Tag Archive | Howl’s Moving Castle

The Birthstone Book Tag

BirthstoneBookTag

Grace @ Fictionally tagged me once upon a time for The Birthstone Book Tag — thanks so much, Grace! πŸ™‚ These look fun, and also difficult…

Here we go!

1: January Garnet: Name a character that you think is evil/dark.

Rupert de la Mare from Plenilune by Jennifer Freitag. He’s my go-to villain for questions like this.

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Plenilune Cover Single

2: February Amethyst: Name a book you think of as regal.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, because it’s the best. ❀

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3: March Aquamarine: Name a character you think of as weak, or as more of a follower.

Catherine Morland from Northanger Abbey is more of a follower, methinks.

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4: April Diamond: Name a book that you love, but isn’t very well known.

Broken Glass by Emma Clifton in the Five Glass Slippers anthology. It’s perfection and I love it SO MUCH and everyone should read it. And while I’m at it, I’m going to also add Corroded Thorns by Emma Clifton, because it’s the sequel and I consider them one story and it’s also a top favorite of mine. Steampunk fantasy retellings of Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast, they’re just perfect. ❀

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5: May Emerald: Name two characters who balance each other out.

Jonathan and Lockwood from Illusionarium by Heather Dixon. Jonathan’s all smart and cautious (usually) and Lockwood’s daring and reckless. Plus they just make an excellent pair.

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6: June Pearl: Name a character that is loyal.

Ky from Orphan’s Song and Songkeeper by Gillian Bronte Adams. ❀ HE IS SO INCREDIBLY LOYAL. It’s the best.

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7: July Ruby: Name a book that aggravates you/makes your blood boil.

The End by Lemony Snicket, final book in A Series of Unfortunate Events. Just… NO.

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8: August Peridot: Name a supporting character you preferred to the main character.

Blaze and Anvil from Twinepathy by C.B. Cook! They’re epic. ❀

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9: September Sapphire: Name a book that you found to be calming.

The Railway Children by E. Nesbit. Love that one!

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10: October Opal: Name a book with a pretty cover.

Entwined by Heather Dixon. I believe it speaks for itself…

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11: November Topaz: Name a book with a resilient protagonist.

I’m going to go with Ginger from Paper Crowns by Mirriam Neal. She’s fabulous. ^_^

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12: December Blue Zicron: Name a fictional friendship you would love to be a part of.

Howl, Sophie, Calcifer, Michael — that would be a group I would just love being a part of. ❀ *spontaneously teleports to Wales in the hopes of finding a portal into Ingary*

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So what think ye? Do you have picks for any of these? Agree with any of mine? Feel free to steal the tag if it looks fun! πŸ™‚

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

30 Bookish Questions Tag

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Cait @ Paper Fury had a wonderful getting-to-know-me post with 30 great bookish questions awhile back, and it looked so fun I simply had to turn it into a tag and steal it. πŸ˜‰ (Don’t worry, she encouraged us to steal it. XD)

1) Currently reading?

Too busy to reeeeead right now . . . ! *flailing* Soon, though… *eyes enormous TBR shelf*

2) Should’ve read, like, yesterday?

SO MANY. Like all of them. Let’s just go with that. πŸ˜‰ But also the rest of the Tales of Goldstone Wood and a dozen or so Lawhead books. I must read them aaall!

3) Book that impacted you?

The Lord of the Rings and Howl’s Moving Castle. (I know, I know: you’re SO shocked at this revelation.)

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4) Hyped vs backlist titles?

I usually read older books that nobody has ever heard of, OR brand-new books which I get for review. It’s sometimes fun to be up on the currently being-published books, so that I can talk with others about them, but at the same time there are a LOT of awesome slightly older books.

I also tend to steer away from books that have been seriously hyped… (Though occasionally I’ll get curious enough to try one if it sounds interesting enough.) There are a couple series that are big in my circles that I’ve just heard about SO. MUCH. that they are now over-hyped and just have no interest for me anymore. I’m probably a weird person on that point. >.>

5) Current series crush?

The Bright Empires series by Stephen R. Lawhead is a fabulous series I’m somewhat addicted to just now…

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6) How strong is your self-control around books?

Buying books, it depends. I’m a somewhat broke bookworm (surprise; I wonder if there’s any other kind?) so I’m rather careful in that regard in general. If it’s a library sale and the books are really cheap and they look interesting, then I do tend to get a lot.

If they’re new books at a store like Barnes & Noble or I have to order them online, then I have a lot of self-control because I’ll think harder about it because they’re more expensive. It’s actually really rare for me to buy new books. I tend to put them on birthday/Christmas wishlists instead. *nods*

If it’s a free ebook, my self-control is non-existent, which is why I have ten gadrillion unread ebooks on my Kindle app which I will probably never read. -_- #readerfail

At libraries, I have pretty good self-control because I don’t want to bring home more than like 3 books if I can help it, just because I know it will bug me if I don’t finish the book before sending it back. (Of course, my self-control is horrible when I’m there but shouldn’t get any books at ALL because I’m too busy, and then do anyway — like the time I checked out Six of Crows during NaNo last year. *cough*)

ARC requests, my self-control is directly proportionate to how much I want the book, usually. So it depends.

7) Plot vs characters?

Both, please and thank you.

8) Would you write under a pseudonym?

Sure thing, if I had a good one.

9) Would you marry your bookshelf?

Ummmm. …Iiiif it magically turned into a guy who had all the good traits/beliefs of the books on said shelf… then maybe. XD

10) Do you ever get sick of reading?

Sometimes; especially if I’ve been reading only books I was “supposed to” (a.k.a. review books, beta books, etc.). Or if I’ve read some not-so-good books and get in a reading slump. But usually there’s no such thing as “sick of reading” — like, what even is that??

11) Random bookish memory?

Perusing the shelves of an enormous, wonderful Half-Price Books store in another state when my uncle kindly offered to get me some books there. It was like Christmas. (Er… it actually was for Christmas, so that could be why…)

12) Character you relate to?

I don’t usually relate to characters very often… and if I do, I tend not to like them. I’m weird like that. >.> *cough* However I do remember relating to Julia Redfern from A Room Made of Windows by Eleanor Cameron back when I read it at a quite young age.

13) Do you own bookish merchandise?

Do bookmarks count? I do have a map of LOTR on my wall, and a lovely necklace that goes with the Merlin Spiral trilogy by Robert Treskillard, which he made. It’s amazing and love it. ❀ (In general though, I tend to get books instead of bookish merchandise. BECAUSE BOOKS.)

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14) Controversial opinion?

I’m not into “all the feels”/killing characters/flawed characters/”realistic” stories/depressing endings. I’m well aware I’m an odd duck, but there it is. Make of it what ye will.

15) NOTP? (In case you don’t know what this bizarre conglomeration of letters means: it’s a bookish pairing you don’t ship.)

Offhand, I can’t think of anyone. Is that weird? I guess I tend to get on board with the romantic pairings the author chooses, in general. *shrugs* (Watch, once I post this I’ll think of one…)

16) Why didn’t I love this?

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde. I… dunno why I didn’t love it. :-/ The ending annoyed me I guess and I couldn’t really figure out why; the beginning was a lot of fun though. I just… I wanted to love it! 😦

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17) Hardcover vs paperback?

HARDCOVERRRR. ❀ Especially since they’re a dying breed between ebooks and self-publishing… because self-publishing doesn’t have hardcovers. *sobs* What is the world coming to. (I will admit that I love me a good paperback too, as long as it’s not a mass-paperback because those are too tiny for me to want to read because they’re exhausting.)

18) Do you ever like villains?

I try not to. XD Sometimes, but very rarely. It’s . . . complicated… See this post.

19) Cringeable reads?

I don’t really like thinking about things I don’t like so… I can’t think of one right now. πŸ˜›

20) Where do you get your books from?

Mostly libraries and library sales; also for Christmas and birthdays; a few ARCs; occasionally Amazon or a bookstore.

21) Haunting read?

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. Haunting is the exactly appropriate word for it…

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22) Highly anticipated upcoming release?

An Earthly King by Hazel B. West!

23) Annoying character qualities?

Whiners, disloyal stab-in-the-back characters who pretend to be friends but aren’t, and the particular kind of “tough” heroine who is really just an excuse to be a jerk who thinks she’s better than guys. πŸ˜›

24) Least favourite genre?

Dystopian. (I know, you’re soooo surprised, again. XD)

25) Best tropes?

Lost princes/princesses and memory loss, for a couple. I’m sure there’s others I love too…

26) Rereading?

I love rereading! It’s so fun. I mean, if it’s a fabulous book I loved, of course. πŸ˜‰ I don’t do it very often though because I have sooo many books I haven’t read that I want to read… so sometimes I feel like I’m not making progress if I reread. But sometimes I can’t resist! Also, rereading a book aloud is a great excuse to do this, I’ve found. *nods*

27) Have you abused a book?

I try so hard to treat books carefully… but I will admit that if I’m reading a nonfiction book, sometimes I will… *gasp* …mark passages I want to remember, with a pencil. *dives behind nearest tapestry and hides there* *muffled voice:* I knowww, I’m atrocious!

28) Series you quit on?

Jill Williamson’s Safe Lands trilogy. I feel kinda bad about this one since I LOVE her writing, but I read the first one and while it was well-written etc. and I loved one of the characters, overall I just don’t like dystopian, and I can’t see myself getting through the rest of the series and actually enjoying it, so for my own sanity I decided not to. I know others enjoy it, though! πŸ™‚

29) Wish it wasn’t a standalone?

OH SO MANY. I’m going to pick one off the top of my head and say Illusionarium. I want a sequel about Jonathan and Lockwood so bad. ❀

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30) Bad bookworm side-effects?

Having a never-ending, ever-growing TBR pile (though honestly I will never complain too hard about this one). Lack of sleep from staying up reading — and yet I can’t seem to stop! πŸ˜‰ Reading a book you don’t like and going around with a black cloud over your head… A character you love being killed off and getting your heart shredded… Having a bookshelf fall on you and/or getting papercuts or turning into a bookish dragon creature of ink and paper and blowing away… (Being a bookworm is super dangerous. *nods seriously*) Not living in Middle-earth or Ingary… Y’know, the usual.

So there you have it. You now know aaall the bookish facts about me, likely more than you ever wished to learn. πŸ˜‰ Do you share any in common with me? Steal the tag if you wish it! πŸ™‚

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Bookish Book Lover Tag

I was tagged by the lovely bookish (and author in her own right!) Shantelle Hannu @ A Writer’s Heart for a new fun tag which she created, the Bookish Book Lover Tag. Thanks ever so much, Shantelle! πŸ™‚

So let’s get to it! (I think I took all the covers from Goodreads… and I didn’t feel like linking to them all but if you want to look any of these up — which you totally should — you can find them on my Goodreads.)

Rules

  • Use the Banner
  • Answer the Questions
  • Use Lots of Book Covers *smiles*
  • Tag Your Bookish Friends!

Questions

1) What Book Are You Currently Reading?

Defying Shadows by Ashley Townsend, which I’m beta-reading (it’s releasing soon!). It’s excellent so far. πŸ˜€

2) What’s The Last Book You Finished?

The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson. I loved it!

3) Favorite Book You Read This Year?

Let’s see if I can keep it down to a handful…

Paper Crowns by Mirriam Neal, Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones, Blood Ties by Hazel B. West, The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson, The Map: A Jackaby Story by William Ritter, and The Castle Corona by Sharon Creech. That’s a start. πŸ˜‰

4) What Genre Have You Read Most This Year?

Definitely fantasy, of all shapes and sizes.

5) What Genre Have You Read Least This Year?

Hmm. Either non-fiction or mystery.

6) What Genre Do You Want To Read More Of?

I’m going to go with Shantelle’s answer and say fairy tale retellings. πŸ™‚

7) How Many Books Have You Read This Year, And What’s Your Goal?

I’ve read 45, and my goal is 60, so… it looks like I’ll make it, yay! πŸ˜‰

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8) What’s The Last Book You Bought?

Just did a post about this. πŸ™‚

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9) What Book Are You Saving Up To Buy Next?

Briette by Anita Valle. (Yes, this is one of the few ebook series I’ve gotten addicted enough to that I actually BUY ebooks. *gasp*)

10) How Many Books Did You Check Out Last Library Visit?

Just the one… *sadface* But it was The Golden Braid, which I mentioned, and I really enjoyed it! (I wanted to check out a bunch more, but I’m so busy so I exercised restraint. *gasp*)

11) What’s A Book You Can’t Wait To Read?

Mist of Midnight by Sandra Byrd, which has been waiting on my To-Read-Soon pile for a long time…

12) What’s A Series You’d Recommend to Everyone?

Goodness, I apparently don’t read many series since I’m having a hard time thinking of one! O_O (I start lots but don’t always get around to finishing them… yet.) Umm… I’m going to cheat and just say a book instead of a series. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (you knew it was coming. ;)).

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13) Who’s An Author You’re Hoping Writes More?

Heather Dixon! She’s only got two books out (Entwined and Illusionarium) both of which I loved. (Also, gotta be some of THE best covers in the universe. ❀ Amazing how the stories inside are even BETTER — can you believe it??)

14) A Few Books Your Heart Adores?

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, Paper Crowns by Mirriam Neal, The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall, Searching for Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede, The Gammage Cup by Carol Kendall, The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye… and so many more!

15) What Series’s Coming Conclusion Makes You Sad?

Hmm, I don’t usually get sad at series endings because I don’t usually make it there and/or the series are often all published already by the time I read them. But… I think I’ll be a little sad when the Six of Crows series by Leigh Bardugo is over because there’s only two books… There should be more than two. XD (Also because I’m worried to death about Kaz and company. >.> So much worry. Eek.)

16) What Books Are On Your Wish-List?

Oh, so many (particularly some Diana Wynne Jones books…)! But I do keep a wishlist shelf on Goodreads. (There are some I’ve read that I want to own that I haven’t added on there, but still.) At the moment (it seems to change), a few near the top of my wishlist (some of which have yet to be published!) are: Ghostly Echoes by William Ritter, Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, The Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson, King’s Blood by Jill Williamson, Briette by Anita Valle, Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson, the third Skulduggery Pleasant book, and Very British Problems by Rob Temple.

Tagging

I tag… Hmm. I’m so bad at tagging people and I never know who to tag. -_- I have no idea if you’d like to do it or not but I tag the following people and if you want to do it, great; if not, please ignore me. XD

Lauri // Mary // Madeline // Lisa // Abi // Tracey // Jenelle // Cait

I also tag anyone who’s reading this and wants to do it! (Either on your blog or in the comments below!)

BOOK TAG YAY! It’s quick and fun and easy, I promise. πŸ˜€

(Here’s the questions readily copy-paste-able for anyone who’d like to do it! :))

1) What Book Are You Currently Reading?
2) What’s The Last Book You Finished?
3) Favorite Book You Read This Year?
4) What Genre Have You Read Most This Year?
5) What Genre Have You Read Least This Year?
6) What Genre Do You Want To Read More Of?
7) How Many Books Have You Read This Year, And What’s Your Goal?
8) What’s The Last Book You Bought?
9) What Book Are You Saving Up To Buy Next?
10) How Many Books Did You Check Out Last Library Visit?
11) What’s A Book You Can’t Wait To Read?
12) What’s A Series You’d Recommend to Everyone?
13) Who’s An Author You’re Hoping Writes More?
14) A Few Books Your Heart Adores?
15) What Series’s Coming Conclusion Makes You Sad?
16) What Books Are On Your Wish-List?

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Reading Roundup #5: May 2016

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

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

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1. Howl’s Moving Castle – Diana Wynne Jones

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

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2. Of Mice and Magic – Ursula Vernon

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

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3. Paper Crowns – Mirriam Neal

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

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4. The Merlin Conspiracy – Diana Wynne Jones

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

***

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

***

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

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

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

March Magics Wrap-up

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

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

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

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

Posts:

Reading:

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

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

Other stuff:

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

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

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

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

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

Happy March Magics, everyone!

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My Diana Wynne Jones Journey (So Far)

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Since it is after all March Magics / Diana Wynne Jones month, I thought it would be fun to list all the books by that author that I’ve had the pleasure of reading so far, and a few thoughts on them and how I ended up reading them . . . I’m going to list them in order of when I read them, so they’ll be nicely organized by year, though not necessarily chronologically by series!

This may, I fear, be rather long, since I have now read 21 novels, a short story collection, an essay collection, and a smattering of other short stories, so far . . . making 23+ books… not to mention rereading a few… So if you don’t read the whole thing, there is no judgement. πŸ˜‰ This is mostly for me, anyway . . . a pleasant reminiscence of looking back at my Diana Wynne Jones journey thus far. ^_^

(If I’d coordinated my time better at the START of the month, I suppose I could have divided it into several posts and posted them throughout the month . . . but oh well, better late than never!)

A note: I’m not bothering to put a star-rating on any of these. Diana Wynne Jones books get 5 stars. Period. (Well, that’s not entirely true, I suppose. I did rate one novel, Witch Week, 4 stars, because I was slightly disappointed in the ending; and I have been known to rate a few of the short stories 4 stars; and one short story I quite disliked. So you see, there are exceptions to every rule… but on the whole: 5 stars all the way!)

The titles all link to Goodreads.

2012

howl1Howl’s Moving Castle

Read: March 14 ’12

My very first book by Diana Wynne Jones, how fitting that it should have been this one — still my favorite of all — and that it should have been during March as well! I had several close calls and almost didn’t read it at all! I was recommended this book quite some time ago by a cousin who has superior taste in books, to whom I’m forever indebted for introducing me to this book which now ties for my favorite with The Lord of the Rings. I rather forgot about the recommendation for awhile . . . and then stumbled across Howl’s Moving Castle at a library sale. I remember I almost hadn’t gone, since I was definitely far too busy and had no business going. I remember that I saw the title, thought “ah! I remember being recommended this . . .!” and picked it up. I also remember, specifically, almost putting it back a couple times, because it looked so odd. I’m very glad I didn’t! At last the humorous-sounding back, with the high praise of a recommendation from my cousin, won me over in spite of the utterly weird cover. Never judge a book by its cover has never been a more apt phrase! This is still my top favorite DWJ book, Howl is still my favorite character, and I hold all the later ones to this standard of excellence. It’s simply a PERFECT book and I love everything about it. ^_^

houseways1House of Many Ways

Read: Nov 5 ’12

Remember, remember, the fifth of November… because that’s when I read my second Diana Wynne Jones book. πŸ˜‰ I had no clue that Howl’s Moving Castle had any sequels — even as loose of “sequels” as it has — since this was before my time of Goodreads. But I remember somehow finding out there were sequels and getting excited. Then — oh joy! — I sighted this book at another library sale and snatched it up. So even though I was too busy to read due to NaNoWriMo, I read this book in a day all the same. I found it somewhat creepier than Howl’s Moving Castle, but a delight and so HILARIOUS, not to mention the best thing about it, namely Twinkle. Oh my goodness, TWINKLE. XD

derkholm1Dark Lord of Derkholm

Read: Nov 14 – Dec 13 ’12

I found Dark Lord of Derkholm at the same library sale as House of Many Ways, and specifically remembered being recommended it alongside Howl’s Moving Castle… and once again I almost didn’t get it due to the cover. But I did anyway. I was so glad I did. I didn’t “get” it for a long time, but it was great fun to read and I hope to reread it soon. But the shenanigans — oh, I loved them! (Once I got used to them.) All the characters and insane happenings and fantasy creatures . . . it was glorious. I named my cat after one of the griffins, Callette.

2013

castleairCastle in the Air

Jan 7-8, ’13

It was only after I had read House of Many Ways that I found out that the other sequel, Castle in the Air, was actually chronologically BEFORE that one, after Howl’s Moving Castle. Oh well. I promptly got it from the library and devoured it and it was hilarious. The twists I for the most part did NOT see coming. It was so different but I loved it! Especially the relationship between Abdullah and the Soldier — so much humor!

mixedmagicsMixed Magics

Read: Feb 20 ’13

Also a library-sale find, I decided to eat this one next, but I’m afraid I didn’t really “get” this one at first either, since it’s a collection of short stories connected with the Chrestomanci series. I knew that they were fascinating stories, and that I was already addicted to the character Chrestomanci, even after only seeing him in a very few pages — his dressing gowns! — but this one left me a bit nonplussed at the time. I don’t think it’s a good introduction to the world(s) of Chrestomanci, but I didn’t know that then. Still, it was quite enjoyable; and I really loved it the second time I read it, once I’d read the rest of the series.

yeargriffin1Year of the Griffin

Read: Mar 12-13, ’13

I now own this one, but at the time, I found it from the library, completely excited there should be a sequel to Dark Lord of Derkholm! It was great fun as well, though a mite hazy in my mind now… I loved the griffins though. And I hope to reread it soon too.

***

howl2At this point I reread Howl’s Moving Castle — starting it on May Day! How appropriate! — and it was even more glorious the second time! All the twists and things that you don’t get the first time . . . I think all Diana Wynne Jones books beg to be read at least twice… possibly more. πŸ˜‰ Especially this one! ❀ Both because they are wonderful and need to be devoured more than once, and because they are so complex with so many twists and mind-rearranging necessary that it will be QUITE a different read the second time around! And it will probably take a third (at least) to fully appreciate.

2014

dalemarkvol1Cart and Cwidder

Read: Jan 31 ’14

At yet another library sale, I found a collection of the first two Dalemark books. I read this one in a day. It was utterly different from her other books I’d read — for one thing, it was an older one; for another, it was entirely set in another world with no connections to ours; and for a third, though it was funny from time to time, it wasn’t AS funny as often before. It was a new look at her books for me . . . and I realized that she could write amazing epic fantasy as well (with muskets!!).

ammetDrowned Ammet

Read: Feb 5 ’14

Needless to say, that same week I devoured the next one. It was utterly strange too and I had fun trying to piece together connections with the first one, since it was mostly off by itself. It was so strange but I loved it (which . . . kinda stands for all of her books. ;)).

dalemarkvol2The Spellcoats

Read: Feb 24 ’14

So then I had to rush out and find the next book in the series, from the library (except now I own it in a collection of its own! Oh joy!). This one was even stranger than Ammet, but I enjoyed it a ton. One of the things I like about her books is that they are all so DIFFERENT even in series. And this was the first time I really noticed the sibling relationship thing she had going (though thinking back, it was largely in Derkholm as well). It was wonderful, and I love how well she can juggle so many characters, especially in one family!

reflections1Reflections: On the Magic of Writing

Read: Aug 15-23 ’14

At this point, I had learned there was a collection of nonfiction essays on writing and other books and such lovely things, written by Diana Wynne Jones, and that my library had it, so I simply had to get it. It was SUCH a delight! I have a tendency to not read much in the way of nonfiction, but when I do, I often find it through liking an author’s fiction and therefore being rather assured that I’ll enjoy their nonfiction thoughts. So much wonderfulness in this book. ❀

crowndalemarkThe Crown of Dalemark

Read: Sept 6-11 ’14

I had tragically not had time to read this one when I read Spellcoats, so I got it from the library again and commenced on a truly fascinating journey. This was the first one that I read that was ENORMOUS. So I didn’t devour it in a day like I do with most. As usually, it started out being extremely odd, but I was so fascinated and excited with the goings-on in this one! For one thing, it started tying together the three previous books! Characters I had loved on their own were now starting to meet up with other ones, which was glorious. For another thing, it did the most brilliant thing I had ever seen: time travel. In a fantasy world. *flails* I. LOVED. THIS. It has some modern-type setting with trains and stuff, and then the almost-medieval-but-with-muskets time period the first two had, and then also linked in with the mythic pre-historic time that was like pre-medieval dalemarkwith more magical stuff. And it blended these all seamlessly, along with all the plots from the previous books, as well as its own plot, and so many rivalries and things between all the oodles of characters whom I loved, and just LKJLDKJALKDSJLFJ IT WAS AMAZING!!! It was really the ending that got me on this one. It was so flaily and unexpected and perfect and it left me an incoherent wreck of squealy awesomeness-overload. It was my favorite book I read in 2014 and became my favorite DWJ read after Howl’s Moving Castle.

charmedlife1Charmed Life

Read: Dec 11 ’14

Ah, classic Chrestomanci! This is what I hold as a standard for the later books in the series. I was instantly addicted. Loved this one! Cat Chant is a good hero and I want to live at Chrestomanci Castle (“I belong to Chrestomanci Castle!”) and Chrestomanci himself is awesome. This book is just… well, classic! I want to reread it… and the whole series…

The Lives of Christopher Chantchresvol1

Read: Dec 15 ’14

I was a bit surprised with this one. It was interesting to get Christopher’s backstory as a kid, though he wasn’t quite . . . himself, yet. But it was really good too. I loved all the different world things! And it was cool to get to find out where some of the things came from, like the cat and Milly of course, and Christopher/Chrestomanci himself. πŸ™‚

2015

conradConrad’s Fate

Read: Jan 18 ’15

I knew that this one was later in the series (even though, chronologically, it was directly after The Lives of Christopher Chant and before Charmed Life) but I didn’t care. It was about Christopher Chant the future Chrestomanci who’s my FAVORITE, as a TEEN . . . and I simply had to read it right away! I think it’s my favorite in the series besides the last one… and the first one… But it was so FABULOUS!! I loved it to smithereens, especially young Christopher and Conrad’s relationship. I ADORE buddy stories! Especially when they annoy each other. XD

chresvol2The Magicians of Caprona

Read: Feb 18 ’15

So then I had to devour the second collection of Chrestomanci books which I owned, starting with this one. One of the few downsides to the series is that Chrestomanci himself isn’t in them all the time, since they each usually follow different heroes/heroines, and he usually only shows up later on for a bit. But still, they’re all delightful! This one was great fun, set in a magical Italian type of setting. I loved this one.

witchweekWitch Week

Read: Mar 4 ’15

This was the one, also in said collection, that I actually didn’t quite rate 5 stars; just for the ending. You’d think it would be for some other reason, like that it was set mostly at a school, which I normally don’t enjoy… And yet other than the end, this was actually one of my favorites of the Chrestomanci books! I found it to be great fun, trying to piece things together and keep track of the characters, and Chrestomanci himself when he (finally) arrives, is in top form as always! I just… was a little bit sad about the ending, and other people probably won’t mind and I won’t say what it WAS, but I wished there had been a little… something different. Still, it was great overall, and actually led to one of my favorite quotes. πŸ™‚

chresvol3The Pinhoe Egg

Read: Mar 9 ’15

AAAHH THIS BOOK! ❀ It’s the only Chrestomanci book I don’t actually own, which is entirely TRAGIC since it’s my favorite of them all! We’re back to Cat in this one, and Chrestomanci Castle, so it feels all comfortable and you’re glad to be back and makes you think of the first book, but there’s still lots of other new things going on and just all of the messes, and Chrestomanci’s in it a bit more and there’s a GRIFFIN and just alksdjfldkj I love it so much and need to reread it. CHRESTOMANCI! ❀

***

At this point, I had a rereading stretch.

I reread Mixed Magics that March, since I had finally read all of the other Chrestomanci books, and I LOVED it this read-through.

Then I managed to get my lovely bookclub on Goodreads to read the Howl trilogy; hey, I’ll take any excuse to reread Howl. πŸ˜‰ So I re-read Howl’s Moving Castle in March-April, Castle in the Air I devoured once again on a day in July, and House of Many Ways I read again in August.

***

enchantedglassEnchanted Glass

Read: Aug 22 ’15

Yet another library book, I have an oddly incomplete memory of reading this book… o.o But I know I enjoyed it muchly, that it was characteristically funny and odd and fantastical, and that I loved the characters of Aiden and Andrew and so on. Also, a minor thing, but one of my favorite proposal scenes. XD And I loved the furniture moving and the vegetables. *giggle* (For some reason it made me think of Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit… just a little.) Also it made me make some shortbread cookies. Diana Wynne Jones books usually make me want to eat things (usually cucumber sandwiches and other sandwiches…).

power1Power of Three

Read: Sept 23 ’15

I don’t know WHY it took me so long to read this one… I’d had it from one of my many library sales for a long time… I think the cover wasn’t appealing. πŸ˜› Anyways I finally read it and loved it so much! It has SUCH an enormous twist like half-way through… I just loved the twists in this one… Half of it feels like a medieval fantasy sort of thing, and the other half . . . well, I don’t want to spoil it. πŸ˜‰ Oh, and the family dynamic was fun to read too. She’s so good about writing amazing and realistic but hilarious families! The style of writing was more like the Dalemark books and less like her characteristic whimsical voice… but there was that ONE scene (you’ll know if you’ve read it) that suddenly the style switched to her more normal one, and it was the most hilarious part of the book and the characters were drunk and it was 100% classic DWJ writing and I loved it. XD Anyways, this book was, again, so DIFFERENT and I loved so many of the characters.

archer1Archer’s Goon

Read: Nov 10 ’15

I had positively no business reading anything during such a busy and insane NaNoWriMo as this year proved to be. But I had scored this one at a library sale at the beginning of the month, and simply could NOT resist reading it as soon as I could. Oh my GOODNESS, what a wild ride! O_O It was utterly HILARIOUS (surprise…?) and had such a number of plot twists I was just flabbergasted most of the time… The characters are splendid too, especially reading about the siblings that are all so different. And it seamlessly blends contemporary, fantasy, sci-fi, and a bit of time travel both forward and back and just alskdjfldkj it’s AMAZING. It goes right up there with my favorites. MY BRAIN IS STILL REELING FROM PLOT TWISTS. Since my favorite is Howl’s Moving Castle, which can stand alone, and two of my other favorites happen to be the finale to their series (The Pinhoe Egg and The Crown of Dalemark) if you read just ONE Diana Wynne Jones book besides Howl’s Moving Castle, probably try to make it this once since it stands alone and is mind-blowing. πŸ˜›

2016 – so far

firehemlockFire and Hemlock

Read: Jan 1 ’16

*flailing softly* This book though! ❀ I wrote a long and rambly review-ish thing for it, so I will not reiterate all of it. But it was so awesome and I was so glad it was that big because I wanted to live in it forever and it was so worth staying up till past 3 a.m. to read it. I loved it so so much and Tom is one of my favorites and I’m slightly addicted to the idea of Tam Lin retellings now and need to go find several to read…

toughguideThe Tough Guide to Fantasyland

Read: Jan 28 – Feb 13 ’16

This one has the most exotic story about how I acquired it of any of the others… I found it at a Half-Price Books store in another state as a Christmas present of sorts from a wonderful uncle while I was on a roadtrip that memorable time when I was trying to do NaNo on the road… Since it’s organized as an A-Z guidebook, I had read most of it through randomly flipping through, but this year I finally sat down and read it cover to cover, and it was so funny to see all the tropes and cliches — but also ideas! Bwahaha — of my favorite genre… It’s half poking-fun, half homage to fantasy, and it’s fantastic. XD

deepsecretDeep Secret

Read: Mar 22-23 ’16

And here we have my latest! I snagged it at the library specifically for March Magics and I’m so glad I did! I fully hope/expect (maybe) to try to write a review for it this week… if I can… But for now, it was very . . . different. o.o (Surprise. XD) It was darker, I think, than any I’d read before, but I loved it (of course) and am very proud of myself for exercising restraint and only staying up till 2:30 a.m. reading it and finishing it the next day. Heehee. It’s rather dangerous to start a 400 page DWJ book late. πŸ˜›

zfirebirdsMisc. Short Stories

I have also, at various times, read three “random” (i.e. in other collections) short stories by Diana Wynne Jones. These are they. (Short story collections are notoriously hit-and-miss. I haven’t read all of these through yet. But I had to pick out the Diana Wynne Jones ones. ;))

  • JoBoy (in The Dragon Book edited by Jack Dann & Gardner Dozois)2 stars. zdragonbookThis is the only thing by her I’ve specifically disliked that I’ve read so far. I didn’t quite get it, it was dark and depressing and ENTIRELY the wrong thing to read when I was ill one time. >.> Brilliant, yes, with some good bits, but too scary for my taste.
  • I’ll Give You My Word (in Firebirds Rising edited by Sharyn November)4 stars. This one was a lot of fun, with lots of strange and long words — loved a lot of it!
  • Little Dot (in Firebirds edited by Sharyn November) 5 stars. Oh my goodness, this story! It’s all from the point of view of a cat, and she refers to her owner, Henry, as if she’s the one who owns him, and they live on a farm in England and he’s a magician but nobody seems to know it, zfirebirds2and there are several other cats, and shenanigans ensue and it’s marvelous fun. Who know a cat’s POV could be such fun!

Tally:

2012: 3 books
2013: 3 books (+ 1 reread)
2014: 7 books
2015: 7 books (+ 4 rereads)
2016: 3 books . . . and counting!! πŸ™‚
= 23 so far

So there you have my Diana Wynne Jones journey up to this point (there was also seeing the Howl’s Moving Castle movie, which is another story and which I also love, despite its enormous differences from the book, though I still like the book better).

I’m looking forward to continuing this journey, both rereading old friends and discovering new ones! Thank goodness she wrote a lot of books, so I’m not out quite yet. πŸ˜‰

dianawynnejonesbook

Have you read any of these? Or any of DWJ’s books that I haven’t read yet? (Any recommendations??) If you HAVEN’T read any . . . well what are you waiting for?? No better time than the present. πŸ˜‰

Thanks for reading! (*whistles innocently and pretends not to notice that this post is over 3K words long*)

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer