Tag Archive | H.L. Burke

In Bookish News: September 2018

Hi everyone!

It’s time for bookish news, including fantasy-character-book-awards happening right now, September book releases, and bookishness I’ve been up to (a.k.a. what I’ve been reading and August’s book haul and possibly a nightstand).

SEPTEMBER RELEASES

There were a lot of books in August, but fewer this month. (…Most likely because most of them are coming out in October. O_O) But here are a few I’m excited about! 🙂

  • Armor of Aletheia by Ralene Burke (technically this was the end of August, but hey) — This sounds like an awesome fantasy story — and by a fellow Realmie, too! I’m always up for an outcast princess and a bounty hunter hero sent after her… 😀 I’m excited to read it. 🙂 And I love the purple!
  • Kate’s Conundrum by Sarah Holman (September 1) — Wait, didn’t a Kate book just come out a few months ago, you ask? Yes it did, but there’s another one already, I’m SO STOKED about this story! I love the Kate’s Case Files books. 😀 (Plus, the cover makes me happy.)
  • Magnolia Summer by Melanie Dickerson (September 5) — This just came out yesterday and it’s a Zorro-esque historical romance set in Alabama! I’m so curious about it and it’s GORGEOUS! (Plus, it’s Melanie’s first self-published book, and the very first book she wrote, so that’s cool.)
  • I also hear a rumor of the second book in the Green Princess trilogy by H.L. Burke possibly releasing this month… Because she’s a writing machine. 😉 Which reminds me that I’m excited to read the FIRST book in that series… ahem. 😛

The Silmaril Awards

The Silmaril Awards are back!

You can learn more about them here at the shiny new official website, but basically it’s a fan-voted just-for-fun award to choose the best characters from fantasy literature, in different categories.

Nominations are happening right now! so you can check out the list of categories to nominate HERE! And you can drop by my own post, where I’m hosting the Wisest Counselor (a.k.a. best mentor-type characters) award — and leave a comment nominating your favorite wise fantasy characters! 🙂

Nominations are only open a couple more days (September 7 is the last day) before moving on to the voting round, so make sure you get in your nominees and second those already nominated!


August Book Haul

I wasn’t going to get many books after my Realm Makers book escapades, but a Bryan Davis sale happened, and I won a couple books (the top two — thanks to the author), and I last-minute suddenly went to a library sale (because absurdly-cheap-books — yay!) sooo I got a few. *nervous laughter*


August Reads

As always, you can find links to these HERE on Goodreads.

This was The Month of the Re-Read, apparently. I re-read many things.

Re-reads

  • Cart and Cwidder + Drowned Ammet by Diana Wynne Jones — It was so much fun re-reading these. 🙂 Which reminds me, I need to pop over to the DWJ Goodreads group and squeal about these, since the Dalemark Quartet is our summer bookclub read… Can’t wait to read the next two!
  • Magician’s Ward – Patricia C. Wrede — I finally read the first in the series, so of course I had to re-read this one, and Mairelon is still AWESOME. I love Regency Fantasy. 😀
  • Right Ho, Jeeves – P. G. Wodehouse — I’ve been audiobooking this one for awhile, listening in snatches while on walks or doing mindless chores like laundry, because my new phone means I can LISTEN TO THINGS and I’m so happy. Anyway, this was delightful and hilarious as always, and Jeeves and Bertie are CLASSIC. 😀

New Small Reads

  • Windswept – Sarah Delenah White — SO MUCH ADORBZ. AND FEELZ. And I loved it. (It’s by the author of Halayda. Of course I loved it.)
  • Initiation – Grace Bridges — I read this in a handy pamphlet given to me by the author when I had a mentor appointment with her at Realm Makers. It was an intriguing short story and made me curious about her Earthcore series, featuring New Zealand superheroes. 🙂
  • East of the Sun and West of the Moon — This was a random picture book I read. Because I’ve been meaning to brush up on this fairytale. It mayyy or may not be squeezing its way into one of my WIPs? We shall see.

New Reads

  • Mairelon the Magician – Patricia C. Wrede — I finally read this one (which takes place before Magician’s Ward) and while I didn’t love it as much as its sequel, it was still delightful! And I finally got to learn how Kim and Mairelon met. 🙂 🙂 Regency fantasy is (still) awesome!
  • Fly Away – Patricia MacLachlan — I hardly ever read contemporary, but I LOVE this author. This book was adorable and sweet and just precious and let me hug it.
  • The Worth of a King – Kendra E. Ardnek — Really enjoyed this new fantasy release! You can check out my review if you missed it, but basically Prince Delaney is MY FAVORITE and I need a winged horse and a cream cake ASAP.

