Thursday, June 30, 2016

Little Women Next Door Book Review

Today is the last day of the Louisa May Alcott reading challenge! Unfortunately, due to procrastinating and busyness, I am only just now getting around to posting my book reviews. 


Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge ... JUNE 2016


The first book I finished was Little Women Next Door




Back-Cover Synopsis: Susan does not like to talk because she stammers. And she's scared of a lot of things, such as climbing trees and jumping fences and, especially, meeting new people. Now she has new neighbors unlike any she's ever seen. They live on a farm they call Fruitlands, where they wear strange clothes and use words Susan has never heard before. Susan quickly discovers she likes these new neighbors, especially one lively girl who loves to swing on tree branches, act in plays, and write stories of magic and mystery. Her name is Louisa May Alcott. Little Women Next Door


I enjoyed learning a little more about the unique and unorthodox lifestyle of the Alcott family. 

Originally, I was a little wary of the author's worldview, especially since I strongly disagree with many of the Alcotts' beliefs. Despite my concerns, she gently demonstrated the flaws in their way of thinking, while praising the admirable aspects of their lives. 

The target audience was probably middle grade reading level, as the writing was concise, and the story short. I'd recommended it to the MG and older audience, and anyone who'd like to spend a few hours contemplating the Alcotts' unique way of life.



Saturday, June 25, 2016

What I've Been Listening To Lately (Hint: Musicals)

So... I've been listening to a good number of musicals in the last week or so, and I thought I'd share some of my musical selections with you. :) 




This song is hilarious. I don't listen to Master of the House, but this is awesome. 
awwww
"A most peculiar mademoiselle..." 
I've never seen Pocahontas, but Colors of the Wind is so beautiful. 
I prefer the more obscure songs in The Little Mermaid and this is one of them. 
"She exchanged that bean to obtain your shoe, so the one who knows what happened to that bean is you!" 
This is my newest musical kick. 
Dick van Dick in this, though.
I LOVE The Hunchback of Notre Dame songs. How can they be so beautiful? ;)

Ohmygoodness. Does Mr. Banks remind anyone else of Lord Grantham? 
If you like the book, listen to this. 
"That's how you knowwww, she's yours!"
Gahhh, this has to be one of my favorite Beauty and the Beast songs. I look forward to hopefully hearing Luke Evans sing it! 



So there you go! What did you listen to this week? 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Announcing My NEW Les Misérables Fan Blog!!!

Yayyy!

I'm rather excited, because I have...

a new Les Mis fan blog!!!



Please check it out and tell me what you think!

http://thelesmiserablesfanblog.blogspot.com/

Friday, June 17, 2016

Anne of Avonlea Book Review

From my perspective, Anne of Avonlea is a little trampled down by the more popular Anne of Green Gables or Rilla of Ingleside. It's not the same, and I can understand how it might be a let-down after the nearly impeccable Anne of Green Gables, but this book... I love it.



Goodreads Synopsis: At sixteen, Anne is grown up...almost. Her gray eyes shine like evening stars, but her red hair is still as peppery as her temper. In the years since she arrived at Green Gables as a freckle-faced orphan, she has earned the love of the people of Avonlea and a reputation for getting into scrapes. But when Anne begins her job as the new schoolteacher, the real test of her character begins. Along with teaching the three Rs, she is learning how complicated life can be when she meddles in someone else's romance, finds two new orphans at Green Gables, and wonders about the strange behaviour of the very handsome Gilbert Blythe. As Anne enters womanhood, her adventures touch the heart and the funny bone.

Characterization

Clearly, Anne has changed. By this point in her life, she doesn't fling out five-syllable words in every sentence or break slates over peoples' heads. The change hurts, but we shouldn't expect Anne to act like a twelve-year old her whole life. Personally, I really enjoyed watching her mature and act "grown up" while retaining her classic Anne-charm. :)

And, I loved the other characters: Davey, Marilla, Anthony Pye, Gilbert, Ms. Lavender, Charlotta the 4th, etc.

Plot

LMM's books often lack a plot that drives throughout the whole story. I don't mind this style, because each chapter's incident keeps me interested to finish it, but I know some people struggle to stay engaged.

Writing 

Well-crafted, but easy to read.

Entertainment-Value

This is a new category! I added it because a book can have good characterization, a tight plot, and beautiful writing, and I can still dislike it.

Anyways, Anne of Avonlea nearly lives up to the achievement of AoGG in entertainment. Very sweet and funny.


So yes: I love this book muchly.

Rating: 5 stars


Have you read Anne of Avonlea and what did you think? 

(I read this for Lois's Re-Reading Challenge)

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

[Inkling Explorations]- June

For Heidi's monthly link-up, June's theme is

Roses in Book or Film 

Besides the obvious Beauty and the Beast, I couldn't think of any passages in literature or film including a rose, so I scanned through my bookshelf to find something I hadn't thought of. The Scarlet Letter stood out to me, and I remember that, indeed, it did have a short passage about a rose. 



The Scarlet Letter is not my favorite book for a number of reasons, one being that I prefer books that have more entertainment value to complement their depth, but Hawthorne's writing, when read in moderation, is beautiful. 

So here's a passage from the first chapter: 

But, on one side of the portal, and rooted almost at the threshold, was a wild rose-bush, covered, in this month of June, with its delicate gems, which might be imagined to offer their fragrance and fragile beauty to the prisoner as he went in, and to the condemned criminal as he came forth to his doom, in token that the deep heart of Nature could pity and be kind to him. 

This rose-bush, by a strange chance, has been kept alive in history, but whether it had merely survived out of the stern old wilderness, so long after the fall of the gigantic pines and oaks that originally overshadowed it, --or whether, as there is fair authority for believing, it had sprung up under the footsteps of the sainted Ann Hutchinson, as she entered the prison-door,--we shall not take upon us to determine. Finding it so directly on the threshold of our narrative, which is now about to issue from that inauspicious portal, we could hardly do otherwise than pluck one of its flowers and present it to the reader. It may serve, let us hope, to symbolize some sweet moral blossom that may be found along the track,  or relieve the darkening close of a tale of human frailty and sorrow. 

This piece introduces a long narrative of "human frailty and sorrow" and an onslaught of moral themes. I usually choose happier selections for the link-up, but this time I wanted to try something a bit...graver.

Have you read The Scarlet Letter

Sunday, June 12, 2016

About Meeting Christopher Paolini

(For those of you who didn't know, Christopher Paolini is the author of the best-selling Inheritance Cycle which consists of Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr, and Inheritance)

It's late and I need to brush my teeth and go to bed, but first I want to quickly tell you about meeting Christopher Paolini. :D

Thursday, last week, I was volunteering at the library, and re-shelving some YA novels which brought me to the vicinity of the Inheritance Cycle. I remembered that, although I really enjoyed Eragon, I had never gotten through any of the other books. I knew they were heavily paralleled to Star Wars and Lord of the Rings and otherwise maybe not the best books ever written, but I had fun with Eragon and it bothers me to leave a series unfinished.

A few minutes later, when my Dad came to pick me up from the library, he was looking at an audio copy of Brisingr. I asked him about it and he told me that he had heard Christopher Paolini was coming to our local Barnes and Nobles! I was pretty excited, and he said he'd take me.

We got there Sat. afternoon 40 min. early, and the line was huuuge. Sadly, we still hadn't come early enough to join in the Question and Answer session that was going on, so my brother and I stood in line and waited while my Dad purchased a paperback copy Eldest with the gift card from my birthday over a year ago. After a little, a Barnes and Nobles employee offered to give me a pink bracelet so I could browse the store, and when the book-signing began, "they" would let the pink bracelet-people cut to the front.

This sounded like a good idea, so my brother looked at technology books, I flipped through War and Peace, Wives and Daughters, and read Ivanhoe, and my Dad ordered a coffee and read a little bit. They still hadn't called for the pink-bracelet wearers, so I googled and read a bio of Christopher Paolini.

About three hours later, we were finally allowed to skip to the front of a long, twisty line. We talked to the friendly college students behind us a little, and I'd counted 5 people wearing Star Wars shirts.

Finally, we'd advanced to the second-to-first people in line. After the lady before us had gotten her book signed, I handed a Barnes and Nobles worker my book and my Dad handed another Barnes and Nobles lady his phone so she could snap a picture.

Mr. Paolini was really friendly and down-to-earth. It was really surreal to talk with one of the most successful living American authors. He asked me if I'd read the whole series(I told him the truth, of course :D), told me to enjoy the other books, and drew a large signature under the title page.


The Inheritance Cycle may not be the most well-written series ever, but what I've read is fun, and I'm thankful to have met an author who's still definitely better than me. :D 

It's also my first signed book I've ever owned, which is very exciting!!!!

Have you read The Inheritance Cycle?

Have you met any authors before? 

Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 6, 2016

June's Louisa May Alcott Reading List

Although I'm a little late, I am participating this June in Tarissa's Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge.

Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge ... JUNE 2016


Firstly, you can join, too! If you have never read a book by Louisa May Alcott, or you would like to finally finish a book of hers you've been meaning to read for a long time(as is the case with me), just check out her post, here. There's still time; 24 days left in June! I'd love to chat over LMA books with you. :)

Secondly, here is what I'm reading:

Jo's Boys by Louisa May Alcott

372319 Now I can finally finish the Little Women trilogy. I've heard it isn't as good as the previous two(which I love very much), but I'll have to find out for myself!

Little Women Next Door by Sheila Solomon Klass

Little Women Next Door This is a fictional and biographical book for children about the life of Louisa May Alcott.

The Skipping Shoes
1190419Lastly, a short story by LMA that I found in Faerie Gold. I won't be reading the whole book-- just The Skipping Shoes.

So there you go! Like I said, feel free to join if you'd like, and expect reviews of these books soon!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Summer Reading Goals: Branching Out

This summer I want to branch out a little in my reading tastes and experience.

You've probably seen that I often stick to the classics and re-read all my favorite books. Re-reading is awesome and the classics will always be the best...however this summer I'm going to try some new things.

I'd also like to check off some books I've been meaning to read for awhile.



And so, I created these categories for myself and I'm hoping to read a book from at least six of them:

~A Book From An Author I've Never Read Before

~A Sci-Fi Novel

~A Book I've Been Meaning to Read for Years

~A Christian Romance Novel

~A MG novel

~A Mystery Novel

~A Best-Seller

~A Non-Fiction Book on a Topic I Haven't Studied Before

~A Book From A Series I Haven't Finished Yet

~A Humorous Book

~A Book Published Less Than A Year Ago

~A Mystery Novel

~Something by Steven Lawhead

~An American Classic

~A Book I'd Been Unfairly Prejudiced Against

~An Intriguing Picture Book

~A Book One of My Siblings Likes

~A Book That I Started And Never Finished

~Fanfiction



Maybe at the end of the summer, I'll post about which books I chose and if I liked them. Feel free to use this list if you'd also like to branch out a little or finally get around to reading those certain evasive books. :)

Enjoy the summer!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Freckles by Gene Stratton-Porter

So, for May's theme(an American classic) in the monthly Classics Challenge, I picked Freckles. This is one of those books I've been meaning to read for awhile, so the challenge just gave me an excuse to finally check it out from the library and read it.

Goodreads Synopsis: This tender love story is set in the wild swampland of Limberlost, the most frightening place in America, and most beautiful. There, you will meet Freckles, the dashing, red-haired hero who battles cruel and ruthless villains to win the angel of his dreams. Read about Freckles and love him. It’s impossible not to!

Like the my last book review, this post will analyze three of Freckles's elements: characterization, plot, and writing. 


Characterization: 


Very good! The protagonist, Freckles, is... He's just really well done. Imagine a slightly younger version of Enjolras and Marius combined into one person. He knows what he wants and what he's willing to do to get it. :) 


The heroine, who was called Angel(what IS her real name, anyways?), was, to continue the Les Mis analogy, both Cosette and Eponine at once. She and the other minor characters could have been a bit more fleshed out, but I think the characterization of Freckles makes up for it. 


Plot: 


Because Freckles was so determined, most of the story was pretty plot-driven. There were some slow pieces here and there, but they tapered off towards the end. 

My one complaint concerning the plot was that the conclusion seemed to rush up out of nowhere and resolved itself too conveniently. (Did anyone else feel this way?) 

Writing: 

As with The Mysterious Benedict Society, the writing flowed easily enough that I never stopped to notice it, but it also wasn't flashy or interrupted by show-y words. Looking back on it to write this review, I noted how lovely it actually is. :) 

There's also something to be said for the descriptions of nature, in a rather long-winded style like L. M. Montgomery's. 

~~~

So that's what I thought of it! There's something nostalgic to me about early 20th century romance and fiction. 

Freckles is an honorable character, and the story can appeal to a broad audience. 

Favorite Character: Freckles
Recommended for fans of: Anne of Green Gables(though it's different in many ways) or Heidi
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars 


(Excuse the varying fonts; Blogger is giving me trouble) :)