Tome Topple Readathon – Round 7

Posted November 16, 2018 by A Conjuring of Lit in Events / 0 Comments

When we heard that Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes was doing another round of Tome Topple that encompasses the American Thanksgiving holiday, it felt like a gift from the heavens. There are SO many chunky books sitting on our TBR piles, batting their eyelashes up at us and begging us to read them. This readathon starts at midnight in YOUR time zone on November 16th and goes all the way through to 11:59 on November 29th. That is TWO WEEKS to complete the following challenges:

  1. Read more than 1 tome
  2. Read a graphic novel (still over 500 pages!)
  3. Read a tome that is part of a series
  4. Buddy read a tome
  5. Read an adult novel

Tome Topple always gives us that extra push we need to pick up those intimidating doorstop books, and we can’t wait to share some of our anticipated reads with you!

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Paige

I am so jazzed for this round, you guys. My mom and I had already planned a couch potato party for this weekend (she lives a couple of hours away from me, but we both like staying home, so this is like the best of both worlds for me), so it’s the PERFECT TIME to make my way through some big ol’ books

I’m taking a different approach this time around than I did last time and only picking four books that I FOR SURE want to get to, and then maybe I’ll have enough time to get around to something else. The first is Our Dark Duet, which is a sequel I’ve been meaning to get around to for approximately ever, and I know I’ll be able to fly through it. The second is The Republic of Thieves, which is the most recent Gentleman Bastards book to be released. I read Red Seas Under Red Skies last round, so it feels natural to pick it up. Next is The Beauty of Darkness, which will also complete a series that I started at the beginning of October (I think) and would love to finish! Lastly I have Habibi, which is a beautiful graphic novel that I found second hand and have needed an excuse to pick up ever since.

I almost always listen to an audiobook during at least part of my work day, but I don’t really know what I’m going to pick up this round! The only thing I have thus far is rereading Vengeful, so I am taking suggestions for some good audio tomes! I might also reread The Name of the Wind this round on audio…hmmmmmm.

If I make my way through all 4 of my physical tomes, that knocks out all the challenges except the buddy reading one, which I am totally ok with! (I would ask Kate to buddy read something with me, but I have a deeply rooted need for her to read Six of Crows [Oh, don’t worry, I’m all over it!], so I will NOT be doing anything to distract her.) I’m also slowly making my way through the Stormlight Archive, but I’ve already started The Way of Kings and don’t know that I’ll even make it to the end before this round is over.

Kate

I am so excited for the next Tome Topple round, but I’m also not counting on getting a lot done, unfortunately. Between working an insane amount, driving to Atlanta for Thanksgiving, and closing on and moving into a new house, I’m spread a bit thin. However, you can only truly fail if you don’t try, so here I am with my measly TBR, excited to give it the good old college try.

Physical/Kindle Books:

  • Six of Crows – I’ve already started this, but OH MY GOD SO GOOD, and I want Crooked Kingdom to count, so I have to finish it. No regrets.
  • Crooked Kingdom – See above
  • Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue – Paige read this for the last round, and I’ve had it on my priority pile ever since. I’m excited to jump in, and I have Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy ready and waiting in case I love it.
  • Illuminae – Remember when I said I might not be able to hold off on my Kristoff-athon? Turns out I was right. 
  • The Last Magician – I kind of forgot I wanted to read this book, but it popped up on my radar again recently, and I’m itching to get to it. We shall see.
  • Moscow Rules – It’s great to check the adult lit box with a book I just realized I wanted to get to reading. I feel weirdly proud of myself for this, and there’s absolutely no reason why.

Audio Book(s?)

  • Kingdom of Ash – Listening to this will kill me, but I’m doing it anyway. Masochist, party of one, over here.
  • KoA won’t take me the full two weeks, but I’m struggling coming up with a second one to take on. If anyone has any suggestions, I’d love to hear them! Or I can just go for ACOMAF round four for the year! (It was Paige’s idea, so don’t blame me if it happens!)

If I start to question my choices too much, I might change my mind, but I think I’ve put a good short list together. I didn’t have any preconceived notions going into this round like I usually do, so I just stood in front of my shelves and waited for something to speak to me. The one let down for me is that none of my longer graphic novels were really speaking to me, but we’ll see how I do on the  Now, fingers crossed I can get the husband-friend to drive most of the way to Thanksgiving, so I’ll be able to read in peace! 

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Top 5 Wednesdays – Largest Books on our TBRs and Books We Want to Read Before 2019

Posted November 14, 2018 by A Conjuring of Lit in Tags, Top 5 Wednesday / 0 Comments

Hello, Wednesday-ers! We’ve doubled up on our Top 5 posts this week because Paige was INCREDIBLY ill last week and wasn’t able to think, let alone write coherent blog thoughts. Without further ado, here are our largest TBR books and books we’re hoping to read in the next <2 months!

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November 7th: Largest Books on TBR
— In honor of #TomeToppleReadathon coming back this month, discuss those big books on your shelf!

Kate

Wanna hear a funny story? I know you do! My goal for Tome Topple this round is quite literally to finish two books, and I’ll be quite proud of myself if I do. But you’ll hear all about that later! Onto the list!

  1. First and foremost, I have to give a shoutout to The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. I promise that I will read Stormlight Archive, but I make no promises about when that might happen. It’s an undertaking, people, and my life is in shambles. I recently purchased all three for $2.99 each (Thanks, Tor, for being a benevolent god!), but I haven’t taken the plunge starting them yet.
  2. Speaking of undertakings, I would be remiss not to mention Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. I’m currently on the fourth book, The Shadow Rising, and I have been for three years. Maybe I’ll finally get through the last two thirds. I really enjoy reading it when I remember to pick it up, but I have commitment issues. I do believe my Currently Reading shelf is 10 books deep at this point, and this one has been sitting there the longest.
  3. The Shadow of What Was Lost has been sitting on my shelf for a couple years now, and I picked it up, because I fell in love with the cover. The reviews are fantastic, I’m putting it on my shortlist for next year, and I’m hoping that I live up to my own expectations. But seriously. Look at it. GORGEOUS.
  4. This one is included as a technicality, because the English editions are all under 500 pages, but I really don’t care. Godsgrave. I’m putting off reading it, since Darkdawn was delayed, and I don’t want to live the next year of my life freaking out. But since Erin Morgenstern has already caused that to happen, maybe I should suck it up and start my Jay Kristoff binge now. (I haven’t read Illuminae yet, either, and my grand plan is to go on a Kristoff-athon next year. We’ll see if I can hold out.)
  5. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is another one that’s been on my shelf forever. I started it once, really enjoyed the first 60 or pages, and then I got distracted, ambled away, and never picked it up again. But I pull it off the shelf every now and then and just look at it longingly. Its time will come.

Paige

I feel like a lot of our answers are going to be the same, but it’s FINE! Everything is fine.

  1. I’m actually currently reading The Way of Kings (only about 14% of the way in, according to my Kindle), but I’ve finally started it! Hooray! I’m hoping to chip away at the three Stormlight books that are currently out.
  2. I also own all of the Wheel of Time books, but I’m not as far as Kate – I’ve only read the first 2. Shit’s daunting, yo.
  3. We’ve recently acquired Brent Weeks’ Lightbringer books, or at least the 4 that are currently published, with a fifth due next year. Ethan really thinks I’ll enjoy them, so I’m hoping I can muster up the will power to tackle them soon.
  4. Um…so The Wise Man’s Fear is on my TBR. Yes, The Name of the Wind is one of my favorite books. No, I haven’t read the sequel. Yes, I think you’re a trash person if you bitch about Pat Rothfuss not writing the third book yet. Go away with your entitlement and negativity.
  5. My last one is going to seem super weird, but hear me out. Wuthering Heights is on my TBR, and I am determined to read the crappy mass market paperback I’ve had since I was 12. I received it from my 1st grade teacher at the end of a program where my fellow 6th graders and I worked for the entire year to help 1st graders become more confident with their reading. I went to a tiny school (which I adored) so I had the same 1st grade teacher as these kids did. When it was done, all of us received a book that was hand picked for us. Wuthering Heights was her favorite book, and she thought I was capable enough to read it. She lost her battle with cancer just a few years ago, so I hope to one day read the copy she gave me and remember the admiration a young teacher had for a small, precocious girl.

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November 14th: Books You Want to Read Before 2019
–Our Goodreads goals are quickly closing in. What are you prioritizing for the end of the year?

Kate

Oh, let me tell you the ways I’m SCREWED. At this point, I’m looking for random scraps of paper on the street to call books and add to my total. That being said, I have several that I’m excited about. A couple I’ve already started, a couple I’m itching to get to, and all of them are things I should have already read.

  1. I started Six of Crows last week, and I’m dying. In a good way. I LOVE IT SO MUCH (YOU HAD BETTER LOVE MY TRASH CHILDREN). I’m only about halfway through, but I’m hoping to power through and jump right into Crooked Kingdom. I have both physical and electronic copies, which should help with the speediness of my reading.
  2. Muse of Nightmares is a must-read. I haven’t picked it up yet, because I want to read it when I can sit down and really dig in. This means that I’ll probably get it in under the wire when I’m on vacation for New Year’s, but as long as I get there, I’ll be good with it.
  3. I’ve technically already read this, but I want to listen to the audio book of The Caged Queen. I LOVE the world and intrigue and characters in those books, and I want to go back and spend some more time with Dax and Roa before the clock runs out on 2018.
  4. This one is a little out of left field, but I would really like to get another Gabriel Allon book under my belt. I haven’t read any of them this year, and that’s strange for me. I’ve been working through them for the last couple years, and I’m to Moscow Rules. The fact that I like this series as much as I do is deeply ironic for a few reasons, but I’m not going to question it.
  5. I would like to finish Girl Logic by Iliza Schlesinger. I started reading it during my lunch breaks a couple months ago, and then, you guessed it, I got distracted. I enjoy her insights as much as I enjoy her comedy, which is to say A LOT. My friends from college and I (Paige included!), love her and spend a lot of time planning road trips around her shows, and I will be here for anything and everything she ever does.

Paige

I am literally standing in front of my shelves, gaping at them with laptop in hand while I write this. You’re welcome. I am a vision.

  1. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard – It’s short, it’s got a cool premise, and the author is a super badass (at least from what I can tell on Twitter). Why haven’t I read this yet? I actually brought it with me to work today, so I’m hoping I’ll get hooked and power through it this week!
  2. As She Ascends by Jodi Meadows – I adored the first book in this series, preordered a signed copy of the sequel, and then…here we are. Story of my life.
  3. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid – I MUST JOIN THE HYPE TRAIN. This isn’t the type of book I would normally read, but I’m really hoping I will love it.
  4. The Fifth Season by N.K Jemisen, which is one of two books from my beginning of the year shortlist I haven’t gotten to. I’m a little intimidated by things I’ve heard about the way the book is written, but I’ve got all my fingers and toes crossed that I’ll adore it.
  5. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, which is the OTHER unread shortlist book for this year. I’m the best. I even have Ivey’s next book! They both seem like good cozy winter reads, and our new house has a REAL WOOD FIREPLACE, so maybe I’ll curl up with it in front of the fire this winter. That sounds great…guys it’s so cold her.

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And there you have it! Stay tuned for our TBRs and goals for the upcoming Tome Topple Readathon Round 7, which starts this Friday the 16th! Let us know down in the comments which of these books you have read and which ones we should prioritize.

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October Wrap Up & November Hopes and Dreams

Posted November 1, 2018 by Kate in Monthly Wrap Ups / 0 Comments

YES HI HELLO I AM BAD AT THIS

Actually, I did much better this month than last month, when I didn’t get around to writing a wrap up at all. I also got my Goodreads goal from 18 books behind schedule to 14, so I’ll take it!

ANYWAY

Even though I only read 10 books this month (4 of which might have possibly been less than 100 pages), I felt like I had a successful month. I was more consistent with my audiobook listening, I managed to get through as couple of my most anticipated fall releases, I participated in the Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon, and I finished another series re-listen. So without further rambling, here we go!

*****

Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini

I picked this up during a pilgrimage to The Book Loft in Columbus, OH, and I’m SO glad that I did. The author proceeds go to the UNHCR and The Khaled Hosseini Foundation. It’s a letter written as a poem from a father to a son affected by the Syrian refugee crisis, and it is heart-wrenching. It’s an invaluable and beautiful 48 pages. Please read it, and if you can afford to do so, purchase a copy.

Rating: 5 stars

 

The Unwritten, Vol. 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity by Mike Carey

This graphic novel has been on my shelf for almost five years, and I actually own the next two in the series as well. I enjoyed it, and I apparently rated it four stars (if Goodreads is to be believed!), but I honestly don’t remember anything about it. That’s….not promising. It was quick and entertaining, but it just hasn’t had much staying power for me.

Rating: 3 stars

 

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

I reviewed this way back at the beginning of our blogging adventure, and I still love it just as much now as I did then. As always, my re-read was an audiobook, and I think this series had an extraordinary voice acting and production team behind it. Each of the point of views has its own narrator, and they are all magnificent. I felt like I was living the story alongside Laia, Elias, and Helene, which is basically the highest praise I can give an audiobook.

Rating: 5 (million) stars

 

Queens of Fennbirn by Kendare Blake

Real talk: I wanted to hate this. I have not been impressed by Blake’s/Blake’s editorial team’s handling of this series. There is SO. MUCH. potential that I feel has been wasted, rushed, and/or disregarded, and it’s getting a little old. All of that being said, these novellas were near perfect. They provided insight into the world and characters, and I loved getting a glimpse of a couple of the previous queens. Still haven’t read Two Dark Reigns but I’m now grudgingly looking forward to it.

Rating: 4 stars

 

Pen & Ink: Tattoos and the Stories Behind Them by Isaac Fitzgerald

I picked this book up for three reasons:

  1. Cheryl Strayed wrote the introduction.
  2. I really love tattoos.
  3. It was less than $5 on Book Outlet.

All in all, I think this book took me about an hour to read, and that included sharing snippets with friends and ruminating on some of the more in depth stories, but it was such a special experience. People offered up honest explanations of their body art ranging from the short and silly to the involved and sad, and each one was incredible. Also, did I mention Cheryl Strayed wrote the introduction? That woman is magic. Please read all of her things immediately.

Rating: 5 stars

 

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

SABAA IS MEAN! But also great. This book is art. DEVASTATING, BEAUTIFUL, SOUL-RENDERING ART. And it’s so much worse to listen to than to read. Seriously. If you are considering going for the audiobook, absolutely do it. However, please know that the last third is a tremendous emotional undertaking, and these narrators are excellent. Which basically means you are stuck living this story along with the characters they’re portraying, and it’s rough. In the best way. I almost started it over immediately after finishing it (yes, really), but I was crying too hard.

Rating: 5 (million shattered) stars

 

The Caged Queen by Kristen Ciccarelli

I might have liked this more than The Last Namsara? Maybe? It’s so hard to choose! It was a completely different story, but this one felt just slightly richer. No one in this series is who you think they are, and I love that. I also love dragons, but like, who doesn’t?

Rating: Goodreads says I said four stars, but I just decided it’s actually five

 

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I HAVE NO SOUL ANYMORE BECAUSE AELIN BURNED IT TO ASH

I was not ready for this. I’m still not ready for this. I will probably never be ready for this. I feel some kind of way about this series, and I do believe I always will. I hope Sarah comes back to this world over and over and over again, because I never want to leave. Thank you for giving me these characters when I really needed them, and thank you for giving them an ending and a world they deserve. To whatever end.

Rating: Every single star in the sky

 

The Sandmeyer Reaction by Michael Chabon

I picked this up at Independent Bookstore Day a year and a half ago, and I finally got around to reading it. It was fine, I guess. It was initially going to be a chapter in Moonglow, but it didn’t make the cut. Maybe I would have liked it better if I’d read that book? I don’t know. I just didn’t care, and in 60-some pages, it never drew me in. Well-written, though, and it was quick.

Rating: 2.5 stars

 

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

It’s not a problem if you don’t have a problem with it.

Also, I wish I could share with all of you the exact tone Sarah used to say, “Tamlin” at her Chicago event last week. You’ve never heard such derision, and it made me laugh to think about the whole time I was reading this.

Rating: the 3 stars Paige thought I rated it on Goodreads that made her eye twitch 

*****

November Goals

If you’ve learned anything about me this year, it should be this: my goals are laughable and borderline insane. My life is cuckoo for cocoa puffs, and there are more days than not where I literally don’t know how I’m able to function. BUT my intentions are always good, so at least there’s that! Here are some bullet points of my hopes and dreams:

  • We’re roadtripping for Thanksgiving this year, so I’m hoping the husband-like person will be a good sport and drive most of the way and/or tolerate my audiobooks while I’m driving.
  • Look Alive Twenty-Five by Janet Evanovich – I have a serious Stephanie Plum problem that I don’t even kind of regret.
  • I’d like to finally get Muse of Nightmares and Vengeful under my belt. I was SO excited for them, and then I didn’t make it happen because work got crazy.
  • I’ve never read Six of Crows, and I’m hoping to get to them during the Thanksgiving trip. I have to before King of Scars, so I better get on it.
  • I’m hoping to chug through 18 books. Funny, right?
  • I’d like to start utilizing Scribd and my local library more. I’ve been sticking with Audible for the most part, because I vastly prefer the interface, but I’m trying to cut back on expenses. I’ll never stop buying books, but I could try to consume them more responsibly.

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October Wrap-Up and November Reading Plans!

Posted November 1, 2018 by Paige in Monthly Wrap Ups / 0 Comments

Happy November everyone! I had a pretty great reading month despite work being nutso and my free time being eaten up by doing some fun things, and I can’t wait to share my thoughts about all these books with you!

 

Rule by Ellen Goodlett

This was a book that I had received an eARC of, but I had seen a lot of mixed reviews on Goodreads, and I let that deter me. I shouldn’t have! This book was the political fantasy of my dreams. This story was about 3 young women who, through a variety of circumstances, discover that they are bastard-born daughters of the king, who has recently lost his one and only male heir. The king is dying, and he has claimed all three young women in order to find the best one to rule. All three girls have dark secrets they are hiding, and they are convinced that someone is blackmailing them in different ways to drive them apart. I AM SO ANXIOUS FOR THE SEQUEL I CANNOT. Also, one of the girls is attracted to women (not sure of her sexuality because I’m not sure if she mentions being attracted to men/other genders or not, but it is CONFIRMED ON THE PAGE that she is attracted to women). Always a big plus for me in a fantasy, ESPECIALLY when it isn’t a big deal in the world. Five stars!

 

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

I apparently had decided I was listening to all of Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera’s individual books in a row, maybe because I had preordered What If It’s Us? I don’t know guys. But I did! I really enjoyed this one, but not as much as They Both Die at the End. This one was similar to TBDATE in that it was 95% contemporary with a little dash of speculative/sci fi mixed in. Our main character, Aaron, lives in a future New York City where a company called the Leteo Institute offers a procedure where your memories can be repressed. When Aaron’s meets someone new, he ends up struggling with whether or not to get this procedure to make his life better. THIS BOOK WAS SO DEPRESSING. WOW. Still loved it. 4 stars.

 

The Caged Queen by Kristen Ciccarelli

This book was one of my most anticipated fall releases! Once Kate got me hooked on The Last Namsara, I knew I was going to be obsessed with the sequel. This book follows Roa, who is the new wife of Dax, the brother of our main character in The Last Namsara. Despite Roa being eye-rollingly oblivious the whole time, I loved this book. Dax is a cinnamon bun, five stars.

 

Space Boy Vol 1 by Stephen McCranie

This is an adorable graphic novel that I picked up on a whim when my local comic shop was having a sale! Our main character, Amy, is a synesthesia-having young girl who lives on a mining colony deep, deep in space. When her father loses his job, the family is sent back to Earth, which is a 30 year journey. They are placed in cryosleep, so when they arrive they are the exact same age as they were. Technology and, more importantly, Amy’s best friend, have all kept marching along. Amy has trouble adjusting until she meets some new friends. But what about the spooky boy who, unlike everyone else she knows, has no flavor?! I loved this book, and am actually picking up the next volume today because it just came out! 5 stars.

 

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

This is probably my least favorite of Adam’s novels, but that doesn’t mean it was bad! Our main character is Griffin, who is a teen boy with OCD who has lost his first love. It takes place in alternating chapters of current-day and past days, which is one of my favorite ways for books to be written. It is a meandering book about Griffin dealing with his grief as well as navigating the existence of Jackson, who was dating Griffin’s first love Theo at the time of Theo’s death. As expected, this was a very depressing book. I didn’t really connect with Griffin, but I definitely think there are people who would adore this book. 3.5 stars.

 

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

BUCKLE IN KIDS. This book is the long-awaited (okay not that long, I’m just impatient) sequel to Laini’s Strange the Dreamer, which absolutely wrecked me when I read it earlier this year. Laini’s writing is some of the most ethereal, moving, and haunting stuff I’ve ever read in my entire life. I really super duper can’t talk about this book almost at all without spoiling Strange the Dreamer, but suffice to say that this conclusion was just as devastatingly hopeful (yeah, sounds weird, but trust me) as one would expect from Laini. Please please PLEASE read this duology as well as her Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. You will not regret it. An entire night’s sky of stars.

 

Linger and Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

These books were also audio reads this month, and I 100% downloaded them on a whim. I read the first book, Shiver, a while back, and I wasn’t entirely sold on it despite adoring Maggie Stiefvater. I’m really hit or miss on her books (LOVE Scorpio Races, did NOT understand All the Crooked Saints), but these last two in this series were definitely better than the first one. If you’re interested in some good old fashioned teen paranormal romance, this series will give you those mid-2000s vibes! 3.5 stars for both.

 

Strong Female Protagonist Vol 1 by Brennan Lee Mulligan

This is another graphic novel that I picked up on a whim when our local comic shop had a sale, and I picked well again! Our main character is Alison, AKA Mega Girl, who was a superhero in her city. She became a little bit jaded with the whole scene, and is instead focusing on going to college and making her way toward saving the world through changing it instead of just punching bad guys. I have the next volume in my hands now (thanks Book Outlet!) and I can’t wait to get to it. Bonus, this series is originally a web comic, so you can read it all online! 5 stars.

 

Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

Does a month go by where I don’t read SOMETHING by Queen Schwab? Probably not. This is a sequel that has been YEARS in the making, and I’m so happy that Victoria got to write it for herself. While Vicious was about Victor and Eli getting vengeance on one another, Vengeful is the angry girl novel of my dreams. In the dumpster fire that is 2018, this book fans the flames of my feminine rage in such justifying ways. Just do yourself a favor and go pick these babies up. I adore them. 5 stars.

 

For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig

I bought this book on its debut day in a fit of “I am stressed and sad, I need to be surrounded by books” during my lunch break at work. I had seen a decent amount of buzz for it in the previous months, and the cover really caught my eye and made me pick it up. And then the synopsis plus my Barnes and Noble member discount made me do it, guys. AND I AM SO GLAD. Holy wow was this book made for me. This book is set in a hybrid Asian and French inspired world (WHAT) that focuses on colonialism, mental illness (specifically OWN VOICES bipolar disorder), and tosses in musical and theatrical aspects that truly stole my heart and made it ache. Oh, and did I mention that the main character is a necromancer? Jetta is a young shadow player with the ability to see the souls of the dead and harness them to make her handmade puppets come to life (or death? I guess). This book gives me angsty Moulin Rouge vibes in some parts, Avatar blood-bending vibes in other parts, and otherwise feels like Heidi just opened me up, examined my heart and mind, and decided she could write a book just for it. OBVIOUSLY FIVE STARS.

 

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

I was so optimistic about this book because a favorite youtuber hyped it AND our main character is fat. Chosen princess fantasy novel with a dark-skinned fat princess? Sounds great. But the fat rep was painful to read (and this comes from someone who is fairly confident in her body), and the religious themes were too Christianity-adjacent and not fantasy enough for my tastes. I’m really bummed, and I won’t be continuing the series. 2 stars.

 

Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor

“But Paige, haven’t you read this before? You’re garbage for Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and you actively want to be Zuzana.” Well, dear reader. I had not read this book until this month, but let me tell you how much I LOVED the audio version. Zuzana is a perfect rabid fairy, and reading the genesis of her love story with Mik was a truly beautiful and amazing experience. If you’ve read the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series but not this, you’re missing out. 5 stars.

 

Monstress Vol 1 by Marjorie Liu

This graphic novel is SO GORGEOUS. Holy shit. The art is astounding. Asian-steampunk-art-deco-chimaera-demon-psychics-with-a-talking-cat. I honestly can’t explain it too much. Just pick this one up. 4.5 stars.

 

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Keri Maniscalco

This was a fun one! I got this as a gift from my birthday for my birthday last year (oops), and I finally read it during Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon. I flew through it! Audrey Rose and Thomas are some of my new favorite characters, and I’m excited to read Hunting Prince Dracula and Escaping from Houdini. I’m a big fan of the campy-ish horror aspects we have going on in the first book, and I hope it carries over to the rest of the books.

 

Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women and Witchcraft edited by Tess Sharp

As you might gather from the title, this is an anthology of witchy and feminist stories written by a variety of female YA authors. I’m hoping to do a review with a breakdown of each individual story, but I definitely recommend giving this one a shot. If you’ve read it, please let me know your favorite stories! 4 stars.

 

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

I have been saving this beauty for the spooky months, and wow was it exactly what I wanted. This book is part magical realism, part light thriller, and all atmospheric. It takes place in the town of Sparrow, which is plagued for a few weeks each summer by the ghosts of three sisters who were drowned as witches. The girls each possess a different Sparrow girl and lead local boys to their deaths in the ocean. Our main character, Penny, lives on an island off the coast of Sparrow, and she can see which girls the sisters possess, which is not something anyone else can do. This is another one where it is better to go in with just a basic understanding of what is going on, because nothing will prepare you for what actually happens. It is heartbreaking and beautiful, and I highly recommend everyone give it a shot. 5 stars.

 

Grim Leaper by Kurtis J Wiebe

Something something graphic novel impulse buy? This is a story of Lou, who can’t really die. Instead, upon death, he ends up in the body of someone else. His deaths are always violent, and he usually doesn’t get to live in each body for very long between deaths. When he finds someone else stuck in this same cycle, he starts looking at things a little differently! This is a four-issue bind up of comics, and while it was pretty clever at times, I don’t think it was long enough to really do what it was trying to do. The art is cool though, so it’s still worth a read. 3 stars.

 

The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi

This is the first volume of the graphic novel series Amulet, and I believe there are at least 8 volumes out now. I kept eyeing it every time I went to my comic shop, and I finally decided to pick it up. It follows Emily and Navin, who are a brother and sister who move to an old family home in the middle of nowhere with their mother following a family tragedy. Emily and Navin discover something magical in their eccentric uncle’s study, and the story takes off from there! The art was beautiful, there are some Howl’s Moving Castle vibes as well as some talking robots, and I honestly can’t wait to read the next volumes. 4 stars.

 

Space Battle Lunchtime Vol 1: Lights, Camera, Snacktion by Natalie Riess

If you’ve met me or followed me on Twitter, you KNOW how I feel about food competition tv shows. This graphic novels series follows a Chopped-esque tv show…in space. The art is whimsical, there’s a character who is TOTALLY NOT Nebula from Guardians from the Galaxy, and I see a ship forming that I can’t wait to watch unfold. 5 stars.

 

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

So, when I heard about this book, I was definitely wary. I have a weird relationship with scary media, and there is a very fine line between what I am ok with and what freaks me out so far. This novel walked that line like a tight rope, and I came out enamored on the other side. I adore Claire Legrand’s books, and I am glad I gave this one a chance. The audio version was great and was probably what made me able to get all the way to the end. If you want an angry feminist horror story with queer characters and general badassery, this is for you. “Stardust cares not for the agony of demons,” is a random line toward the end of the book, and it squeezed my heart so much that I had to listen several times. Thank you Claire. 5 stars.

 

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

EPIC CONCLUSION. I AM STILL NOT OKAY. CAN’T REALLY TALK ABOUT IT. FEEL FREE TO DM ME ON TWITTER TO TALK ABOUT THIS BOOK. 500 RATTLED STARS.

 

The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron

This was the second book for one of my traveling book groups that I participate in on Twitter, and I honestly wasn’t expecting to enjoy it! This is definitely a dystopian novel, and my experience reminded me so much of my late high school and early college reading experiences during the height of dystopian YA. The inhabitants of the city in this book experience what they call The Forgetting once every 12 years. Everyone loses all of their memories beyond basic human functions and speech. To combat this, they all carry around books and chronicle their lives so that they may read them when they wake up as a blank slate. Obviously, though, something causes this, and our main character wants to discover what that is. I was satisfied with the sense of dread I felt, the romance, the world-building, the twists, and even the conclusion. I know there is a companion novel out there, and I think I’ll pick it up. 4 stars!

 

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

This is another traveling book, and is 100% not something I would pick up on my own. I have very mixed feelings about this book, mostly because I didn’t want to put it down (I read it in one sitting) but also disliked the characters and was annoyed by the “reveal” at the end. As with most thrillers, I can’t really say much, but the Goodreads synopsis does a pretty good job! 2.5 stars.

 

Roar by Cora Carmack

This was my last read of the month, and I barely squeaked by on the audiobook before the month was over. Our main character Aurora is a Stormling princess of Pavan, and she is supposed to be able to conquer powerful storms. “Supposed to” being the operative word. Her abilities never manifested, and her mother wants her to marry quickly so that the kingdom is stable before her secret is revealed. As in many stories of this nature, Aurora opts to run away and discover her powers herself instead. I LOVED the elemental magic in this. I LOVED the rag-tag found family. I LOVED the romance and the banter between Aurora and another character. I cannot wait for the sequel, which I believe will come out next year. 4.5 stars.

 

November Reading Plans:

Currently, I am in the middle of a few things. I am making my way (s l o w l y) through The Way of Kings. I’m about 10% of the way through the ebook version, and I plan to make my way through the Stormlight Archive turtle-style by chipping away at it a little bit every day. I am also currently about a third of the way through Damsel by Elana K. Arnold, halfway through the audio version of Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl, and halfway through the ebook of The Lost and Found by Katrina Leno. I’m a huge mood reader, so making a static monthly TBR isn’t usually something that is very successful for me, but a few that have been calling to me lately are: The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao, The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab, and Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner. I’m also HIGHLY anticipating receiving my copy of Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan, and I’m hoping to start it very soon after receiving it. Lastly, I’ve recently revisited a Top 5 Wednesday post where we talked about books we didn’t get to in 2017 that we want to get to in 2018, and I have only read two of them (Strange the Dreamer and Crooked Kingdom!) I really need to get to The Snow Child, Turtles All the Way Down, and The Fifth Season before the end of the year! Have you read any of these? If you have, let me know what you think I should read first!

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Top 5 Wednesday – Characters You Would Cosplay!

Posted October 31, 2018 by A Conjuring of Lit in Top 5 Wednesday / 0 Comments

October 31st: Characters You’d Cosplay

— Feature some characters you’d like to cosplay as or you think would make a fun Halloween costume.

It’ll just be Paige for this top five – Kate is in the middle of a crazy work schedule AND buying a house (yaaaaaaaaaaaay!), so she has a ton on her plate!

 

  1. Despite being neither white-blonde nor battle-ready nor an iron-toothed witch, I would LOVE to dress up as Manon Blackbeak for the sheer power trip it would give me. Plus, it would give me an excuse to dress my dog up as a wyvern and bring him around with me. Abraxos is canonically based on a dog. She is made for me.
  2. Nina Zenik, however, is someone I think I could really emulate. Red is one of the only color-colors I wear, she is fat, and she loves waffles. I could definitely drape myself in some flowy red fabric, pop in some green contacts, curl my hair, and walk around munching on waffles and be 100% authentic and on brand.
  3. Zuzana from Daughter of Smoke and Bone, ESPECIALLY if I can convince Kate to dye her hair blue and be my Karou. I could DEFINITELY channel my inner rabid fairy. And I could ALSO make Ethan carry around a violin and be Mik. Mmmmmyesquite. Alternatively, /I/ can dye my hair blue and be Karou. Decisions, decisions…
  4. I would also love to dress up as Nancy from Every Heart a Doorway. She has dark hair with a white streak (I have errant white hairs already, and have for over a decade!), the clothing from her world is Grecian inspired, and it is mostly blacks and whites. Sign me up!
  5. Finally, Celia Bowen from The Night Circus. Just go look at the cover. What else could I want from a costume?

 

Thanks for stopping by for this short-and-sweet Halloween top five! Have you dressed as any of these characters? Did you dress up in a bookish costume this Halloween? Let us know in the comments!

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Top 5 Wednesday – Favorite Book Paranormal Creatures!

Posted October 25, 2018 by A Conjuring of Lit in Tags, Top 5 Wednesday / 0 Comments

October 24th: Favorite Books Featuring [Paranormal Creature of Your Choice]

— This is a repeat topic from last year, but as it’s a good one AND interchangeable so it can be different each year, it’s back again.

 

Paige

I picked witches! Witches come in all shapes and sizes, and some of my favorite characters of all time are witchy women.

  • From Harry Potter, Luna Lovegood – We’ll just get the obvious out of the way. Luna is my favorite HP character of ALL TIME. She’s quirky and optimistic and just a little bit off, just as I aspire to be.
  • From the Throne of Glass series, Manon Blackbeak – I’m sure you guys are tired of hearing about ToG characters, but Kingdom of Ash JUST came out, and we’re going to a SJM event tomorrow. Cut us some collective slack.
  • From Tamora Pierce’s Tortall universe, Veralidaine Sarrasri – TECHNICALLY she is a mage, but for my purposes, she’s totally a witch. Daine is basically a druid, as she has close ties to animals, can speak with them, and even shapeshift into almost any animal. Goals?
  • From Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones, Gwendolen Chant – Gwendolen is THE WORST, which makes her the best. She is a control freak and is insanely powerful (or is she?) and I had the best time reading her and her brother Christopher’s story over and over again as a child.
  • From Wicked, Elphaba – So like, real talk. I haven’t read the book, and I honestly don’t care to. I got to see Wicked for the first time in 2017 because my super-rad husband (with Kate’s help!) got me tickets to see it for our 2nd wedding anniversary. I AM OBSESSED. Also, in case you were wondering, Elphaba and Gaaaaalinda? Totally ship ‘em. Brb, defying gravity.

 

Kate

I guess I’ll go with dragons. I never really realized just how much I love dragons until recently, which is strange given the number of books I’ve inhaled that feature dragons for most of my life. I feel like there’s a lot of overlap between this prompt and some of the others we’ve done this month, but that’s okay, because mythical creatures are great. Here we go!

 

  • Smaug – the OG. I know Smaug isn’t ACTUALLY the original literature dragon, but he was the first depiction that I experienced. I first read The Hobbit when I was….ten? I think? Too young, but I loved the illustrations in the copy I was reading. Then, and honestly still, I thought it was funny that the depiction of Smaug was so tiny, when in the story he was so very large. Plus, the he’s just a badass. (Fire, death, etc.)

    I kill where I wish and none dare resist. I laid low the warriors of old and their like is not in the world today. Then I was but young and tender. Now I am old and strong, strong strong.”

  • Toothless – mostly from the movies, but also from the books. Just a little. I only listened to them, so I don’t have a very thorough understanding of the Toothless from Cressida Cowell’s perspective, but I can tell you that the movie version melts my heart every time. Plus, I have black cats that look like him when they’re feeling angsty, neglected, or otherwise mistreated, which, of course, they aren’t, but cats will be cats.
The skulk king himself, Brom!
  • Abraxos – because he’s basically Toothless. Technically, I know, he’s a wyvern, and while I know they’re different, I can’t really help with include Abraxos in this list. I’m reading Kingdom of Ash right now (obviously), and he’s just so perfect. That perfect mix of vicious, fierce, cuddly, and protective you just can’t help but love in your noble witch steeds, ya know? Anyway, he’s among the very best.
  • Glaedr – because I’ve already talked about Saphira this month. Not exactly a high bar given that my first three are repeats, but it is what it is. After finishing my Inheritance Cycle reread a couple months ago, and then hearing about the short story collection coming out (link), this series has been on my mind a lot. And with that, comes thinking about all the amazing ways dragons are portrayed in this world. The list is endless and incredible. Glaedr and Saphira are my favorites, not only because they’re the ones we get the most facetime with, but because they’re just so damn snarky. I live and breathe dry humor, and consequently, Glaedr’s teaching methods and sense of humor really speak to me.
  • Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion – because Dany deserves it. I’m going books here, not TV show, though I love those versions just as much. And though I know Drogon is Dany’s mount, I can’t just choose one. When the eggs hatched, Dany was able to really start to come into her own. The virtual enslavement by her brother, the death of Khal Drogo, the loss of her child – she was vulnerable and she needed to find her way. They helped her do that. Their birth transformed that world by transforming Dany as much as it did by their mere existence.

 

Honestly, the prompts this month have been absolutely perfect for us. Let us know what your favorite witches and dragons are (especially if we missed someone very important!) and leave a comment down below with YOUR top 5 Wednesday post if you have one. Thanks for stopping by!

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Throne of Glass Character Tag

Posted October 23, 2018 by A Conjuring of Lit in Miscellaneous Tags, Tags / 0 Comments

This is an original tag created by Grace over at G-Swizzle Books on YouTube. She has updated the tag for release of Kingdom of Ash (CUE SCREAMING) and we decided we’d take a stab at it! Or many stabs, in the spirit of Celaena Sardothien. 

 

  1. Celaena Sardothien: A kick-ass protagonist that had a rough start in life
    • P: May I present to you exhibit A: Lazlo Strange. He is an amazingly adorable cinnamon bun of a man, but his life was incredibly hard to start out. Lazlo is an orphan, and he was sent to a monastery that took in orphans of the war. His last name is the name given to bastards and orphans, much like the GoT world. He ends up becoming an underling at a library after escaping his horrible monastery life, but things aren’t that much better for him for a long while. HE DESERVES THE WORLDS.
    • K: Karou. Holy crap. And technically, she had two pretty rough starts. I know that the very beginning of her life wasn’t terrible, but given that her entire species was massacred when she was very young and then she was placed in the care of a tyrant? I’m saying it counts.
  2. Dorian: A flirty character that you cannot help but love
    • P: Nina Zenik is my Grisha queen. She is fat, powerful, loves waffles, and does everything in her power to make Matthias Helvar as deeply uncomfortable as possible because he thinks she’s cute AF. What’s not to love and adore and worship about that?
    • K: Carswell Thorne. He’s one of those characters I had a feeling about even before we knew he’d be sticking around, and I was relieved when I was right. There’s something infectious about him even when he’s at his most flirtatious and annoying. (Cresswell for LIFE.)
  3. Chaol: A good character with a dark and moody side
    • P: …eh. Kale.I’m gonna go with a new favorite and say Jetta from For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig. I ADORE this freaking book. Jetta canonically has a mental illness (known as a malheur, which is taken from the French word for sadness), and she is literally a necromancer. She tries to do what is good and right, but she very much lives in a world where the right thing is often the hard thing.
    • K: Kell Maresh. Dude carries too much of the world on his shoulders sometimes, and it can be a bit much.  (I was gonna say this, but was trying not to be a broken record. RESISTANCE IS FUTILE).
  4. Princess Nehemia (SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER): A character that had so much potential that was killed off too soon
    • P: SPOILER FOR DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE) Brimstone, and not because I think his death was wrong, but because I am so deeply intrigued by who he is and how he got to be how he is. I would absolutely adore a novella about Brimstone and his cohorts.
    • K: I spent way too long trying to come up with my own answer for this one, but honestly, same. Brimstone is the first character that popped into my head, and I haven’t come up with another one that I feel as deeply in the 18 or so hours I’ve had this tab open to provide my answers. Like so many other characters in this world, there’s a lot of story left to tell, and I hope we get to hear his someday.
  5. The King of Adarlan/Maeve: Your favourite villain
    • P: Holland from ADSoM. He isn’t a traditional villain, but he is definitely one of my favorite antagonists to read EVER.
    • K: The Nightbringer. I am chomping at the bit to find out where the fourth Ember book takes his storyline and wraps up the whole, ya know, overarching plot line I can’t talk about without spoiling. It’s going to be great and terrible, and I need it NOW. Or, ya know, as soon as Sabaa’s sanity allows.
  6. Rowan: Your favourite love interest
    • P: In the interest of not going all SJM on you, I’ll have to go with Kaz Brekker. His slow burn with Inej, especially in Crooked Kingdom, almost made my heart stop.
    • K: Rhysand. And I’m not even kind of sorry to use an alternate SJM universe character. Oh my god.
  7. Aedion: Your favourite bookish relative (brother, sister, cousin, etc)
    • P: Kell and Rhy Maresh FOR LIFE. Rhy would be so annoying to have as a brother, but I absolutely adore them.
    • K: The princesses in the Three Dark Crowns series. My feelings on these books run very hot and cold, but Katharine, Mirabella, and Arsinoe, themselves are exceptions to that.
  8. Manon Blackbeak: Your favourite Anti-hero
    • P: Oh good I can’t answer Manon. Great. We’ll go with Locke from the Gentleman Bastards series by Scott Lynch. He is great and also garbage.
    • K: Jaime Lannister. Will he do what’s right? Will he blindly back his sister? Will he continue to learn from his mistakes? Or is that just a fool’s dream? NO ONE KNOWS! (Another excellent answer. I struggled SO hard with this one. I lurve Jaime.)
  9. Abraxos: Your favourite bookish noble stead or even pet
    • P: Again with the “can’t answer with the character in the tag” nonsense. We will go with Mr. Kindly from Nevernight, who is super neither a steed or a pet. He’s not even really a cat, and I don’t care!
    • K: Kozu from The Last Namsara. He is the noblest of steeds. (Kozu would NOT be happy to hear you say that.)
  10. Asterin: A character that is loyal
    • P: Zuzana from the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. She is truly one of the best friends anyone could ever have, which is REALLY important in the story, and Karou couldn’t have gotten through without Zuz and Mik.
    • K: Liesel Meminger from The Book Thief. I’ve been thinking about this book a lot lately, and my memories of the story and of Liesel specifically are so filled with awe. Her relationship with Max, and the way she stood up for her friends was incredibly given her age and the world in which she was living.
  11. Lysandra: A character that grew on you
    • P:Dax from The Last Namsara and The Caged Queen. Kate just finished TCQ this weekend, and you should ask her about her feelings! I absolutely adore Dax now that I’ve read TCQ, but I can’t really tell you why! GO READ THEM. (Garbage turned cinnamon roll. I’m still figuring this one out. Someday there will be a Roa rage post, just you wait!)
    • K: Chaol. Grudgingly. Let’s see if he continues his positive improve in KoA. (Turn him into Kale chipz.)
  12. Elide: A character that is always hopeful even in the worst circumstances
    • P: All of the children from the Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire. I WILL NEVER STOP JABBERING ABOUT THIS SERIES. It is ALL about hope. Every single one of these children (and some adults) hopes beyond hope to be able to return to their perfect world, and sometimes it hurts.
    • K: How on earth Laia of freaking Serra somehow always circles back to, “Everything has to work out.” is ASTOUNDING to me. Her world is in shambles, and while she knows that, it doesn’t seem to phase her for more than a few moments at a time.
  13. Aelin: A character who has gone through extensive change/character development
    • P: Darrow from Red Rising by Pierce Brown. If you’ve read the book, you’ll know that “extensive change” is a gross understatement.
    • K: Ceony Twill from The Paper Magician series. Girl EVOLVES. Her underlying determination remains the same, but the changes that come about in her because of it are incredible.
  14. Fleetfoot: A character who stays safe no matter what circumstances are thrown at them
    • P: This is a horribly difficult question! Monty from The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue doesn’t necessarily stay super safe, but he always seems to squirt himself out of trouble in the nick of time, usually with the help of his friends and family.
    • K: Eragon via Deus ex Saphira. It’s literally unfathomable. Dude should be dead about ten times over, yet he somehow faces basically no physical consequences for his actions or environment. Yes, I know he has Durza’s wound, but even that has basically no consequences in the grand scheme of things. Unreal.
  15. Lorcan: Your favourite morally grey character
    • P: …favorite? Just one? UGH. My heart as of the very moment demands that I say Mia Corvere.
    • K: Jude from The Cruel Prince. The closer Wicked King gets, the more I’m thinking about this. (Jude = heart eyes)
  16.  Yrene: Name an underrated gem of a character
    • P: Sevro from the Red Rising series. He’s ridiculous and heinous and a loose cannon on the edge who doesn’t play by the rules. Get on board.
    • K: Boromir. No, I’m not kidding. He catches a lot of flack for his cowardice and how tempted he was to claim the ring as his own. Let me give you the Reader’s Digest version of why both of those are crap. 1) Boromir was the only person in the Fellowship who had actually fought Sauron’s forces. He was also the only one who actively had the weight of a nation on his back. Yeah, technically the weight was Aragorn’s, but it’s not like he was claiming it at that point. So maybe try to look at his behavior in perspective. 2) He literally died to protect Merry and Pippin, who are basically only there for flavor. Not the ring bearer. Not anyone royal. Just a couple good old Hobbits who are trying to help out their friends and are in way over their heads. 3) You would TOTALLY try to take the ring. Please don’t lie to my face and say you wouldn’t. Also, he acknowledged his fault in trying to take it pretty openly. Thanks for coming to my TED talk.

 

And there you have it! Now excuse us, we’re about to dive into 1,000 pages of torture that we’ve been waiting (months/years, depending on who you are) for. Comment down below with some of your own answers!

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Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon – October 2018 Spooky Edition!

Posted October 19, 2018 by A Conjuring of Lit in Events / 0 Comments

Well, dear readers, you’ll never believe it. The stars have aligned, and both of us are able to participate in a whole Dewey’s readathon. Together. At the same time. In the same place. THE WHOLE TIME. This has never happened, and we’re very excited that it finally is. Plus, you all get to be here with us to witness history in the making! It can’t get better than that!

Now that we’re done freaking out, let’s get down to business! If you aren’t familiar, Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon is an event that happens a few times throughout the year and encourages participants to read as much as they can in a given 24 hour period. You can read all about it here, and there is a Facebook group dedicated to the readathon here. Signups are still live (or you can participate without signing up!), so we hope you join in the fun. There are all kinds of mini challenges, games, and social media interactions throughout the readathon to keep you excited and motivated all day and night!

For this round, we’re going to be participating with our friend Caitlin, and we’ll be curled with with our stacks of books, puppies, crock pots, and hot beverages. Our goal is, of course, to make it through the whole 24 hours with just a few short nap breaks, but we’ll see how that goes! For the last round, Paige was on her own the first 12 hours, and then we made it till about 4AM before calling it. Pretty good, but maybe this will be the time we knock out those final four hours!

*****

Now for the most important part – our TBR’s. These are subject to change, and are highly dependent upon both mood and energy, but we’re excited to jump in and power through as much as we can. Since this one is happening in October, we decided to self impose a spooky rule. We’re playing it a little fast and loose with the definition of spooky, but we’re mostly on theme.

Kate

My piles are split in half – I have a main reads pile and a filler pile. I’m a mood reader, and I tend to need a minute when I finish something, so I try to build in graphic novels and short stories to create breaks for my brain to process. It helps me keep plugging along, especially in those late night hours when I get loopy and struggle trying to focus. I also need choices, because I will inevitably plan poorly and end up going rogue.

Main Reads:

  • Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight
  • Moscow Rules by Daniel Silva
  • Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake
  • City of Ghosts by the one and only Victoria Schwab
  • The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
  • The Language of Dying by Sarah Pinborough
  • Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
  • Pen & Ink: Tattoos & The Stories Behind Them by Isaac Fitzgerald and Wendy MacNaughton
  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

They aren’t listed, but chances of me not picking up Muse of Nightmares and/or The Caged Queen are slim, but I’m going to try, since I always intended to read them outside of an event. I’m not sure my self control will allow it, though!

Fillers:

  • Sandman by Neil Gaiman
  • Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Elliot
  • God Bless You, Dr. Kavorkian by Kurt Vonnegut
  • Jabberwocky and Other Tales by Lewis Carroll
  • How the Marquis Got His Coat Back by Neil Gaiman
  • The Sandmeyer Reaction by Michael Chabon
  • The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

 

Paige

The theme of this readathon is “spoopy with a side of commitment issues.” I’ve been saving a TON of these books to reading during the crisp, spooky fall months, and it is FINALLY that time here. I’m ready to cozy up in a comfy sweater and dive headfirst into these stories! 

  • Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women and Witchcraft
  • Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake
  • The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White
  • Grim Leaper by Kurtis J. Wiebe
  • Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
  • Scythe by Neal Shusterman
  • Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
  • Strong Female Protagonist, Book 2 by Brennan Lee Mulligan
  • Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova
  • Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol
  • Henchgirl by Kristen Gudsnuk
  • The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

 

*****

What should we start with tomorrow? Any and all suggestions and recommendations are appreciated! And not just for books – how do you stay awake? What are your favorite reading spots? Any tricks to avoiding neck cramps around hour 19? We’re here for all of it!

Feel free to follow along with us on the A Conjuring of Lit Twitter and Instagram, as well as on our personal social media. We’d love to see what all you’re reading and doing this excellent fall readathon weekend!

Kate – Twitter and Instagram

Paige – Twitter and Instagram

Have a cozy, spooky readathon, friends! This is gonna be a great one!

 

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TOP 5 WEDNESDAY – FAVORITE MONSTERS

Posted October 17, 2018 by A Conjuring of Lit in Top 5 Wednesday / 0 Comments

October 12 – Favorite Monsters

Although I used the word monsters, this can technically be any mythical creature. But if you want to go scary, by all means.

*****

Paige:

I took this to mean specific individuals from different categories of mythical creatures, mostly because that sounded the most fun!

  1. Issa from Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Issa is a chimaera woman who is half-human, half-serpent, and all badass. She is one of Karou’s found-family members, and she is both nurturing and powerful. She wields her sensuality as a weapon and does her best to provide for Karou despite the less-than-normal upbringing she and her family must provide. 
  2. Appa the Air Bison from Avatar: The Last Airbender – This is an Avatar fan blog like 30% of the time, which I realize might get old. But watch the episode “Appa’s Lost Days” (and the rest of the show), and you will know exactly why I adore him so much.
  3. Abraxos from Throne of Glass – Manon Blackbeak is my favorite ToG character, so it obviously makes sense that her puppy of a wyvern would be my favorite creature from the series. He is literally Toothless from the How to Train Your Dragon movies (not so much the books) and is a flower-sniffing cinnamon roll we must protect at all costs. (JUST LOOK AT HIM!)
  4. Mister Kindly the ??? from Nevernight – Guys I literally just got this little not-cat inked into my flesh forever. He is SO snarky and SO dry and SO perfect. Run along, read the series. Shoo!
  5. Pantalaimon the daemon from His Dark Materials – I want my own daemon, and I want him to be as sweet as Pan. Actually, my dog Max is 100% my Pantalaimon now that I think about it…

Kate

I took it the same way Paige did. It never would have occurred to be to put categories of creatures, but now I’m making up random combinations in my head, and that’s kinda fun! Anyway, to my actual list!

  1. Saphira from Eragon – does it really get better than a sassy dragon who has time for exactly no one’s BS? No. No, it does not.
  2. Ziri from Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Ziri is a chimera (and also a cinnamon roll) with antelope horns and hooves, bat wings, and a high human aspect. I love everything about Ziri – his heart, his fight, his determination to do anything he can for his people, and his ability to see past all of the superficial things that get in the way of understanding the people around him. He brought some humanity to an otherwise otherworldly story. Well, he and Zuz did, but she’s human (you clearly meant RABID FAIRY), so she doesn’t really count.
  3. Buckbeak from Harry Potter – YEAH I KNOW. I used an HP copout two weeks in a row, but I super don’t care. Ask Paige about the completely unnecessary sound I make whenever I see a Buckbeak anything at a store. She will confirm my love and obsession. (Homegirl loves her some Buckbeak.)
  4. Balrogs from The Lord of the Rings – So, if anyone wants to nerd out with me about all the cool ways the early elves and Maiar were corrupted prior to and during the forming of Arda in LOTR, let me know, because it’s awesome, and I love it. Assuming I’m in the minority on that one, it’s equally awesome to think about the power and formation of corrupted god spirits that inhabit fire and are nearly impossible to kill. I know they’re evil, but that’s just badass.
  5. Abraxos from Throne of Glass – Abraxos deserves the world and as many un-demon-touched animal carcasses he can find. Trust me, that’s a nicer sentiment than it sounds like it is. I love him, I love Manon, I love the thirteen, and I will fight anyone or anything that tries to hurt them.

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So, after much thought and consideration… Okay, after a Facebook message when we realized our grievous error, we must also include Smaug as an honorary and very important collective number 11. He is fire, he is death, and this is from a letter Paige wrote to me over a year ago. I keep it pinned to my cubicle, because it is beautiful art, and Smaug is beautiful fury.

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What are some of your favorite mythical creatures? There are so many to choose from that you can’t possibly go wrong, but we’d love to hear about all the creatures – character specific or not! – that you love.

See you next week!

 

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Halloween Creatures 2.0 Tag!

Posted October 16, 2018 by A Conjuring of Lit in Miscellaneous Tags / 0 Comments

Paige was tagged by Patricia over at Bookish Geek to do this spooky tag, and we couldn’t think of a better way to get in the Halloween spirit!

…get it?

…spirit?

Anyway! Here are all our spooky creature favorites!

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Witch: A magical character or book

Paige: Obviously, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It is one of the most ethereal, atmospheric, truly enchanting books  I have ever read. I think about it all the time, I collect copies of it, and I love revisiting the story with the Jim Dale audio recording. Don’t expect something fast-paced and intense. Just let it whisk you away.

Kate: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. I was not prepared for the depth of this series and the different forms magic takes. The angel and demon element is something I always love, too, and so this series just really sucked me in from the word go, and I think about it and all of the different “could be’s…” the ending leaves regularly.

Werewolf: The perfect book to read at night

P: Definitely Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire. I am a big scaredy cat, and I can’t read thrillers or mysteries at night without freaking myself out (*finger guns at general anxiety disorder*). HOWEVER. Creepy is good. Creepy I can do. And man, is this world and its inhabitants creeptastic.

K: I’m not a fan of scary or creepy or any of those things. I do, however, like to read about assassins at night for some reason. Ya know – the possibility of ruthless professional creatures descending upon me in the dead of night is just really comforting. Along those lines, I’m going to say Nevernight, the creepiest assassin book, chock full of people I would definitely not want keeping me company after dark.

Frankenstein: A book that truly shocked you

P: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff had me saying “oh shit” and “WTF” more than most books I’ve read in a while. I am waiting (im)patiently for the day when my husband reads it so I can watch creepily for his reactions.

K: Tower of Dawn. I was here to hate it, and I didn’t. Also, SJM dropped some info that I was completely unprepared for, and I do not appreciate her shenanigans. That’s a lie, but whatever.

The devil: A dark, evil character

P: Osaron from A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab. He’s basically the embodiment of dark and evil, okay? T E R R I F Y I N G.

K: Maven Calore. I know people like him, and I don’t understand it. He’s in the same camp as the Darkling to me – he’s evil, acts human to manipulate, and then turns around and does something increasingly heinous and twisted at every opportunity. I haven’t read War Storm yet, so I guess I could still be proven wrong, but the whole baby thing in The Glass Sword really sealed the deal for me on that one. Be grateful if you don’t know what I’m talking about.

Grim Reaper: A character that should never have died

P: I will not spoil you for the book, but a certain death in The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness ruined my day. It is my worst nightmare.

K: I understand why she had to die, but she’s my answer anyway. Nehemia. I was as devastated as Celaena was, and I completely stand by her and her rage-fueled kill-fest.

Zombie: A book that made you hungry for more

P: Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire, both because it is the most recent installment of the series AND because they literally go to a land named Confection where everything is candy.

K: The Last Namsara. I finished it, wept a little, used my next Audible credit to acquire the audio book, and did it all over again. Now, my life is a disaster, and I still haven’t read The Caged Queen, but my hunger remains.

Gargoyle: A character that you would protect at all costs

P: Wylan from Six of Crows is the least trash of my Ketterdam trash children, and I will protect him with my life.

K: Elias Veturias. And the fact that he isn’t real and I can’t protect him and I couldn’t even if he was is devastating to me.

Vampire: A book that sucked the life out of you

P: The entire Maze Runner series. I permanently deleted them from my Kindle library after paying real money for them. UGH.

K: I also hate The Maze Runner, and I also permanently deleted it from my Kindle despite paying real money for it. And I’d do it all again! Except, ya know, actually read the damn thing for a second time. But in the interest of not being a complete copy cat, I nominate Onyx and Ivory. It’s been a while since I cared less about a story. I didn’t finish it, and I never will.

Ghost: A book that still haunts you

P: Hello, dear reader. Have you heard about how much I hated Caraval? Because it was terrible. And it is EVERYWHERE.

K: Splintered is problematic AF, and every time I see it, I want to destroy it. 

Demon: A book that really scared you

P: The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James still makes me shudder, and I can’t even tell you why without ruining it. That being said, I loved it and you should go read it right now.

K: In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware. It was the book that made me decide once and for all that the whole suspense genre is NOT for me. Especially with a story like that one where any of it feels like it could actually happen. I can also never live in a house with a full wall of windows. No, thank you.

Skeleton: A character you have a bone to pick with

P: Tamlin. I would like to pick his bones out of his body and beat him with them.

K: The Darkling. Not the way to get what you want, broski.

Mummy: A book you would preserve throughout time

P: Well this is a stressful question. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, because it is everything I could have ever wanted and more, and Muse of Nightmares is waiting for me at home as I type this.

K: A Court of Wings and Ruin. I have EXCEPTIONALLY STRONG FEELINGS about the relationships of the Inner Circle, and I want them to be real so badly. I know this isn’t news for those of you who have been reading for a while, but I feel it down to my very core.

Creepy doll: A book too scary to look at

P: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12820607-we-have-always-lived-in-the-castle

K: I work really hard to not retain books that scary me to look at, but it’s the weird, atmospheric ones that really freak me out. Or clowns. Hence, It. Specifically this one , because it’s the one my cousin had on her bookshelf when I was little, and it still haunts me a bit.

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There you have it! Now, we’re going to go watch some not at all scary Halloween movies, and power through some more probably also not at all scary books. We’re not great at this whole spooky thing, but we do have a lot of fun being festive and enjoying the season. Let us know in the comments what you think of our answers and share some of your own!

 

 

 

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