Reading Round-up: June 2017 #MiniBookReviews

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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

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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.

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{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?

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Reading Round-Up: January 2017 #MiniBookReviews

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Welcome to my new post where I discuss any books that I read in the month which for one reason or another didn’t warrant a full review. 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 are quite a lot this month because I took January off from blogging and read anything I wanted. It was great!

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Bowie: The Story of Rock’s Enduring Enigma ~ Mike Evans

I got this book for Christmas and really enjoyed working my way through it. The text wasn’t anything spectacular but it was laid out well and the photographs and old gig posters/ticket stubs made it special. As a huge Bowie fan, I was surprised to see a few photos I didn’t recognise which is always a bonus.

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Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: The Novelisation ~ A.C.H Smith

Another Christmas book and one I had wanted for so long! I’m so glad I wasn’t disappointed. There were some notable changes from the film which made it fresh, but without a doubt the best part of this book is Jim Henson’s notes at the back and Brian Froud’s original sketches. A must for any fan of the ultimate ‘kids’ fantasy film.

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Heartless ~ Marissa Meyer

I was really excited about this Alice in Wonderland tale (mainly because it looks so pretty tbh) but also quite apprehensive to start it. The Lunar Chronicles was amazing, and something that I thought shouldn’t work (Cyborg Cinderella), and I worried that maybe Meyer was churning out another retelling on the back of that success. I’m pleased to say that I was wrong and found Heartless to be an enjoyable origin story for the Queen of Hearts. There were some really great bits in it, but I felt it dragged in places. Not hugely exciting, but enjoyable enough.

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Ruin & Rising ~ Leigh Bardugo

It’s taken me a whole year to read this series. I was quite disappointed with the second book so I kept putting this one off but I’m glad I finally picked it up. The third and final book in The Grisha series was a vast improvement and I couldn’t put it down. I loved Alina’s character arc, and her complicated (and very different) relationships with Mal, Nikolai and The Darkling. It’s a vivid, dark fantasy world that Bardugo has created here using elements from Russian folklore, which is what sets it apart from other YA fantasy.

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Pagan Portals: Merlin ~ Elen Sentier

I’m not religious at all but I like to think I’m pretty open-minded and I’ve always been interested in alternative religions, especially those which worship nature rather than a person. I’m also a fan of Arthurian mythology so I figured this book would be an interesting read.

Unfortunately it wasn’t quite what I was expecting (which I guess was something along the lines of exploring Pagan values in the stories of Merlin and King Arthur). However, what I actually got was what seems to be an eccentric old lady who is frequently visited (in real life) by the wizard Merlin who guides her spiritually, and goes on describe how we too can befriend him if we try hard enough.

It just wasn’t for me and I couldn’t finish it.

DNF – no rating

January’s Spotlight Review was A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Week in Books 01.02.17 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading #WoW

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Welcome to This Week in Books, where we share what we’ve been up to in bookland this week

Happy February! I’m back in action but with a much more relaxed approach to this blog. It all just got a bit too much. I’ll be posting about the changes soon. Good news is that I’ve been finding more reading time. Hurrah!

Here’s what I’ve been up to this week…

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Now: Calling Major Tom ~ David Barnett // The Time Machine ~ H.G Wells

I’ve only just started these. Calling Major Tom is an ARC that isn’t out until June but has been released for early reviews. And I picked up The Time Machine during my break at work as we were discussing the origins of Steampunk in the writing group I run and I realised I’ve never read it.

Then: Pagan Portals: Merlin ~ Elen Sentier // Ruin & Rising ~ Leigh Bardugo

I had to DNF the Merlin book. It wasn’t at all what I expected and just wasn’t for me. I also finished the last book in the Grisha trilogy which I enjoyed a lot! The second book wasn’t so great but this one really made up for it.

Next: ??? 

Definitely the Ness…probably… LOL.

 

New on the Shelves

 

oh, so many since I last did the full version of this post. I’m doing a separate haul post for the weekend, but will resume listing any new books here from then on.

I’m Waiting on…

The Marsh King’s Daughter ~ Karen Dionne

 

I love the sound of this dark thriller. The cover is wonderfully eerie too.


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  ‘I was born two years into my mother’s captivity. She was three weeks shy of seventeen. If I had known then what I do now, things would have been a lot different. I wouldn’t have adored my father.’

When notorious child abductor – known as the Marsh King – escapes from a maximum security prison, Helena immediately suspects that she and her two young daughters are in danger.

No one, not even her husband, knows the truth about Helena’s past: they don’t know that she was born into captivity, that she had no contact with the outside world before the age of twelve – or that her father raised her to be a killer.

And they don’t know that the Marsh King can survive and hunt in the wilderness better than anyone… except, perhaps his own daughter.

Packed with gripping suspense and powerful storytelling, The Marsh King’s Daughter is a one-more-page, read-in-one-sitting thriller that you’ll remember for ever.

Expected Publication: June 29th 2017 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

 

So that’s my week in books, now why don’t you tell me about yours!?

Leave your answers or the link to your post in the comments and I’ll take a look 🙂

This Week in Books 25.01.17 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

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Welcome to This Week in Books, where I share what I’ve been up to in bookland this week

Happy Wednesday, Everyone. I’ve started getting some posts ready after a blog hiatus this month so expect me back up and running next week. 🙂

Here’s what I’ve been up to this week…

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Now: Pagan Portals: Merlin ~ Elen Sentier.

I’m on a bit of a non-fiction kick at the moment which is strange for me. I’ve had this for a while though so it’s well overdue. Should be an interesting angle on the Arthurian era.

Then:   Heartless  ~ Marissa Meyer

I liked this a lot but was still slightly disappointed compared to how amazing The Lunar Chronicles is.

Next: ??? 

I’m not completely sure…too many to choose from. Maybe the final Grisha book, or a Patrick Ness. 

  

So that’s my week in books, now why don’t you tell me about yours!?

Leave your answers or the link to your post in the comments and I’ll take a look 🙂

This Week in Books 18.01.17 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

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Welcome to This Week in Books, where I share what I’ve been up to in bookland this week

Hi guys, I’m enjoying a bit of a blog hiatus this month but I’m still posting this Wednesday post where I’ll simply be sharing what I’m reading now, then and next.

Here’s what I’ve been up to this week…

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Now:  Heartless  ~ Marissa Meyer

Re-tellings can be very hit or miss for me but The Lunar Chronicles is one of my all-time favourite series so I’m hoping Meyer has struck gold again with this Wonderland re-imagining. We shall see…

Then:  Labyrinth – The Novelisation ~ A.C.H Smith

This book did exactly what I was hoping for – it got me out of my reading slump. Hurrah!!! Jareth never lets me down 🙂

Next: ??? 

Definitely Pagan Portals: Merlin by Elen Sentier. I should have reviewed this before the end of the year but y’know- life!

  

So that’s my week in books, now why don’t you tell me about yours!?

Leave your answers or the link to your post in the comments and I’ll take a look 🙂

This Week in Books 30.11.16 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

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Welcome to my weekly post, where I sum-up what I’ve been up to in bookland the past week. 

Happy Wednesday to you all! December tomorrow…Yayyyyy!

Here’s what I’ve been up to this week…

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Now:  The Silent Songbird ~ Melanie Dickerson

YA. Castles, a The Little Mermaid retelling – how could I resist!?

Then:  The Christmas Town ~ Donna VanLiere

This was a nice heart-warming story if not a little bit farcical.

Next: ??? 

Hmm, I’m not too sure, either Christmas Under a Starlit Sky by Holly Martin, Pagan Portals: Merlin (see below), or The Christmas Party by Georgette Heyer – it depends on my mood!

Waiting on Wednesday

(Linking up with Breaking the Spine)

This is another 2017 title I’m looking forward to. It’s a debut too. 

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Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by Meerkat Press

New on the Shelves

(Linking up with Stacking the Shelves)

I didn’t buy or borrow any books this week.

From Netgalley: 

I love Arthurian mythology so I’m really interested in reading this new angle on the wizard and the era he he became a legend of.


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Bestselling author Elen Sentier looks at Merlin in history and mythology and considers his continuing relevance for people today.

Best known as the wizard from the Arthurian stories, Merlin has been written about for well over 1000 years and is considered to be both a magical and historical figure. Over the centuries many people have had relationships with Merlin and in this book the author brings him to life for us once again in yet another way and from yet another perspective.

 

So that’s my week in books, now why don’t you tell me about yours!?

Leave your answers or the link to your post in the comments and I’ll take a look 🙂

The Ring of Morgana by Donna Hosie

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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

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