Posted in Book Reviews

First Five Books of 2017

“You see, I tired of constant fear, so I made a decision. Every day when I wake I tell myself that it will be my last. If you are not trying to hold on to time, you are not so afraid of losing it.”

-Gregor the Overlander

Happy New Year, my fellow book lovers! It’s been a good long while since I’ve posted one of these and now that it’s 2019, I felt like it was time to review the books I read in 2017. 😉 Hoping to post these reviews this month in preparation for posting about the books I read in 2018 throughout the rest of this year.

*SPOILER!* I may include some of the book’s plot/content in my reviews for them, so if you haven’t read one or more of these yet and want to read it without spoilers, then you can just skip down. *

  1. Don’t You Know There’s a War On? by Avi – I’ve read a few books of Avi’s in the past (my favorite being Sophia’s War) and he’s an excellent storyteller. As for this one, I listened to on audiobook on the way to and from work. It’s about a young boy who believes his principal is a Nazi spy trying to get rid of Howie’s favorite schoolteacher, Miss Gossim. While Howie was immediately likable and I loved the constant reminder adults gave him throughout the book (“Howie, don’t you know there’s a war on?”), honestly, this book was a little odd. Granted, I think Avi’s books always hold an aspect of strangeness, but this one in particular didn’t work for me. If I recall correctly, it turns out Miss Gossim is pregnant and I’m pretty sure that’s why she’s fired. Her fiancé of sorts is off fighting in the war, but he either dies or Miss Gossim doesn’t believe he’s coming back. So despite Howie’s efforts to make her stay, she ends up moving away. The reason this all seemed off to me was, of course, that strange sort of admiration/love 5th grade Howie has for his teacher as well as the fact that she ended up confiding in him things that really shouldn’t be discussed with children. And then we never find out what exactly happened to her. So by the time the book ended, I was confused as the point of the story.
  2. The Healer’s Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson – This is a sappy retelling of Sleeping Beauty set in 14th century Germany. While I loved the interesting setting, vocabulary and clothing, the actual plot was slow, the romance was unrealistic and cheesy and the ending was slightly underwhelming. I read it because Melanie Dickerson wrote all these fairy tale retellings as part of a series that end up intertwining, which sounds so awesome, but so far haven’t found it worth it to try the other books in the series.
  3. * Making Sense of Your World by W. Gary Phillips, William E. Brown and John Stonestreet – I read this book for a class called Comparative Worldviews. It basically goes over the major worldviews out there and how each lines up with Christianity. It really helped me not only define each worldview, but discover what it is about each one that shows its lack of truth.
  4. * Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins – Click here to read how I feel about the Underland Chronicles as a whole. (hint: it’s very positive!)
  5. * 44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith – After listening to Don’t You Know There’s War On?, I listened to this audiobook in the car on my way to and from work. Smith wrote the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, which I’ve read a few of, and his characters are just so charming, you can’t help but wish you lived in Botswana, too. 44 Scotland Street is much different as it takes place in Scotland and the main characters are, in my opinion, not half as charming. And it’s not to say it isn’t well written. I just think the setting of Scotland Street, while enjoyable, just can’t hold that same unique charm as the setting of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. While I enjoyed listening to the story (it was really different as it was originally written as a serial), there were a few characters I just didn’t care for and I feel like we spent too much time in their worlds. Needless to say, I really want to read the next book and see what happens to the characters I do like.

* Books that I highly recommend have a * next to them

Advertisements
Posted in The Ponderings of Life

Five Things I’ve Learned Since Starting College

It’s that time of year again–time to go back to school! It’s been a little over two years since I graduated from high school and started working part-time at Meadowland while pursuing a Bachelors in History through Lumerit Education. Now I’m a junior and about to start my third year at work and I’ve been recently reflecting on all God’s taught me through this new season of life.

I’m a little bit of a control freak. So as I was growing up, always knowing what the next step in my life was, I did fine. But as soon as I graduated from high school, the detailed map was ripped away and an ocean of questions flooded in, like: Where will I go to college? What will I pursue? Where will I work to pay for college? When am I going to start dating someone? Should I keep writing? Who are going to be my close friends throughout college? And on and on and on. So, as some of these questions have been answered and others I’m still waiting an answer on, here’s what I learned during my two years of college so far.

Continue reading “Five Things I’ve Learned Since Starting College”

Posted in For Fellow Writers, Words Upon Words

The Book Tag

I read Ashley’s post of this really cool Book Tag on Inklings Press a while ago and I just had to do it myself!

Rules
You must be honest.
You must answer all the questions.
You must tag at least 4 people.

1. What book has been on your shelf the longest?

Either the Little House on the Prairie series or the American Girl Samantha books. Both of which Mom read to me when I was young. Very fond memories of listening to each!

2. What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?

Current read: Cascade by Lisa T. Bergren. Second in the River of Time series. It’s a very easy read–I read the first half in about two days (which is fast for me 😉 ). I enjoy her descriptions of Italy and the concept of two modern-day girls transported to the 1300s and accidentally falling in love is really fun. But, even though Gabi’s thoughts are hilarious, the main characters are overall pretty flat. It has potential to be more than just a teenage-angst-romance…but it isn’t, really. That said, I’ll probably finish the series as I’m intrigued to see how Gabi and Marcello can stay together seeing as they belong in, you know, two different time periods and everything. 😉

Last read: Belgravia by Julian Fellowes. I was intrigued to read a novel by the writer and creator of Downton Abbey (one of my favorite TV shows) and I was not disappointed! Told in the style and vocabulary of Jane Austen, but with Fellowes’ own unique characters and plot twists. Although there were perhaps a few too many POVS, I loved how deeply we dived into the characters’ flaws and attributes. In Downton Abbey and Belgravia, Fellowes reminds us that past or present, people are motivated by the same emotions: “ambition, envy, rage, greed, kindness, selflessness and, above all, love”.

Next read: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling. I’m more than halfway through reading the Harry Potter series for the first time. It’s very different than I always thought it was, but overall, I’m enjoying it so far!

Continue reading “The Book Tag”

Posted in The Ponderings of Life

Favorite Childhood Movies Tag

~ Here are the rules ~

1) Share 5 movies from your childhood.

2) Do a mini write-up about what made this movie special to you as a child. (optional)

3) Acknowledge the person who tagged you and link it back to their blog.

4) Tag 5 or more bloggers to take up the challenge if they choose.

Thank you, Rayleigh, at Accelerate the Jesus Movement, for tagging me!

Movies (especially Disney movies and musicals) played a big part in my childhood in many ways. I don’t think we realize how much our favorite childhood movies impact us until we grow up. And I don’t think we truly understand why we liked it so much until we watch it again as an adult. That said, I was really excited to be able to participate in this movie tag!

 

#5

The Incrediblesssss

I distinctly remember Mom and Dad giving this movie to us as an end-of-school-year present all those years ago. We used to watch it over and over again on road trips growing up and it has always been my favorite Pixar movie. Also, the recent release of The Incredibles 2 (a movie I literally waited 14 years for) kind of made my life a couple weeks ago. Just sayin’. Anyway, this is probably my favorite cartoon superhero movie ever, mainly because it demonstrates what’s it like to be a real family and have superpowers and how that would affect your everyday life–especially if you were supposed to hide it.

Continue reading “Favorite Childhood Movies Tag”

Posted in Book Reviews

First Five Books of 2016

“It is very pleasant dining with a bachelor,” said Miss Matty softly, as we settled ourselves in the counting-house. “I only hope it is not improper; so many pleasant things are!”

-Cranford

This first post beginning the discussion of the books I read in 2016 is long overdue, but here I am at last! I just now decided that I’m going to do something different this year by starting each of these posts with a quote from my favorite of the five books I read in the current post, so…enjoy!

*SPOILER!* I may include some of the book’s plot/content in my reviews for them, so if you haven’t read one or more of these yet and want to read it without spoilers, then you can just skip down. *

  1. Thursdays with the Crown by Jessica Day George – My mom, sisters and I listened to this series on audiobook together. This is the third book in the series and I believe a fourth was published recently. It is an enjoyable series with sassy characters and interesting plot twists, but I’ll admit that I remember little of the content a few months after listening. In conclusion, I have enjoyed listening to these books, but I’m in no hurry to read them again.
  2. * Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell – THIS. BOOK. I am a total sucker for the classics, so if you don’t read “the old-fashioned books” then you will not understand my love for this novel. Needless to say, Elizabeth Gaskell is by far one of my top favorite authors and this book of hers does not disappoint. Cranford focuses on a small town, the majority of which are older women who are either single or widowed. The result are many shenanigans, misunderstandings and scandals–basically, I was laughing out loud pretty often–but at the end of the day, I was also tearing up at the tender hearts these women had when faced with the everyday trials of their time. Gaskell does such a beautiful job of creating both hilarious and witty conversations and moving descriptions of a character’s death. I am already itching to read it again (and I don’t often re-read books).
  3. * The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis – We read this together for school (back when I was homeschooled 😉 ) and it was my little brother’s first time hearing the story. This series is a must-read for anyone who claims to love reading good literature. I enjoyed reading this book for the second time and recalling the differences between the book and the movie. To me, the Pevensie children will always be those brothers and sisters I grew up with…even though I never met them.
  4. Not a Nickel to Spare by Perry Nodelman – This is a Dear Canada book about a Jewish girl living in Ontario during the Great Depression. Growing up, I hadn’t realized how badly the Great Depression hit Canada along with the United States. But an even more devastating discovery was the discrimination some Canadians held against Jews. Certain places specifically banned Jews from entering–including a beach!–and there were gangs that gathered to threaten and hurt any Jews they came across. It was a fragile time between the world wars when people were unsure just how worse life would get before it got better. I really enjoyed learning more about this time period while reading this book.
  5. Janitor’s Boy by Andrew Clements – My family loves listening to books by Andrew Clements in the car. While none of his works can ever beat Frindle, Janitor’s Boy was still a funny and heart-warming story about a boy embarrassed about his dad’s job. Until he realizes just how hard his dad works and how unappreciated he is. One of my (many) pet peeves is children being unnecessarily embarrassed by their parents, but this book held the most perfect response to such behavior. In the end, the janitor’s boy told his class that he wants to be a janitor when he grows up–just like his dad.

* Books that I highly recommend have a * next to them