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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.”


You may also like . . .

bloodtiescoverfront copy earthlykingcoverpic2-copy 


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! 🙂

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

5 Thoughts on Mind Writer by Mike Lynch & Lisa Godfrees

Title: Mind Writer
Authors: Mike Lynch & Lisa Godfrees

  • Date read: January 24, 2018
  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Genre: Futuristic Thriller / Sci-fi / Dystopia / Christian Fiction
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2016
  • Pages: 360
  • Fave character: Clixon
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I was given a copy of this book when I met the author at a writing workshop. (Thanks, Lisa!) I voluntarily reviewed this; my opinions are my own.
  • Links: Goodreads • AmazonLisa’s Website • Mike’s Website

5 Thoughts on Mind Writer

1. I don’t usually read sci-fi, thrillers, futuristic novels, or dystopia—and this is all of those in one! So I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. 🙂 I do make exceptions in my usual reading genres to try different things sometimes, though, and when I was given a copy of this book and thought the premise sounded intriguing, I decided to dive in. I’m glad I did!

2. Mind Writer is a thrilling, engaging read, very well written and exciting. There are many twists and surprises, and each time the characters have a plan and it’s thwarted, they have to dash right into a new one… Governmental plots, a hired assassin, a heroine on the run with a special ability, crime bosses, and an underground Christian movement. The plot was fascinating to follow, with all its twists and turns, and all the little sub-plots and motives of the different characters! It felt like a movie. 🙂

3. The concept of people who have the ability to transfer someone’s mind/memories/soul to another body was interesting (though it seemed more fantasy-like than scientific to me, personally, which was fine). It was unique, and intriguing how that came into play in the story, particularly the memory aspect, and how the “colors” of people’s souls reflected on their level of goodness… I don’t want to spoil anything, though. 😉

4. I liked the heroine, Rinee, as well as anti-hero Clixon who has secrets of his own and something of a character arc, and other characters like Saminy with her accent and sweet family, and another unexpected ally or two… I particularly loved the parts with Rinee and Clixon—they make a great pair, and I loved their talks; they often made me smile or laugh. 🙂

5. Some of it was a bit scary for me (I just… don’t usually prefer dystopia! Just a me-thing. I know I’m in the minority. XD) and it was a bit gruesome occasionally, but otherwise as far as I remember it’s a clean read, and I believe young adults and adults alike would enjoy it. If you’re looking for a YA futuristic thriller with a Christian theme and a dash of sci-fi and dystopia, this is the book for you! ^_^

~ ~ ~

Let me know what you think, and if it sounds intriguing to you!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

Mythic Orbits 2016 (Anthology Review)

Title: Mythic Orbits 2016: Best Speculative Fiction By Christian Authors
Editor: Travis Perry

Date read: June 4, 2017
Rating: 2.5 stars overall — individual ratings later
Genre: Short Stories / Christian / Fantasy / Sci-fi / Paranormal / Horror / Time Travel
Age: YA or up, but kind of dark
Year pub: 2016
Pages: 342 (paperback)
Source: Was given a copy by Lisa Godfrees at a writing event (thanks, Lisa! :))
Notes: Short story anthology
Links: AmazonGoodreads

I don’t think this is a collection I would have picked up on my own, but I met a wonderful author, Lisa Godfrees, who has a story in this collection, at a writer workshop event, and she was kind enough to give me a copy. It looked like something very different from my previous experience, so I curiously dived in. (I WAS warned that they were dark stories, but I pressed on all the same. :P)

This anthology contains 14 short stories by various authors, as well as an excellent Editor’s Introduction by Travis Perry. The stories were nearly all well-written, gripping, and fascinating—I breezed quickly through them and couldn’t stop. They were also mostly dark, disturbing, or creepy as well—or at least in genres I don’t usually read—which is not my usual cup of tea. XD

I don’t read many short stories, and I also don’t usually read Sci-fi, Paranormal, or Horror, which is where some of the stories in this collection fall, so I don’t think I’m exactly the proper audience to review this? Though some are also Fantasy, Contemporary Fantasy, Time Travel, or have Christian or allegorical elements. The point of the collection was to have varying stories that fall broadly under the Speculative Fiction label, written by various skilled Christian authors, published in 2016. You won’t happen to find language or inappropriate situations in here, but most of the stories happened to be pretty dark and creepy, as it turned out. 😛

It was definitely an interesting read, and I liked some of the stories, but most of them were not, overall, for me. I’m rounding the total collection rating to 2.5 stars… some were more or less. Below is a rundown of the contents of this anthology, with my brief thoughts on each.

