Tag Archive | Kyle Robert Shultz

Fall Books & 12 Princesses! Book Ishness (October 2019)

Time for bookish news and ishness! Since, you know, I haven’t had one of these in AGES.

I won’t attempt to catch up on all the releases and reading at the moment, and will just hop in with NEW THINGS for October. πŸ˜€

(Did I ever mention I’m a perfectionist? I keep not doing Book Ishness posts because I know I haven’t been keeping track of EVERYTHING and what if I miss something and ack I must recap all the months I missed and–! No. Breathe, Deborah. Goodness. Ahem.)

SO. This is not exhaustive (and hopefully not exhausting) but here are some bookish releases and fun things and stuff I’m up to!

First . . .


How about some releases for this month-ish?

  • Jenelle Schmidt’s first children’s picture book just released! It’s a Christmas book and looks totally adorbz.
  • I can’t wait to dive into reading Strayborn (E.E. Rawls), Sword of Soter (Ralene Burke), Mardan’s Anointed (Kathrese McKee), and Strange Waters (by all the Phoenix Fiction Writers)! I’ll be reviewing them once I’ve read them so watch for info on those!
  • Mistaken Divinity is the latest short story on Kyle Robert Shultz’s Patreon, featuring Nick and Cordelia running into Thor and Loki and other Norse people and it’s great. XD (For those not on Patreon, stay tuned because the next Beaumont and Beasley book is in the works, and I hear there’s a Crockett and Crane novella coming soon… As the Editor of the Afterverse, I Know Stuff. ;))
  • E.B. Dawson’s Lost Empire trilogy will be wrapping up soon with the upcoming release of The Guardian!
  • I haven’t kept up with the Lost Castle books but I hear there’s another one and it sounds delightful!
  • Uncommon Universes is releasing its first anthology, and while the subject matter doesn’t sound like my cup of tea I’m definitely curious about it since many authors I know are being published in it!
  • Selina J. Eckert is releasing a series of fairytale retelling novellas (I loved her Mesoamerican-inspired Rapunzel story!) and the next one is going to be Hansel and Gretel-related and sounds so interesting!

And two not-pictured:

DARK IS THE NIGHT — A new Mirriam Neal novel!!

Dark is the Night gets its own shoutout spot because it’s not on Goodreads or Amazon yet I’M SO EXCITED FOR IT.

Image and info from Mirriam’s Facebook cover reveal:

“The first day of Autumn is an auspicious day. A day for crunching leaves, apple cider, werewolves, and COVER REVEALS. I’m absolutely stoked to show you the cover for my novel, ‘Dark is the Night,’ and announce a mid-October release date!

That’s right, cryptidsβ€”the spooky South Carolina town of Salvation is being brought to you in paperback and kindle formats in less than a month!

Stay tuned for updates, and don’t forget to test strangers before inviting them inside.”

–Mirriam

GUYS I’M SO EXCITED. The last Mirriam novel to release was Paper Crowns (ONLY ONE OF MY TOP FAVORITE BOOKS EVER) and I beta-read Dark is the Night ages ago and I’M SO STOKED THAT IT’S RELEASING IN TWO WEEKS. Stay tuned. I’ll definitely be reading/reviewing it soon. πŸ˜€ I can’t wait for Skata and Angel to be released on the world!

Hollow

And aaahh! Just look at this epic-looking novella coming soon from Kyle Robert Shultz! It’s a novella about Ichabod Crane and I. can’t. wait. πŸ˜€ (Image from his Facebook.)


Um. So. Both of those are spooky-looking because October, but anyway, they look epic and I am THE EXCITED.


Other fun bookish things happening:

Twelve Dancing Princesses month

It’s Twelve Dancing Princesses month over at The Fairy Tale Central AND I COULD NOT BE MORE EXCITED. *screaming*

It’s only my most favorite fairy tale of all, and I can’t wait to see all the 12DP goodness being featured over there!

I might even see if I can do a post about this fairy tale myself this month, if I have time…

And now I want to read (and re-read!) more retellings. *shakes fist at calendar which says I have zero time* (But I might steal some of that time anyway. Maybe if I put on an invisible cloak I can evade Time. Hey, it worked for the Soldier following those princesses!)


Instagram and #SeriesthatIsnt

I have still been posting on my Instagram daily.

And I started a new hashtag! #Seriesthatisnt is all about book titles that sound like they should be in the same series but aren’t. XD

I’ve been having wayyy too much fun with this! You can check some of them out if you like, and it would be really fun if more people joined in on this! There have already been a few others doing it and it makes me happy. πŸ˜€


My Reading Life

So… I mostly read re-reads and picture books and beta/edits during September?? Which means I don’t have a lot of new exciting books to share about. Heh. But I have a few ARCs I need to read soon so I’ll hopefully be sharing some reviews in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

October

I don’t have an official TBR/nightstand to share this month, since most of my have-to-reads are ebooks and don’t photograph well, and all the things in my physical stack I don’t know if I’ll get around to… BUT WE’LL SEE.

I don’t know how much time I’ll have to read later this month, but we’re only 4 days into October and I’ve already beta-read a delightful H.L. Burke short story, done one read-through on the Beaumont and Beasley book I’m editing (GUYS! :O), read a new Jayden and Dana story (aaahh!!!), and binge-read the Fellowship of Fantasy bookclub book of the month (Ghostlight by Rabia Gale; spookier than I usually read but otherwise AMAZING because Regency fantasyyyy) which has left me with a slight book hangover. So the month is off to an amazing start!

Here’s to a bookish October, friends! (While I freak out over needing to prep for NaNoWriMo. XD)

What are you reading? Thanks for dropping by, and have a great weekend!

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Free Afterverse Book! (+ Beaumont and Beasley Series: What’s Up)

Hey, so for those of you out there who are fans of The Beast of Talesend and Kyle Robert Shultz’s other delightful works of hilarious fantasy fiction, I just want to share a sale with you! Because FREE BOOK!

(And to explain what’s up with the Beaumont and Beasley series, in case you’re confused by what this book actually is. XD)

Free: The Hound of Duville and Other Stories (Beaumont and Beasley, #4)

First, link: heeere it is. Free through June 16. Go download it! (Got it? Excellent.)

As the Editor of the Afterverse, I just wanted to give a shout-out!

Another free book

(Oh, and Kyle’s nonfiction book on writing, titled Not Write Now, is free too! It’s perfect if you’re into writing and hilarity and reverse-psychology, because it’s going to totally inspire you in your writing, while telling you NOT to write. It totally works. And chapter 2 even has Nick and Cordelia in it. Just so you know.)

Now, what is this Hound of Duville and Other Stories, you ask?

Once upon a time . . . there was The Beast of Talesend, The Tomb of the Sea Witch, and The Stroke of Eleven. (Click titles for my reviews.) These make up the first three books in the Beaumont and Beasley series, about Beast detective Nick Beasley, his awesome/funny brother Crispin, and the inimitable and eccentric young enchantress Cordelia Beaumont. 1920s magical fairytale retellings. Hilarious. Awesome. And so forth. (There’s a newΒ omnibus edition of the first three if you need to catch up.)

And then there were a smattering of other, smaller stories, released over the last year or two, on various platforms, which are combined as book 4, which is the book that is free this weekend.

The Janus Elixir — a prequel novella of sorts, following fan-favorite archaeologist dragon Malcolm Blackfire (who’s going to have his own series), taking place in the 1800s, with some Jekyll-and-Hyde shenanigans.

The Hound of Duville — occurs a few months after The Stroke of Eleven (book 3), and is a novella featuring Nick and Crispin and a doggy curse.

These were published individually, then combined into The Return of Beaumont and Beasley, labeled book 4.

This has now been re-released under the title The Hound of Duville and Other Stories (as Beaumont and Beasley, #4), with these two novellas and the new addition of three other short stories, to make it more of an anthology.

All three short stories feature the Beaumont and Beasley characters, take place after book 3, and are:

  1. A Spoonful of Aether — Short story with a Mary Poppins vibes. Features Cordelia being awesome. (Was released as a newsletter exclusive.)
  2. My Man Beasley — Basically a P.G. Wodehouse/Bertie Wooster mashup with Tam Lin. (Was only available to Patreon readers before now.)
  3. One Flew Over the Gryphon’s Nest — Told in the form of transcripts from interview sessions with the Beaumont and Beasley characters at an insane asylum (and yes, it’s as hilarious and intense as it sounds. XD). Also a Patreon story.

Got it? Two novellas, three short stories, all awesome, all in one collection, which is free through June 16. You MAY have read some of them in various forms over time, so I just wanted y’all to know about all this! You can read Kyle’s post here, but he wanted to put it up for free for a few days due to some people perhaps already having other versions. (And the new paperback is also discounted.)

Also, book 5 is coming, promise! It’s called The Geppetto Codex and will be out later this year.

In the meantime, the next Afterverse book is Deadwood (magical wild-west spinoff series Crockett and Crane, #2), releasing June 30 and up for pre-order!

OKAY. I think that’s all you need to know. I hope you found this Afterverse recap/update helpful — or at least the freebie sales. XD Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I edited these books, which might mean I’m slightly biased when I say that they’re totally awesome, but I assure you this is not the case. … It’s not the case that I’m biased, I mean. They ARE totally awesome.

Book Ishness + 200 Posts! (June 2019)

I’m back from hiatus! *happy dance*

And I just realized that my most recent post was my 200th post on the Page Dreamer! HURRAH!

*throws confetti and passes out virtual cupcakes*

200 is a pretty cool number, I feel. πŸ˜€

Thanks, as always, for reading and supporting my little bookish rambles and reviews, my dear Pagelings! Y’all are the best! ❀

Onward to the bookish news and releases, free books and cover reveals, and what I’ve been reading while I was on hiatus! (It was a good reading month! ^_^)


NEW RELEASES

Urban fantasy, urban fantasy, fairytale retelling, Arthurian retelling, steampunk, dystopian. (Respectively.)

SOME PEOPLE write way too fast (okay, there’s no such thing. XD), and I can’t keep up with all their new books and need to catch up, but look! Shinies!

Some came out last month and others are arriving sometime this June. Click the titles below to read more on Goodeads if any intrigue you . . .

Wish You Weren’t Here (Janeen Ippolito) β€’ Between Frames (W.R. Gingell) β€’ The Matchgirl and the Magician (L. Palmer) β€’ The Heir of Logres (Suzannah Rowntree) β€’ Heart of the Curiosity (H.L. Burke) β€’ Irrelevant (Sarah Addison-Fox)

Deadwood, the sequel to Horseman (Crockett and Crane, book 1) is coming out at the end of the month as well!

Oh, yes, this one is almost here! As the Editor of the Afterverse, I’m excited to say that you don’t have much longer to wait for the further adventures of part-time centaur Todd Crane, ex-Marshal Amy Crockett, and Julio the dragon, in the magical wild west of the United States of Neverica. *grins*

It’s not on Goodreads yet, but here’s the Amazon preorder link if you want to know more! Kyle Shultz and I are finishing up the final edits on this one, and I’m really excited for y’all to read it. πŸ˜€

Official release date is June 30. (And book 1 is free! Details below.)


Free Ebooks

Horseman by Kyle Robert Shultz is free just through today (June 3!) so be sure to pick up the ebook of that if you don’t have it yet!

Book 2, Deadwood, is coming soon, so now is the perfect time to read this one if you haven’t!

And if you want more fun, you can join the Fellowship of Fantasy Bookclub over on Facebook to read it this month, since Horseman is book of the month for June!

This super-power-ish short story by E.B. Dawson is free through June 4 so be sure to pick up your Kindle copy! (I’m planning to review a bunch of sci-fi short stories by this talented author next week, but I had to share this one while the sale was running!)

OTHER NEWS

Alliance Award Voting — Final Round!

There’s still time to vote on the Alliance Awards, reader-based fan awards run by Realm Makers — so if you’ve read Fawkes, Mark of the Raven, The Story Peddler, or any combination of the three, hurry and get your vote in before June 4 at midnight PST!

Sci-fi Fairy Tale Retellings — Kickstarter

There’s a campaign (through June 22) to help fund an upcoming collection called Once Upon a Future Time (Volume 2), and it features at least one story that I know is awesome — Beast in the Machine, a sci-fi retelling by E.B. Dawson! There’s also a story by our very own Savannah Grace, as well as tales by Shannon McDermott and several other authors. If this sounds of interest to you, be sure to check it out and spread the word if you can! πŸ™‚


Other than that, I’m a bit out of the loop since I was mostly on internet hiatus for the last month, but here, have some pretty covers!

Cover Reveals

I know you probably saw this one when I shared it and related info a couple weeks ago, but LOOK AT IT AGAIN BECAUSE IT’S EPIC. πŸ˜€ (Also, it’s now on Goodreads!)


EEP! I love the blue on this one! So shiny! And I’m always up for a Cinderella retelling. πŸ˜€ Check it out.


I know I shared this one in the list of new releases coming this June, but I had to share it again! And steampunk! I’m excited! πŸ˜€


HIATUS END + READING NEWS

I had a lovely month of reading during my hiatus, and found myself actually reading one book at a time, focusing, reading straight through, and then starting another. I’m so proud of myself for not being all scattered and trying to read half a dozen books at once, which doesn’t always work so well. XD

I also found myself with a bit of extra reading time, due to my social media hiatus, which was lovely!

And as much as I love Goodreads, reading felt like a lot less pressure when I wasn’t tracking my reading on there. πŸ˜› *cough*

I also OFFICIALLY CAUGHT UP ON READING ALL MY REVIEW BOOKS so I’m sort of ecstatic about that.

It was a quite successful reading month, overall!

MAY READS

Oh, look, I passed my reading goal for the year! (In my defense, I do count short stories, which is why the number is so high. XD)

For more details on any of these, you can find links to them on my Goodreads reading challenge.

  • Flower of the Underworld – Hazel B. West — Super-enjoyable urban fantasy. I just had so much fun reading this! And I loved Hades and Persephone and their friends and all the shenanigans, and the mix of Greek myth and modern times, in a totally unique way. (I may have promptly named a plant George after the plant Persephone gave Hades. XD)
  • In the Shadow of Croft Towers – Abigail Wilson — Secrets, spies, highwaymen, a mysterious mansion, and a smidge of romance, all tied up in the Regency era. It’s a Regency romance/murder mystery and the combination was super cool! You can read my review here if you missed it.
  • Flight of the Raven (Ravenwood Saga, #2) – Morgan L. Busse — Review coming tomorrow on my other blog as part of the blog tour, but I ADORED this one! πŸ˜€
  • Friday’s Child – Georgette Heyer — Oh, man. XD I hadn’t read a Heyer book in far too long and almost forgot how hilarious and full of shenanigans they are. I had such a blast reading it that I stayed up until 1 a.m. and only went to bed under the veriest protest, and then was absolutely useless all the next day until I finished the last page. πŸ˜›
  • Castle in the Air – Diana Wynne Jones — I re-read this aloud to the younger siblings and had the absolute best time re-visiting Abdullah and the soldier and the cats he’s besotted with, and of course the genie and magic carpet. XD SO fun, and the cameos of people from Howl’s Moving Castle, including Howl and Sophie, just make the book. ❀
  • Battle for the Throne – E.J. Willis — A bit bloody for my taste but definitely had its moments! This was an intriguing YA Christian fantasy about a lost princess and included gladiators, giants, and winged-wolf-spirit-guardians! I’ll be reviewing it later too. πŸ™‚
  • Mardan’s Mark, Mardan’s Heir, Healer’s Curse, and Pirate Wager – Kathrese McKee — I sort of binge-read these and LOVED them! Pirates, princesses, missing heirs, friendship and romance, siblings and survival and adventure and politics. Watch for my series review post, coming soon!

Not Pictured

  • How to Be a Savage – Daley Downing (coming soon!) — A short collection from the author of the Order of the Twelve Tribes series, I edited this one and it’s coming soon! Super enjoyable!
  • Pseudonym (Dana Illwind and Sorcerer Lord Jayden short story) – Arthur Daigle — I’ve mentioned . . .Β these short stories . . .Β before, but every time a new one pops up online it makes my WEEK and I devour it at once. I can’t get enough of these delightful characters! Jayden and Dana are my FAVORITE. ❀

JUNE PLANS

I have a handful of review posts planned for this month, since I did so much catching up on review books, so watch out for those!

I’m not sure exactly what my “nightstand” TBR pile for June will be, but it has occurred to me I should probably take this opportunity to tackle at least a few Realm Makers books before I go to the conference in July. XD

We’ll see what the month brings!

How was your May? I missed you guys! What was your favorite book you read while I was gone? And do any of these books intrigue you? Thanks for reading, and HI AGAIN! ❀

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™‚

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™‚