Wednesday, December 31, 2014

TBR Pile Challenge Wrap up Post

I read a wide variety of books this year for my TBR Pile Challenge hosted by Roof Beam Reader (be sure to check out the 2015 challenge!). It was tons of fun to finish up books that had been on my TBR list for years as this forced me to finally read them and many of them have become new favorites. Be sure to check out the links below to read my reviews! :)

2. The Warden by Anthony Trollope (was an alternate)

Have a great end of the year and here's to the new one! :)

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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 Book Kaleidoscope- Day 5

The theme today for the Book Kaleidoscope is my top five books. I hate it when I have to rate my top books. I feel sorry for the ones I left out! I feel like they need mentioning too! And, as always, I somehow cheat on my list... today is no exception. ;) Links take you to my reviews if I wrote one. So in no particular order... enjoy! :)
  1. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell- A very Pride and Prejudice like story with strong memorable characters and a moving pollen. 
  2. Our Mutual Friend and Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens- Both great Dickens works with the standard unforgettable characters that only he can create. :)
  3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett- This was a modern classic for me. The characters and the plot line moved me. 
  4. Christianity and Liberalism by J. Gresham Machem- A great piece of non-fiction work that is just as true today as it was when it was written over ninety years ago. 
  5. Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther by Roland Bainton- A truly magnificent biography of Martin Luther that was captivating throughout. 
So yeah I got six in there but I'm sure nobody will notice. ;)

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Top Ten Goals/Resolutions for 2015

This week's Top Ten Tuesday theme is the top ten goals or resolutions for 2015 bookish, blogging or otherwise. :) I'm not much of a resolution maker... I do have goals in life though... like finish nursing school without having a nervous breakdown and getting married and having children but not really yearly resolutions for my life. Now blogging and reading wise is an entirely different matter. I have goals for those and I'm sticking to them! Well hopefully that is. ;)
  1. Read 100+ books in 2015!
  2. Complete 90% of the multiple reading challenges I signed up for in 2015. Preferably all but I'm trying to be realistic here. 
  3. Complete reviews for all of the books I read this year. This is going to be a challenge for me! 
  4. Participate in a read-a-long for the first time.
  5. Reach 80 followers on Bloglovin!!! That's double from what I currently have so maybe a little ambitious. :)
  6. Listen to 10+ audibooks
  7. Read at least one eBook
  8. Read 50+ re-reads
P.S. As the new year is at our doorstep remember to consider signing up for my Hard Core Re-reading challenge or my Birthday Month Reading Challenge! I hope y'all have a great year of reading next year! :)

Linking up with Broke and Bookish 

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Monday, December 29, 2014

2014 Book Kaleidoscope- Day 4

Today for the Book Kaleidoscope I have a freebie theme! I'm going to go with top five heroines! :) So here you are in no particular order.

  1. Amy Dorrit from Charles Dickens's Little Dorrit
  2. Bella Wilfer and Lizzie Hexam from Charles Dickens's Our Mutual Friend
  3. Margaret Hale from Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South
  4. Mary Poppins from P.L. Travers' Mary Poppins series- A re-read this year but I love this eccentric nanny! 
  5. Agnes Grey from Anne Bronte's Agnes Grey
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Sunday, December 28, 2014

2014 Book Kaleidoscope: Day 3

Today the theme for the Book Kaleidoscope is my five favorite book covers of the year. These again won't be in any particular order except the first one is probably my favorite. :)

1) The Children of Húrin by J.R.R. Tolkien- This cover just conveys such epicness! The soldier looking off into the distance with the battle behind him and the mist is so perfect! :)


2) The Book of Lost Tales by J.R.R. Tolkien- I love the simple setting of telling a story that this cover evokes.

3) Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens- The cover is simple but I love how it captures the theme of the story... money. 

4) Marry Poppins by P.L. Travers- A Re-read for this year but I still love the cover. :)

5) The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling- Another re-read for this year. I have always loved these covers for this series and was kind of oblivious until searching images for this post that there were other covers out there. :)



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It's Monday! Enjoying the Break :)

It's been a nice relaxing week with a little reading and a lot of watching Stargate: Atlantis. I'm almost done with it!!! :)

Completed this week

  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • Death Comes to Pemberly by P.D. James

Currently Reading

  • Nothing- I probably won't start anything new until the new year. :)
Just a quick reminder as the new year begins this week: Don't forget to sign up for my Hard Core Re-reading challenge or my Birthday Month Reading Challenge

