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Blog Tour Review - A Power Unbound by Freya Marske

 Blog Tour Review - A Power Unbound by Freya Marske Secrets! Magic! Enemies to. . .something more? Jack Alston, Lord Hawthorn, would love a nice, safe, comfortable life. After the death of his twin sister, he thought he was done with magic for good. But with the threat of a dangerous ritual hanging over every magician in Britain, he’s drawn reluctantly back into that world. Now Jack is living in a bizarre puzzle-box of a magical London townhouse, helping an unlikely group of friends track down the final piece of the Last Contract before their enemies can do the same. And to make matters worse, they need the help of writer and thief Alan Ross. Cagey and argumentative, Alan is only in this for the money. The aristocratic Lord Hawthorn, with all his unearned power, is everything that Alan hates. And unfortunately, Alan happens to be everything that Jack wants in one gorgeous, infuriating package. When a plot to seize unimaginable power comes to a head at Cheetham Hall―Jack’s ancestral fam

Review - Storyshaped Podcast

Review - Storyshaped Podcast 

A brand-new children's literature podcast all about the stories that shape us - and how the stories that formed us go on to shape the stories we create.

We'll be talking to children's authors, illustrators, bloggers, and book lovers of all sorts about the stories they loved as children (or perhaps, the stories they hated, feared, or were fascinated by!) and how those stories helped to shape their lives. 

Join us for weekly discussions about books, stories, and their power to change the world.

I first came across Sinéad O'Hart's idea that we are all made up of stories back in January 2020. It immediately resonated with me, this idea that the stories we read and the stories we create all become just a part of who we are, and as we read and tell more stories we change because of them. It's a simple and beautiful philosophy, and as someone who has always loved reading and sharing stories it was something I could quickly and easily accept. 

Indeed, Sinéad's own stories have definitely shaped me. When I got into blogging, her parallel worlds adventure, A Star-Spun Web was one of the first books I read and reviewed on Netgalley and there's a reason why The Eye of the North is the book I first went to during lockdown when I started streaming reading sessions from my reading room. It's an incredibly beautiful book and one of my personal favourites, so it was a natural choice when I was putting myself out there online in a way that was very new and a little vulnerable for me.

With all of this in mind, I was very excited when Sinéad messaged me to tell me that she was starting a new podcast, all about how we are each shaped by stories. It's been running for a couple of months now, with a new episode every Thursday, so now that it's had time to establish itself, I thought it was time for a little review.

Sinéad is joined by Susan Cahill, a fellow Irish writer whose middle grade debut, The World Between the Rain is coming out in 2023, and so far there have been two types of episodes. The first few were "deep dives" with Susan and Sinéad devoting a whole episode to a single book that has been very important to one (or both) of them. The first one was Alan Garner's Elidor, and anyone who knows Sinéad may already know what a powerful and formative influence this book had on her, but it was still absolutely fascinating the level of detail and analysis they went into!  Both Sinéad and Susan are highly qualified academics, and while it's cute when they half-jokingly introduce each other as Doctor Sinéad O'Hart and Doctor Susan Cahill, it quickly becomes clear that they really know what they're talking about here, as they draw on everything from philosophy to classic folklore to really obscure texts I'd never heard of in their analysis of Garner's fantasy novel. The depth of knowledge and analysis is fascinating while always being fun and accessible, not an easy task! Similar deep dives have looked at Diana Wynne-Jones' Charmed Life and Catherine Storr's Marianne Dreams, leaving me eager to read both books. If you don't know the stories, you might want to beware of spoilers, but personally it just left me excited to learn more.

Then, after a minipod head-to-head book battle to tide us over for a week, the podcast moved in September to a new format, and each episode since then has featured a different guest. Authors come on and talk to either Sinéad or Susan, or both of them, about the stories that have shaped them and how this has shaped their own writing. These are also fascinating insights into their lives and creative processes, and I really enjoy listening to them talk so passionately about everything from the first books they remember having read to them as children to their upcoming projects, and about how all those stories shape them as people, as readers and as authors. 

The first few episodes have definitely had a bias towards Irish writers, which is quite fitting for a podcast hosted by two Irish women. There's so much incredible writing coming out of Ireland right now and it's brilliant that something like this is shining such a spotlight on some of the authors responsible for it. But it's not by any means purely an Irish literature podcast, and the guests have now started including people from beyond Ireland. There are even rumours that future episodes might feature other dedicated bookish people who aren't themselves authors! 🙋

The Storyshaped Podcast is a wonderful place to learn more about the books you love, discover new books, and learn about the stories that continue to influence some amazing writers. More than anything else it shows that Sinéad's philosophy about being made of stories is right and true!


The Storyshaped Podcast can be found on the podcast streaming service of your choice. New episodes are released every Thursday.

You can also buy any of the books from the episodes on their storefront


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