Thursday, February 11, 2016

Book Review- Messenger

916880For the Library reading challenge, Audiobook Challenge and Finishing the Series Challenge I read (listened) to Lois Lowry's Messenger.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Messenger is the masterful third novel in the Giver Quartet, which began with the dystopian bestseller The Giver. Matty has lived in Village and flourished under the guidance of Seer, a blind man known for his special sight. Village once welcomed newcomers, but something sinister has seeped into Village and the people have voted to close it to outsiders. Matty has been invaluable as a messenger. Now he must risk everything to make one last journey through the treacherous forest with his only weapon, a power he unexpectedly discovers within himself.
I loved Matt in Gathering Blue so I was excited to see him return in Messenger as the main character Matty, an older but still ever fun loving young man. Messenger picks up where Gathering Blue left off in the village that Kira's father resides and where Matty has joined him. It seems such an idyllic village but evil is creeping in the guise of Trade Mart. This book also sees the return of Jonas from The Giver, though now renamed simply "Leader". It was great to see him back and find out what happened to him after the events of The Giver. The story was well told and the mystery surrounding Trade Mart was perfect. When Matty died at the end I was so mad! I loved him! However it did work so I guess I can't complain too much.
Overall it was a beautiful addition to The Giver Quartet.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Book Review- Henry Tilney's Diary

Henry Tilney's Diary (Jane Austen Heroes, #6)For the Shelf Love Challenge and the Mount TBR Pile challenge I read Amanda Grange's novel Henry Tilney's Diary.
Synopsis from Goodreads: A charming retelling of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey--a tale of gothic misunderstandings through Henry Tilney's eyes... At the age of four and twenty, Henry is content with his life as a clergyman, leaving his older brother Frederick to inherit Northanger Abbey. But General Tilney is determined to increase the family's means by having all three of his children marry wealthy partners.During a trip to Bath, Henry meets the delightful Miss Catherine Morland and believes he may have found the woman he's been looking for, although she has no great fortune. When the General takes an unusual liking to Catherine and invites her to visit the Abbey, Henry is thrilled. But just as in the Gothic novels Henry loves, not everything is as it seems.
Henry Tilney is one of my very favorite Austen heroes. Right behind Mr. Knightley I think.... I go back and forth. I think I could most see myself a Henry Tilney though. He's fun, he's hilarious, he's got snark galore and did I mention hilarious? He also loves reading, loves his sister, is kind, discerning and willing to tell the hard truth.
Amanda Grange does a pretty good job of brining this delightful hero back. My main problem with it would be that I never felt like she quite captured Henry's "voice".  She did a pretty good job but not a great job as I felt she did with some of her other books. I did love how she brought out Henry and Eleanor's beautiful brother-sister friendship. The author took a slightly different approach with their brother Frederick which I'm still not sure if I liked or not. It also drew a little on Eleanor's romantic interest which wasn't all bad. I felt like the book wasn't as harsh with General Tilney as it should have been until the end... and then boy was it harsh! Ugh General Tilney! We do not like him.
Overall I did enjoy it. There were definitely some moments when I went awwww and grinned like an idiot. There was one quote about that Isabella Thorpe that I especially liked.
"Miss Thorpe's mouth praise Mr. Morland, but her eyes invite everyone else." 
Spot on!
Read or not? If you're a Northerner Abbey fan... Read!

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Monday, February 8, 2016

It's Monday! Reading and Dancing!



It was a good week overall. I floated to a different unit at work for the first time. I've been terrified of this for awhile but actually it went well. To be honest it was kind of slow so I ended up reading a good quarter of The Old Curiosity Shop during that night. On Saturday some of my siblings and I went Contra dancing, one of my favorite pastimes. It's so much fun plus a workout. :) Now as a reader and a dancer you might suppose I'm straight out of an Austen novel... well obviously! ;)
And one more thing before I get into my reading week but Ashley at A-Z is having a Laura Ingalls Blog Party this week so be sure to go check it out HERE

Currently Reading

New teacups set that were a hand me down
gift from a friend! :)
  • Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin- Still ploughing through this one. It's so good but so long! 
  •  Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss (re-read) (audiobook)- Finally re-reading this one. It wasn't my favorite when I first read it years ago so I'll see how I like it this time. 

Finished this Week

  • Henry Tilney's Diary by Amanda Grange- Another enjoyable entrant in this diary series. 
  • Son by Lois Lowry (audiobook)- I LOVED this book! I was so excited to finish it but the stupid audiobook was taking too long and I just wanted to know what was going to happen! I may or may not have shouted at the audiobook once or twice this past week... 
  • The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens- Probably my least favorite of Dickens' novels but still enjoyable. 

Coming Soon

  • Mr. Knightley's Diary by Amanda Grange- The last of the diary series. 
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr- I was waiting to finish The Old Curiosity Shop before I started this one as I didn't want to have two thick books going at the same time. Now that The Old Curiosity Shop is done I'll be starting this one soon. 

Reviews posted this week 

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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Laura Ingalls Blog Party 2016

Ashely at A-Z is hosting a Laura Ingalls Blog Party this week! Be sure to go check it out HERE. I love reading Ashley's blog so you really should just go check her blog out anyways because it's awesome! ;)
Here are some fun tag questions to go along with the party.

1. How did you discover Little House? I grew up reading the books.
2. Which Little House series have you read? Which are you favorite? (Laura, Martha, Rose, etc.) I've read all of them I think. At least all my library had. I've definitely read all of Laura's multiple times and then the others only once. My favorites are Laura.
3. Have you read any "extra" Little House books? (non "canon", cookbooks, song books, craft books, little kid books, etc.) I know I checked out a Little House cookbook as a kid from the library but I don't think anything else.
4. Have you read any biographies/autobiographies about Laura or any of the Little House girls? Not than I remember.
5. If you could be in any character's place, who would you choose and why? Laura's because then I'd get to marry Almanzo. ;)
6. What's your favorite Little House ship? (AKA couple) Laura and Almanzo! I also liked Caroline and Charles a lot though too but it's been a longer time since I've read those books.
7. What's your favorite Little House book? Cover? Favorite book These Happy Golden Years. Cover..... I think the one for Little House in the Book Woods and also the one for These Happy Golden Years.
8. If you could invite any secondary character from any of the Little House books over for dinner, who would you choose and why? Nellie Olson... because I think it would be interesting and it would probably humor me.
9. Have you watched the Little House TV show? If so, do you enjoy it? No not really. I've seen a few random episodes and they were okay.
10. If you could watch a YouTube miniseries on any Little House book or series, which would you choose and how would the basic plot go? Never though about that before. I don't know.

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Saturday, February 6, 2016

Book Review- What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality

What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality?For the non-fiction reading challenge and the mount TBR reading challenge I read Kevin DeJong's book What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality.
Synopsis from Goodreads: In this timely book, award-winning author Kevin DeYoung challenges each of us--the skeptic and the seeker, the certain and the confused--to take a humble look at God's Word regarding the issue of homosexuality.After examining key biblical passages in both the Old and New Testaments and the Bible's overarching teaching regarding sexuality, DeYoung responds to popular objections raised by Christians and non-Christians alike, making this an indispensable resource for thinking through one of the most pressing issues of our day.
I absolutely loved this book. Kevin DeYoung does an incredible job laying the information out in a clear and concise manner. This is a Christian book and it addresses the issue of homosexuality from a biblical viewpoint but as the author himself points out it is applicable to read for anyone who wants to learn more about this issue.
First it addresses all of the Bible verses having directly to do with homosexuality and the arguments that people will use to disagree with it and then he refutes those disagreements and points how those verses are still applicable and relevant. Next he discusses the most common arguments people use for homosexuality still being okay. These include arguments about God being a God of love, being on the wrong side of history and what about gluttony and divorce? These are all carefully looked into and discussed. I was very impressed at how thorough DeYoung was. It was obvious he had exhaustively researched the subject but then had meticulously combed through all the information and condensed it into this book. At the end of the book he has a list of other great books to go to if you want to learn more as well. One of the great things about this book is that while yes it is looking at homosexuality specifically it is also looking at Christianity overall.
I entirely enjoyed this book and no matter where you are with your view on homosexuality I highly recommend this book but I especially recommend it to Christians wanting to further understand this issue from a biblical viewpoint.
To close here are a few of my favorite quotes.

"Agree to disagree," sounds like a humble "meet you in the middle" compromise, but it is a subtle way of telling conservative Christians that homosexuality is not a make-or-break issue and we are wrong to make it so. No one would think of proposing a third way if the sin were racism or human trafficking. To countenance such a move would be a sign of moral bankruptcy. Faithfulness to the Word of God compel us to view sexual immorality with the same seriousness. Living an ungodly life is contrary to the sound teaching that defines the Christian. 

When we tolerate the doctrine which affirms homosexual behavior, we are tolerating a doctrine which leads people further from GOd. This is not he mission Jesus gave his disciples when he told them to teach the nations everything he commanded. The biblical teaching is consistent and unambiguous: homosexual activity is not God's will for his people. Silence in the face of such clarity is not prudence, and hesitation in light of such frequency is not patience. The Bible says more than enough about homosexual practice for us to say something too.

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Friday, February 5, 2016

Book Review- Matilda

MatildaFor the Shelf Love Challenge and the Mount TBR Pile Challenge I read Roald Dahl's novel Matilda.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Matilda is a little girl who is far too good to be true. At age five-and-a-half she's knocking off double-digit multiplication problems and blitz-reading Dickens. Even more remarkably, her classmates love her even though she's a super-nerd and the teacher's pet. But everything is not perfect in Matilda's world. For starters she has two of the most idiotic, self-centered parents who ever lived. Then there's the large, busty nightmare of a school principal, Mrs. ("The") Trunchbull, a former hammer-throwing champion who flings children at will and is approximately as sympathetic as a bulldozer. Fortunately for Matilda, she has the inner resources to deal with such annoyances: astonishing intelligence, saintly patience, and an innate predilection for revenge.She warms up with some practical jokes aimed at her hapless parents, but the true test comes when she rallies in defense of her teacher, the sweet Miss Honey, against the diabolical Trunchbull. 
I can't believe it took me so long to read this book! I'm not sure how I missed it as a kid as I read many of Roald Dahl's other novels. This, though, I think is his best. A book loving little girl who's reading all the great classics when she's four. Yes please! I love little Matilda and Miss Honey. They're so perfect. Matilda's parents I CAN'T STAND! Oh my goodness they were so aggravating! I can't exactly approve of Matilda's pranks against them but they were quite humorous. :)
The Truchbull was a perfect villain. Evil, diabolical... kind of like Harry Potter's Professor Umbridge. She knew no bounds. The story was fun and humorous but also contained some wisdom. A great children's book. I'm glad I discovered this one. :)

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Book Review- Edmund Bertram's Diary

Edmund Bertram's Diary (Jane Austen Heroes, #4)For the Shelf Love challenge and Mount TBR challenge I read Amanda Grange's novel Edmund Bertram's Diary.
Synopsis from Goodreads: The retelling of Jane Austen?s novel Mansfield Park from the point of view of Edmund Bertram. At ten years of age, Fanny Price came to live with Edmund Bertram and his family at Mansfield Park. Far from the brat Edmund expected, Fanny became his closest confidante and dearest friend. But when the fashionable Crawford siblings? Henry and Mary come to town, they captivate the Bertram family. Henry embarks on a scandalous flirtation with Edmund's sister, who is already betrothed to another, while Edmund is enchanted by Mary's beauty and wit. But when it appears that Mary is not all she seems to be, Edmund will turn to the one woman who has always been at his side to find the happiness he deserves Fanny.
Edmund Bertram always frustrated me as a hero but I always did like him. This book kind of helped solidify that liking. Sure I'm still frustrated he liked Mary but I will admit she is cleverly deceptive and quite charming. But you should still have seen through her Edmund! I guess though Lizzie didn't see through Wickham....
I digress though.
One of my favorite parts of this book was how it pointed out the repercussions of the play. At face value the play might not seem like such a bad thing... especially in the present day. However the book shows clearly how because of the plan the characters were all tempted into various sins. Sure you can't blame the play for it all but facilitated the sin. I'm actually surprised Edmund didn't write to his father.... that's what I would have done in that situation I think. But maybe that commentary belongs in a review of Mansfield Park. ;)
Overall I enjoyed it quite a bit. I was just glad when Edmund woke up and realized he loved Fanny...... like duh! ;)

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Book Review- Gathering Blue

Gathering BlueFor the Finishing the Series challenge, Library Challenge and the Audiobook challenge I read (listened to) Lois Lowry's novel Gathering Blue, which is the second book in the Giver quartet.
Goodreads Synopsis: Kira, an orphan with a twisted leg, lives in a world where the weak are cast aside. She fears for her future until she is spared by the all-powerful Council of Guardians. Kira is a gifted weaver and is given a task that no other community member can do. While her talent keeps her alive and brings certain privileges, Kira soon realizes she is surrounded by many mysteries and secrets. No one must know of her plans to uncover the truth about her world and see what places exist beyond.
I actually liked this better than The Giver. It's the truth.
The story really appealed to me and while I maybe opening up a can of worms here it really made think of abortion. The excuses that the townspeople made to have Kira executed were exactly like the excuses I've heard for abortion. It was really sad and disturbing.
I loved the character of Kira and the supporting cast... especially Matt... he' so sweet. :) There were many clever twists throughout the book. Most of them I saw right before the reveal.... so not too impressive on my part. ;) There's so much potential for more with this book and as with The Giver it left me wanting more. I'm excited to read the rest of the series!
Recommended! :)

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Life According to Literature

I saw this fun meme over at Edge of the Precipice and just had to steal it! The rule is to use books that you read in the last year but since it is the beginning of a year I'll be including books from last year and what I've read so far this year.

Describe yourself: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 

How do you feel today: Matilda by Roald Dahl 

Describe where you currently live:  Under the Greenwood Tree by Thomas Hardy- Not literally of course but I think it invokes the proper image. :) 

If you could go anywhere, you would go to:  Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery 

Your favorite form of transportation:  Horse of a Different Color by Ralph Moody- Because that's slightly confusing let me explain. In the books Ralph always is a horse guy but then he gets a car and takes up more than just horse work. They call the car a horse of a different color. 

Your best friend is:  Beloved by Toni Morrison- Not at all like the character of Beloved in the book but she is beloved. :) 

You and your friends are:  Betsy-Tacy and Tib by Maud Hart Lovelace 

What's the weather like:  All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Remarque- We're having great weather right now in Kansas. It was in the sixties the last couple days. Of course it's Kansas so this next week will probably be snow and rain. 

You fear:  The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner 

What's the best advice you have to give:  Carry on Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham  

Thought for the day:  Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell 

How you would like to die:  Peace Like a River by Leif Enger 

Your souls present condition:  Trusting God by Jerry Bridges 

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Monday, February 1, 2016

It's Monday! Gershwin!

My new hat... the perfect accessory
for a night listening to Gershwin.  
This past week was pretty crazy with work but then Friday evening I went out with a bunch of friends to an absolutely delightful Gershwin concert. We started out our evening at an ice cream place, because all good evenings begin with ice cream ;). Then was the concert! It was superb! Our local orchestra played the music and they brought in a Broadway female singer and a Broadway male singer and dancer. It was all superb but I was definitely in raptures over the dancing! It was such a fun evening.
Reading has been a little slower this week. I'm not finding The Old Curiosity Shop as engaging as other Dickens' novels have been for me so it's been slower going. I'm still working on catching up with reviews as well. Slowly but surely! :)

Currently Reading 

  • Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin
  • The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens
  • Henry Tilney's Diary by Amanda Grange
  • Son by Lois Lowry (audiobook)

Finished this Week

  • What does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality by Kevin DeJong- Excellent book and hopefully a full review coming soon. :)
  • Matilda by Roald Dahl
  • Messenger by Lois Lowry (audiobook) 

Coming Soon

  • Mr. Knightley's Diary
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr 

Reviews Posted this Week


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