Archive for category Library

What I’m Watching

I just finished watching episode five.  Little Dorrit is my favorite movie of all time.  I’ll be posting a review once I’m done watching it.

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Cleopatra VII: Daughter Of The Nile

Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile, 57 B.C. (The Royal Diaries)

Author: Kristiana Gregory 

Genre: Tween

My rating on a 1 – 10 scale: 8

Type: Historical Fiction

Time Period: Ancient

Main Characters: Cleopatra

My Review:  This is my favorite Royal Diary.  It starts with Cleopatra recording her worries that her evil sister Tryphena will have her killed since her father has gone into hiding.  The book continues along at a swift pace from Cleopatra’s escape to Rome with her father, to her account of staying a seaside villa, to their triumphant return to Alexandria.  This book is one of the best Royal Diaries written.

My Overall Opinion:  As I said above, this is my favorite Royal Diary.  It was the first one I’ve read and I’ve read it several times after that.  I would recommend this book to any girl.

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Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles

The Royal Diaries: Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles, Austria-France, 1769

Author: Katherine Lasky

Genre: Tween

My rating on a 1 – 10 scale: 4

Type: Fictional diary/historical fiction

Time Period: 1700’s

Main Characters: Marie Antoinette 

My Review:  This Royal Diary is, in my opinion, one of the worse ones.  Marie seems very whiny and she’s bored all the time.  I did find her descriptions of Versailles life interesting, but not enormously so.  

My overall opinion:   This Royal Diary is definitely not one of my favorites.  I would probably not recommend it.

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Isabel: Jewel of Castilla

Isabel: Jewel of Castilla, Spain, 1466 (The Royal Diaries)

Author: Carolyn Meyer

Genre: Tween

My rating on a 1 – 10 scale: 8

Type: Fictional diary/historical fiction

Time Period: 1400’s

Main Characters: Isabel

My Review:  This is my favorite Royal Diary.  One of the reasons is that the princess married for love and really did live happily ever after with her prince.  Isabel is in constant fear of being married off to men several times her age.  Her ladies-in-waiting rally around her, giving her their support, but what can she do?  Then, with the help of Bishop Carillo, she concocts a daring plan which just might get her married to a handsome, dashing prince.  Will she succeed, or will her brother stand in her way?

My overall opinion:   I really enjoyed reading this Royal Diary and would highly recommend it to any girl.

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What I’m Reading

Jane Eyre (Barnes & Noble Leatherbound Classics Series)

I’m currently reading Jane Eyre and I’m really enjoying it.

I probably won’t be posting a review when I’m finished it, because I can never find the right words to describe great classics.  Just read the book for yourself if you want to see what it’s about.

By the way, I reading a lot of classics these days and I have several books on my TBR shelf.  The include – Bleak House, The Olde Curiosity Shoppe, Persuasion, and Charity Girl (By Georgette Heyer.  It will be the first book of hers I’ve read.) 

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Pippin

Pippin

Author: Xaviére Devos

Genre: Children

My rating on a 1 – 10 scale: 10

Type: Picture Book

Time Period: Modern

Main Characters: Pippin

My Review:  I just finished reading a book to my four-year-old son and had to put up a review.  Pippin has everything a kitten could ever want.  Of course, his mama might not always want to wait for him, and his papa may need to wait until later to do something with Pippin, but they do love him.  Pippin’s only concern is that he can’t purr.  Who will teach him?  How can he learn this important cat skill?  

My overall opinion:  This is a sweet story that children will enjoy listening to and will remind all mamas and papas everywhere to slow down to “kitten” time in our crazy rushed world.

This post was written by Jennifer.

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Little Dorrit

Little Dorrit with illustrations

Author: Charles Dickens

Genre: Historical

My rating on a 1 – 10 scale: 10

Type: Classic

Time Period: Victorian

Main Characters: Little Dorrit, Arthur Clennam

My Review:  Little Dorrit lives in debtors prison with her father.  When an unexpected find brings them unexpected riches, will it become a blessing or a curse?

My overall opinion:  The reason I did such a short review is because I honestly can’t find words to describe this book.  I recently watched Little Dorrit 2008 and I like the book even better.  This book is a great read, although quite long.

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Emma 2009 Review

Let’s just say that I love this movie.  Even though I’ve watched it only once, it’s on my top three Jane Austen films (the other two being S and S 1995 and P and P 2005).  The things I like most about it are…Well, more about that later.

Miss Dashwood recently did an Emma 2009 review.  She was so clever in the way she summarized the plot that I decided to *borrow* it for my own review.  Apart from that all the rest of my review is all mine.

