12 Classic Loves Collab with Samantha

Hi guys! 

Surprise! I’m not SJ. 

I’m Samantha (or Sam, up to you), and I blog at Bookshire, where I talk about books, from reviews and analyses of habits of the reading and writing world, to digressing into flash fiction and raving about my favorite books (and occasionally movies). I’m so grateful that SJ suggested doing this collaboration! It’s been a lot of fun. 

Today I’m here on SJ’s blog to talk about twelve of my Very Favorite Classics in no particular order, excluding books by Lewis or Tolkien, because otherwise this would turn into a Lewis And Tolkien Appreciation Post. Which would be amazing, but not entirely what I’m going for. 🙂

Without further ado, let’s dive in! 

The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge

“Humanity can be roughly divided into three sorts of people—those who find comfort in literature, those who find comfort in personal adornment, and those who find comfort in food.” “How can I go down on one knee when I’m in the middle of my tea?”

Elizabeth Goudge


This was one of my absolute favorite books growing up–I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read it. I love Gouge’s penetrating but subtle commentary on human nature, alloyed with a beautiful story of a girl who’s willing to give up her pride to make things right, all set in a fantasy-esque manor estate.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

“Laws and principles are not for times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigor.”

“We were born to stive and endure.”

Charlotte Brontë


This was the book that made me love literature class. I suddenly realized that even if a book is required reading, it can be absolutely amazing. And this one is. I love Jane’s determination to do the right thing, her fearlessness, and her capacity for forgiveness. She’s probably one of my favorite female characters in classic literature.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”

“I keep turning over new leaves, and spoiling them, as I used to spoil my copybooks; and I make so many beginnings there never will be an end.”

Louisa May Alcott


A classic. Well, I mean, they’re all technically classics, but this is a…classic classic? I think this was actually one of the first “adult classics” I encountered as a kid–my mom read it aloud to me! I still have really good memories of that. It’s just such an enduring story, with the right amounts of growth and heartache and love and sisters. 

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book!”
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

Jane Austen


How could I leave Jane Austen off the list? Pride & Prejudice won my heart from the moment the ridiculous Bennet parents came on the scene, and…still hasn’t given it back. The amounts of snark! The humor! The handsome and altogether too relatable Mr. Darcy! (Honestly, if I had to describe myself in one character…it might have to be Mr. Darcy.) Plus, the sister game is strong with this one, too. Win!

Anne of Windy Poplars by L. M. Montgomery

“Nobody is ever too old to dream. And dreams never grow old.”
“Have you ever noticed how many silences there are, Gilbert?”

L. M. Montgomery

I have a confession to make. The first Anne book is actually…not my favorite of the series. Anne’s so very talkative and imaginative and idealistic and makes so many mistakes at the beginning that it drives me slightly nuts. I like Anne much better as she ages and mellows…at least a little! I wouldn’t want her to lose her essential Anne-ness. Windy Poplars is probably my very favorite of the Anne books–it’s told in letters, which is a form I absolutely love, Anne is more mellow but still her lovable self, and there’s a tremendous amount of growth. All of that besides the phenomenally described setting of Windy Poplars itself. 

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

“The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”
“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”

Harper Lee


I’m not sure how I didn’t get around to reading this until last year? Because it’s amazing. Having the narrator really keeps it from being too heavy and preachy by (in my experience) actually almost taking the reader back to the time when they saw things in a simpler way. And so Lee is able to deeply drive home her point about racism, but in a really subtle (almost…enjoyable?) way. 

The Aeneid by Virgil

“Even when Greeks bring gifts, I fear them, gifts and all.”

“Shall a single woman drive you out of line, breaking our formation?”

Virgil


What’s not to love about epic poetry? This poem is like a mix between the Odyssey and the Iliad, with around equal parts epic journeys and epic battles. I love the flow of the language, the amount of quality theme-age, and Aeneas! That man is awesome. 

The Princess & the Goblin by George MacDonald

“Princesses don’t always have their handkerchiefs in their pockets, any more than some other little girls I know of.”
“The less his mother said, the more Curdy believed she had to say.”

George MacDonald


I still have extremely fond memories of my grandmother bringing this one with her on a visit and reading it to me for an hour each day! It’s a fairytale for children, but it’s not afraid to be unique and subtle and mysterious. It’s just the right amount of mix between fairytale and fleshed-out book, with characters who…honestly make more sense than many fairytale characters.

Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton

“If men loved Pimlico as mothers love children, arbitrarily, because it is theirs, Pimlico in a year or two might be fairer than Florence.”
“It is this silent swerving from accuracy by an inch that is the uncanny element in everything.”

G. K. Chesterton


When SJ suggested this idea to me, she suggested we leave out Lewis and Tolkien, but she didn’t say anything about Chesterton! So I’m free to nerd out about one of my new favorite theology books. Orthodoxy is the only nonfiction book on this list, but it’s one of the most brilliant books about Christianity I’ve ever read. Chesterton has a gift of opening his reader’s eyes to how amazing the thing he’s writing about is, and he definitely does that here; I came out of the book amazed at how cool Christianity is! 

Death Comes to the Archbishop by Willa Cather

“This church was Sada’s house, and he was a servant in it.”
“Doctrine is enough for the wise, Jean, but the miracle is something we can hold in our hands and love.”

Willa Cather


I love this beautiful and slow-moving picture of a holy bishop trying to evangelize in New Mexico. The setting almost feels alive, the characters are so real and beautiful, and while the plot is definitely slow, it’s deep and impactful.

Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

“Logic is mingled with convulsion, and the thread of a syllogism floats unbroken in the dreary storm of thought.”
“And then, do you know, Monsieur Marius, I believe I was a little in love with you.”

Victor Hugo


I wasn’t expecting to love this as much as I did! But it’s a brilliant philosophical discussion of justice, mercy, and the poor, wrapped up in the story of several extremely compelling characters, including my favorite, Jean Valjean. I loved it all the way through, and even loved the part about the Parisian sewers!

Antigone by Sophocles

“These are the laws whose penalties I would not incur from the gods, through fear of any man’s temper.”
“The time in which I must please those who are dead is longer than I must please those of this world.”

Sophocles


It’s only a play. Very short. But it packs a punch! It’s about the importance of the natural law over the laws of man, and the story of the young girl who knows this better than the king does. It’s about bravery and humility and the importance of wisdom and humility in leadership. 

So there you have it! Twelve of my favorite classics, in no particular order. 🙂

SJ has a post over on my blog with twelve of her favorite classics, which you can read here, if you’re so minded! 

Thanks for reading! And a big thank you to SJ for having me!

Have a lovely day

-Samantha

What did you think? Are you a fan of Classics? Were there classics on the list that’s also your favourite? Let Sam and I know your thoughts in the comment below; we’d love to chat with you!

7 + 1 Favourite Superpowered Books + Movies

Hullo, world!

I’m so excited today (again) because Raincouver has been sunny for two days in a row in winter!! *shrieks A#5* Also, I rediscovered my love for Bach’s Brandenburg concerto 3 and have been swapping the three viola parts with my siblings, which is immensely fun even if you’re missing the cellos and the violins, because violas rulz. (Violins are literally “little violas” in Italian, so there.)

Anyhow. 

Today, I was thinking I’ll be doing a book review because it’s that time of the month, but from a recent survey starting with my siblings to my bookstagram, I found out that people were more inclined to book lists than book reviews. Naturally. So I’m thinking I’ll alternate between this each month or make a different section in the Afternoon Tea series for a mini-review. 

So today, I will be presenting to you 7 + 1  Favourite Superpowered Books + Movies!

1. Blank Mastermind 

Audience: PG, middle-grade to YA

Content: Some violence

Goodreads :: Amazon :: Author Blog

Obviously, the very first book that came to my mind when I thought of superpowers was Blank Mastermind. For those of you who have not come across this ace of superpower books, a little synopsis: 

Amnesia is annoying. The poor hero has to find out everything about his wonderful life again and re-meet all the lovely people he knew before, then go to stop the villain. But what if the life that starts showing itself isn’t wonderful, the people aren’t lovely and the villain is… yourself?

And if that doesn’t make you go screaming to read this book, I don’t know what will. (Although to be fair, I wasn’t expecting too much when I went into the book…and now I would literally recommend it top of the list when it comes to superpower books.) Plus, the author is also a blogger!

2. Cape High

Audience: PG, middle-grade to YA

Content: Some Violence, romance

Goodreads :: Amazon

Okay, call me crazy or whatever, but Cape High is my ultimate comfort read of this genre. The middle-grade (it’s mg, not YA despite the age range) series kicks off with twins Zoe and Sunny whose supervillain father is imprisoned. Then, their father is sent on parole, and he becomes the principal of a high school for superpowered teenagers. It’s a fluffy and fun read that is absolutely hilarious. The thing I find relaxing is that even though there are “villains” and “heroes”, most of them are friends off the grid and come together to help each other when true evil comes into play. It’s just the thing if you’re looking for a non-serious and floccus read. (I know, I just called this book floccus read. Go figure.)

3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Audience: PG13, YA

Content: Violence, romance, thematic elements?

And now, you find out which team I was on all along. (Given I literally advertise my old fashioned-ness on my blog header, it’s not that shocking. #teamcap)

Yes, I generally don’t watch Marvel movies because there’s only an amount of destruction one can handle. Yes, I’m not even American. But obviously, this is my favourite Marvel movie of all time. *end of explanation*

4. My Hero Academia 

Audience: PG, middle-grade to YA

Content: Violence, mild romance

Goodreads :: Amazon

Anytime I get to sneak my love for a fandom is a good day 🙂

So technically, I’ve only read a third of this series a while back and also forgot some parts, but I would still consider this to be one of my favourite superpowered stories. I also really love the backstory of this manga author who suffered a major slump and depression, which is where he came back to this project. And, I’m so glad he did. 

I also think of this one as the manga American comics which makes no sense but it does. (Plus I love op. 2 of this anime because I’m a Yonetsu Genshi fan.)

5. Bungo Stray Dogs

Audience: PG13, YA

Content: Violence

Goodreads :: Amazon

The Armed Detective Agency.

What could be better than a normal superpower story? Hmm, let’s see, a world where authors have superpowers based on their books. 

This, ladies and gentleman, is the manga that was missing from your life if you are a Bibliophile, especially of classics. In this story, major classic authors starting with Japanese ones (Dazai is obviously my fav.) and branching off into American (Fitzgerald and his Gatsby, LOL) and Russian authors (Dostoyevsky!!!) face off against each other with their powers and strategy games. If you’re a fan of intellectual-detective-mafia-classics battle combination, you will like this story. Ten points if this series makes you want to read the original classics! (Which happened to me.)

(Also, if you’re interested in Japanese authors I love, check out this post.)

6. Michael Vey

Audience: PG, YA

Content: Violence, mild romance

Goodreads :: Amazon

The Prisoner of Cell 25 was probably my first superpowered read, and this book would come to set the standard to the rest of the books in this genre. It’s in no way a classic superhero story because all through the series, Michael focuses on rescuing and helping people rather than battling bad guys…but at the same time it is a well-orchestrated arch. I also love the restriction on the superpower and its connection to electricity and the brain. Now that I think about it, I want to go back and re-read the entire series again. 

7. Renegades 

Audience: PG, Middle-grade to YA

Content: Some Violence, LGBTQ2+

Goodreads :: Amazon

This is the classic superhero story with a complete set of good guys v. s. bad guys face off and the twist–yes, you guessed it–the MC is the villain. I also got a signed copy by Marissa Meyer which was super awesome. Despite its well-written orchestration, I do have some reservations about the story because I like stories that are twisted beyond belief and this follows a rather average storyline. But  the world is well developed and you can read it like you’re watching a movie or a comic, something many books can’t pull off. Plus, you’ve got to love Max, the child prodigy. 😉

8. Vicious 

Audience: PG15, Adult Fiction

Content: Violence, Swearing, Minor Sexulaity

Goodreads :: Amazon

And now we finally come to the plus one factor…Vicious! It’s the story that I would also consider dark academia, so it’s a bit of a black horse in this list. It also isn’t YA, so I wouldn’t really recommend it to anyone below fifteen. 

But, if you are over fifteen and have heard of VE Schwab and love the idea of dark academia-superpower fusion, then this book is for you. 

And that concludes the list! 

Thank you for reading! What did you think? Are you a fan of superheroes? What are some of your favourite superhero stories? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to chat with you!

My Thoughts on The Missing of Clairdelune

Hullo, world!

It baffles me how half of September is already gone. It seems just a moment ago that I got back into blogging. 

Anyhow. 

Today, I’ll be sharing with you My Thoughts on The Missing of Clairdelune. Some of you might remember me screaming my head off with the book 1 of the Mirror Visitor quartet, My Thoughts While Reading “A Winter’s Promise” on the blog a few months ago. 

