Get to Know the Fantasy Reader | Tag

Hello lovely people! Today I have a fun tag that I saw on Sam’s channel on Thoughts on Tomes. The original creator of this tag, Bree of Falling for Romance, created the tag to get to know the romance reader, but the questions here were tailored more toward those who read fantasy (which I do lol). So, let’s jump right into the tag, shall we?

1 . What is your fantasy origin story? (How you came to read your first fantasy novel)

Oh man, I have to think way back. Unlike many people my age (late twenties), my first fantasy read wasn’t Harry Potter or Percy Jackson (both of which I’m reading for the first time now, in my twenties). I think for me it was a collection of some fairy tales such as Rumpelstiltskin, The Old Lady in the Shoe, etc. I can’t for the life of me remember who this particular collection was by, but it should still be at my parents’ house somewhere.

But, in much further memory, the first fantasy/paranormal book that really pulled me into the genre was A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb. It was on the reading list for that year’s summer reading and, admittedly, the only time I actually did summer reading and enjoyed it. I mean, it’s hard to get high schoolers to actually read something off of those lists, let me tell you, so to say I’m glad it was on her list is an understatement.

It was the first young adult novel I read where I was actually hooked on the story and the characters and wanted to learn so much more about them. I still have the book and hope to do a reread of it sometime this year or soon to see if I’ll still enjoy it, but it has a special place in my heart as the first fantasy-esque book that sent me off on my current journey today.

2. If you could be the hero/heroine in a fantasy novel, who would be the author and what’s one trope you’d insist be in the story?

Oh man, Laini Taylor, hands down. I’d love to be written beautifully into one of her worlds – new or old. She’s an incredibly poetic author and I love her books and worlds so much.

As for a trope I’d insist being written into the story… Ooh, I know: give me that enemies-to-friends-to-lovers trope. I love iiiiiiiit~

3. What is a fantasy you’ve read this year, that you want more people to read?

I mean, considering at the time of writing this post I’ve only read one fantasy novel so far this year, and that’s Strange the Dreamer (which I loved, spoiler alert), I definitely want more people to read it. It’s beautiful and so complex and intriguing. Go check out my review for more mushy feelings about it.

BUT, I do have a few fantasy-esque webtoons/comics I can definitely recommend!

4. What is your favorite fantasy subgenre? What subgenre have you not read much from?

My favorite fantasy subgenre is probably high/epic fantasy. I love to be immersed in new worlds, magic systems, political systems, and just all manner of things. And the books and series are usually super huge, so I can stay with those characters for a lot longer, which is nice.

The subgenre I haven’t read much from is probably grim dark. I’m the kind of person that enjoys reading about happy things and really loves fluff. Not that I mind reading the darker stuff, I just don’t like it when it’s all encapsulating in the novel. But sometimes the darkness of my soul needs to be fed, so.

5. Who is one of your auto-buy fantasy authors?

Laini Taylor

I was just going to move onto the next question, but I guess I’ll elaborate a little lol I just love her worlds and the way she writes. I feel like I can taste and feel and sense what her characters do, and I get so attached and want to know what will happen next. She’s just a fantastic writer and I look forward to her work.

6. How do you typically find fantasy recommendations? (Goodreads, Youtube, Podcasts, Instagram..)

Ah, well, because I pulled back a lot from the book community in the last year, I haven’t actually been getting a lot of recommendations (which is fine, my TBR appreciates it), but typically through YouTube or just browsing sites like Amazon or WEBTOON.

7. What is an upcoming fantasy release you’re excited for?

The Stormlight Archives book 4, Rhythm of War, by Brandon Sanderson. I mean, I know I’ve only finished the first book in the series – Way of Kings – but it’s one of my new favorite series of all time, so of COURSE I’m excited for this book, even if it takes another five years to get to it, but by that time, the fifth book will have come out, so it all evens out haha!

8. What is one misconception about fantasy you would like to lay to rest?

Not all GOOD fantasy books are written by white, straight, male authors. There are many female writers who write amazing worlds, stories, characters, scenes, etc.

9. If someone had never read a fantasy before and asked you to recommend the first 3 books that come to mind as places to start, what would those recommendations be?

Oh man. This is a tough question because 1) every book I ever read would cease to exist in my mind, and 2) I’d need to know their own reading tastes and such before telling them, but these three are ones I think I’d recommend:

10. Who is the most recent fantasy reading content creator you came across that you’d like to shoutout?

I don’t think I have any new ones, but I’ll shoutout some of my favorites:

And that’s it for the tag! If you’d like to do this, please feel free to do so, and let me know if you do!

What’s one fantasy book/series you’d recommend anyone? Let me know!

Magical Readathon | TBR

Hello there, magical people~ I hope you’re doing well. Today I’m going to be talking about the Magical Readathon hosted by Book Roast over on YouTube. This readathon is themed around the Harry Potter universe and includes classes in twelve subjects at Hogwarts, as well as twelve potential careers (and extra seminars and courses) you can take in your time at and after Hogwarts! This seemed like such a fun activity, and I was a bit too late to join the last few times I saw the announcements, but I’m finally early and ready to try this readathon for myself!

Now, if you would like all the details about the readathon, there are links in the video that Book Roast talks about the announcement here, but to summarize, it’s an event that’s taking place for the entire month of April from the 1st to the 30th, and during that time you pick books based on the prompts given for each of the twelve classes, and each class comes with a prompt designated to it:

  • Ancient Runes: Heart Rune – heart on the cover or the title
  • Arithmancy: Magical qualities of number 2 – balance/opposites – read something outside of your favorite genre
  • Astronomy: Night classes – read majority of this book when it’s dark outside
  • Care of Magical Creatures: Hippogriffs – creature with a beak on the cover
  • Charms: Lumos Maxima – white cover
  • Defense Against the Dark Arts: Grindylows – book set at sea/coast
  • Divination: Third Eye – assign numbers to your TBR and use a random number generator to pick your read
  • Herbology: Mimbulus mimbletonia – title starts with an M
  • History of Magic: Witch hunts – book featuring witches/wizards
  • Muggle Studies: Book from the perspective of a muggle (contemporary)
  • Potions: Shrinking Solution – book under 150 pages
  • Transfiguration: Animagus lecture – book/series that includes shapeshifting

You can also pick a career path to take after your Hogwarts career (this is totally optional) and allows you to focus on and potentially narrow down which books from which class you read. Careers include: Alchemist, Astronomer, Aurologist, Auror, Broom Maker, Care of Magical Children, Culinary Sorcerer, Curse Breaker, Graphic Designer, Healer, Herbologist, Hogwarts Professor, Journalist or Writer, Librarian, Mage of Visual Arts, Magizoologist, Metal Charmer, Mind Medic, Ministry Worker, Potioneer, Quidditch Referee, Seer, Spell Maker, Trader of Magical Tomes, and Wandmaker. (For more on these, check out the video I linked above!)

So for this readathon, I want to get back into the swing of reading novels (as has been in the case in almost every post I’ve made lately lol), but I didn’t want to overwhelm myself as it’ll be the first actual readathon I participate in this year. Picking a career was tough, but I decided to go with Writer, and I might double up with Graphic Designer, if I have the time and energy to do so. I’ll also be taking a bonus course called Merpeople Linguistics.

Let’s break this down!

Writer O.W.L.s Needed

  • History of Magic
  • Muggle Studies
  • 1 other subject of your choice (I chose Astronomy)

The books I chose for this Writer O.W.L. are:

Graphic Designer O.W.L.s Needed

  • Ancient Runes
  • Charms
  • History of Magic
  • Transfiguration

The books I chose for the Graphic Designer O.W.L. are:

And for my extra course/seminar, the Merpeople Linguistics course, I’ll be reading a book for Herbology: Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. This one will be a reread for me.

Oh man, it’s a lot to take in, but I’m very excited. All of these books (except for Heartless) are also on my POPSugar Challenge for 2020, so I’m killing two birds with one stone.

I’m definitely aiming for just the first three books in the Writer’s career O.W.L.s as I don’t want to overwhelm myself, but I think having plenty of options is good for this challenge.

There will also be other challenges hosted on the Twitter, @magicathon, and there’s also a discord for you to join if you want! (Links in the video listed earlier in this post!)

Are you going to be joining the readathon? Which career are you aiming for? Is this your first O.W.L.s? Let me know all your thoughts in the comments below!

Strange the Dreamer | Book Review

Title: Strange the Dreamer
Series: Strange the Dreamer #1
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: March 28, 2017
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Pages: 528
Format: Hardcover

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.

You know, I started reading this book what feels like forever ago, and I put it down not because I was bored with it or anything – quite the opposite! – but because I was in a reading slump of sorts. Now that I picked it back up and finished it over the last two or three days, I’m SO glad I did because WOW, was this a great book.

Laini Taylor never ceases to amaze me with her works. She is one of my favorite authors, and this book definitely showed me why. The writing, of course, was elegant and poetic in many different ways. She has a way of describing feeling and the human emotion in such depth that it makes you feel like you’re experiencing what that character experiences, rather than just sitting back and watching it happen.

Among those well-written words are the characters and the plot of the story, both of which I feel are both dynamic as they are complex. The story unfolds in a fantasy world (though it feels a lot like Earth), with gods who lived among the people, great creatures that could tear a person apart, and many mysteries that have yet to be revealed. The world itself felt very large, but also very small, given most of it is told from Lazlo’s point of view (as well as several others).

Besides that, the characters themselves had such varying histories behind them that I felt drawn to learn more about each one. Lazlo, an orphan made librarian, seemed like such a dreamer that he felt very naive and new to much of the world. I loved his love for stories and how he would often describe the world around him as something very poetic and beautiful.

Sarai felt so troubled, so tired, and I felt like I could feel how tired she was. She was holding onto old anger that she no longer held in her heart, but a curiosity that was sparked in kind thanks to Lazlo and his dreams.

The other godspawn, as they’re called – Minya, Ruby, Feral, and Sparrow – had all such distinct characteristics and personalities, and powers. They each felt real and had their own share of problems, worries, etc.

Among other characters, such as Eril-Fane and Azareen, who share horrible pasts due to the gods, there was one that stood out a lot that I felt frustrated with but also very intrigued by: Thyon Nero. He’s the son of a king and queen who were losing their kingdom, until one day, Thyon managed to turn things into gold. But he has a lot of secrets, and a bad personality, but I can’t say that I don’t want to see more of what he’s capable of.

The story to save Weep – the town whose name was stolen – is one of adventure and many questions and uncertainties. I could feel the sorrow of the city even in the small bits and glimmers we got through the other characters.

Honestly, this book was so wonderfully done. If you’re looking for a book with fantastical elements, deep emotions explored, dark pasts, and hopeful futures, then you’d enjoy this novel.

★★★★★

The Bookie Trials Royal Weekender | TBR

Hello everyone! I hope you’re all doing well! I know I’ve been absent for a while, but I’m attempting during these trying times to kickstart my love of reading novels once more with my first readathon of the year!

This is The Bookie Trials Royal Weekender, hosted by Rachel Marie on YouTube!

Last year I participated in The Bookie Trials as a Mage, going across the Queendom to read the books in my challenge group as much as possible. Though I did not complete my quest, I still had a blast and am excited to be joining this 48 hour readathon.

This particular weekender readathon is coming up this weekend, March 28-29, 2020.

I also must let you know, that I am not a Mage this time around, as I took the newer quiz that came out over the winter and am, in fact, a BARD! I am very excited to be joining this group of lively people, storytellers, musicians, poets, and orators, and setting off on the quest to earn my Honor Badges throughout the weekend while I read a book or two on my TBR.

What are on these honor badges? Well, the goal is to earn the eight badges during the weekend – four for everyone, four based on your team – and to be an Honorable Person of the Queendom.

Bard badges of honor (top) and badges everyone can earn.

Let’s start with the badges that everyone can earn first, shall we?

  • Oath Maker: Shared Your TBR – The first badge is one that I’ve earned just by sharing this post with my TBR! I’ve made an oath as a Bard to read the book(s) I’ve set out for this Royal Weekender, and I’m sticking to it/them!
  • Tournament Ready: Joined a Competition – This second badge is for joining one of the competitions on Twitter during the weekend. This is separate from the next badge, Power Surge.
  • Power Surge: Completed a 2 Hour Sprint – During the weekend, there will be a couple two hour sprints where each team – Bards, Outlaws, Magi, and Scribes – will compete against one another to read as many pages as they can within those two hours.
  • Tome Champion: Completed a Book – You’ve done it! You’ve managed to complete one book this weekend. Congratulations, you’ve earned this badge of honor!

Now let’s talk about the Bardic Badges that I shall gain this weekend~

  • Superior Inspiration: Read a Retelling – Pretty self-explanatory, this badge is for reading a book based on a retelling! The retelling can be one as old as time, or as new as the day is young.
  • Song of Joy: Dance with Your Eyes Closed – This is a self-care badge that has nothing to do with a book, but rather to look after yourself during the weekend. Each team has their own specific ones, and this one is perfect for the bards to let loose and have fun.
  • Soft Heart: Cinnamon Roll Character – This is for all of the uwu’s to be had, as this one focuses on all of the soft characters that you find in novels. Ones that you just want to squish their cheeks and protect with your life.
  • Simple Soul: An Illustrated Cover – Who doesn’t enjoy looking at pretty things? A beautiful illustrated cover is just the thing to be had. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so if one person finds it beautiful, and another doesn’t, that’s okay.

And now, for the TBR!

As this is only a 48 hour weekend, I want to keep my choice(s) simple. Oh, a few things to mention: yes, one book can satisfy all of the prompts! Yes, you can read a graphic novel, manga, audiobook, ebook, comic, etc. So with that, I am choosing…

Percy Jackson and the Olympians III: The Titan’s Curse

I started reading the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series for my first time as an adult back in 2018. I had never given it a go, but I decided to on a whim one day and found that I really enjoyed it! It’s such a fun, fast-paced series about a boy who doesn’t seem to fit in at any of the schools he’s attended, until one day things go a little crazy and he’s suddenly being attached by a mythical creature – thus beginning his journey and discovering just who, and what, he is, and so I want to continue it with the third installment in the series.

So, for the badges, this book hits all three!

  • Superior Inspiration: This book is a retelling about the Greek gods in a modern day setting!
  • Soft Heart: The cinnamon roll is totally Grover. He’s adorable and I want to protect him.
  • Simple Soul: I mean, look at that cover! Definitely illustrated, as is the whole series. And this one is really cool looking!

I’m only choosing one book that I’ll actually be focusing on for this readathon, BUT I do have a… “few” more that I’ll at least start if I have the time and energy to do so, and they are:

My Hero Academia, volumes 1-6 by Kohei Hoshitori

What would the world be like if 80 percent of the population manifested superpowers called “Quirks” at age four? Heroes and villains would be battling it out everywhere! Being a hero would mean learning to use your power, but where would you go to study? The Hero Academy of course! But what would you do if you were one of the 20 percent who were born Quirkless?

Middle school student Izuku Midoriya wants to be a hero more than anything, but he hasn’t got an ounce of power in him. With no chance of ever getting into the prestigious U.A. High School for budding heroes, his life is looking more and more like a dead end. Then an encounter with All Might, the greatest hero of them all, gives him a chance to change his destiny…

I started watching My Hero Academia when it first began airing a few years ago and instantly fell in love with the characters and the series. It even inspired me to create some of my own original characters that could fit into the world! It’s action-packed, gripping, funny, and a lot of fun.

Bonus Points: There’s several cinnamon roll characters (Deku, Ochako, Iida, Kirishima, etc.), as well as super illustrated covers as they’re manga.

So if I have the time and energy to do so, I’ll read these first six volumes since I have yet to do so – and I own volumes 1-15!

As for the self-care prompt, I have a whole playlist on my phone called “Jam” and I fully plan on listening to that while closing my eyes and just jamming out to some of my favorite tunes, letting go of some of the stress and sadness the world has been feeling lately – at least for a little while.


Alas, my dear friends, this is where this Bard’s introduction and TBR comes to a close! I hope that this fun little weekender readathon inspires you to join not only this weekend, but also the bigger event set to take place this summer in July.

Are you joining in the Royal Weekender? Which team are you representing? What’s one book you hope to read during that time?

Top Ten Tuesday | Bookish Discoveries I Made in 2019

Oh hey, how’s it going? I haven’t done a TTT in a long while, but I thought, hey, I want to pick up blogging again, so why not do a TTT post once in a while?

If you don’t know what Top Ten Tuesday is, it’s a weekly event across book blogs, vlogs, etc., where we discuss our top ten of the topic picked for that week. It was originally started on The Broke and the Bookish, but has since moved to That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week’s topic is all about bookish discoveries that I made in 2019, from authors to blogs, books to bookish merch. Here’s my top ten from last year.

10. Reading Planner

I had set up a reading planner for a few months and found it to be really fun, but hard to keep up with (I love the idea of planners, but using them? That’s a whole other story lol). So actually, for this year, I ordered the reading planner from Owlcrate and I can’t wait to use it! (Not sponsored!)

9. Leigh Bardugo’s King of Scars Book Signing

I did a whole post on this book signing event, but it was so much fun! I always love going into Boston and exploring, especially when I go to my favorite independent bookstore, Brookline Booksmith. There’s such a calming yet fun atmosphere there. For the event there were several activities to do while waiting for Leigh to talk, and when she did she was so super funny! It was a great time despite the weather.

8. The Way of Kings by Brandson Sanderson audiobook is amazing

2019 was the year I finally finished listening to this audiobook. I had started it YEARS ago, but never got very far in it until I was driving a half hour to and from work every day and realized that sometimes I just didn’t want to listen to music for my commute. Solution? A 45 hour long audiobook filled with amazing characters, great narrators, fantastic and vivid world building, and, of course, a unique magic system that Sanderson is so good at exploring. I can’t wait to continue on to Words of Radiance in audiobook!

7. Libby and My Local Library

Okay, so my local library is really dinky and doesn’t have a huge selection of books that I would personally check out, BUT what’s cool is that I can go to any library in the county and check out books from any of those locations with my card! So cool!

Oh, and as for Libby, which is an app where you enter your location information, as well as your library card information, and you’re able to rent out e-books and audiobooks from your library, I found it to be super useful! I’m going to definitely be using it for my reading challenge this year in case I read some books not already on my shelf that I might not want to purchase just yet.

6. Not Being on Twitter

Okay, this might be a controversial one, but oh well because over the last six months I’ve deactivated Facebook as well as just stopped going onto Twitter, and let me tell you, it’s been doing wonders for my mental health. Twitter (not just book twitter, but the website as a whole) is just full of way too much negativity and I ain’t got time for that when I’m trying to heal from years of numbness and pain, you know? So as much as I miss the connectivity between people sometimes, I also don’t miss the drama and all of the other crap that came along with it.

If you’re finding that there’s too much negativity on any social media space, including around books, I hope you take the time to rest and step back from it for your own mental health.

5. I was featured on Novels & Waffles Bibliosmile Project

Image by Kat @ Novels and Waffles

Kat at Novels and Waffles asked on Twitter (before I left lol) if anyone would be interested in joining in this project, and I talked of my interest and so I was a guest on her blog! In this blog post I talked about five books that have impacted me over the years for one reason or another, so it’s a very sentimental post I wrote.

4. There’s Both Power and Longing in NOT Buying Books

So my husband and I moved from Massachusetts to North Carolina over the summer for a new job for him (which he likes!), and I didn’t have a job lined up. In fact, I only had a seasonal job recently and I still don’t have anything lined up. We’re doing okay, kind of – taking care of the important stuff, of course – and as a result we had to cut out a lot of stuff from our lives. One of them, for me, was book buying. Now, I didn’t stop completely, but I did slow down A LOT. It’s actually been nice to know that my TBR pile didn’t grow for a long time (until I worked this past season at a book store, haha…ha…).

Part of me misses buying books because I’m excited in that moment, but the other part is like, “Girl, you want to unhaul a lot already on your shelves, so how about you focus on that first, yeah?”

3. Donating Books Feels Good

Seriously. There’s something freeing about freeing up space on your shelves. Now, this isn’t a new concept for me that I discovered in 2019 (I think I’ve been doing it since 2017/18), but I wanted to mention it because before we moved I donated another fifty books to my local library – including signed copies that I had gotten from book boxes. I just wasn’t interested in them, and frankly, I’d rather a library have it so others can read them if they want to.

I plan on continuing to donate this year as the need arises, which it probably will. I have some books on my shelves that have been there for years and I know that at this point in time in my life I’m either a) never going to read them, or b) read them and don’t want them on my shelf anymore.

2. My Reading Tastes Are Changing

That’s right! I’m both surprised and not surprised at all, honestly. As I’ve been getting older I’ve been noticing that my reading tastes are starting to gravitate towards older content – aka, not YA or middle grade. Actually, strike the middle grade one because, well, spoilers, I love it so far (thank you Rick Riordan), but as I’m now 28 I want to read more content about characters in my age group (which, for me, is college age to about 35).

This is in no way me dissing YA, by the way. I will absolutely still be reading YA because I still enjoy the genre, but I also find myself wanting to consume more adult and new adult books. This discovery, in particular, felt right to me, and even though I was a little nervous to talk about it, I’m not so much anymore. Anyone else feel this way?

1 . Middle Grade Books are SO FUN

Okay, so I’ve really only read the Percy Jackson series in 2019 (for the first time and I LOVE IT!), but as a way to dip my toes into middle grade? FANTASTIC! I want to spread myself as much as possible in my reading life, and so reading books for younger kids is a great way to do so.

Of all of the bookish discoveries I made in 2019, I think this one is my favorite just because there’s so much to discover in middle grade and to see these books through the eyes of the younger generation. That’s how I see it, at least.

Let’s chat!

What bookish discoveries did you make in 2019? What is your most memorable one? Let me know!