Tag Archive | Diana Wynne Jones

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! 🙂

Advertisements

March Magics 2018: Wrapup

I know this is a bit late, but bear with me as I wrap up my reading etc. for March Magics!

(via webereading.com)

Books Read

For March Magics 2018 (all new reads this year for me) I managed to read:

  • The Game – Diana Wynne Jones — This was a quite short novella, so I wish there’d been more, but what there was I LOVED. The idea of the Mythosphere was AWESOME, I loved Flute and Fiddle and Troy, and there were some great references (like the one about The Lord of the Rings and the One Ring. XD). Loved it! 5 stars
  • Dragons at Crumbling Castle – Terry Pratchett — This was a collection of shorter stories by young Terry Pratchett, which were published in a paper when he was in his teens. I loved them! XD The illustrations were actually kind of distracting/annoying to me (and definitely made the book seem like for a younger audience than it needed to be), but most of the stories themselves were downright hilarious, and simply sheer fun! In a way, I enjoyed it even better than some of his fiction for older readers, because sometimes you just want to enjoy yourself. 😛 5 stars
  • The Homeward Bounders – Diana Wynne Jones — Um. OKAY THEN. O_O This one was fascinating and very different. It’s in first-person (I ended up really loving Jamie, the narrator boy) and… well… let’s just say that DWJ wasn’t all that into happy endings apparently at this time? *cough* It was kinda bittersweet, though at the same time I don’t know how else it COULD have ended. It was like Dogsbody in that way. ‘Twas scary too! But really addicting. And the world-hopping was fascinating. There were also a couple of characters I loved. XD I felt like it was a lot more serious at first and didn’t get really funny and DWJ-ish until the second half, but I really started to enjoy it then. OH. BUT ANCHORS. O_O So, since I was reading this for the first time, and I also had A Blink of the Screen by Pratchett out from the library, I was NOT okay with the Doubleday anchor on the side of that book (see picture above). NOT OKAY, I TELL YOU. (If you’ve read The Homeward Bounders, you will know why. O_O) Anyway, I read it finally and liked a lot of it. 5 stars because I couldn’t not.
  • Yes Dear – Diana Wynne Jones (picture book; not in the above photo) — This was a cute little picture book I read quickly while visiting a library during the month. Not a lot to it, but it was fun. 🙂 4 stars
  • A Blink of the Screen – Terry PratchettShort story anthologies are always a huge hit-or-miss with me. A lot of these I just didn’t “get,” connect to, or care for, particularly some of the stranger or more sci-fi ones. But I did enjoy some of them! Particularly the one about English queues, the one about Father Christmas, and a couple others I don’t recall just now because I don’t have the book handy at the moment. So some of those are 5 stars and I loved them. XD It’s funny to me that I loved his short fiction from when he was younger (i.e. the Dragons at Crumbling Castle book) better than the ones when he was older and “a better writer.” XD I think I may go back to Pratchett’s longer fiction, and Discworld in particular. 😛 2.5 stars overall; ratings varied
  • A Sudden Wild Magic – Diana Wynne JonesNot my favorite DWJ book — it’s an Adult book (very, very specifically) and this is why I feel like she should have stuck with children’s books. XD I don’t recommend it for younger readers, and feel like a lot of my friends simply wouldn’t care for this due to some of the content. (Definitely don’t start out with DWJ with this one — start with Howl’s Moving Castle, because it’s the best. :D) This was an interesting read, and while I didn’t care for some of it, it was gripping and fascinating as always — I’m pretty sure DWJ can’t write a terrible book; just not her best. And the car stuff was pretty funny. XD And I liked some of the characters at times (just… less than usual…) and some of it was fun. And centaurs. 😀 Anyway, not a must-read, but I’m glad I got around to reading it in my continuing journey to read all of DWJ’s books. 3.5 stars

Other March Magics Ishness

This month I also picked up a copy of Pratchett’s The Carpet People when I was visiting a book shop for my birthday… so I’ll get to read that one at some point too.

I will definitely have to still get around to reading DWJ’s Unexpected Magic anthology, which I intended to try but it was out at my library, so I did not get the chance to read it this month, sadly… But sometime!

Posts

As far as posts, I shared these reviews (click covers to visit their posts):

And, on my other blog, I shared a post about some of my favorite Diana Wynne Jones quotes and talked a little bit about them:

Diana Wynne Jones: 6 Quotes to Live By

(the rest are in that post)

Anyway, those were the festivities for this March Magics, for me.

I had fun and I’m looking forward to next year, as always. 🙂

Thanks to Kristin for hosting!

Did you read any Diana Wynne Jones or Terry Pratchett books this March? And have you read any of the ones I mentioned? Let me know your thoughts!

(P.S. What do you think of my new blog header??)

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones

Here, have a review from a couple of March Magics ago, which I never got around to posting. 😛 (This is making me want to get it out of the library again and re-read it!)

DSmirror

5starratingTitle: Deep Secret

Author: Diana Wynne Jones

review

I’ve discovered that I’m downright horrendous at writing reviews for books by Diana Wynne Jones. I plan to write one, then I put it off, and put it off, because I know that it’s far too complex to do justice to in a review — and how even do I wrap my head around it all, exactly?? So once again, as I did with Fire and Hemlock, I’m going to need to just start typing and hope something semi-coherent and possibly slightly resembling a review will come out of it…

This story is a mix of fantasy/sci-fi/modern, with some other worlds thrown in for good measure. Most of it takes place at a sci-fi/fantasy convention of all places. Talk about an original setting! It’s in first person but you totally forget this fact as the story draws you in.

I found this one in the adult section of the library (I usually frequent the YA room… sorry-not-sorry, but all the good stuff’s there!). I suppose it’s a bit more Adult than most of DWJ’s books (more language/dark/gruesome/disturbing/implied stuff) so be aware of that. I don’t really recommend it to teens because it’s kinda dark… But it’s so absorbing!

I LOVED the multiple-worlds stuff. Absolutely fascinating.

There are centaurs! YES.

I also loved the idea of “deep secrets” which Magids (the magic users) thread into the world through stories and art and such. Absolutely brilliant.

There were also a few things about writing and I think some jibes at publishers, etc., which I found hilarious. XD

DS-DWJ

The DWJ library book visiting some of its cousins who live on my shelf

I think it’s possible DWJ put herself in it. There was a lecture on A Sense of Humour in Fantasy. “Some woman beside him wrote funny stuff too” and said that in her own writing, sometimes her jokes made her laugh. (And I remember in some interview or essay or somewhere, DWJ said that about herself.) So I think she put herself into this book and I LOVE IT.

She definitely put in a fan of her book “Archer’s Goon”, as somebody at the convention wore a badge that said “All power corrupts, but we need electricity.” I was just sitting there grinning absurdly as I read that. XD

There are other references too, which made me happy, like to LOTR (somebody had a T-shirt that he said read: “I am a Hobbit.” In Elvish. I think she was making fun of these people, but it was funny. XD), and The Princess Bride. And at one point there was something about being rather like “a magical Bertie Wooster with an invisible butler”. I totally lost it there. It was the BEST.

As usual with DWJ books, there’s a fabulous cast of characters that I love. There’s Maree and Rupert (who tell the story in turns) and they’re so… well… THEM. It’s hard to explain. But I love ’em! Then there are other characters like Will (he’s great!) and Rob the centaur (!!). And one of my absolute favorites is Maree’s cousin Nick—who is, I hear, based on a teenaged Neil Gaiman, who Diana Wynne Jones knew. She based Nick off him, and he’s so incoherent in the morning before he’s eaten breakfast and IT MADE MY DAY. So very hilarious. And one can’t forget neighbor Andrew, the “fabulous Nordic type”! But no more, lest there be spoilers. (Oh! And the quacks! A sort of otherworldly duck. 😀 Loved them!)

I’m absurdly proud of myself for only staying up until 2-something a.m. and having the willpower to go to bed without finishing the last 70 pages. I got to the part where it said: “And, I see in retrospect, that was the last moment when events were in any way within my control.” And I thought: “Welp, I’d better go to bed before things get worse.” 😛

Anyway, DWJ is brilliant and I love her books so much, and this one was no exception! It was longer than many of them. I get addicted to her longer books and LIVE in them, and then have a tendency to accidentally go around in a haze for the next few days, vaguely living in the story again in the back of my mind after spending 414 pages in it…

DeepSecret

“Where is the road to Babylon? / Right beside your door.”

The road I’m looking for is the road to the library to get the sequel, thank you very much.

The story doesn’t need it, but I do.

summary

From Goodreads:

deepsecretAll over the multiverse the Magids, powerful magicians, are at work to maintain the balance between positive and negative magic, for the good of all.

Rupert Venables is the junior Magid assigned to Earth and to the troublesome planets of the Koyrfonic Empire. When the Emperor dies without a known heir, Rupert is called into service to help prevent the descent of the Empire into chaos. At the same time, the senior Magid on Earth dies, making Rupert a new senior desperately in need of a junior. Rupert thinks his problems are partially solved when he discovers he can meet all five of the potential Magids on Earth by attending one SF convention in England. However, the convention hotel sits on a node, a nexus of the universes. Rupert soon finds that other forces, some of them completely out of control, are there too…

factoids

Genre/Category: Contemporary Fantasy / Sci-fi / Inter-world Fantasy / ??? / DIANA WYNNE JONES (which is a category of its own, or should be, because it’s really hard to fit her books into pigeonholes…)

Age Group: Adult

Published: 1997

Pages: 414

Series?: Book 1 of Magids; followed by The Merlin Conspiracy

When Read: March 22 – 23, 2016

Favorite Character: Oh my GOODNESS, don’t ask me this! O_O (Er… I know I’m asking myself; shush.) Rupert or Rob or Nick or Will or Andrew or somebody. Probably most of the cast because you just get so attached to DWJ characters…

Source: Library

Other Notes: Read for March Magics, hosted by Kristen @ We Be Reading

Have you read this one? I feel this NEED to talk to people who have. XD (And I also want to re-read it either before or after Realm Makers, because Sci-fi/Fantasy Conference…)

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

March Magics 2018!

It’s MARCH, guys!

Which means March Magics/DWJ March (hosted by We Be Reading). Which means celebrating Diana Wynne Jones and her books (as well as Terry Pratchett and his). Which means: one of my favorite times of year! 😀

This year’s theme is short stories… and here’s what I’m hoping to read this month for March Magics!

Nightstand: March Magics edition (March 2018)

  • The Game, The Homeward Bounders, & A Sudden Wild Magic by Diana Wynne Jones — I haven’t read these yet, so I’m looking forward to reading them. New DWJ reads are always a treat, and I’ve heard a lot about these so I’m curious! March Magics is the perfect excuse to read these. 🙂
  • Dragons at Crumbling Castle & A Blink of the Screen by Terry Pratchett — These are on the readalong list, consisting of short stories, so I’m looking forward to checking them out. 🙂 Especially the Discworld ones in the second book, and the fact that Dragons at Crumbling Castle consists of stories he wrote when he was 17 and they look fun. XD
  • I also Fully Intend to get my hands on a copy of Diana Wynne Jones’ Unexpected Magic short story collection sometime this month when it’s in at the library… so that’ll be my DWJ short story readings for the month if I can can get to it, because I’ve been meaning to read that one for AGES.
  • And I have some other review books etc. (not pictured) which I need to read soon as well, so that’s probably all (or more than!) I can handle this month. (Though if I happen to feel like some other DWJ or Pratchett book and find time, I will definitely not complain.) But I’m really looking forward to them!

As for blogging-related things, we’ll see what I get to, but I’m hoping to post at least a couple of other March Magics posts this month, so stay tuned!

Mostly, I’m just really looking forward to spending the month reading books by my favorite author and generally immersing myself in all the DWJ goodness, because it makes me happy. ^_^

Are you planning to read anything by Diana Wynne Jones or Terry Pratchett this month? Because you totally should! And if you’d like a few more DWJ-related things, you can check out my DWJ Project page. 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

10 Bookish Resolutions for 2018

Today I’m joining in on a Top Ten Tuesdays post, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl (which is where TTT moved as of TODAY, having formerly been hosted by the Broke and the Bookish).

Here are some of my bookish resolutions/goals for 2018!

1. Stay on top of reading ARCs and review books

I haven’t decided if this means more or less books for review (since I love them but they are also time-consuming… but I love them…). Regardless, I’d like to stay on track for the ones I have and any future ones I might get.

2. Stay on top of reviews

Related to the above point, I’d like to get the necessary reviews written within a decent amount of time. NaNo and Christmas season wreaked havoc on my reviewing schedule, and I just haven’t gotten around to some of them that I should have. So those are next!

3. Read the books I’ve won

I seem to have accumulated several books which authors were kind enough to give away and which I won… And then said books sit on my dresser or Kindle app waiting for me to read them, while I get distracted with review books and things. So I’d like to read and (hopefully) review the books I’ve won.

4. Read one book at a time (within reason)

I often end up reading a lot of books at the same time, which means I get stuck in several… which ends badly. I’d like to focus on one book at a time. I do say within reason, so I may read more than one at a time under certain circumstances — for instance: an e-book and a physical book, a re-read and a new read, a read-along and a read-aloud, a novel and some short stories and a nonfiction… things like that, where I distinguish between what SORT of book it is, I might allow myself to simultaneously read more than one book. But in general, just. one.

5. Finish beta-reading and take a break

I have a couple of beta-reads to finish, which I’m excited for, but after that I’m taking a break, at least this year. Beta-reading just takes so long, and I don’t know what to say, so I accidentally procrastinate over it for a century, and then feel absolutely terrible. I’m just… really bad at being a beta-reader. XD

6. Do more editing

That may sound like it contradicts the point above, but it doesn’t! Beta-reading is usually a general-feedback kind of deal, which I’m not the best at. What I am better at is proofreading/copyediting, which I LOVE. I’m passionate about fixing typos and punctuation, and generally polishing books to a fine sheen. Someday I will catch ALL the typos in the world! (Okay, not really; but I can dream. ;)) This point is involved with kicking off my new freelance editing service, which you can check out HERE; prices are negotiable, and I don’t bite! 😉

7. Read for fun more often

I know it sounds silly, but any time a book comes “with strings attached,” it becomes something to mark off my to-do list. I do LOVE review books, read-alongs, library books, books I’ve won, books to edit, books by friends, and so on, but anything with an “I should read this” or “I should review this” or a deadline attached to it in my subconscious isn’t just for PURE pleasure… (Please tell me I’m not the only one?) So despite loving those, I would like to kick back and read JUST for fun sometimes, and not worry about having opinions and stuff.

8. Read more Diana Wynne Jones

This is kind of self-explanatory… I’m hoping March Magics and a trip to the library will help with this one. 😉

9. Read more Tolkien

Also self-explanatory. Re-reads. Books by Tolkien I haven’t read. Books by others about him and his writings. The works.

10. Have fun and don’t obsess

This one is hard, and one of the reasons why I often ALMOST don’t start a Goodreads reading goal… (But I usually break down anyway because it’s nice having them all listed.) I don’t like obsessing about how many books I read, because that makes it more like work, but I can hopefully keep track without getting too into it. XD I really need to remind myself that I still read for fun. And if it’s not fun, I shouldn’t be doing it. And if I’m MAKING it not fun, I need to stop! Breathe. Read. Dream of ink and pages and bookshelves. Be a contented bookdragon.

Well, those are my top ten bookish resolutions/goals; we’ll see how quickly I can fail at all of them. XD But it’s all in fun. 🙂 What are yours? And do we share any? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

The 15 Most Glorious Book Gems I Read In 2017

Guys, it’s 2018!

WHAT EVEN.

I have no idea how this happened, but it has.

This gives me license to share with you THE MOST GLORIOUS BOOK GEMS I READ IN 2017. And also mention some of my book-reading stats of the year because obviously I need to squeal about even MORE books. It’s who I am. 😉

(Most of the books I read last year which I have physical copies of around.)

STATS

SOME STATS

According to my Goodreads Reading Challenge, in 2017, I read:

88 books

20,368 pages

(I find it perfect/hilarious that my shortest and longest reads both had sea covers. XD)

Here are some stats I put together from a spreadsheet. (And if you include some short stories and picture books, etc., which I didn’t include on my challenge, then I read 125 books this year. ;))

  • New Books (i.e. novels & novellas) I Read: 62
  • New Anthologies: 7
  • Short Stories (Singles): 17
  • Non-Fiction: 5
  • Re-Reads: 17
  • Picture Books: 18

SOURCE/ETC

  • Won: 6
  • Library: 14 (most of these were picture books. XD)
  • Audiobooks: 1
  • For Review (more or less): 37
  • Books in Readalongs/Bookclubs: 13
  • Beta-read: 5-ish

OTHER STATS

  • Diana Wynne Jones: 11
  • Jane Austen related: 7
  • Words of Reviews Written (according to Scrivener where I kept my reviews for this year): approximately 50,000. XD

BLOGOVERSARY

Also, last week, on January 1st, it was my blogoversary! :O

I’ve now been blogging here on the Page Dreamer for two entire years and I’m gobsmacked at this information.

Thanks for coming along with me all this way! ❤ And if you’re newer — welcome! I hope you’ll have as much fun here as I’ve been having! ^_^

TOP 15 READS OF 2017

Anyway! Without further ado, in no particular order (I mean, slightly more favorites are nearer the top, but it’s not 100%…) here are the top 15 (ish) books I read in 2018!

(Click the titles for my reviews! And the author names for website links.)

1. Hexwood (by Diana Wynne Jones)

This one still wins for most mind-boggling and… well… everything. I mean, there had to be a DWJ book at the top, of course, and this was the best one by her I read all year. So, naturally. And then there’s fantasy/sci-fi/King Arthur/timey-wimey/PLOT TWISTS. Plus Mordion. IT WAS SO GOOD. I need to read it again. (See review linked from title above for disclaimers. XD) (ButMordionThough.)

2. The Beast of Talesend / The Tomb of the Sea Witch / The Stroke of Eleven (by Kyle Robert Shultz)

(So, I can’t quite decide which of these is the best, hence I’m tossing them all together and saying it’s kind of one book. XD)

THESE BOOKS. I’m utterly addicted to the Afterlands and all these fairytale etc. retellings, not to mention the humor and the characters I love. ❤ Plus they’re really clever and well-written, and just… really good books. With just a smidge of alternate-1920s and steampunk to spice things up. AND TWISTS. Definitely one of my favorites of the year! (Nick! Cordelia! Malcolm! CRISPIN!)

3. Halayda (by Sarah Delena White)

I don’t know exactly how to describe this, but it’s epic and Fae and perilous, and I absolutely love Taylan and Zad and the snark and romance and fantasy, with snatches of Celtic mythology re-imagined in there. It’s just a sweeping, glimmering fantasy epic, and I love it. ^_^ I read this as an ebook with the Fellowship of Fantasy book club, but I had to get a paperback copy for myself for Christmas because I needed to own it! I hope to re-read it someday. 🙂

4. Magician’s Ward (by Patricia C. Wrede)

Regency Fantasy! Which is a genre I discovered this year, and I’m in love. I haven’t really read anything else in this genre, but I’m excited to read the prequel to this, soon. All that to say, this was a Regency England setting with magic and fantasy, and a former street thief girl trying to learn to be a “proper” lady of the time (with hysterical results), and also one of my favorite characters, a magician named Mairelon. It was just so much fun!

5. The Fatal Tree (by Stephen R. Lawhead)

The Bright Empires series has meant SO much to me that I’m having a hard time putting it into words. Which is the main reason I have yet to review this. I WILL, I just… How do you sum up an epic series like this? But I read this series at just the right time in my life, and this book was a great conclusion (I mean, how could it not be??), and I love basically every element of it! It’s a brilliantly written series, I adore all the characters, the plots and twists and timey-ness were fascinating, and the series was deep and just… they’re Really Good Books, okay? I will talk more about this at length, but it’s probably the single most influential series I’ve read for many years. ❤ I HIGHLY recommend trying out The Skin Map if you haven’t, so that you can get to this one — which definitely deserves a place in my top 5.

6. Sentinel / Arbiter (by Jamie Foley)

These have to go together, since I think of them as practically one book. And I NEED book 3. NEED. Jet is one of my favorite characters of all time — he’s just so awesome! — and I love his and Darien’s friendship. The world is so original, I really love some of the fantasy elements and can’t wait to see more, they’re super thrilling, and the character interactions and dialog and snark are just SO FUN! I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for the final book and seeing how things work out!

7. Where the Woods Grow Wild (by Nate Philbrick)

This book is sort of like Prydain-meets-Narnia-meets-Wingfeather-Saga. Which is to say, it’s REALLY GOOD. Truly delightful fantasy, skillfully written, quirky, original, and just a lot of fun. It was so imaginative, and any time I say something reminds me of Lloyd Alexander, that is a HIGH mark of praise from me, since that author brought me to fantasy. I really want a sequel! If you haven’t tried this one out, it’s so much fun. 😀 (I read an ebook version of it for review, but I simply had to get a copy for my sister to read!)

8. Scars of War (by Hazel B. West)

I actually re-read the first two books in this series this year to get ready for this one, because I love this series/characters/world SO MUCH. Because an alternate modern Ireland with medieval aspects and epic warriors who drive fast cars is basically MY FAVORITE. This one was a roadtrip featuring two of my favorite characters (Oberon and Aedan), and a modern Faerie changeling plot, and basically WHAT IS NOT TO LIKE? It was so much fun. ^_^ I need more!

9. Magicians’ Rivalry (by H. L. Burke)

Another buddy story, this is one of my favorite such tales! Auric Spellsmith and Jericho Carver are basically opposites, and they do not get along AT ALL, but they have to work together. Unique magic and a scary land of Faerie and a dash of steampunk make this book a delight to read. Throw in the snark and the dash of romance (because Jericho is in love with Rill, Auric’s sister; queue awkward and ADORABLE) and it’s just SO MUCH FUN. ❤

10. Beren and Luthien (by J. R. R. Tolkien and Christopher Tolkien)

I almost didn’t put this one on here, because it’s not EXACTLY a normal book (being a collection of poetry and prose from various stages of Tolkien’s composing of this tale), and also because I don’t suppose it’s quite how he’d want it. But I’m putting it on anyway, because, despite those problems, it’s still absolutely gorgeous writing (and poetry), and it’s fun to see different stages of the story (even if Tolkien himself might not have wanted people reading his early drafts). The illustrations by Alan Lee are fabulous. And it’s the only new thing by Tolkien I read this year, so NATURALLY it needs to go on my top list. 😉 Here’s to 100 years of Beren and Luthien! ❤

11. The Little White Horse (by Elizabeth Goudge)

I can’t describe this story, but it’s so delightful. It’s set in England in the 1800s, and sometimes you wonder if it even IS fantasy or just FEELS like it, but there are so many fun surprises, and it’s simply one of the most beautiful stories I’ve read in my life. It’s historical and fantasy and Christian and all without quite feeling like one of those. It reminds me a little of George MacDonald, and something else, but I don’t know what. It’s like a beautiful original fairytale in novel form. And it was written in 1946, so it has the old style of writing which is fun to read sometimes because it’s DIFFERENT. I also loved its whimsical nature, and all the eccentric characters we meet — I love them all!

Plus, it has two of my favorite quotes:

‘I should like this story to be like all the best stories and to end in “Happily ever after”.’

and

‘In every fairy-tale there is a kernel of truth.’

12. King’s Warrior / Second Son (by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt)

*huggles books* These were so fun! I think my favorite is Yorien’s Hand (book 3, which I re-read this year too), but these were so enjoyable too! I love this more classic kind of epic fantasy, but with its own twists too. And I love the Myth Folk (especially the Dragons. ;)) and just all of it. Best of all are the characters, like Brant and Kiernan Kane (two of my favorites of all time! ❤ ), and all the rest! I just love them SO MUCH. ^_^ I’m really looking forward to finishing this series in the upcoming Minstrel’s Call. 🙂

13. Masters and Beginners (by Daley Downing)

This one’s a straight-up modern fantasy novel, which is a little unusual to make it to a top list, for me — but that’s precisely why this one did, because it was refreshing and fun and didn’t have all the annoying things I don’t like about modern books. 🙂 Plus, FAERIES, and I just love how the Order integrates modern things with fairies and mythology and Biblical things, and it’s fascinating! And I love the characters as well, and just — I’M VERY FOND, OKAY?

14. Moonblood (by Anne Elisabeth Stengl)

I remember enjoying Heartless and Veiled Rose, but this seems to be where Goldstone Wood gets going, so I’m SO happy I read this with the Imps of Goldstone Wood fan club on Goodreads (I hope we’ll get back to reading the books together sometime!). I so enjoyed getting to see more of Eanrin and Imraldera and Leo and Rosie and BEANA and Oeric and basically ALL MY PRECIOUS PEOPLE. It’s gorgeous and perilous and such great Fae-fantasy, and just excuse me while I hug it. Plus so well-written. o.o I need to read Starflower…

15. The Reluctant Godfather (by Allison Tebo)

And lastly, a simply utterly fun little story! This charming novella-length retelling of Cinderella was simply a BLAST to read! Burndee the fairy godfather is SO grouchy and it’s hysterical! I love the snark and dialog and humor and fairytale twists. And of course Burndee himself! Isn’t a fairy godfather who hates humans and just loves to bake cakes original? I love him. XD It reminded me a little of Broken Glass (my FAVORITE Cinderella retelling of all time) and of the Talesend books a bit (because humorous and fairytales), and it’s just so fun. ^_^


So there you have my favorite books of the last year!

Have you read any of these or are any on your TBR? Because YOU NEED TO!

And what was your top favorite(s) read of 2017?

Tell me all in the comments!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Bookworm Confessions: Reading Just One Story in Anthologies

So, fellow bookworms! Here’s a very important life question:

Is it okay to just read the one book in a short story anthology that you want to read?

Because, confession:

Sometimes I only read one short story in a collection. O_O

I KNOW.

THE SHOCK. THE HORROR. THE STARES OF DOUBT.

I can feel your surprise and worrying at my living-on-the-edge actions from here.

Ahem.

You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? (Or is it just me??)

There’s some collection of short stories that you have, and you got it SPECIFICALLY for ONE PARTICULAR STORY OR AUTHOR in the collection. And you’re excited to read it — that particular one! So excited!

So… do you:

  1. Read the whole collection?
  2. Put off reading the whole collection because you really only want to read that one so you procrastinate the others…?
  3. Just devour that particular story right away and be happy you read it, and then… proceed to never get around to reading the others, even if you mean to? *cough* (This is usually me…)

But what do you do in that case? Because I can’t say I’ve read the book… since I haven’t! Just one tiny portion of it! But that also means I can’t, like, rate it or review it or anything… and it also bugs my poor perfectionist mind because I know I have to finish reading the entire collection SOMEDAY because I read something in there, but… I don’t feel like it right now. *collapses*

Also, short story collections are NOTORIOUSLY hit-or-miss. There’s usually one or two I really like and sometimes a whole handful that I… really don’t care for.

It’s very risky! Sort of like a blind date with a book, but it’s a whole bunch of small stories so you have SEVERAL blind dates and sometimes it doesn’t go well. XD

So is it better to read just the one you want to? Or to go all-in and brave the possibly of lots of mediocre or creepy stories?

Even if I do vaguely want to read the others, I usually don’t get around to them…

Which brings us to the list part of my confession.

Some anthologies I’ve read a story or two in but shamefully haven’t gotten around to reading the rest:

1. Firebirds

I got this so I could read a Lloyd Alexander short story and a Diana Wynne Jones short story. The Lloyd one was actually sad and creepy. o.o But the DWJ one was awesome! (It was called Little Dot and was from the POV of a cat and I loved it. XD) The rest of the stories… have sadly gone unread so far.

2. The Dragon Book

I got this partly because DRAGONS and partly because of a DWJ story. I read the DWJ story, which incidentally turned out to be THE ONLY THING I’VE READ BY HER THAT I DISLIKED. (It’s called JoBoy and I read it at a bad time because I was ill and it’s NOT sometime to read when you’re ill… Ahem.) So. Yeah. That was a disappointment… I’ve now been avoiding it because I don’t like to think about it and so I haven’t read the others yet because I don’t really know those authors… But someday…

3. Maps in a Mirror by Orson Scott Card

I got this solely to read the original novella version of Ender’s Game (which was a really interesting comparison). And promptly didn’t read any of the others. I don’t even feel like I really necessarily want to read them at this point? But it’s just sitting there, mostly unread, and I don’t know what to do with it. XD (Confession: I probably will never get around to reading the others.)

4. A Wolf at the Door

This is a collection of short story fairytale retellings, so I WILL read the rest someday, I just… haven’t yet. I mostly got it so I could read the Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling in it by Patricia A. McKillip, which I did and I seem to remember enjoying it… But I still haven’t read the others yet.

5. Tolkien: A Celebration

This one is actually essays about Tolkien by several different authors, so it’s not exactly short stories. I specifically got it so I could read the one Stephen Lawhead wrote, and I LOVED it — one of my favorite things of all time — but… I haven’t read the rest of the essays yet, so I can’t really review it or recommend it and I’m just like WHY. Because it was an amazing essay about writing and fantasy and it was by a favorite author about another favorite author, which is always DELIGHTFUL, but I haven’t read the rest so I can’t talk about it yet. I will read the others… someday…

6. Tales Before Narnia

I found an uncorrected-proofs version of this at a library sale? And I read the poem in it that Tolkien wrote (which I hadn’t ever found in anything else) and haven’t read the rest yet… They do look interesting, I just haven’t started yet. (The lack of an actual official cover, due to it being an uncorrected proof, may be slightly involved. Whoops.)

Also: Fairytales

And there are a few fairytale collections which I surreptitiously read the Twelve Dancing Princesses ones, or a couple others, and haven’t read the others yet… but I will!

…Someday.

Let’s discuss!

What about you, readers? Do you ever read short stories? And do you read entire collections or… do you live on the edge and sometimes just read one? Any reader confessions about short stories or otherwise? Tell all in the comments!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer