(Audio)Book Review – Circe by Madeline M Miller

circeBLURB: In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child–not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power–the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language and page-turning suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man’s world.

 

MY THOUGHTS: After listening to only a portion of this title, it was easy to see why it was a recommendation on multiple book lists (NYT, Publisher’s Weekly, Boston Globe etc). It’s lyrical, engrossing, and suspenseful (even tho I’ve read the Iliad and roughly remember what happened). For me, the most interesting portions of the book were after the fall of Troy, when Circe’s isolation is removed by various turns and I wasn’t ready for the story to end.

I’ll be buying The Song of Achilles once I’m over this book coma as frankly, Stephen Fry’s Mythos isn’t doing much for me so far.

AUTHOR SITE: http://madelinemiller.com/circe/

Advertisements

Book Review – The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke

bonelessmercies.jpgBLURB: Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa are the Boneless Mercies—girls hired to kill quickly, quietly, and mercifully. But Frey is weary of the death trade and, having been raised on the heroic sagas of her people, dreams of a bigger life.
When she hears of an unstoppable monster ravaging a nearby town, Frey decides this is the Mercies’ one chance out. The fame and fortune of bringing down such a beast would ensure a new future for all the Mercies. In fact, her actions may change the story arc of women everywhere.
Full of fierce girls, bloodlust, tenuous alliances, and unapologetic quests for glory, this elegantly spun tale challenges the power of storytelling—and who gets to be the storyteller.

MY THOUGHTS: There is a lot to like about this book for a mythology geek like myself. While it’s a little slow to start, the world the Mercies live in is well painted and the characters have both good and bad traits. Their actions as Mercies hit quite close to euthanasia, which made me uncomfortable; but that gave me a glimpse into why Frey was so weary inside and out of her role in society.

The book relies on retelling of (mostly) Norse mythology (thank you Mr Gaiman for your excellent work), with Celtic, Roman and even a bit of Judaism thrown in. Interactions between the characters are thoughtful and in line with YA age group, and what I did like is that sex isn’t a driver for the story.

In summary – it’s clever, descriptive, action-filled, thoughtful and I’ll definitely read again.

I received an ARC from Simon & Schuster (Australia) in return for an honest review.

Book Review – The Callaghan & McFadden Series

I re-discovered an author last week. Turns out I’d read the prequel, A Handful of Flowers, a few years ago but for some reason I never moved into the series. I can tell you I’ve certainly fixed that error now!

candm

Blurb Book 1: This Christian romance novel of 80,000 words is the second book in The Callaghans & McFaddens series from author Kimberly Rae Jordan. A HANDFUL OF FLOWERS (ASIN: B01APAIXM6) is the prequel to this series.

Makayla McFadden has been part of her family’s business since it started. At sixteen, she’d helped her dad by answering phones and doing the filing when she wasn’t in school, and now she’s the office manager for C&M Builders. As the company has grown, they’ve had to hire new people, but the core of the company has always stayed the same. When her father announces his plan to retire, Makayla knows change is coming. Hiring from outside the family will disrupt the way they’ve run their business, and she’s not happy about it.

Upon learning that his father and step-mother plan to move to a new city with his younger sister, Ethan Collins knows he needs to move there as well. The day he gets a call from his first choice for a job, he figures God has answered his prayers. But then he meets Makayla McFadden and realizes that she doesn’t want him there. After they offer him a job on a three month probationary basis, Ethan knows he not only has to convince them he can do the job, he has to somehow convince Makayla that he is a good fit for her family’s company.

When he finds himself falling for Makayla, Ethan tries to fight it since he refuses to do anything that might jeopardize his job and his sister’s future. But when the heart can’t be denied, will Ethan take the risk for love? Or will Makayla be reluctant to embrace change on a personal level and leave him without love or a job?

My thoughts: There’s little risk in trying these books – they are available on Kindle Unlimited (and from memory, book one was free on a lot of platforms). I enjoyed getting to know the characters in depth, from children to adults, and the way the books overlap opens up a realism that often isn’t in a saga. If you like interconnecting books, I can recommend you give this series a try.

Books in The Callaghans & McFaddens series by Kimberly Rae Jordan:

  • A Handful of Flowers
  • A Change of Heart
  • For the Love of Grace
  • The Love of Her Life
  • Believing in Tomorrow
  • Crossing Center Ice
  • A Touch of Romance
  • A Little Ray of Sunshine

Philippians 1 6

Book Review – Temptation in Sin – Rosalind James

One of my current favourite authors! Except for the cover art – I hates it.

temptationinsinjpgSYNOPSIS: Once bitten, twice shy.

Rafe Blackstone may play the sexiest werewolf superhero to ever melt women’s . . . hearts . . . on the big screen, but Lily Hollander has already been bitten by an actor, and once was enough. So when Australia’s favorite son walks into Sinful Desires, Lily’s lingerie store, she’s not impressed. Especially when Rafe displays his overprotective streak in defense of his brother–and aims it at Lily. Or, rather, at her identical twin.

Lily may seem like the softer side of the twinship, but nobody messes with her sister. Rafe can take his assumptions, mistaken identity and otherwise, right out her door again. Starting now.

Are you allowed to hate your future almost-brother-in-law, if you do it really, really quietly?

MY THOUGHTS: Book two of the series & it’s the best. So many funny or sweet lines, great characters (I really want to see Hunter have his own book, & Hayley in a novella at least) but most of all the theme of sticking up for yourself, learning from past lessons & just doing the right thing resonates with me. One I will happily re-read, as it is romance with a good heart.

WARNING: pretty steamy, NSFW if you’re listening to the audible.

I purchased this title through www.amazon.com.au for my personal library. It’s now available widely and if you can, I recommend at least borrowing thru your local library. Easy five stars for me.

AUTHOR SITE: http://www.rosalindjames.com/

Book Review – Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts

ShelterinPlace.jpgI kind-of went off Nora books for a while. I found them all too similar, then she delved off into the arcane and frankly creepy.  But the synopsis of this one grabbed me and I am really, really enjoying it. So much so, that I had to tell you even before I finish it!

SYNOPSIS: It was a typical evening at a mall outside Portland, Maine. Three teenage friends waited for the movie to start. A boy flirted with the girl selling sunglasses. Mothers and children shopped together, and the manager at the video-game store tending to customers. Then the shooters arrived.

The chaos and carnage lasted only eight minutes before the killers were taken down. But for those who lived through it, the effects would last forever. In the years that followed, one would dedicate himself to a law enforcement career. Another would close herself off, trying to bury the memory of huddling in a ladies’ room, hopelessly clutching her cell phone–until she finally found a way to pour her emotions into her art.

But one person wasn’t satisfied with the shockingly high death toll at the DownEast Mall. And as the survivors slowly heal, find shelter, and rebuild, they will discover that another conspirator is lying in wait–and this time, there might be nowhere safe to hide.

MY THOUGHTS: While the topic of teens and shootings is being used as a political points scorer,  Roberts is fairly careful not to let you know which side of the fence she sits on (altho, IMO, you’re an idiot if you are voting in lines with the NRA).

There is romance in this book but it’s well worked in with the suspense. You know who the bad guy is almost right from the start, but that allows Roberts to explore the influences fully and actually ramped up the suspense. The writing clearly shows that for the people involved in a shooting, no matter if they survived or were family members or bystanders or first responders – there is a burden and it’s not a light one.

I purchased this title through www.amazon.com.au for my personal library. It’s now available widely and if you can, I recommend at least borrowing thru your local library. Easy four stars for me.

AUTHOR SITE: http://www.noraroberts.com/

Uh Oh. Prepare for a long one, folks…plus WIP Wednesday #218

It’s been quite a while since I last wrote. I have no real excuse, just a general malaise with everything. I guess a mild semi-depression that I am working my way out of.

HEALTH – this is the biggie. The growth found on my annual physical in February has now been excised and a biopsy performed. And the best news – it’s benign. I am so relieved. However I couldn’t tell you the last time I went to boot camp & right now, I’m sticking to walking.

WEEK IN THE LIFE – I have completed my album – which was an achievement in itself! I am not happy with the volume of notes I made, & luckily I have enough in the way of embellishments that I can repeat the exercise in November (before December Daily). Ali’s newest Travel collection is somewhere in the NZ Post system so I hope to get that later this week. Photo post to come!

TRAVELLING – We’ve done a few small trips lately, as you would know if you followed my Instagram. We tried to get to a car wrecker in Whangarei the other weekend but due to an accident (no fatalities but two hours on a 2km stretch of road was frustrating) we couldn’t get there before closing. We ended up staying at Lang Beach, just south of Waipu Cove & did a lot of exploring around Whangarei. I also caught up with a previous workmate Jill, who has Si’s total admiration for sailing around the world (multiple times as long term readers will know) and not killing her husband in tight confines. Last Saturday we got up early, drove up & found the bumper we needed for the Toy Car – and the targa glass panels and covers & some other bits too! Also if you’ve coveted one, I can confirm that a Blunt umbrella is awesome. I got myself the Karen Walker limited edition, as it’s pretty and the odds that the boys will want to be seen using it are low!

OTHER STUFF – the Auckland Photography exhibition is on and Rory, a friend & official Briscoes photographer, has an exhibit on at the Wintergarden Café by the Auckland museum. His theme is birds & flowers & there were some pretty things.

20180602_173419

I went to a number of NZ Comedy Festival events – the 7 Days live screening with Louise, Paul Choudry with Si & then Lou treated us to Jamie Bowen – whose surprise guest was Dai Henwood. It wasn’t comedy as such, more a discussion around a wide range of ideas/events, but it still had laughs and things to ponder. I liked it.

20180530_173025I cleaned and re-stocked the big tank. Tubbs is happier! I do have the smaller tank still set up, much to Si’s disgust, and I think I will get some more mollies and a betta for this one – plus a new light. It needs a light desperately, now its winter and the sunshine hours have reduced.

READING – a lot of trash interspersed with some good writing. June/July looks good for me, with a lot of my fav authors released or releasing for the Northern Summer. I read the latest Rosalind James as part of the pre-release group; there’s a Nalini Singh Psy-Changling & a Tracey Alvarez Bounty Bay next week, a Kirsten Ashley Chaos & Eloisa James Wilde in July, and two LH Cosway to come (all pre-ordered to my Kindle). I had forgotten about the last two Nora Roberts releases so they’re on my Kindle now too.

20180519_065758Non-fiction has been Brene Brown & “The Year of Less” by Cait Flanders & “Slow” by Brooke McAlary. I brought Si “Spymistress” by William Stevenson for Audible and he recommends that one.

I also brought Cocktales, not for the writing but because of the cause. If you are not a romance writer you may be unaware of the huge uproar over a certain author deciding to trademark a word, which in this instance was “cocky”. Her reasons are as shallow as a bird bath is to the ocean, and multiple organisations are now funding the court battle against her, including an union organisation for authors. I don’t believe any one person can TM a commonly used word (it’s not like Xerox or Hoover, where the brand is now also the action) & I think her actions were malicious in intent.

STITCHING – I haven’t stitched all that much since I wrote. 8 instances on the LHN Summer Band Sampler got me to a finish; then 5 sessions on a new start, home*stitch*ness Four Seasons (New Zealand) version which I have quickly fallen out of love with (I think it’s the Cashel fabric, it’s not evenweave & very scratchy); two beading sessions on Mill Hill’s Honey Pot so those are now glued onto felt and ready to cut out as FFO’s; and at work/travel I am working on the two Trinidad Santa’s from last year’s Mill Hill/Sandra Cozzolino release. I’m up to the fiddly parts & making sure thread doesn’t carry on the back of the plastic canvas version. And at home I’m back in love with Fairy Idyll and nearly done with the greenery at the base of the rabbit. My round robin also came back; I need to stitch the square left & bead it all but that’s a budgeted finish for when I’m a little tired of FI.

STITCH FROM STASH – I had my first “no purchase” month in quite some time. This at least brought me back from the brink & I finished in the positive. I’ve also sold (for the same price as I paid) the second copy I had of the Mirabilia Cinderella design so this month looks good too.

Apr-18 May-18
Budget $25.00 Budget $25.00
Melinda – 4*mags -11.04    
Andie – OOP Miras -40.00    
home*stitch*ness 4 Seasons -9.81    
Spotlight Cashel FQ -34.99    
Spotlight 10 DMC -16.90    
       
Melinda’s RR Gigi 12.56 SOLD Angel of Christmas 10.00
Countrystitch Credit (dye) 4.44 LHN Summer Sampler 14.63
LK Be Bold 9.25    
       
Rollover $25.20 Rollover -$36.29
Total Available Budget -$36.29 Total Available Budget $13.34

WIPOCALYPSE QUESTIONS: I’ll post these in the June entry. I need to make sure I post more regularly!

thanks for reading!