Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Mysterious Benedict Society Book Review

**I read/reviewed this for the Re-Reading Challenge.**

Well, I'm not exactly sure what to say about this. I've read The Mysterious Benedict Society at least thrice now, and it's just so much fun. Separating its intrinsic value from the nostalgic value it has for me will be a little difficult since this series is basically my tween life(that was an exaggeration :D).

So we'll start with the synopsis, and then I'll assess the characterization, plot, and writing.

Goodreads Synopsis: 

"Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?" 

Dozens of children respond to this peculiar ad in the newspaper and are then put through a series of mind-bending tests, which readers take along with them. Only four children--two boys and two girls--succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and inventive children could complete. To accomplish it they will have to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules. But what they'll find in the hidden underground tunnels of the school is more than your average school supplies. 


A picture of the cover I took with my phone. :D 


Characterization- 

Trenton Lee Stewart's characters are...interesting. They're well distinguished in habits, speaking style, physical features, and hobbies. But... they lack drive, in a way.

Despite their respective identifying mannerisms, they don't have any real "personable" qualities or anything in the way of dreams, goals, or ambitions until the overarching conflict is introduced.

So, yeah. I like the characters, but they could be a bit deeper. :P

Plot- 

The plot and sub-plots were very well executed. In addition to being inventive and quirky, they pushed the storyline and kept me turning pages. :)

Writing- 

This was one of those writing styles I didn't really take note of. Not exceptionally good or bad. It flows better than others do in many MG novels. As I mentioned before, this was one of my favorite books as a tween, so I was too young to care much about the writing and it's never really mattered to me since.

Anyways, this book is better than I likely made it sound, because most of its worth lies in its humor and entertaining weirdness rather than depth. :D

Try it, tell me what you think, and if you like it, finish the whole series!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Recommended for fans of: A Series of Unfortunate Events

Have you read The Mysterious Benedict Society


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Pride and Prejudice Divide


Probably one of the biggest rifts categorizing the world of Austen-lovers, or period drama-watchers in general is the issue of Pride and Prejudice'95 vs. Pride and Prejudice'05,

Colin Firth vs. Matthew McFadyen,

Jennifer Ehle vs. Keira Knightley,

Thisvs

This
The ranks on each side are so distinguished that I can draw stereotypes of each: 

'95 lovers have read the book multiple times, are particular with their details, and often on the older side. 

'05 lovers have read the book once or never, have a short attention-span, and are generally younger than 20. 

It's at the point where your preference between the two has become an identifying mark as a period drama enthusiast or blogger. 

First of all, these stereotypes aren't always true. A grandmother-aged woman in my church loves '05 with Keira Knightley and handfuls of teens across the blogosphere are loyal '95 fans.

 Before I go on, please understand that nobody on the internet has ever challenged my opinion or written anything offending. Seriously, you have all been very understanding with my P&P preferences. :) Actually, it's usually face-to-face remarks that have made me question the importance laid on these two movies. 

I'm an '05 fan. There are good reasons I prefer this version:

1. I watched it twice before the other one. 



2. I honestly don't understand the hype over Colin Firth. 

3. I have good memories of lying on the living room floor in a sleeping back while thoroughly enjoying it with a friend, and watching(i.e. whispering, giggling, and squealing over) it with some of the girls in my class during a birthday party, then storing up quotes and inside jokes we still use regularly("What excellent boiled potatoes!").  

I don't pretend that it's always the most historically accurate or thorough. 

I also like the '95 version for its sensitive adaption, music, and deliciously long 5 and 1/2 hours. :D


In the end, does it have to be a big deal? They both follow a classic Romance novel; they're both funny; and they're both clean. 

You can't make yourself like a movie you don't want to, but shouldn't we appreciate the movies and their respective fans for what they are rather than letting the difference stretch into a gulf between the two Pride and Prejudice parties? Shouldn't we just communally enjoy the book and story?

People who enjoy P&P'05 can be legitimate Jane Austen fans and people who enjoy '95 aren't snobs.  

Besides, it's not like there's only two legitimate options for enjoying this story; there's one from 1980(only part of which I've seen), the book, and if you like zombies, there's a P&P movie for that, too. (TOTALLY joking) :-)

What do you think? Has the "Pride and Prejudice divide" gotten on your nerves, too? 

