Tag Archive | Fantasy

Wrapup: #MarchMagics 2022!

Time got away from me (clearly! XD), but it’s time to look back at the Diana Wynne Jones and Pratchett related goodness I got up to in March — and, actually, April as well!

I didn’t manage to finish up my March Magics goals during the month since I got crazy busy, so I carried on a bit of the reading in April, which was rather nice, actually. And now that I’m trying to ease back into blogging, I shall recap.

Diana Wynne Jones

  • Samantha’s Diary by Diana Wynne Jones (short story in Stories: All-New Tales, edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio) — I didn’t expect much from this but ended up finding it to be a total blast! I found the book on Scribd, which was handy as I have a subscription there (referral link if anyone’s interested), and it was neat to be able to just pull up the ebook and read that one story. I don’t want to spoil anything because part of the fun is discovering what’s going on as you read through it (and my favorite quotes from it that I want to share are definitely spoilers), but it’s a Christmas story set in futuristic London and it’s hilarious. XD Recommend!

  • Everard’s Ride collection by Diana Wynne Jones
    • The True State of Affairs (novella in Everard’s Ride and also in Minor Arcana) — I was nervous about this one (and with good reason) after seeing mixed reviews on it. It was gripping and unique and far more intriguing than a story about someone trapped in a tower reasonably ought to be. But most of the characters were difficult to like, the content was far more adult than DWJ usually wrote, and I was not a fan of the ending at all! So I’m torn, because it was fascinating and extremely vivid, and a clever idea, but a lot of it just felt very bleak and then the ending sort of ruined any of the fun I had. I found out, after reading it, that DWJ wrote about the story in the introduction to the other anthology it was collected in (Minor Arcana; Everard’s Ride’s collection which I read it in, had a lovely introduction by Patricia C. Wrede!). And that in that introduction, DWJ explains the story came from an idea she had to explore another angle of an actual historical event with actual people, which actually gives away the rather meh ending right there in the introduction. So I can’t decide whether I’m glad I experienced the story without knowing the ending, or whether I would’ve braced myself for it better if I’d read that introduction before. In any case, I don’t exactly recommend it, unless one is a total completionist, but I’m glad that I did at last read it, and it was definitely fascinating and I liked aspects of it, it was just…darker and more adult than I’d like, and with a lot of unlikeable characters and a depressing ending. But now I know! XD And at least Samantha’s Diary was a fun read, so those were my last two short stories by DWJ that I had on my list to read.
    • other short stories in the collection — These were rereads, and like I thought I remembered, they are hit or miss like many short stories are for me, but definitely all vivid and gripping. My favorites are definitely No One (what an enjoyable sci-fi tale about a robot butler! And the bit about the clothes-washer with the laundry and the socks! Pure hilarious brilliance! XD) and Dragon Reserve, Home Eight which was intriguing if a little grim at times.
    • I did not actually re-read Everard’s Ride, the novella itself, as I ran out of time, but I remember enjoying it the first time, years ago, and hope to revisit it sometime.

