It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel snarky (Sage by Jamie Foley: Blog Tour + Giveaway + Review!)

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Jamie Foley’s latest book, Sage! I’m SO excited! 😀

Read on for my review, and don’t forget to scroll to the end to check out the giveaway and other tour stops! ^_^

Title: Sage
Author: Jamie Foley

  • Date read: March 19, 2018
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Modern-ish/Post-Apocalyptic-in-another-world? / Christian
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2018
  • Pages: 386 (ebook)
  • Series: The Sentinel Trilogy, #3
  • Fave character: JET. And a certain character I cannot name because SPOILERS. But he’s awesome. 😀
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I was given a free e-copy of this book by the author (thank you!) and these opinions are entirely my own.

It’s really hard to review the final book in a trilogy without spoilers, as I’ve mentioned before; try “almost impossible” with this one! O_O My word. But I’ll do my best. It just may be slightly vague…

THIS BOOK WAS SO GOOD THOUGH. I’m always nervous coming into the final book in a series, because WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN TO MY PRECIOUS FRIENDS? It’s the finale, and stakes are high, and is it going to live up to the previous books, and what will the ending be like? And the first two books were ALREADY so intense. O_O But Sage absolutely lived up to and surpassed all the expectations. There were HUGE things going down, and some major twists (like… meep!), but it was all gloriously epic and exciting, and still just FUN on the side, and I love the characters and IT WAS GREAT.

I’M JUST VERY HAPPY WITH THIS SERIES. It can get a little intense or weird sometimes, and occasionally all the fantasy elements can confuse me (with elements and archangels and aaall the fascinating complexity) but I think I have it down now. This is such a fun, exciting, well-written fantasy-post-apocalypse-in-another-world kind of series, and the characters are some of my FAVORITES, and I just love these boooooks! *flails around*

I can’t really say anything about the plot of this third book, especially for anyone who hasn’t read Arbiter yet. (So many huge spoilers in that, not to mention this one…) I’ll just say that it’s just as exciting and intense as the first two books, but with sweet moments and TWISTS, and character banter thrown in—because what’s the end of the world without some snark?

Speaking of snark, there is still MUCH of that, and the dialog makes me grin, and the character interactions are priceless—sheer gold, I tell you. ❤ Not to mention this book having seriously EVERYTHING, including rebellions and escapes and fights in arenas and shapeshifters and a modern-but-fantasy-but-futuristic feel, and all the awesome Aether abilities/powers (so fascinating), and all of it!

I JUST LOVE THESE CHARACTERS SO MUCH, OKAY. Again, I really can’t talk about what’s going on with them, but I love Darien, and Jet (!!), and Sorvashti, and Tera, and a certain snarky fox (so fun!), and Kohesh cracks me up (oh my goodness! XD), and there’s a CERTAIN OTHER CHARACTER I LOVE who I can’t talk about because of so many spoilers, my goodness. But if you’ve read Arbiter you mayyy have a slight idea about who he is, and I love him! 😀 His character arc is the. best. ^_^ (But Jet though. Jet is my absolute FAVE.)

I love how Darien, Jet, Sorvashti, Tera, and said-unnameable character (and Aleah, I suppose), are all coming so far and learning/growing so MUCH and just—let me hug them! ❤ And I still love Darien and Jet’s buddy-not-buddy, apprentice/mentor sort of roles, and how far they’ve come, but how they’re still the same despite it all, in their own way. THEY MAKE MY HEART HAPPY.

Speaking of characters and my heart being happy, there’s an absolutely ADORABLE romance or two or three, which, again, I cannot discuss. SO MANY SPOILERS. Gaah. But I love-love-love these couples. 😀 There is so much adorableness, it just knocks me over. I CAN’T.

There are a couple things I wasn’t sure if I’d be okay with, but… you know… I think I’m good with it? I ended up quite satisfied on pretty much every count. 😀 (I think I randomly wanted more of Thracian and he was hardly in it, but that’s okay I guess. And more of Jet’s POV, but I always do, so I’ll stop now. XD) And it’s kinda intense and might be better for older teens? (Really bad at age recommendations, here.) But honestly I have no actual complaints. I really enjoyed it!

Overall, it’s an EXCELLENT young adult fantasy series and is SO UNIQUE (like seriously, how unique can you get? I don’t even know how to classify its genres…) and I love it to bits. This author is so absurdly talented, and the characters and snark and fantasy-thriller-ness are gold. If you haven’t, I highly recommend checking out the first book, Sentinel!

(And if you’ve read Sage, please talk to me because I MUST DISCUSS SPOILERS BEFORE I BURST. Message me or leave a spoiler-tagged comment or something. XD)

Some Favorite Quotes (Do you know how hard it is to get non-spoiler quotes? VERY HARD. But these are a few…)

Step four: return to Altair and find any survivors. And try not to let Jet kill me.


“You’re not teaching her because you think the way she talks is cute.”

Jet didn’t respond. Tera glanced at him in the mirror’s reflection—he stood perfectly still.

“You can’t prove that.”

Tera laughed out loud. “So I was right!”

Jet’s shoulders slumped. “She’d kill me.”

“So we have an understanding, then.”


“Your moping is like nails on the blackboard of my soul.”

“You’re an awful little rodent, Felix Kael Tae,” Aleah snapped.


Jet breathed like a bull. “You have three seconds before I throw you out the back hatch.”


“Spicy, mild, or no spice?”

“All of the spice.” Sorvashti crossed her legs. “None of the poison.”

Jet leaned over the map. “Give her all my spice.”


“…just waltz away?”

“I was planning on walking purposefully.”


“I was so worried.”

“Naw, I’m fine. … Heard you died.”

“You look super broken up about it.”


How do you turn your stupid spear on?

About the Book

Ancient elementals awaken, fracturing a dying world to its core.

Teravyn Aetherswift returns to the land of the living, but everything seems unfamiliar… including her little brother. Zekk offers help, but can an alluring Lynx be trusted?

Sorvashti finally has everything she ever wanted, so the last thing she wants to do is run after traitors. But she won’t leave Jet’s side—unless the horrifying truth about his mother tears them apart.

Darien is sick of being used and lied to. But if he stands up for what’s right, he’ll pay the price with his life… or the lives of those he loves.

Purchase on Amazon or a signed paperback

Check out the rest of the series!

When a meteor storm knocks out the power grid, the supernaturally gifted become pawns in humanity’s struggle for survival.

The Sentinel Trilogy is an apocalyptic fantasy series that takes place on a unique world with ancient powers and elementals, but familiar human struggle.

Clean. Ages 12+


Trilogy Boxed Set: Amazon KindleSigned PaperbacksGoodreads

Sentinel (book 1): Amazon KindleSigned PaperbackGoodreads

Arbiter (book 2): Amazon KindleSigned PaperbackGoodreads

Vanguard (prequel novella, formerly released under the title Viper): Amazon KindleSigned PaperbackGoodreads

About the Author

Jamie Foley loves strategy games, home-grown berries, and Texas winters. She’s terrified of plot holes and red wasps.

Her husband is her manly cowboy astronaut muse. They live between Austin, TX and their family cattle ranch, where their hyperactive spawnling and wolfpack can run free.


Giveaway Time!

Want to dive into a new world or in need of a good book? Enter to win a digital $10 Amazon gift card (3 winners) by signing up for Jamie’s newsletter via the form.

>>> Entry-Form <<<

Blog Tour Schedule

Saturday, March 10th

Monday, March 12th  

Tuesday, March 13th

Wednesday, March 14th

Thursday, March 15th

Friday, March 16th

Saturday, March 17th

Monday, March 19th

Tuesday, March 20th

Wednesday, March 21st

 Thursday, March 22nd

 Friday, March 23rd

 Saturday, March 24th

Have you checked out this series yet? Because I totally recommend it! (If you can’t tell. XD)

You can read my reviews for the first two books in the series (as well as the prequel novella, Viper/Vanguard) by clicking the covers below…


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

Ten Thoughts on Dissemble by Sarah Addison-Fox (Allegiance Series, #2)

Title: Dissemble
Author: Sarah Addison-Fox

  • Date read: February 20, 2018
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Christian / Kingdom Adventure
  • Age: YA/NA
  • Year pub: 2018
  • Pages: 305 (ebook)
  • Series: The Allegiance Series, #2
  • Fave character: Torrance (and Mick)
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free e-ARC of this book from the author (thanks!) and voluntarily reviewed it. These opinions are my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

Ten Thoughts on Dissemble

1. Well, well! That was intense! O_O I enjoyed book one (Disowned), but this sequel takes things to a totally new level. While the first one was a bit more of a quiet adventure (though still with its spots of action/peril) and I really liked that, book two has a whole other feel to it, with stakes raised, and gets more serious with lots of stuff going on. Meep! I was flipping pages there, let me tell you…

2. Dissemble is much grittier, and deals with tougher subjects. We’re also now in the thick of things, behind enemy lines in Kyraenea, with spying and intelligence agencies and double-crossing, and all that exciting stuff. XD Much action and suspense, with a thriller-like dash of agents, etc. Also, while it’s “Kingdom Adventure” in a made-up world (with no fantasy elements), it’s getting a more modern “feel” due to some more sophisticated weapons etc. because of the war, so that made an interesting upgrade.

3. CHARACTERS! I’m almost annoyed at Torrance for stealing top-favorite spot from Mick. Because I still love Mick! They’re both great (and especially fun when they interact. *grin, grin*). But Torrance, yes, is kind of fabulous eventually. *cough* I still like Celeste—she goes through a lot in this book, poor thing! (I was really surprised by liking Amaya too!) I really, really like our main characters, and I’m so attached to them and their journeys! I can’t wait to read more. I especially loved when they all interact—some great dynamics there, which were the best-written parts, in my opinion, and really leapt off the page. 🙂 BUT MICK AND TORRANCE AND EVERYBODY. MY PRECIOUS FRIENDS. *hugs them*

4. There are two EXTREMELY ADORABLE romances in this book. No names, but let’s just say that the continuing one from book one is so sweet (but just talk to each other, already, you two!), and the unexpected other one is UTTERLY PRECIOUS. Awk. There is so much cuteness going on in between the action and peril. XD

5. There were Twists. *evil cackle* Two in particular, which I sort of saw coming but really liked. And I was just really surprised at some of the characters and how they turned out, and I love it! It kept me guessing, but also turned out way better than I thought, especially one or two things I was very much on the edge of my seat about. I was nearly cheering “YESSSS!” near the end a couple times. 😀 I’m just sitting here feeling happy. ^_^ (I do need the next book though. AHEM.) Basically, the plot is exciting and keeps you on your toes!

6. Not sure how realistic it was or not, but some of the characters who’ve spent all their lives being suspicious of other people, when confronted with the Haynes family, realize “Oh, these are good people!” with such surprise, and it’s kind of precious. XD It was neat getting scenes about them and other characters back home in Etraea, while Celeste and co. were off having adventures.

7. I was so sucked in to the setting/world. It was incredibly vivid, and I saw everything so clearly as I read. What a talent! Oh, and I loved the scene on the beach! So beautiful and sweet! 🙂 (How about that AWESOME, GORGEOUS cover? I love it! ^_^) And for some reason I really loved the bits at the safe-house place hidden in the trees. 🙂


9. Content: While this is a Young Adult, Christian book, some readers might like to be aware that if it was a movie it would probably be rated PG-13 for a little mild language/drinking, some inappropriate implications, and action-thriller-type violence. Despite this, and dealing with some other darker themes, the book did have an overall uplifting sort of feel to it, and there was goodness to counteract the villains, as well as the last chapter ending on a quite hopeful note.

10. Overall, mostly, I loved it! I’ve really enjoyed both books in these series so far, and I’ve gotten incredibly fond/attached to CERTAIN PEOPLE, and just give me book three already, please and thank you. *grabby hands*

~ ~ ~

You can read my review for book one: Dissemble by clicking the cover below…

What do you think? Have you checked out this series yet?

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

A Ramble on Ranger’s Apprentice

I recently read the The Ruins of Gorlan (Ranger’s Apprentice, #1) by John Flanagan.

In honor of February #FantasyMonth (hosted by Jenelle Schmidt) I want to share some thoughts about this book.

I’m foregoing my usual review format to just ramble a little about things it made me think about, and I hope you’ll enjoy. 🙂

(Note: I haven’t read the rest of the series yet. I just want to talk about the first Ranger’s Apprentice book today.)

Ranger’s Apprentice: Book 1 (The Ruins of Gorlan)

On the surface, it’s just a fun, YA fantasy book about fifteen-year-old Will and a sort of coming-of-age tale with swords and bows and rangers in a medieval-esque world, and a much more straightforward, less-convoluted story.

And it is all of that.

But beneath the surface there are other things going on (at least to this reader) which I’ll get to later.

It’s very funny, in a dry, kind of sarcastic way, that sometimes you almost don’t catch — and then you do and it’s HILARIOUS and you’re not totally sure why. Will doesn’t always “get it” when Halt makes little jabs and jibes and wry comments but I love it. XD

I love Will! He’s such a fun little character and just… I don’t know… he’s classic, somehow. And I like how he’s very determined and doesn’t give up.

Halt is the absolute best!! One of my favorite mentor characters. He’s an amazing Ranger and I just… I can’t describe how cool he is, but he’s awesome. Hands-down the best thing about this book! (And the main reason I read it. ;))

And I love some of the other characters, like Gilan (he’s awesome!) and Tug the pony (SO ADORBZ!!) and Horace and so on. And the Rangers are fabulous.

Did I mention it’s funny? I love funny books!

And it’s just fun fantasy, and good old-fashioned Good vs. Evil. Speaking of which…

“There’s Some Good in This World, Mr. Frodo”

One thing I noticed that was refreshing was there are good people in this book and a lot of them are just… nice.

I mean, sure, there were villains. And a few bullies. And Horace and Will both had their moments of disagreement or resentment — it’s not like they weren’t human. And by nice I don’t mean everyone was always sunshine, but they were GOOD.

I remember as I was reading, I kept expecting that everyone would be nasty to everyone else. I expected the wards to have had a miserable time growing up; and the Baron to be mean; and Sir Roderick to be mean; and for the villagers to be mean. That’s how I feel like most books these days would do it. But you know what? Their lives weren’t actually terrible; the Baron was super nice and really did want the best for these kids; Sir Roderick may not have known about the bully problem but he did want the best for Horace; the villagers might have been wary of Rangers in general through ignorance, but they were goodnaturedly applauding certain exploits of the hero(es).

The thing is, I’ve grown used to the usual setup of many books these days, where the characters are so flawed and “realistic” that… they’re not actually realistic anymore. People say you can’t have “perfect” characters and that you have to give your characters flaws; that’s all well and good. But that doesn’t mean that every character (or person in real life) you run into is going to be a terrible person! That’s just… not true?? I mean, yes, there are bad people, both in life and in fiction, but that doesn’t mean every character has to be out to ruin our heroes’ lives… or be mean-spirited… or whatever. There can be the forces of good and they can be ordinary people like you and me, and they can be nice — and there will still be tension, I promise! (I first noticed this issue when I read the Bright Empires series by Stephen R. Lawhead and was so shocked — in a good way — by how there were actually *gasp* good people in the world, that it made me realize that most books are not this way.)

Anyway, minor rant over. I didn’t mean to go into all of that. My POINT is that it was SO, SO refreshing reading this book and every time I ran into one of the “good guys”, they were exactly that. The villains and bullies were the bad guys. But the good guys were GOOD. And they have their flaws and have to work on life just as you and I do, but the good was good and the evil was evil and I LOVE that. And I MISS that. And I was surprised how big of a difference this seemingly insignificant aspect of the book made in making me enjoy it. 🙂 There was a clear divide between the good people and the bad, and it was refreshing, and something you can get away with in fantasy — or you used to, anyway.

Sometimes you want to focus on GOOD things instead of the things that are just stressful to read about. And I loved that I was able to just enjoy this book, for that reason and others. 🙂

There’s a Place For You, Just Waiting…

Another thing I absolutely loved was something a little hard to explain but I’ll do my best.

In the book, Will has always dreamed of going to the battle school to become a knight, but he’s turned down because he’s too small. Then he unexpectedly becomes Halt’s apprentice. (Not a spoiler! It’s called Ranger’s Apprentice; it’s in the title.)

And the thing is, it’s obvious to Halt, and to the reader, that Will is MEANT to be a Ranger. He’s small and light and quick and agile, and he has this habit of sneaking around without being noticed, and climbing trees and walls and living his own kind of solitary life, even in a community setting like the castle where he’s one of the wards.

A Ranger is supposed to be good at all of those things, and it’s immediately clear to me, as I read it, that Will Is A Ranger and that’s where he really fits.

But the funny thing is — he has no idea. At all. He has these skills, but he doesn’t really realize he has them, or think of them as skills, or realize he can put them to use as a Ranger’s Apprentice.

And I think that’s true of a lot of us. How many of us have things we could do, callings we could follow, jobs we could fill, that we’d fit into just perfectly, and we just… don’t realize it? Don’t think there’s anything special about us? Think we’re misfits and don’t belong?

As we watch Will trying out this new, unexpected turn of his life, and see him find his place in the world — really find it — it was just deeply satisfying to me.

And it made me think — oh. Sometimes, as a writer and whatever else it is I’ll be one day, if I’m feeling like I don’t know what skills I have or what to do with my life, or like I don’t fit in and there’s no place for me… I’m wrong. Because you know what? There IS. I have to find my “Ranger skills” and my “Rangers” and then I’ll be home and have found my place.

Especially if I work hard on it…

Keep Trying and You’ll Get There

Because the third and final “deep” thing I pulled out of this, was the fact that when we watch Will learning his Ranger’s craft, it just… well… inspired me. I might be rubbish at learning the things he had to learn — how to shoot arrows and ride a horse and how to track and be stealthy and unseen and live in the wilderness — but watching him learn them, and seeing him just keep at it and become adept at these things… it inspired me.

Because he just kept trying and he was able to do it. I saw him go from an uncertain lad who was rather timid and didn’t know what his skills were, to a confident lad who has conquered these skills and is every inch a true Ranger’s Apprentice. I saw it happen, and it showed me that it’s not impossible to learn and become better at something, to master it. Especially if you have a good mentor and just don’t quit.

If I’d been in Will’s shoes (boots?), I would have stared at what needed to be learned/accomplished, and been crippled by doubts and “I-can’t-do-its”. But Will didn’t. And Halt wouldn’t stand for that anyway. (I’d be a terrible Ranger’s apprentice. XD)

BUT. If you just start something, and tackle it, and hang on and keep trying… then we too can learn and conquer the things we need to learn and do. Which is something I know in theory… but seeing it play out on the page, in this little story of characters I love, with fun and humor and an enjoyable fantasy story, I saw it, and I believed it, and so now I Know it, instead of just knowing it in theory.


That may sound odd. I mean, what do I mean by saying this “unrealistic” book, this Fantasy (oh, escapism; oh, horror. …’Scuse the Halt-ish sarcasm.) taught me things? I mean, who am I, finding things in a fantasy novel which teach me things about life? Shouldn’t I just find these things in some self-help blog?

But the thing is . . . it took a story — a real story, which I enjoyed and which was just for fun, not one that set out to do this (because I suspect then it would not have sunk in nearly as deeply, if at all) — to prod at my subconscious and bring out things that I kind of knew or suspected but hadn’t ever thought of in that way before. It inspired me and let me put it into words.

To know that you have skills and a place in the world, that you have YOUR Rangers to find that might be somewhere out there in the world, is a liberating thought. And so is seeing that keeping on and practicing can make a difference. I can know a thing in theory without really knowing it, and that’s what I’m trying to say.

What I’m trying to say is, even though this is just a fun little book, and I enjoyed it as simply a good STORY, it also made me happy to see Good people and was like a breath of fresh air, and it showed me there’s a place for everyone. Even if you feel like you don’t fit in — especially if you feel like you don’t fit in; it’s Will’s uniqueness that makes him the perfect fit for a job that only a handful of people can fulfill — there’s somewhere that you belong, even if you don’t know what it is yet. Something you can DO, that you’re meant to do. We just have to find it. And no matter how impossible a thing may seem, if you just keep at it, you can succeed.

I’m not saying it’s one of the the greatest books I’ve ever read, or one of the most profound; I’m not even saying that it will be this way for anyone else.

But the thing is . . . it doesn’t have to be.

It’s a fun and light read which I spent an enjoyable morning with and just… made me happy.

And that’s all it needs to be.

And, while it was at it, it showed me things about life where I’m at right now, without — I’m sure — really meaning to.

It made me smile and taught me things.

And isn’t that one of the things good Fantasy is best at?

Rulers and Mages (by Daley Downing) – The Order of the Twelve Tribes: Volume 2

Title: Rulers and Mages
Author: Daley Downing

  • Date read: December 26, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Contemporary Fantasy
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 204 (paperback)
  • Series: The Order of the Twelve Tribes: Volume 2
  • Fave character: Alex, Avery
  • Source: Barnes & Noble
  • Notes: I beta-read an early version of this book, then bought a paperback of the final version which I read before writing this review.
  • Links: GoodreadsBarnes & NobleAuthor’s Blog

Another lovely tale of modern fantasy from author Daley Downing! This book was great fun. ^_^

Masters and Beginners, the first book, introduced us to protagonists Sophie and Flynn Driscoll, and their family and friends, part of the Order of the Twelve Tribes which deals with the existence of Fey and other magical beings in our modern world—protecting the knowledge. I loved getting to step into that world in the first book and meet the characters, and this second book takes us one step further into their lives and adventures.