Monday, May 23, 2016

YOU GUYS

I've been counting down the days for the last month and I am SO. EXCITED. :) :)


Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Bookshelf Tag


LoverofLembas, at her blog of the same name, created a new tag semi-recently. She invited anyone who wanted to show of her bookshelves(that'd be me!) to join. 


It took me this long to take it, but here I am!


























Rules--

  • Once you are tagged, copy and paste the image above into your new post.
  • Show readers your book shelf and explain what books are on there.  Pictures are always fun!
  • Tag as many other people as you want and copy-paste these instructions onto your post so they know exactly what to do.
  • Make sure to leave a link to your post on the site you were tagged. 

(I apologize in advance for poor quality.) And, without further ado, here they are! 

My First Bookcase--

See my P&P'05 poster on the door? 


                                               

My biggest bookcase is built into the wall. It houses books(well, OBVIOUSLY), VHS's and other miscellaneous items.


The top shelf is a jumble of textbooks, large non-fiction books, and a copy of The Hobbit that's too big to fit on my other shelves. 


My VHS collection! I picked these up at thrift stores and book sales after buying a VCR because used VHS's are cheaper than DVDs. 


On the left I have some notebooks, loose lined paper, magazines, and other miscellaneous items. This is also where I keep library books(as with the green copy of Freckles leaning against the bookend. Starting with Gypsy Rizka by Lloyd Alexander, the books(fiction, non-fiction, and some long pamphlets) are organized alphabetically by author's last name. 

That little red book in the corner is Augustine's Confessions with the original Latin written on the left and the English translation written on the right. I also have my Jane Austen books and a tall copy of Pinocchio(one of my favorite's as a little kid).




The green-gold book is a collection of Grimms' fairy tales, and that fat orange volume is O. Henry's short stories. 


Narnia, Billy Budd, and the beginning of my large L. M. Montgomery collection.

My Second Bookcase-- 

This one is in my closet(that black thing brushing up against the wood is a dress, and I have some school books propped against the wall). 


I keep lotion/hair products/lip balm/etc. on the top, and a LotR ring. :D 

The first shelf finishes my Montgomery inventory with the later Anne books, the last two Emily Starr trilogy books(I need to get the first one!), A Tangled Web, and The Blue Castle. The green books are passed down from my grandmother who received them in the late '50s/early '60s. 
This is my last shelf of books, with some Shakespeare, Tolkien, N. D. Wilson, and concluded by Zusak's The Book Thief




My DVDs(Inside Out, 2014 Annie, Death on the Nile, Hugo, Les Misérables, The Hobbit and LotR trilogies, the Narnia trilogy, P&P'95 and P&P'05, The Princess Bride, Star Wars trilogy, and a boxed collection of BBC Charles Dickens adaptions), audio books(The Story of the World Volumes 1-4 and The Young Carthaginian), and audio dramas(Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, and Narnia). Downton Abbey Season 4 is from the library. 



And, last, but not least, the trio of Latin books I keep under the shelves. 


Whew! 

Some stats about my books: 

Oldest Book: Beowulf
Newest Book: Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco(a book my other grandmother gave us, since it's written by a friend of hers)
Longest Book: Lord of the Rings 
Author Whose Books I Have the Most Of: L. M. Montgomery(there's a reason for this!)
Number of Books: 176(about 125 of which I've read)
Number of Movies(VHS's included): 35

Thanks for reading! Feel free to take the tag if you'd like. I'd love to see you're shelves! 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Quotes Tag- Day 3

Last day! As with others who've participated, I thought it would be appropriate to choose a verse from the Bible. This is one of my favorites.

"Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, think about these things."
-Philippians 4:8

I nominate Olivia.

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Quotes Tag- Day 2

Lemony Snicket is the best for quotes. Especially practical pieces of advice. ;)

If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, especially if the thing is cats. 





Obviously we can all learn a thing or two from his wisdom. xD This particular quote is from his book, The Wide Window, from A Series of Unfortunate Events. The series is quite weird, and I'm not sure I could recommend it, but reading that quote should have given you a good idea what it's like.

Today, I nominate Mary Horton.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Quote Tag- Day 1

Chloe, Morgan, and KB(were there others?) nominated me for The Quotes Tag! I rather adore quotes, so it shouldn't be too difficult to find some!

Rules:

1. Thank the person(people) who nominated you. Thank you, girls!!
2. Nominate three new bloggers everyday. (I'll make it one, but invite anyone so inclined to join.)
3. Post a new quote everyday for three consecutive days. 

How about something from a hymn? My church is more traditional in our music(hymns and a baby grand piano :D), and here's a few verses from the lovely hymn, Praise the Savior Now and Ever, we sang yesterday--

Man's work faileth, Christ availeth; he is all our righteousness; he, our Savior, has forever set us free from dire distress. Through his merit we inherit light and peace and happiness.

Sin's head severed, we delivered; Christ has bruised the serpent's head; death no longer is the stronger; hell itself is captive led. Christ has risen from death's prison; o'er the tomb he light has shed. 

I nominate Bekah!

Goals For Last Week- How I Did

Thank you to those who commented and provided the accountability to finish (most) of the goals on my list! (Also, I realize this is a day late, but everything that was finished was finished Sat. or before)

~Complete A Tale of Two Cities, Anne of Avonlea, and Guardians of Ga'Hoole.

Yup! AoA was after midnight on Sat., but it counts anyways. :)

~Start A Passage to India.

Yes, and it's dreadfully boring so far...

~Watch an episode of Doctor Who

Not too tricky! I watched The Girl in the Fireplace.

~Watch Sense and Sensibility'95.

Mmmm, well, I started it, and *ahem* only finished about a third. In my defense, my mom and I are watching it together, and she didn't have time for much more. But I do like it, and isn't it a dreadful coincidence that two actors went on to play Harry Potter villains?

~Practice piano for 150 minutes.

I'm working on a Mozart sonata, Bach's Inventio 8, and score analysis.


~Practice violin. 

My first ever violin lesson was Wednesday! I'm so excited! :D 

~Post a review of Peter Pan.

Right here!

~Make my bed every morning.

Every day? Yes. Every morning? Not quite. (So I'm going to go ahead and cross it out anyways.)

~Spend 3 hours on Math and 40 min. on Latin. 

~Take some pictures with my camera. 

A few. I also spent a while with the camera, videoing myself for a series of Henle Latin videos I'm hoping to upload to Youtube.

~Try a Pinterest recipe. 

Yesss! I made Oreo brownies. :D

~Cross-stitch for 10 min. every day. 

~Hold spending time on the computer or my phone until after lunch. 

Minus helping my sister find a Youtube video, quickly looking something up, and the like-- yes.

~Make the Star Wars music my phone ringtone.

The easiest item on my list and I forgot! Tragic.

~~~

Additionally, I saw Captain America:Civil War! :D :D Has anyone else seen it and what did you think??


Friday, May 13, 2016

Peter Pan Book Review

Note: Because I've read Peter Pan multiple times and formed a new opinion each time, this review is going to be a little disjointed. Please bear with me. :)

"All children, except one, grow up."

And thus begins J. M. Barrie's novelization of his successful Christmas play, Peter Pan. It has pirates, mermaids, flying, fairies, and everything else an imagination may birth.


Peter PanBack-Cover Synopsis: When Peter Pan flies into the house of the Darling children it is only the beginning of their magical adventures with Peter, the fairy Tinker Bell, and the evil Captain Hook.












It's an odd story, to be honest. I'm not even sure why I like it. If I hadn't read this before when I was little, I'd probably completely miss its magic and humor. But I have read it and now I see Peter Pan  as charming, entertaining, and reminiscent of the make-believe adventures I experienced.

The writing doesn't blow me away, (excepting Peter) the characters are a little shallow, and the protagonist is more than a bit unvirtuous.  But if you overlook those, and view it as a flashback to childhood, I think there's much to enjoy in this story.

Okay, I'm not really sure WHAT I think, so what are your thoughts on Peter Pan?

Rating: 3 stars

**I reviewed this for Lois's Re-Reading Challenge.**

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

I Want Your Opinion.

Hello, Star Wars fans!



Ever since the release of The Force Awakens, I've seen a lot of varying opinions on the two following questions:

1. Will future movies reveal that Rey is related to Luke(or one of the main characters from the original trilogy), and if so, is that a good idea? 

2. Will Rey and Finn form a romantic relationship, and is that a good idea? 

I'm not sure what I think, so I want to hear from everyone else!

Also, another question I personally thought of:

3. Should the next movie kill off another of the remaining original characters? 

Thoughts??


Saturday, May 7, 2016

Goals for this Week

I don't know about you, but, without accountability, I can lack motivation to get things done. I'm guessing(hoping?) I'm not the only one like that. ;)

Since I don't have a whole lot going on this week, and, wanting to be productive, I've constructed the following list of goals so you can all keep me accountable to finish them.



~Complete A Tale of Two Cities, Anne of Avonlea, and Guardians of Ga'Hoole.

~Start A Passage to India.

~ Watch an episode of Doctor Who.

~Watch Sense and Sensibility'95.

~Practice piano for 150 minutes(but not all at once!)

~Post a review of Peter Pan.

~Practice violin.

~Make my bed every morning.

~Spend 3 hours on Latin and 40 min. on Math.

~Take some pictures with my camera.

~Try a Pinterest recipe.

~Cross-stitch for 10 min. each day.

~Hold spending time on the computer or my phone until after lunch.

~Make the Star Wars music my phone ringtone. xD

~~~

There you go! What are your goals for this week?

Monday, May 2, 2016

Musicals Game Answers!

Well, here are the answers! 20 is the perfect scoring; one point for naming the musical, and one for naming the character(s) who sang/said the line. 

1. I want much more than this provincial life. I want adventure in the great wild somewhere! I want it more than I can tell. And for once it might be grand to have someone understand; I want so much more than they've got planned.

Answer: 

Beauty and the Beast, Belle

2. So never kick a dog because he's just a pup. We'll fight like twenty armies and we won't give up. So you better run for cover when the pup grows up!

Answer: 

Les Misérables, Gavroche

3. Cos, do something! Call me a cab!

    Okay, you're a cab!

Answer: 

Singin' in the Rain, Don Lockwood and Cos(mo)

4. Did I abuse her or show her disdain? Why does she run from me? If I should lose her, how shall I regain the heart she has won from me? Agony!

Answer: 

Into the Woods, Cinderella's Prince

5. Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match. Buy me a buy, catch me a catch.

Answer: 

Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye's daughters

6. Heigh-ho! Heigh-ho! It's off to work we go. We keep on singing all day long. Heigh-ho!

Answer:

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, the dwarves(except, as Chloe pointed out, Dopey)

7. Nighttime sharpens, heightens each sensation. Darkness stirs and wakes imagination.

Answer: 

The Phantom of the Opera, the Phantom(Erik)

8. You are sixteen going on seventeen. Baby, it's time to think. Better beware be canny and careful. Baby, you're on the brink!

Answer: 

The Sound of Music, Rofl

9. Little girls, little girls, everywhere I go I can see them. Little girls, little girls, night and day I eat sleep and breathe them.

Answer: 

Annie, Ms. Hannigan

10. Impossible things are happening everyday!

Answer: 

Rodger and Hammerstein's Cinderella, the fairy godmother and Cinderella(either or both would be right) 




~Scores~
Fawnabelle Baggins- 3/20
Morgan- 14/20
KB- 18/20
Chloe- 18/20
Ilse- 14/20
Hamlette- 14/20

Thank you to everyone who participated!!! I enjoyed it. :) 

Anne of Green Gables Book Review

Another book review! I chose this, partially because I want to read all the Anne books this summer, and partially for the Re-Reading challenge.

I've been doing more re-reading this year than I (probably) have in my whole life, and there's lots more I'm still hoping to re-read, so be prepared for future re-read reviews. (alliteration!)

Anne of Green Gables (Anne of Green Gables, #1)

If a revival of the French Revolution had never happened and Tolkien had never tried his hand at writing, Anne of Green Gables just might be my favorite book EVER. Or the series as a whole, I'm not sure.

It's just...

Firstly, although she is flawed like any main character should be, Anne is a role model I and any teen/tween readers should strive to be more like. She can be vain, and her theology is poor(she thinks women would be good pastors?), but she's also hard-working, amiable, self-sacrificial, grateful, earnest, smart, and accomplished.

In fact, of every fictional character ever penned, I haven't found anyone who's character resembles mine better than hers does. We're so similar in so many ways! Maybe that's why I like to read this book...

Out of curiosity, I scrolled through some of the one-star reviews on Goodreads to get an idea of what people don't like about it and try to address them.

The most predominant complaint was that it was boring. Really, I don't think it is. :)

Another was that Anne was too vain and flawed. Maybe she is, but that's what makes for such a beautiful character arc!

Anyways, this is one of my favorite books ever written, and I look forward to reading and reviewing the future series' members!

Rating: 5 stars
Favorite Character: Anne