 Character A is happy, wealthy, beautiful, and an incurable matchmaker. She takes Character B under her wing and tries to make a fine lady out of her, but in the process foolishly advises Character B to turn down an offer of marriage from Character C, who isn’t rich enough to suit Character A. Character D, an old friend of Character A’s family, frequently has to reprove Character A for her thoughtlessness. (I’m tired of typing the word Character and so will abbreviate it to a plain C–so Character A will become C-A.) C-A tries to make friends with C-E, the niece of the talkative C-F, but C-E is standoffish and shy.

C-G, a church rector, comes calling on C-A and C-A immediately sets him up with C-B. C-B falls in love with C-G, but all is apparently lost when C-G declares his feelings for C-A, not C-B. Poor C-B. Anyway, the dashing young C-H comes to town and quickly captures the attentions of C-A, despite C-D’s warnings that C-H is far too full of himself. C-A fancies herself in love with C-H, but soon drops the idea when she is led to believe that C-B is in love with him–though, in fact, C-B actually has a bit of a crush on C-D. Meanwhile, C-G forgets C-A and marries C-I, a snobby young lady from London who is rude to everyone. At a picnic, C-A is thoughtless and rude to C-F (C-E’s aunt) and is severely scolded by C-D, who says that her meddlesome ways will catch up with her one day.

C-A, though not realizing it, is slowly falling in love with C-D. She is still not sure, however, about C-H, and is most surprised when she learns that C-H and C-E were engaged all this time and didn’t tell anyone–a shock indeed, since C-H was always rather rude to C-E in public. Then C-A finds out that C-B wasn’t interested in C-H at all, but rather C-D, and she realizes that she herself is in love with C-D. C-D, who had gone to visit his brother in hopes of forgetting C-A (he knew all along that he was in love with her) returns and proposes to C-A (best. scene. ever.). She joyfully accepts, and C-B ends up marrying C-C, who she shouldn’t have turned down in the first place. And everyone lives happily ever after, including C-A’s father, C-J, who likes to sit by the fire wrapped in scarves and eat gruel.

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Ok, back to my own thoughts.

Romola Garai and Johnny Lee Miller were both really, really good as Emma and Mr. Knightley (although I will always be partial to Gwenyth Paltrow’s and Jeremy Northam’s acting).  R.G. has captured Emma’s slightly annoying personality with her charm and wit and J.L.M. is the *almost* perfect Mr. Knightley.  Even my brothers (who profess to hate Jane Austen films) said he was the best one.  They should know because they’ve watched the 1996 and 1997 versions also.

[A little bit of Emma/Knightley dialog.  I’m not sure if I’m doing it exactly as it is.]

Emma: “He [Frank Churchill] has gone to London.  On an important errand.”

Mr. Knightley continues writing.

Emma: “To get his hair cut.”

Knightley: (now I’m sounding like Mrs. Elton! :))  “Of course.  Imperative business indeed.

[End of quote]

Mr. Woodhouse was perfectly played by Michael Gambon.  You got a sense of his anxiousness about Emma or Isabella, or in fact anyone.  My mom and I both really liked him.  He was a good father for Emma.

Mrs. Weston was, I believe, to young to be Emma’s governess.  But I still liked her a lot in her role.  And I like how they gradually make her become bigger and bigger throughout the movie until finally…Surprise! she has a baby.  

Some other characters – Miss Bates, Jane Fairfax, Frank Churchill.

Miss Bates might have been a little too young for her role but I think she played it very well.  Especially at Box Hill.  You literally feel how bad she felt when Emma insulted her.  Overall I found her to be a good Miss Bates.

Mom and I both agreed that Laura Pyper, who played Jane Fairfax would also make a good Jane Eyre.  She is sweet and shy and pretty.  I think that she plays Jane Fairfax’s role to perfection and as with Miss Bates, her best acting (IMHO) comes to play at Box Hill.

At the beginning of the film, Frank Churchill seems quite honest and gentlemanlike.  But then as the story gets deeper we find out a different side to him.  I think that he is the most believable (and likeable) Frank Churchill from any of the adaptions.

Mrs. Elton is the most annoying in this Emma then in any of the other Mrs. Eltons.  Mr. Elton (played by Blake Ritson who was Edmund in Mansfield Park, 2007) was also very annoying but I think Mrs. Elton won out.  

Harriet Smith is perfect in this adaption.  Pretty but very, very silly ( “Ship-court!”).  She very much looks up to Emma and follows her leading – very complacent.  Although I prefer Samantha Morton’s portrayal, Louise Dylan runs her a close second.

I think I’ve covered all the major characters and so now for some random bits and pieces.  If you haven’t watched the movie, you might not find this very interesting.  If you have, just sit back and enjoy.

I absolutely love this dress of Emma’s.  It seems to be royal blue silk with a ribbon sash.  I think it’s really beautiful. 

All of us were laughing at Emma’s fantasy of how Frank Churchill rescued Harriet ( “It’s alright now – You’ll be alright”)  It was just so ridiculous but she was so serious.

I really enjoyed the music.  It was so sweeping and cheerful.  

The dance – the Mr. Knightley/ Emma dance.  Oh my.  They fall in love right then and there and they don’t even know it.  So wonderful. 

And finally the proposal.  *sniff, sniff*  

And the white cliffs of Dover…

All my photos came from here.

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October Song

October Song

Author: Beverly Lewis

Genre: Amish Fiction

My rating on a 1 – 10 scale: 7

Type: Christian Fiction

Time Period: Modern

Main Characters: Katie, Daniel, Sarah, and lots of others

My Review: I enjoyed reading October Song because it included sequels to two of the books/series I’ve read – The Redemption of Sarah Cain and The Heritage of Lancaster County series.  My favorite part of the book (there are three parts) was probably the first one – Hickory Hollow.  I also enjoyed the last section, a sequel to The Redemption of Sarah Cain, but I skipped the middle part because I had not read the book(s) it was a sequel to.

My overall opinion:  A great read for anyone who has read and enjoyed B.L.’s works should read this.  However, if you have not read the books they are a sequel to, I suggest you read the originals first.

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What I’m Reading

Little Dorrit with illustrations

After watching the wonderful Little Dorrit 2008 miniseries, I resolved to read the book.  I had heard such good reviews of it from other bloggers and so far I’ve not been disappointed.  It’s a very interesting book.  When I’m done it, I will definitely post a review.

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Oliver Twist

Oliver Twist (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

Author: Charles Dickens

Genre: Classic

My rating on a 1 – 10 scale: 7

Type: Down-to-earth

Time Period: Mid-1800′s

Main Characters: Oliver Twist, Fagin

My Review: I enjoyed reading Oliver Twist for the Charles Dickens Reading Challenge.  Oliver Twist is a young orphan who, after running away from his cruel master finds himself in London.  He is taken in by a pack of thieves who try to make him steal.  But Oliver refuses to do their bidding…This story of good triumphing over evil makes for a fascinating read.

My overall opinion:  I was surprised at how easy Oliver Twist was to understand.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading it but for one thing…Charles Dickens seems quite anti-Jewish and constantly referred to Fagin as ‘the Jew’.  But other than that, it was an interesting read.

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Sense and Sensibilty

Sense and Sensibility

Sense and Sensibility is a story about two girls – Elinor (sense) and Marianne (sensibility).  When they move to Barton cottage with their mother, Marianne is swept off her feet by a dashing stranger, Willoughby.  Meanwhile, Elinor must mask the love she feels for Edward Ferrars because it is impossible for them to marry.  When Willoughby leaves suddenly, Marianne is heartbroken and succumbs to her ‘sensibility.’  How the two sisters find their own true loves makes and interesting and enjoyable read for anyone.

Sense and Sensibility

This S and S graphic novel is not the best Jane Austen graphic novel I have seen.  On one hand, it stays true to the book – often directly quoting it in places.  On the other hand, the artwork is atrocious.  The characters heads swell out of proportion with warning, Elinor is unattractive to say the least, and the overall appearance is quite shabby.  However, it did follow the book closely.

Colonel Brandon's Diary

I love Colonel Brandon’s Diary by Amanda Grange.  I have read all her ‘diaries’ except Henry Tilney’s and this one is the best one.  It goes far back into Colonel Brandon’s life and recounts how he fell in love with the first Eliza, lost her, found her, and how he took care of her daughter when she died.  It tells the story of S and S skillfully and believably.  I love reading this book over and over again.

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Jane Austen: A Life

Jane Austen

Author: Claire Tomalin

Genre: Biography

My rating on a 1 – 10 scale: 10

Type: Non-fiction

Time Period: Written in modern times.

Main Characters: Jane Austen

My Review: Jane Austen: A Life is the best biography on Jane Austen I have ever read (and I’ve read several).  The biography is written in a semi-story format.  Claire Tomalin takes myths, traditions, and hard facts about Jane Austen a makes a highly entertaining biography.  It has a whole chapter devoted to Mansfield Park – “Inside Mansfield Park” which I enjoyed.  I think I can say that M.P. is my favorite Jane Austen novel.

My overall opinion:  A great book, entertaining read, and a good authority on Jane Austen and her family.

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Nick of Time

Nick of Time (Nick McIver Series #1)

Nick of Time is the thrilling story of young boy named Nick and his little sister in pre-WWII Britain.  When Nick finds an old sea chest he’s intrigued by the name on the top.  His name.  When an English Lord and his assistant help open the chest, they find Leonardo Da Vinci’s fabled time machine, and a startling note for help – from two centuries ago.  Nick and his friends travel back in time to help one of the British navy’s ships escape danger.  Meanwhile, his little sister, Katie and her friend Hobbes stay in the present and fight a battle of wits against treacherous Germans aboard a dangerous submarine.  This book is a thrilling read that will keep you spellbound till the end.

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Katie’s New Life

Katy's New World (Katy Lambright Series #1)

Katie is a Mennonite girl.  Her thirst for learning leads her to the local high school (under consent of the church elders).  When Katie starts making friends at school, her Mennonite friends become jealous.  Meanwhile, Katie must contend with the veiled disapproval of her community.  This is a very interesting book that I would highly recommend to any young teenage girl.

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Race to the Rescue

Race to the Rescue

Race to the Rescue is the exciting last book in the Saddle Island Trilogy.  When Kelsie is given a beautiful Thoroughbred rescue, she becomes suspicious.  The people who gave Diamond to her didn’t seem right.  When Kelsie and her friend Jen discover a smuggling ring, will they be able to save themselves and Diamond in time?

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Who is Alfie?

One of my three-year-old’s favourite series is one about a little boy his age and the little boy’s sister – Alfie and Annie-Rose.  Alfie is about three years old and has all the joys and sorrows of any little boy his age.  Shirley Hughes is British so of course her books reflect this in their language which is fun.

In Alfie Gets in First Alfie races ahead of Mum and gets in the door first with a disastrous result which is finally solved by Alfie himself but not before the whole neighbourhood gets involved trying to help.

Product Details

Alfie’s 1-2-3 is a number book (obviously) which does just a little bit of adding in addition to counting.

Product Details

One of our very favourite Alfie books is Alfie’s Feet.  Alfie needs new rain boots so he can splash in puddles – what little boy can’t relate?  The new boots are wonderful but not quite right.  See if you can figure out before Alfie does what is wrong with them.

Alfie's Feet

Alfie Weather is a collection of stories about Alfie and his family in different kinds of weather.  Interestingly right in the middle of the book is Mum tells Alfie the story of the Fall of Man while they are on a country explore.  This one is a bit longer than others so make sure you have time for it.

Product Details

Our library doesn’t have all of Shirley Hughes’ books – she wrote a lot.  We read what they have, and when we find any at resale shops or used book stores we buy them.  Shirley Hughes also wrote other series but Alfie is the one we love.

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Lady Grace Mystery Series #3 – Conspiracy

Conspiracy (Lady Grace Mysteries, #3)

Conspiracy is the third book in the Lady Grace Mystery series.  When the Queen is visiting one of her many palaces a series of accidents happen suddenly and too close together to be a coincidence.  Is the dashing Prince Sven the cause, or is the Queen’s right hand man, the Earl of Leicester behind it all?  Find all the clues and unravel the mystery right along with Lady Grace, maid of honour to Queen Elizabeth I.

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Just Jane

Just Jane (Ladies of History, #2)

Just Jane is a bio-novel about Jane Austen.  It spans roughly 15 years, telling, from Jane’s point of view, her life’s story.  From the time when she was 21 to in her mid-30’s this book is an interesting enjoyable read.  One of the things I liked most about this book was that the author would actually show Jane trying to figure out what to say in her novels.  I would recommend this book to anyone.

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Daughter Of Venice

Cover Image

Daughter of Venice is about a fourteen year old girl named Doníta.  Only one (or two) of the girls in her family will marry.  The rest will be forced to live in a convent.  Doníta sneaks out of the house several times for a taste of the real Venice.  Her identical twin sister, Laura takes over her chores.  When Doníta’s father announces that since Doníta has been so hard-working she will be the one to marry, both the girls are devastated.  With the help of a Jewish boy she concocts a dangerous plan that will allow Laura to marry instead.  Will Doníta succeed?

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