Book Review: “The Raven and The Dove: A Novel of Viking Normandy” by K.M. Butler

Hello!

I am here with my first book review of 2022. I really thought about making you wait until Monday, but I knew I would have to fix everything in my previous post, so I just decided to give it out anyways!

This book was a surprise, even for me, because I am not into reading Viking stories. I’m not even into all of these shows on various channels. I’ve tried reading other books in the past, but I hadn’t found one that really meshed with me, that is until I came across this book at the start of January.


890 A.D. Shieldmaiden Halla hungers for death in battle and a place in Valhalla until a Frankish sword shatters her expectations of a glorious end. In the space between life and death, she instead confronts the emptiness of a wasted life.

Hiding from the Norsemen among shattered abbeys and abandoned towns in northern Frankia, Christian landowner Taurin fears the day a dragon-headed longship rediscovers them and drags his people away as slaves.

Their worlds collide when Jarl Rollo of Rouen annexes Taurin’s town and appoints Halla as ruler. United in an uneasy political marriage, Halla and Taurin must confront their conflicted feelings and their peoples’ mutual hostility. Tensions strain their fragile marriage. Christians who refuse to obey a woman stoke rebellion. Glory-seeking Norse raiders terrorize Halla’s domain. If they can’t unite, the threats surrounding them will tear apart their new family and swallow both of their peoples in war and ruin.

taken from Goodreads.

I want to read more historical fiction books for 2022 and I am really glad that I gave this book a chance because it was well written, and it is full of humor too. They each like to make fun of the other, especially when Taurin first meets Halla and her group in the beginning. Despite their large facades they like joke with one another and it is a blast! If you think it doesn’t have any stories of their notorious violence, the author does include the battle aspect of the Norsemen. It is featured throughout the entire book, and it is one of the reasons why Halla takes the opportunity to create a place with both the people of Lilliebonne and Norse farmers together as a larger trading port.

I have always wondered how Vikings died out, what was it that drove them away from their raids, mythology, and general lifestyle, and it was so neat to get a peek into how this could have happened. However, I also thought about how the English natives thought about the Norsemen, I mean, besides grief and horror from the way they have treated them in the past, between collecting the riches and massacring the nearby villages, how willing were they to accept authority from a Norse lord?

“Perhaps we are not so different after all.”

Despite being a fictional based story, this gives you a way to see on everything. The characters were very thought out, based how they saw one another through their gods and rituals. Creatures like Father Norbert are always tricky to me, because he actually has a lot of power among the aldermen and the rest of his congregation. Priests were the only ones allowed to read the bible, so villagers believed anything they said because they didn’t have any other way to guide them through daily life. However, the Norse made their mythology available for everyone. They told celebrated their gods with poems and songs. It didn’t matter on their age or sex; everyone knew the same stories. It was also because of this openness, that they allowed women become part of their armies as shieldmaidens.

Halla and Taurin are opposites on all sides, but they were curious about the other and I found this very comforting. You wouldn’t think these characters would feel anything for each other, but it was interesting to see their perspectives change about the new neighbors. Although Taurin doesn’t fully understand Halla’s world, and he was very vocal about that in certain sections–and it got very boring as we went on, but I think the turning point for them was after the blot. Halla gave a harvest ritual and Taurin’s feelings about the whole thing pretty much ruled the last half of the book, but it was interesting to see Father Norbert’s thoughts about the Norse kind of switch in a way.

I don’t know whether the author will make this into a series, a part of me hopes for the possibility, because I would like to see how these characters move on, but I also thought the way it ended was basically perfect, so we’ll have to see what happens later on in the year.

Have you read “The Raven and The Dove” by K.M. Butler yet? If you know any other Viking books like this one, please send me some suggestions in the comments section.

snowflake

Tune Tuesday | France ’17

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Howdy!

We are talking about music coming out of France! I think France has an interesting music scene. I feel like it is EDM central because both Daft Punk and David Guetta are both from there! A lot of amazing dance music has came out of there, but unfortunately we are not talking about that genre today!

I have an artist by the name of Zaz, I found her on Spotify by accident. I love going on little following sprees! I thought I was bad on Facebook until I discovered all of the different playlists you can follow too! At one point I had about 20+ playlists that weren’t mine! And I create quite a bit of playlists but these were not mine at all but you wouldn’t be able to tell since I listen to all kinds of music anyways!

Zaz is a French singer that I found in 2015, I’ve been waiting to add her onto my Tune Tuesday posts for TWO whole years!  Zaz is a fun artist, she kind of reminds me of Ingrid Michaelson, Feist, and Zella Day with her peppy personality and has more of a poppy-alternative-indie sound. She does sing her music in French but I think this is lovely!

The next is a band called Dust In Mind, they’re a female fronted nu-industrial-metal band, whose members consist of Xavier on bass guitar, Jackou on drums, Jack on guitars, Dam on both guitar and vocals and Jennifer is lead vocalist. They are a very unique band to put both nu-metal and industrial metal together! They’ve been on tour promoting their new album “Oblivion” that came out earlier this year!

Always looking for new music from France! If you know of a band or artist, please let me know! 

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Tune Tuesday | France 2016

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Howdy!

France has become a country that has sort of surprised me in the few years. The music there is really good and I literally freak myself out whenever I found somebody from there because I like having this country on my Tune Tuesday rota every year but I feel like I am getting down to the bottom of the barrel, so I’m going to need some more artists and bands for next year’s post!

I originally had three that I was going to talk about today, but I exchanged the last one with another artist that I found out a couple of weeks ago, so I’m excited to share him with you!

First up is the symphonic metal band called WHYZDOM and I just figured out how to pronounce it! Jeez! I’ve known about them for almost two years and the first time I actually type it out I realize it literally spells out “wisdom”. I’m slow. Anyways, they are a female fronted band that has some gothic notes to them. They’re pretty good despite not knowing a lot about them. Which if I’m being totally honest, I don’t listen to anybody on this post today a lot and it makes me hate myself for it!

The next band is called Unseelie and they generally create gothic music, while I was trying to find more information about them I came across an interesting status on their Facebook page for their newer listeners, they shared a song and video of “Le Glas d’un Rêve” stating that it was an older song and it was inspired by the Wounded Knee tragedy in the US. They also said it’s one of the very few songs in French! I thought that was pretty cool!

And lastly, I have to add a DJ on the list. Cedric Gervais is a French DJ and I thought he was from England! I always think they’re British! First off and let me say how much of hunk this guy is, yummy! Okay, back to the music part. You’ve probably heard him featured in Odesza’s remix of “Say My Name” featuring Zyra. I remember vividly listening to that album and falling in love with this remix, now I hear it almost twice a day. It was even up for a Grammy this past year! Cedric is another good DJ that I know I’ll keep an eye out in the near future!

How much French music do you listen to? Who should I add in next year’s posts? 

Tune Tuesday: France

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We head into another full week, but take a break and find some new music that maybe you haven’t discovered yet. Like I said in the Denmark post, I don’t mind artists and/or bands don’t speak in English. I would prefer they do but I kind of like the mystery of not knowing what they are saying. This also goes for techno and dance hits that don’t have guest singers on board the track. I like humming the beat instead. I have always have and I always get weird looks from people whenever I say that, but it’s true. While we’re on the subject of dance tracks, I also like when a dance album has a few tracks that are longer than your normal songs. Not all of them that are ten minutes long are going to be my favorites, because songs have a way of telling you there are done I think. I get very weary when I see some pop and dance songs are ten minutes long because there’s a 50/50 chance that it be a good thing or really, really bad.

Two acts that I have centered this post about are very different music wise, but have that certain mystery that I like a lot. Everybody likes a good David Guetta track. I mean, come on! You can try to deny it all you want but he’s got a lot of good shit to listen to. He’s actually the first DJ that I got into when dance became popular here in the states, and not Skrillex. I find David gets played on the radio more than both Skrillex and Calvin Harris combined. David also got me out of the small thing I had for deadmau5 but I’m always up for a new dance track from him though. This other is a band called Eths. Trying to figure what this word actually means in French was not pleasant! Anyways, I found this band when I saw this video of their current female single Rachel Aspe on France’s Got Talent or something like that. She looked like an innocent looking girl until she started to do the harsh metal screaming. It was awesome to see the crowd enjoying it and reading the nice and surprising comments below. I was definitely shocked and ever since then I’ve followed her on Facebook and I have actually listened to two of Eths albums on Spotify. Can’t understand a word they’re saying but I’m perfectly okay with that!

Turn Me On by David Guetta & Nicki Minaj

Sexy Chick by David Guetta & Akon

Harmaguedon by Eths

Crucifère by Eths

What are you listening to right now?
Next week we head into Germany! I have a LOT of different people to talk about in that post!