Book Review: The Magic Lands

Book Review: The Magic Lands

A magnificent book of 55 folk and fairy tales, wonder tales and ghost stories from all over Britain and Ireland. Taken from original sources and then brilliantly retold in a fresh and modern way, this is the most comprehensive and authoritative collection written in the last twenty years.A handsome trade paperback with notes and sources. Each story has a beautiful opening illustration by Emma Chichester Clark, a major illustrator.

First published by Orchard Books as BRITISH FOLK TALES, it attracted rave reviews: ‘outstanding’ Naomi Lewis in The Observer ‘a sourcebook of folklore no home with children should be without’ The Independent ‘this great storyteller’ Philip Pullman in The Guardian ‘a fine storyteller with a poet’s ear’ The Independent

 

Review:

I thoroughly enjoyed The Magic Lands. I love reading original folk tales and myths and this book puts 55 interesting British and Irish ones together.

Each tale is short, some less than a page, some several pages long, so this is a perfect book for reading to children or to bring with you while you need to wait somewhere.

As much as I enjoyed the stories, I am a historian at heart, so found myself going to the end to read the “Sources and Notes” section for each tale. Crossley-Holland has obviously done huge amounts of research in this area and tells us about where the stories first came from, where first recorded, and other interesting details.

This is a great book for anyone wanting original tales written in accessible, modern language.

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A Farewell to Agamemnon from Clytemnestra

Several year ago, I wrote a Greek myth, historical fiction Nanowrimo novel about Clytemnestra, the twin sister to Helen of Troy called Betrayed. Recently I’ve come back to it and have been revising it — and I have to say that I’m having a lot of fun. There are parts of this novel that I think are fantastic. Of course, there are other parts that still need work, but I’m getting there.

I’ve also been going over some poetry I wrote awhile ago and, funnily enough, came across this one about Clytemnestra. It’s not too bad, so thought I’d share it here.

Murder of Agamemnon, painting by Pierre-Narcisse Guérin.

A Farewell to Agamemnon from Clytemnestra

“Farewell,”

I say to Agamemnon, my husband,

Who today returned home,

Victorious,

From the Trojan War.

Tonight the victory is mine.

His eyes grow wide, he sits up,

Sloshing water from the tub.

I throw the net over his naked body,

And watch him struggle,

A fly in a web.

The knife at his throat

Stops his fight.

“Why?” he gasps,

Like he really doesn’t know.

I laugh.

“To gain a kingdom,

You ravaged me on the night you made me

A childless widow.

You shredded my life with your knife.

But that wasn’t enough for you.

Hate festered when

You traded a ten year battle

Leading the thousand ships,

To return Helen, my beautiful, fickle sister,

To the husband who couldn’t keep her

In the first place,

For the life of our daughter.

Iphigenia was an innocent sacrifice.

Though you have blood on your hands,

I sacrifice you to Nemesis,

The goddess of revenge.”

I look up and meet the eyes of my lover,

The usurper, Aegisthus,

And pull the knife across my husband’s throat.

“Farewell.”

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Book Review: The Emerald Dagger

Book Review: The Emerald Dagger (The Raiders of Folklore #2)

The hunt for the Eye of Odin continues…

Since discovering a hidden world existed parallel to our own, fifteen-year-old Grayle Rowen learned he’s also a Hexhunter, someone born with the skills to track down and kill witches. Awkward…since his friend, Sarah Finn, is a witch-for-hire.

Now, together with Sarah and her elf Caretaker, Grayle travels to Istanbul to retrieve a third runestone linked to the whereabouts of the Eye of Odin—an artifact of unimaginable power. Their search pits them against Romans, a Crusader hit squad, and a journey through a deadly tomb. But what Grayle and Sarah discover about themselves along the way might be more than what they bargained for, and may ultimately put their friendship to the test.

From Istanbul’s grandest sites to its deepest tunnels, Dennis Staginnus has created a fast and furious thrill ride in this sequel to The Eye of Odin.

Review:
Dennis Staginnus’ Raiders of Folklore series just keeps getting better. I enjoyed his first book, The Eye of Odin, but this second installment is even better.
The Emerald Dagger had me hooked right from the first pages and kept me turning the pages to see what’s going to happen next. There is never a dull moment. And the story has mythological elements, something which I love.
The main characters, Grayle and Sarah, really start to come into their own in this book as we learn more about them and their motives for getting the Eye of Odin. The stakes just keep getting higher and more personal which makes the reader want them to succeed even more.
This is a great middle grade/early young adult book, especially for readers who like lots of action and adventure.
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Spring Writing Newsletter & Free Ebook

Hello Everyone,

I am sorry for my long absence, but I am happy to be back now. As many of you know, I experience mental illness and this last year has been a bit rough; however things are looking up.

International Woman’s Day & Free Book
March 8th is International Woman’s Day!!! How great is that? I was trying to find a way to celebrate and wanted to offer my book, Prophecy, for free that day. In the synchronicity of the universe, I received an email yesterday from Smashwords about an opportunity to enroll my book in a one week sale from March 5-March 11 for Read an Ebook Week! So, now, to receive a FREE ecopy of Prophecy in the format of your choice, all you have to do is go to Smashwords and use this coupon code: SFREE and it’s yours — and Prophecy has a fun, strong, stand up for herself heroine, perfect for International Woman’s Day. There are also hundreds of other books on sale or free this week, so it’s a good time to check them out. If you don’t have a Smashwords account, it’s easy and free to get one. And, if do get a book, please pay it forward and leave a review. Also, feel free to share this with friends.

What I’m Working on Now & Kickstarter Campaign
Currently, I’m working on my historical/mythological fiction called Betrayed, which is the story of Clytemnestra (Helen of Troy’s twin sister). Clytemnestra has been villianized throughout history, so I am telling her side of the story, getting behind her famous murder of her husband. This book is definitely not YA oriented and I’m enjoying the change of pace.

I’ve decided to do a Kickstarter for Betrayed in the upcoming months and am planning to publish it this fall — I am finalizing the details and am working on some fun rewards, and will let you all know when it’s ready. I need a bit of help for editing and production costs. Wait until you see the cover that a friend of mine designed. It is simply stunning, I mean, really beautiful. I have no other word for it. It’s not quite finished, but I’ll reveal it when it’s ready. The image above isn’t the cover, but isn’t it an amazing painting of Clytemnestra with her knife after murdering her husband?

What I’m Reading
Right now, I’m immersed in the short stories of Ray Bradbury. I can’t believe I’ve waited this long to read them! I knew he was a master storyteller, but these are timeless. I’m being whisked away to the future and other worlds and am loving it.

However, I’m always on the lookout for new books to read. In the spirit of International Woman’s Day, does anyone have any recommendations for books with amazing heroines? I can easily recommend the Graceling series by Kristin Cashore.

The snow is melting in my corner of the world and it looks like the tulips might even come up soon. I hope everyone is enjoying some nice sunshine and spring weather.

Coreena

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