Tag Archive | Spellsmith and Carver

Magicians’ Trial (Spellsmith & Carver #2) by H.L. Burke

Title: Magicians’ Trial
Author: H. L. Burke

  • Date read: August 4, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Steampunk
  • Age: New Adult?
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 203 (Kindle)
  • Series: Spellsmith and Carver, #2 (see my review for book one!)
  • Fave character: Jericho and Auric
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free e-ARC of this book from the author (thank you!) and these opinions are entirely my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

Another fabulous Burke book! Due to the amount that I loved the first Spellsmith and Carver book, and the fact that I was expecting something more like the first one, I didn’t enjoy this one quiiiite as much as I hoped to, but it was still an excellent book! I just wasn’t expecting it to be so different. XD

Book 1 (Magicians’ Rivalry) featured the buddy-story-type beginning friendship of Jericho and Auric, and shenanigans in Faerie, with a dash of cute romance. It’s very fantasy-esque, features SO MUCH snark, and I adored it so much! (I guess I thought the next one would be more of the same. :P)

Book 2 (Magicians’ Trial) was completely unexpected, which now that I’m over that, is likely a good thing, because NEW. Even if the other kind is more my favorite. XD I’d call this one more of a steampunk story with dashes of magic and yes some of that famed snark still. 😉 It’s mostly set in their capitol city, instead of in Faerie, and there’s not as much magical happenings because MAGIC DROUGHT which is kind of our heroes’ fault… XD

I loved Auric and Jericho’s continuing friendship (with bouts of bickering, naturally) even if I miss the early days of it; and two certain characters are MARRIED now (*gasp*) which made for a different angle to the story than what I’m used to… You don’t see a lot of the continued adventures of married couples once the beginning romance has led to a wedding. XD I still prefer the first-romance part buuut at least it was new. So there were different dynamics in this one (married couple, friends who are actually friends now and not just by necessity, and a lot more of Rill than last time) which was definitely unique, even if different than I hoped/expected. XD

It was super exciting, well-written, and awesome though! I did really enjoy it. 🙂 It’s a thrilling, unique tale, more like a mystery and a steampunk city type of thing, with dashes of fantasy and snark and beloved characters, romance, humor, peril, betrayal, and so many things! I think it felt a little more like Beggar Magic than Magicians’ Rivalry, if that makes sense, but it was fascinating to see these new places and characters, and lovely to read more about Jericho, Auric, and Rill. 🙂

There’s also a new character, Lotta, who is very different, but neat—and she’s super shy and paranoid and mechanic-y, which was adorable—as was a certain new blooming romance. 😉 And I liked her uncle. XD Also there is more of Jaspyr, the mechanical fox—yay!—and I absolutely loved a certain part where he proved himself! *bouncing up and down and cheering* And a scary magical assassin lady with a totally creepy mechanical monkey. O_O EEP. And all sorts of mysterious characters doing mysterious things and popping in and out, and an austere inspector, and various plots—basically very mystery-vibed! WHO DO YOU TRUST. Ahem.

It was super interesting to see them having to use their wits to get them out of things sometimes when magical things wouldn’t work. XD Clever and fun! And of course the highlight is still Auric and Jericho’s great buddy relationship, on top of the snarkiness and humor and adventure. ^_^ AURIC AND JERICHO! ❤

All in all, I still loved book 1 the most, but this one was totally different and fascinating, thrilling and unputdownable (it’s a word, hush), and another worthy addition to the Spellsmith and Carver trilogy! (Now I’m anxiously awaiting book 3, terrified for what will happen to my precious character friends in the final installment, but so looking forward to more of these awesome characters in this fascinating fantasy/steampunk world!)

If you haven’t gotten a bit of Spellsmith and Carver in your life yet, you need to—so hasten to it, book friends! You need them in your life. ^_^

Favorite Quotes

“Technically, Auric could go alone,” Jericho said. “However, I don’t trust him to. Not that he wouldn’t represent us well, but he already hinted that he’d take the fall for this, and I want to be sure he doesn’t confess to something to spare the rest of us and end up in jail or worse.”

Her mouth tightened. “Yes, because Auric is the one who has a history of making stupid sacrificial gestures to protect the people he loves with no regard for his own well-being. That’s definitely only Auric. No one else we know has ever done anything foolish like that.”

***

“Are you sure you don’t wish me to accompany you?”

Auric rolled his eyes. “You, too? What, do I have ‘incapable of speaking for myself’ written on my forehead this morning?”

***

“I’m sorry. I should go. You’re obviously busy setting booby traps and—”

***

“Just a fox sniffing about the hen house for an opportunity.” Jericho snorted.

Jaspyr yipped.

“No offense, buddy.” Jericho rubbed the fox’s ears.

***

Auric gasped. “The water is rising.”

“How can you tell? Is it the fact that the stream is blocked by a cartload of rubble and it’s swirling about our ankles?” Jericho indulged in an eye-roll. Sarcasm wouldn’t help anything, but it soothed him.

***

“I can’t swim, remember?”

Auric gaped. “Still? After everything that happened last time, you never bothered to learn?”

“I’ve been busy!” Jericho snapped.

***

“Trust me, he’s going to regret that. After all, it is foolish to get on the bad side of either Spellsmith or Carver … and I just happen to be both.”

***

He entered and found Auric lying on the floor surrounded by a sea of papers, a thick, leather-bound book over his face.

“Death by bureaucracy?” Jericho chuckled.

Auric pushed aside the book and squinted at him. “Just resting my eyes.”

***

No, Jericho told himself. This is not how I die. I’ve faced dragons and vengeful Fey. I’m not going to be killed by a ridiculous monkey.

***

“Uh-huh. Auric, do you know what I thought of you when we first met?”

“Not really, I guess.” Auric strode over to an upholstered bench against the far wall and sat down.

Jericho stood over him. “I thought you were a spoiled brat who only cared about himself,” he said.

Auric raised an eyebrow. “Thought as in past tense, right?”

~ ~ ~

Other similar reviews:

  

So, are you a steampunk fan? And have you tried Spellsmith and Carver yet? 😀

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

(I just like this, okay. ^_^)

August Nightstand Books {2017}

Due to a very busy July full of a spontaneous Camp NaNo and the Silmarillion Awards, I’m a bit behind on reviewing and reading (but more reviews will be coming!) and did not read anywhere near all the books on my July Nightstand — however, it’s now time to update that for August! 🙂

(Nightstand Books was created by DJ Edwardson and Jenelle Schmidt — join the fun by sharing your own picture of what you’re currently reading!)

August Nightstand

  • The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien — Didn’t quite finish this during the SilmAwards due to a very busy end of the month, but looking forward to finishing my reread of it soon. ❤
  • The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead — Still re-reading parts of this aloud. 🙂
  • Starflower by Anne Elisabeth Stengl — Didn’t quite get to starting this, so I hope to soon. 🙂
  • On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness and North! Or Be Eaten (by Andrew Peterson) — I don’t know if I’ll get to these this month, but North! Or Be Eaten is currently in my grasp because it’s out of the library (I own book one) so IF I can manage it, I’d like to read them both, but I’d like to catch up on review books too, sooo if I don’t get around to it this month, I’m sure I’ll read them someday. 🙂 (Also, I just love saying that title. “North! Or Be Eaten” — one of my fave titles EVER. XD)
  • I also got some picture books from the library. Because picture books! ❤ And at least I know I’ll have time for THOSE. XD

Virtual Nightstand

  • Perception (Vintage Jane Austen) by Emily Ann Benedict — This just released (!!) and is a retelling of Persuasion which I’m currently reading, and I’m VERY excited, because Persuasion is awesome. 🙂
  • Magicians’ Trial (Spellsmith and Carver, #2) by H.L. Burke — THERE’S ANOTHER SPELLSMITH AND CARVER BOOK OUT. MORE SNARK. MORE JERICHO. MORE AURIC. MORE OF BOTH OF THEM BEING AWESOME TOGETHER. I CANNOT CONTAIN MY ELATION. Must. read. soon!
  • Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith by Shaun Hume — Still working through this and enjoying it!
  • An Earthly King by Hazel B. West — Still on the readalong in preparation for book 3 releasing… maybe this month? So excited! I love this book. 🙂
  • Yorien’s Hand by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt — Want to re-read very soon because I miss this world. 🙂 (I’m sure a lot of this will make more sense now that I’ve read the first two books in the series as well. XD)
  • I also have a couple of books to beta-read so I will try to get those done this month.

Rundown/update on last month’s nightstand:

Read (and loved): The Tomb of the Sea Witch (review coming soon!), Coiled, The Invisible Library, The Reluctant Godfather, and Kate’s Capitol. I also read Poison Kiss by Kendra Ardnek, which wasn’t on the nightstand post, but I greatly enjoyed it! Look for a review as part of the release blogtour next week. 🙂

Still reading: An Earthly King, Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith, The Silmarillion, The Skin Map, and Perception. Carried over Starflower, unstarted thus far.

Postponed: Heartstone, The Illusionist’s Apprentice, and Intermission, I sent back to the library without reading them because I didn’t have time. *sadness* Another day! I decided I’d rather finish Camp NaNo, and I’m glad I did. 🙂

***

So that’s what’s up with my reading and what I have on my Nightstand! What’s on yours? 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Keep dreaming away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

Magicians’ Rivalry (Spellsmith & Carver, #1) by H. L. Burke

Title: Spellsmith and Carver: Magicians’ Rivalry
Author: H. L. Burke

  • Date read: June 8, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Steampunk
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 207 (Kindle)
  • Series: Book 1 in the Spellsmith and Carver series. (Book 2, Spellsmith and Carver: Magicians’ Trial, is coming out July 31! I’m so excited!)
  • Fave character: Jericho (…And Auric. …And both of them as a team. :D)
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free e-ARC copy from the author (thank you!). I was not required to write a positive review; these opinions are my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s BlogAuthor’s Website

I only this year discovered H. L. Burke’s books, and quickly became addicted to them—this one is my favorite yet! In fact, it’s one of my favorites I’ve read this year. ❤ (It’s taken me awhile to review it because HOW do I sum up my love for this thing?)

This book has everything you need for a book to be an awesome favorite! It’s a buddy story (more on that in a minute), and to add on top of that, not only is it a buddy story, but it’s a MAGICAL buddy story, in a Faerie world, with a dash of steampunk, loads of snark, and basically WHAT IS NOT TO LOVE? This book had Deborah-Will-Love-It written all over it, so I was extremely excited to read it. I’m glad to report that my initial suspicion was absolutely correct—it did not disappoint!

First and foremost, as mentioned, it’s a buddy story. I absolutely LOVE these kinds of stories—you know, the ones where there are two fellows who are at odds with one another and REALLY don’t get along, but are forced to work together with much snarky banter and possibly-perhaps-but-not-to-give-anything-away might end up the best of friends in the process, even if they might not admit it and STILL banter with each other, of course. 😉 Those books/films are some of my favorite plots, and this one lived up to that SO well! Definitely one of my favorite buddy stories! Auric and Jericho are just the best and I so enjoyed watching them having to put up with each other. XD

Continuing the list of awesome: Lovable characters! Meet Auric Spellsmith, Jericho Carver, and Rill Spellsmith. Auric and Jericho are rivals—Jericho is Auric’s father’s new apprentice, and is also in love with Auric’s sister, Rill. Auric is Very Not Pleased with both these things, and Jericho is not about to be kicked out, either. Tensions run high and it’s glorious. XD Then disaster strikes and they’re forced to work together, which is the best part of the book. 😉 They’re both very different and Jericho maaayyy or may not be my favorite, but I love Auric too and I especially love them having to be a team together. 😛

Rill is awesome too—she’s definitely a likable character, and the side-plot of her and Jericho’s romance was AWESOME. I love them so so much. ❤ There’s also an intriguing villain—I will not spoil things, but I thought the way the villain was written was utterly unique and original and I absolutely loved it. O_O And there’s an awesome clockwork fox named Jaspyr, who had a few cameos and hopefully will appear more in the sequel…

The world is so neat! The magical system was interesting, and I loved their journey in the perilous Faerie world, all the creatures they met (unicorns! Dragon! Other scary things!), and how there was a slight steampunkish feel to their own world. Just—just—Faerie-ish books make me happy! I looooved the worlds and “feel” of this book.

There’s a touch of Christianity as well, which I loved—it wasn’t a big part of the story, but a natural part of their world, and I liked that feel. 🙂

Snark. Did I mention snark? Because the snark levels are strong with this one, and their dialog is a joy to read. XD

It’s SO fun, with the characters and bantering and buddy-story, but it’s also heart-pounding and thrilling and scary sometimes, and so well-written that it effortlessly tugged me along on this fast-paced adventure. It’s only just a rollicking adventure; it felt like there was a layer of deeper emotion and truth there too, and just—it was so so good!

Overall, this is a fun, exciting fantasy novel, with some of my favorite characters (*hugs them all*) it had me constantly wanting to quote it… I simply enjoyed it SO VERY MUCH! I’ve heard there’s to be a sequel releasing very soon, and I could not be more ecstatic. I need more Spellsmith and Carver in my life! I definitely, DEFINITELY, recommend this book! Just read it! ❤

Favorite Quotes

(I want to quote THE WHOLE BOOK. AWK. And some of my faves are spoilers anyway… So these are just a few gems…)

***

“It takes more than time to change people, Rill,” he said. “They actually have to want to change.”

***

“You can’t skip the journey. The way you get to things is just as essential as the end results.”

***

“My head is pounding, but I’d thought it was just the stress of putting up with you.”

***

“From everything we’ve encountered so far, I think we can safely assume that anything we meet in this world is going to try and kill us.”

***

Broad-shouldered and tall, Jericho stooped to avoid hitting his head on low beams, grumbling with every step. “Seriously, whoever built this place didn’t have grown men in mind.”

“I’m doing fine.” Auric scoffed.

Jericho glanced over his shoulder and smirked. “I said grown men.”

“Push me a little farther, Jerry, and you’ll get to the bottom of the stairs a lot faster.”

“Quiet, boys!”

***

Jericho slipped his penknife under the wax seal and popped it open.

“Jerry!” Rill gasped. “That’s not yours.”

“Your father has disappeared, Rill. We can apologize for reading Auric’s mail later.”

She crossed her arms. “Well, at least read it out loud.”

***

“Are you all right?”

“No.” Jericho scowled. “I thought we’d established that a while ago.”

Janus frowned. “Sarcasm, one of my least favorite aspects of the human race.”

***

Jericho and Auric will find out I was taken soon enough. Either one of them would be a force to be reckoned with. Together? God help this idiot.

***

The muscles in Jericho’s jaw clenched and unclenched as if he were trying to rip his way through a sinewy chunk of meat. Auric suspected if they didn’t see some sign of progress soon, Jericho might begin gnawing on trees.

***

Auric scowled. “No. We’re in this together.”

“I can’t swim!” Jericho waved at the river. “I won’t get you both eaten because I was too shortsighted to learn a basic skill.”

~ ~ ~

Doesn’t this sound FUN? And do you like buddy stories? I’m always on the lookout for great ones, so if you have any favorite books/shows/films that feature a great buddy duo, I’d love to hear about it!! 😀

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Nightstand Books May {2017}

Time for Nightstand Books! (I mean, it has been for awhile, but hey. Leave me with my delusions of it still being the first couple of days of May. It will make me feel better. *cough*)

Nightstand Books is a meme created by Jenelle Schmidt and DJ Edwardson, a monthly look at what we’re reading/have on our “nightstands”.

Here’s what I’m reading/would like to read this May. 🙂 (Or, y’know… into June… or however long it takes me… *cough*)

The Stack

  • Masters and Beginners by Daley Downing — I read this one, LOVED it (Faeries and THINGS!), and will have a review up for it soon! 😀 (Thanks to the author for my shiny review copy!)
  • Puss in Boots by Diana Wynne Jones — This is a tiny retelling DWJ did and I just read it. So much fun! I like how she made everything make sense, while also making it rather humorous as is traditional with DWJ books. 😉
  • Adventures and Adversities by Sarah Holman — I’m starting to work through the Tales of Taelis series (long overdue!). Interesting so far. 🙂
  • Arbiter by Jamie FoleySentinel was awesome, hence I’m super excited to read this! *flailing* (Thanks to the author for my review copy! *pets it*)
  • The Fatal Tree by Stephen R. Lawhead — Currently reading this, and it’s VERY intriguing so far. O_O I can’t wait to find out what happens! Eep. 😀
  • Moonblood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl — The Imps of Goldstone Wood fan club on Goodreads is having an epic series read-through this year, with a different book every month, give or take. You can hop aboard on any of them you like, as re-reads or new reads. I’m jumping in this month because Moonblood is up for May, which is next in the series for me. Halfway through and enjoying it SO MUCH so far! O_O Didn’t realize I missed the Goldstone Wood world and characters so much until I started reading it again.
  • The Noble Servant by Melanie Dickerson — I’m slightly addicted to Melanie Dickerson’s fairytale retellings. They just make me happy. So I’m looking forward to reading this one. (Thanks to Thomas Nelson through BookLook Bloggers for the review copy!)
  • The Beast of Talesend by Kyle Robert Schultz — I just devoured this in a sitting and ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT! Short version: just read this, peoples. (I will write a review at some point… *has many reviews to write and unfortunately not a lot of time for it lately*)

Ebooks

And the ebooks which I hope to read, which don’t stack nicely on a nightstand, but are absolutely lovely-looking books all the same…

  • Halayda by Sarah Delena White — This is the May book for the Fellowship of Fantasy bookclub, and I am SUPER EXCITED FOR IT. Because faeries and things. About a third of the way through and enjoying it thus far. 😀
  • Where the Woods Grow Wild by Nate Philbrick — Super excited to read this fantasy novel — it sounds right up my alley! (Also for review; thanks to the author for my review copy! Check out his blog — it’s absolutely hilarious. :D)
  • Spellsmith and Carver: Magician’s Rival by H.L. Burke — This is for review and just released and I’m quite excited because it’s a buddy story with magic and scary Fae things and I’m all for this. (Thanks to the author for my review copy!)

Not Pictured

  • I’d also like to keep working through my backlog of beta-reads, so I’d like to get one of those done.
  • I’m listening to an unabridged yet fully-dramatized audio recording of The Tempest by William* Shakespeare, as well, which has been interesting thus far!

*(In other news, sometimes I wonder if I should bother saying “William”. Like, is there any other Shakespeare? I mean, come on, really. Maybe I should say “Bob Shakespeare” sometime and see if anyone notices…)

If I have time, I also would not say no to re-reading Yorien’s Hand by Jenelle Schmidt, to refresh my memory before the final book releases… but we’ll see; could be pushed to my June list. In fact, seeing that we’re OVER HALFWAY THROUGH MAY (WHAT??? HOW DID THIS HAPPEN. SOMEBODY HELP), many of these might carry over to a June stack.

Not sure how many of these I’ll get around to this month, but they’re what I’m working on for now. 🙂 (And I did do remarkably well on last month’s stack, reading all of those listed, so that makes me happy.)

Yes, a lot of these are for review. Something about review-books seems to be that they come all at once. XD But, y’know, having way too many awesome books to read is obviously a good problem to have, yes? *cough*

So much awesome fantasy going on! Very excited about all of these books! 🙂

How about you? What’s on your nightstand? And have you read (or want to read) any of these? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

FYI: Book News! {May 2017}

The other day I was thinking “there’s so much exciting bookish stuff going on!”

So I thought I should do a sort of summarizing post about several bookish things I’m excited about that you should know about! 🙂

In this post:

  • Giveaways links
  • Vintage Jane Austen update
  • Other recently-released books I’m excited about
  • Upcoming cover-reveals

Let’s get to it! ^_^

INDIE AUTHOR GIVEAWAYS

Masters and Beginners giveaway on Goodreads (ends May 17)

Check it out HERE.

I just read this one and really enjoyed it! (You may remember my spotlight post for it.) Faeries and talking cats and modern and was a breath of fresh air in many ways compared to most YA novels — review to come! 🙂

The Beast of Talesend giveaway (ends June 6)

Check it out HERE.

I haven’t read this yet, but I’m so excited to do so soonish! It’s a retelling of Beauty and the Beast/detective-like novel in an alternate 1920s England (I believe), with an alternate history where fairytales were real and part of history. I AM ALL OVER THIS IDEA. (Plus the author is a super cool blogger, and knowing he’s Christian and generally awesome means I know his books are going to be good clean fun, which is exciting. :D) Also, everybody should go follow his twitter (and blog) because he’s hilarious. It looks like the book is going to be just as hilarious… I can’t wait. 😀

VINTAGE JANE AUSTEN UPDATES

I’ve mentioned the Vintage Jane Austen series on my other blog before — a collection of Austen’s works rewritten in a 1930s American setting.

(I designed the website for the series, where you can learn more about these books.)

Well, there are exciting releases going on in that series! 🙂

Find the Vintage Jane Austen books so far on:

Suit and Suitability by Kelsey Bryant

This retelling of Sense and Sensibility by an lovely author friend of mine, released today! I beta-read it and loved it. 😀 It’s currently at a discount price for a couple of days! (Details here.) Paperback coming soon too. 🙂 I hope to have a review for it up sometime soonish… *has many reviews to write*

Second Impressions: A Collection of Fiction Inspired by Jane Austen

The short story collection in the Vintage Jane Austen series, edited by my dear friend Hannah Scheele (and featuring some other authors I know), is now available! I haven’t read it yet but it looks like these are going to be some fun stories. 😀 (Note: these stories were part of a contest, and are not set during the ’30s like the other books in the VJA series, but rather in a wide range of settings, which look quite neat!) There’s a really fun “meet the authors” sneak-peek at the stories in the collection, here.

Bellevere House by Sarah Scheele (coming in June)

I beta-read an early version of this and loved it — super fun! So excited for this re-imagining of Mansfield Park, by another good writer friend of mine, to release — I can’t wait to read the final version! 🙂 (You may remember my mixed review of Mansfield Park… This new version solves some of the problems I had with the original, so… ;))

MORE RELEASES LATELY

Arbiter by Jamie Foley (May 3)

(You probably know about this one by now. XD And if you don’t, read this. Or this.)

Spellsmith and Carver: Magicians’ Rivalry by H.L. Burke (May 6)

I’m currently a liiiittle addicted to Heidi Burke’s books and I jumped on this one because magic + buddy story + Faerie things = I’m all there!

The Noble Servant by Melanie Dickerson (May 9)

Another Melanie Dickerson, which I got for review. Excited to try this Goose Girl retelling! 🙂

COVER REVEALS

Lightporter by C.B. Cook (sequel to Twinepathy) will have a cover soon! (Which is one step closer to publication, which has me ecstatic!)

There’s also going to be a cover-reveal for the final Rooglewood Press fairytale Five-Something-Something writing contest, and we’re all so curious to see what it’ll be!

I’ll be sharing both cover reveals (probably one on each blog) on June 1st, so stay tuned! I’m so excited. 😀

Any bookish news or releases you’re excited for? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

(Now somebody chase me away to actually write those 2398798 or, y’know, 5 reviews I need to write. *cough* Or maybe very nicely ask Life to give me time to do so…)

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer