Life

i’m not dead

Time flies by, pretty quick, huh? One moment, you’re looking at the snow (IN APRIL) and really wishing winter would hurry up and leave already – the next you are nursing a nice sunburn. (This probably has more to do with my natural deathly milk white paleness English Rose complexion.)

NOOONNNN

I’ve been living in Canada for the better part of a year now, and boy oh boy, do I miss my books. (Oh. And my family. Them too.)

MY GOSH YOU’VE BEEN POSTING SO MUCH RECENTLY /s

Okay. Fine. I haven’t. I’ve drafted lots and lots of blog posts (probably five. or four. or three) – rants and ravings about winter and loathing coats and wonderful things like that, but – much like my ability to sprout wings and fly and boil eggs and that sort of thing – they never happened.

I am alive though. Even though I seem to try very hard not to be; I still sometimes look the wrong way when crossing the road. Bad idea. Very bad idea.

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PROOF OF LIVENESS. (Is it even me though?)

SO WHAT *HAVE* YOU BEEN UP TO?

This year has been like one giant working holiday. (With emphasis on the working.) I work pretty much full-time, harass colleagues with Very Bad And Punny Jokes, harass everyone with Very Bad And Punny Jokes, have a weekend adventure or two, sing, go for long romantic side-walk walks for one, visit the library, hang out with friends, speak Very Bad French, spend money wisely, and occasionally put my big girl socks on and write.

Okay. So the walk has happened twice, one of my friends deserted me for England, and I don’t visit the library all the time. Pfft. (I just get a shelf load of books out and stare at them lovingly.)

I do think that buying an expensive top which pictures a cat riding a unicorn to be a good investment. Think about it; the top is clothing. Clothing stops you from being naked. BOOM. It’s vital.

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recent weekend adventure: A tulip festival

SO YOU HAVE SOME PRETTY BIG NEWS?

Yes!!!! I do. I do.

(But, not in a marriage sense.)

I – she of the pen name Ness Kingsley – am going to a gym tomorrow. Yes. I know. WHAAAATTTT?!!!!!! How exciting. And very, very all-the-world-does-it-or-has-a-membership-they-don’t-use of you. I’ve never set a toe in a proper one before. I fully expect to develop abs on my thighs by mere osmosis. It’ll totally happen!

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WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED TO YOUR EYES?!!!

Okay. Gather round, friends – time for a quick life lesson in the form of two quotes from me:

Gee! Let me use this used make-up with its used make-up brushes! Why golly gosh! Nothing bad will happen!

me – tuesday evening

Oh. Bother.

me – wednesday morning

Infection. That’s what happens. (Infection or an allergic reaction, but probably most likely an infection.)

Infection and red, red demon eyes that look like you’ve:

  • just murdered someone
  • been strangled
  • cried buckets and buckets of soul tears because of Infinity Wars

Don’t be me, kids. Don’t use used make-up brushes or make-up. Yes, the war face you made was EPIC, but was it worth it? Was it really worth it?

No … well, probably not.

(The war face was pretty epic.)

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Books

tropes i would like to see more of

I read a lot. And when I find certain things (Tropes? Themes? i no do wurdz) in fiction … I perform an inner happy dance and gobble the book down whole. Here are a few reasons for such exuberance, expressed in words. And gifs. Gifs are gifts.

mawwied couples

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I … have a dream. A dream that a healthy marriage will be portrayed in fiction; where the lead character would be married and that this would simply be the backdrop to the actual story.

Sometimes it’s just nice to read of a stable relationship; to not get readerly stressed when oh, no! look! they’re not communicating again. Gee, I feel so shocked.

And sure – there can be some conflict in their relationship but not major conflict. There is a difference.

Books I’d Recommend:

188230The Amelia Peabody Series by Elizabeth Peters: think archaeology, romance, humour, lots and lots of dead bodies, and Egypt. And a cast of characters you will grow to love over a nineteen book series. Though, you know, it should come with a warning.

WARNING! READING ANY OF THE AMELIA PEABODY SERIES WILL INSTALL A STRONG DESIRE TO:

  1. brandish a parasol
  2. find your very own Radcliffe Emerson.
  3. war with a dastardly arch nemesis
  4. solve grisly crimes in Egypt
  5. be a terribly good archaeologist

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just do it!

I cannot respect characters that have good intentions, but are side-tracked by a pair of bootiful, bootiful [insert colour here] eyes.

If you’re going to take down an evil emperor, stand by a resolve, keep to your morals, or read every single book in the Great Library of Alexandria … then you should do it. You should just darn do it.

Kill the bloke. Don’t eat that ice cream. Kick temptation in its face. Invent time travel.

Do not, I beg you, think, it doesn’t matter that he killed my best friend and thousands of innocents, but I can’t kill this evil king because he might possibly have a Tragic Past and more depth than a puddle.

Feelings. Bah. So much selfishness is committed in their name.

15839976Books I’d Recommend:

The Red Rising Series by Pierce Brown: Darrow needs to bring down an entire class system. And by golly, he just goes for it. The series is bloody and brutal, but I like it. I like it a lot.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë: this is one of my favourite classics. Because Jane Eyre? She stands by her principles – even though it means she loses the man she loves.

a slow burning romance

If you tell me a character loves just for the sake of love and oh he said ‘I love you’ so they definitely ARE IN LOVE AND IT’S TWU WUV AND YOU WILL BELIEVE ME. JUST BECAUSE I SAID THEY ARE … I won’t always be able to see it.

I like watching a romance grow – slowly, steadily, quietly. The sort that creeps up on a character until they think: oh, that’s what it is.

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Sure, ‘love at first sight’ can happen; in fiction and real life. But I adore reading fiction where you can believe and see that maybe, just maybe this is love – not because the character declares it every. other. page (I could say that I am a dragon-slaying astronaut, for sure, but that don’t make it so) but because we – the reader – have watched it grow.

Books I’d Recommend:

Devil's Cub (Alastair, #2)Gosh. This is a hard one. Buuuut … I’ll pick these two. And one of them – in a shock twist that surprises absolutely no one – is a Heyer:

The Devil’s Cub by Georgette Heyer: I view this book as one of the most wildly romantic books I’ve read, purely because of one, rather ridiculous statement that Vidal passionately utters in a climactic scene.

The action begins with the lead kidnapping the heroine. The heroine isn’t impressed. She shoots him. And thus marks the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

Harvest of Rubies by Tessa Afshar: containing a cringeworthy scene full of second-hand embarrassment, this book has a marriage of convenience that changes into something more as the heroine grows and the lead realises that hey, maybe he kinda leapt to conclusions.

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happy reading!

Books, Characters, podcast

podcast // a more realistic ever after

This episode is late because a) I decided to reread A Civil Contract and b) I have a bad habit of playing chicken with deadlines.

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She’s not a beauty, he’s not a rake. She’s in love with him, he’s in love with someone else. What on earth will happen? [A Civil Contract by Georgette Heyer]

goodreads // podcast site

Books, Recountings

Recountings: Eloping Sisters and Replacement Brides

A long time ago, I discovered something wonderous … free books! And so I dived into that marvelous place known as Project Gutenberg. Many adventures did I have, and here is one of them …

Marcia Schuyler

by Grace Livingston Hill

First, a confession: for an obscenely long time, I had no idea how to pronounce ‘Schuyler’. I ignored it, pretending it was a sort of ‘Marcia S-silentletters-ler’. I only knew that I enjoyed reading this book.

Now – let’s not dawdle, let’s plunge in and see if I can convince you that you will enjoy it too.

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Our story opens with fresh-faced and innocent Marcia leaving her home to pick berries. She will sell these and use the money to buy some fabric for a dress she wants to make. In a few days her sister is getting married to David. David is a Man. A Good Man. A Worthy Man.

Only … Kate, her sister, is a flighty thing. A selfish flighty thing. Marcia doesn’t see this – she loves her sister, after all. But the facts are there and Kate is a Piece of Work.

Things Happen. A small (not an enormous amount) of drama ensues: Kate is being a little too friendly with a Captain What’s-His-Face, David arrives home in darkness, mistakes Marcia for Kate and kisses her. Over the garden gate. ON THE LIPZ!!!

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In a gentle and pleasant way, David brushes this off like he does his teeth every morning*. Kate is still a Piece of Work and Marcia is gradually growing to wish that she had her own Good ManTM.

And then … and then the morning of the wedding dawns. But Kate isn’t there! Her bedroom is empty. Empty! Rather thoughtfully, she’s left a note. But a note doesn’t really replace a bride.

Poor David – the woman he loves has eloped with dashing Captain Thingybob. Poor Kate and Marcia’s father – he’s shamed, shamed!

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Something must be done. But what?!

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And it is here that Marcia’s life changes. Because her father speaks:

“It is terrible!” he murmured, “terrible! How could she bear to inflict such sorrow! She might have saved us the scorn of all of our friends. David, you must not go back alone. It must not be. You must not bear that. There are lovely girls in plenty elsewhere. Find another one and marry her. Take your bride home with you, and no one in your home need be the wiser. Don’t sorrow for that cruel girl of mine. Give her not the satisfaction of feeling that your life is broken. Take another. Any girl might be proud to go with you for the asking. Had I a dozen other daughters you should have your pick of them, and one should go with you, if you would condescend to choose another from the home where you have been so treacherously dealt with. But I have only this one little girl. She is but a child as yet and cannot compare with what you thought you had. I blame you not if you do not wish to wed another Schuyler, but if you will she is yours. And she is a good girl. David, though she is but a child. Speak up, child, and say if you will make amends for the wrong your sister has done!

Yup! You read that right – seventeen year old Marcia is offered to David. As a replacement bride. To stop the scorn, right a wrong and save the family name.

As you do.

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And Marcia, pitying David and feeling so very sorry for him says …

“If David wishes I will go.”

(This is just chapter five, by the way.)

So she marries him.

And the equation of:

heart-broken man + innocent young girl + marriage

goes just about as well as you could expect. And this is just the start, folks. There’s Miranda (who’s brilliant) and a Dangerous Man and Betrayal and Anguish and Moral Peril and Bonnet Buying and a satisfactory Villain Is Found Out scene and … it’s clean, dramatic perfection.

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// … and you can enjoy it too, right here //

Happy Reading!


*this metaphor may not make much sense, but I feel quite proud of it. Actually, this begs the question – would David brush his teeth every morning? Because … time period and history and hygiene. Hmmm …