review

Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

This is one of the books I read this summer as part of my challenge. First I must thank the website Books2doors for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for a review. Their prices are very reasonable and have a wide selection.

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (Book 1) (Percy Jackson And The Olympians) by [Riordan, Rick]

Synopsis from GoodReads:

“Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse – Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena – Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.”

My Thoughts

It was easy to like Percy Jackson, he gets into a few messes during school trips and he’s not a perfect student. They tell him he has ADHD and he’s been kicked out of various schools. He’s funny and honest and straight away I was hooked to his story.

It’s written in his voice like he’s talking to you and I can see why this book is so popular and why I have to recommend it to any child/young adult especially those who may relate to Percy’s problems at school.

Though of course Percy doesn’t have ADHD or anything like that he’s the son of a God. Reading his story was a lot like reading a classic Greek myth, except of course in a first person narrative. I am so glad that I decided to start reading these books because they are fun. I’ve seen the films (two of them anyway) and I found the books packed in more intrigue and story.

There is no way I can relate to Percy Jackson (I’m a lot older) but his story was full of adventure and very entertaining. I enjoyed it a lot and will definitely be reading the next books in this series.

Recommend to all who love a good story!

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I’m one review away- I think- on catching up with my reviews but so many books to read as usual. Haha. I’m feeling a bit of an impostor calling myself a blogger these days but it’s difficult to find the time to do everything: yoga, writing, reading etc etc Sometimes I think I’d have more to write about if this was a lifestyle blog but never mind Halloween is coming and I’m hoping to have more posts then 🙂

I’m going to be reading some good books by Welsh writers over the next month or so, watch this space.

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Summer Reading Challenge In Review

I read 14/20 books for my summer reading challenge, this is my list of books I read, how did I do? Check out my original post click on the titles to visit my reviews.

  1. SealSkin by Su Bristow (wishlist)

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2. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician’s Nephew(review)

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3. The Outrun by Amy Liptrot(tbr)

The Outrun

4. Skin by Ilka Tampke(tbr)

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5. The Girl At The Window by Rowan Coleman (Netgalley)

6. The Book Of Cornish Short Stories (tbr)

Cornish Short Stories: A Collection of Contemporary Cornish Writing

7. Pan’s Labyrinth by Guillermo de Toro and Cornelia Funke(Netgalley)

8.The Magpie Tree by Katherine Stansfield(tbr)

9. Why Mummy Drinks by Gill Sims (tbr)

Funny book, review to come.

10. The Thirteen Tale by Diane Setterfield (wishlist/tbr)

11. Percy Jackson and The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan ( to review Books2doors website)

A fun and adventurous book, review to come.

12. This is going to hurt by Adam Kay

An enjoyable read if sad and eye opening. Makes you appreciate the NHS and it’s workers. Recommend!

13. Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris (tbr)

I love Joanne Harris books, she’s an amazing sensual writer. Sometimes this book meandered on and I struggled to keep interested. I don’t think the ending and resolution lived up to what I expected. Just my opinion.

14. Parrot in the Pepper Tree by Chris Stewart (tbr)

Such an enjoyable read. Review to come

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In review: I visited different places real and fantastical, Scotland, Cornwall, Narnia. I’ve read an assortment of funny, sad, weird, dark and mystery books. And I couldn’t pick a favourite as they are all different and wonderful in their own way.

I haven’t mentioned the books started and given up on or those not included in this summer challenge. (I started reading A Perfect Cornish Summer but it didn’t live up to what it offered.) I read a lot of the books I planned to.

8/14 were books on my to-be-read list, others I’ve reviewed for Netgalley or Books2doors website. A small few were from a wishlist, books I’ve been meaning to be read for a while. I always feel that I should read more from my tbr and towards the end of this challenge that’s what I tried to focus on. But it’s always hard to read all the books 🙂

Have you read these?

What now?

I don’t plan to review all the books I’ve read but I will be posting the reviews I haven’t got around to within the next few weeks. I thought I’d already posted some.

September: I might reread some books and read for fun not worrying about my tbr so much, athough my Netgalley list is long. And then in October I have a blog tour and it’s that time: Halloween Reads 🙂

Have you been doing any challenges lately? How did it go?

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The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Synopsis from Amazon:

“Angelfield House stands abandoned and forgotten. It was once home to the March family – fascinating, manipulative Isabelle, brutal, dangerous Charlie, and the wild, untamed twins, Emmeline and Adeline. But Angelfield House hides a chilling secret which strikes at the very heart of each of them, tearing their lives apart…

Now Margaret Lea is investigating Angelfield’s past – and the mystery of the March family starts to unravel. What has Angelfield been hiding? What is its connection with the enigmatic writer Vida Winter? And what is the secret that strikes at the heart of Margaret’s own, troubled life?

As Margaret digs deeper, two parallel stories unfold, and the tale she uncovers sheds a disturbing light on her own life…”

My Thoughts

I’ve been meaning to read this book for a while, it’s one of those stories with a mystery, a blend of gothic, literary fiction and it just feels like this is one of those stories that is written for me.

The first thing I loved was the bookshop where Margaret Lea lives and I liked her instantly. She was so absorbed in reading The Water Babies once that she fell off a wall! I love reading about fellow bookworms and a book that features bookshop or libraries is …. a dream!

This is such a wonderful book that I got lost in the story. Margaret Lea meets an author Vida Winter who tells her to write her life story, the only time she has ever told the truth. The story drifts back and for between past and present telling the story of Vida Winter and the others whose lives have intermingled with hers. It’s like a puzzle and in the present Margaret tries to put the pieces together, returning to Vida’s childhood home, now a ruin and doing some research herself.

It’s a wonderful mystery with gothic elements, hard to put down and stays with you when you finish. I loved this and will definitely be reading more by this author. The style draws you in and keeps you there, such beautiful writing and simply amazing, perfect in every way.

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Another thing I loved about this book that felt it was perfect for me…. the mention of my favourite classic which I am hoping to reread soon: JANE EYRE.

I’ve read all but one of the books that are listed as suggested reading at the end of this book in the reading group notes. That was another reason I knew this book was for me.

 

Have you read this book? You should. Gothic novels are the best, which ones have to read?

review

The Magpie Tree by Katherine Sansfield

Wow, it’s been nearly a fortnight since I wrote this post but forgot to post it. :/

Synopsis from Amazon:

“Jamaica Inn, 1844: the talk is of witches. A boy has vanished in the woods of Trethevy on the North Cornish coast, and a reward is offered for his return. Shilly has had enough of such dark doings, but her new companion, the woman who calls herself Anna Drake, insists they investigate. Anna wants to open a detective agency, and the reward would fund it. They soon learn of a mysterious pair of strangers who have likely taken the boy, and of Saint Nectan who, legend has it, kept safe the people of the woods. As Shilly and Anna seek the missing child, the case takes another turn – murder. Something is stirring in the woods and old sins have come home to roost.”

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I picked this book up inspired by the mention of witches and of course the location of Cornwall and I had a lovely surprise. I’ve been reading books set in different places as I haven’t gone on holiday this year and was surprised when the setting of this book became very familiar and then there was a mention of Boscastle 🙂

I have actually visited the setting inspired and adapted into this book and it was a very unusual experience reading about somewhere I’d been. I think I’d like to read more.

My Review

This is the second book featuring the characters of Anna and Shilly but I didn’t feel lost having not read the first book.

This book has got to have one of the best opening lines: ‘The day I went to the Jamaica Inn was the day I saw a man hanged’ it definitely caught my attention and it didn’t waver. I enjoyed the story, an unusual whodunnit set in old Cornwall where people are still holding onto their superstitions. I loved the dark atmsophere of the woods and the eeriness of the mention of magics which leave you wondering if it’s a real person  who committed the crime or something else entirely.

I didn’t really like Anna, there was a moment where I started to feel a little bit of sympathy towards her but I still didn’t like her. Although I did find the characters intriguing and I’d probably read more.

The best thing about this was the location and the atmosphere at the start which was quite dark and the supernatural ideas/elements were interesting and added to the mystery. However I often felt that it was more ‘crime’ novel than the quotes on the cover liked to emphasis, I didn’t feel that it was ‘macabre’ but then I’ve read a lot of horror so maybe it would be to someone who doesn’t.  I think it’s hard to have a macabre ‘whodunnit’ as the tension of a gothic/darker novel would have slowed the pace necessary for a good mystery? Just my opinion.

I enjoyed the story and the mystery a lot it was definitely a good mix of weird and ‘whodunnit’ which I haven’t really read before. A good idea and worth a read.

review

Cornish Short Stories: A Collection

I bought this book from the National Trust Gift Shop at Tintagel Castle last year. This was a perfect summer read for me.

Cornish Short Stories: A Collection of Contemporary Cornish Writing

Synopsis from GoodReads

“Ghosts walk in the open and infidelities are conducted in plain sight. Two teenagers walk along a perfect beach in the anticipation of a first kiss. Time stops for nothing – not even for death. Sometimes time cracks, disrupting a fragile equilibrium. The stories are peopled with locals and incomers, sailors and land dwellers; a diver searches the deep for what she has lost, and forbidden lovers meet in secret places. Throughout, the writers’ words reveal a love of the incomparable Cornish landscape.

This bold and striking new anthology showcases Cornwall’s finest contemporary writers, combining established and new voices”

My Thoughts

I enjoyed this collection it really captures the essence of Cornwall. I’d love to talk about all these stories but to keep this post to a decent length I thought I’d highlight some of my favourites,  ones that stood out for me:

An Arrangement by Tom Vowler this story about a husband and wife tugs at the heart.

The Siren Of Treen by Emma Staughton I loved this story with the atsmophere of the farm and the sea, athough one part was a bit disconcerting I wanted to read more.

Too Hot Too Bright by S.Reid  A Beautiful story of loss and love.

The Haunting Of Bodmin Jail by Anastasia Gammon was one of the best ghost stories I’ve ever read. A great clever story.

There’s a beautiful poem at the start Talk Of Her by Katherine Stansfield, I had no idea when I bought the book I’m reviewing next The Magpie Tree that is was by the same author, the poem is about a lady-Dorothy Pentreath- who gained the reputation of being the last native Cornish speaker.

This really is a lovely evocative collection interspersed with wonderful woodcut illustrations by a Cornish artist Angela Annesley this is perfect for lovers of Cornwall and those who love a good short story.

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The Next Review is another Cornish inspired tale: The Magpie Tree by Katherine Stansfield…..

writing

In Progress Or A Writing Ramble

black ball point pen with brown spiral notebook
Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels.com

In my last writing post I talked about this story idea I was liking, well if you’re a writer you know how it goes, at the time of typing these words I’ve gone back to not liking it.

It’s strange, one minute you’ll love a story and then a short time later you’ll hate it or pick at it.

Anyway, I’m made other progress recently. In fact last night! Another story I wrote ages ago- that’s why you shouldn’t throw them away-an idea I liked but couldn’t quite get there.  I struggled with this story for ages and it ended up unfinished. I’m more persistant now-I hope. One writing tip I’ve read is to change the viewpoint of a story, and for some reason this little tip came to me yesterday as ideas often do, out of thin air. And it stayed there and then around 11 o’clock last night I was going to go to sleep and that’s when I ended up picking up my pen and writing the new viewpoint version of my story.

And the bit that had stalled in the first version, the third person viewpoint, it was easier to bridge it, the character’s thoughts and family came to life in my head and I was thinking of what comes next as I wrote.

Flashforward to today:

I can’t find my file of the story but I have a hardcopy and I realised after writing that new version last night  that I think I prefer the old. Writing is strange like that always changing, you like a story you hate it. This little bit of writing has helped towards completing the story though so it wasn’t all for nothing.

I’m going to keep at it and finish it and see what I think after I’ve given it some distance.

Plan?

I have so many short stories I want to finish, it seems silly to start another one again. I keep going back and for to different ones.

In the past: I used to look for  competitions to enter. My plan now: is to finish some stories. Get a sort of bank of stories first and then find competitions or places to send them to. I’m just putting my trust in myself and my writing that it will get there. At the moment I’ve spent time trying to fix this story and it never feels like I’ve done much and there’s so much left to do but small steps I guess.

Although I want to send a story to a competition or to be published somewhere writing is it’s own reward. You get good days and bad days but the urge to write always returns it’s part of me. Tip: never stop trying. Never stop dreaming but do make steps to realise that dream.

I’m looking forward to the moment I can write here that my work has paid off and instead of talking about finishing stories I can say I’ve sent one somewhere. I get tired of hearing myself go on and on about what I want. I hope that I’m not getting on anyone else nerves.

I’ve signed to a 14 day free course in September to help with the goal setting and finding time. It’s called 14 days To A Solid Writing Habit, and it’s promising after those 14 days I’ll be writing more. I think I’ve been doing ok with writing andI think I’m alright at goals, except I’ll have an idea and end up working on a different story. But I thought it couldn’t hurt to look at my productivity again. I read a book about being a more productive writer, this course seems flexible it understands that you might not be able to write everday.

Sometimes I wonder whether it’s about finding a way of bridging the distance between the creative mind that does the stories and the practical mind ( do I have one?) that plans and organises things. I don’t know. If you want to know more about the course here’s the link  it’s starts on 2nd September.

This post has morhped and changed into something else just like my writing thoughts lately and I think now my brain needs a break, ignore errors in this post my brain is now tired  🙂 Back to finishing the hoovering feel free to share your thoughts below. 

 

review

Outrun by Amy Liptrot

I am sorry I can’t remember where I got this book from. It must’ve been a prize or something to do with the Ninja Book Box I feel so guilty. This is how out of control my books are! I was drawn to the idea of this story  it seemed an inspiring read reminiscent of Wild or The Salt Path.

 

The Outrun

Synopsis from GoodReads

When Amy Liptrot returns to Orkney after more than a decade away, she is drawn back to the Outrun on the sheep farm where she grew up. Approaching the land that was once home, memories of her childhood merge with the recent events that have set her on this journey.

Amy was shaped by the cycle of the seasons, birth and death on the farm, and her father’s mental illness, which were as much a part of her childhood as the wild, carefree existence on Orkney. But as she grew up, she longed to leave this remote life. She moved to London and found herself in a hedonistic cycle. Unable to control her drinking, alcohol gradually took over. Now thirty, she finds herself washed up back home on Orkney, standing unstable at the cliff edge, trying to come to terms with what happened to her in London.

Spending early mornings swimming in the bracingly cold sea, the days tracking Orkney’s wildlife – puffins nesting on sea stacks, arctic terns swooping close enough to feel their wings – and nights searching the sky for the Merry Dancers, Amy slowly makes the journey towards recovery from addiction.

The Outrun is a beautiful, inspiring book about living on the edge, about the pull between island and city, and about the ability of the sea, the land, the wind and the moon to restore life and renew hope.”

My Thoughts

At the beginning of the story, Amy tells us of her problem with alcohol and the mistakes she made. It’s a frank and honest account that appears to hold nothing back and she tells us how she finally got on a recovery program. I felt sympathetic towards her and I did enjoy reading this part of the book.

In the second part of the book she goes home to the Orkneys to find her way again and continue to beat her addiction. I loved the setting and atmosphere but it was here that the book started to get dull. And it pretty much ended up swaying my opinion of the book. There were a lot of facts which can be interesting but it changed the tone of the story. It started to feel more like a guide book or a report, I wondered if she’d copied and pasted from a text book sometimes but I doubt she did. It was just too much and the narrative timeline became confusing.

In the start of the book she mentions working on an oil rig and feeling so bad that she knew she had to leave, the story goes back to explain her alcohol addiction but never returns to that moment. And in the second part of the book when she’s back in Scotland she is still telling old anecdotes from the times she was in the recovery program or from her days when she was still drinking, which made the timeline very confusing and repetitive.

The style started off very lyrical in the beginning but became very report like in the second part,  with sentences starting with “one morning” “one Sunday” or “on a Monday morning” and “On a windy day” it felt like the narrative wasn’t going anywhere and this was just filler.

I was disappointed.  It wasn’t the book I expected. It was interesting at times but it felt like it could’ve been shorter and I’m wondering if the facts and info were just padding. These are just my opinions and maybe some one who can relate to her situation might get more from this book? But I don’t feel that it was inspirational to me. We can’t all go live on an island and what happened next? You never find out what happened next, the story just ends.  I wanted to know if the feeling she had was just a holiday feeling and how she managed later, when she went back to her normal life.
The critical reviews on the cover say  how good the book is and but it is repetitive and dull. You expect a memoir to be all about her but it got very repetitive and self indulgent. Nothing really happens. I got nothing from this book. I mention The Salt Path and Wild, I loved those books, I couldn’t relate exactly to the situations those people were in but I felt every moment and enjoyed their journey. This book isn’t so much a journey but a memoir about alcoholism and mostly a report. Very disapointing, especially because the other reviews on GoodReads were great.

Have you read this book?