Top 5 Tuesday #92: Some Spirit

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme created by Shanah, the Bionic Book Worm, and now hosted by Meeghan at Meeghan Reads.

This week’s topic:


(Topic of your choice!!)

Well, since we have a freebie topic and the theme for this month has been the Avatar: The Last Airbender show, I think I’ll go with spirit as my topic for this week, since spirit is an element that only the Avatar can bend.

Now, how do I choose books that fit this topic? Well… it was difficult.

Eon by Alison Goodman

The first in a YA fantasy duology about a girl posing as a boy so that she can be considered to become the next Dragoneye and bond with a dragon. I chose it for my spirit theme because the dragons in this series are more spiritual than tangible beings.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

These are YA paranormal books about a group of teens searching for the resting place of a dead Welsh king along ley lines in West Virginia. I chose it for my spirit theme because it has a ghost in it but also because it’s dreamy and atmospheric.

First Rider’s Call by Kristen Bell

This is a book I’m currently reading, and really enjoying. It’s the second novel in the Green Rider fantasy series, which focuses on the king’s messengers in the fantastic land this story is set in. I chose this for the spirit theme because we get even more ghosts in it than the first book, and those green riders, especially the protagonist, are quite spirited — they have a lot of heart and are dedicated to their king.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Ah, yet another YA novel. This one is historical fantasy about an amazing circus at which two magicians’ apprentices compete to see whose teaching style is best. I love this story. I can’t remember if there’s a spirit in it, but I chose it for how atmospheric it is and because it takes a lot of spirit — energy, dedication, and love of the circus itself — to keep the circus going.

The Diviners by Libba Bray

This is a YA paranormal series set in the late 1920s that focuses on a group of teens trying to prevent a bad spirit from taking over the world. I chose it for my spirit topic since the story largely focuses on spirits — ghosts — and the protagonist has a lot spirit — a lot of energy and heart.

What would you pick for such a theme?


Fantasy Books I Recently DNF

Every now and then, I do a roundup of books I did not finish (DNF). I don’t often give up on books, but I’m trying to do so more often since there are many things I’d like to read and there’s no point torturing myself with something I do not like.

And I also sometimes rate the books I DNF. However, I only do so if I’ve read a decent bit of it to have formed a strong opinion. I always mention in the review, or whatever writeup I do, that I DNF the book so folks know to take my opinion with a grain of salt or something.

Previous DNF roundups:

The Sword Defiant by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan




Lands of the Firstborn, book 1



Quick summary

This is the first in a new fantasy series by the author. The story mostly focuses on Sir Aelfric, a veteran warrior who was instrumental in defeating the Dark Lord with his band of warrior friends.

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Once Upon a Time Book Tag

For this Book Tag Thursday, I’m doing the Once Upon a Time Book Tag, which I found over on the Bookforager and knew I HAD to do.

It was created by I Have 12% of a Plan (love this blog name) and Imperial Scribis.

And since it’s Wyrd & Wonder month, I’ll try to stick to fantasy things in my responses.

Cinderella: A book that changed your life

Rat Queens, Vol. 1: Sass and Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe, illus. by Roc Upchurch

It’s the first in a fantasy comic-book series about a band of female mercenaries. I decided to go with this since it’s one of the first comics I read that got me hooked on that form of storytelling as an adult.

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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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Top 5 Tuesday #91: Airy Ones

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme created by Shanah, the Bionic Book Worm, and now hosted by Meeghan at Meeghan Reads.

This week’s topic:

Top 5 books with air

Calm like a monk, or wild like Aang? Don’t forget to breathe deeply. 💨🍃
(Variant: flight)

Again I had difficulty coming up with selections that match the week’s topic, but I tried and managed to find four, because I limited myself to selecting only fantasy books (or books I believe to be fantasy, in honor of Wyrd & Wonder month).

A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos, transl. by Hildegarde Serle
Flight, Vol. 1 edited by Kazu Kibuishi
Air Awakens by Elise Kova
Flyte by Angie Sage

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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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Top 5 Tuesday #90: Fire & Lightning

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme created by Shanah, the Bionic Book Worm, and now hosted by Meeghan at Meeghan Reads.

This week’s topic:

Top 5 books with fire

(We’re more into channeling Iroh than Ozai… but where are all our fire-benders at? 🔥☄️)
(Variant: lightning)

OK, this week’s topic was difficult to find answers for, but somehow I managed to find books that fit.

Olympians, Vol. 1: Zeus, King of the Gods by George O’Connor (illus.)

First up is this middle-grade fantasy comic book that’s the first in a series about the Greek gods. This first volume retells select stories about Zeus, focusing on the god in his younger years.

The Shadow Saint by Gareth Hanrahan

This one may be a stretch, but I think there was a lot of fire in the war that occurs at the end of the book… but I can’t remember for sure. The Shadow Saint is the second in the Black Iron Legacy fantasy series that’s set in a world were the gods are at war.

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“Page” by Tamora Pierce

My glacial progress rereading the Protector of the Small series continues with Page, the second book.

I started this book last year but ended up putting it down several times, finding the story too boring to keep my interest for long, which surprised me. I wisely guessed that it must be a “mood thing” and set the book aside for much of the year before returning to it earlier this year and quickly completing it in a week. I was glad for that, as I’d started to become worried that I’d fallen out of love with a childhood favorite. Turns out that I just had a bout of the reading blues that lasted for much of 2022.


YA Fantasy


Protector of the Small, book 2



Quick summary

After completing a probationary year, Keladry of Mindelan finally, officially begins training to become a knight. She (and me, too) is still angry at having to do a probationary year at all, but she’s pleased that Lord Wyldon has agreed to allow her to continue.

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Cozy Fantasy Book Tag

Here’s another fantasy-themed book tag that’s perfect to do for Wyrd & Wonder.

It’s the Cozy Fantasy Book Tag, which I found over on Corner of Laura. It was created by 24hryabookblog.

Let the journey begin! What’s the first “cozy fantasy” book you’ve ever read?

The Tea Dragon Society by Kay O’Neill (illus.)

Cozy fantasy is still a new concept to me, so the books in the Tea Dragon series are probably the first books I read that I considered “cozy fantasy” at the time I read them. They are such sweet reads. They are middle-grade graphic novels about a group of people who care for miniature dragons that grow tea leaves from their horns.

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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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