byslantedlight: (Bookshelf colour (grey853).)
I have been writing this post for days - well, weeks actually - since... oh, the beginning of May, according to Goodreads. Oops. Oh well - here we go! Besides, reading is healthy - the headline says so, so it must be true, right? And who doesn't want to live longer so that you can read more books, right? *g*

Some Luck by Jane Smiley )

The Bull from the Sea by Mary Renault )

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater )
Room by Emma Donaghue )
The Looking Glass House by Vanessa Tait )

The Charm of Magpie books by K.J. Charles )
On the Road to Mr Right by Belinda Jones )

Liar's Waltz by Becky Black )

The Society of Gentlemen books by KJ Charles )

Between the Lines and Off the Page by... )
No Time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay )
Gently Through the Mill by Alan Hunter )
Ellan Vannin by Lynn Andrews )
Somerset Tales of the Supernatural by Roger Evans )
The Temeraire books by Naomi Novak )
The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant )
Strange Star by Emma Carroll )
The Lady in the Tower by Marie-Louise Jensen )

And that brings me to today! I am currently reading several books, but mostly I am re-reading Harlequin Airs by Ellis Ward, cos sometimes it's got to be Pros fic set in a circus. *vbg*
*sighs happily*

Actually I'm also reading Larton for my bedtime book, and have just got to In the Deep Midwinter. *sighs more happily*

Once Upon A Time... )

But I'm still on book not-very-many from my Mount To Be Read Challenge... I must stop buying new books!

And if you actually read all the way to the end of this post then you deserve to live for 23 months longer! *g* I rather think I'd better keep up with my book posts better, if I'm going to make them at all... *vbg*
byslantedlight: (Books-OnceUponATimeX)
KingMustDie-MaryRenault Theseus is the grandson of the King of Troizen, but his paternity is shrouded in mystery. When he discovers his father's sword beneath a rock, his mother reveals his true identity: Theseus is the son of Aegeus, King of Athens, and is his only heir. So begin Theseus's adventures. He undertakes the perilous journey to his father's palace, escaping bandits and ritual sacrifice in Eleusis, and slays the fearsome Minotaur in Knossos. Weaving legend and historical research, Renault breathes new life into the Theseus myth.

I can't get enough Mary Renault at the moment, I love her lyrical, thoughtful, clever storytelling - and she fits the The Once Upon a Time Challenge beautifully, with her re-telling of Greek myths as historical stories! This one, of course, is the myth of Theseus facing the minotaur of Knossos, and she makes it looks so easy to weave between the worlds of that story and of actual possible history.

Theseus is a real person, and the book is written from his point of view. It's a pov I'm usually less keen on these days, but I didn't even notice it in The King Must Die because it's just so naturally done. We're right inside Theseus' head, right there with him, to the point that we believe just as much in the gods, and can almost read their signs as well as he can. I love the way Renault interprets and seems to get to the heart and feeling of those beliefs too, done so deeply and yet so lightly that it's just obvious that's how the world is.

I don't want to say too much about the actual story, because it's well worth reading and everyone should (*g*) but it's just fascinating how well and how realistically Renault has tied all the elements of the mythology of Theseus and the minotaur together, so that I may well remember this more clearly than I do the myth itself. *g* I'm away now to find the sequel - this was a library book, but I spotted the second book in Waterstones the other week, when I was good and resisted... *g*

And of course it fits beautifully for The Once Upon a Time challenge! Coincidentally, I've just read a short story that echoes with this myth too, and I've also been reminded that I have a version of the myth on video, one that I've adored in the past, so there may well be connected posts... *g*

2016 OnceUponATimeXTheJourney 1/1) - Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (fantasy)

2016 OnceUponATimeXQuestTheSecond Folklore - Savage Magic by Lloyd Shepherd
Fantasy -
Mythology - The King Must Die by Mary Renault
Fairytale -

2016 OnceUponATimeX-ShortStoryQuest1 - folklore - Lord John and the Succubus by Diana Gabaldon
byslantedlight: (Books-OnceUponATimeX)
I didn't actually mean to read this for the Once Upon A Time challenge, but one I had re-read it, I realised that it fit! It's a novella (short story) in Diana Gabaldon's Lord John and the Hand of Devils book, which brings together three Lord John stories. Large amounts of it revolve around two pieces of folklore - that of the succubus, and that of burying creatures in the foundations of a building (or bridge in this case) for strength and protection. I did wonder if it was more suited to the Readers In Peril challenge (the supernatural and all things halloween!) but succubi and superstition cross over into folklore too - and there is a bonus witch!

Lord John Grey, a secondary character from Gabaldon's Outlander series, who I really like, and was thrilled to find now has his own series, has been posted to Germany as liaison between the Prussian and English troops. Having dodged a gypsy curse (by dint of not believing in them) he finds himself confronted with an odd request - the burgermeister of the local town wishes to borrow his white stallion to walk it back and forth through a graveyard, to find the grave of the succubus so they can dig her up and destroy her.

And from there... )

So - another jolly good Once Upon a Time story, and recommended! *g* Plus, I've now set off on my next The Once Upon a Time Challenge quest - The Short Story Quest!

2016 OnceUponATimeXTheJourney 1/1) - Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (fantasy)

2016 OnceUponATimeXQuestTheSecond Folklore - Savage Magic by Lloyd Shepherd
Fantasy -
Mythology -
Fairytale -

2016 OnceUponATimeX-ShortStoryQuest1 - folklore - Lord John and the Succubus by Diana Gabaldon
byslantedlight: (Books-OnceUponATimeX)
SavageMagic-LloydShepherdCovent Garden, 1814: a centre of vice to which rich and poor alike are drawn by the promises of gin, ale and other carnal diversions. In opulent private rooms, several fashionable young men have been found murdered, each wearing a satyr's mask, each behind a locked door. Constable Charles Horton of the River Police Office is called in to investigate and soon finds himself at Thorpe Lee House in Surrey, where accusations of witchcraft have swept through the village. What connects these London aristocrats in pursuit of pleasure and a country backwater suddenly awash with folklore and talk of burning witches? In this strange, captivating world, it is savage magic indeed that holds its victims in its thrall.

Now there's a blurb! I bought this book after reading the author's The Poisoned Island last year, which I loved. That was also a blend of folklore (from Tahiti this time) and Victorian London, and it was readable and interesting and different.

Savage Magic... )

So yes - jolly good, and if you like twisty plotty edge-of-magic-and-supernatural books that are actually based in the grim real world, this could be for you!

My next book for two challenges! I bought this sometime last year, so it's the fourth book for my Mount TBR challenge (reading the books you've previously bought rather than buying new ones and reading those - I was doing quite well, but fell down in February...)

2016 OnceUponATimeXTheJourneyAnd I'd say it fits the folklore category for the The Once Upon a Time Challenge! So - I've completed The Journey, and I am now setting out towards Quest the Second - "Read at least one book from each of the four categories. In this quest you will be reading 4 books total: one fantasy, one folklore, one fairy tale, and one mythology."

2016 OnceUponATimeXQuestTheSecond1. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (fantasy)
2. Savage Magic by Lloyd Shepherd (folklore)
byslantedlight: (Doyle books)
CarryOn-RainbowRowellSimon Snow is the worst Chosen One who's ever been chosen. That's what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he's probably right. Half the time Simon can't even make his wand work, and the other half he sets something on fire. His mentor's avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there's a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon's face. Baz would be having a field day with all this if he were here - it's their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon's infuriating nemesis didn't even bother to show up.
Carry On is a love letter to love stories and the power of words - to every 'chosen one' who ever had more on their mind than saving the world...

Actually Carry On is the fanfiction that Rowell's character was writing in Fangirl, and in Fangirl I must admit that I tended to skip over those bits, because what Rowell did best was show us the life and conflicts of her real character, the fangirl (it was a fangirl more than twenty years younger than me - but still *g*) That didn't stop me from being interested in Carry On though, because what we got in Fangirl was snippets from the story of Harry Potter/Draco Simon Snow/Baz, and this is a whole - and quite bulky - novel. Yeay!

More review... )

I think this counts as my first book for the Once Upon A Time X challenge too, because I started reading it on the day the challenge started, even though I hadn't actually signed up yet. It's definitely fantasy, which means I've completed one of the challenges - The Journey (By signing up for The Journey you are agreeing to read at least one book within one of the four categories - fantasy, or folklore, or fairy tales, or mythology - during March 21st to June 21st period.) So yeay!
byslantedlight: (Books-OnceUponATimeX)
2016 OnceUponATimeXbannerI was going to let most reading challenges slide by this year, but perhaps I hadn't really thought that through, because as soon as [ profile] read_warbler posted about it, I found myself completely tempted again by the Once Upon a Time Challenge. Well, I do like a bit of myth and magic... *g*

From the challenge website, the rules for playing are:
Rule #1: Have fun.
Rule #2: HAVE FUN.
Rule #3: Don’t keep the fun to yourself, share it with us, please!
Rule #4: Do not be put off by the word “challenge”.
While this event retains the word “challenge” from its earliest days, the entire goal is to read good books, watch engaging television shows and films, play immersive games and most importantly, visit old friends and make new ones.

There are a number of challenges that you can do, and I usually go for the one that involves reading at least one book from each of four categories - fantasy, folklore, fairy tale, and mythology. I'm still going to go for this one, and I'm also going to attempt the Short Story Quest (This quest involves the reading of one or more short stories that fit within at least one of the four genres during the course of any weekend, or weekends, during the challenge. Ideally you would post about your short story readings on Sundays or Mondays, but this is not strictly necessary.) and Quest on Screen (To participate in this quest simply let us know about the films and/or television shows that you feel fit into the definitions of fantasy, fairy tales, folklore or mythology that you are enjoying during the challenge.) I'd rather like to try Quest the Game, but I don't really have any gaming stuff, and the fact that I used the word stuff might tell you all you need to know about that. *g*

Because I've been rubbish about keeping up with posting and reviews, though, I thought I might - well, not cheat exactly - but consider myself on The Journey (which basically means you're playing by reading one book) and dot around fulfilling the other quests as far as I can. Then I won't have to apologise at the end for dropping one after the first enthusiastic couple of weeks... *g* So - that's what I'm going to do! And it's a fun challenge, so if anyone else fancies playing, that would be good!
2016 OnceUponATimeXTheJourney
byslantedlight: (Bookshelf colour (grey853).)
WhisperingMountain-JoanAiken ...and three come along at once.... *g*

I've had this on my shelves for ages, because I remembered thoroughly enjoying Wolves of Willoughby Chase, and this is by the same author. What I didn't realise, was that it's set in the same universe as that series, which is both a longer series than when I read the first two, and since it was so long ago that I did read them, my now sieve-like memory has entirely forgotten... What I really needed was to go back and read that series, but I didn't...

In the small town of Pennygaff, the legendary Harp of Teirtu is found - and lost again. For young Owen Hughes and his friend Arabis, it is the start of a hair-raising race to save the harp from sinister Lord Malyn. As they struggle to keep it out of his hands, they are plunged into a wild adventure involving murder, kidnapping, underground worlds, savage beasts, floods, avalanche, the mysterious Children of the Pit - and above all, a man who will stop at nothing to get the harp back again. And winner of the 1969 Guardian Fiction Award.

The Whispering Mountain )
byslantedlight: (Doyle Rack reading (ilywela13))
I have way too much to do today, work-wise and making-the-annexe-fit-for-guests-wise, and finishing-off-those-garden-bits-wise, and fiddle-practice-which-I-haven't-for-ages-wise - so naturally I felt the need to make a books-post first... *headdesk* In theory it's to do with tidying-up, mind - now I can move the books from the corner of the desk... *g*

Books and books and books... )

So - where does this leave me in my Once Upon A Time challenge? Well, if I add what I have read to the list it looks pretty good - but I feel as if I've cheated a bit so far, because four were beloved re-reads, one was a re-read for the bookclub, and another was a book I didn't finish. So I've sort of only read two new fantasy books - and they were from the same series, so perhaps really only count as one. Help - I'd better get on! *g* Oh, the pressures of life... *vbg*

One fantasy
Point of Hopes by Melissa Scott and Lisa A. Barnett
Point of Knives by Melissa Scott
Point of Dreams and Lisa A. Barnett
Fair's Point by Melissa Scott
Ghost King by David Gemmell (178/356 - unfinished...)
One folklore
One fairy tale
Among Others by Jo Walton
One mythology
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
byslantedlight: (Bookshelf colour (grey853).)
Even if Blue hadn't been told her true love would die if she kissed him, she would stay away from boys. Especially the ones from the local private school. Known as Raven Boys, they only mean trouble. But this is the year that everything will change for Blue. This is the year that she will be drawn into the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys. And the year Blue will discover that magic does exist. This is the year she will fall in love.

This is marketed as a young adult book, and it is, of course, about young people who are nearly adults, and it's about growing up and fitting in - or not. And magic. It's also about a quest to find the burial place of Welsh prince Owain Glyndwr, by a boy who believes that his body was taken across the ocean to the New World, to Virginia, to protect it, because it was said that one day he would rise and lead his people back to freedom, rather like King Arthur. The boy is, of course, one of the Raven Boys, but for he and his three friends, nothing is as simple as them just being wealthy or privileged, or even just ambitious. Blue is the non-psychic teenager in a house full of family members who are also all psychic women. Her only talent seems to be that she amplifies the talent of other people. And, of course, that she will kill her true love if she kisses him. It all makes for an interesting cast of characters, and an interesting story - although I do tend to quail when mythological heroes are moved to other countries mostly, it seems, so that people can write about them in their own countries. But it turns out that this is the first story in a series, so we'll just have to wait and see... *g*

. It's also the first book I've read for my Once Upon A Time reading challenge. In this quest you will be reading 4 books total:
- one fantasy
- one folklore
- one fairy tale
- one mythology
- The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

I wasn't expecting it to fit the mythology requirement, I thought it was going to be straight fantasy, but it's not just a world where the magic of leylines is real, it's the kind of magic that could bring back a Welsh prince, who will then grant a favour to whoever wakes him. And all the Raven Boys need something...

The other thing about it, is that it's not a book written to talk down to "young adults" - it takes their intelligence for granted, so you can concentrate on the story and the characters and just enjoy it. *g*
byslantedlight: (Magic-OnceUponATime(OhSweetWitchery))
It's been a weird day. Fab morning and eclipse, and I thought I'd take a drive through the gorgeous spring day to the supermarket to clear my headache, and that was nice, but after that it all went downhill, cos my headache got worse not better, and I'm going to have to finish work tomorrow now, which is just what I didn't want, and... and you know what? My headache's mostly gone now... *headdesk* And I napped earlier (which also didn't get rid of my headache) so I'm quite awake... which means reading in bed. *g* And it's after midnight on the 21st March, so that also means it's time for the Once Upon A Time IX reading challenge... *g*
I had a go at this last year and rather enjoyed it, so I thought I might join in the 2015 reading challenge too. It's hosted over at Stainless Steel Droppings: Saturday, March 21st marks the official start date of the ninth annual Once Upon a Time Challenge. This is a reading and viewing and gaming event that encompasses four broad categories: Fairy Tale, Folklore, Fantasy and Mythology, including the seemingly countless sub-genres and blending of genres that fall within this spectrum. The challenge continues through June 21st .

I'm going to have a go (as last year) at:
In this quest you will be reading 4 books total: one fantasy, one folklore, one fairy tale, and one mythology.

There's a short story quest, and a screen quest too, which I might also join in - we'll see how organised I can be - I tend to struggle a bit with short stories, but I'm feeling quite optimistic about them right now, so... I thought I was all forward-planning too, because I have books on my shelf that I thought would fit the challenge nicely - except that I haven't matched up the categories yet, so I rather think I'm going to be off hunting bookshops and library shelves at some point after all. Yeay. *g* And it feels like ages since I watched a decent fantasy film, so I shall look out for one of those, too.

Once Upon a Time...

Monday, June 23rd, 2014 09:07 pm
byslantedlight: (Bookshelf colour (grey853).)
...I followed [ profile] read_warbler down a wee rabbit hole, via Stainless Steel Droppings on the Once Upon a Time Challenge!
I've never done a reading challenge before (well, not unless you count the MS Readathons I did when I was in primary school *g*), and I thoroughly enjoyed it, and read various books and short stories that I might not have got around to reading amidst the thousands of books that are out there waiting to be read, so yeay. I also watched some fantasy for one of the challenges, but I didn't actually post about it, so I'm not sure whether that counts...

My quests took me... )
byslantedlight: (Bookshelf colour (grey853).)
I know, I've posted about these so many times, but I have just re-read them, and they fit my Once Upon A Time Challenge nicely, so here we go again!
PointOfHopesCover PointOfKnivesCover PointOfDreamsCover
The Points books tell the story of Nicolas Rathe, Adjunct Point (policeman) and Philip Eslingen, ex-soldier. They meet in Point of Hopes, when Eslingen has just been paid off from Coindarel's Dragons, and is looking for a place in the city of Astreiant, and when Rathe is investigating the worrying and mysterious disappearance of far too many children. Of course they end up working together much of the time, and find they get along well.

Astreiant itself is part fantasy, part science fiction. There are two suns in the sky, so it's not quite this world, and it's a world where she is the default pronoun, where the broadsheet astrologers are avidly followed because that is the main science, and where forms of magic - scientifically studied magic, no less than electricity is our magic - truly work. It feels rather like Renaissance England (or at least some European country), but... there are two suns. *g* And as I might have mentioned before, it's wonderful. I'd move there tomorrow, if I could, and not only to see Rathe and Eslingen in action. Scott and Barnett created a really wonderful world, simply because it feels so real - it's other, and yet at the same time it's a city just over there, it's so familiar. And there, I think, is the talent of really good authors - creating not just a fantastical world, but people that we relate to, that we understand, that we'd lean against a fence and chat to, one bright evening, with the winter sun just appearing in the night sky... *g*

Otherwise, these are stories about... )
byslantedlight: (Astreiant-FairsPoint)
Finally, at long last, I shall post about this gorgeous book... *g*
I also have a confession - I may have read it twice. In a row. Because that's how much I like not just Rathe and Eslingen, but the entire world that Scott (originally with her late partner Lisa Barnett) created. It's a fantasy world, with a generally Renaissance-ish historical feel to it, based around the city of Astreiant. Astreiant is on a planet with two suns - the primary sun and a more distant winter sun, and a planet where magic works, in a very practical, scientific way, there is a ghost-tide every year, and everyone knows that your life is ruled by the stars you were born under - the most popular newsheets are the horoscopes. And it's a brilliant world - it feels as if you're right there, and without any dull exposition at all, you can picture it and know exactly how it works. It just is

In this book, says the blurb on the back... )
byslantedlight: (Bookshelf colour (grey853).)
CharmOfMagpies01MagpieLord(KJCharles) CharmOfMagpies2-CaseOfPossession(KJCharles)
Oh, what to say about books that you fall in love with, just after you've read them... everything and yet nothing, because you're still in that half-stunned world that is somewhere else, half-stepped between there and here...

First of all, thanks to [ profile] moth2fic for reccing these stories. You caught me just at the right time - when I wanted more Astreiant, more Matthey and Lynes, more stories that are about the characters in the stories than about how clever an author is, and that's just what K.J. Charles gives us. Eminently readable, I love the world she's building, and it all comes together with Lucien Vaundry (Lord Crane) and Stephen Day perfectly. Bonus that the author comes across as smart and decent in her blog, and my only (though rather serious) complaint is that the books aren't available in print. This means that I can't pick them up and flick through them, and re-read my favourite bits at will, and gaze adoringly at the covers, and hug them to myself in joy and glee, because you can't do any of those things with an e-reader!

There are two books so far in the series... )
byslantedlight: (MagicWorld-WizardMoon (avalonrain))
This quest involves the reading of one or more short stories that fit within at least one of the four genres during the course of any weekend, or weekends, during the challenge. Ideally you would post about your short story readings on Sundays or Mondays...
Fantasy - The Case of the Four and Twenty Blackbirds by Neil Gaiman
Folklore - Bells by Hugh Lupton
Fairy tale
Mythology - Wildfire in Manhattan by Joanne Harris
Mythology - The Crevasse by Dale Bailey and Nathan Ballingrud

I'm really bad with short stories, aren't I... I kept picking up the books that I had, and just not being able to settle on anything. I like long stories that you can vanish into without worrying that they're about to be over! So I went back to the library and found a different book, and had another go this morning... *g*

Crevasse is another polar tale... )
byslantedlight: (MagicWorld-WizardMoon (avalonrain))
Finally, another book I can include for my Once Upon A Time challenge! I kept thinking this-one or that-one might count, but when it came down to it they were pure science fiction, or pure ghost story, or... well, just not. *g* But this is definitely a fantasy story!
It's been ages since I read any Pratchett - I found after a while that he needed rationing, otherwise you just got a bit ho-hum about his insights and wit and all, which is a shame, because he should absolutely always be appreciated.

It's about the little moments... )
byslantedlight: (MagicWorld-WizardMoon (avalonrain))

Well, [ profile] read_warbler thought I might like this book, and she was right! I'm in fine company, it won a Hugo and the Nebula Award, and on most of the covers I tried to appropriate for my picture above, Ursula Le Guin said nice things about it. I had to take a photo of my own in the end, for the sake of accuracy, because it seems to be the only version in the world which is stamped with the opinion of Jeff Vandermeer, apparently of the New York Times: A wonder and a joy. Whoever he is, I think he's right... *g*

The first thing that won me over was the dedication: This is for all the libraries in the world, and the librarians who sit there day after day lending books to people. It's not a bad start, is it...? *g*

The story is... )
byslantedlight: (MagicWorld-WizardMoon (avalonrain))

I was really looking forward to reading this - I've been tucking into The Almighty Johnsons, a New Zealand tv series about four brothers who are Norse gods, and I thought it'd be rather cool to read more about these chaps (the gods, not the brothers - though that would have been good too!)

Runemarks tells the story of a girl called Maddy, and a sweeping, imaginative story it is too, full of twists and turns and cleverness and oh-my-god I can't believe that although that kept me going through half the books, I'd almost stopped caring by then... waaaaaah! Joanne Harris, what did you do?! I love your books, why don't I love this one?

Funnily enough, I'd delayed buying it... )
byslantedlight: (MagicWorld-WizardMoon (avalonrain))

Oh, what can I say about this book... which I've been waiting to come out in paperback for aaaaages over here. I know that someone else on my flist is reading it now, or about to though, so under a cut we go... *g*

The Ocean at the End of the Lane )
byslantedlight: (MagicWorld-WizardMoon (avalonrain))

I have to admit to starting this book and then interrupting it one morning to read Compass Murphy, which is why two books posted on one day... I'm not that fast... *g* And I must remember first to say a big thank you to [ profile] read_warbler for making this read possible in the first place - thank you! I shall pop back and read your review again before I get to the end of this one, for comparison, but first...

Thirteenth Child )

This is Me

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A ship is safe in the harbour - but that's not what ships are for.

I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night. (Sarah Williams)

Didn't. Didn't. Didn't.

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