Please keep in mind, these are only my PERSONAL thoughts/ratings/opinions, and others might like them more. 🙂

***

FAVORITE OF COLLECTION (5 stars; 1 story)

5starrating

Cameo – by Linda Burklin

  • Time Travel
  • 39 pages
  • 5 stars

A young woman in our time finds a cameo necklace, and when she dreams, she seems to—impossibly—go back in time and visit the girl the necklace belonged to, who needs help… This one was super fascinating and I was SO WORRIED about what would happen, but it turned out to be my absolute favorite in the collection. 🙂 The time-travel was really well done and I really liked the characters and the mystery and just… yes. I really, really enjoyed it. 🙂 Some of it was still very creepy, but not as much as it looked like at first. Anyways, I liked. ^_^

***

MOSTLY LIKED (4 stars; 3 stories)

Dental Troll – by Lisa Godfrees

  • Contemporary Fantasy (/Horror?)
  • 5 pages
  • 4 stars

So, I LOVED this one for most of it. 😀 It’s well-written, humorous, and fascinating. What if tooth-fairies are made up but there are actually creatures like them, just… different—namely Dental Trolls? A little girl meets one. I thought I was going to love it, but the ending took a turn for the creepy/dark/horrifying and just… no. o.o So I’m taking a star off for that. I mostly loved it, especially the writing and humor and idea, but I didn’t care for this ending, personally. XD


HMS Mangled Treasure – by L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright

  • Contemporary Fantasy
  • 51 pages
  • 4 stars

Okay, so this one was definitely unique. 😀 A pirate ship with scary fairy-ish beings is stealing cars in a modern-day city, and a no-nonsense mother decides to get her car back (because it has her son’s doll in it), researching how to deal with fairies, and meeting a strange guy in a trench-coat who I quite liked. It gets points for all the fairy-lore references, in a modern-day setting, with creepy fairy-pirates etc. Some of it was weird, especially the ending, so I’m not totally sure how I feel about it, but it was definitely mostly fun to read about—extra points because of The Tempest reference. XD


A Model of Decorum – by Cindy Emmet Smith

  • Paranormal
  • 20 pages
  • 4 stars

So… this one was kind of… werewolf-ish. *twitch* Which I don’t usually care for. But it was also kind of a Little-Red-Riding-Hood retelling, and was well-written and interesting and I couldn’t help liking most of it, for some reason. XD But it’s still werewolves, which is kind of creepy for me… but I liked it more than some. 🙂 And it just takes a lot for me to like something I normally wouldn’t, so I’m impressed. XD

***

GOOD BUT NOT FOR ME (3 stars; 5 stories)

Ghost Roommate – by Matthew Sketchley

  • Paranormal/Horror?
  • 20 pages
  • 3 stars

Even though I don’t really care for stories featuring ghosts, I was super surprised by really enjoying a lot of this. XD It was FUNNY, and I dearly like funny things. It started getting a little weird and then ended at a quite dark/creepy (but also vague?) point, so… it’s probably 3.5, rounding to 3, because I quite liked some of it, but the ending was… um… yeah, no. >.>


The Bones Don’t Lie – by Mark Venturini

  • Fantasy
  • 27 pages
  • 3 stars

WELL. That was fascinating and rather eerie and also confusing. It’s in a fantasy-world and it kept me interested but I was also confused about the different groups and couldn’t figure out what happened at the end and if it was happy or not. So. That makes me a little twitchy. I don’t know what I thought! o.o


Domo – by Joshua M. Young

  • Sci-fi
  • 17 pages
  • 3 stars

I don’t do well with sci-fi? Sorry, but it’s true. XD This was about an intelligent robot, featured some chess-games with an old priest, a dog, and some questions of robots and God. It was interesting for sure, but again, just… I’m not totally into sci-fi. 😛


The Water Man – by Sherry Rossman

  • Christian Paranormal?
  • 17 pages
  • 3 stars

This was almost written in a sort of code, which I didn’t totally get till the end. It was interesting, set in an old-folks home, from the point of view of an old man; it’s kind of dark, with a murder mystery sort of thing, and I’m torn on what to think of the ending. Dunno. I think I liked some of it and it was well-written and interesting, just it was super creepy and not… totally… for me.


