The Knights’ Tales Collection

The Knights' Tales Collection: Book 1: Sir Lancelot the Great; Book 2: Sir Givret the Short; Book 3: Sir Gawain the True; Book 4: Sir Balin the Ill-FatedThe Knights’ Tales Collection: Book 1: Sir Lancelot the Great; Book 2: Sir Givret the Short; Book 3: Sir Gawain the True; Book 4: Sir Balin the Ill-Fated by Gerald Morris

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Easily 5 out of 5 stars, this is one of the most delightful reads of the year. Arthurian tales for ages 8 and up, told with much tongue in cheek humor, and very capably narrated by Steve West. These four tales are laugh-out-loud funny. Steve’s voices are perfect. I wanted to immediately start over and listen to them all again. Also available as individual stories, the books could be used as a read along for reluctant readers or adult learners. Not just for children!

Many years ago, the storytellers say, the great King Arthur brought justice to England with the help of his gallant Knights of the Round Table.

Sir Lancelot the Great
Of these worthy knights, there was never one so fearless, so chivalrous, so honorable, so…shiny as the dashing Sir Lancelot, who was quite good at defending the helpless and protecting the weak, just as long as he’d had his afternoon nap.

Sir Givret the Short
Poor Givret: his size makes him so easy to overlook. But there’s more to knighthood than height, and before long, Givret’s quick thinking lands him a place at the famous Round Table!

Sir Gawain the True
The knights didn’t always act quite as gallantly as a true knight should. Even King Arthur’s nephew, known at that time as Sir Gawain the Undefeated, was too full of himself to accept a token of thanks from a rescued princess! Someone needed to teach Sir Gawain that courtesy and friendship are just as important as strength and courage.

Sir Balin the Ill-Fated
While most of King Arthur’s knights freely chose a life of duty, for Sir Balin the Ill-Fated, destiny was foretold in a prophecy. Still, no matter how dire the task, a loyal and gallant knight never refuses adventure!


Ascension (Water, #1)Ascension by Kara Dalkey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was just what the doctor ordered to provide a lighter diversion alongside Wolf Hall. I am not regretting spending actual money on the ebook. The intended audience is probably preteen – I would say ages 10-13. But I’m an adult and enjoyed it. The author has created a (mostly) believable underwater world (Atlantis, after it sank). The mermyds are very humanlike – some, like Nia, even have legs instead of tails – and they can breathe out of water. Nia is a spunky, likeable heroine. Some reviewers have criticized all the details about the city and its history, but that is what is bringing it alive for me. I like lots of details, and I think children do too – it’s what puts you into the story. I also like the sci fi elements (the squidlike Farworlders who exist in a sort of symbiotic relationship to the mermyds). Nothing overtly Arthurian in this first book of the trilogy – this is a teenaged Niniane long before she becomes the “Lady of the Lake.” I am looking forward to finding out how she gets there….

Book Description
The sea is the birthplace of legends.

Nia, a young mermyd of the Bluefin clan, has had one wish all her life — to be an Avatar in her beloved home of Atlantis. The ten Avatars rule the beautiful and peaceful undersea city alongside the ancient Farworlders, whose magic keeps their world alive. To be an Avatar is an honor and a great responsibility, and Nia dreams of taking her place among the noble ten.

Now, at sixteen, Nia has a chance to see her dream come true. Atlantis is choosing its next Avatar, and Nia knows she is supremely qualified.

But there is something Nia doesn’t know — if she gets her heart’s desire, it could mean the end of her treasured world of Atlantis forever.