Books, Recountings

recountings: not-quite-georgette heyer and i’m a plant killer now

Now, you know I like Georgette Heyer. And I like everyone else who likes Georgette Heyer. And I especially like authors who like Georgette Heyer. And most of all, I like authors who write books inspired by Georgette Heyer. 

So – here I find a book – and I demand from the all the world to know: how did I not find this before?!!! 

THE WEAVER TAKES A WIFE

by SHERI COBB SOUTH

LET’S BE REAL … 

It wasn’t perfect. But most things in life aren’t. My azaleas, for instance, are slightly wilting. Is it because I placed them in the sun too much? Probably. Is it because I haven’t wooed them with Mozart? Most likely. I’m not perfect. They aren’t perfect. This book isn’t perfect. It doesn’t quite reach Georgette Heyer’s glorious heights – but there’s so. much. to. love. Anyway. 

(And She wasn’t perfect either. I’m listening to Sprig Muslin at the moment – it’s my ‘room cleaning’ book. I have many books for many different occasions. My ‘I’m sitting on the loo’ book is about the Romonovs and lemme tell you Peter the Great was WILD. But I digress … Sprig Muslin? Not my favourite. Possibly because of the narrator. Possibly because I’ve read negative reviews about it. Possibly because I’m not approaching it like C.S Lewis told me to – with an open mind.) 

Other things that aren’t so perfect:

  • the heroine’s father is basically selling her off for money to pay off his debts. So. Ew.
  • while there is character development with the heroine – she does a complete 180, but I wish it had been … slightly slower. Some things require time. For instance: your entire world view changing.
  • MY AZALEAS ARE BASICALLY DEAD OKAY?!!
I mean so is the other plant. oh my gosh. i’ve killed TWO PLANTS THIS IS BAD THIS IS VERY VERY BAD

Mr. Brundy. Mr. Brundy is the bomb.

I’m going to be straight up and honest with you: I’ve vast plans about marrying Mr. Brundy. Yes. They are a little inhibited by the tragic fact that he’s fictional … and also fictionally married [dang it] but true love always finds a way. Just like Mr. Brundy. And his heart. 

He takes one look at the heroine and BAM! Cupid’s dart doesn’t just strike him. Oh no! It bloomin’ well drops a nuke on his poor little heart pumping organ. Think Paris and Helen but with less … bloodshed, immorality, Greek gods, and arrows-in-heels happening. 

[As a side note … there’s this BBC adaption of Troy and I loathe Paris. He’s just so bleh and ugh and argh and *smash face on desk*-esque … if you know what I mean.] 

He – Mr Brundy, not Paris. Yuck and BOOO! – looks at his beloved and locks on her with all the focus of one of those dinosaurs from Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. You know – the killing ones: where you’d put a lasor on the target and pull the trigger and the dinosaur would just. Hunt. It. Down. 

He does that. But in a less dinosaur-y fashion. 

It’s a TAD unrealistic but … for this book? I’ll take it.

Mr. Brundy is an illegitimate orphan who’s worked his way up from the workhouses. He’s now one of the richest men in England. He’s honest and hardworking. He also can’t pronounce his ‘h’s. 

“Mr. Brundy,” she said with a nod, making the most perfunctory of curtsies to her father’s guest. 
He made no move to take her hand, but merely bowed and responded in kind. “Lady ‘elen.” 
“My name is Helen, Mr. Brundy,” she said coldly. 
“Very well- ‘elen,” said Mr. Brundy, surprised and gratified at being given permission, and on such short acquaintance, to dispense with the use of her courtesy title.” 


THE CHARACTERS AREN’T ALL DUMB (!)

I was worried. I’m not going to lie. At one point, I was cringing. You couldn’t tell. It was 2:00am and my kindle light was on low but my gosh, I was worried and cringing and inwardly mildly screaming. (Picture Darth Vader with his ‘NOOOO’ but he’s a disappointed but resigned mother hen looking at her son. She knows he’s not all there but she’s so invested in his life that she can’t help cringe and he’s hopping in slow motion and she’s all: nooooo, Kevin.]

But FEAR NOT … there’s a character with his head metaphorically on his shoulders and he Gets Help! so it’s okay.

[There are mild spoilers for the book. I’m sorry. I should have warned you.]

ONE WORD SUMMARY: 

Adorable.  

Pinch-its-cheeks-adorable. I adore it. You’ll adore it. Sometimes it’s a little too simplistic, but I was reading it at 2:00 am, so some of my impressions may be a leeetlle askew. (Also I wrote the majority of this review at a similar time on a different night. It’s when I do my best work. You probably can’t tell. HAHAHAHAHA.)

If you’re familiar with any of Georgette Heyer’s books – you’ll be familiar with some aspects of this storyline. You’ll forgive this book because this is such a wonderful take on a woman realising that it’s not all about appearances, and a man who learns to dance for his wife and ARGGHHH BE STILL MY BEATING HEART!!

kindle / goodreads

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Books, Life

why i like one star reviews

DISCLAIMER BEFORE THE PITCHFORKS ARE FORKED, OR ER, PITCHED (?) IN MY DIRECTION: By ‘reviewer’ I do not mean ‘a malicious troll’. I mean a reviewer who is stating their opinion on the book in a fair, truthful, and often amusing way.

I am not a villain, cackling away behind the anonymity of a computer screen. However, I must admit that I like to read sparsely starred reviews. Yes, those ones. The ones that can often state – in clear, precise words – why the reviewer views the book as a tragic waste of tree, space, time, money, and so forth.

I drink that stuff down like a toddler who’s just discovered Coca-Cola.

Why? How could I? I write, I’ve self-published some novellas, surely I’d want EVERYBODY to have glorious and glowing reviews *throws confetti*

But … I have my reasons. Let me share them with you …

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come with me

i have an inherent distrust of good news

If the book is a fantasy and the reviews are mostly positive – I’ll listen. But if the book is a romance …. then I am wary and proceed with caution. If all the reviews are full to the brim of gushing words about the swooning romance, dreamy heroes, wonderful adventure, fantastic writing etc etc etc … I won’t take it at face value.

I’ve been burned and so I am painfully shy; I read the bad reviews. Because:

a) I am a practical optimistic pessimist (a state of being which I’ve just invented. join me) – if I know the worst, I can decide if it’s worth badgering my bank account for it

b) some folks’ idea of romance isn’t mine

and

b) … the reviews can be extremely entertaining.

eloquence, m’dear. it’s the eloquence

Sometimes, a reviewer can find a book – any book – to which they suffer an allergic reaction. This can provoke a beautiful response – full of sweeping prose, breathtaking analogies, and excellent use of gifs.

In short, it’s terribly interesting to observe this kind of reaction; reviewers are often very eloquent when they decide that this book is not for them and here is why etc.

I grab my popcorn and settle down to read, mesmerized.

Image result for galavant gif

it can lead to beautiful things

I don’t always trust people who love every. little. thing that they read. Because I am a little cynical; how can I believe that this is the BEST BOOK EVAH!!! if you’ve said that every other book you’ve read is the BEST BOOK EVAH!!!?

(Maybe you do find every book you read to be wonderful. That’s fine. But again, my cynicism strikes like a pimple before a wedding. I can’t help it.)

If you are honest in your reviews, I can measure the bad against the good. You hated this book? You’ve stated the reasons why? Well maybe I agree with you – maybe I’ll search for your other reviews; for the books you really liked.

Maybe I’ll like them too.

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It’s a roundabout way to get a good book recommendation. It also works in the opposite way; if you hated this book, and I loved it … then maybe I won’t like the books you love, maybe I’ll like the books you hate – another way to a book recommendation. (Or if you loved this book and I loved it … we will both congratulate each other on our exceptional taste and stalk each other. Politely. In a friendly fashion.)

in summary, bad reviews can …

  • give a more rounded perspective of a book
  • save money
  • cost money
  • be entertaining

All right. You can … you can bring out your pitchforks now.Image result for galavant gif

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

Image result for marriage gif princess bride

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

Image result for the mummy gifs

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!

Life, On Writing

highlights of text butchery

thepunone.JPGI’ve been quietly editing Insalted for some time now. However, only recently did I bite the bullet and print the whole thing out.

There’s a lot of it. I don’t know if it’s my dramatic usage of paragraphs, the halts for Bolded Lists (I haven’t a better name for them), or if I’ve completely got the spacing wrong, but I’ve ended up with 334 pages to edit.

!!!

Usually, I just employ a liberal use of a pen, butchering this and scribbling out that. HOWEVER, with this manuscript, I have a better plan. As per usual, I butcher … but I also use highlighters and sticky notes.

I have four colours and these stand for a sub-plot, a mega-plot, background info, and THE ROMANCE THREAD.

(And yes. That deserves capitals. I’m quietly proud that this story HAS A ROMANTICLE ELEMENT!!!!)

Image result for old romance book cover
like this cover. but with more clothing

Why Using Highlighters Is A Highlight of Editing:

  • You can look back on a butchered page and think: my gosh, this looks legit! Maybe I am a Proper Writer after all!
  • It teaches you to never underestimate the importance of the highlighter in validating your career choices.
  • You can actually keep track of each plot line – how much of this plot is in this chapter? Do I need more? Less? How much ROMANTICLE ELEMENT!!!! is in it?
  • If you are a visual person, you can sum up what happens per plot line at the beginning of the chapter, and strike it through with the appropriate highlighter. It looks very pretty! And is useful. That’s 100% my reason for using them.

workspaceistidyMy work space isn’t very tidy. I have several coloured labels that er, I thought were sticky notes when I bought them. (SPOLIER: they weren’t.)

Now, they hang about like I did around other earthlings, wanting to be cool and useful but never quite making it.

(HANG IN THERE, LABELS! YOU’LL FIND YOUR SPACE YET!!)

I have highlighters, sticky notes, pens, hair things, soap, books, tea, an empty purse, and a laptop for music just chilling on the desk with me.

It is clutter, but I am of the opinion that I work better with clutter than without. (I have no wish to test this theory.)

Recently, I butchered into the wee hours and  … I felt like a Proper Writer. I was haunted and hunched over with a blanket about my shoulders, eyes stinging, hand wielding pen and highlighter with fervor.

It was a wonderful feeling; I am doomed to plenty more of it.

SIDE NOTE: I’ve discovered that THE ROMANTICLE ELEMENT!!!!!! comes more easily when I’m tired. I haven’t re-read what I corrected last night, but I’m sure that it’s all coherent.

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Books, podcast, Uncategorized

podcast // wishes, crusaders, and gardens

If you marry a man for his bank account, you’re called a gold digger. So what do you call it if you’re marrying a man for a rose garden … a garden digger? … a gardener? No? Okay. [The Rose-Garden Husband by Margaret Widdemer]

And Phyllis Braithwaite, the little Liberry Teacher who had been living in a hall bedroom on much less money than she needed, found herself alone, sole mistress of the great Harrington house, a corps of servants, a husband passive enough to satisfy the most militant suffragette, a check-book, a wistful wolfhound, and five hundred dollars, cash, for current expenses

 ebook // podcast site // audiobook