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My Diana Wynne Jones Journey (Part 2)

My Diana Wynne Jones collection so far! (Not counting a few extra copies. ;))

Way back in 2016, I posted “My Diana Wynne Jones Journey (So Far)” during a previous March Magics, and I had a ton of fun listing each book by DWJ which I’d read and some thoughts about them. (It also amuses me how some of my thoughts/favorites have changed since then. XD)

I’d say a Part 2 of such a post is long overdue (I have sixteen books to talk about!), so here we are!

Here are the DWJ books I’ve read since that post. Those first few years definitely had most of my favorites, but I’ve read some more gems since. ^_^

(Also, last time, I mentioned rereads as well, but I’ve done a fair amount of rereading DWJ these last couple of years and I’m mostly only listing the ones that are new reads this time.)

All titles link to Goodreads, in case you want to read more about them.

2016 (continued)

The Merlin Conspiracy

May 16, 2016

My original review consisted of this: “YES TO THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!! ❤ I need an elephant. AN ELEPHANT. Also Romanov. Yesssss. ACK DIANA WYNNE JONES BOOKS ARE LIFE I TELL YOU. (I may coherent a review someday.) ROMANOV.” So I must have liked it quite a lot, even if it’s a bit hazy in my memory due to how long it’s been since I read it. XD Definitely due for a reread! But it’s about Nick, who’s in Deep Secret, so that was fun. (Did you know he was slightly based on a teenaged Neil Gaiman? 😀 His not-coherent-until-breakfast-and-coffee parts, at least. XD) Also, I was reading it when I had a flu, which was appropriate, since one of the characters did too. XD

The Ogre Downstairs

August 6, 2016

This one was different but interesting, and a little more like a normal modern fantasy than I was used to reading by her. Many shenanigans and unreliable narration. XD But my favorite part was when two of the characters accidentally switched appearances and stuff ensued. XD A shorter read and kind of strange but fun!

Eight Days of Luke

December 28, 2016

Who likes Norse Myths? This fun little book by Diana Wynne Jones features some of that in some most unexpected ways! She was writing about Loki (and Thor etc.) in modern times back in 1975, before the Marvel movies were making this cool more recently. XD It’s been awhile since I read this one and I need to read it again, but I remember it being unique and really enjoying it. 😀 I liked David, and Loki is very much of a trickster! The mythology elements and characters are woven in so well, in surprising ways (DWJ is excellent at this), and there is much fire. XD Luke was just so much fun. XD

2017

Wild Robert

March 1, 2017

I wrote a review for this one awhile back but it was so much fun! It reminded me partially of The Boggart, and a little bit of Howl for some reason, and it was surprisingly short and I didn’t want it to end — it just stopped and I wanted more! Ack! But it was very cool and had so many shenanigans I loved the twists so much!

Aunt Maria

March 1, 2017

I reviewed this too, and it was really different. It built up and had some cool twists, and some of it was creepy, but it also had fun parts. And so many magical happenings and interesting characters! It’s told in first-person by Mig and it was sooo intriguing to read it as a journal of sorts. It also has one of my favorite quotes about happy endings. I love it so much and I had to make a quote graphic for it awhile back, which I’ve shared before but I have an excuse to share again. 😀

Hexwood

April 6, 2017

Another top-favorite one! And definitely requires more than one read-through. XD I re-read it for March Magics last year and it was even better the second time. It’s just a mind-blowing book, with soooo many different genres and complex twists all thrown together. I love it so much! And Mordion is my absolute favorite! Some of it’s a bit darker, and it’s terribly confusing at times until you piece together what’s happening (I kept a diagram of who was who while I read it!) but it’s just so unique and delightful. 😀 It also has out of order timey-wimey stuff, modern/sci-fi/fantasy, Arthurian elements, robots, dragons… ALL THE THINGS. Check out my review if you like. ^_^

Another of my favorite quotes. ❤

Puss in Boots

May 14, 2017

This is a rather short kid’s-book about Puss in Boots, which was fairly straightforward but a fun read. 🙂 I now consider it the ultimate version of this fairy tale. XD DWJ did a good job of making it make more sense and of course her cat character was fabulous. It was fun and had a few illustrations too. Not 100% necessary to read this one but I did really enjoy it. 🙂

Dogsbody

June 3, 2017

This one was sooo unique and I loved it being from the POV of a dog! And in Ireland. The mystery was really interesting. Also, the Wild Hunt! And sentient planets. *grinning* Yep, it has all sorts of things. XD Again, a bittersweet ending meant it wasn’t my faaaavorite, but there was a lot to love. But seriously, dog point of view! XD So much fun!

2018

The Game

March 6, 2018

The whole idea and the mythosphere and all the story bits were brilliant. I wish it had been longer than a novella because it was so fascinating. LOVED this one. I want to re-read it. I particularly love all the myth bits and the characters and all of it.

Yes Dear

March 18, 2018

This was a picture book! Which… again, I don’t remember that well, but I do remember reading it, on a special library trip to a library I hadn’t been to before, specifically because I knew this book was there and it was my birthday month and I wanted to read it. XD I know it was fun (people, pay attention if a child tells you something magical is happening. :P) and I was glad I read it!

The Homeward Bounders

March 12, 2018

EXTREMELY vivid and I loved parts of it, particularly the worldhopping stuff and a certain cool character! Actually, more than one… Just… bittersweet ending, and creepy parts, and I’m stark terrified of anchors now. O_O But a great narrator and WORLD HOPPINGGGG! Kinda mixed on it but there were definitely great things about it. Fascinating and intense and really interesting!

A Sudden Wild Magic

March 31, 2018

I enjoyed this one but I consider it one of her darker, stranger books. XD This one was written for adults so there was more content in this and just more disturbing, so… I figure you can give this one a miss unless you’re being thorough like I am and trying to read all her books. XD Feels a bit more scifi than some. I did enjoy parts of it though! I mostly remember the part with the guy who loved his car. XD And I think there were centaurs!

Dalemark Quartet Re-Read

Okay, I said I wasn’t going to post about re-reads in here, but it’s worth noting my epic re-read of the entire Dalemark Quartet in the second half of 2018. I loved it so much, and there were even plot threads I’d forgotten, so some of it was like discovering it the first time! DWJ is the only author who can do that to me. XD (We won’t discuss how many times I forgot and rediscovered the villain of Conrad’s Fate. XD)

2019

A Tale of Time City

January 6, 2019

Who loves timey-wimey stories? Meeee! A few of Diana Wynne Jones’s books have time stuff in them, most notably this one. The idea of Time City, a city outside time, was really cool. I read this one early last year and had a blast! A bit of sci-fi and WWII era for those who like that. (Even if I don’t usually; but I didn’t mind. XD) If you like Doctor Who you might enjoy this! Elio is the best and I NEED A BUTTER PIE!!!

Earwig and the Witch

January 20, 2019

The illustrations were actually really distracting for me on this one and I feel like I would have liked it better if it hadn’t been illustrated? That’s… weird and probably just me. XD It mostly wasn’t a super favorite but I did enjoy some of it, of course. There’s always something fun about DWJ books! Also, the cat was great. XD

That’s all I got to last year of new ones. I did a lot of re-reading DWJ throughout the rest of 2019, though, and it was so fun!

2020 (so far)

Unexpected Magic

January 8, 2020

An anthology of sci-fi and fantasy short stories. I especially loved No One (genius robot plots. XD), Little Dot (wonderful story from a cat’s point of view), and Everard’s Ride (unique novella set in historical times with some interesting twists and not quite like anything I’d read! One of the author’s earlier works). Some stories were creepy or a bit too weird — short stories are always hit or miss for me, regardless of their author, but it was a quite interesting collection! So glad I finally read this one.

The Islands of Chaldea

March 12, 2020

The latest one, which I just read this month for the first time! It was so much fun! I loved Aileen and the sprawling cast of varied characters. I loved the different islands and getting to travel across them (rather like the British Isles but still with their own twists). I loved the creatures! What fun. And I love how it all wrapped up rather well —  I’m quite curious where Diana’s sister Ursula picked up the story’s threads, but they worked quite well! And the little romance threads were adorable, and the twists were delightful! (Also, how about that hot air balloon?? <3) So much fun! What a delightful final work from an incredible author.


And there’s my DWJ Journey, part 2! I’ve so loved getting to discover more of her works in the last few years.

I still have a small handful left to read. (The Time of the Ghost, Witch’s Business/Wilkin’s Tooth, Stopping for a Spell… I think that’s it? Not really counting Changover since it was before her main works and so hard to find. There might be a stray short story or few.) But I’ve read most of her books — 39? I think? — and a couple other short stories.

It’s been a beautiful journey (8 years so far, as March 14 this month, which marked the 8 year anniversary of the first time I read Howl’s Moving Castle!), and the best thing about it is that I get to wander back down this road and stop to enjoy the stories and places along the way all over again.

Hope you enjoyed and thanks for reading. ^_^

Book Ishness! (March 2020)

Just a very quick post today, featuring some GORGEOUS books that released this month, and an update on what I’m reading.

(I usually post these early in the month but life intervened. 😛 And if you want to know what I’m reading, check out my March Magics post!)

MARCH RELEASES

*squeaking* LOOK HOW PRETTY! ❤ I can’t get over these stunning covers. They make me happy! (Titles link to Goodreads.)

  • Emberhawk – Jamie Foley — I ADORED this new fantasy adventure from one of my favorite authors! You can read my review here but it’s just delightful and features elemental magic and a snarky fox. 😀
  • On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness & North! Or Be Eaten – Andrew Peterson — These are the new editions, with new illustrations, in hardcover! I’m so excited! I loved On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness when I read it a year or two back, and I’ve been meaning to read North! Or Be Eaten (I love that title) ever since, so maybe this will push me to do that finally. 😉 Also, I just read this author’s nonfiction Adorning the Dark and loved it.
  • The New Emperor’s Concerto – Hazel B. West — *incoherent squawking* I’m SO thrilled this book is releasing on Tuesday! It’s a delightfully British book full of snark and action and unlikely buddies and one of the most epic butlers ever. I adore it!
  • Dragons and Ravens – E. E. Rawls — I’m so excited about this novella featuring characters from Strayborn! It sounds so intriguing!
  • Ronnie Akkard and the Brotherhood of Blades – A. C. Williams — This sounds like a super fun superhero story! And I can tell the hero is snarky just from the blurb so I bet it’s a blast. XD

MY READING NEWS

February Reads

I shared about these on my other blog but I’ll repost here. 😛

Compared to January’s fifteen reads, I did not, seemingly, read as much. But some of these were a bit longer, and mostly delicious, so we’ll call it a win.

  • Cry of the Raven (Morgan L. Busse) // A new favorite! (My review.)
  • Lifelong Writing Habit (Chris Fox) // Some interesting tips.
  • Fairest Son (H.S.J. Williams) // Delightful novella! (My review.)
  • Green Dolphin Country (Elizabeth Goudge) // Absolutely fascinating!
  • This Year You Write Your Novel (Walter Mosley) // Eh. It was okay.
  • In the Region of the Summer Stars (Stephen R. Lawhead) // Aaahh! This was magnificent! Another favorite. I need the sequel ASAP. (My review.)

March So Far

So far this month, I enjoyed a couple of picture books (The Four Donkeys by Lloyd Alexander + Saint George and the Dragon by Geraldine McCaughrean), as well as a nonfiction (Adorning the Dark by Andrew Peterson) and an ARC (Emberhawk by Jamie Foley). I’ve gotten one Pratchett (Thief of Time) and one Diana Wynne Jones (The Islands of Chaldea) read so far for March Magics. I loved them! I’ve loved all the books I’ve read so far this month. ^_^ Maybe I’ll have some further thoughts later, but that’s what I’ve been reading. 🙂

Currently Reading

  • I’m currently reading A Hat Full of Sky (Pratchett) and enjoying it. The Feegles! XD
  • I’m behind on my bookclub read (Lady of Kingdoms by Suzannah Rowntree) but it’s rich and intriguing so far — historical fantasy during the Crusades!
  • My exercise routines have suffered from all the rain lately so I haven’t listened to If Wishes Were Curses in awhile but one of these days I’m going to finish this fun urban fantasy! (Audiobooks take me way longer than they should and I feel kind of bad about that. XD)
  • And I kind of got sidetracked from Scoundrels but need to get back to that because it’s a delightful Han Solo heist book I’m rereading and having a blast.

RECENT POSTS

Recent Reviews

That’s it on today’s little update. Hope you enjoyed it and that you are all hanging in there and reading good books. Tell me about a book you’re enjoying! Thanks for reading! ❤

March Magics 2020!

It’s March! And that’s means (aside from it being my birthday month) that it’s March Magics / Diana Wynne Jones March!

This online celebration is hosted by Kristin @ We Be Reading and I always have a blast celebrating the works of Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett! 😀 (Though my posts always lean more DWJ. XD)

Read on for my (slightly ambitious, as usual; we’ll see how much happens. XD) plans for the month, including a giveaway!

(And drop by this post at We Be Reading for the official kickoff. The theme is Make Your Own Magic!)

PAGE

Here’s what’s on my TBR for the month!

New Reads

  • The Islands of Chaldea – Diana Wynne Jones — I haven’t read this one yet! I’M SO EXCITED. The more DWJ I read, the more precious are the last few I’ve yet to experience. So I’m very curious and looking forward to this one which was published posthumously, completed by her sister Ursula Jones.
  • Thief of Time – Terry Pratchett — Also a new read! I FINALLY got my hands on this one and I can’t wait to at long last finish Death’s arc of the Discworld series, which is the only arc I’ve gotten more than one book into, yet. XD I’m looking forward to diving in! And I’m always up for a timey-wimey plot.
  • A Hat Full of Sky – Terry Pratchett — I had a blast last year reading The Wee Free Men (it made it to my Top 15 Reads of 2019), so I can’t wait to try this next one in the Tiffany Aching series, because those Nac Mac Feegles are hilarious. XD

Re-Reads

  • Fire and Hemlock – Diana Wynne Jones — I’ve been meaning to reread this one ever since I read it the first time, so hopefully this will be the year it finally happens! I’m excited and also lowkey nervous since it’s been a long time and I don’t know how similar it is to my WIP The Other Half of Everything which I’m writing. XD
  • Deep Secret – Diana Wynne Jones — If I manage to read all of the above, I’ve also been looking forward to trying this one again, which I read for my very first March Magics back in 2016! I liked it the first time and want to revisit it since I don’t remember it very well. XD

SCREEN

I’m hoping to re-watch Howl’s Moving Castle since it’s been awhile since I saw it! It’s one of those rare movies that I love even though it’s different than the book.

I still love the book best (I’ve read it six times so far!) but the Studio Ghibli movie is totally different and adorable and fun and I love it despite the differences!

BOOKSTAGRAM

Sneaky sneak-peek!

I have Splendid Plans for this month on Bookstagram! I’m going to be sharing all my Diana Wynne Jones collection throughout the month, and hopefully a few Pratchetts too, so if you are interested in that, feel free to drop by my account: @deborahocarroll

Giveaway

Speaking of Instagram, I was thinking of having a giveaway over there sometime during the month, for a copy of Mixed Magics (the short story collection in the DWJ Chrestomanci series!).

But I don’t want to leave out those who are blog readers or don’t have Instagram . . .

So! To enter to win a lightly-used paperback copy of Mixed Magics by Diana Wynne Jones: leave a comment below mentioning 1) that you’d like to enter the giveaway, and 2) telling me your favorite Diana Wynne Jones book or if you’re new to her works! 🙂

Note: It’s prooobably not the best place to start if you’ve never read a Chrestomanci story or any of DWJ’s work, since it will be more appreciated if you are already familiar with the world/characters, but I’ll leave that to your discretion. 🙂

I will also post about this giveaway sometime during the month over on Instagram for extra entries or for those who don’t see this post here, so some of you may have a chance to enter twice. If you are on Instagram, follow me so you don’t miss it!

Giveaway runs until 11:59 pm Central Time, Sunday, March 29, 2020. US only, please! (Sorry, INT peeps. I love you too, but shipping costs…)

I’ll announce a winner at the end of the month in my wrapup post, hopefully on March 31. 🙂

BLOG

I have a few posts of a DWJ-ish nature which I would like to post during the month, here and perhaps on my other blog, so we’ll see how many of those I actually get written/posted! XD

This month will mark 8 years since I read my very first DWJ book, which is exciting!

I have an idea for a post about writing lessons to learn from Howl’s Moving Castle . . . if I can get that together.

Also, wayyy-back-when, I did a My Diana Wynne Jones Journey post and I’d like to do a Part 2 post about the DWJ books I’ve read since then, so we’ll see if I can get to that!

In the meantime, some of my old DWJ posts and a list of the books by her that I’ve read, as well as quote graphics I’ve made and things, can be found here!


Whew! I’m super excited for whichever of these things I manage to get done this month. I’m so excited to celebrate all things Diana Wynne Jones! (And Terry Pratchett too, of course. ;))

How About You?

Are you planning anything for March Magics? It’s all very relaxed and DIY this year!

If you’re a fan, now is a great time to reread your favorite book by either of these authors, or pick up that new one of their books you want to try.

And if you haven’t discovered Diana Wynne Jones yet, it’s the perfect time to try out one of her books! (I recommend Howl’s Moving Castle, of course. ;))

Join in with the #MarchMagics and/or #DWJMarch hashtags around social media, and be sure to share any blog posts or exciting things you’re up to for this, so everyone can read your post, in the comments of the post over at We Be Reading. Thanks again to Kristen for hosting. ^_^

Let me know what you think! Thanks for reading, and happy March Magics / DWJ March!

Top 15 Favorite Reads of 2019!

Yes, I’m finally here with my favorite books I read last year! (A wizard is never late. *cough*)

Out of all the 140 books (yes, many of those were short stories or novellas) that I read in 2019 (according to my Goodreads list if you’d like to see all of them! My personal spreadsheet has 175, but anyway. XD), there were MANY amazing stories, but here are some of the ones that stood out!

But first, stats! Because stats are fun.

  • 37 new-to-me novels
  • 48 smaller reads (short stories or novellas etc.)
  • 28 rereads (some were short stories)
  • 6 anthologies
  • 9 nonfiction
  • 13 picture books
  • 10 beta-reads
  • 2 graphic novels
  • 3 misc.
  • 4 audiobook
  • 14 libraried

Oh, and here is a picture of the books I read in 2019 of which I have physical copies. 😀 (54. Last year there were 52. XD)

The pretties! Top: New reads. Middle left: Nonfiction, children’s, anthologies. Middle right: Re-reads (yes, half of it IS by Diana Wynne Jones; why do you ask?). Bottom: bookmarks to represent some books that I don’t own or read in ebook form. Plus a picture book and novella.

Now on with the main post!

In no particular order, other than that the top few are my top favorites, I present…

My Top 15 Favorite Books I Read In 2019

1. Oath of the Outcast (C.M. Banschbach)

Hands-down my favorite book of the year! I had a massive book hangover after reading this and I’m not sure I’ve recovered. It’s just so good! You’ve got a Celtic flavor, epic brothers-by-blood-and-by-bond, much stabbiness, rivers of snark (oh, man, the snark. XD), and of course my smol floof of anger management issues, the Mountain Baron a.k.a. Rhys, outcast and leader of the outlaw Cairns, most epic character of ever, who’s just setting foot on the start of a long road to redemption. I JUST LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH.

[MY REVIEW]

2. Flight of the Raven (Morgan L. Busse)

I adored the first book, and each one gets even more amazing! Flight of the Raven was just SO good (and, spoiler alert, I just read and loved book 3, and I think each one of them is going to end up on the top-reads-of-the-year posts in the years I read them!). Dreamwalking, water powers, growing peril in the land, wonderful worldbuilding and fascinating fantasy “gifts”/powrs, and characters I’ve fallen head-over-heels for! I loved this one so much! ^_^ And getting to dress up as Lady Selene Ravenwood when I went to Realm Makers (and the author also, surprise, dressing as Selene!) was definitely a highlight!

[MY REVIEW]

3. Cress (Marissa Meyer)

I liked Cinder, enjoyed Scarlet, and absolutely fell in love with Cress! I can’t wait to read Winter! Audiobooking Cress was definitely a highlight. I got to live the adventure alongside Cress and Thorne (my faves!) and all the other characters I’d grown to love in the previous book, and all while exercising this summer! (The parts in the Sahara coincided with dead-of-Texas-summer heat, so that made it an interesting exercise companion. XD) IT’S JUST SO MUCH FUN! I’m so glad I finally tried this series. 🙂

4. Curse and Consequence (Savannah Jezowski)

I loved this so much that I read it twice in the same week, because I simply HAD to share the delightful and hilarious story aloud. My siblings and I now quote these characters, particularly Hugh. XD (“Wicky, how could you!”) It’s a Regency-esque fantasy novella, with magical curses and shenanigans, a dragon, and a very Twinkle-like character. IT’S HILARIOUS and I need book two yesterday.

[MY REVIEW]

5. Head in the Heavens (E.B. Dawson)

*screaming* I don’t know WHY I adore this collection so much, other than that the author is apparently a genius. Anyway, E.B. Dawson made me fall in love with sci-fi short stories enough that they’re in my top reads of the year! I binge-read them separately and was THRILLED when they were collected in this handy volume. Sci-fi Moby Dick and Beauty and the Beast, GORGEOUS writing, and edge-of-your-seat dystopian (I don’t even like dystopian but this was just SO GOOD??), are only some of the delights that await you in this anthology!

[MY REVIEW]

6. Deadwood + Hollow (Kyle Robert Shultz)

I simply HAVE to mention these new Afterverse books, Crockett & Crane book 2 and 2.5! (I did edit them, since I am, after all, the Editor of the Afterverse. But they are totally going on this list of simply as a books this fangirling reader loves.)

In Deadwood, Todd and his friends face off against a creepy sentient town in the magical wild west. Also, I love how we get more of Julio, everyone’s favorite (second-favorite?) dragon! There is plenty of signature banter and humor and magical fun, but everything has a more serious side too, as well as creepy Pinocchio elements, and there are plenty of feels! But Todd and Julio are just THE BEST, OKAY? OKAY.

Speaking of feels, HOLLOW! It’s Sleepy Hollow meets Wonderland with a dash of time travel and WOW. It’s so delicious. And, again, feelsy. But with Ichabod Crane (Todd’s ancestor) as the main character, and important characters from both the Crockett & Crane and Beaumont & Beasley series . . . it’s ABSOLUTELY AWESOME and mind-blowing. It packs quite a punch for a novella! (Plus, that cover! *heart eyes*)

[MY REVIEW OF HOLLOW]

7. Dark is the Night (Mirriam Neal)

A new book from Mirriam Neal released and some of my favorite characters, Skata and Angel, have been published — THIS IS NOT A DRILL. I adored this book years ago when I beta-read it, and having it finally on my shelf is A DREAM. I’m so happy to have read the final version in all its vampire-hunter, urban fantasy, southern gothic, snarky-hilarious-banter-buddy-story glory! Buddy stories are my fave, and Skata and Angel are THE BEST. XD

[MY REVIEW]

8. Magic Kingdom for Sale (Terry Brooks)

This one was sheer fun, and I’m so pleased that I finally picked it up on the recommendation of Jenelle Schmidt. I was determined to read one book by Terry Brooks before going to Realm Makers 2019, where I got to meet him (!!!), and this one fit the bill perfectly. It’s a delightful portal fantasy from back when that wasn’t really a thing, and I loved the down-to-earth-ness of the main character, and the quirkiness of the world and other characters! A blast.

9. Mechanical Heart (Sarah Pennington)

Aaahh, this book! I had been dying to read it for years, and I was so excited to get to devour this author’s first full-length novel! Steampunk Rapunzel in a clocktower, with solid characters, politics, mysteries, and inventions? YES PLEASE! I still have not read enough Steampunk, but this is another one to add to the slowly growing list of ones I’ve read and loved. Fabulous!

[MY REVIEW]

10. The Fall of Gondolin (J.R.R. Tolkien & Christopher Tolkien)

Bittersweet as the last book Christopher Tolkien released, made more so by his recent passing, but so, so gorgeous, and a fitting end. I’m so grateful that he got to share so many stories and drafts his father wrote with us fortunate readers! This one was different than The Children of Hurin and Beren and Luthien, but as the third of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Great Tales of the Silmarillion, it was an absolute delight to get a closer look at those drafts and I was surprised how much detail there was, if sad that it wasn’t finished. I absolutely loved it, and the illustrations by Alan Lee are AMAZING!

11. The Wee Free Men (Terry Pratchett)

*laughing* The Nac Mac Feegle, though. XD They’re hilarious and totally the reason why I loved this. I had a blast reading it, and really enjoyed the gorgeous illustrated edition I managed to find at a library. It had a more Celtic feel than the other Discworld books I’ve read, and feels somehow different than them, and rather a lot more like a Diana Wynne Jones for some reason. Maybe it’s because of the young main character, who’s great! I can’t wait to read more about the Feegles and their Scottish accents and ridiculous, hilarious shenanigans. XD

12. Flower of the Underworld (Hazel B. West)

At this point, Hazel West is probably my favorite Urban Fantasy author. I absolutely LOVE her Modern Tales of Na Fianna series (the best UF everrrr), so I was curious to try this modern retelling of Hades and Persephone. IT WAS SUCH A BLAST. The normalized setting of Greek mythology in contemporary times was perfect and hilarious, and there were so many shenanigans, as well as much humor. And Hades (who’s like the only nice guy in his powerhungry family) and Persephone (who works at a landscaping business) are so much fun. And she gives him a plant named George so OBVIOUSLY this book is just the best. I just had way too much fun reading it. XD

13. Strayborn (E.E. Rawls)

This just made me happy, okay? It’s a middle-grade Christian Fantasy magical-academy type story and it felt so fresh and delightful! The characters were fabulous and unique and I loved so many of them — particularly the mentor character, Master Nephryte, who reminded me a little of Chrestomanci! Also, that cover! ❤

[MY REVIEW]

14. The Boggart Fights Back (Susan Cooper)

Aaahh! So, the first two Boggart books were on my top reads of the year lists when I read them, and I suddenly found out that years and years later there was a sequel that just came out?? I immediately snagged it from the library and devoured it. Modern fantasy set in Scotland, this time about the children of the characters from the first two. And I love the mischievous Boggart and Nessie! Delightful. 🙂

15. Compass South + Knife’s Edge (Hope Larson & Rebecca Mock)

I haven’t really read graphic novels before, so this was a first for me, and I’m surprised to see these creeping in at the end of my list, but I just HAD to include them! It’s a duology, and I’ve talked about them before, but they’re just SO MUCH FUN . Swashbuckling MG/YA graphic novels, 99% clean historical fiction, with fun characters (and twins!), unexpected twists, and just… These little books made me happy! I’m so glad I randomly picked them up at the library! 🙂


Aaand here’s a picture of all the ones I own in physical form so far!


So there are my “official” top fifteen (ish) favorites . . . but we’re not done yet!

Now I need to share some runners-up and favorites in other categories.

RUNNERS-UP THAT MAKE ME HAPPY

1. Beneath the Haunting Sea (Joanna Ruth Meyer)

This is by the author of Echo North (one of my top five favorite books I read in 2018), so naturally it’s excellent! Sea and island vibes, original mythology and fabulous characters, and all gorgeous and wild. The Silmarillion meets Jane Eyre is how it was pitched to me, which I find rather accurate. Aside from a love triangle, simply fabulous!

2. Ghostlight (Rabia Gale)

BECAUSE TREY. Trey is the hero of this book and singlehandedly gains it a spot on my favorites. A little spooky for me, but it gave me a slight book hangover, and it’s a delightful regency-esque fantasy with fabulous banter, and did I mention Trey?

3. Jeeves and the Wedding Bells (Sebastian Faulks)

It may not quite be Wodehouse, but it gets jolly close. What a hilarious set of shenanigans! Bertie Wooster and Jeeves and the usual hijinks, in a fabulous homage to P.G. Wodehouse’s classic tales.

4. Ewan Pendle and the Castle of Nightmares (Shaun Hume)

Academy story. Modern-day London. Scotland. Ewan and his misfit friends are my favorite. A dragon. A mysterious castle. It’s just a wonderful romp and it makes me happy! (Sequel to Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith.)

5. Fortunately, the Milk . . . (Neil Gaiman)

Well, firstly, that title, which I quote all the time. Secondly, this is absolutely hilarious and it makes me smile and it just wanted to be on this list! (Even if there are obviously other books I read this year which I liked more in general. But it’s just so funny and I had to mention it. XD) I particularly love re-reading the beginning. XD This currently joins Make Good Art as one of my favorite books from this author.


And then a few other categories…


FAVORITE SHORT STORIES

Arbrook Huxley and the Miraculous Confection (Mollie E. Reeder)

A new short story about Huxley from The Electrical Menagerie! *screaming* This story was an absolute delight, and so well-written. It gave me all of the feels! And the ending was perfect. I laughed so hard and then I had to read it to my siblings. XD I just love it! Absolutely delicious.

The Grift of the Magi (Ally Carter)

I loved the Heist Society books when I read them ages ago, and this might be my favorite one! It’s a short story (or maybe novella?), set after book 3, at Christmas-time, and it’s. so. good. HALE and feels and Christmas and a snowstorm and a Scottish castle and so many cons and things and a great twist at the end. I love it so much!

(There’s not a “cover” for the Jayden and Dana stories, but the one I first read was collected in this anthology awhile back, so I’m using this picture. Also, it’s just a really excellent anthology, even if I didn’t read it this year. XD)

Jayden and Dana stories (Arthur Daigle)

These don’t have covers or anything, and I mentioned them in my favorites last year, but they’re a continuing sort of short story serial over on Booksie. I just LOVE reading about these two characters, Dana Illwind and Sorcerer Lord Jayden. I “met” them in some of the Fellowship of Fantasy anthologies, and went on to read more stories of their adventures as they’re posted from time to time. There’s over a dozen of these now and I highly recommend checking them out! Jayden is the best, and so is Dana, and I love their banter and the fantastical adventures they get up to!


FAVORITE PICTURE BOOKS

‘Twas an Evening in Bethlehem (Jenelle Leanne Schmidt)

I love this so much! The art is so soft and charming and the story and poem are lovely, with elegant borders and a great cover, and the whole is just a gorgeous picture book that I love! ^_^

King Arthur’s Very Great Grandson (Kenneth Kraegel)

I ADORE THIS. I found it at the library and it’s one of the best picture books I’ve read. It’s about the great-great-great-etc. grandson of King Arthur, a little boy, who goes looking for monsters to fight, with the absolute BEST outcomes. XD I just love it!


FAVORITE NONFICTION

I think I read about ten nonfiction books this year, most of them about writing in one way or another, and these were my top favorites.

Not Write Now (Kyle Robert Shultz)

I actually copyedited this one, but it’s a marvelous reverse-psychology writer self-help book. I’ve never read anything like it before, but it’s actually really helpful and also absolutely hilarious. XD

Sometimes the Magic Works (Terry Brooks)

I had the delight of meeting Terry Brooks at the Realm Makers 2019 conference, and picked this up while I was there. I’m new to his work this year, but this collection of essays about his experiences as a writer was fabulous, and really encouraged me in a difficult time. Plus, it was just really fun. 🙂


I know that was a lot! *hides face* I just want to share all the books. XD Have you read any of these? Any going on your TBR? What was YOUR favorite book(s) of 2019? Thanks for reading!

4th Blogiversary & Jan. 2020 Book Ishness!

Happy New Year! Hey, it’s only January 3rd—I’m still allowed to say that. XD Speaking of which, today is J.R.R. Tolkien’s birthday! (Always have to commemorate that day since he’s my favorite author. ^_^)

Also, January 1st was the fourth anniversary of when I started this book blog, so I’m pretty excited! Happy Blogiversary to the Page Dreamer. ^_^ And… it’s 2020. Not quite sure how. O_O

Anyway, I’m here to share a few January releases and what I read in December!

But first, a few quick stats in honor of my blogiversary!

  • 228 posts
  • 281 followers (1,136 including connected social accounts)
  • 1,784 likes
  • 2,576 comments
  • 6,249 visitors
  • 13,973 views
  • 218,842 words of posts

Also, I apparently wrote 50,376 words on this blog in 2019 alone, which does not count my other blog, so… O_O

Anyway, this is a fun time to look back at four years of this book blog. I’ve had a blast with it so far!

But better than any numbers is getting to chat with y’all about books I love, and all of YOU, my blog readers, who are the ones who make this blogging thing fun. 🙂

Thanks so much for hanging out with me here these last four years, and here’s to four more!

JANUARY 2020 RELEASES

  • Beyond the Shadowed Earth by Joanna Ruth Meyer(Jan. 14) This one is very soon on my TBR and I’m hoping I can read and review it by the time it releases, but I’m SO stoked about this book! It’s a companion novel to Beneath the Haunting Sea, which I read last year and adored. (And it’s by the author of Echo North which was one of my top reads which I shrieked about early last year and have been shrieking about since. XD) Also, I hear there are some snazzy preorder goodies.
  • The Geppetto Codex by Kyle Robert Shultz(Jan. 17) Guyssss, it’s the next Beaumont and Beasley book! Remember how The Stroke of Eleven came out awhile back? And then there was The Hound of Duville novella and various other shorter B&B adventures… Well, this one is the next B&B novel and it’s releasing in just two weeks! *gasp* There’s a preorder where you can read more about it, but I edited this one and it features Gareth the faun and Sylvia the dryad, scary puppets, and the Afterverse version of Venice. YES PLEASE. And, of course, lots of the usual snark and humor. 😉
  • The Black Claw by Jessi L. Roberts — (Jan. 20) I copyedited this a couple of months ago and it’s an excellent space opera novella! I’m so excited to read Hand of Steel, which is the book before this one (and I remember seeing it at Realm Makers when it had just released), so that I can get the “backstory” on these characters. If you need a bit of space pirates and bounty hunters and excitement to kick off your year, check these out. ^_^
  • Hidden Current by Sharon Hinck(Jan. 28) I don’t know a lot about this one but it’s the next book from Enclave and it’s GORGEOUS! Plus, a fantasy novel that prominently features dancing sounds really unique.

December 2019 Reads

Christmas reads

I went on a bit of a Christmas story reading-rampage. XD I just felt in the mood and devoured several short works which I’d been saving up.

Most of these I mentioned in my Christmas books post, so I won’t repeat thoughts about them here. The last few were after that post, though. 🙂

  • Brown-ears by Stephen Lawhead (re-read!)
  • The Least of These by Kate Willis
  • The Dragon and the Santa by Emily Martha Sorenson
  • The 12 Cats of Christmas by Perry Kirkpatrick
  • Nyssa Glass’s Clockwork Christmas by H. L. Burke
  • The Grift of the Magi by Ally Carter
  • ’Twas an Evening in Bethlehem by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt (adorable picture book!)
  • Holidays at the Castle by Jessica Day George — Fun short story.
  • Some Christmas Camoflage by E. S. Grayson — Really enjoyed this historical fiction short story. 🙂
  • The Ninjabread Man — Okay, so it’s not totally Christmas, but it’s a gingerbread man picture book retelling, but with ninjas. It’s basically The Gingerbread Man meets Kung Fu Panda and I loved it. XD

Non-Christmas reads

  • Knife’s Edge by Hope Larson and Rebecca Mock — A graphic novel! I read the first one, Compass South, in November, and was so excited to get this one from the library and finish this duology. Swashbuckling high-seas middle-grade historical fiction graphic novels. They were SO much fun and I loved them so much! ❤
  • Jeeves and the Wedding Bells by Sebastian Faulks — This novel was a tribute to P.G. Wodehouse, and I’ve been meaning to read it for YEARS so I was terribly pleased to pick it up at the library and finally read it. It was absolutely hilarious and I loved it so much. XD Jeeves and Bertie have to switch places, Jeeves being a Lord Etringham and Bertie his gentleman’s gentleman, and that’s only the beginning of the shenanigans. Yes, it wasn’t Wodehouse, but it wasn’t pretending to be, and on the whole the author did an absolutely terrific job of capturing the essence of Bertie Wooster’s narration and the shenanigans that always happen. It was just SO much fun and it made me happy. 😀
  • My Man Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse — So then I was in the mood for some more Jeeves and I dug this one out of my Kindle and read the short stories in it that were Jeeves-ish (which, yes, means I skipped half the book, but who’s counting). HILARIOUS. Wodehouse’s classic characters are… well… classic. Hurrah for Jeeves!
  • A Storm Grows by Janeen Ippolito — Poetry collection, very short, which I opened on my Kindle app on my phone to look at and ended up reading the whole thing. It felt kinda dark and sad but I liked some of them, even if poetry isn’t usually my thing. XD
  • Murder on New Year’s Eve by P. Creeden — I was sorting my Kindle app and found this and so obviously I had to read it on New Year’s Eve. XD It was a pretty interesting short story.

Also, if you want to check out the books I read in 2019, Goodreads has a handy-dandy list right here.

I’m going to sign off with some books I got for Christmas, and collage of my top nine most liked pictures on my Instagram!

That’s what I have for today. I’m not sharing a TBR right now since I’m not sure what I’ll be able to read this month, and I haven’t figured out my New Year goals and things. But I’m in the middle of way too many books right now. O_O I must finish some before I go crazy. XD

I’ll be back hopefully soon-ish with a list of my favorite books I read in 2019!

Thanks for reading, and happy 2020! May it be full of books!

Christmas-y Books!

(The Christmas books I own in physical form — and more listed below!)

Hello, my dear Pagelings! I’ll probably take a blogging break until the New Year (2020! *gasp*).

But before I slip off to enjoy the holidays, I wanted to share a list of Christmas-ish books! Ones I’ve read, ones on my TBR, and favorites!

If you’re looking for something Christmas-y to read, maybe you’ll find ideas on this list… and maybe you’ll recognize some favorites of your own!

If you don’t have time to read all of the post, skim for the titles marked in red because those are my favorites. 😀

I link to a few of them, but if you want to read more about any of them, you can find them all on Goodreads here!


Christmas Books and Novellas

  • A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens) — I mean, obviously. XD I enjoyed the original book, though I still say The Muppet Christmas Carol is my favorite version of this story. 😉
  • The Grift of the Magi (Ally Carter) — I just read this one and it MADE MY DAY, although those who have read the three Heist Society books will enjoy it more, since it’s a novella set after them. I love it! (Hale!)
  • Nyssa Glass’s Clockwork Christmas (H. L. Burke) — D’aww! Another one I just read this month. Nyssa and Ellis being cute and misunderstanding each other and trying to make their first Christmas perfect. Lovely steampunk Christmas novella. 🙂
  • Kate’s Christmas (Sarah Holman) — This came out last month and it’s another fabulous Kate’s Case Files FBI mystery book! With dashes of Christmas. ^_^
  • Freddy Goes to the North Pole (Walter R. Brooks) — I heard this audiobook when I was younger and I just love Freddy the Pig, Jinx the cat, Eek, Quick, Eeny, and Cousin Augustus (the mice), Mrs. Wiggins the cow, and even Charles the rooster. They go to the North Pole in this one and have to save Santa’s workshop from “pirates” and it’s been years since I read it but it was really fun.
  • When Santa Fell to Earth (Cornelia Funke) — Although I’m not always the hugest fan of Santa plotlines, a friend recommended this and I absolutely adored this book! Niklas is actually a young man who is “a Santa” (he’s really cool!) and his caravan crashes in an alley near a little boy’s house because his invisible reindeer ran off. It’s so charming and I love the illustrations.

Christmas Short Stories

  • The Sixth Christmas (Mollie E. Reeder) — THIS ONE. It’s sort of between a short story and a novella and it’s slightly Christmas-Carol-ish with a smidge of time-travel and the writing is FABULOUS and I just LOVE IT SO MUCH. AAHH. If you read only one book on this list, read this one. ^_^
  • The Villain Who Saved Christmas (C. B. Cook)This. Storyyyy! It’s about superheroes and a supervillain who’s kiiind of the most important character (don’t ask but it works and it’s awesome) and it’s a Christmas short story and I LOVE IT. So many feels. (My full review.)
  • Someday at Christmas (Kyle Robert Shultz)Crossover short story featuring characters from the Beaumont & Beasley and Crockett & Crane books… It’s about young Cordelia! I just love it! *hugs story*
  • Nyssa Glass and the Caper Crisis (H. L. Burke) — A short story prequel about Nyssa Glass before her first story, with a dash of Christmas if I remember correctly.
  • For My Good (Sarah Holman) — Loved this contemporary little tale, with a dash of mystery and Christmas and cameos from some Kate’s Case Files characters!
  • Distorted Glass (Sarah Holman) — Snow-Queen-esque contemporary short story.
  • The 12 Cats of Christmas (Perry Kirkpatrick) — I just read this one and it’s a cute contemporary short.
  • The Dragon and the Santa (Emily Martha Sorensen) — This was pretty hilarious. XD And very short, so I don’t want to spoil it, but the title alone should give a hint of the fun.
  • The Least of These (Kate Willis) — Another one I just read. Quick read, much snow.
  • Red Boots (Kate Willis) — I think I read this one awhile back but I remember it being charming. 🙂

Christmas Anthologies

  • Christmas in Talesend (Kyle Robert Shultz)This one could kind of go in the short story section above, but there are four of them, so… anothologies it is. XD I love these quick Afterverse Christmas stories! Especially the last one, in which Malcolm ends up calling himself the Christmas Dragon. XD It’s delightful!
  • A Very Bookish Christmas — This is a LIMITED COLLECTION which will go away after December 31 this year, so if you’re interested, be sure to go snag a copy! It features four Christmas novellas, inspired by different classic novels! 🙂 And from four talented authors, three of whom I’m featuring other Christmas stories from in this post: Sarah Holman, Rebekah Jones, and Kate Willis. Also J. Grace Pennington! I haven’t read three of the stories in this collection, but I’m sure they’re lovely, and I adored Gingerbread Treasures by Rebekah Jones, which I copyedited and is a modern-day mystery set in a little desert town around Christmas, with great characters, fun moments, and a mystery that was unique, while also inspired by a Sherlock Holmes story!
  • A Christmas Treasury — I read this so long ago I don’t really remember it but I’m sure there were some cool stories and songs in there.

Christmas Picture Books/Etc.

  • ‘Twas an Evening in Bethlehem (Jenelle Leanne Schmidt) — This just came out and it’s lovely!! I’ve been looking forward to reading this ever since I found out one of my favorite authors was releasing a picture book, and I finally got myself a copy and I love it so much! So BEAUTIFULLLL! *hugs it*
  • Letters from Father Christmas (J. R. R. Tolkien) — The letters “from Father Christmas” that Tolkien wrote to his children every year, collected in one place, complete with illustrations he drew, and tales of shenanigans at the North Pole — including Father Christmas, Polar Bear, various elves, and problems with goblins and stuff. XD I just love it so much!
  • A Tree for Peter (Kate Seredy) — I forgot about this one until I was looking through my Goodreads list. I need to re-read it but I remember it being charming like her books always are. ^_^
  • Christmas Coloring Devotions — I got this adult coloring book for review (see mine) from Zondervan back when they still had their Booklook reviewer program. It’s pretty fun with all the Christmas-y patterns and scenes to color.

(There’s a handful of other Christmas picture books I’ve read and have on my Christmas shelf on Goodreads.)


Christmas… Ish

(Wintry Christmas-like festivals in fantasy lands)

Sometimes it’s not actually a Christmas book — since it doesn’t actually have Christmas, per se — but it feels like it!

  • Wintermoon Wish (Sharon Shinn) — This is a short story, collected in Firebirds Rising edited by Sharyn November. I don’t care for most of the stories in the anthology but Wintermoon Wish is MY FAVORITE and I always read it around this time of year. It has a fantasy holiday called Wintermoon which sort of combines Christmas/yule-logs/New Year’s/winter solstice/etc. into a neat semi-magical holiday and it’s just SUCH a cozy, delightful read, with some of my favorite characters. I LOVE IT SO MUCH. ^_^
  • Flight of the Raven (Morgan L. Busse) — There was a delightful wintry festival in this and I loved it so much! ❤ It felt Christmas-y without being quite Christmas. It just made me happy — and I loved all the candles! (My review.)
  • Hogfather (Terry Pratchett) — Um. Not quite Christmas? But very much a parody and a hilarious fantasy Christmas-ish book. Anyone who’s read this will know what I mean. XD Anyone who hasn’t… well, it might not be your cup of tea unless you are a Pratchett fan. XD Discworld’s version of Christmas! (I also saw the movie and it was weird but kind of fun. XD)
  • We Three Dragons — I read this a couple of years back and don’t remember it all that well but I know there were dragons and Christmas-y feels and three different novellas about fantasy Christmases.

Books With Christmas

(That Aren’t Christmas Books. XD)

And a few that have some of my favorite Christmas parts, but aren’t technically about Christmas. 😉

  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis) — I mean, Father Christmas and his gifts are definitely an important part of the story. 😉 Plus, so wintry! (Even if… the winter part… isn’t actually a good thing. XD)
  • The Good Master (Kate Seredy) — One of my favorite Christmas chapters is the last chapter in this book. ^_^ (Even if the rest of the book isn’t about Christmas. XD)
  • The Singing Tree (Kate Seredy) — There are some fabulous Christmas parts in this, and anyone who likes WWI-era stories will love the book in general. 🙂
  • Brown-ears (Stephen Lawhead) — Most of this isn’t a Christmas book, but the end is and it makes it so perfect! ^_^ The story of a lost toy, which reminds me of Tolkien’s Roverandom. (Yes, Stephen R. Lawhead did write children’s books. This one as well as a sequel, and three tales of the Riverbank, the first of which is The Tale of Jeremy Vole. So good!)

On my TBR

Pretty much everything in this post so far, I’ve read, but I wanted to share a few on my TBR as well!

I’ve already read a few Christmas reads this month so we’ll see if I manage to squeeze in any more, but here are the ones on my list for this year or next year. ^_^

  • The Father Christmas Confessions (Emily Ann Benedict) — I loved this author’s contribution to the Vintage Jane Austen series (she wrote Perception, a retelling of Persuasion!) and I’m excited to try more from her. 🙂
  • The Father Christmas Profession (Emily Ann Benedict) — Sequel to the above, and sounds delightful!
  • 12 Days of (Faerie) Christmas (C.J. Brightley) — I loved this author’s Lord of Dreams, and any book with “Faerie” in the title next to “Christmas” sounds like something I need. XD
  • The Lawrence Chronicles (E. Bronwyn Hinkle) — I don’t remember when I picked this up but it sounded intriguing. 🙂
  • 24 Days Before Christmas (Rebekah Jones) — Mystery set at Christmas-time? Yes please! I read Gingerbread Treasures, by this author, which is collected (for a limited time!) in A Very Bookish Christmas, as I mentioned above, and I loved the mystery and the Christmas aspect, so I’m excited to read this. 🙂
  • Christmas Carol Society (Rebekah Jones) — Another by this author, and it just sounds super fun — a Christmas Carol society with the members being assigned a “Scrooge.”
  • Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball (Donita K. Paul) — Someone mentioned this in the Realm Makers Facebook group and said they read it every year. Color me intrigued! I’m excited to read it. 🙂
  • Behold (Faith Potts) — I picked up a copy of this short story collection when it was free the other day and I’m curious to try it out. 🙂

Do you have a favorite Christmas-y/seasonal/wintry book?

(I wanted to share some favorite winter-themed books too but ran out of space. Maybe next time!)

I hope you enjoyed and maybe found a book or two you want to read, and I hope you have a fabulous holiday season! See you in the New Year! Thanks for reading! ^_^