Tag Archive | #AmReading

Bookish Post! (a.k.a. I Travel from NaNo Land to Book Land + Bookish News + Mini-Reviews)

Oh, hi, world! I’m baaack!

It’s been a wee bit quiet around here because it’s awfully hard to read/review books while you’re madly writing one of your own. But as I have now won my EIGHTH NaNoWriMo, I am back in the world of books — and my first thought (besides “ACK, I CAN READ AGAIN!”) was “Time to pop onto my poor neglected book blog!” 😉

So this is kind of a mashup of OH HI I HAVEN’T REALLY POSTED MUCH AROUND HERE LATELY BECAUSE NANO and stuff I’ve been reading and stuff going on/releasing, and all of the bookish things. *nods*

Books I Read Lately

October

Here’s what I read in October, which was a busy month and I barely managed to squeeze these in… I award them all 5 stars because though all different, I loved them each in their own way.

  • Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith – Shaun Hume — I lived in this book world and loved the characters and setting, and though it was a little long and not my usual thing, it was different and fun. Review to come!
  • Spellsmith and Carver: Magicians’ Reckoning – H. L. Burke — SO MANY FEELS. :O This almost got a star knocked off BUT it ended reasonably better than I thought it might and yes. MY FEELS. But a good conclusion to the Spellsmith and Carver Trilogy. Review to come!
  • Second Impressions: A Collection of Fiction Inspired by Jane Austen – edited by Hannah Scheele — Adorable short stories based on Jane Austen things. Loved this collection! {My Review}
  • Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen — This was a re-read. It was the first Jane Austen novel I read, AGES ago, and I hadn’t read it since, so it was lovely to read it again. I really enjoyed reading along with Season of Humility’s readalong. Mr. Darcy is the best, okay? 😉
  • The Last Days of Lady Cordelia – Kyle Robert Shultz — This novelette had MANY FEELS and some humor and parallel world stuff and delightful references to Kyle’s main Beaumont and Beasley series! In a way I don’t know how I feel about it, but in another way I loved it so much I read it twice, so… XD

November

Wait, who is this crazy person who READ BOOKS during NaNoWriMo?? :O These were all very short, quick reads, which I consumed between my crazy writing because I needed to relax occasionally. *gasp* I enjoyed them all and give them all 4 stars. 🙂 My mini-thoughts…

  • Saffron’s Big Plan and Other Stories – Kendra E. Ardnek — I had the pleasure of meeting the delightful Kendra herself this month, and picked up a couple of her short story collections when I did. (She’s super fun, FYI! ;)) What fun little tales! 🙂 I read them all in a sitting and they were just the light little read I needed just then. Three original fairytales, and one retelling of Puss in Boots — very unique! I loved the style. 🙂
  • The Woodcutter Quince and Other Stories – Kendra E. Ardnek — What fun stories! The Woodcutter one was my favorite — fantastic! 😀 The CinderEddy twist on Cinderella was awesome too. XD Most enjoyable. 🙂
  • Coloring Christmas Devotions – Thomas Nelson Publishers — This is my first Adult Coloring book, and while I haven’t colored all the pictures yet, I did read through all the devotionals and colored some. This was a book for review from BookLook, and I’ll be reviewing it on my other blog soon.
  • Fire and Ice Cream – K. M. Carroll — AWK. SO GREAT. ^_^ Super original modern fantasy, with a murder mystery in an ice cream shop in Arizona, where shapeshifting dragons (fire-breathing) and shapeshifting drakes (ice-breathing) are a part of normal life — and in fact the heroine is one! So cool. 😀 (I read this for the Fellowship of Fantasy Bookclub’s book of the month for November.)
  • No Plot? No Problem! A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days – Chris Baty — A fairly quick, light read, sometimes amusing with a few helpful ideas, in general of interest to those who have or would like to participate in NaNoWriMo or otherwise write a novel in a month, and about writing in general. There’s some language, and the humor is of a particular type you need to be in the mood for, so it’s not for everybody, and has stuff/advice that hopefully nobody takes seriously, because it’s intended to be tongue in cheek. XD But otherwise it was enjoyable and a nice distraction so I could feel like I was being NaNo-ish when I should have been writing words for NaNo. 😛 And besides, it felt vaguely appropriate to read it this month. Anyway, I enjoyed it, rather. 🙂

If you’re curious to learn more about any of the books I’ve been reading, you can always find them linked in my Goodreads Reading Challenge.

Releases

The Stroke of Eleven by Kyle Robert Shultz, which is the third Beaumont and Beasley book, came out today and I’m ridiculously excited for more Nick and Crispin and Cordelia and fairytale humor. I CAN’T WAIT. ❤

The sequel to Masters and Beginners by Daley Downing (which I loved) is now out at B&N and it’s called Rulers and Mages and I love the cover! I beta-read this, really enjoyed it, and can’t wait to read the final version. 🙂

The final Vintage Jane Austen book, Presumption and Partiality by Rebekah Jones, which is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice in 1930s Arizona, also released this week in ebook and paperback, and the Kindle version is 99 cents on Amazon this week only — I just snagged my copy over there and I’m excited to read this one too! 🙂

Hannah Scheele continues to outdo herself with each new VJA cover. ❤

Speaking of covers…

Upcoming Cover Reveal

(image by DJ Edwardson)

DJ Edwardson (of Silmarillion Awards fame) is about to reveal the cover for his upcoming first fantasy novel, The Last Motleyso go join his awesome newsletter so you can see it this week! 😀 (I’m ridiculously excited.)

Reviews on the Horizon?

I’ve been somewhat quiet on the review front, as I just haven’t had the energy to write any what with NaNo… But now that NaNo is over, I’m hoping (key word: hoping) to get back into reading and reviewing, particularly catching up on a few that I was hoping to before November but just didn’t find time for. (And some other kinds of posts on my other blog, as well!)

So you can reasonably hope to expect some reviews (like for Ewan Pendle, Magicians’ Reckoning, Coloring Christmas Devotions, The Fatal Tree) soon-ish… And a couple of beta-reading books, and reviews books (like Disowned by Sarah Addison-Fox) which I hope to read/review soon! And hopefully for those new releases I just mentioned too. XD

Basically, I should have National Book Reading/Reviewing Month (NaBoReReMo… no? Not catchy enough?) but we’ll see how much I have energy for. 😛

It’s been a CRAZY couple of months in my life lately and hopefully I can finally breathe/relax a little, with some reading and blogging on the side…

I thought about sharing a Nightstand Books kind of thing but I have so many I WANT to read this month, and have no idea what I’ll get to during December, so I’ll just say I WILL READ ALL THE BOOKS THAT I CAN. XD

Anyway!

I think that’s it on the bookish news, and what’s been up with me. What about you? And have you read/want to read any of the books I mentioned? Chat with me, fellow page-dreamers! 🙂

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

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Indie Christian Books: Black Friday Sale + Giveaway!

Hey guys! Here’s an online book sale/giveaway event you may have seen around, but if not, read on for some juicy deals! 🙂

It’s that time of year. The time for buying presents, making wish lists, and planning New Year’s Resolutions. If any of those activities involve books for you, Indie Christian Books has a perfect event for you.

From Nov 24th through Nov 30th, a large selection of independently published Christian books are on sale. You can find discounted paperbacks, dozens of books offered with free shipping, $0.99 ebooks, package deals and more. Even if your budget is depleted from Christmas shopping, they have some freebies for you! Need even more of a reason to support indie authors and fill your shelf with good stories? When you purchase a paperback book through indiechristianbooks.com you’ll be eligible to enter an exclusive giveaway including free books and an Amazon gift card! (Link at end of post.)

You can meet the participating authors by visiting the Author Database on the website. Want to get to know the authors better AND have the chance to win some fun prizes? For those of you on Facebook, you’re invited to join the week long Facebook party which will feature 39 authors over 7 days. (From November 24th through the 30th, same dates as the sale.)

And a list of the other blog-tour bloggers sharing about this awesome event, including some reviews and interviews with some of the authors, can be found here. 🙂

My Recommendations

Books I’ve read and enjoyed which are on sale (some in paperback, some in ebook), if you’re curious for my recommendations, include: Burning Rose, A Different Kind of Courage, Kate’s Innocence, Kate’s Capitol (or both), Poison Kiss (free! I loved this one! ^_^), CinderEddy, Lost Lake House, Death Be Not Proud, and Captive of Raven Castle.

Some I haven’t read yet but am really looking forward to reading include: Disowned, The Rise of Aredor, The Wildcat of Braeton, Adela’s Curse, The Traveler, Sew It’s a Quest, The Bells of Paradise, and the Firmament Series (also available individually on the Spec Fic page).

So many cool books on there! 🙂

Notes

A note on the Ebooks Only page. Many of the books are listed as “Sold Out.” This is because we aren’t selling those directly through our site. Please click onto the product pages to find descriptions and links to discounted or free ebooks.

Acknowledgements: Thanks to Leah E. Good and Kendra E. Ardnek for their work organizing this sale, and Hannah Mills for her fantastic design work on the website graphics. Hannah can be contacted at hmills(at)omorecollege(dot)edu for more information about her design services.

Giveaway

You can enter the giveaway for an Amazon giftcard and some books HERE!

I hope you find some great deals and I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving! What awesome reads of 2016 are you grateful for? What books are you looking forward to reading in 2017?

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

Random News + Nightstand Books {September 2017}

Hey, my Pagelings! Time for some random news and September’s Nightstand Books! 🙂

RANDOM NEWS

It’s my Blogoversary + A Giveaway!

Yes indeed, I’m celebrating the 4th blogoversary of my other blog, The Road of a Writer, with an epic giveaway of a few fantasy books, so check it out if you haven’t! ^_^

Interviewed + Testing the Freelance Waters

I’m stepping into freelance copy-editing and web-designing, and was interviewed by Emily Ann Benedict! 🙂

Other News

So, you know those random news-bits that aren’t enough to actually POST about but you want people to know? I usually post such things on my Twitter so follow me there because I’m fun or sometimes my Goodreads… But a couple of fun things I wanted share here today…

Remember when I reviewed that modern fantasy book Masters and Beginners by Daley Downing? Well it has a shiny new cover by Kyle Shultz, and is now available on Barnes & Noble.

Also, I’d like to mention that one of the books listed below as next-to-read, is a collection of novellas, and you can get one of those as well as a novelette prequel, for free. 🙂

Free thing…

Rose of the Night by Hope Ann is a novelette prequel, available for free for signing up for her newsletter, here.

And another…

Rose of the Oath is a Beauty and the Beast retelling by Hope Ann, available for free download on Amazon and elsewhere.

NIGHTSTAND BOOKS

Aaand on to Nightstand Books, a blogging meme created by Jenelle Schmidt and DJ Edwardson — to share and be excited about the books we’re reading each month!

It’s usually the first Wednesday of the month, but sometimes I’m late never late, Frodo Baggins, nor am I early; I arrive precisely when I mean to. *cough*

(Join in here if you want!)

The titles below link to Goodreads.

September Nightstand

Most of the books this month are digital ones, but here’s a few on the physical nightstand…

  • The Twelve Dancing Princesses by Ellen Miles — I picked this up at a library sale recently and couldn’t resist reading it right away! Super short and cute read, an enjoyable mostly-traditional version of my favorite fairytale. I did like the couple of tweaks though! 🙂 And it was just generally… fun. *shrug* 4 stars
  • Wanted: A Superhero to Save the World by Bryan Davis — Look for a review of this one next week as part of the blog tour! I’ve only read one other superhero novel, and I don’t read Middle-Grade too often, so I’m excited for this because it’s different for me and fun, plus Bryan Davis. 😀
  • Mind Writer by Mike Lynch and Lisa Godfrees — I was given a copy of this and am trying to catch up on things I should review, so I’d like to read it soon. ^_^ It looks more sci-fi-y than my usual reading-zone, so that’s going to be interesting. Sometimes that’s enjoyable though, to try new things! 🙂

Digital Nightstand

Not pictured:

  • And a couple of beta-read projects for friends, which I hope to finish this month, or next month at latest…

Don’t know if some of these will be moving to next month, as usual… But I do have a lofty goal to finish all my review and beta books before NaNo hits. So. Yes. Either way, hopefully I’ll have these all done eventually!

I do have another stack of books off to one side that I really, really want to read, if I catch up on review books… but I didn’t share those since I have no idea when I’ll get to them. XD

August Nightstand: Take 2

On that subject, August’s nightstand looked less like I thought it would be in my last Nightstand post, and more like this:

(Find them on Goodreads here.)

  • The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien — LOVED this re-read! ❤
  • Beren and Luthien by J.R.R. Tolkien — So enjoyable and awesome! ❤
  • The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge — I adored this to BITS. ❤ Everyone needs to read it.

  • Perception by Emily Ann Benedict — My Review. Now I need the next Vintage Jane Austen book! 🙂
  • An Earthly King by Hazel B. West — This re-read was a delight! 😀 [Last year’s review.]
  • Magicians’ Trial by H.L. Burke — My Review. Aaand now I need more Spellsmith & Carver…
  • Yorien’s Hand by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt — I absolutely LOVED re-reading this, so I’m finally caught up on the series AND NEED THE NEXT BOOK NOW. ❤ [Last year’s review.]

Not pictured:

  • Plus the picture books listed in the original post. ^_^
  • And beta-reading the sequel to Masters and Beginners by Daley Downing. I need it to be finished/published please… 😀

So sometimes I’m totally wrong about what I’ll be reading, but hey, all of those were awesome, so. 😉

ANYWAY. There’s some stuff that’s been up lately, an update on my August nightstand (whoops), and my projected September nightstand. So now you know ALL the bookish things in my life. XD

What are you reading these days? 🙂

Thanks for reading! ^_^

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

August Nightstand Books {2017}

Due to a very busy July full of a spontaneous Camp NaNo and the Silmarillion Awards, I’m a bit behind on reviewing and reading (but more reviews will be coming!) and did not read anywhere near all the books on my July Nightstand — however, it’s now time to update that for August! 🙂

(Nightstand Books was created by DJ Edwardson and Jenelle Schmidt — join the fun by sharing your own picture of what you’re currently reading!)

August Nightstand

  • The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien — Didn’t quite finish this during the SilmAwards due to a very busy end of the month, but looking forward to finishing my reread of it soon. ❤
  • The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead — Still re-reading parts of this aloud. 🙂
  • Starflower by Anne Elisabeth Stengl — Didn’t quite get to starting this, so I hope to soon. 🙂
  • On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness and North! Or Be Eaten (by Andrew Peterson) — I don’t know if I’ll get to these this month, but North! Or Be Eaten is currently in my grasp because it’s out of the library (I own book one) so IF I can manage it, I’d like to read them both, but I’d like to catch up on review books too, sooo if I don’t get around to it this month, I’m sure I’ll read them someday. 🙂 (Also, I just love saying that title. “North! Or Be Eaten” — one of my fave titles EVER. XD)
  • I also got some picture books from the library. Because picture books! ❤ And at least I know I’ll have time for THOSE. XD

Virtual Nightstand

  • Perception (Vintage Jane Austen) by Emily Ann Benedict — This just released (!!) and is a retelling of Persuasion which I’m currently reading, and I’m VERY excited, because Persuasion is awesome. 🙂
  • Magicians’ Trial (Spellsmith and Carver, #2) by H.L. Burke — THERE’S ANOTHER SPELLSMITH AND CARVER BOOK OUT. MORE SNARK. MORE JERICHO. MORE AURIC. MORE OF BOTH OF THEM BEING AWESOME TOGETHER. I CANNOT CONTAIN MY ELATION. Must. read. soon!
  • Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith by Shaun Hume — Still working through this and enjoying it!
  • An Earthly King by Hazel B. West — Still on the readalong in preparation for book 3 releasing… maybe this month? So excited! I love this book. 🙂
  • Yorien’s Hand by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt — Want to re-read very soon because I miss this world. 🙂 (I’m sure a lot of this will make more sense now that I’ve read the first two books in the series as well. XD)
  • I also have a couple of books to beta-read so I will try to get those done this month.

Rundown/update on last month’s nightstand:

Read (and loved): The Tomb of the Sea Witch (review coming soon!), Coiled, The Invisible Library, The Reluctant Godfather, and Kate’s Capitol. I also read Poison Kiss by Kendra Ardnek, which wasn’t on the nightstand post, but I greatly enjoyed it! Look for a review as part of the release blogtour next week. 🙂

Still reading: An Earthly King, Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith, The Silmarillion, The Skin Map, and Perception. Carried over Starflower, unstarted thus far.

Postponed: Heartstone, The Illusionist’s Apprentice, and Intermission, I sent back to the library without reading them because I didn’t have time. *sadness* Another day! I decided I’d rather finish Camp NaNo, and I’m glad I did. 🙂

***

So that’s what’s up with my reading and what I have on my Nightstand! What’s on yours? 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Keep dreaming away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

100th Post! + July Nightstand Books {2017}

100th Post!

This is my 100th post on The Page Dreamer! Happy hundredth post to meee!

*confetti and leftover-Independence-Day-fireworks*

*passes cookies around*

I’m very excited! ^_^ I started this little book-blog a bit over a year and a half ago, on the first day of 2016, and I’m so pleased to have come this far!

Thank you SO much, all you lovely readers, for putting up with my bookish babblings and reading and commenting! Y’all are the best! ❤

Nightstand Books

What with the Silmarillion Awards (Award Presentations begin today! :O) and reviews and such, I’ve been too busy blogging about other things to get around to a nightstand books post until now!

But here I am, halfway through the month, to share my July books, that I’ve either read this month, am currently reading, or hope to read soon. 🙂

(Nightstand Books is a blogging meme created by Jenelle and DJ to share our currently-reading books each month and be excited about them. …With me it’s more like my-bookish-plans-for-the-month, but still. Join the fun if you like!)

July Nightstand

  • The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead — Still working on re-reading through this aloud, so the amount of time I spend reading it is kind of out of my control… But hopefully we’ll get through it this month.
  • The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien — Re-reading this for the third/fourth/whatever time, because the Silmarillion Awards is an awesome excuse and it was just way overdue for a re-read. (I think last time was 2010? Yeah… But I’d read it a few times before that, so anyway. ;)) I’m reading a chapter every day and enjoying it SO MUCH. It’s like coming home. ❤
  • Starflower by Anne Elisabeth Stengl — For another Goldstone Wood readalong. 😀 Haven’t started yet but I’m SO excited to!
  • The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman — I got this from the library; how appropriate. (It was a visible one though. *cough*) I’ve heard great things so I’m excited. 🙂
  • The Illusionist’s Apprentice by Kristy Cambron — This caught my eye when it was up for review one time when I was too busy to read; so I was excited to find it at the library. Let’s be honest: I’m here for the character names (Wren and Elliot), Houdini + murder mystery, and that pretty cover.
  • Heartstone by Elle Katharine White — Found at the library — yay! Pride and Prejudice retelling with dragons? Yes please and thank you.
  • Intermission by Serena Chase — Also libraried (totally a word, hush). I honestly don’t think this is going to be a “for me” book, but I’m curious about it anyway. XD Disclaimer: I miiiight not get around to finishing the library books before they need to head back. >.> We shall see! *must read faster*
  • Coiled by H.L. Burke — I won this gorgeous book in a giveaway, and I hate snakes but… this author got me addicted to cute snek memes and I love her writing, so. XD And mythology YA romance thingy with a prettiful cover… yes. I just read it this weekend and it was fantastic! ^_^ This author is awesome. ❤

Other Books Not In Above Picture

  • Kate’s Capitol by Sarah Holman — I breezed through this on Independence Day and quite enjoyed it. 🙂 [REVIEW]
  • The Reluctant Godfather by Allison Tebo — Quite a funny and enjoyable novella I accidentally read one evening. XD Aside from punctuation errors driving my editor self somewhat batty, it was super fun and hilarious! XD Plus Burndee. 😀
  • Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith by Shaun Hume — Currently reading this review book and it’s been very intriguing so far!
  • An Earthly King by Hazel B. West — A readalong book, this is a re-read for me. I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUUUCH! ❤ Re-reading this series is absolutely delightful! ^_^ *flails* (There’s still time to join the readalong, which is HERE!)

  • Perception by Emily Ann Benedict — The next in the Vintage Jane Austen series, this one is a retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, set in the 1930s; it’s releasing this month and I can’t WAIT. 😀 (Plus THAT COVER!!!! :O)

  • The Tomb of the Sea Witch by Kyle Robert Shultz — This is the much-anticipated sequel to The Beast of Talesend (which I flailed about earlier), and it’s releasing NEXT MONDAY! I’m so so stoked! 😀 I can’t wait to read more hilarious Nick and Crispin and Cordelia adventures!! ^_^

As far as how my reading in the last month went: I read 12 books in June, so I got through almost all my reads from the last post like this I did! Leftover from my June nightstand post is only my re-read aloud of The Skin Map, and Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith. Not bad… (There’s also a beta-read that I didn’t get around to, and I dropped The Tempest for now, just ’til I have time.) But I did also read a book (For Love and Honor by Jody Hedlund) in June that wasn’t on my June list. So things more or less even out. XD

As usual, some of these may migrate to August, especially as I seem to accidentally be doing Camp NaNo…? Ahem. So that’s kind of eating into my reading time and I’m not reading as fast as I had been, between that and the Silmarillion Awards and general life insanity. But in any case, there’s a glimpse at what I’m reading these days. 🙂

What’s on your nightstand? Read any good books lately? Or any of these?

