Tag Archive | YA

Coiled by H. L. Burke

Title: Coiled
Author: H. L. Burke

I love H.L. Burke’s books, so I was absolutely delighted when I won this in a giveaway! (I loathe snakes, but her funny snek memes make me laugh, and I ended up really enjoying this book despite the scary snakes. XD)

I was only vaguely familiar with the Eros and Psyche myth this retells, but it did feel familiar enough (and kind of Beauty-and-the-Beast-ish too), that I quite enjoyed the retelling aspect! 🙂

The mirror curses were fascinating and that whole fairytale-ish element was well done!

It had a rather “Greek myth” feel to it, even though it’s clearly supposed to be a bit different, which was interesting because I haven’t read much like that. It felt fresh and different for a fantasy novel. The mix of “gods” with a Christian theme was surprisingly well done!

I loved the sweet true-love romance and these lovable characters and their great dialog. 😀 Quite fun! ^_^

Laidra was such a good soul, and Calen was super nice and awesome. 🙂 Also, Zephia was really cool. :O I loved the parts with her and Laidra as well, even if I missed Calen for those bits.

The villainous characters were chilling and creepy, but also oddly human, so that you get the feeling they’re just hardened from their lives and more “real” and sometimes almost feel bad for a couple of them—almost. 😛 Not quite. XD

Some of it was grittier than I would have liked and I could have done without a few of the references, but mostly it was just very well written and gripping. 🙂

Overall, it’s not my favorite but I still really liked it! It’s a great fairytale romance tale, fresh, engaging—sometimes fun or heartbreaking or sweet by turns. I quite enjoyed it! ^_^ Looking forward to more great novels by this author! 🙂

(Note: I won a copy of this book in a giveaway and was not required to write a review; these opinions are my own.)

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Where the Woods Grow Wild by Nate Philbrick

Title: Where the Woods Grow Wild
Author: Nate Philbrick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OVERALL

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

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

Favorite Quotes

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

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

“No I’m not, and you can’t have any.”

***

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

***

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

“Taste good?” Illo asked.

“You don’t want to know.”

***

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

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

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

***

“Now, where’s the map?”

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

“And the book is…?”

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

***

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

***

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

Martin shook his head.

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

“I get eaten?”

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

~ ~ ~

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

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

10 Thoughts on The Firethorn Crown by Lea Doué

firethorncrown

I’m going to share 10 thoughts on The Firethorn Crown today.

I mean, maybe I should do 12, since it’s about 12 dancing princesses?

But I’m doing 10 because it’s nice and round and I want to.

Ten is a great number!

People love ten!

So that’s what I’m going to do.

Anyway… A little about the book and then my Ten Thoughts.

factoids

Title: The Firethorn Crown

Author: Lea Doué

  • Date read: February 11, 2017
  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy (Fairytale retelling: The Twelve Dancing Princesses)
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2015
  • Pages: 289 paperback
  • Series? Book 1 (Yesss, there will be more books about different princesses! *cheering*)
  • Fave character: Eben!
  • Source: Won a paperback from the author in a giveaway from Clean Indie Reads; but I also bought the ebook version.
  • Notes: Read for Fellowship of Fantasy‘s bookclub February 2017 read, which was sooo fun.

review

4starrating

Ten Thoughts:

1. THE COVER. It is awesome. Excuse me while I stare at it forever.

2. TWELVE DANCING PRINCESSES! I’m totally here for a retelling of my favorite fairytale. (Which may mean I was pickier about how I wanted the book to be than I should have been, but oh well.) It was so fun to read this retelling and I greatly enjoyed seeing how it was done. 🙂

3. Eben the guard was awesome and my favorite. 😀 I wish we’d gotten more of him and/or some of his POV. He was epic! That is all.

4. The princesses, as usual, were a little hard to sort at first, but I did get used to which were which eventually. My favorite was Neylan (with her mini dragons!). And the princes (some of them pairing off with princesses) WERE SO FUN. Orin the goose prince, Holic the red-head prince… So funny, loyal, and helpful. 😀

5. DRAGONS. I might have liked more details about them and to see more of them, but it was really neat that there were all different kinds/sizes, as natural wildlife. The butterwings (kind of like butterfly dragons, mini ones who hang around in the flowers) were my favorites. I wish they’d been outright stated and described instead of implied, though, because sometimes it took me awhile to figure out that honeysucklers, woolies, etc. were kinds of dragons. But dragons! Looking forward to seeing more of them in the later books!

6. It took a break from other retellings in which the princesses’ king dad is a grumpy semi-antagonist for some of the story; instead, he’s away most of the book, so their mom fills in that role. XD

7. I don’t know how I feel about the villain. There seems to be a longstanding twelve-dancing-princesses-retelling tradition in which we have a mysterious character that we don’t know if he’s good or not but I kind of WANT him to be good, but… he’s not. Or is he? Eh. I have complex feels about this character and don’t know what I think. I DON’T KNOW. MUCH CONFUSING FEELS.

8. I really enjoyed this book—a lot—but I didn’t love it for some reason, and I can’t put my finger on why. Maybe because of how attached I am to the fairytale it’s retelling, so I’m pickier? Maybe the way it constantly hinted at things but never stated stuff, as if the writing was shy of the forbidden “telling” versus showing? (But taking it too far?) Maybe I was conflicted over a certain character? Maybe there were a lot of things I wished had happened that didn’t? Anyways, there was something a little bit off which prevented it becoming an absolute favorite, BUT I did enjoy it a lot and it was overall a quite good book. 🙂

9. I quite liked the world—it was colorful and interesting. I look forward to seeing more of it! (Especially the dragons. Ahem.)

10. Overall, it was great fun reading this retelling and I can’t wait to continue the series! There are characters I’m excited to see more of, and mysteries left vaguely hanging (like True the goose. WHAT is the deal with True the goose??). If you enjoy good clean fun books and fairytale retellings, I recommend giving this one a try. 🙂

(Note: I won a copy of this book from the author in a giveaway. This in no way influenced my opinions, which are entirely my own.)

summary

From Goodreads:

firthornPrincess Lily, the eldest of twelve sisters and heir to a mighty kingdom, desperately seeks a break from her mother’s matchmaking. Tradition forbids marriage with the man Lily loves, so she would rather rule alone than marry someone who only wants the crown.

Fleeing an overzealous suitor, Lily stumbles into a secret underground kingdom where she and her sisters encounter a mysterious sorcerer-prince and become entangled in a curse that threatens the safety of her family and her people. Lily can free them, but the price for freedom may be more than she’s willing to pay.

The Firethorn Crown, a re-imagining of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” is the first in the Firethorn Chronicles, a series of stand-alone novels inspired by fairy tales and other stories. Follow the sisters on their adventures in a land where sorcery is feared, women can rule, and dragons fly.

findbook

{Goodreads} • {Amazon} • {Author Website}


Thanks for reading, dear Pagelings!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Book Spotlight: Masters and Beginners by Daley Downing

I’m excited to spotlight a blogging buddy’s debut novel, releasing today! 🙂

Hot off the press (well, figuratively; we don’t want the paper bursting into flame), a picture of the cover of Masters and Beginners

Title: Masters and Beginners (Volume 1 of The Order of the Twelve Tribes)
Author: Daley Downing

Genres: YA, fantasy, contemporary
Pages: 193
Notes: 1st in a series of 6

When Sophie Driscoll’s grandmother dies, her parents take over running the Annex, a warehouse facility that stores magical artifacts and documents proving, and protecting, the existence of faeries. Sophie and her brothers, Flynn and Cal, happily adjust to a new house, new friends, and a new way of living, joining the ranks of generations who have kept the fey and mortal realms separate for centuries. Before the first month of their new life is over, they’ll encounter romance, elves, talking cats, ancient secrets, and potentially lethal danger. What could possibly go wrong…

Excerpts

Sophie: “What about Gwen? Will she be all right?”
Alex: “She’ll be fine. We just need to get out of here. My wings are about to pop.”
Sophie (to herself): Did he just say wings? He said wings.

The Driscolls hadn’t always lived in Rylen, Ohio. Kate had grown up here; but when she was 18, she went to England to study abroad (just as her little sister later would), and there she met a very nice young man called James; the short version was that they got married and started a family, and stayed in southeast Britain for several years.

When Sophie was 9 years old, her family moved from Brighton and Hove, back to Rylen, Ohio. They moved into the newest development in the small town, Mercantile Manor, so called after the butchers and bakers and candlestick makers that used to run their businesses in the former colonial village.

James was a history teacher for the local schools, while Kate worked from home and taught their kids. After a couple of years, though, the Driscoll siblings decided they wanted to go to “regular school,” like the other kids in their ballet/music/art/swimming lessons.

But sticking to that decision was becoming more and more challenging. The fact that they weren’t like other people, that their family was different – even if they didn’t want this to be true – wasn’t going away.

Gramie Sheridan’s passing meant they couldn’t ignore it anymore. Her death had set their destiny into motion.

Note from the author on how to obtain a copy of Masters and Beginners:

  • Contact me: daley.downing@gmail.com.
  • Or: via the blog (https://daleydowning.wordpress.com/), which also has my Twitter handle in the sidebar.
  • Just the book: $15
  • Subscription box (limited quantity): $25 [Each box includes: a signed copy of Volume 1, three free gifts, and a letter from one of the characters. (Just for setting that truly ambient feel…)]

(Note: I am in the process of establishing a Paypal account so that I can accept credit card orders and international payments. That should be going by the end of this month. Anyone living outside of the USA interested in making a purchase can email me for details on that.)

(I am not on Amazon, nor do I have e-book format yet, due to cost restrictions for this first edition. The e-book part I’m hoping to change in the future.)

I will be hosting 2 giveaways in May – one North America only, one international only. So non-USA/Canada readers can try that as well.

Well, I don’t know about you, Pagelings, but I’m loving the sound of this with its flavor of contemporary but secret existence of Faeries and elves and talking cats and all!

Watch for a book review on this one from yours truly in the near-ish future! ^_^

What do you think? Sound intriguing? Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Lost Lake House by Elisabeth Grace Foley

4starrating

Title: Lost Lake House

Author: Elisabeth Grace Foley

review

You’ve got to give it to it: that is one gorgeous cover. (I may also be immensely pleased at how well it goes with my blog’s color-scheme. But that’s neither here nor there… *cough*)

This is a historical-fiction novella set in the ’20s, and is a loose retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. It came out this year and when I heard about it from Shantelle, I simply had to try it out. 🙂

Because, ya know . . . Twelve Dancing Princesses. 😉

In this one there’s only one dancer, not twelve (and she’s not exactly a princess either), but there were some great nods to the fairytale which I really enjoyed… It was kind of amazing how well some of it was weaved in with the ’20s setting.

Anyways, it was a quick, sweet read, with lots of elegant description which really captured the setting and time period. (I’m not a huge fan of jazz or the ’20s, but that didn’t get in my way of enjoying it, particularly since I didn’t have to HEAR it. ;))

I liked how we got a few points of view, too. It was neat to see different sides of what was going on. It was a quiet story. A bit mysterious. Some gangster-type stuff showed up to make it a little exciting. There’s a hint at a really sweet friendship that might come out of this story… 😉 And while it’s not the main focus, it also holds a really poignant story about a father and daughter who don’t understand each other, which I thought was really well written and I liked the hope it ends with.

Anyone looking for a romance should look elsewhere, though, because there isn’t really one. That being said, I do ship the hero and heroine and hope maybe in the future they might become a thing. 😉 But I was okay with how it was. 🙂

I almost got really upset for a minute there near the end because I was so looking forward to seeing a certain scene, ::SPOILER (highlight to read):: namely when Marshall and Dorothy show up at her dad’s at the end… loved that bit. 😀 ::END SPOILER:: and then it looked like we were going to skip a week instead! D: Buuuut then I was appeased since we got it in a flashback. So that made me really happy. ^_^

While the overall plot itself wasn’t my favorite, and the heroine was just okay — at least until near the end — (not to mention how I really disliked the other girls), I did really like the hero, and I liked how it all turned out in the end. It might have been a 3-star but… I don’t know, it just ended with me feeling kinda happy and it was fun and cute and sweet and so it got an extra star. 🙂

Anyone who likes that era should definitely give it a shot, and for those obsessed with the Twelve Dancing Princesses, this one is worth reading for a few clever turns of that fairytale being put in a different setting. 🙂 And anyone else… well, it’s enjoyable in its own right as a sweet, short read, and overall I thought it was a pretty swell little story. 😉

summary

From Goodreads:

The Twelve Dancing Princesses meets the heady glamor and danger of the Jazz Age

All Dorothy Perkins wants is to have a good time. She’s wild about dancing, and can’t understand or accept her father’s strictness in forbidding it. Night after night she sneaks out to the Lost Lake House, a glamorous island nightclub rumored to be the front for more than just music and dancing…in spite of an increasingly uneasy feeling that she may be getting into something more than she can handle.

Marshall Kendrick knows the truth behind the Lost Lake House—and bitterly hates his job there. But fear and obligation have him trapped. When a twist of circumstances throws Dorothy and Marshall together one night, it may offer them both a chance at escaping the tangled web of fear and deceit each has woven…if only they are brave enough to take it.

Novella, approximately 26,000 words.

factoids

Genre/Category: Historical Fiction / Novella / Fairytale Retelling

Age Group: YA

Published: 2016

Pages: 77 (estimated; Kindle)

When Read: June 2, 2016

Favorite Character: Marshall

Source: Bought from Amazon Kindle

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{Goodreads} • {Amazon}


Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

 

The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead

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(Yes, you get a random review from me today… I’ve posted it before on Goodreads but I may start posting older-ish reviews here on occasion. :))

5starrating

Title: The Skin Map

Author: Stephen R. Lawhead

review

I’m giving THE SKIN MAP 5 stars . . . with one reservation (which is what this review is for, naturally).

This is going to be just a little bit hard to review. I won this book in a giveaway from Robert Treskillard (a masterful author in his own right), and read it over the course of three days when I was sick, and it helped pass the time marvelously.

For most of the book, THE SKIN MAP was a resounding 5-stars. I enjoyed it so very very much and it was brilliant and unique and fascinating and awesome and funny and perfect.

Then the last 20 pages happened and it almost lost a star or dozen because, well, not to be specific or anything, let’s just say certain authors don’t mind killing characters and I may or may not have gotten really really sad and/or devastated at something that may or may not have happened. Ahem.

That being said, if I’d rated and reviewed THE SKIN MAP the instant I finished it, I probably would have been upset enough it would not have held the 5-star rating it so richly deserves. As it was, I went to bed after finishing it, with a hole in my chest and a determination to never read anything ever again. What can I say. I’m a drama-queen when it comes to books that play with my emotions.

But I let myself cool down, and now I have to say that THE SKIN MAP fully earned every one of those five stars. Again with that one reservation, which naturally only shows how well the book was written that it made me CARE that much. I didn’t like how it was handled, though. But I will say no more because spoilers…

I must say, I was surprised by how much I outright loved THE SKIN MAP when I started it. (And still do, of course!) But from the very beginning it hooked me and drew me in and I found myself thoroughly enjoying myself. So. Much. Enjoyment.

It also felt perfectly British at the beginning there (it went on to feel like other countries too, wherein lies part of its brilliance) and I just found myself loving this story to death.

The characters were so much fun!

  • I love our hero, Kit Livingstone, who had so much humor and normal Britishness.
  • The timeless old fellow Cosimo who I love love love every second of.
  • Arthur Flinders-Petrie himself, who can I just say was positively awesome; though I was a bit confused about his parts of the story and if they were all flashbacks…? But I suppose they were. The nature of time-jumping-ish stories can sometimes get confusing….
  • Wilhelmina surprised me by working her way into my heart. I don’t usually love the heroines of stories that much, but she had such unexpected spunk and determination. I found myself loving the parts with her and Engelbert and their Kaffeehaus the best of any parts of the book — which, again, surprised me, because in a way there wasn’t much going on with them compared with all the action and mystery in the other parts of the story. But the genius of Lawhead seems to be that he can make absolutely anything fascinating.

Following all these characters in all these different times/countries (modern-times, 1600s, and older; England, Prague, Egypt) was so much fun, so interesting, and masterfully handled. There was a particular “feel” to each section which was awesome. So well drawn!

The ley-line travel was fascinating and awesome and I can’t wait to read more about it.

Plus, aren’t those character names just delightful? I love almost everything about this book!

All in all, THE SKIN MAP is a fabulous read, full of mystery, awesome characters, and traveling through different times and localities, all richly painted in a masterful tapestry of ever-turning pages. I couldn’t stop reading, and enjoyed the whole adventure immensely.

Also I just learned that my library has all the sequels in this Bright Empires series, which makes me indescribably happy. I can’t wait to read the rest of these books and fill my life with more Lawhead brilliance.

summary

From Goodreads:

It is the ultimate quest for the ultimate treasure. Chasing a map tattooed on human skin. Across an omniverse of intersecting realities. To unravel the future of the future.

Kit Livingstone’s great-grandfather appears to him in a deserted alley during a tumultuous storm. He reveals an unbelievable story: that the ley lines throughout Britain are not merely the stuff of legend or the weekend hobby of deluded cranks, but pathways to other worlds. To those who know how to use them, they grant the ability to travel the multi-layered universe of which we ordinarily inhabit only a tiny part.

One explorer knew more than most. Braving every danger, he toured both time and space on voyages of heroic discovery. Ever on his guard and fearful of becoming lost in the cosmos, he developed an intricate code–a roadmap of symbols–that he tattooed onto his own body. This Skin Map has since been lost in time. Now the race is on to recover all the pieces and discover its secrets.

But the Skin Map itself is not the ultimate goal. It is merely the beginning of a vast and marvelous quest for a prize beyond imagining.

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: Well gee, how am I supposed to answer that? Contemporary / Time Travel / Fantasy/Sci-fi / Historical Fiction…

Age Group: Young Adult

Published: 2010

Pages: 403

Series?: Book 1 in the Bright Empire series. Followed by The Bone House, The Spirit Well, The Shadow Lamp, The Fatal Tree. Series list on Goodreads.

When Read: February 2015

Favorite Character: Cosimo. (Closely followed by Arthur. Also have a soft spot for Kit… And Wilhelmina was awesome, so…)

Source: Won in a giveaway.

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages!

~ The Page Dreamer

Rising Shadows by Ashley Townsend

4starratingTitle: Rising Shadows

Author: Ashley Townsend

review

*happy sigh* What an enjoyable tale! A shorter book, RISING SHADOWS is a fairly quick read. It’s the first in the Rising Shadows trilogy, and I had actually read book 2, CHASING SHADOWS, before reading this one — so this was kind of like a prequel backstory sort of thing for me, which was actually a fun way to read it. I think it’s a great introduction to the series, though, if you actually read it first (like one probably should… but since the story deals with time travel, I don’t feel TOO bad about reading out of order. ;)).

Things I loved:

+ For one thing, anything involving time travel is a lot of fun — I really enjoyed the setting of a medieval place called Serimone (sort of an alternate dimension type of thing?). Since I read the second book first, this was like getting to go back, and I was so happy to be in Serimone again! It just feels familiar and I like it. 🙂 Besides which, castles and forests are my favorite settings, so…
+ The characters. Sarah is an unexpectedly nice heroine; I love Karen, she really grows on you; and Seth too.
+ Will gets his own point on this list. 😉 He’s an extremely awesome fellow, one of my favorites, a slightly mysterious and dark but also reassuring and capable person. He’s probably the main reason I liked this book so much. 🙂
+ The hints at a growing romance was so adorable! Will and Sarah are so SWEET together! ❤ Gaah. And their dialog back and forth is the best — some really fun banter lines!
+ I absolutely ADORE masked-man-type stories, so The Shadow was super awesome and another favorite aspect of the story! He’s kind of Robin-Hood-ish too, with some serious archery skills. Anyone who goes around through forests and creeping into castles in a green cloak and hood being an undercover hero is awesome. I’m a major fan of this guy. 😉
+ Though perhaps a simpler, more straightforward plot, the story was exciting and kept me flipping pages.
+ The Christian aspect was lovely and I quite enjoyed the thread of faith winding through the story. 🙂
+ It’s quite clean.
+ I quite LOVED the ball and dancing! That was great! ^_^
+ And… I don’t know, I just enjoyed it a lot. 🙂 Sometimes a shorter, simple read with some loveable characters and adventure and a dash of sweet romance is just what you feel like, you know?

Things I didn’t love:

As for complaints, I don’t have many and they’re fairly minor.
+ Many books featuring a contemporary main character who is suddenly swept away into another world or time can suffer from a slightly awkward beginning/transition, so this one is not alone in that; but once it gets underway it doesn’t really matter. 😉
+ The sister, Lilly, seemed hardly there, like an afterthought? It’s not really important, but she was kind of vague.
+ Occasional typos or a few minor details that seemed off to me were pretty much the only downsides other than that.

Conclusion:

Overall a very fun read!

The book has a slight cliffhanger lead-up at the end, which transitions smoothly to the next book — which made me glad I had already read CHASING SHADOWS! 🙂 You can tell that it’s very much part of a series in the way many things are left with loose ends, so I’m looking forward to book 3, DEFYING SHADOWS, to see where it all goes!

If you like YA Christian adventure/romance with time travel and a hint of Robin Hood, you should definitely give this one a try!

(I received a free copy of this book from the author. I was in no way required to give a positive review. These opinions are my own.)

{Read my review of book 2, Chasing Shadows, on my other blog}

summary

From Goodreads:

Sarah Matthews is nearing the end of another eventless summer in the small town of Bethany, Oklahoma, bringing her closer to the start of her freshman year of college. Disheartened over the reality that yet another unexciting season is coming to an end, Sarah wishes for an unforgettable adventure. When mysterious circumstances transport Sarah and her younger sister back in time, she gets more of an adventure than she could have ever imagined.

The two sisters find themselves trapped in the twelfth century in a place shrouded with mystery and deception. Assassination plots, kidnappings, and tumultuous adventures force Sarah to rely on the Shadow, a masked hero who comes to her aid numerous times.

In order to uncover a conspiracy and save those closest to her, Sarah requests help from the Shadow and also from Will, the handsome and equally intriguing blacksmith she befriends. Sarah is strangely drawn to the excitement that seems to follow the town hero and begins to look forward to their secret encounters. She also finds herself caught in a romance with Will, despite the fact that their equally fiery personalities have a tendency to clash as they attempt to work together.

But Will’s past is filled with secrets and pains, and Sarah finds it difficult to break through the walls he has built around him. Can the faith and love of God that Sarah exhibits in her own life cause his hardened facade to fall away as he discovers that forgiveness and mercy are never too far from reach?

factoids

Genre/Category: Historical Fiction / Christian / Time Travel / Romance / Contemporary / Robin Hood

Age Group: YA

Published: 2012

Pages: 177 (Kindle)

Series?: Book 1 in the Rising Shadows Trilogy (followed by Chasing Shadows (book 2; read my review) and book 3: Defying Shadows, releasing soon!)

When Read: March 25 – 30, 2016

Favorite Character: Will, of course! (And the Shadow…)

Source: An e-copy from the author

Other Notes: Visit Ashley Townsend’s website, www.Ashley-Townsend.com, for more info about the series and fun stuff like character interviews! 🙂

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{Goodreads} • {Amazon}


Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer