I really need another new series… right?

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Well, lets face it, good sense never got in the way of me buying new books.  So, even though I have Mount TBR and it’s threatening to topple any day and probably smother the dog, not to mention the butterfly effect if this little monster finally goes, this doesn’t stop me envying other people’s book purchases and coveting new shiny ones myself.  And, yes – sometimes my ‘ordering finger’ gets a little trigger happy – not to mention that ‘one click’ which is just ridiculously tempting!

So, over at The Broke and the Bookish this week the topic for Top Ten Tuesday is:- 

Top New Series I Want To Start (this includes those started fairly recently)

  1. Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie – had this book for a while – I’m saving it for all the lovely sci-fi goodness that’s just kicking off round the blogging community about now.
  2. Generation V by Marie Brennan – tis the season for fangs after all!
  3. Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence – I’ve started this series this year.  And, its awesome sauce already.  I kid you not.
  4. Sidekick by Auralee Wallace.  This was good fun, I enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next.
  5. Bloodsong by Anthony Ryan – I’ve read the first and have the second waiting to be read.  Bloodsong is so good.
  6. Age of Iron by Angus Watson – I loved this book and can’t wait for the next instalment – which I believe won’t be too long (next Spring?)
  7. Red Rising by Pierce Brown – I really enjoyed this first in series.  It has a lot of promise and I’m excited for No.2
  8. City of Stairs by R J Bennett – Mr Bennett is such a talented author.  I’ve loved all his books and this one was seriously serious!  Epicly epic!
  9. The Copper Promise by Jen Williams – OMG – The Copper Cat.  This is all.  Read this book.
  10. The Broken Road by Teresa Frohock – deliciously creepy, only a novella – I want more from Ms Frohock please.

Look at all the pretty covers precious!

‘Darkness falls across the land, the midnight hour is close at hand…

Posted On 19 October 2014

Filed under Book Reviews
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… Creatures crawl in search of blood, to terrorize your neighbourhood’  – or are they trick or treaters?  Yep, Halloween is but a stone’s throw away and so for the next few days I’m going to be ‘creeping’ and ‘vamping’ up my reading for the bewitching season.

So, break out the pumpkins and start the scary movie/book-athons.  As it’s that time of year I thought I’d have a last dash push to vamp and creep myself out. Nothing wrong with a few nightmares after all!  So, after I finish my current read – Dreamwalker (which is great – well, dragons don’t you know!) – I’m going to read all the nasty, scary books.  This is my plan (and turn away now if you’re easily freaked out because these covers are a bit damned scary well, the guy in the tee isn’t scary – it would be rude to say that – but, I’m guessing he’s a vampire, so…fang action).  Anyway: this is my plan (but I’m not gonna beat myself up if I don’t succeed!)

The Storyteller and Her Sisters by Cheryl Mahoney

The Storyteller is a reimagining of Grim’s 12 Dancing Princesses.  For those not familiar with the original tale, every night the King locks his twelve daughters into their room and every morning when he releases them the princesses are not only exhausted but their dancing slippers have been worn through.  The king decrees that any champion who takes on the challenge and succeeds in uncovering the Princesses’ secret will not only be richly rewarded but will be free to choose the hand of whichever princess he so wishes.  Failure however will result in death – by decapitation.  Rounded up so bluntly like that you can’t help wondering why we read this as a nighttime fairytale to our children!

What I particularly liked about the story was that it adheres in format and style to the original but it manages to give the princesses more character (although given there are twelve they don’t all get equal time – otherwise this would be a very lengthy novel indeed!)  We’re also provided with a little back history into the King and the motives behind the locked door.  Is he protecting his daughters or is he in fact keeping them captive.  I think it also succeeds in making the princesses more likable.  Lets not forget that in the original tale they play a hand in quite a few champions losing their heads!  In this particular story they act quite responsibly towards these men – even though they are unwelcome visitors!  The main character of the story is Lyra.  All the girls not only look very similar but their names all start with the letter ‘A’ and so to assist with identifying each other they usually adopt the end of the name therefore Alyra becomes Lyra.  She’s a book worm who enjoys regaling her sisters with stories about castles and curses never totally putting together the fact that they’re living in their very own story!

I think the author succeeds in delivering a story that gives a bit more insight into these otherwise ‘anonymous’ princesses whilst at the same time giving them an interesting back story.  Plus managing to squeeze in a few more stories along the way.  I thought the change in tack for the last champion was a really good take.

In terms of criticisms I don’t really have anything at all other than I think this could have been shortened a little, simply to strengthen the tension a little.  I also think I could have handled a little bit more creepy darkness or more of a gothic feel but, that being said that would have changed the ‘feel’ of the book.  As it is this has more the feel of a mystery adventure and a race against time to work out a solution.

A lovely retelling of a favourite old tale.  Well written with Princesses that have a little more of a modern outlook.  Talking cats and fairy godmothers.  It will be interesting to go and read the first book by this author – The Wanderers – these books don’t have to be read in order but there is some overlapping of characters and I’d like to find out a little more about Tom.

In the interest of disclosure I have known the author in a blogging capacity for some time and was very happy to read and review The Storyteller.  The above is my own opinion.

Join me in a tour of Sicily..

Posted On 18 October 2014

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We recently spent two weeks touring the island of Sicily.  We started at Mondello – which is about 15 minutes outside of Palermo.  A quiet place with a lovely beach and I imagine a very popular spot for city people come the weekend!

Palermo is amazing.  I just loved it.  We only spent a day looking round but we had some of the highlights of our holiday on that day.  We visited the Capuchin Catacombs (no photos allowed – this article shows more if you want more info:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/picturegalleries/8296522/Ghoulish-mummies-in-the-Capuchin-Catacombs-in-Palermo-Sicily.html?image=17

I must admit I hesitated before going down to see this – I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about it becoming an attraction and almost felt a little bit as though i was being disrespectful.  As it happens the experience was nothing like that. It’s actually quite a fascinating glimpse into the period really.

I’m not sure I’d advise driving round Palermo – unless you want to add that to your ‘experience’ list!  We took a tuk tuk ride (which is a scenic taxi) – and my, what a brilliant experience – I would definitely recommend this.

The following day we spent time in Monreale and this is a picture of the cloisters.  Each of the columns are carved with intricate figures – everything you can think of, even mythical winged things!

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The Cloisters at Monreale

We then headed to Sciacca for a couple of days after which paying a visit to Selinunte on our way to Syracuse and Ortiga.  Ortiga is a beautiful place.  We’ve been before and so only spent a couple of days but really I could have spent a full week.  There is such a lot to do and see.  We took a tour of the hypogea – which was fascinating.  If memory serves this used to hold 10,000 bodies – obviously now removed (second only to the Hypogea in Rome according to the guide)!  Below is a picture of the tunnels that lie beneath the Duomo – used for air raid shelters during WWII and lined with information and pictures.

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The harbour front at Sciacca of an evening

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This is the Temple of Hera at Selinunte

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The entrance to the tunnels under the Duomo, Ortiga

This is Taormina – our hotel was opposite this beautiful spot quite rightly named Isolla Bella.  We had three very relaxing days here.

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View of Isola Bella

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The Greek theatre at Taormina

Then off to Milazzo for a whistlestop visit before arriving in Cefalu.  We’ve spent two weeks in Cefalu on a previous holiday.  It’s a wonderful spot to visit and I would highly recommend it.  It’s perfectly situated to visit other places and it’s a historic town and seaside resort.

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Beautiful Cefalu – setting for more than one famous Italian film!

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Gin Fizz – it would be rude not to!

Our final stop was Castellammare del Golfo which was our final 3 days and literally just a chill out.  We had a lovely room overlooking the harbour.  The weather was scorching and so we basically sat around doing as little as possible!

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Took this because it looks like something out of a dystopian novel! (which my husband thought was hilarious!)

Verdict: I would recommend Sicily very strongly.  It’s packed with things to see and do.  It’s cram packed with history and amazing sights to see.  We’ve spent four weeks there now during two different holidays and yet I still only feel I’ve scratched the surface!

If you get the chance – go.  Amazing people, fantastic food and drink, breathtaking scenery, historical wonders.  An island of passion and adventure and absolutely fascinating.

Badly drawn dragons to badly behaved dogs!

Fan Art Up is a weekly meme hosted by Tabitha over at Not Yet Read.  The idea being to see if you can come up with some inspiration for a little sketch or doodle from your last week’s reading or just anything else in general. This week I’m reading The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan.  I’ve also read the Undying by Ethan Reid.  I seem to be having a lot of dragon books at the moment which is set to continue as I’m about to start Dreamwalker!  I’ve tried a dragon – you have to imagine this is flying at you – hence the bad perspective (believe me when I say this looked so much better in my head!)  The other is my dog – the weather is filthy and so is he!  My drawing ability seems to be getting worse!  Stop on over at Not Yet Read and check out all the loveliness.IMG_0695

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