Tag Archive | Books

In Bookish News! (November 2018)

Hey, dear pagelings!

If I vanished from the face of the earth (or at least from my blogs. *cough*) for the last couple of weeks, it’s because NaNoWriMo has been eating my already extremely busy life. Seriously, I’ve been running non-stop all month. XD

But it’s been good too! (Like, I’m-ahead-on-my-wordcount-AND-FINISHED-WRITING-MY-steampunk-fantasy-NOVEL-THE-SIREN-AND-THE-SKYSHIP-AAAAHH!!! type of good.)

Anyway, today I’m popping in real quick to share the bookish news going on this November — or at least the bookish news I remembered/kept track of. A lot of things are falling through the cracks for me right now so bear with me. *nervous laughter*

NEW RELEASES

(All titles link to Goodreads.)

Here are a few I missed in last month’s post from October:

  • The Enchanted Sonata – Heather Dixon Wallwork — Thanks to reader Mikayla for telling me about this one! AAHH how did I miss it?? :O THE Heather Dixon (now writing under her married name and self-publishing this one!), who wrote Entwined and Illusionarium (both of which I absolutely ADORED), has a new book out! It’s a Nutcracker retelling and looks super cute and I want it. XD
  • Flourish (Green Princess #3) – H.L. Burke — The Green Princess Trilogy is now all released and I still haven’t read the first one! Heidi writes way too fast and we love her for it. Anyway, this one looks awesome and I must read the whole series now. Because two smol floofs fall in luuuurve and I hear there’s plant magic and also lots of feels.
  • The Rose and the Briar – J.M. Stengl — I haven’t read any of the Faraway Castle books yet but they look neat and this Sleeping Beauty retelling just came out. 🙂

NOVEMBER RELEASES

  • Mark of the Raven – Morgan L. Busse — This one came out last week and it’s so shiny and I’m currently reading it and very intrigued! Coincidentally, there’s a shiny readalong with prompts and stuff over on Instagram @fantasyreadalong. (They also just reposted one of my pics for their Ravens prompt and excuse me while I die happy. ❤ )
  • Void Born – RJ Metcalf — I haven’t read the first one yet (Renegade Skyfarer) but I’m DYING TO because steampunnnnk. (I’m in a very steamunky mood because that’s the genre of the novel I just finished writing!) But this sequel just released and it looks awesome! There’s a Facebook party for this one this week on November 16! (Also, RJ is THE NICEST OF HUMANS because she sent me a surprise care package with tea and cough drops and stuff for my cold because I was sick before NaNo. She is the nicest. Thanks, RJ! ❤ )

  • A Royal Masquerade – Allison Tebo — I read this one and it was SO MUCH FUN. It’s a Goose Girl retelling featuring everyone’s favorite Fairy Godfather, Burndee, and antics he and Prince Colin get up to. It’s a riot and I’m reviewing it this week as part of the blog tour so stay tuned!
  • The Mortal Word (Invisible Library) — I’ve only read the first Invisible Library book but obviously need to catch up. But hey, there’s another one releasing — yayy. 😀
  • Rothana – Sarah Delena White — This is the sequel to Halayda which I squealed about muchly and was one of my top 15 reads of last year. AND AAAHH I’M SO NOT EMOTIONALLY PREPARED FOR THIS ONE. Half of me wants to not even read it because I’m SO SCARED FOR MY PRECIOUS CHARACTERS. But half of me also really really needs it, because Taylan and Zad and co. We’ll see. I might get myself a shiny Rothana for Christmas or something. *shifty eyes* ANYWAY it’s coming out in a couple of weeks and there’s a preorder sale and stuffs.
  • Antiheroes – Phoenix Fiction Writers — This is a cool ebook anthology releasing from the Phoenix Fiction authors. I haven’t read all of the stories in it, but I did read the one by Kyle Robert Shultz (called The Wolf at the Door) and it was sooo spooky but also brilliant and involved Little Red Riding Hood. The rest sound cool and I kind of need Nate Philbrick’s at least. >.> (Also, totally subscribe to their newsletter because it’s always funny and so it’s one of those newsletters I always read. XD)

There are probably others but I haven’t been keeping as good track as I should because I’ve been so busy with NaNo and life! But there are quite a few, anyway. 😛

OTHER NOVEMBER NEWS

There’s a big Black Friday sale some authors (Perry Kirkpatrick, Kate Willis, and Victoria Lynn) are putting together — so if you’re a blogger who wants to share the news or an author who wants to get in on it, you can check it out here! (I think signups end tomorrow, November 14?)

