September 22, 2015

Bookish {and Not So Bookish} Thoughts :: Edition Three

This is a weekly meme hosted by Bookishly Boisterous where we write about stuff. I happened to see this via Birdie at Lady of the Manor and thought I'd join in.
1. Okay, so I am waaayyy behind on my blog reading (per my usual), but I happened to stumble across Naomi's awesome summary of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Go. Read. Laugh. The girl can write! :)

Stitching Snow2. I've been trying to crank out my long overdue reviews around here, but it seems slow going! However, that does not mean I haven't been reading. I have been finding so many wonderful stories recently and I hope to share the happy with y'all soon! Until then, know this: fairytale retellings are awesome, so you should definitely check out Stitching Snow, if you haven't already. It's loads of fun!

3. Speaking of reading, have any of you read Jane Austen's Mansfield Park? I confess I have not. I have seen a couple adaptations of it, and wasn't properly impressed. But Lianne states a pretty great case for reading it, so go read her informative (and fabulous) post! And incidentally, while she was rereading the book back when, we happened to have a twitter convo about whether Fanny should have ended up with Edmund or not. I happened to recall this when I saw that Sherwood Smith had written a new ending for the book and out of curiosity, I started it and actually really enjoyed it! Do any of you happen to have any feelings on this subject?

4. Still interested in more Austen info? I happened to see this picture on pinterest the other day, which led to me seeking out more info. This post I found was fun, plus it has another shot of Jane Bennet and Mr. Bingley 20 years later, aka 2015 (from the '95 P&P). They've both aged very gracefully!

5. I just read Rachel's review of the third? or fourth? Signed, Sealed, Delivered movie. It reminded me that I recently discovered the series on dvd and need to watch it! I've watched the first movie that started it, as well the Christmas movie last year and loved both. Amber and Rissi have exclaimed over how much they adore this series and all the movies as well. Since it comes so highly recommended, perhaps you ought to check out it? Just a suggestion. ;) Will let you know more later of my own thoughts on the series! {Also, I heart Oliver O'Toole.}

Here he is, in all his old-fashioned wonderfulness.

6. Cinderella came out on dvd last week and let me just say once again that it is DELIGHTFUL. You know, I never realized how much I loved fairytales until the last few years. There's just something about them. I do think I'm a bigger fan of fairytale retellings than the actual fairytales themselves (and quite happily there are so many out there for me to devour! :), but the real deal is still very fun. And Lily and Richard as Cinderella and her Prince are absolutely adorable! You should watch it.

7. Are you an avid reader? I read over this list and decided I definitely fit that category. (I know. Big surprise.)

"Autumn, the years last, loveliest smile."
~William Cullen Bryant

8. Autumn begins tomorrow! I can't believe how fast this summer has flown. I say that for every season, but it's true every single time! Where does time go anyway? I admit, as much as I'm going to miss my sandals (because I will), it has been nice to have cool nights and crisp mornings. Especially when they're rainy like yesterday! Rainy days make me happy. Yes, I'm one of those weirdos.

9. Birdie is hosting a watch-along of Far From the Madding Crowd (the '98 version, not the new one) in October. Head over to her blog for the info! I haven't seen any versions of this story myself, but have heard great things about the newest one. Hopefully I get the chance to watch one of them soonish.

10. And last, but not least, I am planning a trip in October in which I will get to spend some time with dear friends that I have not seen in entirely too long! Needless to say, I am beyond excited for October to arrive. (And also fully cognizant that I just got through wondering how time goes so quickly and here I am wishing it away. I'm contradictory like that. ;)

So what's new with you?

September 11, 2015

Review: Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

I have made no secret of how much I loved Cruel Beauty and to say I was excited for this book would be putting it very mildly! :D I just knew I was going to love it and I was right. With a creepy yet romantic storyline and characters who are flawed yet sympathetic, Ms. Hodge has created a world that is unforgettable. This is not a story of happiness and rainbows, however. Much like its predecessor, it is a harsh and strange universe that is utterly fascinating. The reader starts Rachelle’s story and is hardly able to draw breath before being pulled into her wild and crazy journey with her.

Rachelle is curious mix of fierce strength and an inner vulnerability that she refuses to acknowledge. For one in her situation, being vulnerable can mean something almost worse than death. She is a character who makes choices that she hates, yet it cannot be helped. And deep inside is her true desire of being able to love and be loved, but she knows that's impossible for one in her situation. (Or is it?) And while she may think she can never even have friendship, there are those who refuse to let her believe that. Amelie is magnificent! She reminds Rachelle that her human emotions are worth holding on to and is such a wonderful friend. I loved their scenes together. And while there is much that could also be said about Armand and Erec, I believe I’ll let you discover them on your own.

Once again, I am in awe of Ms. Hodge’s writing skills. She is incredible at taking all these different details and ideas and intertwining them so solidly that once you step back and look at the entirety of the story, all you can do is be amazed at how they fit together. At first glance it seems a pretty simple set up, but once you’re into the story you realize that every detail is way more intricate than you thought. This world she has created is dark and foreign, with so much depth and complexity, yet at the same time there is much familiar here. When you create a world unlike anything real, it helps to stabilize the reader by inserting things they can understand. The world-building is wonderful, in my opinion! And the storylines twist and turn constantly. This certain moment may seem small, yet later on it turns out to have huge significance. It’s very clear that Ms. Hodge had the story well-plotted out from beginning to end. Nothing is there by chance, everything happens for a reason. 

The theme of sacrificing for those you love is prevalent, as well as who is worthy of love and forgiveness. It’s a quandary that many of the characters struggle with, Rachelle especially. Watching her heart, so afraid of being shattered completely, slowly open up is a beautiful thing to see. Nothing comes easy for her, but you'll be cheering her on every step of the way.

Really, this is a story that ought to be experienced without a great deal of expectation of may happen. Nothing is ever as it seems, including the characters. I do admit that I wasn't left quite as breathless as when I first read Cruel Beauty, but my adoration for that one is pretty hard to top! :) Never doubt how amazing it is, though, and go read it!

Rachelle moved to tie up the second man. "You think I want to hurt you?"
"I don't know. Do you?" His voice was light and soft, but she could see the tension in his jaw, in the lines of his arms. She could feel the swift beat of his pulse beneath his calm façade.
Rachelle knew she wasn't being fair--anyone should be suspicious of her, after the things she'd done--but even so, for a moment she could hardly breathe through the helpless fury choking her.
She pulled out one of her knives and flung it to land quivering in the wall two finger widths from his head.
He barely twitched.
"Keep the knife," she said. "Maybe it will make you feel safer."

September 10, 2015

:: a List of Happy ::

You've Got Mail NY152 and Shopgirl DIY mugs
Here's a DIY tutorial for them.
 Mugs to commemorate one of my favorite movies! I want them.

THE SUNKEN REALM by Serena Chasejpg

Here's the awesome new cover for Serena Chase's amazing Eyes of E'veria series. {More details here.}

The Crimson Field - set in a World War One Field Hospital in France.:  

This series was short-lived, but wonderful! You should watch it. Trust me.
{Also? Richard Rankin is rather nice looking.}

Getting in the way of productivity since 1811:
So much truth in that picture! ;)

Have Courage, Be Kind: The Tale of Cinderella

By the by, did you remember that this movie comes out on dvd next week?!
{I'm kind of excited about that.}
So what's making you happy today?

September 3, 2015

Curious Wren {Bookish} Blog Party

Twitter is so useful sometimes! One never knows who they might meet up with over there. :) I happened to "meet" a fellow booklover recently and found out she had a new blog in the works. Then I saw she had a fun blog party going on to celebrate that very thing and thought, "I should join in!". So here I am. If you'd like, head over to Curious Wren and check out all the festivities! :)

1. What was the last book you read, and would you recommend it?

I just finished The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay and it's DELIGHTFUL. So yes! I would recommend it. It's not out until November, so you have a bit of a wait, but let me just say that it will be worth that wait! Because there is something about Ms. Reay's writing that creeps in your heart and refuses to leave. So mark your calendars! :)

2. Describe the perfect reading spot.

All that is required is comfy seating and a good book. If the book is amazing, any place is perfect because I won't stay in reality long! So my environment doesn't really matter in that case.

3. Favorite book beverage? Tea? Coffee? Hot chocolate? Tears of your readers?

Tea! Hot, cold, either way it's wonderful. Especially if it's chai! :D

4. Share favorite quotes from four books.

"If the right person tells a story, I guess it doesn't matter how many times you've heard it. Your heart still hears it brand new." ~ Natalie Lloyd, A Snicker of Magic

"Sometimes the best adventures are the ones that scare you the most." ~ Erynn Mangum, Paige Turned

"A thief never makes a noise by accident." ~ Megan Whalen Turner, The Thief

"You know who Mr. Darcy is?"
"I exist, therefore I know who Mr. Darcy is." ~ Cath Crowley, Graffiti Moon

5. What is your most loved fantasy read? Dystopia? Contemporary? Sci-fi? Classic?

I actually have to pick only ONE for each of those categories? You should know how impossible that is! So I may choose more than one...

Fantasy: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (I don't know if these are considered fantasy, but I'm choosing them anyway.)

Dystopia: The Gifting series by K. E. Ganshert

Contemporary: My Hands Came Away Red by Lisa McKay

Sci-Fi: This Shattered World by Amie Kaufmann and Meagan Spooner

Classic: Persuasion by Jane Austen, North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

6. List three authors you’ve collected the most books from.

Erynn Mangum
Jennifer E. Smith
Laura Frantz

7. What are your thoughts on magic in literature?

I don't mind it, so long as I know it's just make believe.

8. What types of book covers capture your imagination most strongly? Feel free to include images.

I'm not sure I can really pinpoint a certain type of cover that will always make my eyes happy. I love different covers for differing reasons. For example:

I love the artwork that characterizes middle grade novels much of the time. Like the new covers for the Nancy Drew stories!


But I also love artwork on adult fiction as well. This is one of my very favorites.

The Brontë Plot: The Brontë Plot

Then there are some that are strikingly different and awesome.


Yet simple ones can work really well also. I love the colors of this one!


And sometimes all you need is a fabulous font over a picture. :)

Susan May Warren - You're the One that I Want: Susan May Warren - You're the One that I Want

While other times all you need is a remarkable dress!

See? I like all kinds. (Permit me to direct you to my Pinterest board for more favorites.) I should note that one thing I really love about them is when they match the story inside. Some are amazing, but have nothing to do with what the book is actually about. When the perfect cover happens to a delightful story (such as with Cruel Beauty, which you should totally read if you haven't yet!), then I am a very happy booklover!! :D

9. Mention the first book character that comes to mind. Elaborate on this.

My mind is still full of Lucy from The Bronte Plot. I wasn't really sure about her at first, she took a bit of warming up to. But by halfway through I suddenly realized that somehow she'd snuck into my heart and I was right there with her every step of her journey! I fell in love with her introspective moments and her love of literature. And I was rooting for her to realize her mistakes and make them right, even as I understood her reasoning. I'm not sure I can really describe why I love her so, but I do. Kudos to Ms. Reay for creating such an unforgettable character! :)

10. Do you lend out your books? Or is that the equivalent to giving away your babies?

I do! I love to share my favorite stories with friends. I'm just particular on getting them back in a timely manner (because I miss them!) and in good condition (I have experienced getting a book returned with the cover torn or all messed up and it made me very sad).


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