Posted in WORDS, writing

The Writing Diaries pt 2: In The Beginning

Hello friends, how are you doing? I hope this post finds you well.

I’d said that I would be posting each month, but with all that is going on these days, my blog has slid down the list of my priorities. But after much thought and consideration, I see that was a mistake. Sitting at my desk, chin in hand, staring out at the blue sky and bemoaning my existence – I realized something that had been staring me right in the face. I saw plainly that life is not on hold, contrary to what we’ve been told. The sun is still shining, birds are still singing, and life is brimming just beyond the front door. With that in mind, I built up the courage to finish up the draft that had been sitting untouched for over a month.20200315_191259

I bring you – The Writing Diaries: In The Beginning.

In this second installment, I’m going to cover exactly how I began my outlining process for my new novel, and what worked for me. As the title states, I’m taking you back to the very beginning…

In late 2018, as I was finishing up my [then] current novel, I felt that it was time to prepare for the next one. One day, I was wandering among the many notebooks at Michael’s craft store, and I figured it was the perfect opportunity to buy myself a shiny new notebook for my new outline. I love writing on smooth paper, so I chose a Rhodia dot pad. (My favorite, by the way.)

I took my treasure home and opened it up to the first page, ready for the story that had been building inside of me for years, to unfold across the silky pages. But with my pen poised above the paper, no words came. I had decided that it was time to officially begin, but I didn’t know where, or even how to start. Should I begin with chapter 1? The first plot point? The ending? Since it was only my second novel, I didn’t have a proven method for getting my brain into gear. (And I still don’t.) I knew that many authors like to list numerous possibilities, all with a what if attached to them. So I gave it a shot, but it wasn’t giving me the answers I needed.20200411_155059

I knew the general direction of the story, but I was having trouble conveying that idea on paper. So I wrote a short opening scene. It wasn’t much, but it was the first real glimpse I got of my novel’s world. For the very first time, sights and smells were described through the senses of my main character. Colors and feelings came to life in just a few sentences. Somehow, that small scene provided me with enough inspiration to get my creative juices pumping. Though it was more like a vitamin shot, which gave me a little boost, yet left me hesitant to start on the actual outline. I got a look at the surface skin of my story, but I needed to go deeper and work on the skeletal structure.

I drew a little map of what my world looked like, physically. Next, I wrote down some bits of information about the technology used there, the way people lived, and how the social structure was aligned. Then it was time to get to the actual story, but I still couldn’t find the traction to prompt my characters into action. It was then that I realized I needed to go back – years – and even centuries before my novel takes place. You may think it’s unnecessary to go so far back in time, when your characters weren’t born or even thought of yet, but that was exactly what I needed.20200411_155238

I knew that backstory was important, but I didn’t realize how necessary it was for getting my own brain into motion for developing the future of my story. Taking a moment to go down history lane, tracing all the way back to the exact domino that will effect the course of events for years to come, is vital for building a firm foundation under your story. And most surprisingly, the words did come – flowing easily from my pen.

As I traversed the past, I was amazed at how much information I gathered. I found answers and explanations I would need later on, that I may not have known about if I hadn’t gone back in time. If you’ve hit a road block, and you’re having trouble moving your story forward – why not go back? Even if only a fraction of that backstory makes it into your novel, that knowledge will keep your feet grounded as you wade through a sea of new ideas, and concepts.

What about you? What is one thing that helped get your story off the ground? Leave a comment down below, I’d love to hear from you!

 

Thank you so much for reading,

Lady S

 

Posted in Book Reviews, reading

2019 Completed Reading List

20200125_140456Hello friends. How has life been treating you? Are you settling into the new year?

I’m finally, here to bring you my annual list of books read in 2019. Hard to believe it’s my fourth year of compiling this list on my blog. Time really flies!

At the risk of sounding like a broken record… I’m a bit disappointed with the amount of books I read. I didn’t set a specific number for myself, but every year I say I’m going to get back into the rhythm, and “read all the things”! I’m still reading a lot, and studying, so I guess I need to adjust my expectations and not be so hard on myself. Life changes, routines change, and sometimes that’s just how life goes. In truth, I feel like I might have done more reading than I ever have before, just not the kind that builds up my library. I think I’ve done enough yammering, so let’s move on to the list!

Rating: 1/5 stars

Favorites in: bold

Classics:

  1.  Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen 4
  2. Napoleon of Notting Hill, by G.K. Chesterton 3
  3. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury 5
  4. The Mystery of Edwin Drood, by Charles Dickens 4
  5. A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens 5

 

Non-Fiction:

  1. Structuring Your Novel, by K.M. Weiland 5
  2. Finding Your Way Without Map or Compass, by Harold Gatty 4
  3. The Creator and The Cosmos, by Hugh Ross 5
  4. I’d Rather Be Reading, by Anne Bogel 5
  5. Walden, by Henry David Thoreau 4

 

Sci-Fi/Fantasy:

  1.  The Dark Between, by Sonia Gensler 2
  2.  Dune, by Frank Herbert 3
  3.  The Fork The Witch and The Worm, by Christopher Paolini 5
  4.  Skyward, by Brandon Sanderson 5
  5.  Flashback, by Shannon Messenger 4
  6.  The Year of The Griffon, by Diana Wynne Jones 4
  7.  The Raven Boys, by Maggie Steifvater 4
  8.  Itachi’s Story: Daylight, by Takashi Yano & Masashi Kishimoto 2
  9.  Romanov, by Nadine Brandes 5
  10.  The Silent Corner, by Dean Koontz 4
  11.  Wicked Fox, by Kat Cho 4
  12.  The Expeditioners, by S.S. Taylor 1
  13.  Shadow Keeper, by Hope Ann 5
  14. Healers Bane, by Hope Ann 5
  15.  The Merlin Conspiracy, by Diana Wynne Jones 5

Total: 25

There it is folks. No surprise that I read mostly fantasy, but I did try to break away now and then, and pick up a classic or something non-fiction.

And Speaking of non-fiction, one of my favorite reads was, The Creator and the Cosmos, by Hugh Ross. If you find the cosmos to be utterly fascinating, and amazing, I highly recommend this book. Back in the day I studied a bit of astronomy, and ever since I’ve grown a deep appreciation for space. This book offers an in depth look at the creation of the universe, from a biblical perspective, and I found it beautiful to learn of the exquisite design and attention that went into our Universe. Though some of it was over my head, I admit, I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Also, if you enjoy reading books, on the very topic of reading, I think you’d like, I’d Rather Be Reading. It was a lot of fun to talk about all of the different things related to the life of a reader.

In the fiction realm, one of my favorites was, The Merlin Conspiracy. I never knew much about the original Merlin…and I still don’t! This book had nothing to do with the old Merlin, at all, but instead, wove a magical and chaotic tale, as only Diana Wynne Jones can. By the end of each Jones book I read, I’m left struck by the way she creates such wild stories, and yet ties them all up nicely in the end. Her style, and creativity is one that I greatly admire.

Secondly, I was pleasantly surprised by, The Fork The Witch and the Worm. The Inheritance Cycle, also by Paolini, is one of my all-time-favorites, and reading this book reminded me of the good old days, when I marathoned the series. It was nice to settle back into the land of Alagaësia, even if my favorite characters didn’t get a lot of screen time.

~ ~ ~

So there you have it. How about you? Did you reach your reading goals in 2019? Did we read any of the same books? Leave a comment and let me know, I’d love to hear from you!

As always, thank you for reading,

Lady S

Posted in WORDS

Sunshine Tag

Hello, everyone! I hope you’re doing well, and enjoying the change of seasons. I’m finally able to enjoy the outdoors again, now that it’s no longer hazardous to my life. This summer was brutally hot, but I’ve made it through, and I’m grateful for the respite winter will bring.

Today I’ve been tagged by Chelsea, from An Ordinary Pen for the Sunshine Blogger tag. If you have some time, you should hop over and visit her site. You can tell her I sent you!

Anyhow, we’ve got eleven questions in need of answers, covering a wide variety of subjects… Let’s begin, shall we?

If you could learn any language in the word, which would you choose?

There are lots of languages I find interesting, and would like to learn, but if I had to choose only one– I’d pick Japanese. I’ve mentioned before, that I’ve been trying to learn Japanese for a couple of years now, but I have not been a very good student as of late. One step forward, two steps back, as the saying goes.thumbnail_20191019_155419

Do you have any pets? If so, share a pic!

