Wednesday, 22 July 2020

May's Book Club Choice-Folklore Fiction

The Winter Sister
Megan Collins

Title: The Winter Sister
Author: Megan Collins
Publisher: ATRIA Books
Publication Date: February 2019
Genre: Suspense Fiction
                                         SECRETS BETWEEN SISTERS ARE SACRED. 
                                                      SECRETS ARE DEADLY.

Sixteen years ago, Sylvie's sister, Persephone, never came home. Out too late with the boyfriend she was forbidden to see, Persephone was missing for three days before her body was found-and years later, her murder remains unsolved. In the present day, Sylvie returns home to care for her estranged mother, Annie, who is undergoing cancer treatment. Prone to unexplained "Dark Days" even before her daughter's death, Annie let her once close bond with Sylvie dissolve in the years after their loss, making for an uncomfortable reunion. Worse, Persephone's former boyfriend, Ben, is now a nurse at the cancer center where Annie is being treated. Sylvie has always believed that Ben was responsible for her sister's murder-but she carries her own guilt about that night, guilt that traps her in the past while the world goes on around her.
As she navigates the complicated relationship with her mother, Sylvie begins to uncover the secrets that fill their house-and what really happened the night Persephone died-in this spellbinding and suspenseful debut.

ISBN: 978-1-9821-0014-8

OK so for this month it was hard to find books in the category of folklore fiction, after a little bit of searching I found a blog post with what were apparently 8 of them of which this was one. Now on that basis and it giving the impression it had its roots in the story of Demeter and Persephone we all thought this would be a good book for this month. But if it did its the vaguest sort of connection to the story. I think she mentioned once that  "she was rescuing Persephone from a life in the underworld". And that aside from the girl's name is the only tentative connection to the Greek myth! Which was really disappointing, as you know we've read a lot of greek mythology based books this year so far and I was looking forward to another one.
The book was an easy read but it was by no means suspenseful, you knew a lot of what was going to happen way before it did because she made it quite obvious. The reasons why Persephone came home bruised after spending time with Ben was just a stupid explanation and the father's motives for killing her were simplistic like a child had explained it.
At our book club meeting, we agreed that the book group questions were written to give it far more depth than it actually had.
All in all, it's not a book I'll read again and if I'm honest I won't be recommending it. 

Krystina xx

Book Club Score-5/10

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

April's Book Club-Poetry Month

April's Book Club
Poetry Month

So no book review for April, but I thought id share with you my poem choice for this month's meeting. This has been my favorite poem since I was about 9/10 (i know 2 decades on and I still haven't found a new one!), it was read by my year 5 teacher to the class and something about the story of it and the descriptions stuck with me. 
So here is my favorite poem...

The Highwayman

The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees.   
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas.   
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,   
And the highwayman came riding—
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.

He’d a French cocked-hat on his forehead, a bunch of lace at his chin,   
A coat of the claret velvet, and breeches of brown doe-skin.
They fitted with never a wrinkle. His boots were up to the thigh.   
And he rode with a jewelled twinkle,
         His pistol butts a-twinkle,
His rapier hilt a-twinkle, under the jewelled sky.

Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard.
He tapped with his whip on the shutters, but all was locked and barred.   
He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there   
But the landlord’s black-eyed daughter,
         Bess, the landlord’s daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

And dark in the dark old inn-yard a stable-wicket creaked
Where Tim the ostler listened. His face was white and peaked.   
His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like mouldy hay,   
But he loved the landlord’s daughter,
         The landlord’s red-lipped daughter.
Dumb as a dog he listened, and he heard the robber say—

“One kiss, my bonny sweetheart, I’m after a prize to-night,
But I shall be back with the yellow gold before the morning light;
Yet, if they press me sharply, and harry me through the day,   
Then look for me by moonlight,
         Watch for me by moonlight,
I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way.”

He rose upright in the stirrups. He scarce could reach her hand,
But she loosened her hair in the casement. His face burnt like a brand
As the black cascade of perfume came tumbling over his breast;   
And he kissed its waves in the moonlight,
         (O, sweet black waves in the moonlight!)
Then he tugged at his rein in the moonlight, and galloped away to the west.


He did not come in the dawning. He did not come at noon;   
And out of the tawny sunset, before the rise of the moon,   
When the road was a gypsy’s ribbon, looping the purple moor,   
A red-coat troop came marching—
King George’s men came marching, up to the old inn-door.

They said no word to the landlord. They drank his ale instead.   
But they gagged his daughter, and bound her, to the foot of her narrow bed.
Two of them knelt at her casement, with muskets at their side!   
There was death at every window;
         And hell at one dark window;
For Bess could see, through her casement, the road that he would ride.

They had tied her up to attention, with many a sniggering jest.
They had bound a musket beside her, with the muzzle beneath her breast!
“Now, keep good watch!” and they kissed her. She heard the doomed man say—
Look for me by moonlight;
         Watch for me by moonlight;
I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way!

She twisted her hands behind her; but all the knots held good!
She writhed her hands till her fingers were wet with sweat or blood!   
They stretched and strained in the darkness, and the hours crawled by like years
Till, now, on the stroke of midnight,
         Cold, on the stroke of midnight,
The tip of one finger touched it! The trigger at least was hers!

The tip of one finger touched it. She strove no more for the rest.   
Up, she stood up to attention, with the muzzle beneath her breast.   
She would not risk their hearing; she would not strive again;   
For the road lay bare in the moonlight;
         Blank and bare in the moonlight;
And the blood of her veins, in the moonlight, throbbed to her love’s refrain.

Tlot-tlot; tlot-tlot! Had they heard it? The horsehoofs ringing clear;   
Tlot-tlot; tlot-tlot, in the distance? Were they deaf that they did not hear?
Down the ribbon of moonlight, over the brow of the hill,
The highwayman came riding—
The red coats looked to their priming! She stood up, straight and still.

Tlot-tlot, in the frosty silence! Tlot-tlot, in the echoing night!   
Nearer he came and nearer. Her face was like a light.
Her eyes grew wide for a moment; she drew one last deep breath,   
Then her finger moved in the moonlight,
         Her musket shattered the moonlight,
Shattered her breast in the moonlight and warned him—with her death.

He turned. He spurred to the west; he did not know who stood   
Bowed, with her head o’er the musket, drenched with her own blood!   
Not till the dawn he heard it, and his face grew grey to hear   
How Bess, the landlord’s daughter,
         The landlord’s black-eyed daughter,
Had watched for her love in the moonlight, and died in the darkness there.

Back, he spurred like a madman, shrieking a curse to the sky,
With the white road smoking behind him and his rapier brandished high.
Blood red were his spurs in the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat;
When they shot him down on the highway,
         Down like a dog on the highway,
And he lay in his blood on the highway, with a bunch of lace at his throat.

.       .       .

And still of a winter’s night, they say, when the wind is in the trees,
When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,   
When the road is a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,   
A highwayman comes riding—
A highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door.

Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark inn-yard.
He taps with his whip on the shutters, but all is locked and barred.   
He whistles a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there   
But the landlord’s black-eyed daughter,
         Bess, the landlord’s daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

Feel free to post your favorite poems in the comments!

March's Book Club Choice-Women's Prize for Fiction

  The Silence of The Girls  


Pat Barker

Title: The Silence Of The Girls
Author: Pat Barker
Publisher: Penguin Random House UK
Publication Date: 30th August 2018
Genre: Fiction
When the Greek Queen Helen is kidnapped by the Trojans, the Greeks sail in pursuit, besieging the city of Troy. Trapped in the Greek soldiers camp is another captured queen, Briseis. Condemned to be a bed-slave to Achilles, the man who butchered her family, she becomes a pawn in a menacing game between bored and frustrated warriors. In the centuries after this most famous war, history will write her off, a footnote in a bloody story scripted by vengeful men - but Briseis has a very different tale to tell.....

ISBN: 978-0-241-98320-1


March's book choice came from the shortlist of books on the women's prize for fiction 2019, minus one as we'd already read Circe in December.

After reading Circe I was excited to see this book win the vote! As soon as I read the synopsis I knew I had to vote for it :) Recently I seem to have found some fab books based around Greek mythology and I've added many to my to-be-read pile(one day I suspect ill be found buried under my tbr pile!)
What I loved about this book is that its told from a woman's perspective and, for a change, the woman isn't Helen of Troy! I'd never heard of Briseis before reading this book but then again I only know the basics about the Trojan war and I've never read around the subject, I suspect I will in the future (another addition to that tbr pile).

Now the book doesn't shy away from the brutality of the situation Briseis (and various other women) is in, it tends to be quite graphic, to be honest. The detailed description of her situation and what happens/is done to her means that you do think well what would I do in her place, would I have chosen to follow the same path or would I have jumped at the beginning as her cousin did. It's also easy to forget that this brutality does still occur and women are still subjected to this treatment in some parts of the world (I'll be honest while reading this book I forgot that and was reminded by the lovely Val during our meeting). Now don't get me wrong, I really loved this book but I did think that occasionally she used quite modern phrasing/words and it felt out of place. Not quite jarring but borderline.
It's definitely a book I would read again and I've already recommended it to a few people!

Krystina xx

Book Club Score- 7/10

Monday, 20 July 2020

January's Book Club Choice-Classic Books

                       One Hundred Years of Solitude
                                Gabriel Garcia Marques 

Title: One Hundred Years of Solitude
Author: Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date:1970 ( in English)

Summary: Pipes and kettledrums herald the arrival of gypsies on their annual visit to Macondo, the newly formed village where Jose Arcadio Buendia and his strong-willed wife, Ursula have started their new life. As the mysterious Melquiades excites Aureliano Buendia and his father with new inventions and tales of adventure, neither can know the significance of the indecipherable manuscript that the old gypsy passes into their hands.

Through plagues of insomnia, civil war, hauntings, and vendettas, the many tribulations of the Buendia household push memories of the manuscript aside. Few remember its existence and only one will discover the hidden message it holds.

So from the off, I was not looking forward to this book. The synopsis didn't draw me in and frankly, it just didn't interest me. But knowing I needed to read it for book club I gave it a go and let me tell you its a hard slog of a book. So much so that I only made it 30 pages before I gave up! This is not normal for me and I have tried a few times since to finish it but I just can't. I have no interest in finishing it and I doubt I'll pick it up again.

Sorry for the short review on this one but I really don't have much to say about it.

Book Club Score-3/10


So. I had a plan to review all the book club books from December 2019  through to now and post them in the correct order....but that clearly hasn't happened! 
I could faff and pretend but honestly, I just haven't had the time to go back and read them to refresh my memory before writing the review and having an almost 10-month-old doesn't help with this( i swear he knows when I try and sit for 10 minutes to read). 

So what I'm going to do instead is post what I have and add the rest in as and when I can sit and read them! They may be out of order but I promise by the end of the year there will be a full set of reviews!

Now back to posts....

Krystina xx

Monday, 13 April 2020

Book Club Themes for 2020

Book Club Themes for 2020

So I thought id do I quick post giving a rundown of the theme plans for this year( yeah I'm that organized lol). Some of them were chosen because of the month (etc March is women's history month so we use the women prize for fiction for choices), others because we really wanted to add something in we haven't read for the past couple of years under that big bookclubs umbrella. We also added in a few different ideas but you'll see that in a minute :)
So here goes, the 2020 list;
January- Classic books 

We took these choices from a list of classic books that members had always wanted to read but had never got round to. One Hundred Years of Solitude won this one!

February- Waterstones book of the year 2019

Literally, the choices were every book on the list(even the cookbook). The Testaments won this.

March- Women's History Month 

Because it's women's history month we took choices from the women prize for fiction 2019. The Silence of the Girls won this(was very excited about this)

April- Poetry Month

For something a little different for poetry month, instead of a book to read all members are bringing their favorite poem and we'll discuss!

May- Folklore Fiction

We had a book last year that was based around some folklore and enjoyed the genre so decided to see what else was out there in this genre :)

June-  Non-Fiction

Because this isn't a genre that normally ends up in book club choices, so let's give it a go! I could live to regret that choice.

July- Romance, Local Author

We picked Romance for July as it's a good genre to take with you on holiday, nice fun summer read. And because we have a local author that has some fab books in that genre I decided to add that element in :) So July we will be reading a book by Cathy Bramley!

August- Biographies

There are so many good ones out there and again its not normally a book club choice.

September- Banned Books

There are so many banned books I've never read and I'm curious to read and see why they were banned. So I guess this was a little bit selfish on my part.

October- Black History Month

Again chosen because this is black history month, not sure yet where we might get our choices from so any suggestions are welcome in the comments :) 

November- Horror

Pushed back a month but determined to fit it in. November's still scary right?

December- Short Stories

Now December is a busy month and our meetings are usually a few weeks early so a short story collection seemed the best idea. That way if you don't finish the whole book you'll still have managed a couple of stories :)

Ok, so that was a slightly longer run down than I planned but oh well!

Krystina xx

Friday, 3 April 2020

Hello and welcome...

To the restarting of this blog!
I've been quite frankly rubbish at this for the moment I started it but that's about to change for two reasons;
1) We're on lockdown and because of my asthma, I'm stuck here for a while so you're stuck with me!
2) It's now linked in with my book club! Admittedly I've been running my book club for 3 years but we're now out from under the umbrella of a global one and doing it our own way!

So originally my plan was to post a couple of times a month with posts about what the book club is reading and our collective thoughts on it but it might be more often than that if I can get into the swing of things ;) I'll also be posting the questions on the book before the meeting so if you happen to be reading along with us from another city feel free to comment with you thoughts to any of the questions :)

A little bit about book club now. We're called One More Chapter and we're Nottingham based. We're also a female-only book club(sorry boys!) and we meet on the last Monday of the month at a place called  The 38 Playwright (normally but life's not normal right now). Meetings start at 7pm and cost £5 a month, this covers the cost of a raffle book and any running costs. Now the raffle book is always a copy of next month's book so it's worth waiting to see if you win it before you buy it.
We're a friendly bunch so when all this has settled down and we're back to normal meetings come along and join us! But in the meantime visit our Facebook page @onemorechapternotts and our Instagram @omcbookclub

So I've got a little backlog of books I need to get post/review happy with starting with Circe by Madeline Miller which was our December book ( told you I had a backlog!) but I will sort that as soon as possible!

Final note hello to any of my book club ladies reading this *waves*

Krystina xx