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TTT: Character Traits I Love.

xxTop Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

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It’s Top Ten Tuesday and I’m, surprisingly, going on the theme! I know, shocking, right? I thought it was an interesting premise, to pick ten traits that I particularly enjoy in a character. I think these are traits I look for in people too; though I admit, some might find them to be a turn-off, as they say. 

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Apologetic. I like a character who can look at themselves and realise when they’ve been a bonehead about something and can apologize. Whether it’s through self-realization or someone pointing it out to them, I like it when they’re genuinely apologetic for whatever they’ve done. 

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Adventurous. I enjoy a character who likes adventure. For this, I’m definitely eyeballing Lestat de Lioncourt. He’s such a card. Adventure fuels him and it’s that joie de vivre that most certainly makes a book entertaining. Lestat has many of these traits, to be frank. (If you’ve not read the Vampire Chronicles, I highly recommend them. I didn’t enjoy the last two books though.) Though, one who is reluctant to get into one is equally amusing. (Looking at you, Neville Longbottom and Louis de Pointe du Lac.) 

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Confident. Confidence is a trait that I like in a character and in those who I know personally. I find it to be infectious; you may not be as confident on your own, but sometimes someone can inspire it within us. Whether it’s a fictional person or someone right beside me…I never can look at it as a bad thing.

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Imaginative. Self-explanatory, isn’t it? Dream big! 

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Loyal. This can be for good or bad. Loyalty to someone is commendable…even if you’re on the wrong side. I think loyalty is a trait that is underappreciated. 

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Observant. Maybe because I’m like…the most unobservant thing in creation…I appreciate it in others, lol. 

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Outspoken. We get one life. I think speaking up is super important. The problem is you have to know when to speak up. There are definitely wrong times to speak up and say things. (For example, politics. Unless there’s a segway into a said conversation? I wouldn’t go there.) 

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Sentimental. I love it when a character gets sentimental over things. It’s relatable. I find I look at pictures and get sentimental. It’s like Dumbledore or Harry when they look in the Mirror of Erised. They see what they want to see; what they desire most. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to do that. I think everyone has that within them. Some don’t show it; others do.

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Quirkiness. I love a character who is quirky and owns it. Take Luna Lovegood for example. She’s unusual. She knows it. She also knows what other people think of her and she doesn’t really give two figs. She is unapologetically herself. Luna has the confidence as well. I know I’ve used a lot of Harry Potter references, but I think they’re the perfect series of characters to use. 

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Bravery. I know I was going in alphabetical order, but I wanted to put something in here that I think everyone appreciates. I think bravery is to be commended; especially if it’s for a cause you believe in. We all have the ability to be brave, to read someone’s journey to becoming said brave character is something I forever find enthralling. Such as Harry Potter himself. He knows how to be brave. He knows things are coming. But he faces a lot of trials before ultimately braving the ultimate one. You can apply that to someone like Katniss Everdeen too. There are many protagonists who go through a journey…and that’s why we keep reading. 

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What did you think of my list? What do you like in a character? Sound off in comments and let me know! 

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Calendar Girls: Bookish OTP!

Hosted by Katie @ Never Not Reading and Darque Reader Reads, “Calendar Girls is a monthly blog event created by Melanie at MNBernard Books, and Flavia at Flavia the Bibliophile, and will now be hosted by Katie. It is designed to ignite bookish discussions among readers and was inspired by the 1961 Neil Sedaka song, Calendar Girl. Just like the song, each month has a different theme. Each blogger picks their favorite book from the theme, and on the first Monday of the month reveals their pick in a Calendar Girls post. Make sure to post back to the hostess’s post, and I will make a master list for the month. The master lists allow everyone to see the other Calendar Girls’ picks and to pop on over to their blogs. Thus, we all get to chat about books and even make some new friends!” — Katie

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The theme this month is our Bookish OTP! This, as always, was hard for me to choose. There are many couples in books that I really love. Lei and Wren from Girls of Paper and

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My pick for Audrey & Thomas. Ben Barnes & Nina Dobrev.

Fire, Audrey and Thomas from the Stalking Jack the Ripper series, Claire and Jaime from Outlander, Scarlett, and Rhett from Gone With the Wind. (hey, don’t rain on my parade, okay?) Lily and James Potter from the HP series, Harry and Hermione. (I will die on that mountain. Harry and Hermione were better suited for one another. I didn’t get the Ron/Mione thing in books and on screen.) I don’t believe we have to pick a canon couple, but I was good and I chose one.

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My choice comes from Me Before You!
Untitled-x1Ime-before-you really, honestly, and I’m sure I’ll get some grief, but I loved the hell out of Will and Louisa from Me Before You. I know the end of the book is devastating and there are many who feel that it was wrong to have Will die, but I think he wanted to go on his own terms. He wasn’t happy, he was suffering, and the woman he loved would never live a full life without him. Granted, I’d have done as Lou did, I’d have fought hard for him. If I loved someone that much, the idea of life without them would be impossible to fathom. Eventually, I’d accept it, but I think you all understand my meaning. Will Traynor was the spark that ignited a passion for life, for everything. Once she broke down those walls he had erected around himself, I loved Will too.

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Scarlett & Rhett.

Now, given Will deciding to end his life, and ultimately his suffering, I know people think it’s selfish. But I don’t. And I think Lou eventually saw that, given how she saw first hand how limited and miserable his life was. I think people have to make the decisions that will give them peace, ultimately. As with everything in this day and age, people find fault with everything, but I really love them and they will always be one of my favorites. (Scarlett and Rhett are my all time favorite, but I know people are sick of me talking Gone With The Wind, lol.)

 

Lou and Will complimented each other, despite their differences. And I think that’s an important thing people should realise that you can come from two entirely different backgrounds, and yet, still be entirely perfect for the other. Will, being in the situation that he was, made Lou see that there is an entire world out there and she shouldn’t be ‘maudlin’ and miss out. And yet, he never made her change her style, her quirkiness, any of it, despite it initially annoying him.

Rather, he embraced her for it. And though there were occasions Lou wanted to leave, she was head over heels for Will and she did her best to make his time pleasant.  Where he was quiet, she was chatty, where she was naive, he was experienced. There were so many ways that they complimented one another and I really, really loved that.

It was the film that alerted me to the existence of the book. I am not, as most of you know, a romance lover really. But taking Emilia Clarke and putting her in this role…and giving me Sam Claflin to look at, well, of course, I was going to be pulled in. I recently got the DVD, but I haven’t watched yet as I have no intention of bawling my eyes out. Having seen the movie, when I read the book finally, I could see them perfectly in the roles. I think it was a rare case of really brilliant casting.

I suppose I also love Lou so much because as I said in another post, I see myself in her. There is so much of her in me, that sometimes reading the book, I felt I knew what I would do and lo and behold, she did it. It isn’t often I connect with a character like that. Especially given that when asked what characters I think are like me, I say, Belle, Jo March, and Scarlett O’Hara. But yes…that’s one of my bookish OTP’s. I hope you enjoyed the read and that you sound off, telling me if you agree or not, who you would pick.

And be sure to visit the other Calendar Girls blogs to read who they pick. Be kind to one another, as Ellen DeGeneres says!

Over and out, bookworms! xx

PS: If you are in Europe and in the midst of the heatwave, please, please stay cool. Stay Hydrated, take cool showers/baths. If you like ice cream? Go for it. Sit with fans. Also, if you are an animal lover like I am, leave some water out for them. And be mindful of the hotness of concrete–it will burn the pads of your pet’s feet! Keep them cool too. xx

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Top Ten Tuesday!

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s theme is The “Last Ten Books I Added To My TBR”. For this, I referred to my Goodreads list. If you’re not my friend on there, please feel free to click and you’ll be brought there. I don’t deny anyone. 🙂 I welcome your friendship and I love reading what you guys are reading.

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“Tyrants cut out hearts. Rulers sacrifice their own. Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, but when her beloved father is murdered, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of an unstable kingdom. Determined to find her father’s killer, Hesina does something desperate: she engages the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by death… because in Yan, magic was outlawed centuries ago.

Using the information illicitly provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust even her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant and alluring investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of her kingdom at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?

In this shimmering Chinese-inspired fantasy, debut author Joan He introduces a determined and vulnerable young heroine struggling to do right in a world brimming with deception.

Release: April 2nd, 2019.

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Two sisters become unwitting rivals in a war to claim the title of Emperor in this sweeping tale of ambition, sacrifice and betrayal for readers of Sabaa Tahir and Alwyn Hamilton.

All hail the Girl King. 

Sisters Lu and Min have always understood their places as princesses of the Empire. Lu knows she is destined to become the dynasty’s first female ruler, while Min is resigned to a life in her shadow. Then their father declares their male cousin Set the heir instead—a betrayal that sends the sisters down two very different paths.

Determined to reclaim her birthright, Lu goes on the run. She needs an ally—and an army—if she is to succeed. Her quest leads her to Nokhai, the last surviving wolf shapeshifter. Nok wants to keep his identity secret, but finds himself forced into an uneasy alliance with the girl whose family killed everyone he ever loved…

Alone in the volatile court, Min’s hidden power awakens—a forbidden, deadly magic that could secure Set’s reign…or allow Min to claim the throne herself. But there can only be one Emperor, and the sisters’ greatest enemy could turn out to be each other.

Publish Date: January 8th, 2019.
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Inspired by author Tori Telfer’s Jezebel column “Lady Killers,” this thrilling and entertaining compendium investigates female serial killers and their crimes through the ages.

When you think of serial killers throughout history, the names that come to mind are ones like Jack the Ripper, John Wayne Gacy, and Ted Bundy. But what about Tillie Klimek, Moulay Hassan, Kate Bender? The narrative we’re comfortable with is the one where women are the victims of violent crime, not the perpetrators. In fact, serial killers are thought to be so universally, overwhelmingly male that in 1998, FBI profiler Roy Hazelwood infamously declared in a homicide conference, “There are no female serial killers.”

Lady Killers, based on the popular online series that appeared on Jezebel and The Hairpin, disputes that claim and offers fourteen gruesome examples as evidence. Though largely forgotten by history, female serial killers such as Erzsébet Báthory, Nannie Doss, Mary Ann Cotton, and Darya Nikolayevna Saltykova rival their male counterparts in cunning, cruelty, and appetite for destruction.

Each chapter explores the crimes and history of a different subject, and then proceeds to unpack her legacy and her portrayal in the media, as well as the stereotypes and sexist clichés that inevitably surround her. The first book to examine female serial killers through a feminist lens with a witty and dryly humorous tone, Lady Killers dismisses easy explanations (she was hormonal, she did it for love, a man made her do it) and tired tropes (she was a femme fatale, a black widow, a witch), delving into the complex reality of female aggression and predation. Featuring 14 illustrations from Dame Darcy, Lady Killers is a bloodcurdling, insightful, and irresistible journey into the heart of darkness.

Publish Date: October 10th 2017.

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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You, After You, and Still Me, the story of a young woman who finds safe harbor after opening an eclectic shop as she reckons with the troubling mystery of her past

In the sixties, Athene Forster was the most glamorous girl of her generation. Nicknamed the Last Deb, she was also beautiful, spoiled, and out of control. When she agreed to marry the gorgeous young heir Douglas Fairley-Hulme, her parents breathed a sigh of relief. But within two years, rumors had begun to circulate about Athene’s affair with a young salesman.

Thirty-five years later, Suzanna Peacock is struggling with her notorious mother’s legacy. The only place she finds comfort is in the shop, The Peacock Emporium, a coffee-shop-cum-gift-store she opened, which provides a haven for other misfits in the town. There she makes perhaps the first real friends of her life, including Alejandro, a male midwife, escaping his own ghosts in Argentina.

But the specter of her mother still haunts Suzanna, setting off a chain of tragic events. Only by confronting both her family and the feelings she has disguised for so long will she be able to come to terms with the past. As she finds her footing, Suzanna discovers that the key to her history, and her happiness, may have been in front of her all along.

Publish Date: April 9th 2019.
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A post-mortem photographer unearths dark secrets of the past that may hold the key to his future, in this captivating debut novel in the gothic tradition of Wuthering Heights and The Thirteenth Tale.

All love stories are ghost stories in disguise.

When famed Byronesque poet Hugh de Bonne is discovered dead of a heart attack in his bath one morning, his cousin Robert Highstead, a historian turned post-mortem photographer, is charged with a simple task: transport Hugh’s remains for burial in a chapel. This chapel, a stained glass folly set on the moors of Shropshire, was built by de Bonne sixteen years earlier to house the remains of his beloved wife and muse, Ada. Since then, the chapel has been locked and abandoned, a pilgrimage site for the rabid fans of de Bonne’s last book, The Lost History of Dreams.

However, Ada’s grief-stricken niece refuses to open the glass chapel for Robert unless he agrees to her bargain: before he can lay Hugh to rest, Robert must record Isabelle’s story of Ada and Hugh’s ill-fated marriage over the course of five nights.

As the mystery of Ada and Hugh’s relationship unfolds, so does the secret behind Robert’s own marriage—including that of his fragile wife, Sida, who has not been the same since the tragic accident three years ago, and the origins of his own morbid profession that has him seeing things he shouldn’t—things from beyond the grave.

Kris Waldherr effortlessly spins a sweeping and atmospheric gothic mystery about love and loss that blurs the line between the past and the present, truth and fiction, and ultimately, life and death.

Publish Date: April 9th 2019.
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Devoted maid Mary Ballard’s world is built on secrets, and it’s about to be ripped apart at the seams, in this lush and evocative debut set in 19th century New York, perfect for fans of Sarah Waters’s Fingersmith and Emma Donoghue’s Slammerkin.

By day, Mary Ballard is lady’s maid to Charlotte Walden, wealthy and accomplished belle of New York City high society. Mary loves Charlotte with an obsessive passion that goes beyond a servant’s devotion, but Charlotte would never trust Mary again if she knew the truth about her devoted servant’s past. Because Mary’s fate is linked to that of her mistress, one of the most sought-after debutantes in New York, Mary’s future seems secure—if she can keep her own secrets…

But on her nights off, Mary sheds her persona as prim and proper lady’s maid to reveal her true self—Irish exile Maire O’Farren—and finds release from her frustration in New York’s gritty underworld—in the arms of a prostitute and as drinking companion to a decidedly motley crew consisting of a barkeeper and members of a dangerous secret society.

Meanwhile, Charlotte has a secret of her own—she’s having an affair with a stable groom, unaware that her lover is actually Mary’s own brother. When the truth of both women’s double lives begins to unravel, Mary is left to face the consequences. Forced to choose between loyalty to her brother and loyalty to Charlotte, between society’s respect and true freedom, Mary finally learns that her fate lies in her hands alone.

A captivating historical fiction of 19th century upstairs/downstairs New York City, The Parting Glass examines sexuality, race, and social class in ways that feel startlingly familiar and timely. A perfectly paced, romantically charged story of overlapping love triangles that builds to a white-knuckle climax, this is an irresistible debut that’s impossible to put down.

Publish Date: March 5th 2019.

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The New York Times bestselling author of The Summer Wives and A Certain Age creates a dazzling epic of World War II-era Nassau—a hotbed of spies, traitors, and the most infamous couple of the age, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

The Bahamas, 1941. Newly-widowed Leonora “Lulu” Randolph arrives in Nassau to investigate the Governor and his wife for a New York society magazine. After all, American readers have an insatiable appetite for news of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, that glamorous couple whose love affair nearly brought the British monarchy to its knees five years earlier. What more intriguing backdrop for their romance than a wartime Caribbean paradise, a colonial playground for kingpins of ill-gotten empires?

Or so Lulu imagines. But as she infiltrates the Duke and Duchess’s social circle, and the powerful cabal that controls the islands’ political and financial affairs, she uncovers evidence that beneath the glister of Wallis and Edward’s marriage lies an ugly—and even treasonous—reality. In fact, Windsor-era Nassau seethes with spies, financial swindles, and racial tension, and in the middle of it all stands Benedict Thorpe: a scientist of tremendous charm and murky national loyalties. Inevitably, the willful and wounded Lulu falls in love.

Then Nassau’s wealthiest man is murdered in one of the most notorious cases of the century, and the resulting coverup reeks of royal privilege. Benedict Thorpe disappears without a trace, and Lulu embarks on a journey to London and beyond to unpick Thorpe’s complicated family history: a fateful love affair, a wartime tragedy, and a mother from whom all joy is stolen.

The stories of two unforgettable women thread together in this extraordinary epic of espionage, sacrifice, human love, and human courage, set against a shocking true crime…and the rise and fall of a legendary royal couple.

Publish Date: July 9th 2019.

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A captivating novel based on the story of the extraordinary real-life American woman who secretly worked for the French Resistance during World War II—while playing hostess to the invading Germans at the iconic Hôtel Ritz in Paris—from the New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator’s Wife and The Swans of Fifth Avenue.

Nothing bad can happen at the Ritz; inside its gilded walls every woman looks beautiful, every man appears witty. Favored guests like Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Coco Chanel, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor walk through its famous doors, where they’re welcomed and pampered by Blanche Auzello and her husband, Claude, the director. The Auzellos are the mistress and master of the Ritz, allowing the glamor and glitz to take their mind off their troubled marriage, and off the secrets that they keep from their guests—and each other.

Until June 1940, when the German army sweeps into Paris, setting up headquarters at the Ritz. Suddenly, with the likes of Hermann Goëring moving into suites once occupied by royalty, Blanche and Claude must navigate a terrifying new reality. One that entails even more secrets. One that may destroy the tempestuous marriage between this beautiful, reckless American and her very proper Frenchman. For the falsehoods they tell to survive, and to strike a blow against their Nazi “guests,” spin a web of deceit that ensnares everything and everyone they cherish.

But one secret is shared between Blanche and Claude alone—the secret that, in the end, threatens to imperil both of their lives, and to bring down the legendary Ritz itself.

Based on true events, Mistress of the Ritz is a taut tale of suspense wrapped up in a love story for the ages, the inspiring story of a woman and a man who discover the best in each other amid the turbulence of war.

Publish Date: May 21st 2019.
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From the New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, an enthralling historical saga that recreates the danger, romance, and sacrifice of an era and brings to life one courageous, passionate American—Mildred Fish Harnack—and her circle of women friends who waged a clandestine battle against Hitler in Nazi Berlin.

After Wisconsin graduate student Mildred Fish marries brilliant German economist Arvid Harnack, she accompanies him to his German homeland, where a promising future awaits. In the thriving intellectual culture of 1930s Berlin, the newlyweds create a rich new life filled with love, friendships, and rewarding work—but the rise of a malevolent new political faction inexorably changes their fate.

As Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party wield violence and lies to seize power, Mildred, Arvid, and their friends resolve to resist. Mildred gathers intelligence for her American contacts, including Martha Dodd, the vivacious and very modern daughter of the US ambassador. Her German friends, aspiring author Greta Kuckoff and literature student Sara Weiss, risk their lives to collect information from journalists, military officers, and officials within the highest levels of the Nazi regime.

For years, Mildred’s network stealthily fights to bring down the Third Reich from within. But when Nazi radio operatives detect an errant Russian signal, the Harnack resistance cell is exposed, with fatal consequences.

Inspired by actual events, Resistance Women is an enthralling, unforgettable story of ordinary people determined to resist the rise of evil, sacrificing their own lives and liberty to fight injustice and defend the oppressed.

Publish Date: May 28th 2019.

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Petrograd, 1914. A country on a knife edge. The story of two people caught in the middle – with everything to lose…

A stunning debut from a talented new Australian voice in historical fiction.

Valentina Yershova’s position in the Romanov’s Imperial Russian Ballet is the only thing that keeps her from the clutches of poverty. With implacable determination, she has clawed her way through the ranks to soloist, utilising not only her talent, but her alliances with influential rich men that grants them her body, but never her heart. When Luka Zhirkov – the gifted son of a factory worker – joins the company, her passion for ballet and love is rekindled, putting at risk everything that she has built.

For Luka, being accepted into the company fulfils a lifelong dream. But in the eyes of his proletariat father, it makes him a traitor. As war tightens its grip and the country starves, Luka is increasingly burdened with guilt about their lavish lifestyles.
While Luka and Valentina’s secret connection grows, the country rockets toward a revolution that will decide the fate of every dancer.

For the Imperial Russian Ballet has become the ultimate symbol of Romanov indulgence, and soon the lovers are forced to choose: their country, their art or each other…

A powerful novel of class turmoil, passion and just how much two people will sacrifice…

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Top Ten Tuesday!

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The theme this week is to pick anticipated reads…well, you can see. I’ve done that a few times already, so I thought it’d be fun to pick from one of the old topics that I hadn’t done yet. Thus, I picked:  Top Ten “Older” Books I Don’t Want People To Forget.

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1. The Diary of Anne Frank. I think it would be devastating to forget about this book. Anne’s voice is so pure and honest, painting the portrait of life in hiding, her hopes, dreams, fears. Her ideals. She was wise beyond her years and to forget her would be a tragedy. She died far too young and for what? Because she was Jewish. As though Jews were useless. One should never forget the Holocaust nor those who lived, who died and those who told/tell the story.

2. Little Women. I always live in fear that someday this will be an obsolete book, one that doesn’t inspire little girls as it did me. They won’t come to know Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy and to appreciate their unique stories, to learn how to forge a path when the odds are dead set against you. To grow as a person and experience the growing pains that come with age…such as when childhood events no longer have the same appeal, but instead have a warm place in your heart. This, to me, would be devastating were it to be forgotten.

3. Gone With The Wind. Don’t judge, haha. But Scarlett is a character that I think everyone should read at least once. Her life is the ultimate soap operator and yet, we come to see moments where Scarlett is the bamf we know her to be. She’s a pure spitfire and I adore her, even when she’s being bratty, for lack of a better term. Scarlett doesn’t accept things, she works for them. She is just a hell of a character.

4. In Cold Blood. Truman Capote wrote this and it’s absolutely heartbreaking, anger-inducing, it is a tumult of emotions. It is considered the first True Crime book and people just couldn’t get over it nor the author himself. Capote went to the town where the murders occurred and researched; with him, he brought Harper Lee, his best friend. It’s a sensational view.

5.  To Kill A Mockingbird. I was one of the few in my class who enjoyed the book. It’s important to history because it spotlights a true miscarriage of justice. And it also questions Human Nature, which I always thought a fascinating thing. There is no frivolous nature in this book. It is to the point and it is truly a masterpiece, in my opinion. I found I was always reading ahead in class when we were reading it. (If my old English teacher is reading, hi!)

6. The Phantom of the Opera. It’s one of my favorite musicals, though I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing it in person yet. I love the story, which is essentially a Beauty and the Beast retelling. It’s splendidly written and I truly adored the story. (Susan Kay’s ‘Phantom’ was also brilliant.) I maintain I’d have chosen the Phantom. I’ve never liked Raoul.

7. The Color Purple. I don’t know if you’d consider it a classic, but to me it is. It’s one of those books that once you read it (or even see the film), it will forever stick with you. It’s full of tragedy and triumphs, joy, sorrow, for every good, there is a bad. But you stick with it because it’s so realistic. Miss Celie is one of those characters I will forever carry in my heart as is Sophia. (You may recall Oprah played her in the film and Whoopi Goldberg played Celie.)

8. The Portrait of Dorian Gray. I confess that I added this because I saw the movie before I read the book. I blame Ben Barnes (you may know him from The Punisher, Narnia, Westworld) for it. He is the perfect embodiment of this young man who slips further and further into corruption. A portrait keeps him young and youthful, the portrait ages and shows the effects. It’s a cautionary tale and a splendid read. (I am an unabashed fangirl, lol.)

9. Anything from Shakespeare. I know some find him terribly boring, but I think going back and reading his works are very beneficial. Besides, he coined many different terms that we keep in our lexicon today. It is also fun to see how the language evolves through the ages and how problems tend to remain the same, despite the eras changing.

Examples: 
–“Dead as a doornail” — (Henry VI Part II)
–“For goodness’ sake” — (Henry VIII)
–“Foregone conclusion” — (Othello)
–“Full circle” — (King Lear)
–“Wear my heart upon my sleeve” — (Othello)
–“Wild-goose chase” — (Romeo and Juliet)

10. The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. I admit that I read an abridged version when I was 11 or 12, but I do mean to read the full novel. I absolutely adore the story. Quasimodo, born misshapen and abused, Esmeralda, a Romani (‘Gypsy’ as they refer to her) dancer/performer, Phoebus, the head guard, Frollo, the judge who is disgustingly corrupt though he tries to hide it by justifying it as “righteousness.” These characters are so fascinating and slip into your head, never leaving.  All of their lives intertwine in a highly dramatic manner. As they ask in the Disney film–“Who is the monster and who is the man?”

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2019 Titles I’m Excited For. (Part II.)

I wasn’t 100% sure that I would have this done in time for Tuesday as I had planned but here we are! This is strictly historical fiction here. There may be a part three, maybe. There are a LOT of good books coming out next year. And I’m dearly hoping that this will help me out of my slump. (Worst. Feeling. Ever.) I am feeling excitement at these titles and I’m just waiting impatiently for them to be released already. I hope you enjoy the list compiled here. 🙂

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American Princess: A Novel of First Daughter Alice Roosevelt

A sweeping novel from renowned author Stephanie Marie Thornton…

Alice may be the president’s daughter, but she’s nobody’s darling. As bold as her signature color Alice Blue, the gum-chewing, cigarette-smoking, poker-playing First Daughter discovers that the only way for a woman to stand out in Washington is to make waves–oceans of them. With the canny sophistication of the savviest politician on the Hill, Alice uses her celebrity to her advantage, testing the limits of her power and the seductive thrill of political entanglements.

But Washington, DC is rife with heartaches and betrayals, and when Alice falls hard for a smooth-talking congressman it will take everything this rebel has to emerge triumphantly and claim her place as an American icon. As Alice soldiers through the devastation of two world wars and brazens out a cutting feud with her famous Roosevelt cousins, it’s no wonder everyone in the capital refers to her as the Other Washington Monument–and Alice intends to outlast them all.

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Set in the 1950s against the backdrop of Grace Kelly’s whirlwind romance and glamourous wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco, New York Times bestselling author Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb take the reader on an evocative sun-drenched journey along the Côte d’Azur in this page-turning novel of passion, fate, and second-chances.

Movie stars and paparazzi flock to Cannes for the glamorous film festival, but Grace Kelly, the biggest star of all, wants only to escape from the flash-bulbs. When struggling perfumer Sophie Duval shelters Miss Kelly in her boutique, fending off a persistent British press photographer, James Henderson, a bond is forged between the two women and sets in motion a chain of events that stretches across thirty years of friendship, love, and tragedy.

James Henderson cannot forget his brief encounter with Sophie Duval. Despite his guilt at being away from his daughter, he takes an assignment to cover the wedding of the century, sailing with Grace Kelly’s wedding party on the SS Constitution from New York. In Monaco, as wedding fever soars and passions and tempers escalate, James and Sophie—like Princess Grace—must ultimately decide what they are prepared to give up for love.

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The Huntress

From the author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling novel, The Alice Network, comes another fascinating historical novel about a battle-haunted English journalist and a Russian female bomber pilot who join forces to track the Huntress, a Nazi war criminal gone to ground in America.

In the aftermath of war, the hunter becomes the hunted…

Bold, reckless Nina Markova grows up on the icy edge of Soviet Russia, dreaming of flight and fearing nothing. When the tide of war sweeps over her homeland, she gambles everything to join the infamous Night Witches, an all-female night bomber regiment wreaking havoc on Hitler’s eastern front. But when she is downed behind enemy lines and thrown across the path of a lethal Nazi murderess known as the Huntress, Nina must use all her wits to survive.

British war correspondent Ian Graham has witnessed the horrors of war from Omaha Beach to the Nuremberg Trials. He abandons journalism after the war to become a Nazi hunter, yet one target eludes him: the Huntress. Fierce, disciplined Ian must join forces with brazen, cocksure Nina, the only witness to escape the Huntress alive. But a shared secret could derail their mission, unless Ian and Nina force themselves to confront it.

Seventeen-year-old Jordan McBride grows up in post WWII Boston, determined despite family opposition to become a photographer. At first delighted when her long-widowed father brings home a fiancée, Jordan grows increasingly disquieted by the soft-spoken German widow who seems to be hiding something. Armed only with her camera and her wits, Jordan delves into her new stepmother’s past and slowly realizes there are mysteries buried deep in her family. But Jordan’s search for the truth may threaten all she holds dear.

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A captivating novel based on the story of the extraordinary real-life American

woman who secretly worked for the French Resistance during World War II—while playing hostess to the invading Germans at the iconic Hôtel Ritz in Paris—from the New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator’s Wife and The Swans of Fifth Avenue.

Nothing bad can happen at the Ritz; inside its gilded walls every woman looks beautiful, every man appears witty. Favored guests like Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Coco Chanel, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor walk through its famous doors, where they’re welcomed and pampered by Blanche Auzello and her husband, Claude, the director. The Auzellos are the mistress and master of the Ritz, allowing the glamor and glitz to take their mind off their troubled marriage, and off the secrets that they keep from their guests—and each other.

Until June 1940, when the German army sweeps into Paris, setting up headquarters at the Ritz. Suddenly, with the likes of Hermann Goëring moving into suites once occupied by royalty, Blanche and Claude must navigate a terrifying new reality. One that entails even more secrets. One that may destroy the tempestuous marriage between this beautiful, reckless American and her very proper Frenchman. For the falsehoods they tell to survive, and to strike a blow against their Nazi “guests,” spin a web of deceit that ensnares everything and everyone they cherish.

But one secret is shared between Blanche and Claude alone—the secret that, in the end, threatens to imperil both of their lives, and to bring down the legendary Ritz itself.

Based on true events, Mistress of the Ritz is a taut tale of suspense wrapped up in a love story for the ages, the inspiring story of a woman and a man who discover the best in each other amid the turbulence of war.

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Australian bestselling novelist Karen Brooks rewrites women back into history with this breathtaking novel set in 17th century London—a lush, fascinating story of the beautiful woman who is drawn into a world of riches, power, intrigue…and chocolate.

Damnation has never been so sweet…

Growing up in an impoverished household with a brutal family, Rosamund Tomkins is both relieved and terrified when her parents all but sell her in a marriage of convenience to a wealthy nobleman, Sir Everard Blithman. Though Rosamund will finally be free of the torment she’d become accustomed to in her childhood home, she doesn’t know if she’s traded one evil for another. But much to her surprise, Rosamund soon discovers that her arranged marriage is more of a blessing than curse. For her new husband recognizes not only Rosamund’s unusual beauty, but also her charm and vibrancy, which seem to enchant almost everyone who crosses her path.

Sir Everard presides over a luxurious London chocolate house where wealthy and well-connected men go to be seen, exchange news, and indulge in the sweet and heady drink to which they have become addicted. It is a life of luxury and power that Rosamund had never imagined for herself, and she thrives in it, quickly becoming the most talked-about woman in society, desired and respected in equal measure. But when disaster strikes, Rosamund stands on the brink of losing all she possesses. Determined not to return to poverty, Rosamund makes a deal with the devil that could preserve her place in society—or bring her the greatest downfall.

Set against the decadent, chaotic backdrop of Restoration London, the plague, and the Great Fire, The Chocolate Maker’s Wife is a tale of revenge and redemption, love and hope—and the sweet, sinister temptation of chocolate.

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Cover to be revealed.

Inspired by a woman and events forgotten by history, bestselling author Susan Holloway Scott weaves together carefully researched fact and fiction to tell the story of Mary Emmons, and the place she held in the life–and the heart–of the notorious Aaron Burr.

He was a hero of the Revolution, a brilliant politician, lawyer, and very nearly president; a skillful survivor in a raw new country filled with constantly shifting loyalties. Today Aaron Burr is remembered more for the fatal duel that killed his rival Alexander Hamilton. But long before that single shot destroyed Burr’s political career, there were other dark whispers about him: that he was untrustworthy, a libertine, a man unafraid of claiming whatever he believed should be his.

Sold into slavery as a child in India, Mary Emmons was brought to an America torn by war. Toughened by the experiences of her young life, Mary is intelligent, resourceful, and strong. She quickly gains the trust of her new mistress, Theodosia Prevost, and becomes indispensable in a complicated household filled with intrigue–especially when the now-widowed Theodosia marries Colonel Aaron Burr. As Theodosia sickens with the fatal disease that will finally kill her, Mary and Burr are drawn together into a private world of power and passion, and a secret tangled union that would have shocked the nation . . .

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For fans of Charles Todd and Deanna Raybourn comes Christine Trent’s second Florence Nightingale mystery.

Cholera has broken out in London, but Florence Nightingale has bigger problems when people begin dying of a far more intentional cause—murder.

The London summer of 1854 is drawing to a close when a deadly outbreak of cholera grips the city. Florence Nightingale is back on the scene marshaling her nurses to help treat countless suffering patients at Middlesex Hospital as the disease tears through the Soho slums. But beyond the dangers of the disease, something even more evil is seeping through the ailing streets of London.

It begins with an attack on the carriage of Florence’s friend, Elizabeth Herbert, wife to Secretary at War Sidney Herbert. Florence survives, but her coachman does not. Within hours, Sidney’s valet stumbles into the hospital, mutters a few cryptic words about the attack, and promptly dies from cholera. Frantic that an assassin is stalking his wife, Sidney enlists Florence’s help, who accepts but has little to go on save for the valet’s last words and a curious set of dice in his jacket pocket. Soon, the suspects are piling up faster than cholera victims, as there seems to be no end to the number of people who bear a grudge against the Herbert household.

Now, Florence is in a race against time—not only to save the victims of a lethal disease, but to foil a murderer with a disturbingly sinister goal—in A Murderous Malady.

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Raising the literary bar to a new level, Jerome Charyn re-creates the voice of Theodore Roosevelt, the New York City police commissioner, Rough Rider, and soon- to-be twenty-sixth president through his derring-do adventures, effortlessly combining superhero dialogue with haunting pathos. Beginning with his sickly childhood and concluding with McKinley’s assassination, the novel positions Roosevelt as a “perfect bull in a china shop,” a fearless crime fighter and pioneering environmentalist who would grow up to be our greatest peacetime president.

With an operatic cast, including “Bamie,” his handicapped older sister; Eleanor, his gawky little niece; as well as the devoted Rough Riders, the novel memorably features the lovable mountain lion Josephine, who helped train Roosevelt for his “crowded hour,” the charge up San Juan Hill. Lauded by Jonathan Lethem for his “polymorphous imagination and crack comic timing,” Charyn has created a classic of historical fiction, confirming his place as “one of the most important writers in American literature.” –Michael Chabon.

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Inspired by real characters, this transporting historical fiction debut spins the fascinating story of two princesses in the Romanov court who practiced black magic, befriended the Tsarina, and invited Rasputin into their lives—forever changing the course of Russian history.

As daughters of the impoverished King of Montenegro, Militza and Stana must fulfill their duty to their father and leave their beloved home for St. Petersburg to be married into senior positions in the Romanov court. For their new alliances to the Russian nobility will help secure the future of the sisters’ native country. Immediately, Militza and Stana feel like outcasts as the aristocracy shuns them for their provincial ways and for dabbling in the occult. Undeterred, the sisters become resolved to make their mark by falling in with the lonely, depressed Tsarina Alexandra, who—as an Anglo-German—is also an outsider and is not fully accepted by members of the court. After numerous failed attempts to precipitate the birth of a son and heir, the Tsarina is desperate and decides to place her faith in the sisters’ expertise with black magic.

Promising the Tsarina that they will be able to secure an heir for the Russian dynasty, Militza and Stana hold séances and experiment with rituals and spells. Gurus, clairvoyants, holy fools, and charlatans all try their luck. The closer they become to the Tsarina and the royal family, the more their status—and power—is elevated. But when the sisters invoke a spiritual shaman, who goes by the name of Rasputin, the die is cast. For they have not only irrevocably sealed their own fates—but also that of Russia itself.

Brimming with black magic, sex and intrigue, The Witches of St. Petersburg is an exquisite historical fiction debut novel filled with lush historical details from the Romanov era.

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“A miracle; an exquisite story exquisitely told . . . If you love Jane Austen, or Hamilton, or fiction—of any era—that transports and transforms in equal measure, look no further.” —A.J. Finn, bestselling author of The Woman in the Window

From the prizewinning author of Mr. Timothy and The Pale Blue Eye comes Courting Mr. Lincoln, the page-turning and surprising story of a young Abraham Lincoln and the two people who loved him best: a young, marriageable Mary Todd and Lincoln’s best friend, Joshua Speed.

When sparky and independent Mary Todd arrives in Springfield, Illinois, in the 1840s to live with her sister, who is determined to find Mary a husband, she is astonished to find herself drawn to an awkward, melancholic lawyer with a gift for oratory. The two share ambition, an obsession with politics—and a need to be suitably married off. Always at Lincoln’s side, however, is the charming Joshua Speed, a shopkeeper who became his mentor in society, loyal friend, roommate—and possible lover. Told in alternating chapters from the points of view of Todd and Speed, this witty, psychologically astute, and brilliantly plotted novel follows the threesome during Todd and Lincoln’s tumultuous courtship, with all the suspense and delight of the best Jane Austen novels. Historians have long speculated that Lincoln and Speed had a romantic relationship, and here Bayard explores that forbidden possibility with deep empathy. Rich with both period detail and contemporary insight, Courting Mr. Lincoln offers smart storytelling at the highest level.

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Get to know me: Writer’s Edition. :)


Another tag! I am hoping it keeps my muse going. I also thought you would be amused to see that it’s the ‘writer’s edition’. You’re likely thinking, “Clarissa, you’re not a writer.” But I am, after a fashion, actually. It is a goal of mine to write and publish a book someday. I may, one day, post a blurb I have to gauge your thoughts to see if it’s worth a try. Regardless, I saw that Lady S. at Sage in the Meadow filled this out and I thought, why not?

This tag was created by Savannah Grace. No one tagged me and I welcome any of you to fill it out. I’d love to see your responses. 🙂 

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Vital Stats and Appearance. 

Name:   Clarissa Marie. I have a last name obviously, but I’m not about to put that here. But it’s pretty cool.

Nickname:   Riss, Rissa, Crissa, Clari, Clare.

Birthday:   The 9th of September.

Hair color/Length:   Dark Brown with a lot more grey than I’d like to admit. Around my shoulders.

Piercings/Tattoos:   I have my ears done three times. Though I should put some earrings in so they don’t close.

Righty/Lefty:   Righty

Ethnicity:   I’m biracial; I’m adopted, so we’re not quite sure what half of me is. My maternal half is Irish, German, Italian.

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Firsts!

First Novel Written:  I wrote one in high school, but I used my own original character paired with a very canon character–one whose author hates fanfiction–so it will never see the light of day. I was ambitious. I have since destroyed it. I have the beginnings of one with my character. Maybe someday I’ll finish.

First Novel Completed:   Again, I mentioned it above. I don’t remember what I named it.

Award for Writing:   None.

First Publication: I wrote an article with Newspaper Club in high school that was printed in our local paper. It was pretty cool to see my name there.

Conferences:  None. Ew, people attend those.

Query/Pitch: None.

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Favorites!

Novel (that you wrote):  The one that’s half-written, of course. It’s the only one I have. A vampire, history, it’s fun.

Genre:  I would say it’s historical fiction, though I find I enjoy YA works now. Dystopian, fantasy. I like biographies too. Save for erotica and saccharine romances, I like to think I am open-minded.

Author:  My favorite author is hard to choose because I have many. It’s hard to pick one. C.W. Gortner and Stephanie Thornton are definitely high on my list. I love Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie’s collaborative efforts. Karen Harper for her Elizabeth I mysteries, Susan Elia MacNeal for Maggie Hope. Choosing is hard! Boo to you for making me choose!

Writing Music:  I love classical music when I’m writing. It can be modern songs done in an instrumental way, like The Piano Guys or Two Cellos. But I also adore the maestros of the past. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven. If I’m listening to vocalists, Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban, Sarah Brightman.

Writing Snack/Drink: I try not to eat if I’m writing. But I enjoy pretzel rods. They’re quite delicious and I can kind of gnaw on it whilst writing.

Movie: Picking one is difficult, admittedly. However, I’m going to say Beauty and the Beast. Yes, I know, all the films in the world and that’s what I pick. But it is my favorite and I adore it. I always have and I suspect I always will. Honorable mentions to Gone With The Wind and the Wizard of Oz.

Writing Memory:   I do some writing on a roleplaying site and I was writing with someone. And they told me that I was one of the best writers they had ever had the pleasure of writing with. Definitely, a boost to the ego, but also a hit to my anxiety because I am not good with compliments.

Childhood Book:  I loved the American Girl series and the Dear America series too. I guess I’ve always loved history!

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Currently…

Reading:  I am going to pick up the second book in the Discovery of Witches series. I don’t remember the name of it, but I need more Diana and Matthew adventures. They’re so good. I definitely need more with them. So, I do hope that Ms. Harkness writes more with them.  

Writing: This. I should be writing my part of a group story. But, alas. I am lazy.

Listening To: Pray For The Wicked by Panic! At The Disco.

It’s so funny, I did a tag a few months ago and I was like, “yeah, they’re cool” but a friend got me into them and well, damn. I listen almost everyday. I’ve got two of their albums on vinyl now and plan to get the rest…lol.

Watching:  I finished Versailles season two the other night and I am dying for season three. I think I may begin season two of Harlots later. I’m not sure. Castle Rock is creepy and I want some Halloween feels as they say. (I welcome suggestions!)

Learning:  More about the French Revolution. When your vampire character comes of age during that time and is in the heart of it, you want to be accurate.

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Future!

Want to be Published:   Yes. I suppose I ought to finish first.

Traditional or Indie:  I dream of traditional but my insecurity tells me I am nowhere near good enough for that. We will see.

Wildest Goal:  Get published! Or move to England for a time. Meghan Markle married Prince Harry, so that killed that dream/goal, lol. We’ll see. 😉

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Top Tuesday.

ttt-newThis week’s theme is villains and I’m so excited because I’m a lover of a good villain. I had to take my time in thinking about who I wanted to include here! I hope you enjoy my choices!

President Coin.

Aha, she was good. She had everyone believing that she was this paragon and this wonderful person, when in fact, she wasn’t at all. She was essentially gaining favor just to do the same thing over again.

“Alma Coin, the president of 13, who just watches. She’s fifty or so, with gray hair that

falls in an unbroken sheet to her shoulders. I’m somewhat fascinated by her hair, since it’s so uniform, so without a flaw, a wisp, even a split end. Her eyes are gray, but not like those of people from the Seam. They’re very pale, as if almost all the color has been sucked out of them. The color of slush that you wish would melt away.”

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Judge Claude Frollo, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”

“It would have been difficult to say what was the nature of this look, and whence

proceeded the flame that flashed from it. It was a fixed gaze, which was, nevertheless, full of trouble and tumult. And, from the profound immobility of his whole body, barely agitated at intervals by an involuntary shiver, as a tree is moved by the wind; from the stiffness of his elbows, more marble than the balustrade on which they leaned; or the sight of the petrified smile which contracted his face,— one would have said that nothing living was left about Claude Frollo except his eyes.”

Frollo is underrated as a villain. He is a Judge, a priest. And yet, he is all powerful. He is abusive to Quasimodo, cruel to the Gypsies–and everyone in general, really, and he presents himself as this paragon of virtue, which goes straight out the window once he falls for La Esmeralda. He would literally stop at nothing to have her. Some villains are superhuman, some aren’t human, but that’s what’s terrifying about Frollo. He’s someone we could possibly meet in our own lives. In the book he attempts to rape Esmeralda–who is only sixteen. He beats Quasimodo, is racist against the Romani (Gypsies) and he’s just a really shitty person.

“She felt a touch along her body which made her shudder so that she straightened herself up in a sitting posture, wide awake and furious. The priest had just slipped in beside her. He encircled her with both arms. She tried to scream and could not.”

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Lord Voldemort.

My list wouldn’t be complete without him. There is no way of getting around the fact that

he is the ultimate villain. One with no redeeming qualities. He is a creature who has never known love and has never given it. It’s a foreign concept to him and there is nothing on earth that could compel him to understand it. He knew wrath, spite, hatred, and lust. A lust for immortality, for power…you understand. He was a monster in every sense.

“And his knowledge remained woefully incomplete, Harry! That which Voldemort does not

value, he takes no trouble to comprehend. Of house-elves and children’s tales, of love, loyalty, and innocence, Voldemort knows and understands nothing. Nothing. That they all have a power beyond his own, a power beyond the reach of any magic, is a truth he has never grasped…”–Dumbledore.

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Pennywise.

Do I need to explain?! There’s a reason clowns terrify me and it goes back to childhood. Tim Curry freaked me out as Pennywise and Bill Skarsgard, I haven’t seen the movie for a reason, despite enjoying his work. Anyway. Yeah. Penny. (I should say his Tumblr fangirls who want to date Pennywise are creepy too.)

It held George’s arm in its thick and wormy grip, it pulled George toward that terrible darkness where the water rushed and roared and bellowed as it bore its cargo of storm debris toward the sea. George craned his neck away from that final blackness and began to scream into the rain, to scream mindlessly into the white autumn sky which curved above Derry on that day in the fall of 1957. His screams were shrill and piercing, and all up and down Witcham Street people came to their windows or bolted out onto their porches.

They float,’ it growled, ‘they float, Georgie, and when you’re down here with me, you’ll float, too. Everything down here floats,’ that chuckling, rotten voice whispered, and suddenly there was a ripping noise and a flaring sheet of agony, and George Denbrough knew no more.’

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Professor Moriarty

“He is the Napoleon of crime, Watson. He is the organizer of half that is evil and of nearly all that is undetected in this great city, He is a genius, a philosopher, an abstract thinker. He has a brain of the first order. He sits motionless, like a spider in the center of its web, but that web has a thousand radiations, and he knows well every quiver of each of them. He does little himself. He only plans.”

Personally, I love Moriarty. I think he’s brilliant, which is the point. He rivals Sherlock.

He is, along with Irene Adler, his equal. Whereas Sherlock uses his mind for good–or to challenge himself–Moriarty is the “Napoleon of crime”, running the underground of the city for his own nefarious purposes–and simply because he can.

I love the literary version and also, of course, BBC Sherlock’s Andrew Scott. He plays an unhinged version and it’s really perfect. I also enjoyed Jared Harris’s performance of him in the RDJ Sherlock films.

I also find it amusing that in my family tree, there are some relatives with the surname Moriarty…so.

I am Moriarty. (kind of.)

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Hannibal Lecter

“There is no consensus in the psychiatric community that Dr. Lecter should be termed a man. He has long been regarded by his professional peers in psychiatry, many of whom fear his acid pen in the professional journals, as something entirely Other. For convenience, they term him “monster”.

Again, I love this guy. When you think of a villain, he ought to come to mind. Both the

film version and the literary version are spine-tingling. I saw the movie before I read the books, but in this case, I don’t find it a deterrent. Anthony Hopkins played him perfectly. I could see him, hear him. He also added a level of humanity to him in certain moments, which struck me as terrifying. I never in my life thought I would feel any modicum of sympathy for a serial killing cannibal. What I also enjoyed was that he was a highly intelligent man, eloquent. Meeting him, you wouldn’t expect him to be this monster. He really drew you in.

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Miss Trunchbull.

Matilda was one of my favorite stories when I was a kid; I also loved the movie. Miss th (3)514541048..jpgTrunchbull is the most terrifying sort of villain to a child. A principal for one and one who loathes children. She was bitchy for no other reason really beyond she could be. No one would stand up to her. (If she were real, my mother would have.) Known for her torment of students, a temper triggered by the most ridiculous things–a girl with her hair in pigtails (which is how I wore mine!) and just, ugh, a truly foul woman.

“She was a gigantic holy terror, a fierce, tyrannical monster who frightened the life out of pupils and teachers alike.”

A fun fact about the actress who played Ms. Trunchbull is that she played another odious woman on screen too. Fortunately, she also got her comeuppance at the hands of a kid with abilities.

Well done, Harry!

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Dolores Umbridge.

Since I’m mentioning odious women, there was no way that Umbridge wasn’t getting mentioned. She is almost indescribably evil to me. I think Voldemort probably had more of a chance at redemption than she did, which is saying something. She is, like Trunchbull, cruel to children and hates them. Case in point, Harry Potter. Remember she made him do lines with a quill that literally drew his blood out as the ink, leaving him with ‘I Must Not Tell Lies’ on his arm. Obviously, he wasn’t the only student she did this to. She is cruel to those around her, such as Sybil Trelawney. Let’s not forget that she had all of her decrees and her own little narc squad.

They say her hatred stems from her Muggle-born mother and she became obsessed with purebloods and presenting herself as one, despite only being a half-blood herself. She took great glee in heading a department that allowed her to torture anyone who was Muggle-born. She has no redeeming qualities–not even that she likes cats.

When they entered the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom they found Professor Umbridge already seated at the teacher’s desk, wearing the fluffy pink cardigan of the night before and the black velvet bow on top of her head. Harry was again reminded forcibly of a large fly perched unwisely on top of an even larger toad.

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Frankenstein’s Monster

Let me begin by saying I see him as a villain, but not of his own making. Rather, I see him as being sort of forced into what he was. I see this ‘monster’ as being a victim of a man’s ego and ambition and also of humanity’s inability to accept someone who is different from them. Their cruelty to him makes him into the creature that he is; he began as an articulate, kind and caring creature.  Seriously. This is a quote from the ‘monster’.

“The words induced me to turn towards myself. I learned that the possessions most esteemed by your fellow creatures were high and unsullied descent united with riches. A man might be respected with only one of these advantages, but without either he was considered, except in very rare instances, as a vagabond and a slave, doomed to waste his powers for the profits of the chosen few! And what was I? Of my creation and creator I was absolutely ignorant, but I knew that I possessed no money, no friends, no kind of property. I was, besides, endued with a figure hideously deformed and loathsome; I was not even of the same nature as man. I was more agile than they and could subsist upon coarser diet; I bore the extremes of heat and cold with less injury to my frame; my stature far exceeded theirs. When I looked around I saw and heard of none like me. Was I, then, a monster, a blot upon the earth, from which all men fled and whom all men disowned?”

He became angry at his creation and went after Frankenstein’s family and friends, killing them, but again, I might do the same. He’s alone in this world. No one will ever really accept him, none will be like him.

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Marquise de Merteuil.

“When I came out into society I was 15. I already knew that the role I was condemned to, namely to keep quiet and do what I was told, gave me the perfect opportunity to listen and observe. Not to what people told me, which naturally was of no interest, but to whatever it was they were trying to hide. I practiced detachment. I learned how to look cheerful while under the table I stuck a fork into the back of my hand. I became a virtuoso of deceit. It wasn’t pleasure I was after, it was knowledge. I consulted the strictest moralists to learn how to appear, philosophers to find out what to think, and novelists to see what I could get away with, and in the end, I distilled everything to one wonderfully simple principle: win or die.”

I love the story of Les Liasons Dangereuses, which literally translates to ‘Dangerous Liaisons’ in English. I saw the movie and then looked for the book. A rare case of the book and film being equally as good. The person I selected as my villain is the Marquise de Merteuill. Along with the Vicomte de Valmont, she seduces and corrupts younger courtiers. However, she is finally scorned by a lover–he breaks things off with her. This is a slight that she can’t forgive.  Using innocent people, the Marquise sets in motion a scandal that leaves her disgraced and Valmont dead. It really seemed like she had rid herself of all her rivals, however, Valmont and smallpox get the last laugh. It’s such a delightfully evil story, full of intrigue and everything one would expect of pre-French Revolution nobility.

 

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The Nope! Book Tag.

I will begin this by saying I started this several weeks ago and just found it in my drafts as I was cleaning them up. I decided to finish, but I do not know who to credit. If you happen to know, please give me a shout so I can credit them appropriately!! It’s Monday, I’m exhausted (was up binging season two of Versailles, whoops!) and I don’t have any reviews for today, so I thought I’d fill this out and see what came of it. I hope you like my answers and that you’ll tag me if you do this! ❤

Consider yourself tagged if you read this! 

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NOPE! Protagonist: a main character you dislike and drives you crazy.

I didn’t like Tris in the Divergent series. Just…I could not embrace her at all. There was just something about her that never quite clicked for me and I felt nothing towards her except disdain. I think it could have also been that I pictured Shailene Woodley, whom I think was rather wooden as Tris, since I saw the movie before I read the book. (It was on TV, my mother was watching and I joined her.)

NOPE! Pairing: a “ship” you don’t support.

Peeta and Katniss. I think Peeta deserved someone who really, really loved him. I didn’t know if Katniss really knew how. I admit, I sort of shipped Finnick/Katniss. I also liked the idea that Katniss and Peeta remained friends, but didn’t pursue anything romantic. I enjoy seeing a female lead on her own. (-gasp!-)

NOPE! Genre: a genre you will never read.

Erotica. It does nothing for me. I have friends who love it and they’ve tried to get me into it, but I’m just not interested. Maybe it’s because I’m single or because I genuinely have no interest in sex, but erotica is just a no for me. Not to mention, the few passages I tried, it was poorly written.

NOPE! Book format: book formatting you hate and avoid buying until it comes out in a different edition.

There are some e-books where the formatting is so obnoxious that I was sorely tempted to throw my kindle across the room. It makes me lose interest REALLY fast. It is no fault of the author, but I literally can’t get around it.

NOPE! Trope: a trope that makes you go NOPE.

Instalove. Gag me with a spork. It just doesn’t happen that way! I mean, okay, maybe it does. But I think it’s more interesting to me as a reader that they work on things. Not that they just meet and it’s love. No. NO. (As I’ve read so many historical pieces, I’m used to people hating one another or not even liking each other. So that could be a contributing factor too.)

NOPE! Recommendation: a book recommendation that is constantly pushed at you, that you simply refuse to read.

I am certain that you read this and knew what my answer would be. Unsurprisingly, that is 50 Shades of Grey. I know, you guys are probably laughing, knowing full well how I feel about this godawful ‘book‘. But my close friends swear I’ll love it if I give it another chance. Nope! And…with gems like this? HELL TO THE NOPE.

NOPE! Love interest: the love interest that’s not worthy of being one.

Christian Gray. He is a guy you’d expect to see on Criminal Minds. He is not sexy, he is not hot, he is not someone you should aspire to date. He stalked Ana, he forced her into things, threatened her with physical violence, isolated her and he’s a jealous asshole. Aim higher, y’all.

NOPE! Book: a book that shouldn’t have existed.

See above two questions for this answer.

 

NOPE! Villain: a villain you would hate to cross.

Does Cersei Lannister count? I love her but holy shit, I have a healthy fear of her.

Cersei is as gentle as King Maegor, as selfless as Aegon the Unworthy, as wise as Mad Aerys. She never forgets a slight, real or imagined. She takes caution for cowardice and dissent for defiance. And she is greedy. Greedy for power, for honor, for love.

NOPE! Death: a character death that still haunts you.

Finnick.Will Traynor. Again, the Sam Clafin boys.

He’s adorable, isn’t he? 

NOPE! Author: an author you had a bad experience reading for and have decided to quit.

I’ll begin by quoting my favorite fictional captain as you can see here.

That said, I don’t consider it good form to bash an author so publically, and I won’t be doing that, no matter if we’ve had a bad experience or not. Their work is one thing, if I don’t like it, I will say so. But to speak of them? No.

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Totally Should’ve Book Tag

I got tagged in this a few days ago and I had honestly forgotten! Fortunately, I went through my notifications and I found it. I had a greate deal of fun answering the questions posed to me and I hope you enjoy my answers. This is the Totally Should’ve Book Tag created by EmmmaBooks. I was tagged by Jess at Comfort Reads. Thank you, lovely! ❤

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1. Totally should’ve gotten a sequel.

giphy1I think Gone With The Wind needed a sequel that was penned by Margaret Mitchell. Not the follow up by Alexandra Ripely or the other ones. Sadly, Ms. Mitchell died after being struck by a car. I don’t know if she would have written one, but I always wanted one and would have paid whatever for it! .

 

2. Totally should’ve had a spin off series

 

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I would absolutely love another Harry Potter series! This is a given. I’d like a series based on the Marauders or a real series featuring Newt and the gang. I guess the films will have to do and fan fiction for the rest.

3. An author who totally should write more books

I’d love to see Ann Rinaldi write some books geared to adults. I loved her books as a kid and whilst I reread them now, I would love to see more of them.

4. A character who totally should’ve ended up with someone else

Hrm. I think Harry and Hermione should have ended up together. I never saw Ron and Mione working. I also rooted for Luna and Neville.

5. Totally should’ve ended differently

I still think Jo and Laurie should have ended up together in Little Women. Sorry, not sorry.

6. Totally should’ve had a movie franchise

I still hold out hope for more Miss Peregrine films…but done properly!

7. Totally should’ve had a TV show

Hrm…I think the Mistresses of Versailles trilogy by Sally Christie should have a series. Trust me, there is enough in those books for more than three seasons. The French Court, intrigue, sex, rivals, the fashion…

8. Totally should’ve had only one point of view

I can’t say, honestly. If there’s more than one point of view, there’s a reason for it.

9. Totally should’ve had a cover change

The Discovery of Witches trilogy. Those covers are sort of plain to me, considering how indepth the story is.

10. Totally should’ve kept the original covers

Hrm. I liked the Harry Potter original covers that they had over in Britain.

11. Totally should’ve stopped at book one

50 Shades. Hey, you had to know I was going to throw shade at some point.

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Top Ten Tuesday!

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This week’s theme is Authors I’d Love To Meet. I was going to pick just living authors but this time, I went with both alive and dead. Why limit myself? Picking ten was actually quite a challenge because there are so many that I’d simply love to sit and chat with. I am actually very shy in person, so it would take me a little bit to get warmed up. I am including honorable mentions at the bottom too because I really found it hard to limit myself. I may revisit this subject so that I can expand upon it.

Here we go!

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1. Louisa May Alcott. It’s a given that I would like to meet her, considering she is the brainchild of one of my heroines, Josephine March. I have always found her fascinating and there are so many different things that I’d like to ask her. I would also like to thank her for making such a wonderful story that has lasted through all of these years and been such an inspiration to my life.

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2. J. K Rowling. Well, this is rather obvious, methinks. I’ve been in love with the Harry Potter series for years. I think I would ask her a few questions about things she’s said. I know some people find her statements controversial and I would like to know what’s driven her to say them. But I”d still like to thank her for creating a magical world I still love escaping to. Her statement of Hogwarts always being there to welcome us home, be it by page or screen is so poignant.

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3. Margaret Mitchell. How could I not include Ms. Mitchell?! Without her, I’d have no Scarlett! I wouldn’t have my “spirit character!” That’d be heartbreaking. I love Gone With The Wind and I would have to ask what she thinks of the sequels written. I wonder if she’d tell me if Rhett and Scarlett ever got back together in the end…

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4. Susan Elia MacNeal. We’re Facebook friends and I’d love to sit and talk to her about Maggie Hope and how she got inspired to write a whole series. I wonder if the Maggie Hope series is going to be the only books she ever writes or if she has other plans for different things. She’s really fun to follow and listen to her thoughts on things, so I imagine sitting and talking to her in person is no different.

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5. C.W Gortner. I’m Facebook friends with him too and I would seriously love to meet him in person and just sit back and talk. I think we’d start with me fangirling…and then move into current events and eventually talk about pets. He’s very passionate about animal welfare and I just genuinely think we’d have a fun afternoon. I never tire of reading his work.

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6. Stephen King. His books scare the ever loving hell out of me. Okay, I’ve only read IT, but it scared me. I’m afraid of clowns and Pennywise is scary. I’d love to sit and ask him how he comes up with this stuff. I’ve seen more movies based upon his books and I just have to know, “how?!” I wonder if he sleeps well at night…🤔

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7. Anne Rice. Speaking of writers who write Horror….Anne Rice is a given. She inspired my fascination with vampires. I started reading her books when i was 13? 14? How could I not want to meet the woman who came up with the brat prince himself, Lestat de Lioncourt? Though the last two (three?) Lestat books were a big ‘no’ for me, I still love the originals.

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8. Edgar Allen Poe: I’ve loved his work since I read it in English class. We had a ball reading it aloud. My first interaction with him was ‘The Cask of Amontillado.’ Damn, that story was something. I remember very fondly going to the bookstore and buying a collection of his work. I devoured it.

I’d just adore sitting with him. And don’t worry Edgar, dinner would be on me since you were usually kind of broke.
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9 + 10. F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Fitzgerald. I am pairing them together because they simply belong together. I  love their individual writings and yet, I love them both together. They weren’t good for one another; a bit toxic, yet they still passionately loved one another and I confess some jealousy that I will never have that sort of affair. Can you imagine partying with them? Yes, I’d love an evening with them.

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Honorable Mentions:

Mark Twain, Alice Walker, Dr. Maya Angelou, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Victor Hugo, William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Emily Dickinson.