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#MarchMagics Wrapup {2017}

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

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

Here’s a look at my magical March. πŸ™‚

Books I Read

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

DWJ Posts this month

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

Reviews

Other March Magic Things

New DWJ book to read

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

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

Photoshoot

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

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

Archer’s Goon film

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

Diana Wynne Jones Book Page

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

February is Fantasy Month! {2017}

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Hello, fellow page-dreamers! This month is an exciting time to blog and just to be alive, because it’s Fantasy Month!

Yes, the wonderful Jenelle Schmidt is once again holding February is Fantasy Month, complete with a linky so everyone can share their fantastical fantasy posts!

I don’t know if I’ll have much posting going on myself but I’d like to post at least a couple things for it, since Fantasy is of course the best genre, as we all know. πŸ˜‰

So if you love Fantasy, remember that February is Fantasy Month! And maybe take this as an excuse to write blog posts about Fantasy things, Fantasy book reviews, and read Fantasy books!

Don’t forget to drop by Jenelle’s post to join in the fun (she’ll be posting Fantasy posts throughout the month) and do join in if you wish!

All month long, during this short and cold and grey month, let’s escape into those greener fantastical worlds and revel in the amazingness of Fantasy! Huzzah!

*throws fairy dust because neither glitter nor confetti is quite fantastical enough for this occasion*

(Also, yes, this does mean I’m back to blogging after hiatusing in January… πŸ˜‰ Expect occasional posts both here and on my other blog soonish — stay tuned.)

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

March Magics Wrap-up

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(pinterest; reminds me of Tom Lynn from Fire and Hemlock)

March draws to a close… I can’t believe how fast this month swept by! I wish I’d been a bit more organized so that I could participate more deeply in March Magics… but what I did do was so much fun anyway, and I greatly enjoyed the DWJ love throughout the blogosphere! (Terry Pratchett, too, of course… but I’m not (yet) a fan since I haven’t read any, so…)

And since I never did do a post with favorite fan-art, I’ve got some DWJ-ish pics — either fan-art or things that remind me of her books — scattered throughout my wrap-up-post because WHY NOT! (They none of them belong to me; I’m linking back to where I found them on Pinterest.)

As for my experiences of the month, they are as follows… In lists. BECAUSE LISTS.

Posts:

Reading:

  • I did read Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones and greatly enjoyed it! I wanted to review it but haven’t managed that yet… It’s hard to review DWJ books.

  • But other things came up so I have yet to delve into Terry Pratchett’s Guards! Guards! Which is a pity because it would have been the perfect excuse to try my first Pratchett… But I’m still looking forward to it and will definitely read it very soon. πŸ™‚
  • It doesn’t really count because I didn’t listen to the whole thing, but I’ve been hearing smatterings of Enchanted Glass around the house — getting the fam hooked on DWJ; like a boss. πŸ˜‰ I’ve read it before but it’s fun hearing snatches of it again!
  • I really wanted to do some rereading but didn’t manage it… Next year! (And/or, ya know, the rest of this year… I’m not picky. :P)

Other stuff:

  • I had an absolute BLAST with the Diana Wynne Jones Twitter Party on the 25th. I’d never “been” to a Twitter party before, and couple that with not usually running across people who talk about DWJ and suddenly being swamped with links and reviews and thingsF, and I was basically in book heaven. IT WAS SO FUN! ^_^

  • I also went on a DWJ quote-liking binge on Goodreads. ‘Twas marvelous.
  • And I had SO much fun reading everyone else’s posts/reviews!
  • I had some ideas for some other posts but never did get to them, I’m afraid, and I definitely did not schedule my reading etc. very well this month, but what little I did do was still marvelous fun!
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(pinterest; I don’t even know who they’re supposed to be but they look very DWJ-ish to me. Sophie & Howl? Chrestomanci & Millie?)

(If you’ve missed the excitement, do check out the link-up post with all the other awesome posts, and you can find the remains of the twitter party under the hashtags #MarchMagics and #DWJMarch.)

Many thanks to Kristen @ We Be Reading for hosting this magical month of appreciation for Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett! I absolutely loved it and I’m already looking forward to next March! ^_^

(Next year, I will be PREPARED! >:D)

Happy March Magics, everyone!

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The Ordinary Princess (Fantasy Love Feb. Challenge 4)

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And now for the 4th and final blog mini challenge for the Fantasy Love February Reading Challenge, which is to reread or rewatch a fantasy favorite movie or book, and share in a blog post what’s so fantastic about it that made you want to re-adventure with it.

I picked . . .

The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye

“You shall be ordinary.” So proclaimed the fairy Crustacea at the christening of Her Serene Royal Highness, Amethyst Alexandra Augusta Araminta Adelaide Aurelia Anne. And ordinary she was. With mousy brown hair, a turned-up nose and freckles, Princess Amy was nothing like her six blond, beautiful princess sisters. She was so ordinary, in fact, that no prince could be found to marry her. But that didn’t bother Amy. Who wanted to marry a stuffy old prince, anyway? Amy had other ideas about how to spend her life. Like running off to the forest . . . and an enchanting adventure all her own.

–Summary from the back

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I first read The Ordinary Princess in April last year, and fell in love with it instantly. ❀ I was so tempted to reread it the moment I finished it, but refrained… and now this was a perfect chance to pick it up again.

So last night I did, and devoured it all over again in an hour and a half. It’s a short read, but oh so lovely!

How can I even DESCRIBE it? It’s probably my favorite little fairytale-esque story ever. Yes, it’s THAT good.

It just has this perfect fairytale feel — it’s like an original fairytale with some nods to a few classic ones, such as starting out with a Sleeping Beauty-esque christening with fairy gifts etc. (The king even makes a reference to his great-great-something-grandmother, who evidently WAS Sleeping Beauty! Isn’t that perfect? <3) And something like the song Cinderella sings in the new Cinderella movie, and a few other things.

It has all the classic fairytale feel, and yet it’s a totally original fairytale, turning many of the old plot devices on their heads! To say much more would be to spoil the marvelous tale, but be assured that whether you like new or old tales, it will satisfy you either way.

In the author’s note, she says she wrote it one spring in an apple orchard in blossom in Kent, England, and that it practically wrote itself. All of this makes perfect sense. It’s exactly the sort of beautiful little tale that would be perfect to be made in a blooming apple orchard in England! It just FEELS like that.

It has this fabulous writing style, like many old fairytales and yet even better somehow, which is simultaneously beautiful and hilarious (don’t ask how. It just is). I don’t even know how the author did it, but it just has this perfect FEEL. There’s not a single thing I dislike about it.

And the illustrations!! It was also illustrated by the author, and they’re just the most darling, beautiful, yet simplistic and perfect drawings ever! ❀ They perfectly capture these lovely medieval fairytale kingdoms and characters. (It’s just the sort of setting I love the most in books!)

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Then the characters, all of whom are fabulous. Even the side characters have a lot of spirit to them, from the myriad councilors and ministers of two different kingdoms, to the king and queen, to the adorable animal friends of Amy, a red squirrel (one Mr Pemberthy) and a crow (Peter Aurelious), to the fairy Crustacea, the old fairy of the waters with hornrimmed spectacles who tends to drip and be somewhat cranky when she’s held up in traffic trying to reach the christening. (Seriously, the whole thing is fabulous like that.)

The heroine, (Princess Amethyst Alexandra Augusta Araminta Adelaide Aurelia Anne; a.k.a. “Amy”), the Ordinary Princess herself, is quite fun, and then the eventual hero, Peregrine! Oh my goodness, Peregrine was so wonderful! His lines, so British and fantastic, and only he would be met eating ice cream in the middle of the night in the midst of the leftovers of a banquet! So much wonderful. And they two of them together are just perfect and sweet and funny. I love them so much. ❀

The story itself is simply a rollick. The perfect fairytale mix of whimsical, fun, lovely, and slightly worried hoping everything will turn out all right, but being fairly sure it will, with a few twists which are absolutely perfect. (I know I keep using that word, but I will not apologize — I can’t think of a better one.)

The writing, style, setting, humor, sweetness, illustrations, characters, story, dialog — it’s just all so fantabulous, I can’t get over it!! *flails around*

I simply can’t describe how perfect it is, and the only thing for it is for you to read it yourself.

If you love fairytales new and old, fun little books, a touch of adorable sweet romance, a bit of “English” feeling and wonderful dialog and humor, and just an all around lovely read, you simply MUST read The Ordinary Princess! It’s sweet, adorable, lovely, gorgeous, hilarious, and just all-around PERFECT.

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…There is my fangirl gushing for the day. πŸ˜‰

It was just the perfect thing to read for this reading challenge, and February Fantasy Month and all! ^_^

***

I must say, I’ve been very much enjoying the Fantasy Love February Reading Challenge, and all the little challenges, and everything, and will be sad to see its end. But enormous thanks to Grace @ Fictionally for hosting it! I’ve been having a blast! πŸ™‚

And although I sadly did not read all of the fantasy books I’d PLANNED to read, due to acquiring some different fantasy-ish books and reading them instead, I still have a few reviews to come in the next day or two! Since I did read The Castle Corona, Wolf Tower, and The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, hopefully I’ll review those soon!

***

So how about you? Have you read The Ordinary Princess? What did you think? If not, then what are you waiting for, my good bookworms? Do not delay!

(But seriously though, READ THE ORDINARY PRINCESS. It’s so good. <3)

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Tales of Old (Fantasy Love Feb. Mini-Challenge 3)

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A brief post today…

The mini-challenge of the third week of the Fantasy Love February Reading Challenge is to read an original fairy tale (Grimm… Hans Christian Anderson…) and then to answer the following questions. (Ooh, I like this one. :))

I’ve read most of the “classic” ones, and was at a loss as to which fairy tale to read (especially since I figured I’d be tempted to pick The Twelve Dancing Princesses, as my favorite… but I’ve already read every version of that I can find, so…), but I remembered that awhile back I’d been in the middle of reading through a collection called “The World’s Best Fairy Tales“, and hadn’t finished. So I pulled it from my shelf and opened it where I’d left off…

1. What fairy tale did you read?

The Tinderbox (Hans Christian Anderson; the book said it was from the Andrew Lang collection). It’s the one about the soldier, the tinderbox (naturally), the princess, and the three dogs with the interestingly large eyes… (Teacups, saucers, and millstones or towers were I believe the operative words…) It sort of sticks in your mind once you’ve read it!

2. Did you enjoy it?

I’d say so. It’s kind of odd, as many fairytales are, but I vaguely recall a shortened, illustrated version of it from a collection of children’s tales and verse, which I remember I loved. It has some similarities to a few other fairy tales, like perhaps Aladdin and his lamp, though obviously I — as a person rabidly mildly interested with The Twelve Dancing Princesses — ended up noticing that it has a slight resemblance to that… opening with a soldier meeting an old woman, and having an underground place with an emphasis on three areas and having copper, silver, and gold, and a princess who her parent(s) are worried about going out at night. …Okay, so maybe I’m over-thinking it. πŸ˜‰ Anyways, it’s a short tale, and interesting, with an occasional amusing turn of phrase. I’m not the biggest fan of Anderson, and some of it’s… weird… but still pretty fun. πŸ™‚

3. If there is a movie version of it, which is better? If there’s not a movie version, do you think there should be an adaption?

If there is, I haven’t seen it… πŸ˜› And I think it would make an odd movie! There’s kind of not that much to it? But I supposed all adaptions of fairy tales manage to build more on the story than was originally there…

4. Is this the first original fairy tale you’ve read?

Not at all — I’ve read many others! πŸ™‚

5. Do you want to read any more original tales now?

Yes, I hope to read many more in the future! Fairy tales are fascinating. πŸ™‚

***

In case you can’t tell, I’m having a lot of fun being a part of these Fantasy Love February challenges. πŸ˜€

Fantasy Fan-Art

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I’m a bit late to the party, but I’m linking up with this week’s Mini Challenge for the Fantasy Love February (hosted by Grace @ Fictionally) which is to share some Fantastic Art! πŸ™‚

(See the challenge post with the other linkers here — even join in the linkup if you like, with some fantasy art or photography or poetry or whatever! πŸ™‚ — and read about the Fantasy Love February Reading Challenge here.)

I have no claims that these bits of fan-art are fantastic in any way other than that they are a) fan-art and, b) from fantasy books I love… but here you go. I am very rarely artistic with anything other than words, hence writing is my art of choice instead of drawing… But I do occasionally draw things, if I have inspiration. (Which is rare.) I’m also a perfectionist so I rarely consider something “finished” but oh well.

Here are a couple of fan art pieces that I drew once upon a time. (Once Upon A Time. Get it? πŸ˜€ Like… fairytales and fantasy and… Ahem. Nevermind… :P) (Also I hope it’s not cheating to not actually draw/make something this week? I really wanted to but had no inspiration and no time. *sadface*)

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Achan Cham from The Blood of Kings Trilogy (By Darkness Hid, To Darkness Fled, From Darkness Won) by Jill Williamson

As you can see, I sketched this from the cover of the third book, From Darkness Won, just as a sketching exercise, and didn’t spend too much effort on it. (Which is why there seems to be something wrong with his nose, in particular…? Also my scanner seemed to decide it would be a great time to act up and not scan properly… πŸ˜› My apologies.)

Achan is the hero of the Blood of Kings trilogy and just for the record he’s one of my favoritest heroes EVER.

Like… ordinarily my favorite character in a book tends to be some side character who doesn’t get much screen time page time. But I think I can honestly say that Achan is my favorite character in the trilogy. He’s just great and has this dry sense of humor and makes mistakes but keeps trying and you just gotta love him. Best main character ever! (Or one of, at least.)

I seriously need to reread those books… They’re really fabulous Medieval Fantasy! And if you haven’t read them, they’re definitely worth a read. πŸ™‚

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Rakkety Tam MacBurl (from Rakkety Tam by Brian Jacques in the Redwall series)

Slightly cartoonish, but I had a lot of fun with this one — not to mention it’s an oddity in that it’s one of my few drawings that actually has color!

For those who don’t know (you’re missing out!) Rakkety Tam is an awesome squirrel warrior in one of the Redwall books, and he (obviously) wears a kilt and has a Scottish accent and is basically one of my favorite Redwall characters and one of my favorite Redwall books. Though I admit I haven’t actually READ it… in that I listened to the audiobook (several times) because of the fabulous full cast and all their glorious accents. Seriously. So much awesome. Anyways he’s a fabulous warrior hero, and he’s Scottish, and he’s a squirrel, and basically what is not to love? ❀ (For those who are curious, my top favorite Redwall books are Mossflower, Taggerung, and Rakkety Tam. And they are all overdue for a reread… or perhaps a relisten?)

So there is my foray into some fantasy fan-art.

Make sure to check out the Fantasy Love February Reading Challenge (I’ve read 2 on my list so far…), and also remember that February is Fantasy Month! Jenelle Schmidt is still having some fantastic (in more ways than one) posts on her site as well. Join the fun! πŸ™‚

*happily twirls in all of the fantasy-ness*

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Fantasy Love February Nightstand Books

Today’s post is a mix of… well, of three different things, all scrumptiously rolled together into one.

Firstly: Nightstand Books, which is a fun bookish monthly meme, the first Wednesday of every month, held by Jenelle and D.J.

Secondly: Jenelle is also doing a Fantasy month thing for February… Check out her post here!

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In case you don’t know, fantasy is my FAVORITE.

Thirdly: Grace @ Fictionally is holding a Fantasy Love February Reading Challenge which I am — tentatively? — joining in on. (That is, I hope to be able to read a bunch of fantasy, but my reading goals always tend to do whatever they want instead of what I want, soo… we’ll see.)

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So! Because Nightstand Books is about what we’re reading this month, and since the first part of the first mini-challenge within the Fantasy Love February Reading Challenge is to post the book/books you plan/hope to read for the challenge… and since this all relates to fantasy… it’s all coming together in this post!

Apparently February is a lovely (see what I did there?) time to celebrate fantasy. Huzzah! It’s the perfect excuse for me to read some fantasy books I’ve been meaning to read.

Here’s my nightstand currently… (Not all of it’s fantasy… but that’s why this is the Nightstand Books part…)

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I’m working on going through all the Holmes stories, so right now I’m working through The Original Illustrated Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, which contains three collections of short stories (one of which I read last month) as well as The Hound of the Baskervilles. I’m currently in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes; then it’s on to Hound and Return. I’m loving reading these, especially since short stories can be read fairly quickly, and I simply adore the original illustrations by Sidney Paget! They’re the essence of the Holmes tales, right there. ❀

Also started The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien (edited by Humphrey Carpenter and Christopher Tolkien). I read most of this book quite some time ago, but never actually got all the way to the end, and it’s been a long time so I don’t really remember them… Hence, I’m restarting and hoping to go through the whole thing this time. It’s fascinating and I love being in the mind of my favorite author.

Similar story to above: The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones is a book I’ve read bits of but never sat down to read all the way through. Set up as an A-Z “guidebook” to Fantasyland, it’s tongue-in-cheek, making fun of cliches and just having a rollick, and it’s quite hilarious.

So those are what I’m currently in. (I’d also kind of like to read a few of the books I didn’t get to in January, like Rising Shadows and The Poisoned Cure… but we’ll see.)

But! Then I’d also like to read some fantasy for said reading challenge. So these are (tentatively) what I’m hoping to read in February.

Aaand I may end up suddenly having a bunch of other books to review, or going to the library and getting a bunch of random things, or having no time to read because I’m busy and/or writing, so this may not happen, but I’m hoping to, anyway!

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So… Nightstand round #2 (yes, Tough Guide to Fantasyland is in both. πŸ˜€ )

What’s on your nightstand? Anything fantasy-ish? πŸ˜‰

Dream away in those pages…

~The Page Dreamer