Tag Archive | Stephen R. Lawhead

The 15 Most Glorious Book Gems I Read In 2017

Guys, it’s 2018!


I have no idea how this happened, but it has.

This gives me license to share with you THE MOST GLORIOUS BOOK GEMS I READ IN 2017. And also mention some of my book-reading stats of the year because obviously I need to squeal about even MORE books. It’s who I am. 😉

(Most of the books I read last year which I have physical copies of around.)



According to my Goodreads Reading Challenge, in 2017, I read:

88 books

20,368 pages

(I find it perfect/hilarious that my shortest and longest reads both had sea covers. XD)

Here are some stats I put together from a spreadsheet. (And if you include some short stories and picture books, etc., which I didn’t include on my challenge, then I read 125 books this year. ;))

  • New Books (i.e. novels & novellas) I Read: 62
  • New Anthologies: 7
  • Short Stories (Singles): 17
  • Non-Fiction: 5
  • Re-Reads: 17
  • Picture Books: 18


  • Won: 6
  • Library: 14 (most of these were picture books. XD)
  • Audiobooks: 1
  • For Review (more or less): 37
  • Books in Readalongs/Bookclubs: 13
  • Beta-read: 5-ish


  • Diana Wynne Jones: 11
  • Jane Austen related: 7
  • Words of Reviews Written (according to Scrivener where I kept my reviews for this year): approximately 50,000. XD


Also, last week, on January 1st, it was my blogoversary! :O

I’ve now been blogging here on the Page Dreamer for two entire years and I’m gobsmacked at this information.

Thanks for coming along with me all this way! ❤ And if you’re newer — welcome! I hope you’ll have as much fun here as I’ve been having! ^_^

TOP 15 READS OF 2017

Anyway! Without further ado, in no particular order (I mean, slightly more favorites are nearer the top, but it’s not 100%…) here are the top 15 (ish) books I read in 2018!

(Click the titles for my reviews! And the author names for website links.)

1. Hexwood (by Diana Wynne Jones)

This one still wins for most mind-boggling and… well… everything. I mean, there had to be a DWJ book at the top, of course, and this was the best one by her I read all year. So, naturally. And then there’s fantasy/sci-fi/King Arthur/timey-wimey/PLOT TWISTS. Plus Mordion. IT WAS SO GOOD. I need to read it again. (See review linked from title above for disclaimers. XD) (ButMordionThough.)

2. The Beast of Talesend / The Tomb of the Sea Witch / The Stroke of Eleven (by Kyle Robert Shultz)

(So, I can’t quite decide which of these is the best, hence I’m tossing them all together and saying it’s kind of one book. XD)

THESE BOOKS. I’m utterly addicted to the Afterlands and all these fairytale etc. retellings, not to mention the humor and the characters I love. ❤ Plus they’re really clever and well-written, and just… really good books. With just a smidge of alternate-1920s and steampunk to spice things up. AND TWISTS. Definitely one of my favorites of the year! (Nick! Cordelia! Malcolm! CRISPIN!)

3. Halayda (by Sarah Delena White)

I don’t know exactly how to describe this, but it’s epic and Fae and perilous, and I absolutely love Taylan and Zad and the snark and romance and fantasy, with snatches of Celtic mythology re-imagined in there. It’s just a sweeping, glimmering fantasy epic, and I love it. ^_^ I read this as an ebook with the Fellowship of Fantasy book club, but I had to get a paperback copy for myself for Christmas because I needed to own it! I hope to re-read it someday. 🙂

4. Magician’s Ward (by Patricia C. Wrede)

Regency Fantasy! Which is a genre I discovered this year, and I’m in love. I haven’t really read anything else in this genre, but I’m excited to read the prequel to this, soon. All that to say, this was a Regency England setting with magic and fantasy, and a former street thief girl trying to learn to be a “proper” lady of the time (with hysterical results), and also one of my favorite characters, a magician named Mairelon. It was just so much fun!

5. The Fatal Tree (by Stephen R. Lawhead)

The Bright Empires series has meant SO much to me that I’m having a hard time putting it into words. Which is the main reason I have yet to review this. I WILL, I just… How do you sum up an epic series like this? But I read this series at just the right time in my life, and this book was a great conclusion (I mean, how could it not be??), and I love basically every element of it! It’s a brilliantly written series, I adore all the characters, the plots and twists and timey-ness were fascinating, and the series was deep and just… they’re Really Good Books, okay? I will talk more about this at length, but it’s probably the single most influential series I’ve read for many years. ❤ I HIGHLY recommend trying out The Skin Map if you haven’t, so that you can get to this one — which definitely deserves a place in my top 5.

6. Sentinel / Arbiter (by Jamie Foley)

These have to go together, since I think of them as practically one book. And I NEED book 3. NEED. Jet is one of my favorite characters of all time — he’s just so awesome! — and I love his and Darien’s friendship. The world is so original, I really love some of the fantasy elements and can’t wait to see more, they’re super thrilling, and the character interactions and dialog and snark are just SO FUN! I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for the final book and seeing how things work out!

7. Where the Woods Grow Wild (by Nate Philbrick)

This book is sort of like Prydain-meets-Narnia-meets-Wingfeather-Saga. Which is to say, it’s REALLY GOOD. Truly delightful fantasy, skillfully written, quirky, original, and just a lot of fun. It was so imaginative, and any time I say something reminds me of Lloyd Alexander, that is a HIGH mark of praise from me, since that author brought me to fantasy. I really want a sequel! If you haven’t tried this one out, it’s so much fun. 😀 (I read an ebook version of it for review, but I simply had to get a copy for my sister to read!)

8. Scars of War (by Hazel B. West)

I actually re-read the first two books in this series this year to get ready for this one, because I love this series/characters/world SO MUCH. Because an alternate modern Ireland with medieval aspects and epic warriors who drive fast cars is basically MY FAVORITE. This one was a roadtrip featuring two of my favorite characters (Oberon and Aedan), and a modern Faerie changeling plot, and basically WHAT IS NOT TO LIKE? It was so much fun. ^_^ I need more!

9. Magicians’ Rivalry (by H. L. Burke)

Another buddy story, this is one of my favorite such tales! Auric Spellsmith and Jericho Carver are basically opposites, and they do not get along AT ALL, but they have to work together. Unique magic and a scary land of Faerie and a dash of steampunk make this book a delight to read. Throw in the snark and the dash of romance (because Jericho is in love with Rill, Auric’s sister; queue awkward and ADORABLE) and it’s just SO MUCH FUN. ❤

10. Beren and Luthien (by J. R. R. Tolkien and Christopher Tolkien)

I almost didn’t put this one on here, because it’s not EXACTLY a normal book (being a collection of poetry and prose from various stages of Tolkien’s composing of this tale), and also because I don’t suppose it’s quite how he’d want it. But I’m putting it on anyway, because, despite those problems, it’s still absolutely gorgeous writing (and poetry), and it’s fun to see different stages of the story (even if Tolkien himself might not have wanted people reading his early drafts). The illustrations by Alan Lee are fabulous. And it’s the only new thing by Tolkien I read this year, so NATURALLY it needs to go on my top list. 😉 Here’s to 100 years of Beren and Luthien! ❤

11. The Little White Horse (by Elizabeth Goudge)

I can’t describe this story, but it’s so delightful. It’s set in England in the 1800s, and sometimes you wonder if it even IS fantasy or just FEELS like it, but there are so many fun surprises, and it’s simply one of the most beautiful stories I’ve read in my life. It’s historical and fantasy and Christian and all without quite feeling like one of those. It reminds me a little of George MacDonald, and something else, but I don’t know what. It’s like a beautiful original fairytale in novel form. And it was written in 1946, so it has the old style of writing which is fun to read sometimes because it’s DIFFERENT. I also loved its whimsical nature, and all the eccentric characters we meet — I love them all!

Plus, it has two of my favorite quotes:

‘I should like this story to be like all the best stories and to end in “Happily ever after”.’


‘In every fairy-tale there is a kernel of truth.’

12. King’s Warrior / Second Son (by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt)

*huggles books* These were so fun! I think my favorite is Yorien’s Hand (book 3, which I re-read this year too), but these were so enjoyable too! I love this more classic kind of epic fantasy, but with its own twists too. And I love the Myth Folk (especially the Dragons. ;)) and just all of it. Best of all are the characters, like Brant and Kiernan Kane (two of my favorites of all time! ❤ ), and all the rest! I just love them SO MUCH. ^_^ I’m really looking forward to finishing this series in the upcoming Minstrel’s Call. 🙂

13. Masters and Beginners (by Daley Downing)

This one’s a straight-up modern fantasy novel, which is a little unusual to make it to a top list, for me — but that’s precisely why this one did, because it was refreshing and fun and didn’t have all the annoying things I don’t like about modern books. 🙂 Plus, FAERIES, and I just love how the Order integrates modern things with fairies and mythology and Biblical things, and it’s fascinating! And I love the characters as well, and just — I’M VERY FOND, OKAY?

14. Moonblood (by Anne Elisabeth Stengl)

I remember enjoying Heartless and Veiled Rose, but this seems to be where Goldstone Wood gets going, so I’m SO happy I read this with the Imps of Goldstone Wood fan club on Goodreads (I hope we’ll get back to reading the books together sometime!). I so enjoyed getting to see more of Eanrin and Imraldera and Leo and Rosie and BEANA and Oeric and basically ALL MY PRECIOUS PEOPLE. It’s gorgeous and perilous and such great Fae-fantasy, and just excuse me while I hug it. Plus so well-written. o.o I need to read Starflower…

15. The Reluctant Godfather (by Allison Tebo)

And lastly, a simply utterly fun little story! This charming novella-length retelling of Cinderella was simply a BLAST to read! Burndee the fairy godfather is SO grouchy and it’s hysterical! I love the snark and dialog and humor and fairytale twists. And of course Burndee himself! Isn’t a fairy godfather who hates humans and just loves to bake cakes original? I love him. XD It reminded me a little of Broken Glass (my FAVORITE Cinderella retelling of all time) and of the Talesend books a bit (because humorous and fairytales), and it’s just so fun. ^_^

So there you have my favorite books of the last year!

Have you read any of these or are any on your TBR? Because YOU NEED TO!

And what was your top favorite(s) read of 2017?

Tell me all in the comments!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer


2018 Upcoming Book Releases

Here are some books coming out this year, hopefully!

I have no illusions that I’ll be READING them all this year (there’s ONLY, like, 25 of them… >.> *cough*) but for some reason I keep tabs on books that are releasing soon, so I thought I’d share them with you!

Details and release dates are, of course, subject to change, and this is just the information I’ve gathered, to the best of my knowledge. (Not to mention there are probably a billion other titles releasing this year that just haven’t been announced yet! *collapses under flood of awesome new releases*)

All of the titles below link to somewhere you can find out more about the book, if I could find links. 🙂

In roughly chronological order…

Beneath the Haunting Sea

by Joanna Ruth Meyer

January 9

This is by a Twitter friend of mine, who I met through a mutual love for Diana Wynne Jones novels, so I’m curious about her book — it looks really interesting!

The Lost Plot (The Invisible Library, #4)

by Genevieve Cogman

January 9?

(Not sure on the date, as books that release first in the UK always confuse me…) I have only read the first book in the series, so I need to get to the library (haha) and read the next two. BUT this fourth one sounds fascinating because alternate magical Chicago gangsters from the 1920s and other fun stuff. *nod*

The Thirteenth Knight (Blackfire, #1)

by Kyle Robert Shultz


The dragon Malcolm Blackfire from the Beaumont and Beasley series is getting his own spinoff! Featuring magical artifacts and an interesting jewel thief lady. This is Regency Fantasy and has (I hear) Excalibur, and I COULD NOT BE MORE EXCITED.

Horseman (Crocket & Crane, #1)

by Kyle Robert Shultz


I technically already read this on Wattpad (and you can too!) but I’m so excited for it to be released for real! It’s a magical alternate Wild West with Legend of Sleepy Hollow dashes and is so fun and I love it. XD

The Last Motley

by DJ Edwardson

February 6

The paperback is already out but the kindle version is releasing in February. Look for my review around then! I’ve been wanting to read a fantasy novel from this author for AGES because I love his blog, so I’m excited. 😀

Minstrel’s Call

by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt

Spring 2018?

I’m BEYOND EXCITED for this wrapping up of The Minstrel’s Song series. I read King’s Warrior and Second Son last year, and re-read Yorien’s Hand (SO MUCH LOVE) and I’m on the edge of my seat to get to read more about these beloved characters! ❤


by Jamie Foley

March 10

So excited and so nervous for this one! But mostly excited. XD I love Jet SO MUCH and can’t wait to see what all these characters get up to in the conclusion to a trilogy I read most of last year and loved.

The Thirty-Nine Thieves (Beaumont & Beasley, #4)

by Kyle Robert Shultz

January (Maybe)

Nick and Cordelia and Crispin and co. tackle an Aladdin retelling and I’M SO EXCITED! After that explosion of a book which was The Stroke of Eleven, I need more to find out what happens to my precious characters. o.o

King’s War

by Jill Williamson

April 17? June 19?

There are conflicting dates for this one but I THINK one is the hardcover and one the paperback release. I was mildly (read: hugely) devastated by the second book, BUT I’m still looking forward to seeing how this trilogy completes! (So pretty, too…) And then I’ll want to re-read the Blood of Kings trilogy… 😉

In the Region of the Summer Stars

by Stephen R. Lawhead

May 15

Mr. Lawhead’s newest novel after the Bright Empires series (which I loved!) — I don’t know much about this other than it being Celtic, and fantasy, both of which intrigue me highly…

The Penderwicks at Last

by Jeanne Birdsall

May 15

The final Penderwick book… I don’t know how I feel about this. o.o Or about what might happen in it! But it’s Penderwicks, so naturally it’s going on my library wishlist!

Song of Leira

by Gillian Bronte Adams

June 5

This is wrapping up the fantasy series which began with Orphan’s Song and Songkeeper and I’m on pins and needles to know what happens. o.o (THAT COVER, THOUGH!)

A Thousand Perfect Notes

by C. G. Drews

June 7

This is by Cait @ Paper Fury, who finally has a book coming out! It’s a modern story and doesn’t sound like quiiite the sort of thing I read very often, but I’m excited for her and might end up reading it at some point. 🙂

The Orphan’s Wish

by Melanie Dickerson

June 26

Another Hagenheim book, this one is also an Aladdin one (so many of those!) and I always enjoy this author, so we’ll see how it is. 🙂


by Nadine Brandes

July 10

I’ve never read this author before because I can’t stand dystopian, so when I heard she’s branching into a new genre, I became curious to see how this book will turn out! Alternate history/fantasy/gunpowder plot? Definitely sounds fascinating!


Please keep in mind that these are things that may or may not release this year or at all, so. They’re just notes I’ve made of rumored books, because I’m weird like that. XD

Lightporter by C.B. Cook

Superheroes and fun and Blaze and Anvil! Want. 😀


(Cover not final)

Bitter Winter (and No Chance Meeting?) by Jaye L. Knight

I’m not caught up on the Ilyon Chronicles by any means, but I do keep up with the releases; I’m curious about Jaye’s modern story too.

The Wolf Prince by Claire Banschbach

Book 2 of the Faeries of Myrnius, this sounds super fun. 🙂

The City Beyond the Glass by Suzannah Rowntree

A Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling set in Renaissance Italy. I definitely want in on this!

The Profile Match by Jill Williamson

I hear Jill is hoping to finish up the Spencer series, which I’m behind on, but I love keeping up with what she’s releasing anyway. 🙂

Untitled: another Legends of Light novella by Hope Ann

Continuing the series I started reading in Burning Rose, this is a Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling, so obviously I NEED IT.

Volume 3 of The Order of the Twelve Tribes by Daley Downing

And of course I need more of the modern/faerie goodness of this series which started with Masters and Beginners & Rulers and Mages. 🙂

More books by Kyle Shultz

Of course I’m excited about these, whatever they’ll be, because I’m obsessed with the Afterverse BECAUSE RETELLINGS AND HUMOR AND BELOVED CHARACTERS. (Don’t get me started on how nervous I am about all the MEEPery though. XD)

And there you are! Are you excited about any of these? Are there any I’m missing that you have on your upcoming-releases-I-need radar? Let’s chat about book excitement!!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

Bookworm Confessions: Reading Just One Story in Anthologies

So, fellow bookworms! Here’s a very important life question:

Is it okay to just read the one book in a short story anthology that you want to read?

Because, confession:

Sometimes I only read one short story in a collection. O_O



I can feel your surprise and worrying at my living-on-the-edge actions from here.


You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? (Or is it just me??)

There’s some collection of short stories that you have, and you got it SPECIFICALLY for ONE PARTICULAR STORY OR AUTHOR in the collection. And you’re excited to read it — that particular one! So excited!

So… do you:

  1. Read the whole collection?
  2. Put off reading the whole collection because you really only want to read that one so you procrastinate the others…?
  3. Just devour that particular story right away and be happy you read it, and then… proceed to never get around to reading the others, even if you mean to? *cough* (This is usually me…)

But what do you do in that case? Because I can’t say I’ve read the book… since I haven’t! Just one tiny portion of it! But that also means I can’t, like, rate it or review it or anything… and it also bugs my poor perfectionist mind because I know I have to finish reading the entire collection SOMEDAY because I read something in there, but… I don’t feel like it right now. *collapses*

Also, short story collections are NOTORIOUSLY hit-or-miss. There’s usually one or two I really like and sometimes a whole handful that I… really don’t care for.

It’s very risky! Sort of like a blind date with a book, but it’s a whole bunch of small stories so you have SEVERAL blind dates and sometimes it doesn’t go well. XD

So is it better to read just the one you want to? Or to go all-in and brave the possibly of lots of mediocre or creepy stories?

Even if I do vaguely want to read the others, I usually don’t get around to them…

Which brings us to the list part of my confession.

Some anthologies I’ve read a story or two in but shamefully haven’t gotten around to reading the rest:

1. Firebirds

I got this so I could read a Lloyd Alexander short story and a Diana Wynne Jones short story. The Lloyd one was actually sad and creepy. o.o But the DWJ one was awesome! (It was called Little Dot and was from the POV of a cat and I loved it. XD) The rest of the stories… have sadly gone unread so far.

2. The Dragon Book

I got this partly because DRAGONS and partly because of a DWJ story. I read the DWJ story, which incidentally turned out to be THE ONLY THING I’VE READ BY HER THAT I DISLIKED. (It’s called JoBoy and I read it at a bad time because I was ill and it’s NOT sometime to read when you’re ill… Ahem.) So. Yeah. That was a disappointment… I’ve now been avoiding it because I don’t like to think about it and so I haven’t read the others yet because I don’t really know those authors… But someday…

3. Maps in a Mirror by Orson Scott Card

I got this solely to read the original novella version of Ender’s Game (which was a really interesting comparison). And promptly didn’t read any of the others. I don’t even feel like I really necessarily want to read them at this point? But it’s just sitting there, mostly unread, and I don’t know what to do with it. XD (Confession: I probably will never get around to reading the others.)

4. A Wolf at the Door

This is a collection of short story fairytale retellings, so I WILL read the rest someday, I just… haven’t yet. I mostly got it so I could read the Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling in it by Patricia A. McKillip, which I did and I seem to remember enjoying it… But I still haven’t read the others yet.

5. Tolkien: A Celebration

This one is actually essays about Tolkien by several different authors, so it’s not exactly short stories. I specifically got it so I could read the one Stephen Lawhead wrote, and I LOVED it — one of my favorite things of all time — but… I haven’t read the rest of the essays yet, so I can’t really review it or recommend it and I’m just like WHY. Because it was an amazing essay about writing and fantasy and it was by a favorite author about another favorite author, which is always DELIGHTFUL, but I haven’t read the rest so I can’t talk about it yet. I will read the others… someday…

6. Tales Before Narnia

I found an uncorrected-proofs version of this at a library sale? And I read the poem in it that Tolkien wrote (which I hadn’t ever found in anything else) and haven’t read the rest yet… They do look interesting, I just haven’t started yet. (The lack of an actual official cover, due to it being an uncorrected proof, may be slightly involved. Whoops.)

Also: Fairytales

And there are a few fairytale collections which I surreptitiously read the Twelve Dancing Princesses ones, or a couple others, and haven’t read the others yet… but I will!


Let’s discuss!

What about you, readers? Do you ever read short stories? And do you read entire collections or… do you live on the edge and sometimes just read one? Any reader confessions about short stories or otherwise? Tell all in the comments!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Nightstand Books June {2017}



June is already zipping by and it’s long time for a look at my nightstand and what I’m reading!

Aaand as per usual, I have the perfect excuse for that, thanks to this fun meme created by DJ and Jenelle, where, as Jenelle so aptly put it in her post this month: “we post on the first Wednesday of each month a picture of our nightstand and the stack of books thereupon, and then we gush about how excited we are to read those books.” 😀

So I am here to do just that! (A little late, but still. ;)) Feel free to join in the fun anytime, if you like. 🙂

On My Nightstand for June

Ebooks (On Virtual Nightstand)

“Good gracious, Deborah, do you like not have a life or something? What are you THINKING, imagining you can read all these things in a month?” I know you’re saying it. XD

I know that looks… er… ambitious. *cough* Especially when there’s a couple others I want to read that aren’t on Goodreads and therefore not included in the pictures.

BUT DON’T WORRY. GOOD NEWS: I’ve already read half of these. And of the ones still to read, Blood Ties and The Skin Map are re-reads I’m working on, and The Tempest is a (short) audio play and Fallen Star is a short story.

So you see, I’m not QUITE as insane as it looks like. 😉 (Just… mostly. Ahem.)

I am dividing things into categories this time: the ones I’ve already read in June (since we’re so far in… *cough*) and ones I’m currently in, and the ones I hope to read next.


  • Where the Woods Grow Wild by Nate Philbrick — OH MY GOODNESS. THIS BOOK. XD It was a fabulous fantasy read, with a classic Narnia/Prydain-esque feel, yet also felt entirely new and I could NOT stop reading it; plus it was really funny, and I LOVE funny books! Plus the characterrrrs, and the originality and just ALL THE AWESOME. I really, really enjoyed it. ❤ Look for a review of this one hopefully in the next couple of days! ^_^
  • Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones — WHAT DID I JUST READ. *collapses* I don’t have a dog, but I’m convinced I now know 100% what they’re all like after reading about this. 😛 Another sci-fi/fantasy/contemporary/myth mashup as only DWJ can write, this had a slightly bittersweet ending and was definitely one of her early works (before she learned how to make EVERYTHING hilarious, and write happy endings) but I absolutely loved it all the same. 😀 (It wasn’t actually originally on my June list, but I just read it one evening when I needed a DWJ to cheer me up.)
  • Mythic Orbits 2016 — This was a collection of short stories by various authors, and most were in genres I… don’t really care for. So it was overall a mixed bag, but I did enjoy a few. 🙂 Hopefully I’ll review it at some point…
  • The Noble Servant by Melanie Dickerson — Another enjoyable medieval fairytale retelling by Dickerson, I had quite a good time reading this one. 🙂 I think I liked it more than the last few of hers I’d read and it was just fun. ^_^ Review to come!
  • Brothers and Betrayal by Sarah Holman — I quite enjoyed this fun Christian medieval adventure story with a Robin Hood spin! 😀 Read my full review HERE.
  • Spellsmith and Carver: Magicians’ Rivalry by H.L. Burke — This booook! It’s a “buddy story” and has magic and a scary Fae world and it’s got great dialog of the two not-getting-along heroes and I LOVE IT. 😀 *must review soon*
  • Bellevere House by Sarah Scheele — This is the next Vintage Jane Austen book, a retelling of Mansfield Park; I just read it, loved it, and am super excited! 🙂 It’s now available for pre-order on Amazon HERE and on Goodreads HERE, releasing June 17. 😀 Hopefully reviewing it this week. ^_^


(Halayda pictured below instead of here, because I do not have a gorgeous paperback of it. *weepings of sadnesses*

  • Blood Ties by Hazel B. West (re-read) — There’s an epic readalong of this going on over on Goodreads HERE, and I’m super excited to be taking part! I read this last year but I’ve been wanting to re-read it ever since, so this is perfect. 😀 Modern Ireland with an alternate history and Faeries and a medieval twist and humor and banter and brotherly friendships is SO AWESOME. ❤
  • The Tempest by Bob Shakespeare — Haven’t actually continued this since I mentioned it last time… I always forget about audio books. Oops? It’s not very long though, so I just have to get around to finishing listening…
  • The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead (re-read) — I know I just finished the series, but I can’t help myself! I just started re-reading this, aloud, and it’s SO fun! (Especially doing the voices, and catching all the little hints that I now understand because I’ve read the whole series.) We’re going to re-read the entire series together and I can’t wait. 😀 Definitely a new favorite! (Yes, I know I still haven’t reviewed The Fatal Tree… I’m doing that soon. It’s very hard to put my thoughts into words because I LOVED this series and it’s one of those amazing life-changing kinds of things and I know no review of mine will do it justice. Not to mention the spoilers… That said, there will be a review once I can get my thoughts in order; hoping to get my review for that one up in the next week or two!)
  • Halayda by Sarah Delena White — Yes, I’m still in this one, which was the May bookclub book I was reading. *cough* Enjoying it but it’s quite long and I’ve been busy reading review books instead. >.> Aaand of course, once the actual month of a bookclub is over, there’s slightly less incentive to ACTUALLY FINISH. (Or is that just me?) Soon, though!


  • Courage and Corruption by Sarah Holman — Still working through the Tales of Taelis series, and this is the next one. I’m really excited to read it. 😀 Expect a review for it (hopefully) later this week. 🙂
  • Dreams and Devotion by Sarah Holman — No cover yet, as it’s not quite ready to release. Another Tales of Taelis, this is the next one coming out and I’m reading a pre-release version for review since I will be part of the blog tour soon-ish! Can’t wait! 🙂
  • Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith by Shaun Hume — A review book from an Australian author living in England, this looks like an intriguing fantasy tale about a boy in England who can see otherworldly creatures. It looks fun and I’m quite curious about it! 🙂
  • Fallen Star by Anne Elisabeth Stengl (short story) — I think/hear-tell (hope?) this is going to be the read for this month in the ongoing Imps of Goldstone Wood Goodreads group readalong, and I’m SO excited!!! I’m guessing it will be in the last week or two of this month. Join the fun HERE if you’d like to read (or re-read!) it with us and discuss it! 😀

~ ~ ~

There you have my June Nightstand! As always, some of these may migrate to July, but since June and July are all sort of like one really long, hot month that starts with Ju, it’s no great tragedy, yes? XD

SOMEDAY I’m going to catch up on all the books coming out and will just read random things that I feel like, but it is not this day. XD They’re all awesome anyway, so that is also no great tragedy. 😉 So excited for these!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I must dash off to deal with all those reviews I semi-promised you, and/or to devour more lovely books, in between Life’s ever-constant demands. 😉

How about you? Anything fun on your Nightstand? Summer reading plans, perhaps?

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Nightstand Books May {2017}

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

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

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

The Stack

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


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

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

Not Pictured

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

The Shadow Lamp by Stephen R. Lawhead



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

Author: Stephen R. Lawhead


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. XD 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.


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?”


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.”


From Goodreads:


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.


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.


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!


{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)


(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.