Review: The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste


Goodreads summary:

A spine-tingling tale rooted in Caribbean folklore that will have readers holding their breath as they fly through its pages.

Corinne La Mer isn’t afraid of anything. Not scorpions, not the boys who tease her, and certainly not jumbies. They’re just tricksters parents make up to frighten their children. Then one night Corinne chases an agouti all the way into the forbidden forest. Those shining yellow eyes that followed her to the edge of the trees, they couldn’t belong to a jumbie. Or could they?

When Corinne spots a beautiful stranger speaking to the town witch at the market the next day, she knows something unexpected is about to happen. And when this same beauty, called Severine, turns up at Corinne’s house, cooking dinner for Corinne’s father, Corinne is sure that danger is in the air. She soon finds out that bewitching her father, Pierre, is only the first step in Severine’s plan to claim the entire island for the jumbies. Corinne must call on her courage and her friends and learn to use ancient magic she didn’t know she possessed to stop Severine and save her island home.

With its able and gutsy heroine, lyrical narration, and inventive twist on the classic Haitian folktale “The Magic Orange Tree,” The Jumbies will be a favorite of fans of Breadcrumbs, A Tale Dark and Grimm, and Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. Continue reading

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Words for the Week: S


Hello again, folks! Welcome to another episode of Words for the Week, which happens every Sunday. I have so many books full of great words, and I so rarely have an excuse to delve into them. So I’m putting together a small selection of these lovely words once a week, in the hope that you enjoy them as much as I do. This week’s words begin with ‘S’.

Sapid (adjective): 1. Having flavour, especially a pleasant flavour; 2. Having intellectual interest; not dull.

What’s interesting about sapid is that it’s only one word away from its antonym – vapid.

Sophomania (noun): The delusion that one possesses superior intelligence of wisdom. 

I’m sure we all know someone suffering from sophomania. In fact, it feels almost like an epidemic at the moment. Stay vigilant. 

Sammodithee (noun): Norfolk, Suffolk. A form of reply to a salutation or toast: ‘the same unto thee’.

I really like run-on/combination dialect words. Someone use this in a novel, it’s delightful. 

Shemomechama (noun): Georgian. The embarrassing, sudden realisation that, somehow, you’ve eaten it all…

I’m sure we’ve all experienced this. We often have communal biscuits or whatever in the office, and inevitably, since I’m nearest the kitchen, I will experience shemomechama. Petition for less cake and more fruit, please. I won’t eat the fruit. 

Scimaunder (verb): Yorkshire. To wander about, take a devious or winding course. 

I like to imagine the Bronte sisters scimaundering across the moors that so inspired their writing. But there’s another reason I like this word: although I know the real root of Newt Scamander’s surname, I like to imagine that it’s actually a corruption of this Yorkshire dialect word, and that his family have always been great wanderers. Be warned, this line of thought is inspiring me to fanfic. 

Suthering (noun): Poetic, John Clare. Noise of the wind through the trees. 

A bonus word, because I couldn’t narrow it down to just five this week. This is a specialised version of sibilance – the rush of wind through leaves and branches. I love the sound of the wind pretty much anywhere, but it has a special delight through trees. Ta very much, John Clare. 

This week’s words were sourced from Foyle’s Philavery, collected by Christopher Foyle; The Greeks Had A Word For It by Andrew Taylor; Landmarks by Robert McFarlane; The Disappearing Dictionary by David Crystal.

Words for the Week: R


Hello again, folks! Welcome to another episode of Words for the Week, which happens every Sunday. I have so many books full of great words, and I so rarely have an excuse to delve into them. So I’m putting together a small selection of these lovely words once a week, in the hope that you enjoy them as much as I do. This week’s words begin with ‘R’. 

Rantipole (noun): A wild, romping young person. (Adjective): Wild; roving; rakish

I feel like this covers a wide subset of young people – and moreover, I can’t work out if it’s complimentary or not. Is it the young person version of Adrian Pimento from Brooklyn Nine Nine? Or like Robin from The Little White Horse?

Rebarbative (adjective): Repellant. 

Not actually that interesting in itself, except that the word is apparently derived form the French rébarbatif, from barbe ‘beard’. So did the French decide a while ago that beards were gross? That’s hilarious if that’s what happened. No-one tell me the real origin if you know it – there’s no way it can be better than this one I’ve made up.

Remontado (noun):  Someone who returns to the mountains or other wild places and avoids civilisation, either through choice or as a fugitive. 

I’ve found the real word for that kid and his adoptive dad in Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Wilderpeople is still better, though. 

Ramfeezled (adjective): Exhausted with work. The result of your fatigue would be ramfeezlement. This is ram in its usual sense of ‘act with vigour or energy’. Freeze, likewise, was a verb that had meanings to do with energetic action. The combination of the two suggests a really intense meaning for the word. If you were ramfeezled, you were really worn out. 

Now, I have a desk job. Which means that I have the privilege of not feeling truly ramfeezled at the end of any given day. But one time I worked seven days a week for two months – five of those days in book retail. Then, I used to sit on the bathroom floor after a shower, too tired even to cry. I was ramfeezled. 

Raaga tree (noun): Shetland. Tree that has been torn up by the roots and drifted by the sea. 

Has everyone seen that picture of the heck-off huge tree that the sea brought in? No? Lemme find it. 


This. This is a raaga tree. That person is six foot tall. This is also a reminder that the ocean is terrifying and we should stay away. 

This week’s words were sourced from Foyle’s Philavery, collected by Christopher Foyle; Landmarks by Robert McFarlane; The Disappearing Dictionary by David Crystal.

Words for the Week: Q


Hello again, folks! Welcome to another episode of Words for the Week, which happens every Sunday. I have so many books full of great words, and I so rarely have an excuse to delve into them. So I’m putting together a small selection of these lovely words once a week, in the hope that you enjoy them as much as I do. This week’s words begin with ‘Q’. 

Quisquous (adjective): Perplexing, debatable, dubious. 

I can’t pronounce it in any way to make it stop sounding like the ‘Kwazy Cupcakes’ version of ‘criss-cross’. I can’t do it. It perplexes me. Lol. 

Querimony (noun): A complaint; complaining. 

This one reminds me of querulous. So now I’m thinking of the lil ‘pleep pleep’ birds from last week, only this time they’re writing letters to The Times about each other – but in the abstract so they’ll actually get printed. 

Quignogs (noun): Cornwall. Ridiculous notions or conceits. Origin unclear. 

I guess it’s a sort of nonsense word – as in: “argh, you and your quignogs!” The conclusion I’m reaching is that all ‘q’ words remind me of other words – this one makes me think of ‘eggnog’ – and I don’t even really know what eggnog is, except violently alcoholic? 

Quizcuss (noun): Cheshire. A meddlesome, inquisitive person. In Lincolnshire, a prying person was called, simply, a quiz

So maybe this is where ‘quiz’ actually comes from – never mind that ridiculous story of one guy writing it on all the walls in a city in a night to win a bet. Or did ‘quiz’ come first? 

Quank (adjective): Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire, Worcestershire. Still, quiet. The verb use means ‘subdue, quieten. Someone who settled disputes was a quanker

I’m not surprised this one didn’t catch on in the standard. It doesn’t sound anything like ‘quiet’ – it sounds more like ‘clank’, or ‘quack’ – both very definitely noisy words. 

This week’s words were sourced from Foyle’s Philavery, collected by Christopher Foyle; The Disappearing Dictionary by David Crystal.

Words for the Week: P


Hello again, folks! Welcome to another episode of Words for the Week, which happens every Sunday. I have so many books full of great words, and I so rarely have an excuse to delve into them. So I’m putting together a small selection of these lovely words once a week, in the hope that you enjoy them as much as I do. This week’s words begin with ‘P’. 

Parisology (noun): The use, especially deliberately, of ambiguous words. 

Shit. I’ve been rumbled. 

Pleep (verb): Scotland. To speak in a querulous, complaining tone of voice. The word was originally used to describe the chirping of a bird. 

I mean, that’s the sound lil birbs make, isn’t it? Pleep, pleep pleep. I love it. And I love that it’s also people complaining – it makes me thing of lil birbs arguing: “You said we could have this nesting site this year!” “I do not remember that, you must be mistaken.” “Outrage!”

Polrumptious (adjective): Cornwall, Kent, Lincolnshire. Restive, rude, obstreperous, uproarious. The word seems to be an inventive combination of poll ‘head’ and rumpus. 

Basically, polysyllabic words that end in ‘tious’ are apparently always winners with me. I have a type. A word type. Ha! Is that a typography joke? 

Poronkusema (noun): Finnish. An old unit of measurement equivalent to the distance travelled by a reindeer before needing to urinate. Approximately 7.5 kilometres. 

As a side-note: I did not know that the length of a metre is how far it is from the North Pole to the equator divided by ten million?? That’s incredible. Distance is trippy, folks. I decided, in the end, not to follow this down the rabbit hole of medieval distance-measurements. That’s another post, for another time (possibly never). 

Pap (noun): Irish English, Scots. Mountain or hill whose shape is thought to resemble that of a breast.

So apparently there’s a word for that. And why wouldn’t there be? Round hills with kinda pointy tops look like breasts. Let’s all be grown-ups and admit it… using a word that I’m pretty sure also means poop. 

This week’s words were sourced from Foyle’s Philavery, collected by Christopher Foyle; The Greeks Had A Word For It by Andrew Taylor; Landmarks by Robert McFarlane; The Disappearing Dictionary by David Crystal.

Naturally Supernatural 2017 – Part Two

If you missed part one, you can catch up here.

Wednesday

The Wednesday morning talk was called: Making God at Home. Andy Croft talked about the fact that God’s presence is always with us, but He manifests when we give Him the space. And we can experience this anywhere: Exodus 3, Acts 2. Andy asked us: When it comes to the manifest presence of God, how good a host are you? The temple’s just a big empty box full of God without the presence of God. But we don’t need to earn His presence either – because He’s always there. Sacrifice is about honouring the fact that He’s already with us.

What can we sacrifice to demonstrate that God’s presence is the most important thing? Continue reading

Naturally Supernatural 2017 – Part One

Hi folks! So last week, I went to a non-denominational Christian conference/festival called Naturally Supernatural. And it was awesome. God moved powerfully while we were there, and it was so good to actually designate so much time to praising and listening for Him.

I know this is a little off-message for this blog, but my faith is important to me, and since I do round-ups for all my other conventions (watch this space for the upcoming YALC 3-part series), I wanted to do one for NSN as well! However, it was a super full week, so I’m just going to write up the sessions which were especially valuable to me, so that you might find something useful in them too. Continue reading