Monday, August 31, 2009

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 231
Series : #3 Aurora Teagarden Series
Format : Mystery Novel
Reason for Reading : Cozy Mystery Challenge, to continue with the series

Aurora "Roe" is back for a third installment and is giving working for her mother as a real estate agent a go. She quit her part time job after she came into some money and is keen to give another career a go. She doesn't really have the passion for it and is more interested in selling her inherited property and buying her own place.

During her first house showing for her mother she discovers a body. The woman is another real estate agent and she has been murdered and her body looks posed. Soon after a second body is found and it seems like someone in the real estate community is responsible. Roe starts to look into things and discovers there has also been a string of missing items from houses that have been on the market which may be linked to the killer. If Roe can stay out of the way of Detective Sergeant Jack Burns this time then it will be a miracle.

As well as the myrder story line, there is also Roe's personal life which is progressing. She is dating a minister, but she has a definite connection with a new character. We also get to know some more about the secondary characters. This is much better than the second novel as it matches the sub plots with the main murder storyline much better. Much more in line with the first book, a real page turner and I hope book four lives up to books one and three.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Yay it's time for the RIP IV Challenge hosted by Carl V at Stainless Steel Droppings. The challenge runs from 1st September until 31st October (although you can start immediately) and the aim is to read books from the following genres:

Dark Fantasy

There are a series of challenge options like with the Once Upon a Time Challenge. I am going to aim to complete Peril the First which involves reading 4 books from the above genres. Now on to the books. There are so many books I have that I want to read for this, I will just have to see how much time I have what with the new kittens.

Hunting Ground - Patricia Briggs
The Rest Falls Away - Colleen Gleason
Heart Shaped Box - Joe Hill
Let the Right One In - John Ajvide Lindqvist
Darkly Dreaming Dexter - Jeff Lindsay
Pride Prejudice and Zombies - Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
Generation Dead - Daniel Waters
The Morganville Vampire Books - Rachel Caine
Skarlet - Thomas Emson
The House of the Night series - PC & Kristin Cast
Supernatural Origins (graphic novel)

There are just so many I will stop here, but I am just so excited to get started...

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Good : I got nominated for the Book Blogger Award for graphic novels! I have no idea who put me forward but thank you so much, I really do appreciate it. It is hosted by My Friend Amy and I am sure she will put up all the information soon. The only problem is I didn't send through my links quick enough because of...

The Bad : On Thursday night I was involved in a nasty car crash on a motorway up in Scotland. I was the only one injured I think. I stopped narrowly missing a 3 car pile up right in front of me and then looked in my rear view mirror to see the car behind come steaming towards me. It hit me as I was stationary resulting in whip lash. I spent most of Friday getting X-Rayed etc at the hospital so it is all confirmed and I am just alternating between heat and resting. I am just glad I am pretty much ok and that I was able to make my flight home that evening (luckily it was delayed or I would have missed it) to meet my husband and get cuddles. To treat myself I got myself two presents...

The Beautiful : Aww look at our new family members. Eris is the girl at the top with the slight ginger patch between her eyes. She is very timid but is just starting to come out of her shell. The one at the bottom with the beautiful markings is Loki and he is adorable. Very friendly and playful, my hands are covered in teeth anc scratch marks as he learns to fight. They both purr as soon as you pick them up (providing you can catch Eris of course!) and Loki is defintely going to live up to his name. Eris will work on hers but hopefully she won't be quite as chaotic and destructive as her name suggests. I am sure you will be seeing a lot more pictures of them in the future.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 222
Series : #4 Queen Betsy Series
Format : Urban Fantasy Novel
Reason for Reading : 999 Challenge, to continue with the series

Betsy is back for another adventure. She has a wedding coming up that needs a lot of planning as well as setting a firm date. It needs to be something suitable for humans as well as vampires. Being the Queen of the Vampires she is able to see ghosts and she is plagued by the ghost of a woman who was murdered a local serial killer. They all fit a similar profile to Betsy and the ghost wants her to lead the police or dispose of her murderer before he kills more women.

Betsy gets help from here sister. Trouble is she is exhibiting some disturbing behaviour and as her mother is the Devil Betsy is understandably worried. George the Fiend ends up getting stuck in the drama as Besty tries to gain more favour from the vampire community, keep an eye on her sister and solve a murder.

These books are just so much fun. Very light and easy to read. One quote that stuck in my mind and sums up the two main characters Betsy and Sinclair quite well is :

"You don't even have to pick the flowers you like, okay? Just pick the ones you absolutely loathe, can't stand the site of, and I'll be syre those aren't anywhere near you on the big day."
"Darling", he said, turning the page, "I just don't have intensely strong feelings for flowers."
"But you were raised on a farm! You must have some preferences."
"Darling, I have a penis. Ergo I have no preferences."

Monday, August 17, 2009

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 190
Series : #6 Fables
Format : Graphic Novel
Reason for Reading : Graphic Novel Challenge, to continue with the series

After beating back the Adversary, Boy Blue disappears on his own mission back to the Homelands in search of the real Red Riding Hood, his true love. He has taken along some of Fabletown's most magical objects to help him which is just as well in the long run. He fights his way through the back passages and tunnels right to the Adversary and we finally learn their identity.

Jack also has his own adventure. He has also left Fabletown but has journeyed into the Muncy world to make his living. He has also stolen from the Fables, but he is putting it to a very different use. His aim is to make himself the most well known Fable stopping him from being killed. Turns out though that he isn't as hard to find as he thought he was...

This was so much fun. I won't spoil who the Adversary is but I was a little dissapointed when I got to the big reveal. I need to get back to the Jack of Fables series now I am up to date with Jack's story.

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 160
Series : #7 Fables
Format : Mythology Fiction Novel
Reason for Reading : Graphic Novel Challenge, to continue with the series

The Fable universe is extended with the addition of the Fables from the Arabian worlds. They are living in Bagdad and Sinbad with an array of slaves and advisors comes to meet with the major of Fabletown to see about the two cultures combining their strengths after the Adversary has turned his attention to them. They have brought a genie with them, a piece of ancient and powerful Fable magic which could be deemed an act of war. Luckily Fabletown has their own witch in residence, Frau Totenkinder.

After the main series of comics there is also The Ballad of Rodney and Jane. They are both wooden people, Rodey is in the Adversary's army and Jane is a nurse. They meet and quickly fall in love, but have some problems with kissing and certain anatomical issues so they petition to be made human ("meat"). Making their dreams come true comes at a price.

I loved the Ballad at the end and am looking forward to reading more about Rodney and Jane who I am sure will pop up in future installments. It was also good to get some new Fable characters and it's good to have a scary Fable on the side of good!

Rating : 4.5/5
Number of Pages : 160
Series : #8 Fables
Format : Mythology Fiction Novel
Reason for Reading : Graphic Novel Challenge, to continue with the series

Mowgli is off looking for the missing Bigby Wolf in a bid to free Baghera from a cage on the Farm. The problem is Bigby is excellent at hiding himself when he doesn't want to be found and now is definitely one of those times. A wild goose chase ensues leading Mogwli through Russian when he realises the reason the lead goes cold. Bigby is not being recognised by humans because he is using his other allies, the wolves. Luckily for Mowgli he was raised by wolves and knows their language and their ways.

There is a mission for Bigby that involves Jacl's beanstalk beans. Wolves are not natural climbers, but he has a mission that needs him to go into the Cloud Kingdoms to pull a massive hit and run on the Adversary. He is just the man/wolf for the job and if he suceeds in his mission he will be able to be reuinted with Snow and his children.

My favourite in the series so far as it has some great closure. Bigby and Snow are two of my favourite characters and it was great to advance their story so much. I can't wait to see what trouble their brood get into and I hope Rose Red has a greater part to play in later stories.

Friday, August 14, 2009


Today has been a great day and I just wanted to share my excitement. I live in the UK and have wanted to go to New Zealand for a long time now. I finally booked the time off and booked our flights. We are going in March 2010 for 4 weeks with 3 nights in Sydney and 2 nights in Hong Kong on the return. We will be hiring a campervan and bumming around NZ for 20 days so if anyone has been, lives there or has any recommendations please let me know :)

This year is also my *cough*30th*cough* birthday on September 11th. It's going to be a great birthday this year. On 10th I am seeing Tori Amos (again). The 11th will be spent doing a "hawk walk" where me and my husband will be handling and flying owls, hawks and falcons. The following day we are flying to Orkney to say in a cottage for a week. It's another place I have wanted to visit for a long time as it has the largest number of standing stones and Neolithic sites of interest in Northern Europe. Again if anyone has been please let me know any travel ideas etc.

To top off my birthday celebrations me and Mariel are having a joint Medieval Banquet at the beginning of October in a listed Medieval building near where she lives with a hog roast (plus veggie options). We are making it costume compulsory and I will post pictures afterwards. How exciting is all this!!!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Rating : 4.5/5
Number of Pages : 199
Series : Canongate Myth Series
Format : Mythology Fiction Novel
Reason for Reading : 999 Challenge, because I love the Canongate myth series and Margaret Atwood

Penelope is left behind when Odysseus goes off to fight the war in Troy. When the war is finally over he disappears for years and finally makes it back alone of his crew to find a bunch of suitors trying to wed his wife. He kills them with the help of his son and then hangs Penelope's 12 maids. We learn Odysseus' story in The Odyssey and The Iliad, but before this no one has tole Penelope's story.

We begin with her childhood and how she came to marry Odysseus. Penelope has a warm voice, but it is filled with loss, bitterness and irony at the same time for what she lost and felt she never had. Odysseus tricks his way into their marriage bed and sets the tone for the rest of his part in the story. We also learn more about how Penelope puts off her suitors and the character of her son Telemecus.

Part of Penelope's trouble is Odysseus and his trickster nature. She feels comforted by him, one of the few people who comapres her favourably to her beautiful cousin Helen. However, how can she believe anything he says as she knows the lies that trip off his tongue like honey. Her other nemesis is Helen of Troy. She talks down to plain Penelope who always falls short when comparing herself to Helen.

One of the best things about it is every now and then we get a chorus from the maids summing up the story so far. These take on different forms from a play to poetry to songsetc. It was a really good and novel way to break up the main prose tale.

This was such a great edition to the series. The quote on the cover says "Half-Dorothy Parker, half-Desperate Housewives" which is a really good way to sum it up. It like a spot on black comedy. It doesn't affect the story knowing the outcome form the start, it makes it more haunting.

Recent Worst

What’s the worst book you’ve read recently?
(I figure it’s easier than asking your all-time worst, because, well, it’s recent!)

Recently it would have to be "A Bone to Pick" by Charlaine Harris, book two of the Aurora Teagarden Mysteries. The first book in the series was so good and the second was so bland. It felt like a real filler with very little focus on the main plot. It was more about Roe and the skull was brushed under the carpet (quite literally!). I have since read the third in the series which was back on form and hopefully it won't be a case of every other book is worth reading.

Above we have Merlin again sitting in my new bookcase while I was finishing it off and adding the shelves. I think he thought he was helping bless ^_^

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 238
Series : Rock 'N' Roll Fairy Tales
Format : Teenage Fiction Fairy Tale Novel
Reason for Reading : 999 Challenge

Twelve girls have been chosen to be the butter princesses which involves having their faces made of butter and put on the Trollholm bridge, a tradition in Vanderby. They also have to do a variety of different publicity and whilst at a photo shoot Moira (a harpist protege) and the other butter princesses plus photographer are swept away by a sudden wave from the river and carried off by a giant troll. The troll needs the girls to be brides for his three sons after the compact between him and the humans has been broken (the new major thinks that leaving butter sculptures on a bridge is bad for the river so has stopped the tradition).

Back in the human realm the three Griffson brothers are part of a really popular teenage band. They take a road trip and end up on the Trollholm bridge and are also swept away by the troll. They are to be food for the troll and his three families and are seperated into the different larders and tied up. Things don't look good for either party until a strange fox turns up (Fossegrim) wh is able to speak in the minds of musciains. He has a grudge against the trolls who have trapped him in his fox form and he can no longer take on a human form. As the story progresses though is he really on their side or is he only using them to further his own agenda.

A great mix of The Three Billy Goats Gruff and The Twelve Dancing Princesses. The musical aspects of the story worked really well and I really liked that things were not all that they seemed with the trolls and Foss. Definitely recommended to all who love fairy tales as well as a good story.

Rating : 3.5/5
Number of Pages : 275
Series : #8 Daughters of the Moon
Format : Teenage Fiction novel
Reason for Reading : 999 Challenge, to continue with the series

The Daughters of the Moon are back for anotehr adventure and battle with the evil Atrox. Serena hasn't been feeling herself lately, she's been having sudden memory loss and is acting at times like a completely different person. She's acting like someone she doesn't like very much and wearing different clothes and make-up as well as hitting on a variety of different boys. It also looks like someone is following her in a car.

Her troubles began when she was jumped by an old woman in a dark alley. The woman forced a drink down her throat and ever since then the strangeness began. While the girls try to figure out what is happening to Serena, her memory losses get worse and covering longer periods of time. Is it possible that someone is possessiong her body?

I am still really enjoying this series. Serena isn't my favourite of the girls, but I so still enjoy reading stories centred around her. These are fun novels with strong female characters. What's not to like?!

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 275
Series : #9 Daughters of the Moon
Format : Teenage Fiction Novel
Reason for Reading : 999 Challenge, to contine with the series

Jimena has been dropped in the past by Cattyto try and stop the other Daughters of the Moon from being killed by the Atrox. Catty was supposed to meet her but has disappeared too and Jimena fears the worst. Catty has never perfected her landings when travelling through the time tunnel and Jimena ends up in her old enemys ganglands.

After being taken to jail on false drug dealing charges, Jimena soon realises that she has present day worries as well as those of the future. After her are three mysterious women who turn out to be Nymphs formed from the blood of the Medusa's head when 3 drops of it touched the ground. It looks like Payasa who is Jimena's gang enemy may be the one to help save her and her friends. On top of this is Jimena's boyfriend. She loves him but hasn't got the courage to tell him and now he is acting strangely. She has a premonition that one of the Daughters will betray them to make matters worse.

Jimena is my favourite character and this one stood out as being an excellent addition to the series. I love that the Daughters all have dark sides as well that they battle with and I love the opening myth is woven into the story. This one definitely ends on a bittersweet note.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Yes I know another challenge! This one should be lots of fun continuing in my love for all things vampire hosted by Amy. So on to the details:

Phase 1. The first phase will be reading the Vampire Diaries. This phase will last for a year, and then we will move onto another series. Have you already read the Vampire Diaries? No problem! Reread them!

The challenge begins on 1st Septemer 2009 and ends 31st August 2010. It should conincide with the new TV show of the Vampire Diaries being shown on CW in America. Every Friday, after the Vampire Diaries has aired, Amy will post a recap. If enough people express interest in doing the same, Amy will add a Mister Linky to those posts as well so we can all read each other's opinions and theories. I don't have CW being based in the UK, but I may try and find the episodes online which I don't like doing.

There may be prizes throughout the year who knows. There is a button making contest to go with the challenge. See the full details here.

I am really excited about this one as the lovely Jehera got me the first omnibus a little while back and I have been waiting for a great excuse to read these. The series is as follows :

1. The Awakening
2. The Struggle
3. The Fury
4. Dark Reunion
And the ongoing story in
The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Nightfall

Sunday, August 09, 2009

I am all read out! I finished both books I set out to read and am going to get an early night after a very busy weekend. To wrap up here are my answers to the meme set out by Caribousmom (Wendy) here:

1. Give us some stats: How many hours did you read? How many pages? How many books?
I read for 12 hours on Sunday. I did a stint from 9am - 3:30pm and then from 5pm to 10:30pm.
I read 2 books and a total of 657 pages.

Three Bedrooms, One Corpse - Charlaine Harris (231 pages)
Grave Peril - Jim Butcher (426 pages)

2.What did you enjoy MOST about the event?
Reading a genre that I don't know too much about (I have now read 9 mysteries in total!). I hope to look back over peoples reviews and get some more recommendations too.

3. Do you have suggestions to make this event better?
I think just more promotion so more people join in. I didn't help by not advertising it on my blog at all so if there is another one I will definitely be more pro active and hopefully come up with some prizes too.

4. Would you participate in another Mystery Read-A-Thon?
Yes most definitely. Mysteries are new to me and I am definitely enjoying them.

5. Did you read a book for this event that you particularly liked and would recommend to other readers?
Actually both books I read were great. They were both book 3 in a series but would both work as stand alone novels without having read the first two.

Hmm I am going to have to finsih at 10:30pm tonight instead of 9pm. I went out the last two nights and fell asleep for a little while as well as speaking to Mariel on the phone and getting a little food. I did manage to get the first 100 or so pages of Grave Peril read before I conked out and am really enjoying it so far. There is a mixture of spooky ghosts who have dark magic wrapped around them, the fey and vampires so far plus Knight of the Cross helping out Harry despite his wifes opinion of him. Will get back to reading...

Well I am now roughly 4 hours in (it's coming up to 1pm here) and I have finished my first book. I read Three Bedrooms, One Corpse by Charlaine Harris and enjoyed it much more than the second in the series and nearly as much as the first. For the first time I guessed correctly who the murderer was about half way through - go me!

Am going to get some lunch and will then make a start on Grave Peril by Jim Butcher. But first, here are my answers to the Weekly Geeks about msyteries:

1."Do you love a little suspense in your life? Have you ever read a book that keeps you twisting and turning until the last page? Tell us about it (but not too much , we want to be left hanging ourselves). Or maybe there is a series of mysteries that you adore. Why do you keep reading about the same detectives?"***

I only recently started reading Mystiers. I really liked the Bath and Body ones by India Ink (the pen name of Yasmine Galenorn). They had aromatherapy blends included and the central character was good fun. Since I finished those three I have started the Aurora Teagarden books by Charlaine Harris. The first one (Real Murders) was excellent and I had no idea who was the culprit. The premise was excellent and Roe is a good main character. Sadly the second in the series was a big let down, but I just read the third which was excellent. Hopefully the fourth will be in keeping with books one and three. I am also really enjoying the first two Dresden Files books by Jim Butcher. Harry Dresden is a wizard who ends up solving paranormal murders which combines urban fantasy into the mix which is a genre I love.

2. To expand on that a little: the new TV series Castle revolves around a popular mystery writer. There's even talk that a novel will be published supposedly written by Castle himself. TV and books will muddy the entertainment waters once again. I think we all know of the Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes series on PBS and BBC as well. Not to mention the new movie Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law will open December 25, 2009. Looks pretty exciting!

If you were to be given special TV or movie producing powers, which mystery novel character(s) would you create a TV series or movie for? Who would you cast in the major roles?

OK it's not something that hasn't been done before, but I really loved the first series of the Dresden Files and was so upset that it wa cancelled. There are some differences between the books and the tv series, but I think both work really well for their media. Paul Blackthorn was excellent as Harry and I would definitely re-cast him. Agent Murphy was great too although physically very different looking from the book version. So I would basically re-start the show for at least one more series.

So the Mystery Read-A-Thon is running for 12 hours again. Full details are found at the blog here but things have changed a little this time around. You can read for 12 hours either in one chunk or straight at any time over the weekend. I was planning on splitting it up between yesterday and today but I had other committments (a sten do -stag and hen combined party - and my library reading group), so am doing it all today. I plan on starting in a few minutes which will be at 9am in the UK.

I have two books lined up:

Three Bedrooms, One Corpse - Charlaine Harris
Grave Peril - Jim Butcher

I am hoping to finish both if possible and am now off to begin reading... I will check back periodically for updates.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 394
Series : #6 Avalon
Format : Fantasy, Mythology Novel
Reason for Reading : 999 Challenge, to continue with the series

Set not too long before the events on The Forests of Avalon/The Forest House following alternatively Priestess Lhiannon and Princess Boudica. The two meet when Boudica goes for training on the Druid's Isle. Boudica doesn't have as great a gift as some of the other Priestesses and trainees, but she does have a bond with the Goddess of War Cuthubodva. When the Romans attack England both women leave on seperate journeys but their paths often cross.

Boudica leaves the Island to get married to Prasutagos who becomes King. Together they overcome early insecurites and truely fall in love and have two beautiful daughters. Prasutagos suffers a kick to the stomach from a horse which leads to complications later on in his life and he dies leaving Boudica to rule alone. She is soon set upon and beaten by a group of Romans who also rape her children. Boudica lets in Cuthubodva and starts her own war against the Romans inciting her people to join her.

Lhiannon faces her own challenges. The man she loves is a fellow Druid but they are seperated early on at a battle and both beleive the other to be dead. They both survive and eventually meet up only for Lhiannon to find many things have changed. She is destined to be the High Priestess, but can't quite seem to get there as a rival causes problems. She witnesses much death and misses her friend Boudica. When the final battle comes Lhiannon must put aside her demons and stand by her friends side.

I loved this story. It really swept me up and it was a great addition to the series originally begun by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Diana Paxson worked with her and picked up the series after Marion's death in 1999. A blend of Celtic mythology, druid lore and fantasy with a splash of historical truths (although there are many embellishments), if you haven't read this series I strongly advise picking it up if you are interested in any of the above.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 241
Format : Teenage Fiction Horror Anthology
Reason for Reading : 999 Challenge

Edited by Deborah Noyes this is a collection of horror short stories aimed at teenagers. There are 10 stories in the collection, mostly by authors I didn't know before. Some are straight horror, others explore the gothic genre, some are ghost stories and some combine elements of them all.

Lungewater - Joan Aiken
On the way to meet her great-aunt Theodosia she meets a man at the bus stop. He tells her a tale of unrequited love and a slave boy who got caught up in the drama. He was abused and killed y his master, Count Boyanus and is said to haunt the near by river.

Morgan Roehmar's Boys - Vivian Vande Velde
Ashly works at a haunted hay ride. When a storm rolls in she is trapped alone in the barn which used to be the house belonging to Morgan Roehmar. He was killed by the police on his porch after they found he had murdered a number of young men and boys. Ashly is sure that during the storm there is someone else in the barn with her.

Watch and Wake - MT Anderson
Jim is on his way home to see his paretns when he is talked into watching a dead body overnight to stop witches eating its face. Things become very strange the enxt day when he accidentally falls asleep on the job.

Fordibben Brides and the Faceless Slaves in the Nameless House of the Night of Dread Desire - Neil Gaiman
A parody where a man living in a gothic world tries to write a real life gothic tale. He keeps adding in silly bits and is unable to take it seriously until a raven suggests he write a fantasy novel instead. His fantasy novel involes our mundane world and our concerns.

The Dead and the Moonstruck - Caitlin R Kieran
Starling Jones is a changeling, a human child living in a world full of monsters after being spirited away years ago. As a human she has to pass 3 tests. If she suceeds she will serve the monsters forever, but if she fails they will kill and eat her. Her third and final test is fast approaching and Starling Jane is afraid.

Have no fear, Crumpot is here! - Barry Yourgrau
Walter writes stories about imaginary hero Crumpot. He is sent to stay with old family friends for a week while his parents are away to learn responsibility. They have a son, another Walter, who is very pale and can't abide garlic. He is not happy about sharing his name.

Stone Tower - Janni Lee Simner
Tara hears a voice in her head telling her what to do and se cannot resist it. Her memory is in pieces and she seems plagued by a raven. If only she could remember what had happened and figure out who is controlling her and why.

The Prank - Gregory Maguire
Melanie goes to stay with Aunt Beryl after committing a hate crime and badly beating up two girls who may have been lesbians with a lead pipe as a prank. It looks like her Aunt has her own secrets when Melanie is forbidden to enter the locked attic.

Writing on the Wall - Celia Rees
Mark Banks buys a house he doesn't ralise is said to be haunted. When he brings his children to camp outside whilst it is being renovated, the builders son Tom starts acting strangely around his daughter Kate. Seems the house is using them to act out it's unfinished business.

Endings - Garth Nix
A strange tale about Sorrow, Joy and choices. Haunting.

This was an excellent collection and I enjoyed most of the stories a lot. I particularly liked Forbidden Brides, The Dead and the Moonstruck and Stone Tower. My clear favourite though was Morgan Roehmar's Boys which really stuck in my mind and gave me nightmares for a week! I look forward to reading the companion volume, Restless Dead.

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 165
Series : Re-Told Fairy Tale Series
Format : Teenage Fiction Anthology
Reason for Reading : 999 Challenge

The companion volume to A Wolf at the Door edited by the wonderful Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. The stories in this collection are re-tellings of older tales. It combines a mixture of fairy tales, folk tales and folk ballads including two tales from Arabian Nights and come Celtic stories.

Green Kid - Jane Yolen
A tale of Jack O' The Green in modern times. The story centres around a trickster child found one day in the woods.

Golden Fur - Midori Snyder
Based on illustrations from Arabian Nights, Prince Kahn must pass three tests to rescue a beautiful Princess with the help of a small golden creature named Golden Fur.

Chambers of the Heart - Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Sara lives next door to Bluebeard and eventually becomes one of his wives to save her family from poverty. After discovering his chocking secret, her brothers arrive just in time to save her life and kill her murderous husband.

Little Red and the Big Bad - Will Shetterly
An excellent dark, modern re-telling of Little Red Riding Hood minus the happy ending...

The Fish's Story - Pat York
The fisherman and his wife are not the only ones to catch a magic fish one day. Mira does as well and uses her wishese unselfishly, eventually revealing the true identity of the fish.

The Children of Tilford Fortune - Christopher Rowe
When Tilford Fortune dies he leaves his children (Sally, Toby and Molly) a rooster, sythe and tabby cat to make their way in the world.

The Girl in the Attic - Lois Metzger
Based loosley on Rapunzel, a sad and lonley girl is trapped inside herself. Only by letting down her hair can she be free.

The Harp that Sang - Gregory Frost
Based on the folk song "Cruel Sister" where the younger sister murders her elder sister for a gold bangle. At her wedding night a gypsy plays a harp made of bone with hair strings whcih sings the truth.

A Life in Miniature - Bruce Coville
A re-telling of Tom Thumb where he is engineered in a lab by combining his genes with mouse genes. He has some mouse like qualities as a result.

Lupe - Kathe Koja
Another look at Little Red Riding Hood. When Lupe's youngest brother dies her mother sends her into the woods to consult Blanca the local bruja (witch). She learns more about herself than she bargained for.

Awake - Tannith Lee
Every night Rosia (Sleeping Beauty) wakes up and spends it with the 13 fey who attended her christening. When she was born the Queen of the Fey gave her the gift of 100 years of freedom before having to settle down into an arranged marriage and do her parents bidding. Every night though all Rosia wants is to go back to her own life.

Inventing Aladdin - Neil Gaiman
Scheharazade tells her sister the story of Aladdin, saving her life a day at a time.

My Swan Sister - Katherine Vaz
Jessica's sister Rachel is born wrong with not long to live. Jessica struggles to knit her a jacket and they take her out to see New York at least once in her short life. Loosley based on The Wild Swans and Katherine's own experiences.

I preferred this collection to A Wolf at the Door simply because I liked the group of tales used as source material better. It's always good to read less popular stories rather than the same ones retold again and again. My favourites were Green Kid, Golden Fur, Chambers of the Heart, Little Red and the Big Bad, The Harp that Sang, Awake, Inventing Aladdin and My Swan Sister which was beautiful and very very moving. Recommended to all lovers of fairy tales.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages: 511
Format : Fantasy Novel
Reason for Reading : 999 Challenge

Ned Marriner is a teenager away with his dad Edward and crew in Provance, France for a work trip which gets him out of school. His father is a photographer and is putting together a book with a local author of some of the sights of the area. With Ned and his father are Melanie (who over organises everything including Ned), Greg and Steve who help Edward with his work. Whilst exploring their first stop, Saint-Sauver Cathedral, Ned meets American exchange student Kate and together they stumble across a mysterious man with a knife who tells them to leave as they have stumbled into an old story. The strange thing is it looks like the man has left but Ned has a strange sense that he is still there and is proved right.

Soon Ned and Kate are caught up in a clash of the old world versus the new. Beltaine is approaching and the mysterious man's story is moving forwards taking Ned and those around him with it. The story becomes a mixture of the local mythology and history combined with a race against time and each other to rescue to girl (if indeed she can be found and rescused). The story plays out in different ways in different times and it is up to Ned to learn why he in particular has been drawn into it and by whom.

I really loved the storytelling and the ideas in this novel. I have just learnt that some of the characters in this book are from a previous series, the Fionavar Tapestry, which I hope to read at some point. My only criticism is that the author often refers to the characters repeatedly by their full name eg. Edward Mariner. It felt quite clumsy at times and unecessary as I felt after the first introcutions we were on first name only terms!

Other Reviews :

Susan at You can Never Have Too Many Books

Saturday, August 01, 2009

July Summary

I am still doing ok with my reading and have been slowly catching up on my reviews, but am still 8 behind. Maybe I should read slower until I am back on track... I hope to finish the 999 Challenge next month is possible and then really get stuck in to all theother reading challenges I have signed up for. I will definitely do less next year.

Books Read = 18, Total = 118
Pages Read = 4,343, Total = 25, 462

Manga Challenge : 3/6 plus 8 alternatives
Scott Westerfeld Mini Challenge : 0/3
Arthurian Challenge II : 1/6 (read 6-8 books)
What's in a Name Challenge II : 3/6
Challenge with Nymeth : 1/5
Challenge with Mariel : 0/5
The Dream King Challenge : 2/3 plus 1 film (Coraline)
999 Challenge : 72/81
Graphic Novel Challenge II : 4/12
Guardian Challenge : 42/50
Vampire Challenge : 1/2
666 Reading Challenge : 4/3
Cozy Murders Challenge : 4/6
GLBT Challenge : 1/6
Sookie Stackhouse Challenge : 0/9