Top 15 Favorite Reads of 2015

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As is traditional (last year’s is here) it’s time for a list of the best books I read in 2015! YAY! Because lists and books and favorites are all the best things ever. ❤

I read some gems this year, and though it was super painful trying to pick favorites, these (especially the ones near the top) make my heart explode in happiness just from looking at the titles, so I think they’re some good ones! My list is roughly in order of amount of loving them, and doesn’t include rereads. So here we go! (Prepare for much squealing…)

My top 15 reads of 2015

1. Broken Glass – Emma Clifton (in Five Glass Slippers)

brokenglasscoverSo… I spontaneously reviewed this awhile back. And it’s made it to the very top of my list this year. IT’S JUST SO PERFECT AND MY FIRST STEAMPUNK FANTASY AND ALL THE CHARACTERRRRRRRRRRRS!!!! Ahem. I just really really love this story! I want to read it again (and I’ve already read it twice). It’s just perfection and bursting with humor and snark and great dialog and plots and sooo many characters I love, especially Marius and Darcy and Henry, and it’s FUN but then it gets epic at the end and it’s so British AND I JUST LOVE IIIIIIIT! ❤ It makes me grin and keep grinning and unable to STOP grinning, whenever I think of it. GAAAHH! *tackle-hugs story* ALL OF THE LOVE! *gives Darcy and Marius an extra hug*

2. Archer’s Goon – Diana Wynne Jones

HOW. DO. I. DESCRIBE. THIS. BOOK. Ummm… I can’t! *flails around* It was Diana Wynne Jones which means it was pure distilled BRILLIANCE mixed up with total uniqueness, absolutely FANTASTIC humor, and just ALL OF THE PLOT TWISTS. Mind. Blown. I can’t get over it and it’s amazing and I think I need to read it again right now. I still love Howl’s Moving Castle the best of Diana Wynne Jones’ books (I mean… it’s my favorite book EVER besides The Lord of the Rings) BUT I THINK ARCHER’S GOON MIGHT BE SECOND. Maybe. Ahem. All of the characters are fantastic and the dialog and the humor and it’s timey-wimey and sci-fi and fantasy and modern and super confusing and I just love it a lot. Ack. ❤

3. The Ordinary Princess – M. M. Kaye

This was, in a word, PERFECT. ^_^ It just makes me so happy. I can’t. *beams and huggles book* It’s a sort of original fairytale type of thing, feeling like it has some hints of Sleeping Beauty and maybe a couple others, but mostly its own thing. It was just a quick read that was ADORABLE and sweet and perfect, and I loved the illustrations, and the character of the Ordinary Princess herself was awesome, and Peregrine who I loved a ton, and they were so cute together and just alskdjljlsjk it makes me happy and is a perfect little book. ^_^ ❤

4. Illusionarium – Heather Dixon

I’ve been dying to read this ever since reading Entwined. Needless to say, I pounced on it. The internet is probably still reeling with the incoherent fangirling babbles I shared on this blog about Illusionarium… Ahem. So suffice it to say, despite the creepiness, that I LOVED THIS BOOK AND THE DIALOG AND HUMOR AND EPIC STEAMPUNKNESS AND ESPECIALLY LOCKWOOD. LOCKWOOOOD!!!!! *flails around forever and a day* Basically, Lockwood. ❤ I just can’t get over that indescribable airguardsman snarky fiery epic trigger-happy roguish awesome Lieutenant Lockwood. (And he and Jonathan are a great pair. 😄 I love themmm.) (BUT LOCKWOOD. SO MUCH. ❤ ❤ ❤ )

5. The Pinhoe Egg – Diana Wynne Jones

Diana Wynne Jones books are always wonderful, but this one’s one of my top, like… four? of hers? (Howl’s Moving Castle, Archer’s Goon, The Crown of Dalemark, and this, are my favorites.) This was the conclusion to the Chrestomanci series, which I started late in 2014, and read most of this year. AAAHHH I LOVED THIS BOOK. It returned to the hero of the first book, Cat (who is great), and there were shenanigans and it had sooo much more of Chrestomanci himself than a lot of the others (which is pretty much my one complaint usually, since he usually only shows up a little in the midst of other people’s adventures). THERE WAS ALSO A GRIFFIN. AND CHRESTOMANCI AND AND AND ASLKDJFLK I just really really really love Chrestomanci and I need some fancy dressing gowns to wear around the house like he does. Except he has a castle… BASICALLY I WANT TO LIVE AT CHRESTOMANCI CASTLE AND READ ABOUT CHRESTOMANCI FOREVER. Because CHRESTOMANCI!!!!! ❤ ❤ Ahem.

6. Frederica – Georgette Heyer

After reading and loving The Grand Sophy in 2014, I wanted to try another Georgette Heyer, so this happened. I LOVED IT. The characters, just… aaagh! I loved them. LORD ALVERSTOKE. He’s one of those kind of awful fellows who’s sort of vain/spoiled, a lot like Howl actually, and yet he ends up being all noble too and just alskdjflklaskdj I love Alverstoke, he’s wonderful. And his relationship with the heroine and with her younger brothers — just YES! I don’t actually read a lot of regency historical romance sorts of things but this one was great. There’s also an airballoon and a crash and all of the DIALOG, my goodness it’s wonderful.

7. The Penderwicks in Spring – Jeanne Birdsall

AAAAHHHHH. I’ve been waiting for this ever since I read the first three Penderwick books (I even reread them this year!) and it was amazing. I was actually surprised because in a way it was so SAD but also the usual hilarious and just… I love the Penderwicks, okay. I LOVE THEMMMM. This family. Just. THEY ARE PRECIOUS. *gathers them in a hug* It was a little strange because it’s years after the previous ones and the three older girls are like TEENS and Batty’s 11 and… yes. o.o And I should have been upset, especially with all the sad, but I just LOVED. IT. SO. MUCH. Also there were like ten billion characters and the author juggled them all SO well and the writing is golden and ALL OF THE FEELS. I wish I could write like that. Basically I waited a long time for it and it did NOT disappoint. ❤

8. Conrad’s Fate – Diana Wynne Jones

This was a sort of Chrestomanci prequel because it involves him (Christopher) when he was a teen. LET ME FLAIL. Like Illusionarium, it was a great buddy-movie story (as I call them; even when they’re not movies… *cough*) and… Chrestomanci and the hero are so much fun together and I DON’T EVEN KNOW. But it was Diana Wynne Jones and I remember having so much fun and just really ENJOYING this! *flail* Chrestomanci as a youngster is just fabulous to read about, so sneaky but refined but clever and just brilliant and the dialog and I just loved it. ❤

9. Power of Three – Diana Wynne Jones

How. I. What. It. SOMETHING! *flailing* This was totally not what I was expecting and it was so DIFFERENT (something Diana Wynne Jones excels at) and PLOT TWIST! Wow. Also I loved all of the characters, especially the two who were like the hero (you’ll understand if you’ve read it), and it just had a lot of brilliance going on! It was epic. It felt rather different than her other stuff–a bit more like the Dalemark books than her “fun” ones… But I still adored it. Plus, the flashback where the fellows were drunk and met Titch was sheer gold. *dies of laughter*

10. Plenilune – Jennifer Freitag

This is here basically because DAMMERUNG!!!!! It was EXHAUSTING to read and took me from Christmas till August to read… like really heavy chocolate cake. Or the ocean. It was a little much, kind of too rich if you know what I mean, but it was totally worth it for Dammerung. He’s, like, possibly my favorite character this year. Possibly one of my top favorite characters of EVER. Like… HE’S UP THERE WITH HOWL, OKAY? Dammerung is just AMAZING and this monster of a 600+ page book of exhaustingly gorgeous poetical prose is totally worth it just for him. (And Rupert was amazing too. I have very complex feels about Rupert. Which makes me super glad that Dammerung is there to cancel those out because he just blows everything away with his amazingness). Like… he’s funny and powerful and heroic and epic and just… HE’S LIKE THE COOLEST EVER. Dammerung has a very special place in my heart. ^____^ ❤ ❤ ❤

11. The Skin Map – Stephen R. Lawhead

This was an AMAZING book. Contemporary/time-travel/fantasy/sci-fi-ish/historical… it has a little bit of everything. The writing and setting and just the entire thing is STUNNINGLY well done, not to mention the cast of characters, each of whom I love to bits! Arthur, Cosimo, Kit, Etzel, Wilhemina! (I even love the heroine!) Just. Gaaahh. It was a fantastic book, and would have been much higher up the list if it weren’t for something that happened in the last twenty pages… *cough cough* But I’ve actually gotten over that (mostly) and all I can think of is how amazing this book was and how much I want to read the sequels! *huggles all the characters* It was just a DELIGHT to read!

stonecurse12. Stone Curse – Jenelle Schmidt (in Five Enchanted Roses)

I reviewed this one on the blog and just YES. Beauty and the Beast retelling, which I ALWAYS love… And RITTER! ❤ Ritter and his heroicness and humor and just aaaahh I love him so much! And the setting and the fairytale feel and BAREND the Beast, down to loving the heroine, Karyna, a ton as well. I just… Gaaah. ^_^ *huggles all of them* The whole cast of characters and their relationships… just fantastic. SUCH A GREAT READ! ❤

13. Corroded Thorns – Emma Clifton

Aaand I also reviewed this one (more Beauty and the Beast, yay!) and it’s the sequel to my top favorite of the year, Broken Glass, and I sort of consider them one book because it’s so interconnected, sooo I couldn’t resist putting this on the list too! DARCY!!! Eeep. I just looooved this story and the characters AND THE ENDING WAS PERFECTION OH MY GOODNESS SO MUCH LOVE FOR THAT. ❤

14. Tahn – L. A. Kelly

This was the VERY first book I read in 2015, so it’s possibly a little hazy in my memory… But I know it was an exciting adventuresome read, with some good stuff, and was a little grittier than I usually like but still fabulous. And, like with Plenilune, it’s mostly here for one of my favorite characters of the year, namely the title character himself, Tahn. Tahn is the absolute epitome of my favorite archetype of characters, what I call the “dark guy”. (I’ve heard “anti-hero” used as well.) But I really really love him and his story and it was awesome.

15. The Book of Sight – Deborah Dunlevy

This book… I don’t know. It just made me happy. It was one of my first “random” ebooks I tried, since it was free on Kindle at the time and sounded interesting. I got so addicted that I’ve since bought all three of the sequels which are currently out (looking forward to reading The Poisoned Cure soon!) and already hoping the fifth/final book will come out soon! It’s a modern fantasy story, and it just… somehow kind of reminds me of the sort of stories I’m writing with my Kedran’s Wood series. I just enjoy it and it’s about these kids, a group of friends, in a little modern town, and their dealings with fantastical stuff that they start running into. Also, I really love Dominic. But it’s just a fun read, so… yes. It makes me think of sunshine. 🙂

***

You mayyy notice a trend*, which is that books are much likelier to be extremely loved/high on my list when there’s a particular character I really like in the story… What can I say. I’m evidently extremely attached to fictional people. But I’d say that Dammerung, Lockwood, and Chrestomanci are my favorite characters this year. THEY’RE THE BESSST!

(*Whaaat, you thought I was going to say that the trend was Howl? HAHAHA. Fooled you. 😄 Ahem. Sorry. Howl does whatever he likes, and apparently that includes stealing the show in a blogpost that doesn’t even involve him… *cough*)

So there’s my list! Have you read any of these? (You totally should!) Do you have any favorite reads of 2015? TELL ALL IN THE COMMENTS! ^_^

Hopefully this next year of 2016 will hold some wonderful reads in it for all of us! ❤

Happy New Year, everyone!

Tags: Loyal Dragons to Infinity and Beyond!

(Warning: This post is being was written late at night. I am not responsible for the shenanigans my sleep-deprived brain gets up to. Thou art warned.)

I was tagged! By Raychel Rose for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award, and by Madeline J. Rose (wait… ALL OF THE ROSES. :O Are you two related…? *eyes suspiciously* I’m waaatching you…) for the Infinity Award. Thanks so much to both of you!! ❤

I’m doing a double tag post ketchup catch up in a single post, because a) I am lazy, b) I’ve been blogging too much, and c) let’s be honest, “Loyal Dragons to Infinity and Beyond!!!!!” is a fabulous title (even without all the exclamation points). Can we agree on that? Yay!

Okay! So tags. Right. Onward!

Dragon’s Loyalty Award

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Gaaah, what a prettiful blog award!! ❤ I love it. *clings affectionately*

Ruuuules

  1. Announce your win with a post, [check] and link to whomever presented your award. [*drrrumroll* Raychel Rose]
  2. Post 7 interesting things about yourself. [Um. I’ll see what I can do. Ahem.]
  3. Present 15 awards to deserving bloggers.
  4. Drop them a comment to tip them off after you’ve linked them in the post.
  5. Display the award certificate on your website. [See my newly-updated Badges page with other awards and aaaall the NaNo participant badges. Yesss.]

7 interesting (?) things about this dragonish blogger

  1. I love Toothless and he is possibly my favorite dragon ever.
  2. I do not love Smaug because he is evil but at least he is clever. (BOOK Smaug! We do not speak of movie-Smaug. Ahem.)
  3. Some of my favorite dragonish books are proooobably the Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede, specifically Searching for Dragons BECAUSE MENDANBAR! Ahem. Kazul is cool too.
  4. I own a little golden dragon figurine which is glued to a turquoise rock. It once fell off so I re-glued it on. Yes you needed to know that. I would take a picture but I am lazy.
  5.  Sorry, scratch number 3, I just remembered how much I love The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame. ❤
  6. Also the dragon stories by E. Nesbit. I LOVE THEMMM. (I still love the Enchanted Forest books though! I just remembered… other… dragony books. Dragony. Dragony is a wonderful word.)
  7. I have not read Eragon. Oops?

OH WAIT THOSE WERE ALL FACTS ABOUT ME ABOUT DRAGONS. See what I did there.

Tagging?

I verily awardeth you this veritable Dragon’s Loyalty Award if thou lovest dragons! (I’m looking at YOU, Lauri and Sarah and Cait. 😉 And YOU. Yes, you, in the dragon t-shirt.) You can dragon-theme it if you want. *shrug* But obviously nobody has to do it. 😄

Infinity Award

Which is… apparently?… different than the Infinity Dreams Award…? Not sure.

Anyhoo!

This one has interrogations questions!

*dons monocle* Proceed.

*cymbals*

Who is your best blogging friend?

Can I not answer this. Pleeeeease? *makes adorable puppy eyes* I don’t like the saying “best friend” because it shows others that THEY are not. Which is not fair to ANYBODY. And makes them sad. Or is that just me. And this question sound suspiciously like that. HOWEVER. If a) you’re reading this and therefore (apparently?) read my blog, or b) if I comment on your blog aggressively obsessively, or c) both… then you may rightly assume you are one of my bestest blogging buddies. GROUP HUG, C’MERE. ❤

What is the best book cover you’ve ever seen?

SO MANY. Umm… Five Enchanted Roses or The Captive Maiden? POSSIBLY. I’m not sure. Let’s just say I’m partial to the color blue and girls in gorgeous dresses.

What’s your favorite slang word?

Y’all. Does that count? It’s super useful (and not only to alert people to the extinguishing excruciating distinguishing fact that I am… wait for it… a TEXAN). For instance, if you don’t say “y’all” to address a general group, you probably say “guys”, or “people”. Example: “Hey, guys!” “Hey, people!” This can be problem if a) there is a girl present (or, more likely, if there is not actually a guy in the group. Which happens a lot), or b) if not all those addressed happen to be people. What if they are aliens? Elves? Dragons (me, me! …Oh, right. That tag’s over… *sad face*). Cats. Noodles. Or other serendipitous sentient or not beings/creatures/items. THEY MIGHT TAKE OFFENSE. And we wouldn’t want that. Especially if they had sharp claws. Hence, y’all = solves every problem ever.

If you could have any animal as a pet, what would it be?

DRAGON. GRIFFIN. Oh right, I already have those… Okay, a puffin AND an otter. Naturally. Because they are the most adorable things EVER. (I also want a hummingbird to ride on. *makes even more adorable puppy eyes* PLEEEEEASE?)

Favorite flower?

Roses!

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(Especially if they come with BOOKS…!)

(Wait a minute. Roses AGAIN. That’s it — it’s a PLOT.)

(And we all know that plots are needed to have books. SEE ABOVE!)

(Wait. I’m going in circles. This is getting confusing.)

Scariest roller coaster/ride you’ve ever been on?

Haven’t. (Unless you count the above question.) Nor do I intend to. Duuuh. I’m not CRAZY. O_O (Heh… heh heh… Oh, right, you caught that, did you? *sidles subtly sideways and slips self in serious siding hiding place*)

Favorite Disney movie?

Ow! How do I decide? (Was Prince of Persia Disney?? *is too lazy to check*) …Okay, Tangled.

Book you want made into a movie?

Illusionarium! (See my Illusionarium Fangirling Babbles post from earlier this week…) It would make the positively coolest movie EVAR.

Also one of the scariest.

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Favorite piece of jewelry?

The One Ring. My Celtic-cross necklace. ❤ ‘Tis my fave.

Savory or Sweet snacks? Which ones?

ALL OF THE SWEET THINGS. I’m good with chocolate. And cookies. With chocolate chips in them. And mushrooms. (Why did I say mushrooms. I hate mushrooms. Unless they are from the Mushroom Planet books. Umm… CHOCOLATE MUSHROOMS.)

All time favorite movie?

The Avengers/The Return of the King/How to Train Your Dragon/Prince of Persia. IT’S TOTALLY ONE MOVIE I SWEAR. (Actually that would be the coolest thing ever. *brainstorms* *finds thing on pinterest*)

THE END.

P.S. AND NOW WE KNOW HOW CRAZY DEBORAH O’CARROLL IS WHEN SHE IS FOOLISH ENOUGH TO BLOG LATE AT NIGHT. ISN’T IT EXCITING, FOLKS.

Audience: *round of applause mixed with horrified stares*

Me: *giggles hysterically*

Me: *quickly erases your memories*

P.P.S. You are tagged if you want. ^_^

Illusionarium Fangirling Babbles

You may remember that I keep occasionally babbling incoherently about how much I liked that book Illusionarium. If I liked it that much, I should actually review it and tell people about it, right? Or at least explain to my poor blog readers what on earth (or possibly off of it… in an alternate world, perhaps?) I was talking about.

Well, I’ve vaguely been meaning to review it, but was kind of overwhelmed by the idea. That happens to perfectionist me sometimes… But then! I realized that I had done a rather long and in-depth excitedly-flailing ramble to a good friend about it in an email soon after I had read it…

That was sort of a review, wasn’t it? So I decided I’d tweak that some and post it as a review. (I also don’t usually reference lots of other books/characters/authors/films/shows in reviews, but there’s a lot of that in this; I’m bolding the references.)

Here is my almost-review incoherent-ish fangirling babble for Illusionarium by Heather Dixon.

My goodness! I had so much fun with this book. 😀

It’s like The Night Circus meets Inception meets Mirriam Neal‘s book Disconnect meets Doctor Who meets Steampunk meets the kind of lively writing and boisterous characters who sound 1000% British of Entwined, (which is about the only similar thing, although it’s by the same author) and it’s also told in first-person from the POV of a guy, and since the last thing I read like that was that Curseworkers Trilogy (White Cat and co.) by Holly Black, it made me think of that, and also a little of Hiccup from the How to Train Your Dragon movie. A little. Just because. So… yeah, wow. Lots of reminders, and yet it was like nothing I’d ever read or seen! Oh, and there’s also kind of crazy outfits in a lot of it, kind of really colorful raggedy steampunkish clothing, I guess, and there’s a ton of masquerade-type mask things for awhile too, so that’s probably where most of the Doctor Who reminding came from — besides a wee bit of timey-wimey ness and the creepy-factor — but it kind of reminded me of The Girl in the Fireplace episode–was that what it was called?

It was also my first steampunk book! *gasp* I’d always wanted to try some steampunk and never got around to it before this. I think the steampunk element in Illusionarium wasn’t an extreme focus of it, kind of more like background… Most of the story was focused on the illusion stuff, which was some weird mix of stuff like the magic in The Night Circus, and science, and hallucination stuff like… like in Batman Begins (ooh, another thing I’m comparing it too. XD) and the Inception stuff about sharing dreams, or in this case illusions, and sort of being able to build stuff with your mind. *shrug* Anyways! Not SUPER steampunky, mostly it was just a whole lot of WEIRD mixed together. 😄 But I did loooove the steamunk feel and want to read more! I think this was a more fantasy-feeling steampunk and I know there’s more mechanical, realistic type ones, so I don’t know if this is even a really good sample of steampunk. But still. I feel quite excited to have finally officially read my first steampunk and now I really want to get to other steampunk books I have lying around and try them out! (I’ve since only read Broken Glass and Corroded Thorns by Emma Clifton, which I ADORED obviously, and were also extra fantasy versions of steampunk… But that only makes me want to read more steampunk, even more!)

Anyways, like I said, it’s kind of got things that remind me of stuff all over the place, but at the same time, really I’ve just never read anything like it! So much unique! At least for me. It was crazy but awesome. 😄

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Pretty much my ONLY complaint was some of the creepy aspects of it… I just don’t get along well with really creepy kinds of things. At first I was creeped out because of this plague thing that turns people’s blood black so their veins make it look like black spider webs climbing up their skin and it just creeped me out… till I got used to it and ran into the rest of the creepiness in the book, which had to do with people kind of splitting and growing extra eyes and fingers etc. Maybe most people wouldn’t mind but IT KIND OF CREEPED ME OUT OKAY. O_O Meep. But aside from those two things, I positively ADORED it! 😀 But if you don’t have much of a problem with slightly creepy stuff maybe you wouldn’t mind, I don’t know. *shrug*

I’ve seen a lot of reviewers complaining about it not wowing them… EXCUSE ME? *splutters* It was breathtaking and edge-of-your-seat! It was… amazing! (Or maybe I don’t read exciting books. *shrug*) But you might have to go in not expecting much, and then just see if it catches you or not. It certainly wowed ME. I had no CLUE what it would be like, going in, so it just sort of wowed me extra because it was so DIFFERENT and I just loved the characters. 😀

The dialog. THE DIALOG. I loved it so much and it was one of my favorite things. Especially Lockwood’s. 😄 But… I’m getting ahead of myself here. I think I love books with super good dialog that I love to quote, lots of great humor, and characters who are sorta sarcastic and snarky…

And I haven’t even gotten to my favorite part!

Okay, so I LOVED the hero, and thought for awhile that he would be my favorite
character (sometimes it can get worrying with first-person narrators because sometimes it’s just hard to really really like them… unless that’s just me) but he was just so funny and dry but also felt sort of like a “normal” hero, and I just loved watching his struggles as he went up and down trying to find the right thing to do… I loved that and it was great. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed the main character’s “journey” this much in a long while… He also had these really hilarious, dry, witty asides he would put in occasional footnotes. It was so unique and hilarious! BUT. He wasn’t even my favorite!

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My absolute favorite thing about the entire book had to be this one character, Lieutenant Lockwood, who’s this awesome sixteen-year-old Royal Airguardsman with an eyepatch who has the most outrageous personality and is so amazing and fun and hilarious and epic that I simply don’t have a place for him in my Character Categories! O_O

It’s usually characters like Howl and Chrestomanci [both by Diana Wynne Jones] and Florian [Westmark Trilogy by Lloyd Alexander] and Azrael [Mirriam Neal again] that I can’t pigeonhole, but Lockwood… I can’t with him either! :O It’s so weird… I think the closest I could get would be somewhere in with Peter Pan from Peter Pan in Scarlet, mixed with a pirate guy named Tamo in The Pirate’s Son by the author who wrote Peter Pan in Scarlet (Geraldine McCaughrean; she must be good at that kind of character…) but not quite. I don’t know! It’s quite odd! O_O I mean, Lockwood has the same young-awesome-kind-of-savage-but-also-carefree-and-epic-with-a-pistol sort of feeling as McCaughrean‘s version of Peter Pan, and Tamo, but so much MORE too. LOOKWOOD’S JUST UNIQUE AND I LOVE HIM.

It’s very rare and odd these days for me to find a character that just DOESN’T fit in my character pigeonholes! (Which I need to do a post about sometime…) And it usually means they’re awesome. 😄

I just loooove Lockwood and have been going around squealing about him ever since I was like halfway through the book. A few weeks after I read it, I flipped back through the book and reread basically every bit that had Lockwood in it. Yes. I love him that much. And I want to go do it again now! *flail*

Lockwood Lockwood Lockwood.

I just love him too much. I know I’m just fangirling and not making any sense probably, and repeating myself, but I don’t care.

I JUST CAN’T EXPLAIN LOCKWOOD OKAY. HE’S TOO AMAZING TO EXPLAIN IN MY OWN WORDS. YOU JUST HAVE TO READ HIM FOR YOURSELF.

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Basically, Illusionarium had a couple elements that were too creepy for me, but overall it was totally unique and my first steampunk and I really enjoyed it and it has one of my new favorite characters.

And it made me happy. It was kind of terrifying and thrillerish and made my heart beat too fast probably but it just… MADE ME HAPPY. I want to beam and huggle it forever. Just… if that’s not what you want books to do for you, I don’t know what is.

An equation for you. (Ha! Inside joke… Equations are a big part of the book; like… sciencey stuff and all.)

Illusionarium + Lockwood – creepiness = best. thing. ever.

If it weren’t for the creepy aspects, it might be like my favorite book this year (okay so it’s up against some pretty stiff competition… so I dunno. BUT STILL). It was just AWESOME.

(Plus, cover love. We can be shallow and love it for the cover, right? ❤ )

***

Anyways! There is my ramble/babble about Illusionarium, because it’s definitely not coherent enough to quite call it a review. 😉

But if you think THAT was incoherent fangirling… Here’s the “review” I originally posted on Goodreads as soon as I’d finished reading it:

illusionariumreview

Liebsterish Encore and Versatile Blogger Award

Firstly, I want to say — WOW, I love all the discussion that came out of my last post on books! That was fantastic. Thanks for weighing in in the comments, y’all! You are all so awesome, with such great thoughts, and discussing books is the BEST. 😀

Secondly, if you haven’t heard, Beyond the Mask just released on DVD!!! *cue excited squealing* I just rewatched it and alksdjflksjdlkj IT’S SO FABULOUS I LOVE IT SO MUCH. ❤ If you haven’t gotten a copy yet, you simply MUST. It’s such a wonderful movie, so much fun, so well done, so epic…! Masked-man, humor, 1700s, right before the Revolutionary War, John Rhys-Davies, fabulous acting, awesome costumes and sets, HUMOR, action, a touch of sweet romance, a theme of redemption, lovable characters, sheer epicness… WHAT IS NOT TO LOVE? It’s at bunches of Walmarts (at the moment), and, I hear, also Christian bookstores, and online. So go find it! Go go!

ISN’T IT SO PRETTY???

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Okay, now I got those important thoughts out of the way, onward to the actual post! It’s about time I caught up on some tags again… *rubs hands gleefully*

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I was, once again, nominated for the Liebster Award, this time by Sara Letourneau — thank you, Sara!

I’ve done it before but thought it would be fun to answer the questions anyway.

Rules

Here are the rules, which I’m mostly ignoring today because I am lazy. 😉 But feel free to snag this tag for your own blog if you wish!

  1. Once you are nominated, make a post that thanks the person who nominated you and links back to their article.
  2. Include the Liebster Award sticker in your post.
  3. Nominate 7 to 10 other bloggers who you feel are worthy of this award. Let them know they have been nominated by commenting on one of their posts. You can also nominate the person who nominated you.
  4. Answer the 10 questions asked to you by the person who nominated you.
  5. Make 10 questions of your own for your nominees.
  6. Lastly, copy these rules in the post.
  7. All of the nominees are free to accept or reject the nomination.

Questions

1. Pick one of your favorite writers. What do you admire most about their work?

Diana Wynne Jones. And… everything? Her books are just so hilarious but also have wonderful story worlds, fabulous mind-blowing plot twists, and brilliant characters who I love; and they’re even deep books when you go to look beyond the surface. But… well, I guess, mostly the humor and the characters. I wish I could write like that. I just… love everything of hers I’ve read. ❤

2. Do you have any weaknesses or guilty pleasures when it comes to food? If so, what?

Well, chocolate? But I maintain that’s not a weakness — it’s necessary. 😉 I like sweets; I guess that’s a guilty pleasure, even if I don’t necessarily eat them often. Also anything noodley/Italian. YES. ❤

3. What was the most daring or adventurous thing you did as a child?

Ha! Haha. How about… nothing? I don’t think I’ve ever been a very adventurous person. I do remember once sleeping in a non-heated house on an extremely cold night, just to prove I could. That’s probably the most daring thing I can come up with, and it wasn’t very. 😛

4. If you could visit any city, country, or landmark in the world that you’ve haven’t been to yet, where would you go?

The British Isles! All of the scenery and history… Mostly Scotland and Ireland, but also Wales and Cornwall and Stonehenge and… Yes.

5. What is your favorite type of setting? In other words, do you prefer beaches, lakes, mountains, cities, forests, etc.?

Forests, hands-down! They are the most beautiful, and relaxing-feeling, but also mysterious and… I don’t know. They just feel the best and look the best and I love forests.

6. What literary trope are you most tired of reading about?

I think I’ve mentioned this before, and I’m not sure if it counts, but I’m sick of the tough-girls. They simply annoy me to no end.

7. On the flipside, what is one thing you’d like to see more of in published novels?

Heists and con-artists, please! There are not enough of these tales. But they are just so fun. I keep looking for more…

8. What birthday or holiday gift do you cherish most?

The latest was Illusionarium by Heather Dixon. I so enjoyed that book! *flailing and fangirling squeals* *huggles it*

9. If you could invent one thing (technology, household appliance, computer program or app, etc.) that currently doesn’t exist, what would it be?

Well, probably some sort of thing to manipulate time so that I wouldn’t always waste it (ha!) and so I’d have time to do all the things I want; or maybe something that automatically transfers my stories in my head, perfectly, into words on paper. Yes. I’d like that.

10. What’s your favorite kind of weather? Do you prefer rainy days over sun, snow over heat, etc.?

After such a hot summer, I’m thinking COOL WEATHER AND RAIN PLEASE. But I don’t really know. I tend to change my mind to whatever is NOT currently happening. (I’m difficult to please and flighty like that.)

***

Versatile-Blogger-Award

I was also tagged by Rachana for the Versatile Blogger Award! Thank you, Rachana! I’d never gotten this one before… Makes me feel specials. ^_^ Check out her blog, do!

Rules

  • Thank the person who gave you this award — of course.
  • Include a link to their blog. They deserve to have some credits too.
  • Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.
  • Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award — you might include a link to this
  • Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

I’m once again ignoring rules; sorry, I’m a rebel today. But here are some random facts…

7 Things About Me

1 – I’m really really super bad at coming up with facts about myself. (That’s a fact!)

2 – My hair is brown and longish and has a reddish tint in sunlight; I say it’s because of my Irish ancestors.

3 – I can play the pennywhistle, and I’m better at it with my eyes closed than open; my fingers know where to go unless I’m looking at them trying to remember for them.

4 – I love owls and have a painting of one on my wall, and also a wooden key-chain of one from Japan that my dear cousin gave me. It is adorable and I love it. ❤

5 – I love doing calligraphy, especially with Tolkien’s Elvish alphabet, Tengwar, even if I haven’t done much with it in a very long time.

6 – I dream a lot, and my dreams are usually extremely strange and fairly vivid; many of my story ideas are from dreams.

7 – I will sit and endlessly stare at the books on my bookshelf and daydream about what the books will be like when I read them. (Yes, I should probably just READ them to find out; but time! Time is key! And I don’t have it! Plus, books are just gorgeous to look at. DO NOT DENY IT.)

Tagging

(By the way, for the record… Who DOES like being tagged? Because I like being tagged — even if I don’t always get around to it — but I always have a hard time coming up with bloggers to tag in turn, especially not wanting to tag people all the time… And I’m not sure who likes tags?)

I’m not officially tagging anybody, but like I said, if you want to do either (or both!) on your blog, consider yourself officially tagged!

Junishness

Happy July, everyone! I’m just sitting here trying to comprehend how the year can be
half over… Can anyone tell me what happened?? O_O

For me, at least, June kind of vanished in the blink of an eye — summer is flying, peoples! But here’s an update on some of my doings…

I can’t think of a single non-writerly/non-readerly thing of interest, besides doing a phenomenal amount of blogging in June including catching up on all my tags. Which I am extremely proud of myself for. Basically I’m an ecstatic blogger at this moment. But! Writing and books! And lists. Let’s have some lists because lists are awesome.

Writing

I did wriiiting! I’m so excited. Most of this year has been a slow arena in the writing world. I say arena because I halfheartedly wrestle my stories and they easily best me and then go sit in the shade and sulk without me. Which makes for a lonely writer… But! That changed in June because I was super inspired and ended up working on five different stories and pounding out 11k words! That may be small potatoes to some of the big writer folks out there, but for this little weakling, I find myself quite unusually proud of me.

  • 5k of that was working on a couple of lesser stories in the Kedran’s Wood series, messing with Tare backstory which is fun (Son of Kedran’s Wood [0.5], and Return to McAllistair Mansion [1.5, short story]). Like 500 words of KW2, The Secret of Kedran’s Wood… yes, that’s slow right now. But happening! Which is still good!
  • And between a random snippet and that writing dare I posted that I’m leaning toward fitting into The Other Half of Everything somehow… that’s about 1500 words on that story. It’s still in the snippet stage, but hey, I won’t complain if it gets some of itself written already. 😉
  • And most of all, I’m very excited about getting about 3.5k words of my short story Darkling Reflections written! I diiid hope to finish it in June but at least I wrote the middle part and now just have the final third to do. So. That’s kind of awesome.

Um… and such nitty-gritty details of what-I-wrote-and-words is probably is of no interest to anyone but me. Ahem. But ANYWAYS. I basically wrote 11,000 words of awesome in June and feel extremely happy and inspired. I also had a couple of epic ideas for fairytale retellings I plan to write and got some plotting notes down. So THAT’S always fabulous. 😀

I will totally have to post some snippets because AAALL THE WRITING.

Reading

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I wanted to read way more than that, but apparently I got a goodly amount of reading done all the same… Huh.

  • The Hobbit is a reread, naturally… and just as awesome as always.
  • Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass (finally), as well as Stargirl and Love, Stargirl (totally random), were all small and rather mixed-feelings books that kind of left me a bit torn going “meh”, though they did have their merits I suppose.
  • Perfect Scoundrels — I finally read the last Heist Society book! Which as always was awesome. Cleverness and Hale. Yes. The author totally must write more…
  • Wildwood Dancing and Illusionarium — I had complaints for both, but were generally amazing. Another Twelve Dancing Princesses book (still working on those!). And my first steampunk, so yay! …I feel like all I’ve been doing on my blog lately is talk about Illusionarium (without even talking about it really or reviewing it or anything. O_O). I will stop, I promise! Ahem…

Anyways, that’s the reading I got done. A fairly good month, I guess?

July Nightstand Books

Aaand it being the first Wednesday of the month, not to mention first DAY of the month, I can’t resist posting the stuff I hope to read in July — so here I am, linking up with the Nightstand Books meme as started by Jenelle and D.J. It’s usually the first Wednesday of the month, I thiiink…

Here’s what I want to read… though I have no illusions (arium or otherwise har har) about actually getting them all read this month. BUT I CAN TRY.

nightstandjul15

AREN’T THEY SO PRETTY.

  • I’m STILL in Veiled Rose… I can’t believe it. But I’m trying to finish that soon. Poor Leo. *pets him*
  • Plenilune… Erm… Yes, I started it on Christmas, so I’ve officially been in this book for half a year now. IT’S. SO. BIG. I’m only 137 pages in, out of 659… I may cry. Ahem. However, it’s kind of delightful so far in its way, just verrry slow to wade through. *puffs and pants and puts on little-engine-that-could mentality* I think I can, I think I can!
  • And yes, I’m finally going to read The Scarlet Pimpernel. Because my bookclub is reading it. Every single person I know seems to have read and loved it and I’m always being told to read it. So I finally am going to, yay! I love stuff like that so I hope it will be awesome.
  • I don’t know if I’ll get to Out of Darkness Rising and Mist of Midnight, but I’ve been dying to read both of them for so long that hopefully I will… They just look so delicious.

Aaaand also some ebooks.

nightstandebooksjul15

See, that’s the problem with ebooks, they don’t fit beautifully on stacks on nightstands… *cough* BUT THESE ARE AWESOME ANYWAY, SO.

  • Yes, I’m ashamed to say I’m STILL in Chasing Shadows, which I do need to finish and review, but despite my slowness it’s kind of awesome anyways (WILL IS FABULOUS) and I’m working through it but it’s super long and I’m a very slow PDF reader, I fear…
  • Same with Five Enchanted Roses, which I’m SUUUPER excited and grateful to get to be an influence reader for Jenelle Schmidt’s entry, Stone Curse! *flaiiiil* Lookit that gorgeous. I can’t WAIT to dive into this. I’m very very excited. Expect a review on that sometime later this month too, hopefully!
  • And then of course there’s still that Twelve Dancing Princesses Collection I’m working through. So many! They are mostly super dark, whodathunk. 😄

Random Bookish News

I just need to flail a bit about this: there is an official cover for Jill Williamson’s next fantasy book, King’s FollyRead the post. It’s the first book in the Kinsman Chronicles, which are kinda-sorta prequels to the Blood of Kings Trilogy (which I love. A lot).

BloodOfKingsTrilogyButton-1024x625

She’s been writing sci-fi and dystopian and contemporary spy stuff for awhile now, which are great but not FANTASY if you know what I mean… So the fact that there’s another Jill Williamson fantasy book coming out (albeit adult instead of YA) just kind of excites me. Now I just have to wait till next spring. Whyyy. The life of a bookworm is tough, you guys, let me tell you. *falls dramatically across couch*

Anyways enough of my babbling — Coverrrr!! ❤ (Books just become REAL when they have covers, you know what I mean?)

***

Basically this whole post was about booooks. With a small side of writing. But what can I say. I’m very bookwormy these days. IT’S SUMMER AND SUMMER IS FOR READING RIGHT. I think I’m also now addicted to blogging. This may be a problem…

So that’s what’s up with me!

How about you?

Did you have a good June? Have plans for July?

Are you doing Camp NaNo??

(I’m not. *hides shamefully behind a tapestry*)

Also. IT’S ONLY FOUR MONTHS TILL NANOWRIMO. *drops bombshell and calmly walks away as if nothing happened*