Thursday, March 5, 2015


So....I'm not so good at writing posts. Of course, I've been very busy teaching and spending time with my kids, so I guess that's a good excuse. :-) I have, however, been reading constantly. I've been focusing on the Pop Sugar 2015 Ultimate Reading Challenge for the last couple of months. I've completed eight of the 50 challenges, reading ten books. Here is what I've read so far:

#3- A Book That Became a Movie- I read Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella. I have to admit, this book was slow for more to get into. I really love Sophie Kinsella, but Becky is a bit of a whiner! I did end up enjoying it, but it definitely isn't my favorite Kinsella book.

#4- A Book Published This Year- I read Thou Art With Me by Debbie Viguie. This is my favorite mystery series (The Psalm 23 Mysteries), so I adored this novel. I can't wait for more of the series to come out.

#5- A Book with a Number in Its Title- I read Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott. I kind of cheated with this one, as I've read it before, but I was really in the mood for it. :-)

#8- A Funny Book- I read I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella. As opposed to Confessions, I couldn't put this book down! It was simply adorable!

#9- A Book by a Female Author- I read Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott. I cheated here, too, but I had to reread the sequel if I read the first, right??

#16- A Book from an Author You Love That You Haven't Read Yet- I read Love on the Mend by Karen Witemeyer. This was a very cute novella. I really enjoyed it.

#32- A Trilogy- I read the Westward Winds Trilogy by Amanda Cabot. These are inspirational historical romances set in Wyoming. I really enjoyed them.

#39- A Book with Magic- I read For Love of Evil by Piers Anthony. This series is OK... I love parts of it, but then Anthony ruins it with sexism or preachiness.

#49- A Book Based On or Turned into a TV Show- I read The Clockwise Man by Justin Richards. This is a Doctor Who book (the first of the Ninth Doctor books). I liked it, but it didn't really feel like the Doctor and Rose.

Some of these books also fit into to my TBR Pile Reading Challenge as well. A lot of these books have been sitting on my Nook for quite some time. So, here's which ones fit:

1. Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
2. Summer of Promise (Westward Winds) by Amanda Cabot
3. Waiting for Spring (Westward Winds) by Amanda Cabot
4. With Autumn's Return (Westward Winds) by Amanda Cabot
5. I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
6. The Clockwise Man by Justin Richards

Happy Reading!

Friday, January 2, 2015

2015 TBR Pile Reading Challenge

The first challenge I am working on is the TBR Pile Reading Challenge. This seems like a great way to tackle some of the many free ebooks I've snagged over the last few years on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I am going to go for the First Kiss level, which is 21-30 books. I think this is easily doable, since I am doing other challenges as well (and hopefully they will overlap).

Here's a tentative list of the books I may read for this challenge (I'm leaving it completely open to change- I do get fickle with books from time to time!):

1. Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
2. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
3. Only a Novel: The Double Life of Jane Austen by Jane Aiken Hodge
4. Boy's Life by Robert McCammon
5. The Earl Next Door by Amanda Grange
6. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
7. Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
8. Marmee & Louisa by Eve LaPlante
9. Persuasion by Jane Austen
10. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
11. 1632 by Eric Flint
12. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
13. Miracles and Massacres by Glen Beck
14. Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

I'm going to leave the list here and add to it as books come to me. I'm excited about this challenge!


Monday, December 29, 2014

I'm back......and ready for challenges!

Wow! I was thinking to myself the other day about this blog. I had such high hopes about blogging about my love of reading and tackling the great works. Then, real life set in and it's been a really long time.

I haven't given up on reading- as if that were even possible! I've got three books to go to meet my 100 books goal for 2014, and I will make every endeavor to meet that goal by midnight on New Year's Eve.

So, I'm going to start blogging about books again... and I'm going to blog about genealogy, my other passion. I've spent the last year and a half getting back into my family research and I love it! It is so fulfilling to find out about the lives of the people I am descended from.

I'm going to be very ambitious for 2015. I'm restarting my Classics Challenge (with an updated list on the side). I'm also going to join the 2015 TBR Pile Reading Challenge (which, coincidentally enough, can coincide with the Classics although I will not be limiting myself to just Classics).

For genealogy, I'm participating in the Genealogy Do-Over. My research has been so sporadic over the years, especially when Josh and Jake were a lot younger. Now that they are teenagers, I am able to devote more time to my research. I've found a big mess of names with no idea of where I've found them. I'm excited to get my search organized and consistent guidelines set so that I can really create a family tree to be proud of.

So, for anyone out there who may be reading, welcome to my reading/genealogy hybrid blog! I'm ready for 2015!


Saturday, August 24, 2013

53. Little Women

My rating: 5 stars

“I've got the key to my castle in the air, but whether I can unlock the door remains to be seen.”  ― Little Women

Little Women is the story of the March sisters as they grow up during postbellum Massachusetts.

Little Women, published in two parts in 1868 and 1869, is classified as a Bildungsroman, or coming of age novel. The first part of the novel follows Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy through a tumultuous year of growing up while their father is serving in the Union Army. The second part of the novel, originally entitled Good Wives, picks up three years later and continues the story as the sisters grow up and marry.

Louisa May Alcott never intended for the book to be perceived as autobiographical, but it truly is. She based the main characters on her family, although they are idealized versions.
This is one of my favorite novels. Every time I read it, I feel enriched. I love the sisterly bond and the fact that the girls choose their own destinies, rather than allowing others to do it for them.  

There are multiple film adaptations:

Little Women (1917) – starring Daisy Burrell. The first film version was a silent film. The film is lost.

Little Women (1933) – starring Katharine Hepburn and Joan Bennett. This film was directed by George Cukor. It was a huge success and is still considered a magnificent adaptation.

Little Women (1949) – starring June Allyson, Peter Lawford, Margaret O’Brien, Elizabeth Taylor and Mary Astor. This film was a star-studded movie and was a top grossing film. However, it had several changes from the novel, which detract from the story.

Little Women (1978) – starring Susan Dey, Meredith Baxter, and Greer Garson. This was a TV film. I’ve never seen it, but I can’t really imagine liking it- William Shatner played Professor Bhaer to Susan Dey’s Jo.

Little Women (1994) – starring Winona Ryder, Susan Sarandon, and Christian Bale.  This film varies from the novel, but not in a way that detracts from the story. This is my favorite version.

It has also been adapted for the stage.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

38. Emma

Emma (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)My Rating: 5 stars

Ranked as number 38 on the Greatest Books Ever Written List.

“If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.” ― Emma

Emma tells the tale of Emma Woodhouse, a woman of means, who is an unrelenting matchmaker in early 19th century England. Emma, the sole caretaker of her father, spends her time trying to set people up, often with disastrous results.

Emma, published in 1815, is a Comedy of Errors novel. This type of novel satirizes a particular class of people. In the case of this novel, it is the gentry of 19th century rural England. Comedies of Errors tend to have stereotypical characters. Two that appear in Emma are the fop, someone who is overly concerned with his appearance, and the rake, someone who is a heartless womanizer. We see these two characters in Mr. Elton and Frank Churchill (though Frank may not be as heartless as he appears).

Jane Austen wrote Emma with the intention of creating a main character who no one would like. Emma at first appears to be frivolous and interfering. However, through the novel, we actually see Emma evolve into a much more mature character who recognizes her faults and shortcomings. The character of Emma was a departure for Austen, in the fact that Emma was not worried about income. Also, the character of Mr. Knightley is someone Emma has always known, as opposed to Austen’s other novels.

Emma has always been one of my favorite novels. It strikes me as being more similar to the modern world than Austen’s other novels. I have always loved Mr. Knightley’s character, almost more than Mr. Darcy in Pride & Prejudice. It is a novel I read again and again, never tiring of the different adventures Emma finds herself in.

There are several film adaptations of this novel:

Emma (1972) – starring Doran Godwin, John Carson. This was a six-part BBC miniseries.

Clueless (1995) – starring Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Brittany Murphy, Paul Rudd, Breckin Meyer. This was a modern adaptation of the novel, using Beverly Hills as the new location. The movie was a sleeper hit and spawned a two season TV series and a series of books.

Emma (1996) – starring Kate Beckinsale, Mark Strong, Samantha Morton. This was a TV movie from the BBC. It was a departure in the sense that Mr. Knightley was portrayed as much fiercer than in the novel.

Emma (1996) – starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Alan Cumming, Toni Collette, Ewan McGregor, Jeremy Northam. This film followed the story closely, but heightened the attraction between Emma and Mr. Knightley.

Emma (2009) – starring Romola Garai, Jonny Lee Miller, Michael Gambon. This was a BBC miniseries. It follows the novel closely.

There have also been numerous sequels and stage adaptations.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Update/Don Quixote :-)

I've finished updating my reviews and added one more- To Kill a Mockingbird. I actually read it last year, but it is #15 on my list, so I wanted to add the review. Great book if you haven't read it!

I'd forgotten how much I love Gone With the Wind. If you've never read it, you really must.

I'm about to give up on Don Quixote- it is hard to read for me, probably because the character is obviously insane and no one does anything. If you've read it, let me know if I should keep going. I'm in Book Two- does it get any better????

15. To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a MockingbirdMy Rating: 4 stars

Ranked as number 15 on the Greatest Books Ever Written List.

“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”
― To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird is the story of racial injustice in the mid-20th century south. The narrative centers on Scout Finch’s family and her observations of the town around them.

To Kill a Mockingbird, published in 1960, is classified as a Bildungsroman, or coming of age novel, and a Southern Gothic novel. Southern Gothic is a uniquely American literature, taking place completely in the Deep South. To Kill a Mockingbird illustrates this through the racism prevalent throughout the novel as well as the idiosyncratic characters, especially Boo Radley. The character of Atticus Finch is one of the greatest in literature. He is a normal man who steps up to do the right thing, no matter the cost.

Harper Lee based the book loosely on events in her own childhood, growing up in rural Alabama. She paints the characters with unique characteristics that make them seem like people you would know in real life, and creates a town that seems like a place you’ve visited before.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel. As a Southerner myself, I could see people I knew in childhood throughout this novel. Although I grew up in a very different time period, it still rings true.

There is one film adaptation:

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) – starring Gregory Peck, Mary Badham. Horton Foote adapted the story for film. It is considered one of the greatest American movies, with the character of Atticus Finch being named the greatest movie hero of the 20th century.

It has also been adapted for the stage.