Tag Archive | March Magics

Book Ishness April 2020!

Um, excuse me, HOW are we so far into April already? I blame Camp NaNo. *nervous laughter*

Anyway, I have a list of just a few upcoming book releases, and a recap of my March reads, to share with y’all today! ^_^

April Book Releases

I’m SO excited about this month’s releases! Look how pretty! ❀

(Titles link to Goodreads and I will also be unlazy and leave pre-order links too. XD)

Winter Spell – Claire M. Banschbach(April 24) Faeries. Glorious winter vibes. Story of unlikely friendships and some of my fave characters! (Seriously, Dorian and August and Tonya and Princess Diane are absolutely delightful.) So much awesome! (Pre-order/pre-order goodies info.) Disclaimer: I was an editor for this but I adore it!
War Bound – Tara Grayce(April 21) Sequel to Fierce Heart. (So, like, go read that if you haven’t. XD) Elves. A dash of steampunk with trains and steamboats and things. A marriage of alliance — which is ADORBZ. And Farrendel, who is the Most Epic Elf Warrior. ❀ Plus, Essie’s brothers! I just really enjoyed this one. πŸ˜€ (Pre-order link.) Disclaimer: Yes, I edited this, but it’s just really good!
The Last Atlantean – Emily Hayse — (April 28) Lighthouse and storms and Atlantis and all of the things? Yes please! It just sounds amazing and I can’t wait to read it! πŸ˜€ (Pre-order/pre-order goodies signup.)

Books I Read in March 2020

(Featuring blue flowers with my new Instagram theme for spring which is making me really happy! ^_^)

I had a stunningly good reading month in March — for which I mostly blame March Magics. πŸ˜‰

Here are the things I read last month, by category!

(If you want to read more about any of these, you can find them on Goodreads here.)

PICTURE BOOKS

  • Marigold and the Snoring King – J. D. Rempel — I won an ebook of this in a giveaway and aww! ^_^ Such a charming, adorable, fun, and funny picture book! πŸ™‚ The pictures were great and the story was so much fun. It made me smile! I loved it. ❀
  • The Four Donkeys – Lloyd Alexander — I’ve been wanting to read this for YEARS but never prioritized it since it’s just a picture book. But I finally got it for my birthday last month and it. was. delicious. Lloyd Alexander’s wry humor and gentle wisdom and alive characters are simply the best! It’s like a comical fable and the pictures are delightful. AND it had an adorable otter in it, which I didn’t know until I read it, so it was just PERFECT for my birthday! I loved it so, so much. ^_^
  • Saint George and the Dragon – Geraldine McCaughrean — I also got this for my birthday and enjoyed it — particularly some of the stunning art. I felt like the end was sad, and it was more historical-based than the delicious picture book of the same title with Trina Schart Hyman’s amazing illustrations — so I prefer that one, but I’m glad I got to read this one. I adore McCaughrean’s writing!

RE READS

  • Scoundrels (Star Wars) – Timothy Zahn — I re-read this aloud and had an absolute BLAST! If you only read one Star Wars book, ever, make it this one. πŸ˜€ I don’t care what you think about the canon or non-canon books, or about the new or old movies, or anything — just know that this book is a blast. XD It’s a DELIGHTFUL heist story set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, featuring Han, Chewie, and Lando! It’s a favorite and I had way too much fun re-reading it! (And doing the voices. XD) I need to read more Zahn. I loved this and his Heir to the Empire trilogy!
  • Fire and Hemlock – Diana Wynne Jones — I re-read this for March Magics and it. was. incredible. I got so much more out of it on the second read, but it still had that magic the first time did. I just love it so, so much. ❀ (Thomas Lynn is the best!)

MARCH MAGICS (NEW READS)

I recapped these in my March Magics wrapup post, so I won’t be detailed here.

  • The Islands of Chaldea – Diana Wynne Jones — Delightful! Islandssss!
  • Thief of Time – Terry Pratchett — A blast, and I love all the time stuff. XD
  • A Hat Full of Sky – Terry Pratchett — The Feegles! XD

OTHER BOOKS

  • Emberhawk – Jamie Foley(ARC) This was definitely a new favorite and I had so much fun reading it! Awk! Full review here.
  • Adorning the Dark – Andrew Peterson(Non-fiction) I’ve been reading at least one nonfiction about writing each month this year. I loved Adorning the Dark and totally recommend it to all creatives. I’m turning into a serious Andrew Peterson fan. XD I’ve still only read the first Wingfeather Saga book (but hope to read the second one soon), but I heard so many good things about this that I had to read it. It was inspiring and I adored it. I’m starting to listen to his music, particularly this Easter, and I’ve been really enjoying that too.
  • If Wishes Were Curses – Janeen Ippolito(Audiobook) I finally finished this! (It takes me an embarrassingly long time to finish audiobooks sometimes. XD) I don’t read much urban fantasy so I didn’t know what to expect, but I quite enjoyed this, and the narrator was sooo much fun! I loved the otter shifter character, and somehow I keep ending up reading about vampires but for some reason I didn’t mind. XD It’s a smidge more NA so there’s a bit of language and stuff if you mind that but it’s cleanish (I hear a lot of urban fantasy is NOT. XD) and I didn’t really notice since I was listening to the audiobook. XD Anyway, it’s really fun and I had a blast! I’m starting to listen to the second one. πŸ™‚ So yeah, this is imaginative and fun and totally worth checking out if you love urban fantasy!

MISC

  • And of course I’ve been reading a few serials, and things for copyediting work or beta-reading. πŸ™‚
  • So much reading! I’m very happy. ^_^

This month I’m focusing a lot on editing work and Camp NaNo, but if I have time to catch up on review books as well, I would love to do that . . . since I’m low-key planning to take a sort of semi-vacation in May, stepping back from social media and just hoping to recharge some. We’ll see if I catch up this month and earn it! πŸ˜‰

If you need me, I’ll be trying to keep up with Camp NaNo! XD

Any familiar books or books you’re excited about in this post? And are you reading anything good these days? Let me know in a comment! Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

March Magics 2020: Wrapup!

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

Here’s a recap of my March Magics!

Books I Read

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

Watched

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

Instagram

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

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

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

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

Giveaway Winner

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

Posts

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

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

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

Thanks for reading!

My Diana Wynne Jones Journey (Part 2)

My Diana Wynne Jones collection so far! (Not counting a few extra copies. ;))

Way back in 2016, I posted “My Diana Wynne Jones Journey (So Far)” during a previous March Magics, and I had a ton of fun listing each book by DWJ which I’d read and some thoughts about them. (It also amuses me how some of my thoughts/favorites have changed since then. XD)

I’d say a Part 2 of such a post is long overdue (I have sixteen books to talk about!), so here we are!

Here are the DWJ books I’ve read since that post. Those first few years definitely had most of my favorites, but I’ve read some more gems since. ^_^

(Also, last time, I mentioned rereads as well, but I’ve done a fair amount of rereading DWJ these last couple of years and I’m mostly only listing the ones that are new reads this time.)

All titles link to Goodreads, in case you want to read more about them.

2016 (continued)

The Merlin Conspiracy

May 16, 2016

My original review consisted of this: “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.” So I must have liked it quite a lot, even if it’s a bit hazy in my memory due to how long it’s been since I read it. XD Definitely due for a reread! But it’s about Nick, who’s in Deep Secret, so that was fun. (Did you know he was slightly based on a teenaged Neil Gaiman? πŸ˜€ His not-coherent-until-breakfast-and-coffee parts, at least. XD) Also, I was reading it when I had a flu, which was appropriate, since one of the characters did too. XD

The Ogre Downstairs

August 6, 2016

This one was different but interesting, and a little more like a normal modern fantasy than I was used to reading by her. Many shenanigans and unreliable narration. XD But my favorite part was when two of the characters accidentally switched appearances and stuff ensued. XD A shorter read and kind of strange but fun!

Eight Days of Luke

December 28, 2016

Who likes Norse Myths? This fun little book by Diana Wynne Jones features some of that in some most unexpected ways! She was writing about Loki (and Thor etc.) in modern times back in 1975, before the Marvel movies were making this cool more recently. XD It’s been awhile since I read this one and I need to read it again, but I remember it being unique and really enjoying it. πŸ˜€ I liked David, and Loki is very much of a trickster! The mythology elements and characters are woven in so well, in surprising ways (DWJ is excellent at this), and there is much fire. XD Luke was just so much fun. XD

2017

Wild Robert

March 1, 2017

I wrote a review for this one awhile back but it was so much fun! It reminded me partially of The Boggart, and a little bit of Howl for some reason, and it was surprisingly short and I didn’t want it to end — it just stopped and I wanted more! Ack! But it was very cool and had so many shenanigans I loved the twists so much!

Aunt Maria

March 1, 2017

I reviewed this too, and it was really different. It built up and had some cool twists, and some of it was creepy, but it also had fun parts. And so many magical happenings and interesting characters! It’s told in first-person by Mig and it was sooo intriguing to read it as a journal of sorts. It also has one of my favorite quotes about happy endings. I love it so much and I had to make a quote graphic for it awhile back, which I’ve shared before but I have an excuse to share again. πŸ˜€

Hexwood

April 6, 2017

Another top-favorite one! And definitely requires more than one read-through. XD I re-read it for March Magics last year and it was even better the second time. It’s just a mind-blowing book, with soooo many different genres and complex twists all thrown together. I love it so much! And Mordion is my absolute favorite! Some of it’s a bit darker, and it’s terribly confusing at times until you piece together what’s happening (I kept a diagram of who was who while I read it!) but it’s just so unique and delightful. πŸ˜€ It also has out of order timey-wimey stuff, modern/sci-fi/fantasy, Arthurian elements, robots, dragons… ALL THE THINGS. Check out my review if you like. ^_^

Another of my favorite quotes. ❀

Puss in Boots

May 14, 2017

This is a rather short kid’s-book about Puss in Boots, which was fairly straightforward but a fun read. πŸ™‚ I now consider it the ultimate version of this fairy tale. XD DWJ did a good job of making it make more sense and of course her cat character was fabulous. It was fun and had a few illustrations too. Not 100% necessary to read this one but I did really enjoy it. πŸ™‚

Dogsbody

June 3, 2017

This one was sooo unique and I loved it being from the POV of a dog! And in Ireland. The mystery was really interesting. Also, the Wild Hunt! And sentient planets. *grinning* Yep, it has all sorts of things. XD Again, a bittersweet ending meant it wasn’t my faaaavorite, but there was a lot to love. But seriously, dog point of view! XD So much fun!

2018

The Game

March 6, 2018

The whole idea and the mythosphere and all the story bits were brilliant. I wish it had been longer than a novella because it was so fascinating. LOVED this one. I want to re-read it. I particularly love all the myth bits and the characters and all of it.

Yes Dear

March 18, 2018

This was a picture book! Which… again, I don’t remember that well, but I do remember reading it, on a special library trip to a library I hadn’t been to before, specifically because I knew this book was there and it was my birthday month and I wanted to read it. XD I know it was fun (people, pay attention if a child tells you something magical is happening. :P) and I was glad I read it!

The Homeward Bounders

March 12, 2018

EXTREMELY vivid and I loved parts of it, particularly the worldhopping stuff and a certain cool character! Actually, more than one… Just… bittersweet ending, and creepy parts, and I’m stark terrified of anchors now. O_O But a great narrator and WORLD HOPPINGGGG! Kinda mixed on it but there were definitely great things about it. Fascinating and intense and really interesting!

A Sudden Wild Magic

March 31, 2018

I enjoyed this one but I consider it one of her darker, stranger books. XD This one was written for adults so there was more content in this and just more disturbing, so… I figure you can give this one a miss unless you’re being thorough like I am and trying to read all her books. XD Feels a bit more scifi than some. I did enjoy parts of it though! I mostly remember the part with the guy who loved his car. XD And I think there were centaurs!

Dalemark Quartet Re-Read

Okay, I said I wasn’t going to post about re-reads in here, but it’s worth noting my epic re-read of the entire Dalemark Quartet in the second half of 2018. I loved it so much, and there were even plot threads I’d forgotten, so some of it was like discovering it the first time! DWJ is the only author who can do that to me. XD (We won’t discuss how many times I forgot and rediscovered the villain of Conrad’s Fate. XD)

2019

A Tale of Time City

January 6, 2019

Who loves timey-wimey stories? Meeee! A few of Diana Wynne Jones’s books have time stuff in them, most notably this one. The idea of Time City, a city outside time, was really cool. I read this one early last year and had a blast! A bit of sci-fi and WWII era for those who like that. (Even if I don’t usually; but I didn’t mind. XD) If you like Doctor Who you might enjoy this! Elio is the best and I NEED A BUTTER PIE!!!

Earwig and the Witch

January 20, 2019

The illustrations were actually really distracting for me on this one and I feel like I would have liked it better if it hadn’t been illustrated? That’s… weird and probably just me. XD It mostly wasn’t a super favorite but I did enjoy some of it, of course. There’s always something fun about DWJ books! Also, the cat was great. XD

That’s all I got to last year of new ones. I did a lot of re-reading DWJ throughout the rest of 2019, though, and it was so fun!

2020 (so far)

Unexpected Magic

January 8, 2020

An anthology of sci-fi and fantasy short stories. I especially loved No One (genius robot plots. XD), Little Dot (wonderful story from a cat’s point of view), and Everard’s Ride (unique novella set in historical times with some interesting twists and not quite like anything I’d read! One of the author’s earlier works). Some stories were creepy or a bit too weird — short stories are always hit or miss for me, regardless of their author, but it was a quite interesting collection! So glad I finally read this one.

The Islands of Chaldea

March 12, 2020

The latest one, which I just read this month for the first time! It was so much fun! I loved Aileen and the sprawling cast of varied characters. I loved the different islands and getting to travel across them (rather like the British Isles but still with their own twists). I loved the creatures! What fun. And I love how it all wrapped up rather well —Β  I’m quite curious where Diana’s sister Ursula picked up the story’s threads, but they worked quite well! And the little romance threads were adorable, and the twists were delightful! (Also, how about that hot air balloon?? <3) So much fun! What a delightful final work from an incredible author.


And there’s my DWJ Journey, part 2! I’ve so loved getting to discover more of her works in the last few years.

I still have a small handful left to read. (The Time of the Ghost, Witch’s Business/Wilkin’s Tooth, Stopping for a Spell… I think that’s it? Not really counting Changover since it was before her main works and so hard to find. There might be a stray short story or few.) But I’ve read most of her books — 39? I think? — and a couple other short stories.

It’s been a beautiful journey (8 years so far, as March 14 this month, which marked the 8 year anniversary of the first time I read Howl’s Moving Castle!), and the best thing about it is that I get to wander back down this road and stop to enjoy the stories and places along the way all over again.

Hope you enjoyed and thanks for reading. ^_^

Book Ishness! (March 2020)

Just a very quick post today, featuring some GORGEOUS books that released this month, and an update on what I’m reading.

(I usually post these early in the month but life intervened. πŸ˜› And if you want to know what I’m reading, check out my March Magics post!)

MARCH RELEASES

*squeaking* LOOK HOW PRETTY! ❀ I can’t get over these stunning covers. They make me happy! (Titles link to Goodreads.)

  • Emberhawk – Jamie Foley — I ADORED this new fantasy adventure from one of my favorite authors! You can read my review here but it’s just delightful and features elemental magic and a snarky fox. πŸ˜€
  • On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness & North! Or Be Eaten – Andrew Peterson — These are the new editions, with new illustrations, in hardcover! I’m so excited! I loved On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness when I read it a year or two back, and I’ve been meaning to read North! Or Be Eaten (I love that title) ever since, so maybe this will push me to do that finally. πŸ˜‰ Also, I just read this author’s nonfiction Adorning the Dark and loved it.
  • The New Emperor’s Concerto – Hazel B. West — *incoherent squawking* I’m SO thrilled this book is releasing on Tuesday! It’s a delightfully British book full of snark and action and unlikely buddies and one of the most epic butlers ever. I adore it!
  • Dragons and Ravens – E. E. Rawls — I’m so excited about this novella featuring characters from Strayborn! It sounds so intriguing!
  • Ronnie Akkard and the Brotherhood of Blades – A. C. Williams — This sounds like a super fun superhero story! And I can tell the hero is snarky just from the blurb so I bet it’s a blast. XD

MY READING NEWS

February Reads

I shared about these on my other blog but I’ll repost here. πŸ˜›

Compared to January’s fifteen reads, I did not, seemingly, read as much. But some of these were a bit longer, and mostly delicious, so we’ll call it a win.

  • Cry of the Raven (Morgan L. Busse) // A new favorite! (My review.)
  • Lifelong Writing Habit (Chris Fox) // Some interesting tips.
  • Fairest Son (H.S.J. Williams) // Delightful novella! (My review.)
  • Green Dolphin Country (Elizabeth Goudge) // Absolutely fascinating!
  • This Year You Write Your Novel (Walter Mosley) // Eh. It was okay.
  • In the Region of the Summer Stars (Stephen R. Lawhead) // Aaahh! This was magnificent! Another favorite. I need the sequel ASAP. (My review.)

March So Far

So far this month, I enjoyed a couple of picture books (The Four Donkeys by Lloyd Alexander + Saint George and the Dragon by Geraldine McCaughrean), as well as a nonfiction (Adorning the Dark by Andrew Peterson) and an ARC (Emberhawk by Jamie Foley). I’ve gotten one Pratchett (Thief of Time) and one Diana Wynne Jones (The Islands of Chaldea) read so far for March Magics. I loved them! I’ve loved all the books I’ve read so far this month. ^_^ Maybe I’ll have some further thoughts later, but that’s what I’ve been reading. πŸ™‚

Currently Reading

  • I’m currently reading A Hat Full of Sky (Pratchett) and enjoying it. The Feegles! XD
  • I’m behind on my bookclub read (Lady of Kingdoms by Suzannah Rowntree) but it’s rich and intriguing so far — historical fantasy during the Crusades!
  • My exercise routines have suffered from all the rain lately so I haven’t listened to If Wishes Were Curses in awhile but one of these days I’m going to finish this fun urban fantasy! (Audiobooks take me way longer than they should and I feel kind of bad about that. XD)
  • And I kind of got sidetracked from Scoundrels but need to get back to that because it’s a delightful Han Solo heist book I’m rereading and having a blast.

RECENT POSTS

Recent Reviews

That’s it on today’s little update. Hope you enjoyed it and that you are all hanging in there and reading good books. Tell me about a book you’re enjoying! Thanks for reading! ❀

March Magics 2020!

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

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

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

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

PAGE

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

New Reads

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

Re-Reads

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

SCREEN

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

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

BOOKSTAGRAM

Sneaky sneak-peek!

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

Giveaway

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BLOG

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

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

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

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

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


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

How About You?

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

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

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

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

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

Book Ishness/News! (April 2019)

Good day, my Pagelings!

I have a whole passel of bookish news and book ishnesses to share with you today, and you’re not going to want to miss these freebies, a giveaway, some exciting books releasing, and my March Magics wrapup, as well as a look at my current nightstand of books I’m reading!

Giveaway!

Firstly, in case you missed it, I’m giving away a paperback of The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead, and there’s still two days left to enter to win it, so hurry and enter here! (US only, ends midnight 4/17/18)

Vote for your favorite fantasy!

If you’ve read 2 or more of the 20 books that made it to the semi-final round of the fan-voted Alliance Awards hosted by Realm Makers, then you can vote for whichever ones you’ve read using a star-rating system! You still have a week left to vote — get it in before April 23! Vote here!

They include (titles link to my reviews if I have them): The Story Peddler (Lindsay A. Franklin), The Electrical Menagerie (Mollie E. Reeder), Spice Bringer (H.L. Burke), Song of Leira (Gillian Bronte Adams), Renegade Skyfarer (RJ Metcalf), Mark of the Raven (Morgan L. Busse), Fawkes (Nadine Brandes), Bitter Winter (Jaye L. Knight), Common (Laurie Lucking), and many others! So go check it out!

Jill Williamson Audiobook Kickstarter

Jill Williamson launched a kickstarter to fund audiobooks of her stellar Blood of Kings fantasy trilogy, and it has cool rewards if you support it! The first goal is fully funded, which means there WILL be an audiobook of By Darkness Hid, but there’s still a little to go to reach the first stretchmark (for an audiobook of To Darkness Fled) and it would be amazing if it could get even beyond that, so go check it out and see if it’s something you’re interested in! (I love this series and Jill was one of the first authors I got to meet, so the idea of this coming to audiobook is exciting to me. ^_^) [EDIT: The audiobook of book 2 is now funded! EEP! We need your help to get the final book in the trilogy funded too! :D]

Fairy Tale Central is live!

If you missed when I shared about it, the new website Fairy Tale Central, hosted by some of my dearest fairy tale loving pals, has been absolutely ROCKING it with reviews and commentaries and all sorts of fairy tale goodness, focused on the fairy tale of the month, Rumpelstiltskin. Sound like fun? IT IS! Be sure to check it out if you haven’t!

(And while you’re at it, check out the new website of one of the founders, Christine Smith, who moved from Musings of an Elf to a new and even more gorgeous site, ChristineSmithAuthor, and if fairy tales or fantasy or writing is your thing, you NEED to check out her blog!! <3)

APRIL RELEASES

So much coming out this month, and I feel like I’m even missing a few!

  • H.L. Burke has a new book out, Match Cats, three short tales of cats and love — can’t wait to read this one!
  • Flight of the Raven is coming AT LAST!! I adored the first book in this series by Morgan L. Busse (Mark of the Raven) and have been dying to read the sequel ever since. It’s arriving April 30th and I could not be more excited!
  • Encircled, a collection of six fairytale retellings by six authors, including Laurie Lucking, J.M. Hackman, and Jebraun Clifford, released TODAY and is so pretty sitting shiny and new in my Kindle. I can’t wait to check it out!
  • I just read Shadow Figure, which is a short story releasing in just a few days from E.B. Dawson. It’s the sequel to Government Man (another short story), kinda dystopian and sooo intense but I loved it! I’ll be reviewing several stories by this author soon. πŸ˜€
  • Cait at Paper Fury has a new book out, The Boy Who Steals Houses, and it sounds like a fabulous contemporary novel!
  • This Cursed Flame by Selina J. Eckert, releasing April 27, is available for preorder and features a mix of urban and portal fantasy, elemental magic, genies and djinn, some fabulous female friendships and delightful characters, stunning settings that feel straight out of Pinterest fantasy art boards (in the best possible way), and a talking ocelot! I loved this one, and totally recommend it! (Disclaimer: I did edit it. But. You know. It’s still unbiased-ly good. ;))
  • A Greater Strength from Rebecca P. Minor (who runs the Realm Makers writers conference) also released today! I haven’t read the first book yet but it’s FREE at the moment and features elves, so I’m looking forward to reading it — plus, just look at the gorgeous cover of this sequel! :O
  • The Fourth Musketeer (Part 2) just came to Patreon from Kyle Robert Shultz, with more Julio and the Three Musketeers and a certain other fan-favorite character. It’s so, so good! (One of these days the Patreon stories will come to a collection for other readers, but for now, there they are.) (And I did edit this one as well.)
  • Speaking of things I’ve edited and also speaking of Kyle, he has two nonfictions releasing this month! (Yes, this boy has been busy. XD) The 10,000-Word Secret is a short nonfiction book available for free to subscribers of his new nonfiction-and-writing related newsletter, and Not Write Now is a hilarious and brilliant reverse-psychology book on writing, which I totally recommend! It. Is. Perfect. XD It’s releasing April 30th and is up for preorder too, and you can check out his post about both of these.
  • And finally, Hazel B. West (author of my favorite Modern Tales of Na Fianna books) is coming out with an urban fantasy retelling of Hades and Persephone called The Flower of the Underworld which I NEED IN MY LIFE. I’ll be sharing about it for the blog tour when it releases next week on April 23!

Wait, not quite finished!

C. M. Banschbach has a new short story out, free for subscribers to her newsletter! It’s a short story prequel to something you may have heard me flailing about as “The Mountain Baron” which is now going to be TWO books, the first of which, Outcast’s Oath, is releasing this summer (and features the character I call my smol floof of anger management issues, Rhys the Mountain Baron). I’M SO EXCITED. ❀

Definitely check out the short story! πŸ˜€ (Because it’s free and I beta-read it so I know it’s amazing, and you need this snarky Scottish-like epicness in your life. YOU JUST DO.)


MY READING NEWS

APRIL NIGHTSTAND

Oh, look, we’re halfway through April already. Wonder how that happened . . . *nervous laughter*

Instead of making lofty reading goals that I knew I wouldn’t make, I just took a photo of all the books I was currently reading when April hit (pictured above) and have fit in a couple of small things since.

  • I actually read TWO nonfictions this month (*gasp* Three if you count reading The 10,000-Word Secret again, since I edited it.) Odyssey of a Texas Sailor — a true story of a Texan man attempting to sail from England in a boat by himself in 1985, told in his journal which is highly amusing, and gathered by his daughter and published. Larger than life, fun, and absolutely fascinating! And Oh Snap! I’m Making Money . . . Now What? by Chris Morris, which is the only accounting book with a sense of humor, apparently, and was useful. πŸ™‚
  • I finished my 6th read of Howl’s Moving Castle (left over from March Magics) and I REGRET NOTHING. I love that book so, so much!
  • I’m listening to The Electrical Menagerie on AUDIOBOOK and having a blast! I’ve been meaning to reread that one since I finished it last year, so this is a treat. πŸ˜€ I’ll be reviewing the audiobook when I finish, so stay tuned! (CARTHAGE AND HUXLEY FOREVER. ❀ )
  • I’m also listening to Cress, though I am not very far in yet and have sort of put it on hold until I finish The Electrical Menagerie . . . but I love it so far and am looking forward to returning to it. πŸ™‚
  • And I finally got back to my re-read aloud of Second Son, and am loving that! BRANT! ❀
  • I’m halfway into the ebook of Spindle by W.R. Gingell, Fellowship of Fantasy Bookclub book of the month. I ADORE IT SO FAR! It’s like Sleeping Beauty with a Howl’s Moving Castle flavor. πŸ˜€
  • I’ve also been beta-reading and copyediting, and recently binge-read a whole handful of sci-fi short stories by E.B. Dawson and got ADDICTED to them. They’re so good, halp! (And I don’t even read sci-fi??) I’ll be reviewing those soon because I MUST FLAIL.

So! There’s the first half of my reading for April. πŸ˜€

MARCH MAGICS Wrapup

Yes, hello, March ended over two weeks ago and I haven’t shared about how my March Magics went! (But don’t worry, wizards are never late, and I was reading about a lot of them, so clearly I’m immune to lateness too.)

Here are the Pratchett and Diana Wynne Jones books I finished in March — not very many, but so delightful!

  • The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett was SO SO GOOD. I adored it. πŸ˜€ (Those Nac Mac Feegle, though! XD) Plus, the illustrated copy I found at my library was the coolest. O_O
  • My reread of Reflections by Diana Wynne Jones was absolutely delightful. ❀ I loved revisiting her thoughts on fantasy, writing, children’s books, and of course her own works. So much gold!
  • And Hexwood was brilliant and I still love it SO MUCH — plus it was fantastic to read it now that I knew what was actually going on. XD I think it’s going to need at least a third read at some point! (AND MORDION. I HAVE SO MANY FEELS.)
  • And I read about half of Howl’s Moving Castle, which I finished in April, and is still my FAVORITE BOOK EVER. ❀

March Reads

I didn’t read much in March that wasn’t March-Magics related, but let’s see . . .

  • Healer’s Bane was a fascinating novella with a gaslamp/dystopian type flavor. I really enjoyed it and have many feels! Read my review.
  • The 10,000-Word Secret I already mentioned and it’s pretty cool (and free!).
  • And also This Cursed Flame! I guess when I edit things and then they come out the next month, it’s handy, since I know they’re good and can tell you to go look them up! πŸ˜‰
  • So yeah, those and March Magics books are all I managed to read in March, but I guess it’s still a reasonable number of books, and they were all really good, so. πŸ˜€

Whew! I think that’s it on the news front. So much exciting bookishness going on! What book things are you excited about? Let me know in a comment! Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

Bookish News Roundup/March Magics 2019!

Once upon a time, a blogger used to blog. This was a long time ago, but there were likely fearsome, lengthy, time-consuming, important quests involved and totally valid reasons for her absence of many moons. Fortunately, this blogger is back today to share bookish happenings, releases, cover reveals, a free book, and of course March Magics!

Once upon a time (even longer ago), a fabulous author named Diana Wynne Jones wrote some of the best fantasy ever to grace the page. This month is all about celebrating her work (and that of another fabulous fantasy author, Terry Pratchett) and even if I’m approximately two-thirds of a month late posting about this, I have been doing things to celebrate when time allows. XD

So.

It’s March.

I’m not quite sure how this happened?

But I do l love March. It’s my birthday month (I had a FANTASTIC bookish one!) and Diana Wynne Jones month and St. Patrick’s Day and spring (happy Spring, as of yesterday!) and all things good. ❀ Particularly Diana Wynne Jones March. πŸ˜‰

So here’s how I’m celebrating one of my favorite events of the year, and all the other March madness! (It’s a good madness, I promise.)

MARCH MAGICS

March Magics is hosted by Kristin @ We Be Reading and this year the theme is Riches Well-Told. Which means we get to re-read our favorites! I’m totally down for this. πŸ˜€

There’s also a readalong for Howl’s Moving Castle (YESSS! Hoping to do that this week) and for The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett — which I just read and was delightful!

Here’s my stack!

Status update on these!

  • The only new-to-me book in this stack is The Wee Free Men, which I read this month (about the only book I’ve finished, but you know. XD) and it was SO SO FUN! I loved it so much! πŸ˜€ It felt totally different than the other Discworlds I’ve read but I LOVED it. The Nac Mac Feegle are the best. XD And I managed to find a GORGEOUS fully-illustrated edition at my library, so reading that was just magical.
  • I’m about a third of the way through my Hexwood re-read (which I loved the first time) and I’m sooo enjoying it! Especially now that I know what actually happened. XD I can’t wait to finish. (MORDION. MY FEELS.)
  • I’m reading an essay per day, more or less, of Reflections: On the Magic of Writing. I’m loving it! I read this collection years ago but I appreciate it so much more now that I’ve read more of DWJ’s work, and I think most of her things are best on a re-read. Even if I don’t agree with every thing in it, there are SO many gems in here about fantasy, writing, and her own work. I ADORE IT. I think I’m on track to finish by the end of the month. If you’re a writer or a fantasy fan or a DWJ enthusiast, you HAVE to read this. I don’t read much non-fiction but this one is phenomenal.
  • I’m definitely planning to pick up Howl’s Moving Castle this week for my sixth read and I can’t wait! πŸ˜€ In the years since I discovered it, I’ve re-read it almost every year (just missing two years, one of which was last year), so it’s definitely time! (I almost always read it in the spring for some reason! It just seems a spring-y kind of book. Maybe because spring cleaning. Or May Day…)
  • I’m SO hoping I will find the time to dive into my first re-read of Fire and Hemlock, but if not, I will definitely have to do it next month. I’ve adored this one for ages but been a little afraid to reread it (while also been wanting to reread it ever since I closed the final page). I’m SO looking forward to it.
  • And if I get a minute, I’m totally planning to re-read Mort, which is one of my favorites. XD A Guards! Guards! re-read would not go amiss either, but looking less likely. But hey, I’ve read The Wee Free Men this month and that was totally awesome, and I’m in the midst of re-living some DWJ magic, so anything else I get done, or don’t, it’s all good. πŸ™‚

So there’s an update on my DWJ and Pratchett reading/goals!

I haven’t made any specific plans for March Magic-ish posts (being too busy to blog on this or any other topic) but I’m still holding out hope that I’ll do something more — maybe I’ll Howl myself into writing one or two before the month is out. πŸ˜‰

Meanwhile, check out my DWJ page where I’ve collected some DWJ-ish things.

And enjoy this quote, which I’ve been thinking a lot about lately as I don’t allow myself time to take care of myself between all the busy things . . . *cough*

Onward to the non March-Magics Marchness!

MARCH RELEASES

  • A Dream Within a Dream by Kristina Mahr β€” I still need to read book one, but look, another gorgeous book from Uncommon Universes Press!
  • Hertz to Be a Hero by Bryan Davis β€” I just picked this up at a homeschool convention I went to for my birthday. I’m so excited to read it! Middle-grade superhero novel? Yes please! Check out my review of book one, Wanted: A Superhero To Save the World, which you should totally read!
  • Healer’s Bane by Hope Ann β€” I’m reading a review copy of this fantasy novella and enjoying it so far, so expect a review for it in late March! (I mean, later than it already is. *cough*) It’s got a dash of gaslamp and semi-dystopian and it’s fascinating.
  • Betrayal by Blood by RJ Metcalf β€” Prequel to the steampunk-fantasy book Renegade Skyfarer! I need this in my life!
  • The Door to Camelot by Suzannah Rowntree β€” This is actually a re-release, which I share about later in the post under gorgeous-cover-reveals but YAY ARTHURIAN!
  • The Road to Bremen by Kelsey Bryant β€” This one actually released at the end of February, but I had to include it! Lovely retelling of the Bremen Town Musicians, with adorable illustrations! I love it so much. ❀
  • The Fourth Musketeer (Part 1) by Kyle Robert Shultz β€” This is a fabulous novella retelling of The Three Musketeers, featuring dragon-shifter Julio Aquino from Horseman and . . . another surprise character from the Afterverse. πŸ˜‰ The first part is up on Kyle’s Patreon and the second half is coming April 2. (If you’re not on Patreon, the stories he puts up there will someday be collected in anthologies available elsewhere, just so you know!) I edited this and it’s one of the most fun things I’ve read in a long time. XD
  • Elapse by Sarah Holman β€” Pictured below since it’s not on Goodreads yet, but this is another short story in the Tales of Taelis series and it just released! πŸ˜€

OTHER MARCH NEWS

(a.k.a. a free book and some gorgeous covers!)

Free through March 22

Retrieve by Sarah Addison-Fox is currently free on Kindle! (You may remember my review for it from before the gorgeous cover change!)

Coversss

Speaking of gorgeous covers, in case you missed it . . .

The Electrical Menagerie has an epic new cover! And an audiobook! AAAHH! You need it in your life. ❀

There was also a cover reveal for an upcoming fairytale anthology called Encircled, featuring stories by Laurie Lucking (author of Common), E.J. Kitchens, J.M. Hackman, Jebraun Clifford, and others! It’s sooo pretty and sounds amazing!

Sarah Holman has a new Tales of Taelis short story out! I love this cover and can’t wait to catch up on the series! πŸ™‚

Also, guys! Suzannah Rowntree is re-releasing her book, Pendragon’s Heir, as a TRILOGY with shiny new titles/covers! IT’S EXCITING. And a good reminder I need to get around to reading this!

What if King Arthur had a daughter?
Blanche was an ordinary girl in 1900 England…until the knight crashed through her door. Now, her guardians say she’s a princess lost in time.
Now, her father’s enemies want her dead.
Raised in the wild, Perceval has never known his father. Hoping for answers, he sets out to pledge his sword to the legendary King Arthur Pendragon. But dark forces threaten Camelot. And darker secrets fester behind the legend.
Sparks fly when Perceval steals a kiss from the strange damsel he finds in the forest. Blanche doesn’t trust this brash young knight…but as assassins close in, he might be her only chance of survival.
If you love Narnia and Middle Earth, you’ll be enchanted by this beautifully crafted Camelot! The Door to Camelot is Book One of Pendragon’s Heir, an acclaimed new Arthurian retelling now being re-released in three volumes.
Get it now (99 cents) β€’ Goodreads

MY MARCH NIGHTSTAND

Or, the non-March-Magics part of it

I’m sort of laughing at myself right now since this is the photo I took at the beginning of the month, of what I wanted to read this month, and I’ve done none of them. I just haven’t had time to read and it’s BREAKING MY HEART but you know, life. *cough* Look at pretty books because they are pretty:

I’ve listened to all of fifteen minutes of Cress so far (no time for life! Aagh!) but so far it’s neat and Cress is adorable.

Haven’t touched the rest so far. *cries* I need a vacation dedicated to reading. πŸ˜›

I’m also still totally planning to read a couple of ebooks which might take precedence. So. You know. That might happen, they’re just less easy to take pictures of. XD

MY READING NEWS

Other than, you know, a lack of reading this month . . . *cough* Here’s stuff I read last month!

February Reads

I talked about some of these in my February Ishness post on my other blog, but these were mostly fun. Beneath the Haunting Sea would be my favorite, with The Gilded Wolves being least-favorite. Scarlet is super fun as an audiobook! Also, I will be sharing a review for Ewan Pendle and the Castle of Nightmares as soon as my brain has a coherent moment between life things!

And there you are, my pagelings! Are you doing anything for March Magics? Do you have a favorite book by Diana Wynne Jones, or have you not read her yet? (This is an excellent time to remedy that!) And are you ready for Spring? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