mythfits” by Nick—and they were so fun. XD And Kiran (a certain descendant of a certain character…) was verrry interesting and I’m curious about him. Mer-people also feature—yay!—as well as mythical creatures galore—many of which Crispin “adopts” in this, which was beyond adorable. 😛 (The little dragon/salamander though!! “Zup-zup!” <3)

I must confess, the very ominous epilogues got me extremely nervous for what will become of these characters in the upcoming sequels—eep! O_O (NEED. MORE. BOOKS. NOW.) So as far as any “downsides,” that’s literally all I can think of: that I’m VERY worried for my character friends, and there’s a bit of intense, dark scariness throughout the book, mostly in the second half. (But all mixed in with hilariousness, so it still felt pretty lighthearted overall. Of course, it being intense only means it’s VERY EXCITING and only makes me want to read them more, sooo…)

Short version: This book is one of the funniest I’ve read, with the BEST dialog, and is an utterly original twist on fairytales, with some of my favorite characters ever; I totally recommend it. JUST READ IT ALREADY, EVERYONE. Or, well, maybe read The Beast of Talesend first. BUT READ THIS BECAUSE IT’S FABULOUS.

Now I’ll just be over here flipping through both books and reading amusing quotes from Nick and Crispin and co., while waiting impatiently for the sequel, because I NEEDS MORE OF THESE, PRECIOUSSS.

(P.S. This was the perfect thing to read over a weekend when I was kayaking—all the water!—and my family also benefited from it because I couldn’t resist quoting aloud parts of it as I read; there were lots of laughs. The book photography opportunities were also perfectly timed. <3)

(This quote was so appropriate for being at the beach, I had to snap a picture of it. XD It will stand in for quotes, because if I were to share my “favorite quotes” like I do sometimes, I would literally quote the whole book…)

~ ~ ~

So there you are! Do you have this or The Beast of Talesend on your To-Read list? BECAUSE YOU SHOULD. XD And what’s the best fairytale retelling, or funniest book, you’ve read lately?

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

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Blog Tour, Giveaway, + Review: “Dreams and Devotion” by Sarah Holman

Welcome to the blog tour for the release of Sarah Holman’s latest book in the Tales of Taelis series: Dreams and Devotion!

Over the last couple of months, I’ve been reading through the series up to this point, and enjoying it greatly, so I’m excited to share it with you! 🙂

Here’s a bit about the book, as well as a GIVEAWAY and other tour stops, and then below is my review. 🙂

Dreams and Devotion

Some dreams will be dashed, and their devotion will be tested.

Dara’s life is full of farm work and worries, especially now that her older brother is a priest in a far off city. Yet she still has time to dream of the life she hopes will someday be. She dreams of marrying her dear friend and the worries of her family ending. Now, the selfishness of one person threatens her very way of life.

Dresden’s initial excitement about living a life devoted to the service of God quickly is dashed on the rocks of reality. The life of a priest is nothing like what he imagined. To make matters worse, he finds out his family back in his home village is on the brink of disaster. Torn between his vows and his love for his family, what will he choose?

Dreams and Devotion releases July 15, 2017

Buy the book for the special preorder price, here.


Giveaway

*****ENTER GIVEAWAY VIA RAFFLECOPTER HERE*****


About the Author

Sarah Holman is a not so typical mid-twenties girl: A homeschool graduate, sister to six awesome siblings, and author of many published books and short stories. If there is anything adventuresome about her life, it is because she serves a God with a destiny bigger than anything she could have imagined.

Find her at www.thedestinyofone.com


Stops on the blog tour:

July 8

Bookish Orchestrations ~ Faith Blum

July 9

His Princess Warrior ~ Katie Hamilton

July 10

In the Book Case ~ Tarissa Graves

Jessica Greyson ~ Jessica Greyson

July 11

Gods Peculiar Treasure Rae ~ Raechel

Read Another Page ~ Rebekah Morris

July 12

Whimsical Writings For His Glory ~ Jesseca Dawn

Shannon McDermott ~ Shannon McDermott

July 13

The Page Dreamer ~ Deborah O’Carroll
(You are here! ^_^ Thanks for dropping by! <3)

July 14

Knitted by God’s Plans ~ Kendra E. Ardnek

With a Joyful Noise ~ Amanda Tero

Once Upon an Ordinary ~ Kate Willis

July 15

Jaye L. Knight ~ Jaye L. Knight


Title: Dreams and Devotion
Author: Sarah Holman

  • Date read: June 17, 2017
  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Genre: Christian / Adventure / Historical Fiction (in fictional country, medieval times)
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 137 (Kindle)
  • Series: Tales of Taelis, #4
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free e-ARC from the author for review purposes (many thanks!); these opinions are my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

Dreams and Devotions is a well-written medieval tale about a brother and sister, Dara and Dresden (love their names!): a peasant girl’s life at her farm and home village, and her brother’s life as a new priest, separately facing adversity and growing stronger in their faith. It’s an extremely emotional and rather bitter-sweet book, focusing on the little things, but it kept me so absorbed and it was overall quite good.

My favorite part was the moonlit harvest scene—I loved it! ❤ There’s a scene that’s staying in my memory for a long time. ^_^

Even though it was not an “exciting” story, and focused mainly on the day-to-day life of farming in medieval times and other struggles, it was so well-written and had me absolutely hooked. I could NOT stop reading! I was super caught up in it. 🙂 It’s definitely an unusual and unique tale, more somber and thoughtful than fun or adventurous, but keeping the reader’s attention all the same.

There were many heart-touching or heartbreaking moments, both good and sad, which made me tear up a few times. I don’t always like when books do that but it definitely made me feel strongly. 😉 Sometimes there seemed to be no hope for awhile, but it did sometimes bring goodness out of the darkness and show God using some things for good. There were a lot of good messages throughout the story, many of which I liked. 🙂

I’m continuing to love visiting this land of Taelis! 🙂 Delmore Castle and various characters from Courage and Corruption feature in this book, which was super neat! The harvest song even came back! I’m curious to see where the rest of the stories will take us, so I’m eagerly looking forward to the next book in the series! ^_^ In the meantime, this is the fourth and latest Taelis book (though they can all stand alone!), and I’ve enjoyed the whole series so far. 🙂

It was a lot sadder than books that I normally like to read, feeling more like real-life sometimes than a work of fiction, leaving a few threads not wrapped up in a (to me!) satisfactory way (I wanted one character’s story to end up differently, but all we got was a note in the epilogue that unfortunately left it hanging, and I also expected a romance but didn’t find one; both were sad parts), but despite all that I’d still say it’s a good book, even if not my usual cup of tea. It was very well written, and I’m so impressed with the fact that, despite any quibbles or sadness (and these are my own, personal opinions!), it was still a very good book and had me extremely absorbed. Overall, quite good. 🙂

If you like Christian fiction and medieval times, a well-written book with heart, some bittersweetness, and people overcoming daily struggles and growing closer to God, you will love Dreams and Devotion. ^_^

Favorite Quotes

It was a stick he had fashioned into a crude bow. He had made it in their younger days when he and Geoffrey would play The Archer in the forest. She had been allowed to play with them at times, sometimes playing the part of the brave princess Brianna, sometimes playing a maiden in need of rescue.

***

“Dara, the greatest gift that we can ever offer anyone is ourselves. You have been a friend to me and so many others. You have not let the disappointments of this year keep you from being someone who dares to dream, hopes for the best, trusts God, and loves without holding back.”

***

~ ~ ~

Read my other reviews for the series:

  

~ ~ ~

Have you tried the Tales of Taelis series yet? Thanks so much for dropping by, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway! ^_^

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

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

~ ~ ~

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

King’s Warrior + Second Son by Jenelle Schmidt

Double-review today, for two awesome fantasy novels by Jenelle Schmidt, in the Minstrel’s Song series! 🙂

Title: King’s Warrior
Author: Jenelle Leanne Schmidt

  • Date read: January 29, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2011
  • Pages: 411 (paperback)
  • Series: The Minstrel’s Song, #1
  • Fave character: Brant and Kiernan Kane
  • Source: Won in a giveaway from author — thanks! (I mean, I also bought an e-copy, but still. XD)
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

What an enjoyable fantasy adventure novel! I really, really liked this book. 😀 There’s a lot of the classic quest-and-journey stuff going on, but in new ways too, and I loved the world and characters, and just overall had a great time reading it! 🙂

I confess that I actually read a sequel to this book, Yorien’s Hand, before reading this one (which is book one in the series), so that was interesting. XD That meant it read more like a prequel for me, and I already knew how a lot of it would turn out. But this in no way reduced my enjoyment of the story—not at all! And I was impressed and pleased that there were a couple of things that were still surprise twists! 😀

There may have been a few times (especially nearer the beginning of the book) when the early-days-of-this-author might have shown, or when there were plot holes or typos and what-have-you, or when the classic fantasy things which some might consider cliche or something popped up, but I elected to ignore those points in favor of simply enjoying the book as what it is: an extremely enjoyable fantasy novel, with a great adventure, an intriguing world, and a cast of lovable characters. 🙂 So good! ^_^

Speaking of characters—I loved them! So many great ones. Brant, the warrior, who’s my favorite—he’s just epic. ^_^ Kiernan Kane, the amusing minstrel (but with more to him than he seems), who actually shares top-spot for favorite. 😉 They are both so awesome!! ❤ Then Princess Kamarie is a good heroine, Oraeyn the squire is a FABULOUS hero, and other characters like young Yole, who was great, and various people they meet along the way such as the daughters of the Wizard Scelwhyn. I really liked Dylanna, for instance. 😀 And oodles of great side-characters too, who are sometimes a little hard to keep straight (might be my fault for reading the whole series out of order… *cough*), but still fabulous. And dragons, of course. 😀 It’s a well-populated fantasy world, and I loved the characters. ^_^

I loved this fantasy world, as well! It was just so neat to wander through it with these friends of mine, and I’m very attached to it. 🙂 I liked the dragons and other myth-folk, and the forests and mountains and bay and castle and cliffs, and all the different fascinating characters and happenings.

There’s a tragic scenario in the first few chapters where a man’s young family was killed, so that might be a little dark/rough emotionally, and of course there’s some action/battles throughout, but otherwise it was delightful and family-friendly, and I can imagine it being a fun book to read aloud, or for readers of all ages. 🙂 There’s something for everyone in it. 😀

The book had me laughing hysterically a few times, like when Leila and Kiernan Kane were up to their antics (especially when he came knocking. XD) and when Oraeyn talked with the tree sprite person (I absolutely loved that bit. XD) and surely several times when Kiernan was doing his silly minstrel things. 😀

In a sense, I ended up liking Second Son more than this one, just for its originality and Brant-ness and writing quality, but this one is definitely more fun overall, and I especially loved Brant’s mysterious self in this and the companions on their quest together, and just the classic feel of it, so… I can’t decided which of the three book out so far in the series is my favorite. I just love them all! ^_^ *hugs King’s Warrior and my favorite characters*

Overall, I just loved this book and this series and can’t wait to finish reading it! ^_^ Definitely recommend for fantasy lovers! ❤

~ ~ ~

Title: Second Son
Author: Jenelle Leanne Schmidt

  • Date read: April 17, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Epic Fantasy
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2013
  • Pages: 445 (paperback)
  • Series: Book 2 in The Minstrel’s Song (though chronologically a prequel to Book 1: King’s Warrior)
  • Fave character: Brant and Kiernan Kane
  • Source: Won in a giveaway from author — thank you! (And had also bought an e-copy on Amazon, but paperbacks are the best, so. ;))
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

I loved this book! *hugs it*

It’s somehow a very unique fantasy novel! I mean, it’s like a classic fantasy quest type of thing, and there’s dragons and other wonders and so on, but something about it felt… new. And different. And there’s not one particular quest, it’s more following Brant through his life and a series of quests and adventures, which gave it an interesting and unique overall arc to the story. And it’s quite well written, too! I was super impressed with how the author’s writing improved from book one (which I also enjoyed immensely! But the writing in this one is noticeably better, in the best way. :D) and just very easy to read. 🙂

Brant himself is my favorite for the most part—he’s just a great hero! 🙂 I love the interesting things that come of comparing his home country and training with other places, and adding to his mysterious and generally epic air. 😀 He was a wonderful character in King’s Warrior and Yorien’s Hand, and just… I love getting his story! ^_^ I so enjoyed reading about his childhood up to being the King’s Warrior. Fabulous.

Plus, in the second half, Brant and Arnaud being friends when they were younger IS THE ABSOLUTE BEST! ^_^ I also loved getting to see things about the past of some of the other King’s Warrior characters, like how Princess Kamarie’s mother and father met! SO GREAT! 😀 And, of course, the minstrel Kiernan Kane makes a fabulous cameo! Love that minstrel fellow! ^_^

This is kind of like if Aragorn had a prequel about his youth, or if we saw Gwydion (from Prydain) out learning things when he was young. And I absolutely love that! 😀 Getting to see Brant wander across all of the various lands in this delightful fantasy world, learning things and meeting friends old and new, and generally becoming the wise, epic warrior we know from King’s Warrior. He’s one of my favorite characters of all time, and I just loved seeing his backstory! ^_^

Oh, oh! And when Brant talks with the Forest! I loved that part! 😀 One of my faves! ^_^

I find it amusing how I actually read these in reverse chronological order. XD I started with Yorien’s Hand, which takes place after King’s Warrior; then I read King’s Warrior; then I read Second Son, which is chronologically before King’s Warrior. XD …Now I kind of want to read the other two again! :O

A funny thing about prequels… I can never decide if they’re best read before or after the main Book One… because both ways are so enjoyable! I’m definitely glad that I read King’s Warrior before this, since a lot of the sad things in Second Son I wasn’t AS sad about as I would have been if I hadn’t already known how certain things end up in Brant’s life. Somehow, a lot of the sadness in this book is okay, simply because it IS a prequel and I know that a lot of the characters in it aren’t in later ones and therefore are probably dead later so I try not to get TOO attached to them… And so on. And something about it being the sad backstory of a hero, makes it easier to bear because it’s PAST and not currently happening. (Kind of like the older myths of The Silmarillion are easier to bear because they’re not NOW in the time of LOTR and The Hobbit.) If that makes any sense at all to anyone other than me. XD Some of it WAS sad, by its nature, but I didn’t actually mind. (The most heartbreaking thing of all, of course, was Brant and his brother. Which of course I knew about due to King’s Warrior, but… yeah, I’ll just go over here and cry for a bit. Ahem.)

There’s joy and heartbreak, humor and epic quests, and just everything a fantasy novel needs! 🙂 Overall, I just really, really, really enjoyed this book! ^_^ I definitely recommend it to anyone who loves epic fantasy or just a good adventure, because it’s fabulous. 😀

(I love the backs of these covers. So epic and gorgeous. ❤ )

Have you read either of these? You should, because they’re awesome! 😀 Have you read any good epic fantasies lately that you can recommend? I’m always on the lookout for those!

