Tag: classics

May Wrap Up | Part Two

I seriously upped my reading game this month! I read a total of 13 books which blows my usual 5 or 6 right out of the water! I got through so many because I read a few short books and listened to more audiobooks than usual. It was a fantastic reading month nothing I read was below 4 stars. What are the chances of that?!

If you’re not familiar with my wrap ups, I like to just give a mini review with my thoughts on the book and not go into too much detail about the book. I do full reviews of each book as well later and give a bit more detail in my video wrap ups.

Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices #2) by Cassandra Clare ★★★★★

Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2)

Young Adult, Steampunk, Fantasy

This one was so good! Usually the middle book in a trilogy slows things down a bit but this one picked up speed instead. So much happens in this book that if you enjoyed the first one you should love this one.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald ★★★★☆

The Great Gatsby


Sometimes I feel like with classics there’s no point in saying anything about them cause pretty much everyone is familiar with them in some way. This book especially since it was required reading for a lot of people in school. Anyway, I found this story very interesting. Gatsby and Nick are two fascinating parallels to pair together. Nick seems to barely feel whereas Gatsby feels intensely and obsessively.

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter Elaine Howlin Literary Blog

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter ★★★★★

The Bloody Chamber

Short Stories, Feminism

Very interesting collection of stories inspired by fairy tales. Some of them are pretty disturbing with heavy sexual and violent themes. I really want to do a deeper reading and check out some analysis of them online.

The Mystery Woman (Ladies of Lantern Street #2) by Amanda Quick ★★★★☆

The Mystery Woman

Historical Romance, Paranormal

This was really good. A lot of focus on the story instead of just the main characters hooking up. It was kind of like a paranormal historical romance adventure. That’s a lot of genres for one book! Paranormal is a favourite of mine but I think I would have preferred this book without it. I’m probably just not used to it in historical’s though.

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Real Murders (Aurora Teagarden #1) by Charlaine Harris ★★★★★

Real Murders (An Aurora Teagarden Mystery #1)

Cosy Mystery

This one surprised me! I loved Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse books but these are nothing like them. No paranormal activity and it’s definitely PG. I really enjoyed it though. Aurora is a librarian and member of the Real Murders club who like to discuss past murder cases. On the night Aurora is to talk at the club one of the members is found dead.

A Bone To Pick Aurora Teagarden by Charlaine Harris Elaine Howlin Bookstagram

A Bone to Pick (Aurora Teagarden #2) by Charlaine Harris ★★★★☆

A Bone to Pick (Aurora Teagarden Mystery, #2)

Cosy Mystery

Continuing on with the Aurora series, Aurora finds a skull in her new home and is tasked with discovering how it got there and where the rest of the skeleton is. There are a lot of changes happening in this one…. pretty much everything I’d adjusted to about Aurora and her life from the first book gets switched up so it was a little bit jarring but still enjoyable.

Three Bedrooms, One Corpse (Aurora Teagarden #3) by Charlaine Harris ★★★★☆

Three Bedrooms, One Corpse (Aurora Teagarden, #3)

Cosy Mystery

This one I didn’t enjoy this one as much but I think that was because I was getting tired of listening to audiobooks. The mystery in this one has been the best so far.


I hope you all had a wonderful May and that June will be just as good.

Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_

Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell Review

Wives and DaughtersTitle: Wives and Daughters

Author: Elizabeth Gaskell

Genre: Classics, Romance

Series: n/a

Goodreads Rating: 4.09/5

Goodreads Link

Synopsis: Set in English society before the 1832 Reform Bill, Wives and Daughters centres on the story of youthful Molly Gibson, brought up from childhood by her father. When he remarries, a new step-sister enters Molly’s quiet life – loveable, but worldly and troubling, Cynthia. The narrative traces the development of the two girls into womanhood within the gossiping and watchful society of Hollingford.

Wives and Daughters is far more than a nostalgic evocation of village life; it offers an ironic critique of mid-Victorian society. ‘No nineteenth-century novel contains a more devastating rejection than this of the Victorian male assumption of moral authority’, writes Pam Morris in her introduction to this new edition, in which she explores the novel’s main themes – the role of women, Darwinism and the concept of Englishness – and its literary and social context.

October Wrap Up Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell Elaine Howlin Literary Blog
Instagram @elainehowlin_ & @elaine_reads_romance

Review:  Gaskell wrote this to be a story of everyday life in response to the more dramatic stories that were popular at the time. It’s a very pleasant study of rural life and relationships in 1830’s England. Beautifully written though lengthy and quite humorous at times especially with Molly’s father. It’s a charming easy read (despite its length) and unfortunately is unfinished due to Gaskell’s death. My edition featured notes from the editor of the magazine it was originally published which details the author’s plans for the ending.

I very much enjoyed reading this. It’s perfect when you want to read something pleasant and easy going.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository 

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Synopsis and book cover from Goodreads. Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_

Interesting Articles from the Booksphere

9 New Books Editors Have on Their Reading Lists

assorted books on wooden table

Do you have a million books on your to-be-read list, but are unsure where to start? Let us make it easy (or at least easier) for you. Three of our BookBub editors — ZanHannah, and Diana — shared recent releases they’re excited about, from nail-biting bestsellers to humorous book club suggestions. Check out our list of editor recommendations below, complete with publishers’ descriptions. – Bookbub

8 of the Best Cocktails from Classic Literature

As owners of the cocktail institution, Death & Co and authors of the New York Times bestselling book of the same name and our new book, Cocktail Codex, we make and study cocktails for a living. Therefore, it is no surprise that we have a great appreciation for writers who use cocktails as a means for creating character traits or for setting a scene.

To celebrate the important role cocktails play in literature, we’ve compiled some of the most well-known books where the cocktail itself, becomes a character, along with some fun facts about each drink. – ALEX DAY AND DAVID KAPLAN, Signature

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Why We Need More Literature About Intersectionality and Young Women

Two anthologies provide space to girls and women to articulate the realities of lives where “femaleness” is supposed to be the preeminent part of one’s identity. In the case of Can We All Be Feminists?, women write of how assumptions about a preeminent need to overcome misogyny contributes to other forms of oppression, while in Girls Write Now, girls growing up in the new millennium write their observations of first experiences that help to define who they are. –  LORRAINE BERRY, Signature

18 Short Classics You Can Read in One Sitting

brown maple leaf on open book

Many think of classic novels as long, ponderous texts, but that’s not always the case! There are many famous classics that are actually quite short. If you’re looking for a thought-provoking read, check out this list of short classics you can read in one sitting. Arranged from shortest to longest, these books pack a punch in 200 pages or less. – Elisabeth Delp, Bookbub

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ASMR Reading | The Old Beggar Woman read by the fire

The Old Beggar Woman

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

There was once an old woman, but you have surely seen an old woman going begging before now. This woman begged likewise, and when she received anything she said, “May God reward you.”

The beggar woman came up to the door, and there by the fire stood a friendly rogue of a boy warming himself. The boy spoke kindly to the poor old woman as she was standing there by the door shivering, “Come, old mother, and warm yourself.”

She came in but stood too close to the fire, so that her old rags began to burn, and she was not aware of it. The boy stood there and saw that. Should he not have put the flames out? Is it not true that he should have put them out? And if he did not have any water, then he should have wept all the water in his body out of his eyes, and that would have supplied two good streams with which to put them out.

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Howlin Books 2017 Book Awards

Ok, not really an award just what I decided to call my favourite books of 2017. In total, I read 154 things I think actual novels would make up about 100 of that number. I’m only using the novels for this list though I think the YA book I picked is technically a novella…oh well.

I divided my choices into 10 categories including a Best Book of the Year.

Author of the Year

Kresley Cole

Every time I read a book by this woman I find it absolutely impossible to put down. I end up devouring them every dang time! Even when I think I’m not in the mood for a paranormal romance once I’m past the first paragraph, I’m hooked.

Cole writes romance novels in four sub-genres. She has two Historical series, one Young Adult, one Erotica and her amazing Paranormal series. The only series I have yet to try is her YA but that’s just because I’m always wary of YA. But she’s so amazing I will definitely read it at some point.

Series of the Year

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

I can’t believe it took me so long to really get into this series. I read Storm Front (book #1) in 2014 and loved it but I was struggling to get into Fool Moon (book #2) until someone suggested I try the audiobooks. Well, I fell in love all over again. I started them near the end of 2016 and listened to one after the other until I was caught up in 2017. As a whole, the series blew my mind. Butcher has an amazing ability to reinvent the series but still stay true to the characters and the world he created in the beginning. Not an easy job with such a long-running series (there are currently 15 novels released plus novellas and short stories). The Dresden Files follows Harry Dresden, a wizard for hire (no kids parties or love potions please), on his adventures assisting the police and dealing with Chicago’s paranormal baddies.

Urban Fantasy Book of the Year

Written in Red by Anne Bishop

An Urban Fantasy series that borders a touch closer to High Fantasy than most UF. Bishop does a fantastic job of building the world of The Others without stunting the progression of the story. It all flows quite naturally and she creates a very interesting and exciting world here. In The Others, the supernatural species are dominant and prey on humans whenever they step out of line. Written in Red follows Meg Corbyn, a blood prophet who escapes her controller and finds refuge in the Lakeside Courtyard. Home to vampires, shape-shifters and elementals who are all suspicious of her and her peculiar behaviour.

Romance Book of the Year

The Professional by Kresley Cole

*Ahem* technically this is Erotica but that’s still romance!!! Sex is an important part of a romantic relationship and boy howdy is there sex in this book! The story follows Natalie Porter after she finds her long last Russian birth father and then discovers he is part of the mafiya. He assigns ‘The Siberian’ as her guardian and *ahem* you can guess what happens after that. But you may be surprised by the intensity of their relationship and, even though the situations they end up in may seem far-fetched, it makes for a very entertaining read. Great if you like action and probably perfect for you if you enjoyed 50 Shades of Grey (I’ve never read that so I don’t really know but there’s lots of BDSM in this book).

Young Adult Book of the Year

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

The second book in McGuire’s Wayward Children series follows twin sisters Jack and Jill while they were in the world of their door. They were introduced in book #1, Every Heart A Doorway, in which we learn about Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. The series follows children or teenagers who have returned from adventures in other worlds (such as Narnia and Wonderland) and have trouble adjusting to being young again and back in this world.

Non-Fiction Book of the Year

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

We should all be feminists and we should all read this book. This 52-page essay explores the meaning of feminism in our modern world. What it means to everyone not just women from everyday sexist slights do the more damaging situations.

Literary Book of the Year

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

This book was huge this year, it barely needs any introduction. But if you haven’t heard of it, The Handmaid’s Tale is the disturbing story of an entirely too possible future America. For whatever reason infertility has become very common and a religious group decides to take over and instil women known as Handmaids into the homes of wealthy/powerful men as pretty much a broodmare. We follow a handmaid known as Offred through her daily life in this new regime.

Classic Book of the Year

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

North and South is basically Pride and Prejudice with strong socialist themes but it’s still a beautiful romance in its own right. If the masters vs workers stuff annoys you it’s easy skim over it but a lot of it is necessary for character development I think. The story follows Margaret Hale after her father decides to leave his job in the south and move his family to an industrial town in the north. Here she meets John Thornton, one of the masters, and begins a turbulent relationship with the man. And speaking of Mr Thornton *swoon* serious competition for Mr Darcy!

Favourite 2017 Release

Ride the Storm by Karen Chance

The eight and most satisfying instalment in Chance’s Cassie Palmer series (I am a total fangirl for this series). This was it. The book we were all waiting for and Chance did not disappoint. She tied up some of the recurring storylines but thankfully it’s not the end. Since it’s the eight book I can’t really tell you much about the plot without spoiling it but the series follows Cassie Palmer a clairvoyant who becomes the supernatural communities chief seer. Her boyfriend’s a vampire, her trainer’s a mage, together they kick ass!

Best Book of 2017

Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews

Fully expected an Urban Fantasy book here but got an Urban Fantasy – Science Fiction combo. Any time I’ve read something like this in the past it doesn’t quite work but it really does here. Andrews are such a great writing team every book I’ve read by them has been a 4 or 5-star read. The book follows Dina Demille the proprietor of a Victorian inn in Texas. But her inn is not just an inn and Dina is no ordinary innkeeper. Her Shih Tzu is not just a Shih Tzu for that matter.

All of the books mentioned are available from Book Depository with free worldwide shipping.

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