Friday, May 05, 2017

The Book Tag

     MovieCritic has tagged me with the Book Tag, and I haven't done a tag in a while so this should be fun. :-)  Thank you, MovieCritic.  Now, onto the questions...

1. What book has been on your shelf the longest?

     Not sure which one, but I have had my American Girl books longer than all of the others currently on my shelf.

2. What is your current read, your last read, and the book you'll read next?

     I've been reading more than one book at a time for a while.  Currently, reading The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson, since I just finished The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest.  Also, reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.  I would like to read Hinds Feet On High Places by Hannah Hurnard and Bleak House by Charles Dickens next.

3. What book did everyone like but you hated?

     I didn't necessarily hate it, but The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak.  I heard so much about how good it was from more than one person, but it just wasn't for me.

4. What book do you keep telling yourself you'll read, but you probably won't?

     Ummm...well, honestly, I read the books I want to read. 

5. What book are you saving for retirement?

     I'm not saving any.  Why would I wait to read something when I want to read it now.  I'm sure there will be lots of new books to read by the time I get there. ...I guess I could say The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, since I would like to read it, but it's kind of at the end of my list.

6. Last page: read it first or wait 'til the end?

     Is that even a question?  Wait until the end, of course! :P

7. Acknowledgements: waste of paper and ink or interesting aside?

     I don't think it's a waste of paper because I find it to be a nice sentiment.  However, I rarely ever read them, so I can't call it an interesting aside either.

8. Which book character would you switch places with?

     I'm sure you all expect it, but I must be honest: Emma Woodhouse.

9. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life?

     Well, not that I can think of at the moment...

10. Name a book you acquired in an interesting way.

     Oh, when I was thirteen, the church I was attending at the time was cleaning out their library and I took Shadows of the Canyon by Tracie Peterson from one of the boxes.  (I asked first, don't worry. :-)

11. Have you ever given a book away for a special reason to a special person?

     I have given plenty of books to my younger sisters when I've outgrown them.  There's nothing really special about that, but I haven't given books away to anyone else.

12. Which book has been with you most places?

     Emma has been to summer camp and Puerto Rico...both The Fairest Beauty and The Captive Maiden have been to several states.  (Of course, all the books on my Kindle App have been basically everywhere I have, but I didn't think I could count those. ;-)

13. Any required reading you hated in high school that wasn't so bad later?

     Nope.  All of the required reading that I have disliked, I still dislike.  (Ahem, Robinson Crusoe.)

 14. Used or brand new?

     There's something about opening a fresh, unused book that just cannot be topped.

15. Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?

     Never heard of him.

16. Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book?

     Rarely.  There are movies that are as good as the book, but not better.

17. Have you ever read a book that's made you hungry, cookbooks included?

     All of the Pioneer Woman cookbooks make me hungry, yes.

18. Who is the person whose book advice you'll always take?

     My mom's.  She has a very similar taste in books, so I know her recommendations will be books I will love.

     Now, let's see...four people to tagged.  I don't know who has already been tagged by Olivia, but I have four random people:
1. Rachel
2. Abby P.
3. Kelly-Anne
4. Miss March

    Thanks again, MovieCritic for the fun tag!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Guess the Period Drama From Its Scenery | My First Game

     I've seen quite a few games like this on other blogs, and I enjoy them so I thought I would try one myself.  I'm sure you all know how to play, but just in case, here are the rules: Look at the pictures, comment the name of the period drama with the corresponding number, and try to answer them all correctly.  There will be no pictures of the actors and actresses in this game, in order to make it a little harder.  Let's see how well you know the scenery of these beautiful period dramas! :-)









     I'll be posting the answers sometime next week.  I hope you enjoyed!  

*10 points for each correct answer

Saturday, April 22, 2017


{photo taken by me}

     For those books that make me break into a grin.
     For those pink and purple skies that steal my breath.
     For those kind words of advice from my mom.
     For those melancholy spring showers.
     For those movies that move me to tears.
     For those friends who listen to me share my heart.
     For those daydreams that take me far away.
     For those ice cream cones on a warm night.
     For those last few minutes before I fall asleep.
     For those sisters that make me laugh.
     For those experiences that keep me humble.
     For those Bible verses that give me courage.
     For those talks with my dad.
     For those stories that form in my imagination.
     For those chores that give me time to think.
     For those readers who allow me to keep on blogging.
     For those songs that make my heart soar.
     For those flowers blooming outside.
     For those brief moments of pure silence and reflection.
     For those holidays that bring me such joy.
     For those cups of tea in the morning.
     For those times when I can't keep from singing.
     For those opportunities to do what I love.
     For the freedom to openly worship Jesus.
     For the dreams and passions in my heart.
     For a family to share memories with.
     For a home to call my own.
     For a God who loves me so much that He sent His Son to die for me.
     For all this and more, I am thankful to Him.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

It's Been A While

     It has been so quiet on my blog lately!  I've been meaning to post, truly, but...well, I won't make lame excuses.  Instead, I'll update you all!
        Here's what's been going on:
  • Saw Beauty and the Beast -- loved it!  It was beyond everything I could have hoped for.
  • Started rereading Sense & Sensibility.  I can't believe how much I had forgotten!  And it is still such a good book.
  • Been considering job possibilities and college classes for next year. 
  • Looking forward to summer, of course. 
  • Coming up with new blog post ideas.  I'm planning to get into a better habit of posting regularly.  :-)
  • Updated my blog look about 3-4 times before settling on my old one with a couple minor tweaks, as you can see.
  • Oh!  And I got a lovely new spring dress for Easter.  (Hopefully, we will have spring weather before the holiday weekend!)
       What's been going on with you all?

Saturday, March 11, 2017

A Lovely Day

     I wasn't going to post again until next week sometime, but I had such an enjoyable day yesterday that I couldn't resist the opportunity to write about it.  Maybe it was cold and cloudy, but my family brought out the best of Friday.

     We went ice skating in the late morning/early afternoon.  It was such fun!  My sisters and I had a blast circling the ice and laughing.  There's just something about gliding over the ice that inexplicably makes your heart soar, you know?  Afterward, we went out and enjoyed a late lunch at one of our favorite places to eat.  We sat by the warm fireplace in the cafe and simply talked and ate together.  When lunch was done, we took a drive.  Just a drive.  We weren't going anywhere in particular, but instead took the liberty of driving along the wide, swollen river.  It was quite relaxing.  Honestly, yesterday was one of the best family days ever.

     And then, for the icing on the cake, the new Beauty and the Beast soundtrack was released yesterday, too, so I listened to that when I got home.  Wow.  (Am I the only one who got goosies?)  Suffice it to say, I love it.  Like, a lot.   "How Does A Moment Last Forever" brought tears to my eyes.  And I'm pretty much addicted to it now.  

     Now, I intend to enjoy my Saturday, as well.  I don't usually watch movies in the morning, but I'm in a Cinderella mood, so here I go.  Have a lovely day, dears!

     How was your Friday?  What do you all think of the new Beauty and the Beast soundtrack? 

Thursday, March 09, 2017

The Watsons | Excerpts

     As I mentioned back in January and again in February, during I Love Austen Week, I have been writing my own conclusion to Jane Austen's "The Watsons".  It has been my favorite project for some time now, even though I don't have as much time to work on it as I'd like.

     After debating it for a while, I finally decided to just go for it and share a few short excerpts with you all.  And you may criticize if you wish.  I am always open to feedback, as you know.  I'm a bit apprehensive about it, but I feel like I had better just get on with it before I get too nervous and decide against it.  You know what... No.  Okay.  Here goes.

      "I anticipate meeting him, after all his good attributes have been pointed out to me so carefully by you," replied Emma warmly.
      "Yes, indeed. You will find him most agreeable."
      "I only wish we could help him a bit," Emma sighed.
      "With what, dear?"
      "With respect to my friend Miss Edwards. Mary seems so taken with Captain Hunter that I fear Sam has little chance of winning her."
      "Yes, that is too bad. I think that if he cannot have her, then there is someone better suited to him, perhaps somewhere outside of Surrey."

            Emma did not know what to say. She needed a moment to think about all that which Penelope had just related. Yes, Elizabeth had indeed been evasive. But she had still been so kind and caring. "I am very sorry about it all," was the most she could muster in reply.
           "Did I say too much?" Penelope asked uncertainly. “Was I wrong to tell you? I assure you it is all true.”

            Now, what was she to do? Whom could she trust?  It was then that Emma decided she needed to get away from Surrey.  But where should she go? She did not want to go to London.  A visit to the seaside was rather appealing, she decided.  She had visited the sea several times with her aunt, and it was there she wanted to go now.  It was the ideal plan.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Musings | feat. A Maleficent GIF, the Red Carpet, and a Great Quote

     Well, Happy March, everyone!  Is it spring yet?  It's hard to tell with our temperatures fluctuating as they areLast week, we went from 70F to snow in a matter of a few days, and, to be honest, I was a bit frustrated by that.  I want it to be warm!

     Anyway.  I thought I'd write up a quick post about what's going on inside my mind lately. 

     The Oscars happened on Sunday night, and I was quite pleased to see La La Land win six five awards, including Emma Stone for best actress (while looking stunning, I must say).  Yes, I watched the whole thing live.  And I was fairly disappointed with the confusion over Best Picture at the end... 
      The dresses on the red carpet, though!  Some were strange (as you come to expect), but some were gorgeous!  I'll just share with you my standout favorites:
As I said, Emma Stone stunned.
Felicity Jones looked adorable.
Hailee Steinfeld's dress was just wow!
(Watching all the glitz and glamour makes me wish I could attend such an event. *sigh*)

      Oh, and speaking of fabulous gowns, Victoria -- which showcases amazing costumes -- is coming to an end this Sunday.  I turned out liking it more than I initially thought I would.  That is mainly because of a certain adorable couple: Nancy Skerrett & Charles Francatelli.  They are so sweet!!!  (Am I the only one?)  I could keep gushing about them, but I'll spare you all and keep this post to a minimal length.

     What else can I write about?

     Hm... Well, now that March is here, some exciting things are coming up.  Like the new live-action Beauty and the Beast...
     I am convinced this is going to be one of my new favorites.  Like ever.  The casting by itself is just perfection.  Add in the beautiful music and these gorgeous sets and voila!  Instant Disney magic.  (Next Oscars? I cannot wait to see this in a few short weeks!  And I know you all are excited, too! :-)
     Alright, I need to wrap up this little rambling post.  I'll leave you with another favorite dress from the Oscars, and a great quote:
I just loved this black one on Kirsten Dunst!
 "Repression is the enemy of civilization, so keep dreaming, because the dreams we dream today will provide the love, the compassion, and the humanity that will narrate the stories of our lives tomorrow."  -Marc Platt

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Simple Questions Tag + New Blog Look

     Rachel at A Girl's Place has kindly tagged me with this list of questions she created.  So thank you, Rachel. :-)  Let's get to it!

 1. How does your morning start?
     The first hour of my morning is pretty typical.  You know, after I wake up I make my bed, brush my teeth, put on some soft, cheery music, and have my devotional time with a cup of tea.

2. What's your favourite colour?
     Pink!  Of course.  

3. What book are you reading right now?
     Among a few others, Crazy Love by Francis Chan -- and loving it! 

4. What is your opinion about having a mobile phone?
   That's an interesting question... Well, before I had a phone, it was all I wanted.  I constantly complained that all my other ten-year-old friends had one and it wasn't fair and I begged and begged for one.  Yeah.  Then when I did get one a few years later, it was really no big deal.  I like my phone, and I'm content with it.  But I wish I could go back and convince my younger self that I didn't need a phone as much as I thought I did.  Haha :-)  Aaannyway.

5. Your favourite actress? (Pick at least two)
     Lily James and...either Daisy Ridley or Anne Hathaway.  

6. What's your favourite movie right now?
     My top favourite movies are always the same: The Lord of the Rings and Emma (2009).  It's a draw between those 'two'.  (And, ha, I just noticed that you made me spell 'favorite' the British way!  And I'm not going to change it, because I actually like it better.)

7. Snow or rain?
    Mmm...depends on my mood.  Snow is so beautiful, but that means it's freezing outside.  I love a nice summer shower, though.  I don't know!  I guess I'll say...snow.

8. What's your favourite ice cream flavour?
     Ooh!  There are so many good flavors and my favorites constantly change.  Currently, it would have to be black raspberry chocolate chip.  De-lish!

9. To which countries have you been?
     Sadly, just Puerto Rico and the US.  But I have been to so many states in the US, so...

10. What are you doing mostly in the evening?
     It depends on the evening.  I read, watch movies/TV, or write (blog post, journal entry, etc.).

11. How old are you?

12. Which countries do you really want to visit?
     Oh, dear.  There's quite a long list.  I'll try to name just a few: the UK & Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Spain, Brazil, New Zealand, Prince Edward Island...and many, many others.
13. What's your dream career?
     Doing something that I love and accomplishing God's will.
14. If you were cast in a movie, which character would you love to play?  I don't know.  There are too many options...  Sorry! I don't have an answer for this one.

     Those are all of my answers.  Thanks again for the tag, Rachel! :-)

Friday, February 17, 2017

Jane Fairfax | An Appreciation Post | I ❤️ Austen Week

     For my final contribution to I Love Austen Week, I have a post dedicated to a somewhat overlooked character in a certain Jane Austen novel. 
     Throughout the story of Emma Woodhouse and the few people with whom she associates, the titular character is constantly in the spotlight.  But today, I would like to shine that light on the minor heroine of Emma: Jane Fairfax.

     She may be shy and reserved, but Jane is overall a gentle, sweet, and sincerely caring young lady.  That's why I think she deserves a bit more credit than she gets.  (If you haven't read this book or seen the movies, don't worry; there are no major spoilers ahead.)

     Emma is obviously the more dominant person of the two, which makes it hard for them to relate.  At first, she is rather jealous of Jane.  In fact, she is "sick of the very name Jane Fairfax".  Why?  Because Jane "seems to gain ten new accomplishments between one [letter] and the next" and she "has friends in Ireland and Weymouth" -- or, simply put, Jane has been educated as a fine young lady and has traveled to interesting places, seen new things, and made new acquaintances.  Emma, by contrast, is not studious and has never traveled outside her hometown.  

     But no matter.  That is Emma's original impression of a person she barely knows.  After getting to know the real person behind the letters, she begins to warm up to Jane.  Jane who is not at all as fortunate as herself.  Jane who is patient and forgiving.  Jane who must put up with the obnoxious attentions of Augusta Elton.  That poor, dear Jane.

     Think about all the trials Jane endures before she can finally have a love story moment of her own.  Just think about it for a minute.

      First, she comes to live with her spinster aunt and her old, widowed grandmother in a tiny little flat with little to no money.  She has no friends, and the one person who should be her friend (ahem, Emma) does not give a care.  The man she is in love with is not allowed to marry her because she is from a poor, unimportant family.

     If you go back even further, Jane's parents die and she is sent to live with strangers because her aunt and grandmother cannot afford to care for a child. 

     So now that Jane is living in Highbury, she is trying to fit in.  Mr. Knightley is kind to her, but so is the mysterious admirer who anonymously sends her a grand surprise: a beautiful, new pianoforte.  Jane is a talented musician and is more than pleased with it.  However, this unexpected gift brings on suspicion and teasing from Emma and Frank, who conclude that it is from her best friend's wealthy husband.  Jane is upset at the implication that she might be in love with someone else's husband, and who wouldn't be?  Especially when it isn't true at all and Frank knows it.

     Not only that, but she must endure watching the man she loves flirt and fool around with none other than Miss Emma Woodhouse.

     Oh, yes, and don't forget that all this time Jane is keeping a deep secret, Mrs. Elton won't leave her alone, and she must resign herself to becoming a governess in order to make some small income.  Finally, Jane is so fatigued sick of it all, she just gives up and decides to leave.  She is at last forced to take Mrs. Elton's reference for a position as a governess.

     Poor Jane, indeed.

     And all changes.  (*Here come a few spoilers for Jane's story*)  Her lover's guardian dies, and they are free to be together.  Jane does not have to be a governess any longer.  Her family will not be destitute.  She can have the true love she deserves.  To top it all off, she and Emma finally understand one another and can be friends.

     So, you see, Jane has shown herself to be good, forbearing, and faithful, kind and generous, a true friend.  And she definitely earned her happily ever after.

(Forget what Frank says; I think her hair is pretty.)

   What other minor characters in books/movies do you think deserve appreciation?  

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Becoming Jane | A Review | I ❤️ Austen Week

     In the history of English literature, there have been many admirable female writers from Ann Radcliffe to Charlotte Brontë to Agatha Christie.  But perhaps none have been so well-loved as Jane Austen, the writer of realistic and happily concluded novels.  Every one of her admirers wonders about the author herself.  What inspired her beloved stories and characters?  Was she ever in love herself?  

     Well, today, as part of Hamlette's I Love Austen Week, I am going to be reviewing Becoming Jane, the movie which does its best to answer those questions in a (somewhat embellished) version of Jane Austen's life story.

      Becoming Jane, directed by Julian Jarrold, tells the story of a young Jane Austen (Anne Hathaway), an aspiring authoress who is interested in everything except a loveless marriageBelieving she will be able to live by her pen someday, Jane is not looking for love.  However, "when the dashing Tom Lefroy (James McAvoy), a reckless and penniless lawyer-to-be, enters Jane's life, he offends the emerging writer's sense and sensibility.  Soon their clashing egos set off sparks that ignite a passionate romance and fuel Jane's dream of doing the unthinkable: marrying for love."

      This movie, inspired by the true story of Jane Austen's romance, weaves a bittersweet tale of love gained and love lost.  While, as I said, it is quite dramatized, the film still remains true to the author's life and feelings (as derived from her novels).  Jane clearly expresses that novels should reflect real life (as she shows us in Northanger Abbey) and that sometimes good characters have less-than-ideal endings (poor Charlotte Collins) and bad characters get along better than they deserve (ahem, Mr. Wickham).  In the end, however, she decides that her novels will indeed reflect real life, but her heroines will have happy endings.

     One thing I love about this movie is how there are several characters that are direct parallels to characters in Ms. Austen's novels.  Jane writes down several lines spoken by some of them for later use in her writings and it is implied that her novels each are a bit of her true life story.  Perhaps we'll never know how true this is or not, but either way, this is still quite an enjoyable movie.

     The costumes are lovely, as are all the sets from the houses to the woods to the ocean.  The acting is wonderful, especially from the two leads and the one and only Dame Maggie Smith.  And let's not forget the beautiful music which accompanies it.

     There are a few mildly inappropriate scenes and few choice words, but it is not enough to garner a PG-13 rating.  Overall, though, this is a well-made, beautiful period drama that every Jane Austen fan will have a different opinion of.  You'll either love it or you'll hate it.  I, for my part, like it very much and give it 4/5 stars.

     So what do you think of this movie?  What do you like and dislike about it?  Tell me in the comments below.  Also, make sure you check back to the master post for other reviews, posts, and games all about Jane Austen as a part of I Love Austen Week