Tag Archive | YA

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

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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

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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

findbook

{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! 🙂

findbook

{Goodreads} • {Amazon}


Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

 

Wolf Tower by Tanith Lee

WolfTower

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Title: Wolf Tower

Author: Tanith Lee

review

I’m a trifle mixed on this book… But on the whole, it was an enjoyable, unique fantasy adventure.

It’s the journal of the heroine, Claidi, and one of its high points is the conversational and often quite funny tone of the narrative. I really loved that!

Because of the journal setup, we get a very limited outlook on what’s going on, which makes for an interesting read. Claidi herself was an odd combination of feisty/daring and yet oddly naive about a lot of things. She starts out as a servant at a very proper House, which seems reminiscent of somewhere in Asia or India, perhaps?

This whole story, which takes place in a variety of places all different than each other, has none of the usual pseudo-English/European fantasy setting about it (which I love, incidentally, but this IS a change, I suppose). It’s very diverse in its settings/lands and peoples and cultures, so for anyone looking for a different sort of fantasy, this is definitely that!

The general feeling is like a usual semi-medieval fantasy tale, and yet it’s at times more advanced, more like Victorian? There are clocks and things, and a general touch of something almost steampunk, what with the hot air balloon near the start, and the city with clockwork soldiers later on, and some sort of surveillance thing mixed in, almost sci-fi? Near the end it even felt like a touch of dystopian. o.o Anyways, it was definitely an intriguing mix! I enjoyed the fresh, different feel of it. 🙂

Okay, so now we get to what I didn’t like as much, which… um… I really can’t talk about BECAUSE SPOILERS. But let’s just say that there was a character who I wanted to like and wished something had turned out differently and it DIDN’T but it’s probably all for the best (there was a sort of almost love triangle involved; cue more squirming) and it turned out as well as could be expected I suppose. BUT GAAHH I STILL WANTED SOMETHING DIFFERENT MAYBE? I don’t even know. All of this made me drop it from a potential five-star to 4 stars, because I really DID enjoy the book and liked it, but it just… gaahh, the stress. *flails*

For those who are wondering, a certain person named Argul is fantastic, and the-other-person-we-don’t-talk-about was sometimes and I wanted said person to be… um… something else, but then… THAT HAPPENED. *pouts* …But I was suspecting it early on and worried about it and then it WAS and just sllsjkdflj. Sorry, I’m a mite bit incoherent about this whole thing. BUT SPOILERS. (It might just be me, though. Don’t mind me all curled up in a corner rocking back and forth and babbling incoherent “BUT ALKSDJLK WHAT EVEN JUST WHY” sounds.)

I’ve heard that there are three books after this one, but I don’t think I’ll read them…? I really liked the ending of this one (for the most part), and I don’t really want to go through all of that again. -_-

Not a ginormously fabulous book, but by no means a bad one, either! Definitely fun and worth a read if it sounds interesting. And I’m very much looking forward to reading more by the author (since I happen to have “Piratica” on my shelf, watching me, waiting…).

All in all, Wolf Tower was an at times quite funny (I LOVE HUMOR!), unique fantasy read, which I enjoyed a good deal, except for that-thing-about-said-person-we-don’t-talk-about. AHEM.

summary

From Goodreads:

All her life, Claidi has endured hardship in the House, where she must obey a spoiled princess. Then a golden stranger arrives, living proof of a world beyond the House walls. Claidi risks all to free the charming prisoner and accompanies him across the Waste toward his faraway home. It is a difficult yet marvelous journey, and all the while Claidi is at the side of a man she could come to love. That is, until they reach his home . . . and the Wolf Tower.

factoids

Genre/Category: Fantasy, with a touch of Steampunk?

Age Group: Young Adult

Published: 1998

Pages: 223 paperback

Series?: Book 1 of the Claidi Journals (followed by Wolf Star, Wolf Queen, Wolf Wing)

When Read: February 19, 2016

Favorite Character: Argul. And Nemian (sometimes. *squirms*)

Other Notes: Read for the Fantasy Love February Reading Challenge hosted by Grace @ Fictionally.


Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

 

Ten Books I Enjoyed Last Year Outside My Typical Reading Zone

Here’s a list of books I read last year that were not what I typically read, but which I enjoyed all the same… mostly contemporary stuff because I’m not big into the genre but dabbled in it more recently. (Fantasy of a vaguely medieval nature is pretty much my genre, so some things outside it I just consider “weird.)

(Please note that I almost included several Diana Wynne Jones books, because they pretty much defy genre… but Diana Wynne Jones is a distinct category/genre herself in my mind, so that doesn’t count as being outside my typical reading zone, because I’ll read anything with her name on it. So I’m excluding those. We’ve got to be fair to the other poor books…)

The first six are Contemporary, but I’m dividing them into straightforward contemporary fiction, and contemporary fantasy. I don’t know why, but there’s somehow a HUGE difference…

CONTEMPORARY

heist society

Heist Society / Uncommon Criminals / Perfect Scoundrels / Double Crossed (free short story on Kindle) – by Ally Carter

5starratingI know, I’m cheating slightly with a series… But I have to put them all here together in place of one. These were so much fun. YA heist/con-artist books, clean and fun, and well-written — the writing is sort of humorous and just… yes. I quite enjoyed them and wish there were more! Also notable for a certain character, namely Hale, who is awesome. (What is his first name?? We may never know…)

31ThePenderwicksInSpring

The Penderwicks in Spring – Jeanne Birdsall

5starratingI waited so long for this book and was delighted with it. In a sense, I almost SHOULDN’T have liked it because some of it was sad or bittersweet, but it was also so hilarious and awesome and PENDERWICK-y, even though it’s set several years after the other books. Also all of the myriad of characters were so distinct and their storylines were seamlessly juggled and just gaaah, can I sign up somewhere to write this well??

CONTEMPORARY FANTASY

bookofsight

The Book of Sight (5 stars) / The Broken Circle (3 stars) / The Secret Source (4 stars) – by Deborah Dunlevy (On Goodreads)

Again with the contemporary… but I just really enjoyed these, especially the first one. For absolutely no reason. But just… it makes me happy. A group of friends and their interactions with various fantastical creatures/happenings. I’m dying to read the fourth one, still… whyyy have I not found time to read it yet?

whitecat

White Cat / Red Glove / Black Heart (The Curseworkers Trilogy) – by Holly Black

4starratingOh my goodness, how do I even start? Um. These are super dark YA, I don’t even think they should be considered YA? But despite the darkness/content and stuff, I couldn’t help really having a blast with them. (They’re even in first-person-present-tense, which I generally hate? But I just forgot while I was reading.) The hero, Cassel, is just so snarky and hilarious and unfortunate, and the series is… I don’t know. It’s mafia crime family con-artists with magic. WHAT IS NOT TO LOVE. The magic is fascinating — like, there’s four or five different “types” and people are born with different kinds, and everyone wears gloves because the magic comes from the touch of hands. These books I feel like could teach me a lot about pacing and stakes and stuff, for my writing, because just everything comes at our poor hero all at once! My goodness. I can’t fully recommend them due to content, but I really enjoyed them aside from that. But yes, definitely outside my genre/comfort zone; but I’m glad I read ’em all the same. I picked up the first one on the sole recommendation of Cait’s review on Goodreads… After I read it, I thought I didn’t need to bother reading the other two. …Then the next day I realized I was really MISSING this world! Ack. So I got the other two from the library as soon as I could, and devoured them both in a day. Sigh. Addiction is bad, isn’t it? *shakes head at self* I really hope the author will write sequels or spinoffs or something, but I doubt she will…

37TheGrimmLegacy

The Grimm Legacy – Polly Shulman

4starratingThere’s a sort of lending library of magical artifacts from fairytales, in modern-day New York… This one was fun, I enjoyed it, though I feel like it had potential to be more, if you know what I mean? But it was good. Also Aaron.

65ScepterOfTheAncients

Scepter of the Ancients (Skulduggery Pleasant #1) – Derek Landy

4starratingThis was so bizarre but I adored it all the same, because of the fantastic witty banter/dialog/snark from Skulduggery Pleasant himself. It’s set in modern-day Dublin, which is so cool, and Skulduggery is awesome, even if IS a… erm… skeleton. He’s also a detective and has the best lines and this was just rather fun even though it was also kind of scary.

…STUFF

39Illusionarium

Illusionarium – Heather Dixon

5starratingI’m considering steampunk odd/outside my general reading because I’ve only read a handful. This was my first, and I loved it so so much. (For those who haven’t, you can read my incoherent fangirl babbles on this book on my other blog.) But briefly: steampunk and alternate worlds and science-y/magic-y illusion things and sarcastic footnotes by the narrator, our hero Jonathan who’s wonderful, and then of course my favorite thing about it, the character named Lockwood who is just the best ever.

53Plenilune

Plenilune – Jennifer Freitag

5starratingUm… it’s a historical-fiction 1800s turned epic medieval fantasy on the moon story? That’s… not exactly a genre I read a lot of, since it kind of doesn’t exist. It was way too long and exhausting to read because it was so beautifully written, but a lot of it was brilliant all the same, and I really love one and a half of the characters. (Dammerung is the best ever, okay? And Rupert and I have a complicated relationship. BUT DAMMERUNG. <3)

10SkinMap

The Skin Map – Stephen R. Lawhead

5starratingOh my goodness, so much genre mashing in this one too! It defies category… It starts out Contemporary England, and then becomes some odd mix of sci-fi/fantasy with time-travel and alternate time-lines and it’s a mess and I love it so much. I need to read the rest of this series… Also it’s brilliantly written and at times hilarious and so exciting and edge-of-your seat, and the CHARACTERS are just the best.

20Frederica

Frederica – Georgette Heyer

5starratingI don’t read regency romance that often, but this one was so much fun. The family dynamics in this were the best, it was sort of like E. Nesbit meets Jane Austen sort of thing… But the hero, Lord Alverstoke, was one of those kind of awful characters you love all the same (looking at YOU, Howl…) and he and the heroine and her siblings were just… awwwk, the best. *flails around* There is also a hot air balloon. What is not to love. Shenanigans and romance ensue. It’s fabulous and I need to read more of this author.

Do you have a comfort zone/genre of books that you tend to read? Do you step out of it sometimes and are the results good or bad?

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer