Books

St. Patrick’s Day Book Tag

I happened to come across this from Reads & Reels who’s tagged anyone who feels like doing it. I’m likewise not tagging anyone – so, feel free to tag yourselves 🙂 I hope they’re not meant to be Irish authors or books. Oh well…here goes.

St. Patrick’s Day- Your Favourite Green Book

The only green book I have is The Lord of the Rings. Not my favourite book (sorry…no offense) but it will have to do. I’m not saying I didn’t like it though. I was doing lots of travelling at the time so never got around to fully appreciate this book as it pretty much became an airport and airplane book  – doesn’t work for me.

Corned Beef & Cabbage- A Book That Made You Hungry

So…hope it classifies as a book but Asterix in Switzerland really made me crave a Cheese Fondue. In fact, right now, that sounds pretty good too. Hmmmmm…..

Four Leaf Clover- A Book or Item that was a Rare, Good Luck Find

Jasmine Nights by S.P. Somtow. I came across this book while in Thailand and didn’t think to buy it there. Back home, I looked and looked and looked and couldn’t find it. Until, I happened to walk into a random second-hand bookshop and there it was…calling me. Never seen another copy but I have mine. Wonderful, unique story.

Irish Whiskey- A Book So Bad, You Need a Drink to Get Over It

Only one drink???  A Girl Walks into a Bar by Helena S. Paige. Well….I shouldn’t even admit to reading this one. I think the reason I bought it was because it was meant to be an “adults” version of those books we had as kids where you made a decision at the end of a chapter and based on that decision, went to one of two other chapters creating your own chain of events. So please, pretty please, don’t judge me for my awful book selection here.

Irish Dancing- A book So Good, it Made You Want to Dance in Excitement

Oooh, easy peasy. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. The readers out there with whom I’ve exchanged book comments probably would have expected this one. It is absolutely amazing and wonderful and superb and lovely and fantastic….oooh, did I say amazing? Need I go on? Oh, I could dance 😉

Ireland- A Book that Made You Want to Travel to Another Country

Namma: A Tibetan Love Story by Kate Karko. Beautiful and interesting story of Kate, an English woman who met Tibetan Tsedup. It is an interesting account of her life as his wife, living in Tibet with his family. Having read this book, I was amazed by the way of life and culture of these nomadic people. Would love to see their world.

The Pub- A Meeting Place in a Book You Would Love to Go to

This is difficult. Hmmmm…does the dragon ship of Jarl Sigurd and his band of  Norsemen count? It seems the ship is where all the camaraderie happens, problems are discussed and adventures started. This from the Raven series by Giles Kristian.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 

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Raven: Blood Eye – Bloody brilliant

“Wow…what a book!” is an exclamation that I don’t make very often. And when I do utter these words it means the book in question has completely immersed me in its own world that I have failed to notice my own. It means I have visualised the setting so clearly that it feels as if I am actually there. Furthermore, this world that I have been living through stays alive beyond the last page and a piece of it never really leaves me.

Raven had me hanging onto his every action and word from page one right to the end and then some. Yet I still managed to breathe…just. I’m not always the greatest fan of 1st person narrative, however here it is used so well to keep me in suspense and feel Raven’s perspective in not knowing enemy whereabouts and their plans. Perfect for keeping me on the edge.

Usually, it takes me time to start feeling sympathetic towards characters and in a way, for them to prove themselves to me. To show me why I should or shouldn’t like them. Not this time. As I got more and more engrossed in the story, I felt more and more for the wonderful cast including the Wolves. Well, most of them – but then finding myself hating the bad ones is goal achieved I guess. I was a little sad whenever one of the Norsemen was sent off to Valhöll possibly with the exception of those who may have deserved that fate. I found myself holding my breath until I knew Sigurd and his men were alive. For Black Floki and Penda I had fingers and toes crossed. Unfortunately, I never really found myself hoping too much for Raven because I knew he had to survive in order for there to be a Trilogy. But I’m ok with this because the story made up for it and there were still some touch-and-go moments.

Giles Kristian has this subtle but effective way of juxtaposing nature’s beauty with man’s violence. I can’t remember exactly where (so engrossed was I) but somewhere along the journey I remember birds singing in the forest – that really stood out for me. At the end, he brings such a stunning description of the waves to life. In contrast, he had me looking through the carnage desperately picking out survivors and wanting to wash the blood, guts and dirt off Raven, Weohstan and Cynethryth. Wonderful writing throughout!

The thing with these amazing stories is that you want to finish the last page yet don’t want to. I’m sure you understand what I mean – that feeling of needing to know what happens yet desperately not wanting the story to end. At least I have two more in the Raven Trilogy waiting for me so I can prolong the story a bit more (hope that they meet the bar set by Raven: Blood Eye). And call me old-fashioned but these stories just need to come in the shape of a physical book. There’s something special about living an alternate world through actual paper pages that just isn’t there electronically.

Lonesome Dove, a masterpiece

I believe books find me and not the other way round. And, they find me only then when the timing is right. And Lonesome Dove (Larry McMurtry) was around at exactly the right time. Truth be told, I had pretty much abandoned this book around page 62 or so. It was in the pile of books awaiting a prison sentence in my storage unit (Aaaaarrrrghhh how could I????). Somehow I kept seeing such rave reviews and I just didn’t understand. And then – fate intervened with one review amongst hundreds saying that one had to get past page 100. What was it that had pulled me to this particular one? The book doing its magic? Must have been because, true as Bob, once I got past that mystical page number I was totally hooked. I couldn’t put it down – not to eat, to sleep or any other reason. I devoured the remaining 845 or so pages in a matter of days.

You can almost feel the grit, grime and dust kicked up by the cattle and horses, smell the rain and clearly “see” absolutely everything described. Like I was magically drawn right into the centre of the story, physically! At times, I could even taste the dust. The characters were so clear in my mind that I felt I knew them as if they were with me in flesh and blood. They held such a special place in my heart that I sometimes just wanted to change things for the “better”, or rather to make things selfishly happier for them but obviously their flaws and experiences are exactly what makes the book what it is and changing anything would have been plain wrong.

How often do you come across a book so of so many pages yet never feeling it is getting a bit drawn out or time to wind up? Never the case here. I’m always in the middle of a book, yet for the first time in my life, I needed about two weeks on completing to mull it over, to savour the after-effect, to re-live in my mind the amazing experience I’d just had. It’s almost like no book would ever live up to this one and that reading anything else would make me a traitor.

I’ve purchased the other books (Streets of Laredo, Dead Man’s Walk and Comanche Moon) in the hope that they’ll be as good but I just can’t get myself to start them because I’m a bit scared of being let down. I tell myself that I shouldn’t be greedy and rather just stay in love with one special thing thus saving the heartache of disappointment and thereby losing some of the magic that Lonesome Dove holds.