Top Ten Tuesday: Books and Adjectives

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

Today’s topic is

March 22: Books With an Adjective In the Title (Submitted by Nicole @ How to Train a Book Dragon)

I also decided to evaluate the adjective: does it accurately describe the book? Let’s see!

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong – Yep, “violent” describes this one pretty well I’d say. The other adjective I might use is “gory.”

A Wild Winter Swan by Gregory Maguire – I don’t think I would call this book, or the swan in it particularly “wild.” Actually considering the fact that the swan is significantly human, I might call it fairly tame. He can talk and reason!

The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie– Yes, in this case I would call the affair at Styles (a murder, naturally) fairly “mysterious.” Nothing that Poirot can’t handle though!

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides – This adjective is fairly literal. The patient in this book is silent. She does not speak. We do, however, learn a lot about her regardless.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by VE Schwab – In this case it’s not really literal. Addie is perfectly visible, but her life is “invisible” because she’s always forgotten as soon as she’s out of sight.

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman – Again, not literally “invisible,” but definitely a shadowy organization.

Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill by Maud Hart Lovelace – It’s hard to say here, because I don’t know how big the hill actually is. The book doesn’t give an elevation! But I suppose it’s a big step for the characters.

The Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell– Definitely metaphorical once again (wow, there are a lot of books with “invisible” in the title!) But she does disappear, as in, people can’t find her.

Royal Blood by Rhys Bowen – Yes, several of the characters here have “royal blood.” And there are some concerns about blood being spilled, but the actual murder in this case is a poisoning.

The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elizabeth Robinson – Well, the book is fiction, so I suspect it’s not “true.” At the very least it’s fictionalized. As for “outstanding,” it’s probably not the word I’d use, though it’s not bad by any means.


Top Ten Tuesday: Star Crossed Lovers

For that Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

February 8: Love Freebie (come up with your own topic having to do with love)

Teenage Fran was obsessed with forbidden love. Romeo and Juliet, Tristan and Isolde, Abelard and Heloise, Lancelot and Guinevere… These were my people! Here are some retellings of their stories that I’ve read over the years. Some are more recent, but some are things I read a long time ago, so I don’t know how they’d hold up:

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong– This was a recent read. It was billed as a Romeo and Juliet retelling, but I’d call it more “Romeo and Juliet inspired” with a number of references throughout. It’s set amidst organized crime wars, and the presence of a monster in 1920’s Shanghai. Actually in looking back on it, thing that jumps to mind is just how apt the title is: it’s a violent book.

O Juliet by Robin Maxwell – Juliet is an 18 year old Florentine. She’s the daughter of Capello Capelletti, a businessman who has promised her in marriage to his (horrible) partner, Jacopo Strozzi. At an engagement party for her BFF  Lucrezia Tornabuoni, Juliet meets Romeo Monticecco, who came to the party hoping to smooth over the long standing feud between their two families. What I remember most about this is that Juliet is an aspiring poet, and we read some of her work. The problem is that this Juliet is writing about the same things that Shakespeare wrote in the original, and as a poet, Shakespeare is a tough act to follow!

Juliet by Anne Fortier – Julie Jacobs inherits a key to a safe deposit box in Siena, Italy. She’s thrust into a dangerous treasure hunt that involves her ancestor Giulietta. Giulietta’s love for a young man named Romeo inspired Shakespeare’s work. As she looks into the real life enmity the families of Romeo and Giulietta, she realizes that there is still “a plague on both your houses…”

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion – Hey, if Pride and Prejudice can add zombies, so can Romeo and Juliet! R is a zombie. He and his friend M spend most of their time shuffling around and eating brains. But when R eats a brain, he gets a bit of that person’s memory. So when he eats the brain of zombie-killer Perry, he sees Perry’s memories of his beloved Julie. For some inexplicable reason, R doesn’t want to eat Julie. He cares for her… Here instead of feuding families we have zombies vs. humans. The Romeo and Juliet parallels sort of come and go here, but it’s not meant to be a “serious” retelling by any means. There’s a whole series, but I only read the first one. Not great, but fun.

Queen of Camelot by Nancy McKenzie – I don’t know how well this book would hold up to a reread, but there was a time when younger me could hardly put it down. It’s Guinevere’s story (with plenty of love triangle drama with Arthur and Lancelot, which is what technically earned it a place on this list) but one thing that stands out in memory is the multi-faceted portrayal of Mordred, who is often vilified.

Prince of Dreams: A Tale of Tristan and Essylte by Nancy McKenzie – This is set about a generation after the events of Queen of Camelot. There’s actually a book, called Grail Prince, that bridges this one and that. But regardless, the alliances of Arthur’s time are fracturing. Tristan supports his uncle, Markion’s claim to throne of the High King. But when Markion sends Tristan as an agent to fetch his new bride, Essylte, they fall madly and passionately in love, risking everything they have, everything and everyone around them.

Castle D’Or – This retelling of the Tristan and Islode story is set in modern (well modern circa early 20th century…) times by Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch (Q). It was finished many years later, by his daughter, Daphne DuMaurier. It’s set in Cornwall, and involves an innkeeper’s wife and a Breton onion seller. I read this one a long time ago, and don’t remember much of it.

The White Raven by Diana L. Paxon – This tells the love story of  Drustan and Esseilte (Tristan and Isolde) from the point of view of  Drustan and Esseilte’s handmaiden, Brangien (otherwise known in legend and Branwen). Brangien is Esseilte/Isolde’s cousin who takes her place on Isolde’s wedding night to King Marc’h. Of course Brangien falls in love with Marc’h, thus adding another limb to the love triangle.

Stealing Heaven: The Love Story of Heloise and Abelard by Marion MeadeHeloise and Peter Abelard were real life lovers, who get their story dramatized in this historical novel. But if you want more of their story, you can read their real love letters.