Friday, 28 October 2011

Emma ~ Jane Austen

Emma fancies herself a matchmaker and a good one at that.  Vowing never to marry she finds enjoyment in finding "matches" for her acquaintances.  But when match after match ends in heartache, she begins to reconsider her matchmaking abilities.  And when her resolution to never marry gets put to the test and she begins to see that the only man she could ever marry is quite possibly in love with someone else, her world threatens to fall apart.


Being a huge fan of Jane Austen I loved this book! I'd seen several versions of movies, so I knew what was going to happen.  But, of course no movie can fully capture a book, so there were a few surprises for me!
Find it! Read it! Love it!

Finding God's Path Through Your Trials ~ Elizabeth George

When faced with trials it's sometimes hard to stay focused on God and to know where and how to go.

Elizabeth George does not claim to have all the answers, nor does she have the "few steps to complete happiness", but she does have the Bible, which she so wonderfully leads us through to show us how God intends for us to deal with our trials.  But not to just deal with them but get through them and get through them in a God honoring way which makes us more like Christ.

Sundays At Tiffany's ~ James Patterson

Ever have an imaginary friend?  Jane did, his name was Michael.  They were the best of friends.  He was really her only friend and then one day he had to leave her. Jane was devastated and crushed.  But years later a grown-up Jane is wondering if you are really supposed to see your imaginary friend when you're 20 or 30 years old and if you're really supposed to fall in love with them?


I thought this was a sweet story.  There was an adult scene which need to  be left out.  It was a quick, easy read, but would I read it again?  Probably not.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Golden Hours: Hymns and Songs of the Christian Life ~ Elizabeth Prentiss

Trials, sorrow, death, hurt and hard times are what seemed to fill Elizabeth Prentiss life.  Yet, rather then become bitter and hard she let God mold and shape her into such a wonderful, Godly, inspiring woman.  She is one of my heroes and a dear friend.  Only one touched by such grief and shown such grace and mercy can pen such wonderful encouraging words as she has. This little book is the door to her heart through poems and hymns. But not just to her heart, as you read you begin to realize, she knows what you've been going through, too. Many tears were shed as I read this, many prayers and many quiet, thoughtful moments. Really, find this book! You will not fail to be encouraged spiritually from it! It has become a new favorite of mine.

Beauty ~ Robin McKinley

An enchanted castle, a beast, a rose and a young girl; forced to choose between her family and living with a beast, Beauty chooses the beast.  But why the forced decision?  Why the need to have her there, locked in a dark castle that is filled with unseen people and things? Why her?

Beauty, as you may have guessed, is a retelling of the well known tale "Beauty and the Beast".  I received this book as a gift and am so thankful I did! I'd never heard of McKinley and I'm sad I hadn't! I was drawn into her writing almost instantly.  She writes very well and I love her almost-old-English style of writing! The way she describes things is simply wonderful! A little different spin on the story than what Disney had us all believing in the movie, but I wouldn't change it! I liked it much better than the cartoon movie I grew up with.  Find it, read it, love it! Who says fairy tales are only for children?

Taste and See ~ John Piper

This book is the expanded edition of the "Godward Life II" devotional. The subtitle is "Savoring the Supremacy of God in All of Life." Piper does well in keeping his focus on Christ and I have enjoyed reading many books by him.  I did greatly enjoy reading this one as well.  Although I  would not agree with every thing Piper says, as a whole I would readily recommend this book.  There are a total of 140 "devotionals" in this book, each about 2 to 2 and a half pages long. It is a very easy, quick read.  Yet, in spite of the "quickness" of the devotionals this book does not fail to convict and challenge.  If you find it, pick it up!

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Seaside Letters ~ Denise Hunter

Sebrina is a kind, sweet waitress at a small town cafe. Everybody knows her at the cafe and loves her. Sabrina has fallen in love with Tucker, who comes to the cafe every morning. Tucker seems oblivious to Sabrina but Sabrina has a secret.  She has been e-mailing Tucker (without revealing who she really is) and she has made him fall in love with her. Tucker is so in love with this girl that he's been e-mailing that he "hires" Sabrina to help him find this "mystery" girl. Little does Sabrina know, however, that Tucker is keeping secrets of his own. And from out of nowhere we learn of Sabrina's past and why she's afraid to tell Tucker that the girl he's e-mailing is actually her.

I just loved this book.  I loved Denise Hunter's style of writing.  It had me from the first paragraph. It is a love story, so if you're not interested in reading loves stories, I'd steer clear of this one.  But, as I've said, I just thoroughly enjoyed it!

Extreme Devotion ~ Voice of the Marytrs

A daily devotional book for one year, this book has one story or quote a day to remind us that people are suffering for Christ.  Not just suffering as we think of suffering (not enough money, people don't like us, we live so far from family and friends) but hard extreme suffering: death, beatings, starvation, watching loved ones and family members being tortured. This book is a real eye-opener and also a reminder for us to pray for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who do truly suffer for Christ's name.

Wind in The Willows ~ Kenneth Grahame

We are first introduced to Mole. A sweet, kind, caring animal who has started his spring cleaning.  Feeling an itch to know what's above and outside of his home he digs up, up and up until he reaches the surface. We then are introduced to Rat, another kindred spirit who befriends Mole. After a while we learn of Mr. Badger and Toad.  Many adventures are recorded about Mole and Ratty. Such wonderful friends.  But as the story continues we learn of Toad. What a careless, reckless and thoughtless animal he is. He gets himself into a heap of trouble far away from his dear Toad Hall. Will he find his way home again? Is there any hope for such a wayward Toad? And the big climax at the end has you wondering if four such friends can save a house from hundreds of pesky weasels.

This book took me a little while to get through.  It doesn't, necessarily, grab your attention and carry it all the way through. It's a delightful read and an enjoyable relaxing book.  It was a bit rough in spots.  Grahame can get a little carried away with descriptions and such and it is written in an older English style.  But enjoyable and fun, just the same.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Sense and Sensibility ~ Jane Austen

Elinor and Marianne Dashwood are two penniless sisters who encounter trials in life and love. They weather the storm of those trials though, and they emerge as mature and fulfilled women.
I recently reread this novel, and I enjoyed it every bit as much as the first time I read it 15 years ago. One thing that really struck me this time through was how cruel and selfish so many of the characters acted. John and Fanny Dashwood are extremely conceited and careless of others’ feelings; it makes the reader cringe. But it makes the Dashwood sisters’ triumphs that much more celebratory. You want them to have a happy ending so badly, and when it materializes for both sisters you can’t help but rejoice. Another thing I like about this novel is that amidst the bad characters are truly selfless people--people who conduct their lives with dignity and integrity--and those characters have happy endings too.

The story ends joyfully. What else can you ask for? :)

Pride and Prejudice ~ Jane Austen

We’re all familiar with this famous love story between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett. But since I have never written a review on it, and I just reread the story over Christmas, I decided now was a great time to post my thoughts. :)

I like this book immensely. Ms. Austen does a great job of developing the characters personalities; you feel that you are embodying Elizabeth as you read her thoughts. Austen does not describe the characters’ physical characteristics though. I suppose she wanted us readers to determine for ourselves whether Elizabeth was a brunette or a redhead; whether Mr. Bingley had a beard, etc.

The book is long, as is most classic literature, but it is worth persevering to the end when the two main characters finally come together. Personally after having read it so much I pay most attention to the dialogue, which is really the highlight of this book. There are several areas though where it would have been beneficial if Austen had told us who was speaking. I had to reread parts of the conversation so I could decipher who said what.

Another aspect of this story that I truly love is all the letters. Darcy’s letter of defense written to Lizzie is a pivotal point in the novel. Giving the reader important information via a letter makes the book feel more intimate.

I would encourage everyone to read this novel just once. It really is worth all the hype surrounding it.

And Then There Were None ~ Agatha Christie

In this short mystery story ten strangers are brought to an island and left there for the weekend without any contact with the adjoining town. One by one the strangers die, and the culprit seems to be enjoying themselves. The island is searched by the remaining people, but they discover there is no one else on the island but themselves. Who is the master in charge of this dangerous game?
This book was a fast-read. And it is also entertaining; you want to keep reading so you can find out who the killer is. And there was a surprise ending. Overall a decent book.

The Alchemist ~ Paulo Coelho

This book follows the adventure of a young Spanish shepherd. He is on a quest to fulfill his “personal journey” to the Egyptian pyramids. Once there he hopes to find a treasure, thus his purpose in life will be realized.
If the above summary left you confused you aren’t alone. I read this whole book without really understanding the plot or the point in general that the author was trying to make. Basically, it’s a book filled with new age mysticism blended with Jewish and Muslim ideas. The author makes the statement that everyone has a “personal journey” that they’re on, and if they recognize what that journey is then all of creation will work together to help them achieve it. But along with that the author writes, “Where your treasure is there your heart will be.“ Sound familiar? As a Christian I found myself thinking often, “No. That’s wrong”, or “Well, that tiny tidbit is accurate”, etc. I could see many people being lead astray by the ideas in this book. Avoid it.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ~Jules Verne

It is the year 1866. Captain Nemo has shunned life on land and opted for a continual life at sea aboard his amazing submarine the Nautilus. Unfortunately he takes on board 3 prisoners, and they join him for almost a year under the ocean; observing the strange and fanciful flora and fauna that exist under the waves.
Jules Verne must not have employed an editor. This book was basically a glorified science book. Two-thirds of the story consisted of Verne describing the various fish and plants he thought existed in the oceans of the world. The other one-third was actual story-line. The story itself was alright. It’s written from the point-of-view of one of the captured prisoners, and obviously adventures do take place aboard the Nautilus. But those adventures are written in a manner that makes them less thrilling than they could have been in more capable hands.

I had two versions of this story: and abridged edition and the original full-length text. If you are at all interested in this book I would highly recommend reading the abridged version as it sticks with the story itself and doesn’t include the majority of the sea-life descriptions.