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Friday, December 26, 2014

2014 Book Kaleidoscope- Day 2

The theme for today for the Book Kaleidoscope is the Top Five Most Memorable Quotes. I'm really bad at keeping track of quotes though oftentimes I will photograph especially memorable ones but I don't always get that done. Therefore there could be great quotes from these books that I missed. :(

1) This is a great quote from Hugh Binning's book Christian Love. “Self-love is the greatest enemy to true Christian love, and pride is the fountain of self-love” “He whose sins are covered by God’s free love cannot think it hard to spread the garment of his love over his brother’s sins” “Humility makes a man compare himself with the best that he may find how bad he himself is, but pride measures by the worst, that it may hide a man from his own imperfections”



2) I love so many quotes from John Bunyan's book Prayer but out of my gracious heart I'm only giving you one. ;)




3) This quote from Roland Bainton's book Here I Stand was especially touching for me with the recent passing of my grandfather. Martin Luther uttered these words after his daughter died. "How strange it is to know that she is at peace and all is well and yet to be so sorrowful!" 


4) Henry V (by Shakespeare of course) has two of my favorite passages in literature. I was familiar with these long before I read it and actually reading them has just increased my love for them. :)
This is Henry V's famous Crispin's Day speech
What's he that wishes so?     
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;     
If we are mark'd to die, we are enow     
To do our country loss; and if to live,     
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.     
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.     
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,     
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;     
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;     
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.     
But if it be a sin to covet honour,     
I am the most offending soul alive.    
 No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.     
God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour     
As one man more methinks would share from me     
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!     
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,     
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,     
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,     
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;     
We would not die in that man's company     
That fears his fellowship to die with us.     
This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.     
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,     
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,     
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.     
He that shall live this day, and see old age,     
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,     
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.'     
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,     
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.'     
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,     
But he'll remember, with advantages,     
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,    
Familiar in his mouth as household words-     
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,     
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-     
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.     
This story shall the good man teach his son;     
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,     
From this day to the ending of the world,     
But we in it shall be remembered-     
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;     
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me     
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,     
This day shall gentle his condition;     
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed     
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,     
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks     
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

This one is the chorus to the first act of Henry V
O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend 
The brightest heaven of invention, 
A kingdom for a stage, princes to act 
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene! 
Then should the warlike Harry, like himself, 
Assume the port of Mars; and at his heels, 
Leash'd in like hounds, should famine, sword and fire 
Crouch for employment. But pardon, and gentles all, 
The flat unraised spirits that have dared 
On this unworthy scaffold to bring forth 
So great an object: can this cockpit hold 
The vasty fields of France? or may we cram 
Within this wooden O the very casques 
That did affright the air at Agincourt? 
O, pardon! since a crooked figure may 
Attest in little place a million; 
And let us, ciphers to this great accompt, 
On your imaginary forces work. 
Suppose within the girdle of these walls 
Are now confined two mighty monarchies, 
Whose high upreared and abutting fronts 
The perilous narrow ocean parts asunder: 
Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts; 
Into a thousand parts divide on man, 
And make imaginary puissance; 
Think when we talk of horses, that you see them 
Printing their proud hoofs i' the receiving earth; 
For 'tis your thoughts that now must deck our kings, 
Carry them here and there; jumping o'er times, 
Turning the accomplishment of many years 
Into an hour-glass: for the which supply, 
Admit me Chorus to this history; 
Who prologue-like your humble patience pray, 
Gently to hear, kindly to judge, our play.

5) Finally, this dialogue from Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame cracks me up. :)
 (Frollo trying to convince Gringoire to help rescue Esmeralda) "What then? Why, she will go into your clothes and you will remain in hers. You may get hanged, perhaps, but she will be saved."
Gringoire scratched his ear with a very serious air. "Well," said he, "There is an idea that would never have come into my head of itself."
(Frollo) "Well, Gringoire, What say you to the plan?"
"I say master that I shall not be hanged perhaps, but that I shall be hanged indubitably.


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Thursday, December 25, 2014

2014 Book Kaleidoscope- Day 1

Fanda from Fanda Classiclit is hosting the 2014 Book Kaleidoscope. This is a way of summing up the year of reading. :)
There are five days with different prompts for each. For this first day the prompt is Top Five boyfriends/girlfriends.
Well first off... awkward! Secondly... hmmm. I really don't have crushes from literature and I suppose I'm more an Elinor Dashwood in that I would say I "esteem them" and all of the Marianne Dashwoods throw their hands up in despair at such tame and unromantic language but there you are. :) So here are the men I "esteem" in no particular order.
Mr. Harding from Anthony Trollope's The Warden

  1. Arthur Clennam from Charles Dickens Little Dorrit- Always taking an active interest in other people. :)
  2. Mr. Harding from Anthony Trollope's The Warden- This man is so kind hearted and so considerate of others it really wrenches the heart sometimes. 
  3. John Harmon and Mr. Boffin from Charles Dickens Our Mutual Friend- You'd have to read the book to really get how great of characters they are. I can't really explain it without spoilers. :(
  4. John Thornton from Elizabeth Gakell's North and South- Proud but disciplined, he's a man of integrity and with a soft heart you don't expect. 
  5. All of the men from Jeff Shaara's God's and Generals- There's so many and I don't recall all of their names but I highly respected them all. I guess specifically Jackson and Lee. :)


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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

2014 Reading Year in Review

Lianne at Caffeinated Life hooked me up with this link up hosted by Perpetual Page Turner and I liked how it looked so I thought I'd give it a try too. :)

reading-stats-2014

Number Of Books You Read: 62
Number of Re-Reads: 13
Genre You Read The Most From: Classics

 best-YA-books-2014

1. Best Book You Read In 2014?

(If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2013 release vs. backlist)


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


 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014? 


  • I was pleasantly surprised by Kathryn Stockett's The Help

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014?


  • I don't really push people to read books. However, my best friend did finally read Mansfield Park after years of my telling her too. She liked it. :)

 5. Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?


  • I didn't read any series in 2014 but I did RE-read the Harry Potter series which as always was great! :)

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?


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


  • Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow by Orson Card from the sci-fi genre... which I don't at all normally read. 

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


 9. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?


  • Well I don't normally re-read books just a year after I read them but if I were going to re-read one of them in 2015 it would be Christianity and Liberalism because I feel there is always more you could get out of this book

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?

The epicness of this cover I think speaks for itself. :)

11. Most memorable character of 2014?


 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?


13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2014?


 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read? 


  • A lot, really most of them but I guess I'll go with Anthony Trollope's The Warden, as I read it's sequel Barchester Towers years ago. 

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?

  • I'm not very good at keeping track of quotes but this one from Hugh Binning's book Christian Love is very good. 
“Self-love is the greatest enemy to true Christian love, and pride is the fountain of self-love” “He whose sins are covered by God’s free love cannot think it hard to spread the garment of his love over his brother’s sins” “Humility makes a man compare himself with the best that he may find how bad he himself is, but pride measures by the worst, that it may hide a man from his own imperfections”

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?


  • Longest- Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
  • Shortest- Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)

  • Probably Pierre Boulle's Bridge on the River Kwai... the ending just.... shocked me!
  • Also Aldous Huxley's Brave New World shocked me because of the reality it presented. 

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

(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)
  • I don't like the OTP/shipping thing but I suppose I can answer this with Amy Dorrit and Arthur Clenham from Charles Dickens' Little Dorrit

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

  • Bean and Ender Wiggins from Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow. 

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

21. Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

  • Well my brother has been raving about Hugh Binning's Christian Love for the longest time and I finally caved and read it. Probably would never have read it or heard of it if it hadn't been for him. 

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?

  • All of these romantic questions! Umm... well I don't really have fictional crushes. I highly esteem men from literature like Mr. Knightley and Mr. Tilney but I don't have a crush on them. I guess though my new favorite "highly esteemed" male for this year would be Arthur Clenham from Little Dorrit

23. Best 2014 debut you read?


  • I had to remind myself that I had read two 2014 books this year.  I just don't normally read modern books. My favorite of the two would definitely be Wouldn't it be Deadly, which while not being great was not bad. :)

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


  • Frank Herbert's Dune 

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


  • Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors was quite hilarious... given the title I think we can assume it was supposed to be. ;)

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?


27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?


28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?


29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014?

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


book-blogging


1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014? 


  • I discovered a LOT of great ones! I don't even know where to start... so I won't. :( If I visit your blog fairly often know that I love it and if I took the time to make a list you would be on it. :)

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2014? 


  • I love how in depth I got with this review of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Normally I don't make that much of an effort but I just write a little about what I liked and didn't like then done. I suppose you could say that Hunchback made me think more. :)

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?


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


  • I love doing the Top Ten Tuesday memes and the It's Monday What are You Reading meme

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2014?


  • Bookish- I'm very proud of the amount of Dickens I read this year and overall so far. Can't wait to get some more read next year! 
  • Blogging- I'm up to 36 followers on blogger and 40 followers on Bloglovin'! :) That may seem like a small number but it's a big leap for me. :)

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


8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?


  • Ummm... awkward! I don't know.... all of them! ;) I suppose I like this post a lot and I feel like it expresses a lot of my sentiments. :)

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

  • I love Novel Challenges for finding reading challenges and I'm continually discovering the wonders of Goodreads every day. :) I'm also utilizing Amazon more for buying books... especially used books. 

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

I completed ALL of them!!!!! See my accumulation page of the reading challenges I competed in this year HERE


looking-ahead-books-2015


1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015?


  • Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier- I really wanted to read that this year but it didn't get done. 

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut)?


  • Barnaby Rudge, Gone with the Wind and Rebecca. 

3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?


  • I don't really read or keep track of new books much. 

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2015?

  • I like N.D. Wilson's Ashtown Burials series and I'm hoping the last book is coming out in 2015. I haven't read the one before that though so probably I should get around to that too. ;)

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2015?


  • Write a review of every book I read in 2015. Ambitious I know and I can't believe I'm considering it. 

6. A 2015 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:


  • Again, I don't read modern books much, so no... 
This was fun to fill out and I hope y'all enjoyed it too! 
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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind "Santa" Bringing This Year

Books are always, always, ALWAYS an acceptable gift for me.... yes that's a hint. ;) I'm really trying to bolster up my personal library right now as even though my parents have thousands of books I'm trying to get my own copies of all of my favorites.
  1. The Valley of Vision... I actually asked for this for Christmas so hopefully I will get it. I haven't read it yet but I'm looking forward to it. 
  2. The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer
  3. Any Dickens (except Barnaby Rudge, David Copperfield and Our Mutual Friend because I already have those). 
  4. Coronation of Glory: The Story of Lady Jane Grey by Deborah Meroff- One of my favorite books and one of my most re-read books. 
  5. Gods and Generals by Jeff Shaara... I already have Killer Angels but I'd love to have it's prequel as well. They're both great. 
  6. Any Agatha Christie except the ones I have... which I can't recall the titles so just be psychic and don't get them for me. ;) 
  7. Any P.G. Wodehouse
  8. Mary Poppins or any in that series
  9. The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope
  10. Any of the Harry Potter series except four and five as I already have copies of those. 
Linking up with Broke and Bookish 

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Monday, December 22, 2014

It's Monday and I've Completed my Reading Challenges!

In November I was getting the uneasy feeling that I wasn't going to get my reading challenges completed as I still had four books left, third of which were pretty long. However, last Wednesday I completed Roland Bainton's Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther and therefore completed my last reading challenge to be completed. You can see everything I read this year here on my 2014 Reading Challenges Page. Now I can really look forward to a new year of reading challenges, knowing that I've already successfully completed one year. :) So reading?

Completed this Week

  • Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther by Roland Bainton

Currently Reading

  • Death Comes to Pemberly by P.D. James

Coming Soon!

  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley 
  • AND A NEW YEAR OF READING!!!!!! :)

Review Posted this Week


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Friday, December 19, 2014

Book Review- Here I Stand

For my TBR Pile Challenge and my non-fiction reading challenge I read Roland Bainton's book Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther, which, as you may guess, is about the life of Martin Luther.
Here's the synopsis from Goodreads: Here is an authoritative, unforgettable biography of Martin Luther, the great religious leader, who entered a monastery as a youth and who, as a man, shattered the structure of the medieval church. Luther spoke out against the corrupt religious practices that then existed. His demanded that the authority for doctrine and practice be Scriptures, rather than Popes or Councils, echoed around the world and ignited the Great Reformation. Accused of heresy and threatened with excommunication and death, Luther maintained his bold stand and refused to recant. In his crusade to eliminate religious abuses, he did more than any other man to establish the Protestant faith. 
This is one of the best non-fiction books I have ever read and I must say was extremely well written for being history, which can, in the wrong hands, come off as hard to read. Bainton does an excellent job of portraying the life of Martin Luther without whitewashing it but giving the plain and simple facts. There were things that Luther did that we may squirm to admit but Bainton still included them.
With this book I felt like I was better able to understand the exact theology that was being debated by Martin Luther and the Catholic church during that time. I loved that Bainton included long passages of quotes from Luther and others, especially from Luther's writings and sermons.  Luther was a fascinating man and I could not imagine being in his position during this time. His trust in God and bravery were inspiring.
Here are a couple quotes from the book that I liked. The whole book was so great that I actually only photographed two quotes from it because I didn't know where to start!
"I have no use for cranks who despise music, because it is a gift from God."
After his daughter dies- "How strange it is to know that she is at peace and all is well and yet to be so sorrowful!" I loved this quote as it really summed up my feelings with my grandfather passing away.  
There's not much more I could say about this but to read it! :)

