I read lots of books, from mythology retellings to literary fiction and I love to reread books from childhood, this is a place to voice my thoughts for fun. I also like to ramble about things such as art or nature every now and again.
Song of sacrifice- Janell Rhiannon (e-book, new read)
‘The heart of the Trojan War belongs to the women. Mothers and daughters; wives and war prizes all whisper to us across time… praying they be remembered alongside the mighty men of myth. As the Age of Heroes wanes, the gods gamble more fiercely with mortals’ lives than ever before. Women must rely on their inner strength and cunning if they’re going to survive the wars men wage for gold and glory. They struggle for control of their own lives. Rise from the ashes of brutal assaults. Fight to survive… by any means necessary. In a world where love leads to war and duty leads to destruction, it is the iron hearts of these heroines that will conquer all.’ (Song of Sacrifice synopsis).
I hadn’t heard of this book until I listened to Rhiannon’s podcast on spotify Greek Mythology Retold (which I recently found and love). This is a retelling of the events leading up to the Trojan War based upon the Iliad, with an emphasis on the different perspectives and experiences of the main characters throughout. This is a long book, but I really enjoyed it and the detail allowed the author time to think about how each character would have felt and dealt with their different fates throughout- in her podcast, Rhiannon emphasises her interest in the perspective of the women in the war and the relationship between humans, fate and the Gods. This book is easy to read with interesting characters and I’d recommend it to anyone who hasn’t read the Iliad but would like to learn more about the Trojan War- I’ve read the Iliad but I built my way up by reading about 20 myth retellings first and without doing this I would have no clue what was happening hahaha. I think mythology is one of those things where it will always take a long time to get to grips with what’s going on, but I do think this could be an interesting starting point (with the help of Google or a map of the million characters haha). 😊 I think the author is planning for this to be a series known as the Homeric Chronicles with around four books, there are currently two out just now.
‘While you live, hope exists. It’s only hidden beneath your pain.’
‘The gods love to cut us with their truths. We, busy with suffering, bleed for their amusement.’
‘A story of love, destiny and feuding families with extraordinary powers, descended from the heroes of ancient Greece, Dreamless is the second book in the heartstopping Starcrossed series by Josephine Angelini.’ (Dreamless synopsis)
This is the second book of the Starcrossed trilogy from my nostalgic binge. I still found this book interesting and fast paced, but I don’t like this as much as the first book for three main reasons: this was somehow even more cheesy and the characters became progressively angsty, characters were texting and the text language used was SO BAD hahaha, and this book decided to follow the apparently necessary trope of young adult fiction by developing a love triangle. I enjoyed the setting of the book and introduction of the character Orion (based on Aeneas) and depiction of Morpheus, however, I didn’t really like the interactions between Hades, Ares and Persephone, I’d rather that they weren’t in the book. Overall, if you’ve read Starcrossed I think this is an interesting sequel although it’s quite cheesy with the addition of overdone tropes. I tried to read the last book in the trilogy (can’t remember it’s name at this point) but stopped after 30 pages because it got too annoying, sadly I think this series went downhill (but I’d still consider it far better than Twilight).
‘Remember there’s always a grain of truth in the prophecies, no matter how much poetry has been frosted on top.’
The Switch- Beth O’Leary (audiobook, new read)
‘Ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, Leena escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Newly single and about to turn eighty, Eileen would like a second chance at love. But her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen… So Leena proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love, and L Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire.
But with a rabble of unruly OAPs to contend with, as well as the annoyingly perfect – and distractingly handsome – local schoolteacher, Leena learns that switching lives isn’t straightforward. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, and with the online dating scene. But is her perfect match nearer to home than she first thought?’
For someone who claims not to like cheesy books (and I don’t hahaha) I end up reading at least one contemporary romance a month. I end up rolling my eyes at quite a lot of them, but Beth O’Leary is probably my favourite author of this genre. 😊 I like the subplots and characters in her books (I’ve read The Switch and The Flatshare) are quite interesting, adding more to the story than the romance element (that I would say is secondary to the plot in this book). I really liked the character Eileen and found the story interesting and I guess endearing would be the word? I liked Leena less, but her chapters were still enjoyable to read. I listened to the audiobook which I tend to do for this genre- I liked the narrators in this story and I love Yorkshire accents, so It was quite relaxing to listen to on my bike rides. I would say this plot was predictable but enjoyable. 😊
I think my favourite book this week was Song of Sacrifice. Please let me know what your favourite book you read in April was, I love talking about books. 🙂 Also, thank you so much everyone who’s been reading my ramblings and commenting, I honestly thought nobody would read this blog haha so thank you! I hope May’s a good month for you all. 🙂 Also, I’m sorry if the fact that this ‘weekly book’ thing being over a week annoys anyone else haha.
I hadn’t heard of this author until this month, when I listened to the Podcast ‘Greek Mythology Retold’ and discovered that Janell Rhiannon is writing a book series called The Homeric Chronicles. I loved this book, it’s an interesting and easy to read account of the events leading up to Trojan wars. I’d recommend this is you like mythology and this might be a good place to start if you’ve never read a Greek myth but would like to- if you google some of the characters and Gods/Goddesses as you go along 😊
I’ve already mentioned Girl, Woman, other this month, but this was another favourite read because of the thought-provoking writing style and the interesting characters.
I rewatched Killing Eve this month before starting the new season, I love this programme. I tend not to like crime programmes but I love the balance of dark humour, well written characters and the atmosphere in this show- the music in Killing Eve has been used so well to create this atmosphere, I love the way music can influence the tone of a show. 😊 I can’t think of anything I’d change about this show, I’d recommend watching it if you’re bored (I also enjoy You for its similar humour).
I LOVE music, I think it’s so important for mental health and can really lift and affect my mood. I end up listening to the same songs constantly and this month (basically this entire year haha) I’ve listened to The Beatles constantly. For some reason I keep listening to I’m only sleeping in particular, this song will not leave my head when I hear it.
The song Spanish Sahara by Foals came on shuffle recently, I’d forgotten how much I love that song, it’s very calming and atmospheric (apparently my favourite word to describe things). I think I first heard it years ago watching Misfits, another amazing programme. 😊 I really should listen to some new songs, please let me know your favourite singers or bands!
I’ve loved being able to get out most days and be around nature. I love riding my bike (very slowly, a man who was possibly 65 years old passed me today and rode away into the distance haha) and getting fresh air. (I know there’s no other way to write, but I feel like I say ‘I’ constantly and I’m very conscious of it now, it sounds very selfish haha). It’s also been good to feel a sense of community and see so many kind acts during the crazy times, even small acts such as clapping for the NHS and getting to speak to neighbours we wouldn’t usually get a chance to speak to- I’d like to say here that I completely understand the perspective of those who feel this is a pointless act and the biggest thing we can do is not vote the Tories. I’ve never voted the Tories and agree that they have made many many mistakes that negatively impact a number of people. I will continue to vote in a way that will hopefully remove the Tories power one day, and hope that we can become more liberal in our politics and actions. I do, however, think small kind acts have a place in maintaining positivity and helping people to feel together in times like these.
Someone has been painting little rocks with kind messages at the loch beside my house and it’s created such a nice sense of community, so me and my family decided to paint easter egg rocks at Easter as a little hunt for the children who live nearby. All of the stones disappeared so hopefully children enjoyed finding them, but a swan may have eaten them all, we’ll never know haha. I’d like to do something with books, like a little anonymous book swap at the loch, I’m unsure how that would work but it’d be quite fun to try 😊. I also enjoyed bringing some books for my gran to read and being able to speak to her (from a safe distance). I feel a bit useless sometimes because I can’t think of something I can safely do (my mum’s in the at risk category) to help or volunteer with, I’ll hopefully find something positive to do soon.
Cooking/baking seems to be everyone’s go to just now (I’ve managed not to make banana bread yet haha), its been fun trying to make new things- I’m a kind of possibly okay as long as it’s just me eating it type of cook, but I cannot bake hahaha. I like giving myself little challenges, so I’ve been trying to make creations from the food I’ve bought and I’m only shopping around once every three weeks. A quicken nugget (quorn) katsu curry has been my favourite creation, and my homemade pizza was not what I’d call edible. Homemade vegan brownie recipes are also pretty good! 😊
I really hope you’ve all felt okay this month, thank you for your comments and I’d really like to know what books, films and shows help you to feel better 😊 I’m ending this with a picture of Dusty because she’s always my favourite wee thing.
I love nature and the outdoors so I thought I’d share some pictures of Scotland which will hopefully be calming in these times. I feel lucky to live in such a beautiful country. There are many places I’d love to see in the future and many that aren’t pictured here as sadly I only have photos from some places but I’d recommend a visit to Scotland if you’ve never been 🙂
Glenfinnan viaduct and Culloden Battlefield
I was so excited to drive to Glenfinnan Viaduct as a stereotypical lover of Harry Potter. Harry Potter feels like childhood and Glenfinnan Viaduct is beautiful (I played the theme tune as I walked up the hill hahaha). The drive alone is worth it (although it took about 3.5 hours from my house) as Glencoe is extremely picturesque. The Culloden Battlefield is just on the other side of the Viaduct, which would be of interest to those who love history (or if you like Outlander, although I’m not sure how historically accurate Outlander is).
Sadly a lot of these pictures are taken on my old phone which got a bit scraped, so the camera is not the best. However, on the drive through Glencoe there are beautiful hills and mountains all around (I’m yet to climb one, I’d love to travel around Scotland in a campervan. I have to do the North coast 500 at some point, and I’d love to walk the West Highland way.
My local lochs and drives
This is the loch next to my house, it’s absolutely beautiful especially on (rare) sunny days. My favourite part of the loch is this forest trail and I’ve really enjoyed being able to go on bike rides (that kill my legs) especially at sunset when I tend not to see anybody and the deer start to come out (I’m still trying to get them to stop running away from me). I honestly feel like I’m in the hunger games or twilight. I also enjoy seeing the pretty swans swimming around, but I do not recommend getting close to them as they can only be defined as evil.
I love when Scotland snows (although I think this is an unpopular opinion) and it begins to feel all Wintery like Narnia.
These are again pictures near my house 😊 I live just outside Glasgow. I also enjoy seeing the occasional highland cow and the many hills.
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs
Three lochs forest drive:
I recently went here whilst social distancing before the lockdown and it was a nice balance of driving and walks that are good for the unfit like me. I never get sick of forests; something feels magical about them and I love the sound of the birds singing (I sound like a Disney film). I took Norse Mythology here to read which added to the magical element.
Over the past year or so I’ve enjoyed hill walking, usually in the Stirling area. This picture is from Dumyat which is a good hill to start on, but my favourite I’ve climbed so far has been Ben A’an. I’m hoping to work up to higher hills in the future, one positive from these crazy times is making the most of nature and the outdoors again 😊 I sometimes like to focus on the environmental benefits around the world to bring some positivity to such a horrible situation.
For some reason I didn’t really like Stirling Uni when I was there, but it has an amazing setting! Stirling is beautiful and has always reminded me of a little Edinburgh.
I’m biased because I live closer, but I’ve always been a Glasgow person more than Edinburgh. I would definitely recommend visiting Glasgow if you haven’t before, it has a great balance of nightlife, music, museums, parks and shops as well as theatres (and Glasgow uni/Hogwarts). I also think that the people are really friendly and helpful (the one’s who aren’t trying to stab you) and it has a positive atmosphere.
I would class the West end as the fancy part of Glasgow haha, it has pretty vintage shops, bars and the amazing (and free, woohoo) Botanic Gardens. Kelvingrove art gallery is also nearby 😊
Whilst I love Glasgow, Edinburgh is still a fantastic place. I love the fact that you can visit a castle, shops and the theatre, go on a Harry Potter tour and walk up a dormant volcano in the same day. I now associate Edinburgh with 6.30am uni trains haha, but it’s always an exciting and patriotic place to see. These pictures were taken on Arthurs seat.
Again good for Outlander fans, parts were filmed here 😊 There is a little (usually freezing beach) and a number of brightly coloured houses to be seen as well as a beautiful old fashioned church. I don’t know how much there is to see round about as I’m never really explored, but it makes for a pretty day trip and is fairly close to Burnt Island.
Finnich Glen/Devil’s Pulpit
I have apparently become Outlander woman at this point, another filming location. I’ll have to go back here on a future sunny day because the pictures don’t do it justice, but this is a mystical and almost haunting place. I will say though, be careful on the way down because the staircase has eroded (thank you german man who stopped me plummeting to my death hahaha), but it’s fun to walk in the waterfall and look at all of the colours. I also enjoyed the eery witchy tales associated with the devil’s pulpit. P.s the live action Pokémon film also has a scene filmed here (did not like that film haha) and recently the tv programme The Nest.
I’ve never managed to get a sunny day here, but there are lots of beaches to be seen!
Famous chippy, cute independent shops and beaches. Anstruther is very close to St Andrews, another picturesque place for a day trip. Last year after coming back from holiday I drove to St Andrews beach on a whim to pretend I was still in Greece (didn’t work haha) so I now have nice associations of St Andrews and Song of Achilles- I love this book.
We drove here on a Wintery day through beautiful snowy mountains to visit the reindeer (it doesn’t look real in this picture, but it was!) I haven’t spent a lot of time here, but I know that there are tourist attractions that make it a popular place to visit.
I hope you get the chance to visit anywhere that interests you, please let me know where you’re from 🙂
Wolf Hall – Hilary Mantel (physical book, new read)
‘England, the 1520s. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. Into this atmosphere of distrust and need comes Thomas Cromwell, first as Wolsey’s clerk, and later his successor.
Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with a delicate and deadly expertise in manipulating people and events. Ruthless in pursuit of his own interests, he is as ambitious in his wider politics as he is for himself. His reforming agenda is carried out in the grip of a self-interested parliament and a king who fluctuates between romantic passions and murderous rages.
From one of our finest living writers, Wolf Hall is that very rare thing: a truly great English novel, one that explores the intersection of individual psychology and wider politics. With a vast array of characters, and richly overflowing with incident, it peels back history to show us Tudor England as a half-made society, moulding itself with great passion, suffering and courage.’
In March I began to see this book everywhere, and with an interest in the time period and Tudors I decided to try it- I was panic buying books in Waterstones on my last day out with the idea that lockdown was soon impending. I never purposefully read books based on book prizes such as the man booker, but I watch lots of book videos on youtube and the interesting ones tend to come up a lot until I become curious. I enjoyed this book and the atmosphere, particularly the later sections when Cromwell had more interactions with Anne and Mary, however, it felt too long when I was reading it and at times I lost the thread a little bit. In the past I’ve read about the tudors through the Alison Weir series The Six Tudor Queens and I love these books, but I feel that it would have been beneficial to know more about the time period and Thomas Cromwell before reading this book. This is something I could have researched as I read the book, but as I grew closer to the end I wanted to finish the book. I didn’t feel very connected to Cromwell due to the writing style, and I think I’m more interested in continuing to learn about the six queens. I don’t think I’ll read the rest of the trilogy, but I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in the Tudors. P.s I feel like this is a good time to mention that I’m obsessed with a song if ice and fire and always looking at parallels haha, I was interested in the Littlefinger/Cromwell parallels that I noticed 🙂
‘I was always desired. But now i am valued. And that is a different thing, i find.’
A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara (physical book, new read)
I wrote a whole review/rant about this haha so please go there if you’re interested in my rambling.
Lovely War – Julie Berry (physical book, new read)
‘Thirty years after four lovers’ fates collide, the Greek goddess Aphrodite tells their stories to her husband, Hephaestus, and her lover, Ares, in a luxe Manhattan hotel room at the height of World War II. She seeks to answer the age-old question: Why are Love and War eternally drawn to one another? But her quest for a conclusion that will satisfy her jealous husband uncovers a multi-threaded tale of prejudice, trauma, and music and reveals that War is no match for the power of Love.’
I wanted to read this book as soon as I heard about it because I love everything to do with Greek mythology and I was interested in the narration. This book felt lighter and cheesier than I expected it to be- although I didn’t know going into it that it was young adult so that’s maybe why- and I didn’t feel strongly connected to the characters, although I liked the secondary love story more so than the main one. I enjoyed the story and the elements of music throughout, but I don’t think it will stick with me and it wasn’t a favourite. The narration style was very cheesy but interesting, the Gods and Goddesses reminded me a bit of the humorous depictions such as in Good Omens and Supernatural. I’d maybe recommend this for people who enjoy young adult historical fiction, but I prefer othr young adult books when depicting mythology.
‘If music stops, and art ceases, and beauty fades, what have we then?‘
Norse Mythology – Neil Gaiman (physical book, new read)
‘Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he turns his attention back to the source, presenting a bravura rendition of the great northern tales. In Norse Mythology, Gaiman fashions primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds; delves into the exploits of the deities, dwarves, and giants; and culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and the rebirth of a new time and people. Gaiman stays true to the myths while vividly reincarnating Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki, the son of giants, a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator. From Gaiman’s deft and witty prose emerges the gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to dupe others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.’
This is the first book I’ve read about Norse mythology and I really enjoyed it! This was a good book to start with as it was very easy to read and although I don’t typically like short stories I found the characters and stories interesting- although I need to get used to the names as I doubt I can pronounce any. Being Scottish, I enjoyed learning about Norse mythology as it is probably the mythology most closely related to Scotland- I know they are fictional myths hahaha, I’m very bad at explaining what I mean- and I enjoyed reading about the gruelling hardships faced by the Gods that are very different to Greek and Roman mythology (although Greek is still my favourite). I’m not intrigued to read more about Norse mythology so if you have any recommendations please let me know! 🙂 In terms of ASOIAF parallels, I love the elements of Odin/Ragnarok/symbolism/prophecy that GRRM has been influenced by when writing about the wall/Bran/the three eyed raven/Jon. I’m definitely going to read more about the parallels and influence, these are the things I do at 2am.
‘The Norse myths are the myths of a chilly place, with long, long winter nights and endless summer days, myths of a people who did not entirely trust or even like their gods, although they respected and feared them.’
A spot of bother – Mark Haddon (physical book/new read)
At fifty-seven, George is settling down to a comfortable retirement, building a shed in his garden, reading historical novels, listening to a bit of light jazz. Then Katie, his tempestuous daughter, announces that she is getting remarried, to Ray.
The family is not pleased, as her brother Jamie observes, Ray has ‘strangler’s hands’. Katie can’t decide if she loves Ray, or loves the way he cares for her son Jacob, and her mother Jean is a bit put out by the way the wedding planning gets in the way of her affair with one of her husband’s former colleagues. And the tidy and pleasant life Jamie has created crumbles when he fails to invite his lover, Tony, to the dreaded nuptials.
Unnoticed in the uproar, George discovers a sinister lesion on his hip, and quietly begins to lose his mind.
I’m still addicted to buying new books but for the most part I am reading a very random collection of books with the aim of no longer owning at least 50 unread books. I read this book with no real expectations as I knew little about the plot and vaguely remember buying it from a charity shop a long time ago. I really enjoyed this book! I love black humour and sarcasm, and the spiralling turn of events that make the world seem a little bit like an apocalypse really relate to the current state of the world (I will say here, I am taking what’s happening very seriously and understand the severity and tragedy behind it, but on things like social media I try to keep things as normal and light at possible because I think a little bit of humour and joy is helping everyone). I really liked the main character in the story and enjoyed the spiralling of events and pace of the book. I’d recommend if you enjoy sarcastic humour and stories about family 🙂
‘The secret of contentment lay in ignoring many things completely.’
The Wouldbegoods – E. Nesbit (audiobook, new read)
‘Sent away to the country after a particularly unruly episode, the well-meaning but wayward Bastable children solemnly vow to reform their behavior. But their grand schemes for great and virtuous deeds lead to just as much mayhem as their ordinary games, and sometimes more.’
I decided to listen to this audiobook in my quest to read the books I’ve owned for a, long long time. I didn’t have a great interest in this book and it hasn’t really stuck with me. I also found some parts to be stereotypical or sexist, I think maybe because this book was written in 1899. I wouldn’t recommend this to children for these reasons, however, I’ll always keep this book and appreciate it due to the sentimental value of being given it by my dad as a wee girl.
When God was a Rabbit – Sarah Winman (audiobook, new read)
When God Was a Rabbit is the story of a memorable young heroine, Elly, and her loss of innocence; a magical portrait of the pull and power of family ties, of loss and life. From Essex and Cornwall to the streets of New York, from 1968 to the events of 9/11, When God Was a Rabbit follows the evolving bond of love and secrets between Elly and her brother, Joe, and her increasing concern for her best friend, Jenny Penny, who has secrets of her own. Funny, quirky, utterly compelling, and poignant, too, When God Was a Rabbit heralds the start of a remarkable new literary career.
Another book I found at a charity shop a good few years ago, I enjoyed this book and the flow of it and I liked learning more about the characters lives over time, however, this was another book I didn’t really connect with or care deeply about. I like to get extremely invested in a story and it’s characters (I think this is why I love long, character driven stories) so it can feel a bit sad when this doesn’t happen. I will say though, I don’t know if this was due to reading this at a time when I wasn’t really in the mood for it, or listening to the audiobook instead of reading it. I’m not normally so fussy with books but March seemed to be a month where I didn’t find anything I really loved, and maybe this is why I’m often drawn to rereading old books instead of reading new ones. I think this is also because I’ve been trying to read a lot of the books I own already, so I bought them long ago.
‘Memories no matter how small or inconsequential are the pages that define us.’
Our Stop – Laura Jane Williams (audiobook, new read)
Nadia gets the 7.30 train every morning without fail. Well, except if she oversleeps or wakes up at her friend Emma’s after too much wine. Daniel really does get the 7.30 train every morning, which is easy because he hasn’t been able to sleep properly since his dad died.One morning, Nadia’s eye catches sight of a post in the daily paper:
To the cute girl with the coffee stains on her dress. I’m the guy who’s always standingnear the doors… Drink sometime?
So begins a not-quite-romance of near-misses, true love, and the power of the written word.
I don’t know why I read romance contemporaries because I always end up moaning that I don’t like cheesy books haha- but I do like to have a nice balance, and funny easy to read cheesy books were DEFINITELY needed after A Little Life. This was particularly cheesy and a lil unrealistic even for the genre but I did enjoy listening to it despite this. There were times where the characters would discuss feminism or gender, but these seemed quote random and I felt a little bit like they were in the book just to add depth when they didn’t really seem to fit in. Not a favourite, but still fun to read. I would recommend Beth O’Leary’s books for this genre 🙂
Norse mythology was probably my favourite book in March 🙂 Thank you anyone who has read to this point, I do ramble haha. Please recommend any books you think I might like and let me know if you’ve read any of these