September Nightstand

I’m currently in the middle of reading:

  • Fawkes – Nadine Brandes (review book)
  • Cinder – Marissa Meyer (for fun)

Hoping to read soon:

  • Spice Bringer – H.L. Burke (Fellowship of Fantasy Bookclub book of the month for September)
  • The Orphan’s Wish – Melanie Dickerson (review book)

I’m also have two or three re-reads, I a couple of books to edit and one to beta-read, and there’s also a couple of ebook review books… All of which adds up to about a dozen books. So I’m definitely going to stay busy this month. XD (Even if it wasn’t looking like it was already going to be a crazy month… *wilts slightly*)

I also just finished re-reading The Beast of Talesend (glorious as ever) and listening to Worldbuilding From the Inside Out by Janeen Ippolito (thanks to the author for the free audiobook code!) and enjoyed it. Mini review on Goodreads here. I told you I’ve been enjoying audiobooks suddenly. 😉


Bookish giveaway coming soon

Oh! And I’ll be having a blogiversary on my other blog (5 years since I started blogging! :O) next week, and I’m going to be giving away booooks! So… watch for that. 😉


That’s what I have for you today. Let me know what you’re currently reading or any bookish things you’re excited for! Thanks for reading! 🙂

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I’m Back! + Realm Makers Bookhaul + Bookish News! {August 2018}

Hello my page-dreamers!

It’s time to share ALL the bookishness that’s been up in my life while I’ve been… er… not blogging, and other bookish news!

Realm Makers & New Books

I’m finally back after being away from home and my blog for most of July, due to life and going to the Realm Makers conference, which was AMAZING. (I’ll hopefully put together a recap post on my other blog soon…ish.)

On the bookish front, I met SO many delightful authors and friends there, got a whole stack of books signed, and brought home way too many new books! (I jest. There is no such thing.)

July Book Haul

I got sooo many books at Realm Makers! (There are even 2 more not pictured in this photo; see below. XD)

I’m not going to list them aaall, but the ones I’ve read are Magicians’ Rivalry (I had to get the new cover, so I traded a pineapple for it… yes, that was a thing), and The Janus Elixir and The Hound of Duville (both of which I edited, so I may be biased, but they’re hilarious and awesome), and Healers and Warriors and Windswept, which I just finished! (All the books on the bottom row were given to me, save for the pineapple trade and Launch.) I’m SO excited to read all the new reads! ❤ It’ll just take me a gazillion years, is all. XD

Forgive the graininess of photo; hotel room lighting is not conducive to good pics. XD Flower by H.L. Burke (The Green Princess book 1), which I’m excited to read! And The Electrical Menagerie by Mollie E. Reeder, which I ADORED (as I may have mentioned. *cough*). Loved it so much I had to buy a paperback at Realm Makers, and I was so excited to meet the awesome author, who is so sweet! ❤ (These are separate from the rest of my Realm Makers bookhaul, because I’m lending them to one of my roomies so don’t have them home with me yet. :D)

And then my not-at-Realm-Makers book acquisitions of July. Blue and white covers with masks! TWINS! 😀 I LOVED Lightporter, which was a gift from the author (thanks, C.B.!) and Fawkes was a review book from Booklook Bloggers which I’m excited to read! 😀


Instagram!

Also, I’m now on Instagram! *gasp* You can check out my account where I’m mostly sharing Bookstagram posts… because books. 😉


July Reading

I… read a total of one book in July. I was just so busy! *collapses*

But I really enjoyed it, so that’s always good. 😉 I’m addicted to this series featuring modern times/fae/biblical stuff/fun characters — it’s one of my happy places. 🙂


August Nightstand

I hesitate to do a monthly nightstand these days because there’s never enough time to read the ones I want to, so what I’m planning to read always changes on a regular basis. XD But here are some books I’m excited to read… and if I get two or three of them read in August, I’ll be happy! 😛

Rereading King’s Warrior (aloud), and rereading The Dalemark Quartet, if I can find time! (Actually, I just read the first two in the series, so now I just have the second pair…) The rest are new reads (Renegade Skyfarer, The Wildcat of Braeton, Dagger’s Sleep, Divine Summons, Windswept — the one without a thick enough spine to see, but I just read it! — Dissociate, Orphan’s Wish, Fawkes) and I’m sooo excited for them all. 😀 Plus ebooks. But we won’t go there. 😉

(Also notice my cute owl bullet journal which was my constant companion for my Realm Makers trip.)


AUGUST RELEASES

Aren’t they so pretty?? I love the purpley-blue-green colors this month. XD (Links to their pages on Goodreads can be found here at least for now, if you’d like to investigate them further.)

  • The Wolf Prince by Claire M. Banschbach — I’ve been reading snippets of this on the author’s blog for ages now and I love her stories, so I’m ecstatic for it to release!
  • The Worth of a King by Kendra E. Ardnek — I’m on the blogtour for this one, so you’ll likely see a review from me near the end of the month. I’m excited to check it out!
  • The Fall of Gondolin by J.R.R. Tolkien & Christopher Tolkien — This one’s like the Beren and Luthien book from last year, a collection of the various drafts etc. of one particular story, from various stages of Tolkien’s writing, but I’m still really excited. And illustrations by Alan Lee. 😀
  • Fairest Son by H.S.J. Williams — A retelling of Snow White where the Snow White character is a Fae prince. I’m ABSURDLY excited for this novella! It looks delightful! 😀
  • Discerned by Sarah Addison-Fox — The 4th and final book in the Allegiance series — I can’t wait to read this conclusion! (Of course, I should probably read Dissociate, book 3, first. *cough*)
  • Tales of Ever After by the Fellowship of Fantasy authors — You probably already know about this one, since I was on the blog tour. XD But fairytale retellings! I’ve only read the three of the stories which I reviewed, but I’m looking forward to reading the rest.
  • Dancing and Doughnuts by Rachel Kovaciny — All I know about this one is that it’s a western retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, so basically I need it. XD
  • Spice Bringer by H.L. Burke — I’m addicted to this author (who writes way too fast, apparently, because I never seem to catch up on reading all her fun books!) and the cover is gorgeous and I need to meet the snarky fire salamander, Alk, who’s inhabiting the cover. So yeah. I’m excited for this shiny. 😀

Bookish Events in August

To celebrate Escape and Endurance releasing, Sarah Holman is doing an awesome Journey Through Taelis thing this month, with freebies, discounts, giveaways, and fun — so check it out! 🙂

It’s the last month for the Fellowship of Fantasy’s Summer Reading Quest for kids (here’s the link for older readers) and… I’ve hardly read anything for it because life, but hey. XD

The Last Motley by DJ Edwards (my review) is the book of the month for the Fellowship of Fantasy bookclub, so if you’re looking for a good read this August and if you do the Facebook thing, head on over there and check it out! 🙂


Whew! Okay, that’s the roundup of bookish things. I’m so happy to be back to blogging! What are you reading these days? And are you excited for any of the new releases I mentioned? Have you read any of the books in my bookhaul? (So excited!) Chat with me! Thanks for reading! 🙂

At the Corner of Elm and Main by H.L. Burke (Mini Review)

Hallo, my page-dreamers!

I’m back for one last mini review on the Tales of Ever After blog tour! (Scroll to end for giveaways, which are ending TONIGHT, so hasten!)


At the Corner of Elm and Main

by H. L. Burke

 

What an utterly charming and perfect story! ❤

GAH. *clutches heart* *clutches this story and hugs it* At the Corner of Elm and Main is SO ADORABLE. I love it so much! ❤ I’m having a hard time explaining it, but how cool is the idea of a sentient lamppost? It makes me think of a Pixar short or something. Which of course is perfect. 🙂

I love the setting and “feel” of this one, feeling somewhat shadowy and cold with (probably) cobblestone streets and rain and a lamplighter going around lighting lamps, including our hero, Abner.

Abner the lamppost is MY FAVORITE THING. He’s wonderful. I loved reading the story from his perspective. And I loved the mysterious old woman who sits on the bench, too.

This is a positively delightful original fairytale type story, with SO much heart and charm. It’s a joy to read, but also has depth to it, and unexpected feels. Everything was so vivid and the delightful writing drew me right into it. It’s going to sound weird but I really related to the lamppost character. ^_^

I’m definitely going to be reading this one again sometime. It lit a light in my heart and made me smile. 🙂

I can’t say anything else without spoiling it, but basically, you need this adorable story in your life ASAP! Go forth and read it and have your heart melted like mine was! ❤


If you missed them, you can read my review for two other short story in this collection, Believing Fairytales (by Arthur Daigle) and Cinders (by Kendra E. Ardnek).

Check out the rest of the stories in this anthology! It’s free on all ebook platforms! (See links below.)

Tales of Ever After

Rescue a princess, meet a mermaid, win your reward.

The authors of the Fellowship of Fantasy tackle fairy tales from once upon a time to happily ever after. Explore twists on old tales and brand new magical stories. Meet feisty mermaids, friendly lampposts, and heroes who just might be monsters themselves.

This fourth anthology from the Fellowship of Fantasy will lead you on a quest for entertainment and storm the castle of your imagination. So make a wish and enter the deep dark woods to find stories that will make you laugh, shiver, and maybe even fall in love.

LINKS

Amazon • Books2Read Universal Link • Goodreads


Tour Schedule

Check out the blog tour schedule HERE.


GIVEAWAY!

And now it’s time to enter a delightful giveaway the Fellowship of Fantasy authors are hosting — there are 3 giveaways! (Rafflecopter hates me so you’ll just have to click the links. XD)

U.S. Only Giveaway:

(All books are paperback, and possibly signed)

***LINK***

International Giveaway:

(All books are ebooks of the winner’s file format of choice)

***LINK***

Comment Giveaway:

The person who leaves the most comments across the blog tour will receive the chance to read special sneak peaks from several of the authors’ upcoming works!


Do you like stories featuring inanimate objects who are more than they seem? I love them — they’re so adorable! Are you going to check this one out? 😉 Thanks for reading! 🙂

The Magicians’ Reckoning (by H.L. Burke) – Spellsmith & Carver, #3

Title: Magicians’ Reckoning (Spellsmith & Carver, #3)

Author: H. L. Burke

  • Date read: October 12, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Steampunk / Fantasy / Gaslamp Fantasy
  • Age: Adult
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 200 (ebook)
  • Series: Spellsmith and Carver, #3
  • Fave character: Everbodyyyy! (Okay, Jericho…)
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free e-ARC of this book from the author (thank you!); these opinions are entirely my own.
  • Links: Amazon • GoodreadsAuthor’s Website

Firstly, I LOVE THIS COVER TO BITS. ❤ (And I’m not going to lie: I’m super pleased how it fits with my blog’s colors. XD)

So much happens in this story… Death, birth, marriage, life, laughter, love, heartbreak, magic, snark, clockwork fox, friendship, and fun. It’s all in there, and well-written and emotional, and I’M ADDICTED TO THIS AUTHOR’S BOOKS, OKAY? Okay.

It came super close to losing a star due to some sad things, buuut I’m mostly just relieved that it turned out much better than it looked like it might. XD

This book had SO MANY FEELS involved. It made me cry a couple times too—tears streaming down my face near the end there. It packed a punch. 😉 Normally books making me cry isn’t a thing in their favor, but I guess it just depends on the one. I laughed, I cried, it moved me, Bob. But I’m not FURIOUS at it, like I would be if certain unforgivable things had happened, and it actually ended really well, considering, so I’m happy. ^_^ But I will say no more on that count, because spoilers. 😉 BUT I’M MOSTLY OKAY, HONEST, THANKS FOR ASKING.

It’s sort of like the three books in this trilogy are stepping stones, as far as audience goes, though. To ME at least, the first book feels like YA—more lighthearted, focused on the buddy (or really-not-buddy. XD) relationship between the two heroes, with a dash of romance between one of them and the other’s sister, and it’s a wild romp in Faerie. Basically my favorite thing. The second one felt more New Adult to me, with a newly-wed couple and more issues like law and some other issues, and more to the steampunk city, and not as much magic. It just felt… older, somehow? And then the third one feels more Adult (to me) since it’s dealing with a married couple and being new parents, and also some dark subjects, and more about being grown ups, and there’s just… a lot going on. So the first one is very much my favorite, and the other two books… I don’t connect with their lives as much since it’s outside of my experience? But of course, since I love the characters so much, I wanted to follow them and see what happened, so. 😉 Just so readers are aware that the content matures as the books progress, which kind of surprised me, but hey. And it’s just hard to top the brilliance that was book one. XD

