Read-Along Discussion: Howl’s Moving Castle, Week 3

Time for the third and last check-in for the Howl’s Moving Castle read-along. This week’s discussion questions come from Beth & Nils of the Fantasy Hive.

Let’s start with the epic magic battle we’re treated to in ch16! What did you make of it? Was all the magic easy to visualise?

It was easy for me to visualize, but I wasn’t much impressed by it. I think I’d gotten so wrapped up in wanting Sophie to realize and acknowledge what’s going on with and around her that I became too frustrated to be impressed by much. So I think this is one I’ll enjoy a lot more on reread. However, I’d love to see how Miyazaki brings about this battle scene in his film.

Following the battle, it’s decided they must move Calcifer, and so Howl purchases the hat shop. This is one of the few moments in the book where we witness Howl actually perform a magic spell. What did you think of the move and the resulting flower shop?

I actually really liked this set of events I think because Sophie has such a strong reaction to them, even if she couldn’t tell what’s bugging her at first. But it’s one of few times that Sophie doesn’t seem to simply accept what’s happening to her and is instead angry and expresses that anger. I didn’t care much about Howl performing the spell and instead wanted the story to dig more into the emotions Sophie was battling with. I wondered how she felt and what she thought about the hat shop being vacant and returning to the place. We got some of that, but I wanted more.

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Read-Along Discussion: Howl’s Moving Castle, Week 2

Unsurprisingly, I’m late posting my replies to the second week of the Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones read-along for Wyrd & Wonder, a monthlong celebration of all things fantasy.

This week’s questions come from Beth & Nils, who both blog over on the Fantasy Hive. They posed about 11 questions, but I’ll only answer a few.

This week’s reading opens with Sophie mending Howl’s suit. By Chapter 14, Sophie finally learns that she’s been inadvertently charming clothes. Was it as obvious to you as everyone else in the book? Or were you as surprised as Sophie?

It was so obvious to me that I was becoming annoyed with Sophie and the story for not fully acknowledging it earlier. I kept thinking that maybe there was some sort of magical block preventing her from realizing what she was doing (like Cat in Charmed Life), but that doesn’t seem to be the case, which frustrates me. I was also hoping for a greater reaction from Sophie — more surprise — when she found out, so I was disappointed there too.

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Read-Along Discussion: Howl’s Moving Castle, Week 1

As I keep saying — Wyrd & Wonder is here!! 😀

Wyrd & Wonder is a monthlong celebration of all things fantasy, and among the events the hosts have planned are two readalongs. I’m participating in the Howl’s Moving Castle readalong since I’m on a Diana Wynne Jones kick ever since trying the first book in her Chrestomanci series, Charmed Life.

The discussion questions for the first week were written by Lisa at Dear Geek Place.

For those who have seen the film adaptation/first time readers: These opening chapters already make it clear how much of a difference there is between the two versions of this story. How do you feel about that difference? Are you curious to read on, or has it thrown you?

This is my first encounter with the story. I haven’t yet seen the film, but I intend to watch it after completing this. So far, it reminds me a bit of Jones’s Chrestomanci stories I’ve read so far. For a quick moment, I wondered if this story was set in the same world because one of the characters’ names sounded familiar.

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Wyrd & Wonder 2023 Is Here | Check Out My TBR

Finally I got a moment to chat about something I’ve been looking forward to as soon as the new year rolled around — Wyrd & Wonder.

What is Wyrd & Wonder?

Wyrd & Wonder is a monthlong celebration of all things fantasy hosted by the W&W crew: Lisa at Dear Geek Place, Imyril at There’s Always Room for One More, Jorie at Jorie Loves a Story, Annemieke at A Dance With Books, and Ariana at the Book Nook.

This is a laidback event — participate however you like, whether that’s reading fantasy books and comics or watching fantasy shows, playing fantasy games, or just posting about fantasy-themed things on your blog or in your vlog or when chatting with friends. You decide how to participate.

This monthlong event takes place throughout May, so from May 1 – 31, but you can jump in (or jump out) whenever you like. Just look at me getting started late, although I’d started planning since last month! 😩

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2023 Reading Plans

It’s a brand-new year and guess who’s feeling happy about it and refreshed and not slumpy at all (although, let me stop mentioning slumpiness so I don’t jinx myself).

Well, in addition to making “best of” lists and such, I enjoy making reading plans for the year, which is what this post is about. From my 2022 reading wrap up, I learned that making my reading goals manageable and not too ambitious is best. So I intend to repeat the goals I had last year, with a few tweaks thrown in.

Overall Reading Goals

Spend less.
Read more of my own books.

My plan is to read at least 10 of my own books before purchasing a new one (exceptions for series I’m reading and buddy-reads).

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Magical Readathon | 2022 — Orilium Autumn Equinox

Life is busy, so again I am late in starting a readathon. Actually, I was considering not doing it, or putting it off for later in the year, but I’ve been looking forward to this and am eager to get started. So despite being busy and behind in blogging, blog hopping, and reviewing, I’ll participate in the Magical Readathon. However, although the readathon is for a month, I’m considering extending it for myself since, due to my current schedule, I won’t be able to do much in a month (or maybe I’ll have to start next month… I don’t know).

Quick Facts About the Readathon

The Magical Readathon is a two-part month-long readathon created and hosted by G, a booktuber. It was once based on the Harry Potter books, but G has redesigned it to be based on a world of her own imagining called Aeldia, where there’s a prestigious magic school called Orilium Academy.

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Wyrd & Wonder 2022 Wrap Up

Wyrd & Wonder is all done and won’t be back until next year. But there are other events to possibly look forward to in the fall, like Spooktastic Reads and SciFiMonth. But in the meantime, here’s my wrap up.

Wyrd & Wonder is a monthlong celebration of all things fantasy where participants can participate in any way they like, whether reading books, watching shows, playing games, anything. Thanks to the hosts — Imyril, Lisa, Jorie, Ariana, and Annemieke — who kept us abreast of everyone’s posts, we had a fun, interactive event. Shout out them!

Here are what my plans were and how I did.

Read ONLY fantasy books in May.

This was easy and is the only goal I managed to accomplish, but I only managed to complete one book and that’s Charmed Life, the first book in this anthology of Diana Wynne Jones’s Chrestomanci middle grade books. Other than that, I started many books and have a buddy-read on going.

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Magical Readathon | 2022 — Orilium Spring Equinox Wrap-Up

I completed the readathon! 😀 I’m so proud of myself — and my characters too — for surviving Orilium’s Spring Equinox semester. Confused about what I’m talking about? Well, the gist of it is —

This is part of the Magical Readathon hosted by booktuber, G, where we get to create characters, have them choose a calling (i.e., a career), and attend a magic university called Orilium Academy. For more details about the readathon, character creation, and all that, see my previous post.

We only needed to create one character for the readathon, but I created two because I got carried away. That means I had a lot to read. Luckily, I own a lot of unread comics and picture books and short stories, so they came in handy and I managed to complete the readathon in time.

We also had the option to take part in quests and guild wars. But I had too much going on, so I did neither. However, although we only had to read books for the required courses, I also took on some additional ones as electives my characters took because I obviously got too excited about all this. Well then, let’s see how my characters did.

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Wyrd & Wonder 2022 Is Coming | Here’s My TBR

Wyrd & Wonder is almost here!!

Am I as prepared as I was hoping to be?


But am I as excited as I was the year before?

I sure am!


It’s a laid-back monthlong celebration of all things fantasy. The event takes place during May (May 1-31), and you can participate in any way you like: whether that’s reading a bunch of fantasy books, playing a bunch of fantasy games, watching a bunch of fantasy movies, dressing up as a bunch of fantasy characters for every day in May, or whatever else you come up with. You decide how you’d like to display your love of fantasy.

This year’s celebration marks the fifth anniversary of W&W, so we have five hosts. In addition to the original Wyrd & Wonder crew — Imyril, Lisa, and Jorie — there’s also Ariana and Annemieke.

And, since a fifth anniversary is traditionally honored with a gift of wood, the theme of this year’s W&W is forest fantasy. You can stick to the theme if you like, but it’s not necessary.

Anyway, if you’d like to learn more about the event, see the links below.

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Magical Readathon | 2022 — Orilium Spring Equinox

I’m a wee late with this, but it’s time to start my first semester at Orilium Academy!! 😀
If that sounds a bit odd, I mean that the Magical Readathon has officially started.

Quickie About the Readathon

This is a month-long readathon created and hosted by G, a booktuber. For background and details about the readathon’s redesign, see my first post about the Novice Path. However, for details on this part of the readathon, see G’s video. The gist of it is:

  • There are two semesters at Orilium Academy called equinoxes.
    • Spring equinox = month-long readathon in April
    • Autumn equinox = month-long readathon in August
  • The readathon structure is similar to when the Magical Readathon was based on the Harry Potter world and we’d do OWLs and NEWTs, so:
    • Spring equinox — April — one prompt per course
    • Autumn equinox — August — three prompts per course; the number of prompts completed determines the grade you get for the subject
  • The courses (prompts) you take are based on the Calling (career/vocation) you choose for your character. There are many Callings but four are exclusive to each guild:
    • Archmage — for House of the Arcane members
    • Master of Elements — for Order of the Crescent members
    • Godseer — for Archivist members
    • Dream Walker — for Mind Walker members
  • Optional: Guild Tiers — a way to acquire social status within your guild via points your character can gain by completing semesters, mini readathons, and other tasks like random quests that’ll pop up on the adventure board (on Twitter, for now).
    • Each level on the tier comes with perks for the readathon.
    • Everyone starts at the lowest tier — Initiate.
    • Those who completed the Novice Path last year earned 50 points!
      • (Completing the Novice Path and character creation prompts and all that aren’t required, but you can do it if you want.)
    • Optional: Guild Wars — competition between the guilds

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