Tag Archive | Joanna Ruth Meyer

Beyond the Shadowed Earth by Joanna Ruth Meyer (Review)

I’ve got a review for you today! A review for a book by one of my favorite authors — and I can definitely say the book wasn’t quite like anything I’ve read before!

Title: Beyond the Shadowed Earth

Author: Joanna Ruth Meyer

  • Date read: January 31, 2020
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Epic Fantasy
  • Age: YA/NA
  • Year pub: 2020
  • Pages: 400
  • Series: Companion novel to Beneath the Haunting Sea, but stands alone
  • Source: The publisher
  • Notes: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s WebsiteBarnes & Noble

About Beyond the Shadowed Earth

It has always been Eda’s dream to become empress, no matter the cost. Haunted by her ambition and selfishness, she’s convinced that the only way to achieve her goal is to barter with the gods. But all requests come with a price and Eda bargains away the soul of her best friend in exchange for the crown.

Years later, her hold on the empire begins to crumble and her best friend unexpectedly grows sick and dies. Gnawed by guilt and betrayal, Eda embarks on a harrowing journey to confront the very god who gave her the kingdom in the first place. However, she soon discovers that he’s trapped at the center of an otherworldly labyrinth and that her bargain with him is more complex than she ever could have imagined.

Set in the same universe as Joanna’s debut, Beneath the Haunting Sea, Beyond the Shadowed Earth combines her incredible world building and lush prose with a new, villainous lead.


What a stunning, mythic, gripping fantasy tale! This again affirms that I want to read everything this author writes. AWK! There are so many twists and it was so unique that it’s going to be hard to write a spoiler-free review, but I’ll give it a shot. I had SO MANY FEELS after reading it that it took me awhile to sort them out enough to write this review. I’m not sure I’ve quite recovered, even now. XD

Beyond the Shadowed Earth was rich and vivid, gritty, raw, but also gorgeous. It’s darker than I usually like but I still loved it! The writing utterly captivated me, completely reeling me in to this world. Golden deserts and lush palaces (perfect for climbing on the roofs! ;)), rugged mountains and sea and travel, and so much imaginative fantasy effortlessly threaded through the whole.

I was a little nervous about the main character, Eda, having been a villain in the companion book. I loathed her in that. XD But, as I should have guessed (given this author’s talent), Eda totally grew on me and had a fascinating journey in this book. No spoilers but I’m extremely impressed with the writing and her story and have a lot feels! What a spitfire. It’s been quite a journey, that’s for sure!

The characters were all very well drawn and intriguing, and it’s fitting that you could never be quite sure where their schemes lay, given that Eda herself is somewhat of a scheming character—eheheh. I was kept very much on my toes with all the deceptions and twists! The characters were all very real, and I don’t want to give any spoilers but their stories were fascinating. I particularly loved the mapmaker, Morin! Also his sister. Actually, sisters in general played a big part and seemed like a theme in the book, which I loved!

I will mention that it’s very dark. There’s a looot of blood and death and betrayal, and mild swearing, and some quite creepy, disturbing parts—which comes with the territory, I suppose. XD I’d recommend it for more mature teens and up.

Moving back to more things I loved! One of my favorite things about this world is their mythology and how we get bits of stories within this story. I absolutely loved that! It gave it so much depth and richness and was just so interesting. Also, the eagles!! I loved them so much! (You’ll see what I mean when you read it. ;)) One of my favorite parts was the second half, with the mountains and the journeying. (Also! Snow leopard!! *squeaking*)

This book is a companion novel to Beneath the Haunting Sea, which I also loved. Both can stand alone, and are very different, but I loved the nods, references, and parallels between the two!

It’s like nothing I’ve read before! Although, having said that, I suppose it does remind me some of The Silmarillion, for the scope and the “gods” in this (who seem to be spirits much like the Valar in The Silmarillion), though created by the One. And I hear that it’s rather like Megan Whalen Turner’s books too, which makes me curious to try those! And the deserty bits reminded me a little of King’s Folly by Jill Williamson. Okay, so it did remind me of other things, but still felt utterly unique and new. If you enjoyed any of those three, or are already a Joanna Ruth Meyer fan, you need to give this a shot.

The themes were really interesting and left me thinking about this story for days afterward—as did all of my poor tangled feels which took me awhile to untangle enough to write this review! XD So many feels! I just—awk! How do I even explain this book and all the thiiings and feels! *collapses* It was just really good, and in a sense I’m surprised at myself for liking it as much as I did, because some of it just isn’t my cup of tea, but I still just . . . really enjoyed it!

Overall, it’s darker than I usually enjoy reading, but it was so breathtaking I didn’t mind as much, and despite the shadows and death and rawness, there’s a beautiful tale of redemption here, with excellent twists and gorgeous writing. If you love fantasy and can handle a darker tale, this one is well worth checking out!


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Have you read any of this author’s books? I totally recommend them! Echo North and Beneath the Haunting Sea are both lovely as well! Thanks for reading! 🙂

4th Blogiversary & Jan. 2020 Book Ishness!

Happy New Year! Hey, it’s only January 3rd—I’m still allowed to say that. XD Speaking of which, today is J.R.R. Tolkien’s birthday! (Always have to commemorate that day since he’s my favorite author. ^_^)

Also, January 1st was the fourth anniversary of when I started this book blog, so I’m pretty excited! Happy Blogiversary to the Page Dreamer. ^_^ And… it’s 2020. Not quite sure how. O_O

Anyway, I’m here to share a few January releases and what I read in December!

But first, a few quick stats in honor of my blogiversary!

  • 228 posts
  • 281 followers (1,136 including connected social accounts)
  • 1,784 likes
  • 2,576 comments
  • 6,249 visitors
  • 13,973 views
  • 218,842 words of posts

Also, I apparently wrote 50,376 words on this blog in 2019 alone, which does not count my other blog, so… O_O

Anyway, this is a fun time to look back at four years of this book blog. I’ve had a blast with it so far!

But better than any numbers is getting to chat with y’all about books I love, and all of YOU, my blog readers, who are the ones who make this blogging thing fun. 🙂

Thanks so much for hanging out with me here these last four years, and here’s to four more!

JANUARY 2020 RELEASES

  • Beyond the Shadowed Earth by Joanna Ruth Meyer(Jan. 14) This one is very soon on my TBR and I’m hoping I can read and review it by the time it releases, but I’m SO stoked about this book! It’s a companion novel to Beneath the Haunting Sea, which I read last year and adored. (And it’s by the author of Echo North which was one of my top reads which I shrieked about early last year and have been shrieking about since. XD) Also, I hear there are some snazzy preorder goodies.
  • The Geppetto Codex by Kyle Robert Shultz(Jan. 17) Guyssss, it’s the next Beaumont and Beasley book! Remember how The Stroke of Eleven came out awhile back? And then there was The Hound of Duville novella and various other shorter B&B adventures… Well, this one is the next B&B novel and it’s releasing in just two weeks! *gasp* There’s a preorder where you can read more about it, but I edited this one and it features Gareth the faun and Sylvia the dryad, scary puppets, and the Afterverse version of Venice. YES PLEASE. And, of course, lots of the usual snark and humor. 😉
  • The Black Claw by Jessi L. Roberts — (Jan. 20) I copyedited this a couple of months ago and it’s an excellent space opera novella! I’m so excited to read Hand of Steel, which is the book before this one (and I remember seeing it at Realm Makers when it had just released), so that I can get the “backstory” on these characters. If you need a bit of space pirates and bounty hunters and excitement to kick off your year, check these out. ^_^
  • Hidden Current by Sharon Hinck(Jan. 28) I don’t know a lot about this one but it’s the next book from Enclave and it’s GORGEOUS! Plus, a fantasy novel that prominently features dancing sounds really unique.

December 2019 Reads

Christmas reads

I went on a bit of a Christmas story reading-rampage. XD I just felt in the mood and devoured several short works which I’d been saving up.

Most of these I mentioned in my Christmas books post, so I won’t repeat thoughts about them here. The last few were after that post, though. 🙂

  • Brown-ears by Stephen Lawhead (re-read!)
  • The Least of These by Kate Willis
  • The Dragon and the Santa by Emily Martha Sorenson
  • The 12 Cats of Christmas by Perry Kirkpatrick
  • Nyssa Glass’s Clockwork Christmas by H. L. Burke
  • The Grift of the Magi by Ally Carter
  • ’Twas an Evening in Bethlehem by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt (adorable picture book!)
  • Holidays at the Castle by Jessica Day George — Fun short story.
  • Some Christmas Camoflage by E. S. Grayson — Really enjoyed this historical fiction short story. 🙂
  • The Ninjabread Man — Okay, so it’s not totally Christmas, but it’s a gingerbread man picture book retelling, but with ninjas. It’s basically The Gingerbread Man meets Kung Fu Panda and I loved it. XD

Non-Christmas reads

  • Knife’s Edge by Hope Larson and Rebecca Mock — A graphic novel! I read the first one, Compass South, in November, and was so excited to get this one from the library and finish this duology. Swashbuckling high-seas middle-grade historical fiction graphic novels. They were SO much fun and I loved them so much! ❤
  • Jeeves and the Wedding Bells by Sebastian Faulks — This novel was a tribute to P.G. Wodehouse, and I’ve been meaning to read it for YEARS so I was terribly pleased to pick it up at the library and finally read it. It was absolutely hilarious and I loved it so much. XD Jeeves and Bertie have to switch places, Jeeves being a Lord Etringham and Bertie his gentleman’s gentleman, and that’s only the beginning of the shenanigans. Yes, it wasn’t Wodehouse, but it wasn’t pretending to be, and on the whole the author did an absolutely terrific job of capturing the essence of Bertie Wooster’s narration and the shenanigans that always happen. It was just SO much fun and it made me happy. 😀
  • My Man Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse — So then I was in the mood for some more Jeeves and I dug this one out of my Kindle and read the short stories in it that were Jeeves-ish (which, yes, means I skipped half the book, but who’s counting). HILARIOUS. Wodehouse’s classic characters are… well… classic. Hurrah for Jeeves!
  • A Storm Grows by Janeen Ippolito — Poetry collection, very short, which I opened on my Kindle app on my phone to look at and ended up reading the whole thing. It felt kinda dark and sad but I liked some of them, even if poetry isn’t usually my thing. XD
  • Murder on New Year’s Eve by P. Creeden — I was sorting my Kindle app and found this and so obviously I had to read it on New Year’s Eve. XD It was a pretty interesting short story.

Also, if you want to check out the books I read in 2019, Goodreads has a handy-dandy list right here.

I’m going to sign off with some books I got for Christmas, and collage of my top nine most liked pictures on my Instagram!

That’s what I have for today. I’m not sharing a TBR right now since I’m not sure what I’ll be able to read this month, and I haven’t figured out my New Year goals and things. But I’m in the middle of way too many books right now. O_O I must finish some before I go crazy. XD

I’ll be back hopefully soon-ish with a list of my favorite books I read in 2019!

Thanks for reading, and happy 2020! May it be full of books!

ECHO NORTH by Joanna Ruth Meyer + Blogiversary!

Happy New Year!

And happy third blogiversary to the Page Dreamer! Thanks for following along on my li’l blog, my dear pagelings!

To celebrate, I’m giving away a paperback ARC of an awesome retelling of “East of the Sun, West of the Moon”! (Giveaway closed.)

It’s called Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer, who is a fabulous writer I met through Twitter and our mutual love of Diana Wynne Jones. ❤

Echo North was the last book I read in 2018 and it blew me away and made it onto my list of the best books I read all year! (Which I’ll be sharing soon.) Meanwhile, I’m here to review it today, and to tell you why you simply MUST read this gorgeousness!

Make sure to scroll all the way to the end to enter the giveaway for an ARC paperback copy! (Giveaway closed.)


Title: Echo North

Author: Joanna Ruth Meyer

  • Date read: December 29, 2018
  • Rating: 5 stars! (I’d totally give it 6 if I could…)
  • Genre: Fantasy / Fairytale Retelling / East of the Sun, West of the Moon (with a hint of Beauty and the Beast and Tam Lin)
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2019
  • Pages: 389 (ARC paperback)
  • Series: Standalone
  • Fave character: Hal, of course!
  • Source: Page Street Publishing
  • Notes: Thanks to the publisher for providing a free ARC of this book. A positive review was not required. All opinions are entirely my own.

My favorite books are the ones I find most difficult to review. AAHH. How can I explain my love for this book? IT’S SO, SO GOOD.

Echo North is so beautiful it hurts. I found myself utterly enchanted by this story of the girl Echo and the white wolf and Hal and the Winds, and I’m so sad it’s over because I wanted to just LIVE in it for ages and ages. ❤

Don’t you love those retellings that feel like they’re the REAL story? This one felt that way. A retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon, I loved how it seemed like this was the real history behind it. More than seemed, it WAS and—well, you’ll have to read it. 😉 There’s also a hint of Beauty and the Beast, and just a dash of Tam Lin. All the retelling bits were brilliant and I loved them!

This is the story of Echo, our heroine, trapped by her scars, who tells the story in words so heartfelt and gorgeous that I wanted to melt into them. It’s the story of the white wolf in the house under the mountain, of his sorrow and secrets, trapped by a curse. It’s the story of Hal, the . . . I don’t have a word for him, because all of them fall short of his irrepressible personality! The indescribable young man Echo meets, who is trapped in the worlds of the book-mirrors and by a shadow of his own past. They’re my FAVORITE. I love them all. Their stories intertwine flawlessly and paint a stunning picture I happily lost myself in.

I sometimes almost forgot I was reading a retelling, because there was just so much MORE to this book. I think of it in three parts—the part where Echo is at home, the part in the House under the mountain, and the quest. They’re all fantastic (although the beginning part is kind of sad, but I somehow didn’t mind because it’s just what HAPPENED, you know?), but the middle bit is my absolute favorite. 😀

The book-mirrors were one of my favorite things—how cool is the idea of stepping into a mirror which is actually a book, and experiencing that? There were other awesome things about the book-mirrors but I don’t want to spoil them—you must read it for yourself! 🙂 Another thing I loved was the House! It almost has its own personality, and all the different unique rooms, full of fantasy and wonder and peril and bound together like patches on a quilt, were incredible. It was like having separate pockets of Faerie all tied together.

The sheer imagination left me speechless. This is what fantasy was made for. I was spellbound by all the many different imaginative worlds and stories and fantastical elements woven together by this author’s skillful pen. How did she come up with them all? It’s like the full potential of fantasy has been explored in these pages. There are a thousand unique things in this tale, all perilous and beautiful like frozen starlight.

It’s a story full of echoing joy and heart-rending sorrow, of stars and wind and snow, of a magical house and books explored through mirrors, of love and fire and woods and thorns, of music and wonder and mystery and adventure. None of it’s safe, exactly, but it’s all stunning. It was so vivid I absolutely BREATHED this story, both thrilling and quiet, on the edge of my seat but cozy at the same time, and got to know each of these dear characters so well. ❤

Because these CHARACTERS. Hal is the absolute BEST. I have a new favorite character, guys. 😉 He’s so full of LIFE and his dialog and exuberance are just—the best. But I love how there’s something deeper back there, with several layers of mystery. He’s like all my most favorite character types! I love Hal and Echo together—they are my favorite! ❤ The wolf was also awesome and also mysterious. He and Echo have a great dynamic as well! And I love Echo. And the romance was the best.

All the dialog and interactions in this book . . . SO GOOD. And there were side characters I loved as well! Everyone was so alive. Echo’s brother Rodya—there need to be more good brother characters in fiction!—is not in it terribly much but he was fantastic. And I absolutely loved Ivan the storyteller and his wife and just . . . this whole book, guys. I want to hug it forever!

Also, there are PLOT TWISTS. One of them I guessed and was totally hoping would be a thing. Another was hinted at and I vaguely suspected something was up, but oh, the glorious reveal of this mind-blowing twist! :O And some of the side characters had stories that were twisty as well. Did I mention how breathtaking the writing was? I just want to eat it! And I loved the music in the story and its descriptions. 🙂 It was all so masterfully done!

Some books simply enchant you, you know? This one stole a part of my heart and crept in as the last book I read in 2018 but one of my top favorites. I’m going to treasure my memories of reading this late at night near the cold end of the year, when I didn’t mean to read so late but couldn’t stop. ^_^

I could probably talk about this book for ages but I’m going to stop now and simply say: If you love fairytales and the fantastic and characters who will steal your heart, you absolutely must read this gorgeous tale, full of the wild echoes of Faerie, of piercing starlight and wind and ice and fierce love.

Just read it.


Quotes

“What is your name?” I asked.
“I do not have a name.”
“Then what am I to call you?”
“Whatever you like.”

***

“If I’d thought this story wouldn’t have a happy ending, I would have read something else.”
His blue eyes locked on mine, suddenly serious. “Must you always know a story ends happily before you feel equal to beginning it?

***

We dined with the Winds in a hall looking out over the world, and the colors tasted bright and the wine smelt of music.

***

“It’s all very exciting, if rather ridiculous.”
I couldn’t help but laugh. “You are rather ridiculous.”
He winked at me again. “Are you ready to run?”
“What?”
That’s when one of the soldiers spotted us, his blade flashing toward our hiding spot.
“Run, Echo!” cried Hal. He grabbed my hand and we dashed into the wood.


About Echo North

She dreamed of the wood, and the wolf who was trapped there.

Echo Alkaev’s safe and carefully structured world falls apart when her father leaves for the city and mysteriously disappears. Believing he is lost forever, Echo is shocked to find him half-frozen in the winter forest six months later, guarded by a strange talking wolf―the same creature who attacked her as a child. The wolf presents Echo with an ultimatum: if she lives with him for one year, he will ensure her father makes it home safely. But there is more to the wolf than Echo realizes.

In his enchanted house beneath a mountain, each room must be sewn together to keep the home from unraveling, and something new and dark and strange lies behind every door. When centuries-old secrets unfold, Echo discovers a magical library full of books- turned-mirrors, and a young man named Hal who is trapped inside of them. As the year ticks by, the rooms begin to disappear and Echo must solve the mystery of the wolf’s enchantment before her time is up otherwise Echo, the wolf, and Hal will be lost forever.

Echo North will release January 15, 2019

Add on GoodreadsPreorder on Barnes & Noble • Preorder on Amazon


Visit the author, Joanna Ruth Meyer, online!

WebsiteTwitter: @gamwynInstagram: @gamwyn


GIVEAWAY!

The publisher (Page Street Publishing) was kind enough to send me an extra ARC, which I am giving away here on my blog today!

To enter to win a paperback ARC of Echo North, click on this link to enter via the rafflecopter!

(US entries only. Open from Tuesday, January 1, 2019, through Sunday, January 6, 2019, midnight CST. Winner will be contacted by email and announced on this blog shortly thereafter.)

Giveaway is closed. The winner is Amanda, who has been contacted. Thanks for entering, everyone!


Doesn’t it just sound like THE BEST? *collapses* I loved it so much! (I have quite a book-hangover after this, which is a bad way to start a new year of reading — how will anything be this good again? — but perfect at the same time, and I don’t regret it one little bit. ❤ )

I hope you enjoyed my review, and be sure to enter the giveaway!

Thanks for celebrating my li’l blogoversary with me, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Thanks for reading! 🙂