Sunday, 20 May 2012

Double Becky Bookworm Review - Bracelet of Bones by Kevin Crossley-Holland + The Spear of Odin by Kieron Dann

Due to my week away in Wales I had plenty of time on my many long train journeys to delves into the mass of fiction on my Kindle. So I finished not one but two books, one historical fiction and another norse fantasy. Click on the covers below to be taken to my review of each - exclusively for the Fantasy Enjoy!

Bracelet of Bones

The Spear of Odin

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Battles with the Blurbs - Soul Chaser - V2

Yep, as predicted I wasn't happy with last version so after another period of rewrites I've done another one which is what I'm aiming for but I'm buggered trying to get it to fit into 100, this time it's the 190 mark hehehe.
Have another read and let me know what you think please - you might also get a taster for where I want Jenny's journey to go over the entire novel.

Millions believe that after death they will go to heaven.
Very rarely do they consider going to Asgard, home of the Viking Gods.
That is where Jennifer Wallace is taken after her soul was claimed by a Valkyrie of Odin.
Her cause of death is unknown but deemed traumatic as it has left her with no memory of her mortal life.
Several years on Jennifer is beginning to find peace in her Afterlife and is even training to become a Valkyrie herself.
Yet the tranquillity of Asgard is shattered when Jennifer witnesses the first of many devastating attacks against her Valkyrie sisters. Even the Gods, including Odin himself, are disturbed by the unknown dark force that threatens them.
Jennifer must master new powers and make new allies when she is entrusted with the secret location of an object sacred to Odin which may prevent the encroaching war that all fear will come.
Will she prove worthy when the quest to save their future will uncover the truth about her past?
A past that even the all-knowing god Odin has yet to realise may turn out to be the biggest danger of all....

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Battles with the Blurb - Soul Chaser rewrite

As I've been on my lengthy train journeys across the border to Wales to learn how to be a good librarian and run a successful library I've had plenty of time to think some more about my plot for Soul Chaser. Currently have a draft idea for chapter fourteen which sees things getting serious for gods and valkyrie alike but also the introduction of a new possibly influential character to Jenny's journey. Things aren't set in stone yet but I like the way this new chapter nicely evolved out of all that's happened before.<br>
On a slightly different note I've also been tinkering with the blurb for Soul Chaser. Yes I can hear writers and authors gasping in horror. I know its pointless having a perfect blurb when the novel isn't finished but hey it set some fireworks off in my imagination as to where I want Jenny to go during the novel. I did seek some advice in the form of the writers and artists year book guide to getting published and they advise an average of 100 words. So that's what I set my word count as. After six attempts I got it down to 103 but to me it still lacked he intrigue needed to get a reader from the back cover to the first page. So after several more attempts I've got a draft I'm fairly happy with of 123 words.
The reason I'm rewriting the blurb is because the current one is too poetic, vague and long. It says alot about nothing effectively.

So here is my twelfth draft I hope you approve. Please do share any thoughts or suggestions in the comments section.

"Millions believe that after death they will go to Heaven.
Very rarely do they consider going to Asgard, home of the Viking gods.
That is where Jennifer Wallace was taken after being claimed by a Valkyrie. Her cause of death is unknown but traumatic enough to leave her with no memory of her past life.
Six years on she is content and training to be a Valkyrie herself.

That peace is shattered when she witnesses an unknown force beginning random devestating attacks on her sisters.

Jennifer will have to untangle a web of ancient lies to unmask their attackers.

What will she do when the truth reveals more about her past?

Will it be in time to save her future?"

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Becky Bookworm Book Review: The Bone Thief by V M Whitworth

I do love it when I come across a historical novelist who's finally breathing some fresh air in to the genre by introducing new mystery and excitement in one small part of the wide berth of english history that is often overlooked and forgotten. Such as the period after the death of King Alfred the Great? We all remember him but do many remember what happened after he died? Who ruled? How did the country cope? Did the Vikings return with a vengeance? Or did everything settle down and become peaceful? These are the types of questions I think spawned the idea of The Bone Thief in the marvellous mind of author V M Whitworth. She debuted her first fiction novel at the Jorvik Viking Festival in York this year (2012) sadly I was at a nordic textile event and unable to attend but thanks to the wonders of online selling I still managed to get my hands on her book. It really was a genuine delight to read with such refreshing characters bursting full of life I really do recommend it to anyone who has a taste for history and adventure.
Please click on the cover below to be taken to my full review available exclusively on the Fabtasy site.
 The Bone Thief

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Becky Bookworm Book Review: Cnut - Emperor of the North by M J Trow (Plus fav quotes!)

As some blog readers may have noticed I've begun a reading frenzy on historical non-fiction on the viking period and I've read many great books so far dealing with the entire viking age but this time I've focused a bit and chosen a Norwegian Viking King who actually ruled England and brought prosperity and peace. Oh and APPARENTLY he also tried to be a bit too clever and stop the waves from moving.... Guessed who it is yet? Well whether you call him Cnut/Canute/ or Knut he is still the Viking raider 'who did good' and this book showed how much more there was to his life and reign than the one myth modern people remember him for. Please click on the cover below to read my full review on the Fantasy website:

But in celebration of a book I enjoyed as much as The Real Middle Earth by Brian Bates I am about to reveal my all time favourite quotes gathered from this one book that reveal a delightful insight in the viking way of life and that of King Cnut/Canute/Knut:

"Outdoors, Cnut would have learned to practise with his wooden sword and shield, hacking and parrying with heavier equipment as his strength grew. He threw spears, shot arrows, played a rough kind of football. Perhaps he watched and cheered at horse-fighting contests, in which stallions, within sight and smell of tethered mares, were goaded to fight each other. The boy would have been taught swimming from an early age - a Viking's destiny was to sail and the sea was in his blood. He hunted, chasing wild boar through the reeds of Jutland's fens and sending his hawk hurtling to the sky in search of prey. By the time he was eleven or twelve, he would have been introduced to the feasts which were such a vital part of Viking life.
Feasts were the occasion of celebration among the Danes as they were among the most ancient peoples. Drink was the mainstay, but wine was a rare commodity, not laid down to age as now, but drunk newly harvested, light and fruity. Beer was not as alcoholic as it is today. In England, to which the young Cnut would sail perhaps before his fifteenth birthday, the hops that were grown were used for cloth-dyeing. So the beer of the Jomsviking halls were probably sweet and thick, like porridge. Mead was more plentiful, sweeter than today, brewed from honeycomb.......The Vikings had not perfected distillation by Cnut's time, so most wine was made from fruit. The more alcoholic beers were thought to be dangerous. An old Viking collection of poems, the Havamal or Words of Odin, warns 'be cautious with beer and another man's wife'. Drinking was done largely from cow horns, often richly decorated with silver or even gold. These had no flat bottoms so the contents had to be downed in one or at least quickly, which well may be the origin of the 'yard of ale' contests so beloved of student bars the length and breadth of central England today." Trow, 2005, pp45-46.

"In a sense it matters little what the origin of the invaders is. Historian J. M. Wallace-Hardrill describes them as 'little more than groups of long-haired tourists who occasionally roughed up the natives'. And Simon Keynes comments, 'the Vikings were probably uncouth, certainly unpleasant and decidedly unwelcome'." Trow, 2005, p81. 

[From the Encomiast] "The Lady Emma...mourned together with the natives; poor and rich lamented together, the bishops and clerics wept with the monks and nuns; but let the rejoicing in the kingdom of Heaven be as great as was the mourning in the world!" Trow, 2005, p207

 "...and Andrew Warn records that to the Victorians, the Vikings were all things to all men, they were 'bucaneering, triumphant, defiant, confused, disillusioned, unbiddable, disciplined, elaborately pagan, austerely pious, relentlessly jolly or self-destructively sybaritic. They are merchant adventurers, mercenary soldiers, pioneering colonists, pitiless raiders, self-sufficient farmers, cutting-edge naval technologists, primitive democrates, psychopathic beserkers, ardent lovers and complicated poets'. So they were." Trow, 2005, pp225-226.                                                                                         
I've become so fascinated by many of the great and powerful figures in this one book that I've gone and bought a kind of sequel to this titled 'Queen Emma and the Vikings' this is Emma of Normandy (also known as Alfgifu who also happened to be a mistress of Cnut/Canute/Knut's to make matters confusing hehehe). So look out for that review when I finish reading it.

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