THE SIN EATER’S DAUGHTER

Twylla is blessed. The Gods have chosen her to marry a prince, and rule the kingdom. But the favour of the Gods has its price. A deadly poison sineatersdaughterinfuses her skin. Those who anger the queen must die under Twylla’s fatal touch.

Only Lief, an outspoken new guard, can see past Twylla’s chilling role to the girl she truly is.

Yet in a court as dangerous as the queen’s, some truths should not be told…

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’d only read about a chapter of The Sin Eater’s Daughter before it was side-lined to the TBR shelf (to join the other partially started novels), and I hadn’t thought of reading it again until I spotted its sequel, The Sleeping Prince. More inclined to finish it with the prospect of a sequel (provided the first one was any good), I got stuck back in.

It ticks all the boxes for a typical high fantasy novel with its medieval-style royal court, hunts, feasts, and historical conflict…and although this is undoubtedly what saw it sitting on my TBR shelf for as long as it had (I prefer urban fantasy), the world Melinda creates is definitely captivating. Every town and character has been fleshed-out with a detailed backstory that contribute to the story of the protagonist, without being so complicated as to confuse the reader.

Continue reading THE SIN EATER’S DAUGHTER

A MONSTER CALLS

A monster calls cover

Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that don’t quite seem to be working. But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there’s a visitor at his window. It’s ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. 

It wants the truth.

 

 

 

 

I like a good spooky story as much as the next person, and thought that was what I’d be getting from purchasing A Monster Calls. Yes, there is a monster (of sorts), but one that’s more a reflection of inner turmoil and grief, than a physical monstrosity driven to send chills down the reader’s spine.

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Charles Dickens’ Birthplace Museum

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Over a (mostly) sunny bank holiday weekend, I spent a day in Portsmouth to pay a visit to the Charles Dickens’ Birthplace Museum. I do love a good museum trip, especially one of a prominent literary figure! Similar to Jane Austen’s house in Chawton, it was all small rooms and creaky floorboards. Actually, smaller rooms with nothing but creaky floorboards! The house is furnished in the Regency style his parents would have furnished the house in, with a few Dickens-owned articles including his snuff box (made from a deer foot, would you believe) and the couch where he died. 😦

 

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The house may be more of a time capsule for the early 19th century, as it was his parents’ house (they moved elsewhere a year after Charles was born), there are enough things from Charles’s later years to make it worth a look around. Access to the museum is through the kitchen (now the gift shop), still with the original Victorian range cooker and shelving unit that can’t be removed, as it’s built into the wall. Upstairs leads to the other rooms, which include a decorated parlour, dining room and bedroom that offer an atmosphere of the time period. The exhibition room (with the couch), is dedicated to displays and information relating to Dickens’ work and illustrators (with crazy rap star nicknames like ‘Kyd’ and ‘Phiz’ (to match Dickens’ pen-name ‘Boz,’ apparently.)

 

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The Parlour

 

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‘Reading to his Daughters’
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1. Rent book   2. Lorgnette  3. Ring  4. Snuff Box  5. Waistcoat Buttons  6. Cheque  7. Lock of his hair  8. Carte de Visite photographs

Despite its size though, we managed to spend a good hour there, possibly more considering the time we took in the gift shop (and I do love a good gift shop!) As it stands, I’ve only read one Dickens novel. Great Expectations – from either secondary school or college, with the standard knowledge of Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol that film and TV provide. As it was Dickens’ first published novel, I wanted to get a copy of The Pickwick Papers from the gift shop (alright, it was mostly because of the cool sounding title) but where books are concerned, I refuse to buy those with real-life people depicted the cover. I just find them kind of tacky. So, a little disappointed, I scoured the shelves for something else (I was NOT leaving without having purchased a book), and decided on The Old Curiosity Shop. As far as wanting to read more classics go, it definitely goes some way to filling the quota.

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Check out that bookmark…made of silk, don’t you know.

I believe there are other parts of Portsmouth with links to Dickens, but within the town itself, we ventured as far as Guildhall for a quick pic of the first large-scale public statue of the man himself, which was unveiled in 2014 for his 202nd birthday. Intriguing to know what else the city has to offer regarding his life and works (especially as it’s right on the doorstep), his birthplace museum is definitely the place to start for anyone wanting to get a feel for the time period of his life and writing, or who is thinking of exploring the work of one of England’s best-loved writers.

Check out the Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum Here

 

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Chawton Vintage Fair

WP_20160417_13_23_36_ProSo yesterday called for a little trip to Chawton, for their Vintage, Antique, Collector’s and Craft fair! The sun was shining, the birds were singing, the dog made it all the way there without throwing up…perfect!

 

We didn’t stop in at Austen’s place this time (still haven’t finished my hardcopy of Sense and Sensibility from the last visit!) but definitely plan to return for a copy of Pride and Prejudice, because I love the hardcover classic designs. 

I hadn’t been to one of their vintage fairs before (to be honest, I didn’t even know it was a thing!), and despite being the home of Jane Austen, what I left with was a gothic-style picture of the bard himself. Can’t wait to get this up in my bedroom somewhere, once I’ve finished with the whole decorating/putting-up-shelves-I-don’t-own-yet stage that is. Which will probably take forever, because if there’s one thing that distracts me, it’s EVERYTHING ELSE. I’d hoped there’d be more stallholders there, but it is a small village hall, and these things are always nice to trawl the table tops for a hidden treasure. And who knows, might go again next month. 

 

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Unfortunately we suffered another near miss when it came to Cassandra’s Cup (we’ll get in there one of these days!) but I did get a lovely bit of sponge cake at the village hall because let’s be honest, that’s what you have to do at these things. Drink tea, and eat cake. That’s basically my life’s motto. That, and ‘Leave me alone, I’m reading.’

On the way home we made a quick stop off somewhere I’d been meaning to get to for a while now – the grave site of my great great great grandfather. He was something of a minor celeb back in the day (not for the best reasons, unfortunately). The village is mostly notable as the home of Gilbert White who, I don’t know…drew pictures of birds or something? (Riveting, I know) but with an ‘award winning tea parlour,’ and huge garden for the dog to roam, we’ll probably end up going back to see the house and explore the grounds. This time, we only went as far as the gift shop (mostly to ask if dogs were allowed in the garden. They are) and after a quick look around, found a book detailing great etc granddad’s exploits, with a rendition of his five minutes of fame on the front cover.

WP_20160417_14_32_16_Pro (1)My great great great grandfather The Trumpeter of Selbourne, doing his thing.

Had to take a picture for my great uncle who researches the family tree, BUT, that little gift shop was where I bought these.

 

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I’ve never in my life used a bookplate before, or written my name in a book (sacrilege!) but I couldn’t resist. To be honest, I was mostly taken with the box, but I’m sure I’ll whack a few labels in some books with a vintage, feminine style. Starting with my copy of Sense  and Sensibility.

For more details on the Chawton fair, click on the link