Tag Archives: chronicles of narnia

Book Reviews May 2020

28 May

Sadly, my quest to find a book that just sucks me into its world is still continuing. Well, let me clarify, The Horse and His Boy, Virginia and House at the End of the Moor did the job admirably well, it’s been ever since then that I’m still struggling. (and, transparency here, I adored the book by Griep and had intended to do a separate post but as I loaned the book to my mom before I took pics, I decided to just add it here). I’m enjoying the two classics that I’m reading right now but both are better at little spurts of reading, and I’m really only slogging through one because I REALLY want to have read all of it at least once. Which, this isn’t something I do, normally… Anyhow, that’s a very long and probably confusing introduction!

Virginia: Four Inspiring Stories of Valor, Virtue and Victory by Cathy Marie Hake – In these four short stories, follow a family from the turn of the century to the end of World War I as they battle loss and love, faith and prejudice.

~Now, if you’ve been around SGL for a while, you know that I’m not a big fan of short stories, but as these were all written by Hake, they ended up feeling kind of like a whole novel. (not really b/c they ARE about different people). But I couldn’t even really peg which one was my favorite, each was unique and pull-you-in. Definitely recommend this!

The Prarie Legacy Series by Janette Oke – Follow Clark and Marty’s granddaughter, Virginia, through her teens on up through her adult years. As she struggles to fit in with her friends in school, falling in love, learning sacrifice and faith and then onto marriage, children and the inevitable heartache that accompanies life. Her faith and family bolster her through them, growing her into a woman of strength and godliness.

– I don’t think I’d ever read this series before! I fully expected to recognize it, once I got into it but that never happened! (I’m such a fan of Oke’s that I’m surprised when I run across a book I’ve not read of hers). This series was similar to her Love Comes Softly series but as it is based on their granddaughter, it helps it feel like a continuation. There were aspects of the book that hit so close to home that I had a hard time reading, but that’s what I appreciate about Oke’s books is that she writes what real life looks like – to a point anyway. If you’re looking for a sweet series that teaches life and faith lessons throughout, this is the one to reach for.

Tis Herself by Maureen O’Hara – In a straight-forward tone, the famed beauty and actress talks about her life from girlhood in Ireland to becoming a star in Hollywood. The men that formed her career and tried to destroy it; a disastrous marriage; birth of her daughter; lifelong friendship with ‘Duke’ and so much more. She doesn’t simper away from her mistakes, rather owns up to them and moves on. As so many of her roles in movies, she was a fiesty, strong red-head who fought for what she wanted.

It’s always a little scary starting a book about a favorite actress, so this book sat on my shelf for about a year until I picked it up. I’m glad I read it even though it was a sad story, if you know anything about O’Hara’s life, you know that she had Trials. But the way she writes (this is an autobiography after all) and the things she shares – like her long friendship with John Wayne – keeps you engaged and interested. It was fun getting to read about how Hollywood used to be, and the making of some of her movies that I enjoy. If you’re a fan of her movies and don’t mind reading about heartaches and laughter, give this a try.

The Horse and His Boy (The Chronicles of Narnia) by C.S. Lewis – When young Shasta talks about running away, he’s startled to realize the horse that he’s confided in can Talk. And not only talk, but wants to run away as well! With warhorse Bree helping him, Shasta sets off toward Narnia. Their travels include great adventures and require both of them to move past fear and prejudice.

~In reading other reviews of this book, a big theme of them was ‘racist’ and ‘prejudice’ but I never thought that the whole time I read it. Yes, the Calormen are the slave-owners and terrible people but, I never associated that with Lewis saying all dark-skinned people are such. That aside, this is one of my absolute favorites of the Narnia books. Perhaps it’s because a horse is one of the main characters? For whatever reason, I really truly love reading this. The lessons on Not judging people by what they look like are true for every generation (which is why I probably never have thought of it as racist…) and the truths that Aslan imparts are so so good.

The House at the End of the Moor by Michelle Griep – When a powerful politician threatens to ruin opera singer Maggie Lee’s life, she runs away and lives in anonymity on the edges of the moor. While life is lonely, she knows she’s safe. Until one day, she finds a wounded man and takes him in to care for him. But this man isn’t who he seems to be either. Escaped convict, Oliver Ward, is out to set the wrongs in his past right – little does he expect to find the same jewels that got him convicted in the very house that he’s now staying in. Both Oliver and Maggie decide to try and set things right by returning the jewels, clearing his name and, in the midst of all that, keeping Maggie’s identity a secret.

– I got this as a birthday present and LOVED it. I’d never read anything by Griep before but I do want to give some of her other books a try now! The twists and turns in this mystery were good- so much so that I had a hard time putting it down once I’d picked it up! As well as one time that I got so worried about what was going to happen to Maggie that I Couldn’t pick it up for a day or so – ha! I just loved Oliver as he tries to get his life back and yet is eaten up so with hatred and revenge. So superficial but you’ve got to check out the Cover! It’s simply lovely. But really, just get this book, you won’t regret it! This became a Top Favorite for 2020

Montana Marshalls series by Susan May Warren – Follow the Marshall siblings as each have to face their fears and doubts along the way as they have to choose between who they think they are and who they want to be. Love comes calling for each of them- Knox, Tate, Wyatt, Ford and Ruby Jane- but will they be able to survive long enough to reach for it?

I won this series as ebooks as a giveaway and was quite excited as I’ve enjoyed most of Warren’s novels. I enjoy series that focuses on siblings (looking at you, The O’Malley Series), so eagerly started Knox (book 1). I’ve made it through most of the books but am really struggling to finish this series. Which makes me sad. I’ve enjoyed the adventure aspect of each one, and have found some favorites among the main and side characters. I’ll try to be brief on why this series hasn’t hit it off with me: Warren’s style seems to have changed and it’s a little too… millenial (?) for me; there’s more intense kissing than I think is necessary – especially when the people barely know each other/aren’t married; lack of remorse for intimacy out of wedlock for one couple. Now, that last one might change as I’ve not finished the book. All in all, I’m not sure I’ll finish the series, if I do, I might skip forward (something else completely unheard of for me).

Currently Reading:

Pillar of Fire by J.H. Ingraham

She: A History of Adventure by H. Rider Haggard

To-Read:

Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo

the next Narnia book

Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris

the next Wheel of Time book (I have to figure out which one I’m on!)

Did you find any books to add to your To-Read pile? I’d love to know which ones! And if you have read any of the ones that I wasn’t that crazy about, did you love them? Share that too!!

~Laura

February 2020 Book Reviews

11 Mar

It’s a bit late for a Monthly Book Review but I’m going to give you guys a quick one! I’m going to be talking about the books that I shared in My Library Book Haul.

I’ve already shared my thoughts about The Bridge to Belle Island. Trust me, you want to click over and have a read.

The Lost Girl of Astor Street by Stephanie Morrill – When Piper Sail’s best friend, Lydia, goes missing, the only thing she knows is that she can’t just sit around waiting for the police to find her. Especially when it seems that they are looking in all the wrong places. She sets out on her own investigation, with the aid of a young detective, into the underbelly of Chicago in 1924. She’s determined to find Lydia, no matter what. But she soon has to decide exactly what that means as the truth just might upset her privileged life. ~This book immediately made it to my Favorite Reads of the year list. I’ve not read anything else by Morrill but she wove an incredible story of family, intrigue and 1920s Chicago. It was also very clean, with only subtle mentions of women of a certain profession and innocent romances. If you’ve followed SGL for a while, you’ll know that for this to be on my Faves list, it HAS to be clean! I adored Piper’s spirit, her brother (even when he was being a jerk), and of course, the detective who decides to help her.

