Meme: Tough Traveling – Flying

Tough Traveling

Nathan, over at the Fantasy Review Barn, runs the weekly meme Tough Traveling, where readers are encouraged to tour the mystical countryside looking for adventure and fun (and tropes) from all over fantasy.

This week’s topic is FLYING RIDES

“Because honestly?  Horses just got boring.
(Thanks to author Anne Leonard for the suggestion)”

I could think of plenty of flying examples, trouble was trying to limit the amount of dragons I featured! Here are my picks for this week’s topic:

The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien – when Bilbo, the dwarves and Gandalf find themselves in hot water, or in this case trees, the eagles of the Misty Mountains carry them away to safety.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini – Eragon, a young peasant boy, finds and bonds with a rare dragon egg; unknowingly becoming a dragon rider. Together Eragon and his dragon Saphira must learn how to fly and fight as one.

Harry Potter by J K Rowling – Harry and his friends during this series fly by many means including; on broomsticks, thestrals, a hippogriff, a dragon and even in a magically modified, Ford Anglia!

Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke – A dragon named Firedrake is seeking the safe refuge of the Rim of Heaven. He takes Ben, an orphaned boy, along with him as a companion and map reader.

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman – Lyra and her friends travel in Lee Scoresby’s hot air balloon, towed by Serafina Pekkala and her fellow flying witches.

Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C S Lewis – The Pevensie’s obnoxious cousin Eustace Scrubb learns a hard but valuable lesson, when an enchanted bracelet turns him into a dragon!

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum – And perhaps the award for most inventive, flying journey goes to Dorothy. Who flies in her house. during a storm, to the magical land of Oz.

Can you think of some fantasy, flying journeys? Please let me know if your taking part in Tough Travels this week too.

New Read: Hope’s Rebellion

Hope's Rebellion

For much of July my reading has taken me into the past. I decided it would be fun to go the opposite way; to go into the future with my next read. So I picked up Jade Varden’s dystopian, young adult novel Hope’s Rebellion.

Godenor is a bleak and desolate land, with few resources which must be strictly dealt out to the population. Due to this the population is segregated. At just 3 years old children are either taken to work camps to learn how to serve as Dinwas or work in the mines. Or, the more fortunate children, are taken to education camps to learn a craft. At the end of their education the Allocator decides where they will be assigned. The premise is nothing new but I did think it was well crafted. There is one more thing that can determine your fate; your hair colour. Those children with golden hair are prized above all others.

We find out about this world through the eyes of 3 very different girls. First we have Drexi. Initially assigned to a work camp her bravery earns her a transfer to an education camp. Sadly the stigma of her black hair and her golden-haired mother’s failure is a constant battle for her. Then we have small, quiet, mousey haired Prelly. Accidentally taken to the education camp when she became lost and was found by a kind soldier. Finally but not least we have Rinna, or Rinna of the Gold as she is known. As she has the prized golden hair Rinna’s life was planned out from the day she was born. She is to become a wife and mother. In the education camp these 3 girls become fast friends. A friendship that will be truly tested when they are allocated and become adults.

This is the first book I have read by Jade Varden. I came to know of it when the author contacted me about it. I am really pleased I took a chance on it. As I thought it was a gripping, young adult adventure in an authoritarian, fantasy world. While Drexi, Prelly and Rinna were at school I didn’t really think of it as a dystopian world. The world before and any whiff of rebellion is not discussed until the girls are allocated. The pace of the novel is fast and I found myself flying through it. There were a few moments where the wording jarred a little with me and others where I wish there had been a little more detail. I totally understand that sometimes too much detail would have taken us away from the action and tension that was building though, so was a necessary cut.

Hope’s Rebellion was a gripping and fast read for me, this is an author and world I would like to read more of. I recommend to those who enjoy young adult, fantasy and dystopian books. Good read.

Thank you to the author for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Have you read this? Have you read a good dystopian novel I should try?

Meme: Tough Traveling – Climates

Tough Traveling

Nathan, over at the Fantasy Review Barn, runs the weekly meme Tough Travels, where readers are encouraged to tour the mystical countryside looking for adventure and fun (and tropes) from all over fantasy.

This week’s topic is EXTREME CLIMATES

“Perhaps the handsome prince lives in a castle surrounded by green countryside and sunny days.  The rest of the land is forced to deal with freezing cold, searing heat, and every other extreme climate mother nature can throw at you”

Well my fellow bookworms and tough travellers this really got me thinking! Here are my picks for this week’s topic:

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R R Martin – Up in the far north of Westeros there is a permanent winter. Where the Night’s Watch make their cold, lonely vigil on The Wall; a giant barrier of ice and stone.

The Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien – Frodo and Sam make a perilous journey across Mordor, a hot, smoky, desolate expanse, to reach the fires of Mount Doom.

Closer by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams – Book 4, in the subterranean Tunnels series, sees our protagonists discover a world with its own sun in the centre of the Earth. This has reminded me I need to get back to this series!

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C S Lewis – During the long, evil reign of the White Witch the land of Narnia is permanently covered in snow and ice. Always winter, but never Christmas!

Discworld by Terry Pratchett – Discworld by its very nature is extreme, due to the fact it is flat and round. The Hub at the centre of the world is made up of icebound mountains, being permanently furthest from the sun’s orbit. While the lands on The Rim, the edge of the world, are warm and tropical.

Can you think of some extreme weather and climates in books? Please let me know if you’re taking part in this week’s topic too.

Meme: Six in Six 2015

Blog Post #4

The Six in Six meme is the brain child of Jo at The Book Jotter, and this is its 4th year! I am joining in again as I think it is a fun and easy way to reflect on my reading half way through the year. So here goes six authors/books in six different categories from the last six months:

Six new authors to me:

  1. Frances Hodgson Burnett
  2. Deborah Harkness
  3. Joanna Hickson
  4. Peter Ackroyd
  5. Cheryl Mahoney
  6. Veronica Roth

Six authors I have read before:

  1. Dan Brown
  2. Susanna Kearsley
  3. J R R Tolkien
  4. Arthur Conan Doyle
  5. Terry Pratchett
  6. Suzannah Dunn

Six authors I am looking forward to reading more of:

  1. Susanna Kearsley
  2. J R R Tolkien
  3. Terry Pratchett
  4. Deborah Harkness
  5. Veronica Roth
  6. Charlotte Bronte

Six historical books I have enjoyed the most:

  1. Mariana by Susanna Kearsley
  2. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  3. Red Rose, White Rose by Joanna Hickson
  4. The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
  5. Rebellion by Peter Ackroyd
  6. The Lady of Misrule by Suzannah Dunn

Six fantasy books I have enjoyed the most:

  1. The Fellowship of the Ring by J R R Tolkien (re-read)
  2. The Two Towers by J R R Tolkien (re-read)
  3. The Wanderers by Cheryl Mahoney
  4. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
  5. Mort by Terry Pratchett
  6. The Storyteller and Her Sisters by Cheryl Mahoney

Six series of books read, continued or started:

  1. The Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien (re-read)
  2. Chronicles of the Goblin King by Mike Phillips
  3. A Very Brief History by Mark Black
  4. All Souls by Deborah Harkness
  5. Discworld by Terry Pratchett
  6. Divergent by Veronica Roth

What new books and authors have you discovered? What have been your favourites so far this year? Please let me know if you have taken part in this meme too.

Meme: Tough Travels – Independence Battles

Tough Traveling

Nathan, over at the Fantasy Review Barn, runs the weekly meme Tough Travels, where readers are encouraged to tour the mystical countryside looking for adventure and fun (and tropes) from all over fantasy.

This week’s topic is INDEPENDENCE BATTLES

The good fight.  Casting off the chains of tyranny!  No one in fantasyland refuses the call of the good fight.  And what fight is more important in fantasyland than FREEDOM?

While last week’s topic of Fathers was quite tough, this week I had the opposite problem; too many examples! I had to reign myself in a little or we could have been here all day, because really who in fantasyland is not fighting for freedom? Here are my picks for this week’s topic:

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C S Lewis – Peter and Edmund Pevensie lead a large army of talking animals and magical creatures. Into an epic battle against the White Witch and her evil minions for the freedom of Narnia.

Prince Caspian by C S Lewis – 200 years later… the Pevensie children, with the help of Prince Caspian, unite all the talking animals and magical creatures. This time to fight King Miraz and the Telmarines.

Queen of Hearts: The Wonder by Colleen Oakes – In volume 2, of this Wonderland re-imagining, Dinah raises a large army of defected Cards and some unlikely allies to take on her tyrannical father, the King of Hearts. This reminds me; I really hope volume 3 comes out soon!

The Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien – Elves, Men, Dwarves and Hobbits must fight together to stop Sauron and his dark army from taking over Middle-Earth.

A World Apart by David M Brown – Even though I might not of agreed with their methods. The infamous Black Iris pirate and their crew are, in their own way, fighting for freedom from the oppressive rule of the Order.

The Dark Tower by Stephen King – Roland, the last gunslinger, is on an epic quest. Along the way he stops to help many small communities fight against the tyranny and evil that is sprouting up; over many worlds.

The World Below by Mike Phillips – The magical inhabitants of a rubbish tip metropolis rise up against the nasty Baron Finkbeiner and his brutish minions.

Harry Potter by J K Rowling – At the very end Harry and his friends unite students and teachers to defend Hogwarts against Lord Voldermort and his Death Eaters.

Can you think of some fantasy, battles for independence? Please let me know if your taking part in Tough Travels this week too.

Adaptations: June 2015


I absolutely love adaptations. I know this can sometimes be a controversial subject with book lovers but not for me. I think my real love of them came from my time studying performance at university. There I became fascinated with taking a story and telling it through a different medium; whether that be book, film, TV, or on the stage.

Here are the adaptations I watched during June:

Sleepy Hollow (2015)          Not Read     TV Series     Television
The concluding half of series 2 of supernatural drama, based on Washington Irving’s short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. An up-to-date retelling where the headless huntsman, demons, witches and ghosts meet the modern world. I still loved the camaraderie between Ichabod Crane and Lieutenant Abigail Mills, but there were some weak episodes. Okay watch.

Game of Thrones (2015)          Not Read      TV Series      Television
Lavish fifth series of this epic fantasy drama, based on George R R Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. Another gripping series of war, intrigue, family, politics, love, lust, lies and dragons! This would usually be a great watch for me but by the end of this series I was left with an overwhelming sense of sadness, and for that reason this time it is a … Good watch.

Looking at this it doesn’t look like I had a very good month of adaptations in June. At the time though it didn’t feel like that though. I’ve just been watching several long TV series. I also re-watched a couple of Harry Potter films, which ITV has been showing on Saturday afternoons/evenings. I didn’t do a write-up though because I re-watch them too often, and you’d be sick of the sight of them! I am still watching the epic, 4th series of Grimm and the BBC’s new drama Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. Then I have the 2nd series of Penny Dreadful and the 3rd series of Hannibal to start. So hopefully plenty to share with you in July.

Have you watched any of these? What have you been watching recently?

Challenge: Once Upon a Time IX Wrap Up

Once Upon a Time 9

(Art by Kimberly Kincaid. Used with Permission)

Spring has ended and Summer has begun which is a positive for the weather but sadly means we have to say goodbye to The Once Upon a Time IX event, hosted by Carl V @ Stainless Steal Droppings. I had signed up for The Journey level which meant I was aiming to read at least one book for the event. Here’s what I actually managed to read:

1. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness – I thought this was a detailed and well written paranormal romance with an interesting measure of history, magic and art. The first book in the All Souls trilogy, I look forward to reading more.

2. The Two Towers by J R R Tolkien – This was a comforting re-read of an intricate, epic, and enchanting tale. I look forward to re-reading The Return of the King next.

3. The Wanderers by Cheryl Mahoney – I thought this was a well written, witty and charming adventure by author and fellow blogger Cheryl.

4. Mort by Terry Pratchett – This was another darkly funny adventure. Pratchett is a well loved author of mine and I was very sad to hear of his passing. I hope to eventually work my way through the whole Discworld series.

5. Tolkien by Devin Brown – Although I was disappointed that this didn’t seem to be written for a British audience. I still thought this was an interesting and detailed biography of the life and what went on to inspire the author J R R Tolkien to create his wonderful, fantasy novels.

6. The Storyteller and Her Sisters by Cheryl Mahoney – I adored The Wanderers so couldn’t wait to move on to this. Another well written and charming adventure.

Woohoo! I think 6 is perhaps the most I have ever completed, in any year I have taken part, in this event, and I have really enjoyed my reading too. Here’s a few, quick meme questions to sum up my reading:

Best: The Two Towers by J R R Tolkien.

Most Recommended-to-Others: The Wanderers by Cheryl Mahoney.

Most Anticipated: The Storyteller and Her Sisters by Cheryl Mahoney.

Most Hilarious: Mort by Terry Pratchett.

Most Thrilling, Unputdownable: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.

Most Beautifully Written: The Two Towers by J R R Tolkien.

Most Memorable Character: Samwise Gamgee from The Two Towers. I am rather in love with Sam. I also loved discovering Tom, the talking cat, in The Wanderers by Cheryl Mahoney.

New Series You Discovered: Just one new series; the All Souls trilogy by Deborah Harkness.

New Authors Discovered: I am rather impressed that I discovered 3 new authors during this event; Deborah Harkness, Cheryl Mahoney and Devin Brown.

Favourite Cover: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.

I now look forward eagerly to Carl V’s R.I.P event in the Autumn. Not that I am wishing Summer away!

Did you take part in Once Upon a Time IX? What was your favourite read?