Books · WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesdays: 16 January 2019

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WWW Wednesdays is a meme hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words.

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you will read next?

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Arden, Katherine - Winternight Trilogy 3 The Winter of the WitchWhat am I currently reading?

I am currently reading The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden. This is the third and final book in the Winternight trilogy, which started with The Bear and the Nightingale. I planned to read The Snow Child, but I pre-ordered this one (shock! horror!) and since it has the word Winter in it, it suits my Winter Reading Project and I decided to read this one instead, or first anyway. I read a lot last week, so I am reading far less so far this week, but that’s fine. I am really enjoying this story. I am about halfway and I feel like Arden’s writing has really grown throughout this series and I love the weird and wonderful world she creates.

What did I recently finish reading?

Since the last WWW I have finished The Wrath and the Dawn (Renée Ahdieh), which was entertaining enough, but did not blow me away. I also finished Winter: an Anthology for the Changing Seasons, which I really loved. I read a poetry collection: Wild Flowers, by Michelle S Smith, which I thought was really excellent. And finally I read a children’s book by Matt Haig with my daughter: The Truth Pixie, which is poetry as well really. I enjoyed reading poetry and I definitely want to read more in 2019.

What do I think I will be reading next?

The Snow Child (Eowyn Ivey) is STILL top of my list this month. I would like to read something small and very different inbetween my current read and that one, but we’ll see. I also have a non-fiction book I would like to get to that I received via NetGalley, which is Carolina of Orange-Nassau by Moniek Bloks, which is interesting to me as I am Dutch and Orange-Nassau is our royal house. The publication date is at the end of this month.

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Music · Music Monday

Music Monday: Sandstorm (Cast)

Time for Music Monday! I haven’t done one of these since Christmas time, so shame on me… The meme was created by Drew at Tattooed Book Geek to showcase the songs we like and here is one of mine:

MusicMonday

Back to my 1990s today! Cast was one of my favourite bands when I was a teenager. They are one of those forgotten bands that were very much ‘of the moment’ riding the wave of Britpop. Britpop and (mostly British) punk rock was my jam at the time and I absolutely loved these guys’ sound.  I haven’t listen to them much recently and I should!

I love John Power’s very Liverpudlian vocals, but they won’t be for everyone. It’s such a specific sound. He started Cast after The La’s (of There She Goes fame) sort of fell apart. I remember seeing Cast as the support act for Pulp in 1996/1997 or thereabouts and they completely blew me away.

Cast’s sound, and in particular this song, holds a lot of happy memories for me 🙂

I’ve got a sandstorm blowin’ in my head
I’m seein’ many colors 
But the only one that’s coming through is red
And it’s stoppin’ me dead 
Tryin’ to make some tracks
But my feet are feeling like lead
Stop being bled, stop being bled
Oh my things aren’t the same
Anyone could see that if I stayed much longer
I’d be tamed 
We stopped playing games 
I’m not pointing fingers 
But I’m not taking all the blame 
Playin’ all your games, taking all your blame
I said oh no, I don’t even care
I guess I’ll be seein’ you
I guess I’ll be leaving you today
We’re just not a pair
I know you’ve been trying 
But I just can’t bear to tell a lie’
Tellin’ me all your lies
Tellin’ me all your lies
Lies
Let me take you by the hand
Try to understand, 
You walk me to a land,
Try to understand,
Are you nothing but a man?
I’ve got a sandstorm blowin’ in my head
I’m seein’ many colours 
But the only one that’s coming through is red
You know how we feel, we can’t go on pretending
And we’ve just got to fix the deal
Gotta make it real
Gotta make it real

 

Books · Children's Books · Poetry · Reviews

Children’s Book Thoughts: The Truth Pixie (Matt Haig)

haig, matt - the truth pixie (children's)

★★★★★★☆

Title: The Truth Pixie
Author:  Matt Haig   Illustrator: Chris Mould
Genre: Children’s Fiction / Poetry Pages: 119
First published: 2018
Edition: Hardcover, published by Canongate Books Ltd in 2018

Wherever she is, whatever the day, She only has one kind of thing to say.
Just as cats go miaow and cows go moo, The Truth Pixie can only say things that are true.

Having read my first adult book by Matt Haig in 2018, I was keen to try some of his children’s fiction on my six-year-old daughter, so I bought her The Truth Pixie.

I read it with her and we both really enjoyed it. She liked the illustrations by Chris Mould and the story of the Truth Pixie. True to a six-year-old’s nature, her favourite bit was the mouse poo in her hair!

As an adult, I appreciated the rhyming and the powerful message that is at its core. For me, like Julia Donaldson’s books, this one was a joy to read, because of the rhythm of the words. It is the kind of story that I would be happy to read to my child again and again, but that I can also see her reading herself (she was reading along with me).

A big thumbs up from me!

6 out of 7 stars

Books · Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary: 13 January 2019

ahdieh, renee - the wrath and the dawnbaker, jo - longbournI have had a pretty stellar reading week. I finished two novels: Longbourn (Jo Baker) and The Wrath and the Dawn (Renée Ahdieh), but I also finished an anthology, Winter, and a poetry collection, Wild Flowers (Michelle S Smith).

 

That is pretty good going for me.

smith, michelle s - wild flowersReading Wild Flowers did make me want to read more poetry, because when I do I actually really enjoy the experience. Last year I hardly read any poetry and I really need to change that!

Arden, Katherine - Winternight Trilogy 3 The Winter of the WitchI read the first chapter of the concluding book of the Winternight trilogy by Katherine Arden yesterday, as my eyes were drooping, wanting to go to sleep. I really hope The Winter of the Witch will be all I want it to be to complete a series I have loved the first two books of in style. I have only heard good things, but that does not always mean much.

ivey, eowyn - the snow childIn the week ahead I hope to read The Winter of the Witch and The Snow Child (Eowyn Ivey).

sue, eugene - the godolphin arabianI might read something else inbetween, so they don’t blur into one. I have a little book called The Godolphin Arabian, which is based on the story of one of the founding sires of the modern thoroughbred racehorse. It has been asking for me to read it and it’s only small. It was written in 1846 by Eugene Sue (in French), but this is a recent translation. It is only short and should be a quick fun read.

I hope to read at least 100 pages of The Winter of the Witch today, but I am not pushing myself today – I read plenty this week!

Happy Sunday!

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: The Wrath and the Dawn (Renée Ahdieh)

ahdieh, renee - the wrath and the dawn

★★★★☆☆☆

Title: The Wrath and the Dawn
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Genre: Fiction / YA Fantasy / Retelling Pages: 388
First published: 2015
Edition: Kindle e-book

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. 

After reading the final page of this first part of Khalid and Shahrzad’s story, I am not quite sure whether to shrug my shoulders or say that I enjoyed it.

It was a pleasant enough book. I liked the romance, even if I did not quite understand it and the setting added a bit of magic. However, I do not feel Shahrzad’s character is explored enough. I never felt like I got to know her that well. I felt it was strange she did not seem to have emotions regarding her physical relationships at all. Surely, a young girl of her age would have lots of thoughts and feelings about such things.

Unfortunately, although I did enjoy The Wrath and the Dawn, especially the first half, in the end it fell a bit flat for me. it really did not have enough substance for my personal tastes. I simply wanted more from it. I doubt it will stay with me very long. Just to clarify, it is not because this is YA, as there are plenty of YA books that do satisfy that itch.

It was entertaining enough, but I do not think I will be continuing this series.

4 out of 7 stars

 

Books · Poetry · Reviews

Poetry Thoughts: Wild Flowers (Michelle S Smith)

smith, michelle s - wild flowers

★★★★★★☆

Title: Wild Flowers
Author: Michelle S Smith
Genre: Poetry    Pages: 124
First published: 2018
Edition: e-book, provided by author

This collection of Poetry and Prose is an explosion of femininity, empowerment, and personal growth. Michelle celebrates her triumph over mental illness and promotes resilience and self-love in her readers. 

I always forget how much I love poetry and this collection reminded me.

This collection feels very real and raw. It is not flowery or overdone. These are simply poems from the heart, from that emotional place that we all have inside of us. These are poems that will speak to a lot of people, because a lot of us will recognise the feelings the author expresses. I certainly did. As the author writes her way through anguish, memories of love, depression and healing and then finding self love again, I felt those emotions through her words, There is also some LGBTQ+ representation here, which is a bonus.

I can only imagine how cathartic it must have been to commit these thoughts to paper. I like the overarching narrative of this collection and how it ends on  a positive hopeful note.

6 out of 7 stars

 

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts – Winter: an Anthology for the Changing Seasons (edited by Melissa Harrison)

Seasons proofs.indd

★★★★★★☆

Title: Winter: an Anthology for the Changing Seasons
Author: various – Editor: Melissa Harrison
Genre: Anthology    Pages: 203
First published: 2016
Edition: Paperback, published by Elliott & Thompson in 2016

Winter is a withdrawal: quiet and dark and cold. But in the dim light frost shimmers, stars twinkle and hearths blaze as we come together to keep out the chill. In spite of the season, life persists: visiting birds fill our skies, familiar creatures find clever ways to survive, and the world reveals winter riches to those willing to venture outdoors.

This anthology, mostly consisting of non-fiction, is such a delight.

Quite obviously the link between all these different snippets of stories, poems and observations is winter, which (also obviously) makes this the perfect anthology to read this time of year.

A lot of the stories were centered around the natural world, which is one of my favourite subjects, whether in fiction or non-fiction. I loved the beating heart of nature that pretty much all of these story had in common. The observation that winter is all but void of life.

Winter has never been my favourite season, but this anthology brought me a new appreciation of the bleak world around me at this time of year.

Maybe I would have liked there to be a few more poems in this collection, but overall I loved this anthology and enjoyed every single chapter. I wil definitely check out several of the authors in here.

I would recommend Winter to anyone who loves winter, but also to people (like me) for whom winter seems to drag on and on and who crave the sunlight returning to our worlds.

I am very much looking forward to reading the other seasons in this series over the course of this year.

6 out of 7 stars