Tag: reading

Apr 23

Well, That's Not What I Was Expecting (A Top Ten Tuesday Adventure.)

Classics, Coming of Age, Historical Fiction, Humor, Time Travel, Top Ten Tuesday 71

Tis Tuesday, my dear Bookworms!

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is brought to you, as usual by The Broke and The Bookish. They’ve asked the book bloggers of the internet to list out the books we’ve read that really weren’t what we were expecting. Something you thought you’d love but didn’t? Something you thought would be terrible that you adored? Let’s get to listing!

Katie Is Disappointed

This is my McKayla Maroney face. Sort of.

This is my McKayla Maroney face. Sort of.

1. A Visit From The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. I feel like an uncultured blob of loser admitting this, but I really did not like this book. I can always tell how much I like a book by how well I remember it. The only thing I really remember from this one? One of the teenager’s mothers made homemade yogurt. That was weird. Otherwise? Something about gold leaf instead of Viagara? Yeah. I expected rock-n-roll coming of age stories. I got angry middle aged people lamenting their lost youths. Just… No.

2. On Gold Mountain by Lisa See. I’m bad at non-fiction, and I didn’t realize just how much of a plod this was going to be when I picked it up. I had visions of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and Shanghai Girls and Peony in Love and I got… Well. None of those things.There were an awful lot of less than thrilling business ventures were described in great detail. Bummer.

3. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. After reading The Fault In Our Stars, I was quite certain I would love everything John Green had ever written. Too bad I spent the majority of this book wanting to smack Colin around…

4. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I know there are zillions of people who found deep meaning in this book. I happen to not be one of them. I would have stayed at home with my flock of sheep, and would never advise anyone to go in search of their personal legend if it meant giving up all their security. That’s just plain foolish, y’all.

5. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. I was sure that this book was destined to by my new favorite novel- all the cool kids dig Vonnegut! Sadly, it just was not my thing. Sorry Vonnegut fans, I am not one of you.

Katie Is Pleased

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This is my “YAY!” face.

1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I KNOW. The amount I rave about these books is ridiculous, but honestly? I almost didn’t read them. My Aunt Margie got my mom hooked on them. I remember calling my mom from college and she’d be all, “Oooh these BOOKS! She’s being tried for witchcraft! But she went back in time. Jamie will save her. He must!” And I was like, “That sounds ridiculous!” Eventually I gave into peer pressure, and the rest is delightful history. But. Now you know the truth.

2. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. I first heard about this book on the YA blog circuit. I’d never heard of John Green before (for shame, I know) but I was completely expecting this book to be a Lurlene McDaniel knockoff (Lurlene McDaniel wrote a series of books on critically ill teenagers that were all the melodramatic rage when I was in 5th grade.) I thought I’d get snarky blog fodder from it. Have I mentioned that I’m not a good person? Anyway, I loved this book so much I read it in a single sitting.

3. Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell. I read this initially because I felt like it was something I should read. I was thinking that it would be a slow-going classic that would put me to sleep. I WAS WRONG! So very wrong. And so very HAPPY to have been so wrong!

4. Still Alice by Lisa Genova. I can’t even tell you how long this sat on my shelf. My mom gave it to me, but I saw the word “alzheimer’s” and thought “old people book.” Isn’t that terrible? I’m ashamed of myself. My mom usually has decent taste in books, I should trust her opinions, ESPECIALLY after the Outlander incident. Sigh. Teenage habits die hard I guess.

5. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. I read this as a senior in high school. It was assigned reading, so I naturally expected the worst. I was utterly tickled to find myself engrossed in the soapy scandals of the sisters Bennett! It was exciting and intriguing and full of questioning what glances and offhand comments meant. It was like Jane Austen KNEW how I analyzed boys! (Which is rather unfortunate, seeing as I was analyzing boys quite a long time after Ms. Austen was… This probably explains my lack of dates.)

What books surprised YOU, Bookworms? The good, the bad, the ugly. Spill it!

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Mar 26

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Recommended Books

Frightening, Historical Fiction, Romance, Tear Jerkers, Top Ten Tuesday 72

Greetings, Bookworms!