  • The Dalemark Quartet by Diana Wynne Jones — (If the following wall of text is too daunting, skip to the small review at the end of this bullet list. XD) It was SO NICE rediscovering reading for fun after a long reading slump (helped by this series), and experiencing the world of Dalemark all over again. I seem to read this series every 4.5 years (not planned. XD) and I’m still all :O about a lot of the twists which still surprise me on my third read. Only Diana Wynne Jones can do that to me. XD Especially loved reading The Crown of Dalemark, which is my favorite and really ties the whole series together and is mind-blowing and brilliant! *flailing* This series is worth reading just for that book because the way it weaves together the threads of the three previously not-very connected books, and all in a mind-bending timey-wimey way? SHEER GENIUS. Not going to do super book-specific thoughts on it, so just a few general things, but the world of Dalemark is unique and I love how it combines medieval-type fantasy with beginnings of muskets and industrial revolution, while also having a prehistoric-type prequel, and then all the way to their own modern times — modern-day fantasy world is something that is tragically underused, as is time-travel in a fantasy world, and that was just incredible. Plus, following different characters and also traveling so much in each of the books (by cart, by ship at sea, by boat on river, by horse on the Green Roads). The result is this wide-ranging epic that gives a glimpse at hundreds of years of history of many different locales, while still being the story of specific people and how their stories intertwine and echo through history. The muskets and time-travel, woven in with fantasy elements of clever, subtle magic, and the occasional immortal character, was all masterfully interwoven. And the characters are all so vivid and I love so many of them so fiercely! Even ones I didn’t know I’d like at first! Mitt and Navis have to be my top favorites, I think, but Kialan and Moril and others are also fabulous. I just love them so much! There’s a slight wistfulness to the series that’s a little hard to explain — not tragic, really, though there are a few darker moments than in many of her later works, but just this almost melancholy strain of time and immortality and mortality and very real struggles of peoples and earldoms — and yet there are rolicking fun times and banter and tight-knit friendships even in spite of former enmity at times. And all with the vivid ALIVENESS that DWJ’s books often bring of characters who will throw themselves wholeheartedly into things. The ending still absolutely GETS me and leaves me jittery with OH MY GOODNESS feelings and delights and also makes me want another several chapters if not another book. As DWJ books often do. XD Anyway, it was a sheer delight returning to this series, and although it’s not one that every reader will enjoy, I’m certainly one of the readers who does, immensely. ❤ (I left a few more thoughts on the series later in the post under the Dalemark pic I posted down there.)
    • Cart and Cwidder
    • Drowned Ammet
    • The Spellcoats
    • The Crown of Dalemark
    • The small review I left on Goodreads upon finishing: I love this series a lot. It’s odd and not for everyone I suppose, but definitely a favorite of mine, particularly several of the characters, the depth of history/world, and the way each book is so different than the others but all come together masterfully in the fourth one. Flaming Ammet but it’s majestic! Three reads and I’m still catching so many new, deeper meanings and connections. It’s so complex and layered, woven together with so many threads. I’m delighted to have this collection with what I consider to be the definitive cover. *hugs book* Each time I read this series I find myself wandering around a bit dreamy like Moril, during and after reading it, lost still on Dalemark’s Green Roads of the Undying (or maybe the Wind’s Road… or the River…), following Mitt, Navis, Kialan, Wend, Moril, Tanaqui, Maewen, and the others. “Who will ride the King’s Way, the King’s Way? Who will ride the royal road and follow with the King?”

  • Films inspired by books by Diana Wynne Jones
    • Archer’s Goon — This was a super old BBC mini-series from the ’90s that I discovered a few years back and it is rather cheesy but otherwise a lot of fun just to see a neat book (Archer’s Goon — the book is better but still!) come to life on the screen in some way, remarkably true to the book in many ways. And they’re so terribly British and it’s fantastic. XD I also ended up liking Quentin’s character more on the screen than in the book, oddly. This was a fun re-watch.
    • Howl’s Moving Castle — Of course I had to re-watch this one. 😉 I still noticed things I hadn’t caught before, even after watching it so many times! The book is still my favorite but the movie is just so relaxing and cozy and it makes me happy in its own separate way! It was a treat to revisit during March Magics. ^_^ And the music and scenery! And Howl. And just all of it!

Terry Pratchett

  • Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett — This was quite unique and I enjoyed listening to the audiobook! I still think the first Tiffany Aching book (The Wee Free Men) is my favorite in this Discworld subseries, but I did like this one more than the second one I think. The concept was fascinating, at least. But mostly, I’m here for the Feegles and their hilarious dialogue and delightful Scottish accents. XD I feel like there was a bit more of them in the first which may be why I loved that more, but this was a fun time and, like I said, unique, with sentient winter and so on. ALSO THIS IS RANDOM BUT I ADORED THE MUSIC FOR THE SECTION BREAKS IN THE AUDIOBOOK VERSION. *cries* The music was just so lovely and whimsical and enchanting and SNOW LIKE and I adored it despite how brief those clips were and could’ve listened to it forever. Ahem. Carry on. This wasn’t, by the way, on my original list of things I wanted to read in March! But I ended up needing an audiobook to listen to and picked this one on Scribd and had a blast. 🙂
  • The Color of Magic (film) — This TV movie was a blast! I enjoy the fact that there are a few Discworld film adaptions out there and this one was a lot of fun. I haven’t actually read the books it’s based on (The Color of Magic and The Light Fantastic) yet (I know! I’m a bad bookworm!) but I wanted something new to watch for March Magics and this one was a nice one to try. I’m also fairly certain there was a Po-ta-toes reference since it has Sean Astin in it. XD It was…odd — unsurprisingly, because Discworld — but a lot of fun and I definitely enjoyed myself. 🙂 Still prefer Going Postal, but still!
  • I did not actually manage to read a City Watch book! I can’t believe I did this AGAIN where I planned to and got distracted with a different series, but apparently Pratchetts are just unexpected. XD I will definitely work on the City Watch series again at some point, but I enjoyed Wintersmith and it was just a more convenient format (audiobook) since my physical reading was very focused on Dalemark. I’m sure Sam Vimes will wait patiently until I can get to his next book, hopefully sooner rather than later.


I wanted to collect some favorite quotes as I read, but I’m afraid the only ones I did it for before being too absorbed in the stories to actually try, was Cart and Cwidder, The Spellcoats, and Samantha’s Diary. The latter of which, the quotes are spoilers. XD

Here are some of my favorite quotes from Cart and Cwidder by Diana Wynne Jones.

  • You had to stand up and come straight out with it. “This is true,” you had to say. “This is the truth. And, though I may not get it over very well, it just is.” And it was horribly difficult to do.
  • The thing about Kialan, he thought as he raced for the cart, was that he had brains.
  • That kind of dream was not true. There were true dreams, but they had to be part of life as well, just as life, to be good, had to embody dreams, or a good song had to have an idea to it.
  • If you stood up and told the truth in the wrong way, it was not true any longer, though it might be as powerful as ever.
  • When he sang, you forgot it was Hestefan singing and thought only of the song. Moril was impressed. Then Hestefan told a story. It was one Moril did not know. And while Hestefan was telling it, he found he forgot who was telling it and simply lived in the story. Moril realized he still had a lot to learn.
  • Everyone had to do things their own way.

And from The Spellcoats:

“These,” Hern said, “are the bodies of two kings. They were killed in senseless hatred, when both had lost nearly all they had. Someone is coming up the River who knows of this, and it pleases him very much. This will make it easy for him to suck out our souls, and the soul of this land, and rule us as his slaves.”

The Spellcoats by Diana Wynne Jones

“And you call yourself a god!”
Tanamil fetched himself up onto one elbow and said, very earnestly, a very strange thing. “I never called myself that,” he said. “Neither I nor any of the Undying ever made that claim. It is a claim men made for us, and that is how we came to be bound.”

The Spellcoats by Diana Wynne Jones

“Mallard, can you make nets?”
“I made the best nets in Shelling,” Duck said. Nothing will ever make Duck modest, but he does make good nets.

The Spellcoats by Diana Wynne Jones

And from The Crown of Dalemark, because I had to. XD (This was a quote that was so vivid, it rattled around in my brain for years after reading it but I’d forgotten where it was from so when I re-discovered it on a re-read it was like a massive lightbulb moment of OH THAT’S WHERE THAT QUOTE WAS FROM!)

“All these years I thought [*massive spoiler*]”
“Of all the idiots!” Mitt answered. “There were several hundred people you could have asked!”

The Crown of Dalemark

Pics and Posts

  • I had posted a few #MarchMagics pics on Instagram during the month, a couple of which were also in my March Magics plans blog post.
  • It was my 11-year anniversary of reading Howl’s Moving Castle for the first time and I celebrated with this photo of my HMC editions!

  • And this photo went up in April when I was still reading The Crown of Dalemark. This is one of my favorite books I own! Look at that purple! The sword! The cup! It’s a UK edition I found at Half Price Books once and it’s gorgeous. The Dalemark Quartet anthology with all four books in it, also in the photo, is the definitive version for me though. I love that it has the four main characters from the four books on the cover and it’s so THEM! (Moril with his cwidder, Tanaqui with her bushy hair and rug-coat, Mitt looking slightly shifty/sulky. XD And Maewen with her horse.) Also, the fact that the books are all in one volume like that and I can flip to the end to reference the awesome Guide to Dalemark which has names and places and extra tidbits of history and current/future events. It’s so cool!

And that’s it on my March Magics adventures, extending into April as well. So, so grateful to Kristen M. at We Be Reading for hosting this last hurrah and for creating this celebration in the first place! It’s been a lovely, lovely time.

Even if there aren’t official March Magics in the future (unless somebody else takes over hosting!), I may still revisit DWJ and/or Pratchett in future Marches… we’ll see.

Meantime, this one was an absolutely lovely time and was a highlight of my spring. ^_^

Whew! A virtual cupcake for anyone who read that!

Thanks for reading my wrapup! And let me know in a comment if you’ve read/watched any of these, or any Pratchett or Diana Wynne Jones books recently!


March Magics 2023

I love March. It’s the beginning of spring . . . it’s my birthday month . . . and for the last several years it’s been March Magics, a celebration of the works of Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett.

DWJ being one of my top-favorite authors (alongside J.R.R. Tolkien), of course this brings me great joy, and I enjoy indulging in a Pratchett from time to time as well.

So March has long been a great excuse to hang out in some whimsical and wacky books filled with humor and imaginative fantasy.

This March is the last March Magics to be hosted by Kristen M. @ We Be Reading, who started this delightful event first as DWJ March and later as March Magics, and I’m sooo grateful for the delight this event has brought me over the years. Looking forward to one last hurrah. (And if someone else carries on the torch, I certainly wouldn’t complain . . .)


My March-ish plans.


  • Diana Wynne Jones short story/stories — After figuring I’d read all of DWJ’s stuff (aside from her impossible-to-find first novel and misc. plays/poetry/essays that I can’t really track down), I was delighted to find (while combing through the handy list of her works on Wikipedia) a short story or two that I’d yet to read. And I was even more delighted to track ’em down. One’s in an anthology with some other authors so…I’ll just check out DWJ’s entry. The other is in (I believe) just two anthologies of DWJ stories, namely Minor Arcana (which I don’t have, but have the rest of the stories in a different anthology) and Everard’s Ride. I tracked down a copy of Everard’s Ride (thank you, Ebay!) and I’m so excited. It has the titular novella (which I have read before) and some short stories, as well as a long short story or short novella called The True State of Affairs which is said story I haven’t read. SO. All that long backstory to say I intend to read that and another short story and I’m excited to read these new-to-me DWJ stories (even if her short stories can sometimes be hit or miss…but I’m certainly curious to try!). I may just go ahead and read the entire Everard’s Ride collection because it’s so pretty . . .
  • The Dalemark Quartet by Diana Wynne Jones (re-read) — I’ve been meaning to reread this series for AGES so I’m super excited to have it planned as my main DWJ read this month. Consisting of Cart and Cwidder, Drowned Ammet, The Spellcoats, and The Crown of Dalemark, I have a lovely edition collecting all of them together and I’m sooo looking forward to diving in.
  • Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett (City Watch #3) — I’ve been working on various sub-series of the Discworld books, and since last year I read (er…listened to) the Moist von Lipwig books, and had finished the Death series before that, it’s now time to get back to the City Watch series which is special because, I mean, it has Commander Vimes in it, and also because Guards! Guards! was my very first Pratchett (read for my very first March Magics!).


A couple of short stories, the Dalemark series, and one Pratchett book are my official TBR, because I need to have something concrete.

I also know that I’m usually wayyyy too overambitious with my March Magics lists and I just don’t always read very much in general, especially when life is busy. (*sighs at Life* Rude…)


I wanted to make a secondary list because I couldn’t resist the idea of stacking more pretties and having possible continuing options to pick and choose from, depending on my mood at the time, if I manage to finish the above “official” TBR.

  • Chrestomanci series (Diana Wynne Jones) — I have been craving a re-read of this series for AGES now, but wasn’t quite ambitious enough to aim for all of them this month. But I would love to pick up one or two if I have the time. Because Chrestomanci! And I put considerable effort into collecting these gorgeous editions so they are patiently awaiting whenever I find time for a re-read. I’m excited.
  • City Watch continued (Terry Pratchett) — If I read Feet of Clay, I’d love to make more progress on this series! I don’t want to be too ambitious because I likely won’t have much reading time, but I’d love to read more Vimes books if I can.
  • Pratchett audiobooks — This is entirely dependent on circumstances and if I have time/opportunity, but I’m eyeing a few Pratchett audiobooks on Scribd, and I may pick one up if I can manage the time to listen! It would either be the next Tiffany Aching or maybe a standalone. (I keep almost trying some DWJ audiobooks on Scribd but I just . . . haven’t been able to make myself do it. I have specific “voices” for all the characters from having read the books and I just don’t feel like listening to an audio version that wouldn’t match up. The one exception I made was for HMC for the novelty of it.)
  • Howl’s Moving Castle or others in the series (Diana Wynne Jones) — I re-read HMC most years so I wouldn’t be mad if I picked it up for another re-read, but I also know that I’ll likely pick it up later in the year if I don’t get to it now. But I’ve definitely been in the mood for this series lately and it would be lovely to try out the pretty hardcovers of HMC and House of Many Ways that I picked up — again, thank you Ebay deals. Maybe one of these days I’ll get my hands on a Castle in the Air hardcover Folio Society edition . . . One day . . . *dreams*


  • I’d like to check out another Pratchett film since those have been interesting in past years, so I’m planning on The Color of Magic.
  • I mean . . . I often re-watch Howl’s Moving Castle so I may do that. We shall see. XD


I couldn’t resist including this photo I snapped while prepping this post that looks like my cat cackling. XD She’s named Callette, after a griffin from Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones, so she feels like an appropriate addition to this post. Just imagine me cackling gleefully like that at the thought of all the March Magics things! XD

  • I have an idea for a Howl’s-Moving-Castle related blog post and I haven’t managed to post that any of the previous years soooo here’s hoping I can finally do it. XD (It may end up posting on my other blog, due to the topic, though.) It would coincide nicely with my 11-year anniversary of reading HMC for the first time . . . The fact I was going to post it for my 8th anniversary of HMC says something about a trait I sadly share with Howl, a.k.a. being a slitherer-outer. 😛
  • I’m planning a giveaway for a neat Howl-themed sticker by Beth Wangler Art, so stay tuned for that!
  • I also was going to post a handful of pics on my Instagram, hopefully, but as one of them is to be a DWJ “shelfie” pic of my collection, I figured I’d post that here today!

DWJ Collection Shelfie

Top Shelf: Dark Lord of Derkholm, Year of the Griffin, Fire and Hemlock, The Homeward Bounders, The Merlin Conspiracy, Reflections, Howl’s Moving Castle, House of Many Ways, Stopping for a Spell, Witch’s Business, The Ogre Downstairs, Aunt Maria, Archer’s Goon, Howl’s Moving Castle (2), Castle in the Air, House of Many Ways (2), Charmed Life, The Lives of Christopher Chant, Witch Week, The Magicians of Caprona, Conrad’s Fate, The Pinhoe Egg, Mixed Magics, Howl’s Moving Castle (3), The Crown of Dalemark, Charmed Life (2), Howl’s Moving Castle (4; yes, I have 4 editions of HMC. XD)
Bottom shelf: “Yes, Dear”, Everard’s Ride, The Islands of Chaldea, Deep Secret (2 copies), The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, A Tale of Time City, Eight Days of Luke, Power of Three, Enchanted Glass, Wild Robert, The Skiver’s Guide, Puss in Boots, The Game, Earwig and the Witch, A Sudden Wild Magic, Unexpected Magic, Hexwood, Dogsbody, The Time of the Ghost.
Stack (all extras): The Crown of Dalemark, The Pinhoe Egg, House of Many Ways, The Spellcoats, Castle in the Air, The Merlin Conspiracy, Mixed Magics (x2), Charmed Life (x3).

I’ve been collecting DWJ books for quite awhile now and I’m quite fond of my li’l collection! ^_^ I have pretty much all her books and have been tracking down some specific editions. (The little stack in the lower right corner of the shelfie collection are extra editions that I’ve ended up with that I don’t intend to keep, long-term, and may end up selling. [In fact, if one of the books in that stack interests you, let me know. :)])

There we are!

And we’ve made it to the end of the post. Huzzah!

Are there any DWJ or Pratchett fans among the audience? *peers at readers* Are you doing anything for March Magics? Any thoughts about my hopeful plans? Let me know in the comments!

Book Review: William Bradshaw, King of the Goblins (by Arthur Daigle)

Just a quick review today of William Bradshaw, King of the Goblins by Arthur Daigle. If you need a laugh, try this series. It’s a hoot and a half. XD

This review is for book one, and I’m currently reading the second book and highly entertained!

The author also wrote the Dana Illwind books (or, as I call them, the Jayden and Dana books) which are top favorites of mine! (Book 1 review.) (Book 2 review.)

Title: William Bradshaw, King of the Goblins

Author: Arthur Daigle

Series: William Bradshaw, #1


This book is utterly hilarious. Entirely delightful. Deliciously entertaining. A blast. Sheer fun. However you say it, it’s a great book if you need a laugh or twenty. I loved it so much!

William Bradshaw, who’s from our world, gets tricked into becoming the king of the goblins in a fantasy world. The goblins are hilarious, chaotic, destructive (but in a funny, mostly-harmless way), can warp space with their craziness, and are a blast to read.

Will is not a fan of being king of a run-down kingdom but his contract is pretty inescapable. Doesn’t mean he’s not going to try…

Throw in some twists on fantasy tropes, an amusing writing style that had me in stitches at nearly every sentence, and an unexpected war from another king who manages to be as incompetent as the goblins, and you have a tale of hilarious shenanigans sure to brighten anyone’s day!

Except Will’s. His day is by no means brightened. XD

I can’t wait to read the rest of the books!

Leave a comment and make my day! I love chatting books with y’all!

Looking for more of my book reviews? Check them out here!

Silverblood by Jamie Foley (Review)

Today’s treat is a review for a book that is definitely going to be on my top-favorite reads of the year list! (Also, fun fact, it won the 2022 Realm Award for Fantasy!) It’s just soooo good!

Some info first, and then I’m going to dive in. (Beware: there may be far too much fangirling shrieking!)

Title: Silverblood

Author: Jamie Foley

Series: The Katrosi Revolution, #2 (Book 1: Emberhawk. Read my review.)

Fantasy • YA • 2021 • 335 pages (paperback)

Read May 11, 2022 • 5 stars • Favorite character: LYSANDER FOREVER (I’m also partial to Felix) • Source: preordered from the author’s website (psst, it comes with goodies!)

GoodreadsBarnes & NobleAmazonPublisherAuthor Website

Silverblood is definitely a book for the top-favorites-of-the-year list! AAAHHH! I loved it so much and I have such a book hangover after finishing it. I need book three yesterday! *flails around* *hugs all the characters*

Okay, I’ll attempt to corral my thoughts into a smidge more order. (But really, all I want to do is fangirl incoherently!) I know I can’t do it justice in a review, but better something than nothing, I suppose!

I loved being back in this series/world SO MUCH! Silverblood is the second book in the Katrosi Revolution series, after Emberhawk, which I also loved. But I think I loved book two even better! It’s just sooo good!

Jamie Foley’s writing is delicious, as always. The perfect blend of heartpounding action and suspense, a dash of gorgeousness, and plentiful helpings of witty, snappy dialogue and banter. It’s hilarious, really, at times, and I am HERE for it! I just love how much of a blast it is. The sheer enjoyment level is high, for sure!

LYSANDER AND BROOKE. They’re my absolute favorite part of this book! I’ve been waiiiiting for Lysander and Brooke to have a story, ever since reading book one, and I finally read it and it’s everything I wanted and LYSANDER AND BROOKE FOREVERRR! I’m having an emotion.

Seriously, though, Lysander is a fabulous character and I loved reading about his adventures, struggles, and overcomings. (That should be a word, hush.) Ex-assassin, finally no longer controlled and striking out on his own, trying not to be torn down by bitterness and darkness, using his amazing herbalist skills alongside his epic fighting abilities (I want all the tea he makes!), and his sign language and aether powers . . . I just love everything about this guy! I basically just want him to be happy. *cries* LYSANDER’S THE BEST AND HE’S MINE. *wraps him in bubble-wrap to protect him*

I loved getting deeper into Brooke’s life as she tries to navigate being a leader and make the best choices for her people and for the amazing treetop city of Jadenvive—and, you know, not fall for a certain ex-assassin. 😉

Ryon and Kira! I loved continuing their story from the first book. They’re adorable and hilarious at turns and just yessss! It’s hard to talk about Ryon especially without spoilers, but I’m here for all the characters I adore!

AND THEN WE HAVE FELIX. This shape-shifting fox guy is THE GREATEST and his snark and unexpectedness gives me life! I’ve adored him since reading the Sentinel Trilogy, so I’m SO PLEASED he’s also in this prequel series set hundreds of years before the other series. (In fact, something about this book felt more connected to Sentinel in several ways which makes me happy.) Felix is fabulous and all his lines are so quotable!

Okay, but everything is quotable in this book. I mentioned it with the writing already but it deserves repeating: The snark and bantering dialogue is all SHEER GOLD and often hilarious. And don’t even get me started on certain amazing and unexpected proposal scenes. XD I CANNOT EVEN. ABSOLUTE GOLD. XD

Princess Vylia is growing on me more than in the first book and Sousuke is AMAZING of course, so I’m definitely looking forward to seeing where their story goes in the next book! I’m kind of internally screaming waiting to find out what happens about Certain Not-Wrapped-Up Plot Points leaving me hanging! O_O

The plot is super exciting and kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. Court intrigue and peril and a super-satisfying way for certain things to work out and I just loved all of the thingssss! It’s simply an EXCELLENT book in so many ways and it felt like it checked off all the boxes on a list for One of Deborah’s New Favorites.

The setting is also so absolutely vivid and delicious and I just love everything about it. I felt so THERE and the colors and sensations and cool places just made my day! Just love this world so much.


I wholeheartedly recommend this book! It’s a new favorite and I want to hug it forever. Check out Emberhawk first, and if you already have, you must read this ASAP! It’s an absolute delight. (Also, I need book three in my life!) Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll just be over here having a book hangover after reading this fabulous book. *all the hearts*

Aaaand that’s a wrap! With this, I’ve finally caught up on review posts I planned this year!

Time to take a break for Christmas and see what the new year looks like for this blog now that I’m FINALLY caught up on ARCs and books I 100% planned to review. (It. Feels. Great! I definitely need to take a little reviewing breather, but don’t worry, the blog isn’t going anywhere and there will still be bookish things.)

Have a great rest of the year, and thanks so much for reading my li’l (and sometimes not-so-little… XD) reviews!

Leave a comment and make my day! I love chatting books with y’all!

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A Most Irregular Prophecy by Ness Kingsley (Review)

I haven’t a clue how to properly talk about this fabulous book so . . . basically, expect some pterodactyl shrieking in this review!

Title: A Most Irregular Prophecy

Author: Ness Kingsley

Planetary Fantasy • YA, ish? • Published 2021 • 322 pages (paperback)

Read May 12, 2022 • 5 stars • Fave character: Mr Sorrow • I received a no-pressure free e-book ARC of this book from the author and voluntarily wrote a review; all opinions are my own.

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WHAT DID I JUST READ? I haven’t the faintest notion, to be honest, but I do know that it was GLORIOUS and a smashing good time! And yes, I do intend to talk in a faintly posh manner this entire review — blame it on the book, why don’t you! (You should. The book is entirely at fault. Fabulously so.)

At any rate, here are my discombobulated flailings and/or pterodactyl shrieks about exactly WHY you should find a copy of this book somewhere and devour it post-haste!

Firstly, we must discuss the genre. Genre? WHAT IS GENRE, I ASK! *unhinged laughter* (Ahem. This is . . . I suppose . . . fantasy, on a foreign planet, with a Victorian-era heroine and a character from modern day too. Essentially planetary fantasy with dashes of portal fantasy, but throughout time?? What does genre matter when it’s this delightful is all I’d like to know.)

Secondly, as to the matter of my favorite character: What a ridiculous question. Who’s asking these questions, anyway? (Oh, wait, that would be me.) Oh, all right, my favorite is MR SORROW, naturally (he and his — well, green eyes but with, like, the spirit of a grey-eyed Heyer hero, are superb), but Vi and Rugby are also fabulous.

Now that these important questions have been addressed, I find myself QUITE AT A LOSS as to how to discuss this wondrous and unusual tale. This is a sort of Georgette-Heyer-meets-Enchanted-Forest-Chronicles-on-a-fantasy-planet-with-a-dash-of-Diana-Wynne-Jones book, and it’s just as delightful as that makes it sound.

From our heroine, Vi, who narrates the book in a deliciously dry and amusing fashion (I tell you, Ness Kingsley’s writing is SHEER BRILLIANCE and every sentence is a JOY to read), to the Thrawk characters (which are sort of Pegasus-type creatures with telepathy and Rugby especially is my favorite, but also THEY HAVE GREAT NAMES like Tennis), to Mr Sorrow who is a surprising sort of scholar and somewhat drily amused and scathing in the best possible way . . . these pages are inhabited by stupendous characters whose witty banter absolutely makes my day.

Throw in an almost dystopic sci-fi-fantasy society which one loves to hate, a prophecy that goes haywire, some screaming rain, several mishaps gallivanting all over the place, numerous ridiculous characters who are alarming with their ineptitude and simultaneous ability to make things Truly Horrendous for our heroes, as well as some depressed unicorn-pegasus creatures, a dash of monsters such as the Natterdash *ominous music*, and did I mention the screaming rain? Also TWISTS GALORE. You may gasp. Several times. I know I did.

The plot is at turns whimsical, hilarious, intense, and surprisingly dark later on, in fact, and yet I was glued to the page for the entire tale! (Not literally glued. That would be rather inconvenient for turning pages.) It is at times not for the faint of heart due to some truly horrendous characters, as noted, but it’s absolutely worth it and I was Supremely Attached to these heroic characters such as Vi and Mr Sorrow and Rugby. (Supremely Attached as opposed to glued-not-literally. There we are.)

My ability to express the sheer enjoyment level of this bafflingly strange and yet hilarious and brilliant book is simply not adequate. I can only say that I ABSOLUTELY ADORED IT and hope that gets across somewhat my love for this book and how unexpected and unique it is. And so funny, too! I ADORE books that make me laugh, and this one absolutely did. The lovable characters and genre-bending suspense are the icing on the cake. But you really must discover it for yourself!

It must be confessed that I committed the nearly-unforgivable bookish atrocity of dogearing several of this book’s pages to mark my favorite hilarious bits. And by “several” I here mean “approximately half of the total pages in the book.” (YOU THINK I’M JOKING? Ha. Far from it. It’s simply SO QUOTABLE and had me rolling with laughter or at the very least internal chuckles for most of the book.)

To save me the trouble (and the questionable legality) of sharing approximately half of the book here in quote form, the reader is recommended to immediately acquire a copy of A Most Irregular Prophecy and to experience the zany delight of this book at once.

I received a free e-book ARC of this book from the author (with, let it be noted, ZERO PRESSURE to review it, positively or otherwise). (I also, it must be admitted, later snagged a paperback off Amazon and actually mostly read that copy, but DETAILS.) At any rate, all opinions are my own, so there.

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Death Warden by C. J. Stilling (Review)

Today’s review is for a suspenseful fantasy novel called Death Warden!

Title: Death Warden

Author: C. J. Stilling

Fantasy • upper YA • 2019 • 434 pages (e-book)

Read May 8, 2022 • 3 stars • Favorite character: Bastien • I received a free e-copy of this book from the author. I was under no obligation to write a review. All opinions are my own.

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This was such an edge-of-your seat read! I. Could. Not. Stop. Reading! Wow. It was a bit too dark for me, personally, but it was super suspenseful and exciting. The worldbuilding, setting, and magic systems were very cool, especially the shadows! It was neat being immersed in this world that’s magical but with a slight steampunk edge (although it was also pretty gritty, and sometimes hard to figure out goodguys versus villains). Also, it had cool tropes like found-family and assassin-girl and academy-type stories!

It was told in a really unique way in alternating present-and-past timelines, so it was neat piecing together Reen’s story from the flashbacks and the present, while second-guessing along the way. I’m not sure I BREATHED during the entire ending! Whew! *collapses* *thumbs-up*

Shoutout to Bastien for being an amazing cinnamon roll character. He was great! (I almost . . . wish . . . well, there’s a certain other amethyst-eyed character I want him to be! *cough*) All the other characters were very vivid and there were a lot of shifting motives going on, so I couldn’t always root for anyone besides Reen and Bastien (I feel like I was supposed to like Cron but I just never did; I think that’s just me, though).

Unfortunately, zombies and plagues are a no-go for me, and the book is also just . . . dark. Kind of too dark for my personal taste, but that’s just me! (I could have done without the nightmares it gave me. *nervous laugh*) I almost put it down a couple of times because of the disturbingness, but I was hooked and had to know what happened, so I am glad I finished!

Although it wasn’t a personal favorite of mine, it was definitely well-written and gripping, a solid read. I’m sure many other readers of YA would not find it too dark and would enjoy it! It’s perfect for fans of Six of Crows (with less content) and Vespertine (what I’ve heard of it).

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