Tag Archive | Review

The Worth of a King Review/Blog Tour

Hi everyone! Today I’m excited to be part of the blog tour for the latest book of an author friend, Kendra E. Ardnek! I’ll be sharing my review of this delightful book — and there’s also a giveaway, so keep reading! 😉


Title: The Worth of a King

Author: Kendra E. Ardnek

  • Date read: August 30, 2018
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Christian Fantasy
  • Age: YA-ish
  • Year pub: 2018
  • Pages: 358 (Kindle)
  • Series: The Fall of a Star, #1
  • Fave character: Delaney! ❤
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free Advance Reader Copy ebook from the author. I was not required to write a positive review, and all opinions are my own.

SQUEE! This was a really enjoyable book. 😀

Things I loved:

+ Delaney! Of course he had to be at the top of this list. I LOVE THIS BOY. He’s fantastic. I don’t want to give away any of the plot, but the way he does all the awesomeness, and is also sweet, and stands firm on the right things when everything is conspiring against him—basically, I’m a fan. 😀

+ Winged Horses! Okay, I really want one of these. They were awesome.

+ The world, the “feel,” and just… I can’t quite explain it, but I really enjoyed being here in this setting. ^_^ The cultures were interesting (like the masked Zovordians!) and I just… I don’t know. It felt homey. 🙂 And fresh. And honestly it gave me Goldstone-Wood-series vibes which is always a good thing!

+ The plot was unique and intriguing, and once I got used to the weird politics and laws, those made it even more fascinating. 😀 Some of it wasn’t as exciting as I thought it might be—it’s sometimes more of a character story, which was awesome—but there were also plenty of high stakes and it kept me guessing.

+ Cream cake. Because I neeeed one! (Or possibly several.)

+ I’m also pleased that I was able to enjoy this book without having read the Rizkaland books. I believe this is the first book in a sort of prequel series to that, so I was wondering… but it stood on its own quite well. (Just a few things about the world I didn’t quite get a feel for… maybe if I’d read those it would have helped? But nothing serious.) It WAS a little weird reading this because of my experience not having read the Rizkaland books and YET also knowing things about… well… STUFF, due to things I’ve heard said about the series. So… I kind of knew things… which kind of colored some of my perspectives… and makes me wonder how I’d feel about things if I didn’t know certain THINGS. But that’s just me. XD On the whole, if you’ve never picked up a book by this author before, this is a good one to start with. 🙂

+ Humor is also one of my favorite things, and there was some of that scattered throughout to make me smile. 🙂

+ Sweet romance(s) which I WILL SAY NO MORE ON but so adorbz! 😀 I really liked the main one, but I also loved that there were a few other ones scattered along the side of the story. Keeps one on one’s toes and adds to the adorbz factor.

+ Twins. Because twin stories are fun, and I enjoyed Adrian and Obsidia (who, yes, I did like quite a bit when she wasn’t being… odd). ADRIAN IS PRECIOUS. He needs a hug. He could get hard to deal with at times too, but I liked his quietness and surprising strengths. And the whole twin thing was great.

+ The rest of the characters were quite intriguing and I don’t have time to mention them all here, but they fleshed it out nicely, and I came to care about so many of them. 🙂 And certain have me curious about thiiings. O_o

+ Granite—oh my word, I loved Granite!! He’s such a fun guy but also kinda mysterious because “Immortal King” and all that. I loved when he was around in any scene and I don’t even know how to describe it. Magnetism and humor, I guess. He was fabulous.

+ Oh, and Delaney. DELANEYYY. I did mention him, right? *cough*

Less favorite things:

Okay, so I have a couple of things I didn’t love… Once I got about halfway through, I confess that I started screaming every time a character “admitted” something, and some of the wording was a smidge modern-feeling. (OH. But I did read an ARC of this book, so it’s possible some of these things were smoothed out; I wouldn’t know. :P) Obsidia occasionally annoyed/puzzled me, especially how she reacted (or rather, failed to react) to a certain big thing (also so much blushing; help), and Nadilynn wasn’t my favorite (but I’m never big on the exuberant, chatty best friend character, so that’s just me. :P). (Oh, and I’m not sure an 18 year old boy would be thinking of a certain girl as just his “best friend”?? It made him feel young sometimes.) And I honestly don’t know how I feel about some of the things at the end or about everything involving the queen.

BUT ANYWAY, those are simply personal opinions, and small complaints, and didn’t detract much from my overall enjoyment of this delightful novel. 🙂

On the whole, I had a blast reading it, and I definitely recommend it to fans of fantasy with a Christian tilt to it. If you haven’t yet, check it out and dive into a whole new unique world with winged horses, shady dragons behind the scenes, and touching stories of beloved characters as they navigate the complexities of political intrigue, different cultures, matters of the heart, and of family lost and re-found. It made me happy and was an enjoyable fantasy read! ^_^


About The Worth of a King

Princess Obsidia’s father was killed the night she was born. Since there was no male heir, the crown went to the man who killed him, by Dialcian law. This never bothered her, growing up, and when it comes time for Obsidia to choose her husband, she chooses Prince Delaney, the son of that man, with little hesitation. Only then does her life start crumbling around her.

Adrian expected to live a normal life, taking his father’s place at the print shop when his father retired. But, on his eighteenth birthday, when the princess’ engagement is announced, his world is ripped out from under him when he learns that his life was a ruse, and he is the twin brother to the princess – and expected to take back his father’s throne.

Delaney knows that his country is hovering on the brink of war – and that his father may harbor murderous intentions towards his intended bride due to her Zovordian blood. He wants nothing more than to protect Obsidia and his people, but as merely prince, he has little power against his father.

The ancient war between the Dragons and the Immortal King and Queen is nearing its climax, and the three are already caught in it.


Links


About the Author

Kendra E. Ardnek loves fairytales and twisting them in new and exciting ways. She’s been or acting them on her dozen plus cousins and siblings for years. “Finish your story, Kendra,” is frequently heard at family gatherings. Her sole life goal has always been to grow up and be an author of fantasy and children’s tales that glorify God and His Word.

Find her online at:

Website || Blog || Goodreads || Facebook || Twitter || Amazon


Schedule

Here are the posts on the blog tour for today. Check out the full tour schedule HERE!

Thursday, August 30th

Reviews:

Interviews:


Giveaway

Kendra is giving away a paperback copy of The Worth of a King and a 15ml bottle of Peppermint oil (US only). You can find the info on her blog.

She also has a special prize for whoever leaves the most comments across the blog tour! (International)


Talk to me! Does the story intrigue you? HOW ABOUT THAT GORGEOUS COVER?? Thanks for reading! 🙂

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Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones

Here, have a review from a couple of March Magics ago, which I never got around to posting. 😛 (This is making me want to get it out of the library again and re-read it!)

DSmirror

5starratingTitle: Deep Secret

Author: Diana Wynne Jones

review

I’ve discovered that I’m downright horrendous at writing reviews for books by Diana Wynne Jones. I plan to write one, then I put it off, and put it off, because I know that it’s far too complex to do justice to in a review — and how even do I wrap my head around it all, exactly?? So once again, as I did with Fire and Hemlock, I’m going to need to just start typing and hope something semi-coherent and possibly slightly resembling a review will come out of it…

This story is a mix of fantasy/sci-fi/modern, with some other worlds thrown in for good measure. Most of it takes place at a sci-fi/fantasy convention of all places. Talk about an original setting! It’s in first person but you totally forget this fact as the story draws you in.

I found this one in the adult section of the library (I usually frequent the YA room… sorry-not-sorry, but all the good stuff’s there!). I suppose it’s a bit more Adult than most of DWJ’s books (more language/dark/gruesome/disturbing/implied stuff) so be aware of that. I don’t really recommend it to teens because it’s kinda dark… But it’s so absorbing!

I LOVED the multiple-worlds stuff. Absolutely fascinating.

There are centaurs! YES.

I also loved the idea of “deep secrets” which Magids (the magic users) thread into the world through stories and art and such. Absolutely brilliant.

There were also a few things about writing and I think some jibes at publishers, etc., which I found hilarious. XD

DS-DWJ

The DWJ library book visiting some of its cousins who live on my shelf

I think it’s possible DWJ put herself in it. There was a lecture on A Sense of Humour in Fantasy. “Some woman beside him wrote funny stuff too” and said that in her own writing, sometimes her jokes made her laugh. (And I remember in some interview or essay or somewhere, DWJ said that about herself.) So I think she put herself into this book and I LOVE IT.

She definitely put in a fan of her book “Archer’s Goon”, as somebody at the convention wore a badge that said “All power corrupts, but we need electricity.” I was just sitting there grinning absurdly as I read that. XD

There are other references too, which made me happy, like to LOTR (somebody had a T-shirt that he said read: “I am a Hobbit.” In Elvish. I think she was making fun of these people, but it was funny. XD), and The Princess Bride. And at one point there was something about being rather like “a magical Bertie Wooster with an invisible butler”. I totally lost it there. It was the BEST.

As usual with DWJ books, there’s a fabulous cast of characters that I love. There’s Maree and Rupert (who tell the story in turns) and they’re so… well… THEM. It’s hard to explain. But I love ’em! Then there are other characters like Will (he’s great!) and Rob the centaur (!!). And one of my absolute favorites is Maree’s cousin Nick—who is, I hear, based on a teenaged Neil Gaiman, who Diana Wynne Jones knew. She based Nick off him, and he’s so incoherent in the morning before he’s eaten breakfast and IT MADE MY DAY. So very hilarious. And one can’t forget neighbor Andrew, the “fabulous Nordic type”! But no more, lest there be spoilers. (Oh! And the quacks! A sort of otherworldly duck. 😀 Loved them!)

I’m absurdly proud of myself for only staying up until 2-something a.m. and having the willpower to go to bed without finishing the last 70 pages. I got to the part where it said: “And, I see in retrospect, that was the last moment when events were in any way within my control.” And I thought: “Welp, I’d better go to bed before things get worse.” 😛

Anyway, DWJ is brilliant and I love her books so much, and this one was no exception! It was longer than many of them. I get addicted to her longer books and LIVE in them, and then have a tendency to accidentally go around in a haze for the next few days, vaguely living in the story again in the back of my mind after spending 414 pages in it…

DeepSecret

“Where is the road to Babylon? / Right beside your door.”

The road I’m looking for is the road to the library to get the sequel, thank you very much.

The story doesn’t need it, but I do.

summary

From Goodreads:

deepsecretAll over the multiverse the Magids, powerful magicians, are at work to maintain the balance between positive and negative magic, for the good of all.

Rupert Venables is the junior Magid assigned to Earth and to the troublesome planets of the Koyrfonic Empire. When the Emperor dies without a known heir, Rupert is called into service to help prevent the descent of the Empire into chaos. At the same time, the senior Magid on Earth dies, making Rupert a new senior desperately in need of a junior. Rupert thinks his problems are partially solved when he discovers he can meet all five of the potential Magids on Earth by attending one SF convention in England. However, the convention hotel sits on a node, a nexus of the universes. Rupert soon finds that other forces, some of them completely out of control, are there too…

factoids

Genre/Category: Contemporary Fantasy / Sci-fi / Inter-world Fantasy / ??? / DIANA WYNNE JONES (which is a category of its own, or should be, because it’s really hard to fit her books into pigeonholes…)

Age Group: Adult

Published: 1997

Pages: 414

Series?: Book 1 of Magids; followed by The Merlin Conspiracy

When Read: March 22 – 23, 2016

Favorite Character: Oh my GOODNESS, don’t ask me this! O_O (Er… I know I’m asking myself; shush.) Rupert or Rob or Nick or Will or Andrew or somebody. Probably most of the cast because you just get so attached to DWJ characters…

Source: Library

Other Notes: Read for March Magics, hosted by Kristen @ We Be Reading

Have you read this one? I feel this NEED to talk to people who have. XD (And I also want to re-read it either before or after Realm Makers, because Sci-fi/Fantasy Conference…)

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

5 Thoughts on Quest for a Beast (Short Story) by Sarah Holman

Over the last several weeks, I’ve been catching up on Sarah Holman’s novels and short stories, in a challenge to read and review 10 of them in 10 weeks, and this is the last one! I’ve so enjoyed finally reading some of these tales I’ve been meaning to read for so long, from this prolific author. 🙂

Here’s a quick review for a short story today.

Title: Quest for a Beast: A Beauty and the Beast Story
Author: Sarah Holman

  • Date read: May 28, 2017
  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Genre: Christian / Contemporary / Short Story / Fairytale Retelling (Beauty and the Beast)
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2015
  • Pages: 41 (Kindle)
  • Fave character: Nelson
  • Source: Amazon
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazon • Author Website

5 Thoughts on Quest for a Beast

1. A quick and intriguing short story. Some parts I wasn’t sure if I cared for, and/or might have disagreed with, but overall I was impressed with the writing of this story and it kept me very engaged, so I’m giving it a 4-star rating. 🙂 It’s loosely based on the Beauty and the Beast story, which was fun to pick out, as well!

2. Quest for a Beast is a modern tale about a girl and her brother and some other teens who go on a slightly perilous trek through some woods (most of the story) to find a criminal (known as the Beast) and bring him in for the reward. Whether or not they succeed… well, you’ll just have to read it to find out. 😉 I don’t read a lot of straight-up modern fiction, so it was a little different for me, but I was super absorbed as I read, and curious how it would turn out and what would happen. I did guess a couple of things (and kind of hoped for them) which made me super happy! 😀

3. There were a couple different Christian messages in here and I really liked the redemption one, being a common Beauty and the Beast theme. 🙂

4. The characters were all individual, and I liked Adara okay and Nelson definitely grew on me. 🙂 I was a little disappointed that Adara’s brother, Jasper’s, story-arc wasn’t addressed, even when another character’s was. I guess it’s a short story so there wasn’t room, but I still would have liked some sort of improvement from him. 😦 So that was a little sad. There’s still time, but still.

5. Ooh! I loved a certain reference at the beginning! 😀 I think Adara was reading a Cindrella retelling, also by this author (Waltz into the Waves) and that bit of meta-ness made me super happy as well! 😀 Overall, it was an original and interesting short story, which, aside from a couple quibbles, I really enjoyed! ^_^

Favorite Quote

“You stay here while I go turn off the alarm.”

“How will you do that?” Philip asked.

“I have done my research,” Nelson replied nebulously.

~ ~ ~

What’s your favorite Beauty and the Beast retelling? 😀

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

5 Thoughts on “Father, Forgive Them” (Short Story) by Sarah Holman

Title: Father, Forgive Them
Author: Sarah Holman

  • Date read: July 4, 2017
  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Genre: Short Story / Christian / Biblical-Era Fiction
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 30 (Kindle)
  • Source: Amazon
  • Notes: Short Story; read for the 10/10/10 challenge (reading/reviewing 10 of Sarah Holman’s books/stories in 10 weeks)
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Blog

1. There’s not really a lot to say about this without giving it away, since it’s such a brief glimpse, like a window looking at a few scenes, but I enjoyed it. 🙂

2. This is an interesting short story focusing on the story of the Crucifixion and Resurrection, and specifically on a few words Jesus spoke which the hero of the story, Jonathan, can’t get out of his head.

3. The setting was vividly painted—I could see the olive trees and hill in one scene. There were also some poetic turns of phrase and imagery which I quite liked.

4. Jonathan and his encounter with the stranger at the end was my favorite part. 🙂 Beautiful. ^_^

5. I don’t usually read Biblical-setting fiction, so I don’t know how this compares, but if you want a quick read with a different look at the Resurrection story, you’ll enjoy this touching short story. 🙂

(Listening to the song “Stronger” by the Newsboys while I write this review—fits together, somehow!)

~ ~ ~

Do you ever read short stories? Have you tried Sarah Holman’s fiction yet — she’s great! And, randomly, do you like listening to the Newsboys band? Thanks for reading! ^_^

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Ten Things I Love About The Beast of Talesend by Kyle Robert Shultz

Title: The Beast of Talesend
Author: Kyle Robert Shultz

  • Date read: May 17, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Fairytale Retelling / Mystery / Alt-20s Fairytale history
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 128 (paperback)
  • Series: Beaumont & Beasley, #1 (Sequel, NOW, please? *holds hand out imperiously*)
  • Fave character: Nick and Crispin!
  • Source: Amazon

Beauty and the Beast + 1920s detective story + alternate history where all the fairytales were, well… actual history + snark + humor + lovable and entirely unconventional characters = The Beast of Talesend by Kyle Robert Shultz, a.k.a. The Book You Need To Read Right Now.

Not convinced? LET ME CONVINCE YOU. Ahem. (Fangirling may ensue. You have been warned.)

10 Things I love about this book:

1. IT’S SO FUNNY. OH MY GOODNESS. I love books that make me laugh and make me want to quote them to the world, and if there’s one thing this book did extremely well, it was that. It did other things extremely well too, which I will get to, but MY GOODNESS, THE HUMOR. XD (Even the chapter titles are funny.)

2. NICK. It’s told in first-person by Nick Beasley, private detective, whose self-appointed goal in life/job is debunking magical cases and proving that magic doesn’t exist. (Which… is kind of awkward when he gets turned into a beast. …Not a spoiler, it’s in the blurb, and mentioned on the first page. XD) NICK IS THE BEST. I don’t often care for first-person, but his narration absolutely made the book. IT WAS PERFECT. And he has such a dry-humor, kind of grumpy personality, and is the last sort of person you’d think of as a hero, but he’s actually super noble underneath, despite his grouchiness, and overprotective of his younger brother, Crispin, and just—NICK IS GREAT, OKAY. I love him and he’s awesome. 😀

3. CRISPIN. Oh my goodness, CRISPIN. He is definitely one of my top fave things. 😀 He and Nick have this great brother dynamic where Nick won’t let Crispin do anything and acts like he’s super young (they’re both in their twenties. XD) but Crispin has more going than Nick thinks, and they banter sometimes and Crispin is just absolutely funny and adorable and the best. 😀 (The part about the feet on the desk! XD *dies laughing*) Just just just CRISPIIIIIIN! ❤ All that needs to be said on the subject. I just loved this character! ^_^ (And I’m beyond ecstatic that he will be in the sequel more. YES. These brothers! <3)

4. Setting + Alternate + Fairytales. THIS WAS WONDERFUL. It’s set in an alternate world, very much like ours in London (their version of London is called Talesend) in the 1920s buuuut… different. Like, where our fairytales are their actual history, and the story is set in the 20th Century E.A. (Ever After), give-or-take 1900 years after the end of the last fairytale… (or is it??). There are so many references to these fairytales, just woven casually into historical references and conversation, which was BRILLIANT and so so much fun, and that on top of it being a loose retelling of Beauty and the Beast absolutely made my day. 😀 I LOVE alternate history, and fairytales, and old-detective-stories and just… THIS MIXED THEM SO WELL. ❤ (Plus, any story with a shady possible-gangster-crime-boss-who-deals-in-magical-artifacts has got to be good. I mean really. Let’s mix all the genre things and make it glorious. :D)

5. Lady Cordelia, a magical but also magical-accident-prone and eccentric (putting it too lightly; she’s nutty, but delightfully so) but capable woman, was a fairly fun character as well, especially when paired off against Nick, since they don’t always see eye-to-eye. 😛 (I mean… that would be difficult in any case, seeing as he’s a seven-foot monster and she’s just a presumably-normal-sized young lady, but still.)

6. THE BANTER AND CHARACTER DYNAMICS AND THE HUMOR. I know I mentioned humor before, BUT IT’S IMPORTANT OKAY. I can’t say enough about books that are this funny, because humor just makes me happy, and life is too short not to laugh copiously. Which is why books like this exist to help us with that. I love the dialog and interactions and narration and just aaaall the funny things! But it’s got intense bits and action and danger and twisty plot things all mixed in with the hilarity, which makes it even more impressive.

7. Can I just say how awesome this author’s writing is? LIKE SERIOUSLY. If all the above is not enough to convince you, just consider that all this wackiness is utterly seamlessly thrown together and well-written and just please can I be this good of an author when I grow up. The writing is gold! Actually this whole book is gold. Just— So so good.

8. Not to mention, this is a super fun, clean, family-friendly read. So awesome, am I right? Other than some scary Beasts (comes with it being a retelling of… well… Beauty and the Beast…) and slight scariness/intense wrapup, I don’t recall anything that younger readers should steer clear of. It was just delightful all-around! 🙂

9. I’m pretty sure… yep, I can’t think of anything, so I will say: There is nothing I don’t like about this book! Yes, that can be one of the things I like about it, that there’s nothing I dislike. This is my review, so my rules, so I will write it how I want. XD

10. It’s fairly short, which means that I read it in an afternoon, so that was nice—even if I would have wanted it to go FOREVER because I want to keep reading this glorious hilarity! But that’s not actually a con, because fortunately this is only the first in a series, so I’m going to get to read more adventures of the Brothers Beasley and Lady Cordelia and this hilarious fairytale-mashup world AND I CAN’T WAIT AAAAHHH! (No seriously, I can’t wait. Where is the next book? I NEED IT NOW. *flails* *pouts because I have to wait till it comes out*)

Conclusion:

READ THIS BOOK.

(I will say nothing more about it because I do not want to spoil its amazingness. But go read it. Honestly. It’s that good. In fact, it’s better.)

About the Book

Private eye Nick Beasley lives in a world where fairy tales ended a long time ago – where zeppelins now soar the skies instead of dragons, and where the first automobiles have taken the place of flying carpets. He’s made a name for himself across the Afterlands by debunking fake magicians and exposing fraudulent monsters. This is the modern age, after all. Magic and monsters are long gone.

At least, that’s what Nick believes. Until he gets magically transformed into a monster, that is.

The only person who may be able to help Nick is Lady Cordelia Beaumont, one of the last enchantresses in the Afterlands. But in order for her to cure him, they’ll have to retrieve a powerful artifact from a ruthless crime lord – who is also Cordelia’s father.

The fate of the Afterlands lies in the hands of a runaway enchantress and a monstrous ex-detective. What could possibly go wrong?

Links: AmazonGoodreads • Author’s Blog

~ ~ ~

What do you think? Sound intriguing? IT’S AWESOME. Have you ever read an alternate-history book?

Also, don’t forget to drop by Kyle’s blog where he’s giving away a signed copy of The Beast of Talesend this week as part of the Silmarillion Awards celebration! (The ebook is also reduced to 99 cents on Amazon until July 30th.)

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

5 Thoughts on Waltz into the Waves: A Cinderella Story by Sarah Holman

Title: Waltz into the Waves (short story)
Author: Sarah Holman

Date read: May 28, 2017 (re-read)
Rating: 5 stars
Genre: Short Story / Fairytale Retelling (Cinderella)
Age: YA
Year pub: 2015
Pages: 28 (Kindle)
Fave character: Alex
Source: Amazon
Links: AmazonGoodreadsAuthor Website

5 Thoughts on Waltz into the Waves

1. Aww, that was adorable! ^_^ I had actually read this once before, a couple years ago, and remember vaguely liking it, but I decided to reread and review it, and I absolutely loved it this time! ^_^

2. Told in first person (I’m not sure if I’ve read a tale by Miss Holman written in first person, before?), about Amelia (the Cinderella character) and her friend Alex (the charming fellow who occasionally lives next door), it covers a lot of ground and time surprisingly quickly.

3. I don’t mind magical fairytales but this one did the Cinderella story without a magical fairy godmother and some of the other trappings of the original story, while still being recognizably Cinderella-ish. Featuring an awesome castle (loved the descriptions!), a lovely masked ball, and sea-side scenes too. There are some tough scenes but so much adorableness as well. 🙂

4. I loved the hero, Alex, who was epic, charming, and kind, genuinely caring about Amelia; he was great! Plus, their relationship had some super sweet moments! 🙂 *hugs little tale*

5. Overall, this is a very brief but absolutely sweet little short story, a touching and romantic retelling of Cinderella. I read it in like twenty minutes, so it was very short, but packed so much in despite that. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite Cinderella tale ever, but I’m giving it 5 stars all the same because overall I just adored it! ❤

~ ~ ~

Have you read this one? What’s your favorite Cinderella story? 😀

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Where the Woods Grow Wild by Nate Philbrick

Title: Where the Woods Grow Wild
Author: Nate Philbrick

  • Date read: June 1, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2016
  • Pages: 375 (Kindle)
  • Series: I’ve heard rumors of a sequel…! *excited bounce* *NEED*
  • Fave character: Martin… and all of them! ❤
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free e-copy of this book from the author for review purposes (many thanks! :)). I was not required to write a positive review; these opinions are my own.
  • Links: AmazonGoodreads • Author’s Blog

First thing’s first: I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH! *hugs it* (Warning: Fangirling zone ahead.)

Where the Woods Grow Wild (don’t you love that title?) is SO much fun, as well as extremely well-written and completely gripping. It’s original fantasy, yet at the same time has this classic feel, so that I almost feel like I’ve known it forever, even though I just read it this month. It’s NEW and fresh and surprising, yet feels like an old friend, reminding me somehow of the “feel” of Prydain or Narnia, and I love it. 😀

It’s utterly surprising, with so many twists, and I had NO idea where it was heading, which made for an extremely fun yet suspenseful ride. I absolutely loved how separate but connected Martin’s and Elodie’s storylines were as they searched for each other. Like… it’s hard to explain, but I’ve never seen anything done like that and it was brilliant and well done.

THIS BOOK IS HILARIOUS, in this sometimes subtle, totally fun way. You know you love a book when you want to quote every other line aloud. XD I love love LOVE humorous stories, and I kept giggling and reading quotes out loud and using my handy Kindle highlighter feature to highlight my favorites (which was… most of the book). (I don’t highlight in real books. That’s a huge no. So, amazingly, ebooks do occasionally have advantages…)

I also loved the characters and I feel like I know each and every one of them SO well. ❤

  • There’s our hero, Martin, who’s great and relatable. Perfect hero material. He’s one of my faves. 🙂
  • Next is Elodie, who is AWESOME—she’s one of those fabulous heroines that you just love their spunk and heart! 🙂
  • There’s also Illo, who I can’t really say much about, but let me tell you, this girl is one of the most original characters I’ve met, somehow, and so very sparky. XD She’s so much fun to read; especially her bantering with the others.
  • Then there’s Bramble! Oh my goodness. I, again, can’t say much, but Bramble is one of the most hilarious and cute but also… erm… hard to decide about characters ever. I LOVED READING ABOUT BRAMBLE! He’s a fuzzy little creature who talks in very strange, funny ways in third-person and just—AWK, SO CUTE AND SUCH A MESS BUT SO CUUUUUTE!! *flails around* (His name for Elodie, “the sun-drop girl” was my favorite!) Seriously, so much hilarious dialog! Bramble was one of the most fun things about the book. XD

Other characters include Fella (awesome), Podgin (mushrooms! He is food-obsessed, which was so fun), Aquilax (eep, but yes please), General Tum (dryad), and of course, the mysterious Nayadu (so much spoilers, awk), but you’ll have to meet them yourself because I don’t want to rob you of the delightful chance of discovering this story on your own. Meeting each of them is so fascinating, and we never know which of them are good, bad, on our side, or out for their own purposes (and sometimes these things change throughout the book, which kept me on my toes!). Every character is SO unique and individual, and written so well. They’re definitely a high point of the story!

Twists. TWISTS, PEOPLE. There are so many twists! *collapses* It actually felt partway like a mystery, which I absolutely LOVED. So many questions and mysteries and twists galore. I kept trying to predict what would happen, and figure out what was going on, and I got a couple of things part-way, but WOW, I was super impressed at how complicated and twisty this story was, while seeming kind of simple on the surface. I kept guessing and second-guessing what was going on, and that made it so incredibly fun to read. 😀

This world, with the village and the wild woods, had such a great “feel” to it—I can’t even explain, but I was absolutely captivated by it. I loved how some of it felt kind of familiar (yes, there’s a village; yes, there’s a dwarf, and dryads) but at the same time made everything totally different and surprising (the dryads are NOT what you’d expect, there are lots of strange and original fantasy creatures about with great names like bog boars and trunders, and I will say no more lest I spoil the surprises).

Basically, everything about this book was fresh and original fantasy, but still felt so classic, and I absolutely loved that!

There are occasional dark bits and scariness, but overall it was much more lighthearted than a lot of fantasy, and I so appreciated that! A book that can have fun and not take itself too seriously, but still be epic and fun and very FANTASY-ish is a book that I can respect whole-heartedly. ❤ And yet there’s this great HEART to the story, that just draws you in and makes you fall in love with these characters and their sometimes fun, sometimes heartbreaking moments, with some unexpected depth and emotion behind the humor, and it’s just… all around so, so good. ^_^

Aside from the dangers, I feel like younger kids, as well as young adults and older, would really like this book. It’s kind of awesomely refreshing to read something that I feel would be fun for the entire family, you know? 🙂 As long as the creatures aren’t TOO scary for them. (I’m bad at suggesting ages, otherwise I would.) But basically it’s clean and fun and awesome and has the right kind of feel to appeal to younger readers as well as older ones. I positively adore it at my current age, but I feel like if I’d met it when I was ten it would have become a classic to me then as well.

Oh, and I loved the names! They were charming and quirky and perfect. When you have side characters named things like Percy Durbity, and a river named Minnowchuck, and Elodie and Tum and Aquilax, and trunders and puffernuts, you just know this is an awesome and imaginative fantasy book, and it just WORKS. (I especially love the puffernuts and their name. Just… don’t ask, but I love their presence in this book. XD It’s fun to say. Puffernuts! Puffernuts! Ahem. Anyway…)

It doesn’t need a sequel, specifically, (no cliffhangers, thank goodness!) but I would absolutely love to have more in this storyworld! I’m extremely fond of it, despite the dangers, and I just loved all these characters and humor. ^_^

I really have no complaints at all. It was just a solidly EXCELLENT book. ❤

OVERALL

(In case you needed to skip my longwinded fangirling. Ahem.)

Utterly original yet completely classic all at once, and FANTASY, and hilarious, and I know each and every character SO WELL, and just. *flails* I LOVED IT! 😀 Where the Woods Grow Wild is simply an extremely delightful fantasy novel, and I highly recommend it to absolutely anyone who loves fantasy! Come with me on a quest to find the sun-drop girl where the woods grow wild . . . Seriously, go check it out; you will NOT regret it. 😀 I enjoyed every second of it. ^_^ I’m looking forward to more from this super talented author!

Favorite Quotes

(A few, anyway; otherwise I’d be quoting the entire book…)

“You’re making stuffed mushrooms, aren’t you?”

“No I’m not, and you can’t have any.”

***

“Soup is just water and onions pretending to be food.”

***

Martin struggled to re-lace his shoes with his fingers and teeth, a task he had yet to master. The others returned while he was finishing the second shoe.

“Taste good?” Illo asked.

“You don’t want to know.”

***

“She can’t be awake already. If she were awake, she’d be screaming.”

“Yes, right. If she were awake, she would definitely be screaming.”

Elodie was fed up. “I am awake,” she said loudly. “And I’m not screaming.”

***

“Now, where’s the map?”

Podgin slouched in his seat. “I was worried about the humidity, so I tucked it neatly in the pages of that cumbersome book nobody ever reads, along with my favorite mushroom recipes. You know, valuables I can’t afford to misplace.”

“And the book is…?”

Podgin shrugged. “Haven’t seen it since March.”

***

“I refuse to give up on you, because underneath those claws and teeth there’s a stubborn, half-handed mess of a man, and I want him back.”

***

“Do you know what happens if you get too close to the green one?”

Martin shook his head.

“The roots snag your feet and lock you in place until they fancy letting you go, which could take days. I call them anklesnatchers. And the one with the violet leaves? What happens if you get too close to that one?”

“I get eaten?”

“No. Absolutely nothing happens. It’s just a tree.”

~ ~ ~

Does this book sound awesome, or does it sound AWESOME? XD What’s a fabulous fantasy book you’ve read lately that was super classic and amazing?

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer