The April theme was ‘Whimsical Journeys’. Disappointingly this was a little late in arriving due to a supplier issue. These thing are of course beyond anyone’s control and all a person needs is a bit of patience. I’m not at all patient but the wait was definitely worth it. 😀
This month I loved all the loot.
My two favourite items were the Exclusive Reusable Narnia Coffee Mug from Ink and Wonder Design and the Adventure Tote Bag from Stella Bookish Art. The coffee cup has been introduced into my morning rotation and the tote got it’s first outing to a book sale on Saturday.
There was a fabulous Magical Beasts Luggage Tag designed by lovelyowlsbooks that I put on my cabin bag as soon as I got it. It’s so cute and I’m really happy with it. I’ve also utilised the Carpe Diem Notepad designed by Little Inkling Designs and have it in work where I’m using it for phone messages and notes. I’ve decided to do this with any notepads I receive in the future because I have loads and they are just sitting sadly in a box.
I am so pleased with the Fictional Places Art Print by fictionteadesigns and this is definitely going to get a home on the wall of my reading room. It’s got so many of my favourite places on it and it’s really good quality.
I’m guilty of hoarding the items I get in these boxes and only taking them out for Booktagram photos so I’m so happy to have found a use for almost everything in this months box.
The Blackjack Enamel Pin designed by Tara Spruit and Leif’s Ship candle from FlickTheWick have gone to other homes though. The pin is going to my Godson who is a huge Percy Jackson fan and the candle, along with the print of Ciara and Leif is currently winging it’s way to the new owner of this months book.
I’m sad to say that Beyond a Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake was a total bust for me. It had all the markers of a winning book but the execution was, in my opinion, absolutely terrible. I disliked it so much that it seemed utterly pointless that I keep it and the swag that came with it so I swapped it for a first edition of Warcross by Marie Lu. It’s the edition with the rainbow cover so I’m very excited. I did tell the person I’m trading it with that I hated the book. I thought it only fair I disclose that fact. Thankfully she was still happy to trade because she really didn’t like Warcross. So two unloved books are finding homes where hopefully they’ll be loved. 🙂
The ancient land of Éirinn is mired in war. Ciara, Princess of Mide, has never known a time when Éirinn’s kingdoms were not battling for power, or Northmen were not plundering their shores.
The people of Mide have thankfully always been safe because of Ciara’s unearthly ability to control her enemies’ minds and actions. But lately, a mysterious crow has been appearing to Ciara, whispering warnings of an even darker threat. Although her clansmen dismiss her visions as pagan nonsense, Ciara fears this coming evil will destroy not just Éirinn, but the entire world.
Then the crow leads Ciara to Leif, a young Northman leader. Leif should be Ciara’s enemy, but when Ciara discovers that he, too, shares her prophetic visions, she knows he’s something more. Leif is mounting an impressive army, and with Ciara’s strength in battle the two might have a chance to save their world.
With evil rising around them, they’ll do what it takes to defend the land they love…even if it means making the greatest sacrifice of all.
I can’t remember the last time I disliked something so much.
I’m pretty much a ‘if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all‘ kind of person. When it comes to books especially, I hate to be just negative because it takes a lot to put yourself out there and writing a book is not an easy thing but sometimes, sometimes it’s just got to be said and I have got to say that this was just terrible.
Now. Disclaimer. I had a feeling that I’d be overly critical of this book. I get very snippy about books that are based in Ireland or have Irish characters, usually it’s contemporary but turns out this extends to medieval Ireland as well. This is not altogether fair I know, but I think it’s the same for anyone when it’s their own particular culture or race being written about, they read something about their identity that’s not how they know it, understand or have experienced and it ranges from an eye-roll to being more than a little pissed off. Now obviously I didn’t hang out in Ireland in 1035 but I studied Irish Mythology in school (admittedly it was national school so I might be a little hazy) and I know a fair amount about the history between the Normans and the Celts as again it was required in school. So I can be snippy and I can be really snippy about little things like Brian Boru making an appearance 21 years after the Battle of Clontarf in which he DIED.
But it’s fantasy and stuff and sometimes you just gotta suspend belief and ignore the history errors. I’ve had to suspend belief when it comes to Irish history because people sure as shit aren’t going to research it so hey, let’s move on.
Let’s move on the purple prose and the god awful dialogue shall we?
‘Take the reins’, Leif said, dropping them into my lap. I nearly jumped out of my skin when I first felt his hands upon my hair. With gentle yet efficient movements, he combed the hair back from my face, His fingers were warm and strong as they brushed against my neck, and I could feel an answering warm stir inside me. No one but my handmaiden had ever touched my hair, and having a man touch it seemed intensely intimate. A few moments of a tugging sensation, and then my hair was neatly plaited behind me. ‘Thank you’, I said quietly, I reached back and felt the smooth braid. How strange that this Northman warrior should know how to do something so domestic.
This is not anywhere near the worst of the purple prose, they usually came for about 4 pages at the start of each chapter but this is one of the quotes in the quotes section for the book and I can’t be arsed going through the book again to pick out something but this gives you an example of purple prose or is it just bad prose?
“Our tongues met, and the reaction within me was like the sudden flash of lightning.”
That sounds like something you’d want to have checked on.
Honestly though, most of the time I can find at least one thing about a book that I liked, in this case it was the cover and the fact that I finally finished reading it. That’s it. There is absolutely nothing else that I liked. I should have loved it. This had the promise of Celts and Vikings, Norse and Celtic Mythology, enemies to lovers, magic and battle and even if the history was wrong I should’ve been able to forgive it because all these things are things I love but every chapter was a different mythological creature and then move on. There was no development. Battles started and ended in 3 sentences but we needed to be given a page on how the wind was blowing! It was a mish mash of everything and ended up being nothing. I didn’t care about a single character in the book and I actually kind of wanted Ciara and Leif to be killed on more than one occasion.
I am giving it one star instead of a zero rating though and that’s because I had an epiphany while reading it. Well actually two, the first is that I just need to start dnf’ing books because this book added nothing but pain and frustration to my life so why on earth put yourself through that?
The second was about reading speeds. I’m usually a middle of the road reader in terms of speed. If I’m very tired it takes me a lot longer to read a book but usually I read at an average pace. This has bothered me in the past because I want to be able to read faster so I can read more. My good friends Susan and Fra are my idols because they naturally read at a crazy fast speed and do it in THEIR SECOND LANGUAGE!!! I can read at a faster pace and in order to get through this book I did that but I came to the realisation that it’s uncomfortable for me to do it. My brain and I enjoy our pace, sure it would be nice to be able to read faster naturally but I’m no longer going to beat myself up about my pace. There were 50 million reasons I didn’t like this book and having to race through it so it would be over was one of them. So that learning is a positive. One point in the win column for it?
Also I had a lot of fun creating a Pinterest board for this one but to be honest I think it was more about the time period and the mythology so not sure that can be a plus for this.
I read this with my Fairyloot buddy reader and thank goodness for her as I may not have survived otherwise!