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review 2018-10-08 16:59
Lore: Tales of Myth and Legend Retold
Lore: Tales of Myth and Legend Retold - Brinda Berry,Karen Y. Bynum,Laura Diamond,Jayne A. Knolls,Theresa DaLayne,Cate Dean
Diverse Voices Square for Halloween Bingo!
 
 
Lore is a collection of six short stories that re-imagines folktales and mythology from around the world and places interesting and romantic twists into each.   Written by six different authors, each story has a unique feeling and setting.  
 
Shimmer takes the mermaid tale and gives it a fresh spin with Draven and Coral.  Draven is spending the summer at his father's cottage after a heartbreak when he sees Coral alone at night, seemingly drowning herself. Draven is compelled to help Coral, but she may not need it.  I really enjoyed these characters for the short time that we know them as well as the modernized mermaid mythology.  I did think it wrapped up a little too quickly, but that is the nature of short stories.
 
Between is a modern story of the Arabic djinn brought to a modern high school. Lucy and Natasha have made peace with their bodies and have found love with each other at fat camp this summer.  When Lucy returns home skinny, everything changes.  She is finally accepted into the popular group, the Royals.  However, being a lesbian does not fit their mold.  This one made it difficult to like any of the characters, but there was growth even within the confines of the short story.  I enjoyed the arc of the djinn the most and that Lucy and Sienna were able to realize that love wins over popularity. 
 
Sunset Moon incorporates lore from the Blackfeet Native American mythology in order to reawaken a troubled teen.  Eloise takes the rap for her boyfriend and now has one strike too many, it's either jail time or nine months at a juvenile work home.  While there, Eloise is forced to learn about her heritage and meets Ven.  Ven is bound to help Eloise through the darkness, but she must accept the light.  I really liked learning about the dreamcatcher lore as well as watching Eloise find hope in her life.  This is one that I would have loved to see develop into a longer story.
 
The Jewish Golem and Frankenstein's monster are combined in The Maker.  After Brett is left with a traumatic brain injury, courtesy of his now ex-girlfriend Cassandra, his life is changed forever and he is bent on revenge.  Unable to get out and about much by himself, Brett unearths his family's hidden manuscripts and makes a creature that will be sure to seduce Cassandra and humiliate her.  The Maker is definitely the creepiest story of the bunch, but also the most surprising.  The Golem is the best character of this story.  
 
A Beautiful Morning was one of my favorite stories, a tale of the Mayan sun god Kinish and flower goddess Ishel.  Their love for one another made perfect sense, but was forbidden.  This was a sweet romance that incorporated the destructive nature of some of the other Mayan gods that may have led to the downfall of the civilization. I really enjoyed these characters and the glimpse into the complicated lives of the Mayan deities.
 
The Barricades turned out to be another favorite of mine even though the premise seemed really strange to me.  Set in the future on another world, the Fae and humans have escaped a dying Earth.  They were set to live as equals, but the Ethernal Fae's powers have placed the above the humans in every way.  When the dying Eternal prince Daniel is found within the human area, a very caring human girl, Casey risks everything to save his life.  This was a very sweet and action packed story laced with magic, greed and romance.  A lot of development was packed into this short story that made it seem like much more.
 
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review 2018-10-06 20:47
(Audiobook) The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - Washington Irving

This is the fifth year I've listened to this, and the third year I've used it for Halloween Bingo.

 

I'm not going to review it here, but I will link to the review I posted five years ago.

 

I will also post this picture of Tom Mison again, because he's gorgeous.

 

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review 2018-10-03 12:01
The Story of Kullervo, J.R.R. Tolkien, ed. Verlyn Flieger
The Story of Kullervo - J.R.R. Tolkien,Verlyn Flieger

I wasn't aware until I read this book that Tolkien has become a sufficiently widespread and intensive subject of study to have an academic journal entirely devoted to him and his works! As a direct result of this, we are presented with this book which is not part of Christopher Tolkien's apparent obsession with his father's imagined mythos, being instead edited by Verlyn Flieger.

 

It's a short, unfinished, stylistically dreadful tale that no sane person would publish alone based on its literary merit - so what's the point? The cynical might argue that for some time now the Tolkien estate has been milking a cash cow that is aging and drying up, producing lower and lower quality product. That may be so, but I don't think Flieger's motivations are cynical at all. This story, which is a very early example of Tolkien's creative output, appears to be a "missing link" between admiration of an existing work (The Kalevala) and inspiration for his own imagined work, specifically the Tale of the Children of Hurin and more generally the Silmarillion as a whole and Flieger sets out to demonstrate this. Hence this book is not really "Here's a forgotten story by the most influential fantasist in history, it's really good!" so much as, "If you're sufficiently interested in Tolkien, his imagined world and creative process, this little, badly written adaptation of a little-known (in English) Finnish folk-tale is important and you should have the opportunity to learn about it."

 

In that context, this book is worthwhile. Additionally, the biographical aspects of Tolkien's life that raise the personal parallels and significance this story would have had for its author are made clear along with how these developed into what I believe is Tolkien's best story (the above mentioned Children of Hurin). However, even with the attendant notes and essay, one would still have only a very small book. Bulking out the volume (to still very modest proportions) are two versions of an informal lecture on the Kalevala, the source material for the Story of Kullervo and it is this connection that made me interested in this book.

 

I read a translation of the Kalevala, a collection of Finnish folk ballads assembled into a vaguely narrative sequence, not long after the release of this book and it was amazing! To learn that it was a heavy influence on Tolkien was fascinating and here is the book that is going to tell me what the influences were and what he thought about the source material. So this book may not be for you; if you just want a good story - forget it. If you don't know or don't care about the source material - probably not that interesting. If you don't care about how Tolkien's justifiably famous works came into being - not worth your time. But for me - though the story itself was the least rewarding aspect - well, I ripped through the supporting material in no time, even if the material it supports had me plodding like I was trying to find my way through the Finnish bogs of its setting.

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review 2018-10-02 00:50
Legend of the Highland Dragon - Isabel Cooper

Interesting. A historical PNR with dragons.

 

The h inadvertently finds out what the H is by virtue of inviting herself over to visit with the housekeeper. She's working class...actually, that might be a stretch seeing as how some of her siblings are maids, etc. So there is class disparity between her and the H - who is titled. That said, I get the feeling that where dragons are concerned, it's less who's appropriate and more who will adapt.

 

She has attitude - he calls her Cerberus more often than her name. I thought that a bit odd considering said class disparity. Also thought it odd that the H would back off. Then again, perhaps the attraction was behind that.

 

Eventually the bad guy figured out how to separate them and grabbed her. The H went after him with a good deal of interest, showing him for sure what he was but he didn't come out of that confrontation alive.

 

I think...I may pursue this one further.

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review 2018-09-25 13:45
Don't Know What I Was Supposed to Take Away From This One...
I Am Legend - Richard Matheson

I tried to get into it, but Robert Neville in "I Am Legend" kind of sucks. You feel sorry for him for losing his wife and daughter, but then Matheson will have him talk about how the vampires that are women are trying to seduce him and a few times he has to talk himself out of going outside to them. I am guessing rape? Cause they seem to fall down as if they are dead during the daylight hours. Eh. I don't know. Spoilers: There's also a dog and it dies and I was mad so there was that.

 

"I am Legend" has Robert Neville as it seems the sole survivor of a vampire virus. Neville spends his days hunting vampires and also trying to find out a cure. You (and me I guess) start to feel sorry for Robert as you realize he has nothing to break up his days and his nights are spent drinking himself to oblivion to block out the noises and yelling the vampires do. 

 

The vampires in this book curiously enough are not like vampires in Salem's Lot. They seem similar to Count Dracula that they have some control over their bodies and reasoning. They don't like garlic though or religious symbols depending on the vampires background before they were turned (which made zero sense). 

 

Things change for Robert though when he sees an actual live dog and then comes across a woman named Ruth. Robert is desperate to just make a connection with someone or anything in order to hold onto what is left of his humanity. 

 

This book takes place during the late 1970s in the U.S. so there is no discussion of cell phones, blogs, the internet, etc. so you definitely can see how in that time and place things and people could be cut off from each other.

 

The world building works for me since you hear how the virus spread through misquotes (which makes sense when you think about the Zika virus) and how slowly everyone was taking over.


The ending didn't make a lot of sense to me. I don't want to discuss cause of spoilers, but my brain/logic thinks that the whole ending just ruined what came before it. 

 

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