Saturday, January 30, 2016

Book Review- Captain Wentworth's Diary

Captain Wentworth's DiaryFor the Shelf Love challenge and the Mount TBR Pile challenge I read Amanda Grange's novel Captain Wentworth's Diary.
Synopsis from Goodreads: The retelling of Jane Austen?s novel Persuasion from the point of view of Captain Frederick Wentworth. During his shore leave from the Navy, Frederick Wentworth falls in love with the elegant and intelligent Miss Anne Elliot only to see his hopes of marrying her dashed by her godmother. Eight years later, Wentworth has realized his ambitions. A wealthy captain, he has pushed his memories of Anne to the furthest recesses of his mind until he sees her again. And though Anne's bloom has faded, Wentworth is surprised to find that his regard for her wit and warmth has not.
I've always loved Persuasion and Anne Elliot. Wentworth was always so-so for me though. With this book though I feel like I can like him more now. I like how the book shows his friendship with his brother who is only casually mentioned in the book. That makes sense though sense he is there when Wentworth is courting Anne the first time. Which brings me to another aspect of this book I love and that would be how they show Wentworth's and Anne's courtship. The whole thing about Persuasion is how it's is their second chance at a love that neither of them has lost and while of course Captain Wentworth's Diary of course follows along with Persuasion in that respect it also goes back to their first chance. It was sweet to see their original courtship though I did think it was a little over the top in some respects. I thought it captured each character from the original story well. Overall it was quite enjoyable. :)

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Friday, January 29, 2016

Book Review- Farmer Giles of Ham

Farmer Giles of Ham For the library reading challenge I read J.R.R. Tolkien's children's story Farmer Giles of Ham.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Farmer Giles of Ham is a light-hearted satire for readers of all ages that tells the tale of a reluctant hero who must save his village from a dragon. It is a small gem of a tale that grows more delightful with each rereading.
I wasn't intending at all to read Farmer Giles of Ham this year but I saw it at the library and it was Tolkien so I had to grab it. It's such a delightful little tale and one that Tolkien originally told as a story to his children. This version that I read included the original way Tolkien told the story and then his fleshed out version that became the book so it was fascinating to see how the story evolved. It's very clever and fun and Farmer Giles made me think of a hobbit, which is always a winner with me. Overall I enjoyed this light little tale. While Tolkien wrote incredible epics he also wrote delightful children's stories and that is evidenced by Farmer Giles of Ham.

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Book Review- Colonel Brandon's Diary

Colonel Brandon's Diary (Jane Austen Heroes, #5)For the Mount TBR challenge and the Shelf Love challenge I read Amanda Grange's novel Colonel Brandon's Diary.
Synopsis from Goodreads: At the age of eighteen, James Brandon's world is shattered when the girl he loves, Eliza, is forced to marry his brother. In despair, he joins the army and leaves England for the East Indies for the next several years. Upon his return, he finds Eliza in a debtor's prison. He rescues her from her terrible situation, but she is dying of consumption and he can do nothing but watch and wait. Heartbroken at her death, he takes some consolation in her illegitimate daughter, who he raises as his ward. But at the age of fifteen, his ward goes missing. Devastated by the thought of what could have happened to her, he is surprised to find himself falling in love with Marianne Dashwood. But Marianne is falling in love with the charismatic Willoughby...
As with Mr Darcy's Diary, I really enjoyed looking at what could have been in our Austen hero's diary. Sure it's just speculation but it's well done speculation. The book begins with Colonel Brandon as a young man falling in love with Eliza, his fathers ward and the heartache and disappointment that therein followed. Then it skims over his career in the militia until we reach the events of our old favorite Sense and Sensibility.
I've always loved Colonel Brandon; he's the true hero of Sense and Sensibility, let's face it. This brings his story to life. After reading it I felt even more how perfectly him and Marianne were suited to each other. Overall it was quite well done and enjoyable. :)

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Blogging about Blogs Tag

Heidi at Along the Brandywine tagged me in the Blogging about Blogs tag! Thank you Heidi! If you're not reading Heidi's blog yet go check it out now! With a blog name as awesome as that you know it's got to be good. :)
So on to the tag!

Rules

Thank the person who tagged you
Answer the questions
Tag some blogging friends

Questions

Blog that makes me laugh- Off the top of my head definitely Wonderland Creek.... just read THIS POST and you'll see what I mean! 
Blog that makes me think- Coffee Soothes the Soul
Blog that teaches me things- Coffee Soothes the Soul
Blog with beautiful headers- A lot! Meanwhile in Rivendell, Wonderland CreekYet Another Period Drama Blog and Along the Brandywine to name just a few. 
Blogger who takes great pictures- Sunday Best and All the Rest
Blogger whose recommendations I trust- I'm always afraid to say I 100% trust someone's recommendation just because but these are the bloggers I mostly trust. ;) Olivia at Meanwhile in Rivendell, Hamlette at Edge of the Precipice and Hamlette's Soliloquy, Sophia at Ravens and Writing Desks, Ashley at A-Z, Naomi at Wonderland Creek, Heidi at Along the Brandywine Amy at Yet Another Period Drama Blog Becky at Becky's Book Reviews and Julie at Smiling Shelves. If your blog didn't make it on this list don't think I don't trust you, or that I hate you or that I don't read your blog... These are just the ones that came to my head first. I still love you! ;) 
New blog I'm enjoying- Lover of Lembas
Blog I've followed the longest- Probably Unscripted whose owner also has another blog called Purple Ink Studios now which she keeps slightly more updated. 
Blog I've started following the most recently- Lover of Lembas
Blog that is always a refreshing happiness- Meanwhile in Rivendell, Wonderland Creek and Along the Brandywine
Blog where I revel in the words- Coffee Soothes the Soul 

I hate tagging people (I'm lazy that way) and I know most of the people I want to tag have already been tagged so if you're reading this consider yourself tagged... you deserve it! :)

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Top Ten Books I'm Looking Forward to Reading this Year

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is a freebie! I'm going to go with the top ten books I'm looking forward to reading this year. There were some that I was really looking forward to that I've already read (I'm specifically thinking of Code Name Verity and Mr. Darcy's Diary here) but for the books I have left that I'm hoping to get read this year these are the ones I'm most looking forward to.
So in no particular order....

  1. The Scarlet Pimpernel series by Emmuska Orczy- I've read and re-read The Scarlet Pimpernel but this year I am really looking forward to reading the rest of the series. 
  2. The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery- I've read some rave reviews of this one from fellow Montgomery lovers so I'm excited to read it! 
  3. Cinder by Marissa Meyer- This is going to be the year I read it... and hopefully the rest of the series too! 
  4. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton- I've read some great things about this book.
  5. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevesky- I was pleasantly surprised by The Brothers Karamazov last year so now I'm excited to read another Dostoevsky book. 
  6. Waverley by Sir Walter Scott- My re-read of Ivanhoe last year really got me interested in reading more of Scott's books so this is next! 
  7. Matilda by Roald Dahl- I'm not sure how I missed this book as a kid as I read many of Dahl's other books but nonetheless I did. This year I'm fixing that! 
  8. Through Gates of Splendor by Elizabeth Elliot- I'm really not sure how I've not read this book by now but I'm reading it this year.
  9. The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Butterfield- One I've been meaning to read for awhile and my parents got it last year so once my sister is done reading it (that may take awhile) I'm going to read it! 
  10. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain- I got this in the Broke and Bookish secret santa so I'm excited to read it this year. Multiple people have recommended this book to me before. 

There's a lot of books that I'm looking forward to RE-reading but I decided to limit myself today. :)

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Monday, January 25, 2016

It's Monday! Reading too fast!

I'm currently four books ahead with my reading goals according to Goodreads. I've been reading quicker books though and I've had enough downtime at work to read. I don't know if either of those will last. :) I've also been going on some amazing nature walks with my brother and they always seem to be a couple hours away so that has given me some extra time. Why nature walks in the winter? Good question and one I keep asking myself too. ;) I'm horribly allergic to poison ivy so winter is just about the best time to go and not come back scratching for weeks. Hopefully soon I'll share some pictures of the sights but here's one for now and more to come soon. These walks have been absolutely beautiful and it's Kansas... which just goes to show that Kansas is NOT flat and boring!
With this speedy reading though I am finding myself behind on book reviews. :( I'm slowly but surely trying to catch up.

Currently Reading

  • The Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin 
  • What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality by Kevin DeYoung
  • Messenger by Lois Lowry (audiobook) 
  • The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens 

Finished this Week

  • Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry (audiobook)
  • Hannibal by Ross Leckie
  • Captain Wentworth's Diary by Amanda Grange
  • Edmund Bertram's Diary by Amanda Grange

Coming Soon

  • Mr. Knightley's Diary by Amanda Grange
  • Henry Tilney's Diary by Amanda Grange 
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Reviews Posted this Week


P.S. If you are participating in my re-reading challenge or classics challenge posts, link up reviews are now up and you can see the links on the sidebar.

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Sunday, January 24, 2016

2016 12 Month Classics Challenge Reviews Link up

Sign up for the 2016 12 Month Classics ChallengeSorry this took me so long to put up!
To keep track of your progress through the 2016 12 Month Classics Challenge I'm posting this link up for your reviews. You can do a review per book, batch reviews or even just an end of the year wrap up post but I do need something so I can know how many books you read plus it's fun to see what you think of the books. If you don't have a blog or Goodreads or something else like that you can always leave a comment.

So here's the link up!


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2016 Hard Core Re-Reading Challenge Reviews Link Up

Sign up for the 2016 Hard Core Re-Reading ChallengeSorry this took me so long to put up!
To keep track of your progress through the 2016 Hard Core Re-Reading Challenge I'm posting this link up for your reviews. You can do a review per book, batch reviews or even just an end of the year wrap up post but I do need something so I can know how many books you read plus it's fun to see what you think of the books. If you don't have a blog or goodreads or something else like that you can always leave a comment.

So here's the link up!


