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Valentine Giveaway! Common by Laurie Lucking

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I’m celebrating by offering a giveaway for a copy of COMMON by Laurie Lucking!

I ended up with an extra copy signed by the author, and I want to share the love! I read it as the Fellowship of Fantasy book of the month for May last year. It was a runner-up for my favorite reads of 2018, and it just makes me happy. ^_^ Plus it has an adorbz romance, so it seemed like just the right book to give away today. ❤

Scroll to the end for the giveaway, and for a Jane-Austen-inspired sale and an Amazon gift-card giveaway the Vintage Jane Austen authors and some others are offering!

First, here are five thoughts on Common and why should read it!


5 Thoughts on Common

1. The world/setting: You feel like you’re home. At first I thought it might be a Kingdom Adventure book until fantasy elements showed up later in the story. But I just loved the cozy fantasy kingdom setting and it felt so — I don’t know! I felt so at home and I just want to hug this book. ❤ (It made me think a little of books by Gail Carson Levine.)

2. Leah — She tells the story, which is a fact I keep forgetting (I don’t always love first-person, but the ones I most enjoy are the ones where I’m so sucked in that I forget!), and I just loved this red-haired servant girl. She has this sort of . . . I don’t know . . . quiet strength. She’s lovely.

3. Rafe — You have to love the prince character! Rafe is so absolutely sweet and I love him. He also feels sort of stuck in all these political schemes, and wishes he could just stay in the closet he and Leah meet in and just read with her forever. Rafe is just SO PRECIOUS. And kind of epic too.

4. The nuns — They’re quite unexpected but such neat characters! I loved how distinct they all were, each with their own personalities and temperaments, and they were unexpectedly lovable side characters. You’ll have to read it to see how they join in on the plot, but it’s really cool. 😉

5. The plot: a mix of secrets and court intrigue and politics and plots, mixed with quiet character moments and journeys, with a smidge of magic and the barest hint of an almost-Cinderella tale, and all wrapped up in an absolutely precious romance thread. Leah and Rafe are just SO ADORABLE, okay? I adore them. But I also loved reading about Leah’s adventures. 😀 This book stands alone, but I’m still so looking forward to the sequel!


Add to Goodreads • Find on Amazon • Visit the Author


GIVEAWAY

To win this gorgeous paperback copy of Common, signed by the author, enter via the Rafflecopter form HERE! (Open to US residents only, due to shipping costs. Begins Feb. 14, 2019, and ends Feb. 20, 2019, at midnight Central Time.)

EDIT: The giveaway is now CLOSED. The winner has been contacted. Thanks for entering, everyone!


A Sale + Another Giveaway

P.S. Check out this Jane-Austen-Inspired Valentine  ebook sale and $45 Amazon gift-card giveaway! Check out the details HERE or click the image below!


If you want to read my reviews of some of the Vintage Jane Austen books, you can see those here:

 

If you like Common, you may also enjoy:

 Beggar Magic  


Now let me know in the comments: Do you have a favorite fictional couple?

Thanks for reading! 🙂

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ECHO NORTH by Joanna Ruth Meyer + Blogiversary!

Happy New Year!

And happy third blogiversary to the Page Dreamer! Thanks for following along on my li’l blog, my dear pagelings!

To celebrate, I’m giving away a paperback ARC of an awesome retelling of “East of the Sun, West of the Moon”! (Giveaway closed.)

It’s called Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer, who is a fabulous writer I met through Twitter and our mutual love of Diana Wynne Jones. ❤

Echo North was the last book I read in 2018 and it blew me away and made it onto my list of the best books I read all year! (Which I’ll be sharing soon.) Meanwhile, I’m here to review it today, and to tell you why you simply MUST read this gorgeousness!

Make sure to scroll all the way to the end to enter the giveaway for an ARC paperback copy! (Giveaway closed.)


Title: Echo North

Author: Joanna Ruth Meyer

  • Date read: December 29, 2018
  • Rating: 5 stars! (I’d totally give it 6 if I could…)
  • Genre: Fantasy / Fairytale Retelling / East of the Sun, West of the Moon (with a hint of Beauty and the Beast and Tam Lin)
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2019
  • Pages: 389 (ARC paperback)
  • Series: Standalone
  • Fave character: Hal, of course!
  • Source: Page Street Publishing
  • Notes: Thanks to the publisher for providing a free ARC of this book. A positive review was not required. All opinions are entirely my own.

My favorite books are the ones I find most difficult to review. AAHH. How can I explain my love for this book? IT’S SO, SO GOOD.

Echo North is so beautiful it hurts. I found myself utterly enchanted by this story of the girl Echo and the white wolf and Hal and the Winds, and I’m so sad it’s over because I wanted to just LIVE in it for ages and ages. ❤

Don’t you love those retellings that feel like they’re the REAL story? This one felt that way. A retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon, I loved how it seemed like this was the real history behind it. More than seemed, it WAS and—well, you’ll have to read it. 😉 There’s also a hint of Beauty and the Beast, and just a dash of Tam Lin. All the retelling bits were brilliant and I loved them!

