Blood Myth – A Book Review

January 2, 2014 at 6:35 pm (Guest Blogger, Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

from Guest Blogger Angelina JoiAnn

Blood MythTitle: Blood Myth

Author: Stacy Moran

I did not know there was a glossary at the end of the book because I tend to just jump into books… I don’t even read the back cover.  So at first it took me awhile to understand what was going on.  (Words of Wisdom = Read the glossary first)

It was very interesting and unique.  I enjoyed the dom/sub relationship, the broken past that Zakan had and dealt with, and the passion.  While reading my kept going back to Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James.  The mystical parts with witches and shape shifters, “little rabbit” blood and gore took my mind to the Anita Blake series by Laurel K. Hamilton.  (If you like those books, you’ll like this one)

There is definitely a lot going on in this book.  Not just the dominate/ submissive relationship, but good vs. evil,  sex, violence, drama, myth, family history, and more.

It took some time for me to wrap my head around everything that was happening, but it did end with a decent shock.  And the best way I could describe Blood Myth is “interesting.”

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Greek Mythology… with children

August 9, 2013 at 9:35 pm (Education, Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

(Weekly Low Down on Kids Books)

mythologyUnfortunately this awesome image is not from a book. I think it’s from a video game.

The kiddo and I have been reading Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.  Is she a little young to catch everything, of course, she’s not yet three.  Is she following the story? Better than you might imagine.  I highly recommend that parents read kids stories that are far outside the child’s reading level.  By doing this they are exposed to mature language styles sooner, learn new vocabulary words, and in the case of Rick Riordan, appreciate Disney movies like Hercules that much more.

We’re not finished reading Percy Jackson, so this review isn’t about that.  This review is about picture books we’ve been reading during the day in preparation for our before bed time romps with Riordan’s Olympians.

godsTitle: Gods and Goddesses from Greek Myths

Publisher: McGraw Hill Childrens/ Peter Bendrick Books/ Octopus Publishing Group

Retold by: Pat Rosner

Illustrated by:  Olwyn Whelan

ISBN: 1-57768-508-3

Typically I provide links and images to the book, where you can find and purchase it, etc.  But it seems that Gods and Goddesses lives an off the grid book life.  It seems to be extremely difficult to find online and I was in the middle of typing here that I could not find it when I got the idea to check hpbmarketplace.com.  I purchased it from a Half Price Books a few years ago, but sure enough the marketplace wins again!  As you browse through the prices, you’ll see some are quite expensive.  I only paid about $5 for this at the store, I wonder if it is currently out of print.  Mine is in mint condition.

The illustrations are delightful, the retold myths thorough but easy to grasp.  It’s not kiddo’s favorite book, but I can tell it has helped her grasp what is happening in the Percy Jackson books.  Sometimes she just flips through the Greek style pictures while listening to me read Riordan’s work.

If I were in McKinney, TX right now I’d purchase the Fantastic Creatures from Greek Mythology as well, because I like these so much and I think Olwyn Whelan is a genius illustrator.  Everything she touches, I think, would be great homeschooling resources.

Other resources we enjoy:

Myths & Legends

In Search

Black Ships

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A Grimm World

August 1, 2012 at 1:19 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , )

The new season of Grimm starts August 13, 2012; roughly two weeks until round two! Because of this, my husband, who just fell in love with the show via Hulu, has been making me watch season one. I say “making me” as though it is this incredible chore, but in reality, it is a relaxing date-night type activity for us once the kiddo has gone to bed.

The NBC original series portrays the Brothers Grimm as magnificent demon hunters, and the main character their detective descendant.  As a Grimm, Nick sees demons for what they are and can catch the bad guys of urban legend with his handy dandy Grimm family heirlooms as well as the help of the police department.  It’s CSI meets Van Helsing. Of course, the original stories weren’t collected by demon hunting bad asses, just two brothers in Germany in the very early 1800’s enthralled with folklore.

So, as we wait for 9pm (kiddo’s bed time) to hit every evening, I have decided to start reading my copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.  I bought one of those shiny lettered, fancy leather-bound copies long ago (the cheaper version from Barnes and Noble, not an Easton Press or anything) with the intention of my husband reading them to the kiddo before bed at night when she gets older.  The stories are rather short and as I read to her all day, I think it best for bed time stories to come from Dad.

 The stories are mostly terrible.  In theory I love mythology and folklore, but what I’m discovering more and more is that I adore lengthy retellings rather than the original short stories.  Yet, I’m a serious advocate for source documents.  Just as I don’t want to watch the TV show Grimm without reading the original stories – I definitely would be appalled at myself for reading a fancy retelling in the form of a novel without reading the original collection of tales.  As in most things, I believe in the principle of it.

I found The Little Farmer to be especially awful.  What a deceitful and greedy group of people! And the fact that this horrible little man becomes the sole proprietor of the town and all the riches therein is quite appalling.  I enjoy stories with a solid moral, a bigger picture, lessons for life about the merits of goodness.  Instead, The Little Farmer breeds selfishness and sociopathic characteristics.  The Life Lesson being: the cheaters that are most cunning rule the roost.  Of course, this is a valid truth in most societies, but in my perfect story I want there to be inspiration to persevere under the pressure to keep up with the Joneses (or just kill them off if you can’t), and do something great in your life.  The Little Farmer may walk off a wealthy man, but he has no friends and he has not lived a fulfilling life.  Be proud of hard work, rather than trickery.

I am not a fan of people getting rewarded for bad deeds or laziness.  Just as I cannot get my novel published until I finish writing it (blaming my main character Dani for being elusive and moody when I’m trying to get her life organized), the princess shouldn’t get a Frog Prince to marry when she hasn’t been anything but mean to him.

There are, however, wise stories in the Brothers Grimm, not just the “only people who share are the people who don’t have anything” kind (a real-life adage from my own father).  The Nail is the very story which proves one of my old martial arts instructors’ words correct: slow makes fast; or, as the Grimms tell us: Make Haste Slowly.  Stories like these, though the horse suffered much for the sake of the warning tale, is what keeps me reading and what reminds me that the kiddo will benefit from growing up with the stories as well.

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City of Fallen Angels and Lilith Lore

July 24, 2012 at 7:21 pm (Education, JARS, Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Lilith in Atrology, click to read more

*Spoilers*

I sat down with City of Fallen Angels over a week ago, but just finished it this morning.  The first half was hard for me to get into, having the melodrama equivalent of The Twilight Saga’s New Moon, which drove me nuts.  The climax to ending though, of course was amazing.  Finally pieces were coming together and the “we love each other but can’t be together AGAIN” crap had some semblance of purpose.  More importantly, Clare hooked me with the introduction of a character that I’ve already had a long time fascination for (SPOILER ALERT): Lilith.

I have many interests, and though I tend to purchase books sporadically, when reading through my TBR’s I’d like to think that I do it with a little finesse, with purpose.  Years ago, I did a brief research day on Lilith, spawned from a conversation I had with someone completely convinced that Adam from Genesis had two wives.  I was startled that someone would think this and wanted to get to the root of it all, and spent my astonishment reading through websites, encyclopedias, and other reference material.  I have days like this, spent on a particular topic, often.  Mostly I end up purchasing things to read later.  Who would have thought that Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instrumentsseries would have made that long ago ‘later’ into today’s now.

So I plucked The Book of Lilithby Barbara Black Koltuv, Ph.D., off my shelf, and started reading.  Much of the Hebrew mythology surrounding Lilith I was already familiar with from my previous research, but Koltuv has opened to my eyes to an entire history spanning across many cultures with lore about the demon that embodies all things feminine.

The most confusing thing about Lilith (that Koltuv sorts out for the reader well) is all the contradictions embodied in her.  She is supposed to be the first wife of Adam, equal to him being brought up from the dust like him, rather than a submissive form pulled from his bones.  Yet, she is also a she-demon, according to many as powerful as God, equal but opposite.  Some say she is God’s concubine, some say she is Lucifer’s current wife, but still Adam’s ex.  She is often linked or married to the King of the Demons known as Samael.  Sometimes Samael is thought to be equal to Lucifer, and sometimes he is thought to be Lucifer’s version of Adam, his own creation.  All the mythology overlaps making Lilith a strange, cloudy line between humanity and Satan, but always the opposite of Truth, Goodness, and Steadfastness in every way.  These characters are full of secrets and lies, evil, and are ever changing according to the story tellers grasp and manipulation.  One would expect nothing less from those who are supposed to counter balance God.

Lilith in History, click to view a concise but informative website

The most consistent version of Lilith is that she is a succubus for men, and “for women she is the dark shadow of the Self that is married to the devil” (Koltuv).  Like Cassandra Clare’s character in City of Fallen Angels, she is a baby killer and is known as the goddess of dead children, Clare uses this concept as a cult inadvertently kill their offspring via demon blood while trying to please her.

So tied to feminism and the uterus, people also believe that she is ever linked to women in the form of the curse of our menstrual cycle.  Tethered to our raging hormones, sexuality, and PMS.  This line of thinking eventually made possible the transition of Lilith of evil she-demon to a goddess and Feminist icon/idol.  It is amazing that this mythical creature has managed to be so many things (even a screeching night owl and a Leviathan)!  Some of the discrepancies can be attributed to the idea of there being two Liliths: a Grandmother Lilith (married to Samael) and a Maiden Lilith (married to a dark prince of demons, Ashmodai).

I find it all rather fascinating.  Throughout history people have linked Lilith to hundreds of stories, and though I don’t belive any of them as fact (I personally plop her right in there with Zeus, Athena, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer), I find the use of her in fiction pretty riveting.

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