Once again, the mixture of modern everyday life with the secrets of Fey and artifacts and shapeshifting cats and so on, was fascinating, and so was the element of Nephilim and Biblical mythology which was gone into a bit more. Occasionally a bit odd, but interesting. XD I LOVED seeing more of Faerie and the Fey, just a bit, and some of the new characters were fabulous! But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I enjoyed getting to spend more time with the characters I’ve grown very fond of from the first book, such as Sophie and Flynn, and their parents James and Kate, and the half-fey neighbors including Alex, who’s my favorite! (I do want more of him!) Emma was… interesting. She was a little hard to like through part of it, having gained an attitude; I liked her more in the first book, though I DO appreciate that she’s having a hard time and stuff in this one, which of course can do things to people! And twists… And I still love Jules the cat sith and other characters. Some newer ones, like Prince Crispin (very brief, but he was so cool!) and Avery, were fantastic! Avery’s another favorite—she has such spark to her, and she’s basically a really cool aunt. 😉 I’m excited to see more of her in her new role! (No spoilers. :P)

There’s also a lot of character growth going on, and I really appreciated how the book dealt with the aftermath of the memory charm from the end of the first book! You don’t often get that, seeing what happens after a bunch of people forget everything… That was fascinating and well done. 🙂 I love the Archives, too! And I continue to love the film and book references, and the little snatches of articles and things after chapters, which add depth to the world.

It’s a little hard to talk about most of the things in the book because spoilers! Sooo many spoilers. And villain MEEPery. O_O But the story was definitely interesting! (One tricky thing for me was that I kept having phantom memories of different or alternate scenes because I read an early beta-version first, but that’s my own problem. XD) There’s adventure and secrets and discovery and betrayal, and joy and heartbreak and tears and love. I have a complicated relationship with a few of the twists, especially near the end, because on the one hand I’m not sure about them, but on the other hand, there ARE two more books in the series! 😉 And notoriously, one of my main issues with Volume 1 was resolved in this one… So I will look forward to seeing how some of that turns out.

There are definitely threads hanging and little hints that leave me going “WHAT??? IS THAT WHAT I THINK IT IS?? TELL ME MORE. O_O” so I’m definitely awaiting more books rather anxiously! Overall, this book is on a slightly larger scale than the first one, with more going on and more things for me to be not sure about but also more for me to go “AWESOME!” over. 😀 The first one was such a fun romp and a delightful introduction to this world/characters, while this one is going deeper and giving me feels and… yes. Anyway.

All of that to say, I may be on the fence (for now) about a couple of things, but on the whole I really enjoyed this book! It’s unique and fantastical and really well done. I definitely recommend giving the first book a try if you haven’t, and if you love fairy things and modern stories mixed (like I do!). Now I’ll be putting this lovely book on my shelf to look pretty next to the first volume and await more. 🙂 I’m rather addicted to this series and this world, and I love most of the characters, and I’m just basically FOND. ❤

~ ~ ~

Well. Do YOU like faerie things? BECAUSE YAY! And what do you think of the lovely cover Kyle Robert Shultz made for it? Does this series intrigue you? (Book 1 made my list of Top 15 Favorites of 2017! :))

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

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

Title: Disowned
Author: Sarah Addison-Fox

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

What a unique, enjoyable book!

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

On to characters!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Favorite Quote

“You picked a bad time to get shot.”

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

~ ~ ~

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

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

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

Burning Rose Review + 3 Steps To Rewriting Fairytales Guest Post

Hi everyone! I’m excited to be a part of the release of Hope Ann’s paperback collection, Burning Rose!

In this post, I’ve got a review for the book, below, and an awesome guest post from Hope Ann about writing fairytales! 🙂 Thanks for coming over to my blog today, Hope! ^_^


Hope Ann is a Christian wordsmith, avid reader, and dedicated author. Her time is taken up with writing, reading, playing with inspirational photos, blogging, helping care for the house and eight younger siblings, and generally enjoying the adventures of life on a small farm at the crossroads of America. She is the author of Legends of Light is currently working on several projects including a fantasy novel and futuristic trilogy. You can find out more about her at

Guest Post from Author Hope Ann

Burning Rose and My Three Steps to Rewriting Fairy Tales

There are three steps I follow when I settle down to rewrite a fairy tale.

Research the basics

I go back and read the original fairy tale before I do anything else. The popular version of some stories, like Beauty and the Beast, are much different from the fairy tales themselves. This isn’t to say you can’t use aspects of popular retellings, such as having a Gaston character in a Beauty and the Beast story, but brush up on the original story first and write out the basics you want to keep. For Beauty and the Beast, this would include a beast who is overly protective of a rose, a girl who gives herself for her father and lives at the beast’s place for a number of months, and ends with a week where she leaves and comes back late. Many fairy tales are very basic with a simple plot that can be treated almost like an outline

Ask why

Why does the beast care about the rose so much? Why does the father let his daughter give herself up, or does he allow it at all? Why is Beauty late in returning home? Many fairy tales abound with many questions that are never explained. Answering these can create fascinating backstories and subplots.

Twist familiar aspects of the story

Maybe the beast doesn’t want Beauty in his castle anymore than she wants to be there. Maybe the witch in Rapunzel is actually saving the child from her parents. Maybe a brother eats the apple in Snow White to protect his sister and ends up asleep. Have fun. Switch good or bad characters. Switch the roles of a character or combine them. Most readers know how a given fairy tale ends. Twist the story enough so they don’t know if the characters will get their happy ending, or twist it again to completely turn the fairy tale on its head. The important thing to remember is to treat the original fairy tale like an outline and move out from there.

I’ve enjoyed changing fairy tales, even ones I don’t care for, into exciting stories. And now, for the first time, you can read my first three retellings in one paperback book!

A war, founded in ancient legends, changes the lives of those it touches forever.

Elissa, a villager from the northern mountains, attempts to save her brother and ends up trapped in a hidden valley with a strange host and a treacherous enemy.

Evrard, the Wingmaster of the Prince’s army, races against his own weakening powers to discover the location of his twin and save her from deadly mistbenders.

Haydn, a pardoned rebel from Tauscher’s army, confronts shadows of myth and former comrades in his struggle to keep his sister safe and find the stolen Stormestone.


Before the war, before the legends, before the Separation, there was a man who started it all. There was a curse, a promise, and a sacrifice. There was the Oathkeeper.

Fairy tales retold as you have never heard them before.

ROSE OF THE OATH: Beauty and the Beast
ROSE OF THE NIGHT: a Rose of the Oath prequel

Order Burning Rose now!

Title: Burning Rose
Author: Hope Ann

  • Date read: September 30, 2017
  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Fairytale Retelling (Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel)
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 452 pages (paperback; though I read an ebook version)
  • Series: Legends of Light, 1-3
  • Fave character: Haydn, Evrard, Adrian
  • Source: The author (thank you!)
  • Notes: This is a collection of 3 novellas and a novelette prequel.
  • Links: Add on GoodreadsPurchase

I very much enjoyed this collection! 🙂 Here are some individual thoughts about each story, and then some thoughts at the end about all of them in general.

Rose of the Night

3 stars

This is a prequel novelette set before the three novellas. It’s not a fairytale retelling, but is an allegory of the Fall of Man and has a few other Christian elements. It was actually super depressing and dark—as might be expected from that kind of thing. XD But wow. O_O So I didn’t care for it as much, BUT I liked it better once I had read the next story and could just view it as the backstory of the Beast character from the Beauty and the Beast story. XD Overall, a little depressing for me (others might enjoy it more!) but definitely gripping, interesting, vivid, and very atmospheric! 🙂

Rose of the Oath

4 stars

A Beauty and the Beast retelling! I enjoy those, and this was original and intriguing! It has some unique things like the heroine’s brother, instead of dad, picking the rose, and the rose itself is VERY connected to things… 😉 It was so fascinating seeing the “Beauty” character (Elissa) communicate with the “Beast” character (Oathkeeper Adrian) because he couldn’t really speak because of a curse. I didn’t love Elissa but she was all right, and Adrian was pretty awesome, so. 😀 I liked Eldric (her brother) too! I’m trying to think what else I can say without spoiling things! It’s classic and new all at once. I kind of want to live in that castle. The writing was vivid, and there’s a lot of scary wolves and gorgeous roses. What’s not to like? 🙂 It’s not quite a top-favorite for some reason, but overall it was intriguing and exciting, and I really enjoyed it! A good B&B retelling, and a good story in its own right, too. 🙂 *hugs story*

Song of the Sword

4 stars

This one was so unique and fascinating! The two different planes of existence, the “Tangible” and the “Melody” or spiritual realm. It was so cool reading about Evrard, who has the ability to slip back and forth between the two. (Think, like… Inception, or Jill Williamson’s the Veil, but different.) I really liked Evrard. Andrinion the falcon was kind of a know-it-all, but fun too. XD Roinette is the heroine, who is the Rapunzel character, and I liked her too. (Though, in a fun twist, she has a “pet”/friend, a white cat with wings, who is named Punzel. :P) It’s kind of a VERY loose Rapunzel retelling… there’s a tower and Roinette has long hair, but that’s mostly it… But it was still fun. 🙂 There were a few times when the stuff about which “Realm” the characters were in got confusing or didn’t quite line up, but I still liked the idea a lot! I was a little sad that there wasn’t any romance, because I kind of suspected there would be (because… um… Rapunzel?), but I might be a minority. XD There were a couple of twists—both of which I partially guessed—and I really liked one and the other really disappointed me because sometimes you WANT to like a character but then they’re evil and yeah. >.> Ahem. But the other character twist was awesome. XD Anyway, I’m a little mixed about a couple of things, but on the whole it was just so original and neat. Exciting and fun! 🙂

Shadows of the Hersweald

4 stars

The first half of this one drove me rather batty with only hinting at things with NO explanation, even though the hero would have known; a classic example of hiding information from the reader, which is a personal annoyance of mine. Ahem. Could just be me, though. XD (And I fully admit I had a headache when I read this one, so it’s possible my brain functions didn’t pick up on things I should have, but still.) That frustrated me, especially when a few things just didn’t make sense. BUT by the end, once everything came together and I finally figured out what was going on, it turned out to be one of my favorites in the collection! 🙂 So that was impressive. ^_^ I keep thinking about it and I almost want to go back and re-read it now that I know what was going on. XD It’s a loose but original retelling of Hansel and Gretel—I liked how a few elements from the original made it into this one in unexpected ways. 🙂 I really, really liked Haydn. The story was vivid when it wasn’t being vague, and the setting was neat, and the other characters were cool too. Sometimes I wasn’t sure who I should like because I kept being afraid all of them would turn out evil. XD So that kept me on my toes. 😛 Overall, although the first part annoyed me, I ended up loving it muchly! 🙂

Overall Thoughts About the Burning Rose Collection

The three novellas had strong sibling themes going on, which was nice. You don’t always see a lot of that. ^_^

There is one particular plot-twist that ALL four stories had, which started to get tedious… I won’t say what it was, because spoilers, but things do kind of stop being plot twists and start being repeating plots eventually… But I might not have noticed if I’d read them all separately? And I kept predicting them… whoops. (#curseofbeingawriter)

However, one good thing about having them all in one collection: I did love how, even though the stories all follow totally different characters (except Adrian in the prequel and Rose of the Oath), there was still an overarching thread to follow through. It was kind of like it might be if episodes of a TV show followed different storylines but had an overall plot in the background?

I sometimes felt like since I was expected to already know the allegorical elements from Christianity, they weren’t explained IN the stories very well? Which was a little odd. And it also often happened off-screen. But what there was I did like. 🙂 (Other than the prequel being depressing. XD)

The writing was distinctive, and, while sometimes (due to the short nature of the stories) I was a little confused about what was going on, mostly these novellas were vivid, gripping, thrilling, and unique, while spinning threads of familiar stories into a tapestry of new, colorful tales. On the whole, I quite enjoyed them, and recommend them to anyone who likes a good fairytale! ^_^

(I also noticed that the next one that’s supposed to come out in this Legends of Light series is a Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling! Excuse me while I search for a time-machine so I can go read it. 😀 *bouncing in excitement*)

(I received a free e-ARC of this collection from the author—many thanks! These opinions are entirely my own.)

Have you read any of Hope Ann’s novellas? (You can find Rose of the Oath for free, by the way!) And have you ever read any retellings of Hansel and Gretel? Or do you have some favorite retellings of B&B or Rapunzel? Let’s talk about aaall things retellings! Let me know in the comments! ^_^

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer