Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Book Review- Lieutenant Hornblower

77040For the Mount TBR pile challenge I read C.S. Forster's novel Lieutenant Hornblower.
Synopsis from Goodreads: In this gripping tale of turmoil and triumph on the high seas, Horatio Hornblower emerges from his apprenticeship as midshipman to face new responsibilities thrust upon him by the fortunes of war between Napoleon and Spain. Enduring near-mutiny, bloody hand-to-hand combat with Spanish seamen, deck-splintering sea battles, and the violence and horror of life on the fighting ships of the Napoleonic Wars, the young lieutenant distinguishes himself in his first independent command. He also faces an adventure unique in his experience: Maria.
I actually this second installment in the Horatio Hornblower series more than the first. While the first was several individual stories this book focused on one story. It was also interesting in how it was told from the perspective of Lieutenant Bush and what he observed in Hornblower. The stakes seem higher in this story as well and you really see Hornblower's brilliancy play out as he keeps his head and plans his way through each incident. Seeing him through an outside perspective was intriguing and while I think an odd choice for the narrative I also think it was an excellent one. Lieutenant Bush was one of my favorite characters. It was actually interesting to look at all of the different Lieutenants and see how each of them handled themselves in the same situations. It showed that just because someone had been a Lieutenant the longest and therefore would get promoted first did not mean they were the better Lieutenant.
The Captain was crazy. It doesn't take me being a nurse to figure out that he had a mental condition. It was a pretty interesting situation that played out and it seemed like everyone kept their cool a lot better than I could have. I was a 100% done with the Captain by the end of the first chapter.
Overall I enjoyed this book a lot and I felt it taught a lot about integrity and being a man.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Ten Books I Feel Differently About After Time has Passed

I haven't done a Top Ten Tuesday post in a while as none of the topics have intrigued me. This week though I'll be joining in. The theme is ten books I feel differently about after time has passed. Some are books that I used to hate but now love and others are ones I used to love that I'm now not quite so fond of.
  1. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien- When I first read LOTR as a child I was only reading it so I could watch the movies in theaters because that was my dad's rule. I scarcely remembered what I read and I re-read it a few years later and just wasn't crazy about it. However, when I was a teenager I re-read them again and fell in love and since them I've been re-reading them over and over again and loving them even more each time. LOTR is currently my second favorite book and I'm so glad I changed my mind about it. :) 
  2. Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott- I was pretty neutral about it the first time I read it but now I love it! 
  3. Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw- Not a fan of it as a child but loved it when I re-read it this year. 
  4. Emma by Jane Austen- This was always my least favorite of Jane Austen's novels, though I did enjoy it. When I re-read it last year though I saw so much more to it then I originally had I love it just as much as the others now. 
  5. Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery- I've always adored the Anne of Green Gables series but Anne of the Island was my least favorite as Anne irked me incessantly in it. When I re-read it last year though I really appreciated it a lot more and now it is actually one of my favorites of the series. Anne still irks me a little in it but she ends up with Gilbert in the end so it's all good. ;) 
  6. Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers- I re-read it a couple years ago and I really enjoyed it as opposed to when I read it as a child. I thought it was so boring as a kid but when re-reading it I saw so much more of the wit and humor in it and loved it! 
  7. Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham- I scarcely remembered anything about this book when I re-read it a couple years ago but I knew I hadn't been that fond of it as a child and I thought it was boring. This re-read though totally changed my mind. This is one of the most beautiful books I've ever read and well worth the read! 
  8. The Homeschool Detective series by John Bibee- This was one of my favorite series as a child because the idea of kids that were homeschooled like me solving mysteries could not help but intrigue me! I re-read this series a few years ago and I was shattered to realize that the writing in the series is really kind of subpar. While they're still enjoyable in their own right they do leave a lot to be desired in other areas. 
  9. Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift- With my re-read last year I really disliked it. I don't remember being crazy about it the first time I read it but I definitely did NOT like it this time around. 
  10. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (and the rest of the series)- I always really enjoyed these books as a kid but when I read them last year they came off as moralistic and preachy to me and I didn't like the philosophy. So overall while they're okay I just didn't enjoy them as I had as a kid. 

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Monday, May 23, 2016

It's Monday! Dense Reading

Another slower week for reading. While I didn't finish any books I did make significant progress in All the King's Men and I'm now almost done with it. The Sovereignty of God is excellent but it's quite dense so reading is slow. I'm also almost done with The Two Towers just a few more chapters left. Since the Pickwick Papers is an over year read-along it will take me a while obviously.
I think I'm going to do some lighter reading once I finish these up as it's all been heavier recently.

Currently Reading

  • All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren
  • The Sovereignty of God by Arthur W. Pink
  • The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien (audiobook) (re-read)
  • The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens

Coming Soon

  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (re-read)- Hamlette's read-along is coming up soon! Check it out HERE
  • Stranger from the Tonto by Zane Grey
  • The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang (re-read)
  • Total Truth by Nancy Pierce (Once I'm done with Sovereignty of God... I think I can only handle one theology book at a time.) 
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Friday, May 20, 2016

Book Review- Through Gates of Splendor

Through Gates of SplendourFor the Mount TBR pile challenge I read Elisabeth Elliot's book Through Gates of Splendor.
Synopsis from Goodreads: In 1956, five young men, including Elliot's husband, Jim, traveled into the jungles of Ecuador to establish communication with the fierce Huaorani Tribe, a people whose only previous response to the outside world has been to attack all strangers. The men's mission combined modern technology with innate ingenuity, sparked by a passionate determination to get the gospel to those without Christ. In a nearby village, their wives waited to hear from them. The news they received - all five missionaries had been murdered - changed lives around the world forever. Written while she was still a missionary in South America and at the request of the men's families, Through Gates of Splendor was Elisabeth Elliot's personal account of the final mission of these five courageous men. Filled with quotations from letters, material from personal journals, a wealth of photographs, and an epilogue update, this book tells a lasting story of God's grace, unconditional love, and great courage. 
If you're a Christian you've probably heard of this book. I certainly did growing up and I'm surprised it has taken me this long to read it. I thought I knew the basic premise of the story... that the men went to the South America as missionaries and ended up getting murdered in the process by the natives, leaving their wives who actually stayed to witness to the murderers of their husbands. What I didn't know was while yes that's the gist of it there is so much more that goes on and that is only the conclusion. It was incredible learning about the different lives of each individual on that trip and their motivations, struggles and convictions. They were wholeheartedly dedicated to God and serving Him.
My favorite quote from the book happens right before the men go on their fateful trip.
"The other wives and I talked together one night about the possibility of becoming widows. What would we do? God gave us peace of heart, and confidence that whatever might happen His Word would hold. We knew that 'when He putteth forth His sheep, He goeth before them.' God's leading was unmistakable up to this point. Each of us knew when we married our husbands that there would never be any question about who came first- God and His work held first place in each life. It was the condition of true discipleship; it became devastatingly meaningful now."  
This was a beautiful and meaningful book and one that I'm glad I've finally gotten around to. Read or not? Read!

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Book Review- Mara, Daughter of the Nile

Mara, Daughter of the NileFor the Hard Core Re-reading challenge I re-read Eloise Jarvis McGraw's novel Mara, Daughter of the Nile.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Mara is a proud and beautiful slave girl who yearns for freedom. In order to gain it, she finds herself playing the dangerous role of double spy for two arch enemies - each of whom supports a contender for the throne of Egypt. Against her will, Mara finds herself falling in love with one of her masters, the noble Sheftu, and she starts to believe in his plans of restoring Thutmose III to the throne. But just when Mara is ready to offer Sheftu her help and her heart, her duplicity is discovered, and a battle ensues in which both Mara's life and the fate of Egypt are at stake.
It had been a long time since I read Mara, Daughter of the Nile for the first time so I had few memories of it. I did remember my cousin loving it and my being not as crazy about it as she was. I am now though!
Mara, Daughter of the Nile is like a classic YA.... which sounds weird but it's true. It's a historical novel but not horribly historically accurate I'm given to understand so take the history with a grain of salt. The descriptions of Egypt however are spot on and absolutely beautiful. The romance and intrigue is what made it so enjoyable for me though. Sheftu and Mara are a little like Han Solo and Princess Leia, but in this case Sheftu is royalty and Mara is low class. Their dynamic is similar though. The book had enough twists and turns to keep you wondering what is going to happen the whole time. Mara's wit and ingenuity are commendable. Sheftu I wasn't sure about at first but as the book when you got to see more of his soft side and he grew on me a lot.
Overall I enjoyed this re-read and wholeheartedly recommend it for a fun and intriguing read!

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Book (Play) Review- A Midsummer Night's Dream

A Midsummer Night's DreamFor the Mount TBR challenge, Shelf Love challenge, the Audiobook challenge and the Classics Club I read (aka listened to) William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Shakespeare's intertwined love polygons begin to get complicated from the start--Demetrius and Lysander both want Hermia but she only has eyes for Lysander. Bad news is, Hermia's father wants Demetrius for a son-in-law. On the outside is Helena, whose unreturned love burns hot for Demetrius. Hermia and Lysander plan to flee from the city under cover of darkness but are pursued by an enraged Demetrius (who is himself pursued by an enraptured Helena). In the forest, unbeknownst to the mortals, Oberon and Titania (King and Queen of the faeries) are having a spat over a servant boy. The plot twists up when Oberon's head mischief-maker, Puck, runs loose with a flower which causes people to fall in love with the first thing they see upon waking. Throw in a group of labourers preparing a play for the Duke's wedding (one of whom is given a donkey's head and Titania for a lover by Puck) and the complications become fantastically funny.
Like most all of Shakespeare's plays, I was pretty familiar with the storyline of A Midsummer Night's Dream. However I had not yet read the actual play. A Midsummer Nights' Dream is a comedy and I did find it quite humorous. I'd love to see a film version if to see how it plays out on screen. It's also a romance. The romantic stuff was hilariously over the top but yet enjoyable. Actually I found the play funnier than I thought I would. It was almost like a period drama with all of the misunderstandings and people falling in love with the wrong people!
Overall I would recommend it for a fun and light read.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Movie Review- Testament of Youth

For the 2016 Period Drama Film Challenge I'll be reviewing the 2014 film Testament of Youth.
Synopsis from IMDB: A long, long time ago, back in the spring of 1914, they were so happy together. There was Vera Brittain, an upper class girl with ideas of her own; and her bright brother Edward; and his group of friends among whom Roland Leighton, wonderful, handsome, sensitive Roland Vera had fallen for... Always having great times together talking, laughing, exchanging ideas, walking, eating, swimming together; all of them envisioning the glittering future they deserved: Vera, despite her father's opposition, would study at Oxford, marry Roland and be a famous writer; Roland, as for him, would be acclaimed as a great poet while Edward and his friends would each become a prominent figure in his respective field... But then came that fateful day on 4 August 1914 when Britain declared war on Germany. All those beautiful dreams were to be shattered one after the other. 
I knew little about this film before watching it except that it was based off of a book that was a true story, was a period drama and that a lot of my blogging friends loved it but thought it was heartbreaking. It's true... all of it.

I really enjoyed the film but it was most definitely a depressing though strangely uplifting film. People keep dying! It was like watching a Shakespeare tragedy! It was horribly real though, knowing it was based off of a true story and that what was portrayed in the film was something that happen to many families during World War I. Vera is horribly headstrong and while her parents do frustrate me at times I wish she was more respectful of them. I do love her relationship with her brother Edward though. They were so close and it was really sweet. Both of Edward's friends, Roland and Victor were great and honestly I didn't mind which of those two Vera married. Victor actually might have been my favorite... obviously that was not at all influenced by the fact that he's played by Colin Morgan who also plays Merlin and who is amazing. ;) It was beautiful how all four of them were all such great friends though. As a nurse, I fully supported Vera going and being a nurse and honestly I couldn't imagine being a nurse in that time period and dealing with all of the horrors of the war victims. I was watching it with my sister and she thought it all a little gory but I was loving it. It was horrifically sad though. There was even a scene reminiscent of Gone With the Wind when they showed all of the bodies of the fallen soldiers lined up. Putting into words all of the emotion this story entails is hard. It's not just a love story in the least. It's a war story. It's a story about growing up. It's a story about life. I found it far more compelling than I thought I would and even though it is one of the saddest movies we've ever watched both my sister and I truly enjoyed it.

There are some familiar actors and actresses in this film (familiar at least to me). There's Emily Watson (Rose Huberman in The Book Thief and of course famous for many other roles), Colin Morgan (As previously mentioned he played Merlin in The Adventures of Merlin and also in one episode of Doctor Who) and Miranda Richardson (Rita Skeeter in the Harry Potter films).

There's really no objectionable content. As I mentioned above it can be a little gory and there's definitely blood. At one point Vera washes the blood off of a naked body of a soldier but you only see from the waist up as I recall. I wouldn't watch this with young children as I think they might find the horrors of war portrayed frightening and disturbing.

The costumes were absolutely lovely and the hats were splendiferous! Here's a little taste of the fashion from the film.

Watch or not? Watch!

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Monday, May 16, 2016

It's Monday! First Car!

This week I finally got my first car! It's been a huge blessing to be able to use my grandparents' car for the last few years but I'm so exited to finally have my own!
Reading wise I've been more laid back this week. I've been reading but only finished one book.  I think I've maybe been reading too many books at the same time though.

Currently Reading

  • The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens
  • All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren
  • The Sovereignty of God by Arthur W. Pink
  • The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien (re-read) (audiobook)

Finished this Past Week

  • The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge (re-read)

Coming Soon

  • Eternity in their Hearts by Don Richardson 

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Friday, May 13, 2016

And Yet Another Liebster Award!

I've lost track of the number of Liebster Awards I've been nominated for but here goes another one. This time Hamlette from Hamlette's Soliloquy nominated me.
Here's my answers to the eleven questions Hamlette asked me. :)
1. Are there any movies you like better than the books they were based on? No! That's sacrilegious! ;) Just kidding. Actually there is one... but only one. I liked the movie of The Book Thief better than the book. Sue me. ;)
2. Have you ever liked a remake better than the original film? I'm really racking my brain trying to think of a film where I've seen both the remake and the original. I even talked to my dad about it who is a movie genius and we could come to no conclusion on one. Part of it is I think it's unfair to include films based off of books but apparently that's what I'll have to go with. I prefer the 2015 version of Far From the Madding Crowd to the 1967 version and I prefer the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice to the 1980 and 1940 versions but I do NOT prefer the 2005 version to the 1995 version... which if you're a long time reader of the blog you'll know already. :)
3. What movie do you enjoy introducing other people to? Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is fun to introduce to people because it's so odd.
4. Do you identify strongly with any movie characters? Anne Shirley, Catherine Morland, Jo March... which are all book characters also... cheating again!
5. Do you have any favorite film score composers? John Williams! I also adore Howard Shore's LOTR and Hobbit soundtracks.
6. What's the oldest movie you've ever watched? I've actually watched the first ever made movie, which if you've seen Hugo you'd be familiar with. It is about some scientists that travel to the moon and their rocket hits the eye of the man in the moon. It's.... odd.
7. What's the newest movie you've watched? Captain America: Civil War!!!!
8. Do you have any favorite movie-watching snacks? Popcorn for sure.
9. Whose movie recommendations do you tend to trust? My dad's.
10. What was the last movie you watched? Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.... My brother was watching it with a friend and I got sucked in because I can't get enough of Kenneth Branagh playing Gilderoy Lockhart!
11. What's the next movie you plan to watch? We need to finish rewatching the LOTR. Return of the King is next! :)

Steal the questions and consider yourself tagged if you have the mind!

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Movie Review- Brooklyn

For the 2016 Period Drama Film Challenge I'm reviewing the 2015 film Brooklyn.
Synopsis from IMDB: In late 1951, Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan), a young Irish girl, emigrates to Brooklyn. Sponsored by Father Flood (Jim Broadbent), a priest from her native town Enniscorthy, she is assured to find a full-time job there. But the early days are tough, seasickness being soon replaced by loneliness and homesickness, two feelings all the more acutely felt by Eilis for having had to leave behind her widowed mother and her dear sister Rose (Fiona Glasscott). She nevertheless little by little manages to find her footing by adapting to her job as a salesgirl, by studying bookkeeping at Brooklyn College as well as with a little help from both Father Flood and Mrs. Kehoe (Julie Walters), the owner of the boarding school she now lives in. And not only does graduation follow but love shows its face in Tony (Emory Cohen), an Italian-American plumber, full of adoration and respect for her. They end up marrying, although keeping the thing secret. It is at that point that tragedy strikes: Rose suddenly dies. Which incites Eilis to return to Enniscorthy, in order to share her sorrow to support her mother morally. And there a strange thing happens : she gradually gets lured by the charms of her native place, going as as to let herself be wooed by Jim Farrell (Domhnall Gleeson), a young local.
This was a really sweet film and I enjoyed it a lot though it certainly had flaws. It had themes of homesickness, family, finding a new home and finding love.


I loved Eilis and really related to her. Her first days starting out at the shop were just like mine first starting out working at the library. I was painfully shy. Later though she and I both developed to the point where we could easily talk with customers.
I enjoyed the owner of the boarding house, Mrs. Kehoe. She humored me greatly.
The other girls at the boarding house were fairly dreadful though! As the film went on I warmed up to them a little bit but they were just really snooty and horribly silly. Here's a delightful quote from Mrs. Kehoe about those girls. "I'll tell you this much: I am going to ask Father Flood to preach a sermon on the dangers of giddiness. I now see that giddiness is the eighth deadly sin. A giddy girl is every bit as evil as a slothful man, and the noise she makes is a lot worse."
Tony was adorable! His devotion to Eilis and his honesty were so sweet. I was actually re-reading the Little House books at the time I watched this film and I have decided that Almanzo Wilder looks like Tony. That is exactly how I picture him now and you can't shake me out of that opinion. ;)
I loved Tony's family as well. When Eilis first visits his family and he warns her about his little brother I loved it! She asks what her brother is going to do and Tony replied "I don't know! That's the scary thing." That is so my family (especially my little brother)! Wow betide if I ever bring a young man home. Who knows what they'll do! ;)

Objectionable Content

Unfortunately it existed. What most upset me in this film was the fact that Eilis and Tony decide to get married before she goes back to Ireland but then they sleep together that night and the next day get married! Like what's the point? Could you have not waited one day? Not too much is shown in that scene thankfully. Underclothing was quite modest in those days. I still do not appreciate that though!
I'm not sure if this qualifies under objectionable content or not but I was frustrated with Eilis for entertaining Jim Farrell while she was in Ireland. I think it started out innocently enough and I really think that Eilis's momentary falter of being interested in him stemmed mostly from her homesickness. I just felt bad for him because he seemed like a really great guy and she hurt him in the process of it. Thankfully she got it togther and goes back to Tony!
There are a couple bad words in it too.
Overall this film was pretty clean and I was glad of that but what it did have in it annoyed me.


The fashion in the film was GORGEOUS! I loved it. Here are just a few pictures.

Can we all say yay for a modest swimsuit? 

Overall I enjoyed this film. Despite my complaints about it, it was still refreshing to watch it considering the many far more immoral romantic films out there.

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