Tag Archive | H.L. Burke

Christmas-y Books!

(The Christmas books I own in physical form — and more listed below!)

Hello, my dear Pagelings! I’ll probably take a blogging break until the New Year (2020! *gasp*).

But before I slip off to enjoy the holidays, I wanted to share a list of Christmas-ish books! Ones I’ve read, ones on my TBR, and favorites!

If you’re looking for something Christmas-y to read, maybe you’ll find ideas on this list… and maybe you’ll recognize some favorites of your own!

If you don’t have time to read all of the post, skim for the titles marked in red because those are my favorites. 😀

I link to a few of them, but if you want to read more about any of them, you can find them all on Goodreads here!


Christmas Books and Novellas

  • A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens) — I mean, obviously. XD I enjoyed the original book, though I still say The Muppet Christmas Carol is my favorite version of this story. 😉
  • The Grift of the Magi (Ally Carter) — I just read this one and it MADE MY DAY, although those who have read the three Heist Society books will enjoy it more, since it’s a novella set after them. I love it! (Hale!)
  • Nyssa Glass’s Clockwork Christmas (H. L. Burke) — D’aww! Another one I just read this month. Nyssa and Ellis being cute and misunderstanding each other and trying to make their first Christmas perfect. Lovely steampunk Christmas novella. 🙂
  • Kate’s Christmas (Sarah Holman) — This came out last month and it’s another fabulous Kate’s Case Files FBI mystery book! With dashes of Christmas. ^_^
  • Freddy Goes to the North Pole (Walter R. Brooks) — I heard this audiobook when I was younger and I just love Freddy the Pig, Jinx the cat, Eek, Quick, Eeny, and Cousin Augustus (the mice), Mrs. Wiggins the cow, and even Charles the rooster. They go to the North Pole in this one and have to save Santa’s workshop from “pirates” and it’s been years since I read it but it was really fun.
  • When Santa Fell to Earth (Cornelia Funke) — Although I’m not always the hugest fan of Santa plotlines, a friend recommended this and I absolutely adored this book! Niklas is actually a young man who is “a Santa” (he’s really cool!) and his caravan crashes in an alley near a little boy’s house because his invisible reindeer ran off. It’s so charming and I love the illustrations.

Christmas Short Stories

  • The Sixth Christmas (Mollie E. Reeder) — THIS ONE. It’s sort of between a short story and a novella and it’s slightly Christmas-Carol-ish with a smidge of time-travel and the writing is FABULOUS and I just LOVE IT SO MUCH. AAHH. If you read only one book on this list, read this one. ^_^
  • The Villain Who Saved Christmas (C. B. Cook)This. Storyyyy! It’s about superheroes and a supervillain who’s kiiind of the most important character (don’t ask but it works and it’s awesome) and it’s a Christmas short story and I LOVE IT. So many feels. (My full review.)
  • Someday at Christmas (Kyle Robert Shultz)Crossover short story featuring characters from the Beaumont & Beasley and Crockett & Crane books… It’s about young Cordelia! I just love it! *hugs story*
  • Nyssa Glass and the Caper Crisis (H. L. Burke) — A short story prequel about Nyssa Glass before her first story, with a dash of Christmas if I remember correctly.
  • For My Good (Sarah Holman) — Loved this contemporary little tale, with a dash of mystery and Christmas and cameos from some Kate’s Case Files characters!
  • Distorted Glass (Sarah Holman) — Snow-Queen-esque contemporary short story.
  • The 12 Cats of Christmas (Perry Kirkpatrick) — I just read this one and it’s a cute contemporary short.
  • The Dragon and the Santa (Emily Martha Sorensen) — This was pretty hilarious. XD And very short, so I don’t want to spoil it, but the title alone should give a hint of the fun.
  • The Least of These (Kate Willis) — Another one I just read. Quick read, much snow.
  • Red Boots (Kate Willis) — I think I read this one awhile back but I remember it being charming. 🙂

Christmas Anthologies

  • Christmas in Talesend (Kyle Robert Shultz)This one could kind of go in the short story section above, but there are four of them, so… anothologies it is. XD I love these quick Afterverse Christmas stories! Especially the last one, in which Malcolm ends up calling himself the Christmas Dragon. XD It’s delightful!
  • A Very Bookish Christmas — This is a LIMITED COLLECTION which will go away after December 31 this year, so if you’re interested, be sure to go snag a copy! It features four Christmas novellas, inspired by different classic novels! 🙂 And from four talented authors, three of whom I’m featuring other Christmas stories from in this post: Sarah Holman, Rebekah Jones, and Kate Willis. Also J. Grace Pennington! I haven’t read three of the stories in this collection, but I’m sure they’re lovely, and I adored Gingerbread Treasures by Rebekah Jones, which I copyedited and is a modern-day mystery set in a little desert town around Christmas, with great characters, fun moments, and a mystery that was unique, while also inspired by a Sherlock Holmes story!
  • A Christmas Treasury — I read this so long ago I don’t really remember it but I’m sure there were some cool stories and songs in there.

Christmas Picture Books/Etc.

  • ‘Twas an Evening in Bethlehem (Jenelle Leanne Schmidt) — This just came out and it’s lovely!! I’ve been looking forward to reading this ever since I found out one of my favorite authors was releasing a picture book, and I finally got myself a copy and I love it so much! So BEAUTIFULLLL! *hugs it*
  • Letters from Father Christmas (J. R. R. Tolkien) — The letters “from Father Christmas” that Tolkien wrote to his children every year, collected in one place, complete with illustrations he drew, and tales of shenanigans at the North Pole — including Father Christmas, Polar Bear, various elves, and problems with goblins and stuff. XD I just love it so much!
  • A Tree for Peter (Kate Seredy) — I forgot about this one until I was looking through my Goodreads list. I need to re-read it but I remember it being charming like her books always are. ^_^
  • Christmas Coloring Devotions — I got this adult coloring book for review (see mine) from Zondervan back when they still had their Booklook reviewer program. It’s pretty fun with all the Christmas-y patterns and scenes to color.

(There’s a handful of other Christmas picture books I’ve read and have on my Christmas shelf on Goodreads.)


Christmas… Ish

(Wintry Christmas-like festivals in fantasy lands)

Sometimes it’s not actually a Christmas book — since it doesn’t actually have Christmas, per se — but it feels like it!

  • Wintermoon Wish (Sharon Shinn) — This is a short story, collected in Firebirds Rising edited by Sharyn November. I don’t care for most of the stories in the anthology but Wintermoon Wish is MY FAVORITE and I always read it around this time of year. It has a fantasy holiday called Wintermoon which sort of combines Christmas/yule-logs/New Year’s/winter solstice/etc. into a neat semi-magical holiday and it’s just SUCH a cozy, delightful read, with some of my favorite characters. I LOVE IT SO MUCH. ^_^
  • Flight of the Raven (Morgan L. Busse) — There was a delightful wintry festival in this and I loved it so much! ❤ It felt Christmas-y without being quite Christmas. It just made me happy — and I loved all the candles! (My review.)
  • Hogfather (Terry Pratchett) — Um. Not quite Christmas? But very much a parody and a hilarious fantasy Christmas-ish book. Anyone who’s read this will know what I mean. XD Anyone who hasn’t… well, it might not be your cup of tea unless you are a Pratchett fan. XD Discworld’s version of Christmas! (I also saw the movie and it was weird but kind of fun. XD)
  • We Three Dragons — I read this a couple of years back and don’t remember it all that well but I know there were dragons and Christmas-y feels and three different novellas about fantasy Christmases.

Books With Christmas

(That Aren’t Christmas Books. XD)

And a few that have some of my favorite Christmas parts, but aren’t technically about Christmas. 😉

  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis) — I mean, Father Christmas and his gifts are definitely an important part of the story. 😉 Plus, so wintry! (Even if… the winter part… isn’t actually a good thing. XD)
  • The Good Master (Kate Seredy) — One of my favorite Christmas chapters is the last chapter in this book. ^_^ (Even if the rest of the book isn’t about Christmas. XD)
  • The Singing Tree (Kate Seredy) — There are some fabulous Christmas parts in this, and anyone who likes WWI-era stories will love the book in general. 🙂
  • Brown-ears (Stephen Lawhead) — Most of this isn’t a Christmas book, but the end is and it makes it so perfect! ^_^ The story of a lost toy, which reminds me of Tolkien’s Roverandom. (Yes, Stephen R. Lawhead did write children’s books. This one as well as a sequel, and three tales of the Riverbank, the first of which is The Tale of Jeremy Vole. So good!)

On my TBR

Pretty much everything in this post so far, I’ve read, but I wanted to share a few on my TBR as well!

I’ve already read a few Christmas reads this month so we’ll see if I manage to squeeze in any more, but here are the ones on my list for this year or next year. ^_^

  • The Father Christmas Confessions (Emily Ann Benedict) — I loved this author’s contribution to the Vintage Jane Austen series (she wrote Perception, a retelling of Persuasion!) and I’m excited to try more from her. 🙂
  • The Father Christmas Profession (Emily Ann Benedict) — Sequel to the above, and sounds delightful!
  • 12 Days of (Faerie) Christmas (C.J. Brightley) — I loved this author’s Lord of Dreams, and any book with “Faerie” in the title next to “Christmas” sounds like something I need. XD
  • The Lawrence Chronicles (E. Bronwyn Hinkle) — I don’t remember when I picked this up but it sounded intriguing. 🙂
  • 24 Days Before Christmas (Rebekah Jones) — Mystery set at Christmas-time? Yes please! I read Gingerbread Treasures, by this author, which is collected (for a limited time!) in A Very Bookish Christmas, as I mentioned above, and I loved the mystery and the Christmas aspect, so I’m excited to read this. 🙂
  • Christmas Carol Society (Rebekah Jones) — Another by this author, and it just sounds super fun — a Christmas Carol society with the members being assigned a “Scrooge.”
  • Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball (Donita K. Paul) — Someone mentioned this in the Realm Makers Facebook group and said they read it every year. Color me intrigued! I’m excited to read it. 🙂
  • Behold (Faith Potts) — I picked up a copy of this short story collection when it was free the other day and I’m curious to try it out. 🙂

Do you have a favorite Christmas-y/seasonal/wintry book?

(I wanted to share some favorite winter-themed books too but ran out of space. Maybe next time!)

I hope you enjoyed and maybe found a book or two you want to read, and I hope you have a fabulous holiday season! See you in the New Year! Thanks for reading! ^_^

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! 🙂

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

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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. ^_^)