This is the story of Echo, our heroine, trapped by her scars, who tells the story in words so heartfelt and gorgeous that I wanted to melt into them. It’s the story of the white wolf in the house under the mountain, of his sorrow and secrets, trapped by a curse. It’s the story of Hal, the . . . I don’t have a word for him, because all of them fall short of his irrepressible personality! The indescribable young man Echo meets, who is trapped in the worlds of the book-mirrors and by a shadow of his own past. They’re my FAVORITE. I love them all. Their stories intertwine flawlessly and paint a stunning picture I happily lost myself in.

I sometimes almost forgot I was reading a retelling, because there was just so much MORE to this book. I think of it in three parts—the part where Echo is at home, the part in the House under the mountain, and the quest. They’re all fantastic (although the beginning part is kind of sad, but I somehow didn’t mind because it’s just what HAPPENED, you know?), but the middle bit is my absolute favorite. 😀

The book-mirrors were one of my favorite things—how cool is the idea of stepping into a mirror which is actually a book, and experiencing that? There were other awesome things about the book-mirrors but I don’t want to spoil them—you must read it for yourself! 🙂 Another thing I loved was the House! It almost has its own personality, and all the different unique rooms, full of fantasy and wonder and peril and bound together like patches on a quilt, were incredible. It was like having separate pockets of Faerie all tied together.

The sheer imagination left me speechless. This is what fantasy was made for. I was spellbound by all the many different imaginative worlds and stories and fantastical elements woven together by this author’s skillful pen. How did she come up with them all? It’s like the full potential of fantasy has been explored in these pages. There are a thousand unique things in this tale, all perilous and beautiful like frozen starlight.

It’s a story full of echoing joy and heart-rending sorrow, of stars and wind and snow, of a magical house and books explored through mirrors, of love and fire and woods and thorns, of music and wonder and mystery and adventure. None of it’s safe, exactly, but it’s all stunning. It was so vivid I absolutely BREATHED this story, both thrilling and quiet, on the edge of my seat but cozy at the same time, and got to know each of these dear characters so well. ❤

Because these CHARACTERS. Hal is the absolute BEST. I have a new favorite character, guys. 😉 He’s so full of LIFE and his dialog and exuberance are just—the best. But I love how there’s something deeper back there, with several layers of mystery. He’s like all my most favorite character types! I love Hal and Echo together—they are my favorite! ❤ The wolf was also awesome and also mysterious. He and Echo have a great dynamic as well! And I love Echo. And the romance was the best.

All the dialog and interactions in this book . . . SO GOOD. And there were side characters I loved as well! Everyone was so alive. Echo’s brother Rodya—there need to be more good brother characters in fiction!—is not in it terribly much but he was fantastic. And I absolutely loved Ivan the storyteller and his wife and just . . . this whole book, guys. I want to hug it forever!

Also, there are PLOT TWISTS. One of them I guessed and was totally hoping would be a thing. Another was hinted at and I vaguely suspected something was up, but oh, the glorious reveal of this mind-blowing twist! :O And some of the side characters had stories that were twisty as well. Did I mention how breathtaking the writing was? I just want to eat it! And I loved the music in the story and its descriptions. 🙂 It was all so masterfully done!

Some books simply enchant you, you know? This one stole a part of my heart and crept in as the last book I read in 2018 but one of my top favorites. I’m going to treasure my memories of reading this late at night near the cold end of the year, when I didn’t mean to read so late but couldn’t stop. ^_^

I could probably talk about this book for ages but I’m going to stop now and simply say: If you love fairytales and the fantastic and characters who will steal your heart, you absolutely must read this gorgeous tale, full of the wild echoes of Faerie, of piercing starlight and wind and ice and fierce love.

Just read it.


Quotes

“What is your name?” I asked.
“I do not have a name.”
“Then what am I to call you?”
“Whatever you like.”

***

“If I’d thought this story wouldn’t have a happy ending, I would have read something else.”
His blue eyes locked on mine, suddenly serious. “Must you always know a story ends happily before you feel equal to beginning it?

***

We dined with the Winds in a hall looking out over the world, and the colors tasted bright and the wine smelt of music.

***

“It’s all very exciting, if rather ridiculous.”
I couldn’t help but laugh. “You are rather ridiculous.”
He winked at me again. “Are you ready to run?”
“What?”
That’s when one of the soldiers spotted us, his blade flashing toward our hiding spot.
“Run, Echo!” cried Hal. He grabbed my hand and we dashed into the wood.


About Echo North

She dreamed of the wood, and the wolf who was trapped there.

Echo Alkaev’s safe and carefully structured world falls apart when her father leaves for the city and mysteriously disappears. Believing he is lost forever, Echo is shocked to find him half-frozen in the winter forest six months later, guarded by a strange talking wolf―the same creature who attacked her as a child. The wolf presents Echo with an ultimatum: if she lives with him for one year, he will ensure her father makes it home safely. But there is more to the wolf than Echo realizes.

In his enchanted house beneath a mountain, each room must be sewn together to keep the home from unraveling, and something new and dark and strange lies behind every door. When centuries-old secrets unfold, Echo discovers a magical library full of books- turned-mirrors, and a young man named Hal who is trapped inside of them. As the year ticks by, the rooms begin to disappear and Echo must solve the mystery of the wolf’s enchantment before her time is up otherwise Echo, the wolf, and Hal will be lost forever.

Echo North will release January 15, 2019

Add on GoodreadsPreorder on Barnes & Noble • Preorder on Amazon


Visit the author, Joanna Ruth Meyer, online!

WebsiteTwitter: @gamwynInstagram: @gamwyn


GIVEAWAY!

The publisher (Page Street Publishing) was kind enough to send me an extra ARC, which I am giving away here on my blog today!

To enter to win a paperback ARC of Echo North, click on this link to enter via the rafflecopter!

(US entries only. Open from Tuesday, January 1, 2019, through Sunday, January 6, 2019, midnight CST. Winner will be contacted by email and announced on this blog shortly thereafter.)

Giveaway is closed. The winner is Amanda, who has been contacted. Thanks for entering, everyone!


Doesn’t it just sound like THE BEST? *collapses* I loved it so much! (I have quite a book-hangover after this, which is a bad way to start a new year of reading — how will anything be this good again? — but perfect at the same time, and I don’t regret it one little bit. ❤ )

I hope you enjoyed my review, and be sure to enter the giveaway!

Thanks for celebrating my li’l blogoversary with me, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Retrieve by Sarah Addison-Fox

I’m joining in on the blog-tour for Sarah Addison-Fox’s latest book, the first in her new Stormers series!

Title: Retrieve (The Stormers Trilogy, #1)

Author: Sarah Addison-Fox

  • Date read: December 23, 2018
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Kingdom Adventure?
  • Age: YA (slightly gritty)
  • Year pub: 2018
  • Pages: 170 (Kindle)
  • Series: The Stormers Trilogy, #1
  • Fave character: Kade!
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received an e-ARC from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

WHAT. AAHH. There was a HUGE plot-twist near the end that had me gobsmacked, staring at my screen, and then that cliffhanger! I need to know what’s going oooon! Book 2, I need you ASAP. *collapses*

Ahem. I’m getting ahead of myself. 😛

This is a super enjoyable fantasy/kingdom-adventure type story, with a hint of Mulan and just a smidge of Prince of Persia. Our heroine, Hadley, pretends to be a boy and joins up with our hero, Kade, who has been sent as one of the Stormers—a sort of secret special missions group—to rescue a princess from a hostile nation.

I liked Hadley and how the POV switched back and forth between her and Kade so we could see how they were reacting all the time. She’s tough and determined at times, which I loved, but I also appreciated how she was still very much a young woman lost in this rough world, and how it’s okay if she needs to cry or wish for a bath or want to wear a dress and be feminine, without in any way detracting from her grit and determination. It was just cool, okay?

Kade was pretty awesome and you can’t help but like his stubbornness and how he just keeps going, and how he doesn’t let anything stop him—and sometimes his thick shell cracks a little and he’s nice to Hadley in his brusque way and she doesn’t realize it. XD He’s so dedicated to his mission and always looking out for those he loves, in his own way. Kade’s the best!

These two were so fun to read about on their journey together, and their relationship from not trusting each other and arguing all the time turns into something more and they learn to work with each other—ish. I love them and totally ship them and need to see where their story goes. 😀

It’s very exciting and there’s a lot of traveling in deserts and through either ghost-towns (plague, yay) or a colorful market town in enemy territory, with ambushes and fights and arrows and knives and sneaking around and climbing walls and ALL the survival. The writing sometimes made me wish it had been edited one more time (though I did read an ARC, which means it wasn’t the final version) but it’s very punchy writing and could just be the style—and like I said, was very exciting!

The world was cool and I’m curious to learn more about the countries and what’s going on. The semi-desert-y setting for a lot of it was unique and neat, and I loved how the mysterious Numachi people and their culture kept us on our toes. So intense!

It could get a little brutal sometimes and there’s a little language and the usual awkwardness connected with a gal trying to pretend to be a boy for part of the book. So if any of that bothers you, it might not be your cup of tea. But it’s much tamer than, say, Six of Crows, and it’s a really good book and so exciting and I enjoyed it a ton! ^_^

And like I said, there was this enormous plot twist that I totally didn’t see coming and turned everything on its head and just alkdljk! That was pretty awesome. 😀 It was a solid four-star read but that twist totally made me bump it up to a five-star because I was impressed. XD (Plus I just love Kade and Hadley. *cough*)

Butbutbut I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS. It’s not, like, a horrible cliffhanger, but it definitely left me wondering what on earth is going on and where things are going to go next! :O

If you need me I’ll just be over here watching the calendar until the release date of the sequel, because I love these characters and need to know what happenssss. O_O


About Retrieve

Retrieve (The Stormers Trilogy #1)

By Sarah Addison-Fox

What if the job you took to stay alive might be what kills you?

Kade knows what it is to suffer. He knows what it’s like to lose everything and everyone around him.

His job in a Stormer Unit guarantees not just his survival in the decimated country of Azetaria, but his sister Meg’s. Even if it means facing the Numachi warriors baying for his blood, he’ll do what it takes to keep her safe.

Hadley is alone and surviving the only way she knows how. By hiding where predators won’t find her and scavenging enough just to keep her alive.

When desperation drives Hadley to search for her missing brother, she mistakenly accepts the offer of recruitment into the Stormer’s camp, only to be partnered with Kade and sent as a scout into Numachi territory.

The intimidating young Stormer may just know where her brother has gone. But can they stay alive long enough to find him?


Find the book:

Goodreads

Amazon


Find the Author Online:

Facebook

Instagram

Website

Twitter: @saddisonfox

Facebook Fangroup

Blog:


Blog Tour

You can check out all the stops on the blog tour HERE!


GIVEAWAY

The author is giving away this FANTASTIC pack of epic things, so make sure you go enter HERE!


You may also enjoy:

    wolftower kingswarriorcover

Thanks for reading! 🙂

5 Thoughts on Armor of Aletheia by Ralene Burke

Title: Armor of Aletheia

Author: Ralene Burke

  • Date read: October 31, 2018
  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Christian Fantasy
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2018
  • Pages: 268 (ebook)
  • Series: Sacred Armor Trilogy, #1
  • Fave character: Tristan (eventually. ;))
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free e-ARC of this book from the author. I was not required to write a review, and all opinions are my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

Such an enjoyable book! It seems like it’s been awhile since I’ve read a really classic-feeling Epic Fantasy quest novel, so this one hit the spot nicely! I love how it felt classic, but also had some new twists that I didn’t see coming. I particularly loved the world in this one! There are elves and dragons and shapeshifters and a griffin and a talking (ish) horse, and scary wolf-like things called lupens. I also loved the wintry feel and the different places, both gorgeous and scary, that the characters visited.

Karina, our heroine, could be a little frustrating at times, but on the whole she was great—and I loved Dom the horse! 😉 I also loved a certain shapeshifter elf (so feisty and cool!), and a guard captain who was awesome. But my favorite—eventually—was Tristan! At first I wasn’t sure about this bounty hunter, but as I suspected, he quickly became pretty awesome. 😉 I won’t give anything away but I’m all here for the character-arcs is all I’m saying. The banter between Tristan and Karina is MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE. 😀 I love them so much. ^_^ Tristan particularly is rather quotable, and I always love that. (Also, how cool are their names!)

Sometimes it seemed a little rushed or confusing (to me), some of the wording felt a little odd (maybe just me?), and it could maybe have used an extra edit (though I did read an Advance Reader Copy, so I don’t know if it was the final version). But those things didn’t detract from the story too much. 🙂 It took me a little while to get really into it, but by about a quarter through I was loving it. 😀

It was neat reading about this world of three kingdoms (including Aletheia) and following Karina’s quest! Like I said, there were some twists, and even though it had a classic fantasy quest feel, it still felt fresh—and suspenseful! Also, the parts where the Creator guided them and where Karina met basically an angel were cool, and the element from the title—the armor of the Creator, including the belt of Truth and the shield of Faith—is a really neat concept to explore in a fantasy world, and I’m looking forward to where it goes.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable read and I’m so glad I picked it up! Perfect for fans of Christian fantasy. I’m already looking forward very much to the sequel and seeing where Karina and Tristan and their companions end up next! 🙂

~ ~ ~

What do you think? And what’s the latest great fantasy you’ve read?

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

Blood in the Snow by Sarah Pennington: Review/Blog Tour!

Hey, my pagelings!

I’m SO excited today to be taking part in the blog tour for the Seven Magic Mirrors co-release of seven Snow White novellas by six different authors, all releasing this week!

Specifically, I’m reviewing Blood in the Snow by Sarah Pennington, and guys, I’m just SO SO EXCITED. I’ve known Sarah for years and she’s a delightful friend, blogger, and — now I know for absolute sure — a stupendous author! I’ve been waiting for her to have a book out for me to read and review and (hopefully) fangirl over for years and IT IS THIS DAY. I’m absurdly pleased about this. 😀

Also, make sure you drop by here to see all the stops on the blog tour and to enter a fantabulous giveaway for five paperbacks from this collection!

Now, my review . . .


Title: Blood in the Snow

Author: Sarah Pennington

  • Date read: October 24, 2018
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Retelling / Snow White / The Goose Girl / Novella / Asian-Inspired Fantasy
  • Age: YA/any
  • Year pub: 2018
  • Pages: 137 (ebook)
  • Fave character: Gan! But also Nianzu, Xiang, Baili, and Chouko.
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free e-ARC of this book as part of the blog tour. All opinions are my own.

BLOOD IN THE SNOW is a stunning debut from Sarah Pennington, an author I’ve long been watching. I was so excited to read it, and I’m absurdly pleased with the result. This first novella from her did not disappoint! The writing is lyrical yet unobtrusive, pulling one entirely into the story. Every facet of this tale is skillfully crafted together—the writing, the intricate plot, the characters, the themes, and the vibrant setting.

I loved this utterly enchanting retelling of Snow White and The Goose Girl! I never would have thought of the two fairytales together, but they work so incredibly well with each other in this book, I almost feel like this must be their natural state. I don’t want to share spoilers, but all the plot points were spot-on and yet felt organic and original, and a few of them surprising. The many complex threads were woven seamlessly together. Fairytale retellings are my favorite and this one was so well done, which made this reader very happy! ^_^

As much as I loved the retelling part, even the best retelling can fall flat if the characters don’t take off—but these absolutely came to life, and brought the story to life with them!

Baili was a good heroine and I enjoyed seeing her grow through the story and find herself. ^_^ I also really liked the prince character, Xiang! He was great, especially his willingness to help people. 🙂 I absolutely loved the scenes where they interacted. Other favorites were definitely two or three of the “seven dwarves” characters—who were not dwarves at all in this, but animal keepers. I loved meeting them and hearing about their different peoples and backgrounds, and the banter and dialog was so much fun. 😀

Gan was probably my absolute favorite character in the book! He was fantastic, and I also loved his exchanges with fiery goose girl Chouko, another of the seven. Their dynamic was the best. 😀 I wasn’t sure if I’d like Chouko at first, but I really grew to, which surprised me and was awesome! And the quieter, mysterious Nianzu. I’d almost love to read a whole other book about him and Gan and maybe Chouko—they’re that cool. 🙂 The characters were an absolute hit with me!

The worldbuilding was incredible—I could hardly believe so much was packed into this little novella! A whole broad-reaching world of many peoples, cultures, histories, and some surprising deeper themes. The magical bits were interesting too, with the bloodgift element and the Dragonglass, and I particularly loved the use of air and water; now THAT was neat. 🙂 But you’ll have to read it to see what I mean. 😉

I feel like this is a good moment for me to mention that I was reminded of Lloyd Alexander, one of my top three favorite authors, so that’s… well… that’s high praise. This tale just felt GOOD and made me feel at home and I want to hug it. ^_^

Sometimes it was a little difficult for me to keep track of the names (my own fault, I’m sure), and as with most novellas, I wished that it could have been longer (because I want MORE!), yet it made remarkable use of the space there was, so that it didn’t seem rushed, but felt like a complete story. And I always have a hard time reading Goose Girl retellings because ugh, people are so mean to the heroine! It makes me mad (at said characters… which is probably the correct feeling for the reader anyway. :P). But those are small personal things and as close to issues with the story as I can get—it was really fantastic and I loved it!

This novella was a Special Unicorn honorable mention in the final Rooglewood Press fairytale retelling contest, receiving a perfect score, and now that I’ve read it, I can see that there was absolutely a reason for that!

It left me spellbound and with a happy smile as I finished. The story is every bit as gorgeous inside as the breathtaking cover on the outside. I will eagerly await more tales from this author’s pen, and I highly recommend checking this one out!


About Blood in the Snow

Her destiny is decided — but betrayal breaks even the best-laid plans.

Baili, the princess of the Kingdom of Seven Rivers, has always known what her future holds. Declared the fairest of all by the fabled Dragonglass, she is destined to fulfill an ancient prophecy and unite her homeland with its long-time enemy, the Kingdom of Three Peaks. And in doing so, she may save her country from death and ruin.

In order to fulfill her destiny, Baili must travel to the Kingdom of Three Peaks and marry its prince, Liu Xiang. But all Baili’s plans and expectations are turned upside-down when her servants and soldiers, acting on her stepmother’s orders, turn against her on the road. Baili narrowly escapes with her life, but she’s left alone and adrift among strangers.

Fortunately, Baili finds refuge in the home of seven animal keepers: servants and slaves to the emperor of Three Peaks. Yet time is running out. Her servants’ rebellion was only a small part of a much larger plot. Within weeks, her stepmother plans to unite the two kingdoms, not by contract, but by conquest. Baili must reclaim her rightful place and unite not just two kingdoms but many peoples in order to stop the plan. And if she fails, two kingdoms will be plunged into ruin.

Sure to delight lovers of fantasy and fairy tales, this rich and magical Asian-inspired adventure combines Snow White and The Goose Girl in a way you’ve never seen before.


Links


About the Author

Sarah Pennington has been writing stories since before she actually knew how to write, and she has no intention of stopping anytime soon. She is perpetually in the middle of writing at least one or two novels, most of which are in the fantasy and fairy tale retelling genres. Sarah’s first published work, Blood in the Snow, received a perfect score and Special Unicorn status in Rooglewood Press’s Five Poisoned Apples contest. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys knitting, photography, and trying to conquer her massive to-be-read list.

Find her online at: Website || Blog || Second Blog || Goodreads || Facebook || Amazon


Seven Magic Mirrors

What are the Magic Mirrors?

