What’s coming to this blog

I was meaning to get the last part of my book haul published, but I have been super busy in the last few days and couldn’t focus on anything I wanted to. For now, I have decided to make a schedule in an attempt to make sure I post the things I want on time. Life has definitely gotten busier what with my lab competency tests and finding a lab placement. Unfortunately, this means that I haven’t been online as much as I would like and have allowed some things to fall behind.

For this month, I wanted to start doing a childhood favourites series where I talk about Harry Potter, Nancy Drew (or Alice Roy depending on whether you are French), Peter Rabbit series, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Dear Canada, Percy Jackson, and other favourite reads of mine throughout childhood. However, I don’t think I have the time for such a dedicated series anymore.

What I am going to do is post the series I have already written regarding a problematic author that I want to address, but I am going to postpone the publishing of this series until November when I know where I stand in terms of placement and other obligations.

I am going to be publishing my book reviews to books that I have read over the summer. Unfortunately, I haven’t read as many books as I wanted due to mental health concerns and because I wasn’t reading. The reviews are currently in process of being written and will most likely be posted later this month.

The books I have read over the last few months are:

♥ Remedy for Treason by Caroline Roe (1 star rating)
♥ Only the Stones Survive by Morgan Llywelyn (1 star rating, DNF-ed)
♥ Cursed by Thomas Wheeler (DNF-ed)*
♥ The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery (5 star rating)

I have been slowly reading through other books that are listed on my Goodreads sidebar. I’ve been having a difficult time reading The Daughter of Time and The Romance of the Forest due to how tedious these books are. For Ann Radcliffe’s work, it is very dense and very slow moving, but with Josephine Tey’s book it’s because it is very info dumpy with the information about Richard III.

It’s all very good, though. Classics sometimes need longer to read to fully appreciate and understand them. Even little classics like Tey’s The Daughter of Time and Henry James The Turn of the Screw need a lot of time to read, but in the end, they are well worth all the time you dedicate to them.

*Just a quick note about Cursed: I am going to be rereading this book to see if I can finish it where I DNF-ed, but if I can’t get into the book, then I will be reviewing what I read, the writing, the characters, and why I didn’t like the book.

Book Haul Part II: Mystery, Middle Grade, and Fantasy

This is part 2 of the book haul post from yesterday. You can find Part I here if you want to refer back to it. This is the mystery, middle grade, and fantasy books that I have bought that are now part of my collection.

For the mystery genre, many of you will notice that all of the books are historical murder mysteries or fanfiction for well known series like Pride and Prejudice and Arthurian. For this reason, I have decided to separate this genre further into author and the series that the book is in. For many of these authors, I have bought books that I am missing books in. For others, I am buying the first few books in the series to see if I’d like them as I have heard of them within the circles I am in on Facebook, Goodreads, and other platforms.

Abebooks is both an excellent way to buy books and a curse for those that are in search of good quality books for a cheap price. As you can all see, I went extremely crazy for the last few months.

Mystery
Author: Michael Jecks- Knight’s Templar Series
♥ The Merchant’s Partner
♥ Squire Throwleigh’s Heir
♥ The Outlaws of Ennor
♥ The Chapel of Bones
♥ The Butcher of St. Peter’s
Author: Susanna Gregory- Matthew Bartholomew Series
♥ An Unholy Alliance
♥ A Bone of Contention
Author: Candace Robb- Owen Archer Series
♥ The Apothecary Rose
♥ The Lady Chapel
♥ The Nun’s Tale
♥ The King’s Bishop
Author: Paul Doherty- Hugh Corbett series
♥ Satan in St Mary’s
♥ The Crown in Darkness
Author: Tony Hays- The Arthurian Mysteries
♥ The Killing Way
Author: Regina Jeffers- Pride and Prejudice Murder Mysteries
♥ The Mysterious Death of Mr. Darcy
♥ Christmas at Pemberley

I feel that I made a mistake with the Tony Hays book which is an Arthurian murder series. I heard through the grapevine that there is a Arthurian murder mystery, but don’t think that it is by this author. However, if I do like The Killing Way then I will be more than happy to pick up more in the series. By the time I found out that it was possible that I grabbed the wrong book, the book was already on its way to me and I didn’t have the heart to inform the book seller.

Middle Grade
♥ The Ascendance series: The False Prince, The Runaway King, and The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. Nielsen
♥ Matilda by Roald Dahl
♥ The Flame of Olympus by Kate O’Hearn
♥ Starfire by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez

Fantasy
♥ The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
♥ An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors by Curtis Craddock
♥ The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey
♥ His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik
♥ The Tiger and the Wolf by Adrian Tchaikovsky

This is all the books that I have hauled over the months for mystery, middle grade, and fantasy. I do have a few mysteries still coming in that are currently stuck in customs due to the pandemic. I have a few books by Margaret Frazer, Edward Marston, and C.S. Harris that are on their way.

The last part of this book haul is all the historical non-fiction books that I have purchased. This is a haul that needs its own separate post as there are many books, and I want to divide it up by century. Some of these books were retired books from the libraries in my area that were in good need of a home and fast, and since a few of the librarians knew that I love books like this, they called me and asked me if I wanted them. The library book sales in my area have been put on hold since the start of the pandemic, and the books would have been tossed into recycling due to lack of space to keep them.

So look out for the next update. It should be posted tomorrow, but if not then it definitely should be up before Monday.

Book Haul Part I: Classics, Historical Fiction, and Poetry

Ever since I discovered Abebooks, I have been going crazy with buying books. Sadly, I haven’t bought any young adult as I have been having a difficult time finding a YA that interests me. I have bought books within the Classics, Historical Fiction, Mystery, historical non-fiction, poetry, Fantasy, and Middle Grade genres. I had to wait a long time until most of these books came in (since the Pandemic caused the post to be late in my area).

*For the sake of length, I am separating books based on their genre and will make this into a three parter as I have many books to list, and don’t want people to get bored. These are books that I received in the mail (many of the classics came from the same seller, as did some of the historical fiction novels, and poetry.

Classics
♥ Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
♥ Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
♥ The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
♥ Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence
♥ Heidi by Johanna Spyri
♥ The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
♥ Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
♥ Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne
♥ The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
♥ Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
♥ Classic Tales of Horror by Edgar Allan Poe
♥ The Secret Garden and A Little Princess both by Frances Hodgson Burnett
♥ The Happy Return by C.S. Forester
♥ The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy
♥ Villette by Charlotte Brontë
♥ The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
♥ The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy

Historical Fiction
♥ The Forever Queen by Helen Hollick
♥ The Kingmaking by Helen Hollick (I already have book two in the Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy)
♥ Shadow of the King by Helen Hollick
♥ Outlaw by Donald Angus (I already have book two and three in the series)
♥ The Rose of York: Love & War by Sandra Worth
♥ Sharpe’s Eagle, Sharpe’s Gold, and Sharpe’s Company all by Bernard Cornwell
♥ The Lily and the Lion and The King Without a Kingdom both by Maurice Druon (Book 6 and Book 7 of the Accursed Kings series)

Poetry
♥ Lord Byron: The Major Works
♥ John Keats: The Complete Poems
♥ Canadian Poetry from World War I: An Anthology

This list is incomplete as I ordered and paid for a lot more books, particularly poetry. I am waiting for an anthology of French poetry, but it seems to be stuck at customs due to the current situation as this book had to come from France. I mostly got the anthology because it was the only one I could find with Victor Hugo’s lovely poems in it. As for other books I am waiting for, I am currently waiting for The Three Mystic Heirs: The Rose Knight’s Crucifixion by Lawrence Elsworth. It is by the translator of The Three Musketeers and The Red Sphinx, both books by Alexandre Dumas, and is an original fiction by Ellsworth. It is a historical fiction novel and seemed interesting. I also ordered some books by Sharon Kay Penman and Jack Whyte.

To Read List

Since tomorrow is the first of September, I decided that I want to post a tentative list of books that I want to get to this month. I’ve always had a huge issue with lists as I find that I rarely refer to them after I post them. However, I think I want to try posting a list and picking at least one book on the list. For the sake of keeping things easier for myself, I am going to be separating books based on their genre.

Young Adult-Fantasy

•Onyx & Ivory by Mindee Arnett
•Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao
•Cursed by Thomas Wheeler (re-read as I DNFed and gave 1 star)
•The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White
•The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

Historical Fiction

•Viking: Odinn’s Child by Tim Severin
•Honour and the Sword by A.L. Berridge
•Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir
•War at the Edge of the World by Ian Ross
•The Iron King by Maurice Druon (re-read as I got the rest of the series finally on my shelf)
•In a Dark Wood Wandering by Hellas. Haasse
•City of Crows by Chris Womersley

Fantasy

•Torn by Rowenna Miller
•Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Holocaust Non-Fiction

•By Chance Alone: A Remarkable True Story of Courage and Survival at Auschwitz

I think I have a good enough selection to choose from this month as I really want to get back into reading more. I am currently busy with other books that I want to finish, but the books that I have listed in this post are books that are on my physical TBR that I have been wanting to read for awhile now.

Tomorrow’s post will be the books that I managed to haul for the month. Most of them were bought online through Abebooks, but some of them were bought in Coles (Canadian bookshop linked to Chapters).

The Road Not Taken- Robert Frost

nature red forest leaves
A forest path disappearing into the trees.

The Road Not taken by Robert Frost is one of my favourite poems of all time. In my high school English class, I remember having to study this poem and have a discussion about it. I remember instantly falling in love with the poem. It is an incredibly powerful poem that I took with me into my adult years. Robert Frost is only one of a few American poets that I really do like, but I hope to expand my reading as I find that American and Canadian poets share many things in common in terms of poetry.

I am going to share the poem and then discuss what I think of it. I believe that is the best way to both show the poem and the reason for why I love it so much.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Before I start my analysis, I want to say that The Road Not Taken is considered the most misread poem. It isn’t a difficult poem to read. However, it is often misinterpreted to be one thing when it is supposed to be another. Many of my classmates in high school interpreted it the way that many others do. However, when you take the moment to read each line, you see that there is more to the poem than what meets the eye.

When I first read The Road Not Taken as a fourteen year old schoolgirl, I thought that it was about the narrator choosing to take a path less traveled to choose our own destiny. I foolishly thought, as did some of my other classmates, that this was poem about choosing to go down a road that nobody set out for you.

Needless to say, my teacher told us to re-read the poem in its entirety and to write an essay about what we thought it meant afterwards. Begrudgingly, I did what I was told. My re-read of this poem was perhaps more insightful than the first time I had read it. After reading each stanza, I began to realize that there was more to the poem than I had realized.

Robert Frost had written The Road Not Taken for one of his friends. An Englishman by the name of Edward Thomas, who was divided on whether he wanted to participate in the First World War. Frost wrote his poem with the intention of showing Thomas that regardless of the path he chose, that he would be sorry that he didn’t take the other.

With the background of why the poem was written out of the way, I believe that this poem is about the narrator’s indecisiveness. He stops at the crossroads, looks down one path, but can’t decide whether he wants to take it. So, he looks down the other, and decides to take that one as far as he could. It is a very bittersweet poem- with a bittersweet ending. When you consider what eventually happened to Edward Thomas two years after he was sent this poem by Frost, this poem in its literal sense is what got Thomas to make the decision that ultimately cost him his life.

The Road Not Taken is a poem that is about choosing one path, but always being haunted by the path that was not taken. Edward Thomas took the poem literally, even though Frost made it clear that it was a poem that wasn’t about choosing a specific path that is less or more traveled, but about choosing one road and regretting the path that you chose not to take.

I love this poem. I love the symbolism it represents and the sheer power each stanza has to the reader. By all accounts, Robert Frost loved Edward Thomas dearly, and in readings of The Road Not Taken would say to the audience that the narrator was his friend. Heartbreaking when you consider that Frost probably blamed himself, and that it was possible this poem brought him a great deal of pain when he had to read it out loud to his audience.

Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to read more of Frost’s poems. While, The Road Not Taken is by far my favourite, I would like to discuss more of this poet’s work. However, right now, I would like to focus more attention on Canadian poets like John McCrae, F.G. Scott, and William Wilfred Campbell- to name a few.

The Daughter of Time- Josephine Tey

I purchased this little book on a whim at my local bookshop last week. I don’t know what made me pick it up. Perhaps it was the cover. Maybe it was the synopsis on the back cover. All I know is that I bought this book and started reading it after I was finished with The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. I am not far into this book. As a matter of fact, I am only on chapter 2. However, I think this is going to be another favourite of 2020.

The little author’s blurb in the little Introduction within the book said that Tey is a Scottish author. So, quite naturally, I spoke to my grandmother about her. My grandmother earned her degree in English literature back in the day, and she’s always been my go to when it comes to talking about English language authors and anything literature related. My grandmother didn’t really know too much about Tey as she’s more of a fan of Agatha Christie and she never studied Tey when she was going to school. However, she is interested in reading the book after I am finished with it to gain more perspective, and to see if she likes the author.

So, one thing that I am slightly annoyed about is that Arcturus published this classic and made it seem like it was a standalone novel. I didn’t think anything of it when I purchased this book, but when I did my own research, I discovered that Tey wrote The Daughter of Time as the fifth book within an established mystery series called the ‘Inspector Alan Grant Novels’. While, I am a little peeved that I am picking up and reading a book that is the fifth book in a series, I find that I don’t really care the more I am reading the book. It is a delightful read so far, and it reads like a standalone without making any reference to any past books. Reading The Daughter of Time doesn’t make me feel like I am missing anything unlike many other book series that I’ve read in the past.

Now, there might be a few reasons for why Arcturus only published this particular book without publishing any of the others first. It could be that this book is the more famous of her book series, and is considered worthier to republish than the others. I can’t exactly blame Arcturus for making this decision when it comes to authors, but I admit to being a little annoyed because I was worried that I would read this book and find references that I’d understand if I first read the other books in the series.

The premise of this book is what got me so interested in adding it to my collection. You see, the book is centred on a mystery- but an old mystery. The mystery of who murdered the Princes of the Tower. However, the person investigating the murder is a man that is 500 years in the future, and is a Scotland Yard Inspector.

You can see why I decided to buy this book, right?

I love history. One of my greatest passions is learning as much as I can about history. I know about the Princes in the Tower, Richard III, and the Wars of the Roses. As a Canadian, my knowledge in English medieval history is spotty, and I admit that I do not know as much as I should when it comes to this period. My knowledge with British history is vast when it comes to how the British affected Canada. Most of my history knowledge is self taught. I grew up in a part of Canada that resented my French heritage to the point that French history was largely ignored in favour of the English Canadian narrative. Since Canada is on the opposite side of the world, we don’t much care for European history unless it directly affects Canada. For example, we know more about the Seven Years’ War (also referred to as the French and Indian War or in Canadian French Guerre de la Conquête) than we do The Hundred Years’ War or even the Wars of the Roses.

So, everything that I know about Richard III, the Princes of the Tower, and the Wars of the Roses is largely self taught. I’ve read books by Dan Jones, Alison Weir, and Desmond Seward. It’s nothing to receiving a thorough education within the classroom, but I would rather read history books than be entirely ignorant of that history.

To bring this back to the subject of this article, I want to say that I always sympathized with Richard III to some capacity. He is one of my favourite historical figures. Nobody will beat my absolute favourite historical figure of all time… Turenne (who has such an endearing personality), but Richard III is high up on that list.

As I mentioned earlier, this book is a mystery. It has a protagonist that is so like me in character and personality that it is scary. Alan Grant is such an interesting character from what I can see of his narrative. He is a Scotland Yard Inspector, living in what I believe is the 20th century. The year isn’t expressly told to the reader, but from references within the writing, I believe that the book is set in the contemporary period of the writer. At the beginning of the book, we see Grant confined to bed within a hospital. He is bored and miserable. As a man of action, he is not used to being confined to a bed.

As a result, his lady friend (who I suspect is a character in the other books?) decides to bring Grant pictures that she copied of famous historical figures that provided a mystery. See, Grant has a thing with faces where he likes to study faces, but he also likes to solve mysteries associated with those faces/historical figures. He’s presented a few pictures and dismisses all of them until he reaches the picture of Richard III. After doing some thinking and researching, Grant makes the decision to ‘reopen’ the murder investigation of the princes of the tower.

I am only on the second chapter so I don’t know how we get through the investigative process, but I can say that I am thoroughly enjoying myself.

Regardless of the direction that Tey takes with the plot. Whether Richard III is found to be the perpetrator or is ‘deemed innocent’, I can’t wait to continue on with the story. The idea that a detective is investigating a crime that occurred 500 years is an amusing one to me. It’s amusing in a good way. It isn’t done as a way to ‘rewrite’ a narrative, but to provide amusement to a detective that is bored in a hospital bed.

But then again, this is coming from a person that tries to sort historical figures into Hogwarts houses… which is my favourite pastimes whenever I am bored.

Introduction

Hello all!

I am fairly new to the whole WordPress scene as I was a longtime user on livejournal, but I have decided to do a new blog after nearly ten years of being inactive on my main blogging platform. I am still on the fence as I am used to LJ more, but I think I like this site more.

So far, this is going to be a bookish blog. I want to discuss books in a way that I couldn’t on Twitter or even on Goodreads with other people that love books.

My main genres that I read is classic literature, historical fiction, fantasy, mystery/thriller, and young adult. Unfortunately, I feel that I am growing out of YA as I am not reading in this genre as much as I used to, but the odd YA is read and reviewed. Sadly, I have been very disappointed by many books in the YA: Historical Fiction and YA: Fantasy sections. While, I am open to bookish recommendations, it may be awhile before I decide to pick up something within YA. Though, I am easily convinced… so feel free to recommend books.