Tag Archive | #AmReading

Book Ishness! (July 2019)

Hey, dear Pagelings!

Time for a new roundup of some awesome book releases I’M TERRIBLY EXCITED ABOUT, and what I’m reading these days!


JULY BOOK RELEASES

*shrieks at all the gorgeous covers* ❤ (Titles link to Goodreads pages.)

  • Beast in the Machine – E. B. Dawson — I so enjoyed this short sci-fi Beauty and the Beast retelling, and it’s releasing July 19! Woot! Check out my review in this post of mini-reviews for short sci-fi tales from this talented author!
  • Curse and Consequence – Savannah Jezowski — I squealed about this a couple of days ago and will do so again later in this post (not sorry. XD) but it’s hilarious and so delightful! ❤
  • Oath of the Outcast – C. M. Banschbach — THIS BOOK. ❤ ❤ ❤ So, it used to be known as The Mountain Baron (which I beta-read and was one of my top-top favorite reads last year!!) and then got chopped into two books and this is the first of them and it’s being published this month and BE STILL MY HEART. I really, really, REALLY loved this book and I can’t wait to read my ARC of the soon-to-release version! But it has brothers and outlaws and a Celtic flavor and it’s somewhat gritty and dark but it’s so good, and full of tough things and redemption and so much fabulous snark. And of course my favorite smol floof of anger management issues, Rhys, the Mountain Baron himself. IT’S SO GOOD. Okay, okay, I’ll stop, since I’m going to be reviewing it for real during the blog tour later this month, but YOU NEED IT IN YOUR LIFE. 😀 (The preorder is up, and there will also be copies at Realm Makers for any who are attending that!)
  • The Story Raider – Lindsay A. Franklin — I enjoyed The Story Peddler last year and am curious to find out where this story goes next!
  • Midnight on the River Grey – Abigail Wilson — Another Regency mystery tale from the author of In the Shadow of Croft Towers!
  • Sounds of Deceit – Hannah Heath — The third in a series of fantasy short stories, which I hope to read soon, from one of the Phoenix Fiction Writers!

But wait! There’s more! (I just had to say it. XD)

A couple of books that released at the end of June:

Deadwood officially released! Go check it out if you need your Fantasy Western, hilarious book, feelsy read, or Afterverse fix. XD (Yes, I edited it. It’s really good. ❤ I should totally review it someday. :P)

Another thing I edited! This is a lovely little collection of short stories which I really enjoyed, and you should totally check out! And you can read all about it in the author’s own words (author of Masters and Beginners, another book I love!), but the stories totally touched my heart and were gorgeous — and, in the case of the zombie one (debut of Daley’s teen son as an author!), freaked me out, in a good way. XD

And two more exciting things!

Havok Publishing is releasing their first anthology of flash-fiction later this month on July 20! And I’m really really excited because my good blogging buddy and talented writer Christine Smith has a delightful story in it, which I absolutely LOVED when I read it on Havok’s website awhile back! (I mean, it’s hilarious and features a fancy dinner party and a cat-fae and yessss.) AAHH! And other stories, some of which I’ve read and others I haven’t — but I’m really excited for this one, guys! ^_^

Another thing I’m super enthused about (get it? Super?) is a new serial story about superheroes, which just started on a place called Tapas (similar to Wattpad), by Calley Jones who is another awesome writer pal, who is finally sharing some of her work with the world! I’m SO excited! I love it so far and I’m super (I’m sorry about the puns; I will show myself out. *cough*) curious to find out what happens. 😀 Check it out!


OTHER JULY BOOK NEWS

Everyone seems to be holding kickstarters etc. for audiobooks these days and I’m just all “whyyy does it have to be right during Realm Makers season when I’m trying to save money?” XD Anyway, Jamie Foley is raising funds to turn her incredible Sentinel series (which I adore!) into audiobooks, so check it out!

Realm Makers + Blogging Absense

So, I’m going to be going to the Realm Makers speculative fiction writers conference in St. Louis NEXT WEEK! Which means I’ll be rather absent from blogging for awhile. (Let me know if I’ll see you there!) I’M SO EXCITED. (And not ready. *disappears to go back to panicking and prepping in equal measure*)

St. Louis Book Festival at Realm Makers

Speaking of which, anyone in the St. Louis area? Be sure to check out the Book Festival that will be open to the public (at the Realm Makers conference) on July 20! You can check out all the details here but tons of authors will be there signing books, including Terry Brooks, C.J. Redwine, Morgan Busse, and Bryan Davis!


MY READING NEWS

MY JULY NIGHTSTAND

My mostly-Realmies TBR for July!

