Thursday, December 31, 2015

Wrap Up Posts for Reading Challenges

These are my wrap ups for various challenges.

Back to the Classics Challenge 

I completed all 12 Challenges so I get three entries for the giveaway. 

Newberry Reading Challenge


TBR Pile Challenge

Mount TBR Pile Challenge

  1. Shaking the Nickel Bush by Ralph Moody Completed 11/18/15 
  2. The Dry Divide by Ralph Moody 11/24/15 
  3. Horse of a Different Color by Ralph Moody 12/3/15
  4. Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens Completed 6/13/15 
  5. Macbeth by William Shakespeare COMPLETED 2/3/15
  6. Beowulf by Unknown COMPLETED 1/1/15
  7. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevesky Completed 9/19/15 
  8. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier Completed 12/17/15
  9. King Lear by William Shakespeare COMPLETED 4/7/15
  10. Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw Completed 7/25/15 
  11. The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne COMPLETED 10/26/15 
  12. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jule Verne COMPLETED 4/5/15
  13. How Green was my Valley by Richard Llewellyn Completed 6/30/15 
  14. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte COMPLETED 2/19/15
  15. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare COMPLETED 4/15/15 
  16. Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope Completed 11/16/15 
  17. The Wisdom of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton Completed 9/4/15 
  18. That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis Completed 8/16/15 
  19. Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges Completed 5/18/15 
  20. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemmingway Completed 10/18/15 
  21. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner Completed 10/13/15 
  22. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck COMPLETED 2/25/15
  23. Peace Like a River by Leif Enger COMPLETED 1/31/15
  24. Under the Greenwood Tree by Thomas Hardy COMPLETED 1/31/15
  25. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Remarque Completed 11/21/15 
  26. Life with Father by Clarence Day Jr. Completed 9/5/15 
  27. Old Yeller by Fred Gipson Completed 9/7/15 
  28. The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde COMPLETED 3/22/15
  29. A Child's History of England by Charles Dickens Completed 8/31/15 
  30. Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott COMPLETED 4/15/15
  31. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee COMPLETED 3/17/15
  32. The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander Completed 7/8/15
  33. The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander Completed 7/11/15
  34. The Castle of Llyr by Lloyd Alexander  Completed 7/13/15
  35. Taran Wanderer by Lloyd Alexander Completed 7/20/15
  36. The High King by Lloyd Alexander Completed 7/23/15
  37. Emma by Jane Austen Completed 11/10/15 
  38. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emma Orczy Completed 4/5/15
  39. The Chosen by Chaim Potok Completed 11/29/15 
  40. Carry on Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham Completed 11/14/15 
  41. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White Copleted 12/13/15 

Author A-Z Challenge

Q- Quarles, Frances- Poetry Completed 11/28/15 


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Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Fair warning... this review will contain spoilers. SPOILERS!!!!! Read forward only if you've seen the film or don't car about spoilers.... though if you don't care about spoilers what kind of human being are you???
Synopsis from IMDB: Three decades after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, a new threat arises. The First Order attempts to rule the galaxy and only a rag-tag group of heroes can stop them, along with the help of the Resistance.
How can I even begin to write this review? My emotions are so mixed! I might feel differently about this movie after a second viewing but here's my thoughts for now.
First off.... I did like it. The main complaint I've heard about The Force Awakens is that it is basically a remake of A New Hope. Now I'll agree that it is very reminiscent of the originals but as a big fan of the originals I'm not sure I mind that too much... though I do mind it some.
I like the new characters that the movie introduce, especially Rey and Finn. Finn makes me laugh a lot. :) Of course BB8 was cute.
The inclusion of Han Solo and Chewbacca was maybe my favorite part. I'm a huge fan of Han Solo and obviously he was and still is the best part of Star Wars. That first look at the Millennium Flacon and it being called "junk" made me squeal so hard! Then when Han and Chewy step into the Millennium Falcon and Han says "Chewy, we're home" I wanted to cheer!
One of my disappointments was there was minimal hilarious bantering between Han Solo and Princess Leia. I kind of get it because it was a very sobering time for them both and they were kind of separated but still! There were some touching moments with them though. Kylo Ren being their son was well done and mystery of his identity solved there.
This of course brings me to the MAJOR SPOILER.... Han dies! I mean I get it.... him dying made the most sense for the story. I complained that I'd rather Leia would have died but then admitted that no one would have really been sorry then. His death had the most emotional impact. I've got to say here how much I enjoyed Harrison Ford's acting and bringing back to life Han Solo. He may be several years older but he WAS Han Solo once again. It was beautiful. Did I mention how much I love Han Solo?
Overall I enjoyed this return to the Star Wars universe and I'm excited to see what the future movies will bring.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

In preparation for THE FORCE AWAKENS (geek moment here!) my siblings and I watched The Empire Strikes Back.
Synopsis from IMDB: After the rebels have been brutally overpowered by the Empire on their newly established base, Luke Skywalker takes advanced Jedi training with Master Yoda, while his friends are pursued by Darth Vader as part of his plan to capture Luke.
I live for Han and Leia moments and while this one doesn't have as many laugh out loud ones as A New Hope does it has a lot of "Awwww" moments so it works. ;)
With this one you learn a lot more about the Force and of course there's the big reveal about Darth Vader being Luke's father. If you don't know that yet then you live under a rock. ;)
Now some great quotes. :)

"Do or do not, there is no try"

Leia- "I love you."
Han- "I know."

C3PO- "Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1."
Han- "Never tell me the odds."

Leia- "Why you stuck up, half-witted, scruffy-looking Nerf herder."
Han Solo- "Who's scruffy looking."

Han Solo: Hey, Your Worship, I'm only trying to help.
Princess Leia: Would you please stop calling me that?
Han Solo: Sure, Leia.
Princess Leia: You make it so difficult sometimes.
Han Solo: I do, I really do. You could be a little nicer, though. Come on, admit it. Sometimes you think I'm all right.
Princess Leia: Occasionally, maybe... when you aren't acting like a scoundrel.
Han Solo: Scoundrel? Scoundrel? I like the sound of that.
[Han starts to massage Leia's hand]
Princess Leia: Stop that.
Han Solo: Stop what?
Princess Leia: [timidly] Stop that. My hands are dirty.
Han Solo: My hands are dirty, too. What are you afraid of?
Princess Leia: Afraid?
Han Solo: You're trembling.
Princess Leia: I'm not trembling.
Han Solo: You like me because I'm a scoundrel. There aren't enough scoundrels in your life.
Princess Leia: I happen to like nice men.
Han Solo: I'm nice men.
Princess Leia: No, you're not. You're...
[they kiss] (And Lois cheers)

Han Solo- Well Princess, it looks like you managed to keep me here a while longer.
Leia- I had nothing to do with it. General Rieekan thinks it's dangerous for anyone to leave the system until they've activated the energy shield.
Han Solo- That's a good story. I think you just can't bear to let a gorgeous guy like me out of your sight.
Leia- I don't know where you get your delusions laser brain.
Chewbacca laughs.
Han Solo- Laugh it up fuzzball! (Lois quotes this line daily)

Han Solo- Afraid I was going to leave without giving you a goodbye kiss?"
Leia- I'd just as soon kiss a Wookie.
Han Solo- I can arrange that! You need a good kiss! 

Darth Vader- I'm altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further.

Leia- Well I guess you don't know everything about women yet. 

Han goes into asteroid field
Leia- You don't have to do this to impress me. 

Overall I do like A New Hope better but The Emperor Strikes back is definitely my second favorite. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Book Review- Rebecca

For the Back to the Classics challenge, Mount TBR challenge, New Author challenge, Alphabet Soup Challenge, Read England challenge, Women's challenge and the Classics Club I read Daphne du Maurier's novel Rebecca.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Working as a lady's companion, the heroine of Rebecca learns her place. Her future looks bleak until, on a trip to the South of France, she meets Max de Winter, a handsome widower whose sudden proposal of marriage takes her by surprise. She accepts, but whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to the ominous and brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is forever kept alive by the forbidding housekeeper, Mrs Danvers.
So there will be spoilers in this review just so you know.
I'd seen the old black and white film version (with Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine) before so I knew the storyline and I also know how it differed in one kind of essential way.... I think though if I might interject here that it was an improvement on the story overall.
But back to the book. I think it's so interesting how you never know the narrator's name. I didn't even realize that until halfway through the book. The suspense is powerful in this book. The author slowly and cleverly unfolds the story leaving you wondering what exactly is going on the whole time. And the reveal! Wow! Now as I said I did know the storyline so I'm sure it would have been even better if I hadn't known it but it was still awesome!
Sure there's a bit of a moral dilemma at the end that I'm not too fond of but that's why I prefer the movie. All in all you should definitely read this book and then I'd recommend the aforementioned movie. I think there might be other versions out there but I haven't seen them so I can't vouch for them.

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Monday, December 28, 2015

It's Monday! A Very Geeky Christmas

I was so grateful to be able to get off work this Christmas. The plan was to go to Minnesota for Christmas but bad weather changed that plan. :( I hate snow. We still have a few Christmas festivities left with one side of the family to look forward to this week though.
Here's a few of my presents so far. :)

My sister and I in our very geeky T-shirts.
Her's is a Doctor Who T-shirt and mine is the
coolest T-shirt ever... it says "I'm the nightshift
I am Batnurse. Because Batman isn't the only
hero up all night." :D 

I got the most amazing gift from a friend! It's
an infinity scarf with a map of Middle Earth.
If you've followed my blog for awhile you'll
know how long and much I've wanted it! 
The beautiful poster my sister-in-law got for me.
I had to put a lot of magnets on it to hold it flat.
My book haul this Christmas! Two Agatha Christie novels,
Miniatures and Morals (I love this book!)  and a cookbook
from my favorite food blogger! 
A few knick knacks. A pocket sized first aid kit,
two ornaments from my parents, fingerless gloves
from my sister and candy canes (of course).

Currently Reading 

  • The Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin- This is so good but very heady. I'm trying to diligently take notes on it though as I go along so hopefully my book review will be half completed by the time I'm done.  
  • Othello by William Shakespeare (audiobook)- I'm not as familiar with this Shakespeare play but so far so good. 

Finished this Past Week

  • Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (audiobook) (re-read)- I just can't get enough of Tilney... he cracks me up! Now I think I need to watch the movie again. 

Coming Soon 

This is just a rough idea as I have no clue what book will grip me first off for the beginning of the year! I'm just a little giddy at the thought of a new year of reading! 
  • The Complete Stories of Flannery O Conner by Flannery O Conner- I bought this either this year or last year (can't remember!) at Goodwill. It was a really lucky find. My mom likes her stories so I'm intrigued to see if I will as well. 
  • Mr. Darcy's Diary by Amanda Grange- I've never been thrilled with Jane Austen spinoffs but these are the ones I've heard the most good about so I'm going to give her Diary series a try starting with Mr. Darcy's Diary. 
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein- Finally I'll get around to reading this! I even bought a copy to force myself too. ;)  

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Sunday, December 27, 2015

TV Review- Stargate Atlantis Season 1

Last year I watched Stargate Atlantis myself and LOVED it. Now I'm rewatching it with my siblings and we are all enjoying it. This is my review of the season one episodes for the 42 Challenge.
Synopsis of first season from Wikipedia: The first season is about a military-science expedition team discovering Atlantis and exploring the Pegasus Galaxy. However, there is no way to return home, and they inadvertently wake a hostile alien race known as the Wraith, whose primary goal is to gather a fleet to invade Atlantis and find their new "feeding ground", Earth.
A little about the characters. I love them all! Probably my least favorite of the main characters is Elizabeth Weir (the base commander) but I still like her. My favorites are John Shepherd (the military commander), Rodney Mckay (the scientist) and Dr. Carson Beckett (the medical doctor). I also love Teyla (fighter) and Sergeant Ford (military weapons expert) though.

Rising parts 1 and 2

This is a great introduction to the Stargate universe if you haven't seen the movie or Stargate SG-1 (I had only seen the first season of SG-1 before seeing Atlantis). It introduces all of the main characters as well as the enemy the Wraith... which I think are perfect villains for the show! 

Hide and Seek

This is just a really fun episode. There's nothing really in it to move forward the plot... it's just hilarious! Mckay is one of my favorite characters and he's so funny in this one as well as of course Shepherd. "You shot him?" "In the leg!" 

Thirty-Eight Minutes

This episode introduces Zelenka who is awesome and plays off of Mckay so well. This one is intense and fun and you start to learn a little more about the Wraith with it too. 

Suspicion

A good episode and it helps to solidify Teyla as a member of the team. 

Childhood's End

This one is kind of disturbing but Mckay trying to interact with the children makes up for that so it ends up being a pretty good episode. 

Poisoning the Well

You get to see more of Dr. Beckett in this one. I'm a huge fan of Beckett so I love that. A good episode. 

Underground

This episode introduces the Genii, who love to pop up at odd moments and make life difficult for the team. A fun episode with lots of repercussions. 

Home

I like this episode but some don't. It's an intriguing one and as someone who had seen it before it was interesting to watch my siblings try to figure it out. 

The Storm and The Eye

A two parter. These episode are very good and they bring back those pesky Genii. Kolya is a great villain and he really raises the odds. 

The Defiant One

Another great episode. I love watching Shepherd use his military skills to take on the Wraith. 

Hot Zone

At the beginning of the show you learn a little about how Shepherd isn't always good about following orders and you see that play out in this episode. Mckay has some funny moments in this one. "Tell them I died saving children." :)

Sanctuary

Not my favorite episode but enjoyable. No romance please. :) 

Before I Sleep

A fascinating episode with some time travel, which, as we all know, is very Lois approved. I enjoy this one.

The Brotherhood

That pesky Kolya with his Genii buddies shows up again! Mckay has some great moments when he's so oblivious to the fact that the lady has a crush on him. :)

Letters from Pegasus

I like this episode a lot. It's beautifully sad and funny to see the messages that they all send back to their families. Mckay's message is the best! 

The Gift

Let's just say Teyla as a Wraith is creepy looking! It's an interesting introduction to her "gift" though. 

The Siege parts 1,2 and 3

A gripping conclusion with plenty of cliffhangers! But Ford!!!!! That just broke my heart! If you've seen it you know what I mean. Ford is awesome. 


