Reading Round-up: June 2017 #MiniBookReviews

icon-rru

Welcome to my new post where I discuss any books that I read in the month which for one reason or another didn’t get the full review treatment. This is a way for me to keep track of what I’ve read but without the pressure of having to write comprehensive reviews for them all. 

There was only one book I read this month that I didn’t feel like reviewing in full…

The Winter King ~ Bernard Cornwell

thewinterking

I never would have picked up a Bernard Cornwell book before I watched and enjoyed the TV adaptation of The Last Kingdom, but it made me think that maybe it’s my kind of thing after all. I also wasn’t aware that he’d written a trilogy based on King Arthur until I stumbled across this reissue at work, so I couldn’t resist picking it up.

I enjoyed a lot about this story of war in the time of Arthur, Mordred, Merlin and Guinevere, but for some reason it never fully grabbed my attention. I found Cornwell’s writing surprisingly beautiful, and I usually love most things Arthurian so I’m not sure why I couldn’t get into it. I did manage to struggle through, and was glad that I did but I’m not sure if I’ll pick up the other two books.

AOB

{that’s any other business for those of you that’ve never had the misfortune of having a job where people say that all the time}

 

Well, that’s a wrap on June, folks! How did you get on?

The Ring of Morgana by Donna Hosie

ringofmorgana
Title: The Ring of Morgana
Author: Donna Hosie
Series: The Children of Camelot #1
Edition: Kindle, 310 pages
Publication Details: April 28th 2014
Genre(s): YA; Fantasy; Arthurian
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it!

Goodreads // Purchase

Sixteen-year-old Mila Roth wants to be normal. It’s a phrase that has been drilled into her by her mother since she was born.

But Mila Roth is anything but normal. For sixteen years her parents have hidden a secret from her. For Mila was born one thousand years ago in the land of Logres, and far from being a math teacher and a housewife, Mila’s parents are the awakened King Arthur and Gorian druid queen, Morgana.

Two worlds, one thousand years apart. And those worlds are about to collide.

The spirit of the malevolent Lady of the Lake has been contained for sixteen years in the fabled Ring of Morgana. When the ring curses Mila’s younger sister, Lilly, the Roth family has no choice but to return Mila to the land of her birth as they face a battle against time itself.

Accompanied by her best friend, Rustin, Mila will have to decide whether to defy those she loves in order to save her sister. Should she trust the Gorian druids and the mysterious Melehan? What is the true cost to Mila’s heart as she strives to master the purple flame? And why have her mother and father denied the truth of her origins for so long?

For she alone has the combined power of royalty and druid magic within her.

And now only Mila can save Lilly and Logres.

Review


I’m a big fan of Arthurian literature and love that there’s a market for it in the YA genre.

The Ring of Morgana was my first Donna Hosie read, but I’ll definitely be checking out her other series (The Return to Camelot) as well.

On paper, The Ring of Morgana sounds a bit ridiculous. Mila’s dad is the one and only King Arthur, who found a portal into another world, a modern world, and decided to leave Camelot to start afresh there with the once evil Morgana.

When Mila and her little sister Lilly find a strange glowing ring which begs them to try it on, Lilly gives in to its powers and is immediately cursed. She falls into a coma of sorts, and ages rapidly. After a visit from the wizard Merlin, whom no one seems to trust, it becomes apparent that it’s up to Mila and her best friend Rustin to save Lilly, and the only place they can do that is through the portal, into medieval Logres.

Like I said, it’s a slightly ridiculous plot, but the fact that I enjoyed it so much is a testament to Hosie’s writing. She definitely has a way of sucking you in, and her descriptive prose was spot on.

[Queen Guinevere] claps her hands twice and two young girls appear out of nowhere. It’s like they bled out of the stone walls”

For me, The Ring of Morgana felt like a unique take on Arthurian mythology – it felt fresh and exciting, and has left me with lots of unanswered questions, urging me to read on.

I’m intrigued as to why Arthur, and most of Logres are so wary of, and hostile towards Merlin when it seems like he’s the best person to help Lilly. What did he do? I really want to know how Arthur ended up with Morgana too, and if she’s truly good now, like we are expected to believe (I don’t believe it for a second btw).

And finally, I have to mention Mila – loved her! She’s an interesting protagonist who brings heart and humour into everything she does. I can’t wait to find out how she develops in this new, old world she finds herself in.

It doesn’t matter what time you live in, people will always bitch and gossip.”

-Mila Roth

unicorn rating 4

Chastity & Chainmail: Daughter of Camelot (Empire of Shadows #1) by Glynis Cooney

18335791

Filled with terrific suspense and budding romance, Daughter of Camelot is a fast paced adventure set against the turmoil at the end of the Arthurian era.

Raised in the shadow of a fort dedicated to training Knights of the Round Table, Deirdre thirsts for adventure.

Instead, at 14, she is sent to court to learn the etiquette and talents of a young woman.

Court life, however, is more fraught with danger than she expected, and Deirdre finds herself entangled in a deadly conspiracy that stretches deep into the very heart of Camelot.

All Deirdre thought she knew and believed in—loyalty, love, bravery—is challenged when she embarks on a quest to defy Fate and save the King.

I’d actually say that Daughter of Camelot is quite a gentle-paced book but I don’t mean that in a bad way. I was never bored. I read most of this on Sunday afternoon and it was a perfect read for a lazy day. I loved it.

Deirdre is everything I like in a protagonist. She’s bored and down-right aggravated by the limitations of being a girl in those times. She has little interest in being just a wife or mother and her ambition knows no bounds. She seeks a life of excitement and meaning and growing up surrounded by boys in training to be knights at a nearby fort only makes her desire for adventure stronger.

I was also pleasantly surprised by the darker elements of the story. For one, I wasn’t expecting Deirdre’s new life at court to be so intense. Just like Deirdre herself, I imagined she would go there as a guest to the king & queen and flit around in pretty dresses wooing noble knights and attending parties but that was far from the truth!

With growing worries about the allegiances of the court – For King Arthur or against him- the obsessive practices of Christianity imposed by the unsavory King Maelgwyn, and sexually aggressive knights hoping to sully Deirdre’s reputation, her new life was far from simple. And just one mistake gets her banished from the castle, leading her to take up Sir Einion’s invitation to join him at Din Arth.

I quite liked Einion as a love interest, but after seeing how awful all of the other knights behaved it was definitely hard to trust him. I think it’s clear from the start that Deirdre’s best friend Ronan would be a better pick for her and I enjoyed seeing how the relationships developed.

As Daughter of Camelot neared its end I did think that perhaps it was unnecessarily long, especially for its target audience, but then it did had a lot of scope. My one issue with it though, was that I felt the final battle was a bit of an anti-climax. But it certainly wouldn’t put me off reading the next in the series, quite the opposite in fact.

I’m a fan of Arthurian Literature and obvs a fan of YA Lit so it didn’t take much for me to love this book but I think anyone who enjoys being swept along on a medieval action-adventure will find a lot to like here.

Details: Paperback, 421 pages.
Expected publication: September 24th 2013 by Mabon Publishing
Unicorn Rating: 4/5
Is it a keeper? Yes!
If you like this try: The Seeing Stone – Kevin Crossley-Holland

Top Ten Tuesday #1 (Castles)

toptentuesday
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.

This is my first ever Top Ten Tuesday post! I’ve been meaning to jump on the wagon for a while…better late than never. Thanks to The Broke and the Bookish for hosting.

This week’s topic was Top Ten Books With X Setting and I’ve decided to go for my Top Ten books with a castle setting (or at least featuring a castle)…because, y’know, I’m a bit obsessed with castles. Click on the images to go their Goodread pages.

45183
1. The Enchanted Castle – E. Nesbit A rose garden, a maze and an enchanted castle…what’s not to like.

121749
2. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardbrobe – C.S Lewis Two castles for the price of one! There’s the White Witch’s icy castle with ‘long pointed spires, sharp as needles’, and Cair Paravel with its four empty thrones.

1911374 3. King Arthur and his Knights at the Round Table Camelot is clearly the king of all castles!
27712
4. The Neverending Story – Michael Ende The Ivory Tower definitely counts as a castle, right?

14976 5. Return to Labyrinth – Jake T. Forbes I LOVE this Manga series of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth. The Castle beyond the Goblin City is epic!

13519397 6. Throne of Glass – Sarah J. Maas The protagonist Celeana thought the idea of a glass castle was ridiculous – I think it’s amazing.


12394100
7. Seraphina – Rachel Hartman The Kingdom of Goredd not only has a beautiful castle but also some pretty unique Dragons.

7180320 8. Castle of Shadows – Ellen Renner I’ve only read the first book in this series but I loved it. The Royal Castle of Quale is as grand as it sounds.

1635042 9. Beauty & the Beast I’ve had this book for years and it’s every bit as beautiful as the film.

237012 10. The 10th Kingdom – Kathryn Wesley I love this book, it brings so many different fairy tales together set in a fantasy world and also modern day New York.

What would be in your top ten books featuring castles? Leave a comment with your TTT link!