Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday- Beach Reads

I'm not going anywhere near a beach this summer (Hello! I live in Kansas!) but I do like to kickback with a book and pretend I'm on a beach. ;) Therefore, here's my list of books I want to kickback with this summer and read for pure enjoyment. No hefty non-fiction on this list. :)

First Time Reads

  1. Waverley by Sir Walter Scott
  2. Stranger from the Tonto by Zane Grey
  3. The Once and Future King by T.H. White
  4. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  5. The Wolf and the Warden King by Andrew Peterson 
  1. The Jeeves and Wooster series by P.G. Wodehouse
  2. Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne
  3. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
  4. Heidi by Johanna Spyri 
  5. The Pushcart War by Jean Merrill 
Here's to pure summer bliss. :)

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Monday, May 30, 2016

It's Monday! Book Sale!

This past weekend I hit up a book sale, adding to the piles of books overflowing on my desk currently. I'm out of room on my bookshelves again. I went to a library book sale a few weeks ago and that's when the overflowing began. Now I just added to it. And I'm not sorry one bit. ;) This bookshelf problem just keeps getting worse and worse though and I really need to find a permanent solution instead of stealing other people's shelves and stacking them on my desk. Unfortunately I don't currently have space for another bookshelf at home. :( I'd get rid of the crib in my room to make room but since my niece (don't actually know for sure yet but I'm hoping!) is coming soon that's not really an option. I might love babies more than books. ;)
Last week I said I was almost done with a lot of my books and indeed I did finish them last week. So here's what's up in my reading world.

Finished this past week 

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

Currently Reading

  • The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien (re-read) (audiobook)
  • The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens

Coming Soon

  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (re-read)- Read-along started yesterday!!!! 
  • The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Book Review- Lieutenant Hornblower

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

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Ten Books I Feel Differently About After Time has Passed

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

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Monday, May 23, 2016

It's Monday! Dense Reading

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

Currently Reading

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

Coming Soon

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

Book Review- Through Gates of Splendor

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

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Book Review- Mara, Daughter of the Nile

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

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

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

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

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Movie Review- Testament of Youth

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

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

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

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

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

Watch or not? Watch!

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Monday, May 16, 2016

It's Monday! First Car!

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

Currently Reading

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

Finished this Past Week

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

Coming Soon

  • Eternity in their Hearts by Don Richardson 

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Friday, May 13, 2016

And Yet Another Liebster Award!

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

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

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Movie Review- Brooklyn

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


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

Objectionable Content

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


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

Can we all say yay for a modest swimsuit? 

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

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Back to the Future Book Tag

I saw this tag over on Spoonful of Happy Endings and had to steal it. :)

Name a book/movie/show that makes you want to go back in time when you were younger and enjoy it all over again? 

Book- Pride and Prejudice, Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. Those are all some of my favorites and I would love to go back and experience the wonder of entering those worlds again. 
Movie- LOTR for sure. My siblings and I are rewatching the films right now and that was just something I mentioned the other day. Experiencing the world of LOTR on screen for the first time must have been incredible but I can scarcely remember the first time I watching the movies the first item and I grew up watching them! 
Show- Since I never really watched TV shows growing up I'm not sure. I guess I'll go with Doctor Who. It would be interesting to watch it for the first time again and see if my opinions of characters were different. 

What's your favorite sci-fi and/or fantasy book/show/movie?

Book- Well LOTR again for fantasy. I don't read much science fiction so I'm not sure I feel qualified to speak to that. Maybe Ender's Game? 
Show- I think the only fantasy show I've watched is The Adventures of Merlin, which is excellent. For sci-fi definitely Doctor Who! I also love Stargate: Atlantis.
Movie- LOTR and Star Wars! 

What's a moment in a book that takes place in the past or future that you'd like to revisit?

I would love to sit in on the trial in To Kill a Mockingbird. 

What's a fictional store, cafe, ect. in a book/movie/show that you'd like to visit?

Book- I'd love to visit the shops from Harry Potter. The Leaky Cauldron, The Three Broomsticks and all of those! I also think it would be cool to visit The Prancing Pony from LOTR. 
Movie-The cantina from Star Wars. ;) 
Show- The postoffice from Lark Rise to Candleford. 

Name an automobile or way of a travel in a book/movie/show that you'd like to take for a ride.

Book- A carriage from Jane Austen's books. Classic. :)
Movie- The Millennium Falcon! 
Show- The T.A.R.D.I.S. obviously! 

Favorite Fiction Sicentist

Rodney McKay from Stargate: Atlantis. 

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Monday, May 9, 2016

It's Monday! Four Nights

This last week I did the inconceivable (obviously I don't know what that word means). I worked four twelve hour shifts in a row. Since we only work three shifts a week, normally three is the most we'll work in a row but somehow my schedule ended up with me working a Saturday night (which I don't know how that happened since I never sign up for Saturdays) and then Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Four nights in a row! Needless to say I was basically a zombie at the end of it. I found that keeping a positive attitude is absolutely key to getting through it... though I didn't always achieve that.
I survived though.
Last week I tried to catch up on some of my reviews too. I got two done and they were the hardest for me as they were for non-fiction books, which for some reason I have a harder time writing reviews for. I'm also trying to work through movie reviews as well.
I was also able to go to a library book sale this past weekend and round up twenty-one books for only five bucks. :)
And last but not least I got to see Captain America: Civil War! It was splendiferous! :)

Currently Reading

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

Finished this Past Week

  • Lieutenant Hornblower by C.S. Forester 

Coming Soon

  • Total Truth by Nancy Pierce

Reviews Posted this Week

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Friday, May 6, 2016

Movie Review- Chocolat

My mom has always talked about how much she enjoys the movie Chocolat so finally we watched it together and then I realized it was basically a period drama film so I thought hey, I'll review it for the Period Drama Film challenge. Cause why not? ;)
Synopsis from IMDB: Vianne Rocher and her young daughter are drifters who are met with skepticism and resistance when they move to a conservative town in rural France and open a chocolate shop during Lent. As Vianne begins to work her magic and help those around her, the townspeople are soon won-over by her exuberance and her delicious chocolates - except for the mayor, who is determined to shut her down. When a group of river drifters visit the town, Vianne teaches the townspeople something about acceptance, and finds love for herself along the way.
This was a fun and sweet little film. It had it's issues but overall it was delightful.
First off it's about chocolate. Yum! And not just any chocolate. Super delicious decadent looking chocolate that I want to pull from the screen and eat! It's an awful movie to watch when there isn't any chocolate around to eat!


Vianne Rocher (Juliette Binoche)- Vianne is kind of a complicated character. With her daughter she moves from town to town. As the story develops you discover why she does this.... it is a tradition passed on from her mother to spread the love of chocolate with everyone. As the story goes on though she begins to realize how hard it is on her daughter to keep up with the constant moving and constantly having to make new friends. Vianne is also non-catholic.... non-christian altogether, which condemns her to all of the townspeople, especially the mayor.  Now I'm not a catholic so their arguments about lent that end up happening I really could care less who wins them. However, I'm more disappointed in Vianne's atheism that comes out, which develops some themes I wasn't too big a fan of.

Comte de Reynaud (Alfred Molina)- Another complicated character. Comte de Reynaud is the mayor of the town and very much so rules it with an iron fist, though he does care deeply for it. At the beginning of the story you hear him tell people that this wife is in Rome and has decided to extend her stay there but as the story goes on you realize that while she is in Rome she isn't coming back. This fuels a lot of his anger. 

Josephine Muscat (Lena Olin)- At the beginning Josephine comes off as rather odd. You discover she's somewhat of a kleptomaniac and that her husband is emotionally and pushily abusive to her. With Vianne's support, Josephine leaves her husband and starts a new life. I really loved seeing Josephine's character grow through the film. She becomes a whole new person. 

