Friday, May 15, 2015

Finishing up the Classics Club

Love the idea of covering old books with patterned paper and wrapping them up in ribbon ... sweet display    Many of you are aware that I've been involved in The Classics Club, which is basically a challenge to read at least fifty classic books within five years. I've been kind of a "ghost" member and haven't really participated in anything on the blog (I haven't even posted any links to my reviews...*blush*) but I began my reading in September of 2012, and now, in May 2015, I've finished all 50 of my books! (quite honestly, I probably would have finished about five months earlier if I had counted Rebecca [which I read in January] instead of War & Peace as my 50th classic...but I knew if I didn't use War & Peace instead I'd never get around to reading it) Anyway, I've finished a full two years earlier than my goal date, so that's a lovely accomplishment!

    Technically, I was supposed to write a review for every book I read....which I didn't. That being the case, I decided to list all of the books here with a tiny, mini review below each title. Books that I've written full-length reviews on have links below the title.


1. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis 
Finished 9/5/12!
Thought-provoking and useful, definitely will re-read eventually.

2. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad 
Finished 9/24/12!
Boring and odd, honestly.

3.Lady Susan by Jane Austen 
Finished 9/24/12! (review here)
Interesting, in an evil villainess type of way...

4. Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell 
Finished 10/5/12! (review here)
Hear the words I never thought I'd say: the movie was better.

5. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens 
Finished 10/22/12! (review here)
One of my favorite Dickens' works, with some of his most memorable characters.

6. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens 
Finished 11/12/12!
And one of my least favorites of Dickens' books; I had a hard time getting into it.

7. Cyrano de Bergerac* by Edmond Rostand 
Finished 11/14/12!
Love this one! One of my favorite plays; highly recommended. 

8. From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne 
Finished 12/22/12!
Not as interesting as some of Verne's other books; thankfully, it's not nearly as long as most of his other books, either.

9. The Blue Castle by L.M. Montogmery 
Finished 1/2/13!
One of Montgomery's best books, one to re-read and cherish.

10. To Kill a Mockingbird* by Harper Lee 
Finished 1/4/13!
I fully admit I'm not the fan most people seem to be of this novel. But it is a good book, and I love Atticus Finch.

11. The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain 
Finished 1/10/13! (review here)
Liked it more than I expected, but not a favorite.

12. Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë 
Finished 1/12/13! (review here)
Decent, but bland at times.

13. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo 
Finished 2/15/13! (review here)
The story hidden within this encyclopedia is amazing; it's just a lot to get through. And you'll learn more about the battle of Waterloo and the sewers of Paris than you really wanted to know.

14. Villette by Charlotte Brontë 
Finished 3/5/13! (review here)
What a maddening ending! Quite frankly, the Brontës frustrate me.

15. The Secret Garden* by Frances Hodgson Burnett 
Finished 3/7/13!
A childhood favorite; mysterious and lovely.

16. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald 
Finished 3/15/13!
A shocking surprise- I was not expecting to like it as much as a did. A depressing book, but gorgeously written.

17. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain 
Finished 3/23/13!
I was very familiar with this story already (who isn't?) but this was my first time reading it unabridged. Quite frankly, Tom could do with a good spanking.

18. The Importance of Being Earnest* by Oscar Wilde 
Finished 5/13/13!
Another favorite play. It's silly and ridiculous: go read it.

19. The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood  by Howard Pyle 
Finished 5/29/13!
Not nearly as exciting as I was expecting. Really very dry; other versions are probably better.

20. A Little Princess* by Frances Hodgson Burnett 
Finished 6/5/13! (review here)
Another childhood favorite; I think I like it even better than The Secret Garden.

21. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy 
Finished 7/22/13! (review here)
A surprise favorite, but probably not a candidate for re-reads due to its length.

22. Eldorado by Baroness Orczy 
Finished 7/26/13!
Actually not my favorite of the Scarlet Pimpernel books (go ahead, gasp!) but enjoyable nonetheless.

23. Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott 
Finished 8/20/13!
I still think he should have ended up with Rebecca....

24. As You Like It by William Shakespeare 
Finished 8/22/13!
The bard is famous for a reason. This is a good example why.

25. Bleak House by Charles Dickens 
Finished 9/9/13! (review here)
A solid offering from Mr. Dickens.

26. King Lear by Willian Shakespeare 
Finished 10/16/13!
Not my favorite, but then I'm more into comedies than tragedies. And also I wanted to smack the king.

27. Mistress Pat by L.M. Montgomery 
Finished 10/19/13
Not a huge fan; rather boring, and the author has written much better books.

28. Lorna Doone by R.D. Blackmoore 
Finished 12/8/13!
Kind of a disappointment. Everyone seemed to love Lorna because she was pretty. I found her a little annoying.

29. The Professor by Charlotte Brontë  
Finished 12/12/13!
Well, it's the one book by a  Brontë that I wasn't tempted to throw across the room...

30. King Solomon’s Mines by H. Rider Haggard 
Finished 1/16/14!
Picked up near the end, but it was more of a "guy" book and I had a hard time getting into it.

31. Treasure Island* by Robert Louis Stevenson 
Finished 1/30/14!
Liked it much better the second time around.

32. Magic For Marigold by L.M. Montgomery 
Finished 1/30/14!
meh. One of my least favorites by Montgomery.

33. The Hidden Hand by E.D.E.N. Southworth 
Finished 2/9/14! (review here)
Pretty surprisingly fabulous. Will probably re-read sometime.

34. My Antonia by Willa Cather 
Finished 3/20/14!
Am I the only one who didn't like this book? It rubbed me the wrong way; I either found it boring, annoying, or weird. 

35. The Three Musketeers* by Alexandre Dumas 
Finished 3/26/14!
Yeah. Kind of forgot that this one doesn't always have the best morals. And why is everybody so hotheaded???

36. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë 
Finished 4/07/14! (review here)
If I hadn't decided to treat this book like someone was telling me a ghost story, I would have thrown it across the room long before I finished it.

37. Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens 
Finished 5/09/14! (review here)
Another favorite Dickens book! Makes me want to watch the miniseries again.

38. The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy 
Finished 5/20/14!
More Sir Percy is always a good thing.

39. I Will Repay by Baroness Orczy 
Finished 5/20/14!
Even if Sir Percy wasn't a main character, this is actually one of my favorites in the series.

40. The Mysteries of Udolpho by Anne Radcliffe 
Finished 6/12/14! (review here)
Extremely melodramatic and outrageously long, but somehow rather satisfying. 

41. The Old Man in the Corner by Baroness Orczy 
Finished 6/14/14!
A great collection of detective stories; enjoyable and reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes.

42. The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 
Finished 6/17/14!
A little odd, but kind of fun all the same. Holmes would probably roll his eyes, but...

43. The Art of War by Sun Tzu 
Finished 7/3/14!
Very much a fan. I need to buy a copy!

44. Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini 
Finished 7/6/14!
I think I need a hard copy of this one, too.

45. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley 
Finished 8/22/14! (review here)
*folds arms* Did not like. At all. Everybody in it made me mad.

46. Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope 
Finished 9/04/14!
Didn't get into it as much as I was hoping, but I did enjoy it.

47. Inferno by Dante Alighieri 
Finished 9/30/14! (review here)
Ah. Written back in the good old days when you could write self-insert fanfiction about seeing all of your political enemies in hell and have it become a piece of classic literature. Literally.

48. Nicholas Nickleby 
Finished 11/10/14! (review here)
It had its good parts, but overall I just found it 'okay.'

49. A Room With a View by E.M. Forster 
Finished 12/04/14!
Parts of it were amusing, but for some reason it kind of annoyed me, too.

50. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy 
Finished 5/13/15!
The bits about the families I found somewhat interesting; the philosophical ramblings, not so much.



* denotes a book that was a re-read

     Don't worry! Even though I've finished the classics club, I'll still continue reading - and blogging about - the classics. I have quite a list of others I'd like to read, although I'm not really committing to a reading goal right now. At the moment, I'm just going to bask in the glory of finishing this list :)

Friday, May 1, 2015

Just a list....of random questions

Sometimes, I'm very thankful for tags. I've been novel-ing a lot (which can, at times, turn one's brain to mush) and I feel like I've neglected my blogging- I only did five posts the entire month of April-and aside from one they were all cover reveals and/or tags. However, tags are nice posts to do when you need a break from writing something serious, so it was a nice to surprise to find that Maribeth had tagged me!


6c41f-thank2byou2bfor2bsaving2bthe2bbutton2c2bdear2b3b-p


The rules for the tag are:
~ Paste the button onto your blog post.

~ Leave a new list of questions (or just pass on the question list you answered) and tag a few people of your random choice (and say why you tagged them, if you have time!) (Be original and nonsensical in your question-creativity – make the blogging world a cheerful place.  And be disastrously random.)

Now for the fun…
~Write down three facts about you – one of them is WRONG. Let your commenters guess in the comments which one is wrong (and tell them in the comments after a while)

~Answer the questions of the person who tagged you – make it all super random and interesting

Fun! Can you guess which fact about me is incorrect?
1. I own a cat despite the fact that I dislike them
2. I hate fruit
3. One of my least favorite books of all time is The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

hmmm....why are all of these about disliking things?
And now to Maribeth's questions....
1) Have YOU ever written any fanfiction? No. Actually, I was rather...ummm...disdainful of fanfiction until just recently. (I know, fangirls- feel free to pelt me with tomatoes.) Actually, you have Maribeth herself to thank for winning me over with her adorable Cranford fic. And then I got curious, started browsing,...and realized that there are crossover fanfics between Doctor Who and THE MAGIC SCHOOLBUS. It was the chink in my armor, and though I haven't read a whole lot of fanfiction simply because the sheer amount out there is daunting (and not all of it is very good, haha) I do read it on occasion. 
2) Who are your real-life heroes? What do you admire most about them? I've always loved George Washington and his impact on our country. He just seemed like a wonderful, God-fearing and humble man who was a father to our country in more ways than one. I also admire Francis Marion, another revolutionary hero :) And then, of course, there's C.S. Lewis. I don't always agree with all his views, but gosh, his quotes are amazing and I "get" his writing.
3) What is your motto? What statement(s) inspire you in your day-to-day life?
Well, Joshua 1:9 has always been an important verse to me: "Be strong and courageous, do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." One motto though, that I like to remind myself is no matter what you do, that you'll never please everyone, so you should really only worry about pleasing God. 
Some more quotes that I love:
"Discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong. It is knowing the difference between right and almost right." ~ Charles Spurgeon
...

Captain America's motto should be everyone's motto.
doctor who
.
C. S. Lewis on love and feelings
okay, I'll refrain from more C.S. Lewis quotes... ;)
And to end with the immortal words of Ron Stoppable:
Never be normal!  #whatshouldwecallme
4) What is your most treasured possession? Well, at the risk of being totally unsentimental, I'll say my laptop, because it has all of my stories on it.
5) Strawberry cheesecake...or a slice of Devil's Food cake with a scoop of ice cream? hmmm...well, I don't like strawberries, but I do like cheesecake, and if it's not drenched in strawberries, I can handle a little bit. :) But then I also love chocolate, so this one is kind of a toss-up.
6) Top three things on your bucket list? Learn to play the violin, learn some spy-worthy self-defense, and visit Europe.
7) If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your thirteen-year-old self? ummm... that's a hard one. Maybe I'd just show myself all of the quotes I just posted above?
Sums it up.
8) What is your family's heritage? (English, German, Italian, Jewish, Spanish, etc.) ooooh, I'm a serious genealogy nut, so I love this question. My mom's side is Polish (her mom) and Danish (her dad). My dad's side of the family is German (his dad) and Irish/English (his mom). I've done some research and it's always fascinating what you can find in your own family history.
9) Favorite social media network? Pinterest. :)
10) Your favorite place in the whole wide world? (This can be something as big as an entire city or as small as a certain corner of a certain room.) ummm....I do love going about downtown Charleston. That might be an unexpected answer from me, because I love quiet, secluded spots, but Charleston is the exception. It's gorgeous and soaked in history and has beautiful architecture...oooh, I just love it.
And now I tag-
My sister, Emily.
Amy Dashwood
Rachel Heffington
Grace M.
and Hamlette

(yes, I actually tagged people this time! Be proud)

My questions:
1. Have you ever written any fanfiction? (yes, I stole this from Maribeth, who stole it from Eva, but hey- it's an interesting question!)
2. What's your favorite place to go out to eat?
3. Are you a fan of classic black and white films? If so, what are your favorites?
4. What is your family's heritage? (yes, I'm stealing this one too, because of REASONS.;)
5. Are you an animal lover?
6. If you are an author, what's the first thing you ever wrote? 
7. How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
8. Are you a math/science type of person, or an English/literature person? Or neither?
9. What is your favorite fairy tale?
10. Have you ever had any major injuries/illnesses?

Annnnd....I just realized that some of my questions are quite nosy. But it did say to be random...

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Dream Not Imagined Cover Reveal

Hello, all! today I'm participating in the cover reveal for the Cinderella retelling A Dream Not Imagined by Shantelle Hannu.



A MAID, a PRINCE, and a DUKE. A GARDENER, a STEPMOTHER, and a secret...

Ellie Abbington, a beautiful yet unassuming young woman, quietly longs for her life to change. Too privileged to associate with the servants—too underprivileged to associate with her own family; she dreams a dream of a prince and a happily ever after.

But it could be that her own stepsisters, conniving Dezmarie and easily-influenced Adelaide, are dreaming the same dream...of the same prince.

In the end, are dreams even all they're made out to be? Especially with deep and long-hidden secrets about to be unearthed?

A Dream Not Imagined is a non-magical fairytale novella based loosely on the classic tale of Cinderella




About the Author:

Shantelle Mary Hannu is a follower of Jesus Christ and homeschool graduate with a great passion for all things books. She's been an avid reader since a young age, and likewise, an aspiring writer.

Shantelle's deep hope is to publish her works of fiction and through that, touch hearts for the one true King and provide clean, adventurous, soul-stirring tales for the world.








Be sure to check the book out on Goodreads!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Currently...

Writing:

     I cannot believe that my hills of hard editing are, for the time being, over. For the past five months or so I’ve barely been able to get any new writing done, what with Hidden Pearls and The Wulver’s Rose competing for my attention. However, after a good two weeks of steady writing, I’m halfway done with the first draft of my current WIP, and after I finish I may reveal the title. But only if I’m in an exceptionally good mood.

Listening to:

     All of the samples from Josh Groban’s new cd, Stages. It’s all songs from MUSICALS. Let the spontaneous sing-alongs commence.



Watching:

Charade with Hepburn and Grant.

     Classic films. Last watched? Charade, starring Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant. While I could have done with a bit less romance, the plot kept me guessing and it was definitely a keeper. Next on the list is another Cary Grant film (this time with Katharine Hepburn): Bringing up Baby.

     The Hollow Crown- Finished Richard II the other night, and it was so good. The acting was amazing, and I can’t wait to start watching Henry IV and Henry V. Apparently BBC is also planning on a season 2 next year, and I’m looking forward to that, as well.

The Hollow Crown | Focus Features

Fangirling:

     Have I ever mentioned I hate the word “fangirling?” Or at least the idea that I actually do it. It makes me think of teenage girls throwing themselves, screaming, and fainting over the latest boyband. However…I cannot deny that emotions were not kept in check when the trailer for The Force Awakens was revealed. I’m no fan of the prequel movies, but the original Star Wars trilogy is a firm favorite, and I cannot wait to see my favorite characters again.


     There are also quite a lot of Sherlock set photos that are throwing me in a tizzy. In some weird way I keep thinking of this upcoming Christmas special as some sort of fanfic crossover, simply because while I love both the original Sherlock Holmes stories and the BBC TV show, I think of them as completely separate things, as if Sherlock is a sort of love letter to the original filled with insider winks and inside jokes. So then is it truly a strange thing that the Christmas special is striking me as a combination of the two rather than just a “special” episode of Sherlock? Anyway, I can’t look at a photo from it without squealing internally.

Setlock

     And then, of course, we have Age of Ultron, which I am definitely looking forward to seeing.

     But let’s not forget…

Josh Gad Just Posted the Cutest Instagram of the Beauty and the Beast Cast | Oh My Disney

     BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. I’m probably driving my family crazy because I update them every single time a new cast member is announced, but this is my favorite story of all time and one of my favorite broadway musicals and it’s being turned into a movie with absolutely amazing actors. The current cast list includes Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Ian McKellan, Emma Thompson, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Josh Gad, Audra Macdonald, Kevin Kline, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Hattie Morahan.... I'm really curious as to Hattie Morahan's unnamed character, by the way. Who is she playing? Are we going to get a flashback scene with Belle's mom, like Cinderella? I need to know! Why is 2017 so far away?


Reading:

War and Peace (Penguin Classics, Deluxe Edition) by Leo Tolstoy
     War and Peace.
     Still.

     I literally cannot remember the last time it took me so long to read a book.

     I'm also reading Ephesians right now, which is much easier to get through.
Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk- not as unwise people but as wise- making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So don't be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. -Ephesians 5: 15-17

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Five Enchanted Roses Title Pages!

The title pages for the stories in Five Enchanted Roses have been revealed! Here's the one for The Wulver's Rose. I'm absolutely in love with the font, and I love the border and the way the fog rises around the wulver. :)



Here are all of the pictures together:



I love the mysterious, eerie look they all have! I can't wait for the physical copies to come out!
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