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer a.k.a. Deborah O’Carroll

Mid-Year Top Reads + Roundup {2017}

Hi everyone!

We seem, impossibly, SOMEHOW, to be halfway through 2017? I… I don’t know quite what to do with this information. I’ll just be over here in a shock blanket next to Sherlock. Ahem.

MEANWHILE, this means I get to recap my top favorite reads of the year and… generally just list all the books I’ve read so far, because I want to, and in case you’re curious. XD

Favorite Books So Far This Year (More or Less)

Here’s a glimpse at my top-favorite most-wow books this year, although there have been many other AWESOME reads. It’s been a good half-year for reading. 😀

  • Magician’s Ward was Regency Fantasy and the first awesome book I read this year.
  • Hexwood blew my mind.
  • Sentinel (and technically Arbiter too…) are awesome because JET.
  • The Beast of Talesend is hilarious and perfect.
  • The Fatal Tree concludes one of my new all-time favorite series.
  • Moonblood was absolutely gorgeous fantasy.
  • Where the Woods Grow Wild was excellent fantasy plus hilarious.
  • Halayda‘s the last book I read and… I haven’t sorted all my thoughts on it because, like I said, it’s recent, so I dunno if it will stay on my top-list or not, but initial reaction was Fae and characters and snark = I loved.

Some runners-up are mooore awesome fantasy, namely:

  • Spellsmith and Carver: Magicians’ Rivalry (buddy-story in Faerie, plus banter!)
  • Masters and Beginners (so much awesome Faerie things and refreshing YA!)
  • King’s Warrior and Second Son (feels-like-home epic fantasy, plus Brant!)

More on all these books below!

Stats

According to my Goodreads Reading Challenge, I’ve read 50 books out of my… 50 book goal! (So maybe I’ll be an overachiever this year. Maybe. Just a smidge.)

(And yes, some of these are re-reads, short stories, or an unpublished beta-read and a picture book, sooo… it’s not as much as it looks like, I promise. XD I think I read 35 new books?)

ALL THE BOOKS

And now, a liiiist of all the bookses, with quicky thoughts on them, ratings, and linkses to reviewses.

(I’m leaving out the short stories and putting the re-reads at the end, even though the pictures are just screenshots of my Goodreads Reading Challenge, which have all of those on, AND are in reverse-chronological order due to it showing up that way, because I’m lazy and consequently confusing. OH WELL! You’ll figure it out. XD)

If you’re curious about any of these, or want to add them to your to-read list, you can find them all listed on my Goodreads challenge, HERE. (So I don’t have to link to all of them, which would be exhausting. o.o)

  • Magician’s Ward – Patricia C. Wrede — 5 stars — Regency Fantasy is a genre I must inhale more. This was hilarious/epic, like Georgette Heyer meets Diana Wynne Jones. Also, Mairelon the Magician! ❤ [REVIEW]
  • Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors – H.L. Burke — 4 stars — Steampunk novella with great banter and lovable talking computer. Slightly scary but totally awesome. Must read rest of series soon! [Mini Review on Goodreads]
  • The Faerie Ring – Kiki Hamilton — 3 stars — Annoyed me slightly, BUT scary fairies in alternate 1800s London, plus Rieker was awesome. [Mini Review on Goodreads]
  • King’s Warrior – Jenelle Leanne Schmidt — 5 stars — Awesome medieval fantasy with dragons and great characters, including Brant and Kiernan Kane, two of my favorites ever! [REVIEW]
  • The Firethorn Crown – Lea Doué — 4 stars — Twelve Dancing Princesses and dragons and great characters; torn about the villain; overall enjoyed. 🙂 [REVIEW]
  • Suit and Suitability – Kelsey Bryant — 5 stars — Absolutely delightful retelling of Sense and Sensibility set in the 1930s; so historical-feeling but YA and sweet. ^_^ [REVIEW]
  • Wild Robert – Diana Wynne Jones — 5 stars — Short but delightful, and stopped right where I wanted to learn more! XD But super enjoyable. [REVIEW]
  • Aunt Maria – Diana Wynne Jones — 5 stars — Mind-blowing DWJ fantasy, which I loved. So, so good. [REVIEW]

  • Mort – Terry Pratchett — 4 stars — This and Guards! Guards! are my favorite Discworld books so far. 😀 Dark humor (not for everyone. XD) but overall I quite enjoyed. [Mini review on Goodreads]
  • Mansfield Park – Jane Austen — 3 stars — Actually a really good book, trying to do really interesting things; I just couldn’t enjoy it because it was depressing. o.o But still good! [REVIEW]
  • Reaper Man – Terry Pratchett — 3 stars — Tricky because I LOVED the Bill Door plot, but didn’t care for the other main plot, so half I disliked, and the other half were some favorite Discworld times. [Mini review on Goodreads]
  • Soul Music – Terry Pratchett — 2 stars — I was sad about things, okay. Plus the rock references went over my head and didn’t do much for me. (Loved the motorcycle and the rat though; and some parts I quite enjoyed.) [Mini review on Goodreads]
  • Hexwood – Diana Wynne Jones — 5 stars — MIND BLOWN. SO MANY THINGS. ALSO MORDION IS MY FAVE. ❤ AND IT’S FANTASY/SCI-FI/ARTHURIAN/MODERN/TIMEY-WIMEY. Just imagine if Aragorn was turned into the Winter Soldier and then thrown into a genre-defying time-travel thing that breaks your brain and is mindbogglingly plot-twisty, with ALL THE FEELS. Basically. Anyways, one of my fave DWJ books, just dark and might not be for everyone. XD [REVIEW]
  • Viper – Jamie Foley — 4 stars — Thrilling novella mixing military thriller/fantasy, with characters I love. Great backstory! I want to re-read this for Jet… [REVIEW]
  • Second Son – Jenelle Leanne Schmidt — 5 stars — Awesome epic fantasy, backstory for Brant from King’s Warrior, who’s one of my favorite characters. ❤ [REVIEW]
  • Beggar Magic – H.L. Burke — 5 stars — Steampunk-feeling original fantasy with a twist of murder mystery and friendship and cute romance. So fun! [REVIEW]
  • King’s Blood – Jill Williamson — 2 stars — Excellent author, I was just too devastated about a certain character death to look at this objectively; I’m sorry! D: (*goes quietly away to sob in a corner*) [REVIEW]
  • Sentinel – Jamie Foley — 5 stars — Genre-defying fantasy/modern/apocalyptic/in-another-world/superpowers, with snark and humor and great dialog and characters, this was SO ORIGINAL and I loved it; plus Jet is one of my top-fave characters of ALL TIME. ❤ [REVIEW]

  • Masters and Beginners – Daley Downing — 5 stars — Such an extremely enjoyable and refreshing contemporary YA fantasy, with SO many cool faerie-ish things; can’t wait for book two! [REVIEW]
  • Puss in Boots – Diana Wynne Jones — 5 stars — Very brief retelling, which was interesting since I’d never read anything retold by DWJ! Mostly very like the original, but with enough humor and good explanations to make it super fun. Puss in Boots now makes sense to me and this is the definitive version for me. XD
  • The Beast of Talesend – Kyle Robert Schultz — 5 stars — Hilarious and awesome fairytale-ish shenanigans and one of my top faves. JUST READ IT. [REVIEW]
  • The Fatal Tree – Stephen R. Lawhead — 5 stars — An excellent conclusion to the Bright Empires series, I am STILL attempting to wrap my brain around it so I can review it. All I know is that even if I don’t understand everything and might still have some questions (be right back, must re-read series to find answers…), I love this series and these characters fiercely, and this was an tremendous final book. ❤ Just go read The Skin Map, people. Just do it. [REVIEW TO COME]
  • Arbiter – Jamie Foley — 5 stars — SO INTENSE, plus more of Jet, plus hilarious memory loss and basically all the things. ❤ [REVIEW]
  • Moonblood – Anne Elisabeth Stengl — 5 stars — Absolutely GORGEOUS and fabulous fantasy, so perilous and Fae and just so good. *collapses* Plus, Eanrin and Beana and Oeric. ❤ [Review-of-sorts on Goodreads]
  • Adventures and Adversities – Sarah Holman — 4 stars — A super sweet medieval story with a Christian message; quite enjoyed. 🙂 [REVIEW]
  • Where the Woods Grow Wild – Nate Philbrick — 5 stars — Classic-feeling yet utterly original fantasy, HILARIOUS, excellently-written, plus lovable characters. Instant classic! [REVIEW]
  • Dogsbody – Diana Wynne Jones — 5 stars — Brilliant mind-blowing DWJ as usual, fantasy/sci-fi/modern/mythology. It’s bittersweet (she might not have figured out how to do happy endings yet…) but overall super good. Plus the main character is a former-star-being-turned-dog, and now I know ALL about dogs, which made it hilarious. XD
  • Mythic Orbits 2016 (short story anthology) – edited by Travis Perry — 2 stars — Not totally fair, since there were 4-star, 3-star, 1-star, AND 2-star stories in this collection, but overall they were too weird or disturbing for me, and I just don’t usually get along with short stories. XD But others might enjoy more. [REVIEW TO COME]
  • Brothers and Betrayal – Sarah Holman — 4 stars — Robin-Hood-ish and I really liked the story of John (the Robin Hood character) and Princess Brianna; also great Christian theme of forgiveness. [REVIEW]
  • The Noble Servant – Melanie Dickerson — 5 stars — Extremely enjoyable Christian romantic Goose-Girl retelling, with a great hero and great wrapup to the Thornbeck Forest series. 🙂 [REVIEW]
  • Spellsmith and Carver: Magicians’ Rivalry – H.L. Burke — 5 stars — Absolutely fabulous “buddy story” about rival magicians and magic and a scary Faerie realm, with a touch of Steampunk feel. I LOVED Jericho and Auric and their banter! ❤ So good. [REVIEW TO COME]
  • Bellevere House – Sarah Scheele — 5 stars — Extremely enjoyable retelling of Mansfield Park, quite different than the original, but excellently written and funny, set in the 1930s with a Christian spin; sort of romantic-comedy-ish and so fun! 🙂 [REVIEW]
  • Courage and Corruption – Sarah Holman — 4 stars — A strong character-growth novel about twin brother and sister and a kingdom teetering on the brink of war, looking for its rightful king. Enjoyable medieval Christian fiction in the fictional country of Taelis. 🙂 [REVIEW]

  • Dreams and Devotion – Sarah Holman — 4 stars — Well-written medieval tale of a peasant girl and her brother as a new priest, separately facing adversity and growing stronger in their faith. It’s an extremely emotional and bitter-sweet book, focusing on the little things, but it kept me so absorbed and it was overall quite good. 🙂 [REVIEW TO COME NEXT WEEK, with blog tour and giveaway]
  • For Love and Honor – Jody Hedlund — 3 stars — Mostly a just-okay read for me, but overall enjoyable medieval romance; I loved the bantering of the hero and heroine. 🙂 [Mini-review on Goodreads]
  • Halayda – Sarah Delena White — 5 stars — This is truly EPIC fantasy, with a dash of steampunk, set mostly in Faerie in another world, with dashes of tweaked mythology, SO much great imagery and fantasy, characters I absolutely adored, breathtaking writing, and a dash of humor and hilarious snark and banter, with some great character dynamics and a side of sweet romance. It’s a little darker than some, but so epic. Faerie King Taylan and snarky shape-shifting Zad are definitely new favorites! ❤ [Review to come at some point, perhaps?]

RE-READS

Note: All re-reads are, nearly always, 5 stars. Why else would I re-read them? XD

  • Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen — Re-reading so I could read the retelling; enjoyable. 🙂
  • The Magicians of Caprona – Diana Wynne Jones — SO FUN.
  • The Dark Hills Divide – Patrick Carman — MY CHILDHOOD.
  • Witch Week – Diana Wynne Jones — CHRESTOMANCIIII. ❤
  • Mixed Magics – Diana Wynne Jones — And Chrestomanci short stories are so fun. XD
  • The Pinhoe Egg – Diana Wynne Jones — MY FAVORITE CHRESTOMANCI BOOOOK. ❤ [REVIEW]
  • Howl’s Moving Castle – Diana Wynne Jones — Yes, I read this for the 5th time. I REGRET NOTHING. ❤ Still my top-favorite-book-of-all-time-tied-with-The-Lord-of-the-Rings. 😀
  • Year of the Griffin – Diana Wynne Jones — I loved this SO MUCH MORE on this re-read! :O So enjoyable, and griffiiiiins! ❤
  • Blood Ties – Hazel B. West — Jumped on the chance to re-read this for a readalong! We’re about to start reading An Earthly King next, and I. can’t. wait. 😀 (But alternate-history modern Ireland with cars and swords and Faeries, though. <3) [REVIEW of Blood Ties from Last Year]

~ ~ ~

So there you are! I hope you enjoyed this glance at my reading year so far! What’s your favorite book you’ve read in 2017?

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Where the Woods Grow Wild by Nate Philbrick

Title: Where the Woods Grow Wild
Author: Nate Philbrick

  • Date read: June 1, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2016
  • Pages: 375 (Kindle)
  • Series: I’ve heard rumors of a sequel…! *excited bounce* *NEED*
  • Fave character: Martin… and all of them! ❤
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free e-copy of this book from the author for review purposes (many thanks! :)). I was not required to write a positive review; these opinions are my own.
  • Links: AmazonGoodreads • Author’s Blog

First thing’s first: I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH! *hugs it* (Warning: Fangirling zone ahead.)

Where the Woods Grow Wild (don’t you love that title?) is SO much fun, as well as extremely well-written and completely gripping. It’s original fantasy, yet at the same time has this classic feel, so that I almost feel like I’ve known it forever, even though I just read it this month. It’s NEW and fresh and surprising, yet feels like an old friend, reminding me somehow of the “feel” of Prydain or Narnia, and I love it. 😀

It’s utterly surprising, with so many twists, and I had NO idea where it was heading, which made for an extremely fun yet suspenseful ride. I absolutely loved how separate but connected Martin’s and Elodie’s storylines were as they searched for each other. Like… it’s hard to explain, but I’ve never seen anything done like that and it was brilliant and well done.

THIS BOOK IS HILARIOUS, in this sometimes subtle, totally fun way. You know you love a book when you want to quote every other line aloud. XD I love love LOVE humorous stories, and I kept giggling and reading quotes out loud and using my handy Kindle highlighter feature to highlight my favorites (which was… most of the book). (I don’t highlight in real books. That’s a huge no. So, amazingly, ebooks do occasionally have advantages…)

I also loved the characters and I feel like I know each and every one of them SO well. ❤

  • There’s our hero, Martin, who’s great and relatable. Perfect hero material. He’s one of my faves. 🙂
  • Next is Elodie, who is AWESOME—she’s one of those fabulous heroines that you just love their spunk and heart! 🙂
  • There’s also Illo, who I can’t really say much about, but let me tell you, this girl is one of the most original characters I’ve met, somehow, and so very sparky. XD She’s so much fun to read; especially her bantering with the others.
  • Then there’s Bramble! Oh my goodness. I, again, can’t say much, but Bramble is one of the most hilarious and cute but also… erm… hard to decide about characters ever. I LOVED READING ABOUT BRAMBLE! He’s a fuzzy little creature who talks in very strange, funny ways in third-person and just—AWK, SO CUTE AND SUCH A MESS BUT SO CUUUUUTE!! *flails around* (His name for Elodie, “the sun-drop girl” was my favorite!) Seriously, so much hilarious dialog! Bramble was one of the most fun things about the book. XD

Other characters include Fella (awesome), Podgin (mushrooms! He is food-obsessed, which was so fun), Aquilax (eep, but yes please), General Tum (dryad), and of course, the mysterious Nayadu (so much spoilers, awk), but you’ll have to meet them yourself because I don’t want to rob you of the delightful chance of discovering this story on your own. Meeting each of them is so fascinating, and we never know which of them are good, bad, on our side, or out for their own purposes (and sometimes these things change throughout the book, which kept me on my toes!). Every character is SO unique and individual, and written so well. They’re definitely a high point of the story!

Twists. TWISTS, PEOPLE. There are so many twists! *collapses* It actually felt partway like a mystery, which I absolutely LOVED. So many questions and mysteries and twists galore. I kept trying to predict what would happen, and figure out what was going on, and I got a couple of things part-way, but WOW, I was super impressed at how complicated and twisty this story was, while seeming kind of simple on the surface. I kept guessing and second-guessing what was going on, and that made it so incredibly fun to read. 😀

This world, with the village and the wild woods, had such a great “feel” to it—I can’t even explain, but I was absolutely captivated by it. I loved how some of it felt kind of familiar (yes, there’s a village; yes, there’s a dwarf, and dryads) but at the same time made everything totally different and surprising (the dryads are NOT what you’d expect, there are lots of strange and original fantasy creatures about with great names like bog boars and trunders, and I will say no more lest I spoil the surprises).

Basically, everything about this book was fresh and original fantasy, but still felt so classic, and I absolutely loved that!

There are occasional dark bits and scariness, but overall it was much more lighthearted than a lot of fantasy, and I so appreciated that! A book that can have fun and not take itself too seriously, but still be epic and fun and very FANTASY-ish is a book that I can respect whole-heartedly. ❤ And yet there’s this great HEART to the story, that just draws you in and makes you fall in love with these characters and their sometimes fun, sometimes heartbreaking moments, with some unexpected depth and emotion behind the humor, and it’s just… all around so, so good. ^_^

Aside from the dangers, I feel like younger kids, as well as young adults and older, would really like this book. It’s kind of awesomely refreshing to read something that I feel would be fun for the entire family, you know? 🙂 As long as the creatures aren’t TOO scary for them. (I’m bad at suggesting ages, otherwise I would.) But basically it’s clean and fun and awesome and has the right kind of feel to appeal to younger readers as well as older ones. I positively adore it at my current age, but I feel like if I’d met it when I was ten it would have become a classic to me then as well.

Oh, and I loved the names! They were charming and quirky and perfect. When you have side characters named things like Percy Durbity, and a river named Minnowchuck, and Elodie and Tum and Aquilax, and trunders and puffernuts, you just know this is an awesome and imaginative fantasy book, and it just WORKS. (I especially love the puffernuts and their name. Just… don’t ask, but I love their presence in this book. XD It’s fun to say. Puffernuts! Puffernuts! Ahem. Anyway…)

It doesn’t need a sequel, specifically, (no cliffhangers, thank goodness!) but I would absolutely love to have more in this storyworld! I’m extremely fond of it, despite the dangers, and I just loved all these characters and humor. ^_^

I really have no complaints at all. It was just a solidly EXCELLENT book. ❤

OVERALL

(In case you needed to skip my longwinded fangirling. Ahem.)

Utterly original yet completely classic all at once, and FANTASY, and hilarious, and I know each and every character SO WELL, and just. *flails* I LOVED IT! 😀 Where the Woods Grow Wild is simply an extremely delightful fantasy novel, and I highly recommend it to absolutely anyone who loves fantasy! Come with me on a quest to find the sun-drop girl where the woods grow wild . . . Seriously, go check it out; you will NOT regret it. 😀 I enjoyed every second of it. ^_^ I’m looking forward to more from this super talented author!

Favorite Quotes

(A few, anyway; otherwise I’d be quoting the entire book…)

“You’re making stuffed mushrooms, aren’t you?”

“No I’m not, and you can’t have any.”

***

“Soup is just water and onions pretending to be food.”

***

Martin struggled to re-lace his shoes with his fingers and teeth, a task he had yet to master. The others returned while he was finishing the second shoe.

“Taste good?” Illo asked.

“You don’t want to know.”

***

“She can’t be awake already. If she were awake, she’d be screaming.”

“Yes, right. If she were awake, she would definitely be screaming.”

Elodie was fed up. “I am awake,” she said loudly. “And I’m not screaming.”

***

“Now, where’s the map?”

Podgin slouched in his seat. “I was worried about the humidity, so I tucked it neatly in the pages of that cumbersome book nobody ever reads, along with my favorite mushroom recipes. You know, valuables I can’t afford to misplace.”

“And the book is…?”

Podgin shrugged. “Haven’t seen it since March.”

***

“I refuse to give up on you, because underneath those claws and teeth there’s a stubborn, half-handed mess of a man, and I want him back.”

***

“Do you know what happens if you get too close to the green one?”

Martin shook his head.

“The roots snag your feet and lock you in place until they fancy letting you go, which could take days. I call them anklesnatchers. And the one with the violet leaves? What happens if you get too close to that one?”

“I get eaten?”

“No. Absolutely nothing happens. It’s just a tree.”

~ ~ ~

Does this book sound awesome, or does it sound AWESOME? XD What’s a fabulous fantasy book you’ve read lately that was super classic and amazing?

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer