May 20, 2015

More North & South Awesomeness!

Y'all know by now how very much I love North and South. So I won't bore you with talk. I only share the lovely pic above (*happy sigh* ;) and this awesome article! It's from last Fall, but I only discovered it the other day. I mean, you know it's going to be a fabulous post when the title of it is: '10 Years Later, ‘North & South’ Remains the Greatest Period-Drama Miniseries of All Time', right?! :D

Read and enjoy!

May 18, 2015

Dune Read-Along Discussion :: Part 3


Woohoo! We're finished! I ended up reading parts two and three all in a row. And wow! What an epic adventure it was. Mr. Herbert clearly was a very talented writer! The fabulous Kami hosted this discussion, head over here to read her answers. :)

And once again, my answers:

1. What are your overall thoughts? Did you like it?

The world-building is phenomenal! I was blown away by that. The story itself? Was interesting. But I could never connect with any one character. Oh, I liked a few of them. But I couldn't relate or connect to them. They all felt very distant. And characters are what keep me invested in a story usually. Although the suspense of what was going to happen next keep me hooked in. So ultimately I did enjoy it okay, but I didn't love it.

2. Do you think you could ride a giant worm?

NO! Absolutely not. I'm a wimp!

3. Paul's relationship with his mom, Jessica, dramatically changed and evolved over the course of the book. How did their relationship change and why do you think it did?

At the beginning, Paul is clueless about his true destiny and what will happen. He's relied on his mother all of his life, which is natural. But as the book progresses, he grows up. And with growing up (as well as what his destiny entails), children naturally come into their own. They start making their own choices and living their own life. Which is what Paul did.

4. What do you think about Paul's lack of emotion?

He irked me mostly. I need some emotion to be able to understand a character. I could never fully understand him or really even like him unfortunately.

5. Now that I've finished, I feel like I'd pick up on a lot more of the details and things if I read it again. Do you think you'll reread Dune? If this is a reread, did you catch different things this time around?

Maybe someday? But if so, not for a looonnngggg time. I do think I'd probably pick up on a lot more details the second time around. But I'm satisfied enough for now. The details I didn't get will just have to stay hidden.

6. How do you feel about the political arrangement at the end? Do you feel bad for Princess Irulan or Chani?

I wasn't sure whether Paul's desire for power was really a good thing, regardless of being this "messiah" or not. It kind of bothered me actually. But it does make sense. And I don't feel bad for either lady. They both know what they're getting into. Or at least they have a pretty good idea. Ok, I guess I felt slightly bad for Chani, but then she's already been with emotionless Paul for at least two years. So she knows what he's like. Or she should!

7. Will you read the rest of the series?

Very doubtful. But I could surprise myself someday! :)

8. Favorite character and why?

Gurney Halleck because he's awesome. He's just awesome! And I like Alia too. Her moment of awesome is pretty great! Never underestimate the littles! ;)

9. What did you think about the quotes at the beginning of each chapter? Did you read them? Were they interesting? Were they helpful?

I pretty much ignored them the whole time. I did notice who wrote them, but didn't know who this princess was until the very end.

10. Did you have fun during the Read Along? Was there anything we could have done better? Would you have read this book if you hadn't joined?

I did! Even if I did read a little slower than everyone else. I'm pretty positive that I would not have ever read this book if not for you ladies. And I'm glad I did! It's such a popular and well known book that it's nice to know what everyone is talking about. As much as I wish I could have liked it better, it really is an amazing story! As I said before, the world-building is fantabulous. And it was very clear to me that Frank Herbert had the story well planned out from the beginning. Not one detail was missed. (I tended to miss them, but that's neither here nor there.) So thank you ladies! Y'all did a wonderful job. Just as I expected. :)

Dune Read-Along Discussion :: Part 2


Yay for more action in book two! (Also the legend finally begins.) The lovely Suey hosted this second discussion, head over here to check out everyone else's answers.

And now for mine!

1. What do you think about all the rituals the Freman have surrounding water? Especially the funeral.

Wow. That's really all I can say. Water is everything to them! It makes sense given the vast lack of it, but I hadn't thought about how they'd even use the water of one who has died. Very interesting!

2. Any other thoughts you have about the Freman now that we've been introduced a little better?

They are fascinating people. And very strong and smart! To have survived out in the desert for as long as they have, without much water and with the sandworms, that takes incredible intelligence and strength.

