Wyvernfriend Reads

I read a lot of books, I like fantasy, romance and some non-fiction

I work as a librarian, I'm an avid knitter. I collect Dragons, fountain pens, notebooks and filofaxes. And Yarn, lots and lots of yarn.

Thankfully issues resolved and growth happens

A Lady in need of an Heir - Louise Allen

Gabrielle Frost has a problem, she needs an heir, but if she marries she will lose everything, including the vineyards she has tended in Portugal. When Nathaniel Graystone, Earl of Leybourne arrives to bring her back to London to satisfy his godmother and her aunt (one and the same person) Gabrielle wonders if she could get a child on him and retreat back to Portugal. But then she starts falling for him, but he has duties in England. Can they reconcile the issues?

Yeah, it all works out in the end but I was almost screaming at them about the solutions. Still I would suspect that it wouldn't have occured to them in reality. He was a bit of an ass about it initially but his respect does grow and he earns her love.

Barefoot on the Wind - Zoë Marriott

Set in a mythical place that is a reflection of Japan the way much of regular fantasy reflects Europe, this is an interesting twist on the Beauty and the Beast story that takes some of the ideas of the story and twists them subtly.

Everyone in Hana's remote village knows that going too far into the forest is bad, very bad, won't come back bad. Hana's family has lost her brother to this and her father blames her. A lot of the time the people who vanish seem to wander away in the middle of the night and are never seen again. When Hana's father disappears she decides to user her talent to talk to the trees to help her search for the monster they keep whispering to her about. This will change everything.

I loved it, great story and compelling characters that really spoke to me. It kept me from sleep last night.

Reading progress update: I've read 278 out of 313 pages.

Barefoot on the Wind - Zoë Marriott

Zoe Marriott has never written a book I didn't like, started this last night, this may have been a bad decision.  Now I have to wait for a year for her next one.

interwar mystery for kids

First Class Murder - Robin  Stevens

This is a nice reflection of Murder on the Orient Express which is referenced a few times in the text. Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are taking a holiday with Hazel's father on the Orient Express and of course there's a murder. Officailly there's no-one there to investigate but the two girls use their wits to resolve the mystery.

Entertaining and I like how Hazel is developing as a character.

Mixed review

Coldmaker - Daniel A. Cohen

It reads a bit like fantasy but it's post-apocalypse. The apocalypse happened when, according to the rulers, the Jadans angered the crier and that ripped cold away. Now cold is a commodity, the land is a desert and the rivers boil and the Jadans are the slaves of petty Nobles who have the power of life and death over the Jadans. The Jadans are raised in communal houses, taken from their parents and given to others to raise. Their lives are nasty, brutish and short and things are grim.

Micah escapes the dorm at night, looking for things to (illegally) tinker with and to try to make his life, and the life of others better. He encounters are more rebellious Jadan and realises that life isn't always obvious.

It's interesting and the characters are well drawn but the world is a mystery. I didn't really get what was going on and why and eventually I just was underwhelmed by it all. I am curious to know what's going on but I don't really feel an urgency to find the next book.


Secrets of a Wallflower - Amanda McCabe

Set during the Paris Exposition in 1889 where the Eifel Tower was intended as a temporary structure and now is the iconic image of Paris itself.  Into this mix comes Diana Martin, searching for a future and Sir William Blakely who is searching for something.  He's just back from Foreign Office shenigans in India and he's still working for them, but now he's just trying to keep the Prince of Wales happy and safe.  Only Diana keeps distracting him.


His parents had a disaster of a marriage and he's not sure he wants to deal with similar heartache and enxiety and to add to his woes his brother and his ex seem to be embroilled in a jewelry theft.


The two work well together and I liked how the romance developed.  You could see the change in women's place in the world and how he respected her, I hope she continues to write if she wants to.


In Dublin there is a  SF convention, Octocon and I went to the first few and then I lapsed for a few years, and now I've gone for the last few years.  And it's a huge amount of fun and I enjoy myself hugely.


This year's guests of honour were Pat Cadigan and Colleen Doran, I've been a huge fan of Colleen for years and got two books signed by her.  After listening to Pat Cadigan I have to read some of hers too, she was vastly entertaining.


Of course I met too many people that I didn't have enough time for and I should have taken today off but live and learn is the mantra.


Mrs Bradshaw's Handbook - Terry Pratchett

Taking it's cue from Bradshaw's Guide (which I had only heard of because of the TV series with Michael Portillo but this is a woman guiding as only Terry Pratchet can, a traveller through the train service of the Disk. She comes across as one of those classic British women travllers like Gertrude Bell.  It's also lavishly illustrated by Peter Dennis.


it's a good filler title in the Diskworld.

Great photos, scant details.

The Occult, Witchcraft & Magic an illustrated history - Christopher Dell

The pictures are pretty but it's a bit all over the place, plus you have to go to the back of the book to get the picture credits to see if the illustration is contemporary to the topic being discussed or a later impression, which can be important because pictures can be coloured by culture, learning and biases and what the artists is commenting about.

This book left me wanting more, more detail, more information and defiintely a better time0line. It starts from very eurocentric classical history bias and runs through the european experience before including african and american and it's a fairly superficial look. Howver the bibliography is extensive.

An interesting coffee table book about magic and the occult.

Circus girl joins a boarding school

Poppy Pym and the Pharaoh's Curse - Laura Wood

This was a load of fun.  The story Poppy Tomato Pym had always heard about her past was that the magician in the circus had pulled her from his hat.  The Circus is her life, her family, but she's 11 and she has an offer of a school scholarship to a boarding school and her family aren't about to say no.


She's not prepared for it and they're not prepared for her but she has to adapt and her friends Kip and Ingrid help.  When an Egyptian exhibit starts in the school and one of the main exhibits, a ruby that is reputed to be cursed goes missing, Poppy has to investigate.  


The story deals with the plausability of the whole thing well, glosses over some details and occasionally implies real magic but without being heavy-handed about it all.  It dealt with homesickness and found family and it was a hoot.


Using it for the Baker Street Irregulars square.

Dark Dark tales

Tangleweed and Brine - Deirdre Sullivan

Oh this is dark dark stuff, I found it enthralling, but it's a book to have something happy and light lined up afterwards.  This is not your light, easy read, this stuff is grim and it takes a twist on the Grimm tales and amps up the agency for the female characters.


The illustrations by Karen Vaughan reminded me of Aubrey Bearsley or Harry Clarke with a modern more sparse twist and I was very impressed by them.  


These are not your average fairy tale but they're damned good.


I had a different book lined up for A Grimm Tale in the Bingo but this is just too perfect for this.


Today I was looking at the new books for cataloguing trolley, it's one of the minor conveniences of being where I work.  And I came across a copy of Oscar Wilde's "The Canterville Ghost" and I said to myself, "I could read that for the Classic Horror square" only I can't this edition is one of the worst scans I have seen (ISBN 9783732658336) I may add some photos later - I took a few shots to document this atrocity. This is the problem with some publishing houses, there is no control, only profit and no real way to flag these companies as being useless, as soon as they have enough negatives about them they fold and rename and start again.


Still looking for a book for my Classics Square...

Young detectives

Arsenic For Tea - Robin Stevens

In this second book we're in Daisy Well's family home, Fallingford, for the holidays.  Hazel wong and two other of their classmates are also there to celebrate Daisy's birthday.  When one of the guests, who has proven themselves generally unpopular dies from poisoning Daisy and Hazel get caught up on the investigation.  


It's very much a Country House mystery, with bonus isolation due to a rain storm flooding access and the girls have to use their smarts to investigate.  They don't like some of the conclusions they have to come too but they do try to be as neutral as possible.


It's a good read with some great characters and it all falls together well.


Using it for the Country House Square and it would be perfectly viable for the Baker Street Irregulars as well.

Arsenic For Tea - Robin Stevens

This was going to be for Baker Street Irregulars but it's also a Country House story, I think I'll assign this one to Country House and read the sequel for Baker Street.

Halloween Booklikes roundup

So I'm down to the last few squares.


I have to assign some books.  I have Ghost Stories; Classic Horror; Southern Gothic; A Grimm Tale; Gothic; 13; Baker Street Irregulars; Country House Mystery and Cozy Mystery.


I have a pile of Nocturnes and I'm pretty certain there's two books by one author in there, or that I could easily read another by one of those authors, so I have to plan things.  However it's almost midnight my time...



Ren faire and murder

Ghastly Glass - Joyce Lavene, Jim Lavene

While I've occasionally been involved in SCA activities I've never been to a renfair.  This is a story of Jessie Morton, who is doing research on medieval crafts, and date the manager, Chase Manhattan.  It's Halloween and there are a lot of halloween extra characters  around.  One of them is death and then he turns up literally dead. Then there are more accidents and incidents and things get complicated.


She gets involved in the investigation and almost gets killed several times and honestly is almost too stupid to live.  She keeps stumbling into things she should know better but failing, even when she's warned to actually pay attention and take some care.


Honestly I wanted to shake her or slap her she's supposed to be intelligent and many of the people around her are also supposed to be clever, but the amount of stupid behaviour and activity including some behaviour that is either sexist or bullying and honestly I would have either lodged a formal complaint or left the insanity behind.

It wasn't a terrible read but it didn't make me want to find any more from this series or anything by these authors.


Using this for Creepy Carnival, it would probably fit cosy mystery too.

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