I have a nice little herd of pets, who all tend towards the un-photgenic end of the spectrum, but you can view my attempts below. For reference, I have 3-5 cats, (it’s kind of complicated) and 2 dogs… But also a rabbit and some chickens, and possibly a turtle, though I’m not certain. (It was too hard getting pics of them all!)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Do you prefer using black pen, blue pen, or a weirdly colored pen?

I like a classic look, so I mainly use black ink. But if I’m feeling rebellious, I will use a blue pen now and then.

Do you have an app on your phone you feel you couldn’t live without?

I don’t have many apps on my phone, but the few I do have, I often wish that I didn’t, since they inevitably encourage procrastination. (I’m looking at you, Instagram.) But for the sake of this post I’ll say YouTube, because I’d likely be lost without it.

What’s your current favorite song?

If you don’t know, I’m a big K-Pop fan. That being said, my “favorite” slot is subject to change quite frequently, as the influx of new music is almost overwhelming. But one song I can listen to over and over again is, Wanna Go Back, by Day6. It’s a song about missing your childhood, in the midst of growing up.

What was the last movie you watched?

The last movie that I watched was a horror-film, that I’ll spare you the name of.

What did you think of it?

To be completely honest, I thought it was lame, with a capital “L”. Scary movies lately, are just not good, or even scary for that matter. There’s usually only the barest hint of a story to them, and in the end, they all turn out to be carbon copies of one another. I think I’ve seen enough of the same ol’, face-painted, screeching woman in a long white dress to last a lifetime.

Are you a collector? (Stamps, coins, china-figures, etc.)

When I was a kid, I used to collect feathers— eagles, pigeons, chickens, peacocks, you name it. But more recently, I’ve begun collecting enamel pins. If I ever travel, or visit a new place, pins are a nice souvenir to bring home. Plus, they’re just so cute!thumbnail_20191019_144902

What’s your favorite non-fiction read?

When it comes to non-fiction, I have a strong preference for nature-oriented books. One such book is, The Maine Woods by Henry David-Thoreau; a narrative of his explorations into the untamed woods. There is nothing especially exciting about it, as there are no life-or-death action scenes, or groundbreaking ideas. But it brought much peace to me each time I opened it up, and read through his accounts.

If you had to move to another country and live there for the rest of your life, where would you go?

Believe it or not, this is something I think about all the time. And I’ve come to the conclusion, that I’d be quite chuffed if I could live in the English countryside. The rolling hills, and mild weather sounds glorious to me. But the French countryside sounds lovely too. I wouldn’t be picky.

If you suddenly became leaders of a typical fantasy land, what immediate social/political/environmental reforms would you make?

Hmm… This is a tough question. But perhaps, I’d rid my land of those dangerous fight-to-the-death competitions fantasy lands are so fond of. Because if I were a citizen of such a place, that would not be my ideal living-condition.

~~~

And that’s a wrap!

Many thanks again to Chelsea, for tagging me. I had fun answering her questions, and I hope that you enjoyed reading them.

And since I’m a compulsive rule-breaker, (when it comes to tags, anyway) I’ll not be tagging anyone specific. Instead, if you fancy answering these questions, feel free to do so, and say that I tagged you! Or if you’d like, you can answer the questions in a comment down below. I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time,

Lady S

Posted in WORDS

Leibster Award!

Hello everyone! Recently I’ve been nominated for the honorable and prestigious, Leibster Award. If you’ve never heard of it, that’s because it’s very exclusive, and given to only the most worthy of bloggers on the spectrum. The origin, and purpose of this award remain a mystery, (to me, at least) but that just adds to the overall effect. thumbnail_DSC08500

I received this award, along with the questions, from the curious, Catwing. (You can check out her blog, when you finish here.) In order to fulfill the duties of receiving the award, one must answer the eleven questions below, and provide eleven random facts about oneself.

Let’s begin with the questions.

1. What is the first book you remember reading?

Does anyone remember Bob Books? The stories went something like, “Mat sat. Sam sat.” Good stuff. They really got my reading career off the ground.

2. First book you remember writing?

It never turned out to be a full length novel, but many many years ago I wrote a story about a little lost duckling. Sounds tragic, but it had a very happy ending.

3. Do you prefer Winter or Summer?

There are many good reasons for liking one season over another, which makes it hard to choose. For example; Summer is fun and green, yet torturously hot and miserable. Whereas Winter has much better fashion options, but it’s cold, and all plant-life is basically dead. Tough call.

4. Glitter. Is it shimmering innocent sparkles or the parasitic bane of existence that wants your skin?

I don’t mind glitter all that much. But my choices in life tend to lead me away from it.

5. Would you rather have a phoenix or a dragon?

I would love to have a large dragon on hand for certain occasions. I think it would be quite useful.

6. Which one of your characters is most likely to break through the fourth wall and find you?

It would probably be the hacker genius, in my current sci-fi writing project. (No further details shall be released, as of yet.)

7. Would you rather have a bow and arrows or a knife?

I have a soft spot for archery, but knives have many more uses.

8. Do you keep a candy stash or eat candy when you get it?

I buy my candy in bulk so I can eat some right away, and also have enough for later. Be smarter than what you’re working with, kids.

9. What is the craziest thing you’ve ever made?

I would have to say, the legendary salt flavored cake I made for my mom’s birthday, a couple of years ago was pretty unforgettable.

10. How did you get interested in writing?

When I was younger, reading and writing were always a part of my schooling, then one day I was introduced to Kingdom Pen, and began to take writing more seriously. And the rest, you could say, is history. (Thanks, mom!)

11. Do you like writing/drawing/working with music?

There isn’t much I do without music. So that would be a yes.

thumbnail_DSC08986

 

11 Random Facts:

I’m not exactly a fan of cats… but I happen to have three cats. (Technically it’s five, but that’s kind of a long story.)

My favorite pen is the, .38 Pilot Juice.

I drink approximately two cups of tea everyday.

I’m terrible at caring for my houseplants. (Yet I work in a greenhouse.)

My favorite band at the moment is, Day6.

I’m the proud owner of a fossilized sand dollar. (Allegedly discovered in the desert of Madagascar.) It’s very handy as a paperweight.

I like to collect interesting mugs, and I don’t like to share them.

I have rescued and raised several baby birds, and then released them back into the wild. (cough*mybackyard*cough)

I like my dog more than he likes me.

I love bubble tea. ❤

I’m trying to learn Japanese. It’s hard.

~*~

Phew… that was a lot of facts. I hope they were sufficiently random, and at least a little interesting.

Lately a bad case of writer’s block has set in, but this tag came to me just on time! Thanks again, Catwing! And thanks to you, for taking time out of your day to read this post, I really appreciate it.

What are some random facts about you? Let me know down below, I’d love to hear from you!

Lady S

 

 

Posted in reading, WORDS

2018 Reading List, & Reflections

Here we are once again, at the start of a brand new year. A clean slate, if you will, filled with new possibilities, new adventures and uncertain, uncertainties. As the saying goes, time flies! And that statement rings truer still, at the closing of each year. We count down the days of the year, with ticks off the calendar, but when we finally reach its end, somehow, we are taken by surprise.

dsc002132018 was a decent year, as far as years go. It was the year I finally buckled down, and got back to writing seriously, (after squandering a couple years, with self-doubt, and undisciplined habits). While I didn’t complete an entire manuscript, I did come very close to finishing my longest writing project ever. I have no plans to pursue anything with the finished story, (or share it with any prying eyes, just yet), but I’ll be proud when I’m finished, and be able to say that I actually wrote a novel.

That’s a task that I can cross off my bucket list.

You might think I’m getting ahead of myself by saying this, but 2018 was also the year I started to feel old. Now my hair isn’t turning gray, and my joints aren’t giving out, mind you; but I had the odd realization that the days of my childhood are now officially, behind me, and that I am moving on to new goals, dreams and adventures. Strange and bittersweet, but it was definitely, a feeling that stood out to me last year.

One way I fell a little short, was in reaching my reading goals. I was hoping to read a minimum of forty books in 2018, but alas, only reached thirty five. I read some pleasant books, some challenging books, some downright boring books, and even a couple of simply terrible books. All in all, though, I feel like I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone, which was another goal I had set for myself.

Now onto the list, shall we?

Note: To make things easy, my favorites are typed in bold.

dsc00202

Stars 1-5

Non-Fiction

  1. Outlining Your Novel by K.M. Weiland – 5
  2. The Maine Woods by Henry David Thoreau – 5
  3. Common Sense by Thomas Paine – 4
  4. Down the Garden Path by Beverley Nichols – 5
  5. What the Robin Knows by Jon Young – 2

Classics

  1. The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien – 5
  2. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll – 4
  3. The Sign of the Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – 4
  4. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare – 5
  5. A Daughter of the Land by Gene Stratton-Porter – 5
  6. Dead Man’s Folly by Agatha Christie –
  7. The Tennant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë – 5
  8. Meet Mr. Mulliner by P.G. Wodehouse – 3
  9. Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery – 4
  10. Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase by Carolyn Keene – 3

Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Speculative

  1. The Lighthouse Land by Adrian McKinley – 2
  2. Enclave by Ann Aguirre – 4
  3. The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson – 5
  4. Nightfall by Shannon Messenger – 4
  5. The Paradise Wars by Stephen R. Lawhead – 3
  6. The Eternity Code by Eoin Colfer – 4
  7. The Opal Deception by Eoin Colfer – 4
  8. Song of the Sword by Hope Ann – 5
  9. Alanna by Tamora Pierce – 5
  10. In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce – 4
  11. Fire and Hemlock Diana Wynne Jones – 3
  12. Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev – 2
  13. Dreamlander by K.M. Weiland – 3
  14. Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire – 3 
  15. Orphan’s Song By Gillian Bronte-Adams – 3
  16. Fawkes by Nadine Brandes – 4
  17. Little Brother by Corey Doctorow  – 3
  18. Follow Me Back by A.V. Geiger – 2
  19. Gifts From the Sea by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock – 4
  20. The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson – 5

TOTAL: 35

dsc00205

Thus concludes my reading adventures, for the year, two thousand and eighteen. As I said last year, (and the year before that, and the year before that…) I’m going to push myself harder to read more. I know that I have the ability to read larger quantities of books, it’s just gotten buried beneath inordinate amounts of laziness, technology, and dare I say, Korean dramas. There is a time and a place for everything, though, and I am determined to make more time for books, and reading this year.

~~~

How was your reading year in 2018?  Did you have any revelations, or epiphanies about life? What are your biggest plans for 2019? Leave me a comment, and let me know!

As always, thank you for reading,

Lady S

Posted in reading

Autumn Reads

DSC06654

As the seasons change, when the days shorten and the nights get a little colder, I so look forward to reading. My spirit begins to crave the quiet evenings, when I can settle down with a cup of tea and a good story.

Now that the busy days of summer are coming to an end, that means I have a little less on my plate, and that allows me more time for reading. I’ve noticed that in the colder months, my taste in reading materials changes a bit; and now that it’s officially Autumn, I thought I’d share some of the books that have found their way onto my list this season.

The Maine Woods, by Henry David Thoreau

DSC06637

Over the course of three years, and three trips, into the yet unknown regions of Maine, Thoreau gives an account of the whys, hows, and wonders of the woods, as he sees them.

~

Fall, more so than Summer, is the time I find myself most curious, and in want of something involving nature. I’m not sure why exactly, but these types of stories really call to me, and The Maine Woods, in particular sounds like a perfect fit for the season.

Wildwood, by Colin Meloy

DSC06630

After her brother is abducted by a murder of crows, Prue’s life is turned on its head. Prue, and her friend Curtis, must brave the Impassable Wilderness, or what the locals call, Wildwood. There they will uncover a secret world, full of darkness and mystics, and soon they’ll learn that their mission has become something much more than they first thought.

~

I don’t know much about this book, but sometimes it’s fun going into a story without any presumptive ideas or notions. I was drawn to the beautiful, fascinating cover, and I really hope that this book will meet my expectations. I’m especially excited to start this story, because the cool, fall days/nights of October, always call for something a little strange and mysterious.

Emily of New Moon, L.M. Montgomery

DSC06642

After the death of her father, Emily is placed in the care of her mother’s relatives. A stranger and outsider, the family isn’t thrilled with the new responsibility on their hands. But once settled, Emily becomes enchanted by New Moon Farm, and forms strong bonds with new friends, and soon her Aunt Elizabeth will wonder how they ever got along without her.

~

Fall, and classics go hand-in-hand, in my opinion. I love classics any time of year, but when the weather cools, my first choice of reads is usually a classic of some sort. Anne of Green Gables, is one of my favorite stories ever, and since I’ve not read Emily yet, it’s just the right time to fix that. I’m especially curious to read this, because I’ve heard that Emily, was actually the author’s favorite character.

The Ghost of the Mary Celeste, by Valerie Martin

DSC06628

In 1857, a merchant ship was discovered off the shores of Spain, with her cargo still intact, but not a trace of her crew. The mystery sparked great interest for the struggling writer, Arthur Conan Doyle. After his story causes a sensation in America, it catches the attention of two very different journalists. As the two dive into the history of the vessel, and the families involved, a tragic story unfolds.

~

When I stumbled across this book, the title and eerie cover, instantly grabbed my attention. After I skimmed the description, it was exactly the type of story I wanted to read this fall. Set in centuries past, and revolving around a spectral ship, appearing in the mist, well… I was all in.

DSC06649

I kept the list short, because I know that there are going to be plenty of other shiny, new books that will inevitably, cross my path, and call for my attention. But for now, I’m going to make an effort to read these four books this fall. I’m really excited, and can’t wait to get started. Strangely too, it makes me immensely happy that all of these books have such lovely covers that compliment each other so well! Just an added bonus, I suppose.

What about you? What books are you most looking forward to reading this fall season? Leave me a comment down below, I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading,

Lady S

 

 

 

 

Posted in Book Reviews, reading

5 Classics I Did Not Enjoy

DSC_0658

I love classics. Many of my favorite stories were written a hundred, or more years ago. There is something special about the books written long ago, that can never be replicated in modern ones. You might read a dozen books written in modern times, and dislike more than half, whereas, if you read a dozen classic books, chances are, you will love nearly all of them.
That said, just because a book is labelled a ‘classic’ is not a guarantee that it will be as wonderful as you might expect. Below, I’ve made a list of just such books. I’m not going to say that I “disliked” them, but rather, I just “didn’t enjoy”.

1.The Picture of Dorian Grey, by Oscar Wilde
I read The Picture of Dorian Gray, quite a while back, so I’m not sure, if I re-read it today if my opinion would be any different. But, from what I recall, this book was a strange read. The main theme of the story, in a nutshell, portrays the evils of greed, and vanity and how they can ensnare you; and that was definitely achieved. I read this book quickly, and was never bored while reading, but I must say that it was a relief when I finished it. This book really gives off a dark, disturbing, feeling of immorality, and evil; and I suppose, it being a classic, in gothic literature, that was to be expected. Nevertheless, reading through the events that transpired, left me feeling greatly uncomfortable. I wouldn’t discourage anyone from reading this story, but I might give them fair warning beforehand. The feelings and emotions that it evoked in me, is what keeps me from regarding it as a favorite, though it was well written, and thought provoking.

2. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelly
Frankenstein. There have been so many fascinating spinoffs, and legends inspired by this book, so I was very excited to read it. But, my excitement was not met within the story. Mostly, I was “disappointed” while reading this book, rather than “disliking” it. I felt a bit let down, that it wasn’t the scary and mysterious book I thought it would be. I felt bored many times, and the lengthly dialog and endless recounting of events, outweighed the more interesting parts.
Perhaps some of the issue was the frame of mind I was in, at the time I read it, I was traveling, and that may have had much to do with my lack of enjoyment.

3. Emma, by Jane Austen
Now, before the Jane Austen Police Force comes after me, here is your friendly warning: you may prefer to skip this section.
Like all of Austen’s works, it follows the life and adventures of a young woman, trying to figure out her future. I felt that the story was “spoiled” for me, by Emma, herself, who also, happens to be very “spoiled”. In nearly everything she did, she tragically, ruined the situation for someone else. And though her intentions may have been good, it doesn’t change the fact that she left a path of destruction behind her. In the end, she finally, recognizes some of her past mistakes, but that wasn’t quite enough to improve my view of her, or the book.
(I did like Mr. Knightley, though. The only character who had any sense!)

4. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
It saddens me terribly, to add this book to the list. But, I simply, can’t pretend that this was the best book I’ve ever read. Of course, the overarching story was still very enjoyable, but there were a few things that made the reading experience feel very tedious for me.
One of those few things was the very large number of songs in the book.
That may not sound like a big deal, but when there are three to four pages of one song appearing quite frequently…well, it’s just not fun. I suppose, one could simply skip the songs entirely but, to me, that felt like cheating, so I read through them all.  Even though I could barely keep my eyes open a few verses in.

5. Villette, by Charlotte Brontë
Now, for this particular book, I actually really did enjoy it, but I had one major issue with it. That issue was the French dialog. The story takes place in France, so as you might expect, there is quite a lot of French, spoken throughout. But, what you might not expect is the utter lack of translation. This wouldn’t be a problem if I spoke French, but unfortunately I do not, and I’m sure many others don’t either. If this only happened once or twice, it wouldn’t have been so bad, but there were times that I would miss out on entire conversations, and have very little clue as to what was being discussed. Many times I was left feeling confused and annoyed over missing out on some important piece of the story. So if you want to read Villette, it might be handy to have a French-English dictionary nearby. Or like me, you could just try to decipher the meanings of any words that might look slightly similar to something in English.

DSC_0661

 

There you have it. I’d like to think I’m not alone in my feelings toward [some] of these books.
Tell me what classics you’ve read that you have found to be somewhat, disappointing.
Or share below, how wrong you think I am for thinking such horrid thoughts about such grand works of fiction.

Thank you for reading, Lady S

Posted in reading, WORDS

The Books I Read In 2017

DSC_0054

Here we are at the close of yet another year.
Time literally feels like it’s flying by in a high-speeding rocket, and I can barely hold on to  the days! That may sound a bit dramatic, but I’m sure we all feel the same, don’t we?

Anyway, reading-wise, this (past) year went fairly well. Though I only read four more books than I did in 2016, I’m still pretty happy that I managed to pull that off!
I feel like I branched out a bit, and read genres that were a bit unusual for me, which I’m pretty proud of. I also crossed off six books from the nine I had on my TBR. That too, was an accomplishment. (I may have unconsciously, avoided the more intimidating ones, *wink, wink.)
In addition, I read a lot of really good books that I very much enjoyed. Even a few that I absolutely LOVED! I’ll share those with you at another time, so keep an eye out for a future post about them.
Without further ado…here is my complete list of books read in 2017:

Ratings 1/5 stars

CLASSICS
1. The Inheritance, by Louisa May Alcott – 4
2. The Wind in The Willows, by Kenneth Grahame – 4
3. Villette, by Charlotte Bronte – 4
4. Michale O’Halloran, by Gene Stratton-Porter – 4
5. Journey to the Centre of the Earth, by Jules Verne – 5
6. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury – 5
7. The Shepherd of Bethlehem, by A.L.O.E. – 4
8. Animal Farm, by George Orwell – 5
9. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee – 5

NON-FICTION
1. Food Forensics, by Mike Adams – 5
2. A Buzz in the Meadow, by Dave Goulson – 4
3. Endurance, by Alfred Lansing – 5
4. Ghosts in the Fog, by Samantha Seiple – 3

PARANORMAL/MYSTERY/HORROR/THRILLER
1. House of Furies, by Madeilne Roux – 2
2. The Betrayal, by R.L. Stine – 3
3. The Secret, by R.L. Stine – 3
4. The Burning, by R.L. Stine – 3
5. And Then She was Gone, by Christopher Greyson – 4
6. Thornhill, by Pam Smy – 4
7. Dream House, by Marzia Bisognin – 2

HISTORICAL FICTION
1. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith – 4
2. Maud, by Melanie J. Fishbane – 4

FANTASY
1. Heartless, by Marissa Meyer – 4
2. Mortal Song, by Megan Crewe – 3
3. The Mermaid’s Sister, by Carrie Anne Noble – 4
4. The Reader, by Traci Chee – 4
5. Green Ember, by S.D. Smith – 3
6. Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo – 4
7. Crooked Kingdom, by Leigh Bardugo – 4
8. Seeds of Discovery, by Breeana Puttroff – 3
9. Roots of Insight, by Breeana Puttroff – 3
10. Falling Kingdoms, by Morgan Rhodes – 2
11. Rose of the Oath, by Hope Ann – 4
12. A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K. LeGuin – 3
13. Mistborn, by Brandon Sanderson – 5
14. Among the Flames, by Kim Vandel – 5
15. Seeker, by Arwen Elys Dayton – 3
16. Blood Race, by K.A. Emmons – 5
17. Dark Lord of Derkholm, by Diana Wynne Jones – 5
18. Caraval, by Stephanie Garber – 4
19. Book of a Thousand Days, by Shannon Hale – 5

TOTAL: 41

There it is, folks!
Again, wouldn’t call it a “grand” total, but rather a decent one, I suppose.
I usually try not to end on an odd number, (my OCD is showing…) but it couldn’t be helped this time. I’m hoping this year will be better, as I’m aiming for fifty books, but don’t quote me on that. My personal best was seventy books in a year, and maybe some day I’ll be able to top that, but I don’t think that will happen very soon.
As far as goals go, I want to read more non-fiction, you know, educational books. *shudder*
I realized that there are some really great non-fiction books out there, I just have to find the right ones. And along with that, I’m going to continue on as I did last year, and try to read a wider range of genres/styles.

So tell me, did you meet your reading goals last year?
What are your goals for this year?
Did we read any of the same books in 2017?
Please share your comments below.

 

Posted in reading, WORDS

Noteworthy Quotes

I don’t often write down, or make note of quotes from books, but on occasion when I find one that I really love, I underline it (*gasp*). I used to be afraid of marring or damaging my books in any way, and I still try my best not to crack their spines; but then I had an epiphany, and I realized that I would rather leave a permanent mark of an underlined phrase, or sentence, that stood out to me, for my future self, or perhaps another future reader.
If I happen to find such markings in a book purchased from a thrift store, I have come to appreciate it and find it quite interesting. It’s an extra little treasure to see what a previous reader may have found deserving enough to underline.So today I will share a few of those interesting pieces I have found to be worthy of sacrificing a pristine page for.  DSC_0610

“Just what I thought, that did I tell M. Emanuel, and explained to him that my own last appeal, the guide to which I looked, and the teacher which I owned must always be the Bible itself, rather than any sect, or whatever name or nation.”
Charlotte Brontë, Villette

“Puddleglum’s my name. But it doesn’t matter if you forget it. I can always tell you again.”
C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair

“‘No living creature has the right to claim wisdom. There is always more to find out. I should know that. I imagine you know it, too, Wizard.’
‘I’ve never ever felt wise,’ Derk said frankly. ‘But I suppose it is a temptation, to stare into distance and make people think you are.’
‘It’s humbug,’ said the dragon. ‘It’s also stupid. It stops you learning more.’”
Diana Wynne Jones, Dark Lord of Derkholm

“Narnia, Narnia, Narnia: Awake. Love. Think. Speak. Be walking trees. Be talking beasts. Be divine waters.”
C.S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew

DSC_0614

These are a couple quotes that I have collected over time, and I look forward to reading more, and marking down passages, and pages that I like, and perhaps sharing them all with you.

Are there any quotes that you love, or have dared to underline in your books?

Posted in Book Reviews

Journey to the Centre of the Earth, by Jules Verne

9780099528494

Professor Otto Liedenbrock is an eccentric, and esteemed boffin, (person engaged in scientific research), of Hamburg, Germany. One day, he discovers a slip of paper, fallen from an old manuscript, written in an ancient runic code. Sure, that it will lead to an incredible discovery,  he stops at nothing until he cracks the code. When the message is revealed, Liedenbrock prepares to depart immediately to the destination mentioned.
Together with his unwilling, yet ambitious nephew, Axel, and indomitable guide, they make their way to Iceland, where the true journey will begin. Their travels will result in one of the most remarkable discoveries of the nineteenth century.

5/5 stars

This was the first Jules Verne book that I actually enjoyed AND finished. 
Written from Axel’s point of view, I was pleasantly surprised by his humorous, reluctant, and dramatic personality. The exchanges between uncle and nephew, were very silly and entertaining. There were many times that I found myself laughing out loud, or smiling, while reading.
Their relationship was reminiscent of the one between Sherlock, and Watson, from the BBC show Sherlock.
Professor Liedenbrock, with his strange ways, and wildly excited attention was much like that of Sherlock.
Counterbalanced by Axel, who is quick to point out the dangers, and risks, (though he is unfortunately ignored).  Yet he too, eventually finds himself as interested and invested in their schemes, as his uncle.  The pace did slow a bit in the second half of the book, but being that it was such a short read, it didn’t bother me.

If you haven’t read many classics, or are perhaps intimidated  by them, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, is a fun, and easy read.  A true classic filled with adventure, and discovery; you should definitely give it a try.