Also, the author is giving away a paperback of King’s Warrior on her blog this week, during fun Silmarillion Awards things going on currently, so be sure to check it out and enter!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Arbiter by Jamie Foley

Title: Arbiter

Author: Jamie Foley

  • Date read: May 20, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Suspense / Post-Apocalyptic (other world) / Christian
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 282 (paperback)
  • Series: Sentinel Trilogy, #2 (see my Double Review for Sentinel and Viper)
  • Fave character: Jet!
  • Source: From the author
  • Notes: I received a free copy of this book from the author for review purposes (many thanks! :)). I was not required to write a positive review; these opinions are my own
  • Links: Amazon (Kindle/Paperback)Signed PaperbackGoodreadsAuthor’s Website

How do I even review this? Nearly everything that happens are spoilers of awesomesauce levels for anyone who’s read Sentinel, so it’s extremely hard to review this book. XD I will do my best to do so without spoilers, however! *tries to be vague*

Darien, Sorvashti, Aleah, and of course Jet are back for more epic shenanigans. *hugs them all* Jet is my FAVE as usual! 😀 He’s awesome. ❤ I’d say this book is primarily about Jet. We still get a LOT about Darien, since Darien’s the hero of course, but we get a lot of Jet’s POV and story, which I loved!! 😀 Darien is actually coming a long ways from where he was in book one. I was super impressed that he’s learning things and just coming further in general! *hugs Darien* I mean, he still has a lot to learn. >.> Ahem. But still.

IT’S SO INTENSE. *collapses* If book one seemed intense, this one was as much or more so. O_O I’m pretty sure I read this thing faster than I should have and consequently hardly remember bits of it, because I just could NOT stop zipping through those pages I was glued to! (Don’t ask about the logistics of this sentence. Just—don’t. Ahem.)

Other interesting thiiiings:

  • There’s a new villain who, can I just say, is very interesting. O.o
  • The settings range from snowy forested mountainsides to a tropical jungle island, so that was super cool!
  • Somebody loses their memory AND IT’S AWESOME AND HILARIOUS. XD That’s one of those “tropes” that can be hard to do well but I LOVE it and it was particularly awesome in this. 😀 This book is worth it just for that. XD *zips lips and says no more*
  • THE FRUIT. *dies of laughter* Nobody will understand this until reading chapter 14, but I thought it was epic. XD Ahhh, Jet is awesome. 😀

Downsides?

  • It might be a little scarier than the first book… Maybe? So, kind of violent and intense, so if you’re sensitive to that sort of thing, I’d recommend caution.
  • I did miss some of the extra humorous banter of Sentinel. There’s tons of funny lines in this one too, especially regarding the memory-loss thing, but overall this one seemed a little more serious? Could be my imagination. Don’t get me wrong, there is still a lot to laugh at in this one, which I loved! But things are getting more serious in the world as well, so… anyway. I don’t think that’s particularly a downside, necessarily, just saying the books are different. XD

I’m going to confess that I did the unthinkable… I actually peeked at the end. >.> I KNOW. So awful of me. But I was SO worried I just had to peek and make sure a certain something would be okay at the end before I could settle back down and enjoy it. Ahem. Don’t be like me, but I thought I would confess. XD After that I was able to enjoy it, and WOW did I enjoy it! 😀 It’s just a blast. Some of it was just a wee bit intense for me until I made sure some of it would be mostly okay, is all. But I’m a wimpier reader than some, so. 😉

I still love this fantasy world! It’s more on the dystopian/post-apocalyptic side, with remnants of technology, fantasy things going on (so many!) and an emerging spiritual world and so on. I’m enjoying learning more about this world and history and the different races, and the different Aether powers—including a couple new ones we didn’t run into in the first book! I love these Aether “superpowers”/“gifts” and how they tie into the story. 😀 Especially the mind-y things, since those are the “Arbiter” gift, which is what this book is named after… largely because that’s what Jet is and as I said, this book is somewhat about him. Also, I was very glad I’d read Viper (the prequel novella) because there’s a bit of harking back to that… and I will say no more because spoilers. 😉

But but FANTASY THINGS. Which I can’t say anything about, either… I will merely say that the Serran idea is fascinating, and a certain re-appearance of a character near the end (watch for a fox) seems to usher in a whole new look at fantasy things which has me very excited! 😀 (WINGS THOUGH. Ahem.)

