Monday, April 25, 2016

S&S Book Review

It's rather embarrassing to admit, but I'm not very good at reading Jane Austen. I always love the way she ends her books and their movie adaptions, but it just takes. . .effort, you know? It's quite difficult to keep track of all the minor characters and I'm not the biggest fan of her writing style.

However, I like everything I've read by her and now Sense and Sensibility the most.

I chose S&S for Lois's monthly Classics Challenge. April's category was A Book I'd Seen the Movie/TV Show/Miniseries of. There's actually a family rule in our house that we must read the book before watching the movie. And when my mom hosted a S&S'95 movie night for the ladies in our church I tried to read the book but I was only 11 or 10 and I only got about a third of the way through it, so she gave me an exception.

I remember liking the movie, except the casting for Colonel Brandon, because I'd seen the Harry Potter movies and my mind didn't accept Alan Rickman as a "good guy".


Book Synopsis from the Back Cover:
Sense and Sensibility

Jane Austen's first published novel Sense and Sensibility is a wonderfully entertaining tale of flirtation and folly that revolves around two starkly different sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. While Elinor is thoughtful, considerate, and calm, her younger sister is emotional and wildly romantic. Both are looking for a husband, but neither Elinor's reason nor Marianne's passion can lead them to perfect happiness--as Marianne falls for an unscrupulous rascal and Elinor becomes attached to a man who's already engaged. 

I really loved this story. It served to hold my attention better than I expected and the plot twists were amazing.

The characters were so developed and three-dimensional. The heroes, Elinor, Colonel Brandon, Edward Ferrars, were more than likable, and the villains, Willoughby, Mrs. John Dashwood, and Lucy Steeles(that was her name, right?) were detestable. :)

The plot twists could contend with those of a YA novel, although I already knew most of what was going to happen.

Sense and Sensibility kept me up late at night and I would certainly recommend it to anyone wishing to sample Jane Austen, looking for a clean romance novel, or a fan of Pride and Prejudice.

Rating: 5 stars
Favorite Character: Edward Ferrars

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Musicals Game

WELL. I've finished school and now I'm ready to start all those "other" blog posts I talked about that weren't tags or book reviews.

A few of these(the ones I "deem" harder) will be multiple choice and one or two might be from a musical, but not necessarily a quote from a song. But most of them will be. Also, I'll turn on comment moderation so ya'll don't get accidentally influenced by a previous comment.

Just list your guess as to which musical it came from, and who said it. Spelling doesn't matter. Answers and scores will be announced next week.

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."

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!"

3. "Cos, do something! Call me a cab!"

    "Okay, you're a cab!"

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!"

a. Into the Woods

b. Les Misérables

c. The Phantom of the Opera

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

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

a. Cinderella

b. Wicked

c. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

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

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!"

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."

10. "Impossible things are happening everyday!"

Have fun!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Mara, Daughter of the Nile Book Review

Mara, Daughter of the NileGoodreads Synopsis: Mara is a proud and beautiful slave girl who yearns for freedom. In order to gain it, she finds herself playing the dangerous role of double spy for two arch enemies - each of whom supports a contender for the throne of Egypt.

Against her will, Mara finds herself falling in love with one of her masters, the noble Sheftu, and she starts to believe in his plans of restoring Thutmose III to the throne. 

This is probably my favorite Historical Fiction and YA book ever. It has just about everything: action, romance, spies, pyramids, plot twists, villains, thievery, history, good writing, and even a revolution. 

McGraw didn't leave any strings untied and realistically developed the story's three main characters for the better.

It has everything, like I said, but in moderation. The romance is clean, the action is exciting but not too violent, and the writing is light enough for a middle grader. 

And it'd make an awesome movie, by the way. :D

Favorite Character: Mara
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Inkling Explorations[April 2016]

Hello! How is everyone's spring going?

April's theme for Heidi's Inkling Explorations was,

A Description of a Lady in Literature 

I thought about this for awhile, but finally chose a paragraph concerning  Éowyn from Tolkien's The Two Towers.

She's first described after the "confrontation" of sorts between Gandalf and her father, King Théoden. He asks her to leave the room, and Tolkien gives us the following:

The woman turned and went slowly into the house. As she passed the doors she turned and looked back. Grave and thoughtful was her glance, as she looked on the king with cool pity in her eyes. Very fair was her face, and her long hair was like a river of gold. Slender and tall she was in her white robe girt with silver; but strong she seemed and stern as steel, a daughter of kings. Thus Aragorn for the first time in the full light of day beheld Éowyn, Lady of Rohan, and thought her fair, fair and cold, like a morning of pale spring that is not yet come to woman hood. And she now was suddenly aware of him: tall heir of kings, wise with many winters, greycloaked, hiding a power that yet she felt. For a moment still as stone she stood, then turning swiftly she was gone. 

It's short and succinct, but very beautiful.

Do you remember this passage? What's your favorite part of LotR?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

And More Blog Tags!

Hello! How is everyone? I'm really excited for school to end, so I can spend more time writing posts. And I'm considering starting a Les Misérables fan blog. What do you think?

Anyways, the first tag is from Abby's blog, and it is: 

Yay!! :D 

Now, I realize I've done this before(it was my first post, actually), but these are new questions, so I thought I'd do it again. 

The Rules--

1. Thank the blogger who tagged you.(Thanks, Abby!) 2. Tell us 11 facts about yourself.3. Answer the 11 questions given to you.4. Tag 11 bloggers and give them 11 new questions to answer.

11 Facts- 

1. Music theory and debate/American history are currently my favorite school subjects.
2. I've never seen Pocahontas, Mulan, or The Lion King.
3. I keep about 160 books in my room.
4. My eyes are green.
5. I've only heard two Ed Sheeran songs. 
6. I've pinned 1, 263 pins on Pinterest.
7. It's been weeks since I've fallen asleep before 11:30 pm.
8. I bought a VCR at a thrift store the other day. (It's pretty epic.)
9. There's a countdown on a whiteboard in my room for the new Beauty and the Beast movie. 340 more days, you guys! :)
10. I'm learning Latin.
11. I'm reading The Hobbit to my little sister. :) 

Abby's Questions~

1. What is your earliest memory of reading, or being read to?

I really don't know! My parents have been reading to me since I was only months old, but my first memory(and a vague one), is Mom reading Little House in the Big Woods.

2. Why did you choose to start a blog?

I had a Wordpress blog, but just about everyone I followed was on Blogger. So I switched!

3. Since this is the Infinity Dreams Tag, what is your biggest dream, no matter how out there it may seem?

To publish a book. Someday. :)

4. Favorite subject in school? (If you're in school still. If not, what WAS your favorite subject?) 

Oops! Apparently I already answered this in fact #1. :)

5. Where would you live in the world, if you could live anywhere?

Maybe Canada? Or England? Or maybe somewhere on the East Coast? 

6. How would you describe your personal style?

Simple. Pretty much...

7. Who has inspired you? It can be anyone, past, present, fictional, or no. 

Booker T. Washington. He isn't, like, my number one role model, but he's very inspiring on a couple levels.

8. Do you prefer open plains, and sparkling beaches, or rugged mountains and wild forests?

Probably the latter. It's more Tolkien-y and it's definitely more like what I live in.

9. If you could meet one celebrity, who would you choose?

Maybe Tom Hiddleston. Runners up would be Maggie Smith, Lily James, Georgie Henley, or Dick Van Dyke.

10. Favorite Disney princess? (Or Disney character if you don't prefer princesses.) 

Belle! That one's easy. :)

11. Favorite quote? 

I don't have a favorite, but I've always liked--

"I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia." --C. S. Lewis, from The Silver Chair

That was fun!

My questions:

1. How many books do you hope to read this summer?
2. What is the last book you were reading?
3. Favorite dog breed?
4. Favorite time period to study?
5. What is a phrase you say a lot?
6. Do you like road trips?
7. What would you like to study in college? (Assuming you're still in highschool)
8. What is the oldest book you've read?
9. What is the saddest song you've heard?
10. Do you listen to music while doing chores, and if so, what music?
11. What is your favorite Disney song?

I tag anyone who watched BBC in the last week. (Or anyone who wants to take it.)

Monday, April 4, 2016

God's Not Dead 2

There are two groups of movies I distrust: Christian, and sequels.

I don't know if I've ever said this here, but, in general, while there are exceptions(i.e. Do You Believe?, God's Not Dead) I find Christian movies to often be cheesy, shallow, or too emotionally-based.

And, minus some exceptions(i. e. Toy Story 2, The Empire Strikes Back), we can probably all agree that sequels rarely live up to the greatness of their predecessors. Recycling an old cast and plot lines just doesn't usually work.

So you can picture my skepticism when I heard about God's Not Dead 2.

To a degree, yes, the sequel has failed to reach the scope of the first, and yet it surpassed my expectations, regardless.

For one thing it continued in the habits of God's Not Dead, to strike a balance between appealing to non-Christians and Christians alike. I'm pretty sure it wasn't mainly intended as an evangelistic outreach(I mean, how many atheists would attend a movie called God's Not Dead?), but a source of encouragement, strengthening of faith, and wholesome entertainment to already-Christians.

(If an atheist or agnostic does find himself in the theater, there is content God could use to work in his heart, but it's mostly oriented towards Christians.)

It does make me wonder, if Grace had lost the case, what then? The culmination and resolution of the movie almost assumed that she could only feel God's presence when she was happy or prosperous, which isn't very consistent with Biblical teaching or current American trends and the ongoing worldwide Christian persecution.

So while the message may have been confusing, God's Not Dead has provided another entertaining, challenging, and refreshing flick I would recommend to my Christian friends.

Rating: 4 stars

Friday, April 1, 2016

An Old Fashioned Girl Book Review

Another book review! It feels like that's ALL I've been writing lately, but when school ends all that will change...let's hope.
This has to be one of the prettiest book covers ever. :)

I really, really liked An Old Fashioned Girl. In fact, it's now my third favorite Alcott novel( the others are Little Women and Little Men).

It's a simple story, really, describing the episodes and interactions between its heroine Polly and the Shaw family with whom she goes to stay. Most of the plot-lines originate from the fact that she's a simple pastor's-daughter, country girl, and they are extravagant, wealthy city people.

I relate to Polly on many levels that I don't with other fictional heroines, although(sadly) I have nothing near he capacity for natural goodness! The parents are rather underdeveloped for the first half of the story, but by the end, Mr. Shaw was an likable person, while Mrs. Shaw would be right up there with Mrs. Bennet on my list of fictional moms I'm thankful aren't mine. :)

Their oldest, Fanny, is everything I dislike in my characters: condescending, flirtatious, frivolous, selfish, and maintaining a pretty poor relationship with her parents. She smooths out considerably before the story ends, though, due to Polly's influence. I think every reader can find a balance between the model Polly and realistic Fanny, only hoping to be more like the former than the later.

Following in her sister's habits, the younger siblings each grow and mature beautifully over the story.

Like I said, it's a very good book, some not-so-subtle morals sneak in occasionally, and there's romance for readers who enjoy that. If you've read it, what do you think?

Recommended for Fans Of: Little Women, Lousia May Alcott
Rating: 4 stars