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?


Minstrel’s Call: Cover Reveal!

The final song is about to be sung . . .

The last book in Jenelle Leanne Schmidt’s epic fantasy series, beginning with King’s Warrior and continuing with Second Song and Yorien’s Hand, is about to release!

Yes indeed, book 4, Minstrel’s Call, is coming out on February 28, and I could NOT be more excited! 😀

Today, I’m here to share in the revealing of the cover!

But first, a bit about the book and the author…

Minstrel’s Call

War threatens. The game board is set. But the Minstrel is missing…

Advancing his growing power, the Dread Prince breaks free of his prison and brings a faction of dragons under his control, stirring unrest and hatred in the newly united kingdoms of Tellurae Aquaous.

When the dragon wards of Kallayohm are targeted in a ruthless attack, the High King travels there to administer justice. But the trial results in a crippling blow that leaves him reeling.

On the heels of defeat, an unexpected message from the erstwhile Minstrel arrives, pleading with his friends for rescue. Together, the High King and his companions must follow the fragile trail, braving peril and darkness that will test the measure of them all…

Pre-Order for 99 cents on Amazon

About Jenelle

Jenelle Schmidt grew up in the northern-Midwest. She now resides with her husband and their four adorable children in the wilds of Wisconsin. Jenelle fell in love with reading at a young age during family story-times when her father would read out loud to her and her siblings each night before bed. Her imagination was captured by authors such as Madeleine L’Engle, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Lloyd Alexander. It wasn’t long before she began making up her own stories and sharing them with her family. To this day she enjoys creating exciting adventure tales filled with poignant themes and compelling characters in the fantasy and sci-fi genres.

Find her online

Website/BlogFacebookTwitterAmazon Author PageGoodreads

Aaaand, without further ado, I give you: the cover!

Eeek! It’s so unique and epic and I love it! I’M RIDICULOUSLY EXCITED! ^_^ I especially love the waves, and it’s such a DIFFERENT cover and the ship is cool and I can’t wait! 😀

Have you tried out Jenelle’s books yet? They’re lovely if you haven’t! And for those of you who have, I hope you’ll join me in being excited for the release of the final one in the Minstrel’s Song series! IT’S ALMOST HEEERE!

(You can check out my reviews for the first three books in the series by clicking the images below.)

  Yoriens Hand - Cover Reveal Medium

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

Vintage Jane Austen Valentine Sale

Hey, page-dreaming friends!

Just a heads-up: check out this sale for those Jane Austen retellings I’ve reviewed before! 🙂

From the Vintage Jane Austen Website…

A Kindle Countdown sale for the Vintage Jane Austen books begins today and runs through February 16!

If you’ve been wanting to read these 1930s-era retellings of Jane Austen’s classic novels, now is a great time to pick up ebook copies!

(The prices will slowly go back up toward their usual price, so jump on it now!)

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~The Page Dreamer

10 Things I Love About “The Last Motley” by DJ Edwardson

Hello, dear page dreamers! Oh boy, do I have a treat for you today!

DJ Edwardson’s fantasy novel, The Last Motley, is releasing in digital form today (paperback available too), and I’m here to tell you ALL about how you must drop everything and go read this amazing fantasy tale at once!

(And stay tuned at the end of this post for a link to the blogtour and giveaway currently going on to celebrate the release!)

But firstly, look at that stunning cover…

Title: The Last Motley
Author: DJ Edwardson

  • Date read: January 16, 2018
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Epic Fantasy / Christian
  • Age: Any
  • Year pub: 2018
  • Pages: 424 (ebook)
  • Fave character: I can’t decide; I love them all!
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free e-copy of this book from the author (thank you!). These opinions are entirely my own.
  • Links: Amazon • Goodreads • Author’s Website

Well, here’s one for the favorite books list! Absolutely delightful fantasy, one of the best I’ve read! I loved it so much! ^_^

Here are 10 (ish) things I love about The Last Motley.

1. It’s familiar and new all at once. It feels like a classic sort of fantasy tale, while at the same time being quite unique and not at all what you’d think! There are a few plot twists near the end which kept me on my toes (one of them I’m not sure about, but I sort of saw it coming and I THINK I’m okay with it) and otherwise I have no complaints at all—I loved everything about this book!

2. It reminds me a bit of Lloyd Alexander or Tolkien—high praise from me. 😉 Not in a repetitive sort of way, but in an it’s-just-that-good kind of way, with some similar flavors, such as colorful characters like Lloyd Alexander, and the real sort of “feel” of the world, like Tolkien.

3. A lot of the story and characters are not at all what you’d expect! I won’t say much about the story, lest I spoil it, other than to say that there’s a quest (huzzah!) and much adventure and excitement. 🙂 It’s a wonderful journey/quest going on, and somehow manages to feel familiar but surprising at once, like the best fantasy tales. There’s a lingering mystery to it all too, which was fascinating, and the conclusion is very exciting! O_O

4. As for the characters—well, my favorites! Roderick is a surprising hero—he’s only a simple tailor (as he’s fond of reminding people), and all he really wants is to stay with his lovely wife and little daughter, but he finds himself off on a quest… and more than he bargained for! He’s a little like Bilbo or Sam Gamgee in that way (though unique from them, of course), goodhearted and rather out of place in the wide world, just wanting his quiet home, and family—but that of course makes him the BEST of heroes, in his own simple way. I LOVED Roderick! 😀 Also, I thought it was brilliant how he noticed things about people by their clothes; he’s a TAILOR, so naturally he’s an expert on this, and it was incredible how that worked into the story in subtle ways. (And I love how he says “Oh, buttons.” I think I may adopt this. XD)

5. Then we have other characters, which I will briefly mention but try not to give too much away—because you must go meet them in the book yourself! There’s the wise old men Jareth and Kendall, an independent young woman named Portia, and of course Nagan! Not much to say about Nagan other than that he’s absolutely HILARIOUS, and his lines are some of my favorites in the book, which also makes him one of my favorites to read about! He has SO much personality. XD Then, last but not least, we have the titular Motley, Jacob, a young boy who… well… SPOILERS… but he’s absolutely the most ADORABLE thing and I love him so much! I love ALL the characters, particularly all together. GAAH. *hugs them all*

6. There was a depth and strength to the story, with themes of faith and especially of family woven throughout. Roderick has a strong faith, which was wonderful to see evident throughout the book in his simple trust and prayers. LOVED those parts. Some of the elements were rich with truth and felt deep and rather like George MacDonald or C.S. Lewis. And some of the conclusions might take you by surprise, in the best way! I loved the subtle messages and themes I got out of it! 🙂 And the last couple of paragraphs were great.

7. One of the strongest things I got out of it was the focus on family. I LOVED that. You don’t get a lot of fantasy books (or, well, books in general) focusing on family this much. Roderick and his wife, Bethany, and their little daughter, are lovely, and I love how he’s so protective of little Jacob. Their relationship is simply the best! The way Roderick thinks of Bethany all the time and what she’d do or think or say, and just wants to go home to his family, warmed my heart and made me so happy. ^_^ It’s a family book and we need more of those. ❤ And talking of family: the book is suitable reading for the entire family, which pleases me muchly. There are a few rather scary fantasy-shadow parts with the villains, so very young children might find it a little scary, but otherwise it’s totally family friendly. 🙂

8. The fantasy world of Arinn was fascinating, and I felt instantly at home there. I want to see more of it! It was a joy traveling through it with the characters—I felt so much a part of its hills and forests and rivers etc. It felt so colorful (appropriately so) and alive and just—I don’t know! It’s very homey (despite the inevitable dangers of such worlds. ;)) and I love it! Also, it made me hungry; sooo much food. I need to eat some fruit now! XD

9. The writing is another one of my favorite things about this book. It’s clever and funny by turns, and the little comparisons or twists of phrase lent it an air of whimsical, wry humor, which I absolutely adored. I often enjoy the writing in books, but this one had an extra something special. 😀 I had to pause here and there to savor some brilliant turn of phrase. I felt like I was eating a rich cake, or something!

10. Did I mention it’s funny? Because it’s funny! Not always in a laugh-out-loud way, but between some of the writing, and certain of the characters—particularly Nagan—it sparkled with humor here and there and made it that much more pleasant to read. I always particularly value books that make me laugh—and this one brought tears to my eyes too at a couple of particularly beautiful, heartfilling parts near the end! ❤ (Speaking of the end—in the last chapter there was a reference, or possibly two, which absolutely MADE MY DAY. I don’t know if others will catch them but it had me grinning insanely. XD Inside jokes are the. best.)

To conclude, I loved everything about it! This is an absolutely delightful book, in every way possible—from the story, the writing, the CHARACTERS, the humor and emotion, to the family and faith element, the world, and just an extra level of rich SOMETHING which I can’t put my finger on but characterizes this as one of my new favorite books! ^_^

This is quality fantasy, right here.

I’m eagerly awaiting more from this author, and I HIGHLY recommend The Last Motley to anybody who loves a good fantasy tale—because this certainly is one, and more.

(A Few) Favorite Quotes

from The Last Motley by DJ Edwardson

“Is it time to go already?” Jacob rubbed the sleep from his eyes with the backs of his two little fists. “What’s that sound?”

“Wolves,” Roderick said. “Now up, up, it’s time for a quick bite and we’re off.”

“We’re having wolves for breakfast?” Jacob asked.

Roderick ruffled the top of Jacob’s head. “No, sleepy, that’s wolves howling off in the distance.”


“Regrettably, I must take my leave. I swear I shall never forget you gentle folk— or your smell— but my feet are calling me home.”

“And where would that be?” Kendall asked.

Nagan hesitated, scanning the horizon in several directions as if attempting to get his bearings. “That’s an interesting question,” he said finally.


“Afraid of trees, eh? I might just have to chop one down and wear it around my neck, then,” Nagan said.


“Of course it won’t be safe. But nothing is ever truly safe. Some things are just more dangerous than others.”


“And you’ll know peace, and joy, and the shadows will never come again.”


“Wonderful!” Nagan said. “How do you spell that?”

A pair of flashing red eyes blinked into existence at the far side of the ruins, weaving in and out amongst the crumbled stone.

“I have no idea,” Roderick said. “I can’t read.”

“And I can’t spell to save my life,” Nagan said. “Which, unfortunately, is more than just a figure of speech at the moment.”

~ ~ ~

What do you think? Aaah, this book! Does it intrigue you? Because it’s SO GOOD. ❤

There’s a blog tour for The Last Motley to celebrate its release, running from today through February 17, and there’s a sale and a giveaway and other fun things! So be sure to check it out! 😀

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

February Fantasy Month 2018/Nightstand!

Some books I want to read this month. And oh! It’s Benedict Pendragon, my little dragon, popping in for a look! ^_^

Hello, dear page dreamers!

It’s February, and that means it’s time to celebrate . . . FANTASY MONTH!

Yes, indeed, one of my favorite times of year! 😉

Jenelle Schmidt is once again hosting February is Fantasy Month, and she has all sorts of fun things planned, so be sure to check out her blog!

Also, this time she has a splendid daily hashtag game/meme, so I’m hoping to do that on my Twitter each day. Check out the prompts and feel free to join in the fun on the social media of your choice with the hashtag #FantasyMonth!

Today I figured I’d share my Nightstand Books for February (which is another meme created by Jenelle Schmidt, and DJ Edwardson, where we share our currently-reading books each month)!

I have QUITE the ambitions for reading this month; whether or not I’ll get to them all is another matter. XD There always seems to be something else to read that pops up in the middle of the month and takes over from my previously scheduled plans. But it’s all for fun, and talking about books is everyone’s (or at least MY) favorite thing to do other than reading them, so, ONWARD!

Nearly all of these are Fantasy, in honor of the month. 😀 (Titles are linked and lead to Goodreads.)

Daily Readings

  • Hall of Heroes(anthology) 27 fantasy short stories by members of the Fellowship of Fantasy should be just right for February Fantasy Month… 😉 I won this lovely copy in a giveaway and I’m excited to dive in! 🙂 (The ebook version is available for free on Amazon!)
  • Tolkien and The Silmarillion – Clyde S. Kilby [and] Finding God in The Lord of the Rings – Kurt Bruner & Jim Ware(non-fiction) These two together have just the right number of chapters for daily reading in February, if I can manage it. I really enjoyed my daily readings of Mere Christianity and Tolkien: A Celebration, during January, so we’ll see if I can keep it up!


  • A Matter of Magic – Patricia C. Wrede — I’ve been meaning to read this ever since Christmas and I can’t wait! 😀 (Someday I will allow myself to read for fun. And when that day comes, I will read this. XD)
  • Adela’s Curse – Claire M. Banschbach — I got this during NaNo and somehow have been too busy to read it… but I’m determined to because it’s tiny and sounds fantastic! Because faeriiiies!
  • Lady Moon – Rachel Starr Thomson — I actually got this for my birthday LAST year (because it was highly recommended by my friend Mary Horton) and I’ve been putting it off because I want to love it SO BADLY that I’m afraid to start reading it. XD But I really ought to read it before my next birthday, AND it’s currently Fantasy Month, so of course it needs to go on this list.
  • The Children of Hurin – J.R.R. Tolkien(re-read) Last year I re-read The Silmarillion and read the new Beren and Luthien book, so this is next on my Tolkien list, if I can get to it! Looking forward to it. ^_^


  • Minstrel’s Call – Jenelle Leanne Schmidt(for review) This is coming out February 28 and I’m an ARC reader and it’s the LAST book in the series and alksdjfljd I’M EXCITED. (Also petrified; but… y’know. XD) Cover reveal coming soon!
  • Dissemble – Sarah Addison-Fox(for review) After enjoying Disowned last month, I’m excited to be reading this sequel, releasing February 22! It’s starting off a bit choppy but I’m otherwise intrigued so far. 🙂
  • The Lady and the Frog – L. Palmer(bookclub) This is the Fellowship of Fantasy book of the month for February and it sounds absolutely delightful. ^_^
  • Presumption and Partiality – Rebekah Jones — What is a non-fantasy book doing on this list? *gasp* Juuuust kidding! But this is the final Vintage Jane Austen book and I’ve been meaning to read it since it released (because Pride and Prejudice retelling!) so I’m hoping to get to it soon! (Also there’s going to be a great Kindle Countdown sale for the whole series, the week of Valentine’s Day, so watch for that!)
  • Battle for the Throne – E. J. Willis(for review) Another review book, I don’t know much about this one but it’s fantasy and sounds intriguing! I’m looking forward to it. 🙂

How about you? Are you excited for Fantasy Month? Planning to do the hashtag game? (It would work as a great tag on a blog, too!) What’s on your bookish “nightstand”?

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

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

10 Bookish Resolutions for 2018

Today I’m joining in on a Top Ten Tuesdays post, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl (which is where TTT moved as of TODAY, having formerly been hosted by the Broke and the Bookish).

Here are some of my bookish resolutions/goals for 2018!

1. Stay on top of reading ARCs and review books

I haven’t decided if this means more or less books for review (since I love them but they are also time-consuming… but I love them…). Regardless, I’d like to stay on track for the ones I have and any future ones I might get.

2. Stay on top of reviews

Related to the above point, I’d like to get the necessary reviews written within a decent amount of time. NaNo and Christmas season wreaked havoc on my reviewing schedule, and I just haven’t gotten around to some of them that I should have. So those are next!

3. Read the books I’ve won

I seem to have accumulated several books which authors were kind enough to give away and which I won… And then said books sit on my dresser or Kindle app waiting for me to read them, while I get distracted with review books and things. So I’d like to read and (hopefully) review the books I’ve won.

4. Read one book at a time (within reason)

I often end up reading a lot of books at the same time, which means I get stuck in several… which ends badly. I’d like to focus on one book at a time. I do say within reason, so I may read more than one at a time under certain circumstances — for instance: an e-book and a physical book, a re-read and a new read, a read-along and a read-aloud, a novel and some short stories and a nonfiction… things like that, where I distinguish between what SORT of book it is, I might allow myself to simultaneously read more than one book. But in general, just. one.

5. Finish beta-reading and take a break

I have a couple of beta-reads to finish, which I’m excited for, but after that I’m taking a break, at least this year. Beta-reading just takes so long, and I don’t know what to say, so I accidentally procrastinate over it for a century, and then feel absolutely terrible. I’m just… really bad at being a beta-reader. XD

6. Do more editing

That may sound like it contradicts the point above, but it doesn’t! Beta-reading is usually a general-feedback kind of deal, which I’m not the best at. What I am better at is proofreading/copyediting, which I LOVE. I’m passionate about fixing typos and punctuation, and generally polishing books to a fine sheen. Someday I will catch ALL the typos in the world! (Okay, not really; but I can dream. ;)) This point is involved with kicking off my new freelance editing service, which you can check out HERE; prices are negotiable, and I don’t bite! 😉

7. Read for fun more often

I know it sounds silly, but any time a book comes “with strings attached,” it becomes something to mark off my to-do list. I do LOVE review books, read-alongs, library books, books I’ve won, books to edit, books by friends, and so on, but anything with an “I should read this” or “I should review this” or a deadline attached to it in my subconscious isn’t just for PURE pleasure… (Please tell me I’m not the only one?) So despite loving those, I would like to kick back and read JUST for fun sometimes, and not worry about having opinions and stuff.

8. Read more Diana Wynne Jones

This is kind of self-explanatory… I’m hoping March Magics and a trip to the library will help with this one. 😉

9. Read more Tolkien

Also self-explanatory. Re-reads. Books by Tolkien I haven’t read. Books by others about him and his writings. The works.

10. Have fun and don’t obsess

This one is hard, and one of the reasons why I often ALMOST don’t start a Goodreads reading goal… (But I usually break down anyway because it’s nice having them all listed.) I don’t like obsessing about how many books I read, because that makes it more like work, but I can hopefully keep track without getting too into it. XD I really need to remind myself that I still read for fun. And if it’s not fun, I shouldn’t be doing it. And if I’m MAKING it not fun, I need to stop! Breathe. Read. Dream of ink and pages and bookshelves. Be a contented bookdragon.

Well, those are my top ten bookish resolutions/goals; we’ll see how quickly I can fail at all of them. XD But it’s all in fun. 🙂 What are yours? And do we share any? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll