Tag Archive | Bookstagram

March Magics 2020: Wrapup!

As the month comes to a close, so does another March Magics, and I had a lovely time celebrating Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett. ^_^ Thanks, as always, to We Be Reading for hosting!

Here’s a recap of my March Magics!

Books I Read

  • The Islands of Chaldea (Diana Wynne Jones + Ursula Jones) — This was one of the last of DWJ’s books that I’d been saving up to read . . . I only have a few left, which is sad, but I was happy that I finally read this! It was published posthumously, finished by her sister Ursula (I’m so curious where she picked up and where Diana left off!), and felt like a sort of tribute to the British Isles — in an alternate fantasy world, of course. 😉 It was delightful and I loved all the islands and characters and creatures and magical shenanigans and the hot air balloon! So much fun. ^_^
  • Thief of Time (Terry Pratchett) — I had an absolute blast with this! I finally finished this arc of Discworld. I accidentally saw a HUGE spoiler in a review on Goodreads when I was about half done, so… I’m curious how I would have reacted to that if I hadn’t been spoiled, but… regardless, I just really enjoyed nearly everything about this besides the Auditors, but who likes them. XD Death wasn’t in it much, but still. Susan and Lobsang are my fave! And all the time stuff!
  • A Hat Full of Sky (Terry Pratchett) — The Nac Mac Feegles! XD They’re my absolute favorite thing in this. So many good moments! I wish they’d been in it more, and I still love The Wee Free Men more, but ’twas quite enjoyable. I wasn’t sure at first, but things turned out better than I thought, and despite the stress it was nice to see Tiffany Aching growing some, and like I said, it wrapped up well. Also, Rob Anybody attacking Death’s face. XD And when Rob refuses a drink and Jeannie thinks he’s dead. “He’s deid and still talkin’!” XD The Feegles! They’re just so hilarious!
  • Fire and Hemlock (Diana Wynne Jones) — This was my re-read for the month, and it was GLORIOUS! I’ve been meaning to re-read it ever since 2016 as soon as I finished it the first time, so I’m really happy I was able to, finally! I picked up on so many more things now that I knew most of what was going on, and rediscovered some things I’d forgotten too. I love all of it. Polly growing up, and TOM LYNN IS MY FAVE, and all the books and how they tie into things (genius), and Polly and Tom writing stories, and being heroes, and Tam Lin things, and all the subtle magic and mysteries and secrets creeping under the surface. Absolutely fascinating. I got the ending a bit better this time too. And Tom! Just fabulous. Definitely one of my favorite of DWJ’s! (You can still read my original review if you like — one of the first reviews I posted on this blog!)

Watched

  • Howl’s Moving Castle — I did re-watch the Studio Ghibli film and had a blast! It had been awhile since I’d seen it, and I’d sort of forgotten about a few parts, so that was extra fun. I still love the book best, but I find I can still enjoy the movie as a separate entity! I still find it hilarious how nice the characters are in the film, unlike in the book. XD Normally it’s the opposite. 😛 But it’s still gorgeous and whimsical and strange and beautiful, and despite their book counterparts being my favorite, I do still have a soft spot for movie Howl, Sophie, Calcifer and Michael/Markle. And you have to love Howl being voiced by Batman. 😉 It’s so strange how movie-Howl is SO NICE but I love him in his way. And the green slime scene is a bit more like his bookish self. XD Anyway, I had so much fun revisiting this movie. ^_^

Instagram

(Just a glimpse at some of my #MarchMagics posts on Instagram!)

I posted about my entire current DWJ collection throughout the month, and a couple of Pratchetts too, and I had a BLAST.

If you’d like to check out my photos and thoughts about any of the books, you can do that here.

I posted every day in March on Instagram! A few pics weren’t for March Magics, buuut most of them were. 😉

Giveaway Winner

Congrats to Sarah Pennington, the winner of my giveaway for Mixed Magics by Diana Wynne Jones! The winner has been contacted. Thanks to those who entered! ^_^

Posts

  • March Magics 2020 plans — Featuring my plans for the month. I did not get to one or two other posts I had in mind, or to re-reading Deep Secret, but everything else went off superbly, and I’m so happy with what managed to do!
  • My Diana Wynne Jones Journey (Part 2) — I finally posted a list of all the DWJ books I’ve read since my first DWJ Journey post four years ago! So happy that I got that one up. ^_^ It was a delight getting to look back at them and reminisce.

And that’s it! I had a smashing March Magics and I hope you guys enjoyed this little wrapup. ^_^

Did anyone else participate? Any DWJ or Pratchetts you particularly enjoyed — either this month, or just in general?

Thanks for reading!

March Magics 2020!

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

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

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

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

PAGE

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

New Reads

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

Re-Reads

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

SCREEN

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

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

BOOKSTAGRAM

Sneaky sneak-peek!

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

Giveaway

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BLOG

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

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

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

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

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


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

How About You?

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

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

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

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

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

Beyond the Shadowed Earth by Joanna Ruth Meyer (Review)

I’ve got a review for you today! A review for a book by one of my favorite authors — and I can definitely say the book wasn’t quite like anything I’ve read before!

Title: Beyond the Shadowed Earth

Author: Joanna Ruth Meyer

  • Date read: January 31, 2020
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy / Epic Fantasy
  • Age: YA/NA
  • Year pub: 2020
  • Pages: 400
  • Series: Companion novel to Beneath the Haunting Sea, but stands alone
  • Source: The publisher
  • Notes: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s WebsiteBarnes & Noble

About Beyond the Shadowed Earth

It has always been Eda’s dream to become empress, no matter the cost. Haunted by her ambition and selfishness, she’s convinced that the only way to achieve her goal is to barter with the gods. But all requests come with a price and Eda bargains away the soul of her best friend in exchange for the crown.

Years later, her hold on the empire begins to crumble and her best friend unexpectedly grows sick and dies. Gnawed by guilt and betrayal, Eda embarks on a harrowing journey to confront the very god who gave her the kingdom in the first place. However, she soon discovers that he’s trapped at the center of an otherworldly labyrinth and that her bargain with him is more complex than she ever could have imagined.

Set in the same universe as Joanna’s debut, Beneath the Haunting Sea, Beyond the Shadowed Earth combines her incredible world building and lush prose with a new, villainous lead.


What a stunning, mythic, gripping fantasy tale! This again affirms that I want to read everything this author writes. AWK! There are so many twists and it was so unique that it’s going to be hard to write a spoiler-free review, but I’ll give it a shot. I had SO MANY FEELS after reading it that it took me awhile to sort them out enough to write this review. I’m not sure I’ve quite recovered, even now. XD

Beyond the Shadowed Earth was rich and vivid, gritty, raw, but also gorgeous. It’s darker than I usually like but I still loved it! The writing utterly captivated me, completely reeling me in to this world. Golden deserts and lush palaces (perfect for climbing on the roofs! ;)), rugged mountains and sea and travel, and so much imaginative fantasy effortlessly threaded through the whole.

I was a little nervous about the main character, Eda, having been a villain in the companion book. I loathed her in that. XD But, as I should have guessed (given this author’s talent), Eda totally grew on me and had a fascinating journey in this book. No spoilers but I’m extremely impressed with the writing and her story and have a lot feels! What a spitfire. It’s been quite a journey, that’s for sure!

The characters were all very well drawn and intriguing, and it’s fitting that you could never be quite sure where their schemes lay, given that Eda herself is somewhat of a scheming character—eheheh. I was kept very much on my toes with all the deceptions and twists! The characters were all very real, and I don’t want to give any spoilers but their stories were fascinating. I particularly loved the mapmaker, Morin! Also his sister. Actually, sisters in general played a big part and seemed like a theme in the book, which I loved!

I will mention that it’s very dark. There’s a looot of blood and death and betrayal, and mild swearing, and some quite creepy, disturbing parts—which comes with the territory, I suppose. XD I’d recommend it for more mature teens and up.

Moving back to more things I loved! One of my favorite things about this world is their mythology and how we get bits of stories within this story. I absolutely loved that! It gave it so much depth and richness and was just so interesting. Also, the eagles!! I loved them so much! (You’ll see what I mean when you read it. ;)) One of my favorite parts was the second half, with the mountains and the journeying. (Also! Snow leopard!! *squeaking*)

This book is a companion novel to Beneath the Haunting Sea, which I also loved. Both can stand alone, and are very different, but I loved the nods, references, and parallels between the two!

It’s like nothing I’ve read before! Although, having said that, I suppose it does remind me some of The Silmarillion, for the scope and the “gods” in this (who seem to be spirits much like the Valar in The Silmarillion), though created by the One. And I hear that it’s rather like Megan Whalen Turner’s books too, which makes me curious to try those! And the deserty bits reminded me a little of King’s Folly by Jill Williamson. Okay, so it did remind me of other things, but still felt utterly unique and new. If you enjoyed any of those three, or are already a Joanna Ruth Meyer fan, you need to give this a shot.

The themes were really interesting and left me thinking about this story for days afterward—as did all of my poor tangled feels which took me awhile to untangle enough to write this review! XD So many feels! I just—awk! How do I even explain this book and all the thiiings and feels! *collapses* It was just really good, and in a sense I’m surprised at myself for liking it as much as I did, because some of it just isn’t my cup of tea, but I still just . . . really enjoyed it!

Overall, it’s darker than I usually enjoy reading, but it was so breathtaking I didn’t mind as much, and despite the shadows and death and rawness, there’s a beautiful tale of redemption here, with excellent twists and gorgeous writing. If you love fantasy and can handle a darker tale, this one is well worth checking out!


You may also like . . .

kingswarriorcover Coiled Songkeeper AWishMadeofGlassFinal


Have you read any of this author’s books? I totally recommend them! Echo North and Beneath the Haunting Sea are both lovely as well! Thanks for reading! 🙂

Fall Books & 12 Princesses! Book Ishness (October 2019)

Time for bookish news and ishness! Since, you know, I haven’t had one of these in AGES.

I won’t attempt to catch up on all the releases and reading at the moment, and will just hop in with NEW THINGS for October. 😀

(Did I ever mention I’m a perfectionist? I keep not doing Book Ishness posts because I know I haven’t been keeping track of EVERYTHING and what if I miss something and ack I must recap all the months I missed and–! No. Breathe, Deborah. Goodness. Ahem.)

SO. This is not exhaustive (and hopefully not exhausting) but here are some bookish releases and fun things and stuff I’m up to!

First . . .


How about some releases for this month-ish?

  • Jenelle Schmidt’s first children’s picture book just released! It’s a Christmas book and looks totally adorbz.
  • I can’t wait to dive into reading Strayborn (E.E. Rawls), Sword of Soter (Ralene Burke), Mardan’s Anointed (Kathrese McKee), and Strange Waters (by all the Phoenix Fiction Writers)! I’ll be reviewing them once I’ve read them so watch for info on those!
  • Mistaken Divinity is the latest short story on Kyle Robert Shultz’s Patreon, featuring Nick and Cordelia running into Thor and Loki and other Norse people and it’s great. XD (For those not on Patreon, stay tuned because the next Beaumont and Beasley book is in the works, and I hear there’s a Crockett and Crane novella coming soon… As the Editor of the Afterverse, I Know Stuff. ;))
  • E.B. Dawson’s Lost Empire trilogy will be wrapping up soon with the upcoming release of The Guardian!
  • I haven’t kept up with the Lost Castle books but I hear there’s another one and it sounds delightful!
  • Uncommon Universes is releasing its first anthology, and while the subject matter doesn’t sound like my cup of tea I’m definitely curious about it since many authors I know are being published in it!
  • Selina J. Eckert is releasing a series of fairytale retelling novellas (I loved her Mesoamerican-inspired Rapunzel story!) and the next one is going to be Hansel and Gretel-related and sounds so interesting!

And two not-pictured:

DARK IS THE NIGHT — A new Mirriam Neal novel!!

Dark is the Night gets its own shoutout spot because it’s not on Goodreads or Amazon yet I’M SO EXCITED FOR IT.

Image and info from Mirriam’s Facebook cover reveal:

“The first day of Autumn is an auspicious day. A day for crunching leaves, apple cider, werewolves, and COVER REVEALS. I’m absolutely stoked to show you the cover for my novel, ‘Dark is the Night,’ and announce a mid-October release date!

That’s right, cryptids—the spooky South Carolina town of Salvation is being brought to you in paperback and kindle formats in less than a month!

Stay tuned for updates, and don’t forget to test strangers before inviting them inside.”

–Mirriam

GUYS I’M SO EXCITED. The last Mirriam novel to release was Paper Crowns (ONLY ONE OF MY TOP FAVORITE BOOKS EVER) and I beta-read Dark is the Night ages ago and I’M SO STOKED THAT IT’S RELEASING IN TWO WEEKS. Stay tuned. I’ll definitely be reading/reviewing it soon. 😀 I can’t wait for Skata and Angel to be released on the world!

Hollow

And aaahh! Just look at this epic-looking novella coming soon from Kyle Robert Shultz! It’s a novella about Ichabod Crane and I. can’t. wait. 😀 (Image from his Facebook.)


Um. So. Both of those are spooky-looking because October, but anyway, they look epic and I am THE EXCITED.


Other fun bookish things happening:

Twelve Dancing Princesses month

It’s Twelve Dancing Princesses month over at The Fairy Tale Central AND I COULD NOT BE MORE EXCITED. *screaming*

It’s only my most favorite fairy tale of all, and I can’t wait to see all the 12DP goodness being featured over there!

I might even see if I can do a post about this fairy tale myself this month, if I have time…

And now I want to read (and re-read!) more retellings. *shakes fist at calendar which says I have zero time* (But I might steal some of that time anyway. Maybe if I put on an invisible cloak I can evade Time. Hey, it worked for the Soldier following those princesses!)


Instagram and #SeriesthatIsnt

I have still been posting on my Instagram daily.

And I started a new hashtag! #Seriesthatisnt is all about book titles that sound like they should be in the same series but aren’t. XD

I’ve been having wayyy too much fun with this! You can check some of them out if you like, and it would be really fun if more people joined in on this! There have already been a few others doing it and it makes me happy. 😀


My Reading Life

So… I mostly read re-reads and picture books and beta/edits during September?? Which means I don’t have a lot of new exciting books to share about. Heh. But I have a few ARCs I need to read soon so I’ll hopefully be sharing some reviews in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

October

I don’t have an official TBR/nightstand to share this month, since most of my have-to-reads are ebooks and don’t photograph well, and all the things in my physical stack I don’t know if I’ll get around to… BUT WE’LL SEE.

I don’t know how much time I’ll have to read later this month, but we’re only 4 days into October and I’ve already beta-read a delightful H.L. Burke short story, done one read-through on the Beaumont and Beasley book I’m editing (GUYS! :O), read a new Jayden and Dana story (aaahh!!!), and binge-read the Fellowship of Fantasy bookclub book of the month (Ghostlight by Rabia Gale; spookier than I usually read but otherwise AMAZING because Regency fantasyyyy) which has left me with a slight book hangover. So the month is off to an amazing start!

Here’s to a bookish October, friends! (While I freak out over needing to prep for NaNoWriMo. XD)

What are you reading? Thanks for dropping by, and have a great weekend!

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 . . . 😀
  • 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! 🙂

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. 😀 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. 😛 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! 🙂

2019 Bookish Resolutions + January Nightstand/News!

Happy New Year, everyone!

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

Tolkien’s Birthday!

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

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

10(ish) Bookish Resolutions/Goals/Dreams

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

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

JANUARY RELEASES

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

Not Pictured

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

FREE STUFF/OTHER JANUARY NEWS

Mirrors and Pearls — Free!

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

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

Second Son — Free! + Readalong

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

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

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

Check out the readalong info HERE!

February Fantasy Month

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

Giveaway + Blogiversary

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

MY JANUARY NIGHTSTAND

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

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

MY READING NEWS

December Reads

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

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

December book haul

I got a lot of books last month. XD

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

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

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