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Title: The Artisans
Publication date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Julie Reece
They say death can be beautiful. But after the death of her mother, seventeen-year-old Raven Weathersby gives up her dream of becoming a fashion designer, barely surviving life in the South Carolina lowlands.
To make ends meet, Raven works after school as a seamstress creating stunning works of fashion that often rival the great names of the day.
Instead of making things easier on the high school senior, her stepdad's drinking leads to a run in with the highly reclusive heir to the Maddox family fortune, Gideon Maddox.
But Raven's stepdad's drying out and in no condition to attend the meeting with Maddox. So Raven volunteers to take his place and offers to repay the debt in order to keep the only father she's ever known out of jail, or worse.
Gideon Maddox agrees, outlining an outrageous demand: Raven must live in his home for a year while she designs for Maddox Industries' clothing line, signing over her creative rights.
Her handsome young captor is arrogant and infuriating to the nth degree, and Raven can't imagine working for him, let alone sharing the same space for more than five minutes.
But nothing is ever as it seems. Is Gideon Maddox the monster the world believes him to be? And can he stand to let the young seamstress see him as he really is?
I’m so happy to be here today. Big thanks to Jess with A Book Addict’s Bookshelves for inviting me. : )
When asked to do a top ten list, an idea popped into my head. (thank goodness, because it sucks to do a guest post idea-less!) Anyway, I first thought about doing my top ten favorite books—impossible. Or maybe list my top ten favorite authors—also impossible. Finally, I thought about what I’d learned from ‘some’ of my favorite writers. Booyah, we have a winner!
Now, I’m not trying to compare myself to these writers, so let me just make that uber clear. Nor am I trying to say I’ve mastered any of the skills I’m fangirling over below. I just wanted to share what I’ve noticed, admired, and quite frankly am envious about in the books I’ve come to love.
I thought I’d share some of my observations with you …
Ten Books (complete with authors and quotes)
That Taught Me Something Cool About Writing
Jane Eyre: “Gentle reader, may you never feel what I then felt? May your eyes never shed such stormy, scalding, heart-wrung tears as poured from mine. May you never appeal to Heaven in prayers so hopeless and so agonized as in that hour left my lips; for never may you, like me, dread to be the instrument of evil to what you wholly love”
Charlotte Brontë taught me about romance between feisty heroines and alpha males. Rochester blusters and scowls with his charismatic, animal magnetism and Jane dishes it right back. I admire and root for these two fiery, passionate people to end up together the minute they meet, and I do it every time I reread.
To Kill a Mockingbird: “They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions,” said Atticus, “but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”
Harper Lee taught me about compassion. She shows us an underdog to root for—actually, several underdogs. And she uses her beautiful, heartbreaking story as the vehicle to highlight injustice. Yet, what I love most is she makes her point without preaching. She doesn’t shove anything down your throat, she simply tells her story and lets the reader decide how to feel. Good stuff.
The Lord of the Rings: “Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. I have not much hope that Gollum can be cured before he dies, but there is a chance of it. And he is bound up with the fate of the Ring. My heart tells me that he has some part to play yet, or good or Ill, before the end; and when that comes, the pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many - yours not least.”
J.R.R. Tolkien’s writing (in my opinion) shows how world building should be done. I love the way he describes different cultural intricacies from Hobbits to Orcs, Elves to Dwarves, and men to wizards. Every detail puts me smack dab in Middle Earth as though I were really there. He taught me about epic adventure. History, lore, maps, genealogy, topography, philosophy, history, songs, riddles, poetry … the man was thorough, and so stunningly brilliant!
Black Beauty: “Do you know why this world is as bad as it is?... It is because people think only about their own business, and won’t trouble themselves to stand up for the oppressed, nor bring the wrong-doers to light... My doctrine is this, that if we see cruelty or wrong that we have the power to stop, and do nothing, we make ourselves sharers in the guilt.”
Anna Sewell taught me about ‘the feels’ … kindness, dignity, and respect—for both men and animals. I don’t know if I’ve ever read a protagonist as sympathetic as Black Beauty, or if I’ve ever rooted for an MC so hard in my life! Sewell’s writing made empathize with Ginger’s bitterness, Beauty’s hardships … and isn’t getting your reader to identify with your characters what every writer wants? Methinks it is.
The Stand: “The place where you made your stand never mattered. Only that you were there ... and still on your feet.”
Stephen King taught me how to shudder. I don’t write horror, but I like books with creepy tension and enough mystery and urgency that I must keep turning pages to see how everything is going to work out. Is it getting colder in here? *shivers*
Watership Down: “Animals don't behave like men,” he said. “If they have to fight, they fight; and if they have to kill they kill. But they don't sit down and set their wits to work to devise ways of spoiling other creatures’ lives and hurting them. They have dignity and animality.”
Richard Adams taught me about war, and the brotherhood of men (or rabbits) that live and die following a leader, first out of respect and eventually deep love. I’ve read this book at least four times. Aside from the obvious theme of social injustice vs freedom, it’s a tale of ingenuity, strategy, incredible friendship, and loyalty against the wrongs of betrayal, cruelty and greed. So lovely.
Sense and Sensibility: “It is not what we think or feel that makes us who we are. It is what we do. Or fail to do ...”
Jane Austen is all about what I’ll call ‘smart’ love. I adore everything she wrote. She teaches us what wise, clever, funny heroines should look like. Austen just didn’t do ‘too-stupid-to live’ with her heroines. And as if that wasn’t enough, she created flawed, charismatic, honorable, to-die-for heroes worthy of those smart women. *dies* Amazing stuff.
David Copperfield: “Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.”
Charles Dickens taught me about description. In every book of his that I’ve ever read, I could see the places he describes in my mind—whether it be a filthy, freezing orphanage, a bustling city full of pickpockets and schemers, or a lush green meadow of rolling hills where I felt at peace. I see whatever he wants me to see, and though such long-winded prose is no longer popular, I happen to like it.
Wuthering Heights: “Be with me always - take any form - drive me mad! Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! It is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!”
Emily Brontë wears the tiara for teaching me about tragedy. And passion, and angst … Sigh. I remember the first time I read Wuthering Heights, my heartbeat zoomed eighty miles an hour. I love the story, even though every time I reread it, I want to smack both Catherine for her selfishness and Heathcliff for his stubborn pride. Lol.
Harry Potter Series: “It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it. Those who, like you, have leadership thrust upon them, and take up the mantle because they must, and find to their own surprise that they wear it well.”
J.K. Rowling taught me about sacrifice. Throughout this series, there is a constant theme of self-sacrifice, Lily for Harry, Snape for Lily, Sirius for Harry, Dumbledore for Hogwarts, Harry for everyone. The selfless acts never end against an evil that would destroy the ones they love. That attitude makes me love the characters, and invest in the story for the long haul.
There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends. John 15:13
I’d love to hear about some of your favorite writers/books and why you love them! Leave a comment and tell me what you’ve learned from the novels you can’t forget.
About the Author
Born in Ohio, I lived next to my grandfather’s horse farm until the fourth grade. Summers were about riding, fishing and make-believe, while winter brought sledding and ice-skating on frozen ponds. Most of life was magical, but not all.
I struggled with multiple learning disabilities, did not excel in school. I spent much of my time looking out windows and daydreaming. In the fourth grade (with the help of one very nice teacher) I fought dyslexia for my right to read, like a prince fights a dragon in order to free the princess locked in a tower, and I won.
Afterwards, I read like a fiend. I invented stories where I could be the princess… or a gifted heroine from another world who kicked bad guy butt to win the heart of a charismatic hero. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? Later, I moved to Florida where I continued to fantasize about superpowers and monsters, fabricating stories (my mother called it lying) and sharing them with my friends.
Then I thought I’d write one down…
Hooked, I’ve been writing ever since. I write historical, contemporary, urban fantasy, adventure, and young adult romances. I love strong heroines, sweeping tales of mystery and epic adventure… which must include a really hot guy. My writing is proof you can work hard to overcome any obstacle. Don’t give up. I say, if you write, write on!
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