The Best Book of the Year?

When we asked the Regency Reflections authors what the best book of the year was, we got several interpretations:

* What is the best book you’ve read thus far in 2014?

* What was the best book of 2013?

* What is your most anticipated book of 2014? 

Any way you interpret it, it’s an intriguing question. Our answers are below but we’d love to hear from you in the comments. What do you think is the best book of the year?

Ruth Axtell – In fiction I’ve been very impressed with A Cast of Stones, Book 1 in the new Staff and the Sword Christian fantasy trilogy by debut author Patrick W. Carr

Naomi Rawlings – A Bride for Keeps by Melissa Jagears

th_holy_bibleLaurie Alice Eakes – Right now, the only amazing book I’ve read so far and will be reading through this year is the Bible. It’s been a few years since I’ve read through it in a disciplined plan, and am amazed all over again at how amazing is the word of God. Holding fiction reading opinions in reserve as of yet.

Kristi Ann Hunter – Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay. Such a fun read and a great look at the difference between books as a passion and books as an obsession. If you love the classic Austen and Bronte books, you’ll enjoy all the references in Dear Mr. Knightley. I’m pretty sure this is her first book, so I’m very excited to see what else she does.

BookCornersKristy Cambron – I am in the middle of Sarah Ladd’s new release — The Headmistress of Rosemere. As with her debut, fans of Austen will love book two in the Whispers on the Moors series. I’m planning on getting little sleep until I make it to the back cover! 🙂

Susan Karsten – Ah, what fun! To think over all the wonderful books I read last year and pick the most amazing. I am going to pick a CBA* book, To Die For, A Novel of Anne Boleyn by Sandra Byrd, as the most amazing Christian historical fiction book of 2013. Honorable mention goes to an excellent laugh-out-loud ABA* book, Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple.

Your turn! Head down to the comments and tell us your favorite book of 2013 or thus far in 2014 or even the book you can’t wait for that’s coming out sometime this year.

*Note: CBA stands for Christian Booksellers Association and ABA is for the American Booksellers Association. In writing circles ABA is sometimes referred to as “general market.”

 

Our Favorite Regency Figures

In our poll a few weeks ago, several of you indicated you’d like to see more profiles of historic Regency figures. That got us talking about various people we could feature. So this month we asked our authors who they thought was one of the most intriguing figures from the Regency era.

Lord byron
Lord Byron. Photo: wikimedia commons

Ruth Axtell

Lord Byron, for me, I think.

Susan Karsten

Neither of my most-intriguing Regency figures is very “cool” noble-character-wise, but I am interested in Hariette Wilson and Beau Brummel. Though I suppose she, with her loose morals and fly-in-the-face of society’s mores attitude, and he, with his obsession with surface and image, would be considered cool in the world of today. I intend to do a blog post on Wilson in a few days — so watch for it.

(We’ve mentioned Beau Brummel on this blog before. Check out Mary Moore’s post about Brummel and his influence on society.)

Jane Austen
Jane Austen

Kristy Cambron

I love Jane Austen – she will always be in my heart as my first introduction to British wit and brooding heroes. : )

Vanessa Riley

That would be Jane Austen.  Her wit and turn of phrase still haunts my dreams, but in a good way.

(Do you love Jane Austen? Keep an eye on this blog! August is Austen month here at Regency Reflections and we’ll be celebrating Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice.)

Laurie Alice Eakes

Mrs. Radcliffe. I want to meet one of the hottest selling authors of the Regency. (Mysteries of Udolpho)

Lady Jersey
Sarah Villiers, Countess of Jersey

Kristi Ann Hunter

I’m going to go with Lady Jersey and the others of her ilk. The whole idea of the Queen Bee fascinates me. I love looking at them and trying to figure out what about them made them the one who got to dictate what was right and proper to everyone else. While we have the rankings to make some sense of certain women’s rise to social power, there are certainly other factors to consider.

 

What about you? Who do you find fascinating from the Regency Era? Anyone in particular you’d like to see us do a post on?

When Did You Fall In Love With Reading?

Most authors have a love affair with reading. The written word, compelling story, and fictional characters are the constant companions that light the fire to create our own stories and characters on paper.

So this month we asked our authors when they knew they loved reading. Was it a particular book? A series? A person?

BookStack

Susan Karsten

I have loved reading since early childhood. One of the strengths of my family of origin was reading. So I was blessed in that way. One of main family activities was trips to the library where we’d all go our separate way. The James J. Hill Library in St. Paul, MN has a splendid children’s room – lots of marble, built-in puppet theatre. Visit it if you’re ever in that city. I can picture myself in one corner with small Beatrix Potter books at age 6 or so.

Naomi Rawlings

I’ve loved reading since I was a kid, but I did go through a spell when I stopped reading for fun. I was an English Education major in college, which gave me a lot of literary fiction to read and didn’t leave time for any fun reading. After college, I never really picked the reading habit from my younger years back up until I visited my grandma one summer. She had a Lori Wick novel sitting on her table. I picked it up, started reading, and was immediately sucked in. It was a giant Aha! moment for me. I suddenly remember how much I loved reading romance novels and other fun books. And I’ve been thoroughly addicted to romance novels ever since!

BookCornersLaurie Alice Eakes

I knew I loved reading as soon as I realized that those stories I  loved was the act of reading.

Kristy Cambron

Classic literature is a funny thing. I find that either you love it, or it’s an assigned chore in high school. And unfortunately, I’d always viewed it as the latter. But something clicked when I entered college and began doing research for Art History. I remember sitting on the edge of my armchair at home, trying to fit in any extra moments in the day to read just one more line of ‘Jane Eyre’. An as they say, I was gone… hook, line, and sinker. It’s not just the classics now – I always have a book in my hands. (Right now I am reading ‘The Heiress of Winterwood’, by Sarah E. Ladd.)

Kristi Ann Hunter

I don’t remember the name of the book but I remember that it was about a Native American boy and the cover was blue with a picture of the boy riding a galloping horse with a spear in his hand. What I remember about this book is that it was the first “real” book I checked out from my elementary school library. It had chapters and no pictures in it. When I finished it in less than a week and took it back, I realized I loved reading. From there I remember moving to the Boxcar Children series and the rest, as they say, is history.

What about you?

Are you a reader? When did you realize that you loved books?

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The Clothing I Couldn’t Do Without…

Ah, spring. Even if snow still blankets your sidewalks, it’s hard to deny that spring with it’s brightly colored fabrics and fun bonnets is right around the corner.

We asked our Regency Reflections authors what item in their closet was their absolute favorite go-to item.

Naomi Rawlings

A ridiculously old sweatshirt that I’ve had since high school. Whenever I’m wearing it while my mom visits, she shakes her head at me and tells me I need to get rid of it.

Ruth Axtell

My most comfortable, best-fitting pair of jeans.

laurie and nick and waterLaurie Alice Eakes

My hats. I love hats – straw, organza, felt; pert bows and flirty streamers; swooping feathers of stiff flowers, hats please me to look at or wear.

Kristi Ann Hunter

My first thought was to say my jeans, but while they are a staple for me there isn’t a particular pair that is just my favorite. I have a pair of shoes, though, that I love. They are enormous, chunky platform type shoes. Something about them makes me feel like I can take on the world when I’m wearing them.

Kristy in her wedding dressKristy Cambron

Every girl has favorites in her closet, from her shoe collection to that favorite handbag. Being in a house full of all boys, I need a place to keep my girly fashion goodies stashed away and my own closet is it! But the shoes and bags are not the top items for me. Instead, the one thing that I will never, ever part with, is my wedding dress. It may not be in fashion after twelve years down the road, but it will always be there, hanging proudly in the back of everything else, keeping my closet warm with fine memories of years gone by. It makes me smile just by being there. I will never part with it.

What about you? What is your favorite item in your closet?

[poll id=”3″]

Ostrich, Eels, Bone Marrow, and Heart – What’s the worst thing you’ve ever eaten?

Food during the Regency period was very different from what a lot of us eat today. If anyone read Ruth’s post on Monday and said, “I totally know how to jugg a pigeon” then they should contact us immediately. There are several Regency authors who would like to talk to you.

In the meantime, we asked our illustrious blog authors to share their worst food memories. We asked them,  “What was the worst thing you ever had to eat?”

Naomi Rawlings
Ostrich. I was traveling in South America at the time. 🙂

Kristy and her pretty plate of Eel
Kristy and her pretty plate of eel

Kristy Cambron
The worst thing I’ve ever had the displeasure of eating? Without question it would have to be eel. My husband and I honeymooned in Cancun, Mexico. I still remember the fabulous food on that trip – except that is, for the “lovely” plate of seafood we received at a gourmet restaurant. (It was plated so beautifully that we actually took a picture of it!) Unfortunately, the majority of the plate included a gray, rubbery, and horrid tasting main course which turned out to be eel. You bet I skipped right to dessert just to drown out the memory of dinner!

Laurie Alice Eakes
Horse meat in Europe. I was a guest, so couldn’t turn it down.

Kristi Ann Hunter
Bone marrow. I was at a restaurant in Switzerland on the edge of Lake Geneva. The plate was gorgeous and the food really good, but on the top of the steak were these little disks in the sauce. I thought they might have been mushroom slices or pieces of water chestnut, so I ate one. I nearly gagged. On our way out I checked the menu and sure enough, there was bone marrow listed in the description.

Large Moose Wading in Lake
Big animal. Big heart. photo: WikiCommons

Jessica Snell
I don’t know about the worst food. Maybe a better question would be, “What’s the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten?” My answer is moose heart. And when it was raw, I was able to stick my entire hand in one of the ventricles – those things are huge!

 

Ruth Axtell
I like all foods so can’t think of anything off the top of my head that I really gagged at.

Susan Karsten
The strangest food I have eaten, and enjoyed, is squid. It is also known by the name calamari. You can get it fried, or served in tomato sauce. I have had both and it was good. I would eat it again in a heartbeat.

Have you ever eaten anything that curled your tastebuds and your toes? Chomped down on anything bizarre or strange? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below!