The Pearl in the Ice – Cathryn Constable

The Pearl in the Ice

Hello everyone – I am back again (how has it been quite so long?!) with a review of The Pearl in the Ice by Cathryn Constance.

I was kindly sent this copy to review by Chicken House, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!  Firstly, I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but this is a stunning book – a lot more beautiful than the picture can convey. Secondly, the story itself is just lovely.

We follow Marina who is escaping a horrible boarding school to stow away on her father’s Navy ship.  She very soon finds out that there is more going on than she realised – otherworldly creatures, spies and codes abound!

Here’s what Barry Cunningham, publisher of The Pearl in the Ice, has to say about the book;

Have you ever dreamt about the wind carrying you away, far out to sea, the wild waves sweeping you further and further in to the cold north? Cathryn Constable’s brilliant new story will do just that. In these pages, you’ll discover a mystery both above and below the ocean’s surface, a tale of shipwrecks, sea creatures and tangled trust. Here, a girl seeks the truth about her family and the dreadful threats to those she loves. It’s a thriller, an adventure and a romance of wild imagination. Sail away – find yourself!

The different parts of the puzzle are woven together expertly, and only at the end does everything come together satisfyingly.  I would recommend this book for 10+ readers who are ready to question their roles in life and whether or not adults are always right.

I am very pleased to be able to share an extract from this lovely book with you today – I hope you enjoy it!

Only once the boy had left the bridge did her father
pull Marina towards him by the sleeve of her tunic.
‘What is the meaning of this, Marina?’
‘You know her, Commander?’ Brown whistled in
surprise.
‘That’s enough, Brown,’ Commander Denham said,
curtly. ‘You’ll speak when you’re spoken to.’
‘Aye, sir.’ He looked down at his feet.
‘Marina? I want an explanation for why you are not
at school and are instead on my boat.’
Marina stared at the toggle on her father’s duffel
coat. She must not allow herself to see the horizon
moving up and down, up and down. ‘I . . . I . . . I was on
the way to school. Mr Mount took me and Edward to
the station. I was just about to get on the Winchester
train. My trunk had been put on. But then the train to
Portsmouth was on the next platform. I just wanted to
see you . . . One last time.’ She swallowed. Perhaps if she
closed her eyes, she wouldn’t feel so sick. ‘I owe money
to a very kind woman who paid for my ticket . . .’ She
opened her eyes again. Surely she could say that much
without breaking her promise to Miss Smith? ‘I was
meant to see you on the Neptune and then meet her
afterwards, but when I was put off the Neptune there
was such a long time to wait before I could meet the
woman again.’ Marina sniffed. ‘Everything felt so hopeless. But then I met some dogs and I heard the names of
the sailors – it was Brown and Perkins, do you see? And
the day sort of tilted and rocked. And then I just ran up
the gangplank. I didn’t intend to be a stowaway. I really
did just want to see you one last time before you left.
But everything happened so quickly . . .’ She blinked
back tears. ‘I’ve only eaten two biscuits and an apple all
day. Apart from the crust that Ivy gave me. And that
was stale. And now I’ve been sick. Oh, it was over the
side of the boat, so I haven’t made a mess.’
‘Finchin?’ her father said, not taking his eyes off her.
The pleasant-looking sandy-haired man now turned
to the Commander. ‘Yes, sir.’ His clipped tones marked
him out as a naval officer, despite the rough fisherman’s
sweater he wore. He spoke as calmly as if he were waiting
to find out the time of a cricket match.
‘We’ll put my daughter off the boat at Kirkport.’
‘Kirkport, sir? In Scotland?’
‘We can’t risk a larger port. They’ll ask all sorts of
questions.’
Finchin cleared his throat. ‘Permission to speak, sir.’
‘I know what you’re going to say, Finchin. That a stop
at Kirkport will hold us up. But what can we do? I can
hardly take my twelve-year-old daughter on this mission.’
‘With respect, sir, we are cutting it fine to get to
Svengejar as it is. From there it will take another three
days to get to the Sea of Murmansk—’
‘You think I don’t know where we’re going?’
Commander Denham interrupted.
‘We need to get to Pechorin Island,’ Finchin said,
calmly. ‘And without wasting time stopping at any
unnecessary port . . .’ He cleared his throat. ‘We can’t
dilly-dally if we’re to . . .’ He coughed. ‘Before . . .’
‘But I thought you were going to Cadiz,’ Marina
blurted out.
‘Where I go and what I do is none of your business,’
her father snapped. ‘I have a mission to complete. You –
with your nonsense of playing truant from school and
getting on wrong trains – have jeopardized it. And
we’re scarcely an hour out of Portsmouth!’
‘Father. Please don’t put me off the boat. Please let
me stay. Please.’
‘Stay? On the Sea Witch? It’s out of the question.
This boat is no place for a . . . a . . . girl.’
Marina gripped the shelf more tightly. ‘I’m afraid . . .
I’m awfully sorry . . . But I might just be . . .’ She clapped
her hand tightly to her mouth.
‘Get her off my bridge, Brown. And quick! When she’s
been sick, you can put her in the hold until Kirkport.

You can also check out the other stops on this blog tour – the dates and blogs are all listed below.

Pearl Bnner

 

Organdie x

 

Queen of Sea and Stars by Anna McKerrow

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Faye Morgan, a hereditary witch, moves away from her tiny coastal village in Scotland to London to be with her new boyfriend, Rav. But though she hopes she can live a normal life in a new city, her blood bond to the realms of faerie can’t be denied. With a faerie war brewing, can Faye realise her destiny and discover who she really is? A tale of faery magic, desire and modern witchcraft.

Who doesn’t like witches and all things fae?!

If, like me, these things are just your cup of tea then perhaps you’ll enjoy Anna McKerrow’s books. (The first in the series is Daughter of Light and Shadow)

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These are definitely adult books, but are extremely fun to lose yourself in.

Anna has kindly provided a lot of material for this blog tour, and she has done a tarot reading to give us some insight into different areas of the book.

 

 

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Pan and The High Priestess

These two cards (taken from The Tarot of the Sidhe by Emily Carding) reflect the conflict at the heart of Faye Morgan’s story in Daughter of Light and Shadows and Queen of Sea and Stars: sex and magic, which are in fact separate sides of the same coin. Faye is half faerie and the call of faerie is strong in her blood. She yearns to find her place in the faerie world as well as the human one. Her relationship with Finn Beatha, High King of Murias, has been intensely sexual, and has given her great insight and access to a particular kind of faerie magic. Pan is the god of nature, of wild sex and revelry, typifying the life force in its most primal form. With Finn, Faye has experienced the kind of wildness Pan represents – and a wildness which is part of her, unrecognised until now.

On the other hand, The High Priestess represents Faye as witch, as lone, solitary woman running her witch shop Mistress of Magic up in a small coastal Scottish village. She is deeply wise and knowledgeable, having been taught traditional Scottish witchcraft by her grandmother and her mother. She’s also journeyed to the faerie kingdoms, found her way through the enchanted labyrinth of Murias, and learnt secret faerie magic. Over time, she will come to realise that the intellectual, psychic, emotional and physical are both parts of the whole of her magic.

Be sure to check out the other stops on the blog tour for more content from Anna.

Blog Tour - Queen of Sea and Stars

You can buy the books here, here and here.

Mera – Tidebreaker by Danielle Paige

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Princess Mera is teenage royalty, heir to the throne of Xebel, an underwater colony ruled by Atlantis.  Her father and the entire kingdom are expecting her to marry and introduce a new king.  But Mera is destined to wear another crown….

Mera – Tidebreaker is a new graphic novel from imprint DC Ink, aimed at 13+ years.  It is an empowering story about activism, self discovery and young romance.  A relateable tale for today’s times when women of all ages are standing up for equality and what they believe in.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this graphic novel.  Stephen Byrne’s art style seems fairly classic when it comes to superhero comics and uses a limited colour palette of greens and blues to echo the underwater settings.  There are lovely pops of red for Mera’s hair, which really stand out.  The style and colour palette really appealed to me, and I found myself racing through this story.

As a newbie to DC in general (and someone who has not really come across Aquaman at all) I was concerned I would be a bit lost – but I was able to really enjoy the story and to get involved with the characters despite no prior knowledge of them.  I do think having the story presented in graphic novel format helped to immerse me into the world.  I will certainly be looking out for the next publications from the imprint (Under the Moon – Catwoman’s Tale comes out in May)

If you are a fan of DC, Aquaman, or a complete newbie wanting to learn more, I can thoroughly recommend this as a good read.

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Sunny weather for running

What a brilliant few days we’ve been treated to over the last week!

I’ve been so glad to get out and run in the sunshine and run in the sunshine with my lovely running club buddies – how lucky we are to have such a beautiful place to run on our doorstep.

Warhammer Adventures

My brother was really into warhammer as a kid – although he did steer towards The Lord of the Rings as a preference.  I remember dropping him off at the warhammer shop and heading off for a day shopping with mum and leaving him to his own devices with his fellow warhammer enthusiasts.  I do distinctly remember at the time thinking that all that stuff was not for me!

However, having developed a taste for Science Fiction and Fantasy in my reading, I was keen to try out the first in two series of Warhammer Adventures aimed at 8-12 year olds.

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These two adventures were so fun to read – its a perfect introduction to science fiction and fantasy, and a great way to perhaps encourage a reluctant reader to engage with the written word.  The illustrations add a whole new dimension and I really engaged with them as I was reading.

I am always incredibly curious to find out how writers write and to get an idea of where they do their work.  SO I am thrilled to be able to share some of the authors’ thoughts on that very subject!

Hello, I’m Cavan Scott and I’m the writer of the new Warhammer Adventures: Warped Galaxies series of junior novels.

I mainly write in my study, a tiny room packed full of toys and art. It means I’m surrounded by action figures, models, animation cells and things that inspire me or relate to things I’m working on. It also includes one of my prized possessions, a signed-photo of actor Roger Moore that peaks over one of my screens to encourage me to keep writing.

It’s a lot cosier than any of the worlds we meet in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. I think my favourite setting so far is in the third book of the series, Secrets of the Tau where we visit the Hinterland space station, a place filled with aliens of all shapes and sizes. It’s grimy, claustrophobic and dangerous. I can’t imagine anyone writing there!

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I’m Tom Huddleston, author of the Warhammer Adventures: Realm Quest series of fantasy stories for younger readers.

I live in a tiny flat, but there’s just enough room for me to have my own dedicated writing space – just a desk, a chair and a computer. I’m hemmed in on all sides by books, posters and DVDs, but my window offers a beautiful view over one of London’s ‘magnificent seven’ cemeteries, Abney Park in Stoke Newington. This was highly inspirational when it came to writing some of the spookier scenes in my Realm Quest novels!

My favourite place to write about in the Warhammer universe has been Lifestone, the city I created for the first book in the series and the home of all my major characters. Once a grand, bustling metropolis, Lifestone has now fallen into disrepair, suffering under a mysterious curse that has drained all the joy and spirit from the city and its people. I’ve always loved ruins and tumbledown places, there’s such a deep sense of mystery to them. Hopefully the same applies to the city of Lifestone.

I hope you enjoyed the insight into the writer’s life from the authors of Warhammer Adventures, and that you might pick up a copy of one or both of them for a younger reader in your life – or yourself!

*I was kindly sent copies of the books for review from the publisher – thank you to them!  This does not influence my thoughts on the books*

Reading Resolutions 2019

Do any of you make resolutions surrounding specific areas of your life? I quite often do and find that after a while I’ve completely given up on them.

So this year I thought I might do quarterly goals instead – three months seems to be a more manageable time frame than the whole twelve months lumped together. It also means I can tweak goals or stop them altogether if they are not working after the quarter is up.

So here are my reading resolutions for the first quarter of 2019.

  1. To read from my shelves

This is fairly easy and self explanatory. I have a lot of unread books on my shelves, and I should really prioritise these over buying (and borrowing to a lesser extent) more. I often find that the excitement over a new book wears off very quickly, so unless I read it straight away (which I don’t tend to do for some reason), I get a bit less (a lot less) excited about it and the cycle continues!

2. Reread!

I regularly reread Harry Potter – this is a yearly thing for me – but I’d like to revisit more favourites from previous years. This is another easy one – I have the books on my shelves already, so I can easily pick them up again and re-enjoy them.

3. Read more non-fiction

I like reading non-fiction but don’t do it as much as I’d like or as much as I used to. My loose aim(no pressure here) is to perhaps read a non-fiction book for every two fiction titles I read. We’ll see – I’d just like to think and read about non-fiction a little bit more.

Hopefully splitting the year up into quarters will mean some goals will actually be achieved! And I can always carry goals over into the next quarter too if I am enjoying myself with them.

What are some of your goals for this year?

The Goose Road Blog Tour

Goose road jacket

Hello!

Make yourself comfy for my little review of The Goose Road by Rowena House! I will also share a little extract with you to really get you in the mood to read this lovely book. Mine is the 4th extract to be shared so I would really recommend reading the other blogs on the tour in order to get a real sense of the book. (Part 1 can be found here, part 2 is here and part 3 here.)

France 1916. Angélique Lacroix is haymaking when the postman delivers the news: her father is dead, killed on a distant battlefield. She makes herself a promise: the farm will remain exactly the same until her beloved older brother comes home from the Front. “I think of it like a magical spell. If I can stop time, if nothing ever changes, then maybe he won’t change either.” But a storm ruins the harvest, her mother falls ill and then the requisition appears… In a last-ditch attempt to save the farm from bankruptcy, Angélique embarks on a journey across France with her brother’s flock of magnificent Toulouse geese.

thumbnail_Rowena House headshot (Walker)

I am also able to give you the chance to win one of 2 copies of The Goose Road. I’ll tell you how once you have had a taster of the book below. (The Giveaway is UK only, sorry!)

Thank you to Jo and Walker Books who sent me my copy of The Goose Road and is providing me with 2 copies to give away to you. 🙂

In angry silence, I watch her manoeuvre the palanche through the gate and into the lane.

Grim-faced, she turns uphill, towards the woods and the long, long road to Monville. I know how hard her day will be, but still I can’t forgive her.

A slight breeze rattles the overripe seeds in the corn field on the far side of the lane. She glances towards the sound.

“If you want to help Pascal, start the harvest – and don’t give me any nonsense about wash day, not when there’s work to be done.”

Without waiting for an answer, she trudges off, weighed down, a thin black figure under a cloudless sky. The scraping noise of her clogs on the hard-baked earth is quickly swallowed by the seething, rasping insects and the heat.

I turn my back on her and walk down to the orchard, where the geese are grazing on the last few blades of parched grass.

They’re tall, handsome birds with greyish-brown backs and dusky orange beaks. Toulouse geese. Pascal’s pride and joy. We call the biggest gander Napoleon Bonaparte.

He raises his head when he sees me and waddles over to the fence, expecting me to feed him. Poor thing. They’re all so hungry in this drought.

I hurry over to the corn field and gather a handful of grain for them. The seed heads clatter and sigh, and grey patches of mould catch my eye.

If only I knew Pascal was on his way home I’d happily start the harvest for him – and finish it, too. I’d scythe the whole field and thresh the grain, and mill it as well, if that would bring him back any sooner.

But Friday is my day, the only time I see my friends now we’ve all left school. We do our washing together at

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the old stone lavoir in the village, then swim in the river afterwards.

As I return with the grain, Napoleon snaps at me greedily through the fence. I jump away from his beak, which could take my eye out with one peck – or so Pascal once said.

Back in the house, I pick up Pascal’s bed sheet from the floor and put it into our big wicker washing basket. Then I look round for his letter.

I search the pockets of Mother’s apron first, then the dresser, the bread drawer, the sooty shelf in the brick chimney breast.

I lift up rugs and examine nooks and crannies, then try the pantry.

It’s cool and cramped, white-tiled with a pitted stone counter. I look behind Mother’s butter churn, under her bottles of pickles, in the crate of potatoes. I even check the wire cheese cage which hangs from a rafter, out of the reach of the mice.

Finally, with a sense of trepidation, I climb the stairs to Mother’s bedroom.

Father’s coat still hangs from a nail in the wall. I squeeze past it, avoiding its touch. On her bedside table, she’s draped her black veil around the photograph of Father in his uniform. The picture of Pascal as a soldier stands beside it.

And there it is, between the two photographs. His letter. Snatching it up, I run to my room to read it.

This was a wonderful book – evocative and beautifully written. I can highly recommend this lovely book if you are after a warm hearted read.

The rules are simple for this giveaway.

1: Follow me on Twitter, I will contact you here if you have won.
@organdie84

2: Retweet my giveaway tweet (it will be pinned to my page)

3: Sorry but this is a UK only giveaway

4: BONUS ENTRY! Comment below and tell me one of your recent favourite reads.

The Goose Road published 5th April 2018, I hope this inspires you to pick up a copy

Amazon

Waterstones

Wordery

Organdie. x

Update 25th April – the winners have now been contacted 😊

I am still here!

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I am still here I promise – just seem to be taking ages to get back into the swing of things this year.  It’s already April, and I am not sure what has happened there…

I will be back this time next week with a very exciting blog tour for The Goose Road by Rowena House with a giveaway – how cool?

So I’ll speak to you properly next week – hope you have some spring sunshine where you are, and that you all had a lovely Easter weekend.

Organdie. x