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Book Review- The Hunchback of Notre Dame

My familiarity with this story before reading it was narrowed down to my one viewing of the Disney movie, which I knew probably would be far off from the original story, and reading the back of a film version of it that my Dad had. Neither were accurate representations unfortunately.
So here's the Goodreads synopsis and then let's get to my thoughts!
In the vaulted Gothic towers of Notre-Dame lives Quasimodo, the hunchbacked bellringer. Mocked and shunned for his appearance, he is pitied only by Esmerelda, a beautiful gypsy dancer to whom he becomes completely devoted. Esmerelda, however, has also attracted the attention of the sinister archdeacon Claude Frollo, and when she rejects his lecherous approaches, Frollo hatches a plot to destroy her that only Quasimodo can prevent. Victor Hugo's sensational, evocative novel brings life to the medieval Paris he loved, and mourns its passing in one of the greatest historical romances of the nineteenth century.
So basically it's a love story? There's a question mark there because I thought of it more as a lust story. Everyone is lusting after Esmeralda... except Quasimodo... which I suppose was their point in saying it was a love story... but still, I envision it as more of a lust story. Your thoughts?
Anyways, here's my thoughts on the characters, since it really is very much a character driven story.

Quasimodo

This was really the only character I liked in the story. You feel sorry for him and sometimes empathize with him. I think we've all experienced rejection at some level. He gives of himself selflessly without any hope of getting anything in return. There's not really anything negative to say about him. 

Pierre Gringoire

Kind of a good character but kind of annoying but really just in the books for comic relief and it works. He comes into the story as the author of a play that is to be performed (but never is) and that whole situation is rather funny. However, more importantly he comes into the story when he gets captured by the gypsies after accidentally stumbling into their camp and when he is about to be killed Esmeralda rescues him out of pity by agreeing to marry him. However, their "marriage" is unconsummated as (see below) Esmeralda is sworn to virginity. Gringoire then floats through story making smile and lending himself to the plot of the story at odd moments. 
I love this dialogue and it really sums up the character: 
(Frollo trying to convince Gringoire to help rescue Esmeralda) "What then? Why, she will go into your clothes and you will remain in hers. You may get hanged, perhaps, but she will be saved."
Gringoire scratched his ear with a very serious air. "Well," said he, "There is an idea that would never have come into my head of itself."
(Frollo) "Well, Gringoire, What say you to the plan?"
"I say master that I shall not be hanged perhaps, but that I shall be hanged indubitably."

Esmeralda

Esmeralda was a likable character too and technically one of the other "good characters" in the story. However often times I found her petulant and entirely caught up over Phoebus and in denial about his true nature. She didn't always treat Quasimodo well though he tried his best help her. However, over all I found her to be kind and considerate. I must say that when I read the book I was shocked by her character. Not because she was bad obviously but because I thought she was bad. In the Disney movie she does do some rather "lewd dancing" and on the back of the live action film that my Dad has it says she was arrested for "lewd dancing"... which was NOT the case. Yes, she is a gypsy dancer and you really don't know what kind of dancing she was doing and it probably wasn't the best but that really wasn't the point. When you read the book you realize that she is a virgin, though I would say for the wrong reasons, and while she may be somewhat of a flirt she is not a loose woman (read the book to understand the reasons cause they're to complicated to explain here). However, when it came to Phoebus, it could have ended up very differently. Which leads me to... 

Phoebus

I can't decide who I despise more... Frollo or Phoebus. Phoebus is a captain of the guard who is basically a womanizer and Esmeralda is to be one of his conquests and she would have had him be on of his conquests out of ridiculous love for him if circumstances hadn't happened (sorry no spoilers on that part!). One of the last lines of the book and the last note about him, makes me smile: SPOILERS Phoebus de Chateaupers also came to a tragical end: he married. END SPOILERS.

Frollo

I leave the worst and most complicated for last. I say complicated though and I'm not sure. How complicated is Frollo's lust for Esmeralda? Basically, it was sin, and basically Frollo should not have been a priest. I can't feel sorry for Frollo but instead I'm disgusted and creeped out by him. One of the few parts I like of the Disney movie is the song The Bells of Notre Dame and the line "Who is the monster and who is the man?" in respect to Frollo and Quasimodo. That is the real question of the story.

Now on past the characters! 

Of course there is more to a story than the characters and it was the more to the story that oftentimes made me unhappy with it. Besides snippets here and there, the first half of the story is basically long description about Notre Dame and Paris that is absolutely unnecessary to the story. After an incredibly long and detailed description of Paris, Hugo writes, As we constructed it in the reader's mind the general image of old Paris; we will recapitulate in a few words. A few words? Really? What followed was not a few words but I must say I wish I had had just those "few words" instead of the longer description that followed before it.
The first half though was great as the story actually got rolling. Les Mis was similar in that way with the unnecessary tangents and discussions as I recall but again it was a good book too. Hugo is a great writer but he just needed an editor.
Overall a good and interesting book. :)

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Top Ten Books I Read in 2014

Ten? Only Ten? Ahhhhhh!!!! I told you that this list was coming!
I guess I'll have to try my best to chose out of sixty pretty much all great books to come up with the top ten. I'll have you know though it's torture! To ease the torture I'm grouping some of them by author. I also didn't include any re-reads in this list though I did re-read some spectacular books this year. Links will take you to my review of the book, if I wrote one. However, basically I loved all of these books and would highly recommend them to all. :)
  1. The Children of Húrin by J.R.R. Tolkien- As you probably know I love Tolkien and especially LOTR. While Silmarillion was good, I didn't enjoy it as much. The Children of Húrin though was an amazing in-between. It mixed the mythology of the Silmarillion with the faster paced LOTR to produce another great Tolkien work. If you're a Tolkien fan I highly recommend it... if you aren't... uh... get on to that now! ;)
  2. Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card- Some of my first science fiction reading and I really enjoyed these two. The plots were exciting and surprising the whole way through and even though Ender's Shadow was a parallel novel it still continued to put in twists you didn't see coming. Overall I enjoyed it more but they were both great. 
  3. Gods and Generals by Jeff Shaara - I've been a big fan of Killer Angels since I read it back in high school and I loved Gods and Generals almost as much. This historical novel covering the War between the States really brings to life the men and the events surrounding the war and what lead up to it. It is a heartbreaking book as you see men making decisions that they never thought they would have to make and choosing sides apart from their friends. If you love history, you'll love this book. 
  4. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell- I've watched the mini-series multiple times and the book is just as great. There are subtle differences that I think make the book better but they're both great. This book has similar themes to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, though of course not topping that masterpiece. 
  5. Little Dorritt and Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens- I loved both of these books so much that I couldn't chose a favorite out of the two. Dickens always creates such memorable characters and stories and these two books are no exception. There's a great mini-series made in 2008 that I've watched of Little Dorrit  that I would highly recommend. There's also a mini-series made of Our Mutual Friend (1998) that has come highly recommended but I haven't seen it yet (hopefully soon now that I have time over the break!). 
  6. The Help by Kathryn Stockett- The character and injustice are what makes this story so amazing and memorable. I was very pleasantly surprised by this story. The movie is good too. 
  7. The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde- I didn't know what to expect going into this story but it definitely caught me off my guard. The story is dark and different, especially for the time period it was written in. 
  8. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding- Apparently I was the only one who didn't know the plot line going into this story. By the time I was halfway through though I was figuring it out. This story depicts the depravity of man in a very real, harsh and unexpected way. Great book! 
  9. Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz- My Dad and Mom have talked about their love of Dean Koontz's books and especially this series for a long time and after reading a couple others of his books I took the plunge and read this one. I loved it! This book was continually surprising with fun and interesting characters. Koontz's writing is witty and kept me engaged the whole way through. I know there is a movie and I just haven't gotten around to watching it yet but my Dad recommended it so I'm sure it's good. :)
  10. Christianity and Liberalism by J. Gresham Machen- One of the non-fiction books I read this year. It was written over 90 years ago but is still incredibly relevant to this day. It gave me a much better basis for understanding Christianity and politics. I would highly, HIGHLY recommend this book. It made me think probably a lot more than I wanted too. 
Linking up with Broke and Bookish 

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Bout of Books #2- Sign up Post!!!!!

I had tons of fun with my first Bout of Books back at the beginning of the school year and I'm excited to do another one (and hopefully do better on it). ;)
Here's the official blurb of rules. :)
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 5th and runs through Sunday, January 11th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 12 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
 I'm glad that this one runs at a more convenient time for me and it should encourage me to kick off my reading year with a bang!

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