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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

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Mid-Year Top Reads + Roundup {2017}

Hi everyone!

We seem, impossibly, SOMEHOW, to be halfway through 2017? I… I don’t know quite what to do with this information. I’ll just be over here in a shock blanket next to Sherlock. Ahem.

MEANWHILE, this means I get to recap my top favorite reads of the year and… generally just list all the books I’ve read so far, because I want to, and in case you’re curious. XD

Favorite Books So Far This Year (More or Less)

Here’s a glimpse at my top-favorite most-wow books this year, although there have been many other AWESOME reads. It’s been a good half-year for reading. πŸ˜€

  • Magician’s Ward was Regency Fantasy and the first awesome book I read this year.
  • Hexwood blew my mind.
  • Sentinel (and technically Arbiter too…) are awesome because JET.
  • The Beast of Talesend is hilarious and perfect.
  • The Fatal Tree concludes one of my new all-time favorite series.
  • Moonblood was absolutely gorgeous fantasy.
  • Where the Woods Grow Wild was excellent fantasy plus hilarious.
  • Halayda‘s the last book I read and… I haven’t sorted all my thoughts on it because, like I said, it’s recent, so I dunno if it will stay on my top-list or not, but initial reaction was Fae and characters and snark = I loved.

Some runners-up are mooore awesome fantasy, namely:

  • Spellsmith and Carver: Magicians’ Rivalry (buddy-story in Faerie, plus banter!)
  • Masters and Beginners (so much awesome Faerie things and refreshing YA!)
  • King’s Warrior and Second Son (feels-like-home epic fantasy, plus Brant!)

More on all these books below!

Stats

According to my Goodreads Reading Challenge, I’ve read 50 books out of my… 50 book goal! (So maybe I’ll be an overachiever this year. Maybe. Just a smidge.)

(And yes, some of these are re-reads, short stories, or an unpublished beta-read and a picture book, sooo… it’s not as much as it looks like, I promise. XD I think I read 35 new books?)

ALL THE BOOKS

And now, a liiiist of all the bookses, with quicky thoughts on them, ratings, and linkses to reviewses.

(I’m leaving out the short stories and putting the re-reads at the end, even though the pictures are just screenshots of my Goodreads Reading Challenge, which have all of those on, AND are in reverse-chronological order due to it showing up that way, because I’m lazy and consequently confusing. OH WELL! You’ll figure it out. XD)

If you’re curious about any of these, or want to add them to your to-read list, you can find them all listed on my Goodreads challenge, HERE. (So I don’t have to link to all of them, which would be exhausting. o.o)

  • Magician’s Ward – Patricia C. Wrede — 5 stars — Regency Fantasy is a genre I must inhale more. This was hilarious/epic, like Georgette Heyer meets Diana Wynne Jones. Also, Mairelon the Magician! ❀ [REVIEW]
  • Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors – H.L. Burke — 4 stars — Steampunk novella with great banter and lovable talking computer. Slightly scary but totally awesome. Must read rest of series soon! [Mini Review on Goodreads]
  • The Faerie Ring – Kiki Hamilton — 3 stars — Annoyed me slightly, BUT scary fairies in alternate 1800s London, plus Rieker was awesome. [Mini Review on Goodreads]
  • King’s Warrior – Jenelle Leanne Schmidt — 5 stars — Awesome medieval fantasy with dragons and great characters, including Brant and Kiernan Kane, two of my favorites ever! [REVIEW]
  • The Firethorn Crown – Lea DouΓ© — 4 stars — Twelve Dancing Princesses and dragons and great characters; torn about the villain; overall enjoyed. πŸ™‚ [REVIEW]
  • Suit and Suitability – Kelsey Bryant — 5 stars — Absolutely delightful retelling of Sense and Sensibility set in the 1930s; so historical-feeling but YA and sweet. ^_^ [REVIEW]
  • Wild Robert – Diana Wynne Jones — 5 stars — Short but delightful, and stopped right where I wanted to learn more! XD But super enjoyable. [REVIEW]
  • Aunt Maria – Diana Wynne Jones — 5 stars — Mind-blowing DWJ fantasy, which I loved. So, so good. [REVIEW]

  • Mort – Terry Pratchett — 4 stars — This and Guards! Guards! are my favorite Discworld books so far. πŸ˜€ Dark humor (not for everyone. XD) but overall I quite enjoyed. [Mini review on Goodreads]
  • Mansfield Park – Jane Austen — 3 stars — Actually a really good book, trying to do really interesting things; I just couldn’t enjoy it because it was depressing. o.o But still good! [REVIEW]
  • Reaper Man – Terry Pratchett — 3 stars — Tricky because I LOVED the Bill Door plot, but didn’t care for the other main plot, so half I disliked, and the other half were some favorite Discworld times. [Mini review on Goodreads]
  • Soul Music – Terry Pratchett — 2 stars —Β I was sad about things, okay. Plus the rock references went over my head and didn’t do much for me. (Loved the motorcycle and the rat though; and some parts I quite enjoyed.) [Mini review on Goodreads]
  • Hexwood – Diana Wynne Jones — 5 stars — MIND BLOWN. SO MANY THINGS. ALSO MORDION IS MY FAVE. ❀ AND IT’S FANTASY/SCI-FI/ARTHURIAN/MODERN/TIMEY-WIMEY. Just imagine if Aragorn was turned into the Winter Soldier and then thrown into a genre-defying time-travel thing that breaks your brain and is mindbogglingly plot-twisty, with ALL THE FEELS. Basically. Anyways, one of my fave DWJ books, just dark and might not be for everyone. XD [REVIEW]
  • Viper – Jamie Foley — 4 stars — Thrilling novella mixing military thriller/fantasy, with characters I love. Great backstory! I want to re-read this for Jet… [REVIEW]
  • Second Son – Jenelle Leanne Schmidt — 5 stars — Awesome epic fantasy, backstory for Brant from King’s Warrior, who’s one of my favorite characters. ❀ [REVIEW]
  • Beggar Magic – H.L. Burke — 5 stars — Steampunk-feeling original fantasy with a twist of murder mystery and friendship and cute romance. So fun! [REVIEW]
  • King’s Blood – Jill Williamson — 2 stars —Β Excellent author, I was just too devastated about a certain character death to look at this objectively; I’m sorry! D: (*goes quietly away to sob in a corner*) [REVIEW]
  • Sentinel – Jamie Foley — 5 stars — Genre-defying fantasy/modern/apocalyptic/in-another-world/superpowers, with snark and humor and great dialog and characters, this was SO ORIGINAL and I loved it; plus Jet is one of my top-fave characters of ALL TIME. ❀ [REVIEW]

  • Masters and Beginners – Daley Downing — 5 stars — Such an extremely enjoyable and refreshing contemporary YA fantasy, with SO many cool faerie-ish things; can’t wait for book two! [REVIEW]
  • Puss in Boots – Diana Wynne Jones — 5 stars — Very brief retelling, which was interesting since I’d never read anything retold by DWJ! Mostly very like the original, but with enough humor and good explanations to make it super fun. Puss in Boots now makes sense to me and this is the definitive version for me. XD
  • The Beast of Talesend – Kyle Robert Schultz — 5 stars — Hilarious and awesome fairytale-ish shenanigans and one of my top faves. JUST READ IT. [REVIEW]
  • The Fatal Tree – Stephen R. Lawhead — 5 stars — An excellent conclusion to the Bright Empires series, I am STILL attempting to wrap my brain around it so I can review it. All I know is that even if I don’t understand everything and might still have some questions (be right back, must re-read series to find answers…), I love this series and these characters fiercely, and this was an tremendous final book. ❀ Just go read The Skin Map, people. Just do it. [REVIEW TO COME]
  • Arbiter – Jamie Foley — 5 stars — SO INTENSE, plus more of Jet, plus hilarious memory loss and basically all the things. ❀ [REVIEW]
  • Moonblood – Anne Elisabeth Stengl — 5 stars — Absolutely GORGEOUS and fabulous fantasy, so perilous and Fae and just so good. *collapses* Plus, Eanrin and Beana and Oeric. ❀ [Review-of-sorts on Goodreads]
  • Adventures and Adversities – Sarah Holman — 4 stars — A super sweet medieval story with a Christian message; quite enjoyed. πŸ™‚ [REVIEW]
  • Where the Woods Grow Wild – Nate Philbrick — 5 stars — Classic-feeling yet utterly original fantasy, HILARIOUS, excellently-written, plus lovable characters. Instant classic! [REVIEW]
  • Dogsbody – Diana Wynne Jones — 5 stars — Brilliant mind-blowing DWJ as usual, fantasy/sci-fi/modern/mythology. It’s bittersweet (she might not have figured out how to do happy endings yet…) but overall super good. Plus the main character is a former-star-being-turned-dog, and now I know ALL about dogs, which made it hilarious. XD
  • Mythic Orbits 2016 (short story anthology) – edited by Travis Perry — 2 stars — Not totally fair, since there were 4-star, 3-star, 1-star, AND 2-star stories in this collection, but overall they were too weird or disturbing for me, and I just don’t usually get along with short stories. XD But others might enjoy more. [REVIEW TO COME]
  • Brothers and Betrayal – Sarah Holman — 4 stars — Robin-Hood-ish and I really liked the story of John (the Robin Hood character) and Princess Brianna; also great Christian theme of forgiveness. [REVIEW]
  • The Noble Servant – Melanie Dickerson — 5 stars — Extremely enjoyable Christian romantic Goose-Girl retelling, with a great hero and great wrapup to the Thornbeck Forest series. πŸ™‚ [REVIEW]
  • Spellsmith and Carver: Magicians’ Rivalry – H.L. Burke — 5 stars — Absolutely fabulous “buddy story” about rival magicians and magic and a scary Faerie realm, with a touch of Steampunk feel. I LOVED Jericho and Auric and their banter! ❀ So good. [REVIEW TO COME]
  • Bellevere House – Sarah Scheele — 5 stars — Extremely enjoyable retelling of Mansfield Park, quite different than the original, but excellently written and funny, set in the 1930s with a Christian spin; sort of romantic-comedy-ish and so fun! πŸ™‚ [REVIEW]
  • Courage and Corruption – Sarah Holman — 4 stars — A strong character-growth novel about twin brother and sister and a kingdom teetering on the brink of war, looking for its rightful king. Enjoyable medieval Christian fiction in the fictional country of Taelis. πŸ™‚ [REVIEW]

  • Dreams and Devotion – Sarah Holman — 4 stars — Well-written medieval tale of a peasant girl and her brother as a new priest, separately facing adversity and growing stronger in their faith. It’s an extremely emotional and bitter-sweet book, focusing on the little things, but it kept me so absorbed and it was overall quite good. πŸ™‚ [REVIEW TO COME NEXT WEEK, with blog tour and giveaway]
  • For Love and Honor – Jody Hedlund — 3 stars — Mostly a just-okay read for me, but overall enjoyable medieval romance; I loved the bantering of the hero and heroine. πŸ™‚ [Mini-review on Goodreads]
  • Halayda – Sarah Delena White — 5 stars — This is truly EPIC fantasy, with a dash of steampunk, set mostly in Faerie in another world, with dashes of tweaked mythology, SO much great imagery and fantasy, characters I absolutely adored, breathtaking writing, and a dash of humor and hilarious snark and banter, with some great character dynamics and a side of sweet romance. It’s a little darker than some, but so epic. Faerie King Taylan and snarky shape-shifting Zad are definitely new favorites! ❀ [Review to come at some point, perhaps?]

RE-READS

Note: All re-reads are, nearly always, 5 stars. Why else would I re-read them? XD

  • Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen — Re-reading so I could read the retelling; enjoyable. πŸ™‚
  • The Magicians of Caprona – Diana Wynne Jones — SO FUN.
  • The Dark Hills Divide – Patrick Carman — MY CHILDHOOD.
  • Witch Week – Diana Wynne Jones — CHRESTOMANCIIII. ❀
  • Mixed Magics – Diana Wynne Jones — And Chrestomanci short stories are so fun. XD
  • The Pinhoe Egg – Diana Wynne Jones — MY FAVORITE CHRESTOMANCI BOOOOK. ❀ [REVIEW]
  • Howl’s Moving Castle – Diana Wynne Jones — Yes, I read this for the 5th time. I REGRET NOTHING. ❀ Still my top-favorite-book-of-all-time-tied-with-The-Lord-of-the-Rings. πŸ˜€
  • Year of the Griffin – Diana Wynne Jones — I loved this SO MUCH MORE on this re-read! :O So enjoyable, and griffiiiiins! ❀
  • Blood Ties – Hazel B. West — Jumped on the chance to re-read this for a readalong! We’re about to start reading An Earthly King next, and I. can’t. wait. πŸ˜€ (But alternate-history modern Ireland with cars and swords and Faeries, though. <3) [REVIEW of Blood Ties from Last Year]

~ ~ ~

So there you are! I hope you enjoyed this glance at my reading year so far! What’s your favorite book you’ve read in 2017?

Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

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

Reading Roundup #5: May 2016

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I know I’ve been really sporadic around here, but you can blame my internet being dead. Thank goodness for libraries with wifi so I can post this. πŸ˜›

So I didn’t read a lot this month again… but what I did read was a lot of gloriously hilarious whimsical fantasy and it was simply fabulous! πŸ™‚

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1. Howl’s Moving Castle – Diana Wynne Jones

…Um, I don’t think this even needs to be elaborated on, since everyone should know by now that it’s like my favorite book ever. (Ties with LotR but I admittedly read Howl more often because it’s small.) IT IS MY FAAAAVORITE. *dances in happiness* Howl is the absolute best and I love the whole book and it’s hilarious and perfect. ❀ I take any excuse to reread it, and this time my excuse was reading it aloud to my younger siblings. So I got to do all the voices. It. Was. Stupendous. (THIS BOOOOK. <3)

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2. Of Mice and Magic – Ursula Vernon

Well, THAT was fun and hilarious. XD Twelve dancing mouse princesses and a warrior-princess hamster — what could be more fun? For a younger audience, but funny enough I didn’t mind. Great retelling, cute illustrations, very fun quick read. πŸ™‚ Much humor. I approve. *nod* (Also, funny story about how I happened to read this: I had been recommended it by a Goodreads friend because of the twelve dancing princesses aspect… and then I happened to be waiting around at a Barnes & Noble all day one day, so when I found it I actually sat down and read the whole thing while I was there. XD It was kind of great.)

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3. Paper Crowns – Mirriam Neal

ASLKDJFSLKDJFLSDKLSKDJF THIS BOOOOOOOOOOOK!!! Okay, so I beta read this when it was being written a couple years back and ADORED it so I was super super super ecstatic when it got published this year!Β I’ve literally been waiting for this to be published since I read the first chapter. IT’S A DREAM COME TRUE.Β Hopefully you can understand how good it is when I say I love it nearly as much as Howl’s Moving Castle which I just squealed about. I just devoured my signed copy and loved it all over again and everyone in the world must read it because I love it and the characters (who are a mess but glorious) SO SO MUCH. ❀ (Seriously though, Hal and Azrael and all the others. THEY ARE THE MOST WONDERFUL OF EVER.) Also the snark and banter and humor and character interactions are absolutely MARVELOUS. Plus it’s a lovely fantasy adventure. Basically what is not to love?? Answer: nothing. (Except some typos. But I hear those are being fixed, so.)Β It’s one of my favorite books of EVER. YOU NEED THIS IN YOUR LIFE, EVERYONE! I CANNOT RECOMMEND IT HIGHLY ENOUGH. ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀

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4. The Merlin Conspiracy – Diana Wynne Jones

This was the “review” I posted on Goodreads: “YES TO THIS BOOK! ❀ I need an elephant. AN ELEPHANT. Also Romanov. Yesssss. ACK DIANA WYNNE JONES BOOKS ARE LIFE I TELL YOU. (I may coherent a review someday.) ROMANOV.” Um… so, that was incoherent. XD But in my defense it was very enjoyable despite my having the flu when I read it. I also very much want to find somebody who’s read it to flail with because like nobody’s read it and a lot of Goodreads reviews seem to think it’s just “okay” so I’m wondering WHERE ARE THE FANS OF THIS BOOK?? I NEED YOU. WE MUST TALK. Anyways, it’s the sequel to Deep Secret, and it was totally weird but I enjoyed it a lot. It’s actually not super Arthurian, despite the title. There’s a hint or two, but that’s it. But it’s largely set in an alternate Britain (I wanna go to Wales please and thank you) and it has this elephant (not in Britain) who is named Mini and is so sweeeeet (I NEED AN ELEPHANT I TELL YOU) and a character named Romanov who is amazing. Also it was the perfect thing to read when I had the flu because one of the characters had it too. XD …Actually, I’m almost starting to wonder if I hallucinated the whole thing because it WAS rather a weird book and it went back to the library so I have no proof it happened… >.> I should write a review for it just because. *adds to long list of things to review when I have time/inspiration/internet which is a difficult combination to find these days*

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So, not very many, but I was also busy, and I have been beta-reading parts of lovely books by lovely friends. I also beta-read all of The Dead Boy and the Paper Cut by Cait @ Paper Fury (which is up on Wattpad.com) and oh my goodness, the FEEEEEEELS. *collapses* It was also humorous and snarky but also scary and dark AND I DIDN’T NEED MY HEART ANYWAY. *cough* Anyways, in case it was a question (which it wasn’t) Cait is a genius writer who needs to be published, since she can make me love a book I would normally never read (i.e., a YA contemporary paranormal story about a ghost, which mangled my feels… and I don’t even mind. This is rare.).

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But yeah, two Diana Wynne Jones books including a reread of my fave, plus a Diana-Wynne-Jones-esque whimsical fantasy tale with my FAVORITE characters/humor/banter/snark by one of my favorite authors of EVER (a.k.a. Mirriam the Neal herself) and then a small fun retelling of my favorite fairytale (plus a snarky ghost who should totally be published. Ahem.). How about an awesome month of reading, folks?? Yessss. I’m a happy reader. ^_^

So how about you, readers all? Have you read any of these? (I HIGHLY recommend you read Howl’s Moving Castle and Paper Crowns if you haven’t because they’re some of my SUPER top favorites! <3) What’s your favorite thing you read in May?

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Reading Roundup #3: March 2016

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

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

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1. Blood Ties – Hazel B. West

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

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2. A Spy’s Devotion – Melanie Dickerson

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

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3. Comet in Moominland – Tove Jansson

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

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4. Moominsummer Madness – Tove Jansson

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

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5. The Exploits of Moominpappa – Tove Jansson

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

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6. Deep Secret – Diana Wynne Jones

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

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7. The Beautiful Pretender – Melanie Dickerson

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

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8. Moominland Midwinter – Tove Jansson

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

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9. Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen

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

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

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

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

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

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12. Moominvalley in November – Tove Jansson

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

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13. Rising Shadows – Ashley Townsend

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

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

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Reading Roundup #4: April 2016

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

Ahem. Do not question.

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

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

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

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1. Tales from Moominvalley – Tove Jansson

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

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2. Guards! Guards! – Terry Pratchett

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

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3. Songkeeper – Gillian Bronte Adams

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

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4. King’s Folly – Jill Williamson

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

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

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

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer