Thursday, March 31, 2016

Jane Austen Would you Rather

I first saw this tag over at Wonderland Creek but it's originally from Write on Cordy. You should definitely check out both blogs! I will make a special plug for Naomi's answers..... they made me laugh so hard! :)

  • Who would you rather have act as your matchmaker, Lady Russell (from Persuasion) or Mrs. Jennings? Mrs. Jennings. I think she would annoy me but she would also humor me. Lady Russell just annoys me. 
  • Who would you like as a pen pal from Jane Austen's works? I think if it was a female friend I would like Catherine Morland. If I wanted a pen pal that would make me laugh it would be Mr. Collins. However, if I wanted a beautifully romantic letter I'd have Captain Wentworth be my pen pal. ;) 
  • Who would you rather go on a walk with, Colonel Fitzwilliam or Captain Benwick? I'm not a fan of poetry so Colonel Fitzwilliam. He always struck me as a great conversationalist and friendly. 
  • Who would you rather have to befriend, Mrs. Elton or Lucy Steele? Gah! I think it would have to go with Mrs. Elton. Lucy is just too annoying and Mrs. Elton would at least humor me. 
  • Who would you rather have as a sibling, John Knightley or Mary (from Persuasion, not Mary Bennet)? Mary really annoys me in Persuasion so I guess John Knightley. I think I could handle his tempers. :) 
  • Who would you rather dance with? Mr. Tilney! We would have such conversation while dancing and hopefully one smirk before we may be rational again. ;)
    The Henry Tilney smirk. :) 
  • Who would you rather refuse, Mr. Collins or Mr. Elton? Mr. Collins! Mr. Elton disgusts me but Mr. Collins humors me. 
  • Who would you rather match-make for, Miss Bates or Mary Bennet? Mary Bennet! Because we all know she's destined for Mr. Collins! 
  • Who would you rather have as a best friend? Elizabeth Bennet! :) 
  • Who would you rather argue with? (Mrs. Bennet, Lady Catherine, Emma Woodhouse, Mr. Woodhouse, Mr. Palmer, Mrs. Jennings, Fanny Dashwood, Captain Wentworth, Mr. Darcy, ect.) Lady Catherine. I think it would divert me excessively though it might make her seriously displeased. However, arguing with Mr. Darcy is fun and will most likely cause him to fall more in love with me so there is that. ;) 
  • Would you rather wander the grounds of Pemberly and risk being 'discovered' or wander over the downs surrounding Barton Cottage in the rain and twist an ankle? Discovered by Mr. Darcy? Yes! ;) Actually in all seriousness I'm not sure. It's really awkward running into someone you've turned down... especially when it's quite unexpected so actually I'd probably be like Lizzy and (try to) avoid Pemberly like the plague. I do love the scenery around Barton Cottage though so I think I'll chose it. A twisted ankle will just have to be one of the unpleasant side effects. 
  • Where would you live in Austen's works? With whichever Austen hero I marry obviously! I hope it's Darcy though because I kind of want to live at Pemberly. ;) But Donwell Abbey and Northanger Abbey and respective owners are acceptable to me as well. ;)
Love this tag? Consider yourself tagged! :) 

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Get to Know Me Tag

I've seen this tag on a couple different blogs and I decided to steal it cause that's what I do. :)

Vital Stats

Name- Lois :)
Nicknames- Lo-lo sometimes if my family is feeling obnoxious. Peppernut (big backstory there). Lego-lois (like Legolas... get it... it's hilarious... especially if you say it a million times). Lois Lane from my patients because they think it's absolutely hilarious and that I've never heard that one before. I have... too many times thank you!
Place of Birth- Kansas!


Award- I'm not sure. Probably something from 4-H.
Sport- Ha! I did gymnastics when I was a kid but never played a sport otherwise except at home.
Real Holiday- I think the first memories I have of holidays would be Christmas but the first one I would have experienced would have been Easter.
Concert- Well there's a special story for this one but I don't actually remember it as I was just a wee lass but I've just heard it many times. Anyways, the local orchestra was preforming and my family was there and we were sitting in bleachers and I guess me, being the bouncy youngster that I was, was hopping between my dad's legs during it and I managed to fall through the bleachers. I hit the cross bar on the way down and my screams upon hitting the ground stopped the concert. I've been a show stopper ever since. ;) Anyways I survived with just a bump on my head and a great story. :)


Film- Pride and Prejudice (1995) which is technically a miniseries but if I had to chose an actually movie that was a favorite I couldn't! A few of my favorites that I could watch over and over again though are McLintock, Charade, National Treasure and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
TV Show- Doctor Who
Color- Blue and all of it's variations
Song- Currently I think Celtic Woman's "When You Go". It's addictively catchy. Listen to it!

Restaurant- I don't go out to eat much but I do love Panera. For a real nice restaurant I always loved Macaroni Grill but they got rid of the one close to me some years back. :(
Books- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien


Feeling- Tired. :(
Single or Taken- Single
Eating- I had a salad... for breakfast... which was kind of weird but I was craving one.
Watching- Chocolat with my mom.
Wearing- My pajamas. The costume of queens!


Want children? Very much so. But as the old saying goes... First comes love, then comes marriage THEN comes a baby in a baby carriage.
Want to be married- Very much so.
Careers in mind- Well I am currently a nurse and the only reason I see to ever change that is if I become a wife and mother. I always wanted to be a writer but I don't think that will ever happen. :)
Where you want to live- I love where I live. Kansas is a great state. :) Now England, Scotland or Ireland would be lovely too.

Do You Believe In...

God- Yes
Miracles- Yes
Love at first sight- Really? No.
Ghosts- No
Aliens- No
Heaven- Yes
Hell- Yes
Yourself- I believe that I can do nothing except through Christ so I guess no. I believe in God and his ability to work through even me. :)

Want to do this tag? Be a Lois.... steal it! ;)

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Ten of my Top Five/four Star Reads I've Read Recently

The theme for this week's Top Ten Tuesday is ten of my top five star reads that I've read recently. So I realized that I've not rated a lot of books five stars so far this year. Looking over the books I've read so far it's because while they were almost five star quality there was always some little thing (bad language or something like that) that held me back from giving it the full five stars. so I'm going to include some of those top four star reads as well.
  1. Gathering Blue and Son by Lois Lowry- five stars each
  2. Othello by William Shakespeare- five stars 
  3. What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality by Kevin DeYoung- five stars
  4. The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery- five stars 
  5. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein- four stars
  6. Mr. Darcy's Diary by Amanda Grange (really most all of her diary series)- four stars
  7. Matilda by Roald Dahl- four stars
  8. The Martian by Andy Weir- four stars
  9. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr- four stars 
  10. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton- four stars 
These are the books I would highly recommend this year so far. I've read some great ones this year. :) Reviews are linked so be sure to read them before you read the book so you'll know what you're getting into. :) 

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Sunday, March 27, 2016

It's Monday! Spring?

Kansas is just one of those states. It's spring, then it's winter, then it's summer, then it's spring, then it's winter again and lo and behold it's spring again! And sometimes that's all in one day. This past week we had a fire ripping through part of the state, a tornado warning in another part, a blizzard in another area, and where I am it was in the 80's. Kansas is just one of a kind.
My sister and I all dolled up for church on Easter Sunday.
Then on Easter Sunday we got a coating of snow but naturally since it's Kansas and you can't just have one type of weather in the day it warmed up in the afternoon and there was not a flake of snow to be seen by evening time!
Reading wise, I am quite sad as I finished listening to The Hobbit and was excited to listen to The Fellowship of the Ring next but it was checked out from my state library's audiobook app!!!!! I have a hold on it though but since it's so long it may be a while before it gets returned! It almost makes me want to just grab the book and start reading it but I really wanted to try the experience of listening to them this year so I'm going to hold off though my heart longs for some Tolkien! ;) My siblings and I did start watching The Fellowship of the Ring Easter Sunday evening, which was supposed to alleviate my longing but it actually just made it worse!!!!! Ahhhhh!

Currently Reading

  • The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens
  • The Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin (abridged) 
  • A Midsummer's Night Dream (audiobook)- My cheap substitute audiobook until Fellowship of the Ring comes in. 
  • By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder (re-read)

Finished this Past Week

  • Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert- Very interesting read. 
  • On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder (re-read)
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (re-read) (audiobook)- I love this book. It's so beautiful and homey feeling. I think I'm Bilbo... I'm at least a hobbit. ;) 

Coming Soon

  • The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield 
  • The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien (re-read) (audiobook)- Soon I hope!!!! 

Reviews Posted this Week

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Friday, March 25, 2016

Book Review- The Age of Innocence

The Age of InnocenceFor the Shelf Love challenge, Mount TBR challenge, the 12 Month Classics Challenge, Back to the Classics challenge, Full House reading challenge and the Classics Club I read Edith Wharton's novel The Age of Innocence.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Winner of the 1921 Pulitzer Prize, The Age of Innocence is Edith Wharton’s masterful portrait of desire and betrayal during the sumptuous Golden Age of Old New York, a time when society people “dreaded scandal more than disease.”This is Newland Archer’s world as he prepares to marry the beautiful but conventional May Welland. But when the mysterious Countess Ellen Olenska returns to New York after a disastrous marriage, Archer falls deeply in love with her. Torn between duty and passion, Archer struggles to make a decision that will either courageously define his life—or mercilessly destroy it.
This was quite a book. I knew going into it that it was going to be give me lots of food for thought so I took the time to slow down while reading it, which is a struggle for me. It was worth it though. But even with slowing down I still feel like I can't quite put into words how I felt about it. There was a lot I loved about this book but I'm not sure I love the conclusion it draws. As the synopsis indicates it is a story about naivety, the dread of scandal, convention, tradition and HYPOCRISY. It was horribly aggravating sometimes how snooty (I'm not sure what other word I could use) the people are in this story. They never give Countess Olenska a chance. As Newland thinks once, they were setting her up to be the mistress of Beaufort (a married man notorious for having mistresses) by looking down on her for getting a divorce. Which by the way, I am against divorce for any reason basically except infidelity and her husband's infidelity is exactly why she wanted the divorce so I think she should have gone through with it. The countess is unconventional, which is what draws Newland to her. Intellectually they are equals.
Mae Welland, the woman Newland marries is a cookie cutter woman not really trained to have her own thoughts. A blank page. Conventional. Boring! Newland had longed as a bachelor to have a different marriage than those around him but in the end that is what he is stuck with.
So in my opinion here's what should have happened. He should have broken his engagement off with Mae and Countess Olenska should have gotten her divorce and Newland and Countless Olenska could have married. That's not what happened and because of that Newland and the Countess end up having an emotional affair before Mae slyly and oh so innocently contrives their separation by telling the Countess that's she pregnant (before she knows she actually is). Then, to prevent Newland from going after her like he planned to she told him she was pregnant (when she was actually sure of it).  The thing is, after Newland made the decision to go ahead and marry Mae that should have been the end of him and the Countess. They made themselves miserable and in my opinion it was kind of their own fault. I think the concluding decision is really made when Newland decides to marry Mae instead of the Countess though I think others might disagree and say it's when Newland decided not to pursue the Countess to Europe. He chose rightly though. I think maybe you're supposed to think he should have gone anyways and fulfilled their love for each other but that wasn't the right decision! He was a married man. He made that decision and he has no right to be changing it now. Newland was the better man for making that decision too. It also effectively ended up breaking him and the Countess entirely off... which was Mae's plan. In the end, Newland still had a decent life and as it says in the book, he truly mourned his wife's death. He loved his children and enjoyed being with them. In the end, while we pity Newland I think we can also be happy for him. One wonder a little though how Countess Olenska's story concluded.
So I know that was a horribly disjointed review but it's the best I could come up with. I doubt I could ever put into words how I feel about this book. I liked it though. I did watch the 1993 film version with Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder after reading the book and I'll be reviewing it soon enough. Short review for it though is that I thought it was a good adaptation.
This book was quite thought provoking and very interesting and I did enjoy it. The themes it explored were fascinating. Read or not? Read!
P.S. Thank you Olivia for recommending this one to me!

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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Book Review- The Blue Castle

The Blue CastleFor the Full House reading challenge I read L.M. Montgomery's novel The Blue Castle. It should have counted towards the Mount TBR Pile challenge and the Shelf Love challenge as well but I bought it in February. :(
Synopsis from Goodreads: At twenty-nine Valancy had never been in love, and it seemed romance had passed her by. Living with her overbearing mother and meddlesome aunt, she found her only consolations in the " forbidden" books of John Foster and her daydreams of the Blue Castle. Then a letter arrived from Dr. Trent, and Valancy decided to throw caution to the winds. For the first time in her life Valancy did and said exactly what she wanted. Soon she discovered a surprising new world, full of love and adventures far beyond her most secret dreams.
Spoilers follow because I can't help but gush!
This post will probably contain a lot of incoherent sentences and gushing because I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!!! The ending was the clincher. Throughout the book I was like yeah this is pretty good and then I got to the end and OH MY GOODNESS IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL I ALMOST CRIED AND LOIS DOESN'T CRY!!!!
Focus Lois!
Valancy was a different kind of heroine for Montgomery's books. She's 29 and considered an old maid. That threw me off a little at the beginning but as the book went on you really forgot Valancy was that old and honestly I think it was because during the book she developed a younger personality. She wasn't burdened anymore. I'm not sure how to put that into coherent words but I hope you get my drift. When she goes "nuts" and says what she thinks to everyone it was just too hilarious! Granted some of the things she said weren't the nicest but eh... it's a book. Her family was pretty terrible though but still horribly humorous. You couldn't quite hate them because you were laughing at them. In the end, like Valancy, I think you come to pity them.
Barney was full of mystery and while you liked him you just weren't quite sure about him. At least that's how I felt. Of course he turned out perfectly lovely in the end. :) At the end when he comes to talk to Valancy and says "I want to see my wife" I just gushed! :)
I loved everything about their marriage. Sure it was a little weird and unorthodox but I loved it. The walks they went on together were so sweet. How Barney came to fall in love with Valancy and how Valancy developed a deeper love for him is just so sweet!
And the ending! Did I mention how much I love the ending? It melted my heart! And I was absolutely surprised by Barney being John Foster. It was rather hilarious really though. And the letter going to Valancy instead of the other random right person surprised me too. I had considered it initially but everything seemed to fall into place too well for that to be so. I was desperately trying to figure out though how Valancy was not going to die because she just couldn't! As the story went on I decided that Valancy's healthier life in the outdoors and enjoying herself had cured her heart problem somehow. Yeah that was my desperate solution... take my nursing license away! Thankfully Montgomery actually had a solution.
Overall I just loved this book. I felt like it was more mature than the Anne of Green Gables series but our heroine is older. It still exudes the charm that we love in Montgomery's writing no matter how old our heroine is. I just feel like it isn't something I would hand to my daughter like I would had Anne of Green Gables. I think I 'd wait until she was a little older. I did hand it to my little sister though and while she liked it she didn't LOVE it. Obviously there's something wrong with her. ;)
So read or not? Read obviously!
P.S. How on earth do you pronounce Valancy's name?

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

TV Series Review- Lark Rise to Candleford

How to write a review? This series filled my sister and I with such joy and we would wait eagerly for each season to come into the library so we could watch it. At times though it would aggravate us to no end. That's why they're called period DRAMAS. ;)
Synopsis from IMDB: An adaptation of Flora Thompson's autobiographical novel "Lark Rise To Candleford", set in 19 century Oxfordshire, in which a young girl moves to the local market town to begin an apprenticeship as a postmistress.
Lousy synopsis but how to summarize four seasons of a TV series?
So first off I haven't read the books this series is based off of so I can't compare there. I do own them (picked them up at a used book store!) so I hope to someday soon.

Spoilers follow! And just so you know this will be rather a disjointed review as my mind jumps around.

Let's talk characters.

Laura Timmins is the main character but honestly, and I've heard others say this before she doesn't always float my boat. I like her but sometimes she really aggravates me. Mostly when it has to do with her love life. I think she lets guys kiss her too easily... in my opinion. Her 1st season boyfriend, Phillip, was okay but not great. His and Alfie's rivalry was humorous though but then it got to be too much. Fisher in season 2 was good but honestly the best part about him was his accent... Just saying that was an adorable accent. However, when Fisher returned in season three I wasn't as taken with him and I kind of realized then how immature he could be. That of course brings us to Daniel Parish. When he first came of course we were intrigued and then hated him and then finally came to like and accept him. As others have said though, you didn't realize how attached you had become to Daniel until Fisher comes and tries to win Laura back. Those were a traumatizing couple episodes. Overall though I'm glad Laura ended up with Daniel as I think he was the best guy for her. At the beginning I did want her to end up with Alfie (who I'll get to in a bit) and was so mad at her for not liking him (and then mad later on when she was interested in him and he had moved on from her!). In retrospect though I think that she wouldn't have been completely happy with Alfie as she did have a lot more education than him and I think it might have caused some tension later on.

Dorcas Lane (The actress is Julia Swahala who I know for playing Lydia in Pride and Prejudice) is the best! No not my favorite character (that comes later) but close! Yes she's meddling and interfering and all but you can't help but love her! I was so frustrated every time she lost a love. Lord Timothy.... bah! That didn't count. And while we're on that topic I think she acted fairly well with that whole thing; most of it was Sir Timothy's doing, but she wasn't blameless. James Dowland... well that was complicated. I was rooting for them at the beginning but then you find out more about his character and then I was against it! I thought maybe in the future there was potential but that's not the path that ended up happening and I'm glad for that in the end. It was nice though that Dorcas got Sydney of that whole mess. :) Now Gabriel Cochran I wholeheartedly approved of! My sister and I were already excited about him when we saw him on the cover and realized the actor that played him was the one that played our favorite Dr. Woodcourt in Bleak House. Naturally we rooted throughout the final series for them to get together and of course they did.

My favorite character though has to be Alfie Arless. He's a man. While his mother was off drunk or in prison he basically raises his siblings. He worked so hard for everything and you couldn't help but root for him. It was also rather sweet how he tried to help Emma (Laura's mother) while Robert (Laura's father) was away working. Him and Minnie were pretty stinking cute too. And is anyways else wondering what happened to Nan? Obviously though the real match for Alfie was me. ;)

This is Minnie. :) 
Minnie... well Minnie was Minnie. At first I was like yikes but as time went on Minnie did mature. I was talking to my sister about how I felt that while thought her and Alfie were adorable together Alfie was so much more mature and responsible than her and he had gone through so much more that made him a man. However, when thinking again about that Minnie had gone through a lot herself with her father (step-father?) but she just always kept that cheerful attitude and put that behind her. I think Alfie needed that. So while sometimes she does annoy me a little for her immaturities I think that it is really a way for her to forget her past and keep going.

My sister's and my favorite quote! 
The Pratt sisters. You can't talk about one without the other. My sister and I were talking about how much we wanted to rewatch the first season because the Pratt sisters are so different then as compared to how they conclude. They are characters that really grow. In the first season most of the time I wanted to throttle them. Pearl especially. As time went on though they became softer. Ruby going off to Pontefract was kind of a sudden change for them and even though in the long run it didn't work out I think it helped to facilitate bigger change. My sister and I both agree that Pearl's softening came more when Daniel started boarding with her after Ruby left. I think it really brightened Pearl and caused her to be kinder. Ruby is played by the actress who plays Mrs. Forster in the 1995 Pride and Prejudice. I never would have noticed but I was looking her up and found that out.

Queenie (I know the actress from Call the Midwife in the later seasons) and Twister Turrill. First off, who else was profoundly disturbed on finding that they weren't' married yet. Sure they get married but.... ugh! I like Queenie for the most part. She's is so sweet and motherly and is always looking after everyone and giving sage advice. I don't like her superstitious mumbo jumbo though and frankly I would never have married Twister Turrill because I cannot put up with him! Apparently she can though. I do like Twister but he is SO annoying most of the time. But he's a dear.

Robert (I know the actor from North and South when he plays Nicholas Higgins) and Emma (I know from playing Charlotte Lucas in the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice) Timmins are Laura's parents but they also have four other children that are younger. My sister and I agree that those two are definitely the cutest couple in the whole show. I love them!!!!!!!!!!! :) They're so sweet and stubborn, independent and proud. Their arguments and trials are struggled through brilliantly. I can't get enough of them! I was so sad when Robert was away the whole of season four working. I'm going to guess that they couldn't get the actor back for the season. :( Also a note for Laura's siblings here... they are such cute kids and Edmond really grows up. It's super sweet how he tries to look after Laura when their parents are away and Fisher comes back.

Thomas Brown is a mailman at the postoffice. He's kind of hyper religious which is made fun of which I don't like. Yes it is humorous but it is annoying that the religious person in the show is made to look ridiculous. I love Thomas though. He goes through a lot of character development in the show and I'm so excited Margaret and him ended up together. At first I was kind of so-so on Margaret but as the show went I really came to love her. AND SHE WAS PREGNANT AT THE END!!!! :))))

I think that's all of the main characters listed. There is such a wide variety of characters in this show. As I went through listing them I tried to include other period dramas I'd seen these people in. There were also other random characters that just appeared once that were familiar.

This show is pretty drama filled and pretty romantic but like an Austen novel it's filled with so much more. It's about life. It's about growing up. It's about taking responsibility. I love the show for that. Obviously though it's not up to the level of an Austen novel.
A few things I didn't like about the show were as I mentioned above... the superstition, making fun of the religious Thomas Brown and really the theology is fairly off in the whole show which is my major complaint. Thankfully my sister has a solid theological background (yay mom and dad!) so there was very little I had to be like "this is not right" that she didn't already know.

Objectionable material? Nothing bad is ever shown but there are a few things talked about. As I mentioned above Twister and Queenie have been living together for years and we all thought they were married but they weren't until the second season. That was just dumb. One of Dorcas's wooers, James Dowland, turned out to be rather an immoral man when it came to the ladies, having had a child out of wedlock and also being in a immoral romantic relationship with a widowed woman while also trying to woo Dorcas. Not cool! It is just talked about though and most likely will go over children's heads. There is also an episode dealing with an unmarried pregnant teenager but it's handled quite tactfully. Also as mentioned above Sir Timothy was married but still quite in love with Dorcas Lane but nothing ever happens there that we know of except they embrace once, which is seen by his wife and because of that Sir Timothy and Lady Adelaide leave for London. I think there's also a few veiled innuendos that went over my sister's head I'm sure. I think those are the main things.  I'd say there's nothing worse in in than is in Pride and Prejudice. As I said it's quite appropriate for the whole family.

This is a fun show and my sister and I enjoyed watching it together but in my opinion when you're watching it with younger children you have to keep your eye out for the superstition and erroneous theology to correct it.
So watch it and enjoy! :)

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Top Ten Children's Books I Really Love but I Feel Like I Don't Talk About Enough

The theme for this week's Top Top Ten Tuesday is to list your top ten books you love but feel like you don't talk about enough. There are a ton of books I feel like I don't talk enough so for this post I'm going to narrow it down to children's books I don't feel like I talk about enough so this is of course going to omit the obvious ones I love like Harry Potter and Anne of Green Gables. We're talking about ones I DON'T talk about enough here. Making this list I realized that it's ridiculous I don't talk about these books more. I loved all of these books and re-read them all multiple times as a child. I read and re-read a lot as a kid. And making this list makes me want to re-read these all again!
  1. Detectives in Togas by Henry Winterfield- A childhood favorite and one you should definitely hand this one to your children. 
  2. The Mad Scientist Club by Bertrand R. Brinley- This is for the geeky kids out there. Just kidding, it's for all the kids. :) 
  3. Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robison- Such a fun story.
  4. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald- This was one of my favorite little series as a kid. Basically the books are about a widowed old lady who comes up with cures for children's bad behavior. 
  5. Freddy the Pig series by Walter R. Brooks- A pig that talks and solves mysteries. Sign me up! ;) 
  6. My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett- Stuck on an island with all sorts of odd creatures who's to rescue you? A dragon of course! 
  7. Castaways of the Flying Dutchman series by Brian Jacques- Everyone knows about Jacques's Redwall series but his other series is not as well known but it's still quite enjoyable. 
  8. The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgleish- I don't remember this book terribly well but I do recall loving it as a kid. It's a great story for teaching about bravery as well as the settlers pioneering new terrain. 
  9. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Spear- I recently handed my sister this book and she loved it. Her enthusiastic gushings reminded me how much I too had loved it as a child. 
  10. The Saturdays Elizabeth Enright- A delightful story about a family who each Saturday one child gets to take the joint allowance of everyone and do whatever they want. 
  11. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken- One of my hands down favorite books as a kid. 
  12. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg- Siblings hiding out in a museum. :) 
So yeah it ended up being twelve not ten but there were so many!
Have a kid? Hand these books to them now? Don't have a kid? Read them yourself now! ;)

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Sunday, March 20, 2016

It's Monday! Talk Books to Me!

I'm pretty sure my life could not get more saturated with books.... well no it probably could but that is kind of a scary thought. My constant though right now is not getting my taxes completed but how on earth I'm going to fit another bookshelf in my room to accommodate my stacks of unshelved books. When I'm not reading books I'm blogging about them or talking about them. I can't help it! I just love books! :)

Currently Reading

  • The Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin- I did end up switching over to the abridged version and it was a good decision. 
  • The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (re-read) (audiobook)
  • On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder 

Finished this Week

  • The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
  • The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery 
  • Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder (re-read) 

Coming Soon

  • By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder (re-read)
  • Madam Bovary by Gustave Flaubert 

Reviews Post Last Week

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Friday, March 18, 2016

Book Review- All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot SeeFor the Full House Reading Challenge I read Anthony Doerr's novel All The Light We Cannot See.
Synopsis from Goodreads: From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.
Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.
In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.
My aunt recommended and lent me this book when I was visiting her last year. I'm so glad she did! I'm always pretty reluctant to pick up modern books without a good recommendation so I might never have picked it up without my aunt's prodding. :) Got to love family. ;)
The characters are so vividly portrayed in this book and you have to love them... even when one is a Nazi soldier. Werner's story was so moving and it was partly because of the fact that he was a Nazi soldier. What he goes through and what his sister goes through is heart wrenching. The questions they ask themselves as they carry out Hilter's orders show another side. I loved Marie-Laure as well. Her father's dedication was incredible and I also adored her uncle.
A couple things I didn't like were a couple crudities, a couple bad words and one bit of mentioned immorality at the end that I thought was uncharacteristic of the character. When you read it you'll know what I mean. Overall this is a clean book but it does deal with the mature and gritty themes of war.
Read or not? Read! :)

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Book Review- The Martian

The MartianFor the Full House Reading Challenge I read Andy Weir's novel The Martian. It should have counted for the Shelf Love and Mount TBR challenges too but I didn't buy it until February. :(
Synopsis from Goodreads: Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive — and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills — and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit — he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?
I'm going to preface this review with I loved it BUT it had a lot of bad language. I knew that going into it but I maybe underestimated how much bad language there would be. In retrospect I really wish I'd used white out when reading it as I think my brother would enjoy it. Unfortunately I was reading it in my downtime at work so I didn't have any around. :(
I love a good castaway story and that's basically what The Martian is... only it's castaway on Mars! The odds go up quite a lot. :)
The main character Mark Watney is humorous and determined. He's also incredibly smart. His mechanical engineering and botanist background give him a good headway in surviving. The book is pretty packed with science but personally I loved it. Sure most of it went over my head but I still loved it. It was amazing as everything kept going wrong he just kept going. He was determined to live. With each new obstacle the question was always "What will Watney do now?" and every time he delivered!
He also had a great team helping him though. There was NASA back on earth and also his crew on their return trip to earth. While so much of it was a one man show with Watney wowing us I was also continually impressed by the others. Sometimes though NASA could be a dolt.
To close out this review here are some favorite quotes. I'm telling you this guy is hilarious!
"I could cut off my arm and eat it, gaining me valuable calories and reducing my overall caloric need. No, not really."
"Half ration for dinner. All I accomplished today was thinking up a plan that'll kill me, and that doesn't take much energy."
"Also, I have duct tape. Ordinary duct tape like you buy at a hardware store. Turns out even NASA can't improve on duct tape."
"It (his computer) died instantly. The screen went black before I was out of the airlock. Turns out the 'L' in LCD stand for liquid. I guess it either froze or boiled off. Maybe I"ll post a consumer review. 'Brought product to surface of Mars. It stopped working. 0/10'. "
So read or not? I'm not sorry I read it and I'm excited to watch the movie sometime soon. However, one has to be careful with this book as it is loaded with bad language. I'm not sure I would ever again pick up a book with that much bad language. I kind of made an exception for it. I did love it but you do have to watch out. So whether you read it or not is up  to you and what you feel comfortable exposing yourself to. Personally I enjoyed it. :)

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday- Ten Most Anticipated Books on my Spring TBR

This week's Top Ten Tuesday theme is my most anticipated books on my Spring TBR list.

  1. Through Gates of Splendor by Elizabeth Elliot
  2. The Secret Life of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Butterfield 
  3. Mr. Midshipman Hornblower by C.S. Forester 
  4. The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery 
  5. Cinder by Marissa Meyer 
  6. Waverley by Sir Walter Scott
  7. The Once and Future King by T.H. White
  8. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky 
  9. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (re-reads)
  10. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (re-reads)
What are you looking forward to reading?

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Monday, March 14, 2016

It's Monday! Dance Off Bro!

Life's been pretty great recently. Obviously I'm excited about my impending aunthood but there's also other fun things going on in my life. I'm planning to go as a chaperone on my church's youth mission rip to the Omaha reservation in Nebraska. I know you're thinking how could they let Lois go as a chaperone? I'll have you know I can be very mature when I want to be! ;)
I've also really been enjoying contra dancing recently. I know I've mentioned my love of contra dancing here before but basically it's amazing and if there's a contra group in your area you should go! If you observe the pictures to the left, which are from the contra group I go to (and if you look closely you can see me... I'm wearing a red dress in both pictures) you might notice that the dancing form looks similar to what's danced in Jane Austen movies. Well you'd be correct. The dances are quite similar to those sorts of dances. We actually get a caller calling out the moves though so we're not just doing it from memory. Thank goodness! If you're ever in Kansas this is our group's Facebook page. Check us out! The most recent one I attended at the beginning of this month was probably the best contra dancing experience I've ever had. The band was incredibly lively making the dancing even that much more fun. I didn't even dance every dance (alas!) and it was still great!
I remember (random story insert here) that I came home from contra dancing once and excitedly told my mother that I had danced every dance. She told me I sounded like Lydia Bennet from Pride and Prejudice when they get back from the Assembly Ball and says "I danced ever dance, and Mary none." Got to love my mom. ;) So now every time I come home from contra dancing regardless of whether or not I danced every dance I quote that line. It's tradition! I'm also super excited that there's going to be an extra contra dance this month for St. Patrick's Day. More dancing!!!!!!! My little sister and I will waltz and swing together at home but you really can't contra dance without a group so I savor the extra dances! One last random weird story before I get to reading. This last dance the band broke out a little polka tune during the break. A few people who knew how to polka jumped in and I, who has no clue how to polka grabbed my sister and decided that we could totally figure it out by watching everyone else. So yeah, I fudged polkaing in front of lots people when there were only like two other couples to watch besides us. It was fun though! When you get to my age you stop caring what people think about your dancing abilities... or something like that. I probably scarred my sister for life though.... ;) 

Okay, now it's reading time. I promise! :)

Currently Reading

  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (audiobook) (re-read)
  • The Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin 
  • The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens

Finished this Past Week

  • The Martian by Andy Weir
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Coming Soon

  • The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
  • The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
  • Farm Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder (re-read) 

Reviews from this past week

  • Book Review- Mr. Knightley's Diary by Amanda Grange
  • Miniseries Review- Rebecca (1979)

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Friday, March 11, 2016

Book Review-The Swiss Family Robinson

The Swiss Family RobinsonFor the Hard Core Re-Reading Challenge and the Audiobook Challenge I re-read (listened) to Johann Wyss's classic castaway tale The Swiss Family Robinson.
Synopsis from Goodreads: One of the world's best-loved stories of shipwreck and survival, The Swiss Family Robinson portrays a family's struggle to create a new life for themselves on a strange and fantastic tropical island. Blown off course by a raging storm, the family-a Swiss pastor, his wife, their four young sons, plus two dogs and a shipload of livestock-must rely on one another in order to adapt to their needs the natural wonders of their exotic new home. Inspired by Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, this classic story of invention and adventure has fired the imaginations of readers since it first appeared in 1812.
When I first read this years ago as a kid I wasn't too crazy about it. This, I will admit, was mostly due to the fact that I grew up with the classic Disney film, which I loved, and the book was not like the film. I was disappointed. My two older siblings though loved the book and the movie despite the differences and insisted I needed to re-read it. It's taken me a long time to get around to it and I've now finally re-read it. Sad thing is, I'm still not that crazy about it.
I have no memory of why I originally did not like it besides it not being like the movie but here's why I did not like it this time around. Plain and simple... it was super sanctimonious and preachy. In my opinion, Little Women is sanctimonious and preachy sometimes and well I think Swiss Family Robinson is worse. This is really just my opinion though here but it just annoyed me the whole time. It might not have helped that the narrator of the audiobook sounded sanctimonious but maybe that was just because of the lines he was given. Yes, obviously I'm a Christian, very strongly so, but I don't want my books to bash me over the head with their morals. I guess I prefer my Christianity in my books and movies to be subtler. For example, in the movie they are Christians and you know that but you don't get it rammed down your throat the whole time.
So that's what I didn't like it but here's what I did like. I love a good castaway story. Robinson Crusoe (which this book is halfway based off of) is a favorite of mine and I really enjoyed Mysterious Island as well. As far as castaway stories goes it is pretty good. They do have a lot of supplies garnered from the ship so they are off to a good start but they use a lot of ingenuity to build their life on the island. I was a little upset that they had the cool treehouse (like in the movie) but then they end up moving to a cave because it was even better. No! Treehouses are way cooler! They did build a spiral stair case inside the trunk of the treehouse though. That was pretty neat.
Okay a couple more qualms. I felt like the dad knew everything about everything. Candle making? He's got it! Boot making? He's got it? Don't know what that animal is? He knows! Don't know what that plant is? He knows! Secondly, I felt like the island kind of handed everything to them on a platter. They found sugar cane, cotton, rubber and more! Basically everything you'd ever need! Really roughing it aren't we? Sorry, getting cynical again.
A note on the movie. I love it and it's a must watch! :)
I did like it okay but it just wasn't great. I gave it three stars on Goodreads. Read or not? Hard to say. If you want to give your kids a fun and interesting book that has good christian morals and is clean than go for it. It does have its merits.
P.S. I also can't quite forgive it for totally downplaying the romance! Not a romantic here but seriously!

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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Film (Miniseries) Review- Rebecca (1979)

For the Period Drama Challenge I'm reviewing the 1979 miniseries adaptation of Rebecca.

Synopsis from IMDB: A young English girl in Monte Carlo falls in love with a rude, handsome stranger who proposes to her and rescues her from the drudgery of being a hired companion. But when he takes her to his country estate, Manderly, all her confidence disappears, especially in the face of Maxim's dour and mysterious housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, and as odd rumors reach her, the second Mrs. de Winter decides to find out everything she can about her predecessor, Rebecca.
First off, thank you Hamlette for turning me on to this adaptation! I'd seen the 1940 version with Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine before and enjoyed it but I was intrigued to watch an adaptation that was more accurate to the book. While I still prefer how the 1940 version slightly changes the ending making it slightly more moral I do think overall the 1979 miniseries got more right. And no, I shouldn't compare but I am. ;) A miniseries just gives you so much more screen time to tell the story!

I loved the casting. First we have Jeremy Brett (of Sherlock Holmes fame and he also played Freddy Eynsford-Hill in My Fair Lady when he was quite a bit younger) playing our mysterious Mr. Maxim de Winter. Brett does a great job of portraying Mr. de Winter, very reminiscent of Olivier's portrayal I thought. Then we have Joanna David (plays Mrs. Gardiner in the 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and she's also played several other random parts in random period dramas that I haven't seen yet, most notably Elinor Dashwood in an old version of Sense and Sensibility) playing the second Mrs. de Winter (the character is never given a name so that's as good as you get!). I really liked Joanna David in this part. She's sweet, youthful, innocent. Simply perfect for the role. Anna Massey (Mrs. Norris in the 1983 version of Mansfield Park and Miss Prism in the 2003 adaptation of The Importance of Being Ernest) plays the sinister Mrs. Danvers. She does a great job creeping me out so yes, good job with the part. I also just noticed when typing out her name that she's a "Mrs.". Who in their right mind married her?!?!??!?!?! Just random weird observation that I should have noticed years ago. The other more minor characters are brilliant portrayed as well. The actor who played Rebecca's cousin Jack Flavell had the creepy weird laugh down perfectly. Ugh! I also liked that the minor characters, like Frank Crawley for example who is one of my favorite characters, get more screen time.

As far as the screenplay goes I thought it was great. It was very accurate to the book but it didn't feel stilted like the actors were just quoting from the book.

Now when it comes watching it the sad truth is you have to watch it on YouTube because it was never released to DVD I guess and the quality is not so great at all.

As far as costumes go they're pretty plain but that fits with the story. The prettiest one you get is the dress that the second Mrs. de Winter tires to wear to the costume ball. The music isn't that spectacular either.

I'd say the film is family friendly but SPOILERS it does deal with an unfaithful wife, which is discussed but would probably go over young viewers heads. I know that when watching the 1940 version as a kid it did. END SPOILERS. So family friendly overall. :)

Overall I really enjoyed this. Interestingly enough I saw that this one is rated slightly higher on IMDB than the 1940 adaption (which I think is considered the definitive version). I'm not sure if I have a favorite of the two though. I like them both equally and to be honest I haven't seen the 1940 version in a while. Watch or not? I say watch! :)

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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Book Review- Mr. Knightley's Diary

Mr. Knightley's Diary (Jane Austen Heroes, #2)For the Shelf Love Challenge and the Mount TBR pile challenge I read Amanda Grange's novel Mr. Knightley's Diary.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Relive Jane Austen's Emma- from Mr. Knightley's point of view. Between managing his estate and visiting his brother in London, Mr. Knightley is both exasperated and amused by his irresistibly beautiful, outrageously mischievous neighbor, Emma Woodhouse, whose misguided attempts at matchmaking are wreaking havoc in the village of Highbury. But when a handsome newcomer arrives and catches Emma's attention, Mr. Knightley is shocked by his reaction. Amusement gives way to another emotion entirely-for his unreasonable dislike of the handsome newcomer seems suspiciously like jealousy.
Mr. Knightley is just about my favorite Austen hero (tied with Henry Tilney) so I was excited to read this one, as well as fervently hoping Grange didn't mess him up. She didn't. :) When I re-read Emma last year it became one of my favorite of Austen's novels, a place it hadn't previously held. This was mostly due to Mr. Knightley, a hero I had always liked but now had come to love. Getting his inside scoop on Emma was humorous and insightful. Going into the book I kind of felt like we (the readers) already kind of knew most of what Mr. Knightley was thinking. Amanda Grange did a great job though of bringing that out, adding her own little flair though of course. It was kind of adorable how Knightley was totally oblivious to the fact that he was in love with Emma for the longest time! It was interesting how Grange had him kind of on the lookout for a wife. Naturally he could find no one better than Emma, though it took him a while to realize that. I also liked you saw more of Emma's good qualities through Knightley's eyes as if you're like me you spent most of Emma infuriated with her. It was nice to get a fresh perspective on her. Of course Knightley is her biggest critic but he also loves her and sees her good qualities and brings them out.
Overall I enjoyed Mr. Knightly's diary and it was a great addition to Amanda Grange's Diary series.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday- Characters I Like that most Dislike

The theme for this week's Top Ten Tuesday is either characters you like that most dislike or characters you dislike that most like. I decided to go with the characters I like that most dislike.

Characters that I like that most dislike

1) Melanie Wilkes from Gone With the Wind- Many think she's a wimp and too nice and sweet but while she is kind of sickly sweet sometimes I love her because she is truly kind and generous and really is the only person like that in the whole story. 
2) Amy March from Little Women ect.- Amy gets a bad rap from readers because she was kind of a selfish brat when she was younger and "stole" Laurie from Jo. In my opinion Amy is an under appreciated character. Her struggles are unique and I think harder for readers to relate to. I personally found her story very interesting and I like seeing her character grow. 
3) Henry Higgins from Pygmalion/My Fair Lady- I know he's kind of a jerk but I still love him. He's hilarious and really does have a heart... though it's hard to find oftentimes.
4) Cosette from Lés Miserables- Another one who gets a bad rap because she distracted Marius from Eponine who everyone loves instead. No Cosette isn't my favorite character but I do like her and I think it's silly that people don't. You can like both Cosette and Eponine! 
5) Edmund Bertram from Mansfield Park- Readers dislike him because he gets distracted by the beautiful and dynamic Mary Crawford instead of noticing Fanny Price. Sure, that annoys me too but I still like him. I think it's a little unfair that people get so frustrated with him for that when they tend to pardon Elizabeth Bennet for being attracted to George Wickham. He's still a good man and while not my favorite Austen hero he was an honorable man, kind and intelligent who in the end did realize his error. 
6) Fanny Price from Mansfield Park- Speaking of Mansfield Park.... Mansfield Park in general just gets a bad rap! I really like Fanny Price. The reason most don't like her is because she just happens to not be Elizabeth Bennet. She's quiet, shy, reserved. Readers think of her as a pushover. FYI, she's not a pushover! She stands up for herself when she refuses to act and she stands up for herself when she refuses to marry Henry Crawford. Yes, oftentimes she is a dutiful young women doing most anything asked of her. That's not necessarily a bad thing though. She happens to be a nice and helpful person... that's what that is. I think she doesn't resonate well with modern audiences because this is not something they can identify with... we live in a very selfish generation that hasn't learned to be helpful and kind very well. My little rant. I guess I probably could dedicate a post to it. 

And that's all I can think for right now. :) 

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Sunday, March 6, 2016

It's Monday! I'm Going to Be An Aunt!

Princess Charlottes Christening Gown and Crochet BonnetSo yeah, as you can tell from the title of this post.... I'M GOING TO BE AN AUNT!!!! Remember my brother who married my best friend eBeth last summer? She's pregnant!!! Obviously I'm super duper excited. :) I'm already crocheting a baby blanket (though I'll have to make two so I'll have a girl one and a boy one since they don't know yet). Also I'm planning to crochet a christening gown. There's lots of gorgeous patterns out there so I just have to find one I like that I also have the skill level to make as some of them are incredibly intricate. I'm kind of leaning towards this one pictured on the right (see the pattern HERE). It's supposed to be modeled after Princess Charlotte's christening gown. Decisions, decisions! Thankfully I've got a few months. :)

So on a much lesser though.... reading.

Currently Reading

  • The Martian by Andy Weir- I love this book but yeah it does have a language problem. :( 
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr 
  • The Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin- I'm trying to decide if I want to switch to the abridged version. This thing is two volumes each the size of LOTR! I love it but it's a lot! 
  • The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens- I'm joining in Behold the Stars' read-along for this Dickens novel. 
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (re-read) (audiobook)- My next audiobook now that I'm done with The Swiss Family Robinson. I've been craving some Tolkien! :) That first chapter is so great though! The nostalgia is beautiful. :) 

Finished this Past Week

  • The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss (audiobook) (re-read)- 

Coming Soon

  • The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
  • The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton 
  • Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder (re-read)

Posts From this Last Week

Classics Club Spin churned out the number eight so I'll be reading Madam Bovary. :)

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Saturday, March 5, 2016

2016 Period Drama- February Recap and Questions

I haven't talked about the 2016 Period Drama too much on my blog yet... bad Lois! Anyways, I'm talking about it now. :) Be sure to go check it out HERE.
There are a few questions for us participants to answer for the end of February. There were some for January as well but I hadn't gotten around to watching or reviewing films at that points yet. :(

1. What period dramas did you view in February? 
Far From the Madding Crowd (2015) and Vanity Fair (1998). Reviews linked. Both are good but Farm From the Madding Crowd is GREAT! :)
2. What is your favorite period drama musical? 
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers for sure though I also love Singing in the Rain.
3. If you could order up an adaptation of your favorite classic book, what would it be and who would star? 
I want a good adaptation of Mansfield Park please! I've seen others say this before and I absolutely agree that Claire Foy (who played Amy Dorrit in Little Dorrit) could totally play Fanny Price.
4. If you could be a famous royal from history, who would you be and why? 
Lady Jane Grey (also known as the nine day queen). This is mostly inspired by the book Coronation of Glory which is historical fiction but I pretend is historical. ;) Jane was dedicated to her faith and studied theology diligently in a time when theology was a man's business.
5. What period dramas are you looking forward to viewing in March 2016?
So many! I doubt I'll get to half of them but I'd love to. Here's my short list... I have a longer one but there are the ones I really want to get to. Some of them, as you will see, I'm in the midst of watching and others of them I have yet to watch and then still others I have watched before and want to watch again to review for this challenge. 
  • Lark Rise to Candleford- I'm about ready to start the fourth season and then once I finish it a review will come out for the whole series! 
  • Rebecca (1979)- Thank you Hamlette for turning me on to this one! I just finished it yesterday so I'll be reviewing it soon. 
  • Death Comes to Pemberly- I watched half of this last year and then stopped for various reasons... not really because I disliked it (though the casting of Elizabeth still irks me) but just because life happened. I want to get back to it at some point. 
  • Brooklyn- I've heard plenty of good things about this movie and I think it will be fun to watch. 
  • Gods and Generals and Gettysburg- I love the books and I need to get around to the movies! 
  • Testament of Youth- All of my period drama friends were raving about this one last year so I want to get it to it hopefully this year. 
  • Cinderella (2015)- Most all of my period drama friend rave about this one but then I hear more negative things about it from my cousins, with whom I tend to see eye to eye on movies. So I'm not really sure what I'm going to think of it when I get to it. 
  • Lorna Doone (2000)- My whole family is talking about how much we want to watch this movie. The struggle then is finding a time for us all to sit down and watch it together. I've always loved this movie and I'm looking forward to a rewatch. 
  • Little Women (1994)- So I've seen this once before years ago. I know most people hold this to be the definitive edition but I remember not being that crazy about it (sorry!). When I finished re-reading Little Women last year I went and looked up some clips from it (and other versions) on YouTube and I wasn't too impressed. However I'd like to watch the whole thing again and try not to be too judgmental. 
  • Cranford and Return to Cranford- I've seen Cranford before a few years back and I remember loving it but I haven't seen Return to Cranford yet. I'd like to watch them both with my little sister. 
I promised a short list so I'll stop there. It would be awesome if I could get all of these watched but we'll see what happens. :)

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Friday, March 4, 2016

Book Review- Leaves of Grass

Leaves of GrassFor the Mount TBR pile challenge, Shelf Love challenge, the 12 Month Classics Challenge and the Classics Club I read Walt Whitman's classic collection of poetry Leaves of Grass.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Whitman is today regarded as America's Homer or Dante. His work the touchstone for literary originality in the New World. In Leaves of Grass, he abandoned the rules of traditional poetry: breaking the standard metred line, discarding the obligatory rhyming scheme & using the vernacular. Emily Dickinson condemned his sexual & physiological allusions as `disgraceful', but Emerson saw the book as the `most extraordinary piece of wit & wisdom that America has yet contributed'. A century later it's his judgement of this autobiographical vision of the vigor of the American nation that has proved the more enduring. This is the most up-to-date edition for student use, with full critical apparatus.
When I selected this book for the Classics Club I had no idea it was a book of poetry.... obviously I should have done a little more research. I really am not a poetry fan. Therefore, Leaves of Grass already had a huge point against it from the start. Then it just wasn't the rare kind of poetry I like anyways. It was the kind that has an ulterior message hidden deep within it that you're somehow supposed to derive from it. My copy was used and the previous owner had written notes in it like "This is about America." Well considering that I never would have had a clue that that particular stanza was about America this was enlightening as it made me look at it in a different light. However that's my point! It was the kind of poetry that I had no clue what it was talking about half the time because it was never directly talking about what it was actually talking about and to know what it was actually talking about you either would need a study guide or be a great guesser. I'm sorry but I don't like that kind of poetry. I'm really just not a fan of poetry. If I'd known, it was poetry I wouldn't have added it to my Classics Club list. However, I did and then I read it and discovered it was poetry. So all that to say, not my favorite. There were some beautiful lines at points, though probably they meant something other than what I thought they did. It wasn't all bad.
Obviously this is really my own fault. I should have known it was poetry.
Recommend or not? Not if you're like me! If you like poetry though I suppose you'll enjoy this.
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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Classics Club Spin! March 2016

It's time for another Classics Club spin! If you aren't familiar with the Classics Club be sure to go check it out HERE.

Books I'm Looking Forward To
1) The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
2) Mr. Midshipman Hornblower by C.S. Forester
3) Waverly by Sir Walter Scott
4) The Once and Future King by T.H. White
5) The Mark of Zorro by Johnston McCulley
Book's I Feel Neutral About
6) Kim by Rudyard Kipling
7) Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
8) Madam Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
9) Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
10) Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
Book's I'm Dreading
11) The Divine Comedy by Dante
12) Dracula by Bram Stoker
13) East of Eden by John Steinbeck
14) Don Quixote by Cervantes
15) A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
William Shakespeare
16) The Tempest by William Shakespeare
17) Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
18) The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
19) Richard III by William Shakespeare
20) A Midsummer's Night Dream by William Shakespeare

Next Monday The Classics Club will chose a random number from 1-20 and whichever book that corresponds to on my list will be the book I read!

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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Album Review- Celtic Woman (Destiny)

I have never done an album review before but they say try new things. ;)
Celtic Woman is one of my favorite modern musical groups and their newest album Destiny has become an instant favorite with me.
My little sister and I, who are both pretty avid Celtic Woman fans, got horribly obsessed with the music for Destiny on YouTube first and we decided we just had to get it. We went ahead and got the CD and DVD deluxe package.
Unfortunately we haven't made it to the DVD yet, though I think I've probably picked up the gist of it from YouTube. I can't wait to watch it for real though!
Here's a little review of the CD though. :)

1) My Land- Beautiful song with bagpipes, which are a plus. Four stars from me. :)
2) Siúil a Rún- Classic celtic song beautifully performed. Five stars from me.
3) Ride On- One of my very favorites. This is performed by the two newest members and I can't get enough of their voices, especially Eahba's. It's so unique and gorgeous! Her voices blends really well with Mairead making for superb listening. I'm not always very fond of slower songs but when it comes to this one I LOVE it. :) Five big stars from me!
4) The Whole of the Moon- Sung by Susan and you can really see in it that this is where she shines. She has a Broadway voice. It's a fun song. Fours stars from me.
5) Skyrim Theme (Dragonborn)- Another of my absolute favorites! They took the Skyrim theme and added celtic words making it sound so epic! It feels like it should be in LOTR! Five stars!
6) How Can I Keep From Singing- A slower song but it's sung by Eahba and I'm kind of obsessed with her voice so I liked it a little bit more than I might. Three stars but really more like 3 ½. ;)
7) I See Fire- This is the end credits song for The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug. I remember when I first listened to it I wasn't that impressed... I thought it was okay. However, when Mairead sings it I love it! Five stars.
8) Tír na nÓg- Another favorite! For this one there is a guest singer Óonog who is lots of fun. This is a really fun song. I may or may not sing along at the top of my lungs to this one. :) Watch their music video and fall in love too!

9) Óró sé do bheatha 'bhaile- A fun celtic song. Disclaimer, I like this one and I really feel like I should like it more than I do. For some reason though I don't connect with this one as much though. Four stars from me.
10) Sometimes a Prayer Will Do- Sung by Susan and pretty but slower and just not one of my favorites. Three stars from me.
11) Bean Pháidín- Fun celtic song! Meahba shines once again in this song along with the rest of the crew. Five stars from me!
12) Westering Home- Beautiful song and bagpipes again! Four stars from me. :)
13) When You Go- I love this song! It might be my favorite off of this disc but I hate saying that because I love so many of them! It's so fun and catchy and I just love it! :) Five big stars!
14) Like and Angel Passing Through My Room- Absolutely beautiful but slower. Three stars from me.
15) Walk Beside Me- A slower song but Meahba has a big part in this song so of course I have a soft spot for it. Still three stars though.
16) The Hills of Ireland- Our favorite fiddler's song. Lots of fun! :) Four stars from me.

Are you a Celtic Woman fan? Have you listened to Destiny yet? If you haven't be sure to go check it out! Most of the songs are on YouTube and I can almost guarantee you're going to love them! This album is a classic! :)

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