January 19, 2017

My Thoughts on Doctor Thorne


So! I finally had the chance to watch this miniseries last weekend. After reading a few raving reviews, I'd had it on my radar for several months but hadn't sought it out at the library (my go to for period dramas that I'm uncertain whether I'll enjoy). That changed when I was reminded again the other day and lo and behold my library had a copy all ready for me! Love it when that happens, especially as it happens so rarely. And I proceeded to thoroughly enjoy all three hours with these characters. :)

{Also, I'm terrible about talking about these sorts of things without a few spoilers, so beware!}

Firstly, it didn't take long for me to decide I liked Doctor Thorne himself. He is played so wonderfully by Tom Hollander, who I've seen in other things but hadn't liked him as well as I do this character. In fact, I think the last one I'd watched him portray was Mr. Collins from P&P '05, so you can imagine that I was perfectly willing to see him as a very different character! I do enjoy him as Osborne Hamley in Wives and Daughters, but I believe that this is my new favorite character for him. :) Doctor Thorne is just so very gentle and kind. Yet when his niece is hurting, he is well able to become as fierce a protector as needed! One of my favorite scenes with him is when he is defending Mary against Lady Arabella. He knows just how to make Lady Arabella aware of how awful she is! I loved how he is always proper in his responses, yet there is no doubt the severity of his choice of words. He will not stand having Mary hurt and his love for her is so fatherly and wonderful. Time and time again he stands between her and those who would potentially hurt her and it just made me so happy. Knowing the circumstances of how she came to live with him, especially when he had to have made those choices when he was still young and could've chosen differently, well that just proves to me how amazing he truly is. He also has this hilarious, sarcastic sort of wit. He'll be so quiet, just listening to whomever is talking, when suddenly he throws out this little rejoinder that makes you laugh! Also, he is quite observant, with a lot of wisdom. Definitely someone to be counted on for careful advice. He is absolutely the highlight of this miniseries for me! :)

Then there's Mary, herself, and Frank. I'm lumping them together because so much of the plotline revolves around separating these two lovers. Both actors (Stefani Martini and Harry Richardson) do a fine job, they're newbies so this is the first time I've watched them. I enjoyed their interactions, especially as both are simply nice characters. The only qualm I have is that the falling in love part of their relationship happened off screen, prior to the opening scene, so while I appreciated that they were in love, I could never fully invest in their desperation, especially Frank's. Perhaps it was just me (probably so), but their romance just didn't hold me as captive as I wished, it simply didn't ring totally true. That doesn't mean they weren't all kinds of cute though! Because they were. And I was definitely rooting for their happy ever after. So while I wasn't blown away by the romantic parts of the miniseries, I was impressed with Stefanie and Harry and will certainly look forward to (hopefully) watching them in future projects!

There's also Lady Arabella (who is perfectly horrid and I absolutely laughed and laughed when she got her comeuppance! :), her husband whose name I forget (but who I liked, especially his friendship with Doctor Thorne. I just wish he would've had a bit more of a backbone, or at least shown it a lot earlier), the mysterious Miss Dunstable (played by Alison Brie, who held her own very well against all these English actors/actresses), and Sir Roger Scratcherd (played by the awesome Ian McShane, and while his character wasn't entirely likeable, he had a good heart. And his final scenes were heart-wrenching and beautifully played, so I easily forgave his alcoholic tendencies. Plus his friendship with Doctor Thorne was fun, they danced around each other like old friends do and I simply loved their interactions, even as I would get frustrated with Sir Roger himself). Other minor characters make an impact whether good (Sir Roger's sweet and funny little wife) or horrible (Louis Scratcherd, Sir Roger's son who I could've done without. But then, I suppose we wouldn't have a story, would we? ;). Also, Frank's sisters are sweet, if a bit silly (especially Augusta, I did rather like Beatrice though!).

Moving into the other parts of the story besides characters, the cinematography is beautiful (naturally, it's the English countryside after all!). The plotline itself is intriguing. It definitely went in different ways than I was expecting, although there were several things that I figured out pretty quickly (which is abnormal for me actually. I'm not usually so smart when it comes to figuring out what's going to happen next!). It's based on a book by Anthony Trollope, who's had books adapted before but I haven't watched them. Now I'm convinced perhaps I should give them a try! I laughed quite a lot during my watch, and there's the proper amount of romance to bring a few swoons your way, plus the mysteries sufficiently drew my curiosity, so all in all I really liked this miniseries. I'm thinking it'll be added to my personal library someday. Perhaps! :) Definitely worth a watch, if you enjoy these sorts of period dramas. Watch it for Tom Hollander's Doctor Thorne, if nothing else! :)




January 16, 2017

Bookish {and Not So Bookish} Thoughts


Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts is a weekly blogging event hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. It allows book bloggers (and non-book bloggers) to write about pretty much anything, bookish or otherwise (i.e. share exciting plans for the weekend, rants on things they’ve encountered during the week, etc.). Thanks to Birdie from Lady of the Manor and Lianne from Eclectic Tales for bringing it to my attention! :)
1. Why yes, I am still here! Thanks to the holidays, plus some winter weather, I haven't had the time nor felt much like doing any blogging here in January. But I'm back now! And hoping this enthusiasm continues. :) I hope your New Year has brought lots of happy!

2. I have been in a miserable reading slump since the beginning of December. And I hated it!! There is not much that's worse for a reader than failing to find any books that made me want to actually read them. I started I don't know how many books in the last several weeks and lost enthusiasm for them all! *heaves a big sigh* SO frustrating. Especially during the weekend we had frigid temps and loads of snow that refused to leave on account of those frigid temps. I am SO READY FOR SPRING, y'all. I'm one of those non-fans of winter anyway and knowing I still have three whole months to go yet just....*frowny face* Enough whining though! On to happy things now. I read my first book of the year the other day! And am currently in the middle of two more. Take that, reading slump! :D

3. The first book I read this year was The Girl Who Heard Demons by Janette Rallison. It sounds crazy, but it's actually a really great story! Plus it's Janette Rallison. I love her books! Always the right amount of cute and fluff with just enough serious drama to keep it from being overly sweet. Currently reading The Mistletoe Promise by Richard Paul Evans. I started it in the bookstore while waiting to meet up with a friend and couldn't put it back on the shelf when it came time to leave. So home with me it went! Also in the middle of Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn. I love the banter between the main couple!

4. Y'all are now nauseatingly aware that I'm part of the INSPYs, but I just wanted to highlight author Becky Wade's post about these awards. If you're curious how they came to be, the awesome Rel answers a few questions! (Also, I might get a slight mention. Maybe. ;)

5. While I may not have gotten much reading done over our snowy weekend, I did get one of my bookshelves sorted. Turns out I have no fewer than 100 books to get rid of! Whoa. Maybe being in a reading slump made it easier for me to say "Nope, not keeping that one, or that one, or this one..."? Now I have to pack them all up so I can load them in my car to donate. Sounds nice to use my muscles for hefting books instead of heavy shovelfuls of snow!

6. I just read Ruth's review of Passenger by Alexandra Bracken and she's convinced me I must read this one soon. Have any of you read it?

7. I watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Christmas day with my nephew. I know, I know! I'm only like a year behind everybody else. But I liked it! I confess to only having watched A New Hope prior (I want to watch the others, I just haven't yet) I've read enough about TFA and the Star Wars universe though, so I wasn't lost regarding what was going on. The story kept playing in my head for several days after. It was especially bittersweet after I heard about Carrie Fisher's death. And now I really want to watch the other movies!

8. I keep seeing lists of books people have to read, or books that well-known critics/readers say everyone needs to read or somesuch. Every single time I see one of these types of lists I think, "But what if I disagree?" Because as I've learned (even just today- I loved that story, but Birdie did not), reading is very subjective. The books I fall in love with may turn out to be vastly different than the books you fall in love with! Every reader knows this by now, I think. I guess it's just the titles of those lists that bug me. Because I love lists! I do. But me saying that these certain ten books are ones that you are guaranteed to love is very misleading, because you may not love them. You may hate them actually! And that's perfectly okay. Maybe what I want is just for people to stop titling these lists as guaranteed winners. I know, I'm ranting over something silly. I just needed to get it off my chest. Rant over. Promise. ;)

Happy Monday, my lovelies! I hope your week is delightful.




January 14, 2017

New Year, New Hope


When you start to feel
like things should have
been better this year,
remember the mountains and valleys
that got you here.
They are not accidents
and those moments weren't in vain.
You are not the same
you have grown and you are growing
you are breathing, you are living.
You are wrapped in
endless
boundless
grace.
And things will get better.
There is more to you than yesterday.

~ Morgan Harper Nichols




December 30, 2016

My Favorite 2016 Reads


Hello, my lovelies! Yep, it's finally that time again. Listing all my favorite stories from this year! I've been holding off, just in case I read one final book that blew me away before tomorrow night. But as I'll be busy with family Christmases for the next few days, I figure it won't happen. So! Here we are.

There were so many fabulous books that I was privileged to read this year. And so many amazing new authors, as well as old favorites. All the writers out there continue to showcase their incredible talents and make this reader very, very happy! And per my usual, narrowing down my choices to only ten isn't very easy at all. But I'm going to try!

Simply put, these are the stories I devoured once I began reading and could not put them down for real life, no matter how it tried to intrude! :) These characters refused to leave my head for hours and days after I finished reading and easily stole my heart. I will happily gush about each one of these books to anyone willing to listen!

{These are listed in the order I read them, I couldn't seem to figure out which to highlight first or last, so this was easiest.}

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by Mary Jane Hathaway

I love this story because of Alice and Paul. Their chemistry is off the charts and their banter and flirtations are too adorable! Plus it mainly takes place in a bookstore, which is just awesome.


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A Season to Love
by Nicole Deese

This one is all about Willa's journey for me. Watching her grow braver and stronger over the course of the story is the biggest highlight for me. I connected with her character so, so much!


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The Thorn Keeper
by Pepper Basham

I love, love, love Catherine! She gripped onto my heart in book one (The Thorn Bearer) and the wait to find out more of her story was horrible. She so utterly fascinated me with her mix of vulnerability and brave. I could gush for hours over all the different awesome things about her character, but I'll spare you. ;)


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Named of the Dragon
by Susanna Kearsley

In my review, I described the writing as "atmospheric and haunting", which it is. And it's that very aspect that intrigued me about this story and pushed it to my favorites list. I am definitely planning to read more Susanna Kearsley books in the near future!


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Can't Help Falling
by Kara Isaac

After reading and loving her debut (Close to You), I was eagerly anticipating this one. I LOVED it! That meet cute is adorable and Emilia and Peter just wrapped themselves in my heart. Plus all the CS Lewis references just make my heart happy! :)


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The Lady and the Lionheart
by Joanne Bischof

Charlie Lionheart, you need to meet him. Enough said.


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The Blue Castle
by LM Montgomery

SO GOOD. I love Valancy and watching her find her brave is one of the best character arcs I've ever read! And then there's Barney Snaith.... *swoon*


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The Key to Extraordinary
by Natalie Lloyd

Natalie's books always deserve a top spot! But the timing of this one, with Emma learning to live with her grief, was perfect. I loved her adventures in Blackbird Hollow and every character is a delight!


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The Q
by Beth Brower

Quincy St. Claire. The Q. James Arch. Those are the three most perfect reasons you should read this book. Trust me!


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A Portrait of Emily Price
by Katherine Reay

It's a book by Katherine Reay. That means it's automatically guaranteed a spot on my favorites list! :D SO good, people. What else is there to say?


HONORABLE MENTIONS

The End of the World by Amy Matayo
Told You Twice by Kristen Heitzmann
The Red Door Inn by Liz Johnson
Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
Eyes of E'veria series by Serena Chase
Intermission by Serena Chase
The Thorn Healer by Pepper Basham




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