Review: I Capture the Castle

Posted 1 February, 2010 by Lianne in Books / 3 Comments

I Capture the Castle
By: Dodie Smith

This enchanting novel tells the story of seventeen-year-old Cassandra and her unusual family who live in not-so-genteel poverty in a ramshackle old English castle. Cassandra’s eccentric father is a writer whose first book took the literary world by storm but he has since failed to write a single word and now spends his time reading detective fiction. Cassandra’s sister, Rose, despairs of her family’s circumstances and determines to marry their affluent American landlord. She is helped and, sometimes, hindered in this by their bohemian stepmother, an artists’ model who likes to commune with nature. Finally there is Stephen who is hopelessly in love with Cassandra. Amid this maelstrom Cassandra hones her writing skills, candidly capturing the events that take place within the castle’s walls, and her own first descent into love.

So I finally decided to check this book out after hearing a lot about it last year over at GoodReads. The reviews I heard were all positive, which piqued my curiosity. Took me a while to get a hold of it too because I wanted the Vintage Classics edition (see above cover); their covers are always so pretty and appealing 🙂

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Meme: Musing Mondays

Posted 31 January, 2010 by Lianne in Meme / 1 Comment

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about a random book.

Go to your bookshelf and pick a random book. No cheating now, just reach out and pick one. Now tell us about it – where did you get it? Why? Was it a gift? Does it hold any special memories? Did someone recommend it to you? etc.

Just One More Page

Here’s what I pulled out (no, did not cheat, it just happened to be the easiest to grab on my shelf =P):

I actually bought this copy back in December, making it the third copy of Austen’s Persuasion in my possession. The other two editions were prettier and completed a particular set and I wanted a copy that I can take with me anywhere (which in this case was up here with me in Ottawa) so I bought this edition (cover’s very pretty too; simple but elegant). This particular copy doesn’t have any particular memories associated with it save for the fact that I brought it with me to the Three Days Grace concert I attended that same day with my best friend (awesomeness).

But this story’s very special to me because it’s my favourite Austen novel. I first read the story a few years ago and I’m glad I read it before watching the adaptations because it was the only Austen novel that I really could not put down; I was excited to find out whether Anne would end up with Captain Wentworth, whether William Eliot would succeed in his schemes and so forth. And the letter at the end gets me every time…I absolutely love it. It’s the only Austen novel I would own a bajillion different editions of, lol.

Meme: Booking Through Thursday

Posted 29 January, 2010 by Lianne in Meme / 0 Comments

Thursdays are always busy for me so I’m a bit late xD

Jackie says, “I love books with complicated plots and unexpected endings. What is your favourite book with a fantastic twist at the end?” So, today’s question is in two parts:

1. Do YOU like books with complicated plots and unexpected endings?

2. What book with a surprise ending is your favorite? Or your least favorite?

Booking Through Thursday

When executed smoothly, I like books with complicated plots and unexpected endings. With unexpected endings, I usually like them no matter what so long as the build up to it makes sense. This is why I didn’t enjoy Susanna Kearsley’s Mariana more; the story was great right up to the last three pages when it was like “WTF? How does that make sense to the rest of the story?!” It just kills the story that way. Surprise ending that I enjoyed…Zafon’s The Shadow of the Wind comes to mind; awesome and complex story aside, it was one of those novels where you couldn’t quite figure out how it was all going to play out. So the ending was a pleasant surprise 🙂

Books: Giveaway Pluggage!

Posted 26 January, 2010 by Lianne in Books, Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

I just wanted to give a heads up Boof from Boofsbookshelf.com is giving away three copies of Melanie Benjamin’s newest novel Alice I Have Been! Here’s the brief rundown about the novel:

Alice Liddell Hargreaves’s life has been a richly woven tapestry: As a young woman, wife, mother, and widow, she’s experienced intense passion, great privilege, and greater tragedy. But as she nears her eighty-first birthday, she knows that, to the world around her, she is and will always be only “Alice.” Her life was permanently dog-eared at one fateful moment in her tenth year–the golden summer day she urged a grown-up friend to write down one of his fanciful stories.

That story, a wild tale of rabbits, queens, and a precocious young child, becomes a sensation the world over. Its author, a shy, stuttering Oxford professor, does more than immortalize Alice–he changes her life forever. But even he cannot stop time, as much as he might like to. And as Alice’s childhood slips away, a peacetime of glittering balls and royal romances gives way to the urgent tide of war.

For Alice, the stakes could not be higher, for she is the mother of three grown sons, soldiers all. Yet even as she stands to lose everything she treasures, one part of her will always be the determined, undaunted Alice of the story, who discovered that life beyond the rabbit hole was an astonishing journey.

A love story and a literary mystery, Alice I Have Been brilliantly blends fact and fiction to capture the passionate spirit of a woman who was truly worthy of her fictional alter ego, in a world as captivating as the Wonderland only she could inspire.

Sounds pretty interesting IMO! 🙂 To enter the contest, check out this post!

Meme: Booking Through Thursday

Posted 21 January, 2010 by Lianne in Books, Meme / 0 Comments

Who’s your favorite author that other people are NOT reading? The one you want to evangelize for, the one you would run popularity campaigns for? The author that, so far as you’re concerned, everyone should be reading–but that nobody seems to have heard of. You know, not JK Rowling, not Jane Austen, not Hemingway–everybody’s heard of them. The author that you think should be that famous and can’t understand why they’re not…

Booking Through Thursday

This is a very good question…had to dig through my old lists from the past two years to see books I’ve read that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed but are not so well-known; I don’t know if they should be up there as like, everyone knows of them but at least within their genres they should be well known to some degree (I hope that makes sense; I’ve had a very long day and I’m settling for just reading this evening instead of thinking about schoolwork and such). Anyways, for fantasy/sci-fi/noir genre, I don’t know if John Meaney’s been getting a lot of exposure with his book The Bone Song and his follow-up novel (the name of this series escapes me right now) but I think it’s a rather unique premise; it’s quite promising (I was drawn to the fact that this story takes place in a necropolis) and he’s a good author.

I’m sure mystery and historical fiction lovers have heard of C.J. Samson somewhat but I dunno if his book Winter in Madrid is widely read; it’s an excellent novel IMO with interesting characters and character relationships and I’m surprised it’s not getting a bit more attention than it already has.

I’m currently reading Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White and I’m very much enjoying it right now; I’m surprised his books aren’t read more or mentioned more often when you think of 19th literature! I’d also say Elizabeth Gaskell but she’s starting to get a lot more readership, especially after the superb 2004 BBC adaptation of North and South (watch it if you haven’t yet—it is beyond awesome). 🙂