Friday, December 2, 2016

Book Review: Dracula

For the audiobook challenge and the Classics Club I read (listened to) Bram Stoker's classic horror novel Dracula.
Goodreads Synopsis: When Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help Count Dracula with the purchase of a London house, he makes horrifying discoveries about his client and his castle. Soon afterwards, a number of disturbing incidents unfold in England: an unmanned ship is wrecked at Whitby; strange puncture marks appear on a young woman’s neck; and the inmate of a lunatic asylum raves about the imminent arrival of his ‘Master’. In the ensuing battle of wits between the sinister Count Dracula and a determined group of adversaries, Bram Stoker created a masterpiece of the horror genre, probing deeply into questions of human identity and sanity, and illuminating dark corners of Victorian sexuality and desire.
Going into this book I really had no idea what it would entail. Like most people I knew a little about Dracula the character but I soon found out I had no clue about the book. What took me the most off guard with it was that it all started out with Count Dracula wanting to buy.... a house! It sounded boring at first. It escalated quickly though. As the book goes on it becomes more and more disturbing and fascinating.
I really loved the characters in this story. Mina Harker was definitely my favorite but I also loved Dr. Van Helsing. All of the gentlemen that band together to eradicate Count Dracula are amazing actually.
Count Dracula is amply chilling and there were times in the book where I thought to myself "how are they possibly going to defeat him?" It's interesting to see how the character's perception of Count Dracula changes as the story goes on especially at the end when Mina's life is in the balance and they have to realize that Mina could become what they are fighting. It was sad and terrifying.
Overall I was impressed by this book and while I felt at the end it dragged a bit I really enjoyed it. Read or not? Read!

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Book Review- Waverly

For the Mount TBR pile challenge and the Classics Club I read Sir Walter Scott's novel Waverley.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Waverley is set during the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, which sought to restore the Stuart dynasty in the person of Charles Edward Stuart (or 'Bonnie Prince Charlie'). It relates the story of a young dreamer and English soldier, Edward Waverley, who was sent to Scotland in 1745. He journeys North from his aristocratic family home, Waverley-Honour, in the south of England (alleged in an English Heritage notice to refer to Waverley Abbey in Surrey) first to the Scottish Lowlands and the home of family friend Baron Bradwardine, then into the Highlands and the heart of the 1745 Jacobite uprising and aftermath.
After a great experience re-reading Ivanhoe last year I had high expectations for another of Sir Walter Scott's novels. Maybe I had too high of expectations or maybe it simply was not a good time for me to be reading it but nevertheless I ended up a little disappointed. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy it. However I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would.
First off, I just wasn't that enthralled with the hero Edward Waverley. He was kind of a milk sop. He gets better though thankfully. He hasn't been out a lot in the world before the story starts and his view of the world is controlled by what he has read in books.
The other characters in the story I actually found more interesting than him. His two love interests were interesting, though I definitely preferred Flora, who of course he didn't end up with. I think that was for the best though.
Fergus Mac-Ivor was one of the most intriguing characters in the book though and while I agreed with him on little I found him fascinating.
Overall the book was good and I'm sure I'll come back to it at some point in my life, hopefully with a deeper appreciation.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Back to the Classics Challenge Wrap Up

While I did fall off the bandwagon with many of my challenges this year I couldn't forsake one of my favorite challenges: the Back to the Classics Challenge! This challenge is hosted by Books and Chocolate. I didn't complete as many categories as I wanted to but I still got quite a few done!
So here's my wrap up post of all the books I completed for the challenge.
  1. A 19th Century Classic- Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
  2. A 20th Century Classic- All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren 
  3. A classic by a woman author- The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton 
  4. An adventure classic - Mr. Midshipman Hornblower by C.S. Forester  
  5. A fantasy, science fiction, or dystopian classic- Farmer Giles of Ham by J.R.R. Tolkien 
  6. A classic which includes the name of a place in the title- The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens
  7. A classic which has been banned or censored- Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert 
  8. Re-read a classic you read in school (high school or college)- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  9. A volume of classic short stories- The Complete Stories of Flannery O Conner by Flannery O Conner
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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Book Review- Jane Eyre

This summer I re-read Charlotte Bronte's novel Jane Eyre. It's a book I've been meaning to re-read for a long time and I'm glad I finally got around to it.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead and subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. She takes up the post of governess at Thornfield, falls in love with Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman's passionate search for a wider and richer life than Victorian society traditionally allowed.
It had been a long time since I read Jane Eyre originally but since then I have seen several different film versions so I was pretty up on the storyline. However, I soon realized while re-reading it that there is so much in the book that you simply can't put into a movie. Jane Eyre's personal thoughts are what drives this story. There isn't a lot of dialogue. Translating thoughts onto film is never easy. I remember there was one miniseries that I saw that basically had Jane narrating the movie... though of course there was still dialogue and all of that but you got to hear her thoughts. It's been a long time since I've seen it but I think from looking at IMDB it was the 1973 miniseries. I don't remember how practically that turned out but I remember really liking it and wishing all movies were like that... which is definitely not practical. ;)
There's a lot going on in this book. There are plot points and characters that are introduced at the beginning and not resolved or reintroduced until later. Each detail contributes to the genius of the story.
Then there's Jane Eyre herself. Jane is quiet, patient and kind but she has no problem speaking up for herself and doing what she knows is right. Her narrative is thought provoking and beautiful.
Rochester on the other hand I'm not so crazy about. He's manipulative to Jane and he has a lot of self-pity going on that I can't respect. Yes I feel sorry for him and he's in a pretty tough spot but that gives him no excuses for his actions.
I don't know what I can say that hasn't already been said. Jane Eyre is a great book with a lot to learn from it's pages. I would definitely recommend it!

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Yet Another Period Drama Tag

I know I've done period drama tags before but there's another one out there and I'm bound and determined to do it!

What's your favorite period drama movie?

I know it's a mini-series but forever and always the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice.

What's your favorite period drama series?

TV series I'm thinking they're meaning? Either Call the Midwife or Lark Rise to Candleford. I love them both. Merlin is also kind of a period drama show though and I love that one too so... Don't make me chose! 

Which period drama do you dislike the most?

It's a tie between the 2005 Pride and Prejudice and the 2007 Mansfield Park. I loathe them pretty equally. 

Anne of Green Gables or Little Dorrit?

An incredibly unfair question! I grew up with Anne of Green Gables and It's always been a part of my life so I have very sentimental feelings for it. However, Little Dorrit I was only introduced to in the last couple years. Nevertheless I think Little Dorrit is the better show. 

Your favorite period drama dresses?

These two! I basically love everything in Molly Gipson's and Elizabeth Bennet's wardrobes. 

Who's your favorite period drama character? (okay pick at least five)

Ladies- Elizabeth Bennet, Molly Gipson, Amy Dorrit, Esther Summers and Anne Shirley. 
Men- Mr. Darcy, Mr. Knightley, Gabriel Oak, Sir Percy Blakeney and Henry Tilney. 

If you could join a royal ball, which dress would you go in? (pick a period drama dress) 

I don't know! There's not any specifically "ball dresses" that stick out to me so I'm going with this one of Molly's from Wives and Daughters. 

What's your favorite Jane Austen movie?

Well obviously as mentioned above the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice but since I've already used that once I'll mention my second favorite which I think would be the 2007 version of Northanger Abbey though I also really enjoy both the 1995 and 2008 versions of Sense and Sensibility. 

Downtown Abbey or Call the Midwife?

As I haven't seen any Downtown Abbey I'll have to go with Call the Midwife. :) 

Sybil Crawley, Jenny Lee, Emma Woodhouse or Marian of Knighton?

Jenny Lee hands down! 

Which couple from a period drama do you like the most? (pick at least four) 

So many! I narrowed it down as best as I can. 

Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice

Molly Gibson and Roger Hamley from Wives and Daughters

Amy Dorrit and Arthur Clenham from Little Dorrit

Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe from Anne of Green Gables

Alfie and Minnie from Lark Rise to Candleford

Shelagh and Patrick from Call the Midwife (I also love Chummy and Peter but I only wanted to include one of the couples so I sided with Shelagh and Patrick)

At last, which period drama villain do you like the most? 

Probably Lady Catherine de Bourgh. She makes me laugh. 

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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Ten Books I've Added to my TBR List Recently

This week's Top Ten Tuesday theme is ten books you've added to your TBR list recently. These aren't the the absolutely most recent but they're the ones I'm most excited about of the ones I've most recently added to my TBR list.

  1. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling
  2. The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling 
  3. Tales From the Perilous Realm by J.R.R. Tolkien
  4. A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken
  5. Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Win
  6. I Wasn't This Strong When I Started Out: True Stories of Becoming a Nurse by Lee Gutkind 
  7. The Legend of Sam Miracle by N.D. Wilson
  8. Lessons From a Hospital Bed by John Piper
  9. The BFG by Roald Dahl
  10. Openness Unhindered: Further Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert on Sexual Identity and Unity in Christ by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield 

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Monday, November 7, 2016

It's Monday! My Blogging Friends

With being away from blogging for awhile I didn't keep up with my blogging friends as well as I wanted to. :( I try to go back and visit all of their blogs as much as I can and remember but I'm sure I missed a lot. :( Sorry guys! I do love you all!

Currently Reading

  • St. Bartholomew's Eve by G.A. Henty (re-read) (audiobook)
  • Total Truth by Nancy Pierce 

Finished Reading

  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander/J.K. Rowling

Coming Soon

  • Tales From the Perilous Realm by J.R.R. Tolkien

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Friday, November 4, 2016

Ten Favorite Musical Moments

I've been on a listening to music from musicals kick recently (cause I don't have time to actually watch them!). This has sparked this post of my Ten Favorite Musical Moments!
There are plenty of musicals I have not yet seen so don't assume I hate the musical because I don't have your favorite one represented here on this list. Also, don't presume I love the musical because it is represented on this list. I may just like it's music.
In no particular order.
  1. Tradition!  From Fiddler on the Roof
  2. Do, Re, Mi from The Sound of Music
  3. Singing in the Rain from Singing in the Rain
  4. The Barn Dance from Seven Brides from Seven Brothers 
  5. Salesman Song from The Music Man
  6. Do You Hear the People Sing from Les Miserables
  7. I Could have Danced all Night from My Fair Lady
  8. Step in Time from Mary Poppins
  9. The Black Hills of Dakota from Calamity Jane 
  10. All I Ask of You from the Phantom of the Opera 
And some Disney honorable mentions. :)
  1. Be Our Guest from Beauty and the Beast
  2. Under the Sea from The Little Mermaid
If you are a musical lover as well feel free to consider yourself tagged! I'd love to see what your favorite musical moments are. :)

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Monday, October 31, 2016

It's Monday! Baptism

Little Ginny Mae was baptized this last Sunday in the baptism gown I made for her. Hashtag proud aunt moments. ;) Every baptism I see at church fills me with joy but when it's your own niece the joy is just inexpressible. <3

With reluctance I move on to books...

Currently Reading

  • Total Truth by Nancy Pierce- Some hefty theology/culture reading for me. 
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander (aka J.K. Rowling)- I need to get this read before the movie comes out! It's taken me way too long to start it. 

Finished this Week

My brother Tim and I goofing off... yes ladies
he is still single... please take him off my hands! 
  • The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien (re-read) (audiobook)- I love Tolkien... what can I say? 
  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs- I liked it a lot more than I though I would... enough so that I'll probably pick up the rest of the series at some point.  It had it's downsides but surprisingly enjoyable. 

Coming Soon

  • Tales From the Perilous Realms by J.R.R. Tolkien- A fellow Tolkien lover lent this one to me about three months ago but I got caught up in other books but I think I'm about freed up now to where I should be able to get to this soon. 
  • St. Bartholomew's Eve by G.A. Henty (re-read)- I've been doing a lot of audiobooks in the car and I this will be my next one. 

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Monday, October 24, 2016

It's Monday! And then it was Autumn

I'm trying to stay more up to date on my blog. A post here and there. During my time away from my blog I've been able to assess how I want to come back to my blog and how I want to prevent myself like I did before. My conclusion was that I while I love reviewing books on my blog I need to stop reviewing every book I read. It's simply not necessary and limits my enjoyment of both the reading experience and the blogging experience.
So with that resolve I'm going to try and move forward with reading and blogging and enjoy both immensely. :)
So... It's Monday! What am I reading?

Currently Reading

  • The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien (re-read) (audiobook)

Finished Recently

  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (re-read) (audiobook)
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (re-read)
  • Craving Grace by Ruthie Delk
  • Winter by Marissa Meyer 

Coming Soon

  • Tales From the Perilous Realms by J.R.R. Tolkien 

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