Tag Archives: Megan Lindholm

Sunday Post – 10th July

Standard

Sunday Post

This is part of the weekly meme over at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer, where book bloggers can share the books and blogs they have written.

I’ve finally settled down with the new computer and am delighted with the speed at which I can get through the work, now I’m not sitting there waiting for it to open… save… restart… This week, as well as continuing with my fitness regime of Fitstep and Pilates classes, I’ve been busy planning. I met up with fellow tutor Paula Glennister and we spent Tuesday morning working out how we are going to deliver our shared course creative writing course Bucket List Books, due to start at Northbrook College in September. It is really exciting working on a new project and I’m looking forward to this one – fingers crossed we get sufficient numbers…

I also had a planning session regarding Tim’s teaching syllabus next year. We have finally worked out that he will be working on a series of mini-projects over the last two years, which will give him final certification commensurate with a GCSE qualification, overseen and marked by an affiliated school. The course is excellent, covering important subjects like personal finance, health and diet, safety and the environment – I only wish that my grandchildren, Frankie and Oscar, could also work on such a common-sense, practical scheme.

On Thursday, Rob came home for a flying visit so I could help him with an audition tape – very intense, but also great fun and it’s always a treat to catch up with him.

I’m now back into editing mode and am hoping to have completed the line edit for Breathing Space during this coming week. And I’ve been chilling by watching Wimbledon – my annual sporting treat – the tennis this week has been superb and I’m rooting for Andy Murry and delighted at Serena Williams’ wonderful win, as well as her moving, shortened rendition of Maya Angelou’s poem ‘And Still I Rise’.

This week I’ve managed to read:

Speak by Louisa Hall
speakA young Puritan woman travels to the New World with her unwanted new husband. Alan Turing, the renowned mathematician and code breaker, writes letters to his best friend’s mother. A Jewish refugee and professor of computer science struggles to reconnect with his increasingly detached wife. An isolated and traumatized young girl exchanges messages with an intelligent software program. A former Silicon Valley Wunderkind is imprisoned for creating illegal lifelike dolls. Each of these characters is attempting to communicate across gaps — to estranged spouses, lost friends, future readers, or a computer program that may or may not understand them. In dazzling and electrifying prose, Louisa Hall explores how the chasm between computer and human — shrinking rapidly with today’s technological advances — echoes the gaps that exist between ordinary people. Though each speaks from a distinct place and moment in time, all five characters share the need to express themselves while simultaneously wondering if they will ever be heard, or understood.
This remarkable novel is an exploration of why we reach out to each other and happens when it goes wrong. I loved the fact the five voices are embedded in a dying android, warehoused for the crime of being too human…

 

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes
mebeforeyouLou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick. What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane. Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that. What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.
I love this author – see my review of The Girl You Left Behind here – but this particular book blew me away. It would have been so easy to have turned this into a sentimental mess – and Moyes doesn’t. Instead, I was laughing out loud a lot of the way through. I will be reviewing this book in due course.

 

Inborn – Book 1 of The Birthright series
InbornRosamund Brandt has had a semi normal life for sixteen years. Well, semi normal for a family descended from aliens. Sure, she could create portals and her family had a secret basement. But she went to school, had a best friend, and got her driving permit like every other teen. However, her definition of “normal” unravels when a killer with multiple powers and an agenda steps into town. When Rosamund herself becomes a target, she has a choice between playing the killer’s game and saving a few, or getting to the core of the murders and stopping them for good. Rosamund’s choice will save everyone she cares about–or unleash a new era for herself and her family, shattering whatever hope for going back to normal she had.
This is a great premise and I enjoyed the idea behind it. Ros, the protagonist, is smart, tough and well trained – a classic YA heroine. I’ll be reviewing this book in due course.

 

After You – Book 2 of Me Before You series by JoJo Moyes
afteryouWhen an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started. Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future…

After the amazing reading experience that Me After You provided, I wanted to plunge back into this world and learn about Lou’s subsequent adventures – she’s such a fantastic protagonist.

 

 

My posts last week:
Sunday Post – 3rd July

Shoot for the Moon Challenge 2016 – June roundup

Teaser Tuesday – Speak by Louisa Hall

Review of Demon Road by Derek Landy

Five SFF Books That Made Me Laugh – part 2

Friday Faceoff – Our Four-Legged Friends featuring The Reindeer People by Megan Lindholm

Review of Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

Other interesting/outstanding blogs and articles that have caught my attention during the last week, in no particular order:

This charming selection of short films chosen by Joanna Maciejewska are really worth viewing – http://melfka.com/archives/1863

No one writes about music with more passion than Thom Hickey – this article celebrating Bill Withers’ song ‘Lean on Me’ is wonderful… https://theimmortaljukebox.com/2016/07/05/bill-withers-american-hero-born-on-the-4th-of-july

I love this book spine poetry by Jo Robertson. https://mychestnutreadingtree.wordpress.com/2016/07/06/book-spine-poetry

Juliet McKenna, who has devoted swathes of time to campaign on behalf of authors selling their books from their own websites, updates us on the situation post-Brexit… http://www.julietemckenna.com/?p=2199

This article blew me away – I knew of the guild system and journeymen, but had no idea it still continued… https://inesemjphotography.com/2016/07/02/journeymen-in-ireland-and-much-more/

I’m hoping this week that I can really crack on this the editing and progress with some of my other writing chores stacking up… The weather isn’t looking as if it will tempt me out into the garden, Many thanks for visiting and taking the time and trouble to comment – and may you have a wonderful reading and blogging week.

Advertisements

Friday Faceoff – Our Four-Legged Friends

Standard

This meme was started by Books by Proxy, whose fabulous idea was to compare UK and US book covers and decide which is we prefer. This week I have decided to go for an animal theme, featuring one of my favourite authors. Megan Lindholm, aka Robin Hobb, wrote the cracking duology The Reindeer People – see my review here. These are some of the covers for the first book.

 

reindeerpeople1

This offering was published by Unwin in 1989. I think it is beautiful and accurately reflects the feel of Lindholm’s world.

 

reindeerpeople

This version was produced by in 2001, though I don’t know who the publisher is as Goodreads merely says it isn’t available. Whoever designed the cover did a really good job, in my opinion. Again, it gives a sense of what the book is about while being attractive and eye-catching.

 

reindeerpeople2

This is the latest edition of The Reindeer People, published in 2011 by Voyager. It is the starkest cover, with a very simple font and an ungarnished image of reindeer, doubtless in consideration of the thumbnail necessary for Kindle books. It is certainly adequate, but doesn’t have the detail or beauty of both of the earlier covers.

My favourite is the first one, which I think absolutely captures the book while also providing a beautiful cover – though I’m sure it would not reduce to a thumbnail particularly well. Which is your favourite?

Review of Wolf’s Brother – Book 2 of The Saga of the Reindeer People by Megan Lindholm

Standard

This is the second half of the story Lindholm started with The Reindeer People and picks up exactly where the first book finished, back sometime during the Bronze Age, in the wilds of Northern America/Europe/Russia.

wolf's brotherEvery day, Kerlew’s magic grows, reaching out to his guide, the Wolf. But the magic also calls to Carp, the evil old shaman, who is pursuing Kerlew and his mother, Tillu, across the frozen waste. Meanwhile, someone – or something – is committing terrible atrocities in the village that Tillu now calls home. With fear and suspicion at fever pitch, a strange old man appears, with an offer of help…

Lindholm manages to perfectly capture the sense of fear and claustrophobia that overtakes her protagonists after an unsolved murder. And two very ambitious, ruthless individuals appear to be able to operate without any opposition within the small community, as misfortunes continue to pile up. This is essentially a murder/mystery and the fantastic elements are confined to the shamanistic magic practised by Carp and Kerlew. It works really well and I was so caught up in the characters and their problems, I didn’t miss the supernatural factor. The world is so distant from our own, where Life is precarious and the difference between survival and death often simply down to misfortune, there was a constant sense of tension.

Tillu’s efforts to try and protect Kerlew from Carp’s malign influence held me – as did Heckram’s attempt to keep his place within the small community after having made some powerful enemies… This isn’t a long read, which is just as well because once I picked up the book I found it very difficult to put down. Lindholm’s pacing, evocation of the journey when the tribe have to follow the wild reindeer herds to their summer camp and her depiction of the handful of vividly drawn characters is a joy.

She brings this tale to a triumphant and climactic end – and this little gem presages the author’s successful career as one of the foremost Fantasy writers of her generation as Robin Hobb. Both The Reindeer People and Wolf’s Brother are available in print and as an ebook. If you are already a Robin Hobb fan and want an enjoyable, compelling read then give yourself a treat. You won’t be sorry…
9/10

Review of The Reindeer People – Book 1 of The Reindeer People Saga by Megan Lindholm

Standard

reindeer peopleFor those of you who are interested in such things, Megan Lindholm also writes under the name of Robin Hobb, one of the most successful and accomplished Fantasy writers of her generation. Her impressive output includes The Farseer Trilogy, Liveship Traders Trilogy, The Tawny Man Trilogy and The Soldier’s Son Trilogy. This novel is a significant departure to her other work – it is set in the distant past and there isn’t very much magic, other than that provided by the overbearing shaman.

Living on the outskirts of the tribe, Tillu is happy spending her time tending her strange, slow, dreamy child Kerlew and communing with the land to heal the sick and bring blessing on new births. However Carp, the Shaman, an ugly wizened old man whose magic smells foul to Tillu knows that Carp’s magic will steal her son and her soul. So begins a harrowing and desperate pursuit across the winter-ravaged lands, as Tillu’s flight leads them into an uncertain, and deadly, new future.

This tale pulls you in immediately as we follow Tillu in her efforts to keep her son safe in a period where Life is tough – particularly for a lone woman with a child who is oblivious of the social conventions surrounding him. Where the weather and any number of illnesses or accidents can wipe out a life and those depending upon it in a matter of hours, Lindholm manages to depict the time and place with pinsharp attention to detail, without giving us any long-winded exposition. We are not only confronted with Tillu’s dilemma – we also learn of Heckram’s struggle to secure himself a reasonable future, after the untimely death of his father. He feels a strong sense of sympathy for the fey Kerlew and desires to help him. But he has other calls on his loyalty and energy, as Elsa, his childhood sweetheart is clearly in trouble and looks to him for help…

Lindholm manages to give a wholly convincing slice of life in a reindeer herder’s village and the scene when a young couple are setting up home together is a particularly fine example of how deftly this author crafts a technically demanding scene. I don’t know whether Lindholm has much immediate experience of the sort of landscape she uses in this story – but it certainly reads as if she has.

If you enjoy reading historical tales that have the characters and their particular problems jumping off the page and into your head, then go looking for this book – and one of my main priorities is to get hold of the sequel, Wolf’s Brother.
10/10