Tag Archive | Steampunk

10 Reasons You Should Read The Electrical Menagerie by Mollie E. Reeder

Title: The Electrical Menagerie

Author: Mollie E. Reeder

  • Date read: May 30, 2018
  • Rating: 5 stars (ALL THE STARS!)
  • Genre: Steampunk
  • Age: Any
  • Year pub: 2018
  • Pages: 323 (ebook)
  • Series: The Celestial Isles, #1
  • Fave character: Huxley (I love Carthage too, though; and especially them as a pair.)
  • Source: Giveaway
  • Notes: I won an ARC ebook in a giveaway (thanks!) and wasn’t required to write a review. These opinions are my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website • Series Website

Ten Reasons You Should Read The Electrical Menagerie

1. What did I just read? *deep breath* I LOVED THIS BOOK. It was absolutely delightful and I have a book hangover—how will anything ever be this good again? AAHH. *collapses and wails and longs for a sequel* I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like this but it was INCREDIBLE and just so much fun! 😀

2. The humor! It’s an utterly hilarious book and I LOVE that so much! The humor/snark/dialog absolutely made my day and I keep wanting to quote it. XD

3. Arbrook Huxley and Sylvester Carthage, y’all. THESE TWO. ❤ You know how there are dynamic duos who are just the best, especially together? And you take their last names and squish ’em together into something iconic. Holmes and Watson. Spellsmith and Carver. Beaumont and Beasley. Well Carthage and Huxley are next on my list! I just love them and their friendship-not-friendship-whatever-it-is. Carthage is a slightly older man who’s a genius at making mechanical things and devising illusions to enchant a crowd, but he’s also got the heart of a child and is intensely introverted. I kind of related to that and he was so REAL. I love him. Then you have Huxley, who is… well… he’s Huxley! Young and dashing and energetic, he’s the smooth-talking and charismatic co-manager, and he’s so funny, especially when paired with Carthage. XD They’re my favorite thing about this book. ^_^ But both have a lot to learn, and are hiding secrets, and nothing’s going to work out until they learn to trust each other…

4. Welcome to the steampunk-ish, absolutely delightful, original world of the Celestial Isles, in which there are a string of “isles” floating above an ether sea with sky trains traveling between them. There are “electricals” (basically like robots) and I love the trains and the 1800s-esque feel. I feel like it’s such an enchanting world that it’s kind of like the best fantasy, but at the same time it’s more sci-fi/steampunk-ish, since there isn’t really anything “fantasy” or “magical” about it? Things are powered by electricity or stardust and just—everything’s so unique. I love it! It feels utterly magical without being real fantasy at all and… I can’t really describe it but I’m in love with the world. 😛

5. The Electrical Menagerie (their show) is taking part in what is essentially a circus-type competition to put on the best show. Which means there’s a lot of imaginative, gorgeous acts going on, and I loved seeing what would happen next. But there’s also a murder mystery and sabotage going on and WHO IS BEHIND IT ALL? :O Because all Carthage and Huxley need on top of the competition is secret plots and danger, right? 😉

6. There are plot twists, too, and the book took a totally unexpected turn and just—whoa! It’s very edge-of-your-seat. The adventure’s exciting, and you know it’s awesome when, on top of trying to win a competition, there’s also a deep plot and a princess in danger and lots of potential for betrayal, and ALL the excitement. I read the whole book in a day because I couldn’t stop reading. 😀

7. Aside from the wonderfulness that is Carthage and Huxley themselves, the other characters are fascinating too. I especially love Dominic the electrical butler! AAAHH. I love him so much. *feelz* His last speech in the book, though. It was… just… so touching and true. GAH.

8. This book made me laugh over and over—and, yes, it made me cry too. Like… I don’t know how it made me care that much but— *sniffles* THE FEELS. But I think I’m okay. Really. I don’t know why I cared so much but gaah. (It was still beautiful, though. :))

9. It taught me things about myself and life and deep things and—wow. Yes. I often find bits of unexpected truth in the most unlikely places, and I didn’t expect to find such soul-touching things in this super fun, swashbuckling, snarky story of two unlikely friends and their illusion show, but IT WAS THERE. It’s deep and touching even in the midst of the fun, and don’t you just love that? When a story is fun AND feelsy AND has depth AND it will just sweep you along in an utterly rollicking adventure? UGH, so good. *hugs book* It’s a clean read, too, and just so delightful.

10. Just—just—there is no way I can properly describe this book and how much I liked it, so I’m going to stop trying and simply direct you to the book itself. *points imperiously toward it* GO READ IT, PLEASE AND THANK YOU. AND YOU’RE WELCOME. (You can thank me later.) I need more adventures of Carthage and Huxley ASAP, and YOU, my friend, need to go read this one immediately. Ladies and gentlemen, that is all I have to say on this subject. Thank you, and good night. *bows*


Some Favorite Quotes

(I could quote the whole thing, and many of my favorites are spoilers, but here are some excellent non-spoiler-y ones.)

“Are you still alive?” Dominic asked him finally.
“Am I alive?” Huxley turned to him. “Yes, I’m alive. Why would you ask that?”
“You were uncharacteristically motionless and quiet. I thought you might be dead.”
Huxley blew air through his teeth. “Did I make a terrible mistake, Dominic?”
“The probability is high. But you’d have to be more specific.”
“Thanks a lot.”
“You’re welcome,” Dominic said without a trace of irony.

***

“You look like you’ve been run over by a train,” she said.
“Oh,” he said, and scrambled to rake his fingers through his hair and fix the tuck of his shirt.
“No, no…” She bit her lip. “The look on your face.”

***

He drank from a silver flask, which he held out to Carthage.
Carthage gave him a disapproving look. While at work?
“It’s coffee,” said Huxley. “Stars, you’re worse than the nuns at boarding academy.”
Relenting, Carthage took the flask. He drank a swig and nearly choked.
“What’s wrong?”
“It’s cold.”
“Well, it’s been in my coat since this morning.”
Carthage wanted to spit the lingering traces out of his mouth, but that would have been improper. He swallowed his own grimace. “Don’t offer me anything that’s been in your coat since morning ever again.”

***

“You’re very talented, and I especially admire how collected you are in a crisis. Except for that time you broke a teacup on the floor. That wasn’t very collected.”
“Huxley… what’s wrong with you?”
“I was spiked with a truth serum which seems to have drastically lowered my inhibitions.” Huxley raised a confident hand. “But it’s alright. I think it’s wearing off.”
“I’m quite certain it’s not,” said Carthage.

***

Secondly, the swarms of biting insects that came out in the early evening. Huxley called them mosquitoes and seemed unconcerned by them, even though they could bite you through your clothes and suck the blood out of your body, which seemed to Carthage like something to be concerned about.

***

Huxley’s hand darted out, finger aimed at a scallop of frosting. Carthage slapped the hand away.
“What are you doing?” he hissed.
“I’m so hungry,” Huxley said.
“You can’t steal food from the table of the Future Queen!”
“It’s not stealing!” Huxley hissed back. “My tax dollars paid for that cake!”

***

“If only my mother could see me now,” he said aloud.
“If my mother could see me now,” said Huxley, “I’d be legally disowned.”


Similar Reviews Under Steampunk:

Beggar Magic Spellsmith and Carver: Magicians' Trial corrodedthorns Cover5_story

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

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The Magicians’ Reckoning (by H.L. Burke) – Spellsmith & Carver, #3

Title: Magicians’ Reckoning (Spellsmith & Carver, #3)

Author: H. L. Burke

  • Date read: October 12, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Steampunk / Fantasy / Gaslamp Fantasy
  • Age: Adult
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 200 (ebook)
  • Series: Spellsmith and Carver, #3
  • Fave character: Everbodyyyy! (Okay, Jericho…)
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free e-ARC of this book from the author (thank you!); these opinions are entirely my own.
  • Links: Amazon • GoodreadsAuthor’s Website

Firstly, I LOVE THIS COVER TO BITS. ❤ (And I’m not going to lie: I’m super pleased how it fits with my blog’s colors. XD)

So much happens in this story… Death, birth, marriage, life, laughter, love, heartbreak, magic, snark, clockwork fox, friendship, and fun. It’s all in there, and well-written and emotional, and I’M ADDICTED TO THIS AUTHOR’S BOOKS, OKAY? Okay.

It came super close to losing a star due to some sad things, buuut I’m mostly just relieved that it turned out much better than it looked like it might. XD

This book had SO MANY FEELS involved. It made me cry a couple times too—tears streaming down my face near the end there. It packed a punch. 😉 Normally books making me cry isn’t a thing in their favor, but I guess it just depends on the one. I laughed, I cried, it moved me, Bob. But I’m not FURIOUS at it, like I would be if certain unforgivable things had happened, and it actually ended really well, considering, so I’m happy. ^_^ But I will say no more on that count, because spoilers. 😉 BUT I’M MOSTLY OKAY, HONEST, THANKS FOR ASKING.

It’s sort of like the three books in this trilogy are stepping stones, as far as audience goes, though. To ME at least, the first book feels like YA—more lighthearted, focused on the buddy (or really-not-buddy. XD) relationship between the two heroes, with a dash of romance between one of them and the other’s sister, and it’s a wild romp in Faerie. Basically my favorite thing. The second one felt more New Adult to me, with a newly-wed couple and more issues like law and some other issues, and more to the steampunk city, and not as much magic. It just felt… older, somehow? And then the third one feels more Adult (to me) since it’s dealing with a married couple and being new parents, and also some dark subjects, and more about being grown ups, and there’s just… a lot going on. So the first one is very much my favorite, and the other two books… I don’t connect with their lives as much since it’s outside of my experience? But of course, since I love the characters so much, I wanted to follow them and see what happened, so. 😉 Just so readers are aware that the content matures as the books progress, which kind of surprised me, but hey. And it’s just hard to top the brilliance that was book one. XD

I loved Lotta in this!! I don’t know why, but the parts from her perspective where she was comparing human emotions etc. to machines (because she’s an introverted, technical person and understands how to fix things, but other people are kind of a mystery for her) were just awesome. I LOVED how she used her unique outlook to manage to deal with people. 🙂 And she and Auric are really cute, sooo. 😉

Jaspyr! Jaspyr the clockwork fox was in this more and I LOVE HIM SO MUCH. There were THINGS going on and I won’t spoil them but alsdkfjkldj so much awesome. 😀 Oh, and Rill of course is always a good thing. 🙂 And certain side characters who I also love…

There were some characteristic banter moments between my precious, favorite lads, Auric and Jericho, because their buddy relationship is the BEST. 🙂 There’s not as much as in the first book, of course, but still some fun. And in a way there wasn’t much TIME for that, since it’s a somewhat more feelsy book and all the characters go through the wringer and just— *collects them all and wraps them in blankets and gives them tea because the poor precious characters*

There’s also more Faerie stuff going on again in this one than in the middle book (not as much as in the first, but some) and it was creepyyyy. O.o Meep. Though I did want to smack some of the characters’ heads together BECAUSE THEY SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER. Goodness. It was kind of stressful but engrossing, I suppose. XD And I still love this world, and magic system, and just all of it. ❤ So much great, vivid fantasy in this gaslamp, steampunk, fantasy world. 🙂

Anyway, it was a good conclusion to the Spellsmith and Carver trilogy, a tad more adult/dark/sad than I expected (but I lived. ;)), and there was still a lot of awesomeness and fun, and I just love Jericho and Auric and Rill and Lotta and Jaspyr and the rest SO MUCH. ❤ If you enjoyed the first two, you’ll probably like this one as well!

Now, allow me to direct you toward Magicians’ Rivalry, book 1, because I know I’ve said it before, but you need that book in your life if it isn’t yet. 😉

Favorite Quotes

Accepting his proposal … more like putting together a machine from scrap without any schematics to reference. How did one make a marriage? There really should be instruction manuals about that sort of thing.

***

Lotta tried to remember what friends having tea were supposed to talk about. She’d tried to read a book that involved a lot of talking over tea once, but had only got about halfway through before putting it aside in favor of a steam engine repair manual. Now she regretted that.

***

Auric managed an anxious laugh. “Well, if you do kill me, I’ll try not to take it personally.”

“It’s not funny.” Jericho scowled.

***

Lotta dug through her bag. Her uncle always told her it was a bad idea to travel with dynamite. Well, she was about to prove how wrong he was!

***

“Or blow up her beacon!” Lotta instinctively reached towards her satchel.

“I think we should try and scope things out before we rush in and demolish things.” Jericho’s tone could’ve scrubbed rust off old iron.

***

The door knob rattled.

“I said, go away!” Auric pulled the pillow over his head.

A whiff of burnt cedar and a slight crackling of magical energy, and the door popped open.

Auric tossed his pillow into Jericho’s face. “Did you just use an unlocking spell on my door?”

Jericho tucked his stylus into his pocket. “No.”

~ ~ ~

Click covers for other related reviews:

Beggar Magic Spellsmith and Carver: Magicians' Rivalry Spellsmith and Carver: Magicians' Trial Coiled

~ ~ ~

Have you tried Spellsmith and Carver? And do you enjoy steampunk, or have any recs for me? 😀

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Was using my shiny Sherlock bookmark while reading this; didn’t realize how appropriate it was until further in. XD

Title: The Invisible Library
Author: Genevieve Cogman

  • Date read: July 28, 2017
  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Steampunk
  • Age: Adult
  • Year pub: 2016
  • Pages: 330 (paperback)
  • Series: Book 1 in the Invisible Library series (Series list on Goodreads)
  • Fave character: Vale and Kai
  • Source: Library (the appropriateness of this fact is not lost on me…)
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazon

This cover makes me happy.

Well. That was… interesting. O_O

I wasn’t planning on reviewing this, buuut I’ve had a few people ask for my opinion, so I’m doing a quicky review for it! 🙂 (Quicky here having the meaning of long, because hello, it’s me we’re talking about. *coughcough*)

THINGS I LOVED

So, it’s basically a mystery, set in an alternate London where it’s steampunk-y and also magical; there are Fae and other creatures; it’s about BOOKS; there’s this enormous Library outside of time and space; the heroine is a librarian questing for a certain book, with an awesome sidekick and an awesome detective; and pretty much WHAT IS NOT TO LOVE? (I mean, a couple things, but we’ll get to that later.)

Imagine a Holmes story with steampunk and magic and Fae and books. That’s pretty much this, and I loved that. 😀 IT WAS SO FUN AND INTRIGUING!

The bookishness was fun, the mystery element was engaging, it was SUPER exciting and action-y a lot of the time, and written in an occasionally witty style, with characters to love once you get to know them, and some great dialog. Overall, it was quite enjoyable. 🙂

And the characters were all well-written and intriguing!

Irene was an interesting heroine, and I liked how bookish she was (I mean, Librarian, yes?) and sometimes just wanted to go curl up and read, but was usually pretty capable even if she didn’t feel like she was. I also loved how she loved mystery stories. XD

Kai! Yes, Kai was pretty cool. XD I really liked him most of the time. 🙂 Can’t say much about him because SPOILERS but yes. 😀 I’m curious to learn more about him and his “family”… And the way he was able to adapt in certain situations was awesome. Anyways, he was great. 😀

Vale! Oh my goodness, Vale. XD So I actually didn’t like him at first? o.o But he quickly grew on me, and basically he’s a detective in this time period so naturally I had to think of him as slightly Holmes-ish (though different of course). But I mean, Holmes in a magical world. XD And I loved his sword cane and capability and he was just awesome. 🙂 (Also curious to find out more about him…)

I also liked the interactions between these three—love these characters! ❤ *hugs ’em*

Silver was… interesting. O.o Slightly creepy Fae characters like that are always intriguing to read about, even when they’re kind of creepy. 😛 I actually was surprised we didn’t see more of him in this one, so I suspect he’ll be in later books more? And when he was up on the table like “bring me my gun!” that was awesome. XD

I really really disliked Bradamant and Alberich. I think I was more or less supposed to, kinda, so we’ll call that a good thing. 😛

(While I’m thinking of characters… Was there a love triangle? I don’t know if there was a love triangle. I think the point of the book was not focused on romance; so much so that it didn’t give any clear ideas on it, just veiled ideas [no pun intended] that were super confusing. Maybe I’m being overly picky and it’s not an issue? I dunno. I just felt like it was maybe being love-triangle-y, though it could just be professional-awesome-friendship on one side and romance on the other. Totally possible. It just didn’t give me enough information so it left me wondering because I’m silly like that. XD Probably for a later book…)

THINGS I DIDN’T LOVE AS MUCH

There were a couple things I didn’t care for and it did take me awhile to get into it, but once I did I thoroughly enjoyed myself. XD

FYI, as far as “content” (which I don’t always include in my reviews but in this case since I was asked to review it, some readers may wish to know) there’s a little swearing, and a few implied references I could have done without, but considering I found it in the “Adult” section of the library it wasn’t too bad (I frequent the YA area, okay; it’s not a crime), and it’s also rather creepy/violent a few times. I don’t usually mind, though there was one part where a cyborg alligator tore off a bystander’s leg and I was like “too much information!” 😛 It just startled me because otherwise it mostly wasn’t too graphic. XD

It’s also totally random and petty, but I HATE characters like Bradamant, which always lowers a book’s quality in my opinion. The back-stabby, “perfect”ly beautiful ladies who are deadly and spiteful, up against the rival heroine who thinks of herself as plain etc. etc. It’s old, and tiresome, and a little too much “mean girls” cat-fight-y for my taste. 😛 It’s a “me-thing” which I’m sure nobody else cares about, but… personally it annoys me a lot. *cough*

And a couple of tiny unimportant things freaked me out, like Irene thinking it was cool that Kai gave her a nickname based on Milady de Winter. MILADY IS CREEPY AND EVIL OKAY. JUST. PLEASE. DO NOT BE FLATTERED BY THAT. -_-

And honestly sometimes the Library creeped me out. >.> I’M SORRY. Sometimes it was cool, but sometimes I didn’t like some things about it…

And just typical mainstream book quibbles. *shrug*

Still, I enjoyed myself and was impressed that turned it around when I wasn’t as caught up to begin with, and still made me love it in the end. 🙂 Though it did have an annoying tendency to leave out a TON of information and make you wonder about things and just not INFORM the reader enough, or was confusing about it—for me, anyway—so a lot of the time I was flailing blindly through, going “stop dancing around things and ‘showing’ things—just TELL me something for once or I will throw you across the room!” Ahem. It wasn’t THAT bad but I just felt like we didn’t get enough info up front and that was kind of frustrating for me? I don’t enjoy feeling unintelligent OR uninformed and this was trying to do both to me. 😛 But it got better once it finally slipped enough info in, so yay! 🙂

But enough of that! I don’t mean to bash it really—I ended up quite enjoying it! 🙂 If it intrigues you, I’d say try it out. 🙂 And I’m curious to see where the next books lead… I’ll probably try out the sequel at some point. Gotta get back to this fascinating world and follow these awesome characters more, dontcha know! ^_^

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

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. ^_^)

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

10 Thoughts on Beggar Magic by H.L. Burke

Title: Beggar Magic
Author: H. L. Burke

Date read: April 25, 2017
Rating: 5 stars
Genre: Fantasy / Steampunk
Age: YA
Year pub: 2014
Pages: (Kindle copy doesn’t have page numbers… Amazon claims paperback version would be 208 pages)
Fave character: Brick (also Vickers, near the end)
Source: Either got it free on Amazon one time, or free for signing up for H.L. Burke’s newsletter; don’t remember which.
Notes: I read this book for the Fellowship of Fantasy book club April 2017
Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor Website • Author Blog

Ten Thoughts on Beggar Magic:

  1. Another fun yet genre-defying read! (Apparently I really love those. XD) It started out like a mild Steampunk story with elements of very original fantasy, and then turned into a sort of academy-story, which turned into a murder mystery, and all with a strong thread of friendship and a dash of romance. Basically it was great. 😀
  2. The world was super interesting! It’s a psuedo-19th-century kind of feel, with a Steampunk flavor, but some other parts of it seem kind of more old-fashioned. I loved the fantasy element of the “Strains” which are musical wisps of something like magic/sprites. There are class-distinctions based on how well you can hear/use the Strains. And much of the story takes place in a sort of academy thing in an intriguingly-arranged city with different sections specializing in different things. Anyway, for some reason I found the whole world and setup super fascinating. I could also see everything SO clearly. And the “costumes” and rifles and just—LOVE!
  3. There were several directions I would think the story was going, but it kept doing something totally different and unexpected. I don’t know if that means I’m disappointed, or if it means it was awesome because it was so surprising and original and kept me on my toes! I guess I’m not actually disappointed, just… mentioning it was different than I thought. It also got QUITE intense near the end there! I kept forgetting to breathe. o.o
  4. Brick! I really liked Brick. 😀 Brick is a deaf guard who is absolutely epic but also kindhearted and sweet—basically Brick is awesome and he was my favorite. 🙂 All the parts with him were the best. ❤
  5. Leilani, our heroine, was all right—for some reason I felt a little detached from her? But I liked her okay. I thought it was neat how in most books she’d be considered the “side-kick” and Zebedy would be the hero, but Leilani got to be the heroine of this. 😀 Leilani only has “beggar magic” which means she isn’t particularly gifted or special, like Zebedy is… so normally, Zebedy would be the heroine and main character, and I thought it was neat how it’s basically a story from the POV of the “chosen one’s” side-kick. So cool!
  6. Zebedy was spoiled and I didn’t usually like her too much, but I didn’t always dislike her either… and sometimes I felt sorry for her… Eh, I don’t know. I might have liked her more if the story was from her perspective, but like I said above, I did like how it was told from Leilani’s POV.
  7. Leilani’s and Zebedy’s friendship was really cute (if occasionally rather trying, as many besties-stories can be…). 🙂 As were… other relationships which are spoilers. Much cuteness all-around! ❤ EEP. My little adorableness-loving heart is VERY happy. ^_^ (Especially with how everything turned out at the end. :))
  8. I was really surprised by Vickers’ character—at first I SUPER disliked him (and for some reason thought he was way younger than he was), but somewhere along the way I realized I’d actually… grown to like him. o.o Rather a lot, actually! I wished we could have seen more of Vickers. But this hardly ever happens where I dislike a character but then end up absolutely loving them! So kudos on that.
  9. THERE WAS A PLOT TWIST. WHICH I SUDDENLY GUESSED DUE TO A SUBTLE HINT. AND I WANTED IT TO BE TRUE. AND THEN IT WAS. AND IT MADE ME HAPPY. 😀
  10. Overall, there were a couple things—hard to pinpoint—which kept this from becoming a top-favorite-of-all-time, but it still seems to deserve a spot on the 5-star list, and on the whole it was a super fascinating, suspenseful, original read, and funny with great dialog too! I’m actually super fond of this story and really enjoyed it! 🙂

Favorite Quotes

“Jess and I do not flirt. We converse.”

“I didn’t know conversing involved so much eye-batting.”

***

“Walk like a lady.”

Like a quick lady, Leilani decided.

***

“It’s a long story, but Vicky is my nemesis.”

Leilani mulled over this as the girls took the path back to the maze entrance. She had never known anyone with a nemesis before.

***

Leilani hoped she wouldn’t lose her ability to think if she ever fell in love.

***

“I don’t understand it either, but Art fellows like things that don’t make sense.”

***

“That’s Art. They get all the odd ones.”

***

“Vickers Buffet, eighteen.”

“That is Buffet as in to hit someone repeatedly with a blunt object? Correct?” A smile played about Zeb’s mouth.

Vickers smirked at her. “Wouldn’t you like to know?”

“Not really. Did you get that, Leilani?”

Leilani quickly scratched out the information. “Vickers Buffet, eighteen, likes to hit things repeatedly with blunt objects. Check.”

***

[Leilani reading a book:] It was a romance, the dry kind where the boy and girl fought for foolish reasons, and she kind of hoped one or both would die before the end.

***

“Did you come here just to insult my office?” [Vickers, of course. He is awesome. XD]

~ ~ ~

What do you think? Intriguing? Do you have any favorite steampunk-esque, or academy-type, or unique fantasy-world books?

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

The Rose and the Balloon – Cover Reveal!

Today I’m VERY excited to take part in revealing the cover of a book I’m currently reading, The Rose and the Balloon by Kirsten Fichter, which is a Beauty and the Beast retelling with a steampunk twist! (What is not to love?? Answer: nothing at all, naturally!)

The book is coming out on August 1st, which is sooooon, and I’ll be reviewing it sometime thereafter (so far I’m quite enjoying it!).

Meanwhile!

Cover reveal coming iiiin . . .

3 . . .

2 . . .

1 . . .

*drumroll*

. . . LAUNCH AIR-BALLOON!

(Wait, what? Where did that come from? O_O Go away, Crazy Maeva! *cough*)

Er, that is…

BEHOLD!

ITS!

BEAUTEOUSNESS!

(But not beastness? AHEM.)

Cover5_story

Summary:

Cover5_storyIn a kingdom where fauna and flora are held in higher esteem than breakfast, Dmitri is a prince who yearns for change and plans it in a single daring act that will alter his life forever. However, when his demented mother accidentally causes the destruction of a prized garden of roses, Dmitri is horrified when she proposes his hand in marriage to make up for it. Not only will a wife hamper his glorious plans, he doesn’t even want one.

Janelle has spent her whole life on her father’s rose farm, tending the roses and staying simple. But she really yearns for something greater than the flower beds. But now there’s a wrench thrown in the works – the crazy Queen Maeva wants her to marry the prince, and all for ruining her father’s beloved roses.

This is Beauty and the Beast with a twist like you’ve never seen it before.

Find the book on: Goodreads | Pinterest Board

About the author:

AuthorPic1Kirsten Fichter is a twenty-something Christian writer who is trying to find the balance between being one of six kids, a church pianist, a college student, a movie buff, a disaster in the kitchen, and a writing INFP. If you know what the secret is to balancing all of that, she’d be grateful to hear from you. Otherwise, don’t contact her unless you want to send her homemade gingerbread. Or a new piano book. Or an autographed Charles Dickens novel. In the meantime, she’ll be somewhere under a maple tree – trying very hard to finish the seventeen and half other stories she unwisely started all at once.

Find her here: Blog (Lianne Taimenlore) | Twitter (@KiriLiz) | Goodreads

So! What do you think? Isn’t it GORGEOUS??? *flails around and collapses* (Yes, I posted it in two sizes because I couldn’t decide which one to do. So you got to look at it twice. YOU’RE WELCOME.) I have a thing for roses, myself, as well as for Beauty and the Beast, so I obviously am absolutely swooning over this cover and this book. 😀 I hope it makes you want to read it, because it does me! ❤

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer