Monday, August 12, 2019

Bout of Books Sign Up August 2019 Plus Announcement

So looking back apparently I haven't posted since January?!?! Oops! I have a few drafts in the works though that in my head I had posted.
Anyways there's another Bout of Books coming around starting up next Monday! Here's what Bout of Books is about if this is new to you.
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 19th and runs through Sunday, August 25th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, Twitter chats, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 26 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
I haven't participated in Bout of Books in probably over a year but I really need a kick in my butt to read more so I'm hoping this is it. I looked back today over what I had read so far this year on Goodreads and of the thirteen (absolutely pathetic number for me!) books I've reads of far this year almost half have been for my book club, almost another half was nonfiction (mostly parenting books) and then only two for fun books I picked out for myself! I am just sadly not making the time for so many of the fun reads on my list so I'd like to spend this Bout of Books enjoying some new fun books I've had on my TBR list for awhile.
Here are a few I'm looking at:

  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling 
  • Love and Friendship by Whit Stillman (based off of Jane Austen's Lady Susan obviously) 
  • Farewell to the East End by Jennifer Worth
  • At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon 
  • Daddy Long Legs by Jena Webster
  • The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton 
  • Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine 
  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio 
I also need to work on finishing up Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clark. I've really enjoyed it but I haven't picked it up in awhile. 

Obviously I won't get to all of these but I'd like to get to a couple of them. My little Hobbit thankfully still takes a good 2-3 hr nap in the afternoon which gives me some time to read though I normally fritter it away looking at my phone or watching Midsomer Murders. Sometimes napping. This pregnancy has been exhausting and I need the rest! 

I'm hoping to keep up a bit more with blogging... hoping. I do love it. I do keep up with y'all's blogs still! Sometimes when I can't get out to keep up with my real friends it's nice to keep up with my virtual friends. So see ya'll in the blogosphere. 

And yeah, you read that right, I'm pregnant! 😁


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Friday, January 4, 2019

Book Review- Kim

For the Classics Club I read Rudyard Kipling's novel Kim.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Kim is set in an imperialistic world; a world strikingly masculine, dominated by travel, trade and adventure, a world in which there is no question of the division between white and non-white.Two men - a boy who grows into early manhood and an old ascetic priest, the lama - are at the center of the novel. A quest faces them both. Born in India, Kim is nevertheless white, a sahib. While he wants to play the Great Game of Imperialism, he is also spiritually bound to the lama. His aim, as he moves chameleon-like through the two cultures, is to reconcile these opposing strands, while the lama searches for redemption from the Wheel of Life.
A celebration of their friendship in a beautiful but often hostile environment, 'Kim' captures the opulence of India's exotic landscape, overlaid by the uneasy presence of the British Raj.
I really didn't know much about this story before I started it so much so that I thought Kim was a girl. For everyone else out there who's like me, no, Kim is not a girl, he's a boy. Just thought we'd get that out of the way.
Starting out I listened to an audiobook of it which was interesting to have the different voices bringing the story to life. It was taking me a long time though and I ran out of renews from the library. Since I actually owned a copy I decided to just go ahead and read the rest from the book but since it had take me such a long time and I was so off and on in reading it I actually started over and read from the beginning. That actually helped me a little bit with understanding the story. Overall I found the story a little hard to follow. I don't know if that's partly because of the unorthodox way I went about reading it or how long it took me to finish it or maybe a combination of both. The characters were interesting and I really found Kim's story intriguing. However, overall I found the story not as exciting as I feel like it could have been. Again, maybe that has to do with how I read it. I just feel like it had everything going for it with an interesting plot line and characters but just didn't quite follow through with how it was carried out.
So with all of my rambling thoughts said, I did enjoy the book but didn't love it. Have you read Kim? What are your thoughts?

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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

2018 New Year's Tag

I've never done this tag before but I remember I planned to do it a couple years ago and I'm not sure why I didn't. Anyways this year it's happening! I found this tag at Classics and Craziness but I'm not sure where it originated from.

What did you do in 2018 that you’d never done before?

Gave birth!

Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make one this year?

I didn't really make any resolutions last year. I wanted to finish up my Classics Club challenge but that didn't happen so now I plan or this year.

Did anyone close to you give birth?

Well I did.... But besides that my sister-in-law did too and several friends.

Did anyone close to you die?

My great-uncle passed away.

What countries/states did you visit?

We went to Minnesota in May so that took us through Missouri and Iowa as well. We also had a family reunion in North Carolina which took us through Missouri (again), Illinois (for like five minutes) Kentucky and Tennessee.

What would you like to have in 2019 that you lacked in 2018?

More patience!

What date from 2018 will remain etched upon your memory?

Our little Hobbit's birthdate as well as the couple days leading up to it for sure.

Did you move anywhere?

Nope.

What was the best month?

Wow! Hmmm. I feel it's wrong to not say April... the month our little Hobbit was born but on the other hand that was a really hard month. I don't know if I could say that was my best. I love the whole Christmas season so I guess December.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Giving birth! For those of you who have multiple children I have an enormous amount of respect for you ladies! My experience did not turn me off from having more kids but it was definitely an endeavor. 

What was your biggest failure?

There's so many ways in which I feel like I've failed as a mother but I know so much of that is in my head and are silly expectations I have put on myself.

Did you suffer illness or injury?

At the very beginning of the year I got the flu and actually had to stay in the hospital overnight for it since I was pregnant and they wanted to keep me and the baby closely monitored.

What was the best thing you bought?

ALL THE BOOKS!!!

Whose behavior merited celebration?

Brian's! Honestly his behavior merits a best husband of the year award. I never could have made it through this journey of motherhood without him. He has all the patience I lack and is so sweet and caring.

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

My own. All the hormones after giving birth are not cool!

Where did most of your money go?

Baby stuff for sure! Thankfully so much of what we needed were gifts but still a lot of money went to stuff for our little Hobbit. Not that I regret any of it!

What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Our little Hobbit! She's such a blessing and I still get really, really, really exited about her! Besides her, though, Brian and I went to a Lindsay Sterling concert this past fall that was AMAZING!!!

What was the best concert you’ve been to this year?

I only went to the aforementioned Lindsay Sterling concert but that doesn't make any less the BEST!

What song/album will always remind you of 2018?

The soundtrack to Mama Mia! I love that soundtrack so much and love dancing around the house to it as I clean or bake. I'd never watched Mama Mia! before this year and I only watched it because I like the sound of the music from the trailer for Mama Mia Here we go Again. So I watched Mama Mia! meaning to watch the second when it came out but I never got around to it. The first is only meh anyways. I think whenever I hear that soundtrack in the future though it will make me back to 2018, babies, nursing and cookies.

Compared to this time last year, are you:

1. Happier or sadder? In so many ways happier but I still have my sad days. Definitely less rested.
2. Thinner or fatter? Thinner... though to be completely fair this time last year I was very pregnant.
3. Richer or poorer? Well my husband keeps track of our finances more than I do but probably poorer since I only work part time anymore.

What do you wish you’d done more of?

Relaxing. Reading

What do you wish you’d done less of?

Stressing out. Worrying.

What was your greatest musical discovery?

The aforementioned Mama Mia!!!!

How did you spend Christmas?

With family. Just how I like it. I had to work Christmas Eve but I was so thankful to have Christmas Day and surrounding days to spend with my wonderful family.

How are you spending New Year’s?

With my family as well.

Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?

Probably my cousin Anna. As kids we would talk on the phone for hours and we still do. Living several states away makes it a necessity.

What was the best book you read?

I'd Rather be Reading by Anne Bogel and The Gospel Comes with a Housekey by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield. 

What was the best movie you watched?

I'm having a hard time remembering what I've watched this year! Maybe Infinity War?

Did you fall in love in 2018?

Well besides Brian, who I fall more and more in love with every day....
Our little Hobbit of course! From that first moment I held her in my arms I was in love! She's a mischievous little child but I love her to bits!

What was your favorite TV show?

Oh that's hard! I have been watching a LOT of TV Shows while I nurse and for the most part have enjoyed them all. We are almost done with Frasier but it's got to be one of my favorite shows of the year for sure. I also watched Agents of Shield this year and LOVED it.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No.

What did you want and get?

A healthy baby!

What did you want and not get?

In my head I had a perfect plan for how breastfeeding would go and how it would be so easy and effortless but that wasn't at all how it was. It was a huge struggle and tear inducer at the beginning and it still occasionally has it's struggles now. I craved that perfect nursing relationship so badly and this year I've had to learn to let go of that ideal.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2018?

Comfortable! And no dresses cause breastfeeding.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 24 this past year and I spent it in the hospital for the aforementioned flu. Not really the birthday I had planned. Oh well. My family had a nice celebration for me the next week when I was feeling much better.

What kept you sane?

Brian and many wonderful friends.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Not having all of those struggles with breastfeeding at the beginning.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Hmmm. I'm sure there was somebody but I don't remember.

What political issue stirred you the most?

Abortion. Which is more of a moral than political issue. I've always been against abortion but actually being pregnant and giving birth has given me a whole new perspective on the issue and it is something that saddens me so much.

Who did you miss?

I always miss my family that lives far away like my cousin Anna and her family.

Who was the best new person you met?

I can't think of any best "new" person I met this year. My friend Anne, who I'd met a couple years ago, I developed a deeper friendship with that's been so uplifting.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2018.

To not stress out over everything... okay I haven't learned it yet... but I'm working on it!

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

I can't think of anything!

Five things I want to do in 2019:


  1. Finish my Classics Club challenge
  2. Get into a better routine with cleaning the house
  3. Become a better meal planner
  4. Clean out my house (I have a more specific list as regards this written down)
  5. Read! No specific number.... just read and enjoy it. 
I hope this gives you a little snapshot into my year. 2018 was not easy but I have grown so much in it and I know that God was working in me through it all. 


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Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2018 End of Year Reading Survey

I'm joining up again for the End of Year Survey hosted by The Perpetual Page Turner. You can join in too HERE.

2018 Reading Stats

Number Of Books You Read: 26 Books
Number of Re-Reads: 4 Books
Genre You Read The Most From: Classics

Best in Books

1. Best Book You Read In 2018?

  • Fiction: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer 
  • Non-Fiction: The Gospel Comes with a House Key by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield and I'd Rather be Reading by Anne Bogel, Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey, The Mortification of Sin by John Owen 
  • Re-Read- The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery 

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

The White Company by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I liked Doyle's other adventure novel The Lost World by The White Company just was not as engaging for me.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?

Escape by Carolyn Jessup. The book absolutely shocked me and I would highly recommend it to learn more about the FLDS cult. 

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. I got my book club to read it. It's still one of my favorite books and it was a blast to re-read it.

5. Best series you started in 2018? Best Sequel of 2018? Best Series Ender of 2018?

Best series I started was the Tarzan of the Apes series by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I don't know when I'll have time time but I would really like to finish the series.  
Best sequel (and only sequel) I read was Shadows of the Workhouse by Jennifer Worth. 
I didn't finish any series this year. 

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2018?

Henry James. I really enjoyed The Portrait of a Lady by him and I'm really looking forward to reading more of his books in the future.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

I read a few books I normally wouldn't this year actually. Probably most out of my comfort zone was Escape by Carolyn Jessop. I don't normally read memoirs and certainly not ones about the FLDS. Thankfully it was one of our choices for book club and I'm so glad I read it.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Hmmm... as mentioned above Escape really kept me turning the pages, mostly in shock. I read it a few days and probably would have finished it faster but it was the holidays so I was a little tied up. 

9. Book You Read In 2018 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Hmmm... there's nothing that would really stand out to me as one I would be most likely to re-read next year. Maybe I'd Rather Be Reading just cause it makes me happy.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2018?

I'd Rather be Reading. It just invokes the cozy, feel good reading feeling.


11. Most memorable character of 2018?

I wouldn't say I had any SUPER memorable characters this year but overall I think I would've to go with Sophy from the Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer I think. She's so wacky and fun!

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2018?

I'd Rather be Reading by Anne Bogel.  It's such a lovely comforting books and it just draws you in with it's beauty and simplicity.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2018?

The Gospel Comes with a Housekey by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield. It's definitely revolutionized my thoughts about hospitality and challenged me to become a more hospitable person even if it's in little ways.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2018 to finally read?

The Grand Sophy! Loved it!!! I've heard Georgette Heyer recommended before and I can't believe I only finally this year got around to reading one of her books!

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2018?

All of I'd Rather be Reading!!!! But here are a few of my favorite quotes from it. 
“A good book, when we return to it, will always have something new to say. It's not the same book, and we're not the same reader”
“We can’t know what a book will mean to us until we read it. And so we take a leap and choose.”

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2018?

Shortest: Mortification of Sin by John Owen
Longest: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

17. Book That Shocked You The Most

Escape by Carolyn Jessop for so many reasons but mainly the amount of abuse that goes on in the FLDS and still continues to go on. It's such a sad story!

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

Sophy and Charles from The Grand Sophy (opposites totally attract!) and Pierre and Natasha from War and Peace (I would have been so upset if they had not ended up together!).

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

I love Molly and Vivian's friendship in Orphan Train.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2018 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope. I've loved all of Trollope's books so far and this was no exception.

21. Best Book You Read In 2018 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram, Etc.:

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda. One of the girls from book club chose it to read since she'd enjoyed it and I actually really enjoyed it... though there were aspects of it (language etc.) that I didn't love.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2018?

I don't think there were any guys in the books I read this year that I was crushing on.

23. Best 2018 debut you read?

I didn't get to any 2018 debuts this year.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

I think Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  Maybe it's partly cause I listened to the audiobook but I really felt immersed in the jungle setting.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

The Grand Sophy! I smiled and laughed the whole way through. It was FUN! 

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2018?

I don't think I had any crying books this year that I can remember.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

I'd Rather be Reading for sure! I'd never even heard of it or it's author (now I love reading Anne Bogel's blog!) but I randomly got my hands on it and LOVED it!

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

I don't think there were any soul crushers this year.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2018?

Intensity by Dean Koontz. The title says it all. It's definitely unique among Koontz's books but I'm not sure I loved it.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Escape by Carolyn Jessop. I HATED so many of the characters in the story and the sad thing is those characters are real people and they were doing real evil. 

Your Blogging/Bookish Life

1. New favorite book blog/Bookstagram/Youtube channel you discovered in 2018?

Modern Mrs Darcy which is a blog by Anne Bogel who wrote the aforementioned I'd Rather be Reading.

2. Favorite post you wrote in 2018?

You, Me and a Cup of Tea for sure!

3. Favorite bookish related photo you took in 2018?

I love these photos of Brian reading to Abby. 


4. Best bookish event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, etc.)?

My church's women's group had a book exchange for a Christmas party! So much fun!!!!

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2018?

I don't know if there were any best "moments". I'm just glad I was able to keep up with both blogging and reading this year even with having a baby. I know I've not been terribly consistent but I've kept with it! 

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

Besides what I just mentioned, it was also challenging to admit that I couldn't finish up my Classics Club challenge this year. Next year! 

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

By views You, Me and a Cup of Tea. By comments I think Our Hobbit

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Let's Talk about The Paradise... I still want people's thoughts on this! 

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

I already mentioned Modern Mrs Darcy as far as blogs go. If you haven't gone and checked out Thrift Books yet as I've told you all to before then do it! As far as books stores when we were in Asheville this summer I had fun randomly finding two different bookstores while we were walking downtown!

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I think the only reading challenge I completed this year was the Back to the Classics challenge and I only completed the lowest level of it. But at least I did that! Last year I'm not sure I completed any!

Looking Ahead

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2018 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2019?

At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon. Sadly this is what I said last year for this category and I still didn't make it to it. 2019 is the year!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2019 (non-debut)?

I don't keep up enough with what new books are coming out unfortunately. 

3. 2019 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

I don't keep up enough with what new books are coming out unfortunately.

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2019?

I don't keep up enough with what new books are coming out unfortunately.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2019?

Finish my Classics Club challenge. I didn't get it finished this year like I'd planned to but want and hope to in 2019.

6. A 2019 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone (if applicable):

N/A

It's always fun to fill this survey out and look back on my reading year. Be sure to join in on the fun!

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Friday, December 28, 2018

Back to the Classics 2018 Wrap Up Post

I actually got the Back to the Classics challenge done this year! Last year I just missed it so I was excited to complete the challenge this year. I'm also really looking forward to completing it next year!   Be sure to check out the 2019 challenge over at Books and Chocolate HERE.
But back to 2018!
Here's what I was able to complete this year!
1. A 19th century classic - The Way we Live Now by Anthony Trollope
2. A 20th century classic - The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
3. A classic by a woman author- The Mill on the Floss by George Elliot
4. A classic in translation- War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
5. A classic with a color in the title- The White Company by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
6. A classic by an author that's new to you- The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
7. Re-read a favorite classic- Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling
I'm halfway through Kim which would have counted towards the one word title category but I ran out of time to complete it. Oh well! I did get seven books read in which counted towards one entry in the prize drawing.  It was a fun year of reading and I really enjoyed the books I did get read. War and Peace was obviously my biggest challenge and I actually really enjoyed it. Just So Stories was the easiest and shortest and it was nice to enjoy it again. Overall I loved all of the books I read and was pleasantly surprised by many of them.
I can't wait for a new year of experiencing the classics!
P.S. I can be contacted via my Goodreads account.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Let's Talk about The Paradise

I love period dramas. I grew up on them and I am excited to raise our little Hobbit on them. However, not all period dramas are created equal. Recently I finished watching the first season of the period drama show The Paradise (2012-2013). I enjoyed it for the most part but it really drove me crazy for much of it.
Here's the synopsis from PBS to give you an idea about the show if you haven't watched it.
Denise Lovett may look the part of a country bumpkin when she arrives penniless and in search of work at the doors of The Paradise, Britain’s glamorous first department store. But before long, intoxicated by the potential of the modern world, she will turn her ambitious and inspired eye to the store’s ladieswear department, meanwhile catching the eye of the shop’s dashing and reckless owner, John Moray, a grieving widower with a secret.
Spoilers following.
Historically the show is pretty cool. The contrast between the big fancy department store and the little individual shops that had been the normal for so long was fascinating. It was definitely an era of change. The protagonist, Denise, is enterprising and clever with a vision for the future, much like Moray, the owner of The Paradise, where she works. It's no wonder they are attracted to each other. Moray however has been paying court to Lady Katherine Glendenning, who is quite infatuated with him. Moray however, is unsure if he's ready for a commitment since the death of his wife.
So let me talk about the characters here. Moray annoyed me a lot of the show. I'll admit he's quite attractive and not to mention he's charismatic. It's no wonder everyone loves him. However, he CANNOT make up his mind about Katherine! He goes back and forth, which was really unfair to her and honestly to himself as well. This brings me to Katherine. I did not love her but what he put her through still was not fair. I feel like the show made her more and more unlikable so you could forgive Moray for leaving her at the altar. Sorry, that does not make it ok. They both put each other through a lot of crap and it was annoying. Now Denise definitely tried to stick to the higher ground through all of this but still failed, though not as epically as the other two.
In the end, when Moray runs away from his wedding into Denise arms and kisses her I was happy they ended up together but I felt like it was so bittersweet. Like yay you're together but at what cost? Same for you Katherine! You're plan is you get Moray even though you know he is not in love with you?! Really?! The whole love triangle just drove me crazy.
What drove me the most crazy is that I read the synopsis for the first episode of the second season and Moray and Denise are NOT together at the beginning of it! It makes me not want to watch it since this season ended on a good note. I'll just have to go through a whole other season of drama as they try to get together. This season was bad enough!
Past all of that though the story was fascinating and as I said above the whole world it focuses on is intriguing. The characters are fun and there's many little side plots going on that keep you watching. There were lots of great other characters I haven't even gotten around to mentioning! One of the more interesting charters I found was Katherine's father. If you're a fan of period dramas you'll also see many familiar faces such as David Bamber, (Pride and Prejudice 1995) Matthew McNulty (who plays the only level headed one in the show) (Lark Rise to Candleford), Sarah Lancashire (Lark Rise to Candleford), Ruby Bentall (Lark Rise to Candleford), Arthur Darvill (Little Dorrit, Dr. Who) and Olivia Hallinan (Lark Rise to Candleford). There's probably more familiar names I'm missing.
Interestingly enough the show is based off of a book by Emile Zola. I haven't been in love with what I've read of his books so far but I might be interested in this one.
If you've seen it what did you think? Is it worth it for me to watch the next season or should I leave well enough alone?

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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Book Review- The Lost World

For the Classics Club I read The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Synopsis from Goodreads: It's London, 1907. Journalist Edward Malone, rejected by the woman he loves because he is too prosaic, decides to go in search of adventure and fame to prove himself worthy of her. Soon after, he meets Professor George Challenger, a scientist who claims to have discovered a 'lost world' populated by pterodactyls and other prehistoric monsters.
Think Jules Verne or Jurassic Park (which actually has a sequel with this same name) and you've got the gist of The Lost World. Edward Malone takes off on an adventure to impress the love of his life after she rejects him and labels him too boring. With Professor Challenger, a man as full of himself as Doyle's other character Sherlock Holmes, he travels to South America and there discovers the 'lost world'. There are predatory natives, dinosaurs and other horrors and dangers awaiting them. The Lost World is a fun adventure story with plenty of action and surprise to keep you turning the pages. I liked all of the characters, though Professor Challenger definitely got on my nerves quite a bit. I felt bad for Edward Malone in the end that the girl he set out to impress had married someone else by the time he came back. Honestly though, she wasn't that great if she was going to send him off on crazy quests just to impress her. Sot it worked out better for him in the end.
Overall The Lost World is a fun adventure story and I'd recommend it to fans of Jules Verne or Jurassic Park.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Book Review-Invisible Man

For the Classics Club I read Ralph Ellison's novel Invisible Man.
Synopsis from Goodreads: First published in 1952 and immediately hailed as a masterpiece, Invisible Man is one of those rare novels that have changed the shape of American literature. For not only does Ralph Ellison's nightmare journey across the racial divide tell unparalleled truths about the nature of bigotry and its effects on the minds of both victims and perpetrators, it gives us an entirely new model of what a novel can be. As he journeys from the Deep South to the streets and basements of Harlem, from a horrifying "battle royal" where black men are reduced to fighting animals, to a Communist rally where they are elevated to the status of trophies, Ralph Ellison's nameless protagonist ushers readers into a parallel universe that throws our own into harsh and even hilarious relief. Suspenseful and sardonic, narrated in a voice that takes in the symphonic range of the American language, black and white, Invisible Man is one of the most audacious and dazzling novels of our century.
I knew nothing about this book before reading it and I don't even remember why I added it to my Classics Club back in the day. I am glad I did though. I didn't love it by any means but it was very interesting and you can't help but learn from it and appreciate the cultural significance it has.
Occasionally I was frustrated by the protagonist's (never named) seeming naivety. I do think he got wiser as the story went on. It was unspeakably hard for him though as he was demeaned and brainwashed. I came away from the story feeling sad. It was a very real and truly depressing story.
I would recommend it though as I feel like I learned a lot from it. It does have some language and some innuendos and obviously some degrading comments about African-Americans, which are in context of the story.
If you've read it let me know what you think.

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Monday, December 10, 2018

You, Me and a Cup of Tea

It's been a long time since I've done a post about tea... which is ironic as my blog title has much to do with tea. When I first put this blog together I had no idea really what it would be about. The main concept in my head though was I would write about books, movies, tea, whatever really and you could enjoy a cup of tea while reading my blog. Thus.... You, Me and a Cup of Tea. So if you aren't enjoying a cup of tea while reading my blog you'v ruined it's message! 😉
The cold of the fall and winter months always put me in the mood for a good hot cup of tea. Like myself, my husband has an obsession for buying tea. We have a big basket full of boxes of tea sitting by our Keurig. Honestly, we buy more than we drink. In the winter though we catch up a bit as our tea drinking and tea buying come to a middle.
Recently my church had a English Breakfast for the women's Christmas party. During it we had a book exchange. Everyone brought a wrapped book and we opened them and stole them white elephant gift style. It was tons of fun. As we opened each book the lady who had given it would explain why she had given that particular book. It was wonderful learning why the ladies brought that book and why it was special to them. There was such wide variety of books, which was delightful.
I ended up stealing my book because it was about tea so I couldn't resist! The book I got is called If Teacups Could Talk by Emilie Barnes (with gorgeous paintings by Sandy Lynham Clough). I'm only partway through it so far but I'm loving the cozy atmosphere of it as it talks about the long tradition of taking the time to sit down and drink a cup of tea just by yourself, with a friend or at a party. It's definitely getting me in the mood for drinking lots of tea.
One of my friends got a book (that I almost stole from them!) called I'd Rather be Reading by Anne Bogel. The title immediately intrigued me and made me want to read it. So I borrowed it from her and could not put it down! I binged it in one afternoon! It's a delightful little book written by a book lover for book lovers. I'm apparently very out of the loop but apparently Anne Bogel is a pretty big name in the blogging world. She blogs at Modern Mrs Darcy and also has a podcast What Should I Read Next. Check them out and check this book out! It's given me a renewed fervor for reading and is a new favorite.
One thing that Bogel talks about in her book is how books find us at just the right times in life and I think her book found me at just the right time. I've been in a reading slump for a few months now and her book has invigorated me love of reading and reminded me why I love it so much. I can't wait to dive back in to the reading world.
So right now I'm looking forward to diving back into the reading world with a cup of tea in one hand and a good book in the other.

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Friday, November 9, 2018

Book Review- War and Peace

For the Classics Club I read Leo Tolstoy's novel War and Peace.
Synopsis from Goodreads: War and Peace broadly focuses on Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812 and follows three of the most well-known characters in literature: Pierre Bezukhov, the illegitimate son of a count who is fighting for his inheritance and yearning for spiritual fulfillment; Prince Andrew Bolkonsky, who leaves his family behind to fight in the war against Napoleon; and Natasha Rostov, the beautiful young daughter of a nobleman who intrigues both men. As Napoleon’s army invades, Tolstoy brilliantly follows characters from diverse backgrounds—peasants and nobility, civilians and soldiers—as they struggle with the problems unique to their era, their history, and their culture. And as the novel progresses, these characters transcend their specificity, becoming some of the most moving—and human—figures in world literature.
How do you even begin to review a novel like War and Peace?!?! One of the longest books in literature and widely considered one of the most daunting, it seems like no easy task to "just put down a few thoughts". There's so much going on in the story so many different little plot points. There's a handful of main characters that the story focuses on and you come to love, pity and sometimes hate them. My personal favorites were Pierre and Natasha. There were no perfect characters. Everyone had flaws.  Each character was so human. War and Peace is a story about life. It covers, war, family, love and death. This book covers years and the characters grow up and mature in front of your eyes. The backdrop is the napoleonic wars, which overshadow the book. Sometimes Tolstoy took a break from the story to just talk about the war.... something I often found tedious but I probably overreacted to it because I just wanted to find out what happened to the characters.
I really don't know what else to say about it that hasn't already been said. I found it beautifully compelling and it definitely makes me want to read more Russian literature.
I'd also like to give a plug for the app Serial App. It has lots of books on it (mostly classics I think) and it gives you a "serial" of a book every day. It helps with reading really long books like War and Peace.
I'd really like to a film version of this now to see how it translates to screen. I'm thinking of checking out the Audrey Hepburn version and the Lily James version. Any recommendations?
Overall I'm so glad I finally read War and Peace. I would definitely recommend it if you're interested in Russian literature!

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