Tag Archive | Book Review

The Stroke of Eleven (by Kyle Robert Shultz) – Beaumont & Beasley, #3

(Pretty cover is pretty…)

Title: The Stroke of Eleven

Author: Kyle Robert Shultz

  • Date read: December 3, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fairytale retelling (Cinderella / Beauty and the Beast / Alice in Wonderland / etc.)
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 255 (Kindle)
  • Series: Beaumont & Beasley, #3
  • Fave character: DON’T MAKE ME PICK. (*ignores fact that I’m the one who asks myself these questions*)
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free e-copy of this book from the author (thanks!); these opinions are entirely my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO REVIEW THIS, HALP.

So much of this story is mind-boggling twists, and it’s basically a walking spoiler, so HOW I am even going to BEGIN to talk about this is just…

*takes deep breath*

This will be a spoiler-free review, and I will attempt coherency, but basically: everyone needs to read this so that I can talk about it, because if the whole world has read it, then nothing will be a spoiler anymore, right? Right. Problem solved!

Anyway. Reviewing.

MEEP. <—[My entire reaction to the entire book.]

I HAVE FEELS, OKAY. I HAVE MANY FEELS.

NO I WILL NOT BE CALM.

*calms self*

I haven’t quite figured out how I feel about a few of the things. Because wow, things GO DOWN in this and nothing will be the same. O_o It was honestly exhausting to read. So, good news for all you people who love feelsy books: this one is for you. XD

I… ahem… do NOT always love feelsy books, so like I said, I’m kind of on the fence on some things… BUT once I got over it, I think I figured out that I’m mostly worried about what will happen in future books, and not AS much about what actually happened in this one (or did it?), so since that’s kind of a silly thing to worry about, I’ll just say: this was a good book. An excellently written one, in fact. And it’s brilliant/genius/mindboggling, and as long as I don’t worry about what future books will hold for my precious character friends, or about some of the sort-of things that kind of maybe happened (or not? Time travel is confusing, guys.), I can say: I LOVED IT! 😀

It’s a fairytale retelling/reworking/mashup/THING, featuring Cinderella, dashes of Alice in Wonderland, continuations of Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid (because of the first two books) and TIMEY-WIMEY STUFF. How cool is that? VERY cool.

And I can’t say much about the plot because SPOILERS. (So. many.) But I’ll do what I can.

Nick and Cordelia continue to be one of my favorite things—seriously, I love their relationship and banter SO MUCH. And just them as characters. THEY ARE THE BEST. ❤ Crispin kind of isn’t in it as much, since he and Molly are kind of… out of the way near the beginning, but I didn’t actually mind as much as I thought I might. Because the explosion of plot twists, and Nick and Cordelia being adorable, kind of distracted me. XD (ButIloveCrispinokayarewegoodyesCrispinCrispinCrispin.) The Mythfits are back, being quirky as ever. 😉 MALCOLM returns—I was kind of unsure about him in Tomb of the Sea Witch, but gaaahh, I love him now. So much. We also meet exciting NEW characters!

And I quite liked the Cinderella and prince characters. They were great! 🙂 The Cinderella story was fascinating in this! (Any story that is very involved with a clock/midnight is a prime candidate for a time-travel story. ;)) And yay for dashes of steampunk!

There are SO many new developments, and time-travel-y thiiings (some of which are frankly terrifying, but you know). And DID I MENTION TWISTS? There are twists, people. o.o TWIIISTS. O____O And I guessed a couple of them and they happened and I’m in shock but wow, and I don’t know how I feel, but ALL THE THINGS. Also the White Rabbit. Yes. Wow.

AND THERE WERE BEAUTY AND THE BEAST THINGS. I know it’s silly, because the Disney cartoon isn’t even an original thing, and I only saw it once, but I was ridiculously happy about a little moment or two in this that was B&B-ish. XD (And there was a thrown roll. Just sayin’.)

Anyway, Nick and Cordelia and Crispin are some of my favorite EVER characters. I’m immensely attached to them. Plus I adore the Afterverse, and fairytales in general, and time travel hurts my brain, and what I mean to say is this book was excellent. Exhausting and hard for me to decide if I’m okay with a thing or two, but excellent. XD

And did I mention it’s still hilarious? No? Because IT’S STILL HILARIOUS. I don’t know HOW Kyle Shultz does all of this—hilarious, fairytale, timey-wimey, plot twist, epic, fun adventure, with all the feels, and my favorite characters. I’M KIND OF EMOTIONALLY INVESTED. If you can’t tell. Ahem.

SO, I LIED. This wasn’t a coherent review. Oh well.

Now you know what I think (kind of… as much as I know… which isn’t very much…), so you can dash off and read the book yourself so that we can discuss spoilery things… And if you can’t yet, because you haven’t read The Beast of Talesend, well WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR, YOU POOR SOUL. *shoos you off to go read that one because you’re missing out*

If you need me, I’ll just be over here in the corner, emotionally worn out and confused and waiting for another Beaumont and Beasley adventure. Send help. Or, no, send tea and cakes and the next book, and a safe where I can keep the characters protected from all the MEEPery. (It’s a word, shush.)

(This is why I don’t write reviews at one a.m.)

Some Favorite Quotes

So… parachutes. Not fun. I’ve never liked heights. I like them even less when I’m falling from them.

***

“Look… we come in peace.”

“No, we don’t!” cried Cordelia. “We don’t come in peace! We go in abject terror!”

***

Getting eaten by evil pumpkins was very low on my list of preferred ways to die.

***

“My name is Gervase,” he informed us.

“My condolences.”

***

Malcolm stopped me with a gesture before I could speak to him. “Please, don’t say anything. Whatever it is, I’ve already heard it.” He started doing a very poor imitation of my voice and accent. “Malcolm! Crikey! You’re so young! What’s going on here? Who’s that girl? I’m so confused! Oi!”

