my life in books tag

Snatching this from Naomi’s lovely blog, Wonderland Creek.

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Find a book for each of your initials.

E – Emma by Jane Austen
J – Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
R – Rilla of Ingleside by Lucy Maud Montgomery
S – The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy

Count your age along your bookshelf.  What book is it?

Macbeth by William Shakespeare.  Used to be my favorite of the Bard’s plays, but has recently been overturned by Hamlet.

Pick a book set in your country.

There are many to chose from, since I live in Canada and have several of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s books, but I’ll go with The Blue Castle.  I love it so much.

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Pick a book that represents a destination you’d love to travel to.

The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan, because it’s a goal of mine to someday visit each of the five D-Day beaches.

Pick a book that is your favorite color.

There’s not many purple books on my shelf, but I’ll go with my copy of Sense & Sensibility (by Jane Austen, of course).  The book’s cover isn’t purple, but the spine is and that counts.

Which book do you have fondest memories of?

My copy of Cloaked (by Rachel Kovaciny) brings back a lot of good memories – reading drafts and giving my thoughts and, of course, my time with her and my time in America in general.

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Which book did you have the most difficulty reading?

Usually, I don’t keep books on my shelf that gave me a difficult time of reading, but I admit that Code Name Verity (by Elizabeth Wein) was a hard, confusing slog the first time I read it.  It’s improved on me, though, so I still have my copy.

Which book on your TBR pile will give you the biggest accomplishment when you finish it?

The Second World War by Antony Beevor is huge and looks amazing and I’m sure I’ll feel very proud, accomplished, and knowledgeable about WWII when I get around to reading it.

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This was such fun!  I hereby tag anyone who’s read any of the books mentioned in this tag. 🙂

Eva]

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a literary christmas challenge 2017

A Literary Christmas: 2017 Reading Challenge // inthebookcase.blogspot.com 

In The Bookcase is hosting a Literary Christmas Challenge this year and I’m pretty excited about it.  Over the years, I’ve made it a point to read appropriately Christmas-y books in December, but I like the more structured feel this challenge has already given me.  Plus, this is the first year that my family and I are celebrating Christmas for real, so I feel like things should be a little different.

Anyway, here’s the list of books I’ll be reading/reviewing in the month of December. (I have to finish The Candymakers right now, so that’s why I’m waiting even though the challenge started on November 18th.)

~A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (duh)

~The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

~Christmas in the Crosshairs by Gerry Bowler

~A War of Gifts: An Ender Story by Orson Scott Card

~Dear Enemy by Jack Cavanaugh (not strictly a Christmas book, but it takes place around Christmas time and two of the characters’ celebration of the holiday is beautiful)

I might end up reading other Christmas books, too, but those are the ‘official’ ones.  What books are you planning to read this holiday season?

Eva

the disney princess book tag

Hamlette graciously tagged me with this tag – otherwise, I’d have totally stolen it.  I mean, Disney + books?  Works for me!  And I’m just going to say right now that I tag anyone and everyone reading this post who wants to participate.  Go have lots of fun. 🙂 (After reading my post, that is. *wink*)

1. Snow White – Name your favorite classic

Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell.  There are so many outstanding classic works that I hold dear to my heart, but since GWTW is my second favorite book of all time, I kinda had to pick it.  And it truly is an amazing classic.

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2. Cinderella – Name a book that kept you reading well past your bedtime

The Scarlet Pimpernel and El Dorado by Baroness Orczy.  I say both of them because when I finished reading TSP for the first time, it was already quite late, but I dove into ED right away because I wanted to stay with the characters and story world longer.  I stayed up ’til past three in the morning, as it turned out.

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3. Aurora – Name your favorite classic romance

Emma by Jane Austen. *swoons*  Emma and Mr. Knightley’s relationship began as friendship, which has always been my ideal.  And the way Emma grows and Mr. Knightley guides her and helps her, all the while falling in love with her…it always makes me happy.

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4. Ariel – Name a book that’s about making sacrifices and fighting for your dreams

The Candymakers by Wendy Mass.  Okay, first of all, do not get me started on this book, because I will not shut up.  I think it’s about as close to perfection as a middle-grade book can get.  All the characters in here fight for their dreams in one way or another – for the competition, definitely (except Daisy?), but also in their own personal lives.  And the sacrifices made at the end of the book…well, I might just cry.

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5. Belle – Name a book with a smart and independent female character

The Cherokee Trail by Louis L’Amour.  Mary Breydon is one of the very best female protagonists I’ve ever come across.  In the wake of her husband’s death, she travels on to the stagecoach station he had agreed to run and fights off all sorts of unsavoury types as she makes a life and a name for herself on the frontier.  So great.

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6. Jasmine – Name a book with a character who challenged the social conventions of his or her world

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.  So many of the characters in this book challenge the conventions and ideas held by Nazi Germany.  The Hubermanns and Liesel hide a Jew in their house after all.  Liesel becomes friends with Max and she and Rudy give bread to starving Jews and their courage is incredibly inspiring.

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7. Pocahontas – Name a book with an ending that was a roller-coaster of emotions

Above All Earthly Powers by Jack Cavanaugh.  Pretty much everyone survives, but Jack Cavanaugh doesn’t wrap everything up with a neat little bow, which always leaves a bittersweet ache in my heart.  It was one of the first books I read where not all the ‘good’ characters are totally happy by the end and that’s stuck with me.

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8. Mulan – Name a book with a kick-youknowwhat female character

The Uglies series by Scott Westerfield.  Tally Youngblood is a great female character.  She doesn’t have all the answers, but she’s willing to fight to find them.  And she’s a great ‘action girl’.  However, it wasn’t until I read Extras that I realized just how amazing, ferocious, and wonderful she is – the main character in that book was horrid, so she provided a nice foil for Tally.

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9. Tiana – Name a book featuring a hardworking, self-made character

The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer.  And all the other books in the series.  Enola works hard to solve her cases and she is very, very much self-made, though probably not in the way the tag creator meant.

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10. Rapunzel – Name a book that features an artist

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.  In the second book in the trilogy, Peeta really comes into his own as an artist, since being a victor means that he has to have a talent…and that talent is painting.  From what Collins describes, Peeta’s paintings are truly breathtaking (in a slightly scary way) and he also taps into his artist’s side to comfort the dying morphling.

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11. Merida – Name a book that features a mother-daughter relationship

Eve’s Daughters by Lynn Austin.  My sister and I are kinda obsessed with this book, and as the title hints, it includes several good (and not so good) mother-daughter relationships.  My favorite is the one between Emma and Grace.  Emma loves her daughter with everything in her and goes to great lengths to make sure that Grace has a sheltered, happy childhood even in the middle of the Great Depression.

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12. Anna and Elsa – Name a book that features a great relationship between sibling

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton.  Just thinking about Darry, Soda, and Ponyboy makes me grin.  They might not always agree – what siblings do? – but they’re always, always there for each other.  I feel like Hinton did a very good job of portraying accurately the complicated relationships that siblings can have with each other.  And I love her image of Soda being the person pulling the whole family together. ❤

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13. Moana – Name a book where the main character travels a great distance (note: Moana was not included in the original tag.  This category is my own addition.)

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.  From the earth to the stars and all that. 🙂

What did you think of my answers?  If you do the tag on your blog, please share a link in the comments – I’d love it read your answers!

Eva

the finally fall book tag

Stolen Borrowed from Hamlette at The Edge of the Precipice. 🙂

1. In fall, the air is crisp and clear: name a book with a vivid setting.

Nick of Time by Ted Bell.  It’s been over four years since I last read it, but I still remember the cramped submarine, the English beach, the dim tavern.  Vivid, indeed.

2. Nature is beautiful… but also dying: name a book that is beautifully written, but also deals with a heavy topic like loss or grief.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, hands down.  Not all people would consider it beautifully written, just weirdly written, but it is gorgeous.  Unexpected and unique and gorgeous.  It deals with death and WWII and the Holocaust and definitely grief as well.  But in between the tears, there are flickers of hope.

3. Fall is back to school season: share a non-fiction book that taught you something new.

Mrs. Kennedy and Me by Clint Hill opened my eyes to the fabulous, tumultuous lives of the Kennedy family and also sparked my interest in them, an interest that continues to this day.

4. In order to keep warm, it’s good to spend some time with the people we love: name a fictional family/household/friend-group that you’d like to be a part of.

I am going to copy Hamlette and say the Curtis brothers + their friends from S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders.  Though I would never write a self-insert fanfiction with myself as the Curtis’ sister, I would love to be part of their family.  My activities would mostly involve eating wayyyy too much chocolate cake and hugging Johnny a lot.

5. The colorful leaves are piling up on the ground: show us a pile of fall-colored spines!

Alas, all my books are packed up in preparation for our move to Edmonton.  I would love to do this, though. 😦  Maybe once we’ve moved, I’ll take a picture and come back to this post to add it.  In fact, I will do that.  Promise.

6. Fall is the perfect time for some storytelling by the fireside: share a book wherein somebody is telling a story.

Dear Enemy by Jack Cavanaugh.  A superb WWII novel in which a bride tells her bridesmaid (or is it her maid of honour?) all about her adventures and trials in the Ardennes Forest during the Battle of the Bulge.

7. The nights are getting darker: share a dark, creepy read.

I don’t read creepy books.  Macbeth was quite dark, though, and The Maze Runner by James Dashner did scare me a little.

8. The days are getting colder: name a short, heartwarming read that could warm up somebody’s cold and rainy day.

The Catch Colt by Mary O’Hara or The Candymakers by Wendy Mass.  The first is a short, darling, happy western.  The second is a middle-grade novel that will make you crave chocolate pizza.  And I just found out there’s a sequel, which makes me so happy.

9. Fall returns every year: name an old favorite that you’d like to return to soon.

Emma by Jane Austen.  It’s been a while.  And The Outsiders.

10. Fall is the perfect time for cozy reading nights: share your favorite cozy reading “accessories”!

Eh.  I read whenever, wherever, dressed in whatever.  I do have a ginormous red hoodie, inherited from my dad, that I love to curl up in. ❤

If the last book you read had an awesome character in it, you are hereby tagged!

Eva

a tour of my bookshelves

Before I start this post, I have to say that I’m not a very good photographer and I’ve never done a bookshelf tour before, so it might get a little messy/disorganized.  But I love my bookshelves and I hope that by the end of this post, you’ll ‘get’ them as well.

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Bookshelf #1 – Nonfiction

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Bookshelf #2 – Fiction

I rearrange my books semi-frequently, but I try to keep them topically grouped.  Right now, I’ve got one shelf for fiction and one shelf for non-fiction and it’s worked out quite well so far.  I’ve tried arranging my books by color before, but I hate how all the different genres get jumbled up.  Basically, I try to keep the same genres, authors, and topics together.

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Above, you’ll see all my WWI and WWII books (well, the WWI books are hidden behind that really big book on the far left, but they are there).  I usually try to put these books in semi-chronological order (#historygeek).  I didn’t do it this time (you’ll notice that all my Cornelius Ryan books are together), but it is a neat way to organize history books.

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Up next are the biographies (Unbroken is on the shelf below – that’s because I’m reading it right now).  They segue nicely into my movie books (because I’ve got biographies of actors and actresses – two of Audrey Hepburn!).  There’s also a few literary-themed books at the very end.

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Continuing with the ‘books about books’, there are some good ones about Shakespeare, Harper Lee, and Lucy Maud Montgomery.  Then a small section for Random History Books, followed by western nonfiction, and then Christian nonfiction. ❤

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The last shelf on Bookshelf #1 (at least the last that I own) is filled with mostly random stuff as well as the tail end of my nonfiction collection.  Not much to see, really.

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Moving on to Bookshelf #2, we find my Jane Austen collection, along with many, many other classics (including Brick Shakespeare – The Comedies ;)).  I finally trashed my copy of Jo’s Boys, even though it broke up my Little Women series.  I’m really rather proud of my copy of Little Women.  It’s an Easton Press edition that normally costs close to sixty-five dollars…but I bought it at a thrift store for three or four.  It’s beautiful.

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More classics, and then children’s books and middle-grade books (some of which are classics).

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After finishing out the middle-grade section with books 1-4 of the Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins, this shelf moves into YA territory.  I have quite a few ‘mainstream’ titles, but I also have Violins of Autumn by Amy MacAuley and That Was Then, This Is Now by S.E. Hinton, neither of which are all that common (I think).

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My westerns!  And all my Christian fiction!  This is one of my favorite shelves. 🙂

And there you have it.  I briefly considered including my DVD shelf in this post, but this is about books, so I decided not to.  I hope you enjoyed this little peek into my life as an avid bookworm + my way of arranging things.

What do your bookshelves look like?

Eva

my top ten favorite villains

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Some villains.

Villains.  You’ve gotta hate them.  They’re sneaky, evil, horrid, clever, seemingly invincible (at times), hateful, manipulative, and just downright bad.  Still, there’s a certain fascination that hangs around many villains.  We might be rooting for the hero (at least, I hope we are!) but sometimes the baddies can be so smart, funny, and (in some cases) attractive, that we kind of hope that they get away in the end – or that they turn good (a villain/antagonist turned good guy is amazing, IMO).

Anyway, this is my list of my top ten favorite villains.  It’s not comprehensive, it’s a strictly personal list, but I had fun with it.  There’s five male and five female bad guys/girls because I like making things even.

// Ben Wade – ‘3:10 to Yuma’ //

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I wrote an entire post rhapsodizing about why this guy is my favorite villain of all time and having recently re-watched + loved ‘3:10’, I see no reason to change my opinion.  Just check out my post; it’ll be much more eloquent than anything I could scribble down here.

// Mother Gothel – ‘Tangled’ //

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Manipulative.  That’s the best word to describe Mother Gothel.  Over the past seven years since ‘Tangled’ was released in theaters (has it really been that long?) people have debated over whether or not Gothel actually loved Rapunzel somewhat or was simply using her all along.  I think the answer’s pretty obvious.  As soon as Rapunzel told Mother Gothel that she would never let her hair be exploited again, any pretense of affection on Mother Gothel’s part instantly vanished.  She’s a horrible woman…but a great villainess.

// Jim Moriarty – ‘Sherlock’ //

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Every girl who watches ‘Sherlock’ ends up falling for Moriarty sooner or later.  It’s a basic fact of life.  I think as soon as he showed up in ‘The Great Game’ (as himself, that is, not “Jim from work”) I became fascinated with him in that “you’re a despicable person, but still insanely clever/attractive” way.  It’s really weird. (I was so disappointed when BBC did the bait-and-switch thing in the very last episode with the flashback.  Even after Sherlock concludes Moriarty’s dead, you always wonder.)  His dedication to defeating Sherlock is a bit crazy – I mean, he commits suicide to gain the upper hand.  That is a serious super villain move.

// Solovet – Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins //

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If/when ‘they’ make a movie of the Underland Chronicles, Cate Blanchett NEEDS to play Solovet.

Worst mom of the century award goes to Solovet.  Easily.  She locks Hamnet away without light, without human contact, for a month and then expects him to still be her loyal little son?  Who does that? (I’m writing some fanfiction right now surrounding those events, so I’m more triggered about it than usual.)  I will say, however, that Solovet is the least villainous person on this list.  She’s more of an antagonist than a villain and I still do feel a little sad when she gets sacrificed for TGG (the greater good) near the end of the series.

// Zemo – ‘Captain America: Civil War’ //

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Um…I mostly included Zemo because he has a Tragic Backstory and he’s *cough* rather handsome and I’m rather tired of monstrous comic book villains.  Zemo’s normal compared to a bunch of Marvel and DC villains.  But I don’t particularly think he’s an epic villain, per se. (Though I will defend the brilliance of his plan.  Complexity of that sort amazes me.)

// Queen Levana – Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer //

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The Lunar gift is both fascinating and terrifying.  Can you imagine what the world would be like if people actually had that kind of power?  Levana is a master at manipulating bioelectricity, which makes her frightening and unpredictable.  She, too, has the typical Tragic Backstory but she’s also just plain evil and a little unhinged as well (that always helps).  Even when I read Fairest, which is Levana’s story, it didn’t really make me sympathize with her (though it was written from her POV) because she is so weird/creepy/heartless.

// Scarecrow – the Dark Knight trilogy //

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Speaking of weird and creepy…there’s plenty of weirdness and creepiness going on in Gotham and a lot of that is connected with Arkham Asylum and Jonathon Crane, AKA Scarecrow.  To be honest, my interest in Scarecrow may have more to do with the fact that I really, really like Cillian Murphy than any of Crane’s sterling qualities (I’M KIDDING), but there’s also something of a villain crush going on there as well.  One thing I find interesting in ‘Batman Begins’ is the power struggle.  Falcone thinks he’s so powerful and everything, but then he gets taken down by Crane who acts so superior and then R’as al Ghul sweeps into Gotham and takes over everything.  That being said, I put Scarecrow on the list (as opposed to R’as) because I find Scarecrow more interesting.

// Lina – ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ //

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One word that sums up Lina?  Nasty.  Or, rather, nastiness personified.  She’s deceived herself into believing that she and Don will eventually be together as a couple, so she gets Kathy fired and throws temper tantrums whenever she’s contradicted, and generally makes an idiot of herself.  She’s definitely one of those ‘love to hate’ villains and her downfall is exquisitely perfect.

// Ratigan – ‘The Great Mouse Detective’ //

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Look at that – another Sherlockian baddie!  Ratigan was my number one villain for the longest time and he’s still really high up on my list (just not on this list, ’cause I didn’t really rank anyone here except for my real number one).  One reason for Ratigan’s awesomeness is the fact that he gets TWO villain songs (I know I’ve said that before, but I still find it really, really cool).  He’s the perfect opponent and foil for Basil (in a similar way to how Moriarty and Sherlock are so evenly matched) and Vincent Price’s voice acting is a real treat.

// The Wicked Stepmother – ‘Cinderella’ //

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What is it with stepmothers being so evil?  Lady Tremaine is pretty much the epitome of evil stepmothers and Cate Blanchett brought her to life with biting accuracy. *shivers*

Do you spot any evil favorites on this list?  Who are some of your favorite villains?

Eva

book review: cloaked

36169102.jpgShe never imagined she’d need to flee for her life.

Mary Rose feels uneasy around Mr. Linden from the moment she meets him on the stagecoach ride to her grandmother’s ranch in Wyoming Territory. But he works for her grandmother, so that means he’s trustworthy, doesn’t it? Everyone else seems to view him as honest and respectable, and Mary Rose wonders if she’s overreacting.

She tries to ignore her suspicions until one night, she discovers his real reason for being at the ranch. Now, if she’s going to save her grandmother — and herself — she’s going to need to run faster than she’s ever run before.

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I read Cloaked in one day. It wasn’t hard because the book is shorter than a regular novel and I’m a fast reader, but that wasn’t the only reason I finished it so quickly. The story moved along so well and the characters were so engaging that I had a hard time putting my Kindle down (except once, where I’d been reading for almost three solid hours and my brain was overloaded).

Having recently finished reading the Lunar Chronicles, I was totally in the mood for another fairy tale retelling, and Rachel Kovaciny more than delivered. There were many hints of the original Red Riding Hood story throughout – mainly Mary Rose’s grandmother, Mary Rose’s red cloak, and Hauer’s trade. But Cloaked is very much its own story. Westerns are my favorite genre and this was such a quiet, heartwarming one (though not without its moments of high action – particularly the finale).

My favorite part of Cloaked was easily the characters. Mary Rose was a fine protagonist, very new to the West and the way of life there – it was neat seeing the West through her eyes, as opposed to most western stories I’ve read where the main character has lived there their entire life. Mary Rose was courageous and smart and very much sixteen without being annoyingly so. Her grandmother was a bit hard to ‘read’ at first, but I grew to like her too. The villain is a creep’s creep. Hauer is a dear (and the fact that he’s half-Cherokee made me like him even more and added some great tension to the story).

Overall, a sweet, clean, relationship-centric western that I would recommend to any and all fans of the genre.

I received an ARC copy in exchange for a honest review. All opinions are my own.

Eva