This Week’s Tag Thursday is by LibroLiv

Save the Classics is a tag with a goal in mind: to support the creation of iClassics, an app that will continue to inspire a love of reading in children through technology. You can support the project on KickStarter!

What is your favorite classic book?

The Lord of the Rings
The Count of Monte Cristo

This is really hard, because I want to say The Lord of the Rings, however, some people don’t classify it as a “classic” largely because its not old enough to be out of copy right (which is the usual age of ‘classic’ books) so I’m going to cheat and give two answers. The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien and The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas. They’re two very different books, but they’re both very good for their own reasons.

The Count of Monte Cristo was probably the first classic (other than LOTR) that I read and really, really loved, and one of the few books that I read for a class and then read again (and then watched the 2002 movie which I have mixed feelings about! Its a good movie, but does not stay true to the book at all.)

The Lord of the Rings is my all time favorite story-world (if I could move to Middle Earth I would without thinking twice!). However, I hesitate to say its my favorite largely because I feel like its not the best written book ever. Literally nerds, don’t hate me! Hear me out! Tolkien was undeniably a genius, but he wasn’t (first and foremost) an author. He didn’t write for the sake of writing, or even to tell a story, he wrote to create a world for the languages he had created.

If your life was a classic, what would it be?

I’m not sure. It probably wouldn’t be, its not that interesting, unfortunately!! Maybe something by John Steinbeck or one of those other authors whose works are famous because they depict ordinary life brilliantly, which is a nice way of saying its boring and not much happens.

Full disclaimer: the only Steinbeck I’ve read in completion was Of Mice and Men and I hated it.

With which writer from the past would you like to have dinner?

JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis

Yeah, its kind of cheating to put down two different authors as my answer, however, since they knew each other in real life (and taught together at Oxford University), I’d say its safe to put them both.

Did you know: Treebeard from The Lord of the Rings is based on Lewis, and the Professor from The Chronicles of Narnia (the one who owns the wardrobe) is based on Tolkien? Not to mention that the Prancing Pony Inn is in Bree (in The Fellowship of the Ring), and in The Horse and his Boy there is a ‘prancing pony’ named Bree?

Which classic literary character best describes you?

The Cheshire Cat
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

The Cheshire Cat from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol (and his counterpart in Disney’s Alice in Wonderland), is like a walking quote-generator and has some of my favorite lines in all of literature.

“Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.”

“I’m not crazy, my reality is just different than yours.”

“Which way you ought to go depends on where you want to get.”

He’s also different, very different (even, it seems, by Wonderland standards) and he embraces it. I’d like to take a leaf from Chessie’s book, and learn to love who I am without feeling the need to change to fit what society wants. I’ve read (and seen) several versions of Alice over the years, and so far I’ve loved every reincarnation of Chessie, from the original mad cat to the Assassin with seven lives from Frank Beddor’s The Looking Glass Wars.

Whats the first classic that you read?

The Hobbit

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings were the first classics read to me (right after my mom read me Harry Potter (which is technically not a classic….. yet) and they were also the first classics I attempted on my own. I can’t remember when, exactly, I read the Hobbit, but by third grade I distinctly remember working on the Fellowship of the Ring (only to have a teacher inform me that “you’re not really reading, you’re just turning pages” thanks for the vote of confidence). I really was reading it, although, when I reread it a few years ago I realized exactly how little I understood it!!

Which classic book could be the best gift?

The Nutcracker

Everyone knows the classic Christmas Ballet, and the book always better (and in this case, crazier!). There are two classic versions, I’ve read both and I can vouch for either. The best gift would be a set of both.

The very original tale is The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by the Germanic Romanic Author ETA Hoffman and is a fascinating (if rather creepy, my high school librarian always did call Hoffman the father of modern horror) satire of Russia society at the time it was written. Marie Stahlbaum (Stahlbaum meaning “steel toe”) is brought a wonderous gift by her Godfather, whose name, Drosselmeyer, means “to shake or stir things up.”

Alexander Dumas ‘translated’ (and I say that very loosely) the tale into French, while actually almost completely rewriting the tale. His The Nutcracker is what Tchaikovsky turned into the ballet, so its far more recognizable. This is where the ballet acquired its ending, with Marie (or Klara/Clara) choosing to stay in our world (which is certainly not what happens in Hoffman’s, but I won’t spoil that for you).

If the background story – which I’ve loosely mentioned – interests you at all, check out NPR’s No Sugar Plums Here: The Dark, Romantic Roots of The Nutcracker.


Splendors and Glooms

Splendors and GloomsSplendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publisher: Candlewick
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Middle Grade, Historical Fantasy
Purchase: Book Depository

This review contains no spoilers.

For all its magical elements, Splendors and Glooms paints a very realistic picture of turn-of-the-century London, England. If the magic and wizardry were taken out then there would be nothing left but a well researched historical novel about the differences between the poor and the rich – not unlike a novel by Charles Dickens. It read like a classic fairytale, and reminded me a lot of another book I’ve read recently, The Kingdom of Little Wounds.

Splendors and Glooms is a story about a young girl who gets turned into a doll by the evil Grinisi, which for many people would be a terrible thing. However, because she is a weathly young lady with a structured like (and a rather insane mother) Clara is almost delighted by the freedom afford to a doll, for the first time in her life she can dance, even if she isn’t in control of what she’s doing. However Grisini’s young helpers know theres something not normal about the new doll and set about trying to rescue Clara.

It almost reminds me of the Nutcracker, a very twisted version anyway. Its a story about a young person, an evil person, and an innocent turned into a doll. Unlike in The Nutcracker there’s no love story, (okay, maybe a tiny crush), but certainly no age-inappropriate marriage. Overall I really enjoyed it, there were times when it was a little slow, but for the most part I really got into the storyline. It was almost one of those books that I really liked, but I’m not entirely sure why.

Who I Recommend it For: I think fans of classic books will enjoy this, because it is reminiscent of stories by ETA Hoffman, The Brothers Grimm, or Charles Dickens. It rings with the gritty realism of that time, showing the huge gap between rich and poor while combining it with elements of magic.

The Dim Sum Book Tag

Before I get to the tag, I’d like to apologize for my recent inactivity in terms of book reviews. Almost everything that has been posted from my post about my surgery until now is something that I drafted before I went into the hospital. I’ve also not been reading as much as I planned over spring break, because the medication that I was put on – and the fact that I went off my ADHD medication – made focus impossible. I’m starting to feel normal again and I’ve picked up a new book, The Kingdom of Little Wounds, which I’ll have a review of up soon. Until I get back in the swing of things most everything will continue to be things I wrote before surgery – I have almost 20 things scheduled even after all of last week!

Continue reading “The Dim Sum Book Tag”

Coffee Book Tag Thursday

This book tag was created by BangadyBangz and it is coffee focused, which is a bit strange coming from me because I don’t drink coffee.

I was tagged by Big City Bookworm! Thank you!

I’ve decided that I’m going to be posting book tags on Thursdays only, which makes my life simpler.

Continue reading “Coffee Book Tag Thursday”

Final NaNo Update & The Nutcracker on Ice

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 10.14.20 PMSo I did win NaNoWriMo!! Which is great, but I didn’t post about it on here, which isn’t so great. However, I have a really good excuse, wanna see?

No? Well to bad, you’re not getting a choice.

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I’ve been in the Nutcracker on Ice and it’s almost finals week, so I’ve been very busy.

There have been some downsides of course, but over all it’s been a blast. There are still two more shows tomorrow (there was one Tuesday, one Wednesday, one Thursday, and one today (Friday). Not to mention a “dress warm rehearsal on Monday.”

Do you see why I like the Nutcracker so much? It means a lot to me, which is why I’m writing it how I think it should happen.

So soon we’ll be back to our regular programing, WRITING!


Nutcracker on Ice selfie!!! #Christmas #iceskating #Nutcracker

A photo posted by Camryn (@camryn.daytona) on Dec 2, 2015 at 4:15pm PST


Nightly NaNo Update: Day 12

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 9.48.49 PMRecent Blog Posts: A review of the book The Farmerettes, which I won through a Goodreads Giveaway and a NaNo Guide about Staying Hydrated (Please stay hydrated. Please).

As I said yesterday in my nightly update, I’ve started writing flashback sequences, to help flesh out my characters, and because I was getting bored of the section I was working on. Why am I bored, you might ask (some people say that being bored while writing it makes it boring for your readers). Not true, says I. I’m bored because it’s NaNoWriMo, I write almost 2,000 words a day, and I am simply burnt out. I don’t want to be that way, so my solution was that I needed to find something else to work on. Because the point of NaNo is to write a single book, I resisted the urge to start typing on another work of mine, (I’m not saying you can’t do that, you absolutely can) and instead started working on some scenes I had plotted in my head.

In the process of writing my flashback, I’ve completely changed the story from what I had planned, but thankfully this doesn’t change the middle too much, just the beginning and – possibly – the end (which I’ve not written yet anyway!). So here’s to hoping it all works out in the end!

Today I was on the website of one of my favorite authors, Jessica Day George, and I came to this heart wrenching conclusion:



Claire was ten years old when she began to ignore her imaginary friends. Snowflakes, she told herself (and ice crystals too) could not talk, and it was quite silly to imagine otherwise, because there was nothing life-like about them. She imagined little as she once had, her focus was on Fraulein Trutchen and Miss Louise, not on the objects outside her window.

Fritz grew into a healthy young boy, an odd boy, but healthy, and Claire wanted nothing more than to be rid of her annoying brother by the time she was eleven. It was when she was thirteen that she first heard it, a faint calling from out in the snow. Emily said that she was hearing spirits, and that she absolutely must ignore them for her own sake, and slammed the door, leaving her standing in shock and confusion.

Claire followed her advice, and ignored the strange sounds she heard, pretending not to notice when small voices echoed at her from the darkness, or when she heard singing from the woods, or imagined she could hear the voices of the fishes in the pond outside.

This version of the waltz scene is a bit odd, because it has no male characters, just a bunch of women dancing together, which is great, but different from what I expected.

Nightly NaNo Update: Day 8

NaNo Day 8I didn’t get much writing done today, I was actually knitting. I posted a new pattern to my Ravelry, (info here) and worked a bit on my Alice in Wonderland collection, and just did a bit of tinkering with the theme on my craft blog. But what writing I did get done turned out nicely, and I got a lot more done than I intended. As I said yesterday, I switched over to a new POV (Fritz and Drosselmeyer) and I’m having a blast! I really like Godfather Drosselmeyer, I always have, he’s such a crazy old man who always has an ace up his sleeve. Who’s your favorite character in the Nutcracker Ballet? Who’s your favorite in your story for NaNo?

Unfortunately, I’ve written myself into a bit of a plot hole. As we all know, Godfather Drosselmeyer gives Claire the Nutcracker, but I’ve written an entire subplot around the idea of him not intending on her finding her way into the Land of Sweets. Of course, it’s entirely possible he’s lying, but still…. Have you hit any rough spots like that? How do you escape them?

Nightly Excerpt:

Drosselmeyer settled down and watched his godson for a long while. “Do you believe in magic?” he asked.

“No.” It was an immediate response, one that brought a smile to Drosselmeyer’s face.

“Of course not, I’ve taught you well. Tell me, what do you think keeps our house running? What do you think keeps this old place clean and tidy?”


“You think Emily does it all herself?” he asked with a wry smile. “She’s not quite that talented my dear boy.”

“Then who does it?”

Drosselmeyer smiled, a from within his coat he produced a small, silver whistle which he blew on softly. No noise came out. “Its broken!” cried Fritz.

“Of course not, it’s meant for someone who hears a bit differently than you or I is all.” Fritz turned his head sideways, confused. “Just wait and see,” Drosselmeyer promised. “You won’t regret it.”

Fritz wasn’t certain what he thought of that assuarance, but he stayed beside the elder man and waited. A moment later a small door, hidden cleverly in the wall molding, popped open and out stepped one of Godfather Drosselmeyer’s little clockwork men. Fritz gasped to see him strolling around, seemingly on his own.

He shook his head, unable to belive his eyes. “Godfather,” he asked softly, “What’s going on?”

“Hello old chap,” Godfather Drosselmeyer greeted, “What mess have you gotten into today, hmm?” As frtiz watched the doll turned its head toward Drosselmeyer, and held out its arm, the tiny hand of which had been twisted. “Did you shut it in a cupboard, again?”

The video clip of the evening is an adorable one of Claire and Fritz (the children in the front), I believe the man directing the children is Godfather Drosselmeyer.

Nightly NaNo UpdateNightly Questions:

  1. Who’s your favorite character in the Nutcracker Ballet?
  2. Who’s your favorite in your story for NaNo?
  3. Have you hit any rough spots?
  4. How do you escape your rough spots?