Monday, November 13, 2017

It's Monday! Ice Possible

I am that friend. 
There's nothing I hate more than getting in my care and turning it on and the words popping up on it's screen "Drive carefully, ice possible." It jus makes me want to go back inside and curl up in my nice warm bed. That has been the fairly consistent message I've been getting recently as I get in my car at ungodly hours of the morning to head to work. My body hates cold weather and I lived any further north I'm not sure what I'd do. Whenever we go visit our relatives in Minnesota I find it go be a love/hate trip. I love to see them but I hate being there in the cold, and probably icy and snowy, weather. Yikes! Gives me the shivers just thinking about it.
On to warmer, cozier topics. Books!

Finished this Week

  • A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry 

Currently Reading

  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy 
  • A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs 
  • God Is by Mark Jones 
  • The Mortification of Sin by John Owen
  • Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey 

Coming Soon

  • The Four Feathers by A.E.W.  Mason 
  • The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay 

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Classics Club Spin #16

It's been a long time sine I've done a Classics Club spin but I need to get that list done so this is just a bit more incentive.
Here's the rules
  • Go to your blog.
  • Pick twenty books that you’ve got left to read from your Classics Club List.
  • Try to challenge yourself: list five you are dreading/hesitant to read, five you can’t WAIT to read, five you are neutral about, and five free choice (favorite author, re-reads, ancients — whatever you choose.)
  • Post that list, numbered 1-20, on your blog before Friday, November 17th.
  • That morning (11/17), we’ll announce a number from 1-20. Go to the list of twenty books you posted, and select the book that corresponds to the number we announce.
  • The challenge is to read that book by December 31, even if it’s an icky one you dread reading! (No fair not listing any scary ones!)

Books I'm Dreading

1) The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
2) East of Eden by John Steinbek
3) Moby Dick by Herman Melville 
4) Adam Bede by George Elliot 
5) The Mill on the Floss by George Elliot 

Books I Can't Wait to Read

6) The 39 Steps by John Buchan
7) Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
8) Lark Rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson
9) Arsenic and Old Lace by Joseph Kesselring 
10) Cyarno de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand 

Books I Feel Neutral About

11) Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevesky 
12) Kim by Rudyard Kipling 
13) Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes
14) Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
15) Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson

Free Choice (Shakespeare)

16) Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare (mine)
17) Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare (mine)
18) The Tempest by William Shakespeare (mine)
19) Love's Labour's Lost by William Shakespeare (mine)
20) Richard III by William Shakespeare (mine)

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Top Ten Books I Want my Future Children to Read

I haven't done a Top Ten Tuesday in a long time partly because the themes haven't appealed to me and partly because I've just been lazy. However the theme of the top ten books I want my future children to read especially appealed to me with expecting our first children. I love books, my husband loves books so I'm pretty sure we're going to bring up some book lovers. The books I've listed are ones that I loved as a kid and are quality books.  I didn't include any picture books or older level books but stuck with more grade school books. Of course it was hard to narrow down to just ten books so sacrifices had to be made.

  1. The Mad Scientist Club by Bertrand Brinley 
  2. Detectives in Togas Henry Winterfield 
  3. Freddy Goes to Florida by Walter R. Brooks
  4. Redwall by Brian Jacques
  5. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  6. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery 
  7. Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
  8. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll  
  9. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  10. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
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Monday, November 6, 2017

It's Monday! Goals

It's been a better week with reading. I've been evaluating my classics club list and making a plan to get it completed. I'm always super goal oriented in the fall/winter though. I don't know what it is but I love to make big plans in the cold weather that I fail to complete in the warm weather.

Finished this week

  • Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot- SO GOOD!!! 

Currently Reading 

  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy 
  • A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs 
  • God Is by Mark Jones 
  • The Mortification of Sin by John Owen
  • Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey 

Coming Soon

  • Something off my Classics Club list 

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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Book Review- The Once and Future King

For the Classics Club I read T.H. White's novel The Once and Future King.
Synopsis from Goodreads- Once upon a time, a young boy called “Wart” was tutored by a magician named Merlyn in preparation for a future he couldn’t possibly imagine. A future in which he would ally himself with the greatest knights, love a legendary queen and unite a country dedicated to chivalrous values. A future that would see him crowned and known for all time as Arthur, King of the Britons.
During Arthur’s reign, the kingdom of Camelot was founded to cast enlightenment on the Dark Ages, while the knights of the Round Table embarked on many a noble quest. But Merlyn foresaw the treachery that awaited his liege: the forbidden love between Queen Guinevere and Lancelot, the wicked plots of Arthur’s half-sister Morgause, and the hatred she fostered in Mordred that would bring an end to the king’s dreams for Britain--and to the king himself.
I had heard many good things about The Once and Future King before I read it from fellow bloggers. Not long before I started it, though, I heard probably the only negative review of it from my dad, who I tend to see eye to eye with on books, movies and the like. That made me a little nervous but I still went into it with high expectations, assuming it would be one of those few books my dad and I disagreed on. Now having finished it though I think I find myself somewhere in the middle. I did enjoy it but I can also see the flaws my dad saw. I feel it's different than any other Arthurian legend book I've read. Now, to be fair, I haven't read Le Morte d'Arthur by Mallory, which White seems to have based The Once and Future King off of and heavily references. My memory isn't perfect on those books and I know the legends do vary but I feel like there was a fair amount in The Once and Future King that I don't recall from the other books I've read. One thing I found interesting was that I feel White tried very hard to make you understand each character and even if you couldn't like them to at least pity them. He was fairly successful but as with each time I read an Arthurian legend my heart is left cold for Guinevere and Lancelot. This book actually made my heart even colder towards Guinevere than I usually am. It let me sympathize with Lancelot slightly and I feel he became a far deeper and more complex character but I still in the end found him weak and unlikable. You like Arthur for the most part but there are times (like when he pulls a Herod and tries to get of Mordred by killing all the babies) that he's quite unlikable. In the end though he seems like a naive dotard. He's caught up in his ideal and fighting against everything to keep it from falling apart even though it already has. And really.... was his an ideal actually an ideal? There is no such thing as utopia. Even before everything completely fell apart things were a mess. Knights were killing each over (I'm looking at you Orkney faction!) left and right and Arthur forgave them left and right. The book is somewhat of a political commentary, which is interesting.
Overall, thats' what this book is... interesting. As an adaption of the legends it's unique and I am glad I read it. At some point (probably not in the too near future) I'll be going back to some of the other Arthurian legends novels I've read to see how they compare and eventually I'll actually read Mallory's Le Morte d'Arthur.

Overall, while reading this, I remembered how sad the legends are and how much I enjoyed the TV show Merlin for giving me a lighter and more family friendly version.

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Monday, October 30, 2017

It's Monday! The Once and Future Lois

How I feel when thinking about holiday cooking. 
I finally got one book shaved off of my "currently reading" list.... The Once and Future King. I'll have a review up here in not too long. The weather has dropped here in Kansas and I even turned the furnace on. My mind turns with the weather to Thanksgiving and Christmas. They're two of my favorite holidays and that may or may not have to do with the food. With the colder weather my musical preferences have turned to Ella Fitzgerald and Norah Roberts. They're soothing music seems perfect for curling up with a cup of hot tea and a blanket. Hot tea and blankets naturally lead you to cozy books. Curling up with a good book just seems like the right thing to do in the cold months ahead and I'm looking forward to much of it.

Currently Reading

  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  • God Is by Mark Jones
  • Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot 
  • The Mortification of Sin by John Owen
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (re-read) (audiobook)
  • Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey 

Finished Recently

  • The Once and Future King by T.H. White
I'm still not sure if I'll be starting anything new yet until I finish one of my nonfiction books but we'll see. If I do it will most likely be something off of my Classics Club list. 

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Monday, October 23, 2017

It's Monday! Sixteen Weeks

I'm now sixteen weeks pregnant! Part of me can't believe I'm that far along already and part of me is ready to fast forward a bit... not too much just a bit. Let's not get too crazy. Here's a couple sixteen week bump pictures I took recently because I was getting complaints of lack of bump pictures. There just hadn't been a super evident bump yet. I could tell but it was hard to tell in pictures. Now though it's starting to pop out more.

Anyways.... reading. I've been a bit better about reading recently but still have a lot to do. My goal is to focus on completing my classics club goal and not worry about any other reading challenges... not worry too much that is.... I still worry a little. ;) To really kick that goal off I started reading War and Peace (my greatest reading fear) on the Serial Reader app (thanks Julie for recommending it). I'm finding reading War and Peace much more tangible right now thanks to the app and actually enjoyable. I still have many other books to go on my classics club list but getting War and Peace out of the way will be a blessing.
My book club chose to read Call the Midwife for the next month which was my excuse to finally get it read! I was so excited about that and I can't wait to read the other two books in the series.

Currently Reading

  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  • The Once and Future King by T.H. White
  • God Is by Mark Jones
  • Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot
  • The Mortification of Sin by John Owen
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (re-read) (audiobook)
  • Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey 

Finished Recently

  • Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth 
I'm not wanting to start anything more (unless I have to like for book club or something) until I finish The Once and Future King and at least one of my nonfiction books. I don't know why I insist on reading so much nonfiction a the same time! 

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Finally Fall Book Tag

Once again I'm stealing a tag because I can. I saw this over at Coffee, Classics and Craziness and at Edge of the Precipice and it looked like fun! It's actually feeling like fall here in Kansas now. We had a hot September but just in these last couple weeks, really since October started, it's started to cool down. I do like fall but it seemed like such a dramatic change from hot to crisp that I'm still pouting a little about it all. The pouting is partially fueled by the fact that my husband likes to leave the windows open all of the time so the house is colder than I'd like it. Thank goodness for fleece Batman pajamas. It does feel like the perfect time though to be curling up with a good book and a hot cup of tea though so I'm hoping this will fuel some more reading in my life. Unfortunately I also desperately need to get my continuing education completed to renew my nursing listen coming up in just a few months. I'm well underway but I need to get it all wrapped up. Work before play and all of that you know.
Anyways, back to the tag!

