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March Magics 2018: Wrapup

I know this is a bit late, but bear with me as I wrap up my reading etc. for March Magics!

(via webereading.com)

Books Read

For March Magics 2018 (all new reads this year for me) I managed to read:

  • The Game – Diana Wynne Jones — This was a quite short novella, so I wish there’d been more, but what there was I LOVED. The idea of the Mythosphere was AWESOME, I loved Flute and Fiddle and Troy, and there were some great references (like the one about The Lord of the Rings and the One Ring. XD). Loved it! 5 stars
  • Dragons at Crumbling Castle – Terry Pratchett — This was a collection of shorter stories by young Terry Pratchett, which were published in a paper when he was in his teens. I loved them! XD The illustrations were actually kind of distracting/annoying to me (and definitely made the book seem like for a younger audience than it needed to be), but most of the stories themselves were downright hilarious, and simply sheer fun! In a way, I enjoyed it even better than some of his fiction for older readers, because sometimes you just want to enjoy yourself. 😛 5 stars
  • The Homeward Bounders – Diana Wynne Jones — Um. OKAY THEN. O_O This one was fascinating and very different. It’s in first-person (I ended up really loving Jamie, the narrator boy) and… well… let’s just say that DWJ wasn’t all that into happy endings apparently at this time? *cough* It was kinda bittersweet, though at the same time I don’t know how else it COULD have ended. It was like Dogsbody in that way. ‘Twas scary too! But really addicting. And the world-hopping was fascinating. There were also a couple of characters I loved. XD I felt like it was a lot more serious at first and didn’t get really funny and DWJ-ish until the second half, but I really started to enjoy it then. OH. BUT ANCHORS. O_O So, since I was reading this for the first time, and I also had A Blink of the Screen by Pratchett out from the library, I was NOT okay with the Doubleday anchor on the side of that book (see picture above). NOT OKAY, I TELL YOU. (If you’ve read The Homeward Bounders, you will know why. O_O) Anyway, I read it finally and liked a lot of it. 5 stars because I couldn’t not.
  • Yes Dear – Diana Wynne Jones (picture book; not in the above photo) — This was a cute little picture book I read quickly while visiting a library during the month. Not a lot to it, but it was fun. 🙂 4 stars
  • A Blink of the Screen – Terry PratchettShort story anthologies are always a huge hit-or-miss with me. A lot of these I just didn’t “get,” connect to, or care for, particularly some of the stranger or more sci-fi ones. But I did enjoy some of them! Particularly the one about English queues, the one about Father Christmas, and a couple others I don’t recall just now because I don’t have the book handy at the moment. So some of those are 5 stars and I loved them. XD It’s funny to me that I loved his short fiction from when he was younger (i.e. the Dragons at Crumbling Castle book) better than the ones when he was older and “a better writer.” XD I think I may go back to Pratchett’s longer fiction, and Discworld in particular. 😛 2.5 stars overall; ratings varied
  • A Sudden Wild Magic – Diana Wynne JonesNot my favorite DWJ book — it’s an Adult book (very, very specifically) and this is why I feel like she should have stuck with children’s books. XD I don’t recommend it for younger readers, and feel like a lot of my friends simply wouldn’t care for this due to some of the content. (Definitely don’t start out with DWJ with this one — start with Howl’s Moving Castle, because it’s the best. :D) This was an interesting read, and while I didn’t care for some of it, it was gripping and fascinating as always — I’m pretty sure DWJ can’t write a terrible book; just not her best. And the car stuff was pretty funny. XD And I liked some of the characters at times (just… less than usual…) and some of it was fun. And centaurs. 😀 Anyway, not a must-read, but I’m glad I got around to reading it in my continuing journey to read all of DWJ’s books. 3.5 stars

Other March Magics Ishness

This month I also picked up a copy of Pratchett’s The Carpet People when I was visiting a book shop for my birthday… so I’ll get to read that one at some point too.

I will definitely have to still get around to reading DWJ’s Unexpected Magic anthology, which I intended to try but it was out at my library, so I did not get the chance to read it this month, sadly… But sometime!

Posts

As far as posts, I shared these reviews (click covers to visit their posts):

And, on my other blog, I shared a post about some of my favorite Diana Wynne Jones quotes and talked a little bit about them:

Diana Wynne Jones: 6 Quotes to Live By

(the rest are in that post)

Anyway, those were the festivities for this March Magics, for me.

I had fun and I’m looking forward to next year, as always. 🙂

Thanks to Kristin for hosting!

Did you read any Diana Wynne Jones or Terry Pratchett books this March? And have you read any of the ones I mentioned? Let me know your thoughts!

(P.S. What do you think of my new blog header??)

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

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March Magics 2018!

It’s MARCH, guys!

Which means March Magics/DWJ March (hosted by We Be Reading). Which means celebrating Diana Wynne Jones and her books (as well as Terry Pratchett and his). Which means: one of my favorite times of year! 😀

This year’s theme is short stories… and here’s what I’m hoping to read this month for March Magics!

Nightstand: March Magics edition (March 2018)

  • The Game, The Homeward Bounders, & A Sudden Wild Magic by Diana Wynne Jones — I haven’t read these yet, so I’m looking forward to reading them. New DWJ reads are always a treat, and I’ve heard a lot about these so I’m curious! March Magics is the perfect excuse to read these. 🙂
  • Dragons at Crumbling Castle & A Blink of the Screen by Terry Pratchett — These are on the readalong list, consisting of short stories, so I’m looking forward to checking them out. 🙂 Especially the Discworld ones in the second book, and the fact that Dragons at Crumbling Castle consists of stories he wrote when he was 17 and they look fun. XD
  • I also Fully Intend to get my hands on a copy of Diana Wynne Jones’ Unexpected Magic short story collection sometime this month when it’s in at the library… so that’ll be my DWJ short story readings for the month if I can can get to it, because I’ve been meaning to read that one for AGES.
  • And I have some other review books etc. (not pictured) which I need to read soon as well, so that’s probably all (or more than!) I can handle this month. (Though if I happen to feel like some other DWJ or Pratchett book and find time, I will definitely not complain.) But I’m really looking forward to them!

As for blogging-related things, we’ll see what I get to, but I’m hoping to post at least a couple of other March Magics posts this month, so stay tuned!

Mostly, I’m just really looking forward to spending the month reading books by my favorite author and generally immersing myself in all the DWJ goodness, because it makes me happy. ^_^

Are you planning to read anything by Diana Wynne Jones or Terry Pratchett this month? Because you totally should! And if you’d like a few more DWJ-related things, you can check out my DWJ Project page. 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

10 Bookish Resolutions for 2018

Today I’m joining in on a Top Ten Tuesdays post, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl (which is where TTT moved as of TODAY, having formerly been hosted by the Broke and the Bookish).

Here are some of my bookish resolutions/goals for 2018!

1. Stay on top of reading ARCs and review books

I haven’t decided if this means more or less books for review (since I love them but they are also time-consuming… but I love them…). Regardless, I’d like to stay on track for the ones I have and any future ones I might get.

2. Stay on top of reviews

Related to the above point, I’d like to get the necessary reviews written within a decent amount of time. NaNo and Christmas season wreaked havoc on my reviewing schedule, and I just haven’t gotten around to some of them that I should have. So those are next!

3. Read the books I’ve won

I seem to have accumulated several books which authors were kind enough to give away and which I won… And then said books sit on my dresser or Kindle app waiting for me to read them, while I get distracted with review books and things. So I’d like to read and (hopefully) review the books I’ve won.

4. Read one book at a time (within reason)

I often end up reading a lot of books at the same time, which means I get stuck in several… which ends badly. I’d like to focus on one book at a time. I do say within reason, so I may read more than one at a time under certain circumstances — for instance: an e-book and a physical book, a re-read and a new read, a read-along and a read-aloud, a novel and some short stories and a nonfiction… things like that, where I distinguish between what SORT of book it is, I might allow myself to simultaneously read more than one book. But in general, just. one.

5. Finish beta-reading and take a break

I have a couple of beta-reads to finish, which I’m excited for, but after that I’m taking a break, at least this year. Beta-reading just takes so long, and I don’t know what to say, so I accidentally procrastinate over it for a century, and then feel absolutely terrible. I’m just… really bad at being a beta-reader. XD

6. Do more editing

That may sound like it contradicts the point above, but it doesn’t! Beta-reading is usually a general-feedback kind of deal, which I’m not the best at. What I am better at is proofreading/copyediting, which I LOVE. I’m passionate about fixing typos and punctuation, and generally polishing books to a fine sheen. Someday I will catch ALL the typos in the world! (Okay, not really; but I can dream. ;)) This point is involved with kicking off my new freelance editing service, which you can check out HERE; prices are negotiable, and I don’t bite! 😉

7. Read for fun more often

I know it sounds silly, but any time a book comes “with strings attached,” it becomes something to mark off my to-do list. I do LOVE review books, read-alongs, library books, books I’ve won, books to edit, books by friends, and so on, but anything with an “I should read this” or “I should review this” or a deadline attached to it in my subconscious isn’t just for PURE pleasure… (Please tell me I’m not the only one?) So despite loving those, I would like to kick back and read JUST for fun sometimes, and not worry about having opinions and stuff.

8. Read more Diana Wynne Jones

This is kind of self-explanatory… I’m hoping March Magics and a trip to the library will help with this one. 😉

9. Read more Tolkien

Also self-explanatory. Re-reads. Books by Tolkien I haven’t read. Books by others about him and his writings. The works.

10. Have fun and don’t obsess

This one is hard, and one of the reasons why I often ALMOST don’t start a Goodreads reading goal… (But I usually break down anyway because it’s nice having them all listed.) I don’t like obsessing about how many books I read, because that makes it more like work, but I can hopefully keep track without getting too into it. XD I really need to remind myself that I still read for fun. And if it’s not fun, I shouldn’t be doing it. And if I’m MAKING it not fun, I need to stop! Breathe. Read. Dream of ink and pages and bookshelves. Be a contented bookdragon.

Well, those are my top ten bookish resolutions/goals; we’ll see how quickly I can fail at all of them. XD But it’s all in fun. 🙂 What are yours? And do we share any? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

Hexwood by Diana Wynne Jones

Title: Hexwood

Author: Diana Wynne Jones

Date read: April 6, 2017

Rating: 5 stars

Genre: Fantasy/Sci-fi/Contemporary/Time/Arthurian

Age: Toeing the line between YA and Adult? New Adult? Anyways, slightly darker.

Year pub: 1992

Pages: 449 (paperback)

Fave character: MORDION. Mordion Mordion Mordion

Source: Birthday present, preciousss

Find: On Goodreads here

Favorite quote:

“Can’t you treat yourself with a bit more consideration?”

“Why should I?” Mordion said, hugging the duvet round himself.

“Because you’re a person, of course!” Ann snapped at him. “One person ought to treat another person properly even if the person’s himself!”

“What a strange idea!” Mordion said.

An ordinary modern-day British girl (kind of), named Ann, stumbles into an epic fantasy world (…sort of), and meets a pigeon-hole-defying, spoiler-drenched man named Mordion, and a boy named Hume (maybe).

There are also robots. And dragons.

There’s also an inter-galactic sci-fi mess going on, some Arthurian legends sprinkled around the edges in totally unexpected ways, and oh, yeah, the entire thing is out of order in a time-bending confusing labyrinth of plot-twists.

Nobody is who they seem (or rather, they may be somebody else… or several somebody elses. I literally kept a list/diagram while I was reading).

FEATURING:

  • Dragons
  • Robots
  • King Arthur and Merlin (sort of)
  • Time which is… fluid, shall we say, and more complicated than Doctor Who
  • A tragic brainwashed assassin to rival Bucky Barnes (he’s got nothing on this guy)
  • A complex plot-within-plot that makes my head hurt and kind of makes Inception’s layers look like a children’s cartoon
  • Several hundred plot twists
  • An unexpected romance
  • One of my new favorite characters of ever (not sure how I feel about this)
  • Weirdest book I’ve ever read
  • Has more genres mashed in it than I’ve ever seen in a single book (Contemporary/Fantasy/Sci-fi/Time/Arthurian/Romance/YA/Adult/DWJ)
  • Darker than most DWJ books (except Deep Secret)
  • One of my top five-or-ten DWJ books (despite the darkness/weirdness… don’t hold it against me; I’m surprised at me too)
  • First new-to-me DWJ book since my How to Read Diana Wynne Jones blog posts (part 1) (part 2); it lined up with pretty much everything, x100000
  • I need to reread it now, please and thank you

Don’t read this as your first DWJ, and if you do read it, know you’re getting into an insanely complex, inter-genre, rather dark story, for which reason I only recommend it to older teens/adults. If I recommend it at all. I loved it to bits but have a feeling that it’s far too weird to recommend to anyone at all. I literally can’t predict who would/wouldn’t like this. You’ll either a) love it a ridiculous amount (*raises hand*), b) hate it, or c) not understand it at all. I have a feeling there’s no middle ground.

Anyone who has read it: TALK TO ME! I need somebody who understands my confused feels about this book.

If you need me, I’ll be in a corner with my mind blown, contemplating re-reading this book so that I can understand it, and generally having a massive book hangover. Because how am I going to find anything to read, after this mindbending confusing thing, that will not feel like bland cardboard? HELP. *collapses* (I’m hoping Stephen Lawhead’s The Fatal Tree might help me with this… *reaches for bookshelf*)


Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

#MarchMagics Wrapup {2017}

And March Magics comes to a close. Always a bittersweet feeling, because I don’t want it to END, but at the same time it was a delightful event!

I know I for one definitely immensely enjoyed this month of celebrating Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett.

Here’s a look at my magical March. 🙂

Books I Read

  1. Wild Robert – Diana Wynne Jones — New read, quick and delightful; didn’t want it to end! 5 stars
  2. Aunt Maria – Diana Wynne Jones — Also a new read, I was so glad to finally get to read this; I enjoyed it a ton. 5 stars
  3. Howl’s Moving Castle – Diana Wynne Jones (re-read; 5th time) — I was currently in the middle of re-reading this one when March hit, so I finished it up, and it was an absolute delight, as always! ❤ I’m amazed at how I still caught new things on my 5th read. 5 stars (and/or all-the-stars-ever!)
  4. The Pinhoe Egg (Chrestomanci #6) – Diana Wynne Jones (re-read) — This was for the March Magics readalong finishing up the Chrestomanci series. I had recently re-read the earlier books in the series, so I just did this one this month. IT’S SO GOOOOOD. 5 stars. ❤
  5. Mort – Terry Pratchett — Also for the read-along. This was my second-ever Pratchett book and I THOROUGHLY enjoyed myself. XD 4.5 stars
  6. Reaper Man – Terry Pratchett — Read-along again, and absolutely LOVED one of the main story-threads (the Bill Door one), although I wasn’t as crazy about the other main one for some reason. 4 stars
  7. Year of the Griffin – Diana Wynne Jones (re-read) — This one was for a read-along that the Diana Wynne Jones Fan group on Goodreads had. I had forgotten so many things about it! I couldn’t believe it. I liked it the first time, but I loved it SO much more this time! ❤ 5 stars
  8. Soul Music – Terry Pratchett — Also for the March Magics read-along; I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the ones before, but still had its fun moments and was interesting. 🙂 3 stars

DWJ Posts this month

I had SO much fun with those How to Read Diana Wynne Jones and Diana Wynne Jones Experience posts. 😀

Reviews

Other March Magic Things

New DWJ book to read

I got Hexwood by Diana Wynne Jones for my birthday this month. I can’t wait to dive into reading it! 😀

DWJ book and chocolate rose for my birthday. Chocolate and DWJ books have something in common: they can’t remain in the house long before I devour them. ❤

Photoshoot

I had an excuse to do a DWJ and Terry Pratchett book photoshoot. Which, as you can imagine, made me happy. XD

(I’ve read all the DWJ books I own except Hexwood. I’ve only read 4 Terry Pratchetts though, so the rest in the picture are ones I have yet to read.)

Archer’s Goon film

I saw the old BBC mini-series of Archer’s Goon (1992) which I had never heard of before but “coincidentally” discovered this month and binge-watched. It’s two-and-a-half hours of cheesy 90s British fun. It doesn’t do the magical and larger-than-life and humor of the book justice, but was nonetheless fun, just to see a DWJ story come to life on screen. 🙂 It actually had quite a lot of dialog from the book, so in a sense it was far more “true” to the book than most adaptions these days… Anyways, it was VERY strange and not as good as the book, but I enjoyed it for some reason anyway. XD

Diana Wynne Jones Book Page

I also decided to make a DWJ Project page on this blog! It can track the books I’ve read, and the ones I want to read, and other fun stuff like quotes graphics I’ve made. I’m hoping to gather some fun links etc. there, and add to the page overtime. 🙂

Conclusion

In general, I just really enjoyed immersing myself in DWJ things like reading posts and listening to a podcast and just… all the DWJ goodness!

And Terry Pratchett too, of course. 😉 Before this month, I had only read one of his books, so I enjoyed getting to read a few more. The Discworld books are definitely strange and not for everyone, but I’ve been enjoying them fairly well. 🙂

Overall, it was a splendid month of humorous fantasy, and I love any excuse to hang out in the worlds of Diana Wynne Jones. ^_^

Thanks very much to Kristen @ We Be Reading for hosting! I had a world (or several) of fun!

I look forward to another magical March next year. ^_^

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

The Pinhoe Egg by Diana Wynne Jones

5starrating

The March Magics theme this year is “A Matter of Lives and Death” — the Lives part referring to the Chrestomanci series, since Chrestomanci is the title of a nine-lifed enchanter.

For the Diana Wynne Jones read-along for March Magics which Kristen @ We Be Reading is hosting, four of the Chrestomanci books were featured.

Today I’m looking at the final one, The Pinhoe Egg. I just read it for the second time and had an absolute blast with it! ❤ *hugs book* So, so good! ^_^

Here, have a review. (Please excuse the flailing; I can’t help myself.)

Title: The Pinhoe Egg

Author: Diana Wynne Jones

factoids

  • Date read: March 5, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2006
  • Pages: 515 (hardback)
  • Series: Chrestomanci, #6
  • Fave character: Chrestomanci
  • Source: Library
  • Notes: Re-read aloud (reading for second time), for March Magics Diana Wynne Jones readalong

[Find The Pinhoe Egg on Goodreads]

review

AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH I LOVE THIS BOOK SO SO MUCH!!! It may be my absolute favorite Chrestomanci book ever. ❤ And one of my top DWJ books, period.

Just so much is going on in this thing! Not to mention all the fabulous characters, including several familiar ones.

It’s closer to an actual sequel-type-book than Diana Wynne Jones usually wrote. A lot of her sequels follow entirely different characters, just in the same world, with cameos. This was more of a proper sequel to Charmed Life and some of the other Chrestomanci books, and it was such a delight to be back at Chrestomanci Castle with Cat, and Chrestomanci, and Millie, Janet, Roger and Julia, etc. New characters Marianne Pinhoe and her brother Joe were great fun. I also really liked Irene! And a certain character who’s a spoiler ‘til near the end… but he was great too! 🙂

It’s HILARIOUS, too. Julia and Janet going into a horse-craze, Roger and Joe and their inventing, etc. (WE BELONG TO CHRESTOMANCI CASTLE!)

And I so so enjoyed reading about Chrestomanci and his misadventure or two and how he fixes things when he knows about it; Marianne and the Pinhoe shenanigans; Cat and his problems with having to raise a baby griffin, keep a horse happy, help Marianne without Chrestomanci (doesn’t go so well), and learn more about his magical abilities, because he is, after all, going to be the next Chrestomanci someday.

These CHARACTERS, though!

Cat is just a fabulous hero. I really like him a lot, for some reason.

Marianne is a lot like Cat, though his opposite in some ways. They’re fun together.

Millie is the best mum/wife ever. She’s so calming and great! Gah.

Time would fail me to talk of sullen Joe Pinhoe, Roger and Julia, Cat’s sort-of-sister Janet, the lovely Irene (formerly Pinhoe; yes, there are a lot of Pinhoes in this), and all the rest. But it’s such an awesome cast!

Plus Klartch the griffin. There’s also a unicorn. Yesss to the fantasy goodness.

Last, but far from least, Chrestomanci himself is the absolute BEST!

I felt like we got to see an unusual amount of Chrestomanci in this one, which was fantastic! His dry and witty dialog, his sarcastic look that makes you want to melt into the ground, his elaborate dressing-gowns (one for every day of the year, according to an interview with the author!), his elegant suits, his vague looks that mean he’s paying extreme attention, his calm ability to step in and fix a magical disaster efficiently and with some great sarcastic remarks — as soon as he knows the disaster is there, of course (since the main characters often don’t tell him until it’s almost too late).

But he’ll also make sure that the right people help fix it, so that they learn from their mistakes, etc., and also that the right people get their comeuppance. It was also fabulous/hilarious to see him more in a parental-type-role, dealing with the antics of his son and daughter, Roger and Julia, as well as with young Cat and Janet.

AND HIS DIALOG. I CANNOT GET OVER HIS DIALOG. He’s sooo funny and dry and sarcastic and just… I cannot. (It was absolutely so much fun reading this book aloud, if only for his lines.)

Chrestomanci (a.k.a. Christopher Chant, since Chrestomanci is merely the title of the nine-lifed enchanter) is simply one of the absolute best characters ever; and if ever I was in a magical difficulty, I’d definitely want his help!

I love this series, and although I would read dozens more if there were any, this book was the perfect ending for it. Classic DWJ, and Chrestomanci is one of my top-favorite characters ever. ❤

Have you read any of the Chrestomanci books? (Which is your favorite?) If not, you must read one ASAP, because they are delightful books, and you need Chrestomanci in your life!

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Wild Robert by Diana Wynne Jones

Title: Wild Robert

Author: Diana Wynne Jones

  • Date read: March 1, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy (Contemporary)
  • Age: Juv. Fiction/YA?
  • Year pub: 1989
  • Pages: 100
  • Illustrator: Mark Zug
  • Fave character: Wild Robert… sometimes. 😉
  • Source: Library
  • Notes: Read in honor of March Magics (2017)

[Find it on Goodreads]

What if a mysterious magical being who had been asleep for 350 years, woke up in modern times, found the castle of his former home turned into a tourist attraction, and decided to make mischief? That’s Wild Robert for you! Heather has a lot to put up with when she accidentally summons him into her tourist-crammed day… Shenanigans ensue!

Quite short read (100 pages including illustrations and large print; I read it in a sitting) and a very fun way to kick off March Magics/Diana Wynne Jones March 2017! 🙂

I’d never read this one before. It made me think a little bit of Eight Days of Luke, and maybe a dash of Howl’s Moving Castle for one tiny reason. DWJ once again blends fantasy, history, modern times, humor, strangeness, and fascinating characters in a bizarre but heart-capturing read.

It’s not all fun and pranks though… there’s a deeper mystery and something sinister behind all of this, and the reveal twisted my heart and made me feel bad for poor Robert! I was conflicted about this strange impish character — he definitely keeps you guessing. 😉 He’s a fascinating mystery, I guess you could say.

It was quite enjoyable, and I loved the twist at the end about who Robert is! 😀

It stopped rather before I wanted it to… I could have read another two or three hundred pages on this!! So at first I was sliiightly disappointed about that, but at the same time it works perfectly, ending at just the right place to let the imagination wander free about what might happen next… 😉 So I’m happy with it. 🙂 DWJ always leaves you wanting more!

(It almost made me consider wanting to write a fan-fiction continuation, I wanted to know so badly. The idea of fan-fiction almost never crosses my mind. Heehee.)

Great fun! ^_^

What would you do if you were a magical person who woke up after 300 years and found your castle turned into a tourist attraction? And have you ever read a book where you wanted the ending to continue? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer