Tag Archives: Celtic

The Celtic Tarot by Julian De Burgh

Overview
The Celtic Tarot: Instruction Book: De Burgh, Julian, Guinan, Mart:  Amazon.com.au: Books

Title: The Celtic Tarot
Author: Julian De Burgh
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: CelticNon-fiction
Dates read: 17th February – 11th May 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Non-fictional text
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Year: 2000
5th sentence, 74th page: Positive interaction between these two people secures a solid foundation for the future.

Synopsis

What culture is more steeped in mystery, magic, passion and war, or can more vividly inspire us to use and understand the Tarot, than that of Ireland? There is probably no other culture in the world which stimulates as much interest as that of the Celtic people. By using tales from Celtic mythology we can gain greater depth and insight from Tarot readings, for by interpreting these stories into concrete terms our unconscious minds allow them to become powerful tools for profound inner change and growth.

The Celtic Tarot pack contains everything you need to become an accomplished Tarot reader. Use the cards with sensitivity, follow the instructions and interpretations in the accompanying book with care, and the wisdom of the Tarot can be yours.

Thoughts

This was informative. I loved the layout and structure of this manual.

There really isn’t much to say about this kind of thing, other than it was well laid out and informative. What I liked most about this though is that no matter when I want to go back to it, it will be incredibly easy to find the exact location of the information that I want.

All in all, an intriguing read. One that I will most definitely have to repeat.

<- More CelticMore non-fiction ->

Image source: Amazon

Hounded by Kevin Hearne

Overview
Hounded :HarperCollins Australia

Title: Hounded
Author: Kevin Hearne
Series: The Iron Druid Chronicles #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: CelticMagic, Mythology, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 18th August – 15th September 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: <May I have some tea, then?>

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Synopsis

Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona running an occult bookshop and shapeshifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbours and customers think this handsome, tattooed Irishman is about twenty-one years old when, actually, it’s twenty-one centuries. Atticus draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.

Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants the sword, and he’s been after Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down and Atticus will need all his powers – plus a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of lawyers, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good, old-fashioned Irish luck – to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil.

Thoughts

This story was kind of fun and brilliant. It was filled with action, humour, and my favourite think of all – mythology. In particular, Celtic mythology and the practices of Druids. Don’t get me wrong, the wit and the wonder of the story are thing that I completely love. But it is just all that much better when it’s partnered with some great magic and mayhem. This is one of those books that definitely ticked all of my happy boxes.

Although I’ve always felt a little drawn to Celtic folklore and Druidry, I’ve not really had much exposure to it. So it was nice to not only experience a new folklore / mythos in a book, but to learn so many, many things along the way. I always love when a new fantasy aspect works its way into my reading list. Sadly, I don’t have any of the other books on my shelves… so now I have to wait to throw myself headfirst into this series again, much to my chagrin.

I’ve read a lot of books with great sidekicks. But, I must admit… Oberon has GOT to be my absolute favourite. He is funny, cute and has the exact voice that I imagine my big dog would have (the little one would be WAY more sassy). I love that the sidekick is a dog that can communicate, but rather than giving him a lot of human traits, he’s doglike in all of his desires and drives. I actually bought this book because of the short story The Naughtiest Cherub, which kind of features Oberon in some ways. After all, any series which features a massive dog as a cheerful and happy sidekick and companion… that’s going to make me incredibly happy.

To further enhance my love of this story – Hearne manages to take a lot of the traditional paranormal creatures I tend to come across in many of my fantasy books. But, then he’s added some more Celtic and druidic characters. Including some of the Tuatha De Danan. I love that there is such a heavy Irish tilt to this story, one that I just can’t stop thinking about and quite honestly, just can’t quite get enough of.

<- Clan RathskellerHexed ->

Image source: HarperCollins Australia

Clan Rathskeller by Kevin Hearne

Overview
Clan Rathskeller by Kevin Hearne

Title: Clan Rathskeller
Author: Kevin Hearne
Series: The Iron Druid Chronicles #0.5
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: CelticMagic, Mythology, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 10th July 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Free online short story
Publisher: Kevin Hearne
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: Or me, if you want to get fussy with the definition.

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Synopsis

This is short story that takes place ten months before the events of “Hounded”, the first book in the Iron Druid Chronicles, coming 2011 from Del Rey.

Thoughts

This is a fun short story. One that had me laughing and giggling all throughout. Particularly the fact that it’s gnomes pretending to be humans pretending to be elves. Or something along those lines. A little bizarre. A little unique. And just generally enjoyable and funny.

While I was reading this, I did read a lot of the sentences out to my partner. He was confused about what I was reading, but even my little titbits made him laugh. There is just something very satirical and fun about Hearne’s writing that makes me itch to dig out Hounded.

This was a great short story. One which helped to not only whet my appetite for the Iron Druid Chronicles series. It also introduced some of the characters that I’m sure are likely to be a major part of the series (such as the lead character and his trusty sidekick). And now… now I just have to finish a few books before I start a new one…

<- The Grimoire of the LambHounded ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Grimoire of the Lamb by Kevin Hearne

Overview
The Grimoire of the Lamb by Kevin Hearne

Title: Grimoire of the Lamb
Author: Kevin Hearne
Series: The Iron Druid Chronicles #0.4
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: CelticMagic, Mythology, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 13th July 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: I backed out of the cage and left the door open, speaking to him from freedom.

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Synopsis

There’s nothing like an impromptu holiday to explore the birthplace of modern civilisation, but when Atticus and Oberon pursue a book-stealing Egyptian wizard – with a penchant for lamb – to the land of the pharaohs, they find themselves in hot, crocodile-infested water.

The trip takes an even nastier turn when they discover the true nature of the nefarious plot they’ve been drawn into. On the wrong side of the vengeful cat goddess Bast and chased by an unfathomable number of her yowling four-legged disciples, Atticus must find a way to appease or defeat Egypt’s deadliest gods – before his grimoire-grabbing quarry uses them to turn him into mincemeat.

Thoughts

As with the other two Iron Druid Chronicles short stories that I’ve read. This was humorous, funny and something that I really enjoyed. Partly, Oberon managed to carry a lot of this. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a scene in a story as much as his outrage at running from Bast’s cat minions. There was something ironic, funny and a little bit witty about such a moment. Which perfectly sums up this entire short story.

I love that Atticus has a rare books bookshop. And that in this bookshop, there are a series of grimoires that have a lot of potential to really screw things up for the world. The fact that the grimoire that takes centre stage in this short story was thought to be just a series of lamb recipes… like I said, I found this a very humorous book. One that had me giggling throughout.

There was a great mix of mythologies in this. There was Atticus’ Druid nature and ties to the earth. Then there were all of the Egyptian deities running around helping to cause havoc. Definitely a pantheon that I found a little intimidating. Particularly with Hearne’s focus on the more bloodthirsty aspects of this mythology… now I am actually going to start reading Hounded

<- More Kevin HearneClan Rathskeller ->

Image source: Goodreads

Love Struck by Melissa Marr

Overview
Image result for love is hell book cover

Title: Love Struck
Author: Melissa Marr
In: Love is Hell ( Melissa Marr, Scott Westerfield, Justine Larbalestier, Gabrielle Zevin & Laurie Faria Stolarz) & Faery Tales and Nightmares (Melissa Marr)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: CelticFae, Paranormal romance
Dates read: 24th September 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Novella
Publisher: Harper Teen
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: He paused, considered telling her that he suspected that Veikko had entrapped her, and decided against it.

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Synopsis

Alana has been entrapped by a selchie. But what if all of the stories she’s heard aren’t true? What if it’s love, and not entrapment?

Thoughts

I’ve read quite a few stories about selkies and the fae. Or at least, stories which have a moment featuring them throughout. This was an incredibly different take on a familiar tale though. Which I’m beginning to expect from Melissa Marr. For starters, the selkie isn’t the one necessarily doing the entrapment, and vice versa.

Alana is kind of a perfect partner for a selkie. A race of seal-beings who are all about lust, love and sexual fixation. Alana on the other hand is basically living a celibate life. She doesn’t necessarily want to pursue the lust that her mother has so heavily involved herself in. And she really doesn’t want to tie herself down to one being, regardless of how deeply she is drawn to him. It acts as a nice balance to the traditional tales.

The betrayal and secrets interwoven throughout this story are kind of beautiful. Even though I was pretty sure I knew who the “good guy” was, there were still constant moments of doubt. Moments where you wonder if what you perceive to be the truth was really the truth and so on. It was enough of a mystery to hook me in and make me want to never put the story down. And then it ended. And I was left feeling the urge to pick up yet another Melissa Marr story.

 <- Fan Fictions ReviewLove is Hell Review ->
Image source: Harper Collins Publishers

The Mammoth Book of Celtic Myths and Legends by Peter Berresford Ellis

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of celtic myths and legends book cover

Title: The Mammoth Book of Celtic Myths and Legends
Author: Peter Berresford Ellis
Series: Mammoth Books
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: CelticHistory, Mythology, Non-fiction
Dates read: 25th October 2018 – 22nd September 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Non-fictional text
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: Where are the gods and their goddesses, where the heroes and noble knights?

Synopsis

STIRRING SAGAS FROM THE ANCIENT CELTIC WORLD

From an oral history and storytelling culture dating back to the dawn of European civilization, the Celtic peoples have developed one of the world’s most vibrant mythologies. In this collection from Irish, Scots, Welsh, Cornish, Manx and Breton sources, Peter Berresford Ellis has brought together the classic myths and legends, as well as exciting new tales which have never been published.

Berresford Ellis, a foremost authority on the Celts, brings not only his expertise but also his acclaimed skills of storytelling to this original and enthralling selection of gods and goddesses, magical weapons and fabulous beasts.

Thoughts

This is a bit of a hard slog of a book. Not in any negative sense, but in the sense that it is over 500 pages of Celtic mythology. Which encompasses all of the wonders of their convoluted names and intricate kinship ties. It doesn’t really matter which tale you read, this is something that can be a little bit difficult to work with. Especially, when like me, you know nothing about the names and communications of people from this part of the world.

I’ve long been fascinated by Celtic folklore. And I have dabbled a little bit in this world. However, The Mammoth Book of Celtic Myths & Legends was a GREAT way to immerse myself in this otherwise unknown world. Now, when I read stories which have obviously used a thread of this tradition and folklore, I can recognise it, and even understand it a little more.

Each section of this book starts with an introduction which highlights the region which the myths come from and where these retellings are sourced from. As many of the folklore of the time was orally passed, it was interesting to see where this had been pulled from – opening up a new world but also helping to tie it to the past and the roots of the tale.

If you have any kind of interest in mythology. Pick this book up. Maybe do like I did, and read a few stories before turning to something that doesn’t have so many incredibly similar names. But still pick this book up. It is phenomenal, potent and completely impossible to put down. One that I would highly recommend to all fans of the past, supernatural and myths.

 <- The Mammoth Book of Celebrity MurdersThe Mammoth Book of Chess ->

Image source: Amazon

Shifting Sea by Virginia Kantra

Overview
burning-up

Title: Shifting Sea
Author: Virginia Kantra
Series: Children of the Sea #3.5
In: Burning Up (Angela Knight, Nalini Singh, Virginia Kantra & Meljean Brook)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Celtic, Mermaids, Paranormal romance
Dates read: 29th March 2019
Pace: Fast
Format: Novella
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: “That’s why we came,” Hobson said.

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Synopsis

Virginia Kantra continues the haunting tales of the Children of the Sea in BB Shifting Sea BB, the story of a wounded soldier rescued by a strange and enigmatic young woman.

Thoughts

I like the switch from selkies to finfolk in this short story. It helps build upon the storyline of the past, but also to open up a whole new avenue in this series. Or at least, that’s how it kind of felt to me. (I haven’t actually read Sea Lord yet, but I know who it’s about). And Shifting Sea jumps from the modern day to the 1800s, featuring a different group of powerful children of the sea.

I really enjoyed reading about Morwenna and Jack. They had this gorgeous Scottish Highland fling that kind of made my heart melt a little. It was just such a beautiful concept, a beautiful setting and a fantastic romance. The fact that there was treachery and confusion sprinkled throughout this novella just made it all that harder to put down.

I loved this beautiful Celtic romance. It was kind of stunning and just set against a great backdrop. It was hard not to imagine yourself swept away in this situation. Hard not to imagine the world in which these individuals found themselves.

 <- Blood and Roses ReviewHere There Be Monsters Review ->
Image source: Nalini Singh

Sea Fever by Virginia Kantra

Overview
Image result for sea fever virginia kantra book cover

Title: Sea Fever
Author: Virginia Kantra
Series: Children of the Sea #2
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves:CelticMermaids, Paranormal romance
Dates read: 2nd – 3rd February 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: “Not once the season’s over,” Antonia grumbled.

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Synopsis

A desire for life… Regina Barone knows something is missing from her life. She spends her days working in her mother’s restaurant on the Maine island of World’s End and her nights caring for her young son. When the island’s only eligible bachelor marries another woman, Regina realizes that the love she yearns for isn’t going to appear by magic. Or is it?

A denial of blood… Dylan Hunter has returned to World’s End for his brother’s wedding, but he is troubled by his human ties. years ago, he chose his life as a selkie – an immortal being of the sea – over the fragile and treacherous emotions of humanity. The same emotions that destroyed his family, and that will strike at his very heart…

A danger to both… Neither Regina nor Dylan can ctonrol their attraction to each other – or foresee its disastrous consequences. But their destiny has been foretold, and their fate will be decided in the stormy tides of water and fire, where only love can save them – and the world…

Thoughts

In Sea Witch, I kind of hated Dylan. He was a bit of a douche. And had major tickets on himself. So I really wasn’t sure whether I would actually like this story or not… after all, the lead was someone who I thought was a bit… eh. And after reading this, I don’t really think all that much more of Dylan. I still think he’s a douche. Although I understand his douchiness a little better I suppose.

Although I wasn’t a huge fan of the male lead, I did love the female lead – Regina. She is tough, independent and has a lot of gumption. And, even though she’s falling for Dylan all throughout, she still maintains her independence and integrity. And, as I read this story, I spend a lot of time thinking about the food that she is cooking. Which makes me incredibly hungry. After all, who can read about food and not want to eat?

Sea Fever really starts to set up the overall series storyline for the Children of the Sea series. Where Sea Witch was a great introduction and a wonderfully easy read, Sea Fever was a little more complex. The idea of the future prophecy heavily intertwines with the lives of the characters. And it meant, that like Sea Fever, I had to immediately pick up Sea Lord to see what was going to happen next…

 <- Sea Witch ReviewSea Lord Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

Sea Witch by Virginia Kantra

Overview
Image result for sea witch virginia kantra book cover

Title: Sea Witch
Author: Virginia Kantra
Series: Children of the Sea #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: CelticMermaidsParanormal romance
Dates read: 30th January – 2nd February 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: Margred gave herself a moment to admire him, the thoughtful green eyes, the long, strong jaw, the sensitive mouth.

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Synopsis

From the water… For years, Margred has gone without the touch of another. Now, her need has driven her beyond her own world. For she is a selkie – a legendary being of the sea, able to shape-shift into seductive human form. Finally, she has found the one she wants…

From the land… A burned-out veteran of the big-city streets, Caleb Hunter was only too happy to take the job as police chief on the peaceful Maine island of World’s End. Nothing ever happens in this tiny community surrounded by the sea – until he meets a woman who’s everything he’s ever dreamed of. And more…

To each other… Their passion is undeniable. Irresistible. But when a murderer begins targeting women in World’s End, Caleb must face the terrible possibility that the killings are somehow connected to the mysterious Margred – and that the power of their love may change the fate of humankind…

Thoughts

This is the first story in a long time that I’ve read where the woman is the sexual aggressor. And I really liked the change of pace. Maggie isn’t promiscuous and damaged as most sexually aggressive woman are often portrayed, but she is also completely free. I loved this balance between femininity and sexuality, passive and aggressive. She is such an incredibly sweet and lovable character. One that I was kind of disappointed to leave behind when I closed the last page of the book.

This paranormal romance is a nice balance between modern-day sensibilities and beliefs and ancient folklore. The use of selkies and their archaic mannerisms balances beautifully against the small town life and daily struggles of Maine. This especially comes to light when there are murders of selkies which need to be investigated. Small town cop, Caleb tries to solve a demonic murder, while using the legal system that we are all familiar with. It certainly leads to a number of confusing moments and difficulties that make this romance all the more intriguing and… well, sweet.

Sea Witch is an amazing first novel in the Children of the Sea series. It introduces a great new world set right alongside our own. There are already pasts and futures at stake and the vague mention of a prophecy. All of which make it impossible to not pick up Sea Fever straight away… which I did… after all, it is a Celtic series about Selkies… possibly the best mix of supernatural, romance and fantasy that I’ve read in a while.

 <- Sea Crossing ReviewSea Fever Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

After the Gloaming by Leah Marie Brown

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of scottish romance book cover

Title: After the Gloaming
Author: Leah Marie Brown
In: The Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance (Trisha Telep)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: CelticScottish romance
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: The emaciated man’s chest rattled with each tortured breath and his blue eyes, yellow with jaundice, darted frantically back and forth as if terrified at the thought of dying alone.

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Synopsis

Conrad has returned to the homeland to say goodbye to the father that he never knew. But in doing so, he might find a future for himself that he never expected. And break the ancient curse on his family at the same time.

Thoughts

I really liked the use of a bean sidhe in this Scottish romance. It took that sense of surreal otherworldness that I’m falling in love with within the genre and partnered it with the modern-day real world. Especially considering the fact that the story begins in yesteryear and then flashes forward to today. The use of a cursed woman and bean sidhe just echoed that perfectly.

The only reason I took half a star off of my rating for this tale was that I thought it ended too quickly. The introduction took up about three quarters of the story. Then suddenly the two characters are obviously in love and trying to break the curse. You flip the page and the curse is broken. I felt that the amount of work and awesome storytelling that had gone into the initial introduction, could have extended out the ending a little and made you wonder about happily ever after for just that little bit longer.

 <- The Laird’s Vow ReviewNext Time Review ->
Image source: Hachette Australia