Tag Archive | Kyle Robert Shultz

Top 15 Favorite Reads of 2018!

It’s time for the top reads of 2018! My favorite books I read, plus some runners-up, and for fun, my top couple of nonfiction and re-reads. So let’s get to it!

But first, a few stats, because stats are fun. πŸ˜‰

Goodreads claims that I read 123 books in 2018.

“Panic ye not, Grant,” in the words of my favorite Chrestomanci; many of those were short. πŸ˜‰

(Brought to you by my love of spreadsheets) I read:

  • 42 new-to-me novels
  • 12 new novellas/novelettes
  • 14 re-reads
  • 30+ individual short stories
  • 4 anthologies
  • 10 nonfiction books
  • 11 picture books
  • 3 beta-reads (which don’t count on the Goodreads total . . .)

If you’re curious to see them all, you can find them here on Goodreads.

Oh, and . . . visual representation of lots of the books I read last year. πŸ˜‰

Books I read in 2018 (exactly 52 physical books! Perfect) which aren’t ebooks or borrowed from libraries/friends.

TOP 15 BOOKS OF 2018

I’m terribly indecisive about actually listing favorite books in order of favorite-ness, so these are not precisely in order, although the top-ish ones are slightly more beloved. But all of these top-15 are the most splendid books I read all year and they’re all delightful. (The top 4-ish kept wanting to trade places so . . . they’re probably my favorites overall?)

1. The Electrical Menagerie (Mollie E. Reeder)

Carthage and Huxley! ❀ An introverted illusionist and his smooth-talking young manager. Floating Isles and trains run by stardust. A murder mystery, sabotage, and a plot against the throne. An electrical butler. And most of all, some of the best banter and writing I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading! It’s so absolutely magnificent and Carthage and Huxley are my favorites! ❀ ACK. I JUST LOVE IT.

[Review]

2. Echo North (Joanna Ruth Meyer)

East of the Sun, West of the Moon. A white wolf. A scarred girl. An exuberant young man. A house with mirrors which are like books that you can step into and live their stories. Hal and the Wolf and Echo are such delightful characters and the imagination and writing left me positively pen-slain. A dash of Beauty and the Beast and Tam Lin only made it more perfect. ❀ I LOVE IT SO MUCH.

[Review]

3. Lady Moon (Rachel Starr Thomson)

I loved Lady Moon so much that I immediately re-read it aloud to my siblings. A whimsical original fairytale. A princess who we first meet languishing beautifully on the moon. A nefarious uncle. An absolutely un-pigeon-hole-able Immortal by the name of Tomas who is procrastinating his destiny (I need his clocktower to live in). And other delightful characters such as the Revolution (XD) and Winnie the wombat. I JUST CAN’T. This book is so, so fantastic and I adore it. ❀

4. Masque (W.R. Gingell)

Beauty and the Beast. A murder mystery. A delightful, funny style perfect for fans of Wodehouse, Heyer, or Diana Wynne Jones. I loved Isabella — she had such spirit! — and of course mysterous Lord Pecus. And I also loved the Horse Lords. XD Also, the book that answered questions was like a character itself, and the magical communication and hand-mirror and so on were so cool. And it was just so GORGEOUS. So many shenanigans and such humor and fun! ❀ (There’s a bit of gore due to the murders so it’s not for the squeamish but otherwise it’s perfectly delightful!)

5. Falling Snow (Skye Hoffert) — in Five Poisoned Apples

Snow White. A twist on the Huntsman and Prince characters that you’ll never see coming. A dark Faerie circus. Peril and darkness and beauty. Fire and snow. Deception and innocence. Chayse was such an awesome character and I loved him! Cynfael was so fascinating. And the writing is incredible. ❀

[Review]

6. Minstrel’s Call (Jenelle Leanne Schmidt)

The epic conclusion to the Minstrel’s Song series that began with King’s Warrior! Quests and favorite characters galore, twists and adventure, dragons, prophecies . . . It has everything. Brant and Kiernan Kane are the absolute BEST. I JUST LOVE THEM SO MUCH. And there were some twists and just — my mind was blown by all the epicness and it was a perfectly satisfactory conclusion. ❀

[Review]

7. Sage (Jamie Foley)

HELP. I can’t talk much about this because of the absolute stacks of spoilers involved . . . But there’s arena fights and characters on wings, fantastical super-powers and futuristic technology in a fantasy world, and it’s all so absolutely INTENSE. Jet is my favorite. So is another character who shall remain nameless but WOW. I was so impressed by said character’s story-arc! Just so, so good. It’s like a fantasy thriller and I probably didn’t breathe for all 300+ pages. XD

[Review]

8. Song of Leira (Gillian Bronte Adams)

Wow. Just — wow. A griffin. A small girl with a big Song. The saif which is on the cover (I need one to ride!). Beloved characters including plucky Ky, gruff Amos, and Cade who I particularly like. All the characters come SO far and go through SO much but there’s beauty too. The ending stuff was so absolutely epic that I simply can’t even. ❀

[Review]

9. The Return of Beaumont and Beasley (Kyle Robert Shultz)

Two novellas. Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Dragon archaelogist Malcolm Blackfire and reformed jewel-thief Melody Nightingale make a perfect (and hilarious) pair! (But seriously though, Malcolm!) A canine curse. Beast-ly Nick Beasley and our favorite Crispin Beasley pair up as detectives in alternate 1920s London, and their banter and brotherly interactions and all the humor and shenanigans make my day! Absolutely hilarious. XD (Crispiiiin!)

(Originally published as The Janus Elixir and The Hound of Duville. They were then bundled together and now make Beaumont and Beasley book 4, right after The Stroke of Eleven.)

10. Horseman (Kyle Robert Shultz)

Yes, I’m putting both of these on the list because I wanted to put one on and then couldn’t pick which. *cough*

The magical wild west. Part-time centaur con-man, Todd Crane. The Legend of Sleepy-Hollow like you’ve never seen it before. No-nonsense Marshall Amy Crocket. Plus Julio the Spanish dragon and Meg the sweet Gorgon teenager. And a dash of time-travel. So many shenanigans and adventures! It’s hilarious, and Todd is my favorite.

(Also, I edited this book, which means I read it . . . three times . . . so I got rather fond of it. Plus it’s sort of dedicated to me, so it’s kinda special.)

11. Blood in the Snow (Sarah Pennington)

Snow White. The Goose Girl. Asian-inspired fantasy. Gorgeously told. Awesome and super-fascinating magical system featuring wind and water. A great heroine and prince, and fantastic side-characters who I simply loved! (Like, talk about great “seven dwarves.”) Because Gan and Chouko are fabulous. And so are Baili and Xiang. SO complex and well-written, and fits everything together so well. I just love it! ❀

[Review]

12. The Last Motley (DJ Edwardson)

A simple tailor. A many-colored boy. Mysterious magic. Sinister shadows. A quest to a far-off island. I LOVED how this felt like an instant fantasy classic. It reminded me of Lloyd Alexander or Tolkien. Roderick the tailor is such a simply good hero, Jacob the Motley is precious, and Nagan is absolutely hilarious and my favorite. XD The Gitanos are so intriguing too, and we can’t forget Portia. I loved this colorful, rich fantasy. ❀

[Review]

13. Mark of the Raven (Morgan L. Busse)

A dreamwalking heroine. Assassins. Fantastic abilities like manipulating water. Wyverns. A young woman trapped by the darkness of her mother and her people’s past. A young visiting nobleman — who she’s supposed to kill. It’s all VERY EXCITING. Selene and especially Damien make great characters. ❀ (And Lady Bryren and the wyvern riders!) It was really gorgeous and gripping and just a solid epic fantasy.

[Review]

14. A Matter of Magic (Patricia C. Wrede)

This is ever-so-slightly cheating . . . because it’s actually two books in one and I’m kind of taking them as a whole, even though I read the second one first, and that was on my favorite list last year, but I’m sort of using it again? The first one was fun but I loved the second one more and . . . anyway, I’m mostly just calling the whole collection my “favorite” of this year. Regency fantasy. A young magician gentleman. A street thief girl who becomes his ward. Shenanigans and humor and magical adventures. I just really enjoyed it. πŸ™‚ And it works best as one book.

[Review of the second half, which I read first.]

15. The Ruins of Gorlan (John Flanagan)

The first Ranger’s Apprentice book unexpectedly stole my heart.Β Total classic fantasy but fresh, too. Halt the Ranger is my FAVE. He’s the best and I love his dry humor. XD And of course we like Will. I just really identified with this book and Will’s journey and wanted to be a Ranger, naturally. πŸ˜‰ It was just really refreshing and plain fun! (And Halt!)

[Review]


9 RUNNERS UP THAT MAKE ME HAPPY

The above list was SO hard to make because I read so many spectacular books this year! But those were the most absolutely spectacular ones.

But I still wanted to talk about some others! So off the top of my head I’m tossing in a runner-up list of a few that were just so much fun — even if they don’t quite fit on the list, or there was something about them that made them not quite a favorite, I still really loved some element of them, so I have to mention them too. πŸ˜‰

I know there’s only 5 in this picture. I can count, I promise . . .

  1. Common by Laurie Lucking — I loved the FEEL of this one and just . . . it’s so absolutely sweet (but also exciting at times) and it makes me so happy! ❀
  2. Healers and Warriors by Daley Downing — This modern fantasy series just kinda makes me happy and there was a lot of epicness and fun and fabulous characters and so many thiiings going down.
  3. The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen — I thoroughly enjoyed myself reading this. All the snark that is Sage. XD I did guess the twist but I don’t mind because it’s awesome.
  4. Lightporter by C.B. Cook — Because BLAZE. He’s my fave. Anvil, too. πŸ˜‰ It’s just such a fun YA superhero book and I adored it.
  5. Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn — Sci-fi isn’t usually my genre, but this was such a fun book! It’s a heist story featuring Han Solo, Chewie, Lando, and others, by the best Star Wars author, and I just loved it. XD

Not pictured above because I don’t own physical copies but still make me happy:

  1. A Royal Masquerade by Allison Tebo — Because Burndee and Prince Colin bickering are HILARIOUS and the absolute best. (And the skunk. XD)
  2. The Worth of a King by Kendra E. Ardnek — Because Delaney and Granite and the winged horses and the Zovordians.
  3. The Game by Diana Wynne Jones — The whole idea and the mythosphere and all the story bits were brilliant. I wish it had been longer than a novella because it was so fascinating.
  4. The Stealthmaster’s Shadow by Hope Ann — Just because I can’t stop thinking about how fabulous Verus and his snark is. XD

(So . . . that’s sort of 24 books? I REGRET NOTHING.)


OTHER STUFF: Non-Fiction + Re-Reads

Top 2 Non-Fiction Reads

  • Tolkien: A Celebration — This one is here because of a stellar essay by Stephen R. Lawhead. I read the entire collection this year, but this essay is still one of my favorites of all time, and anyone who is a writer (particularly of fantasy) needs to read it!
  • Punctuation 101 by Jill Williamson — Speaking of writers . . . Everyone needs this one, too! πŸ˜‰ I had the chance to help beta-read/proofread this little book and I absolutely loved it! PUNCTUATION 101 is practical, succinct, fun, and easy to read. I zoomed right through it! I learned a few things, and I think it will be a very helpful book to refer to in the future. πŸ™‚

Top 2 Re-Reads

  • The Beast of Talesend by Kyle Robert Shultz — I’ve now read this four times and I still absolutely adore it and want to re-read it again. XD It’s hilarious and brilliant, and the characters, fairytale things, and humor, just . . . they get me every time! (Nick and Crispin and Cordelia are the absolute best!) You can read my original review here.
  • The Crown of Dalemark by Diana Wynne Jones — The absolute brilliance of time-travel in a fantasy world and all the characters I love and the twists and EVERYTHING. (Mitt and Navis, though!) I even forgot some of the twists from the first time I read it, so I got to re-experience some of them, which was awesome. DWJ is the only author who can do this to me. XD SO glad I finally re-read this series! (This is book 4, and it’s totally worth making it through the first three for this one. ❀ )

(Missing Masque and Five Poisoned Apples for Falling Snow in this pic because I tragically don’t own paperbacks of those two.)

So there you are! Various of the best books I read in 2018! (You can also check out my top 15 (ish) short stories of last year if you missed that, and my 2018 End-of-Year Book-Freakout Tag.)

What was your favorite book (or several) you read last year? And have you read any of these? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Also! Expect an epic recap of my writing news of 2018 along with goals ‘n’ stuff, over on my other blog, very soon!

Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

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Top 15(ish) Favorite Short Stories of 2018 + Winner

While working on my top-favorite-books-of-2018 post, I realized that I read a ton of awesome short stories this last year!

So while I’m working on that post (which I’ll share later this week), here — have a list of some fabulous short stories! Because short stories don’t get enough love.

Also, the winner of the ARC paperback of Echo North iiiiiis . . .

*drumroll*

Amanda Torr!

Congrats! I’ll be in touch with you about getting your info so I can get your prize sent off to you ASAP. πŸ™‚

Dearest readers who did not win (as there can sadly be only one winner), thank you so much for entering and celebrating my blogiversary with me! I hope to do more giveaways soon. πŸ˜‰

Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer is releasing next week on January 15, so there’s still time to preorder a gorgeous hardcover! (And I think there’s some preorder goodies [!!!] if you do, so check that out . . .) Or ask your local library to get it. Or put it on your birthday wishlist. Or something! Because you must read it and it’s awesome. ❀

Okay! Onward to my favorite short stories I read in 2018!

Top 15 (ish) FAVORITE SHORT STORIES

(Titles link to Goodreads. I also link to my reviews on here if I have them.)

Mythical Doorways

Goodreads / Free on Amazon

I loved SO many of the short stories in Mythical Doorways, so overall I’m just calling it my favorite anthology I’ve read in a long time. ^_^ (I’m taking the mini-reviews from my full review on Goodreads.)

Favorites:

  1. Everwild (J.M. Hackman) — This one was awesome! A boy about to grow out of the foster system is given a choice between two worlds… Fascinating and vivid, and I liked how it ended. Lovely portal fantasy with a few twists. It was great. ^_^ Makes me want to try more by this authorβ€”and I fortunately have a novel (Spark) which can help me do just that. πŸ˜‰
  2. Well of Fate (Savannah Jezowski) — Tosk the squirrel was so adorable! What a super-cuteβ€”and funnyβ€”little tale. Having a squirrel main character who’s a little bit nervous but determined to be a hero, in a mythology setting, was so much fun! And there was an awesome twist near the end! πŸ˜‰ I’m looking forward to checking out the author’s When Ravens Fall novella…
  3. Jericho and the Magician’s Daughter (H.L. Burke) — AWK. Featuring Jericho and Rill a few years before the first Spellsmith and Carver book. They’re adorable! And they didn’t know they were in love… quite… yet… Super cute and exciting. It was also neat seeing a little more of Hedward Spellsmith. And of course there was Jaspyr the mechanical fox! It’s a great story and I loved this look at a sort of mini-prequel about Jericho and Rill. ^_^
  4. Threshold (Laurie Lucking) — AWK. THIS STORY. ❀ *hugs it* I don’t want to give anything away about it, but it had a couple of twists on the usual portal fantasy thing, and I was SO WORRIED about how things would turn out, but I absolutely LOVED IT. Shawn was my favorite. He’s the best. πŸ˜€ I got kind of a Peter Pan sort of feel with this one and I loved that. ^_^
  5. Idiot’s Graveyard (Arthur Daigle) — One word (name?): Jayden. Jayden is one of my new favorite characters and I’m not even sure WHY, but he’s quite unpigeonholeable and fantastic and giving me Howl/Doctor Strange sorts of vibes. I could easily read a whole novel (or series) about Dana Illwind and Sorcerer Lord Jayden (they remind me a little of things like Skulduggery Pleasant or Jackaby). I learned there was another short story featuring them (in Hall of Heroes, another Fellowship of Fantasy anthology) and instantly read/devoured/loved it. The world is kind of spooky, and yet a little elegant. And it’s so FUNNY. Like… I just love the style. I kept wanting to quote it. All the snark and polite cutting dialog! Anyway, it was a glorious short story and I loved it muchly. ❀ Just excuse me while I wish for more tales of Jayden and co. and am tempted to re-read the ones there are so far…
  6. Dragon Ward (Jenelle Leanne Schmidt) — How fascinating! I won’t spoil anything, but as a fan of this author’s Minstrel’s Call series, I loved how this had two or three different backstory references, when I only expected one! LOVED LOVED LOVED. It was delicious and unexpected. Anyone who hasn’t read the series will enjoy it too. The story of a girl and a dragon, and a strange experience they have… and meeting a certain character, who I love! πŸ˜€ An absolutely delightful tale. ^_^

Tales of Ever After

Goodreads / Free on Amazon

(I need to finish this anthology, but these two stories are my favorite so far.)

  1. Cinders (Kendra E. Ardnek) — Charming, and Cinderella’s a kitten! (Review.)
  2. At the Corner of Elm and Main (H.L. Burke) — Melted my heart away, a story about a sentinent lamp-post! Petition for this to be a Pixar animated short, please. (Review.)

Dana Illwind and Sorcerer Lord Jayden — stories by Arthur Daigle

If this were a novel, it would totally be on my top five books of the year. πŸ˜€ As it is, I simply have to mention these episodic short stories that I’m lumping together as “one” continuing story which I really hope will one day be published together as a collection about two of my new favorite characters of all time, Dana and Jayden. ^_^

The first two stories are free in two different Fellowship of Fantasy anthologies. They’re available also on a free website called Booksie (which is sort of like Wattpad) so you really have no excuse not to go read them right now. πŸ˜‰ (I mean, unless you don’t like slightly spooky, sarcastic, hilarious, epic, fantastical short stories featuring two of my fave characters. :P)

  1. Not Quite a Hero (Hall of Heroes and Booksie)
  2. Idiot’s Graveyard (Mythical Doorways and Booksie) — I already mentioned this one above. πŸ˜‰
  3. Surviving Fairytales (Booksie)
  4. A Fair Deal (Booksie)
  5. A Friend in Need (Booksie)

(They make me so happyyyy! ❀ )

Afterverse Stories

I read several of Kyle Robert Shultz’s new short stories this year (as his editor), and enjoyed all of them, but of particular note are these three personal favorites of mine:

Β 

  1. My Man Beasley (on Kyle’s Patreon) — Featuring three of my FAVORITE things, this one is basically Tam Lin meets Wodehouse meets Beaumont and Beasley. Enough said. XD (What would happen if Nick Beasley met someone like Bertie Wooster and had to help fix his magical problems?)
  2. The Centaur Express (free on Kyle’s newsletter) — Todd Crane, part-time centaur in the magical wild-west, has to fill in for their version of the Pony Express, and the mailbag will literally eat him if he stops. XD
  3. Someday at Christmas — This one gave me ALL THE FEELS and it’s a Beaumont and Beasley/Crockett and Crane crossover and it’s perfect. ❀

Mollie E. Reeder short stories

Sooo, maybe these are novelettes. I DON’T CARE. I have to talk about them because I ADORE THEM BOTH.

  1. Arbrook Huxley and the Star-Crossed Lovers (free on Mollie E. Reeder’s newsletter) — This is actually how I “met” Huxley, so of course I was super excited to read The Electrical Menagerie (which is somewhere near the top of my top-15-books-of-2018, spoiler alert. ;)). It’s hilarious and great fun and I recently re-read it after reading TEM, which only made it better. XD
  2. The Sixth ChristmasAaahh! How is this author so amazing?? 😭 😍 *hugs story* Fantastic Christmas short story! A Christmas Carol sort of vibe but original and awesome. I loved it so much. I just meant to read the first page and then couldn’t put it down. ^_^

Others

The Villain Who Saved Christmas (C.B. Cook) — Utterly charming. ❀ Supervillain! Christmas! What more do you need? (Review.)

Windswept (Sarah Delena White) — A gorgeous fantasy original-fairytale-esque short story. ^_^ Tiding me over while I wait for the sequel to Halayda. ❀


(Oh, look, three of these are Christmas short stories. Apparently I love those. XD)

Do you read shorter fiction much? I don’t always, but seem to have devoured quite a few in the past year (possibly why Goodreads claims I read 123 books in 2018?), and I just had to give a shout-out to some of these gorgeous, charming, or funny ones!

I’ll be back in a couple of days with my top 15 novels I read last year, so stay tuned! Have you read any of these? Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

2019 Bookish Resolutions + January Nightstand/News!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Today I’ve got a list of 10 of my bookish goals for the new year, plus new books releasing this month, what I’m reading, and other bookish news like free books! Shall we dive in?

Tolkien’s Birthday!

First order of business! Today (January 3) is J.R.R. Tolkien’s birthday, so I simply have to say: happy birthday to the Professor! He was born 127 years ago and changed the world of fantasy fiction forever. ❀

I’m hoping to dive into starting The Fall of Gondolin (Christmas present!) and The Book of Lost Tales today to celebrate. πŸ˜€

10(ish) Bookish Resolutions/Goals/Dreams

No idea how these will go (last year’s were . . . something of a hit-or-miss), but at least I’ll have something to try, yes?

  1. Catch up on review books and reviews and then stay on top of them (hehehe).
  2. Work through the History of Middle-earth series (and some other Tolkien).
  3. Catch up on a couple of other series (like the Ilyon Chronicles) which I hope to do by reading one per month.
  4. Read the books I’ve won in giveaways.
  5. Read more by Diana Wynne Jones, Lawhead, and Heyer.
  6. Read more Steampunk (research!).
  7. Some non-fiction (mostly writing-related).
  8. Try audiobooks more often! Incorporating it with my exercise plan. (I may talk about that another day.)
  9. Read more things I really want to read, not just that I “should.” (This is harder than you might think for me. *cough*)
  10. Remember that reading is fun and try not to stress about it. (Which should go without saying, but it doesn’t. :P)

JANUARY RELEASES

  • In the Shadow of Croft Towers – Abigail Wilson (Jan. 15, Thomas Nelson) — I just stumbled across this one and it’s a regency mystery that sounds super exciting. I need it in my life.
  • Echo North – Joanna Ruth Meyer (Jan. 15, Page Street) — If you missed it, I just reviewed this and am offering a giveaway for an ARC paperback copy (open through Jan. 6) so check that out! You absolutely MUST READ THIS BOOK! It’s one of my top favorites in a looong time and I adore it. ❀
  • Black Blood – S.D. Grimm (Jan. 29, Enclave) — I haven’t read the first two books in this series (I know! I’m behind!) but I have it on good authority there are cliffhangers, so obviously it’s actually a good plan of mine to wait until this releases. πŸ˜‰ *cough*
  • Shadowkeeper – Hope Ann (Jan. 25, Writing in the Light Publishing) — This is a Hades and Persephone, Castor and Pollux novella retelling and sounds intriguing.
  • Retreat – Sarah Addison-Fox (Jan. 26, Double Edged Sword Publishing) — This is the second Stormers book (I reviewed book 1, Retrieve), and I need this one because cliffhangers! :O
  • Illuminate – Sarah Addison-Fox (Jan. 9, Double Edged Sword Publishing) — And a magical NA fantasy from this prolific author!

Not Pictured

  • The Road to Bremen – Kelsey Bryant — I beta-read this one and IT’S PRECIOUS. It should be coming out in the next month or so. πŸ™‚ I’ll be sharing more about it, so stay tuned!
  • I hear that W.R. Gingell has a third City Between book, which obviously means I must get on reading the first two books ASAP. XD (I loved Masque, so I’m determined to read more from this author!)

FREE STUFF/OTHER JANUARY NEWS

Mirrors and Pearls — Free!

Mirrors and Pearls by Lea Doue is free on Amazon through today only (Jan 3) and is the Fellowship of Fantasy book of the month for January! (For those who don’t know, that’s my favorite bookclub and you should totally join if you’re on Facebook and like fantasy.)

This is actually my first read of 2019! (The only one I’ve finished so far. XD) I read it on New Year’s Day and it’s a charming novella-length retelling of Snow White — with dragons! Check out my mini-review on Goodreads.

Second Son — Free! + Readalong

Jenelle Schmidt is hosting a readalong of her awesome fantasy book Second Son, and it’s free on Amazon through January 5, so grab yourself a copy!

I read this one a couple of years ago and absolutely loved it, so I’m excited to join in on the readalong. I plan to read it aloud to my younger siblings. It’s going to be epic. πŸ˜€

(Also, some might think it’s the second book in the series, but it’s a prequel so chronologically it’s FIRST. So you can read it first without having read King’s Warrior. If you’re curious about them, you can read my reviews for both.)

Check out the readalong info HERE!

February Fantasy Month

Speaking of fantasy awesomeness and Jenelle . . . She’s once again heading up February Fantasy month, so if you want in on this awesome bloggish event, she has a sign-up form on her blog if you’d like to join!

Giveaway + Blogiversary

I’ve mentioned it already but I’m going to again! πŸ˜‰ I just celebrated my third blogiversary on this blog (yay!) and I’m kind of excited so I’m giving away an ARC of Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer, one of my top 15 reads of 2019! (I’ll share all of them soon.) So go enter that! (Open through Jan. 6.)

MY JANUARY NIGHTSTAND

There are quite a few other books I’d like to read this month (aahh! So much to read! So little time!) but we’ll see how much my over-ambitious reader self can tackle. πŸ˜‰ Anyway! Here are some I’m reading/hope to read this month! And I also have a handful of ebooks for review that I’m working through. And I’ll probably read some other random things because I’m terrible at predicting my reading. XD

(If you’d like to join in on Nightstand Books, you can do so here.)

MY READING NEWS

December Reads

  • When Santa Fell to Earth — Adorable!
  • The Spellcoats & The Crown of Dalemark — Rereads. ❀
  • Once Upon a December & Someday at Christmas — Fantastic short stories from Kyle Robert Shultz.
  • Dragon Lyric and Threadbare — Intriguing short stories; the former was too dark for me and the second wasn’t my usual genre, so neither were my favorite, but they were well-written/thrilling.
  • Kate’s Conundrum — Another fun FBI mystery with some fave characters! ❀ (Mini review on Goodreads.)
  • The Villain Who Saved Christmas — PRECIOUS. (My review.)
  • Retrieve — So exciting! (My review.)
  • Fawkes — Kinda disappointed me; not my thing. *cough* Review to come.
  • Echo North — THE BEST EVER. ❀ ❀ ❀ (My Review.)

For more info on these, you can find them at the top of my 2018 Reading Challenge on Goodreads!

December book haul

I got a lot of books last month. XD

  • Got for myself: A new Chicago Manual of Style, because editing, and The Seven Drawers by Kendra E. Ardnek.
  • GIVEN: Afterverse books I edited, & Emmeline for helping with the Vintage Jane Austen website. (Thanks to Kyle Shultz and Sarah Holman!)
  • WON: Fellowship of Fantasy anthology I can’t wait to finish and A Touch of Gold. (Thanks to H.L. Burke and Michele Israel Harper.)
  • ARC: Echo North (with thanks to the publisher).
  • CHRISTMAS: The Fall of Gondolin by Tolkien (yessss), C.S. Lewis On Stories, A Tale of Time City by Diana Wynne Jones, and one I already read and loved: Blood in the Snow by Sarah Pennington! ❀

I talk a lot about my bookish shenanigans over on my Instagram, so if you’re not following me on there you can check it out. πŸ™‚

Okay! There’s the bookish news of the month. I hope it was enjoyable and/or helpful! Do you have any bookish resolutions or books you’re excited about? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

In Bookish News! (December 2018)

I can’t believe it’s December already! Where does time go, my dear pagelings?? (And, more importantly, where did NaNo go? o.o)

But here we are and it’s time for another roundup of new and exciting bookish releases and news!

DECEMBER RELEASES

(All titles link to Goodreads.)

  • Five Poisoned Apples – various authors — I shared my review for the first novella in this collection, Falling Snow by Skye Hoffert. I LOVED IT SO MUCH. Pretty sure I need to re-read it soon. I look forward to reading the others in the collection as well but haven’t had time yet.
  • Pirate’s Wager (Mardan’s Mark, #0.5) – Kathrese McKee — A super intriguing fantasy (bordering on Kingdom Adventure?) piratey novella! This one just came out, and I really enjoyed it! I need to catch up on the rest of the Mardan’s Mark series. πŸ™‚
  • Bitter Winter (Ilyon Chronicles, #5) and Lacy (Ilyon Chronicles, #5.5) – Jaye L. Knight — I seriously need to catch up on this series, but of course I HAD to mention them! πŸ˜€ Jaye (who’s a fabulous human I met at Realm Makers! ❀ ) is coming out with the penultimate installment of her Ilyon Chronicles series, and also a companion novella. It’s exciting, y’all!
  • Decree (Blades of Acktar, #5) – Tricia Mingerink — Another series I must definitely get into soon, this is a short story collection for Blades of Acktar and sounds super cool! πŸ™‚
  • The Villain Who Saved Christmas – C.B. Cook — The author who brought us Twinepathy and Lightporter is coming out with a Christmas short story, featuring a supervillain, and it sounds so cute! I can’t wait. πŸ˜€
  • Retrieve (Stormers, #1) – Sarah Addison-Fox — I’ve heard this one described as Mulan meets Prince of Persia and I’m really looking forward to reading it. πŸ˜€ I’ll be sharing my review during the blogtour sometime in the next month or so. It’s releasing the day after Christmas!
  • Liberation of Sephiera (Varsian Kingdom, #3) – Jason P. Hein — This one actually released at the end of last month. I haven’t started this epic fantasy series yet but I won the first two books and my sister’s been reading and enjoying them. Plus, this cover’s really cool! πŸ˜€

MY READING NEWS

I… er… didn’t have much time to read during November. I was writing a novel (or two…) of my own, after all, and since I did after all write 58,000 words and was insanely busy besides, I’m going to excuse myself from reading expectations. XD

BUT! I did manage to read one novel and a couple of novellas and some short stories and picture books. (Because small things. I think I did this last year too. :P)

If you’d like to read more about these, you can find them near the top of my Reading Challenge on Goodreads and click on them to learn more. πŸ™‚

  • Not pictured, an awesome novella/children’s book coming soon from Kelsey Bryant, called The Road to Bremen. I beta-read it and IT’S SO PRECIOUS. It’s so fun and I love it so much and can’t wait for it to release in January! ^_^
  • Falling Snow by Skye Hoffert, which, in case you haven’t realized yet, WAS AMAZING.
  • Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse, which I loved too! A really neat epic fantasy novel — check out my full review on my other blog, if you missed it!
  • The Sixth Christmas, a short story by Mollie E. Reeder (yes, THE Mollie E. Reeder who wrote The Electrical Menagerie!!), which was a Christmas story and I adored so muuuch. I have many feelz. ❀
  • My Man Beasley by Kyle Robert Shultz. This was a short story on the author’s Patreon. It’s Beaumont and Beasley meets Tam Lin meets Wodehouse. HELLO. THESE ARE LIKE THREE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS. *dies* There were SOOO many awesome Afterverse/Tam Lin/Bertie Wooster references and retelling bits and crossovers, plus it was absolutely hilarious! I loved it so much. XD
  • Some totally random picture books, which were… okay. I did enjoy The Naming illustrated by Pauline Baynes! So many animals! The Stone Fey by Robin McKinley was honestly kind of disturbing and I wasn’t a fan. The other ones pictured were okay but eh.

Now that NaNo’s over, I’m hoping to read a fair amount more than I have been, but we’ll see if Christmas busyness cuts into that. XD

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been reading and the books coming out this month!

Have you read anything good lately? And are you excited for any of these?

Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

In Bookish News! (November 2018)

Hey, dear pagelings!

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

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

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

NEW RELEASES

(All titles link to Goodreads.)

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

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

NOVEMBER RELEASES

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

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

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

OTHER NOVEMBER NEWS

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

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

MY READING NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

October Bookish News & Afterverse Relaunch!

Greetings, fellow page dreamers!

I’ve gone kind of radio silent because I was on vacation… but it’s time for another edition of what’s up In Bookish News, in October this time.

This month we’ve got the relaunch of the Afterverse, the release of SEVEN Snow White novellas, a batch of other new book releases, some hashtag and bookclub fun, and a giveaway, so there’s lots to cover!

Afterverse Relaunch!

Firstly, Kyle Robert Shultz is doing a Soft Relaunch on October 31 of his Afterverse series!

Essentially, this means that they’re coming to Kindle Unlimited, that there will be new short stories for his newsletter subscribers (go sign up on the side of his blog!), and that there has been some cover-tweaking and some story polishing.

Now, before you freak out, don’t worry — the changes are minor. The covers are just shined up a little, and the first three books (The Beast of Talesend, The Tomb of the Sea Witch, and The Stroke of Eleven) have undergone an extra round of edits to comb out typos and inconsistencies, and to clarify a few things, so there may be a few additional details.

But the stories as you know and love them (if you’ve read them already) are still essentially the same, so you don’t need to read the new versions! (Unless you want to.) And this is just a chance for you to celebrate the awesomeness that is Beaumont and Beasley, and new free short stories, yay!

And if you haven’t read the books yet, now is the absolute perfect time to jump on the Afterverse reading bandwagon with these shiny new editions!

(Small disclaimer: I’m Kyle’s editor. So I… er… may have been the editor involved with polishing the new editions. It was an absolute delight to shine up these hilarious and brilliant stories. ❀ I should put it on my invisible Badge of Credentials: Editor of the Afterverse.)

You can read all the details on Kyle’s site! Or, specifically, in two posts so far, HERE and HERE. And all of these updates should go into effect October 31st. πŸ™‚

If you’re a little confused about the order of the books… here, allow me to make you a list. (And yes, this may be an excuse to throw around the shiny covers for a whole bunch of stories I love. I have no regrets.)

Beaumont and Beasley Books

  1. The Beast of Talesend
  2. The Tomb of the Sea Witch
  3. The Stroke of Eleven
  4. The Return of Beaumont and Beasley (containing novellas The Janus Elixir [about Malcolm Blackfire!] and The Hound of Duville [about Nick and Crispin] which were previously published separately)

Beaumont and Beasley Short Stories

  1. The Last Days of Lady Cordelia (deals with some events from Book 1, The Beast of Talesend) — Amazon
  2. Christmas in Talesend (takes place after Book 3, The Stroke of Eleven) — Amazon
  3. A Spoonful of Aether (Beaumont and Beasley) — Newsletter freebie

Blackfire

Blackfire hasn’t officially launched with a novel yet. This is a Regency Fantasy setting of the Afterverse, featuring dragon/archaeologist Malcolm Blackfire and reformed jewel-thief Melody Nightingale. There aren’t any full-length books out about them yet. (Malcolm appears in many of the Beaumont and Beasley tales, and he and Melody feature together in The Stroke of Eleven.)

The tales that are exclusively about Malcolm and Melody so far are:

  1. The Haunted Hoard (short story) — Newsletter freebie
  2. The Janus Elixir (novella) — One of the two novellas collected in The Return of Beaumont and Beasley (Book 4), on Amazon

Crockett and Crane

Spinoff in magical wild west. Can stand alone. (Book 2 was released on Wattpad originally but will be published sometime on Amazon.)

Novels

  1. Horseman

Crockett and Crane Short Stories

  1. The Centaur Express (Crockett and Crane) — Newsletter freebie
  2. Ravenous (Crockett and Crane) — a free short story as an intro to Kyle’s Patreon page

OKAY. Moving on from the Afterverse, to . . . Snow White!

Seven Magic Mirrors

The Seven Magic Mirrors co-release is happening THIS WEEK and next! Seven Snow White retellings by six different authors are publishing the last several days of the month, run by Kendra E. Ardnek. I’ll be reviewing one by our very own Sarah Pennington — I’m SO excited! *flails around* Anyway, they’re all gorgeous and sound AMAZING so check them out!

Other Book Releases

(The first couple were actually the end of September, but who’s counting. :P)

  • Punctuation 101 – Jill Williamson — This is SUCH a handy, adorable little book for writers! I highly recommend it! I had the chance to volunteer as a proofreader for it and I love it so much. (Why yes, I am the kind of person who proofreads punctuation books for fun… *cough* This is probably why I’m an editor.)
  • Fallow (Green Princess, #2) – H.L. Burke — Look who’s doing it again — releasing books way too fast! XD I’m so excited to read the FIRST book so I can get to this one someday… πŸ˜€
  • Paws, Claws, and Magic Tales – Fellowship of Fantasy authors — Eep, another FoF anthology! It’s FREE so you should definitely pick up a copy of these magical cat tales. I can’t wait to read it. ^_^
  • Ogre Enchanted – Gail Carson Levine — It’s a prequel to Ella Enchanted! :O Excited for this one!
  • The Profile Match – Jill Williamson — The final Spencer (Mission League) book is out and I’m so excited for Jill finishing this six-book series! πŸ˜€ I’m kinda behind on it but am looking forward to catching up. ^_^
  • Mardan’s Heir – Kathrese McKee — This is the sequel to Mardan’s Heir, and they’re both on my TBR. It looks so cool!
  • A Wind from the Wilderness – Suzannah Rowntree (Oct 29) — This prolific author is always coming out with new tales and this one looks gorgeous!
  • Ewan Pendle and the Castle of Nightmares – Shaun Hume (Oct 31) — Some may remember my review of the first book, a charming British fantasy adventure with fantastical creatures. I’m really excited for this one! πŸ™‚

Other Events

A little late in the month for some of these, but there’s always time to jump on board!

Drachtober / Spooky Story Challenge

Jenelle Schmidt is running #Drachtober and the Spooky Story Challenge again (I posted one of my own!), so drop by and check those out!

Bookclub News

The Fellowship of Fantasy bookclub is reading Masque, a funny Beauty and the Beast story I ADORED — and we’re meeting the author, W. R. Gingell, at the bookclub’s Facebook party this week on Oct 26!

Also, speaking of bookclubs, Jill Williamson and Gillian Bronte Adams have started an awesome new bookclub called @fantasyreadalong on Instagram (and elsewhere? I think they said it moves around) and the first readalong will be in NOVEMBER, for Mark of the Raven by Morgan Busse — I’m so excited!

Giveaway

You can also drop by my other blog to enter a giveaway for No Plot, No Problem by Chris Baty, running through October 28! πŸ˜‰


I think that’s all I have for you. I do have some books I should review soonish, and we’re coming up on NaNoWriMo so I’ll probably have a mix of posts and too-busy-writing-to-blog, so we’ll see!

Whew! So much happening this month! What book(s) are you most excited about? Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

In Bookish News: July 2018

Hi everyone!

Just popping in for a quick post about the book releases and other awesomely bookish things going on this month. πŸ™‚

JULY RELEASES

Here are some books which look like they’ll be awesome. πŸ˜€ (And I can’t get over how pretty the covers are together. AWK. So much shiny!)

Screenshot from Goodreads. If you’d like to check any of these books out on there, you can find ’em here at the moment.

(Titles link to places you can acquire the books or read more about them!)

  • The Green Princess series, book 1: Flower – H. L. Burke — (Okay, this was actually June 30th, but close enough, and I didn’t have it in last month’s post.) Because an adorable YA fantasy romance with a heroine who has plant powers sounds super fun. I’m curious to try this one!
  • Healers and Warriors – Daley Downing — (Similar story; just came out! EEE!) I enjoyed the first two books immensely, so I’m excited to try the third book in this series involving modern times and fae and cats and all that fun stuff. πŸ˜‰
  • The Janus Elixir – Kyle Robert Shultz (July 1) — I actually read this already (as an editor) and it’s so good! I’m not even biased, I promise. I’m just excited to have a whole novella told by Malcolm Blackfire, dragon and archaeologist. πŸ˜€ It’s super funny, features Malcolm and his… er… assistant Melody Nightingale, and is set in an alternate 1816 London, with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, some characters from mythology, and some other familiar names… You’ll just have to check it out, because it’s a blast. XD And it’s free if you sign up for the author’s newsletter. πŸ˜‰
  • Renegade Skyfarer – R. J. Metcalf (July 1) — I haven’t read this but I have it on good authority that it’s amazing, and it certainly SOUNDS like it is, because steampunkery and awesomeness. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy!
  • Launch – Jason C. Joyner (July 3) — I don’t know a lot about this one but it’s a superhero story I’ve seen some friends sharing and I think it’s a YA Christian fantasy superhero book, which sounds intriguing!
  • Fawkes – Nadine Brandes (July 10) — Alternate historical fantasy version of the Fifth of November Guy Fawkes incident? I’m sold!
  • Escape and Endurance – Sarah Holman (July 15) — Another addition to the delightful Kingdom Adventure series, Tales of Taelis! These books make my heart happy and I can’t wait to read this one. ^_^ Also THAT COVER. ❀ It’s up for pre-order. (It’s book 5 in the series, but they always stand alone!)
  • The Hound of Duville – Kyle Robert Shultz — (Not pictured because it’s not on Goodreads yet and I’m lazy.) The Brothers Beasley (Nick and Crispin) are back (I MISSED THEMMM) and hilarious as ever, in an alternate 1920s London with some magical mishaps as they solve a case involving… well… you’ll just have to read it. But there’s lots of dogs. And hilarity! XD And FEELS. O_O And it’s so good! πŸ˜€ (I may have edited this one too. *cough*)

RECENT COVER REVEALS

Take a look at these snazzy new covers! πŸ˜€

Book 1 of H. L. Burke’s Spellsmith and Carver series, Magicians’ Rivalry, which I reviewed, has a new cover!

Melanie Dickerson’s upcoming Mulan retelling has a neat cover too…

There’s a new Kate’s Case Files book from Sarah Holman, coming this September, and I’m really excited! Look at that adorable cover. πŸ˜€ It’s up for pre-order if you like Christian FBI mysteries! ^_^

And, of course, I revealed the cover of Sarah Addison-Fox’s upcoming fourth novel, Discerned, on my blog last week, but I have to share it here again because it’s so pretty. πŸ˜‰

OTHER BOOKISH HAPPENINGS

The Realm Makers writer conference is happening, so I might be less bloggy than usual, getting ready for and then attending that. I’m really excited! (And if you’re going, give me a shout so we can meet! :D)

I know this is very localized, so I apologize if it doesn’t apply to you, but thought I’d share anyway. If you are, or know anybody, in the St. Louis, MO area, there’s going to be a Book Festival as part of the Realm Makers conference, and on Saturday, July 21, the book festival part is open to the public! So you can check that out here. πŸ™‚

The Fellowship of Fantasy’s neat Summer Reading Quest is still going, and it’s not too late to join! Readers of all ages can join in and read books and earn rewards and it’s basically awesome. ^_^ (Not that I’ve been keeping up with it because so much busy right now. *cough*) (And, yes, here’s the link for older readers. ;))

EDITED TO ADD: The Electrical Menagerie, which I loved, is the book of the month for the Fellowship of Fantasy bookclub, so there’s no better time to join in on this fun group, if you do the Facebook thing, than now! πŸ˜€ Because you need Carthage and Huxley in your life. You just do.


Okay, that’s all I have for you guys today!

What books or bookish happenings are you excited about? What’s on your Summer Reading list? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