So far this month I’ve read Divine Summons,The Girl Who Could See, and Twisted Dreams, and finished my re-read of Charmed Life (because Chrestomanci!). All enjoyable!

I’m partway through Magic Kingdom for Sale/Sold! and Renegade Skyfarer, and I’m looking forward to starting The Shadow Queen!

I’m also listening to Cress by Marissa Meyer on audio — almost done and LOVING it — and I have ARC ebooks to read, including Oath of the Outcast by C.M. Banschbach (yaaas!!), The Story Raider by Lindsay A. Franklin, and Mechanical Heart by Sarah Pennington (aahh!)! *all of the shrieking*


JUNE READS

  • Irresistable Worldbuilding – Janeen Ippolito — *GASP* Nonfiction! A handy, short writing book.
  • Hertz to Be a Hero – Bryan Davis — Delightful superhero story! Such fun. This series makes me happy. ^_^
  • The Wolf Prince – Claire M. Banschbach — Oh my goodness! I absolutely loved this epic story of brothers and faeries and Rangers and snark and wolves! SO good!
  • Stars Descend – Kara Jaynes — This was a bookclub read and probably the strangest book I’ve read all year, but kind of fascinating. O_O Featuring space-elves in dystopian, futuristic Seattle, with a slight twist on paranormal romance, this was totally weird but rather addicting. XD
  • Curse and Consequence – Savannah Jezowski — One of my favorite reads of the year, I loved this little Regency-fantasy novella so much that I read it twice this month. XD (The second time, I read it aloud, and there was much laughter at all the hilarious shenanigans.) It’s releasing July 4 and it’s hilarious and perfect and YOU NEED IT IN YOUR LIFE. ❤
  • Deadwood – Kyle Robert Shultz — The long-awaited sequel to Horseman just came out! It’s a fantasy Western with a creepy twist on Pinocchio, featuring my favorites Todd Crane (part-time centaur) and Julio the dragon-shifter, and it’s so, so good! 😀 (I mean, I edited it, but that doesn’t mean I’m biased. :P)
  • Heart of the Curiosity – H. L. Burke — Steampunk and secrets and a mechanic with a metal arm and a mysterious old theater and a treasure hunt and blackmail and love and family and so many pastries!
  • Conrad’s Fate – Diana Wynne Jones — I re-read this and had SO much fun! It’s one of my favorites of the Chrestomanci books, and I love how it stands alone and is a buddy story and has a unique look from the POV of the servantas at a fancy house. And CHRISTOPHER. He’s the best. XD
  • Shadowkeeper – Hope Ann — Vivid, intense, fascinating, though a little melancholy and dark for me and sort of sad, so I don’t really know how I feel about it. I have so many feels. o.o So I’m not sure I like it, but I keep thinking about it, and I bet I should have known more about the mythology it’s based on so that I would know what to expect. XD ANYWAY. I have mixed feelings about it but a lot of it was really, really good, and I do love the characters. 😀

(If you’re curious to read more about any of those, you can find them all here.)


So there we are! So many exciting bookish things! Are you looking forward to any of these? I hope you’re having a good and bookish July! Thanks for reading. ^_^

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Curse & Consequence by Savannah Jezowski

Let me tell you about a funny, delightful, Regency-ish fantasy story that you simply must read! 😀

(Photo featuring Other Regency, Regency Fantasy, or humorous/whimsical fantastical books which remind me of Curse and Consequence!)

Title: Curse and Consequence (The Whitby Tales, #1)

Author: Savannah Jezowski

  • Date read: June 15, 2019
  • Rating: 5 stars!
  • Genre: Regency / Fantasy / Novella
  • Age: Any
  • Year pub: 2019
  • Pages: 97 (paperback)
  • Series: Tales of Whitby, #1
  • Fave character: Sedgwick AND Hugh AND Rea, and especially all of them together
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: Read twice!
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

You need this hilarious Regency-esque fantasy novella in your life! It recently released and I loved it SO much I read it twice in the same week! (The second time, I read it aloud to my younger brother and sister so I could do the voices, which was so. much. fun! Especially Hugh. XD We laughed a ton! And now we quote it all the time. :P)

This whimsical tale, though in a fantasy setting, has a Georgette Heyer/Jane Austen Regency vibe, with a dash of Diana Wynne Jones (anyone remember Twinkle? I WILL SAY NO MORE!) and Tales of Ambia.

It starts out looking like a Regency romance, and while it’s partly that, things quickly escalate into a hilarious romp of magical misfortunes which I will not spoil by explaining. Just go read the book!!

It’s absolute perfection and I couldn’t stop laughing! There’s a rollicking humor vibe going on, and faery curses and piglets and an adorable dragon and a sprinkle of romance and so many mishaps and shenanigans! XDDD IT’S SO MUCH FUN. I CAN’T. I adore it!

CURSE AND CONSEQUENCE is one of the most delightful tales I’ve read in a long time, and I stayed up until midnight to finish it and regret nothing. *grins* Highly recommend! (And now I need the sequel — aaahh!)

(Thanks to the author for the review copy! All opinions are 100% my own.)

Doesn’t it sound like fun? What’s a humorous fantasy or a Regency tale you love?

Heart of the Curiosity by H.L. Burke: Tour/Review!

H.L. Burke’s latest book — another steampunk one, hurrah! — is releasing today and I’m excited to be a part of the blog tour and share my review for Heart of the Curiosity!

Title: Heart of the Curiosity

Author: H. L. Burke

  • Date read: June 26, 2019
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Steampunk / Fantasy
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2019
  • Pages: 240
  • Fave character: Paxton and Reid
  • Source: The publisher

Heart of the Curiosity is a delightful new steampunk novel from H.L. Burke, full of mystery and . . . well . . . heart (no pun intended).

Reading this book, I stepped right into a gorgeous setting with a steampunk flair. I absolutely loved the “feel”—it was almost black and white and red and bronze, on the edge of winter, a slightly Victorian but different setting, with a pinch of a reminder of Paris or London, but unique. Steampunk gadgetry and inventions pepper the story in a fun way, and the entire setting—theater, hidden passages, cobblestone streets, pastry shop, etc.—was so vivid.

The dash of fantasy was absolutely fascinating! I loved how everyone in this world has a “knack,” some slight magical skill that is specific to them. Leo, our heroine, has a knack for manipulating people’s emotions, and it was very interesting how that came into play in the story and how she struggles with it. Others have inventing knacks, or levitation, or a knack for baking, etc. I loved discovering those, and some of them were really intriguing talents! 😀

The characters are the heart of the story, though, and I got really invested in their stories. ^_^ Leo is sturdy and loyal and surprisingly relatable, and her story felt unique. I loved her devotion to her little sister, Muse—who was a fun character in her own right. And then there’s Paxton, who is the NICEST CHARACTER OF EVER, more or less, the mechanic with a metal arm and a heart of gold. Paxton was basically the best, and he and Leo are so great together. I love the banter and the going-out-for-pastries (those pastries!), but also the deep friendships and being there for each other despite their secrets, and the spark of romance in a totally different way. Basically, I love them! And all of the side characters were vivid too; I especially liked Reid and he was in it far too little—he was fabulous. XD

The story had so many twists, and just when I thought I knew where it was going, there would be a new and delightful reveal. I loved it! Everything came together by the end. It’s a tale of secrets and a treasure hunt of sorts, with blackmail and hidden passages and puzzles and clues—all of which were so neat and fit together so well—and all on a quest to save the old theater, The Curiosity. It really is sort of like Sherlock Holmes meets National Treasure meets The Greatest Showman, like the blurb says.

I liked how although there are fascinating bits about the actual plays and dances (I particularly love how their fairy tales are close to ours but just a little tweaked—and aaahh, the lamppost story! I understood that reference. XD), the show business isn’t actually the main plot—it’s more about the mystery and about family and values and saving their home and way of life, and how art is important. I just loved that. And there’s the snail circus, of course. 😉 Peril and mystery and shady characters, and friendship and love and humor, all blend together—and quite a few feels by the end.

At first it took me a little while to get into it but as it went on it drew me more and more in, especially the later parts—wow! I don’t know, it just makes me happy. ^_^

Also, pastries. SO many pastries! I need them in my life. This book made me so hungry. XD And I loved the library and wished we could have seen more of it, but it was also unique, in a sense, that it actually wasn’t about the library and that Muse was the bookish one instead of Leo.

A couple of grittier parts/tougher subjects (though well handled) might make it a better read for more mature readers, and I had one or two not-sure moments with the plot, but overall I loved it and it’s a great YA novel!

Definitely pick this one up if you need some mystery, love, steampunk, treasure hunts, delightful characters, and pastries in your life! 😉

I received a complimentary e-ARC of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.


Favorite Quote

“Yes, people need food and shelter and goods and services, even buttons, but they need art as well. They need to smile and laugh and cry and see ideas expressed in ways that make them think and feel. They need The Curiosity, or at least what it stands for.”


About the Book

The secret lies with the Heart.

Born with a magical knack for manipulating emotions, Leodora’s only dream is to ensure her talented little sister dances on the biggest, brightest stage in the Republic: The Curiosity, a grand old theater of tradition and innovation. After escaping a cruel carnival, Leo secures her sister a place in the Curiosity’s chorus line, and herself a job as a professional audience member, swaying the crowd’s mood with her magic. The girls have a home for the first time in their lives.

Then a tragic accident darkens the theater. A greedy businessman begins blackmailing Leo, and financial woes threaten to close the show forever. The Curiosity’s sole hope lies in a mythical power source hidden beneath the maze-like passages and trapdoors of the theater—the Heart. And Leo’s only friend Paxton, nephew of the theater’s stagemistress, is the key to finding it.

While Leo and Paxton hunt for the Heart, the blackmailer’s threats loom larger. Mysterious figures, cryptic clues, and deadly traps hinder the search at every turn. If the friends cannot recover the Heart in time, Leo and her sister will be cast out of the only home they’ve ever known, and the final curtain will fall on The Curiosity.

Enter a world reminiscent of The Greatest Showman, with a puzzle worthy of Sherlock Holmes and National Treasure, in this new Steampunk Fantasy from H. L. Burke.

AmazonBarnes & NobleAppleKoboAutographed paperbackGoodreads


About the Author

Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and was always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic. 

An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture. 

Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes that home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.

Social Media Links

Facebook PageFacebook Reader GroupTwitterInstagramWebsite


Doesn’t it sound so neat? Let me know what you think, or share your favorite steampunk book in the comments! I could always use recommendations. 😉

5 Thoughts on Battle for the Throne by E. J. Willis

Title: Battle for the Throne

Author: E. J. Willis

  • Date read: May 23, 2019
  • Rating: 3.5 stars, rounding up to 4 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Christian Fantasy
  • Age: Young Adult
  • Year pub: 2015
  • Pages: 248 (Kindle)
  • Series: Tales from Falyncia, #1 (followed by Into the Wildlands)
  • Fave character: Hugo
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free ebook copy of this book from the author. All opinions are my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

5 Thoughts on Battle for the Throne

  1. I’m always up for a Christian Fantasy novel! This one didn’t quite hit all the marks for me, personally, but I still enjoyed it for the most part. 🙂 It was fast-paced and exciting—sometimes almost too fast-paced, but made for a fairly quick and mostly enjoyable read! There was a lot of action, which was well-written and kept me absorbed. I definitely didn’t want to put the book down! And the romance was really sweet and I loved it. 🙂
  2. I was quickly drawn into the fantasy setting, with castles and forests and mountains and kingdoms. The “feel” of it was one that I thought was really neat. I especially loved the winged wolf spirit guardians! Sort of like guardian angels, though it’s mainly the heroine who can see them. There’s a bit of a spiritual battle going on between the wolf guardians and the demons. Malachi, the main wolf, was awesome. 😀 I also thought it was cool that there are giants in the book! Somehow giants don’t seem to be in fantasy as much anymore and I loved seeing them in this, particularly their enigmatic role in which sides they’re on (if anyone’s). And there are mentions of others like dwarves and goblins, and a griffin appeared right at the very end (yesss!), so I’m curious to continue reading this series and see more of this world!
  3. And then there are the characters. I liked our heroine Alaina and her spirit of determination, and wanted her to succeed, though I’m not as much of a warrior-princess-trope fan as some—but anyone who is will love this! I also loved our energetic prince Thaddeus! He was a great character, and I loved his relationship with Alaina. 😀 Other side characters were interesting (particularly Malachi, as I mentioned), and there was an awesome gladiator character who was my favorite! (Yes, Hugo, you’re awesome.) Also, a couple of the side-villain characters had really interesting arcs, so that was well-done.
  4. The book at times felt like younger-YA in a sense (particularly since it started with a ten-year-old and then skipped to when she was seventeen), but in another sense it . . . wasn’t. It was kind of dark and gruesome, a bit more on the gritty side than I personally enjoy, which seemed slightly at odds with the rest of the fantasy-adventure type feel of the book, but that could just be me. Just be aware the heroine goes through a lot and there’s torture and fantasy-demons and some disturbing scenes. But otherwise it’s great fun.
  5. Overall, for some reason it wasn’t one of my top favorites, but it definitely kept my interest and I loved the world and characters, and I’m definitely curious to read more in this world!

I received a free ebook copy of this book from the author (thank you!). All opinions are my own.

You May Also Enjoy . . .

Orphan's Song

Thanks for reading!

Mini Reviews! Sci-Fi Short Stories (by E.B. Dawson)

You guys. I recently read the most INCREDIBLE short stories by E.B. Dawson. Part of what’s incredible? Most of them are genres like dystopian or sci-fi that aren’t “my” genres and yet these kept me utterly transfixed. I ADORED THEM.

So here are mini reviews for six short stories, ranging from a Beauty and the Beast retelling to dystopian thrillers to Moby Dick in space to a beautiful tale on another planet.

Whether or not you are a sci-fi fan, you need to check these out!

  • Author: E.B. Dawson (WebsiteAmazonGoodreadsFacebookTwitterInstagram)
  • Genre: Sci-fi / short stories
  • Date read: April 8, 2019 (except for Beast in the Machine, January 28, 2019)
  • Source: I received free ebook copies of these stories either for review or free on the author’s newsletter, except for Nomad of the Emirates which I purchased on Amazon.
  • Note: Thanks to the author for free copies of some of these. I was under no obligation to write positive reviews and all opinions are my own.

Voyage of the Pequod

5 stars • Science Fiction / Retelling (Moby Dick) • AmazonGoodreads

This is Moby Dick in space. That idea is as perfect as it sounds and YOU NEED IT IN YOUR LIFE. *collapses* I’m not even as familiar with the original Moby Dick story as I could be, and sci-fi isn’t my usual genre, but I absolutely adored this short story! I suppose I knew enough to appreciate it as a retelling (though others might appreciate it more), but either way it was a brilliant story and totally captured me. I was instantly absorbed in this unique and fascinating tale. Electronic space whales! The remains of a war between man and machines (scary AI machines are soooo creepy! And the hints of backstory are absolutely fascinating). A battered space ship going out into the unknown. And the character interactions with the little crew, which I loved — there’s the new boy, and the old sailors, and of course the enigmatic captain Ahab and steady first mate Starbuck. They have a sort of buddy relationship going which is fantastic. It’s also one of my favorite things: a ship story (whether that’s nautical, piratical, space-ships, or airships. There’s just something classic about that and it was brilliant in this). It was just all so good, in such a short space! (No pun intended.) It was so intense I totally forgot to breathe! (Also I need a sequel! O_O) HELP. So, SO good! I don’t even know why but I loved it so very much I can’t put words to it! This is truly magnificent science-fiction.


Nomad of the Emirates

5 stars • Science Fiction • AmazonGoodreads

This story was so incredibly beautiful, help. What even are words? How can I describe it? It was intriguing from the start, and it’s very strange if you think about it (like sci-fi can be). But somewhere along the way, before I really knew what had happened, it stole my heart. This first-person story of a misfit girl from Earth who finds her place on another planet where she’s technically not supposed to be, and yet it’s where she’s most supposed to be of all places. The way she made a way in this foreign place and made it her home, how she’s a nomad, how she touches the strange cultures of the alien beings and makes a place there because of her openness and her heart for others and her willingness to understand those who are other, and what comes of it. That there is a place for those who haven’t found it yet — that it’s out there. I just love this story so much. It makes my heart ache and just — I don’t even know. It touched my soul. I don’t really know exactly how but it totally captivated me and I’m so glad I picked up a copy! And I laughed a couple of times, like with the hammock scene. Thinking of this story always makes me smile. I’m not sure, but I think this may be what sci-fi is supposed to be, a window to new worlds and a way to look outside to where the heart can reach — which can go even beyond things we know. Beautiful, beautiful!


Government Man

5 stars • Dystopian / Science Fiction • AmazonGoodreads

That was SO INTENSE. Oh my goodness! So, I’m not a big fan of dystopian type stories, but this one was super fascinating and kept me very intrigued the whole time. ACK. It was so well-written and fascinating (I know I keep using that word for this author’s stories, but I can’t help it because it’s true). I loved Caleb, our point of view undercover character. It’s set in a dystopian society with some of the usual things, but somehow unique too, and I loved some of the new spins on it. Especially Caleb’s personal story and what he does about it after . . . things happen. He’s absolutely the most epic person. 😀 Sometimes it felt like a cozy contemporary, like the bits in the coffee shop with Sarah, and other times like a mystery thriller, and then a dash of sci-fi with certain . . . er . . . developments (spoilers!), and all in a vaguely dystopian society. I just — I really loved it! Even though it was scary and super intense. I couldn’t stop reading, and loved it, and I was so happy to discover there was a sequel short story, which I promptly devoured too. It’s such a delightful mix of genres that I can’t quite pinpoint it, but whatever it is, it’s an excellent short story which I really enjoyed and couldn’t put down!

Note: You can currently read a free copy of Government Man and three other cool short stories if you sign up for the Phoenix Fiction Writers newsletter. PFW is an epic group of speculative fiction authors and you can check it out HERE.


Shadow Figure

5 stars • Dystopian / Science Fiction • AmazonGoodreads

This is a direct sequel to Government Man (I love that idea! Sequel short stories!) and I can’t talk too much about it because of spoilers for the first one, but it was another fascinating story. It delves further into the dystopian world introduced in the first, but from a new perspective, a certain heroine this time. It was intense too and I especially loved the “Shadow Figure” and all the things related to it. It’s heartwrenching in a sense, but full of possibility too (that I’m really excited about), and I somehow loved it. I definitely want to read more about these characters!


Gifted

4 stars • Urban Fantasy / Superpowers / Sci-Fi • AmazonGoodreads

What a fascinating story! I wasn’t always sure what was going on, but I knew I was hooked and couldn’t stop reading. This story had layers and it was so interesting to find each one behind the other. It’s some sort of Urban Fantasy mixed with superpowers and fist fighting in a ring, but it’s much more than that, somehow. I was so intrigued by Spencer and his story, and these other interesting people he meets. It was very vivid and I never wanted to stop reading, even if I didn’t necessarily “get” everything. It went in an unexpected direction, and definitely left me curious to know more.


Beast in the Machine

5 stars • Science Fiction / Retelling (Beauty and the Beast) • Goodreads • (This is part of a collection called Once Upon a Future Time, so if you’re interested in it, go check out the Kickstarter project, through June 22!)

Beauty and the Beast is my second-favorite fairytale, so the idea of a sci-fi version fascinated me, and I wasn’t sure what to expect going in. What I found was an enchanting blend of an old-world-feeling setting, in a charming sea-village where I could almost taste the salty breeze, with just a dash of futuristic technology to spice it up. I absolutely loved the writing and the feel of this one! Isabelle was a great heroine and brought such a strong personality to the story, drawing the reader into the story. Throw in a mysterious and occasionally unhinged young man named Sebastian Prince with a dark past, a mansion with a lab and a library, dream experiments gone wrong, and an adorable little robot named Cog (I loved Cog!) and you have the perfect recipe for a fresh take on a classic tale as old as time. I absolutely adored this retelling! It was my first E.B. Dawson story and from the very first page, I knew I had to read more from this author. It felt so COZY, though with a dash of peril and excitement, of course. Even if you’re not a sci-fi person, the sci-fi flavors are subtle in this, and any fans of Beauty and the Beast will find it as enchanting as I did!


So, I binge-read five sci-fi-ish short stories from this author and my overall impression was one of complete awesomeness. If I don’t watch out, E.B. Dawson is going to make me addicted to sci-fi! 😉

Are you a short story or a sci-fi person, or like me do you rarely dip your toes into those waters? I’m definitely planning on trying this genre more often — I used to a bit more when I was younger, and I clearly need to revisit it.

Do these stories intrigue you? Let me know in the comments — or if you have a top sci-fi book to recommend to me!

Book Ishness + 200 Posts! (June 2019)

I’m back from hiatus! *happy dance*

And I just realized that my most recent post was my 200th post on the Page Dreamer! HURRAH!

*throws confetti and passes out virtual cupcakes*

200 is a pretty cool number, I feel. 😀

Thanks, as always, for reading and supporting my little bookish rambles and reviews, my dear Pagelings! Y’all are the best! ❤

Onward to the bookish news and releases, free books and cover reveals, and what I’ve been reading while I was on hiatus! (It was a good reading month! ^_^)


NEW RELEASES

Urban fantasy, urban fantasy, fairytale retelling, Arthurian retelling, steampunk, dystopian. (Respectively.)

SOME PEOPLE write way too fast (okay, there’s no such thing. XD), and I can’t keep up with all their new books and need to catch up, but look! Shinies!

Some came out last month and others are arriving sometime this June. Click the titles below to read more on Goodeads if any intrigue you . . .

Wish You Weren’t Here (Janeen Ippolito) • Between Frames (W.R. Gingell) • The Matchgirl and the Magician (L. Palmer) • The Heir of Logres (Suzannah Rowntree) • Heart of the Curiosity (H.L. Burke) • Irrelevant (Sarah Addison-Fox)

Deadwood, the sequel to Horseman (Crockett and Crane, book 1) is coming out at the end of the month as well!

Oh, yes, this one is almost here! As the Editor of the Afterverse, I’m excited to say that you don’t have much longer to wait for the further adventures of part-time centaur Todd Crane, ex-Marshal Amy Crockett, and Julio the dragon, in the magical wild west of the United States of Neverica. *grins*

It’s not on Goodreads yet, but here’s the Amazon preorder link if you want to know more! Kyle Shultz and I are finishing up the final edits on this one, and I’m really excited for y’all to read it. 😀

Official release date is June 30. (And book 1 is free! Details below.)


Free Ebooks

Horseman by Kyle Robert Shultz is free just through today (June 3!) so be sure to pick up the ebook of that if you don’t have it yet!

Book 2, Deadwood, is coming soon, so now is the perfect time to read this one if you haven’t!

And if you want more fun, you can join the Fellowship of Fantasy Bookclub over on Facebook to read it this month, since Horseman is book of the month for June!

This super-power-ish short story by E.B. Dawson is free through June 4 so be sure to pick up your Kindle copy! (I’m planning to review a bunch of sci-fi short stories by this talented author next week, but I had to share this one while the sale was running!)

OTHER NEWS

Alliance Award Voting — Final Round!

There’s still time to vote on the Alliance Awards, reader-based fan awards run by Realm Makers — so if you’ve read Fawkes, Mark of the Raven, The Story Peddler, or any combination of the three, hurry and get your vote in before June 4 at midnight PST!

Sci-fi Fairy Tale Retellings — Kickstarter

There’s a campaign (through June 22) to help fund an upcoming collection called Once Upon a Future Time (Volume 2), and it features at least one story that I know is awesome — Beast in the Machine, a sci-fi retelling by E.B. Dawson! There’s also a story by our very own Savannah Grace, as well as tales by Shannon McDermott and several other authors. If this sounds of interest to you, be sure to check it out and spread the word if you can! 🙂


Other than that, I’m a bit out of the loop since I was mostly on internet hiatus for the last month, but here, have some pretty covers!

Cover Reveals

I know you probably saw this one when I shared it and related info a couple weeks ago, but LOOK AT IT AGAIN BECAUSE IT’S EPIC. 😀 (Also, it’s now on Goodreads!)


EEP! I love the blue on this one! So shiny! And I’m always up for a Cinderella retelling. 😀 Check it out.


I know I shared this one in the list of new releases coming this June, but I had to share it again! And steampunk! I’m excited! 😀


HIATUS END + READING NEWS

I had a lovely month of reading during my hiatus, and found myself actually reading one book at a time, focusing, reading straight through, and then starting another. I’m so proud of myself for not being all scattered and trying to read half a dozen books at once, which doesn’t always work so well. XD

I also found myself with a bit of extra reading time, due to my social media hiatus, which was lovely!

And as much as I love Goodreads, reading felt like a lot less pressure when I wasn’t tracking my reading on there. 😛 *cough*

I also OFFICIALLY CAUGHT UP ON READING ALL MY REVIEW BOOKS so I’m sort of ecstatic about that.

It was a quite successful reading month, overall!

MAY READS

Oh, look, I passed my reading goal for the year! (In my defense, I do count short stories, which is why the number is so high. XD)

For more details on any of these, you can find links to them on my Goodreads reading challenge.

  • Flower of the Underworld – Hazel B. West — Super-enjoyable urban fantasy. I just had so much fun reading this! And I loved Hades and Persephone and their friends and all the shenanigans, and the mix of Greek myth and modern times, in a totally unique way. (I may have promptly named a plant George after the plant Persephone gave Hades. XD)
  • In the Shadow of Croft Towers – Abigail Wilson — Secrets, spies, highwaymen, a mysterious mansion, and a smidge of romance, all tied up in the Regency era. It’s a Regency romance/murder mystery and the combination was super cool! You can read my review here if you missed it.
  • Flight of the Raven (Ravenwood Saga, #2) – Morgan L. Busse — Review coming tomorrow on my other blog as part of the blog tour, but I ADORED this one! 😀
  • Friday’s Child – Georgette Heyer — Oh, man. XD I hadn’t read a Heyer book in far too long and almost forgot how hilarious and full of shenanigans they are. I had such a blast reading it that I stayed up until 1 a.m. and only went to bed under the veriest protest, and then was absolutely useless all the next day until I finished the last page. 😛
  • Castle in the Air – Diana Wynne Jones — I re-read this aloud to the younger siblings and had the absolute best time re-visiting Abdullah and the soldier and the cats he’s besotted with, and of course the genie and magic carpet. XD SO fun, and the cameos of people from Howl’s Moving Castle, including Howl and Sophie, just make the book. ❤
  • Battle for the Throne – E.J. Willis — A bit bloody for my taste but definitely had its moments! This was an intriguing YA Christian fantasy about a lost princess and included gladiators, giants, and winged-wolf-spirit-guardians! I’ll be reviewing it later too. 🙂
  • Mardan’s Mark, Mardan’s Heir, Healer’s Curse, and Pirate Wager – Kathrese McKee — I sort of binge-read these and LOVED them! Pirates, princesses, missing heirs, friendship and romance, siblings and survival and adventure and politics. Watch for my series review post, coming soon!

Not Pictured

  • How to Be a Savage – Daley Downing (coming soon!) — A short collection from the author of the Order of the Twelve Tribes series, I edited this one and it’s coming soon! Super enjoyable!
  • Pseudonym (Dana Illwind and Sorcerer Lord Jayden short story) – Arthur Daigle — I’ve mentioned . . . these short stories . . . before, but every time a new one pops up online it makes my WEEK and I devour it at once. I can’t get enough of these delightful characters! Jayden and Dana are my FAVORITE. ❤

JUNE PLANS

I have a handful of review posts planned for this month, since I did so much catching up on review books, so watch out for those!

I’m not sure exactly what my “nightstand” TBR pile for June will be, but it has occurred to me I should probably take this opportunity to tackle at least a few Realm Makers books before I go to the conference in July. XD

We’ll see what the month brings!

How was your May? I missed you guys! What was your favorite book you read while I was gone? And do any of these books intrigue you? Thanks for reading, and HI AGAIN! ❤

In the Shadow of Croft Towers by Abigail Wilson (Review)

A Regency mystery novel with spies and highwaymen, secrets and blackmail and romance? Sign me up!

Title: In the Shadow of Croft Towers

Author: Abigail Wilson

  • Date read: May 13, 2019
  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Genre: Historical Fiction / Mystery / Regency Romance
  • Year pub: 2019
  • Pages: 319 (paperback)
  • Fave character: Mr. Sinclair
  • Source: Thomas Nelson publishers through BookLook Bloggers
  • Links: GoodreadsThomas Nelson Barnes & NobleAmazonAuthor Website

Set in Regency England, IN THE SHADOW OF CROFT TOWERS is a delightful mix of Regency romance and murder mystery.

Sybil Delafield travels to Croft Towers to become a companion to the old woman who owns the estate, and finds that nearly everyone at the mansion and nearby town has secrets, including Mr. Sinclair. As the mysteries and shadows deepen, Sybil doesn’t know who to trust, even as she begins unraveling the secrets of her own past.

Highwaymen, Dragoons looking for French spies in rural England, smugglers, and people turning up murdered are only some of the interesting twists. Secret messages, blackmail, and the shadow of an old tragedy, all hang over Croft Towers and those designing to inherit it from old Mrs. Chalcroft, who has her own secrets.

It has a delightful autumnal, onset of winter feel, with a somewhat eerie mansion and night rides through the woods and moors and town.

This book kept me totally absorbed! I particularly loved the middle bits where the mysteries kept mounting higher and higher. It was fascinating how every single person had something to hide, or at least were not as they seemed. I loved finding out what was going on, and guessing at things, and the experience alone was so delightful.

I also loved how the romance and the mystery were perfectly balanced and neither overwhelmed each other. It was such a neat idea to mix Regency romance with a mystery, and I loved how it was so exciting. There’s a sort of love-triangle, though I didn’t feel totally convinced by the one part of it, but I’m not the biggest love-triangle fan, so that might simply be me.

I particularly liked Mr. Sinclair’s character and all his mysteriousness! Mrs. Chalcroft (his godmother) was a fascinating, eccentric character. I found myself rooting for Sybil to discover what was going on, and for a certain romance. 😉

The ending wrapped things up fairly well, but I found myself wishing for more or for something different for a few of the details (like I was disappointed there wasn’t more about a certain character mentioned near the end), and there were one or two happenings that seemed surprisingly dark for this sort of book, particularly what happened with one of the other characters (no spoilers!). A few things also felt off, or at least improbable, for the time period—at least to me, though I’m not an expert—and there were one or two inconsistencies.

But none of that detracted from my sheer enjoyment of the book, and I absolutely loved the shadowy mysteriousness mixed with the Regency era!

I’m going to have to pick up more from this author in the future, because I had a thoroughly good time reading this—I totally recommend it if it sounds like your cup of tea!

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

About the Book

The Secret of Croft Towers by Abigail Wilson

Croft Towers holds more than its share of secrets . . . and Sybil is determined to uncover them all.

When Sybil Delafield’s coach to Croft Towers was robbed by highwaymen, she should have realized that her new position as companion to old Mrs. Chalcroft would be no ordinary job. Upon Sybil’s arrival, Mrs. Chalcroft sneaks into her room in the dark of night, imploring her to relay messages to town that are to stay hidden from the rest of the family. Who exactly is she working for and what do the messages contain?

When fellow passengers of the robbed coach are later murdered, Sybil’s hunt for the truth takes on a new urgency. The only person she can rely on is Mr. Sinclair, Mrs. Chalcroft’s godson, but under all his charms he too leads a double life. Sybil must decide if he is the one honest voice she can trust, or if he is simply using her for his own advances.

With murderers, smugglers, and spies on the loose, nothing—and no one—in Regency England is what they claim. Can Sybil even trust what she knows about herself?

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What do you think? Do you enjoy Regency time period or murder mysteries?