Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Four Books You Don't Want To Read

I have read several books in my life that I have regretted reading. They have either been a complete waste of time, are depressing, or are just down right stupid. But before we get started on listing these dreadful books, I would like you to know that this is only my opinion. If you like any of these books, that's great, and I'm terribly sorry to have bashed it...so now lets get on with the bashing:P

The first book that comes to mind when I think of a waste of time is The Looking Glass Wars. The first one was entertaining and a fun idea, but when it kept going on, and on, and on, through to the third book, I was bored. I didn't even finish it. Plus Frank Beddor completely ruined the original Alice in Wonderland idea...so if you see this book cover, stay away from it! While the first one may be entertaining, you will probably spend money that you didn't want to and waste time you didn't want to waste by reading the next two!

Yes...his books do have cool covers...

The second book that I think of as being horribly depressing is Mockingjay.

Don't get me wrong: the first two installments of the Hunger Games trilogy were incredible, and I am a huge fan of the first movie (and I cannot WAIT for Catching Fire to come out). Again...this is only my opinion, but Suzanne seemed to be completely out of ideas for this third book. So she made all of her characters have horrible mental breakdowns and ended the series on depressing note. I was very upset...very. But, I'm not saying you should never read this book. If you read the first two, you're GOING to read this one:) If you've seen the movies The Last of the Mohicans or Patriot, you know how depressed you feel after watching either one of those movies. Well, that's how I felt after Mockinjay.

I have never been a Ted Dekker fan, but when I saw the first of the Circle series at my Library, I thought it sounded like it was worth a try.

Many words entered my mind after I had read this book...weird, strange, dark, and stupid. It was stupid. The way Ted Dekker wrote it made it seem like he was trying very hard for it to be epic and full of good morals like Lord of the Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia...and it was an epic failure. End of story. That book gave fantasy a bad name.
Ahem...moving on...

Despite a lovely cover and classic story, I didn't even make it the whole way through this book. I adore some of Robin McKinley's works, but Spindle's End  was so full of flowery speach and insignificant details, I found myself growing very bored and detached from the characters. It sits on my bookshelf, though; waiting to be read. Perhaps some day I will  finish it and realize that it was in fact a good book...but for now, it sits unread next to a very well loved and read Beauty.

So tell me what books you wish that you hadn't read and if you enjoyed some of the ones I didn't care for. Next post will be four books that you HAVE to read:)

See y'all at the Fanfiction Contest tomorrow!
Here's a link to a stunning poem written by John Keats...and the best part is, it's being quoted by Tom Hiddleston! (Yes...Tom Hiddleston is one of my favorite actors) Enjoy! http://nicoleyoleypoley.tumblr.com/post/22928917034/tom-hiddleston-reads-bright-star-by-john-keats

Isn't his speaking voice the most be-yew-tiful thing you've ever heard? Thanks to Rachel over at Sesquipedalian Dreamer for sending it to me! (Check out her blog...it's fully awesome:)

Until next time!
<3 Clara

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Goldstone Wood Character Quiz!

Remember that secret I was talking about? Well, it's time to reveal what that secret was...I created a Goldstone Wood Character Quiz! If you would like to know what character from Goldstone Wood you most resemble, then click on the link here. Have fun, and I hope you like it!

<3 Clara

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Mariah Mundi: The Midas Box

About a month or so ago, my family and I went camping. And camping, of course, means lots and lots of reading. As I roamed the shelves of the Library, I found several good looking books that I felt I had to try or re-read. I had in my arms Chalice by Robin McKinlely, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, and then I came across a book with a title that promised to hold wondrous adventures inside...and the title also seemed vaguely familiar. I picked up:

The Prince Regent is no ordinary hotel—powered entirely by steam, run by an eccentric inventor who doesn’t believe in sleep, it’s a place full of shadowy characters and dangerous secrets. Mariah has just started working there as a magician’s assistant, and when he and his coworker Sacha unwittingly learn more than they were meant to know, they suddenly find themselves pawns in an evil plot so full of twists and turns that even the labyrinth of hidden tunnels and caverns beneath the hotel can’t contain it.

As they struggle to unravel the mystery and stay alive in the process, encountering secret rooms, enchanted objects and vicious mythical creatures, they question whom to trust. All the adults—even the ones offering help—seem to be hiding something. After all, Mariah only got his job because his predecessor vanished one night—and, as Mariah is fast realizing, not all magic tricks are illusions.

Dun dun duuun! This was an excellent, intense, and fun read, although it did drag on a bit towards the end in my opinion. Mariah Mundi was a very clean book, and was full of adventure and originality. I recommend it to all fantasy readers!

Now the reason this book sounded familiar to me is because my brother, who loves movies, had told me of a new fantasy coming out. The cast includes Sam Neill, Ioan Gruffed, Lena Heady, Keeley Hawes, and Michael Sheen...

I have looked at the description of the movie that's coming out this Christmas, (I think that's when it's coming out) and it doesn't sound much like the book. That disappoints me greatly, but it will still probably be an entertaining movie! Ioan Gruffed and Sam Neill are some of my favorite actors, and I look forward to seeing them in Mariah Mundi!

Next time you're at the Library be sure to check out Mariah Mundi: The Midas Box! Also, be sure to check this blog again in the upcoming days...I have a bit of a surprise I'm going to share with you all...

<3 Clara

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Dragonwitch Release Day Blog Tour: Interview with Anne Elisabeth Stengl!

Welcome, dear friends and imps to the Darling Diaries Blog! You have all been traveling to various different blogs, and I beg you will rest your tired bones here, have a nice cup of tea, and enjoy an interview with the creator of our favorite series, Anne Elisabeth Stengl! 
 Anne Elisabeth Stengl is the author of the award-winning Tales of Goldstone Wood series, adventure fantasies told in the classic Fairy Tale style. She makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a passel of cats, and one long-suffering dog. When she's not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and studies piano, painting, and pastry baking. She studied illustration at Grace College and English literature at Campbell University.

Just because the covers of the Tales of Goldstone Wood novels are so stunning, here is the full cover of Dragonwitch.

Oooh....this cover just gives me shivers!

Ready for the interview? Here we go!

Welcome, Anne Elisabeth, to the Darling Diaries! Thank you so much for stopping by. My first question for you is this:

                  I know that characters from The Tales of Goldstone Wood represent people from the Bible. Who, if anyone, inspired Dragonwitch? (She couldn’t have been inspired by Minerva Louise…could she?)

 (AE) Oh, Minerva Louise wishes she inspired the Dragonwitch! But, though she would never admit it herself, she is much too fluffy at heart . . .

The Dragonwitch wasn’t actually inspired by a single Biblical character. She emerged first as an image in my head when I was seventeen. I was working away at some research notes, doodling in the margins of my notepad, when suddenly I saw an image of a fiery woman standing on the peak of a mountain as water roared up surrounding her. I tried to draw it, failed, and decided to write down the image and who I thought this woman was instead.

Thus the Dragonwitch was born.

In this novel, I found her to be in many ways an exploration of what would have happened to Una if Una had been a little more powerful to begin with. Her personality is much like Una’s. But Una is younger, weaker, and, in her weakness, more vulnerable to grace. The Dragonwitch, by virtue of her strength, is far less capable of receiving grace.

              Ah...poor darling-er-I mean- evil- Minerva!    Your books are full of exotic kingdoms and worlds…in Dragonwitch, will we be visiting some familiar places or delving into a brand new society?

(AE) Yes to both!

You will be once more visiting Southlands and the country that eventually becomes Parumvir . . . but this time, you’ll be visiting them many hundreds of years before Heartless takes place! Parumvir isn’t even called “Parumvir” yet, but is simply the North Country, made up of a few dozen loosely-connected earldoms. And Southlands is simply called the South Land, or the Land Behind the Mountains.

So locations in Dragonwitch will likely feel both familiar and brand new all at once!

                   Oh, I just can't WAIT for all the new characters and places we will see! We all know that Sir Eanrin is madly in love with Imraldera, whether he wishes to admit it or not. Are we going to see Imraldera develop some feelings for our beloved poet in Dragonwitch?

(AE) Can’t say!

But I do think Imraldera is going to take a little longer to process her feelings for Eanrin. Eanrin, while he hates to admit it, is such an all-or-nothing personality! When he loves, he loves hard. And Imraldera is the first person he truly has loved other than himself.
Imraldera, however, is more loving by nature, but also more cautious. You’ll have to read the book yourself and decide if she is developing feelings for our favorite poet or not . . . .

                   Aw...I had a feeling you weren't going to divulge any juicy information. Now I know that you love tea, (yay for tea!) but is there another food or drink that gets you energized and ready for writing?

(AE) I go through what my husband calls “food kicks,” where ALL I want to eat is one thing for about a week . . . and then I never want to eat it again! Recently, I had a hotdog food kick. Before that, I really craved peppers and spinach wrapped up in a tortilla with a certain dressing. Before that, I really, really, really wanted to eat fresh avocado on crackers!

So I suppose it depends on what food kick I am currently on. Right now, I think I am craving samosas, which are a delicious Indian savory pastry. Mmmm. I made Rohan pick up some for me just this evening!

                 Samosas? That sounds incredible! Is anyone else getting hungry? 
             Does Dragonwitch take place immediately after Starflower?

(AE) Dragonwitch takes place almost exactly a hundred years after Starflower. For immortals, of course, that doesn’t seem like any time at all! For mortals, however, it’s a different story.

                  One more question before you go…Do any of your heroes have characteristics of your dashing husband, Rohan? I just had to ask…

(AE) Why, of course! In fact, when I wrote Starflower, I was so pleased to be able to use my handsome Rohan as a reference for Eanrin. When he read the book in its first draft, he particularly liked it because he thought Eanrin—all dash, drama, good humor, and a touch of vanity—was him, while Imraldera—all earnest, hard-working, and single-minded—was me. I thought that was sweet of him. He and I do balance each other out rather well. Which might mean the same is true for Eanrin and Imraldera! I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

I thought as much! Thank you so much Anne Elisabeth for stopping by! It’s been lots of fun for me, and I hope everyone else has had a good time as well!

Before you move on to the Blooming With Books blog, I think it would be fun if all you fans told me what movie stars you think would resemble any of Anne Elisabeth’s characters. And be sure to enter your name into the contest!

<3 Clara Darling


Don't forget to stop by the next blog!