And it’s not quiiite November news, but Five Poisoned Apples is releasing on December 1st! :O

MY READING NEWS

Between a roadtrip in October and NaNoWriMo this month, I haven’t had a lot of time for reading . . . Here are the books I read last month, though. (You can always stalk, erm follow my reading progress on Goodreads here.)

  • Read my review for Armor of Aletheia and Blood in the Snow (AAHH MY FAVE!) if you missed them.
  • King’s Warrior and Arbrook Huxley and the Starcrossed Lovers were both re-reads aloud. SO FUN. ❤
  • The False Prince was my roadtrip read and it was SO MUCH FUN. I’m reading the second book now. 🙂
  • A Royal Masquerade review coming in a couple of days but basically READ IT! ❤ (Because Burndee.)
  • And the Kyle Robert Shultz short stories were LOADS of fun and are currently available free on his website here!

We’ll see if I make some time for reading in the next couple of weeks! *fingers crossed*

I also mayyy have gone to a huge sale at a Half Price Books in October, and a library sale in November, so I kind of ran out of bookshelf space and it’s a problem. BUT BOOKS. (I’d share pics but I kind of already ferreted them away on my bookshelves/dresser here, there, and everywhere and would have to go on a scavenger hunt to find all the right ones again and then possibly sell my soul in order to fit them back where they were SO YEAH. *cough*)

And I’ve been having loads of fun posting bookish pics over on my Instagram, so if you’re on there and don’t follow me yet, I do stuff over there even when I don’t find time to blog, so. 😉

That’s what I have for you guys today! Anything you’re excited about? Thanks for reading! 🙂

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Choose Your Own Story Blog Event: One Knight’s Journey

Welcome to The Page Dreamer! For those popping in from a different blog in the chain, I’m Deborah O’Carroll and I’m excited to be here because this is such a fun and unique blog event. 🙂

For those stopping here first, today I’m taking part in Sarah Holman’s Choose Your Own Story event. This is to celebrate the release of her latest book, Escape and Endurance, which I’m really excited about! 😀

In this event, you get to pick the outcome of this blog story by making choices. A lot of different things can happen. What are you waiting for? Start your adventure by clicking the image below.


“I see you’ve managed to get yourself in a bit of a fix.” Sir Andrew enjoyed watching the princess yelp and jump back in fright when she saw him. He had followed the princess and her guard back to a crude fort with an old watchtower in the center. He watched as the men-at-arms moved about and he was pretty sure that she was here of her own accord.

“Help!” the princess screamed.

Andrew leaned against the wall. “If it is for me you are shouting, there is no need, my hearing is quite good. If you are shouting for the other guards, there is no need. They all went running back to their master when they heard about an attack.”

The princess’ mouth hung open.

“And now, for you to learn a lesson.” Andrew closed and locked the tower door.

The tower was quite well stocked, and he spent a pleasant night enjoying all the comforts. Then he went back up into the tower and opened the door. The princess had been crying.

“Have you learned your lesson?”

She moved to stand in front of him. “I thought a lot about it last night, and I see that I’ve treated you and others poorly. I’m sorry.”

“Come, let’s get you home.” He held out his hand.

She smiled up at him and then…


Are you interested in reading about a knight, a tower, a princess, and a servant? Pick up a copy of Escape and Endurance! (Add on Goodreads.) Haven’t read the other books in the Tales of Taelis series? Not to worry. Each book can stand alone.


About Sarah

Sarah Holman is a not-so-typical girl, a homeschool graduate, sister to six awesome siblings, and lives in the great state of Texas. If there’s anything adventuresome about her life, it’s because she serves a God with a destiny greater than anything she could have imagined. You can find out more about her at her website: www.thedestinyofone.com
You can join the Adventurers (her newsletter) by going here: http://eepurl.com/bitBIf


Curious about the Tales of Taelis series? They’re Kingdom Adventure stories, and each of the books stand alone. 🙂 I’ve quite enjoyed them all so far, and I’m looking forward to reading Escape and Endurance too! ^_^

Check out my reviews:

    

IT’S HERE! Song of Leira by Gillian Bronte Adams

I’m so excited to share this new release with you guys, today! Song of Leira is the third and final book in The Songkeeper Chronicles by Gillian Bronte Adams, an epic fantasy adventure about a place where music is magic and one girl’s song can shape or break the entire world.

There’s a special invite for you guys at the end, but first, isn’t this cover gorgeous?

The Song bids her rise to battle.

Reeling from her disastrous foray into the Pit, Birdie, the young Songkeeper, retreats into the mountains. But in the war-torn north, kneeling on bloodstained battlefields to sing the souls of the dying to rest, her resolve to accept her calling is strengthened. Such evil cannot go unchallenged.

Torn between oaths to protect the Underground runners and to rescue his friend from the slave camps, Ky Huntyr enlists Birdie’s aid. Their mission to free the captives unravels the horrifying thread connecting the legendary spring, Artair’s sword, and the slave camps. But the Takhran’s schemes are already in motion. Powerful singers have arisen to lead his army – singers who can shake the earth and master the sea – and monsters rampage across the land.

As Leira falters on the verge of defeat, the Song bids her rise to battle, and the Songkeeper must answer.

Find Song of Leira online: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD

Add Song of Leira to your Goodreads Shelf


NEED TO CATCH UP ON THE SERIES?

Orphan’s Song (Book 1) Her solo is a death sentence. When Birdie first hears the Song coming from her mouth, her world shatters. She is no longer simply an orphan but the last of a hunted people. Forced on the run, she must decide who to trust: a traveling peddler, a streetwise thief, or the mysterious creature who claims to know her past. With war threatening to tear her homeland apart, Birdie discovers an overwhelming truth: the fate of Leira may hinge on her song.

Songkeeper (Book 2) War ravages Leira & the Song has fallen silent. Desperate to end the fighting, Birdie embarks on a dangerous mission into enemy territory, while Ky returns to his besieged city to save the Underground runners. Legend speaks of a mythical spring beneath the Takhran’s fortress and the Songkeeper who will one day unleash it. Everyone believes Birdie is the one. But can she truly be the Songkeeper when the Song no longer answers her call?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gillian Bronte Adams is a sword-wielding, horse-riding, wander-loving fantasy author, rarely found without a coffee in hand and rumored to pack books before clothes when she hits the road. Working in youth ministry left her with a passion for journeying alongside children and teens. (It also enhanced her love of coffee.) Now, she writes novels that follow outcast characters down broken roads, through epic battles, and onward to adventure. And at the end of a long day of typing, she can be found saddling her wild thing and riding off into the sunset, seeking adventures of her own (and more coffee).

She loves to connect with fellow readers and wanderers online through her blogFacebook page, newsletter, and Instagram.


TAKE YOUR BOOK ON AN ADVENTURE CONTEST

To celebrate Song of Leira‘s release, Gillian Bronte Adams is running a contest to show that reading and adventuring go hand in hand! Snag a picture or video of you adventuring with your book, tag it #SongofLeiraContest and post it online. Winners will be announced on June 22 at the “Song of Leira and King’s War Facebook Party.”

To see the prizes at stake and the official contest guidelines, head over to Gillian’s website.


YOU’RE INVITED TO A PARTY!

Speaking of the Facebook party, you’re invited! Have you ever been to a Facebook party before? Gillian Bronte Adams is teaming up with fantasy author Jill Williamson for a special event full of awesome giveaways, prizes, and games! And you are invited to come! Click on the photo or RSVP on the event page.


I’ll be back in a couple of weeks to share my review of this final book in this delightful fantasy series, so stay tuned!

Have you read any of the books in this series? Because you’re missing out, if you haven’t! 😉

You can read my review for Orphan’s Song here, and for Songkeeper here.

And if you’re just as excited about this book as I am, celebrate with me in the comments below because IT’S FINALLY HERE AND THE WAIT IS OVERRR!

Thanks for reading! ^_^

Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

Have another belated review from a couple of March Magics ago. XD

GuardsGuards

5starrating

Title: Guards! Guards!

Author: Terry Pratchett

review

This is less of a review, and more of a things-and-thoughts-about-the-book sort of affair.

I read this one a bit belatedly for March Magics—my first Pratchett novel. People say his books are reminiscent of DWJ, and there is a reason, namely: hilarious fantasy. (I still prefer hers, but he can be fun.)

It’s hilarious and a mess and doesn’t take itself seriously, and is basically a fun rollick. XD It takes SO MANY fantasy tropes and turns them on their heads. It has footnotes. (And one of its footnotes had footnotes.) Any book that has as detailed a thing about libraries on page three as this one has is bound to be great. (Also, the librarian is an orangutan. Because it can.)

The blurb (at least the one I read) seems to act like the book is about Carrot, but it’s really about Vimes. Captain Vimes is the LAST person you’d think of as a hero or even as Main Character material. He’s the most unlikely hero imaginable. But I surprised myself by realizing by the end that I absolutely loved him! XD He’s great.

Anyway, it follows the Night Watch of the city of Ankh-Morpork, a few down-on their luck, scrapings-of-the-gutter fellows. Captain Vimes, Sergeant Colon, Nobby, and Carrot. There’s also Lady Ramkin, who is interesting; the Patrician, who is creepy; and the little dragon named Errol!! (My favorite quote about Errol: “He’d eaten most of the table, the grate, the coal scuttle, several lamps and the squeaky rubber hippo.”)

You can’t really describe the PLOT, as such… there’s just a lot of stuff going on. There’s the Watch, and shenanigans, and it’s fun. 😀

Also, silly names like the Elucidated Brethren of the Ebon Night. And helmet plumes. Also: dragons! And there’s a dash of timey-wimey to spice things up. The thing about the lost heirs!! (I kind of wish it might have turned out a little different about that character… but I don’t know if he’d have wanted that anyway, so I dunno.) There’s a bit of language/rude jokes, but still. I loved the thing about “a million to one chance but it just might work” and how people never say “it’s a certainty but it just might work”. XD There were also some brilliant things about dungeons (never build one you can’t escape from). And, of course, how people in books tend to yell “Guards! Guards!” — because they really do.

There are no chapters, just scene breaks, so it feels like a movie. This also makes it impossible to stop reading, which is awkward for those of us who need to remember to go sleep sometime.

Anyway, I enjoyed it a good deal, and this and “Mort” are probably still my favorite Pratchett books. 😀 I’ll have to try some more with the Night Watch sometime…

Some Favorite Quotes

“set a deep hole with spring-loaded sides, tripwires, whirling knife blades driven by water power, broken glass and scorpions, to catch a thief”

***

There is an art in throwing knives and, even then, you need the right kind of knife. Otherwise it does just what this one did, which is miss completely.

***

It was said that, since vast amounts of magic can seriously distort the mundane world, the Library did not obey the normal rules of space and time. It was said that it went on /forever/. It was said that you could wander for days among the distant shelves, that there were lost tribes of research students somewhere in there, that strange things lurked in forgotten alcoves and were preyed on by other things that were even stranger.*

Wise students in search of more distant volumes took care to leave chalk marks on the shelves as they roamed deeper into the fusty darkness, and told friends to come looking for them if they weren’t back by supper.

*All this was untrue. The truth is that even big collections of ordinary books distort space, as can readily be proved by anyone who has been around a really old-fashioned secondhand bookshop, one of those that look as though they were designed by M. Escher on a bad day and has more staircases than storeys and those rows of shelves which end in little doors that are surely too small for a full-sized human to enter. The relevant equation is: Knowledge = power = energy = matter = mass; a good bookshop is just a genteel Black Hole that knows how to read.

***

A couple of guards grabbed Vimes tentatively by the shoulders.

“You’re not going to do anything heroic, are you?” whispered one of them.

“Wouldn’t know where to start,” he said.

***

“Do you think picking someone up by their ankles and bouncing their head on the floor comes under the heading of Striking a Superior Officer?”

***

What would Captain Vimes do now? Well, he’d have a drink. But if he didn’t have a drink, what would he do?

“What we need,” he said slowly, “is a Plan.”

That sounded good. That sentence alone sounded worth the pay. If you had a Plan, you were halfway there.

***

“Oook,” the Librarian pointed out, patiently.

“What? Oh. Sorry.” Vimes lowered the ape, who wisely didn’t make an issue of it because a man angry enough to lift 300lbs of orangutan without noticing is a man with too much on his mind.

***

Fortunately, the chances of anyone surviving the ensuing explosion were exactly a million-to-one.

factoids

Genre/Category: Epic Fantasy

Age Group: Adult

Published: 1989

Pages: 288 pages (hardcover)

Series?: Part of the Discworld series, which frankly confuses me because there’s so many and they’re… yeah, confusing. But also book one in the Night Watch / Ankh-Morpork City Watch sub-series.

When Read: April 5 – 6, 2016

Favorite Character: Captain Vimes

Source: Library

Other Notes: Read it (a week late) for the March Magics a couple years ago, celebrating Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett, hosted by Kate @ We Be Reading.


Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

 

Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones

Here, have a review from a couple of March Magics ago, which I never got around to posting. 😛 (This is making me want to get it out of the library again and re-read it!)

DSmirror

5starratingTitle: Deep Secret

Author: Diana Wynne Jones

review

I’ve discovered that I’m downright horrendous at writing reviews for books by Diana Wynne Jones. I plan to write one, then I put it off, and put it off, because I know that it’s far too complex to do justice to in a review — and how even do I wrap my head around it all, exactly?? So once again, as I did with Fire and Hemlock, I’m going to need to just start typing and hope something semi-coherent and possibly slightly resembling a review will come out of it…

This story is a mix of fantasy/sci-fi/modern, with some other worlds thrown in for good measure. Most of it takes place at a sci-fi/fantasy convention of all places. Talk about an original setting! It’s in first person but you totally forget this fact as the story draws you in.

I found this one in the adult section of the library (I usually frequent the YA room… sorry-not-sorry, but all the good stuff’s there!). I suppose it’s a bit more Adult than most of DWJ’s books (more language/dark/gruesome/disturbing/implied stuff) so be aware of that. I don’t really recommend it to teens because it’s kinda dark… But it’s so absorbing!

I LOVED the multiple-worlds stuff. Absolutely fascinating.

There are centaurs! YES.

I also loved the idea of “deep secrets” which Magids (the magic users) thread into the world through stories and art and such. Absolutely brilliant.

There were also a few things about writing and I think some jibes at publishers, etc., which I found hilarious. XD

DS-DWJ

The DWJ library book visiting some of its cousins who live on my shelf

I think it’s possible DWJ put herself in it. There was a lecture on A Sense of Humour in Fantasy. “Some woman beside him wrote funny stuff too” and said that in her own writing, sometimes her jokes made her laugh. (And I remember in some interview or essay or somewhere, DWJ said that about herself.) So I think she put herself into this book and I LOVE IT.

She definitely put in a fan of her book “Archer’s Goon”, as somebody at the convention wore a badge that said “All power corrupts, but we need electricity.” I was just sitting there grinning absurdly as I read that. XD

There are other references too, which made me happy, like to LOTR (somebody had a T-shirt that he said read: “I am a Hobbit.” In Elvish. I think she was making fun of these people, but it was funny. XD), and The Princess Bride. And at one point there was something about being rather like “a magical Bertie Wooster with an invisible butler”. I totally lost it there. It was the BEST.

As usual with DWJ books, there’s a fabulous cast of characters that I love. There’s Maree and Rupert (who tell the story in turns) and they’re so… well… THEM. It’s hard to explain. But I love ’em! Then there are other characters like Will (he’s great!) and Rob the centaur (!!). And one of my absolute favorites is Maree’s cousin Nick—who is, I hear, based on a teenaged Neil Gaiman, who Diana Wynne Jones knew. She based Nick off him, and he’s so incoherent in the morning before he’s eaten breakfast and IT MADE MY DAY. So very hilarious. And one can’t forget neighbor Andrew, the “fabulous Nordic type”! But no more, lest there be spoilers. (Oh! And the quacks! A sort of otherworldly duck. 😀 Loved them!)

I’m absurdly proud of myself for only staying up until 2-something a.m. and having the willpower to go to bed without finishing the last 70 pages. I got to the part where it said: “And, I see in retrospect, that was the last moment when events were in any way within my control.” And I thought: “Welp, I’d better go to bed before things get worse.” 😛

Anyway, DWJ is brilliant and I love her books so much, and this one was no exception! It was longer than many of them. I get addicted to her longer books and LIVE in them, and then have a tendency to accidentally go around in a haze for the next few days, vaguely living in the story again in the back of my mind after spending 414 pages in it…

DeepSecret

“Where is the road to Babylon? / Right beside your door.”

The road I’m looking for is the road to the library to get the sequel, thank you very much.

The story doesn’t need it, but I do.

summary

From Goodreads:

deepsecretAll over the multiverse the Magids, powerful magicians, are at work to maintain the balance between positive and negative magic, for the good of all.

Rupert Venables is the junior Magid assigned to Earth and to the troublesome planets of the Koyrfonic Empire. When the Emperor dies without a known heir, Rupert is called into service to help prevent the descent of the Empire into chaos. At the same time, the senior Magid on Earth dies, making Rupert a new senior desperately in need of a junior. Rupert thinks his problems are partially solved when he discovers he can meet all five of the potential Magids on Earth by attending one SF convention in England. However, the convention hotel sits on a node, a nexus of the universes. Rupert soon finds that other forces, some of them completely out of control, are there too…

factoids

Genre/Category: Contemporary Fantasy / Sci-fi / Inter-world Fantasy / ??? / DIANA WYNNE JONES (which is a category of its own, or should be, because it’s really hard to fit her books into pigeonholes…)

Age Group: Adult

Published: 1997

Pages: 414

Series?: Book 1 of Magids; followed by The Merlin Conspiracy

When Read: March 22 – 23, 2016

Favorite Character: Oh my GOODNESS, don’t ask me this! O_O (Er… I know I’m asking myself; shush.) Rupert or Rob or Nick or Will or Andrew or somebody. Probably most of the cast because you just get so attached to DWJ characters…

Source: Library

Other Notes: Read for March Magics, hosted by Kristen @ We Be Reading

Have you read this one? I feel this NEED to talk to people who have. XD (And I also want to re-read it either before or after Realm Makers, because Sci-fi/Fantasy Conference…)

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

A Ramble on Ranger’s Apprentice

I recently read the The Ruins of Gorlan (Ranger’s Apprentice, #1) by John Flanagan.

In honor of February #FantasyMonth (hosted by Jenelle Schmidt) I want to share some thoughts about this book.

I’m foregoing my usual review format to just ramble a little about things it made me think about, and I hope you’ll enjoy. 🙂

(Note: I haven’t read the rest of the series yet. I just want to talk about the first Ranger’s Apprentice book today.)

Ranger’s Apprentice: Book 1 (The Ruins of Gorlan)

On the surface, it’s just a fun, YA fantasy book about fifteen-year-old Will and a sort of coming-of-age tale with swords and bows and rangers in a medieval-esque world, and a much more straightforward, less-convoluted story.

And it is all of that.

But beneath the surface there are other things going on (at least to this reader) which I’ll get to later.

It’s very funny, in a dry, kind of sarcastic way, that sometimes you almost don’t catch — and then you do and it’s HILARIOUS and you’re not totally sure why. Will doesn’t always “get it” when Halt makes little jabs and jibes and wry comments but I love it. XD

I love Will! He’s such a fun little character and just… I don’t know… he’s classic, somehow. And I like how he’s very determined and doesn’t give up.

Halt is the absolute best!! One of my favorite mentor characters. He’s an amazing Ranger and I just… I can’t describe how cool he is, but he’s awesome. Hands-down the best thing about this book! (And the main reason I read it. ;))

And I love some of the other characters, like Gilan (he’s awesome!) and Tug the pony (SO ADORBZ!!) and Horace and so on. And the Rangers are fabulous.

Did I mention it’s funny? I love funny books!

And it’s just fun fantasy, and good old-fashioned Good vs. Evil. Speaking of which…

“There’s Some Good in This World, Mr. Frodo”

One thing I noticed that was refreshing was there are good people in this book and a lot of them are just… nice.

I mean, sure, there were villains. And a few bullies. And Horace and Will both had their moments of disagreement or resentment — it’s not like they weren’t human. And by nice I don’t mean everyone was always sunshine, but they were GOOD.

I remember as I was reading, I kept expecting that everyone would be nasty to everyone else. I expected the wards to have had a miserable time growing up; and the Baron to be mean; and Sir Roderick to be mean; and for the villagers to be mean. That’s how I feel like most books these days would do it. But you know what? Their lives weren’t actually terrible; the Baron was super nice and really did want the best for these kids; Sir Roderick may not have known about the bully problem but he did want the best for Horace; the villagers might have been wary of Rangers in general through ignorance, but they were goodnaturedly applauding certain exploits of the hero(es).

The thing is, I’ve grown used to the usual setup of many books these days, where the characters are so flawed and “realistic” that… they’re not actually realistic anymore. People say you can’t have “perfect” characters and that you have to give your characters flaws; that’s all well and good. But that doesn’t mean that every character (or person in real life) you run into is going to be a terrible person! That’s just… not true?? I mean, yes, there are bad people, both in life and in fiction, but that doesn’t mean every character has to be out to ruin our heroes’ lives… or be mean-spirited… or whatever. There can be the forces of good and they can be ordinary people like you and me, and they can be nice — and there will still be tension, I promise! (I first noticed this issue when I read the Bright Empires series by Stephen R. Lawhead and was so shocked — in a good way — by how there were actually *gasp* good people in the world, that it made me realize that most books are not this way.)

Anyway, minor rant over. I didn’t mean to go into all of that. My POINT is that it was SO, SO refreshing reading this book and every time I ran into one of the “good guys”, they were exactly that. The villains and bullies were the bad guys. But the good guys were GOOD. And they have their flaws and have to work on life just as you and I do, but the good was good and the evil was evil and I LOVE that. And I MISS that. And I was surprised how big of a difference this seemingly insignificant aspect of the book made in making me enjoy it. 🙂 There was a clear divide between the good people and the bad, and it was refreshing, and something you can get away with in fantasy — or you used to, anyway.

Sometimes you want to focus on GOOD things instead of the things that are just stressful to read about. And I loved that I was able to just enjoy this book, for that reason and others. 🙂

There’s a Place For You, Just Waiting…

Another thing I absolutely loved was something a little hard to explain but I’ll do my best.

In the book, Will has always dreamed of going to the battle school to become a knight, but he’s turned down because he’s too small. Then he unexpectedly becomes Halt’s apprentice. (Not a spoiler! It’s called Ranger’s Apprentice; it’s in the title.)

And the thing is, it’s obvious to Halt, and to the reader, that Will is MEANT to be a Ranger. He’s small and light and quick and agile, and he has this habit of sneaking around without being noticed, and climbing trees and walls and living his own kind of solitary life, even in a community setting like the castle where he’s one of the wards.

A Ranger is supposed to be good at all of those things, and it’s immediately clear to me, as I read it, that Will Is A Ranger and that’s where he really fits.

But the funny thing is — he has no idea. At all. He has these skills, but he doesn’t really realize he has them, or think of them as skills, or realize he can put them to use as a Ranger’s Apprentice.

And I think that’s true of a lot of us. How many of us have things we could do, callings we could follow, jobs we could fill, that we’d fit into just perfectly, and we just… don’t realize it? Don’t think there’s anything special about us? Think we’re misfits and don’t belong?

As we watch Will trying out this new, unexpected turn of his life, and see him find his place in the world — really find it — it was just deeply satisfying to me.

And it made me think — oh. Sometimes, as a writer and whatever else it is I’ll be one day, if I’m feeling like I don’t know what skills I have or what to do with my life, or like I don’t fit in and there’s no place for me… I’m wrong. Because you know what? There IS. I have to find my “Ranger skills” and my “Rangers” and then I’ll be home and have found my place.

Especially if I work hard on it…

Keep Trying and You’ll Get There

Because the third and final “deep” thing I pulled out of this, was the fact that when we watch Will learning his Ranger’s craft, it just… well… inspired me. I might be rubbish at learning the things he had to learn — how to shoot arrows and ride a horse and how to track and be stealthy and unseen and live in the wilderness — but watching him learn them, and seeing him just keep at it and become adept at these things… it inspired me.

Because he just kept trying and he was able to do it. I saw him go from an uncertain lad who was rather timid and didn’t know what his skills were, to a confident lad who has conquered these skills and is every inch a true Ranger’s Apprentice. I saw it happen, and it showed me that it’s not impossible to learn and become better at something, to master it. Especially if you have a good mentor and just don’t quit.

If I’d been in Will’s shoes (boots?), I would have stared at what needed to be learned/accomplished, and been crippled by doubts and “I-can’t-do-its”. But Will didn’t. And Halt wouldn’t stand for that anyway. (I’d be a terrible Ranger’s apprentice. XD)

BUT. If you just start something, and tackle it, and hang on and keep trying… then we too can learn and conquer the things we need to learn and do. Which is something I know in theory… but seeing it play out on the page, in this little story of characters I love, with fun and humor and an enjoyable fantasy story, I saw it, and I believed it, and so now I Know it, instead of just knowing it in theory.

Fin

That may sound odd. I mean, what do I mean by saying this “unrealistic” book, this Fantasy (oh, escapism; oh, horror. …’Scuse the Halt-ish sarcasm.) taught me things? I mean, who am I, finding things in a fantasy novel which teach me things about life? Shouldn’t I just find these things in some self-help blog?

But the thing is . . . it took a story — a real story, which I enjoyed and which was just for fun, not one that set out to do this (because I suspect then it would not have sunk in nearly as deeply, if at all) — to prod at my subconscious and bring out things that I kind of knew or suspected but hadn’t ever thought of in that way before. It inspired me and let me put it into words.

To know that you have skills and a place in the world, that you have YOUR Rangers to find that might be somewhere out there in the world, is a liberating thought. And so is seeing that keeping on and practicing can make a difference. I can know a thing in theory without really knowing it, and that’s what I’m trying to say.

What I’m trying to say is, even though this is just a fun little book, and I enjoyed it as simply a good STORY, it also made me happy to see Good people and was like a breath of fresh air, and it showed me there’s a place for everyone. Even if you feel like you don’t fit in — especially if you feel like you don’t fit in; it’s Will’s uniqueness that makes him the perfect fit for a job that only a handful of people can fulfill — there’s somewhere that you belong, even if you don’t know what it is yet. Something you can DO, that you’re meant to do. We just have to find it. And no matter how impossible a thing may seem, if you just keep at it, you can succeed.

I’m not saying it’s one of the the greatest books I’ve ever read, or one of the most profound; I’m not even saying that it will be this way for anyone else.

But the thing is . . . it doesn’t have to be.

It’s a fun and light read which I spent an enjoyable morning with and just… made me happy.

And that’s all it needs to be.

And, while it was at it, it showed me things about life where I’m at right now, without — I’m sure — really meaning to.

It made me smile and taught me things.

And isn’t that one of the things good Fantasy is best at?

Minstrel’s Call: Cover Reveal!

The final song is about to be sung . . .

The last book in Jenelle Leanne Schmidt’s epic fantasy series, beginning with King’s Warrior and continuing with Second Song and Yorien’s Hand, is about to release!

Yes indeed, book 4, Minstrel’s Call, is coming out on February 28, and I could NOT be more excited! 😀

Today, I’m here to share in the revealing of the cover!

But first, a bit about the book and the author…

Minstrel’s Call

War threatens. The game board is set. But the Minstrel is missing…

Advancing his growing power, the Dread Prince breaks free of his prison and brings a faction of dragons under his control, stirring unrest and hatred in the newly united kingdoms of Tellurae Aquaous.

When the dragon wards of Kallayohm are targeted in a ruthless attack, the High King travels there to administer justice. But the trial results in a crippling blow that leaves him reeling.

On the heels of defeat, an unexpected message from the erstwhile Minstrel arrives, pleading with his friends for rescue. Together, the High King and his companions must follow the fragile trail, braving peril and darkness that will test the measure of them all…

Pre-Order for 99 cents on Amazon

About Jenelle

Jenelle Schmidt grew up in the northern-Midwest. She now resides with her husband and their four adorable children in the wilds of Wisconsin. Jenelle fell in love with reading at a young age during family story-times when her father would read out loud to her and her siblings each night before bed. Her imagination was captured by authors such as Madeleine L’Engle, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Lloyd Alexander. It wasn’t long before she began making up her own stories and sharing them with her family. To this day she enjoys creating exciting adventure tales filled with poignant themes and compelling characters in the fantasy and sci-fi genres.

Find her online

Website/BlogFacebookTwitterAmazon Author PageGoodreads

Aaaand, without further ado, I give you: the cover!

Eeek! It’s so unique and epic and I love it! I’M RIDICULOUSLY EXCITED! ^_^ I especially love the waves, and it’s such a DIFFERENT cover and the ship is cool and I can’t wait! 😀

Have you tried out Jenelle’s books yet? They’re lovely if you haven’t! And for those of you who have, I hope you’ll join me in being excited for the release of the final one in the Minstrel’s Song series! IT’S ALMOST HEEERE!

(You can check out my reviews for the first three books in the series by clicking the images below.)

  Yoriens Hand - Cover Reveal Medium

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll