Review: Lion Heart by A.C. Gaughen

Title: Lion Heart

Author: A.C. Gaughen

Publishing Information:  May 19, 2015 by  Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance, Retellings, Fantasy

Series Information: Book 3 in the Scarlet Trilogy

Format: Hardcover, 348 pages

Source: Obtained an ARC for review via the publisher

Recommended For: Fans of strong heroines, and those of you needing some consolation after finishing Lady Thief

Related Reviews: Review of Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

Imprisoned by Prince John for months, Scarlet finds herself a long way from Nottinghamshire. After a daring escape from the Prince’s clutches, she learns that King Richard’s life is in jeopardy, and Eleanor of Aquitaine demands a service Scarlet can’t refuse: spy for her and help bring Richard home safe. But fate—and her heart—won’t allow her to stay away from Nottinghamshire for long, and together, Scarlet and Rob must stop Prince John from going through with his dark plans for England. They can not rest until he’s stopped, but will their love be enough to save them once and for all?

Oh this series, I love it so. Scarlet is strong and feisty and an absolutely lovable heroine. Rob had to grow on me a little during the first two books, he was swoon-worthy for sure but I needed him to just put in a little bit of effort to try and work through his own “scars.” In Lion Heart, the secondary characters again stole my heart. I adored Allan and his antics, he was hilarious and though he was a jokester, it was clear that he had heart and cared about Scarlet as if she was his true sister. David is another new addition, and he is a perfect opposite of Allan. He loves and cares for Scarlet and her well-being, and is her dedicated knight so he is very adamant about doing things the “correct” way. That is to say, he doesn’t always go for Rob and Scar stealing kisses due to their lack of marriage! I loved the antics between Allan and David, and found them to be fantastic additions to the crew that I had crown to love from the prior two novels. Continue reading

Book Hoarders Anonymous: Best of 2013

I haven’t done a Book Hoarders post in a while so I thought to close out the year I would do a little survey like I did last year and focus on some of my favorite personal literary moments of the year! Sorry in advance..it’s link and picture heavy 🙂

Book that reminded me that I love to read: The Sandman series did this for me. The graphic novels are so different from anything that I have ever read and I found myself enamored at the inclusions of different character from history popping up into stories. It really made me think and remember what knowledge I had of these historical figures, or superheroes, etc. and that made me love it even more.

Favorite BAMF: I think Daenerys takes the cake for this one. She is so incredibly young but so fierce. I love her so much. Especially when she says things like “Dracarys!”

Favorite companion: Ravens! Though not technically “fantastical” by nature but some of the ones I read of this year were pretty amazing. Matthew, from The Sandman series and Fiacha from my (ahem 4th? 5th? re-read) of Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier is one of my favorite companions, EVER.

Favorite debut author: For sure Cat Winters, the author of In the Shadow of Blackbirds. The book was absolutely fantastic and heartwrenching. Ms. Winters was so gracious and lovely after I reached out to her upon finishing the novel, and she moved quickly to the top of my auto-buy authors.

BFF: Hands down Sybella from Dark Triumph. She was so dark and brave throughout the novel, I couldn’t help but love her. Truly, some of my closest friends describe her as my “spirit animal,” and I can’t wait to see what she and the other ladies get in to in Mortal Heart.

Most swoon-worthy lad: Okay, I am doing it, I’m cheating. I tried to look elsewhere but the title of most swoon-worthy lad goes to Captain Carswell Thorne, hands down. I can not tell you how many pictures I took of his lines and how many flailing texts were sent to my friends while reading Cress. He has made my top 5 of best swoons EVER, and that is saying A LOT.

Favorite pick found while perusing: Dragon’s Bait by Vivian Vande Velde. I was handed this by a bookseller at The Book Barn because she noticed that I like Patricia C. Wrede and assured me that this title was a readalike. I was pleasantly surprised over the nostalgia, I obviously also loved the strength in the main lady and the swoons in the main dragon!

Fantastical creatures: Not sure if he counts but, Death personified! He was breathtaking in Keturah and Lord Death and I look forward to reading more novels with him in the center!

That bad boy you shouldn’t love, but…: UMM hello? THE DARKLING 4EVA. I love, love, LOVE him so very much…from his quartz like eyes to his brooding demeanor. I just picture him controlling darkness and I get all “humina humina” to MAH BONES. *swoons* Honorable mention goes to Morpheus from Splintered by A.G. Howard

Favorite male lead: KVOTHE. Ohhhh Kvothe…I spent so much time with him this year (umm..over 50 hours of audio – which reminds me, OH HAI, Nick Podehl <3) and my heart sang and broke for him at times. He is so interesting and witty and hello, he’s a ginger, how can I not love him so?!

Favorite female lead: Eleanor, from Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. For the good and the bad, she reminded me of me when I was in high school.

Best summary in less than ten words: Scary vampires in an Amish setting. (Thanks, Ame!)

A return to an old favorite (title, genre, etc.): WOO! ROBIN HOOD, BABY!! I chose Robin Hood as my focus for our Classics Retold event and I am so glad that I was able to go back to the story that I love in Hood by Stephen Lawhead. I am excited to read book 2 and 3 in the series as soon as possible!

So glad I judged by it’s cover: In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters. The piercing gaze of the girl on the front and the ethereal being behind her, I had to have this book. I am so glad that I jumped to request this from Netgalley upon seeing it because it was one of my favorite reads of the year.

Broke my Heart: The Fables installments from this year really got to me. I have become WAY too invested in the characters and have fallen in love with the story, I love these graphic novels so much but boy did they crack my heart a little. Let’s not even get started on A Song of Ice and Fire…

Heightened by the narrator: For sure A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket narrated by Tim Curry is first in my mind when thinking of narrators who make the series for me. I started reading this series years and years ago and never finished because as I grew older I had a hard time making it through these novels in print. However, the audiobooks are absolutely stellar. The parts that I tended to read over because of annoyance or lack of interest, sprouted from my speakers and made me smile and laugh out loud.

Gave me the creeps (which I love): The Ghost of Graylock by Dan Poblocki, I sincerely hope that this author starts writing adult horror because he is FANTASTIC.

It’s in the words..: The Woodcutter by Kate Danley was so lyrical and beautiful that I found myself bookmarking every few pages. It was a simple, yet gorgeous read.

Biggest disappointment: Hmm probably Towering by Alex Flinn. I have heard a lot of good things about this author and it might have just been a wrong book, wrong time sort of thing but I did not enjoy this novel AT ALL.

Worth the hype: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. First, I was lucky enough to meet Rainbow at BEA this year and she was so fantastic, she also has great hair. Second, I am not a contemporary reader, and the sickly sweet romances are not usually my thing…HOWEVER Eleanor and Park was recommended to me by so many people that I trust and I fell so deeply in love with it, I immediately added all of Rowell’s books to my TBR. Never has hand holding been so romantic.

Newest addiction: Audiobooks!! As some of you may know, I am incredibly picky when it comes to audiobook narrators. Jim Dale is an obvious love and I fell into loving Neil Gaiman as soon as I heard his free audiobook Click, Clack, the Rattlebag but I had a hard time finding someone else to enjoy. I seem to have a problem with the jarring tone of a female narrator and and I felt sort of lost for a while until Heidi and Amy convinced me to try Nick Podehl, the narrator of The Kingkiller Chronicles. Well WOO BOY am I happy that I gave him a listen! over 50 hours of audiobook later and I am IN LOVE! I was also lucky enough to find some audiobooks narrated by Tim Curry, The Series of Unfortunate Events and a lovely version of Dracula, while perusing!

Favorite villain: Krampus wins this one, I think, though I don’t know for sure that he is considered a villain despite his “evil” ways. This novel by Brom is absolutely enthralling, I read it almost a year ago and I still can’t stop thinking about it.

Favorite laugh out loud moment: Like last year, I have to go with a Duncan moment from the second installment of The League of Princes: The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle. “Oh, I disagree,” Duncan added. “It makes me think of cow-owls. And those are horrifying. MOO-WHO! MOO-WHO!” This series is honestly fantastic and I can’t wait for book three!! Honorable mention goes to the final installment of A Tale Dark and Grimm: The Grimm Conclusion by Adam Gidwitz, this one had me laughing out loud as well!

The kissy bits: WOO Shadow & Bone had some yummy moments, as did Dark Triumph by LaFevers, Splintered by Howard, and Eleanor and Park had some epic hand holding (also CRESS because seriously..*faints*) Seriously, you guys…*FANS SELF*

Biggest ugly cry moment: Ya know, I didn’t really have any ugly cry moments this year..I don’t usually read those kinds of books so I somehow missed out. I did, however, tear up a few times while reading Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein. They were both lovely books, though I did not love them or get as attached as other readers.

Favorite new to me genre/book: Historical fiction! Between In the Shadow of Blackbirds, and The Caged Graves, I quickly jumped on the historical fiction bandwagon and asked Hannah and April for some suggestions. Needless to say, my TBR pile grew a lot and I am excited to move into some non Tudor England historical reads!

Mind. Blown.: Man, I feel sorry that I can’t explain myself better here but…that THING that happens in A Storm of Swords (and it’s not the thing you think)..yeah, I did NOT see that coming. I am so thrilled that I read this series, I can’t even begin to explain how worth it it is to take on the epicness that is A Song of Ice and Fire.

Thank you, Netgalley!: Splintered by A.G. Howard was a titled that I found on a whim while looking through Netgalley. The cover was gorgeous and the synopsis sounded awesome – a twisted fairytale, Alice in Wonderland meets Tim Burton in novel form? Sign me up! The world was vivid and the swoons were aplenty.

Non-bookish THINGS that I loved in 2013:

LOKI: Now, you all know that I love the villains SO MUCH and Loki isn’t really NEW on my radar since I have read and LOVED Norse mythology for as long as I can remember, but I started working hardcore on my WIP this year and…well..there are some Loki like bits in there. That got me delving more into his character, which only made me love him more. Also look how cute my new shirt is…

Game of Thrones: Again, not so new, but some of you may know that I participated in a Song of Ice and Fire Read Along this year and though it was very time consuming…it was AWESOME. Honestly, it is totally worth it, the series is so epic and you just fall so into the world, I definitely recommend giving it a go.

Neil Gaiman: Okay, I may have mentioned him a time or…five..but I was lucky enough to see Neil Gaiman THREE TIMES this year, and I MET HIM FACE TO FACE a few months ago and it was just a once in a lifetime experience. He is so amazing and gracious, and genius. Also his wife, she is pretty fantastic as well. No words.

Literary Lushes: I started a second website with my best friend Brittany (The Book Addict’s Guide) which focuses on ARC tours and Twitter chats. It has been such a great experience working with someone that I love and it has really opened me up to new bloggers and experiences which makes me incredibly happy!

Going forward I would like to introduce some new fun features on the blog – (including a new review feature!) and obviously share some wonderful reviews with you all! What about you guys, what can you tell me about your favorite literary moments of the year? I look forward to seeing you all in 2014!! As always, thanks for reading!

Review: Robin Hood Shows and Movies

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Classics Retold is wrapping up! I had a lot of fun with this project, though I am disappointed that I didn’t get to read and watch as many of the retellings as I had hoped..life got in the way and all that! Today I am going to do some mini reviews of a few Robin Hood movies and the BBC adaptation of Robin Hood.

Robin Hood Prince of Thieves – As I mentioned in a previous post, this is my favorite Robin Hood movie, it actually may be my favorite movie in general. I know that there are so many people who make jests about this film for various reasons, the fact that Kevin Costner couldn’t master the English accent being one of them, but I personally love this romanticized version of my favorite tale. The producers of Prince of Thieves focused more on the relationship between Robin and Marian, the tagline for the film read “For the good of all men, and the love of one woman, he fought to uphold justice by breaking the law,” which really shows the emphasis put on his love for Marian. Kevin Costner is totes handsome, even in Waterworld, and MORGAN FREEMAN plays Azeem, you know Morgan Freeman rules. You guys, I love this movie so much that I can quote every line and play part of “Everything I do” by Bryan Adams on guitar. I love it so much that I bought the extended bluray DVD, and *spoiler alert* it is extra cool because it gives evidence that Mortiana (the witch) is actually the Sherriff of Nottingham’s MOTHER. She kidnapped the son of the last sheriff so she could put her son in the place of power, wed him to a royal, and therefore make it so her line sat on the throne. Super creepy, but you go girl.

Marian: You came for me… You’re alive…

Robin Hood: I would die for you.

Robin Hood: Men in Tights – Who doesn’t love a good Mel Brooks film? Despite the fact that this is almost a direct parody of Prince of Thieves – no really at one point Robin looks at the camera and says “Because, unlike some other Robin Hoods, I can speak with an English accent,” this movie still makes me laugh out loud. I fell in love with Cary Elwes while watching him play Wesley (obvs), but I will love him forever as Robin. If this hasn’t sold you, it also features a young Dave Chappelle.

Prince John: Such an unusual name. Latrine. How did your family come by it?

Latrine: We changed it in the 9th Century.

Prince John: You changed it to Latrine?

Latrine: Yeah! It used to be Shithouse.

Prince John: It’s a good change…..it’s a good change.

Robin Hood (BBC) – Now, I’ve only seen about half of season one but I am HOOKED. First of all, Robin is a STUD, as are some of his “merry men,” in fact, the actor who plays Viserys in Game of Thrones plays (a brunette) Will Scarlet, and AHEM…RICHARD ARMITAGE IS GUY OF GISBORNE! HELLOOO Thorin Oakenshield!! Second of all, it’s quite funny in that BBC way, you know the kind that makes you chuckle but not quite laugh out loud. Another thing I absolutely adore about this version is that Marian is a BAMF. She knows how to use that bow just as well as Robin does, and she uses her wiles to gain insight as assist Robin and his men. I’ll be honest, this version also has some sad parts and it isn’t presented with the greatest of special effects. Still, it is incredibly entertaining – and it’s on Netflix, so go forth and watch!

Marian: He has to have the glory, doesn’t he?

Much: Glory? Nah. I think he just wants to be loved.

So that wraps up Classics Retold! Please go to the Classics Retold page under Events on the menu up top and look at the wonderful Classics Retold posts written by fellow bloggers!

Review: Hood by Stephen Lawhead

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Title: Hood

Author: Stephen Lawhead

Publishing Information: September 1, 2006

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Adventure, Adult, Retellings

Series information: Book 1 in the King Raven Series

Format: Hardcover, 490 pages

Source: Purchased for my personal library

Recommended For: Fans of historical fiction and those looking for a new take on an old tale.

The Legend Begins Anew

For centuries, the legend of Robin Hood and his band of thieves has captivated the imagination. Now the familiar tale takes on new life, fresh meaning, and an unexpected setting.

Hood is a novel that I have been meaning to read for a very long time. In fact, I attempted to read it quite a few years ago and despite my love of Robin Hood, I just couldn’t become immersed in the story. Being that I have owned the novel for years, the Classics Retold project seemed like the perfect excuse for me to give it another try.

Rhi Bran’s (see what he did there, Rhi Bran = Robin) father is killed and he is left as the would-be heir to his father’s castle and lands. Unfortunately Bran is injured severely by Normans and he is found near death by a mysterious old woman. After many trials she succeeds in nursing him back to health and assisting him in realizing his truth worth as a leader to his people.

I did enjoy the characters for the most part, Bran was pigheaded and a rather different type of hero. It was interesting to watch his growth throughout the novel and I thoroughly enjoyed his characterization of King Raven. The two most descriptive secondary characters in Hood are Merian, and Friar Tuck, who goes by the name Aethelfrith. I did not like the portrayal of Merian, I found her to be somewhat silly in her dual nature. On one hand she was strong headed and stubborn, but then she seemed rather silly and naïve in her actions. Tuck, however, was incredibly loveable. He assisted Bran in keeping a cool head in many situations and was incredibly keen and fun to read.

Hood is a very different retelling than the original tale of Robin Hood, and it reads more like a historical fiction novel than anything else. Lawhead in no way romanticizes Robin Hood’s tale, in fact it is a darker retelling than I have ever read and to be honest there is not much happiness through the novel, despite the fact that things do move forward little by little for our hero.

While reading, I wasn’t completely enthralled with the tale, and I had hoped for some more action. Much of the story is Bran finding his potential, and background on the different Barons who are fighting for control of the land. There was one particular scene that took place in the “haunted forest” that I thoroughly enjoyed, the atmosphere was absolutely chilling. It is obvious while reading that this is only one part to the Robin Hood tale and it is hard to judge the novel on its own as it really is a piece to a much bigger puzzle. That said, as a whole I found the novel to be an interesting new beginning to the Robin Hood legend, I will definitely be continuing on with the story.

Book Hoarders Anonymous (7)

This morning I drank a pumpkin spice latte, which means that despite it not being official…to me, AUTUMN IS HERE, BABY!! School is back in session, and the days are getting cooler. Did everyone have a nice summer? It was pretty quiet on the blog because I was enjoying my free time by reading ALL OF THE BOOKS and watching hours upon hours of Arrested Development (SPIIIICY CLUB SAUUUCE) and Doctor Who (it’s Tennant Time and OH BOY DO I LOVE HIM! ❤) So what has been happening? I got some awesome books this summer and it’s Classics Retold time! Let’s take a look!

From the Library:

The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley – Getting ready for Classics Retold!!

Maid Marian by Elsa Watson

The Sandman: Endless Nights by Neil Gaiman – An awesome companion to the series!

From Netgalley/Edelweiss:

Havisham by Ronald Frame – I am *so* excited for this, Miss Havisham’s tale at last!!

The Outcasts by Kathleen Kent – Buried treasure and the old west!

The Woken Gods by Gwenda Bond

Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield – Methinks this includes Death personified…umm, yes please!

Promise Bound by Anne Greenwood Brown – Book 3 in the Lies Beneath trilogy!

Death Sworn by Leah Cypess – Magic & assassins!

Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

The Grimm Conclusion by Adam Gidwitz 

Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd

House of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple – Family curses…

Promise of Shadows by Justina Ireland – Harpies!

Bought/Received:

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On my monthly Book barn trip I picked up some excellent goodies, pictured above:

An Illustrated Canterbury TalesLady Macbeth’s Daughter by Lisa Klein, The Onion Girl by Charles de Lint, Firebird by Mercedes Lackey, Entwined by Heather Dixon, Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay, and The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley.

Other goodies from the summer:

The Wild Girl by Kate Forsyth (Gifted from the most amazing, Amy, from Tripping Over Books)

The History of Hell by Alice Turner

Myths of the Norsemen by Helene Adeline Turner

The Norse Myths by Kevin Crossley-Holland

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (audiobook) – Preparing for the upcoming road trip!

What Did You Miss?

I recapped the amazing trip to Book Expo America and that one time that I met Neil Gaiman and didn’t touch his hair

Brittany from The Book Addict’s Guide and I started a new blog that manages ARC tours and the #LitLush Twitter chat!

