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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Harry Potter Spells Tag!

Posted September 10, 2018 by Kate in Miscellaneous Tags / 1 Comment

What better way to kick off the week than answering some Harry Potter related tag questions? That’s right. There isn’t one.

*****

Expecto Patronum: A childhood book connected to good memories

Paige: My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George. My grandmother really like a lot of survivalist-type books (Hatchet, Julie of the Wolves, etc.) and this one was definitely my favorite. I will always associate this book with her. #teamgrandma

Kate: #teamgrandma is best team forever. I’m going to have to go with Redwall by Brian Jacques as my childhood book with good memories. It was my go-to series for years, and I never missed a release. It brings back memories of dragging my mom/Nana and Poppo/aunt/whoever would take me to the library and then curling up for hours on the couch at the lucky chauffeur’s house for hours to devour it.

Expelliarmus: A book that took you by surprise

Paige: Recently, Wild Blue Wonder by Carlie Soroziak surprised me a lot. I don’t usually do contemporaries, but I’m definitely trying out a few more and having great success! This book was full of sadness and grief with shining threads of hope and love through it, and that is a very special feeling to get from a book.

Kate: The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau. I’ve found that a lot of middle grade doesn’t translate well for me as an adult reader, but I was absolutely captivated by this story listening to it for the first time last year. Many of my friends talked about reading it for school and loving it, so I got it from the library, and I was glad to discover just how right they were.

Prior(i?) Incantato: The last book you read

Paige: Wild Blue Wonder is also the last book I read, ha. But in the interest of something new and different, I also finished Warcross earlier on in the same day as Wild Blue Wonder!

Kate: Just finished The Last Namsara on audio. So many feels oh my god.

Alohomora: A book that introduced you to a genre you had not considered before

Paige: Red Rising wasn’t the first science fiction book I ever read, but it really lit a fire under me to seek out more spacey-space books. Hard/classic science fiction still isn’t my favorite, but a lot of modern YA and adult sci-fi is really working for me.

Kate: Ha. Um. I don’t really do “new genres”. I like what I like, and I don’t really ever venture outside of it.

Riddikulus: A funny book you’ve read

Paige: I don’t usually do funny, but I LOVE reading memoirs of people (ladies) that I love, and Anna Kendrick’s Scrappy Little Nobody was the most recent one that I loved. I’m looking forward to Girl Logic by Iliza Schlesinger as well!

Kate: Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham. Like Paige, I don’t do a lot of standard humor, but I do enjoy a humorous memoir.

Sonorous: A book you think everyone should know about

Paige: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia. If you like fandom and reading about mental health issues (specifically anxiety), this is for you. Chessie is also a local author for me, and I always want to shout her out!

Kate: I don’t read anything original, a memoir by Kate.  But in terms of books I’ve read that I think are super valuable and everyone should experience, I have a lot of feelings about Fail Safe by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler.

Obliviate: A book or spoiler you would like to forget having read

Paige: Scrub Allegiant from my brain. Just get rid of it. Right now. BRAIN BLEACH

Kate: I could really do without the back half of Ruin and Rising. There are probably better examples, but it’s the most recent one.

Imperio: A book you had to read for school

Paige: I was on the English academic team for 6 years in middle school and college (are we surprised?), and my least favorite thing I had to read and know intimately was Beowulf. Gross.

Kate: Summer reading for sophomore year included Red Scarf Girl and The Road from Home. The first is about a young girl as she experience’s Mao’s rise in China, and the second is a fictionalized memoir of a young girl’s life and attempts at escaping the Armenian Genocide. It was one of those experiences that was so sad and anger-inducing to have, but I’m grateful now for the perspective and information that was presented to me that I might not have experienced otherwise.

Crucio: A book that was painful to read

Paige: Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Ugh. I can’t even elaborate.

Kate: The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I know it’s supposed to be great, but I hate it with every fiber of my being.

Avada Kedavra: A book that could kill (interpret as you will)

Paige: Crooked Kingdom almost killed me due to heart palpitations. Does that count?

Kate: The Reaper at the Gates for basically the same reason. Sabaa is an assassin with words.

*****

And there ya have it! Let us know some of your answers in the comments! See you Wednesday for some T5W action!

Happy reading 💛💜

 

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Kate’s August 2018 Wrap Up!

Posted September 5, 2018 by Kate in Monthly Wrap Ups / 0 Comments

Hello! Getting back into the swing of reading, while also getting caught back up on work and life post-wedding as been a little slow, but I FINALLY feel like I’m making some real progress! Seven books isn’t a lot, but under the circumstances, I’ll take it! Can’t wait to share with you!

*****

Sky In The Deep – Adrienne Young

I was SO excited for this book, but then I got distracted by other new shiny things in the spring, and now here we are. Paige and I are slowly working our way through subbox books with a buddy read marathon, and this has been my favorite so far. Love the viking theme, love that the romance was a real character evolution, love the characters themselves, and I love the mythical aspect of the two warring tribes having to find common ground in the greater good. I’m excited for the companion novel slated for next year, but I’m glad it’s not set to be a straight sequel. It pleases me when books really stand on their own.

Rating: 4.5 stars

 

The Last Namsara – Kristen Ciccarelli

This was a slow starter for me, and then OH MY GOD. I’m now just trash for this book. It’s beautiful. The layers built into the world building and the complex emotions felt by the characters make this fantastical world feel so real, and whenever I experience a book like that, it transforms me somehow.

Rating: 5 stars

 

Inheritance – Christopher Paolini

This was an audio re-read for me, and I hadn’t read this installment of The Inheritance Cycle since it came out 11 years ago. It was so much fun to go back to that world, because this series was a fast favorite of mine in high school. (I read the first two books in three days during pit rehearsal for the school musical – the director and conductor were less than thrilled.) I’m happy to say it’s stood the test of time, though there are a few linguistic quirks I could have done without. If I do another re-read of it, I’ll probably do the actual books, though. Inheritance on it’s own is over 30 hours, and that steals a lot of time from other things I have in my queue!

Rating: 4 stars

 

Okami and Yumi – Renee Ahdieh

These were two 10ish page companion novellas that take place between Flame in the Mist and Smoke in the Sun. They gave some great insight into a couple of characters we were introduced to in the first book, and who I am hoping will play a greater role in the second. I haven’t read it yet, but I have just started it, so stay tuned. I think I might end up re-reading Flame in the Mist as well, because I didn’t retain it well, and my original review really reflects that. What it comes down to is this: I really love this world, and I want to be more invested in the stories Ahdieh is creating within it.

Rating: 4 stars each

 

Tower of Dawn – Sarah J. Maas

Audio re-read. I find it really irritating that I no longer find Chaol irritating. I’ve been comfortable in my hatred of him since I read the first book, and to have that so rudely interrupted isn’t appreciated. Aside from that, I enjoyed listening to this book even more than I enjoyed reading it, and I enjoyed reading it quite a bit. Seeing a new facet of Erilea and getting to meet a new cast of characters gives this series a great refresh before going to the massive series of showdowns that I’m sure will make up the bulk of Kingdom of Ash.

Also, and I know Paige said something to this effect as well, if you have decided to skip this book, because it’s not part of the main storyline or you just aren’t a Chaol fan, DON’T DO IT. It contains major plot points, and you will be confused. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

Rating: 500 stars

I really can’t be trusted with Sarah J. Maas. Not sorry.

 

A Court of Mist and Fury – Sarah J Maas

Hi. What did I JUST SAY?

Rating: another 500 stars

*****

So there you have it. My tiny, tiny August reading list. I had an exceptional month, with no disappointments whatsoever. I’m not sure I’ve ever had that happen before, and I have to say, I like it!

What did you read this month? What did you love and hate? Would you care to try to derail me from the SJM fan train? Let me know in the comments!

Happy reading!

 

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Paige’s August 2018 Wrap Up!

Posted September 5, 2018 by Paige in Monthly Wrap Ups / 0 Comments

Hello everyone! I’m back again with a wrap-up and mini reviews of all the books I read in August! I had a good mix this month, and there are quite a few I can’t wait to share with you.

*****

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

I read this book as my “I have this on my Scribd app on my phone so I snatched a few moments here and there for a few days” read, mostly because it’s a YA book that SO MANY people have been hyped about in the last year. It is the first in a trilogy that has been reopened and more books are happening. HOWEVER. This was so not for me. Because it is such a ubiquitous series, I know which leg of the love triangle people love a lot, and I DESPISED that character in this first book. The plot was super iffy for me, the end-game love interest is evil, and the first-person writing style was not for me. 2 stars.

 

The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember

This is another ebook read for this month, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I will say that, while I enjoyed this book, there are definitely some issues with trans representation within the story that I, as a cis woman, cannot speak to. Instead, I am going to leave a link to another review that I found during my research that addressed a lot of the issues I had in a much more articulate way than I believe I ever could. I do have an ARC of the second book in the series, and I’m hoping that some of the issues are addressed.

 

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

Audio reread. Fifty stars.

 

The entire Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire

These novellas are EVERYTHING TO ME. They were audio rereads for me, and the audio version were incredibly magical, especially the second book BECAUSE it was narrated by the author. If you haven’t heard about them, the first book is called Every Heart a Doorway, and it takes place at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. It is a boarding school for children who have gone through a wardrobe, traveled through a looking glass, or found a door to another world, and who have returned to our world for one reason or another. In this series, children who don’t fit into our world often find their way to worlds that better suit them. While they are stand-alones, I truly believe you should read them in publication order (as it currently stand with the 3 books that are out at the time of this post). These books are ethereal and creepy. They have on-page asexual representation, trans rep, fat rep, and undoubtedly so much more as the series goes on. These books are a love letter to anyone who has ever felt like they didn’t fit where they were, and who would do anything to get to where they belong. I’m currently unable to be objective about them, but I HIGHLY recommend giving the first book a go. They are very short, quick reads, but they will grip your heart and never let go. A jillion stars.

 

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

This was part of my ongoing unofficial buddy read series with Kate where we are trying to get through a lot of our subscription box books, and I LOVED this one. Slow burn, enemies to lovers romance? Found family? Themes of war? Strong father-daughter relationships? VIKINGS?! Sign me directly up. This was a book where I was sad at the end because I knew it was a standalone, but I am also happy at the same time, because it wrapped up just how I would have wanted it to. 4 stars.

 

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

I wasn’t expecting to like this book, mostly because Chaol turned into a pissbaby, and I didn’t want to read hundreds of pages where I was supposed to care about him. While I still don’t really care that much, I did like a lot of the other characters, and the plot actually gripped me quite a lot. For everyone who has decided to skip on this book and just read Kingdom of Ash when it comes out…you’re gonna be disappointed and probably a little confused. Just read it, y’all. 4 stars.

 

Queens of Fennbirn by Kendare Blake

This book is a bind-up of two novellas in Blake’s Three Dark Crowns series, which I have a complicated relationship with. The next book comes out TODAY, although my copy is coming from Book Depository, so I’ll have to wait a bit. Kate and I lovingly refer to this series as trapping us/giving us Stockholm Syndrome, because we can’t quit it! As weird as I feel about the series as a whole, I LOVED these two stories. They are INCREDIBLY spoilery for the first book (and maybe also the second), so I wouldn’t recommend reading them until you’ve read Three Dark Crowns and One Dark Throne, as it would ruin some of the suspense that makes the full books so compelling. Obviously I have to be a little vague, but I would definitely recommend reading these stories if you feel as mixed about the series as we do. 4 stars.

 

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

So magical realism and I don’t mix, right? I keep trying and keep trying, but there are more hits and misses. I listened to this story, and there were definitely parts that I enjoyed. I can’t remember who I read from or listened to recently, but they said something to the effect of “I never know what to take as truth and what is a metaphor, and I usually end up feeling like I missed something big.” This was definitely true. I’m not giving this a star rating because it doesn’t seem fair.

ALSO Y’ALL. TRIGGER WARNING FOR RAPE AND EXTREME ASSAULT. I don’t know how many glowing reviews I’ve read and listened to where people talk about the beauty of this book but FAIL TO MENTION THIS. I was listening to the book while working, and when I got to this part, I felt physically ill and had to turn it off and just sit for a minute. I can normally handle decently hard-hitting topics, but this was SO out of left field. So like…guys. I’m trying to get better at writing trigger warnings for things that don’t bother me but could definitely bother other people (which can be hard sometimes, but that’s why I’m working on it!), but I feel like trigger warnings for rape are pretty straightforward. Let’s do better.

 

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

This month brought to you by audiobooks! I really enjoyed this story, and it really appealed to the part of me that would pick characters over plot. Not a ton happens in the book, but it still made me feel things incredibly deeply. This book deals with depression, suicide, loss, grief, and family deceit. There is on-page bisexuality and our narrator is a lesbian and there is GIRLS LOVING GIRLS WHY ARE THERE NOT TEN MILLION BOOKS ABOUT GIRLS LOVING GIRLS. If you want a sad story that is ultimately hopeful but hard-hitting, this little one is for you. 4 stars.

 

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller.

I also listened to this one. I’ve been trying to scan through my owned TBR books and find things that I think I can consume via audio so I can try and truck through it, and this seemed like a good candidate. I think this was about a 3 star read for me. It was fine, but it took me a really long time to warm up to the main character. It felt like the set up for a second book, which is fine, but I wanted more action. I did enjoy the push and pull of the romantic plotline, and I am HERE for all-lady pirate crews, so I decided to continue with this duology even though I was lukewarm on the first book.

 

The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen A. Flynn

This book is my choice for my traveling book project I’m running on Twitter! The project just started, but once it’s been running for a few months, I will be able to write a more in-depth post about it. I read and annotated this book, which is not something I usually do! I actually really enjoyed it for the most part, but the way the author handled the main character’s sexuality and didn’t jive with me, and it was prolific enough that it knocked the book down to a 3.5 for me. This is a near-future story about a pair of scholars that join a project to travel back in time to recover a lost Jane Austen novel. Take out the weird romance stuff (not the actual romance plot, but the narrator’s odd inner voice), and I would have loved this book. The way it was wrapped up moved me deeply, and I am a sucker for anything Jane Austen AND for light sci-fi, so this could have been a slam dunk for me. In a few months, I’ll be able to give you more insight into what some other people thought about it!

 

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

This is another traveling book! This is for a YA edition that sprang from my original project, and I’m excited to be doing both. This book is written as the diary of a lady’s maid who is trapped in a tower with her lady, who is being punished for defying her father. The first third of the book trudged a little bit, but it was entirely necessary. Once the second part of the book commenced, I was hooked. There was angst and loyalty and sisterhood and more angst and forbidden love and secret identities and it was SO MUCH MORE than the first part of the book promised. I loved the mythology, I loved how loyal the main character was, and I just adored it. 4.5 stars!

 

Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller

She’s back! I also listened to this book, and I enjoyed it WAY more than the first installment. There was more action and intrigue and struggle and high-stakes and it was so much more of what I wanted than the first book was. Alossa (who is our main character) really comes into her own, and I adore her for it. I definitely think this book is worth reading the first book for. 4 stars

 

Shadow of the Fox by Julia Kagawa

This book took me 18 days to read. That is unheard of for me, and I 100% attribute it to the god-awful format of the eARC I was reading. It put me off reading it so much that I wouldn’t pick the book up for DAYS. I finished 10 other books between starting and finishing this one. As such, I feel like my reading experience was colored by how hard it was for me to drag my eyes across the page. I haven’t read anything from Julie Kagawa before, and I was super jazzed to read this one. Japanese mythology is one of my favorite things, and I love foxes! So a main character who is part kitsune is right up my alley. I loved how naive and hopeful she was, and it ended up making for some funny moments. The broody angsty male character was a little bit of an eye-roll, but he definitely cracks his deep dark emo shell a little bit as the book goes on. There is also a character that the duo meets about halfway through the book that I adore. Although this book ends on a cliffhanger (I didn’t know it was a series, ANGST), I’m not sure I’ll be continuing with it yet. Hopefully once people start reading when it comes out, someone will grab me by the shoulders and tell me to read a finished copy.

 

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

She’s at it again! I have been excited about this book for months, and it did not disappoint. It showed up at my door on release day, and I came home from work, put on my comfy clothes, lit a candle, and read it in one go. This book felt like coming home. It felt like I was rereading a childhood favorite. It was spooky and ethereal and atmospheric and SET IN SCOTLAND. It had all the aspects of Schwab’s writing that I absolutely adore in all her other books, but written for a younger audience. I finished it and walked into our office hugging it and waited until my husband acknowledged me, then just whispered “I love it so much.” I adore Cassidy. I adore the way ghosts and the veil work. I love Jacob. I want so many more books in this series.

 

My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

This was another audio read. I listened to My Lady Jane during the last round of Tome Topple, and it was just okay for me. However, I enjoyed this installment much much more, and you can read one without reading the other! This book is a Jane Eyre retelling, but Charlotte Bronte is a character, the story is painted as being real-life events, and there’s basically a fancy Ghostbusters-type organization added in. If you love Jane Eyre, silly ghost stories, or snarky narration, this one is for you!

 

The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

I read this one because Kate was inexplicably compelled to pick it up and loved it! From the very beginning, I had super mega turbo Zuko from Avatar the Last Airbender vibes, and that never went away. Our main character shamed her family and her people, and she has been working for years to try and absolve herself of that shame by hunting THE AVATAR. I mean. Dragons. Not the Avatar. There’s forbidden romance, dragons, political intrigue, dragons, powerful stories, dragons, deceit, and also dragons. What more do you want? The sequel, The Caged Queen, comes out later this month! 5 stars.

 

Warcross by Marie Lu

This book was a love-letter to me as a gamer. I was definitely late the the hype train about this book (the sequel comes out in October), and I’m so happy to have read it. I really enjoyed the audio narrator, I loved the gaming references, I loved the tech world building, and the ending absolutely tore me up. There were a few parts in the middle that had me losing attention at certain parts, but the world-building in the beginning and the amped-up plot toward the end really gripped me. I am so stoked for the sequel! 4 stars.

 

Wild Blue Wonder by Carlie Sorosiak

Trigger warnings for death, unhealthy coping with grief, and mental illness.

This book was so not what I was expecting. I don’t normally reach for contemporaries, and I had heard it had some magical realism to it, so I was a little worried. However, there was only a tiny bit of magical realism to it, and none of it made me think I was missing a memo. This book is written in alternating chapters of Before and After a traumatizing event, where the Before chapters are spoken directly to a character that we presume has died, and the after is a first-person account of the main character dealing with the aftermath. More and more about the event is revealed to us as the story progresses, which I believe could be frustrating for some people, but I found that it worked. There’s a soft cinnamon roll boy love interest, one of the main characters is gay (and it isn’t an issue or a plot device hell yeah!), and there’s so much love and support from the friends and family of the main characters despite the family conflict that exists. I found this to be another sad-but-hopeful book in the same way We Are Okay was, and I think there’s something to those books that really resonates with something inside me. This one was a 5 star book for me!

*****

21 books for me this month! Many were rereads, many were audio, and more than a few were less-than-stellar, but I still feel really accomplished. Let me know if the comments if you’ve read any of these and what you thought! Thanks guys.

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T5W – Favorite Friend Groups

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

We’re jumping back into the Top 5 Wednesday game with a prompt that’s near and dear to our hearts – Favorite Friend Groups! The real question is how will we narrow it down? Let’s see who we’ve got!

*****

Paige

  1. Hello, it’s me, one of your two favorite SJM trash fans. This list wouldn’t be complete without the Court of Dreams’ Inner Circle. Rhys, Feyre, Cassian, Azriel, Mor, and Amren are friendship and loyalty goals. Don’t even get me started on Rhys’ speech right before battle in ACoWaR. THE FEELS. Why would you bring up that speech? Why? 
  2. The Howlers from Red Rising. Sevro and Darrow are a true brotp of mine, but the whole pack of Howlers are LITERALLY ride or dies. Or Iron Rain and dies, either or.
  3. Kvothe and company from The Name of the Wind. I love this book so damn much, and the gentlefriends that Kvothe lucks into in his years at the University are some of the truest friends I’ve ever read. NOW YOU READ IT.
  4. Tohru Honda, Saki Hanajima, and Arisa Uotani from the Fruits Basket manga. I LOVED this series when I was in middle school, but I never had the money to buy all the books. I recently borrowed them all from my local library and binged them, and MAN are Saki and Arisa awesome. Tohru is a happy-go-lucky girl who has been through hell and back, and her best friends in the whole world are fiercely protective and loyal to this cinnamon bun of a girl. Their dynamic reminds me of my best lady friends.
  5. All the friends in Eliza and Her Monsters. Both Eliza’s online friends and Wallace’s general friend group are so awesome and supportive. Eliza and Wallace both suffer from extreme anxiety and deal with it in different ways, and ALL of their friends take it in stride and do their best to be supportive of whatever it is that Eliza and Wallace need to do to cope.

Kate

Okay, but really, all Paige’s list made me do was remember I’m still being sluggish working my way through NotW, and now I’m sad. And I also haven’t red Red Rising yet. Please don’t smite me!

  1. Inner Circle. Inner Circle. INNER CIRCLE. I wrote half a sappy blog post about it a few months ago, and it’s even more true now than it was then. I literally tear up thinking about them and all the silly ways they remind me of my own friends. And ACoFaS made it sooooo much worse.
  2. The Fellowship, except kind of Boromir till right there at the very end. Ironically, I will defend him till I end. Don’t @ me. Or do, because I really love talking about it. 
  3. I’ve been looking for half an hour, but I can’t find it. The group that goes to fight at the end of Dreams of Gods and Monsters, that represents the seraphim and chimera working together and all the cheesy feels. You’d think I’d remember better details, besides the fact that they were in the Kirin caves, but I do not. All I know is that reading it gave me goosebumps, and I had the distinct thought that I would feel safe if I knew that group was going to fight for and with me. And I think for this prompt, that counts.
  4. The whole motley Lunar Chronicles crew. I was actively disappointed not to be invited to Scarlet and Wolf’s wedding, and also I want to save the galaxy and hang out with them forever. (same)
  5. The March sisters in Little Women. I realize they aren’t technically a friend group, but when I was younger, this was one of my favorite stories and movies, and I always wished I had siblings to create a club with like they did. Don’t get me wrong – I had cousins I was raised with, and excellent groups of friends, but there wasn’t anyone my age in my house that I could bond with. I was always actively jealous of Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy – and even Laurie to a lesser degree – because they just all seemed so connected and were able to create their own little world.

*****

They ya have it! Favorite friend groups brought to you by a pair of best friends. What could be better than that?

What are some of your favorite friend groups? We’d love to hear from you!!

Until next week, Wednesdayers!

 

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I DARE YOU Book Tag!

Posted August 9, 2018 by A Conjuring of Lit in Miscellaneous Tags / 0 Comments

In honor of National Book Lovers Day, we wanted to share some random reading and bookish facts with you! And we’re off!

1. What book has been on your shelf the longest?

Kate: In terms of books I actively read/still read/have any intention of reading in the future, probably my paperback copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I’ve had it since ‘99. I have a bunch of my childhood board books, but I don’t think those count for some reason.

Paige: My original HP #1 book was lost in a break-up (I am definitely a lot more stingy about who I lend things out to now), otherwise that would totally be my answer. I’ll have to give second runner up to my Chamber of Secrets hardcover, because it is my oldest original copy. I still have all the other original HP books that I read as they came out. Nostalgia!

2. What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?

Kate: Lololololol I read many things at once.
Current: Sky In the Deep – buddy read w/ Paige, Inheritance audiobook, and The Diviners on my Kindle. There are others, but those are the only ones I’m actively reading. Post-wedding energy slump is REAL.
Last read was Heart of Iron
I absolutely must read Godsgrave next, or I might die.

Paige: My current reads according to Goodreads are Tower of Dawn (I am trying!), Sky in the Deep (going so quickly!), Down Among the Sticks and Bones (audiobook read by the author!), and Shadow of the Fox (eARC #blessed)
If my friend Mike is reading this, I’m totally starting The Way of Kings next. In all reality, I’m hoping to either read Obsidio or one of my subscription box books next. Maybe Ash Princess?

3. What book did everyone like but you hated?

Kate: Caraval. I couldn’t even finish it. I had a very negative, very powerful reaction to it. It still makes me angry to think about, and I picked it up the week it was released.

Paige: I also hate Caraval. Don’t @ me.I also hate The Magicians trilogy. I wish I would have had a physical copy of the second one so I could throw it against a wall. I almost finished it, got disgusted, and I refuse to try again.

4. What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?

Kate: Probably Outlander. I’m genuinely interested, but there are so many other series full of giant books that are a greater priority to me.

Paige: Oh this is really hard. Currently it FEELS like I won’t ever get to the Wheel of Time books because I’m drowning, but I really really really do want to.
Kate: I’m stealing hers. I’ve been ⅓ of the way through the fourth one for almost four years now.

5. What book are you saving for retirement?

Kate: Anything written by someone with a Russian surname. I was an English major and read my fair share of hefty translations in college, but I tend to save my giant reads for things from the fantasy section these days.

Paige: At this point, the next Game of Thrones books. I’ll have to reread them because it has been so long, and it was a LONG couple of months when I binged the first 5 the first time.

6. Last page: read it first or wait till the end?

Kate: I’m about 50/50. Sometimes I look because I’m bored, sometimes because I’m excited, and sometimes because I’m just curious. Other times it becomes a personal challenge not to for the same reasons.

Paige: I don’t ever feel tempted to read the last page, but I DO struggle when the last paragraph of a tense chapter is on the right hand side of the book. I have to try really hard to not look at the last sentence and see how angsty things are gonna be.

7. Acknowledgment: waste of paper and ink or interesting aside?

Kate: I tend to really enjoy them. Not a fan of when they take up more than a page or two, though.

Paige: I’ll be honest, I don’t tend to read them unless I feel some sort of connection with the author as a person.

8. Which book character would you switch places with?

Kate: Feyre. No contest.

Paige: Rude answer-stealing Hobbitses (Ha!)…More realistically, I’ll go with Cath from Fangirl. I wouldn’t survive Feyre’s life, but I could definitely be okay with being a successful writer with an adorable boyfriend.

9. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life? (place, time, person, etc.)

Kate: I have a few, and most of them are dumb. My personal favorite is actually Twilight, not because of the book, but because of the traditions a group of friends from high school had surrounding the book. We read better ones, but Twilight started it all.

Yes, we did a Twilight themed photo shoot in homemade Twilight puffy paint t-shirts. We were cool.

Paige: Dune, and just hear me out. This was the first book my husband gave me as a gift (he also got me The Killing Joke), and I also got him a really beautiful copy as a gift on our wedding day.

10. Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.

Kate: I feel like I’ve had them thrown at me, but I can’t think of an example right now. I really don’t know. I tend to just buy them on a whim.

Paige: I acquired a signed copy of Taggerung by Brian Jacques in the regular section of a Half Price Books in Cincinnati. I didn’t realize it was signed until I got home. $8 well spent!

11. Have you ever given a book away for a special reason to a special person?

Kate: Not that I can remember. I’ve given countless gifts that include books, but I rarely give them away. I become emotionally attached to them, and I don’t think I could ever handle that. The most meaningful book gift I’ve ever given was probably to my niece for her 10th birthday. We gave her both the book and movie of Matilda, and her card said reminded her to “always remember she has magic inside her.”

Paige: Aside from my above story about Dune, I gave my grandmother copies of My Side of the Mountain and The Far Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George because she had introduced them to me when I was young, and her memory was starting to fail her. I was so pleased when she opened them and her eyes lit up with the memory. I have the copies myself now that they are gone, and I cherish them.

12. Which book has been with you the most places?

Kate: This is the hardest for me to answer for some reason. Probably The Five People You Meet In Heaven. I haven’t actually taken it that many places, but I bought it in Germany, and it’s message about empathy is something I think about A LOT. I’ve only read it once, but it’s stuck with me for a long time.

Paige: The Secret Garden! I’ve taken a copy to Texas, bought a copy in Michigan, and had one in my carry-on when I went to Europe.

13. Any required reading you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later?

Kate: The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington. My junior year of high school, my English teacher tried to squeeze this one in during the last 10 days of the year. It was not well-received by the students, and between end of year craziness and AP testing, he didn’t really have time to teach it. But I picked it up randomly in college, and I actually really enjoyed it. I still have it 11 years later.

Paige: I’m pretty set in my ways about my hatred of things I read in high school. No regrets. My school sucked.

14. Used or brand new?

Kate: Either! I probably prefer new, but I can’t turn down a good bargain, especially if the book’s in decent shape.

Paige: As long as it is in really good condition (cuz I’m a snob), I am happy with either.

15. Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?

Kate: I have. It was fine.

Paige: I was really into them for a little while, and then it was like a switch flipped in my brain and I was over it.

16. Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book?

Kate: See above question haha

Paige: The Shawshank Redemption. Stephen King seems to be a fun person (mostly his dog), but his writing isn’t really for me.

17. Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks included?

Kate: I read cookbooks for fun, so this is PERFECT for me. Share by Chris Santos made my mouth water. It’s a whole cookbook full of small plates and shareable cocktails and I just wanted to invite my friends over and make it all. SO GOOD.

Paige: If you don’t get hungry reading Redwall feast scenes, you’re a cop.

18. Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?

Kate: Since Paige is a copout, I’ll go with either Rachel or Lisa. One’s a friend from college, the other is in those beautiful Twilight themed pictures up there, and they both have exquisite taste.

Paige: I also swear by Rachel’s recommendations! I also really like a lot of Booktubers for their recs, and my first favorite creator ever is Sam from Thoughts On Tomes.

19. Is there a book out of your comfort zone that you ended up loving?

Kate: How to Buy a Love of Reading. I picked it up from the library before a family road trip, which is perplexing, because it’s contemporary, the description paints it as much more fluffy than it actually is, and it has one of those hand drawn covers that usually makes me crazy. But I devoured it. I went out and bought a copy when I got home, and it’s still on my shelf.

Paige: The Name of the Wind for sure. At the time, I was pretty daunted by giant adult fantasy novels. I am now madly, madly in love with the book. It is a masterpiece.

*****

Whew! That was fun. Let us know your answers in the comments!

Happy reading!

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Monthly Wrap-Up: July 2018

Posted July 31, 2018 by Paige in Monthly Wrap Ups / 0 Comments

Welcome to the end of July everyone! It’s Harry Potter’s birthday, it’s my brother’s birthday, and it’s also time for my first ever monthly reading wrap-up! Kate will be joining in these shenanigans in future months, but she’s had maybe the busiest July ever (one of her awesome friends got married out of state, and she is getting married herself this weekend. SEND GOOD VIBES HER WAY!) So here are all of the books I read this month, along with a few of my thoughts and general ratings for them.

Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch- This was a failed buddy read with my friend Mike, and by that I mean I could NOT keep up with him. He’s actually already finished with the 3rd book in the series, but I totally don’t blame him. This book was PHENOMENAL. Scott Lynch weaves such a beautiful braided narrative where I truly don’t know what’s going to happen next. Locke and Jean are one of my favorite brOTPs of all time, and I am infinitely entertained by their antics. This is the second book in a series (the first is The Lies of Locke Lamora) featuring orphans, thieves, con-men, and general fuckery. I highly recommend picking up the first book. FIVE STARS

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows – This was an audio read for Tome Topple, and I really had no idea what it was going to be like before I got to it. I knew My Plain Jane was coming in my July Owlcrate box, so I decided to get a taste of what was to come. Ultimately, I’m currently at about a 3.5 star rating because I can understand why some people enjoy it, but it really isn’t for me. I definitely appreciated the audio version more than I think I would have enjoyed the print version. This was basically a retelling of the story of Lady Jane Grey, but with magical shapeshifters and a complete alternate history, told with humor. It sounds cool, but it ultimately didn’t jive with me.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee- HOLY CRAP. I loved this book, and it is a classic example of me wondering why I took so long to read something. I read this in two days, and I regret nothing. Our main character Monty is the ridiculously charismatic bi character I never knew I always needed to read about. Monty and his best friend Percy are about to go on tour before Percy goes off to school and Monty takes over learning how to manage his father’s estate, and hijinks absolutely ensue. I absolutely adore Monty, Percy, and Monty’s sister Felicity (who will make an appearance later on in this wrap-up!), and I was heartsick while I was rooting for Monty and Percy’s love. I definitely was thrown for a loop near the end, but ultimately it was exactly what my little heart wanted. 4.5 stars!

Renegades by Marissa Meyer- Oh man. Okay. Let me start off by saying this book is fine, and I will absolutely be continuing with the series. That being said, I was so disappointed. If I hadn’t been buddy-reading this with Kate for Tome Topple, I probably would have set it aside. I absolutely adore Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles and Heartless, so I was absolutely amped to read a story she wrote about superheroes and villains and what happens after society collapses and needs to be built back up. Sadly, I absolutely did not connect with a single character, and that is the easiest way to get me to stop caring. Our main character, Nova, was never gray enough for me. The plot didn’t drive forward enough for me. But goddammit, did that ending shock the crap out of me. Probably about a 3.5 stars, but I’m kinda wishy-washy about that.

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo – You guys. This book…I cannot handle it. While I was reading it, I had to keep setting it aside for 2-3 minutes and take a breather before I could pick it back up again. My angst and stress meters were off the goddamn charts. I LOVE THESE CHARACTERS SO MUCH. I cannot even begin to pick my favorite. Kaz, Inej, Jesper, Wylan, Nina, and Matthias are so important to my well-being. This series probably deserves its own gush post just so I can screech about how much I adore them. What the original Grisha trilogy didn’t do for me, this did in SPADES. Since this is the second book in a duology, I once again cannot elaborate too much about my love, but keep an eye out for my thoughts on this duology. Once I can form coherent thoughts again, that is. FIVE HEART-PALPITATING STARS

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – This is one of my favorite books. This was a re-listen to the audio. Jim Dale is flawless. Celia and Marco own my soul. Just…go read this book. It will enchant you.

Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart – This is a book that actually comes out today! I got a copy in my June Fairyloot box, and we were fortunate enough to get access to the story early. The book itself is gorgeous. I sped through the story in a couple of days. It was very easy to read, and it definitely gave me hardcore Red Queen vibes. I’m hesitant to recommend this book because it definitely felt foundational. I’m intrigued to see where the story goes from here. I’m hovering around a 3.5 star rating. I recommend checking out Goodreads reviews to get a few more coherent thoughts and investigate the plot.

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee- Felicity is back! This October, Felicity Montague gets her own book that takes places after the events of Gentleman’s Guide. We find Felicity living in Edenburgh (swoon), working for a local bakery and trying to find someone to take her on as a student of medicine. This book is a love letter to the struggles women face, especially in traditionally male spaces. There’s also a variety of LGTQ+ representation (I won’t speak exactly to the types of rep because no character specifically states their orientation, so I don’t want my lack of education on the subject to step on the toes of anyone who is Own Voices in this situation. If you can enlighten me more on Felicity and Sim’s rep, please feel free to leave a comment!!!), as well as a Muslim main character. Again, loved this book. Preordered it before I finished it. It comes out this October! 4.5 stars

Leah On the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli – While I have read up on some criticisms of this book due to a particular line (which I will 100% say put a bad taste in my mouth), I will again leave it up to those more knowledgeable to me to speak about the bisexual representation in this book. What I CAN say is that Leah is a character that grew on me, and I was happy to be inside her head for the duration of my audio listen of this book. I absolutely ADORE Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, and I was excited to return to Shady Creek. That being said, PLEASE look up some other reviews for information on (potential) hurtful bisexual representation if that is something that is concerning for you. I have read several reviews that have alluded to a harmful scene. Besides that, 4 stars. I wish there had been a little more plot, but this book read more like a slice of Leah’s life. I’m not totally opposed, but I’m glad I was able to listen to this instead of reading a physical copy. It probably would have been a difficult read.

Heir of Fire, Queen of Shadows, and Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas – I figured I would talk about all of these together since they are books 3, 4, and 5 in the Throne of Glass series. I will admit, it took me until Heir of Fire (having read the first two books plus the prequel novellas) to finally get into the series, but once I got there, I was totally hooked. Surprise, I’m Sarah J. Maas trash. There’s not much more to say other than I am SO EXCITED for Kingdom of Ash. 5 fangirl take-this-with-a-grain-of-salt stars.

Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston – Meh. This was an Owlcrate book, and I WANTED to love it. It was an Owlcrate book earlier this year, and we got a gorgeous copy with purple sprayed edges. PURPLE. There are not enough purple books. However, this Anastasia in space retelling just fell flat for me. There were some EGREGIOUS editorial issues, and I ultimately wasn’t that engaged in the story line. I definitely should have been. There is a M/M romance, a rogue AI, and it’s set in space. The premise was really good and should have checked a lot of boxes for me, and it just fell flat on execution. I’ve been waffling for a while because I hate giving reviews on meh books, but I think I’ve settled on 2.5 stars overall.

Furyborn by Claire Legrand- This was a reread for me. I had gotten an advanced copy of this book (and I’ve reviewed it on this blog!), but I hadn’t read a finished copy. I had put a hold on the audio version ages ago, and when it popped up on my Libby app, I decided it was time. I really loved the narrator. It was only one person, but she was talented enough to make it feel like full cast audio. If you’re interested in some more in-depth thoughts, check out my review here!

So there you have it! I read 14 books this month, and I feel like that is pretty solid for me. I’m hoping life will get less crazy and I can tackle even more books in August, especially since I am excited for a TON of fall releases, but my TBR shelf just doesn’t seem to be getting any less crowded. Comment down below to let me know your thoughts on these books if you’ve read any of them. You can also ask me for more elaborate thoughts on books that have piqued your interests. Thanks guys!

Paige

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Non-Bookish Content: 3 Things Book Tag

Posted July 25, 2018 by A Conjuring of Lit in About Us / 5 Comments

Hey guys! We thought we’d shake things up a little bit today and provide you with a few non-bookish facts about us as a way to give you a little more insider info about the nerdy ladies behind the screen. The original tag was created by Steph, the version of the tag we are using can be found here, and we were inspired by Madalyn at Novel Ink to do this tag for ourselves! Without further ado, here are the questions.

  • Three things we’d never give up

Paige: Dogs and fluffy creatures in general. If I ever develop and allergy or something, I’ll just have to suck it up. My dog Max is my favorite person. Pop punk music, because my middle and high school tastes have fused themselves to my personality, and I will absolutely never grow out of my love for Fall Out Boy. Pokemon games, because I love becoming attached to my little virtual dog-fighters.

Kate: Diet Coke – I already have to give it up 8 hours a day, because I work at one of the licensed promotional distributors for Pepsi. (LIFEBLOOD) That’s more than a person can realistically be asked to give, okay? Leggings – I’m a big believer in personal comforts for both relaxation and motivation. My books – I feel like this one’s self-explanatory.

  • Three Favorite Vegetables

Paige: Mushrooms – sauteed, stuffed, raw, marinated, ANYTHING. Red onions, bonus points if they’re pickled and on top of a bougie sandwich. Peppers of any and all sorts.

Kate: Cauliflower, Mushrooms, Brussels Sprouts – I used to hate all of these things, and then I grew up and learned I was wrong.

  • Three favorite fruits

Paige: Cherries, clementines, and bananaz.

Kate: Honeycrisp apples, strawberries, and cantaloupe. But it has to be a good, flavorful, musky cantaloupe, not one of those flavorless balls of acrid orange water.

  • Three shows I watched faithfully from beginning to end

Paige: Apart from Game of Thrones, there is literally no other show that I KNOW I have seen every episode of. But don’t worry, Kate 100% has me covered.

Kate: *cracks knuckles and stretches* WELL! I guess I’ll just have to tell you about five of mine, because SOMEONE is slacking. Admittedly, some of these are still on, but given that I’ve watched (and rewatched) loyally, I’m counting them anyway. Gilmore Girls is first and foremost in my heart. Always and forever. Except for the new ones – they don’t exist to me. Friends is also near and dear. I’ve watched it several (20, 25, 30ish times – who knows?) in its entirety, despite the fact that it premiered when I was four. I grew up alongside the characters of One Tree Hill, and it’s a show that I still rewatch and am affected by. The other two are, without question Grey’s Anatomy and Cougar Town. And by “without question” I mean they are the first ones that popped into my head, and I’ve since thought about 15 more. I watch A LOT of TV.

  • Three places we want to visit inside the US

Paige: Seattle, because my soul is convinced it belongs in the PNW. New York City, because I feel like there are so many things there that I absolutely must experience. New Orleans, because I want a damn beignet.

Kate: I have three big US trips that I’ve been toying with for some time now. I’d like to take a good 10 days or so for each one and really take the time to explore. I want to go to the PNW and see Seattle and Portland, do a loop through Asheville, Charleston, and Savannah; and finally, I’d like to see New England during fall foliage time, ideally staying in small towns in New Hampshire and Vermont, and finishing up with some delicious seafood on the Maine coast.

  • Three places we want to visit outside the US

Paige: Ireland, because my sister in law has visited twice since I have known her and MY GOD AM I JEALOUS. Also Kate has gone, and she went without me. Rude. The UK! Specifically London, for many of the same deep-seated reasons that I feel the need to visit NYC.

Kate: London and Ireland are great. You should totally do that. And also take me with you so I can go again! My wishlist is ever-changing, but my current top three are Scotland, Norway, and the Czech Republic. That list almost hurt me to write, because I had to cut off so many places.

  • Three things we always have with us

Paige: At least one lip balm, headphones, and some sort of book (I know this is a non-bookish, but this is just real life)

Kate: Phone, book, pen. It’s also rare to find me without my drivers license stashed somewhere on my person or in my immediate vicinity. I’m paranoid about needing it and not being able to find it.

  • Three qualities we like about ourselves

Paige: Especially compared to the version of myself from just a few years ago, I am much more comfortable in my skin. I also pride myself in my sense of humor. I ALSO feel like I am a pretty good friend, but I guess Kate has more of a valid opinion on that than I do.

Kate: She’s great. Either that or I have Stockholm Syndrome, because I invest large amounts of time and energy and silliness with Paige and don’t regret a second of it. As far as what I like about myself, I’d have to go with loyalty, hilariously ironic maternal instincts, and my sense of humor. It’s STUPID, and half the time I’m the only one who thinks I’m funny, but as I get older, I’m okay with that.

  • Three qualities we dislike about ourselves

Paige: I am horrendously impatient. My anxiety issues overall, which can make me scared or irritable or even more impatient or just incredibly sad. Unsubscribe. I also wish I was a couple of inches taller, not for aesthetic reasons, but because I feel like I could reach SO MANY MORE THINGS.

Kate: DANGER WILL ROBINSON! Generally speaking, I’m not a huge fan of myself, but the help of family, friends, licensed professionals, and sheer force of will, I’m getting there. Impatience is also top of my list – I want things done on my schedule. I also break down, sometimes completely, when plans get messed up. I could do without the little beast in my brain named depression, because it makes just about everything more difficult even when i’m having a great day. And finally, I could have done without gaining all this weight from emotional comfort eating (see point number two) that I now am in a position of having to work with a doctor, nutritionist, and trainer to lose.

  • Three most recent movies we watched

Paige: The Incredibles 2 (liked), Black Panther (LOVED), and Infinity War (can’t speak about this still)  OH GOD HOW DID I FORGET DEADPOOL. So gud. So. So gud. This is four, but Kate reminded me about Deadpool and I can’t take it off.

Kate: Um. I don’t know. The last one I saw in the theater was Deadpool 2. I watched The Greatest Showman and Baywatch on the plane back from Italy. I know I’ve seen movies other than that in the last two months, but I can’t think of them right now.

  • Three books we read and loved in high school

Paige: Enchantment by Orson Scott Card, which makes me sad because he’s a trash can. Twilight, because I was 16 in 2007. The Vampire Academy books for the exact same reason. ASK KATE ABOUT MY SCHOOL’S ADHERENCE TO REQUIRED READING STANDARDS.

Kate: It…wasn’t great…but I’ve learned since then that my high school was overly thorough, so we’ll just leave that one alone. My three favorite books/series in high school were Eragon, Mortal Instruments, and A Great and Terrible Beauty until she made KARTIK TURN INTO A FRIGGIN’ TREE! (You’re a tree) I’m still not over it, and I refuse to apologize for an 11 year old spoiler.

  • Three most often used makeup products

Paige: Ya girl is 99% makeup free because she sucks at it, but if I do wear something, it’s almost always eye related or lipstick.

Kate: I only wear makeup about 25% of the time, but when I do, my go-to products are some kind of blush, the OG Naked Palette by Urban Decay, and Better Than Sex mascara by Too Faced.

  • Three pet peeves

Paige: Generally oblivious people, mostly in the context of my job. It’s a very autonomous research type position, and people can be loud in a quiet space or take up TONS of room where there isn’t any, and it makes me rage. When people “soak” dishes in the sink for days on end and suddenly I’m out of fucking forks. People who are rude to service workers.

Kate: HAVING EXPECTATIONS OF OTHERS YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO MAKE AN HONEST EFFORT TO LIVE UP TO YOURSELF. I think this applies to work, family, and friends. If you’re gonna ask for it, you better be willing to give it. People who refuse to move out of the left lane. When other people’s plodding or procrastination affects my schedule.

  • Three things that make us laugh

Paige: Top-notch games of Quiplash with excellent friends. Unexpected jokes from my incredibly mild and dead-pan husband. The interesting ways my cats arrange their bodies and faces.

Kate: Aside from a whole host of things that probably shouldn’t, I’m going to start by stealing Paige’s Quiplash answer. We have hilarious acquaintances. Anything dry or punny even though I pretend to be annoyed. My dog when he misses a jump. (It’s HILARIOUS. Malcolm is v v v talented.)

  • Three things that make us cry

Paige: Sad animal stories. Videos where animals are reunited with their people. When my dog is being painfully adorable. See a theme here?

Kate: I’m a crier, so this one’s tough to narrow down. Top three: seeing my mother cry, that bone-deep exhaustion that hits when you try to take on too much and finally start to let some things go (or maybe that’s just me?), and my grandparents’ birth and death days.

 

So that’s a little bit more about us! Comment down below if you have any more questions, or if you’re also a huge Diet Coke fiend like both of us, or if you read any of these at all and think OH GOD ME TOO I THOUGHT I WAS THE ONLY ONE! Wanna do this tag yourself? CONSIDER YOURSELF TAGGED! Leave us a link to your tag post or video in the comments. Thank you so much for reading!

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#TomeTopple Readathon Wrap Up

Posted July 18, 2018 by A Conjuring of Lit in Events / 3 Comments

This round of Tome Topple has come to a close, and we’re here to share our successes with you! If you didn’t see our post about this event, it is a 2-week-long readathon that happens a few times a year (depending on how crazy the hosts’ lives are!) where the focus is on reading giant books. Specifically books over 500 pages. As readers of science fiction and fantasy, we have LOTS OF BIG BOOKS, so this readathon was basically tailor-made for us. The five challenges were:

  1. Read more than one tome
  2. Read a graphic novel
  3. Read a tome that is part of a series
  4. Buddy read a tome
  5. Read an adult novel

Were we successful? Let’s find out!

Paige:

I definitely feel like I was successful! I was in a super turbo reading slump in the weeks ahead of the readathon, and I was hoping the challenges and community engagement would motivate me. While I didn’t complete all the challenges or stick completely to my TBR, I did manage to read the equivalent of 2910 pages. HOORAY! I finished:

  • Red Seas Under Red Skies (which I was about halfway through when the readathon started, but fight me)
  • My Lady Jane
  • The Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
  • Renegades
  • Crooked Kingdom
  • And The Night Circus!

My Lady Jane and The Night Circus were audiobook reads, while the other 4 were physical books that had been burning a hole in my TBR shelf for quite some time.

Challenges:

  1. Read more than one tome? CHECK (six is more than one, right?)
  2. Read a graphic novel? FAIL
  3. Read a tome that is part of a series? Almost all of my books are/will be part of a series, so CHECK.
  4. Buddy read a tome? CHECK! Kate and I read Renegades together, so be on the lookout of our collaborative thoughts on this book.
  5. Read an adult novel? CHECK! Red Seas and The Night Circus are both adult novels.

I’ll probably be getting into more in-depth thoughts on most of these books, but I will say that my favorite book of the ‘thon was probably Crooked Kingdom (because The Night Circus wins forever and it feels unfair to pick it, and CK was giving me heart palpitations). My least favorite was sadly our buddy read of Renegades, but I’ll still definitely be picking up ArchEnemies this fall!

Kate:

Did I have a good readathon? Yes. Did I kick as much ass as Paige did? Ha! No. She is my idol in terms of speed, voracity, and retention. Her skill is rude, really. 

ANYWAY I was very pleased with my readathon! I read or completed three books, and started a fourth. All of this with a surprise vacation in the middle. (I do that sometimes – keeps people on their toes.)

  • Nevernight – I finished this one. I know I shouldn’t count things I’d already started, but putting it down was really out of the question, and the Kindle version is over 600 pages, so ha! I’m counting it anyway!
  • Brisingr – Audio tome!
  • Renegades
  • And I started The Name of the Wind, but I’m only 111 pages in.

I can’t even kind of tell you what the page number equivalent was, but I can tell you that it felt good to knock some hefty books off my TBR. Which of course has just opened the door for more! Not to mention those pesky sequels. Here’s how I did on the challenges:

  1. Read more than one tome: YEP
  2. Read a graphic novel: NOPE – I pulled one for my TBR, but I didn’t make it happen. Maybe next time!
  3. Read a tome that is part of a series: YEP – I think all of them fulfill this requirement, actually.
  4. Buddy read a tome: YEP – just you wait till you hear what we have to say about Renegades
  5. Read an adult tome: YEP

A couple of these will get interviews or reviews from Paige and/or I, so I don’t want to get too into them here. I would have to say that my favorite was Nevernight. It took me a while to get into that story, but all of a sudden I was hooked and couldn’t stop. It’s one of the greatest literally payoffs I’ve ever experienced. The nostalgia factor goes to Brisingr, though. I haven’t re-read this series since the early years of college, and I forgot how much I really love it.

*****

How did your readathons go? Are you pleased with your progress? Still hungry for more? BOTH?

Until next time!

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