Reader Relationships: Hate-to-Love

Ah, my favorite trope in all of fiction. I know, it’s probably cliché, but I absolutely love it when two people hate each other and then fall in love. 

This has happened to me with both characters and whole books, and today I want to share with you guys my personal hate-to-love stories.

1. The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins

Ok, I was hooked from chapter one. But when I was younger I was utterly disgusted and horrified by the premise. I’ve always disliked the whole gladiators thing- in history I always detest the sections devoted to Rome. So the whole kids-killing-kids thing really horrified me. 

Now that I’ve actually read it, I am completely obsessed. With the books, that is. 

2. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

More like love-to-hate-to-love. 

I heard it was romantic so I picked it up (I know, I’m hopeless). And I got into it before deciding it was boring. It was boring for nearly 300 pages. And then it was amazing for the rest of the book. 

3. Jake Rosenbloom from The 39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers by Various

Oh, Jake. My darling. 

He was such a jerk in the beginning. I could not stand him. Until he started to fall for the person I won’t name because of spoilers, that is. To be honest, I’d probably marry Jake now. You know, if he was real.

4. Magnus Damora from the Falling Kingdoms series by Morgan Rhodes

I hated Magnus. I really did. He was just too dark and brooding and with his father being so evil, I just couldn’t like him at all.

But now? Um, Magnus is my darling, ok? I love him. So much. And yes, he’s still dark and brooding but ever since that “only light I can see anymore” speech, I’ve fallen in love with him. He’s become infinitely more human since (*spoilers here*) his arranged marriage.

Have you gone from hating to loving a book or character?

-Clara

50 Followers!

Hey guys!

So, yesterday or the day before I hit 50 total followers, and I just want to say thank you guys! Blogging is so much fun and I love getting to talk about all the books I read. 

Once again, thank you all so much for your likes, comments, and just support in general. 

And now I have a question for you guys:

What would you like to see on this blog? Please let me know in the comments!

Thank you again for helping me make this happen!

-Clara

Hunted by Meagan Spooner (Spoiler-Free Review)

I loved Hunted. It was a hauntingly beautiful and romantic retelling of that extraordinary fairytale, Beauty and the Beast. 

The novel follows Yeva, the daughter of a merchant who loses everything. After she moves with her family to the woods, her father begins to disappear for weeks on end, until one day, he doesn’t come back. Yeva goes after him, only to find herself the prisoner of a monstrous beast who seems to have caused her father’s disappearance. 

I found Yeva to be very, very relatable for me. She wants something more- something that’s not just a day-to-day life. She doesn’t know exactly what she wants, either. She thinks she does, but she goes through a lot before she finds out what she’s really been searching for. 

The Beast is both terrifying and so incredibly human all at once. The brief bits in between chapters from his point of view were stunning. I loved it. 

The setting is unique- Russia, I think- and I enjoyed the infusion of Russian folklore. It added depth and was a marvelous addition to the world building. 

The writing read almost like an actual fairytale. It was elegantly simple, giving the story in a quiet manner. 

I did feel like it told a lot- I would have preferred more showing, even if the book would have been substantially longer. I think the romance could have been developed more, but it was one to root for all the same.

I’d give it 4/5 stars. It was a beautiful book, with a relatable heroine and an interesting world. 

Have you read Hunted? Did you like it? Hate it? Tell me in the comments!

Clara

Reader Relationships: We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

Cue the Taylor Swift music. Because for today’s Reader Relationships, I’ll be sharing with you books and characters I just do not like. At all. They had their chance and just didn’t deliver.

1. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

This is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, my most detested book ever. I hate it. It bored me half to death and it had cannibals- something that always makes me dislike whatever it is. 

I read this twice, both times for school, and if I ever have to read this again I’ll scream.

And I think island survival stories are all the same. So I don’t read them.

2. President Snow from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Such a well-done villain. I hate Snow for everything he did in this series, minus telling Katniss about Coin.

3. Queen Levana from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

I do not care what Channary did to her- Levana will never get my pity. She is evil and twisted and I don’t feel a bit sorry for her.

4. Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

The sad thing is, I wanted so badly to enjoy this book. It had so much potential. But I just didn’t like it. The plot was all over the place, I didn’t care a thing about the characters, and it was just boring.

5. Isabel Kabra from The 39 Clues by Various

Last time I mentioned this woman’s son, Ian, whom I absolutely love. But Isabel is about on the same level as Levana for me. No sympathy. At all.

6. Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott

Oh, how I wanted to love this. It just felt forced and was poorly written. Not good.

What’s a book or character you just don’t like?

Clara

In Which I Fangirl over the Amazing Couples in the Lunar Chronicles

Since I’ve been rereading The Lunar Chronicles, I’m in that super fangirly mode because all of those couples are just so unbelievably adorable. I was reading Cress this morning and just sitting there squealing over how cute Cress and Thorne are. Seriously. 

So here’s me fangirling and quoting some adorable moments about each couple. And if you haven’t read this series, you’ll find lots of spoilers ahead.

Kai and Cinder (Kaider):

“Cinder?”

“Mm?”

He lifted his gaze. “Just to be clear, you’re not using your mind powers on me right now, are you?”

She blinked. “Of course not.”

“Just checking.” 

Then he slid his arms around her waist and kissed her.

These two. Sometimes they argue, usually over the best way to defeat Levana. Other times it’s just banter, which is always fun to read. But they overcame social prejudices. She’s a Lunar cyborg princess- on Earth, where cyborgs aren’t treated well and Lunars are hated. He’s the emperor of an entire country, with way too much stress on his 17-or-18-year-old shoulders. Seeing their relationship grow is nothing short of amazing, and by the time Stars Above rolled around they’d well earned my respect. The amount of things they went through to be together is amazing.

Wolf and Scarlet (Wolflet):

“I know you must want nothing to do with me. I don’t blame you.” Wolf scrunched up his shoulders, and met her with an expression full of regret. “But you’re the only one, Scarlet. You’ll always be the only one.”

Wolflet is my favorite couple of all time. Ever. Because they are just so perfect for each other. I mean really. They’re just so cute. And yes, theirs is probably the cheesiest of all the TLC relationships, but still. It’s one of those Beauty and the Beast stories, and I love how they accept each other completely. Even after Wolf undergoes the full genetic tampering. And he loves her so much. His love for her is so very clear in each of the books, especially when she’s a prisoner on Luna. And when they got reunited, I think I cried tears of joy. 

Cress and Thorne (Cresswell):

“… I have to stop stealing things, but that’s probably a given. So I figure, by the time you realize how much I don’t deserve you… I might kind of deserve you.” His grin turned smug. “And that’s how that speech was supposed to go.”

“That was a good speech,” she said. 

“I know.” 

…”Captain?”

“Cress.”

She couldn’t not say it, although she realized he was right. It was sort of scary. Much scarier than it had been the first time she’d told him, out in the desert. It was different now. It was real. “I’m in love with you.” 

He chuckled. “I should hope so, after all that.” He leaned forward and pressed a kiss against her temple. “And I love you too.”

This relationship is just so sweet. Seeing Cress go from that awkward girl who may be just a little more than obsessed with Carswell Throne to truly loving him is simply beautiful. And then seeing Carswell falling in love with her, when he’d been a criminal and a scoundrel all his life, was just as beautiful. The way their relationship grew just makes me go semi-crazy. Because it’s adorable.

And I’m not yet in love with the Jacin/Winter (I think it’s Wincin) ship, but this reread may change that. They’re cute, but they haven’t grown on me yet.

So, who’s your favorite TLC couple, and why? 

-Clara

What Cats Do Book Tag

I was tagged by A Pretty Story about a month ago, so this is a bit overdue. I actually forgot I even got tagged until I was going through my liked posts a week or so ago. Oops.

So here goes!

For starters, I don’t have a cat, although I’d love one. But they’re adorable and I love this tag!

Purr- As cats do this when they’re happy or relaxed, what’s the book that makes you the happiest or most relaxed?

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It’s got its tense moments, but there’s something about Roshani’s writing style that makes me both happy and relaxed all at once. Of course, it also makes me hungry, but that’s irrelevant.

Sleep- What’s a book that either put you to sleep or was just boring?

Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather. I’m fairly certain I nearly fell asleep reading this, and it just felt plotless and boring.

Twitch While Dreaming- Have you ever dreamt of a book you read?

Many, many, many times. Percy Jackson and the Olympians (and Greek myths in general) was somehow involved in numerous dreams of mine back a few years ago. It was kinda cool, really.

Seems to Play Nice… Until the Claws are Out- What book had the biggest plot twist?

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Just… Everything. All of it. This book had me shocked so many times.

Cuddles- Which character would you give a hug to?

PEETA MELLARK. Honestly, he went through so much that he didn’t deserve to go through. And I just really, really, really want to hug him.

Catnip- A book that gave you warm and fuzzy feels?

I don’t read a lot of contemporary, so this is kinda difficult, but I’ve got to say What Light by Jay Asher. It was such a sweet, adorable Christmas romance.

what-light

Breeds of Cats- What are your favorite books?

entwined cover   wp-1485619895549.jpg    inkworld-trilogy  wp-1482608920330.jpg

wp-1482445458835.jpg  a-crown-of-wishes  wp-1482608018573.jpg  winter cover

I’ll stop there.

The Vet’s Office- Your Least Favorite Book

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe.

Getting Into Places They Shouldn’t- Your Least Favorite Cliche

“He let out a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding.” *sigh*

The Good Old Cardboard Box- That Underrated Book Series

Princess_of_the_Midnight_Ball_cover

I really enjoyed this series and thought it was well written.

I tag Annie @Annie Likes Words and whoever else hasn’t been tagged for this yet but wants to do it. 

Thanks y’all!

-Clara

 

My Favorite Classics

I have mixed emotions about classics. Sometimes they’re amazing, sometimes they bore me half to death. But every once in a while I find one that’s fantastic in every way, and today I want to share with you some of those old books that I absolutely love.

1. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Ok, so as soon as I saw the length of this thing, I loved it. It’s nearly 1500 pages, and I love a big book. But it is just so good. It wasn’t boring for a second. The plot was marvelously crafted and well thought out, the characters were flawed and felt so human, and it was just such a good book I couldn’t help but love it. It’s on my list of all-time favorites.

2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Another classic on the favorites list. Unlike Monte Cristo, Gatsby is very short at only 180 pages. Yet those pages contain not only an intriguing story. The book has a quietly beautiful way of telling the reader not to dwell in the past. I don’t “read between the lines”, because I just don’t get the whole “what-did-the-author-mean-by-this” thing, but Gatsby teaches a lesson in a stunning yet subtle manner, and I love it.

3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I love this book. The characters, the writing, the plot line. And it has Mr. Darcy, who must be the root of all dark and brooding princes that you find in YA today. And the haters-to-lovers trope, which I honestly can’t get enough of. It’s just a wonderful story that’s fun to read. And do watch the 90’s TV adaptation. It’s great.

4. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Yes, it took me six months to read. Yes, it was boring for a couple hundred pages. But yes, in the end, I loved it. And I sobbed harder than I can ever remember crying over a book. That ending. 

Rhett and Scarlett are just perfect for each other. Scarlett is truly a character to look up to, for her gunption and raw determination. It’s just a marvelous book, really.

5. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

I think I was 10 or 11 when I read this, and it’s time for a reread sometime soon. It’s truly a novel written for girls- one that is filled with memorable characters and fun adventures. It’s a simple book, but it holds lots of good memories. 

What’s your favorite classic?

-Clara

My Favorite Retellings

Hey folks! 

It’s really not a secret that I love a good retelling. Today I’d like to share with you some of my favorites.

1. Entwined by Heather Dixon (The Twelve-Dancing Princesses, or the Shoes that were Danced to Pieces)

I just love this book! It’s absolutely amazing in every way: the plot, the characters, the writing.

2. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White)

 

This series takes fairytales and turns them into an epic sci-fi. Add an almost-dystopian plot and you’ve got a fantastic series.

3. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh (A Thousand and One Nights)

I was a little bit confused about the events of this duology, and there were a few plot holes, but it’s a great story with memorable characters.

4. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi (Persephone and Hades)

This. Book. It is just so so good. It made me fall in love with Indian and Middle Eastern worlds, too. So in my reading it sorta made history.

5. Heartless by Marissa Meyer (Alice in Wonderland/Queen of Hearts)

Just woah. Like Effie when she saw Katniss in that dress, I was taken aback by the marvelous way this book was written. The wimsy of Wonderland and an increasingly darker tone… It’s just stunningly written.

And there we have it! Five of my favorite retellings. And…

(Because I just can’t resist.)

-Clara

Why Camp is the Best Week of the Year

So I got back from camp on Friday. It was my fifth year going, and it’s beyond a shadow of a doubt the best week of the entire year for so many reasons.

It’s a Bible camp associated with the Church of Christ, and it runs one week out of the whole year, so it’s the same people every year.

Going to camp is going home. If home is where the heart is, then camp really is my home.

It’s the relationships. The singing. The way it completely energizes me. The way I get so close to people in only five days. The beauty of being in the middle of nowhere with no phone distracting me. 

I’ll be honest, it wasn’t my best year of camp, but it was still camp. It was still home.

The relationships built in just five days always amaze me. I’ve met very, very dear friends at camp. Friends I know will be there for me through everything. And being surrounded by 150 people who all believe the same things I do- it’s amazing. Beyond compare. We laugh, we cry, we stay up too late and get up too early. We have embarassing moments and moments to be proud of. Together. All in a single week. And the relationships I’ve built at camp are just a small part of why I love it.

The singing, too. I can’t ever explain how amazing it is. No video could ever do it justice, no recording could either. It’s the most beautiful sound in this whole world- hearing over 100 young adults praising the Lord. We all stand in tight circles, arms around each other, brothers and sisters in Christ. In Christ alone. And it’s so, so, so beautiful. So beautiful it can’t be explained. So beautiful I’m not the only one shedding tears when we sing. 

The Bible classes, the devos, the view from the mountain that completely takes my breath away every single time, even if the hike has already made me breathless. Being out in the middle of the woods, lying on my back and staring up at the stars God created. Hugging each other through our tears on the last night because it means so much to all of us, camp does, and we don’t want to leave. 

I heard Bible camps referred to as “spiritual gas stations” once, and that statement couldn’t be more true. Because coming home makes me sing louder, pay more attention during the sermons. Want to grow closer to everyone in my youth group and keep in touch with the Christian friends I just made.

I can’t even begin to explain how much camp means to me. This year was hard, because a friend from camp was killed a few months ago: Grace Gilley. And I miss her, I miss her so much, and camp just wasn’t the same without her beautiful smile and laughter. Yet going to camp was going home, and it always will be.

Always, until I exchange this earthly home for my mansion up in Heaven.

-Clara

Casting Captain Guinevere

So I finally finished the rough draft of the sequel to Captain Guinevere! At the end of this, I’ll have a poll asking which out of my two title options y’all prefer.

In honor of finishing the first draft, I’d like to attempt to dreamcast Captain Guinevere. Which is probably going to end up a little strange because a few of the actors I have in mind may or may not speak English. This is what happens when French musicals become some of your favorite things.

But for Gwen, I have to say either Jennifer Lawrence or Lily Collins.

Jennifer-Lawrence-Katniss-Everdeen-1

Jennifer was an amazing Katniss and is just a great actress in general. I think she could really capture Gwen’s determination.

lily collins snow white

Lily Collins played Snow White in Mirror, Mirror, and with that black hair I think she looks very much like how I imagine Gwen. I’ve only seen her in one movie, but she did very well and I have a feeling she’d be able to capture Gwen’s loyalty and kindness as well as her fierce side.

For Ignatius, I have to go with Bradley James, who played Arthur in Merlin. 

ignatius

Arthur and Ignatius seem to have a lot of similar traits. I just truly think Bradley James would capture Ignatius’s character well.

Veronica is difficult. I think Jennifer Lawrence could play Veronica very well, too. But I just don’t know.

And maybe that’s because she and my best friend have a lot in common, and it’s hard to picture Veronica on the big screen without my BFF playing her.

So if you’ve read Captain Guinevere, who do you think would make a good Veronica Mertray?

Isolde is also a challenge for me. She looks so young but is really hundreds of years old.

And then there’s the factor of her red hair.

Karen Gillan, maybe?

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Florent is easy. I actually named him after the actor I’ve envisioned portraying him since I created him.

Florent Mothe. He’s a French singer and actor whose roles in Mozart l’Opera Rock and La Legende du Roi Arthur are amazing. In Mozart, he was Antonio Salieri, the villain. He did so well and I watch the musical just for Florent. As for Le Roi Arthur, he was King Arthur- the hero. So he can play both sides equally well.

Oh, and he sounds beautiful when he talks. In French, at least.

florent

And here’s one of his songs that I can’t resist sharing. This is on his most recent album, Danser Sous La Pluie.

Aldric is on this list because he gets a much bigger role in the sequel. And I love him to death. He’s my favorite character for a multitude of reasons.

And here’s another French actor/singer, who was also in La Legende du Roi Arthur. As a villain, but still.

aldric

So this is a loose reference picture for Aldric, but all the same, I think Fabien Incardona could pull off Aldric very well.

Ok, for the poll…

Lady Gwen or Lady Guinevere for the title of the sequel?

I can’t really decide. Which do you prefer? Tell me in the comments!

Thank you all for reading!

If you’ve read Captain Guinevere, who would you cast as your favorite character?

-Clara