Top Ten “Tuesday” – Bookish Couples

I love Top Ten Tuesday and rarely post for it–but this seemed like a perfect topic for Valentine’s Day!  Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, with a new topic each Tuesday.  This week, it’s romance.

I wandered through my bookshelves, and pulled out a stack with my favorite romances in them–with a few bonus bromances and womances.  In no particular order…

1) The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig
Arabella and Turnip – I’ve written at length about these delightfully unconventional romantic leads, who are overlooked by everyone but each other.

2) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Jane and Mr. Rochester – I know he has some serious problems…but Bronte punishes him so thoroughly and humbles him so completely that by the end of the book I really believe their romance.  And the last section is rather adorable.

3) Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Catherine Morland and Mr. Tilney – Mr. Darcy is the famous Austen hero, but I ❤ Mr. Tilney instead.  A smiling man who reads Gothic novels and knows his muslins–what’s not to love?

4) Enchantress from the Stars by Silvia Louise Engdahl
Elana and Georyn – The only bittersweet ending on my list, a beautiful love story about two people from, literally, different worlds, who change each other forever but can’t ever be together.

5) The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer:
Well, everyone – This quartet has four wonderful, engrossing love stories.  Cinder and Prince Kai were a hair behind the others; Scarlet and Wolf were as marvelous as Winter and Jacin; and my favorites were Cress and Thorne.  I have a soft spot for charming rogues with good hearts.

Continue reading “Top Ten “Tuesday” – Bookish Couples”

Friday Face-Off: Belated Clergy

FFO.jpg

Time again for the Friday Face-Off meme, created by Books by Proxy, with weekly topics hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog.  The idea is to put up different covers for one book, and select a favorite.  This week’s theme (snakes) isn’t really speaking to me, so I decided to belatedly pick up the theme from a couple of weeks ago.

And that theme was: ‘Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.’ – A cover featuring a monk/priest/person of the cloth

The most obvious choice is the Father Brown series by G. K. Chesterton–even if I liked the TV show better!

This certainly gets right to the point!  No mistaking who the hero of this book is.

I like this foreign edition a lot–that’s about how I’d expect Father Brown to look (the smaller bespectacled man) and I assume the other man is his sometimes friend, sometimes adversary Flambeau, who features heavily in this collection.

I like this simpler cover best–it captured the iconic hat, spectacles and umbrella of Father Brown, looks rather elegant and understated, and has just a hint of humor with the umbrella hooked into the “of.”

No one appears to have done a TV tie-in cover… 🙂

Reading Challenge Update: L. M. Montgomery Reading

I think we all know I’m very, very much a fan of L. M. Montgomery, so I think we all knew I was going to enjoy this January challenge!  Even so, I think it exceeded my expectations.  Hosted by Reading to Know, the challenge is simply to read Montgomery books, or ones about her, in January.  I read three books and a bit for this one.

1) First, the bit–in my ongoing reading of Montgomery’s journals, I finished Volume II and started Volume III.  Count that how you will!

2) I finally read Through Lover’s Lane by Elizabeth Rollins Epperly, which has been on my shelf for a long time.  Even though I didn’t love the book, it had some interesting insights and I’m happy I finally read it.

3) I reread The Story Girl by L. M. Montgomery, and was pleasantly surprised to find I liked it better than I had on previous reads.  In another “bit,” I started the sequel, The Golden Road, but haven’t finished it yet.

4) I also reread Magic Island by Elizabeth Waterston, very probably my favorite book about Montgomery.  It goes through each of her novels, analyzing what factors in her life, either in the past or at the time of writing, influenced the novel.  I didn’t get to a review of it, but maybe soon.

And so wraps my shortest challenge!  Time to get onto my other challenges…and I’ll post another update in a couple months.  In the meantime, happy reading!

Friday Face-Off: The Amulet of a Thief

FFO.jpgTime again for the Friday Face-Off meme, created by Books by Proxy, with weekly topics hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog.  The idea is to put up different covers for one book, and select a favorite.

This week’s theme is: A cover featuring an Amulet

The first book to come to mind was The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner.  I read this one as a kid and it’s still a favorite, and a special token features as a major part of the story.  I’m not positive it’s an amulet, but one cover shows it that way, so…we’re going with it.

As an aside, I didn’t realize until some years after I first read it that this was the first book in a series.  I really, really tried to like the second book–I read it twice–and it just didn’t work for me.  The first book, however, I love.

This cover was on the copy I read at the library all those years ago, so I’m sentimentally attached to it…although when I really look at it, it doesn’t fit at all!  If this is the lead character I can’t explain the crown; if it’s the character who might wear a crown, he’s too old!

I like the comparative drama of this one, although it’s a little cartoony for me–and something is weird about the angles.

Here’s the promised amulet!  I like this one a lot, especially the dirt on those hands.  It promises that the person those hands belong to is getting down into the dirt of life, that stealing this amulet is no easy job (and it’s not!)

This foreign cover is my favorite–very similar to the previous one, I like the hint of the secret temple, the amulet looks a bit more how I’d picture it, and it’s just more dramatic and dangerous!

Friday Face-Off: Good Queen Bess

Time for the Friday Face-Off meme, created by Books by Proxy, with weekly topics hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog.  The idea is to put up different covers for one book, and select a favorite.

This week’s theme is: ‘I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king’ – A cover that depicts a novel set in the Tudor period

The first novel that came to mind seemed fitting, since it’s about Elizabeth I, the source for this week’s quote: Legacy by Susan Kay, about the life of Elizabeth I.  This author is better known (I think) for her Phantom novel, referred to always as Susan Kay’s Phantom, and one my absolute favorite books.  I mean, we’re talking top 5 here.  Legacy, though in some ways similar (a sweeping exploration of one person’s life, through the points of view of different people surrounding them) is…well, not an absolute favorite.  Too much politicking!  But still a good read, with a few different covers. Continue reading “Friday Face-Off: Good Queen Bess”

2019 Reading Challenges

Now that I finished my 2018 challenges update, and my reading round-up, I’m finally ready to be thinking about what I want to read in 2019.  I’m going a little gentler on the number goals, and trying to both play to the strengths of where my reading seems to have gone, and get back to a few areas I realized I missed!

Nonfiction Reading Challenge
Host: Doing Dewey
Goal: 12 Nonfiction Books

This one is playing to my strengths, because I’ve been reading a lot of nonfiction in recent months.  (And may I just say as an aside that teenage me, who read nothing but fiction, would be shocked by this?  But she was stuck reading a lot of nonfiction she didn’t like for school, so…)  I expect this to be largely comprised of spiritual books, since that’s still my primary focus in my nonfiction–but I am rather tempted by the suggestion to read a book from each century of the Dewey Decimal system.  We’ll see how the year goes! Continue reading “2019 Reading Challenges”

2018 Reading Round-Up

It’s that time of year again–or actually, a few days past.  Time to look at the best, the worst and sometimes weird of my 2018 reading.  In this past year I read 101 books.  I know that’s a lot when the average is more like 12, but it’s also a big drop for me–I’m usually somewhere approaching 200.  I blame this fully on getting married, and you know, seeing as there are also compensations to that, I can’t complain too much.  But I do hope to bring that number up next year–barring other major life changes, of course!

In that 101 books, there were a lot of nonfiction ones, a lot of audiobooks, and a lot of Newbery Medal winners.  So it’s been kind of a departure of a year in a lot of ways!  But there were still good books in there, so let’s see how it looks.

1) Best of…
I’ve been splitting my “Best of” books for the past few years, so that I can highlight the ones that were best in very specific ways.

1A) Best Premise: The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – This was an amazing short story collection from a variety of authors (including Stephen King and Neil Gaimain!) with original Holmes and Watson stories…which may or may not be fantastical.  I have seen authors mostly fail to accurately portray Sherlock Holmes, so it was an especial delight to find a whole collection of authors who (for the most part) got it right, and the fantasy element was an extra awesome element.

1B) Best World Building: Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore – This was the most beautifully crafted book I read this year, so I’m calling that world building.  A series of alternate paths for the main character, each with its own genre, each independent and yet consistent and building on each other…this was a gorgeously crafted book.

1C) Best Romance: I find myself with a very strange dearth of options for this category this year!  I think this is what happens when you read a lot of Newbery Medal winners and nonfiction books.  I’m going to have to set a goal to read more romances in 2019, I think.

1D) Best Hero(ines): The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss – I’m giving this one to a group, the amazing women of the Athena Club, each one a product of a mad scientist’s experiment, banding together to forge their own lives and fight evil in the process.  This one could have taken best premise too, but we’ll put it here for its awesome heroines. Continue reading “2018 Reading Round-Up”