Five For Friday: Fantasy Books for Children

As you know, I’m still fairly new to this book blogosphere. Here’s the thing – as I went through my reader for the last few days, I realised that many of the book blogs post about the same things as each other each day. While I’m sure the memes help with deciding what to write about, I can’t help but feel that if I join in with them, my posts will just be lost to the ether – one more in an endless stream of bookish ramblings. So, I’ll ask you to please humour me while I go off on my own for a bit.

Each Friday I’m planning on posting about Five things. It may not be every Friday, but it will give me a chance to write about something other than what I’m reading right now.

This week:

Five Fantasy books or series that I enjoyed as a child.

There were many more than five, of course – these are just the ones that stand out as my favourites.

1. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien

My Dad first read The Hobbit to my brother and sister and I when we were very small. I don’t remember much about that first reading but I know we loved it and were Tolkien fans for life. I think my Dad started reading us Lord of the Rings afterwards as well, but had to stop because it was a bit scary once the black riders came along. It wasn’t until after he had introduced us to the BBC radio version of LotR (my aunt had a copy on something like twelve cassettes, recorded from the radio) that I had another go at reading it. They both remain timeless classics even today, some 75 years after The Hobbit was first published.


2. The Dark is Rising, Susan Cooper

It’s Midwinter’s Eve, the day before Will’s eleventh birthday. But there is an atmosphere of fear in the familiar countryside around him. And why does Mr Dawson the farmer give him an iron talisman, as if for protection? It turns out to be a birthday like no other. For Will discovers that he has the power of the Old Ones, and that he must embark on a quest that will enable the terrifyingly evil magic of the Dark to be vanquished. (cover blurb)

The Dark is Rising and the other four books in this series were such favourites of mine that I read them several times each and occasionally pick them up now for another read through. I’m sure this series is partly where my  love of Cornish fishing villages and having to find Green Men in cathedrals comes from. It was a strange co-incidence that I ended up living at the place where a few of the books are set for a few years. I can’t even describe why I loved these books so much, I just… loved everything about them.  If you haven’t read them, go do!

The sequence: Over Sea, Under Stone, The Dark is Rising, Greenwitch, The Grey King, Silver on the Tree


3. To The Dark Tower, Victor Kelleher

Awake and asleep, Tom has increasingly different lives. Awake he is a climber, scaling the cliffs by Tower Rock, and asleep, he finds himself in a vivid dream-world where he is the carrier, responsible for a strange and beautiful child, and forever in search of the elusive Sleeper. (cover blurb)

This book was introduced to me at my primary school library. I haven’t read it for some time now but I remember that I loved it at the time. I’ve just discovered today that I have a copy in my shelves! It’s now on The Pile.


4. The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis

Another primary school favourite, four of the books were filmed for BBC TV during the late 1980s. I don’t remember whether I read the books or saw the series first, but either way the books were better, as they always are. I don’t actually have a copy of them – I’ll have to fix that before my little boy is old enough to enjoy them!

The series: The Lion, the Witch and the WardrobePrince CaspianThe Voyage of the Dawn TreaderThe Silver ChairThe Horse and His BoyThe Magician’s NephewThe Last Battle


5. Asterix comics, René Goscinny

The tale of Asterix the Gaul, his large friend Obelix, and the last Gaulish village against a host of bumbling Romans. My siblings and I took great delight in borrowing these out from the library whenever we found them. They may not be strictly fantasy, but they must have opened some kind of door to historical fiction.  Besides, they’re hilariously funny!


Do you have a fondly-remembered book or series from your childhood? I’d love to hear about it!



Filed under Five for Friday

WWW Wednesday (3)

WWW Wednesday is hosted each week at Should Be Reading.

What are you currently reading?

Vitality, Tim Andrewartha

Set in an alternative version of the present day, Stylo Green moves to a nameless city to work for Vitality. The company is making a purple soft drink which they promise will change people’s lives – a welcome gesture in a place where society is spiralling down towards its demise (From Amazon blurb).

I’ve only just started on Vitality by Tim Andrewartha for my stop on the Double the SciFi tour. Stay tuned!

What did you recently finish reading?

WiSpY, Rob Andrews

Adam is an up-and-coming blogger. One day he starts receiving email from the mysterious “WiSpY”, telling him to post a prediction on his blog – which then comes true. Things only get more weird from there.

I just finished this today and I’ve got to say, W is for Wow! I’ll be posting a review and a giveaway later this month as part of the Double the SciFi tour, so watch out for that.

The Forever Girl, Rebecca Hamilton

Sophia lives in a small town where her Wiccan practices are disapproved of by the local church. Research into her family’s history leads her towards finding out about the voices in her mind, but also leads her into a dark world where the vampiric Cruor rule. Can she trust the mysterious Charles after her friends turn away from her?

I loved this book – read my review here.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Gate to Kandrith, by Nicole Luiken. I said I would read it last week, but this week I really will. My review copies are starting to pile up so I really need to get stuck into them.

How about you? Link me your WWW, or tell me what you’re reading!


Filed under WWW

Review: The Forever Girl, Rebecca Hamilton

Title: The Forever Girl (Goodreads)

Author:   Rebecca Hamilton (@InkMuse)


Series: Forever Girl book 1 (of ?)

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Published: Immortal Ink Publishing, January 2012

Pages: 354

Paper copies:

E-copies: •

Sophia lives in a small town where her Wiccan practices are disapproved of by the local church. Research into her family’s history leads her towards finding out about the voices in her mind, but also leads her into a dark world where the vampiric Cruor rule. Can she trust the mysterious Charles after her friends turn away from her?


I was given this copy of The Forever Girl by the Author herself in a Twitter giveaway. Paranormal romance isn’t usually my favourite but I was so glad I went ahead and read it. This story is dark yet gripping – I had a hard time putting it down.

Early on in the story I couldn’t help but compare it to Twilight a little: Girl meets mysterious, gorgeous boy who says “You shouldn’t get attached to me, it’s too dangerous”, she says “OMG, get me some of that” and he protects her from the Vampire powers-that-be (I don’t mean that as a slight on Twilight, by the way. I rather enjoyed the books when I read them – up until Breaking Dawn, anyway).

As the story moved forward, twists and turns made sure that I never knew what to expect next. The story was fast-paced and exciting and the Wiccan rituals and history of the Cruor and other elementals were fascinating.

Sophia was a great character – she was so strong and determined, but I felt so sorry for her by the end! She tries her hardest and faces each new challenge in a very believeable and engaging way. Charles, on the other hand, I did not connect well with. Apart from seeming a little too perfect, he drove me (and Sophia) mad with his hot/cold attitude – one minute telling her to stay away and acting all stand-offish and the next moment, whispering sweet nothings in her ear. I wanted to slap him! The romantic scenes were well put together though and fit in well with the events in the story.

I really enjoyed reading The Forever Girl. It’s a fantastic debut from Rebecca Hamilton, and I’ll look forward to the release of book two, Her Sweetest Downfall, later this year.

Read this book to your little ‘uns? Not if you don’t want them to have nasty nightmares! Also, language and adult content.

Challenges: I read this book as part of the Immortal Reading Challenge – Vampires.


Filed under Reviews

In My Mailbox (3)

Welcome to In My Mailbox, hosted each week by The Story Siren. Allow me to squee over the books I received this week!

For Review

Double Sci-fi tour banner

WiSpY, Rob Andrews and Vitality, Tim Andrewartha, were received for review for the Double the Sci-fi Tour, starting today at Memories Overtaking Me! I look forward to sharing reviews and giveaways for these books on March 23 and 30, respectively.

Dream Robbers and Escape the Bone Yard, RC Scott – I was sent these two e-books by RC Scott. I’m looking forward to reading and reviewing them soon!

I have been requesting a few books on NetGalley lately, not really expecting to be accepted for any yet. I was lucky enough to be sent three galleys this week!


The Chosen, Sheenah Freitas – Won in a giveaway from Laurie’s Thoughts – thanks!



Filed under IMM

Random Acts of Kindness: March

Book Soulmates

Random Acts of Kindness is a thoughtful initiative from Isalys and Vanessa at Book Soulmates. Each month you can sign up, then send someone else on the list a book they’ve had on their wishlist. You might even get something back!

I think this is such a lovely idea that I’ve signed up for this month to send out a few books to people. If you’re interested, head over to Book Soulmates for all the details.


Filed under Random

Review: How To Be A Pirate, Cressida Cowell

Title: How To Be A Pirate (Goodreads)

Author:   Cressida Cowell


Series: How To Train Your Dragon Book 2 of 9

Genre: Childrens Fantasy

Published: Little, Brown and Co, 2004

Pages: 211


Paper copies: Book Depository

Not available as an e-book.

Hiccup is a Viking and a member of the Hooligan tribe. When Hiccup and his fellow classmates and their pet dragons are taking part in Pirate Training, a huge storm wrecks their ship and washes them, and a strange coffin onto the shore. Could this coffin hold the treasure of the legendary Grimbeard the Ghastly, the greatest pirate who ever struck Terror into the Inner Isles?


You may have seen the movie version of the first book in the series, How to Train Your Dragon. I borrowed this second book in the series, thinking it would continue the story on from the end of the movie.  In fact, the movie version was changed quite a bit from the original story. The vikings don’t ride the dragons as they are way too small. Hiccup speaks to Toothless (who really doesn’t have any teeth) in Dragonese. The characters names are there but the characters themselves seem quite different.

That aside, How to Be a Pirate is a very cute story. Almost every page has a little sketch illustration from the author that littlies are sure to love. While the movie version of How To Train Your Dragon was a more grown-up story of adults trying to protect their homes and families, the adult vikings in the books are much more silly and cartoonish, with plenty of fart jokes in there with the adventure.

I must hunt down the other books in the series (this copy came from the library) – I have a little boy who I am sure is going to love these in a few years time.

Read this book to your little ‘uns? Yes, they will love it!


Filed under Reviews

WWW Wednesday (2)

WWW Wednesday is hosted each week at Should Be Reading.

What are you currently reading?

The Forever Girl, Rebecca Hamilton

I’m halfway through and this book is really living up to its hype – fast paced and exciting. I’m having a hard time putting it down!

What did you recently finish reading?

The Day of First Sun, Sheryl Steines

I’ll be writing about this book in a book tour later in March, so I won’t say much about it yet…

What do you think you’ll read next?

I received an ARC of Gate to Kandrith, by Nicole Luiken. I’ve been reading a lot of paranormal YA recently and this book looks set to take me back to high fantasy.

How about you? Link me your WWW, or tell me what you’re reading!


Filed under WWW