Tag Archive | Stephen R. Lawhead

The Shadow Lamp by Stephen R. Lawhead

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Title: The Shadow Lamp (Bright Empires, #4)

Author: Stephen R. Lawhead

review

Firstly, THIS MAY BE MY FAVORITE BOOK OF THE SERIES YET. Hard to say, because they’re so good, but you know. Just so much is HAPPENING in this! (Speaking of which, it’s increasingly difficult to review these books as the series goes on, without spoilers, but I’m continuing to do my best.)

Questing, beloved characters who are so fun to read about, adventures on the high seas and across many times and places, and something about the end of the world… all make an excellent, gripping adventure. Like I said, possibly my favorite in the series yet!

THERE IS SO MUCH GOING ON AND IT’S SO EXCITING. Things have been happening through the entire series, of course, but I feel somehow that there was MORE, and there’s a lot coming to a head in this one. It’s positively thrilling. 😀

One of the things I was very excited about, was various of the characters finally meeting up! I simply love it when a story follows several people on their own journeys and then they start meeting and… it’s the best. I’m not going to say WHO is meeting up, because that may range into spoiler territory? BUT IT’S FABULOUS.

Speaking of characters, I’m so attached to these! Even the ones I started out disliking, or being wary of, I like now. (Villains aside. *cough*) Kit (so funny and British and… and… KIT-like!), Mina (I want to be her), Etzel (his food, though!), Giles (his new part in the story—HE IS THE BEST), Cass (new heroine, who’s growing on me), Haven (wow. So hard to figure out), Gianni (Italian hand-gestures when he talks!), and all the rest of the cast, old friends and new. One of my favorite things is seeing these characters interact. ❤ Especially in CERTAIN PAIRS. *cough*spoilers*cough* Anyways, they’re all great and I love them. 😀

The dialog in this book. Gold. GOLD. It’s clever, funny, or thoughtful in turn. And the writing as a whole is so enjoyable to read. (I still love the chapter and part titles too. “In Which Tomb Robbing Is Encouraged.” “Many Unhappy Returns.” “The End of Everything” [okay then]. “In Which Time Is of the Essence.”)

Two random fun moments I loved: When Kit eats so much he vows he’ll never eat again—until smelling Etzel’s honey-and-walnut rolls. 😄 And when Kit is teasing Cass about the Brothers Grimm living around the corner and she almost falls for it—priceless. 😀 There are so many fun incidents.

What the villains are up to, as well . . . So much going on and all quite fascinating. O_O Not saying anything about them but EEK. THINGS.

Also: nautical adventures and pirate attacks and THINGS. Whenever Captain Farrell is mentioned, I can’t help thinking of a certain song. (And, for the matter of that, I love names like Smollet and the Black Spot sneaking in and reminding me of other beloved high-seas adventures…) It just makes the book feel like an even richer tapestry, filled with all manner of references for the attentive eye to pick out. It was so rewarding to read closely.

England, Prague, Egypt, and other fascinating places are back in this one, the Zetetic society is working to figure things out, and the plot is slowly but surely making new twists and turns and taking new shapes. I really wonder how they’re going to get out of this one!

I want to go to Prague and eat pastries at Mina and Etzel’s Kaffeehaus, and to have tea with the Zetetic society, please and thank you.

This book used the word “eucatastrophe.” It made me very happy.

The final scene before the epilogue. SLOW MOTION. That scene is sticking with me. These books have a way of ending at these amazing, chill-inducing, vivid scenes. I love it.

THE EPILOGUE. OH MY GOODNESS. I CAN SAY NOTHING ELSE. BUT. THINGS. O_O

I’m finally reviewing this book because I’m about to start the final book and I’m so. excited. And have some slight trepidation. (How can this finish?? What’s going to happen??) But mostly excited. I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS. I can’t wait to see how the series wraps up!

Some favorite quotes

“Good afternoon,” she said, pausing to cast a critical eye over him. “Are you among the living at last?”

“Hi, yourself,” replied Kit.

“Ley leaping?”

“The man who showed me called it ‘crossing the Coyote Bridge.’”

“That’s a new one.”

“He’s the Lord High Alchemist and, just so you know, he takes his position very seriously. If we see him, a bow and curtsey are in order. And whatever you do, do not mention the Turks. Oh, and be sure to call him Herr Docktor. He insists.”

Cass gave Kit a look that said, Pinch me, I’m in a dream, and Kit returned it with a glance that said, You cannot make this stuff up.

“Then, by all means, tell me about the Zetetic Society—if that is allowed.”

“No need to be snarky, Mr. Clarke,” chided the woman.

“Forgive me for being—what was it?”

“Snarky.”

Gianni paced to the other side of the room, hitting his stride as he warmed to his thesis, his hands describing complex Italianate gestures in the air.

[Page 283 (hardcover edition), last six lines, end of chapter 27. I’m not typing it here for reasons of semi-spoilers, BUT SO CUTE.]

“Cassandra, my dear,” said Kit, mimicking the old-fashioned, elevated tone of his late great-grandfather, “we should all very well know by now that there is no such thing as coincidence.”

summary

From Goodreads:

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The quest for answers—and ultimate survival—hinges on finding the cosmic link between the Skin Map, the Shadow Lamp, and the Spirit Well.

The search for the map of blue symbols began in a rainy alley in London but has since expanded through space and time and includes more seekers.

Kit, Mina, Gianni, Cass, Haven, and Giles have gathered in Mina’s 16th-century coffee house and are united in their determination to find a path back to the Spirit Well. Yet, with their shadow lamps destroyed and key pieces of the map still missing, the journey will be far more difficult than they imagine. And when one of their own disappears with Sir Henry’s cryptic Green Book, they no longer know who to trust.

At the same time, the Zetetic Society has uncovered a terrifying secret which, if proven, will rock the very foundations of Creation. The quest for answers is no longer limited to recovering an unknown treasure. The fate of the universe depends on unraveling the riddle of the Skin Map.

factoids

Date read: October 25, 2016

Rating: 5 stars

Genre: (Oh boy, let’s see if I can pigeonhole it at all…) Historical Fiction / Fantasy / Sci-fi / Christian / Time

Age Group: Young Adult. Adults will enjoy too!

Published: 2013

Pages: 378 (hardcover)

Series?: Book 4 in the Bright Empires series. (Book 1: The Skin Map — read my review here. Book 2: The Bone House — read my review here. Book 3: The Spirit Well — read my review here.) Followed by Book 5: The Fatal Tree.

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Favorite Character: ALL OF THEM. (Also known as Kit, Mina, Giles, etc.)

Source: Read from the library; have since acquired a copy because I needed to own this series.

Other Notes: Make sure to start the series properly with The Skin Map!

findbook

{Goodreads} • {Amazon} • {Barnes & Noble} • {Author’s Website}


Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Books I’m Thankful For + Sale! (Indie Christian Books)

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(Sale details at the end of the post!)

Like most other bookworms, great books make their way onto my “things I’m thankful for” list every year. It’s hard to choose favorites, but I went ahead and picked…

5 books (more or less) which I read in 2016 and am thankful for:

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  • Paper Crowns by Mirriam Neal — This is one of my top favorite books of ever, up there near The Lord of the Rings and Howl’s Moving Castle! (THIS IS A BIG DEAL, GUYS.) I was SO ecstatic when it published this year and just… everyone needs this shape-shifting blue Fae cat and snarky Wysling and company in their lives!
  • The Bright Empires Series by Stephen R. Lawhead — (shh, this can totally count as one book…) I read the first book, The Skin Map, last year, and I’m verrry much looking forward to diving into reading the last book as soon as I finish NaNoWriMo, but the middle three books which I’ve read this year have been FABULOUS. I just love this series! ^_^
  • Blood Ties & An Earthly King by Hazel B. West — I’m sorry, I can’t pick JUST ONE of these! I can’t decide which one I love more, because they were both so fabulous! Modern/medieval Irish warriors with a Faerie twist and generous helpings of snark and brotherly friendships. What is not to love?
  • Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones — As you may gather from my review, this book was just… I LOVED IT. But I always love DWJ’s books, so that’s no surprise. 😉
  • The Rose and the Balloon by Kirsten Fichter — This simply scrumptious Beauty and the Beast retelling (with air balloons and a steampunk twist) was a perfect bite-sized read which I just loved. ^_^

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to another great year of reading! Speaking of more reading, here’s one more thing to be grateful for.

Books on sale!

(Go on over there! Shoo!)

In honor of Thanksgiving and Black Friday, a group of independent Christian authors banded together to offer over seventy discounted books on Nov 25-28. There’s literally something for everyone.

Every single book listed on Indie Christian Books is on sale in one or more ways. Find discounted paperbacks, dozens of books offered with free shipping, $0.99 ebooks, package deals and more. Even if you have a budget of $0, new reading material awaits you.

Don’t know what to pick? The fearless Indie Christian Books team created a quiz that will generate a book list perfect for you! Check it out!

What awesome reads of 2016 are you grateful for? What books are you looking forward to reading in 2017?

A note on the Ebooks Only page. All books are listed as “Sold Out.” This only refers to paperback copies of these titles. Please click onto the product pages to find descriptions and links to discounted or free ebooks. Also, some of the authors this year chose to not sell their paperbacks directly through the site. Those books are also marked “Sold Out” but if you click them open, you’ll find a link to the site where they are on sale and a discount code for you to use at check out.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Leah E. Good and Kendra E. Ardnek for their work organizing this sale, and Hannah Mills for her fantastic design work on the website graphics. Hannah can be contacted at hmills(at)omorecollege(dot)edu for more information about her design services.

The Spirit Well by Stephen R. Lawhead

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Title: The Spirit Well (Bright Empires, #3)

Author: Stephen R. Lawhead

review

The middle book in this 5-book series, The Spirit Well was another great addition to the Bright Empires novels. Enthralled, I sped through it in just a few days and can’t wait to continue the saga. Once again, I’m in a hurry to review this one, in effect capturing my thoughts at this point, so I can scurry along to read book 4, The Shadow Lamp… I must find out what happens next!

Again, the character list, “previously”, and ending essay were amusing and enlightening — I just love how even the extra beginning and ending matter are interesting. In short, I love basically every word of these books — literally.

The story itself is progressing in quite a fascinating manner, branching out in all directions (past/present/etc.). There were many new revelations! Some of a tragic or scary nature… and others verrrry intriguing… Let’s just say there’s a lot going on (and as the series progresses, it’s increasingly difficult to write spoiler-free reviews, but I shall do my best). The writing continues to be phenomenal as well and it’s just a pleasure to read. 🙂

There’s quite a collection of characters by now, but I never got them mixed up, and they were one and all delightful to read about. There were several point-of-view characters, both familiar and new; most notably Cassandra Clarke. I think I like Cass. *nod* Kit and Wilhelmina continue to be my favorite people to read about, on their separate journeys. I JUST LOVE THEM SO MUCH. ❤ I always love reading about them. It’s also always interesting to get glimpses at the lives of the generations of the Flinders-Petrie family: Arthur, Benedict, Charles, and Douglas, piecing things together. (And I’m also beginning to know what to think about them… hmm…) I still loathe Burleigh and Snipe, for the record. (But what’s a book without some well-placed loathing for the villains, I ask you.) Still on the fence about Lady Fayth… I love Etzel and Giles, and En-Ul and his River City Clan. We can add the Zetetic Society (mostly Brendan [Irish accent!], Rosemary [tea!], Tess [oh goodness, this lady! XD]) to our list of new acquaintances — still working on what I think about the society as a whole since I feel only recently acquainted with it, but methinks I like these people — as well as Brother Lazarus, who’s a definite new favorite. He’s an extremely quotable chap. 🙂 The people in these books are so well written!

Once again, we’re all over the map and time-periods, and I absolutely love it. Modern-day Arizona (that’s new! We hadn’t been to America yet…), the Stone Age, Egypt, China, 1600s Prague, 1800s Italy, 1970s Spain, 1930s Damascus, present-day London, 1800s England, medieval Oxford… (And of course Black Mixen Tump. I love saying that name — dunno why — even though it’s a scary place.) What a delightful tapestry of time and locality! Not to mention sprinklings of different languages (German, Spanish, Italian, French, Latin) for an extra immersive, authentic flavor. These books positively ooze rich multi-cultural feelings and it’s glorious.

I’m not sure exactly why I felt this way (maybe because we didn’t in book 2?) but it was neat to pop back into modern-day London again! That part, and the contrast with the older time periods, was great. Love love love! (Sale! Everything must go! 😄 Goodness, how awful. :P) And ah, good old Grafton Street, bringing back memories of the opening of book 1… It makes me all nostalgic. (I still can’t help but feel that the opening chapter of The Skin Map, “In Which Old Ghosts Meet”, when paired with the presence of a “Grafton Street” in London, is suspiciously like a reference to a certain old song I know… Especially when so many characters in these books are so fond of repeating that there’s no such thing as coincidence…)

Some of the interlacing storylines, especially Mina’s, make my head hurt, and I love it. Time travel-y stories are delightful to read about. She hadn’t… done something important yet that we saw happen in book 1 — MIND. BLOWN. I was even trying to make a time/character thread diagram, which… didn’t go so well. 😄 I’m still trying to wrap my head around some of the time-y things.

Did I have quibbles or uncertainties? Maybe a couple. One part was very sad… even though I should have expected it. But still. Sadness. 😦 There were a couple things that had me pausing to reflect, leading to some interesting ponderings, so even if I wasn’t sure how I felt about them, they at least served the purpose of making me think. I’ll have to see how things pan out in the rest of the series, but they didn’t make me dislike it, per se, just… unsure. So my quibbles aren’t really quibbles, and I don’t have any concrete complaints.

A few more brief thoughts/reactions:

  • I love how the experiences of Kit and Wilhelmina in the times/places they “adopt” (or… perhaps adopt them?) are so good for them. ❤ They really benefit from their adventures, which is fabulous.
  • There is much tea and yummy foods. (In the words of Brendan: “That will be Mrs. Peelstick making tea. We live on tea, it seems.” …I love this book.)
  • It’s still perfectly enjoyable/appropriate for Young Adult readers, as well as for older adults, I would say — basically, everyone should read it.
  • Some more tendrils of Christianity creep into this book than in the previous two — the tapestry is widening out.
  • The language barrier/misunderstanding about the map was very well done.
  • The new ley lamp is absolutely fascinating.
  • The moment when a certain… erm… cat shows up by a certain… erm… road — that was one of those priceless moments of AAHH which I loved. No idea why, I just did.
  • I found the Spanish peoples’ reactions to Kit to be hilarious — nobody wanted to deal with him, and they kept shuffling him off to somebody else. 😄
  • That ending! How can it stop there? *flailing around* These books do have a tendency to simply stop and leave one squirming for the next one. 😉 I must read book 4 ASAP.

Overall? I greatly enjoyed this one and can safely say that it has joined the ranks along with The Skin Map (book 1) and The Bone House (book 2) as excellent specimens of books in a series I’m enjoying more and more.

Now if you’ll pardon me, I have a large book titled The Shadow Lamp (Quest the Fourth) calling my name, which I intend to devour at once. Toodle-pip and all that.

I will leave you with some quotes from The Spirit Well to help convince you that you need this series in your life (because you do, you know).

FAVORITE QUOTES

“I insist you go away before we both say something we will have need of confessing.”

“Dear lady,” offered the priest with a smile, “there are no accidents.”

Kit spent the next few hours idling in the gate-keeper’s lodge as a sort of quasi-captive — he was not locked up, nor was he free to go, for every time he got up and tried to leave, the porter came running after him, scolding in Spanish, and he was pushed back into the lodge. [I have no idea why I laughed so hard at this, but there you go.]

The old lady regarded her with a sudden intensity, then announced, “I’m going to adopt you, dear heart. I hope you don’t mind.”
“Not at all,” Cass replied. “But do I look like I need adopting?”
“Not in the least,” Tess answered.

Probably, I should have locked Kit in the strongbox as well, she thought sulkily. [Wilhelmina, of course.]

“I am gobsmacked. … You clever little thing.” [Mina again. I love her dialog.]

“Don’t you know?”
He shook his head. “Nobody tells me anything.” [<– The story of Kit’s life, right there.]

“It does not matter where one starts; it is where one finishes that makes all the difference.”

summary

From Goodreads:

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The search for the map — and the secret behind its cryptic code — intensifies in a quest across time, space, and multiple realities.

But what if the true treasure isn’t the map at all . . . what if the map marks something far greater? Something one world cannot contain? Those who desire to unlock that mystery are in a race to possess the secret — for good or evil.

Kit Livingstone is mastering the ability to travel across realities using ley lines and has forged a link from the Bone House, a sacred lodge made of animal bones, to the fabled Spirit Well, a place of profound power.

His friend Mina is undercover in a Spanish monastery high in the Pyrenees, learning all she can from a monk named Brother Lazarus. Still determined to find Kit, she is beginning to experience a greater destiny than she can fathom.

Cassandra Clarke is overseeing an archaeological dig in Arizona when a chance encounter transports her to 1950s Damascus. There, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to the Seekers — the last living remnants of the Zetetic Society who need her help to track down the missing Cosimo Livingstone and his grandson Kit.

But there are darker forces at work in the universe whose agents always seem to be one step ahead of the rest–and they’re all desperate to gain the ultimate prize in this treasure hunt where the stakes increase at every turn. At the heart of the mystery lies the Spirit Well.

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Genre/Category: Historical Fiction / Fantasy / Sci-fi / Time Travel / Christian / Contemporary

Age Group: Young Adult. Adults will enjoy too.

Published: 2012

Pages: 375 hardcover

Series?: Book 3 in the Bright Empires series. (Book 1: The Skin Map — read my review here. Book 2: The Bone House — read my review here.) Followed by The Shadow Lamp, and The Fatal Tree.

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When Read: October 5-7, 2016

Favorite Character: Wilhelmina and Kit.

Source: Library

Other Notes: Be sure to pick up the first two books first! 🙂

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{Goodreads} • {Amazon} • {Barnes & Noble} • {Author’s Website}


Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

The Bone House by Stephen R. Lawhead

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5starrating

Title: The Bone House (Bright Empires, #2)

Author: Stephen R. Lawhead

review

It’s a mind-baffling attempt, trying to figure out how to review this book… But I shall give it a shot so that I can capture some of my thoughts as they are at this point in the saga, before launching into reading book 3, The Spirit Well.

The Bone House picks up more or less where book 1 in The Bright Empires series, The Skin Map, left off — I say more or less, since the time aspect makes such statements more complicated and… fluid than usual, and let’s just say that “chronology” is a word I only dreamed of while reading this book, in the best possible way. 😉 It makes me want to start an elaborate chart to map out the character threads, timelines, eras, and locations… That would be FUN! And mind-boggling, but hey.

This series (of which The Bone House is but the second part out of five) is a wonderful mental exercise, which I’m enjoying immensely. 🙂 The myriad of character threads, localities, times periods, and relative time lines to each other, not to mention the way the story leaps between characters from chapter to chapter with abandon — it all calls for a very elastic mind! Like I said, excellent mental exercise. 😀

Not to mention that it makes me think and want to ask questions and to LEARN things. Which is just a lovely side-effect of this exciting timey-adventure (with many breath-taking parts, twists, and fascinating timey things which I LOVE), which I couldn’t put down. I’ve never read anything quite like this series!

Let me just put it this way: If most novels are the equivalent of a jog for the mind, the Bright Empires series is like parkour… in zero gravity… through multiple universes. 😉

This delightful second book, which I enjoyed as much as The Skin Map, carries us through time and geography to Egypt, England, Prague… to the Etruscans, and even people of the Stone Age… as well as the 1200s, 1600s, 1800s, and naturally includes characters from our own 21st century.

Each place, each person or group of people we meet, is steeped in the fascinating and rich tones of cultures old and new, strange and familiar, and all equally skillfully penned. I felt entirely drawn into each place, and the details were fabulous and so gorgeously written. I just felt THERE the entire time. The bits of other languages scattered throughout — Latin, German, some prehistoric dialect — lent an even further air of rich immersion. I just LOVED being so fully inside these places!

Also, the part with the “River City Clan” as Kit dubs them, in the Stone Age, was one of my favorite parts! I don’t want to give anything away, but I simply loved how they were portrayed, in such a unique and intriguing way. They felt… right somehow; not bumbling backward cavemen of the cliche mentality moderns hold, but solid, close to the earth, with their own wisdom and close connection with each other, which we seem to have forgotten in this, our own “civilized” age. It was… refreshing to consider another perspective, to see these simple folk who are more complex than one might think. I also really loved the part with En-Ul — it was fantastic. Love, love, love. I guess the whole cavemen thing and how Lawhead did it surprised me, in a good way. I just… really really liked it. 🙂

Time would fail me (in more ways than one) to discuss each facet of this book with all the different places and things that happened, plus I don’t want to give it away and spoil the joy of discovering it yourself… So I think I will say a few words about the wonderful characters and then dash off to read the next book… 😉

As a general note, I ADORED how the characters in this book were mostly… nice people. That may sound strange, but it was refreshing to me to read about characters who are actually decent folks, with the good old ways of hospitality and cordiality even to strangers. Again, something this modern age may lack? There was by no means any shortage of suspense (goodness, no! ALL the suspense!) but it shows that there are more subtle ways of keeping us on the edge of our seat in books than through every person the main characters meet being awful people who are out to mess up their lives. …I mean, there are obviously villains to do that still (in a serious way! O_O Eep to Burleigh and company… *shivers*) but the world(s) seemed to be inhabited by REAL people, not caricatures full of “flaws” and suspicion and general ill-will toward the heroes. And maybe no one else understands what I’m trying to say, or cares, but to me it was important, and again, it was a different take, which I really liked. 🙂 I like when things make me think and make me feel welcomed, and when I can truly ENJOY them, which is definitely true of these books.

While thinking about villains (if I can call them all such… hmm… I shall look forward to more developments!), let me just say that even being in their points of view was really interesting; if slightly disturbing… There were a lot of different points of view, even among the heroes, and though some readers might not appreciate so many different viewpoints flipping back and forth throughout the book, yet I found the many perspectives quite bracing and intriguing, personally!

All the character-threads were so neat and I can’t wait to follow them further through the rest of the series! Arthur Flinders-Petrie and his line, Lady Haven Fayth (what’s her deal??) and even Archelaeus Burleigh himself, in his own shadowy way… Eep. Side characters such as Xian-Li, Etzel, Dr. Thomas Young, Giles, and all the rest, are still a delight to meet, follow, and learn more about… So real and varied. I just love them all! (All right, not such a fan of Snipe. O_O He scares me a little… I’m not sure what to think of some of the characters yet…)

My favorite main characters, though, are still Kit and Wilhelmina and their two different storylines. 🙂 Kit is still such an enjoyable chap to read about — I don’t even know why, he’s just… amiable and British, in whose mind it’s something between fun and amusing to be in — and I greatly enjoyed his escapades, even when he did blunder a little… but, well, we can’t all be Minas. 😉 Even if we wish to be… Wilhelmina is AMAZING, by the way. I loved her in The Skin Map already, but she takes another step in The Bone House, into a new role as one of my favorite characters ever. I basically want to be her. Or, barring that, at least be more like her. (She’s also the only female character in a book that I’ve felt that way about since I was very young. This is big news.) I don’t think I can even begin to accurately describe her in this small space, but she’s brave and warmhearted and smart and confident and friendly and enterprising and she has that charming lively way with words and… I just feel like if she’s around, everything might be okay, you know? It’s a feeling I can’t quite put my finger on, but she’s definitely a favorite character, and one I’d like to be more like myself. She’s really fitting in fabulously in 1600s Prague, like a duck to water, and has come so far from the beginning of the first book — and so has Kit, at that, in his own way. Anyway, I can’t wait to read more about all of these characters!

Even the little things add fabulous touches to this book: clever and/or amusing chapter titles; the helpful (and witty) list of characters and the “Previously” summary at the beginning which did wonders to refresh my memory of the happenings in book 1 (I wish I’d re-read The Skin Map before embarking on The Bone House, since it was over a year between readings for me, but the summary was very helpful and I think I did okay); and the essay at the end which was fascinating… Even little things like Etzel’s muffins (I want some now!) and such thoughts from Mina as: Plus, of course, she would have chocolate. A girl after my own heart. 😉

(One final note: it’s “clean” and age appropriate for teens. 🙂 I’d class it as Young Adult, content wise, though adults will enjoy it as well. So, all you young people who care about such things, this series is not actually Adult, even if the main characters are in their twenties. I think young adults will love reading these. I may have left the ranks of teenagerdom somewhat recently, but I’m still a teen at heart and there was nothing that bothered me. :))

I think I can safely say that I greatly enjoyed The Bone House (in fact, I can’t think of a single complaint I have about it!). Another excellent read from a masterful author. I have a feeling that, as only part two out of five, this far-reaching and intricate tapestry has only begun, and I can’t wait to follow the ever-more-tangled threads into the next part!

Onward, to The Spirit Well!

summary

From Goodreads:

2bonehouseKit Livingstone met his great-grandfather Cosimo in a rainy alley in London where he discovered the truth about alternate realities.

Now he’s on the run — and on a quest — trying to understand the impossible mission he inherited from Cosimo: to restore a map that charts the hidden dimensions of the multiverse. Survival depends on staying one step ahead of the savage Burley Men.

The key is the Skin Map — but where it leads and what it means, Kit has no idea. The pieces have been scattered throughout this universe and beyond.

Mina, from her outpost in seventeenth-century Prague, is quickly gaining both the experience and the means to succeed in the quest. Yet so are those with evil intent who, from the shadows, are manipulating great minds of history for their own malign purposes.

Those who know how to use the ley lines have left their own world behind to travel across time and space — down avenues of Egyptian sphinxes, to an Etruscan tufa tomb, into a Bohemian coffee shop, and across a Stone Age landscape where universes collide — in this, the second quest to unlock the mystery of “The Bone House.”

The Bright Empires series — from acclaimed author Stephen R. Lawhead — is a unique blend of epic treasure hunt, ancient history, alternate realities, cutting-edge physics, philosophy, and mystery. The result is a page-turning adventure like no other.

factoids

Genre/Category: Historical Fiction / Fantasy / Sci-fi / Time Travel / Contemporary (ish; linked to our time) etc.

Age Group: Young Adult — Adults will enjoy too!

Published: 2011

Pages: 385 hardcover

Series?: Book 2 in the Bright Empires series. (Book 1: The Skin Map — read my review here.) Followed by The Spirit Well, The Shadow Lamp, The Fatal Tree.

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When Read: August 8-16, 2016

Favorite Character: Wilhelmina! And Kit… and Arthur… etc.

Source: Library

Other Notes: Please do be sure to pick up a copy of The Skin Map before delving into this one! These are definitely not standalones and it would be a shame to get lost and miss the amazingness of the series by starting on book 2 instead of at the beginning. Plus, of course, The Skin Map is amazing, so. 😉

findbook

{Goodreads} • {Amazon} • {Barnes & Noble} • {Author’s Website}


Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

#FantasyFunMonth Book Tag

fantasyfunmonth

#FantasyFunMonth by @JillWilliamson on Twitter

So… this isn’t exactly a tag, per se, and it’s six months late at that, but I saw this cool Twitter tag thing from Jill Williamson back in March and thought it would be fun to take the questions and instead of doing one every day for a month (which would be exhausting) turning them into a tag on a blog post!

At the time, I had just done a February Fantasy month, and I was busy, so I didn’t get around to this till now. So! Let the fantasy fun begin!

1. Fantasy Currently Reading

King’s Warrior by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt, and enjoying it muchly. 🙂

2. Fave Fantasy Series

The Lord of the Rings, The Prydain Chronicles, The Chronicles of Narnia, etc.

3. Fave Fantasy Quote

“Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it.”

— Lloyd Alexander

LloydQuote4

4. Fave Fantasy Hero(ine)

Oh, so many. There are several I could choose… but I’m going to pick some I’ve been thinking of lately.

For hero, I’m picking Tom Lynn from Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones, because he’s a great hero. I said a lot about him in my review.

And for heroine, I’m picking Wilhelmina from The Skin Map and The Bone House by Stephen R. Lawhead (which are the first two books of The Bright Empires 5-book series, which I’m reading, and have read the first two so far and loved). Mina is just… I don’t know. She’s amazing. I want to be her. 🙂

5. Fave Fantasy Book Cover

Five Enchanted Roses. You gotta admit, it’s pretty gorgeous. 😉

6. Fave Fantasy Map

The map of Middle-earth is classic, so I’m going with that one.

7. Fave Fantasy Sidekick

Lockwood from Illusionarium by Heather Dixon. (Hush, it’s totally fantasy; I know it’s mostly steampunk but I’m saying it’s fantasy anyway because I want to answer Lockwood.)

8. Movie Better Than Book

The Princess Bride is one of the only movies I liked better than the book, but it’s simply the best as a movie, so I’m going to go with that one.

9. Epic Fantasy Fave

The Lord of the Rings put the “epic” in Epic Fantasy, so that one. 😉

10. Fave Fantasy Book Title

Kestrel’s Midnight Song by J.R. Parker. I’ve always loved that title. ❤

11. Fave Fantasy Animal/Beastie

Dragons and Griffins are classic… and they can fly, so there’s that!

12. Fave Fantasy Stand-Alone

This one suddenly makes me realize how many books have sequels. O_O Um. No clue. I guess I’ll just put Howl’s Moving Castle here and pretend there weren’t two more books… (They’re sort of about other people, so maybe that counts?)

13. Guess That Fantasy (from quote)

Instead of guessing one or making you guess, I’m just sharing a random fantasy quote that I love saying randomly. ❤

“SOUNDS GROSS,” he said. “SALAZAR PREFERS WOOD. TAPESTRIES ARE ALSO ACCEPTABLE.”

Paper Crowns by Mirriam Neal

14. Fave Fantasy Magic System

My mind is horrifyingly blank on this one. I know there must be some, but I can’t remember!

15. Highly Recommended Fantasy

Off the top of my head: The Gammage Cup by Carol Kendall, Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, Paper Crowns by Mirriam Neal.

16. Last Fantasy You Bought

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater and Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett are recent ones I’m excited to read, since I’ve heard such good things about both. 🙂

17. Book Better Than Movie

How about… ALL OF THEM? 😄

18. Cheezy Fantasy Fave

Hmm. I’m not good with things like “cheesy” because I don’t really like calling things that?

19. YA Fantasy Fave

How about By Darkness Hid, To Darkness Fled, and From Darkness Won by Jill Williamson.

BloodOfKingsTrilogyButton-1024x625

20. Fave Fantasy Cast

The Lord of the Rings and Howl’s Moving Castle kind of can’t be beat on this one… (I know, I know, I keep answering with those… I can’t help it!) But there are SO MANY fabulous fantasy casts. I just can’t choose.

21. Fastest Fantasy Read

Anything by Diana Wynne Jones. I always buzz through those really quickly.

22. Fave Wizard/Mentor

This reminds me of the Silmarillion Awards we had a couple months back… 😉 Um. I’ll go with Howl and Chrestomanci for favorite wizards (though I think Chrestomanci’s technically an enchanter? I don’t remember) and Cosimo (The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead) and Beana (Tales of Goldstone Wood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl) for mentors, and Gandalf for both Wizard/Mentor.

23. Fave Childhood Fantasy

The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander. They introduced me to fantasy as a wee thing, and I still love them muchly.

24. Fave Fantasy Romance

So many wonderful characters. Hmmm.. Off the top of my head: Sophie and Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle, Mendanbar and Cimerene from Searching for Dragons, Ginger and Hal from Paper Crowns, and of course Faramir and Eowyn from The Lord of the Rings. THEY’RE ALL SO PRECIOUS.

25. Fantasy Never Finished

I… always finish, so I can’t think of one… I do remember starting The Once and Future King by T. H. White once and not getting around to finishing it at the time because it was so long, but I do fully intend to get back to it at some point.

26. Middle Grade Fantasy Fave

I never know exactly how to know which those are… But I’ll go with The Land of Elyon series by Patrick Carman, since they’re likely for a younger audience but I love them to death.

27. Fave Fantasy Weapon

The sword of King Mendanbar of the Enchanted Forest, from Searching for Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede! It’s just the best and it’s so handy and magical and I love it.

28. Slowest Fantasy Read

It was called Hero’s Song by Edith Pattou and I should have liked it because it was based on Celtic mythology (I think?) but it was so. slow. and it took me MONTHS to read it and I just couldn’t like it which made me sad. -_-

29. Fantasy Read Repeatedly

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. ❤

30. Most Anticipated Fantasy

An Earthly King by Hazel B. West (cover reveal coming Sept. 9 on her blog!!), Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, and King’s Blood by Jill Williamson (which sadly seems to have moved its release date to next year. *wailing*). I WANTS THEM, PRECIOUSSS. ❤

31. Fave Fantasy Author

J. R. R. Tolkien and Diana Wynne Jones, naturally. 😉

How about you? Feeling fantasy-ish now? Agree with any of my picks? (SO hard to choose!) Answer the questions in the comments or steal this tag idea if you want! 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

30 Bookish Questions Tag

30bookishquestionstag

Cait @ Paper Fury had a wonderful getting-to-know-me post with 30 great bookish questions awhile back, and it looked so fun I simply had to turn it into a tag and steal it. 😉 (Don’t worry, she encouraged us to steal it. XD)

1) Currently reading?

Too busy to reeeeead right now . . . ! *flailing* Soon, though… *eyes enormous TBR shelf*

2) Should’ve read, like, yesterday?

SO MANY. Like all of them. Let’s just go with that. 😉 But also the rest of the Tales of Goldstone Wood and a dozen or so Lawhead books. I must read them aaall!

3) Book that impacted you?

The Lord of the Rings and Howl’s Moving Castle. (I know, I know: you’re SO shocked at this revelation.)

lotrcover

howl2

4) Hyped vs backlist titles?

I usually read older books that nobody has ever heard of, OR brand-new books which I get for review. It’s sometimes fun to be up on the currently being-published books, so that I can talk with others about them, but at the same time there are a LOT of awesome slightly older books.

I also tend to steer away from books that have been seriously hyped… (Though occasionally I’ll get curious enough to try one if it sounds interesting enough.) There are a couple series that are big in my circles that I’ve just heard about SO. MUCH. that they are now over-hyped and just have no interest for me anymore. I’m probably a weird person on that point. >.>

5) Current series crush?

The Bright Empires series by Stephen R. Lawhead is a fabulous series I’m somewhat addicted to just now…

brightempireslawheadcollage

6) How strong is your self-control around books?

Buying books, it depends. I’m a somewhat broke bookworm (surprise; I wonder if there’s any other kind?) so I’m rather careful in that regard in general. If it’s a library sale and the books are really cheap and they look interesting, then I do tend to get a lot.

If they’re new books at a store like Barnes & Noble or I have to order them online, then I have a lot of self-control because I’ll think harder about it because they’re more expensive. It’s actually really rare for me to buy new books. I tend to put them on birthday/Christmas wishlists instead. *nods*

If it’s a free ebook, my self-control is non-existent, which is why I have ten gadrillion unread ebooks on my Kindle app which I will probably never read. -_- #readerfail

At libraries, I have pretty good self-control because I don’t want to bring home more than like 3 books if I can help it, just because I know it will bug me if I don’t finish the book before sending it back. (Of course, my self-control is horrible when I’m there but shouldn’t get any books at ALL because I’m too busy, and then do anyway — like the time I checked out Six of Crows during NaNo last year. *cough*)

ARC requests, my self-control is directly proportionate to how much I want the book, usually. So it depends.

7) Plot vs characters?

Both, please and thank you.

8) Would you write under a pseudonym?

Sure thing, if I had a good one.

9) Would you marry your bookshelf?

Ummmm. …Iiiif it magically turned into a guy who had all the good traits/beliefs of the books on said shelf… then maybe. 😄

10) Do you ever get sick of reading?

Sometimes; especially if I’ve been reading only books I was “supposed to” (a.k.a. review books, beta books, etc.). Or if I’ve read some not-so-good books and get in a reading slump. But usually there’s no such thing as “sick of reading” — like, what even is that??

11) Random bookish memory?

Perusing the shelves of an enormous, wonderful Half-Price Books store in another state when my uncle kindly offered to get me some books there. It was like Christmas. (Er… it actually was for Christmas, so that could be why…)

12) Character you relate to?

I don’t usually relate to characters very often… and if I do, I tend not to like them. I’m weird like that. >.> *cough* However I do remember relating to Julia Redfern from A Room Made of Windows by Eleanor Cameron back when I read it at a quite young age.

13) Do you own bookish merchandise?

Do bookmarks count? I do have a map of LOTR on my wall, and a lovely necklace that goes with the Merlin Spiral trilogy by Robert Treskillard, which he made. It’s amazing and love it. ❤ (In general though, I tend to get books instead of bookish merchandise. BECAUSE BOOKS.)

merlinspiralnecklace

14) Controversial opinion?

I’m not into “all the feels”/killing characters/flawed characters/”realistic” stories/depressing endings. I’m well aware I’m an odd duck, but there it is. Make of it what ye will.

15) NOTP? (In case you don’t know what this bizarre conglomeration of letters means: it’s a bookish pairing you don’t ship.)

Offhand, I can’t think of anyone. Is that weird? I guess I tend to get on board with the romantic pairings the author chooses, in general. *shrugs* (Watch, once I post this I’ll think of one…)

16) Why didn’t I love this?

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde. I… dunno why I didn’t love it. :-/ The ending annoyed me I guess and I couldn’t really figure out why; the beginning was a lot of fun though. I just… I wanted to love it! 😦

lastdragonslayer

17) Hardcover vs paperback?

HARDCOVERRRR. ❤ Especially since they’re a dying breed between ebooks and self-publishing… because self-publishing doesn’t have hardcovers. *sobs* What is the world coming to. (I will admit that I love me a good paperback too, as long as it’s not a mass-paperback because those are too tiny for me to want to read because they’re exhausting.)

18) Do you ever like villains?

I try not to. 😄 Sometimes, but very rarely. It’s . . . complicated… See this post.

19) Cringeable reads?

I don’t really like thinking about things I don’t like so… I can’t think of one right now. 😛

20) Where do you get your books from?

Mostly libraries and library sales; also for Christmas and birthdays; a few ARCs; occasionally Amazon or a bookstore.

21) Haunting read?

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. Haunting is the exactly appropriate word for it…

oceanatendlanegaiman

22) Highly anticipated upcoming release?

An Earthly King by Hazel B. West!

23) Annoying character qualities?

Whiners, disloyal stab-in-the-back characters who pretend to be friends but aren’t, and the particular kind of “tough” heroine who is really just an excuse to be a jerk who thinks she’s better than guys. 😛

24) Least favourite genre?

Dystopian. (I know, you’re soooo surprised, again. XD)

25) Best tropes?

Lost princes/princesses and memory loss, for a couple. I’m sure there’s others I love too…

26) Rereading?

I love rereading! It’s so fun. I mean, if it’s a fabulous book I loved, of course. 😉 I don’t do it very often though because I have sooo many books I haven’t read that I want to read… so sometimes I feel like I’m not making progress if I reread. But sometimes I can’t resist! Also, rereading a book aloud is a great excuse to do this, I’ve found. *nods*

27) Have you abused a book?

I try so hard to treat books carefully… but I will admit that if I’m reading a nonfiction book, sometimes I will… *gasp* …mark passages I want to remember, with a pencil. *dives behind nearest tapestry and hides there* *muffled voice:* I knowww, I’m atrocious!

28) Series you quit on?

Jill Williamson’s Safe Lands trilogy. I feel kinda bad about this one since I LOVE her writing, but I read the first one and while it was well-written etc. and I loved one of the characters, overall I just don’t like dystopian, and I can’t see myself getting through the rest of the series and actually enjoying it, so for my own sanity I decided not to. I know others enjoy it, though! 🙂

29) Wish it wasn’t a standalone?

OH SO MANY. I’m going to pick one off the top of my head and say Illusionarium. I want a sequel about Jonathan and Lockwood so bad. ❤

Illusionarium

30) Bad bookworm side-effects?

Having a never-ending, ever-growing TBR pile (though honestly I will never complain too hard about this one). Lack of sleep from staying up reading — and yet I can’t seem to stop! 😉 Reading a book you don’t like and going around with a black cloud over your head… A character you love being killed off and getting your heart shredded… Having a bookshelf fall on you and/or getting papercuts or turning into a bookish dragon creature of ink and paper and blowing away… (Being a bookworm is super dangerous. *nods seriously*) Not living in Middle-earth or Ingary… Y’know, the usual.

So there you have it. You now know aaall the bookish facts about me, likely more than you ever wished to learn. 😉 Do you share any in common with me? Steal the tag if you wish it! 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

By the Book Tag

I was tagged by the lovely Shantelle @ A Writer’s Heart for the By The Book Tag! Thanks Shantelle! ^_^ I’m not tagging anyone specific, but if the questions look fun, feel free to snag ’em and let me know if you do it so I can see your answers! 😀

1. What book is on your nightstand now?

Ashburn by Julia Erickson. It’s fun so far! I don’t usually read contemporaries or thriller/suspense books, but I’m enjoying it. 🙂

2. What was the last truly great book you read?

I just reread Archer’s Goon by Diana Wynne Jones, which was BRILLIANT. I love it to smithereens. ❤

3. If you could meet any writer – dead or alive – who would it be? And what would you want to know?

Off the top of my head… J.R.R. Tolkien, Diana Wynne Jones, Lloyd Alexander, Stephen R. Lawhead, and Mirriam Neal. And so so SO many writer friends I know online, because that would be INCREDIBLE. Time would fail me to list them all here. ❤ And I’d want to know everything. 😄 And/or just chat. Because that would be fantastic.

4. What books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?

Um… nonfiction books? 😄 *surprise!* I don’t really know, though. I have a weird collection of books because my taste is odd and varied. 🙂 Lots of people would probably be surprised at different books I own but it would depend on the person, probably. *shrug*

5. How do you organize your personal library?

The books I’ve read are (usually) organized alphabetically by author. But that changes if I feel like rearranging them by genre. My unread books are usually organized by which I want to read next and by genre.

6. What book have you always meant to read and haven’t gotten around yet?

OH SO MANY. So, so many. *points to ginormous TBR list*

A few off the top of my head: The Healer’s Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson, The Moorchild by Eloise Jarvis McGraw, and The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen.

toread1

7. Anything you feel embarrassed never to have read?

Hum. Not… really? Mostly I don’t feel like I HAVE to read books, or if I do, I’m not really embarrassed that I haven’t, because it just means I haven’t gotten around to them or don’t want to read them? I guess it’s a little sad that I haven’t read Emma by Jane Austen yet, Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, or The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle.

toread2

8. Disappointing, overrated, just not good: what book did you feel you are supposed to like but didn’t?

Off the top of my head… The Little Prince, some of Hans Christian Anderson’s stories, and some of the stories in Five Enchanted Roses.

9. Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?

Ummm. I hardly ever don’t finish books. I can only remember like… 2. So I guess the last one was A Mighty Fortress by Faith Blum. It just wasn’t for me. *shrug*

10. What kind of stories are you drawn to? Any you stay clear of?

SO MANY! But mostly fantasy books, fairytale retellings, and I’m increasingly drawn to odder things like steampunk or heist books, just because they’re fun. Really though, I’m drawn to any kind of book that sounds interesting. 🙂 IF IT’S GOOD, I’LL READ IT. (I know that’s vague. Shush. Don’t judge me. XD)

Stay clear of… Well, I try to avoid dystopians. They are not enjoyed by me… I also don’t like icky content in my books either, so I prefer clean books. I also don’t like really creepy stories, so thus far I mainly steer clear of paranormal or horror books, and I don’t do zombies in any form. 😄

11. If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?

Hmm. Previous answers were the Bible, which is a good choice. I’d say the American Constitution would be a good start too. 😉

12. What do you plan to read next?

The Rose and the Balloon by Kirstin Fichter (a.k.a. KiriLiz), which is a steampunk Beauty and the Beast retelling novella, coming out August 1st! I’m very excited. 😀 I’d share the cover but it’s not out yet… however I hear that there may be a cover reveal next week, so I can’t wait for that! ^_^ Here’s a collage the author made from pinterest pictures instead:

How about you? What would your answers be to any of these questions?

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer