The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood: Howard Pyle REVIEW TIME

review-timeFirst read October 14 – November 22, 2o16.
5 // 5 stars.

This book was a stunning, gorgeously bound (not that that matters … *nervous giggle*) work of perfection.

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The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood tells the tale of Robin Hood and his band of merry men in Sherwood forest. They have adventures and give to the poor, and all in all have a merry time.

The book was published in 1883, and is in olde English – essentially Shakespearian. And yet, if you can get past the ‘thous’ and ‘thees’ and ‘repasts’, you will find this book extremely enjoyable!

Things that made this book great

  1. The fact that it was Robin Hood. I love Robin Hood 🙂
  2. The characters were well-developed, and relatively easy to keep track of! Mainly because they are so well known, I think. But I did enjoy that part of it.
  3. Robin Hood was awesome.
  4. Robin Hood was not someone who won ALL the time. It was really great to see him beaten several times, and he always (mostly) lost with dignity, which was lovely to see.
  5. THERE WAS NO ROMANCE. (very good.)
  6. The Sheriff just didn’t give up, and it was HILARIOUS.
  7. This book was downright funny. I laughed a lot, which surprised me, but it shouldn’t have. It was a good look at life when whenever-this-book-was-set, and highlighted the fact that they were still humans back then. They still laughed.
  8. It felt like it was in the right time. Somehow it annoys me when I read historical fiction where people talk in contractions. (“You’re, like, just so annoying Robin! Urgh!”) Because this one was written in the nineteenth century it still had that dignity about it which was very refreshing to read about. I am glad that Pyle wrote the book in the language of Robin-Hood’s-time, and not in the language of the eighteen hundreds.

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Things that surprised me

  1. There was no Maid Marion. Which, to be honest, I was kinda disappointed about – not that I wanted romance, but that my childhood dreams of living in a forest with Robin Hood were slightly crushed. Anyway.
  2. I didn’t expect that it would be so funny. As aforementioned, I laughed a lot.
  3. I didn’t think I’d understand as much as I did. I mean, it is written in ye olde English and while I enjoy reading Shakespeare, I certainly don’t understand everything. And yet, I had a pretty clear understanding of what was going on the whole time, which was really refreshing to have.

Another thing that I loved about this book that I quickly want to touch on, was the treatment of the King and Queen. Robin Hood treated the King and Queen with reverence and respect, even though he was outlawed in their name. I found it amazing that even though he was being attacked by them 24/7 he still respected them and never fought back. In fact, in the end he actually goes so far as to work for them, all forgiven and forgot. This could easily be taken as an allegory for Christ’s love for us; he loved us even when we hunt him down and attack him.

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So all in all, I greatly enjoyed this book! It was humorous, educational, and held some great allegories.

Have you read this book?

See you later, bookdragons!

–Emmeline 🙂

 

I haven’t seen any live action movies of Robin Hood, but I grew up on Disney’s animation. I highly recommend it if you’re in the mood for some animals shooting bows and arrows and singing catchy tunes 🙂

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Top Ten BOOKISH Characters (help)

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So today I wanted to let you know my TEN BEST BOOKISH CHARACTERS. (seriously though, where do I start. Help.)

Let’s jump right in!

(this is no way in order. Except maybe the first three. The other seven are in a jumble of no-particular-order, because if I tried to put them in order of favourites then there would be a fight, and somehow I really don’t want to make Eowyn and Camicazi angry. Because there would be blood shed all over my nice clean blog, and we couldn’t have that, could we??)

  1. Frodo Baggins – Lord of the Rings

    I absolutely LOVE Frodo. He is just amazing. This humanly real hobbit who travels across endlessness to save the world… ahhhh he’s perfect.

  2. Lucy Pevensie – Narnia

    Sometimes I relate more to Susan, when I’m in a bossy older sister mood. Sometimes I relate more to Lucy, when I’m in a heroinic-awesome-adorable mood. But today I relate to Lucy. (maybe it’s because I’m bashing out assignments and am therefore a dagger bearing Queen with healing powers.)

  3. Elizabeth Bennet – Pride and Prejudice

    Don’t even get me started on how amazingly wonderful this woman is. Because she’s awesome. (though a little proud. DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE.)

  4. Anne Shirley – Anne of Green Gables

    I absolutely LOVE Anne. I also think these books are pretty near perfect. I will fight anyone who thinks that Anne-with-an-e is a Mary-Sue.
    (some people think that. I just don’t get it.)

  5. Richard Gansey III – Raven Boys

    Okay, I have only read the first book of this series, but I just think that Gansey is such a unique and well developed character that he deserves a place on my list. Full stop. Hopefully he stays awesome in the other books too, which I will (also) hopefully read soon!

  6. Luna Lovegood – Harry Potter

    Luna is amazing. Fullstop. She is most definitely my favourite character in the series, and I relate to her so much that it’s ridiculous. (I’m also a Ravenclaw, so there’s that.)

  7. Susan Walker – Swallows and Amazons

    Ship’s mate, cook, domestic organizer (as Wikipedia puts it), ship’s doctor … and just ten years old? Oh yes! Susan was my ultimate idol when I was ten, and I couldn’t cook to save my life. If you haven’t read these brilliant books by Arthur Ransome, then, well, you should. Because of Susan, mainly. And also because of independent children camping on islands by themselves. (I’m so envious of them though.)

  8. Eowyn – Lord of the Rings

    Eowyn is awesome. And, by the way, 100% relatable.  (she also said the most quotable line in the history of literature: I AM NO MAN. *whips off helmet and charges at assignments with renewed courage*)

  9. Camicazi – How to Train Your Dragon

    THERE ARE BOOKS? YES THERE ARE!! And they’re amazing, by the way. (better than the movies in my opinion – way more dragons.) Camicazi is who Astrid is *loosely* based off. (and is a gazillion times better.) She is the eternal optimist, the dragon stealer, the defier of stereotypes, the disobedient daughter… yeah, I love Camicazi. When I was ten I would have given anything for a mood-dragon and a long sword so I could be Camicazi, heir to the throne of the Bog-Burglars.
    (I still would.)

  10. Harry Potter – Harry Potter

    Is it just me, or is Harry a little underestimated? I mean, the series is literally about him. I really love him, though he is a little angsty and moody occasionally, and won’t stop thinking about girls. (though to be honest, that just adds to the realness of him – he is a teenage guy.) He’s literally awesome.

 

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So that’s that, my list! (which by the way was practically impossible to put together) I hope you enjoyed, and I’ll be back soon with more bookish chitchat!

Who would you have added??

Keep smiling, and until next time, fellow bookdragons!

–Emmeline 🙂

 

This post was based on a list I created in an Instagram caption, which you can find here.

The Snow Child: Eowyn Ivey REVIEW TIME

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First read in April, 2016.    4 // 5  stars

The Snow Child, by Eowyn Ivey, is an absolute gem of a book. And yet ‘gem’ seems so harsh – it’s more like a snowflake. A snowflake of a book.*

This was a delicately gorgeous snowflakey book.

*I’ve never seen snow. But I’ve heard that snowflakes are delicate things.

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This book was not plot-driven. It was character driven. Slightly risky, but in this case it turned out perfectly. It was mainly a story about a girl born out of snow – and it made me cry in the first few pages. I gobbled it up.

Characters …

were perfect. Fullstop. Everyone was fleshed out, well developed, with wonderful backstories. The thing that made this part easier for the writer was that there weren’t that many characters to begin with. (I mean, they did live in the middle of the wilderness.) Because of this, it was easy to keep track of everyone, and everyone could have a turn in the POV spotlight.

Plot …

well, there wasn’t really a plot. As I said, this one was character-driven. And yet the little plot there was worked. It was slow (but deliciously slow). The characters drove the little baby plot forward in its pram, and danced the whole way. I had no problem with the plot whatsoever.

Writing style …

beautiful. And I don’t say this lightly. The author managed to make you feel cold when reading it, to feel like you were in the cold winter of Alaska. The whole book had an atmosphere of cold and snowflakes and love and misunderstandings and Winter-in-general. The touch of using no speech marks when one of the characters talked was a fitting addition that gave an atmosphere to the whole thing, making you feel cold when reading it.

I was physically cold when I read this book. The author is a genius I swear.

What it taught me …

This book was human. It was a human book with real humans, people who struggled and cried and were suicidal. It didn’t have a Hope necessarily, but it did a good job of pointing out the problems with humans. The book was a sombre one. Sombrely plucking your heart out and freezing it in a cold Alaskan Winter.

So why didn’t it get five stars?

At this point, I realise that I haven’t stopped talking about how good it is. Well, there were a few letdowns for me in this one, that I want to mention quickly now.

  • I understand that love is important in books. But there were some parts that really made me cringe. (can I have a book without a sad love story? Please?)
  • I cannot remember an instance when the characters had a good hearty belly laugh. Oh, wait, yes I do. But there obviously weren’t enough of them.
  • I feel like a lot more could have been explained, because I was very very confused for the majority of it. I mean, the confusingness added to the overall atmosphere of the thing, but seriously?? I still want to know what’s going on!
  • (this one is slightly embarassing but) I HAVE NEVER SEEN SNOW AND SO COULD NOT VISUALISE IT. THERE.

I generally save my five stars rating for special, precious books that I want to read over and over again. This, for me, wasn’t that kinda book. It was gorgeous, deeply human, beautifully written, and yet there was something off about it… I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Sometimes you just can’t pinpoint it.

So this wasn’t a five star book for me. It was quite good, but it was missing a little something.

Has anyone else read this book????

Lots of love, ye fellow humans!

–Emmeline 🙂

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd: Agatha Christie REVIEW TIME

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First read 18-20 October 2016.    4 // 5 stars.

Today I’ll be reviewing The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, by Agatha Christie.

I loved this book!

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Now, I absolutely LOVE Agatha Christie. I have not read one of hers yet that I did not enjoy; they are all exciting and have endings that NO ONE EXPECTS.*

That said, with every book there are always some things wrong. I mean, come on. What book is perfect? Really?** So, let’s jump right in to what I liked…. and what I didn’t.

*if you do expect it then you are Sherlock Holmes and what are you doing reading my blog? Can I get your autograph?
**Except Lord of the Rings. That goes without saying.

 

What I liked.

  • The ending. Dear me I was not expecting that ending.
  • The characters. Everyone was AMAZING and well written. Agatha Christie always does so well in writing stories with tons of characters and having them all real and well developed.
  • The writing. I absolutely LOVE her writing style. It may seem simple but it’s actually ridiculously difficult to do. For me, at least.
  • The plot. I just can’t work out how she writes these amazing mysteries. I just can’t.
  • Poirot. Because he is awesome.

 

What I didn’t like.

  • The ending. No spoilers, and it was awesome and all, but it didn’t quite work in my mind.
  • It dragged a tad. In some points it was a bit dull – there were times when I was hanging out for something to happen. I think she could have taken several scenes out and it would have worked a lot better.
  • I can’t really think of anything else because I actually really, really loved this book.

 

This was such a great book! I haven’t read many Christie’s, I will have to admit, but I am definitely glad that I read this one.

Highly recommend.

Have a great day!

–Emmeline 🙂

The Jewel: Amy Ewing SPOILER FREE REVIEW

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This week, the book I’ll be reviewing is The Jewel, by Amy Ewing.

First read October 21, 2016.    1 / 5 stars.

I DID NOT ENJOY THIS BOOK.

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I suppose I could end this review here, but you know – I kinda need to mention why I didn’t like it. Because there’s no point in saying you don’t like a book if you can’t point out why you didn’t like it.

(in my opinion, anyway. I mean, sometimes you DO get those books where you just can’t pinpoint what you didn’t like… but that’s a discussion for another time 🙂 )

Well, let’s start off by being nice. Because there were some good things about this book, I have to admit.

What I liked.

  1. The cover.

    I really, really liked the cover. And as it was a library book (and I feel like libraries always have ugly covers, or is it just me??) that was also a HUGE bonus.

  2. The idea for the plot.

    You see, the book revolves around this girl who is sold as a surrogate to the rich people of the kingdom. The Kingdom itself is pretty average of Dystopian novels – the rich are rich and the poor are poor, essentially. But the plot was reasonably interesting and unique. I’ve never read a YA with surrogates, so that was cool. I didn’t really have many problems with the plot.

  3. I was glued to the page.

    I honestly could not put this book down. It was definitely written as a page-turner, and I fell into that trap whole-heartedly and unashamedly. The author did a good job of making it hard to put the book down. (AT THE TIME. Now I look back and am ashamed that I was so enthralled.)

What I didn’t like.

(Let’s stick to three, shall we? For the sake of your sanity 🙂 )

(Quick Disclaimer: I rate books based on CHARACTERS, WRITING STYLE, and WHAT IT TEACHES ME. Just in case you’re wondering how on earth I came around to only 1/5 stars.)

 

  1. Violet was a Mary-Sue if ever I’ve seen one.

    Violet (the main character) got perfect grades. She had lots of friends. She had angsty thoughts. Her father was dead. She played an instrument BEAUTIFULLY. She had magical powers that were better than everyone else’s. She was stunningly beautiful. Oh, and she had sparkling violet eyes.
    Mary-Sue, anyone?
    (seriously though, it’s okay for characters to have all of these traits. But it needs to be handled correctly. Violet didn’t feel right for me as a main character. She was just a bit off … everything went perfectly for her, which bugged me to no end. PLUS she did stupid things and got away with them. *sighs*)
    (AND I think that the other characters were no better, either. Everyone in this book felt very weak, and what they did felt forced. Characters are a huge part of reading for me, and this book let me down in this respect.)

  2. The writing was weak.

    I realised how picky I am when it comes to writing style the other day, when I was reading Four by Veronica Roth. Everything must be clean and precise; commas must be in the right place; everything must be ordered in readable sentences.
    It’s really not that hard. (Come on humans, you can do it – GRAMMAR.)
    I just felt that the writing was very dull. Weak verbs adorned the pages. Short and simple sentences galore. Sentences that aren’t even sentences. Clauses. What are they? Oh. Silence. Emptiness. Depression. Angst. Emotions. Kissing. Lots of kissing. Insta-love.
    You get the picture.
    Really not my kinda writing style. Other may like it, but it wasn’t for me.

  3. It taught me that… it’s coming… umm…

    I firmly believe that we read to learn stuff. I mean, why else would we read? But learning stuff doesn’t just mean dry textbooks – no, you can learn stuff from stories.
    Courage is found in small places. (Lord of the Rings)
    Happiness is found in dark places. (Harry Potter)
    Growing up happens – but we don’t have to accept it. (Peter Pan)
    Aussie kids are not generally model, perfect children. (Seven Little Australians)
    AND SO ON.
    So when I read a book, I try and look for things that it teaches me. Now, I don’t even want to BEGIN thinking about what this book taught me. Because I am quite sure that it wasn’t very wholesome, or good. At all.
    Kissing random dudes after knowing them for a day is a-okay and will lead to happily ever afters. Lying to people when the fate of EVERYONE depends on your honesty is absolutely fine. And make sure you talk back to enemies even if it’s out of character and the fate of EVERYONE depends on you being alive.
    AND SO ON.
    The things that this book taught me are not worth mentioning, so therefore I will put this in the fun-read-but-after-i-thought-about-it-it-was-actually-really-bad category. Okay?

 

I hope I don’t offend anyone by my sense of humour regarding this book. If you have read this book and you liked it, tell me why down in the comments, I would love to hear someone else’s opinion!

(other than my own, which is slightly warped due to it being mine. It’s still mine though.)

Hope you have a lovely day/night/existence!

–Emmeline 🙂

 

TOP TEN BOOKS on my TBR

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Aahh, To Be Read piles. They’re interesting things, aren’t they? We hate them and we love them at the same time. All the while threatening to squash us, every time we relieve it of its weight, it only seems to grow despite our caution.

With that said, here is a list of the most IMPORTANT books on my TBR list (which is bordering seventy books which is also ridiculous).

TEN BOOKS in my (ridiculously long) TBR

  1. Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes

    I have wanted to read this book for a year and a day, and I still haven’t gotten round to it. Maybe its length is what’s stopping me, but that didn’t stop me reading War and Peace, so I don’t even know what’s wrong with anymore. Definitely reading this one next year.
    (or at least that’s what I’m telling myself now)

  2. The Name of the Rose – Umberto Eco

    This just seems like a really good book (though it is ridiculously long). I really want to read it sometime in the distant near future …

  3. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

    No, I have not seen the movie. No, I have not seen the musical. (Theatre tickets are expensive!) Yes, I do occasionally feel left out when my friends burst into rousing choruses and I don’t know the words. (Well, it would make more sense if I could actually sing … but if I knew the words I would sing anyway. Because I sound like a dying crow but that doesn’t stop me enjoying it.)

  4. Moby Dick – Herman Melville

    This has been one I’ve been meaning to read for ages, ever since I first heard it referenced on a documentary.

  5. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

    This is one that I want to wait a bit longer before reading, but still desperately want to read, help.

  6. Fangirl – Rainbow Powell

    Well, seeing as I have nothing but classics on the list, I figured I should add this. I’ve been wanting to try it for ages, and I’ve nothing but good things, so I figured – why not give it a try? (now all I need is money to buy it, yay)

  7. Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell

    This is one that I’ve been meaning to get to for AGES. I really really want to try it, dear me!

  8. Animal Farm – George Orwell

    ANOTHER ONE by George Orwell?! Yes! I never had to do this one in school so I really want to try it now, as it’s a classic and therefore good.

  9. Percy Jackson (and all of the books by…) – Rick Riordan

    I’ve read the first one-and-a-half books, and haven’t gotten around to the rest, though they are so much fun and I couldn’t stop giggling. I think I’m subconsciously saving this one for a day when I need laughter, because Percy is surely the funniest character ever to have been written from first person.

  10. Go Set A Watchman – Harper Lee

    Dear me, I have read How To Kill A Mockingbird twice now, and it is simply stunning. I have heard many good things about the second book, and seeing as I own it, there really isn’t anything stopping me from reading it, is there. (Apart from the rest of my TBR, that is.)

So that’s that! Hope you enjoyed. It was sooo hard to choose my top ten, but I have to prioritise. I really do.

(Hides under the table because I know that I will not read these ones before the rest of my TBR)

(Sorry)

–Emmeline 🙂