One Lovely Blog Award!


Hello, blog family! Imagine my surprise when last night I woke up to an e-mail telling me that I’ve been nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award by the tremendous couple on Husband & HusbandI’m so pleased that you two find my blog entertaining and informative (particularly because I absolutely adore your blog) so I’m more than happy to have gotten this award! Thank you thank you thank you to Aaron and Jonathan for showing Books and Cleverness some love. I truly love writing this blog, and any recognition I can get from it is greatly appreciated, so thank you.

Now onto the rules. I’ve looked it up and the rules are pretty simple:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you for the award.
  2. Display the banner/sticker/logo on your blog.
  3. Share 7 facts or things about yourself.
  4. Nominate 5 bloggers that you admire and inform nominees by commenting on their blog.

Easy enough, right? So without further ado, here are 7 facts about me!

1. I don’t eat seafood. I’m not going to go into too much detail about it, because my reasons are totally weird and even my family, though they understand, still can’t fully comprehend it. Basically, I love sharks. I’ve always loved sharks, and since I was little I’ve refused to eat seafood because it takes food away from sharks. A part of it is also that I don’t like the taste or smell, and I can’t stand seeing the eyes on lobsters and crabs. But regardless, I eat no seafood. Who’da thunk?

2. I knit! I’m a certified knitting instructor and I work at the local Michael’s teaching beginner and advanced knitting. The best parts about it? A) No one I know will ever be cold. B) I never have to buy Christmas presents, I just knit them.

3. I could eat ice cream for every meal for the rest of my life. I love it that much.

4. The only country outside of the United States I have ever been to is Canada! O, CANADA! OUR HOME AND NATIVE LAND!

5. I drink a LOT of coffee. An ungodly amount of coffee. The people at Starbucks not only know me by name but know what I’m up to most days, ask how work is going, etc. When we moved into our new apartment, I went to Starbucks the day after and they said, “Oh hey Rachel, how was the move?” So yeah, I drink a lot of coffee.

6. My goal is to be a somewhat successful book writer. I say somewhat because I’m not a complete idiot, and I know that I won’t be J.K. Rowling level of successful. But if I could be like Jim Butcher or Amy Tan level of successful, I’d be happy. Honestly I’d be happy even if I just wrote one book but made enough money off of it to live. I’ve already written short stories, poems, parts of books, and more. If I put them all together I’d probably have a fairly complete book. But writing is my dream.

7. Last but not least: I love horrible movies. I could watch Ice Spiders every day and never get sick of it. I love disaster movies, Category 5 was amazing. If it’s a bad movie, I’ll see it. And I’ll probably love it.

So that’s some stuff about me. I hope I haven’t mentioned any of that in my blogs before! If I have, I’m sorry. I’m ashamed of myself. You can burn me at the stake now.

Now onto the more important part – selecting the nominees for the One Lovely Blog Award!

1. – this blog is so good! If you’re interested in an eclectic variety of books to read, go visit her and see what she recommends. You won’t regret it!

2. – Erika in Bookventureland is awesome. From bookshops to visit to authors she’d want to meet, you’ll find it all!

3. – this is a great blog for people who are curious about how publishing works, how advertising works, best ways to calm down and realize that publishing isn’t going to happen in a day. Everything I’ve learned from this blog I’ll be taking with me when I try to publish my own books. So visit them!

4. – yes yes yes yes. Mztressofallevil is my go-to Disney blog. She has some of the most exciting Disney posts I’ve read, and it makes me happy every single time. Most recently she discussed the Disney Parks, which was extremely helpful with planning my Disney trip!

5. – Post-it Notes From My Idiot Boss is HILARIOUS. If I’m feeling down, I go straight to their website. I absolutely love it! Example: “How often do we get the quarterly reports?”

So there you have it, folks. Thank you again, Husband&Husband for this award, I’m super stoked about it. And good luck to all of the bloggers I’ve mentioned!!

Until next time,


Stories About Orphans: The Orphan’s Hand-mill

Greetings blog family! I’m sorry it’s been so long since my last post, the past couple weeks have been very hectic. But enough about me, let’s talk about my parents.

My parents just got back from a two week cruise around Europe. They went to Copenhagen, St. Petersberg, Estonia, and a bunch of other places. When they got back they told me they had presents for me (yay presents!), but I was not expecting what they brought home. Their presents to me were 5 different books from all over Europe all about fairy tales. They got me a complete collection of Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales completely in Danish, a collection of Pushkin stories, a book of Estonian folktales, and then two tiny Estonian folktales. So that’s what we’re going to talk about – the small ones.

The first thing I should mention is that these Estonian folktales are not written by the same person. There are three authors and four tales. The first collection of stories I read is called Stories About Orphans, and the first tale that I read in that book is called The Orphan’s Hand-millwritten by Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald.

The Orphan’s Hand-mill is a story about a girl whose parents are deceased. She gets taken in by a farmer and his wife. The wife was cruel to her, and to the other orphans they “adopted” since they only took them in for help around the fields and house. Now that’s how you raise children. Child labor – there’s nothing better.

Anyway, the young girl has no friends except for a little dog named Krants, and she spends her days grinding grains in a hand-mill to make flour. The farmer’s wife makes her grind grains all day long even when her hands start to bleed, and has learned that if she stops her chores to rest at all, the woman will attack her with a cudgel. In other words, the farmer’s wife is pretty much like a second mom to this girl — very loving and welcoming.

Well, one day she’s working at the hand-mill (starving to death because the farmer’s wife decided not to feed the orphans) when a famous sage, disguised as a beggar so no one would notice him, gave the young orphan a piece of bread from his bag, and asked the girl about her troubles. She told him about her life and the beggar said that he had a solution. He gave the girl a scarf to wear around her head when she sleeps and tells her to say “Sweet dreams, carry me to where I can find a hand-mill which grinds by itself, so that I, a feeble child, need not turn it.”

In her dreams she descends into a hell-like place, but finds the hand-mill that the beggar promised, noting only that she must not open the chest that holds the hand-mill, she must only put the grains in the top and take them out from the bottom. Easy peasy. For years she goes about her milling with no issues, and finally the farmer’s wife decides to see what’s been going on. It seems too easy for this girl to produce such great flour but feel little exhaustion. So she sends the orphan to church one morning, and goes snooping about her sleeping quarters. It’s there that the woman finds a large chest, unsure of what it is, she opens the chest and a huge burst of fire pops out of the mill, killing the farmer’s wife.

When the orphan came home, she heard of what happened to the woman, but when she went to see the chest, it had disappeared back to hellish world it came from. The orphan remained a servant there, but a few years later she was a grown woman and the farmer widower was looking for a wife. They married and retired. The end.

And here’s the point in the story that I said, “what the fuck did I just read?” First of all, that was depressing. Second, not that I’m complaining, but why did no one care that the farmer’s wife had died? They all just went about their business. Granted, she wasn’t a nice person. But you’d think that the people there would at least care about what happened, no? At the very least a part of their home is burned down from some weird thing that disappeared, and now they have extra things to do. You’d think there would be a little side note that said, “and then the orphan servants were pleased that she died, but were pissed that she died, for they had to double their chores for more than a fortnight!”

Lastly, why did the orphan marry the farmer? He obviously didn’t care that she was being beaten and starved to death by his wife for at least 10 years, and now that he’s a widower he gets to just point and choose an orphan he’d like to keep? Does that make sense to anyone? Because I’m baffled.

I will say this though: I’m actually really excited about that story. If for no other reason than apparently it’s a well known story in Estonia, and that makes me feel cultured, which I’m not any other time of the day. If I’m using a rating system to review it, though, on a scale from one to five (one being a crappy book, five being an awesome book) I’d put it at a two. It was nothing special, just weird.

So that’s the first of two Stories about Orphans – the second one we’ll be talking about is called The Keen-willed Orphan. You’ll be getting that review soon!

Until next time,



Shadow of Night – Brief and Possibly Last Review

Alright, alright, alright. So it’s officially been 2 and a half weeks of me reading book 2 in Deborah Harkness’ Shadow of Night. And I just can’t do it. I’ve mentioned before about how life is too short to read bad books. And I refuse to stand by and read a mediocre book simply because I’ve started it.

Here’s the thing: it’s not a bad book! It’s just not what I signed up for. You see in the first book I took the story at face-value. I thought it was wildly entertaining and it was the perfect book for me to read after reading the incredibly powerful, but completely devastating book The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

When I started the first novel I thought it was really hard to get into. But with our move to a new apartment and multiple jobs, I was completely devoid of any creativity and any sort of escape route into a different world – something I very much enjoy having in my life. Yay books! So reading A Discovery of Witches in short bursts only made me want to read more, to be in that world just a little longer. The main characters have about a thousand flaws and none of them are endearing, they’re just flaws. But I overlooked it and took the book for what it was: fun.

The ending of that book was perfect, and I’ll give Harkness her due on that one. She ended with an absolutely perfect cliffhanger! So of course I had to go and buy the book and start reading it immediately to find out what happens. Unfortunately, I’m 219 pages in to the book and it’s just so slooooow! I don’t want to give you the wrong impression – it’s not as if the writing is bad, or the story is bad, it’s just all so slow. The back of the book covers more excitement than the first 200 pages combined.

See I’m the kind of person that loves action packed books. Even if every page isn’t action packed, I still like the way that authors can make mundane things exciting. I just don’t feel like Harkness has done that in this case. She did more so in the first book. But so far this book has been predictable and more of a love story than the “spies and subterfuge” they promise on the back cover. Perhaps I’m just looking into this book a bit too much and should take it for what it is, too, but I’m not sure I can do it.

So, as a compromise for myself, I’m going to read more of the book tonight (and soon, before I fall asleep. Note: it’s only 9:38pm and I’m already exhausted after sitting on the couch watching Boardwalk Empire for five hours. Such a hard life) and if I fall asleep tonight thinking that it’s still too slow, I’ll take a leave of absence from this book and maybe pick it up one day when I’m in need of a lighthearted story like before.

Until next time!