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?

Meme: Tough Travels – Fathers

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 FATHERS

Comes in two types in fantasyland.  Either a semi-mystical figure proving impossible to live up to or the overbearing type who doesn’t understand why his daughter doesn’t accept the traditional princess role.  He may be tough to get along with but usually does think he has his kids interests in mind.

The topic of Orphans, two weeks ago, showed us that there are A LOT of orphans in fantasyland. With this in mind I am sure you can sympathise that this was a difficult topic. After much thought though here are my picks for the Fathers topic:

The Return of the King by J R R Tolkien – Lord Denethor, the steward of Gondor, is the overbearing, mad, bad, and dangerous to know type of father. His eldest son Boromir can do no wrong, but you have to feel for the younger son Faramir. Whose life is put in danger more than once trying to please his father.

Sabriel by Garth Nix – Terciel is a powerful Necromancer and semi-mystical figure for his daughter Sabriel. She grows up in a boarding school while Terciel travels the land. When her father is trapped in Death, Sabriel must take on his mantle.

The Storyteller and Her Sisters by Cheryl Mahoney – The twelve dancing princesses’ father is an overbearing bully who verges on evil. He is completely obsessed with getting his hands on the valuable, magical forest below the castle.

A Clash of Kings by George R R Martin – To say Tywin Lannister is overbearing would be an extreme understatement! Tywin is one of the most powerful and riches lords in Westeros. He manages his children and grandchildren with an iron grip; marrying them off to whoever will bring him more power and money.

Mort by Terry Pratchett – Could you get a more semi-mystical father than Death? Ysabell is saved and adopted as a baby by Death not because he felt sorry for her but because he thought he did.

Harry Potter by J K Rowling – Ok this choice is neither overbearing or semi-mystical but I couldn’t have a fantasy fathers topic and not mention Mr Weasley! He is loving, slightly bumbling, loyal, mad about Muggles, and brave in his own simple way.

Can you think of some fantasy fathers? They don’t have to be overbearing or mystical but great if they are.

Meme: Tough Travels – People on Boats

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 PEOPLE ON BOATS

Grab a map of Fantasyland and you are sure to see there is water.  Of course not everything important is going to happen on land, right?  Sometimes people actually have to get on a boat and hit the water.  Where, being fantasyland, anything can happen.

This week here are my picks for the People on Boats topic:

Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C S Lewis – Edmund and Lucy Pevensie return to Narnia accompanied by their obnoxious cousin Eustace. They adventure across the high seas with King Caspian and his crew on the royal Dawn Treader.

Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman – Lyra rebels against Mrs Coulter and runs away. She takes refuge with the Gyptians on their riverboats and journeys north to discover what has become of the children the Gobblers have stolen.

Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett – young Esk is on a journey to The Unseen University to try to be the first female wizard. Along the way she becomes lost and falls asleep under a tarpaulin. In daylight the tarpaulin turns out to be on a barge owned by the Zoons; a friendly, travelling people.

The Storyteller and Her Sisters by Cheryl Mahoney – every night, for a year and a day, 12 princesses journey across a cursed lake in 12 boats rowed by 12 princes.

A Clash of Kings by George R R Martin – Ser Davos Seaworth, a former smuggler, leads a large fleet into the epic and horrific Battle of Blackwater Bay. Davos is the right hand man of Stannis Baratheon, a claimant to the Iron Throne.

The Fellowship of the Ring by J R R Tolkien – Frodo and the remaining members of the fellowship travel south, down the great river Anduin in Elven boats.

Initially I could only think of a few examples for this topic, but with a bit more thinking I thought of a few more. I am sure there are plenty more though.

Can you think of some fantasy characters who travel in or perhaps live on boats?

New Books: June 2015

New Books - June 2015 #1

Hello my fellow bookworms, here’s what goodies I have managed to add to my bookshelf and Kindle recently:

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë

The Collected Works of Charles Dickens

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

The Journey by John A Heldt

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Named of the Dragon by Susanna Kearsley

Kim by Rudyard Kipling

Added to my Kindle this month are 7 novels, and a large collection of novels and short stories. Mansfield Park, Agnes Grey, North and South, A Little Princess, Kim and several Dickens novels are on my Classics Club list. I technically already have a Charles Dickens collection, but this new one is more extensive. Whilst I decided to download The Journey (Northwest Passage Book 2) after I read The Mine (Northwest Passage Book 1) last year and enjoyed it. All these I picked up for free from Amazon (UK). Then finally I received a copy of Named of the Dragon through Netgalley; I love Kearsley’s books so couldn’t resist this.

New Books - June 2015 #2

Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier

Going Postal by Terry Pratchett

Hogfather by Terry Pratchett

Then I added modern classic Frenchman’s Creek, and comical fantasies Going Postal and Hogfather to my bookshelf after a visit to my favourite charity bookshop. I love Daphne du Maurier and Terry Pratchett, and it is a personal goal of mine to read all of their books.

Have you read any of these? What new books are you excited about?

Meme: Tough Travels – Orphans

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 ORPHANS

No one in Fantasyland amounts to anything if they still have both parents.  Rule number one.  Thanks to Stephanie for the suggestion (and let us all be surprised together that it isn’t in the Tough Guide).

This week here are my picks for the Orphans topic:

Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien – there are actually several orphans and motherless characters in this series but I am going to focus on Frodo Baggins. Frodo is 12 years old when he loses both his parents in a boating accident. He later becomes the adoptive heir of his older cousin Bilbo Baggins, who he shares the same birthday with and a love of nature, walking, and elvish.

Harry Potter by J K Rowling – Harry’s parents are murdered by Lord Voldermort when he is only a baby. He grows up with his muggle aunt, uncle and cousin Dudley, with no knowledge of his magical inheritance till his 11th birthday.

Prince Caspian by C S Lewis – Caspian is the nephew and heir to King Miraz. His uncle takes little to no interest in him, only keeping Caspian around whilst he hopes for his own son. Caspian is instead raised by his nurse and later his tutor, Cornelius. Both of whom, secretly, tell him the old tales and myths of Narnia.

The Wanderers by Cheryl Mahoney – Jasper our ‘wandering adventurer’ has travelled the land alone for many years, since the loss of his parents and his beloved, older sister. Companions only give you something to lose.

Sabriel by Garth Nix – Sabriel’s mother dies shortly after her birth and her father ships her to a boarding school. Just as she was about to graduate one of father’s servants arrives with his bells and sword. Sabriel takes this to mean only one thing, her father is trapped in Death.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum – I can’t remember Dorothy’s parents actually being mentioned. However at the beginning of the story she lives with her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry so I presume she has lost her parents.

I found this topic pretty easy but I am sure there are many more. Including a Terry Pratchett example, but sadly not in any of the Discworld novels I have read so far.

Can you think of some fantasy book orphans?