Graxin – by Kerry Nietz

  • Sci-fi
  • 28 pages
  • 3 stars

This one was actually super-well written and fascinating—set on some planet’s moon, about a robot searching for a kind of ore, and finding… something mysterious instead. It was intriguing and I felt like it was trying to say some interesting stuff, but I just don’t connect well with sci-fi and the ending was… kinda strange. I think I was rooting for him, but… still… ACK, I don’t know. I can’t decide what I thought about this one.

***

NOT QUITE (2 stars; 2 stories)

The Disembodied Hand – by Jill Domschot

  • (Uncertain of genre; Christian Paranormal?)
  • 6 pages
  • 2 stars

This one had some interesting bits (maybe an angel?) and was intriguing but kind of confusingly written. I don’t know. It was fine but not my thing.


Nether Ore – by Kirk Outerbridge

  • Sci-fi
  • 77 pages
  • 2 stars

Okay, so I’m torn. This was the longest story in the collection, and it had me positively hooked. It was super fascinating, original, and unique. It’s kind of like a post-apocalyptic sci-fi place with squids and mines and scientists with creepy-creepy secrets, and elements of a mystery and of residual Christian stuff. It was well-written and I couldn’t stop reading but it was just super-super creepy and just… Nope. Not my thing at all. So I’m torn because in a sense it was really good, and it even had a fairly-good ending, but for me personally, it was too horrifying. O.o Meep. Others might enjoy it, though.

***

ABSOLUTELY NOPE (1 star; 3 stories)

Baby, Don’t Cry – by R V Saunders

  • Sci-fi?
  • 8 pages
  • 1 star

This is more a “what?” than an “absolutely nope,” but still. I had no idea what the point of this story was, and I think it turned out to be sci-fi but… I’m not even sure. It was weird and confusing and I didn’t understand it until the end (so I’m not going to say because it might be a spoiler but I don’t know) and then I wondered what the point was? Perhaps I’m missing something. Just kind of disturbing and not that interesting for me.


Escapee – by Richard New

  • Sci-fi/Paranormal
  • 9 pages
  • 1 star

On a space-ship (or two), following a criminal who is more than he seems at first, with a couple of alien creatures. Mixing sci-fi and paranormal, this just… was not my thing. It was okay but kind of creepy. I was intrigued but I don’t care about sci-fi and I’m not a super fan of following the point-of-view of such a creepy person? Other people might like it, but… not me.


Clay’s Fire – by Kat Heckenbach

  • Horror/Paranormal
  • 8 pages
  • 1 star

Absolutely least-favorite in the collection, this was positively horrifying and I wish I hadn’t read it. I simply don’t do horror like this. Just. No. WHY. Far too creepy for me.

***

Overall, an interesting experience! I think it’s just me personally who didn’t like some of these, or “get” them. If they intrigue you at all, and if you don’t mind a bit of darkness/weirdness, you might find a story or several to enjoy in this collection. And I did enjoy a few. 🙂

(I was given a free copy of this book by one of the authors, and was not required to write a review. These are, naturally, my own opinions.)

~ ~ ~

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

Sentinel + Viper by Jamie Foley (Double Review)

Time for reviews of a novel and novella by Jamie Foley!

Title: Sentinel
Author:
Jamie Foley

Date read: April 26, 2017
Rating:
5 stars
Genre:
I… really don’t know what to call it. Fantasy / Contemporary (other world) / Apocalyptic / Suspense
Age:
YA
Year pub:
2016
Pages:
281 (Kindle)
Series:
Book 1 of the Sentinel Trilogy (Followed by 2: Arbiter, just released, and 3: Sage, coming soon. Prequel novella: Viper.)
Fave character:
Jet Valinor!
Source:
Amazon
Links:
GoodreadsAmazonSigned Paperbacks • Author’s Website

WHAT DID I JUST READ? I have no idea, but I know I had an absolute blast and loved it so much! 😀

Picture a fantasy world with (surprise!) modern times (not here, but similar to our time-period), and some fantasy elements like mind superpowers; then add an apocalypse, secret military agents out to wreak havoc, lovable characters (including an awesome sarcastic ex-sniper), snarky conversations, and loads of humor, all wrapped up in a layer of suspense, with a dash of Christian-allegory undertones—and you have a unique, well-written, good-clean-fun novel called Sentinel, which reads almost like an action-movie (but funner)! Definitely outside of my normal reading, and I’ve never read anything like it, but I so enjoyed it!

Reasons why this book is awesome:

  • Jet! First I have to mention Jet Valinor, who is a new favorite character and definitely a top reason for liking this. He’s my favorite kind of dark, growly, snarky, mysterious, dangerous, but awesome, with a heart of gold, type character. He’s got mind-power skills and military skills and generally you want him on your side when there’s covert military ops attacks, apocalypses, or general problems of any kind. He’s also got excellent snarky lines. What is not to love about Jet? Even without all the other awesomeness (of which there was lots), Jet just totally made the book for me. 😀
  • Buddies-who-aren’t. I don’t know about you, but I LOVE stories about two characters who are thrown together and REALLY don’t get along but have to work together. And when one of them is a rather flippant teenage boy (our hero, Darien), and the other is dark, no-nonsense Jet who is not going to put up with stupidity… you know it’s going to be awesome. They kind of hate each other but are the best and have such excellent interactions AND I JUST LOVE IT SO MUCH.
  • Banter/humor. Coming right up on that last one, there is SO much awesomeness in the form of Darien and Jet bickering, and general snark and humor, plus some of the writing is humorous too.
  • Right there, you have four of my favorite things, all rolled up in this book: an awesome favorite character, a buddy-story (where they aren’t… yet. ;)), humor, and hilarious snarky banter. SO MUCH YES. But oh, you want more reasons?
  • Fantasy! Fantasy makes everything better.
  • Mind-powers etc. which are called Aether, and the different kinds people can be include Arbiter (mind-things like telepathy or memories), Sentinel (use it like striking force), Valnah (emotions), Vanguard (making walls of force), and rare ones like Healer, or Sage (seeing the future).
  • Road-trip! Okay, so it wasn’t a huge part of the story, but I SO enjoyed Jet and Darien stuck in a car together with only Sorvashti to act as peace-maker. So much gold. 😀
  • So original and unique—this world and everything is just new and I loved it.
  • It’s well-written and gripping.
  • The other characters are great too and the different cultures etc. and mysteries and hints are really interesting.
  • Everything else—just read it already!

Reasons why I thought I wouldn’t like this book (but actually loved it):

  • It’s modern, which isn’t my favorite — but it’s modern in another world and somehow isn’t the usual blech of many modern books.
  • It’s apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic (which is a close relation to dystopian, which is a no-no for me, and in general I’m not the biggest fan of the world ending?) — but again, being in another world… I don’t… actually… mind? Plus we didn’t actually see the end of the world happening, since it was kind of off-screen (“Looks like the apocalypse started without us.” — one of my fave quotes in the book) and I’ve heard it’s just going to move more toward general fantasy-world kinds of things with less technology in later books. And because it’s not OUR world, I don’t actually mind, somehow!
  • It is definitely SUPER intense and suspenseful, which might have gotten too much for me, but the humor keeps rolling in to keep it a little more light-hearted.

Warnings:

It’s kind of violent/intense/scary, but that’s it. Basically a great YA novel! It certainly kept me breathless on the edge of my seat! O_O (I’m not sure if I remembered to breathe in the last third of the book. Whew. *collapses*)

Overall:

I loved this book and can’t wait to read the next one! (Largely because WHAT EVEN JUST HAPPENED AT THE END? I need Arbiter right now.) I’m quite hooked by this world and in love with these characters, and I can’t wait to find out where the rest of the series is headed. 😀 All in all, an excellent (if different) book. ^_^ *hugs it*

Favorite quotes:

“Easy for you to say. You already know what your power is.”

“They’re called ‘gifts’,” Tera murmured, “and I’m pretty sure yours is impatience.”

***

Levi yelled something about volleyballs being expensive.

***

Darien racked his brain for the smallest reason he could have been summoned by something as scary-sounding as ‘the Grand Master council’.

***

He squinted and found a fresh crack snaking from the right windshield wiper to a small spider web in the center. “Speaking of bad news, you owe me a thousand credits.”

It’s the end of the world:

“Cool. So, the world is ending, but who cares, right?”

***

“So it’s the apocalypse and special forces are after us. Awesome. We’re all gonna die.”

Darien and Jet:

“That’s enough,” Jet said.

Darien froze. “What?”

“Jet! Would it kill you to be nice?” Aleah shot Jet a disapproving look, then gave Darien a sheepish grin. “I’m sorry. He’s just… introverted.”

Jet snorted and looked back out the window.

And a psycho. Darien forced a laugh. “No problem.”

***

Is ‘Thracian’ his dad? Why does he call his dad by his name and not ‘Dad’?

Jet barely contained a growl. He could call Darien out on it—again—but this time it’d be just as awkward for himself. Note to self: get him to build mental shields. Immediately.

***

Darien’s thoughts ran over Jet’s like a freight engine.

***

“Why not?”

“Because it’s dangerous, you idiot! And untested and stupid.”

Darien grinned. “Did you just call yourself stupid?”

Jet sighed. “I should have left you in Katrosi.”

***

(I love them so much. ^_^)

~ ~ ~

Title: Viper
Author: Jamie Foley

Date read: April 12, 2017
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Military Thriller / Contemporary Fantasy (in another world)
Age: YA
Year pub: 2016
Pages: 118 (paperback)
Series: Prequel to the Sentinel Trilogy (Sentinel, Arbiter, Sage)
Fave character: Jet Valinor
Source: From the author (thank you, Jamie!)
Links:
GoodreadsAmazonSigned Paperbacks • Author’s Website

A little different than the main series books of the Sentinel Trilogy, Viper is set years before Sentinel, and therefore pre-apocalypse… which means society hasn’t collapsed yet, and it reads very much like a contemporary thriller, with a dash of fantasy powers and military strike team and hostage situations. Just… y’know… in another world. 😉

It was VERY thrilling and intense and suspenseful! Not what I usually read, but I was definitely super absorbed and worried. 😛 As a novella, it was also a quick read. There were a few typos, I had trouble keeping Copperhead and Moccasin (two of Jet’s Viper strike team) straight, plus it’s short, and generally not entirely my usual reading cup of tea, hence 4 stars; but I did really enjoy it and it was engaging, well-written, and super intense!

Also Jet is awesome. I found him to be even more awesome in the next book, meeting him from an outside perspective, so I didn’t realize when I read this just how cool he was… so in a way I didn’t appreciate that, but now I do. 😛 Now that I’ve read Sentinel, I actually want to read this again as backstory-on-my-favorite-character. XD

Jet and Sorvashti are great together, especially with her way of speaking since she doesn’t know his language well, and he doesn’t know hers—loved that! Language-barrier things are so fun. It was hilarious and adorable. ^_^ It’s told in their alternating POVs, which was really interesting. I enjoyed both of their perspectives.

Like I said, it’s a prequel, and I read it first, instead of starting with book 1. This was an interesting introduction to the world/cultures/characters of the series, so I enjoyed having some background on everything. But it would also be awesome to read as backstory once already familiar with the way things are introduced in Sentinel. So… I can’t decide which is better. 😛 Probably don’t do it like I do, and instead start with Sentinel. (But you can read either first.)

Definitely an overall enjoyable, quick read which got me hooked on the series and world and characters, and left me eager to read more! 🙂

(I was given a copy of this novella by the author; I was not required to write a review; these opinions are my own.)

~ ~ ~

(Look, it’s Jet with a spear! This cover means SO MUCH MORE now that I’ve read Sentinel…)

Arbiter (book 2) just released!

Check out the Arbiter Blog Tour and giveway! My post for the blog tour will be going up on my other blog Wednesday morning — tomorrow! — so watch for that!)

I’m going to be reading Arbiter soon; I can’t wait! 😀 I’ll be reviewing it here once I’ve read it, so stay tuned. 🙂

What about you, my Pagelings? Have you read any of these? Do they intrigue you? Let me know in the comments!

~ ~ ~

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer