Tuesday, December 31, 2013

End of the Year Book Wrap-Up

Okay, so I originally got this idea from Miss Dashwood. She said in her blogpost this was past the date, and it must have been, because when I went on the notebook sisters blog to find the post about this, it was not even one of the first few posts there! But I shall not pay attention. I will fill it out anyway, because it looked like lots of fun to do! So, without further ado, here are the end of the year book questions: 

1. What was your overall favourite book this year? (Yes. Pick one.)
This is so hard! Must I pick just one? *Madd Rose pouts* Fine. I think I liked the Last Sin Eater the best. (And as a series I liked Miss Marple the best. Soary, as Gilbert would say; I had to throw that in there.)

2. Favourite debut(s)? (Author must have been first published in 2013.)
Uh.... I don't really read many modern books, so I don't think I have even read an author that has just been published this year. Bummer.. WAIT! I think Wish You Were Eyre by: Heather Vogel Frederick came out this year! So there it is, problem solved.

3. Which books did you reread this year?
Tons and tons! Alright, fine I will try to name them all:
Anne of the Island b: L.M. Montgomery
Anne of Windy Poplars by: L.M. Montgomery
Anne's House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery
Rilla of Ingleside by: L.M. Montgomery
Emily Climbs by L.M. Montgomery
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by: Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
A Rose in Bloom by: Louisa May Alcott
An Old Fashioned Girl by: Louisa May Alcott
Little Women by: Louisa May Alcott
Heavens to Betsy by: Maud Hart Lovelace
Betsy in Spite of Herself by: Maud Hart Lovelace
Betsy was a Junior by: Maud Hart Lovelace
Betsy and Joe by: Maud Hart Lovelace
Betsy and the Great World by: Maud Hart Lovelace
Betsy's Wedding by; Maud Hart Lovelace
Emily of Deep Valley by: Maud Hart Lovelace
Emma by: Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice by: Jane Austen
Sense and Sensibility by: Jane Austen
Daddy Long Legs by: Jean Webster
....and that's all I can think of, but I think there were others.

4. Favourite cover(s) this year!

Note: not necessarily my favorite books, but I liked the covers

5. Worst cover(s)?
Um... I don't like to read or buy books with covers I don't like. I will say I dislike when publishers put the movie as the cover of the books.

6. What self-published books did you read this year?
I've read Only a Novel by Miss Dashwood and I greatly enjoyed myself while doing so. :)

7. Which book(s) gave you a massive hangover?
The Last Sin Eater: because this book is just full of so many ideas and concepts and it is really good.

the Mitford series: because I loved this series to itty bitty pieces and when I finished the last book I just didn't know what to do with myself. I'd been "living" in Mitford for months, you know?

 Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: even though this was a reread, I was so happy when it ended and then very sad because there is no sequel. And cannot be, as the author, Mary Ann Shaffer, has since passed away. :'(

8. Best standalone you read?
This is hard, as I read several good stand alones this year. Um... the Last Sin Eater, I suppose.

9. Biggest book(s) you've read this year?
I think it might be Wives & Daughters. I started several big books this year, but I didn't finish them. (I know, I am very bad about that sometimes.)

10. Book(s) you followed the hype for and then loved!
the Help by: Katherine Stockett... I think that might be it, I really don't follow "hype" or "trends."

11. Most disappointing book(s) you read this year?
the Postmistress looked promising but turned out to be rather bad. There are others, but that is the most recent one I can think of. (And yes, I know Miss Dashwood also did that but sometimes I am not an original thinker...)

12. Favourite leading-female character?
This year? Miss Marple

13. Favourite leading-male character?
And... Father Tim

14. Best romance(s)?
Juliet and Dawsey from the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (is that how you spell his name? Eh... I am too lazy to look it up, so if it is wrong, be a dear and please excuse. Thanks.)
Father Tim and Cynthia from the Mitford series (And Dooley and Lace)
Sally McBride and Dr.Robin "Sandy" McRae from Dear Enemy
Rose and Mac from A Rose in Bloom
Polly Milton and Tom Shaw from an Old Fashioned Girl
Emily Webster and Jed Wakeman from Emily of Deep Valley
Betsy Ray and Joe Willard
Emma Woodhouse and Mr. Knightley
Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy
ANNE AND GILBERT from Anne of Green Gables
I think I covered most of them, but if I didn't, please excuse

15. What book(s) hit the DNF list? (Did not finish.)
Sadly, a lot. I won't even list them all, readers, because I am a tad embarrassed about how many there would be. More and more this year I found it difficult to get through books. And not always because they are bad. Just because I lose interest. I sort of worries me as I haven't really had long lapses like that before.

16. What book(s) did you read out of your comfort-zone?
 the Last Sin Eater (I don't usually read Christian fiction, because it usually turns out to be some silly romance) and Agatha Christie's novels (because I didn't think I would like murder mysteries. I still don't like many murder mysteries, but Christie's special)

17. Which author did you read the most from?
Probably Agatha Christie. I read all the Miss Marple mysteries and several of Poirot and some stand alone novels of hers.

18. Top 5 books you'd recommend from all the books you've read this year?
Can this include series? Well I shall make it include series (this is my blog you know; )) 
In no particular order
1) Miss Marple mysteries
2) the Mitford series
3) the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
4) Miss Pym Disposes by: Josephine Tey
5) Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by: Kate Douglas Wiggin (and if you want something similar, the Anne books by L.M. Montgomery)
5 1/2) I know I am such a cheater. Oh well... the Betsy Tacy series

19. How many books did you read this year all up?
I didn't keep a list... but quite a bit! You know what? That shall be one of my new years resolutions. I will keep a list of books I have read in 2014.

20. What's a book you're hugely excited for coming out in 2014?!
I wish I were hugely excited about one, but I am not. I am excited about the next Penderwick book, but I think that actually comes out in 2015 or later.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Many Happy Returns of the day Miss Austen and Miss Rose

December 16 is here and it is a very special day.... Can anyone guess? It is Miss Jane Austen's birthday! Her 237th, I believe. And, may I humbly add, my own. Today I shall be, as Jane Austen would say, six and ten. (Isn't it funny how they say five and twenty instead of 25?)

So I wish dear Miss Austen many happy returns of the day and without further ado, I am here to share some fun facts about the acclaimed authoress that even some of my fellow Janeites might not know... I hope they prove to be interesting!

- In 1894 George Saintsbury coined the term "Janeite" to describe Austen fans. The term didn't become widely popular though until 1924 when Rudyard Kipling used the word in one of his short stories.

- Under "Manners for Men" which hero do you think fit the bill? Mr Knightley! It says that "The perfect example of a gentleman in Austen's novels is Mr Knightley in Emma. Mr Knightley always acts correctly, as we see when he behaves with condescension towards the poor Mrs and Miss Bates, when he walks and dances so well at the Crown Inn ball and because he also acts as a standard of moral good for Emma."

- During WWI British soldiers suffering from shell shock were advised to read Austen's novels. The hope was that the comforting images of idyllic English society would help speed up their recovery.

- In many television adaptations of Persuasion we see Captain Wentworth, acting for Admiral Croft, asking Anne if she is engaged to Mr Elliot , and whether the Crofts should leave Kellynch. Many readers of Persuasion  may assume this scene is inserted by the film company, but this scene was in fact Austen's original ending to the novel.

- The mother and daughter team of Mrs and Miss Bates is played by real life mother and daughter Phyllida Law and Sophie Thompson, the mother and sister of Emma Thompson.

I didn't know several of those little pocket facts and I found them of note. I got these facts from The Jane Austen Pocket Bible- everything you need to know about Jane and her novels by Holly Ivins.

I have had a very Austen birthday, receiving the beautiful Pride & Prejudice 2005 soundtrack and tickets to see Pride & Prejudice at a theater near me in March. I also received some yummy Downton Abbey tea and I LOVE it!

I also watched the newest installment of Emma Approved today on YouTube. At first I wasn't sure I'd like it, and it is nothing like the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, but I like it now. And I love snarky Knightley. I just don't think you can go wrong with a Knightley, period.

What is your favorite Austen book (if you can choose)? Who would be your swoon worthy hero?

As Austen said to her sister Cassandra, "Adieu, sweet you"

P.S. I found a free font of Jane Austen's handwriting so I decided to write a little bit... Jane and I share a birthday, respectively, the sixteenth of December.
I believe we are what Anne would call “kindred spirits” and what Miss Cornelia would call “the race that knows Joseph.”
-Maddie Rose
Jane Austen  

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Review of The Lightkeeper's Daughter

I first heard of The Lightkeeper's Daughter over at Miss Laurie's blog, and she had a very nice review of it. It sounded like my kind of book. It was based in the late 17 century, during the Victorian era. And the Victorian and Edwardian eras are really my favorites. It also had a little adventure, romance, and was a Christian fiction book. So I was at the library a couple weeks ago, saw it and thought "hey, why not?" 

The book revolves around Addie, a young woman who has grown up all her life at the lighthouse. She is having a difficult time now that her loving father has died, and her mother, who never really seemed to love her, is being rather cold and trying. Then one rainy evening, an injured man is brought to the lighthouse. Addie sets to work taking care of him. When he regains consciousness he acts very strange. The stranger and her mother talk and whisper, and Addie finds out a surprising secret: She is not Addie Sullivan. She is actually Julia Eaton-the long lost child who was feared dead by her wealthy family. He offers her a chance to be reunited with the Eaton's, and Addie leaves her home but decides to keep her true identity a secret until they can unravel the dark mystery tied to the Eaton family. Addie feels very happy to have found a big family, and she loves the boy she is taking care of as she poses as a governess. She finds herself falling in love with her employer, and she is treated kindly by all the family. But when the time comes for Addie to reveal her true identity, is she ready for the consequences?

I enjoyed this book, it had an interesting premise, several endearing characters, and a true underlying current of faith, at least in regards to Addie. I was a little worried that the rest of the Eaton's didn't seem to have that faith. Addie's love interest, though Christian, does not seem to be fully committed. Addie's faith was so strong, I just hope maybe that had an impact on John and his child later. It had quite a bit of romance though, which is not always my cup of tea. Anne and Gilbert romances I love, but too much romance and not enough obstacles just doesn't make for an exciting read. 

I was fascinated by the daily life of the town and the Eaton's at Mercy Falls in the late 1800s. Hearing about people from child laborers to the rich Upper classes made for a wide variety of perspectives. 

The mystery was interesting, and I was fairly surprised at who it turned out to be. (Or rather, I got one of the criminals right, but the other I just didn't think would have done it, so it was definitely a surprise that they were in on it too.) 

Overall, I would give the Lightkeeper's Daughter a 7.5 out of 10. It was a nice read, and I may read the others in the Mercy Falls series, but I will probably only borrow them from the library, not buy them. 

Right now I am reading "Shepherd's Abiding," Mitford's Christmas story. Are you all reading any holiday books to get in the spirit?

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thankful Thursday #4

The final Thankful Thursday was definitely meant to be on Thursday, but Thanksgiving is always so busy. So here it is...
 My final thing to be Thankful for: That I have so much to be thankful for! That I have so many things I could mention that I cannot write them all... I am truly blessed. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Also, I finished The Lightkeeper's Daughter, so be on the lookout for a review coming up soon!
Ciao for now...

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thankful Thursday #3

You guys didn't think I forgot about Thankful Thursdays did you? I just had a delayed memory. And homework.... but now I have time and I have a list for last Thursday:

  • Classical Music: when I come home from school tired or stressed, I love listening to Classical music. And it doesn't distract me when I'doing my homework but want to listen to something. :) I use the classical station on Pandora. I'm especially liking Chopin right now.                                                            '
  • the Library: Libraries are magical places where I could come home with an armload of books and not pay a red cent. And that's lovely. I am so glad our library system has been able to brace itself in these difficult times, when many libraries are being closed. (I just got the Mercy Falls series yesterday, so you may see a review on it sometime soon!)                                                                                   
  • I am thankful for mints. They calm you, they freshen your breath, and they are a nice little treat. When I was younger I remember I really didn't like them, but it is definitely growing on me.                                    
  • The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: They are so funny. I was a bit wary when I heard it was a "modern" adaptation of Pride & Prejudice. I usually do not like modern interpretations. But this was fresh, fun, and I really ended up enjoying it.                                                                                                                                   
  • Letters: Getting a letter in the mail is the best feeling. And I just recently received a delightful one. E-mails and text messages are nice, but NOTHING beats good ol' pen and paper!
  • I'm thankful my grandmother's getting better. We had a bit of a scare for a while, but she is recovering, and that is definitely something to be thankful for!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thankful Thursday #2

It's Thursday again, which means it's time to be thankful! So, I have made a little list again of what I am especially thankful for at the moment....
  • Warm beds. There is nothing like snuggling into a warm bed with a good book at the end of a long day. Fuzzy socks help too. :)
  • Lotions. I have many lotions and potions. Many of the with scents; and when my skin gets cracked and chapped around this time of year, it is nice to have something to both smooth and soothe the skin.... while making you smell good. Wow I sound rather like an advertisement. Oh, well.
  • Friends. I am awfully thankful for my friends. Anytime I need help, even on something as simple as a math problem, they are there to help me out. And that's really nice to know.
  • Quotes. I love quotes. It is amazing how someone you don't even know, someone from another place or even another time, can feel how you feel, and express it ever so much nicer than you ever could. The quotes that just get to you. And I love finding those. I am a major quote collector. I have them on my desktop, on my chalkboard, on my cork board, and in a notebook. Here are a few I have liked lately: "
"Once you face and understand your limitations, you can work with them, instead of having them work against you and get in your way, which is what they do if you ignore them, whether you realize it or not. And then you will find that, in many cases, your limitations can be your strengths." -The Tao of Pooh

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." -Philippians 4:13

"What day is it?"asked Pooh. "It's Today!" squeaked Piglet. "My favorite day," said Pooh. -Winnie the Pooh 

"Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts." -Charles Dickens

"Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less." -C.S. Lewis

And, finally, "People are often unreasonable and self-centered: forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives: be kind anyway.
If you're successful, you'll win some false friends and some true enemies: succeed anyway.
If you're honest and frank, people may cheat you: but be honest anyway.
What you spend years building, someone can destroy overnight: build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous: be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow: do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough: give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it's between you and God, it was never between you and them anyway."
-Mother Teresa 

Do you have a favorite quote(s)? I hope you have a lovely end of the week!