Kilmeny of the Orchard by L.M. Montgomery

Kilmeny

When twenty-four-year-old Eric Marshall arrives on Prince Edward Island to become a substitute schoolmaster, he has a bright future in his wealthy family’s business. Eric has taken the two-month teaching post only as a favor to a friend — but fate throws in his path a beautiful, mysterious girl named Kilmeny Gordon. With jet black hair and sea blue eyes, Kilmeny immediately captures Eric’s heart. But Kilmeny cannot speak, and Eric is concerned for and bewitched by this shy, sensitive mute girl. For the first time in his life Eric must work hard for something he wants badly. And there is nothing he wants more than for Kilmeny to retum his love.

Kilmeny of the Orchard by L.M. Montgomery
Published 1910 by L.C. Page & Company
Format: Hardcover, 134 pages; Audiobook, 4 hours
Classics/Romance
Also By This Author: Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the IslandEmily of New Moon series, The Blue Castle
Goodreads | Amazon

My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Thoughts

I am a strong believer in judging a book by its cover, especially when the cover is gorgeous like Kilmeny of the Orchard. I have been scouring every local bookstore and thrift store in town trying to find any copies of the Bantam editions of L.M. Montgomery’s novels because the covers are beautiful enough to frame. (Side note: if anyone finds Bantam editions of Kilmeny or The Blue Castle that are in good condition, please let me know! I’ve never been a book collector before, but it’s almost become a hobby of mine to own all of Bantam editions of L.M. Montgomery’s novels)

The story of Kilmeny isn’t the most endearing of Montgomery’s novels, but the writing is captivating. The first orchard scene, when Eric happens upon Kilmeny as she’s playing her violin, is probably my favorite scene in the novel. Montgomery’s descriptions are so poetic and vibrant that I feel as if I’m walking through the orchard myself.

It was an elusive, haunting melody, strangely suited to the time and place; it had in it the sigh of the wind in the woods, the eerie whispering of the grasses at dewfall, the white thoughts of the June lilies, the rejoicing of the apple blossoms; all the soul of all the old laughter and song and tears and gladness and sobs the orchard had ever known in the lost years; and besides all this, there was in it a pitiful, plaintive cry as of some imprisoned thing calling for freedom and utterance.

I admire L.M. Montgomery’s ability to be wistful and hopeful at the same time. Whenever I read any of her books I always simultaneously feel nostalgic and desirous of enjoying every beautiful little moment.

Read This Book If…

…you need a happy novel that will touch you deep in your heart.
…you’re ready for it to be Spring!
…you love Romantic characters and poetic language.

Final Musings

I’ve read three L.M. Montgomery novels since the New Year, and I’m currently on my fourth (Chronicles of Avonlea). I would love to buddy read some more of her novels this year, or participate in any L.M. Montgomery blogging events, so please drop me a line in the comments if you know of any or if you’d like to buddy read with me!

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The Book(ish) Box Review!

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I am so behind in blogging these days. We’ve had lots of friends and family visit us this summer and I always feel guilty about reading and blogging when we have guests (I try not to be too antisocial, even though sometimes I have to escape to my room or the bathroom for a few minutes to myself).

Anyway, at long last I am going to review one of my current favorite things in the whole world: my Book(ish) Box subscription!

Now, I am not exaggerating when I say it took well over a year for me to decide on which subscription box I wanted to sign up for. My husband and I both loved the idea of receiving a goodie box in the mail each month, but neither of us knew which boxes we wanted to sign up for (well, my husband didn’t really struggle with that–I’m the indecisive one). Then, a few months ago, he signed up for The Dollar Beard Club which persuaded me to finally pick a box as well, and I found the perfect one for me: The Book(ish) Box!

Each monthly Book(ish) Box comes with a t-shirt from Appraising Pages and 3-5 bookish home, beauty, and fashion items. You can select different t-shirt styles and sizes, and they are super comfy!

When I discovered this wonderful subscription box I knew I had to sign-up right away! But alas, they were all sold out for that particular month! I am not exaggerating when I say that I was pretty devastated. My husband, being the sweet and thoughtful person he is, secretly emailed the lovely owners of Appraising Pages a long, Victorian-inspired message, asking them if they would have one more box that I could sign up for. He must have won them over with his writing skills because they kindly let me sign up, and I was overjoyed because that month’s theme was Classic novels (MY FAVORITE!).

When my first box arrived, I WAS SO EXCITED to open it. I made myself some tea (because that’s what Classic novels call for, am I right?), and I carefully fangirled over each gift in the box.

June’s Book(ish) Box – Classic Novels

Alice in Wonderland t-shirt (Appraising Pages)
Great Gatsby Notebook (Bugaboo Bear Designs)
Ampersand Ring (A Cute Geek)
Alice in Wonderland Socks (Out of Print)
Magnetic Persuasion bookmark

I wear this ampersand ring nearly every day. It’s not made of metal so it doesn’t tarnish at all, and it fits perfectly on my middle finger :) I also adore the Curiouser and Curiouser shirt and the White Rabbit socks are adorable. The Great Gatsby notebook is made from recycled paper, which is awesome! I recently misplaced the Persuasion bookmark while reading For Darkness Shows the Stars (which just so happens to be a Persuasion retelling), but I’m sure it’s in my couch somewhere!

July and August’s boxes were equally wonderful, and I will share with you some detailed pictures of the Fantasy and Fairy Tale Retelling themed goodies!

July’s Book(ish) Box – Fantasy

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J.R.R. Tolkien inspired t-shirt (Appraising Pages)
Saphira Eragon Blend Coffee (Passive Juice Motel)
Fantasy Antler Headband (Night and Day Baby)
Game of Thrones inspired bangle (The Geeky Cauldron)
The Mortal Instruments inspired crossbody tote (Fiction Tea)

I finally drank the Eragon themed coffee earlier this week when we ran out of our usual coffee. It was good! And I absolutely love the crossbody tote bag, even if I haven’t read The Mortal Instruments.

August’s Book(ish) Box – Fairy Tale Retellings

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A Court of Mist and Fury t-shirt (Appraising Pages)
Peter Pan Necklace (The Bookish Box)
Beauty and the Beast watercolor bookmar (Lexy Olivia)
Mug inspired by Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Evie Sea)
Disney post-it notes (Appraising Pages)

It’s hard to tell, but the Peter Pan necklace is a thimble with a tiny acorn and the Disney post-it notes say: “Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, and dreams are forever.” The Beauty and the Beast watercolor book mark is BEAUTIFUL!

If you’re a huge bookworm like me (which, I’m assuming you are since you’re perusing a book blog), you are probably wondering how you can sign up for your own Book(ish) Box immediately!

Here is a link to subscribe: GET A BOOK(ISH) BOX! September’s boxes don’t ship for almost another 2 weeks, and the theme is Literary Ladies (so I’m expecting at least one Hermione themed item!). Hopefully I’ll be quicker at posting a review of that box than I was with my first three boxes :)

Back to the Classics 2014 Wrap-Up Post!

classics2014I did it!! I read 10 classics from various authors, countries, and time periods in 12 months! (To be honest, a big chunk of those books were read this month *procrastinator*).

This was such a fun challenge, and I’m earnestly considering doing the Back to the Classics 2015 challenge next year, although I still have a little time to decide :)

Here is my wrap-up post listing all of my reviews for this challenge:

Required Categories:

Optional Categories:

I thoroughly enjoyed every one of these books (except for maybe Wuthering Heights), but if I had to rank my Top 3 it would be: North and South, Little Women, and To Kill a Mockingbird.

Thank you to Books and Chocolate for hosting this challenge!

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Are you up for next year’s Back to the Classics Challenge?

Voyage au Centre de la Terre by Jules Verne (and Crossing Something Off My Bucket List)

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“As long as the heart beats, as long as body and soul keep together, I cannot admit that any creature endowed with a will has need to despair of life.”

Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
Published 1864 by Pierre Jules Hetzel
Classics/French/Adventure
Format: paperback; 338 pages
Also By This Author: Around the World in Eighty Days, From the Earth to the Moon, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Goodreads | Amazon
My Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

The intrepid Professor Liedenbrock embarks upon the strangest expedition of the nineteenth century: a journey down an extinct Icelandic volcano to the Earth’s very core. In his quest to penetrate the planet’s primordial secrets, the geologist–together with his quaking nephew Axel and their devoted guide, Hans–discovers an astonishing subterranean menagerie of prehistoric proportions. Verne’s imaginative tale is at once the ultimate science fiction adventure and a reflection on the perfectibility of human understanding and the psychology of the questor.

Thoughts:

You may be wondering why I used the original French title of Journey to the Center of the Earth in the blog title…that’s because I read this book in French! If you’ve been to my blog before, you may be familiar with my list of 25 things to do for my 25th year. #3 on that list was to “read an entire book in French.” So I can now cross that off!

It wasn’t easy–the French language has a special past tense that is only used in books or in storytelling, which makes it really hard to learn because you’ll hardly ever have the need to use it in a conversation. To be honest, I did not understand everything that goes on in this book, but I picked Jules Verne to read because 1) French Classics are easier to understand than English classics because the French language has barely changed over the centuries, 2) Classic novels have more grammatically correct dialogue between characters as opposed to modern novels, and 3) Jules Verne writes suspenseful and captivating adventure novels that are easy to follow and visualize.

On to the book! The only other Verne novel I’ve read before Journey to the Center of the Earth was Around the World in Eighty Days, which I really enjoyed. Verne’s characters are so particular and unique and the adventures they go on are always full of suspense and those “this is our last hope” type of scenes so that you’ll never be bored while reading one of his novels. Professor Lidenbrock is ever persistent and hopeful during this life-threatening journey while his nephew, Axel, often exclaims that all hope is lost and the group is sure to perish.

As always, true to Verne’s captivating writing style, there is a twist at the end of Journey to the Center of the Earth that anyone who has previously read Verne will be expecting to discover :)

Read This Book If…:

…you love an adventure!
…you’re into science fiction books, especially those written by the fathers of sci-fi.
…you crave a book that will make you both laugh out loud and turn the pages in suspense.
…you’re looking for a new unforgettable adventure to experience.

“Was I to believe him in earnest in his intention to penetrate to the center of this massive globe? Had I been listening to the mad speculations of a lunatic, or to the scientific conclusions of a lofty genius? Where did truth stop? Where did error begin?”

Final Musings:

If you’ve never read a novel by Jules Verne, I would suggest Journey to the Center of the Earth as a good starting point, although I preferred Around the World in Eighty Days (really though, any Verne book is a good book to read). Full of quirky characters, daring adventures, and spectacular imagery, Journey to the Center of the Earth is definitely a classic that deserves its masterpiece label.

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

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“We reminded them of what peace was like, of lives which were not bound up with destruction.”

A Separate Peace by John Knowles
Published 1959 by Secker & Warburg

Classics/Young Adult
Format: paperback; 204 pages
Also By This Author: Peace Breaks Out, Phineas
Goodreads | Amazon

My Rating: 4/5 

Synopsis:

Set at a boys boarding school in New England during the early years of World War II, A Separate Peace is a harrowing and luminous parable of the dark side of adolescence. Gene is a lonely, introverted intellectual. Phineas is a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. What happens between the two friends one summer, like the war itself, banishes the innocence of these boys and their world.

Thoughts:

I first read A Separate Peace nearly 14 years ago while I was in 7th grade. I’ve always felt like my assigned reading choices in school were generally interesting books that made a long-lasting impact on me; A Separate Peace is no exception. Do you ever reread books you haven’t read in ages and find yourself thinking, “I do not remember imagining it this way”? For me it was more about remembering the characters differently.

Gene and Phineas are two 16-year-old boys living at an all-boys prep school, where most of the students and staff are affected by the outbreak of WWII. Gene and Phineas, along with a few other students, create the “Super Suicide Society,” where the whole goal is to do daring and rule-breaking stunts. This club, and the leadership of Phineas, reflect the escape the boys try to make from the reality of war. The irony, however, is that the boys have brought the war into their club.

Before I reread this book, I had the mindset that Phineas was that one friend we all have who always tries to “one up” us in everything. You know who I’m talking about–you do well on a test, they do better; you feel like you’re really good in a sport or hobby, they show you how much more talented they are (and make it look effortless); you receive an awesome present from someone, they tell you that they got one once and it just wasn’t that great. Well, when I reread this novel, I realized that Phineas is not that “one-upper” friend at all. Which means that I obviously relate a lot to Gene, who creates this whole unspoken competition between himself and Phineas.

I think a lot of people can relate to the characters and circumstances in this novel, even though it takes place in the early 1940s. That’s why this book had so much impact on me when I was 12 and when I was 25; you can put those themes into any context and will still be able to empathize with the characters.

Read This Book If…:

…you enjoy short, powerful novels.
…you like reading historical, young adult books that deal with mature subject matter.
…you’re intrigued by themes of war, childhood innocence, jealousy, and forgiveness.

Final Musings:

One of the things I love most about these short & powerful novels is that they always have so many good quotes to reflect on!

“Because it seemed clear that wars were not made by generations and their special stupidities, but that wars were made instead by something ignorant in the human heart.”