Tag Archive | Tolkien

10 Bookish Resolutions for 2018

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

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

1. Stay on top of reading ARCs and review books

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

2. Stay on top of reviews

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

3. Read the books I’ve won

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

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

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

5. Finish beta-reading and take a break

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

6. Do more editing

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

7. Read for fun more often

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

8. Read more Diana Wynne Jones

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

9. Read more Tolkien

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

10. Have fun and don’t obsess

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

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

Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll

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The 15 Most Glorious Book Gems I Read In 2017

Guys, it’s 2018!

WHAT EVEN.

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

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

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

STATS

SOME STATS

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

88 books

20,368 pages

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

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

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

SOURCE/ETC

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

OTHER STATS

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

BLOGOVERSARY

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

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

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

TOP 15 READS OF 2017

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

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

1. Hexwood (by Diana Wynne Jones)

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

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

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

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

3. Halayda (by Sarah Delena White)

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

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

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

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

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

6. Sentinel / Arbiter (by Jamie Foley)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11. The Little White Horse (by Elizabeth Goudge)

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

Plus, it has two of my favorite quotes:

β€˜I should like this story to be like all the best stories and to end in β€œHappily ever after”.’

and

β€˜In every fairy-tale there is a kernel of truth.’

❀

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

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

13. Masters and Beginners (by Daley Downing)

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

14. Moonblood (by Anne Elisabeth Stengl)

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

15. The Reluctant Godfather (by Allison Tebo)

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


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

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

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

Tell me all in the comments!

Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Nightstand Books: January 2018

It’s time for Nightstand Books!

(Meme created by DJ Edwardson and Jenelle Schmidt; sharing the books on our “nightstand” the first Wednesday of the month.)

I can never be sure how much I’ll end up reading in a month, but here are some things I’d like to read in January, or soon, at any rate. πŸ˜‰ (All titles link to the books on Goodreads, if you’re curious to check them out!)

(All the books in this stack except for Mind Writer were my Christmas presents! I also got a gorgeous copy of Halayda which makes me happy. ^_^)

  • The Heroes of Tolkien by David Day — A gorgeous book I got for Christmas from a very dear friend! ❀ I’m so looking forward to reading this, and looking at all the pretty pictures. πŸ˜‰
  • A Matter of Magic by Patricia C. Wrede — Technically, I’ve read the second half of this. …Say what now? That is, it’s a collection containing Mairelon the Magician and Magicians’ Ward, the latter of which I read (and reviewed) at the beginning of LAST year and was one of my top favorites of the year. ❀ So I’m hoping to read the first book finally, and maybe re-read the second while I’m at it. XD Because Regency Fantasy and humor and Mairelon!
  • Mind Writer by Mike Lynch and Lisa Godfrees — I KNOW, I’ve been saying I’ll read this for ages; but I will! It’s just very outside of my reading comfort zone and the size keeps daunting me and I have no idea why… But it’s on my read-soon list.
  • (Not pictured: I just re-read (aloud) The Stroke of Eleven by Kyle Robert Shultz to my younger siblings. Yes, I did read it last month already; your point? XD Now that they know the spoilers — aaahh! — we’re currently reading Christmas in Talesend together too, and it’s so fun. :D)

Those are the ones I really want to read this month.

The other three on there are Christmas presents which I would so like to read soon, but we’ll see if they happen this month or if review-reading takes priority and these end up moving to February.

They are:

  • The Midnight Queen by Sylvia Izzo Hunter — This is also Regency Fantasy and I know absolutely nothing about it besides the genre, so we’ll see if I like it. XD
  • The Diamond Thief by Sharon Gosling — This is a YA novel set in the Victorian era (and may be slightly steampunk? I’m not sure.) about a jewel thief girl and a detective. That’s all I know about it but I’m really excited to try it out. πŸ™‚
  • The Icarus Hunt by Timothy Zahn — Again, this may be in danger of not-getting-around-to-reading-it-for-awhile-due-to-genre. Because I don’t actually love Sci-Fi all that much and have to be in the mood for it because 99% of the time I’d rather just read fantasy?? BUT it’s Timothy Zahn (I liked his Star Wars trilogy I read years ago; much better than the new depressing movies, which are fun but dark) and Jenelle speaks highly of this book, so. I’d been wanting to get it from my library for ages but it’s now labeled MISSING in their system so I gave up and got it for myself for Christmas because I want to read this!

Le E-Nightstand

My current to-reads in e-book form… (Which is why I suspect I won’t get to all of those physical ones this month. XD)

  • Disowned by Sarah Addison-Fox — The lone review book I didn’t get to before November hit, and thus has rolled over through NaNo and Christmas season and now awaits me in the new year. I’m quite excited for it! πŸ™‚ (Especially since the genre it falls under has recently been named. Because I’m weird like that and love being organized and categorized. XD)
  • The Last Motley by DJ Edwardson — I’m in the middle of this one right now and it’s excellent so far! The writing is fabulous and I’m sooo intrigued by this fantasy story! o.o I’m reading it for review, so expect to hear all about it on this blog sometime in the coming weeks!
  • Presumption and Partiality by Rebekah Jones — So excited to read the final Vintage Jane Austen book! I’ve loved all the books in that series by different authors thus far, so I’m really looking forward to this one! Plus, it’s a Pride and Prejudice retelling. Has to be a fact in its favor, there. πŸ˜‰
  • The Lord of Dreams by C. J. Brightley — This is the Fellowship of Fantasy book of the month for January, and I’m excited to try it out! It sounds intriguing! ^_^ (I’m always up for Faeries!)

And since I didn’t do a post like this in December… here: have a belated couple of pics of my December nightstand! πŸ™‚

  • I finally read On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness! *is so proud* Now I know about Peet the Sockman (EEP!) and HAS ANYONE ELSE SEEN THE ADORABLE SHORT FILM THEY JUST RELEASED?? It’s so so cute and I loved watching it and NEED MORE and also that singing bit absolutely SLEW me. SO GORGEOUS. ❀
  • The Stroke of Eleven was mindblowing, of course, as I mentioned in my review. I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MYSELF, HALP.
  • Rulers and Mages was a very interesting read, which I hope to review soon. I’m torn about a certain ship though… *shifty eyes* And a couple things. But otherwise it was mostly really good, and faeriiiiie things! πŸ™‚
  • And a couple of random fantasy Christmas-esque stories, Hogfather by Terry Pratchett, and a collection of dragon Christmas stories called We Three Dragons. All of which I enjoyed.

I don’t always share all the short stories I read, but these were so cute together! Links: Nyssa Glass prequel (Christmassy!), Dreamings and Muses, Ceaseless, Distorted Glass, Christmas in Talesend. I enjoyed them all. ^_^ (Yay, more Christmassy things!)

What’s on your reading list for this month?

Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer / Deborah O’Carroll