Tag Archive | Jackaby

Top Ten(ish…okay 24) Books Releasing 2017!

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Today’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) is “Top Ten 2017 Debuts I’m Excited For” which I, in my rebel state, am tweaking to any and all 2017 releases (not just debuts) and am also expanding on the number… (Okay, so it’s 24. I never said I was good with maths.)

Because I’m obsessed thoughtful, I compiled a list of books that are coming out in 2017, or that I think (or hope) or have seen rumored that are coming out that I’m interested in reading.

Behold!

2017TO RELEASE 2017

  • The Bear and the Nightingale – Katherine Arden (Jan 10): Random Russian (I think?) folklore retelling-ish book I ran across on Goodreads and thought was interesting.
  • Heartstone – Elle Katharine White (Jan 17): High Fantasy Pride and Prejudice retelling with Dragons. I AM SOLD POINT ME IN ITS DIRECTION.
  • King’s Blood (Kinsman Chronicles #2) – Jill Williamson (Jan 31): Sequel to King’s Folly, fantasy novel by Jill Williamson = gimme.
  • The Lost Girl of Astor Street – Stephanie Morrill (Feb 7): Curious about this historical fiction mystery from one of the authors of the Go Teen Writers blog.
  • A Viscount’s Proposal (Regency Spies of London #2) – Melanie Dickerson (Feb 7): Long-awaited regency romance sequel to A Spy’s Devotion, about the sister of the hero from the first book — very excited!
  • Gilded Cage – Vic James (Feb 14): Random historical fantasy book I ran across on Goodreads (I’m so shallow and random, I know) that sounded interesting.
  • Shadow Run – AdriAnne Strickland (Mar 21): Random sci-fi book I ran across on Goodreads and thought sounded interesting because it sounded kinda like Firefly just because.
  • Beren and Luthien – J.R.R. Tolkien (May 4): I know, a lot of people are tired of these rehashed “books” by Tolkien. But I’m personally pretty excited because although I’ve read much of his various Beren and Luthien drafts, I think it will be cool to see the different versions altogether. Plus, illustrated = win. ALSO: shoutout because it’s Tolkien’s birthday today! Happy birthday!
  • The Noble Servant (Thornbeck Forest #3) – Melanie Dickerson (May 9): Final book in the trilogy after The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest and The Beautiful Pretender, this historical fiction, Christian romance fairytale retelling of The Goose Girl/The Prince and the Pauper has me pretty excited to read it. It’s about Magdalen from The Beautiful Pretender and I can’t wait.

RUMORED: Level #1

(listed on Goodreads, with 2017 release dates)

  • The Bone Queen – Alison Croggon (2017 USA release): This fantasy prequel to The Naming, about Cadvan (gimme!), already released in Australia LAST year and I want it now please and thank you.
  • Exiles (Ilyon Chronicles #4) – Jaye L. Knight: I know, I haven’t gotten this far in this Christian Fantasy series yet. Still, it wanted to be in this post. *shrug*
  • The Reluctant Godfather – Allison Tebo: Retelling of Cinderella with “a young and cantankerous fairy godfather” — sounds amusing and delightful.
  • Untitled (Penderwicks #5) – Jeanne Birdsall: This one’s been listed for 2017 for aaages, so we’ll see if it happens. I NEED ANOTHER PENDERWICK BOOK. Even though I’m terrified too because the kids are like grown up and it’s the last book and eek.
  • Untitled (Jackaby #4) – William Ritter: Curious about the last Jackaby book, since Ghostly Echoes cliffhangered… Maybe there will be some answers about Jackaby, and he’ll hopefully continue with his awesome banter in another intriguing historical fantasy mystery?
  • Untitled (Stolen Crowns #1) – Jessica Day George: I’ve been looking forward to this one since… ages ago. Fantasy “sequel” of sorts, following up various fairytales, about their children… I think. Anyway, fairytales by Jessica Day George and I want ’em.

RUMORED: Level #2

(I’ve heard thiiings from the authors. Hoping!)

  • Songkeeper Chronicles #3 – Gillian Bronte Adams: Fantasy, final book in the trilogy, after Ophan’s Song and Songkeeper — I’m soooo looking forward to seeing how this series wraps up!!!
  • Minstrel’s Call (The Minstrel’s Song #4) – Jenelle Leanne Schmidt: Final book in this awesome fantasy series (King’s Warrior, Second Son, and Yorien’s Hand) — can’t wait! Dragons and epic fantasy, preciousss.
  • Modern Tales of Na Fianna #3 – Hazel B. West: Be still my beating heart. There’s going to be another book after Blood Ties and An Earthly King. CALENDAR, BE KIND TO ME AND MOVE THE YEAR QUICKLY TO THIS DATE, WHENEVER IT MAY BE.
  • A Different Kind of Purpose (A Different Kind of Courage #2) – Sarah Holman: Another Revolutionary War book, I’m really looking forward to this sequel to A Different Kind of Courage to see William get into (and hopefully out of) his next noodle.
  • Suit and SuitabilityKelsey Bryant: 1930s retelling of Sense and Sensibility, by a lovely author I know, I’m very much looking forward to this one! I just know it’s going to be lovely.
  • EmmelineSarah Holman: Also a 1930s retelling, of Jane Austen’s Emma, I was privileged to beta-read this last year and ADORED it, so I’m very excited for it to release! (Along with the rest of this Vintage Jane Austen 1930s retellings series by various authors. Methinks they’ll be fun. ^_^)

RUMORED: Level #3

(Very loosely rumored; may be wishful thinking)

  • Silver RoseShantelle Mary Hannu: Don’t know if this Christian Fantasy novel will see publication this year, but if it does I’M GOING TO BE ONE EXCITED FANGIRL. This book is one of my favorites and I can’t wait to see it in print! *flailing*
  • The Last MotleyDJ Edwardson: Again, not sure if it’ll be this year or not, but I’m quite excited for DJ’s hopefully-upcoming fantasy novel! I just know it’s going to be amazing. *flails because fantasy*
  • Lightporter (IDIA #2) – C.B. Cook: I honestly have no clue if this contemporary superhero tale (sequel to Twinepathy) is in the forecast for this year. But I hope it will be. >:D Because Blaze and Anvil and company are awesome and I’m selfish and want to read about  them ASAP they NEED this sequel because they need more screen page time.

Now all I need is more time/resources to acquire and read these books. XD (Not to mention more bookshelf space. Seriously.) #bookwormproblems

How about you? Are you excited about any of these? 😀 What books are coming out this year that you can’t wait to read? (Or… books that you can’t wait to read soon, regardless of when they were published!)

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Top 12 Books I Read in 2016!

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*comes in singing* Happy blogoversary to meeee!

That’s right, one year ago today, I posted my Foreword first post on this blog!

The Page Dreamer has officially existed for a whole year! *cue excitement* *and Gandalf fireworks* *because naturally*

Today I’m going to look back at this year of books—the reading, the reviewing, and, most importantly, my top favorite reads of the year! Let’s get to it. 🙂

Reading Stats

I read 78 books this year—huzzah!

I was planning for 60 (according to Goodreads) and overshot that a bit because I’m addicted an overachiever.

Check out my Year in Books on Goodreads to see them all listed! 🙂

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9 of those were rereads, 6 were nonfiction (*cue gasps from a shocked audience*), and 63 were new fiction reads.

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Of those 63, I rated 40 of them 5 stars.

*crickets*

I know, I have a problem with being very agreeable to most books. Moving on, then!

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10 books were 4 stars.

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7  books were 3 stars.

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6 books were 2 stars. (We do not speak of 3 of these, For Reasons Of Bad Endings, and one of them I just didn’t believe the romance most of the book [which never happens], and two were just all right.)

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According to my visible stats, I had no 1-stars, but that’s ignoring the fact that one story in a collection is totally a 1-star, even if I chickened out in my review and gave it a medium rating for being good most of the time until the ending WHICH WAS NOT OKAY. So 1 book was 1 star.

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(Seeing a trend here…? I literally rated two-thirds of the books I read in 2016 five-stars.)

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Fun fact: I read 12 books by Diana Wynne Jones this year. Yes, that averages to one every month. Half of those were new reads, and half were rereading aloud, because OH THE FUN. (Hence this being a fun-fact instead of just a fact. Ahem.)

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I also seem to have read 20,000 pages this year??? Um. What is up with that? O.o That’s like the same amount of WORDS I wrote this year (if you ignore the 50K during NaNo).

Okay, enough stats, I can tell I’m boring you. 😉

Without more further ado, I give you (in no particular order because I’m an indecisive otter, except my very favorites are in a special category at the top)…

My Top 12 (more or less) Reads of 2016

(All titles link to their Goodreads pages; I also link to my reviews if one was written.)

BEST OF THE BEST

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1. Paper Crowns – Mirriam Neal

{My Review}

A favorite up there with The Lord of the Rings and Howl’s Moving Castle, I was SO ecstatic when Paper Crowns was published this year! It has literally everything to make it a fantabulous book, including witty writing and banter, characters who are simply my FAVORITE (Hal! Azrael! And Salazar, Asterope, Astryn, Ginger… Just everybody) and Fey and a talking cat and adorable romance on the side and adventure and JUST READ THIS BOOK BECAUSE IT’S PERFECT. ❤ Favorite of the year. 🙂


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2. The Bone House / The Spirit Well / The Shadow Lamp – Stephen R. Lawhead

{My Review of The Bone House} {My Review of The Spirit Well} [review of The Shadow Lamp to come]

THIS SERIES. I haven’t finished it yet (The Fatal Tree was, however, a Christmas present, so that will be read very soon!) but the ones I’ve read so far are simply fabulous. Different eras and settings and cultures, lovable characters, adventure, stunning writing, and all deliciously complex. I can’t wait to finish! Book 4, The Shadow Lamp, may be my favorite of the series yet! Just so much is HAPPENING. (Plus Kit and Wilhelmina and Cass and Giles and even Haven, etc. <3)


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3. Blood Ties / An Earthly King – Hazel B. West

{My Review of Blood Ties} {My Review of An Earthly King}

I’ve done my share of flailing over this series, but REALLY, I just love these modern-Ireland-mixed-with-alternate-history-and-Faerie books! The friendships and adventure and humor and characters and WORLD are just so fabulous! ❤


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4. Fire and Hemlock – Diana Wynne Jones

{My Review}

Yeah, no surprise this is here… there has to be a DWJ book in my top few! 😉 I rambled enough about it in my review, but it was just AMAZING and I can’t wait to reread it this year. 😀 Tam Lin retelling, just brilliant, not to mention bookish things and writer things and modern Faerie things and Tom Lynn and his cello and amazingness. ❤

THE REST OF THE BEST

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5. Deep Secret – Diana Wynne Jones

This one was somehow way darker than any other DWJ book I’ve read before, with some more mature-audience elements, but it just sucked me in so completely and was so original and amazing and the characters and and and… Diana Wynne Jones!!! ❤ I really need to review this one. o.o (The sequel-of-sorts, The Merlin Conspiracy, is amazing too.)


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6. The Rose and the Balloon – Kirsten Fichter

{My Review}

Once again, all my thoughts are in my review (apparently I reviewed most of these?), but this was just a delightful Beauty and the Beast retelling novella and I adored it! ^_^ (Also Dmitri. And the bickering.)


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7. Jackaby / The Map: A Jackaby Story – William Ritter

{Series Review}

Because Jackaby. Jackaby himself is basically all that needs saying here. Also historical fantasy is something I apparently like? And references! Like having banshees and redcaps and allusions to the song Whiskey in the Jar — these things make me happy. 😀


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8. Yorien’s Hand – Jenelle Leanne Schmidt

{My Review}

Ohhh my goodness, this book! Dragons and fantasy and Brant the epic warrior and Kiernan Kane (the mysterious minstrel!) and all of the things! ❤ Just… really really good. I’m kicking myself for not having read the rest of the series yet… but that will happen SOON. ❤


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9. Defying Shadows – Ashley Townsend

{My Review}

Flailing is available in the full review, but TIME TRAVEL + ROBIN HOOD RETELLING + WILL + PLOT TWISTS + ADORABLE ROMANCE/CHARACTERS = Yes. ❤


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10. The Beautiful Pretender – Melanie Dickerson

{My Review}

Another Beauty and the Beast retelling, crossed with The Princess and the Pea, this was just an enjoyable book. ^_^ Really well-written with likeable characters; one of Melanie Dickerson’s best, so far!


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11. Moominsummer Madness – Tove Jansson

Standing in mostly for the entire Moomin series, I almost put Finn Family Moomintroll here but decided Moominsummer Madness is probably my favorite, if only because of Snufkin and the woodies and the park keeper. Just. YES. 😀 The Moomin books are DELIGHTFUL, Snufkin is a kindred soul of mine (seriously though. <3) and I just love these books! ^_^ This one has a flood and an abandoned theater stage and all sorts of fun, whimsical, fantastical shenanigans.


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12. The Castle Corona – Sharon Creech

I don’t even know why, but I simply adored this little tale in a vaguely-Italian fairytale kingdom, with a mystery and a Storyteller and all sorts of questions and intrigue and delightful characters! I even started out thinking I wouldn’t really like it but it totally surprised me, and now here it is on my top-reads-of-the-year post! Who would’ve thought! Simply utterly charming and delightful. ^_^

Honorable Mentions go to the following

(because they’re not my “usual” genre — being two Regency Romances and a Contemporary Superpower book — but they were really good)

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  1. Devil’s Cub – Georgette Heyer (BECAUSE GEORGETTE HEYER.)
  2. Emma – Jane Austen (This was unexpectedly extremely well done. Also Mr. Knightley.)
  3. Twinepathy – C. B. Cook (Blaze and Anvil! That is all.) {Read my review}

Bonus Categories

FAVORITE STORY IN A COLLECTION

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  • With Blossoms Gold – Hayden Wand (in ONCE: Six Historically Inspired Fairytales) — A retelling of Rapunzel, I simply ADORED it! It was fun, funny, exciting, and clever, and the banter and humor and character interactions, not to mention Prince Benedict (and Prince Orlando too) were just MARVELOUS. ❤
  • (Runner-up: Death Be Not Proud – Suzannah Rowntree in the same collection, because it was just so so brilliant and clever and this author is apparently amazing.)
  • Read my review for this collection

FAVORITE NONFICTION

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  1. Make Good Art – Neil Gaiman — Brilliant and inspiring and original. Loved it enough to read it 3 or 4 times AND listen to the speech a couple of times. {My review}
  2. If You Want to Write: A Book About Art, Independence and Spirit – Brenda Ueland — Finally, somebody (even if the book was from 1938) talking about writing the way I think of it, and about writing the way you want, and speaking out against criticism. This book inspired me SO much. ❤

FAVORITE PICTURE BOOK

  • The Water of Life – Brothers Grimm, retold by Barbara Rogasky, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman — I hadn’t read this tale of Grimm’s before, but it was great and I positively adore Trina Schart Hyman’s illustrations!

Blog Stats

Because it’s my blogoversary, so of course I want to look at my stats! 😉

Most popular posts:

(I find it slightly amusing that, for a book-review blog, my most-read posts are mostly non-review posts. XD)

  1. Cover Love: Some 2016 Releases
  2. Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag {2016}
  3. Bookish Book Lover Tag
  4. 25 Bookish Facts About Me
  5. By the Book Tag
  6. The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead
  7. Fantasy Fan-Art
  8. My Diana Wynne Jones Journey (So Far)

By the Numbers:

  • 61 posts (woohoo!)
  • 120 followers (you are all awesome! <3)
  • 720 comments (half of these being me replying. XD)
  • 1343 visitors
  • 3549 hits

Top Commenters:

  1. Christine
  2. Madeline J. Rose
  3. Skye
  4. Sarahtps
  5. Jenelle
  6. Savannah Grace

Thanks SO much, all of you awesome people, and just everyone who reads and/or comments — I so appreciate you all! ^_^ ❤


Whew. Now you know all about my year of 2016 — at least the bookish part… but that’s the most important, yes?? 😉

Have you read any of my top 12? (Or… a little more like top 24 if you look at categories and series… BUT STILL.) How was your year of reading in 2016? Tell me all! And I wish you all a fabulous reading year of 2017! Happy New Year!

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Ghostly Echoes (A Jackaby Novel) by William Ritter

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3starratingTitle: Ghostly Echoes (Jackaby, #3)

Author: William Ritter

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I’ve been looking forward to reading this for quite awhile, and now I have conflicted feelings on this book, and I can’t entirely decide what I think about it or what I should rate it. I just feel vaguely “meh.” I enjoyed it while I was reading it, but afterward… I dunno. I LOVED the first book (and the novella); the second one annoyed me; this one just fell a little flat somehow?

A couple things annoyed me/I didn’t like, or seemed totally randomly thrown in there “just because”, which was weird, and a couple things came out of the blue or weren’t explained; plus it was darker/creepier than the first two, at least to me. I mean, it’s about a ghost and underworld stuff, and there’s a ghost in the title so obviously. XD And I didn’t mind a lot of that as much as I thought I would, but still not as fun as the first one.

Buuut it did have some cool Faerie stuff in this one, so I liked that.

But it also kind of cliffhangered! At least, the book was suddenly over but the story wasn’t. So I feel strangely like I didn’t finish reading the book? Even though I know I did. It’s… kind of a weird feeling… >.> I do look forward to reading the final book whenever it comes out to see how it all ends up, but there’s some spark that the first one had that’s just died for me in the last couple. Might just be me, though.

I do still like Jackaby (most of the time), and Charlie’s loyal and adorable and awesome, just… not around very much (his parts were cool though). And I liked the Faerie stuff! Even though some of that was weird too, as were all the dead-people type things. And Jackaby doesn’t seem to be his usual fabulous self all the time. I mean, he is, and I still like him, but he’s not as THERE with his lines as he used to be; at least I don’t think so.

Anyway, it’s a pretty good book, just… I’m not enjoying them as much as they go on, I guess. (It’s also very possible I just wasn’t in the mood when I read it, since I was sick. *shrug*) I guess I enjoyed it okay, I just feel “meh” and mostly kinda left hanging since it didn’t wrap things up and is just leading up to the next book… But Jackaby is still fun to read most of the time, so there’s that. 🙂 And we get some slight hints about Jackaby backstory in this, so that’s neat… Hopefully there will be more in book 4. >:D

So, overall… read the first book, Jackaby, and the novella The Map. I’m still on the fence about the rest, so that will probably remain true until I can see how it wraps up in the final book. *nod* There’s just something about reading an “unfinished” book that leaves me unable to review it very well… Beware of cliffhangers, people!

summary

From Goodreads:

ghostlyechoescoverJenny Cavanaugh, the ghostly lady of 926 Augur Lane, has enlisted the investigative services of her fellow residents to solve a decade-old murder—her own. Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer, Detective R. F. Jackaby, dive into the cold case, starting with a search for Jenny’s fiancé, who went missing the night she died. But when a new, gruesome murder closely mirrors the events of ten years prior, Abigail and Jackaby realize that Jenny’s case isn’t so cold after all, and her killer may be far more dangerous than they suspected.

Fantasy and folklore mix with mad science as Abigail’s race to unravel the mystery leads her across the cold cobblestones of nineteenth-century New England, down to the mythical underworld, and deep into her colleagues’ grim histories to battle the most deadly foe she has ever faced.

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Genre/Category: Historical Fantasy / Mystery / Paranormal

Age Group: YA

Published: 2016

Pages: 340

Series?: Book 3 in the Jackaby Series — 1 Jackaby, 2 Beastly Bones, 1.5 The Map. (See my series review for all of these.)

When Read: November 28-29, 2016

Favorite Character: Jackaby, Charlie

Source: Library

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{Goodreads} • {Amazon} • {Barnes & Noble}


Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

 

Cover Love: Some 2016 Releases

From time to time, either here or on my other blog, I’ve mentioned books I’m excited about that are coming out this year, but some I’ve discovered recenter so I haven’t listed them, and some didn’t have covers yet at the time I mentioned them. (Or at least I don’t think so.)

So here are half-a-dozen books coming out later this year that I’m looking forward to! Because I feel like it! ^_^ (Simply as an excuse to share their gorgeous covers, you understand. ;)) All titles link to Goodreads so that you can add these beauties to your own TBR if you you so desire and haven’t yet…

Without further ado, covers! (And lots of equations-of-awesome, shrieking, and of course parenthesis because why wouldn’t I.)

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A Branch of Silver, A Branch of Gold – Anne Elisabeth Stengl
May 16, 2016

Because a Twelve Dancing Princesses ish tale + Anne Elisabeth Stengl + that cover = I NEED THIS.


The Crown’s Game – Evelyn Skye
May 17, 2016

Russian-esque fantasy + a magician duel + that gorgeous golden crown/castle thing cover = yes please and thank you.

(Also Cait says read it. So that makes this another yes.)


The Invisible Library – Genevieve Cogman
June 14, 2016

BLUE + GOLD + KEY + MAGICAL LIBRARY = THIS COVER IS AMAZING.

(I had thought this one came out like a couple years ago? But apparently (?) it had only released like… in the UK or somewheres and not here yet. So.)


Ghostly Echoes (Jackaby, #3) – William Ritter
August 23, 2016

Jackaby and his scarf on that cover ( ❤ ❤ ❤ ) + all the awesome dialog/bickering + magical mysteries = give it to meee! (HIM AND HIS SCARF THOUGH ON THAT COVERRRR!)

(I hear tell on Twitter* that in this one we will learn Jackaby’s age!)

*Read the whole conversation on Twitter; it is gold. (Just don’t trust Jackaby… he seems very indecisive about his own age…)


Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2) – Leigh Bardugo
September 27, 2016

That cliffhanger + Kaz + heists = I need to know what happens! (Is that the sound of my heart shattering?)

(Yes I did in fact use a gif from one heisty thing for another heisty thing. I will not apologize. Such awesomeness needs to stick together.)


King’s Blood (Kinsman Chronicles, #2) – Jill Williamson
December 6, 2016

AAAHH THIS COVER!!!! (Sorry, no neat and tidy equation on this one; I’m much too incoherent about its amazingness to do that.) I know I haven’t read the first one yet but I need this one already anyway. BUT BUT COVER. (I have a thing for blue and silver and gold, apparently.) I about died of shrieking the first time I saw it a few days ago. THE COVER-LOVE IS REAL, PEOPLE.

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What do you think? Do you have any cover-love for these? Looking forward to any? What other awesome (or gorgeous-looking) books are coming out this year that you’re excited about? Share all in the comments! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Series Review: Jackaby, Beastly Bones, The Map, by William Ritter

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Series: Jackaby

Titles: Jackaby (#1), Beastly Bones (#2), The Map (#1.5)

Author: William Ritter

review

Overall Thoughts

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Okay, where do I even start? I’m addicted? I think I did overhype it to myself, so I didn’t love it as much as I hoped I would? But I still enjoyed it a ton.

This is basically what would happen if a Sherlock Holmes type person could see supernatural/fantastical things and had a female assistant instead of Watson, and was in late 1800s America instead of England. I’ll admit that I’m addicted primarily because of Jackaby himself, since he’s the sort of character that I like to read, especially the bickerings between him and the heroine, Abigail, through whose eyes the story is told.

I’m also torn on the fact that Jackaby and Abigail aren’t a romantic item. There’s… ahem… someone else for Abigail. And while she and said person are admittedly adorable together, some little part of me still kind of almost wants her and Jackaby to be a thing, especially with the other little part of me that wonders if Jackaby kinda-sorta-likes-her even if he would obviously never notice/admit it. But that’s not a big deal. Their friendship/partnership is still great as-is, and in a way it makes it better, I suppose, since romance isn’t tangled in between. So I can get on board with that, I guess. And the vague romance bits are a very minor sideplot — these are mostly about the mysteries, which was kind of refreshing in a sense. 🙂

Thoughts by Book

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Jackaby (#1)

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I loved the “feel” of this one. Despite the touch of American stuff, which gives it just enough of a different kind of flavor, it feels almost like Holmesian London, which was fantastic. You get a sort of dark, shadowy, cobblestone street at night under a moon and gas streetlamps sort of feeling, where there could be a murderer or a creature from fantasy legend (or both) lurking in every shadow or towering building, and it’s fantastic.

The mystery is intriguing, with just the right amount of hints and evidence and mystery, with the ordinary police force thinking it’s ordinary, and Jackaby insisting it was unnatural. I just loved it! It’s kind of creepy, but in that way that I like (normally I don’t like creepy stuff, but this felt just right, somehow, so I didn’t mind; it wasn’t terrifying, just eerie).

I guessed the main parts of the mystery. Which was fantastic. One likes to feel smart, you know? Though there were, of course, a couple things that made me go “OH, of course I should have gotten that!” But the main things… totally had it. (Or at least variations. Which is fun too, because there’s so many things it COULD be, all your various guesses, and then you’re like “ohhhh, it was THAT one!”) I’m kind of addicted to mysteries, suddenly… I must read more!

Also, can I just say, the supernatural/fantasy aspect with the legendary creatures bits and so on, was a lot of fun. Especially with a banshee and… well… the other certain creatures of Celtic and other folklore, which I will not give away in this review. 😉 But suffice it to say, it was really cool reading about it and going “oh, yes, I know about those legends!” It makes one feel connected.

jkbybb2The dialog was fabulous, of course. Jackaby and Abigail and their interactions are just my favorite thing about it. And Jackaby’s weird house/office and his laboratory and weird mix of science and fantasy, and the duck, and the pond on the third floor, and Jenny is interesting, and I love how Jackaby accidentally blows things up and stuff when he’s trying to cook. (Paprika, not gunpowder, Jackaby!) It’s just kind of a glorious mess and I love it. ❤ So that part, with all the quirkiness of him and his life, was definitely far from a disappointment! I think Abigail handles it all rather well. XD

It’s also pretty hilarious/awesome his interactions with the actual police/detectives. They’re kind of wary and weary of him, and he’s just all chipper and “yep, let me just wander into the crime scene and poke around and it’s obviously a sinister creature who did this, by the way.” And the Inspector fellow is just like ready to strangle him. It’s awesome. Oh, and Charlie was a great character too! I guessed his twist too (or most of it) and… yes. Bwahaha. I really like his character. 🙂 All the great characters!

Though I do wish we’d learn more about Jackaby himself! Since it’s all from Abigail’s point of view, we get little hints about him and his past and various things, but not nearly enough! I want backstory and reasons and his NAME and all the things about him being a seer and his history and everything and slkjdlkjdlkjl I just want to know about all the Jackaby things, please! *waits on the edge of my seat for book 3*

All in all, really enjoyed “Jackaby”!

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Beastly Bones (#2)

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So even though this sequel kept me more hooked and turning pages faster than even the first one, I didn’t enjoy it as much as “Jackaby.” Possibly partly because of that… I don’t like being really stressed out by books? It went into a more creepy feeling than the first one, maybe? Other people might like this one even better, because it’s more “original” than the first book, but sometimes I prefer familiar to “original.”

It’s kind of hard to explain my thoughts on the book without giving major spoilers about the plot… but I’ll try.

I’m giving this one 4 stars primarily for Jackaby himself, of course, and how much I in general enjoyed his and Abigail’s and Charlie’s interactions with each other. As a sequel, I’m already immensely attached to this trio, so it was great to see them again and that’s the main reason. Part of the 4 stars is also, yes, for a couple of brilliant things in the plot, and for the fact that I couldn’t put it down, and for the humor/awesome dialog.

So if it had just been those things? Instant 5 star. As it was, I had complaints about this one, which might otherwise have dipped it into the three-star territory; and they’re probably all petty and inconsequential, but oh well. Also, I think that most of my complaints will be things in its favor from others’ points of view, because I’m an odd duck. 😛 (My name is not Douglas, though. …Yes, I went there.)

For one thing, the setting was totally different than the first. I really enjoyed the London-esque feeling in the first, whereas this one was out in the American countryside and felt like it was trying and failing a bit, to be more like a western or… something? That was odd to me, and didn’t seem to fit the feel of the first one. (Like I said, others might find this cool/original.)

jkbybb3Then there was the fantastical/supernatural/fantasy element. In the first one, I really enjoyed the mentioned creatures/legends, because I felt like I knew them, and they were familiar. In this one, though, there were a bunch of weird random things, clever, yes, but some of them kind of creeped me out. So except for an eventual twist which did bring a fantasy creature I’m used to (and is a total spoiler but was kind of awesome and also terrible at the same time), I just felt… disconnected from the fantasy elements.

Also, in the first one, I could relate to Abigail pretty well most of the time, trying to find her way in a new place and deal with Jackaby. But in this one, it was all about her obsession with dinosaur bones and her wondering about being an independent woman. Now, no offense to anyone, but dinosaur bones bore me to death. I was just like can we please have something interesting now, please? And I think she was doing an okay job at being “independent” as a woman in the first one, without being stuck-up about it like these kinds of “strong women” do in books. In this one, there was this reporter lady who was feeding Abigail all these lines about such things, and I think Abigail did fine on her own before this lady came along. Ugh. So anyway, no to the dinosaur bones, until the twist in the plot (which I’d begun to predict–points for me! Though they really should have figured it out way earlier. EVIDENCE, peoples!) later in the story, which made it become interesting again. So that was kind of awesome. 😀 I won’t say anything more about it, but you’ll know when you read it. Fabulous. ❤

And then the characters. I didn’t like any of them.

…Okay, that may be harsh.

Obviously I still adore Jackaby, and also Charlie, and Abigail SOMETIMES… (we’ll get into that), and I have nothing against the old farmer, poor fellow. But everyone else I pretty much disliked, felt “meh” about, or loathed. Which is not good when I think you’re not supposed to? I’m sorry! I don’t usually rant, but pardon me for a moment while I rant about some characters, and I apologize to anyone who liked them.

Both the excavating fellows (forgot their names, sorry; I read this from the library and sent it back, so I don’t have the references for names or quotes — which is killing me because ALL THE AWESOME QUOTES WHICH I DON’T OWN) were awful — the younger one because I kept suspecting him of things because he was young/handsome/slightly slimy and very goodmannered, and the other because he was a total JERK who is simply painful to read about because he’s going around being grouchy and bullying everyone through contracts. I’ll admit he wasn’t so bad eventually, simply because the other characters wouldn’t play his game, but still. Bleh. It was awful with these dinosaur bone people treading all over this poor farmer guy’s rights and acting like they’re in charge. I hated that. They made me want to throw the book. Sometimes it’s just really hard to read things like that, for me at least.

The trapper fellow who was Jackaby’s friend was okay, but I never got into him. His accent was supposed to be some sort of mountain-man/western/southern/rural drawl thing, I think? Which I’ve never been into in print — it comes across as annoying to me, all the “ya’s” and… I don’t know, it doesn’t read well, somehow, and almost is demeaning because it’s almost like it’s being made fun of. I LIKE trappers/mountainmen/western/southern/rural people/places, but I don’t like when they seem backward. I don’t have anything against him, per se, I just didn’t click with him and thought it was weird that he and Jackaby were friends. The twist about HIM, I felt should have been all… “wow”? But I was just kind of “…um, okay then.” about it.

And then the reporter lady. UGH. I simply loathed her. And she’s supposed to be a likeable character, I think! But she just had this annoying “I do whatever I want” thing going and was always quipping things (kind of like Irene Adler in the Robert Downey Jr. movies, but without anything likeable about her) and annoying me over being a “strong heroine” sort of person who despises men and kept getting in the way and leading Abigail astray about poor Charlie (gaaahh.) and just… I loathed her. (And I don’t CARE what happened at the end, I still don’t like her and it can’t make me, and I suppose I should feel bad but I don’t.) She made me want to throw the book again. (I didn’t. It’s a library book. And I wouldn’t actually throw books because that would be wrong because books are still precious things even when one does loathe characters in them. But still.)

And I was annoyed at Abigail a good bit in this one. I liked her fine in the first book, and occasionally in this, but sometimes I just wanted to smack her in the back of the head with a noodle and go ABIGAIL COME ON. It’s petty, I suppose, but I wanted her to dislike the nasty characters as much as I did, but she was too patient with them. Okay, so that’s not good reason; I must be a horrible person. But really, did she have to put up with them?? And the bone obsession, which like I said, I just couldn’t understand. Mostly, though, her pigheadedness about Charlie through most of it. JUST MARRY HIM ALREADY, WOMAN. (Okay, so I have a slight uncertainty about that too because I kind of like the idea of her and Jackaby, too. Oh well. I apparently can’t decide. But still.) Though I must admit that a lot of this made for some really excellent scenes, where she was half getting romantic advice from Jackaby on the subject and he was just like “oh my goodness please no do not involve me seriously why are you doing this to me just stop” but at the same time giving her almost advice and it was hilarious and awesome. XD And then the ending… yes. All of the yes. With the train and all. 😀 *cackles*

But my goodness, I didn’t mean to turn this into a bashing party. I’m sorry! The book is actually quite good, I couldn’t stop reading it, it was very absorbing, and I really loved lots of it! It just wasn’t quite as amazing as the first one, to me. Like I said, though, I bet that all of the things I disliked about it, will probably not be a problem to other readers, so don’t let me stop you from reading/loving this book. It’s definitely an intriguing book, and I’m not going to stop reading Jackaby things because like I said, I’m addicted… I guess I just feel strongly about this book in many ways, which is actually a good thing!

And I can’t really be too mad at any of the problems, because then along comes Jackaby and some of the banter and I’m just “yep, I love this so much.” So.

BOOK THREE RIGHT NOW PLEASE AND THANK YOU.

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The Map: A Jackaby Story (#1.5)

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Oh my word, this story! GAH. *huggles it* Okay, so it’s a short story/novella type thing, which is free on Kindle, set between Jackaby and Beastly Bones. It’s a short, fun read, and has an even different feel than the other two, but I simply LOVED it.

It’s Abigail’s birthday, and Jackaby takes her on a treasure hunt with an old map and fantastical things ensue. But get this: it’s entirely based around trying to find the treasure from the Irish song “Whiskey in the Jar.” This kind of totally made my day!!! Just… the idea of it. I suppose for anyone who reads it who’s not familiar with the song, they’d just be like “whaaat?” but since I grew up on old Irish songs and always loved that one, it was simply fabulous.

I hardly have anything to say on this one because I don’t want to ruin any of the plot, but it was just a rollick and I loved it. It had its share of perils and such, but mostly it was just an excuse for Jackaby and Abigail to go on an adventure together and interact, which was just so much FUN! I think sometimes, some of my favorite character pairings/groups could just do NOTHING plot-wise and I’d still enjoy it. In a way, big scary mysteries/adventures/problems which constitute “plot” can even take away from the fun of simple character interaction which is my favorite part of some things.

(Like in Avengers 2, my favorite part is when they’re hanging out together trying to pick up Thor’s hammer, just bickering and having fun. It’s the BEST! I’d watch a whole movie about them hanging out; it’s almost not as fun when they have to go do PLOT things… So, just an example.)

Anyways, it’s so worth it just to see them interact, but the rest of the plot is fun too, and the hints from the song (some of which I guessed), and the touch of almost-steampunk with an airship and all, and the goblins with their semi-Scottish accents which was so fun to read, and THAT ENDING. So much. ❤

Basically, READ IT. It’s just fabulous and I adore it to bits.

summary

From Goodreads:

Jackaby (#1)

Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary–including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police–with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane–deny.

Doctor Who meets Sherlock in William Ritter’s debut novel, which features a detective of the paranormal as seen through the eyes of his adventurous and intelligent assistant in a tale brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre.

Beastly Bones (#2)

In 1892, New Fiddleham, New England, things are never quite what they seem, especially when Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer R. F. Jackaby are called upon to investigate the supernatural.

First, a vicious species of shape-shifters disguise themselves as a litter of kittens, and a day later, their owner is found murdered with a single mysterious puncture wound. Then in nearby Gad’s Valley, now home to the exiled New Fiddleham police detective Charlie Cane, dinosaur bones from a recent dig mysteriously go missing, and an unidentifiable beast starts attacking animals and people, leaving their mangled bodies behind. Charlie calls on Abigail for help, and soon Abigail and Jackaby are on the hunt for a thief, a monster, and a murderer.

The Map: A Jackaby Story (#1.5)

Abigail hopes that her birthday will slip by unnoticed and uncelebrated, but her employer, detective of the supernatural R. F. Jackaby, has other plans. Using magical party crackers that teleport the pair to unknown destinations in time and space and a cryptic map that may lead to a forgotten treasure, Jackaby intends to give Abigail what he considers to be the best gift of all–adventure.

Abigail and Jackaby must tame an enormous (and carnivorous) rabbit, defend a castle, and master a dirigible if they want to find the treasure and get back to New Fiddleham alive.

factoids

Genre/Category: Mystery, Fantasy, Historical Fantasy (also The Map had a touch of possibly Steampunk?)

Age Group: Young Adult (From my memory, they’re quite clean, which made me happy!)

Published: 2014, 2015, 2015, respectively

Pages: 299 hardcover (Jackaby), 295 hardcover (Beastly Bones), 57 kindle (The Map) (651 pages total, so far)

Series: Jackaby series list on Goodreads. These 2 and a half will be followed by a 3rd novel, Ghostly Echoes, releasing August 23, 2016 (I NEED IT YESTERDAY OH MY GOODNESS)

When Read: February 7-8, February 10, and February 12, respectively

Favorite Character: JACKABY (I’ll be honest, Charlie is also awesome)

Other Notes: Got the novels from the library, and the novella free on Kindle!

Cupcake awards to anyone who made it through reading this whole post.

(I should probably rethink my idea of doing a “series review” when I actually have a lot to say about each of the books… But I just like this idea of doing it all at once, so I did it anyway. :P)


Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books and Songs

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The theme of this week’s Top Ten Tuesday (a weekly book/list linkup at The Broke and The Bookish) is Books and Music. There are various spins on it being done, and I’m going to do a mix of them.

This is going to be a mixed back of song-ish books I’ve read, want to read, and then some songs at the end which should be books.

On that note, I just know there are tons of awesome songs/ballads I’ve heard, mostly Celtic ones, that would make absolutely fabulous books. But I’m having a really hard time thinking of any just now.

The curious things about songs, though, is that they’re usually already perfect in song form.

And as much as it would be awesome to have some of them as books, it’s never going to equal the awesomeness of the song itself and may in fact take away from it in some ways. Songs and books are quite different forms…

Anyways, on with the varied list…

BOOKS I’VE READ

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1. The Map: A Jackaby Story by William Ritter

Oh my word, this story. It’s a shortish, novella-type adventure that goes with the Jackaby series (and it’s free on Kindle!) and I absolutely adored it. It’s not exactly based on a song, but it’s based around a song… which was so much fun. The premise basically is that they’re going after the treasure from the song Whiskey in the Jar. So much awesome. (Hopefully I’ll review the series sometime…)

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2. Orphan’s Song by Gillian Bronte Adams

This has a large music theme (obviously) and I loved it so so much. *hugs book* I’ve always thought that music could go really well with fantasy settings and magic and that sort of thing, and this author pulls that off brilliantly.

fhemlock

3. Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones

Not only is it based on fairytales that were I believe originally ballads (Tam Lin, Thomas the Rhymer), but it also has a lot of music involved since Tom plays the cello and there’s a whole . . . band . . . thing . . . going on. Anyways it’s awesome (and I reviewed it at length so obviously I love it a lot).

BOOKS I’VE NOT READ

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4. Songkeeper by Gillian Bronte Adams

…Speaking of Orphan’s Song… I just heard that the sequel, Songkeeper, has a release date! April 15th! That’s definitely a date going on my calendar. I’ve been dying for this book to come out ever since I finished the last page of Orphan’s Song, and it’s coming sooooon!!! I’m so excited. (It will also be very songish, I’m sure.)

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5. The Highwayman’s Footsteps by Nicola Morgan

I… haven’t read this one yet, so I can speak as to its quality or exact plot, but I hear tell that it’s in some way based on The Highwayman, a fabulous/tragic poem by Alfred Noyes, immortalized, for me, by Loreena McKennitt’s brilliant, gorgeous, haunting sung version of it. I’ve always thought it would make a great book so I’m very much looking forward to this novel inspired by it.

SONGS THAT SHOULD BE BOOKS

(These are probably bad examples… I wish I could think of more…)

6. The Wind That Shakes the Barley

Speaking of Loreena McKennitt… (Listen to parts of the songs I mention in this post, on her website.) She did a great, haunting version of this song. It’s a tragic song, and might better make a tragic backstory for a book than for a book itself? (I’m thinking like… a fantasy book based on it. I know it’s based on historical stuff but it would be funner this way. XD) But it feels like it needs to be involved in a book somehow… even if it would be rather grim.

7. Raglan Road

Again, Loreena sang a great version of this poem by Patrick Kavanagh. There’s just something intriguing about it. I don’t know how much of a story it could make in book form, but there’s an eerie feel to it and it could make a fabulous mystery/fantasy/romance type book similar to Tam Lin, perhaps?

8. Bold Jamie

This is a song by Cara Dillon (one of my favorite singers!) about a young man wrongfully accused of stealing many things, including a man’s daughter. I just think it could make an interesting book, or any of a hundred other fabulous Celtic ballads involving thieves or… things like that.

9. Stolen Child

I believe it was by William Butler Yeats but Loreena McKennitt did a fabulous version of it too. (Yes, she turned a LOT of great book-worth poems into songs, and has some great originals of her own as well. So much good material.)

10. The King of the Fairies (melody)

Aaand I’m just going to throw out there that there should be a book named after The King of the Fairies, which is a fabulous tune.

***

Like I said, I’m having a hard time coming up with songs. I KNOW there are a ton of awesome ones! Oh well… that’s a start, anyhow. 🙂 (Basically LET’S HAVE BOOKS BASED ON ALL THE LOREENA MCKENNITT SONGS AND ALL THE AWESOME CELTIC BALLADS. This should be a genre. *nods seriously*)

…And now I have like half a dozen new plot bunnies that want me to write them. Fabulous. -_- Heehee… Writers lead perilous lives: anything can provide inspiration! 😉