3. How do you feel about the way Paul is progressing to his destiny?

I kept forgetting that he was only 15! He's also very emotionless. I couldn't get a good read on him, therefore I was constantly changing my mind on whether I liked him or not. Even though I knew I was supposed to root for him, I couldn't seem to feel like he was trustworthy. Even though I knew he was ultimately! And everything came so easy for him. He dreams it, then it happens. He may say or think that he's doubtful of how things are going to go, but everything always works out for him. (I might be slightly annoyed with him? Sorry.)

4. We had more deaths in this section, two that stand out. Compare and contrast them.

There were SO many deaths in this section! Just about the time I finally decided I kind of liked a character, he would die! Hmph.

(Confession: I had to go look up which two Suey is referring to. Kynes and Jamis.) I liked Kynes. I was quite sad to see him die. And surprised! Because he'd survived all these other things in his life, to be taken down like that? I wasn't expecting that at all. I figured he'd be important all the way through to the end. As for Jamis, I really couldn't care either way about him. But it was interesting to get info on how the Fremen care for their dead.

5. What political maneuverings are happening during this section? I'd love a nice uncomplicated explanation!

Shall I admit to skimming quickly through the political stuff? Not really my thing. But I did get enough of an idea to understand that everybody in the political world (the Baron, the Emperor, etc) basically just want everything for themselves. And none of them seem to mind betraying one another.

6. What religious events are happening?

Lady Jessica becoming the Reverend Mother was interesting. And Paul drinking the spice and going all weird. Plus him realizing for sure who he's destined to be. (Sidenote: for someone who is supposed to be this messiah and know all things, he sure doesn't seem to fully believe it himself! Even when all the clues are staring him right in the face.) Lots of strange stuff. (Quite possibly a lot of this went over my head. I'm positive that I didn't understand nearly everything that was really happening.)

7. What do you think of the Baron?

He's terrible, awful, horrible, evil, and disgusting. I'd really like him dead.

8. Any foreshadowing moments that stand out to you? What's going to happen?

Lady Jessica's baby! I remember being interested in what would happen to her. And Paul and Chani? Talk about a non-romance! I was wishing for a bit more sweetness. But then, I forgot this is Paul. Who has no emotion. So yeah....

9. How do you like (or dislike) this section compared to the first? Any new favorite characters?

It had a bit more action, which I appreciated! And Paul and Lady Jessica's journey through the desert was fascinating. I'd've died the first day. They were pretty smart! ;) I like Stilgar. I was kind of afraid he'd die, since I liked him! Not sure what'll become of him, but I do like him.

10. Do you plan to finish and stick with us through part three?

I do! And I did! :)

Dune Read-Along Discussion :: Part 1


Did y'all know I participated in another read-along? Probably not, since I haven't mentioned it here. Life's been kind of crazy recently! But I did read Dune by Frank Herbert, hosted by the always awesome Jenni, Suey, and Kami! :) I was supposed to post these discussion posts as we were reading, but....yeah. It didn't happen. Sorry ladies! But better late than never, right? (I hope?)

It was a very intriguing story. I'd never read anything remotely like it before, but decided that it's good to read outside of my comfort zone. Get a fresh perspective of something different and maybe learn more about what I like and don't like in stories. And I had the chance to maybe find an amazing new book to add to my favorites pile, which is always a fabulous thing! I'll save all my thoughts and feelings for the discussion posts and my review though.

So! Jenni hosted this first discussion, head over here to read what everyone else thought. Now on to my answers!

1. Have you ever read a high sci-fi book before?

No, I haven't.

2. Is this your first time reading Dune?

It is! It's good to read something different than my usual. :)

3. If this is your first time reading Dune, is the book anything like you expected it to be? If this isn’t your first time reading it, have you noticed anything different this time around?

I wasn't sure what to expect, to be quite honest. I had seen bits and pieces of the miniseries from 2000, but not enough to be entirely certain precisely what the book would be about. But I did know it had giant sandworms in it! And something about blue eyes, so those parts were similar to what I was expecting. Everything else was new.

4.Were you surprised that you knew who the traitor was before everything went down at the end of this book? Did it help prepare you? Or, were you bugged by it?

I was surprised actually, because most authors don't show that in the very beginning. And I expected it to help prepare me, but by the time the actual betrayal took place, I had been so caught up in everything else that was happening I'd kind of forgotten to be on my toes for that! So it surprised me again, slightly. :)

5. What do you think of the idea of recycling the water from your body to survive in such an arid climate?

I can understand the necessity of it and do think it a pretty ingenious idea. But still....*shudder* I'm very glad I don't have to do that!

6. What was your favorite part of this section? Why?

When Duke Leto and Paul see the sandworm for the first time! After hearing so much about them, and with my teeny tiny little bit of prior knowledge of them, it was fun to finally get to "see" it.

7. Which character(s) do you find the most interesting? Why?

I like Gurney Halleck! Just because he's awesome. And Paul is interesting. Not sure I like him, but he is interesting.

8. Are there any revelations in this section that surprised you?

Not really? There was so much foreshadowing of things that, looking back, nothing really truly shocked me. (Or maybe I was reading too quick for things to sink in properly.)

9. What do you think of Dune so far? Are you having a hard time following what’s going on? It is engaging? Boring?

If I had just picked the book up randomly and started reading, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have gotten past the first chapter. The varying narrators that constantly change mid-paragraph almost, and just the confusion of trying to figure out exactly what was going on, was all a big jumbled mess for me. It took me a while to get used to the writing. But I am glad I kept going! The more I read, the more hooked I got. Kudos to Mr. Herbert for keeping my attention! Although I will also say that all the political maneuverings and talking heads kind of bored me. I wanted more action!

10. Do you have any predictions about what’s going to happen in the next section?

Since I've already finished the book, I can't really answer this question properly. But I remember thinking (after I finished book one) that things would surely get more interesting in book two! (I was hoping anyway. :)

May 11, 2015

Do You Own Multiple Copies of Favorite Books?

So I may have mentioned several times recently that I just bought a fourth copy of one my favorite books. (Hope I haven't annoyed you? If so, I do apologize for my bookish enthusiasm. :) And Kami mentioned in a comment that she wanted to see picture proof my collection. Ask and you shall receive! Here they are (and please excuse the dirty floor below them).

Now I suppose you'd like the story of how I acquired each copy. And if not, then oh well. Because I'm going to wax poetic on you about them anyway! (Besides, you can always stop reading this post, right? Although I do hope you won't! :)

Copy #1 - The brown Barnes and Noble paperback edition (it looks maroon in the picture, but it's really more brown in real life)- I bought it because I wanted to read the book and I didn't believe in ereaders at the time. (Now I'm fully on board the ereader happy train, in case you didn't know. ;) I bought, I read, I sighed with happiness at the close of the final page.

Copy #2 - The black and white hardback edition - I found it at a library sale for a couple dollars and though I knew I already owned it, my first copy was paperback and I thought it'd be nice to have a hardback edition. I was right! :)

Copy #3 - The blue dress and umbrella paperback edition - Another library sale find! I'd never seen that particular cover before and it was too pretty to pass up. A perfectly logical reason.

Copy #4 - The gorgeous blue and brown Books-A-Million hardback edition - I already told y'all how I acquired this one, so I won't detail it all again. But suffice it to say it looks beautiful on my shelf! And by this time, I'd decided that it was awesome to own several different copies of a favorite book. One does what one must, right? And clearly I must own four copies of Persuasion! (Or more. You know. For future reference. Just in case the need arises. :)

Do you own multiple copies? If so, which book(s)?

May 9, 2015

Review: This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Wow! That was my first reaction upon reading the final pages of this book. No worries that the middle story in this trilogy will let you down. The tension only rises! These authors clearly know what they're doing. :)

While book one had great mystery and romance, in this one the secrets are taken to a new level. The enigma of Avon and all the unknowns makes for a perfect mix of emotions and unease for our characters. I can only admire the skill of the writers to hint at all these secrets and give us just enough answers to satisfy for now, yet keep our suspense and curiosity excited for more! Because that's what I enjoyed the most about this story. The romance was lovely, of course, but the careful balance both Lee and Flynn have to walk in every single minute of their lives makes for splendid storytelling. Never knowing for sure who to trust and who not to, or even whether people they trust will let them down in the next circumstance.

But that's not to say that the romance portions aren't fun! Because these two have chemistry galore. Watching them tiptoe around their attraction (or sometimes even stomp their way through!) is quite entertaining. They aren't entirely sure that they can even trust each other (understandably so, as you will see), but yet they can't deny that their hearts are affected. Their romance is a little slower than Lilac and Tarver's (from These Broken Stars) simply because more of the focus of the story is on all the secrecy and questions. Which is not a bad thing at all!

I love the atmosphere of this series! It becomes even more noticeable in this story because Avon is such a huge part of the plot. The planet is dark and mysterious and unknown, even for the people who have lived there all their lives. It almost feels like a character itself with its strangeness. There's simply something about it that intrigues and make you desire to know what makes it thus.

Consequently, I finished this book wishing that book three were out already. Because I want more answers! There's still much that needs explained and with the hints of who our next main characters will be, I am beyond excited to learn more about them! That's one thing in particular that I absolutely love about this series. The fact that it's a continuing story, yet each book can be read by itself and even stand alone pretty well. I ended the first two books quite satisfied with their conclusions, yet still salivating for more story. And that's what a fabulous series will do. Kudos to Ms. Kaufman and Ms. Spooner! :)

He starts to move forward again, and this time I'm snapping back before I have time to think. "You can stay right where you are."
My fingers clench around the ropes binding my hands. It's not like I can do anything to him if he comes. Maybe I could sweep his legs from under him, but it wouldn't be enough to take him out, and even if it was--what then?
But he stops anyway, watching me in silence. After a while he slings the strap of the canteen over his shoulder and crosses his arms. "How're you feeling?" His smile is insulting.
You dragged me out of my bar, shot me, forced me to breathe chemical fumes, took me into the middle of nowhere, then tied me to a post in an underground cave. How do you think I'm feeling?
But I'll tear my own arms off trying to get free before I'll give him the satisfaction of an honest reply. I smile back at him, giving it every ounce of malice I can summon. "Just peachy, Romeo. How's your leg?"
His smile vanishes, and I see the subtle shift of his weight from one foot to the other. I wonder who pulled the hot-pink plastic out of his leg, and if they gave him a hard time for it.
"It's the least of my problems."
"Your problems? Romeo, you shouldn't have brought me home if you didn't think Mom and Dad would like me."

May 7, 2015

A Bookish Question For You...


As I was reading the other day, I got to thinking about writers and their descriptions of characters. Some authors describe in great detail about what their characters look like, while others give the barest description they can get away with. Either way is fine by me, except that I will say that too much description can take the focus away from the story. Isn't there a writerly saying about "show, don't tell"....??

Anyway! My point is, as I was reading I realized that I was picturing the scenes in my mind. But I wasn't actually putting faces on the people I was reading about. It was more that I had a general picture of the hair color and body size and height and all that, but nothing in great detail. Kind of like I had the outline of the scene rather than all the colors and wrinkles and every single facial expression. In fact, I've noticed that I tend to make myself the main girl character when I'm imagining a scene. (Is that strange? Or do other people do that too?) Which led me to wondering what other readers' imaginations create.

I realize that it helps a lot if there's a cover model that fits the description well or if there's been a movie and I picture the actor or actress while reading. But that doesn't always guarantee that I will picture the cover model or actor while reading! Our imaginations are so very personal (obviously) and interesting. And I bet we all do differently. Or maybe not. But I'd sure like to find out!

So! What about you? When you're reading a story, do you instantly have a picture of the characters in your mind? If so, to what degree of detail do you imagine?

And please, won't you comment and answer? I'm so curious! (Pretty please? With sugar on top? :)

May 6, 2015

Review: Dauntless by Dina Sleiman

What a fabulous take on Robin Hood! I confess that I haven’t read many Robin Hood stories, but I do know the general plotline well enough. And I can say that Ms. Sleiman has written a wonderful addition to the list. Action, adventure, romance, and a swashbuckling good time! What’s not to like?

Merry is such an intriguing young woman. Circumstances have led her to this place and these people where she has formed a new family for herself. From her men who “thieve” alongside her to the young orphans in their care, this ragtag group loves each other fiercely. And Merry, as their leader, understands all too well the way life throws some really hard knocks at you sometimes. But she determines that their present situation won’t be forever. I do love how she teaches them and cares for them. She refuses to accept defeat! Her care and concern, yet utter confidence in their abilities to save one another when needed or do their part in the care of the group is lovely to witness. Yet that courage (and fiery temper!) also cause her to be unable to accept help when it comes in ways that she hasn’t figured into her plan. So she has some learning to do herself.

I confess to not really being a fan of love triangles, so that part of the story disappointed me a bit. Even though there really is never any doubt which guy Merry is going to choose, the rejected one is such a good guy that I just wished he had more of a plotline than simply trying to convince Merry to love him. Yet the romance is cute and sweet. Most of the buildup has happened in the past since they’ve known each other for years, so present day is more focused on accepting what their hearts are telling them.

I did love the introspective moments! There are several times where Merry has a lot of time for thinking and writing. I really enjoyed her poetry as well. Even Timothy and Allen has moments where they had to do some thinking and/or plotting their next plan. Somehow the mix of narrators worked for me. I was a bit afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep track, but no worries there! And it helped keep the action going, which I appreciated. These are the times I like being the omniscient reader who knows what everyone is doing, while the characters themselves don’t! :D

So overall, this is a very fun adventure. Ms. Sleiman impressed me with her skill at writing a great story and now I’m anxious to read more of her writing. As well as go back and reread a few favorite scenes. Which is the nicest compliment I can give a book! Plus that cover is simply beautiful. The colors are perfect and that's just how I could picture Merry. Yay for great cover designers! :)

** I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

Death always spiraled about them in this realm, brushing against their shoulders, reminding them they might be next…
An odd sound met her ears from just outside the door. The call of a wood warbler…or rather a childish imitation of one.
Thanks be to God,” Allen said. “Our prayers have been answered." Robert rushed to the door and opened it.
In tumbled Gilbert, red cheeked and panting for breath. “All…is clear.” He collapsed against the wall. “But I lost….the berries."

May 4, 2015

Movie Quote Monday :: Kate and Leopold

[Talking on the phone]
Stuart: Are you sitting down?
Kate: [standing] Yes.
Stuart: No, you're not.
Kate: Yes, I am.
Stuart: No, you're not.
Kate: Ye...
[Kate sits down in chair with a thud]
Kate: Okay.
Stuart: I found it.
Kate: What did you find?
Stuart: The portal. A crack in the fabric of time. It was over the East River, Kate, just where I said it would be.
Kate: You found the portal?
Stuart: A portal into April 28th, 1876. I jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge and took a walk in 1876 today. I followed the Duke of Albany around old New York. Are you listening?
Kate: Avidly.
Stuart: This here's the twist, Kate. Here's the kicker.
Kate: What's the kicker?
Stuart: [whispering] He followed me home.

I know! Kind of funny to post a picture of Kate with Leopold and then a quote of Kate with Stuart. But I love that convo! Stuart and Kate's friendship and how well they know each other is just sweet. Of course, neither of them would think so. At least not at the beginning of the movie. :) But then there's Leopold! Oh my goodness, what a gentleman! When I watched this with Amber the other weekend, I'd forgotten how much fun this movie is. And how much I wish there was an actual Leopold for me! The way he sweeps Kate off her feet? *swoon* And she's so determined to be this modern woman, but learns exactly how lovely it feels to be a bit old fashioned. This movie is too adorable! :)

May 3, 2015

Adding To My Jane Austen Collection...

Why yes! That would be Pride and Prejudice in comic book form. Isn't that awesome?! I happen to think so. :) Do you want the whole story? Of course you do. Right? I knew it.

We begin around three weeks ago. I was staying with some friends and I happened to look at their bookshelves. (As one does.) And what to my wondering eyes should appear? A cover that looked very familiar! I confess to being unable to let it out of my sight the entire rest of my stay. Because I couldn't believe what I'd found! Perhaps y'all were aware that this book existed, but I was not. Oh, I'd seen the picture of that exact cover several places online, but I guess I'd never read the fine print where it says that it's a real, live book. So I truly was surprised when I saw it. A happy surprise though! :D

I'm sure you can guess the rest of this story. I parted with said book, quite sad that I had to leave it at their house. And proceeded to come home determined to find a copy for myself. Which brings us to this past week when it finally arrived on my doorstep! I couldn't stop grinning when I saw it and sat right down and read the entire thing through. Again.

It's awesome, you guys! I mean, seriously. Just look at this artwork.

I love the fact that Jane is dancing with excitement! :)

And so begins perfect happiness... ;)
Another friend of mine saw my pictures and said how much it looks similar to the movie version. I hadn't thought about it until he mentioned it, but I do think he's right. Whether that was intentional or not, I am absolutely thrilled to have this as part of my book collection. It's currently still sitting on my kitchen table as I haven't found just the right spot for it yet. It deserves a special place, don't you think? :)
It was originally published in actual comic book form. So at the end of the book it has copies of all five comic covers.

I think my favorite here is "Does Darcy Deem Dames Detestable? (don't dare delay!)".

I like the one of Lizzy by herself. On one of her walks! :)

And here's the happy couple! Except they don't look anything like they do in the artwork inside.
And there you have it! Isn't it fab? Don't you think you need to add it to your collection? Or perhaps you already own it?! In which case, we are both awesome. :D



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