The Magic Mirrors are seven retellings of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs by six different authors, each unique in tone, setting, and moral. From the light hearted and twisted to dark reimagining to futuristic mashups to non-magical historical fiction, this collection has something in it for every reader.

Again, be sure to drop by to see the whole blog tour, check out the other posts, and enter the giveaway!


Well, what do you think?

Sound like a tale you need in on? Because it is! And how about that INCREDIBLE cover by Anne Elisabeth Stengl? *collapses because it’s so gorgeous* I hope you’ll check out Sarah Pennington’s stunning debut, and that you’re looking forward to the other Magic Mirrors books as much as I am! 🙂 Thanks for reading!

The Worth of a King Review/Blog Tour

Hi everyone! Today I’m excited to be part of the blog tour for the latest book of an author friend, Kendra E. Ardnek! I’ll be sharing my review of this delightful book — and there’s also a giveaway, so keep reading! 😉


Title: The Worth of a King

Author: Kendra E. Ardnek

  • Date read: August 30, 2018
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Christian Fantasy
  • Age: YA-ish
  • Year pub: 2018
  • Pages: 358 (Kindle)
  • Series: The Fall of a Star, #1
  • Fave character: Delaney! ❤
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free Advance Reader Copy ebook from the author. I was not required to write a positive review, and all opinions are my own.

SQUEE! This was a really enjoyable book. 😀

Things I loved:

+ Delaney! Of course he had to be at the top of this list. I LOVE THIS BOY. He’s fantastic. I don’t want to give away any of the plot, but the way he does all the awesomeness, and is also sweet, and stands firm on the right things when everything is conspiring against him—basically, I’m a fan. 😀

+ Winged Horses! Okay, I really want one of these. They were awesome.

+ The world, the “feel,” and just… I can’t quite explain it, but I really enjoyed being here in this setting. ^_^ The cultures were interesting (like the masked Zovordians!) and I just… I don’t know. It felt homey. 🙂 And fresh. And honestly it gave me Goldstone-Wood-series vibes which is always a good thing!

+ The plot was unique and intriguing, and once I got used to the weird politics and laws, those made it even more fascinating. 😀 Some of it wasn’t as exciting as I thought it might be—it’s sometimes more of a character story, which was awesome—but there were also plenty of high stakes and it kept me guessing.

+ Cream cake. Because I neeeed one! (Or possibly several.)

+ I’m also pleased that I was able to enjoy this book without having read the Rizkaland books. I believe this is the first book in a sort of prequel series to that, so I was wondering… but it stood on its own quite well. (Just a few things about the world I didn’t quite get a feel for… maybe if I’d read those it would have helped? But nothing serious.) It WAS a little weird reading this because of my experience not having read the Rizkaland books and YET also knowing things about… well… STUFF, due to things I’ve heard said about the series. So… I kind of knew things… which kind of colored some of my perspectives… and makes me wonder how I’d feel about things if I didn’t know certain THINGS. But that’s just me. XD On the whole, if you’ve never picked up a book by this author before, this is a good one to start with. 🙂

+ Humor is also one of my favorite things, and there was some of that scattered throughout to make me smile. 🙂

+ Sweet romance(s) which I WILL SAY NO MORE ON but so adorbz! 😀 I really liked the main one, but I also loved that there were a few other ones scattered along the side of the story. Keeps one on one’s toes and adds to the adorbz factor.

+ Twins. Because twin stories are fun, and I enjoyed Adrian and Obsidia (who, yes, I did like quite a bit when she wasn’t being… odd). ADRIAN IS PRECIOUS. He needs a hug. He could get hard to deal with at times too, but I liked his quietness and surprising strengths. And the whole twin thing was great.

+ The rest of the characters were quite intriguing and I don’t have time to mention them all here, but they fleshed it out nicely, and I came to care about so many of them. 🙂 And certain have me curious about thiiings. O_o

+ Granite—oh my word, I loved Granite!! He’s such a fun guy but also kinda mysterious because “Immortal King” and all that. I loved when he was around in any scene and I don’t even know how to describe it. Magnetism and humor, I guess. He was fabulous.

+ Oh, and Delaney. DELANEYYY. I did mention him, right? *cough*

Less favorite things:

Okay, so I have a couple of things I didn’t love… Once I got about halfway through, I confess that I started screaming every time a character “admitted” something, and some of the wording was a smidge modern-feeling. (OH. But I did read an ARC of this book, so it’s possible some of these things were smoothed out; I wouldn’t know. :P) Obsidia occasionally annoyed/puzzled me, especially how she reacted (or rather, failed to react) to a certain big thing (also so much blushing; help), and Nadilynn wasn’t my favorite (but I’m never big on the exuberant, chatty best friend character, so that’s just me. :P). (Oh, and I’m not sure an 18 year old boy would be thinking of a certain girl as just his “best friend”?? It made him feel young sometimes.) And I honestly don’t know how I feel about some of the things at the end or about everything involving the queen.

BUT ANYWAY, those are simply personal opinions, and small complaints, and didn’t detract much from my overall enjoyment of this delightful novel. 🙂

On the whole, I had a blast reading it, and I definitely recommend it to fans of fantasy with a Christian tilt to it. If you haven’t yet, check it out and dive into a whole new unique world with winged horses, shady dragons behind the scenes, and touching stories of beloved characters as they navigate the complexities of political intrigue, different cultures, matters of the heart, and of family lost and re-found. It made me happy and was an enjoyable fantasy read! ^_^


About The Worth of a King

Princess Obsidia’s father was killed the night she was born. Since there was no male heir, the crown went to the man who killed him, by Dialcian law. This never bothered her, growing up, and when it comes time for Obsidia to choose her husband, she chooses Prince Delaney, the son of that man, with little hesitation. Only then does her life start crumbling around her.

Adrian expected to live a normal life, taking his father’s place at the print shop when his father retired. But, on his eighteenth birthday, when the princess’ engagement is announced, his world is ripped out from under him when he learns that his life was a ruse, and he is the twin brother to the princess – and expected to take back his father’s throne.

Delaney knows that his country is hovering on the brink of war – and that his father may harbor murderous intentions towards his intended bride due to her Zovordian blood. He wants nothing more than to protect Obsidia and his people, but as merely prince, he has little power against his father.

The ancient war between the Dragons and the Immortal King and Queen is nearing its climax, and the three are already caught in it.


Links


About the Author

Kendra E. Ardnek loves fairytales and twisting them in new and exciting ways. She’s been or acting them on her dozen plus cousins and siblings for years. “Finish your story, Kendra,” is frequently heard at family gatherings. Her sole life goal has always been to grow up and be an author of fantasy and children’s tales that glorify God and His Word.

Find her online at:

Website || Blog || Goodreads || Facebook || Twitter || Amazon


Schedule

Here are the posts on the blog tour for today. Check out the full tour schedule HERE!

Thursday, August 30th

Reviews:

Interviews:


Giveaway

Kendra is giving away a paperback copy of The Worth of a King and a 15ml bottle of Peppermint oil (US only). You can find the info on her blog.

She also has a special prize for whoever leaves the most comments across the blog tour! (International)


Talk to me! Does the story intrigue you? HOW ABOUT THAT GORGEOUS COVER?? Thanks for reading! 🙂

Review: Song of Leira by Gillian Bronte Adams

Look! Birdie seems to be singing a dinosaur through a hedge! (Creation Evidence Museum) #SongofLeiraContest

I’m back on the Song of Leira release blog tour to share my review! And also some snazzy photos I took for Gillian’s Take Your Book on an Adventure photo contest (details at the end of this post — but it ends in just a couple of days, so be sure to get in on it!).

I took Song of Leira on an adventure to the Creation Evidence Museum, and the Dinosaur Valley State Park with dinosaur footprints in the riverbed (both in Glen Rose, TX), so that’s where these pictures scattered through the post are from!

(There mayyy not be dinosaurs, exactly, in this book, but there are definitely some big scary critters, so close enough!)

Enjoy the pics and review, and thanks for reading. ^_^

#SongofLeiraContest


Title: Song of Leira

Author: Gillian Bronte Adams

  • Date read: June 5, 2018
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Epic Fantasy
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2018
  • Pages: 411 (paperback)
  • Series: The Songkeeper Chronicles, #3 (Book 1: Orphan’s Song. Book 2: Songkeeper.)
  • Fave character: GAH. How can I pick? Cade, Birdie, Ky, Amos, Gundhrold… so there.
  • Source: The publisher
  • Notes: I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher (thanks!) and was not required to write a positive review. These opinions are entirely my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

There’s some kind of beastie footprint down where Birdie sang the water away! (Dinosaur Valley State Park) #SongofLeiraContest

The sweeping, epic conclusion to the Songkeeper Chronicles trilogy, SONG OF LEIRA far exceeded my expectations and does not disappoint! AAHH! My heart is so full. ^_^ *hugs book* I’m not using “epic” lightly—it really is that.

I haven’t read a book with such overwhelming hope in a long time. Yes, there’s darkness and war and death and sorrow, but in the midst of it, the light and the Song pour out hope and peace and strength. It’s full of those times when you feel like everything’s lost, but then there are moments of eucatastrophe and those good surprises (particularly near the end!) that make everything right.

After the darkness and shattering despair of the dark-before-the-dawn middle of the series, Songkeeper, I was worried this final installment wouldn’t live up to my hopes, but it rallied and brought me soaring through the conclusion on wings of exhilaration like a griffin. 😀 Twice, SONG OF LEIRA had tears pricking my eyes—at a certain death (still broken up over that one, though at least there was peace and purpose to it) and reading the beautiful final paragraphs of the novel. It’s heartbreaking and beautiful all at once, and still dark much of the time (there are a few side characters I could have wished survived), but the overall feeling I came away with was hope and joy. 🙂 It just stirred my soul so much. ❤

The book started out a little quietly but it soon pulled me in and swept me away on the adventure. We’re in the mountains in this one, with Ky and the runners of the Underground, Birdie and the griffin, and many other characters we meet along the way, both friends and enemies, new and old, and so many places… but I don’t want to give anything away! The world is so vivid and I love it. ^_^

I also loved following Birdie and Ky on their journeys, as they fall and get up again over and over—as they doubt and find their way, and make mistakes and grow and learn, and become so much more than they could have imagined. Becoming heroes worthy of legend and song. And Gundhrold the griffin and Amos and—gaah, I love them all! There are new characters too—I particularly love Frey, the beast from the cover!

Is it the River of Song? (Dinosaur Valley State Park) #SongofLeiraContest

All the characters are so HUMAN (I mean… except for the actual non-human characters. *cough* But you know what I mean!) and we bleed and struggle and triumph along with these broken but determined souls. I love them so much! ^_^ These are definitely some characters who’ve wrapped themselves around my heart. (Yes, including Cade. He may be arrogant at times, but I still love him! He wasn’t in it much, but I was so glad he got to come in near the end like that! 😀 He’s still one of my favorites despite everything, and I will not apologize. 😛 CADE.) Even the villains are written in such a compelling way that they seem human too. There was one in particular I hoped for a better ending for, but… ah well.

Another thing I found delightful was the Song and what the Songkeeper can do—it was such a unique thing and made me love this fantasy world even more! A unique “magic system” for lack of a better term (gift?) helps set apart a fantastic series from a merely good one. I just love all the stuff about the Song, and it was wonderful to see Birdie come into her own at last! Also her humility in not taking the credit to herself but pointing it back to the Master Singer. Christian fantasy done absolutely RIGHT. ❤

Some of it can also be fun, too! The little moments of humor or wonder made my day. ^_^ The writing, too, is gorgeous—effortlessly drawing the reader along and painting everything so vividly, in soul-stirring moments of near-poetry at times. Gillian Bronte Adams is definitely a talented author, and this is her best book yet. (Sometimes I was reminded of another of my favorites, Lloyd Alexander, at his best—which is high praise from me. :))

The plot was exciting too! It brings so many threads together from throughout the trilogy and ties most of them together so that everything falls in place in an utterly right and satisfying way. I’m not going to spoil anything, but WOW. That ending! So epic and thrilling! (And I got a slight Arthurian vibe, which is always welcome. ;))

SONG OF LEIRA is a breathtaking, fulfilling, and so rewarding conclusion to what has been a beautiful journey of a fantasy trilogy, masterfully penned and threading its way through my heart.

It brings you through the darkest shadows of night and on to the glorious rays of dawn.

This—THIS—is what epic fantasy with echoes of truth is meant to be.

Just imagine Song of Leira being printed on this Gutenberg press replica! (Creation Evidence Museum) #SongofLeiraContest


The Song bids her rise to battle.

Reeling from her disastrous foray into the Pit, Birdie, the young Songkeeper, retreats into the mountains. But in the war-torn north, kneeling on bloodstained battlefields to sing the souls of the dying to rest, her resolve to accept her calling is strengthened. Such evil cannot go unchallenged.

Torn between oaths to protect the Underground runners and to rescue his friend from the slave camps, Ky Huntyr enlists Birdie’s aid. Their mission to free the captives unravels the horrifying thread connecting the legendary spring, Artair’s sword, and the slave camps. But the Takhran’s schemes are already in motion. Powerful singers have arisen to lead his army – singers who can shake the earth and master the sea – and monsters rampage across the land.

As Leira falters on the verge of defeat, the Song bids her rise to battle, and the Songkeeper must answer.

Find Song of Leira online: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD

Add Song of Leira to your Goodreads Shelf


NEED TO CATCH UP ON THE SERIES?

Orphan’s Song (Book 1) Her solo is a death sentence. When Birdie first hears the Song coming from her mouth, her world shatters. She is no longer simply an orphan but the last of a hunted people. Forced on the run, she must decide who to trust: a traveling peddler, a streetwise thief, or the mysterious creature who claims to know her past. With war threatening to tear her homeland apart, Birdie discovers an overwhelming truth: the fate of Leira may hinge on her song.

Songkeeper (Book 2) War ravages Leira & the Song has fallen silent. Desperate to end the fighting, Birdie embarks on a dangerous mission into enemy territory, while Ky returns to his besieged city to save the Underground runners. Legend speaks of a mythical spring beneath the Takhran’s fortress and the Songkeeper who will one day unleash it. Everyone believes Birdie is the one. But can she truly be the Songkeeper when the Song no longer answers her call?


TAKE YOUR BOOK ON AN ADVENTURE CONTEST

To celebrate Song of Leira‘s release, Gillian Bronte Adams is running a contest to show that reading and adventuring go hand in hand! Snag a picture or video of you adventuring with your book, tag it #SongofLeiraContest and post it online. Winners will be announced on June 22 at the “Song of Leira and King’s War Facebook Party.”

To see the prizes at stake and the official contest guidelines, head over to Gillian’s website.