Tag Archive | #AmReading

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

Nightstand Books June {2017}

WHAT HAPPENED TO JUNE? HALP!

Ahem.

June is already zipping by and it’s long time for a look at my nightstand and what I’m reading!

Aaand as per usual, I have the perfect excuse for that, thanks to this fun meme created by DJ and Jenelle, where, as Jenelle so aptly put it in her post this month: “we post on the first Wednesday of each month a picture of our nightstand and the stack of books thereupon, and then we gush about how excited we are to read those books.” 😀

So I am here to do just that! (A little late, but still. ;)) Feel free to join in the fun anytime, if you like. 🙂

On My Nightstand for June

Ebooks (On Virtual Nightstand)

“Good gracious, Deborah, do you like not have a life or something? What are you THINKING, imagining you can read all these things in a month?” I know you’re saying it. XD

I know that looks… er… ambitious. *cough* Especially when there’s a couple others I want to read that aren’t on Goodreads and therefore not included in the pictures.

BUT DON’T WORRY. GOOD NEWS: I’ve already read half of these. And of the ones still to read, Blood Ties and The Skin Map are re-reads I’m working on, and The Tempest is a (short) audio play and Fallen Star is a short story.

So you see, I’m not QUITE as insane as it looks like. 😉 (Just… mostly. Ahem.)

I am dividing things into categories this time: the ones I’ve already read in June (since we’re so far in… *cough*) and ones I’m currently in, and the ones I hope to read next.

ALREADY READ

  • Where the Woods Grow Wild by Nate Philbrick — OH MY GOODNESS. THIS BOOK. XD It was a fabulous fantasy read, with a classic Narnia/Prydain-esque feel, yet also felt entirely new and I could NOT stop reading it; plus it was really funny, and I LOVE funny books! Plus the characterrrrs, and the originality and just ALL THE AWESOME. I really, really enjoyed it. ❤ Look for a review of this one hopefully in the next couple of days! ^_^
  • Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones — WHAT DID I JUST READ. *collapses* I don’t have a dog, but I’m convinced I now know 100% what they’re all like after reading about this. 😛 Another sci-fi/fantasy/contemporary/myth mashup as only DWJ can write, this had a slightly bittersweet ending and was definitely one of her early works (before she learned how to make EVERYTHING hilarious, and write happy endings) but I absolutely loved it all the same. 😀 (It wasn’t actually originally on my June list, but I just read it one evening when I needed a DWJ to cheer me up.)
  • Mythic Orbits 2016 — This was a collection of short stories by various authors, and most were in genres I… don’t really care for. So it was overall a mixed bag, but I did enjoy a few. 🙂 Hopefully I’ll review it at some point…
  • The Noble Servant by Melanie Dickerson — Another enjoyable medieval fairytale retelling by Dickerson, I had quite a good time reading this one. 🙂 I think I liked it more than the last few of hers I’d read and it was just fun. ^_^ Review to come!
  • Brothers and Betrayal by Sarah Holman — I quite enjoyed this fun Christian medieval adventure story with a Robin Hood spin! 😀 Read my full review HERE.
  • Spellsmith and Carver: Magicians’ Rivalry by H.L. Burke — This booook! It’s a “buddy story” and has magic and a scary Fae world and it’s got great dialog of the two not-getting-along heroes and I LOVE IT. 😀 *must review soon*
  • Bellevere House by Sarah Scheele — This is the next Vintage Jane Austen book, a retelling of Mansfield Park; I just read it, loved it, and am super excited! 🙂 It’s now available for pre-order on Amazon HERE and on Goodreads HERE, releasing June 17. 😀 Hopefully reviewing it this week. ^_^

CURRENTLY READING

(Halayda pictured below instead of here, because I do not have a gorgeous paperback of it. *weepings of sadnesses*

  • Blood Ties by Hazel B. West (re-read) — There’s an epic readalong of this going on over on Goodreads HERE, and I’m super excited to be taking part! I read this last year but I’ve been wanting to re-read it ever since, so this is perfect. 😀 Modern Ireland with an alternate history and Faeries and a medieval twist and humor and banter and brotherly friendships is SO AWESOME. ❤
  • The Tempest by Bob Shakespeare — Haven’t actually continued this since I mentioned it last time… I always forget about audio books. Oops? It’s not very long though, so I just have to get around to finishing listening…
  • The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead (re-read) — I know I just finished the series, but I can’t help myself! I just started re-reading this, aloud, and it’s SO fun! (Especially doing the voices, and catching all the little hints that I now understand because I’ve read the whole series.) We’re going to re-read the entire series together and I can’t wait. 😀 Definitely a new favorite! (Yes, I know I still haven’t reviewed The Fatal Tree… I’m doing that soon. It’s very hard to put my thoughts into words because I LOVED this series and it’s one of those amazing life-changing kinds of things and I know no review of mine will do it justice. Not to mention the spoilers… That said, there will be a review once I can get my thoughts in order; hoping to get my review for that one up in the next week or two!)
  • Halayda by Sarah Delena White — Yes, I’m still in this one, which was the May bookclub book I was reading. *cough* Enjoying it but it’s quite long and I’ve been busy reading review books instead. >.> Aaand of course, once the actual month of a bookclub is over, there’s slightly less incentive to ACTUALLY FINISH. (Or is that just me?) Soon, though!

READING SOON

  • Courage and Corruption by Sarah Holman — Still working through the Tales of Taelis series, and this is the next one. I’m really excited to read it. 😀 Expect a review for it (hopefully) later this week. 🙂
  • Dreams and Devotion by Sarah Holman — No cover yet, as it’s not quite ready to release. Another Tales of Taelis, this is the next one coming out and I’m reading a pre-release version for review since I will be part of the blog tour soon-ish! Can’t wait! 🙂
  • Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith by Shaun Hume — A review book from an Australian author living in England, this looks like an intriguing fantasy tale about a boy in England who can see otherworldly creatures. It looks fun and I’m quite curious about it! 🙂
  • Fallen Star by Anne Elisabeth Stengl (short story) — I think/hear-tell (hope?) this is going to be the read for this month in the ongoing Imps of Goldstone Wood Goodreads group readalong, and I’m SO excited!!! I’m guessing it will be in the last week or two of this month. Join the fun HERE if you’d like to read (or re-read!) it with us and discuss it! 😀

~ ~ ~

There you have my June Nightstand! As always, some of these may migrate to July, but since June and July are all sort of like one really long, hot month that starts with Ju, it’s no great tragedy, yes? XD

SOMEDAY I’m going to catch up on all the books coming out and will just read random things that I feel like, but it is not this day. XD They’re all awesome anyway, so that is also no great tragedy. 😉 So excited for these!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I must dash off to deal with all those reviews I semi-promised you, and/or to devour more lovely books, in between Life’s ever-constant demands. 😉

How about you? Anything fun on your Nightstand? Summer reading plans, perhaps?

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Masters and Beginners by Daley Downing (Review)

Twinsies! My cat loved that there was a fellow stripey cat on this book. ^_^ (Thank you, Callette, for putting up with me using you as a photo prop. XD)

Title: Masters and Beginners
Author: Daley Downing

Date read: May 3, 2017
Rating: 5 stars
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy
Age: YA
Year pub: 2017
Pages: 194 (paperback)
Series: The Order of the Twelve Tribes, Volume 1
Fave character: Alexander Torrington (and Flynn… and Jules… and… yeah, lots of them. :D)
Source: From the author in exchange for my honest review
Links: GoodreadsAuthor’s Blog • Purchase here or email the author at the address provided on her blog 🙂

Masters and Beginners is a delightful modern fantasy novel for young adults (or anyone, really), featuring some of my favorite things, namely Faerie things! I had a lot of fun reading it! I don’t read a lot of modern fantasy largely because I don’t often like it, but this is one I didn’t mind reading and overall enjoyed muchly.

There are Faerie things (fae/faery/elves used interchangeably) which were really cool, and talking cats who are more than cats (Jules! Loved her! :)), Fae characters both good and bad, Seelie and Unseelie (I particularly liked/would like to know more about Alex…), other mysterious beings, mystery, family, humor (I laughed aloud a couple of times), adventure, and other awesome things like PORTALS, yay! (Loved how the portals were used.) It was a very rich tapestry of different elements. 🙂

It starts out a little bit slow, drawing us into this well-constructed storyworld of our modern times with an undercurrent of mythological things, and steadily builds as we meet beloved characters, are immersed in all the details and magical feel of it, and drawn deeper into the mysteries and dangers, until it gets quite exciting and intense near the end there! O_O I was so drawn into this storyworld, and although I might have liked to have gotten to know a few of the characters better (next time!), overall I really fell in love with these characters and this setting, and just had an incredible time reading it! ^_^

In a lot of ways, it was very different from other YA books I’ve read, which was both fascinating and a delightful breath of fresh air. 😀 There are actually *gasp* nice people! And the parents aren’t dead! *more gasps* And the parents are actually nice and a part of the story! *triple gasp* There was more of a focus on the entire family—who actually love each other *biggest gasp of all*—and even some homeschoolers. All of this was super neat to read in a YA book. 😀

Also, not a big thing, but the main characters, the Driscolls—Sophie and her brother Flynn, and their parents Kate and James, and little brother Callum—are already a part of this set of people (the Order of the Twelve Tribes, which is where the series gets its title) who know about the crazy stuff going on in the world, so they didn’t need to go through the “wait, faeries exist?” transition that’s common to a lot of modern fantasy type stories. They do, of course, become more a part of it, and learn new things, so it’s not like there’s no wonder or discovery, but already being past the big hump of knowing it all exists is a great twist. 🙂

Sometimes angels in fiction make me twitchy—I have no idea why—but I think I managed to get over that this time and found it intriguing and different how there were all kinds of legends, mythology, faeries, Nephilim, angels, etc. just woven together in the history of this setup. Some of it was a litle weird, but I hadn’t seen something like this done before, so it was interesting to have Faerie mythology and elements of Christianity/Hebraic history/legend seamlessly woven together and taken for granted as things that are a part of the world. 🙂

Other fun things:

  • References: I loved the little references to things like Doctor Who, the “Warriors” cat books, King Arthur, things like the veil between worlds being thin Halloween night, and other myths and legends—so much fun. 😀
  • Extras: There are lyrics or quotes at the beginning of all the chapters, as well as “extra” material at the end of the chapters—emails, documents about the Annex, texts between characters, letters, etc.—both of which lent it an extra atmospheric and authentic quality, which I absolutely loved! 😀

As for possible downsides (if they can be called that)…

  • I might have liked seeing more of some of the characters, but that’s what sequels are for. 😉 Same with the actual Annex (the warehouse with mystical artifacts)—I think I thought there would be more with that, but with portals and such, who even needs artifacts when you have the real thing? XD
  • At the beginning especially, there were a lot of names all at once that were a little hard to keep track of, which was simultaneously difficult and made it seem more real—like this is an actual organization with interconnected families, and naturally something that complex is hard to keep track of for a sudden reader. I might have liked some more reminders of who was who with some of the side characters, but that may have been me not paying enough attention.
  • One thing—the only thing I might have actually disliked—I’m still on the fence about… I can’t really talk about because it’s a spoiler about how some things ended up at the end. There are enough hints at something different happening in a later book that I’m deciding that I THINK it’s okay… so I will wait it out on that one to see. But it’s just a general trope I don’t like in fiction, so not a particular fault of this book, I guess? SPOILER (highlight to read):: When characters forget some of the things that happened, “for their own good” just because some powerful being, who’s supposed to be benevolent, can’t have them spilling secrets. But then what’s the POINT of having the story and them having those adventures? *wails* I want them to remember all those times they had together! D: Buuut there was a hint that mayyybe they might break free of it and remember at some point, so I’m holding on to that. 😉 ::END SPOILER

But overall, I didn’t have a lot of complaints! It was just a fun read that I loved! 😀 (For those who care, there was a little mild language, and some sweet possible romances, and of course a bit of fairytale violence, but nothing bad, really. Overall it’s a pretty good clean read, if readers are worried about that. :)) I found it to be definitely not as dark as a lot of the YA books out there, which made me happy. Also, the adults in the story have prominent parts as well, so it’s more rounded, about whole families, which I really liked, and makes it more likely that both young adult and adult readers will both find something enjoyable about the book. 🙂

Overall, I may have had a quibble or two, but really, I just had a blast reading it. 😀 I’m giving it 5 stars for the amount of enjoyment it gave me, and the breath of fresh air and fun this book was. 🙂 I can’t wait to see where some of this goes in later books, too! Definitely looking forward to future books in the series releasing someday so I can return to this delightful storyworld! ^_^

(I received a free review copy of this book from the author—many thanks! I was not required to write a positive review, and these opinions are entirely my own.)

Exciting book mail! This was my mini-subscription box with the book when it arrived! You can purchase an ebook or signed paperback copy, or a limited-edition mini-subscription box with surprise gifts and a letter from one of the characters. I recommend the latter. 😉

Faeriiiies! ❤ I just love faerie books, don’t you? 🙂 Are you a fan of contemporary fantasy? Does this book intrigue you? Lemme know in the comments! ^_^

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

How I Read Tag

Another tag! (Incidentally, this is my 50th post here on the Page Dreamer!!! *confetti*)

howireadtag

I was tagged once upon a time by Abi @ Rambling Writer for the How I Read Tag — thanks so much Abi! 🙂

These questions look FASCINATING and like they’re going to be great fun to answer. So I shall get to it!

(P.S., you are tagged, page-dreaming readers of mine, if you want to answer them — or just answer in the comments! ^_^)

1. HOW DO YOU FIND NEW BOOKS TO READ?

LET ME COUNT THE WAYS. Mostly through Goodreads. So many books on there. Sometimes I’ll find random interesting books at library sales and bring them home. Sometimes I’ll be perusing shelves at a library and need to try some out. And the amount of times I’ll read a friend’s blog post or review and decide I need to read said book is beyond count. XD

2. HOW DID YOU GET INTO READING?

I was homeschooled, so reading was very much encouraged. I learned to read at a very young age and was very quickly addicted, believe me. 😉 I haven’t looked back since. BOOKS ARE LIFE.

3. HOW HAS YOUR TASTE IN BOOKS CHANGED AS YOU’VE GOTTEN OLDER?

This is a fascinating question. Well, when I was younger I read a lot more books for children… I also read a lot of older books, and more historical fiction. These days I’ve gone very into fantasy, I’ve even branched out into a couple other things like (gasp) contemporary etc., and I mostly read YA, though I do read the occasional Adult as well. I also now read newer releases a lot, which is interesting, but occasionally I do miss the days when the newest books I read were like 50 years old. 😛 When I look back at how my taste has changed… I half like it and half am creeped out. XD I sometimes read darker stuff now, which kind of bothers me, but at the same time I’m just not real interested anymore in some of the kinds of books I read when I was younger… which is half sad, half exciting since I have found exciting fantasy etc. I don’t know. It’s very mixed.

4. HOW OFTEN DO YOU BUY BOOKS?

Not very often, actually… I usually go to a few library sales in the year, and I usually get some for my birthday and Christmas, but other than that my book-buying tendencies are limited due to limited funds and all that. (The classic broke bookworm. ;)) Unless, of course, you count ebooks, in which case I’m steadily amassing more free kindle books than I have any business acquiring, given how little I actually READ ebooks… and if I happen to have an Amazon giftcard around, sometimes I’ll buy the occasional ebook.

5. HOW DID YOU GET INTO BOOK REVIEWING?

Accidentally. XD

A couple of author friends asked if I’d like to be a reviewer for their books. I had never done this sort of thing before but decided to try it. So I reviewed those. Then I happened to see two different authors on their blogs give a call for reviewers for books that I was really excited to read, and I signed up for those. After that, I was addicted. XD

That’s as far as “professional” reviewing. Casual reviewing, like I ususally do on this blog, is just… whenever I feel like it. *shrug*

6. HOW DO YOU REACT IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE ENDING OF THE BOOK?

That really depends. If the book itself was good enough and outweighs the bad ending enough, then I’ll feel empty for a day or two and then eventually let the good slowly push the bad away and I’ll still love the book. But mostly if I don’t like the ending, I get depressed/sad/angry and tend to give said book a very low rating. *cough* If I read a book whose ending I don’t like, I tend to go around under a gloomy cloud all day, if not longer, so it’s very bad if I don’t like a book. 😉

7. HOW OFTEN DO YOU TAKE A SNEAK PEEK AT THE ENDING TO SEE IF THERE’S A HAPPY ENDING?

Very rarely. I try not to spoil books for myself on purpose… but I WILL admit there have been a couple of times that I did take a look to see, if I was really worried. 😉 It also accounts for the two books of ever that I’ve DNF-d (Did Not Finish, for those unfamiliar with the term), because I didn’t like the endings and wasn’t willing to slog through the rest if it was going end like THAT. I can’t think of other specific examples but I may have. *shrug*

***

And there you have it!

Le questions, if you’d like to do this tag:

1. HOW DO YOU FIND NEW BOOKS TO READ?
2. HOW DID YOU GET INTO READING?
3. HOW HAS YOUR TASTE IN BOOKS CHANGED AS YOU’VE GOTTEN OLDER?
4. HOW OFTEN DO YOU BUY BOOKS?
5. HOW DID YOU GET INTO BOOK REVIEWING?
6. HOW DO YOU REACT IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE ENDING OF THE BOOK?
7. HOW OFTEN DO YOU TAKE A SNEAK PEEK AT THE ENDING TO SEE IF THERE’S A HAPPY ENDING?

How about you? How has your taste in books changed, and do you think it’s a good or bad thing? How do you react to unliked endings? Do you want to do this tag?

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer