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review 2018-03-15 16:11
Spellbinding – The Dragon’s Playlist by Laura Bickle @Laura_Bickle
The Dragon's Playlist - Laura Bickle

OMG, what an amazing cover for The Dragon’s Playlist by Laura Bickle. If this is any indication of the story inside, I can hardly wait to get started. How about you?


Cover:  Danielle Fine


The Dragon's Playlist

Amazon Goodreads




I have heard some rumors about Laura Bickle’s writing and now I know, IT’S TRUE! She can spin a heart pounding tale of love and loss, and fantasy and fiction, that blend together in a spellbinding read that you will not be able to put down.


Diamond came home to see her ailing father. It is terrible to see a parent weak, ill, a parody of their former self. He had been hurt in a mine cave in.


Oh man, she’s got a porcelain unicorn collection. Me too. She talks of her love for trees and the forest. I love them too. I also had a treehouse, and, like hers, it was really just a couple of boards nailed to a couple of branches. BUT, I never had a fiery something coming my way. Hmmm…is it a shadow…is that fire?


Money issues force her to take a break from college and she is not happy about it. She is resentful, even though she knows it’s the only way to help her parents. Her ex-boyfriend, Jason, seems to be a permanent fixture at her parents home. She thought it was odd, until she found out why Jason and her dad had such a close relationship.


Another mining story with the same theme, attitudes, danger, treehuggers…and the miners who need the jobs. I have read several books, recently, about coal mining and it pisses me off every time it comes up. We shouldn’t be underground, like rats, mining for an obsolete product. Well…let me collect myself…These type of stories get my emotions roiling and I am filled with anger, disgust, sadness, and a feeling of ambivalence.


I couldn’t help but laugh at the mention of noodling, and if you haven’t heard of it you are in for a laugh or two. It’s a southern thing. They were supposed to be looking for Buzzard Bill, but the kids are easily bored.


Whoa…Not what I was expecting and I love it. Reminds me of Mothman…a bit.


The characters have some decisions to make, some attitudes to adjust and some romantic feelings to sort out. Their futures are not easy to discern and their problems read like a true story as they struggle day by day. Sometimes we don’t get all the dreams of our youth, but, like Diamond, there can still be love, happiness and a feeling of contentment.


At seventy percent, I am feeling so sad. I went from childlike wonder to anger and disappointment, sorrow and hope. So much heartache. Can there possibly be any happiness left?


I cannot stop reading…I must know…OMG! Fabulous, fiery, fantastic, flaming, flawless fantasy!


I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of The Dragon’s Playlist by Laura Bickle.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos  5 Stars




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review 2018-03-11 21:48
Myth and Middle-earth
Myth & Middle-Earth: Exploring the Medieval Legends Behind J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings - Leslie Ellen Jones

I enjoyed this book about how various mythologies and legends were re-used and presented in a new light by J. R. R. Tolkien, especially the section on drowned lands. The Celtic myths of Ireland and Wales were interesting too. There's much more inside for anyone interested in mythology and how Middle-earth reflects these. Recommended!

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review 2018-03-07 16:35
The Girl in the Tower
The Girl in The Tower - Katherine Arden

[I received a copy of this book through Netgalley.]

This is the direct sequel to “The Bear and the Nightingale”, and resumes where the latter left off, following both Sasha and Vasya from that point onwards.

I’m a little torn about this book. While still calling upon Russian folklore and legends, these didn’t play as much of a part as they did in the first book, and I was a little disappointed to see them take the backburner. (Morozko was still here, but I don’t know if it was so good for him, all things considered when it comes to the ending.) Paradoxically, this time, I also liked that the focus shifted more towards city politics, with the characters having to grapple with ‘what consequences will our actions have in the grand scheme of things’, for instance Dimitrii re: the Golden Horde. And that, I think, ties into one of the big themes of the story, a.k.a it’s well and all to want your independence, but finding ways to achieve it with minimum damage should be part of your focus as well.

It followed that I liked Vasya less in this second instalment. On the one hand, I sympathised with her plea of not wanting a life where she’d be locked up in the terem most of the year, and forbidden to do what she loved (riding Solovey, for instance) because ‘it didn’t become a woman’. Because not having a choice is the lot of most people, doesn’t mean we have to always accept it meekly without fighting (I mean, if everybody did that, we’d still work 14 hours a day and send children to the factory at 12 or something, I suppose); and that she’d see her niece doomed to the same kind of fate was painful. On the other hand, more than in the first volume, Vasya’s desire to travel and not live under restraint like her sister caused even more problems, likely because of the stupid ways she often approached this, and/or completely ignored any other character’s warnings. One extremely obvious example: if you aim at passing for a boy, cut your hair first thing, don’t just hide it under a hood. I think this is one detail that kept baffling me every time Vasya’s hair was mentioned, because it was so illogical to me. Getting giddy with the feeling of freedom and making mistakes? Okay, understandable. But other problems could’ve been avoided with a little common sense.

I’m interested in the third book, to see how all this will unfold, but I definitely hope Vasya will have learnt from her mistakes this time.

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review 2018-03-05 21:22
Legends, Traditions and Tales of Nauru by Timothy Detudamo
Legends, traditions and tales of Nauru - Timothy Detudamo

Ratings on books of folklore, especially from outsiders, shouldn’t be taken too seriously: I can rate my experience with a book, and can give my opinion on its literary merits, but am in no position to judge the contribution it makes to the preservation of cultural information, nor the importance it might have to people who actually belong to the culture in question. That said, this proved a bit of a challenging read, and the presentation could be improved. It is unclear exactly who the book is intended for; there is no introduction to put the work in context or explain how it came to be. According to the bookjacket, it was compiled and translated by Head Chief Timothy Detudamo in 1938, based on lecturers by unidentified “native teachers,” but not published until 2008.

This is a very slim volume, and as it turns out the title refers to the three sections of the book. First come 34 pages of “legends,” 11 stories which remind me of the Old Testament, both in their content – origin myths and historical legends, preoccupied with the lineage of their characters – and in their dryness despite dramatic content. Clans go to war, young men kill each other or old people or children, often without any sense that this is seen as inappropriate; shorn of emotional content and without getting inside the heads of any of the characters, it’s difficult for someone outside the culture to appreciate the meaning of any of this.

Next up are 18 pages on “traditional culture,” brief descriptions of aspects of traditional life on Nauru, from hygiene to food storage to inheritance, and with a focus on tools and fishing. This is interesting but quite short. It is all told in the past tense, but without any information on how long ago these traditions existed or on sources – did this traditional culture exist during the lifetimes of the people who put the book together, or did they rely on what older people had told them?

Finally, there are 33 pages of “tales,” of which there are 17. These feel more relaxed and have more narrative flow than the “legends”: they are more like fairy tales, starring regular people or animals. Perhaps it’s because they’re rendered in so few pages that the tales seem odd, leaving me confused about what a listener might get out of them, or perhaps it’s just the cultural divide. But for the foreign reader, it would have been helpful to have some explanation of repeated motifs, such as all the families consisting of a husband, wife and 30 daughters.

And then, as other reviewers have commented, there is the world’s least helpful glossary. The scant information contained in the glossary is available from context, so why anyone would think to include the following I can’t fathom:

Eaeoquar – A type of fish
Eakaberere – A type of sport
Earu n eded – A type of fishing line made from hibiscus bark
Earu n eiror – A type of fishing line made from hibiscus bark
Earu n gatimore – A type of fishing line made from hibiscus bark
Earu n kagaga – A type of fishing line made from hibiscus bark
Earu n oquoe – A type of fishing line made from hibiscus bark
Eatu n anape [sic] – A type of fishing line made from hibiscus bark
Ebaba – A type of food
Ebawo – A type fish [sic]

All in all, for a reader unfamiliar with Nauru this book is likely to be more confusing than enlightening; whether folklorists or modern Nauruans might make more sense of it, I can’t say. It isn’t necessarily a bad book – it may not have been intended for readers like me at all – but I can't claim to have gotten much out of it.

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text 2018-03-02 12:30
Friday Reads - March 2, 2018
Women Heroes of World War I: 16 Remarkable Resisters, Soldiers, Spies, and Medics - Kathryn J. Atwood
The Irish Americans: A History - Jay P. Dolan
Forgotten Voices of the Great War - Max Arthur,Imperial War Museum
Read Aloud Celtic Myths And Legends - Joan C. Verniero
A Wrinkle in Time - Madeleine L'Engle


I'm not a fan of Dr. Seuss (as a kid or as a mom), but I can't deny his place in children's literature or imaginations. My kids like some of his stuff (The Grinch and The Lorax) but they prefer Mo Willems' stuff.


The weather forecasters are calling for a lot of snow for today and tomorrow, and quite frankly I am tired of Old Man Winter and his BS. I want spring flowers and sunshine and all things pastel colored. And I am in a part of England that does not get snow, so this winter's constant snow squalls are really unusual. As I will be found this weekend under a blanket or three and sipping all the hot beverages, I am also making it a reading weekend. I have nothing on my planner for this weekend and I am going to enjoy it.


So I want to finish Women Heroes of World War 1 and get to at least 30% of The Irish Americans. I want to read the entries for 1914 from Forgotten Voices. Sunday is all about A Wrinkle in Time. The kids and I are doing two stories per night from the Read-Aloud Celtic Myths and Legends. That should get my March reading off to a good start.


So for those readers basking in warm spring temperatures or enjoying the last of the summer sun, enjoy it. If you are like me and experiencing winter on the "why won't you go away already" level, pass the hot water bottle. Happy Reading!

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