Monday, March 31, 2014

Monthly Resolutions- April 2013 (Link Up!)

Last month was my highest blog views all time! I'm hoping this month to top that!
Again this month I'm doing a link up for monthly resolutions and I'm inviting you to join me. This is just a fun way to make some goals for the month... which are far less daunting then resolutions for a year. At the end of the month we'll link back up with a "report card". :) You can have as many or as few resolutions as you like. So here are my resolutions for the month.

Read or re-read five books

Conceivably I could get away with less since I overdid it last month but I'd rather just stick with my pattern of five a month and we'll see how it goes since this will be a busy month for school. 

Memorize Psalm 31:7-8

And finish up memorizing verses 5-6 that I slacked off on last month.

Pray Daily

Do one crochet project

As I mentioned in my report card for March... I'm making crochet items to sell to help raise money for my mission trip this summer to Puerto Rico. So I envision myself making a lot more than just one crochet project this month! If you're interested in purchasing something from me contact me I'd be happy to do it. I'd say my prices are reasonable. ;) 

Read a Psalm a day

At least THREE blog posts per week

I upped my goal since I really overdid it last month. I suspect I'll overdo it again this month but I'd rather be on the safe side. :)

Study, study, study!

I have an a math exam, a unit exam and my pharmacology exam this month. So much to study for and so little time (or at least that's how it feels to me). 

(Idea borrowed from Kelli at She Learns as She Goes)
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Report Card- March 2013

It seems like March took a long time to end but on the other hand it seems like it whizzed by so fast. It was a crazy month with tests, watching a c-section, and a death in the family. Admist the whirl wind of the month, it's nice to take a step back and look at it... or at least look at how my goals went. :)

Read or re-read five books

If you've been keeping up with my blog this past month you'll know I WAY overdid this... which NEVER happens. I normally don't make it or I WAY under do it. I even got lots of book reviews out! I read War of the Worlds (H.G. Wells), The Picture of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde), The Warden (Anthony Trollope), Curtain (Agatha Christie), The Children of Húrin (J.R.R. Tolkien), The Comedy of Errors (William Shakespeare), Odd Thomas (Dean Koontz), and Miniatures and Morals: The Christian Novels of Jane Austen (Peter Leithart). Links will take you to my review of the book. If there isn't a link that means I have no review of them. Short reviews for all of them; they're all great books. :) If you're a fan of Austen I would especially recommend Miniatures and Morals

Memorize Psalm 31:5-6

I got it half memorized. :(

Pray Daily

Most days. 

Do one crochet project

I made a couple baby hats and also made the beach bag that was the prize for my giveaway. I'm making crochet items to sell for my mission trip to Costa Rica this summer so I'll be doing a lot of crochet (hopefully) in the next month or so. If you're interested in purchasing something from me contact me I'd be happy to do it. I'd say my prices are reasonable. ;)

Read a Psalm a day

Achieved! I'm over halfway through the Psalms right now. I still haven't decided what I'm going to do when I reach Psalm 119... 

At least two blog posts per week

More like two blog posts a day... at least that's what it feels like. I'm pretty sure that I ended up with an average of a post a day. 

No Netflix

Achieved! It was hard and there were sometimes I had to pick out a Psych or Doctor Who episode that I had on my computer to watch to get me through it. However, for the most part I just didn't watch anything. Obviously, I spent most of that time reading instead. And studying! I did study! 

Study, study, study!

Okay. I think I did a lot better but with the craziness of the month it wasn't great. 

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

NaNaNaNaNaNaNaNa Monday!

Despite what you're thinking I'm not a Batman fan... That's just kind of how I felt today. Just a little hyper. :)
So it's Monday and what am I reading? A lot as you will see. I'm not sure how on earth I got this much reading done this last week. They weren't at all hard books though, and the harder one (Miniatures and Morals) was short so that would explain it. Plus, after my test, I had time to indulge in some reading before cracking the books again. :) Links will take you to the books' Goodreads page. 

I'm continuing to listen to Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South via LibriVox and enjoying it a lot. It will probably take me awhile to finish it so don't expect a review soon. :)


Goodreads Synopsis: When her father leaves the Church in a crisis of conscience, Margaret Hale is uprooted from her comfortable home in Hampshire to move with her family to the north of England. Initially repulsed by the ugliness of her new surroundings in the industrial town of Milton, Margaret becomes aware of the poverty and suffering of the local mill workers and develops a passionate sense of social justice. This is intensified by her tempestuous relationship with the mill-owner and self-made man, John Thornton, as their fierce opposition over his treatment of his employees masks a deeper attraction. In North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell skillfully fuses individual feeling with social concern, and in Margaret Hale creates one of the most original heroines of Victorian literature.


Last week I started and finished reading Dean Koontz's book Odd Thomas. I've read couple of his books before and enjoyed them so my Dad recommended this to me and I loved it just much, in some ways even more, as the others. There are more books about Odd Thomas following this one so I'll probably get around to reading those someday too. Also there is a movie out of it that my Dad likes a lot so now that I'm done I'll have to check that out.

Goodreads Synopsis: "The dead don't talk. I don't know why." But they do try to communicate, with a short-order cook in a small desert town serving as their reluctant confidant. Odd Thomas thinks of himself as an ordinary guy, if possessed of a certain measure of talent at the Pico Mundo Grill and rapturously in love with the most beautiful girl in the world, Stormy Llewellyn.

Maybe he has a gift, maybe it's a curse, Odd has never been sure, but he tries to do his best by the silent souls who seek him out. Sometimes they want justice, and Odd's otherworldly tips to Pico Mundo's sympathetic police chief, Wyatt Porter, can solve a crime. Occasionally they can prevent one. But this time it's different.
A mysterious man comes to town with a voracious appetite, a filing cabinet stuffed with information on the world's worst killers, and a pack of hyena-like shades following him wherever he goes. Who the man is and what he wants, not even Odd's deceased informants can tell him. His most ominous clue is a page ripped from a day-by-day calendar for August 15.
Today is August 14.

In less than twenty-four hours, Pico Mundo will awaken to a day of catastrophe. As evil coils under the searing desert sun, Odd travels through the shifting prisms of his world, struggling to avert a looming cataclysm with the aid of his soul mate and an unlikely community of allies that includes the King of Rock 'n' Roll. His account of two shattering days when past and present, fate and destiny converge is the stuff of our worst nightmares, and a testament by which to live: sanely if not safely, with courage, humor, and a full heart that even in the darkness must persevere.


Randomly I picked up Minatures and Morals: The Christian Novels of Jane Austen by Peter Leithart. It was actually a reread. I had been mentioning to my mother that I wanted to pick it up again sometime in the future but then got carried away with that idea and picked it up that day and started it then finished the next day. I forgot how much I loved it. Leithart really fleshes out her books, looking at them from a deep Christian perspective. My favorite line from the book, and one that I often tell people when I'm giving them my quite opinionated view on reading Austen's novels is; "Real men read Austen." 

So I would highly recommend this book to all Jane Austen lovers and if you aren't a Jane Austen lover then obviously fix that! ;)

Goodreads Synopsis: Miniatures & Morals: The Christian Novels of Jane Austen Not only are Austen's novels still widely read, they continue to influence modern film and literature. In both their moral content and their focused, highly detailed, "miniaturist" execution, they reveal Austen's mastery of the art of fiction and her concern for Christian virtues exercised within communities. She entertains, edifies, and challenges men and women readers alike. From theological and literary angles, Leithart analyzes character and theme while summarizing each of Austen's major works-Pride & Prejudice, Northanger Abbey, Sense & Sensibility, Mansfield Park, Emma, and Persuasion. Including helpful review and thought questions for each section, this book is an excellent introduction to Austen for students and for all who desire a richer appreciation of her enduring genius.


I also started Tolkien's Roverandom, which is actually a children's book about a dog but still with fantasy themes... it is Tolkien after all. ;) It's an fun and easy read and interesting in the light of it being Tolkien. Time will tell what I think of it but so far so good. :)
Goodreads Synopsis: In 1925, while on vacation with his family on the Yorkshire coast, four-year-old Michael Tolkien lost his favorite toy, a little lead dog he was reluctant to put down even to dig in the sand. To console and distract him, his father, J. R. R. Tolkien, improvised a story - the story of Rover, a real dog magically transformed into a toy, who, after many fantastic adventures in search of the wizard who wronged him, at last wins back his life. This charming tale, peopled by a wise old whale and a terrible dragon, by the king of the sea and the Man-in-the-Moon, was a Tolkien family favorite, going through several typewritten drafts over many years. In 1936, Tolkien submitted it to his British publishers as a possible follow-up to The Hobbit. What his publishers really wanted, however, was another story about Middle-earth, and so he set aside this little book to begin his masterwork, The Lord of the Rings.

I have that pile of library books I recklessly got a couple weeks ago that I need to dig into before they're due back. Odd Thomas and Roverandom were two of them but I still have the collection of Mary Westcott's (Agatha Christie's pseudonym in her early years) books and Jeff Shaara's Gods and Generals. I also borrowed Tolkien's Book of Lost Tales back at the beginning of the year that I need to read as well. So no lack of reading material! Just time. :)


Check out these reviews I posted this past week. :)

Book Review- The Warden
Book Review: The Children of Húrin
Book Review: The Comedy of Errors

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Book Review: The Comedy of Errors

When it comes to Shakespeare I always prefer the comedies. The Taming of the Shrew and Much Ado About Nothing are my favorites of his plays. However, now having read The Comedy of Errors it is right up there with them. It's just tons of lighthearted comedy that I'm sure would be even more fun to watch.

It tells the story of two sets of twins, one set the gentry the other their menservants, who are separated  (one gentry with one manservant and the other gentry with the other manservant) when very young by adverse circumstances. Years later they end up unknowingly in the same city and chaos ensues when they are repeatedly confused for each other. Of course all ends well. :)

I loved the humor and I loved the storyline. If you've read any P.G. Wodehouse, it reminded me a lot of one of his books. I was listening to it via Librivox so sometimes it was a little confusing as to who was who (I wasn't as confused as the characters in the story though!). However, I still always recommend that if you want to read Shakespeare, listen to it. So overall I enjoyed it and recommend it as a fun and lighthearted comedy. :)

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Five Friday Favorites: Favorite Book Covers

I don't normally judge books by covers, mostly because in my family we had library bound books that we got from library book sales. However, there are some book covers that I am quite fond of. :)
Linking up with Book Badger.

This just has an epic feel about it. A very Lord of
the Ringish feel. :) Mysterious, and magical.

                     
I know there is nothing fancy about this but when I look at this cover
it envokes a feeling that I am about ready to read an epic tale of legends and mythology.

My favorite cover of the Redwall series.
There is nothing cooler than a squirrel in
a kilt and with a scottish accent. :)

I adore this cover of Anne of Green Gables. It think
it so well captures the story. With Matthew driving
Anne to Green Gables, quiet and flustered, and Anne,
talking and optimistic with her red braids. :)

This is the cover for Little Women that I grew
up with and I've always loved it just for the
sentimentality I associate with it. 

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Bookish and not so Bookish Thoughts (Post Test Stress)


  1. I'm tired... Spring break was supposed to be relaxing but I came out of it very tired. :( Theme of my life. 
  2. I got lots of reading done last week though! I exceeded my goal for the month by one book early which makes me happy. That was a first. :)
  3. Finally I got my review for Anthony Trollope's The Warden published. Read it here. :) 
  4. I also published my review of Tolkien's The Children of Húrin. Check that out here! :)
  5. The other day I started reading Dean Koontz's book Odd Thomas. I'm just a few chapters into it but I'm enjoying it immensely. I love his writing style, it's quirky and humorous. I've read a couple of his other books before and enjoyed those as well. I'm thinking I should pick up more of his books sometime when I'm not so busy (haha). 
  6. As you can see from the title of my post, I'm experiencing post test stress. I had a test yesterday that I am very thankful to have over but wish I could have done better on. That's how it goes though isn't it?
  7. I started listening to Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South last week and I'm enjoying it a lot. I've already watched the miniseries so it's interesting to compare them. There are some differences, but thankfully not major ones because y'all know how I get about differences between books and movies. ;)
  8. It's the final stretch of school for this semester and I'm just stressed out so instead of doing my school I just sit and write blog posts. Very productive. 
  9. I think I found the perfect reading chair the other day. It was incredibly comfortable. :) I didn't care for the colors (big purple flours on a navy back ground... kind of gaudy) at all but besides that I want it! 
  10. P.S. Don't wake up at four o clock the day of your test to study or else you come out super hyper the next day.
Linking up with Bookishly Boisterous

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Book Review: The Children of Húrin

Knowing what a Tolkien geek I am (or want to believe I am), you won't be surprised to know I enjoyed The Children of Húrin! I liked it somewhere in-between my adoration for The Lord of the Rings and my liking of The Silmarillion. That is also where the reading ease lies too. It expands on the story of Túrin Turimbar from The Silmarillion. This synopsis from Goodreads sums up quite well this tragic story.
Painstakingly restored from Tolkien's manuscripts and presented for the first time as a fully continuous and standalone story, the epic tale of The Children of Hurin will reunite fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings with Elves and Men, dragons and Dwarves, eagles and Orcs, and the rich landscape and characters unique to Tolkien. There are tales of Middle-earth from times long before The Lord of the Rings, and the story told in this book is set in the great country that lay beyond the Grey Havens in the West: lands where Treebeard once walked, but which were drowned in the great cataclysm that ended the First Age of the World. In that remote time Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, dwelt in the vast fortress of Angband, the Hells of Iron, in the North; and the tragedy of Turin and his sister Nienor unfolded within the shadow of the fear of Angband and the war waged by Morgoth against the lands and secret cities of the Elves. Their brief and passionate lives were dominated by the elemental hatred that Morgoth bore them as the children of Hurin, the man who had dared to defy and to scorn him to his face. Against them he sent his most formidable servant, Glaurung, a powerful spirit in the form of a huge wingless dragon of fire. Into this story of brutal conquest and flight, of forest hiding-places and pursuit, of resistance with lessening hope, the Dark Lord and the Dragon enter in direly articulate form. Sardonic and mocking, Glaurung manipulated the fates of Turin and Nienor by lies of diabolic cunning and guile, and the curse of Morgoth was fulfilled. The earliest versions of this story by J.R.R. Tolkien go back to the end of the First World War and the years that followed; but long afterwards, when The Lord of the Rings was finished, he wrote it anew and greatly enlarged it in complexities of motive and character: it became the dominant story in his later work on Middle-earth. But he could not bring it to a final and finished form. In this book Christopher Tolkien has constructed, after long study of the manuscripts, a coherent narrative without any editorial invention.
As you can see it is full of the same beauty and epicness that penetrates Tolkien's other books. I can't really recommend it to someone who doesn't already enjoy Tolkien and who hopefully has already read LOTR and The Silmarillion. If you're not a fan you probably won't enjoy it but if you are a fan I'm sure you'll love it!
In the case of you not being a Tolkien fan, I have to ask... WHY NOT? How can you get through life?  This is a terrible malady that must be cured! I once was passive about Tolkien but last year something stirred inside me as I re-read LOTR and since then I've never looked back! I advise you now to go, pick up the nearest Tolkien book and read!

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Book Review- The Warden

The Warden by Anthony Trollope is a novel similar to reading Austen. It involves morals, money and love. However, it also heavily involves the church. I like this synopsis from Goodreads to sum it up.
The book centers on the character of Mr. Harding, a clergyman of great personal integrity, whose charitable income far exceeds the purpose for which it was intended. Young John Bold turns his reforming zeal to exposing what he considers to be an abuse of privilege, despite being in love with Mr. Harding's daughter Eleanor. The novel was highly topical as a case regarding the misapplication of church funds was the scandalous subject of contemporary debate. But Trollope uses this specific case to explore and illuminate the universal complexities of human motivation and social morality.
As you can see, this book delves into a lot of interesting issues giving much food for thought. I enjoyed it a lot and found it to be entertaining as well as edifying. Trollope's remarks on the newspaper and on the parliament are humorous but thought provoking. He's quite clever in his writing and I often caught myself smiling. The charters were all great and I especially loved the character of Archdeacon Grantly... not because he was exactly a "good" character (though he wasn't bad) but because his actions and people's commentary on his actions were hilarious!

Overall I recommend the book and after it I recommend the sequel Barchester Towers, which I actually read before The Warden. :) There is also an excellent miniseries that came out in 1982 entitled The Barchetser Chronicles that encompasses The Warden and Barchester Towers.
I actually listened to this via Librivox, which is free so if you can't get ahold of a copy then that is a good option. With this book I got points for The Classics Club, my Audiobook Challenge and my TBR Pile Challenge. I love it when I'm able to knock out so many challenges with just one book. :)

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Top Ten Things on my Bookish Bucket List

Hmm... bookish bucket list? Deep thought. But aren't all bookish thoughts? ;)

  1. Complete all of my reading challenges this year. This is my first year doing reading challenges so I want to do well. :) So far so good. :)
  2. Host my own reading challenge next year.
  3. Host a read-a-long.
  4. Step it up and read 100 books next year! 
  5. Participate in a book club... I think it would be fun to be able to get together with other people and discuss books. Actually, that's a lot of why my conversations with other people consist of already. ;)
  6. Publish a book... my dream for too many years to mention. :(
  7. Have a "library room" when I have my own house. A room devoted to books. :) Makes me happy just thinking about it. :)
  8. Meet an author... I've already met one before... Brian Jacques (The Redwall series) but that was when I was about eight so I think it's time to meet another. :)
  9. Visit an author's home (preferably Tolkien's as I totally need an excuse to go to England). :)
  10. Be a librarian... I know that I kind of am already (at least I kind of consider myself one) as I am a student worker at my college's library (for four years now). However, someday, when I retire, I want to be a librarian. I think it would be a nice relaxing retirement. :)
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Sunday, March 23, 2014

It's Monday and I'm Reading...?!?!?!

Yes, I know, I changed my blog layout. I tend to do that a lot. You might have to get used to it... or not get used to it if you want to think about it that way... Either way, changing my blog layout does happen but the title never changes so you can always know you're at the right blog. ;)
Last week was crazy. Honestly. Things really don't go as expected... you've heard that said so many times but last week was definitely an illustration of that, not just with my reading but with the rest of my life.
On Tuesday my grandfather (not the one that I stayed with for a time) went to be with the Lord. It was kind of expected but still a shock. With that, we ended up traveling, quiet unplanned, to Minnesota for the funeral. It was a good time spent with family. It was really nice to see all of my cousins, aunts and uncles... which hadn't happened in a few years so was really nice.
With all of the car time, I actually got a lot of reading (audiobook and hardcopy) done. I even managed to exceed my goal for the month of five books to six books. :) Believe me, that doesn't happen often. So what all did I get done read last week? Read on and find out! :)

First off, I finished Tolkien's, The Children of Húrin. I enjoyed it a lot. It's somewhere in-between The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarilion in ease of reading and my liking for it. :) J.R.R. Tolkien had another masterpiece in it. The way he writes, the characters he creates, and the setting that he lays out are all so beautiful, mysterious and truly epic in the purest sense. If you can't enjoy Tolkien then I'm not sure we can be friends. ;) Okay we can be friends! At least try to enjoy his books though? Even just The Hobbit? I knew I could count on you! ;)
Goodreads Synopsis: Painstakingly restored from Tolkien's manuscripts and presented for the first time as a fully continuous and standalone story, the epic tale of The Children of Hurin will reunite fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings with Elves and Men, dragons and Dwarves, eagles and Orcs, and the rich landscape and characters unique to Tolkien. There are tales of Middle-earth from times long before The Lord of the Rings, and the story told in this book is set in the great country that lay beyond the Grey Havens in the West: lands where Treebeard once walked, but which were drowned in the great cataclysm that ended the First Age of the World. In that remote time Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, dwelt in the vast fortress of Angband, the Hells of Iron, in the North; and the tragedy of Turin and his sister Nienor unfolded within the shadow of the fear of Angband and the war waged by Morgoth against the lands and secret cities of the Elves. Their brief and passionate lives were dominated by the elemental hatred that Morgoth bore them as the children of Hurin, the man who had dared to defy and to scorn him to his face. Against them he sent his most formidable servant, Glaurung, a powerful spirit in the form of a huge wingless dragon of fire. Into this story of brutal conquest and flight, of forest hiding-places and pursuit, of resistance with lessening hope, the Dark Lord and the Dragon enter in direly articulate form. Sardonic and mocking, Glaurung manipulated the fates of Turin and Nienor by lies of diabolic cunning and guile, and the curse of Morgoth was fulfilled. The earliest versions of this story by J.R.R. Tolkien go back to the end of the First World War and the years that followed; but long afterwards, when The Lord of the Rings was finished, he wrote it anew and greatly enlarged it in complexities of motive and character: it became the dominant story in his later work on Middle-earth. But he could not bring it to a final and finished form. In this book Christopher Tolkien has constructed, after long study of the manuscripts, a coherent narrative without any editorial invention.

I read and started Agatha Christie's novel Curtain, which I picked up unplanned from the library last week as I realized I did not remember reading it (and I thought I had read all of Christie's books). It is the last of the Poirot novels so a sad goodbye. It is different in some ways from her other novels but still good. Since it is the last of the Poirot novels, I don't suggested reading it until you have finished all of the others (or at least a majority of them). After that though, I do recommend it. :)
Goodreads Synopsis: The house guests at Styles seemed perfectly pleasant to Captain Hastings; there was his own daughter Judith, an inoffensive ornithologist called Norton, dashing Mr Allerton, brittle Miss Cole, Doctor Franklin and his fragile wife Barbara , Nurse Craven, Colonel Luttrell and his charming wife, Daisy, and the charismatic Boyd-Carrington. So Hastings was shocked to learn from Hercule Poirot's declaration that one of them was a five-times murderer. True, the ageing detective was crippled with arthritis, but had his deductive instincts finally deserted him?
The novel features Hercule Poirot and Arthur Hastings in their final appearances in Christie's works. It is a country house novel, with all the characters and the murder set in one house. Not only does the novel return the characters to the setting of her first, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, but it reunites Poirot and Hastings, who last appeared together in Dumb Witness in 1937.
I listened to The Comedy of Errors on the road trip and found it absolutely hilarious. I knew the main plot line having read a children's version years ago but hearing the actual version was great! :) It now ranks as one of my favorite Shakespeares. My recommendation when it comes to Shakespeare is if you want to read it is listen to an audiobook version. The best option is to watch it but audiobook is second best. Plays are meant to be watched, not to be read. In my opinion, people find it hard to read and understand Shakespeare because they are going about it the wrong way. I've read Shakespeare before and I found it to be very tedious and not nearly as enjoyable as when I listen to it or watch a film version. :)
Wikipedia Synopsis: The Comedy of Errors tells the story of two sets of identical twins that were accidentally separated at birth. Antipholus of Syracuse and his servant, Dromio of Syracuse, arrive in Ephesus, which turns out to be the home of their twin brothers, Antipholus of Ephesus and his servant, Dromio of Ephesus. When the Syracusans encounter the friends and families of their twins, a series of wild mishaps based on mistaken identities lead to wrongful beatings, a near-seduction, the arrest of Antipholus of Ephesus, and false accusations of infidelity, theft, madness, and demonic possession.

On the road trip I also started listening to the audiobook of Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South. I've been wanting to read this since watching the mini series (which I recommend) so I'm excited to finally be starting it. So far I'm enjoying it immensely. :)
Goodreads Synopsis: When her father leaves the Church in a crisis of conscience, Margaret Hale is uprooted from her comfortable home in Hampshire to move with her family to the north of England. Initially repulsed by the ugliness of her new surroundings in the industrial town of Milton, Margaret becomes aware of the poverty and suffering of the local mill workers and develops a passionate sense of social justice. This is intensified by her tempestuous relationship with the mill-owner and self-made man, John Thornton, as their fierce opposition over his treatment of his employees masks a deeper attraction. In North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell skillfully fuses individual feeling with social concern, and in Margaret Hale creates one of the most original heroines of Victorian literature.

With a nursing exam this week, I doubt I'll have time for much reading/listening but that's what I said last week and somehow my list above attests to the fact that it didn't happen. :) We'll see. :) I do hope this week to write book reviews for those books that I need too do so yet. Once I finish up my test on Wednesday, that will be my next project. :)
Have a great week of reading and fun! :)
Linking up with Sheila at Book Journey.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Five Friday Favorites: Favorite Contemporaries

I'm linking up with Book Badger to bring you a "Five Friday Favorites". The theme this week is "favorite contemporaries". As you well know, I tend to be a fan of the classics however, I do enjoy some contemporary novels so this isn't a hard list. :)

  1. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling... all of them, I don't think I have a favorite. 
  2. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak... a great book and a great movie. :)
  3. Life Expectancy by Dean Koontz... I've read two of Koontz's books so far and this is my favorite. It's fun and thought provoking as well as a good mystery. :)
  4. Redwall series by Brian Jacques... I cannot express how much I loved these books as a kid and how much I still love them as an adult. 
  5. The Binding of the Blades series by L.B. Graham... A great christian fantasy series. I like it in that it doesn't try to copy other franchises (LOTR) but it is fairly original (you can only be so original anymore). It has a good story, good fantasy and good christian values. 
Special mention for Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card. They aren't exactly contemporary but they're not classics so...
P.S. I knew I just changed my blog layout. I tend to do that every random once and a while. For someone who hates change, I do change that quite a bit. :) 

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Thoughtful Third Thursday- March 2014

I'm linking up with A Bibliophile's Style for Thoughtful Third Thursday. The rules are that every third Thursday of the month, you create a blog post where you state what you're currently reading, including a quote and/or a synopsis, and an outfit that you feel corresponds to your chosen quote.

I'm currently reading Agatha Christie's novel Curtain and J.R.R. Tolkien's novel The Children of Húrin. The synopsis for The Children of Húrin (as copied off of Goodreads) is this: Painstakingly restored from Tolkien's manuscripts and presented for the first time as a fully continuous and standalone story, the epic tale of The Children of Hurin will reunite fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings with Elves and Men, dragons and Dwarves, eagles and Orcs, and the rich landscape and characters unique to Tolkien. There are tales of Middle-earth from times long before The Lord of the Rings, and the story told in this book is set in the great country that lay beyond the Grey Havens in the West: lands where Treebeard once walked, but which were drowned in the great cataclysm that ended the First Age of the World. In that remote time Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, dwelt in the vast fortress of Angband, the Hells of Iron, in the North; and the tragedy of Turin and his sister Nienor unfolded within the shadow of the fear of Angband and the war waged by Morgoth against the lands and secret cities of the Elves. Their brief and passionate lives were dominated by the elemental hatred that Morgoth bore them as the children of Hurin, the man who had dared to defy and to scorn him to his face. Against them he sent his most formidable servant, Glaurung, a powerful spirit in the form of a huge wingless dragon of fire. Into this story of brutal conquest and flight, of forest hiding-places and pursuit, of resistance with lessening hope, the Dark Lord and the Dragon enter in direly articulate form. Sardonic and mocking, Glaurung manipulated the fates of Turin and Nienor by lies of diabolic cunning and guile, and the curse of Morgoth was fulfilled. The earliest versions of this story by J.R.R. Tolkien go back to the end of the First World War and the years that followed; but long afterwards, when The Lord of the Rings was finished, he wrote it anew and greatly enlarged it in complexities of motive and character: it became the dominant story in his later work on Middle-earth. But he could not bring it to a final and finished form. In this book Christopher Tolkien has constructed, after long study of the manuscripts, a coherent narrative without any editorial invention.

My picture is from several years ago obviously but I think it is just the kind of gown Nienor might be wearing in The Children of Húrin. It is actually an old bridesmaids dress of my mother's but in those days it was the gown of a princess who was about to be kidnapped by a dragon and then rescued by prince (who would most likely have to climb up her hair to rescue her). Today however it is the dress of Nienor, sister of Túrin Turimbar! I am finding The Children of Húrin far more epic than that princess story at the moment. :)

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Bookish (i.e. geeky) and not so Bookish (i.e. my life) Thoughts

Linking up with Bookishly Boisterous for Bookish and not so Bookish Thoughts. :)

On the walk eBeth and I took. 
  1. My grandfather (not the one I staid with for a time) went to be with the Lord a couple days ago. It's been kind of a hectic time these last couple days as we get ready to travel to the funeral. As much as this is an upsetting time, I find it very providential that it happened now, when I was on break, so that I am able to go up for the funeral. 
  2. I finally got my review up of The Book Thief... check it out here. :)
  3. It's been spring break and I've been having fun. eBeth came over for a couple days and we got to watch Frozen again as some Doctor Who and other movies/TV shows together. We also got to go on a beautiful long walk out in the country. :)
  4. In case you missed it in my Monday post, I did finish up listening to The Warden and reading The Picture of Dorian Gray. Check out my review of The Picture of Dorian Gray here.
  5. The other afternoon eBeth, my brother and I went to the library and of course I had to check out books. I got a little carried away and checked out four books, one of which was a collection of three books! Those books were not on any list of mine, so not a priority, but yet I checked them out. What did I check out? Curtain by Agatha Christie, a collection of stories by Mary Westcott (Agatha Christie's pseudonym in her early years) Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz, and Roverandom by J.R.R. Tolkien. 
  6.  Last evening I started reading Curtain. It is the last of the Poirot novels. At the time I checked it out, I couldn't remember reading it, but on the other hand I wasn't sure still if I had read it because I thought I had read all of Christie's books. Now that I've started it, as far as I can remember I have not read it. 
  7. The weather is continuing to cooperate here. Currently it is fifty with a high of 76! I'll have to take my studying outside today. :)
  8. I think playing my Scrabble app on my phone is hurting my chances in Bananagrams as there are words that the app allows that aren't in our "official" dictionary (we have to agree on a dictionary to use and it isn't the recently updated electronic version). So I always try to use those in Bananagrams in the heat of the moment and that doesn't turn out so well. :(
  9. At the moment I'm feeling more of the want to read (Curtain to be exact) then to study, which is what I should be doing. I have a test next week! 
  10. Finally, if you aren't already following me on Goodreads I'd love it if you were! My Goodreads account is what I wish my Facebook account looked like. It holds all of my important information like books I've read, authors I like, my favorite books, ect. Anyways, this is the link to my profile. :)
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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Movie Review: The Book Thief

I finally got around to seeing the movie of The Book Thief a few weeks ago and I very much enjoyed it. In my opinion, the book was good... four stars leaning towards five. However, the movie, in my opinion, was even better. Before you burn me at the stake, let me explain myself. There were parts in the book that I didn't appreciate very much... I thought the book would be better without them. The reason I liked the movie better was that it didn't include those parts. That's just my opinion though. :)
The acting was incredibly done and the characters came alive for me. I especially loved the boy who played Rudy... I always liked the character of Rudy. Of course Geoffery Rush as Hans Huberman was spectacular.
Commenting on the storyline would really be commenting on the book's storyline. However, I enjoy the story told of discovering the wonder of books.
The cinematography was excellent and the music by John Williams was good.
Overall an excellent and enjoyable movie. I went and watched it with my brother and friend, neither who had read the book so I enjoyed seeing their reactions. Since I knew what was going to happen, I didn't cry at the end, though I might have teared up a little... just a little.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Top Ten Books On My Spring 2014 TBR List

Linking up with The Broke and the Bookish today to give you my top ten books on my spring "to be read list". I'm actually participating in several reading challenge's so what I'm planning on  reading this spring is an accumulation of several different challenges. So here's what I'm "hoping" to get read this spring, excluding what I'm currently reading (The Children of Húrin).

  1. The Bridge Over the River Kwai by Piere Boulle... This is for my Back to the Classics challenge for the "a classic about war" section. 
  2. Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens... This will be for my TBR Pile challenge. I have a couple of Dickens' books on my lists this year and I have been too daunted to start any of them yet. I have read a ton of his books in the past but not recently. 
  3. Gods and Generals by Jeff Shaara... This is for my TBR Pile challenge.
  4. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell... For my audiobook challenge and for my TBR Pile challenge. 
  5. The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare... For my audiobook challenge and Shakespeare challenge. I'm looking forward to this one. I've read a "children's version" of it before so I know the plot line but it will be fun to get the whole thing. I like audiobooks when it comes to Shakespeare because of the play format. 
  6. As You Like It by William Shakespeare... Another one for my audibook challenge and my Shakespeare challenge. 
  7. On the Bondage of the Will by Martin Luther... This will be for my Cloud of Witness's Challenge and my Non-fiction reading challenge. 
  8. Always Ready by Greg Bahnsen... This is for my Cloud of Witness's Challenge as well as for my Non-fiction challenge. 
  9. Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss... This is for my Re-reading Challenge. I've been meaning to re-read this for years. It is a sad fact but I read it after growing up watching the movie so I had a hard time liking it when I read it, as the book and movie are different. I'm hoping revisiting it will bring about a love for the book. 
  10. Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame... For my Re-reading Challenge. 
If I get all of those done I'll make some great headway in my challenges. Some of those will also contribute to The Classics Club.

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Reading Along (with a smile on my face)

I created this collage for my blog's Facebook page. I like it
because it encompasses my two favorite authors and
subsequently the two authors I geek out the most about. :)
I felt like I had a pretty good week of reading. I finished a book and made some progress in others. Can't ask for much more, especially as school isn't letting up. Spring break is this week but with company and preparing for a test, I don't know how much reading I'll get done. 

First off, I finished The Picture of Dorian Gray and you can read my review here. While I encourage you to read my full review, I'll just say here that I did very much enjoy and recommend it. It's not a book you can read lightly but one you have to be actively thinking about. 
 

Goodreads synopsis: The tale of a youth whose features, year after year, retain the same appearance of innocent beauty while the shame of his abhorrent vices becomes mirrored on the features of his portrait.

I've also finished listening to Anthony Trollope's The Warden. I enjoyed listening to it while out walking as the weather has decided to warm up now. :)
Goodreads synopsis: The book centers on the character of Mr. Harding, a clergyman of great personal integrity, whose charitable income far exceeds the purpose for which it was intended. Young John Bold turns his reforming zeal to exposing what he considers to be an abuse of privilege, despite being in love with Mr. Harding's daughter Eleanor. The novel was highly topical as a case regarding the misapplication of church funds was the scandalous subject of contemporary debate. But Trollope uses this specific case to explore and illuminate the universal complexities of human motivation and social morality. 

I'm finding The Children of Húrin quite engaging so far. It's a lot like reading The Silmarillion but a little easier to read like The Lord of the Rings. So imagine a cross between them and there you have it. I am enjoying reading about Túrin Turimbar immensely, though I already know of the tragic ending that will be coming. Geeky moment, but I think Túrin Turimbar would be a really great baby name don't you? And his sister's name "Nienor" is really pretty too. If I had twins I could name them Túrin and Nienor! Yeah... My family tells me they hope I marry someone with brains who won't let me name my kids after Tolkien characters. But how could I marry anyone less than a Tolkien geek? Anyways...
Goodreads Synopsis: Painstakingly restored from Tolkien's manuscripts and presented for the first time as a fully continuous and standalone story, the epic tale of The Children of Hurin will reunite fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings with Elves and Men, dragons and Dwarves, eagles and Orcs, and the rich landscape and characters unique to Tolkien. There are tales of Middle-earth from times long before The Lord of the Rings, and the story told in this book is set in the great country that lay beyond the Grey Havens in the West: lands where Treebeard once walked, but which were drowned in the great cataclysm that ended the First Age of the World. In that remote time Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, dwelt in the vast fortress of Angband, the Hells of Iron, in the North; and the tragedy of Turin and his sister Nienor unfolded within the shadow of the fear of Angband and the war waged by Morgoth against the lands and secret cities of the Elves. Their brief and passionate lives were dominated by the elemental hatred that Morgoth bore them as the children of Hurin, the man who had dared to defy and to scorn him to his face. Against them he sent his most formidable servant, Glaurung, a powerful spirit in the form of a huge wingless dragon of fire. Into this story of brutal conquest and flight, of forest hiding-places and pursuit, of resistance with lessening hope, the Dark Lord and the Dragon enter in direly articulate form. Sardonic and mocking, Glaurung manipulated the fates of Turin and Nienor by lies of diabolic cunning and guile, and the curse of Morgoth was fulfilled. The earliest versions of this story by J.R.R. Tolkien go back to the end of the First World War and the years that followed; but long afterwards, when The Lord of the Rings was finished, he wrote it anew and greatly enlarged it in complexities of motive and character: it became the dominant story in his later work on Middle-earth. But he could not bring it to a final and finished form. In this book Christopher Tolkien has constructed, after long study of the manuscripts, a coherent narrative without any editorial invention.

So that's what is going on in my reading world. I doubt I'll start anything new this week but we'll see. Recently I've been trying to have one audiobook, one "real" book, and one eBook going. The Picture of Dorian Gray was my eBook but I normally read those when I'm at school (so I don't have to add yet another book to my already too full backpack) and since I won't be at school this week I doubt I'll start a new eBook. The Warden was my audiobook so I'll be starting up another one of those soon. Probably a Shakespeare. :)

Just a note, I finally got my review for John Piper's Don't Waste your Life up... link here

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Book Review: Don't Waste Your Life

For the non-fiction reading challenge, I am writing a review of John Piper's Don't Waste your Life.

Goodread synopsis: John Piper writes, "I will tell you what a tragedy is. I will show you how to waste your life. Consider this story from the February 1998 Reader's Digest: A couple 'took early retirement from their jobs in the Northeast five years ago when he was 59 and she was 51. Now they live in Punta Gorda, Florida, where they cruise on their 30-foot trawler, play softball and collect shells. . . .' Picture them before Christ at the great day of judgment: 'Look, Lord. See my shells.' That is a tragedy.
"God created us to live with a single passion to joyfully display his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life. The wasted life is the life without this passion. God calls us to pray and think and dream and plan and work not to be made much of, but to make much of him in every part of our lives."
Most people slip by in life without a passion for God, spending their lives on trivial diversions, living for comfort and pleasure, and perhaps trying to avoid sin. This book will warn you not to get caught up in a life that counts for nothing. It will challenge you to live and die boasting in the cross of Christ and making the glory of God your singular passion. If you believe that to live is Christ and to die is gain, read this book, learn to live for Christ, and don't waste your life!


I really enjoyed this book. In some ways it was "revolutionary" for me and in others it wasn't.  As someone who has been a Christian for as long as they can remember, I feel there wasn't as much I could pull out of it. HOWEVER, there is always something more you can be learning about the Christian's life and I did learn from it quite a bit. 
Overall it gave me some great food for thought and I would recommend it to every Christian no matter what stage of their faith they are in.

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Book Review : The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of the most fascinating and well written books I have ever read. Philosophically it is thought provoking and often heretical. It is hard to put into words how I felt about it but I will attempt to.

I will include some spoilers in my review but will not give away the entire story. 
The Picture of Dorian Gray tells the story of a young man (Dorian Gray) who is handsome... essentially beautiful with a youthful and pure look and character. When the reader is first acquainted with him, his pictures is being drawn by Basil Hallward, an artist who is somewhat infatuated with the beauty and innocent appearance of Dorian and how it is portrayed in his artwork of him. The last day of Dorian sitting for the picture is when the story begins. Basil tells his friend Lord Henry of the man he is drawing (Dorian) after Lord Henry expresses that it is the best picture he has drawn yet. Dorian himself arrives and as Basil finishes up the picture, Lord Henry converses with Dorian, introducing to him philosophical ideas that turned Dorian's naive mind and then finally stating the sentence that changes Dorian, "You have the most marvelous youth, and youth is the one thing worth having." After Basil finishes the picture, Dorian looks at it in mind of what Lord Henry had just told I'm and says, "How sad it is! I shall grow old and horrible and dreadful. But this picture will remain always young. It will never be older than this particular day of June... If it were only the other way! If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture that was to grow old! For that I would give everything! Yes there is nothing in the world I would not give! I would give my soul for that!" In that statement he essentially makes "a pact with the devil" and from that point on, he never grows old but the picture changes as his soul changes. Under the influence of the ideas of Sir Henry, Dorian goes down a path of sin. The sin lasts for eighteen years and while we are not clear on what all sin it was, we can pick up that it involved adultery, drug use, and possibly homosexuality. There is a quote that I saw from Oscar Wilde that reads;  "Each man sees his own sin in Dorian Gray. What Dorian Gray's sins are no one knows. He who find them has brought them." As Dorian's sin goes on his picture, which he has now hidden in his attic so no one can see it, continues to change, resulting in a hideously evil looking old man.
How the story concludes, I leave you to find out. The ending, in my opinion, was perfect though. I highly recommend the story as not only a cautionary tale but also a book with philosophical implications. The philosophy in it is not necessarily to be emulated though but should be pondered on. I don't recommend giving it to anyone younger than high school because of some of the mature themes that it centers on.
I would also encourage you to read this review of it by The Gospel Coalition.
Please leave a comment letting me know you think of this book as I would love to here other people's thoughts on it. :)

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Exciting Thoughts (Bookish and not so Bookish)

I had a pretty great week and you'll see why!

  1. First off, remember how last week I complained that I wasn't able to see that birth? Well this week I got to watch my very first birth via C-section!!!!! :) :) :) I'm still giddy about it. :) Just about the best moment of my life. I'm not a very emotional person (meaning I'm not prone to crying) but I did tear up and had to catch myself. The best part was the dad told me that he could tell I am going to love my job when I'm a nurse. I'm glad that my enthusiasms showed through my introvertism. :)
  2. Nothing can really top that one but I need ten so let's keep going! NEXT WEEK IS SPRING BREAK!!! That is pretty exciting except that we have a test the Wednesday after so I can only let myself relax so much. 
  3. I did get started on The Children of Húrin this last week but I'm not too far yet.
  4. So guess what? We're taking those photos a THIRD time today. It's actually kind of funny. I don't really mind as it's not like I'm getting much studying done today... all I can think about is the break. 
  5. The weather here in Kansas is AMAZING!!!! It was up in the seventies a couple days ago and it is in the sixties today. I've got some great walks in too. 
  6. My dad brought me grapefruit fruit cups the other day. He just saw them at the store and knew I'd like them so he got them for me. :) I have a wonderful dad. :) 
  7. I had a dream last night (oh no a dream story!) that I was pregnant, went into labor and had a baby all within the space of about an hour. All I can say is that if my labor will be that quick then I'm all for it! Anyways, that just goes to show that I am a little obsessed with childbirth at the moment. 
  8. I'm getting this urge to re-read the Harry Potter series for some unknown reason. I've probably re-read those more than any other series... except perhaps the Redwall series. It's odd because they really aren't even in my top books list, but I just enjoy reading them as they are an easy read. 
  9. I watched the third season of Sherlock last weekend. It was okay but I didn't enjoy it as much. That's just my opinion though so don't quote me on it. :) 
  10. I've been having a really great time talking to my brother this morning. We don't get as much time to talk anymore because we're both so busy with school. However, I implanted myself by him while he was at work this morning and we had several laughs, which are sometimes hard to extract from him... he's more introverted than I am. We keep the library fun. :) 
Linking up with Bookishly Boisterous

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Favorite Childhood Snacks

As a kid I was the skinniest little kid you'd ever seen. I ran around outside all summer long and got a tan without even knowing or trying. I could also eat whatever I wanted and never have to worry about the consequences. Oh my life has changed!
Today I'm linking up with Mama Kat to write about my ten favorite snacks growing up that I definitely could not get away with eating as much of now. :)
  1. Apples... these continue to be a favorite of mine.
  2. Popcorn... Probably my favorite snack then and now. And some butter and salt and we're set!
  3. Cheese sticks... cause you know cheese is amazing. We didn't get cheese sticks very often so these were always a special treat for me. :)
  4. My mom's bread... I ate that breakfast, lunch, supper and every minute in between. Because it is whole wheat I trick myself into believing I can eat as much as I want. It's so good you see! 
  5. Any candy bars... we didn't get a whole lot of those growing up either so I treasured every bite. 
  6. Pop... mostly root beer when I was young. As kids we didn't get pop at home but we had it when we were out sometimes. 
  7. Guacamole... pretty much heaven on earth. 
  8. Strawberry or blueberry smoothies... that was always a special treat our mother would whip up for us in the blender. 
  9. Cookies, cakes, brownies, ect. Loved them then and I still do now. It's a curse.
  10. Ice cream... cookies n' cream and chocolate chip cookie dough... enough said.
And that, my friends, is how I got to my current weight. ;)

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

WWW Wednesdays

Today I'm linking up with MizB at Should be Reading to answer some reading questions. 

What are you currently reading?

Currently I've got three books going. I'm reading The Children of Húrin by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde and I'm listening to The Warden by Anthony Trollope. 

What did you recently finish reading?

The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

What do you think you'll reading next?

So many books so little time. I honestly have no clue. I'm not envisioning myself finishing these soon so we'll see. I've been getting amen urge to reread Harry Potter recently. I really don't know why, I've reread them fairly recently think so I really shouldn't as there are other books that I should be reading.perhaps I'll start Bridge Over the River Kwai.  


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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Giveaway Winner!!!! (and a little life)

There's talent... and then there's talent. Me, I've got the latter. This morning for breakfast I made a smoothie and there was spinach in it so it ends up kind of looking like puke, which doesn't bother me. However, when I'm "talented" enough to dump it on my white scrub top... well...
I didn't let that dampen my absolutely amazing day at nursing clinicals today though. I got to watch my very first birth via C-section today and it was an absolutely magical experience! Today was the best clinical day I have had yet. I'll even admit I almost cried several times today. Hearing a baby's first cry just about did it.
However, I'm sure you're far more interested in the winner of the giveaway for a handmade beach bag! So I'm very excited to announce that Andrea Stoeckle!!!! and I recommend you check it out. I'll be contacting Andrea and she'll soon be getting her handcrafted bag. :)
Thank you to everyone who participate and I hope to do another giveaway sometime in the near future. The weather is amazing right now in Kansas and I hope you are enjoying equally splendid weather. Have a great day and God bless! :)

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Top Ten Tuesday: All Time Favorite Books in the Fantasy Genre

The link up for today at The Broke and the Bookish was "All time favorite books in X genre". I chose fantasy as that's probably my favorite reading genre. :) While it is my favorite genre I haven't actually read tons of books in that genre so we'll see if I get a list of ten. And these are in no way in any order, though LOTR is definitely number one.

  1. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (duh)
  2. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  3. The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis
  4. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  5. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  6. Redwall series by Brian Jacques
  7. Eragon by Christopher Paolini (first one is good but I don't really care for the others)
  8. The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander
  9. The Wizard of Oz series by L. Frank Baum
  10. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Caroll
We'll I did come up with ten, though I wasn't exactly consistent with how I listed them (some I listed series, some I listed single titles). I'm so afraid I missed something obvious but who knows. I went scrolling through lists of fantasy books which jogged my memory. I almost forgot certain books/series were fantasy. :)

P.S. I know I said I'd announce the winners for my giveaway today. Please know I haven't forgotten... I am going to post it later on today. :)

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Sunday, March 9, 2014

It's Monday! Getting in the Reading Swing!

I think I'm finally back into the swing of reading. You know how it is, one day you're reading like crazy the next you're taking it easy. Or maybe that's just me. :)
Note: DON'T FORGET!!! There is still time to sign up for my giveaway. Don't forget to do so! :)

Last week I FINALLY finished War of the Worlds and you can read my review here
Goodreads synopsis of The War of the Worlds: Man had not yet learned to fly when H.G. Wells conceived this story of a Martian attack on England. Giant cylinders crash to Earth, disgorging huge, unearthly creatures armed with heat-rays and fighting machines. Amid the boundless destruction they cause, it looks as if the end of the world has come.

I'm also still current listening to on audio book Anthony Trollope's The Warden and I am now a little over halfway through it
Goodreads synopsis of The WardenThe book centers on the character of Mr. Harding, a clergyman of great personal integrity, whose charitable income far exceeds the purpose for which it was intended. Young John Bold turns his reforming zeal to exposing what he considers to be an abuse of privilege, despite being in love with Mr. Harding's daughter Eleanor. The novel was highly topical as a case regarding the misapplication of church funds was the scandalous subject of contemporary debate. But Trollope uses this specific case to explore and illuminate the universal complexities of human motivation and social morality. 

Early last week I started Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Grey. So far I am enjoying it, finding it a very intriguing and though provoking book.
Goodreads synopsis of The Picture of Dorian Grey: The tale of a youth whose features, year after year, retain the same appearance of innocent beauty while the shame of his abhorrent vices becomes mirrored on the features of his portrait.

Later in the week I started J.R.R. Tolkien's The Children of Húrin, which I am enjoying. Pretty much it is for us Tolkien geeks and probably no one else would appreciate it. :)
Goodreads synopsis of The Children of HúrinPainstakingly restored from Tolkien's manuscripts and presented for the first time as a fully continuous and standalone story, the epic tale of The Children of Hurin will reunite fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings with Elves and Men, dragons and Dwarves, eagles and Orcs, and the rich landscape and characters unique to Tolkien. There are tales of Middle-earth from times long before The Lord of the Rings, and the story told in this book is set in the great country that lay beyond the Grey Havens in the West: lands where Treebeard once walked, but which were drowned in the great cataclysm that ended the First Age of the World. In that remote time Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, dwelt in the vast fortress of Angband, the Hells of Iron, in the North; and the tragedy of Turin and his sister Nienor unfolded within the shadow of the fear of Angband and the war waged by Morgoth against the lands and secret cities of the Elves. Their brief and passionate lives were dominated by the elemental hatred that Morgoth bore them as the children of Hurin, the man who had dared to defy and to scorn him to his face. Against them he sent his most formidable servant, Glaurung, a powerful spirit in the form of a huge wingless dragon of fire. Into this story of brutal conquest and flight, of forest hiding-places and pursuit, of resistance with lessening hope, the Dark Lord and the Dragon enter in direly articulate form. Sardonic and mocking, Glaurung manipulated the fates of Turin and Nienor by lies of diabolic cunning and guile, and the curse of Morgoth was fulfilled. The earliest versions of this story by J.R.R. Tolkien go back to the end of the First World War and the years that followed; but long afterwards, when The Lord of the Rings was finished, he wrote it anew and greatly enlarged it in complexities of motive and character: it became the dominant story in his later work on Middle-earth. But he could not bring it to a final and finished form. In this book Christopher Tolkien has constructed, after long study of the manuscripts, a coherent narrative without any editorial invention.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Book Review-The War of the Worlds

For my reading challenges I need to write reviews of the books I read. I don't consider myself very good at literary analysis (maybe a little better at film reviews) but as I have to, here goes.... My review of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds.
Prior to reading the book I was only familiar with the old film version. Now that I have finished the book I'm going to try out the more recent film version with Tom Cruise.
The War of the Worlds, I'm given to understand was fairly revolutionary for its time, and you have to keep that in mind when reading it. It was a slow paced book but quite intriguing. The contemplations of the main character are fascinating as he goes between despair and hope and watches others around him succumb to insanity in the wake of the terror. The science part of it was good, but as I read it in this time period and not in the time in which it was written, some of its wonder is probably lost on me. Overall though I enjoyed it. I gave it three stars on Goodreads, meaning to me that it was good but I probably won't ever re-read it.

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Something Summery (giveaway!)

I know what you're thinking.... "Lois has finally lost it... she thinks it's summer." Wrong! I lost it years ago. ;) So why "something summer"? Sheila at Book Journey is calling an emergency Summer-Cation, asking people to write a post about a great summer experience. I am honestly thrilled about this because as you all know, I hate the cold and I am much looking forward to warmer weather. I am also doing a giveaway to go along with this. I will be crocheting and giving away a mesh beach bag! Now I have your attention! ;) You can enter by commenting with what you are most looking forward to this summer! Like the blog on Facebook and you get another entry (link in sidebar). Follow my blog and you get another entry yet! Follow me on Bloglovin and you'll get ANOTHER entry (link at bottom of post or in sidebar) and finally, become my friend on Goodreads and you'll get another entry. Just comment and let me know which ones you did. This is open until Monday at midnight. I'll announce the winner next Tuesday (and contact you) and as soon as I get the bag made (hopefully sooner not later as you guys know my crazy school schedule) then I'll get it sent to you.



So back a few years ago, my family had a Japanese exchange student staying at our house for the summer. To give him the true Kansas experience, we took him for a tour of the flint hills. Not the nice highway 177 scenic route that's clearly marked. No... we took the real scenic route.... gravel roads, no signs, truly out in the boonies. It is gorgeous out there. Pictures just don't capture it. There is nothing for miles but the rolling grassy hills, oil pumps, and cattle. We spent quite some time driving along out there, stopping every once and awhile to snap a picture. It was quite awhile before we realized that we had not clue where we were. Did I mention we were in the middle of nowhere? No houses, I'm not sure about cellphone coverage (I don't think anyone tried that option at least), no GPS, nada. My Dad, who knows the area more as his grandparents had lived in the area, took the wheel and started driving. He was trying to make light of the situation as he didn't want us to get worried, especially not our exchange student. We drove for quite awhile longer before he finally said, "I recognize this place!" Oh my were we excited! It still took us a length of time to get into an area where we really knew we where and then finally we made it home.

The moral of this story is not don't go visit the Flint Hills and it isn't even don't take the real scenic route. No, the moral of the story is take some sort of GPS system so if you get lost you can find your way out of there. However, if I was going to get lost anywhere, I'd want it to be out in the Flint Hills.

Note: None of these pictures are mine... I found them off the internet but I felt they captured as well as it could possibly be captured, the beauty of the Flint Hills.

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