What I’m Reading #13

It has been over a year since I’ve posted book reviews! But I’ve been reading, so brace yourselves… book recommendations are coming!

The Last Motley by DJ Edwardson

I discovered this book when it was selected by an online book club. Isn’t the cover magnificent? I was excited to read it, but didn’t know what to expect. There is plenty of adventure and heroism in the book, but in many ways it’s not about the adventure and heroism – it’s about love and family, about choosing to be kind when we don’t feel we have much to offer (and the cost is terrifying), and about fatherhood. I found it heartwarming and noblebright, and I’m looking forward to reading more from DJ Edwardson. I might get a paperback just for the joy of having the book on my shelf, too.

A hunted child. A magical curse. The end of the world.

Every century a motley is born. Though only children, their patchwork skin marks them as dangerous, especially to those who know about the first motley. That one nearly destroyed the world.

But a chance meeting with a warm-hearted tailor may hold the key to breaking the curse.

Old legends spring to life. Nightmares walk the land. But heroes may be found in the most unlikely of places.

Will this be the last motley?

If you enjoy epic quests and endearing characters, you’ll love this original fantasy novel from Grace Award finalist DJ Edwardson.

DragonSpell by Donita K. Paul

I actually picked this up for a few cents at a local library sale, thinking that I recognized Donita’s name from somewhere but unable to remember from where. I read the book, loved it, and then realized that this series came out when I had just started working and my fantasy reading had slowed a bit. It’s a bit younger than the other books here – aimed at grades 4 through 8, it’s a clean, adventurous, Christian fantasy with great messages and endearing characters. I really enjoyed it, and plan to get the rest of the series for my daughter when she’s just a little older.

One Dragon Egg Holds the Key to the Future.

When Kale, a slave girl, finds a dragon egg, she is given the unexpected opportunity to become a servant to Paladin. But on her way to The Hall, where she was to be trained, Kale runs into danger. Rescued by a small band of Paladin’s servants, Kale is turned from her destination. 

Feeling afraid and unprepared, Kale embarks on a perilous quest to find the meech dragon egg stolen by the foul Wizard Risto. But their journey is threatened when a key member of the party is captured, leaving the remaining companions to find the Wizard Fenworth, attempt an impossible rescue, and recover the egg–whose true value they have not begun to suspect.

Weaving together memorable characters, daring adventure, and a core of eternal truth, Dragonspell–the first book in the Dragon Keepers Chronicles–is a finely crafted and welcome addition to the corpus of fantasy fiction.

All That We See Or Seem by Kristina Mahr

Last year I was asked to participate in the launch party for this debut novel by the publisher, Uncommon Universes Press. I’m not really a book blogger, and I don’t normally do launch parties, but I really like UUP and what they’re doing. There’s a lot of overlap with noblebright, and we’re in some of the same Christian author/publisher groups, so I see how awesome they are behind the scenes, too. Plus, just LOOK at that cover!

I really enjoyed the book, and I’m looking forward to more from Kristina Mahr. The prose was lovely, and the plot and action drew me on quickly. The main character, Reeve, is a bit immature and self-centered, but that’s part of the story. She makes assumptions, and she makes mistakes. It may have a bit more young-adult angst than some readers may prefer (more than I generally prefer), but it was creative, well-written, and engaging. I’m not sure whether it’s noblebright yet… one character is, several aren’t, and I’m not entirely sure about the main character. She’s flawed, but as the story continues in the sequel, there is a lot of room for growth. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel when it is released!

Every night, seventeen-year-old Reeve Lennox finds herself under a noose.

By day she is a lady of Acarsaid’s royal house, daydreaming of adventure and love. But every night in sleep she wanders through a nightmarish city, an invisible witness to the screeches of monsters and the screams of their victims. Her only consolation is Bran, a battle-torn young man with a selfless heart and eyes that reflect the stars. 

Yet while Reeve falls deeper into her dreams, in truth she is engaged to Arden, a mercurial nobleman who has long been cured of his belief in love and breathes fire and flattery like other people breathe air.

Torn between two lives, Reeve struggles to remember what’s real. Until night and day collide, with a revelation that threatens all of Acarsaid.

Miss Mabel’s School for Girls by Katie Cross

This was wonderfully written, and I’m looking forward to continuing the series. It was not noblebright… or at least, it isn’t yet. I’m not sure that it’s trending in that direction. But it’s not grimdark either (yet). It’s pretty clean, but there is a dark sense of growing danger. It is clearly the first of a series – the end of the book is a clear turning point, but it’s not the end of the story. The scale of the story has been quite limited so far, tightly focused on the main character and her need to break the family curse that threatens her life. But near the end, there is the promise/threat of a much wider world, with correspondingly larger dangers. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Never underestimate the power of a determined witch.

Letum Wood is a forest of fog and deadfall, home to the quietly famous Miss Mabel’s School for Girls, a place where young witches learn the art of magic.
Sixteen-year-old Bianca Monroe has inherited a deadly curse.

Determined to break free before it kills her, she enrolls in the respected school to confront the cunning witch who cast the curse: Miss Mabel.
Bianca finds herself faced with dark magic she didn’t expect, with lessons more dangerous than she could have ever imagined. Will Bianca have the courage to save herself from the curse, or will Miss Mabel’s sinister plan be too powerful?

Miss Mabel’s School for Girls is the first novel in The Network Series, an exciting new fantasy collection. A gripping tale about the struggle to survive, it will take you to a new place and time, one you’ll never want to leave.

Lady of Dreams cover image

Lady of Dreams by W.R. Gingell

You know I love everything W.R. Gingell writes. Everything. So I really have no logical reason why it took me so long to get to Lady of Dreams. It was every bit as wonderful as her other books. Clovis is a fascinating narrator, and her observations of the other characters are delightful. W.R. is working on the sequel now, and I’m very much looking forward to reading it.

To dream from a distance, or wake and risk losing it all?

Confined to her couch, Clovis Sohn spends her days and nights dreaming, drifting further away from the outside world with each passing day. But Clovis’ dreams are also real, giving her a glimpse into the lives of those around her…

When a moment of unthinking sympathy twines Clovis’ dreams with the bored, playful composer Yong-hwa, she must decide whether to keep dreaming in the comfort of her chaise lounge, or to awaken into a reality that is by no means so sure or familiar as her dreams.

What have you been reading lately? Have you discovered any new authors?