Friday, February 27, 2015

Review Me Twice - Dark Witch by Nora Roberts

I'm kind of glad that this was the final book we read this month.  I mean, what better way to end the month than with the queen of romance novels?  Who hasn't heard of Nora Roberts?  And while you may not have read any of her books, you sure know what's going to be in them when you pick them up.

I actually enjoyed this book WAY more than I thought I was going.  Ok, so bullet point time.  Obvious flaws of this book:

-The main characters is super all powerful special snowflake witch
-She falls in love with main character male
   *Who just happens to be super hot.
   *and constantly compared to horses which, ok, in all honesty, really doesn't have to do with    
     anything, but listening to a guy trying to me manly compared to a horse over and over in a Irish
     accent is just a little ridiculous (I had the audio book.)
-They fell in love in about a week.
-They were married in like... six months.
-I'm fairly certain they hopped into bed in under week.

So the romance half of the book... ridiculous and predictable and not how real life works at all even a little bit.  So why did I like this book?

Well, because outside of the horrible romance, there was actual plot going on.  Iona (our main character) moves to Ireland to find family, and finds two cousins with magical powers like hers, powers that have been passed down through her family for generations to fight off this witch (Cadvan) that's been trying to kill her family for a couple hundred years.

There is her coming into her powers and having a growing relationship with her family and getting friends and starting a life in Ireland.  I mean, the characters are surprisingly round and dynamic (when they're not sleeping with each other every five seconds.)  So is it a typical romance novel?  Well, yes, but I kind of liked it.  Not enough to go seek out the second book, but enough that one day I might pick it up.

I'm so glad this month is over. If I'm lucky, we'll never revisit romance here on the blog again. I figured, if I'm ever going to like a book that belongs solidly in the romance genre, it'll be one by Nora Roberts. Everyone gushes about how amazing she is; if she can't convert me to a romance reader, nobody can. Well, apparently nobody can, if that logic holds.

I just didn't care about anything in this book. I tried to. I could see why I should care. I just didn't. I do appreciate that there's something larger than the romance aspect going on - the "actual plot" Cassy mentioned above - but I didn't care about that, either.

This is definitely one of those times where I'm fully aware that this is just my personal preferences talking, though. It's a well-written book. It's just not the book for me. In library science, we have five "laws," called Ranganathan's Laws. One is "every book its reader" and another is "every reader their book." This book has the right readers, and I am not a part of that group. And there are books for me, and they don't live in the romance section. Sorry, romance; it's not you... it's me.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Types of Romance

I don't know what you guys picture when someone says "romance," but typically people think of a dozen red roses, expensive champagne served in expensive champagne flutes at an expensive, dimly-lit restaurant by a maitre'd in a tuxedo, rose petals on a bed, expensive and shiny jewelry, and chocolate.

Oh yeah, and sunsets. Don't forget about sitting somewhere together watching a sunset.

In the world of arts and literature, however, "romance" means many different things.

Hellenistic romance refers to five specific novels, the only ones we still have from ancient Greece.

Chivalric romance is a subgenre containing medieval and Renaissance narrative fiction. It has a heavy focus on heterosexual love, courtly manners, and heroic knight-errants going on quests.

The general genre of romance has as its focus people in romantic love, which is defined as "the expressive and pleasurable feeling from an emotional attraction towards another person." They also have to have a satisfying and optimistic ending.

When it comes to film, there's your basic romance which is pretty much a romance novel in film form, and the romantic comedy, which you can only be unaware of if you live in the exact center of the Serengeti, and is a hybrid of a romance film and a comedy film, using elements from both.

Then you have Romanticism, which was an artistic and intellectual movement in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Within that movement, you have Romantic music, the style used by Beethoven, Chopin, Brahms, and Wagner; Romantic poetry, used by Keats and Wordsworth; and even Romanticism in science, which contrasted Enlightenment mechanistic natural philosophy, and promoted anti-reductionism, epistemological optimism, creativity, experience, and genius.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Least Favorite Romance Novel

While there are a couple of books that stand out pretty prevantly in my mind (I'm looking at you, Twilight), Fifty Shades of Gray is probably my 100% all time lease favorite romance book of all time (and yes, I have read the first one.)

As much as i hate Twilight, it IS a teenager book and it fits that category well.  It's not well written, but it doesn't nececerily have to be.  It just has to keep teens interested and reading, which it does do that.  It also introduces that kid to the world of reading.

I hate fifty shades because it's a book that disguises itself as a love story but is actually a story about abuse.  The authors knows nothing about the basics for BSDM. She wrote what she thought happened in the BDSM culture, but she was so wrong.  Instead, Gray is controlling and psychotic and controls every aspect of her life and then expects her to change it when it doesn't meet his expectation.

The worst part about the whole thing is that women READ that and think it's and accurate portrayal.  They think that the BDSM culture works that way, that because they're a different type of relationship, they're love less and conotrolling and abusive, but that's just not the case.

Can I just pick the whole genre? No, I'm sure there are good ones out there. I just kind of hoped that this solid month of reading romance would help me like the genre more, not solidify my distaste for it. I'm just not a romantic person. So even though it feels sort of like cheating, I'm going to go with "every book in the romance genre I've been exposed to so far" as my least favorite romance book. Although Cassy makes some good points about Fifty Shades.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Is it Fiction or Is It Romance?

This week, we're reading Dark Witch by Nora Roberts.  Roberts is notorious for being a romance writer, and that's where her books can be found.  But there are other authors, who you wouldn't expect, that are just housed in general fiction.

Danielle Steele is a prime example of that.  She's a notorious romance writer.  However, walk into any (corporate and probably independant, though I can't say for sure) bookstore, and you'll find her in the fiction section.

Mary Higgins Clark is another one that is not in a section you would anticipate.  She writes a lot of mystery, but she is kept in general fiction (I know because when I went looking for her, I started in mystery.)

So why are these authors not where we expect them to be?  Well, on big reason, which is more prevelant with Clark, is that her books aren't just mystery.  Oh, sure that's the bulk of the story, but Clark writes a lot of mystery/thrillers with maybe just the slightest hint of romance.  I imagine, Danelle Steele (though I can't say for sure since I've never actually read one of her books) is the same way.  Her books probably have so many different themes going on in them you can't classify them as just romance.

So if you're ever looking for a book and it's not in romance or mystery or sci-fi, try the general fiction section.  There's a good chance it's hanging out there.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Author Bio - Nora Roberts

This week, our last reading romance novels, we taking on the queen of romance, Nora Roberts.  We're reading the first book in her new trilogy, Dark Witch.

Roberts starting writing when she got snowed in with her three boys when they were young. There was a huge blizzard and not a lot to do, and so she wrote.  She submitted her manuscripts to Harlequin Romance, who rejected about six times.

She was finally accepted by Silhoutte books and became incredibly successful, having her books hit the bestseller list almost every time.  She was recently inducted into the Romance Writing Hall of Fame (who knew there even was such a thing?).

She currently lives in Silver Spring, MD with her family.  She has a website, a twitter and a facebook page.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Review Me Twice - DarkFever by Karen Marie Moning

So the book wasn't ACTUALLY as bad as I expected.  It was the first surprise I've gotten this month (though, not the last.)  I was expecting hot and heavy sex by page three and the two main characters to be desperately in love by the end of the book.

But it's book one in a series and you can tell that Moning is in for the long haul with this book.  It's told from Mac's perspective, her future self telling the reader about her past experiences, in this case, about finding out about her powers, about her past and her heritage.

I like that Moning used this book to lay down the ground work for her novels.  She was setting up her story and her characters and really giving us a chance to get used to the world that we were being thrown into.

That being said... it's still really obvious it's being set up to be Overly Sexualized Romance Novel.  There are Fae's whose sole purpose are to make you want to have sex with them (our main character gets naked in public twice.)  It's clear that her and Barrons dislike each other so much that the only eventuality is that they are going to fall for each other.  The whole point of Faes is to steal people's beauty or lives or to sex them to death, so on that front, it's all kind of ridiculous.

But if you're looking for something fun and easy, this one has just enough substance to keep you interested but not enough to really make you think too much.

Did you know that the best way to pitch a movie in Hollywood is to describe your script as "[popular movie] but [twist]"? I feel like I'm doomed to see all paranormal romance as "Twilight but [twist]." For example, I saw Darkfever as "Twilight but Irish." It's not really anything specific about the characters' relationship or even the plot that makes me think "Twilight"; it's just that I see paranormal romance and start making connections to Twilight immediately. It could be my fault for letting Twilight be the first paranormal romance I ever read.

Otherwise, I agree with Cassy. I expected less mystery and detective work about the protagonist's sister's death and more immediate jumping into bed with the Adonis character, so that was a pleasant surprise.

I didn't really enjoy it, but this isn't my genre. I had to work really hard to push myself through it because I had to tell you guys about it. I would have put it down and walked away days ago if I could have. But like I said... this isn't my scene.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

NaNoWriMo Editing Reminder

Remember November? I know, it seems like forever ago. But if you won NaNoWriMo, then you have some winner goodies to take advantage of, including several options for ways to publish your novel! But you shouldn't publish until you've edited, and that can take a really long time.

A lot of people - like me - finish NaNoWriMo and think, "Okay, now I can focus on the holiday season. Oh now it's January, I can start some new project for the new year. And February has rolled around now; I can get back to normal as far as housework and my job and things like that are concerned." Well, if you go on like that, you'll never edit, you'll miss the deadline to publish for free or discounted price (depending on which winner goodies you take advantage of) and before you know it, it's November again and you're starting all over!

We had a few snow days this week, and I did a very tiny bit of editing on my 2013 NaNoWriMo (because I think it has better foundations than my 2014 NaNoWriMo and I'd prefer to publish the 2013 one). Not as much as I should have, or had time to do, but I did something.

So this is a reminder to anyone who wants to edit their NaNoWriMo novel: DO IT! Even a little bit a day is more than nothing, and once you get your momentum up and you're several chapters in, it will get a lot easier.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Favorite Sex Scene

So we're getting a little steamy this week but what the heck, it's February and Valentine's day and were reading romance novels so favorite sex scenes it is.

Jean Auel usually pops up when we do these posts, mostly because there it's so much sex in her books so you shouldn't be surprised that she wrote my favorite one. Book for of the Earth's Children series they're traveling across the continent and Jondalar is adamant about pressing on but Ayla needs a day off. So, they stop at a river and she decided right there that she's basically going to use sex to distract him.

I like it because it's not a malicious use of sex and the scene is fun and Ayla is just trying to get him to remember that sometimes, you need a day to relax.

Well, this is one of those times when Cassy and I have the same favorite! Actually, I was trying to remember which of David Levithan's books (Boy Meets Boy or Wide Awake) had the scene I was thinking of, and I decided that if I couldn't remember, it probably wasn't really my favorite. So I fell back on the scenes to which I compare all other sex scenes, even if not on purpose: the first ones I read, which were in Jean M. Auel's Earth's Children series.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


We've talked about genres on here a ton, but Sub-Genres aren't really something we've touched on (or at least I don't think we have.  I'm not going to lie guys, after three years of this blog, sometimes, I forget what I've talked to you about.)

So why am I bringing it up today?  Well, while we classified our book this week as romance, which the series eventually will turn into, the first book, if it were a stand alone, could really be classified more as urban fantasy.

Kind of weirdly specific, isn't it?  But think about it.  What thoughts are invoked when you think fantasy?  Faeries and witches and a little bit of an old time, old fashioned, old world, sword and shield and magic type of world with horses, right?  In fact, Rhapsody, the fantasy book we reviewed, was exactly like that.

Urban fantasy lets you know it's more modern day.  It's probably going to take place in a city, or a much more modern setting, with technology and cell phones and a girl who lives in the very same world that you do and uses things that you're familiar with... there just happens to be magic there too.

Sub-genres are actually pretty important things.  If I hate horror, but love fiction, I can steer clear of the horror sub-genre in fiction (Stephen King, I'm looking at you.)  Historical Fiction (or romance) are both sub-genres.  They let me know that, fiction or romance, they're going to be taking place during a certain time period.  Usually, you're looking at a Tudor England type setting (especially with Historical Romance), but Outlander is historical fiction and it takes place in Scotland in the 18th century.

Sub-genres are just as important as genres, maybe more so, when deciding what books we like and what we don't like.  However, just keep in mind, book aren't usually organized by their subgenres.  If you walk into a book store and ask where the historical fiction section is, you're probably going to get a weird look from the bookseller.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Author Bio: Karen Marie Moning


Karen Marie Moning is the author of this week's review book, Darkfever. It's the first book in her second series (the Fever series). Her first series was the Highlander series. She started off writing paranormal romance set in Scotland (this week's book is from that era) and later moved into urban fantasy set in Dublin, Ireland, with a focus on the Fae.

She was born in Ohio and got a degree in Society and Law from Purdue University. She has won the Romance Writers of America RITA award for Best Paranormal Romance and has been nominated for other RITAs, and her books have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list multiple times.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Review Me Twice: The Sheik's Accidental Pregnancy by Leslie North

I might start making my reviews just the first sentence I said out loud after I finished reading the book. This week, for instance, that would be: "Well, at least it was short."

Another sentence I said aloud while reading that serves as a pretty good review: "Ohhh, it's a Middle-East-set Fifty Shades." I mean this in the sense that a shy, awkward girl works in an inferior position to a powerful, angry guy who's very particular about how he wants others to behave, and they fall into an unhealthy, intensely love-hate relationship. No S&M, and this time there's a baby involved.

I have to admit that sex scenes are very hard to write. The ones in this book aren't bad. Although I can't let this one detail go. There are a few typos in the book, but this error I can't let slide. "He impaled himself upon her." That is... not correct. Not at all. That's the opposite of what should have been said. Sorry... it was just too funny to ignore.

All in all, I don't want to read the sequels, but I don't feel like I lost a small chunk of my life to this book. I feel like I spent half an evening reading something amusing.

When I picked out the book this week, I picked out it mostly because the title amused me, not because it was going to be a great literary masterpiece.  And, also, it was free on Amazon and fit into the "Romance Novel" theme of our month.

It was also a short novel, which was nice.  Took about an afternoon to read.  Was it a great book?  No, not particularly.  Was it the most terrible book I've ever read?  Surprisingly, no.  I mean, the characters were a little flat and the book was a really rushed.  It could do with a little more fleshing out.  And it was pretty predictable, but I think that just comes with the romance novel genre.

I'm with Alex on the "He impaled himself upon her" typo.  I did a little bit of a double take and made me really raise an eyebrow, not to mention, I couldn't really focus on the rest of the scene because I was so distracted by the fact that my main characters had just switched sexual organs.  Not the place that you want to be making typos (and I usually gloss over the typos when I'm reading, if I'm not in editing mode, so it must be REALLY bad for me to so actively catch it.)

Not the worst book this month, but we read Wuthering Heights, so I guess there was no way it could be. ;)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

What's in a Name... er, Title?

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."
Romeo and Juliet

If you've never taken the time to parse apart that quote, it basically means that even if we called roses something other than "roses," they'd still serve the same purpose... smelling nice. Romeo is basically saying that it doesn't matter what Juliet's name is, because she's still pretty. It's a nice sentiment.

I disagree, though, to a degree. Sure, if we called roses "prettyblossoms" they'd probably be perceived in the same way as they do now. But if we called them "stinkweeds," even though they would still smell the same, we would perceive them differently. Did you know that canola oil is actually from something called rapeseed? Do you think you'd be just as likely to buy rapeseed oil as you are to buy canola oil? Perhaps, but not everyone is, and the market would take a pretty heavy hit. The same thing is true of Chilean sea bass. Before some fish wholesaler renamed it in 1977, it was best known as Patagonian toothfish. Not nearly as appetizing to read on a menu.

The point I'm aiming for is that a title is important to a book. People say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but you have to make a decision somehow before you've actually read the book. Granted, that's what things like reviews (hi, there!) and personal recommendations are for, but a title has a lot of influence over your first several impressions of the book.

Cassy chose this week's book, The Sheik's Accidental Pregnancy, because how on earth could you ever resist a book with a title like that?!?

What are some of the best titles you've heard? And be honest... did you pick up the book and read it because of the title? (And if you did, how was it?)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Favorite Book Title

Today, we're all about judging a book by it's cover... or its title anyway.  We're doing our favorite book titles.

I want you to know right now that I have absolutely no idea what this book is about.  None.  At all.  It was a book, thrown on an endcap near our romance section, under the heading of "If you like Fifty Shades of Grey" which, let's face it, could basically be the title of our romance section.  But I digress.

Today, is all about book titles that make us giggle.  And this, my friend, made me giggle from the first moment I saw it it.  It could be a fabulous book (though, being on the "If you like Fifty" endcap AND in our romance section AND being called Wallbanger... I'm thinking probably not.)  But the point is, it just made me laugh the second I saw it.

A lot of romance books try to make themselves seem really deep, like there's a really important story line going on and it's not just all about the sex.  I just love that this book is like, "Nope.  Not even hiding it.  This book is about sex.  All of it.  We're even naming the title a sex title.  But since there's no naked people on the cover, we can put it in romance instead of sexuality."

This title gets two counts in this category, for me. Not only do I think the title "This Book Is Full of Spiders" is clever, attention-grabbing, and funny, but I really love the subtitle. The full title is "This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously Dude, Don't Touch It." It makes me laugh every time I see the book, see a picture of the book, think about the book... It just makes me really happy.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Purple Prose

Purple prose is a phrase that got thrown around a lot during my fan fiction days, but it's just as applicable in regular fiction.  In fact, romance novels are usually the prime breeding ground for it.  So, since we're doing nothing but reading romance novels this month, I thought I'd give you a little background on it. defines it as: writing that calls attention to itself because of its obvious use of certain effect, as exaggerated sentiment or pathos, especially in an attempt to enlist or manipulate the reader's sympathies.

That definition is almost purple prose. Urban Dictionary makes it a little more concise, "a term used to describe literature where the writing is unnecessarily flowery" and even gives a great example of it:

She lay upon her silken sheets in her ornately embellished robes of satin, her chest ascending and descending easily with every passing second, deep inside the caverns of her subconscious mind.

So why do we see this so much in romance novels?  Well, often the idea is that the flowery language is romantic, for one, and well placed.  It puts you in a certain mood when reading a book.  Whether that's actually true, well, who knows, but the idea is the language is romantic and ornate and makes a reader sign with how wonderful it is and gives you all the warm fuzzies.

The problem is, is that now a days it's crossed over into a lot of fan fiction, young authors using this overdone language because they haven't learned how to properly describe things.  So instead of saying something like, "the girl flipped her dirty blond hair", the author will instead write, "the girl's luscious dark blonde locks shimmered in the bright sunlight as she tossed her head, causing her hair to tumble over her shoulders."

That fan fiction is now getting turned into real life fiction (Fifty Shades of Grey anyone?) and the purple prose that used to get removed by a good editor now just slips right by.

So how can you avoid this in your writing?  Well, my rule for dialogue applies pretty well here too.  Read it out loud.  If you feel REALLY silly saying it, chances are, it's probably pretty silly reading it.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Author Bio - Leslie North

You may be asking what this odd author photo is.  Well, our author this week, Leslie North, is actually a pseudonym.  North doesn't use her real name, or even give it out.  She doesn't appear for things or give out personal information or come out from behind the facade of the name she's created for her novels.

She gives a brief description of her life on her webpage, saying she lives with dogs in Britain, but that contradicts where her Goodreads account says she hails from, so who really knows?

But, like any good author, she does have a Twitter and a Facebook that you can follow.

For our month of Romance novels, we're going to be picking up her book, The Sheikh's Accidental Pregnancy, so stop by on Friday to see what we thought of it.  And check in this week so see some fun topics!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Review Me Twice: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

I want to tell you guys really quick that Cassy got a little mad at me for picking this book. I had no idea she disliked it so much, so I'm going to go ahead and apologize for making her think about it again.

Then, I'd like to add my name to the list of people who dislike this book. It's not all that bad, I guess, but it's certainly not for me. I can't stand slogging through books where people talk like they're... characters in classic literature, I guess. Sure, I know the words; I have a great vocabulary. (Thanks, Mom, for reading with me throughout my childhood!) But it's a chore to read a conversation in a book like this.

Beyond the word choices, though, which I can easily chalk up to this being written in a different time, I just dislike these people. Every last one of them is either a spoiled brat, reacts to a normal situation in a ridiculously overblown way, or pushes their nose in where it doesn't belong. I thought I liked Nelly, the housekeeper who tells the story of most of the book, but when I realized her part in the story she's telling, I noticed that I don't really like her either.

So to sum this up: I don't like it, I'm sorry I made myself read it, and I'm sorry I made Cassy re-read it.

I hate this book.  I don't just kind of hate this book, I REALLY hate this book.  And this isn't just I read it this one time and if I give it another chance I might like it, no, this book and I have a long standing relationship of distaste.

I have read this book four times now, and I still can't stand it.  The first time I read it was in high school, then twice (IN THE SAME YEAR!) in college, and then once again now.  I'm reading this book I can't stand an awful lot.  In fact, I would probably say that this is my least favorite book of all time.

For one, everyone has the same freakin' name, and it took me three readings of the book to figure out which Catherine was which and which person was which and it was miserable and if I have to make a graph to figure out the characters of a book, you're doing it wrong.

What's more is that it's supposed to be the greatest love story of all time, such unrequited love!  But I hate Catherine the older.  She's whiny and manipulative and just a general jerk which, really, I think just makes her deserve Heathcliff who is an even BIGGER jerk and is like that nerd who never got over being bullied in high school and takes it out on everyone twenty years later.

Only he takes out on people who don't deserve it, which makes me hate him even more, and he never really redeems himself.  And since he's a little slime ball, he ends up turning all of the younger generation into spoiled, self-entitled brats I can't stand either!!

Really, the only person in the entire book who has ANY sort of redeeming qualities is Edgar Linton.  He married Catherine the older, was father to Catherine the younger, and doted on both of them like there was no tomorrow.  He was generally a forgiving man, as long as you gave him a reason to forgive.  Sure, he started out a little annoying and mean, but what teenager isn't?

Thursday, February 5, 2015


Footnotes: Not a particularly exciting topic, to be sure. But I think they deserve a little attention.

I've been thinking about footnotes this week, because we're reading something written during a time with a different set of slang and common vocabulary than what we use today. Most modern editions of classic literature will include footnotes to explain some of the potentially more confusing words. (Though, I do have to admit, it makes me feel really good when I run across one that makes me think, "Duh.")

Sometimes I really appreciate these footnotes, especially when the author incorporates a phonetic spelling of dialect. It can be really difficult to decipher some of that.

On the other hand, I think they can be really distracting. The ones with superscript numbers can be a little more helpful, because you know when to look for a footnote and when you're not going to get an explanation of something. But the edition of Wuthering Heights I have, for example, doesn't have the superscript numbers, so every time I turn to a new page, I check the bottom to see if I'm going to run across a term the book thinks I probably don't know. It can slow down the reading process and breaks up the story into segments between words you have to look up.

How do you feel about footnotes? Love them? Hate them? Begrudgingly accept them as a necessary evil?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Favorite Classics

Brave New World

It was hard for me to define what qualifies as a "classic" when it comes to literature. So I decided not to worry about it too much, and I chose Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.

I've talked about it before, so I'll keep it short and sweet. Great science-fiction is believable, and Brave New World definitely is, while still being different and unusual enough to be fascinating. Great books are quotable, and you wouldn't believe how often I say "I'm so glad I'm a Beta."

I was really torn between two books for this post, but, if I'm really honest with myself, there is only one true winner in my heart.

This should be zero surprise to anyone, and the fact that Pride & Prejudice was my runner up should also be of no surprise to anyone.  But Dangerous Liaisons is one I just love so much.  There's intrigue!  Deceit!  Manipulation!  Sex!  Alright, maybe that last one isn't a reason that I read it, but the book is just so well done and everyone is just so TERRIBLE to each other.  I mean, I think everyone, at some point, does something to get back at someone else in this book.

It's great.

So it wins for favorite classic,

But, Pride & Prejudice wins for favorite QUOTE from a classic, so I guess it's got that going for it.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Why I Love The Classics

If you haven't noticed by now, for the most part, I'm a big lover of classic novels, especially from the time period that this week's novel, Wuthering Heights, is from (though, I don't actually LIKE this week's novel.  But you'll have to wait until Friday to hear about that.)

Basically, if it was written in the 1800s, I'm probably going to enjoy reading it.  The biggest thing that I like is the language.  Even before the time of Bronte and Austen, the language was wonderful and rich and flowery.  Take a look at Shakespeare for instance.  He was WAY before any of them and his language was literally poetic.

Doubt thou the stars are fire, Doubt that the sun doth move.
Doubt truth to be a liar, But never doubt I love.

The language flowed and was magical.  And, what's more, people were a lot wittier back in the day.  If you really pay attention to Austen, you could tell that the entirety of Pride and Prejudice is commenting on how ridiculous she thinks the whole process of marriage is.  She says it to her readers in the very first line of the novel:

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in 
possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

She's ridiculing the fact that rich men can't be single, that they must be looking for marriage, and even if they aren't, they're going to be soon whether they want to be or not.  Lizzie is constantly commenting on marriage and the protocol of it.  The very fact that she turns down so many proposals is a clear indication from Austen that she thinks the whole thing, that no one can seem to marry for love only money, is ridiculous, and she uses her book and her language and her characters to show that.

I also love that the classics, while they may not seem very exciting now, were often revolutionary for their day.  There is a reason that they have lasted hundreds of years.  One of my favorite books is Dangerous Liaisons by LeClos.  It is an entire book about uses sex to get what you what.  A book, written in the mid-1700s, is all about sexual manipulation.  People barely admitted that sex existed in the 1700s, let alone wrote and read books about it.  Yet the book was insanely popular, proving that the scandalous will sell no matter what century it is.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Author Bio: Emily Bronte

It's the month of romance here at Review Me Twice, and we're kicking things off with Wuthering Heights, the only novel written by Emily Bronte, the third oldest of the Bronte siblings.

She was born in 1818 and died in 1848 at the age of 30. When she was 20, she was a teacher for a short time but the stress was too much and she returned home to be a stay-at-home daughter, doing things like cooking and cleaning, but also learning German and piano. She and Charlotte went to a school in Belgium, where they decided to publish some of their work under male pen names (Emily chose Ellis Bell).

She published Wuthering Heights in 1847 in London. Many people believed it to have been written by a man because of its violence and passion. A letter from a publisher indicates that Emily intended to write a sequel, but no evidence of the sequel has ever been found.

Her death was most likely caused by unsanitary conditions, especially drinking water, and she had lost so much weight by the time of her death, her coffin was reportedly 16 inches wide, and the man who built it claimed to have never made a thinner one for an adult.

On that cheery note, let's look forward to a month full of romance!