I reviewed a few books, my favorites being The Woodcutter by Kate Danley, and Between the Devil and The Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

What’s to Come?

As mentioned in my Classics Retold post, September is going to be dedicated to all things Robin Hood, though I will be sharing my thoughts on Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein, and book three in A Song of Ice and Fire (It was a doozy, that one!), among others. Stay tuned, we have some great things planned for you for the upcoming months!!

Classics Retold: A Gest of Robyn Hode

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Banner created by Brittany @ The Book Addict’s Guide

Hello lovelies! As you know September is Classics Retold month and you may remember that I am focusing on Robin Hood! I am INCREDIBLY excited to share all of the Robin Hood things with you all! Some of you may know that I have my Bachelor’s Degree in English, which means that I had to write a nifty thesis in undergrad! My thesis class was Heretics and Outlaws, and it was even more amazing than it sounds. I wanted to research ALL OF THE THINGS, but I settled (not really settling) for Robin Hood and wrote a cultural comparison on the original Gest and the film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves starring Kevin Costner. In a nutshell: it was long. In lieu of boring you (I know, how could it possibly be boring, it’s ROBIN OF THE HOOD!) I am going to give you some quick little snippets:

  • Much like the “Who is Shakespeare?!” conundrum, there are many arguments between scholars whether or not Robin Hood is a real person or simply a character from a ballad – I like to think that he was real for obvious, romanticized reasons.
  • Many scholars argue that Robin Hood was really a yeoman who worked as a money lender to bankrupt knights, and not a member of the lower class who “stole from the rich to give to the poor.”
  • The original tale “A Gest of Robyn Hode” is one of the oldest surviving tales of Robin Hood, printed between 1490 and 1534
  • The Gest was originally written in Middle English (Think: Chaucer) but is believed to have began as a minstrel tale due to the fact that there are parts when the narrator speaks directly to the audience.
  • Maid Marian was not in the original Gest, the tale focused more on the politics and corrupt legal system of the time instead of romance and platonic relationships between Robin and his cohorts.

Further Reading

  • Read the original Geste here
  • Read more about the “real” Robin Hood here
  • For film and TV adaptations check out this list, and for books and other media, look here
  • If you want to know anything else about these types of ballads, or readalikes (the outlaws and such) let me know, I have done incredible amounts of research on the topic and I would be happy to share!

For fun, I have attached the powerpoint presentation that I presented to introduce my paper to the English department, take a look and let me know what you think!

Stay tuned, I have some awesome adaptations coming your way!!

Classics Retold: Robin Hood

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Welcome friends! Today I will be reminding you all of my love for Robin Hood! This is just going to be a quick intro post showcasing what I will be reading (and watching) for our Classics Retold project! This isn’t really a complete list since I want to read ALL THE BOOKS, but these are my definites!

I’ve actually owned this book for years, and I tried reading it a while back and couldn’t get into it. It has great reviews, though, so I am hoping to give it another try!

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Hood by Stephen Lawhead

For centuries, the legend of Robin Hood and his band of thieves has captivated the imagination. Now the familiar tale takes on new life, fresh meaning, and an unexpected setting.

Steeped in Celtic mythology and the political intrigue of medieval Britain, Stephen R. Lawhead’s latest work conjures up an ancient past and holds a mirror to contemporary realities. Prepare yourself for an epic tale that dares to shatter everything you thought you knew about Robin Hood.

 

 
Lady of the Forest by Jennifer Robersonlady of the forest

As the gates of Ravenskeep swing open and a young woman flees into the primeval depths of Sherwood Forest and into the arms of the man she loves, a saga of exceptional power and remarkable passion begins…

He is Sir Robery Locksley–the heroic nobleman who has turned his back on all he knows to embark on a dangerous quest for justice in an England torn apart by treachery, betrayal and war.

She is Lady Marian of Ravenskeep–the proud, defiant knight’s daughter who leaves her sheltered life behind to join a shadowy band of outlaws who follow no law but their own.

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Maid Marian by Elsa Watson

Marian is left alone again—a widow who has never been a bride. But now, like all unmarried young ladies of fortune, she is made the ward of King Richard the Lionheart. Since Richard is away on Crusade, Marian’s fate lies in the hands of his mother, the formidable Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. The bridegroom Eleanor selects will get Marian’s lands and, in return, pledge his loyalty—and silver—to the king. Marian herself is irrelevant and she knows it. Determined not to be sold into another sham marriage, she seeks out the one man who can help uncover the queen’s intentions: Robin Hood, the notorious Saxon outlaw of Sherwood Forest.

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The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin Mckinley
Author McKinley applies her unparalleled vision of traditional legends to the story of Robin Hood and his community of Sherwood Forest outlaws.

 

 

 

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Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)

This one is obvious. I wrote my undergraduate thesis on it, I love me some Kevin Costner and Alan Rickman. I don’t care that he didn’t have an English accent, WE LOVES IT.

 

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Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)

A Mel Brooks film, and a spoof on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, in particular. I LOVE this movie, but I will never forget how my mother had me watch The Princess Bride and then Men in Tights directly after. I still have a hard time looking at Cary Elwes as anyone but Wesley ❤

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Robin Hood (2010)

Vastly different than the other films, and much more dramatic. At first I didn’t particularly enjoy this adaptation, but I have grown to love the intensity of it. Plus? Russell Crowe.

 

 

 

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BBC Robin Hood TV series (2006)

I can’t tell you how many times I have checked this out from the library and haven’t made the time to watch it. I am going to watch at least the first season, but I am hoping that it is so awesome that I can’t stop. Better start soon! Also, I feel as if I am really talking a lot about the hotties who have played Robin Hood so it is only fitting that we mention RICHARD EFFING ARMITAGE AS GUY OF GISBORNE. WHY DON’T I ALREADY OWN THIS SERIES?!

 

 

What do you guys think? Any that I am certainly missing and NEED to read? Let me know! Don’t forget that you can still sign up for Classics Retold, and you don’t have to post reviews for any retellings until September! You have so much time!!

Recommend A…(9)

 

“Recommend A…” is a weekly meme, posted every Monday, hosted over on Chick Loves Lit. It’s a quick, fun and unique way to recommend a book that you love!

Recommend A…Book That Someone Recommended To You!

My choice this week is Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

This book was recommended to me by my friend Heidi, over at Bunbury in the Stacks. It is easily one of my favorite reads of 2012. At one point the bf walked in, glanced at me and said, “Are you petting that book?!” and it turns out, I was. I was petting the book because that is precisely how much I loved it. It was a book that made me feel as if it was written just for me to enjoy, bringing me into the dark canopy of the trees of Nottinghamshire. See my review, here.

Review: Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

Title: Scarlet

Author: A.C. Gaughen

Publishing Information: February 14th, 2012 by Walker Childrens

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance, Retelling

Series Information: Standalone novel

Format: Hardcover, 292 pages

Source: Borrowed from my local library

Recommended For: Fans of strong heroines, and lovers of historical fiction wrapped inside a bit of romance

Before I even begin this review there are some things you should know. First, there are probably three obsessions I have in relation to literature: Shakespeare, The Wizard of Oz and Robin Hood. I am so in love with Robin Hood that my thesis in undergrad was a 40 page cultural comparison of the original Gest of Robyn Hode and the 1991 film, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. For those of you who majored in English and wrote a thesis, you all know that there is probably little I haven’t researched and read in relation to the famous outlaw. Second, I ADORE stories that showcase a female character that is feigning being a boy, which brings me right back around to my love of Shakespeare (my cat is named Celia only because the bf hated the name Rosalind!) These little tidbits bring us to Scarlet…

Scarlet is an important part of Robin’s band of outlaws, she is one of his most trusted allies and one of the most skilled thieves in Nottinghamshire. The band is made up of Robin, Scarlet – known as “Will” through town, John and Much. They work diligently to ensure that the townspeople are fed and protected from the sheriff – by ensuring that they have the funds to pay the increasingly high taxes. The story is reminiscent of the tale we all know and love but the tables turn when the sheriff hires and “thief taker” Guy of Gisbourne to hunt and kill Robin and his friends. Upon hearing the news, Scarlet begins to have misgivings about staying with the group as her old wounds are re-opened and her past is suddenly brought forward in a very real and serious manner.

First, let’s take a look at the characters. Scarlet is combative, abrasive and independent, and I loved her. I loved that she was all of those things yet also extremely sensitive, kind and a little confused about her feelings about those around her. I believed Scarlet to be immature when she ran away when anything (or anyone) came too close to picking at the scars she kept deeply hidden but I found that she balanced these moments with moments of sheer courage that allowed her to run toward an obstacle and handle it head on. Scarlet had a very intelligent head on her shoulders and I appreciated the balance between her kick-ass elements and her somewhat shy and insecure characteristics, it made her more real for me.

Robin was the perfect hero in this book (remember, I’m biased!) and even though he was a jerk often and I wanted Scarlet to slap him a bit he was still every bit the man I wanted him to be. It wasn’t until the end of the book that I realized Robin’s reasons behind his somewhat arrogant and mean behavior. I think reading his comments and jibes toward Scarlet hurt me because I knew how much she was self-loathing internally and I just wanted him to see that and make it all better! John was the more flirtatious and fun between the two obvious love interests and I really loved him a lot too, though I knew he wasn’t the one for Scarlet. I adored the way in which Scarlet was oblivious to John’s affections at first and then still scoffed at the idea that he truly liked her yet she still somewhat tried to go along with it because she was young and confused and really didn’t know how to feel. Girl, we have all been there! John was the perfect big brother figure, the best guy to have at your back because he really was loyal to the cause and his band, despite how he let his feelings get in the way now and then. Much was a character I would have liked more from. I really loved every interaction with this character and thought he was a perfect balance to the other characters. Much was the calm through everyone’s crazy storms. Every character had their darkness but Much knew his use to the band and he excelled in his position. I really can’t stress how much I loved these characters and they way they looked out for one another. Though I know Scarlet was confused by how the band cared for her, it melted my heart at times. When Robin looks at Scarlet and realizes she has been harmed at Godfrey’s hands, I swooned a little (page 125.) It’s moments like those that really proved how much the band valued her both as a member of their group but as an important person in their lives.

We can’t forget about the villain, Guy of Gisbourne. As I am keeping this review spoiler free I can’t get into the real evil behind this character but here is a description of him from Scarlet’s point of view, just to paint a little picture:

“People stopped to look at him. He were wrapped in violence as if it were his clothes, his cloak like death, his armor like blades. His hair were shaggy as an animal’s and it looked like the Devil were trapped in his head.” – Page 74

One of my main reasons for adoring this story was the way in which it contained surprising plot twists that also felt familiar. It was somewhat clear to me what Scarlet was hiding from the band from very early on in the novel. However, there is no great reveal at the end but details given throughout the novel that make the reader piece together her past and understand her a little more as each chapter progresses. I also loved the ending. Usually I am not a fan of books that conclude without their loose ends being entirely tied. However, I think the ending of this novel perfectly represented the story in its entirety and it left me with a glorious feeling.

This book is easily one of my favorite reads of 2012. At one point the bf walked in, glanced at me and said, “Are you petting that book?!” and it turns out, I was. I was petting the book because that is precisely how much I loved it. It was a book that made me feel as if it was written just for me to enjoy, bringing me into the dark canopy of the trees of Nottinghamshire.