“I do /not/ sound like that,” I growled.

Melody smacked him on the back of the head. “Don’t be rude, grumpy-scales.”

***

“The White Rabbit Society is now assembled.” Kanin’s tone was solemn and ceremonial. “May the clock strike twelve.”

“May the clock strike twelve,” echoed everyone, including Cordelia.

I looked from one to the other in bewilderment. “Right. That wasn’t weird at all.”

***

“…but a scheme this brazen could get us all killed. Repeatedly.”

***

Melody moved over to a table laden with refreshments. She picked up some sandwiches and began gleefully throwing them at random people.

“She reminds me of you,” I said to Cordelia.

“Oh, really? I can’t imagine why.”

***

“Shut up and be magical.”

***

That was cheating, of course. But I was perfectly willing to cheat time, death, and any other inexorable force of nature for Crispin’s sake… regardless of what the consequences might be.

***

“Cinderella and Prince Charming.”

They both gave me displeased looks.

“What?” I shrugged. “That’s who you are, isn’t it?”

Cinderella rubbed her eyes. “I do wish people didn’t remember me by that ridiculous nickname my stepsisters made up.”

“And I have an actual name,” said Matteo. “Why do they never remember the princes’ actual names? Plus the fact that they made me out to be a complete idiot. How insane would you have to be to try finding a girl based on her shoe size?”

***

“Chin up, Gareth!” said Malcolm, with a sort of crazed cheerfulness. “Why worry? We’re Beaumont and Beasley! We live for danger!”

“Technically, only Cordelia, Crispin, Molly, and I are Beaumont and Beasley,” I reminded him.

“At this point, I’d say we’re all honorary members by virtue of shared insanity.”

~ ~ ~

Click covers for other related reviews:

  

~ ~ ~

Talk to me, fellow page dreamers! Have you read The Stroke of Eleven, or either of the first two Beaumont and Beasley books?

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

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Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith (by Shaun Hume)

Title: Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith

Author: Shaun Hume

  • Date read: October 6, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Contemporary Fantasy
  • Age: Juvenile Fiction/YA
  • Year pub: 2012
  • Pages: 498 (Kindle)
  • Series: Ewan Pendle, book 1 (sequel to release next year, I hear tell)
  • Fave character: I can’t decide!
  • Source: From the author
  • Notes: The author sent me a free e-copy of this book to review (thank you!) and these opinions are my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazon USAmazon UK • Author’s Blog

This was a fun, enjoyable, unique sort of fantasy tale. It’s a little different than what I usually read, but I had a blast with it!

Meet eleven year old Ewan Pendle, an orphan boy who has the gift of seeing the fantasy creatures around us in this world in modern times, and discovers he’s not alone. This story is about how he ends up at a school for people like him (called Lenitnes—notice what that is backward; love it!) to learn skills to help protect the unknowing world from the creatures (and, if need be, protect some of the creatures from some humans). But it’s not just that—the Lenitnes are a whole way of life, a whole culture and world of people with the abilities to see, and therefore fight or deal with the various fantasy creatures, and it was fascinating to be immersed in that!

This is an academy story—I don’t know if that’s really a genre, but it should be. XD (Think Knightly Academy, or maybe Harry Potter.) I so enjoyed watching Ewan at Firedrake Lyceum (the name of the school) get to learn about the creatures, learn to sword fight, learn about the history of his people, etc. But I especially enjoyed getting to watch him hang out with the various friends (and enemies) he makes, as he and his friends sort through some mysteries, secrets, and perils threatening everyone. But who can he trust…?

There were some mysteries of who was good or not, and who was up to what—it was delightful to follow those twists! It kept me VERY involved, like “Noooo, don’t be a villain!” or “I knew it!” or “Wait, who’s behind it, then?” On that note, I absolutely love the characters, who were all well-written and unique, even the side characters. I got to know them all so well and they just… I don’t know, they feel like my friends somehow. ❤

Ewan is a great hero—I really felt for him and rooted for him. Then there’s quirky Mathilde, who is usually barefoot and says “dude” a lot and makes me laugh. And Pirate girl Enid—well, she was seriously EPIC. 😀 Enola Whitewood (I ADORE her name; actually all the names in this book are brilliant—I love them all!) was an extremely enigmatic, mysterious character, who I simply loved reading about. And so many other characters I’d like to know more about, like Brigid, and Betony (more enigmaticness!), and what about Jack Mangrove and aaall the other characters? I want to go back and be with them some more! Plus, of course, I want answers to some of the mysteries still lurking… The book doesn’t cliffhanger or anything, but I just really enjoyed being with these characters, and in this world, so much that I want a sequel. 🙂

The world was so neat! It’s like modern London, but with hidden pockets of surprise fantasy elements and an old-fashioned feeling which was perfect. I absolutely LOVED the feel! The writing has a sort of charm to it too, which I can’t really explain. But I love the detail and the original twist to describing things. (Plus, the author’s lived in England, I believe, so the book just FELT authentic as I read it; how cool is that? :))

Even though it’s about an eleven year old, I think any age could enjoy this—I know I did. 🙂 It’s a little long, and there are a few slightly scary parts about the titular White Wraith, but it’s otherwise perfect for younger readers and teens and anyone else, really. There’s a sort of layered feeling of depth and detail that I loved, and like I said, all those mysteries and hints would captivate any reader!

(I did occasionally feel like I’d like to know more about some of the grown up characters, but that’s something I’ve started noticing in a few books about younger characters lately, so that’s just me getting slightly boring as I grow older. XD And I did love reading about everything from the young characters’ points of view. I just want to know MORE! Because I’m so curious. :D)

It felt a little long, which is a slight drawback to me (I like shorter books. XD) BUT once I got immersed in it I didn’t mind so much, and ended up enjoying living in the world. There were a few rough spots, some typos/strange wording, and the ending was a little quick so I might have wanted a few more things explained there (there IS supposed to be a sequel, though), but I’m still giving the book five stars simply because I enjoyed it so much and keep thinking about the world and characters. When a book sticks with me like that, I know it’s a keeper. 🙂

I’m looking forward to more adventures with Ewan Pendle, hopefully, in the future; and if the story intrigues you at all, do give it a try! It was fresh and classic all at once, and I had so much fun experiencing this world with these characters. 🙂

 

Favorite Quotes

‘What’s brainic power?’

‘It’s the power taken from people’s brains when they dream. Freaky, huh?’ added Mathilde, seeing the totally bemused look slapped all over Ewan’s face. ‘There are people, right, who get paid to just sleep.’

***

‘Why, what time is it?’ said Ewan, looking around him as if he expected Time itself to jump out from behind a large painting and tell him.

***

This, Ewan thought, must be what it feels like to have friends.

***

‘If you do not believe in yourself, Ewan, then you will surely not succeed. Pity in ones own downfalls without the sight to rejoice in your strengths is truly the road to ruin. But if you do decide to pat your own back a little more often, then you will find that you are not the only one who believes it a worthwhile exercise. And there will always be those there to do it for you in times when you may not quite be able to reach.’

***

‘What’s their problem?’ said Ewan to Mathilde, as she too was now watching on intently.

‘They don’t really need one, dude – look at them,’ replied Mathilde. And indeed it was hard not to notice that the group of four boys looked like trouble didn’t just follow them around, but that they were most likely on first name terms with it.

***

Sneath took a half step backwards, looking up at the vast Max, before throwing Rusty a venomous look and setting his eyes back onto Ewan. Sneath then held up a straight index finger and drew it slowly across his neck, before turning on his heel and leaving the dormitory.

‘Sign language too,’ Rusty called after him, ‘jiminy cricket, I /am/ impressed.’

‘Thanks,’ said Ewan a moment later, looking at Rusty, his heart still hammering and the rest of him not feeling at all as relaxed as Rusty looked.

‘Eh,’ said Rusty, shrugging his shoulders indifferently, ‘you’d be surprised what having a six foot tall eleven year old standing next to you does for your self confidence.’

~ ~ ~

What think ye, readers? Sound intriguing? Do you enjoy academy-type stories?

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Dreamings and Muses (by Daley Downing)

 

Title: Dreamings and Muses
Author: Daley Downing

  • Date read: December 5, 2017
  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Genre: Short Stories / Contemporary / Fantasy / Sci-Fi
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 76 (ebook)
  • Fave character: Desmond
  • Source: I received a free ecopy of this book from the author (many thanks!) for purposes of writing an honest review; these opinions are my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsBarnes & NobleAuthor’s Blog

This is a small collection with unique, interesting, well-written stories. Not the sort of thing I read often, but they were definitely gripping! 🙂 Contains a short story, a novelette, and two pieces of flash fiction—one is sci-fi, two are contemporary with connections to fantasy, and one is… hard to define, but I suppose it’s contemporary fantasy.

The first one, “Just Pretend”, might be my favorite—I quite enjoyed the feel and setting, following a writer named Siobhan (love the name!) as she’s visiting England, semi-researching her book on the history of folklore, and gets dragged into a family party. I really liked Desmond too. He was great! And they were cute. 😉 I can’t really say much else because spoilers, but the connection to fairytales (sort of) was neat, and I really liked the writing too. 🙂 Haven’t quite decided how I feel about how it ended, and I definitely wanted there to be MORE, because I didn’t want it to end, but on the whole it was enjoyable, and I loved the details. It also felt British which was delightful. ^_^ 4 stars.

The second one, “Me and You”, was… interesting. I don’t really know what I think about it? It kept me reading and felt very real and vivid, especially the characters! I just don’t click well with some of the elements—which is just me. Contemporary isn’t my favorite for some reason, and a lot of the issues the heroine deals with just… weren’t my favorite. Entirely me, though! She’s going through an almost-breakup with her husband (which was well-resolved though!) and there’s backstory about a tragic car accident, and a character who might be her imagination… (Or a ghost… or an angel…) The main character’s a writer too, and it was in first-person-present-tense. It was very well written, which I really have to give it points for, and I liked parts of it, just not entirely my thing. 🙂 I’d call this one a novelette, as it was a longer short story. 3.5 stars.

Primitive” was more like flash-fiction, a very brief one-off sort of thing, sci-fi, mostly looking back at a previous backstory. It was interesting, I just don’t really care for sci-fi much. XD Which, again, is entirely me! It felt a little like a single scene, a window looking into a larger story, if that makes sense; it wasn’t quite a complete story, but intriguing. 3 stars.

Tad Fallows and the Quarter Pints” is another favorite, which I found intriguing and fun! I really need to re-read Masters and Beginners to remember what the entire links were, but it was neat, and I loved the humorous sort of style it started out with. 🙂 Again, very vivid, and great writing. And anything with a bookshop is bound to be fun. 😉 It was also more like flash-fiction, quite short, which made it more impressive to me that all the characters had such distinct personalities and everything! Loved the feel. 🙂 4 stars.

Overall, a couple of these weren’t really my thing, although one of those WAS extremely well written, and I enjoyed the whole collection in its way. 🙂 Recommend for those who enjoy mostly-contemporary with a dash of fantasy or sci-fi to their short stories, and just well-written, vivid tales with very real characters and the occasional dash of humor. I really like this author’s style, and so much of it was beautiful and imaginative, even in mostly-contemporary settings, and on the whole I had a good time immersing myself in these short stories for something different! 🙂

Favorite Quote

If we believe faeries are real, it brings a sense of magic to our very boring, difficult, everyday lives. It gives us a glimpse into a world of adventure, heroism, true love, and happy endings. It inspires us to pull a little magic out of ourselves, and bestow it on others.

(from Just Pretend in Dreamings and Muses by Daley Downing)

~ ~ ~

Do you like contemporary fantasy? And do you read short stories much? I don’t, but it can be fun at times! Lemme know in the comments — and isn’t the cover by Alea Harper so cute/pretty? 🙂 *has a thing for blue covers and stars*

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Burning Rose Review + 3 Steps To Rewriting Fairytales Guest Post

Hi everyone! I’m excited to be a part of the release of Hope Ann’s paperback collection, Burning Rose!

In this post, I’ve got a review for the book, below, and an awesome guest post from Hope Ann about writing fairytales! 🙂 Thanks for coming over to my blog today, Hope! ^_^

Enjoy!


Hope Ann is a Christian wordsmith, avid reader, and dedicated author. Her time is taken up with writing, reading, playing with inspirational photos, blogging, helping care for the house and eight younger siblings, and generally enjoying the adventures of life on a small farm at the crossroads of America. She is the author of Legends of Light is currently working on several projects including a fantasy novel and futuristic trilogy. You can find out more about her at authorhopeann.com


Guest Post from Author Hope Ann

Burning Rose and My Three Steps to Rewriting Fairy Tales

There are three steps I follow when I settle down to rewrite a fairy tale.

Research the basics

I go back and read the original fairy tale before I do anything else. The popular version of some stories, like Beauty and the Beast, are much different from the fairy tales themselves. This isn’t to say you can’t use aspects of popular retellings, such as having a Gaston character in a Beauty and the Beast story, but brush up on the original story first and write out the basics you want to keep. For Beauty and the Beast, this would include a beast who is overly protective of a rose, a girl who gives herself for her father and lives at the beast’s place for a number of months, and ends with a week where she leaves and comes back late. Many fairy tales are very basic with a simple plot that can be treated almost like an outline

Ask why

Why does the beast care about the rose so much? Why does the father let his daughter give herself up, or does he allow it at all? Why is Beauty late in returning home? Many fairy tales abound with many questions that are never explained. Answering these can create fascinating backstories and subplots.

Twist familiar aspects of the story

Maybe the beast doesn’t want Beauty in his castle anymore than she wants to be there. Maybe the witch in Rapunzel is actually saving the child from her parents. Maybe a brother eats the apple in Snow White to protect his sister and ends up asleep. Have fun. Switch good or bad characters. Switch the roles of a character or combine them. Most readers know how a given fairy tale ends. Twist the story enough so they don’t know if the characters will get their happy ending, or twist it again to completely turn the fairy tale on its head. The important thing to remember is to treat the original fairy tale like an outline and move out from there.

I’ve enjoyed changing fairy tales, even ones I don’t care for, into exciting stories. And now, for the first time, you can read my first three retellings in one paperback book!

A war, founded in ancient legends, changes the lives of those it touches forever.

Elissa, a villager from the northern mountains, attempts to save her brother and ends up trapped in a hidden valley with a strange host and a treacherous enemy.

Evrard, the Wingmaster of the Prince’s army, races against his own weakening powers to discover the location of his twin and save her from deadly mistbenders.

Haydn, a pardoned rebel from Tauscher’s army, confronts shadows of myth and former comrades in his struggle to keep his sister safe and find the stolen Stormestone.

BONUS

Before the war, before the legends, before the Separation, there was a man who started it all. There was a curse, a promise, and a sacrifice. There was the Oathkeeper.

Fairy tales retold as you have never heard them before.

ROSE OF THE OATH: Beauty and the Beast
SONG OF THE SWORD: Rapunzel
SHADOWS OF THE HERSWEALD: Hansel and Gretel
and
ROSE OF THE NIGHT: a Rose of the Oath prequel

Order Burning Rose now!


Title: Burning Rose
Author: Hope Ann

  • Date read: September 30, 2017
  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Fairytale Retelling (Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel)
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 452 pages (paperback; though I read an ebook version)
  • Series: Legends of Light, 1-3
  • Fave character: Haydn, Evrard, Adrian
  • Source: The author (thank you!)
  • Notes: This is a collection of 3 novellas and a novelette prequel.
  • Links: Add on GoodreadsPurchase

I very much enjoyed this collection! 🙂 Here are some individual thoughts about each story, and then some thoughts at the end about all of them in general.

Rose of the Night

3 stars

This is a prequel novelette set before the three novellas. It’s not a fairytale retelling, but is an allegory of the Fall of Man and has a few other Christian elements. It was actually super depressing and dark—as might be expected from that kind of thing. XD But wow. O_O So I didn’t care for it as much, BUT I liked it better once I had read the next story and could just view it as the backstory of the Beast character from the Beauty and the Beast story. XD Overall, a little depressing for me (others might enjoy it more!) but definitely gripping, interesting, vivid, and very atmospheric! 🙂

Rose of the Oath

4 stars

A Beauty and the Beast retelling! I enjoy those, and this was original and intriguing! It has some unique things like the heroine’s brother, instead of dad, picking the rose, and the rose itself is VERY connected to things… 😉 It was so fascinating seeing the “Beauty” character (Elissa) communicate with the “Beast” character (Oathkeeper Adrian) because he couldn’t really speak because of a curse. I didn’t love Elissa but she was all right, and Adrian was pretty awesome, so. 😀 I liked Eldric (her brother) too! I’m trying to think what else I can say without spoiling things! It’s classic and new all at once. I kind of want to live in that castle. The writing was vivid, and there’s a lot of scary wolves and gorgeous roses. What’s not to like? 🙂 It’s not quite a top-favorite for some reason, but overall it was intriguing and exciting, and I really enjoyed it! A good B&B retelling, and a good story in its own right, too. 🙂 *hugs story*

Song of the Sword

4 stars

This one was so unique and fascinating! The two different planes of existence, the “Tangible” and the “Melody” or spiritual realm. It was so cool reading about Evrard, who has the ability to slip back and forth between the two. (Think, like… Inception, or Jill Williamson’s the Veil, but different.) I really liked Evrard. Andrinion the falcon was kind of a know-it-all, but fun too. XD Roinette is the heroine, who is the Rapunzel character, and I liked her too. (Though, in a fun twist, she has a “pet”/friend, a white cat with wings, who is named Punzel. :P) It’s kind of a VERY loose Rapunzel retelling… there’s a tower and Roinette has long hair, but that’s mostly it… But it was still fun. 🙂 There were a few times when the stuff about which “Realm” the characters were in got confusing or didn’t quite line up, but I still liked the idea a lot! I was a little sad that there wasn’t any romance, because I kind of suspected there would be (because… um… Rapunzel?), but I might be a minority. XD There were a couple of twists—both of which I partially guessed—and I really liked one and the other really disappointed me because sometimes you WANT to like a character but then they’re evil and yeah. >.> Ahem. But the other character twist was awesome. XD Anyway, I’m a little mixed about a couple of things, but on the whole it was just so original and neat. Exciting and fun! 🙂

Shadows of the Hersweald

4 stars

The first half of this one drove me rather batty with only hinting at things with NO explanation, even though the hero would have known; a classic example of hiding information from the reader, which is a personal annoyance of mine. Ahem. Could just be me, though. XD (And I fully admit I had a headache when I read this one, so it’s possible my brain functions didn’t pick up on things I should have, but still.) That frustrated me, especially when a few things just didn’t make sense. BUT by the end, once everything came together and I finally figured out what was going on, it turned out to be one of my favorites in the collection! 🙂 So that was impressive. ^_^ I keep thinking about it and I almost want to go back and re-read it now that I know what was going on. XD It’s a loose but original retelling of Hansel and Gretel—I liked how a few elements from the original made it into this one in unexpected ways. 🙂 I really, really liked Haydn. The story was vivid when it wasn’t being vague, and the setting was neat, and the other characters were cool too. Sometimes I wasn’t sure who I should like because I kept being afraid all of them would turn out evil. XD So that kept me on my toes. 😛 Overall, although the first part annoyed me, I ended up loving it muchly! 🙂

Overall Thoughts About the Burning Rose Collection

The three novellas had strong sibling themes going on, which was nice. You don’t always see a lot of that. ^_^

There is one particular plot-twist that ALL four stories had, which started to get tedious… I won’t say what it was, because spoilers, but things do kind of stop being plot twists and start being repeating plots eventually… But I might not have noticed if I’d read them all separately? And I kept predicting them… whoops. (#curseofbeingawriter)

However, one good thing about having them all in one collection: I did love how, even though the stories all follow totally different characters (except Adrian in the prequel and Rose of the Oath), there was still an overarching thread to follow through. It was kind of like it might be if episodes of a TV show followed different storylines but had an overall plot in the background?

I sometimes felt like since I was expected to already know the allegorical elements from Christianity, they weren’t explained IN the stories very well? Which was a little odd. And it also often happened off-screen. But what there was I did like. 🙂 (Other than the prequel being depressing. XD)

The writing was distinctive, and, while sometimes (due to the short nature of the stories) I was a little confused about what was going on, mostly these novellas were vivid, gripping, thrilling, and unique, while spinning threads of familiar stories into a tapestry of new, colorful tales. On the whole, I quite enjoyed them, and recommend them to anyone who likes a good fairytale! ^_^

(I also noticed that the next one that’s supposed to come out in this Legends of Light series is a Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling! Excuse me while I search for a time-machine so I can go read it. 😀 *bouncing in excitement*)

(I received a free e-ARC of this collection from the author—many thanks! These opinions are entirely my own.)


Have you read any of Hope Ann’s novellas? (You can find Rose of the Oath for free, by the way!) And have you ever read any retellings of Hansel and Gretel? Or do you have some favorite retellings of B&B or Rapunzel? Let’s talk about aaall things retellings! Let me know in the comments! ^_^

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

The Beast of Talesend AUDIOBOOK Review

Title: The Beast of Talesend
Author: Kyle Robert Shultz
Narrator: Richard “Spanners” Ready

  • Date finished reading (erm… listening to?): September 1, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Fairytale Retelling (Beauty and the Beast)
  • Age: Anyone, really
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Hours: 4 hours, 13 minutes
  • Series: Beaumont & Beasley, #1
  • Fave character: Nick and Crispin
  • Source: Audible code from author for review
  • Notes: Audio version. Re-reading. Read my original review HERE.
  • Links: AudibleAmazonGoodreads • Author’s Website

I have flailed elsewhere about how much I love this book, and this time I’m here to talk about the absolutely delightful audiobook version.

I remember thinking, when I heard about the audio version, that The Beast of Talesend would make a positively fantastic audiobook. Add to that a British narrator and the levels of fantastic go through the roof. Fast-forward to my ecstatic reaction when the author offered me a chance to listen to the audiobook and review it. I gladly accepted, started listening to it right away, and . . . Oh, was I ever NOT disappointed!

The light, fun, humorous, fairytale quality of this book, makes it the perfect audiobook, and the Britishness reminded me of my favorite audiobooks from when I was younger. The Beast of Talesend audiobook is perfection. 😀

I don’t listen to audiobooks often these days (though I used to). They’re not always convenient for me, and these days I generally prefer to absorb stories through physically reading printed words with my eyes, you know? Otherwise my mind can wander and I miss important details, which drives me up the wall. (Not through the roof. Through the roof is a good thing in this case; up the wall isn’t.) I have listened to many audiobooks over time, but don’t as much anymore, except in extreme cases of really, really wanting to listen to one for some reason. Like this one.

In this case, the reasons were twofold: 1) I already had read The Beast of Talesend and loved it and wanted to re-read it anyway (never mind that it was only three months since I read it the first time), and 2) I listened to a sample and the narrator has a fabulous British accent.

I’m one of those shallow (erm, that is, blessed with good taste. *cough*) people who absolutely loves accents, and as an American who primarily lives in fictional worlds created by authors from the British Isles, accents which are English, Irish, Scottish, etc., are my favorites. Mr. Richard “Spanners” Ready has a fabulous British accent which was so fun to listen to, and that alone would have made this audiobook splendid.

HOWEVER, he’s also an amazing narrator, and the book was a delight to hear read by this fellow. He does different voices for all the characters, which was SO fun, and some with different accents as well. His narration as Nick Beasley (the main character who tells the story in a somewhat dry and totally funny way) was brilliant, and for some reason I particularly liked his depiction of Cordelia—she was spot-on! Actually, all the characters were. THEY WERE AMAZING! The acting/performance brought the story and characters to vivid life, and I simply LOVED that! It was like watching a movie… just… you know… listening to it instead. In a way, this is better, because you get the audio-drama quality BUT can still imagine everything appearing the way your imagination wants to paint it. And this narrator’s way of bringing the characters to life only adds to that. 🙂 He drew out so much of the character interactions, drama, excitement, and humor in the BEST way. It was fantastic and so fun!

Narrator quality varies in audiobooks, and I would say there are lots who are okay or even good, but not so many who are the best of the best. Out of the many narrators I’ve heard over time, I’d put Richard Ready in my top five with a very select few who are outstanding. He’s delightful to hear, and a narrator of true quality. 🙂

One or two characters sounded a little different than I, personally, had imagined (I think of Crispin with a higher voice and Whitlock with a lower voice; though both were great in the audio), and one area in the beginning was slightly rushed-feeling to listen to. But those are literally my only “complaints” (and very unimportant ones at that), because overall this audiobook was PERFECT and an absolute delight. I LOVED IT!

Some of my family was listening in while I listened to this, and we all had the best time. 😀 It’s also handy that it’s a shorter book—only a little over 4 hours long, so it was just right to listen to without feeling like it was going to take an age. I’ll probably even listen to it again sometime (What? The shock! Unheard of!) because it’s THAT fun.

Overall, my reaction: read this book, people! Better yet, have Richard Ready read it to you, because he’s fantastic. 😀 (And, great—now I want an audiobook of book 2, The Tomb of the Sea Witch…)

(I was given an Audible.com code for a free download of this audiobook from the author. I was not required to write a positive review, and these opinions are entirely my own.)

Story: 5/5
Narrator: 5/5
Performance: 5/5

~ ~ ~

Have you read this yet? BECAUSE YOU NEED TO! (And the audio version is a fun way to try it; just sayin’. ;))

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Wanted: A Superhero to Save the World by Bryan Davis (Blogtour, Review + Giveaway)

Hey, Pagelings!

I’m so excited to be joining in on the blog tour for the new book by Bryan Davis, Wanted: A Superhero to Save the World!

It’s a super-fun book about two young superheroes, and it probably took me less than seventeen seconds to get hooked and stay hooked — I couldn’t put it down! 🙂

In this post, I’m sharing a review of it — and make sure you scroll all the way down for info about the book, the author, a couple of awesome giveaways, and the other tour stops! 🙂

Title: Wanted: A Superhero to Save the World

Author: Bryan Davis

  • Date read: September 12, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Superhero / Contemporary
  • Age: Middle-Grade
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 250 (paperback)
  • Fave character: I… can’t decide who’s my favorite since I like so many of them; and the one I’m most intrigued about is a spoiler, sooo…
  • Source: The author
  • Links: Amazon • Signed CopiesGoodreads
  • Notes: I received a free copy of this book from the author (many thanks!). These opinions are entirely my own.

WANTED: A SUPERHERO TO SAVE THE WORLD is a gripping and delightful read, which I read in a day and couldn’t seem to put down.

Meet Eddie and Samantha (Sam) Hertz. They’re kids, but also superheroes—kind of—and the fate of their city (and the world) is on their small shoulders. Eddie and Sam make a great superhero team, and they have an adorable brother-sister relationship, which I absolutely loved!

Eddie is the one telling the story, and he’s a fantastic hero. This twelve year old is super smart (no pun intended, though he would have intended it because he’s fun like that), and I love all the gadgets he’s made. So fun! He’s heroic too, and goodhearted, and just… I really liked him. 🙂 Eddie’s the best. Eight year old Sam is… well, she’s adorable and I really liked her as well! I especially loved her “superhero name” and how she had a thing with long names, like with the cat. XD She’s awesome. And they’re especially awesome together. 🙂

I don’t read a lot of Middle-Grade type books, and I’ve only read one superhero novel before this one, so even though both are outside my usual reading zone, I really enjoyed this book and found it to be fresh and unique. Filled with excitement, danger, and edge-of-your-seat suspense and action, it still found time for humor, fun, and kids being kids. I was impressed with how TENSE the story is, keeping me flipping those pages. Super exciting and gripping. I loved watching Eddie and Samantha get out of things with cleverness, gadgets, and occasional superhero strength. 😉

There were so many twists in this story! Some of them I guessed, others were complete surprises. I loved them! It was so fun following the twisting plot and wondering what was going to happen next. Some of the reveals were awesome. I also loved the mystery and suspense, especially how there were a lot of mysterious characters around, and it was hard to know right away if they’re good, or bad, or… what. That was so cool! I always love it when books leave me guessing, and this was excellent in that way. 🙂

It’s really, really well written. I loved how there was SO MUCH attention to detail, without making it feel bogged down at all. I could see, hear, taste, smell, and feel everything in this setting. It was so vivid and felt like a super-cool movie—in book form, of course (which is the perfect mix for this booklover. ;)).

It has heart and humor too, and some touching or sad moments—I nearly cried a couple of times, when it was sad, or at a very touching adorable part near the end. ^_^ (SO, I wasn’t a fan of the sad things. But I got over it because I really enjoyed the book. :))

I just noticed that I must be getting old, since sometimes I worried about them because earthquakes and peril and swamps and they’re only eight and twelve… ahem. But that’s the point, of course, and having been a teenager myself not so long ago, I didn’t used to think of younger characters in terms of “protect the precious young childs!” It just makes me feel old. XD I do like that it’s suitable for all ages—so many books, even for younger children these days, seem to be dark or inappropriate or just… off, somehow. This one seemed just right for that age or anyone else, too. 🙂

I also loved how Sam and Eddie’s mom was a part of the story! You don’t see much of that in young adult or middle-grade fiction, and I loved that. 🙂 The other characters were all interesting as well! They were all so unique and quirky. I liked Barney, and Gilbert was unexpected. There’s a certain other character, who’s slightly spoiler-ish, so I won’t say much, but I’m now VERY curious/want to know more about him… or see more of him in a sequel.

Speaking of which… The book doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, but it does leave the door wide open for possible future books. Now I want more about Eddie and Sam and company, because that would be delightful! 😀

It’s not an absolute favorite, largely due to being outside my usual favorite genres/age-group, but for what it is, it’s absolutely fantastic and so much fun. 🙂

Overall, this was an extremely fun, vivid, suspenseful story, for readers of any age—children, young adults, or adults would all enjoy it, I think. I certainly did! Definitely recommend. 🙂


About the Book

Eddie Hertz is smart, real smart. He has to be. What other twelve-year-old patrols the streets of Nirvana alone, hoping to foil the schemes of the evil Mephisto? Since Eddie is small for his age, he trusts in his Batman-style gadgets belt and acrobatic skills as well as lots of experience, like knowing how to swing across dark alleys without being seen.

Eddie has a dream, to become like Damocles, Nirvana’s great superhero. To make that dream come true, Eddie invented a device that is supposed to give him superpowers, but using it on himself is dangerous, maybe even fatal. He doesn’t have the nerve to try it.

When Mephisto unleashes an earthquake machine on the city, Eddie gets a surprising teammate — his quirky eight-year-old sister, Samantha, who comes up with an unexpected way to help Eddie in the frantic battle to prevent the biggest earthquake of all.

Since Damocles has lost his ability to help in physical form, Eddie and Samantha are the only hope for Nirvana and the world.

Available on Amazon


About the Author

Bryan Davis is the author of several bestselling series, including Dragons in Our Midst and the Reapers Trilogy, speculative fiction for youth and adults. Bryan and his wife, Susie, work together as an author/editor team to create his imaginative tales.

Find Bryan Davis Online

Author WebsiteBook Purchase SiteFacebook PageWriting BlogTwitter: @bryandavisauthGoodreadsInstagram


Contest Giveaways

There are two giveaways on this blog tour!

The first contest’s giveaway is the winner’s choice of any Bryan Davis book, plus a Wanted: A Superhero to Save the World T-Shirt and bookmark. Enter via the Rafflecopter HERE!

The second contest holds the Grand Prize – the items from the first giveaway PLUS a complete Bryan Davis book series of the winner’s choice or a $50 Amazon gift card. To enter this one, you go through all the tour posts and gather the hidden number in each of them (which should be “hidden” fairly easy to find), including the one in this post; add them up, and you will have the key to the Grand Prize giveaway. You can read all the details in Bryan Davis’ opening post, and you can find the Grand Prize Giveaway HERE. Good luck! 🙂


Tour Schedule

Wednesday, September 20th

Tour Kickoff @ The Author’s Chair

Book Spotlight @ Backing Books

Book review and YOU WRITE: About Bryan Davis @ Zerina Blossom’s Books

Book Spotlight and Review @ The Spooky Bookshelf

Book Spotlight and Author Interview @ Scattered Scribblings

Book Review and Character Interview @ Light and Shadows

Thursday, September 21st

Book Spotlight and YOU WRITE: About Bryan Davis @ Red Lettering

Spotlight and Author Interview @ The Reader Addict

Spotlight and YOU WRITE: About Bryan Davis @ target verified

Book Review and Character Interview @ Hidden Doorways

Book Review @ Ashley Bogner

Book Review @ The Page Dreamer (You are here)

Friday, September 22nd

Book Spotlight and Character Interview @ Story of Fire

Book Review @ Inkwell

Book Spotlight and Character Interview @ Liv K. Fisher

Book Review @ writinganyone

Spotlight and YOU WRITE: About Superheroes @ Dreams and Dragons

Author Interview and YOU WRITE: About Bryan Davis @ March to a Different Drum

Book Spotlight @ Author Jaye L. Knight

Saturday, September 23rd

Author Interview @ Jessi L. Roberts, author

Book Spotlight and Character Interview @ Book Lovers Life

Book Review and Character Interview @ Verbosity Reviews

Book Spotlight, Author Interview and YOU WRITE: Superheroes @ Creature of Graphite

Character Interview @ Wanderer’s Pen

Book Spotlight and Author Interview @ Adventure Awaits

Sunday, September 24th

Tour  Wrapup @ The Author’s Chair (Winners will be announced here after the contest giveaway deadline which is September 27.)


Have you read any superhero novels? Any to recommend to me? And does this one sound fun? Because it is! What would your superhero power be?

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Was using my shiny Sherlock bookmark while reading this; didn’t realize how appropriate it was until further in. XD

Title: The Invisible Library
Author: Genevieve Cogman

  • Date read: July 28, 2017
  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Steampunk
  • Age: Adult
  • Year pub: 2016
  • Pages: 330 (paperback)
  • Series: Book 1 in the Invisible Library series (Series list on Goodreads)
  • Fave character: Vale and Kai
  • Source: Library (the appropriateness of this fact is not lost on me…)
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazon

This cover makes me happy.

Well. That was… interesting. O_O

I wasn’t planning on reviewing this, buuut I’ve had a few people ask for my opinion, so I’m doing a quicky review for it! 🙂 (Quicky here having the meaning of long, because hello, it’s me we’re talking about. *coughcough*)

THINGS I LOVED

So, it’s basically a mystery, set in an alternate London where it’s steampunk-y and also magical; there are Fae and other creatures; it’s about BOOKS; there’s this enormous Library outside of time and space; the heroine is a librarian questing for a certain book, with an awesome sidekick and an awesome detective; and pretty much WHAT IS NOT TO LOVE? (I mean, a couple things, but we’ll get to that later.)

Imagine a Holmes story with steampunk and magic and Fae and books. That’s pretty much this, and I loved that. 😀 IT WAS SO FUN AND INTRIGUING!

The bookishness was fun, the mystery element was engaging, it was SUPER exciting and action-y a lot of the time, and written in an occasionally witty style, with characters to love once you get to know them, and some great dialog. Overall, it was quite enjoyable. 🙂

And the characters were all well-written and intriguing!

Irene was an interesting heroine, and I liked how bookish she was (I mean, Librarian, yes?) and sometimes just wanted to go curl up and read, but was usually pretty capable even if she didn’t feel like she was. I also loved how she loved mystery stories. XD

Kai! Yes, Kai was pretty cool. XD I really liked him most of the time. 🙂 Can’t say much about him because SPOILERS but yes. 😀 I’m curious to learn more about him and his “family”… And the way he was able to adapt in certain situations was awesome. Anyways, he was great. 😀

Vale! Oh my goodness, Vale. XD So I actually didn’t like him at first? o.o But he quickly grew on me, and basically he’s a detective in this time period so naturally I had to think of him as slightly Holmes-ish (though different of course). But I mean, Holmes in a magical world. XD And I loved his sword cane and capability and he was just awesome. 🙂 (Also curious to find out more about him…)

I also liked the interactions between these three—love these characters! ❤ *hugs ’em*

Silver was… interesting. O.o Slightly creepy Fae characters like that are always intriguing to read about, even when they’re kind of creepy. 😛 I actually was surprised we didn’t see more of him in this one, so I suspect he’ll be in later books more? And when he was up on the table like “bring me my gun!” that was awesome. XD

I really really disliked Bradamant and Alberich. I think I was more or less supposed to, kinda, so we’ll call that a good thing. 😛

(While I’m thinking of characters… Was there a love triangle? I don’t know if there was a love triangle. I think the point of the book was not focused on romance; so much so that it didn’t give any clear ideas on it, just veiled ideas [no pun intended] that were super confusing. Maybe I’m being overly picky and it’s not an issue? I dunno. I just felt like it was maybe being love-triangle-y, though it could just be professional-awesome-friendship on one side and romance on the other. Totally possible. It just didn’t give me enough information so it left me wondering because I’m silly like that. XD Probably for a later book…)

THINGS I DIDN’T LOVE AS MUCH

There were a couple things I didn’t care for and it did take me awhile to get into it, but once I did I thoroughly enjoyed myself. XD

FYI, as far as “content” (which I don’t always include in my reviews but in this case since I was asked to review it, some readers may wish to know) there’s a little swearing, and a few implied references I could have done without, but considering I found it in the “Adult” section of the library it wasn’t too bad (I frequent the YA area, okay; it’s not a crime), and it’s also rather creepy/violent a few times. I don’t usually mind, though there was one part where a cyborg alligator tore off a bystander’s leg and I was like “too much information!” 😛 It just startled me because otherwise it mostly wasn’t too graphic. XD

It’s also totally random and petty, but I HATE characters like Bradamant, which always lowers a book’s quality in my opinion. The back-stabby, “perfect”ly beautiful ladies who are deadly and spiteful, up against the rival heroine who thinks of herself as plain etc. etc. It’s old, and tiresome, and a little too much “mean girls” cat-fight-y for my taste. 😛 It’s a “me-thing” which I’m sure nobody else cares about, but… personally it annoys me a lot. *cough*

And a couple of tiny unimportant things freaked me out, like Irene thinking it was cool that Kai gave her a nickname based on Milady de Winter. MILADY IS CREEPY AND EVIL OKAY. JUST. PLEASE. DO NOT BE FLATTERED BY THAT. -_-

And honestly sometimes the Library creeped me out. >.> I’M SORRY. Sometimes it was cool, but sometimes I didn’t like some things about it…

And just typical mainstream book quibbles. *shrug*

Still, I enjoyed myself and was impressed that turned it around when I wasn’t as caught up to begin with, and still made me love it in the end. 🙂 Though it did have an annoying tendency to leave out a TON of information and make you wonder about things and just not INFORM the reader enough, or was confusing about it—for me, anyway—so a lot of the time I was flailing blindly through, going “stop dancing around things and ‘showing’ things—just TELL me something for once or I will throw you across the room!” Ahem. It wasn’t THAT bad but I just felt like we didn’t get enough info up front and that was kind of frustrating for me? I don’t enjoy feeling unintelligent OR uninformed and this was trying to do both to me. 😛 But it got better once it finally slipped enough info in, so yay! 🙂

But enough of that! I don’t mean to bash it really—I ended up quite enjoying it! 🙂 If it intrigues you, I’d say try it out. 🙂 And I’m curious to see where the next books lead… I’ll probably try out the sequel at some point. Gotta get back to this fascinating world and follow these awesome characters more, dontcha know! ^_^

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer