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.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

K is for... Kodama


Kodama (木霊) are small forest spirits from the folklore of Japan.
They are thought to inhabit trees and make strange echoing sounds. If you hear the sound of a falling tree at night, this is also thought to be the sound of a Kodama. 

They are said to take on the appearance of atmospheric ghost lights, beasts, and sometimes they can even take on human form.
Some believe that Kodama look just like real trees and are rooted to the ground.

Kodama are beilieved to have magical powers and if someone tries to cut down a tree in which one of these little spirits lives they will be badly cursed.

However, if a Kodama is treated well it will be kind and protect houses and villages.

In some areas of Japan small shrines are created at the bases of trees to honour the Kodama. These shrines are still worshipped at today by some people - showing that a belief in the little tree spirits still exists in some places.


In Hachijo-jima, in a village called Mitsune, they still celebrate the "Kodama-san" with an annual festival where they give thanks and show their respect. During this festival they ask for forgiveness and the Kodamas blessing when they cut down trees.



Kodama also appear in the anime movie Princess Mononoke which was written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki.
In this movie they are shown as cute little bobbled-headed creatures who run around in the forest. (as shown above)
All of Miyazaki's movies are really beautiful with wonderful storylines and characters, with Princess Mononoke being one of his very best! So definitely check it out if you haven't already seen it.