Well, I’m still screaming my head off, because I finished book 2 and book 3’s English translation just came out. *proceeds to squeal an A#6*

Without further ado, I present to you, My Thoughts on The Missing of Clairdelune. 

The Missing of Clairdelune (Mirror Visitor Quartet #2)

The Synopsis:

Book Two in the Internationally Bestselling Mirror Visitor Quartet

When our heroine Ophelia is promoted to Vice-storyteller by Farouk, the ancestral Spirit of Pole, she finds herself unexpectedly thrust into the public spotlight and her special gift is revealed to all. Ophelia knows how to read the secret history of objects and there could be no greater threat to the nefarious denizens of her icy adopted home than this. Beneath the golden rafters of Pole’s capitol, Citaceleste, she discovers that the only person she may be able to trust is Thorn, her enigmatic fiancé. As one after another influential courtier disappears, Ophelia again finds herself unintentionally implicated in an investigation that will lead her to see beyond Pole’s many illusions to the heart of the formidable truth.

My Thoughts: 

1. THE STORYTELLER: The Game: The scarf!! (Yes, my first comment is the scarf. I do so love that scarf.) And Good Berenilde! I’ve missed her. The Knight is seriously creepy. The game reminds me of something out of Alice in Wonderland. Thorn!!! (Pardon me fangirling.)

2. The Kid: I really dislike Farouk. We’ll see if there’s any redeeming him as the tale goes on…I am in an agonizing place already. 

3. The Contracts: Good Aunt Rosaline! I can’t quite decide if I like Rosaline or Berenilde better…And hullo, who is this new character we have here? Valkyries are creepy and cool. Oh, gosh, I am so fangirling! I know I shall suffer heartbreaks, but let them break. 

4. Fragment: First Reprise: Ooh, what is this? I have a feeling it is related to the before.

5. The Letter: Gynaeceum. What a delightful word! This book contains so many interesting words and places. And the Knight. There must be something behind this, though. Death threats! I mean, we were warned, but still. Shocking, rather. Ah, Thorn! He and Ophelia never ceases to surprise me. And we finally get the letter. 

6. The Theatre: I am rather nervous. We can only hope for our Ophelia to do her best. and the Ambassador is really notoriously interesting. Most certainly rotten, but interesting. Ooh, this will certainly be a tough show to put on…

7. The Doll: And Ophelia has done it again! I mean, in a good way, we hope. 

8. The Tales: The blue sandglass is shady. And Farouk is getting interesting. I still don’t much like him, but he’s interesting. The paper is scathing, as all papers tend to be. And the Book. I should really love to know what that is all about…Thorn! I really cannot stop grinning when he entres the page. 

9. The Forgotten Ones: Yay, old friends! And Ophelia really has the knack to do the most unexpected things. 

10. The Pipe: Mother Hildegarde! Really, here now is a character. Double rooms. All these contraptions makes me want to cry. 😭Ohhh, so that’s what this is. Interesting. Mutilation? 

11. The Question: The Knight is truly terrifying. Stanislav—and the whole Mirages. Really disconcerting. Aww, the Fox is such a dear muffin! 

12. The Affront: Why on earth is Ophelia so bold in the wrong places? Thorn!!!

13. The Promises: Things should not be funny, but these two are ridiculous! Ohh, so that’s how  it’s connected. Gosh, the FEELS. 

14. The Bell: Ophelia and Thorn are capital letter Awkward. Her family coming over must be fantastically absurd. This has taken an interesting curve of events. (Also, try not to grin like a maniac every time Thorn steps into the page…)

15. The Client: What is this? I mean, obviously things are going downhill, but still. They’ve finally done it. 

16. Fragment: Second: This has to be the past. It’s interesting there is a capital letter God here. I have a theory about the family spirits on each arks, but I’ll keep them in my head for now…

17. The Train: Ooh, now we have a recurring dream. Farouk is getting interesting. And the change of scenery. There’s even a debate about theology. 

18. The Family: Ah, mothers are the same everywhere. Great uncle!! I have missed him as much as Ophelia did. We finally get some glimpse of history. 


19. THE READER: The Date: And what are they doing here? And what is with the letter? It is kind of ominous. 

20. The Weather Vane: Please let Berenilde and Ophelia have the chance to talk to each other! The Doyennes are really shady. 

21. The Mothers: What have we now from Berenilde? Ohhh, Berenilde! I am glad I have taken to her. What will she do with all that’s going on? I’m glad for Ophelia either ways…

22. The Caravan: Aww, Ophelia’s family is so cute even in their noisy racketeering way. Hmm, strange occurrences keep popping up. What to make of them? 

23. The Disgraced: Thorn!! *goes to hyperventilate* And Ophelia. And the Chroniclers. I must really give it to Thorn, though. He must be an ISTJ. I really cannot stop smiling. 

24. The Invitation: Ha, I knew that the dinner would fall flat. But really, could I count on them this time..?

25. Vertigo: Gosh, not a moment too soon! I mean, oh, I really should stop grinning into a book. Not that my family thinks of me any saner…

26. Fragment: The Third Reprise: This must be what is left inside him…it’s starting to make a little more sense. And the “Try your dears”…

27. The Absentees: I am nervous about this prospect. Something is definitely up. As much as the Knight creeps me out, I feel sorry for him. And Ophelia’s mother. Mothers will be mothers! 

28. The Seal: Gosh this is disturbing. And we have the quiet and stout Ophelia on our side. We may survive this just yet…

29. The Pin: What is biting Thorn? And I kind of like the Baron. Ohhh. Now I think I’m getting a hang of who and what. 

30. The Workshop: Hmm. I feel like bombs will drop soon. And the shop is fascinating. 

31. The Sand beds: Grossly interesting. But I don’t think they’ll find what they’re looking for here…

32. The Dead end: Thorn really has a stunning capacity of intelligence. Ahh, I feel you Ophelia 😭

33. Fragment: Fourth Reprise: Everything feels sort of disjointed. But I can kind of feel what is going to happen??

34. The Cry: Ah, this is taking a sad turn. I mean, not super sad, but moderately sad. You can do this, Berenilde! I feel that things are changing for Thorn and Ophelia. There’s an invisible force behind all this fiasco.

35. The Non-Place: I’m getting sleepy…Gail is chirpy again. Hullo! Where have we gotten ourselves landed on? Gosh this is disturbing!

36. The Dark: Good old scarf! And what is this development? This can’t be all…And Golly, what a way to end the chapter!

37. The Announcement: Verdan! Okay, I am really shook right now, it’s my first “shook” as of current, I wasn’t expecting it to happen like this…

38. The Mattresses: Ophelia takes action! Haa, so that is what this has been about. 

39. The Genteel Death: And here I thought there wasn’t too much backstabbing. How sad. (I should be more worried, but things will not go down yet!)

40. The Heart: And the day is not lost! Not yet, at least. Gosh. I am utterly shook. 

41. The Deal: Oof. I don’t know what to think about the situation anymore other than the fact it’s perfectly dreadful. 

42. The Reading: This is very nerve-wracking. I can only hope for the best…

43. Fragment: Fifth Reprise: This makes so much sense and absolutely none.

44. The Memory: My stomach and my heart is doing weird lurches. Ohhh. So that was what it was. Things are somewhat falling into place, but not in the way I anticipated. The author really doesn’t pull the punches of FEELS. 

45. The Parent: Wait, what???  I am silenced. 

46. The Sentence: Thorn!! And Ophelia!!! Farouk. Is this tea going to happen?

47. The Mirror Visitor: I cannot say anything without bursting into tears 😭 

48. Fragment: Postscriptum: And propter Deum. 


My Review: 

  • Can we just stop and appreciate Thorn? I mean, I think I spent half of the time squealing about him and Ophelia. If Book 1 was any indication, Thorn gets better and better in Book 2. The author really builds on Thorn’s and Ophelia’s character, and the book is worth reading for these two alone. 
  • The Ark system is really well-thought out. I love stories with complex worlds that’s deep enough to dive into, but also mundane enough to be understandable. Christelle Dabos’s Mirror Visitor Quartets do just that. I simply adore the european-19th century vibe that is prevalent in the books, and the way the magical is  woven into ordinary. It’s really singular. 
  • As mentioned before, the book is taut with tension. Like, there’s hardly any part where everything is peaceful and quiet. There’s conspiracies and daily death threats as well as backstabbing where you least expect it. You pretty much experience being plunked into the court squabbles and drama just like Ophelia. So, if that sounds too stressful, this book might not be your cup of tea. But if you do hang in, you do get to go on a rich and glittering ride with emotional twists. 

The Verdict:

What did you think? Have you read A Winter’s Promise? Or better yet, are you inclined to read the Mirror Visitor Quartet? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to chat with you!