Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Hans Christian Anderson Short Stories and Fairy Tales

For the days leading up to Christmas I did not want to start any complicated book that would need the devotion of a couple of weeks to read, I wanted something that would not matter if I abandoned half-way through after getting Christmas presents. Therefore, I decided to read the short stories of Hans Christain Andersen which I bought two copies of in Hay-On-Wye in 2010.

This is a lovely book of short fairy tales. The stories are often very sad (completely different to the versions that you may have heard of) yet romantic and beautifully written. Themes run through the stories, such as certain numbers, death and royalty. 
I bought my two editions of Andersen's fairy tales from the Town Of Books, Hay-On-Wye, they are second-hand, however, their wearing adds to the charm of them.
The first book contains all of Andersen's stories and has beautiful drawings by Mabel Lucie Atwell, however, their are only about five illustrations throughout the whole book.
The other edition does not have as many stories but have A4 colour and black and white illustrated pages and the first letter of each story is decorated.

My favourite stories are "The Steadfast Tin Soldier" and "The Little Mermaid" (which I cried at the first time I read). I adore the fact that the Little Mermaid is a completely different plot from the Disneyfied version about unknown love, sacrifice and death.

 I would really recommend getting some Hans Andersen's fairy tales, whether they are old or new as they are beautiful tales for people of any age. Please don't feel like you are being childish reading children's books, many of them are actually very sad and grown up.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

So here it is, 2012. We had a fantastic Christmas and as always I got lots of books and crafty presents that I can't wait to read and make!

 My first set of books was a collection of PG Wodehouse books (the author of the Jeeves books - later made into the Jeeves and Wooster series with Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry). These books are very witty and I have started reading one of them.

Another present was 12 Mary Stewart books, these romantic-thrillers are set and written in the 1950's with high speed writing and a gripping plot. I have read "Madam will you talk?" as soon as I got it and absolutely loved it. I also adore the illustrations of the heroines on the front cover which intrigue you to open the book.

I got two sewing books and I am part way through making the "Dresden Plate Flower Cushion" that is shown on the front cover of "Patch!" by Cath Kidston.
 I recieved two lovely cookery books crammed with breads, meals, desserts, biscuits, cakes. These two programmes are fantastic and if you can catch repeats of Home Cooking or Baking made Easy and The Great British Bake Off you can see why.
I also got Sisterhood of the Travelling pants series and Velvet by Mary Hooper for a bit of light reading.
I realised that I have never shown you my wall of books before full of old, classics and modern books as well as decorations a box of recipes and boxes crammed with fabric.

Lots of love

Saturday, 10 December 2011

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier

This book was written by one of my favourite authors, Daphne Du Maurier (to see my post about one of her most famous books, Rebecca, click here).

My Cousin Rachel is another gripping read, again, a suspenseful romance about confused love and desire.

Philip Ashley, orphaned at a young age, was raised by his older cousin, Ambrose. Ambrose shows no interest in marriage and expects Philip to be the heir of his grand house in Cornwall (the vast majority of Du Maurier's novels are based in Cornwall as she lived her whole life there and loved the place).

However, when Ambrose departs to Florence after being recommended to by his doctor he suddenly falls in love and marries, a beautiful Italian woman - who has links back to Cornwall.

After receiving suspicious letters from Ambrose telling Philip to come to Italy urgently Philip leaves England. On getting to Florence he discoverers that his cousin has suddenly died and his wife had left Florence.

Not too long later Ambrose's widow - Rachel - comes to Cornwall. Philip hates her and is determined to make her pay for killing his cousin yet Rachel stays longer with him than expected and Philip ends up falling in love with her.

So was Ambrose's death merely due to illness? Was Rachel involved in it? Will Philip ever discover the truth and get the woman that he loves?

This is an excellent book and I would highly recommend reading it, although it is a romance it does lure the reader into a world of lies, death and uncertainty. I give this book a definite 9 out of 10!

Monday, 5 September 2011

Books, Books and More Books

The other week was my birthday and unsurprisingly I asked for books for presents! 
In all I got over 20! Including a book about watercolours, two cookery books, a sewing book, eight novels.
And a whole collection of Sherlock Holmes books....
I can't wait to start reading, making, painting and cooking. Hopefully I will (for once) keep up to date about these fantastic books! Also have a look at my Crafts Blog to see what I'm up to over there!

Dottie xx

Monday, 8 August 2011

Kids Crafternoon

Normally these posts are about novels but today's post is going to be about two new crafting books;

I found out about these books from Domesticali's post about having two of her own projects in the papercraft book.

The books are aged for 7 - 12 year olds to do by themselves, but there are many projects that I am looking forward to getting started on. However, in the sewing book some of the projects are slightly more advanced.

Obviously, I particularly love the two owl projects from the papercraft books and have already made two of the owl cards that are shown on the front cover of the papercraft books.
(The one on the left and the middle one are mine and the one on the right is my mum's)

I am definitely going to make more owl cards as they are fun, a bit of a challenge and the result is great!

To see more of the crafts that I will make from these as well as other books visit my other website, Dottie Locket's Crafts.

The books are full of fun designs, but I feel that some of the projects in the sewing book are slightly difficult for the age range it is pitched out. Overall I would give these books an eight out of ten!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

So a bit of a different post from normal but my mum and I went to see the new Harry Potter film last night!

I have never been a huge fan of the films as they never seem to reach the outstanding quality of the books, as most of the time they are too dark and dingy for my liking. However, I think this final film was definitely worth the wait.

I can't believe that the Harry Potter series has ended. The Philosopher's Stone was published the year I was born and I feel like I have grown up with Harry, Hermoine and Ron.

I wouldn't go so far to say that the film was better than the book (as in my opinion that is not humanly possible) however, it did have a certain charm to it and I think that it has done an excellent job of wrapping up the series.

Watching the new film has inspired me to re-read the books for the billionth time so you are likely to see some Harry Potter book reviews sneaking in here.

So, thank you JK Rowling for creating these superb books! 

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Hi everyone, sorry I haven't blogged in months but I am bogged down with schoolwork, exams and GCSE preparation as well as other things! I am going to set myself the challenge of updating the blogs more often, sorry if it doesn't go to plan!

This post will be dedicated to the amazing book, Rebecca, which I have recently just read for the second time. It is described as a "suspenseful romance" and I can easily see why it is Daphne Du Maurier's bestseller.
Rebecca tells the story of the young, shy woman who marries Maxim de Winter, a man well above her station. The main character is always referred to as Mrs de Winter, we never find out her real name, and in my opinion I believe that this adds more suspense to the novel.

Maxim de Winter had already been married to charming, beautiful Rebecca who tragically died of drowning in a sailing accident a year before the book was set. The new Mrs de Winter moves to Manderly with her husband and throughout the novel she feels that Rebecca's shadow is always looming over her life. Mrs de Winter feels that Rebecca was perfect; the servants loved her, people adored her, Maxim de Winter still loved Rebecca not his new wife.

The main character feels in awe of Rebecca but was she all what everybody thought she was? Can the new Mrs de Winter find out the truth? And does Mrs Danvers (one of the servants) really hate the master's new wife and if she does why is that?

This is a tremendous book, it was the second time that I read it and I still loved it just as much as the first. It was a beautiful, suspenseful, almost evil novel, written in an amazing way. I would definitely recommend this to anyone above 12. I give it a ten out of ten!