2019 Bookish Resolutions + January Nightstand/News!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Today I’ve got a list of 10 of my bookish goals for the new year, plus new books releasing this month, what I’m reading, and other bookish news like free books! Shall we dive in?

Tolkien’s Birthday!

First order of business! Today (January 3) is J.R.R. Tolkien’s birthday, so I simply have to say: happy birthday to the Professor! He was born 127 years ago and changed the world of fantasy fiction forever. ❤

I’m hoping to dive into starting The Fall of Gondolin (Christmas present!) and The Book of Lost Tales today to celebrate. 😀

10(ish) Bookish Resolutions/Goals/Dreams

No idea how these will go (last year’s were . . . something of a hit-or-miss), but at least I’ll have something to try, yes?

  1. Catch up on review books and reviews and then stay on top of them (hehehe).
  2. Work through the History of Middle-earth series (and some other Tolkien).
  3. Catch up on a couple of other series (like the Ilyon Chronicles) which I hope to do by reading one per month.
  4. Read the books I’ve won in giveaways.
  5. Read more by Diana Wynne Jones, Lawhead, and Heyer.
  6. Read more Steampunk (research!).
  7. Some non-fiction (mostly writing-related).
  8. Try audiobooks more often! Incorporating it with my exercise plan. (I may talk about that another day.)
  9. Read more things I really want to read, not just that I “should.” (This is harder than you might think for me. *cough*)
  10. Remember that reading is fun and try not to stress about it. (Which should go without saying, but it doesn’t. :P)

JANUARY RELEASES

  • In the Shadow of Croft Towers – Abigail Wilson (Jan. 15, Thomas Nelson) — I just stumbled across this one and it’s a regency mystery that sounds super exciting. I need it in my life.
  • Echo North – Joanna Ruth Meyer (Jan. 15, Page Street) — If you missed it, I just reviewed this and am offering a giveaway for an ARC paperback copy (open through Jan. 6) so check that out! You absolutely MUST READ THIS BOOK! It’s one of my top favorites in a looong time and I adore it. ❤
  • Black Blood – S.D. Grimm (Jan. 29, Enclave) — I haven’t read the first two books in this series (I know! I’m behind!) but I have it on good authority there are cliffhangers, so obviously it’s actually a good plan of mine to wait until this releases. 😉 *cough*
  • Shadowkeeper – Hope Ann (Jan. 25, Writing in the Light Publishing) — This is a Hades and Persephone, Castor and Pollux novella retelling and sounds intriguing.
  • Retreat – Sarah Addison-Fox (Jan. 26, Double Edged Sword Publishing) — This is the second Stormers book (I reviewed book 1, Retrieve), and I need this one because cliffhangers! :O
  • Illuminate – Sarah Addison-Fox (Jan. 9, Double Edged Sword Publishing) — And a magical NA fantasy from this prolific author!

Not Pictured

  • The Road to Bremen – Kelsey Bryant — I beta-read this one and IT’S PRECIOUS. It should be coming out in the next month or so. 🙂 I’ll be sharing more about it, so stay tuned!
  • I hear that W.R. Gingell has a third City Between book, which obviously means I must get on reading the first two books ASAP. XD (I loved Masque, so I’m determined to read more from this author!)

FREE STUFF/OTHER JANUARY NEWS

Mirrors and Pearls — Free!

Mirrors and Pearls by Lea Doue is free on Amazon through today only (Jan 3) and is the Fellowship of Fantasy book of the month for January! (For those who don’t know, that’s my favorite bookclub and you should totally join if you’re on Facebook and like fantasy.)

This is actually my first read of 2019! (The only one I’ve finished so far. XD) I read it on New Year’s Day and it’s a charming novella-length retelling of Snow White — with dragons! Check out my mini-review on Goodreads.

Second Son — Free! + Readalong

Jenelle Schmidt is hosting a readalong of her awesome fantasy book Second Son, and it’s free on Amazon through January 5, so grab yourself a copy!

I read this one a couple of years ago and absolutely loved it, so I’m excited to join in on the readalong. I plan to read it aloud to my younger siblings. It’s going to be epic. 😀

(Also, some might think it’s the second book in the series, but it’s a prequel so chronologically it’s FIRST. So you can read it first without having read King’s Warrior. If you’re curious about them, you can read my reviews for both.)

Check out the readalong info HERE!

February Fantasy Month

Speaking of fantasy awesomeness and Jenelle . . . She’s once again heading up February Fantasy month, so if you want in on this awesome bloggish event, she has a sign-up form on her blog if you’d like to join!

Giveaway + Blogiversary

I’ve mentioned it already but I’m going to again! 😉 I just celebrated my third blogiversary on this blog (yay!) and I’m kind of excited so I’m giving away an ARC of Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer, one of my top 15 reads of 2019! (I’ll share all of them soon.) So go enter that! (Open through Jan. 6.)

MY JANUARY NIGHTSTAND

There are quite a few other books I’d like to read this month (aahh! So much to read! So little time!) but we’ll see how much my over-ambitious reader self can tackle. 😉 Anyway! Here are some I’m reading/hope to read this month! And I also have a handful of ebooks for review that I’m working through. And I’ll probably read some other random things because I’m terrible at predicting my reading. XD

(If you’d like to join in on Nightstand Books, you can do so here.)

MY READING NEWS

December Reads

  • When Santa Fell to Earth — Adorable!
  • The Spellcoats & The Crown of Dalemark — Rereads. ❤
  • Once Upon a December & Someday at Christmas — Fantastic short stories from Kyle Robert Shultz.
  • Dragon Lyric and Threadbare — Intriguing short stories; the former was too dark for me and the second wasn’t my usual genre, so neither were my favorite, but they were well-written/thrilling.
  • Kate’s Conundrum — Another fun FBI mystery with some fave characters! ❤ (Mini review on Goodreads.)
  • The Villain Who Saved Christmas — PRECIOUS. (My review.)
  • Retrieve — So exciting! (My review.)
  • Fawkes — Kinda disappointed me; not my thing. *cough* Review to come.
  • Echo North — THE BEST EVER. ❤ ❤ ❤ (My Review.)

For more info on these, you can find them at the top of my 2018 Reading Challenge on Goodreads!

December book haul

I got a lot of books last month. XD

  • Got for myself: A new Chicago Manual of Style, because editing, and The Seven Drawers by Kendra E. Ardnek.
  • GIVEN: Afterverse books I edited, & Emmeline for helping with the Vintage Jane Austen website. (Thanks to Kyle Shultz and Sarah Holman!)
  • WON: Fellowship of Fantasy anthology I can’t wait to finish and A Touch of Gold. (Thanks to H.L. Burke and Michele Israel Harper.)
  • ARC: Echo North (with thanks to the publisher).
  • CHRISTMAS: The Fall of Gondolin by Tolkien (yessss), C.S. Lewis On Stories, A Tale of Time City by Diana Wynne Jones, and one I already read and loved: Blood in the Snow by Sarah Pennington! ❤

I talk a lot about my bookish shenanigans over on my Instagram, so if you’re not following me on there you can check it out. 🙂

Okay! There’s the bookish news of the month. I hope it was enjoyable and/or helpful! Do you have any bookish resolutions or books you’re excited about? Let me know in the comments! 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! 🙂

End-of-Year Book Freakout Tag 2018! (fave characters and other bookish madness)

I’m stealing this from the ever-fabulous Sarah @ Dreams and Dragons, and I’m tweaking some of the questions from “in the second half of the year” to just the year in general, given that I didn’t do one of these for the first half. XD

(Also, I was going to link to the books, but given how many of them I reference in this post, that sounds exhausting. So I will point you in the direction of this list of things I read in 2018, where you can find most of the books. And if I do links to books in the post, it will be to reviews I wrote. :))

1. Best book you’ve read in 2018

I will be doing a top 15 reads of 2018 post soon! (Once I put together my reading lists and make difficult life decisions like what I loved most. Being a bookworm is haaard.)

But off the top of my head I’m going to say . . . Echo North (which I JUST finished!) and The Electrical Menagerie and Lady Moon. ALL SO GOOD. ❤ ❤ ❤ There will be others in my upcoming post!

2. Best sequel you’ve read in 2018

Minstrel’s Call, Sage, and Song of Leira. I HAVE SO MANY FEELS. I LOVE THEM ALL. They were all actually CONCLUSIONS to series and absoluly blew me away and just… my heart! ❤

3. New release you haven’t read yet but want to

So many! But I think I’ll go with the first Green Princess book which I STILL haven’t read. And Rothana (because Halayda was amazing) and I’m sooo excited to get my copy in the mail sometime. 😀 *curls up on mailbox in the form of a small dragon and waits*

4. Most anticipated release for next year

I have a few, but Flight of the Raven is up there on the list!

Also The Mountain Baron because I beta-read it and it’s awesome!

5. Biggest disappointment

Maybe Fawkes? It just wasn’t my favorite and now I feel bad and have no idea how to review it but it’s a review book and this is all really awkward… (Or should I say fawkward?)

6. Biggest surprise

Hmm. I don’t know if there were any huge surprises? I guess I’ll just go with how surprised I was at how much I adored the first Ranger’s Apprentice, which I talked all about here.

7. Favorite new-to-you author

So many, but I’ll pick three: W.R. Gingell, Mollie E. Reeder, and Joanna Ruth Meyer! I’m going to read all of their things. ❤ (People, go add Masque, The Electrical Menagerie, and Echo North to your TBR right now.)

8. Newest fictional crush/ship

Let’s go with ships, shall we? *cough*

SO MANY. In no particular order:

  • Malcolm and Melody (The Return of Beaumont and Beasley)
  • SPOILERS from Sage
  • Kate and Patrick from the Kate’s Case Files books (I read Kate’s Dilemma and Kate’s Conundrum this year)
  • Gan and Chouko (Blood in the Snow)
  • Tomas and Celine (Lady Moon)
  • Damien and Selena (Mark of the Raven)
  • Isabella and Lord Pecus (Masque)
  • Hal and Echo (Echo North)

9. Newest favorite character(s)

DO YOU WANT TO BE HERE ALL DAY? *cough* For a start:

  • Jayden and Dana (various short stories by Arthur Daigle! I NEED these to be a novel so I can share about them to EVERYONE. BECAUSE THEY’RE MY FAVORITE THING.)
  • Halt (Ranger’s Apprentice)
  • Tomas (Lady Moon)
  • The Horse Lords (Masque)
  • Todd Crane (Horseman)
  • Carthage and Huxley and Dominic (The Electrical Menagerie)
  • Damien (Mark of the Raven)
  • Chayse (Falling Snow)
  • and last but far from least, Hal (Echo North)

And characters who aren’t exactly NEW, since I’ve met them before, but I want to include anyway:

I HAVE A LOT OF FAVORITE CHARACTERS, OKAY. ❤

10. A book that made you cry

Song of Leira! You KNOW what part it was if you’ve read it. My feeeeels.

11. A book that made you happy

Oh, so many! But since I’ve already mentioned some in my “favorites” I’ll avoid repeating myself, and I’ll say Common. It just . . . made me happy. ^_^

12. Favorite book to film adaptation you’ve seen this year

I suddenly can’t remember the movies I watched this year. XD I did just see Mortal Engines at the theater and thought it was LOADS OF FUN (go see it) but I haven’t read the book . . . *shame*

I was just watching some episodes of The Return of Sherlock Holmes featuring Jeremy Brett, who I hadn’t watched before, and a couple of those were good adaptions.

We’ll go with those two because they were this month and who even remembers the rest of the year? 😛 (Hint: Not me.)

13. Favorite post(s) you’ve done this year

These are just a few, for this blog… I haven’t checked my other blog for favorites yet. XD

14. Most beautiful book you’ve bought/received this year

Oh, man. I feel like there have been so many gorgeous ones! For now I think I’ll go with two I got for Christmas: Blood in the Snow and The Fall of Gondolin (with epic illustrations!!).

15. Any other books you want to babble about for any other reason?

Ohhh, yes. *rubs hands gleefully together* How about a random collection of books that I enjoyed for various reasons (some of which are different than my usual genres so might not make it to my top-books post but we’ll see). And some re-reads and beta-reads.

  • Scoundrels was a super-fun sci-fi heist featuring Han Solo (set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back), and it’s by Timothy Zahn so I knew I’d like it, but it was just totally awesome! (They should have made it a movie instead of Solo. XD)
  • Dear Mr. Knightley is a contemporary and I had no idea I’d like it as much as I did because it’s totally not my thing, but I loved it.
  • Trial by Song was a modern scary-fairy Jack and the Beanstalk retelling with a smidge of Snow White set in winter and was SO INTENSE. O_O
  • Healers and Warriors was an awesome continuation of a modern fantasy series that makes me happy, and I loved the twists and characters and… I gotta say, the villain was so creepy and well-written!
  • The False Prince and The Stealthmaster’s Shadow had really snarky main characters who told the stories, which gave me life!
  • Lightporter and RotoVegas are both really fun YA superhero novels, and just… can we talk about how it’s cool that this is a thing?

I also re-read all the Beaumont and Beasley books that came out last year (because I’m now the Editor of the Afterverse), which was LOADS of fun. (The Return of Beaumont and Beasle and Horseman came out this year, so those were new reads.)

I re-read the Dalemark Quartet by Diana Wynne Jones, which was a highlight because I’ve been meaning to do that for ages, and The Crown of Dalemark is still one of my top fave DWJ books.

I beta-read three INCREDIBLE books which have yet to be published:

  • The Road to Bremen by Kelsey Bryant (releasing in January! I can’t wait to see the cover and illustrations!)
  • The Brightest Thread by Tracey Dyck (which I hope will be published someday sooon because it was a stellar Sleeping Beauty novel featuring dreams and Prince Hadrian who is My Fave)
  • The Mountain Baron by C. M. Banschbach (releasing summer 2019 and featuring Rhys, my smol floof of anger management issues, and lots of clannishness and outlaws and feels).

I just had to give a shout-out about these!

Okay! I will stop babbling before I end up talking about every book I read this year. XD

What’s your favorite book you read in 2018? Did you have a good reading year? (Mine was fabulous!) And do you have any bookish resolutions for 2019?

Thanks for reading!

Stay tuned for more bookish posts in the new year. 🙂

Happy New Year, my pagelings!

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

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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!


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Thanks for reading! 🙂

The Villain Who Saved Christmas by C.B. Cook (Short Story Review)

Merry Christmas Eve, my pagelings!

I’m so excited to share about a short story releasing TODAY about a supervillain and Christmas. What is not to love? (It’s also only 99 cents, so. ;))

Review below!

FREE BOOK: Also, Twinepathy, the first book in C.B.’s superhero series, is free on Kindle December 24-28, so make sure to get yourself a copy if you haven’t yet! (It’s super fun, no pun intended — you can read my review here.)


Title: The Villain Who Saved Christmas

Author: C.B. Cook

  • Date read: December 19, 2018
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Superhero / Short Story / Christmas
  • Age: Any
  • Year pub: 2018
  • Pages: 15 (ebook)
  • Series: No
  • Fave character: Scott
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I was given a free e-ARC of this short story by the author and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are entirely my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

Aww! That was so much fun! ^_^ The Villain Who Saved Christmas is an utterly charming Christmas short story featuring superheroes. IT’S PRECIOUS AND I LOVE IT SO MUCH. ❤ *hugs story forever*

Two children hoping for a white Christmas for their little sister who thinks it will be her last Christmas decide to track down a supervillain with ice powers to see if he can help.

I loved the Christmas setting and the superhero, Reflex, and supervillain, Hypothermia—and how they have their own histories and stories going on that we get a glimpse of in this little tale. I liked both of them a lot, which made it interesting to read because you’re kind of rooting for both sides. 😀

My favorite character was Scott—what a great name for a supervillain. XD His parts were so fun and cool—no pun intended. Okay, fine, pun intended. 😛 (The ice cream!) You’ll just have to read it to find out if an (admittedly minor) supervillain’s heart can melt enough to help some kids. 😉

It’s really hard to talk much about such a short story without giving anything away, but it was well-written and funny and there were also feels. I loved the conclusion and the unexpected wrapup bit at the end!

It’s an adorable, super quick read, and just the thing for superhero fans to read for Christmas!


About

This may be Becca’s last Christmas, and all she wants is a white Christmas. But with no snow in the forecast, her brother and sister know that might not happen… until they get the idea to track down supervillain Hypothermia for help. With his ice powers, he could create a white Christmas for their sister. There’s only one problem—they have to find him first. Can they discover where Hypothermia is hiding and convince him to make it snow?


Thanks for reading! 🙂 MERRY CHRISTMAS! ❤


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King’s War by Jill Williamson (Review)

Time for a long-overdue review of King’s War — and be sure to check out an awesome Blood of Kings paperback sale going on through December 15th! (Details at the end of the post.)

Title: King’s War (Kinsman Chronicles, #3)

Author: Jill Williamson

  • Date read: June 21, 2018
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Epic Fantasy
  • Age: Adult
  • Year pub: 2018
  • Pages: 659 (paperback) (Yes, it’s nearly a doorstop. XD)
  • Series: The Kinsman Chronicles, #3
  • Fave character: Kalenek, Trevn, Oli, and Grayson and Hinck
  • Source: The publisher
  • Notes: Thanks to the author and Bethany House Publishers for the free copy of this book. I was not required to write a positive review, and these opinions are entirely my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

KING’S WAR by Jill Williamson is the conclusion to the Kinsman Chronicles—which is a prequel series to one of my favorite fantasy series! This sweeping epic fantasy novel takes place in the land of Er’Rets (which made me super happy, because I love the Blood of Kings Trilogy. ;)).

The first book in the Kinsman Chronicles, KING’S FOLLY, was good—if rather dark for my taste; but I adored some of the characters and it was exciting.

The second book, KING’S BLOOD (man, I should have known from that title…), got way too dark for me and left me utterly devastated over a character death I still haven’t recovered from over a year later. *cough* I was kiiinda disappointed—and therefore worried about the next one.

However, I’m thrilled to say that KING’S WAR, book 3, was the best of the trilogy, and I really enjoyed it!

I particularly loved how it took place in the same land as the Achan books (as I call them), and how it started linking up to so many things that I knew from that world! Names, places, history, cultures, magic, etc. And the “feel” was much more like the epic fantasy that I enjoy, and less of the darkness and grittiness of the first two books. (There’s still grittiness in this one, but it’s just much more enjoyable otherwise, somehow. XD)

There were several months between my reading the second book and this one, so it did take me a little while to pick up all the threads and characters—I’m pretty sure there are still a few things that I never quite remembered. XD But once I got back into it, I was sucked completely into this fantasy world and its wonders and politics and characters’ adventures.

I loved the writing. Some of it was funny. The characters were enjoyable (other than the ones we properly loathe. :P). I was surprised by new and different things, and felt at home with familiar ones. It was huge, but pretty worth it in the end. ^_^

Particularly those characters I mentioned. 😉 A certain happening from book two is still very much Not Okay. But I was able to get over it and enjoy the story all the same. 😛

I still love Kalenek, and Trevn—usually. XD Oli as well, and his character arc, which was fantastic. I started liking Grayson more—he really does a lot in this one. And Hinck—who I never really cared as much about as I might have for some reason—I finally decided was pretty cool! One of my absolute favorite scenes featured him and Princess Saria (also a cool character) in a library and just YES. I loved it! 😀

I also loved all the veil stuff and the bloodvoicing and doing all the excitement around the castle. ^_^ So exciting! I remember being a little unsure about some of the conclusions, and it still is a little more gritty/adult at times, but not as much as the previous two books. On the whole, it was a great book, and they fight giants and against evil, and there’s epic battles and basically it’s a thrilling adventure. 😀

Overall, it’s rather long, and you have to get through a lot of long, dark pages to get to it, what with the two previous books (though they had their good moments too!). But if you do, it’s well worth reading this one—especially if you’re a fan of Blood of Kings. Another excellent read from Jill Williamson!

Now excuse me while I go put BY DARKNESS HID and its two sequels on my TBR for a long-overdue re-read…

(Also, THAT COVER. ❤ )

[A note on the “books” in the Kinsman Chronicles. The paperbacks are three books: King’s Folly, King’s Blood, and King’s War. The ebooks are nine ebooks, and three of each of those are collected in each of the paperback volumes. I know, it’s kinda confusing. XD If you’re curious about the series, you can pick up the first of those nine ebooks (Darkness Reigns, the first third of King’s Folly) for free on Kindle to try it out.]


SALE!

I’m pretty excited about this one because I love these books so much!

The Blood of Kings trilogy by Jill Williamson currently has a special sale going on Amazon, but only until the 15th, so check it out if you haven’t! 🙂

(If it says temporarily out of stock, that seems to just be because it’s not printed through Amazon, so go ahead and order anyway. ;))

Here’s what Jill said about it:

It’s a book sale! My publisher has put the Blood of Kings paperback books on a special sale. On Amazon only, By Darkness Hid, To Darkness Fled, and From Darkness Won are each only $9.99 for a limited time. That’s a little over 40% off the cover price!

There is a bit of a trick to this. Right now, a third party seller has the “buy” box on Amazon, so I’ve made special links so that you can find the seller with the $9.99 new price (who is oddly Amazon itself).

This sale runs through Saturday, December 15.

Here are the links:

By Darkness Hid: https://amzn.to/2QDceRt

To Darkness Fled: https://amzn.to/2QlOWjV

From Darkness Won: https://amzn.to/2L4LJzd


Check out my reviews of the first two books in this series:

kingswarriorcover

Have you read any of Jill’s books yet? Do you have a favorite? Thanks for reading! 🙂

In Bookish News! (December 2018)

I can’t believe it’s December already! Where does time go, my dear pagelings?? (And, more importantly, where did NaNo go? o.o)

But here we are and it’s time for another roundup of new and exciting bookish releases and news!

DECEMBER RELEASES

(All titles link to Goodreads.)

  • Five Poisoned Apples – various authors — I shared my review for the first novella in this collection, Falling Snow by Skye Hoffert. I LOVED IT SO MUCH. Pretty sure I need to re-read it soon. I look forward to reading the others in the collection as well but haven’t had time yet.
  • Pirate’s Wager (Mardan’s Mark, #0.5) – Kathrese McKee — A super intriguing fantasy (bordering on Kingdom Adventure?) piratey novella! This one just came out, and I really enjoyed it! I need to catch up on the rest of the Mardan’s Mark series. 🙂
  • Bitter Winter (Ilyon Chronicles, #5) and Lacy (Ilyon Chronicles, #5.5) – Jaye L. Knight — I seriously need to catch up on this series, but of course I HAD to mention them! 😀 Jaye (who’s a fabulous human I met at Realm Makers! ❤ ) is coming out with the penultimate installment of her Ilyon Chronicles series, and also a companion novella. It’s exciting, y’all!
  • Decree (Blades of Acktar, #5) – Tricia Mingerink — Another series I must definitely get into soon, this is a short story collection for Blades of Acktar and sounds super cool! 🙂
  • The Villain Who Saved Christmas – C.B. Cook — The author who brought us Twinepathy and Lightporter is coming out with a Christmas short story, featuring a supervillain, and it sounds so cute! I can’t wait. 😀
  • Retrieve (Stormers, #1) – Sarah Addison-Fox — I’ve heard this one described as Mulan meets Prince of Persia and I’m really looking forward to reading it. 😀 I’ll be sharing my review during the blogtour sometime in the next month or so. It’s releasing the day after Christmas!
  • Liberation of Sephiera (Varsian Kingdom, #3) – Jason P. Hein — This one actually released at the end of last month. I haven’t started this epic fantasy series yet but I won the first two books and my sister’s been reading and enjoying them. Plus, this cover’s really cool! 😀

MY READING NEWS

I… er… didn’t have much time to read during November. I was writing a novel (or two…) of my own, after all, and since I did after all write 58,000 words and was insanely busy besides, I’m going to excuse myself from reading expectations. XD

BUT! I did manage to read one novel and a couple of novellas and some short stories and picture books. (Because small things. I think I did this last year too. :P)

If you’d like to read more about these, you can find them near the top of my Reading Challenge on Goodreads and click on them to learn more. 🙂

  • Not pictured, an awesome novella/children’s book coming soon from Kelsey Bryant, called The Road to Bremen. I beta-read it and IT’S SO PRECIOUS. It’s so fun and I love it so much and can’t wait for it to release in January! ^_^
  • Falling Snow by Skye Hoffert, which, in case you haven’t realized yet, WAS AMAZING.
  • Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse, which I loved too! A really neat epic fantasy novel — check out my full review on my other blog, if you missed it!
  • The Sixth Christmas, a short story by Mollie E. Reeder (yes, THE Mollie E. Reeder who wrote The Electrical Menagerie!!), which was a Christmas story and I adored so muuuch. I have many feelz. ❤
  • My Man Beasley by Kyle Robert Shultz. This was a short story on the author’s Patreon. It’s Beaumont and Beasley meets Tam Lin meets Wodehouse. HELLO. THESE ARE LIKE THREE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS. *dies* There were SOOO many awesome Afterverse/Tam Lin/Bertie Wooster references and retelling bits and crossovers, plus it was absolutely hilarious! I loved it so much. XD
  • Some totally random picture books, which were… okay. I did enjoy The Naming illustrated by Pauline Baynes! So many animals! The Stone Fey by Robin McKinley was honestly kind of disturbing and I wasn’t a fan. The other ones pictured were okay but eh.

Now that NaNo’s over, I’m hoping to read a fair amount more than I have been, but we’ll see if Christmas busyness cuts into that. XD

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been reading and the books coming out this month!

Have you read anything good lately? And are you excited for any of these?

Thanks for reading! 🙂