Netgalley

Pocketful Of Crows by Joanne M. Harris

Title: A Pocketful of Crows
Author: Joanne M.Harris
Type of book: Ebook, free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Description from Netgalley:

 “am as brown as brown can be,
And my eyes as black as sloe;
I am as brisk as brisk can be,
And wild as forest doe.
(The Child Ballads, 295)
So begins a beautiful tale of love, loss and revenge. Following the seasons, A Pocketful of Crows balances youth and age, wisdom and passion and draws on nature and folklore to weave a stunning modern mythology around a nameless wild girl.
Only love could draw her into the world of named, tamed things. And it seems only revenge will be powerful enough to let her escape.
Beautifully illustrated by (TBC), this is a stunning and original modern fairytale.”
My thoughts

This story has me lost of words, so the review is short. I enjoyed it and it’s stayed with me. I think it’s one of those stories I’ll have to read again to discover more about it. 

My Review
This story is like a rhyme or a ballad, a folk tale and mythology. It’s a pagan story of magic, the seasons and nature and love. It’s starts telling us about this woman and her people, it’s rhythm like a rhyme or poem with it’s own beat, until it turns into a tale of a girl falling in love. But it’s not a love story, it feels like an old story, like a story of the seasons. A witch story. It’s an imaginative tale with vivid descriptions, it has a sense of a folk tale or a fearie tale. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like this. 
 You can’t really pin this story down with words, it has to be experienced for yourself, to understand the magickal quality that it has. This will be one of those stories that stays with me and that I’ll have to read again to take in. 


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Netgalley, short stories horror

The Travelling Bag by Susan Hill

Title: The Travelling Bag
Author: Susan Hill
Type: Short stories horror
Ebook from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Review:
It is with great regret that I must write my first negative/critical review for this blog.

Susan Hill may be most well known for ‘The Woman In Black’ a novel which I enjoyed. Her novels are set in the past and are excellent ghosts stories. I enjoyed her other novel ‘The Small Hand’ is was a really good read but I didn’t enjoy her novella ‘Printer Devil’s Court’ for the exact same reason why I didn’t really enjoy ‘The Travelling Bag’. I hoped that this book would be better but in her short fiction although you get the amazing horror writing that you can expect from this author, some chilling scenes that resonate in the mind after you’ve finished the book, the plot and ideas don’t seem fully formed or properly finished just like ‘Printer Devil’s Court’ and and they have disappointed me.

The Travelling Bag is a collection of four stories of horror:

The Travelling Bag is a story of revenge, which at first reminded me of a Sherlock Holmes story. A psychic investigator is telling the story of this “intriguing” case. I enjoyed the way that the story was told but didn’t get the point/plot in the end. It seemed a bit of a yarn although there was a chilling resonance at the conclusion.

The second story is Boy Number Twenty-One, it starts with a fire in an old house, Cloten Hall, and a man thinking back to how much it meant to him and if someone he knew was still there. We are told the story of how he met that person. I did not understand from the beginning what/who the boy was that meant so much to him and at the end of the story I was still uncertain.

Alice Baker is a more modern story of a new member of staff in an office and a weird smell and sense of oddness around her. It was an interesting story but it meanders and ends on an old cliche, I expected more to happen.

The final story in this collection is called Front Room. It starts off a bit ambiguous from the rest of the plot with a couple musing over a sermon they’ve heard in church about helping people less fortunate. They fix up their front room and suddenly a relative is mentioned who they can help. It is a very creepy story, with this evil woman. The horror scenes-towards the end- were not tense probably because they felt rushed and the ending also felt a bit sudden.

Each of these stories I’ve felt that I didn’t quite understand the point. I often read short horror stories and they usually leave me with a feeling of satisfaction at the conclusion, where some horror has been revealed or conquered. But Susan Hill’s stories while chilling they don’t have that satisfying conclusion. With each story I expected more from the beginning which the middle and end did not deliver. I can’t quite put my finger on what it was that didn’t make these stories work for me, whether it was the pacing, or whether they were just overwritten for short stories.
  Susan Hill is a good horror writer, these short stories and her novels prove that she can write horror but I I won’t be reading Susan Hill’s short fiction anymore as I really don’t enjoy it, I will stick to the writers I do enjoy.
However, please remember this is all my opinion and you should always try a book for yourself.

And if case you’re wondering who I do enjoy/prefer: Helen LaycockPatsy Collins anthologies from Dark Tales.

Uncategorized

UPDATE

Wow, it’s been a long few weeks. Just a quick update so you know I’ve haven’t disappeared into one of my books (don’t you sometimes wish that you could). So I’ve been busy with my part time job which decided to become full time-it does that sometimes but lets not talk about that. I had toothache, not nice no sleep and was hard to eat. Get a dentist. But I don’t think you want to hear my dramas.
Finding time to read has been tough. I finished ‘Summer At Little Beach Street’ and reviewed it on here.
I’ve been trying to decide what book to read next and I ended up choosing these two:

I bought A Pair of Blue Eyes by Thomas Hardy when I was on holiday this year, I read that Hardy met his wife in the area that I was staying (Boscastle) and after reading that I found the book in a secondhand shop right opposite the cottage. I’ve read a few by Hardy and hadn’t heard of this one. I really need to read more classics! If you’re a Hardy fan tonight Sunday 20th August they’re showing a tv adaption on BBC1 of Far from the Madding Crowd.

I’ve had A Dance with Dragons for a while, I stopped reading the books to avoid spoilers for the tv show. But it’s changed from the books now and they’re way ahead, I forgot how amazing George. R.R Martin’s writing is and how quickly I get sucked into his books. I forgot what happened in the previous book I shouldn’t have waited so long, I wish someone would write a companion guide for the books because there’s so much going on you need a guide.

On about companion guides, I’ve pre-ordered the companion guide to my favourite trilogy (http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/539231/the-all-souls-real-time-reading-companion-by-deborah-harkness/9781101992968/) The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness.

They’re now in production of the tv series which I’m excited about. I’m also thinking of joining up with the real-time read in September. I love this series.
Have to talk about that on my blog one day. If you love witches and vampires and urban fantasy in general you have to read A Discovery of Witches! The fan page of facebook is filling up now because of the tv series (I’m also a member of the Poldark fan club by the way).

 I’ve finally adding my new page of bookish/literary merchandise so have and look here and tell me what you think and what you love. Maybe I’ll have to find a way for people to add their finds too! Thanks for taking the time to read my update, happy reading!

Uncategorized

Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

Title: Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery
Author: Jenny Colgan
Type of book: Paperback
Library Book

Synopsis from Goods Reads:

Summer has arrived in the Cornish town of Mount Polbearne and Polly Waterford couldn’t be happier. Because Polly is in love: she’s in love with the beautiful seaside town she calls home, she’s in love with running the bakery on Beach Street, and she’s in love with her boyfriend, Huckle.

And yet there’s something unsettling about the gentle summer breeze that’s floating through town. Selina, recently widowed, hopes that moving to Mount Polbearne will ease her grief, but Polly has a secret that could destroy her friend’s fragile recovery. Responsibilities that Huckle thought he’d left behind are back and Polly finds it hard to cope with his increasingly long periods of absence.

Polly sifts flour, kneads dough and bakes bread, but nothing can calm the storm she knows is coming: is Polly about to lose everything she loves?

My Review


Summer seems to have been short and sweet as usual, blink and you miss it. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed some of the sunshine. I was reading this book in the rain, it was my summer read. After reading Little Beach Street Bakery earlier in the year as part of a challenge to myself to read outside my comfort zone (more here review of first book) I fell in love with the characters and had to read this book.

It did not disappoint. I may have even enjoyed this more than the first as it was less of romantic-comedy style story and seemed more realistic to me. I enjoyed the realism, how life can knock you down and how even people like our Polly can struggle to get back up again (if you’ll excuse the cliche). Just as the first book in this series, it was a teary story and a book that I could not put down.

However it was an uplifting read, maybe it’s the setting is amazing or the characters who are like old friends, despite the tough times they go through in this book it’s still an uplifting read and I will be looking forward to reading the next one: Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery, I could read books featuring these characters for years!

“Life is Sweet with Jenny Colgan”.

Netgalley

Update and Review of The Rules Of Magic by Alice Hoffman

Update:
Finished: The Rules Of Magic by Alice Hoffman, from Netgalley review below.
Currently Reading: Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan (couldn’t resist after enjoying the first book, read outside your confort zone!)
The Travelling Bag by Susan Hill, from Netgalley.

Review of The Rules Of Magic by Alice Hoffman

Title: The Rules of MagicAuthor: Alice HoffmanType of books: Ebook from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: 10th October 2017


The Rules of Magic is a prequel to Practical Magic, I’ve never read Practical Magic although I’ve watched the film and loved it. When I started reading The Rules of Magic I wanted to skip through until I found some action. The novel is written in the past tense and often it reads like a report rather than a narrative- you are told about something happening rather than witnessing it unfolding on the page. (Please note that there are just my opinions and everyone is different, so please read this novel yourself to see what you think.)
However, Alice Hoffman is a good storyteller and tells the story of three siblings who are learning about themselves and the magic that’s in their blood. It’s a sad and melancholy story. It’s not a fast paced tale but more of a slow burn.  We are taken through the lives of Jet, Franny and Vincent and introduced to the magic of herbs and spells. The characters are very real and I enjoyed reading about them and learning more about their world, the story really is about them it’s not about magic or witchcraft.
It doesn’t seem to have any conflict/problem that stands out, although there is a curse that needs to be broken which is given some thought. But having seen Practical Magic I know the curse won’t be broken so knowing the outcome I can’t get too involved in the conflict, in this way it feels like a prequel rather than a story you could read on it’s merit – things that are resolved in Practical Magic can’t be resolved in this novel. The history of the Owens’ and their ancestry is different to the film which isn’t a bad thing, I think I’d have to read Practical Magic to better understand how these books fit together, especially with regard to the curse and the family history before I can really form an opinion.
I have mixed opinions of the style of this book sometimes the past tense report-like narrative frustrated me. But then the description of the places made me feel like I was actually there. There is no dominating conflict or problem, but maybe it’s not meant to, it’s a good story of three very real characters, whose lives I was drawn into.  There are tense scenes and mystery told at it’s own time and pace, in keeping with the feel of the novel. In making me care about the characters and making me feel sad Alice Hoffman has done her job as a novelist.
I will definitely read Practical Magic. The Rules of Magic is a sad but enchanting story and it has stayed with me after I’ve finished reading.