1. In fall, the air is crisp and clear: name a book with a vivid setting!

My first though is the Redwall series by Brian Jacques. His books truly painted pictures with words. I could see the scenery and taste the food he described. And now I want to re-read all of his books so badly!!!! 

2. Nature is beautiful… but also dying: name a book that is beautifully written, but also deals with a heavy topic like loss or grief.

I'm stealing Eva's answer but it's so good! Definitely The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak. How it deals with death is beautiful and unique and I love it.

3. Fall is back to school season: share a non-fiction book that taught you something new.

So many!  I don't read a lot of non-fiction but I love the ones I do get around to. The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer was very influential on me a few years ago. I liked Quiet by Susan Caine. I'm not sure if Hidden Figures is considered non-fiction or historical fiction but that definitely taught me something new. There's so many theological books I've read that have taught me so much.... John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion and Arthur Pink's The Sovereignty of God pop to mind. I'm reading John Owen's The Mortification of Sin right now and it's challenging me a lot. As I said... so many!

4. In order to keep warm, it’s good to spend some time with the people we love: name a fictional family/household/friend-group that you’d like to be a part of.

The Weasley family! I love them dearly.

5. The colorful leaves are piling up on the ground: show us a pile of fall-colored spines!

6. Fall is the perfect time for some storytelling by the fireside: share a book wherein somebody is telling a story.

The first book I thought of was The Book Thief but I've already used that so I'll go with The Princess Bride by William Goldman.

7. The nights are getting darker: share a dark, creepy read.

Dracula by Bram Stoker was my creepiest read so far I think. I read it last year and LOVED it! So different than what I was expecting. I've also read some pretty creepy Dean Koontz books but Dracula is what really stands out to me right now.

8. The days are getting colder: name a short, heartwarming read that could warm up somebody’s cold and rainy day.

First book that comes to my mind is Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I'm not sure why but it did. Children's books tend to warm my heart and that series is pretty much always guaranteed to.

9. Fall returns every year: name an old favorite that you’d like to return to soon.

I've already mentioned Brian Jacques' Redwall series but besides that I've been thinking about the J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series because I've been rewatching the movies with my husband. I've also been wanting to re-read A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh and Richard Adams' Watership Down.

10. Fall is the perfect time for cozy reading nights: share your favorite cozy reading “accessories”!

A cup of hot tea and a warm blanket. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

It's Monday! What's Happened?

Life has been busy I'll admit but that's no excuse for my slacking reading. I haven't had an It's Monday post in a while either. So actually I do have a little to update... still my reading progress is sad. I was thinking recently about how my Classics Club challenge finishes up in 2019 on my 25th birthday and I'm only a little over halfway through it. I started out strong the first couple years and I've really slacked off since then only getting a few in every year. I'm not sure what's going to happen there but I'd really like to finish it in the time I designated but most importantly I just want to finish it to say I did it. There are lots of books I'm excited about reading still left on the list. Forget my other reading challenges... I've even more woefully behind one them than my Classics Club challenge. Oh well.
Truth is, with getting married, managing a household and now a baby on the way my life is legitimately more busy than it used to be. I have a nursing license that will need to be renewed soon, a social life I pretend to keep up and did I mention that I'm pregnant.... that's exhausting by itself. Oftentimes I just want to lay down and shut my eyes... not lay down and read a book.
Ah excuses. I have lots of them. My goal right now is to take care of my legitimate excuses first and then brush aside my not so legitimate excuses and take the time to read some more.
With that in mind... here's what's been going on in my reading life of late.

Currently Reading

  • The Once and Future King by T.H. White
  • Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot
  • Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey
  • The Mortification of Sin by John Owen
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charle Dickens (audiobook) (re-read)
  • God Is by Mark Jones

Finished in the past couple months

  • Lila by Marilynne Robinson 
  • The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
  • Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay- See my review HERE.  
I don't want to start anything new until I shave a couple books off of my currently reading list.... I have a terrible habit of reading far too many books at the same time. To be fair though Let Me Be a Woman I'm reading with my mentor so the progress is slower and God Is is a devotional that Brian and I are doing together so naturally it will be slower.
So here's hoping my reading picks up like I dream it will!

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Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Bookshelf Project

Even before we were married I knew Brian and I were going to need new bookshelves to accommodate both of ours growing library. It took us almost three months but we finally got them! Brian put them together and I worked on cataloging all of our books. I already had a system but I decided to put my database online and then go ahead and add Brian's book to my catalog as well.
While I have a stronger fiction than non-fiction selection, Brian definitely has a stronger non-fiction selection. Mostly his library consists of theology but he also has lots of philosophy, politics and science books with a healthy dose of nerd books. He has a Klingon Dictionary!!! Why would you need that?!?!?!?! Never mind my Tolkien Dictionary.
It was a lot of fun to catalog and sort the books though. I love books. It was a lot of work too and I got burnt out way faster than Brian did. Pulling out of my books out of their boxes and sorting them out took forever and at that point putting them on shelves seemed like an unnecessary step. ;) Brian persevered though thankfully and all of the books ended up on the shelves. I anticipated our books combined filling our new bookshelves plus our old ones. Actually though the books only filled the new bookshelves and one more. Which makes me excited that I have room to buy more books!!!!! As my mom reminded me though.... fill them wisely. The bookshelves we have left though are mostly half bookshelves with cupboard space in the other half so we don't have tons of room left. But still.... room for more. :)
And here's some pictures of our bookshelf project.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Book Review- Dear Mr. Knightley

I recently got to chose the next book for book club and naturally I was ecstatic. The trick is to chose a book I've been wanting to read but yet a majority of the other members of the book club would be interested in. I'd been wanting to read Dear Mr. Knightley for a couple years now and had even gotten it when there was a deal for the kindle version but still hadn't yet read it. This was my excuse to force me to finally get around to it and I knew other members of my book club were Jane Austen fans too so it seemed the perfect choice. IT WAS!!!!!
But before I go into raptures... here's a quick synopsis from Goodreads.
Dear Mr. Knightley is a contemporary epistolary novel with a delightful dash of Jane Austen. Samantha Moore survived years of darkness in the foster care system by hiding behind her favorite characters in literature, even adopting their very words. Her fictional friends give her an identity, albeit a borrowed one. But most importantly, they protect her from revealing her true self and encountering more pain.
After college, Samantha receives an extraordinary opportunity. The anonymous “Mr. Knightley” offers her a full scholarship to earn her graduate degree at the prestigious Medill School of Journalism. The sole condition is that Sam write to Mr. Knightley regularly to keep him apprised of her progress.
As Sam’s true identity begins to reveal itself through her letters, her heart begins to soften to those around her—a damaged teenager and fellow inhabitant of Grace House, her classmates at Medill, and, most powerfully, successful novelist Alex Powell. But just as Sam finally begins to trust, she learns that Alex has secrets of his own—secrets that, for better or for worse, make it impossible for Sam to hide behind either her characters or her letters.
First off.... SPOILERS FOLLOW!!!! Sorry, not sorry. If you want a non spoiler review though here it is. Basically if you love Jane Austen and classic literature you'll probably love this book too.

Now on to spoilers!
I've had pretty good luck with the Jane Austen spin offs that I've dared to pick up because I've been pretty selective. This was no exception. I've also heard that it's kind of a re-write of Daddy-Long-Legs but I've never read it... however from the synopsis I read it does look similar. What I was excited about though was all of the Austen references... from the title right through to the end they were everywhere. I LOVED IT!!! There were also references to the Bronte sisters, Dumas and other classic works but the majority of references were definitely Austen. I think someone who wasn't a big fan of classic literature might think it was too heavy handed or perhaps get lost but I really enjoyed them. I quote books and movies all day long so I found Samantha quite relatable in that respect. The parts of the book that had to do with her life as a foster child or Kyle's (a teenaged friend who has also been in the foster care system) I found very real and touching. There's a lot to say in the book about how hard it is to open up about one's past... especially if it was hard. It's risky being vulnerable. As someone who came from a "normal" family upbringing I can't imagine what Samantha and other kids in the system go through. While I did like Sam for the most part sometimes she irked me. I could definitely understand what Hannah was thinking throughout the book. Sometimes I wanted to take her by the shoulders and say OBVIOUSLY JOSH IS TERRIBLE!!! BREAK UP WITH HIM!!! I get why she started dating him I get why she stuck around for awhile.... sometimes the idea of dating someone.... especially when you never have before.... is so idealized that you want to experience it enjoy it... blinded to the fact that you're in the relationship with the wrong person. Never be in a relationship just for the sake of being in a relationship! I was just surprised she stuck around so long especially when there were so many warning signs. I started to suspect he was cheating on her not long before they broke up so wasn't surprised at all. Anyways, at that point I REALLY wanted her to break up with him so she could MARRY ALEX INSTEAD!!!!! DUH!
Let's talk about Alex.... I like him! He doesn't question Sam's oddness. He's sweet and understanding. He likes literature and is even a writer to boot! All of these great things! But he's also kind of reserved and seems to have his own secrets. When he open up about his father and his family I assumed that was it. I didn't really expect him to be SPOILERS our own Dear Mr. Knightley! I'd had various theories about the identity of Mr. Knightley throughout the book varying in their imaginativeness but I discarded the idea of it being Alex because it just seemed to ludicrous. Boy was I wrong! Overall I felt bad for him.... it kind of got out of hand.... they ran in to each other and became friends before either really knew what had happened. It was sweet, and adorable... but he should have told her long before he finally did. It ended up just hurting them both. How do you explain something like that though? I can't even begin to imagine. Frankly I feel bad for him. What an awkward situation! It's kind of funny and weird to think about all the times she was writing about him to him not knowing it was him. Talk about messed up... and funny!
All's well that ends well though... and it did end well. :)
Now that I'm past the mushy stuff (or am I? I just love it!!!!) I can talk about a couple of the other secondary characters. I really liked Mr. and Mrs. Muir. If I didn't have my own amazing parents I'd want them to come adopt me ASAP!!!! I especially loved the Christian aspects they added to the novel. I didn't feel like it was too heavy handed (which happens so easily too often). Speaking of Christian aspects let's expound on that. Samantha isn't at all religious starting out but throughout the influence of the Muir's it seems by the end she is definitely headed that way. She worries often about whether or not she's a prude because she's never slept with a guy and keeps turning down Josh's offers. I really liked what Hannah said about that when they had that phone conversation. I'm so glad that despite her not being religious at that point, Sam didn't go down that road ever because it kept the book nice and clean. I want to hand it to my little sister and that makes it easier. There is some kissing though and sex is mentioned in the context that Sam is unwilling to sleep with Josh. It was refreshing to get this clean perspective in a novel especially one that's not overtly Christian. I didn't expect it and definitely appreciated it. Thank you Katherine Reay!
I also liked Sam's friends Ashley and Debbie. You got to know Ashley more and it was interesting to see her develop on the pages. I think part of her development though was Sam getting to know her better so her first impressions evolved. I'd love a sequel devoted to Ashley because I don't feel like we get a proper conclusion to her story.
I'm not sure what else to say about this book except I LOVED IT and was so pleasantly surprised by it. I started it Saturday while I was at work and had a little downtime. I finished it Monday, reading feverishly fast not wanting to put it down for a second. Once Alex was introduced I loved it even more and could not stop reading it! Sure it was kind of mushy and admittedly more mushy than I would normally go for but I loved it nonetheless. It was such a refreshing change of pace and now I'm excited to read more of Katherine Reay's novels. I haven't been this excited about a newer book in a long time. I'm not giving it a stars rating.... I'm giving it a hearts rating. FOUR HEARTS!!!! Sorry.... five hearts are for the very greatest books like Pride and Prejudice and you can't give a spinoff the same stars as the original.... or can you? I'd give it four and a half hearts but then I'm breaking hearts and that seems a little ridiculous! So.... FOUR HEARTS!!!!!

