Archive | March 2013

Gardens, Secret, Forgotten and otherwise

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I had not read any of the accolades  on this book before reading it. I picked it up because it intrigued me, quietly and simply.

I didn’t expect to be so immersed, or for it to bring up so much of The Secret Garden (by Frances Hodgson Burnett). Frances Hodgson Burnett is largely responsible for me wanting to learn how to craft a story. But more than that, to craft a story that people can fall into, fall in love with, and never want to leave.

I’m still reading her books, all these years later. They still resonate, still inspire me.

And apparently Kate Morton feels the same way about Frances. Because not only does The Forgotten Garden takes The Secret Garden, grows it up and deepens it. She adds a family history, takes the male cousin and makes it another female, shakes and stirs and just adds so much to the tradition it humbles me.

I really wish I could write like this.

But I am so glad that someone out there does, in fact, write for girls like me. Girls who want to go beyond the Secret Garden and find out the mystery of life.

Oh, and to add Burnett as a character in the novel? Near where the secret garden and the maze was?

Priceless!

 

 

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Forgotten Queen

The latest book about the Tudor’s to be devoured by me was The Forgotten Queen, by D.L. Bogdan (Kenisington Books). And the title is actually befitting, because she has for the most part been… well, forgotten. As was her older brother Arthur.

Not. A. Clue.

If I had ever known that Henry VIII had an older brother (let alone sisters!), it flew out of my head trying to remember all the wives he had!

Most of the annoying bits in this can be attributed to the main character’s age. She is incredibly young. While Princes are trained to run a kingdom, a princess is trained to be a wife. What then, when her foolish husband goes off and gets himself killed, leaving her regent of an infant king?

From this point on, Margaret’s decisions become… questionable. Yet she deals with them. Perhaps not in the way you and I would, but in the only way she seems to know how. The only way afforded to women in that era.

This one gets 3/5 stars. While it was a solid read, I’m not sure i have the stamina to read her story again. It’s a great ride, and as I don’t remember her except from what I read in this novel, the take on England and Scotland and their relations was fresh.

Ta my lovelies— I’m off to read some books I got from my Barnes and Nobles birthday trip. I’m not sure when I’ll be back on, but by Monday, definately!

Henry V

I’ve been thinking about the writers and books that have inspired me. One of the ones that hits me every single time I read it is Henry V, by none other than Shakespeare. And yes, I know it’s a play and not a novel, but once you’re reading it… The words and drama take over and transport you.

Hamlet was a pretty play, so are the comedies. I love seeing the different version of them. But nothing resonates as deeply as Hal’s giant leap into majesty, and the war speeches that come after.

Yes, I said war speeches.

The first time I saw Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, I gasped. That one speech, at the end of the movie, when he’s sure that everyone is going to die but they need to fight anyways and Aaragon (I think that was his name) gets them to do it willingly? To buy a couple of hobbits a few moments to hopefully complete the mission?

Yah. I thought “Shakespeare.”

Henry V did battle with France and was grossly out numbered. The numbers go something like: English Men: 6,000. French Men: 30,000-60,000 (depending on which source you use for historical –i.e. real– numbers).Think about it. 

What kind of genius was he to turn around what should have been a stomping? The French had armor, but not the English. Did you know that if you knock someone over in armor and they land on their back they can’t get up? And if they fall forward into mud (and it was a muddy, dirty battlefield), they’d drown to death? Yup. Armor looks pretty, but has some pretty atrocious drawbacks to it.

But tactics alone couldn’t make scared men and boys follow you into certain death. No, in Shakespeare’s Henry V, it is the Eve of St Crispian’s Day Speech that’s gets them all going. . Google it, or look it up on You Tube. You can find it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-yZNMWFqvM  (not sure how to do links, but I’m trying!)

As an epic fantasy reader I see shades of this character all over. Not all live up to it, but oh when they do…

It truly is magical.

 

Beautiful Creatures

Beautiful Creatures, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. Published by Little Brown (mass market paperback edition).

 

So I saw the ads for the movie, Beautiful Creatures, and thought to myself… You gotta read that book. Because so many times the books out strip the movie. Now, I probably did realize that the protagonists would be teenagers… I just didn’t think too much about it. Because, you know, it happens all the time in fantasy novels.

However, this novel takes place in the here and now. So, there was a bunch of high school shenaningans, along with everything else.

Beautiful Creatures starts out differently than I imagined. Why? Because the whole story is told in first person from the point of view of Ethan. I have never, that I recall, read a book of the romantic type from the male’s perspective. It makes sense from a dramatic point of view— he’s the one with the most to lose. He’s in way over his head, and quite frankly as new to the world of his new girlfriend as we the reader are.

One thing about the world building that I just adored: the house. OMG. It was the perfect compliment to this strange, weird, beautiful family. Constantly changing, rearranging, anticipating every need. I want that house. I want it bad! If you want to know how to make something that is absurdly, wonderfully magical in a story, this is the way to do it. Yah, the house can change, from a grand ballroom to a castle to what ever is needed… But in the end, the house is the least of the magic being slung around. It should be an all powerful fortress from which to hide… but it’s  not.

I also liked how they did the villaness. She beats Cruella DeVille, hands down. Not only that, but the way the authors explain where she’s been hiding— perfect sense, with out me having a clue that it was going to come to that. Ohhh.. it was good. And no, I won’t tell you, or tell you who it is for fear that I’ll spoil some of the suprise for you as well.

One little matter on this book. It is a big book. 563 story pages, according to the pagination. I’m not telling you this because I’m afraid of big books, or becaues I think you might be. I’m telling you this because the version I picked up (movie tie in) has the yucky binding. What that means is that not only did the spine crack, but that the book separated in half. Almost straght down the middle. Pretty soon pages are going to start to fall out. This is a concern to me mainly because I reread so very often. I have books longer than this one that I’ve read several times… Spines and binding still intact. So. If you think you might want to reread this type of book, I highly recommend either getting the Nook or Kindle version, or going one step up and getting a trade paperback (the larger ones that run about $13-15).

 

I’ve recently started reading more Tudor novels. I really like the time period– the politics are viscious and the women have to be wily to survive. I’ll tell you more during the week. Or, we can go the cozy mystery route. I’ve gotten back into being ecclectic. Oh, well, that’s the Wonderful World of Wyn.

 

Hello again…

 

 

First off, I need to apologize. I have been a bad blogger. I should have been over here beating the drum for my blog post over at the Mocha Memoirs blog (but I will be on there every month on the 10th! check it out!).

Things happen.

One of those things was a co-worked who became gravely ill while at work. Our thoughts and prayers are with him, and I hope he makes a full recovery. It might be a long road, though.

Saturday, Linda took Ray and I to the snow. I hung out, watched Ray playing in it. Watched Teagon throw a fit when people were paying attention. But I also just soaked it in. I haven’t been in the snow, not like this, since I was a preteen maybe?

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These two remind me of a Robert Frost poem. Can you believe this was taken in California in March? Crazy!

 

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My son, I couldn’t see it at the time… but apparently he was makeing a snow teddy bear!

 

Of course he had a blast, and it was so awe inspiring to see him experience it for the first time. He was soaked by the time we left. I was kind of worried because of the Dyspraxia– his motor skills and right and left are a little off. However, he took to sledding like a pro. He got one push off, and he was off! By the time we left, he was falling almost every other step. At that point, his brain needs a break as well as his body.

Sunday he had a fever of 102.9 He apparently brought the stomache flu home from school. Great. Today, Tuesday, he’s feeling much better. Fever broke sometime yesterday, and today he’s been full of wanting to play play play.

Yay!

I did read Beautiful Creatures while on sick child duty— they do sleep alot hehehe. So I will be back probably Thursday with a review on that.

Oh. And go over to the Mocha Memoirs Press blog (i even linked it very nicely for you over there on the side) and check out the outher awesome writers who are going to be blogging on a monthly basis.

Hopefully, things will settle back down. Work of course is stressful, but I’ve always been really good at leaving work at work. The worry for the co-worker doesn’t count, though, and he prognosis is optimistic.

Of course, what else could a Polly Anna say? But it is cautiously optimistic.

And that’s a good thing.

 

I think I’m going to go hug my son. See you all on Thursday. Have any of you read Beautiful Creatures yet ?Have to say, was not what I was expecting at all!

 

And Hera Laughed

So I have this story that’s been perking in me… and I started it. Stopped it. Started again… Put it down. It’s been this way for a while.

And then I stuck my heroine on a lonely road in the middle of no where with a small child in the car, and something amazing happened.

It snapped into a different story.

Originally, it was going to be a grown up riff off of “The Secret Garden”. I love that book. Farnces Hodgson Burnette is one of the reasons why I longed to enter the world of books and live there.

And then Hera Laughed.

Yes, that Hera. Apparently, the cast of one woman and her child adrift in the world wasn’t enough. Oh no, I am going to have all of  Mount Olympus in the mix. Especially Hera and Zuess.

And no, he’s not like that anymore. Or at least with this heroine.

SO. I went to the book store yesterday and told them I needed “Bullfinche’s”. The lady looked at me and nodded, asked me to follow her. Once we got to the section, she told me very softly that sometimes they didn’t have it because they’d sell their only copy…

“It’s ok,” I told her. “I just need a reference on mythology.”

It really isn’t ok, though. Cuz you know, it’s BULLFINCH’S. Do you know Bullfinch’s? It’s only the bestest book on mythology EVER. I picked it up and read one of the many sections on folklore, Pyramus and Thisbe, and was reminded yet again…

That Shakespear was a theif.

hehehehehehehehe….

I love Shakespear. Don’t get all mad because of the above sentence, either. Even Bullfinch says that there is a play based on the above mentioned fable. If you want to know which one… Go buy Bullfinche’s Mythology by Thomas Bullfinch.

The research for this new story is going to be sooo much fun!