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Saturday, December 26, 2015

Movie Review- Doctor Who

For the 42 challenge I'll be reviewing the Doctor Who movie.
When I first heard about the Doctor Who movie I heard it wasn't that great... in fact awful. I thought people were probably overreacting.... they weren't. The movie was supposed to be an attempt to reboot the show... I see why it failed.
I liked Paul McGann as the Doctor... he was the best part of the movie. Sure the dialogue he was given wasn't great but he did the best he could with it. I would have loved to have seen him more as the Doctor besides that tiny clip before Day of the Doctor. I think with a good script he could have been a great Doctor. Also a nice nod to Sylvester McCoy in his little bit before he regenerates. Though that was the lamest way the Doctor has died yet!
The T.A.R.D.I.S. interior was interesting though... I'm not sure whether or not I like it or not... it was different.
The companion Grace Holloway wasn't bad but wasn't great. It's kind of cool that she's a medical doctor and that she was operating on the Doctor. I thought it a little funny how she ended up messing up the surgery because of his two hearts. When he pulls that probe out of himself though.....
The Master is the villain of the story but he was just super weird.... not in a funny way like in the New Who but in a really creepy and utterly stupid way. I was not at all taken with him... not that you're really supposed to like the Master but the whole thing with him was ridiculous.
Chang Lee the young Chinese-American just doesn't make any sense. Why is he there and why do we care? This of course brings us to the whole Eye of Harmony thing and that the Doctor is half human. I'm not sure I'm totally against the Doctor being half human though I know it's a controversial point and one fans like to pretend didn't happen. I don't think the movie is considered canon so we can pretend it didn't happen if we want to. ;) The Eye of Harmony thing though was just weird and dumb.
I think the film just suffered from a bad script and not the greatest acting jobs.
If you're a Doctor Who fan you might enjoy watching it just to see what it's like but you'll probably be disappointed. If you're not a Doctor Who fan... you'll just be confused and probably never want to watch Doctor Who so don't because I promise you the show is so much better!

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Classic Doctor Who TV Reviews

Earlier this year while on the way to Colorado for a family ski trip, my cousin and I watched a few classic Doctor Who episodes. It was very interesting to see the roots of the modern day Doctor Who and look at how far it had come. Here's my reviews of them for the 42 Challenge.

An Unearthly Child

The very first episode of Doctor Who with William Hartnell playing the Doctor. It was so cool to see this episode and see where it all started. There's the introduction of the T.A.R.D.I.S. the first companion Susan (his granddaughter) and the whole Doctor Who world. There wasn't any alien involvement in it except a tiny peak into the next episode at the end of it. It was still quite enjoyable to experience it though. 

An Ark in Space

A fourth doctor episode with Tom Baker playing the Doctor and Sarah Jane as his companion. This is a very popular Tom Baker episode so that's why I chose it to watch but I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would. It was funny in parts for sure and I love his scarf..... that thing is so long! The special effects are lacking... but that's not their fault. It is funny though that they used bubble wrap as the slug slime stuff in this one. I read that they chose bubble wrap as it was a new invention at that time and everyone thought it was so cool.... sadly bubble wrap does not look very cool or sci-fi nowadays. Overall it was enjoyable but I'd like to experience a different Tom Baker episode to see more of him... maybe Genesis of the Daleks.


See what I mean about he bubble wrap! 

Earthshock

A fifth doctor episode with Peter Davidson playing the Doctor. I liked this episode and I really liked Peter Davidson as the Doctor. I can see why he was David Tennant's favorite. It was interesting to see the older Cyberman... they look... different. The companions in this one are Nyssa, Tegan and Adric. 

Dragonfire

A seventh doctor episode with Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor. This was one of McCoy's first episodes as the Doctor and also introduced a new companion Ace. I liked McCoy as the Doctor a lot and I also really liked Ace. She was lots of fun. Mel Bush was also a companion in this episode. Overall I enjoyed Dragonflre.

I hope to see more Classic Who episodes in the future and especially explore some of the other Doctors. 

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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Book Review- Charlotte's Web

For the Newberry challenge, What an Animal challenge the Mount TBR challenge and the Hard Core Re-Reading challenge I re-read E.B. White's Charlotte's Web.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Some Pig. Humble. Radiant. These are the words in Charlotte's Web, high up in Zuckerman's barn. Charlotte's spiderweb tells of her feelings for a little pig named Wilbur, who simply wants a friend. They also express the love of a girl named Fern, who saved Wilbur's life when he was born the runt of his litter.E. B. White's Newbery Honor Book is a tender novel of friendship, love, life, and death that will continue to be enjoyed by generations to come. 
This is a really sweet book. I really wanted to re-read it after my whole pig farm experience and then saving a piglet and brining it home and naming it Wilbur. Yes that sounds very similar to the story and that's because it was. I didn't realize how similar until I re-read the book. Wilbur did end up going to the butcher block though eventually so.... He didn't have a Charlotte.
I digress though.
I love the story of friendship depicted in this book. Charlotte was so self-sacrificing and it was truly beautiful. I liked the side characters too like Templeton and the goose. Fern kind of melts out of the story part way through though.
Overall this is a cute and classic children's story and quite enjoyable.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Book Review- Beloved

For the Literary Movement challenge and the Mount TBR challenge I read Toni Morrison's novel Beloved.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby. Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. Her new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. 
If it wasn't for me making the mistake of re-reading Gulliver's Travels this year this would be my least favorite book of the year. It was inappropriate and weird... really weird. It was very interesting though how the author slowly unfolded the plot and let out more and more secrets. Good writing there. I know this book is famous for revealing the horrors of slavery and yes it did a good job but that didn't make up for everything else. The book just bored me! Denver was my favorite character.... at the beginning I wasn't fond of her but I feel like she actually matures and becomes a little less whiney. Sethe is weird and that reveal about her was.... ugh! Beloved was ucky and everything with her is weird. Paul D isn't awful but he is pretty ucky himself.
I'm just not a fan of this book. If you liked it... what is it that drew you to this book? Maybe I need to reconsider my feelings on it but I just wasn't thrilled with it.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree This Year

This week's Top Ten Tuesday theme is the top the books I wouldn't mind Santa leaving under my tree this year! :) I made purchases of my dreams the other day at the local used bookstore so a couple got axed off this list. :)

  1. Cinder by Marissa Meyer- I need to get around to reading this series and if I owned a copy it would be far more likely to happen. 
  2. Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy- I realized recently I don't own this book and I really like it. 
  3. Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth- I want to read this so much after watching the show! 
  4. The Martian by Andy Weir- I'm hugely intrigued by this book. :)
  5. The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery- I'm a huge Anne of Green Gables fan and I've heard rave reviews of this one so I'd love to get it and read it for myself. 
  6. The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams- Because I need to get around to this book too and as I said above.... far more likely to happen if I own it. 
  7. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling- The only one of the series I don't own yet. 
  8. The Golf Omnibus by P.G. Wodehouse- This book is HILARIOUS! It's such a fun collect of classic Wodehouse stories. I used to pick it up at the library all the time and read a couple stories and never actually check it out. I obviously just need my own copy. ;)
  9. Gods and Generals by Jeff Shaara- I own Killer Angels and Last Full Measure but not Gods and Generals! I love it! 
  10. Miniatures and Morals by Peter Leithart- So I can stop stealing my parent's copy all of the time. This is a great book about Austen's novels. :) I actually did ask for this for Christmas so hopefully I get it! 
There's so many more I want of course but these would definitely make me smile the brightest! 


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Monday, December 21, 2015

It's Monday! Reading Completed!

My Goodreads goal of reading 100 books this year is completed plus one and all of my reading challenges are completed as well! I have a very satisfied feeling right now. :) I'm ridiculously giddy about next year's reading. I start getting very excited when I being to plan out my reading year. I'm not a very organized person but somehow deciding what books I want to read for the next year gets me as close as I'll ever be. :)
Also, I SAW THE NEW STAR WARS MOVIE SATURDAY!!!!!! Insert a video of Lois giggling geekily for five minutes straight here... not that she did that or anything. ;)
I did liked it.... it wasn't the next best thing to sliced bread or anything but it was good. Better than the prequels... but that's not saying much. ;) Hopefully I'll have a review out soon. :)

Finished this Week

  • Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • Charlotte's Web by E.B. White (re-read)

Currently Reading

  • Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (audiobook) (re-read)
  • The Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin (this is going to take me a very long time but I can already tell it's going to be worth it)

Coming Soon (A whole new year of reading!!!!!)

  • Othello by William Shakespeare (audiobook)- My Classics Club spin
  • Who knows!!!!! :) 
I participate in the Broke and Bookish secret santa this year for the first time and my package came in the mail this past week!  I got a copy of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking, Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone (now I have only one Harry Potter book left to acquire!), chocolate (very Lois approved) and real Tea... as in not even in a bag... loose leaf tea.... I've never had loose leaf tea before! :) 
I can't wait to celebrate Christmas with my family and I wish you all a very blessed Christmas! :) 

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Saturday, December 19, 2015

Book Review- The Phantom Tollbooth

For the Hard Core Re-Reading challenge and the Author A-Z challenge I read Norton Juster's children's book The Phantom Tollbooth.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Milo mopes in black ink sketches, until he assembles a tollbooth and drives through. He jumps to the island of Conclusions. But brothers King Azaz of Dictionopolis and the Mathemagician of Digitopolis war over words and numbers. Joined by ticking watchdog Tock and adult-size Humbug, Milo rescues the Princesses of Rhyme and Reason, and learns to enjoy life.
So I forgot how much fun this book is but I was in love with it this time around! The plays on words are so clever and fun. I want a phantom tollbooth! This is the perfect children's book, though I imagine the kid would have to be a little bit older to get some of the grammar and math humor. If you missed this in your childhood somehow than take the time and read it now! You will not regret it!

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book and yes there's a lot of them but this doesn't even begin to cover all of them! 

“The only thing you can do easily is be wrong, and that's hardly worth the effort.”

“Whether or not you find your own way, you're bound to find some way. If you happen to find my way, please return it, as it was lost years ago. I imagine by now it's quite rusty.” 

“It's bad enough wasting time without killing it.” 

“For instance," said the boy again, "if Christmas trees were people and people were Christmas trees, we'd all be chopped down, put up in the living room, and covered in tinsel, while the trees opened our presents."
"What does that have to do with it?" asked Milo.
"Nothing at all," he answered, "but it's an interesting possibility, don't you think?”


“Let me try once more," Milo said in an effort to explain. "In other words--"
"You mean you have other words?" cried the bird happily. "Well, by all means, use them. You're certainly not doing very well with the ones you have now.” 


“A slavish concern for the composition of words is the sign of a bankrupt intellect. Be gone, odious wasp! You smell of decayed syllables.” 

“Have you ever heard a blindfolded octopus unwrap a cellophane-covered bathtub?”

“Ah, this is fine," he cried triumphantly, holding up a small medallion on a chain. He dusted it off, and engraved on one side were the words "WHY NOT?" "That's a good reason for almost anything - a bit used perhaps, but still quite serviceable.”

“And now," he continued, speaking to Milo, "where were you on the night of July 27?" 
"What does that have to do with it?" asked Milo.
"It's my birthday, that's what," said the policeman as he entered "Forgot my birthday" in his little book. "Boys always forget other people's birthdays.” 


“I never knew words could be so confusing," Milo said to Tock as he bent down to scratch the dog's ear.
"Only when you use a lot to say a little," answered Tock.
Milo thought this was quite the wisest thing he'd heard all day.” 


“You can swim all day in the Sea of Knowledge and still come out completely dry. Most people do.”

“Do you think it will rain?"
"But I thought you were the Weather Man?"
No, I'm the Whether man, for it is more important to know whether there will be weather, whether than what the weather will be.” 



Did I mention that you need to read this book? 

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Friday, December 18, 2015

Book Reviews- Betsy-Tacy Series

I love this series! It's so sweet, so pink, so fluffy, so adorable! It's a little like Anne of Green Gables but younger and cuter. If you have a little girl this is the series for her! I read these books for the Women's reading challenge, the Hard Core Re-reading challenge and Betsy-Tacy Go Over the Big Hill I read for the key word challenge. I only re-read the first four books in the series because those are my favorites... after that they grow up too much. :(

Betsy-Tacy

Synopsis from Goodreads: There are lots of children on Hill Street, but no little girls Betsy's age. So when a new family moves into the house across the street, Betsy hopes they will have a little girl she can play with. Sure enough, they do--a little girl named Tacy. And from the moment they meet at Betsy's fifth birthday party, Betsy and Tacy becoms such good friends that everyone starts to think of them as one person--Betsy-Tacy. Betsy and Tacy have lots of fun together. They make a playhouse from a piano box, have a sand store, and dress up and go calling. And one day, they come home to a wonderful surprise--a new friend named Tib.
This is such a fun start to the series and I think the best. The girls' escapes are so adorable and the stories Betsy dreams up are sweet. I especially love her cloud story. 


Betsy-Tacy and Tib

Synopsis from Goodreads: Betsy and Tacy are best friends. Then Tib moves into the neighborhood and the three of them start to play together. The grown-ups think they will quarrel, but they don't. Sometimes they quarrel with Betsy's and Tacy's bossy big sisters, but they never quarrel among themselves. They are not as good as they might be. They cook up awful messes in the kitchen, throw mud on each other and pretend to be beggars, and cut off each other's hair. But Betsy, Tacy, and Tib always manage to have a good time.
The threesome can almost be more fun than the twosome! I love how Tib is the practical one and is always pointing out the obvious and Betsy and Tacy just ignore her. The everything pudding is one of my favorite stores but I also love when they cut off each other's hair. Such fun escapades!

Betsy-Tacy Go Over the Big Hill

Synopsis from Goodreads: Betsy, Tacy, and Tib can't wait to be ten. After all, getting two numbers in your age is the beginning of growing up—exciting things are bound to happen. And they do! The girls fall in love with the King of Spain, perform in the School Entertainment, and for the first time, go all the way over the Big Hill to Little Syria by themselves. There Betsy, Tacy, and Tib make new friends and learn a thing or two. They learn that new Americans are sometimes the best Americans. And they learn that they themselves wouldn't want to be anything else.
Another adorable addition to the series. I remember thinking pretty much the same thing about turning ten.... it was the beginning of being a grown up! Despite being "grown up" Betsy Tacy and Tib still manage to get into all sorts of messes and have tons of fun.

Betsy-Tacy Go Downtown 

Synopsis from Goodreads: Betsy, Tacy, and Tib are twelve—old enough to do lots of things...even go downtown on their own. There they see their first horseless carriage, discover the joys of the public library, and see a real play at the Opera House. They even find themselves acting in one! Best of all, they help a lonely new friend feel at home in Deep Valley—the most wonderful place in the world to grow up.
As another reviewer on Goodreads said, this is the last of the childhood of the three girls. It's interesting to see how people viewed with wonder the first "horseless carriage", something we take very much for granted today. I loved Betsy's trips to the library and her parents encouraging her to read Classic literature... though Lady Audley's secret is not trash... though it isn't high literature I'll admit.

It was so much fun to re-read this adorable series! Highly recommend. :)

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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Book Review- The Chosen

For the Mount TBR challenge, the Hard Core Re-reading challenge and the Author A-Z Challenge I re-read Chaim Potok's novel The Chosen.
Synopsis from Goodreads: It is the now-classic story of two fathers and two sons and the pressures on all of them to pursue the religion they share in the way that is best suited to each. And as the boys grow into young men, they discover in the other a lost spiritual brother, and a link to an unexplored world that neither had ever considered before. In effect, they exchange places, and find the peace that neither will ever retreat from again.
This is such a beautiful and well thought out book. I learned so much about Judaism from it. It's also a sad book. Oddly enough I never really though much before about how Jews in America felt during World War II. As I was able to learn from this book it was hard for them not being able to help their comrades and hearing about what was basically their family being slaughtered over in Germany.
But that isn't so much what the book is about as much as it is about a father and his son and another father and his son and how they interact. I'm not sure I can even begin to describe their relationships but I think we can just say they're complicated. Reuven and Danny's friendship was the best thing that could happen for either of them and was probably the best relationship in the whole book, though  Reuven's and his Dad's relationship was pretty good.

I'd highly recommend this book as I'm not sure a review can give it full justice or really explain it.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Movie Review- Star Wars: A New Hope

The greatest science fiction movie ever.... Star Wars!!!!! Well maybe that's a bold claim but in my humble opinion that's the truth. I actually watched this twice this year... once earlier in the year and then again just this week in preparation for STAR WARS THE FORCE AWAKENS!!!! Not that I'm excited for it or anything. ;) Hopefully I have time to watch Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi too before Saturday (which is when I'm going to go see it!).
Synopsis from IMDB: Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a wookiee and two droids to save the universe from the Empire's world-destroying battle-station, while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the evil Darth Vader.
I just love this synopsis. So simple but so true. :) My absolute favorite part of the Star Wars movies is Han Solo's and Leia's bantering. It's what makes the movies for me. Luke annoys me most of the time. I also like R2D2 and C3PO though C3PO can get annoying sometimes as well. And Chewy! Chewy makes me laugh too. :) I love how this movie introduces the Force and the whole world of Star Wars. The opening credits and introduction with the epic music are amazing!!!! John Williams' music may be the second best part of the movies. ;)
I just have to include a few (and by few I mean a ton) of my favorite quotes... which may or may not largely involve Han and Leia. ;)

Obi-Wan-Kenobi- These aren't the droids you're looking for.

Han- Sometimes I amaze even myself.
Leia- That can't be very hard. 

Han- Wonderful girl. Either I'm going to kill her or I'm beginning to like her. 

Luke (trying to convince Han to rescue Leia)- She's rich
Han- Rich?
Luke- Rich, powerful. Listen, if you were to rescue her, the reward would be...
Han- What?
Luke- Well, more wealth than you could imagine!
Han- I don't know, I can imagine quite a bit. 

Darth Vader- I've been waiting for you, Obi-Wan. We meet again at last. The circle is now complete. When I left you I was but the learner, now I am the master. 
Obi-Wan-Kenobi- Only a master of evil Darth. 

C3PO- We're doomed!

C3PO (to R2D2)- This is all your fault. 

Leia- Aren't you a little short for a storm trooper?

Luke- So what do you think of her Han?
Han- I'm trying not to kid. 
Luke- Good.
Han (Baiting Luke)- Still she's got a lot of spirit. I don't know. What do you think? You think a princess like her and a guy like me...
Luke (quickly)- No! 

Luke (about Leia)- They're going to execute her! Look a few minutes ago you said you didn't want to just wait there to be captured. Now all you want to do is stay?
Han- Walking into a detention area was not what I had in mind. 
Luke- But they're going to kill her!
Han- Better her than me! 

C3PO- I suggest a new strategy R2; let the Wookie win. 

Leia- This is some rescue! You came in here, but didn't you have a plan for getting out?
Han Solo (indicating Luke)- He's the brains sweetheart! 

Leia (indicating the Millennium Falcon)- You came in that thing? You're braver than I thought. 
Han- Nice! Come on! 

Leia- Put that thing away (Han's gun) away, you're going to get us all killed!
Han- Absolutely your worship! Look, I had everything under control until you led us down here. 

Han (indicating Obi-Wan-Kenobi)- Where did you dig up that old fossil? 
Luke- Ben is a great man.
Han- Yeah, great at getting us into trouble. 

Leia- Looks like you've managed to cut off our only escape route. 
Han- Maybe you'd like it back in your cell, your highness. 

Han (about Leia)- No reward is worth this! 


And one final though... Han shot first. ;)

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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Top Ten Best Books I Read in 2015

These top ten lists are sometimes killers! The best? Really? I have to chose? :( Since I read and I re-read a lot I'm making a list of the top ten books I read and the top ten books I re-read. These are in no particular order.

Read

  1. The Valley of Vision by various Puritans 
  2. Beowulf by Unknown
  3. Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
  4. Trusting God by Jerry Bridges
  5. The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde
  6. That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis
  7. A Child's History of England by Charles Dickens
  8. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky 
  9. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Remarque 
  10. Mysterious Island by Jules Verne 

Re-read (And there are 11... I couldn't narrow it down!)

  1. Anne of Green Gables and Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery
  2. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy
  3. Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
  4. Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransom (the whole series really)
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  6. Little Britches and Man of the Family by Ralph Moody 
  7. Emma by Jane Austen
  8. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster 
  9. Betsy-Tacy and Betsy-Tacy and Tib by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  10. The Chosen by Chaim Potok 
  11. Carry on Mr. Bowditch
All of these books I'd recommend without reservation. Read them! :)

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Monday, December 14, 2015

It's Monday! Life After Crochet

This past Saturday there was a craft fair at my church that my little sister and I participated in by selling our crochet products. We spent a hectic amount of time preparing plus my normal work so I haven't really gotten enough sleep recently. However it was a lot of fun and we made more than I anticipated so all in all I'm glad we did it.

Betsy and I at the craft fair. Yes she's taller than me. :(

But on to reading because though I've been crocheting like crazy I've also kept up with my reading

Currently Reading

  • Beloved by Toni Morrison (I really dislike this book and want to be done with it) 
  • Charlotte's Web by E.B.White (re-read)

Finished this Week

  • Betsy-Tacy Go Downtown by Lucy Maud Montgomery (re-read) 

Coming Soon

  • Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  • Othello by William Shakespeare 
Rebecca is the last book I have to "officially" finish in 2015 to complete my ridiculous number of reading challenges but I want to get a couple more books in after that. Othello is for the Classics Club spin.
I am trying to get all of my book reviews completed and published before Christmas. There's a lot in the stacks that just need to get brushed up a bit. 

To top off this post I have a couple funny memes I collected. :) 


Additionally I have a picture of some beautiful and unique bookmarks a friend of mine made for me. One has a Jane Austen quote and the other a P.G. Wodehouse quote. I use them all the time. :) 


Alright that's it for this post. I hope you all are having a great time preparing for Christmas and I hope and pray that you and I continue to keep our focus on God during the business of the season. :)

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Thursday, December 10, 2015

TV Review- Doctor Who Season Nine

After a rocky last season, it was great to see a more solid season in season nine of Doctor Who. For the 42 Challenge I'll be reviewing it. Since several of the episodes this series were two parters I'm reviewing the two parts together.

The Magician's Apprentice and the Witch's Familiar

These episodes sees the reappearance of Missy (aka the Master) along with of course the Doctor and Clara. Davros, the creator of the Daleks along with is creations show up for a classic episode. I love how this episode showed the Doctor giving mercy to Davros as a child which caused Davros to instill a sense of mercy in the Daleks. A solid beginning to the series. 

Under the Lake and Before the Flood

I really enjoyed these episodes and that they had a deaf person and sign language! Very different but lots of fun. Plenty of scare as well. :) And the notecards that Clara made for the Doctor are so perfect. He needs them... he never says the right thing... much to our enjoyment. :)

The Girl who Died and The Women who Lived 

I preferred the Girl who Died over The Women who Lived but they were both enjoyable. The introduction of Ashildr (aka "Me") is interesting. Personally I'm not a fan of Ashildr but I do find her interesting. She's so sad and angry... I pity her. I think the Doctor is right on not taking her with him in the T.A.R.D.I.S. and I hope she doesn't become the next companion.

The Zygon Invasion and The Zygon Inversion

Maybe my favorites of the series, especially The Zygon Inversion. I love the Doctor's speech in it. Clara as Bonnie is well done and you can really see Jenna Coleman's acting talent in it. 

Sleep no More

I'm so-so on this episode and it seems the general opinion on this episode is all over the place... some love it some hate it. I'm in the middle somewhere. It was kind of boring but the concept was quite... original... and the twist at the end was unexpected. I am interested to see if they'll continue on with where the end of the episode left off.

Face the Raven

What to say about this episode? It was a good episode, great plot... but.... SPOILERS!!!
Massive spoilers below!!!

Clara died!!!! I mean we all knew she was going to leave sometime this series and my guess was that she would die but still... it was sad. Her speech to the doctor at the end was beautiful. Overall though I did feel like there was something lacking in her farewell. The question is though... is she really dead? I guess we'll find out. :)

END SPOILERS

Heaven Sent

What a cool episode! Very different then the others with mainly just the Doctor appearing in it the whole time. Quite chilling as well. And the reveal at the end! Ahhhh! I couldn't wait for the next episode! :) 

Hell Bent

Not what I expected. I do feel like after so much build up about finding Gallifrey when he actually found it he was just focusing on Clara... not on Gallifrey. It was a little anticlimactic. I'm not sure how I feel about the Clara twist either. I think it worked for the most part though. The Doctor really needed to let go of her and how they concluded that was pretty well done. Overall I enjoyed it. :)

There's my thoughts! Now I'm excitedly anticipating the Christmas special and the return of River Song!!!!! :) 


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