Tuesday, April 29, 2014

K-Dramas 101

File:Coffee Prince.jpg

This was the very first Korean drama I ever saw (for which I'm very grateful, because the next two I watched would have turned me off them forever if I'd seen them first).  It's also my favourite drama of all time, and is one of my favourite tv shows (it's up there with OUAT) ever.  Admittedly, I definitely have a thing for gender benders (where a character, in this case the main one, has to dress up as someone of the opposite gender for some reason), probably due to my childhood diet of Tamora Pierce and Mulan haha.  The basic premise for the show is that Eun-chan, the female lead, is very poor and through a series of circumstances runs into Han-kyul, the male lead, who thinks she is also a guy.  He's put in charge of running a coffee shop, and decides that having all males will attract more people to the cafe (hence it being a "prince" cafe). Eun-chan is desperate for a job, so she never corrects his misconception and pretends to be a boy so that she can support her family.  It's obviously more complex than just this, and there are two more main leads, as well as all the story lines for the other "coffee princes", but that would get too complicated to explain haha.

Yoo Gong
 And I can't say that the main guy lead is not a huge part of the reason why I love this show haha.  I'm not going to lie - I think Gong Yoo is mad sexy, but that's not the main reason I'm completely in love with him.  He's simply put, just an amazing actor.  In fact, I really thought the whole cast did a really great job - I just thought his acting in particular stood out the most.  He's in my top 10 favourite actors for sure.  I also think that the soundtrack for this show is by far the best I've come across so far (Although I'm watching You're Beautiful right now and I think it will give the OST for this show a run for its money).  There's a song in particular that still gives me chills:

I know in part my emotions that are tied to this song are because of THE SCENE.  And anyone who has watched the song KNOWS what scene I'm talking about (and if they didn't, they'd know as soon as they heard the song).  It is my favourite scene in all of tv and movie moments ever.  The acting is amazing, this song...I actually can't listen to this song unless I'm having an intense emotional moment because it affects me so much. (But I think that might just be the musician in me).  The scene is an incredibly powerful few minutes, and I would recommend this show solely so you can watch this scene.  But obviously it's amazing for a kajillion other reasons, so I'm recommending it for all of those reasons haha.

Basically, if you are looking to start watching K-dramas, I would absolutely recommend starting with this one.  If you're looking for the next one to watch, I would recommend this one.  If you don't have an interest in K-dramas I would recommend watching this before you decide whether or not K-dramas are for you.  Don't trust me?  Here's some thoughts from two other book bloggers you probably already know and love:

Christina @ A Reader of Fictions - She actually has a lot of great recommendations even if we have slightly different tastes.  This is a really fantastic post about getting into K-dramas which I highly recommend reading before you start!

Gillian @ Writer of Wrongs - Gillian and I are 100% on the same page about gender bending haha! And she also includes a gif from THE SCENE. 


 I was starting to believe that Coffee Prince was a mythical being amongst K-dramas because I hadn't found anything I loved nearly as much.  Part of this was because I was being a good musician and student and hadn't watched a K-drama in almost a whole year.  A WHOLE YEAR GUYS! K-dramas are so freaking addicting and once I start them...I can't focus on anything else until they're done.  Which you know...not great for productivity.  But I've been fangirling over K-dramas, (and their super sexy actors) with a friend of mine...and she broke me.  I succumbed to the urge to watch a K-drama after a whole year of holding out....and I'm addicted again.  Particularly because this show was AWESOME.

A lot of the reason I've had some trouble with other K-dramas is a big cultural difference (and it may be only a tv cultural difference. You'd think dating a Korean would help make me an authority but he's pretty terrible at explaining things).  The men are very authoritative and the women extremely passive when it comes to relationships.  A lot of this pans out as the men treating the women terribly. And I have a hard time excusing most of that.  

This show completely bypasses most of that by having the lead character work as a stunt woman.  
A. This makes for TOTALLY awesome action scenes 
B. I'm pretty sure the actress did a lot of the stunt work herself because she's done most of her own stunts in other films
C. Gives her power.

The premise of the show is that Joo-won is the CEO of a company and Ra-im is a stunt woman, and through THINGS, they change bodies when it rains.  This concept could have been completely corny (and ok, I guess it is.  But good corny!), but the acting was fantastic! It's not that they just acted like the other person, or they just acted like the opposite character - I mean, it was really like they were the other person!  We've all seen movies (haven't we?) where some version of this happens, but this is definitely the best version I've seen of the situation.  And I also liked that in general it was a very light-hearted show - a lot of the tropes they use often become suuuuper angsty (and yes, it does have some of that too.  It is a K-drama, after all).  I really loved all the characters - particularly the side ones. I think Oska might have actually been my favourite...but I also loved her roommate and his assistant and AGHGHASD!! This show was great.  It also gets the distinction of having the best ending so far.  Slightly bittersweet + mostly fluffy = A very happy Elizabeth.  (It also gets the distinction of having one of the most hilarious soundtracks though haha)

File:You're Beautiful - promotional picture.jpg

Ok, technically I'm halfway through the series, so I'm not finished and might completely change my mind.  And I'm 100% shipping the wrong guy with the lead, like way harder than I have EVER shipped the wrong couple.  Even though I already know he won't get the girl! I do have a tendency ship the wrong guy in almost every drama though.  Usually I come around eventually, but I think this show will be the one that makes me a little bit angry at the outcome haha.  BUT there's a lot of great things going for this show.  Once again it's a gender bender!  Go Mi-nyeo is studying to become a nun, but when her brother has a botched surgery and has to go to America, he needs her to pretend to be him so he doesn't get kicked out of a famous band he's just joined.  Needless to say, what follows is hilarious!  And Park Shin-hye is so adorable as the lead character.  I've loved the storyline so far, and mostly it's been about all the crazy antics the cast gets up to so that her gender isn't revealed.  And it's got a great soundtrack.  I've recently come to realize just how much that can affect my willingness to like something, but there you are.  Great soundtrack (despite the tendency to use lots of overdramatic electric guitar Moonlight Sonata), lots of cute boys, hilarious shenannigans...what's not to like?

(Or really, I should say the not so bad)

File:Boys Over Flowers (TV series) poster.jpg

 This show is such a guilty pleasure for me!  It is an adaptation of a very popular manga - I've read the manga, watched the anime, and watched this show...despite the fact that I loathe the storyline.  This is one of those examples about abusive relationships, and this one definitely takes it to the extreme for me.  Despite that, the show remains absolutely addicting.  At its heart it's a rich boy/poor girl scenario set in the backdrop of a very rich school.  Ricki is watching this with her daughter, and she said that she gets to enjoy it for everything it is, and at the same time use it as a way to open up a dialogue about relationships which I think is a brilliant idea!


I honestly don't remember much from this series.  I picked this one up because it stars Yoon Eun-hye (the leading lady in Coffee Prince), and I remember thinking the series was a lot of fun.  Basically, Eun-hye's character lies about being married and it completely snowballs into a sort of national event because it turns out she's lied about being married to the president of the most famous hotel in Korea.
I don't remember how passionately I felt about their relationship, but it was definitely a fun series to watch!

 File:Oh! My Lady-poster.jpg

This was a really cute story where an older woman and a younger man fall in love.  She starts as his housekeeper, but she ends up transforming his acting abilities and helping him when he suddenly discovers he has an illegitimate child.  I remember this story being really sweet, and that the leading lady's character had a lot of strength.  Again, this wasn't one I fell passionately in love with, but I did think the show was well worth watching.


I know this show as Goong for some reason, but I think most people know it has Princess Hours.  This is another show I picted up because of Yoon Eun-hye, and it really wasn't for me.  I do think I'm in the minority on this one - Christina @ A Reader of Fictions definitely enjoyed it, so take what I say with a grain of salt.  This show is set as if Korea still had a monarchy.  The prince has an arranged marriage with a commoner, set by their grandparents (although neither of them knew it).  Obviously this creates all sorts of problems, and there's some royal politics involved, etc.  Part of my lack of enthusiasm probably comes with me shipping the wrong guy, although I sort of came around to Shin (the leading guy) by the end.  There was too much relationship drama, and complete disinterest on his side for too long, so I was so over it by the time the show ended.


Argh! I want to like this SO MUCH.  I mean it's got one of the most adorable leading ladies ever - I loved her in role in Boys Over Flowers (She plays a side character), and of course I want to watch anything that Gong Yoo has ever acted in.  And you get to see Gong Yoo act hilarious and adorable too!  I didn't finish this series - I may come back to it?  Unfortunately the premise creeps me out to much.  Because of THINGS one of Gil Da Ran (leading lady) student's and her fiancee switch bodies, and the fiancee remains in a coma.  I just get creeped out too much by the student/teacher factor, and I looked up spoilers for the rest of the show (because it's me and I can't help myself), and I concluded that I was NOT going to like where this was headed.  So I decided not to waste any time and just stop after the first couple episodes.  I couldn't even handle Flower Boy Ramen Shop (although Christina recommends it, so I might try again) because it starts with the leads as a student teacher and a student, and I just CAN'T.  Maybe it's because I've studied to be a teacher myself, but that just...eww.


THIS SHOW.  I just can't. It seriously enrages me.  The  guy is actually cruel to the girl for the majority of the series, and she just keeps following him around.  Like a friggin puppy!  At least in Boys Over Flowers, which has way worse bullying, the main character was like...this is wrong, leave me alone.  In this she's like...he totally just humiliated me in front of the entire world...but I love him!  Basically earthquake = dumb girl has to move in with smart boy she's in love with and he acts like a total jerk. The whole time.  I ended up slamming my computer shut in frustration and eventually looking up what happens instead of watching the rest of the show because it made me SO. ANGRY.

And that's your basic K-Drama guide on what to watch!  Any recommendations for me? (Or warnings) I am looking to maybe watch a historical one at some point, but they're all so depressing! I know someone recommended one to me a while back that wasn't depressing, but for the life of me I can't remember who or what it was!  I'm leaning towards Empress Ki or Faith (it's got a yummy actor from Secret Garden haha), but if you know a good one to start me on a lifelong love of historical dramas, let me know! (Or if there's any Asian drama you think is worth me checking out)

If movies are more your thing, tune into the next session based on Korean movies!  

Monday, April 21, 2014

Top Ten Sneaky McLiar Pants

So I've gotten pretty bored with my top ten posts lately, as my favourites are usually my favourites for a lot of reasons and therefore there's like 20 books in my rotation that inevitably return every other week or so for my TTT lists.  So I've decided to go a new route (although some of my all time favourites STILL show up) and not have any repeats for like...a month? And try to have at least 1/4 of the books be outside of YA.  That seems reasonable right?  In any case, this list is devoted to unreliable narrators!

 1. Vida Winters (The Thirteenth Tale)

The Thirteenth Tale

 Guys. The twists in this book...you'll never see them coming. Vida Winters is the queen of unreliable narrators.  You won't know what's hit you. 

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #1)

Holy shit guys.  Want to see a post of me freaking out about a book?  The Mara Dyer series is intense.  I mean Mara is so unreliable that she was starting to make me feel like I was going crazy!


So I can't really say anything about Esme without fear of spoilers, but since I want you to read this...interested in feminism? In the difference in how we were treated now compared to the early 20th century? Like suspense and intrigue? Check out this book.

4. Narrator (Fight Club)

Fight Club

Ok I imagine most of you have read or seen this and know why it makes the list.  But for the few of you out there who haven't...I won't say anything.  Man this list makes it awfully hard to say anything!

5. Piscine Molitor "Pi" Patel (Life of Pi)

 Life of Pi

Spoilers?  I loved the ambiguity of the ending to this (that's not spoilers is it? I figured I'd put a warning anyway just in case?)

6. Gen (The Thief)

The Thief (The Queen's Thief, #1)

Guys.  Please tell me you have all read this. 

The Blind Assassin

Margaret Atwood should be made immortal so we can get more books like this and The Handmaid's Tale.

8. Adam Farmer (I Am the Cheese)

I Am the Cheese

This is totally old school now, and I bet a lot of the younger readers haven't read this. (Is that a wrong assumption?) I haven't seen it in standard school circulation...well ever. I think I read this on my own now that I think of it haha! It's been well over a decade since I read it, but as the summary states - if you liked The Giver or Feed, you should give this book a shot.

9. Eve (Conjured)


God I didn't even have a clue. And the prose in here is so beautiful (you know what a sucker I am for that). I definitely want to buy my own copy of this!

10. Antoinette Cosway/Bertha (Wide Sargasso Sea)

Wide Sargasso Sea (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics)

Ever wondered what Rochester's wife's story was? Well, here you go. A classic in its won right, it's a great reimagining of her story. Warning though, if you're a big Rochester fan, this is probably not the book for you.

And that's it for this week's TTT!  Any unreliable narrators I missed? I've discovered I love that in books when it's well done, so shoot me recommendations while you're leaving me a link to your TTT!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Day in the Life (9)

So it's been a little while since I've done one of these posts, so you'd think I'd have a lot to say.  There's been a lot of drama with my future, but my future is something I like to think about as little as possible so...I don't have much to talk about.  (Sometimes I think the blog was born entirely out of procrastination.  I think I'm going to add music to these posts - one classical, one not (this is totally not because I have nothing to talk about) BECAUSE WHY NOT.

So I just discovered this album and this is probably my favourite song. This video is really...weird, but it makes a bit more sense when you start from the beginning of the album.  They've done a music video for each song and put together they make a movie (which is how I found out about it in the first place), so if you want to see them all, start here.

Bookish Things

Since I've got two or three weeks worth of posts, I've tried to divide them up for easier choosing what you want to read!

General Blogging/Reading
On Reading Your Reviews - Author Carrie Mesrobian (Sex & Violence) talks about blogger etiquette when it comes to tagging authors in reviews 
 #RBWL Spring 2014 Recap - Shae recaps some of the highlights from the 3rd #RBWL
Writing in Books - This brings up some interesting points (although I'm not sure I'll ever be able to bring myself to scrawl all over my books)
Being A Midnight Reader - Yep. Totally get it.
Three Books That Define You - NPR asks (and Lianne tells hers) what three books define you? I'd probably have The Amber Spyglass, the Song of the Lioness quartet, and A Ring of Endless Light on my list (off the top of my head anyway)

 Harry Potter

The Blogging Unicorn and the Prisoner of Azkaban: A Harry Potter Newbie Visits Hogwarts - Oh my god guys this is HILARIOUS! If you ever wanted to relive reading the Harry Potter books for the first time...you should read these because they are AWESOME (and did I mention hilarious?)
Harry Potter Chapter 10/11 reread - "Likely that she prefers to get scolded for brashness and/or arrogance over what might be perceived as weakness.  And doesn’t that just make her a true Gryffindor as well." << That, my friends, is just so spot on. This post really nails Hermione's character!
I'm Going to Hogwarts - Oh my god what?? This is a THING?!
Disney/Fairy Tales

Disney Characters Sorted Into Hogwarts Houses - I actually had a hard time seeing what some of the characters were sorted into, but after much focus, I think I mostly agree? (Also why is Belle so mad at the Beast?)
Beauty and the Beast in Picturebooks - We all knew I had a fairy tale obsession, yes? Well The Book Wars (who's blog you should all IMMEDIATELY go read because it is amazing and thought provoking and yes. Do it.) put together a great compilation of picture books and why these ones are so great!
The Colours in Fairytales - Can I reiterate my obsession with fairy tales? I love this author - she always has such thought provoking things to say about fairy tales and fantasy, and this post definitely brings up some things I hadn't thought about before!
Project Disney- Winnie the Pooh (2011) - You guys know I'm obsessed with Disney right? Well if you are too, you should check out Angela's Project Disney where she talks about both the movie and the book it was based on. This one's on Winnie the Pooh which never gets enough love!

 YA in Movies

The Cinematic Explosion of Young Adult Books - The author talks about the successes (and failures) of YA adaptions
There's A New Featurette For The Giver, and Thank God, It's Got Scenes In Black and White - Yeah, nope. Nopety nope nope.  I'm so not sold, this book is IMPORTANT and I feel like the film is just going to miss everything great about it.  Also what is with that soundtrack??

Thought provoking

George Packer: Is Amazon Bad for Books? - Wow.  This is quite long, but it brings up a lot of troubling things and is really quite worth the read! It's definitely given me a lot to mull over. 
Cover Trends in YA Fiction: Why the Obsession with an Elegant Death? - This is a fantastic read about women, objectification, beauty, and death
Confessions of a Speculative Fiction Reader - This is an extremely powerful post that resonated with me in a lot of ways. And I think it deals with a lot of the reasons why I choose to read fantasy.
Why giving science a blanket approach doesn't work - Definitely interesting, and something I hadn't devoted much thought to before.  SPEAK and Steubenville: Can YA Help? - Yes, yes it can.

Uh...random bookish things?
‘Speak’ turns 15: Author Laurie Halse Anderson on the book’s life and legacy - This was a lovely interview, and if you love Anderson's books, definitely tune in for this.
10 Profound Children's Book Quotes That Probably Changed Your Life - So these all made me teary eyed...*sniffles* Charlotte's Web, anyone?
Laini Taylor discusses 'Dreams of Gods and Monsters' - My copy from the library is on its way!!
Across-the-Tub Satin Nickel Caddy - I NEED THIS. 

Nonbookish Things

Open Letter to Phyllis Schlafly From 12 Year-Old Madison Kimrey - Wow. I wish I was that well spoken when I was 12! And that metaphor is pretty much perfect!
My wife was murdered by a 'monster' – but most perpetrators of violence are normal men - I always feel like we're actually getting somewhere when I read an article like this.
Cuddlebuggery Swearing Style Guide - AHAHAH this is the best! In the interest of not getting phone calls from my family about being inappropriate, I won' say which is my favourite (or favourites. They're all pretty fantastic haha)
Even More SFF Bunnies (and Other Strange, Rabbit-Type Creatures) - Wow this is a pretty comprehensive list.  You go from Monty Python to Bunnicula (I LOVED those books as a kid! No one I know has even heard of it)  There's even a Redwall shout out!
Anthony Mackie Talks About Chris Evans’ “Tiny Ass,” Playing Falcon in Captain America - Or all the reasons why Anthony Mackie is seriously the best.
Update: Red Alert, There Are Cute Baby Dragons In the New How to Train Your Dragon 2 Trailer - *sniffles* oh it's so adorable and...and...I WANT A DRAGON!!!
Michael Socha set to join ‘Once Upon a Time’ as series regular - YESSSS!!!!!!! (Favourite character, and now Kirsty doesn't have to watch OUATiW to see him)
23 Cross-Fandom Couples That Should Have Been - YES PLEASE!! So many of these are THE BEST IDEA EVER.  I am forever going to pretend that Hooville is a thing.  Two of the most underrated characters that you gradually get to see how AWESOME they are...they are meant for each other.  I mean, nothing is stopping them, technically they are both in England! (And #6 - Nope. They kill each other. Hahahahaha)

Whew! Long list of stuff.  And to wrap up this week with a classical piece, I give you this....delightful video I just discovered *snickers*

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender - Leslye Walton


Goodreads:  Magical realism, lyrical prose, and the pain and passion of human love haunt this hypnotic generational saga.

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.

In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen
year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naïve to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the Summer Solstice celebration.

That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo.

First-time author Leslye Walton has constructed a layered and unforgettable mythology of what it means to be born with hearts that are tragically, exquisitely human.


"The Roux children were so accustomed to their neighbors' voices permeating the thin walls that each child could eventually speak several languages - all four in French and English, Emilienne in Italian, René in Dutch and German, and Margaux in Spanish.  The Youngest, Pierette, only spoke in what was later identified as Greek until her seventh birthday, when in perfect French she declared, "Mon dieu! Oú est mon gâteau? My God, where is my cake?" Which made them all suspect that Pierette had many tricks up her sleeves."

"But it was the cake their guests remembered - the vanilla custard filling, the buttercream finish, the slight taste of raspberries that had surely been added to the batter. No one brought home any slices of leftover cake to place under their pillow, hoping to dream of their future mate; instead, the guests of Ignatius Lux and Estella Margolis ate the whole cake and then had dreams of eating it again.  After this wedding unmarried women woke in the night with tears in their eyes, not because they were alone, but because there wasn't any cake left."


Wow. How do I even begin to describe why I loved this book?  I honestly don't know.  It's just got...it.  You know what I mean?  I think it's a problem I often come across when trying to describe a book that's magic realism...and surprise, surprise this one is too.  There's something about the way authors write in this genre that's just...AGH.   I don't know how to describe it!  I mean it was beautiful.   It's absurd and horribly morbid...and you know, it kind of reminds me of the humour you find in Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events at times.  This is my favourite genre, and I have just had the BEST luck with magic realism.  I honestly can't think of a single book in this genre that I didn't like. (Which is probably why it's my favourite genre, it's all been good so far).

I love this writing style. This isn't going to be for people who need more of an action based plot. There is a plot, but it is uncovered more through a meandering character growth that adds suspense and makes it a plot. I happen to love stories like this.  I think I also loved that it was so female-centric.  You've got three generations of women whose stories are told within this book, and they're all kind of tragic in that funny morbid way.  Which sounds completely nonsensical I know, but if you read the book you will TOTALLY get what I mean.  There's just so much in here - yes, there's a plot and plenty of suspense that's ratcheted up even as we learn about things that are generations removed from THE EVENT everything leads up to.  You get musings on loss and love and...man.  I really have the hardest time trying to describe books that aren't all actiony and flaily because I can't seem to find the right words.  It was a beautiful story, it was written so well (and you know how swoony I get over prose).  I'm going to stop trying to describe it.  Instead, I wholly recommend both Nafiza's and Christina's reviews, who has captured my feelings on the book more clearly than I have been able to (hence my giving up and searching their reviews haha).  Not everything was great about this book, but I can't mention anything because of spoilers, and honestly in the whole context of this book I just don't care.  I am absolutely going to buy Leslye Walton's next book, and you should too.  After you buy this one of course.  And since I loved this so much and have been unable to describe how I feel...read these reviews too.  I feel like a lazy not-reviewer for referencing every one else's reviews, but I just...I can't even name half the emotions running through me right now just THINKING about this book

And in the interest of what I thought while reading this...because I seriously want to reread it to process everything. And it's definitely good enough for a reread.  Serious spoilers below!! Also if you're a terrible person like me who usually reads the last couple pages before I finish the book (HUSH DON'T JUDGE ME)....really don't.  Don't do it.  Luckily this was an ebook which stops this habit in it's tracks for me so I didn't but...yeah.  Don't do that. (Actually I am probably the only person who does that haha)

Nathaniel Sorrows creeps me out. Is he going to rape her? And that pillow bit? GROSS.  

Oh God. I knew it was going to be bad, but not that bad...I can't...I feel a bit sick. And horrified. 

Ugh I wanted that situation to be less terrible.  And I'm irritated by the rape for some reason - I knew it was going to happen, so it's not like it was a surprise.  I think this is like the third book in a row that I've read with rape in it though, so I'm just seriously not in the mood.  And Nathaniel Sorrows is really...well everyone's tragedies somehow have a sort of distance to them, so I guess the distance here is in his character development?  Because this was seriously one of the most brutal things I've ever read.  AND I read it on an airplane. (WHY?! I KNOW better than to do that!)

Holy...what?! Why?! Why do this to me in the last few pages?? God. I didn't see that coming. I CAN'T HANDLE LIFE ANYMORE.  Am I wrong? Did I misunderstand?  Ava was going to be happy! She had someone she loved, and he loved her back! She wasn't going to deny herself for decades. I wanted just ONE HEA!  No one else mentioned this in their reviews (then again, it's also like literally the last two pages.)  I am seriously going to troll Goodreads now.  I'm wrong right?  I MUST BE WRONG.  I mean it's narrated by an older Ava, right? RIGHT?



If you like magical realism, you NEED to read this.  If you love beautiful prose, you need to read this.  If you love character development (and some seriously odd characters) read this.  If you need action packed plots, this probably isn't for you.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The White Princess (The Cousins War #5) - Philippa Gregory

The White Princess (The Cousins' War,  #5)


GoodreadsPhilippa Gregory, #1 New York Times best­selling author and “the queen of royal fiction” (USA Today), presents the latest Cousins’ War novel, the remarkable story of Elizabeth of York, daughter of the White Queen.

When Henry Tudor picks up the crown of England from the mud of Bosworth field, he knows he must marry the princess of the enemy house—Elizabeth of York—to unify a country divided by war for nearly two decades.

But his bride is still in love with his slain enemy, Richard III—and her mother and half of England dream of a missing heir, sent into the unknown by the White Queen. While the new monarchy can win power, it cannot win hearts in an England that plots for the triumphant return of the House of York.

Henry’s greatest fear is that somewhere a prince is waiting to invade and reclaim the throne. When a young man who would be king leads his army and invades England, Elizabeth has to choose between the new husband she is coming to love and the boy who claims to be her beloved lost brother: the rose of York come home at last.


This is really, really intense right from the start.  You are catapulted right into the middle of Elizabeth's anguish over the death of her lover, and at first I thought I was going to love this, especially as you start out with a bang.  I'm not going to talk about why this is a bad book, because I don't believe it is.  I've read at least half of Philippa Gregory's novels, and I've always enjoyed them to varying degrees, so the writing in this is very much on par with her other novels.  Instead, I'm going to talk about why this book was not for me personally.

I am horrified by the amount of rape in here.  I wish I could say it was unnecessary, but as it is historical fiction there is a chance this happened, and it absolutely reflected the societal views of the time.  So it is necessary.  But even from the beginning I wondered if I would be able to make it through, and how on earth I was supposed to support these two characters falling in love.  I don't care if it reflects societal norms, I can't support any man who repeatedly rapes someone.  And beyond that, he's completely under his mother's thumb (and she tucks him into bed which is weird).  But that's the least of my issues with Henry.

I also didn't realize there were so many books in this series!  Having read Gregory's Tudor series in a completely random order, I feel like generally her books don't have to be read in a certain order.  That being said, I do feel like it would enhance my understanding of what's going on and keeping everyone straight (WHY ARE THERE SO MANY DAMN ELIZABETH'S?!)  Also Richard is her Uncle...that doesn't come clear unless you try and figure out all the relationships but ummm...I'm pretty sure even back then uncle/niece was not kosher?  Maybe I'm wrong, and that's just super gross to me.

In general, my biggest issue with the book outside of the rapes that thankfully stop about half way through the book (maybe sooner), was simply that it was....boring.  I don't deal well with books about obsession - while I appreciate the creepy bits of Edgar Allen Poe's writing, I don't particularly enjoy most of his stories.  I thought Bellman & Black was THE WORST.   I just can't get behind obsession!  And this whole book is "Henry freaking out about potential boy/king guy and main character continues to be powerless".  Seriously.  That's the entire plot...and it's like it is on loop.  THIS GOES ON LIKE 5 TIMES.  I get it once, maybe even twice?  But after that?  I'm out.

None of this is on Philippa Gregory, except perhaps her choice in characters and time period, because honestly that's what happened (judging by my skilled Wikipedia searches).  But reading a whole book about a woman who doesn't love (but sort of does?) her husband, who has no control over anything, focused on a man who is terrified/obsessed with a boy, is just not for me.


This book wasn't for me because of the subject matter, but it is otherwise what one expects from Philippa Gregory's writing.  Like her? Read through this post and see if anything bothers you, and decide from there.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Liebster Award (3)

So I have been a super lazy pants and have been nominated for the Liebster award...but then I kept not doing a post so now I've been nominated 4 times!  Since this has made the post super lengthy now, I've decided to split it into three parts - the first part with both the 11 questions for me and the 11 questions I have for my nominated bloggers, as well as the list of nominated bloggers.  The second post will have interview questions from two of the bloggers who nominated me, and the third post will wrap up with interview questions from the other two bloggers who nominated me.  Thanks again to everyone who nominated me! I feel quite honoured :)  

Part 1 and Part 2

The rules:

   1.  List 11 Facts about yourself. 
   2.  Answer the 11 questions put forward by whoever nominated you. 
   3.  Ask 11 new questions to 5+ bloggers. They must have less than 200 followers on Bloglovin' (or their preferred method). You cannot re-nominate the blog that nominated you
   4.  Go to their blog and inform them that they have been nominated!

Obsessive Compulsive Reader

1. Favourite place(s) to read.

    Generally my bed or the couch as it's been winter, but the Square is quite nice in the spring and summer.  And my landlords' have a patio on top of their garage that I frequent in good weather.

2.  Bookshops vs library: which do you visit more often? Do you prefer buying or borrowing books?
     Definitely the library.  As a broke student I prefer to read books for free before determining whether I want to buy them or not!  I will say that I have an awesome used bookstore down the street from me.  There are so many books that the owner literally uses them to make a maze inside the store.  There are basically book made walls in there.  It's intense.  And I have a really fun local bookstore that serves coffee and wine/beer.  So I have definitely patronized both of those stores :)

3.  Do you notate your books or keep them clean and pristine?

     I can't say that my favourite copies are pristine (Read: They are falling apart), but I also don't write in them.  I read an interesting post about that, so I'm considering it, but I'm not sure I'll ever be able to...

4.  Who's your favourite artist/painting?


Degas has always been my favourite artist.  His sculpture Little Dancer of Fourteen Years is one of my favourite works of art, and his paintings of ballerinas and washerwomen are truly inspiring.  (But I really don't get the appeal of the jockey paintings.  Why?)

5.  Do you know a second language? If so, which one? If not, which one would you want to learn?
     I used to be almost fluent in Spanish, and it's the language I would choose to learn anyway :) Although I've also really wanted to learn Gaelic!

6.  Who's your celebrity crush?
    Just one?! Have you seen my pinterest board? You all know my recent obsession with Richard Armitage, but I'd definitely have to add Gong Yoo and Colin O'Donoghue to that list.

7.  Besides reading and blogging, what else do you like to do in your spare time?
     AHAHAHA.  Spare time.  As if!

8.  Do you also write? If so, which genre?
     ...I've written some pretty terrible poetry, but mostly I just write for this blog.

9.  Are you a coffee or tea person?
    Both! I have an entire pantry on my shelf devoted to coffee and tea haha

10. When you are having a bad day, what do you do to destress?
     Turn on my music really loud and have an epic dance party

11. If you suddenly received a monetary windfall (say $1000), what would you do with it?
      I would put it towards the new oboe I thought I was going to buy.  Or to fixing my car. Or to buying a new car. ...my life is so exciting haha

Gateway to a Different World

1. What are your interests apart from Reading?
     Feminism, general sci-fi/fantasy regardless of media, music

2. Are you a morning or night person?
    Definitely a night person!

3. The series with whom you share a love and hate relationship?
     Hmmm.  You know, I got nothing.  Generally it's either one or the other with me.

4. Your favourite book boyfriend?
    Chaol. Or Darcy. 

5.  Batman or Superman?
     You know, I never really watched/read comics as a kid other than Asterix and Oblix.  And growing up I was rather fond of the Spiderman movies.

6.  Young Adult or New Adult?
     Young adult.

7.  How did you start Blogging?
    See Mitchii's question in Part 2!

8. Your worst nightmare?
    Taken literally, my most recent nightmares have all involved my teeth falling out.  *shudders*

9. What's your favourite genre?

10.  Do you prefer desserts or spicy food?
   I swear I have an entirely different stomach devoted to desserts.  But I love spicy food too!  It's impossible to decide.

11.  Sweet and Diplomatic Reviews or Snarky and Straightforward Reviews?
     I think I have a tendency for sweet and diplomatic, but I love reading snarky and straightforward reviews!

And that concludes the Liebster Award posts!  Thanks again to everyone who nominated me! For those who are just tuning in, check out Part 1 to see who I nominated and check out all their awesome blogs!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Liebster Award (2)

So I have been a super lazy pants and have been nominated for the Liebster award...but then I kept not doing a post so now I've been nominated 4 times!  Since this has made the post super lengthy now, I've decided to split it into three parts - the first part with both the 11 questions for me and the 11 questions I have for my nominated bloggers, as well as the list of nominated bloggers.  The second post will have interview questions from two of the bloggers who nominated me, and the third post will wrap up with interview questions from the other two bloggers who nominated me.  Thanks again to everyone who nominated me! I feel quite honoured :)

Part 1, Part 3

The rules:
   1.  List 11 Facts about yourself. 
   2.  Answer the 11 questions put forward by whoever nominated you. 
   3.  Ask 11 new questions to 9 bloggers. They must have less than 200 followers on Bloglovin' (or their preferred method). You cannot re-nominate the blog that nominated you
   4.  Go to their blog and inform them that they have been nominated!

Questions from Mitchii @ Aeropapers

1.  What’s your biggest book blogging accomplishment so far?
      Honestly? Probably the fact that I'm still doing it!  I technically started this blog...five years ago?  But I posted like...once every six months haha. But now I've gone on pretty regularly for almost a whole year!

2.  Do you have author you’re acquainted with (local or foreign)? If yes, how did you meet?

3.  What made you start blogging?
     I don't have many friends who read what I do and I wanted people to fangirl with!

4.  What’s the story behind your blog’s name?
     It's a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe reference.  The quote underneath is also taken from the first book!  Guys, if you haven't read this series you NEED to!  It's hilarious and really great in all it's forms - radio show (admittedly I haven't listened to it yet, but I can't imagine it not being great), tv show, movie (...sort of), books...I mean pick one and go with it!  (But maybe not the movie) 

5.  Who (book bloggers, authors anyone from the book community) do you look up to and why?
     Really anyone who has managed to blog consistently for a long time amazes me, since it's only recently that I've managed to blog without taking like...a 6 month break/post haha!
6.  Do you see yourself blogging for more than five years?
     I'd like to say yes, but given my track record...

7.  Do you prefer print books to ebooks? Why?
     Sort of.  I get a lot of formatting issues in ebooks, and if it's my favourite book I want a hard copy of it. But I read plenty of ebooks too!

8.  Best blogging moments so far?
      Definitely finding blogging friends!  Shannon, Stephanie, Mitchii, and Kirsty in particular I talk to in some form, practically on a weekly basis haha.  But it's been really great talking to you ALL of the people who stop by the blog, you guys rock!

9.  The shortest book you’ve ever read?
     ..wow there's a lot of books with an unknown amount of pages!  The shortest picture book is The Napping House, at 16 pages (how does The Pokey Little Puppy have more pages than this?!), and the shortest novelish book is Madeline!

10. The longest book you’ve ever read?
      I disregarded the Sherlock Holmes anthology, so that leaves me with The Count of Monte Cristo at 1276 pages!

11. Your most memorable character so far?
     Let's just stick with books I've read this year, in which case I'd have to go with Locke Lamora from Scott Lynch's Gentleman Bastard series.

Karina @ Whatcha Readin

 1. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why?
    God that's hard!  There are so many places I want to go!  Off the top of my head I'd love to go on the trip my grandmother just took through Vietnam, Laos, Thailand...basically all of Southeast Asia haha

2.  What supernatural creature would you be? Werewolf, vampire, witch, shapeshifter, etc. Why?
     Definitely a shapeshifter. But like an Animorphs one, not one that's stuck only turning into one thing.  (Unless it was something crazy awesome like a dragon. Go read Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. Holy shit guys...she published her first book at age 14.  WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?!).  

3.  If you could be a character in a book, who would you be and why?
    Probably Hermione.  I have an unhealthy obsession with how amazing she is at everything.  Plus she lives in the Hogwarts universe and has awesome besties.  Who wouldn't want to be her?
4.  Why did you choose to start blogging? 
    See Mitchii's 3#

5. Who's your favorite author? Why?
     ONE author?!  Off the top of my head (and keeping in mind I really do have like a billion favourite authors)...I'd probably have to go with Tamora Pierce, which should surprise none of you haha. If you want to know why, read ANY of my posts on her (of which there are many, but I'd recommend this one as what makes Tamora Pierce unique and awesome).

6. If you could control an element, which would you want to have? Water, fire, earth, air, electricity?
    Water bending is CLEARLY the best.  It's so pretty! (And powerful).

7. If there was an apocalypse and you could only keep 5 books, which would you choose? 
   Ok...first five books I think of...quick go!
1. Abarat
2. The Woman Who Rides Like a Man
3. Pride & Prejudice
4. Finding Cassie Crazy
5. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

8. What is something you can't live without? (Besides blogging and books)

9. What is a book you are dying to read for 2014?
     HEIR OF FIRE!!!!!

10. If you could enter a book world, what book world would it be? Why?
     The obvious choice is Hogwarts.  So just assuming that EVERYONE would pick that one (and really...who wouldn't?) I'd actually have to pick the setting of Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series.  I mean you get the absurdity of Douglas Adams and you get to meet (and potentially arrest or be killed by) literary characters!

Liebster Award (part 1)

So I have been a super lazy pants and have been nominated for the Liebster award...but then I kept not doing a post so now I've been nominated 4 times!  Since this has made the post super lengthy now, I've decided to split it into three parts - the first part with both the 11 questions for me and the 11 questions I have for my nominated bloggers, as well as the list of nominated bloggers.  The second post will have interview questions from two of the bloggers who nominated me, and the third post will wrap up with interview questions from the other two bloggers who nominated me.  Thanks again to everyone who nominated me! I feel quite honoured :)

The rules:

   1.  List 11 Facts about yourself. 
   2.  Answer the 11 questions put forward by whoever nominated you. 
   3.  Ask 11 new questions to 5+ bloggers. They must have less than 200 followers on Bloglovin' (or their preferred method). You cannot re-nominate the blog that nominated you
   4.  Go to their blog and inform them that they have been nominated!

11 Facts About Myself

1.  I've been playing the oboe for over half of my life now.

2.  My grandmother's christening present for me was a cow skull named Lulu who has now traveled across many states (and probably countries, I can't remember where she is from originally)

3.  As of two years ago I have officially been to all 50 states.

4.  My family goes on this crazy awesome camping trip every year and it is by far my favourite event of the whole year.  It trumps Christmas and my birthday combined!  Last year I camped so close to the water that if I had been any closer I would have been swept out to sea haha.

5.  I've been to 4 of the 7 continents, and I really want to travel to 6 of them at some point. (I like the idea of going to 7...but Antarctica?! It's so cold!! My grandmother loved it though, so maybe one day I'll make it happen)

6.  I have a Siamese cat named Lily who lives with me, but I also have an 18 year-old orange tomcat named Murphy who lives with my mom.  In addition we have Tristan, a tuxedo cat, Toby a 12 year old Yorkie, and Posey, a papillon (who is super adorable and my mom's favourite anything ever haha).  So basically I'm definitely an animal person.

7.  If you couldn't tell I have the travel bug :) If I haven't gone anywhere in a few months I get really antsy and cranky, so I at least try to get out of the city when I can. (Luckily my family lives everywhere, so I know I'll get to travel to see them :D)

(and these are just the paintings in my room!)

8.  I buy some form of art almost everywhere I've ever traveled.  Which is awesome until you realize how little room you have for it all!

9.  I have always wanted a ferret.

10.  I used to dance (ballet, modern, and jazz although I didn't like jazz all that much) and I was on a swim team for most of my life (I'm a backstroker!)

11.  I have been dating my current boyfriend for almost six entire years!  It's crazy.  I know.

11 Questions for my nominees

1. How did you come up with your blog name?
2. What/who are your three favourite bands/artists/composers?3. What is something on your bucket list?
4. Who's your celebrity crush?
5. Book boyfriend?
6. Favourite color, number, word, and animal?
7. What movie, tv show, and book/comic/manga are you most looking forward to in 2014?
8. Who would you consider your role model? (It can be a real life person or not)
9. Who would be your bookish bestie?
10. Top 5 tv shows? (Or movies) 
11. If you could meet one person - (character, historical, celebrity, someone in your past - anyone!) who would it be and why?

My nominees

1. Wattle @ Whimsical Nature 
2. Wandering Meander
3. Sandra @ Tea Between Books
4. Michelle @ Book Hangovers Blabs Books
5. Stephanie @ Don't Be Afraid of the Dork
6. All the girls @ Mad But Magic
7. Lindsey @ Literary Lindsey
8. Kellee and Ricki @ Unleashing Readers
9. Lianne @ Caffeinated Life

Go check all these ladies out - every single one of their blogs is really great!  They range from fantasy to contemporary to history, young adult to children to adult - between the nine of them, they've got everything covered :)