I loved Lotta in this!! I don’t know why, but the parts from her perspective where she was comparing human emotions etc. to machines (because she’s an introverted, technical person and understands how to fix things, but other people are kind of a mystery for her) were just awesome. I LOVED how she used her unique outlook to manage to deal with people. 🙂 And she and Auric are really cute, sooo. 😉

Jaspyr! Jaspyr the clockwork fox was in this more and I LOVE HIM SO MUCH. There were THINGS going on and I won’t spoil them but alsdkfjkldj so much awesome. 😀 Oh, and Rill of course is always a good thing. 🙂 And certain side characters who I also love…

There were some characteristic banter moments between my precious, favorite lads, Auric and Jericho, because their buddy relationship is the BEST. 🙂 There’s not as much as in the first book, of course, but still some fun. And in a way there wasn’t much TIME for that, since it’s a somewhat more feelsy book and all the characters go through the wringer and just— *collects them all and wraps them in blankets and gives them tea because the poor precious characters*

There’s also more Faerie stuff going on again in this one than in the middle book (not as much as in the first, but some) and it was creepyyyy. O.o Meep. Though I did want to smack some of the characters’ heads together BECAUSE THEY SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER. Goodness. It was kind of stressful but engrossing, I suppose. XD And I still love this world, and magic system, and just all of it. ❤ So much great, vivid fantasy in this gaslamp, steampunk, fantasy world. 🙂

Anyway, it was a good conclusion to the Spellsmith and Carver trilogy, a tad more adult/dark/sad than I expected (but I lived. ;)), and there was still a lot of awesomeness and fun, and I just love Jericho and Auric and Rill and Lotta and Jaspyr and the rest SO MUCH. ❤ If you enjoyed the first two, you’ll probably like this one as well!

Now, allow me to direct you toward Magicians’ Rivalry, book 1, because I know I’ve said it before, but you need that book in your life if it isn’t yet. 😉

Favorite Quotes

Accepting his proposal … more like putting together a machine from scrap without any schematics to reference. How did one make a marriage? There really should be instruction manuals about that sort of thing.

***

Lotta tried to remember what friends having tea were supposed to talk about. She’d tried to read a book that involved a lot of talking over tea once, but had only got about halfway through before putting it aside in favor of a steam engine repair manual. Now she regretted that.

***

Auric managed an anxious laugh. “Well, if you do kill me, I’ll try not to take it personally.”

“It’s not funny.” Jericho scowled.

***

Lotta dug through her bag. Her uncle always told her it was a bad idea to travel with dynamite. Well, she was about to prove how wrong he was!

***

“Or blow up her beacon!” Lotta instinctively reached towards her satchel.

“I think we should try and scope things out before we rush in and demolish things.” Jericho’s tone could’ve scrubbed rust off old iron.

***

The door knob rattled.

“I said, go away!” Auric pulled the pillow over his head.

A whiff of burnt cedar and a slight crackling of magical energy, and the door popped open.

Auric tossed his pillow into Jericho’s face. “Did you just use an unlocking spell on my door?”

Jericho tucked his stylus into his pocket. “No.”

~ ~ ~

Click covers for other related reviews:

Beggar Magic Spellsmith and Carver: Magicians' Rivalry Spellsmith and Carver: Magicians' Trial Coiled

~ ~ ~

Have you tried Spellsmith and Carver? And do you enjoy steampunk, or have any recs for me? 😀

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Magicians’ Trial (Spellsmith & Carver #2) by H.L. Burke

Title: Magicians’ Trial
Author: H. L. Burke

  • Date read: August 4, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Steampunk
  • Age: New Adult?
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 203 (Kindle)
  • Series: Spellsmith and Carver, #2 (see my review for book one!)
  • Fave character: Jericho and Auric
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free e-ARC of this book from the author (thank you!) and these opinions are entirely my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

Another fabulous Burke book! Due to the amount that I loved the first Spellsmith and Carver book, and the fact that I was expecting something more like the first one, I didn’t enjoy this one quiiiite as much as I hoped to, but it was still an excellent book! I just wasn’t expecting it to be so different. XD

Book 1 (Magicians’ Rivalry) featured the buddy-story-type beginning friendship of Jericho and Auric, and shenanigans in Faerie, with a dash of cute romance. It’s very fantasy-esque, features SO MUCH snark, and I adored it so much! (I guess I thought the next one would be more of the same. :P)

Book 2 (Magicians’ Trial) was completely unexpected, which now that I’m over that, is likely a good thing, because NEW. Even if the other kind is more my favorite. XD I’d call this one more of a steampunk story with dashes of magic and yes some of that famed snark still. 😉 It’s mostly set in their capitol city, instead of in Faerie, and there’s not as much magical happenings because MAGIC DROUGHT which is kind of our heroes’ fault… XD

I loved Auric and Jericho’s continuing friendship (with bouts of bickering, naturally) even if I miss the early days of it; and two certain characters are MARRIED now (*gasp*) which made for a different angle to the story than what I’m used to… You don’t see a lot of the continued adventures of married couples once the beginning romance has led to a wedding. XD I still prefer the first-romance part buuut at least it was new. So there were different dynamics in this one (married couple, friends who are actually friends now and not just by necessity, and a lot more of Rill than last time) which was definitely unique, even if different than I hoped/expected. XD

It was super exciting, well-written, and awesome though! I did really enjoy it. 🙂 It’s a thrilling, unique tale, more like a mystery and a steampunk city type of thing, with dashes of fantasy and snark and beloved characters, romance, humor, peril, betrayal, and so many things! I think it felt a little more like Beggar Magic than Magicians’ Rivalry, if that makes sense, but it was fascinating to see these new places and characters, and lovely to read more about Jericho, Auric, and Rill. 🙂

There’s also a new character, Lotta, who is very different, but neat—and she’s super shy and paranoid and mechanic-y, which was adorable—as was a certain new blooming romance. 😉 And I liked her uncle. XD Also there is more of Jaspyr, the mechanical fox—yay!—and I absolutely loved a certain part where he proved himself! *bouncing up and down and cheering* And a scary magical assassin lady with a totally creepy mechanical monkey. O_O EEP. And all sorts of mysterious characters doing mysterious things and popping in and out, and an austere inspector, and various plots—basically very mystery-vibed! WHO DO YOU TRUST. Ahem.

It was super interesting to see them having to use their wits to get them out of things sometimes when magical things wouldn’t work. XD Clever and fun! And of course the highlight is still Auric and Jericho’s great buddy relationship, on top of the snarkiness and humor and adventure. ^_^ AURIC AND JERICHO! ❤

All in all, I still loved book 1 the most, but this one was totally different and fascinating, thrilling and unputdownable (it’s a word, hush), and another worthy addition to the Spellsmith and Carver trilogy! (Now I’m anxiously awaiting book 3, terrified for what will happen to my precious character friends in the final installment, but so looking forward to more of these awesome characters in this fascinating fantasy/steampunk world!)

If you haven’t gotten a bit of Spellsmith and Carver in your life yet, you need to—so hasten to it, book friends! You need them in your life. ^_^

Favorite Quotes

“Technically, Auric could go alone,” Jericho said. “However, I don’t trust him to. Not that he wouldn’t represent us well, but he already hinted that he’d take the fall for this, and I want to be sure he doesn’t confess to something to spare the rest of us and end up in jail or worse.”

Her mouth tightened. “Yes, because Auric is the one who has a history of making stupid sacrificial gestures to protect the people he loves with no regard for his own well-being. That’s definitely only Auric. No one else we know has ever done anything foolish like that.”

***

“Are you sure you don’t wish me to accompany you?”

Auric rolled his eyes. “You, too? What, do I have ‘incapable of speaking for myself’ written on my forehead this morning?”

***

“I’m sorry. I should go. You’re obviously busy setting booby traps and—”

***

“Just a fox sniffing about the hen house for an opportunity.” Jericho snorted.

Jaspyr yipped.

“No offense, buddy.” Jericho rubbed the fox’s ears.

***

Auric gasped. “The water is rising.”

“How can you tell? Is it the fact that the stream is blocked by a cartload of rubble and it’s swirling about our ankles?” Jericho indulged in an eye-roll. Sarcasm wouldn’t help anything, but it soothed him.

***

“I can’t swim, remember?”

Auric gaped. “Still? After everything that happened last time, you never bothered to learn?”

“I’ve been busy!” Jericho snapped.

***

“Trust me, he’s going to regret that. After all, it is foolish to get on the bad side of either Spellsmith or Carver … and I just happen to be both.”

***

He entered and found Auric lying on the floor surrounded by a sea of papers, a thick, leather-bound book over his face.

“Death by bureaucracy?” Jericho chuckled.

Auric pushed aside the book and squinted at him. “Just resting my eyes.”

***

No, Jericho told himself. This is not how I die. I’ve faced dragons and vengeful Fey. I’m not going to be killed by a ridiculous monkey.

***

“Uh-huh. Auric, do you know what I thought of you when we first met?”

“Not really, I guess.” Auric strode over to an upholstered bench against the far wall and sat down.

Jericho stood over him. “I thought you were a spoiled brat who only cared about himself,” he said.

Auric raised an eyebrow. “Thought as in past tense, right?”

~ ~ ~

Other similar reviews:

  

So, are you a steampunk fan? And have you tried Spellsmith and Carver yet? 😀

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

(I just like this, okay. ^_^)

Coiled by H. L. Burke

Title: Coiled
Author: H. L. Burke

I love H.L. Burke’s books, so I was absolutely delighted when I won this in a giveaway! (I loathe snakes, but her funny snek memes make me laugh, and I ended up really enjoying this book despite the scary snakes. XD)

I was only vaguely familiar with the Eros and Psyche myth this retells, but it did feel familiar enough (and kind of Beauty-and-the-Beast-ish too), that I quite enjoyed the retelling aspect! 🙂

The mirror curses were fascinating and that whole fairytale-ish element was well done!

It had a rather “Greek myth” feel to it, even though it’s clearly supposed to be a bit different, which was interesting because I haven’t read much like that. It felt fresh and different for a fantasy novel. The mix of “gods” with a Christian theme was surprisingly well done!

I loved the sweet true-love romance and these lovable characters and their great dialog. 😀 Quite fun! ^_^

Laidra was such a good soul, and Calen was super nice and awesome. 🙂 Also, Zephia was really cool. :O I loved the parts with her and Laidra as well, even if I missed Calen for those bits.

The villainous characters were chilling and creepy, but also oddly human, so that you get the feeling they’re just hardened from their lives and more “real” and sometimes almost feel bad for a couple of them—almost. 😛 Not quite. XD

Some of it was grittier than I would have liked and I could have done without a few of the references, but mostly it was just very well written and gripping. 🙂

Overall, it’s not my favorite but I still really liked it! It’s a great fairytale romance tale, fresh, engaging—sometimes fun or heartbreaking or sweet by turns. I quite enjoyed it! ^_^ Looking forward to more great novels by this author! 🙂

(Note: I won a copy of this book in a giveaway and was not required to write a review; these opinions are my own.)

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Magicians’ Rivalry (Spellsmith & Carver, #1) by H. L. Burke

Title: Spellsmith and Carver: Magicians’ Rivalry
Author: H. L. Burke

  • Date read: June 8, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Steampunk
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 207 (Kindle)
  • Series: Book 1 in the Spellsmith and Carver series. (Book 2, Spellsmith and Carver: Magicians’ Trial, is coming out July 31! I’m so excited!)
  • Fave character: Jericho (…And Auric. …And both of them as a team. :D)
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free e-ARC copy from the author (thank you!). I was not required to write a positive review; these opinions are my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s BlogAuthor’s Website

I only this year discovered H. L. Burke’s books, and quickly became addicted to them—this one is my favorite yet! In fact, it’s one of my favorites I’ve read this year. ❤ (It’s taken me awhile to review it because HOW do I sum up my love for this thing?)

This book has everything you need for a book to be an awesome favorite! It’s a buddy story (more on that in a minute), and to add on top of that, not only is it a buddy story, but it’s a MAGICAL buddy story, in a Faerie world, with a dash of steampunk, loads of snark, and basically WHAT IS NOT TO LOVE? This book had Deborah-Will-Love-It written all over it, so I was extremely excited to read it. I’m glad to report that my initial suspicion was absolutely correct—it did not disappoint!

First and foremost, as mentioned, it’s a buddy story. I absolutely LOVE these kinds of stories—you know, the ones where there are two fellows who are at odds with one another and REALLY don’t get along, but are forced to work together with much snarky banter and possibly-perhaps-but-not-to-give-anything-away might end up the best of friends in the process, even if they might not admit it and STILL banter with each other, of course. 😉 Those books/films are some of my favorite plots, and this one lived up to that SO well! Definitely one of my favorite buddy stories! Auric and Jericho are just the best and I so enjoyed watching them having to put up with each other. XD

Continuing the list of awesome: Lovable characters! Meet Auric Spellsmith, Jericho Carver, and Rill Spellsmith. Auric and Jericho are rivals—Jericho is Auric’s father’s new apprentice, and is also in love with Auric’s sister, Rill. Auric is Very Not Pleased with both these things, and Jericho is not about to be kicked out, either. Tensions run high and it’s glorious. XD Then disaster strikes and they’re forced to work together, which is the best part of the book. 😉 They’re both very different and Jericho maaayyy or may not be my favorite, but I love Auric too and I especially love them having to be a team together. 😛

Rill is awesome too—she’s definitely a likable character, and the side-plot of her and Jericho’s romance was AWESOME. I love them so so much. ❤ There’s also an intriguing villain—I will not spoil things, but I thought the way the villain was written was utterly unique and original and I absolutely loved it. O_O And there’s an awesome clockwork fox named Jaspyr, who had a few cameos and hopefully will appear more in the sequel…

The world is so neat! The magical system was interesting, and I loved their journey in the perilous Faerie world, all the creatures they met (unicorns! Dragon! Other scary things!), and how there was a slight steampunkish feel to their own world. Just—just—Faerie-ish books make me happy! I looooved the worlds and “feel” of this book.

There’s a touch of Christianity as well, which I loved—it wasn’t a big part of the story, but a natural part of their world, and I liked that feel. 🙂

Snark. Did I mention snark? Because the snark levels are strong with this one, and their dialog is a joy to read. XD

It’s SO fun, with the characters and bantering and buddy-story, but it’s also heart-pounding and thrilling and scary sometimes, and so well-written that it effortlessly tugged me along on this fast-paced adventure. It’s only just a rollicking adventure; it felt like there was a layer of deeper emotion and truth there too, and just—it was so so good!

Overall, this is a fun, exciting fantasy novel, with some of my favorite characters (*hugs them all*) it had me constantly wanting to quote it… I simply enjoyed it SO VERY MUCH! I’ve heard there’s to be a sequel releasing very soon, and I could not be more ecstatic. I need more Spellsmith and Carver in my life! I definitely, DEFINITELY, recommend this book! Just read it! ❤

Favorite Quotes

(I want to quote THE WHOLE BOOK. AWK. And some of my faves are spoilers anyway… So these are just a few gems…)

***

“It takes more than time to change people, Rill,” he said. “They actually have to want to change.”

***

“You can’t skip the journey. The way you get to things is just as essential as the end results.”

***

“My head is pounding, but I’d thought it was just the stress of putting up with you.”

***

“From everything we’ve encountered so far, I think we can safely assume that anything we meet in this world is going to try and kill us.”

***

Broad-shouldered and tall, Jericho stooped to avoid hitting his head on low beams, grumbling with every step. “Seriously, whoever built this place didn’t have grown men in mind.”

“I’m doing fine.” Auric scoffed.

Jericho glanced over his shoulder and smirked. “I said grown men.”

“Push me a little farther, Jerry, and you’ll get to the bottom of the stairs a lot faster.”

“Quiet, boys!”

***

Jericho slipped his penknife under the wax seal and popped it open.

“Jerry!” Rill gasped. “That’s not yours.”

“Your father has disappeared, Rill. We can apologize for reading Auric’s mail later.”

She crossed her arms. “Well, at least read it out loud.”

***

“Are you all right?”

“No.” Jericho scowled. “I thought we’d established that a while ago.”

Janus frowned. “Sarcasm, one of my least favorite aspects of the human race.”

***

Jericho and Auric will find out I was taken soon enough. Either one of them would be a force to be reckoned with. Together? God help this idiot.

***

The muscles in Jericho’s jaw clenched and unclenched as if he were trying to rip his way through a sinewy chunk of meat. Auric suspected if they didn’t see some sign of progress soon, Jericho might begin gnawing on trees.

***

Auric scowled. “No. We’re in this together.”

“I can’t swim!” Jericho waved at the river. “I won’t get you both eaten because I was too shortsighted to learn a basic skill.”

~ ~ ~

Doesn’t this sound FUN? And do you like buddy stories? I’m always on the lookout for great ones, so if you have any favorite books/shows/films that feature a great buddy duo, I’d love to hear about it!! 😀

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer