Poetry

Twisted pence

It’s the twist that makes you jump,

makes you fidget, makes you squeak.

 

What’s this, what’s this, what’s this?

Turn the page, turn up the sound,

 

venture to the next checkpoint

and check in with yourself.

 

Is your pulse racing, your head perspiring

bumps on your arms like a goose?

 

Tick that box while your stomach’s in knots

and tip your hat to the creator.

Reviews

Review: The Witches of the Glass Castle by Gabriella Lepore

I first heard about The Witches of the Glass Castle from Benjamin Of Tomes (Benjamin Alderson) who is a booktuber who also has his own publishing company, Oftomes Publishing. The Witches of the Glass Castle is published by Oftomes, and was recently on promotion, which is one of the reasons that I took the plunge and downloaded it. I say took the plunge because the book is about teenage witches with romance intertwined, not usually elements I’m interested in… but let’s just say I am now.

The Witches of the Glass Castle follows the story of Mia and her older brother Dino, who have just discovered that they’re both witches. Their mother and aunt, who they learn are also witches, take them to stay with their old mentor Wendolyn, who helps young witches develop their powers and also control them, while also providing a safe atmosphere for the youngsters to mingle… well, relatively safe. There are two types of witches that the siblings learn about; Arcana, who are then further split into groups depending on their power, be they Seer, Reader, Conjurer, Tempestus (elemental control) or Sententia (reader of emotions), and Hunters, who have individual powers like the Arcana, but are also trained as warriors from a young age and pride themselves on being detached from human emotion.

While staying with Wendolyn in her home, the glass castle, Mia and Dino find out what their powers are. Dino can hear people’s emotions, and the sound causes him physical pain as his powers are so strong he struggles to control them. Mia, on the other hand, has the ability to control the elements, but no matter what she tries, she can’t seem to harness them. That is, until she has a run in with one of the castle’s Hunters, Colt, who tells her that the rainstorm drenching the castle grounds is entirely her doing and that she should stop it. When she protests that she can’t, he grudgingly helps her, and despite the divide between Arcana and Hunters, she starts to trust him – something that her friend, and Colt himself, think she’s crazy for.

As I said above, I’ve never been crazy about stories based on witchcraft or romance, and it was purely out of curiosity that I picked this book up. Yet I found the concepts of all the different magical abilities intriguing, and I liked the characters a lot – even if they weren’t likable in themselves, I enjoyed how they were written. Colt and the other Hunters caught my attention in particular, as they have no distinction between different types of passion – be it romantic passion, or passion for their next kill – it’s all one and the same to them, and I thought that played into the plot really well. There are some elements that are Harry Potter and Twilight-esque (I have never read Twilight, but I recognize the tropes in it) but I would say that they are only vague similarities at best. The glass castle isn’t really a school for magic, more of a place to study in one’s own time, with guidance if needed, and there are no structured lessons. That sort of thing.

Overall, I have to say that this book grabbed me so much that the moment I finished it, I bought the sequel and swallowed that up too, both in the space of about three days, and I had a serious book hangover once I’d finished. So maybe I do like romance and elemental control…

Kat out!

Reviews

Book Review: Waking Beauty by Brittlyn Gallacher Doyle

Waking Beauty is a retelling of the classic sleeping beauty tale, but as with all good retellings, it has a twist:

Aurora Claire (or just Claire, as she prefers) was always told that she would fall under a sleeping curse for one hundred years on her sixteenth birthday – a curse bestowed upon her by a vengeful dark fairy. She lived with the knowledge that everyone she knew would be dead by the time she woke up, and her life was filled with half-friendships and loneliness because of it. Yet she had her fairy gifts – grace, beauty, creativity, wit, sweetness, song – to make up for it. So on that fateful day, she climbed the tower where the dark fairy was waiting with the spindle that would send her to sleep for a century, and pricked her finger just enough so that a single drop of blood was spilt.

Fast forward one hundred years.

Waking in her tower from an age of nightmares, she finds the handsome prince who was foretold, along with his tall and awkward knight. She and prince Damien hit it off right away – he’s everything she’d ever hoped for – but the way his knight, James, seems to regard her with constant disdain makes her feel ill at ease. However, when they leave her tower, she is overjoyed to find that the rest of the castle has been asleep just as she was, and everyone she knows, including her parents, are waking up as well. Wedding plans are soon underway, with much discussion of alliances between kingdoms. A perfect future with a perfect prince, whose charm appeals to everyone. Almost too much so.

Yet after only a few days, a servant is found asleep, and no-one can wake him. Then another is found, and another. The curse appears to be returning, and Claire has no idea why. What’s more, her fairy gifts are disappearing too. She stumbles ungracefully, freckles sprout on her nose, and her hair is a fright. Nor can she keep her mouth shut at James’s obvious distaste for her. Where did her sweetness go?

As panic spreads around the castle, Prince Damien and James volunteer to seek out the fairy who altered the dark fairy’s original curse from death to a long sleep, in order to find a way for the curse to keep from taking hold again. Claire, feeling responsible, insists on coming along, and though James argues that she will slow them down, Damien uses his charms to quiet his friend and allows her to come along. Claire and James bicker incessantly, but after a while, she realises that she finds it much easier to talk to this disapproving, quiet knight than her beloved prince, and dares to even consider him a friend…

First of all, I love that this story focuses on what happens after Sleeping Beauty wakes up, and that it’s not an immediate happily ever after.

The characters are well written and likable (when they’re supposed to be). Claire’s development from prim princess who has always followed along with what everyone expects of her to a confident young woman who is capable of making her own choices is exceedingly well done, and as the story progressed, I liked her more and more. Damien I was suspicious of straight away – no-one is ever as perfect as they appear, and towards the end, his behavior really made me grind my teeth, as it was supposed to. James reminded me very much of a character from one of my favourite fantasy series, not just in appearance, but personality as well. He likes Claire for who she really is, not what her fairy gifts make her out to be, and the back and forth between them was full of wit and humour.

The book also ended brilliantly, in a way that was satisfying but not overly convenient. The narrative is from Claire’s point of view, so I could really get inside her head, which I felt worked well for the plot as a whole.

Waking Beauty is definitely a book I’d recommend for anyone who loves fairy tale retellings with exciting twists, strong female protagonists and good character development, plus more than a dash of romance (which is odd for me, because I’m not normally a romance fan.)

Kat out.

Poetry

Up to those eyes

In them we see

sugar and spices,

an apple pie baked full of ideas

all original.

Of course they’re original,

they made them,

enveloped them in tangy sauce

sprinkled with cinnamon

we find out is actually chilli.

Oh, and the homemade pastry?

That came from a shop.

Poetry

The Number Games: May the odds be in your favour

I’m thinking of a number –

no, not that one –

it’s a bit more edgy,

higher too.

So four?

Not quite, try another.

Six then.

Oh, come on now, you

can do better than that.

I said edgy.

Fine, thirteen then.

No, no, no.

Half a triangle more like.

A triangle?

Is this even about numbers anymore?

No, not really,

but it kept you interested

for a while,

didn’t it?

Umm…

The answer was seven.

By the way.

Poetry

Kivuli

What are shadows made of

when they look at you,

flickering in candlelight

or standing bold against

the rays of the sun?

Our silent companions

we forget are there.

Those who experience every part

of us, even the parts

we think no one can see.

Our constant. Our comrade.

Present, without judgement,

without thought.

 

We think.