Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Classic Books

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish.

Here is a list of the Top Ten Classics I grew up reading. To me they are considered “Classics” and I am sure that most of them are on an official “Classics” list too.

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1. Pride and Prejudice-Jane Austen- I can’t even begin to explain how much I love this book. I own various copies of it, and have watched all the adaptations (yes…even the crappy ones)…and pretty much read it at least once a year.

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2. Dracula– Bram Stoker- There’s just something about Vampires…and this was the book that started my vampire obsession when I was just a little pre-teen.

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3. Anne of Green Gables (The Entire series)-L.M. Montgomery- Filled with the beautiful countryside of Prince Edward Island, the imaginative and feisty red headed Anne and all her glorious adventures. I love Anne so much, that I proceeded to read the entire series that follows her into adulthood.

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4. Little Women– Louisa May Alcott- Of all the sisters I loved Jo the best with her independent soul and creative whimsy, but all her sisters were special in their own way.

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5. Emma– Jane Austen- Charming, flawed, but lovely Emma and her matchmaking mischief. Sometimes you want to smack sense into her, but in the end you know she means well and just has some growing up to do.

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6. The Complete Brothers Grimm Fairytales– Grimm- I read these over and over and over again throughout my childhood and into my adulthood (though I see them now in a very different light and see how really “dark” many of the stories are).

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7. The  Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe– C.S. Lewis- Completely enchanting and marvelous tale, that made me want to check the inside of all wardrobes in every house I ever spent time in as a child.

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8. The Picture of Dorian Gray– Oscar Wilde- This book fascinated me, because it showed a very interesting look into the human pysche with plenty of points of discussion regarding right from wrong, what we are willing to give up to have our heart’s desires. As well as not judging or assuming to know a person by the face they show on the outside.

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9. Sense and Sensibility– Jane Austen- Yes, another Jane Austen book, but how can you blame me? After all I would probably put all her books on this list because I love them all, but I limited myself to just three. 🙂 My favorite character in this one is Marianne Dashwood, because I see so much of myself in her, especially my younger self. She leaps before she looks, she wears her heart of her sleeve, she is an absolute romantic and of course she also pays the consequence for not listening to her more sensible sister Elinor Dashwood (been there, and done that). A book about more than just balls and finding husbands (that’s how things were back then). I think Sense and Sensibility teaches a great deal about being a good sister/friend, learning to listen/have patience, but also when to throw caution to the wind.

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10. The Awakening– Kate Chopin- Last but not least a book that truly made me question many things in my young life when I first read it at 17. Coming from a very “classic” and “conservative” family background of what was socially expected of me (marriage to a man, bringing up a family, instead of following my dreams, my goals, my desires) this book made me see that it was okay to not want those things, though it would probably not be easily accepted by those around me. At the time I was engaged to be married to a much older man, and that was the future I had planned out for me. This book was a critical point in helping me question what I wanted out of life. I’m lucky because most of society these days are okay with the choices I made (even if my family was not at the time), but that is not a luxury women had in Victorian times or even just a few years ago. It’s not even a luxury that women have in many countries in the present day. Though written long ago, there are still critical issues that we still deal with today in this book, such as equal rights for all women and gender crisis.

What are some of your favorite Classics? How do you define “Classic”?

Book Review: The Shining Girls By Lauren Beukes

Book Review: The Shining Girls By Lauren BeukesThe Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
Published by Mulholland Books on June 4th 2013
Pages: 375
Goodreads
three-half-stars

The Girl Who Wouldn't Die Hunts the Killer Who Shouldn't Exist
The future is not as loud as war, but it is relentless. It has a terrible fury all its own.
Harper Curtis is a killer who stepped out of the past. Kirby Mazrachi is the girl who was never meant to have a future.
Kirby is the last shining girl, one of the bright young women, burning with potential, whose lives Harper is destined to snuff out after he stumbles on a House in Depression-era Chicago that opens on to other times.
At the urging of the House, Harper inserts himself into the lives of the shining girls, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. He's the ultimate hunter, vanishing into another time after each murder, untraceable-until one of his victims survives.
Determined to bring her would-be killer to justice, Kirby joins the Chicago Sun-Times to work with the ex-homicide reporter, Dan Velasquez, who covered her case. Soon Kirby finds herself closing in on the impossible truth . . .
The Shining Girls is a masterful twist on the serial killer tale: a violent quantum leap featuring a memorable and appealing heroine in pursuit of a deadly criminal.

What made me read this book? Time travel. I saw it as a really “twisted” version of Doctor Who. In this case, the killer would be The Doctor and he travels in time in this house aka ‘The Tardis” looking for his next companion which he would turn into his next victim. Yes, there you have it folks…a pretty messed up Doctor Who fanfic, but that is not what the book is about.

Kirby the main character is AMAZING. She survives a very horrific murder attempt on her life. She is courageous, funny, super independent, very clever and determined. I think that if the novel did not have such a brilliant main character to center itself around, it probably would have fallen apart. 

Time Travel. I have always been fascinated with this concept. There is no explanation as to why “the House” can time travel, it just does. The time frame being from the late 1920s to the 1990s in the same city.

There was a creep-tastic villain, named Harper, a hobo from the Great Depression era. You don’t have too much information about his background, family life etc. We know that while some of the reason he kills is because “the House” is making him do it, but there is more to it than that. He is sadistic and likes meeting the girls when they are children and pursuing them until they get to a certain age. However, he feels a bit underwritten too. He is mainly just a guy with a knife, killing women because he has a deep hate for them.  He is cruel and sadistic but we don’t know why, or what makes him this way. He just is. He hunts down all these “shining” girls because in his messed up head he thinks if he kills them all for “the House,” there will be a greater purpose revealed to him in the end. We never  find out why these girls are considered “shinier” than others, what makes them Shining Girls. (I am assuming it’s just based on all the potential they have, but Chicago is a big town, and there has to be plenty of equally potential filled girls there.)

Besides Kirby, the other victims don’t get much “book time”, and their stories are rushed through or told as quickly as possible. It almost felt like their murders were not as “important” as Kirby’s  (except when describing the gruesome scenes). The end also felt rushed and sort of bundled together. The research for the time period and city was very well done.

I will definitely read more books by Lauren Beukes and I hope she continues to grow and develop as a writer, and that her stories expand with her.

**This review was originally posted on Reading In The Tardis**

three-half-stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books on my Summer TBR

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish.

Summer is upon us, and I am really excited to get some reading done while soaking in the sun on the deck of my new home, or at the lake a few miles from our house. Here are the My Top Ten Tuesday books (an assortment of “fairy tales” and short stories) I am looking forward to reading while de-stressing and relaxing.

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1. Beyond the Glass Slipper: Ten Neglected Fairy Tales To Fall In Love With– Kate Wolford-Beyond the Glass Slipper is about more than just reading fairy tales—it’s about connecting to them. It’s about thinking of the fairy tale as a precursor to Saturday Night Live as much as it is to any princess-movie franchise: the tales within these pages abound with outrageous spectacle and absurdist vignettes, ripe with humor that pokes fun at ourselves and our society.

2. Pretty Monsters: Stories– Kelly Link- Various stories from Link’s vivid imagination where nothing is what it seems.

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3. Sign of the Throne– Melissa Eskue Ousley-Abby is an ordinary girl haunted by dreams of an ivory castle, blood-thirsty monsters, and a striking stranger. Working as a babysitter for a family of mythology lovers in wealthy Newcastle Beach, California, she struggles to define herself among the elite class while trying to make sense of her strange visions.

4. The Darkest Part of the Forest – Holly Black-Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

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5. In The Forest of Forgetting– Theodora Goss-n the Forest of Forgetting showcases such stories as “The Rose in Twelve Petals,” “The Rapid Advance of Sorrow,” “Lily, With Clouds,” “In the Forest of Forgetting,” “Sleeping With Bears” and many more.

6. The Cabinet of Curiosities: 36 Tales Brief & Sinister– Stefan Bachmann,Katherine Catmull,Claire Legrand and Emma Trevayne – A collection of forty eerie, mysterious, intriguing, and very short short stories. 

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7. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender– Leslye Walton-Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava—in all other ways a normal girl—is born with the wings of a bird.

8. Dreamwood– Heather Mackley –Lucy Darrington has no choice but to run away from boarding school. Her father, an expert on the supernatural, has been away for too long while doing research in Saarthe, a remote territory in the Pacific Northwest populated by towering redwoods, timber barons, and the Lupine people. But upon arriving, she learns her father is missing: Rumor has it he’s gone in search of dreamwood, a rare tree with magical properties that just might hold the cure for the blight that’s ravaging the forests of Saarthe.

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9. Shadow Castle– Marian Cockrell-In the middle of a deep forest is an enchanted valley and a castle where only shadows live, shadows of kings and queens who have waited for hundreds of years for the spell cast upon them to be broken.

10. The Forbidden Library– Django Wexler-When Alice’s father goes down in a shipwreck, she is sent to live with her uncle Geryon–an uncle she’s never heard of and knows nothing about. He lives in an enormous manor with a massive library that is off-limits to Alice. But then she meets a talking cat. And even for a rule-follower, when a talking cat sneaks you into a forbidden library and introduces you to an arrogant boy who dares you to open a book, it’s hard to resist. Especially if you’re a reader to begin with.

