Friday, December 29, 2017

2017 End of Year Book Survey

Once again this year I'm joining in with The Perpetual Page Turner to do her End of Year Book Survey.

2017 Reading Stats

Number Of Books You Read: 36
Number of Re-Reads: 5
Genre You Read The Most From: Classics

Best in Books

1. Best Book You Read In 2017? 
  • Fiction- Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly and Dear Mr. Knightly by Katherine Reay
  • Non-Fiction- Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t? I wasn't really disappointed by any books this year!

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read? Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay. I was shocked how much I loved it!
4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)? Well I got my book club to read Hidden Figures and Dear Mr. Knightley. And they loved them. I hadn't read them either at that point though to be fair.

5. Best series you started in 2017? Best Sequel of 2017? Best Series Ender of 2017?

  • Best series started- The Barsoom series- The Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • Best sequel- The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket and The Bourne Supremacy by Robert Ludlum... honestly the only sequels I read this year and they're both equally great. 
  • Best series ender- None this year. I meant to but it didn't happen. 

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2017? Katherine Reay! I've loved every book I've read of hers so far and can't wait to read more.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone? I'd say A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry.... I don't normally read plays and I normally don't enjoy them but I really enjoyed this one!

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year? Unputdownable was definitely Dear Mr. Knightley but it wasn't action-packed or thrilling. As far as action-packed definitely A Princess of Mars.

9. Book You Read In 2017 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year? I don't normally re-read books in such quick succession but if I were to it would probably be Dear Mr. Knightley cause I just loved it that much!

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2017? I love the cover for Dear Mr. Knightley so much. Something about the swirling hand writing, the rose and the letters flying up through the air just seem to indicate the fun, romantic story to come.

11. Most memorable character of 2017? Hmm.... there aren't any that strongly stick out to me. I think probably Jennifer Worth from Call the Midwife. I still can't get over the fact that she chose to go work in east end London and stuck it out. What an incredible learning experience it must have been. As a nurse I can't help but be intrigued.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2017? Probably Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. The whole series was beautifully written. I disagreed with other parts of it but the writing is spot on.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2017? Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. With getting married this year I read a lot of books about marriage and I loved them all but Sacred Marriage was the best. I also really liked The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller and Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2017 to finally read? Dear Mr. Knightley for sure!!!!! Besides that also The Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Society and The Eyre Affair.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2017? I'm so bad at keeping track of quotes anymore but here's one I liked from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
“You know,” said Arthur, “it’s at times like this, when I’m trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse, and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space that I really wish I’d listened to what my mother told me when I was young.”
“Why, what did she tell you?”
“I don’t know, I didn’t listen.”
16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2017?

  • Shortest- A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry- 151 pages
  • Longest- The Bourne Supremacy by Robert Ludlum- 688 pages 

17. Book That Shocked You The Most? No book really left me shocked. I suppose Call the Midwife left me the most just with the conditions that so many people lived in. Um... and there was one chapter in it that, if you've read it you know what I'm talking about, left me shocked for other reasons.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!) Samantha and Alex from Dear Mr. Knightley. <3

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year? The Baudelaire children have such a sweet family relationship despite the craziness they endure.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2017 From An Author You’ve Read Previously? This year I actually read very few books that were from authors I'd previously read. I read a lot of new authors. I'll go with The Bourne Supremacy by Robert Ludlum. It was a great sequel to Bourne Identity.

21. Best Book You Read In 2017 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure: I got a ton of recommendations from the blogosphere for The Eyre Affair and Dear Mr. Knightley. My aunt strongly recommended Gilead and it's sequels, which was honestly the only reason I read it. I probably never would have picked it up otherwise but I did enjoy them.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2017? John Carter from A Princess of Mars... he's a man! I also love Alex from Dear Mr. Knightely of course!!!! For a Re-read I"m still crushing on Ronald Eustace Psmith from Leave it to Psmith by P.G. Wodehouse.

23. Best 2017 debut you read? I didn't make it to any 2017 debuts this year.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year? Probably Edgar Rice Burroughs' description of Mars in A Princess of Mars.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read? DEAR MR. KNIGHTLEY!!!! Do you get that I loved that book yet? I also had a lot of fun reading A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2017? Dear Mr. Knightely about had me crying. I'm not an emotional person but pregnancy is messing with me.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year? DEAR MR. KNIGHTLEY!!!! Oh besides that? I was pleasantly surprised by both The Four Feathers and A Princess of Mars.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul? DEAR MR. KNIGHTLEY!!!! I LOVED IT!!!!

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2017? The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Eyre Affair, The Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Society.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)? Adam Bede by George Elliot annoyed me a lot but I did find it interesting.

Your Blogging/Bookish Life 

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2017? I honestly can't remember which blogs I started following this year. I'm quite sure I started following some new ones but I'm not sure which ones!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2017? Well why not my review of Dear Mr. Knightley?

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog? How about this one?

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)? I participated in some different fun themed weeks like I Love Austen Week and Robin Hood Week, which were both fun.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2017? I now have 101 followers on Bloglovin! I know that sounds pathetic but I've been at like 98-99 for forever so I'm excited to break 100.

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year? I started War and Peace!

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)? Apparently this one, which I find odd as there's nothing special about it.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love? They've al pretty equally gotten lots of love though I noticed when scrolling back to look at stats for the last question that at the beginning of the year I was definitely getting more page views than I am now. So check out some of my more recent book reviews like this one, or this one, or this one. And yeah... "this one" doesn't tell you what book it's about... that's part of the fun!

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)? Nothing new that I can think of this year. I checked out lots of little used bookstores in my travels this year which were fun but they were all out of state so I'll probably never make it back.

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year? Some of them... certainly needed to complete more of them.

Looking Ahead

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2017 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2018? At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon. We read it for book club but it was the month I was gone on my honeymoon so.... priorities! I really do want to read it though so even though I'm late I'll get to it in 2018!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2018 (non-debut)? I'm so behind I don't keep up with current authors I like and their new books. Now I'll have to look around and see.

3. 2018 Debut You Are Most Anticipating? I don't know of any yet.

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2018? Same! Not a clue! I'm so behind!!!!!!!!

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2018? Complete the Classics Club Challenge!

6. A 2018 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone (if applicable): N/A

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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Four Things Tag

I saw this tag over at Musings of an Introvert and had to steal it! Also you should go check out that blog cause it's fun!

Four Jobs I've Had

  1. Waterer at a nursery (self explanatory)
  2. Student worker at my college's library (basically I was a librarian but got paid like a student). 
  3. Pig farmer (I'm not sure there's a polite way to explain what I did)
  4. Registered Nurse (Basically I save lives)

Four Things I Don't Eat

  1. Bell peppers
  2. Seafood
  3. Super spicy food
  4. Cherry pie

Four Places I've Lived

  1. Just home sweet home Kansas

Four of my Favorite Foods

Not necessarily in this order... 
  1. Chocolate
  2. Donuts
  3. Tacos
  4. Pizza 

Four Movies I've Watched More Than Once

So many! One does not simply watch a movie once. These are the ones I've watched the most though probably. 
  1. McClintock
  2. Charade 
  3. National Treasure
  4. The Scarlet Pimpernel 

Four TV Shows I Watch

So many again! These are the one I probably enjoy the most though
  1. Doctor Who 
  2. Stargate: Atlantis
  3. Call the Midwife 
  4. Leverage 

Four Things I'm Looking Forward to This Year (In 2018)

  1. April and my little baby girl! 
  2. Finishing my Classics Club challenge! 

Four Things I Can't Live Without 

Well there's only one thing that I can't live without which I listed first but there's a couple other things I'd sure hate to live without. 
  1. God's Salvation
  2. My husband <3 
  3. My parents 
  4. My siblings 

Four Places I've Visited 

  1. Costa Rica
  2. Charlestone, South Carolina
  3. Michigan
  4. Minnesota 

Four Pet Peeves

  1. Cold hands

Four Things I Wish I Could Do

  1. Have this baby be full term and birth it now! 
  2. Sing well
  3. Read all the books! 
  4. Be a better housekeeper... working on it! 

Four Subjects I Studied at School 

  1. Too many nursing classes 
  2. Rock climbing (such a fun class) 
  3. Music appreciation (another fun class) 
  4. Anatomy and Physiology (So hard but such a life changing class for me)

Four Things Near Me Right Now 

  1. My computer
  2. My phone
  3. My mug of tea
  4. My Yeti cup of water 
That was fun! Feel free to steal this tag if you like! 

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Friday, December 15, 2017

20 Questions Book Tag

I saw this on Nut Free Nerd and stole it... cause that's what I do!
  1. How many books are too many in a series? I've never thought about this before. I don't think I've ever read a series where I thought to myself "this is getting too long". If a series were getting too long I don't think it would be about the number of books but about the content in them. 
  2. How do you feel about cliffhangers? I'm normally fine with them as long as they aren't over the top dramatic and unnecessary. A well done cliffhanger keeps me turning the pages.
  3. Hardback or paperback? Growing up my parents motto was that hardback was always better because they held up longer. Now that I'm a book buyer I do tend to buy a majority of paperback books as evidenced by my bookshelves. They are cheaper. However, I know my hardbacks will last longer so when I can I do like to buy hardbacks. The feel of paperbacks does tend to be more comfortable though.... which is of course why they wear out sooner. There's a lot to be said either way. 
  4. Favorite book? Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. 
  5. Least favorite book? Gulliver's Travels... I can't stand it. 
  6. Love Triangles, yes or no? I haven't read a lot of books with love triangles and when I did they were never my favorite part. They just don't tend to add anything to the story and become distracting from the real plot.
  7. The most recent book you couldn't finish? I don't normally pick up books I'm not going to finish. When I start a book I normally plough through even if I'm hating it, which I know is a waste of my reading time normally but I'm stubborn. So at this time I can't think of anything. 
  8. A book you're currently reading? So many! The one I'm most proud of right now though is War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. I'm inching through it day by day and actually enjoying it. It's going to be a long read though. 
  9. Last book you recommended to someone? I'm always so hesitant to recommend books. It's a pride thing probably... I'm afraid they won't like it and judge me for liking it.  Recently though I had a conversation with my cousin, who shares pretty similar reading tastes with me, and I recommended several books to her. I know the first one I recommended because she hadn't read it yet, even though last time I recommended books I told her to, was The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery. So good!!!! Everyone should read it.
  10. The oldest book you've read? Besides the Bible, I think from looking it up The Oddyssey by Homer. I had to read that for high school. I get so confused by the stupid BC dates that are going down instead of up! 
  11. The newest book you've read? Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly, which was published in September of 2016. I don't read a ton of new books. 
  12. Favorite author? Jane Austen and J.R.R. Tolkien... that was authorS right? 
  13. Buying books or borrowing books? My shelves attest to the fact that I can't resist buying books. But I buy pretty much all of them used! Ideally I should get more from the library and then only buy them if I loved them but that's not what happens. 
  14. A book you dislike that everyone seems to love? Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. It's not universally loved but it definitely gets more love that I can comprehend. 
  15. Bookmark or dog-ears? Always a bookmark! I've used anything and everything to makeshift as a bookmark rather than have to dog-ear. 
  16. A book you can always re-read? Well obviously Pride and Prejudice and Lord of the Rings. I'm always getting more out of them overtime through. However, for a little variety.... I would say J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series... I never get tired of it. 
  17. Can you read while hearing music? As long as it's music without words I'm normally ok but otherwise it can be kind of distracting. 
  18. One POV or multiple POVs? I'm ok with either. As long as they're written well the number of POVs should make no difference. 
  19. Do you read a book in one sitting or over multiple days? That depends on the book. At this point in my life I normally don't have the time to sit down and read a book in one sitting but if it's good enough I will make time. I miss the days when I was a kid and would curl up and read book after book. 
  20. One book you read because of the cover? I don't think I've read a book because of the cover. I do too much research on each book I read. 
I hope you enjoyed reading this tag! Feel free to steal it as I did and join in the fun.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Book Review- Adam Bede

For the Classics Club and the Classics Club Spin I read George Elliot's Adam Bede.
Synopsis from Goodreads: In the early days of the Napoleonic Wars, Adam Bede is hardworking carpenter with enormous physical strength and considerable force of will. But Adam has a single flaw, his blind love of Hetty Sorrel, a vain, shallow dairymaid who spurns Adam but is easily seduced by the local squire. The bitter and tragic consequences of her actions shake the very foundations of their serene rural community.While Adam Bede represents a timeless story of seduction and betrayal, it is also a deeper, impassioned meditation on the irrevocable consequences of human actions and on moral growth and redemption through suffering.

First off I'm going to try to avoid spoilers in this review but the comments are a free for all! I do love discussion so I'd love to hear other's thoughts.
I had mixed feelings about reading this book. Before this of George Elliot's novels I'd only read Middlemarch (which was meh) and Silas Maner (okay). It has been several years since I read any of her novels and I didn't have terribly good memories. I do think I can better appreciate her novels now though than I did back then. I would have hated Adam Bede if I'd read it years ago... kind of like I felt pretty meh about Middlemarh when I read it hears ago. Still though, I wasn't particularly fond of Adam Bede. I did find it intriguing and thought provoking.
None of the characters were particularly my favorite though. The title character, Adam Bede, is a great guy. He's a disciplined and virtuous man. He's got a major flaw though hand one that's hard to ignore... he's deeply in love with Hetty, who is a vain, self-centered flirt. She's a jerk and an idiot. She's also naive which I think is supposed to make us pity her. In case you missed my subtle clues... I really don't like Hetty. There's another person you dislike though.... though somehow I hated him less than Hetty, which wasn't really fair. Arthur Donnithorne is portrayed as a complex character who wants to do the right thing but never follow through. He's also very self-centered and in my opinion doesn't think there should be any consequences to his actions because he's rich and privileged. He disgusts me too. In fact, the more I write about him the more I dislike him. However bad those two characters are, though, Elliot makes you pity them both. She doesn't seem to attribute much guilt to them even though they both do a multitude of guilty offenses. On the other hand though we have Dinah, a female methodist preacher who is very passionate about her faith. I'm not going to get into an argument here but I do disagree with women being preachers. Since that how it was in the book I just went with it. Dinah is the moral center of the book. She is a virtuous women who is passionate about her calling as a preacher. She gives forgiveness and grace easily She is the only person to really embrace Hetty after the scandal erupts. You're supposed to love her and really that's what ends up happening. I like the other pastor in the book Mr. Irwine. He's also a virtuous and caring man and while he doesn't embrace Hetty per say he does still care for her and try to help her amidst the scandal.
Now one thing I find interesting is George Elliot's sense of morality in her books. However, looking her up I get a better idea of who she was and why books are the way they are. Now, for those who don't know who might be confused and wondering why I keep calling George Elliot "her", George Elliot was the pen name for Mary Anne Evans. Marry Anne had a pretty immoral life and did not identify as a Christian. So that helps to explain her messed up morality in her books.
By the end of the book I was just hoping that the right characters would end up together so that the book would at least have a satisfying conclusion. However, I will say George Elliot is a good author and the psychology of her novels keeps them intriguing. I'll probably read more of her books. They're just not my favorite. I like my books to be though provoking but I also want them to be light and happy.... I like Jane Austen... and George Elliot is no Jane Austen.

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Monday, December 11, 2017

It's Monday! In the Christmas Spirit

I saw a picture on Facebook and got carried away so here's my finished project!

I'm never crafty but I almost felt it doing this. And who wants to guess who's stocking is who's? Hint... the stockings represent our personalities pretty well.
We're almost done with the nursery but the mess of painting it and moving furniture around is holding me off from putting up the Christmas tree yet. Anyways once I put the Christmas tree up I'll feel like I need to have presents under it.... and yeah.... a little behind on that.
Reading right now is a little slow. I'm reading a lot of long books. I wouldn't have finished any books this week but I wasn't feeling well on Friday so I laid around and read most of the day.

Currently Reading

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

Finished this Week

  • Adam Bede by George Elliot 

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Friday, December 8, 2017

Book Review- A Princess of Mars

For the Classics Club I read Edgar Rice Burroughs novel A Princess of Mars.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Suddenly projected to Mars, John Carter found himself captive of the savage green men of Thark. With him was Dejah Thoris, lovely Princess of Helium. And between them and rescue lay a thousand miles of deadly enemies and unknown dangers.
I've wanted to read this ever since watching its film adaption John Carter. Did I really like John Carter? Not particularly but I read a review of it that mentioned the book and how much the reviewer enjoyed it so since I semi-enjoyed the film I decided to read the book.
The book is much better!!!!
A Princess of Mars is a fun sci-fi, adventure romance. This was my first Edgar Rice Burroughs novels so I wasn't  sure what expect but now I'm excited to read more of his books.  It's one of the first science fiction novels (read the wikipedia article on science fiction's beginnings... it's so interesting!). I'd say it's much more engaging that most early science fiction novels I've read. It was written in a serial format though so it probably had to be. A lot of the earlier science fiction novels focus so much on the science that they leave the fun behind. A Princess of Mars does not. There's some science but there's lots of fun adventure and of course romance as well.
John Carter is a Civil War hero and after the war goes prospecting in Arizona. While there through a series of events ends up transported to Mars. What follows is adventure and intrigue as he meets the green men of Mars and tries to navigate their cruel system. As the book progresses he meets a different people of Mars... the red men of Mars and most specifically Deja Thoris... their proud and beautiful princess. As they both try to escape the cruelty of the green martians they fall in love. (duh) I really like John Carter. He's such a noble character and the deep love he carries for Deja Thoris is endearing. All of the characters in the book were interesting and you pretty much either loved or hated them. I also really liked the dog like creature Woola that John Carter befriends. Dogs are truly a man's best friend... even if they're Mars dogs. ;)
A little note.... most book covers of A Princess of Mars show Deja Thoris in bikini like garb. That's honestly better than what she actually wears in the book... which is nothing but jewelry so the reader is given to understand. Don't let that turn you off from the book though. Her lack of clothing is only mentioned just as much as I just now mentioned it. It's not dwelt on at all and it's not sexual. Is it ideal? No. But I didn't find it distracting from my enjoyment of the book.
So overall I really enjoyed this book and I'd definitely recommend it for those who enjoy adventure romance novels and wouldn't mind a little sci-fi sprinkled in it as well.

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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

My Life in Books Tag

Another tag to steal! I saw this one over at Wonderland Creek and here I am doing it... cause I can.

Find a book for each of your initials

L- Leave it to Psmith by P.G. Wodehouse 
F- Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
K- Killer Angels by Michael Shaara  

Count your age along your bookshelf... What book is it?

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Pick a book set in your country

I'll go one better... one set (partially) in my state. The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. 

Pick a book that represent a destination you'd love to travel to

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen... especially Darbyshire. 

Pick a book that is your favorite color

I love blue and teal. I have a lovely copy of Tolkien's translation of Beowulf that is a gorgeous teal color. 

Which book do you have fondest memories of

Probably reading Brian Jacques's Redwall series. His books have brought me so much joy and comfort throughout my life.

Which book did you have the most difficulty reading

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman... it's poetry and I don't do well with poetry.

Which book on your TBR pile will give you the biggest accomplishment when you read it?

War and Peace by Tolstoy most definitely! To be fair I am currently reading it but it is still most definitely going to give me the biggest accomplishment of my reading life. 

Well that's it! Feel free to steal the tag if you so desire! 

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Monday, December 4, 2017

It's Monday! Holiday Thoughts

We're now past Thanksgiving and on to Christmas. Thanksgiving is such a delicious holiday and currently I'm still thinking about turkey covered in gravy and leftover turkey sandwiches. Yum! Sadly, my husband is not a turkey fan so if I make turkey now I'd be the only one eating it.... hmmm... maybe that's not all bad. I am looking forward to Christmas though. More food! My family has a long history of making so many delicious treats for Christmas. We love peppernuts, date pinwheels, coconut joys, peppermint bark, coffee fudge, poppyseed roll and so much more! Just listing them off makes me drool! Is there more to these holidays besides the food... maybe... but this pregnant woman mostly is thinking about the food. I do love giving gifts though and Christmas is prime time for that. I love giving gifts all year around really. I'll see something I know my siblings or my parents will like and I get it for them and then it's the game to see if I have the self control to hide it until it's their birthday or Christmas or if I'm going to give in and give it to them early. I'm already so excited about the gifts I'm getting for people. I obviously get super excited about getting gifts to. I spend all year putting together the perfect Christmas wish list and since my birthday is not too long after Christmas it doubles as a birthday wish list too. Obviously a lot of books make it on to the list. I can't wait to see which ones I get!
I was so excited that I got my Broke and Bookish Secret Santa gift this weekend! It really kicked off Christmas for me. Aliza Shandel got the gift again for me this year and once again it was awesome! She puts so much thought into her gifts it's so sweet! Look what she got me this year!!!

She got me the books; I am Malala, As You Wish, and Daddy-Long Legs. I'm so excited to read them!!! Then she also got me a candle, some bee balm, chocolate (yum!), a herbal tea sampler (I've enjoyed the two flavors I've tried so far!) and this super cool glass! What fun!

In my reading world recently it's been going pretty decently. Here's what's up!

Currently Reading

  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy 
  • Adam Bede by George Elliot
  • God Is by Mark Jones
  • The Mortification of Sin by John Owen 
  • Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey

Finished Recently

  • The Four Feathers by A.E.W. Mason
  • The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay
  • A Princes of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs (audiobook)

Coming Soon

  • Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs

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Friday, December 1, 2017

Book Review- The Four Feathers

For the Classics Club I read A.E.W. Mason's classic novel The Four Feathers.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Just before sailing off to war in the Sudan, British guardsman Harry Feversham quits his regiment. He immediately receives four white feathers—symbols of cowardice—one each from his three best friends and his fiancée. To disprove this grave dishonor, Harry dons an Arabian disguise and leaves for the Sudan, where he anonymously comes to the aid of his three friends, saving each of their lives.Having proved his bravery, Harry returns to England, hoping to regain the love and respect of his fiancée. This suspenseful tale movingly depicts a distinctive code of honor that was deeply valued and strongly promoted by the British during the height of their imperial power.
I grew up watching a film version of this book so I've known the story for years though of course the movie differs from the book. The book was originally written in 1902 and while an adventure novel also has a healthy dose of romance imbedded in it. I was a little worried I would find it slow paced since it was an older adventure novel but that was not the case at all. The book kept me intrigued throughout with the adventure and the romance. It was also beautifully written in terms of human emotions. I was moved for each character. I liked Harry a lot and Ethne was great though sometimes I was a little peeved with some of her decisions. Ethne is one of the more interesting classic adventure females though... sometimes I feel like the females get lost in the classic adventure novels but she had a strong character that kept her in the spotlight too. Durrance was a complicated character and I'm not sure if I liked him or not. I pitied him.
Overall I enjoyed the book and I'd recommend for those who love a classic adventure novel. It's not as good as Scarlet Pimpernel but it stands on it's own for sure.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Book Review- A Raisin in the Sun

I read A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry for The Classics Club.
Synopsis: This lauded drama follows the Youngers, an African-American family living together in an apartment in Chicago. Following the death of their patriarch, they try to determine what to do with the substantial insurance payment they'll soon receive. Opinions on what to do with the money vary. Walter Lee wants to make a business investment, while his mother, Lena, is intent on buying a house for them all to live in -- two differing views of the American Dream.
I really didn't know much about this book before I read it except that it was a play and was written by an African-American author. I hadn't really enjoyed the last American play I'd read.... Death of a Salesman... so I didn't have high expectations for this one. However, I was completely blown away by how much I enjoyed A Raisin in the Sun! I found each chapter in the Younger family intriguing in their own way. I didn't necessarily like them all but each of their emotional journeys were fascinating. I'm not sure I had a favorite character as they all had too many faults for me to love them but as I said they were so interesting. Walter Lee annoyed me the most probably though you do feel sorry for him. I feel like he's so insensitive to his wife. On the other hand, I feel like his wife, Ruth, doesn't really listen to him. They both have a lot going on and their relationship ends up being complicated. Beneatha is an intriguing character and I'm not quite sure what we're supposed to think of her or what I do think of her. I liked her for the most part though. The mother and matriarch of the family, Lena, is a women with a lot of pride and then desire to further the family's fortune. She works hard for the family. For the most part I like her too.
So all of that to say... I liked the book, the characters were interesting and I think it gives one an intriguing glimpse into what it was like to be an African-Americna family in that time period.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Disney Princess Book Tag

Hamlette tagged me in the Disney Princess Book Tag (see her answers HERE)! This is one of those rare times when I was actually tagged in the tag and I didn't just steal it. ;)

1) Snow White: Name your favorite classic

Easy! Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. 

2) Cinderella: Name a book that kept you reading well past your bedtime

Recently The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay. I kept reading and reading and it was eleven o clock before I knew it.  I only went to sleep because my husband came to bed and we had a long day the next day (Thanksgiving). So many different books have kept me up at night before... I distinctly remember Agatha Christie's Sleeping Murder keeping me awake. 

3) Aurora: Name your favorite classic romance

Still Pride and Prejudice so I'll have to think up something new... The Scarlet Pimpernel maybe? 

4) Ariel: Name a book that's about sacrifices and fighting for your dreams

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly. Those women definitely fought hard for their dreams. The answers for this questions and question 9 are interchangeable. 

5) Belle: Name a book with a smart and independent female character

First though is Elizabeth Bennet but I can't keep using Pride and Prejudice! So Emma Wodehouse from Jane Austen's Emma it is! 

6) Jasmime: Name a book with a character that challenged the social conventions of his or her world

Scarlette O'Hara from Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind. I do not like her but she definitely challenges the social conventions. 

7) Pocahontas: Name a book with an ending that was a roller coaster of emotions

First thing I thought of was Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay. I was racing through the ending just wanting to know what happened so the emotions would stop emoting! ;) 

8) Mulan: Name a book with a kick-a** female character

Each of the books in The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer had some pretty awesome female characters. Scarlette was probably the most kick-a** though actually not one of my favorite characters. And then of course there's Eowyn.... 

9) Tiana: Name a book featuring a hard working, self-made character

Carry on Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham. So inspiring! Just read it! The answers for this questions and question 4 are interchangeable. 

10) Rapunzel: Name a book that features an artist

I can no think of anything! I'm blanking! Jane Eyre paints. So Jane Eyre it is. 

11) Merida: Name a book that features a mother-daughter relationship

The obvious answer is Elizabeth Gaskell's Wives and Daughters but they're kind of all terrible mother-daughter relationships. For a good mother-daughter relationship though Little Women for sure. 

12) Anna and Elsa: Name a book that features a great relationship between siblings

Pride and Prejudice's Jane and Elizabeth... but I can't use that again.... so.... Little Women.... but I can't use that again... so....
Here's a few books I can think of with great sibling relationships: Harry Potter series (specifically thinking of the Weasley family), Hardy Boys, the Little House in the Big Woods series, and The Viking Quest series. I love good family relationships in books. :)

Hope you enjoyed this fun tag and feel free to steal it!   

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Location Book Tag

I saw this tag over at Nut Free Nerd and had to steal it.

1. You’re sat in a coffee shop trying to read when a group of excited six year olds come in with their parents and begin screaming in the play area. Which book can you push past the noise and lose yourself in?
Really about any book as long as I'm enjoying it.

2. Your (rich) friends dare you to spend the night in a haunted house for an undisclosed but inevitably large sum of money. Which book do you bring to distract yourself with?
A children's book I think. Something light and funny to keep me distracted. Mad Scientist Club, Wizard of Oz, Phantom Tollbooth all come to mind.

3. Though the landscapes are beautiful, your delayed train journey is starting to drag. Which book do you take out?
Lord of the Rings. It's long enough for several train trips.

4. It’s beach time! You have your family and friends around you and don’t want to miss out on the conversation too much but still want to read. Which book do you choose?
I'm bad at trying to follow a conversation and read. Tuning people out I can do but if I'm trying to do both that's a disaster. I'm a terrible multitasker.

5. You’re backstage ready for your big emotional scene but the tears just won’t come. Which book do you get out to make you cry?
Right now with being pregnant a lot of things can make me emotional. Normally it would take a very special book to do the trick but currently I'm vulnerable. Probably something romantic will do the trick though. When I read Dear Mr. Knightley a couple months ago it made me tear up.

6. You’re camping in the woods with your friends and you’re the first to wake up. Which book do you read under the early morning light?
Wind in the Willows. The description is beautiful and I think it would be perfect out in the wild in the early morning light.

7. You’ve had an amazing day on your solo trip but now that you’re back at the hotel, you’re starting to feel a little homesick. What do you read to feel less lonely?
Anne of Green Gables maybe?

8. You’ve been invited for an interview for a place at a prestigious university. Which book do you lay flat on your knee to hide the cover while you wait?
I'm not really embarrassed by anything I read but if I had a younger book I would feel a bit childish reading it if I were interviewing for a place at a prestigious university.

9. The book exchange stall at the library finally has the book you’ve wanted for so long, and you have a book in your bag that you’ve been dying to get rid of. Which do you give away, and which do you take?Most books I've been dying to get I have now. Currently though I'd really like to try out a Lynn Austin book, l specifically Wonderland Creek, to see what all the fuss is about so if I saw it I'd definitely grab it. To get rid of though definitely either The Sound and the Fury or Leaves of Grass. I disliked both and I regret that I bought them... though I spent very little on them.

10. You were just browsing the children’s section of the library and boom, you’re hit with a sudden blast from the past. Which book have you found that you haven’t seen for years but that you used to love as a child?
Hmm. Maybe Wolves of Willoughby Chase? That was a dear favorite as a child. I also read Beauty a lot. Either of those would fill me with nostalgia. But pretty much any children's books gives me nostalgia. I'm just a nostalgia maniac!

Fun tag! Feel free to steal it if you so desire. That's what I do. ;)

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Monday, November 20, 2017

It's Monday! It's a Girl!

Last week Brian and I found out our baby is a little girl! It's all starting to feel more real and we are so excited. I'm halfway through the pregnancy and anticipating the end already.
Between the pregnancy and work I've somehow managed to make time for reading. Yay! Hopefully this keeps up.

Currently Reading

  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  • The Four Feathers by A.E.W. Mason 
  • A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • The Mortification of Sin by John Owen
  • Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey 

Coming Soon

  • The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay (book club pick) 
  • Adam Bede by George Elliot (Classics Club spin pick) 

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Monday, November 13, 2017

It's Monday! Ice Possible

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

Finished this Week

  • A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry 

Currently Reading

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

Coming Soon

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

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Classics Club Spin #16

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

Books I'm Dreading

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

Books I Can't Wait to Read

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

Books I Feel Neutral About

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

Free Choice (Shakespeare)

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

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Top Ten Books I Want my Future Children to Read

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

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

It's Monday! Goals

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

Finished this week

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

Currently Reading 

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

Coming Soon

  • Something off my Classics Club list 

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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Book Review- The Once and Future King

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

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

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Monday, October 30, 2017

It's Monday! The Once and Future Lois

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

Currently Reading

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

Finished Recently

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

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Monday, October 23, 2017

It's Monday! Sixteen Weeks

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

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

Currently Reading

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

Finished Recently

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

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Finally Fall Book Tag

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Weasley family! I love them dearly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A cup of hot tea and a warm blanket. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

It's Monday! What's Happened?

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

Currently Reading

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

Finished in the past couple months

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

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Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Bookshelf Project

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

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Book Review- Dear Mr. Knightley

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

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

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

It's a Hobbit!

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

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Monday, July 31, 2017

It's Monday! Sporadic

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

Currently Reading

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

Finished Recently

  • The Mark of Zorro by Johnston McCulley 

Coming Soon

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

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Book Review- The Mark of Zorro

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

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Two Month Anniversary- More Wedding Pictures!

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

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

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

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

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

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