Reading Habits Tag

I’ve read a bunch of reading habits tags and thought they were really fun so I decided to try one for myself. This one was created by TheBookJazz and you can find the video here.

Reading Habits

  1. Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

I think outside on the deck, there’s nothing better than sitting in the sun with my fingers curled around a book. If it’s not nice weather though, I like to snuggle on the couch with a soft blanket. So nothing super specific, as long I’m comfortable and warm.   

  1. Bookmark or random piece of paper?

Umm… Neither… Ya, I know bad right? But for some reason, I always lose my bookmark or forget to actually put it where I stop, I guess I’m just not a bookmark person. I do occasionally get annoyed because I’m having a hard time finding where I stopped, but apparently not enough to actually use a bookmark.

  1. Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/ a certain amount of pages?

I can stop anywhere, except for at a cliffhanger. A lot of chapters end with cliffhangers so it’s impossible to stop there. Thus it usually ends up being a boring middle part of the chapter.

  1. Do you eat or drink while reading?

Okay, wait a minute. Isn’t that a given? Tea/coffee + reading = complete bliss. I loooove my tea and coffee with reading (or writing), they just seem inexplicably entwined. Sometimes I eat, but that’s only when the book has me so captivated that I can’t take time away from it to eat my breakfast or dinner. Which I’m sure many of us have done 😉

  1. Multitasking: Music or TV while reading?

Sometimes music, but not usually. Reading is actually one of the only things I find difficult to do while there is music playing. I can write, draw, bake, workout, clean, etc., while there is music playing, but reading… Not so much.

And TV… No, not at all. I can’t pay attention to two stories at once. When I read, I want to read with my entire mind, not only half of it because that kind of defeats the purpose, right?

  1. One book at a time or several at once?

Just one. But that’s mostly because once I start reading a book I can’t stop and I finish within a few days. Besides if I read more than one at once, then I liable to get the storylines mixed up. Plus I like focusing on one at time so I don’t have so many different stories running through my head. Simply my own stories rattling around in my brain is enough to drive a girl crazy.

  1. Reading at home or everywhere?

If a book is calling my name it doesn’t matter where I am, I have to read it. The only exceptions are really busy places where there are a lot of noises or people. Especially if there are a lot of people, I find myself constantly watching them (I know that sounds creepy, but I don’t mean it in a creepy way), I just wonder what their stories are – where they’re from and where they’re going. Please, don’t say I’m the only one who does that.

  1. Reading out loud or silently in your head?

Silently. Reading out loud seems to take so long and even if I try, I can’t do all the voices quite like I can do them in my head. I mean, come on, the voices sound amazing in your head, right? Plus, if I read out loud, people would think, “Who’s that crazy girl over there talking to herself.”

  1. Do you read ahead or even skip pages?

Umm… I will confess, I have read ahead a few times. I know, I know, how could I do such a thing? Awful of me isn’t it? But in my defense, I haven’t done it in a long time. Now, I have a rule that I suppose is more of a guideline, that says that I will never experience the full impact of the ending if I skip ahead, the emotions won’t be the same, the relationship I have with the characters won’t be as strong.

  1. Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?

I try to keep it new, but the key word is try. I drag my books with me everywhere so although I attempt to prevent it, there are at times casualties.  

  1. Do you write in your books?

Never! That would be sacrilege. If there’s a quote I really like, then I’ll write it down in my notebook, but I won’t mark up the beautiful pages of a book.

Now I have to mention, though, textbooks are an entirely different story. At times it is crucial to write in textbooks, to underline and highlight important information.

Readabits

  1. When do you find yourself reading? Morning, afternoon, evening, whenever you get the chance or all the time?

Whenever I get the chance! Which, now that school has started, I am forced to read in class is not that often, but I try really hard to always have a book around so that just in case my teachers don’t drown me in homework, I’ll have something nearby to read.

  1. What is your best setting to read in?

Sun. Lawnchair. Tanktop. An open view (like a cornfield). Birds singing. Trees rustling faintly in the breeze.

Or….

Cup of tea/coffee. Warm blanket. Soft couch. Comfy clothes. Smell of a lavender or vanilla candle.

  1. What do you do first – Read or Watch?

I try to read first because TBH, the book is usually better than the movie and I don’t want the adventure of reading the book to be ruined.

  1. What form do you prefer? Audiobook, E-book or physical book?

The physical book! But… I don’t mind audiobooks, although it depends on the book and as much as I hate to admit it, I do sometimes buy e-books because they are cheaper. However, those things aside, I would much, much rather hold a real book in my hands.

  1. Do you have a unique habit when you read?

No, I don’t think so. At least nothing that I am aware of.

  1. Do book series have to match?

They don’t have to have to, but I prefer it if they do. It just looks so much better on my shelf.

Okay well, that’s the end of the post. Thanks for reading! And I would love to hear your comments or what some of your reading habits are.

 

Ta ta for now!

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The Moonlit Cage by Linda Holeman

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Dear People of the Blogging World

   As is often the case, this was a Value Village find. I read the synopsis and flipped through the book and for some reason decided to buy it. Usually, I don’t care for historical fiction, but as I finished the last page of this book, I realized that it was different…

    The prologue was prettily written and definitely snagged my interest. I remained captivated throughout Darya’s journey; even though, the pacing was not what I am used to. Most of the young adult books I read are fast paced adventures that show only a few months of the character’s life. But since Linda Holeman began the story with Darya at a younger age, I felt like I got to know Darya quite well. This journey with Darya through a few years of her life also showed me the way she changed, the way she matured. This was a lovely aspect to the story and reminded me that slower paced novels are nice too.

    Now the style of writing… To me, it came across as quite an advanced and developed form of writing. It wasn’t just simple sentences and words, it was more complex than that. You really have to be willing to allow yourself to be engaged, to think, when you read this book. (Which isn’t at all a reason not to read it!) I suppose I’m just trying to say that the writing is rich and beautiful.

     One thing that definitely fascinated me, was the culture Darya grew up in. It’s so different than the western culture I know. There were parts that had me frowning at it, but there were also things that really got me thinking. For example, in that culture the mother-in-law is someone who the daughter-in-law respects, loves, and takes care of. When I first read that I was like, Wow. That doesn’t happen where I live.

     Moving on to the characters… Darya was a beautiful flame, she was strong and brave yet she had pride and honor. However, there was one big decision that she made which I completely disagreed with. (If you read the book you will know exactly what I mean.) Just… Seriously, Darya? You couldn’t figure something else out? Did you really have to stoop that low? Sorry, I won’t rant anymore, but that one decision ruined an otherwise fantastic book. Yes, I just said that. For me, the book lost its golden sheen when Darya made that decision. Anyways, the character David was really kind and valiant. He was an honorable man in every way. But, he didn’t really have very much dialogue and always seemed a tad distant. At the end of the book, I didn’t feel like I knew him very well. The last character I want to mention is Mr. Bull. I hate him. There isn’t a nicer way to say it. Honestly, I have never disliked the villain of a book that much. I’m not entirely sure why I loathe him more than other villains, maybe it is because he did what he did for his pleasure, not for power like most other villains. Whatever it was he is officially my #1 most hated villain.

    In conclusion, I did like this book. I think it is an 18+ book, though. There was no profanity and the sex scenes were not overloaded with gross details, but they were there; plus, some of the morals aren’t exactly the best. So I think overall I’m gonna say, I enjoyed Holeman’s writing style and was given many things to ponder.

 

Cheers,

Emma Hill

Robin ~ Chased by Dragons

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A blackbird landed deftly on the dirt street and pecked at the corn. It had only been a short while ago when a bag of corn had slid from a rickety wagon and ripped open. The farmer had stiffly jumped from his cart, cursing and calling out to the bystanders, blaming them for his misfortune. Expressions of displeasure had passed over the faces of the people, but they had hurried away from the sharp-mouthed man. The farmer had hefted the bag back to its place and angrily kicked the spilled corn so that it scattered across the street. Turning away, he had caught an old woman watching him from the shade of an oak tree.

He had glared at her and asked, “What are you looking at?”

Her steady gaze had not wavered, it was like she was criticizing the farmer simply with her eyes. Irked at her abstinence, he had spit on the ground and had continued on his way.

 

The blackbird took a step forward, following the trail of corn scattered by the farmer’s boot. Enraptured, I watched it, hardly daring to breathe in the chance that I might scare it away. It was beautiful, the way the sun made the feathers shine. Another kernel down the bird’s throat brought it another step nearer. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a soldier approaching. Oblivious to my fascination, he frightened the bird into flying away. I ignored him, hoping that he would simply pass me by. But as he drew closer, it was obvious that he desired my spot under the shady tree.

“Alright hag, be gone. Go find somewhere else to rest your rotting bones” he said in a gravely voice.

Slowly I slid my gaze over him, taking in the oily hair and coarse features. Beneath my wool dress, I absently curled a hand around my dagger. “If you want this place so badly, you can pick me up and move me.” Surprise flickered over the man’s face at the strength in my voice.

He glared at me, debating whether the shady spot was worth a fuss, but my hard stare pushed him to the conclusion that it was not.

“Fine then, keep your place. I’ll find something better,” he said and turned away. As he passed me by, he angrily nudged my foot and mumbled, “Dirty old hag.”

I scowled at the soldier’s back and whispered, “I have a name and wouldn’t you like to know what it is. It happens to be Robin or the Robin Thief or Robin of the Hood or Robin Hood. Any of them work just fine.” Spite clouded my words for I knew he would have acted differently if he had known my name. But what bothered me most, was that he dared to bully lesser people.

I shifted my hunched position and ran a hand over my disguise to ensure that everything was still intact, “Rotting bones, my foot. What a disrespectful little bug. If he had anything worth taking, I would have cleaned it right off of him and given it to a sweet old lady as revenge at his rudeness. And another thing…”

My ranting was cut short by a pair of woman rounding the corner. Thankfully they were occupied with their gossiping about “Lydia’s husband” and were not interested in the mumblings of an old lady. They smiled and bobbed their heads at me and I return the gesture weakly as if every action I made hurt.

They strolled away and I continued my surveillance of the street. The blackbird was back, pecking at the corn with its shiny beak. I watched it for a breath of a second before focusing on the reason I came to this place. The well. Or more specifically, the men who had agreed to meet at the well. The round wall of stone was located across the street from where I sat and was near enough that I would be able to hear the conversation of the two men. Because it wasn’t there appearances I needed to discover, I needed to learn of their characters. The one man I already knew well. Devon: a leather worker who was poorer than a church mouse since no one wanted to hire him. He had killed a man in a fight and though it was ruled out as self-defense, the people still shunned him as a murderer. I was not there the night of the fight, but I had observed Devon on multiple occasions and I knew that he would never kill a man intentionally.

So it was the other man that I was really interested in. The apothecary, Silas Fitzwindle, or better known as Silas Swindle. The rumor was that he charged outrageous amounts for his medicine. He claimed it was effective and so far, no one had disproved it. But his prices were steep and with Devon’s low standing among the people, I suspected that the prestigious apothecary was up to something. Besides, Swindle had insisted that they meet at the well, away from his shop, giving the impression that he did not desire to be seen dealing with a supposed murderer.

Like an elderly lady with aching bones, I groaned, but in reality, I was hot and tired of waiting – even in the shade it was warm and the wool dress made it worse.

The black bird drew my attention again. It had come nearer than before, giving me an excellent view of its glittering black eyes and shining feathers. I didn’t like black birds, they seemed dirty and annoying, but this one was different, it was clean and beautiful. It reminded me of the soldier’s that roamed the streets harassing helpless people. Most were unkind, but there were golden hearts among them.

Movement on the street corner dragged me from my thoughts. It was Devon, nervously edging his way down the street. His clothing hung loosely on his thin frame and his cheek bones stuck sharply out upon his face. It was a clear sign that life had not been kind to the leatherworker.

Anxiously, Devon’s gaze skittered over his surroundings. His eyes briefly rested on me, then the blackbird, but determining that we posed no threat to him, he proceeded to pace nervously beside the well.

I watched Devon fidget with loose pieces of string on his sleeve. I had no doubt that we were both wondering if the apothecary would be true to his word. He wasn’t known for it and could very well have decided this morning that Devon wasn’t worth his time. But by the way the leather worker held an arm protectively by his side, it appeared as if he had something valuable beneath his tunic; perhaps, Devon had somehow been able to scrape together a handful of coins.

Only minutes following Devon’s arrival, the apothecary came striding into view. Instantly my senses sharpened and I began to take in and analyze every movement the two men made. Up until then, I had only been half paying attention for I had not believed that the apothecary would come.

Silas Fitzwindle was a stocky man, with sparse brown hair and squinty eyes. Despite the money he earned, his appearance was rather unkempt – his tunic was wrinkled, his white sleeves bore stains, and gray stubble shrouded his jaw.

“You brought the coins?” Silas asked halting in front of Devon.

Intimidated, but not wishing to show it, Devon raised his chin, “You brought the medicine?”

In response, Silas produced a glass bottle from the pouch on his belt. I eyed the little bottle. Would it heal Devon’s wife? Would it cleanse her body of the fever that was torturing her?

Taking the only chance he had left at saving his wife, Devon held out his pouch of coins, “I couldn’t obtain all you asked, but I will pay the rest of it, I just need time.”

Silas had been in the midst of handing out the bottle, but when he heard Devon’s words, he retracted his hand as if he had been bitten by a snake.

“No, I need the full amount,” Silas growled.

“I will get you the rest, I promise,” desperation raised the pitch in Devon’s voice and his face pulled together in a pleading expression.

“The delay will cost you,” replied Silas, blind to Devon’s distress.

“It doesn’t matter, my wife is dying. I need the medicine.”

I held my breath, waiting for Silas’ next words. If he knew who was listening, perhaps he would think twice about stealing everything this man had. But he didn’t know, so he smiled wickedly and said, “A copper coin for every day you fail to pay your debt.”

Devon sucked in a surprised breath and I gritted my teeth in anger. The man didn’t even make half a coin a day, how was he supposed to procure twice that per day?

At Devon’s hesitation, Silas shrugged and began to replace the vial, “It is your decision, but you are the one who will have to bear another death on your conscience.”

“I didn’t kill him,” Devon’s words were strained with anger.

“Then why did you come to me? Isn’t it because no one else dares to deal with a murderer?”

I snatched up a stone and threw it at the blackbird. Neither of the men noticed me do it, but the blackbird’s fright and loud squawking interrupted them enough that Devon had a moment to reign in his temper.

Taking a deep, calming breath, Devon spread his hands out in front of himself, “Please, Silas. I need the medicine.”

Silas regarded the man, considering him carefully. Then as if it was a great sacrifice, he said, “Fine, but only if you swear to give me your every penny till the debt is paid off.”

Devon’s shoulders slumped in relief, but I rolled my eyes. If he had to give his every penny, how was he supposed to buy food and clothing? It was a deal for disaster; and besides that, if Devon appealed to the sheriff, he would only dig himself a deeper hole since the sheriff and Silas were friends.

Annoyed at the stupidity of Devon and the cheating of Silas Swindle, I watched the apothecary hand over the bottle. There was a pleased smile on his face that I was sure would reappear each time Devon would deliver his payment. Once Silas had Devon’s bag of coins clutched in his meaty fingers, he spun around, surveyed the street, and ambled off.

Devon was not as quick to leave, he took time to catch his breath and grasp exactly what had just happened. Yes, he had obtained medicine for his wife, but would they survive without money? I had no answer to that question, but I had an answer to my earlier one. The rumors were true, Silas Fitzwindle was as rotten as a year-old apple. He cared not that Devon would go hungry, he only cared for Devon’s coins.

     I suppose I will have to do his sharing for him, I thought smugly, my mind already whirling with plans to visit Silas’ home.

Finally, Devon disappeared down the street and I slowly stood – careful to continue my disguise – and hobbled away. In a narrow alley, I removed the wool dress that I had worn over my regular clothing. I rolled my shoulders to dispel the stiffness that had resulted from my bent posture and pulled a cap over my chestnut hair. To anyone who saw me, I would appear to be a boy of fifteen or sixteen, not a nineteen-year-old girl dressed like a man. It was always like this, putting on one disguise after the other. I was an old woman then I was a dirty beggar man, but most often I was a boy – a homeless boy, or a page boy, or an apprentice. But I was never myself, I was never the woman who had been cheated out of a birthright and forced to become an outlaw.

I rolled up the old woman’s rags and stuck them under my arm. With my head down so that I would not attract attention, I wove through the back alleys till I came to a section of the city that was virtually abandoned. It was really just a heap of ruins that, with its crumbling bricks and rotting wood, could be treacherous to anyone who was not familiar with it. Even I received the occasional scrape from the jagged edges if I wasn’t being careful. This time I made it to my house without injury. My house? It was one of the blackened skeletons that still stood as proof of the fire that had attacked Langcaster twenty years ago. Surrounded by the most dangerous areas of rubble, this house boasted four sturdy walls and a strong roof. Therefore, I had chosen it as my temporary home. It served its purpose for the time being, albeit the smell of smoke lingered in the stone and it wasn’t as hidden as I would have liked.

With practiced grace, I hoisted myself into the second story of the house. Holding still in the opening, I skimmed the room – a few pieces of rickety furniture, clothing, makeup, a chest of food, a sword, daggers, and my beloved longbow. All was exactly as I had left it, there had been no intruders.

Already the sun was sinking and I prepared for my excursion in the orange light that spilled through the windows. I wiped off the powder that had made my face and hands appear aged and tried as best I could to pat the flour from my hair. This sent clouds of white flying everywhere and did little to return the hair to its natural color. Giving up, I decided to wash it out in a stream in the morning and wove it into a tight braid. Next, I turned to my weapons. Longingly I caressed my bow and quiver of arrows, but they were not needed tonight. Tonight I needed daggers and my collection of lock picking tools. Lastly, I pulled my hood over my face so that my features were hidden. The sun had disappeared by then and I descended to the street. Noiselessly I glided from one shadow to the next until I arrived at Silas Fitzwindle’s home. It was a large structure with iron gates and thick stone walls. Even those who didn’t know the apothecary could tell that the resident of this fortress was a paranoid man.

Leaning against a tree on the border of his neighbor’s property, I inspected the wall. There were no footholds in the surface of the wall that I could use to climb over and if I used my daggers, I would likely damage the metal on the hard stone. There were no trees that I could use for height either. So over the wall wasn’t an option. But there must be another way in besides the front gates – no house in the city had only one entrance. Thoughtfully I circled the wall, and lo and behold, I found a little door hidden by the leaves of an ivy plant. Grinning, I chose a gleaming tool that was twice the length of my index finger and pushed it into the lock. Silas, with his high walls and iron gates, had overlooked this little entrance and I was going to neatly sneak into his fortress. Greedy, foolish man, I would make him pay for his selfishness.

The lock clicked and I cracked the door open so I could peek inside. There were ornamental shrubs, fruit trees, fountains, statues… I narrowed my eyes, I was sure one of the statues had shifted. I leaned further into the garden to gain a better view. One of the statues moved again – this time for certain – and immediately I jumped back into the alley and shut the door.

“Dogs. I hate dogs,” I whispered, stamping my foot. Dogs were dangerous, not only because of their sharp teeth but also because they could smell me. I could easily keep out of sight, but I could not so easily cover my scent.

Frustrated, I set off down the street – my visit would have to wait till I found something I could use to distract the dogs. At a butcher shop, I encountered four bones lying on the back steps and with them stowed away in a sack, I returned to Silas’s house. Once more I unlocked and opened the door, but this time I did it as if everything I touched was made of glass. The dogs were still there, sleeping under a tree. Taking hold of the bones, I threw them to the corner of the garden farthest away from the door. The dogs – I counted three – shot up and ran towards the sound, growling as they went. Hopefully, the bones would occupy them for a long, long while.

I hurried through the garden, but it was difficult going since the moon was hidden by a thick blanket of clouds. Reaching the house, I placed my hand upon the cool stone to calm my rapidly beating heart. The little dragons were occupied with their bones, I was safe. At least for now.

Moving to the window of a sitting room, I pulled out my lock picking tools and pushed one into the keyhole. The lock made a happy clicking sound and the window swung open. I hopped over the windowsill into a lavishly decorated sitting room. It had to be his wife’s since Silas didn’t give a fig about whether or not the upholstery in a room matched.

I locked the window behind myself and crossed the room to the door. Holding my breath, I opened it, hoping Silas didn’t demand to have squeaky hinges on his doors. But there was no sound and I began to relax as I stepped into a dark corridor. From there I headed upstairs to where I knew Silas’s study was located. I was almost at the door when the soft glow of candlelight appeared at the end of the hall. Reflexively, I melted into the shadows of a doorway and stood motionless. But the yellow light faded, accompanied by the sound of a door closing and receding footsteps. Once all was quiet, I continued till I reached a door that was as sturdy as a wall of stone. Silas’s study. For the third time, I curled my finger around a steel tool. The lock was more complicated than the others and I had to use two of my tools together to open it. The hinges cracked as the door swung back, but there was no movement in response. Triumphantly I entered. The room was cluttered with papers, books, and knickknacks so that as I advanced further, I became increasingly certain that the only person allowed in this room was Silas. Picking my way passed a mountain range of books, I examined the items. There wasn’t anything of particular interest, it was mostly letters, books on medicine, or discarded dishes. At the desk, I studied the layout before rifling through the articles. There was nothing unusual and I proceeded on to the drawers. The bottom left drawer proved the most fruitful; for, it held a large pouch of coins. I lifted it from its place and smiled. How generous of Silas to leave this here for the poor.

I fastened the pouch to my belt, then took from an inner pocket of my tunic, a single gray feather. It was a Robin feather. Laying it where the pouch had been, I shut the drawer. I scrutinized the desk’s surface to confirm that all was exactly as it had been when I entered. The ink pot rested upon the letter to Stephon Bradshaw, the book on herbs for headaches and dizziness was opened at page fifty-three, and the goose feather pen lay with its point facing the fireplace. The only difference to the room was the small replacement I had made.

Moving like a shadow through the house, I returned to the floral sitting room. But I didn’t exit until I had thoroughly scanned the garden for the dogs. They were nowhere to be seen. I lifted myself out of the window and into the cool night air. All was silent, it seemed as if even the trees and grass slept soundly.

My little trip had been a success, it had been a piece of cake. The gratification I received from teaching Silas a lesson of charity tasted sweet upon my tongue. Yes, it was a good night.

Behind me, there was a low growl. I froze and slowly turned. A black dog stood ten feet away, its teeth glinting and its eyes holding promises of pain.

It snarled and I put a hand out in front of myself, “Sh quiet. Everything is alright.” The dog took a step forward and I took one backward, “Easy there, nice little dragon.”

It lunged, but I had seen it coming and threw myself to the side. I was on my feet in a moment and tearing through the garden. With adrenaline thudding in my veins, I hurtled over bushes and statues and zigzagged between trees, but the dog had alerted its companions and now there were three beasts snapping at my heels. Something needed to be done before the members of the house were able to respond to the uproar.

I came to a cluster of trees and praying fervently that it would work, I vaulted onto a limb. The dogs didn’t notice my stunt till they were eight meters passed the tree and by then I had already jumped down and sprinted to the exit. They barked angrily in response to the evasion and spun on their haunches. But I didn’t look back, I escaped into the alleyway and slammed the door shut in their faces. A shout from the house sent me off, away from Silas Swindle.

I wove through the city, smearing my scent in the hope that it would make tracking impossible. But knowing Silas would have the city crawling with search parties by morning, I returned home to gather my belongings and set out for the city gate. Three streets away from the main exit, I changed directions and instead went to the back of an abandon winemaker’s shop where large barrels were stored. Between a castle of barrels was an iron grate. I moved it aside and dropped into the dark tunnel below. From there I followed the tunnel to its end and was deposited outside the city, under a rarely used drawbridge. In the dark, I had some difficulty finding my staff, but once I had it clutched in one hand, I used it to feel out the raised hill of stones that acted as a bridge across the moat. A relieved breath emitted from my lips as I stepped onto dry land. It was done, I had the money and after the excitement of the theft had worn off, I would deliver it to Devon – he would put it to better use than Silas.

I crossed the meadow towards the forest, thinking of the dogs and the way I had nearly been torn to shreds. For now, Silas could rest assured that Robin Hood would not set foot in his garden, I was not interested in having another encounter with his pets. I reached the trees and glanced back at the city. Somewhere within the walls of Langcaster a dog barked and I slipped into the safety of Kirkwood Forest.

 

~~~~~~~

So there you have it. My most recent short story! It was a blast to write; although, I’m super glad to have it finished so I can keep chipping away at my novel.

Please comment, I would love to know what you think!

Ta ta for now,

Emma Hill

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

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Dear Citizens of the Blogging World,

 

“Someday we will be more than words in the dark.”

 

     Snow Like Ashes was on my to-read list ever since it was released, but like so many other books, I somehow never got around to reading it. That is, until last week. It was my day off so I was hunting for a book to read and this one caught my attention. There was maybe a sliver of guilt at letting it collect dust for so long involved too, but regardless, this was the one I decided to read.

 

    My very first thought was that I didn’t like Mather. He seemed full of himself and too sure that he was going to fix everything when he became king. So I was slightly worried that he would remain the only love interest in the story, but thank goodness Theron came along. Honestly, I immediately fell in love with him and now he’s probably one of my favorite male characters of all time (So far… I have yet to see what the next two books bring). He was sweet, kind, and gentle, but at the same time, he was fearless and brave. Oh, and he wasn’t rash like some characters who always get into arguments because they know the best way; no, he really portrayed the phrase, “strength and wisdom can be found in silence.” Anyways, moving on from my little rant about Theron… Miera’s character was also very likable. She was somewhat naive and childish which at first bothered me, but once I thought about it, I realized how realistic it was that she wasn’t exceptionally intelligent, brave, and mature. If she was all of those things from the beginning, then there would be no character growth.

    Now on to the writing… I loved Raasch’s writing style (it’s what I dream mine will be someday). It was colorful, but not overwhelmingly so and I barely did any skimming. In particular, I really liked her similes – they embellished the writing and didn’t weigh it down at all.  Similes can be difficult to come up with, I know because I fight with them some times. But done right, as in this book, they add beauty and interesting flourishes of color

    Altogether, I would definitely recommend this book! It is a clean read which I found surprising since that is rare in popular books these days. So I thoroughly enjoyed it and I’m excited to continue with the series.  

 

“Even the strongest blizzards start with a single snowflake.”

 

Cheers,

Emma Hill

 

Sacrifice by KM Shea

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 “Stand proud, Snow Queen. You have no equal.”

    Within two days of finishing Heart of Ice, I bought Sacrifice so I could continue the adventure of Rakel the Snow Queen. And let me say right away, I was not disappointed.

    There was a lot of character growth, which was amazing especially since it was the second book. Also, the love story was super sweet. At times, I found myself with a silly smile on my face as a result of the relationship between Farrin and Rakel. It wasn’t sappy or cringe-worthy, it was just really nice and beautiful. And unlike the first book, Farrin is featured quite often with Rakel as well as by himself which helped me get to know and understand his character better. Likewise, there is a closer view of Tenebris, the villain. A few scenes that showed how he treated his soldiers really made me dislike him and want Rakel to defeat him. Further, Rakel’s inner struggle of whether or not she was becoming like Tenebris, created some tension which was good – it kept her character interesting and humble.

 One small aspect that I didn’t enjoy, was the way the plot was laid out. It seemed like a continuous cycle of battle, rest, battle, rest, etc. Further, the dialogue between the fight scenes sometimes seemed a little unnecessary, but this had definitely improved since the first book.

 

    “It seems you didn’t understand me,” Rakel said, adjusting her grip on his hand. She had to spit the words out around the pain that tore through her. “When I say that love is pure, I mean it stands unrivaled in its power.”  

 

     And finally, the ending… I loved it! Way to go KM Shea, you nailed it. Rakel made an honorable decision that made me respect her immensely. It also proved more than anything else that she wasn’t like Tenebris.

         Overall, I highly recommend this book (and I suppose you can’t really read this book without reading the first one so I then recommend the first book too!). I really enjoyed this series by KM Shea and I am excited to discover other jewels she has created.   

 

Heart of Ice by KM Shea

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“They already call you their Snow Queen. If you declared yourself the Empress of the Continent, they would ask what you wanted on your coat of arms.”

― K.M. Shea, Heart of Ice

I am never really sure what to write about a book directly after finishing it – it usually takes a few days of pondering the story before I am able to collect my thoughts and write something worthwhile. But even though it’s been less than twenty-four hours, I’m going to give it a go anyways.

This was a bit of an impulse read. I saw it on the Goodreads blog of one of the indie authors I follow, so I thought I would check it out. This led me to Amazon.ca where the e-book was being sold for only $5.49. I thought, why not? It’s only five dollars and the description promises an interesting story.

The first chapter or so was a bit boring; although, I was intrigued by Rakel’s snow powers. But as the story went on I became quite engrossed in it. I really liked that Rakel went from being hated to being loved by the people and how the author let this affect Rakel’s character. Too often I read books where the author seems to start and end the main character exactly the same and does not let the events of the story create the character. Furthermore, Farrin’s position as a colonel of the enemy was different – in a good way different, though. It created an exciting tension that had me wondering how in the world Rakel was going to fall in love with the enemy. Moving on, I enjoyed Rakel’s circle of trusted friends, they kept things interesting and their loyalty to Rakel is to be admired. However, I was not crazy about the way Phile was introduced into the story. It seemed a bit random and didn’t quite flow with the rest of the story (For the first half of the book, I convinced that Phile was a traitor). There just did not seem to be a concrete reason – like Rakel saving Phile’s life, or a desire to retaliate against the Chosen forces – for Phile to join Rakel’s group.

“Little Wolf, you are the most paranoid person I know—and I’m a thief.”

― K.M. Shea, Heart of Ice

Leaving behind the characters… At times I found myself skimming explanations, scenes, or dialogue that were perhaps unnecessary. Also, personally, I would have liked a little more description. I really like the expression, “Paint a picture with words,” and I thought sometimes there were some grey areas that if colored in, would have complimented the story. Last but absolutely not least – and I think I mention this more often in other book reviews – this was a clean story that I could read without being bothered by indecent words or scenes. I could read it with a good conscience and for me, this aspect alone instantly elevates a book. So in conclusion, I thoroughly enjoyed Heart of Ice, so much so that I have already purchased the sequel and begun reading it.

“Fear is acceptable, as long as I don’t allow it to cripple me…”

― K.M. Shea, Heart of Ice

About Me

Hello!

I’m never really sure what to say when I have to write about myself so if this rambles on a bit and you find yourself wondering what I’m trying to say… I’m sorry.

I’m just an average university student who loves reading and writing. I’ve been telling myself stories for as long as I can remember, it was how I fell asleep at night (and to be honest, it still is). Usually, my stories consist of a little bit of action and a brave heroine. However, I absolutely love fairy tales so I can often be found rewriting a fairy tale that just might have a couple twists to it.

I write with music playing in the background and a cup of tea or coffee in my hand. For some reason, that’s the best way for me to write. I know there are people who need absolute silence and still others who prefer busy places, I just need music, and the tea… Well, I suppose that is necessary too.

Besides writing, I enjoy gardening. Roses are my absolute favourite, but somewhere in my garden, there are always some herbs growing too. Getting my hands dirty isn’t something that bothers me – I need to get some dirt on my skin every once in a while. I can’t really say why, but I suppose it is that country girl part of me that likes digging in the garden under the hot sun.

So there you have it, a little bit about myself, I hope I didn’t scare you away after the first paragraph. Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to read my letters to you!

P.S. If you’re interested to learn more about me, pay me a visit on…

Goodreads, Pinterest, or Google+

Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck

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“Falling for him would be like cliff diving. It would be either the most exhilarating thing that ever happened to me or the stupidest mistake I’d ever make.”

― Colleen Houck

 

This was one of those books that had been sitting on my to-read list for a long time, but I had never gone through the trouble of finding a copy to read. So then when I saw the flashy title peeking from between then shelves of books at Value Village, I didn’t hesitate to purchase it for a few dollars. The promise of a fantasy novel about tigers had me curious so I started reading almost instantly and I found it was difficult to put it down.

 

First off, I love the storyline – you could maybe say it’s an elaborate twist to beauty and the beast. I really liked the plot and the way the details of the curse are so well presented and thought out. It is obvious that the author did her research in Indian culture and that is definitely something I appreciated. However, I can’t say I really cared much for Colleen Houck’s writing style, especially at the beginning of the book. It does get better as it goes along, but it starts out with short, slightly boring sentences. Which is understandable for a first book, many authors fall into that. Another thing, and a rather big thing, that I didn’t like was the mushiness of the love story. It felt a little overdone and a bit like a high school drama.

 

“Saying his name stabbed my heart, like someone had ripped through my carefully stitched up world and exposed the infected, pulsing red tissue that I thought was healing.”

― Colleen Houck

 

Kelsey often thinks of Ren as godlike or flawless, but that doesn’t really seem realistic, no one’s perfect. So I think some character flaws would have made Ren more appealing to me.

Altogether, though, I do really enjoy the book every time I read it – there always seems to be some details that I missed in my previous readings. And lastly, a huge aspect that makes this novel a worthwhile read is that it’s clean – there is no profanity and no sex parts. I really admire this in a book, too often I read books that are fantastic except for those few words or that one cringe-worthy scene. Altogether, I would say this is a fun read that will have you itching to buy the next so you can continue the story.

 

 

Beauty by Robin McKinley

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“I said: “He cannot be so bad if he loves roses so much.””But he is a Beast,” said Father helplessly.

“But he is a Beast,” said Father helplessly.

I saw that he was weakening, and wishing only to comfort him I said, “Cannot a Beast be tamed?”

― Robin McKinley, Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast

When I was about eleven, I was looking through the ceiling tall bookshelf that sat in our basement. The books in it were books that my mom had bought for a few dollars and never read but didn’t have the heart to get rid of. Most of them were covered with a thin layer of dust so that when I pulled them from their tightly tucked positions my nose would tickle and threaten to sneeze. But all of that is beside the point…

One day I decided to ignore the bottom two shelves of thick encyclopaedias and read the book with the cover that had a girl in a yellow dress on it and was titled Beauty by Robin McKinley.

To say the least, I was hooked from the very beginning. I soaked up every word which I still sometimes find surprising since not everyone finds it an easy book to read, and I was only eleven.

Robin McKinley’s style of writing is quite different from most other books I’ve read. The paragraphs are long and detailed and with allot of books, I just skip those descriptions over. Why? Because they’re boring. I want to get to the exciting parts, where there is action. But McKinley’s descriptions are artistic, they are beautiful, and they are compelling. I mean, look at this:  “It was of grey stone, huge block set on block; but it caught the sunlight like a dolphin’s back at dawn.”

― Robin McKinley, Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast

That’s not just writing, that is art. That is painting a masterpiece with words.

The plot is also really well worked out. Maybe it’s a little slow at first; she doesn’t meet the beast till halfway through the novel. But maybe McKinley’s point was following the story of Beauty, not Beauty and the Beast. After all, the book is called Beauty.

Moving on, I simply love Beauty’s character. She is so honest and brave and she doesn’t pretend to be someone she isn’t.

The ending, is point blank, a happy ending. Every time it leaves me with a smile on my face and a feeling of satisfaction. Beauty grows out of her awkwardness and really is beautiful, not only on the outside but also on the inside.

I could probably go on and on about this book, but I’ll save you the pain and cut it short. I will say, though, that I’ve read this book over and over again till the cover has fallen off and I’ll probably keep reading it till it crumbles at my touch.