Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Could Re-Read Forever

Top 10 Tuesday was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish, but as of January has now moved to That Artsy Reader Girl. If you’re interested in taking part click here.

Now this isn’t just a list of my favourite books. Some books you just can’t keep re-reading as it isn’t the same. I don’t often re-read books actually as there are so many new ones out there that I want to read! So here are some either I have re-read before or want to in future.

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Release Day! Of Legend and Lore

Today is the release day for Of Legend and Lore, an anthology of fairy tale retelling by the Just-Us League group. The collection includes my own short story, Cursed Glass, which is a retelling of a Grimm fairy tale called The Glass Coffin. It blends fantasy and science-fiction to tell a story about darkness and redepmtion.

This is the fourth anthology published by the group and the second focusing on fairy tale retellings. It was exciting to be part of this for the first time and I look forward to being included in future anthologies. You can read the interview I did as part of the blog tour here.

You can purchase the book on Amazon worldwide in Kindle and paperback! It includes a beautifully designed illustration for each story.

Of Legend and Lore 800x1250

New life is given to eleven old stories in this second collection of irresistible fairy tale retellings.

Royalty faces magical challenges: a prince uses his powers on a rescue mission and reveals a terrible secret about his people; a king takes drastic measures to save his daughters from a troublesome curse; and a princess befriends an unusual frog.

Mythical creatures can be friend or foe: three brothers face a depressed dragon with a legendary treasure; an ancient crow brings a child’s wishes to life; and one young girl discovers dragons aren’t always the enemy.

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes: a miser is in danger of losing everything one cold night; a struggling mirrorsmith meets an invisible recluse; a boy must relive the fairy tale based on his ancestor’s life; a child is rejected because of his love of drawing cats; and an evil witch is sealed in a glass coffin.

Be transported to new worlds and enjoy fresh twists on old favorites.

 

Film Review: The Greatest Showman

tgs-posterFilm Review: The Greatest Showman

Release date: 26th December 2017

Director: Michael Gracey

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson

Runtime: 105 minutes

Genre: Musical

Watched in: 2D

Rating: 4/5 stars

 

The Greatest Showman is inspired by the real life story of how P.T. Barnum rose from obscurity to create a circus and become a significant figure in the circus’ journey to popularity.

At first I found the pop soundtrack an odd contrast to the 19th Century setting. As I wasn’t expecting that as I hadn’t really heard the music before seeing the film, this at first was a strange collision that I wasn’t sure about (although it did remind me of We Will Rock You invading the medieval setting in A Knight’s Tale with spectacular effect). I got into it as the film went on and probably need to see it again to appreciate this aspect of it more. Once I got used to the style of music I found the soundtrack quite catchy. I can imagine some of the songs getting stuck in my head…

The cinematography and choreography was good. There were some great touches and the film really flowed through the way it was filmed. At times the choreography of the dancing was repetitive (mostly in the group songs) and they could have done more with it in some scenes to make it more dynamic and less repetitive. However I greatly enjoyed the way the duets were put together choreographically, particularly Jackman and Efron in “The Other Side” and “Rewrite the Stars” with Efron and Zendaya (although the latter was perhaps a little…cheesy…).

The film focused on Barnum’s story and although I liked seeing his development and relationship with his family, I felt that some of the other characters were not explored as much as they could have been. One of the messages of the story is that being a “freak” does not mean that you should be excluded by society and hide in the shadows. So it seems a little contradictory for the film itself to highlight Barnum’s story and leave the others in the shadows. Perhaps some of this is because Hugh Jackman steals the show a bit. Efron and Zendaya’s characters have a good storyline but none of the other “freaks” from the circus have a story. They have a group story and each have personalities, but we never know anything more about them. Although Zendaya’s character had a subplot, we still didn’t actually really know much about the trapeze artist. Obviously with so many characters they can’t all have equal screen time, but it would have been nice for one or two of the other circus characters to have been given a story of their own.

Overall I enjoyed the film, and although it was great, in some ways they could have done a lot more with the story and characters they had to work with.

Book Review: The Girl King by Meg Clothier

10413845The Girl King by Meg Clothier  

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction

Publishing Info: March 2011 by Century (first published 2011)

Pages: 336

Star Rating: 3/5

 

Back Cover Summary:

Georgia, 1177
For twenty years King Giorgi has defended the throne of his fragile kingdom against all comers. Now on the threshold of old age he faces a grave new threat: he has no son to succeed him. There is only his daughter, Tamar; a clever, indomitable and fearless girl.

When a revolt threatens her life, Tamar is sent to live in the mountains, disguised as a boy, until a devastating betrayal places her in the hands of her enemies. Her courageous escape convinces Giorgi she should be his heir, but the nobles are outraged – no woman will ever rule them.

While her father is alive, Tamar has some protection from the hostile forces that surround her, but once he is dead, she is truly alone. She must find the strength to control the bitterly warring factions at court. She must win the respect of her friends and the fear of her enemies. And she must marry a man of whom the elders approve.

But her heart belongs to a reckless boy from the mountains – a poor match for a queen. With rebellion brewing at home and powerful foes circling her borders, Tamar must make a terrible choice between the man she loves and the land she adores …

 

The unique setting of this book is what attracted me to it initially. It was interesting to read something historical that is set in a different country. I knew nothing about the history of Georgia before reading this book.

Unfortunately, I felt I didn’t get enough sense of that setting. I didn’t get any idea of the culture of the country. This world didn’t come to life because although the physical landscapes like the mountains were beautifully described, I didn’t get a picture of the towns and cities, the people, the clothes, the food, or customs and culture. There was just something lacking that meant I didn’t get a clear picture of 12th century Georgia beyond the landscape.

Many of the descriptions, particularly towards the beginning of the novel, were trying a bit too hard to be creative or poetic, so some of them just didn’t make any sense. This was off-putting particularly in the first few chapters, as it was hard to get into when there were so many odd metaphors.

The plot is fairly standard for this kind of novel. Nothing unexpected happens and most of it is fairly predictable. Obviously the author was constrained by history, but in an afterword she admits to having altered some events. The plot just didn’t stand out from other similar books in any way.

The characters were likeable, although I would have liked to see more of Tamar as queen. Towards the end she shows her strength of character and truly acts like a queen. However there isn’t really anything about her running the country or how she deals with the everyday responsibilities of being a ruler. As this wasn’t the main plot I don’t think it needed a lot of this, but showing Tamar in this role a bit would have been nice to see.

I felt no connection between Tamar and Sos. It was like the author made a romance between them happen, but there wasn’t actually really anything between the characters. They felt forced together, which is not what you want to read from a romance.

Despite these things, I did like it. It was a bit mediocre, but I was invested in the story enough to want to read to the end. It scraped a 3 star rating from me, as generally I only rate something 2 stars if I didn’t like it but it wasn’t enough of a road crash to be a 1 star. It was an interesting story to tell which had a lot of potential, but Clothier could have done a lot more with the material she had to work with.

Cover Reveal: Of Legend and Lore

Today I’m excited to be revealing the cover for the Just-Us League’s latest anthology, Of Legend and Lore. The cover has been beautifully designed by Louis Rakovich, cover designer at Indigo Forest Designs. This reveal is particularly exciting because this anthology of fairy tale retellings will include one of my short stories!

So without further ado, here it is…

Of Legend and Lore 800x1250

New life is given to eleven old stories in this second collection of irresistible fairy tale retellings.

Royalty faces magical challenges: a prince uses his powers on a rescue mission and reveals a terrible secret about his people; a king takes drastic measures to save his daughters from a troublesome curse; and a princess befriends an unusual frog.

Mythical creatures can be friend or foe: three brothers face a depressed dragon with a legendary treasure; an ancient crow brings a child’s wishes to life; and one young girl discovers dragons aren’t always the enemy.

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes: a miser is in danger of losing everything one cold night; a struggling mirrorsmith meets an invisible recluse; a boy must relive the fairytale based on his ancestor’s life; a child is rejected because of his love of drawing cats; and an evil witch is sealed in a glass coffin.

Be transported to new worlds and enjoy fresh twists on old favorites.

My short story, Cursed Glass, retells a lesser known Grimm tale and explores inner conflict and redemption.

Each story is accompanied by an image drawn by our illustrator, Heidi Hayden. Of Legend and Lore will be released by Rowanwood Publishing on 26th February 2018 – Tell a Fairy Tale Day!

Find out more about the Just-Us League here. We’re an international group of writers with a shared love of storytelling. This is the fourth anthology published by the group.

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