Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 End of Year Book Survey

Once again this year I'm linking up with Jamie at the Perpetual Page Turner for the end of the year book survey.

Number Of Books You Read: 78
Number of Re-Reads: 29
Genre You Read The Most From: I'm not sure. I don't separate my books out like that normally. I'd guess fantasy/sci-fi though between re-reading LOTR, Chronicles of Narnia and reading The Lunar Chronicles.


1. Best Book You Read In 2016?

Non-fiction- The Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin and runner up would be The Sovereignty of God by Arthur W. Pink. I read a lot of really good non-fiction this year so it's hard to narrow down.
Fiction- The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Re-read- The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (Obviously!)

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

The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens. Easily my least favorite Dickens I've ever read.


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

Dracula by Bram Stoker. I wasn't sure quite what to expect but the few expectations I had quickly dissolved. I liked this much more than I anticipated I possibly could.

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

I don't push a lot of people to read books I like because I feel I have too eclectic and old taste in books that they won't enjoy them. However I did get a friend to read Pride and Prejudice and my little sister read The Blue Castle. I suppose you could say I got a lot of people to read Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children because I chose it for book club but I hadn't even read it either at that point. 

 5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?

Best series I started? Outlaws of Time: The Legend of Sam Miracle. I can't wait for N.D. Wilson to put out more in this series!

Best sequel of 2016? Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry

Best series ender of 2016? Son by Lois Lowry and Winter by Marissa Meyer

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?

Fiction- Elizabeth Wein with Code Name Verity

Non-Fiction- Arthur W. Pink with The Sovereignty of God
7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
I read a good handful outside of my comfort zone this year and many were quite good. I enjoyed the Lunar Chronicles and the Martian, which would fall in the sci-fi genre I think and that's not a genre I normally read.

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

Probably Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.

 9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Without a doubt The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery. I've already wanted to re-read it THIS year! I loved it so much. READ IT!!!!

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?

Outlaws of Time by N.D. Wilson. Before I read it I was entirely intrigued just by the cover!!! 


11. Most memorable character of 2016?

Mark Watney and Jason Bourne... who coincidentally are both played by Matt Damon in the film versions.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?

Re-Read- The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien and then The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

First time read- All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?

Non-Fiction- The Sovereignty of God by Arthur W. Pink, Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert  and Openness Unhindered: Further Thoughts from an Unlikely Convert both by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield.

Fiction- The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read? 

So many! Namely- The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery, Matilda by Roald Dahl, Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert  and Openness Unhindered: Further Thoughts from an Unlikely Convert both by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield. 

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016? 

I don't keep track of favorite quotes as well as I used to but this is one I really appreciated. 
"I think that too many young Christians fornicators plan that marriage will redeem their sin. Too many young Christians masturbators will redeem their patterns. Too many young Christian internet pornographers think that having legitimate sex will take away the desire to have illicit sex. They're wrong. And the marriages that result from this line of thinking are dangerous places. I know, I told my audience why over 50% of Christian marriages end in divorce; because Christians act as though marriage redeems sin. Marriage does not redeem sin. Only Jesus himself can do that."- Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield 

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?

Shortest Book- Lady Susan by Jane Austen (re-read) 89 pages

Longest Book- Winter by Marissa Meyer 832 pages

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

I don't think any books really shocked per say this year but there were some that surprised me. I think probably Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein did that the most.

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

Barney and Valancy from The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery!!!!!!

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Verity and Maddie from Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. Of course Sam and Frodo and Legolas and Gimli are some other favorites but I've LOTR so many times I'm not sure they technically count anymore.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Still The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery!!!!

21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

The Blue Castle by Lucy maud Montgomery! My fellow classics loving bloggers recommended it and obviously from this post it's a favorite.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?

Captain Thorne from the Lunar Chronicles probably. Also Barney from The Blue Castle.

23. Best 2016 debut you read?

I only read one 2016 book and that was Outlaws of Time: The Legend of Sam Miracle by N.D. Wilson, which I loved.

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

Besides my LOTR/Silmarillion re-read this year of course cause that's the best world building you will EVER see.... Besides that.... Probably the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.

