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Top 15 Favorite Reads of 2018!

It’s time for the top reads of 2018! My favorite books I read, plus some runners-up, and for fun, my top couple of nonfiction and re-reads. So let’s get to it!

But first, a few stats, because stats are fun. 😉

Goodreads claims that I read 123 books in 2018.

“Panic ye not, Grant,” in the words of my favorite Chrestomanci; many of those were short. 😉

(Brought to you by my love of spreadsheets) I read:

  • 42 new-to-me novels
  • 12 new novellas/novelettes
  • 14 re-reads
  • 30+ individual short stories
  • 4 anthologies
  • 10 nonfiction books
  • 11 picture books
  • 3 beta-reads (which don’t count on the Goodreads total . . .)

If you’re curious to see them all, you can find them here on Goodreads.

Oh, and . . . visual representation of lots of the books I read last year. 😉

Books I read in 2018 (exactly 52 physical books! Perfect) which aren’t ebooks or borrowed from libraries/friends.

TOP 15 BOOKS OF 2018

I’m terribly indecisive about actually listing favorite books in order of favorite-ness, so these are not precisely in order, although the top-ish ones are slightly more beloved. But all of these top-15 are the most splendid books I read all year and they’re all delightful. (The top 4-ish kept wanting to trade places so . . . they’re probably my favorites overall?)

1. The Electrical Menagerie (Mollie E. Reeder)

Carthage and Huxley! ❤ An introverted illusionist and his smooth-talking young manager. Floating Isles and trains run by stardust. A murder mystery, sabotage, and a plot against the throne. An electrical butler. And most of all, some of the best banter and writing I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading! It’s so absolutely magnificent and Carthage and Huxley are my favorites! ❤ ACK. I JUST LOVE IT.

[Review]

2. Echo North (Joanna Ruth Meyer)

East of the Sun, West of the Moon. A white wolf. A scarred girl. An exuberant young man. A house with mirrors which are like books that you can step into and live their stories. Hal and the Wolf and Echo are such delightful characters and the imagination and writing left me positively pen-slain. A dash of Beauty and the Beast and Tam Lin only made it more perfect. ❤ I LOVE IT SO MUCH.

[Review]

3. Lady Moon (Rachel Starr Thomson)

I loved Lady Moon so much that I immediately re-read it aloud to my siblings. A whimsical original fairytale. A princess who we first meet languishing beautifully on the moon. A nefarious uncle. An absolutely un-pigeon-hole-able Immortal by the name of Tomas who is procrastinating his destiny (I need his clocktower to live in). And other delightful characters such as the Revolution (XD) and Winnie the wombat. I JUST CAN’T. This book is so, so fantastic and I adore it. ❤

4. Masque (W.R. Gingell)

Beauty and the Beast. A murder mystery. A delightful, funny style perfect for fans of Wodehouse, Heyer, or Diana Wynne Jones. I loved Isabella — she had such spirit! — and of course mysterous Lord Pecus. And I also loved the Horse Lords. XD Also, the book that answered questions was like a character itself, and the magical communication and hand-mirror and so on were so cool. And it was just so GORGEOUS. So many shenanigans and such humor and fun! ❤ (There’s a bit of gore due to the murders so it’s not for the squeamish but otherwise it’s perfectly delightful!)

5. Falling Snow (Skye Hoffert) — in Five Poisoned Apples

Snow White. A twist on the Huntsman and Prince characters that you’ll never see coming. A dark Faerie circus. Peril and darkness and beauty. Fire and snow. Deception and innocence. Chayse was such an awesome character and I loved him! Cynfael was so fascinating. And the writing is incredible. ❤

[Review]

6. Minstrel’s Call (Jenelle Leanne Schmidt)

The epic conclusion to the Minstrel’s Song series that began with King’s Warrior! Quests and favorite characters galore, twists and adventure, dragons, prophecies . . . It has everything. Brant and Kiernan Kane are the absolute BEST. I JUST LOVE THEM SO MUCH. And there were some twists and just — my mind was blown by all the epicness and it was a perfectly satisfactory conclusion. ❤

[Review]

7. Sage (Jamie Foley)

HELP. I can’t talk much about this because of the absolute stacks of spoilers involved . . . But there’s arena fights and characters on wings, fantastical super-powers and futuristic technology in a fantasy world, and it’s all so absolutely INTENSE. Jet is my favorite. So is another character who shall remain nameless but WOW. I was so impressed by said character’s story-arc! Just so, so good. It’s like a fantasy thriller and I probably didn’t breathe for all 300+ pages. XD

[Review]

8. Song of Leira (Gillian Bronte Adams)

Wow. Just — wow. A griffin. A small girl with a big Song. The saif which is on the cover (I need one to ride!). Beloved characters including plucky Ky, gruff Amos, and Cade who I particularly like. All the characters come SO far and go through SO much but there’s beauty too. The ending stuff was so absolutely epic that I simply can’t even. ❤

[Review]

9. The Return of Beaumont and Beasley (Kyle Robert Shultz)

Two novellas. Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Dragon archaelogist Malcolm Blackfire and reformed jewel-thief Melody Nightingale make a perfect (and hilarious) pair! (But seriously though, Malcolm!) A canine curse. Beast-ly Nick Beasley and our favorite Crispin Beasley pair up as detectives in alternate 1920s London, and their banter and brotherly interactions and all the humor and shenanigans make my day! Absolutely hilarious. XD (Crispiiiin!)

(Originally published as The Janus Elixir and The Hound of Duville. They were then bundled together and now make Beaumont and Beasley book 4, right after The Stroke of Eleven.)

10. Horseman (Kyle Robert Shultz)

Yes, I’m putting both of these on the list because I wanted to put one on and then couldn’t pick which. *cough*

The magical wild west. Part-time centaur con-man, Todd Crane. The Legend of Sleepy-Hollow like you’ve never seen it before. No-nonsense Marshall Amy Crocket. Plus Julio the Spanish dragon and Meg the sweet Gorgon teenager. And a dash of time-travel. So many shenanigans and adventures! It’s hilarious, and Todd is my favorite.

(Also, I edited this book, which means I read it . . . three times . . . so I got rather fond of it. Plus it’s sort of dedicated to me, so it’s kinda special.)

11. Blood in the Snow (Sarah Pennington)

Snow White. The Goose Girl. Asian-inspired fantasy. Gorgeously told. Awesome and super-fascinating magical system featuring wind and water. A great heroine and prince, and fantastic side-characters who I simply loved! (Like, talk about great “seven dwarves.”) Because Gan and Chouko are fabulous. And so are Baili and Xiang. SO complex and well-written, and fits everything together so well. I just love it! ❤

[Review]

12. The Last Motley (DJ Edwardson)

A simple tailor. A many-colored boy. Mysterious magic. Sinister shadows. A quest to a far-off island. I LOVED how this felt like an instant fantasy classic. It reminded me of Lloyd Alexander or Tolkien. Roderick the tailor is such a simply good hero, Jacob the Motley is precious, and Nagan is absolutely hilarious and my favorite. XD The Gitanos are so intriguing too, and we can’t forget Portia. I loved this colorful, rich fantasy. ❤

[Review]

13. Mark of the Raven (Morgan L. Busse)

A dreamwalking heroine. Assassins. Fantastic abilities like manipulating water. Wyverns. A young woman trapped by the darkness of her mother and her people’s past. A young visiting nobleman — who she’s supposed to kill. It’s all VERY EXCITING. Selene and especially Damien make great characters. ❤ (And Lady Bryren and the wyvern riders!) It was really gorgeous and gripping and just a solid epic fantasy.

[Review]

14. A Matter of Magic (Patricia C. Wrede)

This is ever-so-slightly cheating . . . because it’s actually two books in one and I’m kind of taking them as a whole, even though I read the second one first, and that was on my favorite list last year, but I’m sort of using it again? The first one was fun but I loved the second one more and . . . anyway, I’m mostly just calling the whole collection my “favorite” of this year. Regency fantasy. A young magician gentleman. A street thief girl who becomes his ward. Shenanigans and humor and magical adventures. I just really enjoyed it. 🙂 And it works best as one book.

[Review of the second half, which I read first.]

15. The Ruins of Gorlan (John Flanagan)

The first Ranger’s Apprentice book unexpectedly stole my heart. Total classic fantasy but fresh, too. Halt the Ranger is my FAVE. He’s the best and I love his dry humor. XD And of course we like Will. I just really identified with this book and Will’s journey and wanted to be a Ranger, naturally. 😉 It was just really refreshing and plain fun! (And Halt!)

[Review]


9 RUNNERS UP THAT MAKE ME HAPPY

The above list was SO hard to make because I read so many spectacular books this year! But those were the most absolutely spectacular ones.

But I still wanted to talk about some others! So off the top of my head I’m tossing in a runner-up list of a few that were just so much fun — even if they don’t quite fit on the list, or there was something about them that made them not quite a favorite, I still really loved some element of them, so I have to mention them too. 😉

I know there’s only 5 in this picture. I can count, I promise . . .

  1. Common by Laurie Lucking — I loved the FEEL of this one and just . . . it’s so absolutely sweet (but also exciting at times) and it makes me so happy! ❤
  2. Healers and Warriors by Daley Downing — This modern fantasy series just kinda makes me happy and there was a lot of epicness and fun and fabulous characters and so many thiiings going down.
  3. The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen — I thoroughly enjoyed myself reading this. All the snark that is Sage. XD I did guess the twist but I don’t mind because it’s awesome.
  4. Lightporter by C.B. Cook — Because BLAZE. He’s my fave. Anvil, too. 😉 It’s just such a fun YA superhero book and I adored it.
  5. Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn — Sci-fi isn’t usually my genre, but this was such a fun book! It’s a heist story featuring Han Solo, Chewie, Lando, and others, by the best Star Wars author, and I just loved it. XD

Not pictured above because I don’t own physical copies but still make me happy:

  1. A Royal Masquerade by Allison Tebo — Because Burndee and Prince Colin bickering are HILARIOUS and the absolute best. (And the skunk. XD)
  2. The Worth of a King by Kendra E. Ardnek — Because Delaney and Granite and the winged horses and the Zovordians.
  3. The Game by Diana Wynne Jones — 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.
  4. The Stealthmaster’s Shadow by Hope Ann — Just because I can’t stop thinking about how fabulous Verus and his snark is. XD

(So . . . that’s sort of 24 books? I REGRET NOTHING.)


OTHER STUFF: Non-Fiction + Re-Reads

Top 2 Non-Fiction Reads

  • Tolkien: A Celebration — This one is here because of a stellar essay by Stephen R. Lawhead. I read the entire collection this year, but this essay is still one of my favorites of all time, and anyone who is a writer (particularly of fantasy) needs to read it!
  • Punctuation 101 by Jill Williamson — Speaking of writers . . . Everyone needs this one, too! 😉 I had the chance to help beta-read/proofread this little book and I absolutely loved it! PUNCTUATION 101 is practical, succinct, fun, and easy to read. I zoomed right through it! I learned a few things, and I think it will be a very helpful book to refer to in the future. 🙂

Top 2 Re-Reads

  • The Beast of Talesend by Kyle Robert Shultz — I’ve now read this four times and I still absolutely adore it and want to re-read it again. XD It’s hilarious and brilliant, and the characters, fairytale things, and humor, just . . . they get me every time! (Nick and Crispin and Cordelia are the absolute best!) You can read my original review here.
  • The Crown of Dalemark by Diana Wynne Jones — The absolute brilliance of time-travel in a fantasy world and all the characters I love and the twists and EVERYTHING. (Mitt and Navis, though!) I even forgot some of the twists from the first time I read it, so I got to re-experience some of them, which was awesome. DWJ is the only author who can do this to me. XD SO glad I finally re-read this series! (This is book 4, and it’s totally worth making it through the first three for this one. ❤ )

(Missing Masque and Five Poisoned Apples for Falling Snow in this pic because I tragically don’t own paperbacks of those two.)

So there you are! Various of the best books I read in 2018! (You can also check out my top 15 (ish) short stories of last year if you missed that, and my 2018 End-of-Year Book-Freakout Tag.)

What was your favorite book (or several) you read last year? And have you read any of these? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Also! Expect an epic recap of my writing news of 2018 along with goals ‘n’ stuff, over on my other blog, very soon!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

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Top 15(ish) Favorite Short Stories of 2018 + Winner

While working on my top-favorite-books-of-2018 post, I realized that I read a ton of awesome short stories this last year!

So while I’m working on that post (which I’ll share later this week), here — have a list of some fabulous short stories! Because short stories don’t get enough love.

Also, the winner of the ARC paperback of Echo North iiiiiis . . .

*drumroll*

Amanda Torr!

Congrats! I’ll be in touch with you about getting your info so I can get your prize sent off to you ASAP. 🙂

Dearest readers who did not win (as there can sadly be only one winner), thank you so much for entering and celebrating my blogiversary with me! I hope to do more giveaways soon. 😉

Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer is releasing next week on January 15, so there’s still time to preorder a gorgeous hardcover! (And I think there’s some preorder goodies [!!!] if you do, so check that out . . .) Or ask your local library to get it. Or put it on your birthday wishlist. Or something! Because you must read it and it’s awesome. ❤

Okay! Onward to my favorite short stories I read in 2018!

Top 15 (ish) FAVORITE SHORT STORIES

(Titles link to Goodreads. I also link to my reviews on here if I have them.)

Mythical Doorways

Goodreads / Free on Amazon

I loved SO many of the short stories in Mythical Doorways, so overall I’m just calling it my favorite anthology I’ve read in a long time. ^_^ (I’m taking the mini-reviews from my full review on Goodreads.)

Favorites:

  1. Everwild (J.M. Hackman) — This one was awesome! A boy about to grow out of the foster system is given a choice between two worlds… Fascinating and vivid, and I liked how it ended. Lovely portal fantasy with a few twists. It was great. ^_^ Makes me want to try more by this author—and I fortunately have a novel (Spark) which can help me do just that. 😉
  2. Well of Fate (Savannah Jezowski) — Tosk the squirrel was so adorable! What a super-cute—and funny—little tale. Having a squirrel main character who’s a little bit nervous but determined to be a hero, in a mythology setting, was so much fun! And there was an awesome twist near the end! 😉 I’m looking forward to checking out the author’s When Ravens Fall novella…
  3. Jericho and the Magician’s Daughter (H.L. Burke) — AWK. Featuring Jericho and Rill a few years before the first Spellsmith and Carver book. They’re adorable! And they didn’t know they were in love… quite… yet… Super cute and exciting. It was also neat seeing a little more of Hedward Spellsmith. And of course there was Jaspyr the mechanical fox! It’s a great story and I loved this look at a sort of mini-prequel about Jericho and Rill. ^_^
  4. Threshold (Laurie Lucking) — AWK. THIS STORY. ❤ *hugs it* I don’t want to give anything away about it, but it had a couple of twists on the usual portal fantasy thing, and I was SO WORRIED about how things would turn out, but I absolutely LOVED IT. Shawn was my favorite. He’s the best. 😀 I got kind of a Peter Pan sort of feel with this one and I loved that. ^_^
  5. Idiot’s Graveyard (Arthur Daigle) — One word (name?): Jayden. Jayden is one of my new favorite characters and I’m not even sure WHY, but he’s quite unpigeonholeable and fantastic and giving me Howl/Doctor Strange sorts of vibes. I could easily read a whole novel (or series) about Dana Illwind and Sorcerer Lord Jayden (they remind me a little of things like Skulduggery Pleasant or Jackaby). I learned there was another short story featuring them (in Hall of Heroes, another Fellowship of Fantasy anthology) and instantly read/devoured/loved it. The world is kind of spooky, and yet a little elegant. And it’s so FUNNY. Like… I just love the style. I kept wanting to quote it. All the snark and polite cutting dialog! Anyway, it was a glorious short story and I loved it muchly. ❤ Just excuse me while I wish for more tales of Jayden and co. and am tempted to re-read the ones there are so far…
  6. Dragon Ward (Jenelle Leanne Schmidt) — How fascinating! I won’t spoil anything, but as a fan of this author’s Minstrel’s Call series, I loved how this had two or three different backstory references, when I only expected one! LOVED LOVED LOVED. It was delicious and unexpected. Anyone who hasn’t read the series will enjoy it too. The story of a girl and a dragon, and a strange experience they have… and meeting a certain character, who I love! 😀 An absolutely delightful tale. ^_^

Tales of Ever After

Goodreads / Free on Amazon

(I need to finish this anthology, but these two stories are my favorite so far.)

  1. Cinders (Kendra E. Ardnek) — Charming, and Cinderella’s a kitten! (Review.)
  2. At the Corner of Elm and Main (H.L. Burke) — Melted my heart away, a story about a sentinent lamp-post! Petition for this to be a Pixar animated short, please. (Review.)

Dana Illwind and Sorcerer Lord Jayden — stories by Arthur Daigle

If this were a novel, it would totally be on my top five books of the year. 😀 As it is, I simply have to mention these episodic short stories that I’m lumping together as “one” continuing story which I really hope will one day be published together as a collection about two of my new favorite characters of all time, Dana and Jayden. ^_^

The first two stories are free in two different Fellowship of Fantasy anthologies. They’re available also on a free website called Booksie (which is sort of like Wattpad) so you really have no excuse not to go read them right now. 😉 (I mean, unless you don’t like slightly spooky, sarcastic, hilarious, epic, fantastical short stories featuring two of my fave characters. :P)

  1. Not Quite a Hero (Hall of Heroes and Booksie)
  2. Idiot’s Graveyard (Mythical Doorways and Booksie) — I already mentioned this one above. 😉
  3. Surviving Fairytales (Booksie)
  4. A Fair Deal (Booksie)
  5. A Friend in Need (Booksie)

(They make me so happyyyy! ❤ )

Afterverse Stories

I read several of Kyle Robert Shultz’s new short stories this year (as his editor), and enjoyed all of them, but of particular note are these three personal favorites of mine:

 

  1. My Man Beasley (on Kyle’s Patreon) — Featuring three of my FAVORITE things, this one is basically Tam Lin meets Wodehouse meets Beaumont and Beasley. Enough said. XD (What would happen if Nick Beasley met someone like Bertie Wooster and had to help fix his magical problems?)
  2. The Centaur Express (free on Kyle’s newsletter) — Todd Crane, part-time centaur in the magical wild-west, has to fill in for their version of the Pony Express, and the mailbag will literally eat him if he stops. XD
  3. Someday at Christmas — This one gave me ALL THE FEELS and it’s a Beaumont and Beasley/Crockett and Crane crossover and it’s perfect. ❤

Mollie E. Reeder short stories

Sooo, maybe these are novelettes. I DON’T CARE. I have to talk about them because I ADORE THEM BOTH.

  1. Arbrook Huxley and the Star-Crossed Lovers (free on Mollie E. Reeder’s newsletter) — This is actually how I “met” Huxley, so of course I was super excited to read The Electrical Menagerie (which is somewhere near the top of my top-15-books-of-2018, spoiler alert. ;)). It’s hilarious and great fun and I recently re-read it after reading TEM, which only made it better. XD
  2. The Sixth ChristmasAaahh! How is this author so amazing?? 😭 😍 *hugs story* Fantastic Christmas short story! A Christmas Carol sort of vibe but original and awesome. I loved it so much. I just meant to read the first page and then couldn’t put it down. ^_^

Others

The Villain Who Saved Christmas (C.B. Cook) — Utterly charming. ❤ Supervillain! Christmas! What more do you need? (Review.)

Windswept (Sarah Delena White) — A gorgeous fantasy original-fairytale-esque short story. ^_^ Tiding me over while I wait for the sequel to Halayda. ❤


(Oh, look, three of these are Christmas short stories. Apparently I love those. XD)

Do you read shorter fiction much? I don’t always, but seem to have devoured quite a few in the past year (possibly why Goodreads claims I read 123 books in 2018?), and I just had to give a shout-out to some of these gorgeous, charming, or funny ones!

I’ll be back in a couple of days with my top 15 novels I read last year, so stay tuned! Have you read any of these? Thanks for reading! 🙂

2019 Bookish Resolutions + January Nightstand/News!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Today I’ve got a list of 10 of my bookish goals for the new year, plus new books releasing this month, what I’m reading, and other bookish news like free books! Shall we dive in?

Tolkien’s Birthday!

First order of business! Today (January 3) is J.R.R. Tolkien’s birthday, so I simply have to say: happy birthday to the Professor! He was born 127 years ago and changed the world of fantasy fiction forever. ❤

I’m hoping to dive into starting The Fall of Gondolin (Christmas present!) and The Book of Lost Tales today to celebrate. 😀

10(ish) Bookish Resolutions/Goals/Dreams

No idea how these will go (last year’s were . . . something of a hit-or-miss), but at least I’ll have something to try, yes?

  1. Catch up on review books and reviews and then stay on top of them (hehehe).
  2. Work through the History of Middle-earth series (and some other Tolkien).
  3. Catch up on a couple of other series (like the Ilyon Chronicles) which I hope to do by reading one per month.
  4. Read the books I’ve won in giveaways.
  5. Read more by Diana Wynne Jones, Lawhead, and Heyer.
  6. Read more Steampunk (research!).
  7. Some non-fiction (mostly writing-related).
  8. Try audiobooks more often! Incorporating it with my exercise plan. (I may talk about that another day.)
  9. Read more things I really want to read, not just that I “should.” (This is harder than you might think for me. *cough*)
  10. Remember that reading is fun and try not to stress about it. (Which should go without saying, but it doesn’t. :P)

JANUARY RELEASES

  • In the Shadow of Croft Towers – Abigail Wilson (Jan. 15, Thomas Nelson) — I just stumbled across this one and it’s a regency mystery that sounds super exciting. I need it in my life.
  • Echo North – Joanna Ruth Meyer (Jan. 15, Page Street) — If you missed it, I just reviewed this and am offering a giveaway for an ARC paperback copy (open through Jan. 6) so check that out! You absolutely MUST READ THIS BOOK! It’s one of my top favorites in a looong time and I adore it. ❤
  • Black Blood – S.D. Grimm (Jan. 29, Enclave) — I haven’t read the first two books in this series (I know! I’m behind!) but I have it on good authority there are cliffhangers, so obviously it’s actually a good plan of mine to wait until this releases. 😉 *cough*
  • Shadowkeeper – Hope Ann (Jan. 25, Writing in the Light Publishing) — This is a Hades and Persephone, Castor and Pollux novella retelling and sounds intriguing.
  • Retreat – Sarah Addison-Fox (Jan. 26, Double Edged Sword Publishing) — This is the second Stormers book (I reviewed book 1, Retrieve), and I need this one because cliffhangers! :O
  • Illuminate – Sarah Addison-Fox (Jan. 9, Double Edged Sword Publishing) — And a magical NA fantasy from this prolific author!

Not Pictured

  • The Road to Bremen – Kelsey Bryant — I beta-read this one and IT’S PRECIOUS. It should be coming out in the next month or so. 🙂 I’ll be sharing more about it, so stay tuned!
  • I hear that W.R. Gingell has a third City Between book, which obviously means I must get on reading the first two books ASAP. XD (I loved Masque, so I’m determined to read more from this author!)

FREE STUFF/OTHER JANUARY NEWS

Mirrors and Pearls — Free!

Mirrors and Pearls by Lea Doue is free on Amazon through today only (Jan 3) and is the Fellowship of Fantasy book of the month for January! (For those who don’t know, that’s my favorite bookclub and you should totally join if you’re on Facebook and like fantasy.)

This is actually my first read of 2019! (The only one I’ve finished so far. XD) I read it on New Year’s Day and it’s a charming novella-length retelling of Snow White — with dragons! Check out my mini-review on Goodreads.

Second Son — Free! + Readalong

Jenelle Schmidt is hosting a readalong of her awesome fantasy book Second Son, and it’s free on Amazon through January 5, so grab yourself a copy!

I read this one a couple of years ago and absolutely loved it, so I’m excited to join in on the readalong. I plan to read it aloud to my younger siblings. It’s going to be epic. 😀

(Also, some might think it’s the second book in the series, but it’s a prequel so chronologically it’s FIRST. So you can read it first without having read King’s Warrior. If you’re curious about them, you can read my reviews for both.)

Check out the readalong info HERE!

February Fantasy Month

Speaking of fantasy awesomeness and Jenelle . . . She’s once again heading up February Fantasy month, so if you want in on this awesome bloggish event, she has a sign-up form on her blog if you’d like to join!

Giveaway + Blogiversary

I’ve mentioned it already but I’m going to again! 😉 I just celebrated my third blogiversary on this blog (yay!) and I’m kind of excited so I’m giving away an ARC of Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer, one of my top 15 reads of 2019! (I’ll share all of them soon.) So go enter that! (Open through Jan. 6.)

MY JANUARY NIGHTSTAND

There are quite a few other books I’d like to read this month (aahh! So much to read! So little time!) but we’ll see how much my over-ambitious reader self can tackle. 😉 Anyway! Here are some I’m reading/hope to read this month! And I also have a handful of ebooks for review that I’m working through. And I’ll probably read some other random things because I’m terrible at predicting my reading. XD

(If you’d like to join in on Nightstand Books, you can do so here.)

MY READING NEWS

December Reads

  • When Santa Fell to Earth — Adorable!
  • The Spellcoats & The Crown of Dalemark — Rereads. ❤
  • Once Upon a December & Someday at Christmas — Fantastic short stories from Kyle Robert Shultz.
  • Dragon Lyric and Threadbare — Intriguing short stories; the former was too dark for me and the second wasn’t my usual genre, so neither were my favorite, but they were well-written/thrilling.
  • Kate’s Conundrum — Another fun FBI mystery with some fave characters! ❤ (Mini review on Goodreads.)
  • The Villain Who Saved Christmas — PRECIOUS. (My review.)
  • Retrieve — So exciting! (My review.)
  • Fawkes — Kinda disappointed me; not my thing. *cough* Review to come.
  • Echo North — THE BEST EVER. ❤ ❤ ❤ (My Review.)

For more info on these, you can find them at the top of my 2018 Reading Challenge on Goodreads!

December book haul

I got a lot of books last month. XD

  • Got for myself: A new Chicago Manual of Style, because editing, and The Seven Drawers by Kendra E. Ardnek.
  • GIVEN: Afterverse books I edited, & Emmeline for helping with the Vintage Jane Austen website. (Thanks to Kyle Shultz and Sarah Holman!)
  • WON: Fellowship of Fantasy anthology I can’t wait to finish and A Touch of Gold. (Thanks to H.L. Burke and Michele Israel Harper.)
  • ARC: Echo North (with thanks to the publisher).
  • CHRISTMAS: The Fall of Gondolin by Tolkien (yessss), C.S. Lewis On Stories, A Tale of Time City by Diana Wynne Jones, and one I already read and loved: Blood in the Snow by Sarah Pennington! ❤

I talk a lot about my bookish shenanigans over on my Instagram, so if you’re not following me on there you can check it out. 🙂

Okay! There’s the bookish news of the month. I hope it was enjoyable and/or helpful! Do you have any bookish resolutions or books you’re excited about? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading! 🙂

End-of-Year Book Freakout Tag 2018! (fave characters and other bookish madness)

I’m stealing this from the ever-fabulous Sarah @ Dreams and Dragons, and I’m tweaking some of the questions from “in the second half of the year” to just the year in general, given that I didn’t do one of these for the first half. XD

(Also, I was going to link to the books, but given how many of them I reference in this post, that sounds exhausting. So I will point you in the direction of this list of things I read in 2018, where you can find most of the books. And if I do links to books in the post, it will be to reviews I wrote. :))

1. Best book you’ve read in 2018

I will be doing a top 15 reads of 2018 post soon! (Once I put together my reading lists and make difficult life decisions like what I loved most. Being a bookworm is haaard.)

But off the top of my head I’m going to say . . . Echo North (which I JUST finished!) and The Electrical Menagerie and Lady Moon. ALL SO GOOD. ❤ ❤ ❤ There will be others in my upcoming post!

2. Best sequel you’ve read in 2018

Minstrel’s Call, Sage, and Song of Leira. I HAVE SO MANY FEELS. I LOVE THEM ALL. They were all actually CONCLUSIONS to series and absoluly blew me away and just… my heart! ❤

3. New release you haven’t read yet but want to

So many! But I think I’ll go with the first Green Princess book which I STILL haven’t read. And Rothana (because Halayda was amazing) and I’m sooo excited to get my copy in the mail sometime. 😀 *curls up on mailbox in the form of a small dragon and waits*

4. Most anticipated release for next year

I have a few, but Flight of the Raven is up there on the list!

Also The Mountain Baron because I beta-read it and it’s awesome!

5. Biggest disappointment

Maybe Fawkes? It just wasn’t my favorite and now I feel bad and have no idea how to review it but it’s a review book and this is all really awkward… (Or should I say fawkward?)

6. Biggest surprise

Hmm. I don’t know if there were any huge surprises? I guess I’ll just go with how surprised I was at how much I adored the first Ranger’s Apprentice, which I talked all about here.

7. Favorite new-to-you author

So many, but I’ll pick three: W.R. Gingell, Mollie E. Reeder, and Joanna Ruth Meyer! I’m going to read all of their things. ❤ (People, go add Masque, The Electrical Menagerie, and Echo North to your TBR right now.)

8. Newest fictional crush/ship

Let’s go with ships, shall we? *cough*

SO MANY. In no particular order:

  • Malcolm and Melody (The Return of Beaumont and Beasley)
  • SPOILERS from Sage
  • Kate and Patrick from the Kate’s Case Files books (I read Kate’s Dilemma and Kate’s Conundrum this year)
  • Gan and Chouko (Blood in the Snow)
  • Tomas and Celine (Lady Moon)
  • Damien and Selena (Mark of the Raven)
  • Isabella and Lord Pecus (Masque)
  • Hal and Echo (Echo North)

9. Newest favorite character(s)

DO YOU WANT TO BE HERE ALL DAY? *cough* For a start:

  • Jayden and Dana (various short stories by Arthur Daigle! I NEED these to be a novel so I can share about them to EVERYONE. BECAUSE THEY’RE MY FAVORITE THING.)
  • Halt (Ranger’s Apprentice)
  • Tomas (Lady Moon)
  • The Horse Lords (Masque)
  • Todd Crane (Horseman)
  • Carthage and Huxley and Dominic (The Electrical Menagerie)
  • Damien (Mark of the Raven)
  • Chayse (Falling Snow)
  • and last but far from least, Hal (Echo North)

And characters who aren’t exactly NEW, since I’ve met them before, but I want to include anyway:

I HAVE A LOT OF FAVORITE CHARACTERS, OKAY. ❤

10. A book that made you cry

Song of Leira! You KNOW what part it was if you’ve read it. My feeeeels.

11. A book that made you happy

Oh, so many! But since I’ve already mentioned some in my “favorites” I’ll avoid repeating myself, and I’ll say Common. It just . . . made me happy. ^_^

12. Favorite book to film adaptation you’ve seen this year

I suddenly can’t remember the movies I watched this year. XD I did just see Mortal Engines at the theater and thought it was LOADS OF FUN (go see it) but I haven’t read the book . . . *shame*

I was just watching some episodes of The Return of Sherlock Holmes featuring Jeremy Brett, who I hadn’t watched before, and a couple of those were good adaptions.

We’ll go with those two because they were this month and who even remembers the rest of the year? 😛 (Hint: Not me.)

13. Favorite post(s) you’ve done this year

These are just a few, for this blog… I haven’t checked my other blog for favorites yet. XD

14. Most beautiful book you’ve bought/received this year

Oh, man. I feel like there have been so many gorgeous ones! For now I think I’ll go with two I got for Christmas: Blood in the Snow and The Fall of Gondolin (with epic illustrations!!).

15. Any other books you want to babble about for any other reason?

Ohhh, yes. *rubs hands gleefully together* How about a random collection of books that I enjoyed for various reasons (some of which are different than my usual genres so might not make it to my top-books post but we’ll see). And some re-reads and beta-reads.

  • Scoundrels was a super-fun sci-fi heist featuring Han Solo (set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back), and it’s by Timothy Zahn so I knew I’d like it, but it was just totally awesome! (They should have made it a movie instead of Solo. XD)
  • Dear Mr. Knightley is a contemporary and I had no idea I’d like it as much as I did because it’s totally not my thing, but I loved it.
  • Trial by Song was a modern scary-fairy Jack and the Beanstalk retelling with a smidge of Snow White set in winter and was SO INTENSE. O_O
  • Healers and Warriors was an awesome continuation of a modern fantasy series that makes me happy, and I loved the twists and characters and… I gotta say, the villain was so creepy and well-written!
  • The False Prince and The Stealthmaster’s Shadow had really snarky main characters who told the stories, which gave me life!
  • Lightporter and RotoVegas are both really fun YA superhero novels, and just… can we talk about how it’s cool that this is a thing?

I also re-read all the Beaumont and Beasley books that came out last year (because I’m now the Editor of the Afterverse), which was LOADS of fun. (The Return of Beaumont and Beasle and Horseman came out this year, so those were new reads.)

I re-read the Dalemark Quartet by Diana Wynne Jones, which was a highlight because I’ve been meaning to do that for ages, and The Crown of Dalemark is still one of my top fave DWJ books.

I beta-read three INCREDIBLE books which have yet to be published:

  • The Road to Bremen by Kelsey Bryant (releasing in January! I can’t wait to see the cover and illustrations!)
  • The Brightest Thread by Tracey Dyck (which I hope will be published someday sooon because it was a stellar Sleeping Beauty novel featuring dreams and Prince Hadrian who is My Fave)
  • The Mountain Baron by C. M. Banschbach (releasing summer 2019 and featuring Rhys, my smol floof of anger management issues, and lots of clannishness and outlaws and feels).

I just had to give a shout-out about these!

Okay! I will stop babbling before I end up talking about every book I read this year. XD

What’s your favorite book you read in 2018? Did you have a good reading year? (Mine was fabulous!) And do you have any bookish resolutions for 2019?

Thanks for reading!

Stay tuned for more bookish posts in the new year. 🙂

Happy New Year, my pagelings!

In Bookish News: May 2018 + Hiatus

I’m going on hiatus but thought I’d share a quick list of bookish things going on this month!

Fellowship of Fantasy is hosting a fun #MayWeRead hashtag game if you’d like to get in on that! *is so tempted but hiatus*

Speaking of Fellowship of Fantasy, in the bookclub we’re reading Common by Laurie Lucking this month and I’m super excited to try that one! I’ve never been much of a bookclub person, but I love this club. XD

Indie E-Con is coming up May 21-26 and I hear tell of a scavenger hunt or Facebook party or both on the 19th I believe… Check out the website for all the fun that’s going on.

MAY BOOK RELEASES

I probably won’t be reading any of these any time soon (except the first one), but I do like to keep up with what’s coming out that looks intriguing, so I thought I’d share!

(Titles link to Goodreads.)

  • The Story Peddler – Lindsay A. Franklin — Currently reading this one, which just released, so expect a review soon! 😀
  • The Penderwicks at Last – Jeanne Birdsall — The final Penderwicks and I’m NOT READY. *sobs* I hope my library gets this one.
  • In the Region of the Summer Stars – Stephen R. Lawhead — Celtic fantasy is something I’m always up for.
  • All That We See or Seem – Kristina Mahr — I almost wish Uncommon Universes would stop coming up with amazing-looking books; my TBR is suffering.
  • Dissociate – Sarah Addison-Fox — MEEP.
  • Dagger’s Sleep – Tricia Mingerink — Sleeping Beauty? I’m intrigued. 😉

I will probably be back for a book review or maybe more than one, but for the most part I’m not focusing on blogging this May, so consider this a hiatus notice.

I hope you have a wonderfully bookish May, friends!

Perhaps I’ll be back in early June with a June In Bookish News post. 😛

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

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

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