What are some of the books you will be reading this summer?

 

*This review was originally posted by myself at Reading In The Tardis*

Book Review: The Thickety (A Path Begins- Book 1) by J.A. White

Book Review: The Thickety (A Path Begins- Book 1) by J.A. WhiteA Path Begins (The Thickety #1) by J.A. White
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on May 6th 2014
Pages: 496
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Hand in hand, the witch's children walked down the empty road.
When Kara Westfall was six years old, her mother was convicted of the worst of all crimes: witchcraft. Years later, Kara and her little brother, Taff, are still shunned by the people of their village, who believe that nothing is more evil than magic . . . except, perhaps, the mysterious forest that covers nearly the entire island. It has many names, this place. Sometimes it is called the Dark Wood, or Sordyr's Realm. But mostly it's called the Thickety.
The black-leaved trees swayed toward Kara and then away, as though beckoning her.
The villagers live in fear of the Thickety and the terrible creatures that live there. But when an unusual bird lures Kara into the forbidden forest, she discovers a strange book with unspeakable powers. A book that might have belonged to her mother.
And that is just the beginning of the story.
The Thickety: A Path Begins is the start of a thrilling and spellbinding tale about a girl, the Thickety, and the power of magic.

I absolutely LOVED reading this book. It brought nostalgic feelings of being a little girl reading fairy-tales in the basement of my school library or under the covers in the comfort of my bed. At almost 500 pages long it could be considered a big book, but with its enchanting eeriness and creepy ode to the classic fairy tale you will want to finish it in one sitting while completely  enveloping yourself in the story.

My signed copy of The Thickety by J.A. White
My signed copy of The Thickety by J.A. White

I received this book at BEA (Book Expo America)/BookCon, where I was fortunate enough to meet the author and get it signed.  Mr. White was very nice, a fellow Whovian (Doctor Who fan) and lover of fairy tales. This book had been on our enormous spreadsheet for our BEA trip this past May, and it was a MUST have for me. The minute you place the word “fairy tale” in any summary discussing a new book/story, you usually have my immediate attention, also the cover art is GORGEOUS and that alone would have strung at the strings to my artist heart. Okay! Enough about that…let’s get back to the book! Continue reading “Book Review: The Thickety (A Path Begins- Book 1) by J.A. White”

four-half-stars

Book Review: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Book Review: Burial Rites by Hannah KentBurial Rites by Hannah Kent
on September 10th 2013
Genres: Fiction, HIstorical, Literary
Pages: 314
Goodreads
three-stars

A brilliant literary debut, inspired by a true story: the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829.
Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.
Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes's death looms, the farmer's wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they've heard.
Riveting and rich with lyricism, BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?

Here is my book confession:

Sometimes, I read books because I like their covers and I just dive right in without reading what the book is about. Though I did not read anything about the actual story, I did keep hearing people talk about this book and how great it was, which lead to me reading it.  It is possible that if I had realized this book was based on actual real tragic events and filled with injustice, I might have not read it. The subject matter is bleak. Agnes is charged with the murder of her former master and his friend. She is scheduled to be executed, and this is the story of her last days.

Let’s start with the good points

  • Brilliantly written from beginning to end was Hannah Kent’s debut novel, and I must say she is a lovely writer.
  • Set in Iceland- A gorgeous setting…who doesn’t love Iceland?
  • Meticulously researched – The amount of research that went into this book is simply incredible. The author really dug deep into the archives of the families involved and the language.
  • A good sense of place/time- I felt like I was there, and I love it when an author can make me feel the “period”especially in novels taking place in far off places, and times. You really get a sense of the hardship of the times and what people in that era had to deal with, some more than others.
  • The depiction of how unfair life was for women, especially those who were poor or born into servitude was done very accurately.

Here are my issues with the book:

  • Sometimes Agnus’s rantings (either to the Reverand Toti or in her own head) seemed to go on forever, which would depress even the most joyous of readers.
  • Though very well written, this book was very bleak, gloomy and hopeless.
  • Urine, dung, sweat, are mentioned…often.
  • The character development was just not there for me. I wanted to like Agnus, but I just couldn’t. I felt sorry for her, and for the injustices against her, but I could not really “like” her. The relationships between the characters seemed under developed.
  • The book started very slow, and sometimes dragged on, but closer to the end it picked up but then there was so much information “told” to you that it felt rushed.
  • The hype for this book did not match up to what I expected.

Overall the book was okay. I probably would not read it again. It simply did not hit me in the right spots. This does not mean that I have given up on this promising author. I would definitely give Hannah Kent another try, and I look forward to her next book.  Hopefully, it will be a more cheerful read.

 

**This review was originally posted on Reading In The Tardis**

three-stars