Books, Movies/TV series, Top Ten

Melissa’s Top Ten Heroines and Films to Check Out

One of the first lists I came up with when we decided to compile a series of top ten posts (after books and authors, of course) was top ten heroines, so here they are:

  1. Elizabeth Bennet220px-Prideandprejudiceposter

    Lively, clever, independent and able to capture (and inform) the arrogant Mr. Darcy, who is above her station in life (which was important in the 18th Century) – Elizabeth is number one. I can re-read Pride and Prejudice repeatedly and still be amused and amazed at her. I adore both portrayals of her in the 1995 BBC mini-series) adaptation and the 2005 Keira Knightly version.

  2. Jane Eyre coverJane Eyre

    Her independence, morality and strength of character captured me from first reading. The 2011 adaptation with Mia Wasikowska is my favourite. I love the line, “I am come back to you.”

  3. Ann Elliot

    Ann Elliot (of Persuasion, Jane Austen) is an unlikely pick as I much prefer independent women but she is such a good, gentle character, so much put-upon and she learns her lesson eventually.

  4. Elinor Dashwood

    Elinor Dashwood (of Sense & Sensibility, Jane Austen) is the pragmatic older sister to the romantic Marianne. I adore her sense of responsibility, pragmatism and dependability in the face of a family that needs her strength. I love that she gets her happily ever after, after all her sacrifice.

  5. Sydney Sagethe indigo spell

    In my review of The Indigo Spell I declare Sydney to be, “the perfect protagonist to read in the first person. She is intelligent, scientific, analytical, independent, strong, and some social interactions perplex her.” She also holds her own against some formidable opponents. The actress cast to play her (in the Vampire Academy films) will have to be pretty awesome in order to avoid letting me down.

  6. the time travellers wifeClare Abshire

    Another strong, romantic figure in a beautiful book and film, Clare Abshire is The Time Traveller’s Wife. Rachel McAdams is the perfect Clare.

  7. Margaret Hale

    Margaret (of North & South) is a lively, intelligent young woman who rises above terrible, successive events with elegance while capturing the heart of the tough Mr Thornton. Daniela Denby-Ashe is the perfect Margaret in the 2004 mini-series adaptation.

  8. Rose Hathawayzoey deuch

    Rose is the protagonist of the Vampire Academy series. She is kick-ass and unfailingly loyal. I can’t wait for the first of the movies out next year. I hope Zoey Deutch (set to play her) can do her justice.

  9. tomorrow when the war beganEllie Linton

    I love Tomorrow When the War Began, I loved it when the books came out in the 90s, I adored the movie when it came out in 2010. Caitlin Stasey wasn’t exactly how I imagined Ellie, but she was so awesome it didn’t matter. There will potentially be a follow up film out next year .

  10. Katniss Everdeen

    I came at this series the wrong way around, I saw the first movie and then began reading the books (because I had to know what happened next). You know the movie I’m talking about, because you haven’t been living under a rock have you? The Hunger Games. Either way Katniss is awesome – she is as compassionate as Margaret Hale, as integral to her family as Elinor the hunger gamesDashwood and as feisty as Rose Hathaway.

Is there anyone else that should be included in the list?


Luke’s Reading Round-Up March-April 2013

For the past two months, I have managed to read quite a bit. So far, I have read 26 out of 50 books in a reading challenge this year. It looks like I’m getting there.

Anyway, here are the books I read in March and April:

AlteredAltered, by Jennifer Rush

Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. And when she, along with the four genetically altered boys—Sam, Trev, Cas, and Nick—in the lab under her father’s farmhouse, escape from the evil corporation her father works under, she uncovers truth about herself that her father kept from her. Altered is one of the best novels of 2013. It was well written, had three-dimensional characters, and many twists that left me stunned. I am anticipating its sequel, Erased, out January 2014.

The Indigo Spell, by Richelle Mead

Sydney continues her struggle to uncover the secrets that the Alchemists keep from her. And what her heart is urging her to do. I have to admit that I enjoyed The Indigo Spell more

the indigo spell

than I did Bloodlines and The Golden Lily. We meet new characters—such as Marcus Finch, who is a former alchemist on the run—as well as glimpse some of the old characters from Vampire Academy—Rose, Dimitri, Lissa, and Christian. The ending is one of the best endings I’ve read! I am very excited about The Fiery Heart, the fourth book in the series (out November), and the Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters movie next year.

Vampire Beach vol.3, by Alex Duval

This is an omnibus of the fifth and six books of the series. In High Stakes, Sienna’s older sister, Paige, turns up unexpectedly from college in Paris, but everything gets dangerous when her boy Mark turns up—and Sienna goes missing. In Hunted, there is evidence that vampire hunters are in town when vampires go missing then mysteriously reappeared with no memory of what happened. Both of the stories featured the characters facing conflicts that are more dangerous than before. I really wish there was more to the series, because Jason and Sienna could have more story when they’re in college/university.

Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver

After she dies in a car accident, Sam relives the same day in the duration of a week, and discovers why she has given these seven chances. There was a powerful message woven into this story: that you have to live your life to the fullest without having any regrets, because you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow—or in the next five minutes. I also like that Lauren Oliver made Sam sound like a teenager.

Thirst 5: The Sacred Veil, by Christopher Pike

In the final chapter of the five thousand year old vampire, Sita must unravel the handful of lost memories that occurred in World War Two when she was tortured by a madman in order to find the sacred


artifact known as Veronica’s Veil. It is the best instalment in the entire series, and I really wish it wouldn’t end. And I had a list of things I wanted to be included, but sadly most them never came true. All well.

Delirium, by Lauren Oliver

Lena looks forward to receiving the cure that prevents the delirium of love, which leads to a safe, predictable and happy life, but ninety-five days before her eighteenth birthday and her treatment, she does the unthinkable: she falls in love. Another story with a powerful message by Lauren Oliver, which is you can’t control who you love.

Evermore, by Alyson Noël

After the car accident that stole the lives of her family, Ever found that she could see auras, as well as the thoughts of other, and she goes out of her way to hid from other people until she meets Damen, another psychic who is hiding even more mysteries. Every time I’d read one chapter, I would find myself reading another and another. It really was a gripping novel.

Wicked, by Sara Shepard

Aria is getting a little too close to her mother’s date. Emily can’t stop thinking about her new boyfriend. Spencer delves into her family’s secrets. And Hanna is forced to hang out with her sister-in-law-to-be. After I watched an episode of Pretty Little Liars, I really wanted to continue on the book series on which the show is based on. As soon as I picked up Wicked, the fifth book in the series, I didn’t want to stop reading.

The Hunt, by Andrew Fukuda

The Hunt

Gene is selected to be one of the combatants in the government-sponsored hunt, and while trying to avoid his fellow competitors whose suspicious about his true nature grow, he must learn how to hunt. I had to get this out from the library twice because I didn’t get to finish it the first time. What drew me into reading it was that it was dystopia (I love them) and because it was a recommended read for those who loved The Hunger Games (which I did). It was awesome, and I can’t wait to read the sequel, The Prey.

Yellowfang’s Secret, by Erin Hunter

It depicts the life of Yellowfang from when she was a kit to when she was exiled from ShadowClan. Yellowfang is the first book of the entire Warriors series, Into the Wild, introduced to her when Firepaw (protagonist of the first Warriors arc) runs into her when she is in ThunderClan territory. Later, she becomes ThunderClan’s medicine cat. I really love her because she is strong-willed, funny, sarcastic, protective, and smart. And Yellowfang’s Secret tells her story before she was introduced in the first book.

Crookedstar's Promise

Crookedstar’s Promise, by Erin Hunter
It depicts the life of Crookedstar, from when he was born in a storm to when he had an accident that broke his jaw, to when he became leader of RiverClan. I didn’t see much of Crookedstar in the main series. And it happened to be this special Warriors novel I chose to read, and I loved it. I love Crookedstar, I got emotional during after his accident, when he saw that his jaw was crooked, when his mother turns her back on him because he wasn’t her handsome tom anymore, and so much more. Despite all this, he managed to get passed it all and earned his spot as clan leader. I know that when he goes to StarClan, his mother is going to make it up to him for turning her back on him


Melissa’s Reading Round-Up April 2013

the storyteller

With so many excellent new release books to read, I was reading in a rush this month! I also increased my non-fiction quota significantly with a mix of books about simplicity and business books. Below are my April reads:

The Storyteller, by Jodi Picoult

We follow the journey of Sage, a baker with a paralyzing scar and haunted by her past. A new friend gatecrashes her perfectly protected world and asks her for a favour of epic proportions, and the story begins. With interconnecting strands, Picoult weaves Sage’s grandmother’s story (a Jewish survivor), a 95-year-old ex-Nazi’s story and a fictional story written by the Storyteller. See my full review here.

The Chaperone, by Laura Moriarty

A beautifully written story about the liberation of a 1920s small town housewife. The focus is the summer that Cora (the housewife) spent chaperoning a young ingénue (based on the life of silent film star Louise Brooks) and the undoing of inherited prejudices. The last part chronicles the rest of Cora’s life, living out her new ideals in the confines of her society. Usually I find academics (Moriarty is a lecturer in creative writing) to be pretentious, but her writing is delightfully accessible and full of warmth. See my full review here.

Simpler Living, Compassionate Life: A Christian Perspective, by  Ed. Michael Schut

the girl's guide

This book is an exploration of simplicity of time, money, consumption, economics, food, theology and community. As an aspiring minimalist, interested in simplicity and creating my own “good life” it was a good anthology of writing in this area from the 1980s and 1990s. It has (of course) generated a reading list for further reading. See my mini-review of book about simplicity here.

The Good Life: Your Guide to a Greener and More Fulfilling Life, by Francesca Price

A great, visually packed guide of living the good life in New Zealand. Journalist, Price, outlines the research supporting the organic lifestyle—and it is considerable. She also provides recommendations for what to purchase and where, being wary of price.

The Girl’s Guide to Starting Your Own Business, by Caitlin Friedman & Kimberley Yorio

A funky, concise guide to becoming a female entrepreneur. Some of the advice is specific to America and some of it I don’t agree with, but there are some great tips and interviews with female entrepreneurs. The advice around business planning and marketing was particularly useful as these women run their own PR firm. While I would happily do business in pink heels, a pink dress and a pink car, I don’t believe there are different rules for women and men.

the indigo spell

Enough: Finding More by Living with Less, by Will Davis Jr.

While this book didn’t teach me so much about living with less, it did present a strong argument about the benefits of giving away more—a very Pentecostal Christian view of simplicity. I did learn a lot and it was full of references from the bible, which backs up his points perfectly.

The Indigo Spell, by Richelle Mead

This is the third book in the Bloodlines series and focuses on Sydney’s dawning understanding that her controlling Alchemist religion/employing organisation and her developing and asserting her independence. This is a highly readable, well-written book with an exceptional protagonist, a lovable (and gorgeous) hero, and an extremely addictive plot. Unfortunately, I have to wait until November for the next installment. See my full review here.

The Secret Circle: The Temptation, created by L.J. Smith and written by Aubrey Clark

This is the final book in The Secret Circle series. It opens up with Cassie trying to save her Circle from possession by her ancestors. The only friend, Nick, who is able to fight this possession, due to his love for Cassie, is my favourite character of this book. His strength helps Cassie to save the group and this includes saving her boyfriend, Adam. This was really a great book to escape into, the plot is addictive, and although the writing is not as sophisticated as The Indigo Spell (above), it was a good read.

The Temptation

I’m currently working on more business books, a Jane Austen memoir, a Jane Austen dating manual, and Jessica Alba’s The Honest Life. Hmm, I need to find a fiction book to add to my pile! Happy reading!

Books, Fancy, Writing

Digital Sabbatical and Fun Links

The Host – Movie Tie-in

After a few challenging weeks, it seemed like a good time to declare a time out. So…I am going to refuel my dwindling energy tank and ignore the internet for the weekend. Before I sign off, turn the connections off on the cell phone, and relax, I thought I would send a few fun links of articles I have come across this week:

We are finally going to see The Host, so this interview with the author might interest you.

This interview with Jodi Picoult is a good five-minute read.

What Being a Writer Taught Me—a post about the author-entrepreneur.

I am currently zooming through The Secret Circle: The Temptation, but not before finishing and reviewing The Indigo SpellThese are nice reprieves from the heavier non-fiction books I’m reading at the moment.

Ten Books…All About Writers on

Whatever you have to do this weekend, try to schedule some fun activities that refuel your tank, and then Monday will be exciting rather than dreaded.

Melissa’s The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead review

the indigo spellSydney is the perfect protagonist to read in the first person. She is intelligent, scientific, analytical, independent, strong, and some social interactions perplex her. Her exploration of deeply indoctrinated prejudices made it easy for me to go on the journey with her. I may be reading too much into it, but I really enjoy seeing people overcome imaginary barriers of different cultures—or species, in this case—interacting.

The Indigo Spell is the third book in the Bloodlines series and focuses on Sydney’s dawning understanding that her controlling Alchemist religion/employing organisation, and her developing and asserting her independence. With the same cast characters from the two previous books and the introduction to the enigmatic Marcus Finch, the leader of a rogue ex-Alchemist group, we continue the task of keeping Jill (half-sister of Moroi Queen Vasilisa Dragomir) safe.

This book is more centred around Sydney (a human), her blossoming relationship with Adrian (a Moroi—a mortal vampire), her acceptance of and learning how to use magic, and her two additional missions. Her Alchemist world-view is turned on its head and she comes to accept that she loves Adrian, no matter who or what he is, and that the world is not so black and white as the Alchemists would have her believe. Her mental wrestling to come to terms with these changes fascinated me, as I think in much the same way as she does, but purposely push against culturally inbuilt responses.

Richelle Mead was featured in my Ten Favourite Authors list with the award of “most addictive plot,” and this award is still well deserved. I devoured this book in three days. The only problem with first person is that I can’t get the characters out of my head now!

This is a highly readable, well-written book with an exceptional protagonist, a lovable (and gorgeous) hero, and an extremely addictive plot. Unfortunately, I have to wait until November for the next installment.

If you’re new to this series, try out the Vampire Academy books first as they are the preceding series to Bloodlines.