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Book Ishness! (Feb. 2019)

Happy Groundhog Day!

Time for a look at all the book ishness this month! Things I read in January (featuring micro reviews!), my February TBR nightstand, and book releases and other fun!

I’m pretty sure ALL the books are releasing this month, though. O_O

FEBRUARY RELEASES

Alphabetical by author . . . (Find them on Goodreads HERE.)

  • Receive – Sarah Addison-Fox — The final book in the Stormers Trilogy! I loved book one, and this reminds me I should hasten to read book 2 which is patiently awaiting me on my Kindle app!
  • Honor: A Quest In – Kendra E. Ardnek — Another Bookania book, featuring Robin Hood!
  • Whispers from the Depths – C.W. Briar — Don’t know a lot about this one but it’s from Uncommon Universes Press and features the sea!
  • To Court a Queen – H.L. Burke — Watching the author write this one via snippets on Facebook has been so fun. I’m excited to read about a knight and a cat-fairy!
  • Castle on the Rise – Kristy Cambron — Sequel to The Lost Castle, this is set in Ireland and the first book was gorgeous, so I know what I’m getting from the library next chance I get . . .
  • The Warrior Maiden – Melanie Dickerson — Hagenheim plus Mulan!
  • If Wishes Were Curses – Janeen Ippolito — I don’t read a lot of urban fantasy (silly, really, since I write it from time to time) but I’m cautiously excited about this one . . . πŸ˜€
  • In the Land of the Everliving – Stephen R. Lawhead — This reminds me I should read book one of this series which came out last year!
  • The Blood Spell – C.J. Redwine — I don’t know a lot about this but it’s a Cinderella retelling and I “met” the author at a Facebook party recently. I’m curious about this one! (She’s also going to be teaching at Realm Makers. I’m not 100% sure I’ll be able to go but I’m so so hoping!)
  • King’s Ward – E. Kaiser Writes — This sounds super fun and I’ve enjoyed this author’s work before!

Not Pictured

  • Run – Kyle Robert Shultz — Crockett and Crane short story coming to Patreon in February; I just read this one and it’s funny and super spooky! :O
  • Daughter of the River – Catherine Jones Payne — More mermaids!
  • Flare – J.M. Hackman — Sequel to Spark, which is on my TBR!

I TOLD you everything was coming out this month! :O

OTHER FEBRUARY NEWS

Second Son Readalong

The Second Son readalong is continuing so if you want hop in there’s always time! Check out the info HERE!

#FantasyMonth

You can check out all the fantastic Fantasy Month goings-on HERE! I’m not officially joining in on the posts and stuff (#becauselife) but I hope to join in on this fun #FantasyMonth hashtag game! (Either on social media or as a blog tag. Which do you think is more fun?)

Giveaway

Check out Allison Tebo’s giveaway for young readers! Closes on Valentine’s Day.

MY FEBRUARY NIGHTSTAND

Here’s what I’d love to read this month, though of course I have no idea how many of these I’ll actually make it through. XD

  • The Book of Lost Tales 2 and The King’s Scrolls are for my personal challenge to read one book in each of these series per month. (Don’t tell but I’m not quiiiite done Lost Tales 1, but I’m close so I’m putting this one in. ;))
  • Second Son is a reread aloud for the readalong. Really enjoying it!
  • In the Shadow of Croft Towers is a review book so that one is up soon!
  • Rothana is the Fellowship of Fantasy bookclub read for February and I am excited! (Also terrified, but hey.)
  • Beneath the Haunting Sea I snagged from the library because I adored this author’s Echo North. I don’t have time to read it but I’m going to MAKE time because I need it in my life! ❀
  • The Gilded Wolves I also libraried and am joining the Fantasy Readalong with Gillian Adams and Jill Williamson on Instagram. (@fantasyreadalong)

There are ebooks I should read too, and I always have oodles of other books staring puppy-eye-pleadingly at me, so we’ll see what the month’s reading actually looks like — especially since I doubt I will have time to even read all of THESE! But I’m going to try, and I’m excited for all the awesome books, and will be happy with whatever I do get to read! πŸ™‚

Any of these on your lists? Which one should I read first?? And what are you reading this weekend?

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

MY READING NEWS

January Reads

  1. Mirrors and Pearls by Lea Doue — Snow White with dragons! Fun novella. 4 stars
  2. A Tale of Time City by Diana Wynne Jones — Elio! BUTTER PIES!! 5 stars
  3. On Stories by C.S. Lewis — Some excellent essays on books and writing, mixed in with some I didn’t “get” much. (When he talks about books I haven’t read, it can be difficult to follow.) I love his style and profound thoughts on writing and story! 5 stars
  4. One Flew Over the Gryphon’s Nest by Kyle Robert Shultz — Short Beaumont and Beasley story featuring Nick and co. being psychoanalyzed at an insane asylum, in audio-drama form. So fun! XD 5 stars
  5. My Fault by R.J. Conte — I needed a random fluffy ebook novella and this was that but had surprising deeper, darker themes as well. Picked it up because the author’s a Realmie. Not my usual genre but kept me absorbed. 3 stars
  6. Resistance by Jaye L. Knight — Yes, I FINALLY read this! XD I already felt like I had, since I’ve been following the series forever (and my sis tells me about them) but hadn’t actually gotten through it. Yes, I really like Rayad and Jace and co. Minor quibbles but really enjoyed it! Felt kinda classic. ^_^ 5 stars
  7. The Fall of Gondolin by J.R.R. Tolkien — GORGEOUS. Loved Alan Lee’s illustrations, Tolkien’s writing at various stages (so cool!), and Christopher Tolkien’s commentary. Bittersweet as the last one he’s planning to put out. 5 stars
  8. Beast in the Machine by E.B. Dawson — Enchanting Beauty and the Beast short tale with a dash of sci-fi and a spirited heroine. LOVED the descriptions! Read an ARC so I’ll give a full review at some point. ^_^ 4 stars
  9. The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame — Re-read. I say read but it was an audiobook. I still think it’s one of the most fun little tales EVER! I could be biased due to the audiobook’s fabulous British accents. XD But I LOVE the Dragon! And the Boy, and St. George. And all the shenanigans. πŸ˜€ 5 stars
  10. Earwig and the Witch by Diana Wynne Jones — It was okay. More of a picture book, actually, and one really shouldn’t attempt to illustrate DWJ. Interesting though! 3 stars

So there you are! All the Book Ishness! Sorry I kind of disappeared off the face of the earth. *cough* I’ve had internet issues and lacking motivations and other fun stuff like that. πŸ˜› Also, another reason I keep forgetting to blog here is sharing bookish stuff on Instagram. But I’ve missed blogging so hopefully I can get back to it! ❀

What are you reading? And are you excited about any of these? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

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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. πŸ˜€

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. πŸ˜‰ *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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ˜€

(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! πŸ˜‰ 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. πŸ˜‰ 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. πŸ™‚

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! πŸ™‚

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. πŸ˜› 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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ˜› 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. πŸ˜€ 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. πŸ™‚

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! πŸ™‚

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

Bookish Post! (a.k.a. I Travel from NaNo Land to Book Land + Bookish News + Mini-Reviews)

Oh, hi, world! I’m baaack!

It’s been a wee bit quiet around here because it’s awfully hard to read/review books while you’re madly writing one of your own. But as I have now won my EIGHTH NaNoWriMo, I am back in the world of books — and my first thought (besides “ACK, I CAN READ AGAIN!”) was “Time to pop onto my poor neglected book blog!” πŸ˜‰

So this is kind of a mashup of OH HI I HAVEN’T REALLY POSTED MUCH AROUND HERE LATELY BECAUSE NANO and stuff I’ve been reading and stuff going on/releasing, and all of the bookish things. *nods*

Books I Read Lately

October

Here’s what I read in October, which was a busy month and I barely managed to squeeze these in… I award them all 5 stars because though all different, I loved them each in their own way.

  • Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith – Shaun Hume — I lived in this book world and loved the characters and setting, and though it was a little long and not my usual thing, it was different and fun. Review to come!
  • Spellsmith and Carver: Magicians’ Reckoning – H. L. Burke — SO MANY FEELS. :O This almost got a star knocked off BUT it ended reasonably better than I thought it might and yes. MY FEELS. But a good conclusion to the Spellsmith and Carver Trilogy. Review to come!
  • Second Impressions: A Collection of Fiction Inspired by Jane Austen – edited by Hannah Scheele — Adorable short stories based on Jane Austen things. Loved this collection! {My Review}
  • Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen — This was a re-read. It was the first Jane Austen novel I read, AGES ago, and I hadn’t read it since, so it was lovely to read it again. I really enjoyed reading along with Season of Humility’s readalong. Mr. Darcy is the best, okay? πŸ˜‰
  • The Last Days of Lady Cordelia – Kyle Robert Shultz — This novelette had MANY FEELS and some humor and parallel world stuff and delightful references to Kyle’s main Beaumont and Beasley series! In a way I don’t know how I feel about it, but in another way I loved it so much I read it twice, so… XD

November

Wait, who is this crazy person who READ BOOKS during NaNoWriMo?? :O These were all very short, quick reads, which I consumed between my crazy writing because I needed to relax occasionally. *gasp* I enjoyed them all and give them all 4 stars. πŸ™‚ My mini-thoughts…

  • Saffron’s Big Plan and Other Stories – Kendra E. Ardnek — I had the pleasure of meeting the delightful Kendra herself this month, and picked up a couple of her short story collections when I did. (She’s super fun, FYI! ;)) What fun little tales! πŸ™‚ I read them all in a sitting and they were just the light little read I needed just then. Three original fairytales, and one retelling of Puss in Boots — very unique! I loved the style. πŸ™‚
  • The Woodcutter Quince and Other Stories – Kendra E. Ardnek — What fun stories! The Woodcutter one was my favorite — fantastic! πŸ˜€ The CinderEddy twist on Cinderella was awesome too. XD Most enjoyable. πŸ™‚
  • Coloring Christmas Devotions – Thomas Nelson Publishers — This is my first Adult Coloring book, and while I haven’t colored all the pictures yet, I did read through all the devotionals and colored some. This was a book for review from BookLook, and I’ll be reviewing it on my other blog soon.
  • Fire and Ice Cream – K. M. Carroll — AWK. SO GREAT. ^_^ Super original modern fantasy, with a murder mystery in an ice cream shop in Arizona, where shapeshifting dragons (fire-breathing) and shapeshifting drakes (ice-breathing) are a part of normal life — and in fact the heroine is one! So cool. πŸ˜€ (I read this for the Fellowship of Fantasy Bookclub’s book of the month for November.)
  • No Plot? No Problem! A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days – Chris Baty — A fairly quick, light read, sometimes amusing with a few helpful ideas, in general of interest to those who have or would like to participate in NaNoWriMo or otherwise write a novel in a month, and about writing in general. There’s some language, and the humor is of a particular type you need to be in the mood for, so it’s not for everybody, and has stuff/advice that hopefully nobody takes seriously, because it’s intended to be tongue in cheek. XD But otherwise it was enjoyable and a nice distraction so I could feel like I was being NaNo-ish when I should have been writing words for NaNo. πŸ˜› And besides, it felt vaguely appropriate to read it this month. Anyway, I enjoyed it, rather. πŸ™‚

If you’re curious to learn more about any of the books I’ve been reading, you can always find them linked in my Goodreads Reading Challenge.

Releases

The Stroke of Eleven by Kyle Robert Shultz, which is the third Beaumont and Beasley book, came out today and I’m ridiculously excited for more Nick and Crispin and Cordelia and fairytale humor. I CAN’T WAIT. ❀

The sequel to Masters and Beginners by Daley Downing (which I loved) is now out at B&N and it’s called Rulers and Mages and I love the cover! I beta-read this, really enjoyed it, and can’t wait to read the final version. πŸ™‚

The final Vintage Jane Austen book, Presumption and Partiality by Rebekah Jones, which is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice in 1930s Arizona, also released this week in ebook and paperback, and the Kindle version is 99 cents on Amazon this week only — I just snagged my copy over there and I’m excited to read this one too! πŸ™‚

Hannah Scheele continues to outdo herself with each new VJA cover. ❀

Speaking of covers…

Upcoming Cover Reveal

(image by DJ Edwardson)

DJ Edwardson (of Silmarillion Awards fame) is about to reveal the cover for his upcoming first fantasy novel, The Last Motleyso go join his awesome newsletter so you can see it this week! πŸ˜€ (I’m ridiculously excited.)

Reviews on the Horizon?

I’ve been somewhat quiet on the review front, as I just haven’t had the energy to write any what with NaNo… But now that NaNo is over, I’m hoping (key word: hoping) to get back into reading and reviewing, particularly catching up on a few that I was hoping to before November but just didn’t find time for. (And some other kinds of posts on my other blog, as well!)

So you can reasonably hope to expect some reviews (like for Ewan Pendle, Magicians’ Reckoning, Coloring Christmas Devotions, The Fatal Tree) soon-ish… And a couple of beta-reading books, and reviews books (like Disowned by Sarah Addison-Fox) which I hope to read/review soon! And hopefully for those new releases I just mentioned too. XD

Basically, I should have National Book Reading/Reviewing Month (NaBoReReMo… no? Not catchy enough?) but we’ll see how much I have energy for. πŸ˜›

It’s been a CRAZY couple of months in my life lately and hopefully I can finally breathe/relax a little, with some reading and blogging on the side…

I thought about sharing a Nightstand Books kind of thing but I have so many I WANT to read this month, and have no idea what I’ll get to during December, so I’ll just say I WILL READ ALL THE BOOKS THAT I CAN. XD

Anyway!

I think that’s it on the bookish news, and what’s been up with me. What about you? And have you read/want to read any of the books I mentioned? Chat with me, fellow page-dreamers! πŸ™‚

Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

Top 12 Books I Read in 2016!

top12books2016pic

*comes in singing* Happy blogoversary to meeee!

That’s right, one year ago today, I posted my Foreword first post on this blog!

The Page Dreamer has officially existed for a whole year! *cue excitement* *and Gandalf fireworks* *because naturally*

Today I’m going to look back at this year of booksβ€”the reading, the reviewing, and, most importantly, my top favorite reads of the year! Let’s get to it. πŸ™‚

Reading Stats

I read 78 books this yearβ€”huzzah!

I was planning for 60 (according to Goodreads) and overshot that a bit because I’m addicted an overachiever.

Check out my Year in Books on Goodreads to see them all listed! πŸ™‚

year-in-books

9 of those were rereads, 6 were nonfiction (*cue gasps from a shocked audience*), and 63 were new fiction reads.

5starrating

Of those 63, I rated 40 of them 5 stars.

*crickets*

I know, I have a problem with being very agreeable to most books. Moving on, then!

4starrating

10 books were 4 stars.

3starrating

7Β  books were 3 stars.

2starrating

6 books were 2 stars. (We do not speak of 3 of these, For Reasons Of Bad Endings, and one of them I just didn’t believe the romance most of the book [which never happens], and two were just all right.)

1starrating

According to my visible stats, I had no 1-stars, but that’s ignoring the fact that one story in a collection is totally a 1-star, even if I chickened out in my review and gave it a medium rating for being good most of the time until the ending WHICH WAS NOT OKAY. So 1 book was 1 star.

stats2016booksgr

(Seeing a trend here…? I literally rated two-thirds of the books I read in 2016 five-stars.)

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Fun fact: I read 12 books by Diana Wynne Jones this year. Yes, that averages to one every month. Half of those were new reads, and half were rereading aloud, because OH THE FUN. (Hence this being a fun-fact instead of just a fact. Ahem.)

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I also seem to have read 20,000 pages this year??? Um. What is up with that? O.o That’s like the same amount of WORDS I wrote this year (if you ignore the 50K during NaNo).

Okay, enough stats, I can tell I’m boring you. πŸ˜‰

Without more further ado, I give you (in no particular order because I’m an indecisive otter, except my very favorites are in a special category at the top)…

My Top 12 (more or less) Reads of 2016

(All titles link to their Goodreads pages; I also link to my reviews if one was written.)

BEST OF THE BEST

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1. Paper Crowns – Mirriam Neal

{My Review}

A favorite up there with The Lord of the Rings and Howl’s Moving Castle, I was SO ecstatic when Paper Crowns was published this year! It has literally everything to make it a fantabulous book, including witty writing and banter, characters who are simply my FAVORITE (Hal! Azrael! And Salazar, Asterope, Astryn, Ginger… Just everybody) and Fey and a talking cat and adorable romance on the side and adventure and JUST READ THIS BOOK BECAUSE IT’S PERFECT. ❀ Favorite of the year. πŸ™‚


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2. The Bone House / The Spirit Well / The Shadow Lamp – Stephen R. Lawhead

{My Review of The Bone House} {My Review of The Spirit Well} [review of The Shadow Lamp to come]

THIS SERIES. I haven’t finished it yet (The Fatal Tree was, however, a Christmas present, so that will be read very soon!) but the ones I’ve read so far are simply fabulous. Different eras and settings and cultures, lovable characters, adventure, stunning writing, and all deliciously complex. I can’t wait to finish! Book 4, The Shadow Lamp, may be my favorite of the series yet! Just so much is HAPPENING. (Plus Kit and Wilhelmina and Cass and Giles and even Haven, etc. <3)


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3. Blood Ties / An Earthly King – Hazel B. West

{My Review of Blood Ties} {My Review of An Earthly King}

I’ve done my share of flailing over this series, but REALLY, I just love these modern-Ireland-mixed-with-alternate-history-and-Faerie books! The friendships and adventure and humor and characters and WORLD are just so fabulous! ❀


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4. Fire and Hemlock – Diana Wynne Jones

{My Review}

Yeah, no surprise this is here… there has to be a DWJ book in my top few! πŸ˜‰ I rambled enough about it in my review, but it was just AMAZING and I can’t wait to reread it this year. πŸ˜€ Tam Lin retelling, just brilliant, not to mention bookish things and writer things and modern Faerie things and Tom Lynn and his cello and amazingness. ❀

THE REST OF THE BEST

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5. Deep Secret – Diana Wynne Jones

This one was somehow way darker than any other DWJ book I’ve read before, with some more mature-audience elements, but it just sucked me in so completely and was so original and amazing and the characters and and and… Diana Wynne Jones!!! ❀ I really need to review this one. o.o (The sequel-of-sorts, The Merlin Conspiracy, is amazing too.)


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6. The Rose and the Balloon – Kirsten Fichter

{My Review}

Once again, all my thoughts are in my review (apparently I reviewed most of these?), but this was just a delightful Beauty and the Beast retelling novella and I adored it! ^_^ (Also Dmitri. And the bickering.)


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7. Jackaby / The Map: A Jackaby Story – William Ritter

{Series Review}

Because Jackaby. Jackaby himself is basically all that needs saying here. Also historical fantasy is something I apparently like? And references! Like having banshees and redcaps and allusions to the song Whiskey in the Jar — these things make me happy. πŸ˜€


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8. Yorien’s Hand – Jenelle Leanne Schmidt

{My Review}

Ohhh my goodness, this book! Dragons and fantasy and Brant the epic warrior and Kiernan Kane (the mysterious minstrel!) and all of the things! ❀ Just… really really good. I’m kicking myself for not having read the rest of the series yet… but that will happen SOON. ❀


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9. Defying Shadows – Ashley Townsend

{My Review}

Flailing is available in the full review, but TIME TRAVEL + ROBIN HOOD RETELLING + WILL + PLOT TWISTS + ADORABLE ROMANCE/CHARACTERS = Yes. ❀


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10. The Beautiful Pretender – Melanie Dickerson

{My Review}

Another Beauty and the Beast retelling, crossed with The Princess and the Pea, this was just an enjoyable book. ^_^ Really well-written with likeable characters; one of Melanie Dickerson’s best, so far!


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11. Moominsummer Madness – Tove Jansson

Standing in mostly for the entire Moomin series, I almost put Finn Family Moomintroll here but decided Moominsummer Madness is probably my favorite, if only because of Snufkin and the woodies and the park keeper. Just. YES. πŸ˜€ The Moomin books are DELIGHTFUL, Snufkin is a kindred soul of mine (seriously though. <3) and I just love these books! ^_^ This one has a flood and an abandoned theater stage and all sorts of fun, whimsical, fantastical shenanigans.


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12. The Castle Corona – Sharon Creech

I don’t even know why, but I simply adored this little tale in a vaguely-Italian fairytale kingdom, with a mystery and a Storyteller and all sorts of questions and intrigue and delightful characters! I even started out thinking I wouldn’t really like it but it totally surprised me, and now here it is on my top-reads-of-the-year post! Who would’ve thought! Simply utterly charming and delightful. ^_^

Honorable Mentions go to the following

(because they’re not my “usual” genre — being two Regency Romances and a Contemporary Superpower book — but they were really good)

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  1. Devil’s Cub – Georgette Heyer (BECAUSE GEORGETTE HEYER.)
  2. Emma – Jane Austen (This was unexpectedly extremely well done. Also Mr. Knightley.)
  3. Twinepathy – C. B. Cook (Blaze and Anvil! That is all.) {Read my review}

Bonus Categories

FAVORITE STORY IN A COLLECTION

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  • With Blossoms Gold – Hayden Wand (in ONCE: Six Historically Inspired Fairytales) — A retelling of Rapunzel, I simply ADORED it! It was fun, funny, exciting, and clever, and the banter and humor and character interactions, not to mention Prince Benedict (and Prince Orlando too) were just MARVELOUS. ❀
  • (Runner-up: Death Be Not Proud – Suzannah Rowntree in the same collection, because it was just so so brilliant and clever and this author is apparently amazing.)
  • Read my review for this collection

FAVORITE NONFICTION

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  1. Make Good Art – Neil Gaiman — Brilliant and inspiring and original. Loved it enough to read it 3 or 4 times AND listen to the speech a couple of times. {My review}
  2. If You Want to Write: A Book About Art, Independence and Spirit – Brenda Ueland — Finally, somebody (even if the book was from 1938) talking about writing the way I think of it, and about writing the way you want, and speaking out against criticism. This book inspired me SO much. ❀

FAVORITE PICTURE BOOK

  • The Water of Life – Brothers Grimm, retold by Barbara Rogasky, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman — I hadn’t read this tale of Grimm’s before, but it was great and I positively adore Trina Schart Hyman’s illustrations!

Blog Stats

Because it’s my blogoversary, so of course I want to look at my stats! πŸ˜‰

Most popular posts:

(I find it slightly amusing that, for a book-review blog, my most-read posts are mostly non-review posts. XD)

  1. Cover Love: Some 2016 Releases
  2. Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag {2016}
  3. Bookish Book Lover Tag
  4. 25 Bookish Facts About Me
  5. By the Book Tag
  6. The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead
  7. Fantasy Fan-Art
  8. My Diana Wynne Jones Journey (So Far)

By the Numbers:

  • 61 posts (woohoo!)
  • 120 followers (you are all awesome! <3)
  • 720 comments (half of these being me replying. XD)
  • 1343 visitors
  • 3549 hits

Top Commenters:

  1. Christine
  2. Madeline J. Rose
  3. Skye
  4. Sarahtps
  5. Jenelle
  6. Savannah Grace

Thanks SO much, all of you awesome people, and just everyone who reads and/or comments — I so appreciate you all! ^_^ ❀


Whew. Now you know all about my year of 2016 — at least the bookish part… but that’s the most important, yes?? πŸ˜‰

Have you read any of my top 12? (Or… a little more like top 24 if you look at categories and series… BUT STILL.) How was your year of reading in 2016? Tell me all! And I wish you all a fabulous reading year of 2017! Happy New Year!

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

July Reading Roundup + Announcements

1 Hidden Gems 2Before I get to the books I read in July, I have a quick announcement to make! A good friend and lovely blogger, Shantelle @ A Writer’s Heart, is kicking off an exciting blog event today, which will run till late-November, and I’m excited to tell y’all about it!

It’s called Hidden Gems: Authors You Need to Discover.

In this blog event, Shantelle will be posting every Monday from now till November 21st. Each week she will be spotlighting or interviewing an author and their books, and she’s got a pretty exciting line-up, let me tell you! There will also be a giveaway each week.

We’re also encouraged to blog about/review the books being spotlighted each week, if we happen to know them, so that can also be a fun part of it, if you like! I’ll hopefully be doing so at least once. πŸ™‚

Anyhow, I for one am excited about this event. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun! πŸ™‚ The first post is up already so dash on over there, do! And remember to keep watching (maybe follow her lovely blog? *nudges you that direction*) for the rest of them! πŸ™‚ You won’t want to miss this! ^_^

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On with the show . . .

I finally broke out of my 4-books-per-month streak — YAY! Only by a couple, but still. *cough* I planned to read WAY more but life happened. *shrug*

Anyway, here’s what I read in July . . . I’ve been reading really WEIRD books for me! O_O A historical fiction, 4 contemporary novels (1 alternate history modern fantasy, 1 superhero fantasy, 1 Diana Wynne Jones book which is its own category, and 1 spy contemporary), as well as a steampunk. Fascinating!

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1. The Silent Blade – Jesseca Wheaton

I reviewed this one. Kidnappings and siblings and Ireland and AWESOME Irish names and all that good stuff. As I said in my review, I might have rated it 3.5… but I bumped it up to 4. I’d have enjoyed it more if I’d read it awhile back when I was younger and I had some problems with it storywise, but on the whole it kept me reading and made me happy in the end. ^_^

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2. Twinepathy – C. B. Cook

I reviewed this one too! *huggles book* And, for a briefer review, here’s a little something I wrote up for “advance praise” to go in the paperback version. πŸ˜€ (I think it’s the first time I’ve been printed in a book? ANYWAY IT EXCITES ME.)

Gripping and fun, Twinepathy is an un-putdownable read that swept me off on a thrilling ride. Featuring an eclectic cast of characters who stole my heart, a mystery with a memory-thief which kept me guessing, and original superpowers that had me longing to enter the book myself, this is a fabulous read to lose yourself in. I loved it and can’t wait for more!

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3. The Last Dragonslayer – Jasper Fforde

I… don’t know what to rate this because most of it was a 5 star but I didn’t like the ending, so… I’m currently compromising with a 3 star rating, but I’ll probably eventually end up giving it either a 2 or a 4, depending which emotion (enjoyment or disappointment) wins out in the long run. XD

I loved the first half and assumed it was an automatic 5 star read, but then it got scary… and then the ending was really sudden and not what I wanted. Apparently my problem is that I was really enjoying it and then it let me down. *shrug* Others might enjoy it though. And I did love the humor and it was quirky and fun and imaginative and well put together. But some of the ending upset me, and some of it I didn’t care about. I do want a Quarkbeast though . . .

(You can see the rest of my slightly longer, similarly rambly “review,” with some more hidden in spoiler tags, HERE on Goodreads.)

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4. Archer’s Goon – Diana Wynne Jones (reread)

ALL THE STARS. (Please do NOT let the weird cover put you off!!! Artists notoriously really don’t know what to do with DWJ brilliance and tend to bungle it and make her books look unappetizing which is hugely unfortunate. -_-) I reread this aloud and . . . MY GOODNESS, THIS BOOOOK. ❀ ❀ ❀ I read it last year and it was one of my favorites, and it was even BETTER this time. *collapses* I JUST LOVE IT SO MUCH. It’s quirky and ridiculous and hilarious and mashes so many genres together beautifully and its about a couple of crazy families (including a family of power-hungry wizards who are a MESS) and it’s set in modern times but I don’t mind and has fantasy/sci-fi/time things and the characters are all precious beans, even the ones you don’t like, and it just had me laughing all the time, plus there’s a writer in the story, which is a bonus, and reading it aloud and doing all the voices was the most fun ever. I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUUUUCH. It’s definitely one of my top favorite Diana Wynne Jones books. ❀

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5. Ashburn – Julia Erickson

I keep reading secret agent books! In this case, a secret-agent, Christian/Romance/Spy/International Thriller/Mystery type of book. This one was quite fun and I rather enjoyed it. πŸ™‚ I plan to write up a review for it… hopefully I’ll post it later this month. But the romance was sweet and the excitement was thrilling and the characters were fun, and it had a feature of interest namely that although it’s about a secret agent and a girl who gets swept up in all of that, they were both homeschooled originally. ‘Twas interesting. *nods* (Likely because the author was homeschooled. ;)) Anyhow I liked it and hopefully I’ll review it!

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6. The Rose and the Balloon – Kirsten Fichter

This stoooory! *huggles it* This was a truly delightful Beauty and the Beast novella, and guess what — it just released TODAY! So go read the hilarious post (and the one before) on the author’s blog in which the twins Prince Nicolas and Princess Nicoline from the story take over the blog. It’s so fun. XD And get yourself a copy! Or wait for the ebook! Either way, you need this in your life. ❀ I will be posting an ACTUAL review for it on my other blog sometime this month, hopefully soon, so watch for that. And there’s a blogtour going on this week so that’s fun too! But Beauty and the Beast + steampunk + delightful characters + family + shenanigans = so much awesome! ❀

And that’s what I read this month…

So! Have you read anything good lately? Do you sometimes read outside your usual genre? What do you do when you love a book but don’t care for the ending? TELL ME ALL!

Also I will probably kind of be mostly on an internet hiatus for the majority of August… (I may post a review or two around here and also on my other blog — plus I need to get my Ishness post up there… But other than that I’ll likely be missing.) So I hope you have a FANTASTIC August and I will see you later! ^_^ Happy reading, all! ❀

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

June Reading Roundup {2016}

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Reading Roundup #6: June 2016

Heeeere are the books I read in June!

Yes, I am seeing a 4 books per month trend lately… *cough*

Also, oddly, I read mostly historical fiction with a touch of modern this month. o.o Which is strange for this fantasy-addict. πŸ˜‰ Buuut they were mostly also retellings, so apparently that’s close enough. πŸ˜›

(Titles all link to Goodreads.)

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1. Lost Lake House – Elizabeth Grace Foley

Reviewed this. A cute, sweet, kind of elegant short read, which I enjoyed falling into for an afternoon. It kind of made me happy, so. ^_^ Also, Twelve Dancing Princesses (ish) — so there’s that. πŸ˜‰ I wasn’t even going to review it, but I just started typing some thoughts out and then… there was a review. o.o

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2. The Golden Braid – Melanie Dickerson

Really enjoyed this one! I wrote a review for it too… I don’t think I’ve read any other Rapunzel retellings, and while Tangled will probably always be the definitive version for me, this one was really cool too. πŸ˜€ I loved how it linked in with bits of the other Hagenheim books, especially The Princess Spy… AND THAT PLOT TWIST!!! πŸ˜€ *flails around in happiness*

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3. Drover’s Secret Life – John R. Erickson

D’awww! *huggles book* Loved this! The Hank the Cowdog books are so much fun — especially the audio editions, narrated by the author. This one was really fun, narrated by Drover. Loved it! Getting to hear the history of Drover… It’s great. Not to mention hilarious. XD Listened to this on audio, read by the author, which is the best. So much fun! Nothing like a Hank the Cowdog book to make you laugh. These books… so fun to have an unreliable narrator, who’s a DOG… And having Drover narrate it this time instead of Hank was so fun. Hilarious. πŸ˜€ Just one more thing to say now, of course… “OH MY LEG!” XD

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4. Defying Shadows (Rising Shadows, #3) – Ashley Townsend

WOW, this book. So many feeeels. It’s wrapping up the Rising Shadows trilogy and EVERYTHING happened in it! O_O JUST WOW. A couple bittersweet things and many feels, but overall so so good. Time travel and all of the mind-bendingness that involves? Check. Robin Hood retelling? Check. Adorable romance and loveable characters with enormous character-arcs? Check. ALL OF THE REVELATIONS AND PLOT TWISTS OF EVER? BIG CHECK. If this was a chess game, this book would have me in checkmate apparently… ANYWAY. I was privileged to beta-read it, and it’s coming out sometime this July I believe. It made me happy, and I’ll be doing an actual review of it at some point, likely on my other blog. But it was super fantastic! πŸ˜€ I don’t usually read such enormous books so I’m also proud of myself a little. XD

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So those are my reads for June. I have SO MUCH I want to read this month but we’ll see how much I get to. πŸ˜‰

How about you? What’s your favorite read of June? What are you reading next?

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer