Books To Take You Away From It All

Tag Archives: Faeries

The adventures begun in the Feyland trilogy continue, where a high-tech computer game becomes a gateway to the treacherous Realm of Faerie. Rich-boy gamer Royal Lassiter lives on easy mode—until everything falls apart. Dark faeries are plotting to invade the mortal world, his controlling mom has turned home into enemy territory, and he can’t deny his irresistible attraction to newcomer Brea, despite the danger lurking in her mysterious eyes. Forced to undertake a perilous mission for the Dark Queen of Faerie, Brea Cairgead finds living among humans and hiding her true nature as one of the fey folk a fearsome challenge—especially when her emotions prove all too vulnerable to a certain human boy. Torn between impossible loyalties, she must serve her queen… though it may cost her heart. Can love between mortal and fey ever have a happy ending? (From Goodreads.com)

 

 

Sissy: Anthea Sharp draws us back into the magical world of Feyland with another beautiful novel of romance and adventure. I dare you to look at the cover and not be drawn into the story.

Bubby: I am always so excited when a new Feyland book comes out! This one shows us a whole new side of Roy Lassiter, the boy we hate to like. He actually has some depth. Who knew?

Sissy: Anthea Sharp just keeps getting better and better! I do not hesitate to recommend that everyone read Royal: Feyguard Book 2.

Bubby: A great novel to help you pretend that it’s still summer. Just what I needed.

Click HERE to buy Royal by Anthea Sharp at Amazon.com

We received a copy of Royal from the author in return for a fair and honest review.

© Bubble Bath Books 2014

 


Meghan Elam has been strange her entire life: her eyes have this odd habit of changing color and she sees and hears things no one else does. When the visions and voices in her head start to get worse, she is convinced that her parents will want to drag her off to another psychiatrist. That is, until the mysterious Cade MacRoich shows up out of nowhere with an explanation of his own.

Cade brings her news of another realm where goblins and gnomes are the norm, a place where whispering spirits exist in the very earth, and a world where Meghan just might find the answers she has always sought.

Bubby: At first I didn’t see anything strange about our girl Meghan. Funny eyes that change color? Mine do that. Voices in ones’ head? Isn’t that normal? Doesn’t everyone have voices in their head telling them to do things? My psychiatrist says it’s perfectly fine. I just shouldn’t do what they say! But seriously. I was intrigued with Meghan from the beginning. She was abandoned at the age of 2 on Halloween and has been dealing with all sorts of what she thinks are psychological issues ever since. She has a loving family and good friends but there has always been these issues she has to deal with. And as a teenager, the worst possible thing you can be is different.

Sissy: Well, Bubby, you’ve outed yourself. People didn’t realize that I came and blogged with you in your padded cell, and that I have to wear body armor, just in case. The author describes Meghan as “strange-looking” and obviously the kids at school agree with this description but I couldn’t get a picture in my mind of what it was that was strange. Was it simply the changing eyes? Was it being tall and gangly? Were her eyes too big for her head, like a Roswell alien? What? And then Cade is described as having similarities to Meghan but he is called handsome. Maybe it’s all in how Meghan sees herself. What I do like is that once Meghan finds out who she really is and what she can do, she isn’t suddenly then transformed into a beauty or described as such.

Bubby: On the surface, this seems like the same formulaic plot we’ve seen a bazillion times: girl is weird and is drawn to otherworldly handsome boy who is dangerous to her for some reason, but the attraction is too great and they must be together no matter what. But this is not the case. Meghan is not at all what she thinks she is. She is actually more dangerous than Cade, even though he has a very interesting quality that I cannot reveal at this time. Meghan is not that kind of girl who is willing to throw away her life and safety for the unsuitable boy. If anything, the roles are reversed here.

Sissy: After 17 years of psychological trauma (even though her adopted parents are great), it is understandable that Meghan is a bit of a ninny and has a hard time seeing herself as anything wonderful or more than the freaky awkward person she’s always felt herself to be. But the author does a fantastic job of showcasing Meghan’s potential, promising that in books to come, Meghan will be able to come into her own and recognize how special she truly is. Also, the plethora of otherworldly characters and the whole emotional complexity of the Fae world is very well presented.

Bubby: Yes, Jenna Elizabeth Johnson does a great job of foreshadowing. All the way through you can see hints of what’s to come – just enough to tantalize you into reading the next books ( Dolmarehn and Luathara, both available now). I was totally sucked into the story by how quickly I felt invested in the characters. It’s a quick paced read that moves from conflict to conflict peppered with bits of humor and romance.

Sissy: Meghan also has the requisite geeky friends, but one in particular turns out to be a great ally. I immediately read book two, Dolmarehn and I had pangs of longing when I had to put aside Luathara until I had finished the stack of books I was required to read first. Faelorehn is a wonderfully intriguing first book in a very well written trilogy. 4 bubbles.

Bubby: I haven’t gotten to read either book two or three yet, but they are definitely on my list. 3.5 bubbles from me.

Click HERE to buy Faelorehn at Amazon.com

We were given a copy of Faelorehn by the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.

© Bubble Bath Books 2014


What if a high-tech computer game was a gateway to the treacherous Realm of Faerie? 
Superstar gamer Spark Jaxley’s life might look easy, but she’s part of an elite few who guard a shocking secret; the Realm of Faerie exists, and its dark magic is desperate for a foothold in the mortal world.
Aran Cole hacks code and sells his gaming cheats on the black market. It’s barely a living, and one he’s not proud of. But when he turns his skills to unlocking the secrets behind Feyland–the most exciting and immersive game on the market–he discovers power and magic beyond his wildest dreams.
Spark’s mission is clear; pull Aran from the clutches of the fey folk and restore the balance between the worlds. But can she risk her life for someone who refuses to be rescued? (From Amazon.com)

Bubby: I was so excited for this new novel by Anthea Sharp. It is the first book in the Feyguard Series, a spin-off from the Feyland Trilogy (The Dark Realm, The Bright Court and The Twilight Kingdom). It helps a little with understanding the dynamic between characters to have read the Feyland Trilogy but Spark can definitely stand on its own. Our main character, Spark Jaxley is a superstar gamer who would really like to have a bit more of a normal life. Unfortunately, she won’t find that any time soon. Spark starts off quickly and escalates into lots of action and adventure right away.

Sissy:  To be honest with you I was not excited to read this novel.  Bubby made me, because we received this book in exchange for our honest review.  My not wanting to read Spark has nothing to do with the author–Anthea Sharp is a really great writer.  I just generally don’t enjoy this genre.  I don’t like gaming, I don’t like futuristic settings, and I don’t like weird made-up names.  Unless I make them up.  I DO, however, like magic, fantasy and romance, so I read the book.

Bubby: I, on the other hand, am a total geek/nerd/trekkie whatever you want to call it. I love this genre and sci-fi and fantasy make me very happy. I am not a hardcore gamer but I do love computer games and can get lost for hours playing. I have to admit that I spent a great deal of Christmas vacation playing the video games that my children received as gifts! Therefore, this whole thing is right up my alley. It’s not just a book about gaming, though. It’s a great read even if you’ve never played a video game in your life. Want proof? Sissy liked it!

Sissy:  Okay, let’s not get all mushy about it–I still wouldn’t pick this genre off the shelf.  Here’s what I liked about Spark: Spark, the character, is an awesome girl!  She is slightly tomboyish but can rock the spandex when needed.  She is true to herself and is real.  I liked the new character Aran, and how he struggles to do the right thing and go for the girl.  I liked how much I hated the bad guys (evil twin gamers Roc and Cora Terabin).  My favorite, though, was Niteesh–super little team-playing minuteman! And I think Anthea Sharp does a fantastic job with the Faerie realm.  She describes things so vividly and fleshes out the inhabitants so fully, you feel like you are actually there.

Bubby: I agree. The characters are so well drawn and the settings are amazing. Now, I am in no hurry to meet any of the dark and nasty elves, but I wouldn’t mind hanging out in fairyland for a while. I would be just fine living in a tree, having pointy ears, wearing floaty iridescent robes and having a magical ability or two wouldn’t hurt my feelings. Sometimes my dull and plodding soul just yearns for a little magic and enchantment. That’s one of the reasons I like playing video games. Just like reading, it transports you elsewhere for a time. Fun.

Sissy:  Except for the magical ability, you’ve described the way you are right now, Bubby.  I still think you should get those ears fixed.  And your soul is hardly dull and plodding.  Dill and pudding, maybe.  As for video games–they give me anxiety.  But I endured them for the sake of reviewing this book, which is very well done.

Bubby: Hey! My ears are just fine, thank you. I still think that deep down you want to be a gamer! If nothing else, it would improve your aging reflexes! At any rate, I will continue to read Anthea Sharp’s books for as long as she writes them. All the magic and adventure I could ask for mixed with a dash of romance. Lovely. 4 bubbles from Bubby, the wannabe elf queen.

Sissy:  You are surely wrong.  Not ever going to be a gamer.  3.75 bubbles from Sissy the enchantress (current, not wannabe).

Click HERE to buy this book at amazon.com

©Bubblebathbooks 2014


Jarod Klum was trapped in his small life in the small village of Eventide and saw no means of escape. He would never be worthy of the woman of his dreams, never achieve great deeds of valor and never be remembered in song or story. It wasn’t that he was without dreams. He dreamed them every night; of rescuing the imperiled Caprice Morgan from marauding pirates who had somehow come up the river or of returning from a great Quest beyond the village boundaries laden with treasure that he could lay at the feet of the appreciative Caprice Morgan. But each morning he awoke in his straw bed and knew he was just Jarod Klum.
Until, that is, the coming of the Dragon’s Bard. The Dragon’s Bard convinced Jarod to win his fair Caprice through ‘heroic deeds of a more manageable scale’ – setting Jarod on a course of misadventures that turns the town on its head. Jarod’s single-minded pursuit of his greatest wish – even if it is a broken one – escalates until the only thing left for him to do is to become a dragonslayer and save the town from a ferocious, legendary monster that everyone fears but no one has ever seen. ‘Eventide’ is brought to life through the stories of the interweaving lives of its citizens, their follies, joys, tragedies and triumphs on a scale of life to which we can all relate. In the end, it is a visit to a place where we ourselves would like to settle down and live out our lives as we should. (From Goodreads.com)

Bubby: Hey, Sissy, it’s been a while since we’ve done a Friday Favorites!

Sissy: And this one is one of the most fun books I have ever read. It is so clever and goofily whimsical. I applaud the Hickmans for having such creative brain cells! The characters are so weird, entertaining and craftily crafted. I had a ball reading Eventide.

Bubby: Craftily crafted? Really?

Sissy: Do we have to deal with your absurd wordsmith envy again?

Bubby: Wordsmith envy? Really? It’s like you think you are a character in Eventide. Hmm, let’s call you Sissy the Witless Word Coining Sprite. You can even have little purple iridescent wings with all of your strange words and expressions flitting across them. I like it! I like it! And I can be, let’s see…

Sissy: You can be Bubby the Fatuous Foot Fungus Fairy!

Bubby: Hey! Who you calling fatuous? I prefer Sorceress of Sarcasm, thank you very much. Now back to the book. Any novel that has characters like Gossip Fairies and Centaur Farmers and dancing blacksmiths is a win for me. I have long been a fan of Tracy Hickman’s high fantasy work – his Dragonlance books are well known to us nerdy geeky people – but his writing with his wife, Laura is fantastic in a whole new way. Eventide is light and fluffy and just dang fun.

Sissy: The premise of the story is that the Dragon’s bard has to collect stories to tell the dragon king so as not to be killed. So the Bard is always meddling in the villager’s affairs, especially Jarod our main character, with hilarious results. But there’s also a bit of romance and danger and even heart warming moments. I can’t say enough about how satisfyingly enjoyable Eventide was.

Bubby: A great start to a (so far) 3 book series. I can’t wait to read the other books (Blackshore and Moredale) and find out what the Bard is up to next! 3.75 floaty and frothy bubbles from me.

Sissy: Such a fun read for teens and adults alike. I don’t want anyone to think that this is too lightweight or is just for kids. It really struck my funny bone and for that reason, I give it 4 bubbles.

Click HERE to buy Eventide (Tales of The Dragon’s Bard #1) at Amazon.com

© Bubble Bath Books 2013


Feyland is a full-D (which means you are fully immersed) game-the most high-tech of its kind-and Jennet Carter is the first to play the prototype. But what she doesn’t know is that the Dark Queen of the faeries has decided to use the virtual world as a portal to the real one, and that she’ll be battling for her REAL life.
Tam Linn’s real life is so bad that he finds solace in the simulated life of gamers.  He has no plan to get involved with a rich girl like Jennet.  But he may just be the hero she desperately needs.
Jennet and Tam enter the Dark Realm of Feyland and discover that much more is at stake–like the future of the entire human world.  Can they, with their limited abilities, defeat the dark queen and save mankind?

Sissy:  This book is far out of my wheelhouse (I heard Blake Shelton and then Usher and then Shakira use that term on The Voice) so Bubby was surprised when I loaned her Feyland by Anthea Sharp.  I think Bubby asked me 5 times if I really liked it for sure, because it was so much more her than me.  I told her that I reserve the right to broaden my horizons and be startlingly eclectic at any given moment.  I wondered about it meself when I started reading it, but I actually was able to follow all the futuristic techie jargon without going into a menopausal brain peat bog.

Bubby: At least you THINK you were able to follow it all. As I do not have access into said menopausal brain, I wouldn’t know for sure! But what you say is true. I started reading Feyland and was amazed that you had enjoyed it. But I really shouldn’t be too surprised. After all, the gaming and futuristic stuff is the only aspect that isn’t you – and that’s only part of the book. The bigger part is Fairyland itself – and you are all about the fairies and magic and stuff.

Sissy: I am a fairy. A sparkling flower fairy. Therefore, yes, all that stuff was appealing. This book is futuristic, though, because the rich people have such things as grav-cars (like a hover car sort of dealie), wrist chips, and fully automated houses (named HANA for House Activated Network Assistant). Sort of big-brotherish if you ask me.

Bubby: I like it. I want a grav-car and an automated house. Like the one in the tv show Eureka. Except you never watched that show so you don’t know what I’m talking about but it was cool. It was named SARAH (for words I can’t remember what they stand for). But the future bits aren’t my favorite. My favorite was right at the beginning when we met one of our main characters, Tam Lin and then when the character of Thomas Rimer was introduced. Now if you are a big fan of faerie-realm stories, you will already recognize these names. Tamlin is a famous character from the old Scottish Ballads – a mortal man who was captured by the fairies (Fae, Faery Folk, etc.) and then rescued by his own true love. Thomas Rhymer is also a ballad character – a bard who was so talented that the Fairy Queen decided to keep him as her own personal songsmith. The instant I saw Anthea Sharp use these names for her characters, I knew I had found a kindred soul. I was hooked.

Sissy: Yes, Bubby, you are a nerd. But since I am actually half-human and half-fae, I can’t really blame you for your fixation on the world of fairy.

Bubby: Which half? Somehow I’m not seeing either of our parents as faerykind . . .

Sissy: Just go with it! Stop trying to ruin my alternate realities. The clever thing about Anthea Sharp is that she was able to retell a very old story in a very modern way without any bumps or hitches. It works beautifully. The story flows so well, even for those with no knowledge of fairy lore. I think the author has written something that will capture a whole new demographic.

Bubby: I loves it. Loves loves loves it. I have a weakness for modern-day retellings of old stories; they just do something for me. I love tales that are seasoned with a little (or in this case, a lot) of magic. I even love stories that use age-old archetypes, in this case the poor little rich girl and the poverty stricken boy with a heart of gold. As Sissy said, the tricky part is weaving all of these elements together and actually having it work. This one works. It has it all, even a little hint of romance.

Sissy: The budding romance between Tam Lin and Jennet is reason enough for me to want to continue this series. I can tell they will have a lot more exciting and bonding adventures ahead. Tam Lin’s life is so painfully tragic, I hope better things are in store there, too.

Bubby: I agree! Jennet lives in this great big huge house with just her and her dad, who is never there anyway and Tam and his mom and brother (both of whom have some big medical issues) live in a shack in the super scary part of town. Can’t the Lin family just move into Jennet’s basement or something?

Sissy: Obviously, there is a lot more to explore in the lives of Tam and Jennet and the world of the Fae. I highly recommend Feyland to the techies, the fairytale lovers, and the fantasy fans, because this is a category bending read.  4.25 hover-bubbles.

Bubby:  Feyland checks all the requisite boxes for me.  I can’t wait to continue the series.  Maybe I can get cheapskate Sissy to buy them this time (she says “Not fairy likely…”).  4.5 bubbles.

Click HERE to buy Feyland at Amazon.com


The Woodcutter family has seven daughters, each named after a day of the week. The youngest, Sunday, has a hard time living up to the exploits of the other 6. Her only comfort is writing stories in her secret retreat down by the water – even though what she writes often comes true. One day she meets an enchanted frog who, unlike everyone else, is interested in her beloved stories. They become friends and soon Sunday’s feelings turn to love.  One night she kisses him goodbye and goes home and true love’s kiss turns Rumbold back into a man – who happens to be the prince of the land. Now Rumbold hopes to woo Sunday into loving him as a man, just as she loved him as a frog. But the path of love never runs smoothly and both the Woodcutters and the royal family have many secrets in their histories. Can Sunday and Rumbold overcome their pasts and the magic forces pitted against them and form a beautiful new future together?

Bubby: The part I like most in this book is that Alethea Kontis drew aspects from pretty much every fairytale ever. However, the part I liked least in this book is that the author drew aspects from pretty much every fairytale ever.  We have Jack and the Beanstalk, the enchanted dancing shoes, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and most importantly for this novel, the Frog Prince. It’s all very well done but it gets a bit confusing. The biggest irritation for me is that the writing that Alethea Kontis does is so very good and I feel that there needs to be more of her and less of everyone else. I am excited to read something from her that is hers alone and has no borrowing.

Sissy:  In a rare and alternate universe sort of way, I agree with Bubby!  Alethea had so much going on here (she even says herself that this book came from a story writing challenge to use every possible fairytale reference) that I sometimes felt it took away genuine feeling from the characters and story.  I did love many of the references, especially the sister who ran away with the pirate king, but the sister who danced herself to death was too much.  And the poor mom suffered guilt and pain because of all the dumb fairy tale references that impacted her life.  I liked the main character, Sunday,and her friendship with the frog prince seemed genuine.

Bubby: How would it be to have 7 girls – and a few boys – with all the girls named after the days of the week? The depictions of each child are so rich and detailed – everyone has their own unique interests and abilities. For instance, Sunday’s ability is that what she writes down has a tendency to come true. And when Sunday’s mother speaks, people have to do what she says. I know that there are lots of bad karma-y things that come out of having special powers and such but I think that it would be worth it sometimes. Can you imagine? I say “Sissy! Buy me a fabulous lunch!” and lo and behold, she goes forth and procures me something yummy. Or “Disobedient teenage child! Clean the bathroom!” and poof – clean bathrooms! I am sure that I would only use this power for good and it should be granted unto me by my fairy godmother immediately.

Sissy:  If I could, I would grant you that power, although I would probably almost immediately regret it!  My favorite character in the book was Sunday’s fairy foundling brother Twix–their relationship was delightful, and he was delightful!  Honestly, sometimes I got confused over which day of the week sister was who, and what fairytale we were referencing at any given moment.  It was weird how I liked finding new tales, but then I didn’t.  The woodcutter dad was a great guy, and the fairy godmothers were well-depicted.  So I guess I am of two minds concerning this book.  It was a good, magical story, but sometimes confusing and disjointed.  Alethea Kontis has many moments of beautiful, prosaic writing, but other times, I felt a “clunk.”

Bubby: I loved Twix as well. He was the perfect fairy – childlike, capricious and kind. He reminded me of my own dear younger brother who is so sweet and loving and funny that he’s almost too good to be true.

Sissy:  What have you been smoking?  Or is there something that went on while I was away at college that I was never told about?  You are the youngest child, and none of your older brothers would appreciate being described as “sweet, loving, and funny.”  They would say “grrr” and hit you with a pair of deer antlers.

Bubby: Well, I DID say he was too good to be true. Oh, well. I enjoyed the “Wizard of Oz” -esque relationship between the two fairy godmothers; one good and one evil. Interesting how sisters are often portrayed that way in fairy tales. Hmm . . .

Sissy:  When in reality sisters are usually a mix of good and evil, except in our case, where good prevails, mostly.  So, all in all, this book was good, in a weird way, but still good. I want to see more of Alethea Kontis’ writing.  I give it 3 wands, no, golden balls, no, dancing slippers, no, magic beans, no, pumpkins, no…BUBBLES.

Bubby: I really enjoyed most parts of Enchanted. The basic storyline was great, the characterizations were really well done and there was magic and princes and beautiful ball gowns. I give it 3 ½ bubbles and I am definitely going to read the sequel, Hero, which comes out soon.

Click HERE to buy Enchanted by Alethea Kontis at BookDepository.com

Click HERE to buy Enchanted by Alethea Kontis at Amazon.com

© Bubble Bath Books 2013


Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch, the daughter of a non-gifted mother and a warlock.  When she casts a spell at her high school prom and it goes horribly wrong , her father decides she will be punished by being exiled to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters. It just goes downhill from there for Sophie. By the end of her first day at Hex Hall she has made three powerful enemies, developed a crush on a hot warlock named Archer, and been assigned to a roommate who just happens to be the only vampire in the whole school. Just when Sophie thinks it can’t possibly get worse, she learns that someone, or something, has been attacking students and her new roommate is believed to be the culprit. As Sophie delves deeper into the mystery she uncovers the deadliest secret of all: an ancient society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

Sissy: I had a love/hate relationship with this book and the subsequent two books in the series. It was one of those things where I HAD to know what happened and therefore had to buy the sequels but at times getting to the resolution made me feel fidgety and teeth-grindy.

Bubby: Pretty sure I bought all three of these and shared, but that’s not the point.

Sissy: Whatever. You know what I mean.  I liked this author’s magical spin on diversity, and I liked the various twists and turns that kept things fairly interesting.  The descriptions of Hex Hall and its matron were vivid and gave me anxiety, but in a good way.  Plus there were some new and creepy paranormal beings introduced that could give me nightmares if I were an overly emotional person like Bubby.

Bubby: Not even going to respond to that attack on my character. (I am tender hearted, that’s all!) I did think that there was an overdose of teenage angst. I tend to lose patience quickly with kickbutt girl characters that agonize over whether or not the hunky boy really likes them. On the other hand, I probably would have reacted the same way that Sophie did had I been in her situation. Cute boys still make me swoon!

Sissy: The teenage angst helps with the character development and story line, but sometimes I just want to tell them characters to shut up and own their “ness.”  I was conflicted about Archer and  the mysterious Groundskeeper boy.  I couldn’t decide which one I thought Sophie should love, or who looked more like Zac Efron and who looked more like Chris Hemsworth in my mind.

Bubby: Own their own “ness”? I think I need to buy you a dictionary for Christmas. You keep making up words!  Yes, there was too much emphasis on teenage romance issues. But I liked both boys too and overall it was a great book and a great series. It kept me interested all the way through and I can’t wait to read more by this author. 3 3/4 bubbles from me.

Sissy: I did like them. I did read them. I do recommend them. But, if there was a new episode of “Downton Abbey”, I would have watched that instead.  2 1/2 bubbles.

© Bubble Bath Books 2012