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The Stroke of Eleven (by Kyle Robert Shultz) – Beaumont & Beasley, #3

(Pretty cover is pretty…)

Title: The Stroke of Eleven

Author: Kyle Robert Shultz

  • Date read: December 3, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fairytale retelling (Cinderella / Beauty and the Beast / Alice in Wonderland / etc.)
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 255 (Kindle)
  • Series: Beaumont & Beasley, #3
  • Fave character: DON’T MAKE ME PICK. (*ignores fact that I’m the one who asks myself these questions*)
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free e-copy of this book from the author (thanks!); these opinions are entirely my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO REVIEW THIS, HALP.

So much of this story is mind-boggling twists, and it’s basically a walking spoiler, so HOW I am even going to BEGIN to talk about this is just…

*takes deep breath*

This will be a spoiler-free review, and I will attempt coherency, but basically: everyone needs to read this so that I can talk about it, because if the whole world has read it, then nothing will be a spoiler anymore, right? Right. Problem solved!

Anyway. Reviewing.

MEEP. <—[My entire reaction to the entire book.]

I HAVE FEELS, OKAY. I HAVE MANY FEELS.

NO I WILL NOT BE CALM.

*calms self*

I haven’t quite figured out how I feel about a few of the things. Because wow, things GO DOWN in this and nothing will be the same. O_o It was honestly exhausting to read. So, good news for all you people who love feelsy books: this one is for you. XD

I… ahem… do NOT always love feelsy books, so like I said, I’m kind of on the fence on some things… BUT once I got over it, I think I figured out that I’m mostly worried about what will happen in future books, and not AS much about what actually happened in this one (or did it?), so since that’s kind of a silly thing to worry about, I’ll just say: this was a good book. An excellently written one, in fact. And it’s brilliant/genius/mindboggling, and as long as I don’t worry about what future books will hold for my precious character friends, or about some of the sort-of things that kind of maybe happened (or not? Time travel is confusing, guys.), I can say: I LOVED IT! 😀

It’s a fairytale retelling/reworking/mashup/THING, featuring Cinderella, dashes of Alice in Wonderland, continuations of Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid (because of the first two books) and TIMEY-WIMEY STUFF. How cool is that? VERY cool.

And I can’t say much about the plot because SPOILERS. (So. many.) But I’ll do what I can.

Nick and Cordelia continue to be one of my favorite things—seriously, I love their relationship and banter SO MUCH. And just them as characters. THEY ARE THE BEST. ❤ Crispin kind of isn’t in it as much, since he and Molly are kind of… out of the way near the beginning, but I didn’t actually mind as much as I thought I might. Because the explosion of plot twists, and Nick and Cordelia being adorable, kind of distracted me. XD (ButIloveCrispinokayarewegoodyesCrispinCrispinCrispin.) The Mythfits are back, being quirky as ever. 😉 MALCOLM returns—I was kind of unsure about him in Tomb of the Sea Witch, but gaaahh, I love him now. So much. We also meet exciting NEW characters!

And I quite liked the Cinderella and prince characters. They were great! 🙂 The Cinderella story was fascinating in this! (Any story that is very involved with a clock/midnight is a prime candidate for a time-travel story. ;)) And yay for dashes of steampunk!

There are SO many new developments, and time-travel-y thiiings (some of which are frankly terrifying, but you know). And DID I MENTION TWISTS? There are twists, people. o.o TWIIISTS. O____O And I guessed a couple of them and they happened and I’m in shock but wow, and I don’t know how I feel, but ALL THE THINGS. Also the White Rabbit. Yes. Wow.

AND THERE WERE BEAUTY AND THE BEAST THINGS. I know it’s silly, because the Disney cartoon isn’t even an original thing, and I only saw it once, but I was ridiculously happy about a little moment or two in this that was B&B-ish. XD (And there was a thrown roll. Just sayin’.)

Anyway, Nick and Cordelia and Crispin are some of my favorite EVER characters. I’m immensely attached to them. Plus I adore the Afterverse, and fairytales in general, and time travel hurts my brain, and what I mean to say is this book was excellent. Exhausting and hard for me to decide if I’m okay with a thing or two, but excellent. XD

And did I mention it’s still hilarious? No? Because IT’S STILL HILARIOUS. I don’t know HOW Kyle Shultz does all of this—hilarious, fairytale, timey-wimey, plot twist, epic, fun adventure, with all the feels, and my favorite characters. I’M KIND OF EMOTIONALLY INVESTED. If you can’t tell. Ahem.

SO, I LIED. This wasn’t a coherent review. Oh well.

Now you know what I think (kind of… as much as I know… which isn’t very much…), so you can dash off and read the book yourself so that we can discuss spoilery things… And if you can’t yet, because you haven’t read The Beast of Talesend, well WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR, YOU POOR SOUL. *shoos you off to go read that one because you’re missing out*

If you need me, I’ll just be over here in the corner, emotionally worn out and confused and waiting for another Beaumont and Beasley adventure. Send help. Or, no, send tea and cakes and the next book, and a safe where I can keep the characters protected from all the MEEPery. (It’s a word, shush.)

(This is why I don’t write reviews at one a.m.)

Some Favorite Quotes

So… parachutes. Not fun. I’ve never liked heights. I like them even less when I’m falling from them.

***

“Look… we come in peace.”

“No, we don’t!” cried Cordelia. “We don’t come in peace! We go in abject terror!”

***

Getting eaten by evil pumpkins was very low on my list of preferred ways to die.

***

“My name is Gervase,” he informed us.

“My condolences.”

***

Malcolm stopped me with a gesture before I could speak to him. “Please, don’t say anything. Whatever it is, I’ve already heard it.” He started doing a very poor imitation of my voice and accent. “Malcolm! Crikey! You’re so young! What’s going on here? Who’s that girl? I’m so confused! Oi!”

“I do /not/ sound like that,” I growled.

Melody smacked him on the back of the head. “Don’t be rude, grumpy-scales.”

***

“The White Rabbit Society is now assembled.” Kanin’s tone was solemn and ceremonial. “May the clock strike twelve.”

“May the clock strike twelve,” echoed everyone, including Cordelia.

I looked from one to the other in bewilderment. “Right. That wasn’t weird at all.”

***

“…but a scheme this brazen could get us all killed. Repeatedly.”

***

Melody moved over to a table laden with refreshments. She picked up some sandwiches and began gleefully throwing them at random people.

“She reminds me of you,” I said to Cordelia.

“Oh, really? I can’t imagine why.”

***

“Shut up and be magical.”

***

That was cheating, of course. But I was perfectly willing to cheat time, death, and any other inexorable force of nature for Crispin’s sake… regardless of what the consequences might be.

***

“Cinderella and Prince Charming.”

They both gave me displeased looks.

“What?” I shrugged. “That’s who you are, isn’t it?”

Cinderella rubbed her eyes. “I do wish people didn’t remember me by that ridiculous nickname my stepsisters made up.”

“And I have an actual name,” said Matteo. “Why do they never remember the princes’ actual names? Plus the fact that they made me out to be a complete idiot. How insane would you have to be to try finding a girl based on her shoe size?”

***

“Chin up, Gareth!” said Malcolm, with a sort of crazed cheerfulness. “Why worry? We’re Beaumont and Beasley! We live for danger!”

“Technically, only Cordelia, Crispin, Molly, and I are Beaumont and Beasley,” I reminded him.

“At this point, I’d say we’re all honorary members by virtue of shared insanity.”

~ ~ ~

Click covers for other related reviews:

  

~ ~ ~

Talk to me, fellow page dreamers! Have you read The Stroke of Eleven, or either of the first two Beaumont and Beasley books?

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

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The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Was using my shiny Sherlock bookmark while reading this; didn’t realize how appropriate it was until further in. XD

Title: The Invisible Library
Author: Genevieve Cogman

  • Date read: July 28, 2017
  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Steampunk
  • Age: Adult
  • Year pub: 2016
  • Pages: 330 (paperback)
  • Series: Book 1 in the Invisible Library series (Series list on Goodreads)
  • Fave character: Vale and Kai
  • Source: Library (the appropriateness of this fact is not lost on me…)
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazon

This cover makes me happy.

Well. That was… interesting. O_O

I wasn’t planning on reviewing this, buuut I’ve had a few people ask for my opinion, so I’m doing a quicky review for it! 🙂 (Quicky here having the meaning of long, because hello, it’s me we’re talking about. *coughcough*)

THINGS I LOVED

So, it’s basically a mystery, set in an alternate London where it’s steampunk-y and also magical; there are Fae and other creatures; it’s about BOOKS; there’s this enormous Library outside of time and space; the heroine is a librarian questing for a certain book, with an awesome sidekick and an awesome detective; and pretty much WHAT IS NOT TO LOVE? (I mean, a couple things, but we’ll get to that later.)

Imagine a Holmes story with steampunk and magic and Fae and books. That’s pretty much this, and I loved that. 😀 IT WAS SO FUN AND INTRIGUING!

The bookishness was fun, the mystery element was engaging, it was SUPER exciting and action-y a lot of the time, and written in an occasionally witty style, with characters to love once you get to know them, and some great dialog. Overall, it was quite enjoyable. 🙂

And the characters were all well-written and intriguing!

Irene was an interesting heroine, and I liked how bookish she was (I mean, Librarian, yes?) and sometimes just wanted to go curl up and read, but was usually pretty capable even if she didn’t feel like she was. I also loved how she loved mystery stories. XD

Kai! Yes, Kai was pretty cool. XD I really liked him most of the time. 🙂 Can’t say much about him because SPOILERS but yes. 😀 I’m curious to learn more about him and his “family”… And the way he was able to adapt in certain situations was awesome. Anyways, he was great. 😀

Vale! Oh my goodness, Vale. XD So I actually didn’t like him at first? o.o But he quickly grew on me, and basically he’s a detective in this time period so naturally I had to think of him as slightly Holmes-ish (though different of course). But I mean, Holmes in a magical world. XD And I loved his sword cane and capability and he was just awesome. 🙂 (Also curious to find out more about him…)

I also liked the interactions between these three—love these characters! ❤ *hugs ’em*

Silver was… interesting. O.o Slightly creepy Fae characters like that are always intriguing to read about, even when they’re kind of creepy. 😛 I actually was surprised we didn’t see more of him in this one, so I suspect he’ll be in later books more? And when he was up on the table like “bring me my gun!” that was awesome. XD

I really really disliked Bradamant and Alberich. I think I was more or less supposed to, kinda, so we’ll call that a good thing. 😛

(While I’m thinking of characters… Was there a love triangle? I don’t know if there was a love triangle. I think the point of the book was not focused on romance; so much so that it didn’t give any clear ideas on it, just veiled ideas [no pun intended] that were super confusing. Maybe I’m being overly picky and it’s not an issue? I dunno. I just felt like it was maybe being love-triangle-y, though it could just be professional-awesome-friendship on one side and romance on the other. Totally possible. It just didn’t give me enough information so it left me wondering because I’m silly like that. XD Probably for a later book…)

THINGS I DIDN’T LOVE AS MUCH

There were a couple things I didn’t care for and it did take me awhile to get into it, but once I did I thoroughly enjoyed myself. XD

FYI, as far as “content” (which I don’t always include in my reviews but in this case since I was asked to review it, some readers may wish to know) there’s a little swearing, and a few implied references I could have done without, but considering I found it in the “Adult” section of the library it wasn’t too bad (I frequent the YA area, okay; it’s not a crime), and it’s also rather creepy/violent a few times. I don’t usually mind, though there was one part where a cyborg alligator tore off a bystander’s leg and I was like “too much information!” 😛 It just startled me because otherwise it mostly wasn’t too graphic. XD

It’s also totally random and petty, but I HATE characters like Bradamant, which always lowers a book’s quality in my opinion. The back-stabby, “perfect”ly beautiful ladies who are deadly and spiteful, up against the rival heroine who thinks of herself as plain etc. etc. It’s old, and tiresome, and a little too much “mean girls” cat-fight-y for my taste. 😛 It’s a “me-thing” which I’m sure nobody else cares about, but… personally it annoys me a lot. *cough*

And a couple of tiny unimportant things freaked me out, like Irene thinking it was cool that Kai gave her a nickname based on Milady de Winter. MILADY IS CREEPY AND EVIL OKAY. JUST. PLEASE. DO NOT BE FLATTERED BY THAT. -_-

And honestly sometimes the Library creeped me out. >.> I’M SORRY. Sometimes it was cool, but sometimes I didn’t like some things about it…

And just typical mainstream book quibbles. *shrug*

Still, I enjoyed myself and was impressed that turned it around when I wasn’t as caught up to begin with, and still made me love it in the end. 🙂 Though it did have an annoying tendency to leave out a TON of information and make you wonder about things and just not INFORM the reader enough, or was confusing about it—for me, anyway—so a lot of the time I was flailing blindly through, going “stop dancing around things and ‘showing’ things—just TELL me something for once or I will throw you across the room!” Ahem. It wasn’t THAT bad but I just felt like we didn’t get enough info up front and that was kind of frustrating for me? I don’t enjoy feeling unintelligent OR uninformed and this was trying to do both to me. 😛 But it got better once it finally slipped enough info in, so yay! 🙂

But enough of that! I don’t mean to bash it really—I ended up quite enjoying it! 🙂 If it intrigues you, I’d say try it out. 🙂 And I’m curious to see where the next books lead… I’ll probably try out the sequel at some point. Gotta get back to this fascinating world and follow these awesome characters more, dontcha know! ^_^

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Magicians’ Trial (Spellsmith & Carver #2) by H.L. Burke

Title: Magicians’ Trial
Author: H. L. Burke

  • Date read: August 4, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Steampunk
  • Age: New Adult?
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 203 (Kindle)
  • Series: Spellsmith and Carver, #2 (see my review for book one!)
  • Fave character: Jericho and Auric
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free e-ARC of this book from the author (thank you!) and these opinions are entirely my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

Another fabulous Burke book! Due to the amount that I loved the first Spellsmith and Carver book, and the fact that I was expecting something more like the first one, I didn’t enjoy this one quiiiite as much as I hoped to, but it was still an excellent book! I just wasn’t expecting it to be so different. XD

Book 1 (Magicians’ Rivalry) featured the buddy-story-type beginning friendship of Jericho and Auric, and shenanigans in Faerie, with a dash of cute romance. It’s very fantasy-esque, features SO MUCH snark, and I adored it so much! (I guess I thought the next one would be more of the same. :P)

Book 2 (Magicians’ Trial) was completely unexpected, which now that I’m over that, is likely a good thing, because NEW. Even if the other kind is more my favorite. XD I’d call this one more of a steampunk story with dashes of magic and yes some of that famed snark still. 😉 It’s mostly set in their capitol city, instead of in Faerie, and there’s not as much magical happenings because MAGIC DROUGHT which is kind of our heroes’ fault… XD

I loved Auric and Jericho’s continuing friendship (with bouts of bickering, naturally) even if I miss the early days of it; and two certain characters are MARRIED now (*gasp*) which made for a different angle to the story than what I’m used to… You don’t see a lot of the continued adventures of married couples once the beginning romance has led to a wedding. XD I still prefer the first-romance part buuut at least it was new. So there were different dynamics in this one (married couple, friends who are actually friends now and not just by necessity, and a lot more of Rill than last time) which was definitely unique, even if different than I hoped/expected. XD

It was super exciting, well-written, and awesome though! I did really enjoy it. 🙂 It’s a thrilling, unique tale, more like a mystery and a steampunk city type of thing, with dashes of fantasy and snark and beloved characters, romance, humor, peril, betrayal, and so many things! I think it felt a little more like Beggar Magic than Magicians’ Rivalry, if that makes sense, but it was fascinating to see these new places and characters, and lovely to read more about Jericho, Auric, and Rill. 🙂

There’s also a new character, Lotta, who is very different, but neat—and she’s super shy and paranoid and mechanic-y, which was adorable—as was a certain new blooming romance. 😉 And I liked her uncle. XD Also there is more of Jaspyr, the mechanical fox—yay!—and I absolutely loved a certain part where he proved himself! *bouncing up and down and cheering* And a scary magical assassin lady with a totally creepy mechanical monkey. O_O EEP. And all sorts of mysterious characters doing mysterious things and popping in and out, and an austere inspector, and various plots—basically very mystery-vibed! WHO DO YOU TRUST. Ahem.

It was super interesting to see them having to use their wits to get them out of things sometimes when magical things wouldn’t work. XD Clever and fun! And of course the highlight is still Auric and Jericho’s great buddy relationship, on top of the snarkiness and humor and adventure. ^_^ AURIC AND JERICHO! ❤

All in all, I still loved book 1 the most, but this one was totally different and fascinating, thrilling and unputdownable (it’s a word, hush), and another worthy addition to the Spellsmith and Carver trilogy! (Now I’m anxiously awaiting book 3, terrified for what will happen to my precious character friends in the final installment, but so looking forward to more of these awesome characters in this fascinating fantasy/steampunk world!)

If you haven’t gotten a bit of Spellsmith and Carver in your life yet, you need to—so hasten to it, book friends! You need them in your life. ^_^

Favorite Quotes

“Technically, Auric could go alone,” Jericho said. “However, I don’t trust him to. Not that he wouldn’t represent us well, but he already hinted that he’d take the fall for this, and I want to be sure he doesn’t confess to something to spare the rest of us and end up in jail or worse.”

Her mouth tightened. “Yes, because Auric is the one who has a history of making stupid sacrificial gestures to protect the people he loves with no regard for his own well-being. That’s definitely only Auric. No one else we know has ever done anything foolish like that.”

***

“Are you sure you don’t wish me to accompany you?”

Auric rolled his eyes. “You, too? What, do I have ‘incapable of speaking for myself’ written on my forehead this morning?”

***

“I’m sorry. I should go. You’re obviously busy setting booby traps and—”

***

“Just a fox sniffing about the hen house for an opportunity.” Jericho snorted.

Jaspyr yipped.

“No offense, buddy.” Jericho rubbed the fox’s ears.

***

Auric gasped. “The water is rising.”

“How can you tell? Is it the fact that the stream is blocked by a cartload of rubble and it’s swirling about our ankles?” Jericho indulged in an eye-roll. Sarcasm wouldn’t help anything, but it soothed him.

***

“I can’t swim, remember?”

Auric gaped. “Still? After everything that happened last time, you never bothered to learn?”

“I’ve been busy!” Jericho snapped.

***

“Trust me, he’s going to regret that. After all, it is foolish to get on the bad side of either Spellsmith or Carver … and I just happen to be both.”

***

He entered and found Auric lying on the floor surrounded by a sea of papers, a thick, leather-bound book over his face.

“Death by bureaucracy?” Jericho chuckled.

Auric pushed aside the book and squinted at him. “Just resting my eyes.”

***

No, Jericho told himself. This is not how I die. I’ve faced dragons and vengeful Fey. I’m not going to be killed by a ridiculous monkey.

***

“Uh-huh. Auric, do you know what I thought of you when we first met?”

“Not really, I guess.” Auric strode over to an upholstered bench against the far wall and sat down.

Jericho stood over him. “I thought you were a spoiled brat who only cared about himself,” he said.

Auric raised an eyebrow. “Thought as in past tense, right?”

~ ~ ~

Other similar reviews:

  

So, are you a steampunk fan? And have you tried Spellsmith and Carver yet? 😀

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

(I just like this, okay. ^_^)

10 Thoughts on Halayda by Sarah Delena White

Title: Halayda
Author: Sarah Delena White

  • Date read: June 30, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Epic Fantasy / Steampunk
  • Age: New Adult?
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 439 pages (Kindle)
  • Series: Star-Fae Trilogy, #1
  • Fave character: Taylan! (and Zad)
  • Source: I got a free e-copy of this book through the Fellowship of Fantasy bookclub
  • Notes: Read for the Fellowship of Fantasy bookclub’s May 2017 book. Also I LOVE THAT COVER SO MUCH AND I NEED A PAPERBACK SOMEDAY. ❤
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NoblePublisherAuthor’s Website

Ten Thoughts on Halayda

1. TAYLAN. He’s the best. 😀 He’s the Faerie King and he’s epic and also caring and I love him to absolute bits. I love Zad too. ZAD IS ABSOLUTELY AWESOME. And snarky. XD

2. It takes place in a steampunk fantasy world and an attached Faerie world. I LOVED THIS. The Faerie world was very messed up for pretty much the entire story, but it was still kind of amazing and epic and just WOW too, and I loved the creatures, Fae, and fantasy-ness of it. Also it’s VERY LONG. (It also took me 2 months to read because I was busy with other books.) So I kind of lived in this book for a very long time, and it’s kind of hard to leave…

3. The dynamics between the four main characters are FABULOUS. Sylvie, Taylan, Zad, and Diza. I particularly loved how Zad and Diza are married, and Sylvie and Taylan kind of like each other (like a lot but don’t always admit it… *is quietly in the background aggressively shipping them because their romance is so cute*) but they have great dynamics with each other, and also since Zad and Diza are married, I didn’t have to worry about any tedious love-triangles. Silvie and Zad can be friends and work together, without her having a stupid love-triangle, and same with Diza and Taylan. They’re all super-connected to each other, and Diza and Sylvie are besties, and Zad and Taylan are kind of friends, in the best buddy-story-where-they-snark-at-each-other kind of way. XD And just… I really really loved these four characters and how they interacted and it was fresh and awesome. LOVE.

4. IT’S FUN TOO. I mean, sometimes it’s hard to find things this epic that can still be funny at times. It’s a sweeping fantasy epic with snark and hilarity and great banter. I love the snark and dialog! ^_^ Sooo much Kindle-highlighting going on. XD

5. Points for awesome Faerie references and things: like iron, and the Wild Hunt, and Banshees, and so many things. I love that it’s in a fantasy world so it can have different rules, so not ALL the old faerie lore applies, and much of it was flipped around, but it was so neat to have many of them woven in all the same. 😀

6. It’s rather dark at times, and it’s probably more New Adult than Young Adult, not to mention that naturally it’s verrry violent and there’s a bit of language for those who worry about such things, but despite the darkness and stuff, it was still mostly clean, and I still loved it!

7. It’s utterly epic and gorgeous and Fae, all in the best possible way. It felt… well, this may sound silly, but it felt like all those gorgeous fantasy/faerie pictures on Pinterest… Like… sort of shadowy but colorful and vivid and so FAERIE AND FANTASY-ISH. I can’t describe it any better way.

8. I will say that I’m a liiiittle worried/hesitant about the future sequels. Because it ended just well enough that I’m happy with it, but just not-well-enough that I can easily see it breaking some of my happilies in sequels and I don’t know if I can go through that kind of trauma. O.o So at the moment, I love it as a standalone (just figuring that there’s naturally a few very very loose threads left hanging for the sequels) and will just pretend that everything’s okay. *coughcough* I kind of need the sequels but I also don’t because I’m happy with where things are and can’t bear the thought of anything happening to my precious characters. <333 Buuut more stuff needs wrapping up because CERTAIN THINGS are kind of left hanging, a bit. But at the same time it ended perfectly. ❤ SO I’M TORN. IN A MAJOR WAY. I don’t even know, somebody save me from these feels.

9. Also, I love the word Halayda and what it means and just yes. ❤

10. BUT THE EPIC. AND THE FANTASY. AND THE CHARACTERSSSS. I… I… I… Words fail me. Easily one of the most epic, sweeping, mythic, dark, gorgeous, Fae things I’ve ever read. Definitely a favorite this year.

Favorite Quotes

“There have to be a few perks to being king of Faerie or no one would want the job.”

***

It’s sad when one’s highest priority is to not get captured by a tree.

***

“Say it, Your Loftiness.”

“Fine; you’re actually good for more than making smart remarks and eating other people’s food.”

***

“but I know you. And no matter what happens, no matter what you do or what you become, you’ll always be my Taylan.”

***

“Hey, your majesty!” Zad’s voice cut through the haze of her thoughts. “Are you coming back, or are you planning to leave all the packing to your peons?”

Taylan pulled away, scowling. “I’m coming.”

***

“I’m putting all the heavy things in the royal pack,” Zad called.

***

Zad gave a loud snort. “That’s it. Next time, I’m choosing the quest.”

Taylan rolled his eyes. “You did volunteer for this.”

“It serves me right for being noble and selfless.”

“You know you love being the hero, Zad.” Diza laughed.

***

“I’d rather walk through the darkness with you than have the most privileged life with anyone else.”

***

“I vow with all my heart to love you with the constancy of the sun, to protect you as the thorn protects the rose, to sustain you as a river in the wilderness, to stand beside you when all others desert. This is my promise to you, my halayda, until the world fades to nothing.”

***

“You’re an idiot.” Zad walked with plodding steps, his hooves thudding on the rocky ground.

“Thank you so much Zad, but I already knew that.” Taylan gripped the pooka’s mane, trying to stay upright.

***

“You haven’t eaten in two days.” Zad stopped to nuzzle a clump of dying leaves that clung to a gnarled branch. A shriveled brown fruit was buried in the middle. He snorted. “I haven’t eaten in two days.”

“If you rescued people faster, we wouldn’t be having this problem.”

***

“Why does a horse need to steal a horse?” Taylan held the reins of the bay stallion while Zad swung into the saddle of his new acquisition— a dapple gray that threatened to bite anyone who came within easy reach.

“Why would I run the whole way when someone else can do the work?” Zad settled onto the gray stallion’s back and smacked the horse’s nose as it nipped at his leg.

“It looks like you two will get along perfectly.”

“Shut up and start destroying things so we can get out of here.” Zad urged the scowling horse into the cover of the trees.

~ ~ ~

What do you think, my pagelings? Catch your interest? And what are some epic Faerie tales you’ve read and loved?

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Magicians’ Rivalry (Spellsmith & Carver, #1) by H. L. Burke

Title: Spellsmith and Carver: Magicians’ Rivalry
Author: H. L. Burke

  • Date read: June 8, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Steampunk
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 207 (Kindle)
  • Series: Book 1 in the Spellsmith and Carver series. (Book 2, Spellsmith and Carver: Magicians’ Trial, is coming out July 31! I’m so excited!)
  • Fave character: Jericho (…And Auric. …And both of them as a team. :D)
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free e-ARC copy from the author (thank you!). I was not required to write a positive review; these opinions are my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s BlogAuthor’s Website

I only this year discovered H. L. Burke’s books, and quickly became addicted to them—this one is my favorite yet! In fact, it’s one of my favorites I’ve read this year. ❤ (It’s taken me awhile to review it because HOW do I sum up my love for this thing?)

This book has everything you need for a book to be an awesome favorite! It’s a buddy story (more on that in a minute), and to add on top of that, not only is it a buddy story, but it’s a MAGICAL buddy story, in a Faerie world, with a dash of steampunk, loads of snark, and basically WHAT IS NOT TO LOVE? This book had Deborah-Will-Love-It written all over it, so I was extremely excited to read it. I’m glad to report that my initial suspicion was absolutely correct—it did not disappoint!

First and foremost, as mentioned, it’s a buddy story. I absolutely LOVE these kinds of stories—you know, the ones where there are two fellows who are at odds with one another and REALLY don’t get along, but are forced to work together with much snarky banter and possibly-perhaps-but-not-to-give-anything-away might end up the best of friends in the process, even if they might not admit it and STILL banter with each other, of course. 😉 Those books/films are some of my favorite plots, and this one lived up to that SO well! Definitely one of my favorite buddy stories! Auric and Jericho are just the best and I so enjoyed watching them having to put up with each other. XD

Continuing the list of awesome: Lovable characters! Meet Auric Spellsmith, Jericho Carver, and Rill Spellsmith. Auric and Jericho are rivals—Jericho is Auric’s father’s new apprentice, and is also in love with Auric’s sister, Rill. Auric is Very Not Pleased with both these things, and Jericho is not about to be kicked out, either. Tensions run high and it’s glorious. XD Then disaster strikes and they’re forced to work together, which is the best part of the book. 😉 They’re both very different and Jericho maaayyy or may not be my favorite, but I love Auric too and I especially love them having to be a team together. 😛

Rill is awesome too—she’s definitely a likable character, and the side-plot of her and Jericho’s romance was AWESOME. I love them so so much. ❤ There’s also an intriguing villain—I will not spoil things, but I thought the way the villain was written was utterly unique and original and I absolutely loved it. O_O And there’s an awesome clockwork fox named Jaspyr, who had a few cameos and hopefully will appear more in the sequel…

The world is so neat! The magical system was interesting, and I loved their journey in the perilous Faerie world, all the creatures they met (unicorns! Dragon! Other scary things!), and how there was a slight steampunkish feel to their own world. Just—just—Faerie-ish books make me happy! I looooved the worlds and “feel” of this book.

There’s a touch of Christianity as well, which I loved—it wasn’t a big part of the story, but a natural part of their world, and I liked that feel. 🙂

Snark. Did I mention snark? Because the snark levels are strong with this one, and their dialog is a joy to read. XD

It’s SO fun, with the characters and bantering and buddy-story, but it’s also heart-pounding and thrilling and scary sometimes, and so well-written that it effortlessly tugged me along on this fast-paced adventure. It’s only just a rollicking adventure; it felt like there was a layer of deeper emotion and truth there too, and just—it was so so good!

Overall, this is a fun, exciting fantasy novel, with some of my favorite characters (*hugs them all*) it had me constantly wanting to quote it… I simply enjoyed it SO VERY MUCH! I’ve heard there’s to be a sequel releasing very soon, and I could not be more ecstatic. I need more Spellsmith and Carver in my life! I definitely, DEFINITELY, recommend this book! Just read it! ❤

Favorite Quotes

(I want to quote THE WHOLE BOOK. AWK. And some of my faves are spoilers anyway… So these are just a few gems…)

***

“It takes more than time to change people, Rill,” he said. “They actually have to want to change.”

***

“You can’t skip the journey. The way you get to things is just as essential as the end results.”

***

“My head is pounding, but I’d thought it was just the stress of putting up with you.”

***

“From everything we’ve encountered so far, I think we can safely assume that anything we meet in this world is going to try and kill us.”

***

Broad-shouldered and tall, Jericho stooped to avoid hitting his head on low beams, grumbling with every step. “Seriously, whoever built this place didn’t have grown men in mind.”

“I’m doing fine.” Auric scoffed.

Jericho glanced over his shoulder and smirked. “I said grown men.”

“Push me a little farther, Jerry, and you’ll get to the bottom of the stairs a lot faster.”

“Quiet, boys!”

***

Jericho slipped his penknife under the wax seal and popped it open.

“Jerry!” Rill gasped. “That’s not yours.”

“Your father has disappeared, Rill. We can apologize for reading Auric’s mail later.”

She crossed her arms. “Well, at least read it out loud.”

***

“Are you all right?”

“No.” Jericho scowled. “I thought we’d established that a while ago.”

Janus frowned. “Sarcasm, one of my least favorite aspects of the human race.”

***

Jericho and Auric will find out I was taken soon enough. Either one of them would be a force to be reckoned with. Together? God help this idiot.

***

The muscles in Jericho’s jaw clenched and unclenched as if he were trying to rip his way through a sinewy chunk of meat. Auric suspected if they didn’t see some sign of progress soon, Jericho might begin gnawing on trees.

***

Auric scowled. “No. We’re in this together.”

“I can’t swim!” Jericho waved at the river. “I won’t get you both eaten because I was too shortsighted to learn a basic skill.”

~ ~ ~

Doesn’t this sound FUN? And do you like buddy stories? I’m always on the lookout for great ones, so if you have any favorite books/shows/films that feature a great buddy duo, I’d love to hear about it!! 😀

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]

~ ~ ~

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

The Rose and the Balloon – Cover Reveal!

Today I’m VERY excited to take part in revealing the cover of a book I’m currently reading, The Rose and the Balloon by Kirsten Fichter, which is a Beauty and the Beast retelling with a steampunk twist! (What is not to love?? Answer: nothing at all, naturally!)

The book is coming out on August 1st, which is sooooon, and I’ll be reviewing it sometime thereafter (so far I’m quite enjoying it!).

Meanwhile!

Cover reveal coming iiiin . . .

3 . . .

2 . . .

1 . . .

*drumroll*

. . . LAUNCH AIR-BALLOON!

(Wait, what? Where did that come from? O_O Go away, Crazy Maeva! *cough*)

Er, that is…

BEHOLD!

ITS!

BEAUTEOUSNESS!

(But not beastness? AHEM.)

Cover5_story

Summary:

Cover5_storyIn a kingdom where fauna and flora are held in higher esteem than breakfast, Dmitri is a prince who yearns for change and plans it in a single daring act that will alter his life forever. However, when his demented mother accidentally causes the destruction of a prized garden of roses, Dmitri is horrified when she proposes his hand in marriage to make up for it. Not only will a wife hamper his glorious plans, he doesn’t even want one.

Janelle has spent her whole life on her father’s rose farm, tending the roses and staying simple. But she really yearns for something greater than the flower beds. But now there’s a wrench thrown in the works – the crazy Queen Maeva wants her to marry the prince, and all for ruining her father’s beloved roses.

This is Beauty and the Beast with a twist like you’ve never seen it before.

Find the book on: Goodreads | Pinterest Board

About the author:

AuthorPic1Kirsten Fichter is a twenty-something Christian writer who is trying to find the balance between being one of six kids, a church pianist, a college student, a movie buff, a disaster in the kitchen, and a writing INFP. If you know what the secret is to balancing all of that, she’d be grateful to hear from you. Otherwise, don’t contact her unless you want to send her homemade gingerbread. Or a new piano book. Or an autographed Charles Dickens novel. In the meantime, she’ll be somewhere under a maple tree – trying very hard to finish the seventeen and half other stories she unwisely started all at once.

Find her here: Blog (Lianne Taimenlore) | Twitter (@KiriLiz) | Goodreads

So! What do you think? Isn’t it GORGEOUS??? *flails around and collapses* (Yes, I posted it in two sizes because I couldn’t decide which one to do. So you got to look at it twice. YOU’RE WELCOME.) I have a thing for roses, myself, as well as for Beauty and the Beast, so I obviously am absolutely swooning over this cover and this book. 😀 I hope it makes you want to read it, because it does me! ❤

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer