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!

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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

 

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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.

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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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Top 5 Wednesday – Favorite Villains

Posted October 10, 2018 by A Conjuring of Lit in Top 5 Wednesday / 1 Comment

October 10th: Favorite Villains

It looks like we last did this topic in 2016, so I encourage you to pick new villains if this is not your first time covering this topic! (also, as before, try not to just use HP characters…)

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Paige

YESSSSSSSSSS VILLAINZ

  1. Would this list be complete without throwing in a character from the Villains series by V.E. Schwab? No. And since the whole series is about people being in that murky in-between of good and evil, I’m going to pick my favorite person in Vicious – Victor Vale. His black-out poetry, really cool EO power, and his complex *cough* relationship with Eli is everything
  2. Osaron from the Shades of Magic is also up there, because we are loyal subjects of Queen Schwab here. He is TERRIFYING. He is NOT HUMAN. He is EVIL. And he is POWERFUL.
  3. AIDAN from The Illuminae Files! Maybe some of you are like “What, AIDAN isn’t a villain?” and I am here to tell you it IS and it is GREAT. So complicated. So angsty.
  4. Anise from Winterspell by Claire Legrand. Anybody else seeing a theme here? Complex, twisty villains are my fave.
  5. The Master from Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire. I can’t really say much about why I  love this character without really spoiling the book, so go read it! Not all is as it seems.

Kate

Ahhhh yes! My (not so) secret evil book friends.

  1. The Darkling. Allow me to step onto my soapbox – yes, he is a villain; no, he is not redeemable; and no, I don’t think he’s that tragic. He’s just BAD, and that’s why he’s such a great character.
  2. Levana from The Lunar Chronicles. My love (see: hatred) for her was cemented when I read Fairest. I was concerned that learning her back story was going to humanize her and make me feel sympathy or pity, but it didn’t, and I was SO. EXCITED. ABOUT IT.
  3. Bellatrix Lestrange. When I picture a cliche angry villain, the image that pops into my head is Helena Bonham Carter from the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 movie, so I’d feel remiss leaving her out. I don’t recall a whole lot about her, strangely enough, but I do know that she always left me feeling deeply unsettled, both in the books and the movies, and that is the mark of a great villain to me. DISCLAIMER: This is the only HP thing on the list, and the prompt just said not to do ALL HP. Success.
  4. The Nightbringer from the Ember series by Sabaa Tahir. Is he a villain? Isn’t he? I can’t talk a lot about this, because 1) I don’t want to accidentally spoil something and 2) there’s still a fourth book to be written and read. But I’m listening to Reaper right now, and I keep finding more things to question and love/hate about him.
  5. Maeve from Throne of Glass. Like, I REALLY can’t say anything about this one, but I’m anxious to see how her whole THING plays out. Also, please take this as my last minute plea to actually read Tower of Dawn. It is not the filler book that the fandom seemed to think it was going to be, and it contains major plot points. If you want to read Kingdom of Ash without, fine, but you won’t know what’s happening.

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What do you think? Villainy enough? Evil, crazed, manipulative, and misunderstood enough? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to tell us your favorite villains!

Until next week!

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Charms Extra Credit TBRs!

Posted October 7, 2018 by A Conjuring of Lit in Events / 0 Comments

Happy Sunday everyone! We are here to give your our TBR plans for the Charms Extra Credit event hosted by G over at Book Roast on YouTube. She put on two Harry Potter themed readathons this year where readers could sit the OWL and NEWT exams by reading books to meet various challenges, but we both learned about it too late in the game to properly participate. G is going to host the OWLs again in the spring, but in the meantime, she is hosting a few little mini-readathons that allow you to get a leg up on the OWLs when they come around again! You can find her original video explaining the extra credit here, the original OWLs announcement here, and the original NEWTs announcement here!

 

 

 

 

Alohomora: read a book that’s first in a series

Accio: book that’s top of your TBR

Incendio: words ‘fire’ or ‘flame’ in the title/series name, or flame picture on the cover

Rictusempra: book that ‘tickles you the right way’ (exciting trope/theme/genre)

Lumos: book with a light cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kate’s TBR:

  • Alohomora – Unwritten by Mike Carey and Peter Gross
  • Accio – The Caged Queen by Kristen Ciccarelli
  • Incendio – For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig
  • Rictusempra – The Golden Compass: The Graphic Novel by Philip Pullman, Stephane Melchior, and Clement Oubrerie
  • Lumos – Warcross by Marie Lu

 

Between being a slow reader, this week being INSANE schedule-wise, and having a job that I have no way of knowing what my responsibilities or schedule will be on any given day, I didn’t want to count on reading five crazy long books. I’m hoping the mix of complexities and formats will work in my favor, and I’ll be happy about whichever ones I manage to power through!

 

 

Paige’s TBR:

  • Alohomora – Space Boy by Stephen McCranie
  • AccioVengeful by V.E. Schwab
  • Incendio – For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig
  • Rictusempra – Strong Female Protagonist by Brennan Lee Mulligan and Molly Ostertag
  • Lumos – A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney

 

I’m hoping that having a couple of graphic novels will help me be a little bit more successful, especially since a couple of my full-length novels are quite chunky.

 

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Follow us on Twitter (Paige and Kate) to see how we do this week! Let us know in the comments if you are also taking on some charms extra credit assignments to study for your OWLs in April!

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Top 5 Wednesday – Favorite Magic Systems

Posted October 3, 2018 by A Conjuring of Lit in Top 5 Wednesday / 0 Comments

October 3rd: Favorite Magic Systems

This October, T5W is exploring not only the paranormal, but also magic and wizardry in general!

This was a fun and easy one for us – there are just SO MANY great magical worlds out there, and the real challenge was keeping the list to five each. Some are serious, some are silly, some are simple, and some are complex, but every single one is the bedrock of a fictional world we love.

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Paige:

  1. The magic system in the Old Kingdom Series by Garth Nix, which starts with Sabriel. I LOVE THESE BOOKS. They are dark and melancholy and atmospheric, and the audio versions are narrated by Tim Curry.  In this world, there is Charter magic, which is based on the drawing of symbols and is more closely sanction, and there is also Free magic, which is just as it sounds. The land outside of the Old Kingdom is very modern, and people who live there and the government basically don’t believe in magic of any sort. Modern inventions, such as cars, don’t work in the Old Kingdom. Our main character is sort of an anti-necromancer, who puts the dead back where they belong when evil comes to play.
  2. Many things in The Name of the Wind fascinate me, but the actual practice of knowing the true names of things in order to control them is THE BEST. It is the very essence of “words have power,” and while this idea is prevalent in a lot of stories (like the Earthsea books or any story where people conceal their true names out of fear), I just love this one best.
  3. If you thought we could get through a list like this without me mentioning Avatar: The Last Airbender, WOW would you be wrong. I love bending. I love Toph Beifong and her innovation with Earthbending when everyone said it was impossible. I love Iroh (hello, my cat is named after him) who learns how to take Waterbending techniques and apply them to Firebending. I LOVE ELEMENTAL MAGIC. (Also there are totally Avatar graphic novels, so this counts on a book blog).
  4. Speaking of elemental magic…do you have time to talk about our lord and savior, Kell Maresh? The elemental magic in A Darker Shade of Magic is AWESOME, which is why the second book is my favorite, but the Antari blood magic just takes it to the next level. Ask me about my “As Travars” keychain. Or our matching Anoshe tattoos.
  5. And now for a book I finished last night! I just read Rule by Ellen Goodlett, and the main magic I’ve experienced thusfar is blood magic called tithing. One of our main characters is exceptionally good at tithing, which consists of opening a small wound on yourself and focusing the power in your blood to do what you want, such as give you superspeed or strength. This main character, Zofi, even belongs to a culture who can create vials made of one’s own breath and blood to be used to extend the duration of a tithe. So cool. SO COOL. (I like blud magik.)

Kate:

  1. Okay, so, she stole one of mine, but that’s to be expected. I don’t know how Queen Schwab manages to come up with so many things I just unquestionably love, but she does, and the magic in ADSOM is no exception. It’s not just blood magic. It’s not just elemental magic. It’s not just magic with a cost. Somehow, it’s all of those things, and none of those things, and it’s linguistic and beautiful. I devour the Essen Tasch every time, because you get to see all the different kinds of magic and how they work together and against each other. Per. Fection.
  2. I’m going to take it a little off the beaten path with my second choice, and go with The Paper Magician series by Charlie N. Holmberg. In this series, magicians are bound to a particular kind of magic, and then that’s what the study, practice, and perfect throughout their lives. I find it interesting, because the binding is a conscious, physical act, not an inherent ability of some kind. It adds an interesting spin throughout the series.
  3. I would never have come up with this one until recently, but I really enjoyed listening to it a couple months back – Eragon. It’s very white bread, but I think what I loved about it was the simplicity. Taking energy from the things around you, the on demand magic of humans and elves versus the great need for magic in dragons, and the inherent magical qualities of the different races, creates, and locations were woven together really well. Like I said, not groundbreaking, but effective.
  4. Nevernight, because it’s so deeply fucked up. I am HERE. FOR. IT. Shadow magic? Blood magic? Mysterious f(r)iends that feed on your fear? Oh YES. I also love that no one really understands it, but understands they must fear it. Dark and twisty will always win me over.
  5. Left field called, and it would like my last answer back. The Vampire Diaries. The TV show, not the books. I never read more than the first one, because it was garbage. Much like the magic system in the TV show! Seriously, this one made the list, because I had as much fun trying to figure out how anything was supposed to work as I did watching Elena decide if Damon or Stefan was the better soulmate on any given day. Its appeal lies in its incoherence, but please don’t ask me to explain why.

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What are some of your favorite magic systems, Wednesdayers? Let us know in the comments!

We’ll be back with more Wednesday fun next week!

 

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September Wrap-Up!

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

HAPPY OCTOBER GUYS I AM SO EXCITED IT IS FALL EVEN THOUGH TODAY IS 80 DEGREES OUTSIDE.

On this happiest of days, I present to you all of the books I read in September:

 

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

Hello there. Remember me, your local fae-trash blogger friend? That’s right, I relistened to ACOTAR this month. It was delightful. Except for the parts where I wanted to STRANGLE a certain character because I know what is coming. It’s fine. 500 stars.

 

Light Years by Kass Morgan

This is one I received as an ARC in my first ever Illumicrate box, which was exciting! I was very intrigued by the premise of a battle school in space (I loved Ender’s Game, even though you-know-who is a TIRE FIRE of a human being). I was, however, not really into this book. I just wasn’t compelled by any of the things I should have been compelled by. The mole character didn’t sell me, especially. It was like the author was trying to make her seem alien and “other,” but she didn’t go hard enough to sell it and went too far for it to not seem weird. I’m really disappointed that she didn’t GO THERE with the ending. I need books that will go there. 2.5-ish stars.

 

Onyx and Ivory by Mindee Arnett

Ugh. UGH. Ugh. I feel like I let Kate down on this one. A few months ago, I read the first chapters of a bunch of my sub-box books to get a feel for which one I wanted to read next, and  I really remember being excited for this one. It’s a chunk of a book, so it took us a while to get around to it. I will admit that I skim-read maybe the last half. I just didn’t care? I went on Goodreads to see if anyone else was having similar struggles, and someone convinced me to stick around for the big villain reveal. Was not worth. Like 2 stars.

 

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

It’s me again. 1,000 starfalls. Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk.

 

How I Resist: Activism and Hope for the Next Generation edited by Maureen Johnson

This was an awesome little anthology of short works all about resistance. Like many of you, I’ve been internally raging against the machine in a non-fruitful way, so this book offered both an outlet and suggestions for ways to channel the rage. It’s definitely more teen-focused, so it would be perfect for people a few (several) years younger than me, but I did enjoy it! 3.5 stars

 

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

Another audio reread. This book has one of my FAVORITE out-of-context quotes, maybe of all time. “Isobel. Isobel, listen. The teapot is of no consequence. I can defeat anyone, at any time.” I was giggling uncontrollably in the car while listening to it and driving to meet Kate for a concert. A+, 47 gold stars. I did a full semi-coherent review of this book back in December, which you can read here!

 

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

This is the first book I’ve decided to tackle in my ongoing series of “Dear god woman, why do you buy completed series and then let them sit on your shelves for a millenia?” which is obviously a working title. I had tried the audio version a few months ago, but it was a strike-out for me. I was not a fan of the narration. However, I am firmly ON BOARD with this series. It manages to tackle the love triangle trope in a way that I find realistic. I’m also a big fan of the politics of this world as well as the low-magic, high-mythology type of setting. It also does a good job of challenging characters’ perceptions of what is “right” and “true,” which they previously did not believe to be anything but black and white. I’m hesitant to go too much into the story, but I WILL say that this book (and the next, which I have also read) are very slow, and that has to be something you’re ok with. 4 stars on this one!

 

Pride by Ibi Zoboi

This was an ARC review, although I definitely missed the deadline (sorry! I am trying!) I am 100% down for retellings, basically all the time, and I am a huge fan of Pride and Prejudice. I LOVED this adaptation. I think Zoboi does an AMAZING job of pinning down the important points of the story that need to match the source material while breathing new life and color into the world. I would be so stoked if she (or a group of WOC writers maybe? Hmmmmmm?) would tackle more classics and give them a modern and diverse spin. Take. My. Money. 4.5 stars.

 

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James

WOW OKAY GUYS. BUCKLE UP. I was having some late-night sleep issues due to a chronic pain issue (it’s fine, I’m cool, no worries!), so I decided to start an ARC I had on my Kindle that I new I was behind on (see a pattern here?) I had read the synopsis of this one a while back, and I decided it was just the kind of space-fluff I was after. AHAHAHAHAH BOY WAS I SUPER WRONG. I don’t know if it was my state of mind or lack of sleep or the fact that nobody else was awake in my pitch-black house, but this book TERRIFIED me. TERRIFIED. It putters you along with this wistful tale of a girl who just wants to find her people, and then it BURNS IT ALL TO THE GROUND. I highly highly highly recommend this book. If you have read it or if you do, please reach out to me and let me know if it psyched you out as well, or if I was just in the wrong mindset at the wrong time.

 

Vicious by Queen Schwab

Hello. You might remember me from “Victoria/V.E. Schwab can do no wrong and I worship the paper she plots on.” This book was a reread for me in preparation for the release of Vengeful, which came out last week (internally screaming). I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH MORE THE SECOND TIME. That does NOT usually happen to me, especially with books like this where there are plot twists and secrets to learn. I already knew them and I still had dread looming over my head. Vengeful is my next physical book to pick up after I finish my current read! 87 knives. Er, stars.

 

Roomies by Christina Lauren

I started this book to bleach my brain from the existential horror created by Loneliest Girl, and it was just what the doctor ordered. This book felt like the kind of romance movies I love the most. It had super crazy Coyote Ugly vibes, and while there were a lot of the annoying tropes that make romance stories go round (like unbelievable circumstances and the communication issue trope), I didn’t even mind. I definitely recommend it if you need something to lift you up. 4 stars!

 

Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

This was an audio listen for me, and I really enjoyed it! I felt like I saw a lot of my younger self in the main character, Molly, and it was just. So. Dang. Cute. Nerd romance will get me every time, and I think I would have been friends with Molly and her crew in high school. As always, many pluses for cuteness and diversity for Becky! 4 stars.

 

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

I mean, what can I expect from a book with this title? This is my first Adam Silvera book, but I knew what I was getting myself into. I adored this audio book. Rufus and Mateo WOULD be cinnamon buns that we must protect at all costs, except we obviously can’t. Because they both die at the end, guys. They both get a call from the company Death-Cast, which tells them they will die some time in the next 24 hours, and Death-Cast is never wrong. I really enjoyed the light near-future speculative slant with the Death-Cast aspect of things, and I wouldn’t have minded getting to delve a little more into that, but maybe in another story. This was exactly what it needed to be. Insta-love-y though this book may be, I think it actually works here. Wouldn’t you be brazen and devil-may-care with your feelings if you knew you only had hours to win? Shoot your shot. I highly recommend this to any and all people. 5 stars.

 

The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

This is the sequel to The Kiss of Deception, and I liked this one even more. Again, it is a slow book, but I was prepared for that. I love watching Lia grow to become a player in the game, and I REALLY love that she doesn’t keep any of the male characters completely in the know. Yes. Do your thing. Do what is best for you. Manipulate those weirdly macho dudes. Hang out with ghost-ladies. CONQUER THE KINGDOM. I’m super stoked to try and fit The Beauty of Darkness into my future TBR so I can see how things play out AND get to Dance of Thieves. 4 stars.

 

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

This is another one I picked up when I needed something less brain-intensive than my usual fantasy books. This book employs one of my favorite tropes (communicating anonymously while interacting IRL and not knowing!) and I ate it up. This book explores loss and grief and guilt and prejudice and hard family issues in a very compelling way. I can’t say too much without giving away some of the important points, but I give this book 4 stars!

 

In addition, during my chronic pain flare-up, I read 3 romance novels that were WAY smuttier than I thought they would be, so they happened, but I ain’t tellin’ you guys nuffin’.

 

There you have it! 15 mini-reviews plus 3 secret books equals 18 books for September, which is honestly not that bad considering how much time I didn’t make for reading. Hallelujah audio books and nights where I can’t sleep! Thanks for reading guys! There will be in-depth reviews of several of these in the weeks to come.

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Top 5 Wednesday – Favorite Book Covers!

Posted September 26, 2018 by A Conjuring of Lit in Top 5 Wednesday / 0 Comments

We are the ultimate Cover Queens, so you can imagine how excited we got when we saw this week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic over on Goodreads. That excitement quickly turned to panic as we both went home, scanned our shelves, and realized that we have EXQUISITE TASTE.

We’re humble, right?

Anyway, here are our top TEN (five each, it counts) favorite book covers that we settled on.

*****

 

UK 1st/1st of Strange the Dreamer: We will not speak about how much Paige snagged this for on eBay. We just won’t. While all the the UK hardcovers have this beautiful, deep blue cover with gold foil, the first printing of the first edition ALSO came with sprayed edges. It is everything a book cover should aspire to be, and we cannot WAIT to get our UK copies of Muse of Nightmares! (WHICH COMES OUT NEXT WEEK HOLY CRAP GUYS)

 

 

 

 

 

UK hardcover of Daughter of Smoke and Bone. The covers for all 3 of these books are PHENOMENAL, but this is definitely Paige’s favorite. We’re both working on tracking down the whole series in this format! The feathers are a beautiful color AND they’re shiny.

 

 

 

 

 

THIS BOOK IS STUNNING. Neither of us has read this yet, but we have both been waiting for it to come out for a while. This is the original cover, but Owlcrate and Fairyloot both did awesome exclusives. We

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…are we seeing a theme yet? This is the Goldsboro edition of Reaper at the Gates. We are both OBSESSED with the UK revamp of these book covers, and we both HAD to get this copy when it was announced. So gorgeous, and we can’t wait to get the other books in this edition as well.

 

 

 

 

swoon. Not only is this book beautiful on the inside, but this Fairyloot exclusive cover is AMAZING. The original has orange where this one has a deep red, and it is just that much more stunning for that change.

 

 

 

 

 

This is two books. We don’t care. Paige is ~literally~getting a Nevernight inspired tattoo later today. These covers are stunning, especially the detail on the crow on Nevernight. We cannot wait to see what Darkdawn looks like! (Also we both have the US hardcovers as well. Whoops.)

And maybe also the US paperbacks….Kate has a collection problem…

 

 

 

Tired of seeing UK covers yet? And is it a post by us without some SJM? We love the simplicity of the white background that highlights Aelin’s badassery.

 

 

 

 

 

Tra la la. Something something white UK cover with red foil. We have a type, okay?

 

 

 

 

 

 

We couldn’t pick just one copy of The Night Circus, so instead here are all of Paige’s copies. This book makes promises with its cover(s) and then TOTALLY DELIVERS.

 

 

 

 

 

HI KATE WOULD ALSO LIKE TO BE INCLUDED IN THIS ONE!

And also, look at how pretty the UK Halloween edition is! No, we don’t care that we’re including five editions of the same book. They’re all similar enough that it basically just counts as one anyway, right? Right.

 

 

 

 

 

And yet another book that is as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Extra bonus – our copies of the sequel, The Caged Queen, arrived today! Happy, happy book birthday!

 

 

 

 

*****

So there you have it! The gushiest of gushes over some of our favorite beautiful books. We would also recommend ANY of these books to you guys. Let us know in the comments what you think of our faves, and let us know what you would add to the list!

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T5W – Classics We Wish Had Modern Adaptations

Posted September 19, 2018 by A Conjuring of Lit in Top 5 Wednesday / 0 Comments

THIS WEEK’S OFFICIAL PROMPT:

As I’ve been binge-watching The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and I’ve been thinkin’ about all the other classics I want to see adapted similarly!

*****

Paige

This topic definitely intrigues me! I’m not the biggest into classics because I simply haven’t read them (*fingers guns at crappy high school*), but here are a few that I think would be interesting!

  1. The Secret Garden is one of my favorite children’s classics, and the main character Mary is one of my OG unlikeable protagonists. I think it would be really cool to see it modernized and aged up to see if it can reach an older audience. I’ve had more than one person tell me they couldn’t connect to the story, and I’d like to know if my love from it stems from me reading it as a small child.
  2. Dracula. Anybody seen What We Do in the Shadows? Taika Waititi as an 18th century dandy-turned-vampire, Jemaine Clement as Vladislav (hello, Vlad the impaler), and several other vampires and werewolves in the mix just trying to survive in the modern world! GIVE ME MORE  MUNDANE SUPERNATURAL FICTION. So hilarious.
  3. The Picture of Dorian Gray, but with selfies instead of a fancy portrait. Would that not be hilarious? Give it to me.
  4. Little Women would be an AMAZING modern adaptation. Girl power. Sisterhood. Jo March as a women’s rights activist that infiltrates the establishment and tears it down from within? Do want.
  5. Okay so I was struggling to come up with ideas, so I was browsing a list of classics. LORD OF THE RINGS CAME UP. Can we talk about this as an idea? Washington DC = Mordor. Hobbits are definitely Midwesterners. You got your LA elves and your NYC elves. Treebeard is a California redwood. Somebody make this happen.

 

Kate

Um. So. I have a potentially unpopular opinion about modern adaptations. Generally speaking, not a huge fan. I really only like the ones you can’t tell are adaptations. Here’s lookin’ at you, She’s the Man. That being said, I’m going to try to see if I can come up with five without copying Paige TOO much.

  1. For good measure, let’s start with a copy. LOTR would give me life. I don’t know exactly how I would go about it, but I feel like there’s a good modern dystopian story in there somewhere that would be a lot of fun to experience. Imagining Aragorn (or Aaron, probably, in this version) on a motorcycle instead of a horse is stuck in my mind for some reason. There ya go.
  2. My favorite book of all time is Gone with the Wind. Strange, especially in context, I realize. And a retelling would be SUPER problematic for several reasons if done too literally. That being said, I think it could be a good vessel to create something that really forces white people to confront the ugliest parts of ourselves when it comes to inherent issues with race and understanding our place in a global, multicultural society. No idea who I would trust to make that happen, though.
  3. A Little Princess with a modern twist! This movie was recently put on Netflix, and I’ve been toying with the idea of rereading it. It was a favorite of mine as a child, and I’d like to see how that story would take shape in today’s world. There are so many elements that would be so weird to see in modernity, but I’d be jazzed if someone tried.
  4. Fairy tales. In general. I know Once Upon a Time exists, but that feels like a stretch to me. I want to see a full on Rumpelstiltskin retelling where there are actual consequences, or a Beauty and the Beast retelling where the whole world is as enchanted as the castle. Ya know, like the actual fairy tales. I’m sure this exists somewhere, but like I said up top, I don’t really gravitate towards retellings, so I have no idea whatsoever.
  5. And finally, we’ll go with Rebecca. This one is tricky to talk about without spoiling major plot points, but I want a female antagonist to fuck shit up to that level and get her comeuppance. Oh what a delight it would be!

*****

And that’s what she wrote!

We’re both having weeks bordering on tragic, so please forgive us for our lack of snarky commentary. We solemnly swear to do better next week.

Stay tuned, Wednesdayers! We’ll see you again soon!

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T5W – Books for My Younger Self

Posted September 12, 2018 by A Conjuring of Lit in Top 5 Wednesday / 0 Comments

THIS IS AN AMAZING PROMPT

The official prompt from the Goodreads group reads: This was recommended as a topic on twitter and I love it! Books that you wish your younger self would have read to learn a life lesson, get more self confidence, open your eyes to a new perspective, etc.

There are just SO MANY THINGS out there that are so rich and valuable and leave real impressions on the reader, and it warms our souls – individually and as the weird bookish unit that we are – that more and more books with all of those lessons and moments continue to be written for young readers. But gushing about it doesn’t actually answer the question, so let’s go!

*****

Paige

  1. The first book that came to mind for me was City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab. If you read my August wrap-up, you’ll know exactly why! This definitely would have been a book that I would have read so often that my copy would be battered and bruised and well-loved.
  2. Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan was a required book for one of my Children’s Lit classes in grad school, and it’s another one I would have been obsessed with.
  3. I also wished I had read the His Dark Materials trilogy as a child. The themes of friendship are something I love and appreciate now, but I definitely could have benefited from exposure to Lyra, who refused to be what everyone expected, who was fiercely loyal, and whose story wasn’t completely happy, but ended just as it should have. (I’m giving this one my unofficial sixth place vote – hope you’re on board.)
  4. The Percy Jackson books would have been everything a young Paige would have ever wanted. I LOVE books involving mythology, and I have since I was very young.
  5. Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones would also have been right up my alley. I learned about it from Maggie Stiefvater on her tour for All the Crooked Saints last year when she said it was one of her favorite and most-reread childhood books. While staying with my in-laws for the holidays not long after, I saw a copy of it on one of their shelves and borrowed it. It is such a weird little book, and it would have been perfect for young Paige.

 

Kate

  1. The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau – I touched on this in the tag we posted Monday. This book came out when I was 13, so I was just slightly too old to have to read it for school, and I also probably would have thought I was above it if it was presented to me at the time. Well, I would have been wrong, and that’s okay. I love books that highlight intelligence and gumption in their young characters, and this one has it in spades.
  2. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett – This one is actually a semi-downer, and I’m sorry. (MORE THAN A SEMI DOWNER) This one I wish I would have read as a child so that I would have been able to tolerate it. I love this story – I owned several versions of the movie, and I watched the Hallmark Channel edition so much, my mother actually grounded me from it at one point, because she was tired of watching it. But through all of that, I never read the book. I tried to a couple of years ago and HATED IT. Even loving the story and knowing how it ends, I found Mary and Colin both to be insufferable, and I couldn’t take it long enough to finish it. That’s right – I DNF’d The Secret Garden. You can smite me. I understand. I will keep my Burnett children’s classics reading to A Little Princess from now on.
  3. Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan – Not to be a copycat, but this book is magical. I wish 10 year old Kate had this book, so she could have experienced the wonder and symmetry of it. It’s so special to experience a story that has so much to teach and so much entertain value in the same package.
  4. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznik – Aside from the illustrations, which are AMAZING, this book is just captivating. It almost reminds me of The Night Circus in terms of tone and style, and the layers to the beauty of it are what make it special. ESPECIALLY since it’s written for middle grade readers. Hugo faces so many obstacles, and he’s able to overcome them with the help of his wit and a few well-placed friends. That was favorite kind of story 20 years ago, and it’s still my favorite kind of story now.
  5. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster – Another children’s classic I didn’t read as a child, but this time I have good news. I loved this one! (THANK GOD) I’ve only read it once, and I only read it because of Paige’s enduring love for it, but I’m so glad that I took the leap. It’s both fantastical and ordinary, and therein lies its power. One of my favorite Madeleine L’Engle quotes is, “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” I think The Phantom Tollbooth is an excellent example of that sentiment.

*****

What are your childhood favorites? And what are some things you’ve discovered as an adult you wished you had as a child? We know there are multitudes of great answers, and we want to hear them all! Or at least as many as we possibly can.

As always, happy reading, Wednesdayers, and we’ll see you next week for some more Top 5 Wednesday!

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