Roux (Johnny Depp)- Roux is a water gypsy who camps out by the town about halfway through the film. Like Vianne he is considered an outcast by the town. A relationship develops between the two. It was weird to see Johnny Depp in this film not looking weird. I've only ever seen him as Captain Jack in Pirates of the Caribbean. 

Armande Voizin (Judi Dench)- Armande rents the shop to Vianne and soon frequents it as well and you begin to learn about her life. She's estranged from her daughter and therefore her grandson. During the film though Vianne brings her grandson and then eventually her daughter into reconciliation with Armande. 


The music was a lot of fun in this film. Especially the gypsy tunes played.


I adored the costumes in this film! Vianne's wardrobe was classic and beautiful. 

Objectionable Content

Vianne's daughter was born out of wedlock and we do not know who the father was. Vianne wear some lower cut clothes. There's two inappropriate scenes, both of which we dimmed the screen for so I'm not sure quite how much they showed. I don't think they showed too much though but still unnecessary.

Overall I enjoyed this film a lot but it definitely had some issues with immorality. The conclusion was somehow not quite satisfying because in the end everyone seemed to abandon their catholic faith. As I said I'm not catholic so some of that was a little ridiculous to me as I don't believe in lent but still the basic morality of Christianity was there and it seemed like it lost. I think maybe more the point of it was that the townspeople, and especially the mayor, needed to loosen up with their legalism. I think they loosened up a little too much though. 
Have you seen Chocolat? What did you think of it? 

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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Book Review- Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking

8520610For the Mount TBR challenge, the Shelf Love challenge and the Non-Fiction challenge I read Susan Caine's Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking.
Synopsis from Goodreads: At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled "quiet," it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society--from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.
Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. Taking the reader on a journey from Dale Carnegie’s birthplace to Harvard Business School, from a Tony Robbins seminar to an evangelical megachurch, Susan Cain charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal in the twentieth century and explores its far-reaching effects. She talks to Asian-American students who feel alienated from the brash, backslapping atmosphere of American schools. She questions the dominant values of American business culture, where forced collaboration can stand in the way of innovation, and where the leadership potential of introverts is often overlooked. And she draws on cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience to reveal the surprising differences between extroverts and introverts.
Perhaps most inspiring, she introduces us to successful introverts--from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Finally, she offers invaluable advice on everything from how to better negotiate differences in introvert-extrovert relationships to how to empower an introverted child to when it makes sense to be a "pretend extrovert." This extraordinary book has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how introverts see themselves.
I first heard about this a few years ago when my uncle recommended it to my parents. I come from a proud lineage of introverts. ;) Well my parents never read it (shame!) but I always kept it in the back of my mind and for this past Broke and Bookish Secret Santa it was one of the books I put on my list and it was what I received. So finally I have now read it.
For non-fiction, I found Quiet to be easy to read. Some of what was in the book I already knew but there was plenty that enlightened me. It was directed a little more toward the business world but I found it also quite applicable to just ordinary life. The author put an impressive amount of research into this book and it showed in how comprehensive it was.
Growing up an introvert, I definitely felt the pressure of the world to be an extrovert. Extroverts succeed. That is something I learned pretty early on in my life and it definitely made me insecure as a kid. It's only recently in my life that I've really come to accept my introversion and to accept it as a strength.
Quiet is a great book for introverts to read but it also would be useful for extroverts to help understand introverts.
Read or not? Read!

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Book Review: The Institutes of the Christian Religion

The Institutes of Christian ReligionFor the non-fiction reading challenge I read John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion. I know I mentioned it before on here but I ended up reading an abridged version. I started out reading an unabridged version but it was just too much so after some debating I went ahead and got an abridged version that my cousin recommended and I loved it. It is edited by Tony Lane and Hilary Osborne.

In this book, Calvin lays out a beautiful overlay of Christianity: A systematic theology. I took extensive notes while reading it. Copying out my favorite parts in a notebook. I actually didn't have too much room left in the notebook when I finished the book. Even in the abridged version there were definitely things that went over my head and sometimes I'd have to re-read a paragraph multiple times to try and get what Calvin was saying. This is a heady book but absolutely worth it if you're passionate about understanding God's Word at a deeper level.

I want to share a few of my favorite quotes with you. I have a whole notebook full, as you know, but don't worry, I won't include all of them. Some of them are kind of long but they are worth the read.
"Thus from the feeling of our own ignorance, vanity, power, infirmity, and-what is more- depravity and corruption, we recognize that the true light of wisdom, sound virtue, full abidance of every good, and purity of righteousness rests in the Lord alone. To this extent we are prompted by our own ills to contemplate the good things of God; and we cannot seriously aspire to Him before we begin to become displeased with ourselves. The knowledge of ourselves not only arouses us to seek God, but also, as it were, leads us by the hand to find Him." 
"What in us seems perfection itself corresponds ill to the purity of God."
"Man is never significantly touched and affected by the awareness of his lowly state until he has compared himself with Gods's majesty."
"Although our mind cannot apprehend God without rendering some honor to Him, it will not suffice simply to hold that there is one whom all ought to honor and adore, unless we are also persuaded that He is the foundation of every good, and that we must seek nothing elsewhere than in Him. This I take to mean that not only does He sustain this universe by His boundless might, regulate it by His wisdom, preserve it by His goodness and especially rule making by His righteousness and judgment, bear with in His mercy, watch over it by His protection; but also that no drop will be found either of wisdom and light or of righteousness or power or recited or of genuine truth, which does not flow from Him and of which He is not the cause." 
"They do not therefore apprehend God as He offers himself, but imagine Him as they have fashioned Him in their own presupposition. They think that any zeal for religion, however preposterous is sufficient. They do not realize that true religion ought to be conformed to God's will as to a universal rule; that God ever remains like Himself and is not a specter or phantasm to be transformed according to anybody's whim. They are not so restrained by that pretend fear of God from wallowing blithely in their own sins and flattering themselves and preferring to indulge their fleshly intemperance rather than restrain it by the bridle of the Holy Spirit. For where they ought to have remained consistently obedient throughout life, they boldly rebel against Him in almost all their deeds, and are zealous to placate Him merely with a few platy sacrifices. Where they ought to serve Him in sanity of life and integrity of heart, they trump up frivolous trifles and worthless little observances with which to win His favor. With greater license they sluggishly lie in their own filth because they are confident that they can preform their duty toward Him by ridiculous acts of expiation. Then while their trust ought to have been placed in Him, they neglect Him and rely upon themselves."  
"We ought not to rack our brains about God; but rather, we should contemplate Him in His works. We are called to a knowledge of God; not that knowledge which, content with empty speculation, merely flits in the brain, but that which will be sound and fruitful if we duly perceive it, and if it takes root in the heart." 
"Scripture has its authority from God, not from the church. While the church receives and gives its seals of approval to the scriptures, it does not thereby render authentic what is otherwise doubtful or controversial. We should not acquiesce in mere opinion, but should rely on sure and firm truth. As God alone is a fit witness of Himself in His Word, so also the Word will not find acceptance in men's hearts before it is sealed by the inward testimony of the spirit." 
"The Holy Spirit is recognized in His agreement with scripture."
"The scripture invites us first to fear God and then to trust Him."
 "Surely God's infinity ought to make us afraid to try to measure Him by our own senses. Indeed, His spiritual nature forbids our imagining anything earthly or carnal of Him." 
"Let us not take it in our hearts either to seek out God anywhere else than in His sacred Word, or to think anything about Him that is not prompted by His Word, or to speak anything that is not taken from that Word."
"The depravity and malice both of man and of the devil, or that sins that arise therefrom do not spring from nature, but rather from the corruption of nature."  
"We ought to hold to one rule of modesty and sobriety: not to speak or guess, or even to seek to know, concerning obscure matters anything except what has been imparted to us by Gods' word. Furthermore, in the reading of scripture we ought ceaselessly to endeavor to seek out and meditate upon those things which make for edification. Let us not indulge in curiosity or in the investigation of unprofitable things. Because the Lord walled to instructs us, not in fruitless questions, but in sound godliness, in the far of His name in true trust and in the duty of holiness, let us be satisfied with this knowledge." 
"The theologians task is not to divert the ears with chatter, but to strengthen consciences by teaching things true, sure and profitable." 
"Recognize that God has destined all things for our good and salvation but at the same time feel His power and grace in ourselves and in the great benefits He has conferred upon us and so to bestir ourselves to trust, invoke, praise and love Him."
"No necessity was imposed upon God of giving man other than a mediocre and even transitory will, that from mans' fall He might gather occasion for His own glory."
"There is a great difference between what is fitting for a man to will and what is fitting for God, and to what end the will of each is directed, so that it be either approved or disapproved. For through the bad wills of evil men God fulfills what He righteously wills."
 "There is a general belief in the mistaken idea that man has everything he needs for a good and happy life. Teaching man to rely on himself can be no more that sweet seduction, because everyone who is deluded by it will be ruined. We are merely persisting in rushing headlong to destructing when we trust in our own ability. If we listen to teachers who get us to dwell on our good qualities, then far from making progress in self-knowledge, we will be sunk in the most disastrous ignorance. The person who assesses himself by the standard of divine justice finds no grounds for confidence and so, the more thorough his self examination, the greater his despair." 
"In considering man's self-knowledge, it seems right to think about it like this. First, he should think about the purpose for which he was made ,and the splendid qualities he was given, to spur him on to meditate on worship of God and the future life. Second he should consider the faculties he has not go, so that when he is aware of this, all his confidence will evaporate and he will be ashamed. The effect of the first is to teach a person what his duty is, and of the second to make him realize how far he can fulfill it." 
"When the will is ensnared by sin, it cannot start to be good, let alone maintain good ways."
"Everything good in the will is entirely the result of grace. All the good qualities which believes possess are due to God."
"It is only our weakness and depravity that prevent us from enjoying the happiness which the law offers. So divine grace is made even sweeter, God's march even lovier because it proclaims that He is never weary of doing good and showering us with His gifts." 
 "We must never measure God's glory by our ability. Whatever he may be He remains the same, the friend of righteousness and the enemy of unrighteousness."
"We assess our powers and see that they are not only inadequate for fulfilling the law, but good for nothing."
 "There is not a syllable in the law which gives a ruling as to what a man must do or not do for the advantage of his own carnal nature." 
"The gospel has not succeeded the law in such a way as to usher in a different plan of salvation. On the contrary, it confirms the law and proves that everything it promised is fulfilled."  
"Those who rob Christ of divinity or humanity either detract from His glory or obscure His goodness."  
"It is important for us to remember that He has taken our place, so that we may not spend all our lives in trepidation and anxiety, as if the punishment we deserve, but which the Son of God took to Himself, was still hanging over us." 
"As he became victories over death by rising again, so the victory of our faith is because of His resurrection. By His death sin was taken away and by His resurrection righteousness was restored." 
"Take away the Word and there will be no faith. Faith includes not merely the knowledge that God exists, but especially a realization of his will toward us. We need to know not only what He is in Himself, but also the character He choses to reveal to us. Faith is the knowledge of the divine will toward us, discard from His word. Its prerequisite is a conviction of the turret of God. It is not enough to believe that God is true and cannot lie or deceive, unless you feel firmly convinced that every word proceeds from Him is sacred, absolute truth."
"Faith is a firm and sure knowledge of God's favor toward us, based on the turret of a free promise in Christ, revelaed to our minds and sealed on our hearts by the Holy Spirit." 
"Repentance not only follows faith but is produced by it."
"A man cannot honesty know about repentance unless he knows he belongs to God. But no one is really convinced He is of God until He has accepted His offer of love. No one will ever honor God if he does not believe that God forgives him. No one will every willingly obey the law, if he is not convinced that his efforts are pleasing to God." 
"Repentance is a true conversion of our life to God, spraining from real and stolen fear of God; it consists also in putting to death our flesh and the quickening of the Spirit."
"Sin no longer reigns, but it still remains."
"Doctrine is not a matter of talk but of life."
 "By service, I do not mean simply verbal obedience, but the state of mind which, stripped of carnal desires, implicitly obeys the call of God's spirit." 
"The Chrsitian ought to be disciplined to think that throughout his life he is dealign with God." 
"It is possible to carry out every good deed, as far as the external act goes, but to do it in the wrong way."
"Everyone should think that he owes himself to his neighbors, and that the only limit to his generosity is the end of his resources."
"Unless you understand first of all what your position is before God, and the judgement He has to pass on you, you have no foundation on which salvation can be built or on which true godliness can flourish."
"The distinction between the law and the gospel is obvious: The former gives justification to works whereas the latter bestows it freely without any help from works."   
 "We must meditate on God as He is portrayed in scripture, not in our puny little minds." 
"We may think ourselves superior to, or equal with, other men, but this means nothing to God and it is His judgment alone which counts." 
"The object of righteousness is the service of God: nothing else will do. The ungodly may preform acts that seem good but their motives are evil because they are not seeking to see God. So their beds are sinful."
"Since perfection is altogether unattainable as long as we are in the flesh, the law pronounces death and judgment on all who have not attained perfect righteousness, there will always be good reason to accuse and convict us unless God intervenes in His mercy." 
"We are justified not without, and yet not by, works."
"If they try to measure it (salvation) by their good works they will wallow in uncertainty."
"Anyone who imagines that he can obtain justification by works in any way has an endless task, because he is a debtor to the whole law."
"If we know God as the sovereign giver of all good, who invites us to pass on our requests, and yet we don't bother to come to Him; it won't help one bit."  
 "We should only ask what God allows." 
"God's decision about het elect is based on His free mercy with no reference to human deserving. Equally, those whom He dooms to destruction are shut off from eternal life by His perfect, but incomprehensible judgment."  
"Doctrinal matters are not all of equal importance. Some are essential to truth faith and there are other matters, which can be controversial, but do not destroy the unity of faith. Matters non-essential should not be the basis of arguments among Chrsitains. Of course it is good to have complete agreement, but as no one has perfect knowledge, we must either have no church at all or forgive errors in things which do not destroy the basis of salvation. I'm not condoning error, however trivial, nor trying to encourage it."
"Of course we do not excuse shallow Chrsitian living: it is far too common and the Lord has to correct it, especially if weaker consciences are offended. But it is also a sin to be unloving and unnecessarily severe." 
"Forgiveness of sins is not only the basis on which we first enter the church; it is also the basis upon which the Lord keeps us there. There would not be much point in receiving a pardon which has no further value. God's mercy would be futile and false if it was only I given once." 
I could not more highly recommend this book. Even if you are not reformed in theology I think you find in it a wealth of wisdom.

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Monday, May 2, 2016

It's Monday! As Time Goes By

I got busy last week and an "It's Monday" post did not make it up on the blog so this post will cover two weeks. Sorry guys! I'm also really behind on reviews right now but finding I'm just really not in the mood currently so I'm stepping back and leaving them until I am. If I'm forcing myself to blog then I'm not going to enjoy it. Hopefully though I'll soon feel like it because I don't want to get too behind.

Currently Reading

  • The Sovereignty of God by Arthur W. Pink 
  • The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien (re-read) (audiobook)
  • The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens 

Finished in the past couple weeks

  • Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot
  • Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw (re-read)
  • Lady Susan by Jane Austen (re-read)- I wasn't planning on re-reading it this year but then I found out a film adaptation (Love and Friendship) was coming out so I wanted to refresh my memory on it. It's a fun quick little read and free on the Kindle app. 
  • Mr. Midshipman Hornblower by C.S. Forester 
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare (audiobook)

Coming Soon

  • Total Truth by Nancy Pierce 
  • All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren 

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