Discworld Readathon Month 8 – Guards! Guards!

Okay, sure, I still haven’t put up a review for Wyrd Sisters. And sure, I’m still only halfway through Pyramids. But I’m actually putting up an announcement post at the start of the month for once, and you know what? I’m pretty dang proud of that. Baby steps, folks. Bb:D

And this month we’re tackling Guards! Guards! which I’m super excited about because we get to meet the Night Watch for the first time and I’ve heard incredible things about them. Especially Sam Vimes who is probably the one character I knew most about coming into this series because a blog I follow on Tumblr is really into Discworld but they only ever post fanfic/fanart shipping Vimes and Havelock Vetinari.

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For you newcomers, this is a monthly Discworld Readathon that Nicole @ Bookworm Drinketh and I are hosting! We read through one Discworld book per month and post up a review at the last Monday of that month (give or take…a month).

Give a holler down in the comments to join us in our disorganized glory!

Reviews for Guards! Guards! will be posting on February 25th!

Update (I’m Back!) and Discworld Month 6 (Better Late than Never…?)

Happy Holidays, everyone! I’m back from my unannounced hiatus! Incidentally, I’m a broken record.

November and December are generally not great months for me (one of the million things they don’t tell you as a kid is how the holidays can go from the Most Wonderful Time of the Year to Time of Dread as you grow older), and this time was no exception. And then some. Bad mental health stuff and hospitals, basically.

I’m probably turning into one of those characters in SFF series who spend half of their screen/page time waking up in hospital beds and being like, “Hey doc, nice to see you again” and “We should really stop meeting like this.” Well, minus a cool sword and a world to save.

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As for Discworld, we’re now six months into the Discworld Readathon started by me and Nicole (the Bookworm Drinketh).

This month’s book is (was?) Wyrd Sisters and if this is the first time you’re hearing about it, you have two whole days to get to it. Pfft that’s totally feasible, right? :DD

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Arbitrary deadlines aside, if you want to join now then go for it. Leave me a comment, enjoy Sir Terry’s brilliant imagination, and post your review whenever.

And a thousand apologies to Nicole and the other participating bloggers for the radio silence. I’ll definitely try to get to the book by the end of next week.

I also have a backlog of posts I need to publish, a collab project that I’m super excited to unveil (hopefully sometime in January), and need to figure out how I’m supposed to write reviews for books I read over a month ago. So look out for those!

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Do tell me how your month has been, what interesting books you’ve picked up, etc, etc. Happy reading!

Discworld Readathon Review: Mort

Mort

Title: Mort (Discworld 4)
Author: Terry Pratchett
Publisher: Corgi
Release Date: April 1st, 1989
Genre(s): Fantasy
Subjects and Themes: Death
Page Count: 272 (paperback)

 

 

 

 

Yesterday was the “official” review post date but I didn’t actually start the book until Sunday, so you’re getting this one fashionably late!

So. Mort. This book’s been hyped to hell and back by everyone and I went into it clutching wide-eyed excitement in one hand and squinty skepticism in the other.

And, well, turns out all you hypers were right, because this is my favourite of the Discworld books so far (which may not be saying a lot seeing as how we’re only four books in, but still).

Here are some reasons why I think the book worked for me:

1. It’s explores a master/apprentice relationship in a macabre profession, which I have a particular weakness for. Professions like gravediggers, morticians, “monstrumologists,” and well, grim reapers. There’s something about the handling of death and the act of sharing that craft with a younger person that I find hopelessly romantic.

Sometimes I think I should have been born in a Victorian gothic novel.

 

2. I love, love Mort as a character. First of all, he’s an underdog–I can’t not root for those. Second of all, he’s this wonderful mix of teenage eagerness–of wanting to prove himself to others and to himself–and thoughtfulness. He’s utterly endearing and hands-down my favourite of the Discworld protagonists so far.

 

3. Speaking of endearing, I love this version of Death. He reads like the mysterious, eccentric relative you’ve been sent to live with for the summer. And when you ask your parents what Uncle Tim does for a living, they just flap their hands vaguely and say, “Oh, you know, he does the thing.”

And you go, “What thing?”

“You know…the thing.”

Turns out they can’t quite recall what it is. Strange. And then when you get there you find out that, oh hey, Uncle Tim is in the Grim Reaping business. And he’s kind of awkward and old-fashioned and–true to his reputation–eccentric, but he tries very hard to connect with you, and you can’t help but find it lovable.

He’s not my favourite Death incarnation (that title goes to a certain goth girl created by a different British author), but he’s definitely up there.

 

4. The humour really clicked with me this time around. It’s weird, because it’s the same humour–it’s still Pratchett at the helm–but with Mort as a main character, it feels…more grounded. Less loud. Still witty but not too gratuitous. It’s hard to explain.

 

3. It’s touching. I couldn’t really say that about the previous books, but the character dynamics combined with the musings on death and fate makes for a story with a surprising amount of heart.

 And Pratchett has a way of dressing up small wisdoms and life’s truths in the most whimsical garb:

History unravels gently, like an old sweater. It has been patched and darned many times, reknitted to suit different people, shoved in a box under the sink of censorship to be cut up for the dusters of propaganda, yet it always – eventually – manages to spring back into its old familiar shape. History has a habit of changing the people who think they are changing it. History always has a few tricks up its frayed sleeve. It’s been around a long time.

In short, I loved it a lot more than I thought I would.

So I’m giving this one four and a half elephants riding turtles out of five!

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Here are the awesome bloggers who are participating this month! Go see what they thought of Mort!

Book Beach Bunny
Confessions of a Serial Reader
Meeghan @ Meeghan Reads and Bakes
Nicole @ The Bookworm Drinketh
Storm of Pages

Discworld Readathon Month 4 – Mort

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! Things are super hectic and I’m just a tad sleep-deprived, but I’m still here to give your monthly reminder that hey, we’re doing a Discworld Readathon! The idea is that we read through one Discworld book per month–so a four-year endeavor, give or take–and post up a review on the last Monday.

This month we’ll be tackling Mort! Pretty much every Pratchett reader seems to talk about it with the kind of reverence usually reserved for Easter church services and that moment when you take your souffle out of the oven, so my expectations are super high. Stratospherically high. Like, this better blow my socks off into said stratosphere.

I’m joking. Mostly. But I’m still very excited and the book seems like the perfect October read. If you’re interested in joining (or dropping out) this month, just leave a comment below!

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Oh, and speaking of high expectations, it’s come to my attention that Nicole (Bookworm Drinketh) is on the hunt for the perfect alcohol to pair with her Equal Rites (Discworld 3) review, which is the BEST reason for a delayed review ever. I’m expecting some kind of godly concoction, Nicole. 😉

Reviews for Mort are to be posted on October 29th! Happy Reading!

 

Discworld Readathon Review: Equal Rites (Witches 1)

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Title: Equal Rites (Discworld 3; Witches 1)
Author: Terry Pratchett
Publisher: Corgi (newer edition)
Release Date: January 15, 1987
Genre(s): Fantasy, Humour
Subjects & Themes: Magic, Gender Roles
Page Count: 282 (paperback)
Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

They say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it is not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.

There are some situations where the correct response is to display the sort of ignorance which happily and wilfully flies in the face of the facts. In this case, the birth of a baby girl, born a wizard — by mistake. Everybody knows that there’s no such thing as a female wizard. But now it’s gone and happened, there’s nothing much anyone can do about it. Let the battle of the sexes begin.
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Okay, so Equal Rites wasn’t quite the battle of the sexes (at least, not until the end), but I did enjoy it far, far more than I did The Colour of Magic. Part of that has to do with the setting which is a lot more contained this time around, so the readers aren’t bombarded with worldbuilding info from the get-go. Instead we start off with a small village called “Bad Ass” and a wizard who accidentally passes his staff to a newborn girl instead of, well, a boy. Because girls can be witches and boys can be wizards, but under absolutely no condition can the two ever mix.

Pratchett delves into the arbitrary gender roles that society assigns us from birth. It’s a familiar topic and one that I can always get behind, so I found myself a lot more invested in the main characters’ plights this time around. Eskarina (our accidental wizard girl), though young and naïve, is determined to prove that she can be a wizard. With her intelligence and spirit, it’s impossible not to root for her.

“Why was it that when she heard Granny ramble on about witchcraft she longed for the cutting magic of wizardry, but whenever she heard Treatle speak in his high-pitched voice she would fight to the death for witchcraft? She’d be both or none at all. And the more they intended to stop her, the more she wanted it.”

Also, I loved the whole “staves are for wizards (who are boys) and brooms are for witches (who are girls),” thing the story kept harping on about because, really, they’re both just long sticks of wood, so the idea of gender-coding them is absurd–which is exactly what Pratchett was going for.

I also really liked his explanation of the law of magic and the hierarchy of magic users and how some categories of users are seen as superior to others–like how magicians are lower than wizards but still better thought of than “conjurers.” It’s fun stuff.

Oh, and Granny Weatherwax? I’ve heard a lot about you. A lot of good things ending in multiple exclamation marks. And you know what? They were right. I really like you. I know you’re not much of a book person and think stories should be approached with a boatload of skepticism, but I think we can still get along. I love your practicality and your explanation of “headology” and the idea that, sometimes, real magic is what we believe it to be. So yeah, I’m very much looking forward to getting to know you better.

Overall, Equal Rites was a fun, light read that charmed my pants off and I’m giving it FOUR elephants-riding-turtles out of five.
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Here are the awesome bloggers who are participating this month! Go see what they thought of Equal Rites!

Book Beach Bunny
Meeghan @ Meeghan Reads and Bakes
Nicole @ The Bookworm Drinketh
Storm of Pages

September 2018 “TBR” – Procrastination, Witches, and Hard Choices

“Kathy.”

“Mm?”

“We’re pretty much in the middle of September right now.”

“Yep, I can see that. I have a tear-away calendar thingy on my desk.”

“Well, one generally writes a TBR post at the beginning of the month.”

“Eh, that’s debatable. There’s no Blog Police skulking around checking for these things, ready to clap you in handcuffs (and not the fuzzy ones). So you can technically write a TBR whenever. Hell, you can even write them at the end of the month and be like, ‘Here are all the books I thought I was going to read this month…and here’s what I actually read.’ Do whatever you want, you know? The world is your oyster. Break free from the shackles of conformity.”

“I mean, sure, shackles and oysters. But this one’s just a case of you being a lazy procrastinator.”

“Oh my god, you are ruining my brand. Why are you even here?”

“Well, I’m you. And you’re me. And this is an overlong conversation you’re having with yourself. And I feel like we should just get to the post before we scare off the readers. What’s left of them, anyway.”

“But I’m not the one who started–UGH. Fine.”

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Right, so here we have the latest TBR post I’ve done to date! It’s a badly stitched-up mix of “TBR” and “What Did I Just Finish Reading?” and “What Am I Reading Now?” and “Hey, You Like Voting For Things, Right? (‘No,’ Said 50% of America) Well, Here’s A Thing You Can Vote For!”

It’s awkward, kind of ugly, and suffers from a heavy case of identity crisis.

My own little Frankenstein’s monster. Please treat it kindly. ❤

(Fun fact: that above conversation was originally twice as long and included a side-argument about adjectives. No, I don’t know what’s wrong with me either.)

 

Recently Finished

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Bloody Rose (The Band 2) by Nicolas Eames:
Great sequel to a great debut. Review here.

Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton:
Oh boy. I have a lot of thoughts on this one and I’m in the process of trying to sort them out. Review to come.

The Deepest Roots by Miranda Asebedo:
A YA contemporary/fantasy/mystery/paranormal story that didn’t really work for me. Review to come.

 

READING NOW

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Speaks the Nightbird by Robert McCammon:
McCammon wrote one of the my favourite books of all time–Boy’s Life–and I’ve been meaning to read this one for a while now. It’s a doorstopper historical mystery (at nearly 800 pages) that centers around a witch trial and I’m loving it so far. McCammon’s gift for creating atmosphere and interesting characters really shines in this one.

Los Nefilim by T. Frohock:
A historical gothic fantasy (aka my favourite subgenre) about angels and daimons. I’ve had the book for a couple of years now and I figured now is a good time to get started on it, seeing as how the sequel’s dropping in a few months.

Equal Rites (Discworld 3) by Terry Pratchett:
I’m reading this as part of the Discworld Readathon and very much liking it so far!

 

YET TO READ

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Nightingale by Amy Lukavics
YA historical horror set in an asylum and featuring an unreliable narrator. It’s also been blurbed by Paul Tremblay so I’m rather quite curious.

The Nine (Thieves of Fate 1) by Tracy Townsend:
Another book that’s been milling around on my shelves for a year. It’s about a mysterious, magical book and it’s set in a secondary world that’s kind of similar to our own…but not really? I don’t know. The blurb gives you a lot without really giving you anything.

The Black Tides of Heaven by J.Y. Yang:
This one will probably/maybe/hopefully be a buddy read with Justine from Milkz Bookshelf!

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The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar:
A historical fantasy (yay!) about a (dead?) mermaid set in 18th century England. I’ve been hearing amazing things about this one and I can’t wait to dive in!

The Tower of Living and Dying (Empires of Dust 2) by Anna Smith Spark:
Sequel to one of my favourite books of last year. I’m hoping it’s be as brutal and bloody and beautiful as the first.

 

Undecided (aka Oh God Choices are Hard Help Me)

Both of these are ARCs I want to knock out before October, but I have no idea which one to tackle first. So if you’d like to relieve me of my choice paralysis, vote for one and tell me in the comments below!

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Time’s Children (The Islevale Cycle 1) by D.B. Jackson
A blend of high fantasy and scifi in which a 15-year old boy is sent back in time to prevent a war and finds himself in an adult body. I did say I was going to take a break from scifi for a bit, but the premise for this one is just too interesting to pass up.

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee
Sequel to Lee’s Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue in which the former protagonist’s sister is the new protagonist. It’s got adventures and pirates and well, petticoats, presumably. Should be good fun!

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And there you go! See any that catches your eye? What are some books you’re excited to get to this month?

Discworld Readathon Month 3 – Equal Rites (Witches 1)

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Because I have ZERO concept of time and think “fashionably late” means arriving when the rest of the guests are just leaving (tip: if you ever invite me to a party, lie and say that it starts two hours before the actual start time), I’m writing this announcement post a week late. *Long sigh*

For those who don’t know, Nicole (Bookworm Drinketh) and I started up the Discworld Readathon in July (you can read about its inception here). Our plan is to read through one Discworld book every month and then post a review on the last Monday.

It’s one of those “What have I gotten myself into?” deals, but like, in a good way–with a smiley face attached to the end.

I couldn’t get to The Light Fantastic in August because A) mental health and B) drowning in ARCs, but I’m back on schedule this month (though still drowning in ARCs) and very excited to be diving into Equal Rites!

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It’s the first in the “Witches” subseries and probably would have been more apropos for October, but hey, I figure Mort (Book 4) will be spooky enough for Halloween.

If you’re interested in joining (or dropping out) this month, just leave a comment below!

Reviews are to be posted on September 24th! Happy Reading! ❤

Discworld Readathon: Month 2 | Another Mini Update

Hey, guys! First of all, just a quick update on why I haven’t been posting lately: the past several weeks have been rather grim for me mental-health wise and I’ve pretty much dropped every ball I’ve been holding. So I’m both behind on writing reviews and have a backlog of reviews to post (which is a new and weird situation to be in).

But I find myself really missing doing blog stuff, so I’ll be slowly getting back into things in the next week. Be ready to get replies to month-old comments that you don’t remember the context of!

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Second of all, August is the second month of the Discworld Readathon that Nicole (from The Bookworm Drinketh) and I are hosting. We’re tackling the second book in the Discworld series, THE LIGHT FANTASTIC, and reviews are to be posted on the 27TH.

If you’d like to join (or drop out), just tell me in the comments and we’ll add you to our list! Nicole and I will put up a post listing all the participants in the middle of August.

Review: The Colour of Magic (Discworld 1) – The Readathon Commences!

The Colour of Magic

Title: The Colour of Magic
Author: Terry Pratchett
Publisher: Colin Smythe
Release Date: November 24, 1983
Genre(s): Fantasy, Humour
Page Count: 288 (paperback)
Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

The Colour of Magic marks the start of our Discworld Readathon!

There are two things I learned from reading this book:

1) I can see why people say that the first couple of books in the series can be skipped.

2) I liked the film adaption (part one, at least) better than the book.
Yes, go ahead and pelt me with all your rotten vegetables, but at least the movie had the charm of Sean Astin and a powerhouse cast of Jeremy Irons, Tim Curry, and Christopher Lee.

The Colour of Magic follows Twoflower, a first-time tourist to Ankh-Morpork, the largest city in Discworld, and Rincewind, an incompetent wizard tasked with guiding him. They bounce from one misadventure to another like a pair of disaster magnets, jokes are had, and Pratchett pokes fun at old fantasy tropes.

And…that’s about it.

The story is like an erratically stitched-up tapestry of fantasy adventures, which I  wouldn’t have minded if I could connect with the two main characters, but I really, really couldn’t. Rincewind and Twoflower start out as a happy-go-lucky tourist and a jaded wizard and they end as a happy-go-lucky tourist and a jaded wizard, and I knew just as much about the two of them by the end as I did in the beginning–as in, not much. To top it off, their interactions felt weirdly sparse and lacking in depth. I mean, they occupy the same physical space for much of the story, but they always just seem to talk around each other.

But here’s the thing: there’s something oddly comforting about how underwhelming this book is. It shows that even legends like Terry Pratchett have to start from somewhere. They all have their rough foundation from which they have to improve on, because people aren’t born from the womb oozing genius talent–it’s a product of a lot of hard work and a willingness to learn.

Things are only going to get better and better from here. And I can’t wait to see that trajectory of growth.

P.S. Oh, and the idea of a disc-shaped planet that sits on top of four elephants that sit on top of a turtle? Brilliant.

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I’m forgoing my usual rating system for the readathon and giving this book two and a half elephants riding turtles out of five.

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Check out what all the other participants had to say about The Colour of Magic!

Nina @ The Cozy Pages

Meeghan @ Meeghan Reads

Didi @ Didi Oviatt

Alicia @ Miss Honeybugs Reads & Crafts

A Storm of Pages

Nicole @ The BookWorm Dinketh

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Emma @ The Stride of my Step