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

It's a Hobbit!

Brian and I are so excited to announce we are expecting our own little hobbit in April 2018! We are feeling overwhelming blessed and thankful. We can't wait to go through this new adventure together and we covet your prayers as we do. 

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Monday, July 31, 2017

It's Monday! Sporadic

My reading has been pretty sporadic recently. I always have things to keep me busy and somehow reading keeps getting pushed to the back burner. I've started watching Call the Midwife again and the other day I watched the first episode of Anne (With an "E")... the new Anne of Green Gables show on Netflix. Brian and I are watched Parks and Recreation together and Dark Matter. We already finished watching The IT Crowd together.
Here's what's been up with my reading!

Currently Reading

  • The Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (audiobook) (re-read)
  • The Mortification of Sin by John Owen 
  • Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey 

Finished Recently

  • The Mark of Zorro by Johnston McCulley 

Coming Soon

  • Lila by Marilynne Robinson 
  • Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot
So yeah... not much new but I'm plugging away. 

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Book Review- The Mark of Zorro

Recently I finished reading the Mark of Zorro by Johnston McCulley. The Zorro stories actually grew out of a serial called The Curse of Capistrano, which was published in 1919. The actual book, The Mark of Zorro, was then published in 1924.
I grew up watching the 1940 version of The Mark of Zorro so I've always been pretty familiar with the story. The movie actually followed the book pretty well.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Old California, in a bygone era of sprawling haciendas and haughty caballeros, suffers beneath the whip-lash of oppression. Missions are pillaged, native peasants are abused, and innocent men and women are persecuted by the corrupt governor and his army.But a champion of freedom rides the highways. His identity hidden behind a mask, the laughing outlaw Zorro defies the tyrant's might. A deadly marksman and a demon swordsman, his flashing blade leaves behind . . .
This is basically a classic Robin Hood story. It's fun, adventurous with a dash of romance. It's not superior writing or beautiful prose it's just good clean fun. There's honor, veracity, love, hate, mercy revenge, good and evil. They don't write stories like this anymore.
If you like Robin Hood and stories like it you'll love this story too.

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Two Month Anniversary- More Wedding Pictures!

Is this a kissing post? Yes, yes it is.
It's Brian's and my two month anniversary today and I thought I 'd celebrate by giving y'all some more of our wedding pictures. I'm including a few others that I've already posted here just because they go with the story of our wedding so well. I know I also haven't talked a lot about what my wedding entailed so I am going to do that here too.
My initial idea, even before I was engaged, was to have a tea and book themed wedding. That really shouldn't surprise my blog readers. It only expanded from there. Originally I even wanted to make our bouquets out of book pages but thankfully I abandoned that idea early on... though we still utilized flowers made from book pages in some of the decorations.  So all of the tables at the reception were decorated with old books from either my library or my parents and then tea things... most of those I borrowed but some of those were mine as well. We also used some scrabble tiles and the aforementioned flowers made from book pages. And to be fair, we didn't actually rip up books, I printed off several of my favorite quotes on paper and then tea stained them and used those. I also used hymn pages and maps of Middle Earth printed off from the internet. I also utilized my grandma's old typewriter.

Not surprisingly that was the part of the wedding I was most excited about. Then there other minor details.
  • Securing the date at my church
  • Caterer or not?
  • The cake
  • Photographer
  • Musician
  • My wedding dress
  • My bridesmaids' dresses
As I said... minor details.
I got engaged in January and at Thanksgiving I had already been thinking about wearing my grandmother's wedding dress. I had recently lost some weight and the possibility of me actually fitting into it was there... my grandma was TINY!!! Once I got engaged I pulled it out of the box to try on. It was still too small! Thankfully I found an incredible seamstress who was able to alter it for me and then the dry cleaners did great job making it white and like new. A friend made my veil from a broach of my grandma's. It's not the style of veil my grandma wore but it was the style I preferred. After shuffling through several ideas I came up with bridesmaid dresses that suited everyone and were inexpensive (Amazon people!). From there I added hats and gloves. 

The photographer and musicians were friends from church and did an incredible job! You can see from the pictures how great of a job the photographer did. The musicians were the ones though that really made my dreams come true. It has been my dream for several years to walk up the aisle to the beautiful romantic music from the period drama Lorna Doone. I had never been able to find sheet music for it. I suggested it to my musicians anyways, hoping for a miracle. They made it happen! One of the musicians listed to it and put to music by ear!!!! It worked so perfectly and was exactly how I dreamed! Then they played the Pride and Prejudice (1995 obviously) theme music when we walked down the aisle... which was something they had done before at wedding but still it was absolutely perfect and a dream come true once again! 
We did end up deciding to cater last minute since it seemed like it was going to be too much work for us to do ourselves (though I know people would have been willing to help). It ended up being not much more than doing it ourselves though and way less stress so overall it was absolutely worth it. 
The cake a friend of mine made and it was even better than I expected. I told her if possible I wanted to be able to put quotes from favorite books on it.... she delivered!!! 

Our wedding went so smoothly. Ridiculously smoothly. I can only contribute that to God's grace. There were so many people that stepped up willing to help and made everything flow perfectly. I did a lot of planning ahead of time too. Overall though it was just being willing to step back the day of and realize that whatever was going to happen was going to happen and to let it go. When I went to apply for my new social security card I was chatting with the attendant and he said his wedding was a nightmare because his wife was a bridezilla. I've just got to say... ladies... LET IT GO!!! It's one day... your marriage is a lifetime. Focus on that. I'm so blessed my wedding went off smoothly but I know not everyone's does. Even in the mess though if we learn to relax we can find the joy. At the end of the day, as long as you two are married... nothing else really matters... it's just icing on the cake... sometimes literally. ;) 
And here's some more pictures. 

Our wedding was truly the best day of Brian's and my life. Though I have no doubt that could change as we continue to enjoy life together. When our plane was taking off for our honeymoon I excitedly told Brian that this was going to be the best vacation of our life. And Brian said, "I don't think so, I hope it's just going to get better." 
What a glorious sentiment. When the pastor was speaking at our wedding he naturally likened our marriage to that of Christ and His church. When I think of that and what Brian said I realize that is exactly what we are like. At the beginning of our Christian life we are excited, intimidated perhaps but full of enthusiasm. There are hardships that come our way and our faith is tested but in the end we grow stronger and hold tighter to Christ. That is marriage. On our wedding day we were exited, intimidated a little but so full of joy and enthusiasm for our future. Sure there's little arguments (sometimes big) and our marriage is test but in the end we grow stronger, our love grows deeper and we hold tighter to each other while most importantly holding tighter to Christ. 
The analogy of Christ and His church that is so strongly presented in the Bible has so often been told to me and I've read it so often but I don't think I've ever really understood it until I married Brian. As we grow in our marriage I hope to understand it more and more. I'm still just a young married women... just two months... so I'm excited to see what God is going to teach me about Him through our marriage and I pray that Brian and I will continue to grow together and in Christ. 

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The "100 Books the BBC Think Most People Haven't Read More than 6 of" Tag

I've seen this fun tag on a few different blogs and naturally had to steal it!
Basically this is a list of books that the BBC thinks most people haven't read more than six of.
Us book lovers are proving them on! 
The rules say to put an Asterix by the ones you've read but those are so hard to see so I'll just bold the ones I've read.

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen 
2. Gormenghast Trilogy - Mervyn Peake
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë 
4. Temple of the Golden Pavilion - Yukio Mishima
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee 
6. The Story of the Eye - George Bataille
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Brontë 
8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9. Adrift on the Nile - Naguib Mahfouz
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens 
11. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott 
12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Rhinoceros - Eugene Ionesco
15. Baron in the Trees - Italo Calvino
16. The Master of Go - Yasunari Kawabata
17. Woman in the Dunes - Abe Kobo
18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19. The Feast of the Goat - Mario Vargas Llosa
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot 
21. Gogol's Wife - Tomasso Landolfi
22. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald 
23. Magic Mountain - Thomas Mann
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. Ferdydurke - Gombrowicz
26. Narcissus and Goldmund - Herman Hesse
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

32. The Jungle - Upton Sinclair
33. Tom Sawyer / Huck Finn - Mark Twain 
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe 

36. Delta Wedding - Eudora Welty
37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38. Naomi - Junichiro Tanizaki
39. Cosmicomics - Italo Calvino
40. The Joke - Milan Kundera
41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
42. Labyrinths - Gorge Luis Borges
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45. Under My Skin - Doris Lessing
46. Anne of Green Gables - L. M. Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48. Don Quixote - Miguel Cervantes
49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding 
50. Absalom Absalom - William Faulkner
51. Beloved - Toni Morrison
52. The Flounder - Gunther Grass
53. Dead Souls - Nikolai Gogol
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen 
55. My Name is Red - Orhan Pamuk
56. A Dolls House - Henrik Ibsen *
57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens 
58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59. The Idiot - Fyodor Dostoevesky
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck 
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63. Leaves of Grass - Walt Whitman 
64. Death on the Installment Plan - Celine
65. The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas 
66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Pedro Paramo - Juan Rulfo
69. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72. Dracula - Bram Stoker 

73. The Metamorphosis - Kafka
74. Epitaph of a Small Winner - Machado De Assis
75. Ulysses - James Joyce
76. The Inferno - Dante
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome 
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. To the Light House - Virginia Woolf
80. Disgrace - John Maxwell Coetzee
81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens 
82. Zorba the Greek - Nikos Kazantzakis
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84. The Box Man - Abe Kobo
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert 
86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87. The Stranger - Camus
88. Acquainted with the Night - Heinrich Boll
89. Don't Call It Night - Amos Oz
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. Gravity's Rainbow - Thomas Pychon
94. Memoirs of Hadrian - Marguerite Yourcenar
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare 

99. Faust - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
100. Metamorphosis - Ovid

And a total of 35 books! Take that BBC!!!! Many of these are on my to be read list also so I'll have even more read in the years to come.

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Our Honeymoon- Charleston 2017

Over a month a go I promised y'all some honeymoon pictures (I also promised y'all some more wedding photos but let's not be greedy!) and I'm finally delivering.
Sadly enough my husband (now that's a delicious word is it not?) has most of the honeymoon photos on his computer and they look much nicer as they were taken on a real camera than mine taking on my phone. Regardless, I am going to share my crappy pictures because I keep forgetting to ask him for his nice ones.
We went to Charleston, South Carolina for our honeymoon and it was every bit as marvelous as you've probably heard. I'd move there in a heartbeat except it was SOOOO hot. Most of what we saw dated from the Civil War time period though some of it dated from much earlier in America's history.
After our long flight and settling into our Airbnb
we went for a long walk on Folly Beach. 
The next day we went for a long walk all around downtown Charleston.
We viewed many of the beautiful old houses from the outside but only
went in one... the Edmondston-Alston House. Unfortunately they did not allow
photography in it so we don't have any pictures.  We also went to the
Riley Waterfront Park and the White Point Gardens and Battery. 
The next day we went to the Nathaniel Russel house.

Thankfully this house did allow photography and we were
able to get some beautiful pictures of this spiral staircase. 
The Nathaniel Russel House also had these beautiful
balconies all around it but the tour guide told us they
weren't very sturdy and people would just step out on
them for a bit to get some fresh air and wouldn't take a
chair out and read on them like I would obviously do. 
We also did a walking tour of Charleston that day.
The tour's focus was on Charleston's hidden passages and alleys.

A sample of the beautiful ironwork gates in Charleston. 

Another one of the beautiful gates.

The steeple of St. Michaels Episcopal Church. We went inside it as well
and it was absolutely gorgeous but it seemed a bit sacrilegious to take
pictures inside of the church. We actually arrived right when they were
doing a midday prayer so it was interesting to experience that. 

Most of the streets in Charleston were modern paved roads
but a few of them like this were cobblestone. 

This is the French Huguenot Church. 
Brian and I. After the walking tour we also stopped
by Charleston's City Market, which was huge! 

The next day we got to go kayaking on the Ashely River.
It was so beautiful and serene. 
After kayaking we were able to go to Middleton Place, America's
oldest landscape gardens. It made me think of the gardens in period
dramas and actually it was originally designed after the English Gardens. 
All of the trees were huge and hundreds of years old.
A little alligator by one of the ponds' banks.
Something I had to get used to was seeing little
alligators everywhere and not freaking out. 
There were many of these unique benches around the property. 
In some cases such as this tree, the trees had to have supports
put in to hold up their massive branches.

I love a pathway canopied by trees. Most all of the trees in
 Charleston had Spanish Moss hanging from their branches.
The whole time I was at Middleton place I just imagined
that this was what Pemberly was like and I was walking
around the ground of Pemberly with my Mr. Darcy. 
Part of the paths there went through a beautifully eerie swamp. 

I love hollow trees! Brian has a picture of me in the
hollow of this tree because I couldn't resist climbing in. 
The original big house at Middleton place was burned down by
the Union soldiers what remains on the grounds is one of the two
flanking smaller houses. It was quite cool itself and I can only
imagine how incredible the original grand house would have been.

Another big tree because I could not get enough of them.
The next day we went to Fort Sumter and Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum. Brian was especially excited about these. I think I would have been more excited if it hadn't been so hot. They were very neat though and at Fort Sumter we got to watch how they would have loaded and fired their guns during the civil war. It was a huge process then! Fort Sumter is where the Civil War started. The Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum is on the ship the USS Yorktown so it was fascinating to see inside the ship.

The next day we went to the Isle of Palms Beach.
This is the only picture I got of that. We did get
some great sunburns then. We had managed to
avoid getting burnt up until then. Then that
evening we went Contra Dancing. I was so excited
that Charleston's contra dance group happened
to have it's monthly dance when we were there! 
On Saturday we went to the Charleston's Farmer's market where we got weird sodas (delicious but weird) and gelato as well as produce of course.  Afterwards we went to the Aiken-Rhett House. It allowed pictures but it was an audio guided tour and I was so wrapped up in holding the mp3 thing and trying not to accidentally push the wrong button I didn't get any pictures. It was really interesting though and is the only house in Charleston to have it's original slave quarters left.

Sunday of course we went to church. We went to Redeemer Presbyterian Church, which is a PCA church in Charleston. In the evening we went for walk at the Charles Towne Landing State Historic Sites, which was a lovely walk and historically inserting. Charles Towne is the original site for the settlers landing before the built Charleston. They also had a little zoo area, which was nice but what really interested me about it was the otters. I love otters!!!!! They are so cute!!!

Monday we were scheduled to go on a boat trip to Morris Island but it was raining on the coast so it was postponed to the next day. I'm so glad it was because we made a trip we may not have if we gone with our original plans. THE MAGNOLIA GARDENS!!!! Just go!
Take a look at this porch! It's so big and awesome!!!! The original house
at the Magnolia plantation was burned down by the Union soldiers then another
was rebuilt on its foundation and then it caught fire (I think that's right) so the current
one was built on top of that foundation. So the current one dates from the early 90s but
is filled with the old furniture and other beautiful moments from the family. This house
was my favorite and unfortunately did not allow photography inside.
It also had the best gift shop of all the places we went.
Look at all of these beautiful tea things!  
And these adorable tea sets!!!! 

And these cute tea bag holders!!! I had to get myself one of them. 
Just one of the adorable bridges at the Magnolia gardens.
The Magnolia Gardens is America's oldest Romantic garden. 
An incredible tree that overhung the stream running through the gardens.
Naturally I had to climb out on it. Brian has some great pictures of me on the tree.
Bridges over streams, and moss on trees these are
a few of my favorite things! Oh, and there's Brian too!
So the next day we got to go to Morris Island finally!
And I got very bad pictures of dolphins on the
boat ride back. 
The next day was our last full day there before we flew out. It was a pretty dreary day. Cloudy, rainy, ect. And the thought that it was our last day there didn't help at all. In the morning we braved the rain and walked around Fort Moultrie... which I actually liked better than Fort Sumter even though Fort Sumter is the one everyone talks about. Then we went to the South Carolina Aquariam. That's not something we originally planned on but it was raining and most other things were outside. Plus we had heard that their sea turtle hospital, which normally cost extra was free with the general admission. It was pretty neat but super crowded because of aforementioned perk.
After the aquarium we walked to a used bookstore. That was my idea. I really wanted to buy a book in Charleston. While it was a nice used bookstore, I think my local used bookstore is even better. Regardless, I was able to get a couple Elizabeth Gaskell books I didn't already own and Brian got a couple poetry books.

Ends must come I suppose and so our departure date came. With the checkout time from our Airbnb being in the morning but our flight out not until the afternoon we had to kill some time at Barnes and Nobles. Not that I was complaining. I got another book there.
On the airplane. Our last picture in Charleston before we took off. 
So that was our honeymoon. It truly was magical and I'm not just being cheesy. I loved everything we got to do and see. We toured several houses, as you can tell from this post and each of them was unique in it's own way. You can't just see one house in Charleston. You need to see several to get the full history of the beautiful town. There were several more houses that we could have toured. Brian and I did a lot of research and chose the ones we wanted to see the most from that. We could go there many more times and still not yet see all Charleston has to offer.

Another note I'll make that I didn't mention earlier is the food. The food in Charleston is the best!!!! Fried chicken, South Carolina barbecue, Sweet potato waffles, sweet potato biscuits, just biscuits in general (THE BEST!!!!). If we'd stayed there much longer no matter how much walking we did every day I would have been fat. It was all delicious. Besides the traditional South Carolina fare we also went to a Mexican restaurant that was great and a pizza place that was unique and delicious.

I hope this gives you a glimpse into our honeymoon. Someday I'm going to procure the rest of the pictures off of Brian's camera but until then enjoy these!

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