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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Book Review- Hannibal

HannibalFor the Mount TBR challenge I read Ross Leckie's historical novel Hannibal.
Synopsis from Goodreads: An epic vision of one of history’s greatest adventurers, the almost mythical man who most famously led his soldiers on elephants over the Alps. In Ross Leckie's unforgettable recreation of the Punic wars, it is Hannibal, the Carthaginian general, who narrates the story, and who is carried by his all-consuming ambition through profoundly bloody battles against the great Roman armies of early empire. In a breathtaking chronicle of love and hate, heroism and cruelty, one of humanity's greatest adventurers is brought to life, and learns through suffering that man is but a shadow of a dream.
When I picked up this book I kind of missed the big letters on the front that said "the novel" and I assumed it was non-fiction.... it wasn't. However, it was still a well done historical novel.
In this novel, Leckie attempts to show the hatred and ambition of Hannibal that led him to Rome. I think he does an incredibly good job of brining to life Hannibal and what he could have been feeling. That was definitely one of the best part sof the book. I really enjoyed how Leckie showed the deep love Hannibal and his wife had for each other. It obvious they cared for each other deeply. As far as the historical accuracy, I'm no historian but it seems to be pretty historically accurate from what I know of Hannibal and from what I've looked up.
Now let's get to the bad. If this was a movie it would be rated R for the violence/gore alone. I know it's the time period but it was absolutely gross how they would kill captives and torture people and Leckie described it quite vividly. Hannibal also ordered such things. That wasn't my favorite but it does make sense that he would as it was what they did in that time period. Now gore I can handle but then we come to the other reason it would be rated R... sex. We get a description of Hannibal's wedding night, multiple scattered crass comments to do with sex, an attempted rape and a not vivid description of an actual rape. I don't appreciate those at all and it definitely lessen my enjoyment of the book.
Overall I really can't recommend it because of the above negative listed. I rated it three stars on Goodreads for now.

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Friday, January 22, 2016

Book Review- The Complete Stories of Flannery O Conner

The Complete StoriesFor the Mount TBR challenge, Shelf Love challenge and the Classics Club I read The Complete Stories of Flannery O Conner by Flannery O Conner.
Synopsis from Goodreads: O'Connor published her first story, "The Geranium," in 1946, while she was working on her master's degree at the University of Iowa. Arranged chronologically, this collection shows that her last story, "Judgement Day"--sent to her publisher shortly before her death—is a brilliantly rewritten and transfigured version of "The Geranium." Taken together, these stories reveal a lively, penetrating talent that has given us some of the most powerful and disturbing fiction of the twentieth century. 
As the synopsis hints at, O Conner wrote some very weird stories. For the first half or so I had a hard time getting past the weirdness. Thankfully at about that point my mom handed me an article about O Conner's stories and after that I felt like I could better understand what she was trying to say in her stories. I've probably expressed here multiple times before that I'm not a fan of most of the classic American authors because they write such weird and abstract stories that were normally amoral. O Conner's stories were weird and abstract also but they weren't amoral. In fact that was what they were about... morals, hypocrisy and actually a lot about racism. As that article I read stated, O Conner's favorite victims were the middle aged, good-natured, well meaning, church going ladies. She also liked to poke fun at the "intellectuals" as well though. Her stories aren't written to make you feel comfortable at all but instead have you squirming in your seat. Each story is unique and thought provoking and I definitely think I'll be re-reading them in the future.
Recommended? For sure!

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Goodreads Tag

Tags are always fun and I found this one and just had to do it as I'm an avid Goodreads user.

  1. What is the last book you marked as "read"? Edmund Bertram's Diary by Amanda Grange
  2. What are you "currently reading"? I tend to read multiple books at a time anymore. Normally one new read fiction, one non-fiction and then one re-read and then depending I might also additionally have an audiobook but sometimes that crosses over with one of the aforementioned sections. Anyways, back to the point, I'm currently reading John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion (my non-fiction) and Lois Lowry's Gathering Blue (my audiobook and new read fiction) So actually no re-read currently. 
  3. What was the last book you marked as "to read"? Hana's Suitcase: The Quest to Solve a Holocaust Mystery by Karen Levine. This was a recommendation to me by a blogging friend and it does look intriguing! 
  4. What book do you plan on reading next? Either Henry Tilney's Diary or Mr. Knightley's Diary by Amanda Grange. I'm reading through Amanda Grange's Austen heroes diary collection right now and those are the two I have left. 
  5. Do you use the star rating system? Yes! I actually think it helps me a little with deciding how I feel about a book. I do wish there were half stars though. 
  6. Are you doing the 2016 reading challenge? Yes! 105 books is my goal! 
  7. Do you have a wish list? Kind of a mental wish list but yes. I should actually write it out though because every year at Christmas and my birthday when my mom asks me what I want my mind goes blank.... until afterwards. 
  8. What book are you planning on buying next? Hard question! There's so many I want to buy but thankfully I did get a few of the ones I was craving for Christmas and my birthaday. I think I'd have to go with Jeff Shaara's God's and Generals. I've wanted it for a long time... since I read it actually. 
  9. What is your favorite quote? So many but when narrowing it down one just has to turn to Austen. 
  10. Who are your favorite authors? Jane Austen and J.R.R. Tolkien.... if you didn't know that you haven't been reading my blog for long. ;) 
  11. Are you a part of any Goodreads group? Just one.... a Jane Austen one. However I never do anything with it. :( 
  12. What could Goodreads do better? Two things pop to my mind. There needs to be a better way of recording re-reads/re-reading and there needs to be an easier way to record that you own a book. It's a pain. And half stars while you're at it. ;) 

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

5th Blogiversary Giveaway WINNERS!!!!

Thank you everyone for participating in my 5th Blogiversary Giveaway! It's time to announce the winners!

The Complete Chronicles of Narnia 

Goes to.... Aubrey! 

The Horse and His Boy

Goes to... Hamlette! 

The Prisoner of Zenda 

Goes to... Olivia! 

Little House on the Prairie and On the Banks of Plum Creek

Goes to... George! 

The Trumpet of the Swan

Goes to.... Ashley! 

Master and Commander

Goes to.... Lucy! 

Jane Eyre

Goes to... Ruth!

Thank you to everyone who participated! If you were one of the winners please email me at legalois94@gmail.com with your mailing address and I will send your book(s) to you as soon as possible! :) 

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Top Ten Books I've Recently Added to my TBR List

This week's Top Ten Tuesday theme is the top ten books I've recently added to my TBR list. I'm always adding books to my TBR list but these are the ones I've added most recently.

  1. The Trinity by Augustine- I'm always on the lookout to expand my theological horizons and this looks interesting. 
  2. The Man Who Knew Too Much by G.K. Chesterton- I do love G.K. Chesterton. 
  3. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett- I actually have not seen the movie (embarrassing I know) so since I haven't I want to go ahead and take the opportunity to read it before I watch it. 
  4. The Messenger by Marcus Zusak- I loved The Book Thief so I'm intrigued to read another of Zusak's books. 
  5. A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs- To be honest I though I had already added that to my TBR but I guess it was just my mental one and not my Goodreads one. 
  6. Howard End by E.M. Forester- I read A Room With a View last year and I want to try another of Forester's books. 
  7. Waverley by Sir Walter Scott- I loved my re-read of Ivanhoe this past year so I'm eager to read another of Scott's books. 
  8. What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality by Kevin DeYoung- An obviously controversial topic and one that, while I know my own feelings on, I want to learn more about. 
  9. Larkrise to Candleford by Flora Thompson- I'm watching the show right now and I'm feeling the need to read the book!
  10. Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth- I've already watched this show and I need to get the book read now! 

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Monday, January 18, 2016

It's Monday! Post Holidays

It seems like the holidays have finally wound down.... now that my birthday is past. ;)
Now it's time to get back to the grind! I've got a nursing license to renew, books to read and patients to save.... I'm swamped! ;)

Currently Reading

  • The Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin
  • Hannibal by Ross Leckie 
  • Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry (audiobook) 

Finished this Past Week

  • Farmer Giles of Ham by J.R.R. Tolkien 
  • Colonel Brandon's Diary by Amanda Grange 
  • The Complete Stories of Flannery O Conner by Flannery O Conner

Coming Soon

  • Captain Wenworth's Diary by Amanda Grange 
  • Matilda by Roald Dahl
  • What Does the Bible Really Say About Homosexuality by Kevin DeYoung

Reviews Posted this Week


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Sunday, January 17, 2016

Just a quick reminder.... GIVEAWAY!!!

Just a last minute reminder that my 5th Blogiversary giveaway ends TONIGHT at midnight. Be sure to check it out HERE

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Friday, January 15, 2016

Book Review- Mr. Darcy's Diary

For the Mount TBR Pile Challenge, the Shelf Love Challenge and the Full House Reading Challenge I read Amanda Grange's novel Mr. Darcy's Diary.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Monday 9th September""I left London today and met Bingley at Netherfield Park. I had forgotten what good company he is; always ready to be pleased and always cheerful. After my difficult summer, it is good to be with him again. ...""The only place Darcy could share his innermost feelings was in the private pages of his diary...Torn between his sense of duty to his family name and his growing passion for Elizabeth Bennet, all he can do is struggle not to fall in love.Mr. Darcy's Diary presents the story of the unlikely courtship of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy from Darcy's point of view. This graceful imagining and sequel to Pride and Prejudice explains Darcy's moodiness and the difficulties of his reluctant relationship as he struggles to avoid falling in love with Miss Bennet. Though seemingly stiff and stubborn at times, Darcy's words prove him also to be quite devoted and endearing - qualities that eventually win over Miss Bennet's heart. This continuation of a classic romantic novel is charming and elegant, much like Darcy himself.
I hadn't been much impressed with the Jane Austen spin off novels I'd read before Mr. Darcy's Diary so I had low expectations going in to reading it. However, I was quite pleasantly surprised.
This novel greatly humored me. Darcy's dry wit really seeped into his writing. Quotes like "Bingley was an optimist" were my favorite. :) I also really enjoyed seeing his character develop. In Pride and Prejudice he talked to Elizabeth about how long the words "If you had behaved in a more gentlemen like manner" had haunted him since she'd said them and you see that played out in his diary as his character improves. At the beginning he seriously is a snob but by the end you see how much he has changed. Amanda Grange writes that really well... though obviously most of the credit should be given to Jane Austen for originally telling the story. Grange just fleshes it out. Grange started the story with the summer before Darcy meets the Bennet family.... the summer Wickham tries to seduce Georgiana. I liked how that worked though as you get to see how much Darcy goes through because of that and see more obviously why he dislikes Wickham so much. Most of the dialogue included in his diary is straight from Pride and Prejudice though there is some that Grange adds between Darcy and Bingley and a little between Darcy and Elizabeth in spots where Austen just indicated that they talked but didn't say what they actually said. Grange also includes a little past the end of Pride and Prejudice into their married life, which was kind of cute. This actually reminds (SPOILER) me that she added a surprise romance.... Colonel Fitzwilliam and Anne de Bourgh! Weird but she makes it work. Anne de Bourgh is a character that I think everyone wonders about. What is she really like? Grange goes a little into that. END SPOILER
One particularly adorable quote (I thought at least) was when after Elizabeth visited Pemberly, Darcy is looking around his estates and is contemplating being married to her and thinks "I looked to the house and saw my daughters returning from a walk, their petticoats covered in mud." :D There were many other adorable quotes and funny quotes but I can't include them all!
The one thing I didn't care for so much, but really it's just a preference, is how it makes Mr. Bingley out to be kind of a lovesick idiot that goes from one girl to another as he goes from London to Bath to Netherfield, ect. I can kind of see how it makes sense from a couple things Darcy says in Pride and Prejudice but I just thought it was a little too overboard. I think Grange did that to make Darcy look better though.... to give him more justification for breaking up Bingley and Jane but it still wasn't my favorite. I do think though that Grange never underplays how much Bingely does care for Jane and she shows that his affection for her are deeper than the flings he has had beforehand. So all in all it works and it's not too bad but it kind of irks me.
Overall, if you are a fan of Jane Austen, and more specifically Pride and Prejudice, I would recommend Mr. Darcy's Diary for a fun interpretation of what Mr. Darcy's diary might have looked like.
P.S. Be sure to check out my five year blogiversary giveaway HERE!

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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Book Review- Code Name Verity

I've been meaning to read Code Name Verity for a while now so it's fitting I started the year out with it. I read it for the Shelf Love challenge, the Full House challenge and the Mount TBR Pile Challenge.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Oct. 11th, 1943-A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it's barely begun.When "Verity" is arrested by the Gestapo, she's sure she doesn't stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she's living a spy's worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution. As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage, failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy? A Michael L. Printz Award Honor book that was called "a fiendishly-plotted mind game of a novel" in The New York TimesCode Name Verity is a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other.
I'd heard lots of good things about this book going into it so I was intrigued and excited to read it. It didn't disappoint me. It was a definite page turner. I don't want to give anything away about this book because I think it's one you really have to go into not knowing what's going to happen to truly enjoy it. Therefore I'll probably be a little cryptic in this review. The friendship in the story is beautiful, inspiring and fun. The realness of the danger is brutal and honest but the book gives you enough humor and fun moments to get you through it. I really loved all of the books references to classic literature such as Swallows and Amazons and Peter Pan. My main qualm with it is the language. There's some strong language every once and a while, which is why I won't be handing it to my little sister until I'm able to go through it with whiteout. Also it's fairly gritty... torture and all so don't hand it to younger kids for that reason either. Besides that though it is a really enjoyable and fast paced read. I don't really read much YA so it was nice to experience one that I enjoyed.
Okay so minor spoiler so shield your eyes but quick question... does anyone else think Jamie and Maddie got together in the end? I know there's a sequel, which hopefully I'll get to soon, but I'm musing on this right now. End spoiler.
All in all I recommend this book with the qualm mentioned above. :)
P.S. Be sure to check out my five year blogiversary giveaway HERE!

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Book (play) Review- Othello

For the Shelf Love challenge, Mount TBR Pile Challenge and the Audiobook Challenge I read (listened) to William Shakespeare's play Othello.
Synopsis from Goodreads: In Othello, Shakespeare creates a powerful drama of a marriage that begins with fascination (between the exotic Moor Othello and the Venetian lady Desdemona), with elopement, and with intense mutual devotion and that ends precipitately with jealous rage and violent deaths. He sets this story in the romantic world of the Mediterranean, moving the action from Venice to the island of Cyprus and giving it an even more exotic coloring with stories of Othello's African past. Shakespeare builds so many differences into his hero and heroine—differences of race, of age, of cultural background—that one should not, perhaps, be surprised that the marriage ends disastrously. But most people who see or read the play feel that the love that the play presents between Othello and Desdemona is so strong that it would have overcome all these differences were it not for the words and actions of Othello's standard-bearer, Iago, who hates Othello and sets out to destroy him by destroying his love for Desdemona. As Othello succumbs to Iago's insinuations that Desdemona is unfaithful, fascination—which dominates the early acts of the play—turns to horror, especially for the audience. We are confronted by spectacles of a generous and trusting Othello in the grip of Iago's schemes; of an innocent Desdemona, who has given herself up entirely to her love for Othello only to be subjected to his horrifying verbal and physical assaults, the outcome of Othello's mistaken convictions about her faithlessness.
I feel like that synopsis sums it up beautifully. I liked this play... more than I thought I would. I felt so bad for Desdemona and was so mad at Othello. It was a little like Hero and Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing only at least that has a happy ending! The love they had for each other was deep and it was moving how Desdemona retained that deep love for Othello even as he started to emotionally abuse her and thereafter. Othello's speech about never being jealous about her was great... until he turned around right after that and was jealous. Iago was absolutely diabolical! How he schemed and connived everything was terrifying.
This play was truly a tragedy. It told the classic tale of jealousy and a friend turning against a friend. With knowing so little about it before I listened to it, I was surprised how much I liked it. I had to pay a lot closer attention to it because of that but I think that caused me to enjoy it more as I focused on Shakespeare's imaginative and beautiful words.

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Sunday, January 10, 2016

Fifth Blogiversary!!!!!!! And HUGE Giveaway!!!!!

As crazy as it may sound to you and to me, this is the fifth year that I've been blogging which of course puts us in order for a blogiversary giveaway!

I'm forever accidentally buying copies of books I already own so I have tons of duplicates. These beloved duplicates will be my giveaway prizes! When I ran out of bookshelf space earlier this year I finally pulled all of my duplicates off of my shelf and since then they have been sitting on my desk taking up more space than they should. They need to go... and to a deserving home.

First off I have the complete Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.... okay semi complete. I don't apparently own a second copy of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe but Lois is a generous soul and I will supplement that with a used copy from Amazon to be sent to the winner. They are all in good condition and only lightly used. Fair warning, some of them are from different publishers so the books don't all match in how they look. Lois gives this series five stars. :)

Second I have yet another copy of The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis (don't even ask how on earth I managed to obtain three copies of The Horse and His Boy). It's lightly used. Lois gives this book five HUGE stars.... cause it's amazing. :)

Third I have a copy of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Two Towers. It is a more heavily used copy but still in one piece. Lois of course gives this book five stars!

Next I have a copy of Anthony Hope's The Prisoner of Zenda. It is a lightly used copy. Lois gives this book five stars!

Next up are Little House on the Prairie and On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The first is lightly used the second is heavily used.... the front cover is only half there. Lois gives the overall series five stars but these two in particular I would probably rate four stars each.

Then we have E.B. White's The Trumpet of the Swan which is in very lightly used condition. Lois would give this book four stars.

Then Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander which is also lightly used. I won a copy of it from Hameltte then forgot I won it and bought a copy. Don't worry though Hamlette.... I'm not giving away my giveaway copy! That is a treasure possession! ;) Lois hasn't read this book yet so cannot yet rate it.... Lois is very ashamed. Lois plans to read this book this year though. However, Lois knows Hamlette likes this book so Lois assumes it must be good. ;)

Then a copy of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre which is basically new. Lois gives this book five stars... maybe 4 ½.

Lastly and very leastly I have a copy of William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury. You can read my review of it HERE. I do not much care for this book, which is why I'm getting rid of it. It was a freebie for me and it is lightly used. Lois gives this book two stars and spits on it's memory. ;)

Now here's the Rafflecopter thingy (thingy is a VERY scientific word) so enter and join in the fun!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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It's Monday! 22!

I don't know about you, but I'm feeling 22! ;)
Last week I celebrated turning 22! After the 21st birthday it seems like it is all downhill skiing. There's nothing special after that.... except when I get to 50 I guess..... :( I did have a fun time celebrating with my family though and we had an Oreo cake that I made. :)
They also gave me some awesome presents! A fun nursing mug, a crochet book, the book Far From the Madding Crowd and a Celtic Woman CD and DVD. They know me so well. :)
Also, my 5th Blogiversary is Monday January 11th so be sure to check out that post and read about the giveaway HERE.

Currently Reading

  • The Complete Stories of Flannery O Conner by Flannery O Conner- These stories just get weirder and weirder! 
  • The Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin- Still amazing but oh so dense! 

Finished this week

  • Othello by William Shakespeare (audiobook)- I knew next to nothing about this play but I really enjoyed it. 
  • Mr. Darcy's Diary by Amanda Grange- I was surprised by how much I liked this! Review forthcoming! 

Coming Soon

  • Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry (audiobook)
  • Colonel Brandon's Diary by Amanda Grange 
  • Hannibal by Ross Leckie 

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Friday, January 8, 2016

Birthday Month Reading Challenge and Hard Core Re-Reading ChallengeWinners

I'll admit I almost forgot but here's the announcement for the winners of the 2015 Birthday Month Reading Challenge and the 2015 Hard Core Re-Reading Challenge.
Winners were chosen randomly.

Birthday Month Reading Challenge 

Sign up for the 2015 Birthday Month Reading Challenge!
A LOT of people participate in this challenge which was amazing!
The grand prize winner (your choice of a book or literary momento costing $20 or less from Amazon) is: Sherrie
The second prize winner (your choice of a book or literary momento costing $15 or less from Amazon) is: Courtney
The third prize winner (your choice of a book or literary momento costing $10 or less from Amazon)  is: C Riedel

Hard Core Re-Reading Challenge

Sign up for the 2015 Hard Core Re-Reading Challenge!
Not quite as many people participated in this challenge but those that did were very dedicated and I was impressed with how many books they re-read! Good job everyone!
The grand prize winner (your choice of a book or literary momento costing $20 or less from Amazon) is: Becky
The second prize winner (your choice of a book or literary momento costing $15 or less from Amazon) is: Amanda
The third prize winner (your choice of a book or literary momento costing $10 or less from Amazon) is: Selah

If you were a winner please contact me and let me know what you would like your prize to be and I will get it sent off to you ASAP. I will try to contact all of the winners to let them know. Deadline to contact me is next Saturday (January 16th) and if you haven't contact me by then I will chose another winner.

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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Cinderella Party Tag 2016

Heidi at Along the Brandywine is hosting a Cinderella Party this week! Go check it out and participate in the fun HERE. Disclaimer.... I haven't seen the 2015 live action Disney version of Cinderella yet.

Cinderella Party Tag:


1. In the vast array of fairytale heroines, what particular character qualities most define Cinderella? Kindness. In all of the versions and spinoffs of Cinderella I've seen that is the quality she always shows. 

2. What are some of the deeper, big picture differences you see between retellings where both stepsisters are nasty and others where one is nasty and one is kind? How do you think the two takes differently develop/illuminate/affect Cinderella’s character and also the overarching story itself? 
I'm thinking of Ever After off the top of my head as the one where one sister is nice(ish) and the other isn't. Honestly I think it's done more for comedic effect than anything. The nice(ish) sister ends up being stupid as well. I think that it effects Cinderella's character in giving a little relief from the cruelty around her and also maybe encouraging her in her kindness. 

3. Are you an animal lover? Would you eagerly count mice, lizards, cows, and geese as friends? Dogs and cats? Dogs yes. Some of those others I might have to get used to. 

4. After asking question #3, I realized how remarkably many of the adaptations I’ve seen have Cinderella either horseback riding or involved with horses. Have you ever ridden? If so, have you ever ridden sidesaddle or bareback? I don't think I've ever ridden sidesaddle or bareback but I haven't ridden since I was a wee child so I don't remember my horse riding experiences well. 

5. Your favorite Cinderella dress/s? I love the ball dress from Ever After. From the pictures I've seen of 2015 Cinderella I really like her ball dress and her wedding dress too. I also like the ball dress from the animated version. So basically they haven't one wrong with the ball dress yet. ;) 

6. Do you ever think of Cinderella while doing your household chores? :) Of course! Especially when mopping. When we were kids we used to joke around and say "Cinderella do this and that" in our most snobbish portrayal of the stepmother that we could manage. Cause we were cool. ;) 

7. What major character traits do you think are essential in a faithful prince? Honesty, loyalty, kindness and a sense of humor. 

8. Your top THREE favorite fairy tales (as in the original folk tales, not adaptations). Beauty and the Beast (absolutely my favorite fairytale... the heroine reads!), The Twelve Dancing Princesses (I'm not sure why but I loved reading this story as a kid) and The Emperor's New Clothes (because of it's political implications). 

9. Your top FIVE current favorite fairy tale/legend type films (BESIDES any Cinderella adaptations)- Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Disney's Tangled, Enchanted, The Princess Bride (does this count?) and The Swan Princess (very sentimental here). The first two were obvious for me but I had a hard time choosing the rest just because I'm kind of "whatever" after the first two. I almost chose Frozen but it gets enough hype without my help. 

10. If you could play Cinderella and the story could be set in any region of the world and any time period, what would you pick? And what would your dream ‘ball gown’ for it be like? I like the 1800s time period that the Brothers Grimm created. Off the top of my head I'd just go with the ball gown from the 2015 Cinderella. 

11. And (purely for fun :))… what color/s do you immediately associate with Cinderella? Blue. 

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Monday, January 4, 2016

It's Monday! A New Year

Welcome to 2016! I'm absolutely thrilled to be in a new year and perhaps a little bit giddy thinking about all of the new books I'll get to experience in it. :) New Years eve, after staying up until New Year's day playing games with the family, I started reading a book just so I could start the year off right. It felt so satisfying. :)
As I mentioned last week, one side of the family got together this past week and we celebrated Christmas together. My aunt got me tea and a mug.... it's like she reads my blog. ;)
My dear cousins got me a Doctor Who T-shirt that says "Cross my hearts and hope to regenerate" and has two anatomically correct hearts on it. Very Lois approved. :) We spent lots of time playing games together, quizzing each other randomly on movie trivia and laughing. :) I even introduced my cousin to Leverage. :) To top it off we all (all 19 of us!) went to go see (the 2nd time for my immediate family) Star Wars: The Force Awakens!
All in all it was a delightful conclusion to the Christmas season.
But on to reading...

Currently Reading

  • The Complete Stories of Flannery O Conner by Flannery O Conner 
  • Othello by William Shakespeare (audiobook)
  • Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin 

Finished this week

  • none

Coming Soon

  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
  • Mr. Darcy's Diary by Amanda Grange

Reviews Posted this Week

What are you excited about for this new year?

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Sunday, January 3, 2016

Bout of Books January 2016 Sign Up

It's that time of the year again for another Bout of Books! For those not "in the know", Bout of Books is a week long read-a-thon. This next one will be running from January 4-10. You can see more information and sign up HERE. Bout of Books always helps me to get a lot of reading done and have fun. It will be especially great to kick start the reading year!
Here's a few goals I have for the Bout of Books week!

  • Read (as in complete) three books. 

Here's a little list of books I might get read (maybe just started) during the Bout of Books week!

  • The Complete Stories of Flannery O Conner by Flannery O Conner
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
  • Mr. Darcy's Diary by Amanda Grange
And I'll probably make some headway in these books I'm already reading.
  • The Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin
  • Othello by William Shakespeare (audiobook)


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Saturday, January 2, 2016

A Look Back at 2015 and a Look Forward at 2016

2015 was an incredible year in many ways and introduced many changes in my life. Here's a list of highlights for me.

I turned 21 and had my first drink with my family 

 

Went on a family ski trip to Colorado


'Dad and I at the top of the mountain on our 2015 ski trip. :)'

Graduated from nursing school (finally!)

'After months of being gone from Facebook to focus more on school I'm back! Since I've been away, I graduated from nursing school, passed the NCLEX (nursing state boards) and got my first nursing job at Kansas Medical Center. :)'

Got my first nursing job



Moved back home 




My brother and my best friend got married




Now here's looking forward to 2016! 

A few literary goals

  • Read over 100 books again. 
  • Make non-fiction (especially theology) a primary focus this year for reading. 

A few life goals

  • Go on my church's mission trip to Costa Rica- I really want to go back to Costa Rica in 2016. I did not go this last year with how busy I was but I would love to go again this next year. 
  • Go on my church's youth mission trip to Nebraska as a chaperone- My little sister is very enthusiastic about me coming so we'll see. I'd have to make sure I had the time available to go on both mission trips. 

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Friday, January 1, 2016

End of the Year Book Survey 2015

This is my second year doing Jamie @ The Perpetual Page Turner's end of the year book survey. This is such a fun way to recap the reading year.
reading-stats-2015-1024x278

Number Of Books You Read: 102
Number of Re-Reads: 54
Genre You Read The Most From: Classics 


best-YA-books-2014

1. Best Book You Read In 2015?

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

A Room with a View by E.M. Forester- I liked it but I didn't love it like I thought I would. 

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

I was surprised at how much I loved Mysterious Island. It is definitely one my favorites of Jules Verne's novels. 

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

Emma.... Because I had a read-along. :) 

 5. Best series you started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015?

I finished two series this year... C.S. Lewis's Space Trilogy and the Little Britches series by Ralph Moody. I loved them both but I think That Hideous Strength from the Space Trilogy was the best. 

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?

Leif Enger 

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

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

Gone With the Wind actually. It wasn't action packed or thrilling but I couldn't put it down for sure when though it was incredibly long! 

 9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

I don't normally re-read a book the year right after reading it for the first time but I think that The Valley of Vision is one I could re-read next year and may actually do. 

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?

So this isn't the cover of the translation I read but it's the cover of the translation I now own so we're going with it. ;)

11. Most memorable character of 2015?

Scarlette O'Hara. I don't like her but she's definitely memorable. 

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?

I read a lot of beautifully written books this year. I remember commenting on beautiful writing in several of my reviews. I think maybe All Quiet on the Western Front will be the winner though. 

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015?

The Valley of Vision for sure. If you haven't read this book then you need to! 

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read? 

A lot but most definitely Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. 

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015? 

I'm supposed to choose? 
From a first time read- "I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read on the train."- The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde 
From a re-read- "If I loved you less I might be able to talk about it more."- Emma by Jane Austen 

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?

Longest- Gone With the Wind- 1037 pages
Shortest- The Fearsome Inn- 46 pages 

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

I'd seen Rebecca before reading the book or else it would definitely have been Rebecca. I think I'll go with Beloved by Toni Morrisson. 

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

I hate that term but here goes.
First time read- Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler.... They deserve each other and I've said this once and I'll say it again... Scarlett finally married the right man for her and she never realized it until too late. Get with it Scarlett! Granted she doesn't deserve a happy ending but boy if you get it handed to you on a platter take it!
Re-Read- Emma Woodhouse and Mr. Knightley.... obviously. 

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

The family relationships in Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

21. Best Book You Read In 2015 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

I don't succumb to peer pressure! ;) I'd go with Armadale and No Name by Wilkie Collins.  

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?

Besides Mr. Knightley? ;) All the ones I can think of actually are from re-reads. There weren't any great romances in the books I read this year. Newest though.... Mr. Knightley isn't new. I'd say Nat Bowditch from Carry On Mr. Bowditch. How did I not love this guy before? Genius, sweet, kind, funny and did I mention genius? :) 

23. Best 2015 debut you read?

I didn't read any 2015 debut novels this year. 

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

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

Betsy-Tacy and Betsy-Tacy and Tib. They're just so sweet! :) 

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015?

Rilla of Ingleside. I don' cry over books but I almost cried when re-reading this one. Walter.... enough said. 

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

None of the books I read this year crushed my soul in the sense that they left me devastated. Some of them crushed my soul in that they were awful to read.... *cough* Gulliver's Travels *cough*

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015?

Beowulf and in that same vein Boys of Blur, which has hints of Beowulf in it. 

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

As mentioned above.... Gulliver's Travels... I hated it and I'm mad I took the time to RE-read it. 
book-blogging

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2015?

Meanwhile in Rivendell! I know I've mentioned it a lot before on the blog but seriously... check it out! 

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2015?

I like my reviews of Beowulf, Gone With the Wind and The Brothers Karamazov

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

I love the Emma read-along posts! There were some where we had a lot of great discussion, especially the first couple! 

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

I love Top Ten Tuesday and Bout of Books! 

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015?

Being able to re-read so many of my old favorites, finding copies of The Silmarillion and The Children of H├║rin at a used bookstore and participating in the Broke and Bookish Secret Santa. 

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

Keeping up with writing reviews. 

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

It seems it is my post Me and My Music. :) 

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

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

I found a wire spinning shelf at Goodwill that saved me from having to figure out my lack of bookshelf space (for the present that is). 

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

I completed all of them.... and it was no easy task either! 
looking-ahead-books-2015

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016?

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein 

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)?

Being a classics lover I don't read many new books. I can't think of any off the top of my head that are coming out next year that I want to read. 

3. 2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

See above. 

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2016?

See above. 

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2016?

I want to be better at replying to comments right away. 

6. A 2016 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

Once again see above. :)


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