Jane Austen Book Tag

I was tagged by Deanna at Deanna Writes to do the Jane Austen Book Tag! I know I’m seriously behind in my Jane Austen posts for this month, but I’m back now with something fun and festive for Austen in August :)

Sense and Sensibility
A book with a dynamic sibling relationship

littlewomen

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – I love the complex relationship between the March daughters :)

Pride and Prejudice
A book that didn’t seem interesting at first

MTLGTM

The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link (part of My True Love Gave to Me) – This short story took me a  few pages to get into, but by the end it had become my favorite addition in this book!

Emma
A book in which two close friends fall in love

Little Dorrit

Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens – I’ve only seen the miniseries adaptation of this book, and I know there is much, much more to the story than the romance, but I still enjoyed that aspect of the novel :)

Mansfield Park
A book with a ‘rags to riches’ storyline

janeeyre

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë – I feel like the theme of “rags to riches” can be applied multiple ways in this story. Obviously Jane goes from having nothing besides her good conscience and kind heart to having everything that could make her happy and more, but Mr. Rochester also has a bit of this story line himself, he just has to lose all of his material possessions in order to realize it.

Persuasion
A book involving second chances

thetimekeeper

The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom – most of Albom’s novels revolve around the theme of second chances, but this one also shows us the importance of each person’s life in the grand scheme of things.

Northanger Abbey
A book with an imaginative character

AoGG

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery – Let’s be honest…Anne Shirley’s Haunted Woods fiasco is right up Catherine Morland’s lane (and mine, too!).

And now I tag anyone else who wants to make their own Jane Austen Book Tag post :) Enjoy!

Top Ten Tuesday: Fellow Bookworms

toptentuesdayI didn’t get to do last week’s Top Ten Tuesday, so I’m doing it today in lieu of this week’s topic (favorite fairy-tales & fairy-tale retellings). This topic is all about book nerd characters.

As always, this meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Fellow Bookworms

Lizzie Bennet Jo March

Elizabeth Bennet – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Jo March – Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Hermione Anne Shirley

Hermione Granger – Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
Anne Shirley – Anne of Green Gables series by L. M. Montgomery

Molly Gibson Catherine Morland

Molly Gibson – Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
Catherine Morland – Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

senseandsensibility meanttobe mara dyer To Win Her Heart

Marianne Dashwood – Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Julia Lichtenstein Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
Mara Dyer – Mara Dyer series by Michelle Hodkin
Eden Spencer & Levi Grant To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer

Who are some of your favorite bookworm characters? 

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite Books!

toptentuesday

Whew! I took an unexpected week off from blogging and I think it did me a lot of good. I’m going through some personal things at the moment, some of which I’m hoping to post about tomorrow on my late February wrap-up.

But for now, let me ease back into blogging with my favorite meme, Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)! This week’s topic is about our favorite books. For a long time now I’ve had a very stable Top 5, so for today I had to decide on my top 6-10, which was hard! I almost cheated…

Top Ten Favorite Books

AoGG Pride and Prejudice janeeyre Persuasion Harry Potter

attachments IMG_2049 tokillamockingbird littlewomen Hamlet

Anne of Green Gables is my all-time favorite book, but Anne of the Island should be on this list, too! I only left it out to make room for some others. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, and Persuasion are so close I could easily switch them around. Yes, my favorite Harry Potter book is the last! Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows made me feel all the feels, and I thought it was the perfect ending to a favorite series. The rest of the books on this list probably don’t belong in that order, but I haven’t given it much thought before now. Those would be my next favorites, though. Attachments is my favorite book from this decade, so far. Short Straw Bride is my favorite historical novel. What else can I say to justify To Kill a Mockingbird‘s place in my heart and on this list? Little Women is another book that makes me feel so deeply! And Hamlet has always been, and most likely always will be, my favorite Shakespearean play (and favorite play in general, for that matter), no matter how cliché it sounds :)

There you have it: my ten favorite books! Do you like any of my favorites? And what are your most beloved reads??

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?

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite 2014 Reads

toptentuesdayThis week’s Top Ten Tuesday, brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish, is all about the best books we read in 2014! I am very happy that my Top Ten is filled with so many classics! It’s not surprising, because I love classics and they usually fill up about half of what I read, but this year I read so many young adult books that I wasn’t able to read as many classics as usual. I guess this just means that I picked a few really good classics ;)

Top Ten Books I Read In 2014

robinhood secondchancesummer muchado sisterhoodeverlasting littlewomen

10. The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle: Robin Hood, my love <3 Your tricks and mischievous ways never fail to entertain me :)
9. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson: This book made me bawl like a baby, and only the best books can make me do that. This was the third Morgan Matson book I read, and before that I was already convinced that I’d preorder her future books because they’re that good.
8. Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare: Usually I prefer Shakespearean tragedies, but Much Ado was so funny and suspenseful that I found myself really enjoying it despite its “shallowness.” The recent film version is great as well.
7. Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares: I just read the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series for the first time this summer, and I loved the four sisters so much! When I went to read this 5th, more adult book, I knew it was going to be a lot different from its predecessors. It’s darker and sadder, but also so much fuller than the other four books. Several chapters made me cry, but not just out of sadness. There’s one scene in particular involving my two favorite characters that is giving me butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it <3
6. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott: The beloved March family! I so wish I had read this book as a young adult. It would have gone well with Anne of Green Gables, but in any case I loved it so much when I read it earlier this year. And of course, the Winona Rider/Christian Bale movie is spot-on. I could watch that all day, AND it’s a Christmas movie so that means I will be watching it soon!

 

tokillamockingbird sinceyouvebeengone meanttobe NorthandSouth attachments

 

5. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee: This is one of those classics that is usually assigned in school, but it wasn’t for me, and after reading it I totally wish it had been! But maybe not, actually, because there’s always that dreaded assigned reading curse that can destroy books for us =P It doesn’t matter what age you are, this book will touch your heart.
4. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson: This book is perfect for summer reading. It made my heart smile with giddy happiness and it’s a Morgan Matson book so obviously it’s amazing.
3. Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill: This book was so cute! I seriously could not put it down. I love books that mix in multiple communications platforms, and this one deals a lot with texting mishaps. Plus, if you love travelling, especially to the UK, you’ll love this one. The whole book takes place in London and Lauren Morrill makes you feel like you’re actually there. I’ve been dying to see all the places that were mentioned in the book ever since I read it.
2. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell: I just finished this book a few days ago and I am still on the book hangover. Some people might think it’s weird to rave about a book that’s been around for over 150 years, but right now all I want to do is rave about North and South. The last time I felt like this was when I read Jane Eyre for the first time last September. My best friends can attest to it, I talked their heads off about that book (but I even converted my BFF into liking it after she HATED the movie!).
1. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell: This has been my favorite read of the year so far. I’ve talked about it so many times, I don’t know what else to say besides IT’S WONDERFUL!

 

There you have it! That was a lot easier than I thought it would be, actually. I rated all of these books 5/5, and there were around 6 other books I also gave a 5 star rating this year. It’s been a good reading year for me :)

 

What has been your favorite read of the year?

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite New-To-Me Authors

toptentuesdayToday’s Top Ten Tuesday meme, created by the lovely ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish, is all about authors we read for the first time in 2014! This was actually a fun and easy post for me since I read a whole bunch of “new to me” authors this year, and I got to meet some of them too! :)

Top Ten “New To Me” Authors in 2014

IMG_2491

Meeting Rainbow Rowell at YALL Fest was DEFINITELY one of my highlights from 2014!!

Rainbow Rowell – By far my favorite author of the year. I read Attachments back in January after seeing so many recommendations from fellow bloggers. I LOVED IT. I know it came out a few years ago, but I talked about that book to all of my friends because it was so wonderful. Since then I’ve read Fangirl and Landline, and I’ve decided that I prefer Rainbow Rowell’s adult fiction to her YA fiction, but I’m still waiting to read Eleanor & Park :)
Veronica Roth – This year I also read the Divergent series. It wasn’t my favorite series, but I did like the world Veronica Roth created (and I really liked the first movie!).
Lauren Morrill – My second favorite author I discovered this year! She wrote Meant to Be and Being Sloane Jacobs and if I could give her an award it would be for prettiest book covers one & two.
Ann Brashares – This year I read the entire Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, and I especially loved the most recent 5th book. When I met Ann Brashares at YALL Fest (and totally fangirled), I got to chat with her a bit about it and she was really happy to know that I enjoyed the last book since so many people don’t want to read it because it’s sad. I had her sign a copy of her new book, The Here and Now (which also has a gorgeous cover), and I’m excited to read it soon!
Louisa May Alcott – I still don’t know why I waited so long to read Little Women, but I’m so glad I finally did this year! I’m looking forward to reading Alcott’s other novels as well.
Morgan Matson – After hearing so many good things about Since You’ve Been Gone, my book club voted to read this earlier this summer and we all fell in love! Since then I’ve read all of Matson’s other novels, I’ve laughed & cried, and now I can’t wait for her to publish more!
Jennifer E. Smith – It is very rare for me to read a book by an author, not really like it, and then decide to give out a second chance and read another of his/her novels. I’m glad I did this with Jennifer E. Smith. I read The Geography of You and Me a few months ago and felt “Ehh” about it. But then I checked out This Is What Happy Looks Like on audiobook and I actually rather enjoyed it. I think I’ll give The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight a chance next.
Cindi Madsen – I won a copy of Madsen’s Falling For Her Fiancé a couple of months ago and adored it! I speed read it and then bought the two sequels and finished them in roughly two days. If you like clean, funny, romances, Cindi Madsen writes some pretty great ones :)
Harper Lee – I was never assigned to read To Kill A Mockingbird, but maybe that’s a good thing, because when I finally felt like reading it this year, I loved it. I wrote all about my feelings on the novel here.
Huntley Fitzpatrick – I had been eyeing My Life Next Door for months and maybe it was delayed gratification, but I loved that book so much more than I thought I would. It’s definitely not all that it seems; it’s better :)

What are some authors you read for the first time this year? I’d love some recommendations!

Little Women: Discovering a Childhood Classic in Adulthood

littlewomenLittle Women by Louisa May Alcott
Published 1868 by Roberts Brothers
Classic/Young Adult
Format: e-book; 560 pages
Also From This Author: Little MenJo’s Boys
Goodreads | Amazon
My Rating: 5/5

I have seriously been slacking on my book reviews. I finished Little Women weeks ago and I’m finally forcing myself to type out my thoughts. But rest assured, I loved every minute of this book.

I am still surprised at myself for not having read this book when I was a child, especially because it is right up my alley. Little Women is the type of book that makes me want to have daughters one day, so we can read it together and gush over our favorite moments.  Although I felt oddly guilty at the fact that I didn’t read this book sooner, I did already know the story because I grew up watching the 1994 film version with Winona Rider and Christian Bale. Ilittlewomenmovie still really love this movie, but I am so glad I finally read the novel because it helped redeem some characters and plot lines for me, specifically Amy March, who I had always regarded as the bratty younger sister who just never matures. But she does mature! The movie just doesn’t elaborate on it. So, moral is: always read the book! Even if you read it afterwards :)

My absolute favorite part of this novel was the relationship between the March sisters. They seemed so real despite the fact that they were ideal relationships. They laughed together, cried together; they fought and they made up; they made sacrifices for each other and they took care of one another. You could see so much love that it really encourages you to love your own family a bit more. So many times during this novel I wished I could have hugged my siblings!

Another aspect of this book that really made an impression on me was the role of Marmee. She’s more than just a mother; she’s also a friend to the March sisters and she’s their guide in every area of life. I loved how much wisdom she showed to the girls, wisdom that I definitely benefited from myself. One of my favorite scenes of Little Women is when Marmee gave Meg some advice about nurturing and caring for her new marriage:

“Guard against the little piques, misunderstandings, and hasty words that often pave the way for bitter sorrow and regret.”

I probably related the most to Meg, the eldest sister and the one who first realized that what she needed in life was not what she had always wanted:

She had not yet learned to know how rich she was in the blessings which alone can make life happy.

I loved the gentleness of Beth, always caring and unselfish. She seems like the least developed of the March sisters, but really she holds them all together:

There are many Beths in the world, shy and quiet, sitting in corners till needed, and living for others so cheerfully that no one sees the sacrifices till the little cricket on the hearth stops chirping, and the sweet, sunshiny presence vanishes, leaving silence and shadow behind.

Amy, Amy, Amy… Like I said before, I used to get extremely aggravated by her brattiness because that’s mostly what the 1994 film version portrayed. But she’s just a typical baby sister who still has to grow out of her selfishness and immaturity, just like we all (hopefully) do. We see less of these traits in Meg, Jo, and Beth because they are already relatively grown up when the novel starts. However, I do love the later chapters that focus on Amy’s growing up because we get to see things from her POV and it’s in those chapters that I realized how much Amy does care about those around her. And for those of you who still ship Jo and Laurie, let me just say that Louisa May Alcott got it right. Amy is by far the much better match for Laurie, and it’s because of her that he finally stopped being lazy and mopey. And this quote from Amy regarding marrying Laurie is what really redeemed her character for me:

“How delightful it is to be able to help others, isn’t it? That was always one of my dreams, to have the power of giving freely, and thanks to you, the dream has come true.”

And of course there’s our heroine, Jo, who helps us all realize that we can attain our dreams with lots of hope and hard work, and who, like me, forgets and remembers this beautiful thought:

“I do think that families are the most beautiful things in all the world!”

littlewomenmovie2Little Women (1994)

I have always loved this movie! I used to watch it with googly eyes when I was younger (I don’t have googly eyes now, of course…). It’s one of those movies I could watch every day and that has those heart-touching scenes that never fail to make me cry (like when Beth gets her piano! Bravo Claire Danes on bringing out the tears from me). And although I am probably one of the few consistent shippers of Jo and Professor Bhaer, I have always loved them together. That scene at the end is one of my favorites :)

Pros: the acting! All of the locations and costumes, staying relatively true to the original story.

Cons: cutting out some of my favorite character developments (but it’s understandable), like Amy’s maturity and the early relationship between Meg and Mr. Brooke (which I really gushed over in the book).

For those of you who have read (or watched) Little Women, what were some of your favorite moments? How do you feel about Amy and  the “love square” between her, Jo, Laurie, and Professor Bhaer?