It’s Tuesday, and you know what THAT means. No, no, it is not time for tacos. (But dangit, now I want tacos!) It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday with The Broke and The Bookish! Today they’ve asked me to list out the ten books I recommend most often. So. Without further ado…

toptentuesday

1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I have foisted this series upon countless friends. I love to recommend it because it’s got a little bit of something for everyone. It’s one of those rare finds where I’m confident most of my pals will enjoy it. There are few things as awkward as giving someone a book and hearing they hated it, you know? Outlander has a little sci fi, some historical fiction, a touch of steamy romance novel, and, well, Jamie Fraser. (Siiiigh)

2. Harry Potter by JK Rowling. This is kind of a throwaway answer because it’s not like it’s possible for someone to have never heard of Harry Potter. However. Anyone who seems skeptical about the series? I implore them to read it. Like… I’m sincerely concerned about people who don’t enjoy HP. How can you not like MAGIC and WHIMSY and AWESOMENESS?!

My patronus is a penguin. Demetors don't stand a CHANCE against the impossible cutness... And pecking.

My patronus is a penguin. Demetors don’t stand a CHANCE against the impossible cutness… And pecking.

3. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. This book is amazing and I think everyone should read it. Everyone. I’ve loaned out my copy on multiple occasions. It’s a cautionary tale for the ages, my friends.

4. Pope Joan by Diana Woolfolk Cross. Some of the best historical fiction I’ve ever read. It’s about an accidental lady Pope. Timely, what with a new Pope being elected and all.

5. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. Occasionally, people will ask me for recommendations on classics I really enjoyed. I won’t lie, it’s a long ass book, but it’s totally worth the read. If you’re familiar with the musical already, it gives you a great back story on Fantine, which is fabulous. Oh and did you know that Gavroche and Eponine are siblings? I know. I. KNOW! Crazy right? You need to read this.

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Cosette is still little more than a plot catalyst, though.

6. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I try to get people to read this all the time. It’s another one of those that I’ve found is almost universally appealing. This one, of course, requires you to have an entire box of tissues on hand as you engage in the catharsis of bawling your eyes out. Worth it.

7. Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. This book tells the most incredible love story. Miller did such a great job of drawing her characters’ personalities that you get completely engrossed in their love story. You follow Achilles and Patroclus from childhood and watch their relationship grow and mature. Just beautiful. And yeah. It’s about two dudes. Which is a nice change of pace from what I normally read, you know? (You probably need tissues for this one too.)

8. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. It’s just really well drawn historical fiction. I love it to pieces. It’s another chunkster, but it moves fast. Don’t be intimidated by its length, you’ll enjoy yourself! (And then you’ll be really grateful that you have indoor plumbing and floors that aren’t dirt and stuff, because the Middle Ages were DIRTY, y’all.)

Starz did a mini series based on the book. Eddie Redmayne played Jack. You're welcome. (Image from Oprah.com)

Starz did a mini series based on the book. Eddie Redmayne played Jack. You’re welcome. (Image from Oprah.com)

9. Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell. No, having seen the movie is NOT the same thing. Not at all. It leaves out Scarlett’s first two children, for heaven’s sake! (That’s really not a spoiler, they aren’t major plot points, and the fact that they aren’t makes Scarlett all the more Scarlett-y.)

10. World War Z by Max Brooks. I don’t read a whole lot of zombie literature, but I thought this book rocked in a big way. I’m a huge fan of The Walking Dead (TV series, I haven’t read the comics) so the zombie lore intrigues me. I thought this book gave an awesome and realistic account of how a zombie apocalypse might go down. You’ll probably have nightmares. Fair warning.

There we are- ten books I recommend to people on the regular. What are some of your favorite titles to pass around?

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Mar 25

Road Tripping with Swamplandia!

Art, Audio Books 21

Hello my Beautiful Bookworms!

Thank you ALL for the fabulous birthday wishes and making me want to eat ALL THE CAKE. You’ve still got a few days to enter the giveaway, so be sure to enter for $30 Amazon bucks- international entries welcome! Also, I’ve guest posted today on my friend Chrissy’s site. If you’re so inclined, I encourage you to check it out.

Last weekend, I took a trip to attend my “nephew’s” birthday party. When I take a long drive, I like to listen to books on tape. They keep me alert better than listening to music, plus, I mean, BOOKS. I took this trip with a book I’ve been meaning to read for a while, Karen Russell’s Swamplandia!

swamplandia

Are you aware that Florida boasts the most oddball theme parks per capita in the world? I may have made up that statistic, but I think I could be right. Swamplandia! is the account of a fictional family owned theme park on an island off the coast of Florida, known as (appropriately) Swamplandia. The Bigtree family is a “tribe” of alligator wrestlers. They renamed themselves “Bigtree” to sound more native, but their clan originated in Ohio. As PT Barnum would tell you, there’s a sucker born every minute. People believe what they want to believe, so if they prefer to think of alligator wrestlers as endowed with magical Native American gator charming talents, the Bigtrees are happy to oblige their delusions.

The family alligator wrestling matches are only one of the attractions. The main event is watching the family matriarch, Hilola Bigtree, dive into the gator pit and swim through unscathed. It’s a fantastic spectacle and crowd favorite. The gators are all referred to as “Seth,” I’m assuming, because “Sawtooth” was already taken. (No, they never really explained why they chose Seth. But yes, Grandpa was named Sawtooth.) Sadly, as we learn about Swamplandia’s glory days, we also learn of its demise.

Hilola Bigtree, headliner and matriarch, falls victim to cancer. Grandpa Sawtooth falls victim to Alzheimer’s. Chief Bigtree falls victim to his pride. Young Osceola falls victim to obsession. Kiwi falls victim to his limited home-school education. Ava, our 14 year old protagonist, falls victim to everyone else’s bad decisions.

Image courtesy of genius book blogger and generous soul Andi of Estella's Revenge.

Image courtesy of genius book blogger and generous soul Andi of Estella’s Revenge.

So. What did I think? I’ve got mixed feelings on this novel. On the one hand, I LOVED the language. The writing was gorgeous, and the actors reading the audio book were fantastic. That said, I think sometimes the story fell by the wayside so the language could shine. Some people wouldn’t be bothered by this, but as you know, I’m a story girl. I felt parts of the novel were more drawn out than necessary (particularly Louis Thanksgiving’s extremely detailed back story…) On the upside, I now have a fantastically vivid mental image of Florida’s swamplands. Overall, the prose reminded me of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s magical realism, only set in North America. With alligators and stuff. Also a theme park based on Hell. Complete with saltwater drinking fountains. (Kudos for imagination!)

For reasons I will not disclose to you, as they might be considered “spoilers,” a red gator makes an appearance in this novel. I really wanted to know if such a thing existed in nature. As it turns out, they’re not really a thing. Which means, of course, that there aren’t a whole lot of readily available images (unless you happen to email a cool blogger like Andi and she lets you borrow her stuff.) I actually thought it might be a good idea to try and make my own art! I convinced Lauren of Filing Jointly…Finally to help me with the project and… well… This happened:

I drew a really horrible alligator.

I drew a really horrible alligator and embellished it with a voice bubble for extreme fierceness.

And then Lauren drew an alligator who thinks he's a stegosaurus.

And then Lauren drew an alligator who thinks he’s a stegosaurus. (Which, in spite of its dino-ness is infinitely better executed than my doodle…)

And now we know why Katie and Lauren don’t have promising futures in the lucrative world of alligator caricatures. Luckily, there’s not much of a market for that sort of thing in Illinois. It’s really the deer and skunk caricature niche that’s our bread and butter, so. You know. It’s cool.

Have any of you read Swamplandia!? What did you think? Did it spur you to do anything unusual, say, sketch a species-confused alligator? Tell me about it!

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Mar 19

Top Ten Tuesday: The Shelf of Shame

Classics, Historical Fiction, Top Ten Tuesday 295

Greetings, Bookworms!

You know when you’re in a bookstore, browsing, and you get sucked in by picking up a title in the bargain bin? How about when you have grand intentions of bettering yourself and pick up a pile o’ classics only to watch them collect dust on your shelves? We’ve all got the shelf of shame. And the ladies at the Broke and the Bookish? They want us to own up to it. Today’s Top Ten Tuesday: Stuff I Bought But Never Read.

toptentuesday1. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. Sometimes (okay, a lot of times) I get self important and think that I will be able to appreciate even the most highbrow of classics. That’s when I buy things like Madame Bovary and then watch them moulder on my shelves for an eternity. I mean, I SHOULD like this. A doctor’s wife has adulterous affairs? I mean, hello Anna Karenina. How’s it going, Lady Chatterley? Why did I never get down with Madame Bovary? No idea.

2. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. This is always on smart people’s lists of favorite books. I’m highly susceptible to peer pressure whilst making decisions inside the Barnes and Noble… Amazon doesn’t judge me the way a hipster cashier would!

3. The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy. I bought this because Tess of the d’Urbervilles was so fantastic. However… The lack of female main character and/or the really unappealing portrait of what I assume to be the “mayor” on the cover has kept me from actually bending the spine of this one.

4. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. I really do want to read this… It’s just so THICK. I’m not easily intimidated by big books, but this sucker is the size of Les Miserables, but lacks a magnificent soundtrack to play in my head… And no Gavroche.

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The Classics… Of Shame.

5. The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig. It’s historical fiction with a pretty cover. I couldn’t be expected to resist the purchase, and yet… Still unread.

6. Shakespeare’s Wife by Germaine Greer. It’s historical fiction about, uh, Shakespeare’s wife. You know. Anne Hathaway. The one that didn’t win an Oscar. I found it in a bargain bin. I really loved the movie Shakespeare in Love, so perhaps I just don’t want to hear the sad tale of the wife who was left behind when the dashing Joseph Fiennes fell for a not-yet-openly-pretentious Gwyneth Paltrow. Siiigh.

7. The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox. I bought this because it’s historical fiction. I’ve been putting off reading it because it’s about a Victorian era murderer. I’m not big on crime novels, even historical ones. I frequently question my bargain bin judgement.

You can see the bargain stickers!

You can see the bargain stickers!

8. Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler. I bought this with Dinner At The Homesick Restaurant because I thought they sounded smart and fabulous. I read Dinner At The Homesick Restaurant and didn’t love it, so I didn’t bother with the other one on the shelf.

9. A Taxonomy of Barnacles by Galt Niederhoffer. Yeah. I bought this solely for the AWESOME title. I didn’t even read the abstract. Maybe I should. Maybe I will. Who knows?

10. House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III. There was an Oprah sticker, and I am not immune to the influence of The Oprah. I don’t know why I haven’t read it. STOP JUDGING ME, OPRAH!

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Haven’t read these. Scandalous.

Alright, Bookworms. You know you’ve got some of these bad boys on your shelves. I want to hear about them so I don’t feel so alone. Spill it!

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Mar 11

Tutu Girls Walk Into a Barre: The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan

Art, Coming of Age, Historical Fiction 28

Bonjour, Bookworms!

Please excuse the pun, I cannot help myself. I’m incorrigible. Today we are taking a trip to 19th Century Paris as we discuss The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan. I don’t know about you, but when I think of ballet, I think of frothy tutus and toe shoes. I danced growing up, so I can tell you that dance apparel is not inexpensive. Thus, I was surprised to learn that the ballet dancers of the famed opera houses were often more Gavroche than Baryshnikov. (It’s probably also part of the reason ballet loves super svelte dancers… The early ones were half starved!) The youngest of the ballet girls were known as the “petite rats,” and successful dancers were frequently, uh, sponsored? by creepy old dudes. So. Yeah. The beautiful ballet had a dirty, seedy, underbelly. Scandalous.

paintedgirls

I suppose I shouldn’t be too shocked by this whole thing- this novel takes place a few decades after Les Miserablesit’s not as though a comprehensive initiative to eradicate poverty had been undertaken. This is a society where a girl could legally prostitute herself at the age of 16 (assuming she was declared STD free, of course. Syphilis was colloquially known as “French Pox.”) When artists were looking for ladies to model in the nude, they didn’t go knocking on the doors of aristocrats, what with all the young nubile flesh for sale. Edgar Degas was one such artist, and if you know anything about his art, you’ll know that ballet girls were among his favorite subjects. Much in the way Tracy Chevalier brought to life the subject in Vermeer’s painting in Girl With A Pearl EarringBuchanan does for Marie Van Goethem, the model for Degas’ sculpture Little Dancer Aged 14.

Marie lives in a sketchy Parisian neighborhood with her widowed, absinthe-swilling mother and her two sisters Antoinette and Charlotte. Antoinette had been a ballet girl, though she’d been tossed out of the company for mouthing off to the director. Instead she began working as an extra in the opera, earning a ridiculously small salary. After the death of their father (and the loss of his income) it is decided that Marie and Charlotte must audition to join the ballet school. Underfed “rats” from the wrong side of the proverbial tracks they may be, but super flexible hips are a commodity worth paying for. Both Charlotte and Marie begin their dance careers, in large part to contribute to the family baguette fund. Dancing for their suppers, as it were.

Image from Metropolitan Museum of Art

This is the sculpture in question. Image from Metropolitan Museum of Art

Eventually Marie catches the eye of Degas, and she is more than willing to pose for him in varying states of undress if it keeps her family from starving (absinthe isn’t cheap, you know.) While Marie is busy being naked in front of weird old men, Antoinette strikes up a romance with a potentially sketchy fellow named Emile, who seems incapable of saving money but terribly fond of spending it (bad combination, Antoinette!) Both Marie and Antoinette (LET THEM EAT CAKE!) try to find ways to hustle for cash so tiny Charlotte will be less affected by their poverty.

In the spirit of not being a major spoilsport, I shall tell you that this novel contains prostitution, petty theft, murder, guillotines, alcoholism, scientific misinformation, and one rather disturbing incident of animal cruelty (you’ve been warned.) It’s all based on true events! A triumph of historical fiction, my friends.

So, Bookworms, how much do you love it when art imitates art?! I even made a list of such novels on Riffle! (Not on Riffle and want to be?! Let me know and I’ll send you an invite.) Tell me, Bookworms. Ballet, street urchins, Paris, art. and scandal- you’ve got to have thoughts on some of those things. Tell me, tell me, tell me!

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Feb 12

Top Ten Tuesday: The Language of Romance

Classics, Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Tear Jerkers, Time Travel, Top Ten Tuesday 37

Hola, Gusanos de Libros!

I just spoke SPANISH. Badly probably. Whatever. Today is Tuesday which means… TOP TEN TUESDAY with The Broke and The Bookish!

TTT3W

Since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, today’s theme is, appropriately, Top Ten Romances (ooh la la!) <— See that?! FRENCH! Without further ado, I shall list for you the Top Ten Greatest Romances in the History of Literature… And Time Eternal. (I have a flair for the dramatic.)

1. Jamie and Claire of Diana Gabaldon’s impossibly wonderful Outlander series. If this were a contest, they’d have out romanced everyone else on this list because no time warp, monarchy, bodily attack, war, illness, or kidnapping can conquer them! (They are remarkably difficult to kill off, I must admit.)

2. Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. It’s a truth universally acknowledged that this is one of the greatest love stories ever written. It’s like the loose premise for 90% of romantic comedies for a REASON, people!

3. Gus and Hazel of John Green’s The Fault in Our StarsGo ahead. Try to read this story about teen love and cancer and not cry. I dare you!

fault in our stars

4. Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger from (obviously) JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series. You know you were transported back to your high school days when Ron didn’t ask Hermione to the Yule Ball. You know you loved their breakup and reunion in The Deathly Hallows. You know you completely dug every millisecond of their happily ever after. Hermione, the idol of every bookish girl. Ron, the ultimate underdog. It’s a thing of beauty.

5. Jane Eyre & Mr. Rochester in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane EyreYes. I KNOW Mr. Rochester kept his crazy wife in the attic. I KNOW he was an attempted bigamist. But I also KNOW that he loved Jane, and she had a big enough heart to forgive him… Eventually. Talk about overcoming obstacles y’all. I bet you never had to deal with a crazy wife in the attic!

6. Achilles and Patroclus of Madeline Miller’s Song of AchillesThere was so much beauty in the love story of Achilles and Patroclus! Achilles’ mean ass sea nymph mother didn’t approve of his loving another dude, but that didn’t stop them. My heart shattered into millions of pieces at the end of this book (that’s so not a spoiler, it’s Greek mythology y’all.) Great romance. Seriously.

song of achilles

7. Jacob and Marlena of Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants. Marlena was married to the violent and mentally ill August, so for a time, she and Jacob admired each other at arm’s length. August’s violent behavior drives Marlena out of his arms and into Jacob’s. The only thing that could make this romance better would be a murder mystery where the perpetrator was an elephant. Oh, wait…

8. Henry and Claire of Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife. Be still my heart! How can you compete with love that transcends time?!?! How? You can only beat it if your love ALSO transcends time, plus a bunch of other crazy circumstances (cough cough Outlander.) So basically? This is awesome.

9. Bridget and Mark of Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’ Diary. A (very) thinly veiled homage to Pride and Prejudice, Bridget’s awkwardness is impossibly endearing. Every girl who has ever been single and/or done something embarrassing can relate. Every man who has ever worn bumblebee socks at the behest of his overbearing mother can also relate. I’m not sure that last part happens that often, but still.

10. Celia and Marco from Erin Morgenstern’s The Night CircusMarco and Celia aren’t just star-crossed lovers, they’re MAGICALLY star crossed lovers. They’re locked into a battle neither of them chose. Little do they know, as their love progresses, that the only end to their “feud” is that one of them must perish. Ah! It is so sad! And yet, it is so magical. It conjures up all the lovey feelings one can feel!

night circus

So, Ratas de Biblioteca (PORTUGUESE!), what are some of your favorite romances? Hearts and candies and flowers and sappiness! Tell me all about it!

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Feb 08

Little Red Riding Hood meets Beauty and the Beast meets the Thriller Video: Scarlet Moon by Debbie Viguie

Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Humor, Young Adult Fiction 28

Happy Friday, Bookworms!

What’s that? You want to hear me ramble about Little Red Riding Hood again? You’re in luck because more Project Fairy Tale is coming your way! Scarlet Moon by Debbie Viguie is a young adult novel that takes Little Red Riding Hood and molds into something completely different… Not unlike the way I can model some sweet, sweet play-doh into tiny ropes of spaghetti. (Work with me here, it’s been a long week.)

scarlet moon

The book starts out with a young Little Red Riding Hood and her brother racing through the woods, a wolf in hot pursuit. The wolf gnaws on Little Red’s legs (her name is Ruth in this novel) and then her brother rescues her by stabbing the wolf. Once Ruth gets home and all stitched up, her brother Stephen decides he needs to go fight the Crusades.

Yes, the Crusades! So. Ruth is left at home for the 9 year gap in the story during which she ages enough to become a viable love interest. She works in her father’s blacksmith shop- in pants (GASP!) Eventually, her cousin Peter returns from the Crusades with grim news about Stephen (he’s killed in battle) and a SERIOUS case of PTSD.

Ruth and Peter’s grandmother was run out of town on suspicion of witchcraft once upon a time, but Ruth always assumes she’s just an eccentric healer/early scientist type. Perhaps just a bit of a hippie who likes to experiment with the mushrooms she finds in the woods. Whatever. Peter is convinced that she really knows magic so he takes to spending inordinate amounts of time with her to “train.” Much to his dismay, he learns little more than herbal remedies.

In the meantime, Hottie McHotstuff nobleman shows up in front of Ruth’s blacksmith shop after his horse throws a shoe. I know what you’re thinking. The Crusades were FOREVER ago, and horseshoes seem a wee bit on the industrial side. DO THESE DATES COINCIDE APPROPRIATELY? Have no fear, my bookworms, you sticklers for accuracy. They DO in fact work out. I googled it, baby. I now feel a little bit ignorant on the history of farriers, but I’m working on that. Horseshoes are like super ancient, believe it or not. Anyhow…

Hottie McHotstuff’s name is William. He’s got it bad for our lady in pants. Who can resist chicks who wield molten weaponry? But William also has… Dun dun dun! A SECRET! This is a young adult novel. With a supernatural twist. And a wolf. I’ll give you three guesses where the author went with this… But you’ll only need one.

WEREWOLF!

WEREWOLF! (This one wears a shirt. Most of the time. More’s the pity.)

William and Ruth are all attracted to eachother and stuff, but William can’t allow himself to marry Ruth without revealing his secret. Way back in the first Crusade (there were a bunch of them. Anybody else totally rolling their eyes at humanity’s incessant warring over religion?) William’s ancestor kills a farmer by accident and is cursed by the farmer’s witchy wife to become a werewolf. The curse becomes his legacy. Remember that wolf that tried to eat Ruth? IT WAS WILLIAM! (Seriously, I need a soap opera soundtrack in here. It would be so much more entertaining!)

So now we have Little Red Riding Hood meets Beauty and the Beast, with a dash of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video on the side. Can Ruth look past the fact that William might eat her by accident in a fit of passion? (Bella in Twilight seemed to have gotten over it effectively, but Ruth’s got more self respect. I mean, the girl rocks PANTS, y’all.)

I know I know. SPOILERS. This book was actually a really fast read. Despite being a little cheesy and predictable, it wasn’t awful. If you like paranormal YA romances, this is right up your alley. If you’re a snarky pain in the ass like myself, you might want to read it anyway. How often do you get to make play-doh spaghetti out of two fairy tales and a pop culture icon?! (I take metaphors way too far, and then I just keep on going…)

So Bookworms, I’ve got to know. Does anybody else out there fact check their historical fiction? I’m not so brilliant at history that I’ll hold authors to extreme specifics, but if something sounds wonky, I look it up. Is it just me?!

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Jan 08

Top Ten Tuesday: 2013 Bookish GOOOOOOOALS

Blogging, Classics, Top Ten Tuesday 43

Happy Tuesday, Bookworms!

As you know, on Tuesdays, I make lists with The Broke and The Bookish. Today’s topic is my Top Ten Bookish Goals for 2013. It’s a big old list o’ resolutions. Let’s do this thing!

TTT3W1. I (rather foolishly) committed myself to read 100 books in 2013 via the Goodreads Challenge.  Now, I read a lot, but 100 books is daunting. You can keep an eye on my progress by monitoring the little widget in my sidebar. Of course, I’m probably also going to be blogging about everything because I can’t keep my face shut. Needless to say, I’ll be keeping you apprised of my progress.

2. I’d like to catch up on some classics. This might be counterproductive, seeing as I have to chew through 100 books this year, but I’ve got a hankering for some street urchin that only Dickens can satisfy. 

3. Read Lord of The Rings. I need to do  it! Nerd cred!

4. I’m participating in Project Fairy Tale in February. It’s the brain child of Alison at The Cheap Reader.  I’m going to be tackling Little Red Riding Hood– the original Grimm tale and a handful of adaptations. Who doesn’t like a fractured fairy tale? It should be great fun, I do hope you’ll join me.

This is the official button. See the cutie in the cloak? Yeah. That's my girl!

This is the official button. See the cutie in the cloak? Yeah. That’s my girl!

5. This is more bloggish than bookish, but I’d like to investigate self hosting this blog. I love WordPress, but it’s got some limitations. Theoretically, I should be able to switch to self hosting with minimal hiccups, since I can use the WordPress platform still… So. We’ll just have to wait and see.

6. Why am I so keen to self host? I’m a greedy, greedy girl. I’d like to explore selling ad space or becoming an amazon affiliate or join the BlogHer publishing network. I’d just like to be able to say “Hey, I was paid to write!” It matters not that I earn only twelve cents. It’s the principle of the thing.

7. Attend a blogging conference. Oh what’s that? I’ve already purchased tickets at a seriously discounted rate to attend BlogHer 2013? I will finally get to meet in person some of the coolest ladies who have ever existed on the internet? Yes. That. (Also, I get to order myself business cards! Ooooooh excitement!)

8. I want to write something brilliant enough impress the Insatiable Booksluts. I’m trying to come up with a pair of books to duke it out in an IB Death Match. Goals? Pipe dreams? Probably. Blog crushin’ on the Booksluts. Book Riot, too. I aspire to their awesomeness.

That’s it. I can’t come up with 10 goals. I’m exhausted just thinking about the 8 I listed. What about you, bookworms? Do you have a bookish to-do list? Perhaps the bloggers among you have bloggish goals as well? Tell me all about it!

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