The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club #3) by Theodora Goss – When the girls of the Athena Club return home only to find that their friend, Alice has been kidnapped along with Mary’s employer, Sherlock Holmes, they rush to find them. But along the way they realize that the kidnappings are only a small part of a sinister plot that threatens not only the Queen, but all of England. Can Mary, Justine, Diana, Catherine and Beatrice stop the plans already in motion and save, not only their friends, but their country as well? ~As I shared in the Library Haul, I’ve not read book one. These were both on the ‘new arrivals’ shelf of my local library and they intrigued me. This series is very different from what I’m used to – seeing as how each of the girls are victims of an evil scientists’ experiments on them (one’s poisonous, one’s a vampire, one’s part cheetah etc). I’d almost say that I’d enjoy these stories more if those elements were taken away. But, I’m certain that those very parts are what makes this series stand out. I did end up enjoying this one- to a degree. The chase and revealing of the sinister plot were clever and intriguing – and were what kept me reading. The other stuff relating to the… vampire and such, were a bit much for me. Just like in the first book, honestly. But it seemed to be more present in this one. I don’t think I’ll read either of these again but they were well written with a fun, unique plot. If you want to see my review for the first book, click here.

Inheritance by Christopher Paolini – I want to do a review of the full series, so for now – know that I enjoyed this conclusion to The Inheritance Cycle

Bing Crosby: A Pocketful of Dreams – The Early Years 1903-1940 by Gary Giddins – This covered Bing’s childhood and on up to his rise in fame til the 1940s. I did enjoy what I got read of it. But, well… it took me several weeks to get a quarter of the way through it. And that was with skipping ahead to a section that was of more interest to me. Giddins wrote it well, and he did extensive research on Bing’s ancestors and life. While I fully appreciate that, it was a bit more than I was wanting. I finally just wanted my (huge) stack of library books gone, so I returned it without finishing it. Perhaps one day I’ll get back to it. But, even if I don’t, I still learned some cool (and sad) information on Bing. And found some songs of his that I’d never heard before!

Prince Caspian (Chronicles of Narnia #2) by C.S. Lewis – When Susan’s horn is blown, the Pevensie children are called back to Narnia to help Prince Caspain reclaim his rightful throne. The false king is ruthless and will stop at nothing to kill the old Narnians and maintain his rule. ~I’m reading this series as part of a reading group on Instagram. It’s been fun to re-read these again as I feel it’s been a while! Prince Caspian is, I think, one of my favorites of the series as we see some of the growing up the Pevensie’s have to go through and of course, we meet Caspian and see Aslan again.

Jennifer: an O’Malley Love Story by Dee Henderson- I have read the O’Malley Series, for years and I still enjoy them immensely. This is a short story with one of the siblings as the main character. It was so nice to get to read more about Jennifer as a doctor and see as she falls in love. The heartache though! Agh. Even knowing what is coming (thanks to reading the O’Malley series beforehand), it was still a good, quick read. If you love the O’Malley’s, check this one out.

Thrive by J.J. Eden – A small book of poetry and micro-fiction that focus on the highs and lows of life. On keeping the will to thrive strong in our hearts. ~I got this book free for my honest review. And while I haven’t read any poetry in several years, I enjoyed this a lot. So many of her words resonated with me and some of the micro-fiction I was wishing was a full length story!

Currently Reading:

Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

None Like Him by Jen Wilkin

Tate (Montana Marshalls #2) by Susan May Warren (ebook) – this one is so good but with it being an ebook, I’m just not reading it much.

Zorro by Isabel Allende

To Read:

Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Chronicles of Narnia) by C.S. Lewis

Series Review – Chronicles of Narnia

9 Feb

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. Originally published between 1950 and 1956, this children’s classic series has become the author’s best-known work. It has sold over 100 million copies in 47 languages (thanks wikipedia for these fun facts). This was only my second time reading them – although as a home-schooler, I feel like I should have grown up reading them. Ha. But! I’m so glad I’ve been introduced to them now as an adult.

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There are seven in all, and while there is some disagreement on how they should be read – chronologically or the order in which Lewis wrote them, I’m not sure it matters too much. I think it comes down to personal preference. But, let me give you an overview of this series.

Each book chronicles adventures in the land of Narnia. Aslan’s country. Each time that the country faces real threat, children from our world are called to help. It takes courage and faith for these children to succeed at their tasks. They meet many friends, and many foes, along their journeys. From The Magician’s Nephew, we see the creation of Narnia and follow its entire history until it’s destruction in The Last Battle.

I love the little lessons that are learned along the way in each adventure – and the worlds they come upon. In reading reviews, a common feeling is that The Last Battle (#7) is the strangest of them all and in some ways I have to agree but I did still enjoy it. They all are a few hundred pages each so they are pretty quick reads. (I mainly read them while taking detox baths!)

I highly recommend these books, for any age. The lessons within are great for when reading aloud to kids, or even as reminders for adults.  If you haven’t read this series, I suggest you give it a try.

~Laura

*fun fact, the series we have is the set that my hubby grew up reading.*

Dec 2017 Book Reviews

5 Jan

It’s a blustery day here in Oregon, leaving the landscape looking slightly barren and depressing. There’s no snow, no sign of a cold, beautiful winter. Just windy, cloudy and rainy. But, that’s why there are such wonderful things as books to get lost in. I cannot believe I read 70 books in 2017 . I’ve decided to set this year’s reading goal to 60 books. I have always been an avid reader but I’m hoping to tone down my amount of reading just a smidgen and increase my amount of writing a lot! I enjoy keeping track of what I’ve read on Goodreads, it’s so much easier than writing them all down like I used to do.  (please tell me I’m not the only one who did that).

If you  missed it, I shared a post of my Top Reads of 2017 just last week, check it out!

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Photo by Alice Hampson on Unsplash

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson – Two princesses’ lives are thrown into turmoil. While both scramble to learn the ways of their new environments, political upheaval is on the horizon.

~As good as this story was, I admit to being a little disappointed with how much sexual content there was. While I realize that it was mild, it was still more than I like. Because of that, I don’t think I’ll read this book again – which makes me sad because I really liked Siri and Lightsong, and the different twists and turns and character development that happened throughout.

The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis – Shasta and Bree – a young slave and a talking horse – are running away from cruel masters. Their destination is Narnia.  But when they discover a plot to overthrow Narnia, their journey becomes a race to warn the people of the impending attack.

~Series review coming next month!

Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman – A compelling love story between a young Irish girl, Katherine Mary O’Fallon, new to the Canadian wild, and Sergeant Mike Flannigan of the Canadian Mounted police.

~This is a yearly – winter read for me. The wilderness and those occupying it – the animals, peoples and nature itself – are described so vividly, it’s a delight. The heartbreak that occurs will tear your heart out just as surely as you’ll rejoice when good things happen. If this book isn’t considered a classic, I’m not sure why. Read it, you’ll be glad you did. 

Cowboy Christmas by Mary Connealy – When singer Annette Talbot shows up, with trouble following close on her heels, Elijah Walker has to decide if she’s telling the truth or lying. Like his ex- fiancee. Despite himself, he’s drawn to her – and just when he decides to trust her, he finds out she’s a wanted woman. Will he find out the truth before he loses Annie forever?

~ This was my second time reading this sweet romantic mystery. I liked how Connealy dealt with Elijah’s struggle to forgive himself and Annette’s mis-guided belief in ‘bearing her cross’. Faith is central to this novel, and it’s done very well. It’s a great Christmas-time western read.

For Men Only by Jeff and Shaunti Feldhahn

~A full review along with its companion book, For Women Only, will be up this month!

An Amish Christmas : December in Lancaster County by Beth Wiseman – Forgiveness is on the horizon – or is it? – for several people in Lancaster County. Facing some of their deepest fears at Christmastime has the potential to change their lives.

~I forgot how sweet these stories were. I enjoyed all 3 of them – I am seeing on Goodreads that it says there’s four novellas, my copy doesn’t have “Christmas Cradles”. A good way to describe these are Hallmark movies set in an Amish community – and that’s not a bad thing. They deal with different struggles, but all 3 stories tie in with each other. They may be a bit cliched but sometimes that’s what you want. It only took me a few days to read all of them, they are quick, fun reads for anyone. 

 

Currently Reading: 

Adrenal Fatigue by Dr. Wilson

Samantha Among the Brethren by Marietta Holley

The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis

The Supernatural Ways of Royalty by Kris Vallotton

 

 

To Read:

A Yellow Journalist by Miriam Michelson

The Writer’s Journey by Vogler (finish!)

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

 

What are you reading?

 

While covering different genres, I do not read anything that has blatant sexual content. I will tell you if there is any sort of such (typically very mild and delicately put) in them and if I don’t think they’d be appropriate for young/teenage readers.

~Laura

Nov 2017 Book Reviews

8 Dec

Hello again! I read varying types of books this month – and am sad to say there are a few that I didn’t care much for. I do love how much I was able to read this past month though! I have already more than met my Goodreads goal of reading 52 books this year.

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Just the Essentials by Adina Grigore 

~This was a fun book that tells about the history, composition and encouragement to enter the world of essential oils. To make it even better, there were several do it yourself recipes for the home, personal care and cooking.

Jewish Roots by Dan Juster

~ As an introductory book about Messianic Judaism, this book (originally printed in 1995 I believe) did a nice job of answering a lot of questions. It was easy to read. I recommend this as a good starting place if you’re curious about how it got started, where it was at at the point of printing and the basic beliefs and traditions. It would go well with God-Fearers as well.

Beside Still Waters by Annalee Conti  When Violet Channing’s aunt, her sole relative, dies, she isn’t sure what she’ll do. She certainly doesn’t want to continue working in the Boston garment factory, so she takes a job in the Yukon Territory as a live-in teacher for a sick child. As she’s traveling, she falls in love with a Yukon riverboat captain. But, tragedy strikes again and Violet has to decide if she’ll become bitter or learn to love again.

~I received this book free from Ambassador International for my personal review. I was excited for this book as it’s set in the early 1900s and in Alaska, no less! After receiving it, I realized that it’s the third book in the Alaskan Waters Series. Perhaps this is why I didn’t get into the book until I was three-quarters of the way into it. I couldn’t connect with Violet well. It was interesting and fun to find out the history of Alaska that is sprinkled throughout the book. Some of the side characters I really liked and would have liked them to have an even bigger part! (like Cally).

Indelible by Kristen Heitzmann – When Trevor MacDaniel rescues a toddler from a cougar, he inevitably meets sculpter Natalie Reeve.  But trouble comes at them from all sides, including a twisted mind seeing him as an adversary. Can the hero save himself?

~I tried to like this one so much! My mom recommended it and let me borrow it but… I got a quarter of the way through (barely) and haven’t picked it up in weeks. I normally like Heitzmann’s books so I really want(ed) to like it but it just hasn’t hit the right note for me I guess.  I felt like I couldn’t get connected to one character before being introduced to another one; it almost felt like I was expected to already know a few of the characters; the main character felt like they should be more of a minor character (and then with talking to mom, apparently someone else is the main character so now I’m really confused). Anyway, since I have it for a few more months I’ll keep trying it but it might be a lost cause. Which makes me sad.

Prince Caspian (Chronicles of Narnia #2) and Voyage of the Dawn Treader (#3) by C.S. Lewis

~I will be doing a separate post on the Chronicle series (how have I not done it yet?!) but for now –  I love the completely different people they meet and  ‘worlds’ and they enter as they travel! And Reepicheep. Always Reepicheep.

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The Mermaid in the Basement (Lady Trent Mystery #1) by Gilbert Morris – In London, 1857, Lady Serafina Trent has one goal – prove that her brother is not a murderer. In order to do this, she must ally herself with people outside of her social class. But nothing will stand in her way.

~This book is probably in my top ten historical fiction list now. It’s also a mystery which, let’s be honest, makes it even better. I haven’t read much of Morris’ novels ( mostly just The Price of Liberty series, which I reviewed a little of here and here) so I wasn’t really sure what to expect but I quickly got pulled in and found it hard to put down! I highly recommend this novel. (fun fact: this is one of almost a dozen books my mom and I got for $1!!)

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For Women Only by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn

~I read this right after we got married and did a short review on it . I’m planning on reading the accompanying book For Men Only next and want to do a separate review for both – so here’s hoping! Suffice it to say that this book is well worth the read!

 

Currently Reading:

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

The Horse and His Boy  by C.S. Lewis

For Men Only by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn

 

To Read:

Adrenal Fatigue by Dr. Wilson

Samantha Among the Brethren by Josiah Allen’s Wife (printed 1892)

Next Narnia book

Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman

 

I hope you found something to add to your to-read list! Happy December!

~Laura

 

Book Reviews

25 Oct

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I have been doing quite a bit more reading lately – not feeling well for a month can have that affect on one’s life! So I thought I’d share what I’ve been enjoying.

Wildwood Dancing by Julliet Mariller. This is one of my favorite novels. It is a retelling of the fairytale of the 12 dancing princesses. I love how she writes. Any book i read after this one, just doesn’t compare. I’ve learned it’s best to actually hold off on starting another one so that the wonderfulness of this one can fade a bit. =) Now, if you don’t like any magic in your stories, I encourage you to give it a try anyway. The story is simply wonderful. ( And I am waiting for the day to own this one! So far, I have to get it from the library.) Living in Transylvania, in an old castle, is Jena and her sisters. With faithful Petru and Florica they try to get through the bitterly cold winter.  Jena and her sisters monthly go to another world – the ‘other kingdom’ – dancing with fairies and trolls and the list goes on. But tragedy strikes that none could have prepared for. (eek! now i want to read it again!)

The Cubicle Next Door by Siri Mitchell. A funny romance novel set in Colorado. An office worker suddenly has her cubicle divided and now has to share her space with a cocky pilot turned academy teacher…..and I’ll let you read the rest! A delightful ‘fluffy’ story of love and learning to take risks when it comes to love. Very sweet.

(The Chronicles of Narnia) The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis. I am about 3/4 of the way through this one and am enjoying it immensely! I cannot believe I didn’t grow up reading this series.  It is the story of, well, basically, how Narnia and the White Witch came about. There was a part that I got a bit lost in what was happening, but I just kept reading. I enjoy how Lewis weaves the story along. His descriptions are so good.

Aside from novels, I have finished a devotional that I personally met the other! Wife After God by Jennifer Smith. It’s a 30 day devo that has scriptures to read and questions to answer afterward. I have found that to be a rare thing these days when it comes to devotionals. Scriptures and daily questions. I absolutely recommend this to any wife!

For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn. We got given this and the accompanying book For Men Only as a wedding gift and I learned so much from it! I recommend this book too. Great information about how men are wired. How God has designed them to process and work through things differently than us women!

Upcoming books for me:

City of Tranquil Lights by Bo Caldwell

Next book in the Narnia Series

I am on the lookout for another daily devo with scriptures and questions, if anyone has suggestions, that’d be great!

Well, I hope you  enjoyed these reviews!

The next reviews will be Jewish- focused. My OH has a great library that I’ve slowly been picking through.

So, grab a cup of tea, snuggle down in a comfy chair and read!! Happy Reading!

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