Universal Monsters Book Tag

I don’t do tags all that often and I’ve only ever created two, this being one of them. I had so much fun with this one a couple of years ago that I decided to do it again this year. So, without further ado: bring on the monsters!

Dracula- a book with a charismatic villain:

Oh, how I love Lestat! He’s spoiled and changeable, charming and utterly ruthless. I may not be a fan of Anne Rice’s most recent vampire books (way to kick that dead horse!), but early Lestat is viciously fantastic.

The Invisible Man- a book that has more going on than meets the eye:

What starts out as a seemingly lighthearted town gathering becomes something much darker, in true Jackson style. I read The Lottery for the first time this year and was disturbed and enthralled in equal measure. This short story made me think and is definitely more than it seems on the surface. Review

Wolfman- a complicated character:

Every single character in If We Were Villains was incredibly complex. One of the many things I loved about the book was seeing how the characters unraveled and seeing hidden aspects of their personalities revealed. Review

Frankenstein- a book with a misunderstood character:

Umhra is a half-orc and is looked down on and distrusted because of it. It adds another layer to an already extremely well-developed character. Paladin Unbound is one of my favorite books of the year and I have started recommending it to people a lot. Review

The Bride of Frankenstein- a sequel you enjoyed more than the first book:

Full disclosure: I am not quite finished with this book yet. However, as of right now I am loving it. It seems like the few niggles I had with The Bone Shard Daughter are absent. Plus, Mephi is there from the beginning, which is wonderful!

Creature from the Black Lagoon- an incredibly unique book:

Oh, how I loved Campaigns and Companions! There are many comedic roleplaying-related books. There is nothing like this one though. I laughed out loud and found myself showing my favorite bits to everyone in the house (translation: I chased family members down and shoved the book into their retinas). I hear there’s a sequel in the works and I am so stinking excited! Review

The Mummy- a book that wraps up nicely (see what I did there?):

Everything about The House in the Cerulean Sea was perfect, including the ending. It didn’t feel like an ending, more like a beginning, which was absolutely wonderful. Review

I’m not tagging anyone, but please feel free to take part if this tickles your fancy. Please link me and credit me as the creator. I hope to see some great lists (although I’m sure they will add way too many books to my already overwhelming tbr).

TTRPG’s that are Based on Books

Tomorrow marks the beginning of a week of interviews with authors who enjoy table top role playing games, or TTRPGs. In many ways, TTRPGs and books go hand-in-hand. While the most well known TTRPG is Dungeons and Dragons, you can find books as TTRPGs as well. So, after you’ve read and enjoyed the book, maybe play in its world yourself. Here are just a few:

The Lord of the Rings

Smaug has been defeated, the Battle of Five Armies has been won, and Bilbo has returned to the Shire. But much danger still remains, and from the Orc-holds of the mountains to the dark and corrupt depths of Mirkwood a darkness waits, recovering its strength, laying its plans, and slowly extending its shadow…
The One Ring Roleplaying Game is the newest fantasy roleplaying game set in the world of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, allowing you and your friends to set out on your own adventures in Middle-earth. (taken from Amazon)

Who wouldn’t want to adventure in Middle Earth? Tolkien created a rich setting that is perfect to explore in. There are several different editions of LotR roleplaying books, ranging from affordable to “well, let me sell my kidney so I can buy this book”. I’d suggest grabbing the affordable ones and keeping your eyes peeled the next time you’re used book buying.

To buy:

The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Game Core Book on Amazon

Jane Austen

Romance. Scandal. Manners. Welcome to Good Society, the Jane Austen Tabletop Roleplaying Game. (taken from Story Brewers Role Playing)

Who says classics can’t be played? This is a pre-order right now: the game should be available in October. This has some definite potential and it’s an indie game! If you decide to give it a go, let me know what you think!

To buy:
Good Society

The Dresden Files:

Tell Us Your Story
Beneath the “normal” surface of the world are things and people which most of us don’t want to know about, and will do our best to forget about if we ever come near them. People won’t see what they don’t want to see.
But that’s most of us. And you—you’re not most of us.
What’s Your Story?
Whether you’re a champion of God, changeling, vampire, werewolf, wizard, or plain “vanilla” mortal human being, this volume of The Dresden Files RPG gives you all the rules you need to build characters and tell your own stories in the Dresdenverse. Inside, you’ll uncover the secrets of spellcasting, the extents of mortal and supernatural power, and the hidden occult reality of the unfamiliar city you call home.

I’ll be honest: I really haven’t read much Dresden Files. I think I’ve read one, maybe two books in the series. However, I know a lot of people would love gaming in this world.

To buy:

Evil Hat Productions

Mouse Guard

I love Mouse Guard! This graphic novel series is a surprising combination of adorable illustrations and breathtaking, rather brutal, fantasy. I would expect the TTRPG to be just as great.

To buy:

Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game

Frankenstein

What if Frankenstein got it right?
What if Victor Frankenstein had embraced his discoveries rather than seeking to destroy them?
Rejected by his peers and his family, hunted by the Creature, Victor slips into the background of history. Manipulating people, events, whole countries, Frankenstein slowly plans and executes his revenge.
Carved out of the Balkan conflicts of the mid-1800’s, Victor Frankenstein hijacks the unification of Romania and creates his own country: Promethea. Established on high ideals of equality and scientific advancement for the good of all, the reality is very different.
Creating Promethea saw Victor make deals that compromised the integrity of his vision. Almost literally walled off from the rest of Europe, Promethea is a nightmare where the rich elite feed off the beauty and strength of the poor. While incredible advances across all scientific disciplines promise a bright future, the land is blighted by a new feudal regime – the Harvest.
Even as Frankenstein moves to bring Promethea in line with his original vision, so he is stalked by the Creature. Seeking to destroy all his creator’s works, the Creature and the resistance movement he leads often find they share Frankenstein’s goals. Both Victor and the Creature know that Frankenstein’s gift must never escape the fortified borders of Promethea, bringing the dark harvest to all the world. (taken from Drive Thru RPG)

This particular TTRPG seems to be very loosely based on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. I think this could be a really interesting game setting, but I don’t expect it to be much like the original book. Either way, it’s intriguing.

To buy:

Dark Harvest: Legacy of Frankenstein

These are only a few of the books that have been reinterpreted as roleplaying games. There are so many others: Watership Down, The Song of Ice and Fire, and others also have TTRPGs. And of course, there are gaming systems for series such as Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, and Ravenloft. These books were originally written to tie in with gaming systems, although they have their own self-contained storylines and don’t really fall into the RPGlit category.

What books would you love to see get the roleplaying game treatment? Have you played any of these?

Row, Row, Row Your Boat- Books Set In or Around Water (that I actually like)

I’ve never been a big fan of books that take place in or around water. Books such as Treasure Island, or even The Voyage of the Dawn Treader have never appealed to me. It’s just not my thing. So when I read a book with a watery setting that I actually really enjoy, it sticks with me. Here are a few boatish books that I’ve really liked.

The Bone Ships by RJ Barker (The Tide Child Book One)

A brilliantly imagined saga of honor, glory, and warfare, The Bone Ships is the epic launch of a new series from British Fantasy Award winner, RJ Barker.

*British Fantasy Award for Best Fantasy Novel, winner
 
Two nations at war. One prize beyond compare.
 
For generations, the Hundred Isles have built their ships from the bones of ancient dragons to fight an endless war.
 
The dragons disappeared, but the battles for supremacy persisted.
 
Now the first dragon in centuries has been spotted in far-off waters, and both sides see a chance to shift the balance of power in their favor. Because whoever catches it will win not only glory but the war. (taken from Amazon)

I think my concern with books involving ships is that they will feel small. The opposite is the case with this series. The setting allows for a greater view and understanding of author RJ Barker’s world, which is magnificently developed. Plus, the characters are awesome.

Review of The Bone Ships (The Tide Child Book One)

Review of Call of the Bone Ships (The Tide Child Book Two)

The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

As the daughter of a time traveler, Nix has spent sixteen years sweeping across the globe and through the centuries aboard her father’s ship. Modern-day New York City, nineteenth-century Hawaii, other lands seen only in myth and legend—Nix has been to them all.
But when her father gambles with her very existence, it all may be about to end. Rae Carson meets Outlander in this epic debut fantasy.
If there is a map, Nix’s father can sail his ship, The Temptation, to any place and any time. But now that he’s uncovered the one map he’s always sought—1868 Honolulu, the year before Nix’s mother died in childbirth—Nix’s life, her entire existence, is at stake. No one knows what will happen if her father changes the past. It could erase Nix’s future, her dreams, her adventures . . . her connection with the charming Persian thief, Kash, who’s been part of their crew for two years. (taken from Amazon)

It’s been a while since I’ve read The Girl From Everywhere, but I remember being impressed by the writing. At what point do you let go of a past sorrow to embrace a present happiness? The choices that Nix has to make encompass themes of family, loss, grief, and acceptance. Oh, and the settings are both familiar and mysterious. It’s quite the balancing act between adventure and the heavier storyline, but author Heidi Heilig managed it beautifully.

The One Kingdom (The Swans’ War Book One) by Sean Russell

The cataclysm began more than a century earlier, when the King of Ayr died before naming an heir to the throne, and damned his realm to chaos. The cold-blooded conspiracies of the Renne and the Wills—each family desirous of the prize of rule—would sunder the one kingdom, and spawn generations of hatred and discord.
Now Toren Renne, leader of his great and troubled house, dreams of peace—a valiant desire that has spawned hostility among his kinsmen, and vicious internal plots against his life. In the opposing domain, Elise Wills’s desire for freedom is to be crushed, as an unwanted marriage to an ambitious and sinister lord looms large. As always, these machinations of nobles are affecting the everyday lives of the common folk—and feeding a bonfire of animosity that has now trapped an unsuspecting young Valeman Tam and two fortune-hunting friends from the North in its high, killing flames.
But the closer Toren comes to achieving his great goal of uniting two enemy houses, the more treachery flowers. Nobles and mystics alike conspire to keep the realm divided, knowing that only in times of strife can their power grow.
And perhaps the source of an unending misery lies before an old king’s passing, beyond the scope of history, somewhere lost in a fog of myth and magic roiling about an ancient enchanter named Wyrr—who bequeathed to his children terrible gifts that would poison their lives…and their deaths. It is a cursed past and malevolent sorcery that truly hold the land, its people, and its would-be rulers bound. And before the already savaged kingdom can become one again, all Ayr will drown in a sea of blood. (taken from Amazon)

A decent chunk of this epic fantasy involves travel on a mysterious river (yep, it’s a river that’s mysterious. It’s a thing, I promise). The things found both in and along the river tugged on my imagination, painting a vivid picture of a unique and creative world. The mythology behind the enchanter Wyrr is flat-out amazing. The Swans’ War is one of my favorite fantasy trilogies, despite (or maybe because of) the water-travel.

The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

A murder on the high seas. A remarkable detective duo. A demon who may or may not exist.
It’s 1634, and Samuel Pipps, the world’s greatest detective, is being transported to Amsterdam to be executed for a crime he may, or may not, have committed. Traveling with him is his loyal bodyguard, Arent Hayes, who is determined to prove his friend innocent. Among the other guests is Sara Wessel, a noblewoman with a secret.
But no sooner is their ship out to sea than devilry begins to blight the voyage. A strange symbol appears on the sail. A dead leper stalks the decks. Livestock dies in the night.
And then the passengers hear a terrible voice, whispering to them in the darkness, promising three unholy miracles, followed by a slaughter. First an impossible pursuit. Second an impossible theft. And third an impossible murder.
Could a demon be responsible for their misfortunes?
With Pipps imprisoned, only Arent and Sara can solve a mystery that stretches back into their past and now threatens to sink the ship, killing everybody on board. (taken from Amazon)

At this point, I’m pretty sure Stuart Turton could write a novel about cardboard boxes and I would love it. His writing is outstanding and the mystery of The Devil and the Dark Water kept me riveted from beginning to end.

Review of The Devil and the Dark Water

The Bone Shard Daughter (The Drowning Empire Book One) by Andrea Stewart

The emperor’s reign has lasted for decades, his mastery of bone shard magic powering the animal-like constructs that maintain law and order. But now his rule is failing, and revolution is sweeping across the Empire’s many islands.

Lin is the emperor’s daughter and spends her days trapped in a palace of locked doors and dark secrets. When her father refuses to recognise her as heir to the throne, she vows to prove her worth by mastering the forbidden art of bone shard magic.

Yet such power carries a great cost, and when the revolution reaches the gates of the palace, Lin must decide how far she is willing to go to claim her birthright – and save her people. (taken from Amazon)

I would have to admit that I am sort of cheating on this one, except that this is my post and my rules. So there. Jovis’ storyline, in particular, has a lot to do with ships and such whatnot and he was my favorite character, so it counts. Right? Either way, I’m looking forward to the next part in this interesting series.

Review of The Bone Shard Daughter (The Drowning Empire Book One)

What about you? How do you feel about books that involve boats or water travel? What are some books that fit the bill that I should read?

Dragonlance Week: Sightings in the Wild

Logo Credit: Wizards of the Coast
Image Credit: Larry Elmore
Banner Credit: Fantasy Book Nerd

It’s been a great week of geeking out over Dragonlance, but it’s almost over. Tomorrow, there’s one last post (an excellent one, with amazing contributions) and the winners of the giveaway will be announced. If you haven’t entered yet, there’s still time: all links are listed below. Before we go, though, I wanted to share some of the fun Dragonlance-themed or inspired goodies that can be found if you know where to look. Enjoy!

Posts you may have missed:

Dragonlance Week: A Celebration
Dragonlance Books- Where on Krynn Should You Start?
Dragonlance Week: The Art of Dragonlance
Dragonlance Week: An Interview with Author Margaret Weis
Dragonlance Week: Character Profiles- Tanis, Laurana, and Sturm
Dragonlance Week: Character Profiles- Caramon and Raistlin
Dragonlance Week: Character Profiles- Tasselhoff, Flint, and Tika
Dragonlance Week: Side Quest! (My Favorite “Side” Novels)
Dragonlance Week: The D&D Connection

Let’s start with a funny one, shall we? Look closely at the top right corner illustration in this kids counting book to see mention of a certain golden-skinned mage. The book is fantastic, by the way.


Lord Soth visits Ravenloft, because why not? I kind of love the crossover idea.

Speaking of crossovers, do we see Fizban anywhere else? Well, that’s a question with an odd answer. Fizban is in the Chronicles (and is owned by Wizards of the Coast). However, there is a certain befuddled wizard named Zifnab (owned by Weis and Hickman) who shows up in their Death Gate Cycle. Surely they aren’t one and the same. After all, it’s common for bearded, crazed wizards who constantly lose their hats to have names that are anagrams of each other. There’s also Zanfib, who shows up in another series by Weis and Hickman (namely Starshield), also no relation. Right?

There is an excellent documentary called Eye of the Beholder: The Art of Dungeons and Dragons. While it’s covering D&D art on a broader scale, there is a large amount of focus on the amazing artwork that has been associated with Dragonlance. There are interviews with Tony Diterlizi, Larry Elmore (Dragonlance artist extraordinaire), Brom, Margaret Weis, and others. There are fun little surprises, and we get to learn things like why Clyde Caldwell illustrates Goldmoon the way he does, and who the elusive Jack Fred really is.

Did you know there’s a Dragonlance board game? Yup. Back at the height of its popularity, Dragonlance showed up in all kinds of interesting ways. Don’t look for it at Walmart. It’s hard to find, and even harder to find for a good price. Keep your eyes open and maybe you’ll find it somewhere unexpected.

I can’t forget to mention the Russian Dragonlance musical. I have not seen it (that’s honestly a bit too much for me), but I couldn’t miss the opportunity to talk (and chuckle a little) about it. That’s love of a series right there.

It seems to me that, for the most part, adults can be sorted into two categories: tea drinkers and coffee drinkers. For the latter, Smuggler’s Coffee has the coolest coffee for Dragonlance fans. I believe this particular kind is sold out at the moment, but check out their website (Home | Smugglers Coffee). They have some other amazing choices. Personally, I think +1 to Charisma looks both delicious and geekishly fantastic.

Last, but most certainly not least, Death Saves has some epic Dragonlance swag in stock right now. I’m not sure how long it will last, so if you’re feeling the need to show your love of Dragonlance off to the world, now’s the time.

There are other sightings (such as the horribly done cartoon movie) and I know I’m missing many surprise visits from Dragonlance and its characters. Let me know about any sightings you’ve had. And tell me: do you plan to watch the musical?

Dragonlance Week: Character Profiles- Tasslehoff, Flint,and Tika

Image Credit: Larry Elmore
Logo Credit: Wizards of the Coast
Banner Credit: Fantasy Book Nerd

Throughout a weeklong celebration of Dragonlance, there will be profiles for some of the important characters in the Chronicles, which is the original trilogy, and the books that started it all. So far we’ve discussed Tanis, Laurana, and Stum, as well as Caramon and Raistlin. Today, let’s learn a little bit about three more beloved characters: Flint Fireforge, Tika Waylan, and Tasselhoff Burfoot.

Image Credit: Clyde Caldwell

Flint Fireforge:

The first time I read the Dragonlance Chronicles and Legends trilogies, I immediately followed them up with Kindred Spirits, a book that features Flint heavily. If I didn’t already love Flint, that book would have done the trick. He’s always been there for Tanis, a character who sorely needs a friend.

That caring nature doesn’t stop with Tanis: Flint takes on a grandfatherly role for the entire group. He’s the sort who grumbles incessantly (and don’t you dare try to put him on a horse!), but he’s also the backbone of the group. I love that grumpy old dwarf so much!

-Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub

Image Credit: Valerie Valusek

Flint Fireforge:

Flint is an experienced fighter, with many years under his belt. He can come across as gruff, but this grumpy old man is full of heart. He doesn’t like boats, mind you, and will grumble quite often if he is forced to go in one. Heck he will grumble about many things when one thinks about it. To be fair, it is really quite understandable: he just wants to retire from questing, he’s been away from his home for so long. But when danger presents itself in the end he will have your back, even if he grumbles about it.

Reorx’s Beard! He can’t let these youngsters go off and get themselves into trouble or worse killed can he?

Tanis’s oldest friend,
Tasslehoff’s truest friend and companion
Grumpy as heck with the biggest heart

-I Can Has Books

More Books Featuring Flint Fireforge:

Flint the King

Kindred Spirits

Image Credit: Larry Elmore

Tasslehoff Burrfoot:

If you ever come across our little Kender friend Tas, be sure to hold your purses and other goods near you and/or out of sight. Because it might just happen that you “drop” something and he will just happen to pick it up. He’s not a thief, just extremely curious. This curiosity can lead to some interesting and possibly dangerous adventures. So keep your eyes open, he may be tiny but look for blue leggings, they seem to be his favorite item of clothing and he wears them all the time. 
So if you are lucky to befriend him and you ever need a lock opened he’s your guy, there is the possibility of getting into trouble but Tas is braver than you realize because Kender don’t know fear only wonder. 

He is loyal beyond words. A true friend is he.

-I Can Has Books

Image Credit: Artist Unknown

Tasslehoff Burfoot:

Watch your pockets!  And your knapsacks.  And handbags.  And anything not nailed down, locked up, or perched high above.  Wait.  That stuff’s not safe, either.  But Tas promises he’s just borrowing it.

Tasslehoff Burrfoot, loveable Kender.  Tasslehoff Burrfoot, bane of many an existence.  Tasslehoff Burrfoot—one of the most entertaining characters to ever grace the page of a book.  I think what endears me most to Tas is his unconditional caring.  He genuinely enjoys the people with which he keeps company.  He cries along with them, laughs along with them—even when they tell him straight to his face that he’s annoying.  (Looking at you, Flint…)  He’s the master of Taunting.  He heads straightforward into adventure—because you never know what treasures will be ripe for the—borrowing.  He promises he’ll return it someday.  At the end of the day Tas is always there for his friends—be it on purpose or accidental—and having him in the ensemble not only brings some comic relief, but an almost child-like look at life in an increasingly violent and dangerous world.  Sure, there might be Death Knights and dragons chasing them down, tricks and traps around every corner—but that pales in comparison to the treasures Tas is bound to find within every dungeon, cave, or, you know…a street stall selling books that just happen to be right there in the open.  He’ll only hang onto the priceless magic tome for a little while, he swears.  At least, until he finds something more intriguing…

– L.A. Wasielewski

Image credit: Larry Elmore

Tasslehoff Burfoot:

Here’s the thing: Tas is great. I think he often gets viewed as comic relief, a character not to be taken seriously, but that’s a simplification of who he is. Sure, he tends to find the positive (and often funny) side of most situations, he might “acquire” things in dubious ways, and his stories are not necessarily believable, but his very nature allows for the best relationship dynamics. His friendship with a certain gully dwarf is golden, and the way he and Flint interact is one of the best things about the trilogy. Not for nothing, but it’s a Tas scene that makes me bawl each time I read it, despite knowing what’s coming.

All kender are struck by wanderlust at some point, and Tas is no different. In fact, he manages to traverse the length and breadth of Krynn many times throughout the Dragonlance series, appearing in more books than perhaps any of the other companions. I’m always happy to see him. I know I can rely on him to bring a smile and some unexpected wisdom.

-Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub

More books featuring Tasslehoff Burfoot:

Wanderlust

Kendermore

Image credit: Larry Elmore

Tika Waylan:

I feel like out of all the heroes of the lance, Tika gets the least amount of attention. But you know what? Let’s turn that around. While Tika may not be the strongest amongst the heroes, I certainly view her as one of the bravest. Before war descended on Krynn, Tika grew up at the Inn of the Last Home. As an orphan, Solace and the bar were all she knew. And yet, when the time came down to it, she joined a crew of warriors and magic casters to try and save the world.
Tika may have been the underdog, but she refused to back down. She showed readers that it’s worthwhile to put your whole heart into something. And if you happen to meet her by reading Dragons of Autumn Twilight, you’ll be able to see just what she was able to accomplish.

-Behind the Pages

Image credit: Larry Elmore



Tika Waylan:

Tika plays an important role in the storyline. While she might be viewed as a side character, she is the first character mentioned in the prologue. Deadly with a skillet- er, shield- with a quick tongue and a fiery temper, Tika keeps Caramon’s head above water when he feels like he’s sinking. She’s brave in many ways, and rarely complains.

-Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub







More books featuring Tika:

Time of the Twins (Dragonlance Legends book 1)

Dragons of Summer Flame


About the contributors:

Behind the Pages: Hello everyone! My name is Tabitha and I run a review blog called Behind the Pages. I am an avid fantasy reader, but dabble in other genres from time to time. I love writing and talking about books. Dragonlance is my absolute favorite fantasy series and I am so psyched to be a part of Dragonlance week.

Check out my review blog at www.behindthepages.org

You can also follow my random bookish thoughts on my Twitter: @behindthepages1

And if you prefer to follow along with reviews on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5863594-tabitha


I Can Has Books: Carrie (ICanHasBooks) can be found surrounded by tomes as books make up the foundation of who she is and possibly her home ,which is in desperate need of more walls for shelving, because like her name says I can has books? Yes Carrie, yes you can. When she is not reading, she can be found roaming around Azeroth (Wow Classic as her computer currently sucks), walking in graveyards or wandering in the woods. If you would like to follow her around:

Blog:https://icanhasbooks.blogspot.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/I_can_has_books

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/663898-carrie

IG: https://www.instagram.com/carrieicanhasbooks/

Author L.A. Wasielewski: L.A. Wasielewski is a gamer, nerd, baseball fan (even though the Brewers make it very difficult sometimes), and mom.  When she’s not writing, she’s blasting feral ghouls and super mutants in the wastelands, baking and cooking, and generally being a smart-ass.  She’s very proud of the fact that she has survived several years with two drum kits in the house—and still has most of her hearing intact. 

Books 1&2 of her adult epic dark fantasy Alchemist Trilogy are out now, with Book3 due to debut Autumn 2021.

Find her online at:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorBebedora

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LAWasielewski/

Website:  http://www.lawasielewski.com/

Amazon link:  https://www.amazon.com/L-A-Wasielewski/e/B07KNTW444/

Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub: Jodie is the creator of the Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub blog and a contributor to Grimdark Magazine. She either lives in Florida with her husband and sons, or in a fantasy book-she’ll never tell which. When she’s not reading, Jodie balances her time between homeschooling her hooligans, playing Dungeons and Dragons, and lamenting her inability to pronounce “lozenge”.

Find her online at :

Blog: https://wittyandsarcasticbookclub.home.blog/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WS_BOOKCLUB




Dragonlance Week: Side Quest (My Favorite “Side” Novels)

Logo Credit: Wizards of the Coast
Image Credit: Larry Elmore
Banner Credit: Fantasy Book Nerd

This week I’m celebrating the brilliant fantasy series Dragonlance on my blog. I’m being joined by some amazing book bloggers, authors, and YouTubers. The Dragonlance series isn’t just brilliant, it’s huge. I’ve shared my suggested reading order, which you can find here: Dragonlance Books- Where on Krynn Should You Start? You’ll notice, though, that I stuck to the main storyline when discussing reading order. That’s because, aside from that main storyline, a good chunk of the books can be read in different orders. Here are a few of my favorite side novels, ones that don’t necessarily add to the main storyline, but are still fantastic novels.

Other posts you may have missed:
Dragonlance Week: A Celebration and Giveaway
Dragonlance Week: The Art of Dragonlance
Dragonlance Week: An Interview with Author Margaret Weis

The Legend of Huma (Heroes Volume 1) by Richard A. Knaak:

“To the west Huma rode, to the High Clerist’s Tower, on the back of the silver dragon. And the path of their flight crossed over a desolate country where the dead walked only, mouthing the names of dragons.” (blurb on back of book)

I love this book because it takes what was a legend only mentioned in the Chronicles, and weaves it into a full story, rich and nuanced. Richard A. Knaak is a pretty stinking good writer, too!

Kindred Spirits (Meetings Sextet Volume 1) by Mark Anthony and Ellen Porath:

When Flint Fireforge, dwarf and metalsmith, receives a wondrous summons from the Speaker of the Sun, he journeys to the fabled elven city of Qualinost. There he meets Tanis, a thoughtful youth born of a tragic union between elf and man. Tanis and Flint, each a misfit in his own way, find themselves unlikely friends.
But a pompous elf lord is mysteriously slain, and another elf soon meets the same fate. Tanis stands accused, and if his innocence cannot be proven, the half-elf will be banished forever. Solving the mystery will be a perilous task. Time is on the murder’s side, and he is not finished yet. (taken from Amazon)

This was one of the very first books I read after the Chronicles and Legends. I really love seeing the genesis of Flint and Tanis’ relationship. If I hadn’t already been a huge fan of Flint, this book would ensured that I became one.

Flint the King by Mary Kirchoff and Douglas Niles:

Before the War of the Lance
The peaceful life of Flint Fireforge is disturbed when he is forced to leave Solace and return to his dwarven homeland to investigate his brother’s murder. As he delves into the mystery, unexpected allies and unseen enemies join the fight of truth against treachery.
Flint soon discovers that to bring his brother’s killer to justice, he must either die or become king. He’s not sure which choice might be worse. (taken from Amazon)

At the beginning of the Chronicles, the reader learns that each of the main characters is meeting up again after a five year separation where they each went their own way. This is the story of what happened during Flint’s five years before the events of the Chronicles. It’s a fun adventure, but also a sweet and touching story. You’ll notice that this is the fifth Preludes book. These don’t have to be read in order since each book follows a different character prior to the events of the Chronicles. They’re all worth reading, though.

The Doom Brigade and Draconian Measures (Kang’s Regiment 1 and 2) by Margaret Weis and Don Perrin:

War can get a fellow killed.
The fearless draconians of the War of the Lance have retired from the field of battle to a pleasant valley in the Kharolis Mountains. Well, it would be pleasant, if it weren’t for some dwarves, whose irritating feuding prevents the draconians from realizing their greatest hope – the ability to continue their doomed race. When the dwarves discover a map leading to a fortune buried in the dwarven kingdom of Thorbardin, the draconians are swept up in a feverish race for treasure.
Little do both sides realize that they are part of the strange and terrible destiny descending upon Krynn during the Summer of Flame. A desinty that includes the children of Chaos…the fire dragons! (taken from Amazon)

Both of these books are so much fun! I love the idea of telling a story from the point of view of the villains, and these books are great. The rollicking fun and adventure doesn’t stop from start to finish. I won’t post anything about the second book for fear of spoilers, but it continues in the same vein.

The Soulforge by Margaret Weis and Brothers in Arms by Margaret Weis and Don Perrin (The Raistlin Chronicles):

A mage’s soul is forged in the crucible of magic. Raistlin Majere is six years old when he is introduced to the archmage who enrolls him in a school for the study of magic. There the gifted and talented but tormented boy comes to see magic as his salvation. Mages in the magical Tower of High Sorcery watch him in secret, for they see shadows darkening over Raistlin even as the same shadows lengthen over all Ansalon.
Finally, Raistlin draws near his goal of becoming a wizard. But first he must take the drea Test in the Tower of High Sorcery. It will change his life forever – if he survives. (taken from Amazon)
No spoilers given.

First, let’s just all ooh and ahh over that fantastic art on Brothers in Arms, done by Daniel R. Horne. Wow! The Soulforge is absolutely genius, and the follow up is just as great. You really can’t go wrong with any book bearing Margaret Weis’ name on it. I love seeing more about what makes Raistlin tick.

The Dragons of Krynn, The Dragons at War, and The Dragons of Chaos (the Dragon Anthologies) edited by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman:

Three anthologies of Dragonlance lore: highlighting the familiar and beloved characters (and creatures), while filling in some intriguing gaps of lost Dragonlance history. (taken from Amazon)

I’m always a little iffy about short story collections, but the majority of the stories in the Dragon Anthologies are really good and help to flesh out this already well developed world.

There are many, many excellent side novels (for lack of a better term). Go explore! Tell me which ones you enjoy!

How to Be a Hipster Reader: Part Two

I’m back with another guide to becoming a part of the Book Hipster Collective. If you’d like to read my original post, so that you can say you read it before there was a part two, you can find it here.

As previously determined, while skinny jeans and Buddy Holly glasses are a plus, the real definition of a “book hipster” is a reader who has read the book before it was a movie/show. So, here I am to help you with that worthy goal! I’ve gathered a list of books that are going to be movies or TV shows before too much longer, so that you can read them now. Due to… *gestures at everything*…release dates are very much up in the air. Still, it’s a good time to get started.

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot: Despite not being my usual fare, I loved this book. It’s the gentle sort of wonderful that is always timely. This has become a PBS show which is already on the air, so now is the time to read this book.

For over forty years, generations of readers have thrilled to Herriot’s marvelous tales, deep love of life, and extraordinary storytelling abilities. For decades, Herriot roamed the remote, beautiful Yorkshire Dales, treating every patient that came his way from smallest to largest, and observing animals and humans alike with his keen, loving eye.

In All Creatures Great and Small, we meet the young Herriot as he takes up his calling and discovers that the realities of veterinary practice in rural Yorkshire are very different from the sterile setting of veterinary school. Some visits are heart-wrenchingly difficult, such as one to an old man in the village whose very ill dog is his only friend and companion, some are lighthearted and fun, such as Herriot’s periodic visits to the overfed and pampered Pekinese Tricki Woo who throws parties and has his own stationery, and yet others are inspirational and enlightening, such as Herriot’s recollections of poor farmers who will scrape their meager earnings together to be able to get proper care for their working animals. From seeing to his patients in the depths of winter on the remotest homesteads to dealing with uncooperative owners and critically ill animals, Herriot discovers the wondrous variety and never-ending challenges of veterinary practice as his humor, compassion, and love of the animal world shine forth. (taken from Goodreads)

Dune by Frank Herbert: There’s been a lot of excitement over the upcoming movie adaptation, which has been pushed back a little. Still, it’s on the horizon, and this is one of those books that sci-fi fans really should read anyway.

Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, heir to a noble family tasked with ruling an inhospitable world where the only thing of value is the “spice” melange, a drug capable of extending life and enhancing consciousness. Coveted across the known universe, melange is a prize worth killing for…

When House Atreides is betrayed, the destruction of Paul’s family will set the boy on a journey toward a destiny greater than he could ever have imagined. And as he evolves into the mysterious man known as Muad’Dib, he will bring to fruition humankind’s most ancient and unattainable dream. (taken from Goodreads)

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton: First of all, it should be noted that, here in the U.S., the title is actually The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. The slight name difference never ceases to amuse me. Whatever name it goes by, this is a fantastic novel!

Aiden Bishop knows the rules. Evelyn Hardcastle will die every day until he can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest at Blackheath Manor. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others. With a locked room mystery that Agatha Christie would envy, Stuart Turton unfurls a breakneck novel of intrigue and suspense.

For fans of Claire North, and Kate Atkinson, The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a breathlessly addictive mystery that follows one man’s race against time to find a killer, with an astonishing time-turning twist that means nothing and no one are quite what they seem. (taken from Goodreads)

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams: This is not a drill, folks! Douglas Adams’ hilariously bizarre book is once again being adapted, this time into a HULU series. If you didn’t read the book before watching the 2005 movie, you can save your book hipster cred by reading it before checking out the show.

Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.

Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide (“A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have”) and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox—the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod’s girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years. (taken from Goodreads)

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid: I’m tentatively excited about this upcoming movie. I say tentatively because I loved the book so much that I’m afraid no adaptation will do it justice. Sigh. Such is the burden of a book hipster.

A gripping novel about the whirlwind rise of an iconic 1970s rock group and their beautiful lead singer, revealing the mystery behind their infamous break up.

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the real reason why they split at the absolute height of their popularity…until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go-Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Another band getting noticed is The Six, led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend. (taken from Goodreads)

The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood and Co. #1) by Jonathan Stroud: There is going to be a Netflix series based on the Lockwood and Co. series. If it’s anything like the books, it’s going to be a lot of fun.

A sinister Problem has occurred in London: all nature of ghosts, haunts, spirits, and specters are appearing throughout the city, and they aren’t exactly friendly. Only young people have the psychic abilities required to see-and eradicate-these supernatural foes. Many different Psychic Detection Agencies have cropped up to handle the dangerous work, and they are in fierce competition for business.

In The Screaming Staircase, the plucky and talented Lucy Carlyle teams up with Anthony Lockwood, the charismatic leader of Lockwood & Co, a small agency that runs independent of any adult supervision. After an assignment leads to both a grisly discovery and a disastrous end, Lucy, Anthony, and their sarcastic colleague, George, are forced to take part in the perilous investigation of Combe Carey Hall, one of the most haunted houses in England. Will Lockwood & Co. survive the Hall’s legendary Screaming Staircase and Red Room to see another day? (taken from Amazon)

The Beast and the Bethany by Jack Meggitt-Phillips: It’s still early days for this one, but it looks like Warner Bros. has picked up the film rights for this delightful book. I devoured this one. Join me, fellow book hipsters, in reading this before it becomes a movie!

Beauty comes at a price. And no one knows that better than Ebenezer Tweezer, who has stayed beautiful for 511 years. How, you may wonder? Ebenezer simply has to feed the beast in the attic of his mansion. In return for meals of performing monkeys, statues of Winston Churchill, and the occasional cactus, Ebenezer gets potions that keep him young and beautiful, as well as other presents.

But the beast grows ever greedier with each meal, and one day he announces that he’d like to eat a nice, juicy child next. Ebenezer has never done anything quite this terrible to hold onto his wonderful life. Still, he finds the absolutely snottiest, naughtiest, and most frankly unpleasant child he can and prepares to feed her to the beast.

The child, Bethany, may just be more than Ebenezer bargained for. She’s certainly a really rather rude houseguest, but Ebenezer still finds himself wishing she didn’t have to be gobbled up after all. Could it be Bethany is less meal-worthy and more…friend-worthy? (taken from Amazon)

What say you, Reader? Are you a book hipster? Do you plan to read any of these books before they get the adaptation treatment?

As always, you can find most of these titles on Bookshop.org, which supports local bookstores (I also get a small kickback, if you use the above link).

Sources:
“All Creatures Great and Small (TV Series 2020– ) – IMDb.” Www.Imdb.com, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt10590066/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1. Accessed 6 Jan. 2021.

Kroll, Justin, and Justin Kroll. “Warner Bros. Acquires Rights to ‘Beast and Bethany’ for ‘Harry Potter’ Producer David Heyman (EXCLUSIVE).” Variety, 13 Mar. 2020, variety.com/2020/film/news/beast-and-bethany-movie-warner-bros-david-heyman-1203533521/. Accessed 6 Jan. 2021.

Ravindran, Manori, and Manori Ravindran. “Netflix Unveils New U.K. Projects With Sam Mendes, Rowan Atkinson, Andy Serkis.” Variety, 13 Dec. 2020, variety.com/2020/tv/global/netflix-uk-original-series-slate-1234852613/. Accessed 6 Jan. 2021.

Villeneuve, Denis, et al. “Dune.” IMDb, 29 Sept. 2021, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1160419/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1. Accessed 6 Jan. 2021.

My Favorite Reads of 2020

Well, this has been an… interesting year. If you can name it, chances are it’s happened. I’ve learned a lot about the strength many of my acquaintances possess. I truly wish they hadn’t needed to use so much strength and determination to make it through the year, but if wishes were horses, we’d all be eating steak. Anyway, I digress.

While the year has been all kinds of horrible for most, the books I’ve been fortunate to read were amazing. I rounded up my favorites but there is absolutely no way I can rank them in order from one to ten. Instead, they’re here with zero rhyme or reason, just a huge amount of appreciation. Without further rambling, here are my top ten 2020 reads:

The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

This book was absolutely brilliant. I went into it with ridiculously high hopes, and they were more than fulfilled. There was a tension throughout that had me riveted, and Turton’s fantastic writing style kept me hooked from start to finish. Review

The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst

Holy guacamole, this book is awesome! My last book of the year (I might finish the sequel in time, but that’s a big might); I totally went out with a bang. The Queen of Blood had me riveted from start to finish. I should apologize probably to the family for all the things I didn’t get done while I was ignoring the real world to read this. Review

The Ventifact Colossus by Dorian Hart

This was a skillful and unique twist on questing fantasy. I loved all of the characters, each of which brought their own struggles and strengths to the group. This felt like a wonderful throwback to the type of book that spawned my love of the fantasy genre. The sequel was equally fantastic, and you can find my reviews for both books here: The Ventifact Colossus and The Crosser’s Maze.

Knight’s Ransom by Jeff Wheeler

I truly loved Knight’s Ransom. It had an Arthurian feel to it that I found engrossing. While larger things are going on in the world, the book followed mainly one man and focused on his character growth. There was no Big Bad poised to destroy life as everyone knows it, but the world still felt big, and the personal stakes felt just as important. Review

The Thousand Deaths of Ardor Benn

This book was just flat-out fun. Ardor Benn, ruse artist extraordinaire, was an entertaining character, and his partners in crime were just as great. I particularly loved the heists they planned since they never ever worked out as expected. Review

Hollow Road Dan Fitzgerald

Hollow Road was extremely good. Its sequel, The Archive, made me tear up. That doesn’t happen often at all. This is an incredible series and I am dying to continue it. My review for Hollow Road can be found here. My review for The Archive can be found here.

The Last Smile in Sunder City by Luke Arnold

Both this book and its sequel, Dead Man in a Ditch, were phenomenal. Gritty detective novel meets fantasy in this series and works extremely well. I loved the main character, Fetch Phillips, who is drowning in both regret and alcohol. His narrative voice was wonderful and I can’t wait for the next installment in the series. Review

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

If not for The Write Read Blog Tour that I took part in, this book wouldn’t have been on my radar. That would have been a shame, because it was so enjoyable. It was a bit like the movie Knives Out sans cable knit sweaters. I really liked going along with the main character as she tried to solve the mysteries presented to her. Review

Feathertide by Beth Cartwright

Feathertide was gorgeous. I really could stop there. The prose sucked me in and wouldn’t let go. It’s a masterpiece and I can’t think of a single thing I didn’t love about it. Review

How to Rule an Empire and Get Away with It by K.J. Parker

This book was flat-out fantastic! It was the perfect combination of witty and thought-provoking. I highly recommend this one. I loved it so much! Review

So, there you have it. This was an extremely difficult list to narrow down. Have you read any of these books? Thoughts? Here’s to many more wonderful books in 2021!

Interview with a Middle-Schooler: Fantastic Fantasy

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My oldest is a huge reader. He likes most kinds of books, although he tends to gravitate toward sci-fi and fantasy. I like to interview him every few months and get his take on books that he’s read and enjoyed. Today, I’m asking him about his favorite fantasy books. If you’re looking for middle-grade fantasy books to read, here are some he recommends.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl (new cover) (Artemis Fowl (1)): Colfer, Eoin ...

Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is a millionaire, a genius—and, above all, a criminal mastermind. But even Artemis doesn’t know what he’s taken on when he kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit.  These aren’t the fairies of bedtime stories; these fairies are armed and dangerous. 

            Artemis thinks he has them right where he wants them…but then they stop playing by the rules. (taken from Amazon)

My oldest says: “I really liked it because it’s written in a smart way. Artemis Fowl was around my age and he used words that I like, like he had good dialogue. There’s one character that I don’t like because all his jokes are about flatulence. The story was fantastic and I also like that it’s a long series because I got hooked on it. The action is pretty good, even though the main character isn’t athletic at all. That’s one thing I liked about it; he’s really smart. Like Tony Stark, instead of Captain America.”

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

The Kane Chronicles: The Red Pyramid: The Graphic Novel: Rick ...

Since his mother’s death six years ago, Carter Kane has been living out of a suitcase, traveling the globe with his father, the brilliant Egyptologist Dr. Julius Kane. But while Carter’s been homeschooled, his younger sister, Sadie, has been living with their grandparents in London. Sadie has just what Carter wants — school friends and a chance at a “normal” life. But Carter has just what Sadie longs for — time with their father. After six years of living apart, the siblings have almost nothing in common. Until now.

On Christmas Eve, Sadie and Carter are reunited when their father brings them to the British Museum, with a promise that he’s going to “make things right.” But all does not go according to plan: Carter and Sadie watch as Julius summons a mysterious figure, who quickly banishes their father and causes a fiery explosion.

Soon Carter and Sadie discover that the gods of Ancient Egypt are waking, and the worst of them — Set — has a frightening scheme. To save their father, they must embark on a dangerous journey — a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family and its links to the House of Life, a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs. (taken from Amazon)

My oldest: “I like that it has ancient Egyptian mythology. There’s a ton of action, and the magic is really cool. They use actual Egyptian words for it, I think, which is really neat. The magic has a lot of interesting results, like it can blow stuff up and put it back together. It’s a three part series. My favorite Egyptian mythological character is Anubis and he’s featured a lot, which is cool. The characters are around my age, which I like. It’s also written like it’s a tape recording and the characters don’t get along very well, so there’ll be arguments between chapters.”

The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom: Healy, Christopher ...

Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You’ve never heard of them, have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as Prince Charming. But all of this is about to change.

Rejected by their princesses and cast out of their castles, the princes stumble upon an evil plot that could endanger each of their kingdoms. Now it’s up to them to triumph over their various shortcomings, take on trolls, bandits, dragons, witches, and other assorted terrors, and become the heroes no one ever thought they could be.

Christopher Healy’s Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom is a completely original take on the world of fairy tales, the truth about what happens after “happily ever after.” It’s a must-have for middle grade readers who enjoy their fantasy adventures mixed with the humor of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. Witty black-and-white drawings by Todd Harris add to the fun. (taken from Amazon)

My oldest: “It’s absolutely hilarious. It’s chock-full of funny, sometimes fourth-wall breaking jokes. It’s got good action and the characters are written in humorous ways. If it wasn’t for the fact that it’s actual fantasy, you could say that it’s like a bad D&D campaign. It’s a lot of fun.”

The Once and Future Geek (the Camelot Code #1) by Mari Mancui

Amazon.com: The Once and Future Geek (The Camelot Code (1 ...

When young Arthur of Camelot accidentally time-travels to the 21st century and Googles himself, he discovers the not-so-happily ever after in store for him once he pulls the sword from the stone. Yes, he’ll go from squire to sovereign basically overnight, but he’ll also lose the love of his life to his best friend and eventually die in battle. What’s a once-and-future king to do? Easy: stay in the future, where he’ll actually have a future-and join the football team instead.
Now, with the help of the great wizard Merlin, modern-day gamer-geeks Sophie and Stu find themselves in a race against time to get that sword pulled from the stone and the stubborn soon-to-be-king Arthur back to the past where he belongs. Complicating the plan? Lady Morgana-Arthur’s sister and greatest enemy-has traveled to the future as well, determined to take Arthur out and seize the throne. Can Sophie and Stu use their gaming abilities to defeat the evil Morgana and set the timeline right? With the very existence of their friendship, their families, and the world as they know it (including pepperoni pizza!) at stake, they’ll use every skill, power-up, and cheat code they know in their quest to save the day. (taken from Amazon)

My oldest: “It’s a different version of the King Arthur and the Sword and Stone legends. It was like if you took King Arthur and made it really nerdy. I liked the first one better than the second one, even though the second one is still good. Stu was my favorite. He’s not very athletic, although he does come through at the end when he’s given a weapon. Mostly, he prefers video games.”

Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan

The Ruins of Gorlan (The Ranger's Apprentice, Book 1): Flanagan ...

They have always scared him in the past – the Rangers, with their dark cloaks and shadowy ways. The villagers believe the Rangers practice magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people. And now 15-year-old Will, always small for his age, has been chosen as a Ranger’s apprentice. What he doesn’t yet realize is that the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom. Highly trained in the skills of battle and surveillance, they fight the battles before the battles reach the people. And as Will is about to learn, there is a large battle brewing. The exiled Morgarath, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, is gathering his forces for an attack on the kingdom. This time, he will not be denied….(taken from Amazon)

My oldest: “It’s just an overall really good fantasy. The main character, Will, was my favorite. He’s around my age, and he was really good with a bow and arrows. He was a good fighter.”

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

For centuries, mystical creatures of all description were gathered to a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction. The sanctuary survives today as one of the last strongholds of true magic in a cynical world. Enchanting? Absolutely. Exciting? You bet. Safe? Well, actually, quite the opposite…

Kendra and her brother Seth have no idea their grandfather is the current caretaker of Fablehaven. Inside the gated woods, ancient laws give relative order among greedy trolls, mischievous satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies. However, when the rules get broken, an arcane evil is unleashed, forcing Kendra and Seth to face the greatest challenge of their lives. To save her family, Fablehaven, and perhaps the world, Kendra must find the courage to do what she fears most. (taken from Amazon)

My oldest: “I reread it and returning to it was really fun. There’s a lot of fantastical creatures in it and one of the characters is a big trouble maker. The other is a big rule-follower so it’s a fun contrast. There are goblins, fairies, and a witch. I’m not sure if it’s a classical witch, but it’s a female magic-user. It’s actually a series. The trouble-maker, Seth, is my favorite character. He is kind of goofy. Plus, yet again, he’s close to my age from what I can tell.”

 

 

 

 

 

May the 4th Be With You: Star Wars Literature is Strong with this One

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May fourth is lovingly known as Star Wars Day (“May the 4th be with you, always”) to fans of the movies. Even though Firefly is my jam, I still have some love for Star Wars, as does my husband and kids. In honor of the day, here’s a list of Star Wars favorites in our house:

The Thrawn trilogy by Timothy Zahn:

From Book 1: It’s five years after the Rebel Alliance destroyed the Death Star, defeated Darth Vader and the Emperor, and drove the remnants of the old Imperial Starfleet to a distant corner of the galaxy. Princess Leia and Han Solo are married and expecting Jedi twins. And Luke Skywalker has become the first in a long-awaited line of Jedi Knights.
 
But thousands of light-years away, the last of the Emperor’s warlords, Grand Admiral Thrawn, has taken command of the shattered Imperial fleet, readied it for war, and pointed it at the fragile heart of the New Republic. For this dark warrior has made two vital discoveries that could destroy everything the courageous men and women of the Rebel Alliance fought so hard to build. (taken from Amazon)

Star Wars ~ The Thrawn Trilogy: (Vol. 1) Heir to the Empire ; (Vol ...

My husband and I both loved these, although I must admit it’s been a while since I’ve read them. I am not sure if they’re still considered canon, but I don’t care all that much: good is good.

Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire by Delilah S. Dawson

After devastating losses at the hands of the First Order, General Leia Organa has dispatched her agents across the galaxy in search of allies, sanctuary, and firepower—and her top spy, Vi Moradi, may have just found all three, on a secluded world at the galaxy’s edge.
 
A planet of lush forests, precarious mountains, and towering, petrified trees, Batuu is on the furthest possible frontier of the galactic map, the last settled world before the mysterious expanse of Wild Space. The rogues, smugglers, and adventurers who eke out a living on the largest settlement on the planet, Black Spire Outpost, are here to avoid prying eyes and unnecessary complications. Vi, a Resistance spy on the run from the First Order, is hardly a welcome guest. And when a shuttle full of stormtroopers lands in her wake, determined to root her out, she has no idea where to find help.
 
To survive, Vi will have to seek out the good-hearted heroes hiding in a world that redefines scum and villainy. With the help of a traitorous trooper and her acerbic droid, she begins to gather a colorful band of outcasts and misfits, and embarks on a mission to spark the fire of resistance on Batuu—before the First Order snuffs it out entirely. (taken from Amazon)

Amazon.com: Galaxy's Edge: Black Spire (Star Wars) (9780593128381 ...

Delilah S. Dawson is a fantastic writer. I really enjoyed Kill the Farm Boy, so of course her take on Star Wars is worth reading. My oldest loved it.

Wookie the Chew by James Hance

‘Wookiee The Chew’, in the style of the original Pooh books tells the adorkable tale of the little biped that belonged to Chrisolo Robin (and Chrisolo Robin belonged to him). 24 pages of affectionately crafted adventure, brand new b&w illustrations and sneaky Star Wars references- a tribute to the combined genius of George Lucas, A.A.Milne and E.H.Sheppard. Suitable for jedi apprentices of all ages! (taken from jameshance.co)

Let’s all pause for a collective “Aww”. This book is as absolutely adorable as it looks. It’s great for any age, and is definitely worth the read.

The Origami Yoda Files by Tom Angleberger

Not so long ago, in a middle school not so far away, a sixth grader named Dwight folded an origami finger puppet of Yoda. For class oddball Dwight, this wasn’t weird. It was typical Dwight behavior. But whatis weird is that Origami Yoda is uncannily wise and prescient. He can predict the date of a pop quiz, guess who stole the classroom Shakespeare bust, and save a classmate from popularity-crushing embarrassment with some well-timed advice. Dwight’s classmate Tommy wonders how Yoda can be so smart when Dwight himself is so clueless. With contributions from his puzzled classmates, Tommy assembles this first case file in the blockbuster bestselling Origami Yoda series, hailed bySchool Library Journal as “honest, funny, and immensely entertaining.” (taken from Amazon)

Amazon.com - The Origami Yoda Files: Collectible 8-book Boxed set -

Oh, the hundreds of origami Star Wars creations that have graced our house since my oldest discovered this series! These books are a lot of fun, and the step-by-step directions for making your own origami Star Wars characters inspire creativity. Plus, Tom Angleberger rocks: my oldest has written him two fan letters, and Tom responded both times! It meant the world to my oldest (it means a lot to me too).

Goodnight, Darth Vader by Jeffrey Brown

It’s time for a Star Wars bedtime story in a galaxy far, far away, and Darth Vader’s parenting skills are tested anew in this delightful follow-up to the breakout New York Times Star Wars books bestsellers Darth Vader™ and Son and Vader’s™ Little Princess. In this Episode, the Sith Lord must soothe his rambunctious twins, Luke and Leia—who are not ready to sleep and who insist on a story. As Vader reads, the book looks in on favorite creatures, droids, and characters, such as Yoda, R2-D2, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Darth Maul, Admiral Ackbar, Boba Fett, and many others as they tuck in, yawn, and settle down to dream. As ever, Jeffrey Brown’s charming illustrations and humor glow throughout, playing on children’s book conventions to enchant adults and kids alike. This Star Wars makes a fun, unique pregnancy gift, a new Dad gift, or funny new parent gift! (taken from Amazon)

Goodnight Darth Vader (Star Wars Comics for Parents, Darth Vader ...

There are several Star Wars books like this by Jeffrey Brown, but I read Goodnight Darth Vader first. It’s a lot of fun, and the illustrations are so cute!

Star Wars OBI-123 by Calliope Glass, Caitlin Kennedy, and illustrated by Katie Cook

ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR
Counting with Star Wars is hardly a chore!
From the chosen ONE to a transport of TWENTY
This book is full of numbers aplenty!
So, Padawans, prepare, get ready, get set
For a numerical lesson you’ll never forget! (taken from Amazon)

My toddler tornado loves this book for the colorful pictures, and the fun rhymes. I love it because it actually goes up to twenty, instead of stopping at ten, which is rare in counting books. It made teaching number recognition easier and more fun.

What are some Star Wars books you love? Have you read any of these? May the 4th be with you!