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

Matilda by Roald Dahl, Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw (re-read) and once again THE BLUE CASTLE!!!!

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?

I'm not a crier. The Blue Castle did almost make me cry... a happy cry though.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Would I be sued if once again I said THE BLUE CASTLE!!!! Probably... so I'll go with Son by Lois Lowry.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

No book particularly crushed my soul but I guess the closest would be Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?

The Complete Stories of Flannery O Conner. Her stories are so bizarre and unique that you're not sure whether to love or hate them. Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs was also quite unique.

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

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. It made me mad because it was poetry and for the most part I dislike poetry. Honestly I should have just not read it. 


1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2016?

Lover of Lembas!!! Check it out!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2016?

I don't know! I'm not particularly fond of my reviewing capabilities. I guess I'll go with my review for Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield and then just because The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery because I love that book so much I'm sure the review I wrote of it is spectacular too!!!

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

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

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2016?

Having my fifth blogiversary this past January!

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

Learning to let go and recommit. See this post HERE

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

According to my blogging stats my film review of Love and Friendship.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

None. They've all been pretty well loved.

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

I loved discovering new blogs this year and of course Thrift Books... an online used bookstore and very dangerous for me.

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

See referenced post in question six of this section. I completed some of my reading challenges but not all. I originally set a Goodreads goal of 105 books but then lowered it to 80 books but I didn't make it there either. That's okay. Letting go. :) 

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2016 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?

The Warden and the Wolf King by Andrew Peterson, The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde and The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)?

The Door Before by N.D. Wilson (100 Cupboards prequel!) and Outlaws of Time: The Song of Glory and Ghost by N.D. Wilson. 

3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

I don't really keep track of debuts so none so far.

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?

As mentioned above. Outlaws of Time: The Song of Glory and Ghost by N.D. Wilson

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017?

Read more non-fiction, find joy in my reading and blogging and not over commit myself.

6. A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:


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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Top Ten Favorite Reads of 2016

This week's Top Ten Tuesday theme is my top ten favorite reads of 2016. It's always hard to chose favorites but I finally narrowed it down and by narrowed it down I mean I had to go with thirteen not ten and even then it was excruciatingly hard!!!! They're in no particular order except the order I read them in.
  1. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
  2. Mr. Darcy's Diary by Amanda Grange 
  3. What does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality by Kevin DeYoung
  4. Matilda by Roald Dahl
  5. Son by Lois Lowry
  6. The Martian by Andy Weir
  7. The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  8. The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert  AND Openness Unhindered: Further Thoughts from an Unlikely Covert by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield
  9. The Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin
  10. The Sovereignty of God by Arthur W. Pink 
  11. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
  12. Craving Grace by Ruthie Delk
  13. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler 
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Monday, December 26, 2016

It's Monday! A Very Merry Bookmas

Christmas is one of my favorite holidays because I love giving gifts that I think the recipients will be excited about. Of course I also like getting gifts. I tend to have a big wish list and my parents, or the sibling that drew my name for our siblings exchange, can pick something off of it. I still get surprised but I also get what I wanted. Then of course people just get me something else entirely and surprise me even more, which is alway fun! This year I was not disappointed at all with the number of books I got not to mention a bookish Christmas ornament! Between the books I borrowed from my aunt at Thanksgiving, the ones I got in the Secret Santa and now the ones I got for Christmas my TBR list for 2017 is rapidly growing.
So what books did I get? The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Call the Midwife, Shadows of the Workhouse, Farewell to the East End and Love and Friendship (a novelization of the movie). I'm so thrilled to read them all!

Also in other amazing and bookish news at a work Christmas party I won a Kindle Fire in a drawing!!! I've kind of wanted a Kindle for awhile now but I never would have spent the money on it myself so I was delighted to win it!

So here's what's up with my reading life currently.

Finished this past week

  • Openness Unhindered: Further Thoughts from an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield- Very good read. Equally as good, if not better, than her first book. 
  • The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (audiobook)- Now I really want to watch the movie, which somehow I have not gotten around to watching in my life. The narrator made this book extra enjoyable! 

Currently Reading

  • Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas 
  • The Bourne Supremacy by Robert Ludlum 
  • Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey

Coming Soon

  • The Bourne Ultimatum by Robert Ludlum
  • The Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Bout of Books January 2017

I'm excited to participate in another Bout of Books!
Bout of Books 18Here's what it's about.
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 2nd and runs through Sunday, January 8th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 18 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
The dates actually run during my family's ski trip this coming year so I'll have quite a bit of car time for reading (though I'm sure I'll spend plenty of it talking too... you know me).
My goals for this Bout of Books are:
  • Finish two books
  • Read a little every day

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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind "Santa" Leaving Under my Tree

My favorite presents every year at Christmas are pretty much always books. Therefore this is naturally one of my favorite prompts for Top Ten Tuesday. I already got some of the top ones off of my wishlist from the Broke and Bookish Secret Santa this year so those won't be reflected on this list.  I'm pretty sure that some of the books on my list will be under the tree for me (hopefully!) and I can't wait to open them.

  1. Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain 
  2. Christianity and Liberalism by J. Gresham Machem
  3. The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer
  4. Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges
  5. Any in the Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry (except The Giver as I got that in the secret santa!)
  6. Leave it to Psmith by P.G. Wodehouse
  7. Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth 
  8. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling
  9. Rakkety Tam by Brian Jacques
  10. The Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis

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Monday, December 19, 2016

It's Monday! Can't Wait for Christmas!

It's almost Christmas! I so excited to celebrate with my family. I love giving gifts and I'm thrilled to see their reactions when they open them. I'm working Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (the price one has to pay for not working at all Thanksgiving week but so worth it), so we'll be celebrating Christmas a little early.
Amongst all of the Christmas festivities I'll still be sneaking in some reading of course.
So here's what's up in my reading world.

Currently Reading

  • Bourne Supremacy by Robert Ludlum 
  • Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey 
  • Openness Unhindered: Further Thoughts from an Unlikely Convert on Sexual Identity and Union with Christ by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield 

Finished this Past Week

  • Tales From the Perilous Realm by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • St. Bartholomew's Eve by G.A. Henty (re-read) (audiobook)
  • Outlaws of Time: The Legend of Sam Miracle by N.D. Wilson 
  • The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis (re-read) 

Coming Soon

  • Bourne Ultimatum, by Robert Ludlum 

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Friday, December 16, 2016

2016 Secret Santa

This year I again participated in Broke and Bookish's Secret Santa. It was a lot of fun last year so I was excited for this year. I sent off my package at the beginning of the month and eagerly awaited for my gift to come. Yesterday it came and it was amazing!!!!
Allison from Aliza Shandel really put a lot of thought into my gift. I got three books, tea, chocolate, bookmarks she calligraphed Jane Austen and Tolkien quotes on, and gloves she embroidered a T.A.R.D.I.S. and Doctor Who quote on and a flash drive with some fun reels and jigs. All of my favorite things!!!!
Here are a few pictures of the goodies!

Thank you Allison!!!!

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A Very Merry Tag

I saw this Very Merry Tag on a couple blogs and had to steal it!

Does it snow where you live around Christmas?

Sometimes... Kansas is kind of up in the air when it comes to snow. Sometimes we get white Christmases and sometimes we don't. 

Do you get a real tree or a fake tree?

When we were younger we got real trees but when my grandparents downsized they gave us their fake tree and that's we've had ever since. I love real trees though. 

What is your favorite Christmas movie?

I love White Christmas so much but I'm also a fan of the classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas with Boris Karloff voicing the grinch. 

Where in the world would you like to spend Christmas the most? 

With my family. 

Which fictional/literary character would you most like to spend Christmas with?

Laura Ingalls Wilder. I loved reading about her Christmases in the Little House books. 

What is your favorite Christmas song? 

I can't chose! I love O Holy Night, Joy to the World, O Come O Come Emmanuel and Let all Mortal Flesh Keep Silence. When it comes to secular Christmas songs I also really like Winter Wonderland. 

What is your favorite Christmas Book/Story  (besides, ya know, THE story)? 

How the Grinch Stop Christmas! 

Which do you prefer: multicolored lights or white lights?

We've always had multicolored lights on our Christmas tree but I kind of prefer white lights personally. 

What time period/decade would you most like to spend Christmas in? 

I love the Christmases in Call the Midwife so 1950s let's say. 

Which period drama has the best Christmas scene/episode? 

I like the first Christmas special in Call the Midwife. 

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Monday, December 12, 2016

It's Monday! Cozy Reading by the Fire

This month I've enjoyed curling up by our wood burning stove and reading a good book. It's cozy, serene and practically perfect in every way.
Here's what I've been reading!
And a random picture of me with my niece just because! 

Finished Reading Recently

  • The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis (re-read)
  • The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
  • Idelette by Edna Gerstner 

Currently Reading 

  • Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey 
  • Tales From the Perilous Realm by J.R.R. Tolkien 
  • St. Bartholomew's Eve by G.A. Henty (re-reaD) (audiobook)
  • Openness Unhindered: Further Thoughts From an Unlikely Convert on Sexual Identity and Union with Christ by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield (eBook)

Coming Soon

  • The Legend of Sam Miracle by N.D. Wilson 
  • The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis

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Friday, December 2, 2016

Book Review: Dracula

For the audiobook challenge and the Classics Club I read (listened to) Bram Stoker's classic horror novel Dracula.
Goodreads Synopsis: When Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help Count Dracula with the purchase of a London house, he makes horrifying discoveries about his client and his castle. Soon afterwards, a number of disturbing incidents unfold in England: an unmanned ship is wrecked at Whitby; strange puncture marks appear on a young woman’s neck; and the inmate of a lunatic asylum raves about the imminent arrival of his ‘Master’. In the ensuing battle of wits between the sinister Count Dracula and a determined group of adversaries, Bram Stoker created a masterpiece of the horror genre, probing deeply into questions of human identity and sanity, and illuminating dark corners of Victorian sexuality and desire.
Going into this book I really had no idea what it would entail. Like most people I knew a little about Dracula the character but I soon found out I had no clue about the book. What took me the most off guard with it was that it all started out with Count Dracula wanting to buy.... a house! It sounded boring at first. It escalated quickly though. As the book goes on it becomes more and more disturbing and fascinating.
I really loved the characters in this story. Mina Harker was definitely my favorite but I also loved Dr. Van Helsing. All of the gentlemen that band together to eradicate Count Dracula are amazing actually.
Count Dracula is amply chilling and there were times in the book where I thought to myself "how are they possibly going to defeat him?" It's interesting to see how the character's perception of Count Dracula changes as the story goes on especially at the end when Mina's life is in the balance and they have to realize that Mina could become what they are fighting. It was sad and terrifying.
Overall I was impressed by this book and while I felt at the end it dragged a bit I really enjoyed it. Read or not? Read!

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Book Review- Waverly

For the Mount TBR pile challenge and the Classics Club I read Sir Walter Scott's novel Waverley.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Waverley is set during the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, which sought to restore the Stuart dynasty in the person of Charles Edward Stuart (or 'Bonnie Prince Charlie'). It relates the story of a young dreamer and English soldier, Edward Waverley, who was sent to Scotland in 1745. He journeys North from his aristocratic family home, Waverley-Honour, in the south of England (alleged in an English Heritage notice to refer to Waverley Abbey in Surrey) first to the Scottish Lowlands and the home of family friend Baron Bradwardine, then into the Highlands and the heart of the 1745 Jacobite uprising and aftermath.
After a great experience re-reading Ivanhoe last year I had high expectations for another of Sir Walter Scott's novels. Maybe I had too high of expectations or maybe it simply was not a good time for me to be reading it but nevertheless I ended up a little disappointed. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy it. However I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would.
First off, I just wasn't that enthralled with the hero Edward Waverley. He was kind of a milk sop. He gets better though thankfully. He hasn't been out a lot in the world before the story starts and his view of the world is controlled by what he has read in books.
The other characters in the story I actually found more interesting than him. His two love interests were interesting, though I definitely preferred Flora, who of course he didn't end up with. I think that was for the best though.
Fergus Mac-Ivor was one of the most intriguing characters in the book though and while I agreed with him on little I found him fascinating.
Overall the book was good and I'm sure I'll come back to it at some point in my life, hopefully with a deeper appreciation.

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