Showing posts with label Once Upon A Time Challenge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Once Upon A Time Challenge. Show all posts

Monday, April 1, 2013

March 2013 Recap: Books Read

I'm SO happy March is over! Personally, it has been one of the toughest months of the year for me so far. We had two shocking deaths in our family within ten days of each other, and I'm afraid that although I've been "here" sporadically, I've not really been "here," if you all know what I mean.

As far as reading goes, I picked up a couple of romances at the beginning of the month by Ruthie Knox that I enjoyed, and later on a novella by Courtney Milan that worked for me. However for the most part, romance just didn't hit the spot. With so much going on, I focused my reading and reviews on books I enjoyed. As a result, I'm afraid that during the month of March many books ended up going back to the old TBR pile, or were permanently discarded (DNF'd).

Here's my list:

Total Books Read: 11
Contemporary Romance: 2
Historical Romance: 2
Urban Fantasy: 2
Fantasy: 3
Speculative Fiction: 1
Poetry: 1

About Last Night by Ruthie Knox: A-
The Governess Affair (Brothers Sinister #0.5) by Courtney Milan: A-
Bone and Jewel Creatures by Elizabeth Bear: B+
The Queen, The Cambion, and Seven Others by Richard Bowes: B+
Ride With Me by Ruthie Knox: B+
Midnight Blue-Light Special (InCryptids #2)by Seanan McGuire: B
Scandal Wears Satin (Dressmakers #2) by Loretta Chase: C+
Presence by Scott Wiggerman: C
Slashback (Cal & Niko)by Rob Thurman: (Upcoming Buddy Review)
Written in Red (The Others #1) by Anne Bishop: (Upcoming Review)
Before and Afterlives by Christopher Barzack: (Upcoming Review)

Toward the end of March I also joined The Journey as part of the Once Upon a Time VII Challenge hosted by Carl of Stainless Steel Droppings. I needed to read one book to fulfill that challenge and I did so by reading and reviewing "The Queen, The Cambion, and Seven Others by Richard Bowes." It is always a pleasure to participate in one of Carl's challenges. I look forward to reading reviews by the other participants and still hope to contribute a few other posts to this challenge.

From the March releases I read and have yet to review, I recommend Written in Red by Anne Bishop. How about you? Did you find any titles you would like to share?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Queen, The Cambion, and Seven Others by Richard Bowes

Myth is the sea on which the Fantasy story floats.
Legend is the wind that drives it.
Its place of birth is the Fairy Tale.
So begins The Queen, The Cambion, and Seven Others by Richard Bowes, a beautifully illustrated little book containing eight stories ranging from modern fairy tales and fantasy, to variations on myth and legends. The afterword by Mr. Bowes, "A Secret History of Small Books," enhances the overall reading experience.

I read this magical little book and enjoyed all of Mr. Bowes' stories. Of course I have a few favorites, including "The Queen and the Cambion" in which Bowes takes events from the life of a historical figure, Queen Victoria of England, and incorporates a character from Arturian legend to create a magical modern fantasy tale. There is "The Lady of Wands" a magical fantasy with a fantastic narrator as the central character, and a whodunit with twists, turns and political undercurrents that can only take place when a story is set in the land of fairies. And the fantastic "The Progress of Solstice and Chance" with its soap opera style plot where the King of Winter and Queen of Summer marry and their child Solstice falls in love with Chance. I recommend all the stories, but today I'm going to focus my post on one story, a single Fairy Tale.

Illustration by Gustave Dore, 1867
The book begins with "Seven Smiles and Six Frowns" a fairy tale. It goes something like this. On a summer's evening the Witch of the Forest of Avalon gathers the children on her porch to tell them a simple tale about Prince Alaric who is beloved and gifted by his father the King and the Fairies with all types of magical presents. When the time comes for Alaric to marry, he is not satisfied with the princesses presented to him, but while traveling through the forest, a beautiful maiden uses cunning and magic to divest him of the magical items that make Alaric special until all he has left to win her is himself. There is a happy ending of course, but, what happens after that is what makes this a striking and unique piece.

Bowes' simple fairy tale gains complexity as the Witch invites her future apprentice to return the next day, alone, so she can tell her a different version of the fairy tale, one that is based on 'truthful' events. After the apprentice becomes the Witch, she in turn makes further revelations to her own apprentice and the reader. By the end, what began as a simple Fairy Tale with a handsome Prince and a happy ever after evolves into "a tale that not only entertains but teaches." Bowes' "Seven Smiles and Six Frowns" is an excellent example of the evolution of a fairy tale where modern insights are used by the narrator to enhance the listener's understanding but retaining the magic remains essential to complete the experience.
The collection includes “Seven Smiles and Six Frowns” a story of the evolution of a Fairy Tale; “The Cinnamon Cavalier,” a Fairy Tale variation a critic has called, “The Gingerbread Man, writ large,” and “The Margay’s Children” a modern take on a “Beastly Bridegroom” tale; “The Progress of Solstice and Chance,” with its complex sexual relations and invented pantheon of gods, the outrageous situation and characters of “The Bear Dresser’s Secret,” and the “The Lady of Wands,” set in a fairy/mortal demi-monde; and two Arthurian tales, “Sir Morgravain Speaks of Night Dragons and Other Things” and “The Queen and the Cambion” in which the eponymous queen, though famous, is not Guinevere.
Once Upon A Time VII
Category: Fantasy/Fairy Tales
Series: Conversation Pieces
Publisher/Release Date: Aqueduct Press/February 26, 2013
Grade: B+

Visit Richard Bowes here.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Joining: Once Upon A Time VII

(Art by Melissa Nucera)

Hosted by Carl V from Stainless Steel Droppings, the Once Upon A Time VII challenge is a yearly reading and/or viewing event that highlights four categories: Fairy Tale, Folklore, Fantasy and Mythology. I am a few days late joining, the challenge began on March 21st and ends on June 21st. Participants are given choices to make this a fun event: they may read one book, one book from each category, 5 books from a chosen category, fulfill all of the above, and/or join the Quest on Screen where they can discuss television and films that fall under the required categories.

Since this is my first year participating in the Once Upon A Time Challenge, I decided to begin small and chose to join The Journey. This choice gives me the freedom to read one book from any of the four different categories, but if I choose or have the time to read more, then that works out too!

I'm shooting for a Fairy Tale. :)