Book Talk,  Tags & BookTube

Choose Your Fellowship Book Tag

This book tag was created by BooksNest and I found it on the blog Jessticulates. Feel free to join in! Just credit the creator. I’ll be releasing my answers both here on the blog and on my BookTube channel, so you can choose to watch & listen instead if you wish.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which means there is no additional cost to you if you shop using my links, but I will earn a small percentage in commission. A program-specific disclaimer is at the bottom of this post.

The BookTube Version…

…wherein I fumble through my answers and forget half of the clever things I typed below!

The Written Version…

…wherein I get to pretend I’m this polished and eloquent all the time (despite the evidence to the contrary right above this section. Shh!)

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Frodo: I will take the ring to Mordor.
A book you’re not quite sure if you like or not…

The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy by Claire Youmans. I downloaded a review copy of this one through Voracious Readers Only back in the summer and didn’t end up reading it until one of the later books came up on NetGalley and I decided I should read the first one before deciding if I wanted to skip 7 or 8 books and try the latest one. My review hasn’t made it onto this blog yet, but if you’re interested you can read it on Goodreads. I gave it 3 stars.

It’s an interesting story based in Japanese culture about these two adopted siblings who are actually birds that can become human children if loved by the right people. The eldest, Azuki, is a toki bird and the youngest, Shota, is a sparrow. Their parents are murdered by a zealous local sherif who wants the bird children for himself, and the book follows their separate journeys as one tries to run away and just live as a bird forever, while the other follows to retrieve his sibling and bring her back home where things are being set right.

I found some of the dialogue was clunky, and the random additional POV we get half way through doesn’t feel necessary at all, but other than that the book is well written. I also really love the traditional ink block illustrations throughout. What makes me unsure about this book is the fact that the author is a white woman from somewhere else in the world (USA? UK? None of her “about” blurbs seem to say) who has lifted these exact characters (minor though they were) from a traditional Japanese play she saw on one of her trips and taken it upon herself to expand their story. On one hand, Japan is one of the cultures out there in the world that celebrates cultural sharing and encourages everyone to enjoy what their culture has to offer, so if you hear people crying cultural appropriation here it’s probably not Japanese citizens. On the other hand, this is a white, western woman who has lifted existing traditional characters out of a Japanese story and capitalized on a series of novels giving them their own extended lore, and even inserts the great divide of cultural preservation in a time in Japan’s history when western culture was starting to seep in. I’m not sure how I feel about that, and therefore I’m not sure how I feel about the book.

The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow Boy: Coming Home
The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy Book One
by Claire Youmans

Genre: Historical Fiction
Page Count: 191
Add it to your Goodreads TBR

Japan, 1870. For bird-girl Azuki, being dual-natured is dangerous. With a greedy overlord coveting her beautiful Toki feathers, she attempts to keep her head down. But when he murders her parents in a failed kidnapping, Azuki’s only escape is to spread her wings and take to the skies.

Sparrow-boy Shota has no time to grieve. As his mother dies in his arms, he makes a promise to find his sister and warn her that she must come back. For unless Shota and Azuki make it home by the quarter-day, they’ll lose their chance to return forever.

As he barters his way across the country, the obstacles of ogres, storms, and time stand between two siblings and their hopes of citizenship and happiness.

In a rapidly-modernizing world, can Azuki and Shota return before they’re banished without a place to call home?

Coming Home is the enchanting first novel in the Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy historical fantasy series. If you like mythical creatures, unique folklore, and fast-paced adventure, then you’ll love Claire Youmans’ captivating tale from the Meiji Era.

Blurb copied from Goodreads.

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Sam: I can’t carry it, but I can carry you!
A book you’ll always be loyal to.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern! This is my all-time favourite stand-alone fantasy book out there. (Yes, I know, it’s largely marketed as Literary Fiction and sometimes isn’t even found in the SF/F section of the bookstore, but it’s about magicians who use real magic. It’s fantasy.)

One of these days (on my millionth re-read) I’ll write a proper review and give it a solo feature here on the blog. For now you can look for all the other times I’ve answered with this book in other tags. (That’s 6 different tags!)

The Night Circus
by Erin Morgenstern

Genre: Literary Fiction, Fantasy
Page Count: 391
Add it to your Goodreads TBR

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

Blurb copied from Goodreads.

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Pippin: What about second breakfast?
A book you want to re-read.

You mean other than The Night Circus? Because I always want to re-read The Night Circus. Hm…

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars. I reviewed the audio ARC back in September and thoroughly enjoyed it, but I knew I absolutely had to own a physical copy. It arrived in the mail on Thursday and now it’s calling me. Loudly!

Check out my review here.

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars
by Christopher Paolini

Genre: Science Fiction
Page Count: 880
Add it to your Goodreads TBR

Kira Navárez dreamed of life on new worlds.

Now she’s awakened a nightmare.

During a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, Kira finds an alien relic. At first she’s delighted, but elation turns to terror when the ancient dust around her begins to move.

As war erupts among the stars, Kira is launched into a galaxy-spanning odyssey of discovery and transformation. First contact isn’t at all what she imagined, and events push her to the very limits of what it means to be human.

While Kira faces her own horrors, Earth and its colonies stand upon the brink of annihilation. Now, Kira might be humanity’s greatest and final hope…

Blurb copied from Goodreads.

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Merry: We’re going with you, Frodo.
A book about friendship.

Moon in Bastet by E. S. Danon. This is a fictionalization of the author’s autobiography leading into an adventure in parallel realities. It pulls from Jewish mysticism and Egyptian mythology, and it’s all about a friendship between two poorly treated circus kids in Israel who end up going through a set of trials overseen by godlike creatures, and it’s their friendship and loyalty to each other that gets them through. There’s a lot more to it, of course, and there’s a lot more to the female lead’s story in particular, but their friendship is vital to the story and a major theme throughout.

Read my 4-star review here.

Moon in Bastet
by E.S. Danon

Genre: Fantasy, Magical Realism
Page Count: 262
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

A memoir turned into thrilling fiction; Moon in Bastet is based on the life of author E. S. Danon. The story follows a fourteen-year-old girl named Eva, an orphan living in the Negev desert of Israel who is working as a custodian of Cirque Du Christianisme.

Her life is controlled by a volatile drunk named Bella who favors a group of equally volatile teenage bullies, the Christian boys. Bullied, neglected, and alone – Eva’s only friends are an odd, thirteen-year-old Sephardic boy named Jack and a small cohort of Bedouin sister-wives.

On the brink of giving up on life, Eva stumbles upon a mysterious cat in the middle of the desert. Or really, did the cat stumble upon her? Filled with mystery, magic, and symbolism – Moon in Bastet is a story of resilience, survivorship, forgiveness, and women empowerment.

This is a work filled with Jewish mysticism that can be enjoyed by people of all races, ages, and religions everywhere.

Blurb provided by author.

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK

Aragorn: For Frodo!
A book with a hero/heroine to swoon over.

Atticus in the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne, for sure. Just look at this man!

Legolas: That still only counts as one!
The biggest book on your TBR.

Firebrand by Kristen Britain, book six in the Green Rider series. It’s 784 page and the hardcover is sitting on my shelf unread! Actually though, I’ve got a long way to go before I get there. I’m pretty sure The High King’s Tomb is the last Green Rider book I actually read and that’s book 3, so I need to read 4 and 5 first.

Green Rider Book Six
by Kristen Britain

Genre: High Fantasy
Page Count: 784
Add it to your Goodreads TBR

Green Rider Karigan G’ladheon, not yet recovered in heart or mind from her unexpected trip through time, is assigned a new mission. She must seek out the legendary creatures called p’ehdrosian to renew an alliance of old in the face of dire threats from enemies who seek to destroy Sacoridia using dark magic.

Each step on her journey northward grows more perilous as she faces attacks from groundmites, encounters with ghosts, and, ultimately, the threat of the necromancer and leader of Second Empire, Grandmother, as they approach the enemy encampment in the Lone Forest.

Meanwhile, King Zachary of Sacoridia has been kidnapped by an ice elemental who is allied with Second Empire. Can Karigan free her king from captivity with just two allies by her side?

Blurb copied from Goodreads.

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK

Gimli: Shall I get you a box?
A short but fun read.

Goddess in Time by Adriadne LeFox is a twist of Arthurian legend with witty banter and a lot of insta-love romance. If you’re in for a light read with a fast pace and familiar faces, this one might be it! It’s just over 200 pages, but I read it in a morning. It goes fast.

Read my 4-star review here.

Goddess in Time
Women of Time (Collaborative Series)
by Adriadne LeFox

Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Page Count: 202
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

Myths and Legends have always inspired me. I especially love the King Arthur legends. The knights, ladies, valor, chivalry, and trust between them. I have never been one to trust easily, but with these legends, I feel like I am a part of their world somehow. As a college student, I chose to study these myths and legends because I want to find out if they are real or not.

So my journey began, by traveling to England. I have heard there is a professor there who has found the remains of what used to be Arthur’s castle. What I actually find when I get there is more than just the remains of a castle, it is the start of a new adventure.

In a land of myth and magic, what awaits me is more than I could have ever imagined…

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK

Boromir: They’ve taken the little ones.
A series in which you never made it past the first book.

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. Technically. I did start book two, but I DNFd it because there wasn’t enough Tyrion.

Galdalf: All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.
A book that made you think about your life, the universe and everything once you finished it.

A Douglas Adams quote! I caught that. That’s not my answer, though.

In my younger years when I was more devoutly religious, The Shack by William Paul Young actually changed the way I used to pray. This is a powerfully emtional story about a father’s spiritual journey as he searches for his abducted young daughter, and he finds himself in a shack in the woods inhabited by the Holy Trinity incarnate. God the Father presents as a motherly black home maker, which I loved because girl power, and Jesus was a more typical depiction. What changed prayer for me was the Holy Spirit. Presented as an Asian woman named Sarayu, this really gave this third piece of the Trinity puzzle a name and face for me in a way that the Bible and all the Christian sermons I had ever sat through never did. For a while after reading this book, if any part of my prayers felt most appropriately directed to the Holy Spirit, I actually used that name, and I prayed to the Spirit more.

These days I’m not so deeply religious. I align more with something between Quakerism and the Pagan faith. I still believe in God in the Christian sense but the church feels too restrictive and stuck in the past. So I don’t go to church every Sunday anymore, and I don’t pray for the sake of praying, so the says of talking to Sarayu have passed.

The Shack
by William Paul Young

Genre: Christian Fiction
Page Count: 252
Add it to your Goodreads TBR

Mackenzie Allen Phillips’s youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation, and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later, in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he find there will change his life forever.

Blurb copied from Godreads.

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK

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Well, that was fun! If you’d like to do this one then tag! You’re it! I’d love a pingback or an @ on Twitter so I can come see your answers.

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Jenna is the artist/illustrator and author behind Westveil Publishing and its sub-banner platforms Jenna Gets Creative and The Westveil Archives. She live in Newfoundland, Canada with her husband, daughter, and feline overlords.

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