Happy Halloween!

Double, double toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble.
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg, and owlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
Some of my favourite Halloween Books and Authors:
- Boo! by Robert Munsch
- Dem Bones by Bob Barner
- Macbeth by William Shakespeare

- Stephen King
- Anne Rice
I am a HUGE fan of Halloween! It is definitely one of my very favourite holidays! The whole idea of getting to dress up and be whomever or whatever you want to be for the day is amazingly fun, especially when you get free candy too! I love being able to let my inner child out (even more than I usually do), even if its just for one day. I have to say though that I was disappointed in Halloween this year... it seems like less kids are getting dressed-up and going Trick or Treating. I remember when I was younger ... I use to fill up an entire pillowcase, bring it home and grab another pillow case and go around some more while my Mom sorted the candy from the first trip. People use to go all out with their decorations, and now even that doesn't seem to happen as much. I love Halloween and seeing all the kids in their costumes, hopefully Trick-or-Treating will pick up again and there will me more kids out next year, until then, more left over Halloween candy for me! 


Snow Flower and the Secret Fan ~ Lisa See

Yet another amazing novel from Lisa See! Snow Flower and the Secret Fan tells an inspirational and heart warming story of the true bonds of friendship and family. Set in 19th century rural China, two young girls will embark on a life long journey, all of which begins with a few words on a fan. One of these young girls, Lily, comes from a humble farming family who does not expect great things from their second daughter until a matchmaker sees her feet. The matchmaker believes that after her foot binding is complete Lily will have perfect little golden lilies, which will lead to a prosperous marriage and honour for her family. Her laotong Snow Flower comes from a very different life; she is of a family of great wealth and status. The ‘old sames’ form an intimate and a lifelong contract declaring them as friends until death. The girls then go through all of life milestones together, from the painful foot binding years beginning at age 7; through the hair pinning days where they would create their dowries for their upcoming marriages; into the rice and salt days of marriage and childbirth and finally into the sitting quietly years, at least for one of them. Throughout their lives as laotong the girls send a fan between them on which they write messages in nu shu, the secret language of women and tell each other their dreams, their hopes, their accomplishments as well as their sorrows and troubles. The two girls find solace in their friendship, developing a special bond until one day; a misunderstanding threatens to destroy a lifetime of love and their laotong relationship forever.


I absolutely adored this novel by Lisa See! The story was beautifully written, both the narrative as well as the poetry that the girls exchange on their fan and in their letters. 

“Two birds in flight – hearts beating as one.
The sun shines upon their wings, drenching them in healing warmth.
The earth spreads below them, all theirs” (p. 112)

The prose creates vivid images in the readers mind and I could almost picture these two young women sitting in their women’s chambers writing to each other wanting nothing more than to be with their laotong, sharing their lives with each other. I think that See did not only write a beautiful story, but that she wrote stunning poetry as well. The characters in this novel were amazingly lifelike and they elicited true, raw emotion throughout the book. I found it to be amazing how See researched this novel as she travelled to these small, rural villages where she spoke to women and families from this era about their lives. She spoke to women much like Lily and Snow Flower, women who had gone through the process of foot binding and who found their husband through a matchmaker. See was able to take these women’s stories and transform them into a wonderful piece of literary art.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Asian culture as this book is filled with information about the Chinese culture in the 19th century as well as to anyone who simply enjoys a fantastic read.


To Hold the Crown ~ Jean Plaidy

To Hold the Crown tells the story of Henry Tudor (King Henry VII) and his cataclysmal reign as England’s sovereign. Henry, descendent from the House of Lancaster, marries Princess Elizabeth of York (daughter of King Edward IV), therefore uniting the two houses and ending the War of the Roses. Henry rules wisely and justly in an attempt to strengthen England, both financially and politically, following years of civil war. His reign is not without great trials; Henry must deal with the mysterious disappearance of the Princes in the Tower (the younger brothers of his wife Elizabeth), the Yorkists who are displeased with the upstart Tudor King as well as the pretenders to the throne and those whose claim to the throne is greater than his own. On top of his political problems, Henry is concerned with getting as many heirs as possible- only 3 of his 7 children survive into adulthood.


This was not one of my favourite Jean Plaidy novels. I found this one to be somewhat difficult to read and to finish. The story dragged on in some parts and the constant changing of point of views was extremely annoying. This made the story disjointed and it interrupted the flow. Now, I am not totally against telling the story from different points of view, but it must be done in such a way that it does not take away from the story or have the reader wondering who is talking now and when did it change – something that I found myself doing quite a bit while reading this novel. I also found that there was not much of an actual plot, but that it was more so a chronicle of the life of Henry VII. The way that the story was written was more so a biography of Henry VII and not a historical fiction novel as there was no romance, no real drama and not a lot of fiction – it seems as if there was a ton of history to be crammed into a 500 page novel and there wasn’t any room left over for the fiction part. I would have liked there to have been more of a romance story between Elizabeth and Henry, instead it seems like Elizabeth was just used as a breeding machine and that they solely tolerated each other, as long as Elizabeth did what Henry wanted. Finally, there was a lot of repetition in this book which was exasperating, I felt like I was reading the same thing over and over again.

Definitely not one of my favourite Jean Plaidy novels and I have to say that I was rather looking forward to reading this one and I was greatly disappointed.