Tag Archives: classic books

Book Review – Lorna Doone

16 May

Have you ever fallen in love with a name simply because you saw a movie once?

Lorna Doone is one of those for me.

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I watched the movie years ago and enjoyed it (although I’ve only got vague recollections about it now) so that when I saw a copy of it at Powell’s bookstore the other month, I knew I had to get it.

It took me a while to get through it – it’s written in a harder-to understand style so that I often grabbed another novel for something fluffier and easier to follow. But I enjoyed it SO much. I figure I’ll enjoy it more the second time reading it, being more familiar with the story and shouldn’t get bogged down with trying to picture things – and having to look up words. (like culvern.)

Synopsis:  The Doones are a hated family that terrorize the country. Their violent, plundering ways often end in murder. After losing his father to the Doones’ love of violence, John Ridd knows there isn’t any good in the lot of them. But then, he meets Lorna. The girl that is at odds with her evil family, due to a gentle heart and giving nature. He determines to rescue her but never imagines all he’ll have to go through in order to do just that.

The way Blackmore threads together so many characters over a long period of time is amazing. As I neared the end I just got more impressed – and more intrigued by how he was going to finish it. I’ll even admit to setting it down because I was so upset by what just happened that I couldn’t take it. Of course, that only lasted maybe a minute before I picked it up again! The side characters he created are fantastic  – Gwenny with her heartbreaking tale and stoic nature, Tom Faggus the ‘heroic’ outlaw, Uncle Ben with his many secrets, Annie who is the only one who knows of John Ridd’s true feelings (aside from, of course, Lorna) and the list goes on! I do wish I’d been able to read it quicker as then I wouldn’t have forgotten who some of the characters were.

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anyone else have a love for puffin classic editions?

 

 

Now I want to watch the movie again. Preferably this one from 2001.

I can recommend this book – although probably not for younger readers as its plot can get very hard to follow and while the violence isn’t gory, it might be too much for someone younger. All in all, a wonderful classic that I’m so glad I finally read.

Have you read Lorna Doone? What’s your favorite classic novel?

~Laura

 

Book Review – April 2017

25 Apr

This month has been full of reading, folks! I’ve made a conscious effort to pick up a book instead of turn on the tv, and this month’s list is the result.

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When Bad Things Happen to Good People  by Harold S. Kuchner  – Striving to answer the age-old question ‘why, God?’, Kuchner shares the doubts and fears that often come with the question. He shares his wisdom as a rabbi, reader and parent in the hopes to bring comfort to the reader.

~This was recommended to me – that’s the only reason I finished it. I’m not a fan of this book. There were very few points that were made that I either didn’t already know or agreed with. That probably sounds arrogant but I don’t mean it to be. He has different beliefs than I do, and his including those (evolution for one), I felt to be unnecessary and distracted from the point of the entire book. If I rated these, this would be half a star.

The Shepherd’s Voice by Robin Lee Hatcher – Finally free from prison, Gabe has a hard time finding work during the Great Depression. He heads home, hoping his father will take him in. Instead he finds compassion and faith when Akira offers him a job and a home.

~This is a favorite that I read once a year. I love the journey that Gabe and Akira go through. As well as the faith and life lessons peppered throughout. Plus it’s set in the 1940’s (?) in Idaho. Fantastic setting.

Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott – As a sequel to Eight Cousins,  we revisit Rose after she’s traveled the world for two years. She’s decided that before she marries, she wants to show that she’s an independent young woman. But the world is at odds with her decision, making her wonder just who her true friends are.

~Another delightful story from Alcott. The twists were unexpected and surprising – I had a hard time putting it down! In fact, i read it in just a few days. Highly recommend this, young or old.

Captain’s Courageous by Rudyard Kipling – When young millionaire, Harvey, is swept overboard and rescued by a fishing boat, his life is forever changed. The crew teaches him how to fish, and how to be a man.

~This was a birthday present and came with a recommendation from one of my nephews. I enjoyed this book so much, although I will admit to still not knowing what a ‘foc’sle’ is. Kipling wrote a classic boy’s adventure with this one. Highly recommend, for young or old readers!

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy – Click through for my full review! For now, I’ll say that I enjoyed this novel immensely.

Created to Live by Cathy Harris – Click through for my full review! Well worth the read on a heartbreaking and controversial topic.

Currently Reading:

Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss ~I am listening to this as an audio book via Librivox. If I had a copy in hand, I would have read it within a week, most likely. As it is though, I listen to it on the nights when I’m in too much pain to sleep. Very entertaining and not sure how I haven’t read it already!

Messianic Jewish Manifesto by David H. Stern ~ Pulled this from my OH’s library. I’m moving through it really slowly but it’s a good read so far. I am able to understand it without feeling overwhelmed. 

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson ~ A favorite that I read probably twice a year. Here’s a review from a few years ago if you want to check it out.

Revision and Self-Editing for Publication by James Scott Bell ~I picked this up at the library and am eager to get any helps on editing my first novel!

Once again, I’m joining the Reading Roundup linkup. Click the picture and find some more great reads!

Reading Roundup

What are you currently reading?

~Laura

Book Review – The Scarlet Pimpernel

18 Apr

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy is a story of adventure, romance and political intrigue during the French Revolution. I’ve only seen THIS version of it, and loved it so much that I finally found a dvd copy to buy. Then, one day at Powell’s, in the Childrens Classic section (also known as my favorite section), I found a copy of the book! It only took me a week to read it- I had a hard time putting it down! What’s fun is that the movie that I love was actually taken from this book as well as El Dorado,  so now I’m even more excited to read the continuations of the adventures of The Scarlet Pimpernel! I didn’t even know there were more books. EEK!

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-Set in the tumultuous times of the French Revolution, one Englishman and his loyal followers dare to brave La Guilloutine and rescue a number of aristocrats – men, women and children. These cunning escapes ignite a hatred in one man especially, Chauvelin, a ruthless French agent, who has sworn to find the identity of the Scarlet Pimpernel and capture him. It will take all the bravery and wits that the clever Englishman has to elude his clutches, as well as still keep his promises.

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~side note, I was just reading through the comments here, and apparently S.P. isn’t even the first one! now to find the others!~

I will state that even  though the book was quite different from the movie, I loved them both. There are different aspects of the book that would have been nice to see carried over to the movie, but perhaps they were in other versions.

This is written in an easy-to-understand way, not like so many other classics that you’ve got to have a dictionary handy just to understand it! I highly recommend this story – for young and old. A guaranteed new favorite!

~another side note, just found the entire movie made in 1934 on youtube. Now I’m gonna have to give it a shot! 

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~a very young Ian Mckellen is in the 1982 version! Enough said right there.

Have you read The Scarlet Pimpernel? What’d you think? 

~Laura

~ 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. ~

 

 

Book Review – The Little Prince

19 Aug

You will forgive me if I can’t wait til the monthly review to share this book with you!

My eldest brother introduced me to it years ago- and while I’ve loved it ever since I’m not sure I’ve read it again until just this week. Shocking, I know.

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Synopsis:

First written in 1943, the author reminisces when he met the Little Prince; he’d been forced to land his plane in the Sahara desert and out of nowhere a small boy appeared. The story the Little Prince then shared is full of adventure and lessons for anyone, even grown-ups, to learn.

I just HAVE to share a snippet from the book:

“So I lived my life alone, without anyone that I could really talk to, until I had an accident with my plane in the Desert of Sahara, six years ago. Something was broken in my engine…I set myself to attempt the difficult repairs all alone. It was a question of life or death for me : I had scarcely enough drinking water to last a week… I was more isolated than a shipwrecked sailor on a raft in the middle of the ocean. Thus you can imagine my amazement, at sunrise, when I was awakened by an odd little voice. It said:

“If you please – draw me a sheep!”

“What!”

“Draw me a sheep!”

I jumped to my feet, completely thunderstruck. I blinked my eyes hard. I looked carefully all around me. And I saw a most extraordinary small person, who stood there examining me with great seriousness…”

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(image from google)

Review:

I enjoyed the adventures of the Little Prince far more than I thought I would! Like I said, my brother gave me this book….erm, when I was an early teen probably, and haven’t read it since so I really didn’t remember much about it at all. But! I enjoyed the writing style, where the author talks to you, the reader. The pictures he drew, and subsequent explanations of them, are beautiful in their simplicity.

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The different planets that he traveled to, and those he met there, are captivating. I do think I like the fox the best though.

I highly recommend this short novel for anyone. It was a quick, very fun read. As you can see, my copy is in very rough shape, over half the pages are falling out!  I’m going to have to get another one before I read it again. Which I will be doing!  Have you heard that a new adaptation is being made?! I am so excited for it, check out the trailer!

Happy Reading,

Laura

update 8/18/2016 – the movie is now on Netflix!! I enjoyed it so much. The way they weaved together the story of the Little Prince and the little girl, her mom and the old man i.e. the Pilot was so seamless and didn’t take away from the original story at all. I kept saying over and over ‘they did so good on this! I love it!’  so much that I think my OH was going crazy by the end of the evening. If you’re on the hunt for a great movie to watch with the whole family (or by yourself), give this one a try!!!

Book Review – October 2015

29 Oct

Book Review for October already!! Your month is now complete and happy. Ha. I’m over-inflating the importance and excitement of this post but i’m tired, my puppy is wandering away from me……..

Ok, she’s sleeping with Lady. We’re good. What was I saying? Oh, tired. Yes, Laura is TiReD right now. But, there’s a puppy to train, a Lady to spoil and walk, a hubby to support, a house to clean and NANOWRIMO starts in a few days. Whew. No rest for the weary!

On to the book Review!

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The Best Gift by Irene Hannon (Sisters and Brides) –  A.J. Williams has inherited her late aunt’s bookstore, along with the store manager, Blake Williams.Their life philosophies are polar opposites – hers, go with the flow ; his, plan and be prepared. But they must learn to work together to beat a threat against their store. Will their tenuous friendship grow to something deeper and stronger?

– This has been a favorite for years. Being a book lover, and having an old dream of owning a bookstore, I adore any books that center around them. Being a rather short story, I appreciate the background given of the main characters and their individual struggles dealt with. This is a sweet romance story, a quick read. I highly recommend it.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman – Wesley and Buttercup are in love, but when Wesley goes away to find his fortune, tragedy strikes. Inigo trained for years to exact revenge on the man who murdered his father, only now he can’t find him. Vizzini is a professional criminal, intent on starting a war. Fezzik just wants to make rhymes and to not be alone. Intrigue. Torture. Daring Escapes. Miracles. True Love.

–  I have wanted to read this book for YEARS and years. But, I didn’t want a copy that was printed after the movie, I wanted a pre-movie copy. When that proved too hard to find, I caved and got the only copy I could find. It was definitely different than I was expecting but I still really enjoyed it. The background on Fezzik, Inigo, Wesley…Well, all of them really, was fun. I can see some people not being able to enjoy it what with all of Goldman’s inserts and comments throughout. Shrug. I was though and it is one I will re-read over and over and over and over again.

Brothers of the Outlaw Trail (Heartsong Novella Collection) – Follow a band of outlaw brothers as they seek redemption and love – Reuben Wilson struggles with the guilt of turning his brothers into outlaws. Colt wants revenge on the outlaw who turned him in. Caleb tries to make a new start as a sheriff in a small town. And Benjamin tries to leave his life as a professional gambler behind.

–  These short stories were fun! I enjoy westerns, especially when they are set in the late 1880’s as these are. Each is written by a different author, so to me it helps give each brother a different voice and personality. (has anyone else felt like sometimes siblings are too similar in books?) As they are so short, I was sad to reach the end of each of them. I’d love it if somehow I could read an  ‘extended edition’ of them. Dreaming, I know.

Hidden Places by Lynn Austin – Eliza has wanted a home all her life. After 10 years of having one, she isn’t about to let it go now. Wyatt Orchards is hers and her kids’. But keeping it up is more than she can handle. Help comes in the unexpected form of a hobo, who shares similarities to her late husbands’ lost brother. The pain and heartbreak in the farmhouse is overflowing, will it take a hold of Eliza as well?

– I know I’ve read this book before but I’m in the happy position of not remembering it other than that I really enjoyed it. I am halfway through and already am completely sucked in. It is set in the 1930s  – and i’m falling in love with Aunt Batty. A must read for sure!

Do you have a book that you’ve been dying to read but still haven’t? Share! 

(pssst, just so you know, it’s that time of year again for me to read Wildwood Dancing. So. Be prepared for a review on it next month most likely. It has made its way out of the bookshelf and onto my desk here…just beckoning to me.)

~Laura

Book Review – Sept 2015

2 Oct

Happy October, Readers! The month for pumpkins, pipes and puppies. (read: pumpkin patch, firepit evenings and a new puppy in two weeks!) I started this book review the beginning of this week but kept realizing I had forgotten another book I had read. Whew! I will, in order to relieve your mind, tell you that some of these I started the end of August. I did not read a dozen odd books in four weeks. Because that is kind of insane. More like six weeks. Somehow that’s better…??

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The Time Machine by H.G. Wells – An Inventor travels first thousands of years, and the millions, into the future and comes back with a fantastic story of his travels.

– short synopsis for you but this is a very enjoyable read. The tale he tells is engrossing. All a little fantastic, but it’s time travel, it’s supposed to be.

Quilter’s Daughter by Wanda E. Brunstetter Daughters of Lancaster County book 2 – When Abby Miller comes to Lancaster County to help her pregnant mother, she leaves behind a full life – a quilt shop and loving fiance. But when tragedy strikes, her faith is shaken and she seeks answers to her questions. But where will she find them – in her love of quilting? her past? the heart of an overlooked Amish man?

– Ahh, I enjoyed this book. I like reading these types of novels when life is hectic, for the pace of the Amish is slower than ours, and for those moments I’m in their world, riding in a buggy to town, baking bread or knitting by the fire. They are busy but not at the mad-dash-pace of our world. I always feel slightly lazy though…

The Bishop’s Daughter by Wanda E. Brunstetter Daughters of Lancaster County book 3 – After her father, Bishop Weaver, has an accident, Leona finds her faith shaken. While teaching at the one-room schoolhouse, an Englisher in search of his family, Jimmy Scott, is hired to paint it. They are drawn to each other, even knowing the obstacles in the way. Will Leona find the answers she needs, will Jimmy find his real family? Will their love survive?

– This book was a great end to the trilogy. Seeing the characters develop and grow from the first and second books was enjoyable. I also like how Brunstetter brings faith into her novels – it’s not in-your-face but still a central theme. I feel like her books would be a great option for girls just starting to read more ‘adult’ books, a good transition point.

Francesca’s Kitchen by Peter Pezzelli – Francesca Campanile loves to cook for her family. But with her children grown, she feels useless. When she finds an ad for a part-time nanny, she is sure she’s found the answer to her problems. Loretta Simmons is a single mother of two, struggling to make ends meet. She’s not sure what to make of her new nanny, but both women are surprised to learn how much they needed the other.

– I fall in love with Francesca every time I read this book. I also wish she was my grandma. A perfectly normal reaction, trust me. Her memories of raising her kids are spattered throughout as she tries to connect with the new generation focused on video games and junk food. My mouth waters as time and again, she cooks these wonderful dishes – full of cheese (i’m dairy free so bear with me with that remark…) that just makes me want to hop in the kitchen as well. The only negatives I can really say about this book is one insinuation that I really just want to block out  because it adds absolutely nothing to the story line. And Loretta does go on a date with a slime ball who tries something but it’s very minor and not graphic. Francesca is Catholic so that is brought into the book but it’s not a major theme or preachy. Mostly she mentions a few saints, goes to confession a few times and tries to do what she feels God is calling her to do. Overall, I am glad I ran across this book years ago! A good read.

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells – A young scientist becomes obsessed with finding a way to make things invisible. When he does create the serum, he tries it out on himself. Beforehand, he could only see the benefits of such an existance – freedom! – but reality sets in and with it, a descent into madness.

– I finished this just the other night and AH!! I enjoyed this immensely, even more than the Time Machine. I scored this book at Barnes and Noble on the sale on a sale on a sale rack – being a 2 books in 1 situation, I couldn’t pass it up. I’d never read Wells before but at least these two will be ones I come back to. I didn’t anticipate the ending at all.  And that makes me happy. I enjoyed the different ways the characters were brought into the story, and the adventures of the invisible man. I found on youtube that they made a movie in 1933 that I have simply got to own now.

The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis  -Man has been plagued by one question for years – ‘if God is good, why does he allow pain?” Lewis, who is known as the ‘greatest Christian thinker of our time’, answers this complicated question and seeks to heal a hurting world

-Lewis writes very differently than I am used to, so I am frequently re-reading sections in order to better grasp his point.  I am in the last few chapters now, it has moved from my bedside to the table so I read it while eating breakfast most mornings. I intend on putting it on the ‘read yearly’ list. There are many ‘ah-ha’ moments in it. Well worth the read.

HTML and CSS : Design and Build Websites – My OH got this for me and I intend on devoting a whole post to it once I’m through it. For now, let’s say that they have done a fantastic job on making it a book that while it teaches you how, it doesn’t intimidate the socks off of you at first glance. A huge bonus for me. I intend to work through it as it teaches, being more of a hands-on learner. Don’t hold your breath for the full review though – I have no idea when it’ll be.

The Count of Monte Cristo  by Alexandre Dumas – On the brink of the happiest day of his life, Edward Dantes is thrown in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. Years later, he learns of a treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo. He then focuses on escaping the grim fortress and, after finding the treasure- exacting revenge on the three men who ruined him.

– Since I was reading this on my phone last month, I have somehow stopped reading it. Guess I called it when I said I need to get an actual copy in order to finish it.  But don’t take my not finishing it as a sign that it isn’t a good read for it is! The development of the characters and the descriptions of what is going on are great.

And there you have it for September’s book review! Are any of these your favorites?

~Laura

*I’d like to note that any books I read are free of foul language or any immoral …stuff. If there is a hint of it, I will tell you but that is the most that I will read, and by default, will share with you. Not everything I read is faith-based though, so keep that in mind if that is your priority. *

*If you click any link here and buy from amazon, I will get a percentage from the sale. Just a way I’m trying to make a little money from this hobby of mine*

Book Review – July 2015

3 Aug

Hello again!

I am so very excited about the new look and direction for SGL! As I, even with the best of intentions, rarely posted crafts or recipes, I am going to focus on books, writing (what I’m working on and tips and encouragements), chronic pain management and will be continuing the Virtue Series until the end of the year. So far, these seem to be the topics that you, my lovely readers, are interested in. You will undoubtedly see other changes coming along over the next few months (me being an Amazon associate hopefully will be the first one!). I hope you like this new look and direction – but for today, we have the book review for July.

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I picked up a few books while at an antique store in Ca on vacation, To Kill a Mockingbird and The Mayor of Casterbridge. The former I read way back in high school and enjoyed it so I am interested in reading it again with a different perspective. The latter ,well, you’ll have to keep reading to hear what I think of it!

And yes, I am very excited about Harper Lee’s new book, Go Set a Watchman, but am far too cheap to pay full price for a book. Plus while in Ca, my mom and I got given two bags of novels from my aunt that I have never read any of! Who needs to buy books when you’ve got such family and friends??

The Mayor of Casterbridge – Thomas Hardy – While intoxicated, Michael Henchard sells his wife and young daughter. Upon realizing what he has done, he makes a vow to never drink again. Years pass and he rises up in wealth until he is the Mayor. Unexpectedly reunited with his wife and daughter, the shame that he has always had of his past is now put to right….or is it? This was such a great book!  Henchard is a tragic hero,  always seeming to get in his own way.  As I read more of the story, the harder it was to put down! The twists weren’t what I had expected and even the satisfying conclusion followed that pattern.  There is a moral lesson being taught throughout,  but I won’t spoil it for you – go read it for yourself!

Courting Morrow Little – Laura FrantzReturning home to Kentucky,  Morrow Little’s memories of the day Shawnee warriors destroyed her family come back full force. Will dealing with them while taking care of her ailing father, who has befriended two Shawnee, and the chaos of the war between the whites and ‘savages’ , be too much? Will she choose to marry a man she doesn’t love instead of letting go of her bitterness – and betraying the memory of those she loved – and pursue a life with a man of contradictions? This Book! Ah, this book. I have never read a book with this setting and story line – the struggle during the war raging in the 1760’s. I got sucked in the first page and was sad when it was over. I will admit to getting upset about 3/4 of the way through that something else had gone wrong. But it was still a great historical-romance-fiction-i’ll-be-reading-it-again-book!

The Secret – Charlotte Bronte –  A collection of short stories by Charlotte and her siblings are in this light read. Each are set in the imagined world of Verdopolis and are full of intrigue, lies and love. It has been fun reading through these again – being full of the beautiful maiden, heroic duke and crafty villian. If you are a fan of the Bronte’s, you must read these as they were written when they were young and still learning their own style of writing.

Elantris – Brandon Sanderson – I know, only last month I gave a review on it,  but I really hadn’t read it since March/April and it was the PERFECT book to read while on vacation! I loved it just as much the second time, picking up on different things said and referenced, which made it fun.

The Sherwood Ring – Elizabeth Marie Pope – After her father dies, Peggy Grahame Is sent to his ancestral home,  Rest-and-be-thankful.  She meets Pat Thorne, a British scholar , who is promptly tossed out by her Uncle Enos. As she is left to herself, and wondering when she’ll see Pat again,  Peggy learns the family’s history, and that the mansion really is haunted! This was such a fun read, and due to the fact that I read it while traveling, it was also a quick one! The storyline was unique and the characters – in both modern time and historical – were engaging.  I always enjoy a book that can pull off 2 different times. It would be great even for preteens. It is absolutely a book I’m going to be reading again.

The Problem of Pain- C.S. Lewis – ” How human suffering raises almost intolerable intellectual problems”- Lewis addresses one of man’s most frustrating questions, why do we suffer if there is a loving God?      I haven’t finished this book but it has been very good so far.  His way of wording things is different enough that I’ve had to go back sometimes and read a section again but that’s not a negative for me. It’s been nice to read about a question that I have struggled with off and on, I’m sure most of us have! Very enlightening and I’m only on the fourth chapter.

~If you purchase a book from Amazon by following a link here on SGL, I will get a percentage of the sale =) ~

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