Top 5 Wednesday – Books to Give ___ as Gifts

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

December 12: Books to Give _____ as Gifts

— Create a recommendations guide for a person. Be creative with this. It can be simple such as “books for parents”, more elaborate like “books for Ravenclaws”, or expert level like “books for -insert your favorite fictional character here-“. You can even take out the category completely and have all 5 be suggestions for different types of people!

Paige: Books for Dreamers

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

This may seem like low-hanging fruit, but a list of books for dreamers would just be incomplete without it. If you want to be immersed in a heart-wrenching, wistful world that you wish you could be in, this is a book for you. It is character driven and atmospheric and truly beautiful.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

This is a book for anyone who has struggled to find where they belong, whether they’ve found that place or not. You’ll really connect with all the characters, who have found a world made just for them and are each trying to get back to those worlds and escape a world that doesn’t understand them.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The young boy Bailey, who is a main character in this ethereal, historical, magical circus novel is a dreamer to the core. He is expected to be a farmer or a scholar, but he falls in love with the circus. If you’re a dreamer, I promise you will too.

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Jack and Mabel are a middle-aged couple in the 1920s that uprooted their whole lives to move to Alaska to homestead after they realize their East Coast life isn’t for them. It is full of hope and heartache and beautiful Alaskan nature imagery. It is ethereal.

The Throne of Glass series

“The world will be saved and remade by the dreamers.” Just read it, guys.

Kate: Books for People Who Want to be Part of Something More

I was originally going to title my section, “Books For People Who Need A Hug”, but that sounded a bit more condescending than I actual meant for it to be. I know I’ve been making allusions to the craziness of my life, but it’s reaching critical mass. Lately, I just want to read things that I know will either make me feel like I’m a part of something, remind me of my amazing friends and family, or that can take me completely out of my everyday life for a few hours. These do that and more. At least for me.

A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas

I’ve talked about it before, I’ll talk about it again, and one of these days, I’ll make this series a no-go for me to use. For now, however, the Inner Circle makes me happy, and they remind me of my friends who are entirely too far away but manage to keep me grounded and happy anyway.

Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo

This is a new favorite, but again, the Dregs are just amazing. They’re terrible people for good reasons, and they know loyalty better than most nobles who spout its importance, ESPECIALLY in the world they inhabit. I would die trying to run with them, but I’d love to try.

The Ember quartet by Sabaa Tahir

A girl against the world? Warring factions? A villain with a leg to stand on? Laia, Helene, and Elias have, quite literally, EVERYTHING going against them. Sometimes, including each other. But the fight they have in them is everything. I’m dying waiting to find out what that all amounts to, and I know I’m going to spend a majority of the last book weeping and/or throwing things, but it’s going to be worth it.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor

The part in Dreams of Gods and Monsters where they come together. You know what I’m talking about. I cried, and I refuse to ruin the details of it for people who haven’t experienced it yet.

Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab

I have Anoshe tattooed on my wrist. That is all.

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Top 5 Wednesday – Bookish Wish Lists

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

December 5: Book Wish List

Prompt: If you celebrate a gift-giving holiday this time of year, or even if you don’t, talk about the books or bookish items you have on your wish list!

Paige

This is a tough one to narrow down, but I’ve given it my best shot!

  • The Lego Harry Potter Collection for Switch – I’ve never played these games before! I don’t have a ton of games for our Switch that I like to play, and I think these would be perfect for my very low skill level. Harry Potter makes it bookish, right?
  • Socks from Out of Print – BASICALLY ANY OF THEM. The current ones I’m coveting are their Read the Rainbow ones, because they’re purple with unicorns on them. Win? Win. (BONUS! Today and today only, their socks and boxers are on sale!)
  • Bookish candles in general – I LOVE decorating my shelves with bookish candles, but if I had to pick one, it would be this one from Novelly Yours
  • The US Collector’s Edition of Throne of Glass – it’s purple, it’s shiny, it’s got a slipcase, it’s full of Celaena Sardothian. What else do I want?
  • The Barnes and Noble Collector’s Edition of Red Rising – I am GARBAGE for this series, and this copy is 100% my aesthetic. I have the UK paperbacks for this series, so having a pretty hardcover to display would be awesome.

Kate

Like Paige said, this is near impossible, but here we go!

  • Queen of Air and Darkness –  I love this world, but I have terrible about keeping up with the series. I’m hoping that having all three will motivate me to power through them.
  • Kindle Oasis – my Kindle mysteriously disappeared this summer, so I’ve decided to upgrade. I’m really excited about this, and I’ll definitely be getting it for myself if I don’t get it for Christmas.
  • Paper bookmarks – yeah, just the basic ones for like $2. They’re cute and easy to use and I always seem to need more. (Retweet. I have mugs and mugs of bookmarks on my shelves, but I always want more).
  • A Leuchtturm notebook – I used to track my reading in my bullet journal, but then I stopped bullet journaling. However, I feel like my tracking hasn’t been as successful, so I’m trying to get into it again.
  • New bookshelves – I’m using our move to justify finally replacing the rest of my college bookcases that are quite literally falling apart. I can’t wait till they’re all set up!

 

Short, sweet, and to the point! Obviously, many of our holiday wishes are of the bookish variety, but what else is new? Comment down below with some of your bookish wishes!

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Paige’s November Wrap-Up

Posted December 3, 2018 by Paige in Monthly Wrap Ups / 0 Comments

Happy December, reader friends! November was an interesting month full of ups and downs, so let’s just dive right in to all the books I read.

Henchgirl by Kristen Gudsnuk
I got this when I placed a graphic novel order through Book Outlet, and I couldn’t be more pleased! The humor was right up my alley, including nonverbal things hidden in the art and not just in the speech bubbles. I love the flip-side of the superhero story just as much as I love “superheroes when they’re off duty” type stories, and this was the best of both of those worlds. Mary is such a relatable individual, even if she is a bit of a bumbling oaf sometimes. Plus the Sailor Moon-type shots cracked me directly up. 4.5 stars.

 

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

Confession time – when I preordered this book, I thought it was a fantasy. Yeah. No. It was more like a contemporary thriller with a speculative aspect, and it was honestly so different from anything I’ve ever read. If Groundhog Day and The Secret History had a YA baby, it would be this book. Beatrice and her friends end up getting into a car accident together. Instead of dying, they get trapped in a Neverworld Wake, meaning that they will keep living the same day over and over again until they come to a unanimous decision on which single person gets to survive. It’s just as intense as you can imagine, and I love the mystery, which centers around Bee’s boyfriend Jim, who had died during their senior year. This is a 4 star read for me since I don’t read too many thrillers!

 

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

STEAMY ROMANCE BOOK ALERT. Yes, you read that correctly. This book was FANTASTIC. Our main character, Stella, is a highly successful mathematician living in San Francisco, and she also happens to have Asperger’s Syndrome. When her mother continues to pressure her to find a husband and have babies (gaaaaaag), Stella takes a pragmatic approach to practicing with intimacy and hires an escort. Enter Michael, who escorts on the side to pay for his mother’s medical bills. As you may imagine, this business-only relationship develops into much, much more. AND IT WAS SO GOOD. I gave this book five stars, shockingly enough.

 

The Lost and Found by Katrina Leno

This book took me so, so long to read, and it wasn’t even the book’s fault. I finally finished it when I was so cold and feverish from bronchitis that I couldn’t hold a book or my Kindle, but I could lay on my side and scroll through Scribd on my phone. This is a magical realism book that didn’t make me feel like I was missing out on something, which was great! Our main characters are Frannie and Louis, who live on opposite sides of the country, but who met on an online forum for people who have suffered trauma. Frannie was stabbed by her father at a young age, and Louis watched his twin sister fall from a fire escape and get her legs crushed by an oncoming car, causing her to lose them. When Frannie loses her estranged mother unexpectedly, she and Louis agree to meet up road-trip style. I gave this one 4 stars despite dragging my feet to finally finish it.

 

Timekeeper by Tara Sim

This is an audio read that I picked because one of my favorite Youtubers always touts this book as being one of his favorite sleeper fantasy books that he hears nobody talking about. It takes place in an alternate Victorian London where time is controlled by clock towers. Danny is a mechanic, which means he can sense time itself and repair clock towers that are causing the town around them to have temporal issues. When he gets assigned to a problematic tower in Enfield, he meets someone very intriguing. I adored this story – Danny is adorable and passionate and a little hot-headed, and he is also a gay teen allowed to live in a Victorian era without harm coming to him due to his sexuality. You don’t often see that, let alone in fantasy novels. It was nice to be able to read a fantasy where a member of a minority isn’t crucified for the sake of “authenticity,” which is the absolute worst. 4 stars!

 

Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

This is a book I received in a past Shelflove crate that came highly recommended by one of my bookish friends, and it really called to me one weekend. We follow Theodosia, who is the daughter of a murdered queen and heir to a conquered land. She is forced to live in the castle she grew up in, which is now inhabited by the conquering king, or Kaiser, who lords over her world. She is abused, whipped every time her people do something that displeases the Kaiser. When a very important rebel is captured, Theo must do the unthinkable or face the Kaiser’s wrath. This pushes a cascade of events into motion that causes Theo to fight for her people and herself. I absolutely could not put this book down once I started it. It has all the things I like – elemental magic, political intrigue, forbidden romance, and a girl who takes power into her own hands and refuses to back down. I can’t wait for the sequel in 2019! Five stars.

 

The Bird and the Blade by Megan Bannen

This is a novel based on the Mongol Empire, and I honestly had no idea what to expect going into it. We follow Jinghua, who is a young girl living as a slave in the Kipchak Khanate. We don’t know much about her except that she has lost her whole family. When the Khan she serves falls from grace, she must choose what to do in order to survive. I really can’t say too much about this book without giving away important elements, but this was another one I couldn’t put down. I’m a sucker for riddles as well as books that tell you the story in a non-chronological fashion. The timeline changes initially threw me for a loop, but I think the plot of this book was masterfully orchestrated. It kept me guessing the whole time, and I adored the dynamic between Jinghua and our two other main characters. 4 stars!

 

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

This is a Hades and Persephone retelling based heavily in Hindu mythology, and I am HERE FOR IT. I absolutely adored the atmosphere Chokshi was able to create for us with her language, and it translated beautifully to the audiobook, which I listened to. I don’t want to go very far into the plot because it unfolds so beautifully, and I feel like knowing too much can take away from it. Maya and Amar are SO SWOONY THOUGH. 4 stars.

 

Sourdough by Robin Sloan

What a weird little book, guys. This is by the author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, which is a book I read a couple of years ago and adored. It follows software programmer Lois, who is a midwest transplant to the Bay Area. Through a goofy and kooky turn of events (seriously, you just kind of have to accept it and move on), she comes into possession of a sourdough starter, and her life gets derailed in the best of ways. This book was SO weird and delightful, and I immediately lent my copy to my boss, who is an avid chef and baker outside of work. 5 stars!

 

Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Perez

This is a YA-fantasy retelling of the Tristan and Iseult myth, which I am not at all familiar with. I really enjoyed the main character Branwen, who is the cousin and lady-in-waiting to the princess Iseult. I’ll be completely honest – knowing that our main character WASN’T Iseult meant that I spent the whole story just waiting for Iseult and the Tristan character to end up together, and thus it made the actual romance hard to commit to. The ending was kind of a let-down for me, and I’m not sure the note it left us on is enough for me to want to continue on to the next book. It left a bitter girl-hate taste in my mouth. 2.5 stars.

 

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

I’m almost embarrassed that it took me this long to read this book (I went to a tour even with Kate, for heaven’s sake), but I am really glad it did. I think Green’s books don’t hold the same appeal for me now as they did when I was younger, but this one really made me feel a connection to the main character in a way he never has before. Our main character Aza suffers from OCD (which is own voices rep!) and anxiety, and while I do not suffer from OCD, I do have general anxiety disorder, and the way Aza’s thought processes came out on the page when she is having a thought spiral really echo the way my brain grapples with itself when I’m struggling. This made it VERY hard to read this book sometimes, but it is also very necessary. As you might expect from a John Green novel, the plot was pretty secondary, but that’s ok. I liked the soft male love interest, I was ENRAGED by the female best friend and the way she verbalized her issues with Aza’s mental illness, but I think it resulted in an important conversation. Overall, take care of yourself while you read this one. 4 stars.

 

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

This was an audio reread for me because, quite frankly, I cannot wait for January 8th when The Wicked King is published, and I might spontaneously combust before my copy arrives. This is a book that got its fingers into me back in January, when I thought it was good but not great, and it NEVER EVER LET GO. Going back and revisiting the story made me realize how fabulous it really was. Jude is a FANTASTIC heroine. The emotional entanglements are FLAWLESS. Holly Black is a true Fae Queen and I cannot wait to have her destroy me all over again in January. 5 stars, naturally.

 

And I Darken by Kiersten White

This is a book that I wanted to love and adore, because I think Kiersten White is a funny and amazing woman. Sadly, it just didn’t click with me. Historical fiction has to resonate with me in some way, and I just didn’t care too much about the people and events in the story. I feel bad giving this a star rating (I didn’t on Goodreads), so go check it out for yourself!

 

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

Why did it take me this long to read this book? I read This Savage Song in August of 2017, and now here we are and 2018 almost ended before I read the sequel. Why am I like this? I don’t know. This was an excellent sequel, but that means I can’t get into much about what actually happened. I really liked the ending, which I know is pretty polarizing among her readers. The premise for the first books is that a Phenomenon occurs resulting in a new normal – whenever heinous acts are committed, a literal monsters is born of it. This causes chaos in the city where the book takes place, and the city becomes divided. One half is “protected” by a rich man, and one half has no protection at all. It is a beautiful commentary on the human condition and our views on violence and morality, and I highly recommend both books. 4 stars.

 

That’s it for the 14 books I read in November! I am honestly shocked that the number is as high as it is – I was totally knocked out by bronchitis for a while at the very beginning of the month, then I hurt my back and was in tons of pain for about two weeks, and then I got some sort of sinus infection from hell, so needless to say I wasn’t feeling up to doing very much at all, let alone doing much reading. I’ve got my fingers crossed that December will be a little more consistent (I totally bombed Tome Topple, y’all).

 

For the month of December, I’m going to be continuing a few books. First of all, I am trucking away at The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson (loving it, so happy to feel like a human again and get to read it some more), and I’m also reading Wuthering Heights with the help of the Serial Reader app (seriously check it out,  Kate also mentions it in her wrap-up). I’m also about halfway through the audiobook for Muse of Nightmares, and I read about half of The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey yesterday because I was finally feeling better! I’m not going to make any concrete reading plans because I truly just want to bask in feeling good and I just want to mood read whatever sounds good. It is COZY READING SEASON GUYS!

 

Comment down below and let me know if you’ve read any of these books and what you thought of them!

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Kate’s November Wrap Up

Posted December 3, 2018 by Kate in Monthly Wrap Ups / 0 Comments

November was quite a month, kids. Between house buying, Thanksgiving, and a good bout of mystery stomach bug, I constantly felt like I was running behind. That being said, I’m pretty pleased with the reading I did, and I think I’ve set myself up well enough to have a chance at meeting my Goodreads goal. Woohoo!!

Here’s a quick recap of my November goals:

  • Utilize Thanksgiving vacation to read – I give myself a solid C on this one. I started strong, but I got sick on the way home and had to sleep instead of read. I also had focus problems in general.
  • Look Alive Twenty-Five – Not quite. I finished it December 1.
  • Muse of Nightmares – Nope
  • Vengeful – Nope
  • Six of Crows – YES! And Crooked Kingdom, and just you wait until I freak out about it.
  • 18 total books read – Sadly, no. I did get closer than I thought I would, though!
  • Utilize Scribd and my library better – I’ll give myself a B on this one. I was using Scribd a TON, but it updated and stopped cooperating with the bluetooth in my car, and that wipes out about 80 minutes of listening a day for me. I hoping the next update fixes the issue. I’m on hold for a couple things with my library, but I didn’t actually use the app this month.

 

*****

A Court of Mist and Fury – Sarah J. Maas

I’m not going to bore you with more gushing. Obviously I liked it.

Rating: 5 stars

 

Big Mushy Happy Lump – Sarah Anderson

I love these collections. They’re quick and cute and insightful, and I enjoy spending half an hour laughing instead of being stressed.

Rating: 4 stars

 

Herding Cats: A Sarah’s Scribbles Collection – Sarah Anderson

See above. They’re just great.

Rating: 4 stars

 

Night of Cake and Puppets – Laini Taylor

Every time I step into one of Laini’s books, I become completely immersed in what’s happening. The characters are so human and simple (that’s the wrong word, but I can’t quite get out what I want to say. I hope you understand!), but they exist in this extraordinarily weird world, and the combination is magic. Aside from all that, Zuz and Mik are my favorite. I love getting to learn more about them and how they came to be, and I hope there will be more stories about them to come! I listened to it this time, and the narrators were INCREDIBLE. Especially Zuzana. Just perfect.

Rating: 5 stars

 

A Court of Wings and Ruin – Sarah J. Maas

I hated it. I’m also lying.

Rating: 5 stars

 

Shades of Magic #1: The Steel Prince – V.E. Schwab

I have a problem – I don’t think four issues is going to be enough to tell this story. I know that doubting V is about as close to blasphemy as I can get, but there’s just SO MUCH MORE that I need to know! All of that being said, this was so good. I knew it would be. I had high expectations. And they were all completely met or exceeded. Paige has my copy of the second issue, and I’m excited to get to read it.

Rating: 4.5 stars

 

The Caged Queen – Kristen Ciccarelli

Audio re-read a month after I read it the first time, so basically exactly what I did for The Last Namsara. I can now say with certainty that I like this one better than the first, but I can also say with certainty that Roa drives me up a fucking wall. I won’t get spoilery, but I wish Ciccarelli had made her just a skosh more intuitive.

Rating: 4.5 stars

 

Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

OH MY GOD WHY DID IT TAKE ME SO LONG?! I have FEELINGS. I don’t think I had a favorite group of street urchins before, but boy, do I have a favorite group of street urchins now! I was so scared to read this after the amount of hatred I had from the end of Ruin and Rising, but that was completely unfounded. Reading this was a great experience. I’m chomping at the bit to get to the audio book.

Rating: 5 stars

 

Carmilla – Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Paige and I had been discussing wanting to read more classics, and then she found the Serial Reader app. It’s great! You receive a chunk of a book every day, and you read it as a serial. All of a sudden, taking on those classics I always meant to read seems like much less of a chore, because I’m doing it in 8-20 minutes chunks of time. GENIUS. Now, for the book itself, Carmilla was mentioned briefly when I studied Dracula in college, but I never had to read it. I thoroughly enjoyed it in all of it’s creepy, stalkery wonder. That being said, it had been so long since I’d read anything written pre-1900, and I had forgotten the energy it can take to break down a wall of prose to get to the heart of a story. Definitely worth it, but the effort is noted. I probably won’t start another one till we’re done moving.

Rating: 3.5 stars

 

Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo

I’m just going to do full reviews of these, because I have spoilery thoughts, and I don’t want to ruin anyone’s life, even though I’m probably the last person on Earth to read this series.

Rating: 5 stars

 

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson

Audible has this great series where celebrities narrate stories, and the couple I’ve purchased have been cast PERFECTLY. The narrator here is Richard Armitage, and his voice was shockingly similar to how I imagined this book as I was reading it in print. It was almost alarming. This is one of my favorite classic stories. I picked it up as a last minute, “Oh shit I forgot!” read for an AP Lit book analysis, and I’ve re-read it several times since then. Each experience has been slightly different (Turns out reading something for fun and not for a test is more rewarding. Weird, right?), but each one has been a delightfully unsettling adventure.

Rating: 4.5 stars

*****

DECEMBER GOALS

  • Knock out the end of my reading challenge. Right now, that’s 18 more books. I’m gonna make my graphic novel shelf my bitch.
  • Actually read Muse of Nightmares
  • And Vengeful, if I can swing it
  • I’d like to read something Christmasy. I don’t usually do theme reads, but I’m always down for being festive.
  • Continue working to utilize Scribd and my local library.

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Tome Topple Readathon – Round 7

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

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

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

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

*****

Paige

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

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

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

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

Kate

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

Physical/Kindle Books:

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

Audio Book(s?)

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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

Kate

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

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

Paige

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

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

*****

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

Kate

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

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

Paige

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

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

*****

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

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October Wrap Up & November Hopes and Dreams

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

YES HI HELLO I AM BAD AT THIS

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

ANYWAY

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

*****

Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini

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

Rating: 5 stars

 

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

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

Rating: 3 stars

 

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

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

Rating: 5 (million) stars

 

Queens of Fennbirn by Kendare Blake

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

Rating: 4 stars

 

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

I picked this book up for three reasons:

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

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

Rating: 5 stars

 

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

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

Rating: 5 (million shattered) stars

 

The Caged Queen by Kristen Ciccarelli

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

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

 

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

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

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

Rating: Every single star in the sky

 

The Sandmeyer Reaction by Michael Chabon

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

Rating: 2.5 stars

 

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

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

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

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

*****

November Goals

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

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

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October Wrap-Up and November Reading Plans!

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

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

 

Rule by Ellen Goodlett

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

 

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

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

 

The Caged Queen by Kristen Ciccarelli

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

 

Space Boy Vol 1 by Stephen McCranie

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

 

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

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

 

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

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

 

Linger and Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

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

 

Strong Female Protagonist Vol 1 by Brennan Lee Mulligan

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

 

Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

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

 

For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig

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

 

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

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

 

Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor

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

 

Monstress Vol 1 by Marjorie Liu

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

 

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Keri Maniscalco

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

 

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

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

 

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

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

 

Grim Leaper by Kurtis J Wiebe

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

 

The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi

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

 

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

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

 

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

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

 

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

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

 

The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron

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

 

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

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

 

Roar by Cora Carmack

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

 

November Reading Plans:

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

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Top 5 Wednesday – Characters You Would Cosplay!

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

October 31st: Characters You’d Cosplay

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

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

 

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

 

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

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Top 5 Wednesday – Favorite Book Paranormal Creatures!

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

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

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

 

Paige

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

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

 

Kate

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

 

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

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

  • Toothless – mostly from the movies, but also from the books. Just a little. I only listened to them, so I don’t have a very thorough understanding of the Toothless from Cressida Cowell’s perspective, but I can tell you that the movie version melts my heart every time. Plus, I have black cats that look like him when they’re feeling angsty, neglected, or otherwise mistreated, which, of course, they aren’t, but cats will be cats.

The skulk king himself, Brom!

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

 

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

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