A selection of book reviews!

This is a complete mixed bag of reviews. It’s at times like this that I realise just how eclectic my reading tastes actually are!

Puff, the Magic DragonPuff, the Magic Dragon by Peter Yarrow

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I remember my mum singing this song to me a lot when I was a wee dragonet (about thirty-odd years ago) and was reminded once again of Puff, through seeing a picture of the book’s cover on Pinterest! I then went on YouTube and watched a video (created by Nana Kate’s Corner) where the story was read aloud. I picked this version as I liked Nana Kate’s accent! 😀 I loved the story, and the illustrations of the dragon were gorgeous. I felt sorry for Puff when his little friend grew up and left him behind but I’m glad he had a new friend to enjoy playing with in the end. aaawwww. I’m just surprised I couldn’t remember much of the actual story, to be honest. Still, it was nice to revisit it and was a nice trip down memory lane.

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The Tale of Custard the DragonThe Tale of Custard the Dragon by Ogden Nash

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an amusing little poem about a cowardly dragon called Custard! He lives with his owner Belinda and a passel of other animals who make fun of him for being cowardly. (bless him.) He gains courage enough though to eat a pirate and save the day, hooray, although he still returns to being cowardly in the end, though, bless. It’s a good lesson to us all to prove we don’t have to be brave all of the time, just when it matters. This was great fun to read and made me laugh. This is something I’ll enjoy re-reading in the future.

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Pendragon's Banner (Pendragon's Banner Trilogy, #2)Pendragon’s Banner by Helen Hollick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the second in Helen Hollick’s trilogy about King Arthur. This book focusses on Arthur’s attempts at consolidating his kingship and the trials and tribulations he must face in order to get there. There’s a lot more angst and darkness in this book, than in the first, I thought (more so when considering the state of affairs between Arthur and Gwenhwyfar and the trials they face together as a family. Some of it’s pretty hard to get through ie the death of their youngest son in the first part of the book.) I still think it’s nice to see the ‘characters’ presented as they would quite likely be in real life, even though I love the more fantasy based tales of King Arthur, too.

A lot of the characters are not … easy to read about, admittedly. I do think that this is quite a refreshing change though, to present the characters as more … human rather than iconic heroes who can’t do anything wrong, and whatnot. Arthur’s quite selfish and stubborn and given over to great flashes of temper, while Winifred is a scheming, manipulative bitch. Morgause is just pure evil personified and is also quite selfish. Gwenhwyfar, is by far, still my favourite character in the series. She’s kick-ass and still capable of great kindnesses and tenderness. She also has quite the pivotal moment at the end! Her relationship with Arthur could best be described as a love-hate one, or perhaps a tempestuous one would be more the apt description. If they’re not arguing, they’re … well, indulging in a lot of quite vigorous ‘quality time’ with one another.

This book had some good scenes, quite a bot of action and lots of battles. I’m looking forward to seeing what the third book has in store for everyone.

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The Moon Is DownThe Moon Is Down by John Steinbeck

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I actually listened to this book as an audiobook and I decided to do so because it was a WWII novella. I’m really interested in that era anyway, so that’s why it appealed to me. I’m not familiar with John Steinbeck’s works, other than the obvious Of Mice and Men (which was required reading at school.)

I did enjoy this book. I could imagine each scene playing out like a mini-movie in my head. (I think listening to it instead of reading the actual prose version helped.) This story focussed upon a country being invaded – although it doesn;t specifically say as much, it’s obviously about Nazis (occupying Norway.) Judging by what I’ve read in other reviews, this novella was actually written as propaganda for the Allies.

I thought it was interesting to ‘humanise’ the oppressors (the Nazis) and tell parts of the the story from the various members of the occupying forces as well as the people being oppressed. I thought that a lot of the action was merely implied and not shown, which I thought was rather interesting way of presenting the story. All in all, I know that I will be listening to this again in the future.

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