Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Book Review- East of Eden

For the Classics Club I read John Steinbeck's novel East of Eden.
Synopsis from Goodreads- Set in the rich farmland of California’s Salinas Valley, this sprawling and often brutal novel follows the intertwined destinies of two families—the Trasks and the Hamiltons—whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel. Adam Trask came to California from the East to farm and raise his family on the new rich land. But the birth of his twins, Cal and Aaron, brings his wife to the brink of madness, and Adam is left alone to raise his boys to manhood. One boy thrives nurtured by the love of all those around him; the other grows up in loneliness enveloped by a mysterious darkness.
I have been very bad about getting to my classics club list recently but East of Eden was actually one of the books chosen for my book club so I was glad for the nudge to get this book knocked off the list.
East of Eden was one of those complicated books that didn't really have any great characters. There were a couple minor characters like Lee that were good but most of the characters had personal failings to some degree or another that made it hard to like them. Some obviously had major moral failings (Cathy!) too. Let's talk about Cathy. Wow! I'm not sure I've ever been so revolted by a character in literature! She is so morally reprehensible even as a child without any obvious excuse even... not there is any excuse for her behavior... that it is impossible not to be disgusted by her. I found myself reading it just waiting to see what next horrible thing she was going to do.... and she could always top herself! In the end, I felt disappointed in her outcome... I felt she deserved more recompense for her horrible life... though I know her ultimate punishment was to come after her death.
As for the other characters... I found Adam to be so weak of a character, though I pity him. His sons were intriguing overall... I would have liked to see more of them actually to get a better idea of them.
Samuel Hamilton and his whole family for the most part are likable and definitely interesting to follow but overall don't have as much drama as the Trasks so take a back burner in the book.
Overall there's just so much to pick through in the book. It spans three generations making for an interesting read. I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it. I'm glad I read it and unlike some books of this nature I could see myself reading it again in the future as I think there's a lot to be gleaned from it.


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Monday, February 17, 2020

Book Review- Don Quixote

It only took me a year and a half but I have finally finished Miguel Cervantes's novel Don Quixote! I was reading it for the Classics Club but it's also one of my husband's favorite books. Currently I'm questioning his judgement.
Before I get started on my review, here's a synopsis from Goodreads.
Don Quixote has become so entranced by reading chivalric romances that he determines to become a knight-errant himself. In the company of his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, his exploits blossom in all sorts of wonderful ways. While Quixote's fancy often leads him astray—he tilts at windmills, imagining them to be giants—Sancho acquires cunning and a certain sagacity. Sane madman and wise fool, they roam the world together, and together they have haunted readers' imaginations for nearly four hundred years.
Now don't get me wrong... it's not a bad book. It's really quite intriguing and oftentimes humorous. It's just simply too long! It needed some editing. Several of Don Quixote's and Sancho Paz's adventures were madcap hilarity but then several were also just meh and made the story drag. There are actually two parts to the story. The two parts are published together now but they were actually originally published ten years apart. I think I preferred the second part overall... the writing was tighter.
While Don Quixote is the titular character I found Sancho Pax the most interesting. He continually baffled me as he blindly follow Don Quixote and even as especially in the second part when Sancho Paz begins to question Don Quixote's sanity. Throughout the book you question Sancho's own sanity and wait for him to come to his senses to no avail. He is the one that kept me continually intrigued throughout the book.
My thoughts are rambling on this book. It took me so long to read that I have trouble remembering some of the beginning. I actually started it, stopped for a couple months and then restarted it in a different translation. My husband and I both owned copies and while mine is a beautiful old edition the translation was just harder to read. My husband's translation was more modern and easier to read and made the overall experience more enjoyable. If you're interested in which translation it was the one done by Edith Grossman and I'd recommend it if you're interested in reading it.
I do understand why it is considered a masterpiece and I liked it but I just didn't love it.

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Monday, February 10, 2020

Movie Review- Little Women (2019)

I debated whether or not to write a review for Little Women as there's already so many out there but part of the reason I began blogging and why I still come back to it is because it's an outlet for me to process my thoughts as well as (hopefully) get feedback. So here are my random, incoherent thoughts.
Synopsis from IMDB: Jo March reflects back and forth on her life, telling the beloved story of the March sisters - four young women each determined to live life on their own terms.
Spoilers ahead.
Going into watching it I knew that the film would jump back and forth between the past and present so I was prepared for that. If you are not familiar with the story I think that could be confusing but even then there were subtle clues to keep you on track. I know some didn't like that method of telling the story but I actually felt like it worked pretty well. My favorite part of how I thought it was better was that I thought it really made the Laurie and Amy romance play out well. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I think Laurie and Amy work well together and I did not want Laurie and Jo to get together... I like Jo and the professor. With that said, I don't think the other film versions before this have given justice to Amy and especially her's and Laurie's romance.
On that note, I loved the casting for Amy. I was not familiar with the actress before this film but she did such a great job with the role. Laurie's casting was perfect too. He was boyish and immature but I felt he matured also. Like Amy, sometime I want to slap him.
Actually, all of the casting was marvelous. Saorise Ronan was absolutely perfect for the role of Jo... born for the role you might say. She captured the essence of Jo that is shown in the book. The casting for Professor Baehr and his portrayal seemed fine but he didn't get nearly enough screen time and in the end their romance seemed rushed, which disappointed me as, as I mentioned above, I love Jo's and his romance.
I was not sure about Hermione Granger.... I mean Emma Watson.... as Meg going into the film but I ended up loving her in the role as well. As I've gotten older, married and had my first child I've really come to resonate with Meg more and this film made me feel even more in touch with her character. The casting for John Brook was great too! I did not like his casting and portrayal in the 1994 version! It did him no justice. Laura Dern as Marmee was a pleasant surprise as well. I just wasn't feeling her portrayal in the trailers and I've had a sour taste in my mouth about her ever since The Last Jedi Admiral Holdo disaster. I was proven wrong though and she is now my favorite film Marmee. Meryl Streep as Aunt Josephine was hilarious. Enough said.
My one qualm with casting/portryal was that of Beth. I've been trying to find words for where I felt they went wrong then I saw on a discussion post someone say that they thought she was made to be overly childish and almost cognitively impaired and that exactly is my disliking with the portrayal. I don't know what else to say. Beth has never been my absolute favorite character as I know she is to many but this movie seemed to do her a deep injustice.
One part I found odd in the film was close to the end after Beth has died Jo is lamenting her life to Marmee and saying maybe she should have married Laurie. Marmee gives her some sound advice but still Jo goes and writes a letter she puts in their little mailbox to Laurie saying she'll marry him. I was racking my brain trying to remember if that was in the book as I was almost positive it was not. I did double check and it was not. I'm lost as to why it was added in then. It made the ending, romance wise, for Jo seem to fall flat. It makes it seem like the Professor was just her second choice since she couldn't marry Laurie. As mentioned above, I didn't like how they rushed the ending with her and the professor.
There's so much more to say about the film but I think I'm out of thoughts for now. I'd love to hear yours... even if you disagree with me! I'm excited to see it again in the future and I'm sure I'll have more musings after a second viewing. Thank you for putting up with my ramblings and happy reading and viewing.

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Monday, January 6, 2020

New Year, New Bout of Books, New Post

I know I barely post anymore but I do love to keep up with the blogging world and I try to keep up with y'all's posts.
I'm trying to keep up with my reading also, which has also fallen horribly behind. I got 21 books read for 2019! I'm proud of myself for at least getting those done but I also look back at a few years ago when I could read a 100 books a year easily. Times have changed though. My goal for this year is 20 books. With another little Hobbit on the way I think that's a reasonable goal.
I've been recently inspired by the Literary Life group on Facebook and the Literary Life podcast. It's my new book nerd place. It's definitely classics focused but it has a bit of everything and is tons of fun. I can pretend I read more books when I read the posts and listen to the podcasts about books. 😂

There's a new Bout of Books starting today also so I'm going to jump on that and hopefully use it to inspire me to get some more reading in this year.
Currently I'm trying to finish up books I started last year that have been taking me forever before I start any new ones. I'm getting close to being done with Don Quixote and then I'll work on finishing up Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. After that there's a world of possibilities!

I was inspired by the Literary Life group's 20 for 2020 Reading Challenge but I knew there were some categories that would stretch me further then I really could expect of myself this year so I took some of their categories, some of my local library's reading challenge categories and some of the Popsugar reading challenge categories and put together my own challenge for myself. It will still challenge me a bit this year but hopefully still be realistic.

What is up with y'all's reading life? Hopefully you're doing better than me.

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Saturday, September 28, 2019

2019 Tolkien Blog Party Tag

Hamlette over at Hamlette's Soliloquy is hosting a Tolkien Blog Party again and she has this splendiferous tag. Go forthwith and participate HERE.
Here are my answers to the tag.

Would you rather... 


  1. Join Thorin's company or the Fellowship? The Fellowship. Sometimes the dwarves just get on my nerves... ahem... Thorin.
  2. Ride Shadowflax or an eagle? I think an eagle but it's a hard choice. I love the idea of flying! 
  3. Travel through Moria or Mirkwood? Yikes! Neither seem a pleasant prospect. I don't like the darkness and haunting dangers of Moria but giant spiders? No! I cannot chose! 
  4. Learn to make elvish or mithril chainmail? Both are handy but think how much you could sell that chainmail for?!  
  5. Try to outwit Smaug or Saruman? I think being small and Smaug being so big it might be easier to try and outwit Smaug. Saruman is just too sly and eerie with his hypnotizing voice. 
  6.  Spend an hour with Grima Wormtongue or Denethor? I have choice words for Denethor that I'm not sure even an hour would suffice to tell! But I'd try! 
  7. Attend Faramir's wedding or Samwise's? I love hobbits so I'm going with Sam's! 
  8. Have to care for the One Ring or the Arkenstone for a day? Less temptations from the Arkenstone but think how fun and handy it could be to have the power to be invisible for one day? Never mind when the time comes to give it up! 😜
  9. Have tea with Bilbo or Frodo? Both could be fascinating but I lean Bilbo for his long rich life and wonderful tales. 
  10. Fight alongside Boromir or Eomer? Eomer! He's a character I've really grown to appreciate over the years. His devotion to his sister, Eowyn, and his uncle, King Theoden, are truly commendable. Boromir is fine and I have grown to like him more with time but today I side with Eomer. 


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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

It's So Classic Tag

Olivia at Meanwhile in Rivendell tagged me in this It's So Classic tag that's being hosted over at Rebellious Writing.  I loved how fun it looked and I do love classics so I'm thrilled Olivia tagged me!

Rules
1. Link your post to Rebellious Writing (www.rebelliouswriting.com)
2. Answer the questions
3. Tag at least 5 bloggers.
  1. What is one classic that hasn’t been made into a movie yet, but really needs to? Oh this is hard. I'd love it if The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery was made into a movie. I'd also love it though if a decent film version of Mansfield Park was made. 
  2. What draws you to classics? I kind of like what Olivia said about how we are drawn to classics simply because they are classics. Normally I'm more drawn to classics that I know aren't going to be too depressing or dark. I like a little romance and some well written characters. 
  3. What is an underrated classic? Anything by Anthony Trollope. His books aren't really well known outside classics lovers and they should be more popular like Jane Austen or Elizabeth Gaskell (though I don't think he's quite as good as them). 
  4. What is one classic that you didn’t expect to love, but ended up loving anyway? I was surprised I ended up loving Dracula. At first glance it's not the kind of book I'd like but it ended up intriguing me the whole way through. 
  5. What is your most favorite and least favorite classics? Most favorite would of course be Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Least favorite would probably be Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift. 
  6. What is your favorite character from a classic? Or if that is too hard, one is your favorite classic character trope (e.g. strong and silent, quiet sidekick, etc.) I love so many of Jane Austen's characters. Elizabeth Bennett, Anne Elliot, Mr. Knightley, Mr. Tilney. So many!!! 
  7. What’s a popular classic that you felt wasn’t actually that great? I didn't love Gulliver's Travels, Beloved or Sound and the Fury. Gulliver's Travels I just think is dumb and Beloved and Sound and the Fury were weird and dark. 
  8. Who is your favorite classic author? Jane Austen and J.R.R. Tolkien. 
  9. In your opinion, what makes a classic a classic? Generally the definition seems to be a book that has stood the test of time and is still loved to this day. Sometimes I wonder how certain books have lasted but I guess to each their own. 
  10. Relating to newer books, what attributes does a book need to have in order to be worthy of the title “classic”? I truly think it's the test of time that counts. If it is good enough to last for fifty years as a loved book then it will probably be a classic. 
If you're a classics lover also consider yourself tagged! 

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Monday, August 12, 2019

Bout of Books Sign Up August 2019 Plus Announcement

So looking back apparently I haven't posted since January?!?! Oops! I have a few drafts in the works though that in my head I had posted.
Anyways there's another Bout of Books coming around starting up next Monday! Here's what Bout of Books is about if this is new to you.
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 19th and runs through Sunday, August 25th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, Twitter chats, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 26 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
I haven't participated in Bout of Books in probably over a year but I really need a kick in my butt to read more so I'm hoping this is it. I looked back today over what I had read so far this year on Goodreads and of the thirteen (absolutely pathetic number for me!) books I've reads of far this year almost half have been for my book club, almost another half was nonfiction (mostly parenting books) and then only two for fun books I picked out for myself! I am just sadly not making the time for so many of the fun reads on my list so I'd like to spend this Bout of Books enjoying some new fun books I've had on my TBR list for awhile.
Here are a few I'm looking at:

  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling 
  • Love and Friendship by Whit Stillman (based off of Jane Austen's Lady Susan obviously) 
  • Farewell to the East End by Jennifer Worth
  • At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon 
  • Daddy Long Legs by Jena Webster
  • The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton 
  • Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine 
  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio 
I also need to work on finishing up Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clark. I've really enjoyed it but I haven't picked it up in awhile. 

Obviously I won't get to all of these but I'd like to get to a couple of them. My little Hobbit thankfully still takes a good 2-3 hr nap in the afternoon which gives me some time to read though I normally fritter it away looking at my phone or watching Midsomer Murders. Sometimes napping. This pregnancy has been exhausting and I need the rest! 

I'm hoping to keep up a bit more with blogging... hoping. I do love it. I do keep up with y'all's blogs still! Sometimes when I can't get out to keep up with my real friends it's nice to keep up with my virtual friends. So see ya'll in the blogosphere. 

And yeah, you read that right, I'm pregnant! 😁


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Friday, January 4, 2019

Book Review- Kim

For the Classics Club I read Rudyard Kipling's novel Kim.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Kim is set in an imperialistic world; a world strikingly masculine, dominated by travel, trade and adventure, a world in which there is no question of the division between white and non-white.Two men - a boy who grows into early manhood and an old ascetic priest, the lama - are at the center of the novel. A quest faces them both. Born in India, Kim is nevertheless white, a sahib. While he wants to play the Great Game of Imperialism, he is also spiritually bound to the lama. His aim, as he moves chameleon-like through the two cultures, is to reconcile these opposing strands, while the lama searches for redemption from the Wheel of Life.
A celebration of their friendship in a beautiful but often hostile environment, 'Kim' captures the opulence of India's exotic landscape, overlaid by the uneasy presence of the British Raj.
I really didn't know much about this story before I started it so much so that I thought Kim was a girl. For everyone else out there who's like me, no, Kim is not a girl, he's a boy. Just thought we'd get that out of the way.
Starting out I listened to an audiobook of it which was interesting to have the different voices bringing the story to life. It was taking me a long time though and I ran out of renews from the library. Since I actually owned a copy I decided to just go ahead and read the rest from the book but since it had take me such a long time and I was so off and on in reading it I actually started over and read from the beginning. That actually helped me a little bit with understanding the story. Overall I found the story a little hard to follow. I don't know if that's partly because of the unorthodox way I went about reading it or how long it took me to finish it or maybe a combination of both. The characters were interesting and I really found Kim's story intriguing. However, overall I found the story not as exciting as I feel like it could have been. Again, maybe that has to do with how I read it. I just feel like it had everything going for it with an interesting plot line and characters but just didn't quite follow through with how it was carried out.
So with all of my rambling thoughts said, I did enjoy the book but didn't love it. Have you read Kim? What are your thoughts?

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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

2018 New Year's Tag

I've never done this tag before but I remember I planned to do it a couple years ago and I'm not sure why I didn't. Anyways this year it's happening! I found this tag at Classics and Craziness but I'm not sure where it originated from.

What did you do in 2018 that you’d never done before?

Gave birth!

Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make one this year?

I didn't really make any resolutions last year. I wanted to finish up my Classics Club challenge but that didn't happen so now I plan or this year.

Did anyone close to you give birth?

Well I did.... But besides that my sister-in-law did too and several friends.

Did anyone close to you die?

My great-uncle passed away.

What countries/states did you visit?

We went to Minnesota in May so that took us through Missouri and Iowa as well. We also had a family reunion in North Carolina which took us through Missouri (again), Illinois (for like five minutes) Kentucky and Tennessee.

What would you like to have in 2019 that you lacked in 2018?

More patience!

What date from 2018 will remain etched upon your memory?

Our little Hobbit's birthdate as well as the couple days leading up to it for sure.

Did you move anywhere?

Nope.

What was the best month?

Wow! Hmmm. I feel it's wrong to not say April... the month our little Hobbit was born but on the other hand that was a really hard month. I don't know if I could say that was my best. I love the whole Christmas season so I guess December.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Giving birth! For those of you who have multiple children I have an enormous amount of respect for you ladies! My experience did not turn me off from having more kids but it was definitely an endeavor. 

What was your biggest failure?

There's so many ways in which I feel like I've failed as a mother but I know so much of that is in my head and are silly expectations I have put on myself.

Did you suffer illness or injury?

At the very beginning of the year I got the flu and actually had to stay in the hospital overnight for it since I was pregnant and they wanted to keep me and the baby closely monitored.

What was the best thing you bought?

ALL THE BOOKS!!!

Whose behavior merited celebration?

Brian's! Honestly his behavior merits a best husband of the year award. I never could have made it through this journey of motherhood without him. He has all the patience I lack and is so sweet and caring.

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

My own. All the hormones after giving birth are not cool!

Where did most of your money go?

Baby stuff for sure! Thankfully so much of what we needed were gifts but still a lot of money went to stuff for our little Hobbit. Not that I regret any of it!

What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Our little Hobbit! She's such a blessing and I still get really, really, really exited about her! Besides her, though, Brian and I went to a Lindsay Sterling concert this past fall that was AMAZING!!!

What was the best concert you’ve been to this year?

I only went to the aforementioned Lindsay Sterling concert but that doesn't make any less the BEST!

What song/album will always remind you of 2018?

The soundtrack to Mama Mia! I love that soundtrack so much and love dancing around the house to it as I clean or bake. I'd never watched Mama Mia! before this year and I only watched it because I like the sound of the music from the trailer for Mama Mia Here we go Again. So I watched Mama Mia! meaning to watch the second when it came out but I never got around to it. The first is only meh anyways. I think whenever I hear that soundtrack in the future though it will make me back to 2018, babies, nursing and cookies.

Compared to this time last year, are you:

1. Happier or sadder? In so many ways happier but I still have my sad days. Definitely less rested.
2. Thinner or fatter? Thinner... though to be completely fair this time last year I was very pregnant.
3. Richer or poorer? Well my husband keeps track of our finances more than I do but probably poorer since I only work part time anymore.

What do you wish you’d done more of?

Relaxing. Reading

What do you wish you’d done less of?

Stressing out. Worrying.

What was your greatest musical discovery?

The aforementioned Mama Mia!!!!

How did you spend Christmas?

With family. Just how I like it. I had to work Christmas Eve but I was so thankful to have Christmas Day and surrounding days to spend with my wonderful family.

How are you spending New Year’s?

With my family as well.

Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?

Probably my cousin Anna. As kids we would talk on the phone for hours and we still do. Living several states away makes it a necessity.

What was the best book you read?

I'd Rather be Reading by Anne Bogel and The Gospel Comes with a Housekey by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield. 

What was the best movie you watched?

I'm having a hard time remembering what I've watched this year! Maybe Infinity War?

Did you fall in love in 2018?

Well besides Brian, who I fall more and more in love with every day....
Our little Hobbit of course! From that first moment I held her in my arms I was in love! She's a mischievous little child but I love her to bits!

What was your favorite TV show?

Oh that's hard! I have been watching a LOT of TV Shows while I nurse and for the most part have enjoyed them all. We are almost done with Frasier but it's got to be one of my favorite shows of the year for sure. I also watched Agents of Shield this year and LOVED it.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No.

What did you want and get?

A healthy baby!

What did you want and not get?

In my head I had a perfect plan for how breastfeeding would go and how it would be so easy and effortless but that wasn't at all how it was. It was a huge struggle and tear inducer at the beginning and it still occasionally has it's struggles now. I craved that perfect nursing relationship so badly and this year I've had to learn to let go of that ideal.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2018?

Comfortable! And no dresses cause breastfeeding.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 24 this past year and I spent it in the hospital for the aforementioned flu. Not really the birthday I had planned. Oh well. My family had a nice celebration for me the next week when I was feeling much better.

What kept you sane?

Brian and many wonderful friends.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Not having all of those struggles with breastfeeding at the beginning.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Hmmm. I'm sure there was somebody but I don't remember.

What political issue stirred you the most?

Abortion. Which is more of a moral than political issue. I've always been against abortion but actually being pregnant and giving birth has given me a whole new perspective on the issue and it is something that saddens me so much.

Who did you miss?

I always miss my family that lives far away like my cousin Anna and her family.

Who was the best new person you met?

I can't think of any best "new" person I met this year. My friend Anne, who I'd met a couple years ago, I developed a deeper friendship with that's been so uplifting.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2018.

To not stress out over everything... okay I haven't learned it yet... but I'm working on it!

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

I can't think of anything!

Five things I want to do in 2019:


  1. Finish my Classics Club challenge
  2. Get into a better routine with cleaning the house
  3. Become a better meal planner
  4. Clean out my house (I have a more specific list as regards this written down)
  5. Read! No specific number.... just read and enjoy it. 
I hope this gives you a little snapshot into my year. 2018 was not easy but I have grown so much in it and I know that God was working in me through it all. 


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Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2018 End of Year Reading Survey

I'm joining up again for the End of Year Survey hosted by The Perpetual Page Turner. You can join in too HERE.

2018 Reading Stats

Number Of Books You Read: 26 Books
Number of Re-Reads: 4 Books
Genre You Read The Most From: Classics

Best in Books

1. Best Book You Read In 2018?

  • Fiction: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer 
  • Non-Fiction: The Gospel Comes with a House Key by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield and I'd Rather be Reading by Anne Bogel, Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey, The Mortification of Sin by John Owen 
  • Re-Read- The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery 

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

The White Company by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I liked Doyle's other adventure novel The Lost World by The White Company just was not as engaging for me.

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

Escape by Carolyn Jessup. The book absolutely shocked me and I would highly recommend it to learn more about the FLDS cult. 

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

The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. I got my book club to read it. It's still one of my favorite books and it was a blast to re-read it.

5. Best series you started in 2018? Best Sequel of 2018? Best Series Ender of 2018?

Best series I started was the Tarzan of the Apes series by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I don't know when I'll have time time but I would really like to finish the series.  
Best sequel (and only sequel) I read was Shadows of the Workhouse by Jennifer Worth. 
I didn't finish any series this year. 

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2018?

Henry James. I really enjoyed The Portrait of a Lady by him and I'm really looking forward to reading more of his books in the future.

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

I read a few books I normally wouldn't this year actually. Probably most out of my comfort zone was Escape by Carolyn Jessop. I don't normally read memoirs and certainly not ones about the FLDS. Thankfully it was one of our choices for book club and I'm so glad I read it.

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

Hmmm... as mentioned above Escape really kept me turning the pages, mostly in shock. I read it a few days and probably would have finished it faster but it was the holidays so I was a little tied up. 

9. Book You Read In 2018 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Hmmm... there's nothing that would really stand out to me as one I would be most likely to re-read next year. Maybe I'd Rather Be Reading just cause it makes me happy.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2018?

I'd Rather be Reading. It just invokes the cozy, feel good reading feeling.


11. Most memorable character of 2018?

I wouldn't say I had any SUPER memorable characters this year but overall I think I would've to go with Sophy from the Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer I think. She's so wacky and fun!

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2018?

I'd Rather be Reading by Anne Bogel.  It's such a lovely comforting books and it just draws you in with it's beauty and simplicity.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2018?

The Gospel Comes with a Housekey by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield. It's definitely revolutionized my thoughts about hospitality and challenged me to become a more hospitable person even if it's in little ways.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2018 to finally read?

The Grand Sophy! Loved it!!! I've heard Georgette Heyer recommended before and I can't believe I only finally this year got around to reading one of her books!

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2018?

All of I'd Rather be Reading!!!! But here are a few of my favorite quotes from it. 
“A good book, when we return to it, will always have something new to say. It's not the same book, and we're not the same reader”
“We can’t know what a book will mean to us until we read it. And so we take a leap and choose.”

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2018?

Shortest: Mortification of Sin by John Owen
Longest: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

17. Book That Shocked You The Most

Escape by Carolyn Jessop for so many reasons but mainly the amount of abuse that goes on in the FLDS and still continues to go on. It's such a sad story!

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

Sophy and Charles from The Grand Sophy (opposites totally attract!) and Pierre and Natasha from War and Peace (I would have been so upset if they had not ended up together!).

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

I love Molly and Vivian's friendship in Orphan Train.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2018 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope. I've loved all of Trollope's books so far and this was no exception.

21. Best Book You Read In 2018 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram, Etc.:

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda. One of the girls from book club chose it to read since she'd enjoyed it and I actually really enjoyed it... though there were aspects of it (language etc.) that I didn't love.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2018?

I don't think there were any guys in the books I read this year that I was crushing on.

23. Best 2018 debut you read?

I didn't get to any 2018 debuts this year.

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

I think Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  Maybe it's partly cause I listened to the audiobook but I really felt immersed in the jungle setting.

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

The Grand Sophy! I smiled and laughed the whole way through. It was FUN! 

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2018?

I don't think I had any crying books this year that I can remember.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

I'd Rather be Reading for sure! I'd never even heard of it or it's author (now I love reading Anne Bogel's blog!) but I randomly got my hands on it and LOVED it!

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

I don't think there were any soul crushers this year.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2018?

Intensity by Dean Koontz. The title says it all. It's definitely unique among Koontz's books but I'm not sure I loved it.

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

Escape by Carolyn Jessop. I HATED so many of the characters in the story and the sad thing is those characters are real people and they were doing real evil. 

Your Blogging/Bookish Life

1. New favorite book blog/Bookstagram/Youtube channel you discovered in 2018?

Modern Mrs Darcy which is a blog by Anne Bogel who wrote the aforementioned I'd Rather be Reading.

2. Favorite post you wrote in 2018?

You, Me and a Cup of Tea for sure!

3. Favorite bookish related photo you took in 2018?

I love these photos of Brian reading to Abby. 


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

My church's women's group had a book exchange for a Christmas party! So much fun!!!!

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2018?

I don't know if there were any best "moments". I'm just glad I was able to keep up with both blogging and reading this year even with having a baby. I know I've not been terribly consistent but I've kept with it! 

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

Besides what I just mentioned, it was also challenging to admit that I couldn't finish up my Classics Club challenge this year. Next year! 

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

By views You, Me and a Cup of Tea. By comments I think Our Hobbit

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Let's Talk about The Paradise... I still want people's thoughts on this! 

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

I already mentioned Modern Mrs Darcy as far as blogs go. If you haven't gone and checked out Thrift Books yet as I've told you all to before then do it! As far as books stores when we were in Asheville this summer I had fun randomly finding two different bookstores while we were walking downtown!

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

I think the only reading challenge I completed this year was the Back to the Classics challenge and I only completed the lowest level of it. But at least I did that! Last year I'm not sure I completed any!

Looking Ahead

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2018 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2019?

At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon. Sadly this is what I said last year for this category and I still didn't make it to it. 2019 is the year!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2019 (non-debut)?

I don't keep up enough with what new books are coming out unfortunately. 

3. 2019 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

I don't keep up enough with what new books are coming out unfortunately.

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2019?

I don't keep up enough with what new books are coming out unfortunately.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2019?

Finish my Classics Club challenge. I didn't get it finished this year like I'd planned to but want and hope to in 2019.

6. A 2019 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone (if applicable):

N/A

It's always fun to fill this survey out and look back on my reading year. Be sure to join in on the fun!

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