Showing posts with label fairies/fae. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fairies/fae. Show all posts

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Nerd Church - My Real-Life Ghost Stories






It's Halloween on Wednesday... let's make this week's Nerd Church spoopy!




scared Victorian-y chick reading at night in an armchair




Do you believe in ghosts?



I do...

Kind of.

(You know nothing is ever simple with me!)



Saturday, 22 October 2016

Welsh Halloween Traditions

Stop the presses! She's talking about Wales again!










Look, I know, I talk about Wales a lot but that's because

a) I'm Welsh,
b) this is one of the most beautiful and magical places on the planet,
c) you guys seem to know very little about my lovely country/principality, and
d) WE ARE NOT ENGLISH AND I WANT THE WORLD TO UNDERSTAND THAT.




So, humour me a little more, and let me tell you about Welsh Halloween traditions. Most of which, unfortunately, are now passed over in favour of trick or treating and parties.

I never went trick or treating, but that's because my parents are socialist hippies who viewed it as a disrespectful form of begging.

And I'm vegetarian and most of the sweets were made with gelatine.

(I did go trick or treating with two of my mates as a teenager - I told my parents we were just having a party at one girl's house. I'm such a rebel, lol.)








Pumpkins


My mother tells me when she was young, they would carve swedes for Halloween. Yes, swedes. Not pumpkins.

Pumpkins actually aren't native to the UK, and in the 60s and 70s, it was easier to get hold of swedes instead (though definitely more difficult to carve!)

Also, Jack o'Lantern is an old British (yes, that includes non-Welsh Britain,) word for a Will o'th' Wisp - a dancing light sprite/fairy/spirit thing that tempted travellers into dangerous places like swamps and hidden pools.







Nos Galan Gaeaf


The Welsh version of Halloween is Nos Galan Gaeaf (not to be confused with Nos Galan - New Year's Eve.)

Nos Galan Gaeaf is the night before the first day of winter. It was thought to be Ysbrydnos - a night when spirits are abroad and able to gather at places where the worlds are close together like graveyards, stiles, crossroads, bridges, etc.





Divination


Halloween has always been the perfect time for divination here, because the other world is close. It's also one of our most important Halloween traditions.




One form of divination involved hanging clothing/underwear on a washing line at midnight.

Some stories tell of young women hanging their knickers on the line; the spectre of the man she was to marry would appear and touch them (I know, this story sounds considerably dodgy.)

Some stories say that the future was revealed by whatever ghostly image appeared by a person's clothing - a crib, for example, meaning the person would have a child soon.

The spookier stories tell of coffins appearing above a person's clothing, and death soon after.
















Then there's the rocks, placed in a fire, with the names of the people in the household written on them.

If the rocks were gone in the morning, that person would die within the year. This was mainly a North Welsh tradition, I think, so I don't know much about it.






In honesty, there seem to be as many divination rituals here as there are families.

Everyone seemed to have a different method of telling the future, though even within the last 50 years it's gotten less and less.





Apple-bobbing was also a divination method; that's how it started. The first girl to actually bring up an apple was the next to be wed.

And of course, they would then peel the apple, in as long a strip as possible. You then drop the peel, and whatever letter it seems to make will be the initial of the person you are to marry (this one is still relatively popular.)















Mari Lwyd

Still occasionally carried out, mari lwyd ('the grey Mary') is a traditional costume and/or effigy using a horse's skull, garlands, and a sheet. 

It's now usually used around Christmas and New Year, but originally was used at Halloween too. It chases people (in modern times, the people have agreed to this!) around their homes in exchange for money and/or food.

No-one actually knows why.
















Goblin/ghost funerals

This isn't a phenomena specific to Halloween, but I think it's probably worth mentioning here, as the worlds being closer together ups the chances of it occurring.

There are numerous stories here of processions of the dead - sometimes this is the people who will die within the year, all marching through country lanes, sometimes it is the portent of a funeral to come - complete with the mourners who will be there.

Sometimes it's a procession of Y Tylwyth Teg - the Fair Folk, (the Grey Folk, the Ladies and Gentlemen, the Old Ones, etc.) carrying out their own funerals.

(Always speak respectfully of the Grey Folk, and never thank them - they don't like it. Also an alcoholic beverage, or some sugar, or some dairy produce, will go a long way. And potentially make the local cats very happy.)








Look, we have a lot of folklore - and I read a ridiculously large amount of local folklore books, ok? ;)



Thursday, 28 April 2016

Comics Wrap Up - Nuttier Than a Squirrel's Hoard

Film Trailers



The final trailer for X-Men: Age of Apocalypse, is here.

Stand-by for extreme fangirling:


OHMYGOD THIS LOOKS SO FAB, MYSTIQUE IS ON THE GOOD-SIDE AND APOCALYPSE LOOKS NUTTIER THAN A SQUIRREL'S HOARD!!!!

PLUS - THE CLAWS!!!!!!! AT THE END - LOOK AT THE FREAKING CLAWS!!!!!!!!

X-MEN VERSION OF QUICKSILVER!!!! DUDE IS SO AWESOME!!!!

KURT, EVER-LOVING NIGHTCRAWLER, WAGNER!!!!!!


In case you hadn't noticed, I'm a little bit excited.



Graphic Novels



This week, I reviewed I Hate Fairyland, Volume 1 (UK - US). I love Gert and her wacky green hair and completely cynical (and more than slightly demented) outlook on life :)


You can see my review of I Hate Fairyland here.












I've decided to put my review for Luna The Vampire Vol 1: Grumpy Space (UK - US) back a month or two so that it goes up closer to the release date for this title.










My review of Blood Stain, Volume 1 (UK - US,) which I told you all about last week, is, at the time of writing, the most popular post of all time on my blog, which kind of rocks :)


You can check out my review of Blood Stain here.








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Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Month in Review(s) - April 2016

Lots more reviews this month! Especially of graphic novels.

There've been some truly rocking graphic novels out this month - my faves are probably Blood Stain and I Hate Fairyland.

Check out all the lovely reviews! :)


book



Kids

Eliza Rose by Lucy Worsley - historical fiction



New Adult

Growing Up by Tricia Sol - contemporary, LGBTQ+, short stories, romance (m/m)



Adult

Play Hard by J T Fox - LGBTQ+, romance (m/m,) short stories, contemporary
Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult - contemporary, crime*, witches*, magic realism* (*ish)



Graphic Novels

Golem by Lorenzo Coccetti - dystopian, sci-fi, manga
Paper Girls, Vol 1 by Brian K Vaughan - sci-fi
Blood Stain, Vol 1 by Linda Šejić
Echoes by Joshua Hale Fialkov - horror, crime
I Hate Fairyland, Vol 1: Madly Ever After by Skottie Young - fantasy, fairies/fae, humour

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Review! (Graphic Novel Edition!) - I Hate Fairyland, Vol 1: Madly Ever After

I Hate Fairyland coverTitle: I Hate Fairyland, Volume 1: Madly Ever After

Author: Skottie Young
Contributors: Jean-Francois Beaulieu, Nate Piekos of Blambot, Rian Hughes

Genre: Graphic Novel, Fantasy, Fairies/fae, Humour

Series: I Hate Fairyland (#1-5)

Release Date: 20-26 Apr 2016

Amazon: UK - USA




A few starting notes:

I received a free digital review copy of this book via NetGalley. NetGalley provides review copies from publishers in exchange for fair and honest reviews.
Didn't really know what to expect from this one: but it looked mad as the proverbial box of cats, so I went for it.
And you know what?
It was most definitely mad as the proverbial box of cats.




Premise:

Little Gertrude was brought to Fairyland when her wish to go there was granted.

To get home, she just has to finish her quest and find a key.
Turns out, quests aren't Gertrude's strong-suit.
Flash forward twenty-seven years, and still looking like an eight-year-old, Gertrude is pi*sed (in more ways than one,) and making chaos and killing the hell out of sh** wherever she goes.
And she's still trying to get that damned key!




Best bits:

You know when something is so random, and so off-the-wall that its just ridiculously funny? That's how I find this book.
It's difficult, as a reviewer, to call something funny, without it sounding fake or forced.
But I mean it - I found this really funny, and I was actually laughing at more than one point while reading it.
It has Deadpool-style humour: lots of violence, lots of randomness, lots of breaking the fourth wall in pretty b*lls-out style.
The artwork is perfectly balanced for the blend of randomness and violence - cartoony, but not kids-style cartoony.
It's bright, but not cutesy, with enough hints of fairyland to make the violence stand out more without resorting to dark and brooding. Dark and brooding this book is not.

And I love the fact that Gert's natural hair colour is apparently green. I mean, why not, right?



Not so great bits:

THIS BOOK IS NOT SUITABLE FOR YOUNGER READERS.
I can't tell you that enough. This ain't for kids, folks.
Lots of gore and violence, and lots of Gert giving pretty much everyone the finger.
Most of the gore and violence is perpetrated by someone who looks eight, and is in fact, fairly damned bloodthirsty.
So, if that's not your thing, you've been warned.
Other than that, there's very little to fault with this book.
Maybe it all felt a little loose and out-of-control in a few small places, but then, with a plot this random I'm just surprised there was any semblance of control at all, really.




Verdict:

Quite simply - I loved it.
It's not going to be for everyone. Because if it doesn't suit your sense of humour, you will hate it.
But the randomness, the off-your-head plot, the insanity of it all?
Well, it was all very me, wasn't it?
If it sounds like it's you too, then give it a try.







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Thursday, 14 April 2016

Comics Wrap Up - Little Frayed Around the Edge

Film Trailers



DIVIDED WE FALL!

AND I'M NOT SURE MY HEART CAN TAKE MUCH MORE OF THIS!




And if that weren't enough? We have the first teaser for Doctor Strange!

I'm a big fan of the sorcerer supreme, but it has to be handled right... or it just becomes really naff.

First impressions are good though folks!

And Benedict Cumberbatch! With what is apparently a plausible American accent! Yay!




For you DC fans, and those of us who keep being tempted further into DC's tricksy hold, there was the Official Blitz Trailer for Suicide Squad.

Man, does this film look good :)

Jared Leto's laugh is so creepy though! So very, very, creepy!


Graphic Novels





This week, I reviewed Paper Girls Volume 1 (UK - US) - a graphic novel that I thought I wouldn't like, and was proved spectacularly wrong.

It rocks. You can see my review of it here.








I also read two graphic novels this week - both awesome, and pretty much the polar opposites of each other.

I Hate Fairyland Volume 1: Madly Ever After (UK - US) is completely insane.

It's about a girl who gets stuck in fairyland, and 27 years later, is pretty damned pis*ed off about it. It was mental, and a loved it.




Blood Stain Volume 1 (UK - US) is about a young woman who can't keep a job, until she answers a weird job ad to be the assistant to a scientist...

Reviews of both I Hate Fairyland and Blood Stain will be with you sometime in the next two weeks.






Other Stuff


I wrote a blogpost about 'How Superhero TV Shows Are Leading the Way for Diversity.'


-0-
Jennifer Rummel at YABookNerd wrote a short and to-the-point review of Gotham Academy, Volume 1 (UK - US)
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Monday, 15 February 2016

Review Time! - The Thing About Wolves by Leigh Evans

The Thing About Wolves book coverTitle: The Thing About Wolves (also published as The Thing About Weres)


Author: Leigh Evans

Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Werewolves, Fairies/Fae

Series: The Mystwalker Series (#2)

Amazon: UK - USA


A few starting notes:

This was another pretty random read from my library. Honestly, I wander around just going 'ooh! mine now!' and that is how I choose what to read the majority of the time.

This is a sequel (not that I've read the first one,) so I will keep the spoilerage to a minimum (i.e. the level that's in the blurb for this book.)


Premise:

Hedi Peacock-Stronghold is half-fae (fairy,) and half-werewolf.

She's trying to keep her mate's werewolf pack (that's mate in the animalistic sense, rather than a friend) together in his absence. But what about when he returns?

She thought it would be all her wishes coming true: her mate, Robson Trowbridge, returned to her, and bringing Lexi, her brother, in tow. But things are rarely that simple.

Oh, and there's people trying to kill her. Can't forget those!


Best bits:

A lot of this was really fun - I love Hedi's sarcasm, and some of the situations she ends up in are so complex and random that I enjoyed the sheer 'hell, just go for it!' attitude of the author.

I found Lexi an exceedingly complex character - if you don't feel at least some sympathy for him, you are made of stone. Simple as.

And my mental squeals at Hedi to 'not be stupid and do this instead' seemed to actually be heard! I know! I'm so used to characters taking the stupid route, that it's a pleasant surprise when they decide to do the smart thing for once.


Not so great bits:

There were moments when I lost interest because the plot slowed down or the author seemed to lose some degree of control - these were noticeable, but overall the book managed to scramble its way back on-track.

There are, obviously, spoilers for the previous book in the series - if you want to avoid that then read the books in order.

There's a bunch of swearing and some violence that won't be to everyone's taste - and a few sex-bits (fans self,) so if that isn't your thing, you've been warned.

There's also references to torture, addiction, and child abduction - and probably some other stuff too - that some people may find distressing.


Verdict:

I really enjoyed this book - and it grabbed me. I felt sorry for Lexi, loved Hedi's attitude (and willingness to listen to my mental suggestions,) and the whole fae and werewolf deal-y that was going on; really enjoyable.



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