SO MANY FEELS TOO. *collapses* Let’s just say I’m super worried/stressed at CERTAIN CHARACTERS’ life decisions near the end there. *cough* NO. STAHP. DON’T DO THIS!! D: I hope they will turn out okay in the next one. *squirming* I’m positively dying to read the final book, Sage, especially with that last chapter! Similar to book one (Sentinel), this ended not exactly on a cliff-hanger, but more on a “wait, that’s it? I NEED THE NEXT SCENE!” sort of place. Verrrry much looking forward to the final book and how all of this is going to turn out! O_O Just so much HAPPENED in this book! *flails* I need to know how this all turns out! (I also want more of Thracian. Because he’s cool.)

Anyway, definitely start with Sentinel, but I totally recommend this book as well, and it’s just as good as Sentinel, and in some ways better! 🙂 If you like suspenseful fantasy with a touch of technology and lovable characters and humor, that’s just super well written and generally AWESOME, definitely give this series a try! 🙂

Have you read any of these yet? Do they intrigue you? (I hope so, because they’re so unique and cool! XD)

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

10 Thoughts on “Courage and Corruption” by Sarah Holman

Title: Courage and Corruption
Author: Sarah Holman

Date read: June 16, 2017
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Christian / Adventure / Historical Fiction (in fictional country, medieval times)
Age: YA
Year pub: 2016
Pages: 161 (Kindle)
Series: Tales of Taelis, #3
Fave character: Uncle Edwin and King John
Source: Amazon
Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

Ten Thoughts on Courage and Corruption

1. Still enjoying this series. 🙂 I think this one was the most well-written in the series yet, and it’s awesome to see this author’s writing improving more and more over time!

2. It’s about a twin brother and sister (Christopher and Catherine) who don’t… erm… get along. 😛 They have to learn to become better people etc. There are a lot of strong Christian messages/themes along this line throughout the book. 🙂

3. I didn’t enjoy the first half of the story as much because it was hard reading about these characters being so angry and argumentative, so I… kind of didn’t like them very much then because they had so much to learn. Likely just one of my reading quirks. 😛 So for that reason, it wasn’t my personal favorite of the series, even though it’s the most well-written and would likely be a favorite with most readers. 🙂

4. In the second half of the book, I warmed to the story much more, and I found myself quite enjoying the intrigue and excitement, once most of the character-building parts had been dealt with. 🙂

5. I LOVED the plot that emerged in this one, linking back to a certain event in Adventures and Adversities, and featuring descendants of the little prince from that one! :O I was so hoping that plot would come back and it DID. 😀 That was one of my favorite things about the story. ^_^

6. My other main favorite thing was all the little stories Uncle Edwin told. 🙂 That was so fun, like lots of mini tales within this one; my favorite was the one about the Shepherd King and the one about Princess Brianna and John in the garden. 😀 Lovely little follow-up to Brothers and Betrayal! AWK. Such cute. ^_^

7. It’s been great reading more of these books set in the medieval country of Taelis! I especially loved seeing familiar places like Coraway Castle and Delmore Castle (both of which are super super cool… I’d love to live in Coraway Castle! I hope to see more of it in future books too. :)).

8. There are also lots of references to characters and events from the first two books, which I loved. ^_^ (Some of that’s inevitably a little sad though, of course, with multiple generations. 😦 But oh well. Otherwise I liked the references.)

9. Oh, and along that line, it was neat to see the main characters from Brothers and Betrayal in this one a little, much older but still lurking around being great. 🙂 Bryon, John, and Brianna all make appearances. 🙂

10. Overall, while some of it didn’t click for me personally, I think most people would really enjoy this! If you like Christian fiction with strong themes and families and adventure and medieval times, you will probably like this one; and like I said, it’s probably the most well-written yet. 🙂 Can also stand alone. I’m definitely curious to continue reading this series in this lovely land of Taelis. ^_^

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In the series so far (will update with links to my posts as I review them):

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Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer