Archive | May 2016

Reading Roundup #3: March 2016

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Muchly belated, here are the many things I read in March! So much awesome reading. ❤

Here are some mini-reviews for a bunch of them and/or links to my reviews for the ones I reviewed in full… (Covers from Goodreads and all titles link to their pages on Goodreads as wel.) Enjoy! 🙂

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1. Blood Ties – Hazel B. West

Reviewed this on my other blog. Friendships and battles and Faerie and modern/medieval Ireland, huzzah!

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2. A Spy’s Devotion – Melanie Dickerson

Reviewed this. Lovely Regency romance! Melanie’s amazing at this time period, just like I thought she’d be! 🙂

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3. Comet in Moominland – Tove Jansson

Well, strike me pink, that was a rollicking delight of fun and charming oddness! (Especially reading it aloud with British accents, because it did seem to call for it, despite the fact it’s originally Swedish.) I believe it’s quite possible that I’m now thoroughly addicted to the world of the Moomins!

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4. Moominsummer Madness – Tove Jansson

Ack, I love it! *huggles book* Snufkin is my FAVORITE EVER! ❤ He’s so awesome and just the best! And what he did about the signs . . . and his twenty-four little woodies — GAAHH SO CUUUUTE!!! ❤ I about died from the adorableness and awesomeness of this. Also, I love Little My. She’s hilarious. XD All in all, great little book! ❤

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5. The Exploits of Moominpappa – Tove Jansson

Yet another fun one! I loved getting to read Moominpappa’s memoirs — such escapades, such oddness, such fun! 🙂 Moominpappa has quite a “feel” to his storytelling. It’s great. Also the Joxter was fun — nice to know where Snufkin’s slightly lawless ways originated. 😉 So much fun! And I especially loved how the memoirs would pause occasionally as Moominpappa is interrupted in his reading by Moomintroll, Sniff, and Snufkin, as they ask questions about the story and their various daddies’ adventures. Loved that! And the way that it all came together at the end was marvelous. 😀 The Moomin books are just loads of bizarre whimsical fun.

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6. Deep Secret – Diana Wynne Jones

Read this for March Magics. Wow, what a book. o.o It was more adult than any DWJ I’d read before, but still so so good. It takes place almost entirely at a Sci-fi/Fantasy convention which was super fun. XD Also world-hopping and centaurs and just yes. I do mean to write a review, I just haven’t yet…

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7. The Beautiful Pretender – Melanie Dickerson

Reviewed this on my other blog. It was AWESOME! But then, it’s a medieval fairy tale romance story mixing Beauty and the Beast and The Princess and the Pea and it’s by Melanie Dickerson, sooo… of course it’s awesome. 😉 Possibly my favorite from her yet!

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8. Moominland Midwinter – Tove Jansson

A good wintry tale, another fun Moomin story. 🙂 Little My is the best. XD

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9. Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen

I FINALLY read this one! This was for Amber Stoke’s read-along over at Seasons of Humility. Really enjoyed the book on the whole! I could have wished for less of Isabella (UGH I hated her) and more of Henry Tilney, but still. 😉 Maybe I’ll post a more complete review at some point…

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10. Dreams and Wishes: Essays on Writing For Children – Susan Cooper

I don’t read a lot of nonfiction but I was excited to read these nonfiction essays by Susan Cooper about writing. While some of them may be on writing “for” children, this collection wasn’t really… It was a bit of a mixed bag for me. I didn’t like/agree with everything, but she did have a lot of good things to say about fantasy and such, so that was fun! Definitely glad I read it.

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11. Playing with Fire (Skulduggery Pleasant, #2) – Derek Landy

Another scary, action-packed fantasy tale in modern Dublin with Skulduggery Pleasant the skeleton detective! But most importantly, containing numerous witty lines (by Skulduggery himself, naturally) and lots of humorous banter between him and Valkyrie, because THAT’S what I really read these books for! 😉 I don’t think I liked it quite as much as the first one, but it was gripping and I find myself rather glad that it’s a book instead of a movie because with a book, it’s just the words and imagination; whereas if it was actually on a screen, it would probably be far too scary for me. 😉 And just think of all the dialog I’d miss in that case! o.o Skulduggery continues to be hilarious and awesome, the real reason I’m reading these things. I hope to have more awesome Skulduggery lines in the future… HE’S SO QUOTABLE AND FUNNY AND EPIC. Skulduggery’s the best. ❤

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12. Moominvalley in November – Tove Jansson

I was nervous that I wouldn’t like this one at first… but it turned out okay, so I was glad. 🙂 I’m not sure I liked the translator of this one as much? And it starts out rather melancholy and I wasn’t sure if I liked the characters much, but of course they grew on me. I thought it would be sad but it wasn’t. Yay! And of course I love Snufkin! 😉 It was awesome how everyone kept coming to his tent. XD And I really liked Toft too, he’s adorbz. Some of it was a little vague and hard to sort of grasp in your head if you know what I mean? And it definitely feels different than the other ones, probably mostly because the Moomins aren’t there… And kind of more shadowy and melancholy. But I ended up enjoying it more than I thought, and Snufkin in particular (and Toft) make it better of course! 🙂

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13. Rising Shadows – Ashley Townsend

Aaaand reviewed this one. So much enjoyable! Will… ❤ Really fun little book.

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I kind of read a lot in March! It was a good reading month.

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead

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(Yes, you get a random review from me today… I’ve posted it before on Goodreads but I may start posting older-ish reviews here on occasion. :))

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Title: The Skin Map

Author: Stephen R. Lawhead

review

I’m giving THE SKIN MAP 5 stars . . . with one reservation (which is what this review is for, naturally).

This is going to be just a little bit hard to review. I won this book in a giveaway from Robert Treskillard (a masterful author in his own right), and read it over the course of three days when I was sick, and it helped pass the time marvelously.

For most of the book, THE SKIN MAP was a resounding 5-stars. I enjoyed it so very very much and it was brilliant and unique and fascinating and awesome and funny and perfect.

Then the last 20 pages happened and it almost lost a star or dozen because, well, not to be specific or anything, let’s just say certain authors don’t mind killing characters and I may or may not have gotten really really sad and/or devastated at something that may or may not have happened. Ahem.

That being said, if I’d rated and reviewed THE SKIN MAP the instant I finished it, I probably would have been upset enough it would not have held the 5-star rating it so richly deserves. As it was, I went to bed after finishing it, with a hole in my chest and a determination to never read anything ever again. What can I say. I’m a drama-queen when it comes to books that play with my emotions.

But I let myself cool down, and now I have to say that THE SKIN MAP fully earned every one of those five stars. Again with that one reservation, which naturally only shows how well the book was written that it made me CARE that much. I didn’t like how it was handled, though. But I will say no more because spoilers…

I must say, I was surprised by how much I outright loved THE SKIN MAP when I started it. (And still do, of course!) But from the very beginning it hooked me and drew me in and I found myself thoroughly enjoying myself. So. Much. Enjoyment.

It also felt perfectly British at the beginning there (it went on to feel like other countries too, wherein lies part of its brilliance) and I just found myself loving this story to death.

The characters were so much fun!

  • I love our hero, Kit Livingstone, who had so much humor and normal Britishness.
  • The timeless old fellow Cosimo who I love love love every second of.
  • Arthur Flinders-Petrie himself, who can I just say was positively awesome; though I was a bit confused about his parts of the story and if they were all flashbacks…? But I suppose they were. The nature of time-jumping-ish stories can sometimes get confusing….
  • Wilhelmina surprised me by working her way into my heart. I don’t usually love the heroines of stories that much, but she had such unexpected spunk and determination. I found myself loving the parts with her and Engelbert and their Kaffeehaus the best of any parts of the book — which, again, surprised me, because in a way there wasn’t much going on with them compared with all the action and mystery in the other parts of the story. But the genius of Lawhead seems to be that he can make absolutely anything fascinating.

Following all these characters in all these different times/countries (modern-times, 1600s, and older; England, Prague, Egypt) was so much fun, so interesting, and masterfully handled. There was a particular “feel” to each section which was awesome. So well drawn!

The ley-line travel was fascinating and awesome and I can’t wait to read more about it.

Plus, aren’t those character names just delightful? I love almost everything about this book!

All in all, THE SKIN MAP is a fabulous read, full of mystery, awesome characters, and traveling through different times and localities, all richly painted in a masterful tapestry of ever-turning pages. I couldn’t stop reading, and enjoyed the whole adventure immensely.

Also I just learned that my library has all the sequels in this Bright Empires series, which makes me indescribably happy. I can’t wait to read the rest of these books and fill my life with more Lawhead brilliance.

summary

From Goodreads:

It is the ultimate quest for the ultimate treasure. Chasing a map tattooed on human skin. Across an omniverse of intersecting realities. To unravel the future of the future.

Kit Livingstone’s great-grandfather appears to him in a deserted alley during a tumultuous storm. He reveals an unbelievable story: that the ley lines throughout Britain are not merely the stuff of legend or the weekend hobby of deluded cranks, but pathways to other worlds. To those who know how to use them, they grant the ability to travel the multi-layered universe of which we ordinarily inhabit only a tiny part.

One explorer knew more than most. Braving every danger, he toured both time and space on voyages of heroic discovery. Ever on his guard and fearful of becoming lost in the cosmos, he developed an intricate code–a roadmap of symbols–that he tattooed onto his own body. This Skin Map has since been lost in time. Now the race is on to recover all the pieces and discover its secrets.

But the Skin Map itself is not the ultimate goal. It is merely the beginning of a vast and marvelous quest for a prize beyond imagining.

The Bright Empires series–from acclaimed author Stephen R. Lawhead–is a unique blend of epic treasure hunt, ancient history, alternate realities, cutting-edge physics, philosophy, and mystery. The result is a page-turning adventure like no other.

factoids

Genre/Category: Well gee, how am I supposed to answer that? Contemporary / Time Travel / Fantasy/Sci-fi / Historical Fiction…

Age Group: Young Adult

Published: 2010

Pages: 403

Series?: Book 1 in the Bright Empire series. Followed by The Bone House, The Spirit Well, The Shadow Lamp, The Fatal Tree. Series list on Goodreads.

When Read: February 2015

Favorite Character: Cosimo. (Closely followed by Arthur. Also have a soft spot for Kit… And Wilhelmina was awesome, so…)

Source: Won in a giveaway.

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages!

~ The Page Dreamer

Reading Roundup #4: April 2016

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“So… I remember part #1, but where is part #2 and #3?” you ask.

Ahem. Do not question.

I have not had internet much in the last… er… three weeks? and therefore have not been blogging, and I happen to feel like writing this short post but not those two (Feb. and March) just now… BUT I’M LEAVING ROOM IN CASE I GET TO IT. Yes.

So! My reading of April. Which… incidentally was VERY FEW. To be fair, though, one of them was ENORMOUS (looking at you, King’s Folly. 😉 ) and took me two weeks to read, which kind of adds up.

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Rather than posting it four times, I… am arbitrarily sticking this 5 star image here and saying all the books I read this month were 5 stars. I don’t know if it’s, strictly speaking, true… I tend to have trouble with such things soon after reading. *shifty eyes* I think I originally rated Guards! Guards! 4 stars, but I don’t know if I liked it less than the other three I read this month, and I enjoyed it possibly the most because it was so funny? I dunno. My whole rating system is a mess. XD

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1. Tales from Moominvalley – Tove Jansson

The last of the Moomin books I currently have (many thanks to my awesome cousin!) this one was a collection of Moomin short stories, which were SO fun! I loved them. ❤ (Especially the ones about Snufkin. I may need to do a whole post about Snufkin, or at least about the books I’ve read so far, because he’s such a great character!) Anyways the stories were all cute/awesome, some more than others, and I just kinda adored this book. ^_^

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2. Guards! Guards! – Terry Pratchett

I read this as a belated part of March Magics… My first ever Terry Pratchett book! Yes, I’m slightly addicted… I’ll definitely have to try some more of his books. 🙂 It’s technically “adult” and had a bit of language/rudeness, but mostly it was really good, and I simply LOVED all the humor and bizarre hilarity of all the fantasy tropes being flipped on their heads and… basically I could quote it all day (if it wasn’t a library book and already gone back…) and laughed a lot and it was so so so much fun. Huge thanks to Sarah for recommending it, and to March Magics for actually helping me get around to reading a Pratchett! I have hopes of perhaps reviewing it… I did in fact make notes for a review before having to send it back to the library so PERHAPS this shall happen…

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3. Songkeeper – Gillian Bronte Adams

Oh my. The much-anticipated sequel to Orphan’s Song was INTENSE, I tell you!! I reviewed it on my other blog… This book, though! ❤ And all my favorite characters returning from Orphan’s Song… Suffice to say it was really good, if dark, and I’m really looking forward to book 3! EEK! 😀

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4. King’s Folly – Jill Williamson

Also intense and GINORMOUS and epic and… kinda dark, yes (I’m noticing a trend?) and basically I’m so happy to have Jill fantasy again and I love aaaall the characters. I’m also super super happy that I don’t have to wait a full year for the next book to come out, since it’s coming out in December. THIS IS GLORIOUS NEWS. I need it ASAP. I also reviewed this one on my other blog.

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So that was what I read in April! All really good, and a very ODD collection of books… o.o But, ya know, that’s not surprising for me. 😉

Have you read any of these, or do they sound interesting? How was your April reading? 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer