Tag Archive | Terry Pratchett

March Magics 2020: Wrapup!

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

Here’s a recap of my March Magics!

Books I Read

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

Watched

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

Instagram

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

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

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

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

Giveaway Winner

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

Posts

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

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

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

Thanks for reading!

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. 😛 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. 😀
  • 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. 😉 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. 😛

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. 🙂

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! 😀 (Though my posts always lean more DWJ. XD)

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

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

PAGE

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

New Reads

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

Re-Reads

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

SCREEN

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

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

BOOKSTAGRAM

Sneaky sneak-peek!

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

Giveaway

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BLOG

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

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

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

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

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


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

How About You?

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

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

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

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

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

Top 15 Favorite Reads of 2019!

Yes, I’m finally here with my favorite books I read last year! (A wizard is never late. *cough*)

Out of all the 140 books (yes, many of those were short stories or novellas) that I read in 2019 (according to my Goodreads list if you’d like to see all of them! My personal spreadsheet has 175, but anyway. XD), there were MANY amazing stories, but here are some of the ones that stood out!

But first, stats! Because stats are fun.

  • 37 new-to-me novels
  • 48 smaller reads (short stories or novellas etc.)
  • 28 rereads (some were short stories)
  • 6 anthologies
  • 9 nonfiction
  • 13 picture books
  • 10 beta-reads
  • 2 graphic novels
  • 3 misc.
  • 4 audiobook
  • 14 libraried

Oh, and here is a picture of the books I read in 2019 of which I have physical copies. 😀 (54. Last year there were 52. XD)

The pretties! Top: New reads. Middle left: Nonfiction, children’s, anthologies. Middle right: Re-reads (yes, half of it IS by Diana Wynne Jones; why do you ask?). Bottom: bookmarks to represent some books that I don’t own or read in ebook form. Plus a picture book and novella.

Now on with the main post!

In no particular order, other than that the top few are my top favorites, I present…

My Top 15 Favorite Books I Read In 2019

1. Oath of the Outcast (C.M. Banschbach)

Hands-down my favorite book of the year! I had a massive book hangover after reading this and I’m not sure I’ve recovered. It’s just so good! You’ve got a Celtic flavor, epic brothers-by-blood-and-by-bond, much stabbiness, rivers of snark (oh, man, the snark. XD), and of course my smol floof of anger management issues, the Mountain Baron a.k.a. Rhys, outcast and leader of the outlaw Cairns, most epic character of ever, who’s just setting foot on the start of a long road to redemption. I JUST LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH.

[MY REVIEW]

2. Flight of the Raven (Morgan L. Busse)

I adored the first book, and each one gets even more amazing! Flight of the Raven was just SO good (and, spoiler alert, I just read and loved book 3, and I think each one of them is going to end up on the top-reads-of-the-year posts in the years I read them!). Dreamwalking, water powers, growing peril in the land, wonderful worldbuilding and fascinating fantasy “gifts”/powrs, and characters I’ve fallen head-over-heels for! I loved this one so much! ^_^ And getting to dress up as Lady Selene Ravenwood when I went to Realm Makers (and the author also, surprise, dressing as Selene!) was definitely a highlight!

[MY REVIEW]

3. Cress (Marissa Meyer)

I liked Cinder, enjoyed Scarlet, and absolutely fell in love with Cress! I can’t wait to read Winter! Audiobooking Cress was definitely a highlight. I got to live the adventure alongside Cress and Thorne (my faves!) and all the other characters I’d grown to love in the previous book, and all while exercising this summer! (The parts in the Sahara coincided with dead-of-Texas-summer heat, so that made it an interesting exercise companion. XD) IT’S JUST SO MUCH FUN! I’m so glad I finally tried this series. 🙂

4. Curse and Consequence (Savannah Jezowski)

I loved this so much that I read it twice in the same week, because I simply HAD to share the delightful and hilarious story aloud. My siblings and I now quote these characters, particularly Hugh. XD (“Wicky, how could you!”) It’s a Regency-esque fantasy novella, with magical curses and shenanigans, a dragon, and a very Twinkle-like character. IT’S HILARIOUS and I need book two yesterday.

[MY REVIEW]

5. Head in the Heavens (E.B. Dawson)

*screaming* I don’t know WHY I adore this collection so much, other than that the author is apparently a genius. Anyway, E.B. Dawson made me fall in love with sci-fi short stories enough that they’re in my top reads of the year! I binge-read them separately and was THRILLED when they were collected in this handy volume. Sci-fi Moby Dick and Beauty and the Beast, GORGEOUS writing, and edge-of-your-seat dystopian (I don’t even like dystopian but this was just SO GOOD??), are only some of the delights that await you in this anthology!

[MY REVIEW]

6. Deadwood + Hollow (Kyle Robert Shultz)

I simply HAVE to mention these new Afterverse books, Crockett & Crane book 2 and 2.5! (I did edit them, since I am, after all, the Editor of the Afterverse. But they are totally going on this list of simply as a books this fangirling reader loves.)

In Deadwood, Todd and his friends face off against a creepy sentient town in the magical wild west. Also, I love how we get more of Julio, everyone’s favorite (second-favorite?) dragon! There is plenty of signature banter and humor and magical fun, but everything has a more serious side too, as well as creepy Pinocchio elements, and there are plenty of feels! But Todd and Julio are just THE BEST, OKAY? OKAY.

Speaking of feels, HOLLOW! It’s Sleepy Hollow meets Wonderland with a dash of time travel and WOW. It’s so delicious. And, again, feelsy. But with Ichabod Crane (Todd’s ancestor) as the main character, and important characters from both the Crockett & Crane and Beaumont & Beasley series . . . it’s ABSOLUTELY AWESOME and mind-blowing. It packs quite a punch for a novella! (Plus, that cover! *heart eyes*)

[MY REVIEW OF HOLLOW]

7. Dark is the Night (Mirriam Neal)

A new book from Mirriam Neal released and some of my favorite characters, Skata and Angel, have been published — THIS IS NOT A DRILL. I adored this book years ago when I beta-read it, and having it finally on my shelf is A DREAM. I’m so happy to have read the final version in all its vampire-hunter, urban fantasy, southern gothic, snarky-hilarious-banter-buddy-story glory! Buddy stories are my fave, and Skata and Angel are THE BEST. XD

[MY REVIEW]

8. Magic Kingdom for Sale (Terry Brooks)

This one was sheer fun, and I’m so pleased that I finally picked it up on the recommendation of Jenelle Schmidt. I was determined to read one book by Terry Brooks before going to Realm Makers 2019, where I got to meet him (!!!), and this one fit the bill perfectly. It’s a delightful portal fantasy from back when that wasn’t really a thing, and I loved the down-to-earth-ness of the main character, and the quirkiness of the world and other characters! A blast.

9. Mechanical Heart (Sarah Pennington)

Aaahh, this book! I had been dying to read it for years, and I was so excited to get to devour this author’s first full-length novel! Steampunk Rapunzel in a clocktower, with solid characters, politics, mysteries, and inventions? YES PLEASE! I still have not read enough Steampunk, but this is another one to add to the slowly growing list of ones I’ve read and loved. Fabulous!

[MY REVIEW]

10. The Fall of Gondolin (J.R.R. Tolkien & Christopher Tolkien)

Bittersweet as the last book Christopher Tolkien released, made more so by his recent passing, but so, so gorgeous, and a fitting end. I’m so grateful that he got to share so many stories and drafts his father wrote with us fortunate readers! This one was different than The Children of Hurin and Beren and Luthien, but as the third of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Great Tales of the Silmarillion, it was an absolute delight to get a closer look at those drafts and I was surprised how much detail there was, if sad that it wasn’t finished. I absolutely loved it, and the illustrations by Alan Lee are AMAZING!

11. The Wee Free Men (Terry Pratchett)

*laughing* The Nac Mac Feegle, though. XD They’re hilarious and totally the reason why I loved this. I had a blast reading it, and really enjoyed the gorgeous illustrated edition I managed to find at a library. It had a more Celtic feel than the other Discworld books I’ve read, and feels somehow different than them, and rather a lot more like a Diana Wynne Jones for some reason. Maybe it’s because of the young main character, who’s great! I can’t wait to read more about the Feegles and their Scottish accents and ridiculous, hilarious shenanigans. XD

12. Flower of the Underworld (Hazel B. West)

At this point, Hazel West is probably my favorite Urban Fantasy author. I absolutely LOVE her Modern Tales of Na Fianna series (the best UF everrrr), so I was curious to try this modern retelling of Hades and Persephone. IT WAS SUCH A BLAST. The normalized setting of Greek mythology in contemporary times was perfect and hilarious, and there were so many shenanigans, as well as much humor. And Hades (who’s like the only nice guy in his powerhungry family) and Persephone (who works at a landscaping business) are so much fun. And she gives him a plant named George so OBVIOUSLY this book is just the best. I just had way too much fun reading it. XD

13. Strayborn (E.E. Rawls)

This just made me happy, okay? It’s a middle-grade Christian Fantasy magical-academy type story and it felt so fresh and delightful! The characters were fabulous and unique and I loved so many of them — particularly the mentor character, Master Nephryte, who reminded me a little of Chrestomanci! Also, that cover! ❤

[MY REVIEW]

14. The Boggart Fights Back (Susan Cooper)

Aaahh! So, the first two Boggart books were on my top reads of the year lists when I read them, and I suddenly found out that years and years later there was a sequel that just came out?? I immediately snagged it from the library and devoured it. Modern fantasy set in Scotland, this time about the children of the characters from the first two. And I love the mischievous Boggart and Nessie! Delightful. 🙂

15. Compass South + Knife’s Edge (Hope Larson & Rebecca Mock)

I haven’t really read graphic novels before, so this was a first for me, and I’m surprised to see these creeping in at the end of my list, but I just HAD to include them! It’s a duology, and I’ve talked about them before, but they’re just SO MUCH FUN . Swashbuckling MG/YA graphic novels, 99% clean historical fiction, with fun characters (and twins!), unexpected twists, and just… These little books made me happy! I’m so glad I randomly picked them up at the library! 🙂


Aaand here’s a picture of all the ones I own in physical form so far!


So there are my “official” top fifteen (ish) favorites . . . but we’re not done yet!

Now I need to share some runners-up and favorites in other categories.

RUNNERS-UP THAT MAKE ME HAPPY

1. Beneath the Haunting Sea (Joanna Ruth Meyer)

This is by the author of Echo North (one of my top five favorite books I read in 2018), so naturally it’s excellent! Sea and island vibes, original mythology and fabulous characters, and all gorgeous and wild. The Silmarillion meets Jane Eyre is how it was pitched to me, which I find rather accurate. Aside from a love triangle, simply fabulous!

2. Ghostlight (Rabia Gale)

BECAUSE TREY. Trey is the hero of this book and singlehandedly gains it a spot on my favorites. A little spooky for me, but it gave me a slight book hangover, and it’s a delightful regency-esque fantasy with fabulous banter, and did I mention Trey?

3. Jeeves and the Wedding Bells (Sebastian Faulks)

It may not quite be Wodehouse, but it gets jolly close. What a hilarious set of shenanigans! Bertie Wooster and Jeeves and the usual hijinks, in a fabulous homage to P.G. Wodehouse’s classic tales.

4. Ewan Pendle and the Castle of Nightmares (Shaun Hume)

Academy story. Modern-day London. Scotland. Ewan and his misfit friends are my favorite. A dragon. A mysterious castle. It’s just a wonderful romp and it makes me happy! (Sequel to Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith.)

5. Fortunately, the Milk . . . (Neil Gaiman)

Well, firstly, that title, which I quote all the time. Secondly, this is absolutely hilarious and it makes me smile and it just wanted to be on this list! (Even if there are obviously other books I read this year which I liked more in general. But it’s just so funny and I had to mention it. XD) I particularly love re-reading the beginning. XD This currently joins Make Good Art as one of my favorite books from this author.


And then a few other categories…


FAVORITE SHORT STORIES

Arbrook Huxley and the Miraculous Confection (Mollie E. Reeder)

A new short story about Huxley from The Electrical Menagerie! *screaming* This story was an absolute delight, and so well-written. It gave me all of the feels! And the ending was perfect. I laughed so hard and then I had to read it to my siblings. XD I just love it! Absolutely delicious.

The Grift of the Magi (Ally Carter)

I loved the Heist Society books when I read them ages ago, and this might be my favorite one! It’s a short story (or maybe novella?), set after book 3, at Christmas-time, and it’s. so. good. HALE and feels and Christmas and a snowstorm and a Scottish castle and so many cons and things and a great twist at the end. I love it so much!

(There’s not a “cover” for the Jayden and Dana stories, but the one I first read was collected in this anthology awhile back, so I’m using this picture. Also, it’s just a really excellent anthology, even if I didn’t read it this year. XD)

Jayden and Dana stories (Arthur Daigle)

These don’t have covers or anything, and I mentioned them in my favorites last year, but they’re a continuing sort of short story serial over on Booksie. I just LOVE reading about these two characters, Dana Illwind and Sorcerer Lord Jayden. I “met” them in some of the Fellowship of Fantasy anthologies, and went on to read more stories of their adventures as they’re posted from time to time. There’s over a dozen of these now and I highly recommend checking them out! Jayden is the best, and so is Dana, and I love their banter and the fantastical adventures they get up to!


FAVORITE PICTURE BOOKS

‘Twas an Evening in Bethlehem (Jenelle Leanne Schmidt)

I love this so much! The art is so soft and charming and the story and poem are lovely, with elegant borders and a great cover, and the whole is just a gorgeous picture book that I love! ^_^

King Arthur’s Very Great Grandson (Kenneth Kraegel)

I ADORE THIS. I found it at the library and it’s one of the best picture books I’ve read. It’s about the great-great-great-etc. grandson of King Arthur, a little boy, who goes looking for monsters to fight, with the absolute BEST outcomes. XD I just love it!


FAVORITE NONFICTION

I think I read about ten nonfiction books this year, most of them about writing in one way or another, and these were my top favorites.

Not Write Now (Kyle Robert Shultz)

I actually copyedited this one, but it’s a marvelous reverse-psychology writer self-help book. I’ve never read anything like it before, but it’s actually really helpful and also absolutely hilarious. XD

Sometimes the Magic Works (Terry Brooks)

I had the delight of meeting Terry Brooks at the Realm Makers 2019 conference, and picked this up while I was there. I’m new to his work this year, but this collection of essays about his experiences as a writer was fabulous, and really encouraged me in a difficult time. Plus, it was just really fun. 🙂


I know that was a lot! *hides face* I just want to share all the books. XD Have you read any of these? Any going on your TBR? What was YOUR favorite book(s) of 2019? Thanks for reading!

March Magics 2018: Wrapup

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

(via webereading.com)

Books Read

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

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

Other March Magics Ishness

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

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

Posts

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

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

Diana Wynne Jones: 6 Quotes to Live By

(the rest are in that post)

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

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

Thanks to Kristin for hosting!

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

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

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

Have another belated review from a couple of March Magics ago. XD

GuardsGuards

5starrating

Title: Guards! Guards!

Author: Terry Pratchett

review

This is less of a review, and more of a things-and-thoughts-about-the-book sort of affair.

I read this one a bit belatedly for March Magics—my first Pratchett novel. People say his books are reminiscent of DWJ, and there is a reason, namely: hilarious fantasy. (I still prefer hers, but he can be fun.)

It’s hilarious and a mess and doesn’t take itself seriously, and is basically a fun rollick. XD It takes SO MANY fantasy tropes and turns them on their heads. It has footnotes. (And one of its footnotes had footnotes.) Any book that has as detailed a thing about libraries on page three as this one has is bound to be great. (Also, the librarian is an orangutan. Because it can.)

The blurb (at least the one I read) seems to act like the book is about Carrot, but it’s really about Vimes. Captain Vimes is the LAST person you’d think of as a hero or even as Main Character material. He’s the most unlikely hero imaginable. But I surprised myself by realizing by the end that I absolutely loved him! XD He’s great.

Anyway, it follows the Night Watch of the city of Ankh-Morpork, a few down-on their luck, scrapings-of-the-gutter fellows. Captain Vimes, Sergeant Colon, Nobby, and Carrot. There’s also Lady Ramkin, who is interesting; the Patrician, who is creepy; and the little dragon named Errol!! (My favorite quote about Errol: “He’d eaten most of the table, the grate, the coal scuttle, several lamps and the squeaky rubber hippo.”)

You can’t really describe the PLOT, as such… there’s just a lot of stuff going on. There’s the Watch, and shenanigans, and it’s fun. 😀

Also, silly names like the Elucidated Brethren of the Ebon Night. And helmet plumes. Also: dragons! And there’s a dash of timey-wimey to spice things up. The thing about the lost heirs!! (I kind of wish it might have turned out a little different about that character… but I don’t know if he’d have wanted that anyway, so I dunno.) There’s a bit of language/rude jokes, but still. I loved the thing about “a million to one chance but it just might work” and how people never say “it’s a certainty but it just might work”. XD There were also some brilliant things about dungeons (never build one you can’t escape from). And, of course, how people in books tend to yell “Guards! Guards!” — because they really do.

There are no chapters, just scene breaks, so it feels like a movie. This also makes it impossible to stop reading, which is awkward for those of us who need to remember to go sleep sometime.

Anyway, I enjoyed it a good deal, and this and “Mort” are probably still my favorite Pratchett books. 😀 I’ll have to try some more with the Night Watch sometime…

Some Favorite Quotes

“set a deep hole with spring-loaded sides, tripwires, whirling knife blades driven by water power, broken glass and scorpions, to catch a thief”

***

There is an art in throwing knives and, even then, you need the right kind of knife. Otherwise it does just what this one did, which is miss completely.

***

It was said that, since vast amounts of magic can seriously distort the mundane world, the Library did not obey the normal rules of space and time. It was said that it went on /forever/. It was said that you could wander for days among the distant shelves, that there were lost tribes of research students somewhere in there, that strange things lurked in forgotten alcoves and were preyed on by other things that were even stranger.*

Wise students in search of more distant volumes took care to leave chalk marks on the shelves as they roamed deeper into the fusty darkness, and told friends to come looking for them if they weren’t back by supper.

*All this was untrue. The truth is that even big collections of ordinary books distort space, as can readily be proved by anyone who has been around a really old-fashioned secondhand bookshop, one of those that look as though they were designed by M. Escher on a bad day and has more staircases than storeys and those rows of shelves which end in little doors that are surely too small for a full-sized human to enter. The relevant equation is: Knowledge = power = energy = matter = mass; a good bookshop is just a genteel Black Hole that knows how to read.

***

A couple of guards grabbed Vimes tentatively by the shoulders.

“You’re not going to do anything heroic, are you?” whispered one of them.

“Wouldn’t know where to start,” he said.

***

“Do you think picking someone up by their ankles and bouncing their head on the floor comes under the heading of Striking a Superior Officer?”

***

What would Captain Vimes do now? Well, he’d have a drink. But if he didn’t have a drink, what would he do?

“What we need,” he said slowly, “is a Plan.”

That sounded good. That sentence alone sounded worth the pay. If you had a Plan, you were halfway there.

***

“Oook,” the Librarian pointed out, patiently.

“What? Oh. Sorry.” Vimes lowered the ape, who wisely didn’t make an issue of it because a man angry enough to lift 300lbs of orangutan without noticing is a man with too much on his mind.

***

Fortunately, the chances of anyone surviving the ensuing explosion were exactly a million-to-one.

factoids

Genre/Category: Epic Fantasy

Age Group: Adult

Published: 1989

Pages: 288 pages (hardcover)

Series?: Part of the Discworld series, which frankly confuses me because there’s so many and they’re… yeah, confusing. But also book one in the Night Watch / Ankh-Morpork City Watch sub-series.

When Read: April 5 – 6, 2016

Favorite Character: Captain Vimes

Source: Library

Other Notes: Read it (a week late) for the March Magics a couple years ago, celebrating Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett, hosted by Kate @ We Be Reading.


Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer