Wednesday, 13 September 2017

BOOK REVIEW - Odd & True

Title: Odd & TrueAuthor: Cat WintersPublished by: AbramsPublication date: September 12th 2017Format: KindleSource: ARC (Netgalley)

I wasn't expecting to enjoy this one quite as much as I did.But it was actually quite wonderful!

It's a tale about family bonds , myths & legends, the everyday struggles of life, and magic.

The story follows two very close sisters and each chapter alternates between each of their points of view. The chapters by Tru happen in the present and take us on an adventure across America where well face dangers, hunt monsters, and uncover family secrets.Od's chapters tell us about the past; how the two sisters grew up, the real truth about their family history and what happened to Od when she was sent away from home and her sister.

I was expecting more magic, myths and monsters in this book if I'm honest, but I'm actually not mad about how it turned out.There was just enough enchantment, folklore and mythical creatures to keep me interested, but the story was mainly about family, the love the two sisters share, overcoming adversity and being brave enough to carry on when life throws everything it has at you.

I really enjoyed learning about the girls' family history and the truth behind Od's tall tales.I loved both of the sisters fiercely! They were both so vastly different from each other, but equally strong and brave in their own way.

Tru suffered from Polio as a child and, as a result, one of her legs has withered and is unusable. She gets around with the help of a cane or wheelchair, but doesn't let this stop her from living her life and having adventures! She is delicate, quiet, smart, strong and brave.

Od, on the other hand, is a bit of a wild-child. She loves adventures, stomping around the woods following monster tracks, and looking after her sister. She suffers through quite a lot as she grows up, but her vivid imagination and thirst for magic always stays strong.

This is a fantastical adventure into dark family secrets, impossible stories and the unbreakable bond between sisters.

Could the magic actually be real after all?!

Friday, 4 August 2017

BOOK REVIEW - The Girl In The Tower

Title: The Girl In The Tower
Author: Katherine Arden
Published by: Del Rey
Publication date:  January 9th 2018
Format: Kindle

Source: ARC (Netgalley)

Sequel to The Bear And The Nightingale 

This sequel to The Bear And The Nightingale does not disappoint!

Though different in a few ways, this charming, magical story still holds the same enchantment as the first in the series.
In this installment, however, we get more adventure, more action, more daring, and much more bravery!

This time we get to follow Vasya as she leaves all that she knows behind and travels across the deadly frozen landscape of Russia. Running from the memory of her dead father and a village accusing her of being a witch, Vasya finds hope in her dream of freedom.
Refusing to be confined by marriage or a convent Vasya disguises herself as a boy and rides her horse off into the woods and towards adventure!

And there was so much adventure in this book!

We get to brave snowstorms, fight bandits, race horses, encounter even more spirits, meet The Grand Prince of Moscow, be reunited with lost family, and attempt to save the Kingdom from danger.

And of course there's plenty more of Morozko the winter demon/God too!

This is less of a cosy tale of family, snow and folklore such as The Bear And The Nightingale, and more of a grand, daring, frosty adventure.
It still contains plenty of magic, but has a healthy dose of danger too!

If you enjoyed the first book in this series then I think you'll be more than thrilled with The Girl In The Tower!
Get ready for magic, folklore, adventure, and lots of snow!

Friday, 16 June 2017

BOOK REVIEW - Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance

Title: Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance
Author: Ruth Emmie Lang
Published by: St. Martin's Press
Publication date:  November 7th 2017
Format: Kindle

Source: ARC (Netgalley)

Magical realism that I actually enjoyed?

Surely not???
Though this gem of a book does feature far more of the 'magic' than the 'realism', so that's probably why it was a winner for me!

During this tale we follow the life of Weylyn Grey through the memories and stories of the people that knew him.Weylyn isn't like other people.
He has lived with wolves, can stop storms, owns a horned pig, collects light in jars, and is under the impression that his very presence puts the people he loves in danger.

We get to visit dense woodland, travel through thick snow, and enter a house covered in spiders webs.

This book is such a magical, fantastical, touching story.

I really connected to every character we met along the way and was facinated with the life of Weylyn.
I couldn''t wait to turn the page and find out what was going to happen next!

I really enjoyed the way the story was told - from the POV of different characters and their views of the things that happened around Weylyn.It was lovely to see how Weylyn had touched peoples lives and how they each coped with having to change their views about reality and how the world worked.

We also get to see how Weylyn himself deals with being different, his struggle with the fact that he possibly puts the people he loves in danger, and how he ultimately copes with that fact.
I loved his character so much and just wanted to give him a big hug!

It was magical, funny, touching, and at times quite sad.

It was perfect.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

M is for... Mouse, Bird, Sausage

Once upon a time, in a little cottage in the woods, there lived a mouse, a bird and and sausage. They lived together for many years in harmony and friendship, all helping each other and sharing the daily chores.

The bird flew out into the woods every day to fetch wood. The mouse would set the fire, collect water and set the table for meals. The sausage would cook all the meals.

One day, while out collecting wood, the bird came across an old friend who laughed at him for working so hard when his friends did so little. The bird thought about this and became quite mad, so he flew home and insisted that they all swap jobs the very next day. The mouse and the sausage argued against the change, but the bird would not back down, so eventually they all agreed.

The next morning the sausage headed out to collect wood from the forest but he did not return. Fearing something may have happened to his friend, the bird flew out to see if he could find him. He eventually found the sausage in the mouth of a dog. The bird begged the dog to let his friend go, but the dog claimed that the sausage had been carrying forged papers and so would have to die.

Filled with grief and sorrow, the bird flew back home again to tell the mouse what had happened. However, when he got inside he found that while trying to cook a meal the mouse had accidentally fallen into the pot and boiled to death.

The bird was devastated and flew about the house in a rage. In his carelessness he scattered the wood from the fire around the house and soon the little cottage was engulfed in flames. The bird quickly rushed to get some water to douse the flames, but he fell down the well along with the bucket and drowned.

This strange tale was collected by the brothers Grimm and included in their published collection 'Kinderind Hausmärchen' in 1812. 
It went on to be featured in all seven editions.

Friday, 14 April 2017

L is for... Leshii

The Leshii is the sprit of the forest in Slavic folklore.

Every forest has its own Leshii who lives deep within the trees with his wife and children. The Leshii normally takes the form of a man with hair and beard of leaves, grass and vines, but he can also take on the shape of any animal or plant - from a tall tree, to a single blade of grass.

The Leshii is the guardian of the forest and protects all the animals living there. He is thought to be an evil spirit by some but is, in fact, more like a tricksy fairy in nature. 
He does enjoy misguiding travellers and leaving them lost within the woods, but if he is befriended, however, he will pass on his vast knowledge of magic.

If there is more than one Leshii in a single forest then they will fight violently to claim the territory as their own, leaving a trail of fallen trees and scared animals. 

When travelling through the forest it is sensible to take a gift of bread for the Leshii to ward off his troublesome nature.