Wednesday, March 30, 2022

A DARKENING OF DRAGONS by S.A. Patrick Blog Tour + Review and Giveaway

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the A DARKENING OF DRAGONS by S.A. Patrick Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!


                                                About The Book:

Title: A DARKENING OF DRAGONS (Songs of Magic #1)
Author: S.A. Patrick
Pub. Date: April 1, 2022
Publisher: Peachtree Publishing Company
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook
Pages: 400

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, Audible, B&NiBooks Audiobook, Kobo AudiobookTBD,

Three accidental heroes encounter one legendary villain in an epic dragon-filled adventure just right for young fans of Terry Pratchett, J.R.R. Tolkien, and How to Train Your Dragon!

13-year-old piper Patch Brightwater is a boy in disgrace. Thrown in jail for playing a forbidden spell, he is no one's idea of a hero. But then he discovers a deadly truth – the evil Piper of Hamelyn is on the loose.

With the help of Wren, a girl cursed to live as a rat, and Barver, a fire-breathing dracogriff, Patch must stop the Piper from sparking the biggest battle of them all.

S.A. Patrick’s debut children’s novel is a vivid retelling of one of the darkest legends of all time – the Piper of Hamelyn. Combining fairy tale lore with the very best of modern storytelling and empowerment, A Darkening of Dragons takes fantasy fans on a journey filled with adventure, magic, and the delight of finding friends in unexpected places. Perfect for fans of The Hobbit, Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching books, and How to Train Your Dragon.

A Carnegie Medal nominee. 


My Review: 

Opening lines:  " The screams of the children brought the villagers running." 


A Darkening of Dragons is a fantastic retelling of the legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, I think most people are familiar with the tale of the pied piper who tried to save a village from a rat infestation and upon being tricked out of what he was owed, returned and stole the villager's children.  The legend never really explained what happened to the children after that but was most likely a cautionary tale.  It's a legend that I haven't had an opportunity to read any books about before, and I've certainly not read one involving a condemned criminal, a cursed rat and a dracogriff, but my what a fantastic story this was.

Patch Brightwater is an interesting main character, his heart is genuinely in the right place, and I quite enjoyed his eagerness to use his pipe skills to help rather than in battle as the piper's council had wanted him to.  He's also motivated by a strong survival skill, wanting to escape the disgrace that the notorious Piper of Hamelyn caused when he carried the children and a hundred young dragons away with his songs, refusing to tell anyone why or what he did with them.   Patch is so easy to adore, especially when he gets all protective of Wren, our cursed rat, and how he would even sacrifice himself in order to save her.  Wren was also a delight, despite facing a lifetime as a rat, she had a bright outlook, was super smart and had a wit to boot.  I loved how the author included a form of nonverbal sign language of hand signs, or Merisax as a way for them to communicate with one another, and the game of Fox and Owls was interesting, I just wish the rules for the game would have been explained more.  

Lastly there's Barver, the dracogrif, who rounds out the trio of outcasts pretty well.  He's also pretty protective of Wren and she has a huge soft spot for him as well.  They make for a lovely team and I'd certainly like to see where their adventures take them next.  Overall, I quite enjoyed A Darkening of Dragons, there was plenty of twists and turns, lots of adventuring, danger, an especially nasty villain, themes that incorporated music and seeing someone else's perspective, not letting fear lead to hate.  How it's important to be able to sympathize with others.  


About S.A. Patrick:

S. A. Patrick was born in Belfast. When he was a child, he wanted to write video games, become an author, and have magical powers. The first two came true. If he ever does get magical powers, he hopes people like dragons and griffins because there’ll suddenly be a lot of them around. He lives in England.


Twitter | Goodreads


                                                    Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a finished copy of A DARKENING OF DRAGONS, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Week One:


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Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Unicorn Island: Secret Beneath the Sand by Donna Galanti, illustrations by Bethany Stancliffe

Unicorn Island:  Secret Beneath the Sand by Donna Galanti, illustrations by Bethany Stancliffe 
Format:  E-ARC
Publisher:  Andrews McMeel Publishing
Number of pages:  224 
Publishing:  March 8th, 2022
Source: Edelweiss+

Opening Line:  "Sun filtered through the fog, touching the meadow with its soft, golden glow as Sam ran across the flowing grass with the unicorns." 

In the first book in the Unicorn Island series, Sam moved in with her Uncle Mitch in Foggy Harbor, South Carolina.  While living with him, she discovered his secret, that he is the fog keeper, or the caretaker for the unicorns that are housed on an island that is shrouded behind a mist of fog.  When one of the newborns falls ill, Sam and her new friend, Tuck race to provide a cure that will save the young unicorn. 

In the second book in the Unicorn Island series, Sam and Tuck are now apprentice unicorn protectors, assisting in the care and protection of the herd.  When the young unicorn they saved in the previous book, Barloc becomes sickly, Sam begins to question whether the herd is being infected by a new disease.  Something is certainly spreading through the rest of the unicorns, causing their magic to be drained and the whole herd is at risk for losing their horns.  Can Tuck, Sam and Uncle Mitch find out what is stressing the herd and deal with the threat before the herd becomes mortal?

One of the first things that I enjoy about each of these stories are the full color illustrations by Bethany Stancliffe, the bright colors of the sun, grass, flowers and of course the beautiful unicorns.  The illustrations really add to the story and have huge kid appeal.  I also really enjoyed the inclusion of Grendell, the sand creature and especially the resolution of the story.  Sam finally received some answers she'd been waiting for, and the story left an opening for her to connect with her mother, which I am especially hopeful for.  At the end of the book, Galanti includes questions for the reader, things like what are horns made of?  What is an invasive species?  Each seeming to tie back to the story and highlighting various scientific facts.  Give this to a kid who enjoyed Adam Gidwitz's The Unicorn Rescue Society or the Unicorn Academy Series by Julie Sykes.