Welcome again to another Reading Journal! ^-^ Every month I get up to a bit of book rambling; with some basic information on 4 – 5 books I’ve read this year, as well as a quick-and-simple review for each one. Post length varies, but I definitely guarantee that this month’s will not be nearly as long as last month’s Light Novel special. 😉
So, jumping right on in…
Author: Juliet Marillier
Published/By: Alfred A. Knopf / 2007
Thoughts: I have mentioned this one before, in book tags, and was quite excited to see its turn on the list had come up at last. ^-^ Juliet Marillier has a talent for weaving well done research and classic tales into a tapestry of amazing story… amazingness. Her depiction of Romania really lives on the page, and is one of my many favorite things about this story. Hands down THE BEST take on “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” that I’ve ever read… not to mention a bonus fairytale that sneaks up near the end. ^-^
Jena is an excellent, strong and capable, heroine. It’s easy to become invested in her, and her family as well. In fact, the sisters (not actually twelve, which I thought was a good choice) are all very real and dynamic in their own ways, reminding me of my own sisters. I think I will always love stories with really well done sister dynamics.
All around, an excellent story about family, love, and magic. ^-^ Also, the cover art by Kinuko Y. Craft is gorgeous.
Overall Rating: 5/5 stars (Soooooo good! ^-^)
Gra mo Chroi: Love Stories From Irish Myth
Authors: Ali Isaac & Jane Dougherty
Published/By: Amazon (kindle) / 2015
Genre: Mythological Fiction
Thoughts: This is the very first thing that I bought when I got my kindle, in April. ^-^ Love stories from Irish myth? There is no way I could resist that! As might be inferred, this is a collection of short fiction: six classic stories, retold by the authors in various ways. One was actually a poem, which I thought was a cool choice.
I already knew three of the six, but enjoyed the fresh perspective on them. Three whole new stories is pretty awesome, and I’m still excited about it. ^-^ Both old and new, of course, were quite enjoyable to read. Well worth the dollar I got it for! “Sanctuary for Sadbh” is my very favorite, probably followed by “Cliodhna’s Wave”.
As an additional note, the collection of stories is only about half of the book file that you get. The other half is previews of the authors’ other works. I’m not sure if this is a common practice with kindle short fiction. It threw me a little when I read it through the first time.
Overall Rating: 4/5 stars (Some excellent and enjoyable writing)
Tellstones: Runic Divination in the Welsh Tradition
Author: Adam Byrn Tritt
Published/By: Smithcraft Press / 2011
Genre: New Age/History?
Thoughts: I discovered this book while looking up Welsh runes for a story. Probably ‘Romaine’, now that I think about it. It caught my fancy, so I snagged it when I was getting a bunch of books for my new kindle. ^-^ I’m quite glad that I did!
This book offers a very interesting, and even practical, look at an ancient form of divination practiced extensively throughout Wales. I’m not really into New Agey stuff, so I really appreciated the author’s straight-forward tone. A history of the practice is presented, as well as the meanings of the nine symbol stones and blank ‘querent’ stone. It’s a pretty simple system, and gives me all sorts of writerly ideas… ^-^
There is also a great section on making your own set of stones! I’m a little tempted…
Overall Rating: 5/5 stars (quite fun to read, this has a firm place on my research shelf now ^-^)
Author: Paulo Coelho
Published/By: Haper Collins / 1993 (Originally 1988 in Brazil)
Genre: Allegorical Fantasy
Thoughts: This story is clearly intended as an allegory, and not a very subtle one. It’s odd to me, because usually seeing through the artifice of a story doesn’t necessarily cause me to become disenchanted, but that was definitely the case here. There was something about the presentation that just felt off; and I kept thinking of other books that said what this one said with more style, grace, and depth.
That isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy it. Even as a simple story of a young man seeking his fortune, it is enjoyable. But, I have the feeling that it didn’t speak as strongly to me as it might to others.
Also, I have to admit that the handling of the only female character kind of bugged me. Over and over it is said that every man has a destiny to seek; but when a lady finally shows up towards the end she doesn’t get a great and mysterious destiny that she must overcome obstacles to find and realize. She ‘finds her treasure’ by waiting around for him to show up, and then waiting again while he goes out to seek his destiny. Um, a big phooey on that!
Overall Rating: 3/5 stars (Just could not get into it)